Although the voice at the other end of the phone is always that of a young person, the driving force behind Teen Line is Elaine Leader, a 79-year-old great-grandmother with a British accent and a propensity for hats and oversized costume jewelry.
At Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, a unique program is giving teenagers the opportunity to put those lessons to work by serving as board members of their own philanthropic foundation.
There was a time when Dora Apsan Sorell could have really used the $3,043 she received from the German government last summer. The check was meant to compensate Sorell for her slave labor during the Holocaust.
But the 83-year-old Auschwitz survivor and retired doctor who lives in Berkeley gave the money away as soon as it arrived. She donated it to the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), which is among a handful of Jewish organizations trying to aid desperate refugees from the Darfur region of western Sudan.
As I watched our friends pin pale purple orchids to each other's lapels, sadness and outrage mingled with the happy excitement I had been feeling all afternoon. This was a bold, historic time in San Francisco and hundreds of city employees and volunteers were working themselves weary to make it happen.
It's been nearly two years since David Lorch had a job. Currently, the former pricing analyst for an Orange County high-tech firm attends networking events near his home in Laguna Hills, does volunteer work for his shul, Congregation Eilat in Mission Viejo, and tries to maintain his hope.
With the job market showing little or no signs of improvement, Lorch is hoping to start a new networking group through his synagogue that is focused specifically on helping unemployed Jews find work. Such organizations have taken off at a handful of congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the dismal job market is already considered a crisis in the Jewish community. Lorch is hoping to draw from the experiences of his peers in Silicon Valley in crafting a network of his own.
Jews have lived in Orange County for more than 130 years, but the community has never undertaken such an intense period of expansion as the one currently underway.
In the last year alone, more than 150,000 square feet of new Jewish building space has been added to synagogues and schools around the county. And other major projects are just getting underway. Here is a look at what's going up behind the "Orange Curtain":
The company Henry Samueli co-founded, Broadcom Corp., develops tiny communications chips that are helping to transform the way digital information is moved from place to place.
The contributions that Samueli and his wife Susan have made to Jewish causes in Orange County could transform Jewish life in their community for generations to come.
Within a few miles of where she buys lamb chops for her family, ambitious building projects worth at least $30 million are under way -- or recently completed -- at five different synagogues and three Jewish day schools. Meanwhile, community leaders secretly put the finishing touches on their soon-to-be announced plans for a cutting-edge Jewish Community Center and mega-campus for Jewish agencies.
Welcome to Orange County, where the Jewish community is in the midst of a growth spurt unlike anything in its history.