A Jewish woman suing her congregation over the burial of a non-Jewish black woman in its cemetery has settled her lawsuit.
They were looking to move anyway, said Stephanie Butler. And the $50,000 incentive being offered by Temple Emanu-El in Dothan, Ala., to young Jewish families willing to relocate helped tip the scales. “We never would have looked at Dothan if not for this program,” she said.
The first African-American female rabbi will leave her congregation this summer. Rabbi Alysa Stanton's contract with Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, S.C., was not renewed, the Forward reported Thursday. "We felt Rabbi Stanton has brought a lot of gifts to the congregation, but we felt she wasn’t a good fit for the direction we’re going,” board president Samantha Pilot told the Forward. “I can tell you with certainty that race -- I never heard that come up once during her tenure or now. It’s a non-issue."
Adat Chaverim is a small congregation of secular, Humanistic Jews, whose brochure proposes that "reason rather than faith is the source of truth, and human intelligence and experience are capable of guiding our lives."
Too many will sit in synagogues through this season and be equally concerned with their own economic situation as they will the state of their soul.
But as much as she loves the pulpit, Naomi, like me, finds the modern synagogue problematic. She believes that Judaism offers people a sense of purpose, a mission to heal society and a fulfilling spiritual path, but that too often standard synagogue services don't attract or inspire Jews, much less compel them to commit to a community.
It was a sight Mar Vista doesn't see every day -- a guitar-studded procession of more than 100 Jewish revelers marching jubilantly down South Barrington Avenue with five Torah scrolls.
Since the recent holiday of Passover was one of asking questions and thinking about transitioning from one state of being to another, it is an appropriate time to think of the bar and bat mitzvah in a similar context. These four questions -- or more accurately one question and four answers -- can be recited by 13-year-olds, but their explanations are particularly relevant for all of us.
Pressman and the group did create another entity, what has become known as "The Library Minyan," named for the downstairs library where the 15 families began to meet weekly to pray. Members organized and participated in all parts of the service (especially the weekly sermon), discussed all aspects of Judaism and debated the increasingly complex issues of the changing times.Thirty-six years later, the Library Minyan, with its opportunities for engagement and intellectual rigor is seen as having helped to start a revolution -- empowering lay leaders in the essential structure of spiritual leadership. It has become a model for many Conservative and Reform congregations seeking to create alternatives both within and outside the fold of conventional synagogue structure, and has allowed individual congregations to morph it into new and ever-changing incarnations.This weekend, the Library Minyan will celebrate its double-chai anniversary (two times "life") with a Shabbaton Nov. 2-4 that will remember the past but also look toward the future.
Was the incident an unfortunate bureaucratic foul-up or a malicious anti-Semitic act?
The retirement of Rabbi Moshe Rothblum after 35 years on the bimah at Adat Ari El.
A few years ago, the leadership of Temple Society of Concord, decided that we were doing many programs and activities, yet we were not sure where they were heading and whether we held the same vision of Jewish learning.
True Joy Through Water, a new outreach program created by Canfei Nesharim ("the wings of eagles"), an Orthodox environmental organization, it's designed to educate about the importance of water, its imperiled state and ways to conserve it.
As the jewish population in the area east of Los Angeles has dwindled -- and as the Conservative congregation has aged -- Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak has reached out to the Spanish-speaking community in the area.
Statistically, 39 percent of all American Jews, and 44 percent of all Jewish college students, do not attend religious services, according to the 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey.
Tri-ing to Raise Funds for Israel; Gems of Wisdom for 5767.
Walk up the steep pathway and into the sanctuary of Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock on any Shabbat morning. Congregants will jump up out of their wooden pews to greet you and introduce you to fellow worshippers, even if the service has begun. Chances are they'll also honor you with an aliyah and invite you to join them for the potluck Kiddush luncheon that follows their traditional but egalitarian Conservative service.
Synagogue transformation programs exude good intentions, but do they actually work?
Long Beach has had a significant and stable Jewish population for decades, so it might seem unusual for a synagogue to make major changes in the way it serves its membership and the community. In recent months, however, individuals and families in the area have been reevaluating their choices as a new option for affiliation has surfaced.
Can an alcoholic who was poisoned with his father's anti-Semitism use a moment of naked exposure to confront his bigotry? Can he ever hope to cleanse himself of this deeply-seated hatred or is he forever doomed?
One year after "the storm," as New Orleanians refer to Hurricane Katrina, Jewish communal leaders describe the health of the community with certain expected terms -- loss, trauma, devastation and challenge.
If you are willing to inflict physical pain upon yourself as a service to your god, why not treat others to the same spiritual experience? Paradoxically, they will be killed or harmed because of your love for them.
Ceremony goes ahead for Beith David.
On Sunday, in the intense heat of a mid-summer day, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, carried a Sephardic Torah for one-half mile along city streets in Tarzana to a new Persian synagogue that had been the victim of an anti-Semitic attack just two days earlier. Police are still investigating the arson attempt, which burned a rear door of Beith David Education Center on Clark Street, as well as anti-Jewish graffiti left at the scene, as a hate crime.
"Baruch Hashem, we are very pleased with the new synagogue," said Avi Cohan, a local Iranian businessman who is one of the founders of the Downtown Synagogue. "It looks just amazing with the nice chairs, and it's perfect for many of us who wanted a place for prayer at the end of the work day."
"It's like a temple," the painter says of his artist's studio.
A lonely temple, that is.
"I'm the rabbi and congregation all in one," he says with a laugh.
The prophet Isaiah asks: "What is the house which you would build for Me, and what is the place of My rest?" (Isaiah 66:1). In the days following the Easter and Passover holidays, 41 Angelenos traveled to the Gulf Coast to translate their faith into action. We were rabbis and pastors, African Americans and Jewish Americans, high school seniors and senior adults, synagogue and church members from 12 Los Angeles congregations who rebuilt homes in Gulfport, Miss.
In recent years Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest Jewish community, has become a stop for visiting Jewish dignitaries -- especially politicians, hoping to tap into the fundraising network here.
Minerva "Min" Leonard doesn't have time for breakfast. She's too busy shopping for ingredients and preparing a salad bar luncheon for 80 people at Adat Ari El Sisterhood's weekly Multi-Interest Day. Or making 10 lokshen kugels for her friend's daughter's bat mitzvah. Or baking "I can't even begin to tell you how many" batches of cranberry and chocolate-chip mandelbread to bestow on friends, neighbors and an appreciative Jewish Journal reporter.
Etz Chaim, for its part, is arguing that the settlement is valid, that it did not violate the settlement and, that, in any case, federal law exempts it from zoning regulations.
A voice expert known for coaching singers and nonsingers, and working with deaf and autistic students and contestants for TV shows like "Extreme Makeover" and "American Idol," Coury is unique and considered "revolutionary."
Christian Zionists see the existence of modern Israel as a precondition for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which they believe will be marked by the violent death of millions, including the ingathered Jews. Those who survive the Apocolypse will embrace Jesus.
The "One People/One Book" plan is for synagogue members to meet and discuss "As a Driven Leaf" in small groups at least four times between last November's opening at the UJ and a closing event on May 24 at Milken Community High School.
Welcome to Hip Hop Shabbat.
The High Holidays make your mind wander -- wander around the people around you and no longer around you.
Located at Beverly and Crescent Heights boulevards, Beth Israel was founded in 1899 as the first Orthodox congregation in Los Angeles, and was also known as the Olive Street Shul.
Fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina
Prominent rabbis have been urging their congregations to give generously to Hurricane Katrina relief funds, the most prominent being one set up by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which had raised more than $500,000 by early this week.
After World War II, two Jewish GIs returned to Los Angeles and founded a synagogue in Westchester. Beth Tikvah, as it was called, finally found a permanent home in 1959 on the Westchester bluffs.
But last month, the Conservative congregation -- known since 1968 as B'nai Tikvah after merging with the nearby B'nai Israel in Baldwin Hills -- held its last service at the historic Westchester building, with its 204-seat sanctuary. On Aug. 20, about 100 people showed up for a final Havdalah service to say goodbye.
Because of dwindling membership and a lack of Jewish families in the area, the congregation decided to sell the property and look for a new location on the Westside.
Darfur has become significant for Southern California synagogues largely due to Valley Beth Shalom's Jewish World Watch group, which has been holding Darfur awareness evenings since last fall at Conservative, Reform and now Orthodox shuls.
The sanctuary of Congregation Beth Knesset Bamidbar in Lancaster evokes the mood of the Mojave Desert, which reaches far to the north, west and south of the small synagogue.
Military chaplains have a proud history in the U.S. military, and most of them uphold the mission of the Chaplain Corps in the various services to America's troops and to ensure their right to free exercise of religion.
It's a novel with humor and a good share of darkness as well as light, the contrast alluded to in the Psalm from which the title is drawn, "Weeping may endure for a night. But joy comes in the morning."
Is religion more prominent or less today in American life? Is it fading away or roaring ahead? Articles about the conservative Christian influence in the Bush administration point -- often fearfully -- in one direction.
After sharing space with Irvine United Church of Christ since 1991 and growing from 80 families to 600, University Synagogue starts a new chapter in its history, moving on Aug. 22 into its own building.
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.
Despite continuing legal challenges, members of Etz Chaim this month prayed for the first few Shabbats in their new home, a house converted for use as a shul on the corner of Highland Avenue and Third Street in Hancock Park.
Since distributing a CD of hymns to members of Tustin's Congregation B'nai Israel, the Conservative synagogue's cantor, Marcia Tilchin, and congregant Carl Cedar, a veteran musician, no longer sing alone in the sparsely filled sanctuary on Friday night.
Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the receiving of the Torah, will be honored this month with special tributes by two area congregations. Figuring prominently is the holiest of all Jewish books, but each event has its own twist.
Rabbi Simon Dolgin, founding rabbi of Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy and rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills for 32 years, died in Israel on April 19 at the age of 89.
The calendar is doing for Purim this year what Emeril suggests is good for any recipe: Kick it up a notch.
The desperate son of a woman diagnosed with cancer sought advice from Rabbi Reuben Malekan before accompanying his mother to Mexico for shark-cartilage treatments. When the cure failed, the son again beseeched Malekan for support in claiming his mother's body. Emotionally spent and depressed by the experience, Malekan nevertheless went on that same day to perform a joyous wedding service, which typically includes his full-throated a cappella version of "Sunrise, Sunset."
"It's an art to get out of that sadness," said Malekan, a well-known Iranian-born rabbi from Los Angeles, who is a master at refocusing his mental energy to suit the emotional range requisite of daily clergy life.