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Jewish Journal

Rob Eshman

  • One question for Michael Oren

    1 week ago

    Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren is coming to Los Angeles this week to speak about his new book, “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide,” and I’m going to miss him. 

    I was invited to be Oren’s on-stage interviewer at his appearance at the Richard Nixon...

  • Me, naked at a Berlin spa

    2 weeks ago

    When I was in Berlin last year, I decided to go to a spa.

    My entire life, I’d read how famous Europeans “took the waters” to restore their health and psyches. Kafka recuperated at Marienbad, Goethe at Franzensbad, Dickens at Harrogate. Herzl summered at Altaussee, as did many...

  • Sheldon: Improve Israel’s odds

    3 weeks ago

    I didn’t attend the Sheldon Adelson anti-BDS conclave in Las Vegas last weekend for one good reason: I wasn’t invited.  

    Nope, it was a meeting only of like minds, who convened on the home turf of the Republican Party’s most influential donor to find and fund solutions to the...

  • A Jewish ‘thank you’ to President Obama

    June 2, 2015 | 5:38 pm

    I’ve held off writing about President Barack Obama’s speech at Adas Israel Congregation late last month, but I’ve certainly read everything we Jews have written about it.

    And here’s my conclusion: We can really be a bunch of ingrates.

    To quickly recap: On May 21, The Atlantic...

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  • President Bernie

    May 29, 2015 | 4:31 pm

    Just because he looks like Larry David’s angry uncle, and just because he is the only Democratic socialist in the United States Senate, and just because he represents a heavily forested state best known for a breakfast condiment, doesn’t mean you should dismiss Bernie Sanders.

    ...
  • Is Shavuot dead?

    May 20, 2015 | 10:40 am

    If you’re like most Jews, chances are you looked at the title of this piece and asked yourself one of two questions: either “Who cares?” or “Shavu-what?”

    Shavuot is the Jewish holiday that begins at sundown on May 23. Religiously speaking, it is one of the three major festival...

  • Love and criticism: An Amos Oz interview

    May 13, 2015 | 10:42 am

    The first question I asked Amos Oz is whether it bothers him to be called a traitor.

    The renowned Israeli author was sitting across from me in a quiet room off the lobby of the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, two cups of coffee between us. At 76, age has grayed and slightly thinned...

  • Pamela Geller, You’re No Charlie Hebdo

    May 5, 2015 | 1:44 pm

    What is my problem with Pamela Geller?

    It doesn’t seem fair, at first glance, that I would support Charlie Hebdo and attack Geller.

    Geller is the Long Island Jewish housewife-turned-anti-Muslim activist behind the Muhammad drawing contest in Texas that ended in violence this...

  • What Muslims Can Learn From Zionism

    April 30, 2015 | 9:40 am

    Three weeks ago, at the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, it occurred to me how to beat ISIS.

    I was there taking part in a day of Muslim-Jewish dialogue organized by the mosque’s director of interfaith outreach, Mohammed Akbar Khan.

    My insight didn’t come from the speeches. If...

  • A Night at the Salon

    April 23, 2015 | 10:44 am

    One year ago, on the day after Israel’s Independence Day, my Israeli friends Gady and Assaf took me to The Salon, their favorite restaurant in Tel Aviv.

    The restaurant is in a nondescript warehouse area east of the city center. It’s not easy to get into — impossible, Gady told me...

  • The Iranian deal panic gap

    April 14, 2015 | 5:51 pm

    Last week, Foreign Policy magazine released a poll of 921 scholars of international relations at colleges and universities across the United States. By a 7-to-1 margin, the scholars agreed that the proposed deal with Iran will “have a positive impact on regional stability.”

    ...
  • Maybe Obama knows what he’s doing

    April 8, 2015 | 2:29 pm

    At our seder this year, one guest, an Israeli of Iraqi origin, told me her family has a very different way of recounting the Ten Plagues God sent to Egypt.

    Instead of spilling a little wine at the mention of each plague — blood, boils, hail, frogs, the likeher father would...

  • Let my people stay

    April 2, 2015 | 7:44 pm

    It’s spring, and fear is busting out all over.

    In the past three weeks, I’ve been to two events memorializing the Holocaust. The speakers alternated between the necessity of remembering the Nazi genocide even as its last surviving victims die, and confronting the current rise of...

  • Lucy Aharish on Benjamin Netanyahu

    March 25, 2015 | 3:03 pm

    Israeli Arabs make up 20 percent of Israel’s population – greater than either blacks or Latinos do of the American population.

    So, there are very few pundits and politicians – including our own President – who have not offered their opinion on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s...

  • American Jews and the Israeli election

    March 18, 2015 | 6:31 pm

    If there is one lesson American Jews will learn from Israel’s election, it’s this:  they’re not us.

    Israel is not New York. Or LA. Or Chicago or Boston or Miami or Philadelphia. It is a Jewish “community” unlike any in America.

    Israelis went to the polls this Tuesday and...

  • Israel’s Arab Spring

    March 18, 2015 | 2:49 pm

    What made this election different from all other elections? The Arab vote.

    As the polls closed Tuesday on Israel’s national election, one of the most striking stories was how Israeli Arabs broke a pattern of disengagement from the electoral process and voted en masse.

    The...

  • Recipe: How to make harira

    March 12, 2015 | 4:23 pm

  • Jews, Muslims, UCLA

    March 10, 2015 | 4:59 pm

    Two weeks before it was a twinkle in the eye of The New York Times, the story of Rachel Beyda appeared on jewishjournal.com and in the pages of our newspaper. Following a tip from a colleague and a report in the Daily Bruin, our reporter Jared Sichel investigated how a routine...

  • Bibi, you’re no Moses

    March 3, 2015 | 2:30 pm

    So, he spoke.

    And while his rhetoric soared, his ideas sank.

    He gave us a thousand reasons why the deal whose details he may not know is a flawed one. He gave us not a single pragmatic better option.

    Not one.

    And life, they say, is not about what’s ideal. It’s about what’s...

  • How not to bomb Iran

    February 25, 2015 | 3:59 pm

    Oh, to be in Geneva right now, facing the Iranians across a long polished table in a quiet hotel room--  because everywhere else the debates over their nuclear ambitions are raging, and the anxiety, accusations and intrigue are exasperating. Never have so many weighed in on so much...

  • Why Jews must stay in Europe

    February 17, 2015 | 4:08 pm

    If, God forbid, some crazy Muslim were to shoot and kill a security guard outside a synagogue in Sherman Oaks, would you pack up and move to Israel?

    No, of course not. One crazed gunman does not a pogrom make.

    Unless you’re Benjamin Netanyahu.

    That seemed to be the logic...

  • Chaos is my Heaven: Q-and-A with Itai Anghel

    February 12, 2015 | 1:18 pm

    Rob Eshman: What year did you first meet Commander Media, the leader of the female militia you film in your documentary.

    Itai Anglel: 2010.  She was already a commander. So when I saw her now, it was very good, you know. It meant for her, you know, that, “Okay, it’s fine. He can...

  • Itai Anghel: The brave Israeli interviewing ISIS, Kurdish fighters in Syria

    February 12, 2015 | 12:49 pm

    Courage is a quality we value so highly we’re willing to pretend we have it.

    I don’t know whether Brian Williams fits that description, but I do know the unfortunate side effect of Coptergate is that it has cast suspicion on all TV journalists in the infotainment age. Are they...

  • Bibi: Call off the play

    February 4, 2015 | 1:39 pm

    Liberal Democrats are the soft underbelly of American support for Israel, and John Boehner and Benjamin Netanyahu just gave them a swift kick.

    When the Republican speaker of the house went around President Barack Obama to issue an invitation to the prime minister of Israel to...

  • Drones, Jews and morality

    January 28, 2015 | 1:36 pm

    My address to the first interreligious conference on the morality of drone warfare didn’t go over particularly well.

    This happened last Saturday afternoon at Princeton Theological Seminary, where I was among 150 clergy, theologians, academics and peace activists gathered to...

  • Alberto Nisman: The 86th victim of the Buenos Aires bombing

    January 21, 2015 | 2:29 pm

    UPDATED: The murder this week of Alberto Nisman — and now even the Argentine president has acknowledged his death was no suicide — was every bit as shocking and anti-Semitic a crime as the attacks two weeks ago in Paris.

    Nisman was the federal prosecutor appointed by former...

  • Nous Sommes Charlie

    January 15, 2015 | 11:42 am

    In 2008, I had a chance to make a statement in defense of satire, and I passed.

    This was when some Muslim leaders issued a fatwa against Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for 12 cartoons it published in 2005 depicting the prophet Muhammad. To say many Muslims found those cartoons...

  • Gjusta and injustice in Los Angeles

    January 7, 2015 | 3:31 pm

    To get to the newest, coolest food spot in Venice, you have to drive through the newest, saddest homeless encampment in L.A. 

    Gjusta occupies a former warehouse where Third Avenue ends at Sunset Avenue. As much as this part of Venice, near Rose Avenue, has scaled up to become...

  • Prophets and mensches; Remembering Rabbi Schulweis and Rabbi Beerman

    December 30, 2014 | 10:25 am

    I’ve only fallen in love with two rabbis in my life. One I married. The other was Harold Schulweis. 
     
    He had been ailing for months, so his death Dec. 18 at the age of 89 was not unexpected.
     
    So, too, the passing of Rabbi Leonard Beerman, who died Dec. 24 at 93.  
     
    ...
  • Norman Lear’s bright future

    December 17, 2014 | 12:59 pm

    When I met Norman Lear at his spacious Beverly Hills office for an interview, he immediately told me, “The timing is good.” He didn’t say why — just that it has something to do with what he plans to do next.

    That’s right, next. At 92, an age when most of us would be content to...

  • Howard Stern Gets It So Right on Sony

    December 17, 2014 | 11:45 am

  • How to hack the Sony hackers

    December 16, 2014 | 6:40 pm

    I know what I’m doing on Christmas Day: First Chinese food, then “The Interview.”

    I’ll be eating Chinese food on Christmas because I’m a Jew, and that’s tradition.

    Then I’m going to go to a theater to watch “The Interview” because I’m an American, and that’s patriotism.

    ...
  • Why Jews still back Obama

    December 10, 2014 | 6:46 pm

    This entire week, people kept sending me emails with this screaming subject line: “OBAMA MULLING SANCTIONS ON ISRAEL.VERIFICATION ON GOOGLE.” 

    Neither turned out to be true: Obama is not mulling sanctions, and Google doesn’t verify the fact (or any fact, for that matter). In...

  • Proposed nation-state law crosses American Jewish red lines

    December 4, 2014 | 2:10 pm

    I wish I could draw.

    A few years back, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood before the United Nations General Assembly with a cartoonish drawing of a bomb meant to illustrate Iran’s march toward achieving a nuclear weapon. He pointed to a red line across the top of the...

  • Am I Ikarian?

    December 2, 2014 | 7:38 pm

  • Immigrant nation

    November 22, 2014 | 10:54 pm

    When you emerge from the Berlin subway into the Hermannplatz neighborhood, you enter Turkey.  Food stalls offer fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice, sesame-encrusted simit and flakey boreks oozing sheep’s milk cheeses.  The language spoken on the street, the signs, the music from...

  • Horrorism in the Middle East

    November 19, 2014 | 3:57 pm

    “…there are only wrong choices, and it’s like I’m … I’m finally seeing it now for the first time: Nothing good can happen in this f----d-up world we’ve made for ourselves.”

    — Carrie Mathison, “Homeland,” Season 4, Episode 8, Nov. 16, 2014


     

    You know who agrees with Carrie...

  • Lessons from the Berlin Wall

    November 12, 2014 | 12:57 pm

    Last Saturday night in the posh section of Berlin, I took a hammer and chisel and pounded away at the Berlin Wall.

    I was staying at the Westin Grand Hotel for the festivities marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. The hotel offers guests the chance to make their...

  • Maher vs. Affleck vs. Harris Round 2

    November 5, 2014 | 1:42 pm

    I have one word for Ben Affleck, Sam Harris and Bill Maher: Rematch.

    The three of them began an argument on Oct. 10 on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” that came to an end when the episode concluded. It needs to continue.

    At issue was whether Islam is, in Maher’s view, a...

  • Foxman one on one: anti-Semitism, BDS and Mel Gibson

    October 29, 2014 | 11:49 am

    Over the past 20 years, I’ve accused Anti-Defamation League (ADL) chief Abraham H. Foxman of being an alarmist, an opportunist, even a hypocrite. 

    I mocked his outspoken campaign against Mel Gibson’s “The Passion,” saying it just helped boost the snuff film’s box office. I...

  • Jews in the Anthropocene Epoch

    October 23, 2014 | 10:44 am

    I was at a screening last week for a new documentary on Zionism. A good-sized crowd of donors, activists and people concerned with Israel’s present and future turned out. There were speeches, the doc, more speeches, a Q-and-A. Then, just as the director thanked everyone for coming,...

  • The fourth Gaza War: 5 predictions

    October 14, 2014 | 11:24 am

    Now that the international donor conference on behalf of Gaza has wrapped up in Cairo, it is time to make predictions about the next Gaza War.

    1. First, let’s try to guess when it will begin. The first Gaza War ran from December 2008 to January 2009, lasting three weeks. The...

  • Building a stable sukkah, building a stable L.A.

    October 8, 2014 | 10:14 am

    Many years ago, my wife and I lived in a ground-floor apartment in the Ocean Park section of Santa Monica, on a hill with a view of the bay.

    When Sukkot came around, my wife naturally expected me to build the hut — the sukkah — in which Jews are commanded to eat, and even...

  • What Roy Choi can teach the Jews

    October 1, 2014 | 11:12 am

    I was sitting in Commissary, Roy Choi’s new restaurant on the pool deck of the Line Hotel in Koreatown, thinking about the secret of Choi’s success. 

    It was my fourth time in the restaurant in the hotel Choi helped resurrect out of the dry bones of an abandoned Radisson.   

    ...
  • The High Holy Days: Something meaningful, or just going through the motions?

    September 23, 2014 | 3:12 pm

    Most of us who go to synagogue for the High Holy Days have no clue what’s going on.

    We don’t speak or read Hebrew well enough to understand the prayers or the Torah portion. We don’t know why we say the prayers in the order we say them. We don’t like the stilted English...

  • David Brooks’ Son Is In the Israeli Army: Does It Matter?

    September 22, 2014 | 12:55 pm

    One of the more interesting nuggets buried in a long, Hebrew-language interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks in the recent Ha'aretz magazine is the revelation, toward the very end, that Brooks's oldest son serves in the Israel Defense Forces.

    "Brook's connection to...

  • Eric “The Actor” Dies at 39, Rest In Peace

    September 21, 2014 | 8:42 pm

  • New rule: Fanatics can’t use Twitter

    September 18, 2014 | 4:29 pm

    Each week, we are forced to bear witness to hideous acts of terrorism committed on a piece of barren sand thousands of miles away, then transmitted to our eyeballs via miracles of modern technology, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, the Internet.

    Evidently, fanatics...

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