Ruth Shuken's backyard is a floral wonderland. Shuken, who turns 94 on July 4, strolls through aisles of roses, lilacs and azaleas. Her green thumb has also served her well in cultivating a garden of mitzvahs.
Shuken's Beverlywood manor, which she has called home for 55 years, is a short drive from Vista Del Mar, the place she has served for more than five decades. Vista Del Mar operates on a $32 million annual budget to assist teens from troubled backgrounds.
Fred Kort, Holocaust survivor, philanthropist and founder/CEO of Imperial Toy Corporation, died on Sept. 6. He was 80.
For local artist Rebecca Levy, building a body of work literally begins with the building. "Each one is different and has a charm of its own,"
This Rosh Hashanah, the dreadlocked Santa Monica resident will showcase his talents at B'nai Horin, the Culver City shul he has been performing at since 1997. Alula Tzadik will play the kirar, a harp-like instrument dating back to King David's time.
Community members turned out in full force when Geoffrey Gee, former Israel Humanitarian Foundation Chair and University Synagogue president, was honored at a Cure Familial Dysautonomia fundraiser at University Synagogue in Westwood.
An 800-year-old Jewish sage is coming to Westwood this week.
"More booths, more vendors, more of everything" is how festival co-chair Nancy Parris Moskowitz described this year's Los Angeles Jewish Festival.
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Fred Kort, Holocaust survivor, philanthropist and founder/CEO of Imperial Toy Corporation, died on Sept. 6 at the age of 80.
Kort, like fellow philanthropists Jona Goldrich and Max Webb, survived the Holocaust to become one of Jewish Los Angeles' most prominent and impassioned supporters, as well as a big giver to secular humanitarian organizations. Kort gave millions to dozens of Jewish causes, including Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University, the Anti-Defamation League and Israel Bonds. He was a founding donor of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and contributed to Goldrich's L.A. Holocaust Memorial.
With chapters organized by decades, "Stars" devotes chapters to some shopworn but necessary rock pioneers -- Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Bob Dylan, Roth -- as well as more eclectic entries: late T-Rex frontman Marc Bolan, Lee Oskar of WAR and Phish bassist Mike Gordon, suddenly topical after he was arrested Aug. 16 and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor.
Rachel Firestone and Michel Grosz, both juniors at Milken Community High School, were among the 26 teenagers across North America to receive 2003 Bronfman Youth Fellowships that entitled them to spend five weeks in Israel this summer.
The Los Angeles Jewish Festival, known until recently as the Valley Jewish Festival, originally began as the Exodus Festival to drum up support and awareness for the rescue of Soviet Jews, under the leadership of The Federation's Jewish Community Relations Committee.
He was the guy with all the good lines. The late Saul Steinberg helped establish The New Yorker magazine as a purveyor of visual excellence. "Art of the Spirit," an exhibit at The Jewish Federation running through Dec. 15, is a welcome reminder of the late illustrator's visual wit.
A year and a half ago, Woodland Hills resident Steve Handelman believed he had a novel idea: merchandise bearing the slogan "Got Peace?" Before long, the writer got his wife, Trudy Handelman, a medical dental consultant; and his children, Alexandra, 13, and Gabriel, 9, on board. He produced baseball caps, T-shirts, even a plush Holstein cow riffing off of the slogan.
Jerry Freedman Habush led excursions through historic Jewish Los Angeles as vice president of tours at the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California (JHS) for more than 20 years. In recent months, Habush's commitment slowed, but not from a waning passion. He was receiving chemotherapy for cancer that spread through his pancreas, liver and lungs. Habush died on July 29 at age 60.
Fred calls Lamont a "big dummy." Aunt Esther warns Fred to "Watch it, sucka!" Fred fakes a heart attack, crying out heavenward, "Elizabeth, I'm comin' to join you!"
Thirty years ago, when few representations of blacks appeared on television, "Sanford & Son," starring Redd Foxx, brought such gags into the pop culture lexicon. And for most of its 1972-1977 run, a couple of Jewish boys, Saul Turteltaub and Bernie Orenstein, oversaw the writing on the top-rated African American sitcom. Today, "Sanford" is the second most-watched program among viewers age 25-54 on rerun cable outlet TV Land, trailing only its doppelganger -- the wholesome, decidedly white "The Andy Griffith Show."
When Temple Beth Am of Los Angeles extended a konnichi wa during Saturday services to its Japanese visitors, they answered "Shabbat shalom." Small Hands, a group of Japanese goodwill ambassadors, ages 12-18, offered a cultural exchange on its July 26 visit.
iel Avrech died of complications from severe pulmonary fibrosis on July 1. He was 22.
"He was incredibly learned," said Avrech's father, Emmy-winning screenwriter Robert Avrech ("The Devil's Arithmetic"). "I always learned from him. Our roles were reversed. He was also very funny and had a very dry, ironic sense of humor."
"What the graphic novel has done is make it clear we're dealing with an art form," said Maggie Thompson, editor of Comics Buyer's Guide.
Before his life was tragically cut short in 1920 at the age of 35, Amedeo Modigliani left an impression on every person he met. Take fellow artist Jacques Lipchitz, whom the possessed Italian Jew liked to visit at 3 a.m.
Mark Karlan and other successful Jews in the business believe that realty's fealty to Jewish causes lies in factors unique to the nature of the business, which is driven by a generation profoundly connected to Jewish values and impacted by the Holocaust and the creation of Israel.
Even though he promises to be a kinder, gentler version of himself, his raspy growl is -- and will be -- unmistakably unchanged.
All traces of the solemnity and sadness of Holocaust Remembrance Day were gone by nightfall when the gang from New York-based Heeb Magazine threw their first West Coast party at the Hollywood-and-Vine hotspot Deep.
Becker General Contractors' Sandy Becker was happy to be at what is known in the real estate and construction business as a "sunriser" -- an early morning get-together.
The moment you enter Tempo restaurant in Encino on a Thursday night, you realize that it's Pini Cohen's town, and we just dance in it.
Imagine a disease that strips a child of the routine autonomic and sensory abilities that we take for granted. A disease that affects a child's nervous system to such a degree that he or she cannot feel pain or produce tears, even when seriously wounded. The child becomes plagued with developmental delays, both physical and cognitive, and must be fed through gastric tubes to prevent inhaling food through the windpipe instead of down the esophagus. He or she experiences severe vision problems, breathing episodes, seizures, an absence of taste, cyclical vomiting, unstable blood pressure, fainting spells, excessive sweating, skin blotching and other abnormalities. The child also incurs numerous hospital stays, frequent surgeries and enormous medical bills. Worst of all, the disease statistically guarantees that the child will not live to see his or her preteens.
A war is brewing. A minority in our midst is being actively persecuted. Society fears and loathes them. The government is using legislation to identify them and the military to hunt, contain and kill them. This is not Nazi Germany. This is America.
Irene Gutovicz remembers the days when members of the local group of philanthropic Holocaust survivors, known as The Lodzer Organization of California, would donate a bowl of borscht or a plate of kugel.
Eat-4-Israel was the brainchild of Monique Grunberger, a high school senior at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, who developed the idea with two local Yeshiva University of Los Angeles students, Yitz Novak and Zvi Smith.
It may have been a silent film, but Paul Wegener made an international noise with "Der Golem." The 1920 German Expressionist classic -- screening April 21 at the Skirball Cultural Center -- remains a popular incarnation of the Golem.
Helping the needy is what SOVA (Hebrew for "eat and be satisfied") has been doing since 1983, when Santa Monica deli owner Hy Altman and wife, Zucky, created the nonprofit organization.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Perhaps a
cliché, but it may well be the mantra of local Jewish institutions struggling
to attract new blood, as organizations and synagogues revamp their young
professional divisions in an effort to distance themselves from past
programming that has failed to meet expectations.
In January, the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) ended its international search for an executive director and picked an Angeleno: UCLA professor Peter Tokofsky.
What sold CAFAM on Tokofsky was his suggestion that the museum buck the tradition of looking outward to international cultures for exhibit material, and focus on indigenous trends instead.
"It's all right here," Tokofsky said. "This museum is going to be increasingly about L.A."
Tokofsky promises that future exhibits at the Miracle Mile museum will revel in local culture -- ethnic and popular -- and Los Angeles' populace, including the Jewish community. As an appetizer, entertainer Len Levitt will stage a Passover-themed puppet show, part of CAFAM's "Puppets" exhibition, on April 13, and Hebrew University professor Shalom Sabar will lecture on the lore and lure of Hebrew amulets on April 19.
On Nov. 15, 2002, filmmaker Larry Cohen should have been at the multiplex, gauging opening day reaction to the film he wrote, "Phone Booth," about a man who must outwit a sniper while trapped in the eponymous telephonic cabin. But the Washington Sniper changed all that.
No, Cohen was not the target of a hit. But his movie was, last October, when 20th Century Fox postponed the release because of the snipers (who were ultimately apprehended after killing 10 people and critically wounding three).
"Phone Booth," directed by Joel Schumacher and starring current "it boy" Colin Farrell, opens in theaters April 4.Â
The marketing campaign was launched earlier this month in a collaboration by the Southern California Israel Chamber of Commerce, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the Government of Israel Economic Mission and the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute.
Irwin Goldenberg, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles past president and an active community leader, died on March 20. He was 85.
The self-described raconteur refuses to label herself a stand-up comedian. But Rhea Kohan's wit has, over the last decade, made her a sought-after personality in the local Jewish community, and she refuses to charge money for her humorous hostessing.
So how will this year's Academy Awards differ from previous Oscar outings? One word: War.
Janet Williams, a past president of City of Hope's auxiliaryÂ division, Gems of Hope, died on Feb. 9, 2003. She was 84.
At first, investment entrepreneur Judy Resnick did not realize that her daughter, Stacey Shiffman, was carrying a genetically transmitted disease.
The Filipino owners of an Asian restaurant at work. A glimpse of Thai worshippers praying inside a Buddhist temple. A man perusing an
One evening while Steve Schub was studying at Hebrew University in 1990, his punk rock band had an unlikely guest: Artimus Pyle,
drummer for classic Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services is throwing "A Big Fat Italian Wedding" on March 1 to raise money for its Presidents Club, a group that helps troubled teens through dinners, sporting events and awards nights.
When Marvel Comics founding father Stan Lee created Daredevil in 1964, he tagged his blind superhero: "Man Without Fear."
It could have been a scene aboard the deck of the Titanic -- before that pesky iceberg hit.
Longtime "1939" Club member William Elperin didn't know what he was getting himself into when he became the leader of the Holocaust
Dr. Samuel Dinin recently turned 100. Don't recognize the name? Well, if you are a product of Jewish education in Los Angeles, you have been impacted by his contributions.
The study of Dinin's cozy Westwood abode is crammed with shelves of Jewish texts. This is not for show. Dinin played a key role in developing several institutional pillars of Jewish education in this city, including the West Coast's Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) affiliate, the University of Judaism (UJ) and Camp Ramah. And, by extension, he has nourished many of the city's Jewish minds.
In an unprecedented event, 650 of the most successful members of Los Angeles' Russian Jewish community gathered under the banner of
Judaism and Israel.
Standing outside of the Byzantine Revival majesty of Congregation Talmud Torah on the Sunday following Tu B'Shevat, Stephen Sass, president of the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California (JHS), presented a construction hard hat to State Sen. Gilbert Cedillo (D-Dist. 22) as a thank you for his role in supporting the 70-year-old abandoned synagogue.
If Hollywood menschdom has a name, it might be Steve Guttenberg. For years, audiences have identified Guttenberg as a nice Jewish mensch in films such as "Cocoon" and "Three Men and a Baby." But in his new film, "P.S. Your Cat Is Dead," which opens Jan. 24, Guttenberg trades in his image -- for 90 minutes, anyway -- for a much darker persona.
When teen titan Henry Laufer needed to raise the bar on his bar mitzvah, he turned his drive for skateboarding into a skateboarding drive.
Marc Mostman recalls the first time he saw "Star Wars." "I remember waiting in line at the Avco at Westwood," said the 35-year-old attorney.
It has taken roughly three decades for L.A.'s community of Russian-speaking Jews to steadily, if incrementally, gain a foothold in Jewish American and mainstream American life.
"In the Russian Jewish community, you didn't have, until the early '90s, any organization," said Miriam Prum Hess, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' vice president for Planning and Allocations. "Now that this community has made it as one of our wonderful success stories."
One sign that Los Angeles' immigrant-heavy Russian Jewish community has "made it" as a rising philanthropic force in the larger Jewish community is this month's Russian Dinner Gala, co-sponsored by The Federation and the American Russian Medical and Dental Association -- headed by Dr. Ludmila Bess and Alex Gershman. The Jewish entities will join forces to host the first large-scale community-wide effort ever staged by this city's Russian-speaking Jewish community.
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Sally Hyam didn't mind working on her birthday. A librarian for the last 19 years at the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles (JCLLA), Hyam was actually delighted that some 40 visitors were checking out books and videos at the opening reception celebrating the library's new location in The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles building at 6505 Wilshire Blvd.
Aaron Sorkin has opened his mind to Jewish culture. It's evidenced in the recent Yiddish-language opener of the Dec. 11 Christmas episode of the "The West Wing," with a 1950s scene of three men in topcoats -- who belonged to the Jewish mob.
Rules of etiquette suggest that one must whisper in a library. But for the Jewish Community Library of Greater Los Angeles, that rule is just the beginning.
The library recently held its culminating ceremony for a group of youngsters enrolled in its Children's Etiquette and Social Grace class. This is the first time that the institution has sponsored such a class.
The idea developed after the library director Abigail Yasgur and children's director Sylvia Lowe, children's librarian, enrolled their respective youngsters in an etiquette class.
"Libraries are not just about the books," Lowe said. "They're becoming meeting places for people in the community."
Urban poetry slams around the world, like this one at the Workmen's Circle, allow different groups and ethnicities to mine their cultural issues.
The Workmen's Circle slam is also a way to bring younger people to this nearly century-old bastion of Jewish culture and social activism, said Assistant Director Jenni Person, who has been at the circle since September, and serves as the event's slam master or host.
As far as Jewish plays go, "The Dybbuk" is a classic to those in the know or, perhaps more appropriately, those in the Noh -- the dramatic Japanese theatrical style.
Call this your typical rags-to-riches story, except that it's set in Long Beach and stars two young Jewish boys and a baby blacktip reef shark.
Samuel Neaman, philanthropist and former department store chain retailing manager, died in Oceanside on Nov. 13. He was 89.
The church is not a place that one typically associates with Chanukah.
Nearly 600 guests were onhand as philanthropist Susan Samueli was honored at the John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) Auxiliary's annual membership luncheon, held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire on Oct 23 during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
There was a time when the holidays meant choosing between a traditional stamp, like Madonna and child, or a modern stamp, like snowmen. But that all changed in 1996.
On March 5, 1936, Julius Shulman was awestruck when he saw the Hollywood Hills home designed by legendary California Modernist architect Richard Neutra.
On a cool November evening, the Avrech family -- Robert, Karen, and Ariel -- sit within the cozy confines of their Pico-Robertson home, where an Emmy Award that Robert won for his 1999 Holocaust-themed drama, "The Devil's Arithmetic," graces the mantle.
During the Holocaust, Max Webb made two promises: one to his mother and one to God.
When is a city's Jewish book festival not actually located in that city? When it's based in Los Angeles.
In the 1998 hit comedy "The Wedding Singer," the eponymous character was a nice Jewish boy named Robbie. At the Sept. 2 Century City Park Hyatt reception of 30-something newlyweds Daphna Ghozland and David Hollander, the wedding singer is a nice Jewish boy named Robbie. True, the latter -- singer/pianist/bandleader Robbie Helperin -- will occasionally perform the odd '80s pop song with his Simcha Orchestra as Adam Sandler did in the movie, but that's where the parallels end, or at least, that's where Helperin would like them to end.
"It was kind of painful to watch," Helperin said of the movie that immortalized his profession as a "Loserville" populated by "creepy musicians," in his words.
It seems only fitting that comic Sarah Silverman has had guest roles on both the vampy "V.I.P." and the geeky "Star Trek: Voyager." She can trade on her good looks, which she milked in her Hollywood exec role on the Fox sitcom "Greg the Bunny." But left to her own devices, Silverman, tomboyishly comfortable in jeans and sneakers, comes across like your dorky, smart-mouthed sister. Silverman will wield her scalpel-sharp wit in her show, "Jesus Is Magic," Nov. 6-16 at the Canon Theater.
"It's very racial and it's sexual," Silverman, 31, told The Journal about "Magic." "I talk a lot about race, about Sept. 11, the Holocaust. I say a lot of stuff I don't mean."
"Yiddish is our language; it's our culture," said educator Yakob Basner. "Before the war, 12 million Jews spoke it. And the last words spoken by the Jews in the Holocaust before they were killed was in Yiddish."
Collector Stephen White has lent 32 Strauss-Peyton portraits from the early 1920s to The Jewish Federation's Bell Family Gallery for "Art & Artifice."
Not long ago, Jeffrey Gold disappeared from Los Angeles' art scene."I just buried myself in my work," said the 45-year-old artist. "I didn't let people see the work. I was kind of struggling."
"It's clobberin' time!" used to be the Thing's catchphrase -- but now he might be hollering, "It's davenin' time!"
Four decades after his debut in "Fantastic Four" No. 1 (Vol. 1) -- the comic book that single-handedly launched Marvel Comics -- the craggy orange member of the eponymous superhero quartet has been revealed to be Jewish in "Fantastic Four" No. 56 (Vol. 3).
Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director general of Hadassah Medical Organization, who oversees the operation of Hadassah's two Jerusalem-area hospitals, visited Los Angeles last week.
At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, approximately 40 support groups raise millions of dollars for research, wards, departments, buildings and other medical and physical needs.
Shop Israel L.A. co-chairs Sheila Spiwak and Adrian Miller and their circle of friends hatched the idea for the fundraiser, which will also support The Jewish Federation's Jews In Crisis fund.
Sometimes, adversity strikes gold. In Los Angeles, three major medical institutions, including Cedars of Lebanon and Mount Sinai -- the independent hospitals that merged to form Cedars-Sinai Medical Center -- and the City of Hope sprang from Los Angeles' Jewish tuberculosis problem.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center spans over 24 acres and encompasses 1.5 million square feet.
Harvey Silbert, philanthropist and attorney, died Sept. 28. He was 90.
The stars were out again last Tuesday. In the wake of the Emmys, Jewish celebrities, community leaders and entertainment industry people gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, to honor their peers at the second annual Jewish Image Awards in Film and Television (JIA), sponsored by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture (NFJC).
Lisa Frost was always No. 1. She was the firstborn in her family. She was the first person to start a community service program at the School of Hospitality at Boston University, from which she graduated in May 2001 and was the valedictorian. She will also be the first completed video profile on producer-director Mark Rothman's interactive database, "Out of Many ... One: Biographies of the Victims of Sept. 11."
Even though we've just crossed the first anniversary mark of Sept. 11 without incident, security specialist Dennis Kennedy does not think America should relax just yet.
Temple Ramat Zion Preschool in Northridge opened its first-ever kindergarten class this week.
"It's not someone else's problem. It's our problem." The problem Devorah Shubowitz is talking about: poverty.
Singer Vanessa Paloma loves to perform Ladino songs. "The stories are so amazing," said Paloma, 33. "They're like little tidbits of a society that has been spread around the whole world."
They came for the kosher and stayed for the kibitz.
A TV show taping might mean a lot of things to people in Hollywood, but it doesn't necessarily scream: "Killer mate-hunting opportunity!"
On the anniversary of Sept. 11, we offer a pancultural exchange with a happy ending.
Back in November, UP FRONT reported about Patricia Abdullah, a Caucasian woman of Muslim faith who, after leading an unsuccessful search for a type O-positive kidney donor for acquaintance Mike Jones, an African American Christian, ultimately donated her own kidney. The Sept. 25 procedure was performed by Jewish and German surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a hospital founded by Jews.
"Israel in Crisis: 20 Years of Israeli Art, 1980-2000," a summerlong avant-garde art exhibit at The Jewish Federation's Bell Family Gallery, distills some of the best painters who have brought about a revolution in the Israeli art scene.
Chabad of California's 22nd annual "L'Chaim to Life Telethon," hosted by Dennis Prager, was humming along nicely with a long roster of talent that included classic actors James Caan and Elliott Gould, comic actor Dom DeLuise and Israeli singer David "Dudu" Fisher. Then 10:30 p.m. rolls around and the KCET soundstage -- where the telethon is broadcast -- went amok. Enter the Sand Man.
Maria Teresa and Maria de Jesus Quiej Alvarez are twins who were born conjoined at the cranium. Headline-makers since arriving at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital in Westwood, the twins were separated in a nearly 23-hour surgery on Aug. 6.
Call it a mission with a mission."It was the most amazing trip," Dr. Charles Pollick told The Journal. "I've been to Israel many times, but they really rolled out the red carpet for us."
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) held its annual Deborah Awards, honoring women of achievement -- an evening at the Regent Beverly Wilshire emceed by Arianna Huffington.
Eric, Matt and Chris are three musicians who refuse to give away their last names. But if you guessed it was out of a lack of ethnic pride, you'd be wrong.
When Brandeis-Bardin Institute (BBI) holds its summer concert on Aug. 18, it will be a bittersweet occasion for cellist David Low.
When Misha Zilbermint was 11 years old, he was stunned to learn from his parents that he was Jewish.
When Brandeis-Bardin Institute (BBI) holds its summer concert on Aug. 18, it will be a bittersweet occasion for cellist David Low.
Some things are just better the second time around. For some, it's marriage. For others, it's childbirth or career. For Mel Guthman, a member of Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades, this was the case with his bar mitzvah -- and well worth the 70-year wait.
Bet Tzedek's sixth annual Justice Ball has always been a popular affair for Los Angeles' young professionals. But this year, add "swanky" to the fundraiser's list of superlatives.
It was a postcard-perfect afternoon outside Kerckhoff Hall on UCLA's campus on Tuesday, Aug. 6., but Debra Bach could not stop crying.
Each room of Belfer's three-bedroom home is adorned with his handcrafted Judaica -- wall hangings and constructions that capture his love of Judaism, Israel and America.
The East L.A. community of Boyle Heights has always been a neighborhood dominated by immigrants. Today, it's a poor Hispanic neighborhood. But Hershey Eisenberg, 75, remembers a different Boyle Heights: It was during the Great Depression, when the community was poor and Jewish, but the sense of community was very rich.
July 31 was the last day of Ulpan, the six-week Hebrew class at Jerusalem's Hebrew University's Rothberg School for Overseas Students.