The situation couldn't be more stressful: convince your ex-boyfriend to sing at your sister's wedding after the band quits; keep the groom's sister from making it "her" day; assure the groom's mother that it is OK to have a store-bought wedding cake; make sure the bride's divorced parents don't kill each other; don't let the bride know the groom had a stripper at his bachelor party; and above all, keep the bride calm.
Passover is a holiday near and dear to Marc Jaffe's heart. So when the "Seinfeld" and "Mad About You" writer went to a friend's house for a seder last year, he was let down when an Elijah's entrance gag bombed.
"They shook the table. I thought, 'You gotta be kidding me,'" he said. "You gotta have better effects than that."
Purim festival suggestions.
This time of year, we know that you are seeing signs everywhere about the upcoming presidential election. So many people, so many numbers; we think you should know what it all means.
Kids can influence how their families handle the growing global warming issue, at least according to Laurie David and Cambria Gordon, co-authors of "The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming"
At some point between "Will you marry me?" and "You may kiss the bride," a happy couple must devote some time to the gift registry, which will help fill the shelves and drawers of their new home.
But the first time a couple walks into a store to register for their wedding gifts can be overwhelming. Myriad appliances, gadgets, pots, dishes and sheets seem to loom large, and the choices are dizzying.
It's the same problem every year: There are a million songs about Xmas and three about Chanukah. OK, maybe not quite that, but you get the idea. In a world where "Chanukah O' Chanukah" and "I Had a Little Dreidel" just won't do, songwriter Adam Chester created a holiday miracle: a real Chanukah song that is being played on the radio that you and your parents can sing -- together: "Eight Days and Nights."
One of Barry Josephson's first forays into the world of fairy tales was in an elementary school production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Although the "Men in Black" producer doesn't remember which dwarf he played, that glimmer of the land between "once upon a time" and "happily ever after," started him on the path to creating Disney's latest film, "Enchanted," opening in theaters Nov. 21.
We're getting into the "spirit" of things this month. YeLAdim loves a good scary story, so we asked our friends at the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles to suggest some of their favorites.
How cool would it be to pick what everyone else gets to watch on television?
The High Holy Days can be a confusing time for children. It's not easy for them to understand the sense behind the story of a father who almost sacrifices his son or how a chicken can help take away sins. Luckily, the answers to these mysteries and many more can be found in a book -- and thanks to the Harold Grinspoon Foundation's PJ Library (as in pajamas), parents around the country are getting those books for free.
Jack Gindi, real estate developer, lawyer, philanthropist and Jewish community benefactor, died Saturday, Aug. 4, at 83, following a prolonged illness.
There must be something in the water. How else can Hollywood explain the screen-to-stage-to-screen adaptations of "The Producers," the recently announced "Footloose" and, hitting theaters July 20, "Hairspray"?
More than 70 years after the beginning of Hollywood's Golden Age, when talkies became the rage and Jews routinely Anglicized their names, film factories are playing up the Jewish angle by hosting some of the largest and most unique b'nai mitzvah parties in town.
Kids and teens page.
The documentary, "ShowBusiness," captures the behind-the-curtain drama of the 2003-2004 Broadway season, illustrating the ups and downs the public isn't privy to - from blockbusters that shine to "turkeys" that crash and burn.
Bridal emergency kits are a great way to handle problems as they happen, especially at destination weddings where you can't exactly run out to the nearest drug store.
Devin never thought he would get to bring his love for skateboarding into his rite of passage: "I thought it would be like my sister, and I'd work at a shelter, but this was a lot more fun."
Platt has crossed more than a few bridges himself. After he graduated from Penn, where he produced a small off-Broadway musical titled, "Francis," about St. Francis of Assisi, Platt studied entertainment law at NYU, while interning with agent Sam Cohn at International Creative Management, Inc. in New York.
Premarital counseling can be a time for honest reflection and sharing, but frequently the lines of communication can get buried under layers of tulle and wedding cake.
I'm so happy that my parents are happy. Each of them are very much in love -- just not with the other.
YeLAdim will be mixing it up next year with more movies, books, music and TV reviews than ever before.
We've all been there.
You go to the store, turn on the TV or pick up a catalogue and see something incredibly silly that you never in a million years would buy for yourself (it's also called a "guilty pleasure"). But you can always say you are buying it for someone else. So in the grand tradition of the Pet Rock, the Moses action figure and the snow cone machine, The Journal presents the Chanukah gifts you really want but won't admit it.
Why We Celebrate Chanukah ... According to ______________________ (YOUR NAME)
A new series, "The Nine," created by siblings Hank ("Without a Trace") and K.J. Steinberg ("Judging Amy"), tells the story of nine strangers at a L.A. bank and a robbery that will "only take five minutes" -- until, in TV fashion, something goes horribly wrong. The flashbacks -- very small ones that lead every episode -- only hint to the whole story of what happened during the 52-hour standoff.
"Something happens," I was told across the "first timers" table Nov. 2 at BJ's Restaurant in Woodland Hills. "When these women get together. I can't explain it, but something happens."
Jewish Journal for kids. Animal Crackers and Halloween.
The Season premiere of FOX's "Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy." The very intriguing but highly unlikely pairing of a Shomer Shabbos Jewish family from Brookline, Mass. (near Boston), and a coon-huntin' family from Olympia, Ky.
The American Library Association got more than 400 requests to ban books last year. But most of those requests were unsuccessful, because of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other people who make sure books stay on shelves.
Kein v' Lo: Snack Attack.
When I came to The Journal as a copy editor and had the opportunity to write and edit stories and interview celebrities (both real and pseudo), I couldn't have imagined a better job. Then came the curveball: In addition to writing and editing, I was asked to coordinate the obituaries. Ouch.
Now retired from the dating game, Teresa Strasser happily enjoys her new role as love coach. Journal readers have long been treated to her insights on being single in these pages. Strasser, an Emmy winner and news reporter for Adam Carolla's show on KLSX 97.1 FM, now takes on the role of co-dating adviser on the new ABC reality show, "How to Get the Guy."
Of the viewers who watched ABC's broadcast of the 79th National Spelling Bee on June 1, how many would have spelled the word meaning "kosher approval" the way the judges did?
Before I found my incredible guy, I was engaged to someone whom I went out with for two and half years -- probably two years too long. Of course, after we broke up, everyone I knew said that he was just "OK" and that I deserved someone better.
This section of the page is a way for you as kids to sound off about an issue. This month's Kein v' Lo (yes and no) is about camps. Should Jewish kids go to Jewish camps or other kinds of camps?
The notion of giving advice to runaway brides came about as Rendahl tried to think about the "loose ends that would be out there if you had the courage to run, even if you didn't realize you should until the very last moment."
His turn on is making single Jewish women laugh. His hometown is Jewtown, Calif. He puts his age at 99 (although he looks at least 50 years younger). His occupation is comedian/dancer/male model -- and rabbi. Yes, the tzitzit-wearing, black-bearded Rabbi Rabbs (a.k.a. Hershel Remer) is in a class by himself.
This section of the page will be a way for you as kids to sound off on an issue. This month's kein v' lo (yes and no) is about New Year's. Should Jews care as much about the regular New Year as we do Rosh Hashanah? Here's some info for both sides of the argument.
Lighten up your Chanukah without striking a match. Yes, we fought, we won, we ate -- but we can also laugh. While gift-buying is sometimes lumped in the same category as root canals and traffic on the 101, the humorous books, music and DVDs below will make the whole process a lot more fun.
Everyone has the same shopping countdown this year: Dec. 25th is also the first night of Chanukah. With holiday-season commercialism rising exponentially each year, the plethora of items for purchase can be blindingly confusing for even the savviest shopper.
"The sun is shining, the grass is green, the orange and palm trees sway. There's never been such a day in Beverly Hills, L.A. But it's December the 24th, and I am longing to be up north."
While it isn't likely the above stanza sparks many memories, the next line should: "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas."
Bing Crosby's popular version of the song -- introduced in "Holiday Inn" (1942) and later sung in "White Christmas" (1954) -- cut out the satirical introduction.
Here's where you get to sound off. This month's kein v' lo (yes and no) is about Thanksgiving. Should Jews celebrate the holiday? Is there anything Jewish about Thanksgiving?
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," introduces a slew of new words and concepts. Quiz your parents, grandparents and older siblings and see if they know what is true and what is false. Are they as smart as Harry's gal pal Hermione Granger or as clueless as Harry's cousin, Dudley Dursley?
A dig about Jews took center stage on "The Apprentice" -- again. And once again, it was a loser.
Kids and Teens
When I heard that the Jewish Image Awards were going to be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, all I could think about was that scene in the movie "Troop Beverly Hills," when Shelley Long's character, Phyllis Nefler, took her Wilderness Girls to one of the bungalow suites after a storm drenched their campsite.
Welcome to fall: The time of High Holidays, contemplation, repentance and really, really long services.
And did I mention TV?
Family vacations don't have to be grueling nine-hour treks that zap energy and wallets. As Southern California's tourist destinations proudly roll out their newest attractions for summer, competitive promotions can save local families the equivalent cost of parking at LAX for a week. Three of the attractions even have food covered, offering kosher options for observant families.
The Broadway blockbuster by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, which tells the story of what happened in Oz before Dorothy dropped in, has been selling out in ticket presales on its national tour. So you might have better luck finding a pair of ruby slippers than a seat at the Pantages, where it flies in from now through July 31, starring Stephanie J. Block, Kendra Kassebaum and Carol Kane.
But this tale, with its Grammy Award-winning music, based on the book by Gregory Maguire, isn't your grandmother's "Wizard of Oz." (Judy Garland never used words like "swankified" or "disgusticified.") This show is all about Elphaba (a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (a.k.a. the Good Witch of the North) -- who used to be best friends.
But who was really "wicked" and who was really "good?"
More than 2.77 million Chicagoans work, live and play in nearly 100 distinctive neighborhoods, divided by ethnicity, class and geography.
The afikomen: dessert or simply a ploy to keep children -- and some adults -- awake through most of the seder? Most people probably favor the latter, and tend to choose one of two techniques to make finding the half-piece of matzah interesting:
"Many people have spoken or written, thanking us for portraying characters ... in a way where their Jewishness isn't always the main point, but just another aspect of their lives," LaBan said.
Kosher. The word evokes pictures of kugel, kishka and caviar.
Are you part of an outgoing, talkative, loud Jewish family? And are you looking for a new place to live? And are you dying to have the whole experience air on national TV?
Then consider applying for the WB's upcoming "The Relocation Show." The new reality show (produced by RDF Media, the British production company that created "Wife Swap"), helps make the process of selecting a new place to live slightly less daunting and will move the family anywhere in the 50 states, including Hawaii.
Eleven teams. Thirty days. One-million dollars. Zero bagels. That is what 32-year-olds Avi Scheier and Joe Rashbaum tried to face as one of the teams on the sixth season of the around-the-world reality show "The Amazing Race."
"Race" teams are given clues telling them where to go and what tasks they must perform. At the end of each episode, the last team to reach the "pit stop" is eliminated -- the first team to cross the finish line at the end wins $1 million.
Brace yourself. This Sunday night, some angels, a spy, a cynic and a meddling mother-in-law are coming over to break the Fast of Gedaliah. You don't have to feed them, however. They're all part of the 56th annual Emmy Awards on Sept. 19, hosted this year by comedian Garry Shandling.
You've bought the perfume. You've ordered the flowers. You've reserved the brunch. You forgot the card.
Picking out exactly the right thing to say to mom on her special day is not easy. The funny cards aren't very Jewish; the Jewish cards aren't very funny.
Take one part Aimee Mann, one part Pete Yorn, stir in some Tori Amos and add a dash of Yiddishkayt and you've got two of the newest sounds in rock.
Andy and Opie. Archie and Meathead. The Professor and Mary Ann. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia. We can all thank Sheldon Leonard, Norman Lear, Sherwood Schwartz and Susan Harris, respectively, for bringing these people into our living rooms and the pop culture landscape.
To some, they were the menches next door, but to the TV Land cable network they are "Moguls," the ones with the "golden touch," says Merv Griffin, host of the six-part series, which debuts Wednesday, April 21.
It's beginning to look a lot like Purim. The hamantaschen-filled holiday comes one month early this year, as Temple Beth Ami in Santa Clarita and Six Flags Magic Mountain co-host PurimFest: The World's Largest Purim Carnival this Sunday.
The early date was chosen "to allow everybody to come, so people won't miss the Purim parties at their own synagogues," said Rabbi Mark Blazer of Beth Ami, a congregation of 200 families.
Ask anyone who cooks chicken soup what makes it taste so delicious, and the answer will likely be: "A pinch of this, a dash of that." But no more.
Picture the "Bad News Bears" in a basketball court, add kippot and a dash of Chanukah and you have the makings of the Disney Channel's latest original movie, "Full-Court Miracle." The film is based on the true story of Lamont Carr (Richard T. Jones), a down-and-out former University of Virginia basketball star, who is asked to coach the Hebrew Academy Lions by the team's captain Alex Schlotsky (14-year-old Alex D. Linz). Schlotsky, after learning about the Chanukah legend in school, is convinced that Carr is really Judah Maccabee. Meanwhile, Alex's mother, a doctor, wants him to give up basketball and follow in her footsteps.
Talk about fiction: A show with four women who live in Manhattan and spend most of their time talking about men, eating and shopping -- and none of them are Jewish? That all could change this season on HBO's "Sex and the City," when one of the gals considers heading to temple.
Mah Nishtanah Ha Lila HaZeh Mikol HaLeilot?
Why is this night different from all other nights?
On all other nights I'm required to act like a 25-year-old adult, but on this first night -- being the youngest person at my seder table -- I get to be a kid.
"Big Brother's" Josh Feinberg is no Ethan Zohn, the curly-haired Jewish winner of "Survivor: Africa" who flew so low under the radar viewers almost forgot he was there.
When two friends who are torn apart by the Holocaust discover nearly 40 years later that they live in the same New York neighborhood, some would call it "coincidence."
"It's a summer holiday, and Jews aren't around in the summer," Wolpe explains. "People are less familiar with it, because it is a minor holiday with no specific observances."
A roomful of women come together on a chilly December evening in Southern California. They eat, they laugh, they talk. One woman stands up and tells everyone that she learned how to say, "No." Her announcement is met with applause. Another stands up and says how happy she is that she has the support of her friends and family.
"Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul: Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit,"
by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins.
(Health Communications, Inc., $12.95).
What if someone told you they were making chicken soup, but it took eight years for you to get your bowl? Several years after the release of their first book, the creators of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, have prepared a warm bowl of "Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul," like bubbie used to make.