In a groundbreaking appointment, the Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJR,CA), has selected Tamar Frankiel as its new president, making her the first Orthodox woman to lead an American rabbinical school. Frankiel, 66, is a professor of comparative religion and an expert on Jewish mysticism.
A Druze professor was appointed Israel’s chief diplomat in New Zealand.
Short news items from all around Southern California.
"Come on, Mr. Davis," he said with an edge now in his voice. "You should know better. You're a journalist. That neocon crap is just as easily disproved as Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. It's clear fabrication -- used by Bush and his cronies to justify an unjustifiable war. Better to check the terrorism coming out of Washington before looking elsewhere."
A public lecture by a visiting scholar on the UCLA campus usually doesn't make much of a ripple, but nearly all of the 1,800 seats in Royce Hall were taken and the atmosphere was electric when professor Edward W. Said stepped up to the lectern.
Khaled Abou El Fadl, a professor of Islamic law at UCLA, estimates that two years ago he received between 30 and 40 requests from around the country to participate in interfaith dialogues between Jews and Muslims.
Last year he received just one.
"They just vanished," he said during an interview. "Such invitations are a barometer of the level of dialogue, though my experience may not be representative because of my own idiosyncrasies."
This, too, shall pass.
And when the current government crisis in Israel, the showdown with Iraq and the conflict with the Palestinians are history, professor Avishay Braverman wonders, whither Israel?
His answer: the Negev.
"All our focus is on what I call the theater of the immediate," Braverman said. "I'm concerned we ignore internal issues in Israel, as if all we have to do is solve our external problems and the Messiah will come."
Two Cal State University (CSU) students spending their junior year on a foreign campus are enthusiastic about their experience. Ayelet Arbel loves the beautiful campus setting, the nearby beaches, the unique cultural exposure and the vibrant city life. Adam Ascherin is most impressed by the philosophy and outlook of the local people and their ready acceptance of strangers into their extended national family.
The good news, says their resident advisor Norma Tarrow, education professor at Cal State Long Beach, is that her two charges have quickly integrated into life at Haifa University and enjoy mingling with students from Europe, Canada and the East Coast states, as well as with local Arab and Druse classmates. Tarrow was among CSU faculty, who, together with the Jewish Public Affairs Committee, persuaded the administration to reinstate its overseas program in Israel after it was canceled following the outbreak of the intifada in September of 2000.
The bad news, she says, is that there are only two students from Cal State, and unless at least eight to 10 students enroll in the Israel program for the fall semester, the Cal State administration -- which pays for her salary and heavily subsidizes the program -- will probably have to cancel it for budgetary reasons.
"The Jews of Ethiopia: A Personal Journey Back to Their Past" consists of a collection of some 60 black-and-white photos taken by Dr. Wolf Leslau during a number of explorations of the Ethiopian hinterlands, starting in the mid-1940s.
Mitch Albom,highly decorated sportswriter for the Detroit Free Press, has probed every subject from Dennis Rodman to Latrell Sprewell. Yet his best-selling book, "Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man,and Life's Great Lessons," finds him tackling an even more demanding subject: death.