Twenty years later, the mass immigration from the former FSU established distinct communities in the United States, Israel and Germany.
Tribe Media Corp., parent company of The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, has launched the first Jewish news app designed specifically for the iPad.
Nora Raleigh Baskin's fifth novel for middle-graders is her first "Jewish" book. Her books are the kind that draw young readers with the simple truth all good writers seem to share
Whether you're drinking filtered, spring or mineral water, purity has long been considered a desired element in bottled water. But when it comes to purity, only one word can truly capture it all -- kosher.
My mother, Sylvia Goldstein, Sura Malka bas Yeshiya, passed away on March 11, the fourth of Adar II. She was 92 and had the full use of her mind and wit all of her years.We moved on to the week of shiva.
Thank you. That's the profound message of this column: Thank you. The instigators, organizers and volunteers who brought Limmud to Los Angeles last weekend deserve our gratitude for challenging one of the long-held orthodoxies of the L.A. Jewish community: There is no Jewish community.
In my dream, I would see a mini-Skirball right in the heart of the hood, nestled among the shuls, food markets and falafel joints of Pico Boulevard. I love the idea that as people walk and drive through the neighborhood, they will see that Jewish creativity is part of the soul of Jewish life -- at least as important as a Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs or even a house of worship. In a neighborhood where many people stick to their own communities, the museum would be the place for all communities -- the place that would celebrate peoplehood right in the hood.
The bar and bat mitzvah is traditionally viewed as an entry point into the adult Jewish community, but for many, it's also seen as the door out of both Jewish education and the synagogue. For those who become congregants, Los Angeles synagogues are trying to help b'nai mitzvah students and families understand that the ceremony and its preparation symbolize one point on a continuum of Jewish life and learning. Their goal is to strengthen the communal ties of their marginally committed congregants.
Kiril Alexandrovich's Cafe Hillel, which was expected to open last week, is the first effort in Odessa at co-branding undertaken by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. The partnership aims to transform Jewish youth organizing in the former Soviet Union, leaving behind the club model and heading out into the cities, where young Jews work and play.
Pressman and the group did create another entity, what has become known as "The Library Minyan," named for the downstairs library where the 15 families began to meet weekly to pray. Members organized and participated in all parts of the service (especially the weekly sermon), discussed all aspects of Judaism and debated the increasingly complex issues of the changing times.Thirty-six years later, the Library Minyan, with its opportunities for engagement and intellectual rigor is seen as having helped to start a revolution -- empowering lay leaders in the essential structure of spiritual leadership. It has become a model for many Conservative and Reform congregations seeking to create alternatives both within and outside the fold of conventional synagogue structure, and has allowed individual congregations to morph it into new and ever-changing incarnations.This weekend, the Library Minyan will celebrate its double-chai anniversary (two times "life") with a Shabbaton Nov. 2-4 that will remember the past but also look toward the future.
Ari Greenspan and his colleague, Ari Zivotofsky, a neuroscientist at Bar-Ilan University, have an ongoing project to document all manner of etrog, the Aramaic word for citron, traditions from pockets of time and place in the Jewish world
A funny thing happened to young Jeffrey Rosenberg on his way to becoming a bar mitzvah -- the lights went out all over town.
Last year we moved into a home large enough to build the sukkah we've been dreaming of for a long time.
We were intent on doing what our Ashkenazi forebearers, who lived in inhospitably cold climates, could not do. We were intent on doing Sukkot the way the Talmud prescribes, meaning 24/7, including spending nights there.
Zimmerman's installation is one of three works from the Skirball's permanent collection on view in the exhibition "Artful Dwellings: Sukkot at the Skirball." The other two are by artists Sam Erenberg and Therman Statom.
Vast slums perch precariously in the hills overlooking Rio de Janeiro, each made up of thousands of sukkot -- flimsy shacks in which people live
The purpose of this speech is to prepare you for your bar mitzvah. And to let you know -- as Noah thought when he received the blueprints from the Master Shipbuilder -- this ain't gonna be easy.
It's been said that when it comes to raising children, the days go slow and the years go fast. As I find myself in the thick of planning my second son's bar mitzvah, these words ring all too true.
Since the beginning of human history, man has struggled to figure out the meaning of life. Writer and solo performer Matt Sax's hip-hop musical, "Clay," doesn't just explain the notion of pain and struggle, but makes audiences part of the cure.
When she set out to write the first comprehensive Jewish travel guidebook on the countries of the former Eastern bloc, Ruth Ellen Gruber might as well have been documenting the secret life of a New Guinea tribe of cannibals.
Nextbook, an organization devoted to Jewish literature, culture and ideas (www.nextbook.org) came to L.A. last weekend, staging a full day festival at UCLA's MacGowan and Freud theaters called "Acting Jewish: Film, TV, Comedy, Music," the first of what it hopes to be an annual event.
Trying to encapsulate the Jewish experience in a single film is like pouring Lake Michigan into your bathtub. And it wouldn't be any easier with a dozen films. So you can forgive Hilary Helstein, the director of the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF), for wanting to make her event bigger.
Just four years ago, Nextbook got its start as an organization committed to promoting public library programs dedicated to Jewish topics. In short order, the ever-evolving nonprofit has conquered a swath of territory in the contested realm of Jewish arts and ideas, steadily expanding while maintaining its focus on Jewish cultural and intellectual life.
If I were the boss of L.A. Jewry, I'd make it easier for French Jews to move to Los Angeles. Why? Because many of them would love to live here. And judging from those that have already settled here, they boost the local economy, they enhance our quality of life, and they love their Judaism.
When I turned 18 years old, my parents gave me a pair of diamond earrings. Later that same night at a comedy club, when a comedian on stage asked me what I got for my birthday, I showed him the diamonds.
"You must be Jewish, right?" he said.
I was -- still am, as a matter of fact. But I didn't know yet about Jews and diamonds. I'm not talking about the diamond industry, in which Israeli and Diaspora Jews are heavily involved, but in the purchase and wearing of diamonds.
The holidays are over, and I'm full.I spent a week with family in Manhattan, eating.And when I wasn't eating, I was reading a landmark book -- about food.
First, let me say that by the time I announced to my family that I was actually getting married, at the already questionable child-bearing age of 34, they would have been ecstatic had I said I was marrying a Martian.The fact that Larry was a lawyer, on the partner track at a reputable Los Angeles law firm, was a bonus. The fact that he was a Jewish lawyer, strongly identified as a Member of the Tribe and actively engaged in the community, was beyond their wildest hopes.
In Jason Robert Brown's new rock musical, "13," the 13-year-old characters stand in a semicircle, staring bewilderedly at scraps of parchment.The teenagers in this show, which has its world premiere Jan. 7 at the Mark Taper Forum downtown, are non-Jewish students at a middle school in the fictional Appleton, Ind., and the "mysterious" documents are invitations to a bar mitzvah, courtesy of the Jewish new-kid-in-town, Evan Goldman.This funny-poignant piece is the brainchild of 36-year-old composer-lyricist Brown -- who is often described as a successor to Stephen Sondheim -- and among the smartest and most sophisticated talents in today's musical theater.
Listening to "The Shabbat Lounge" (Craig N Co.), the latest album in Craig Taubman's "Lounge" series, your first thought is, "Gee, this is such a natural, why didn't he begin the series with this one instead of shuffling through the holidays?" The answer, I suspect, is that the songs for Shabbat are so familiar that Taubman felt on surer ground tinkering with less well-known material.
Moses made the first menorah. God commanded him to hammer out an ornate, free-standing, seven-branched candelabrum, replete with cups, knobs and flowers, from a solid piece of gold. Back then, in the desert tabernacle, and later in the First and Second Temple, the menorah fulfilled a largely inspirational and symbolic function. It was lit with the purest oil in an outside area, and it was meant to illuminate the world with the light of God and the Torah.But the menorah has changed over time.
In a gallery carved into a stone wall amid the ancient ruins of Caesarea, Eran Grebler sits at a potter's wheel shaping clay dreidels.Grebler's dreidels are not your typical spinning tops. They don't have four sides, and they're not necessarily for Chanukah.
Every Chanukah we seem to throw ourselves into planning the perfect celebration.But the reality during Chanukah is that I start off feeling overwhelmed and end up exhausted.Our expectations of Chanukah -- or any holiday -- are often exaggerated by childhood experiences, for better or for worse.
The Skirball Cultural Center has chosen to focus on Italian Jewry as the theme for its upcoming "Hanukkah Family Festival," a series of performances, workshops, exhibits and other activities on Sunday, Dec. 10.
Before a packed meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) three years ago, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) connected her political support for the Jewish state with her personal life.
Now that the Democrats have taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the party is expected to install Pelosi, 66, as speaker, making her the first woman to hold the position that is two heartbeats away from the presidency.
A new series, "The Nine," created by siblings Hank ("Without a Trace") and K.J. Steinberg ("Judging Amy"), tells the story of nine strangers at a L.A. bank and a robbery that will "only take five minutes" -- until, in TV fashion, something goes horribly wrong. The flashbacks -- very small ones that lead every episode -- only hint to the whole story of what happened during the 52-hour standoff.
Christy's bat mitzvah was a monumental event for her entire family. The synagogue was full, featuring out-of-towners from New York, San Francisco and Raleigh, N.C. It was the first time that many of them had been in a synagogue.I spend countless hours preparing for these days with students and their parents.
David Wiseman is a 12-year-old Jewish boy growing up in London in the early 1960s, and his passion is cricket. He spends most of his free time rearranging and talking to his card collection of British and West Indian cricket greats, who in turn talk back to him.The movie about David, his immigrant parents and the changing neighborhood and country in which he grows up was originally called, "Outfielder," a title that might have attracted legions of unwitting baseball fans in the United States. Now, the more awkward title is "Wondrous Oblivion," and if that turns off potential viewers, it will be their loss.
In their previous screenplay collaborations, Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy have satirized such offbeat subjects as small-town theatrical productions ("Waiting for Guffman"), championship dog shows ("Best in Show"), and old folk music groups ("A Mighty Wind").But for their latest, "For Your Consideration," they've really gone out on a limb with an obscure target -- Purim movies."For Your Consideration" chronicles the making of a tear-jerking melodrama, "Home for Purim," in which the dying matriarch of a Southern Jewish family, Esther Pischer (Catherine O'Hara), waits for the holiday-season return of her wayward daughter, Rachel (Parker Posey). Both the Yiddish and the southern accents are thick.
We love to play Jewish Geography. Whenever we meet a fellow Jew for the first time, we try to find mutual people or places we might have in common.
Linguists have predicted that within 100 years, more than half of the 6,000 languages that exist today will disappear.
For a long time, it's looked as though Yiddish was among those bound for extinction, but scholars and Yiddish speakers, as well as some Jews who remember their parents speaking Yiddish, have never given up on the language.
And now there's a better chance that a new generation of Jews will understand Yiddish and the Jewish culture it embodies. This fall, three local Jewish day schools will offer their middle and high school students classes in Yiddish, the language spoken for 1,000 years by Ashkenazi Jews of eastern and central Europe.
The three schools represent a spectrum of Jewish education and geography in Los Angeles: New Community Jewish High School in the west San Fernando Valley is non-denominational, Shalhevet School in the Fairfax district is Orthodox and Sinai Akiba Academy in West Los Angeles is Conservative.
Jewelry artist Gail Goldin grew up immersed in Jewish culture and scrap metal, a combination that helped inspire her Modern Myths collection.
She comes by this unusual convergence of influences through her father, Steven Goldin, a freedom fighter in Poland who helped fellow Jews escape over the Alps during World War II, before building his own business in the U.S. scrap-metal industry. The family belonged to an Orthodox shul in Detroit, although they weren't Orthodox.
When Goldin put this all together -- stirring in some life experience and a fascination with universal spiritual symbols from world cultures -- she first made silver rings adorned with carved Asian good-luck beads called netsukes. Out of these rings came the idea for her Modern Myths collection. Several Modern Myths pieces combine stones with beads, mounted in ornate bezel designed silver.
Ari Greenspan knows his matzah. It's not the only thing he knows, but he definitely knows his matzah.
Jerry Freedman Habush led excursions through historic Jewish Los Angeles as vice president of tours at the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California (JHS) for more than 20 years. In recent months, Habush's commitment slowed, but not from a waning passion. He was receiving chemotherapy for cancer that spread through his pancreas, liver and lungs. Habush died on July 29 at age 60.
Terry Paule wanted her weekends to include Jewish-infused events, which she was hard pressed to find when she moved to Orange County in 2000.
Forget her 28 Vogue magazine covers.
Isabella Rossellini, mit sheitl, is portraying a Chassidic Jewish woman in actor Jeroen Krabbe's post-Holocaust saga, "Left Luggage." It's the most unexpected casting of the season.