Last Thursday, I met two extraordinary gentlemen in the span three hours. I was invited, along with hundreds of other Jewish leaders from across the country, to Washington, D.C. to gather in the “People’s House” to celebrate the conclusion of Chanukah.
My new favorite way to celebrate Chanukah is lighting candles with Barack Obama. The annual White House Chanukah Party was held Dec 5, a day after Chanukah.
Organizers of the Thanksgivukkah Festival, a local celebration of the once-in-a-lifetime convergence of Chanukah and Thanksgiving, figured the Pico Union Project in central Los Angeles would be the ideal place to party.
With Chanukah marking the rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees’ defeat of Judea’s Seleucid rulers more than 2,000 years ago, the week of the holiday turned out to be the perfect time for the Academy of Jewish Religion, California (AJR-CA) to celebrate the opening of its new campus in Koreatown.
Why did the French stand firm against the initial, pre-Geneva nuclear deal with Iran? The answer, it turns out, has to do, at least in part, with good old-fashioned Jewish lobbying.
While Jews were able to enjoy the rare, simultaneous celebration of Thanksgiving and Chanukah this year, Judaism has long been had something in common with the American holiday.
I travel for my work; I travel often -- my wife and children might say too often. Just before Chanukah, I was in Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Canada, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., and then back home. A hectic schedule is of little interest, but what I experienced might be.
The early arrival of Chanukah coincides with Jewish Book Month, which suggests a convenient shopping list for gift-giving. Here are eight books I am planning to give this year to the book lovers among my family, friends and colleagues. Some of these books already have been reviewed at greater length in these pages over the past year.
Our lives are full of value judgments. We learn to make decisions on these issues when dilemmas relating to our society, our religion, our culture or ourselves arise. While it is easy to declare loyalty to a particular value, it is very difficult to decide which value to prefer when two or more come into conflict. But it is when these situations do arise that the moral position of our society becomes apparent and our core values are revealed.
There are assorted good reasons to program a klezmer night around Chanukah, and brisk ticket sales is only one of them. “Klezmer is a hugely important part of the Jewish language and culture,” said Dale Franzen, director of the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, in assessing the Eastern European music genre that touches on political and cultural themes.
Fifteen years ago, Stephen Sass and his husband, Steven Hochstadt, consecrated their commitment to each other during a religious marriage ceremony that took place during Chanukah. The timing was intentional.
As the beginning of Chanukah and end of the year approach, where does lsrael stand?
The freedom food of chocolate should star in desserts for Chanukah and Thanksgiving. Puritans seeking asylum in North America and Jews hiding from the Inquisition in New Spain (Mexico) had their first encounters with chocolate in the 17th century. Chocolate paves the religious freedom trail.
A Chanukah miracle couldn’t hurt as the Clippers face off against the top-ranked Indiana Pacers. Stephen S. Wise Temple’s Cantor Nathan Lam opens the game with the singing of the national anthem. There will also be a menorah lighting, a Q-and-A session with rabbis and a special halftime performance by the Body Poets. Add in kosher food and a free T-shirt, and this Chanukah celebration is bound to be a slam-dunk.
It’s taken American Jews a good century to fully absorb the miraculous idea that this country is unlike any other that Jews have experienced. After 2,000 years of feeling insecure no matter where we pitched our tents, the people of Moses finally found safe harbor in the land of Lincoln — the land of freedom, human rights and justice for all.
When people ask me to describe the God I believe in, I often start by using the image of a flame. We are taught that each of us has a divine spark within us.
If you like to laugh and hear happy Chanukah songs, then this is the show for you. It will be a special night of funny people, including Stephanie Blum, Jimmy Brogan and Mark Schiff. Hosted by Kenny Ellis, who has long made it a mission to marry the cantor and the comic within, there will be nods to his top-rated CD, “Hanukkah Swings!” Make the sixth night of Chanukah the best night.
Thanksgiving is the great American holiday, a secular fete originally celebrating the crops we harvested, now celebrating not just the harvest, but also our freedom, our democracy and our way of life.
Take time this holiday season to slow down and catch up on your pleasure reading. We’ve gathered a list of classic books to suit everyone’s taste — from spine-chilling science fiction to classic modern novels. Whether you’re looking for a humorous Sunday afternoon read, an enchanting novel or the perfect bedtime story for your kids, these selections should offer ideas for your Chanukah gift-giving needs.
Make sure your Chanukah accoutrements are up to snuff this year. We’ve got fair-trade gelt, dreidels for a cause, and ultra-modern menorahs for your 2013 festival of lights. So sit back, enjoy the latkes, drink some wine, and light the candles. L’chaim!
The closer we get to candle-lighting time, the more we warm to sounds of the season. Of course, there is no rule that every note of every song must be to-the-letter traditional (or even particularly Jewish), as a handful of new and recent releases demonstrate. As you’re preparing to spin the dreidel, give some of these gems a spin.
Remember “The Chanukkah Guest” by Eric Kimmel? Those 20-somethings who consider their favorite Chanukah stories from childhood would no doubt recall the tale of the 97-year-old woman who “did not see or hear as well as she used to, but she still made the best potato latkes in the village.” Now it’s been reimagined with a shorter text (by the same author), new illustrations (by a different illustrator), and a new title: “The Hanukkah Bear” (Holiday House).
This year, Chanukah and Thanksgiving coincide: Chanukah is celebrated for eight days by candle-lighting, gift exchanges and eating foods fried in oil, an ancient custom, commemorating a miraculous event at the Temple in Jerusalem, while the Thanksgiving meal reminds us of our American heritage.
It might mean sharing someone’s television or it might mean sharing someone’s HBO GO, but the Jewess of comedy is set to headline her first HBO comedy special, and it’s your job to watch. The program, which will be presented in association with Funny or Die, promises to be fresh, fearless and utterly original.
Learn, do and share — be a part of sustainable Los Angeles. Come hear about projects that are having local and global impacts from passionate speakers. Presenters include Elizabeth Stewart, founder and CEO of Hub Los Angeles; Nirvan Mullick, co-creator of the Imagination Foundation; Mick Ebeling, founder of Not Impossible Labs and creator of the EyeWriter; and Tara Tiger Brown, founder of Los Angeles Makerspace.
Admit it. It is bad timing, these two very unique festivals of two very different faiths colliding in time and space. Even when our Hebraic lunar calendar separates the two by a week or so, the commercial heralding of both in our consumer-focused society continually blends the two, as if Chanukah were some Jewish version of Christmas.
Now that the parade of Jewish holidays has passed, it’s time to start planning for the impending arrival of an unprecedented hybrid: “Thanksgivukah” is coming!
When cellist Lynn Harrell would play “Kol Nidre” at his synagogue on Yom Kippur, he felt more than the notes and the melody. It was through the music that he discovered he wanted to become a Jew.
There are a variety of options for how to begin the process, but all involve study with a rabbi. Some people study with an individual rabbi for a period of time, and other people enroll in group classes designed especially for converts.
For thousands of years, Jews have lived as minority populations in various regions worldwide, surviving largely through their strong commitment to community.
A Tunisian minister in charge of emigres wished a Merry Christmas to the country’s Jews.
A dozen members of Kol Sephardic Choir stood in a semicircle, clutching songbooks as they rehearsed the lyrics of “Quando el Rey Nimrod.” Halfway through the Ladino folk song, music director Avi Avliav held his hands up and told the group to stop.
It has become something of a White House Chanukah tradition. For the second time, the Obama White House used a menorah from a hurricane-hit region to mark the holiday.
On Dec. 7, the dancing rabbis of Chabad and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came together at Los Angeles City Hall to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
There’s been a lot of talk in our community lately about this notion of “balance,” particularly around the question of whether Israel supporters should balance their support for Israel with empathy for the enemy.
A New Jersey synagogue said that it set a new Guinness World Record by lighting 834 menorahs on 90 tables in an airport hangar.
Jewish students at Binghamton University in upstate New York say they have documentation to prove that they broke the Guinness World Record for dreidel spinning.
Gone are the days when the Chanukah holiday meant an eight-day binge fest of all things fried.
Enjoy this evening as a date night or a chance to catch up with old friends and mingle with new ones while mixing delicious drinks. Sat. 8 p.m. $30 (drinks and appetizers included). Kehillat Israel, 16019 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. (310) 459-2328. kehillatisrael.org.
Bar Refaeli is getting heat again -- this time for a picture showing the Israeli model in a Santa suit.
It is late into the evening, and I just remembered – tonight is the first night of Chanukah, even in the seemingly God-forsaken town of Farchana on the eastern rim of Chad.
Artists and designers in the United States and Israel are broadening and updating the ways in which we pay tribute to Judah Maccabee through the emblematic menorah, commemorating the miraculous endurance of the fabled lighting oil and the resilience that keeps Judaism’s fire lit, so to speak.
This year during Chanukah, it might be a good idea to consider using beeswax candles to light the menorah.
These are serious times. We just finished a brutal election cycle here in the United States, and things are as tense and uncertain as ever in the Middle East. What better excuse than Chanukah, then, to relax a little? For those who are interested in passing along a little laugh with some holiday spirit, here are a few fun gift ideas.
My 4-year-old son is obsessed with superheroes, dressing up at every opportunity as the superhero du jour to do battle with the bad guys lurking around the corner. (My 2-year-old daughter is just as enthusiastic, but at her age all she can really muster is a “meanie” face.)
December always brings a torrent of Christmas-themed recordings by musical artists of all stripes. If you’re at all serious about longevity in a recording career, you record an album of holiday music — the sooner, the better.
When musician Ken Elkinson began receiving kudos for his Christmas album, he knew it was time to return to his roots.
Meeting Rachelle Tratt, a yoga teacher with a warm smile and huge blue eyes, it’s hard to imagine that she was ever anything but the strong, spirited healer she is today. But Tratt, who grew up Modern Orthodox in the Catskill Mountains, has seen her fair share of tragedy.
This year on Chanukah, before Chabad of Santa Monica can light its two 12-foot-tall, propane-fueled menorahs in Palisades Park and on the Third Street Promenade, Rabbi Isaac Levitansky has to procure two pickup trucks to cart the menorahs to and from their spots.