Early in "A Jihad for Love," a new documentary directed by Parvez Sharma and produced by Sandi Simcha Dubowski, we meet Mazen, a 20-something Egyptian man who has fled Cairo for Paris to avoid the three-year prison sentence authorities want to impose on him because he is gay.
"A funny thing happens when you become ill. Even though you're the person who's sick, you have to be a caregiverin a way. You can't just dump information on people."
HIV/AIDS education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) means "making sure rabbinical students don't leave campus before they hone their skills to help people in need," said Michele Prince, director of the Kalsman Institute of Judaism and Health at HUC-JIR.
When Lee Larsen and Bob Clarke met in the 1970s at the 8709 Bathhouse -- one of Los Angeles' best known gay social spots of the time -- they never imagined that they would one day share a very different kind of aquatic experience.
"Everything I write is a question of identity," Jonathan Tolins says over tea after a yoga class in Sherman Oaks. "What choices do you have? What roles do you take on?"
"I'm feeling shtetl fabulous," singer Ari Gold confesses on the opening track of "Transport Systems," his fourth studio album and the first to reflect his creative vision from concept to completion.
Yousef Sweid has worked as an actor, dancer, director, writer and puppeteer. To that list of talents one can add tightrope walking, a feat he accomplishes with considerable grace both in his life and in "The Bubble," a new film from Eytan Fox that opens in Los Angeles on Sept. 7.
Rhoda, Mary, Laverne or Rachel would feel instantly at home in Donna Marquet's quirky-cute set for "The Idiot Box," a play currently at the Open Fist Theatre in Hollywood. The cloying "anyplace and no place" flatmates in the big city vibe is spot-on for "The Idiot Box," a shrewd, bittersweet pop-culture critique of American sensibilities post-Sept. 11.
"The Bubble" is one of two Israel-centered features scheduled for the 25th Outfest, Los Angeles' gay and lesbian film festival, July 12-23. The film is being shown in collaboration with Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation, as well as JQ International.
"Freedom Writers" opens with a montage of scenes from Long Beach two years after the Los Angeles riots. Images of gang life and the neighborhoods where members stage their brutal rites float on a stream of hip-hop sound.
At a time when Jews and Muslims in other parts of the world aren't having much luck learning from one another, the conversation and the setting for it are both quietly revolutionary. Here Jewish and Muslim students live together in harmony.
Sherwood Schwartz is not one to complain. Which isn't to say he has nothing to complain about.
Whether they're secular or religious, Jewish astronomers are part of a venerable tradition of inquiry and teaching. And the light transmitted by this tradition shines just as brightly in the upcoming generation of space scientists.
Spiritual decision-making is also frequently a factor in the calculus of gay life. In fact, finding a religious tradition that affirms gay experience and offers the support of a vibrant community can be one of the most important aspects of self-realization for gay men and lesbians -- especially for people who see being in a committed relationship as a natural extension of their spiritual lives.
Daniel, a 24-year-old UCLA student, has gotten under my skin. I met him a month ago when I followed Rabbi Yossi Carron on his rounds through Men's Central Jail and Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles.
With any luck, Daniel will be spending Rosh Hashanah on the outside. It's likely he'll soon be making the transition from jail to the recovery program at Beit T'Shuva, a nonprofit that works with at-risk youth.