Jewish Journal

Judy Gruen

  • Kosher coaching fuses spirituality, nutrition

    January 4, 2012 | 12:03 pm

    Do women and food always have to be locked in a complicated, co-dependent relationship? Not if Shimona Tzukernik and Miriam Wiener have anything to say about it.

    Tzukernik, a kabbalistically oriented “spirit trainer,” author and speaker, recently led a live seminar with Wiener,...

  • Are you ready for an MBA?

    January 4, 2012 | 11:41 am

    Thinking of returning to school for an MBA? If so, you have lots of company. Highly ranked MBA — master of business administration — programs remain extremely competitive, despite the economic downturn. This is true not only for the full-time and part-time MBA programs that are...

  • Exodus from ... too much stuff?

    March 24, 2010 | 2:10 am

    I once attended a class on Pesach preparation taught by a rabbi who told his all-female audience that the entire search for chametz outside the kitchen should take no longer than one hour, tops. This was an Orthodox rabbi, mind you, speaking to women who had been going mano a mano...

  • Inspiration Amid Horrors

    December 9, 2009 | 1:42 am

    Waiting for her flight to take off from Denver to New York, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis is on the phone doing what she does best: speaking from the heart about her lifelong mission to rekindle the connection between assimilated Jews and God.

    The author of four best-selling books,...

  • Doctor Turns Cancer Victory Into Oncology Career

    October 6, 2009 | 9:25 pm

    At the beginning of his senior year in high school, Amir Steinberg attended Yom Kippur services with his family in Houston and listened to what has since become known in their family as “the bitachon sermon,” referring to the Hebrew word for trust or faith.

    The rabbi shared...

  • Equip Tween Girls, They’ll Defy Sexualized Images

    April 8, 2009 | 11:59 pm

    In September 2004, Dove did something radical for a player in the beauty industry: it launched an ad campaign that didn’t feature the typical size 0 model. Instead, it featured real women who clearly defied the starlet-skinny chic that had come to represent the media “ideal” of...

  • Looking for a few good men—or at least one

    May 10, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    When my friend Lisa dropped by to report on her blind date, clutching a bottle of antacids and sporting a brand-new twitch in her eye, I sensed that it hadn't gone well.

    "What happened this time?" I asked.

    "I should have known better," Lisa said. "He sounded so normal on the phone,...
  • After 40, it’s all maintenance

    February 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    The other day at the gym, the teacher sent us to the wall for a set of standing push-ups.

    "Place your hands on the wall at breast level," she instructed.

    I placed my hands on the wall at breast level. I saw that my hands were headed for the Gulf of Mexico.

    "How did this happen?"...

  • Semper Fiber

    January 18, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    I am a big believer in New Year's resolutions, especially of the weight-loss variety. I've even been known to renew my vows on a weekly basis. Yet, I have learned that any drastic promises, such as, "I will never eat another bowl of Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream...
  • Time warp again? Take a step toward tradition

    January 11, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    When I think back to my bat mitzvah 30-plus years ago, here's what I remember most: following the photographer's prompts as I posed against the tree in the synagogue courtyard, standing nervously on the bimah chanting my Torah portion, and giving a speech in which I excoriated...
  • I’ve Got a Secret

    July 13, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    I thought I had struck social gossip gold when my friend Paula let slip a delicious bit of intelligence straight into my eager ears. Paula and I were participating in a real-time, interactive social dialogue -- meaning, we were on the phone -- trying to schedule a lunch date. This...

  • I’ve Got a Secret

    July 13, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    I thought I had struck social gossip gold when my friend Paula let slip a delicious bit of intelligence straight into my eager ears.

    Paula and I were participating in a real-time, interactive social dialogue (meaning, we were on the phone) trying to schedule a lunch date. This was...

  • Ready, Aim, Birthday!

    March 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    It's not every day that I am E-vited to a birthday party promising to feature live ammunition. Excitedly, I E-sponded with a resounding "yes."

    Paula was throwing a Wild West-themed shindig for her husband Bill's birthday. It was a "BYOF" (Bring Your Own Firearm) affair.


  • Snow Job

    March 2, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Maybe I'm crazy, but each winter I plan a family vacation that is fraught with danger. To reach our destination, we must drive up a perilous mountain road studded with hairpin turns. Oddly, during our ascent, this NASCAR-approved artery is usually choked with fog or hail.

    But this...

  • Fit L.A. - The Birthday Party Crasher: Dr. Atkins

    January 19, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Over the past few months, I have relished the apparent collapse of the low-carb industry. Low-carb specialty stores and magazines arrived with much fanfare but soon crumbled like a tired soufflé.

    Good riddance to them, I thought -- especially the magazine that tried to bilk me...

  • Post-Bar Mitzvah Stress Disorder

    January 12, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Our youngest son has just celebrated his bar mitzvah, and I am recovering from a case of Post-Bar Mitzvah Stress Disorder. This is a seriously underreported malady, yet shockingly, the government has yet to allocate a single dollar to research. If this doesn't change soon, I'm going...

  • Dancer’s Second Act as Pilates Instructor

    November 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Ever since she was a little girl, Danielle Shapiro Friedman had a passion for dance. After training at one of New York's premier dance schools, Friedman joined a New York repertory company in New York, touring throughout the United States for nearly seven years. She eventually...

  • Kohelet 5766

    October 20, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    On the holiday of Sukkot, it is customary to read Kohelet, the Book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon. The following "updated" version of Kohelet is written by Judy Gruen, with major apologies to King Solomon.

    "Futility of futilities," Sarah Rivkah bas Leah Rochel said. "All...

  • Rough It in Style at El Capitan Canyon

    August 18, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    As a city woman whose family is unaccustomed to "roughing it," I planned our family vacation to involve a lot of nature but no sleeping on hard ground. That's what made El Capitan Canyon in Santa Barbara the perfect place for us: It's camping for people who like staying in Hiltons.


  • Walk a Mile With My Pedometer

    June 30, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    It does not augur well when you must suck in your gut and hold your breath as if you are having multiple X-rays taken simply to zip up your skirt.

    When this happened to me, I knew I had two choices: give up my current wardrobe or lose the excess baggage. Since I recently wrote a...

  • Resorting to Passover at Home

    April 7, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    My friend Rhonda asked me nonchalantly, "Where are you going for Pesach this year?"

    Envisioning the whirlwind travels ahead, my head began to spin. "I'll begin at Target for new shelf paper, sponges, paper goods, cleansers and a new broom. Then I'll dock briefly at Ralphs for the...

  • Spiritual Help Can Benefit Hopelessly Ill

    March 31, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    When my friend, Debra, learned that a young man she knew had been in a tragic accident and was comatose, she went to the hospital to visit him every day for three months. No one knew if the man would emerge from his deep, distant sleep, but Debra believed that he would.

    During her...

  • Keeping My Hair Under Wraps

    February 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Recently, I found myself spellbound while watching "Girl With a Pearl Earring." This film, based on the excellent Tracy Chevalier novel, is a fictional account of the history behind Vermeer's famous painting of the same name.

    The novel revolves around a servant girl, Grete, who...

  • Why the Left-Wing Hand-Wringing?

    November 18, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    I should have known better than to forward an e-mail recommending a boycott of French products for France's anti-Israel stance and willingness to tend to Yasser Arafat on his deathbed.

    In an age of e-mail overload, forwarding e-mail is already a risky proposition, and usually I am...

  • Why I Keep My   Hair Under Wraps

    October 21, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    A few weeks ago I found myself spellbound while watching "Girl With a Pearl Earring." This film, based on the excellent Tracy Chevalier novel, is a fictional account of the history behind Vermeer's famous painting of the same name.

    The novel revolves around a servant girl, Grete, who...

  • Mom Was There

    August 12, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    As I was ordering invitations for my eldest son's bar mitzvah in May 2001, we discovered that my mom had end-stage cancer.

    With severe and unrelenting pain, Mom became alarmingly feeble, her pain unremitting. Her doctor told us, "Take her home and make her comfortable. It's a good...

  • Turning The Pages of Childhood

    July 22, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    "Mommy, will you read to me?"

    My 10-year-old daughter asks me this question every night. Even if I'm exhausted, or just want some time to myself, I almost always say yes. Before I turn around, she'll be 11, then 12, then a teenager.

    She will no longer need her reading fix with...

  • Commitment’s Price

    July 8, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    These days, many women complain about the epidemic of males who run in terror from the thought of a committed relationship.

    But there are plenty of guys out there who are eager to commit. I know, since I just found one.

    Like many people searching for love, I found Ken through an...

  • Our Cross to Bear?

    June 17, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    At first blush it seemed an odd thing for an observant Jew to do: Slogging my way through morning rush-hour traffic to get downtown to demonstrate against the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' decision to remove a small cross from the county seal.

    And yet, I felt compelled to...

  • Spiritual Cleaning

    March 25, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    More than 3,300 years ago, God swept us out from our slavery in Egypt, where we had toiled for more than 400 years. He did not wait for a United Nations resolution on the matter -- the Almighty acted unilaterally, and for this we are forever grateful. Remembering the Exodus from...

  • True Tale Of Homework Hell

    February 26, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Lately, certain educational "experts" have begun an assault on the time-honored tradition of assigning homework. Some assert that teachers are burdening kids with so much work that they are destroying, willy-nilly, the carefree nature of childhood.

    My kids couldn't agree more.


  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

    December 4, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    As Shabbat inches closer each week, my kids usually don't ask what I'm making for dinner. Instead, they ask, "Who's coming for dinner?" This is because they realize that even if I were to serve something as exotic as Thai or Moroccan food (unlikely), it's our guests who really spice...

  • Obesity WeighsHeavily on Jews

    January 23, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Lynn Kaufman admits that she comes from "big, hearty stock." But after 30 years of being overweight, the Westside resident decided to get control.

    "I had gotten to a really scary number on the scale," said Kaufman, a veteran of numerous diets and 10 years with Overeaters Anonymous....

  • Fretting About Fressing

    August 29, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Apples dipped in honey. And while you're at it, dip the challah, too. Chicken soup with knaidel. Here, who's gonna finish this last little piece of brisket? What? You didn't try the noodle kugel? Don't tell me you're too full for my homemade honey cake and cookies -- it's Yom Tov!


  • When She Smiles

    July 4, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Los Angeles has just bid farewell to one of its most acclaimed and popular Torah teachers.

    Over the past 11 years, Shira Smiles' intellectually rich and multifaceted shiurim (classes) on the weekly parsha, Navi (prophets) or other books of chumash became magnets for Jewish women...

  • Pre-Pesach Culinary Blues

    March 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The pre-Pesach season is both exciting and disturbing to my family. Exciting, because due to our exuberant cleaning for the holiday, emptying drawers, overturning mattresses and, in general, preparing the house for a visit by Martha Stewart, we find all kinds of things that have been...

  • Six Months Later

    March 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Sept. 11 was a watershed event in American history. Every decent person felt shock and revulsion to the very core. But human nature cannot maintain such a heightened sense of trauma indefinitely -- life goes on. Six months later, The Journal interviewed several local Jews and...

  • The Way it Is

    February 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Not long ago, an American Jew asked Rabbi Yedidyah Atlas, senior correspondent and commentator for Arutz 7, Israel National Radio, what the practical answer was to Israel's ongoing war with the Palestinians.

    "The practical answer is mashiach," Atlas answered. "And the mystical answer...

  • Confront and Comfort

    November 29, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Avi Schnnur doesn't get a lot of sleep these days. Schnnur, a West Los Angeles physicist who works for the defense industry, now spends nearly all his nonwork hours putting the finishing touches on a communitywide conference he has organized, billed as "Spiritual Responses to...

  • From Baptist to Beshert

    April 5, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    When the 1994 Northridge earthquake struck, Delores Gray had an unusual response. Gray, an African American ordained minister and sales representative for Continental Airlines, took one look at the shambles the temblor had made of her Van Nuys condominium -- the furniture overturned...

  • People of the Book

    March 29, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Just try to sidle your way to the counter at the 613 Mitzvah Store on Pico Boulevard to pay for your purchases. You'll have to be patient and agile, since the 1,300-square-foot store is neatly jammed from floor to ceiling with all manner of Judaica: kiddush cups, havdalah trays, a...

  • Local ArtscrollContributors

    March 29, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    A growing number of Angelenos have either authored or sponsored Mesorah Artscroll texts.

    Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of Project Next Step at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, is the author of "Be'er Hagolah" -- one of the classic interpretations of the commonly misunderstood...

  • The 700 Habits of Highly Defective Parents

    November 30, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    "Carpool Tunnel Syndrome: Motherhood as Shuttle Diplomacy" (Heaven Ink Publishing, $12.95) is the first book by longtime Jewish Journal contributing writer Judy Gruen. In it, Pico-Robertson resident Gruen examines the pain, inconvenience, stress and heartache of parenthood, laughing...

  • Challenging Content

    September 21, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Hollywood may be taking a drubbing lately for its content and marketing practices, but if you ask Mark Honig, the industry has no one to blame but itself.

    Honig, the executive director of the Los Angeles-based Parents Television Council (PTC), a national watchdog group, says,...

  • Here Comes the Bride, No Stress in Sight

    February 10, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    I love a good party, so when they announced a Shabbat kallah at shul last week, I showed up. It made no difference that I couldn't pick the bride out from a crowd. A Shabbat kallah is always a great time, an all-female gathering to shower a bride with joy and blessings on the Shabbat...
  • Community Briefs

    September 30, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    A play with both wit and heart is a compelling combination, and it's one that playwright Donald Margulies' pulls off in his mostly rewarding "Collected Stories."

    "Stories" drew critical praise and a 1997 Pulitzer Prize nomination following it's world première at Costa Mesa's South...

  • Sticker Shock

    May 20, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    After months of debate and deliberation, my husband and I decided to trade in the ocean breeze and proximity to the brand-new Starbucks on Lincoln Boulevard for the clogged air and congested streets of Pico-Robertson. I had toyed with the idea earlier, and had even lookie-looed my...
  • Personal Voice

    November 6, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    A Plea From a Kneady Noah's Fan

    By Judy Gruen

    The news hit me as hard as a stale mandlebrot: Noah's Bagels wasgoing treif. They were abandoning us, tossing aside Los Angeles'loyal kosher consumers like so many day-old minis.

    For two years, we've enjoyed a carbohydrate high -- any of a...

  • One People: Religious Christians and Jews?

    October 16, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Most of the mainstream secular Jewishorganizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the AmericanJewish Congress would like us to think so. But a recent gathering inWashington proved that a grass-roots movement is taking hold amongJews -- not only the Orthodox -- whose views are...