It might raise an eyebrow or two that Josh Neuman, former editor and publisher of Heeb magazine — the irreverent, youth-oriented Jewish magazine that shut down its print operations in 2010 — is now in charge of editorial content at GOOD, a multiplatform media outlet dedicated to helping “people who give a damn” do well by doing good.
Some thoughts for Rosh Hashanah: If we took a vote on what trait we human beings most value, goodness would undoubtedly win. Certainly goodness is the trait that we most want everyone else to possess. But if we say we value goodness above everything else -- and surely Judaism does -- why aren't there more good people? A big reason is that it is easier to value other things -- including, and especially, positive things -- more than goodness. So it's much easier to be just about anything rather than good. It’s easier to be religious than to be good.
This is a story about a dream afternoon I spent at La Seine, where chef Alex Reznik is cooking seasonal, farm-to-table, California-Asian … kosher food.
World War II and the Holocaust ended more than 60 years ago, but the subject's fascination for filmmakers as the ultimate moral testing ground for participants on both sides only intensifies with the passage of time.
Who knew that 20 teenagers from Los Angeles could help make a difference in the world?
This doesn't answer my questions. It doesn't staunch my tears. I don't sleep better. I don't justify terrible things when they happen to others, and I don't know why they don't happen to me. But I know that just as surely as there is inexplicable evil in the world, there is inexplicable good, as well. It's something to put on the other side of the scale, something to attribute to a good God.
I will be frank. I'm tired of hearing the same holiday songs over and over. So the best Chanukah present I've received this year is a pile of Chanukah-themed CDs with lots of new holiday songs, many of them quite good.
Rosh Hashanah resolutions.
I joined my first gym while in college. My friends and I signed up for a three-month trial together, intending to rid ourselves of the proverbial freshman 10 -- the end result of late-night doughnut runs.
7 Days in the Arts
I had prepped my boyfriend for what he was going to encounter. From a Hebrew 101 lesson the night before, to a quick 1-2-3 seder crash course in the car ride over.
Corporate, private and organizational donors underwrite the day, including Temple Israel. The budget this year is $450,000. The city's participation will include providing security, busing and street closures. Additional donors are both welcomed and needed, Levinson said.
Tierra's setting in its bustling, mostly residential neighborhood is stylish coffeehouse; the food is inventive. One typical appetizer consisted of figs stuffed with mushrooms, macadamia nuts and chicken -- flavored with cardamom, cinnamon and a Hindu date dressing (34 sheckels). Not all the entrees strain to be eccentric; there's "grilled pullet and polenta" for 58 sheckels and "calamari paperdello" for 54 sheckels. Some menu offerings are mouth watering; others more creative than tasty. But there's a full bar to wash everything down.
In addition to Hillel, other Jewish groups were active in Mississippi relief work. Shortly after Katrina struck, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement dispatched a group of emissaries to Biloxi to assist with emergency search-and-rescue efforts.
Thanks to Valerie, two best friends were reunited after more than three decades apart. More importantly, Glenn and Val had found each other. Their love was intoxicating, with family and friends commenting how happy each was to have found his/her soul mate.
That volunteer work is vast. She served as the sisterhood president of Temple Israel of Hollywood and currently co-chairs its AIDS lunch project, which distributes food once a month. Gilman is also social action chair for the Western Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, which presents the women's positions on legislative policy.
The Cohens understand desperation. Eight years ago, Nouriel's beauty supply business went under, and the family had to give up their Beverly Hills home. He hasn't had steady employment since then and has had to rely on his parents and family to get by.
Although the organization originally began in 2001 as a pro-Israel advocacy group, when other organizations like StandWithUs began to effectively fill that role, the CIC changed direction to try to foster a relationship between Israelis and Israel, its culture and values.
To its detractors, Los Angeles seems very much like a modern-day Sodom or Gomorrah -- besotting civilization with a trash culture of celebrity murder trials, reality TV and movies that trade on violence and superficiality.
This week's cover story celebrates not make-believe angels, but real live ones.
Four years ago, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles funded the joint project between Centinela and two L.A.-based Jewish groups, the Progressive Jewish Alliance (PJA) and Beit T'Shuvah, a Jewish recovery program.
Calcutta's kaleidoscope of teeming streets, sprawling markets and chaotic taxis has always mesmerized me.
At times, it seems as though all 10 million denizens of this eastern Indian metropolis are roaming the city at once, surging in tidal waves, an urban sea of humanity. It was here that Mother Teresa pursued her humanitarian mission for almost 70 years.
My wife, Simone, and I have visited Calcutta (now called Kolkata) often, setting aside time to plod our way through the cacophonous traffic along Chandra Bose Road to the calm oasis of Mother Teresa's shelter for children, Shishu Bhavan. We would spend a day or two volunteering, as do so many others from around the world, to care for the youngsters. The volunteers always included Jews, who were welcomed as all others in this basically Catholic institution.
After the war, Tibor Reis was caught helping Jews escape to Austria, and was put into a Russian prison for three years. Although he was tortured, he never revealed the names of those working with him.
I favor the type of acrylic French tip nails that are considered fashionable only by midlevel porn stars.
Quietly studying a page of the Talmud on a crowded plane, the great Orthodox teacher and thinker Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was interrupted by a passenger in the next seat.
Presents from the Holy Land have resonance for both the recipient and for Israel, whose economy could use a little boost from American consumers.
Both brides were beautiful and the dress was a focal point each time, thanks to the loving restoration work by dressmaker Camila Sigelmann, who made it possible for Amee Huppin Sherer to be married in Grandma Marian Huppin's 1925 wedding gown.
We have spoken slander; we have acted presumptuously; we have practiced deceit. Each year we beat our chest and resolve to change.
Hospitality is the rule and guests are considered a blessing. I never lacked invitations for Shabbat dinners and lunches as a single person, but I also loved hosting.
Back in the good old days, when I traveled freely though the Gaza Strip, Rafah was our neighboring village across a stretch of sand, my boss was Ahmad from Khan Yunis and stones were for building, not for throwing.
Tricia called Jewish National Fund (JNF) to find out if she could plant a tree in Israel for each guest invited to Danielle's bat mitzvah. "It turns out JNF has exactly such a program set up already," Tricia said.
"The Blessing of a Broken Heart" gives the struggle a precious face and, at the same time, illustrates the power of Jewish faith, ritual and community to heal.
So this summer, whether by chance or intent, the three best novels I read were all from the other side of the Atlantic, all from Mitteleuropa: "Crabwalk" by Gunter Grass, "Embers" by Sandor Marai and "Azarel" by Karoly Pap.
The question has been posed to me frequently over the past several months: Is Valley secession "good for the Jews?"
Truthfully, it's a difficult question to answer. Other current matters are easier to address. Is President Bush good for the Jews? Prime Minister Ariel Sharon certainly thinks so. Are the Dodgers good for the Jews? Shawn Green's 42 home runs certainly say so.
But secession? Does it really matter for the Jews of Los Angeles whether they live in one city of 3.35 million people or two cities of 2 million and 1.35 million each?