Interview with Rabbi Marvin Hier who created the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Museum of Tolerance and Yeshiva University of Los Angeles (YULA).
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
Critics have long derided Jewish federations as functionally outdated and overly bureaucratic -- the organizational equivalent of dinosaurs on the brink of irrelevance, if not extinction.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's devastation, though, the array of Jewish organizations under the umbrella of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles have shown that they are far from moribund. They have raised large sums of money, moved critical resources to devastated areas and coordinated Jewish agencies to address victims' needs.
On the third night of Chanukah my true love gave to me, an Olympic swim cap signed by Lenny Krayzelburg, a game of Horse with the Houston Rocket's Bostjan Nachbar and a chance to be on the set of ESPN's Cold Pizza.
Thanks to the Center for Sport and Jewish Life's online Chanukah auction (www.CSJL.org), gift giving just got more interesting.
Eli Broad, considered by many to be the most influential, public-spirited and generous Jewish citizen of Los Angeles, estimates that he and his wife gave away $350 million last year, of which $2 million went to specifically Jewish causes.
One of the best University Synagogue tours ever was our 2000 trip to Argentina and Brazil. Both countries were physically beautiful and Jewishly fascinating, and the speakers with whom we met were unforgettable.
Since that time, however, Argentina has been reduced to terrible economic straits, and its once-thriving middle class is in danger of disappearing. That middle class made Argentina unique in South America, where polarization between rich and poor is the norm.
Few people look forward to being asked for money. But Super Sunday, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' largest single day of fund raising each the year, is the exception.
Israel is on its way to becoming a back-burner issue in much of the American Jewish community. Studies show that the younger the Jew, the less connection he or she feels to what is, let's try to remember, the Jewish homeland. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which used to give Israel 50 percent of the funds it raised, has cut that figure by nearly half. One of the Federation's "old leaders" pointed out to me that Israel isn't even mentioned any more in Federation advertising -- it's bad for business. Israel has become a wormy apple for many American Jews -- all this unpleasantness with the Palestinians and, on top of that, a hot, fuming plateful of disrespect for Conservative and Reform rabbis and the Judaism they practice.