May 15, 2003
Center Board Wants Member to Resign
Pini Herman, an activist and outspoken critic of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA), has been asked to resign from the advisory board of the Westside Jewish Community Center (WJCC) by the group's president.
Herman, in a stinging missive to Westside JCC President Michael Kaminsky, said he refused to step down. "The whim, outrage, thrashings and arbitrariness that you and your JCCGLA support network are displaying is what has driven away many capable, talented, responsible and community-minded people from having anything to do [with] the WJCC and JCCGLA," he wrote.
Kaminsky, in an earlier e-mail, characterized Herman as "belligerent" and "antagonistic," saying the time had come for him to resign or be ousted.
The main cause sparking the latest brouhaha was Herman's request to have a union member represent him and take notes at an upcoming WJCC board-JCCGLA meeting that he cannot attend.
Until recently, JCCGLA and unionized center workers were engaged in tough negotiations that called for salary and health benefit cuts. Kaminsky, in addition to his Westside duties, sits on JCCGLA's board.
Herman, who attended a WJCC advisory board meeting May 5, said no one raised the issue of his dismissal. "I think Kaminsky was making up the process as he was going on and overreacted to my request," Herman said.
In an interview, Kaminsky said he was frustrated and disappointed that Herman had leaked private e-mails to the press and that Herman had screamed at him recently on the phone. He added that no further action against Herman is planned. -- Marc Ballon, Senior Writer
Tenth Yahrzeit for 'The Rav' Planned
Young Israel of Century City will host a community forum Sunday, May 18, in commemoration of the 10th yahrzeit of "The Rav" -- Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the preeminent Talmud scholar of the 20th century, whose philosophy shaped modern Orthodoxy.
"Hearing The Rav lecture was the most exciting intellectual and spiritual experience you could have," said Rabbi Elazar Muskin, rabbi of Young Israel of Century City. "You thought you were hearing Torah straight from Sinai. He was so clear and profound, able to transform the most difficult concepts into simple language."
The Rav's great nephew, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik will speak about how his uncle emerged from a Lithuanian rabbinic dynasty to become a revolutionary leader in an Orthodox community confronting modernity. Soloveichik will also deliver a Shabbat lecture on The Rav's influence on interfaith dialogue.
Rabbi Asher Brander of the Westwood Kehilla, Rabbi Nachum Sauer of Yeshiva University of Los Angeles and Rabbi Steven Weil of Beth Jacob will teach classes on different aspects of Soloveitchik's thinking.
"A Man for All Seasons: Reflections on The Rav" will be held Sunday, May 18, from 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at Young Israel of Century City, 9317 W. Pico Blvd. There is no charge. For more information call (310) 273-6954 or go to www.yicc.org . -- Staff Report
First Training in Adult Education Opens
Most rabbis, cantors, educators and communal professionals have had no professional training for meeting the needs of adults seeking Jewish education -- until now. This spring, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles established the Institute for Teaching Jewish Adults (ITJA). The continuing education program, which is the first of its kind in the United States, will train Jewish professionals and advanced lay leaders on how to reach out to the growing number of adults seeking Jewish literacy.
"Concerns over Jewish literacy and the need to develop an informed leadership are becoming commonplace in our community, affecting every family and synagogue," said Dr. Diane Tickton Schuster, director of ITJA.
"It is increasingly important that Jewish professionals who work with adults understand the learning needs of this highly diverse constituency and the best strategies for teaching them," she said.
Currently, the new program has a pioneer class of six students, all rabbis.
"This is training they never had as part of their preparation for [their] positions," Schuster explained. Participants will learn how to cater to "well-educated Jewish adults, who feel under-educated Jewishly" and help them study and embrace Jewish history, Jewish text, Hebrew and find meaning within their Jewishness. -- Sharon Schatz Rosenthal, Education Writer
El Al Offers New Class of Service
El Al recently replaced its business class with a new Platinum Business Class, offering increased personal service and comfort to passengers on its 777 and 747-400 aircraft. Each jetliner has been reconfigured, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in the number of seats and increased leg room for Platinum Business Class passengers. In addition, each seat has a laptop power outlet, personal lighting and a personal TV monitor.
Additional improvements include an increased number of flight attendants, more meal choices and courses and an extensive wine menu. At specific El Al Platinum Business Class counters, check-in is expedited and travelers are allowed three pieces of luggage, compared to two in coach. Platinum Business Class passengers are also allowed the use of specific airport departure lounges, such as Los Angeles International Airport's King David Lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
For those traveling to Israel on a full-fare Platinum Business Class ticket, El Al offers a $250 round-trip companion Platinum Business Class ticket.
For more information, visit www.elal.co.il . -- Rachel Brand, Staff Writer