Conversion to Judaism is not easy. It requires a change in beliefs, actions and lifestyle. It involves extensive study, practice, a leap of faith, a shift in perception and some sacrifice.
Late on a recent Wednesday afternoon, Judith Golden and Suzanne Rosenthal perched at their desks in a small room in the depths of American Jewish University (AJU).
In the first debate between the two remaining Los Angeles mayoral candidates, City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti attempted to convince voters there are significant differences between them, even as the two veteran politicians took identical positions on one issue after another.
When Donna Levine told her mother she had converted, the response was that she would burn in hell. A friend encouraged Levine to join Jews for Jesus. She had to explain to this friend that, unfortunately, that wouldn’t work.
In 2000, an urban congregation of 1,000 families found itself at a crossroads. The synagogue had a balanced budget and a beloved rabbi who was retiring after three decades, but its building was badly in need of repairs and the congregation was aging. To survive, the leadership felt they had to upgrade, so they took four steps: They hired a big-name rabbi, renovated the building, and put together an ambitious schedule of lectures and other programs to attract new faces. They also borrowed $1 million to pay for it all.
From generation to generation, starting in 1950 and continuing today, one of the most important sites on the map of the Jewish community in Southern California was a stretch of rolling hills in Simi Valley. The story is richly told in the pages of “The Brandeis-Bardin Institute: A Living History” by Jenna Leventhal (American Jewish University, $30), an “official” history. Published by the university that now owns the property, it is predictably upbeat but also, at moments, candid and forthright about the birth pangs and growing pains of a Jewish institution.
Congratulations to Rob Eshman on a superb piece explaining clearly why Bill Kristol and his Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) not only do not help Israel, but are harmful to her interests (“Emergency?” Feb. 1). His thoughtful explanation is comprehensive, clear and completely accurate. In fact, I have spoken with a number of Israeli leaders across the political spectrum who have expressed to me exactly what Eshman stated in his thoughtful piece.
For many, the everlasting power of Auschwitz is understood only by visiting the infamous death camp and walking the grounds where more than 1 million people were killed during the Holocaust.
Even as the sound of “Hatikvah” reverberated in the auditorium of the American Jewish University, where Los Angeles commemorated the 65th anniversary of the historic United Nations vote of Nov. 29, 1947, another U.N. vote was casting its shadows on our consciousness — the vote for Palestinian statehood, on Nov. 29, 2012.
Add another feather to Erwin Chemerinsky’s cap. On Nov. 18, the great legal mind — founding dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law and former commentator for the O.J. Simpson trial — got Moses off on two counts: murder and flight to avoid prosecution.
JCamp180, a project of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that aims to enhance long-term effectiveness in Jewish nonprofit overnight camps, has announced that it will begin working with Camp Alonim, one of Southern California’s largest Jewish overnight camps.
“This is a universal thing that everybody goes through,” Rabbi Stan Levy emphasized during the 10th North American Chevra Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference, a three-day event last month at American Jewish University. Appearing as a guest speaker at the annual conference, Levy was describing one of life’s few certainties — death.
Speaking on the Holocaust and 20th century genocides, Mark Gudgel, executive director of the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights, began his March 12 lecture at American Jewish University (AJU) with a declaration.
Rabbi Charles Simon, a recent visiting lecturer at American Jewish University (AJU), asked rabbinical students how they would deal with a future intermarriage. One young rabbi-to-be said he’d welcome the couple … then tell them that, unfortunately, he couldn’t marry them.
The legacy of John O. (Johnny) Varble, who died on Oct. 19 at 83 on the Brandeis-Bardin Campus of American Jewish University, will live on forever. Johnny was a dedicated and beloved member of the Brandeis-Bardin community for more than 40 years, leading the ranch staff, and welcoming and supporting all who visited the campus. Johnny also was an award-winning horse trainer and breeder. I had the privilege of working with him for three years and of being his friend for many more. Johnny lived by a set of values that permeated all he did in life, and his devotion to Brandeis-Bardin was unparalleled. For thousands of people, he represented the heart and soul of Brandeis, and for several individuals, he was a mentor who greatly impacted their lives.
Robert Wexler, president of American Jewish University (AJU), eschews the labels of Judaism’s mainstream denominations. “I’m Jewish,” Wexler said last week. “Religious.”
On April 3, under the auspices of the American Jewish University, in its Gindi Auditorium, five Los Angeles rabbis competed with one another in an evening titled “Dancing With the Rabbis.” As reported in this newspaper, the sellout crowd loved the evening.
A sell-out crowd packed the American Jewish University’s (AJU) Gindi Auditorium on April 3 and watched as Rabbi Zoë Klein of Temple Isaiah tangoed her way to the inaugural “Dancing With the Rabbis” trophy. An ecstatic Klein, cheered on by her family, wowed the audience with her passionate routine with professional partner Daniel Ponickly.
On Sunday night, March 1, JewishJournal.com will broadcast LIVE from the American Jewish University. Tune in at 7:10 p.m. to watch a panel discussion from the “Welcoming Synagogues Project: Strategic Convening.” Moderated by Dr. Caryn Aviv of Jewish Mosaic and University of Denver, the panel will discuss gender/sexual diversity and inclusion in the Jewish community, emphasizing success stories, challenges, and lessons learned.
The Jewish Journal asked several authors appearing at Sunday's Celebration of Jewish Books to answer a question that, at least for writers, has existential overtones: "If you were stranded on a deserted island, what Jewish book would you want to have with you, and why?"
Tony Snow declared himself "the sacrificial lamb" the moment he stepped on stage at Universal Studios Gibson Amphitheatre, rightly anticipating a rough tumble with the provocative HBO pundit Bill Maher during the final installment of American Jewish University's (AJU) 2008 Public Lecture
Bill Clinton, Ann Coulter, James Carville -- over the years American Jewish University's top-notch lecture series has hosted plenty of people who have infuriated plenty of people.
But evidently, when it comes to being infuriating, Karl Rove is in a class unto himself.
Ethan Margolis, co-founder of Arte y Pureza (Art and Purity), a Seville, Spain-based flamenco troupe, says three influences stand out as soon as you begin reading about flamenco: Sephardic, Arabic and Indian.
Jack Gindi, real estate developer, lawyer, philanthropist and Jewish community benefactor, died Saturday, Aug. 4, at 83, following a prolonged illness.
The University of Judaism (UJ) and Brandeis-Bardin Institute (BBI), two Southern California institutions that for the last 60 years have educated and inspired Jews of all ages and affiliations -- and that have both at times struggled through financial and leadership troubles -- this week will announce that they have merged into one entity, to be known as the American Jewish University.