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Jewish Journal

Tag: Mitzvah

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  • Is beauty a Jewish value?

    By David Suissa

    September 17, 2013 | 11:01 am

    When we talk about Jewish values, we usually refer to things like justice, compassion, generosity, humility, honesty, faith, wisdom and so on. We rarely talk about beauty.

    Beauty is vain and superficial, we’re so often told.

    And yet, the word “beautiful” is prominent on this...

  • Happy new mitzvah

    By David Suissa

    September 2, 2013 | 5:23 pm

    “Organized Judaism is in trouble.” I’ve been hearing that refrain for years now, from rabbis and Jewish leaders in speeches, sermons, op-eds and conferences. The litany of complaints is familiar: Synagogue membership is down; the new generation doesn’t like organized religion;...

  • Improving on a HHD Mitzvah

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 21, 2013 | 1:00 am

    The High Holy Days are rapidly approaching, and with it the annual appeal by Mazon to take whatever money we would have spent on Yom Kippur for food if we were not fasting, and donate it to help feed people who are hungry many other days of the year.

    That’s a great start, but...

  • Cleveland kidnappings: We must be our brother’s keeper

    May 14, 2013 | 4:38 pm

    It is not our place to judge the neighbors of Ariel Castro. We don’t know enough about the particular circumstances of those who lived near this man who allegedly held three women hostage for a decade to be able to judge whether things could have been different had they been paying...

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  • Big Sunday Weekend goes beyond community service

    By Ryan Torok

    May 8, 2013 | 3:06 pm

    Phil Rosenthal, creator and executive producer of the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” was leading a game of Bingo in the annex dining room at Canter’s Deli on the morning of May 5 — not a bad way to spend Big Sunday Weekend, the annual festival of community service that featured...

  • A mitzvah called shmooze

    By David Suissa

    May 8, 2013 | 12:18 pm

    In a crummy economy, people are always looking for good investments — a promising stock, a real estate opportunity, a star mutual fund. It’s really not that different in the “mitzvah economy”— donors and do-gooders are also looking to squeeze the maximum amount of goodness out of...

  • Divine spark: expressing the unique mission of your soul

    By Lia Mandelbaum

    March 4, 2013 | 11:16 pm

    On February 23, I spent the day looking for a good Purim costume to wear to an event that evening.  My initial idea was pretty basic, which was to just wear different neon articles of clothing.  When I saw that my costume at the local thrift store was going to cost me $66, I put...

  • How Purim Differs from Halloween

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    February 27, 2013 | 7:00 am

    Since costumes are involved in both events, it’s understandable that people who don’t know much about Purim may think it’s like Halloween. So, with Purim happening last weekend, I thought I’d outline some of the ways in which they differ.

    First, while Halloween, or “All Hallows...

  • Letters to the Editor: Prager on murder, Spiritual care, Christmas Mitzvah, Seeking former students

    January 2, 2013 | 3:14 pm

    Prager on Murder

    It is quite something to read Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion dean Joshua Holo’s caricature Dennis Prager as reckless, heedless, gratuitously hostile and a provocateur “painting in broad strokes of facile caricature” (Letters, Dec. 21), when...

  • Making mitzvahs feel authentic

    August 22, 2012 | 5:08 pm

    Jack Kessler, 14, completed his mitzvah project last summer by working at a Friendship Circle camp for teens on the autism spectrum. He says the volunteer effort, which some synagogues require of their b’nai mitzvah students, helped him realize his priorities.

    “School is the...

  • Andrew Garfield:  The Jewish Spidey [SLIDESHOW]

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    July 2, 2012 | 5:49 pm

    While watching “The Amazing Spider-Man,” I was struck by how much Andrew Garfield-as-Spidey – or rather, his alter-ego, Peter Parker – reminded me of the kind of gangly geeky-cute guys you’d develop a crush on at Jewish summer camp. 

    And that casting perhaps makes sense,...

  • The mitzvah of maror

    April 4, 2012 | 11:53 am

    “The most unfortunate thing that happens to a person who fears failure is that he limits himself by becoming afraid to try anything new.”

    Last year, while attending a seder on the first night of Passover, three words in the haggadah caught my eye. Now we partake of the...

  • Scott Shay wants you to recharge your mitzvah—every 18 years

    October 17, 2011 | 5:35 pm

    Remember that 2009 episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” when as part of a plot to coax Michael “Kramer” Richards to go along with a “Seinfeld” reunion, Larry David’s African-American housemate, Leon Black, pretends to be the Jewish accountant Danny Duberstein?

    To sell...

  • Bringing Joy to Families Touched by Pain: Volunteering with Terror Victims in Israel

    By Masa Israel Journey

    March 31, 2011 | 11:54 am

    by Chaya Cunin, participant in Masa Israel’s Machon Shoshanat Yerushalayim

    Throughout the world and in Israel, terror is a horrific reality. Fortunately, being in Israel this year on a Masa Israel program has presented me with many opportunities to think, speak and most...

  • Is Matchmaking a Mitzvah and how many are supposed to accomplish in our lifetime?

    By Julia Bendis

    February 28, 2011 | 10:17 am

    Attending a wedding the other week of a couple that I introduced, made me think of the many Mitzvot that we are supposed to perform in our lifetime.  Having been somewhat of a Matchmaker since I was in high school, I had never really thought about it as a Mitzvah, or a good deed. ...

  • Can we help?

    By Susan Freudenheim

    November 19, 2008 | 2:21 am

    My desk is coated with letters of request: Adopt an animal at the zoo; come to a gala for the Jewish food bank; plant a tree in Israel; plant a tree in Los Angeles. Feed 50 meals to homeless people. Support public radio. Support the temple building fund. Support the school PTA, the...
  • Moving beyond charity

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    September 3, 2008 | 10:11 pm

    One of the biggest misnomers in the Jewish vocabulary is the translation of tzedakah as "charity." This mistranslation has gone on for so long in the American< Jewish community that it's a hard habit to break. Most Hebrew school kids will give this answer when asked, much as they will say that mitzvah means "good deed" (another misnomer, for another column).

    Tzedakah is much more than charity since it comes from the word tzedek, which means "justice." When looked at in this light,...

  • ‘Jewels of Elul’ offers candidates’ wisdom

    By Tom Tugend

    August 21, 2008 | 11:09 pm

    What is the dream of the future president of the United States?

    For the answer, check out your e-mail or a pocket-sized, 36-page booklet called “Jewels of Elul IV,” which is subtitled “29 Dreamers and Their Dreams.”

    Others include Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, Harvard...

  • Collecting stamps

    By Dikla Kadosh

    June 17, 2008 | 11:29 am

    Jewish Journal super-intern, Jina Davidovich, writes about her extracurricular activities for The Calendar Girls:

    As a senior at Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Girls’ School, my obligations extend beyond surviving anxiety attacks that come with opening college decision letters,...

  • In lieu of perfection

    By Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

    May 1, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Two Jews once came before the Talmudic sage Rav Yannai.

    "The branches of his tree extend into the public domain," one claimed. "They're a public hazard, interfering with the camel traffic. Master, you must surely rule that he is obligated to remove the tree."

    The tree owner...

  • Blood Brothers: How a gift of lifesaving bone marrow united two strangers

    By Nancy Sokoler Steiner

    April 24, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Although they live more than 12,000 miles apart, Yosef Eliezrie and Moshe Price have a lot in common. Eliezrie, 21, is a Los Angeles yeshiva student preparing to become rabbi, like his father. Price, 24, studies in a Jerusalem yeshiva. His father is also a rabbi. The two are not...
  • Tzedakah or genetics?  Hebrew University identifies possible ‘generosity gene’

    By JewishJournal.com

    December 11, 2007 | 10:03 pm


    You give because it’s a mitzvah, your religious side says (because it’s the right thing to do, adds your inner ethicist.)

    That’s what we like to think—it’s certainly what we tell ourselves.

    But what if all our self-congratulation covers up the real truth?  Check this out (from...

  • New Conservative seminary leader outlines goals

    By Ben Harris

    September 8, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Long before he emerged as a leading scholar of American Jewry, and decades before he would be looked to as the potential savior of the Conservative movement, Arnold Eisen was gunning for a journalism internship at the Washington Post.

    As an undergraduate at the University of...

  • Dancing to the beat of a different ‘disco’

    By Leora Nimmer

    May 10, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Readers may recall the article, "'Disco Rabbi' Asks L.A. to Help Israel's Poor" (Nov. 17, 2006), profiling Migdal Ohr's charismatic Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Grossman on his visit to Los Angeles.

    His stop at Maimonides Academy inspired Leora Nimmer to invite her sixth-grade class to...
  • Time warp again? Take a step toward tradition

    By Judy Gruen

    January 11, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    When I think back to my bat mitzvah 30-plus years ago, here's what I remember most: following the photographer's prompts as I posed against the tree in the synagogue courtyard, standing nervously on the bimah chanting my Torah portion, and giving a speech in which I excoriated...
  • At Party Time: Candy is dandy—charity is sweeter

    By Sharon Duke Estroff

    January 11, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    I was struggling to secure a tiny satin kippah with a granny-sized bobby pin when it hit me like a ton of Pampers: One day (assuming we both survive the main event at the bris), this 8-day-old baby will be standing on the bar mitzvah bimah wearing a really big satin kippah!...
  • Chasids in the Hood (or Not)

    By David Suissa

    December 21, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    It's one of the quirks of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. There's a movement that owns a huge block on Pico Boulevard right in the middle of the hood, runs a preschool, elementary, middle and high school for girls on that same block, has official or unofficial connections with six...
  • Jewish literacy Is a mitzvah—and not fulfilled with phonetics

    By Richard Wagner

    October 19, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    For the People of the Book, literacy is a mitzvah, a sanctified behavior that draws us closer to God and the Jewish community.

    Pirkei Avot, or Ethics of the Fathers, described a curriculum in the year 200: "A 5-year-old begins Tanach," or scripture; "a 10-year-old begins Mishnah,"...

  • Pico-Robertson Live in the ‘hood: Little sukkahs, on the hillside, little huts made of ...

    By David Suissa

    October 5, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    You rise from your 300-thread cotton sheets and walk along your Carrera marble floors through the hand-crafted French doors that give out to a spectacular patio overlooking the city. Off to the side is a small, frail- looking structure that looks like an old hut, with palm leaves on...
  • For Rosh Hashanah: Make your own joy

    By Rabbi Perry Netter

    September 21, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    The best part about Y2K, in my judgment, was that it signaled the end of the 20th century.
     
    Who among us would want to relive the last 100 years? Tens of millions of people died during the previous century in the most violent and brutal ways.
     
    World War I, at the start of...
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