Rabbis Joshua Aaronson of Temple Judea in Tarzana, Ken Chasen of Leo Baeck Temple in Bel Air, Denise Eger of Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood and Stewart Vogel of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills were recently named senior rabbinic fellows at the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI), following the rabbis’ completion of the institute’s Rabbinic Leadership Initiative.
A small group gathered in the sanctuary of Temple Isaiah on April 11 to do what Jews do best: talk about food and then eat some.
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Leo Baeck Temple in Bel Air hosted an unusual commemoration of Kristallnacht, the event that is often considered the beginning of the Holocaust. Instead of focusing on mourning, the gathering last weekend was marked by raucous joy and a sense of reunification.
The central symbolism was provided by guest of honor Olga Grilli, who fled Nazi-occupied Europe as an 11-year-old. On Saturday, she saw once more and touched the Torah scroll from the shul of her Czechoslovakian hometown. She had last attended this temple as a child.
When Rabbi Kenneth Chasen came to the Leo Baeck Temple for a final interview with the search committee in the spring of 2002, he put together a sample Shabbat service for about 40 people. During the service, congregation president Robin Bernstein closed her eyes and smiled. A feeling of peace came over her and she said that she knew that this was "our rabbi."
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.