With religious school winding down this month at many synagogues, some cantors will regularly seize the opportunity to produce a brief season of secular concerts with guest artists and visiting cantors.
Music and animal motifs from "The Lion King" will provide thematic structure for the April 18 talent show by members of the Jeremiah Society, a group serving Orange County's developmentally disabled Jewish adults.
"The talent show uncovers hidden talent among our handicapped adults," said the group's founder, Rose Lacher, of Orange, whose daughter, Amy, 55, is a member.
Allowing students to chose what they want to study in religious school is sure to loosen a standardized curriculum. But such an exercise in democracy potentially can also instill commitment by its participants.
Sheryl Krok often drives from Irvine to Los Angeles on business for her cleaning products line. But before the South African immigrant returns home, Krok makes a kosher pit stop, buying a month's supply of chicken to feed her carnivorous family of five.
"Because, hello! Irvine doesn't know there are kosher Jews down here," said Krok, who would be happy to give up bulk buying.
Organizers of the third South Orange County Interfaith Walk for Hunger and Cultural Fair invite the public to participate in the Oct. 26 event, which promises to build bridges between faiths while fulfilling the mitzvah of feeding the hungry.
One offered free tickets for a congregational outing to an Angels game. Others hold "open house" brunches, where clergy and teachers are available for questions. Another promised to unveil sanctuary secrets after a Friday night dinner and service.
Paul Goldenberg avoided playgrounds and sports while he was growing up, because he lacked athletic prowess. He spent hours in the cool darkness of a movie house.
Good can come from every situation, Judaism holds, and so does Irvine's Rabbi Joel Landau. The Beth Jacob Congregation leader has searched for good amid the unceasing bloodshed in the Middle East and found that empathy for victims of violence could be the sympathetic lifeline that tugs American Jews closer to their religious roots.
Jay Greenberg was eager to hear the therapist from Jewish Family Service (JFS) dole out parenting advice about teenagers last spring.
On the final night of the Pacific Jewish Film Festival in February, the South African emigre community jammed the theater to see the comedy about Christians and Jews in South Africa. Long after the credits ended, they stayed, kibbitzing in the aisles, hungering for their own countrymen.
Like typical first-time tourists eager to take in the sights, 10 visiting Israeli teenagers kept to a jam-packed itinerary.
For 28 years, Canadian Judith Feld Carr ran a clandestine rescue network that spirited most of Syria's Jews from captivity. Her little-known heroic feat rivals that of celebrated Holocaust saviors such as Oskar Schindler.
Career management advisers would probably be appalled by Stuart Altshuler's decision.
Spurning job offers from synagogues in New York's Great Neck and Florida's Palm Beach, as well as rejecting the guaranteed incumbency of a large Chicago shul, last summer Altshuler departed for Mission Viejo.
Terry Paule wanted her weekends to include Jewish-infused events, which she was hard pressed to find when she moved to Orange County in 2000.
While spending five years in Hong Kong, Terry Paule turned to movie watching as an accessible medium that helped her stay current with trends in the United States and elsewhere.
Even a year after Sept. 11, Americans still seem unprepared to see their way of life as under assault, according to Yehudit Barsky, director of the American Jewish Committee's (AJC) Middle East and international terrorism division.
Attempting to broaden its outreach to adults with little understanding of Judaism, the Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox movement has professionally developed a suite of college-style courses and schooled a select group of rabbis in modern teaching methods.
After two years of behind-the-scenes planning by an advisory team shaping a new home for Orange County's Jewish organizations, a more visible version of the 30-acre, $65 million Samueli Jewish Campus will emerge in a coming-out party planned in Irvine Aug. 25.
Putting his own twist on a frequently invoked slogan, Lou Weiss, the newly elected president of Orange County's Jewish Federation, intends to make inclusiveness a priority during his tenure
Surviving a near-fatal auto accident deepened the realism in the work of Buena Park artist Carol Goldmark. Her renderings of flowers, previously painted in full bloom as a metaphor for beauty, now are depicted across the floral lifespan -- newly formed clenched buds to withering limp petals. "The accident lifted the veil," says Goldmark, whose work is part of "Art Heals, Art Works," an exhibit that begins Aug. 4 at the Fullerton Museum Center, 301 N. Pomona Ave.
Drawn in part by the recent movie, "Enough," in which actress Jennifer Lopez uses Krav Maga to even the score against an abusive husband, a long-established Orange County class in self-defense is seeing a jump in popularity.
Yom Kippur is much more than saying, I'm sorry, said Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, the well-known theologian, author and speaker who will be in Orange County on Aug. 12 to talk about preparing spiritually for the High Holidays.
If food really is a cipher, unusual tales are spilling from menus devised for a two-part Jewish holiday cooking class this month at Laguna Culinary Arts.
Even as its executive board starts a search to replace its top administrator, the Jewish Federation of Orange County will intensify its annual fundraisng drive over the next two months.
What is the duty to assist those in danger under Jewish law compared to American law? The question is no mere academic exercise to Neil H. Cogan, dean of the Whittier Law School, who spoke on the topic last week as the inaugural speaker of the recently formed Jewish Lawyers of Orange County.
More than 50 lawyers attended the Newport Beach luncheon at the Pacific Club, the second Jewish professional group organized under the Jewish Federation of Orange County. In addition to a 10-person advisory panel, the group's honorary chair members include Todd Spitzer, a county supervisor; Joel Kuperberg, Irvine's city attorney, and Kenneth Wolfson, counsel to developers of the Foothill Ranch and Rancho Santa Margarita.
There, a steady stream of vehicles arrived, disgorging clusters of teenagers at Orange County's Jewish Community Center. Instead of movies, sleepovers and football games, the typical high school student's Friday night pursuits, about 60 teens gathered to participate in the center's "Teen Shabbat" program, now in its second year.
Jill Sherman's high school years are anything but carefree. Last year an older classmate, who talked openly about his anti-Semitic attitudes, tried to ignite her clothes with a self-described "Jew burner." Physically, Sherman was unhurt by the attack with a cigarette lighter.