Jewish Journal

Joel Kotkin

  • The Diaspora may be moving, but it isn’t going away any time soon

    November 10, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    When Howard Grossman moved to the northeastern Pennsylvania town of Wilkes-Barre 35 years ago, it was a thriving industrial city with a substantial, long-established Jewish community. Today, anyone who visits Wilkes-Barre cannot help but come away with the impression that this town...
  • Hooray for Holy-wood

    December 8, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    When the media or politicians chatter about Los Angeles' urban resurgence, they usually refer to such things as $700,000 lofts in downtown Los Angeles, grandiose projects like the proposed Grand Avenue development, million-dollar postage stamp lots on the Westside, clubs on Sunset...

  • U.S. Left May Be Turning Against Israel

    August 18, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    For years, American Jews, including liberals, have watched in astonishment as Europe's left-wing media, academic and political elites have turned decisively against Israel and, to some extent, Jews, as well.

    Now it may well be America's turn, at least according to a recent survey by...

  • ‘Little Flower’ Could Help Antonio Bloom

    May 26, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Dear Antonio,

    I imagine you are enjoying the hoopla surrounding your election. As the first Latino chief executive in more than 130 years, it may be tempting to bask in the warmth of a great ethnic triumph.

    But don't enjoy it too much. Los Angeles does not need a symbol or an icon;...

  • When Jews Lose

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    The narrow defeat of mayoral candidate Robert Hertzberg marked a signal defeat not only for Los Angeles but for the future of Jewish influence in Los Angeles. For the second time in four years, Los Angeles voters turned down a smart, moderate Jewish candidate -- last time it was...

  • Vote May Be First to Blur Ethnic Lines

    February 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    For more than a generation, racial and ethnic politics have dominated Los Angeles' mayoral elections. That is, perhaps, until this year, which might be the first election of Los Angeles' emerging post-ethnic era.

    Although no doubt frustrating to the various candidates, this...

  • Lighten Up on Christmas and Christians

    December 23, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    Even in relatively tolerant and officially secular America, Jews long have had to do a dance around the holidays of the majority population. There's a national party going on and, let's face it, we are not invited.

    The issue then is how to deal with it. There seems to be three...

  • Bush or Kerry?

    March 25, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    America's Jews face a difficult choice in this year's election. For many, the Bush administration symbolizes the kind of yahoo Republicanism -- shaped by evangelical Christianity and the South -- that grates on the sensibilities of a highly urbanized and socially liberal community.


  • Out of Sight, Out of Power?

    October 30, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    The forced retirement of Gov. Gray Davis, and the shattering of the Democratic one-party government in California, marks a major turning point in the political evolution of the state's Jews. For the first time in a decade, the state's liberal Jewish elite finds itself widely outside...

  • The Cost of Latinization

    October 2, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    For the most part, Jewish leadership in Los Angeles and elsewhere can be expected to oppose the recall of longtime "ally" Gov. Gray Davis and, in a pinch, support his Mini-Me proposed replacement, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (see page 12). "Go along to get along" expediency and...

  • GOP Missing Chance to Attract Jews

    July 24, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    An Israeli diplomat once remarked famously that the Palestinians "never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to make peace. Much the same, it appears, is true in the efforts of the Republican Party, particularly here in California, to reach out to the Jewish community.


  • War Marks Defining Moment for Jews

    April 3, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    The current war with Iraq marks a defining moment in the lives of American Jews and their lives in this country. For generations, Jews have lived, for the most part, on the left-wing edge of the American commonwealth.

    They have been -- in Hollywood, in the political world, academia...

  • Memories of Iraq

    February 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    His Hebrew name is David, but he still goes by his Arabic nickname of Naji. At 82, he sits at a table at the Luxe Hotel in Los Angeles and recalls a life and a civilization now gone, an Iraq that will never be again.

    "When I left Baghdad in 1951," Naji Harkham recalled of the day he...

  • Jews Stick to Their Turf

    January 2, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Philosopher Martin Buber once wrote that Jews had a "vocation of uniqueness."

    However much Jews may differ around the world, for most of their history, and in most places, they have always been somewhat apart from others in their attitudes, how they live and cope with changing...

  • When Shepherds Desert Their Flocks

    October 31, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The conflict over Valley secession reflects the growing gap between rabbis and the actual reality their flocks experience.

    With few exceptions, the rabbinate seems to be totally aghast at the notion of dividing Los Angeles into two cities. Prominent rabbis, including Mark Diamond,...

  • Hahn’s Most Important Choice

    September 19, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    The Hahn administration, whose tenure has been marked by an often unnecessarily divisive campaign against secession, now faces a far more important decision: the choice of a new police chief. Nothing the mayor and his advisers do in the next three years will be more important to both...

  • Is France Anti-Semitic?

    August 8, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    It has become something of a cliché among Jews here in America, and in Israel as well, that Europe is now experiencing a virulent new wave of anti-Semitism. The Europeans are certainly well-practiced at the art of Jew-hating and the overly anti-Israel tilt of the Continent's...

  • Can Bob Hertzberg Save L.A.?

    July 11, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    On a drizzly morning, with the city just opening its eyes, Bob Hertzberg is sitting at Solley's Delicatessen in Sherman Oaks. Even before having his coffee, he seems animated, even agitated, by his great new project: how to save Los Angeles.

    To Hertzberg, speaker emeritus of the...

  • The Christian Right, Conservatism and the Jews

    June 6, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    For generations, Jews have viewed religious conservatives with a combination of fear and disdain. Yet the recent events in the Middle East -- and the steadfast support given Israel by religious conservatives -- has gone a long way to correcting many often exaggerated, if not...

  • Breaking the Media Monopoly

    May 16, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Jews aren't the only Angelenos dissatisfied with the Los Angeles Times. Indeed, for the first time in a generation, that dissatisfaction may actually produce something akin to competition for the most dominant newspaper west of Chicago.

    Today speculation centers on the efforts of...

  • Ten Years After: The Jews Remain

    April 25, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Recent events in the Middle East have been enough to make anyone pessimistic about the future of ethnic relations. But the situation here in Los Angeles -- 10 years after the disastrous riots of April 1992 -- gives some hope that racial reconciliation still has a future.

    It is hard...

  • The First Jewish Governor?

    March 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    For years he has been a presence in the Jewish community, listening, cajoling and, more than anything else, raising money. And today he is on the verge not only of winning re-election to the governor's mansion, but the beginnings of a political drive whose ultimate aim is the White...

  • Religion, Rabbis and Reform

    February 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The San Fernando Valley secession movement faces almost total opposition from Los Angeles' political, civic, academic and media establishments. But over the coming weeks, it is likely to be taking flak from the city's religious elite, too.

    Among those likely to be weighing in against...

  • The L.A. Image

    January 17, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The best thing about David Lehrer's firing as head of the local Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has been the local reaction, which has done more to awaken Los Angeles' Jewish leadership than anything in recent memory. The worst thing about Lehrer's firing: That the ADL's New York...

  • What’s Ahead for L.A.‘s Jewish Economy?

    November 22, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    The current recession, deepened nationwide by the Sept. 11 disaster, will hit Los Angeles' Jewish community like many others. It will have an impact on everything from charitable contributions and bank accounts of the super-rich to the household economies of hundreds of thousands of...

  • A New Reality for Jews

    October 11, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    The launching of a retaliatory war for the twin destruction of the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon marks a watershed event for all Americans, but for none more than the Jewish community. It could mark the end of an era of liberal innocence for America's Jews and redirect...

  • A New World View

    September 20, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Much of what has been said about the twin disasters in New York and Washington, D.C, last week holds validity. Spiritual revival, national unity and steely resolve are all, in themselves, excellent responses to the recent disturbances.

    But what has not been discussed is anything that...

  • A City of No Rules

    June 7, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    This week's stunning election results marked not so much the end of political regime, but the beginning of a new one. After decades of politics dominated by racial and ideological coalitions, the city's new politics reflect a growing diversity not only between groups but among them.


  • Shape of Things

    April 19, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    The spirit of the Jewish left is cackling these days. At a time when the Jews' world leader is Ariel Sharon and many of the people's most well-known luminaries here in America are identified with resurgent Reaganism -- from Dennis Prager and Michael Medved to William Kristol -- the...

  • Linking Up Our Community

    November 19, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    For much of their history, Jews have been the masters of networking. Even before the destruction of the Second Temple, far-flung Jewish communities, usually through itinerant traders traveling precariously across the Mediterranean and land routes, maintained sophisticated...
  • Opinion

    August 27, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Clinton, Lewinsky and the Jews

    By Joel Kotkin

    Arthur Hertzberg, arguably one of America's most prominent rabbis and Jewish intellectuals, has been a familiar guest at every White House since Lyndon...

  • Jewish Vocational Service

    July 30, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Fifteen years ago, when he was 16, Sandra Lanza's son Mark, received his first job through Jewish Vocational Service. It was a summer position he landed with the help of a program then called "Project Gelt." Now his mother is following Mark's example and seeking help at JVS as well....
  • Cover Story

    June 18, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    The recent revelations about the South OrangeCounty Community College District's desire to offer a course that, inpart, blames the Mossad and the Anti-Defamation League for theassassination of President John F. Kennedy read something like a badclipping from the area's far-right past.


  • Opinion

    May 28, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Gray Davis

    On the surface, Gray Davis -- with his immaculately combed hair, preppy suits and almost mannequin-like WASPy demeanor -- seems like the Gentile from central casting. Yet it's likely no...

  • The Racialization of

    May 7, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Last week, President Clinton diverted himself fromfending off scandal and defaming his accusers to denounce the Unzinitiative, Proposition 227, which is designed to end the currentsystem of bilingual education. In the process, he may havecontributed to the growing, and potentially...
  • L.A.‘s Ultimate Power Broker

    December 11, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Eli Broad (left) is the primary moving force behind thefinancing of the downtown Disney Concert Hall designed by architectFrank Gehry, lining up corporations to drop megabucks into theproject..

    For most of this century, Los Angeles has been a city of twoelites -- one predominately...

  • A Stitch in Time May Save Jobs

    November 6, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    For generations of my own family, and many Jewish families, thegarment industry long has been a source of employment andentrepreneurial opportunity. Yet, in recent weeks, some local Jewishactivists, led by the American Jewish Congress, have been making theshmatte business and its...

  • Jewish Survival

    October 23, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    As a young man going to Hebrew school back East, Ioften felt that a diaspora Jew was like a neutral country in WorldWar II -- a sideline observer of the great consuming drama occuringback in the Middle East. With an insight perhaps made clearer byinexperience, it seemed to me that...

  • Beyond the Orange Curtain

    September 11, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    The recent revelations about the South OrangeCounty Community College District's desire to offer a course that, inpart, blames the Mossad and the Anti-Defamation League for theassassination of President John F. Kennedy read something like a badclipping from the area's far-right past.


  • Revitalizing Our Past and Future in Pico-Union

    August 21, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Among these earlier settlers were many Jewish families, who, notinterested in joining the growing ersatz shtetl up in Boyle Heights,built their graceful homes in the tony new district.

    "That area was for the more affluent families -- it wasn'tworking-class like Boyle Heights," says...

  • Disney, Boycotts and the Hollywood Elite

    July 24, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    It's hard to feel sorry for the Walt Disney Company, a multibillion-dollar mouse-forged empire that seems to own a part of most children's hearts, including that of my own 2 1/2-year-old. Yet, in recent weeks, the venerable Burbank entertainment giant has been subjected to two major...
  • Bilingual Blues

    June 19, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Here we go again. For the third time in four years, Californians are about to be treated to another racially tinged slugfest, this time over bilingual education.

    Slated for the June 1998 ballot, the measure -- called "English for Children" -- would direct California's educational...