An Argentine gaucho lounges near his horse. A Bombay bride displays her upturned palms, filigreed entirely with henna. An Ethiopian boy lights candles with a classmate. A woman poses stiffly in her kitchen in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. What unites these disparate images is that the people depicted in them are Jews, all of them captured in black and white by Israeli-born photojournalist Zion Ozeri.
For the past three years, in meetings that often go toward midnight, a handful of local parents, educators and community leaders have been coming together to plan Los Angeles' next non-Orthodox Jewish high school.
Now it has come to pass. Late last month, the Core Group, as the parents call themselves, announced the September 2002 opening of the New Community Jewish High School in the West Valley.
In our hardwired global village, the old curse "May you live in interesting times," has particular resonance. For local educators, the recent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians have made these past few weeks interesting times indeed. As events continue to unfold thousands of miles away, the conflict has been an ongoing topic in Southern California's Jewish day schools.
When painful loss occurs in our lives, we want to make some sense of it: Why did she get so sick? Why did I lose my livelihood? Why can't we conceive a child? Why did he die? In his new book, "Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times" (Riverhead Books, $23.95), David Wolpe, author and rabbi of Sinai Temple in Westwood, begins by asserting that during periods of great pain, we tend to ask the wrong questions. Whether consciously or not, we search in vain for an answer to the plaintive "why" in order to gain some measure of control over what has made us so powerless.
A play with both wit and heart is a compelling combination, and it's one that playwright Donald Margulies' pulls off in his mostly rewarding "Collected Stories."
"Stories" drew critical praise and a 1997 Pulitzer Prize nomination following it's world première at Costa Mesa's South Coast Repertory. Happily, in director Gilbert Cates' current Los Angeles production at the Geffen Playhouse, the play's intelligence and emotional power remain intact.
In these scandalous times, is there anything left to say about sex?
TV offers us All-Monica all the time. The globally accessible Internet offers its own virtual red-light district. Surrounded by wall-to-wall visuals and 24-hour media blather, we're inundated with sexual information. Ultimately, inevitably, it has become boring, degenerating into vaguely provocative background noise.
Paula Vogel's "How I Learned to Drive" has come to the Mark Taper Forum, and one wonders if it has lost something in its trip across country. Despite an arresting performance by Brian Kerwin, its male lead, this Los Angeles production doesn't live up to the high expectations that preceded its arrival. The play received critical acclaim during its New York run, culminating in the 1998 Pulitzer Prize. (Vogel is wowing New York critics once again this season with the debut of her latest play, "The Mineola Twins.")