Bay Cities JCC Emergency Meeting
Twenty-five parents gathered at Bay Cities Jewish Community Center on Monday night to discuss emergency strategies to try to save their center. Bay Cities JCC is one of four community centers set to close by the summer because of insufficient funding.
"It's very disappointing to see only 25 percent of the participants here tonight," said Daniel Grossman, who, with fellow parent James Barner, has led the charge to try and save the Santa Monica-based center from closing after June 30.
Barner told the group that he and Grossman were meeting with local synagogues to discuss potential solutions. Grossman is trying to meet with Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) Executive Vice President Nina Lieberman Giladi. His attempts have been complicated by the recent holidays, during which JCCGLA executives were unavailable.
JCCGLA would not be opposed to Bay Cities taking its materials and playground equipment to another facility, Barner said.
"This area has a serious shortage of facilities. I think we have a good opportunity to do something ourselves," said Barner, who said he is encouraged by Jake Farber, incoming Federation chair, and Marty Jannol, the new JCCGLA president. Barner did not rule out that there is "a chance we may be able to save the building and try to run it ourselves as a co-op." The building, which currently houses 40 children, can school up to 80 kids.
On Jan. 9, Grossman, Barner and other Bay Cities parents joined the 25 adults and 10 children demonstrating in front of The Jewish Federation's 6505 Wilshire headquarters. Protestors carried signs with slogans such as "Save the JCCs, Forget the Debt," "Don't Drown Bay Cities" and "We Are All One Community." -- Michael Aushenker, Staff Writer
Back to School, Grown-Up Style
So you made your New Year's resolutions and one of them was to pursue a Jewish education. Fortunately, the learning opportunities starting this month in Valley areas abound. The following are a small slice of what is being offered, including a new series of classes in that outpost of West San Fernando Jewry: Calabasas.
The Second Annual Winter Kallah will run five Mondays starting Jan. 14. This year's theme is "Exploring our Ancient Texts: How We Read the Bible." Following last year's format, each evening begins with a lecture followed by a choice of classes taught by local rabbis representing the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements and will culminate with a lecture by Dr. Ziony Zevit on "What Really Happened In the Garden of Eden." Cost is $10 per class or $45 for the series ($36 if preregistered) and $18 for students. The Kallah will be held at Temple Judea's West Campus, 6601 Valley Circle Blvd. in West Hills. To register please call (818) 758-3800.
The Valley Kollel at Shaarey Zedek (12800 Chandler Blvd., Valley Village) has added a new series to its already wide-range catalog of classes. The Parenting Workshop is based on Lawrence Kelemen's new book, "To Kindle a Soul," and will focus on the practical skills needed to raise independent, sensitive and idealistic children in a turbulent world. The workshops are for men and women, meet monthly for six-month sessions and cost $50 for the series. For more information about this and other classes, including the popular one-to-one learning series "Partners in Torah" and the twice monthly Singles Coffee Shop Torah Discussion Group, call (818) 760-3245 or visit the Web site at www.valleykollel.org.
Due to popular demand, Chabad's Conejo Jewish Academy will launch two series in the Calabasas area. A six-part course titled "Toward a Meaningful Life" will take place at the Country Inn and Suite, 23627 Calabasas Road, on six consecutive Tuesday evenings starting Jan. 15, at 8 p.m. There will also be a weekly study group, "The Calabasas Jewish Chat Room," which will explore the weekly Torah portion and its relevance to current events. The "Chat Room" will take place on Wednesday evenings at 8 p.m. starting Jan. 16 and will meet at a private home in Calabasas. Both courses are being offered free; however, prior enrollment is required.
The Jewish Academy is also offering a wide variety of classes for its Winter Session, including "The Messiah -- Its Origin, Meaning and Centrality in Jewish Life," "Navigating Biblical Hebrew" and "Countdown to Sinai." Classes will be held at the Jewish Academy, 30345 Canwood St., Agoura Hills. For costs and registration for all programs and classes, call (818) 991-0991, or visit www.jewishacademy.com. -- Wendy J. Madnick, Contributing Writer
Return of the Jewish King
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Mathieu Schneider returned to the ice Jan. 2 after being sidelined since Nov. 8.
Schneider, 32, missed 23 games after undergoing surgery to repair a hernia and torn abdominal muscle; injuries that cost the Jewish hockey player a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Schneider signed a three-year deal with the Kings in July, reportedly worth $3.25 million per season, after playing for the team as an unrestricted free agent during the 2000-01 season.
The Journal presents the Los Angeles Kings' Second Annual Jewish Family Night at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 at Staples Center. Tickets are $18-$57. For more information, contact Marc Entin at (213) 742-7187. -- Adam Wills, Associate Editor
How Islam Views the Jews
Have the two remaining Jews in Afghanistan or the Iran 10 left you wanting to know more about being Jewish in a Muslim country?
Dr. Benjamin Gampel, a Jewish Theological Seminary professor specializing in medieval and early modern Jewish history, will put this topic into context with a series of three lectures during "Friend, Brother and Foe: The Complex Relationship Between Judaism and Islam," a B'nai David-Judea Congregation Shabbaton, Jan. 18-19.
Gampel's first lecture, "Jews, Judaism and the Rise of Islam," will focus on the historical Islamic view of Jews and Judaism, while "Muslim Power and Jewish Survival" will examine Jewish life under Islamic rule.
"Because of the recent events, there's a thirst to understand Islamic attitudes toward Jews and Judaism," said Gampel, who has maternal roots in Baghdad. "If we want to understand some of the comments that come from Islamic leaders, you have to understand the theological and historical roots behind those comments."
The third topic will focus on Jewish messianism, within both the Christian and Islamic worlds.
Gampel is the author of "The Last Jews on Iberian Soil" and editor of "Crises and Creativity in the Sephardic World."
For more information, contact B'nai David-Judea Congregation, 8909 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles at (310) 276-9269. -- AW
The Wedding Planners
A young bride, recently orphaned, with no way to pay for her wedding. Another young couple whose parents refused to have anything to do with an Orthodox wedding. A single mother who couldn't afford the ticket to Israel to attend her daughter's wedding.
All these people, and about 100 others each year, were recently aided by The Feige Dominitz Rabner Hachnassat Kallah of Greater Los Angeles, a 7-year-old organization whose name in Hebrew means "ushering in the bride."
The organization gives Orthodox couples between $1,000 and $4,000 to help pay for a modest wedding or to help set up house after the wedding.
"We are there to help make it easier and less stressful so that they should be able to look forward to this special day in their life with joy and happiness," says Leiba Gottesman, co-president of Hachnassat Kallah.
Gottesman and her team do more than write checks: They often act as wedding planners, coordinating the caterers and the music and even bringing in yeshiva students to dance with the bride and groom.
Organization members have taken brides shopping or donated their homes as wedding venues. The group also lends out wedding dresses and dresses for mothers and sisters as well.
Hachnassat Kallah will be hosting its annual dessert for women Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m. at the Park Plaza Hotel. $25 suggested donation. For more information or to make a donation of money or a wedding dress, please call (310) 552-1665. -- Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Religion Editor
Jewish Donor Gives Fountain to Church
A Jewish philanthropist has donated $2.5 million to install a fountain in front of the new Catholic cathedral rising at Temple Street and Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.
The identity of the donor will not be made public until the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is dedicated in September 2002, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced.
The grant, given through a foundation established by the anonymous donor, recognizes "the longtime cordial and constructive relationship between the Jewish community and the Roman Catholic community here in Southern California," the statement from the archdiocese noted.
This relationship "has resulted in mutual dialogue, the co- sponsorship of many joint initiatives, and the involvement of many in the Jewish community with many Catholic parishes," the statement added.
The fountain will be constructed of Jerusalem stone, "to highlight the importance of Jerusalem to so many of our faith communities here in Southern California."
To be built at a cost of more than $150 million, the cathedral will rise more than 12 stories. Its nave will be 3,000 feet -- 1 foot longer than that at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.
Some Catholic social service groups have protested the expenditure, contending that the $150 million would be better spent in aiding the poor, the Los Angeles Times reported. -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor