Dr. Gerald Picus and former L.A. City Councilwoman Joy Picus celebrated the gala opening of the $125 million Valley Performing Arts Center on Jan. 29. The two-hour star-studded event at California State University, Northridge, drew Valley performers, including Jane Kaczmarek, Noah Wyle, Nancy Cartwright, Dave Koz and Cheech Marin, as well as 1,700 guests.
The city of Calabasas is preparing a play area where the thousands of special-needs children living in the Conejo and West San Fernando valleys can play alongside all children their age. Brandon's Village, the area's first universally accessible handicapped playground, is scheduled to open on Oct. 28 at Gates Canyon Park on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, just east of Las Virgenes Road.
MRI is increasingly being recommended as a complimentary screening tool, especially to find invasive tumors.
Cabo San Lucas is at the western end of what has become a 20-mile corridor of hotels and gated communities known collectively as Los Cabos. In the last year a very visible and increasingly vibrant Jewish community is taking shape where the land meets the sea.
Hofstetter and Rosenberg are the driving force behind "King Davids," which borrows its name from a MySpace page that honors Jewish stand-up comedians.
Ceremony goes ahead for Beith David.
On Sunday, in the intense heat of a mid-summer day, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, carried a Sephardic Torah for one-half mile along city streets in Tarzana to a new Persian synagogue that had been the victim of an anti-Semitic attack just two days earlier. Police are still investigating the arson attempt, which burned a rear door of Beith David Education Center on Clark Street, as well as anti-Jewish graffiti left at the scene, as a hate crime.
Oktoberfest is a two-week celebration held in Munich, Germany, during late September and early October. Beer, food and music are the cornerstones of what is the world's largest festival, drawing 6 million tourists to the city annually. Cities around the world hold their own Oktoberfests, typically modeled after the Munich event.
Like many tales of mourning, this story was not supposed to end this way -- or to end this soon. Judah White, the young doctor whose battle with cancer became a clarion call for adult stem cell donations, died this month at 39. White, an intensely private person, allowed his suffering to enter the public domain so people could realize that there is no moral controversy attached to adult stem cells, that adult stem cell donation is relatively painless and that these donations are desperately needed to save lives.
White's case now also stands out as an example of the unavoidable imperfection of medical treatments. He died despite getting an adult stem cell transfusion that doctors hoped would help save him.
Jews aren't the only ones fasting this High Holiday season.
Two other religious organizations, one Christian, one Muslim, have joined with a Jewish one to call on Americans to take part in a nationwide fast of reflection, repentance, reconciliation and renewal from sunrise to sunset on Oct. 13.
Scoring on a Saturday night just got a whole lot easier for gamers, and they have an Orthodox Jew to thank.
Arena Interactive Lounge offers a 21st century take on the arcade -- a Santa Monica-adjacent, nerd-hip destination that features a modern lounge vibe.
It's the brainchild of 27-year-old Ron Rosenberg, an observant Jew who grew up in Pico-Robertson, attending Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, Yeshiva University High School and USC.
Under a microscope in a research lab at the Technion's Rappaport Faculty of Medicine in Haifa, a colony of embryonic stem cells floats in a brilliant ochre-colored universe of fetal mouse tissue, which nourishes the cells. Years from now, this tiny sample could very well be a key to unlocking the cure for cancer or reversing the effects of Alzheimer's and paralysis.
It would come as no surprise to experts in the field if some of these cures emanate from the laboratories of Israeli scientists, such as Dr. Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor.
Judah White's shoulders curl in and his eyes shut tight as he coughs violently. A look of pain flashes across his face. As his coughing slows, he looks up to the ceiling of his mother's kitchen and takes a deep breath.
White is battling his third occurrence of Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the lymph nodes. The fight has taken most of his energy.
"For me, the disease has always been associated with pain, and it's been a smorgasbord of pain," he said, his voice trailing off. "There's burning, there's aching, there's stiffness, there's bruising.... Literally, any type of pain you could possibly imagine."
White, a 38-year-old resident in internal medicine at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, recently completed his latest round of chemotherapy, a traditional treatment for his disease. As expected, the chemotherapy has weakened his immune system, leaving him vulnerable to common infections and other complications.
To rebuild his immune system, to restore his health and vigor, White is trying a newer treatment, one that has been linked to a national debate over medicine, religion and ethics. Doctors have given White donated stem cells. If he's lucky, these stem cells will replenish his lost bone marrow.
In what is likely the ultimate "Cold Case File," a researcher in Haifa may have figured out the cause of Jesus' death.
Professor Benjamin Brenner, a Technion Medical School and Rambam Medical Center hematology expert, said the problem was not blood loss, but a blood clot that likely traveled to Jesus' lungs.
I was out communing with the nerds last weekend, contributing to the $158.5 million record four-day opening for "Revenge of the Sith." Now that the series is over and done with (at least until George Lucas launches his live-action "Star Wars" television series), I began reflecting on all things Jewish in the saga set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Even though Lucas considers himself a "Buddhist Methodist," and many of the themes from the series are inspired by the universal mythic structure explored by writer Joseph Campbell, there are some elements in the series that are undeniably Jewish.
When 50 Israelis who survived the devastating Dec. 26 tsunami were stranded in Sri Lanka, El Al made good on its commitment to organize and operate rescue missions.
"When there is a problem, Israelis will go out of their way to help other Israelis," said Nira Dror, the Israeli airline's vice president and general manager of North and Central American operations.
Some might have found the joke funny, but the Orthodox Union (OU) isn't laughing. In May, Castaic resident Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik started YidGear.com , an online T-shirt shop that features humorous Jewish slogans -- some mellow, some crude. One of the more sexually provocative designs featured the well-known OU kosher symbol with the phrase "Eat me -- I'm kosher," available on T-shirts, boxers and thongs.
It took a Long Beach Superior Court judge two minutes to free Thomas Lee Goldstein on April 2, releasing him after almost a quarter century behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. The white-haired former Marine from Kansas mourned a lifetime of missed opportunities.
On the outside, the interfaith comedic coupling of Lahna Turner and Ralphie May seems like an odd match: Lahna is a stunning Jewish Canadian who blends witty spoken-word pieces with off-color songs, while Ralphie is a morbidly obese Southern comic who delivers jokes with hip-hop flava and subscribes to Flip Wilson's Church of What's Happenin' Now.
I spent months planning our weekend trip to Las Vegas: from an indulgent massage at Mandara day spa and dinner at Mon Ami Gabi to "Mamma Mia" at the Mandalay Bay. Wendy was having a fabulous time.
But when I suggested we go to the top of the Eiffel Tower replica at Paris, where we were staying, my Francophile stopped me cold at the elevator.
"We need to talk," she said.
Claire Zellman made two life-altering decisions in 1999.
Her first was to attend a Shabbat service that a friend recommended. After walking into a synagogue for the first time in more than a decade, she cried when she heard the "Baruchu."
Her second was to transition to living life as a man.
In spite of numerous reports that secular Jews are leaving Jerusalem in droves, Israel's capital held its second annual Gay Pride parade on June 20.
While the Bush administration's strong support for Israel might not yet be paying off dividends in the Middle East, the stance has certainly been a boon for local Jewish Republicans.
What started out as a joke between friends fast became a million-dollar goal for a retired Jewish soccer player.
Ethan Zohn emerged as the sole survivor of the third installment of the CBS reality show "Survivor" during the two-hour Jan. 10 finale, defeating Kim Johnson, a 57-year-old retired teacher from Oyster Bay, N.Y.
The opening of Berlin's Jewish Museum, an architectural marvel that houses a celebration of German Jewish culture, has done wonders to invigorate interest in Germany as a Jewish tourist destination.
Los Angeles resident George Giles, 26, Has been looking for a job in marketing ever since he was laid off five months ago. With the economy continuing to falter following Sept. 11 and a child on the way, George is hoping that his job search will be more fruitful in Israel.
"Survivor" as inspiration for Jewish programming? It seems strange that the divisive show where deceit, backstabbing and empty promises are de rigueur would serve as the inspiration for a Shabbaton that stresses the importance of religious and cultural continuity. Yet Sephardic Tradition and Recreation (STAR) has seized on this pop culture phenomenon and infused it with a positive spin.
After the candles were lit, the wine blessed and the bread broken, Jimmy Gamliel and Yosi Levy, standing on a small stage in front of patrons at Tempo Restaurant in Encino, broke into traditional Shabbat songs from Israel. The crowd, nearly 110 strong, sang and clapped along with the band. Some mothers stood, holding their children, and swayed to the music. Other patrons, moved either by memories or the melodies, joined Gamliel and Levy onstage to dance.
Meseret Rubin started learning modern Hebrew for the sake of her family.
In a race that has enough candidates for a minyan, the fight for the 5th District City Council seat being vacated by city attorney hopeful Mike Feuer became even tougher following the Jan. 12 addition of Tom Hayden. With the former state senator expected to win a plurality in the April 10 primary, speculation is now limited to which of the other 10 candidates will face Hayden in the June 5 general election.
Yoshinoya and a sushi restaurant sprang up at Dodgers Stadium after Japanese pitcher Hideo Nomo donned blue, but it's going to be a while before L.A. fans will be able to bite into a kosher Dodger dog, even with the addition of Jewish outfielder Shawn Green.
I was more than a little conflicted when Israel's Ministry of Tourism invited me to visit the Holy Land for one week in December to judge for myself whether the country was safe enough for tourists. I'd never traveled to Israel before, and while I knew that life was going on as usual for most Israelis, CNN's daily images of conflict and the U.S. State Department's warning fed my apprehension.
Mort Wolk hadn't slept a wink in two days. The invasion had been called off the day before due to bad weather, but Wolk had been on edge and too busy to rest. It was 4 a.m., and his plane was over Nazi-held Normandy. The only Jew and the only enlisted man on board, Wolk was part of Task Force A, a group of 40 paratroopers that had four hours to establish and secure a command post for the D-Day invasion.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is talking about kabbalistic teachings with such passion that he pitches forward in his chair, but just as quickly settles back. His arms are a flurry of activity, and he continuously grabs the black kippah that keeps threatening to slip from his head.
Catalina is only 22 miles across the sea from Los Angeles, but to many visitors it feels like a distant land. For one particular community of Sephardic Jews, it's that very feeling that has kept them coming back over the past 75 years.
In 1927, William Wrigley Jr. prompted the Santa Catalina Island Company to invest in the creation of the Catalina Tile Factory after discovering clay deposits on the island. While the operation lasted only 10 years, it turned out tiles and decorative ware that were cherished by collectors.In 1997, 60 years after the factory closed its doors, Cynthia Seider brought back the art of tile painting to Avalon for a cause that she cherishes.