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  • 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...
  • An Advertising Tale

    By Rob Eshman

    February 11, 1999 | 6:59 pm

    When Spectator caught up with Monique Powell, lead singer of the pop sensation Save Ferris, she was wandering around Anaheim, tired, displaced and searching for food.

    But this was no VH1 special in the making. After two years of nonstop global touring in support of her band's two...

  • Ice Cream or Bread?

    By Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben

    February 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    I remember the argument like it was yesterday. There I was, a 10-year-old kid growing up in a Reform congregation in Santa Monica, arguing with my best friend (another 10-year-old from the same synagogue) about the laws of kashrut for Pesach. Well, actually, the argument was really...

  • What’s It All About?

    By Teresa Strasser

    February 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    It's past midnight, and I can't sleep. I call a friend back in San Francisco, a scientist I know who is really good at thinking.

    "Hi, it's Teresa. I was just wondering, What's it all about?"

    "It's about two hours after my bedtime. What's what all about?"

    "What's life all about? What is...

  • What’s in the Center?

    February 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Every so often, the cultural gap between Israelis and American Jews yawns open so wide, you could almost fall in and break your leg. That's pretty much what happened to Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Israel's latest general-turned-politician, when he came to America late last month on a...

  • Inside Out

    By Marlene Adler Marks

    February 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    When I first started out as a journalist, fresh from graduate school, I thought of my profession as that of the perennial outsider, a stranger who would pack up and leave the next day. "Objectivity" was my watchword. I had a friend who did not take a cup of coffee at a press...

  • Complaining the Jewish Way

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    January 28, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Who are these men perpetually hovering outside the doors of the yeshiva? Who are these children, this gaggle of goslings, and these women, seemingly dutiful and unfazed as they stroll toward their place of prayer? Who are they?

    Sometimes, when the light on the corner of La Brea Avenue...

  • Papal Tiger

    January 28, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    When the pope came to Missouri this week, the St. Louis archdiocese made sure to include several dramatic gestures of Catholic-Jewish friendship in his schedule. They were the sort of breakthrough events John Paul II has prized through 20 years of papacy.

    But it's wearing thin.


  • Committed to Community

    By Shlomit Levy

    January 28, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    When 17-year-old counselor-in-training Frayda Breverman fell for a 20-year-old staff member at Camp Ramah, their romance became the scandal of the summer of '63. Fast forward. The scandal was short-lived, but Fredi and Joel Rembaum, after 33 years of marriage, are still quite an...

  • Gordis, Alexander Leave UJ for Posts in Israel

    By  Orit Arfa

    January 28, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Dr. Robert Wexler, president of the University of Judaism, has good reason to believe that the spirit of Zionism is alive at the institution.

    Recently, two prominent school administrators, Dr. Hanan Alexander, vice president of academic affairs, and Rabbi Daniel Gordis, dean of the...

  • Northridge Renewal

    By Wendy J. Madnick

    January 14, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Over at Temple Ramat Zion in Northridge, they've planted a small garden. It's just a few flowers now. Adjacent is a patio that will one day hold benches, a place where Hebrew-school students can come study or where people can take...

  • Like Blood for Words

    By Susannah Heschel

    January 14, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    "He who publicly shames his neighbor is as though he shed blood."

    -- Talmud Baba Mezia 58b

    Americans have been discussing the moral issues of the Starr Report in terms of Christian values. From the perspective of Judaism, however, the terms of the discussion change. Unfortunately,...

  • Our Birthright

    January 14, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    If you are between the ages of 15 and 26, you should pay attention to this particular column. Actually, if you are the parent of anyone 15 to 26, you should read what follows, on the theory that you are likely to be the person paying the bills.

    "The bills" in this instance concern a...

  • A Better Strategy

    By Marlene Adler Marks

    January 7, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    History never precisely repeats itself. I was cleaning up after dinner the other evening when I heard my daughter, Samantha, now nearly 17, on the phone; she was talking with a guy named Vinnie.

    "Vinnie?" I said, as she hung up. "I think we should be focusing on Jewish guys now, don't...

  • Do you want your grandchildren to be Jewish and other wrong questions.

    January 7, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    My maternal grandfather was an educated man, and cultured too. He had planned on a career as an opera singer in Europe -- he had a wonderful voice -- but his bride-to-be feared that he would stray while performing on the road (for good cause, I was told after his death) and insisted...

  • Season’s Gratings

    December 10, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Seventeen-year-old Ben Ereshefsky, a senior at Health Careers High School in San Antonio, says the Christmas season is a difficult time for him. Here in the shadow of the Alamo, holiday cheer is everywhere. "You go to every store in the mall and all you hear are Christmas songs," he...

  • The Young Leaders

    By David Margolis

    December 10, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Israel is on its way to becoming a back-burner issue in much of the American Jewish community. Studies show that the younger the Jew, the less connection he or she feels to what is, let's try to remember, the Jewish homeland. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which used...
  • Of Chanukah, Grandfathers and the Real Meaning of the Light

    By Judy R. Gruen

    December 10, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    My two grandfathers held one another in respectful, yet distant regard. My mother's father, a Polish-born, Conservative rabbi, devoted his life to Jewish education and study. He had little use for popular entertainment, and, despite his keen intelligence, rarely appreciated the jokes...
  • Staying Active at 50

    By Wendy J. Madnick

    December 10, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    The state of Israel isn't the only Jewish institution celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. On Sepulveda Boulevard, in West Los Angeles, the renowned Leo Baeck Temple is celebrating its Jubilee, commencing with a series of events Dec. 11-13.

    And like Israel, many temple members...

  • Educating American Jewish Families

    By Beverly Gray

    December 10, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Risa Gruberger, whose children are 8 and 9, hopes they will both grow up loving the Jewish holidays as she does. "When the weather's crisp out," says Gruberger, "I want them to feel they can smell it, they can taste it, that Chanukah's coming." At her house, decorations are homemade,...

  • Homage for the Holidays

    December 3, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Don't call her the "Jewel" of Jewish preschool.

    Sure, Pearl B. sings to the accompaniment of her acoustic six-string. And she does lean professionally on her gem-like first name. But that is where any similarity to the chirpy pop star ends.

    "There are so many levels of Judaism -- from...

  • Secular and Sacred

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    December 3, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Recently, an analysis appeared in the press about the Jewish elements in American popular music. Discussing musicians such as Gershwin and Berlin, the author noted that these composers included melodies from synagogue and Jewish folk music in their compositions.

    The interaction of...

  • Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

    By Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben

    November 26, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    When I was 16, my family picked up and moved from Santa Monica, where I had been born and raised, to Sacramento. The move came on the heels of the best and most exciting year of my life. My first year of high school had been an amazing whirl of new and old friends, educational...

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