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  • Hebrew Hoops Basketball Camp Coming to LA

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    12 hours ago

    One of my passions is Jewish college students. I have had the honor of being a campus rabbi at Long Beach State, UC Irvine, and for the last two years with University of Southern California Hillel.

    So many of our Jewish students are passionate about life and making the world a...

  • A lesson learned

    3 days ago

    Over recent months, I have had the dubious experience of watching a significant amount of broadcast television. Suffice it to say, some of it was good, and some quickly became a fleeting memory.

    One of my “discoveries” was TBN, the Trinity Broadcasting Network. TBN identifies...

  • From a Romanian village to Jewish Los Angeles

    By Avishay Artsy

    1 week ago

    The journey to Judaism was a long one for Kinga Dobos. She grew up in a poor village in Romania and struggled to fit in as a teenager in Hungary. She worked for years as an au pair in Great Britain and the United States, and it was the Jewish families that took her into their homes...

  • On Shavuot, reopening the book

    1 week ago

    On Shavuot, which this year falls on May 23, we celebrate the day that we received the Torah on Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago. Think about that. Every year, we celebrate receiving the exact same book, or, more precisely, re-receiving the exact same Torah. But if I possess...

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  • Sexy Birthright and the Pew

    By Zev Hurwitz

    1 week ago

    Pew Pew!

    Last week's Pew release gives us some insight into the most up-to-date status of American Jewry. It's not great, but it could be worse.

    We can summarize the latest findings and the subsequent community reaction on American religious affiliation with just a few...

  • 300+ Rabbis Sign activist “Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis”:  Encouraged by Pope Francis

    By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    2 weeks ago

    More than 300 rabbis have signed a Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis, calling for vigorous action to prevent worsening climate disruption, to seek eco-social justice, and to shape a world f shared sustainable abundance..

    We are delighted to share the news of this major and...

  • Open minds and full hearts at Lev Eisha

    By Tess Cutler

    2 weeks ago

    Lev Eisha is a modern-day Red Tent, except instead of gathering in a portable desert shelter, this women’s minyan congregates just miles from the beach in a West Los Angeles synagogue on the vast, summer-camp-like premises of Vista Del Mar.

    Don’t be totally misled — there are a...

  • Conversion Complications - why is it so hard to convert to Judaism?

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    2 weeks ago

    When Jenny Magril’s family made Aliyah from Belarus, she did not feel any different from the rest of the kids in her class. She celebrated the same holidays, spoke the same language and felt just as Jewish as the rest of them. Only according to the Jewish Law she was considered a...

  • Sagan, Stars and Grains of Sand

    By Roger Price

    2 weeks ago

    Who could look at the stars and yawn? Certainly not astronomer Carl Sagan. Sagan, a serious scientist, popularized a journey though the universe just over a third of a century ago with his award winning TV series, Cosmos. To impress upon his viewers how many stars existed, Sagan...

  • NewGround Fellow Responds to Shootings in Garland, TX

    3 weeks ago

    On Sunday, May 3, a cohort of Jews and Muslims, members of a group called NewGround, were praying side by side at an event called “Two Faiths One Prayer” in Los Angeles. From sunrise to well after sunset, the NewGround fellows took their prayers to five different public spots...

  • Ancient Torah Speaks to the Climate Crisis: From Eden to Manna to Sabbatical Year to Now

    By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    April 28, 2015 | 9:29 am

    On the Shabbat of May 15-16, the Torah reading (Leviticus 25-27) sets forth the Torah’s most explicit and most powerful regimen for healing the Earth from human over-use.

    It is a regimen and rhythm of making sure the Earth gets to rest in every seventh year – a teaching that...

  • Rabbi Edward Feinstein on Parashat Shemini (Leviticus 9:1 11:47)

    April 17, 2015 | 1:16 pm

    Americans have an infatuation with leaders. The English philosopher Thomas Carlyle believed that history is propelled by “the great man” (Carlyle’s phrase), whose values and energy animate our institutions. For Americans, “leadership” is a sacred word. 

    The success or failure of...

  • Beyond Chocolate Bunnies and Passover Baskets

    By Diana Emuna

    April 15, 2015 | 6:06 pm

    As I prepared for Passover last week, one of my co-workers asked me if I made “Passover baskets” for my kids.  When I replied no, she asked, “You mean your kids don’t get bunnies and Easter eggs?”

    And so it begins.

    Soon, my co-workers file in and the questions begin.  I am...

  • Lassana Bathily: The Muslim who saved French Jews

    By David Suissa

    April 9, 2015 | 2:41 pm

    Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of Lassana Bathily, a French-speaking African-born Muslim, just 24, whom I met on his recent visit to Los Angeles.

    It’s early Friday afternoon on Jan. 9, and Bathily is at work at the Hyper Cacher market in Paris, where he has been living since...

  • Time for a kosher hot dog and a beer and Dodger baseball

    By Michael Berenbaum

    April 8, 2015 | 4:07 pm

    Spring is upon us. The seders are over, the Iran problem endures. Romance is in the air and, with romance, some men’s and women’s hearts turn to baseball. 

    I dutifully bought my season-ticket package of 40 games to Dodger Stadium — 40, not 81, because I don’t attend on Shabbat...

  • Maybe Obama knows what he’s doing

    By Rob Eshman

    April 8, 2015 | 2:29 pm

    At our seder this year, one guest, an Israeli of Iraqi origin, told me her family has a very different way of recounting the Ten Plagues God sent to Egypt.

    Instead of spilling a little wine at the mention of each plague — blood, boils, hail, frogs, the likeher father would...

  • My Passover lesson: Don’t wait for God

    By David Suissa

    April 8, 2015 | 1:57 pm

    The Jewish people didn’t bring down the Ten Plagues on Pharaoh, nor did they split the Red Sea, which enabled them to escape Pharaoh’s soldiers some 3,300 years ago. These were God’s miracles, which we all celebrate during Passover.

    This year, I found those miracles a little...

  • Let my people stay

    By Rob Eshman

    April 2, 2015 | 7:44 pm

    It’s spring, and fear is busting out all over.

    In the past three weeks, I’ve been to two events memorializing the Holocaust. The speakers alternated between the necessity of remembering the Nazi genocide even as its last surviving victims die, and confronting the current rise of...

  • Redemption: The good, the bad and the ugly

    April 2, 2015 | 7:41 pm

    It should have been that our ancestors’ redemption from slavery meant they were finally free. That was what they had cried out for, after all: freedom from their enslavement. 

    Nothing else bad should have happened. They had suffered for years, but finally, God liberated them with...

  • Aaron M. Cohen

    By Jane Ulman

    April 2, 2015 | 5:23 pm

    “Get your things. Let’s go,” the policemen ordered. Aaron (then Henri) Cohen, his parents and his younger brother gathered some belongings from their apartment in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and began walking toward the Jewish school, about a mile away. There, about 600, Aaron estimates, of...

  • Jews combating modern slavery, and an anti-trafficking bill that stalls in the Senate

    By Jared Sichel

    April 2, 2015 | 4:37 pm

    Rabbi Debra Orenstein’s seder this Passover will look and feel somewhat different from those in most Jewish homes in America. As one of the leading figures in American Jewry raising awareness about modern slavery and trafficking, Orenstein and thousands of other Jews are making...

  • On Pesach, to resort or not to resort?

    By Jared Sichel

    April 2, 2015 | 3:13 pm

    God miraculously rescued the Jews from Egypt — so the old joke goes — only to see Jewish mothers slave around the house cleaning and cooking in preparation for eight days of Passover.

    Or not. 

    At least not anymore, not for the many Jewish families who can afford to have someone...

  • Pew study: Muslims to overtake American Jews by 2050

    April 2, 2015 | 2:26 pm

    In 20 years, there will be more Muslims in North America than Jews, according to a new Pew Research Center report.

    The report, which was released Thursday, also found that more American Jews are leaving Judaism than non-Jews are joining the Jewish people.

    According to “The...

  • Bringing new questions to the seder table

    April 2, 2015 | 1:57 pm

    With Passover upon us, an almost universal association with the biblically based holiday is the reciting of the four questions, commonly chanted by the youngest person seated at the seder table. Our tradition has long emphasized the importance of asking good, probing questions. The...

  • Pharoah said ‘no.’ You won’t believe what God did next.

    By Marty Kaplan

    April 2, 2015 | 12:22 pm

    Once, at our seder, our friend Ira gave a running commentary on the haggadah, offering a scientific explanation for every miracle and wonder in the Exodus story.    

    The parting of the Reed Sea was a meteorological event. The burning bush was a glowing carbonized acacia bramble...

  • Preserving Yiddish in the seder

    By Avishay Artsy

    April 1, 2015 | 4:41 pm

    Nowadays, it’s rare to find a Passover seder that doesn’t deviate from the traditional haggadah. But the Erev Shabbos Discussion Group, formed in the San Fernando Valley about 50 years ago, has been doing it its own way for decades — keeping the story secular, social...

  • The Rational Emotions exchange, part 3: Between Jewish stories and behavioral economics

    By Shmuel Rosner

    April 1, 2015 | 3:41 am

    Eyal Winter, is the Silverzweig Professor of Economics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor of Economics the University of Leicester. His research interests include microeconomics, finance, game theory, and behavioral economics.

    This exchange focuses on Winter's...

  • Tending the roots: Making meaning of the heritage of the Holocaust in my family

    March 25, 2015 | 4:56 pm

    I am the grandchild of Holocaust survivors on my mother’s side. Both her parents survived with one sibling. The rest — brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles — did not survive. On my father’s side, though his parents and grandparents immigrated to Israel before...

  • Easy floral arrangements for your Passover table

    By Jonathan Fong

    March 25, 2015 | 2:33 pm

    You’ve been cooking for days. You got the good dishes out of storage. The silver is polished. And in the midst of getting all the preparations ready for the big seder dinner, the last thing you probably want to think about is a floral centerpiece. 

    The reality is, centerpieces...

  • Cantor Rebekah Mirsky releases album ‘Who is Like You?’

    By Lia Mandelbaum

    March 25, 2015 | 8:11 am

    One of the greatest constants I have experienced is that music acts as an incredible bridge between the body and soul, and so it is of no surprise that music has played a major role in helping me to deepen my connection with Judaism.

    It is such a blessing when you come across a...

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