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  • Obituaries

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Rabbi Jacob Ott, Former Rabbi at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel,

    Dies at 86

    Rabbi Jacob Ott, who served for 34 years at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, died of congestive heart failure on Saturday, Dec. 16. He was 86. Ott was born in Chicago in an Orthodox neighborhood, three...

  • Battle Lines Emerge on Marking Holiday

    By Matthew E. Berger

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    The sound of angry Christians railing against the marginalization of Christmas has become the new tune of this holiday season.

    Across the country, from department stores to town halls, battle lines have been drawn over how to mark the winter holidays.

    Led by evangelical groups,...

  • Community Briefs

    By David Finnigan

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Wolpe Out of the Running for JTS Head

    Rabbi David Wolpe has removed himself from consideration for the job of leading the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York. Wolpe, of Sinai Temple in Westwood, had been widely considered a front-runner for chancellor at JTS, the central...

  • Spectator - Once Upon a Menorah

    By Tom Tugend

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    A three-foot dancing dreidel and a visiting Holocaust survivor recall the ageless tales from a fresh perspective, when PBS station KCET airs "Chanukah Stories" on Dec. 24 and 25.

    The heroes of the animated film, "Moishe's Miracle," is 8-year-old Zackary Maccabee, known as Zak Mak to...

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  • Bibi Up,  Sharon Down —for Now

    By Jewish Journal Staff

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    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.

    Exit polls showed Netanyahu winning Monday's Likud Party leadership primary with 47...

  • To Bomb or Not to Bomb Iran?

    By Leslie Susser

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    The extreme Islamist president of Iran has lobbed all sorts of verbal bombshells at Jews and Israel in recent weeks: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly reiterated his desire to wipe Israel off the map, and he implied that the Holocaust is a myth.

    All of this was bad enough, but...

  • The Midnight Clear

    By Darcy Vebber

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    When I light the first Chanukah candle this year on Dec. 25, the mid-winter moon will be waning. Every night, as I add candles to the menorah, the night sky will be darker until, on the last night when we put our chanukiah in the living room window with all nine candles burning,...

  • The Best Presents: Ritual and Repetition

    By Sharon Duke Estroff

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    During my family's annual Thanksgiving beach road trip this year, my kids showed remarkable stamina for tolerating monotony as they watched the "Rugrats' Chanukah" video 12 times in a row. I was about to inquire how they could manage to consistently laugh like fiends each time they...

  • The Married Charedi and Me

    By  Orit Arfa

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    I met Oren after watching "Kol Nidrei," a new play by Israeli playwright Yehoshua Sobol. The play is about Charedi (ultra-Orthodox)

    Jews who lead double lives -- as Bnei Brak yeshiva bochers by day and Tel Aviv bar-hoppers by Friday night. "Kol Nidrei" is inspired by real life, and...

  • Dybbuks and Heroes Liven Holiday Books

    By Penny Schwartz

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Kibitzers, dreamers, medieval travelers and dybbuks are among the wide array of heroes, heroines and mystical villains in this season's crop of Jewish children's books, as publishers expand their offerings beyond holiday books and biblical retellings.

    The roster of publishers is...

  • Letters

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    "Covenantal Judaism"

    Once upon a time, not so long ago, the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) was arguably the leading Jewish intellectual institution in the United States. It was home to a cadre of scholars whose research and publications in the areas of Bible, Talmud, history and...

  • ‘Match’ a Winner; Keep ‘Rumor’ Quiet

    By Jean Oppenheimer

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    "Match Point" marks a notable departure for Woody Allen, and not just because its story is set and was shot in England. Reminiscent in theme of "Crimes and Misdemeanors," though without the humor, there's a new tone to this film. Enough so that anybody entering the theater not...

  • It’s the Swan Song for Hatikvah Music

    By Kirk Silsbee

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    On a recent afternoon, boxes were scattered around the floor of Hatikvah Music International on Fairfax Avenue. Stacks of CDs, piles of mailing envelopes and piles of boxes to be mailed threatened the barely discernible order of the store. Aside from owner Simon Rutberg and his...

  • Larry David Died for Our Sins

    By Tom Teicholz

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Larry David, the producer-writer-star of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" has just finished airing the fifth season of his HBO program. Many people find him hilarious. Others find him annoying in the extreme. Both are right, of course, and David builds his humor out of this particular...

  • Driven Sax Man Puts His Mark on Music

    By Marc Ballon

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    When Steve Berlin gained early admission to a university premed program as an 11th-grader, his mother and father had visions of their little boy becoming a physician. Much to their chagrin, the young Berlin had other ideas. He told them he dreamed of becoming a rocker -- not a...

  • Chabad Menorahs Gain Acceptance

    By Chanan Tigay

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Ten years ago, the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) sued the city of Beverly Hills to block the local Chabad house from erecting a 27-foot menorah in a public park near City Hall. Displaying the menorah -- a Jewish religious symbol -- on public property, the AJCongress argued,...

  • Holiday Celebration of Arts and Eats

    By Judy Zeidler

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    The year-to-year tradition of celebrating Chanukah doesn't change at our home. It always includes lighting candles, playing dreidel, eating latkes and having the children open gifts. But, the highlight of Chanukah for me is having all of our family together at the same time. It is...

  • Terrorism of ‘70s Forced Israeli Move

    By Hirsh Goodman

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    The dates and times are all one blur. What remains crystal clear, however, is what it was like to be an Israeli in the early 1970s, when the phenomenon of international terror began: Japanese terrorists landing at Lod Airport and gunning down dozens of pilgrims just arrived from...

  • Choices Snowball for Ski Adventures

    By Adam Wills

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Skiers and snowboarders who want vacations with fresh powder have an avalanche of options this winter. Jewish ski trips abound for teens to 40-somethings of all skill levels.

    Mammoth and Lake Tahoe will be the setting for a variety of Jewish ski trips, and teens can hit the ditch at...

  • Families, Singles Get Ready to Set Sail

    By Lisa Alcalay Klug

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    The leaves have turned, the days are shorter and Chanukah, the holiday of lights, glimmers ahead. With the winter looming, juicy possibilities await, with plenty of exotic, warm weather options. So go ahead and plan your first big escape of 2006. Or surprise a loved one by booking a...

  • Zagat for Dating

    By Amy Klein

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    "Where do you want to meet?" I ask my blind date on the phone for our last-minute get-together. I find it's best to set up these things in haste, on the fly, soon after a phone call, so expectations are kept to the barest minimum. (And yet, somehow, no matter how low hopes seem to...

  • Skip the Tsuris of Chanukah Shopping

    By Lisa Alcalay Klug

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    With Chanukah coinciding with the rush for the "other holiday," why spend unnecessary time hunting for parking at the mall or waiting in line? We've surveyed some of the hottest catalogs and Web sites for eight nights of creative gifts. Best of all, you can order in a hurry online or...

  • Proud to Have Guilt

    By Chanan Tigay

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Once Mireille Silcoff had been hired to edit a new quarterly Jewish magazine for young people, she needed to give it a name.

    "At one point I just started asking people, 'What are the first things you think of when you think about your Jewishness?'" Silcoff recalled. "You can't...

  • Gifts for Your Honey Too Large to Wrap

    By Carin Davis

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Those eight crazy nights are coming up fast. Still stumped what to get your sweetie? Think outside the giftbox and give your loved one a gift certificate for an experience. Whether it's a pampering, an adventure, or just some much needed help, Los Angeles is loaded with services that...

  • Latke Larry Cooks Up Dough for Kids

    By Ruth Portnoy

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    For a second or two, it seems like the cloth doll is going to leap from the table to the stove and start wielding a spatula.

    Or maybe it's just that Latke Larry's creator, Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann, head of the Ohio State University Chabad House in Columbus, is so excited about the...

  • Nation & World Briefs

    By David Finnigan

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Jews React to Williams' Execution

    Rabbi Steven Jacobs was home late Monday night watching TV coverage of the execution of Crips gang co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams, and he was glad he wasn't at the loud candlelight vigil outside San Quentin State Prison.

    "The sideshows on both...

  • U.S. Must Act on Iran Nuclear Threat

    By Rep. Brad Sherman

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Outrageous statements by Iran's president calling for Israel's destruction put Iran back on the front page for a few days in October. Such belicose rhetoric should surprise no one; the destruction of Israel has been Iranian state policy since the 1979 revolution.

    What should be...

  • Judgment on ‘Munich’

    By Tom Tugend

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    "Munich" ranks as one of those movies that has been analyzed by so many and, so far, seen by so few. All the buzz and fuss isn't about the quality, pacing, acting, music and cinematography of the movie. After all, "A Steven Spielberg Film" carries the imprimatur of the Hollywood gold...

  • L.A. Enters the Season of Mitzvot

    By David Finnigan

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Christmas Day is the day of the year which some Jews often fill by doing some mitzvah volunteer work, then enjoying Chinese food and a movie. But that annual mitzvah-Chinese food-movie ritual is being put aside this Dec. 25 for Chanukah.

    "Chanukah makes it a big deal because now Jews...

  • Letters

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Singles Solutions

    Your article on "A Single Problem" described my sitation as an intellgient single woman very accurately (Dec. 9). However, you only begin to touch upon the problem with Jewish men. In my experience, men say they would like a smart woman, but, in reality, do not. I...

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