She arrived in the Jerusalem court of King Solomon with camels weighted by gifts of gold, incense and precious stones. She was armed with questions to test the king's legendary wisdom. She eventually was thought to be his consort.
For Beth Krom, politics is personal. After Krom testified, one city council member loudly criticized her, which she said felt was disrespectful of public opinion.
A cell phone seems permanently affixed to his head. He converses in the local patois, chatter injected with modifiers such as "uncool" and "classic."
She arrived in the Jerusalem court of King Solomon with camels weighted by gifts of gold, incense and precious stones. She was armed with questions to test the king's legendary wisdom.
Local leaders were keenly interested in the unknown and unexpected name prominently on display when the Samueli Jewish campus opened recently in Irvine.
Last February, a class of 17 retirees jumped at the chance to pursue a Jewish rite of passage bypassed in their youth by circumstance or cultural rigidity.
Sean Samuels, a Beth Jacob board member, was instrumental in the quest to erect Irvine's eruv, which should be operational by Rosh Hashanah.
While federal laws require public buildings to provide access for the handicapped, Jay Kruger still encounters restaurants without ramps, public restrooms with hard-to-open doors that trap him inside and theater seating that is spitting distance from the screen.
"At age 76, I'm finally coming of age," said Arthur Oaks, who read directly from the Torah during the b'nai mitzvah service, which is more traditional. "I never thought I would have the opportunity. When they announced the class, I jumped at the chance."
Overlooking bruised thumbs, sore muscles and sunburns, by week's end the construction crew will bubble excitedly over their measurable progress that began with a bare foundation, said Thayne Smith, construction director for Orange County's Habitat for Humanity.
The Bermans and Michaels expect their daily routines and social lives will alter substantially mid-August because of membership in the county's greatly expanded Jewish Community Center (JCC), relocated in Irvine.
After sharing space with Irvine United Church of Christ since 1991 and growing from 80 families to 600, University Synagogue starts a new chapter in its history, moving on Aug. 22 into its own building.
"I want to create a place of wonder," said Lindy Lane-Epstein, who spent the summer attempting to animate her vision for a scaled-down preschool and kindergarten for members of Santa Ana's Temple Beth Sholom.
To avoid being branded as a collaborator, most Palestinians would not admit to accepting aid from Israel. Samera bravely told her story to A-Sinara, the largest Arabic-language newspaper in the region. Her experience "was diametrically opposed to everything she'd been told," Larry Rich said.
Three of Orange County's senior rabbis have decided to take a sabbatical. While the three have decided on their own to take a respite from the 24/7 demands of being a rabbi, their congregations are taking a different approach to temporarily replacing an absent spiritual leader.
Apart from the 175 member families she served at Anchorage's Congregation Beth Sholom, Rabbi Johanna Hershenson found little other Jewish life. As the only non-Orthodox rabbi in Alaska, she became a long-distance consultant to lay synagogue leaders in even more isolated areas, such as Homer and Fairbanks.
The painful case reveals the vulnerability of clergy to character assassination as well as the difficulty for lay people in challenging a religious entity that keeps its decisions secret.
Block's father owned the lithograph collection, because he was a childhood friend of Abraham Rattner's publisher, New York art dealer Bill Haber.
Aphilanthropic couple and a young family with a preschooler are to be recognized at the 9th annual Jewish Family Service of Orange County (JFS) dinner celebrating family.
Alan Beals started collecting stamps as a boy. In the '80s, when a flood of new issues from the U.S. Postal Service swamped his enthusiasm, Beals stumbled into the obscure niche of Judaic philatelists.
Since distributing a CD of hymns to members of Tustin's Congregation B'nai Israel, the Conservative synagogue's cantor, Marcia Tilchin, and congregant Carl Cedar, a veteran musician, no longer sing alone in the sparsely filled sanctuary on Friday night.
As a boy growing up in Los Angeles, Eugene Brown recalls no fondness for the Orthodox shul he was expected to attend after school even though his parents were not members.
Setting a contemporary example for the ancient value of "l'dor v'dor" (from generation to generation), supporters of Heritage Pointe will walk through Irvine May 31 in a communitywide 5K walk to raise money for the county's only Jewish retirement home.
With religious school winding down this month at many synagogues, some cantors will regularly seize the opportunity to produce a brief season of secular concerts with guest artists and visiting cantors.
Karen Sturm purchased most of the artwork in her home at art auctions, where sale prices generally are lower than for work offered in retail galleries.
Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the receiving of the Torah, will be honored this month with special tributes by two area congregations. Figuring prominently is the holiest of all Jewish books, but each event has its own twist.
Israeli entertainers often get a jumpstart on a civilian career following military service, which they spend polishing their act at morale-boosting performances for the armed forces.
The high-profile defendant is a head of state accused of adultery and murder. The prosecutor is a trial veteran familiar to a nation of cable TV junkies enthralled by the O.J. Simpson case.
Isidore Myers and his three siblings had a less-than-carefree childhood. Their parents, penniless immigrants, eked out a living early in the last century in Akron, Ohio, where their barely literate father painted houses. Although the family managed food and shelter, they scrambled for odd jobs like peddling papers so they too could to contribute something to the household.
From such hardscrabble beginnings, Myers nonetheless recently made a gift of more than $3 million to Newport Beach's Temple Bat Yahm, the largest single contribution in the synagogue's 31-year history. To honor the philanthropist and his late wife, the 7-acre site recently was renamed The Isidore C. Myers and Penny W. Myers Temple Bat Yahm Campus.
Next month Sevy will relive, in part, his parents' journey with his 18-year-old son, Nadav, as they traverse the 2-mile walk from the so-called "death gate" of the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp to the International Monument of Holocaust Victims of the Birkenau death camp.
Nadav is one of about 23 students committed to a three-week senior class trip planned for the fourth graduating class of Irvine's Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School. Their sobering itinerary includes Auschwitz, Schindler's factory and the Warsaw ghetto, followed by Israel's modern cities, historical sights and natural beauty.
Music and animal motifs from "The Lion King" will provide thematic structure for the April 18 talent show by members of the Jeremiah Society, a group serving Orange County's developmentally disabled Jewish adults.
"The talent show uncovers hidden talent among our handicapped adults," said the group's founder, Rose Lacher, of Orange, whose daughter, Amy, 55, is a member.
Allowing students to chose what they want to study in religious school is sure to loosen a standardized curriculum. But such an exercise in democracy potentially can also instill commitment by its participants.
Sheryl Krok often drives from Irvine to Los Angeles on business for her cleaning products line. But before the South African immigrant returns home, Krok makes a kosher pit stop, buying a month's supply of chicken to feed her carnivorous family of five.
"Because, hello! Irvine doesn't know there are kosher Jews down here," said Krok, who would be happy to give up bulk buying.
"Capturing the horror of those years with ink is almost impossible," wrote Stephen Hill, one of 140 finalists in the fifth-annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest sponsored by Chapman University's Holocaust education center and The "1939" Club.
Nevertheless, more than 1,000 students from 56 schools, mostly in California, made the effort to enter this year's contest, an experience in "becoming a witness to the future," said Marilyn Harran, the center's director.
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With entrée in both spheres and his own bent for community involvement, Joel Landau's influence is felt far beyond Beth Jacob, which was his first full time pulpit 11 years ago.
The facility still under construction in Irvine is expansive and includes an infant-care facility, preschool, fitness center and gymnasium large enough to accommodate two basketball games. There are areas designated for workout classes, adult education and massage. When completed, there will be lockers for swimmers, space for an art exhibit, playground and Holocaust memorial.
Seventeen-year-old Megan Knofsky keeps alive her sibling's memory by sustaining a teen support group that raises money for research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, the genetic disorder that affects 30,000 people and claimed her sister, Sarah, in 1997.
"When they hear Blanche's story, they get it," Tenaya Wallace said. "She was so sick; it was an absolute transformation."
George Smith is a financial matchmaker. He earns a princely living making matches between scores of lenders and clients buying property ranging from car washes to golf courses.
The calendar is doing for Purim this year what Emeril suggests is good for any recipe: Kick it up a notch.
With Chanukah bracketed by major Christian and Muslim celebrations, last month might have been a propitious time to find common ground between the Abrahamic faiths.
Instead, a pair of incidents occurring within days of each other reveals the breadth of the cultural divide.
Prompted by recent car bombings of two synagogues in Turkey and a mosque in India, local leaders of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths came together for a vigil on Dec. 7 to publicly condemn such acts of violence as "nothing less than vicious murders."
Nearly a year ago, Jack Wertheimer, provost of the Conservative movement's Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and a scholar of demographic trends, put a challenge to a former student.
Jews around the nation are deeply involved in interfaith initiatives, Wertheimer noted. But they avoid involvement with their own religion's different movements, letting ideological differences get in the way of conversing with each other over issues dear to each. Do something to mend that divide before the gulf is unbridgeable, he urged Stuart Altshuler, a JTS graduate and rabbi of Mission Viejo's Congregation Eilat.
There is unanimity on one point only: Two young Irvine women, who are midway through a 10-month subsidized stay in Israel, will return home next June speaking conversational Hebrew.
But little else is certain as both girls' parents predict their offspring will return changed by the immersion in voluntary social service, language training and civics lessons.
The desperate son of a woman diagnosed with cancer sought advice from Rabbi Reuben Malekan before accompanying his mother to Mexico for shark-cartilage treatments. When the cure failed, the son again beseeched Malekan for support in claiming his mother's body. Emotionally spent and depressed by the experience, Malekan nevertheless went on that same day to perform a joyous wedding service, which typically includes his full-throated a cappella version of "Sunrise, Sunset."
"It's an art to get out of that sadness," said Malekan, a well-known Iranian-born rabbi from Los Angeles, who is a master at refocusing his mental energy to suit the emotional range requisite of daily clergy life.
About three weeks before an annual Chanukah concert, Kathleen Abraham renews a Jewish ritual little practiced outside the county's borders.
On her day off, Abraham left home at 5:30 a.m., stopping at a convenience store to fill a 64-ounce coffee mug before heading to the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa. Besides java, Abraham's other provisions include a nosh, cell phone, PalmPilot and beach chair.
Her goal: to be at the head of the box office line to buy a block of 100 prime seats at the Dec. 7 Chanukah show for parents and congregants of Newport Beach's Temple Bat Yahm.
One by one, a class of sixth-graders read aloud a passage and title that each has selected to go with one of Zion Ozeri's striking black-and-white portraits.
Seated with the young critics at Morasha Jewish Day School, the New York photographer seems pleased when students accurately discern the context of his untitled images, which the students have filtered through their study of Jewish values.
Neither does he hesitate to crib from one who summoned a particularly apt metaphor for a photo of candle lighting. "What was that title?" he asked, scrambling for pen and paper during a morning-long session last month.
Organizers of the third South Orange County Interfaith Walk for Hunger and Cultural Fair invite the public to participate in the Oct. 26 event, which promises to build bridges between faiths while fulfilling the mitzvah of feeding the hungry.
A group of local Jewish educators are seeking funding to start a novel adult-education academy that would grant a certificate of recognition to students who complete its requirements over three years.
The Orange County Academy of Jewish Growth and Learning is envisioned as a way to impose a quasi-academic structure on an array of existing courses offered by local synagogues, the Bureau of Jewish Education and the Community Scholar Program.
Sukkot, the eight-day festival that begins Oct. 11, commemorates a central event in Jewish history: the 40-year desert trek that followed the exodus from Egypt when Jews lived in portable shelters or booths.
People celebrate the holiday by building, eating in -- and sometimes sleeping in -- a temporary structure topped by a "natural" covering, such as tree branches or a bamboo mat which allows star-gazing. The structure is a show of trust in God's protection. During the festival -- sometimes called "Tabernacles" and "The Harvest Festival" -- we also say a blessing over the four species: the lulav, etrog, hadas and arava.
Feathery palm trees, swaying dancers, and butting rams are untraditional focal points in the contemporary Jewish papercuts of artist Deborah Heyman.
In reinterpreting this nearly lost, venerable Jewish folk art tradition, Heyman, of Irvine, finds inspiration and content for her own creations in the personal upheavals and simple pleasures of a modern life.
Paul I. Goldenberg avoided playgrounds and sports when he was growing up because he lacked athletic prowess. He spent hours in the cool darkness of a movie house.
The Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda honored Goldenberg, 75, owner of La Habra's Paul's TV & Video, as well as others at a gala last month. Goldenberg helped fund the home's newest $14.3 million building, designed to reflect the latest research on Alzheimer's disease and dementia. He pledged another $2 million towards a $52 million nursing-home expansion, which is hoped will accommodate 40 percent of those on the facility's 350-person waiting list.
Spiritualists, Dead Sea scholars and psychoanalysts are but a sampling of the varied menu of Jewish speakers that are to make scheduled appearances in Orange County over the next few months.
The Jewish Federation of Orange County is on its way to starting another New Year tradition by again urging residents to buy Israeli-made honey for their own Rosh Hashanah tables as well as contributing a jar to an Israeli family.
This year, six other Jewish communities in Western states are joining in the "Honey for the Holidays" promotion, started by the broad-based O.C. Israel Solidarity Task Force, said Bunnie Mauldin, the O.C. Federation's executive director. "We are with you in sweetness and sorrow," reads the card that will be attached to hundreds of honey jars expected to be distributed in the Israeli communities of Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon.
One offered free tickets for a congregational outing to an Angels game. Others hold "open house" brunches, where clergy and teachers are available for questions. Another promised to unveil sanctuary secrets after a Friday night dinner and service.
Paul Goldenberg avoided playgrounds and sports while he was growing up, because he lacked athletic prowess. He spent hours in the cool darkness of a movie house.
Part of the team readying O.C.'s Jewish Community Center for its planned relocation and expansion next year in Irvine is not staying to see the result.
Good can come from every situation, Judaism holds, and so does Irvine's Rabbi Joel Landau. The Beth Jacob Congregation leader has searched for good amid the unceasing bloodshed in the Middle East and found that empathy for victims of violence could be the sympathetic lifeline that tugs American Jews closer to their religious roots.
The emerging ethnic commercial district, akin to better-established Little Saigon in Westminster and Los Angeles' Koreatown, is further evidence of the county's evolution from suburbia into a more diverse, urban environment.
Facing a looming leadership shortage within its own ranks, the Jewish Leadership Network started the boot camp on a $10,000 shoestring budget and invited some 30 synagogues and Jewish agencies as well.
Having pulled himself out of poverty through hard work and two California real estate booms, Allen Alevy, 67, said he doesn't want other cash-poor Jewish families, particularly those in the military, to be guided by their pocketbook this summer.
Jay Greenberg was eager to hear the therapist from Jewish Family Service (JFS) dole out parenting advice about teenagers last spring.
The master legmaker common to both athletes is Shahr Lopatin, 51, who found his career calling visiting a friend in the amputee ward of an Israeli army hospital during the Six-Day War in 1967.
On the final night of the Pacific Jewish Film Festival in February, the South African emigre community jammed the theater to see the comedy about Christians and Jews in South Africa. Long after the credits ended, they stayed, kibbitzing in the aisles, hungering for their own countrymen.
Like typical first-time tourists eager to take in the sights, 10 visiting Israeli teenagers kept to a jam-packed itinerary.
Events remembering Israel's fallen soldiers, on May 6, and celebrating the nation's founding, officially May 7, include two local benefits to address gaping needs of Israelis.
Even 56 years later, Irving Gelman recalls precisely the day of his U.S. arrival and exactly the contents of his pockets: April 19, 1947, and $5.60.
The date marked a miraculous fresh start for a man whose generosity would later ignite dramatic changes within Orange County's Jewish community.
Shmuel Marcus is a bit like the lucky son of an ambitious frontier storekeeper, who relies on family to staff a second storefront.
Since January, Marcus, 27, has operated Orange County's newest Chabad from a living room alcove of the second-floor Cypress apartment he shares with his 25-year-old wife, Bluma, and two young children.
Scion of an unusual family, Marcus has joined the equally unusual society of shluchim (emissaries). They are foot soldiers for a powerful ideology of outreach by the Chabad-Lubavitch branch of Orthodox Judaism. Trailblazers like Marcus must solicit their own financial support and, with their wives, make a lifetime commitment to remain in often-remote areas, ranging from Armenia to Zaire. In not-so-remote California, 20 new sites are planned this year alone in places such as Calabasas and Monterey. The Golden State already has the largest concentration of Chabad centers outside of Israel.
Guests at one of Heidi Kahn's Passover potlucks stepped into a desert oasis. That year, her Irvine tract home was transformed with a Bedouin makeover achieved by suspending a tent inside. Another year, guests, who always contribute to the feast, were also asked to bring household goods and were put to work assembling care packages for Jews trying to flee the former Soviet Union.
Typically, the amphibian plague, one of many inflicted on ancient Egypt in the biblical story of Exodus, gets a star turn at Kahn's seder. Plastic frogs croak unexpectedly at arriving guests, who can fold origami frogs while waiting for latecomers. Some guests even don frog masks.
"When you've sat through a lifetime of tedious seders and create your own tedious seders, and then go to Heidi's place and play, no seder will ever compare," said friend and past guest, Gail Shendelman, of Irvine. "I'm spoiled for life."
For 28 years, Canadian Judith Feld Carr ran a clandestine rescue network that spirited most of Syria's Jews from captivity. Her little-known heroic feat rivals that of celebrated Holocaust saviors such as Oskar Schindler.
Career management advisers would probably be appalled by Stuart Altshuler's decision.
Spurning job offers from synagogues in New York's Great Neck and Florida's Palm Beach, as well as rejecting the guaranteed incumbency of a large Chicago shul, last summer Altshuler departed for Mission Viejo.
Objections raised by two established Reform congregations toa start-up alternative shul in Irvine has forced the new group to temporarily
postpone seeking admission to the Reform movement's national organization, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC).
Terry Paule wanted her weekends to include Jewish-infused events, which she was hard pressed to find when she moved to Orange County in 2000.
While spending five years in Hong Kong, Terry Paule turned to movie watching as an accessible medium that helped her stay current with trends in the United States and elsewhere.
Tourist Cuba is a bit like a time-machine ride through a Cold War theme park. Vintage Detroit autos rumble past charming Havana hotels refurbished to their pre-revolutionary glory. Posters for featured movies at a film festival keep company with ones that blare slogans like, "La Revolucion Siempre," or the revolution always.
Yet, when Roe Gruber and her daughter took a Havana apartment for a month last summer, the Tustin residents were able to escape the tourist cocoon. They learned new skills, like coping with Third World shortages by offering bribes for tomatoes and theater tickets.
While 100 percent subsidies are the exception among Jewish day schools, high tuition forces most campuses to extend financial aid to one-third or more of their students to ensure that no one is turned away who is qualified.
To cope with growing requests for financial aid, as well as routine budget deficits unmet by tuition, day schools around the country are trying an array of creative ideas. Filling annual deficits by fundraising is a heavy duty added to the workload of private school administrators and lay leaders, who are reluctant to scrimp on staff or enrichment programs to meet budget shortfalls.
For a self-described spoiled American -- nails unerringly polished, paprika curls without a misdirected loop, ensembles color coordinated -- Blossom Siegel's first visit to Israel was a transformative experience. It also was a boon to Orange County's Jewish community by awakening a tireless activist and philanthropist.
"The first trip to Israel changed my life," said Siegel, who is the honoree at a scholarship fundraising dinner Jan. 25 for Irvine's Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Irvine.
When Siegel saw the Israelis financial and emotional needs on her 1985 visit, she came to the conclusion that vigorous American Jewish communities ensured Israel's lifeline.
The 169 residents of Orange County's only Jewish retirement home possess a varying range of physical and mental limitations. Yet, compared to the original occupants who moved in 12 years ago, new arrivals to Heritage Pointe are considerably older and more frail. The average age is 89.
That demographic shift is changing expectations about Heritage Pointe's targeted population, which is less independent than anticipated. Older residents are also likely to spur in the near future a broadening of services, such as a contemplated dementia unit. Yet, despite an over-60 county population of 13 percent that far exceeds the 4 percent state average, there is no waiting list for Heritage Pointe's 178 units, which average $2,600 monthly. Occupancy has declined to 88 percent, which administrators blame on a proliferation of newer, rival facilities that make the county one of the nation's most densely populated for senior housing.
Fertility therapy, Jewish identity, pressure to marry, single parenting. All are themes that flow through both the personal life and creative work of playwright Wendy Wasserstein, who won a Pulitzer Prize and Tony in 1998 for "The Heidi Chronicles."
In a rare peek behind the curtains on Broadway, Wasserstein will share some scenes out of her own theater experience at the Newport Beach Public Library on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. The $36 cost per person includes a complimentary copy of Wasserstein's latest book, "Shiksa Goddess (Or How I Spent My Forties)," essays chronicling challenges facing contemporary women in America.
"Intermarriage is a fact of Jewish life and it's time we opened our doors and made everyone welcome, not just Jews," said Monica Engel, who said that at her own synagogue that interfaith couples felt marginalized because of their ignorance of Jewish practices.
During Orange County's annual "Chanukah Concert", a corner of Costa Mesa's Performing Arts Center is transformed into an all-Jewish music store featuring CDs recorded by some Reform cantors who participate in the performance.
"They don't have much opportunity to put their CDs up for sale," said Dr. Gordon Fishman of Newport Beach, who co-produces the concert with his wife, Hannareta. She and some friends supervise sales, which this year include works by Ruti Brier, Nancy Linder, Shula Kalir-Merton and Arie Shikler. Also available are CDs by the Orange County Klezmers, who play at the concert intermission.
Dr. Gordon and Hannareta Fishman fell for Newport Beach in 1956 while he served as a medical intern in Long Beach. The couple even considered putting down roots until they inspected a local phone book. But their hope turned to disappointment and shock at finding three other opthomalogists already listed in Corona del Mar.
The trophy-hunting editor's instructions were explicit: before leaving, take your handbag into the restroom and snag a napkin with a vice presidential seal.
Robin Preiss Glasser, a former ballet dancer forced by injuries into a second career as an illustrator, was first intent on pocketing a job during an August 2001 trip to Washington, D.C. Simon & Schuster's children's unit was hiring an illustrator for "America, a Patriotic Primer," but not without the assent of its author, Lynne Cheney, wife of the vice president, Dick Cheney. Nervously quaking alongside the publishers' emissaries at a lunch "audience" in the vice presidential residence, Glasser managed to establish a rapport with Mrs. Cheney, who consented to the pairing.
A UC Irvine forum on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last month exposed a rare rift over academic freedom within the normally collaborative Orange County Jewish community.
The four selected panelists at the Oct. 9 program were critiqued as a "pro-violence platform" by the Fullerton-based Middle East Reporting in Truth (MERIT), a grass-roots group organized to counter media bias. MERIT urged its members to press public officials for an investigation of the forum's sponsors and funding, describing the participants, who at that time had not yet been identified, as "Palestinians who justify suicide bombers" and calling the event "propaganda" for lacking mainstream speakers.
That's the atmosphere expected at an upcoming debate between two of the Jewish community's most outspoken activists on each side of the political spectrum.
In Prager vs. Lerner, conservative talk show host Dennis Prager will debate Michael Lerner, editor of the leftist magazine Tikkun, on Nov. 7 as part of the Orange County Jewish Community Center's book festival.
"They are thought-provoking speakers with polar-opposite views about nearly everything," said Arie Katz, founder of the Community Scholar Program, which is co-sponsor of the Nov. 7 "We Beg to Differ" debate at Newport Beach's Temple Bat Yahm.
Jonathan Foer's award-winning book, "Everything Is Illuminated," is a fictionalized road trip to a Ukrainian shtetl, mirroring the young author's own family history quest. Crime fiction writer Rochelle Krich, the Orthodox daughter of Holocaust survivors, is starting a new series with the release of "Blues in the Night." Howard Blum, a former New York Times reporter, chronicles the clandestine World War II exploits of the British army's Jewish Brigade Group in "The Brigade."
This trio, along with five other visiting authors and several nationally known speakers, will share their stories and sign books in a series of O.C. events Nov. 7-24. Hundreds of autograph-hungry readers are expected at the fourth annual Jewish book festival, organized by Orange County's Jewish Community Center.
About this time two years ago, congregants of Tustin's Congregation B'nai Israel lined their synagogue's sanctuary, making a human chain as Rabbi Eli Spitz unrolled a 150-year-old Czech Torah that survived the Holocaust. In places, its letters were faded and illegible making it un-kosher, ritually unfit for use.
Even a year after Sept. 11, Americans still seem unprepared to see their way of life as under assault, according to Yehudit Barsky, director of the American Jewish Committee's (AJC) Middle East and international terrorism division.
Attempting to broaden its outreach to adults with little understanding of Judaism, the Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox movement has professionally developed a suite of college-style courses and schooled a select group of rabbis in modern teaching methods.
Michael Berkow, police chief for more than one year, spent part of a recent trip to Israel shadowing an on-duty general responsible for supervising a rock concert.
Their subjects will range from anti-Semitism to baseball's Ted Williams, from the messianic era to Disney's "The Lion King."
In a symbolic and literal demonstration of support for Israel, Orange County's Jewish organizations are waging a cooperative campaign to send a bit of new year's cheer to two economically hard-pressed coastal communities near Israel's Gaza this month.&'9;
For Shannon McGrady Bane, the music of the High Holidays had always welled up into a transcendent, life-changing event.
The Sept. 11 terrorist attack propelled already soaring interest in religious studies courses at mainstream college campuses in Orange County and around the nation.
After two years of behind-the-scenes planning by an advisory team shaping a new home for Orange County's Jewish organizations, a more visible version of the 30-acre, $65 million Samueli Jewish Campus will emerge in a coming-out party planned in Irvine Aug. 25.
Putting his own twist on a frequently invoked slogan, Lou Weiss, the newly elected president of Orange County's Jewish Federation, intends to make inclusiveness a priority during his tenure
Surviving a near-fatal auto accident deepened the realism in the work of Buena Park artist Carol Goldmark. Her renderings of flowers, previously painted in full bloom as a metaphor for beauty, now are depicted across the floral lifespan -- newly formed clenched buds to withering limp petals. "The accident lifted the veil," says Goldmark, whose work is part of "Art Heals, Art Works," an exhibit that begins Aug. 4 at the Fullerton Museum Center, 301 N. Pomona Ave.
Drawn in part by the recent movie, "Enough," in which actress Jennifer Lopez uses Krav Maga to even the score against an abusive husband, a long-established Orange County class in self-defense is seeing a jump in popularity.
Yom Kippur is much more than saying, I'm sorry, said Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, the well-known theologian, author and speaker who will be in Orange County on Aug. 12 to talk about preparing spiritually for the High Holidays.
If food really is a cipher, unusual tales are spilling from menus devised for a two-part Jewish holiday cooking class this month at Laguna Culinary Arts.
In a display of creativity and generosity, several Jewish groups in Orange County in recent weeks set out to demonstrate their unswerving support for Israel.
Calling a suggestion by Israel's minister of tourism to visit hospitals a "wet blanket," Fullerton travel agency owner Pnina Schichor instead lined up an awareness-raising tour of the sort she, herself, would like.
"Injured people don't want gawking strangers," she concludes after returning in May from a planning trip, during which she sensed the isolation of Israeli citizens. "I want them to know we're standing with them," says Shichor, who organized a trip for members of MERIT, Middle Eastern Reporting in Truth, a media-watch group she and her husband, David, co-founded last August.
Ellen and Francis (not their real names) are examples of a growing trend among formerly upper-middle-class women in their 50s and 60s, who undergo a life-crisis and plunge into financial straits. Orange County's Jewish Family Service, a social service agency that provides group and individual counseling to 7,000 clients from its $925,000 budget, has seen a 26 percent increase in pleas for assistance from women in transition in the last year, says Mel Roth, the agency's director. The agency has added a third full-time counselor to cope.
Gloria Lenhoff's music debut was her bat mitzvah. Instead of reciting Torah, she amazed guests with a chapter from the Song of Songs, singing in a pitch-perfect soprano voice.
Since then, she has performed in a dozen languages on prominent stages, starred in a television movie and picked up the accordion. Now 47, she currently sings gospel with The Miracles, a touring choir of residents from Baddour Center, a 120-acre, Methodist-backed village for the mentally retarded in Mississippi. Since Gloria joined the choir, after relocating two years ago from Orange County, its repertoire has expanded to include Hebrew melodies. She also occasionally serves as cantorial soloist at Tupelo's Temple B'nai Israel.
For parents who crave structure in summer for footloose children, space is still available at a handful of local Jewish day camps for elementary- and middle school-aged youth. Themed, half-day preschool camps at synagogues, though, are filling fast.
New this summer is a camp in Rancho Santa Margarita that is already proving popular. Morasha Jewish Day School will serve as a second site for Silver Gan Israel, the county's largest Jewish day camp, which is organized and operated by Huntington Beach's Hebrew Academy.
There is no summertime lull at schools for Jewish education.
Even as day campers toting towel-stuffed beach bags invade day schools and synagogue religious classrooms, administrators are spending their summer scrambling to fill staff vacancies for September, at a time when qualified Judaic and Hebrew instructors are difficult to find.
The shortage stems from an increasing demand statewide for public school teachers, a shift in Israel's economy and what some suggest is a failure of planning by Reform and Conservative movements.
One of the holiday's enduring rituals is pouring to the rim an extra cup of wine in anticipation of a late guest, the prophet supposed to herald freedom.
Violence in Israel, instead of creating community among the area's fragmented expatriates, generates emotional shockwaves that turn them into news junkies.
The rally demonstrated the county's growing Jewish vocal involvement on Israeli matters, and heightened the Israeli community's plight so far from home.
"This generation is absolutely the critical one," she says. "Even those young at the time of the Holocaust, in 25 years, they will be gone."
Even as its executive board starts a search to replace its top administrator, the Jewish Federation of Orange County will intensify its annual fundraisng drive over the next two months.
What is the duty to assist those in danger under Jewish law compared to American law? The question is no mere academic exercise to Neil H. Cogan, dean of the Whittier Law School, who spoke on the topic last week as the inaugural speaker of the recently formed Jewish Lawyers of Orange County.
More than 50 lawyers attended the Newport Beach luncheon at the Pacific Club, the second Jewish professional group organized under the Jewish Federation of Orange County. In addition to a 10-person advisory panel, the group's honorary chair members include Todd Spitzer, a county supervisor; Joel Kuperberg, Irvine's city attorney, and Kenneth Wolfson, counsel to developers of the Foothill Ranch and Rancho Santa Margarita.
There, a steady stream of vehicles arrived, disgorging clusters of teenagers at Orange County's Jewish Community Center. Instead of movies, sleepovers and football games, the typical high school student's Friday night pursuits, about 60 teens gathered to participate in the center's "Teen Shabbat" program, now in its second year.
Driven by a personal desire for intellectual growth, Arie Katz set out last year to attract to Orange County the sort of eminent Jewish scholars that few synagogues can afford to woo on their own. With little more than his own chutzpah and considerable networking skills, the Newport Beach attorney won support and financial backing from the area's most influential Jewish agencies to establish a community scholar-in-residence program. Its first event, at 7 p.m. Jan. 28, will kick off at the Jewish Federation Campus in Costa Mesa with the arrival of Avigdor Shinan, an Israeli professor and author.
Even before Columbine High School would become a national synonym for school violence in April 1999, an Orange County school administrator was troubled by finger-pointing that inevitably surfaced during that awful season of school shootings.
"Testimonies of Triumph," a short film about a Jewish Polish family that endured years in hiding to escape the Holocaust, is to have its first broadcast Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. on public television station KOCE.
Orange County Community
Jill Sherman's high school years are anything but carefree. Last year an older classmate, who talked openly about his anti-Semitic attitudes, tried to ignite her clothes with a self-described "Jew burner." Physically, Sherman was unhurt by the attack with a cigarette lighter.
To foster a sense of community among Jewish youth in the far corners of Orange County is a difficult task, given that most resources are available exclusively at the county's Jewish Community Center in Costa Mesa.