Jewish Journal

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  • Making History

    By  Orit Arfa

    May 20, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Only eight men and women stepped up to the podium in front of the ark at Valley Beth Shalom on Monday to receive their smicha (rabbinical ordination) from the University of Judaism's Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies, but the event resonated with historical and religious...
  • Stand Up To Be Counted

    By Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben

    May 13, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    A young woman called, asking if I would be willing to visit with her 95-year-old grandmother. She seemed to be slipping away from life more and more each day, and had been asking to speak with a rabbi. I didn't know the woman or her family, but I figured anyone who lives to be 95...

  • Gemara Under the Sun

    By Julie G Fax

    May 13, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    A pair of students -- a traditional chavruta study partnership -- grapple with a tricky piece of Gemara. Their heavy tomes rest not on a classroom desk top but on freshly mowed grass. And the tiny letters of the Rashi and Tosafot commentaries are illuminated by a blazing summer sun...
  • Israel On Broadway

    By David Margolis

    May 13, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Here are a few choice opinions about Reform Judaism in America:

    Generally speaking, American Reform Jews are lazy about religion and unwilling to disrupt their comfortable lives for the sake of keeping Judaism alive. Their rabbis, who learned from their teachers to legitimize...

  • To Give and Now Receive

    By Ruth Stroud

    May 13, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    He was a boy from the Bronx, born below the Third Avenue El. She was a girl from Brooklyn, born near the famed "Tree Grown in Brooklyn." Both had immigrant, working-class parents who initially opposed their marriage.

    Almost 55 years, three children, 10 grandchildren and, in June, one...

  • A Soaring Exchange Rate

    By Beverly Gray

    May 6, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    There were cheers and happy tears at Los Angeles International Airport when the first contingent of Milken Community High School students returned from a three-month stay in Tel Aviv. The 13 students, all 10th-graders, attended classes at Milken's sister school, Tichon Hadash, while...
  • Unity 101

    By Beverly Gray

    May 6, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Building Jewish unity in one afternoon is a tall order. And the organizers of Teen Clal's "One People" conference knew better than to expect miracles. Still, it was little short of miraculous that, on a recent Sunday, 75 teens from a wide range of Jewish denominations were able to...
  • Will Friday Nights Ever Be the Same?

    By Michael Aushenker

    May 6, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Call it the "Phantom Menace" of singles events.

    Since its debut one year ago, Sinai Temple's "Friday Night Live" programming has evolved into a 2,000-pound gorilla not to be trifled with. Local Jewish organizations have tried to duplicate it. National media has swarmed it. And other...

  • Big Mac Lessons

    By Avi Davis

    May 6, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Last week, I was walking down Pico Boulevard with my 4-year-old son when we passed a McDonalds restaurant. Enticed by the aroma of frying food and seeing a bag of french fries boldly displayed on a banner outside, my son led me toward the entrance.

    When I explained that McDonalds is...

  • Mother’s Day Peace at Last

    By Marlene Adler Marks

    May 6, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Let the record show that this Mother's Day, May 9, 1999, ushered in a new era of peace between two eternally warring parties: Jewish mothers and daughters.

    While perhaps not as violent as the wars in the Balkans or the Mideast, the domestic wars between Jewish mothers and daughters...

  • As Good as It Gets

    May 6, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    The leafy tranquillity of Princeton University received a rude jolt last week, when the campus newspaper disclosed something that administrators had been whispering about for years: Jewish enrollment at the prestigious Ivy League college is in free fall.

    The numbers are unmistakable....

  • The Golem in Our Midst

    By Rabbi Ed Feinstein

    April 29, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    The great rabbi of 16th-century Prague, Rabbi Yehuda Loew, received word of a coming blood libel, an attack on his community. So he prayed for divine help. In a dream, he saw 10 Hebrew words in alphabetical order: "Create a Golem of Clay, Destroy Those Tearing Israel's Heart."


  • ‘No Irony but Only Tragedy’

    April 29, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Dylan Klebold, one of the two Colorado teen-agers who carried out a mass murder at a suburban Denver high school on Hitler's birthday, was descended through his mother from a prominent Jewish family in Ohio.

    The Klebold family attended a Lutheran church in Littleton, the Denver suburb...

  • Rye Humor

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    April 22, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    The Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Lenny Bruce, Jackie Mason, Woody Allen and, of course, Seinfeld. The history of American comedy is the history of America's funniest Jews. But while being Jewish and funny has never been mutually...
  • An Extra- Ordinary Place

    By Ruth Stroud

    April 1, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Mordecai Finley is no ordinary rabbi; nor an ordinary man either, for that matter. First there is his past as a former marine sergeant with a doctorate in religion from USC. You can still glimpse the sergeant in the ramrod straight posture when he stands among members of his...

  • Preserving History

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    April 1, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    In Persis Knobbe's sweet, semi-autobiogrpahical short story, "Highlights," Morris, an octogenarian, describes his exodus from the oppressive old country, on the holiday that commemorates the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt.

    Egypt for Morris, who is closely based on Knobbe's late...

  • Haggadah

    By Beverly Gray

    March 25, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    A 1998 article about Chicago collector Stephen Durschslag's haggadah collection set the number of different haggadot on his shelves at 4,500, increasing almost daily.

    It's probably impossible to know how many haggadot exist, but it's obvious that for every Jew, there should be a...

  • Has Anything Changed?

    By Avi Machlis

    March 25, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Representatives of Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Judaism in Israel have launched the country's first interdenominational conversion institute in the northern Galilee town of Carmiel.

    But this latest development in the ongoing battle over religious pluralism in the Jewish state...

  • Rediscovering His Jewish Roots

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    March 25, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    On a cold winter day in 1974, 13-year-old Tony Goldwyn stared, shocked, as his father said Kaddish over his grandfather's grave.

    Grandfather, of course, was the famed movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, a Polish immigrant who produced such classics as "Wuthering Heights," "Stella Dallas" and...

  • ‘My Journey with the Devil’

    By Robert J. Avrech

    March 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    In 1988, Jane Yolen's young-adult novel, "The Devil's Arithmetic," was published to rave reviews and international acclaim. The story of the spoiled, secular Jewish teen-ager, Hannah Stern, who goes from New Rochelle back in time to a concentration camp, struck a vital chord in...

  • Judaism Between the Sheets

    By Diane Arieff

    March 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    In these scandalous times, is there anything left to say about sex?

    TV offers us All-Monica all the time. The globally accessible Internet offers its own virtual red-light district. Surrounded by wall-to-wall visuals and 24-hour media blather, we're inundated with sexual information....

  • A Child’s Response

    March 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Stunned by a new medical report that minimizes the health benefits of circumcision, rabbis nationwide were left groping last week for a fitting response. But one rabbi acted swiftly and with utter decisiveness: Rabbi Marc Schneier, head of the fledgling National Boards of Rabbis. He...

  • Zen Rabbi

    By Tom Tugend

    March 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    There's a new singing cowboy in town, and his name is Ken Kunin.

    "I've been in this crazy industry for about 10 years," says the lead vocalist/songwriter. And he's about to turn up the heat.

    His band, davis waits, has been receiving radio airplay , including on local outlets KLOS and...

  • ‘My Judaism Is the Civilization’

    By Eric Silver

    March 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Amos Oz, Hebrew novelist, secular prophet and self-proclaimed "non-synagogue" Jew, has joined his local Reform congregation in Arad, the Negev desert town where he has lived since leaving Kibbutz Hulda a decade ago.

    In reaction to last month's massive haredi demonstration in Jerusalem...

  • Finding God Among the Ruins

    By Rick Richman

    February 25, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    "Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith" by Anne Lamott (Pantheon Books, $23.00).

    In "Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith" (Pantheon Books, $23.00), a gentle and touching memoir, Anne Lamott tells a variation of an old story:

    A man in a bar is telling the bartender that he...

  • The High Cost of Jewish Living

    February 25, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Weekday mornings at 8:20, Judy Penso sets out for her office at a Jewish Community Center just outside San Francisco, where she runs the Marin County region of the Bay Area Jewish Community Relations Council.

    Before heading across the bridge from her Berkeley home, though, she drops...

  • On Living with Tension

    By Rabbi Ed Feinstein

    February 25, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Once, a stranger approached Hillel and Shammai, the great sages of the first century, with a request: "Teach me the Torah while I stand on one foot."

    First, he brought the request to Shammai. According to the Talmud, Shammai picked up a builder's rule, smacked him along side his head...

  • Her Story of Resurrection and of Human Resiliency

    By Rabbi Jack Riemer

    February 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    "A Woman's Voice"

    by Marlene Adler Marks

    (On The Way Press, $l2.95)

    Every Friday afternoon, before Shabbat begins, I go for my Marlene Adler Marks fix. I turn on my computer to America Online; from there I go to Channels, then Lifestyle, then Spirituality, then Judaism, then Jewish...

  • Common Sense and Common Ground

    By Rabbi Avi Shafran

    February 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    If one didn't know better (and many, unfortunately, don't), one might have thought that the new millennium had dawned 11 months early, and had heralded an entirely unexpected second coming in Israel -- that of Jim Crow, with non-Orthodox Jews as his victims.

    Knesset member Yossi Sarid...

  • The Politics of Religion

    February 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    I have never met Rabbi Avi Shafran (see his Op-Ed piece). We have spoken on the telephone occasionally, and I can report that he seems civil, reasonable, almost courtly. A gracious man. On the basis of those conversations, I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt -- that...
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