December 21, 2006
Mormons remove Wiesenthal from 'baptism' registry; Philanthropist funds series on composers suppressed by Nazis
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Yet Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman said if the News Corp. allegations prove true, Regan stepped over the line by employing an age-old anti-Semitic canard that Jews conspire against non-Jews.
"Whatever her dispute with HarperCollins, the Jewishness of her critics had absolutely no relevance to the matter at hand," he said.
Fields told the AP that he was alarmed by Foxman's remarks and found them "quite harmful to the Jewish cause. And I feel free to say that because I am Jewish," he said.
The attorney said his client had used the phrase "cabal" during her conversation with Jackson, but denies the News Corp. allegation that she said "Jewish cabal."
Regan, a onetime National Enquirer reporter and former consultant with PocketBooks, was reportedly fired by fax at 4 p.m. Friday and ordered by security guards bearing boxes to leave the Century City offices of ReganBooks while Murdoch's News Corp. held its annual holiday party in New York.
"This came completely out of the blue," a HarperCollins executive told The Times. "She was completely taken by surprise."
ReganBooks, which Murdoch created in 1994, has built its reputation on celebrity tell-alls and political books. In 2005, Regan moved her HarperCollins imprint to Los Angeles to be closer to its Hollywood subjects.
Aside from the recent O.J. Simpson debacle, Regan was also taking heat for a Mickey Mantle biographical novel told in the voice of the Yankee slugger, which would recount unverifiable tales of sexual promiscuity. Regan and Jackson were discussing the book, "7: The Mickey Mantle Novel," when the alleged anti-Semitic comments were made.
The division has since been reassigned to HarperCollins General Books Group and longtime editorial director Cal Morgan is taking over for Regan. In a brief statement on Dec. 16, Friedman said decisions about the ReganBooks name and its unpublished works "would be addressed at the appropriate time."
An unnamed publishing industry source told the Los Angeles Times that Regan, who hosts a Sirius Satellite Radio talk show on Wednesdays, has started preliminary talks with television networks for a possible job.
-- Adam Wills, Associate Editor
Orthodox Union opens West Coast conclave
It's smackdown time as two local luminaries face off in a debate on Sunday at the Orthodox Union's 16th annual West Coast Convention.
Radio host and personality Dennis Prager will debate Simon Weisenthal Center's Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein on "The Tension in Jewish Life: Preserving the Past and Innovating for the Future," which is also the theme of the conference that opened Thursday and runs through Dec 26. The convention's keynote speaker, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, of Israel, will also address the topic.
The conference will send various speakers to synagogues around the city and Valley. On Dec. 23, they will screen "The Lonely Man of Faith: The Life and Legacy of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik," a 100-minute documentary by Los Angeles-born Ethan Isenberg (not yet released in theaters). Another highlight of the conference will be a one-day training session on Dec. 25 for kiruv or outreach.
"That has become the clarion call for the OU and NSCY," said Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, West Coast director of the Orthodox Union. The organization has culled speakers from various religious organizations expert in the outreach field, such as Aish HaTorah, Chabad and the Association of Jewish Outreach Professionals.
"There are many laypeople who would love to be invited and open up their homes [to nonreligious people], but they're not sure how to go about doing it and what they can and cannot do," Kalinsky said.
The OU has long been involved in outreach in high schools and, as of late, on college campuses with its Jewish Learning Initiative program, sending a young religious couple to college campuses. However, it now wants to turn its attention to the adult world.
"Our effort in kiruv is to reach out to fellow Jews and inspire them and encourage them, and hopefully bring them closer to our faith -- to a life of commitment, to identification as Jews," Kalinsky said.
-- Amy Klein, Religion Editor
29 complete synagogue leaders course
The Board of Rabbis of Southern California this month graduated 29 members of the Los Angeles Synagogue Leadership Institute (SLI), a 13-month program training future synagogue leaders of all denominations. With about a dozen participating synagogues, SLI aims to develop leaders through textual study, leadership theory and hands-on leadership skills.
Some of the topics studied included values-centered planning, membership and retention issues, financing and fundraising and creating a sacred community -- which includes "the ability to encounter other parts of the religious community that you might otherwise never meet and never think of encountering," said Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of the Modern Orthodox synagogue, B'nai David-Judea.
"To bring contact with different sections of religious community to produce something that is greater than its parts -- this is what religious leadership is all about," he said. "There are few opportunities where we can sit together as members of [the] Jewish community in the broader sense of the word, where we can plan together as leaders of the future," L.A. Jewish Federation President John Fishel said.
"It's been quite a 13 months," said Cecilia Quigley, one of the participants. Talking about the character of leadership, the importance of vision and the evolution of the congregation has helped her to become more of a leader, she said.
"This part of this journey these last 13 months has helped me understand what's important for me and for our synagogue and what's important for our community," Quigley said.
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