Typically associated with American Legion halls, Elks clubs and churches, the sedentary game that caters to seniors is not often associated with Jewish houses of worship. But a few synagogues across the Southland have offered weekly bingo nights as temple fundraisers for decades
The target list of an alleged cell of homegrown terrorists included two synagogues located in the Pico-Robertson corridor, The Journal has learned.
The target information emerged as a federal grand jury issued four indictments last week in the ongoing probe. It was confirmed by a source close to the investigation, although police have not specifically identified the shuls. There is no indication that any Jewish house of worship is in particular danger at the moment, and authorities are working with Jewish leaders regarding ways to enhance security precautions leading up to this month's high holiday services.
There's been a Jewish community in Muskogee, Okla., since 1867, when furrier Joseph Sonderheim opened his import-export business.
In 1916 the first synagogue was dedicated, Congregation Beth Ahaba, a lay-led Reform congregation that served a tight-knit Jewish community of merchants and professionals.
"As Oklahoma grew and prospered through the 1920s, so did our congregation," said Nancy Stolper, 77, who moved to Muskogee 50 years ago.
Beth Ahaba reached its height of 75 families in 1929 but dwindled to 40 families during the Depression, as stores shut down and people moved away to find work.
Since then, Beth Ahaba's fortunes have declined steadily. Its young people, including the Stolpers' four children, grew up and moved away.
Its last student rabbi left 15 years ago.
"We're now just a group of frail senior citizens," said Stolper, noting that only eight to 10 members are still able to get to synagogue.
Three months ago they gave up their monthly Friday night services, and this High Holiday season, she fears, will be their last.
Between 35,000 and 40,000 people spent Sunday, May 15 at Woodley Park in Van Nuys for the annual Israel Independence Day festival.
The festival's early afternoon main event featuring pro-Israel speeches and politicians lasted exactly one hour; on the last note of "The Star-Spangled Banner" skydivers appeared above. "The coincidence was amazing," festival executive director Yoram Gutman said.
In the late afternoon, more than 7,000 people crowded the festival's main stage to hear Israeli pop superstar Sarit Hadad. Fire marshals had difficulty clearing fans from the aisles.
Traditionally, Orthodox girls wanting a bat mitzvah have had intimate ones with close family and friends, complete with candlelightings and blessings.
Unlike the Reform, Recostructionist and Conservative movements, which have embraced and formalized the bat mitzvah in the synagogue (the Recostructionist movement had the first bat mitzvah in 1922), Orthodox shuls and schools tend to take a more varied, low-key approach.
While many Orthodox girls still have private coming-of-age rituals, others are opting for more public and creative ceremonies, perhaps more closely aligned to a bar mitzvah. Most choose to study extensively with parents, teachers or rebbetzins, and many seek out chesed projects -- acts of loving-kindness -- to help those less fortunate.
It's not every day a grown woman gets her cheeks pinched by another woman who's tickled pink to see her eating, but then Yvonne Haller is no ordinary French restaurateur.
Three Rabbis were talking over a regular Sunday morning breakfast get-together.