By 1939 some 2,500 German Jews had relocated to Los Angeles, and by 1941, when the United States entered the war, their number had grown to 6,000, making Los Angeles the second-largest center of German-speaking Jews in America. As the German Jews made connections with the L.A. Jewish community, two immigrant businessmen came together to form The German Jewish Club of 1933.
The reasons why milifers and seniors have gravitated to adult b'nai mitzvah programs since the trend first took off in the 1970s are numerous, including the fact that most women didn't have such ceremonies until the 1980s (the first bat mitzvah was held in 1922). One perennial influence is a child or grandchild reaching b'nai mitzvah age, and the divergent issues brought about by intermarriage can sometimes compel one or more adults in a family to take on b'nai mitzvah study to serve as a role model.
"The Holocaust in Film and Literature" is one of many UCLA classes that draws in undergraduate students looking to fulfill general education requirements. German 59, as it's listed in the university catalog, has attracted 241 students this quarter.
The course demands are strenuous. Among the required readings are Elie Wiesel's "Night," Primo Levi's "Survival in Auschwitz" and "The Reader" by Bernhard Schlink. Additionally, students read selected works by authors such as Hannah Arendt and Nelly Sachs, as well as poetry, memoirs, encyclopedia entries and original documents. Assigned films include "Schindler's List," "Night and Fog" and several documentaries.
For most of his 92 years, artist Sam Fink has been obsessed with the pursuit of freedom and the beauty of language. Even though he is a painter, he calls language "the highest form of art, higher even than painting and music."
Barbados is, of course, well known as a "sun, sand and sea" island in the Caribbean, but it has many more attractions than these. Jewish visitors, in particular, are drawn to downtown Bridgetown, the island's capital city, to visit the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.
And yet despite these avocations, the 40-something Kenneth Klee said he felt there was something missing in his life. He's now studying for his smicha, or ordination, as a rabbi, which he intends to compliment his sideline as a spiritual counselor.
In the 1980s, Geoffrey Hartman helped establish the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, a Yale-based collection of videotaped Holocaust testimonies he continues to head. The archive preceded Spielberg's Shoah Visual History Foundation by more than a decade.
A capacity-plus crowd of some 400 people, including mostly younger Jews and Muslims, filled the Skirball's Magnin Auditorium and gave the two speakers a warm welcome. The straightforwardness of the event gave little evidence of the passions that preceded it.
Regardless of age or physical condition, intellectually curious seniors have many opportunities in the Los Angeles area to participate in an educational program that fits their needs in an enriching, stimulating and affordable environment.
Each Christmas, Barri Evins and a group of volunteers give away thousands of books at Head Start magnet centers throughout the Los Angeles area. At each center, volunteers greet each child individually, ask them their age and then present them with a brand new book especially selected for them.
One speaker characterized the Berlin Jewish community as "a piece of the mosaic that makes up our history" and emphasized the importance to the city of today's Jewish community, which numbers approximately 30,000.