The publication of the "Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary" points to a significant achievement for the Los Angeles Jewish community. The Chumash is the first Torah and Haftarah commentary published by the Conservative movement.
"The Conservative movement doesn't begin and end in New York City," said Rabbi David Lieber, senior editor of "Etz Hayim" and president emeritus of the University of Judaism (UJ) in Los Angeles. "It is clear that we're dealing with a worldwide movement," says Lieber, who served as UJ's president for 29 years before he retired in 1993, and was the first West Coast president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the Conservative movement's rabbinic arm, from 1996-1998. He was also instrumental in the 1996 founding of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies -- the first place outside of New York to ordain Conservative rabbis.