Jewish Journal

Ayala Or-el

  • Music star Hedva Amrani reborn at 72 with Israeli hit

    3 weeks ago

    An incredible thing happened to 72-year-old singer Hedva Amrani this past summer. Her new single, “Just Be,” became a hit in Israel — 45 years after she left the promised land for the promising land of Beverly Hills.

    Amrani is no stranger to the big time. She recorded numerous...

  • Leonard Cohen interview: Graceful artistry borne of patience

    October 27, 2016 | 5:04 pm

    Leonard Cohen entered the living room in the home of Canadian Consul General James Villeneuve in Hancock Park, walking slowly and holding a cane, while a small group of journalists from around the world gave him a standing ovation. 

    Only a few days earlier, the 82-year-old had...

  • Q-and-A with Adam Cohen on his father, Leonard Cohen

    October 27, 2016 | 4:36 pm

    While Leonard Cohen was recently celebrating his new album, the singer’s son Adam Cohen spoke with the Journal about his famous father.

    JEWISH JOURNAL: Your father was robbed of his life savings [by former manager Kelley Lynch]. Because of that, he was forced to go back to work,...

  • Everyone, all together now, sing!

    October 27, 2016 | 10:23 am

    Forget about “The Voice.” Call these “The Voices” — 150 to 200 of them coming together every month to belt out classic Israeli tunes during a rousing singalong.

    The lyrics are projected on a big screen, but no one really needs them. Everyone knows the words to the oldies by heart...

  • Izek Shomof is driving the Downtown L.A. revival

    April 4, 2016 | 11:22 am

    Walk along Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles with Izek Shomof and you’ll likely encounter a couple of passersby waving hello. That’s because the real estate developer has become a bit of a celebrity in the area, buying and rehabilitating a number of historic buildings in the...

  • Around the world in five years

    February 17, 2016 | 1:18 pm

    On their first date 18 years ago, Benny Rubinstein told Shifra “Shiffy” Raz about his dream of backpacking around the world, while he was still young enough to climb mountains and carry a heavy backpack. 

    The date lasted 14 hours, and the two quickly discovered that they share...

  • From junk to art

    December 16, 2015 | 11:17 am

    Malka Nedivi is known for her huge sculptures — roughly hewn, sometimes eerie figures that can reach up to 10 feet high — and collage paintings that are made of galvanized metal, chicken coop wire, pieces of old clothing, and fabrics and papers. 

    Her choice of material tells the...

  • ‘Trashing the dress’ is the unlikeliest trend in wedding photography

    December 14, 2015 | 12:52 pm

    Many a bride has gone to great lengths to preserve her wedding dress in pristine condition. But others go the extra mile to destroy it the best they can.  

    Welcome to the most unusual trend in wedding photography: Trash the dress.

    Some of these brides smear their dresses with...

  • The happiness of paying it forward

    November 18, 2015 | 1:27 pm

    Michal Sayas remembers all too well those days when she couldn’t afford a peach at the supermarket. Today, she could buy the entire store — and all the peaches her heart desires. 

    It is from this personal experience of being in need that the Israeli immigrant created the...

  • Combating an Israeli-American identity crisis

    October 14, 2015 | 2:44 pm

    A year after Irit Bar-Netzer arrived in Los Angeles from Israel, she had her first son. That was 37 years ago, and that’s when the dilemma began.

    “I wondered back then: How am I going to raise my children? As Israelis? Americans? Who is going to help us raise our kids? We didn’t...

  • Healing through helping

    September 30, 2015 | 2:17 pm

    Esther and David (Dudi) Vered know what it’s like to lose a loved one well before his time — their 17-year-old son died in a February 2010 car accident. 

    Despite the tragedy, David Vered found his son’s memory strengthened his desire to help others. In particular, it’s helped him...

  • Insurance agent learns it’s never too late to don a badge

    June 30, 2015 | 10:37 am

    At 65, when most people are thinking about their retirement years, Jacob (Yasha) Castroll — a father of three and grandfather of four — is in the midst of his new “career” as a reserve deputy sheriff.  

    A longtime insurance agent in Studio City, Castroll was inspired to start...

  • Car accident puts inventor on his life’s path

    May 21, 2015 | 4:18 pm

    Josh (Yehoshua) Shachar’s resume is impressive: more than 160 patents on innovations he has helped develop, founder of more than 10 high-tech companies and author of countless research papers. A typical day for him could mean working on multimillion-dollar aircraft and missiles for...

  • Loss turns to gain with young at heart

    December 17, 2014 | 9:54 am

    After her mother passed away a little over a year ago, Ofra Bennun watched her father slowly begin to decline. After 62 years of a loving marriage, it was hard for Israel Knan, 83, to be alone. 

    So Bennun made sure that he wasn’t, creating a 60-plus club for Israeli seniors like...

  • The Israeli couple behind the Life Alert bracelet

    August 13, 2014 | 11:26 am

    Unlike many Israelis who immigrated to the United States with dreams of making it big, Miri Shepher never wanted to leave her beloved homeland. The day before she left, she composed an eight-page letter apologizing to the family that looked after her on the kibbutz where she was...

  • Live, love, laugh through actress’ ups and downs

    May 7, 2014 | 11:33 am

    Caroline Langford had been through plenty of ups and downs over the years.

    The ups: her movie career and marriage to one of Israel’s most desired man at the time, writer/director/actor Assi Dayan (son of former Israeli defense and foreign minister Moshe Dayan).

    The downs: two...

  • Guide dog helps champion blind golfer stay the course

    December 12, 2013 | 12:39 pm

    Zohar Sharon can count on having the company of two others when he takes to the golf course — his caddy and his guide dog.

    “She is always there for me,” he said of Venus, a yellow Labrador/golden retriever cross. “She comes with me to play golf every day. She’s simply great.”

  • The pawn king

    November 18, 2011 | 3:20 pm

    A day in the life of pawnshop owner Yossi Dina looks something like this: A customer strolls in looking for a collar for his beloved dog, who is celebrating his fourth birthday. He finds a Gucci diamond-studded choker, pays $45,000 for it and leaves the store delighted at the great...

  • Young women—Bat Ami Girls—bring Israel to Los Angeles schools

    August 27, 2008 | 11:19 pm

    When Jewish day schools open their doors next week, along with old friends and new teachers, students will greet a new batch of "Bat Ami girls," young Israeli women who bring a touch of Israel to Jewish schools.

    Now in its eighth year in Los Angeles, the Bat Ami project sends a...

  • For Israeli ex-pats, the homeland is calling

    May 15, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Merav and Roy Lobel are going back to Israel. Since the birth of their baby boy, now eight months old, they have longed to be with their families. Each time they've hung up the phone after a call to Israel, they've felt as if part of their heart was still there.

    Guilty feelings about...

  • Egypt-born Arab-American woman fights Islamic culture of hate

    May 1, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Before Sept. 11, 2001, Nonie Darwish led the quiet life of a suburbanite with three kids, a husband and a dog. She was semi-retired after 13 years as a claims adjuster and was spending her time with her family and remodeling her fairy-tale dream home in the San Fernando Valley. But...
  • Israelis build new traditions at L.A. seders

    April 17, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Nitzan and Shaul Barakan

    Nitzan and Shaul Barakan had to come all the way from Israel to the United States to learn words like "afikoman" and "seder plate."

    The couple, both born and raised on Kibbutz Kinneret, didn't have a clue that there is a haggadah that looks nothing like the...

  • Henna party adds colorful touch to the happy couple

    April 10, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Sareet Rimon grew up knowing she wanted to have a henna party when she got married. For the local singer it meant carrying on a Moroccan tradition that had been honored by her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

    "This is such a beautiful and spiritual ceremony and has such a...

  • L.A. displays eco efforts to Israeli delegation

    March 13, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    While visiting from Israel last week, Gil Yaakov got a lesson in Los Angeles' generosity.

    "The city gives away free trees to residents, which is great in fighting air pollution and at the same time helps with shading and beautifying the city," said Yaakov, director of Green Course,...