Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called allegations that some of his travels outside the country were funded by private businessmen part of an "orchestrated and organized slander campaign" against him.
The seder is all about questions. The evening starts with the famous four, asked by the youngest present, but if the seder is what it should be, it doesn’t stop there. Everyone around the table — from the youngest all the way to the oldest — is encouraged to dissect, debate and shamelessly pontificate over each bit of the haggadah and over any part of Jewish tradition, ideally well into the night.
"We wanted to use four [American] towns as examples to get to know people -- those who fought and those who stayed at home -- and to get to their experiences as it happened."
The result is Burns and co-director Lynn Novick seeing the war as it was unfolding through the eyes of soldiers from Mobile, Ala.; Sacramento; Waterbury, Conn., and Luverne, Minn., to show, in so many ways, the ongoing hellishness of even a necessary war.
Cline's book is a dispassionate recounting of the central issues that preoccupy scholars and pseudoscholars of the biblical text.
Is Islam a religion of war or of peace? Is it both? How did it start? What are its connections to Judaism?
Even if Olmert is innocent, critics say he won't be able to govern because he'll be too busy trying to clear his name.
Moreover, now that Hamas is recognized as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, Hamas' official stance toward Israel has given Western observers a crisp and reliable thermometer to gauge the Palestinian vision of peace, many times more reliable than the ambiguous polls and speeches we have been reading about in the past.
For so many Jewish men, it always comes back to fathers and sons, despite what Philip Roth might think. Look at the films of Daniel Burman, the rising young star of the New Argentine Cinema.
Josef Avesar says of the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs that "each side demands that the other relinquish crucial aspects of its identity," and that therefore, some form of confederation would be a "pragmatic" solution to their problems ("Mideast Solution: A Confederation," Nov. 3). Both Avesar's diagnosis and prescription are wrong.
"Evil" -- which won the nonfiction prize at the 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival in July -- presents for perhaps the first time a convicted pedophile speaking graphically about his actions on camera. O'Grady's words provide "the backbone of a deeply disturbing documentary about the Roman Catholic clergy abuse crisis," the Associated Press said.
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?
Men will do anything -- and I mean anything, from changing their phones, emails and even primary residences, to joining the army during wartime -- rather than confront a woman. By "confront," I mean, "talk directly to." They just don't like it.
We could have been in the fifth year of an independent Palestinian state if Yasser Arafat had been willing to make a deal with Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak; instead we are we where we are.
"Therefore" connects all our fine sentiments and deep wisdom with the reality of the world. "Therefore" binds us to bring our values out of the vague realm of our subjectivity and into the hard objective world of work, family, politics and power. "Therefore" tests all our spiritual aspirations and visions against the limits of our courage, imagination and resolve. "Therefore" makes religion real. Every day, someone confesses, "Rabbi, I'm a deeply spiritual person."
Kodlawsky said her goal was to tell Thiranagama's story vividly; in a way, it reminded her of those late-night discussions over cigarettes and coffee. Her mother's friends often spoke of how Kodlawsky's mother risked death to smuggle food to others at Bergen-Belsen.
As of now, the 3-year-old Darfur genocide is no longer unknown, but its horrors continue. Currently spreading from the Sudan to neighboring Chad, it has claimed 400,000 civilian dead and 4 million refugees, accompanied by mass rapes of women and starvation among children.
When 50-year-old Hector Ventura was a young boy growing up in El Salvador four decades ago, his mother would always talk about Jewish customs. Which was strange, because the Venturas were not Jewish. Like most of their neighbors, they were Catholic -- not particularly devout but Catholics just the same.
Rabbi Mordechai Gafni's dismissal came last week after four women, including students of his and a staff member, filed complaints of sexual misconduct against Gafni with the police in Israel.
Michael Sachs remembers that he had initially thought that a program on death wasn't really important for people in their 40s.
"But, in fact," he now says, "I learned things I assumed I wouldn't need to think about for many years. I thought the program dealt with potentially distressing material in a nonthreatening, matter-of-fact fashion," he said.
On April 7, 1944, Rudolf Vrba escaped from Auschwitz, one of very few to do so; he died last week at age 81, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Vancouver, British Columbia. Vrba once said that he spent 95 percent of his life on science and 5 percent on the Holocaust. It is worth considering the importance of that 5 percent and the controversy it engendered, which resonates to this day.
If there's an overriding theme among the newest books related to the Holocaust, it's one of concealment and discovery, whether in the writer's own wartime experience or invented on the page. Sometimes it's a case of lost books being rediscovered.
In the life of every single girl, there comes a point where she has to look herself in the mirror and ask one very important question: "Do I look fat?" No, just kidding. That one we ask every day. The other miasma hanging over our heads like impending gray hair is this question: "Am I too picky?"
In anticipation of Easter, a slightly modified version of "The Passion of the Christ," the film by actor and director Mel Gibson, and screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald, has been re-released. The second coming if you will. This re-cut version is widely available in a DVD gift format.
Boteach enters the picture on a mission, although we are not sure from the outset what it is. He introduces himself as having counseled thousands of families and being the author of a best-selling book on family life.
While there are only four questions posed in the haggadah, most seders struggle with the unasked fifth question, "When are we going to eat?" It is asked, not only by hungry children, but also by adults who feel disconnected to the rituals of their ancestors.
The last few months have seen a flood of studies of Gen-Y Jews -- all trying to map their sense of Jewish identity, affiliation patterns, needs, hopes, beliefs and behaviors.
During a recent trip to Argentina -- eager to see where my parents were born -- I traveled to Carlos Casares, a five-hour trip by car from Buenos Aires. At the town's archive, I looked up my family history. I got more than I bargained for -- especially from a volume of local history that was first written in Yiddish, then translated to Spanish.
The aim of the conference is to make a positive contribution toward resolving religious conflict wherever it arises. According to the Jewish representative of Moroccan King Mohammed VI, Andre Azoulay, "the word of God has been kidnapped." He added that it's no longer enough for religious representatives to watch from the sidelines as religion is used by those who preach hatred.
Geography of Romance: A course dealing with the best places to meet your romantic partner. Certain locales lend themselves to greater relationship success -- churches and temples, the homes of friends and relatives, bookstores, supermarkets, restaurants, parks and beaches. Other places tend to be riskier -- prison, tattoo parlors, methamphetamine labs, mosh pits, wife-swapping parties, Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, gatherings of arms dealers.
Harry Sondheim, a retired criminal prosecutor for the L.A. County D.A.'s office, was traveling in Holland when he simply noticed an artifact that appealed to him. "They had a museum, Der Weg, which means the Weighing House. They had an artist named Bicart. I bought some postcards with depictions of Jewish ceremonies on them. You can't buy those postcards any longer."
A number of Jewish leaders say their efforts to change the Air Force Academy's position on Christian proselytizing were overmatched by the evangelical community, which fought any move to restrict religious discussion on campus.
The Love Boutique sells everything from massage oils to lingerie and romantic board games to self-help books. In keeping with the store's philosophy, these items are merely tools to help women feel elegant, sexy and self-confident.
Let's face it. Every marriage between two Jews is an intermarriage. I'm not talking about the obvious ones, like a marriage between an Orthodox Jew and a Jew-by-birth who is not at all religious. Clearly if one spouse davens three times a day and the other spouse uses Mapquest to find her way to synagogue on Yom Kippur, a silver anniversary is not in their future. I'm talking about the rest of us.
Elliott Goldstein grew up in a two-and-a-half room apartment in a section of Brooklyn populated by Jews, Syrians and Italians, the only child of a garment industry production manager and his wife. Both parents were born in the United States, but his grandparents emigrated from Russia, the Ukraine and Poland.
It's definitely tsuris time at the pristine white acropolis complex of the Getty, which overlooks the San Diego Freeway, and at its wonderful, freshly renovated, fake Pompeian villa up the Pacific Coast Highway. Barry Munitz, the Getty Trust's president and CEO since 1998, has been battered with press reports about apparently uncontrolled and self-indulgent personal expense-account spending of the kind that we have learned to associate with corporate malfeasance. The Getty's vast assets may result from spectacular corporate earnings, but a trust is responsible to the public -- to us! -- not to stockholders. Insider staff dissatisfaction became most evident last fall, with the sudden resignation of Getty Museum Director Deborah Gribben.
Lawrence Franklin, a mid-level Iran analyst at the Pentagon, admitted to leaking information to Rosen and Weissman in 2003 because he wanted his concerns about the Iranian threat to reach the White House.
Were Spielberg another too-left Hollywood type who cavalierly flirted with the tough issues posed by "Munich" with no previous record of involvement or concern about Jewish matters, one might begin to fathom the nastiness of the attacks and the gratuitous personal barbs. But he comes to the movie with a distinguished, if not unparalleled, track record of achievement vis a vis the Jewish community, Israel and its image.
Specifically, Abramoff allegedly using money from a Washington charity he oversaw to fund military-style programs in the West Bank. Indian tribes donated money to tax-exempt charities, believing they were supporting anti-gambling foundations, but the money was redirected to help a "sniper school" in the West Bank, operated by a friend of Abramoff.
Drive into The Brandeis-Bardin Institute, up the pepper tree-lined main thoroughfare and through the gates leading to 3,000 acres of rolling hills in the Santa Susana Mountains. Enter a setting so magnificent that it's easy to believe, as Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom does, that God lives there.
The filmmaker, who is also Jewish, relates to her subjects because she was once obsessed with the scale.
Wherein lies the power of the Judah personality? Is this the same Judah who initiates the sale of his brother and whose conduct in the Tamar episode raises troubling questions? Equally remarkable is the haunting silence of Judah's siblings. Why is it Judah alone who stands tall in the face of the hostile viceroy who wants to seize Benjamin? Are they not all certain of the consequent early demise of their father Jacob?
The three-part "Walking the Bible With Bruce Feiler" follows the recent documentary trend of sending a charismatic host to a series of dangerous or hard-to-get-to places. Accompanied on occasion by archaeologists, scholars, Egyptologists, and theologians, Feiler tracks his way through places in the Middle East where the biblical stories of Genesis and Exodus are assumed to have occurred.
Formerly high-riding New York producer Max Bialystock is on the ropes after a series of flops. When meek accountant Leo Bloom comes into his office to inspect the books, Bloom makes a discovery: If a producer raises a bundle of money to put into a show, but it closes immediately, he can reap a windfall.
Since arriving, I've also shed another stereotype that I had brought with me as a historian of the Jewish experience. Trained as a Europeanist, I had been inculcated to believe that Los Angeles was to New York as America was to Europe -- a pale imitation of the real McCoy, a "parvenu" in a world in which antiquity and social stratification bestow merit. This view, unfortunately, is all too common among East Coast or Eurocentric academics.
Judaism is a simple religion containing many complexities. No one could realistically hope to understand everything. It is important to question and to learn. But when we don't understand something, or don't agree with something, we need to remember that it doesn't give us license to not follow halacha or to not keep the Torah.
An Israeli assassin, a right-wing extremist, killed Rabin on Nov. 4, 1995. Had Rabin lived, would the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been resolved? Or would the peace process he started still have unraveled?
For decades, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has successfully worked behind the scenes to influence U.S. policymakers to pass pro-Israel legislation.
Letters to the Editor
Bob and I had an unusual bond. We were both folk singers, but as friends, each knew the other had a weakness for the music of Buddy Holly. I was from Texas and knew Buddy, so Bob and I had lots to talk about. Our other passion was this new musical adventure.
Franklin's prickliness could prove another setback for the U.S. government in a case that the presiding judge already has suggested could be dismissed because of questions about access to evidence.
As she wrote "In Her Shoes," Jennifer Weiner wanted to work through an obvious, but puzzling, conundrum: How can people who grew up in the same house wind up radically different individuals?
If you're Jewish, this is not for you to read. Please clip this editorial and hand it off to a close non-Jewish friend. I'm certain some of your best friends aren't Jews.
One of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves, particularly as we approach Yom Kippur, is: How will we be remembered?
Letters to the Editor
I attended the "Liberation!" exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance -- photos and objects and footage from the moments in the spring of 1945 when the doors of the Nazi concentration camps were thrown open to the world, and when those few remaining within were set free.
Goodbye summer; hello High Holidays. While Rosh Hashanah falls later in the calendar than normal this year (Oct. 3-5), it's never too early to get ready for the Jewish New Year. Besides, preparations traditionally begin in the Hebrew month of Elul, which started Sept. 4.
If you didn't know that -- and were too afraid, too preoccupied or too unknowing to ask -- then we have just the thing for you: this handy guide to get your mind, body and soul in the spirit, so to speak, for the Days of Awe.
We've included Frequently Asked Questions about the High Holidays; a how-to on finding a synagogue (no, it's not too late); a music and book list for inspiration and explanation; and a primer for those new to the faith.
We also have prepared our special Congregation Directory (pages 40-47), a comprehensive listing of Los Angeles congregations sorted by neighborhoods.