Jewish Journal

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  • On Sukkot, honoring the homeless

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    September 27, 2012 | 11:14 am

    On a recent Wednesday morning, Stuart Perlman wore paint-splattered clothes as he loaded up his 1999 Infiniti with art supplies and cans of low-salt Progresso soup before heading out on a painting excursion to Venice Beach. Over the past two years, Perlman has been spending two...

  • Politics, poverty and prosperity

    September 27, 2012 | 11:00 am

    “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we...

  • A family in grief chooses life

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    September 19, 2012 | 10:36 am

    In July, Ivonne Goldberg was at the park with her 3-year-old son, Mikey, and with Nofar Mekonen, a sunny 14-year-old girl visiting from Israel. Nofar was chatting on and on about her trip to Los Angeles, her family, her school.  

    “Where did you get your English?” Ivonne asked...

  • High Holy Days: In the rabbis’ words

    By JewishJournal.com

    September 12, 2012 | 10:55 am


    This year, we return to the wisdom offered by our rabbis during the High Holy Days in years past.  What follows are excerpts from some exceptional sermons and High Holy Days writings; many more voices could have been included, of course, but we hope this will inspire you to...

  • Growing the fruits of peace in El Salvador

    July 5, 2012 | 4:12 pm

    Don Israel speaks no English, and I speak almost no Spanish. But I understood him well enough to realize that, as I began to plant one of the mango trees that would be placed in his field that day,  he obviously thought I was doing it wrong. Our mutual patience eventually conquered...

  • Fueling the jFed generation

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    May 30, 2012 | 1:00 pm

    Jennifer Rheuban wasn’t exactly plucked from Jewish obscurity.

    Rheuban is a self-described “JCC kid from a JCC family.” She grew up at the West Valley Jewish Community Center and went to Camp JCA Shalom in Malibu for years. But in college she dropped out of Jewish life, and...

  • Why I love Jews by Choice

    By Rabbi Dan Moskovitz

    May 23, 2012 | 12:51 pm

    The first conversion I ever performed as a rabbi was for a 45-year-old father of two who was in the final stages of liver cancer. John, who was born to a Jewish father but raised Protestant by his Christian mother, was so stricken with his disease at this point in our yearlong...

  • Putting the Ten Commandments on display

    May 17, 2012 | 12:38 pm

    Are the Ten Commandments only to be heard but not seen? And when they are seen, how should they look?

    Some groups, notably the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), believe that public images of the Ten Commandments should be scarce.

    “That the increasing call by private citizens and...

  • DIYers take on Pesach

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    April 4, 2012 | 10:32 am

    At first glance, it’s hard to tell if Eileen Levinson’s Alternative Seder Plate is deeply thoughtful or merely playful. Or perhaps just coolly irreverent.

    Levinson adapted her Alternative Seder Plate concept to design the cover of this newspaper this week. In its original, her...

  • Tinseltown and Tel Aviv partner in (show)business

    By Danielle Berrin

    February 10, 2012 | 10:02 am

    In 2008, “BeTipul” became the first ever Israeli format to become an American television series as HBO’s “In Treatment”. Four years later, Showtime’s “Homeland,” based on the Israeli format “Hatufim” won the best television series Golden Globe. Inspired by the success of those two...

  • Can we afford kosher lettuce?

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    January 25, 2012 | 12:35 pm

    On a Monday morning in November, two men sat on the edge of a field in Carpinteria, 85 miles north of Los Angeles. The older one, middle-aged, wiry and bareheaded, had the face of someone who has served in the military, worked in agriculture or, in his case, both. Alongside him was a...

  • Opinion: Why we should attack Iran

    January 18, 2012 | 10:21 am

    [Counter-point: Why we should not bomb Iran]

    This article has been adapted from an essay in the January/February 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine.

    The United States and Iran are on a path toward direct armed conflict. In early October, U.S. officials accused Iranian...

  • The big tent:  Jews, Muslims, Christians celebrate spirituality in a shared sacred space

    By Rachel Heller

    December 21, 2011 | 11:22 am

    Whirling Dervishes, an elaborate feast and a lecture by a prominent Muslim scholar – Musallah Tauhid’s joyous celebration of its move to a new home in 2008 heralded good times ahead for the Sufi Muslim worship group. As a friendly gesture, the group invited its new neighbors for...

  • The book of Maccabees, occupied

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    December 14, 2011 | 12:03 pm

    At the Dec. 5 meeting of the Los Angeles General Assembly — the utterly democratic body that acts to guide, if not exactly govern, Occupy Los Angeles — a facilitator named Chase posed the following question:

    “Should we reoccupy a space? And, if so: Where, how and why — or...

  • Opinion: Obligation to redeem captive trumps heavy price paid

    By Uri Dromi

    October 18, 2011 | 2:15 pm

    The announcement last week of the release of Gilad Shalit after being held in captivity by Hamas for more than five years was met here in Israel with mixed feelings: On the one hand, tremendous joy. And on the other hand, grave doubts about the price paid and fears about the...

  • Opinion: Gilad Shalit nation: Family first, country second

    October 18, 2011 | 2:07 pm

    Seeing how Israel has reacted to Gilad Shalit’s imprisonment somewhere in Gaza over the last nearly five-and-a-half years — from the public campaign for his release, through the media’s reality-show treatment of him and his family, to the government’s decision to release...

  • Food Forward, gleaning the neighborhoods

    By Ryan Torok

    October 12, 2011 | 4:02 pm

    On a recent weekend morning, sunlight lit up a band of eager workers in jeans and T-shirts who had ventured into a backyard at a home in Northridge. They were there to pick oranges.

    No, these were not the usual laborers who toil daily in the region’s orchards. These were San...

  • Following her heart: A Yom Kippur story

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    October 5, 2011 | 7:09 pm

    This is what Ava Kaufman was wearing when she negotiated with God while in a seven-week coma following a heart transplant: a white turtleneck leotard with a white leather miniskirt, and white thigh-high boots.

    In her hallucination, she was sitting in the palms of two giant...

  • Ani Ma’amin, I believe

    September 28, 2011 | 2:00 pm

    I was raised in a world of great Jewish ideas. At our seder table, everyone’s questions were welcome. No one was labeled “wicked” or “simple,” and no one was silenced. My atheist brother, my socialist aunt, my Orthodox cousin, my Labor Zionist parents, even our Catholic...

  • Long, winding road brings new cantor to Temple Beth Am

    September 21, 2011 | 6:28 pm

    “Let me show you the dogs,” Cantor Magda Fishman says as she excitedly pulls out her iPhone and scrolls through photos until she comes upon a candid shot of two gorgeous poodles. The dogs are not Fishman’s, but her enthusiasm in sharing the image is emblematic of her style. Her...

  • 10 years after 9/11, what has changed?

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    September 7, 2011 | 2:14 pm

    Even before the 110-story cloud of smoke cleared 10 years ago, America, and American Jews, grappled with a new desire to seek out the enemy — on the one hand to thwart him, and on the other to find out who he is, why he hates us so much and what we can do about it.

    That desire...

  • From the Streets of Delhi

    August 31, 2011 | 11:10 am

    “Have you ever been to the Jama Masjid?” The little girl looks up at me with bright, intelligent eyes, the yellow of jaundice and malnutrition already receding from around her irises, a brightly colored scarf hiding the long, curved scar rising up from just behind her ear. She is...

  • Israel’s breakthrough opportunity

    August 17, 2011 | 1:07 pm

    Over the past five weeks, Israelis have erected thousands of tents in 78 sites across Israel. Hundreds of thousands of citizens of all political, racial, economic and geographic backgrounds have taken to the streets, enjoying more than 80 percent public support. The nonviolent cry...

  • Israel’s new social contract

    August 17, 2011 | 1:05 pm

    High and inclusive growth is Israel’s shared national goal, with the objective of becoming one of the 15 leading countries in terms of quality of life. The test of progress will be the accumulation of financial, human and social capital by all citizens and, particularly, children....

  • Let us reap wisdom sown by tragedy of Tisha B’Av

    By Rabbi David Wolpe

    August 2, 2011 | 6:24 pm

    This week we observe the fast of Tisha B’Av, commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

    Last year before Tisha B’Av, The Jewish Journal published an article that loosely and foolishly spoke of the destruction of the Temple as a good thing.  Those who offer such...

  • Citizens redistricting commission: (Almost) no Jews involved

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    July 19, 2011 | 5:57 pm

    Stanley Treitel, 66, is Orthodox, lives in Hancock Park and is one of the few Jewish Californians to have made a direct pitch to the state’s new Citizens Redistricting Commission on behalf of Jewish interests.

    He went to Culver City’s City Hall on June 16 hoping to tell the...

  • Boyle Heights: Not yet forgotten

    July 13, 2011 | 5:26 pm

    The old man ambled up the cement stairs leading to the small front porch of his wood-plank, single-story house on Bridge Street. And, like the house, Adolfo Finkelstein, 85, is a reminder of a previous time when he would have represented the predominant demographic in the area, a...

  • On road to renewal, Shul gets multipurpose life

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    July 13, 2011 | 2:24 pm

    A plastic bag whips in the breeze, trying in vain to free itself from the coil of   barbed wire atop a chain link fence that surrounds the Breed Street Shul just off Cesar Chavez Avenue (originally Brooklyn Avenue) in Boyle Heights. The crumbling concrete stairway leading up to the...

  • Growing up in Jewish Boyle Heights

    By Tom Tugend

    July 13, 2011 | 2:17 pm

    “Boyle Heights wasn’t just a geographical term, it was a mind-set.”

    So says Abraham (Abe) Hoffman, and he should know.

    Born and raised in Boyle Heights, a graduate of — and, later, a teacher in — its public schools, Hoffman is an academic and historian who at 72 serves as...

  • Bringing books to Boyle Heights

    July 13, 2011 | 2:15 pm

    The other night, my city councilman was wishing aloud for a new word to call what’s happening lately with our neighborhood, Boyle Heights. “Revitalization” and “resurgence” came to mind, but they sounded a little on the generic side — no more appropriate to Boyle Heights...

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