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Jewish Journal

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  • Learning kosher slaughter

    January 10, 2014 | 1:31 pm

    “The knife afterwards, what should it look like?” asks Rachel Marder, a first-year rabbinical student studying ritual kosher slaughter. 

    Her instructor, Gabriel Botnick, explains that after killing a chicken in accordance with Jewish law, the knife needn’t be perfectly smooth —...

  • Growing tradition: Tu b’Shevat

    January 10, 2014 | 1:20 pm

    Would you throw a birthday party for your child at 3 a.m.? The Jewish New Year of the Trees, Tu b’Shevat (the 15th of the Hebrew month Shevat), falls in the dead of winter. Instead of colorful flowers or delicious fruit, deciduous trees are barren of even leaves!

    But this strange...

  • Tu b’Shevat: Pom Wonderful

    By Rob Eshman

    January 10, 2014 | 1:10 pm

    We moved into our house in Venice almost 18 years ago this week. We’d been house hunting for months and had despaired of finding anything on the Westside for less than a bazillion dollars. When we drove up to our future home, my wife, who was pregnant at the time, was too tired to...

  • Appreciate trees anew … They may save your life

    By Andy Lipkis

    January 10, 2014 | 12:00 pm

    If you live in a neighborhood without dense tree canopy, you may want to celebrate Tu b’Shevat by joining with your neighbors to plant and establish a forest of tall trees around your homes. Sound like too ambitious an undertaking? It will be well worth it.

    Tu b’Shevat, the...

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  • Make Tu b’Shevat relevant: Look to the past, pay it forward

    January 10, 2014 | 11:47 am

    Tu b’Shevat is my favorite holiday. It gets us out of the synagogue and into the garden. I believe the power of this celebration is rooted in its key teachings: taking time to really see nature, to express our gratitude for it and to share its bounty.  

    Tu b’Shevat is an...

  • Chicken Little, chicken soup and the Reform moment

    by Roger Price

    January 9, 2014 | 3:34 pm

    Almost half a century ago, a cover story in Look Magazine described “The Vanishing American Jew.” Extrapolating from demographic trends on intermarriage, birth rates and generational assimilation, the author predicted that the Jewish community in America would blend in and...

  • Menachem Stark, slumlord or saint? Depends who you ask

    January 9, 2014 | 3:18 pm

    The murder of Menachem Stark has sparked intense media scrutiny of the Brooklyn real estate developer’s troubled business record, prompting the New York Post to ask “Who didn’t want him dead?” on its front page.

    But while mainstream media outlets scrutinized the Satmar hasid’s...

  • Social services come to shul

    January 9, 2014 | 11:52 am

    What would you do if you had to talk someone out of a suicide? Or advise someone facing an eviction? Or help a person who just went bankrupt?

    For today’s clergy, forced to deal with issues both pressing and profound, these are not just theoretical questions. Due in part to the...

  • Jeff Jacoby thanks public for prayers for missing son

    January 9, 2014 | 10:08 am

    Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby again thanked the public for their expressions of concern over his still-missing son, Caleb.

    “Never have the words ‘prayers’ & ‘praying’ so dominated my email inbox,” Jacoby tweeted at 2 a.m. Thursday. “The outpouring of concern for Caleb has...

  • Limmud for special needs

    January 8, 2014 | 11:34 am

    Since the launch in 2011 of Limmud L’Am at Limmud Conference UK, adults with a variety of learning/developmental disabilities have become a welcome addition to the Limmud community around the world — as presenters, volunteers and participants.

    Verbal or nonverbal, walking or in a...

  • The Limmud way: My journey to the future of Judaism

    By David Suissa

    January 8, 2014 | 11:16 am

    Two distinct visions of Judaism played in my head at the 33rd annual Limmud Conference in England, which I attended during Christmas week. The first vision was alive and kicking at the conference itself, where, under cold and gray skies, 2,600 Jews gathered on a university campus...

  • Bar Refaeli got a tattoo

    January 7, 2014 | 12:54 pm

    Israeli model Bar Refaeli has revealed a photo of her brand new body art on Instagram.

    Concerned fans, like the ones who posted comments about how Refaeli has gone and ruined her body, can rest assured that the small butterfly, done in white ink, is absolutely not the first stage of a sleeve.

    As Refaeli said herself in the caption, “I finally did it. My first (and last) tattoo.”

  • Talking end of life with next of kin

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    January 7, 2014 | 11:46 am

    Maybe it is thinking about the New Year that brings up the subject. Or maybe because the holiday season is a time when families come together and talk.  For whatever reason, within the last few weeks NPR did a story on “The Conversation Project,”  and the LA Times had an Opinion...

  • Best of 2013, BDS fail, reform rabbinate, good news for dog owners and more…This week from Israel!

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    January 6, 2014 | 12:33 pm

    The new discovery that will help detect Breast Cancer “gene”

    Another breakthrough in the fight against cancer: Researchers at Hadassah Medical Center in Israel have developed a blood test that reveals it is possible to predict the presence of harmful BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in...

  • What makes Rabbi Rick Jacobs tick?

    By Danielle Berrin

    January 3, 2014 | 11:02 pm

    In December, 5,000 Jews from around the country gathered in San Diego for the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) Biennial conference. Overseeing it all was longtime pulpit rabbi-turned-URJ president, Rabbi Rick Jacobs. In these excerpts from an interview with the Journal, he talks...

  • The Mensch List 2013

    January 2, 2014 | 4:48 pm

    Last month, for our eighth-annual mensch list, we again invited all of you to submit your nominations of extraordinary volunteers, and again the outpouring of suggestions of amazing people was overwhelming. We faced this enormous response only to wonder, once again, how to choose...

  • Sidonia Lax: A survivor marches with the living

    By Elyse Glickman

    January 2, 2014 | 4:34 pm

    Sidonia Lax, now 86, survived the Holocaust but won’t let that define her. “I am a thriver,” she said. A stroll through her Sherman Oaks home is proof — her walls overflow with decades of family photos and mementos of her work as a member of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council...

  • Leslye Adelman: Feeding body and soul

    By Elyse Glickman

    January 2, 2014 | 3:34 pm

    While some synagogue sanctuaries are adorned with fresh flowers, the bimah of Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village is lined with towers of fresh apples and oranges. Although the décor, devised by Leslye Adelman, is stylish, it is also functional. Every Monday, the fruit moves to...

  • Wendy Colman Levin: The way home

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    January 2, 2014 | 3:08 pm

    Wendy Colman Levin spoke with quiet intensity about the people who have touched her during her four-and-a-half years as an advocate on behalf of the homeless, among them the young woman who was thrown out of her childhood home when she told her stepfather that her stepbrothers were...

  • ‘The Wolf’ and the Jewish problem

    By Rob Eshman

    December 31, 2013 | 1:54 pm

    “The Wolf of Wall Street” is nauseating, pornographic and soul-crushing — and you have to see it.

    You have to see it, because you — meaning society, Jews, all of us as individuals — have to face the questions it raises about money, wealth and morality. 

    Director Martin Scorsese...

  • A Jewish wish list for 2014

    By David Suissa

    December 31, 2013 | 1:26 pm

    In no special order, here are 10 wishes for our community for the coming year:

    1. A sukkah for every Jew. Seriously, is there any Jewish holiday cooler than Sukkot? And yet, most non-Orthodox Jews don’t build a sukkah to commemorate the desert journey of our ancestors. In recent...

  • Delta screwed up. Should Jews take advantage?

    By Jared Sichel

    December 27, 2013 | 10:42 am

    New York to Honolulu, round-trip, tax included: $85

    Cleveland to Los Angeles, round-trip, tax included: $52

    Los Angeles to Honolulu, round-trip, tax included: $60

    These were a few of the amazingly low fares available Thursday on Delta Airlines from 10 a.m. until noon ET....

  • The Bedouin, human rights, and ‘legitimacy’: A final word to Gerald Steinberg

    December 19, 2013 | 4:55 pm

    Gerald Steinberg has asked that I respond to the specific charges he levies against human rights organizations, my colleague Rabbi John Rosove, and me regarding our involvement in protecting the rights of some 30-40,000 Bedouin to avoid forced expulsion from their homes. At the...

  • Santa, the Easter bunny and raising a Jewish child

    December 19, 2013 | 1:30 pm

    Last spring, I found myself averting my eyes when my 4-year-old mentioned something about the Easter bunny in front of my dad.

    We were at my parents’ home in Michigan for Passover and my son said, “When I get back to Brooklyn, the Easter bunny is going to bring me a basket!”

    I...

  • Friday afternoon: The rabbi’s wife

    December 19, 2013 | 12:00 pm

    Inside the yeshiva he’s busy naming things
    while I, like Eve, watch the smallest movements
    in the world — grass bending as if it aches,
    a bird that carries lust in its beak.
    Through the window I’ve seen him bent over
    the text, saliva flying from his mouth
    as he reads and...

  • The easy way to write your speech for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah

    December 18, 2013 | 4:37 pm

    Most people are happier being reaudited by a fiber-deficient IRS agent than speaking in public. They’re even more fartutst about writing their own speeches. 

    Sometimes, we have to do both. 

    It’s easy for me. I’ve been a speechwriter all my life. But you can do it, too,...

  • Are Jewish neighborhoods a good thing?

    By Dennis Prager

    December 18, 2013 | 4:34 pm

    I would like to offer a view on Jewish neighborhoods that is so contrary to accepted wisdom that I can only ask that people read this column with as open a mind as possible.

    On balance, after a lifetime of thought, I don’t think that Jewish neighborhoods are always a good thing...

  • The mysteries of Azerbaijan: A Shiite nation embraces its Jews

    By Rob Eshman

    December 18, 2013 | 2:20 pm

    Red Village rises up along the Qudiyal River like a Jewish Brigadoon.

    To get there, you fly 13 hours from Los Angeles to Istanbul, then catch a three-hour flight to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan — a former Soviet country of some 9 million people on the Caspian Sea. From Baku,...

  • Pew’s construct of “Jews of no religion” is imprecise and misleading

    Roger Price

    December 12, 2013 | 3:14 pm

    Of the many interesting aspects of the recently released survey of Jewish Americans by the Pew Research Center (the “Pew Portrait”), perhaps none is more troubling than the distorted bisection  of American Jews into two primary sub-groups, one labeled “Jews by religion” and the...

  • Letters to the editor: Judaism in Germany, cultural synergy, women in universities and puzzles

    December 11, 2013 | 11:46 am

    Judaism in Germany

    I am a committed supporter of Conservative Judaism and have been a member of Conservative Temple Beth Am for more than 20 years (“Conservative Judaism Reborn — In Germany,” Nov. 29). I agree with Rabbi Brad Artson that the movement is not dying. Unfortunately,...

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