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  • Madoff says his scheme was not betrayal of the Jews

    March 20, 2014 | 10:48 am

    Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff said in a prison interview that he does not feel he “betrayed the Jews.”

    The scheme — believed to be the largest of its kind in U.S. history — affected a disproportionate number of Jewish individuals and organizations.

    Madoff, 70, is serving a...

  • Six million reasons I don’t like the new Holocaust book

    January 27, 2014 | 12:00 pm

    I admit it. I dropped the ball on the story about the new remember-the-Holocaust-by-printing-the-word-Jew-six-million-times book. I saw it sitting in a veteran Jewish journalist’s office a week ago, but forgot to bring it up to my fellow JTA editors.

    And then I look at the...

  • Jonah Hill’s not-so-nice Jewish guy

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    January 6, 2014 | 5:48 pm

    In January, 2012, when Jonah Hill -- who first became famous for his comic roles in raunch-fests-with-heart, like “Superbad” -- had just received an Academy Award nomination for his dramatic turn as a shy statistics whiz in Bennett Miller’s baseball saga “Moneyball,” he told the...

  • Santa, the Easter bunny and raising a Jewish child

    December 19, 2013 | 1:30 pm

    Last spring, I found myself averting my eyes when my 4-year-old mentioned something about the Easter bunny in front of my dad.

    We were at my parents’ home in Michigan for Passover and my son said, “When I get back to Brooklyn, the Easter bunny is going to bring me a basket!”

    I...

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  • Survey: Israelis in the U.S. become more like American Jews

    December 3, 2013 | 10:22 am

    The longer Israelis live in the United States, the less critical of Israel they are likely to be, a new survey suggests.

    The Internet-based survey of nearly 1,600 people divided respondents into two groups: those living in the United States for less than 10 years, and those...

  • Thanksgivukkah, Emma Lazarus & the Maccabees: Embracing our dual identity

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    November 27, 2013 | 12:09 pm

    There is something much deeper to “Thanksgivukkah” than sweet potato latkes. It is an opportunity to celebrate the blessing of our dual identity as Americans and Jews.

    In 1883, the Jewish-Sephardic-American poet Emma Lazarus was invited to write a poem for a literary auction...

  • On Emil Jacoby’s 90th birthday, a tribute to a life well lived

    November 26, 2013 | 3:50 pm

    In late March 1945, a young Czech Jew hiding in Budapest organized a Passover service for escapees from the Nazis and for those working in the rescue efforts. Most of the people who gathered that day had worked and lived together in hiding. When a stranger appeared, the young Czech...

  • Conservative Judaism reborn — in Germany

    November 26, 2013 | 3:30 pm

    Of late, it’s been depressing to be a Conservative Jew. News of demographic and organizational challenges have fed a frenzy of articles delighting in our imminent demise. Many of the criticisms of Conservative Judaism are rooted in serious and valid concerns. Many of them are...

  • Tigers summon the tribe, swap Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler

    November 21, 2013 | 10:22 am

    Detroit is bringing in the Jews.

    A couple of weeks after hiring Brad Ausmus as manager, the Tigers on Wednesday traded for Ian Kinsler, previously of the Texas Rangers, to play second base. The cost for the Jewish infielder, a three-time American League All-Star: mega-salaried...

  • Watch: Mila Kunis, James Franco, and Zach Braff in ‘Tar’ trailer

    November 12, 2013 | 9:55 am

    And now for your viewing pleasure, the trailer for the indie film “Tar,” or as we like to call it, a film featuring a supremely high ratio of Jews.

    There’s the sexy Mila Kunis, the highly roast-able James Franco, and the quintessential Kickstartering Jersey boy next door, Zach...

  • Paris Jew’s reburial in Israel ends legal battle

    October 30, 2013 | 11:11 am

    A Jewish celebrity art dealer who died in 1870 in France was reburied in Israel after his body was exhumed from his Paris grave due to property laws.

    The funeral for Jacob Giacomo Tedesco on Sunday in Beit Shemesh marked the end of a seven-year legal fight led by his relatives to...

  • Breslow’s bad night, and a save for a Cardinal with a Jew-y name

    October 25, 2013 | 9:30 am

    The St. Louis Cardinals tied up the World Series with Thursday night’s 4-2 win over Boston. The save went to Trevor Rosenthal.

    Regrettably, unlike A.M., Lefty, Hannah and the NFL’s Mike Rosenthal, the Cardinals’ Rosenthal is not a Jew. But the reliever is sometimes mistaken...

  • Judea Pearl reaches out to young Jews

    By Ryan Torok

    October 23, 2013 | 5:11 pm

    “I look at young Jewish boys as the army of the future, the elite force of the army of decency.”

    With these strong words, Judea Pearl — activist, scholar and father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl — used an Oct. 17 lecture to a group of Millennials to emphasize...

  • Goy until proven Jewish

    October 23, 2013 | 1:10 pm

    “Who is a Jew?” is a uniquely Jewish question. It is a question that epitomizes the Jewish people and culture. It is a philosophical question that embodies the history of Jewish debate. It is a question of belonging that symbolizes Jews as a minority. It seems like a theoretical...

  • Pope warns of anti-Semitism as Rome commemorates Holocaust victims

    October 11, 2013 | 10:06 am

    Pope Francis urged vigilance against any resurgence of anti-Semitism ahead of the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Rome’s Jews to Auschwitz.

    Pope Francis made the warning Friday during a meeting at the Vatican with Italian Jewish leaders, including Riccardo Di Segni,...

  • Crisis and opportunity — Reflections on the Pew report

    October 10, 2013 | 12:52 pm

    Full disclosure: I have been thinking about the results of the Pew report for more than a decade. I understand that Pew didn’t release its results until last week, but these statistics and trends have been obvious to some in the Jewish community for a very long time. Four years...

  • ‘Gravity’ and the Pew study

    By Rob Eshman

    October 9, 2013 | 4:28 pm

    I have one big answer to the depressing findings of the Pew poll, but you’re not going to like it.

    The Pew Research Center’s landmark new survey of American Jews came out last week, and the American Jewish community reacted about the way Sandra Bullock does when her tether snaps...

  • Gina Nahai sues USC for discrimination

    By Danielle Berrin

    October 8, 2013 | 3:07 pm

    Gina Nahai, the distinguished Iranian-American author, has filed a workplace discrimination and harassment lawsuit against the University of Southern California and one of its employees, Brighde Mullins, an award-winning playwright and poet who serves as director of the USC...

  • Calendar: October 5-11

    October 7, 2013 | 3:10 pm

    SAT | OCT 5

    YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI

    Shalom Hartman fellow Yossi Klein Halevi serves as Beth Jacob Congregation’s Shabbat scholar in residence. Author of the new book “Like Dreamers,” which explores the story of the soldiers who reunited Jerusalem and divided a nation, Klein Halevi...

  • Engagement trends are negative, but Jewish funders see validation in Pew study

    October 7, 2013 | 10:17 am

    If you’re pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into Jewish identity building, what do you do when a survey comes along showing that the number of U.S. Jews engaging with Jewish life and religion is plummeting?

    That’s the question facing major funders of American Jewish life...

  • Women of the Wall agrees to pray in egalitarian space, with conditions

    October 7, 2013 | 9:50 am

    Women of the Wall agreed in principle to pray in a new egalitarian space adjacent to the Western Wall Plaza, provided the space meets several conditions regarding design and management.

    Until those conditions are met, Women of the Wall said in a statement Monday that it will...

  • A Sunday call on same-sex marriage

    By Gina Nahai

    August 7, 2013 | 11:15 am

    I was talking with a young woman last Sunday afternoon. She had called me because she read the column I wrote here last month, about Sinai Temple’s decision to perform same-sex weddings. She said she’s gay and came out to her family a year ago. They’re Iranian Jews who care a great...

  • A Jew and a Muslim?

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    July 31, 2013 | 1:09 pm

    Most Jews and Muslims rarely talk — really talk — to one another. This is as true in the United States as elsewhere, a stark reality despite our nation’s vast diversity and the ability of so many different peoples to coexist. It is true also in Los Angeles, a city of strong ethnic...

  • Confronting bigotry in all its forms: When is the word ‘Jew’ an offensive stereotype?

    July 16, 2013 | 3:51 pm

    An elected official in a small Florida town last week used the word "jew" as a verb to mean cheap or stingy. This set off a minor controversy which I'll report below. This hardly rises to the level of outrage triggered (pun intended) by the acquittal of George Zimmerman in another...

  • Jews should get offended

    By David Suissa

    June 19, 2013 | 11:48 am

    If there’s one thing the Palestinians are great at, it’s saying no. For years now, many peace-loving Jewish heads have been bruised from banging against the brick wall of Palestinian rejectionism.

    Well, these Jews and others will now have another wall they can bang their heads...

  • South African Jews find a home in L.A.

    By Tom Teicholz

    June 13, 2013 | 10:16 am

    How far can you travel in less than an hour? All the way to Capetown, South Africa, and back, if you are talking to Leora Raikin, a third-generation South African Jew who has lived in Los Angeles for the past 15 years. Raikin will speak about the Jews of South Africa on June 18 at...

  • Parade, day of unity mark Lag B’Omer

    May 1, 2013 | 11:43 am

    Two major community events marked the relatively minor holiday of Lag B’Omer on April 28, bringing some bombast — and thousands of people — to local celebrations.

    In Pico-Robertson, Pico Boulevard was transformed into a pedestrian’s paradise for Jews from across Southern...

  • Yom HaShoah: An eternal nation, bound together by our faith

    April 8, 2013 | 10:32 am

    A few months after my bar mitzvah, my father disappeared.

    We didn’t know what had happened to him.

    In our apartment in Budapest, there was a couch under the window and I would stand on it day after day looking into the street, watching, waiting for my father to appear.

    In a...

  • Suckers at the Casbah

    By David Suissa

    April 8, 2013 | 9:56 am

    Apparently, there are smart people out there who still believe it’s up to Israel to revive the dead Middle East peace process.

    Just last week, over 100 prominent American Jews released a letter, sponsored by the Israel Policy Forum (IPF), urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin...

  • ‘Put yourself in their shoes’

    By Rob Eshman

    March 21, 2013 | 5:52 pm

    It’s been just two days since President Barack Obama touched down in Israel, and no doubt you’ve probably read and heard it all by now. The ribbing banter with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Best Frenemy Forever. The constant ovations during his speeches. The Presidential...

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