South Africa and the world showered tributes on Nelson Mandela on Thursday as the anti-apartheid leader turned 95 in hospital and his doctors reported he was "steadily improving" from a six-week lung infection.
L.A. young adult groups celebrate Israel’s 65th Independence Day. This blue-and-white party (dress accordingly) at Hollywood club Lure features spinning by DJ Aviel, live performance art and drumming, drinks and kosher catering. 21 and older. Sat. 8:30 p.m. (“Get Back Israel Fair”), 9:30 p.m. (club night). $18 (online), $25 (door). Lure Nightclub, 1439 Ivar Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 761-8138. jewishla.org/unite.
"Hava Nagila” is one of those songs, like “Celebration” and “Auld Lang Syne,” that brings back memories and gets stuck in one’s head. In fact, “Hava Nagila” is so ingrained in American pop culture that many non-Jews can readily identify it, and high-profile non-Jewish recording artists, including Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis and Glen Campbell, count their renditions as a career highlight.
Marnie Alexis Friedman and Steven Barnett Stiglitz married on Sept. 2 at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles. Rabbi Adam Kligfeld of Temple Beth Am officiated, and Rabbi Laura Geller of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills participated under the chuppah as well.
Factor in the enormous guest lists, global cuisine and diversions such as high-tech interactive entertainment, and it is clear that bar and bat mitzvah celebrations have become more sophisticated than they were even a decade ago.
As bombs dropped over Germany, aerial photographer Arthur Oxenberg would lean out of a B-17 Flying Fortress with his camera to snap a photograph. His photos were a way the U.S. Army Air Forces could tell whether bombs hit their targets.
The High Holy Day liturgy includes the poignant plea: "Do not cast me off b'eyt zikna," which is usually translated as "when I get old." It is a fear many of us have, but are often afraid to articulate. We live in a youth-intoxicated culture where older people are sometimes invisible.
I called my 94-year-old father in Ohio on July 9. I told him how much I loved him, that he was the most wonderful father ever, that I would miss him, and that it was OK for him to let go.
A crowd of angry pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Melbourne marred the annual celebration of Israel's independence.
Two thousand years ago, a mysterious woman who was unable to talk arrived on this island. Every sick person she touched was healed. Although she died when her wooden house caught fire, her body remained intact and did not burn.
Think of what might happen to the Jewish calendar if literary scholars got their hands on it. Tisha B’Av would be classified as a tragedy, Tu B’Shevat would come under the heading of the pastoral, and Yom Kippur could serve as a soliloquy. But what would the bar mitzvah ceremony be? The answer is obvious: a comedy.
They're making sufganiyot on the streets of Israel; Chanukah must be near.
It's a fact of life: Israel's blue and white is a red flag for the fanatics. Wave it, and they are likely to charge.
The blue and white flag with the Star of David will be raised for the first time in front of the Israeli Consulate on Sunday, Sept. 28.
Fortunately, it's perfectly possible to welcome children at your wedding without compromising the sanctity of the event or the sanity of any involved parties.
A growing number of American Jews have chosen to retire to Mexico. Two of the largest expatriate communities, in San Miguel de Allende and Ajijic; have experienced contrasting experiences while attempting to establish spiritual leadership.
Nitzan and Shaul Barakan had to come all the way from Israel to the United States to learn words like "afikoman" and "seder plate."
The couple, both born and raised on Kibbutz Kinneret, didn't have a clue that there is a haggadah that looks nothing like the one they used on the kibbutz.
Compared with the millennia of Jewish history, the scant few centuries of Jewish settlement in the Western Hemisphere is like a drop in the ocean those Jews had crossed from Europe. The history of the Jews in the American colonies is even shorter: more than 100 years before the Jews of Newport, R.I., built their synagogue (now the oldest continuously active synagogue in the United States), the Jewish community of the Caribbean island of Curacao had built theirs -- Congregation Mikve Israel, which holds the record as the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere.
With Chanukah recent history, I came across a fascinating review of a new book, "The Business of Holidays." The book's editor, Maud Lavin, notes that 81 percent of U.S. households celebrate Christmas with a tree in their homes, and not everybody is Christian. The line between Christmas and Chanukah has become very blurry in recent years, according to Lavin.
A crowd of 4,500 gathered recently at the ornate Fox Theater in Atlanta for a celebration of Jewish spirit and synagogue life that can accurately be described as a Jewish tent meeting. "Hallelu Atlanta" was an extraordinary moment in the history of one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in North America. The afternoon gathering held significance, meaning and purpose far beyond what may have appeared to be simply a concert featuring a who's who of Jewish music.
A lot of people have trouble with Chanukah. I did, for years. I'd go to parties and nibble on my latke or sufganiyot while grumbling under my breath about how there was nothing here to celebrate. I'd light my Chanukiyah, but I'd only do the bare minimum needed to fulfill the mitzvah and I'd do my best not to enjoy it. My problem then, and the problem of the people who this year have already informed me that they're all but going to boycott the holiday, is that the history of this particular celebration is, well ... complicated.
The change was subtle but undeniable. A slightly deeper shade of brown; carrots cut lengthwise rather than sliced; some scattered sprigs of rosemary. Any other day of the year, such a discrete rift in recipe might have gone unnoticed. But this was not any other day of the year -- this was Rosh Hashanah.
"Mort Sahl changed the face of comedy. Before his, that face was Marty Allen's."
-- Jack Riley
So while my brother got punched out at his bar mitzvah -- by me -- this other kid met God. Of course, some kids start getting into trouble at this age, while others really start to excel as students.
Appeals to the middle class as well as the aristocracy helped Champagne become a mainstay of toasting at almost any occasion, from launching ships to celebrating a marriage. And with the June wedding season upon us, there is little time to waste in selecting the perfect bottle of bubbly to toast your nuptials.
But unlike Rosh Hashanah -- which has the irresistible attraction of a new year and a new beginning -- and other holidays that have their own attractions, Shavuot seems to miss that special sizzle that could engage mainstream Judaism.
Yes, once the months of training and the day has ended; once the celebration has happened and the DJ has gone home; once the gifts have been opened, the cards have been read and the checks have been deposited, there remain the most important gifts. If the preparation has been handled with care, if the tutor, rabbi, cantor and parents have done their jobs, this young adult will be moving onto the next leg of life's journey with the most valuable gifts of all.
The first fashion show by the Shayna Punims, a Red Hat Society chapter based at Jewish Home for the Aging's (JHA) Eisenberg Village campus, gave former models an excuse to come out of retirement and provided nervous novices an opportunity to shine among their peers.
Mimouna represented the love and intimacy of a neighborhood. There's nothing like popping in to see 10, 20, 30 different neighbors on the same night, most of whom you see all the time -- especially when you know your great-great-great-grandparents probably did the same thing in the same place.
Persian New Year, also known as Norooz, was celebrated at Los Angeles City Hall on March 16 as members of Persian American Communities Inc. -- a nonprofit organization consisting of local Iranian American Jews and Muslims -- joined with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and members of the City Council.
Consider orchestrating a Bar Mitzvah Treasure Hunt that you can host in your backyard, throughout your house or even in a hall rented for the occasion.
"Keeping Up With the Steins" is an unlikely candidate for an Academy Award, but it has served a purpose if it causes us to pause and consider the cultural phenomenon that prompted its production and distribution.
George Valencia said the inspiration for the film came from his worst memory as a bar mitzvah emcee -- he had run out of glow ropes during a party for a particularly affluent family only to discover that the bar mitzvah boy had never received one.
On Purim we are forced to confront the possibility that nothing we do really matters, because history is ultimately arbitrary, and life is therefore unalterably unpredictable. No wonder they tell us to have a couple of drinks ... But the power of Purim is not that it leaves us in a drunken stupor, vulnerable, uncertain and hungover.
So what is Purim about? This short guide explains the various holiday traditions and celebrations, as well as a few suggestions of unique and fun ways to partake in the festivities.
Keeping in mind that singing, dancing and drinking may be the typical methods of rejoicing, its important to remember there are other ways to truly celebrate the value of existence -- like picking up and reading a great comedy.
As my son's bar mitzvah day inched closer, I began to see the world in a whole different light -- a disco ball light, to be exact -- for as my child grew, so did his friends, officially putting us both on the b'nai mitzvah circuit.
"Jews are not cultured people," she complains. The other woman disagrees.
"They are cultured," she insists, "they are just different."
Theologically, Chanukah is insignificant, yet its historical lesson is of great importance to all religious faiths.
In keeping with an annual tradition started 35 years ago, Canoga Park's Follow Your Heart's Jewish owners, Bob Goldberg and Paul Lewin, will hold their Chanukah Feast on Dec. 19, 4 p.m.- 9 p.m.
On the first night of Chanukah my true love gave to me...social justice? That's the theme of one of the hottest parties of the Chanukah season, "Vodka Latka: The Festival of Rights," sponsored by the Progressive Jewish Alliance (PJA), JDub Records and Reboot on Dec. 13 at the El Rey Theatre in Mid-Wilshire.
We've all been there.
You go to the store, turn on the TV or pick up a catalogue and see something incredibly silly that you never in a million years would buy for yourself (it's also called a "guilty pleasure"). But you can always say you are buying it for someone else. So in the grand tradition of the Pet Rock, the Moses action figure and the snow cone machine, The Journal presents the Chanukah gifts you really want but won't admit it.
I will be frank. I'm tired of hearing the same holiday songs over and over. So the best Chanukah present I've received this year is a pile of Chanukah-themed CDs with lots of new holiday songs, many of them quite good.
Having trouble finding the perfect gift for the one who has everything? Want to give back to the community this holiday season and into 2007? Here are eight great ways to contribute.