How does an irreligious Jew find consolation at a religious service? Seeking such consolation, I attended the Hillel at UCLA High Holy Days services conducted by Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller. I don’t often go to services, but in February our oldest daughter, Robin, died, and I felt drawn there.
Three weeks ago, my ima, Peppi Feller, passed away at the age of 96. She was a remarkable woman — determined, honest to a fault, principled, sharp-witted, devoted, a fighter, a survivor.
The UCLA Hillel rabbi who allegedly lost his temper and assaulted a freelance journalist who called him a derogatory name has agreed to a recommendation that he undergo 36 hours of anger management and pen a letter of apology to his reported victim.
Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller did not lose his temper or kick freelance journalist Rachel Neuwirth, his lawyer said Tuesday immediately following a city attorney's hearing on the case.
After an Oct. 21 lecture at UCLA featuring Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, Neuwirth called Seidler-Feller "worse than a kapo," and the UCLA Hillel director allegedly pushed and kicked her. Donald Etra, Seidler-Feller's lawyer, provided a witness on Tuesday who denied that the rabbi lost control, despite several eyewitnesses who say otherwise.
Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller walks out of his office at the University Religious Conference, locking the door on its matted and stained rust-colored carpet, which for years has been covered with stacks of books and journals. On his way out, he doesn't bother to glance into the musty student lounge because he knows students don't hang out there. As he emerges onto Hilgard Avenue, he lets the glass-and-steel door swing shut on the building where UCLA Hillel has been housed since the 1950s.
This year's annual Anti-Zionism Week on the UCLA campus saw some of the usual rhetoric: "Zionist oppressors. Israel is an apartheid state. Jewish racism is killing Arabs. Palestinian refugee camps equal Nazi concentration camps."