Jewish Journal

Bill Boyarsky

  • 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...