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Jewish Journal

Nancy Sokoler Steiner

  • A survival guide for parents of b’nai mitzvah kids

    April 17, 2013 | 4:17 pm

    So you’re planning a bar or bat mitzvah? Mazel tov! You may feel overwhelmed by decisions and details. I certainly did when it was time for my son, Steven, to take part in the ritual this past December. I asked experienced parents for advice and promised to “pay it forward” once I...

  • Holiday packages for Jewish service members

    November 30, 2011 | 6:11 pm

    Bel-Air may be a long way from Afghanistan, but the distance seemed a little closer on a recent rainy Sunday. At the home of Joan Rimmon, a cadre of volunteers was assembling care packages for Jewish servicemen and -women deployed abroad. Although Thanksgiving was just days away,...

  • UCLA Med Sciences Leader Steps Down

    March 16, 2010 | 4:40 pm

    In the 1940s, young Gerald Levey looked with awe at his family physician. Over the years, Dr. Samuel Rosenstein made regular house calls to Levey’s Jersey City home, including trips to sew Levey’s severed finger and set his broken nose.

    “He had a presence and a sensitivity,”...

  • Technology Affects Minds at All Ages

    November 24, 2009 | 6:43 pm

    They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but scientific findings seem to indicate otherwise. Research shows that our brains literally rewire in response to new stimulation. And when it comes to computer use, Internet activity may stimulate and possibly improve brain...

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  • A Journey Revisited

    April 16, 2009 | 3:24 am

    My father, Allen Sokoler, never spoke about the first nine years of his life, when he lived in Germany. My two brothers and I knew instinctively not to ask, not to mention the country’s name in his presence. We avoided bringing German-made goods into our home — not even German...

  • Pancreatic Cancer Studies Hopeful, But Funding Lags

    March 11, 2009 | 3:03 am

    It’s the fourth deadliest cancer, which will claim an estimated 34,000 lives this year. There are no surefire methods for prevention or early detection. And it resists treatments found to be effective in other cancers.

    Until someone noteworthy like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth...

  • Cedars-Sinai studies liver transplants for HIV patients

    December 18, 2008 | 2:44 am

    Although he was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1991, Brent Carrillo had been well enough to pursue careers in custom stone and tile installation and interior design with relatively few health setbacks. A lifelong resident of Burbank, Carrillo moved to Portland in 2005 to enjoy a home...
  • Cancer gives musician a new song

    September 4, 2008 | 1:31 am

    This time, Charlie Lustman hadn't come to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for medical tests or to endure another round of chemotherapy. Despite having lost three-quarters of his jawbone, Lustman had come to celebrate, to inspire -- and to sing.

    Lustman was at the Samuel Oschin...

  • UCLA’s new hospital takes technology to new frontiers

    June 26, 2008 | 11:58 am

    More than eight years and $829 million in the making, the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is scheduled to open its doors to patients on June 29. The 10-story, 1-million-square-foot complex -- which houses the The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Stewart and Lynda Resnick...
  • Preschool education gets a new Italian accent

    June 5, 2008 | 2:33 pm

    Aah, Italy.

    The mere mention evokes images of lush Tuscan landscapes, museums filled with masterpieces and ... pedagogy?

    The land of Michelangelo and da Vinci is also known for a progressive approach to early childhood education named for the northern Italian town where it started...

  • California kids deserve better

    May 21, 2008 | 4:09 pm

    Just before Mother's Day, I joined mothers from around Los Angeles at a rally intended to send a message to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: "What moms really want is a decent education for our children."

    The event was organized by a handful of moms from my son's Beverlywood public...

  • Not your grandmother’s Alzheimer’s

    May 8, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Carol Kirsch relished her demanding position as a sales trainer for Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. But a couple of years ago, a good friend told Kirsch she just wasn't performing up to par. She was missing deadlines. And she'd forget meetings, so co-workers would have to come fetch...
  • Blood Brothers: How a gift of lifesaving bone marrow united two strangers

    April 24, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Although they live more than 12,000 miles apart, Yosef Eliezrie and Moshe Price have a lot in common. Eliezrie, 21, is a Los Angeles yeshiva student preparing to become rabbi, like his father. Price, 24, studies in a Jerusalem yeshiva. His father is also a rabbi. The two are not...
  • Chai Lifeline helps families facing life-threatening diseases

    April 17, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Last August, Lori Paulsen's 4-year-old son, Aaron, was diagnosed with Wilms' tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer. Soon afterward, a friend offered to call Chai Lifeline on her behalf.

    Paulsen quickly got a message from caseworker Samantha Raich, who was calling to see how Chai...

  • The Arrowsmith program gets results with ‘physical therapy for the brain’

    February 28, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    Third-grader Yaakov Sobel is a talented painter and sculptor. And he can deliver a spot-on imitation of his teacher discussing Midrash. But when it comes to reading, things don't come so easily.

    "He can sound out words, but doesn't have the visual memory to recognize groupings of...

  • Ashkenazi women and ovarian cancer

    January 24, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    Dr. Beth Y. Karlan is the director of the Cedars-Sinai Women's Cancer Research Institute at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. Her specialty is ovarian cancer, the deadliest of gynecologic cancers and one that is diagnosed in more than 22,000 women annually. As newly...
  • Solar panels, radio station keep Jewish camps current

    January 24, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    It was a given that Benjy Rabin, 9, would spend part of his summers at Camp Ramah as soon as he was old enough. His father is a Ramah alum, and so are his older brother and sister.

    "That was the plan we made when we decided that Jewish day school was not an affordable or...

  • Local diabetes fighter goes global with Discovery Health Channel documentary

    November 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Dr. Francine Kaufman has seen the incidence of diabetes skyrocket in the last 30 years. The pediatric endocrinologist is director of the Comprehensive Childhood Diabetes Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and she says the disease's local increase is part of a worldwide...
  • Special needs program puts spotlight on the siblings

    November 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Barbara Azrialy spent much of her childhood in Cincinnati pretending to be an only child. In fact, she had two brothers, one five years older and the other three years younger. Both brothers were mentally retarded.

    "Nobody talked about it back then," said Azrialy, 62, now a special...

  • Street smarts safety program helps Orthodox kids combat abuse

    August 23, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Thirteen first-graders sit on the rug in their classroom at Shalhevet School, several with their hands raised. A guest speaker has just asked, "What would happen if you got lost at Toys 'R' Us? Who would be someone you could ask for help?"

    "Someone who works there," one of the...

  • Day school teacher program seeks to improve quality of instruction

    August 16, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    After spending more than a decade working abroad for news outlets, including ABC News and the Jerusalem Post, Jacob Wirtschafter began to ask himself some midlife questions.

    "What am I doing to help build community?" he wondered.

    As the eldest of four siblings and a former camp...

  • Her bag of tricks helps patients conquer chemo

    June 28, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Shortly after Janet Halbert completed treatment for breast cancer in 2005, a friend was diagnosed with the disease. The friend asked Halbert if she had any tips for easing the chemotherapy experience.

    "I told her I had some products and some ideas and things that might be helpful,"...

  • Academy of Jewish Religion offers alternate path to rabbinate for 16 new grads

    June 7, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    This year in Los Angeles, the Reform Movement's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Region ordained 16 new rabbis. The Conservative Movement's Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies ordained 10. And the Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJR, CA) ordained 11.

    Never heard of...
  • Healing trumps selling for new Kalsman Institute chief

    May 17, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Michele Prince had an epiphany while sitting at a conference table nine years ago. At the time she was an account manager at a prestigious Westside advertising agency with a health insurance company as a client.

    "[We were] talking about restricting people's access to health care...
  • Cervical cancer vaccine stirs hope and debate

    February 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    The first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine approved last year is inspiring passionate debate as state legislatures take up the issue of compulsory inoculation for preteen girls as a way to prevent cervical cancer. HPV infection is the major cause of cervical cancer in women. A...
  • Jewish Home’s makeover: yoga at 3, facials at 4

    October 26, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    After strolling down the hall from your room for breakfast, you duck into the art studio to work on your latest ceramics project. Then you head down to the club room for a yoga class.
     
    You have lunch, then sit in a shaded outdoor courtyard, listening to the sound of a nearby...

  • Do Day School Health Programs Make the Grade?

    August 17, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Twenty parents from the Emek Hebrew Academy in Valley Village have come on a chilly winter evening to hear Dr. Francine Kaufman, a national expert on diabetes and childhood obesity, talk about promoting children's health. Although the school has 455 families, Rabbi Sholom Strajcher,...
  • Special Delivery - When Baby Brings More Than Expected

    June 22, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Sarah Berger had a tough pregnancy. Berger, who asked that her real name not be used, had severe morning sickness for six months, and then was on bed rest for her last 10 weeks. But it wasn't until her baby came home that trouble really began.

    "On the third day, I remember this dark...

  • School Risked Fiscal Peril for Its Students

    June 8, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Esther Nir knew she wanted her daughters to have a Jewish education. Although she and her Israeli-born husband, Ofer, were living in a decidedly secular kibbutz, Nir had attended yeshiva as a young girl in Brooklyn.

    "I wanted my children to learn Torah and decide for themselves what...

  • Substance Abuse a Senior Problem, Too

    May 18, 2006 | 8:00 pm

     



    When Amy Kaplan heard about Betty (not her real name), a Jewish Family Service client in her early 70s who said she couldn't afford all of her medications, Kaplan suspected there was more to the story. Kaplan, a social worker and addiction specialist, visited Betty's...

  • PASSOVER: You Say Charoses and I Say Charoset

    April 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    I was so excited when a publishing house in New York accepted my children's book for publication. Geared to preschoolers, it's a short piece that recounts the steps of the Passover seder in simple, upbeat verse.

    What I didn't realize was that the work would need to be translated.

    ...
  • L.A. Boosts Newborn Screenings in Israel

    March 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Before leaving the hospital, all newborn babies in California get pricked in the heel to collect a few drops of their blood. The blood is then screened for more than 30 genetic disorders that, although rare, can cause physical problems, mental retardation and sometimes death.

    In...

  • Center’s Studies Aid Care for Frail Elderly

    March 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Rose Sino sits in her wheelchair as lunch is placed before her. Her son offers her a forkful of cheese blintz, which Sino quickly chews before accepting another bite.

    While this scene might appear routine, its significance is not lost on her son, David Swartz, or her caregivers at...

  • Robot Dances Off With Award

    February 23, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Don't have time to shlep to a museum? Too tired to remember if the free museum day is the first or second Tuesday of the month? Want to conquer a large, overwhelming exhibit in small, 15-minute intervals? Then bring the museum to your desktop and browse at your own pace.

    The Jewish...

  • Where the Boys Aren’t

    January 26, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    The Chanukah party for Adat Ari El's junior United Synagogue Youth group had all the elements the seventh- and eighth-grade members had requested: latkes, a gift exchange and a fierce board game competition. Yet, said, Julee Snitzer, the synagogue's youth activities director, of the...

  • Transplant Recipient Will Parade Success

    December 29, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Like many native Angelenos, Ilene Feder has never been to the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena. However, the Studio City resident not only will be attending the New Year's day festivities on Monday, Jan. 2, for the 118th Rose Parade, but will have a vantage point few get to...

  • Hearing Loss Helps Writer Find Voice

    December 29, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Michael Chorost climbs the flight of stairs to a room filled with metal file cabinets. He's never been to this place before, but he's greeted like a long lost relative. A smiling woman hands him what he has come to see: file No. 27392.

    The 40-year-old science writer opens the file...

  • Community Briefs

    December 8, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Rabin Tribute Marks 10th Anniversary of Assassination

    A lively, heartfelt tribute to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin brought more than 400 people to the University of Judaism to mark the 10th year since an assassin took his life.

    "I miss the man himself; I miss the man...

  • Synagogues Weigh Defibrillator Benefits

    November 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    After spending the week visiting his family in Phoenix, 73-year-old Benjamin Boxerbaum stood at the airport ticket counter awaiting his flight home, when he suddenly collapsed. The paramedics were called, but Boxerbaum died soon after their arrival.

    "Even though there's a fire...

  • Inclusive Education

    October 20, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In the summer of 2002, Liza Wohlberg had no idea that her life was about to irrevocably change. The 7-year-old, who loved to dance and play with her dog, was enjoying the summer vacation between first and second grade. On a family trip to Canada, Liza's mother, Terry, noticed that...

  • Shticking It to the Classics

    September 29, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    My 5-year-old thinks "My Yiddishe Mama," the soulful ballad immortalized by Sophie Tucker in 1928, is a rock anthem. The version he learned didn't come from a dusty old record, but from a CD released in 2004 by the group, Yiddishe Cup, called "Meshugeneh Mambo."

    This is not your...

  • A Father’s Drive to Save His Daughter

    September 15, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    George Smith hates to lose. A Harvard Business School graduate, Smith founded one of Southern California's largest, most prominent real estate investment banking firms and will receive an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University next week. Still, he smarts a little from a...

  • New Year Rings in New Role for Rabbi

    September 8, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Rabbi Toba August likes to accentuate the positive, and the new year is no exception.

    "Too often for the High Holidays, we're told about our shortcomings," August said. "I want to concentrate on what we're doing right.... We don't recognize the things we do that matter. I want us to...

  • Preschool Teaching Methods Stir Debate

    August 25, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Once upon a time, children didn't step into a classroom until kindergarten. There, 5-year-olds got their first real introduction to ABCs and 123s, colors and shapes and how to share and take turns.

    Today, kindergartners are widely expected to know their letters and numbers before the...

  • Health - Pursuing America’s No. 1 Killer

    August 4, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    For more times than he can recall, Ken Bouchard has journeyed from Los Angeles to his hometown of Framingham, Mass. There, Bouchard willingly provides blood samples, dons heart monitors and details his eating habits.

    While he could easily get a routine physical closer to home, this...

  • Who Will Care for the Caregivers?

    June 23, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    About five years ago, Nina Dayan noticed that her husband's moods began alternating between anger and depression. Then her husband started doing strange things: He would hide her keys, steal money from her purse and share his social security number with strangers on the phone.

    ...
  • Nachas From Noggins

    June 16, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills has once again given Los Angeles something to kvell about. The school claimed top honors at this year's national Academic Decathlon, the annual contest of intellectual prowess.

    Three of the nine team members generated special pride for the...

  • Surgery Offers Hope to Dystonia Victims

    June 9, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Twelve-year-old Josh Gaskin walks to the front door and shakes a visitor's hand. While this gesture would seem routine for most adolescents, two years ago it would have been impossible for Josh.

    By the time he had reached the fourth grade, Josh's dystonia caused his right hand to...

  • Rare Ailment Occurs More in Ashkenazis

    June 9, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    After David Rudolph sprained his ankle during a basketball game, his father noticed that the second-grader couldn't seem to keep his left heel flat on the ground. The problem persisted, sidelining David from his position as catcher on his Little League team, and preventing him from...

  • Local Writers Recall Times of Tyranny

    April 28, 2005 | 8:00 pm

     

    In a tale rooted in personal experience, Dr. John Menkes explores the themes of loss and recovery in his novel “After the Tempest” (Daniel & Daniel, 2003). A Holocaust survivor, Menkes returned to his hometown of Vienna after the war and found that not only was his family and his...

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