Ethiopian-Israeli and Sderot resident Hagit Yaso sang only one song in English as she vied to win “A Star Is Born,” Israel’s version of “American Idol.”
Inside the waiting area of Gypsy05’s solar-powered plant in downtown L.A., walls are decorated with brightly colored dresses and T-shirts alongside decorative hamsas, fashion magazine clippings, a “blessing of the business” in Hebrew, a picture of the Rebbe and certificates of recognition from American Solar Energy Solutions.
When Noam Bardin demonstrated how Waze — a Twitter-infused GPS — got him from LAX to the Luxe Hotel on Sunset in 26 minutes during rush hour, several attendees at the third annual Israel Conference immediately took out their phones to download his app. “The closing of the 405 [in mid-July] is the best moment to look at this app and understand what it can do for you every day,” Waze CEO Bardin said.
Admit it, ladies. When you read Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir, “Eat Pray Love,” there were moments when you wanted to trade places with Gilbert as she gorged herself on Italian yummies, mined her soul in an Indian ashram and fell in love with a strapping Brazilian in Bali. But if you have a Zionist bent like me, you probably would rather spend your money in the Holy Land. Fortunately, the Jewish state can provide an “Eat Pray Love” experience without the Jewish guilt. Israelis are consumed by wanderlust, importing the best of what they find in the tastiest, most spiritual and most romantic places in the world.
It’s not easy to find the Cinematheque Herzliya. The name is written in simple block Hebrew letters over the awning of an indoor strip mall located on Sokolov Street, the main artery in this central coast town. The obscurity is a sharp contrast from the American-style multiplexes located at the major malls near the entrance to the city, like Cinema City, Israel’s largest, or the Rav Chen. A strip mall isn’t a place where one expects to find a cultural venue. There’s an old-fashioned barbershop, a dry-cleaning store, a mom-and-pop-style household goods store and a nondescript clothing boutique. The Cinematheque was built on the grounds of the building’s old movie theater, once a local hangout until multiplexes decimated Israel’s early theaters. But the location couldn’t be more fitting for the cozy art house: It was founded on the belief that good films aren’t always about bombast, glamour and big names. Rather, they’re down-to-earth, independent and hard to find.
Neil Strauss has a Jewish name: Tuvia, from the word tov, meaning good. It was given to him by a college buddy, Dustin, who became a religious Jewish mouthpiece in “The Game,” Strauss’ best-selling book about his exploits as a pickup-artist-in-training and bible to sexually frustrated men all over the world.
The Dead Sea has some competition — in Encino. Salt Chalet, the first wellness center of its kind on the West Coast, has brought the healing properties of the Dead Sea within reach of Southern California residents in the form of rooms coated and infused with Dead Sea salt.
When the Israeli electro-rock-pop band Terry Poison strutted onto the stage at the Hollywood Playhouse as the headliner act of the after-party for Israel’s debut at LA Fashion week on Oct. 14, most audience members — largely Israeli ex-pats — got up to dance, though some stayed behind to scratch their heads. The band wore metallic spandex bodysuits and wild makeup and played synth-based instruments to songs with English lyrics that sometimes sounded like an esoteric robotic language. It was a performance that could easily have been taken for an avant-garde art installation.
When the Israelites rushed out of Egypt, Pharaoh’s men on their heels, they hurriedly bundled their belongings, food included, to carry as much as they could on their backs and donkeys. Seeking to nourish themselves throughout their desert journey to the Promised Land, they rolled together unleavened bread crumbs, eggs and oil to create a round, nutritious finger food. They heated these in water jugs, along with chicken bone scraps, to preserve them and give them flavor. And that’s how matzah ball soup was born.
Prior to becoming a food writer and restaurant reviewer for The Jerusalem Post, I always thought of kosher food as limited and bland. But Israel demands competitive kosher cuisine — hotels generally adhere to kashrut laws; corporate lunch meetings must often accommodate observant clientele alongside secular counterparts who’d prefer a Tel Aviv bistro serving sautéed shrimp. This is true even though, at the same time, at the heart of Israeli culture are Jews who, no matter how much they like to think of themselves as the new Hebrews, still fondly recall their grandmother’s traditional kosher Jewish specialties.
As the melting pot of the Jewish people, Israel has produced a melting pot of Jewish and world cuisines. Through historical narratives, vibrant illustrations of local eateries and practical recipes, Janna Gur’s recent “The Book of New Israeli Food” (Schocken, 2008) captures the story of Israeli food coming into its own as the fusion of Ashkenazi and Sephardi, the exile and Zion, the old and the new.
Songwriter Sheppard Solomon won’t be watching the eighth season of “American Idol” now in full swing, even though the singing contest has gotten him a lot of work.
Saaks is the exclusive T-shirt mohel (circumciser) for the fashion lines of French designer Christian Audigier. He specializes in Ed Hardy, the line incorporating designs of American tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy.
If someone's life is not worth at least one page of Google search results, does that mean he hasn't accomplished or written anything of enough import to be broadcast online?
I don't allow myself to become vulnerable. I don't honestly share my likes and dislikes, my strengths and insecurities. I worry too much about what the guy wants to hear rather than what I truly want to say.
"To be a good talent representative that's part of the entertainment community and a productive citizen, you need to feel part of something larger than yourself," he said. He speaks in whips, charging the room like a bulldozer, imparting us with his wisdom, interspersing the F-word here and there for dramatic effect.
The play opens in the south Hebron hills in the West Bank with Tsahi, an off-duty Israel Defense Forces soldier, pointing his gun at Ismail, a Palestinian shepherd. Having just broken up with his settler girlfriend, Tsahi is lost and seeking a way back to the main road. Ismail, waiting for his girlfriend, is the only one who can help Tsahi find his way.
We passed the time examining everyone's shoes and chatting witha 50-year-old mother of five kids who'd brought her 18-year-old daughter to see the movie
Invest in her interests, but sincerely. There is nothing more attractive than a man who gets to know the heart of a woman by investigating what is important to her
I've been considering giving up on Israeli men, at least the purebred Israeli men, the sabras. What's painful is that I say this as someone who has made my home in Jerusalem, and I am hesitant to make harsh generalizations about Israeli bachelors, especially as Israel celebrates its 60th.
Inspired by Chris Crocker’s infamous and passionate YouTube appeal for people to leave Britney alone in the wake of her failed performance at the MTV 2007 Music Video Awards, Orit from Israel has created a passionate appeal to the world community to LEAVE ISRAEL ALONE!
The desert air was balmy and hot. The almost-full moon hung over palm trees and the fireflies glittered amid a spotlight's beam. More than 1,000 people sat on the blanketed stone bleachers of the outdoor amphitheater at Mineral Beach for the Passover Dead Sea Music Festival, waiting patiently for the Israeli trio, HaBanot Nechama (translated as "Comfort Girls"), to hit the stage.
Students at the Hand in Hand Max Rayne Bilingual School in Jerusalem didn't know they were meeting a celebrity. They weren't born when the films "Officer and a Gentleman" and "Terms of Endearment" garnered Debra Winger her Oscar nominations.
Rescuing excess food from Israeli corporate cafeterias on a daily basis is just one of the projects Joseph Gitler conceived about five and a half years ago when, as a new immigrant to Israel, he decided he must do something about the disturbing reports of poverty in Israel.
Sometimes I wonder if the SMS was created not to ease communication between people but to protect the egos of single men and women. By asking people out by text, they don't actually have to hear a blatant "no." And if the other side accepts the offer, SMS courtships already set low standards of communication.
Let me tell you why you should feel for these yeshiva students: Because while you don't identify with them, they identified with you. I'm sure they might have reserved their own, passionate critique of your secular Tel Aviv lifestyle, but they sat in that yeshiva not merely because it gave them joy and a spiritual high, but because they wanted you to be safe.
"The idea of the Jewish liberal arts college began with the question: What would Jews or non-Jews interested in the Jewish perspective need to study in order to think about the biggest questions from a perspective that's relevant to Jews," Yoram Hazony said in an interview in his office.
And the man who uses the pick-up line "let me rescue you from your early 30s neuroticism" is definitely the wrong man.
Late last month, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 delegates of a weeklong interfaith mission from greater Los Angeles gathered in a circle at Yad Vashem's Valley of Communities, a monument carved out of bedrock to honor Jewish communities obliterated in the Holocaust. The cold morning foreshadowed the upcoming Jerusalem snowstorm, and the leaders representing Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Muslim denominations warmed one another with words of conciliation and prayer, countering the chilly air and the chilling images of Jewish genocide they had seen a few moments earlier at the Yad Vashem museum.
Do I have a sign on my forehead that says, "Fix me up"?
A walking tour within non-Jewish towns and villages -- with or without guides -- can be an eye-opening, informative, tasty and heart-warming experience. On a recent tour in the Galilee focusing on different religions in the Western Galilee, I meandered through Muslim, Christian and Druze towns, as well as Baha'i landmarks, only to discover cultural richness, friendliness -- and some surprises.
The mantra had jump-started the two-day workshop for women titled "Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women," which I attended not long ago at a conference room in a hotel near LAX. The program was created by a woman named Allison Armstrong, a self-professed expert on men, and it promised to foster better communication, understanding and respect between the sexes.
I was not entirely comforted. I recalled a conservative propaganda movie about Islam warning people of taqiyya, the Muslim "mitzvah" of deception, in which militant Muslims put on a peaceful disguise for Westerners.
As Israel becomes sophisticated gastronomically, consumers are favoring goat's and sheep's milk cheeses over cow's milk varieties. Unlike their bovine counterparts, most goats and sheep are free to roam and graze, antibiotics aren't usually a part of their diet, the cheese and milk contain less lactose and the taste is unmistakably distinct.
With style, fanfare and fireworks, the $400 million Mamilla Alrov commercial and residential quarter opened its Jerusalem stone doors to the public on May 28. The only completed portion is a small section of the outdoor mall, but among its anticipated 138 stores are Israeli fashion chains and boutique shops, as well as high-end retail outfits like Tommy Hilfiger, MAC, Bebe, H. Stern and Ralph Lauren. To use a Los Angeles analogy, it may be fair to say that the Holy City has just welcomed its equivalent of The Grove.
Only Rita could have pulled it off. Her famous "One" concert was the first time any Israeli recording artist has attempted such an extravagant, multimedia performance. With its crew of 50 tumbling dancers, grandiose costumes, pyrotechnics and video art, the $5 million production looked like it came right off the Las Vegas Strip.
It's a smooth car ride to Sderot. There's very little traffic on this Sunday between Jerusalem and the battered city. Sunflower fields line the road and then the vast prairies of the Negev; it's difficult to fathom that only a few kilometers away rockets are raining.
On May 20, Operation LifeShield, a nonprofit organization founded to provide emergency relief from missile attacks in Israel, unveiled in Jerusalem its transportable bomb shelters, dubbed "LifeShields," for use in public areas such as parks, school, playgrounds, hospitals and busy intersections. Each shelter is made of 12-inch-thick steel-reinforced concrete, is large enough to accommodate 30 people and is built to withstand direct hits from both Qassam and Katyusha rockets.
The practitioner of Chinese medicine decided that maybe she needed a little education in the field of dating. This led her to Tel Aviv's Date School, the only psychotherapy-based dating program in Israel -- and perhaps the world -- which literally teaches people how to be more effective, self-aware and informed daters.
Members of the Moveable Minyan, a Westside lay-led, egalitarian congregation, freed themselves from enslavement to matzah on Sunday by answering the seder's "fifth" question: What can you do with matzah aside from eating it? Their idea: Build a matzah pyramid.
n March, I had the privilege of co-starring in the Jerusalem premiere of Neil LaBute's play "Some Girl(s)" at the Center Stage Theater at Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah. The play follows Guy, an about-to-be-married 33-year-old American writer, as he tracks down his ex-flames to "right some wrongs" so he can begin his new life with a clean slate ... or so it seems.
Barry Frydlender greets a reporter at his apartment in southern Tel Aviv with gentility and reticence. In his spacious living room, a sofa set rests on old, cracked, Arab-style tiles that block a studio nook containing a computer set-up. A window overlooks the Tel Aviv beach promenade, where the 52-year-old Israeli photographer meets friends every morning. All around his living space are slices of Israeli life in the form of mural-sized photographs pinned up on the walls.
"In religious communities, especially the Charedi communities, people don't have televisions at home. Whereas a secular person comes home after work and turns on the TV to watch news, a religious person comes home and turns on the radio," said Ido Lebovitz, CEO of Radio Kol Chai.
Geller is most famous for bending spoons "with his mind," a feat that commonly figures into legends, jokes and parodies about him, although the contestants perform more sophisticated stunts on the show.
Michael Simkin, CEO of C-Do Networks, believes that Sheinkin still retains enough of its eccentricity and bustle to perpetuate its mythic status.
>"Off the Derech: Why Observant Jews Leave Judaism; How to Respond to the Challenge," by Faranak Margolese.
Los Angeles photographer Naomi Solomon capped off her informal summer presentation series "Settlers: A Photographic Journey of the Life and Disengagement of the Jews Living in Gaza" at Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills last week, drawing more than 150 people.
If "American Idol" runner-up Katherine McPhee can enjoy even half the success achieved by Shiri Maimon, runner-up of the first season of Israel's version of the show -- dubbed "A Star Is Born" -- then she will be lucky. With a powerful voice and Britney-esque looks and videos, Maimon, 25, has become one of Israel's most sought-after and popular pop stars since winning fourth place in the Eurovision singing competition last year, representing Israel with the moving ballad, "Sheket She'nishar."
Kolet's participation in charity events has put her onstage with artists such as Elton John, U2's Bono and, most recently, Andrea Boccelli. She has developed a close working relationship with Klaus Meine of the legendary German rock band, the Scorpions, having performed with him last year in Israel.
Last year at the Israel Independence Day Festival in Woodley Park, anti-disengagement activist Shifra Hastings of Los Angeles was clad all over in orange, the color of protest, right down to her painted fingernails.
Surrounded by seven young children, Yehuda Richter tells me over Shabbat lunch how he decided to move from Los Angeles to Elon Moreh, a settlement on the outskirts of the place Jews call Shechem and the Arabs call Nablus.
Hollywood exports are a big business, and U.S. studios sometimes rake in more from international licensing than domestic. Even though Israeli acquisitions account for only 2 percent of overseas television exports, Stern thinks Israel gets special attention.
I met Oren after watching "Kol Nidrei," a new play by Israeli playwright Yehoshua Sobol. The play is about Charedi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews who lead double lives -- as Bnei Brak yeshiva bochers by day and Tel Aviv bar-hoppers by Friday night.
Fast-growing Jewish Community in Desert Shores, Las Vegas.
Frankie Muniz, star of the TV show, "Malcolm in the Middle," had little idea what he was making as he glued colored cotton balls and beads onto a metallic container with a slot on top.
As I climbed the green Galilean hills of Tsfat to reach the family hosting me for Shabbat, I wondered how it had changed since the last time I was in Israel's mystical city.
Gush is one of the sanest places in Israel I had ever visited. The people are healthy and happy. They love life and they love Israel.
My only decent pair of glasses broke en route from Los Angeles to Israel, and I took it as a sign -- it was time to for corrective laser surgery, a.k.a. LASIK.
"Make sure on the day of surgery someone comes with you," the Israeli receptionist said to me after I set my appointment.
Great. Who would I call on to come with me? If I lived in Los Angeles, someone in my family would have shepherded me. But I wasn't comfortable asking my family in Israel to escort me.
New York may be the city that never sleeps, but life in Tel Aviv begins at midnight. There are dozens of nightclubs and about 200 bars in this mini-metropolis, each with its own flavor and theme. Yet they all share a determination and dedication to having a good time.
I thought about the implications: I take this tie, and my hands are tied. I'd forever have to remember that one night a Palestinian gave me an expensive tie, and that he was nice to me. I'd have to question all my stereotypes and generalizations, and recognize that there are good, normal, generous Palestinians who just want peace, who just want to be my friend, who just want some fun.
Through lectures at university campuses across the United States, television and radio interviews, editorials and now a newsletter on their Web site, the Ayn Rand Institute seeks to influence public opinion, and particularly American policy, toward unequivocally siding with Israel.
I was looking through my closet this morning for a spring outfit to match the warmer weather, and I found his T-shirt. It's a red T-shirt with the Fox label -- Israel's closest version of the Gap.
On his first day of work in 1985 as executive director of the Hillel Foundation at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Rabbi Stephen Cohen received a telling welcome.
Cohen, a former New Yorker, stepped off the plane and took a cab straight to the University Religion Center (URC), where the offices of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life are housed. A social worker, prompted by the rabbi's forlorn and scruffy look, invited him to take part in that day's breakfast program for the homeless.
Cohen, 28 at the time, laughed and explained his position.
On Sept. 9, Benhaz Eshrat Zaghi received the Rabbi Richard N. Levy Distinguished Student Award, presented by the Los Angeles Hillel Council, for her many contributions to the Hillel community.
Yael Barzideh applied to two colleges last year: University of Pennsylvania because she wanted to go there, and UCLA because that's where her parents wanted her to go.
The following is a partial list of Jewish organizations, schools and synagogues in Valley cities with already developed, and growing, Jewish communities.
Didi Carr Reuben was not keen about the idea of dating a rabbi, and on her first official date with Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, she was desperate for a way to get out of it.
"He's a cute guy, but I couldn't see cuteness," says Didi in her husky voice and Bronx accent. "All I [imagined] was a guy who was 98, 3 feet 2 inches, with a white beard, smelly; three teeth, davening in another language."
Little did this aspiring pop star know that two years later she would marry the rabbi, and eventually serve by his side as a rebbetzin of Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades for more than 15 years.
As the school year comes to a close, The Jewish Journal profiled eight outstanding graduating seniors from a cross section of high schools in Los Angeles. An examination of their dreams, their hopes, their personal and professional goals -- as well as what has shaped them in the past -- proves that the Jewish future is alive and well.
While the current crisis may have deterred some schools and parents from participating in the exchange programs, Pressman Academy and Milken Community High School of Stephen S. Wise Temple demonstrate that such programs can thrive despite the tense security situation.
When the new intifada first began, a few Israeli men I dated could not figure out why I wanted to remain in Israel considering the "situation."
Maybe it's no Sports Club/LA in its luxury and beauty, but the Elite Sports Center at Tel Aviv University is one of the best sports clubs in Israel, with facilities and services that may make even the premier sports club in L.A. a little envious.
When Haoman first opened its doors five years ago, says Jerusalem nightlife mogul Ruben Lublin, who is one of five owners of Haoman, the emphasis was on the music.
Who would have thought that living next to the prime minister's house would be such a good move for a single Jewish woman?
On green grass, overlooking the lush trees of Kibbutz Yakum just outside Netanya, young Israelis and Palestinians are dancing together.
The idea of some robust Israeli men, who were not bank tellers or government office officials, and a luscious desert beach, seemed like the perfect cure for my tired mind and body.
Even though 16-year-old singer Liel Kolet was born on a kibbutz in northern Israel, she'd prefer to be called an international artist rather than an Israeli one. That largely explains why many of the younger generation of Israeli rock/pop buffs would know little about her. Nor is she routinely counted among the growing crop of Israeli pop princesses, such as Shiri Maimon, who also will be performing in Los Angeles later this month. She hasn't released an album in Hebrew for wide distribution, and her English songs don't get Israeli radio play.
Andrew Carter, a participant of Operation Unity, a program that brings minority Los Angeles high school students to live on an Israeli kibbutz for six weeks, never felt as accepted as he did in Israel. No one treated him differently because of his color, he said, and the minute he got off the plane, "Everyone wanted to hug you."
Contemporary Holocaust literature for young adults seems to favor a theme: transport unaware teenagers to German-occupied Europe and, together with the characters, the readers will emerge as more sensitive, aware young adults.
For the past four years, the predominantly Latino hospitality and housing employees at the University of Southern California have been fighting for a written guarantee of job security. Now, union leaders representing the workers have turned to Jewish leaders to support what they consider a call for justice.
Here's a roundup of classes and activities for children of all ages.
This was the 4-year-old rabbinical school's first ordination ceremony and offers a foretaste of what the future is likely to hold within the Conservative movement.
If you think that with the tense climate in the Middle East no Muslim country would warmly welcome, let alone happily invite, Jewish visitors, then you haven't been to Morocco.
When Achinoam Nini was growing up in the Bronx with her Yemenite-Israeli parents, her different name, exotic looks and diverse heritage made her feel out of place among her schoolmates.
Dr. Robert Wexler, president of the University of Judaism, has good reason to believe that the spirit of Zionism is alive at the institution.
About two-and-a-half years ago Michael Goldberg's life was on the line. A diabetic since he was a teen-ager, his kidneys began to fail him at 36. The only hope for Michael's survival was a kidney and pancreas transplant.
Not long before Hurricane Georges churned up the southeast, Hurricane Galia slammed into Los Angeles. And advocates for Middle East peace couldn't have been more relieved.
The sounds of heaven and earth merge when David De'or and Shlomo Bar, two internationally acclaimed Israeli artists, combine their musical talents.
Ron Heifetz sat complacently in a Ramat Gan conference room, watching two dozen Israeli high-tech company executives argue.
If the pursuit of peace in the Middle East will not unite the parties concerned, then one life-sustaining element may. Israeli, Arab and American researchers and engineers have come together to find ways to produce more potable water for agricultural use, as demands for supplies of Middle Eastern and Californian freshwater continue to increase.
One in three Israeli families ownat least one David Broza recording; for two generations of Israelis,Broza provided the soundtrack for life and love.
Perli Pelzig first knew he had talent at the ageof 5, when he would chalk life-size figures of animals on thesidewalks in his native Germany. These figures attracted attentionfrom passers-by, and, not long after, Pelzig was named "wunderkind"for his dazzling artistic capabilities.