America’s largest community service festival, which started in 1999 as Temple Israel of Hollywood Mitzvah Day, attracts nearly 50,000 people from every neighborhood, race, religion, ethnicity and socioeconomic group to hundreds of projects in communities across Southern California. Volunteer projects include such activities as planting gardens at schools, fixing up homeless shelters and sprucing up dog parks. Big Sunday Weekend also features concerts, book fairs and blood drives. Fri. Through May 5. Various times. Free. Various locations. (323) 549-9944.
As my friends and I navigate our 60s and 70s, we notice — with amusement and consternation — how our conversations have changed. Instead of talking about our kids’ college applications and the best camping sites, we find ourselves discussing back pain and long-term care insurance. The bottom-line concern, of course, is how to create the best quality of life as we age.
Chasidic pop star Matisyahu, best known for his hit “King Without a Crown,” blends reggae with Middle Eastern rhythms and American pop, conjuring up a fresh medley of unique and powerful beats. Sat. 8 p.m. $25-$45. The Luckman Fine Arts Complex, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles. (323) 343-6610.
Fortunately, it's perfectly possible to welcome children at your wedding without compromising the sanctity of the event or the sanity of any involved parties.
Consider orchestrating a Bar Mitzvah Treasure Hunt that you can host in your backyard, throughout your house or even in a hall rented for the occasion.
Rabbi Effie's specialty is dealing with teenagers. On this night, a happy group of teens is buzzing throughout his modest but welcoming home, and they are filling its many "play areas."
Now that the holiday season is upon us, it's time to do a little carving -- and we're not talking brisket.
Say you're a few years out of college, living with friends and working in a low-paying job for some do-good organization. You don't go to synagogue, but you miss the camaraderie of your college Hillel, and you like to invite people over for Shabbat meals.
Imagine if someone was willing to pay you to keep doing it?
Each year, The Los Angeles Business Journal uses legwork and a little guesswork to discern who's worth the most in Los Angeles. Once the list comes out, as it did this week, I like to run it through the old "Who's a Jew?" detector.
Witnessing glaciers calving into crystal blue waters, humpback whales fluking their magnificent tails and clouds weaving cottony billows around the tips of waterfront spruce forests are all in a day's work for the average Alaskan cruise-goer.
Not all seders are sit-down affairs. When "Dayenu" begins at the home of Simone Shenassa of West Orange, N.J., everyone takes bunches of scallions and hits everyone else, to imitate the whipping of the slaves.
Hollywood Fight Club's current production "A Lively ... and Deathly Evening With Woody Allen" brings to the stage three written works by the Neurotic One. Woody Allen's "God," "Death Knocks" and "Mr. Big" all deal with existential dilemmas as only Allen can.
Jewish school spirit can be found in abundance on the USC campus this weekend. The Jewish Student Film Festival has coordinated a weekend of Jewish activities, which culminates in today's film fest. Friday evening, attend Shabbat services at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion followed by Shabbat dinner at USC Hillel; Saturday, attend "Jewzika: A Night of Jewish Musicians" featuring Dov Kogen and the Hidden, SoCalled and the Moshav Band.
The Hadera Democratic School, which receives funding from both public and private sources, was the first of its kind in Israel. Since its founding in 1987 in this city about 60 kilometers north of Tel Aviv, 23 other schools have opened around the country based on its model of democratic education, in which student participation and choice is emphasized.
Corporate, private and organizational donors underwrite the day, including Temple Israel. The budget this year is $450,000. The city's participation will include providing security, busing and street closures. Additional donors are both welcomed and needed, Levinson said.
"Looking at what's happening locally and nationally, we've found that fewer teen boys enroll in informal Jewish activities than they did in previous years," said Lori Harrison Port, senior associate director for planning and allocations at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
Specifically, Abramoff allegedly using money from a Washington charity he oversaw to fund military-style programs in the West Bank. Indian tribes donated money to tax-exempt charities, believing they were supporting anti-gambling foundations, but the money was redirected to help a "sniper school" in the West Bank, operated by a friend of Abramoff.
The leaves have turned, the days are shorter and Chanukah, the holiday of lights, glimmers ahead. With the winter looming, juicy possibilities await, with plenty of exotic, warm weather options. So go ahead and plan your first big escape of 2006. Or surprise a loved one by booking a post-Chanukah adventure. This might just be the trip of a lifetime.
This year, traditional Christmas Day volunteering is being spread out across December. The shul's ATID young adult leadership group's annual Dec. 25 Mitzvah Day is being merged with templewide volunteering on Dec. 18, the formal start of Sinai's yearlong centennial anniversary.
In November, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles brought together seven other agencies, including, the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles, the Jewish Free Loan Association and Etta Israel Center, to create Hamercaz, a central resource for Jewish families raising special-needs children under 22.
Cruising isn't what it used to be. And to the more than 10 million people who took to the high seas last year, that's a good thing.
It was in the summer of 2004 that Hillel began work on a five-year plan to attract the two-thirds of Jewish college students who say they don't go to Hillel activities. That troubling statistic has been one of the most talked-about findings from the 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS).
As soon as incoming freshman Chana Ickowitz received her UC Berkeley e-mail address, she registered on the online directory facebook.com. There, on her personal profile, she described herself as someone with moderate political views who likes sushi, rainy days, Urban Outfitters and "Jane Eyre" ... and who is a member of a group called Jew Crew.
Teaching your brain new tricks is like a workout for the mind. It's never too early to start, and you don't have to ante up tuition to start your brain fitness program
Rosen recognized that he ruffled too many feathers to be out front. So he groomed protégés to assume that role. He mentored one so well that he became the head of AIPAC; another became the first Jew to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Israel.
While projects like tempera-painted honey dishes and party-whistle shofars are de rigueur, preschool and elementary school teachers take seriously the idea of having the High Holiday message of personal accountability set the tone for the whole year
It starts with a tireless trek to the mall in search of that stylish synagogue suit. Next comes the culinary juggling act, simultaneously preparing Aunt Sophie's tzimmes, Bubbe's killer kugel and a 22-pound turkey, dressed and trimmed. The last step is grooming an entire family and shuffling the whole gang out the door and into the synagogue in under an hour.
Here is a dreaded conversation familiar to most parents of Jewish teens: Them: "Hi, this is your synagogue youth adviser calling to make sure you received the flyer about our upcoming youth group event. Will your child be joining us?"
"Everyday Miracles" is an original musical about four Hebrew school students who travel back in time to interact with their biblical heroes.
Brandon was 3 the first time another mother called me to schedule a playdate.
"A playdate," I giggled. "That's so clever! Did you make that up yourself?" (The dead silence on the other end of the phone clued me in that I had just made a monumental maternal faux pas that could potentially rival my last monumental maternal faux pas of offering up a bag of artificially colored/flavored Cheetos -- rather than the au natural variety -- to my son's playgroup.) The other mother suddenly had a dire emergency and promised to call back. She didn't.
The afikomen: dessert or simply a ploy to keep children -- and some adults -- awake through most of the seder? Most people probably favor the latter, and tend to choose one of two techniques to make finding the half-piece of matzah interesting:
At every age, we must be connected to life's fun side, and Purim, the boisterous and tumultuous holiday that begins this year at sundown on March 24 and celebrates the triumph of the Jews in ancient Persia over enemies determined to destroy them, gives us that opportunity.
When the torrential winter rains take a reprieve, don some wings and head south. This three-day itinerary for rest, relaxation and kosher cuisine creates sunny inspiration even on the cloudiest days.
With their narrow passageways and cobblestone streets, picturesque Girona and Jerusalem's Old City share more than just a certain outward appearance.
When Elizabeth Cobrin goes to Israel this winter break with Birthright Israel, she and her friends have devised a plan to find each other when participants in all the different Birthright trips get together.
The goal of the Arachim program is to help teens discover the opportunities that exist in their neighborhoods and communities, where their contributions make a significant difference in the lives of other people. The unique project is being observed by numerous synagogues and may serve as a model for communities trying to develop similar programs.
In its early days, Club Med catered mainly to single swingers, but when business dropped, the management wisely turned some of its resorts into family destinations.
A new study reveals that the Bush administration is succeeding beyond the most optimistic projections of supporters -- and the most pessimistic fears of critics -- in funneling government social service dollars to religious groups, despite the refusal of Congress to pass most of its faith-based initiative.
Last week the Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy issued an exhaustive report indicated that religious groups "are now involved in government-encouraged activities ranging from building strip malls for economic improvement to promoting child car seats."
The weekend was spectacular, not only from an intellectual standpoint, but as a Jewish parent and communal professional. It was refreshing to see so many generations of Jewish families -- some with children, some without -- learning together, singing together and laughing together.
Local synagogues, Jewish centers and other cultural organizations are holding day camps throughout the summer months that expose children to Jewish culture, popular culture and even pre-Columbian culture.
Michael Borkow had done the Israel tourist thing before, and wanted to spend his week's vacation volunteering in Israel.
Some people like their Passover seders just as they remember them: the same lines recited by the same relatives with the same emphasis, the same songs, jokes and foods, the same delicate glassware that picks up the light in a certain way, reflecting past and present.
The facility still under construction in Irvine is expansive and includes an infant-care facility, preschool, fitness center and gymnasium large enough to accommodate two basketball games. There are areas designated for workout classes, adult education and massage. When completed, there will be lockers for swimmers, space for an art exhibit, playground and Holocaust memorial.
Seventeen-year-old Megan Knofsky keeps alive her sibling's memory by sustaining a teen support group that raises money for research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, the genetic disorder that affects 30,000 people and claimed her sister, Sarah, in 1997.
The calendar is doing for Purim this year what Emeril suggests is good for any recipe: Kick it up a notch.
7 Days In The Arts
The recent bombings of two Istanbul synagogues won't end the tradition of openness in Turkey's Jewish community -- and it could even make the community more cohesive, leaders say.
The Los Angeles campus of California State University hardly seems fertile ground to introduce studies on Jewish culture and history.
"More booths, more vendors, more of everything" is how festival co-chair Nancy Parris Moskowitz described this year's Los Angeles Jewish Festival.
The Los Angeles Jewish Festival, known until recently as the Valley Jewish Festival, originally began as the Exodus Festival to drum up support and awareness for the rescue of Soviet Jews, under the leadership of The Federation's Jewish Community Relations Committee.
UCLA Hillel special events coordinator Guy Kochlani was born in Tel Aviv, but he was never actively involved in supporting Israel -- until the day three years ago when a group of Palestinian students interrupted the Yom HaAtzmaut celebration on campus.
Renamed Big Sunday to represent the eclecticism of its volunteers, the fifth annual day of community service will take place this year on Sunday, May 4.