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  • Other People’s Problems

    By Rob Eshman

    October 14, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    If it wasn't for the fact that America can't chew gum and hold an election at the same time, politicians and the media would have been buzzing about what happened this week in Israel. Well, what happened? Dov Weisglass, a senior aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told the Israeli...

  • 5765

    By Rob Eshman

    September 16, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Let's be honest: 5765, the year now stretched out before us, does not look promising.

    It begins as 100,000 Jews amassed last Saturday evening in the streets of Jerusalem to protest Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to pull 7,500 Jewish settlers out of the Gaza Strip and thousands...

  • Spy vs. Spy

    By Rob Eshman

    September 9, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Over the past few weeks, as the anniversary of Sept. 11 approached, the FBI and the Department of Justice, along with investigative reporters at CBS, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, have focused their resources on what they must figure is a real threat to American...

  • New Year, New Changes

    By Rob Eshman

    September 2, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Last week I was driving to a family celebration at Leisure World in Laguna Hills when I noticed something very odd about the weather: Fall was in the air.

    It's a subtle thing in Southern California, but those of us who have lived here long enough recognize the slight change in...

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  • Happy Campers

    By Rob Eshman

    September 2, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    We are driving to pick up our son from camp. He's been there three weeks, the longest stretch he's been away from us since his birth.

    In this age of e-mails and BlackBerrys and cell phones, the rule at Camp Alonim at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley is no e-mails,...

  • Faults and Failures

    By Rob Eshman

    July 22, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Last February, the head of the Mossad lost his cell phone. He left it in his car -- that's right, the head of Israel's renowned top secret spy agency left his cell phone in his car. When he returned, he found someone had bashed his windows and stolen it. On it were the numbers of,...

  • Reaganesque

    By Rob Eshman

    June 10, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Now, every American politician is going to try say Ronald Reagan's shoes fit him or her the best. But --surprise, surprise -- the man who most easily slips into the late American president's shoes these days is not an American, but an Israeli.

    The onslaught of coverage following...

  • Whose War?

    By Rob Eshman

    June 3, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    A friend of mine opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. He predicted it would lead to a deadly morass; that it would create more terror and more terrorists; that President George W. Bush had neither the moral or mental gravitas to prosecute such a war. Over the weekend, he asked...

  • Disengagement

    By Rob Eshman

    April 22, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    A while back, I was taking a taxi through Jerusalem when sirens went off all over the city. In an instant the home of the Wailing Wall became a Wailing City. My taxi driver pulled over and turned off his engine. So did all the other cars on the road. Quickly, an entire unruly society...

  • Is It Safe?

    By Rob Eshman

    April 15, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch famously used to greet fellow citizens with an enthusiastic handshake, shouting out, "How'm I doing?"

    Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn, now into his third year in office and facing what is shaping up as a tough re-election bid, is not that kind of...

  • The Simple Son

    By Rob Eshman

    April 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    When I was in college in New Hampshire, the pastor of a nearby church asked our Hillel rabbi to send over a Jewish student who could help his parishioners learn about Passover. I volunteered. For all the fuzzy, feel-good reasons that a liberal arts education supplies in abundance, I...

  • The Gospel Truth

    By Rob Eshman

    February 19, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Just before midnight on Monday the phone rang at our house. It was a guest booker from ABC's "Good Morning America," asking if I would speak that morning to Diane Sawyer, live on air, about Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."

    The booker, Asa, sounded young, and he spoke with...

  • ‘Til Death Do Us Part

    By Rob Eshman

    February 12, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Stephen Sass and Steven Hochstadt had been partners for 14 years when they decided to fly from their home in Los Angeles to Canada and officially get married. Though the couple had wed in a Reform Jewish ceremony five years earlier, an Ontario court had just upheld a law legalizing...

  • Rewriting Lives

    By Rob Eshman

    February 5, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    David Levinson, 44, has written for television, theater and feature films. He and his wife Ellen Herman, also a television writer, have crafted a good life from an unforgiving business, with a home in Hancock Park and three growing children, who, he informed me over lunch this week,...

  • The Soul of Maui

    By Rob Eshman

    November 6, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    There's a Hawaiian legend about a pregnant woman who developed a craving for the eyeballs of royalty. Advisers to the king took this to mean that the woman's child would one day grow up to defeat the king and rule all the islands. The king decreed that the baby be killed as soon as...

  • Meet Bill

    By Rob Eshman

    October 9, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    What was that all about?

    Those on the left will say the recall election we just survived was a sneaky Republican power grab. Those on the right will say it was a citizen revolt against a sleazy and ineffectual governor.

    Those in the middle will say, "Are we done yet?"

    It's not clear,...

  • Arnold’s Choice

    By Rob Eshman

    September 18, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    If there was a presidential candidate whose father accused "the Jew media" and "Jewish pundits in New York and Los Angeles" of beating the drums for war, and said he had no problem with harassing and punishing the Jews -- but such things shouldn't be done in "a loud clamor" -- would...

  • A Missing Voice?

    By Rob Eshman

    September 4, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    I'm fascinated by the firing of Michael Hirschfeld.

    Here was a guy, 24 years on the job, who had built up a network of relationships with politicians and community leaders outside the Jewish community.

    Here was a guy who was dedicated and well-liked by most of his peers (hey, it's...

  • Why Not Joe?

    By Rob Eshman

    July 24, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    To find out why many Jews have a problem with the presidential candidacy of Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), I spoke to Joe Lieberman.

    We met in a Century City office. Friends-of-Joe had pressed him to hold a private interview with The Jewish Journal to address head-on the qualms...

  • California Dreamin’

    By Rob Eshman

    July 3, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    By the time you read this, our state's budget crisis will already have a solution. It may not be official, it may not be complete, but it will be in the works. And you can credit Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) for that.

    Issa is the state legislator who has launched the recall drive...

  • River of Hope

    By Rob Eshman

    June 26, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    A great blue heron swept across the rushing water and came to a landing in a reed-lined pool. My son turned to me. "Actually," he said, "this river is kind of nice."

    He was talking about the Los Angeles River.

    We were riding our bikes along a path that skirted the cursed, maligned...

  • June Gloom

    By Rob Eshman

    June 12, 2003 | 8:01 pm

    Two steps forward, three steps back.

    That is the definition of any Middle East peace process, and the most important question now is whether President Bush, who very publicly committed himself to a "road map to peace" last month, will tough it out.

    The gruesome attacks this week that...

  • There’s More to Us

    By Rob Eshman

    June 5, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    All this week there's been some strange goings-on at the intersection of Us and Them.

    Pop diva Whitney Houston spent a few days in Israel among the black Hebrews. "It's home," she said about Israel. "It's a friendship I've never had with any other country."

    Meanwhile, Madonna donated...

  • The War at Home

    By Rob Eshman

    April 17, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Four Angelenos were killed on the last day of the battle for Baghdad. Three were young men, each one of them killed with a bullet to the head on the streets of South Central Los Angeles. The fourth to die was an 8-year-old girl, hit by a bullet meant for a gang member.

    Before the war...

  • Canaries

    By Rob Eshman

    February 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Last week, all that stood between our taxi and our hotel in Rome were 1 million anti-war protesters.

    My wife and I had gone to Italy for a brief vacation -- the editor fiddling while the world burns -- but found a Europe seething with emotion over America's actions in the Middle...

  • Are We There Yet?

    By Rob Eshman

    February 20, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    This war is not about oil. If it were about oil, we'd invade Saudi Arabia, which has more oil and less gumption.

    It is not a war about terror. If it were about terror, we'd invade Saudi Arabia, which supplied almost all of the terrorists for Sept. 11.

    It's not a war against those...

  • Plant a Tree, Save a Car

    By Rob Eshman

    January 16, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    When I was a kid in Hebrew school, all we did to celebrate Tu B'Shevat was send some money to Israel to plant a tree.

    Not unimportant, but hardly a High Holiday.

    These days, Tu B'Shevat, which begins on sundown Friday, is a much, much bigger deal. Jewish environmentalists have...

  • One American Muslim

    By Rob Eshman

    December 5, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Tashbih Sayyed told me he has cried three times in his adult life: once when his father died, once when his mother died and once when he had to sell his house.

    Sayyed was born in India in 1941 into a Shiite Muslim family. After the 1948 partition, his family, feeling persecuted by...

  • 2040 Vision

    By Rob Eshman

    November 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    This, too, shall pass.

    And when the current government crisis in Israel, the showdown with Iraq and the conflict with the Palestinians are history, professor Avishay Braverman wonders, whither Israel?

    His answer: the Negev.

    "All our focus is on what I call the theater of the...

  • Making Show Business Our Business

    By Rob Eshman

    October 17, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    It has almost risen to the level of obsession, this concern about Hollywood Jews and Israel. Why aren't they speaking out on Israel's behalf? Why aren't they flying to Israel to show their support? Why aren't they sending gobs of money to help out?

    In Los Angeles, the questions...

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