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  • Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks spends a weekend in L.A. envisioning the Jewish future

    By Jared Sichel

    February 26, 2014 | 4:07 pm

    Swiping his finger to the left, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s now-former chief rabbi, and arguably the world’s most prominent religious Jewish leader, was looking for a text he felt might show how Orthodox Jews can spread a Jewish message to the Western world.

    He wasn’t...

  • Israeli Apartheid Week 2014- is this the beginning of the end?

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    February 25, 2014 | 11:15 am

    Israeli Apartheid Week is now at its peak, but this year, unlike any other year before, it is followed by a wind of change.

    As these words are being written, people in over 200 cities worldwide are being exposed to bigotry, deception, and shallowness as part of the 10th annual...

  • Ukraine’s Jews again caught between a rock and a hard place

    February 24, 2014 | 1:53 pm

    Shortly after the demise of the Soviet Union, I received an invitation to participate in a conference in the newly independent Ukraine. The organizers asked me to appear on the country’s version of “Good Morning America,” watched by millions of citizens. The anchorwoman interviewed...

  • Celebs, hotels, humanitarism, a billion dollar deal and more…This week from Israel!

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    February 24, 2014 | 12:03 pm

    Viber? Sold!

    Japanese Internet services company, Rakuten, has acquired the Israeli app Viber for $900 million. The Israeli-founded video and voice communications app allows users to make free phone and video calls within its network, and has over 200 million users all over the...

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  • Online kosher, extra rabbis for visiting Jews in Sochi

    February 18, 2014 | 11:31 am

    Sochi's lone rabbi has drawn on reinforcements from the United States and shipped in 7,000 kosher meals to help cater for Jewish visitors to the Winter Olympics in Russia, a country where Judaism is reviving after decades of repression.

    Speaking virtually no Russian at the time,...

  • My friend’s seder with Sid: Remembering Sid Caesar

    February 13, 2014 | 1:54 pm

    Sid Caesar, who died yesterday at the age of 91, was a genius, a comedy legend, a gifted and sensitive performer who has probably influenced everyone working in comedy today. If you want to witness his inventive comedy, YouTube can be your guide. And although I may call him a...

  • Birthright the ‘LA way’

    By Julie Bien

    February 12, 2014 | 5:06 pm

    When registration opens Feb. 19, a Birthright trip sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles geared specifically toward entertainment professionals will represent the first time that young adults up to age 29 will be allowed to take part in the free Israel program. ...

  • A Coming Out Tale: Getting Over My Embarrassment and Calling Myself Religious

    By Tamara Shayne Kagel

    February 12, 2014 | 12:30 pm

    I have always been cagey when detailing information about myself that might classify me as religious.  Not that I was ever embarrassed or cryptic about telling people I was Jewish.  Telling people I was Jewish when people asked what my Christmas plans were, or just offering up the...

  • Rabbi Stephanie Kolin finds her strength in superheroes, from Moses to the X-Men

    February 12, 2014 | 11:22 am

    On a brisk December evening, Rabbi Stephanie Kolin stepped up to a microphone to address some 50 immigrants and advocates from a cross-section of civil rights organizations, including Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. They’d come...

  • What is Holiness?

    By Salvador Litvak

    February 9, 2014 | 5:31 pm

    [Remarks delivered Shabbat morning in the Library Minyan, Los Angeles, Feb. 8, 2014 – 8 Adar I, 5774]

    Good Shabbos!

    What is holiness? What does it mean to be holy? I have wrestled with this question ever since I found my way back to Judaism 16 years ago.

    This week’s Torah...

  • He's Abba to me

    February 6, 2014 | 12:01 pm

    On a Sunday evening last December I sat with my father, Rabbi David Ellenson — or, as my siblings and I call him, Abba — at a diner in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Weeks away from his official retirement as president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion...

  • Soul Cycle

    By Rabbi Lori Shapiro

    January 29, 2014 | 11:45 am

    White on White, the Soul Cycle storefront is the Apple Store of Fitness. It glows from within like the “Athletes” emerging from their classes. I call them “Athletes”, although I could have as easily called them “Rock Stars” or “Warriors” or “Leaders” because the walls as I enter...

  • Howard Stern’s secret, and ours

    By Rob Eshman

    January 28, 2014 | 4:10 pm

    On my way to work every morning I listen to Howard Stern. I’ve been listening for 20 years.

    In the beginning, I didn’t tell anyone. Polite society dismissed Stern as a crude, sexist, racist “shock jock.” Putting “shock jock” before someone’s name is an instant denigration, like...

  • Down-to-Earth Sinai: Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18)

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    January 23, 2014 | 3:06 pm

    I just returned from a four-day alumni retreat for rabbis and cantors who had taken part in an Institute for Jewish Spirituality program designed to deepen our own spiritual commitments. During this two-year program we studied Chasidic texts in a weekly telephone chavruta and...

  • What is nachas?

    By Dennis Prager

    January 22, 2014 | 2:03 pm

    The traditional wish that Jews offer fellow Jews is “May you have nachas from your children.” Nachas is understood to be pride and joy. And for most Jews, pride and joy from their children is the greatest blessing in life.

    Let me give an example.

    Having been in public life for...

  • Nomination deadline for tikkun olam award approaching

    By Ryan Torok

    January 10, 2014 | 4:39 pm

    Social-justice minded Jewish teens take heed. The Helen Diller Family Foundation is currently accepting nominations for its 2014 Diller Tikkun Olam Award, which is presented to 13- to 19-year-olds who have exhibited passion and leadership in tikkun olam.

    “Teens have a special...

  • 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...

  • 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...

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