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  • ‘Forward 50’ heavy on politicos; Faith groups petition Supremes re Prop. 8

    November 20, 2008 | 3:00 am

    Forward 50 Heavy on Politicos

    The Los Angelenos in this year's just-released Forward 50 list include an Orthodox rabbi who suggested that Israelis should be able to decide the fate of Jerusalem, a rabbi who led efforts to fight Proposition 8 and a Westlake School for Girls graduate...

  • The debates won’t matter

    By Marty Kaplan

    September 29, 2008 | 1:01 am

    Let me hedge my bet.

    At the vice presidential debate, the talking points Sarah Palin's handlers have been stuffing her head with will come out of her mouth so butchered that even Republican voters will say, like Kurtz in "Heart of Darkness": "The horror, the horror!"

    Or, at one of...
  • Meditating spies

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    June 19, 2008 | 2:31 pm

    Ah, so much chaos, so little time.

    In this parsha we deal with the message of the spies; insecurity leading to depression and fear; rebellion and anger by the people, Moses and God; and several severe punishments, including the major one of wandering in the desert for an...

  • Recycling on the fashion runway

    By Meredith Price

    April 4, 2008 | 1:00 pm

    Ever since the nonprofit organization Earth Pledge teamed up with Barney's in 2005 during New York's renowned fashion week to demonstrate that sustainable fashion and style can coexist, eco-fashion activists have been quipping that "green is the new black." Almost overnight,...
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  • ADL’s decision doesn’t go far enough

    By David N. Myers

    August 30, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Last week's news that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had reversed course and decided to recognize the Turkish massacres of Armenians between 1915 and 1923 as a genocide is a necessary step forward for that organization.

    Unfortunately, it does not go far enough in rectifying the...
  • Challenge Your Child

    By Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff

    June 7, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    This was my bar mitzvah portion 51 years ago, and I still remember what the rabbi said to me about it on the pulpit. So for all you parents and rabbis who speak to young adults becoming bar or bat mitzvah, take note: your words just may be remembered.

    My rabbi, Rabbi Louis J....
  • My second childhood

    By Yehuda Lev

    May 3, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    It took eight decades, but at last I know what is meant by "second childhood."

    In my first childhood, my social life consisted of dating attractive young women. This second time around my calendar is just as full but my partners are all doctors.

    The world looks different to me now...
  • Partners in Creation

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    October 19, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Roger Gottlieb makes the case in his book, "A Greener Faith," that we are in need of an ecotheology -- to view the Earth in a more divine and holy way. He writes that we have so separated ourselves from nature we don't actually feel our interconnectedness with it; rather, we value...
  • It May Be Time to Change Goals, Ideas on Philanthropy

    By Michael Steinhardt

    July 27, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    I have a dream in which Jewish early childhood educators in the United States, who currently receive an average salary of $9.66 an hour, can raise their own children without having to take out loans or marry rich. I have a dream in which Birthright Israel does not have to keep tens...

  • NGOs Feel Sting of Hamas Ban

    By Uriel Heilman

    June 22, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Nearly three months since Hamas took control of the Palestinian Authority, Western governments aren't the only ones trying to figure out how to deliver aid to the increasingly needy Palestinian population without inadvertently supporting its extremist government.

    Nongovernmental...

  • Abbas-Hamas Showdown Looms

    By Leslie Susser

    June 8, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Three and a half months after fundamentalists swept to power in the Palestinian elections, the Islamicist Hamas and the secular Fatah are on the brink of a major showdown that could have far-reaching implications for Israel and the government's plans for a unilateral withdrawal from...

  • Rising Singing Star Pitches New Sound

    By David Mermelstein

    June 1, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Many young girls dream of a life on the stage, but few could have envisioned the career now enjoyed by Hila Plitmann, a Jerusalem-born soprano who these days makes her home in Studio City. Plitmann, 32, is not famous in the way that, say, sopranos like Renée Fleming, Deborah Voigt...

  • Choice of Seminary Leader a Bold Move

    By  Dr. Michael Berenbaum

    April 13, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    The selection of professor Arnold Eisen as the new chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) represents a bold move of unpredictable consequences for its leadership.

    Eisen is a distinguished scholar of modern Jewish thought and an insightful student of the American Jewish...

  • PASSOVER FOOD: Treats to Leaven Desire for Dessert

    By Judy Zeidler

    April 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Passover desserts are a challenge to the cook because so many ingredients are forbidden, among them flour, grain, cornstarch, baking powder or baking soda. So we substitute matzah meal, potato starch and versatile fresh egg whites to bake all of those traditional favorites -- and...

  • PASSOVER: Try to Avoid Asking the Fifth Question

    By Rabbi Stewart L. Vogel

    April 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    While there are only four questions posed in the haggadah, most seders struggle with the unasked fifth question, "When are we going to eat?" It is asked, not only by hungry children, but also by adults who feel disconnected to the rituals of their ancestors. As if reenacting the...

  • Good for the Jews

    By Larry Derfner

    March 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Although it's easy to write off the ideological integrity of a party whose leaders include both Shimon Peres and Tsachi Hanegbi -- along with about everyone in between -- Kadima happens to be the real thing.

    That conclusion was firmly ratified this week by voters in Israeli, who...

  • Where the Boys Aren’t

    By Nancy Sokoler Steiner

    January 26, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    The Chanukah party for Adat Ari El's junior United Synagogue Youth group had all the elements the seventh- and eighth-grade members had requested: latkes, a gift exchange and a fierce board game competition. Yet, said, Julee Snitzer, the synagogue's youth activities director, of the...

  • Selling Judaism: Let’s Make It Harder

    By Rafael Guber

    January 26, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    When it comes to marketing Judaism, especially to young adults, it is hard to imagine a program, innovation and --dare I say it -- gimmick that has not been tried. I would like to suggest one.

    Let's make Judaism harder.

    Really, I am serious.

    This has nothing to do with theology and...

  • Fit L.A. - Let’s Take a ‘J-Walk’ Around the Block

    By Norma Zager

    January 19, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    I enjoy walking if it's through a store during a sale or to show off a grandchild. But walking for the pure fun of it isn't fun for me. The last time I exercised was when Ed Sullivan introduced the Beatles, and I jumped up and down in the living room as they played.

    Enter the Neshoma...

  • Negev + Galilee = Israel’s Future

    By Batsheva Pomerantz

    January 19, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    "The Negev and the Galilee comprise 70 percent of the area of the State of Israel with 30 percent of its populace, but they guarantee 100 percent of the future of the state," said Ron Pelmer, the director of Or National Initiatives, a nonprofit organization that helps to develop...

  • A Surprise Might Attract More To Shuls

    By David Suissa

    November 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    In many synagogues across the country today, the $64,000 question is the same: How can we get more people to come more often?

    Unlike the old days of quaint ghettos and neighborhoods, Judaism has become a choice. Synagogues today compete against Starbucks and other distractions, as...

  • Mental Workouts Keep Your Brain Fit

    By Sophia Dembling

    November 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    I work out regularly -- power walking, aerobics, weight lifting, yoga. But none of these have exhausted me as thoroughly as my first year sitting in a college classroom as a "nontraditional" (a.k.a. "old") student. By the end of each day of classes, I felt like I'd run a 10K carrying...

  • Panel Rejects Texts Over Religious Bias

    By Sue Fishkoff

    October 13, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In a surprise move, an advisory body to the California Board of Education rejected a sixth-grade history program that Hindu and Jewish groups blasted as biased, erroneous and culturally derogatory.

    During a two-day late September hearing before the state's Curriculum Development and...

  • ‘Call Waiting’ Rings Emotional Bell

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    September 29, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    There's pain and then there's the big pain.

    Pain is what happens in a regular life -- the predictable illnesses, disappointments and aggravations. The big pain is something like the Holocaust and the aftermath of surviving it.

    The larger pain makes the regular mode of suffering seem...

  • Shoah Slave Driver to Disney Designer

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    June 9, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In Nancy Keystone's "Apollo -- Part 1: Lebensraum," Nazi rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, now the darling of the United States space program, gushes about how Americans will reach the moon. Punctuating his remarks are the memories of a ghost, a Hungarian Jew, who describes the...

  • ‘Jubana’ Memoir Rescues Its Author

    By Susan Josephs

    May 26, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "Jubana! The Awkwardly True and Dazzling Adventures of a Jewish Cuban Goddess" by Gigi Anders (Rayo/HarperCollins, $23.95).

    Three years ago, Gigi Anders found herself down and out in Hackensack, N.J. Her fiancé couldn't go through with their wedding, she had quit a job at a nearby...

  • Will Successor Tread Pope’s Jewish Path?

    By Ruth E. Gruber

    April 14, 2005 | 8:00 pm

     

    As the College of Cardinals prepared to begin secret deliberations next week to choose a successor, the question remained to what extent John Paul's exceptionally proactive policy regarding Jews would endure.

    "It seems unlikely that the next pope will have the same interest in...

  • Abbas Tries to Prove His Strength

    By Gil Sedan

    April 7, 2005 | 8:00 pm

     

    Four months after he was elected president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas is fighting for his political life -- and possibly for the survival of the peace process.

    Last week, Abbas fought off militants' attempts to challenge the authority of the Palestinian...

  • Two Finish Lines

    By Ron Rubin

    March 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm

     

    What is the touchstone that unites a 26.2-mile marathon with a Siyum Hashas celebration of completing the 7.5-year page-a-day Talmud cycle?

    The concept shared by both events is human striving -- or in the language of the Lithuanian yeshiva, the commitment to shteig, to stretch...

  • Temple in the Desert

    By Bill Boyarsky

    March 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm

     

    The sanctuary of Congregation Beth Knesset Bamidbar in Lancaster evokes the mood of the Mojave Desert, which reaches far to the north, west and south of the small synagogue.

    The walls behind the bimah and on each side of the ark are made of simple cinder bricks of a sandstone...

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