When the Supreme Court decided on June 13 that unaltered human DNA cannot be patented, it was more than a victory for cancer patients and corporate rivals in the field of genetics; it was a reason to celebrate for Dr. Wayne Grody, a professor at UCLA School of Medicine who assisted in the case that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought against Myriad Genetics.
On a recent Saturday morning, at Congregation Mogen David’s Ashkenazic Shabbat service, a blond-haired girl in a shimmery pink sundress tugged at the fringes of a man’s tallit (prayer shawl). The tallit belonged to Alex Katz, and he tried to ignore her entreaties as he led 90 people in the social hall in the prayer for the United States.
Yiddish, the language of Jewish grandmothers — and, increasingly, great-grandmothers — suffered through a particularly unkind 20th century. But if Robert Adler Peckerar has his way, it will be making a comeback in the 21st, thanks in part to something called the Helix Project.
Sephardic, Ashkenazic, Mizrachic, or just out for a good time -- whatever their background, Jews poured into the Skirball Cultural Center last Sunday for the first annual Sephardic Arts Festival. The event was a success beyond its organizers' wildest dreams. Attendance, estimated at more than 4,000, was more than double the anticipated turnout, making it the largest audience for any one-day event since the Skirball opened in April 1996. Despite long lines for shuttle buses and food, the mood of participants -- a mix of generations and ethnicities -- was festive and good-humored. Many people bumped into relatives and friends -- often literally -- while searching for seats, program notes or restrooms.