Preparing for the complete bar or bat mitzvah experience — the ceremony, the food, the entertainment — can feel like a three-ring circus. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that carnivals are one of the hottest themes these days as kids prepare for the biggest party they’ve thrown in their 13 years on the planet.
L.A. young adult groups celebrate Israel’s 65th Independence Day. This blue-and-white party (dress accordingly) at Hollywood club Lure features spinning by DJ Aviel, live performance art and drumming, drinks and kosher catering. 21 and older. Sat. 8:30 p.m. (“Get Back Israel Fair”), 9:30 p.m. (club night). $18 (online), $25 (door). Lure Nightclub, 1439 Ivar Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 761-8138. jewishla.org/unite.
Israel’s electoral system is the root cause of the disheartening polarization and superficiality on display in Israel’s current election season. Many wrongly point to the egos of our politicians as the underlying reason. In reality, powerful constitutional disincentives for collaboration shape our politics.
Polls will remain open past midnight in Likud Party primary voting following computer malfunctions at several polling stations.
IKAR’s Rabbi Sharon Brous and Rabbi Ronit Tsadok, American Jewish University’s Rabbi Aryeh Cohen and leaders of social justice organization Bend the Arc discuss the November ballot initiatives through a Jewish lens, addressing what Jewish tradition says about the death penalty, criminal justice and income equality.
It was late in the afternoon on Aug. 15, a Wednesday, when the jury delivered its verdict to a Santa Monica courtroom.
For the second time in just two months, the Israeli political universe was upended when Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima Party voted to quit Israel’s governing coalition.
My 11-year-old son, Ari, is now a Hebrew-school dropout. I am aware that that's the name of a comedy act and a line of T-shirts. But, for me, the phrase is not a punch line, but a punch in the gut. I imagine my response was just like parents whose kids drop out of high school: disbelief, sadness and helplessness followed quickly by a healthy dose of Jewish guilt. "Where did I go wrong?" "What did I do to cause him to reject my contribution to his heritage?"
My bat mitzvah invitation had bright purple embossed text on a hot pink card with my name enlarged in decorative script at the top and daisies adorning the bottom. Twenty-plus years later, I remember eagerly waiting for my friends to receive the invitations and running home weeks later to check the mailbox for the return of the RSVP envelopes. Secured in a scrapbook, the invitation is a treasured memento.
The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party defied predictions and won nearly 7 percent of the vote in the Greek national elections.
A Palestinian principal was punished over a spontaneous beach party that emerged during a field trip in Israel.
There are many things that come to mind when the words “bachelor” and “party” are said in the same breath, and often the sum of this equation is not pretty. Despite Hollywood’s depiction of this rite of passage as a final gasp of protracted adolescence (from the Tom Hanks camp classic “Bachelor Party” to the “Hangover” movies), there are men who are not interested in acting silly (or worse) for its own sake.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said he supported an early general election in four months' time, a ballot polls say could strengthen his hand as Israel confronts Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Shaul Mofaz decisively defeated Tzipi Livni to become the new leader of Israel’s Kadima Party.
British peer Jenny Tonge resigned as party whip of the Liberal Democrats after saying that Israel would not survive for long in its present form.
French authorities have opened an investigation into a Nazi-themed party that led to the firing of a British lawmaker who attended.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to win a new mandate to lead his right-wing Likud party Tuesday in a primary vote which may signal he favors an early parliamentary election to strengthen his hand with Washington.
The strong presence of Ron Paul, the Republican congressman from Texas, in the GOP campaign — and his respectable third-place finish in Iowa — is bringing attention to the often-ignored libertarian strain in American politics. It is an outlook that challenges the dogmas of both left and right, and taps into an essential part of the national psyche.
A British lawmaker was fired from his job working for a senior Conservative Party minister after attending a Nazi-themed party
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that he is moving up the date of Likud Party primaries.
The Israeli Labor Party’s new leader, Shelly Yachimovich, makes a grand entrance at the annual Rosh Hashanah toast for party activists.
Aish brings together rhythem, beats and davening for their 'Rosh Hashanah in the house tonight' dancing spectacle.
It's called Summer U, but most of the more than 500 young Jews who attend the European Union of Jewish Students' largest annual event don't come for the seminars.
Tel Aviv is one of the world's top 10 summer party destinations, according to a popular travel website. HotelsCombined.com, one of the world’s largest online travel sites, named Tel Aviv to its 2011 list of cities where the summer fun never lets up.
Have tough economic times forced you to scale back your child's bar or bat mitzvah party plans? With your 401(k) down, is the ice sculpture out? Is your resetting ARM making you reconsider that 18-piece orchestra?
Editorial cartoonist Steve Greenberg looks at the push for unity at the Democratic National Convention in Denver
In Los Angeles, with today's foodie culture in full tilt, there is no "one-size-fits-all" option when it comes to choosing a bakery to create the perfect wedding cake.
Security checks are no longer just for airports in Beijing
'Bitachon' on his jacket (in Hebrew) means 'security'
Some things never change, or do they? Bar and bat mitzvah parties overwhelmingly follow a recipe that everyone assumes is written in stone, said Gail Greenberg, creator of mitzvahchic.com. The only room for creativity, people think, is to have a unique theme.
We all wanted to give my nephew the bar mitzvah party to not just match but surpass all of the one's he'd been invited to during the year. Yet the family's fortunes were not equal to the task. All we could scrimp together was $3,000. It could only have been divine inspiration that led us to the conclusion that this actually made the job of putting together a bar mitzvah to remember a lot easier than it seemed.
So while my brother got punched out at his bar mitzvah -- by me -- this other kid met God. Of course, some kids start getting into trouble at this age, while others really start to excel as students.
I didn't exactly mean to go incognito, but when my friend Ben didn't recognize me -- even after chatting with me for a minute at the noisy Purim carnival -- I realized I was onto something: I could be anyone.
George Valencia said the inspiration for the film came from his worst memory as a bar mitzvah emcee -- he had run out of glow ropes during a party for a particularly affluent family only to discover that the bar mitzvah boy had never received one.
Iraq is a mess, a cauldron of intra-Islamic conflict. Afghanistan is heading down the same tragic path, as the Taliban assert greater fundamentalist control. All those Muslims are nuts, right?
Then there's Azerbaijan.
Sixty years after Roosevelt, thanks to hard work and commitment by generations of American Jews, Betsy and I stood next to a mashgiach in the White House kitchen during a time in America when nearly all politicians of import have a profound respect for the role American Jews play in our society.
Aren't all bat mitzvahs alike?
On the first night of Chanukah my true love gave to me...social justice? That's the theme of one of the hottest parties of the Chanukah season, "Vodka Latka: The Festival of Rights," sponsored by the Progressive Jewish Alliance (PJA), JDub Records and Reboot on Dec. 13 at the El Rey Theatre in Mid-Wilshire.
I can see going a little nuts on Purim, when we celebrate a seminal victory that saved the Jewish people, but going bananas on a day of Torah?
Fortunately, it's perfectly possible to plan a kid-friendly birthday bash without compromising our values, sanity and pocketbook. All it takes is a little panning for gold.
"It's going to be harder and harder to be on the left and be pro-Israel," Kotkin said. "I think many Jews are going to have to choose between their leftism and their Judaism."
Although Irwin S. Field couldn't reserve the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton more than a year in advance, he wanted to make sure that his favorite Israeli chef would be available.
When we think of bar and bat mitzvah gifts, many things come to mind: fountain pens, cuff links, picture frames, checks. But the true gifts of this religious rite of passage extend far beyond the envelopes and boxes piled up at the party door.
More than 80 studio executives, producers, directors, lawyers, agents, distributors and rabbis all enjoyed a Shabbat dinner together in the south of France. For some, Shabbat was a new experience. For others, a weekly ritual. Still for others, it was simply another networking event.
It's not that glitz, glamour and secular themes at b'nai mitzvah are inherently problematic, like in the soon-to-be-released one-upsmanship film, "Keeping Up With the Steins," but when they're inadequately balanced with Jewish values we can be left with an empty shell of a party that undermines the entire point of these meaningful milestones.
Selecting an environmental mitzvah project is a good starting point. But consider adding eco-friendly substitutes for white plastic tableware, Styrofoam centerpieces, Mylar balloons and elaborate banners. Are your invitations printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks?
It's not every day that I am E-vited to a birthday party promising to feature live ammunition. Excitedly, I E-sponded with a resounding "yes." Paula was throwing a Wild West-themed shindig for her husband Bill's birthday. It was a "BYOF" (Bring Your Own Firearm) affair.