Dressed in traditional Middle Eastern garb, a UC Santa Barbara Middle East Ensemble dancer performs at the Santa Barbara Jewish Festival heralding Israel’s 63rd Independence Day. Photo by Eyal Nahmias
Valley Beth Shalom’s Prom Prep 101, Friendship Circle
Dr. Gerald Picus and former L.A. City Councilwoman Joy Picus celebrated the gala opening of the $125 million Valley Performing Arts Center on Jan. 29. The two-hour star-studded event at California State University, Northridge, drew Valley performers, including Jane Kaczmarek, Noah Wyle, Nancy Cartwright, Dave Koz and Cheech Marin, as well as 1,700 guests.
With a name derived from the slang word feuj -- for Jew -- with L.A. tagged on, this hip crowd of young French and some Francophiles came together to catch up with friends, meet new people and listen to and perform favorite Hebrew and Jewish songs.
Maybe it was the relatively cool weather on Sunday. Or maybe it was the stepped-up participation
Last weekend, the nation's capital hosted the Millions More March, a gathering commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Nation of Islam's
Million Man March. The Rev. Louis Farrakhan, the main convener of the march, led tens of thousands in a daylong marathon of blame, calls for "self-help" and extremism.
Early morning on the day before Yom Kippur, groups of Jews will be gathering to hold squawking chickens by the feet and twirl them over their head while chanting a prayer. After the twirling, the chickens will be ritually slaughtered and given to the poor.
Kaparos, literally atonements, which has been performed in Los Angeles at the Santa Monica Chabad House and at Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad, is one of the strangest-looking customs in Jewish liturgy. It is done to inspire repentance and to impress upon its adherents the seriousness of Yom Kippur. However, the practice has inspired the ire of animal rights groups, who consider it cruel to the chickens, and many are urging that Jews who practice this custom do so using money instead, which is an acceptable substitute.
Playwright Arje Shaw's first memory was crawling across the floor, finding a piece of black, moldy bread and dipping the crust in water in order to chew it. He was 18 months old. "I looked like a Biafran baby," he says.