Jewish Journal

Ruth Andrew Ellenson

  • Unfashionable Crisis

    July 28, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Dov Charney, founder, CEO and president of American Apparel, has been hailed by many anti-sweatshop activists as a pioneer in the fair treatment of garment workers in Los Angeles, in an industry notorious for substandard working conditions and abuse. It's a reputation, along with a...

  • Mother’s Life No Longer a Mystery

    April 14, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    When Eleanor Freedman died of breast cancer in 1974, she left behind three children, a husband, and a life marked by failed promise. She was 50 years old. Her oldest son, Samuel, was 17 at the time of her death. Now Samuel Freedman, who grew up to be a New York Times journalist...

  • Sugar, Spice and a Binary Device

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    "The Seventh Beggar" by Pearl Abraham, (Riverhead, $25.95).

    A key dropped down a drain by a brother later proves to be an exit sign for his sister lost wandering in the sewers. A boy faints and it is unclear if he has suffered an epileptic seizure, or experienced a vision...

  • Attack on Writers Verges on Ridiculous

    February 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    This past week, the New York Times Book Review ran a lengthy essay by writer Wendy Shalit titled "The Observant Reader." In it, Shalit harshly criticized books she deemed to be unfriendly to Orthodox Judaism. Even worse than the books, she asserted, were some of their writers,...

  • Choreographer Puts Kick in Torah Tales

    January 6, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Andrea Hodos cuts a sprightly figure directing 14-year-old Sophie Porter-Zasada, dancing the biblical story of Sarah laughing as she hears of her pregnancy with Isaac.

    A dancer by training, Hodos guides Sophie through movements that cause Sophie to curl into herself at Sarah's...

  • Rabbinical School Dropout

    September 30, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Women who join the rabbinate may be venerated as spiritual and feminist icons, but what about a woman who tries out being a rabbi and can't handle it? That's one of many questions Amy Sohn's novel, "My Old Man" (Simon & Schuster, $23) explores. In her novel, Sohn, who began her...

  • A Quick Trip to Evangelical ‘Hell’

    September 23, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Born-again Christian youth pastor Shari Putney is standing at the top of a stairway outside a theater in Hollywood presiding over a group of young adults, decked out in a sequined, pale-blue mother-of-the-bride dress and a huge diamond cross. Clearly subscribing to the theory that...

  • Hidden Impact of Sweatshop Laws

    August 28, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Is your image of a sweatshop a black-and- white photograph of Jewish garment workers marching for labor rights 100 years ago, or the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in 1911, in which hundreds of Jewish workers were trapped inside a burning building in New York (see sidebar)? If so,...

  • Happy Trails to You

    July 10, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    A 7-year-old boy with severe disabilities who usually spends his days in an unresponsive haze in his wheelchair is running his fingers through the mane of a miniature pony named Chocolate -- and giggling.

    "It's a miracle," his mother tells Pepper Salter Edmiston, the founder of the...

  • Magnolias and Menorahs

    October 17, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    "Shalom Y'all: Images of Jewish Life in the American South" photography by Bill Aron, text by Vicki Reikes Fox (Algonquin Books, $24.95).

    While the idea of Southern Jews may be as improbable for some as snacking on matzah while drinking a mint julep, in fact, the American South has...

  • USC Names First Jewish Board Chair

    October 3, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    The University of Southern California, once considered a bastion of WASP elitism, has capped a decade of transformation by naming Stanley Gold as its first Jewish board chairman.

    Gold's appointment comes a decade after USC President Stephen Sample made a number of key appointments...

  • Hamilton High’s Sour Note

    September 19, 2002 | 7:59 pm

    Most parents dream of having a school administrator like Jeff Kaufman.

    As the assistant principal and director of the Academy of Music magnet program at Hamilton High School, Kaufman, a graduate of Hamilton, led his program to win an honorary Grammy, be featured on the Disney series...

  • Caped Crusaders

    May 16, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    The $114 million opening weekend for the release of "Spider-Man" on May 3 was not only a box office record breaker but a resounding triumph for two wily Israeli entrepreneurs.

    In his new book, "Comic Wars," journalist Dan Raviv details the dramatic battle of Revlon CEO Ronald...

  • The Faces Behind Fairfax

    February 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Ask Boris Dralyuk about his student days at Fairfax High School and the impish young man with startlingly blue eyes will mockingly compare himself to one of the great anti-heroes of literature. "I know about the experiences of Saul Bellow's Augie March and the little Jewish kids...

  • Watching Big Brother

    January 24, 2002 | 6:59 pm

    In the culmination of what has been a tumultuous year for the Jewish Big Brothers (JBB) of Los Angeles, Executive Director Jeff Kahn stepped down from his position last week to serve as interim director until a replacement is found.

    The decision followed an executive board meeting...

  • The Secret History

    November 15, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    "The Woman Who Laughed at God: The Untold History of the Jewish People," by Jonathan Kirsch (Viking Press, $14.95).

    Jonathan Kirsch lives a double life that many lawyers only dream of.

    An attorney specializing in the field of publishing law by day, he is also the best-selling...

  • ‘Sea’ Changes Tide

    October 18, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    In recent years, Israeli writer Amos Oz has become as well-known for his liberal political views as for his fiction. In his newest book, "The Same Sea," he has created a novel infused with literary artistry that never directly addresses politics, but allows them to hover undiscussed...

  • Holy Land Exploration

    September 27, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    In a compelling collection of 19th and 20th century images and objects, the Skirball Cultural Center's new exhibit of photographs, lithographs and archaeological artifacts tells the story of Israel as, literally, a "holy land" -- a place that has long held fascination for the three...

  • A Citizen of Jerusalem

    September 13, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    In His New Book, "At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden" (William Morrow, 2001), Yossi Klein Halevi, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Jerusalem Report and The New Republic, chronicles his journey as a Jew searching for understanding of...

  • Finding the Perfect Match

    August 16, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    As the end of summer nears, a new exhibit offers a glimpse into the world of one of the most sacred and ritualized events in Judaism: the wedding. Opening on Aug. 18, and planned to run for sixth months, the Skirball Cultural Center will be hosting an exhibit on Jewish weddings...

  • Coastal Divide

    May 31, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    As the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (ZSRS) at the University of Judaism (UJ) in Los Angeles completes its fifth year, it marks not only a transition within Conservative Judaism but the emergence of Los Angeles as a center for Jewish intellectual life. While it used to be that...

  • Virtual Schmooze

    March 8, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    We all hear rumblings about a global community, but a global schmooze? That's just what the Jewish Community Centers of North America, in conjunction with the 92nd Street Y in New York City, propose to execute. Starting on Sun., March 11, the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los...

  • DNC Protest Puts Jewish Values First

    August 17, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    On the first day of the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, a small group of Jewish men and women used the occasion to raise their voices in protest against what they saw as the growing economic divide in this country and the increasingly centrist policies of the...

  • Musical Matzah

    April 13, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Craig Taubman is ready to celebrate Passover, and, as always, he's ready to express his joy through music.

    In recognizing the spirit of celebration around a holiday that focuses on the emancipation from slavery, singer-songwriter Taubman, who has set many passages from Jewish liturgy...