On Rosh Hashanah 2012, just a few weeks before the presidential election, Sinai Temple’s Rabbi David Wolpe offered his congregants a sermon titled “The Most Important Question in the World Today.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has earned a place on The Jewish Daily Forward’s annual list of 50 Jewish newsmakers of 2013.
When Michael Siegal, chairman of the board of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), addresses the umbrella organization’s upcoming General Assembly (GA) in Jerusalem on Nov. 10, he may very well be thinking about a constituency not likely to be present at the Jerusalem International Convention Center: America’s Jewish 5-year-olds.
During the 30 years Ed Edelman spent serving in public office — first as a member of Los Angeles City Council and then as a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors — he consistently fought on behalf of L.A.’s least fortunate residents.
In a private audience with Pope Francis on Oct. 24, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), urged the leader of the Catholic Church to confront the evil that exists in the world, even while praying and working for peace.
Now that the parade of Jewish holidays has passed, it’s time to start planning for the impending arrival of an unprecedented hybrid: “Thanksgivukah” is coming!
Of the approximately 5.3 million American adults who consider themselves Jewish, 22 percent say they have no religion, according to a new survey of American Jews conducted by the Pew Research Center and released on Oct. 1.
When talking about Elie Wiesel, who turns 85 on Sept. 30, it is far too easy to fall into a list of superlatives. As a child who survived Auschwitz and other concentration camps, Wiesel witnessed more death and more horrors than most human beings ever will. A onetime journalist who wrote for Hebrew- and Yiddish-language newspapers, starting in the 1950s, Wiesel has gone on to publish more books than most writers ever do, including “Night,” which has become the second-most widely read work of Holocaust literature in the world.
The Israeli American Council (IAC), the nonprofit umbrella organization that sponsors and supports various activities for Israeli-Americans and their families in Southern California, is launching an expansion effort aimed at replicating the IAC’s model across the country.
“People did not want to ascribe their Jewish values to giving,” said Lisa Farber Miller of the Rose Community Foundation, who observed the discussion of a focus group of donors in Denver, one of eight conducted as part of “Connected to Give.” “Their Jewish connections clearly made a difference, but they were really talking about how their family traditions, their grandmothers, their family members really influenced their giving.”
When Jews feels connected to their community, money will flow — to Jewish causes and elsewhere. That, in short, is the main finding of a broad new nationwide study of American Jewish philanthropy. Coordinated by Jumpstart, a Los Angeles-based think tank and incubator for innovative Jewish nonprofits, the study, titled “Connected to Give,” asked nearly 3,000 Jews across the United States about their giving habits.
Most Jews and Muslims rarely talk — really talk — to one another. This is as true in the United States as elsewhere, a stark reality despite our nation’s vast diversity and the ability of so many different peoples to coexist. It is true also in Los Angeles, a city of strong ethnic identities, long drives and even longer cultural memories.
Immigration Reform: Officially called “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” the Senate bill passed on June 26 with bipartisan support from 68 senators.
At 2 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, Amelia Barnachea waited in a copy shop in downtown Los Angeles, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. "I'm exercising," the diminutive Filipina-American home health aide explained, looking very spry for her 72 years.
Here’s a bit of good news for anyone looking for kosher steak to grill on the Fourth of July: Doheny Glatt Kosher Meat Market may reopen within weeks.
In March 2011, Hatzolah of Los Angeles, the Orthodox Jewish volunteer emergency response corps, celebrated its 10th anniversary in this city.
This coming Friday, it will have been six months since a shooter armed with an assault rifle killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The same day also will mark one week since another gunman, using the same type of gun, killed five in a rampage that ended at Santa Monica College (SMC).
When it comes to sending international aid abroad, Israel and its citizens give less than most other developed free-market economies, according to a new report.
Rabbi Laura Geller, a spiritual leader at the Reform Temple Emanuel Beverly Hills, knows firsthand about the restrictions on non-Orthodox Jewish women’s prayer at the Western Wall.
The Rabbinical Council of California (RCC), a local nonprofit consortium of Orthodox rabbis, has brought in two national kosher organizations to review the restaurants in Los Angeles under its supervision.
The Russian-born Israeli Natan Sharansky, 65, a former member of the Knesset and now chair of the Jewish Agency, visited Los Angeles last week, hosted jointly by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills.
Muslims and Jews Inspiring Change (MAJIC), a program that brings together Jewish and Muslim high school students for a yearlong fellowship, has been named the faith-based organization of the year by California Volunteers, the state office charged with encouraging Californians to engage in service and volunteering.
Schwartz Bakery, a kosher bakery and caterer with six retail locations across Los Angeles, has dropped the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) as its kosher certifier.
Over the past decade, as anti-Israel demonstrations have become a regular occurrence on many U.S. college campuses, Jewish nonprofits and individuals have turned to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) for relief, and with some success. They convinced the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), for one, to investigate anti-Israel speech and actions at three University of California campuses, arguing that such speech is tantamount to anti-Semitism and violates the civil rights of Jewish students.
Less than two months after a private investigator videotaped the owner of Doheny Glatt Kosher Meat Market allegedly bringing unsupervised animal products into his store, two local kosher restaurants have dropped the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) as their glatt kosher certifier.
After 15 months, the nonprofit pro-Israel Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has regained its tax-exempt status.
Hundreds gathered in Beverly Hills on April 28 to hear from John Hagee, the Evangelical pastor who founded Christians United for Israel (CUFI), at the organization’s second annual Night to Honor Israel in Los Angeles.
At 9:45 on a recent Sunday morning, Gil Garcetti stepped into an alcove in the secondary dining room at Canter’s Deli.
When the first bomb went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Bruce Mendelsohn was partying in an office overlooking Boylston Street. The blast knocked him off of his seat.
Fifteen years ago, Shlomo Rechnitz co-founded TwinMed, a wholesaler of medical supplies serving nursing homes. Since then, Rechnitz has founded, or bought, and grown a number of other businesses, including Brius Healthcare, now the largest operator of nursing homes in California.
In the first debate between the two remaining Los Angeles mayoral candidates, City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti attempted to convince voters there are significant differences between them, even as the two veteran politicians took identical positions on one issue after another.
When veteran social worker Debbie Fox’s name appeared in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald on April 10, the story about her claimed she was doing the unthinkable: protecting a known abuser of children.
For the second time in two weeks, the ownership of Doheny Glatt Kosher Meat Market might be changing hands.
Ever since March 24, when the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) revoked Doheny Glatt Kosher Meat Market’s kosher certification, the nonprofit consortium of Orthodox rabbis has been trying to explain to kosher observant Jews in Los Angeles what went wrong, why they responded the way they did and what they’ll do differently in the future.
Shlomo Rechnitz, a prominent local businessman and philanthropist, has purchased Doheny Glatt Kosher Meat Market, the scandal-plagued kosher meat retailer and distributor.
On Thursday, March 7, at 6:10 a.m., a van and an SUV sit in adjacent parking spaces, in the lot of a McDonald’s near the junction of the 101 and the 405 freeways, their rear lift-gates open.
Thirty years ago, in 1983, Rabbi Pinchas Gruman, an esteemed scholar of Jewish texts who also holds a doctorate in philosophy, was the chair of the Rabbinical Council of California’s (RCC) committee dedicated to enforcing Jewish dietary law at establishments under its supervision.
Trust lies at the center of the business of kosher food, and earlier this week, in what is certainly the biggest kosher scandal to hit Los Angeles in 20 years, the trust many kosher consumers placed in Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats, a market on Pico Boulevard in the heart of L.A.’s most prominent Orthodox neighborhood, was shattered.
On a recent Saturday morning, at Congregation Mogen David’s Ashkenazic Shabbat service, a blond-haired girl in a shimmery pink sundress tugged at the fringes of a man’s tallit (prayer shawl). The tallit belonged to Alex Katz, and he tried to ignore her entreaties as he led 90 people in the social hall in the prayer for the United States.
The Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) abruptly revoked its certification from Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats on March 24, but the RCC, Los Angeles’s leading kosher oversight agency, had first heard about the distributor’s suspicious practices years earlier.
In the first two weeks of March, student governments at two University of California campuses — UC Riverside and UC San Diego (UCSD) — voted to approve resolutions urging their campus administrations and the University of California as a whole to divest from companies doing business in the West Bank.
The Pew Research Center is conducting a nationwide survey of Jewish-Americans.
When it comes to stemming the proliferation of hate speech on social media, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, likes Facebook’s attitude.
“Philanthropy is what you’ll be remembered for,” Jewish Funders Network (JFN) President Andrés Spokoiny told the 400 attendees at the Beverly Hilton on March 18, the first full day of the group’s annual conference. “Philanthropy is your legacy.”
Jewish leaders around the world welcomed Wednesday’s selection of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Bergoglio, 76, who took the name Francis upon his selection, has been the archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998 and is the first from the Americas to lead the Catholic Church.
These are tough times for people hoping for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
When the chief executive officer of the Israeli Leadership Council announced at the group’s March 10 gala that the nonprofit’s name is changing to the Israeli American Council (IAC), the reaction from the 900 people in attendance was modest. As animations of the group’s new logo flashed on screens around the Beverly Hilton ballroom, polite applause briefly drowned out the clink of silverware against plates.
In the ongoing debate over proposed laws aimed at reducing gun violence, the main decision-makers work in Washington, D.C. In cities and state capitols across the country, legislators, advocates and lobbyists push for new limits on gun ownership or advocate for a broad interpretation of the constitutionally protected right to bear arms.
This year, for the first time since 2008, February came and went without a LimmudLA conference.
After the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica and its owner, Tehmina Adaya, were found guilty in August of discriminating against a group of Jews who had come to a party held on the hotel pool’s deck, Steven Goldberg, national vice chair of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), announced his group’s intention to protest outside the hotel.
Probably the greatest impact of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $1 million gift last week to the Coalition for School Reform, an independent political group supporting a slate of three reform-minded candidates for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board seats, was on the potential for re-election by LAUSD board member Steve Zimmer.
Responding to petitions signed by hundreds of their members, the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) — the state’s two largest pension plans — have become enmeshed in the battle to persuade American companies to divest from Israel’s West Bank.
Los Angeles’ next mayor will oversee a city with thousands of miles of streets in need of repair. The mayor will inherit a budget with a $216 million shortfall and similar-sized gaps expected on into the future. The next mayor will almost certainly have to renegotiate public employees’ pay and pension packages with those employees’ powerful unions.
Looking back on her three decades of work in and around Los Angeles’ public sector, it would be easy to conclude that Wendy Greuel has been preparing to run for mayor for a long time.
Before delivering an extended policy speech on Feb. 5 at Los Angeles Trade Tech College, Emanuel Pleitez walked around a carpentry classroom meeting students. Pleitez (pronounced play-TEZ), 30, is the youngest and least-known of the leading candidates running for Los Angeles mayor; he is also a former management consultant and analyst at Goldman Sachs, but as he chatted with students about where they were from, he offered up anecdotes about his own childhood, growing up poor in South and East Los Angeles.
During a recent candidates’ forum at Sinai Temple, Los Angeles City Councilman and mayoral hopeful Eric Garcetti began his opening statement by thanking his hosts, the audience, and the moderator, Rabbi David Wolpe.
A California appeals court has affirmed a lower court’s ruling denying a claim from Chabad of California Inc. of an $18-million pledge the local Jewish nonprofit group said was promised to it by philanthropist Roland Arnall. Chabad said Arnall promised to donate the money before his death in 2008.
On the same day former Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s choice for Defense Secretary, was being grilled in the Senate for having referred to pro-Israel advocates as the “Jewish lobby,” newly elected U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) said that he hadn’t been contacted by any advocates for the Jewish state in his first weeks on the job.
Following a recent televised debate featuring the five top candidates running for mayor of Los Angeles, some campaign watchers wondered why the candidates weren’t being grilled more intensely. “It was genteel, for the most part, but I don’t want genteel,” Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez wrote in a blog on Jan. 29. “I want hardball, not softball.”
As the race for Los Angeles mayor heats up, many descriptors have been applied to Kevin James, one of the least-known of the leading candidates. A former radio talk show host who has worked as an attorney for 25 years, James is a fiscally conservative gay Republican. But in introducing himself to voters who will choose the city’s next mayor, James has emphasized one qualification above all: His status as an outsider.
Young Israel-affiliated synagogues can now resign from the umbrella organization of Orthodox synagogues without fear of their assets being seized, thanks to an amendment to the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) constitution adopted by its members on Jan. 29.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has given a green light to a proposal for a dual-language charter elementary school to be located in Van Nuys offering classes in English and Hebrew.
Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR offered blessings on Jan. 22 at the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., which traditionally is held the day following the official inauguration.
When the Muslim part-owner of a Santa Monica boutique hotel was found guilty last year of discriminating against a group of Jewish patrons, the hotel announced it would host a party for a Jewish group as part of its efforts to repair its reputation.
In a speech about the relationship between Israel and the United States delivered in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, Jan. 15, Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., drew on his expertise as a historian of the Middle East to illustrate the strength of the alliance between the two countries.
In his three-and-a-half years as Los Angeles’ City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich has made headlines — and more than a few enemies — by directing some of his office’s 450 lawyers to prosecute ticket scalpers and Occupy L.A. protesters, as well as by drafting controversial city ordinances governing storefront marijuana dispensaries and vigorously pursuing people who put up illegal billboards.
In court papers filed Jan. 7, attorneys for the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica and its owner allege that of 12 members on the jury that unanimously found their clients guilty of discriminating in 2010 against a group of Jewish patrons, one juror concealed her own Jewishness during jury selection.
After 30 years, the last day in Congress for Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys) was Jan. 2. Unlike some other veteran lawmakers who left office this year — including Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), who penned a retrospective op-ed in The New York Times on his final day, and former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who told his own story during a 20-minute speech to a mostly empty Senate chamber in December — Berman appears to have made no such public pronouncements.
On Jan. 3, in the first mayoral debate of 2013, Congregation Beth Jacob hosted five candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Los Angeles.
When Joel Lipton, who has been a professional photographer for almost 30 years, first started shooting events for Big Sunday, at the time a one-day, annual volunteer event, he initially had some second thoughts about just how much the clicks of his camera were helping.
On Dec. 25, at its international convention in Boston, United Synagogue Youth (USY), the Conservative movement’s 20,000-member youth group, elected Michael Sacks, a senior at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, as its new international president. The next day, Sacks and 30 other USY members from the Far West region joined a crowd of more than 1,000 — most of them teenage members of the youth group — in Boston’s Copley Square for a rally to end gun violence.
The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica and its partial-owner, Tehmina Adaya, who in August 2012 were found guilty in a jury trial of unlawfully discriminating against a group of young Jews, have begun the process of requesting a new trial. Attorneys for Adaya and the hotel filed three motions in California Superior Court on Dec. 24, including one outlining what they call legal defects in the previous judgment and another declaring their intent to request a new trial. A hearing on these motions is set for Jan. 31.
When All Saints Church in Pasadena announced that it would host the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s (MPAC) 12th annual convention as part of its efforts toward “interfaith peacemaking,” the Episcopal church that was founded in 1883 became the target of hate mail and attacks.
Who should worry about the looming package of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that will hit this nation if Congress cannot come to a deal to avoid what has come to be known as the “fiscal cliff?”
The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH), which moved into a new $20 million building in 2010, is seeking a new executive director.
After seeing footage of the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy, which struck the East Coast in late October, Shlomo Rechnitz, a Los Angeles-based businessman and philanthropist, donated $1 million to Torah Umesorah to help restore Jewish day schools flooded during the storm, as well as to help some of the individual families whose houses were damaged.
After weeks that saw Richard Bloom’s lead in the race for the Westside’s new 50th Assembly District both grow and shrink, the former Santa Monica mayor was sworn in as a member of the California State Assembly on Dec. 3.
This year on Chanukah, before Chabad of Santa Monica can light its two 12-foot-tall, propane-fueled menorahs in Palisades Park and on the Third Street Promenade, Rabbi Isaac Levitansky has to procure two pickup trucks to cart the menorahs to and from their spots.
Late last month, I was in Breezy Point, the isolated beachfront neighborhood in Queens, N.Y., that has become an iconic image for the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), after winning re-election in a bitter fight against Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys), has abandoned his pursuit of his rival’s old position as ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
In 2006, after leading the search for a new dean for the Los Angeles campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), Steven Windmueller was himself awarded the position, becoming the first non-rabbi dean of an HUC-JIR campus.
Orit Arfa, executive director of the Zionist Organization of America’s (ZOA) Western Region, was fired from her job on Nov. 19, one day after she addressed a crowd at a pro-Israel rally in Los Angeles that she helped organize, telling the crowd she was “proud” to work for the ZOA.
Todd Gindy, a certified financial planner, likes to tell a story about Johnny Carson to illustrate how nonprofits miss a big opportunity when they don’t suggest donors use life insurance policies as a vehicle for charitable giving. For years, the longtime host of “The Tonight Show” gave $1 million every year to Children of the Night, an organization founded by Dr. Lois Lee to rescue child victims of sex trafficking.
Four Angelenos are among the 50 American Jews selected by the Forward newspaper for its annual list of newsmakers, which was published on the New York-based newspaper’s Web site on Nov. 12.
Since Election Day, when Richard Bloom closed out the night with a slim lead of 218 votes over his opponent, incumbent Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, in the race for the 50th Assembly District, the mayor of Santa Monica has found himself in an unusual position.