My new favorite way to celebrate Chanukah is lighting candles with Barack Obama. The annual White House Chanukah Party was held Dec 5, a day after Chanukah.
Why did the French stand firm against the initial, pre-Geneva nuclear deal with Iran? The answer, it turns out, has to do, at least in part, with good old-fashioned Jewish lobbying.
By Monday morning, the Israeli reaction to the nuclear deal with Iran had changed from “What happened?” to “Now what?” And that reaction makes a lot more sense.
Last Sunday, my job was to make stuffing for 400 people. I said I’d do it because there’s a part of me that prefers to forget that it’s been 25 years since I was a caterer, and I assumed it would be as easy now as it was then.
A media firestorm kicked up last week after Mother Jones broke the story that President George W. Bush was to be the keynote speaker at the annual fundraiser of the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute on Nov. 14.
In 2009, an Israeli drone flying over the Gaza Strip transmitted back to its command station an image of a telltale rocket trail streaking toward Israeli territory. Many kilometers away, a young Israeli operator, Capt. Y, quickly maneuvered the unmanned aircraft to get a look at the young Palestinian who had just launched the deadly missile.
Of the 3,977 angry e-mails I received last week, one stood out. “I am a Jew, a member of Temple Emanuel in Los Angeles, and the founder of the largest local, grass-roots Tea Party group in Los Angeles called the Hancock Park Patriots,” Mark Sonnenklar wrote.
You would think that when the Polish edition of Forbes, the internationally respected financial magazine, publishes a front-page exposé on the disappearance of tens of millions of dollars of Holocaust restitution funds, Jews everywhere would be outraged and demand an immediate, independent investigation.
I have one big answer to the depressing findings of the Pew poll, but you’re not going to like it. The Pew Research Center’s landmark new survey of American Jews came out last week, and the American Jewish community reacted about the way Sandra Bullock does when her tether snaps in “Gravity.” Except our “Oy vey!” probably could have been heard in space.
What the $%#@ is happening? I’m writing this 17 minutes after the Federal government shut down — for the first time in 17 years. I remember clearly the last time this happened. It was stupid and superfluous and self-destructive then. It’s stupid, superfluous and self-destructive now.
If you like food and you like Israel, this past week’s episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” was a win-win.
On Sunday, my wife and I drove out to the Valley to buy a new sukkah. It was time. I’d bought our old sukkah from an Armenian Catholic who supplied booths to vendors in farmers’ markets. When his orders began to spike in September, he realized he could have a good little side business selling these things to Jews for their holiday of Sukkot. Only in America.
On Sept. 7, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion downtown, the curtain went up on the Muslim world’s first operetta, “The Cloth Peddler” (“Arshin Mal Alan”) a comic work by Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov.
You know you live in a whacked world when you wake up one morning and read Nicholas Kristof wants war, AIPAC is throwing its full weight behind President Barack Obama, a man many of its delegates reviled a few years back, and that in a desperate search for answers, the media actually puts a mic in front of Donald Rumsfeld, as if we want to hear anything from him but eternal teshuvah.
War is the unfolding of miscalculations, historian Barbara Tuchman wrote — and she didn’t even know Bashar al-Assad.
On the evening of Aug. 22, I had a public conversation with three Muslim journalists, two from Pakistan and one from Bangladesh, at the Los Angeles Press Club. All three were in the United States as Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellows, a program to introduce Muslim journalists to American practices, sponsored by the Daniel Pearl Foundation and Alfred Friendly Press Partners. Here are the three most chilling things they said:
Last Monday night after dinner, after the dishes were cleared, I sat in my dining room with Mark Rosenblum and asked him the question I’d long been meaning to ask: Why don’t you just give up?
I started building my sukkah in December. To those of you who are sukkah DIYers, you know how ridiculous this sounds.
By last Wednesday, thanks to the magic of the Internet, I had seen as much of Anthony Weiner’s private parts as if I had spent the afternoon with him in the shvitz.
My old office, on the 15th floor at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Kingsley Drive, looked directly at Wilshire Boulevard Temple. It would have been an ideal location to set up a time-lapse camera to document the slow but historic changes that have taken place there over the past few years.
I’m outraged at the Trayvon Martin case, but not because a jury found George Zimmerman, the man who killed Martin, not guilty.
I spent Egypt’s second revolution in Costa Rica, in the jungle. It’s amazing what the past of one country can teach you about the present of another.
On May 22, 2013, the day after Los Angeles voters elected him mayor of Los Angeles, something astonishing happened to Eric Garcetti: He became Jewish.
The one fact that continues to astonish me about Nelson Mandela is this: He studied Afrikaans in prison.
If you ever needed a sign that Jews feel fully integrated and accepted by society, consider this: Not one major Jewish group made a peep over the revelations of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance.
I’ve spent many hours with Monty Hall over the past two months. It’s work related, so I’ve gotten to know him in a way I never did when I was a kid. Back then, I’d come home from school and watch him on “Let’s Make a Deal.”
The Six-Day War began at 7:10 a.m. on June 5, 1967. By 10 a.m., it was clear Israel had already won.
Just before I sat down to talk about the future of L.A. Jews, I took a quick tour of L.A.’s Jewish past.
Two years after his mother was shot and killed, Dallas Sonnier received a phone call from the police: His father had just been shot and killed.
Before His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, entered the gilded ballroom of the Montage Beverly Hills last Saturday afternoon, a spokesman took the microphone and explained the rules to the 500 or so acolytes, dignitaries and invited guests.
Yes, America, we’ve heard: You’re war-weary. It’s at least something our divided country can agree upon: Americans across party lines oppose sending troops, weapons or air support to the rebel fighters in Syria.
It had been a tough week. The more news I read about the Boston bombing, the less I understood. Who were these young men, full of grievance, using a fresh start in America to maim and kill innocents?
To the woman who confronted me last Sunday at the Celebrate Israel Festival, ranting that airplane vapor trails are actually toxic secret government gasses: You complain that journalists don’t take you seriously. They might, if you didn’t walk around wearing large posters of airplane vapor trails.
I watched the video of the Boston Marathon bombings and thought, of course, of the bus bombings that wracked Jerusalem and Tel Aviv a decade ago.
My mother called Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats “Tiffany’s.”
Many years ago, when I was a young, harried father, I would sit in synagogue on Shabbat mornings and try to keep my kids quiet. It was a task I consistently failed at. Their mother, the rabbi, was on the bimah, leading services. She had the easy job.
It’s been just two days since President Barack Obama touched down in Israel, and no doubt you’ve probably read and heard it all by now. The ribbing banter with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Best Frenemy Forever.
Bruce Feiler mentions Passover only in passing in his new book, “The Secrets of Happy Families,” but in some ways, the book is all about Passover.
Saturday afternoon on the upper deck of the Queen Mary, six young Jewish adults were engaged in a heated discussion over who’s hornier — men or women.
Some 20 Jewish leaders met privately with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday morning, March 7, in what one participant called “an honest and substantive exchange” concerning the President’s upcoming trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. The source asked that his name not be used because participants were told the meeting was to be strictly off-the-record.
I belong to a small, elite club that I would like to invite you to join.
No one sends out press releases to announce that something is not anti-Semitic. That’s why this morning’s media is full of reports that host Seth MacFarlane’s Oscar performance last night was just shy of Mahmoud Ahmadinijad’s U.N. speech.
In a pile of as-yet-undigitized family photos, I found a gem. It’s from a Purim party, years ago, when my wife and I were newly married. She is dressed as a Chasidic rabbi — black suit, side curls, black hat, mustache and beard. Beside her is the rabbi’s wife — me — in a long proper dress and a blond wig.
Last week, I met a man in his 60s whose father survived the Holocaust. He told me that, as a child, he trembled when he brought home a report card with anything less than straight A’s. “My father would say, ‘I managed to survive Auschwitz, and you can’t manage to get an A?’ ” the man said. We do, as a people, put a premium on intellectual prowess. Which of course raises the question of how we treat those of different, or lesser, abilities.
Someone has to say it: William Kristol is hurting Israel.
Michael Oren is Israel’s ambassador to the United States. And he has no plans to stop being Israel’s ambassador to the United States.
What makes community journalism so rewarding is you write about the people, issues and places you care most about. That’s also what makes it so awkward.
Hollywood had one question for Dr. Rajiv Shah: Why haven’t we heard of you before?
When news of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School first broke, President Barack Obama stood before the nation, felt our grief and shed a tear.
There are three subjects that Jews in my social circle never tire of: food, movies and the two-state solution.
Have you heard of Witold Pilecki? A new book, “The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery” (Aquila Polonica: 2012), documents, in his own words, Pilecki’s remarkable exploits, and I can’t think of a better gift to give yourself for Chanukah.
In a packed synagogue hall on Monday night, Nov. 26, Israel’s Consul General David Siegel posed a question: How many people present care deeply about religious pluralism in Israel?
Is this a war? It’s so hard to know these days. Wars used to happen on things called battlefields, where armies met, fought and met again.
My most telling Carmen Warschaw memory is this: I greeted her at a fancy, crowded event at The Beverly Hills Hotel celebrating Israel’s 60th birthday. Soon, a group of her VIPs gathered around Carmen, talking politics and pleasantries.
James Carville is a hoot, and Mary Matalin can more than hold her own. But Gady Levy got one of the biggest laughs when he introduced Carville and Matalin on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 4, at University Synagogue in Brentwood.
When the networks projected President Barack Obama’s re-election victory Tuesday night, most of the young, partying crowd at The Parlor bar in West Hollywood erupted in raucous cheers. Except for one section.
Either way, you’re going to have to suck it up. Whether you pick Obama or Romney, you are voting as much for imperfection as for promise.
Israel had a starring role in the third and final presidential debate last Tuesday night. How big? China, a country of 1 billion people to which America owes $1 trillion and whose military and economic decisions will affect us for years to come, rated 32 mentions.
I like entitlements. I know that’s somehow a terrible thing to say. “Entitlement” has become a dirty four-syllable word in our deranged political culture.
On Sept. 2, I drove to the Valley, where it was 95 degrees. I pulled my car over onto the dirt shoulder of Woodley Avenue, walked down an embankment to the Los Angeles River, slipped into a kayak and paddled away.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled out a cartoon drawing of a bomb during his speech to the 67th United Nations General Assembly Debate on Sept. 27, the world laughed. But I didn’t.
Last April, just inside the entrance to the “Salute to Israel” Festival at Rancho Park, the National Council of Jewish Women set up a large tented area where it sold all sorts of secondhand items from its thrift stores: clothes, Judaica, kitchenware, art.
We now know that “Sam Bacile” is not a Jewish filmmaker. The name, according to the most recent media reports, is a pseudonym for a Coptic Christian man who lives in Cerritos, and he is definitely no filmmaker.
What a year, right? The Jewish year 5772 started with a sense that a military confrontation with Iran is avoidable. Now it seems — all merits aside — imminent.
This week David Wolpe, senior rabbi of Sinai Temple, delivered one of the invocations at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Even for someone used to and deserving of such honors, this is a big deal.
One of the highlights of my year is moderating an annual discussion with visiting Muslim journalists.
More than Jews have kept delis, the deli has kept the Jews.