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Jewish Journal

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  • How to Shmita in California

    1 week ago

    Shmita, the Torah-mandated break that refreshes every seven years, and which is observed in the coming new year, 5775, is being reinterpreted in Los Angeles.

    The key concepts of shmita, which means “release,” are found in the Torah portion Mishpatim in Exodus (“Six years you...

  • The High Holy Days: Something meaningful, or just going through the motions?

    By Rob Eshman

    1 week ago

    Most of us who go to synagogue for the High Holy Days have no clue what’s going on.

    We don’t speak or read Hebrew well enough to understand the prayers or the Torah portion. We don’t know why we say the prayers in the order we say them. We don’t like the stilted English...

  • Now there’s an app for atonement – meet eScapegoat

    By tessc

    1 week ago

    The confessions come flooding in at this time of year to the Twitter feed of the atonement app eScapegoat:

    I told him the cupcake was gluten-free.

    I always use my roommate’s bathroom so I don’t have to clean my own.

    I’ve spent all my mother’s money since she died.

    Sarah...

  • Three books, three opinions about The Lubavitcher Rebbe

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    1 week ago

    The 20th anniversary of the passing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (1902-1994) has inspired no fewer than three new biographies, a fact that attests to his enduring importance even outside the Chasidic community he led for four decades. Even more telling, however, is the fact that he is...

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  • U.S. providing additional $71 million in Gaza aid

    1 week ago

    The United States said it will provide $71 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians in Gaza.

    The funds announced Monday by Secretary of State John Kerry are above the $47 million pledged by the U.S. for emergency needs in Gaza in the wake of Israel’s...

  • Overheard at the DLD Tel Aviv Digital Conference

    By Simone Wilson

    1 week ago

    “Hey, Jackson! How’s your startup coming? Still living the dream?”

    “We’re not really fancy yet. We still need to have that discussion.”

    “Let me be Israeli for a minute and not be politically correct.”

    “Let’s do it after Rosh Hashanah. Don’t let me forget, dude.”

    “It’s good...

  • How Israeli tech survived the war

    By Simone Wilson

    1 week ago

    “I know that for some of you, coming to Israel after a very challenging summer might cause hesitation,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai told a crowd of hundreds of techies wearing neon-pink wristbands and ID necklaces. They sat in an old, restored British train station along the coast of...

  • Compassionate kapparot: use coins, not chickens

    1 week ago

    How does one remove sin and guarantee one’s name in the Book of Life during the Ten Days of Repentance? Here’s one way that does not work: Take a factory-farmed white hen out of a battery cage in the sweltering heat, wave it over your head, say “This is my exchange, this is my...

  • Rosh Hashana: Meal and a Spiel Style

    By Elana Horwich

    1 week ago

    The Head of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, deserves food that makes it worth sitting in temple all day.  Here is a comprehensive collection of what I think are the best recipes you can make for the High Holidays.

     

    Matzo Ball Soup (Chicken Soup Easy Enough for Shiksas*)

    matzo-ball-soup-recipe

    ...
  • ‘Fallen Fruit of the Skirball’: A labor of love

    1 week ago

    An installation titled “Fallen Fruit of the Skirball,” currently on display in the Ruby Gallery of the Skirball Cultural Center, presents the various dimensions of love and relationships, using fruit as a catalyst.  

    “Fallen Fruit” is a collaborative that was originated in 2004...

  • Backers of anti-Iran group create group against violent Islamists

    1 week ago

    Imagine taking the 6-year-old NGO (non-governmental organization) United Against Nuclear Iran and swapping out the word “Iran” with “violent extremists.”

    That pretty much sums up the Counter Extremism Project, an NGO launched Sept. 22 that aims to expose the financial,...

  • Poland is the safest place in Europe for Jews today

    1 week ago

    I survived the Holocaust in a sub-cellar in Tarnopol (Ternopil), a city now located in western Ukraine that once had a thriving Jewish as well as Polish population. Before coming to the U.S., I grew up after the war in France when philo-Semites like Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre...

  • Poem: My first theology lesson

    1 week ago

    Rumpled and furious, my grandfather’s friend

    stood up in a bookstore on the North Side

    and lamented the lost Jews of Poland

     

    and declared that he felt sorry for God

    who had so many problems with Justice

    and had become disillusioned and sad

     

    since He wanted to...

  • Is anti-Israel bias at UCLA breaking federal law? One study says yes.

    By Jared Sichel

    1 week ago

    A study released Sept. 17 by the pro-Israel campus watchdog AMCHA Initiative found that not only has UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies (CNES) hosted an overwhelming proportion of its events that are critical and hostile toward Israel — as campus pro-Israel advocates long have...

  • Rosh Hashana: Embracing our elders

    By David Suissa

    1 week ago

    We are spiritually ambitious at this time of year. We reflect, we repent, we make resolutions. We study our faults and mistakes of the past year and commit to being better people in the coming year. We ask for forgiveness and forgive in return. We listen to brilliant sermons that...

  • Yvonne Rainer celebrated as groundbreaking dancer and artist

    1 week ago

    My God! Can theater finally come down to the irreducible fact that one group of people is looking at another group?! — Yvonne Rainer, 1969

    A groundbreaking artist in the fields of dance, choreography and experimental film, Yvonne Rainer has had a career spanning more than 50...

  • White House intruder allegedly had 800 rounds of ammunition in car

    1 week ago

    A decorated Iraq war veteran who scaled a fence on Friday night and got into the White House had more than 800 rounds of ammunition in his car and had been arrested in July with a sniper rifle and a map on which the executive mansion was marked, a federal prosecutor said on Monday....

  • The Raging Jews of Comedy

    1 week ago

    Memo to the building maintenance staff at Beverly Hills High School: Pay the air conditioning bill. Please do this well in advance of filling the K.L. Peters Auditorium with a crowd, particularly when you plan to shoot footage of both performers and audience that may be used for an...

  • West Hollywood, Israel join forces in HIV/AIDS task force

    1 week ago

    Israel’s Consul General in Los Angles David Siegel and West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico gripped the handles of a super-sized pair of scissors as they cut a ceremonial red ribbon Sept. 18, marking their joint partnership in an HIV/AIDS task force.

    The ceremony took place at...

  • The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment and self control

    1 week ago

    Have I got a treat for you!  Oooh, look — a big, fat, delicious marshmallow! Aren’t you dying to pop it in your mouth right this very minute? 

    But wait!  If you can just hold out for 15 minutes, I’ll give you another marshmallow. I’ll leave you in a room alone with the first...

  • The new documentary ‘Pump’ asks society to question its fuel choices

    1 week ago

    It’s already been 13 years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and in that time we’ve come to understand the difficult geopolitical situation that our oil dependence has put us in.

    In order to keep our cars running, the United States needs to keep the leaders of oil-rich Middle...

  • Why I have vaccinated my daughters

    1 week ago

    I have two girls, ages three and eleven. My daughters have gotten every last vaccine I can possibly get for them. I have done the same for myself. 

    Why? Because quite simply, vaccines are one of the most amazing medical discoveries we humans have ever pulled off. Because I don't...

  • U.S. and Arab allies launch first strikes on fighters in Syria

    1 week ago

    The United States and its Arab allies bombed Syria for the first time on Tuesday, killing scores of ISIS fighters and members of a separate al Qaeda-linked group, opening a new front against militants by joining Syria's three-year-old civil war.

    In a remarkable sign of shifting...

  • Elan Carr hesitant to support sending U.S. troops back to Iraq

    By Bill Boyarsky

    1 week ago

    I happened to interview Elan Carr, a Republican congressional candidate with substantial Middle East experience, on a day that may be remembered as noteworthy in the latest American attempt to defeat terrorism in that tormented region.

    Carr, currently a deputy Los Angeles County...

  • Brian Finkelstein’s one-man show: Suicide, untimely deaths, masochism and humor

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    1 week ago

    In Brian Finkelstein’s one-man show, “First Day Off in a Long Time,” he describes the true story of how, at 19, he was miserable in his relationship with a “Smiths-listening, vampire Goth chick who was addicted to crystal meth. And as much as [she] was addicted to meth, I was...

  • Torah portion: Beauty and love

    1 week ago

    Over and above the din of desires there is a calling, a demanding, a waiting, an expectation. There is a question that follows me wherever I turn. What is expected of me? What is demanded of me?

    — Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

    Our penultimate Torah portion is … a poem. Even...

  • Israeli teens’ suspected abductors killed in firefight with IDF

    1 week ago

    The two Palestinian men suspected of kidnapping and killing three Israeli teens were killed in a firefight with Israeli troops during an operation to apprehend them.

    Marwan Kawasme and Omar Abu Aysha were killed early Tuesday morning in Hebron, where Israeli troops had surrounded...

  • Survivor: Stella Esformes

    By Jane Ulman

    1 week ago

    It was 1944, and Stella Esformes — then Sterina Haleoua — was looking forward to watching the national Independence Day parade in Larissa, Greece. She had even purchased a new pair of beige and brown shoes for the occasion. But the day before the event, in the early morning of...

  • Calendar September 27 - October 3

    By Laura Donney

    1 week ago

    SAT | SEP 27

    “BRONIES! THE MUSICAL”

    Ever felt isolated by a passion? Maybe embarrassed, but also complete and whole? In this original musical about three guys who connect over their love for the “My Little Pony” franchise, there’s nothing wrong with liking what you like, and...

  • Letters to the editor: Khuzaa, Steven Sotloff, Azerbaijan and firing ranges

    1 week ago

    The Fog of Narrative

    With the article “Inside the Fog of War” (Sept. 12), the Jewish Journal joins many other media outlets in publicizing Palestinian suffering. It’s an easy story to write. The photos and witness accounts are plentiful and sympathetic. It’s truthful,...

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