When he greets students next month who have enrolled in his four-session class “The Sepulveda Pass: From Creation to Carmaggedon,” instructor and historian Erik Greenberg will be returning to familiar territory.
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.
Calendar of events, January 26 to February 1: Kids, film, lecture, theater, maccabi games, singles, tu b'shevat, volunteer, concert, comedy, adventure, drama, photography, book signing, music, youth art show, mardi gras.
Ruthie Rotenberg is the executive director of Limmud in Los Angeles. The idea behind Limmud is to gather Jews of all denominations to celebrate the kaleidoscope of the Jewish experience. For the conference on Presidents' Day Weekend, there will be up to 14 different classes from which to choose. They have almost 400 reservations from Jews of all denominations, and they have maxed out on presenters.
From high above, the southeast corner of Hoover and 32nd streets near downtown would appear to be some of the only developable land between the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Staples Center -- a parking lot, a large field used by the USC women's soccer team and a 1970s-era academic building not nearly big enough for its occupant, the L.A. branch of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR).
The goal is to give young, secular Israelis an education that will show them that they too have a rich culture to tap into and explore.
Jewish Lamaze was first sponsored by the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education in the early 1980s and taught in various synagogues until the funding ran out toward the end of the decade.
And while it's no longer being offered in Los Angeles, as far as anyone knows, similar programs exist elsewhere.
The Yiddish words flew -- sometimes fluently, sometimes haltingly and occasionally "shreklich" or awful as the seniors reached for a word long forgotten or the students for a word they had not yet learned. They raised their voices, gesturing with their hands as they spoke.
Me'ah, which began in 1994 with 50 students in greater Boston, is also now being offered in Baltimore, Cleveland, Rhode Island, Florida, New Jersey and New York.
Linguists have predicted that within 100 years, more than half of the 6,000 languages that exist today will disappear.
For a long time, it's looked as though Yiddish was among those bound for extinction, but scholars and Yiddish speakers, as well as some Jews who remember their parents speaking Yiddish, have never given up on the language.
And now there's a better chance that a new generation of Jews will understand Yiddish and the Jewish culture it embodies. This fall, three local Jewish day schools will offer their middle and high school students classes in Yiddish, the language spoken for 1,000 years by Ashkenazi Jews of eastern and central Europe.
The three schools represent a spectrum of Jewish education and geography in Los Angeles: New Community Jewish High School in the west San Fernando Valley is non-denominational, Shalhevet School in the Fairfax district is Orthodox and Sinai Akiba Academy in West Los Angeles is Conservative.
For the past 50 years, I have given cooking classes that include recipes for contemporary and traditional dishes, as well as menus for all the Jewish holidays.
Every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., a group of eight mothers and grandmothers meets at Lani's Needlepoint in Studio City. There, under Lani Silver's expert guidance -- one diagonal, tied-down or decorative stitch at a time --they have cumulatively needlepointed more than 20 tallit bags.
Growing up religious in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, I didn't have much choice when it came to religious studies: it was full time till I was 18. I always felt it was being shoved down my throat.
So I stayed away from religious studies for about a decade -- from college, through marriage, a year of service in Vietnam and three children.
During that time I stayed close to religion through observance, community and friends, but I avoided any formal religious study.
OASIS provides an eclectic array of classes, many of which are free. Fitness fans can choose among such options as chair exercise, yoga and karate. Art buffs can study French and American impressionism or drawing. Others can explore Jewish spirituality, analyze Shakespeare or play guitar. Some of the classes are even taught by retired professors from UCLA and USC. And seniors who wish to travel can choose among a variety of day excursions and extended trips.
Two local synagogues are offering an opportunity for Jewish scholarship this summer, and a third is offering weekly Hebrew classes at all levels.
Marcus Weston is a thin, good-looking Londoner who in his casual attire and unobtrusive kippah could pass for typical Pico-Robertson Modern Orthodox guy. On this cool Tuesday night in December, he offers his audience a reassuring smile.
Synagogues and Jewish institutions will help sell tickets, which can be purchased via credit card through The Jewish Federation of Orange County.
Recently, my husband and I traveled extensively throughout Vietnam, where we took several cooking classes and met talented chefs. But the chef that surprised us the most was Donald Berger at the
Press Club in Hanoi.
It's Thursday night at Toras Hashem, an outreach yeshiva in North Hollywood and some 40 people are here to hear Rabbi Zvi Block's weekly Torah
Sonia Mittleman's class schedule would make most high school students jealous. The school she attends does not give grades, has no penalty for tardiness and assigns no homework.
On a recent Thursday afternoon at the New Community Jewish High School (NCJHS) in West Hills, 20 students fill the biology lab to hear a guest speaker discuss cryogenics.
Drawn in part by the recent movie, "Enough," in which actress Jennifer Lopez uses Krav Maga to even the score against an abusive husband, a long-established Orange County class in self-defense is seeing a jump in popularity.
They are doing Rachel in Rio, Lamdi Oti in London, Dira 26 in Dimona and Biladaich in Boston. Israeli folk dancing is all the rage, and is possible almost any night of the week here in Los Angeles. And if you happen to be traveling out of town, no need to put your hobby on hold, chances are good you can dance there, too. Israeli folk dance aficionados can find a way to entertain themselves almost anywhere in the world.