The Anti-Defamation League said it supports the inclusion of the World Trade Center cross in the permanent memorial to 9/11 victims at Ground Zero.
At first blush it seemed an odd thing for an observant Jew to do: Slogging my way through morning rush-hour traffic to get downtown to demonstrate against the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' decision to remove a small cross from the county seal.
And yet, I felt compelled to be there. The supervisors had already capitulated, in a 3-2 vote, to a threat by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to sue the county over the cross. Surprised by the public outcry, the supervisors called for another vote to consider a so-called "compromise" with the ACLU in which the cross on the seal -- just one of a dozen various symbols of the region's history -- would be replaced by a mission. But as one clever observer noted, a mission without a cross just looks like a Taco Bell.
Once again, Jews are embroiled in a controversy about a cross. A Los Angeles Times article (June 9), about a demonstration in favor of keeping the cross on the L.A. County seal, noted a Jewish presence there and quoted a Jewish demonstrator as saying, "The cross ... reminds us, even as Jews (sic), that religion is free here."
What do you get when you cross Judaic philosophy with Chinese martial arts? Tora Dojo. The brainchild of Gandmaster H.I. Sober, Toro Dojo combines elements of traditional Karate and Kung Fu with Jewish spirituality. Tora Dojo, which started more than 30 years ago with 12 Yeshiva University students, is now taught to 30,000 people worldwide. There are no storefront studios; classes are held in synagogues, JCCs and at Jewish day schools and universities.
"Tora Dojo is a sport, but it's more of an art form," said Ben Andron, the head of Los Angeles' Tora Dojo West . "Students learn to defend themselves, fight, even break bricks, but the main goal is to improve their ability to focus and unlock unlimited potential."