Jewish Journal

Bill Boyarsky

  • Jews have unique obligation to help the homeless

    1 week ago

    As the number of homeless people in Los Angeles has grown to a level that is a civic disgrace, I’ve been wondering whether we Jews have a special obligation to help them.

    Statistics show the calamitous nature of the situation. The total of homeless people locally has increased by...

  • The once great Los Angeles Times

    November 24, 2015 | 8:40 am

    Talented, experienced journalists are now leaving the Los Angeles Times, and we alums feel depressed about the toll their departures will take on their lives and on Southern California.

    Kevin Roderick reported on his LA Observed website (to which I am a contributor) that more...

  • Persian-Jewish women keep tradition alive on canvas

    October 28, 2015 | 10:37 am

    In reporting on the Jewish community, I’ve learned about politics, schools, aging, race relations, religion and other matters. Few of these topics combine the complexity, creativity and history of a fascinating subset of Los Angeles Jewry, the Persian-Jewish women who paint.


  • Rabbi finds a higher calling in L.A.’s homeless population

    September 24, 2015 | 9:14 am

    Rabbi Marvin Gross’ congregants include Los Angeles County’s poorest, most neglected and most scorned — the homeless.

    As chief executive officer of Union Station Homeless Services, Gross and his staff find housing, medical and psychological care, and help locate training programs...

  • How Rep. Adam Schiff weighs the Iran pact vote

    July 29, 2015 | 11:25 am

    As he prepares to decide on the Iran nuclear deal, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) talks to advocates on both sides of the controversy. He consults well-informed, open-minded experts. From his seat on the House Intelligence Committee, he digs deep into classified details. Schiff knows...

  • LAUSD Mandarin immersion program expansion sparks backlash

    June 24, 2015 | 2:36 pm

    "It’s really been an L.A. story,” said Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board member Steve Zimmer, who is in the middle of a classic Los Angeles conflict that reflects the city’s many cultures and tensions. 

    The dispute is taking place in West Los Angeles, in an area...

  • Wanted: More women in Los Angeles City Hall

    May 27, 2015 | 10:41 am

    What Los Angeles City Hall needs is a strong Jewish woman.

    Nothing against the three Jewish men who occupy citywide offices — Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer and Controller Ron Galperin. But they’re so quiet, so devoted to working behind the scenes that it’s easy to...

  • Another Successful Chapter in Book Festival Legacy

    April 23, 2015 | 10:27 am

    We Jews like to be called “People of the Book.” Although I didn’t take a census or a poll, I imagine there were many of us in the big crowds on the USC campus for the 20th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last weekend.

    I ran into many I knew as I wandered through the...

  • Boyarsky takes on Riordan at the Los Angeles book fest

    April 20, 2015 | 6:34 pm

    We Jews like to be called “People of the Book.”  Although I didn’t take a census or a poll, I imagine there were many of us in the big crowds on the University of Southern California campus for the 20th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last weekend.

    I ran into many I...

  • Schiff ponders the lure of the senate seat

    March 25, 2015 | 11:28 am

    Rep. Adam Schiff is facing hard choices these days. As an influential Jewish congressman, he must decide what to do about Iran, Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the same time, he is making a career-wrenching decision on running for the U.S. Senate in 2016.


  • Why not support President Obama?

    February 25, 2015 | 10:29 am

    Why should I, a liberal in the bluest of cities in California, the bluest of states — where President Barack Obama now has a 57 percent approval rating — be subject to the whims of the pro-Republican prime minister of Israel? 

    And why should I or anyone else listen to Prime...

  • Improving the aging experience: completing life’s story

    January 28, 2015 | 11:41 am

    My interest in the active aged has been stimulated recently by hanging out with several of them and reading Dr. Atul Gawande’s powerful book “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.” My curiosity was heightened, of course, by an event that occurred last October — my...

  • Congressional candidate Ted Lieu on fight against ISIS

    October 29, 2014 | 3:45 pm

    When I sat down with Democratic Congressional candidate Ted Lieu to talk about Iraq, the situation hadn’t improved since I discussed it a month before with Lieu’s opponent, Republican Elan Carr. The militant terrorist group known as ISIS continues to advance, while the Iraqi army...

  • Elan Carr hesitant to support sending U.S. troops back to Iraq

    September 23, 2014 | 10:20 am

    I happened to interview Elan Carr, a Republican congressional candidate with substantial Middle East experience, on a day that may be remembered as noteworthy in the latest American attempt to defeat terrorism in that tormented region.

    Carr, currently a deputy Los Angeles County...

  • On the frontlines of reintegrating LAUSD

    August 20, 2014 | 12:22 pm

    In a city and county that tends to be segregated by race and income, it’s inspiring to meet people trying to reverse the trend. That’s particularly true in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), where a number of parents, many of them Jewish, have been trying for years to...

  • Elan Carr’s bumpy political road to D.C.

    June 25, 2014 | 10:50 am

    Elan Carr’s road to Washington, D.C., leads through Torrance. And while that South Bay city is mostly topographically flat, for Republican Carr, the path will likely be steep and rocky.

    Carr, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, finished first in the primary in the 33rd...

  • L.A.’s disenfranchised kids

    May 28, 2014 | 10:32 am

    Nothing illustrates the immensity of the tasks facing the soon-to-be-elected Los Angeles County supervisors more than the county’s challenges in caring for abused and neglected children and in finding foster homes for those kids.

    The primary election on June 3, with an expected...

  • The dirty politics that saved the Santa Monica Mountains

    May 23, 2014 | 11:46 am

    At the time, it seemed just another political dirty trick—a phony newspaper mailed to residents of the San Fernando Valley. But that newspaper, called the Record, turned out to have a longer-lasting impact. Unremembered today, it played a small, colorful part in one of Los Angeles’...

  • LA County Board of Supervisors debate lacks spirit

    March 26, 2014 | 11:44 am

    Walking away from a debate featuring the candidates for Los Angeles County supervisor last week, I was mad. Why would four smart candidates skate around the county’s terrible problems of homelessness, mental illness and an out-of-control sheriff’s department?

    John Duran, Sheila...

  • A Judaism of public service

    January 29, 2014 | 3:58 pm

    When I asked Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky whether his Judaism has influenced his work as a supervisor, which involves helping some of society’s sickest and poorest people, his answer was as complicated as the man himself.

    I’ve found that asking Jewish politicians...

  • Jews and baseball: An American news media love story

    November 25, 2013 | 6:46 pm

    For those of us who follow the careers of Jewish ballplayers — a small, eccentric niche of fandom — checking the Jewish Baseball News Web site is an essential part of our sports routine.

    Scott Barancik, a former newspaper reporter turned Internet entrepreneur, works from his home...

  • Pew finds Jews mostly liberal

    October 23, 2013 | 11:46 am

    One of the most interesting findings of the respected Pew Research Center’s poll of American Jews was the continuing theme of Jewish liberalism and approval of Barack Obama’s performance — a vote of confidence in the president exceeded only by that of African-American Protestants...

  • Seeking consolation

    September 24, 2013 | 4:09 pm

    How does an irreligious Jew find consolation at a religious service?

    Seeking such consolation, I attended the Hillel at UCLA High Holy Days services conducted by Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller. I don’t often go to services, but in February our oldest daughter, Robin, died, and I felt...

  • From Fairfax High to Manhattan Project

    August 28, 2013 | 2:40 pm

    When Frances Browner, then 21, announced she was joining the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II, her mother and most of the rest of her family were appalled. They thought that this wasn’t something a Jewish girl should do.

    “She said I was trying to kill her,” Browner,...

  • Ron Galperin backs Big Data to improve City Hall

    July 24, 2013 | 1:44 pm

    Controller Ron Galperin is City Hall’s new numbers guy, hoping to bring the era of Big Data to the creaking bureaucracy. His plan is to use computers to analyze huge amounts of information as is now done by police departments, baseball teams, other businesses and, infamously, the...

  • A jail as a mental hospital

    June 26, 2013 | 4:59 pm

    James Coley and Robert Warfield, case workers for the Integrated Recovery Network, walked into the Twin Towers Correctional Facility with purpose and confidence, exactly the qualities needed for talking to some of the approximately 2,500 mentally ill inmates confined in the...

  • Eric Garcetti: Keep an eye out for seniors

    May 29, 2013 | 11:21 am

    The small turnout at the Los Angeles polls for the mayoral election on May 21 is cited as evidence that most Angelenos don’t care whether City Hall is open, closed or simply blown away. But two days after the election, I visited a Jewish Family Service (JFS) senior center on...

  • Has Villaraigosa succeeded as L.A.’s mayor?

    April 24, 2013 | 11:58 am

    Years ago, I was complaining about one of our governors to a colleague, Jack Germond, an experienced and highly respected national political reporter. Germond, who had reported from many states, regarded my analysis with skepticism. He said he seldom met a statehouse reporter like...

  • Steve Zimmer holds middle ground

    March 28, 2013 | 9:49 am

    After surviving opposition funded by the mayors of America’s two biggest cities, newly re-elected Los Angeles Unified School District board member Steve Zimmer says his win has preserved a “system of checks and balances” in running L.A.’s huge school district.

    Mayor Antonio...

  • L.A. mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel’s coalition building

    January 23, 2013 | 11:51 am

    Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, born and raised Christian, is married to a Jew. The couple’s 10-year-old son studies Hebrew and is being raised in the Jewish tradition. The family attends synagogue.

    “So with all this Jewishness around you, why haven’t you taken the next step and...

  • Eric Garcetti: up close

    December 19, 2012 | 2:11 pm

    Someone in the audience asked the mayoral candidates about the county’s foster children program. Eric Garcetti answered in a particularly well-informed manner, mentioning that he and his wife have cared for seven foster children.

    “I didn’t know that,” I said to City Councilman...

  • Remembering Carmen Warschaw

    November 7, 2012 | 4:10 pm


    I first met Carmen Warschaw when I became a political writer for the Associated Press in the mid 1960s.  I thought she was one of the most interesting, challenging people I'd met on my new beat, an opinion that has not changed over the years.   

    Carmen and her husband Lou --...

  • The Howard Berman-Brad Sherman campaign war

    October 24, 2012 | 1:21 pm

    I’ve covered many political campaigns, but none quite like Berman versus Sherman.

    Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman really seem to hate one another. When Sherman put his arm around Berman’s shoulders in a belligerent manner during their recent debate, he edged close to the...

  • Berman versus Sherman, by the numbers

    August 29, 2012 | 11:50 am

    The biggest challenge in covering the congressional race between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman lies in determining how to judge the two men and compare their performances in Congress.

    In their increasingly intense contest, the two veteran Democrats each has portrayed the...

  • Jan Perry’s quest: Spirituality, pursuit of L.A.‘s well-being

    July 25, 2012 | 12:23 pm

    I asked City Council member Jan Perry, a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, if she was on a spiritual quest when she converted to Judaism. “Right,” she replied. “Your question is a good way to put it.”

    Perry, whose conversation offers a mixture of the spiritual and...

  • Berman vs. Sherman: Evaluating their congressional records

    June 27, 2012 | 2:20 pm

    Much of the debate in the San Fernando Valley contest between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman has revolved around their congressional records, but I’m having trouble deciphering them. And if it’s hard for me, after spending years writing about legislation, pity the...

  • Opinion: What’s in a name?

    April 24, 2012 | 4:36 pm

    When Morrie Stanley Mosk decided on a political career, he began referring to himself as M. Stanley Mosk and then Stanley Mosk. It was the 1940s and ’50s, and anti-Semitism was much more virulent than it is today. Mosk feared his Jewish name would hurt his chances of being elected....

  • Save the Academic Decathlon

    March 28, 2012 | 6:19 pm

    In a city where some of the very rich are willing to pay $1 billion-plus for the bankrupt Dodgers baseball team, why can’t anyone spare $500,000 to support an Academic Decathlon program that brings luster to the often criticized Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)?

  • Voters vs. Sherman, Berman

    March 1, 2012 | 12:37 pm

    Always interested in the gritty and unpredictable side of participatory politics, I dropped in on Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, both of whom are vying to represent the newly reconfigured 30th congressional district, as they each hosted community meetings at San Fernando...

  • Opinion: Iran an issue for valley’s 30th district voters

    January 25, 2012 | 3:26 pm

    No doubt Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman will be confronted with questions about Iran as they campaign in the new West San Fernando Valley 30th Congressional District.  Iran is likely to come up as they speak at meetings and debates and through the online messages and mailings...

  • Taking the pro-Israel pulse of GOP candidates

    December 22, 2011 | 11:15 am

    The race for the “Who Loves Israel Most” title has been one of the most interesting developments in the Republican presidential election. It’s skewed the contest in a way that turns every vote for a candidate into a vote for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his...

  • Opinion: L.A. Sukkah sit-in shows Jews' passion for politics

    October 26, 2011 | 6:54 pm

    As I stopped at the sukkah in the Occupy L.A. encampment outside City Hall, I thought of the Jews’ role in the upcoming presidential election, which will be taking place amid a recession and doubts about President Barack Obama’s attitude toward Israel.

    The sukkah was an...

  • Opinion: Obama’s numbers could swing 30th district race

    September 28, 2011 | 12:05 pm

    Rep. Brad Sherman doesn’t intend to follow Rep. Henry Waxman’s advice to give up his San Fernando Valley congressional race against Rep. Howard Berman.

    Instead, he has hired a high-profile campaign manager, Parke Skelton, who has worked for many Democrats, including Los Angeles...

  • Opinion: Prep for costly fight as Berman, Sherman keep gloves on

    August 24, 2011 | 3:18 pm

    The Howard Berman-Brad Sherman story is loaded with angles — Jewish, Latino and, what may be most important, financial. 

    The Jewish angle is potentially divisive to the Jewish community. Reapportionment has placed these two top Jewish congressmen in the same San Fernando Valley...

  • Bill Boyarsky: LAUSD reaches out to middle class

    July 26, 2011 | 6:51 pm

    Los Angeles’ new school superintendent, John Deasy, says one of his top goals is to persuade middle-class families, including Jewish parents, to return to the Los Angeles public schools. “It’s one of the major projects I have to deliver,” he said.

    I interviewed Deasy last...

  • School Is in Session for Villaraigosa’s Critics

    June 21, 2011 | 5:21 pm

    “A great school is an anchor for a neighborhood,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “A great school district is an anchor for a great city.”

    I was interviewing the mayor in his City Hall office last week about his heavy involvement in the Los Angeles public...

  • Galatzan’s Concern for Public Schools Is Personal, Too

    May 24, 2011 | 5:55 pm

    Much of the recent history of the Los Angeles Unified School District is also part of the past of Tamar Galatzan, who now sits on the governing board of that giant bureaucracy of a school district.

    She was a student at Hesby Elementary School in the San Fernando Valley when a court...

  • Yaroslavsky observes Nigeria’s democratic process

    April 26, 2011 | 5:10 pm

    Zev Yaroslavsky’s latest nation-building assignment wasn’t easy.  Dispatched to Nigeria as part of an international corps of election observers, he checked on polling places during elections this month in a nation better known for ethnic violence and corruption than orderly...

  • State budget crisis calls for action

    March 23, 2011 | 12:42 pm

    If there was ever a time for Jewish parents to fight for Los Angeles public schools, this is it.

    Legislators can’t agree on Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to have a special election to extend taxes scheduled to expire this year. “If we don’t get these tax extensions, it’s a dire...

  • Public libraries face crucial funding vote

    February 22, 2011 | 6:50 pm

    When Susan Kent was a child in Westchester County, N.Y., she read her way through the public library children’s section and then headed over to the adult books.

    When the librarian told Kent they were for adults only, she called in her father. “My father came to the library and...

  • ‘Value-added’ teacher ratings add little value

    September 21, 2010 | 6:38 pm

    The teacher evaluations recently posted on the Los AngelesTimes Web site deserve acareful but skeptical reading. 

    I studied them both as a grandparent of public school kids and as a journalist who writes about schools for The Jewish Journal and LA Observed, a Web site that focuses...

  • New school to honor legacy of Jewish justice Stanley Mosk

    August 24, 2010 | 11:34 pm

    In 1947, Stanley Mosk, then a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, was confronted with a case that divided the city. Three African American families had moved into the all-white Mid-Wilshire district, and the neighbors were trying to run them out, invoking restrictive covenants...

  • Unemployment and Its Effects Linger

    June 22, 2010 | 6:04 pm

    When this recession is a memory, the Jewish community’s unemployed and their children — just like the rest of the country — will still feel the psychic impact of prolonged, desperate days of job hunting and scraping for house payments or rent. Making it worse will be the injury...

  • An Advocate for Jewish Interests in L.A.’s Diverse Public Schools

    April 27, 2010 | 11:10 pm

    What’s the place of Jewish life in the multiethnic mixing bowl of the Los Angeles public schools? It’s a complex question in a district where young people from Mexican, Central American, African American, Armenian, Persian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Syrian homes, among...

  • Pursuit of Justice

    March 24, 2010 | 1:01 pm

    I’ve covered the ugly side of race relations in Los Angeles for many years. Among my memories are the Watts Riots, the 1992 riot, the public school desegregation
    fight and the breakup of the Tom Bradley black-Jewish political coalition.

    This may have been the reason for the...

  • Parent Power

    January 27, 2010 | 4:20 am

    “Raw power, an unabashed transfer of political power to parents.”

    That’s how Ben Austin describes Parent Revolution, the organization he founded and heads up, which aims to shake up Los Angeles’ public schools. It aims to remove the administration and faculty from low...

  • Give Innovation a Chance

    December 23, 2009 | 2:34 pm

    Looking for clues to help save public schools, I visited teacher Ellie Herman’s drama class at Animo Pat Brown Charter High School.

    Located in a working-class Latino neighborhood in southeast Los Angeles County, Animo Pat Brown is one of 18 high schools run by Green Dot, a...

  • A Different Kind of Fighter for 5th District

    October 28, 2009 | 8:32 pm

    L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz hustled into his fourth-floor office suite followed by two aides, just after he finished a long council session. I followed him into a back office to interview this City Hall newcomer, the latest person to represent the difficult 5th District.

    He is...

  • Returning to Public Schools is a Mitzvah

    September 23, 2009 | 9:25 pm

    Recently, I talked to new Los Angeles school board member Steve Zimmer about convincing middle-class parents to send their children to public schools. 

    He believes in recruiting and persuasion. “We have a story to tell,” he said. “It’s as if we were recruiting division-one...

  • Unite, Take Over the Schools

    February 25, 2009 | 3:18 pm

    Los Angeles Schools Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines has a strong message to Jewish parents and others nervously considering public school education for their children — unite and take over the schools.

    “They have done this in the past,” he said.

    I interviewed Cortines...

  • A Time for Action

    January 28, 2009 | 12:15 pm

    Karen Bass, speaker of the California Assembly, looked remarkably calm, considering that she’d just arrived to speak at The Jewish Federation in mid-Wilshire following a freeway trip from the airport. At the Capitol, she had just taken part in another fruitless budget meeting with...

  • Will recession fuel a return to public schools?

    December 23, 2008 | 10:41 pm

    Throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District, the recession is prompting middle-class parents to take a look at public middle and high schools they have long disdained. Private schools are just too expensive for many people.

    A large number of Jews, whose heritage and culture...

  • Waxman will play key role in putting Obama agenda into action

    November 26, 2008 | 7:11 pm

    Henry Waxman is a combination of toughness and gentlemanliness, qualities that helped raise him from the fratricidal politics of West Los Angeles to the pinnacle of power in President-elect Barack Obama's Washington.

    Through it all -- from battles as a leader in the California Young...

  • Proposed USC-Dubai journalism school concerns faculty and community

    October 29, 2008 | 8:27 pm

    Faculty members at the USC Annenberg School for Communications are deep into a controversy that should be of interest to the Jewish community.

    It concerns a proposal from USC for a $3 million contract for Annenberg to work with the American University in Dubai to create a journalism...

  • Ed Guthman leaves legacy of fighting injustice

    September 25, 2008 | 2:13 am

    When Ed Guthman died Aug. 30 at the age of 89, the Los Angeles Jewish community lost one of its most distinguished members.

    He had been a Pulitzer Prize- winning reporter. As press secretary to Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, he braved danger in the South when the federal government...

  • No ‘pushovers’ on Zukin’s Ethics Commission

    August 27, 2008 | 11:50 pm

    I thought my editor was making an odd request when he asked me to write about Helen Zukin, the new president of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission.

    I had just finished a five-year term on the commission, where I had been Zukin's colleague. I thought highly of Zukin and had...

  • Don’t underestimate the power of the Jewish newspaper

    July 24, 2008 | 12:36 am

    If I have to blame anyone for my fate, I suppose it would be the late Peter Boyarsky, who put out a Yiddish newspaper in Chicago.

    Peter, my father's uncle, was an influential Chicago journalist in the early part of the last century. "Printers' ink in his blood," they used to say of...

  • Bill Boyarsky: Calculating the value of Villaraigosa’s trip

    June 26, 2008 | 11:33 am

    The Mayor, in Israel, lauds green tech and security cooperation initiatives

    It would be easy for me to beat up on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for his junket to Israel. After all, when I was a reporter, I covered two of our most traveled mayors, Tom Bradley and Sam Yorty.

    While I never...

  • A doctor’s visit

    May 29, 2008 | 2:30 pm

    A visit with Dr. Eugene Gettelman, who celebrates his 100th birthday on June 17, shows how much medicine has gained and lost in the last half century.

    We talked recently in the sitting room of his apartment at Westwood Horizons, an upscale retirement home near UCLA. His friend, Dr....

  • City Voice: Yaroslavsky takes on developers in push for affordable housing

    April 24, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    In defending middle-class neighborhoods, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is taking on an issue that reaches to the heart of Los Angeles' ethnic, political and class divide.

    All those matters are involved in a dispute over a new city development ordinance that eases...

  • City Voice: The perfect combination

    March 27, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    An evening at Shomrei Torah Synagogue got me thinking about Barack Obama and how much the San Fernando Valley has changed since I first roamed there in 1970.

    It's an odd combination of thoughts, I know. Or, perhaps not. The more I thought about it, the combination made perfect sense...

  • City Voice: Keep education in the spotlight

    February 28, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    After visiting a Los Angeles public charter high school where mostly poor and working-class young people receive an education, I went home and turned on the Democratic presidential debate and saw that the subject of public schools was hardly mentioned.

    I wasn't surprised. Although...

  • What makes a good politico?

    January 24, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    What makes a good politician? More to the point for Jewish Journal readers, what makes a good Jewish politician?

    I've been thinking about this since I spoke to the Westwood Women's Bruin Club about my book, "Big Daddy: Jesse Unruh and the Art of Power Politics."

    In my talk, as I did...

  • Middle schools are a tough sell

    December 27, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    The meeting at Daniel Webster Middle School, in the heart of the Westside, embodied all the difficulties of convincing parents that their children will be safe when they leave the cocoon of the public elementary school for the unknown world of middle school.

    "I know this is a scary...

  • The downside of upscale growth

    October 25, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    I've been following the Los Angeles housing story for a few months because of its special relevance to the Jewish community.

    It has been a story of skirmishes, of threatened apartment houses, of new high rises and old buildings converted into expensive lofts and even of profound...

  • City Voice: Condo conversions cause casualties

    August 30, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Late one afternoon, I visited an apartment house in Pico-Robertson, where the tenants are uneasily contemplating a fate increasingly familiar to renters - the conversion of their building to condominiums.

    I talked to Mary Ellen Satterfield, Brenda Lara and Rachel Minkove, who rent...

  • City Voice: The Mayor is cheating ... on L.A.

    July 26, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Breaking the commandment against adultery shouldn't disqualify you for public office.

    Still, I don't think the adulterer should expect cheers from the Jewish community. This is especially true when the official is Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has made his family and his life...

  • ‘Reboot’-ing Gen Y

    June 21, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    A lot of aging lefty Jews long for the good old days when, as they recall, Jews and blacks marched together for civil rights and liberal rabbis thundered about brotherhood and sisterhood from their pulpits.

    But those memories are selective. Not all Jews and African Americans got...

  • Presidential hopefuls scrutinized on Israel

    May 24, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    The Democratic presidential candidates' attitude toward Israel is undergoing the same sort of word-by-word examination that was such an important feature of the 2004 campaign.

    With the California presidential primary moved up to Feb. 5, pollsters are closely watching us Angelenos,...
  • City Voice: Will condo threat inspire unity among seniors?

    April 26, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    More than 25 years ago, Los Angeles' senior Jewish renters joined with young progressives and persuaded a reluctant city government to adopt rent control.

    With condos rapidly replacing apartment units, a new crisis in affordable rentals confronts Los Angeles. But is this...
  • Sam Zell is one tough Jew

    April 12, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Happily for them, most of the old-time Los Angeles anti-Semites who used to hang out at the downtown California Club are either dead or too old to care that a Jew is on the verge of owning the L.A. Times.

    Not just any Jew. Sam Zell looks as though he's one tough Jew, probably even...
  • City Voice: We’re not who we think we are

    March 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    There is a preconceived notion about the Los Angeles Jewish community being affluent, increasingly conservative and preoccupied with Israel to the exclusion of other issues.

    There is some truth in this, as is the case with all preconceived notions and stereotypes. There is also...

  • The Times, it is a-changin’

    February 1, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    How many times have you unsuccessfully tried to interest the Los Angeles Times in an important organizational event or, harder yet, tried to get the paper to devote some space to articles reflecting your views on an issue?

    Suppose for example, your synagogue is hosting a discussion...

  • Need for good schools should unite Jews and Latinos

    January 4, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    We're in the middle of one of America's greatest ethnic transformations, the winning of political, cultural and economic power in Los Angeles by men and women whose roots are in Mexico and other countries south of the border. But many of us whose ancestors immigrated here decades ago...
  • City Voice: L.A. Times faces tough job

    November 16, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    One day at lunch with a group of reporters and editors, Dave Laventhol, then the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, was musing that journalists had become elitist, separated from their communities, maybe even too educated.

    Was my bachelor's degree suddenly an encumbrance?

    "Is it...

  • Radical right resents judges and juries

    November 2, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    The right-wing effort to defeat independent-minded judges has reached the usually peaceful second floor of the Ronald Reagan State Building in downtown Los Angeles, home of the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

    The justices' office suite is a quiet place, insulated from the noise of...

  • L.A. Times in turmoil: is it good for the Jews?

    October 12, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Thinking about the mess at the Los Angeles Times, I can't help but raise the question we usually bring to matters great and small. How does it affect the Jews?

    The paper is going through hard times. The owner, Tribune Co., unhappy with the paper's substantial profits, ordered...
  • Mayor’s plan for schools gets ‘E’ for effort

    September 21, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's effort to seize control of the Los Angeles Unified School District has been attacked as a power grab. Actually, it is the logical outcome of decades of Latino battles to save the schools -- not just for Hispanics, but for everybody.
  • Needed: Rational Discussion

    August 17, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    When David Lauter, the deputy foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, began speaking to a crowd of about 400 at a Women's Alliance for Israel program last week, it was clear that most of the audience was out for his scalp, and not even the yarmulke he was wearing could save him....
  • Think American, Not Mexican on Antonio

    April 7, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    As Antonio Villaraigosa campaigns for mayor in the Jewish community, he will face the same big question asked by all non-Latino voters: Are you too Mexican?

    The question is especially important to Jews, because our community's long-time relationship with Latino and African American...

  • Temple in the Desert

    March 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    The sanctuary of Congregation Beth Knesset Bamidbar in Lancaster evokes the mood of the Mojave Desert, which reaches far to the north, west and south of the small synagogue.

    The walls behind the bimah and on each side of the ark are made of simple cinder bricks of a sandstone...

  • Window to the Future

    February 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    It's easy to be a Jew on the Westside or in the West Valley. The nonobservant or even the alienated can be part of the Jewish ambience, especially in places like Pico-Robertson or parts of Ventura Boulevard.

    It's different in the Southland's far suburbs. Elections aren't swung by...

  • Taking Note of 2004

    January 6, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Last week, I pulled out a big, unsorted folder from my desk filled with material I had used for my Jewish Journal columns. Early in my

    career, I was taught to take notes on folded sheets of paper, my employer being too cheap to buy notebooks. After finishing the story, we reporters...

  • Tough Job

    December 9, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    The faint of heart should not apply for this job: Needed, a sensitive but thick-skinned person who can get along with a combative mixture

    of Los Angeles' Jews, blacks, whites, Asians, Latinos, Catholics, Baptists, Muslims, students, retired people, lawyers, doctors, homeless and...

  • Patriot Paranoia?

    November 4, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    By chance, Bet Tzedek Legal Services sponsored a program on the American Patriot Act just about the

    same time readers were beginning to get their copies of Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America."

    It was a perfect combination. The Patriot Act, hurriedly passed by Congress and...

  • Look Beyond Israel

    September 30, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    As election day gets closer, I'm beginning to wonder how many of us will vote on a single issue-our perception of how President Bush and Sen. John Kerry will stand up for Israel.

    I'm using the word perception because each man has taken just about the same position. But perception is...

  • Kerry Needs Clarity

    September 9, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The "swift boat" attack on Sen. John Kerry, supporting the Republican effort to portray him as a weak liberal, has special resonance among those Jews who will base their vote on whether they think a candidate will be tough enough in standing up for Israel.

    The Democratic presidential...

  • Bang the Press Slowly

    August 5, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    "I will concede that conservative Jewish Republicans like myself are in the minority, especially out here on the Left Coast," reader Gillee Sherman e-mailed me. "But we are growing in numbers every day, and this election should see a huge improvement for Bush in the Jewish...

  • Grass-Roots Level Campaign Coverage

    July 15, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    When I was covering big shot political campaigns for the Los Angeles Times, I was treated like a big shot.

    I sampled barrages of press releases, announcements of events, hot gossip, position papers, parties and invitations. I had many opportunities to interview candidates. The fact...

  • One Actor’s Influence

    June 10, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    I can't remember many Jews around Ronald Reagan when I met him at the very start of his political career. Politics were simple. Jews were Democrats. Republicans were from country clubs that didn't admit Jews.

    Reagan seemed unconnected to all that. His experience with Jews was far...

  • Simply Wrong

    May 6, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The Republicans are praying that President Bush's embrace of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza withdrawal plan will sway the Jewish vote.

    It is a simplistic way of looking at things, although totally in line with the presidential campaign's simplistic discussion of Israel. For...

  • Money Buys Control

    April 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    The angry man in the back of the room at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana was shaking his fist and calling us crooks.

    I made a big mistake -- eye contact. With me in his range, he raised his hand, and I think his middle finger, and yelled, "You!" Being a city ethics...

  • The Need for Reality

    March 4, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    I set out to write about the presidential election, but I changed my mind when I ran into Eric Gordon, the director of Workmen's Circle.

    Workmen's Circle and Democrats for Israel hosted a presentation on Feb. 25 by surrogates for three Democratic presidential candidates, Sens. John...

  • Question of Ethics

    February 5, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    As both a Los Angeles city ethics commissioner and a Jewish community journalist, I was in a skeptical mood as I took a seat in the audience of a discussion on "Jewish Ethical Values in the Halls of Power: From the Board Room to the Council Chamber."

    The Jan. 25 panel was part of a...

  • The Doctor Is In

    January 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Listening to Howard Dean reminds me of going to a doctor who starts out the visit by saying, "Bill, you really look sick."

    Maybe I do, but I don't want to hear it expressed quite so bluntly. Just like I didn't want to hear Dr. Dean saying in Los Angeles Dec. 15, "The capture of...

  • Newsstand Wisdom

    December 4, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    If you want to know what's going on, talk to the guy who runs the newsstand.

    That would be David Mallel, who owns the well-stocked newsstand at Fairfax and Oakwood avenues in the heart of the Fairfax District. He keeps attuned to the political feelings of his well-read clientele by...

  • Westside Jews Divided on Recall

    October 2, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Exploring the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, where Republicans once were the smallest of minorities, I happened upon a nest of recall supporters who were also great admirers of President Bush. Talking to them, I got a sense of the changing politics of Los Angeles' Jewish community,...

  • Fervent Political

    September 4, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    How does a Jewish community journalist cover such a non-Jewish election?

    Non-Jewish, I mean, in the sense that the recall battle isn't being fought over issues that are especially important to Jews. Nor does there seem to be many Jews involved, except as potential voters and as...

  • City View

    July 31, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    When Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis was the eloquent young rabbi of Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland, he gave many uncompromising sermons against the social and economic injustices that afflicted the community.

    The sermons impressed my mother, who was principal of the religious school. She...

  • Activists Looking to Past for Inspiration

    July 3, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    When I arrived in Los Angeles, I was drawn to Boyle Heights, a Latino community that had once been the home of Los Angeles Jewish radical life.

    It wasn't that I was looking for Eastside, left-wing Jewish roots. I didn't have any. When my grandparents lived in Los Angeles before...

  • Partisans for Israel

    June 5, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    The crowd in front of the Jewish Republicans' booth didn't approach the size of those at some of the better food stands at the Israel's Independence Day celebration at Woodley Park in the San Fernando Valley. Still, it was big enough to interest me after having watched the GOP's long...

  • Press Fight for Care Funds

    April 30, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    I had never thought of Medi-Cal as a Jewish issue. I've written about the program of medical aid for the poor, but my subjects were usually African Americans and Latinos, who comprise the largest number of the state's needy.

    I discovered how wrong I was recently, after learning that...