The Russian-born Israeli Natan Sharansky, 65, a former member of the Knesset and now chair of the Jewish Agency, visited Los Angeles last week, hosted jointly by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills.
He's better known for big studio comedies like "Superbad" and "Pineapple Express", but Seth Rogen strays from his beaten path when he stars in the low-budget comedy-drama "Take This Waltz."
At least 487 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq since the war began, and at least 2,800 have been wounded. The situation is far from stabilized, and the threat looms that the country will fall prey to a radical Shiite hegemony, or civil war or become a base for Al Qaeda. Should any of that happen, it would be hard, if not impossible, to justify the death and destruction this war has wrought.
Those of us who were basically supportive of the U.S. invasion need to look at our past arguments in light of the current reality and ask ourselves, were we right or wrong?
Can we learn from history? Is the past a succession of meaningless, unrelated events? Does the rise and fall of nations in the past have
anything to do with today's world? Are people that much different than they were then? Do they strive after different things, have different desires?
These questions came to mind recently as the similarities between Israel's geopolitical situation increasingly resembled that of the Jews during the first Roman War. (Some would argue that it more closely resembles 20th-century Czechoslovakia, but that's another article.)
Christmas '95 I received the most ironic of gifts -- Rabbi Morris N. Kertzer's "What Is a Jew?" The book was given to me by a friend, who originally bought it as a gag gift for her boyfriend. He had Jews in his family somewhere but apparently wasn't too proud of his Hebrew roots. He rejected the book and it became mine.
"What Is a Jew?" spoke to me. This characteristically Jewish way of questioning stood out in weekly Sunday school at church, where a large leap of faith was required. I don't remember exactly what my Sunday school teachers said to me, but phrases like "Don't question," "That's the way it is" and "Jesus died for our sins" were the answers I remember receiving to my most deepest questions on faith.
There are stories that one needs to hear many times in order to remember them, in order to file them in a manner that they can be retrieved when needed.
Matthew Asner and Danny Gold, the two Reform Jews who wrote, directed and produced the documentary, say that while they don't necessarily believe in the codes, they find them interesting.
Has a question or statement about Israel ever caught you so off guard and tongue-tied that you wished you could just reach into your back pocket to pull out an answer?
We love to hate them, those journalists who wield so much power and never quite get the facts right.
I love to ask students of all ages a spiritual and revealing question: "When have you felt the presence of God in your lives?"
This Passover, more than any other Passover, I wish I had four children.
Since four women became Jewish history's first yoatzot, or female halachic consultants, a few months ago, they have been flooded with nightly calls with questions regarding everything from the laws of family purity to the ethics of prenatal testing to infertility treatments.
When we arrive in heaven, the Talmudic sages wondered, what will God ask of us?
"Where was God during the Holocaust?" For a moment, there was silence. Three Los Angeles rabbis sat before a group of German theology students in the Berliner Dom church, waiting for their answer. "It is a question many Jews have asked," said Rabbi Lawrence Goldmark, 55, president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, during a recent German-government-sponsored visit. "Have you confronted this question yourselves?"
Love answering children's questions. I'll visit a classroom and face an eager chorus of "DidGod create dinosaurs?" and "Where do people go when they die?" Then,at the end, there's always one wise guy, who smirks and asks, "What'sthe meaning of life?" I love that kid. I admire his chutzpah, and Ilove the question.