It's not uncommon for well-established, wealthy members of a community to donate money to various causes, but these days, there's a new breed of philanthropist in town -- the college student.
Two new entries for Jewish studies can be found at Cal State Northridge (CSUN) and UCLA. CSUN has introduced a major in the subject this fall, and at UCLA, the Center for Jewish Studies has launched a new program on Modern Jewish Culture.
Fagin, who recruits a gang of young thieves in "Oliver Twist," is arguably the most villainous caricature of a Jew in English literature -- not excepting Shakespeare's Shylock -- but his creator, Charles Dickens, was no dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semite.
Indeed, in "Our Mutual Friend," his last completed novel, Dickens took a 180-degree turn in his portrayal of the Jew Riah, who is as saintly as Fagin is evil. For good measure, Dickens added a Jewish factory owner and his wife, who treated all their employees with kindness and generosity.
The appraisal of Dickens comes from Harry Stone, one of the foremost collectors and authorities on the great 19th-century English novelist.
Stone, who taught English literature at Cal State Northridge for 32 years, recently donated to the university the thousands of items in his private Dickens collection, including first editions of all the novelist's works, the monthly newspaper installments in which they first appeared, personal letters, corrected proof sheets, translations, photographs, and even dolls and figurines inspired by his characters.
Sharon Kupferman, a junior at Cal State Northridge, was one of 11 students left "hanging in the air" last fall, when the statewide university system abruptly canceled its overseas study program in Israel.
Weaving together the threads of music, youth activities and social action, the eighth annual Valley Jewish Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 6. This year's festival, which organizers call the largest event of its kind on the West Coast, finds a new home on the campus of Cal State Northridge.