Imagine LA coordinators work with facility case managers and faith partners to determine the family's needs and set up a plan for independent living.
"I don't think L.A. gets enough credit for its political activism," said Michael Tuchin, 43, incoming president of University Synagogue and an avid AIPAC supporter since he was a student at Stanford University
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.
Leaders of Reform synagogues don't quite get their members, according to a new study by the movement.
The study shows a marked disconnect between what the leaders think their members are looking for and what the members say they actually want.
For dozens of new congregations and minyans, or prayer communities, like Ikar, the Internet is not just a faster, more convenient communication tool. It's a central organizing mechanism and community-building tool, filling the roles performed in more traditional synagogues by administrative staff, newsletters, membership committees, religious school, even rabbis.
Beyond the tangible victories, those involved in this work say it has transformed their synagogues into communities where the people know and care about each other. In making the world a little better, they are making their congregations more warm, friendly and caring.
This, for me, is the Chabad genius: a knack on the deed, not the talk. They don't get turned on by grand debates that lead to more grand debates. While the Jewish world agonizes over "profoundly important" issues, Chabad agonizes over getting to Kinko's on time to get their flyers out for their Chanukah event.
The changes in the Diaspora community.
CUFI's purpose, according to its official brochure, is "to provide a national association through which every pro-Israel church, parachurch organization, ministry or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to biblical issues."
Stephen Lachter didn't know what to expect when a friend dragged him to a men's club meeting at his Conservative synagogue five years ago.
"My father was in a men's club, and to me, it was guys sitting around playing pinochle and volunteer ushering," he admitted.
Lachter was surprised to see "interesting people having serious discussions," and he "fell into a session on kiruv," or outreach, to intermarried families. "I said to myself, this is something shuls need to be talking about."
Amazingly, two-thirds of all the people who have ever lived past the age of 65 in the history of the world are alive today, according to Ken Dychtwald, author of "The Power Years: A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life." This suggests that our way-beyond octogenarians in the Bible were the exception, not the rule.
During the week, Dr. David Kolinsky practices family medicine in Pacific Grove, a sleepy Northern California coastal town. But on Saturday mornings he dons his tallit and leads Shabbat services for Congregation B'nai Torah, a Conservative congregation in neighboring Monterey.
Kolinksy serves as spiritual leader and president of B'nai Torah, which has been lay led since it broke off from a nearby Reform temple 13 years ago.
Visiting rabbis have passed through, but with just 24 dues-paying members, there's no budget to hire even a student rabbi. The congregation also lacks a building -- it rents a small room in a local church, where it stores its two Torah scrolls and where, every Saturday morning, the stalwarts wait to see whether a minyan will show up.
There's been a Jewish community in Muskogee, Okla., since 1867, when furrier Joseph Sonderheim opened his import-export business.
In 1916 the first synagogue was dedicated, Congregation Beth Ahaba, a lay-led Reform congregation that served a tight-knit Jewish community of merchants and professionals.
"As Oklahoma grew and prospered through the 1920s, so did our congregation," said Nancy Stolper, 77, who moved to Muskogee 50 years ago.
Beth Ahaba reached its height of 75 families in 1929 but dwindled to 40 families during the Depression, as stores shut down and people moved away to find work.
Since then, Beth Ahaba's fortunes have declined steadily. Its young people, including the Stolpers' four children, grew up and moved away.
Its last student rabbi left 15 years ago.
"We're now just a group of frail senior citizens," said Stolper, noting that only eight to 10 members are still able to get to synagogue.
Three months ago they gave up their monthly Friday night services, and this High Holiday season, she fears, will be their last.
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.
The idea that a significant number of American Jewish children would come to attend Jewish day schools would have seemed unimaginable no more than 40 years ago, and the notion that thousands from Reform Jewish homes would attend such schools would have seemed even more fantastic. After all, the public school was the major institution that facilitated the entry of upwardly mobile immigrant Jews and their children into American life throughout the major part of the 20th century.
With the retirement this year of several prominent senior rabbis, youthful faces have come to occupy the majority of Westside pulpits and others throughout the city, a confluence of vitality that has the potential to herald the beginning of a new era for the wider Los Angeles Jewish community.
Through many years of rabbinic traveling and teaching, I've been blessed to serve congregations from Long Island to Maui and from Canada to Australia. I've prayed in shuls from Transylvania to Argentina, and I've discovered that in all the world Juneau's community is unique. The fusion of Alaskan life and Jewish tradition never ceases to amaze me.
During Jewish holidays and festivals, many of us recite the familiar blessings for our loved ones.
Objections raised by two established Reform congregations toa start-up alternative shul in Irvine has forced the new group to temporarily
postpone seeking admission to the Reform movement's national organization, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC).
In Los Angeles, the happening High Holiday haunts sell out faster than Springsteen at The Forum. And the tickets cost just as much. So every fall, Jewish singletons like myself do the New Year hustle, seeking out affordable, last-minute tickets to The Main Event. About a week before the big Rosh, the calls start coming in: "Davis, where are you going to services this year?" "How are you ringing in 5763?" "What are you doing New Years, New Year's Eve?"
The High Holidays seem to bring out not only more Jews than any time of year, but also more innovative services. Los Angeles is blessed with a creative spiritual community, dedicated to offering everything from the very new to the very traditional -- to the most unlikely blends of the two.
Sixty members of Young Israel of Century City gingerly walked on the muddy path and crowded into Dalia Har Sinai's little farmhouse in the southern Hebron Hills community of Susia.
Jewish congregation listings.
A common complaint of the unaffiliated Jew is having to buy tickets for the High Holy Days services they choose to attend.
Guide to eating and praying close to downtown Los Angeles.
Executive Director Harriet Rossetto thinks that the new campus -- named after lead donors Jona Goldrich, Sol Kest and Warren Breslow -- will make a dramatic difference in the way Beit T'Shuvah will offer assistance.