Parshat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) Throughout Moses' dark description of curses, the theme of enemies is prevalent. This, too, is part of the curses we wish to obliterate on Rosh Hashanah.
Success in finding the perfect shul in Los Angeles for you and your family too often seems just one more visit away.
When I finally got behind the wheel of a car myself, conceit and self-importance set in. If ever I saw someone with that familiar awe-struck gape staring at my car during one of my innumerable driving lessons, I would think, with a shameful amount of pride, "I am cooler than you because I am operating a motor vehicle right now."
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council faces continuing questions over recent statements by one of its members, local commentator and writer Dennis Prager.
Ellison's decision to carry a Quran into the ceremony has infuriated some conservatives, who draw a fine line between constitutional rights and American tradition.
545 San Pedro Street is an address I will never forget.
It is the Union Rescue Mission downtown, inhabited by homeless individuals that reside in their designated corners on Skid Row. My school, Milken Community High School, offered a community service experience for 21 students, and I found myself at the Union Rescue Mission.
The question is whispered and must be answered in a forthright manner: Darfur or Israel? Is your loyalty to your people or to humanity? Is your loyalty to Judaism or to mankind? Are you essentially a Jew or a human being?
"I realized that if you have the ability to help other people, you're in a pretty good place," says Debbie Tenzer. "It's not always easy, because basically, we're selfish creatures, many of us struggling every day. We have to make a choice, and it starts by doing just one nice thing."
When you want to avoid a confrontation over Israel sometimes it's best to act like an Israeli. So I shrugged and made that annoying little clicking sound with my tongue and teeth. She waited for a longer answer, but I hadn't had my coffee. In a world where people get their news 24 hours a day, there is the expectation that other people actually want to talk about it 24 hours a day. I don't. Especially with someone whose mind is already made up.
No matter where you are in the menopause transition, it's never too late (or early) to get your health act together to ensure the next 40 or so years are as terrific as or better than the first were. Here are 10 things you can do right now.
Jonathan Safran Foer, author of the best-selling novel, "Everything Is Illuminated" (Houghton Mifflin, 2002) and last year's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (Houghton Mifflin) released a video earlier this month in which he argues that the slaughtering practices employed by modern factory farms are out of step with the spirit of the kosher laws. The film ultimately calls upon viewers to consider vegetarianism.
The release of "Absolute Convictions" could not be more auspiciously timed, given the recent passage in South Dakota of the most far-reaching anti-abortion legislation nationwide. That law, and proposed bills in other states, has reignited debate over the future of Roe vs. Wade. The case, decided in 1973, "would turn tens of thousands of Americans, some of them housewives, others previously disengaged evangelical Christians, into full-fledged crusaders," Press writes.
Arnold Eisen is a distinguished scholar of modern Jewish thought and an insightful student of the American Jewish community. His work, "The Jew Within," written jointly with Steven Cohen, explores the identity of marginally affiliated contemporary Jews and illustrates the crisis that institutional liberal Judaism has in maintaining the allegiance of a new generation of American Jews.
Selecting an environmental mitzvah project is a good starting point. But consider adding eco-friendly substitutes for white plastic tableware, Styrofoam centerpieces, Mylar balloons and elaborate banners. Are your invitations printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks?
Here was my dilemma when I came of age and began making my own seders: Should I maintain tradition even though I didn't have the same associations with these foods that my mother did? Since Passover celebrates freedom (another traditional name for the holiday is Zman Cheiruteinu, or The Time of Our Freedom), I wanted to express my freedom by making foods of my own choosing, rather than feeling bound by a menu that was "traditional" only due to its roots in Eastern European cuisine.
In the Passover haggadah, we read of the 10 Plagues that God sent to convince Pharoah to let the Hebrew slaves go free. The plagues -- bloody, violent, magical -- are a dramatic highpoint of the narrative. Mindful of the pain these plagues brought even to innocent Egyptians, Jews have traditionally spilled out a drop of their festive seder wine at the recitation of each plague.
Joellen Lapidus points out that klezmer, which has famously experienced a revival since the late 1970s, has never been performed exclusively at Jewish functions, and the bands have often included non-Jewish musicians. Likewise, Extreme Klezmer Makeover is not comprised solely of Jews.
The subject of women in their late 30s and early 40s deciding to become pregnant through artificial insemination isn't new. Feminist writer Wendy Wasserstein, who died in January, had a baby that way in 1999. And Lori Gottlieb, The Journal columnist whose words appeared in this very space, chronicled her artificial insemination journey in "The XY Files" in September's Atlantic magazine. (Mazal Tov to Lori, who gave birth to a boy in December!)
With Passover around the corner, singletons everywhere are faced with a tough choice. Do you bring the person you're dating to the family seder? Or do you simply wish him or her a "chag sameach" and go off to your separate family celebrations. At the beginning of relationships we all face the issue of the timeline: How soon is too soon for the inevitable family Shabbat dinner invitation? After you become an official couple does that mean that your significant other is now automatically invited to all family events?
Yavneh moved into the Tudor estate, which formerly housed the Whittier Law School, in 1999. The school has about 400 students in preschool through eighth grade, and insists it has worked hard to foster a good relationship with neighbors. But things have soured in the last few years, as Yavneh tests the strict limitations of its conditional-use permit.
If there's one thing in marketing that piques interest, it's the element of surprise. For synagogues, however, this is easier said than done, because so much of a prayer service is based on repetition. And repetition itself has an emotional benefit: It makes us feel safe and comfortable.
This is not democracy. The California legislature stole our democracy while we slept. All districts in California are now rigged this way. That's why, in California in the fall of 2004, not a single state legislative or Congressional seat changed party hands.
As we stand at the dawn of the 21st century, a perhaps even more fundamental issue divides the American body politic. From stem cells, abortion and human cloning to the Schiavo case and physician-assisted suicides, the question of life has become this generation's great ideological battle ground.
It fit somehow that this recent Saturday service for converts to Judaism took place in a synagogue library. Because this gathering, at Temple Beth Am near Beverly Hills, was both an exercise in worship and in teaching. Maybe it even fit that this was a children's library, because many of the 40 adults who sat in folding chairs are young in relation to their Judaism.
This program, called Judaism by Choice, is "a way of educating the people while they're in the service itself, teaching it while they're doing the service ... the terms of the synagogue, the geography of the service," said Rabbi Neal Weinberg, the program's creator.
As a Jewish woman and Harvard-educated lawyer who practiced law in Los Angeles, Sandra Froman admits that, at least on paper, she doesn't seem a natural choice to lead the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The Hotel Edelweiss in St. Moritz and the Hotel Metropol in Arosa are Jewish sanctuaries for observant tourists, offering everything from kosher dining and space for simchas to daily religious services and snow-melt mikvahs.
"No one likes to do it," said parent Andrea Daniels, who compares it to dating. "It's like buying a house," said Bea Prentice, director of the Early Childhood Center at Adat Shalom synagogue in West Los Angeles. "There are so many options to think about."
Israel's long-term political interests could be best served if Barghouti is out of jail. Faced with similar choices in the past, Israel has always preferred pragmatic calculations over the subtleties of justice.
The boulevard in the 1920s was the natural place for the institutions and their members to relocate. They saw that, in the future, downtown's narrow, congested streets would no longer be the center of the community. Los Angeles was turning into a driving city, and Wilshire became the nation's first Automobile Age thoroughfare. Religious establishments that wished to be part of the exciting future moved to Wilshire Boulevard.
Business at Eitan Salman's music store has fallen 80 percent over the last decade, but it's not altogether a bad thing: Mizrahi music has grown so popular in Israel that it no longer is the exclusive domain of mom-and-pop shops like Salman's but is sold even at Israel's Tower Records outlets.
From 1992 through the present, a remarkably consistent 50 percent of Jewish voters have called themselves Democrats, roughly one-third independents and 16-18 percent Republicans.
Apart from the 175 member families she served at Anchorage's Congregation Beth Sholom, Rabbi Johanna Hershenson found little other Jewish life. As the only non-Orthodox rabbi in Alaska, she became a long-distance consultant to lay synagogue leaders in even more isolated areas, such as Homer and Fairbanks.
I was born into a world of one-size-fits-all lifestyles: either I'd marry and have children or be a subject of gossip and humiliation.
Judith Aaronson is one of the many people who obtain federally approved drugs from online business brokers, but instead of cost as the motivating factor, it's idealism that moves her and other Jews around the country to turn to Israel for their drugs.
Tricia called Jewish National Fund (JNF) to find out if she could plant a tree in Israel for each guest invited to Danielle's bat mitzvah. "It turns out JNF has exactly such a program set up already," Tricia said.
The Los Angeles bar mitzvah is a sitting duck. Wild tales of gross excess put fear, disgust and embarrassment into the heart of every Jewish parent I know.
Darren Star, the creator and executive producer of three of the last decade's most popular television phenomena -- "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Melrose Place" and the three time Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning HBO comedy series "Sex and the City" -- is being honored Monday night with the Tisch Industry Leadership Award at the National Foundation for Jewish Culture's third annual Jewish Image Awards.
Just shy of 3 percent of California's population, Jews represent an estimated 5 percent of the state's registered voters. In a race that analysts predict will hinge on a minority of votes, a minority's voting bloc will be crucial.
Because of our history, American Jews have had reason to worry about anti-Semitism and scapegoating, but we have also worked to break down barrier after barrier in virtually every aspect of American life.
Today, we have the opportunity to break down perhaps the most important barrier: that a Jew cannot be elected president of the United States. And ironically, the skepticism on this issue comes not from non-Jews but from Jews.
Jeff Gabriel knows that when he arrives at the University of Colorado in Boulder this September, connecting to his Jewish roots won't be a priority.
In the sprawling Southland, I've learned there's more to the rules of attraction than "How You Look," "What You Do" and "What You Earn." There's "Where You Live."
Several companies, based both out of the United States and Israel, will be offering kosher-for-Passover luxury holiday vacations in exotic locales worldwide.
n 1944, when I was 17 and a freshman at Cornell University, I introduced my mother to my new college girlfriend.
When the young lady left, my mother asked me how we met.
"We were sitting at the same table in the cafeteria and started to talk."
Her eyes opened wide. "You what? You mean you were not formally introduced?"
"I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine."
In fact, much of this week's aid talk may be political playacting intended to give a boost to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in his reelection bid, not to produce real shekels in the Israeli treasury.
Jewish lobbyists say that when the Republicans take control of the full Congress in January, they will need to respond more to legislation they oppose rather than help craft laws that fit with their priorities.