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Jewish Journal

Ryan E. Smith

  • IAC to aid community seders

    March 26, 2014 | 3:33 pm

    The Israeli American Council (IAC) is seeking volunteers for its IAC-Care program to assist with several upcoming community seders.

    The area seders will be held at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services in West Los Angeles (March 30), B’nai David-Judea Congregation in...

  • Judaism in Norway: The longest Shabbat

    February 6, 2014 | 11:31 am

    Every summer, Nikolaj Kahn faces a major Jewish problem.

    “It never gets dark,” Kahn said during a walkthrough of the Jewish Museum in Trondheim, Norway, located about 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle. “We get desperate calls from the cruise ships asking when Shabbat starts....

  • Stephen M. Levine: A magical ability to conjure up fun

    January 2, 2014 | 3:56 pm

    California “Super Lawyer”/magician Stephen M. Levine likes to joke that he can make legal troubles disappear. Ditto for rabbits and quarters.

    Unfortunately, he can’t make the same promise about the troubles facing all of the people he meets through his volunteer performances —...

  • UC Berkeley, Santa Cruz anti-Semitism complaints dismissed

    August 27, 2013 | 4:58 pm

    The U.S. Department of Education has dismissed complaints against the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Cruz that had accused the universities of allowing a hostile environment for Jewish students to exist on campus.

    In a letter dated Aug. 19 and released Aug. 27 by...

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  • Best place to avoid a zombie apocalypse?

    July 2, 2013 | 11:36 am

    Max Brooks, son of the comedian behind “Blazing Saddles” and “The Producers,” is convinced that Jews are uniquely positioned to face a zombie apocalypse. And he’s not joking.

    “Gentiles don’t understand how truly dangerous the world is. Jews do. It’s part of our national culture,”...

  • Wilshire Boulevard Temple pledged $30 million by Erika Glazer

    February 14, 2013 | 11:09 am

    Wilshire Boulevard Temple has received a pledge of $30 million from Los Angeles philanthropist Erika Glazer to assist with its ongoing restoration and redevelopment.

    The funds will be paid over 15 years to put in place tax-free bond financing for the next phase of the historic...

  • Preserving Auschwitz?

    January 30, 2013 | 5:11 pm

    For many, the everlasting power of Auschwitz is understood only by visiting the infamous death camp and walking the grounds where more than 1 million people were killed during the Holocaust.

    The problem, according to two local architects, is in assuming the camp itself will be...

  • Dr. Matthew Lefferman and Eric Weissman: Putting Sunday sports in play

    January 3, 2013 | 10:35 am

    Nowhere in the Torah does it say: “And on the seventh day, God played soccer.” Which is too bad for observant Jewish youths who would love to take advantage of the many local sports leagues that play on Saturdays.

    Fortunately, there are Dr. Matthew Lefferman and Eric Weissman....

  • Arrest made following Wilshire Boulevard Temple bomb scare, vandalism

    December 20, 2012 | 12:13 pm

    A naturalized citizen from South Korea was arraigned today on charges related to the numerous bomb threats made Dec. 18 against Wilshire Boulevard Temple (WBT) in Koreatown and a police squad car parked adjacent to its campus, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

    Wan...

  • Wilshire Boulevard Temple target of bomb threats

    December 18, 2012 | 3:52 pm

    UPDATE (DEC. 20): Man arrested in connection with L.A. synagogue bomb threats

    DEC. 18: Police responded to multiple bomb threats targeting the Koreatown home of Wilshire Boulevard Temple (WBT) and a police squad car parked adjacent to the campus on Dec. 18, disrupting life for...

  • LAPD investigating bomb scare at Wilshire Blvd. Temple

    December 18, 2012 | 10:00 am

    [UPDATE HERE]

    Police this morning responded to a possible bomb threat in the direct vicinity of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. The Los Angeles Police Department received word of a possible threat at 7:53 a.m. at Wilshire and Hobart boulevards, where the synagogue is located.

    The bomb squad was sent to the scene, according to police officials, who added that as of 9:45 a.m. there had been no evacuations.

    6th St. and Wilshire Blvd have both been shut down between Kingsley St. and Hobart Ave.

  • Gifts to de-light

    December 6, 2012 | 12:56 pm

    These are serious times. We just finished a brutal election cycle here in the United States, and things are as tense and uncertain as ever in the Middle East. What better excuse than Chanukah, then, to relax a little? For those who are interested in passing along a little laugh with some holiday spirit, here are a few fun gift ideas.

  • Gifts to De-Light

    December 4, 2012 | 11:39 am

  • If the shoe fits

    November 20, 2012 | 10:03 am

    Kayla Tinucci would never want to walk a mile in the shoes of the disadvantaged children she has vowed to help.

    “Their feet would be squeezing into shoes that were way too small for them,” she said. “I would pull off the shoes of one boy to measure his feet, and his toes uncurled...

  • Etta Israel Center gets help from new partner

    October 17, 2012 | 4:52 pm

    When the Etta Israel Center was hit by the recent economic downturn, its leaders weren’t satisfied with simply surviving the crisis, as they sought to provide services, including group homes, to local people with special needs. They wanted to grow.

    Now, thanks to a recent merger...

  • Jewish Home to expand to West L.A.

    September 12, 2012 | 12:10 pm

    Challenged by an 18-month waiting list numbering 400 people, the Jewish Home of Los Angeles has announced that it will add another campus — this time on the west side of Los Angeles. On Sept. 7, the Jewish Home closed escrow on a 2.5-acre site in Playa Vista.

    The Gonda Healthy...

  • Private schools chalk it up to federal dollars

    August 8, 2012 | 4:01 pm

    It’s not unusual for elementary school students at Sinai Akiba Academy to walk into class and be greeted with the following message: “Dear scientists, today we’re going to look at our mealworms under the microscopes.”

    The idea is that by identifying kids as writers, readers...

  • What will happen when the JCC at Milken closes?

    June 27, 2012 | 1:19 pm

    Jacques Hay knows that the end isn’t always the end.

    When he learned that the JCC at Milken in West Hills will close on June 30 to become the home of New Community Jewish High School, he could have despaired. After all, Camp Chesed, the summer camp for Jewish children with special...

  • The Jewcer appeal

    June 20, 2012 | 11:37 am

    Make hummus, not war.

    That is the optimistic hope of filmmaker Avital Levy, whose work in progress, “Hummus Wars,” chronicles the ongoing rivalry between Israel and Lebanon for bragging rights over the popular Middle Eastern dip.

    “The goal for the film is to show that while...

  • Shul counseling center costs little, does much for many

    May 15, 2012 | 8:36 pm

    Even a rabbi needs a little help sometimes, which is why Rabbi Harold Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) was inspired decades ago to promote the creation of a counseling center run by temple volunteers.

    “When I first came to this community, I realized that many of the problems...

  • 11-year-old is focusing on the (re)Cycle of life

    March 21, 2012 | 4:53 pm

    When Avery Sax discovered a year ago that she has a life-threatening malformation of blood vessels in her brain, it altered her life — in one way, for the better.

    “I think everything’s completely changed for me,” the 11-year-old from Moorpark said. “I always think about...

  • Shul Business

    March 15, 2012 | 10:36 am

    No one taught Rabbi Ahud Sela how to read a budget when he was in the seminary. Talmud and pastoral counseling took precedence over the basics of planned giving.

    So when the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly teamed up with American Jewish University (AJU) to create the...

  • Mega-millionaire, Age 95,  Says, ‘You Can Do It!’

    March 15, 2012 | 10:18 am

    Mega-millionaire Stanley A. Dashew, 95, has some words of wisdom for anyone trying to make it in today’s tough economy: You can do it.

    It’s no secret, he says. In fact, it’s the title of the book, “You Can Do It!: Inspiration & Lessons From an Inventor, Entrepreneur, & Sailor,”...

  • Online program aids learning for Jewish special-needs kids

    March 8, 2012 | 1:04 pm

    Daniel Ozer-Ross studies hard. He does his homework. And it’s not enough.

    A freshman at New Community Jewish High School, the 14-year-old has, since preschool, battled visual-processing challenges that have impaired his short-term memory and made it difficult to remember what he...

  • Seniors angry over plans to close JCC

    February 8, 2012 | 4:21 pm

    There was no question how Zita Kass felt when she learned that The JCC at Milken in West Hills will shut its doors permanently this summer. Her reaction was swift and powerful:

    “Anger, fury, frustration,” the 76-year-old Woodland Hills resident said.

    Kass frequents the...

  • Beyond labels, raising autistic son yields treasure

    February 1, 2012 | 2:51 pm

    Jews and people with autism have a lot in common, if you ask Ezra Fields-Meyer.

    As an autistic young man, he knows he has a good memory and likes to repeat things. As a Jew, he’s noticed similar qualities, which he pointed out during his bar mitzvah speech a few years ago.

    “We...

  • Happy wallet, happy camper

    January 26, 2012 | 1:49 pm

    The economy is bad. Money is tight. And yet the news isn’t all negative for youngsters hoping to attend Jewish summer camp this year.

    “The truth of the matter is, most of the summer camps have increased their financial aid,” said Jay Sanderson, president of The Jewish...

  • Latching on to a healthy solution

    January 5, 2012 | 5:22 pm

    As a third-year pediatric resident at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who works an average of 80 hours per week, Dr. Jonathan Goldfinger could use a break, you would think. Too bad there’s so much else that needs to be done — fighting obesity, lowering the risk of SIDS (sudden...

  • Reagan’s chanukiyot light up exhibition

    December 14, 2011 | 11:24 am

    Reminders of an evil empire are on display now at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, and they’re not just related to the Soviet Union.

    Instead, 11 menorahs given to the 40th president during his time in office call to mind a struggle for freedom that...

  • New Chabad center brightens up Palisades

    November 22, 2011 | 5:08 pm

    Members of the Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox movement may be known for their traditional black and white clothing, but they’ve brought a splash of color to Pacific Palisades with the new Chabad Jewish Community Center there and its Palisades Jewish Early Childhood Center.

    With one...

  • Chanukah: The musical

    November 18, 2011 | 1:20 pm

    There are many ways to tell the story of Chanukah. Tap dancing is not usually one of them.

    “I don’t know of any other congregation on the planet where both rabbis and their cantor are doing a tap number together,” said Cantor David Shukiar of Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand...

  • Beyond matzah and couscous

    November 17, 2011 | 11:36 am

    Ataste of Israel is no farther away than your local grocery store — and not just in the kosher aisle.

    No one’s surprised to find Israeli matzah on a shelf, but what about sliced Mexican turkey from a company called Hod Golan (motto: “The Height of Good Taste”), which is...

  • Making it easier for LGBT Jewish kids to be open, honest

    November 1, 2011 | 8:44 pm

    Someday, maybe every gay Jewish youth will have as easy a time coming out as Elias Rubin did.

    “I came out a few days after I figured it out myself,” said the 11th-grader from Valley Village. “Everybody was totally supportive and accepting.”

    That was when he was in eighth...

  • Nazis in the canyon

    October 21, 2011 | 1:45 pm

    Go past Whoopi Goldberg’s house in Pacific Palisades, veer left at Bill Cosby’s, then curve your way around Steven Spielberg’s compound.

    Now you’re almost there. Hike along a winding fire road up, up, up into the Santa Monica Mountains, then gaze down into Rustic Canyon....

  • If you seat them, they will come

    September 27, 2011 | 5:24 pm

    Twice a year, many synagogues find themselves dealing with a wonderful but very practical problem: how to handle the huge numbers of people who show up for the High Holy Days and don’t fit in the sanctuary.

    For some, the answer involves reserved seating or alternative services...

  • Acting rabbi brings rebirth to 1920s shul

    September 27, 2011 | 5:21 pm

    For more than 35 years, Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock existed without a rabbi. No longer.

    This month, Susan Goldberg became the acting rabbi of what is believed to be the city’s second-oldest shul still operating out of its original location.

    For Temple Beth...

  • Natan Sharansky speaks out on Palestinian statehood bid during L.A. visit

    September 21, 2011 | 4:14 pm

    No one knows exactly how things will play out as Palestinian leaders make a bid for statehood at the United Nations, but Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, believes the impact will be more rhetorical than practical and that it represents no threat to Israel.

    ...
  • Turning 100: Los Angeles Jewish Home has ambitious growth plans

    September 14, 2011 | 1:09 pm

    There are nearly 500 people waiting for a bed at L.A.’s largest senior living facility, the Los Angeles Jewish Home. Waiting, in many cases, for someone to die.

    “It’s very depressing,” said Marlene Markheim, 80, of Encino. “We know that there’s a waiting list, and when a...

  • Pasadena temple gets Argentina’s first woman cantor

    September 14, 2011 | 11:49 am

    Cantor Ruth Berman Harris has been earning paychecks for leading services since she was 15, years before a cantorial school even existed in her native Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    “I think it was what I was born to be,” she said. “I became a bat mitzvah, and I never left the...