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Jewish Journal

David Suissa

  • Obama loves the wrong Israel

    2 days ago

    Every time I hear President Barack Obama tell us how much he loves Israel, I feel like asking him: Which one?

    Apparently, he’s not too crazy about the current Israel. The Israel that owns his heart is the one from before 1967, when the Jewish state was a noble little nation...

  • Reflections on life and death

    1 week ago

    Is there anything in life more dramatic than death? Can anything, in fact, be more dramatic than absolute finality? We experience many deaths in life — the death of a marriage, a friendship, a business, a dream — but it’s the loss of life itself that holds maximum drama. A life...

  • Tough love for Israel: Outrage in Rehovot

    2 weeks ago

    With the Celebrate Israel Festival coming up this Sunday at Rancho Park, I thought it’d be an ideal time to write a love letter expressing my unabashed and unconditional attachment to Israel. But as much as I’d still like to do that, that column will have to wait for another week,...

  • Why give Muslims a Pass?

    3 weeks ago

    If a Christian fundamentalist holds a provocative conference attacking abortion and two violent liberal protesters show up and start shooting, do we accuse the preacher of being too provocative and igniting the violence?

    If a Muslim preacher gives a nasty public sermon calling...

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  • How Do You Stay Jewish?

    April 30, 2015 | 9:34 am

    In the Modern Orthodox world, parents don’t like to hear the letters OTD. They stand for “off the derech,” off the path (of Torah), meaning your kid has decided to leave the religious world. It happens more frequently than you might think.

    Sometimes a kid goes to college, hears a...

  • God comes to Pico—for therapy

    April 23, 2015 | 10:40 am

    The presence of God can always be felt on Pico Boulevard. On Shabbat and other holidays, you can pray to God in about 40 different synagogues, and during the week, there are plenty of classes and lectures throughout the neighborhood that explore the Torah and God’s role in our...

  • Obama is selling us a lemon

    April 10, 2015 | 1:11 pm

    It’s easy to be lulled or seduced by President Barack Obama’s confident demeanor. He always appears so reasonable. 

    Obama will need all of his persuasive powers to sell us on his “framework” agreement with Iran because the agreement is a lemon — a dangerous lemon.

    At its best,...

  • Lassana Bathily: The Muslim who saved French Jews

    April 9, 2015 | 2:41 pm

    Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of Lassana Bathily, a French-speaking African-born Muslim, just 24, whom I met on his recent visit to Los Angeles.

    It’s early Friday afternoon on Jan. 9, and Bathily is at work at the Hyper Cacher market in Paris, where he has been living since...

  • My Passover lesson: Don’t wait for God

    April 8, 2015 | 1:57 pm

    The Jewish people didn’t bring down the Ten Plagues on Pharaoh, nor did they split the Red Sea, which enabled them to escape Pharaoh’s soldiers some 3,300 years ago. These were God’s miracles, which we all celebrate during Passover.

    This year, I found those miracles a little...

  • Let’s leave Obama out of our seders

    April 1, 2015 | 11:16 am

    Jews have big mouths. Put those big mouths in a society that reveres freedom of speech and it’s a sight to behold. On the whole, it’s a wonderful attribute. We analyze everything, we criticize endlessly, we kvetch, we yell, we do everything but shut up. It’s as if we’re taking...

  • Israelis are not that weird

    March 19, 2015 | 1:07 pm

    Peace lovers everywhere are depressed about all those Israelis who voted for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Some of these peace lovers are in near hysterics because, well, they're so sure of themselves. They're sure that a vote for Bibi was a vote against peace, and that a vote...

  • Israel: Democracy in action

    March 16, 2015 | 12:00 pm

    The messy and chaotic atmosphere that has permeated the election season in Israel has made it easy to overlook one simple fact – Israel’s neighbors are jealous of this very mess.

    "We really envy the Israelis,” a veteran Palestinian journalist told Khaled Abu Toameh of the...

  • UCLA Jews: Stop fighting and start winning

    March 11, 2015 | 4:55 pm

    When someone punches you in the face, there are three ways you can fight back: One, you can punch him back. Two, you can complain to authorities. Three, you can drive him crazy.

    Unfortunately, pro-Israel groups on U.S. campuses are very good at complaining, but very bad at...

  • Where is Obama’s grand vision?

    March 5, 2015 | 12:17 pm

    For a man who got elected on grand visions and “hope” and “change,” President Barack Obama has brought little hope to the people of the Middle East.

    Obama’s first move was grand enough, when he reached out to Muslim and Arab leaders with an apologetic speech in Cairo. The...

  • Bibi to Congress: Don’t be suckers

    March 3, 2015 | 12:22 pm

    As I watched from the press gallery in Congress on Tuesday morning as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu let loose with a cry of the heart, one thought kept popping up: If Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is watching this, he must be very, very happy that he’s not...

  • Bibi’s speech to Congress: Watch out for the details

    March 2, 2015 | 6:17 pm

    Don’t let anyone tell you that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday is not important, or, as President Barack Obama put it on Monday, a “distraction.” It’s hardly that. It’s more like a piece of history.

    First, as the hour approaches, we’re...

  • On Iran, we must listen more carefully to Obama’s promise

    March 2, 2015 | 8:15 am

    For years now, President Barack Obama and his representatives have passionately championed this one promise to the pro-Israel community: We will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. Period.

    We heard it again on Monday morning, when U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power...

  • Obama: Honoring Iran, dissing Israel

    March 1, 2015 | 11:12 am

    While all eyes will be on Bibigate this week, there's another drama brewing in Washington that's even more consequential. This is a new bill introduced on Friday that would give the U.S. Congress the power to approve or kill any nuclear deal President Obama makes with Iran.

    The...

  • At UCLA, the power of negative emotions

    February 26, 2015 | 4:28 pm

    For several years now, a nasty anti-Israel group called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has bludgeoned Israel’s image on college campuses. They take no prisoners. They have little interest in polite and civil debate. They are lethal at manipulating the college bureaucracy...

  • Shaming the murderers

    February 25, 2015 | 1:59 pm

    A religious Muslim who murders an innocent person in the name of the Quran desecrates his own religion. I wish that idea had been the theme of last week’s White House Conference on Violent Extremism. 

    Instead, President Barack Obama went out of his way to take religion out of...

  • How Bibi could surprise the world

    February 18, 2015 | 10:02 am

    When the eyes of the world are on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu on March 3 as he speaks to the U.S. Congress, he’ll have an opportunity to shock them all – Congressmen, Israeli voters, the foreign press, European leaders, Arab dictators, the United Nations and...

  • Why Bibi should give his speech

    February 11, 2015 | 11:30 am

    Like many other American Jews, I’ve had serious reservations about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s decision to speak to Congress on March 3, against the wishes of President Barack Obama. I’m in that camp of Israel supporters who are obsessed with keeping the most...

  • What ever happened to Limmud in LA?

    February 4, 2015 | 10:47 am

    I used to love this time of year. I’d count the days until Presidents Day weekend, when hundreds of us would trek down to the Costa Mesa Hilton for LimmudLA’s three-day celebration of everything Jewish. I’d pack up the SUV, pick up the kids early from school on Friday and get on...

  • Showdown on the Beltway

    January 28, 2015 | 10:15 am

    Do you know why the whole Bibi-Obama-Boehner-Iran mess gives me such a headache? There are too many moving parts: Bibi shouldn’t tick off Obama; Obama should be tougher on Iran; Boehner shouldn’t go behind Obama’s back; Bibi shouldn’t interfere with American politics; Obama...

  • Would I leave France?

    January 21, 2015 | 1:48 pm

    When we discussed the cover headline for the Journal’s story this week on the troubled Jews of France, we debated two options: “Should Jews leave?” or “Would you leave?” The first option was about “them,” while the second was more about us.

    In the end, we went for clarity and...

  • Tough love for Islam

    January 13, 2015 | 3:32 pm

    We’re conditioned to respect all religions. But what happens when we’re confronted with a religion that looks more like a political ideology? When I criticize Islam, I don’t criticize its spiritual beauty; I criticize the fact that in too many places around the world, the religion...

  • British Jewry:  A tale of two stories

    January 7, 2015 | 3:55 pm

    Is England good or bad for the Jews? Well, it depends on which Cohen you listen to — Danny Cohen or Shimon Cohen.

    Danny Cohen, a senior executive with the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) who’s been called one of the most influential figures in British television, caused a stir...

  • Charlie Hebdo and the freedom to offend

    January 7, 2015 | 12:07 pm

    “We are avenging Mohammed!” the attackers shouted as they went about their murderous business against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris Wednesday morning, as can be seen on witness videos. Once again, Islamic terrorists responded violently to a routine ritual of...

  • Harold Schulweis: Founder of a Big Judaism

    December 24, 2014 | 10:43 am

    "I'm having trouble with the past tense,” Rabbi Uri Herscher said as he began his eulogy for his close friend Rabbi Harold Schulweis, who died on Dec. 18 at 89. With about 1,500 mourners looking on in the main sanctuary of Valley Beth Shalom (VBS), the synagogue Schulweis led for...

  • Obama: I’m Jewish ‘in my soul’

    December 17, 2014 | 8:07 pm

    "What will you tell the President when you see him?" was my daughter Eva's first reaction when I told her I'd been invited to the White House Channukah party (Actually, it was her second reaction. Her first was, "Take me!"). Kids are innocent that way. They don't realize that when...

  • Punishing Bennett won’t bring peace

    December 17, 2014 | 5:20 pm

    People do crazy things when they get desperate and run out of ideas. That’s the first thought that came to mind after I read that a group of pro-Israel academics have decided that the best way to help the comatose Israeli-Palestinian peace process is to stop people like Naftali...

  • Chanukah: The Twitter holiday?

    December 10, 2014 | 1:56 pm

    Chanukah is both the most powerful and most precarious of Jewish holidays. For one thing, the simple act of lighting Chanukah candles and making them visible to the outside world symbolizes the greatest lesson in Judaism — the call for the Jewish people to be a light unto the...

  • Sfenj: Tough to pronounce, easy to eat

    December 4, 2014 | 1:23 pm

    This recipe is my little Chanukah gift to all my Ashkenazi friends, who never got to wake up on Sunday mornings in Casablanca to the smell of the world’s greatest doughnuts — my mother’s sfenj. You won’t find these hot, doughy marvels at Krispy Kreme or any of those trendy new...

  • Let’s be thankful for our imperfect legal system

    November 26, 2014 | 5:19 pm

    Imagine being the mother of one of the 200,000 people murdered in Syria over the past few years. As you grieve for your lost child, you empathize with the countless others who have suffered untold massacres in your chaotic and lawless country.

    One day, in a rundown local café on...

  • The Chabad secret

    November 26, 2014 | 10:13 am

  • Israel needs a bigger message

    November 25, 2014 | 8:54 am

    I’m repulsed by these anti-Israel groups on college campuses that pretend to care about oppressed people in the Middle East. They don’t. What they really care about is undermining Israel. Groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, for example, have no interest in engaging in a...

  • Why Judaism needs journalism

    November 20, 2014 | 12:28 pm

    There’s a tendency in the Jewish world to look for big solutions to big problems. One of those problems is the disheartening fact that most Jews today are simply not that interested in Judaism.

    This problem isn’t made up — it’s real. We live in a world where the options are so...

  • Celebrating the murder of Jews

    November 18, 2014 | 4:56 pm

    What happens when extremism dominates a whole society?

    When I saw thousands of Palestinian civilians celebrating the cold-blooded murder of four rabbis praying in a synagogue, I had to ask myself: Could I ever imagine thousands of Jews celebrating the murder of four Muslim sheiks...

  • Israelis in the U.S.A.

    November 11, 2014 | 2:31 pm

    When your ancestors yearned for 19 centuries to return to their homeland of Israel, and you were fortunate enough to be born there but still decide to move to America, it’s natural that somewhere deep inside, you might feel a little guilty. How could you not? Regardless of how...

  • Jennifer’s power

    November 4, 2014 | 5:26 pm

    How do you deal with a future that you know for sure is going to get worse? That was the question on my mind when I met Jennifer, a mother of two who has a rare neuromuscular disease called hereditary inclusion body myopathy (HIBM). I was introduced to Jennifer (she asked me not to...

  • Israel must export self-criticism

    October 29, 2014 | 3:09 pm

    It was unsettling to hear Israeli President Reuven Rivlin say last week, “The time has come to admit that Israel is a sick society, with an illness that demands treatment.”

    Rivlin was referring to the resurgence of animosity between Israeli Arabs and Jews in the wake of the Gaza...

  • Power to the table

    October 20, 2014 | 5:59 pm

    While we were having our meals in the sukkah this year, I kept thinking about another holiday. This is odd because Sukkot has a strong and distinctive personality. The very idea of building a sukkah is unusual. For eight days, this little hut is the center of our lives, which, in...

  • Max Webb, one second at a time

    October 14, 2014 | 1:08 pm

    It’s hard to imagine how, or why, a wealthy 97-year-old man would make the effort to go through hundreds of invoices for his building company and sign all the checks himself. It’s even harder to imagine him catching mistakes and telling his bookkeeper things like, “I think this one...

  • Should I talk to my enemies?

    October 7, 2014 | 10:03 am

    As I went through the long, exhausting prayers of Yom Kippur this year, reading a litany of sins, both personal and communal, and asking God for forgiveness, I occasionally reflected on the emotional reaction to my column last week about my debate with Israel bashers at a church in...

  • A night of anger and reflection

    October 1, 2014 | 2:38 pm

    How do you explain Israel’s resounding success? How do you explain how a tiny country surrounded by medieval violence has managed to create an extraordinary society of more than 100 different nationalities that is on the cutting edge of culture and modernity?

    How do you explain...

  • Rosh Hashana: Embracing our elders

    September 23, 2014 | 11:59 am

    We are spiritually ambitious at this time of year. We reflect, we repent, we make resolutions. We study our faults and mistakes of the past year and commit to being better people in the coming year. We ask for forgiveness and forgive in return. We listen to brilliant sermons that...

  • Are Jews losing their story?

    September 17, 2014 | 2:06 pm

    As we look back on the triumphs and failures of the past year, let’s reflect on one of the perennial shortfalls of the Jewish world — how we consistently overlook the importance of teaching the extraordinary story of the Jewish people. 

    When I say “the story of the Jewish...

  • The media’s tragic obsession with Israel

    September 8, 2014 | 5:08 pm

    Who pays the highest price for the media’s obsession with Israel? Hint: It’s not Israel. It’s the millions of victims who are ignored while the media chases what former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman calls its “hostile obsession with Jews.” 

    Why this obsession?

    In his...

  • Where is Obama on Hamas?

    September 2, 2014 | 4:42 pm

    I can understand why President Barack Obama would be reluctant to blindly support Israel at times when Israel’s neighbors have major grievances against the Jewish state. It serves no one’s interest for America to appear overly biased toward Israel. Better to appear fair and...

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