When children approach their parents with inevitable questions about death, divorce, homosexuality or how babies are made, adults often turn to books to find the right words to start the discussion. The same is true of another sensitive subject that defies simple explanation: the Holocaust. There are a few thousand memoirs, biographies and novels for young people on the Holocaust published around the world, and surprisingly, more than 100 picture books, too. It is clearly a popular subject.
It's easy to be a Jew on the Westside or in the West Valley. The nonobservant or even the alienated can be part of the Jewish ambience, especially in places like Pico-Robertson or parts of Ventura Boulevard.
It's different in the Southland's far suburbs. Elections aren't swung by the Jewish vote nor are hotel banquet rooms full of Jewish political contributors. There is a scarcity of Jewish religious, educational and cultural institutions and even delis.
On Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Harold Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) gave a sermon on the tragedy of Sudan and what the Jewish community needs to do about it.
His proposed remedy: Start the Jewish World Watch (JWW), a commission of caring men and women that will monitor atrocities around the world by organizing educational evenings with international relations experts and raise money to help societies being ravaged by genocide.
Eight-year-old Sruli Slodowitz from Pico-Robertson likes dressing up as his favorite hero; no, it is not Batman, Superman or even Harry Potter -- but Agent Emes, "an ordinary kid with an extraordinary mission" who is the 11-year-old protagonist in a new mystery adventure video series for Jewish children.
you thought Hebrew school was just for bar and bat mitzvah students, think again. This fall, tens of thousands of Jews around the United States and Canada are learning to read and write Hebrew through Read Hebrew America/Canada. The campaign, which is made possible by the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP), a New York-based organization that provides Jewish educational opportunities, is now offering its annual free Hebrew crash course in Los Angeles and other cities across the country during the month of November.
"Hebrew is the language of the Jewish people, yet in America we don't know if more than 20 or 25 percent of Jews can read it," said Rabbi Yitzchak Rosenbaum, NJOP's program director.
When Josh Sharfman started tracking the number of hits on his year-old educational Web site, www.virtualcantor.com, he was struck by how many people were visiting the site on Shabbat.
It turned out that people who were shut-ins or who lived far from a shul were using his digitized voice to lead in-home Shabbat services. One man brought the recordings to his father's hospital bed, while another woman used the site to learn the tunes so she would feel more comfortable in shul. A student in Florida taught himself the "Kol Nidre" and will lead campus services.
"So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom...." (Psalm 90:12)
If there was any doubt that the Polish government is taking seriously plans to build a Museum of Polish Jewish History in Warsaw, they were
put to rest Feb. 5 in Beverly Hills.
Putting a new spin on Chanukah celebrations, the U.S. Marine Corps Marching Band will perform at The Calabasas Shul's annual menorah-lighting ceremony to honor the men and women of the United States armed forces.
When Jewish educators from around the country met for a five-day institute this summer at the University of Judaism, leaders at the Whizin Institute for Jewish Family Life did the only thing they could for their daylong slot of teaching.
Robert Kraft, Jewish businessman and philanthropist, nearly leapt through the glass window of his skybox at the Superdome in New Orleans as the clock ticked down and the 20-17 victory over the heavily favored St. Louis Rams brought the team he owns, the New England Patriots, its first Super Bowl title. Along with his wife, Myra, Kraft has been heavily involved in Jewish and non-Jewish projects throughout New England, New York and Israel.
Within minutes of my opening the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) Virtual Shabbat CD-ROM, people gathered around my desk. Klezmer music was coming from my computer, and kitchen cabinets, appliances and refrigerators were all dancing on my screen.
After an introduction by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, founder and director of NJOP, I clicked on a picture of a kitchen and started this lively revue; other choices could have been a dining room, a synagogue or something labeled Hebrew crash course.