Although the Orthodox community is committed to the existing ketubah document, whose language comes from the Mishnah, Blau said he has no problem with a bride and a groom making additional agreements and commitments, as long as they do not controvert Jewish law.
The new Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco is a hip amalgam of modern art. Daniel Liebeskind's peculiar architectural dazzle looks like a giant Rubik's Cube in metallic steel, standing on its tip beneath the city's downtown skyscrapers. Beside it is the Jessie Street Power Substation, a brick and terra cotta structure in the classical revival style, a landmark building first erected in 1881 that Liebeskind adapted to the project.
Celebrated architect Daniel Libeskind discusses his views of architecture as a spiritual and aesthetic experience, citing the examples of two sites he designed: the rebuilding of New York City's World Trade Center, and San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum.
When asked whether he is Jewish, Mark Troy responds, "You will be needing proof of that?"
7 Days in the Arts
Published plays -- especially those in anthologies -- tend to be dismissed by the casual browser as specialty items, of interest only to students of theater history or to actors in search of audition material. Ellen Schiff and Michael Posnick clearly had something else in mind when they compiled their lively new collection, "Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays."
When they first started dancing together, Noam Gagnon and Dana Gingras used to lock themselves in a studio for somewhere between five and seven hours a day. Together, they tried to make their bodies react in "authentic ways," irrespective of how high they could jump, how fast they could turn or any other techniques their dance training had already taught them.
Admit it. Don't you feel just a little uncomfortable on Purim night, beating the tar out of Haman, shouting him down, cheering ecstatically at his demise? Doesn't it bother you just a little bit that the same tradition that encourages us to spill drops of wine at the seder in memory of suffering Egyptian slave drivers also encourages us to drink ourselves silly while hanging Haman and drowning out the very mention of his name?
In Myra Goldberg's short story, "Who Can Retell," reprinted in the National Public Radio anthology, "Hanukkah Lights, Stories of the Season" (Melcher Media, 2005), a young girl is concerned that her school's holiday glee club is singling out all the Jewish students to sing Chanukah songs.
One thing that stands out is this: Hollywood is making Westerns again, but this time, the Indians are Arab.
I'm not talking about the early Hollywood Indian -- a cartoon bad guy or buffoon who spoke pigeon English and was played by a white guy.
"What I wanted was music that touches people's souls and hearts in many different ways in their time of need," Len Lawrence said.
"Many people have spoken or written, thanking us for portraying characters ... in a way where their Jewishness isn't always the main point, but just another aspect of their lives," LaBan said.
7 Days in the Arts
The writers of the machzor were pretty comprehensive in listing the multitude of sins we commit as a community over the course of the year.
In contemporary artist Gottfried Helnwein's painting, "Epiphany I," an Aryan Madonna-like figure sits holding a naked, uncircumcised new born boy, while some SS officers stand around her, critically sizing up mother and child. The painting is a reproduction of a Nazi propaganda photograph in which Hitler was the central figure; here in the painting, the mother is.
"Epiphany I: Adoration of the Magi," one of five works by Helnwein currently on exhibit at the Schmeidler-Goetz gallery in West Hollywood, is not the first work of art to explore an uncomfortable subject like the Holocaust.
I chose not to attend Tarbut's trial of King David. Billed as "the people against King David," it promised to be a trial that was "3,000 years in the making."
Feathery palm trees, swaying dancers, and butting rams are untraditional focal points in the contemporary Jewish papercuts of artist Deborah Heyman.
In reinterpreting this nearly lost, venerable Jewish folk art tradition, Heyman, of Irvine, finds inspiration and content for her own creations in the personal upheavals and simple pleasures of a modern life.
Linda Richman types be warned. The American Cinematheque's "Can't Stop the Musicals!! A Celebration of Hollywood Musicals of the 1970s and 1980s" presents the plotz-inducing Barbra Streisand Double Feature tonight.
In Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Nathan the Wise," now at the Lillian Theater, a bloody war ravages the Middle East. Jerusalem is the flashpoint.
Written by Milton Steinberg, the book is based on a historical character, a renegade rabbi who lived during the Roman conquest of Judea and was excommunicated.
This show gathers Lucian Freud's work over six decades -- paintings, watercolors, drawings, as well as new works for this exhibition -- a powerful testament to one painter's life's work. It is a demanding and challenging show. As I walked through the exhibit last week, I wondered, why L.A.? Why now?
Sam Glaser's music is considered contemporary spiritual. He started out as a rock 'n' roller in the '80s, touring nightclubs in Southern California, but, in 1991, Glaser started keeping Shabbat, and his music changed accordingly.
Fertility therapy, Jewish identity, pressure to marry, single parenting. All are themes that flow through both the personal life and creative work of playwright Wendy Wasserstein, who won a Pulitzer Prize and Tony in 1998 for "The Heidi Chronicles."
In a rare peek behind the curtains on Broadway, Wasserstein will share some scenes out of her own theater experience at the Newport Beach Public Library on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. The $36 cost per person includes a complimentary copy of Wasserstein's latest book, "Shiksa Goddess (Or How I Spent My Forties)," essays chronicling challenges facing contemporary women in America.
Craig Taubman remembers a time not too long ago when he and other popular Jewish musicians were branded as destroyers of Jewish culture.
When her first liturgical tune popped into Debbie Friedman's head almost 30 years ago, she had no clue that she would become the queen of contemporary American Jewish music.