Two major community events marked the relatively minor holiday of Lag B’Omer on April 28, bringing some bombast — and thousands of people — to local celebrations.
Much has been written and spoken about the Doheny Meat scandal. I have not seen or heard anything regarding gratitude to Eric Agaki for his efforts in exposing the facts.
A semi-automatic weapon sits propped beside the front door of the ranch-style home that Eric Agaki shares with his wife, a couple of goats, some chickens and a horse. Only it’s not the real thing.
Shlomo Rechnitz, a prominent local businessman and philanthropist, has purchased Doheny Glatt Kosher Meat Market, the scandal-plagued kosher meat retailer and distributor.
Thirty years ago, in 1983, Rabbi Pinchas Gruman, an esteemed scholar of Jewish texts who also holds a doctorate in philosophy, was the chair of the Rabbinical Council of California’s (RCC) committee dedicated to enforcing Jewish dietary law at establishments under its supervision.
Three years ago, when Edo Cohen’s observant friend moved several blocks away from the center of Pico-Robertson’s Orthodox community to an area east of La Cienega Boulevard, he remembers thinking, “I can’t believe he moved there.”
The Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) abruptly revoked its certification from Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats on March 24, but the RCC, Los Angeles’s leading kosher oversight agency, had first heard about the distributor’s suspicious practices years earlier.
Nowhere in the Torah does it say: “And on the seventh day, God played soccer.” Which is too bad for observant Jewish youths who would love to take advantage of the many local sports leagues that play on Saturdays.
It really bothered Jonathan Gerber, a 30-year-old financial adviser and resident of Pico-Robertson, that there was no Modern Orthodox sleep-away camp in Los Angeles.
If you’ve ever been to one of those giant auto shows where hundreds of gleaming new car models are lavishly displayed in a convention hall the size of Montana, you’ve got an idea of what it felt like last Sunday morning when I entered the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly (commonly known as the “GA”), which is being held this year at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS) announced layoffs in some areas and expansion in other areas of its operation Oct. 16, saying it was looking to position JFS for success as it responds to shifts in how programs are funded.
It’s a Wednesday in September. Brad Baker stands in front of Elat Market on Pico Boulevard, holding out his baseball cap. People exit the supermarket, pushing shopping carts and carrying bags with groceries. Some look at Baker. Some don’t. For Baker, this is just another day.
On a recent Friday afternoon, Mariz Mosseri went shopping for groceries, as she does on most Fridays. She trolled the aisles of Elat Market and Glatt Mart, Pico-Robertson’s two largest kosher supermarkets, which sit side-by-side on Pico Boulevard.
“I call it a hub, like the airlines, Mikhael Maimon said. “When people want help, they come through our doors. And when people want to help others, they come here.” Maimon is director of Kollel Rashbi Ari shul in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood.
Because of her father’s Zionist dream to convince American Jews to move to Israel, Hadassa Margolese spent her adolescent years in the Pico-Robertson area. Now it is Margolese’s own Zionist dream that has turned her and her 8-year-old daughter Na’ama into heroines of the fight against ultra-Orthodox extremism in Israel.
The sudden closure on Dec. 9 of Kosher Club, a warehouse-style kosher market on Pico Boulevard near La Brea Avenue, saddened but didn’t really surprise industry experts or the kosher consumers who had been shopping at the store since it opened in 1987.
Jewish wine enthusiasts in Pico-Robertson now have a specialty shop of their own where they can taste, talk about and buy kosher wines from all over the world. The Cask, which opened its doors in April, plans to offer more than 500 kosher wines and 125 scotches when fully stocked, in addition to other spirits. Although the store does not carry kosher certification, owner Michael Bernstein said he will not stock anything that is not kosher.
On a Shabbat afternoon in February, state Sen. Alex Padilla spoke on a panel at Young Israel of Century City (YICC), a large Modern Orthodox synagogue in Pico-Robertson. The event was co-organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Padilla knew what message he was expected to deliver. The panel’s trilingual title — “Israel at lo levad! Israel ¡No estas solo! Israel, you are not alone!” — made that clear.
In a way, medical marijuana dispensary owner Matthew Cohen is just another small businessman.
Kosher food is wrongly stigmatized as being boring and bland because of the limitations the laws of kashrut impose on chefs. The prohibitions against eating certain animals and mixing milk and meat mean no cream sauce or butter for the meat dishes, no shellfish and — horror of horrors — no bacon. It all seems like a monumental challenge, kind of like
“Project Runway” for food, only instead of making a couture dress out of a flour sack, cooks have to create an interesting, appetizing meat menu without butter or cream. Julia Child would be horrified.
A young boy with a serious illness was a big football fan. So Grossman, Usdan and the staff made some calls and found someone to donate two Super Bowl tickets, and someone else to sponsor the trip. When the boy found out about the trip, his parents said it was "the first time he smiled since getting his diagnosis."
Film directors call this end-of-day light the "golden light." It's not the bright, naked light of the mid-day, nor the dramatic darkness of the night. It's the light that bridges those two worlds. Spiritually, it's the time when the past and the future caress each other -- the day is still fresh in our mind, but we can feel the breath of the approaching night.
Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, head of Chabad of California, has a dream -- a block-long, five-story "village" on Pico Boulevard that would provide a girls day school and boarding school along with affordable, safe housing for Holocaust survivors and other elderly people and for teachers with large families.
Is there any hope for peace in Israel? Are things getting better or worse? Does war and conflict dominate Israeli consciousness? After spending a week in the Holy Land with very little sleep and lots of Turkish coffee, talking to bright people from the left to the right, I can report with absolute certainty that I have no idea.
This week, the production slow-down at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, finally hit the nation's kosher markets and, by extension, kosher consumers
VideoJew Jay Firestone has been growing the traditional beard during the post-Passover Omer period. Until now
The Museum of Tolerance is rarely the same experience twice, even with its permanent exhibits. New visuals, soundtracks and materials are added to keep the displays current and relevant. And while many people think of the museum as a "Jewish" institution, it is the "human" experience that touches upon issues that affect visitors of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
In Jewish communities in Los Angeles, tenants are uneasily contemplating a fate increasingly familiar to renters - the conversion of their building to condominiums.
As we walked back from shul on a recent Shabbat, my friend and neighbor David Myers asked me if I was "comfortable" with the service we had just attended.
Fifteen years ago, Mordechai Naor walked to Congregation Shaarei Tefila in the Fairfax district with a handgun as his companion. Six years after moving to the Pico-Robertson neighborhood and leaving those fears of mugging behind, Naor is considering re-kindling an old relationship.
When you have spent time away from what feels like a Jewish home, Los Angeles becomes the new Israel. Los Angeles is a gateway to the prospect of positive Jewish American identity. There is a fearlessness to the Hebrew on the walls, the Jewish labor movement mural on the building. There is a fearlessness to having a kosher Subway sandwich shop.
What can you get for 31 cents? It turns out a whole lot more than a bargain scoop of ice cream.
Helen was one of about 25 homeless people -- Jews and non-Jews -- who come once a month to have lunch and schmooze with members of the B'nai David Judea Congregation, located in the heart of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. The program started a year and a half ago, and it has become so crowded that they now hand out tickets.
This week, Jacob is doing research on the Internet for a little dvar Torah he'll be giving at the Etta Israel Shabbaton at Beth Jacob Congregation. Etta Israel is the popular local organization that caters to kids with Down syndrome and other special needs, and it's where Jacob studied Judaism every Sunday for seven years.
The service was heartfelt, but it was also unsettling. There was a kind of emotional chaos in the air -- almost a reluctance to accept that a beautiful life could be taken away from someone so God-fearing and life-giving.
Understanding the unique power of Shabbat. Shabbat does not just come and go every week. In fact, it never really goes away.
One of the great rituals of Jewish life: The sukkah.
David and Deena Brandes didn't need the drama of a fire to know they were surrounded by an extended family.
The case of the fugitive chicken.
All sermons, whether Reform, Conservative or Orthodox, are there to promote something "good." But how do they get there?
If you want to get the full flavor of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, there's no better season than this time of year.
A gang-related drive-by shooting in the heart of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood late Sunday night left members of the Jewish community rattled and shocked.
Exploring the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, where Republicans once were the smallest of minorities, I happened upon a nest of recall supporters who were also great admirers of President Bush. Talking to them, I got a sense of the changing politics of Los Angeles' Jewish community, where votes can no longer be taken for granted.
They were students of Netan Eli High School, seated around a table in the lunch-room, talking politics. I'd happened on the school the previous afternoon while looking for people to interview about the Oct. 7 election. I introduced myself to Rabbi Sholom D. Weil, the principal, and general studies principal Avi Erblich, and they were nice enough to set up a meeting with students.
A temporary new eruv in the Pico-Robertson area has already freed many who were homebound on Shabbat, and work on a larger eruv encompassing more of the city is under way and may be completed as soon as Rosh Hashana.
Ask Mimi Feigelson a simple question, you don't get a simple answer. "So how do you like L.A.?" I ask, as we sit down for coffee and pastries at a Pico-Robertson cafe, thinking this is just the warm-up for the real questions.
The sanctuary of B'nai David-Judea Congregation in the Pico-Robertson area was once a spacious movie theater. Last Wednesday, April 25, it was filled to the nosebleed rows with more than 500 junior-high and high-school students from Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Boys and Girls Schools, Maimonides Academy, West Valley Hebrew Day School, Hillel Harkham Academy and Emek Hebrew Academy. Looming large onstage were photos of two teenagers with L.A. connections who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists: 14-year-old Yael Botwin, killed in a 1997 terrorist bombing in Jerusalem, and 19-year-old Yitzhak Weinstock, grandson of Rabbi Simon Dolgin, who for three decades served as spiritual leader of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills. Weinstock was one of the victims of a 1993 drive-by shooting on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Neighbors for a Safe Environment (NASE) won a round April 18 in its ongoing battle with an oil company that wants to expand operations at a site in the Pico-Robertson area.