Jewish Journal

Sharon Schatz Rosenthal

  • Twinning builds friendships between U.S. and Israeli youth

    August 27, 2008 | 11:37 pm

    The first time Sarah Blau, 17, visited Israel, she felt like a tourist. But her second trip to the Jewish homeland in March 2007 was quite a different experience.

    "My second time there I was like, wow, I have a family here," said the Oakwood School student, who also attends Los...

  • Temple bingo— a gamble if it’s a good way to raise funds

    July 31, 2008 | 12:45 am

    The social hall at Temple Etz Chaim in Thousand Oaks undergoes a major transformation every Thursday night. Television monitors and a flashing scoreboard are mounted on the walls, and a sea of cafeteria-style tables cluttered with small computer monitors, game cards and good-luck...
  • One more time around

    June 12, 2008 | 2:33 pm

    Stuart Miller was not looking for a wife. After two failed marriages over the course of 15 years, the Arcadia doctor and father of two was content with his newfound bachelorhood and independence. But when he met Stacy, the widowed mother of one of his daughter's Hebrew school...
  • It’s a nice day for a green wedding

    April 10, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Jessica Kraft didn't wear a traditional flowing white, off-white or ivory gown during her wedding day last October. Instead, the 29-year-old college professor made her way down the aisle at the UCLA Faculty Center in purple and gold.

    While the San Francisco resident -- whose husband...

  • Looking forward and giving back

    February 7, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    When Richard Weiner and Judith Forman geared up for their November nuptials last year, they didn't register at Crate & Barrel, Macy's or Bed, Bath & Beyond.

    "We're 65 years old," chuckled Weiner, a Philadelphia lawyer who has become bicoastal since marrying his Manhattan Beach...

  • Teen makes a difference for orphans in Kenya slum

    November 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Instead of splurging on a Wii or a state-of-the-art laptop, Ryan Silver, of Manhattan Beach, donated a portion of his gift money to orphans in a Nairobi slum.

    "I think the best thing you can do is help another person," said Silver, 13. "I have a better life than the kids [in the...

  • How to reduce restlessness among tweens and teens at services

    May 10, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Before any bar or bat mitzvah student walks onto the bimah to read from the Torah, Wilshire Boulevard Temple goes into high alert.

    Three weeks before the service, the child's parents must submit the names of three adult guests who will sit close to the younger guests to make sure...
  • Yichud—a romantic oasis

    April 19, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Jennifer Tralins' wedding on a private beach near Miami was picture perfect, from the warm sand under her bare feet to the sweet sounds of the flute as she walked down the aisle in an elegant beaded gown. But for the bride, the most memorable aspect of the ceremony was her yichud,...
  • Siblings show they have write stuff

    March 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    As they practiced their haftorah portions, perfected their speeches and sent out invitations, Daniel and Lauren Deitch felt something was missing from their b'nai mitzvah preparations: Grandma Julie.

    The Deitches' grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, had promised to attend their Dec....

  • How to choose an Israel summer program

    February 22, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Josh Ungar will never forget the first time he laid eyes on the Western Wall.

    "It was right before Shabbos and [the tour leaders] led us to the Wall and had us close our eyes and then open them when we were right in front of the Kotel," remembered Ungar, 16, of his experience with...

  • After School Is Prime Game Time for Kids of All Needs

    August 17, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Kathryn Gaskin's blonde braid bounces against her sweatshirt as she rounds second base under the afternoon sun. The 12-year-old's obvious enthusiasm is not for her own athletic pursuits but for those of Angeline, a teen with Down syndrome, whom Gaskin coaches in an after-school...
  • Nonverbal Baby Talk a Sign of the Times

    February 23, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    While other infants and young toddlers let out a howl when they are hungry, 14-month-old Emmet Weisz simply brings his hands together at the heel and rotates the right hand over the left, making the hand-sign for his favorite food: cheese.

    "He has a great love for dairy," laughed...

  • T-Shirts Tell Tales of Domestic Violence

    October 6, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Lisa Kapler remembers the day her high school boyfriend deliberately bit her cheek until it bled.

    He thought it was funny, said the 29-year-old San Fernando Valley resident, her tone a combination of perplexity and the frankness one might use with a close friend. Soon, her beau's...

  • Young Jews Can Act Out—on Sundays

    September 1, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    After landing the lead in several school plays at Sinai Akiba Academy in Los Angeles, Leora Weinstock, 13, decided she wanted to be a professional actress. Her mother, Judith Weinstock, combed the city in search of just the right acting teacher. It wasn't long before she made a...

  • Young Jews Can Act Out—on Sundays

    September 1, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    After landing the lead in several school plays at Sinai Akiba Academy in Los Angeles, Leora Weinstock, 13, decided she wanted to be a professional actress. Her mother, Judith Weinstock, combed the city in search of just the right acting teacher. It wasn't long before she made a...

  • Young at Heart Get a Turn at the Bimah

    June 16, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Rose Engel practiced her Torah and haftorah portions with an eager diligence. She studied with the rabbi and prepared an essay. Her passion and excitement matched that of most of the synagogue's bat mitzvah candidates, but at 87, she is far from their peers.

    Engel is the most senior...

  • Let My Students Go

    April 21, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    To celebrate Passover, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy preschoolers spent time in ancient Egypt.

    Teachers and students transformed hallway bulletin boards into a colorful representation of the story of Passover. The journey begins with the pyramids, and then students pass through a...

  • Moms-to-Be Seek Religion Reconnect

    March 31, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Shlepping around with swollen feet, a growing belly and mounting exhaustion is a challenge for any mom-to-be, but Beth Saltz is determined to go to Shabbat services as often as she can for the rest of her pregnancy.

    "I feel I need to do it now before the baby is born," said Saltz,...

  • Cure Found for the Summertime Blues

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    When Sarah Winchell needs motivation or encouragement, during her daily prayers she visualizes Chimney Rock, a landmark in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by frozen lakes, a plunging cliff and a blanket of snow. The image has been imprinted in the 15-year-old's mind since she saw...

  • When Xmas Enters the Classroom

    December 16, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    Five days a week during this holiday period, Jodi Braverman sits in a room that conjures up images of the North Pole. The walls are covered with pictures of jolly old St. Nick, and not one, but two miniature Christmas trees serve as obstacles to the seating area. From time...

  • When Parents Get Preschool Jitters

    October 21, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    It was the first day of preschool and 2-year-old Jessica didn't know any of other children in her new class at B'nai Tikvah Congregation Nursery School. But the child's anxiety paled in comparison that of her mother.

    "I worried that Jessica would get her feelings hurt or that she...

  • Ease Your Kids Into Holiday Services

    September 16, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    I was tired, I was bored and I hated wearing pantyhose. I stood up and sat down at the right times, and even hummed along to the some of the prayers. But in my head I was replaying scenes from my favorite movies and wishing I was home playing video games.

    Ah, the High Holidays. The...

  • Israel Seminar Gives Teachers Refresher

    September 2, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    When it came to modern Israel, Ziva London found herself living in the past. Having immigrated to the United States 23 years ago, the Jewish-day-school teacher recently realized that her concept of the Holy Land reflected the Israel she knew there as a citizen more than two decades...

  • Catholic Teachers Learn Shoah Lesson

    September 2, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Early in her teaching career, Marilyn Lubarsky introduced her ninth-grade history students to the Holocaust by showing "Nuit et Brouillard" ("Night and Fog"), a 1955 film containing vivid images of the horrors endured by Jews in concentration camps.

    "I thought, 'I'm going to make my...

  • The Class of 2004 Ready to Journey On

    June 10, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    It's graduation time and The Journal caught up with several high-achieving high school graduates from around the Southland. For many of these young leaders, Judaism will continue to play a role in their lives as they enter the world of college and beyond.

    Rena Stern


  • Parents Don’t Kid About Day Schools

    May 27, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    After extensive research, campus tours, a detailed application and an interview, Aidan Buckner was recently accepted into the school of his choice. While his parents may have done the legwork, it is Aidan who will enter kindergarten at the Ronald and Trana Labowe Family Day School at...

  • Active Camps for the Unathletic

    December 25, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Jordan Cinnamon, 15, has been crazy about the ocean since he was a little kid, so when it came to choosing a way to spend the summer, the idea of going to a regular sports camps didn't appeal to him.

    "I really don't like that many sports," admitted the high school freshman from...

  • Time to Transition From Day to Night

    December 25, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    This summer, Jacqueline Berlin, 7, will leave her mom, dad and younger sister to enter the world of overnight camp for the first time.

    "As soon as she found out that she would be old enough to go [to Camp Ramah in Ojai] this summer, she wanted to go," said Jacqueline's mother,...

  • Q & A With Simha Lainer

    December 11, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    "If you have a piece of fruit," said Simha Lainer, "throw away the skin and eat only the good part inside." Such a wise and optimistic statement could fit right in with the list of "zayde-isms" that Lainer's granddaughter, Lisa, is compiling for the family in honor of his upcoming...

  • Move Over Frosty, Here Comes Fran

    December 11, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Fran Drescher doesn't remember receiving Chanukah presents as a child.

    "With the Dreschers, [Chanukah] was all about the food," laughed the actress who is best known for her role in TV's "The Nanny," which aired from 1993-99. "Nothing was as important as the chocolate dreidels and...

  • Get Your Creative Jews Flowing

    December 4, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Calling all creative kids. If you have a way with words or an aptitude for art, you can use your unique talents by entering the first annual Jews for Judaism Jewish Students' Creative Writing & Art Contest.

    Working with the theme "I Love Judaism," future scribes and artists can...

  • Teen Victims Tell Their Stories

    November 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    On June 1, 2001, Larisa Azyaski stood with her best friend Irina Nepomnyaschy among a sea of teenagers clamoring to get into the Dolphinarium, a popular Tel Aviv club. Suddenly, the place exploded. A suicide bomber detonated himself, and Azyaski saw only darkness in front of her. She...

  • A Teen Spared From Terror

    November 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Hilla Hayo, 16, was not a victim of the Dolphinarium attack in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001 -- but she could have been. The teenager, who, along with four classmates, spent 10 days at New Community Jewish High School in West Hills this October as part of the Los Angeles Jewish...

  • Tzedakah With Toys

    November 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    When 5-year-old Ariela Weintraub learned about the recent Southern California fires during a family dinner discussion, she was worried. The Santa Monica resident asked her mother, Susan Weintraub, "Mommy, do you think the children who lived in those burning houses lost their toys?"


  • Hebrew, Anyone?

    November 6, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    If you thought Hebrew school was just for bar and bat mitzvah students, think again. This fall, tens of thousands of Jews around the United States and Canada are learning to read and write Hebrew through Read Hebrew America/Canada. The campaign, which is made possible by the National...

  • Pencils Ready? Let the Stress Begin

    October 16, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    After working with two private tutors last fall, Aliza J. Sokolow took the SAT college entrance exam in January. Devastated by her test results, the Milken Community High School junior studied on her own and took the test again in April.

    "My scores went up insanely and I was beyond...

  • Tzedakah-Giving On A Budget

    October 16, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Last year, Malka Nutkiewicz and her friend, both students at Emek Hebrew Academy in Sherman Oaks, raised more than $1,000 for Camp Simcha, a kosher summer camp for youngsters with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses in Glen Spey, N.Y. During the 2002-2003 school year, the...

  • Students Seek Forgiveness, Too

    October 2, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Adults aren't the only ones planning to ask God for forgiveness during the High Holidays. As the Day of Atonement approaches, youngsters around Los Angeles are already contemplating the mistakes they've made over the past year. Here is what eight young Angelenos plan to repent for...

  • Facing the Holidays Without a Mate

    September 18, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Since losing her husband unexpectedly two years ago, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have been painful for Liz Safirstein Leshin, 42.

    "For me, the High Holidays and a lot of things like birthdays are very fraught," the Westside resident said. "I haven't been able to feel enthusiastic...

  • Higher Ed. and the High Holidays

    September 18, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Do classes, study sessions and a budding social life conflict with observing the High Holidays? Not for these college students. Here's how local coeds and young Angelenos attending out-of-state schools are planning to spend Rosh Hashanah.

    Aaron Kachuck

    Age: 18

    School: Yale...

  • Student Opts for Cross Cultural Study

    August 21, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Like other 18-year-olds around the country, Aaron Canter graduated high school this past June. But unlike most Jewish students, Canter attended a Mass in celebration of his impending graduation. From the sixth though 12th grades, the Northridge teen attended Chaminade College...

  • Emotional Bond Revs Up Reading

    August 21, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Isabella Van Etten, 3, began her journey of learning to read before she was even born. "I got a book when I was pregnant called 'Oh Baby, the Places You'll Go: A Book to Be Read in Utero,'" recalled the child's mother, Celeste Russi of Newbury Park.

    Russi, an actress, recalled...

  • Camp Helps Teens Strengthen Identity

    August 21, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    When I grew up in the outskirts of Philadelphia in the early 1980s, going to a Jewish overnight camp meant spending eight weeks in the Poconos with a bunch of pampered girls with last names like Greenberg, Cohen and Leibman.

    The religious part of camp included Friday night services,...

  • Top Gun Rabbi

    August 14, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    While you won't find Sarah Schecter soaring through the skies like Tom Cruise in "Top Gun," the Los Angeles resident has the honor of becoming the Air Force's first female rabbi.

    Schecter, who was ordained in May at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, is...

  • Educator Retiring to Study in Israel

    July 17, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    As he watched his students play basketball, Rabbi Yochanan Stepen's eyes lit up.

    "I felt like I was at Staples Center watching the Lakers play, and I was sitting next to Jack Nicholson," Stepen told them.

    "That excited the kids, because names from the news make it relevant," Stepen...

  • Educator CombinesTwo Passions in Life

    June 26, 2003 | 7:59 pm

    Metuka Benjamin was sitting in a taxicab in a Tel Aviv traffic jam when the Israeli prime minister's limousine happened to pull up next to her. The driver recognized Benjamin and told her to ditch her cab and he would take her where she wanted to go -- and she did.

    While the Jewish...

  • The Class of ‘93

    June 19, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    As students around the Southland graduate and move beyond high school, The Journal sought out some of the outstanding Jewish high school seniors of 10 years ago, talking with five of the 13 valedictorians of the Class of 1993. Current grads can take solace that these five...

  • Sound of Silence

    June 19, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    "So, maybe we should get to know each other."

    My husband Glenn's voice cracked like an adolescent as he broke the hour-long quiet inside the car. Glenn looked expectantly toward Jacek, a partner at a Warsaw-based software company and Glenn's business contact.

    When I had decided to...

  • Book Preps Jewish Students for College

    May 22, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Jeff Gabriel knows that when he arrives at the University of Colorado in Boulder this September, connecting to his Jewish roots won't be a priority. As the Calabasas High School senior prepares for college, his primary concern is adjusting to his new lifestyle, while living more than...

  • Students Seek Justice for Americans in Israel

    May 22, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Armed with reams of notebook paper and plenty of pens, 600 yeshiva students rallied for legislation that would support American families whose loved ones have died in Israel at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.

    In honor of Yom HaZikaron (the Jewish Day of Remembrance), students...

  • Innovative Teachers Educate With Art

    May 8, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    For Jonas Basom's students, a vocabulary lesson might involve a game of charades, and learning about the water cycle might entail moving around like an ocean wave and grumbling to mimic thunder. Instead of lecture notes, Basom's teaching tools include his trusty tambourine and a...

  • Rockin’ Against Slavery

    April 30, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Rather than speaking out against slavery, local students are rocking out to show their support. "When our club heard that 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the U.S. for slavery each year, we felt we had to do something," said Rena Stern, the co-president of the Teen...

  • Holocaust Programs Focus on Education

    April 24, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    What do the Kurds have to do with Holocaust? More than you might think.

    When Fran Lapides discusses the plight of this Middle Eastern minority group with her high school students, she notes the similarities to the way the Jews were persecuted during the Holocaust.

    "Why do some...

  • Survivor Film Aims to Educate Students

    April 24, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    As a child at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, Marion Blumenthal Lazan spent hours looking for four identical pebbles inside her shabby living quarters.

    "I decided that if I were to find four pebbles of about the same shape and size, that the four members of my family...

  • Students Sound Off on War in Mideast

    April 17, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    "The U.S. had all the right reasons for going to war with Iraq without the support of United Nations," said Jordana Friedman, an eighth-grader at Kadima Hebrew Academy in Woodland Hills. "[Their leaders] lied. They said they were disarmed. Do we want another Sept. 11? I think we're...

  • Tough Answers

    March 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    A week before his bar mitzvah, Ed Feinstein recalls in his new book "Tough Questions Jews Ask: A Young Adult's Guide to Building a Jewish Life" (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2003), he was in a panic. "I was scheduled to stand up in front of the rabbi, my family and the congregation and...

  • War Goes to School

    March 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    When the United States declared war on Iraq, Chana Zauderer made her own declaration: to ensure that her students are informed and to keep them safe.

    On March 21, Yeshiva University Los Angeles Girls High School (YULA) held a schoolwide assembly to review safety procedures and...

  • Serious Fun

    March 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    For weeks now, Merrill Alpert has been searching for the perfect inflatable slide, the largest Ferris wheel and the flashiest ice cream cart -- all for her synagogue. Like event organizers at other temples in the Southland, Alpert, Valley Beth Shalom's (VBS) youth director and...

  • Match Lights Way for Terror Victim Aid

    March 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Israeli soldier Monique Goldwasser was not expected to live after a Palestinian bus driver deliberately struck her and other soldiers while they waited at a bus stop on Feb. 14, 2001.

    "I thought, 'If Monique lives, I'll become the voice and face of all victims of terror in...

  • The Camp Quest

    February 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    While the summer is still a good four months away, the race to register for Jewish overnight camp has already kicked into high gear.

    "A lot of families don't realize that you've got to act fast," said Stacey Barrett of Sherman Oaks, whose daughter has attended Brandeis-Bardin...

  • Collaborating on Education

    February 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    "It may be on the smaller side, and we do have a long way to go, but we definitely have a day school movement," said Rabbi Josh Elkin, executive director of Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE).

    The audience of 600-plus day school advocates responded with thunderous...

  • After the Honeymoon

    February 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Before they met five years ago, searching for their besherts kept Lynn and Thad Gerber active in Jewish life: Between singles' dances, Shabbat dinners and Jewish discussion groups, their dating lives gave way to a sense of belonging and connectedness through Judaism.

    But since they...

  • Educator Sees Needfor Teaching Morals

    February 6, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Something vital is missing from public and day school curriculums, says Dr. Hanan Alexander, a rabbi, educator and author of "Reclaiming Goodness: Education and the Spiritual Quest" (University of Notre Dame Press, 2001), which received the 2002 National Jewish Book Award in...

  • Who Should Pay?

    January 30, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    "We're moving," a couple casually told Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman.

    The rabbi was at first puzzled. They were not leaving town or searching for new shul, the pair explained. Instead, they revealed that they had decided to give up their large home and move to a modest apartment so...

  • Nanny & Me

    January 23, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    "Ana," a Catholic Latina nanny working for a Jewish family in Studio City, was afraid to ask her employers whether she could buy a holiday gift for their young son. She was torn between wanting to give the child a present and worrying about insulting the family. Like many foreigners,...

  • Two YULA Students Picked as Scholars

    January 16, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Having a conversation with Yeshiva University of Los Angeles (YULA) students Debra Glasberg and Tzvi Smith is like chatting with two political experts being interviewed on CNN. These two high school students are among the five Jewish teens chosen for the exclusive Sen. Joseph...

  • Emek CelebratesNew Growth Spurt

    December 19, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    "I got my first mild concussion over there," Yehuda Pollack said with a sentimental chuckle, pointing to the new auditorium window at Emek Hebrew Academy.

    Recounting his ninth-grade days and the perils of tackle football, the 33-year-old former student looks around the new facility...

  • Christmas Takes

    November 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    As a young Jewish student in the '60s, Robin Siegal believed that Chanukah was basically ignored in the public schools she attended, which included Hamilton High School. "It was like there was this big birthday party for Jesus, and I wasn't invited," remembered the Beverlywood...

  • Competing With That Other Holiday

    November 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    "Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights," croons Adam Sandler in that humorous holiday tune, "The Chanukah Song." Sandler speaks for many American Jews in feeling a certain pressure and longing for Chanukah to live up to the glitz and excitement associated with...

  • Education Activists Face Off

    November 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Los Angeles Board of Education member David Tokofsky has always taken pride in being a Jewish representative in an area that was overwhelmingly Latino.

    So Tokofsky was shocked when he learned last week that his one-time supporters, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and...

  • Art of the Scalpel

    November 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Archie Granot is very careful and precise when making incisions with his scalpel -- yet he knows he'll never be sued if he makes a mistake. As the world's leading paper cut artist in the area of Judaica, the London native is among 30 artists from Israel and the United States whose...

  • Jewish War Vets Remember

    November 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Each year, from Oct. 11 through Nov. 11, retired Cpl. Paul Cohen is all about poppies.

    As a member of Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America Post 603 in the San Fernando Valley, the 81-year-old Woodland Hills resident solicits donations for the symbolic paper flowers in...

  • As Easy as Aleph, Bet, Gimmel

    November 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    "It's no sin to be a lefty and she's always right," instructs Rabbi Elie Stern of Westwood Kehilla in West Los Angeles.

    His adult students follow along in their textbooks, nodding and mumbling to themselves, as they commit the statement to memory. This pneumonic device for...

  • Do Jewish Schools Make Good Neighbors?

    October 24, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Every Jewish school should have a neighbor like Scott Meller of Feldmar Watch & Clock Center.

    The Pico-Robertson business, which has been around for over 40 years, is located directly across from the Chabad educational institutions on Pico Boulevard (Bais Chana School for Girls,...

  • Banned in Berlin

    October 24, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Who says you have to be Jewish to write a play about the Holocaust? Certainly not John O'Keefe, author of the upcoming "Times Like These," which takes place in Hitler's Berlin from 1934-1938. The plot focuses on how the life of intermarried actors changes when the wife is suddenly...

  • Hebrew School Horror Stories

    October 24, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Randy Fried will never forget the day he almost had a police escort to Hebrew school. Like many other Jewish students around the country, the then-preteen class clown ("I was a Hebrew school teacher's worst nightmare") tried every excuse in the book to avoid going to his weekly bar...

  • It’s Not That Easy Being Gifted

    October 24, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Alexa Gelb has learned to pace herself in Hebrew class. If she completes her work too quickly, the academically gifted fifth-grader will only receive additional assignments.

    "I'm pleased with the general studies program at Sinai Akiba Academy, but in the area [of Judaic] studies,...

  • Spinning a Jewish Web

    October 24, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    When preschool teacher Sylvia Rouss noticed a lack of children's literature about Judaism, she did something about it: she wrote the books herself. Rouss, who teaches at Stephen S. Wise Temple, is the author of the popular "Sammy Spider" series, which are widely used in Jewish...

  • Many Jews OK With Proposition K

    October 17, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    The recent publicity centering around Hamilton High School's Jewish parents' disapproval of Proposition K -- the $3.35 billion school bond issue -- gave the impression that the Jewish community was against the proposition.

    But Jewish activists are speaking up in defense of the...

  • “Dream” a Reality for Ethiopian Teens

    October 10, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    For three months in 1984, Routhy Wonvimgen's family walked from Ethiopia to Sudan in order to reach Israel. "They walked barefoot and had very little water or food," she said of her family's part in Operation Moses, one of Israel's efforts to help Ethiopian Jews.

    "They walked by...

  • Seniors Have Lots of Class

    October 3, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Sonia Mittleman's class schedule would make most high school students jealous. The school she attends does not give grades, has no penalty for tardiness and assigns no homework.

    The Sherman Oaks resident is a student at Adat Ari El Sisterhood's Multi-Interest Day (M.I.D.), an adult...

  • The Art of the Matter

    October 3, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    When artist Ted Meyer was first diagnosed with Gaucher disease, a lipid-storage disorder that is the most common genetic disease affecting Jews of Eastern European descent, he used his artistic talents to express his pain.

    Now fully recovered due to breakthroughs in treatment, the...

  • Cal Keeps Class, Yanks Description

    October 3, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    "Since the inception of the Intifada in September of 2000, Palestinians have been fighting for their right to exist. The brutal Israeli military occupation of Palestine ... has systematically displaced, killed and maimed millions of Palestinian people. This class takes as its...

  • Artifacts of a Survivor

    October 3, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    In 1949, 16-year-old Ernest Michel never dreamed that the very belt and pants he wore at Auschwitz would become treasured relics in a special exhibit. At the time, the young labor camp inmate was more concerned with survival. Now at age 79, the former executive vice president of the...

  • The Art of the Matter

    September 26, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    When artist Ted Meyer was first diagnosed with Gaucher disease, a lipid-storage disorder that is the most common genetic disease affecting Jews of Eastern European descent, he used his artistic talents to express his pain.

    Now fully recovered due to breakthroughs in treatment, the...

  • The Mitzvah’s in the Mail

    September 19, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    We need more stamps," a little boy yells. "How many cards do we have left?" asked a dark-haired woman. "I have more envelopes!" shouts a girl in a skirt. It's the Wednesday before Rosh Hashana at the Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda, yet the residents don't seem to mind the noise...

  • Not So Fast

    September 12, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    "I started fasting for half a day on Yom Kippur since I was in first grade," said 7-year-old Erin Faigin nonchalantly. Between helping her dad run the High Holiday preschool program at Temple Beth Torah in Granada Hills and fasting until lunchtime, Faigin seems to like the...

  • L.A. Jews Reflect on Sept. 11

    September 5, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    As we approach the one-year anniversary of Sept. 11, memories of the tragedy are still fresh in the minds of many Jews. The Jewish Journal caught up with several people in the community and asked what they remember most about this devastating event.

    As a mom, it was definitely scary....

  • Students, Schools Remember Sept. 11

    September 5, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    This year, Jewish schools and supplemental schools will incorporate a new memorial day into their calendars and curriculums. Educators throughout the community are quickly organizing how their students will commemorate the one-year anniversary of Sept. 11. While the terrorist attacks...

  • Malibu Music Man With Latin Groove

    August 22, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    This High Holy Day season, the congregation at Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue has something to sing about, to the lively and devoted Marcelo Gindlin. Affectionately dubbed "Cantor Marcelo," the Argentine Pied Piper came to the shul two years ago and created a brand-new music...

  • From Moses to Math

    August 22, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    After teaching in a Northern California religious school for four years, Jen Wakefield thought she knew everything there was to know about teaching Torah to religious school students.

    "Boy, was I wrong," laughs the Palo Alto, Calif. resident. "The process will be dramatically...

  • Varsity Blues

    August 22, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    As the summer draws to a close, Jason Kahan feels anxious and excited: soon his firstborn, Aron, is to begin his freshman year of college at UC Santa Barbara.

    "On one hand, I recognize that he's going to a good school and it's a great opportunity for him," admits the psychologist...

  • Preschool Students Guide Curriculum

    August 22, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Strolling through the classrooms of the Stephen S. Wise Early Education Center is like walking through a museum. Walls are jam-packed with the children's elaborate educational art projects, photos of them creating these masterpieces, and typed quotations of their thoughts on the...

  • Circle of Friends

    August 15, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Growing up in Orange County, Rebecca Rona did not have a single Jewish friend. While her family practiced Judaism, her parents also encouraged a deep appreciation for other cultures. Her mother was a foreign language teacher, and her whole family was intrigued with languages. Rona...

  • A Different Kind of Youth Program

    August 8, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    For many teens, having a bar or bat mitzvah is both a beginning and an ending. According to Jewish tradition, the ceremony signifies a child's transition into manhood or womanhood. For some teens, it also marks the end of a structured Jewish education. Some kids dread Hebrew school...

  • French Teens in L.A. Share Their Fears

    August 8, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    From a distance, the 23 teens hanging out in the Adat Ari El courtyard in Valley Village look like American high school students on a break between classes. A thin, bespectacled boy in a sporty T-shirt sings along with the J.Lo and Ja Rule tune on his headphones, while a pretty girl...

  • Student Interns Gain Life Experience

    July 25, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Unlike most 18-year-olds around the country, Aliyah Phillips, a senior at Milken Community High School, was able to escape the confines of the classroom during her second semester. Instead, Phillips spent the term working at the Israeli consulate as a public affairs intern.


  • Mainstreaming Makes a Difference

    July 18, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Eight-year-old Tamar's fingers dance across a set of harp strings like small waves rhythmically pounding the surf. While the large instrument dwarfs her, she doesn't seem to mind as she sits and plays a complicated classical tune. After the musical interlude, she hops onto her living...

  • Going in Circles

    July 11, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    When Glenn discovered that I knew all the lyrics to the "Love, Sidney" television theme song that fateful night at Buca di Beppo in May 1998, I think he knew I was the one. I knew it when he quoted dialogue from the Menudo episode of "Silver Spoons." What can I say? We're victims of...

  • Summer Fun For Kids

    June 27, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    School's out and the kids are home. Unless you happen to run a summer camp, chances are you're in need of some serious kid-friendly activities. So, before your child memorizes the daytime line-up on Nickelodeon, check out these low-cost summer events for families.


  • The Class of 2002

    June 6, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    With graduation just days away, The Jewish Journal caught up with several outstanding students from high schools around Los Angeles. Clearly, Judaism plays a role for this crop of young adults as they prepare to enter the next level of their academic and personal lives.

    When Sarah...

  • Israel in the Classroom

    May 23, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    "Before [the crisis], our approach to teaching Israel was just positive and idealistic. It was all about kibbutzim and how Israel is so beautiful and we all want to go there," said Ellen Goldberg, the principal of Temple Isaiah Religious School. "We want [the children] to love...

  • Angelenos Aid Argentines

    May 23, 2002 | 7:59 pm

    Mariano Fainstein hasn't seen his wife in almost three months, and he may have to miss his daughter's wedding. Because of the recent economic crisis in Argentina, the 52-year-old electronics engineer temporarily left his home in Buenos Aires in hopes of landing a new job in Los...

  • Volunteer of Hope

    May 16, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Anna Krakovich's kind eyes and bright smile don't express the horror she experienced that tragic day eight years ago. Her small facial scars, however, are a permanent reminder of when "my hopes for a better future and a new life were turned into a nightmare."

    The 44-year-old bombing...

  • Dear Soldier…

    May 2, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Dear Soldier,
    Thank you for protecting Israel. I hope you and your family are safe. I hope one day I visit Israel. I love Israel. Sincerely,
    2nd Grader

    As the war between the Israelis and the Palestinians wages on, many people feel like they want to help, but they are too...

  • Songs of Simcha

    May 2, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    By day, he's a manager- purchaser at an Orange County plywood company. But when the boards are cut and the purchase orders are filed, Steve Chattler does what any Jewish businessman might do after hours: He breaks out his drums and plays klezmer music.

    As a member of the South Coast...

  • Around the Block

    May 2, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    They're not elementary school students anymore, but they're not quite high schoolers, either.

    This fall, the Hebrew Academy in Huntington Beach is recognizing the needs of seventh- and eighth-graders by creating a new middle school program, which will include a new teaching...

  • Got Teachers?

    April 11, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    The Shirettes, five peppy women clad in jeans and T-shirts, sang a good morning song complete with hand motions, as one of them strummed along on a guitar. The audience applauded heartily -- only instead of the local singing group's usual nursery school audience, the crowd consisted...

  • High Holy Day Help

    September 13, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    I was tired, I was bored and I hated wearing pantyhose. I stood up and sat down at the right times, and even hummed along to the some of the prayers, but in my head, I was replaying scenes from my favorite movies and wishing I was home playing video games.

    Ah, the High Holy Days....

  • Party Out of Bounds

    November 29, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    More than 100 guests sat in a sea of round banquet tables in a Studio City hotel, munching on fancy appetizers presented by waiters. A band warmed up. Kids crowded entertainment stations waiting for artists to personalize clothing and paint their faces.

    I had been invited to a...