Jewish voices had joined both sides of the bitter and costly Proposition 8 debate leading up to Election Day. Reform and Conservative leaders largely condemned the stripping of civil rights from a fellow minority population, while Orthodox officials praised constitutional protection for the biblical definition of marriage.
Modern Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip resumed only after the 1967 Six-Day War, but even with those settlements set to be evacuated, Jewish roots in the sandy strip of land where Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea meet run deep.
Opinions differ on whether the area was or was not included in the Land of Israel conquered by the ancient Israelites in the Bible.
Last January, I breathed a sigh of relief. The new domestic partnership law went into effect in the state of California, giving senior citizen and same-gender couples a range of state rights nearly equal to the rights given married couples in California.
In so doing, California became second only to Massachusetts in seeking to extend the civil rights of its residents, and many members of the Los Angeles Jewish community, myself included, knew we finally had the legal protections in place that are so critically important to the security of our families.
When you ascend the rose red pillars towering over the Arava desert, you hardly expect to look down upon the biblical Mishkan.
"A lot of people went to Israel when the country was new and bought Yemenite art, but they didn't tell you it was Yemenite," said the museum's director and founder, Norma Kershaw. "Ancient or modern, whatever people have" would be welcomed.
Jazz icon Dave Brubeck says he wanted to construct a musical bridge between Jews and blacks in composing "The Gates of Justice," a 50-minute oratorio celebrating the joint civil rights struggles of the two partners.
A new CD recording of "The Gates of Justice," will be released on Jan. 20, the day after the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Has a question or statement about Israel ever caught you so off guard and tongue-tied that you wished you could just reach into your back pocket to pull out an answer?
"The ideals that form the moral compass of Western civilization, the belief that every human being has value, the belief that no one is above the law, the belief that how each of us treats our fellow human beings matters -- these were all the gifts of the Jews."
An Iron Age stone fragment that bears the first known reference outside the Bible to King David will be among the works shown in October during "The Holy Land: David Roberts, Dead Sea Scrolls, House of David Inscription" at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana. It will be a first for a U.S. institution.
As the seder evening proceeds, my son wants to know one thing: "When will Elijah get here?"
A man who will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court next year that his planned execution in Florida's electric chair constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment" can point to a 2,000-year-old Jewish law when he pleads his case.