Jewish Journal

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  • Reconstructionists to accept rabbinical applicants with non-Jewish partners

    6 days ago

    The Reconstructionist movement will accept rabbinical applicants who have non-Jewish partners.

    A ban on such applicants, last reaffirmed in 2002, was revoked by the Reconstructionist Religious College following a faculty vote last week, the seminary said in a news release...

  • The backyard pilgrim

    By Rob Eshman

    1 week ago

    Just after I built our sukkah this year, my wife and I sat on the swing bench that faces it and admired my handiwork.

    As far as I know, there is no blessing to say when a husband who isn’t especially handy builds a sukkah, but there ought to be. The one I always recite in my head...

  • Israeli ministry pursues World Jewry, despite shortfalls

    1 week ago

    With a budget reaching $300 million, it was conceived as a broad partnership between the Israeli government and leading Diaspora Jewish groups. Its goal: to create a stronger connection between global Jews and Israel.

    But nearly two years after its launch was announced with much...

  • Washington scandal reveals politics behind European Jewish memorials

    2 weeks ago

    A small government agency for preserving European historical sites has been accused of criminal malfeasance, roiling Jewish community officials who say the agency has played a critical role in memorializing Europe’s Jewish past.

    The controversy surrounding the U.S. Commission for...

  • Israeli artist’s stained glass creations bring life, light to community

    By Gerri Miller

    3 weeks ago

    Inside the sanctuary at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJRCA), a transdenominational seminary located in Koreatown, the atmosphere is rather dark and somber. Except, that is, for the brightly colored ner tamid above the ark.

    Made of stained glass, the 60-pound...

  • Pesos from Heaven: A High Holy Days message

    3 weeks ago

    I haven’t seen or spoken to my parents for years now. This isn’t because of negligence or lack of caring, it’s that they’re no longer in this world.

    Nonetheless, we keep in touch. I guess you could call it a “long-distance” relationship.

    With that in mind, I’d like to share...

  • Bubblehood vs. Peoplehood

    By David Suissa

    September 10, 2015 | 11:18 am

    The most overused and abused word in the Jewish world must surely be “community.” Here in Los Angeles, we’re often told that we’re all part of some grand “Jewish community,” but deep down, we know better. If by community we mean a group of like-minded people whose company we enjoy,...

  • Paying to pray? Not quite

    September 9, 2015 | 3:13 pm

    We’ve all heard this story, and some of us have lived it: A Jewish individual or couple, new in town or newly seeking to reconnect with the Jewish community, walks into a worship space just before the start time of a High Holy Days service and starts to enter the sanctuary, only to...

  • The unexpected power of vacation Shabbat

    September 4, 2015 | 3:54 pm

    Shabbat – the 7th day, a day of rest, a chance to refrain from all the usual business of the week. No work, no cell phone, no computer, no spending money. You know the deal. After a busy week, it feels great to give yourself permission to slow down. But what if it wasn’t a busy...

  • Biden: Iran deal opponents seek regime change

    September 4, 2015 | 9:10 am

    Vice President Joe Biden said opponents of the Iran nuclear deal were seeking regime change, which could only be achieved through a messy war.

    “The only thing that would satisfy deal opponents,” including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “is a change in regime,” Biden...

  • IKAR announces its move to Shalhevet

    By Ryan Torok

    September 3, 2015 | 10:58 am

    Egalitarian spiritual community IKAR announced on Aug. 26 that it is relocating to Shalhevet High School’s new building near Olympic Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, following its 11 years operating out of the Westside Jewish Community Center (JCC). 

    “We are thrilled to announce...

  • For aliyah promoters, Ukraine’s troubles provide a boost

    September 1, 2015 | 1:50 pm

    Until April of last year, Julia Podinovskaya felt like she had a pretty good handle on where her life was going.

    Born to a middle-class Jewish family in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, Podinovskaya, who is in her 20s, was volunteering with the local Jewish community while...

  • Facing declining numbers and a bad economy, Italian Jews stay upbeat

    August 31, 2015 | 1:29 pm

    Whenever Georges De Canino worries about the future of Italian Jewry, he looks at the bricks in the building across the street from his apartment in the center of this city’s old Jewish ghetto.

    A painter who sometimes stares at the stones for inspiration, De Canino claims that...

  • Natalie Portman should be commended, not criticized

    August 28, 2015 | 9:27 am

    Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman clearly hit a nerve when, in a recent interview with the British newspaper, The Independent, she questioned the validity of the type of Holocaust education she had received growing up.

    “I think a really big question the Jewish community needs...

  • New director for Hillel 818

    August 27, 2015 | 12:30 pm

    Hillel 818 has undergone a major facelift in the past year, culminating in the April arrival of executive director David Katz, who trekked across the country from Pittsburgh with the hope of bringing a fresh start to Jewish life on three Valley college campuses. 

    Hillel 818 works...

  • Why join a synagogue?

    August 27, 2015 | 12:23 pm

    Why join a temple? When a b’nai mitzvah or a funeral comes along, why not just “rent a rabbi”? After all, you save the dues and you “pay only for what you need.” The problem, of course, is that in this complex world, troubling news and a search to find meaning, “what we need” is a...

  • More than 900 rabbis sign letter opposing Iran nuclear deal

    By Aron Chilewich

    August 27, 2015 | 10:08 am

    Over the past three weeks, more than 900 rabbis across every major denomination have signed an open letter calling upon the United States Congress to reject the proposed Iran nuclear deal. The letter was written by two Los Angeles rabbis, Kalman Topp of Beth Jacob Congregation and...

  • Response to Rabbi Fine

    August 26, 2015 | 12:55 pm

    Less than half a century ago, the vast majority of Conservative congregations in the US were non-egalitarian. There were no rabbis who were women. Lots of synagogues refused to allow a woman even to step onto the bimah. Baby girls got a cursory naming at which they were rarely...

  • Don’t make me shlep my heart: Breaking down the Jewish dating scene

    August 26, 2015 | 11:49 am

    Dating. It’s like going out for ice cream. That’s right, ice cream, the official food of heaven (idk probably). Sometimes you’re craving a certain flavor, sometimes it makes you sick, other times it’s too much like “Whoa these are the size of your scoops, how does anyone ever...

  • Seder lessons for the High Holy Day services

    August 25, 2015 | 10:55 am

    For the greater part of the last decade, my wife Rachel and I have led communal Passover sedarim and services, as well as High Holy Days Services for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, in Manhattan. The first seven years of leading services were geared towards unaffiliated young...

  • Cutting Edge Grants from the Jewish Community Foundation

    By Aron Chilewich

    August 19, 2015 | 11:34 am

    The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles has named nine initiatives the recipients of its annual Cutting Edge Grants program, intended to support creative thinkers, social entrepreneurs and innovative organizations in the local Jewish community. 

    This year’s winners will...

  • ADL preps community for High Holy Days security demands

    By Ryan Torok

    August 19, 2015 | 11:20 am

    The three silent surveillance videos showed an all-too-disturbing sequence of events: First, a shooter carries a rifle into a supermarket in broad daylight; people flee the store and run for their lives. The shooter begins firing at people inside the market before struggling with a...

  • The real story of immigration in the Dominican Republic

    August 14, 2015 | 11:38 am

    Recently, Ruth Messinger wrote an op-ed about the immigration and citizenship policies of the Dominican Republic and how they affect people of Haitian descent.  

    While I  agree with Ms. Messinger that we should care for and support those of Haitian descent in the Dominican...

  • Response to Ruth Messinger

    August 14, 2015 | 11:30 am

    I have just read the article posted by Ruth Messinger titled “American Jews Must Speak out for Haitians in the Dominican Republic”. It is obvious that Ms. Messinger has never been to the Dominican Republic, knows nothing about the Dominican Republic and is totally ignorant on the...

  • Love each other

    August 6, 2015 | 9:53 am

    We are different.
    We don’t dress the same (although we both wear kippot around town and tallitot when we pray). Our accents are different (in 60 seconds you’ll be able to guess who is from Brooklyn and who, from Omaha). More significantly, we don’t understand Judaism or...
  • With Special Olympics underway, L.A. Jews rally behind Israel

    July 29, 2015 | 3:21 pm

    Stevie Wonder performed a song, late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel told jokes and First Lady Michelle Obama gave a passionate and inspiring speech. But on the evening of July 25, the A-list celebrities gladly ceded the spotlight to thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities...

  • The Dichotomy and Merger of the Traditional and Modern: Eugeniusz Zak

    By Milad Doroudian

    July 27, 2015 | 3:32 pm

    It is rather difficult to imagine the crossroads which art takes at times through its progress, yet it is even more so to understand it as a fluid and often complex road towards dichotomies and mergers of styles, forms, and periods. If there is one artist that helps us understand...

  • For black Orthodox Jews, constant racism is exhausting

    July 20, 2015 | 9:19 am

    When I was 24, an Orthodox matchmaker tried to set me up on a date with a man older than my parents. When I objected, she told me, “Stop being so picky. Not many guys are willing to consider a black girl.”

    As an African-American Orthodox Jew, this was hardly my first encounter...

  • The Federation situation: The good, the bad and the ugly collide in online debate

    By Esther D. Kustanowitz

    July 15, 2015 | 3:25 pm

    Last week, as the world wondered if an Iran nuclear agreement would be reached, the online Jewish world was being consumed by a different, but no less passionate debate: the role of Jewish Federations in today’s world.

    The conversation began with an online post in...

  • Jewish community reacts to the Iran nuclear deal

    July 14, 2015 | 7:49 am

    The Jewish community in Los Angeles and nationwide reacted to the news the Iranian nuclear deal had been reached:


    This agreement liberates resources to a regime whose core anti-Semitic and declaredly genocidal ideology is manifest. I fear that...

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