A non-Jewish man who took possession of the chametz given to him by a haredi Orthodox community just before the start of Passover returned the goods shortly after the end of the holiday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted a ruling by dozens of Israel's municipal chief rabbis that forbids renting homes to gentiles, and more specifically to Arabs.
If you scroll through the list of Madoff's philanthropic victims, you'll find plenty of evidence that even Jews who have shed every vestige of their ancient practice short of circumcision still resonate to the prophetic call to heal the wider world.
" . . . We have one thing that's not happening now that happened then, which was the memory of the Holocaust. We are 50-plus years removed. The urgency that existed then doesn't exist today. The Federation campaign did better with Lou Wasserman -- people didn't tell him no. There isn't that iconic person like Lou who is willing to be identified publicly with their Judaism . . ."
It seems the Jewish tradition of matchmaking is alive and well these days, as two very different Jewish novels on matchmaking come to us just in time for Valentine's Day.
"Seven Blessings" by Ruchama King (St. Martin's Press, 2003) is out in paperback, and focuses on the Orthodox Jewish community, specifically American and Canadian ba'alei teshuvah living in Jerusalem.
No. 2, "Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern-Day Matchmaker" by Samantha Daniels was released in hardcover this month. Daniels' story centers on the trials of a single Jewish matchmaker whose clients are single New Yorkers -- both Jewish and non-Jewish.
It's Friday night at Young Israel of Santa Barbara, and an enthusiastic chorus of seven men and eight women sing Shabbat prayers while banging on the tables in rhythm to the melody.
At least two of the 15 in this Orthodox storefront shul are not Jewish, but that doesn't appear to be issue enough to dampen their enthusiasm for davening or the in-shul Shabbat meal that follows.
They are security guards, schoolteachers, cooks and banquet hall waiters. They are waitresses, agency and museum executives and walkie-talkie-toting synagogue maintenance workers. There are hundreds of non-Jewish support staff at synagogues and other Jewish institutions throughout Southern California, and they are integral to the life of the Jewish community.
"Amazing, amazing people," said Conservative Rabbi Mark Diamond, executive director of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. "I don't think our Jewish institutions could function properly without the efforts of our non-Jewish support staff and even sometimes senior staff."
In my San Francisco days, I once had a brief romantic affair with a mime. I was living in a house with lots of bedrooms, which were rented out to many different people. One of them was her, Angie, a young woman who each day would leave the house, go down to the park and do her mime thing, collecting dollars in a hat. I would tease her and we would flirt.
Though certainly one of the most bitter memories of history, the Holocaust was also a time of true heroism and great humanity. On Sun., May 6, Mt. Sinai Memorial Park in Simi Valley dedicated a grove of trees to the non-Jewish heroes who risked their lives to save Jewish lives during the Holocaust. Lidia Furmanski of Pasadena, a rescuer from Poland, and Bert Lerno of Simi Valley, a Jewish Dane who was rescued, were guests of honor at the dedication ceremony.
When the Skirball Cultural Center opened in April 1996, its founding president and CEO, Rabbi Uri D. Herscher, didn't buy the philosophy "If you build it, they will come."
My worst Passover was my first in Los Angeles, more than half a lifetime ago. I had nowhere to go the first night, and the second night, a college friend took me to an institutional seder that was so sterile and faceless that I went home early and, paraphrasing Scarlett O'Hara, vowed, "As God is my witness, I'll never go without a seder again."
More than 300,000 visitors have thronged the Jewish Museum in Berlin since it opened to the public in February 1999, and more are coming at a clip of 20,000 each month.
A friend told me about a scene he witnessed recently at a delicatessen. There was a woman who apparently was not Jewish standing in line at the bakery counter. When they called her number she pointed to the prune and poppy seed hamantaschen and asked for a dozen.
"No, you want these," said the elderly Jewish woman who was serving her, pointing to the apricot hamantaschen instead.
"No, I want those," the woman reiterated pointing again to the prune and poppy seed variety.