Jewish Journal

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  • To be a Jew means ‘I love you’

    1 week ago

    On Thursday last week, a suicide bomber murdered forty three human beings in Beirut and injured two hundred and forty. On Friday last week, a suicide bomber murdered nineteen human beings in Bagdad and injured thirty three. In Paris, seven men murdered one hundred twenty three...

  • Jewish leader in Germany suggests cap on number of refugees

    1 week ago

    The head of Germany’s main Jewish organization has suggested capping the number of refugees allowed into the country, so Germany can do a better job of integrating those already there.

    At issue are attitudes toward Jews, women and gays in the home countries of many refugees, said...

  • White House seeks menorahs with stories for this year’s Chanukah party

    2 weeks ago

    The White House is looking for menorahs with unique stories for its Hanukkah celebration this year.

    Matt Nosanchuk, the White House liaison to the Jewish community, on Nov. 11 posted an entry on the White House website soliciting ideas for menorahs, noting it was the first time...

  • Outside the tent or in—what would Matriarch Rebecca have said?

    3 weeks ago

    This past week I have been reflecting on something important. Is there a red line that propels someone beyond the pale and out of the tent if they cross it? It is a fundamental question for all of us, and particularly for a rabbi, whose job as a representative of Judaism is to...

  • Five questions for the first woman to chair the Union for Reform Judaism

    3 weeks ago

    Last week was a big one for Daryl Messinger. A resident of Palo Alto, Calif., and an active board member of several organizations, Messinger was installed as chair of the Union for Reform Judaism, becoming the first woman to hold that post. And she chanted Torah for the first time...

  • Embracing the Broken in Our Communities

    By Beit T'shuvah

    November 3, 2015 | 10:51 am

    The one thing I surely know about myself and the Jews that I serve is that we are Americans.  Yes, we love baseball, apple pie, and Hollywood.  We have unequivocally benefited from all of the rights and security that America has granted, and we appreciate them.  And, in a way,...

  • Skip college — embrace Judaism and learn a trade

    October 30, 2015 | 9:51 am

    The conventional profile of American Jews is that they tend to be highly educated and work in professions like medicine, finance, law and the academy.

    Jews, of course, “value education,” as the trope about the “People of the Book” goes. And American Jews, since they started...

  • Pope Francis: Attacks on Israel are anti-Semitic

    October 30, 2015 | 9:46 am

    Pope Francis said that attacks both on Jews and the State of Israel are anti-Semitic.

    “To attack Jews is anti-Semitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also anti-Semitism,” the pope said in a private meeting at the Vatican with Jewish leaders on Wednesday,...

  • On eve of biennial, 9 things to know about Reform Judaism

    October 27, 2015 | 10:50 am

    Some 5,000 Reform Jews will gather Nov. 4-8 in Orlando, Florida, for the biennial conference of the Union for Reform Judaism. With about one in three American Jews identifying as Reform, the movement constitutes America’s largest Jewish religious denomination. Read on for...

  • Ron Wolfson: A precious gift from his Zayde and Bubbe

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    October 21, 2015 | 3:49 pm

    The Jewish community in Southern California is richly blessed with high-profile pulpit rabbis, and we tend to turn to these influential women and men when we want to know about Jewish identity and practice. But respect must be paid, too, to those whose teaching takes place outside...

  • At Israeli-American Council’s second national conference, more people and less politics

    By Jared Sichel

    October 20, 2015 | 1:43 pm

    As about 1,300 Israeli Americans convened from Oct. 17-19 in Washington, D.C., for the Israeli-American Council’s (IAC) second annual national conference, anxiety and anger over the recent wave of Palestinian stabbings in Israel was a much-discussed topic during a weekend that was...

  • Steve Gutow’s 10-year crusade for Jewish civility ending on bitter note

    October 13, 2015 | 12:06 pm

    For the past 10 years, Rabbi Steve Gutow has been trying to get American Jews to be more civil to each other, especially in debates about political issues.

    But a decade on, as he prepares to step down from the helm of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the community seems...

  • Reconstructionists to accept rabbinical applicants with non-Jewish partners

    October 1, 2015 | 9:14 am

    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

    September 30, 2015 | 12:14 pm

    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

    September 30, 2015 | 10:12 am

    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

    September 21, 2015 | 9:45 am

    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

    September 16, 2015 | 3:49 pm

    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

    September 16, 2015 | 3:23 pm

    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...

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