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  • Everybody has a story

    By Ryan Torok

    June 4, 2014 | 10:38 am

    FINDING HERSELF

    When Viktoriya Kernes was just 13, her mother sent her to a Jewish social event. Kernes had no idea why. 

    At the time, she did not know she was Jewish. 

    “I really didn’t know what to make of it,” Kernes, now 29, said recently of the discovery she made while...

  • L.A.’s Russians recapture their Jewish soul

    By Ryan Torok

    June 4, 2014 | 10:20 am

    In March, Svetlana Rapoport became a bat mitzvah.

    Raised in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union, where practicing religion was discouraged and anti-Semitism was rampant, Rapoport hadn’t had the chance to celebrate this rite of passage.

    Finally, at 34, Rapoport had her...

  • Valley congregation debuts Russian-language program

    By Ryan Torok

    August 29, 2012 | 1:32 pm

    Congregation Beth Meier will debut a religious school program in Russian for children ages 6 to 8 at its Studio City campus starting Sept. 9. Citing a limited number of local Russian-language programs for elementary students, Rabbi Aaron Benson said the Sunday morning classes at...

  • Mike Wallace: A dissent

    April 18, 2012 | 2:45 pm

    Praise for Mike Wallace as a probing investigative reporter saturated news media immediately after his death April 7 at age 93. Virtually all tributes omitted the fact that when it came to anti-Israeli tyrants, terrorists and oppressors of Jewish minorities, Wallace son of Russian...

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  • Homs shelled as Syria demands ‘neutral’ U.N. mission

    April 18, 2012 | 7:40 am

    Syria challenged the United Nations chief over the size and scope of a U.N. truce monitoring mission on Wednesday, resisting a larger presence as its army shelled targets in the city of Homs in violation of the ceasefire.

    Despite the seven-day-old truce agreement between government...

  • Israeli lawmaker suspended for throwing water at colleague

    January 10, 2012 | 10:39 am

    An Israeli lawmaker has been suspended from the Knesset for a month for throwing water at a colleague during an argument.

    The punishment was handed down to Yisrael Beiteinu Party lawmaker Anastassia Michaeli Tuesday, following the incident during a debate in the Knesset Education,...

  • New approach in effort to bring Russian-speaking U.S. Jews into the fold

    August 23, 2011 | 4:52 pm

    When David Weinstein went to summer camp many years ago, the Jewish world was animated by the campaign to free Soviet Jewry.

    In his younger days, Weinstein even visited the Soviet Union once to meet members of the Jewish community there. When he left them, he recalls, he thought...

  • Grandma and My Poor Kitten…

    By Julia Bendis

    August 9, 2011 | 6:23 pm

    The other day my kids asked me if I had a pet when I was a child, which made me tell them a little story about the kitten we had for a week.  This story went something like this:

    When I was about eight-years-old and my brother five, we begged our parents to get us a dog or a cat all...

  • Tooth Fairy money and other useless artifacts of choice…

    By Julia Bendis

    August 2, 2011 | 2:37 pm

    Apparently, The Tooth Fairy is going through tough economic times too.  10% of children did not receive any money this year, and 7% received less than a dollar.  Are you kidding me?  First of all, I don’t understand the whole “Tooth Fairy” thing as it is.  In what messed up...

  • Supermarket Memories…

    By Julia Bendis

    July 9, 2011 | 3:20 pm

    Every time I’m at the Supermarket, I start to remember my very first trip to one just like it.  When you come to America from the former Soviet Union and enter ANY grocery store, you are bound to go into shock.  As I’ve written before, the shelves of U.S.S.R.’s grocery stores...

  • Voicemail and My Father’s Outgoing Message…

    By Julia Bendis

    July 2, 2011 | 2:59 pm

    The other day a friend of mine told me that I am the only person she knows that still owns an answering machine…  Apparently, everyone else in the world has long done away with those and only using electronic voice-mail now.  I’m a bit slow with technology, I admit.  However, I...

  • Soviet Dentists and My Anxiety…

    By Julia Bendis

    June 13, 2011 | 9:46 pm

    Is it just me or do other people have a huge phobia of Dentists?  I don’t know why I have such a fear of them, but I do know that I’d rather have another baby than go to the Dentist.  Actually, now that I think about it, I would even prefer a colonoscopy to having someone put...

  • Oh Sarah Palin, what nonsense fell out of your mouth now…

    By Julia Bendis

    June 7, 2011 | 10:10 am

    Before I start, I’d just like to acknowledge that apparently, or should I say allegedly Sarah Palin’s knowledge of American history came from her misguided ten-year-old daughter.  That or she was raised by wolves in the forest.  That is the only explanation that I could find to her...

  • What’s an Expiration Date?

    By Julia Bendis

    May 27, 2011 | 1:44 pm

    The other day I had a very educational conversation with my son.  It involved those small letters and numbers that most normal people know as “Expiration Date” printed on many food items that we purchase…  To my Russian family they were known as nonsense writing that meant...

  • Jury Duty!

    By Julia Bendis

    May 23, 2011 | 3:17 pm

    As much as I love to participate in any and all civic duties, being chosen for Jury Duty just wasn’t going to happen.  Believe it or not, this was the first time I had ever received a notification requiring me to fulfill my civil duty.  As I opened the letter, immediately I started...

  • U.S. airs concerns on Chabad-Russia feud over texts

    May 16, 2011 | 3:04 pm

    American officials have weighed in for the first time on a Chabad court victory over the ownership of Chasidic texts, reportedly saying it could jeopardize Russia-U.S. cultural ties.

    The Associated Press reported that the U.S. Justice Department’s response Monday to the...

  • Angelina Jolie’s Tattoos.

    By Julia Bendis

    May 15, 2011 | 6:07 pm

    As I looked at pictures of Angelina Jolie’s tattoos, I couldn’t help but want to get some more of my own.  The longitude and latitude ink of her childrens’ bithplaces looks so neat on her arm.  But not wanting to be a copy cat, I thought of putting actual names of cities where...

  • Report: Iran nuclear plant fully operational within weeks

    May 12, 2011 | 10:48 am

    Iran’s Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant will be fully operational within weeks, local news agencies quoted a senior Russian diplomat as saying on Thursday.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov spoke two days after the company that built the plant, a politically charged...

  • When Everybody Didn’t Love Phil:  “Exporting Raymond” [VIDEO]

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    May 5, 2011 | 7:09 pm

    Nobody loved Phil Rosenthal when he first flew to Moscow to help develop the Russian version of his hit CBS sitcom, “Everybody Loves Raymond” – an endeavor he recounts as both the director and subject of his documentary, “Exporting Raymond,” now in theaters.

    Never mind...

  • A Soviet Passover…

    By Julia Bendis

    April 18, 2011 | 3:07 pm

    How do you prepare for Passover when the rest of the world doesn’t stop to observe it?  When the rest of the world takes a break for Christian holidays, and people have time to cook and prepare for a religious celebration, do they realize how much it sucks to be a Jew, a Muslim or...

  • Everyone is Suddenly Irish on March 17th!

    By Julia Bendis

    March 18, 2011 | 11:33 am

    Why does everyone become Irish on St. Patrick’s day?  Even the Jews.  When has it become a good thing for Jews to start drinking?  Have you ever seen Jewish people drink?  No, that’s because most of us can’t hold down our liquor, and its not pretty.

    I am definitely the “drinker” in...

  • Chicken nuggets vs. my kids school lunches, Oye Vay…

    By Julia Bendis

    March 11, 2011 | 9:46 am

    Today my 11-year-old son, Tyler shared a very interesting conversation that he had with his classmates.  It started during lunch time when he pulled out a peanut butter with bananas, and honey sandwich on whole grain bread.  After Tyler was done with it, he pulled out carrots,...

  • Hiding in Beverly Hills

    March 9, 2011 | 12:31 pm

    Why would a wealthy Russian businessman with ties to his country’s notorious ultranationalist party known for its anti-American and anti-Semitic positions flee to Beverly Hills?

    Ashot Egiazaryan, the fugitive Russian who can afford to go just about anywhere, isn’t talking. 

    ...
  • Joys of growing up in Communist Soviet Union, and other tales of my Family.

    By Julia Bendis

    February 16, 2011 | 9:39 am

    -While my husband, growing up in Ohio got to go on potato chip factory field trips, my brother and I got to go on Concentration Camp field trips.  Look up Salaspils in Latvia.

    -When most kids got to play with Barbies, toy trucks and teddy bears, I got to play with syringes, which my...

  • My Interview with the Department of Homeland Security!

    By Julia Bendis

    February 1, 2011 | 10:45 am

    Years ago, I had applied for a position with the Department of Homeland Security.  Why would I apply for a position with the Homeland Security?  Who knows…  Remember my post about my ADD, and pins in my ass?  Well, that’s why.  This was right after 9/11, and they just formed this new...

  • I speak Latin, therefore I speak English

    By Julia Bendis

    January 26, 2011 | 10:56 am

    Seeing an older lady at the grocery store today reminded me of my own Grandmother.  She came to the U.S. a few years after we did.  At 70 years old, she was eager to learn the culture, to try everything new, and to live the American dream.  My Grandmother had lived through the...

  • 31 dead, 130 hurt in suicide bomb at Moscow’s busiest airport

    January 24, 2011 | 8:46 am

    At least 31 people were killed and 130 wounded Monday in a suicide blast at Domodedovo airport in Moscow, Russian Health Ministry officials said.

    Smoke wafted out of the baggage claim area and people were seen running out of the emergency exits at Russia’s busiest airport, local media reported.

    Russian officials branded the bombing a terrorist attack and President Dmitry Medvedev vowed Monday that those behind the explosion would be “tracked down and punished.”

    Read more at HAARETZ.com.

  • Schwarzenegger making play dates with Medvedev

    By Julia Bendis

    January 14, 2011 | 2:58 pm

    Reading the newspaper the other day, I couldn’t help but notice an article about the Russian President Dimitry Medvedev and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Apparently, the two have become quite fond of each other, and as recently as last week even Tweeted about it.

    Here are my issues with...

  • Ohio sports and my Marriage vows

    By Julia Bendis

    January 6, 2011 | 3:04 pm

    Most people know, I am not a big sports fan.  Sure I like to watch an occasional basketball game, only because every TV in the house has been hijacked to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers get their asses handed to them, yet again, by every single team in the NBA.  But, that’s for later…...

  • Russian president nixes Israel visit over strike

    January 3, 2011 | 10:16 am

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev canceled a planned visit to Israel due to a strike by Foreign Ministry employees.

    The striking workers had threatened to embarrass the Russian leader during his visit, which was scheduled for the middle of January. The workers gave interviews in...

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