Summer is coming, and here are a few good reads for long flights or lounging by the pool — some newly published, some coming soon, some recently reviewed in the book columns in the Jewish Journal and on jewishjournal.com.
Who are they? A diverse group if ever there was one -- as multifaceted as the city itself.
The Los Angeles Times recently ran a story, "A Clouded View of U.S. Jews" (Oct. 9, 2002), which related the results of conflicting polls taken to determine Jewish population numbers in America. One study claimed numbers dipped slightly to 5.2 million, while a second poll claimed the Jewish population increased to 6.7 million.
Reactions to the Times' numbers were as diverse as the respondents. Some called for an increase in Jewish education and outreach, while others proposed we should increase our numbers by abandoning the traditional reticence to proselytizing and put more resources into embracing potential Jews. I couldn't disagree more.
As the Jewish community gathers for the Valley Jewish Festival, we must ask ourselves whether there is, in fact, a Los Angeles Jewish community to speak of. If we define community as "a group of people defined by a geographical area," then we can refer to the Jewish community of Los Angeles as such. But if we wish to imply that a community is "a cohesive yet diverse group bound together as one," then I do not believe that Los Angeles fulfills this qualification.