Jerusalem's identity is Arab, and the city's and Christian holy sites must be protected from Israeli threats, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said.
Among his many statements related to Israel in the last couple of weeks, President Obama got at least one thing right when he said at a London news conference that Jerusalem goes deep into how the Jewish people think about their identity. As we mark 44 years of a reunited Jerusalem this week, we should appreciate the centrality of Jerusalem to Jewish identity.
An Israeli government committee approved the $25 million renovation of 16 national heritage projects and sites. The Ministerial Committee on the National Heritage, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Tuesday approved the renovation of the sites -- among the 150 sites and initiatives included in the "Plan for Renovating and Strengthening National Heritage Sites and Assets" approved in February -- at a cost of $25 million. The plan caused some controversy when two West Bank biblical sites, Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs, were added to the list.
From New Tang Dynasty TV: 'How does it feel to be both Chinese and Jewish? Our Israeli team talks to a young woman from Kaifeng, China who belongs to both of these ancient cultures.'
Birthplace of Theodore Herzl, Franz Kafka and Sigmund Freud, this increasingly progressive country is trying to shed the specter of the Nazi and Soviet occupations and embrace its Jewish past and present to bolster tourism, an important part of its national economy.
Two unlikely peacemakers are proposing that if Israelis and Palestinians can agree on how to preserve and protect a common archaeological past, perhaps they can agree on a common future.
Next July 6, more than 1,000 Lithuanian folk dancers decked out in authentic woven costumes, representing close to 40 dance ensembles, will perform the windmill, the scarf dance and other traditional dances at the XIII Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival, hosted for the first time in Los Angeles.
As part of the American Jewish University's Celebration of Jewish Books Festival, students in first through 12th grade submitted essays answering the question: "Jews are the people of the book. What does that mean to you today?" The editorial staff of The Jewish Journal selected four winners -- one from each age group -- to receive a $250 Borders gift card, as well as a $1,000 donation to their school. We received hundreds of submissions in the form of stories, poems and artwork. It was a difficult decision, and the four winning essays below represent just a small sampling of the great work submitted.
The Jewish Journal invited writers who will be featured at Sunday's Festival of Books to answer the simple, essential question that every Jewish writer is often asked: "What Jewish sources -- ideas, writings, traditions -- inspire you, and how do they show up in your work?" The following show that there is no easy answer to what defines a Jewish author, but there is no question that there's much to draw upon within the faith.
"My strongest link to my Jewish background is musical," he said. "I found myself drawn to Russian and Eastern European musical roots."
The received wisdom for Jewish parents is not to dilute, pollute or mix traditions. Christmas is such a joy bully, if you let any of it in the door, Chanukah will be blown out the window. But just as Republicans don't own family values, Christians haven't appropriated winter gladness and glitter.
Sheldon Adelson, frequently dubbed "the world's richest Jew," is about to claim the title of biggest Jewish philanthropist.
David Mamet has written a book, "The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred and the Jews" (Shocken/Nextbook), that is by turns bold, courageous, and outrageous -- it is a book that calls Diaspora Jews to the table and asks: "In or Out?"
Living a life of dual identity is no simple task. On one hand, my peers and I are told to live up to the expectations of being Modern Orthodox teens, but on the other side of the spectrum we are tempted by the culture of the secular world on an everyday basis.
Skateboarding runs in the Tashman family, although not on the paternal side. His mother, who also grew up religious, skateboarded when she was a kid. She was sponsored by a local Velcro company. "She took her old roller skates and nailed them to a two-by-four for her first skateboards," Tashman said. Since he was 3 years old, "she would attach me to my skateboard and pull me down hills and our neighbor's empty swimming pool," he said. "She always wanted me to be a cantor, though."
Why are there so many young, hip Jews writing fiction that irreverently pokes fun at their heritage?
Farmar stands a natural leader at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds and has been extensively covered in the Daily Bruin since before his entrance into UCLA in fall 2004. A psychology major with a 3.0 grade point average, he has been described in the Daily Bruin as having innate leadership skills, a competitive spirit and a dedicated work ethic.
I worry about children who are told they must get every answer correct. I worry about kids told there's no room for second best. I worry about the child who must always be the star. If we demand success each time, and leave no room for failure, our children's dreams will shrink to fit their certainties. They will play it safe and never try too hard, never reach too far, never put too much of themselves into any pursuit. It is entirely possible to exalt the mind while crushing the soul.
When Fairfax resident Yasmine Noury boarded an El Al flight late last year, she joined the growing ranks of North American Jews who immigrated to Israel in 2005.
As a 9-year-old violinist performing for world-renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, Camilla Tsiperovich was told to call herself Camilla Gadjieva. Her headmaster at the Azerbaijan Conservatory considered this a more suitable name, one that reflected the Muslim heritage of her country. While representing Azerbaijan in international music competitions and spending her first year of high school at the famed Moscow Conservatory, she always understood that "there was something wrong because you were Jewish."
Smoldering tensions between the Orthodox community and other Hancock Park residents, many of them also Jewish, are heating up anew, as a battle over neighborhood architecture has divided along lines of religious affiliation.
Joellen Lapidus points out that klezmer, which has famously experienced a revival since the late 1970s, has never been performed exclusively at Jewish functions, and the bands have often included non-Jewish musicians. Likewise, Extreme Klezmer Makeover is not comprised solely of Jews.
An order to investigate the demolition of a historic Jewish Community Center (JCC) building in Boyle Heights is now on the agenda of the Los Angeles City Council.
Someone has demolished a part of Los Angeles Jewish history and at this point no one in the Jewish community or even the city's building department seems to know who did it and why. The architecturally significant Soto-Michigan Jewish Community Center, the focal point of Jewish social and political community life in Boyle Heights from the early 1930s to the late 1950s, has disappeared under the wrecking ball.
"In the beginning, I didn't want to go to Jerusalem because I was scared of the journey," confessed Shirva Goyto'om, one of the lone Jews remaining in the province. Shirva lives in a small town about 30 miles west of the city of Shire, which itself has but one paved road.
The Yiddish words flew -- sometimes fluently, sometimes haltingly and occasionally "shreklich" or awful as the seniors reached for a word long forgotten or the students for a word they had not yet learned. They raised their voices, gesturing with their hands as they spoke.
Today, Sachs is a justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, appointed to the bench in 1994 by President Nelson Mandela and playing a leading role in writing the nation's new constitution after the fall of apartheid.
The only thing worse than going to most luncheons is having to write about them -- blow-by-blows of well-meaning, well-deserved appreciations and thank yous and speeches that go on too long.
Masada, which represents a stronghold of Jewish courage and defiance, is among Israel's most visited sites. Located in the Judean Desert, adjacent to the Dead Sea, King Herod the Great built Masada 2,100 years ago as both his winter palace and a place where he would retreat in times of crisis.
Although it illuminates large themes, the Maltz Museum is compact. The permanent exhibit occupies 7,000 square feet of the 24,000-square-foot minimalist building, which is faced in luminous Jerusalem limestone. Elsewhere, exhibits throughout the meandering rooms and alcoves engage and inform museum-goers.
Feiler spoke to The Journal by phone while taking a break from moving into his new Brooklyn home, which he shares with his wife and his 6-month-old identical twin girls.
Poets have been known to wax lyrical about "the glory that was Greece." Yet a visitor to Greece today quickly finds that the glory's not only in the past tense. While those who built the shrines to Zeus and Apollo are long gone, the people who inhabit modern Greece are unquestionably alive.
Meeting in London at a forum organized by the World Organization for Jews From Arab Countries and Justice for Jews From Arab Countries, Jewish representatives from 14 nations met for two days last week to create the steering committee for the International Campaign for Rights and Redress.
"There was level of musical sophistication that goes with the kind of music you can play on the mandolin, and my intention was to start a new acoustic-fusion thing, with an emphasis on string and wind instruments," said Eric Stein, who went on to form Beyond the Pale, a klezmer-fusion band.
In 1986, Oscar-nominated production designer Arthur Max ("Gladiator") visited Jerusalem in the midst of the intifada.
"People told me not to go almost everywhere, but I went everywhere," said Max, who is Jewish. "Of course, some of the Old City was closed off for security reasons, but I went to the Western Wall and into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. And I stood on top of the Jaffa Gate and I looked out over what to me always had been a name, and suddenly I felt connected to my heritage, a close connection to all the Jewish history I had studied as a bar mitzvah.
Max drew on those feelings to recreate medieval Jerusalem for "Kingdom of Heaven," in which the protagonists also journey to Jerusalem to connect to their religious roots. The Ridley Scott film revolves around a crusader (Orlando Bloom) swept up in the 12th-century battle between Christian King Balian and Muslim leader Saladin.
Passover is a time for families to gather, to enjoy each other's company and to recall the story of our shared ancient history.
It is also the perfect time to preserve your family's greatest treasure: the memories and stories of your own family elders.
In 1773, when Capt. Alexander Graydon visited York, Pa., it was a married Jewish hostess who captured his attention.
For Jerusalem to maintain its primacy, its centrality, the brilliant creation of the 1950s, which was then far ahead of its time, had to be updated to the creative language of 21st-century museum-making.
Growing up, I always stood out as a Jew in my predominantly WASP community.
Letters to the Editor
Even in relatively tolerant and officially secular America, Jews long have had to do a dance around the holidays of the majority population. There's a national party going on and, let's face it, we are not invited.
It was not a typical Los Angeles synagogue banquet. Perfumed blonde women spoke French -- melodic, very pretty French akin to how Brazilians speak Portuguese.
Welcome to Chanukah and the December Dilemma. In Hebrew schools all over Los Angeles -- and in temple discussion groups for intermarrieds on how to survive the holiday season -- Chanukah is taught as a ritually dense Jewish substitute for Christmas that needs to elbow its way into some December shelf space, rather than a holiday that commemorates a group of Jews fighting against the forces of Hellenistic secularism to remain an insular, Torah-committed community.
While mainly honoring the composers who were persecuted or perished during the Holocaust, "Silenced Voices" will also feature the works of Felix Mendelssohn and Gustav Mahler, whose "degenerate" music was banned by the Nazis.
Business at Eitan Salman's music store has fallen 80 percent over the last decade, but it's not altogether a bad thing: Mizrahi music has grown so popular in Israel that it no longer is the exclusive domain of mom-and-pop shops like Salman's but is sold even at Israel's Tower Records outlets.
Nikolai Kozitsyn, chief of the Great Host of Don Cossacks, comes rushing into his second-story office in downtown Novocherkassk, apologizing for the informality of his navy blue sweat pants and flip-flops.
"'Jumor' is a look into our own culture through our elderly community," Aaron Krinsky said. "The more homes we visited, the more we realized we were interested in the stories itself, not the comics who told them."
Indeed, like Dorothy from the "Wizard of Oz," I am a young adult on a quest to find her inner soul and place in life. Dorothy transitions from childhood to adulthood, and travels to Oz only to fathom that everything she wanted was in her home, in her own backyard.
No, you didn't have to leave New York to discover Jewish observance, but something had to plant the desire. In my case, it was my bar mitzvah.
Who is Marion Pritchard and why would a Jewish girl choose to share her special day with a non-Jew more than six times her age?
My husband and I spent our courtship on the protest fields of Washington, D.C. Yet here we were, in the thick of planning what I am sure we once believed to be the most bourgeois enterprise imaginable: a "catered affair," entertainment that would cost thousands and be over in a matter of hours. How had we gotten ourselves into this?
A Sunday in the park. A brilliant, bright sun warms the air. The frozen tundra has given way to seedlings, flowers and patches of green.
Local synagogues, Jewish centers and other cultural organizations are holding day camps throughout the summer months that expose children to Jewish culture, popular culture and even pre-Columbian culture.
Before David Weiss came to Hollywood as a 24-year-old screenwriter hopeful, the elders of his church put their hands on him to entrust him with a Godly mission.
Shawn Green sits quietly in the Dodgers dugout waiting for pregame batting practice to begin. His unassuming nature seems at odds with his 6-foot-4 figure; his quiet presence inconsistent with his celebrity.
Block's father owned the lithograph collection, because he was a childhood friend of Abraham Rattner's publisher, New York art dealer Bill Haber.
Day schools are fine for school days. Synagogue is great for Shabbat and High Holidays. But for those weeks when children are in cabins, singing and laughing with friends, Jewish camp is a singular experience of 24/7, full-tilt boogie Judaism.
"Although I attended religious school, summer camp is where I first became connected with being Jewish," said Fred Reisz, a Brentwood attorney and father of two toddlers who was a Camp Hess Kramer camper from 1975 to 1979, then a camp staffer from 1980 to 1985. "I think it's important to realize that these summer camps are 'Jewish summer camps' as opposed to summer camps for Jews; you get a sense of your heritage and it instills a pride and joy in being Jewish."
Setting a contemporary example for the ancient value of "l'dor v'dor" (from generation to generation), supporters of Heritage Pointe will walk through Irvine May 31 in a communitywide 5K walk to raise money for the county's only Jewish retirement home.