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  • Women rabbis at forefront of pioneering prayer communities

    1 week ago

    A decade ago in Los Angeles, two organizations opened their doors with a call to prayer — or they would have if they had any doors to open.

    Ikar, led by Rabbi Sharon Brous, and Nashuva, led by Rabbi Naomi Levy, were conceived separately. But when they launched in 2004, both...

  • Finding solutions to reducing teen stress

    By Avishay Artsy

    2 weeks ago

    Every weekday at around 6:30 a.m., Henry Muhlheim hits the snooze button a few times before getting up and driving from Hancock Park to Harvard-Westlake School, one of the country’s top private high schools.

    The 17-year-old junior then winds his way through a grueling schedule of...

  • Moving and shaking: American Friends of Magen David Adom, Breed Street Shul and more

    By Ryan Torok

    October 30, 2014 | 9:58 am

    It was the emotional highlight of the night — in fact, it would have been the emotional highlight of any night. During American Friends of Magen David Adom’s (AFMDA) star-studded Red Star Ball on Oct. 23, two victims of Hamas rocket attacks were reunited with the Magen David Adom...

  • How to Shmita in California

    September 23, 2014 | 3:27 pm

    Shmita, the Torah-mandated break that refreshes every seven years, and which is observed in the coming new year, 5775, is being reinterpreted in Los Angeles.

    The key concepts of shmita, which means “release,” are found in the Torah portion Mishpatim in Exodus (“Six years you...

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  • Hipster guide to the High Holy Days

    By Avishay Artsy

    September 18, 2014 | 11:56 am

    3 ways to find High Holy Day meals

     

    Ask your Jewish friends’ parents to adopt you for a couple of weeks.

    Call your local synagogue and have them match you with a family.

    Check out Sinai Temple’s “Break the Fast” on Yom Kippur, Oct. 4, 8-10:30 p.m. It’s $10 for guests, free...

  • Jews and Jim Crow

    By Danielle Berrin

    July 3, 2014 | 12:59 am

    After Shabbat services two weeks ago, I nearly quit my job.

    That reflex came after a community discussion on Michelle Alexander’s 2011 book “The New Jim Crow,” about racial injustice and inequality in America; I found it impossible to fend off very dark thoughts urging me to...

  • Sukkot Calendar 2013

    By Laura Donney

    September 18, 2013 | 11:18 am

    SUN | SEPT 22

    SUKKOT FAMILY FUN DAY

    Get your harvesting on in Malibu! The Shalom Institute is offering a day filled with organic gardening, ziplining, nature walks and music. Families can also indulge in arts and crafts and meet animals in the Pinat Chai Animal Center. Kosher...

  • Coping with loss in the age of the internet

    By Esther D. Kustanowitz

    September 10, 2013 | 4:47 pm

    When my mother, Shulamit E. Kustanowitz, died in May 2011, the in-person Jewish community provided all the basics — post-shivah meals, abundant hugs and three places to say Kaddish: Temple Beth Am for daily minyan, Friday nights at IKAR and Shabbat mornings at B’nai David-Judea....

  • High Holy Days: What’s NEXT for Birthright

    By Ryan Torok

    August 14, 2013 | 2:26 pm

    High Holiday map screenshot. Courtesy of NEXT.

    On Aug. 5, the Birthright Israel alumni organization NEXT launched its 2013 High Holy Days initiative. It features an interactive, nationwide map of services and events — including learning opportunities, dinners and...

  • Mayor Garcetti calls on fellow Jews to help

    August 6, 2013 | 10:05 am

    Mayor Eric Garcetti said his close ties to the Jewish community will not only enable him to respond better to communal concerns, but also spur him to draw on the community for its help in addressing some of the city’s pressing needs.

    The new mayor spoke to about 150 invited...

  • Tu b’Av love fest puts yentas to work

    By Zan Romanoff

    July 24, 2013 | 4:34 pm

    “Come on! Come on, everyone, we’re here to make mispachah [family].” 

    That was the rallying cry in the crowded courtyard of Wilshire Boulevard Temple on the night of July 20, as well-dressed young women skilled at walking in heels circled boys in button-downs, looking for a man...

  • The problem with prayer

    By David Suissa

    July 17, 2013 | 11:39 am

    If the practice of Judaism is based on synagogue attendance, and if synagogue attendance is based on the passive recitation of prayer, then Judaism is in trouble.

    The ritual of repetitive communal prayer might have worked in the shtetls to keep Jews Jewish, but it doesn’t work in...

  • West Coast Zion

    By Rob Eshman

    May 29, 2013 | 11:11 am

    Just before I sat down to talk about the future of L.A. Jews, I took a quick tour of L.A.’s Jewish past.

    “Jews in the Los Angeles Mosaic,” the new exhibition at the Autry National Center, begins with the Gold Rush-era influx of Jewish merchants to what was then an iffy, isolated...

  • Rabbi Sharon Brous named top U.S. rabbi

    March 21, 2013 | 12:53 pm

    Rabbi Sharon Brous, spiritual leader of IKAR, a nine-year-old independent congregation in Los Angeles, was named America’s Top Rabbi for 2013 by The Daily Beast.

    Brous has been on the list of America’s 50 Top Rabbis , previously published by the now-defunct Newsweek, every year...

  • The 21st century b’nai mitzvah

    By Ryan Torok

    March 13, 2013 | 7:41 am

    When Isa Aron considers b’nai mitzvah today, she gets the impression that parents — and sometimes synagogues — care more about their son or daughter performing flawlessly when on the bimah than they do about their forming lasting connections to Judaism.

    “The moment itself is...

  • Getting to Know You...

    By Susan Freudenheim

    February 27, 2013 | 3:19 pm

    In 2000, an urban congregation of 1,000 families found itself at a crossroads. The synagogue had a balanced budget and a beloved rabbi who was retiring after three decades, but its building was badly in need of repairs and the congregation was aging. To survive, the leadership felt...

  • Mar. 2-8

    By Ryan Torok

    February 27, 2013 | 6:55 am

    SUN MARCH 3

    PETER YARROW

    One-third of the legendary Peter, Paul & Mary, the folk icon and political activist has reinvented himself by authoring children’s books that draw on egalitarian themes. His latest book, “I’m in Love With a Big Blue Frog,” celebrates diversity,...

  • Eric Garcetti: A new Jewish face for L.A.?

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    February 7, 2013 | 2:52 pm

    This is one in a series of profiles of the five leading Los Angeles mayoral candidates running in the March 5 election.  See below for a video analysis.

    During a recent candidates’ forum at Sinai Temple, Los Angeles City Councilman and mayoral hopeful Eric Garcetti began his...

  • Rabbi Sharon Brous blesses inauguration

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    January 22, 2013 | 11:38 am

    Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR offered blessings on Jan. 22 at the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., which traditionally is held the day following the official inauguration.

    “Elohei ha-ahavah, God of Love,” Brous began, addressing...

  • What’s So Special About Rabbi Sharon Brous?

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    January 16, 2013 | 7:00 am

    Last weekend we were privileged to have Rabbi Sharon Brous from Ikar speak at our congregation and at a couple of other events in the area. We all agreed she was fabulous, but it got me to wondering what, exactly, sets her apart from so many other rabbis?

    I’ll start out by saying...

  • Jews volunteering on Christmas

    By Ryan Torok

    December 19, 2012 | 3:23 pm

    Whether it’s dressing up as Santa Claus and posing for photographs with low-income kids or serving turkey and ham to the homeless, many Jews volunteer to break out of their element at this time of year in order to bring Christmas joy to families in need.

    Among them is Rabbi Mark...

  • Rabbi Sharon Brous vs. Rabbi Daniel Gordis: Betrayal or compassion?

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    November 29, 2012 | 12:36 pm

    When Rabbi Sharon Brous first read an essay by Rabbi Daniel Gordis, a colleague and former teacher, accusing her of betraying Israel, she was shocked and angry, she said. Nevertheless, her initial instinct was to refrain from feeding the publicity machine.

    Gordis’ article, posted...

  • Let there be light

    By Susan Freudenheim

    October 3, 2012 | 12:04 pm

    We take light for granted. But in the Torah’s opening chapter of Bereshit, it was God’s first gift.

    It seems fitting, then, that when a local synagogue committed itself to helping an impoverished village in rural Uganda, the first gift would be to turn on the lights — to give the...

  • High holy days and high political offices: an L.A. roundup

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    September 27, 2012 | 12:06 pm

    Jewish and non-, Los Angeles’s politicians were out in the packed pews of synagogues around Los Angeles these past couple of weeks.

    California Gov. Jerry Brown may have commanded Yom Kippur’s highest profile gig, speaking about Prop. 30, his ballot initiative that would raise...

  • Hillel Tigay: The Rock Cantor

    By Danielle Berrin

    September 19, 2012 | 1:50 pm

    This article was updated October 9: It’s 9 p.m. on a Thursday night at Apogee’s Berkeley Street Studio in Santa Monica, a state-of-the-art recording facility normally leased to musicians such as Mick Jagger or John Fogerty, or lately, Adele; artists whose grandeur requires the...

  • Making mitzvahs feel authentic

    August 22, 2012 | 5:08 pm

    Jack Kessler, 14, completed his mitzvah project last summer by working at a Friendship Circle camp for teens on the autism spectrum. He says the volunteer effort, which some synagogues require of their b’nai mitzvah students, helped him realize his priorities.

    “School is the...

  • Express your solidarity with Wisconsin’s Sikh community

    By Ryan Torok

    August 7, 2012 | 1:17 pm

    In the wake of Sunday’s shooting in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left six dead and three more wounded, over 2,000 people have submitted e-notes expressing solidarity for Wisconsin’s Sikh community, including “Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists, Unitarian...

  • IKAR successfully pushes revision of LAPD’s car impoundment policy at DUI checkpoints

    By Ryan Torok

    March 23, 2011 | 12:14 pm

    Following six months of advocacy work by the congregation of IKAR, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officials announced that they would no longer impound unlicensed drivers’ cars at sobriety checkpoints, a victory for undocumented immigrants who cannot obtain drivers licenses...

  • Jewish Funds for Justice launches web video to inspire empathy

    By Ryan Torok

    November 10, 2010 | 10:03 am

    Recently, the nonprofit group Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ) launched a bipartisan Web video, “Al Tirah!” with the hope of encouraging people to vote during the midterm elections, but the organization wants the message of the film — that people should feel empathy for others,...

  • Letters to the Editor:  IKAR, Friends, and David Pine

    June 29, 2010 | 11:39 pm

    Creative Worship Abounds

    As Julie Gruenbaum Fax noted, Los Angeles is at the vanguard of a national trend in creating inventive Jewish worship opportunities (“How Different Is IKAR?” June 25).

    Fax missed L.A.’s vanguard of the vanguards, the Movable Minyan, now going into...

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