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.
Calling all kugel aficionados! Whether it’s sweet or savory, the kugel is the ultimate in Jewish-American culinary creativity when it comes to the holiday or family gathering. Today, bring your best kugel (or your favorite tasting fork) to Yiddishkayt’s third quadrennial Kugl Kukh-Off. Part of the Silverlake Independent JCC’s annual Festival of Lights, which features live entertainment and fun for the entire family. Kugel drop-off and registration starts at 11 a.m. and tasting begins at noon. Sun. noon-3 p.m. Kugl Kukh-Off: $2 (all the kugel you can eat and judge).
Have you heard of Witold Pilecki? A new book, “The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery” (Aquila Polonica: 2012), documents, in his own words, Pilecki’s remarkable exploits, and I can’t think of a better gift to give yourself for Chanukah.
Late last month, I was in Breezy Point, the isolated beachfront neighborhood in Queens, N.Y., that has become an iconic image for the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, a Boston-based agency for Jewish special education, is offering eight suggestions from experts for a Chanukah celebration that is child friendly and fully accessible for children with special learning needs:
We need to celebrate a Lincoln Chanukah this year. It’s not because of the new Spielberg movie -- that gives us something to do on Christmas Day -- but because of the 150th anniversary of a little-known event in American history that threatened to expel a portion of the Civil War-era Jewish population from their homes on the Festival of Lights.
From Kung Pao kosher comedy to a swinging Mardi Gras version of the “Dreidel” song, two new Chanukah season releases explore the intriguing, delightful and sometimes perplexing ways in which American Jews have responded to Christmas.
Chef Brett Swartzman is a chef with passion. The Chicago native started working in his parents’ Jewish bakery when he was 10 years old, making bagels, muffins, cookies, challah and sandwiches.
This season’s crop of Chanukah books for kids brings us welcome reissues of two old favorites, along with a colorful multicultural tale welcoming a new baby. For older youths, an outstanding graphic novel may be just the right kind of gift. And somehow, once again, some prehistoric pals have managed to get in on the holiday fun.
Chanukah came early for children in Brooklyn after a toy store in Borough Park handed out more than $10,000 worth of toys to those affected by superstorm Sandy.
The Santa Monica City Council has banned all future nativity, anti-nativity and Chanukah displays at the oceanfront Palisades Park. The 5-0 vote on June 12 ends a nearly 60-year winter tradition.
Falling between the giving season of Chanukah and the getting season of tax refunds, Purim time finds households like mine searching for ways to keep holiday expenses down to earth without losing the mirth.
In almost any other community from Moscow to Washington, it would have been just another public Chanukah menorah-lighting ceremony providing an opportunity for the local government and Jewish community to showcase their strong ties.
A Chanukah menorah made of 25,000 dominoes was constructed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
On the first night of Chanukah, I stood in the splendid reception hall of the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Prague as the ambassador himself lit the first candle in an imposing gilded menorah and chanted the blessings over the flames.
The heroes of Chanukah are no secret. The legendary Judah Maccabee and his warrior brothers defeated the Greek Hellenists in true Israelite fashion.
Every year around Christmas and Chanukah time, writers, commentators, pundits and many rabbis, priests and ministers exhort Americans against spending money on things. We are too materialistic, we are told every year. Happiness, not to mention a meaningful life, depends on our having non-material things, not material things.
Some 700 people lit Chanukah menorahs simultaneously.
Anyone familiar with religious practices can testify to the fact that candles play a crucial role in normative observance for many religions. It is not surprising to find an identical phenomenon in Judaism, the mother of so many contemporary beliefs.
President Obama wished Jews a joyous Chanukah.
Some 76 new immigrants from North America arrived in Israel on the eve of Chanukah.
I got a cute e-mail the other day, with a photo of a hand-lettered sign: “The Chinese Rest. Assoc. of the United States would like to extend our thanks to The Jewish People/ we do not completely understand your dietary customs . . ./ But we are proud and grateful that your GOD insist you eat our food on Christmas.” Followed on the bottom, left to right, by a yin/yang symbol, the words Happy Holidays!, and a Star of David.
Westfield, the world’s largest shopping mall empire founded by Holocaust survivor Frank Lowy, will welcome in Chanukah on three continents.
Parties and celebrations during the holiday week.
Bill Funt parodies Adam Sandler's holiday gem, 'The Hanukkah Song.'