It was a surprise hit on the cultural roster of a city that may be the most culturally busy city in the nation.
Traditionally, Orthodox girls wanting a bat mitzvah have had intimate ones with close family and friends, complete with candlelightings and blessings.
Unlike the Reform, Recostructionist and Conservative movements, which have embraced and formalized the bat mitzvah in the synagogue (the Recostructionist movement had the first bat mitzvah in 1922), Orthodox shuls and schools tend to take a more varied, low-key approach.
While many Orthodox girls still have private coming-of-age rituals, others are opting for more public and creative ceremonies, perhaps more closely aligned to a bar mitzvah. Most choose to study extensively with parents, teachers or rebbetzins, and many seek out chesed projects -- acts of loving-kindness -- to help those less fortunate.
I never created a professional work about Jerusalem. I didn't write about Jerusalem in the days I worked as a journalist; nor did I, as a producer, make any films about the city. Nevertheless, Jerusalem is an integral part of all of my creations. Such is the power of Jerusalem that it gives every Jew an energizing flow of Jewish spirituality that inspires all his creative works, consciously and subconsciously.
Jerusalem, it seems to me, symbolizes three basic elements in our collective consciousness: 1. identification with the Jewish tradition, 2. yearning for the Land of Israel and 3. a desire for a divinely inspired, just society.
Five years ago, veteran comic book artist Joe Kubert visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He expected to be moved, but since he and his parents had escaped from Poland before the Nazi genocide began, he assumed his emotional reaction would be relatively contained. Then, he saw something that struck him profoundly: "Yzeran," the name of the shtetl where he had been born, etched on a wall filled with names of towns that had been completely obliterated in World War II.
This one word began a creative odyssey that found its completion this month, with the publication of "Yossel -- April 19, 1943," Kubert's graphic novel about Jewish resistance during the Holocaust -- artistic, as well as physical -- with the date in the subtitle referring to the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
A kosher menorah can be fashioned out of any material, so why not get creative?
Calling all creative kids. If you have a way with words or an aptitude for art, you can use your unique talents by entering the first annual Jews for Judaism Jewish Students' Creative Writing & Art Contest.
Working with the theme "I Love Judaism," future scribes and artists can express their feelings about their young Jewish lives by writing original poems, songs or short stories or creating a piece of artwork. The competition, which is divided into three age groups, is open to Southern California Jews in first through 12th grade.
The contest is sponsored by Jews for Judaism, an international organization that provides a wide variety of counseling services, along with education and outreach programs, that enable Jews of all ages to rediscover and strengthen their Jewish heritage. The group is also the Jewish community's leading response to the multimillion-dollar efforts of cults and Evangelical Christians who target Jews for conversion.
Sure, your bubbie always said you had a shayna punim, but now there's a T-shirt to help you pronounce it proudly to the world.
Passover cooking becomes more fun each year with the publication of glossy new kosher cookbooks brimming with creative suggestions for elegant and enticing Passover dishes.
Whether you are planning your seder menu, looking for a memorable Passover gift, or you just want a break from cleaning, salivate over the scrumptious recipes in these cookbooks from master chefs and food writers.
Alex Dwek, a London-born real-estate developer, sits with a friend in a dimly-lit cafe on New York's fashionable Upper West Side, sipping white wine and chatting up a young lady he's just met. The three of them, all 30-something, fashionably dressed and single, have just emerged from an evening class nearby, where they studied "The Artist's Way: Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self."