When Myra Clark-Siegel, wife of Israeli Consulate General David Siegel, packed their things for their Los Angeles mission, she sacrificed a few items. But she couldn’t leave behind her children’s favorite books, no matter that they weighed down the suitcases.
Dr. Judith Orloff’s adolescence reads like a Jewish version of “Girl, Interrupted,” the 1999 film starring Wynona Ryder as teenage social misfit whose parents sent her to a psych ward. However, there is a happier ending in Orloff’s story.
The white carpet (red being too sinful a color) was rolled out for three “rock stars” of Jewish women’s learning at the Wilshire Ebell Theater on Oct. 3 for the Los Angeles leg of the “Avinu Malkeinu” High Holy Days lecture extravaganza.
One way to describe Israeli pop star Harel Skaat to American pop aficionados is to call him the Israeli “Clay Aiken”—a comparison Skaat might not like, considering he shies away from comparisons lest they smear his individuality.
BINA LA, the young leadership division of the Israeli Leadership Council, which seeks to develop community among Jewish American and Israeli professionals through intellectual salons, celebrated its first anniversary with the first Israel Advocacy Conference, held at The Mark in Pico-Robertson on Aug. 14.
While thousands of Angelenos are dreading Carmageddon — the closure of the 405 Freeway for 53 hours — Noam Bardin is looking forward to the challenge. As the CEO of Waze, a community-driven, free GPS application for smartphones, the Israeli-American entrepreneur is the commander-in-car of what his company calls the “Carmageddon Resistance” against the predicted Los Angeles traffic jam of epic proportions.
The Grinberg Method, named for its Israeli founder, Avi Grinberg, is described as “a structured way of teaching through the body.” But a better way to explain it is through an example. Let’s take a universal source of anxiety that most women can relate to: waiting for the guy to call after a date.
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Casey Abrams was the one for Jews to watch during the 10th season of “American Idol.” His reddish-brown beard was the constant butt of jokes on the show and the most talked-about “Idol” hair growth since Sanjaya Malakar. (Remember Malakar from the sixth season? His frizzy up-dos put Jew-fros to shame). For a pre-performance sketch about Abrams, fellow finalists donned a fake beard piece and blew into a red melodica while klezmer music played in the background.
The idea for Fashion With Compassion, a student-run fashion show where models don’t just show off stylish clothes but also offer help for Israel, came to Celine Yousefzadeh after she attended a charity fashion show at another school. She thought: Why not bring it to Milken?
On the morning of May 22, at the opening plenary of the 2011 AIPAC Policy Conference, the grand ballroom of the convention center here felt like a grand courtroom. The case: the organized pro-Israel Jewish community versus President Barack Obama’s May 19 speech.
The battle for Jewish geographical supremacy goes back to talmudic times, when Jews of Babylon (Bavli) and Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) each asserted their city as the coveted center of Jewish life. In the Middle Ages, the battle took place between the Jews of Northern Europe (Ashkenaz) and the Jews of Spain (Sepharad), the repercussions of which are still felt today. In the 19th century, the worldly Jews of Berlin scoffed at the Chasidic Jews of Warsaw for what they considered a parochial religious worldview.
While local news broadcasters debated the West Coast repercussions of the Japanese earthquake, Radio Kol America’s Dudi Caspi, sitting with headphones and a microphone at the station’s North Hollywood studio, posed a different question: Could a tsunami hit Tel Aviv?
Zula is a delightful beachside restaurant where you can breathe in the salty air as Eyal Golan songs play in the background. It also advertises the best falafel in town, made with local garbanzo beans.
Earth Rose Farm in Costa Rica is situated on a remote hillside between the villages of Santa Fe and Esperanza, or “faith” and “hope.”
The Latino students at Franklin High School, located north of downtown Los Angeles, sat stone-faced in the school’s auditorium, waiting to find out what justified missing the period before lunch. Against the backdrop of an American flag and an Israeli flag, Israeli Consul General Jacob Dayan informed them that they would influence the fate of six Israeli singers. “You represent the country,” he announced to the students in late January.
Blame it on coinciding with the Grammys and the Jewish Federation’s annual Super Sunday, but only 15 people showed up at the Feb. 13 L.A. leg of the nationwide tour of “Innovation Israel: Shaping Israel’s Future. Today,” presented by the aliyah organization Nefesh B’Nefesh, and PresenTense, an incubator for ideas empowering the Jewish community. To the organizers, Israel’s stars are its social entrepreneurs solving social problems through innovative ideas.
In a country surrounded by enemies, it makes sense that traditional sanctuaries for escape — bars and nightclubs — are widely accessible and innovative. Whereas Hollywood haunts rely on Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan for cachet, Tel Aviv haunts rely on creative concepts, friendly service and good vibes.
News anchor Mendy Pellin has gone where no Jewish journalist has ever gone before.
“Is everybody happy today?” Shana Passman cheerfully asked a table of Holocaust survivors eating lunch at Hollywood Temple Beth El at the annual Chanukah party of Café Europa, a social club for Holocaust Survivors run by the Jewish Family Service (JFS).
In 2008, Adam Irving, a filmmaker and photographer, left his doctoral program in media studies at the University of Texas to make the transition from theory to practice. He landed in Hollywood with the dream of making films, but soon after his arrival found himself feeling unfulfilled by the vanity within the entertainment industry.
Amir Levy, fire chief of the Western Galilee, remembers encountering a little girl in an elevator while he was training in the United States a year ago. She looked at him admiringly, commenting to her mother how firefighters are heroes. “That’s not the reaction we were used to getting in Israel,” Levy told an audience of 250, including Los Angeles city officials and the morning shift of the Beverly Hills Fire Department, at an executive breakfast meeting of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) on Dec. 14 at the Beverly Hilton. Following the inferno in the Carmel forests earlier this month that left 44 dead, Israel’s firefighters are now getting recognition as heroes — but heroes whose skill and bravery are undermined by insufficient resources.
Earlier this year, Galya Nisenbaum, a graduate of Shalhevet High School, had to make the biggest decision she had ever faced: whether to enroll at UC Berkeley or join the Israel Defense Forces. At the time, Nisenbaum was enrolled in a gap-year school leadership program in Israel, studying Judaism and Israeli culture.
On Nov. 29, the 63rd anniversary of the U.N. resolution to partition Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state, Dan Meridor, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy, spoke at the UCLA School of Law about Israel’s survival today, focusing on the Iranian threat, the peace process and international law.
Jewelry designer Liza Shtromberg started out selling jewelry at age 17, as a street vendor on Melrose.
At a recent dress rehearsal at Temple Beth Am for the Jewish Women’s Repertory Company’s (JWRC) November production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Margy Horowitz, the company’s founder, musical director and accompanist, played piano while the narrator belted out the famous opening line: “Some folks dream of the wonders they’ll do, before their time on this planet is through.”
“I’m not a temple Jew, I’m not a ritual Jew, I don’t follow the holidays, but I am a Jew from the tip of my toes to the top of what remains of my hair,” actor Richard Dreyfuss announced at the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton, where the Gala Awards Dinner, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Israel Film Festival (IFF), took place Oct. 20. “I have a pride that I am a member of a group of people who have astonished the world in such a consistent way and who have given more gifts to mankind than anyone else.”
Stepping into Miri Mesika’s Tel Aviv apartment, it’s hard to tell she’s one of Israel’s most beloved singers. The design isn’t particularly modern or glamorous, especially by Hollywood standards, and it’s got the usual household clutter: appliances, books, furniture. Only a home studio decorated with album plaques in one corner gives away Mesika’s stature.
It’s easy to understand Shahar Sorek’s immediate attraction to Agne Kudreviciute. The Lithuanian beauty, of mixed Polish and Russian heritage, would be the perfect casting choice for Snow White: long, black hair; light skin; striking green eyes; and a princesslike demeanor.
Arab workers are taking down a roof of a caravilla in the coastal town of Nitzan. They’re stacking the terra cotta tiles, leaving standing a framework of fading, mustard-colored, thin walls made of wallboard. The residents are moving out, and the shell of their former house is about to be loaded on a truck, to be transported and recycled by Israeli government.
In Kamran Pasha’s new historical novel, “Shadow of the Swords” (Simon & Schuster: $16), a feisty, beautiful Jewish heroine named Miriam falls in love with the legendary Muslim sultan, Saladin, as he seeks to guard the Holy Land from the Third Crusades at the turn of the 12th century. If that doesn’t sound racy enough, Miriam is the fictional niece of Maimonides (aka Rambam for Jews and Ibn Maimum for Muslims), who is also Saladin’s trusted adviser and courtier.
When Capt. John D., an Israeli university student and champion swimmer, was called up as a reserves commando of Shayetet 13 — Israel’s equivalent of the U.S. Navy SEALs — to train for the operation to stop the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla,” he says he expressed immediate concern regarding the use of paintball guns, a training weapon.
Last October, when Muslim extremists threatened to burn down the only synagogue still standing in the Republic of Indonesia, Saul Abraham, 69, the synagogue’s caretaker, and his younger brother, Alfred, 66, fled the country.
On July 26, for the first time ever, an official from Israel’s Ministry of Interior was on hand at the El Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles International Airport to naturalize 62 Southern California Jews as Israelis and three more as permanent residents.
Defying men’s general resistance to relationship books, “The Garden of Peace: A Marital Guide for Men Only,” by Rabbi Shalom Arush, was a surprise Jewish hit last year, selling more than a half-million copies in English, Hebrew, French and Spanish worldwide.
So what does a good Jewish girl do when her date goes in for the kiss after he downed meatloaf and she mac-and-cheese? In “Life, Love, Lox: Real-World Advice for the Modern Jewish Girl” (Running Press, $13.95) by Carin Davis, the issue at steak (pun intended — the book inspires them) is not breath or kissing technique, but whether the kiss violates the rules of kashrut that dictate separation of meat and milk.
Lauren Mickelson didn’t know that her nickname, Lulu, is slang for a remarkable person, object or idea. But the word describes her high school achievements perfectly.
Los Angeles may be home to one of the largest concentrations of Israelis in the United States, but many in this group, known as yordim (Israeli ex-pats) and hybrids (anyone who is a combination of Israeli and American) often find themselves feeling isolated. They long for a stronger organizational link to their Israeli compatriots even as they feel out of sync with the larger Jewish community.
The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Western Region gala, held Dec. 17, 2009, at the Beverly Hilton, raised more than $5.2 million to benefit IDF soldiers through the various FIDF programs. Paul Guerin, president of the Western Region group, began the evening’s program with the announcement that he and his wife, Vera, would give $1 million, half of which will be dedicated to supporting FIDF’s IMPACT! scholarship program that provides college scholarships to former combat soldiers with limited financial means. At the sold-out gala, event chairs Cheryl and Haim Saban then said they would match the $1.6 million already raised, followed by two additional $500,000 pledges by Victoria and Ron Simms, and Erika Glazer.
More than 150 American Israeli health care providers gathered at the Beverly Hills home of Dr. Said and Jila Rahban on Dec. 3 to hear talks by distinguished Israeli physicians. Speakers included Dr. Tzaki Siev-Ner, director of the orthopedic rehabilitation department at Sheba Medical Center, and Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger, a family health care practitioner based in Miami and author of “A German Life: Against All Odds, Change is Possible,” a memoir of the author’s journey to Judaism as the son of a decorated Nazi soldier. The event was organized by the American Israeli Medical Association (AIMA), a professional network for American health care providers seeking to maintain ties with Israel.
Rabbi Shalom Arush’s book “The Garden of Peace: A Marital Guide for Men Only” (Machon Chut Shel Chessed, 2008) opens with a stern warning to women: “I bless every woman who resists the temptation to read this book with all the very best of material and spiritual abundance, marital bliss and gratifications from their children.”
With actresses like Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria and Eva Mendez setting a standard for sexiness, it’s not surprising that some local Latinas are capturing the hearts of Israeli American men. But it’s not only because of the women’s appearance — their Jewish suitors are also finding that a Latina’s inner spiritual qualities help them to see past a non-Jewish background.
Following a similar event organized last year in New York, the Western Region of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces honored local families of fallen Israeli soldiers at a formal dinner held at the Olympic Collection on Oct. 29. The event was meant to extend recognition and support that bereaved families might often miss living outside of Israel.
Even before The Gorbals first opened for dinner on Aug. 28, chef Ilan Hall’s bacon-wrapped matzah balls served with horseradish mayonnaise had already earned his new downtown restaurant its share of notoriety in the food press.
Supermodel turned supermogul Kathy Ireland has been named the international ambassador of Holyland Heroes, a new Friends of Sheba Medical Center campaign to raise awareness and support of wounded soldiers and victims of terror being treated at Sheba’s National Center for Rehabilitation.
When Donna Lavian attended a housewarming barbecue at the new Moishe House of Los Angeles last month, it was her first Jewish event since moving to Los Angeles two years ago.
As the High Holy Days approach, some Jews might dread sitting for hours on end in shul, crowning God as their King while their minds inevitably wander off to their missed calls, their mortgage payment or their next meal. Davening, the Yiddish term for prayer, may feel like a constant battle.
Tikkun Holistic Spa is probably one of the few Korean spas in the Los Angeles area where the receptionist greets clients without a Korean accent. Founder Niki Schwarz wanted to make sure non-Koreans who walk through the door (after taking an elevator to the basement) encounter no struggle in their quest for the perfect day of rest.
Suzanne Tracht, executive chef and owner of Los Angeles chophouse, Jar, will feed hungry locals (although not necessarily her creations, to their misfortune) after winning both the Quickfire Challenge and elimination challenge of the second episode of “Top Chef Masters,” a new spin-off of Bravo’s popular cooking competition, “Top Chef.” The new show is designed for chefs who have already achieved their fame the old-fashioned way.
To rephrase the opening line of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”: It is a truth universally acknowledged — especially by Jewish mothers — that a Jewish single man in possession of a good fortune and over the age of 35 must be in want of a wife ... who is in her 20s.
In 2001, Jewish sofer (scribe) Ron Sieger served as a hand double for the actor playing a scribe on “The Sacred Scroll” episode of the CBS drama, “Touched By an Angel.” He left his studio in Los Angeles for a few days and headed off to the Utah set to serve as a scribe consultant and to tutor actress Valerie Bertinelli in Hebrew.
Two documentaries, two mysteries: the life and death of a family of Holocaust survivors attempting to rebuild their lives in an Israel ravaged by war; the other reveals the life and death of a Greek musician attempting to build his career as a pop star in Israel, seeking normalcy through music.
According to Jewish tradition, a person who makes three Jewish matches that lead to marriage earns shares in the world to come. If true, Joe Shapira is a big stockholder in heaven.
At a rehearsal last week for Temple Israel of Hollywood’s May 8 Yom HaAtzmaut service, Chazzan Danny Maseng, guitar in hand, a colorful, knitted kippah on his curly hair, inspired the synagogue’s choir by explaining the context of Hebrew poet Leah Goldberg’s hymn, “Pizmon Le’Yakington” (Moon Tune).
Last September, when the Israeli Consulate raised the Israeli flag over Wilshire Boulevard at a festive ceremony with the mayor, it was seen as an historic symbol of deepening Israeli-Angeleno ties.