I want to thank Rob Eshman for his review of the important Town Hall on Religious Pluralism that took place at Temple Emanuel last week and for his moderating a community conversation in which people have such passionate and diverse opinions.
Is this a war? It’s so hard to know these days. Wars used to happen on things called battlefields, where armies met, fought and met again.
My most telling Carmen Warschaw memory is this: I greeted her at a fancy, crowded event at The Beverly Hills Hotel celebrating Israel’s 60th birthday. Soon, a group of her VIPs gathered around Carmen, talking politics and pleasantries.
I was surprised and disappointed with what I had just read, Rob Eshman (“Entitled,” Oct. 19). You had written a beautiful article on the virtues of entitlements when suddenly you chose to take a gratuitous swipe at Bernie Sanders. You implied that he was one of those “leftie-zombie-Democrats” who obstruct bipartisan solutions. Don’t you know that Bernie Sanders is a leader in the fight to protect these very entitlements from the uncompromising Republican drive to devour them?
I like entitlements. I know that’s somehow a terrible thing to say. “Entitlement” has become a dirty four-syllable word in our deranged political culture.
Your cover stories about the history of Iranian Jews were eye-opening and inspiring (“A History of Iranian Jews,” Oct. 12). Although I am not Jewish, I have had many Jewish friends over the years tell me stories of great religious traditions and faith mixed with the anguish of hatred, unjust prosecution and persecution that came with being Jewish.
We now know that “Sam Bacile” is not a Jewish filmmaker. The name, according to the most recent media reports, is a pseudonym for a Coptic Christian man who lives in Cerritos, and he is definitely no filmmaker.
What a year, right? The Jewish year 5772 started with a sense that a military confrontation with Iran is avoidable. Now it seems — all merits aside — imminent.
This week David Wolpe, senior rabbi of Sinai Temple, delivered one of the invocations at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Even for someone used to and deserving of such honors, this is a big deal.
My childhood best friend was Billy Thein. We met at Encino Elementary School in Mrs. Bernstein’s third-grade class, and were pretty much inseparable after that. Billy was funny and smart and cool — and in a public school packed with the striving, anxious, gawkward spawn of suburban Jewry, cool stood out.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) claims it exists to protect our rights. My question is this: Who will protect us from the NRA?
Professor Amir Hussain teaches comparative religion at Loyola Marymount University. Sometimes, as you can imagine, his students get into heated discussions. Not long ago, one of them called another one a “fascist.” Hussain stopped the class and asked the name-caller if he knew what a fascist was.
On May 8, in a very cool space in Culver City, I listened to a hundred very cool people talk about their very cool vision for the Jewish future.
In the constant argument that is Middle East politics it is very rare to achieve anything like universal agreement, but no one can begrudge what Hazem Chehabi did. He quit. Since Chehabi resigned last week as honorary consul general of Syria in Southern California, he has received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls. All positive. For 18 years, Chehabi, an oncological radiologist in Newport Beach, has volunteered to act as Syria’s consul general here. His office handled travel documents and birth, marriage and death certificates for the thousands of expatriate Syrians living in the Western states.
I’m a normal Jew. When I dream, I dream of Israel. When I have nightmares, I have nightmares of Germany.
Eli Broad’s new book is called “The Art of Being Unreasonable.”
Yehuda Avner arrived in Israel in 1947 from his native Manchester, England, as an idealistic religious Zionist. His keen intellect landed him a post in the foreign service, and his English proficiency almost guaranteed that he would be the designated note taker as he traveled with four prime ministers from the earliest days of the State to the aftermath of the Lebanon War.
Last Sunday, my wife, our daughter and I hitched our bikes to our car, drove toward downtown and parked just across from MacArthur Park, otherwise known as Langer’s Deli adjacent.
When medical marijuana became legal in the state of California, I went out and got some. I say this not because I am cool, or like to get stoned — I’m not, and I don’t.
Two years ago, before our very eyes, a liberation movement of great courage and hope began to unfold halfway around the world. Blood ran like water in the streets of distant capitals, and still people fought, flesh against tanks, citizens against infantry, poets against police.
Many, many years ago I sat down at my computer and decided to write a fictional story about what would happen if “Never Again!” became “Again.”
It’s time for us to act for Syria. It’s been one year since the start of the Syrian revolution, and the organized Jewish community is still sitting on its collective thumbs, acting as if the turmoil is not its issue, and in any case, we can do nothing. It is, and we can.
Religion should take election years off. As soon as the presidential campaigns get under way, religion should just go to Cancun and wait them out. Otherwise, inevitably, it gets used.
For many years now, a central narrative of American Jewish life has been the resurgence of Orthodoxy. Surveys show booming populations. Orthodox adults are nudging Jewish voting patterns to the right. In Israel, black-hat baby-making is as productive as a Chinese iPad factory. As American (and European and Middle Eastern) culture experiences a fundamentalist reawakening, so, it stands to reason, would Jewish culture.
In synagogue last Friday night, just after her sermon, the rabbi announced she had invited a special guest in honor of Jewish Disabilities Month. The woman next to me leaned over and whispered. “What’s Jewish Disabilities Month?” “That’s for Jews who get B’s in school,” I said.
At the end of Shabbat services last Saturday, I watched a 7-year-old boy recite the blessing over the wine, the Kiddush. His voice was pure, the Hebrew, a learned language for him, flowed fast and flawlessly from his mouth. His face shone.
Things change; I get it. My favorite diner — Benice, in Venice — closed this week after 24 years in business. Life goes on. They pave paradise. Joni Mitchell is 67, for Pete’s sake.
If you like your satire dark, I mean jet black, you probably love the scene from episode four, season four of “Weeds,” in which Len Botwin, played by Albert Brooks, gives a history lesson to his young nephew Shane.
Imagine you are a developing country in the heart of the Middle East. The entire world suspects you are starting to build nuclear weapons, but you deny it. The one country in the world that has the diplomatic, economic and military might to stop you — the United States of America — has made it clear, over at least three administrations, that it will not permit you to go nuclear. Fearful of its retaliation, you give your solemn promise that your nuclear development is entirely peaceful.
First, can we all just acknowledge the obvious hypocrisy? Imagine that over the past year Israel had slaughtered 5,000 Palestinians. The Arab reaction would be massive street protests, suspension of all diplomatic ties, demands for expulsion from the United Nations, calls for outright war, the launch of the mother of all BDS movements and unrelenting terror attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets anywhere and everywhere.
The first time I met Shmuley Boteach, it was 2 p.m. on a Thursday; he was sitting in the lobby of the Luxe Beverly Hills, and he asked me if I wanted to go outside for a beer and a cigar. My kind of rabbi, I thought.
Of all the eulogies and essays about Christopher Hitchens that have appeared following his death Dec. 15 at age 62, one is particularly pernicious.
I wish I had gone out with Sofa Landver last Thursday night. Not for a hot date, but for a cold reality check.
The election to replace the termed-out Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa isn’t until March 2013, but already candidates are out raising cash, taking meetings, locking up supporters. I’ve run into City Controller and mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel at so many pro-Israel banquets, you’d think she was making aliyah.
I don’t know who will win the presidential election in 2012, but I know whom I don’t want to win it: Iran.
A few weeks ago we sent out one of our regular e-blasts with the following headline: “Poll: One in five Americans believes Jews have too much control of Wall Street.”
Events over the past week provide a case study in extremism.
Eventually, there is one thing every aspiring American political writer must do: write a long feature story about how Jews are turning Republican.
Do you know about Bob Lefsetz? He is a middle-age guru living in Santa Monica. For 25 years, he’s been commenting on our culture in an idiosyncratic independent newsletter — first in hard copy, then in an e-mail newsletter and now in an online blog.
Rob Eshman’s open admission about a failed venture in green investment was a welcome change of pace from an editor who has generated some heated controversy among readers (“My 2011 Nissan Solyndra,” Oct. 28).
What makes this prisoner swap different from all other prisoner swaps? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to exchange Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Gilad Shalit for more than 1,000 Arab prisoners instantly became the biggest story of the year out of Israel.
If you care about Israel, you have one very clear assignment over the next two months. In about eight weeks, the U.N. Security Council could vote on whether to recognize Palestinian statehood.
Some big Jewish ideas really get around. Over the past year, New York Times columnist David Brooks devoted one column to the value of Torah study, another to the big idea behind the word haimish. His colleague Roger Cohen weighed in on Aug. 11 with a column on Jewish identity, which was, improbably, also the focus of the season opener of “The Good Wife.”
Patrick Goldstein writes “The Big Picture,” a column for the Los Angeles Times.
The threatened U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood has pundits and politicians apoplectic.
When I was in New York last week, I prowled Ground Zero.
I asked Aatekah Ahhmad Mir, a journalist from Lahore, Pakistan, and Emal Naweed Haidary, a journalist from Kabul, Afghanistan, what sights they wanted to see while in Los Angeles.
Here’s the dirty little secret about organized Jewish life in Los Angeles: We literally don’t know who we are.
One evening last February, long before 300,000 people took to the streets of Tel Aviv to march for economic justice, I joined a handful of well-heeled Israelis and Americans for a private dinner.
In 1980, for the umpteenth time, someone asked the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal whether “it could happen again” — “it” being the Holocaust. “You take hatred and technology and you add in a crisis, and anything can happen,” Wiesenthal replied. Last week, something tragic, horrific, almost beyond words happened.
In Barcelona’s Old City, there’s a narrow street off the well-trod tourist path that leads to what was once the Jewish quarter. In 1391, 100 years before the official start of the Inquisition, Barcelona massacred many and expelled the rest of its Jews, who historians say made up as much as 20 percent of the population. The City Hall in Plaça Sant Jaume was built on land taken from some of these families.
The scariest conversation I’ve had recently was with a college counselor at a local high school.
When the thousands of delegates, journalists and observers drive to the United Nations this September for the General Assembly, I’d like to suggest that on their way they swing by the intersection of 10th Avenue and 35th Street.
It was Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal who finally convinced me to buy the Nissan Leaf. Almost a year ago, I heard about the car — an all-electric production vehicle that would deliver 100 miles per charge, had all the room of a Prius and cost, after $16,000 in government rebates and subsidies, less than a cheap Kia. I immediately logged on to the Nissan Web site and plunked down a $99 deposit.
Letters to the editor
Every week, an e-mail circulates among hundreds of Jews in Los Angeles calling for my immediate firing. The subject line of a recent one was, “The L.A. Jewish paper needs a new Editor-in-Chief.” I know when this happens, because the author is always kind enough to copy me on the campaign. The author is usually one of a group of people who reads my editorials, or another essay or headline in the paper and decides that the fate of the State of Israel depends on ridding the Jewish community of what another anti-me organizer called my “über-left anti-Israel perspective.”
I was a Jewish school skeptic. When it was time to send our first child, our son, to school, my wife, a rabbi, insisted it be a Jewish school. I wondered, like a lot of parents, whether the quality of the education would be so superior to the local public school, or a similarly priced private school. I worried that he wouldn’t get the diverse social exposure pubic school provided. I doubted a school that divides its day between Jewish and general studies could excel at either.