Ruth Shuken's backyard is a floral wonderland. Shuken, who turns 94 on July 4, strolls through aisles of roses, lilacs and azaleas. Her green thumb has also served her well in cultivating a garden of mitzvahs.
Shuken's Beverlywood manor, which she has called home for 55 years, is a short drive from Vista Del Mar, the place she has served for more than five decades. Vista Del Mar operates on a $32 million annual budget to assist teens from troubled backgrounds.
He was the guy with all the good lines. The late Saul Steinberg helped establish The New Yorker magazine as a purveyor of visual excellence. "Art of the Spirit," an exhibit at The Jewish Federation running through Dec. 15, is a welcome reminder of the late illustrator's visual wit.
Jerry Freedman Habush led excursions through historic Jewish Los Angeles as vice president of tours at the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California (JHS) for more than 20 years. In recent months, Habush's commitment slowed, but not from a waning passion. He was receiving chemotherapy for cancer that spread through his pancreas, liver and lungs. Habush died on July 29 at age 60.
Fred calls Lamont a "big dummy." Aunt Esther warns Fred to "Watch it, sucka!" Fred fakes a heart attack, crying out heavenward, "Elizabeth, I'm comin' to join you!"
Thirty years ago, when few representations of blacks appeared on television, "Sanford & Son," starring Redd Foxx, brought such gags into the pop culture lexicon. And for most of its 1972-1977 run, a couple of Jewish boys, Saul Turteltaub and Bernie Orenstein, oversaw the writing on the top-rated African American sitcom. Today, "Sanford" is the second most-watched program among viewers age 25-54 on rerun cable outlet TV Land, trailing only its doppelganger -- the wholesome, decidedly white "The Andy Griffith Show."
iel Avrech died of complications from severe pulmonary fibrosis on July 1. He was 22.
"He was incredibly learned," said Avrech's father, Emmy-winning screenwriter Robert Avrech ("The Devil's Arithmetic"). "I always learned from him. Our roles were reversed. He was also very funny and had a very dry, ironic sense of humor."
Before his life was tragically cut short in 1920 at the age of 35, Amedeo Modigliani left an impression on every person he met. Take fellow artist Jacques Lipchitz, whom the possessed Italian Jew liked to visit at 3 a.m.
The moment you enter Tempo restaurant in Encino on a Thursday night, you realize that it's Pini Cohen's town, and we just dance in it.
Imagine a disease that strips a child of the routine autonomic and sensory abilities that we take for granted. A disease that affects a child's nervous system to such a degree that he or she cannot feel pain or produce tears, even when seriously wounded. The child becomes plagued with developmental delays, both physical and cognitive, and must be fed through gastric tubes to prevent inhaling food through the windpipe instead of down the esophagus. He or she experiences severe vision problems, breathing episodes, seizures, an absence of taste, cyclical vomiting, unstable blood pressure, fainting spells, excessive sweating, skin blotching and other abnormalities. The child also incurs numerous hospital stays, frequent surgeries and enormous medical bills. Worst of all, the disease statistically guarantees that the child will not live to see his or her preteens.
A war is brewing. A minority in our midst is being actively persecuted. Society fears and loathes them. The government is using legislation to identify them and the military to hunt, contain and kill them. This is not Nazi Germany. This is America.
Irwin Goldenberg, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles past president and an active community leader, died on March 20. He was 85.
Janet Williams, a past president of City of Hope's auxiliaryÂ division, Gems of Hope, died on Feb. 9, 2003. She was 84.
At first, investment entrepreneur Judy Resnick did not realize that her daughter, Stacey Shiffman, was carrying a genetically transmitted disease.
When teen titan Henry Laufer needed to raise the bar on his bar mitzvah, he turned his drive for skateboarding into a skateboarding drive.
Marc Mostman recalls the first time he saw "Star Wars." "I remember waiting in line at the Avco at Westwood," said the 35-year-old attorney.
As far as Jewish plays go, "The Dybbuk" is a classic to those in the know or, perhaps more appropriately, those in the Noh -- the dramatic Japanese theatrical style.
On a cool November evening, the Avrech family -- Robert, Karen, and Ariel -- sit within the cozy confines of their Pico-Robertson home, where an Emmy Award that Robert won for his 1999 Holocaust-themed drama, "The Devil's Arithmetic," graces the mantle.
"It's clobberin' time!" used to be the Thing's catchphrase -- but now he might be hollering, "It's davenin' time!"
Four decades after his debut in "Fantastic Four" No. 1 (Vol. 1) -- the comic book that single-handedly launched Marvel Comics -- the craggy orange member of the eponymous superhero quartet has been revealed to be Jewish in "Fantastic Four" No. 56 (Vol. 3).
Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director general of Hadassah Medical Organization, who oversees the operation of Hadassah's two Jerusalem-area hospitals, visited Los Angeles last week.
Lisa Frost was always No. 1. She was the firstborn in her family. She was the first person to start a community service program at the School of Hospitality at Boston University, from which she graduated in May 2001 and was the valedictorian. She will also be the first completed video profile on producer-director Mark Rothman's interactive database, "Out of Many ... One: Biographies of the Victims of Sept. 11."
On the anniversary of Sept. 11, we offer a pancultural exchange with a happy ending.
Back in November, UP FRONT reported about Patricia Abdullah, a Caucasian woman of Muslim faith who, after leading an unsuccessful search for a type O-positive kidney donor for acquaintance Mike Jones, an African American Christian, ultimately donated her own kidney. The Sept. 25 procedure was performed by Jewish and German surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a hospital founded by Jews.
"Israel in Crisis: 20 Years of Israeli Art, 1980-2000," a summerlong avant-garde art exhibit at The Jewish Federation's Bell Family Gallery, distills some of the best painters who have brought about a revolution in the Israeli art scene.
Chabad of California's 22nd annual "L'Chaim to Life Telethon," hosted by Dennis Prager, was humming along nicely with a long roster of talent that included classic actors James Caan and Elliott Gould, comic actor Dom DeLuise and Israeli singer David "Dudu" Fisher. Then 10:30 p.m. rolls around and the KCET soundstage -- where the telethon is broadcast -- went amok. Enter the Sand Man.
Maria Teresa and Maria de Jesus Quiej Alvarez are twins who were born conjoined at the cranium. Headline-makers since arriving at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital in Westwood, the twins were separated in a nearly 23-hour surgery on Aug. 6.
Some things are just better the second time around. For some, it's marriage. For others, it's childbirth or career. For Mel Guthman, a member of Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades, this was the case with his bar mitzvah -- and well worth the 70-year wait.
The East L.A. community of Boyle Heights has always been a neighborhood dominated by immigrants. Today, it's a poor Hispanic neighborhood. But Hershey Eisenberg, 75, remembers a different Boyle Heights: It was during the Great Depression, when the community was poor and Jewish, but the sense of community was very rich.
In the nonprofit circles, former "Let's Make a Deal" host Monty Hall has built a reputation for being a "tireless" fundraiser, having helped raised nearly $1 billion over the years for a lengthy roster of charities, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. Yet "tireless" might be too weak an adjective for the 80-year-old Hall -- try "unstoppable."
If you've got something against the Jewish dummy named Velvel, blame Nat King Cole.
At the onset of 2002, it looked like curtains for the Silverlake-Los Feliz Jewish Community Center (JCC). The JCC, located at Sunset Boulevard and Bates Avenue, was one of five sites originally slated to be shut down and sold so that parent organization Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) could repay a $3 million debt.
Considering where he's been, it seemed unlikely that Craig Wyckoff would have been the man inducted on July 12 as president of Valley Outreach Synagogue (VOS).
The entertainment agent was once so disillusioned with Judaism that he flirted with Eastern religions, until his wife Mary reconnected him to Judaism.
Vocalist Vanessa Paloma can not wait to sing at Fiesta Shalom on June 30. For the Angeleno, who performs Ladino music with her band, Flor de Serena, Fiesta Shalom, a celebration of her Jewish and Latin ethnicities, is a far cry from the mixed feelings she used to experience about carrying passports in both cultures.
They appear on a postcard with the romantic look of a turn-of-the-century Victorian family, although their names are anything but Victorian. Hyman, Manya, Slava, Nathan, Clara and Berra (later Ben) Chernoy all posed for the picture around 1905, looking young and fair and without any realization that their journey from Russia to America would have such lifesaving consequences for the next generation. But they left one strange legacy, an inscription on the back of the postcard which read "When I will die, when I will be no more, when my bones in the earth will crumble, you will remember me. When all people forget me, you will remember me."
A mischievous monkey named Curious George achieved what millions of people could not: he escaped the Holocaust.
A Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles reception welcomed 18 students participating in a cultural exchange sponsored by the Federation's Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership. Fourteen students from Tel Aviv's A.D. Gordon School and four students from their paired partner, Northridge's Abraham Heschel Day School, gathered to reflect on their experience as the Israeli students -- all ages 13 and 14 -- wrapped up their 10-day visit to Los Angeles.
When the Jewish Community Centers Association (JCCA) of North America convened its April 21-24 Biennial 2002 convention in Los Angeles, delegates from all over the continent assembled to discuss the challenges facing the JCC system: security issues, the direction of early childhood education and camp components, a lack of financial resources and the breakdown of the nuclear family.
A chapter is about to close for the Reform movement. After 30 years, Rabbi Allen Freehling is retiring from University Synagogue. As of June 30, Freehling, 70, will turn over the Brentwood synagogue's spiritual leadership to incoming Rabbi Morley Feinstein from Temple Beth El in South Bend, Ind.
"Security" and "unity." Those were the two buzzwords of this year's Israel Independence Day Festival. And both were in great supply in what turned out to be a festive and safe celebration of Israel and Jewish culture.
On the surface, it could have been any other Hollywood industry event: legendary producer Mike Medavoy and actress-director-producer Penny Marshall received awards before the festival-opening movie screening at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Business as usual in Hollywood.
For Jews in Los Angeles, the Middle East conflict in recent weeks has reached a frightening intensity. But for local Israelis with family residing in Israel, the emotional stakes have become particularly poignant.
If there is a name for comic book action, it must be "David Goyer."
When the 36-year-old screenwriter is not bringing superheroes to life in hyperactive flicks -- such as the just-released "Blade 2," starring Wesley Snipes -- Goyer is doing it in the pages of D.C. Comics. "Justice Society of America" often charts as the fourth best-selling comic book. Goyer's gift for scripting pulse-quickening action has made him a hot name in Hollywood and in comics, industries pioneered by Jews.
"What Would You Do?" is not only the title of a tolerance-thumping children's book distributed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), but it's the question central to each of the book's three short stories. It's a device that the book's creators say is purposeful.
There was a time when the retail clothing industry was thriving. "In the '80s, my customers spent almost 8 percent of their disposable income on clothing," said David Sacks, owner of Sacks SFO apparel stores. However, time and a change in consumer habits have eroded this reality. Over the last decade, Sacks, 53, has had to close several of his outlets. He watched his retail miniempire dwindle from 20 stores nationwide to two local outlets: one in Studio City (12021 Ventura Blvd.) and a new location in Culver City (9608 Venice Blvd.).
It was a great idea: a restaurant gathering at Tomayo's, an East Los Angeles eatery known for its vibrant Latino cultural life, hosted by Israel's consul general in Los Angeles, that would unite Los Angeles' Jews and Latinos.
You knew this was bound to happen.
Just this past Purim, The Journal reported about how hamantashen were becoming a hot food delicacy outside of Jewish circles. Now, two enterprising Los Angeles-area women are bent on doing the same for yet another holiday dessert staple -- the macaroon.
Auschwitz survivor Tibor (Ted) Deutsch will never forget the dark day in 1944 that forever shaped his life. Deutsch was only 16 when he and his older brother, Georg, were among the 1,000 Jews assigned to slave labor at a Trzebinia subcamp assigned to the service the venerable German construction company Hochtief.
All is not lost for the Jewish Community Centers.
From the beginning, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles knew when it scheduled this year's Super Sunday event on Mar. 3, that the phone-a-thon fundraiser would take place on the same day as the annual L.A. Marathon.
She's young, sexy, defiant and Jewish. And now, journalist Jennifer Bleyer has created a magazine that is ... well, young, sexy, defiant and Jewish.