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  • When Your Child Isn’t on the Guest List

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    3 days ago

    Jewish schooling is a huge investment.  We spend a large portion of our after tax money to belong to a community that is loving, nurturing and all inclusive.  The school constituents become our family. 

    For years, I heard the complaints of friends with older children attending...

  • The Day Anger Broke Me.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    1 week ago

    It’s been eight years.  I still have nightmares about what I had become. 

    My wife and kids are scared in a room.  Sitting on the floor, they are trembling.  She is hugging them protectively, crying.  They are rolled up in fetal position, sobbing.  All I hear is nothing.  I am...

  • Emergency room: A city, in all its cruelty and kindness

    2 weeks ago

    Mr. Twenty-Something is obviously in pain.  His face is contorted and his right shoulder doesn’t look like his left. He’s wearing a tank top, and the complex and colorful tattoos across his upper torso don’t conceal the deformity of the top of his right arm. Where the left shoulder...

  • Conversation drives community

    By Zev Hurwitz

    July 6, 2015 | 5:11 pm

    One of my favorite Torah lectures from my time in middle school at Maimonides Academy, (okay, the only one I remember) was where our principal delivered an address entitled “If Jews had a Christmas Tree.”

    The concept for a shiur on Christmas Trees in Judaism seems comical at...

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  • Jerusalem of the Caucasus: The Legend of the Red Village

    By Milikh Yevdayev

    June 30, 2015 | 9:58 am

    It is just before Shabbat in the Red Village, and sunset will be coming soon. I walk from the New Shul back to my house, and watch as young boys and girls run home to wash up before their meal and call shalom to each other. On Friday of each week, late in the day, I see the sun...

  • On loss: Ten lessons from Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook post

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    June 3, 2015 | 5:46 pm

    Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg marked the 30th day (sheloshim) of her husband's passing in a moving and gut wrenching post on her Facebook page. I have read it over and over again, and cried, as should you.  She is a poignant teacher who turns her loss into...

  • Conversion Complications - why is it so hard to convert to Judaism?

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    May 13, 2015 | 8:31 am

    When Jenny Magril’s family made Aliyah from Belarus, she did not feel any different from the rest of the kids in her class. She celebrated the same holidays, spoke the same language and felt just as Jewish as the rest of them. Only according to the Jewish Law she was considered a...

  • Ancient Torah Speaks to the Climate Crisis: From Eden to Manna to Sabbatical Year to Now

    By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    April 28, 2015 | 9:29 am

    On the Shabbat of May 15-16, the Torah reading (Leviticus 25-27) sets forth the Torah’s most explicit and most powerful regimen for healing the Earth from human over-use.

    It is a regimen and rhythm of making sure the Earth gets to rest in every seventh year – a teaching that...

  • Islamophobia:  Discovering the Impact on More Than Just Muslims

    By Lia Mandelbaum

    April 1, 2015 | 4:01 pm

    “Before you dump your issues onto me, I am not a Muslim or Arabian.  I am a Sikh from India.”  This was the sign that greeted me when I recently popped into a convenient store on Sunset Boulevard. The man behind the counter, who displayed the sign, was wearing an orange turban, a...

  • No-fly zone for amateurs

    By Zev Hurwitz

    March 16, 2015 | 7:05 pm

    I’m learning a lot about the Jewish non-profit sector in the weeks leading up to my first day as a Jewish non-profit professional in Los Angeles next month.

    To date, most of my non-profit experience has been in various college internships where I haven’t made any profit. Not to...

  • Israeli Apartheid Week 2015 - when anti-Semitism takes over.

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    March 4, 2015 | 12:04 pm

    The Israeli Apartheid Week, currently taking place in campuses worldwide, has taken a frightening anti-Semitic turn. This radicalization had led Jewish pro-Israel students to refrain from standing up to this “Hate Fest,” and worse - to hide their identity because they fear of being...

  • A Faceless World.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    February 19, 2015 | 7:31 am

    In the exam room, I sat holding her hand.  She stared into my eyes until I saw her inner child begging for love.  Her tears fell, as did mine, inside.  For a moment, I was her buoy in the rough seas of life.

    You never forget the face of the person placing Godly responsibilities...

  • Shattering the False Image of Perfection

    By Beit T'shuvah

    February 13, 2015 | 2:45 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    In reading about Brian Williams’ fall from Grace, I am reminded that we, as a society, need to make gods for/of ourselves and love it when others fall from Grace. I am also reminded, as David Brooks writes in the New York Times, “that no matter how many...

  • Things I’ve learned from my first journey to the Far East.

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    February 4, 2015 | 8:34 am

    I have recently returned from my first trip to the Far East. Besides being a journey through some of the world’s most beautiful sceneries, my two weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia were truly eye-opening, and taught me just how little I know about the world and my place in it.


    When...

  • The Power of Reconciliation; Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

    By Beit T'shuvah

    January 16, 2015 | 1:46 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    This weekend is Martin Luther King weekend. It is also the weekend of our Gala, our biggest fundraiser of the year for Beit T’Shuvah. Dr. King believed that Evil could be overcome. We believe that Evil can be defeated. It is so hard, though. As we have seen...

  • One Israeli creation for the weekend

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    January 16, 2015 | 12:57 pm

    I’m sure most of you already know all about Wix, and probably even use the web-development platform. But did you know it’s an Israeli invention?


    Wix is a cloud-based web development platform that allows users to create HTML5 websites and mobile sites, through the use of their...

  • Jump In The Water is Warm- Israel Is Not So Bad!

    By LiAmi Lawrence

    January 6, 2015 | 10:17 am

    As we usher in the first few days of 2015, Israel is a buzz over the news that over 26,500 people (including me) made aliyah in 2014 making it one of the biggest years for immigration to Israel in over a decade.  Led by a record 7,000 “olim chadashim” (new immigrants) from France...

  • Making A “New Year’s Resolution” Every Day

    By Beit T'shuvah

    January 2, 2015 | 9:34 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz 

    Today is January 2 and many of us are going back to work after a day off. There are so many New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day celebrations, and we are all filled with hope and have make resolutions, etc. Why??

    What are we really marking by celebrating?...

  • Looking back on 2014 - the most beautiful Israeli moments

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    December 30, 2014 | 8:02 am

    In the year of 2014, Israelis have been through a lot. From the war in Gaza through multiple terror attacks and people turning against each other based on political views, through the announcement of going to a second election in four years. Those difficult times drained our...

  • We MUST Abandon the Lies and Advocate for Truth!

    By Beit T'shuvah

    December 26, 2014 | 11:51 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz,

    I am concerned! Each week I write about Redemption, each day I move one grain of sand closer to the redemption of others and myself, yet it seems as if the world wants to stay stuck! We have become a world that wants to live in Self-Deception! The UN is...

  • Do you miss Christmas?

    By Diana Emuna

    December 24, 2014 | 10:32 am

    “Do you miss Christmas?”  There is a widely held belief among born Jews that converts mourn over the loss of Christmas.  We miss the love; the Hallmark finery and the family get togethers. 

    I will be honest.  I don’t miss it.  I like the glitter and lights, but I don’t dwell on...

  • So Israel is a little bit of a fixer-upper…

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    December 24, 2014 | 8:33 am

    In recent years, it seems as if every policy Israeli decision makers issue is followed by massive, harsh criticism by the global community. World leaders use every opportunity to look down at Israel's leaders, judge them for their "problematic decision" and urge them to reconsider...

  • In Search of a Better Life.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    December 8, 2014 | 9:52 am

    He was only twelve years old.  All he had was a bike and a kiss from his parents.  He left his village in Iran to travel to the capital in search of a better life.  He died surrounded by his children and a loving community at 86.

    If you showed up late to his memorial and missed...

  • How to fight anti-Semitism online?

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    December 3, 2014 | 8:18 am

    What do you do when you see hate speech on your Facebook or Twitter feed? Do you calm yourself down, swallow the bitter pill and move on, or do you comment bravely and report the image/page/user/group?

    For Israeli student Shay Amiran- Pugachov, fighting anti-Semitism and hate...

  • Enough Is Enough: Fighting For The Soul of Our Country

    By Beit T'shuvah

    November 28, 2014 | 9:49 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    As I ponder the events of the past two weeks, I am scared for the future of our country and our world. Not scared that we will no longer exist, rather, that all we will do is exist! This fear comes from Ferguson, Har Nof, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Damascus,...

  • Israeli ambassador to the UN said “J’accuse” to the global community

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    November 25, 2014 | 8:20 am

    Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, slammed members of the UN for their hypocrisy and double standards regarding Israel. At the United Nation's annual commemoration of their vote on the partition of the British Mandate 67 years ago, as part of the international day of...

  • More concerts, an historic soccer moment, winter Gay Pride festival and more…This week from Israel

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    November 24, 2014 | 8:22 am

    An historic moment for our national soccer team

    The Israeli national soccer team beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-0 Sunday as part of the 2016 Euro qualifiers. This win is an historic moment for the team and a moment of joy for all Israelis, since this is a big step towards its first...

  • Giving Voice to the Voiceless

    By Beit T'shuvah

    November 14, 2014 | 12:26 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovtiz

    Last night I was honored to be an attendee at the Premiere of Food Chains, a movie depicting the struggle of Farm Workers to be recognized as human beings and be treated as human beings. The movie follows the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their “fight”...

  • Hearing My Truth

    By Beit T'shuvah

    November 12, 2014 | 10:21 am

    By Tricia Nykin

    As I sit here and ponder the words that I choose to share today, I am reminded of an ongoing theme in my life; do I give you truth or a story that slightly veers off that path, but may be more appealing?

    This past Saturday I organized the screening of a film at...

  • Reliving the horror: sparks of a third Intifada bring back memories from almost a decade ago

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    November 11, 2014 | 8:40 am

    Growing up in a (relatively) small central town in Israel, hopping on a bus to Tel-Aviv with your friends is a must-do when you’re a teenager looking for a way to express your recently acclaimed adulthood. During the holidays (and sometimes in school days,) it is considered “cool”...

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