A provocative discussion on sex and spirituality. Whether you are single, married, have a great sex life, or want one — join the conversation as we talk about what sex means to a relationship and how it is reflected in our faith.
Larger Than Life-L.A. Family, which supports cancer-stricken children from Israel and Los Angeles, celebrated its 10th anniversary Oct. 13 when more than 1,200 people gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for an evening gala of music, awards and more.
Jewish humor and Jewish theology share something in common. I can think of any number of jokes whose punch lines say something profound about God (“Work with me here — buy a ticket!”). And we need only consult the Torah to discover how the matriarch Sarah responded when God revealed that she would bear a child in advanced old age: “Sarah laughed ...” (Genesis 18:12).
Shalom Hartman fellow Yossi Klein Halevi serves as Beth Jacob Congregation’s Shabbat scholar in residence. Author of the new book “Like Dreamers,” which explores the story of the soldiers who reunited Jerusalem and divided a nation, Klein Halevi will give the Shabbat morning drash and speak during a community lunch-and-learn as well as during a Melava Malka at a private residence. Thu. 9 a.m. (services), 11 a.m. (lunch), 8:30 p.m. (Melava Malka). RSVP required for lunch-and-learn: $35 (adults), $25 (children). Beth Jacob, 9030 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 278-1911. bethjacob.org.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to attend a summit meeting of leaders of non-aligned developing nations in Tehran next week, defying calls from the United States and Israel to boycott the event, U.N. diplomats said on Wednesday.
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is restirring a tempest in a glass of milk (“How Kosher Is Your Milk,” June 22). This issue was addressed in great detail in the fall 2007 issue of the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society in the article “The Kashrut of Commercially Sold Milk” by Rabbi Michoel Zylberman.
A veteran physician diagnosed with leukemia is hoping to find a compatible bone marrow match within the Jewish community to help him beat back the life-threatening disease. Be The Match, the National Marrow Donor Registry, is holding a donor screening on Thursday at USC’s Rand Schrader Health and Research Center.
Ambassador Yehuda Avner, who served as a diplomat, speechwriter and prime ministerial adviser in Israeli governments from the 1950s to the 1990s, will speaking this weekend at Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills. Avner wrote “The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership” (The Toby Press, LLC, 2010), a 700-page opus based on notes he took while serving as adviser or secretary to five prime ministers. The book, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards in 2010, is now being made into two motion pictures.
Honoring Hatzolah, Anjelica Huston, Sheba
In the four decades of his accomplished career, global electronica DJ Cheb i Sabbah -- a Berber Jew from Algeria now living in California -- has specialized in crossing barriers among nationalities and working with artists of all religions and ethnicities. His latest album, "Devotion," released Jan. 29, features spiritual music from Pakistan and neighboring countries performed by musicians from Southeast Asia. As tensions and violence continue to mount in Pakistan, this album provides a mystical soundtrack for transcendence, reminding listeners that human spirit is one thread connecting us all. On the occasion of his Los Angeles album release party on Feb. 2 at Temple Bar in Santa Monica, The Jewish Journal caught up with this boundary-defying musician.
Calendar of events, January 26 to February 1: Kids, film, lecture, theater, maccabi games, singles, tu b'shevat, volunteer, concert, comedy, adventure, drama, photography, book signing, music, youth art show, mardi gras.
In a groundbreaking collegial but hard-hitting conference sponsored by the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies, a slate of top scholars, public officials, diplomats and Polish Jewish community leaders met to discuss the controversial and complicated relationship of Poles and Jews.
In the space of an hour -- plus an extra 10 to 15 minutes thrown in for good measure -- David Solomon outlines the 4,000 years of Jewish history, from 2000 B.C.E. to the present. Each white paper wall represents 1,000 years, and as Solomon moves from Abraham to the 12 tribes, Moses, the prophets, the First and Second Temples, the Babylonian exile and the "PR stunt" of Chanukah, he works the room, swiveling the audience in its seats as he races from one side of the room to another.
After months of contentious back and forth over the scheduling of the statewide high school debate tournament on the first night of Passover, Jewish leaders and tournament organizers have reached a half-hearted detente that will not change the date but will ensure such a scheduling snafu will not happen again.
Awash in diamonds, dresses and lapels, wealthy and fashionable philanthropists worked their weight in gold: in just one night, $1 million was raised for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which inspired 850 guests with the creed, "Be the change you want to see in the world."
The buzzword in business circles is synergy. That's what JDub Records was looking for when it began to think about its third annual Chanukah event.
And when Daniel Brenner, vice president for education at the Birthright Israel Foundation, told JDub heads Aaron Bisman and Jacob Harris that he was interested in doing a project with the nonprofit music label, the buzz of synergy filled the air.
I was not entirely comforted. I recalled a conservative propaganda movie about Islam warning people of taqiyya, the Muslim "mitzvah" of deception, in which militant Muslims put on a peaceful disguise for Westerners.
Kenny G reads Hebrew, knows a thing or two about kabbalah and blows the shofar at shul annually. "Because," he said, "I am the only one who knows how."
As my son's bar mitzvah day inched closer, I began to see the world in a whole different light -- a disco ball light, to be exact -- for as my child grew, so did his friends, officially putting us both on the b'nai mitzvah circuit.
The first-ever national kosher cook-off is intended to demonstrate to consumers the flexibility, speed and convenience of kosher cooking, while showcasing the Manischewitz label.
It was a night to acknowledge accomplished women Nov. 1, when 300 people celebrated the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) 12th annual Deborah Awards. This year's honorees, Louise Bryson of
Noteworthy sessions and events at the General Assembly
Starving Students, the nation's leading local mover, volunteered its movers and trucks for the SOVA Food Pantry's High Holiday Food Drive. Six Starving Students movers and two trucks helped pick up and deliver donated groceries to the SOVA warehouse where they would be distributed to families in need. The movers traveled throughout Los Angeles County and the San Fernando Valley and loaded more than 29 pallets of groceries into their trucks collected from synagogues.
"Synaplex provided us an opportunity to experiment and explore and suggested new ways to create a sacred community," Moskovitz reported. "In a sense, it's completely transformed our service. Our Synaplex Shabbat was like a stone dropping on a calm pool of water. The ripple effect continues to reverberate in a positive and profound way across our temple community."
Jewish Book Month's Table of Contents
The Liberty Film Festival, now in its third year, aims to present and promote the work of conservative filmmakers who, according to the organizers, are ignored, persecuted and otherwise absent from "Hollywood."
I put Hollywood in quotes because its meaning, as the evening at the Luxe Bel Air Hotel wore on, was elusive.
7 Days in the Arts
Although Irwin S. Field couldn't reserve the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton more than a year in advance, he wanted to make sure that his favorite Israeli chef would be available.
I've spoken to many groups all over Los Angeles during extremely volatile times. I've never seen such rudeness, narrow mindedness and just plain boorishness.
7 Days in the Arts
The race to become the first Jewish group to land an appearance by Mel Gibson is on, with three already entered and more waiting in the wings.
The giving has special meaning for Jews who not long ago enjoyed the umbrella of protection Israel offered them while living in Iran. Now, they feel a sense of duty to support Israel at a time when it is being threatened by Iran.
The attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas represent nothing less than the latest step in radical Islam's quest for world domination, said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Standing up to the threat, whether on the frontlines of Israel or the streets of Los Angeles, is a needed challenge to the forces of darkness.
Similar citywide musical battles have met with much success in the Jewish communities of Vancouver and Miami, among others. Such an event, though, seems tailor-made for Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world.
Founded in 1997, the Justice Ball has grown into one of the nation's most successful nonprofit fundraisers/parties targeting young professionals, Jews and non-Jews alike. Over the past nine years, more than 16,000 attorneys, financiers and others have attended the soirees, and scores of them have gone on to become Bet Tzedek contributors and volunteers.
More than 80 studio executives, producers, directors, lawyers, agents, distributors and rabbis all enjoyed a Shabbat dinner together in the south of France. For some, Shabbat was a new experience. For others, a weekly ritual. Still for others, it was simply another networking event.
"He's the James Brown of the Jewish community, the hardest-working man in L.A. Jewry," Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss said. "I see him everywhere."
Although in some ways, Fishel is everywhere but nowhere. A bearded, slender man with a direct gaze, the shy Fishel seems to prefer keeping his own counsel. He sometimes materializes at events in his well-tailored suits and then slips away after talking to but a handful of folks.
Here it is: 5,000 years after Moses wandered the Sinai, his people have finally found a home in Reseda, no less, at the Jewish Home for the Aging, the largest continuing residential care facility for the elderly in the Western United States. Yet while these Jews are no longer wandering, they are today wondering when the big simchah begins.
In recent years Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest Jewish community, has become a stop for visiting Jewish dignitaries -- especially politicians, hoping to tap into the fundraising network here.
Kolet's participation in charity events has put her onstage with artists such as Elton John, U2's Bono and, most recently, Andrea Boccelli. She has developed a close working relationship with Klaus Meine of the legendary German rock band, the Scorpions, having performed with him last year in Israel.
How do you sum up 100 years of history? That's the task of historian Florie Brizel, who was hired by Sinai two years ago to write the history of the shul. She just completed "Sinai Temple: A Centennial History," a narrative that runs more than 200 pages.
For more than two decades, Alice Greenwald has been helping to give people a palpable understanding of the Holocaust through her work with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
"This issue of Holocaust revisionism is not just a diversion or demagoguery," said Frank Nikbakht, public affairs director for the Council of Iranian American Jewish Organizations. "It is really what the Iranian government officials believe and not just what Ahmadinejad believes. It is part and parcel of their long-term program of global jihad as embodied in the current Iranian constitution."
March of the Living, the international educational program that began in 1988, has brought approximately 90,000 teenagers, accompanied by Jewish educators, social workers and survivors, to Poland for a week. Critics worry it has become a "March of the Living Dead"
The evening had three acts. First came ritual. Taubman and Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva, another co-sponsor, lit the traditional Havdalah candle, woven together from three wicks.
While a student at Columbia School of Journalism, Rachel Boynton saw a film about the history of 20th century nonviolent conflict that included a segment on how American consultants had gone to Chile in 1990 to produce TV ads for a successful campaign to end Gen. Augusto Pinochet's long autocratic presidency.