The Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer Medical Center,which will be dedicated Oct. 29 as the newest facility at the Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda.
My friend's tale is one among tens of thousands; many are far more devastating, as families are dealing with the deaths of loved ones and the loss of nearly everything they own. As New Orleans is dredged, the true scope of the devastation will be understood. Already, the evacuees realize that a return to their former lives in that wonderful city may take months or years, and that some things may never be recovered. Into that disheartening reality, the Jews of Los Angeles and elsewhere have stepped in willingly and generously to help as they can, exactly as their religion says they should. And all the fractiousness, all the confusing, competing layers of the various Jewish organizations have seemingly melted away, coordinating the relief aid very much as they were designed to do.
Prominent rabbis have been urging their congregations to give generously to Hurricane Katrina relief funds, the most prominent being one set up by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which had raised more than $500,000 by early this week.
Kalkilya is surrounded on all sides by what Israel calls the separation fence, a barrier the government says it must build to protect its citizens from suicide bombers, snipers and other Palestinian terrorists.
Residents of Kalkilya say it has turned their city into a ghetto.
But Kfar Saba residents are solidly behind the wall.
When I first met Sarah, she was bent over her walker intently making her way through the gardens of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging (JHA). While her steps were merely a shuffle, her brown eyes were lively.
I often walk through our Grancell Village and Eisenberg Village campuses to visit with our 800 residents. I frequently ask the question: "What makes the Jewish Home Jewish?"
Sarah had a ready answer.
Some years ago, folk diva Chava Alberstein discovered the rundown immigrant neighborhood around the south Tel Aviv central bus station. For the Israeli superstar, the area became a refuge, a place to stroll or sip coffee unmolested by fans. The residents were foreign workers from countries such as China, Thailand, Nigeria and Romania.
But as their numbers swelled to replace Palestinians after the intifada, Alberstein -- considered Israel's Joan Baez -- saw conditions deteriorating.
"These people are brought to Israel, their passports are confiscated so they can't go anywhere and they're forced to live in the worst situations," she said. "You see people crawling out of the most unbelievable hovels. It's bothered me for a long time."
The Jewish Federation of Orange County is on its way to starting another New Year tradition by again urging residents to buy Israeli-made honey for their own Rosh Hashanah tables as well as contributing a jar to an Israeli family.
This year, six other Jewish communities in Western states are joining in the "Honey for the Holidays" promotion, started by the broad-based O.C. Israel Solidarity Task Force, said Bunnie Mauldin, the O.C. Federation's executive director. "We are with you in sweetness and sorrow," reads the card that will be attached to hundreds of honey jars expected to be distributed in the Israeli communities of Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon.
The 169 residents of Orange County's only Jewish retirement home possess a varying range of physical and mental limitations. Yet, compared to the original occupants who moved in 12 years ago, new arrivals to Heritage Pointe are considerably older and more frail. The average age is 89.
That demographic shift is changing expectations about Heritage Pointe's targeted population, which is less independent than anticipated. Older residents are also likely to spur in the near future a broadening of services, such as a contemplated dementia unit. Yet, despite an over-60 county population of 13 percent that far exceeds the 4 percent state average, there is no waiting list for Heritage Pointe's 178 units, which average $2,600 monthly. Occupancy has declined to 88 percent, which administrators blame on a proliferation of newer, rival facilities that make the county one of the nation's most densely populated for senior housing.
For decades, hard-working, committed citizens have been struggling to break the Valley free from remote politicians and uncaring bureaucrats, whose interests are focused on downtown interests with downtown influence. If we are successful, Valley independence will provide a more representative and more accountable government for all Los Angeles residents.
Declines in public safety, after-school programs, health care, education, transportation and the loss of middle-
The protracted court case, which is now awaiting an environmental impact report (EIR) from the school, shows how badly a school building project can go when met with fiery opposition by the surrounding community.
Orange County. At least 60,000 Jewish residents creating over 20,000 Jewish households spanning 800 square miles. Within the borders of this vast area, we can find about 25 synagogues, great Jewish day schools, numerous Jewish organizations ... and you.
In May, The Jewish Journal of Orange County launched its premier issue. As the "numbers" person for The Jewish Journal, I know that the statistics listed above mean a target market for advertisers. But far more importantly, I believe they prove that O.C. Jewry deserves an independent Jewish news source that facilitates your connection to Jewish life.