WHEELING, W.Va. — One week after Ofer Goren, the Israeli mime, performed at Temple Shalom here, the national director of the organization that sent him came to town to plan future programs and to pitch a conference in Israel for leaders of small Jewish communities around the globe.
When Ari Platt spent a Shabbat in Sderot and saw the depleted condition of civic life there, he knew he had to do something.
In only a few weeks, the Los Angeles native, currently studying at Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem, decided to organize a Purim carnival for the town of Sderot -- a reprieve from their harsh reality for a day of festivity, spirit and celebration. He galvanized support from the Jewish communities in Los Angeles and Israel, despite warnings from his yeshiva that he was embarking on a dangerous mission.
In March, City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski will be termed out of office. Two well-connected front-runners, Bill Rosendahl and Flora Gil Krisiloff, are already battling for the prize of representing the quarter-million people -- including the sizable Jewish communities in places like Brentwood and Pacific Palisades.
Rachel Bamberger Chalkovsky doesn't need statistics to know about poverty in Israel.
Affectionately known as "Bambi," the retired head midwife of Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Hospital can tell heart-wrenching tales of women who gave birth wearing tattered undergarments and shoes, and young women in their prime who are missing several teeth for lack of dental health care and an adequate diet. From reading the postnatal hemoglobin counts of mothers she knows that 20 percent of the 900 birthing mothers coming to the hospital each month are subsisting on food such as bread and margarine.
Jewish parents have good reason to be interested in public school test scores released by the California Department of Education on Aug. 31, although they may need help deciphering them.
In announcing a plan to evacuate nearly all of the Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is signaling that he's serious about creating large blocs of Palestinian territory free of Israelis -- and that he is willing to gamble with his political future.
As 10 wildfires, which ravaged large areas of Southern California, were finally brought under control, Jewish communities joined fellow citizens in facing the aftermath of the painful human and property toll.
Dr. S. Jerome Tamkin doesn't keep a little black book, but he does keep a large white binder. And if you're an educational, Jewish or health organization, you want to be listed there, because the binder tracks 32 organizations which Tamkin and his wife, Judith, have chosen to support through their Tamkin Foundation. And that's just the major projects. It also includes a list of more than 100 additional entities which receive donations from the foundation.
Last week's release of the Israeli-Palestinian "road map" signaled the start of a new round of U.S. Mideast diplomacy and a new challenge for the pro-Israel groups that don't like some interpretations of the plan.
On the final night of the Pacific Jewish Film Festival in February, the South African emigre community jammed the theater to see the comedy about Christians and Jews in South Africa. Long after the credits ended, they stayed, kibbitzing in the aisles, hungering for their own countrymen.
Dara Horn wrote an exuberant scene in her stunning debut novel, "In the Image," upon returning to her dreary garret flat during a year abroad in 1999. "I'd been to this dismal British market in which an entire aisle was devoted to butter and fats," the ebullient Horn, 25, said animatedly. "I recall a product called 'beef drippings.' The produce was wilting. All the milk was expired yesterday.Â I was very homesick."
New York, December 2102:
Historians argue as to the precise moment when the Golden Age of American Jewry we now take for granted truly began. But many point to the cancellation of the National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS), a century ago, in 2002 as a turning point -- an event still shrouded in mystery that became a catalyst for a series of changes even the wisest sage could not have predicted at the time.
An Israel advocacy mobile unit for college campuses. A community rabbi to cover the West San Fernando Valley. A series of cultural events to forge bonds between the Jewish communities of the East Valley. These are just a few of the innovative programs to be launched by grants from The Jewish Federation/Valley Alliance.
While New York, Washington and -- to a slightly lesser degree -- Los Angeles are inundated by visiting Israeli Cabinet ministers and other VIPs, other major American cities and Jewish communities are all but ignored.
A bus trip to visit two Tijuana synagogues this spring provided an irresistible opportunity to learn about two distinctly different Jewish communities in a bustling border metropolis where Jews number fewer than 1 percent of the city's 1.2 million residents.
By far the more unusual of the two shuls was Congregacion Hebrea de Baja California, made up almost entirely of converted Mexican Catholics, including its leader, a charismatic non-ordained rabbi, whose resume includes a stint as a Methodist minister. Carlos Salas Diaz, an imposing man in a dark suit, who welcomed us warmly into the temple's brightly lit sanctuary, looks like the successful businessman he continues to be and at least two decades younger than his chronological age of close to 70.