Philanthropist Charles Bronfman once told me, "Leaders lead. That’s what they do."
"A strong Israeli-American community makes Israel stronger,” Gabi Ashkenazi, the recently retired chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), told the crowd gathered for the third annual Israeli Leadership Council (ILC) Gala on March 20.
Los Angeles played host not only to NBA All-Stars last weekend, but also to all-stars in the Jewish community, as more than 750 delegates from across the United States and around the world participated in BBYO’s 85th annual International Convention (IC) at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel, Feb. 17-21.
Rabbi Daniel Bouskila, who left Sephardic Temple in February after a 17-year tenure at the Westwood congregation, was hired into a leadership position at the Sephardic Education Center (SEC), an international educational and cultural group headquartered in Los Angeles with a campus in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Nessah Young Professionals' Aug. 26 annual gala drew more than 600 local Iranian Jewish young professionals and college students to the Area nightclub in West Hollywood, where they danced the night away to live music while also raising money on behalf of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF).
Over the past decades, nearly two dozen local Iranian Jewish groups have been involved with political awareness efforts, but no group until now has seriously pursued or organized communitywide political and civic activism.
Rhoda Weisman, executive director of the Professional Leaders Project, which is designed to engender and support a new generation of leaders in the Jewish community, talks about why the Jewish establishment needs to change, why young leaders are just as crucial as big donors and what it's like to be a woman at the top.
Our communities' leadership has to absorb the reality that the next generation of open-minded young people sees diversity as a plus, not as a burden to be overcome.
Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein had barely slept in days. A senior at Beverly Hills High School, he'd spent long hours rallying support for Barack Obama, and as the results from the Iowa caucuses poured in, as fellow Obama supporters packed the presidential candidate's California campaign office in Koreatown, Spitzer-Rubenstein turned jubilant, his enthusiasm mashing together with exhaustion into euphoria.<
On an overcast afternoon in Washington, D.C., sitting with about 120 other high school students from around the country, I listened to the empowering words of Holocaust survivor Henry Greenbaum as he described his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp. Greenbaum was speaking during the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) 10th annual National Youth Leadership Mission, which took place over a four-day period in our nation's capital.
Abraham Cooper has made a point of being present in many of the world's hot spots, and, at the same time, managed to stay out of prison. And during roughly the same time span, he has played a key role in creating one of the most activist Jewish organizations in the world, working outside the boundaries of the traditional organized community structure.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is making a truly impressive run for the White House, and in doing so is being considered by many as America's first mainstream "black" candidate -- in other words a "black" candidate not running on a near-exclusive agenda of identity politics.
Nessah made history five years ago when it became the first Iranian synagogue in the world to embrace congregational membership.
Success in finding the perfect shul in Los Angeles for you and your family too often seems just one more visit away.
Erika Levy and Alie Kussin-Shoptaw, seniors at New Community Jewish High School in West Hills, easily spotted in their bright orange volunteer vests, stood by the escalators at the Los Angeles Convention Center, greeting arriving United Jewish Communities General Assembly (GA) attendees and directing them to meeting rooms, halls and hospitality suites.
Rabbi Gary Greenebaum takes national leadership position; Survival of Jews in Iran is a paradox, panel shows.
The most engaging, hard-hitting liberals in this country right now are Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher. But they're not leaders, they're jesters. They tell funny bedtime stories so that about 2 million New York Times readers can fall asleep believing the world hasn't really gone to hell.
From a military perspective, there can be absolutely no doubt as to the results of Hezbollah and Iran's offensive against Israel. It was a defeat. Every part of their war plan, except the manipulation of the media, failed.
It is time that we American Jewish liberals who have been left leaning about our politics regarding Israel begin to review the support we give to the organizations that have been leading us. They are proving themselves obsolete, outdated and out-of-touch.
Especially during the McCourts' first year of ownership, the Times sports section for the most part depicted Jamie and Frank McCourt, the latter known by Simers as the parking lot attendant, as carpetbaggers who have little interest in or knowledge of Los Angeles, social climbers who lack the financial resources to run the team and public relations novices.
Critics say that starting in the mid-1990s, the JCRC slowly began losing its voice and shirked a core mission: to be as visible and forthrightly active as possible.
Arnold Eisen is a distinguished scholar of modern Jewish thought and an insightful student of the American Jewish community. His work, "The Jew Within," written jointly with Steven Cohen, explores the identity of marginally affiliated contemporary Jews and illustrates the crisis that institutional liberal Judaism has in maintaining the allegiance of a new generation of American Jews.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's first state-of-the-city speech is likely to put bone and muscle on his school takeover pitch which, up till now, nearly a year into his term, has been theoretical and short on specifics. If Villaraigosa delivers what people all over town have been waiting for, a slew of interest groups will know where they stand and will begin to respond accordingly.
Los Angeles hosted the national kickoff for LiveNetworks last weekend, bringing together about 75 of the program's 87 participants. Hailing from five regional "hubs," the participants will meet about six times throughout the year in their hub location. In the process, they'll meet with local leaders and philanthropists, attend seminars and receive individual coaching and mentoring.
Temple Emanuel was rockin' recently when it hosted the Temple Bryant A.M.E. Church Choir that performed with Emanuel's choir at a Shabbat Shira Service. The entire congregation and guests were on their feet singing and clapping in joyous rapture.
Debbie Friedman, celebrated Jewish songwriter and singer, wrote the words, "The youth shall see visions." For decades, this song has had a profound impact on Jewish youth of America, instilling value and hope among a generation in search of themselves.
This week we meet Moses, our new leader and adviser. Moses is commanded to go to Egypt, gather the people and demand their freedom from Pharaoh.
You have to judge politicians, especially those running for prime minister, without sentiment. And if they've changed direction, you have to give more weight to what they've done lately than what they did before. Unless the candidate is a truly malevolent character, you have to judge him or her on two things: leadership ability and political direction. And on that basis, I think Olmert is better suited to be prime minister than anybody else around.
The pre-mortem eulogies, the stream of editorials, the international expressions of sympathy -- what you are witnessing is Ariel Sharon's ascension to the Jewish pantheon.
The official American Friends of Likud organization, in the midst of a California and national expansion drive, has come down solidly in support of Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, the new head of the Likud Party.
Olmert was one of the chief architects of Sharon's main foreign policy achievement -- last summer's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. When Sharon broke away last November from his ruling Likud Party to form a new centrist party, Kadima, Olmert was one of the first to follow him.
Though a regional economic and military superpower, Israel had been powerless in the world of negotiations to address the clearly identified threat to its survival. The Palestinians had the ability to hold Israel hostage by refusing to agree to any settlement that would end Israel's occupation.
Drive into The Brandeis-Bardin Institute, up the pepper tree-lined main thoroughfare and through the gates leading to 3,000 acres of rolling hills in the Santa Susana Mountains. Enter a setting so magnificent that it's easy to believe, as Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom does, that God lives there.
Former prime minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is back in control of Israel's Conservative Likud Party as his onetime ally and current rival, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, recovers from a mild stroke.
There are, according to The Forward newspaper's recently published "Forward 50" -- a listing of the 50 most-influential Jews in America -- at least seven Angelenos whose voices are being heard way beyond the West Coast.
If there's one thing in marketing that piques interest, it's the element of surprise. For synagogues, however, this is easier said than done, because so much of a prayer service is based on repetition. And repetition itself has an emotional benefit: It makes us feel safe and comfortable.
An Israeli assassin, a right-wing extremist, killed Rabin on Nov. 4, 1995. Had Rabin lived, would the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been resolved? Or would the peace process he started still have unraveled?
For more than 25 years, Shofet worked alongside his father, Hacham Yedidia Shofet, the community's longtime spiritual leader, who died last summer.
"I would never have imagined that a Muslim, a president of Pakistan and, more than that, a man in uniform would ever get such a warm reception from the Jewish community," Musharraf said as he ascended the platform to excited applause.
Soon after the late ABC News anchor Peter Jennings was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), himself fighting Hodgkin's disease, wrote to the journalist.
Religion. Within the parameters of Judaism it can mean many things.
A wave of recent gatherings has tackled the existential questions facing world Jewry, and many are aimed at or driven by new actors. The slew of new forums focusing on the future of the Jewish people reveals a certain angst about today's challenges and raises questions about how much faith Jews have in existing institutions to address those challenges.
The hopes and expectations carried by Antonio Villaraigosa as he takes the helm of the city could at first appear to be monumentally daunting. After all, the diversity of our population, our geography, our economy seem in so many ways to be unmanageable.
A group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender UCLA students recently gave Queen Esther, Haman and Queen Vashti a radical makeover.
On the morning of Rosh Hashanah last fall, Antonio Villaraigosa accompanied my family and me to services.
You have to hand it to those Presbyterians. Their leaders know what they want, and they won't be deflected by things like logic, fairness or the well-being of people in the Middle East.
In a rapid, confidential near-whisper, Jeff Ballabon was offering his counterintuitive take on former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Letter to the Editor
Christian children wearing their Sunday best for last week's Easter services understandably could forget, amidst their Easter egg hunts, that the Last Supper of Jesus was a Passover seder.
But in this season of Easter and Passover, connections between the holidays has inspired an art exhibit showcasing Christian and Jewish artists motivated by religious themes. The exhibit is housed in downtown Los Angeles at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Its aspirations and the artworks themselves are impressive, though the effort has suffered from uneven presentation of the artwork.
The "Passion/Passover" exhibit could be viewed as a positive response to Jewish-Catholic tensions surrounding last year's "The Passion of the Christ" by filmmaker Mel Gibson. His film was praised by Catholic church officials, though many Jewish leaders said the film unreasonably cast Jews as villains.
"I think it's important for Jews to help other Jews," said Heather Greenberg, explaining one of the reasons behind her work on behalf of Jewish charities.
Teva Adventure offers a variety of wilderness programs enabling Jewish travelers to develop outdoor skills while keeping Shabbat and kashrut. While backpacking, hiking, mountain climbing and fishing, participants learn Jewish perspectives on the outdoor world. Programs for 14- to 19-year-olds include Rocky Mountain Teen Adventure and Derech Hateva in Israel.
Letters to the Editor
The Jewish Educator Awards luncheon, hosted by award sponsors the Milken Family Foundation (MFF) and the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) of Greater Los Angeles, is a yearly fest of pride, love and admiration for the wide swath of Jews who belong to Los Angeles' day school world.
The UJ has been around since 1947. My office window in Koreatown overlooks the block of Ardmore Avenue where it was originally housed. The university followed the Jewish community west in 1979, settling in to the expansive Familian campus, where it fulfills a unique but hardly problem-free niche in a unique Jewish community.
If Jewish federations and agencies fail to forge a close relationship with this highly independent generation of Jews, Jewish charities, experts say, might struggle greatly in years to come.
In a keynote speech last week at the Herzliya Conference on Israel's National Security, Sharon declared that "2005 will be the year of great opportunity," with "a chance for an historic breakthrough in our relations with the Palestinians, a breakthrough we have been waiting for years."