The students say the Jewish literacy they've gained has inspired greater introspection and a fuller Jewish life
A Dutch beauty and the youngest of four children, she was faced with a decision no teenager should have to make -- whether or not to leave her family and home to flee her country in hopes of a better life. Similar to other young women with fantasies of love, Van Beek had developed an immediate crush on Felix, a handsome young German Jew whom she met while playing tennis one afternoon.
"I like to challenge people and show them a side of Israel not everybody sees," the now full-time filmmaker said. "Everyone brings different things to the table and as a result people get different things out of it."
From the small religious village of Beit Yatir, just south of Jerusalem, to the far more secular beach city of Santa Monica, Judith Margolis made quite a journey to become Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's artist-in-residence.
Loyola Marymount University (LMU), a Jesuit school, will be the surprising venue for an exhibition of Midrash-inspired paintings this weekend.
Some 5,000 to 6,000 American students participate in Israel gap year programs, Avi Rubel, North American Director of MASA, estimates, which is 1,000 more than last year, and he expects the number to climb. In previous years, Rubel explained, Orthodox yeshiva students were the dominant majority among participants. However, the trend is changing, with the largest number yet of non-Orthodox kids enrolling this year, he said.
The atrocities of the Holocaust are difficult enough to understand, let alone teach. But Melissa Mazzei was willing to tackle the challenge with her at-risk teens at West Adams Preparatory High School near downtown Los Angeles.
"Many of my students have unstable home lives, some of them living in cars or motels, are gang-affiliated and have parole officers," Mazzei said, adding that learning about the Holocaust might be the last thing on their minds.
In a story line that turns a sacred office of psychiatry into a house of fraternizing, a secretary into a jungle cat, a librarian into a sex fiend and a stripper into an academic, writer Mark Troy presents many shocking juxtapositions in the world premiere of his play, "Paging Dr. Chutzpah," at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre in Toluca Lake.
The painfully familiar bickering of a traditional Jewish family meets a sexy yet clueless striving-to-be Hollywood starlet in Deborah Zoe Laufer's play, "The Last Schwartz," which returns to the Zephyr Theatre on Melrose Avenue Jan. 4, after a hiatus.
Ruth Berkowitz, mother of five, has two manila folders stuffed with camp brochures, schedules and a pencil-drawn spreadsheet compiled of summer activities for her five children, including a column for each week.
It's not uncommon for well-established, wealthy members of a community to donate money to various causes, but these days, there's a new breed of philanthropist in town -- the college student.
Discussion of Josh Swiller's first book, "The Unheard," published in September, and his recent reading at Dutton's Bookstore in Brentwood. Swiller's book deals with his time in Africa with the Peace Corps, and in it he tells a story of deafness and Africa, explaining how, in African villages, he communicated in English, Bemba and oftentimes without words.
To experience the intense claustrophobia in which Anne Frank's family lived while hiding from the Nazis, just go to the Celebration of Books at American Jewish University this Sunday. No, not just because of the swarming crowds that will no doubt be filling the university's halls, hoping to meet the many celebrity authors. You really can relive the Franks' experience in a life-sized recreation of the two-room space in Amsterdam in which Anne, along with her parents, older sister and Fritz Pfeffer, a dentist and acquaintance of the Franks, lived from 1942-1944.
Getting by on prepackaged kosher sandwiches or salads is now a thing of the past for Jewish students at UCLA. For the first time, UCLA is offering hot kosher dinners Mondays through Thursdays as part of the meal plan for dorm residents. Apart from the plan, students can buy lunches and receive free dinner on Friday nights at UCLA Hillel's The Shack (Students Hungry and Craving Kosher).
The self-taught artist, Alula Johannes Tzadik, who was totally unaware of his Jewish heritage while growing up, has become a renowned musician in Jewish circles. Inspired musically by Miles Davis and lyrically by Bob Marley, he adds his own flavor of soul to spiritual jams -- melodies that help him connect with the L.A. Jewish community.
It's a sight you wouldn't expect on the Paramount Studios lot. Women gathered with their daughters on a recent Saturday night outside of the Sherry Lansing Theater to see a film. And there were no men in sight.