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  • 68 Years Old, and Still Fighting for Its Existence -This is Israel

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    1 week ago

    68 years old, still fighting for its existence, and not apologizing for it. This is Israel.

    In the past 68 years, in 7 wars, tens of operations and hundreds terror attacks, 23,447 Israelis lost their lives. Some were soldiers who died in combat, others were civilians who went...

  • Community vs. communism: A seder discussion

    April 20, 2016 | 10:36 am

    In anticipation of Passover this year, I resolved to explore the concepts of slavery and freedom. Personally, I have always struggled to find contemporary models to help me experience both slavery and freedom during the Jewish origins and identity crash course that drives our...

  • Four ways Jews and Arabs live apart in Israeli society

    April 12, 2016 | 1:58 pm

    Betzalel Smotrich, perhaps the most right-wing member of the current Knesset, caused a storm when he endorsed the idea that Arabs and Jew should be segregated in Israel’s maternity rooms.

    Smotrich was responding to a report on the Israel Broadcast Authority that several hospitals...

  • A Both/And Solution to the Addiction Epidemic

    March 3, 2016 | 11:06 am

    I have been in the addiction recovery “business” for thirty years (before it was a business), and have stood in the middle, watching the pendulum swing between extremes: no medication allowed in treatment programs; Alcoholics Anonymous-only; abstinence-based; moderation models;...

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  • Meaningful and Useless

    By Noga Shlapobersky

    February 27, 2016 | 4:39 pm

    “Be yourself”. Ever since I was a little girl, I was always told to be myself. I heard it from my parents, my teachers, my friends, and in the world around me. My friend would come up to me and ask “how do I get this guy to like me?”, and I would automatically respond with “just be...

  • Honoring Native American Voices:  Recognizing Tragic History and Praising Brave Spirits

    By Lia Mandelbaum

    February 25, 2016 | 10:00 am

    In 2013, while watching the film Broken Rainbow at a film festival, I learned something shocking as they talked about the Long Walk of the Navajo, which was the 1864 deportation and attempted ethnic cleansing of the Navajo people by the U.S. government.  I learned that Hitler had...

  • Lives Lived/Lessons Learned

    By Craig T.

    February 17, 2016 | 12:55 pm

    Lives Lived/Lessons Learned


    Most things in life start off small, and a grow bigger. Babies, love, seedlings.  Grief is different, it starts off immense, often overwhelming; and with time ever so gradually eases, becoming smaller.
     
    It’s been a challenging time for our family....

  • I don’t know how we got here… but I’d sure like to move on!

    By Craig T.

    January 31, 2016 | 11:48 am

    I don’t know how we got here… but I’d sure like to move on!

    Multiple Choice – Please Choose ONE! Achinoam Nini, better known as Noa:

    ____ Represents the Palestinian people, and is not a true Israeli.

    ____ Is a supporter of right wing Israeli settlement politics.

    ____...

  • Ben Yehuda’s nightmare

    January 25, 2016 | 12:14 pm

    In Israel, every crappy situation can be turned into an opportunity.  A gunman on the loose in central Tel Aviv allows me to spend several extra hours at home with my three kids, only one of whom demands to return immediately to the U.S., where the shootings in our neighborhood are...

  • Remembering Azerbaijan’s Black January:  An Intersection of Tragedy and Inspiration

    By Milikh Yevdayev

    January 21, 2016 | 4:21 pm

    On January 19, 1990, friends were scheduled to visit us to celebrate my daughter’s birthday in Baku, Azerbaijan. But our plans were suddenly changed by the news of massacres taking place in different parts of the city. We urgently sent messages to our friends to stay home, for the...

  • Madame Tussauds Museum in London Removed Hitler Figure

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    January 6, 2016 | 8:31 am

    Until recently, the Madam Tussaud's wax museum in London was home to an Adolf Hitler statue. The Hitler figure was placed in the wax museum "World Leaders" display, positioned in a victorious posture next to a defeated Churchill, and had a plaque next to it calling Hitler a...

  • Torah and The LGBT Community: Why Prager is Wrong!

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    December 10, 2015 | 10:33 am

    Dennis Prager’s column “The Torah and the transgendered” is flawed from the start.  Most Jews DO believe that the Torah is a Divine document- but not one written entirely by God.  Most Jews believe that the Torah is a holy guide, one that was written by some inspired interaction...

  • Thanksgiving Hints

    November 19, 2015 | 9:26 am

    With Thanksgiving just a week away, Auntie has been asked to offer up some of her Helpful Hints for getting along with odd duck family members during the holidays. Who determines which relative is the odd duck/turkey is up to you. In any case, Auntie has some extremely helpful and...

  • Bubblehood vs. Peoplehood

    By David Suissa

    September 10, 2015 | 11:18 am

    The most overused and abused word in the Jewish world must surely be “community.” Here in Los Angeles, we’re often told that we’re all part of some grand “Jewish community,” but deep down, we know better. If by community we mean a group of like-minded people whose company we enjoy,...

  • The shirkers in our midst

    September 4, 2015 | 9:54 am

    Puppet masters. Shirkers.  Schemers. You know who Auntie is talking about—those dear souls who manage to get so very much done simply by being clever, controlling manipulators. We all know a few. Most of the time they are quite good at sitting back and letting someone else do their...

  • On Starting a Synagogue and Balancing a Life

    By Craig T.

    September 3, 2015 | 1:50 pm

    Two and a half years ago my wife and I purchased the oldest synagogue building in Los Angeles, founding the Pico Union Project: a multi-faith cultural arts center and house of worship dedicated to the Jewish principle to “love your neighbor as yourself.” We are home to four faith...

  • When Your Child Isn’t on the Guest List

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    August 25, 2015 | 5:38 pm

    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

    August 20, 2015 | 12:13 pm

    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

    August 11, 2015 | 2:06 pm

    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...

  • 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...

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