The simplest innovations sometimes lead to the greatest rewards, as Rachel Andres learned this week when she was named the 2008 recipient of the $100,000 Charles Bronfman Prize. The annual prize is awarded to a person or team under 50 years of age, whose Jewish values spark humanitarian efforts that contribute to the betterment of the world. In Andres' case, her work gives succor to some of the most helpless and brutalized people in the world, the 10,000 refugee families, mostly fatherless, who have escaped the massacres in Darfur.
Ben Goldhirsh the 27 year old brains and bread behind GOOD magazine, wants to combine his successful business with a commitment to philanthropy and public service. Goldhirsh sees the GOOD brand, which also includes Reason Pictures, a film company he started in 2004, as much more than a media organization. It's "a meta-company," he said, "a lifestyle brand" that appeals to the "reason-based sensibilities" of people like him. People who know privilege and yet want to change the world in a big way.
f you want to be popular in the Jewish world today, just say tikkun olam. Everywhere you go it seems that Jews of all stripes are jumping on this universal bandwagon. Recently, in one day, I got to experience three different views of tikkun olam. The last view was so politically incorrect, it was almost embarrassing.
When Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis was the eloquent young rabbi of Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland, he gave many uncompromising sermons against the social and economic injustices that afflicted the community.
Urban poetry slams around the world, like this one at the Workmen's Circle, allow different groups and ethnicities to mine their cultural issues.
The Workmen's Circle slam is also a way to bring younger people to this nearly century-old bastion of Jewish culture and social activism, said Assistant Director Jenni Person, who has been at the circle since September, and serves as the event's slam master or host.
The state of Israel isn't the only Jewish institution celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. On Sepulveda Boulevard, in West Los Angeles, the renowned Leo Baeck Temple is celebrating its Jubilee, commencing with a series of events Dec. 11-13.
Rachel Rosenthal, her bald pate gleaming withsweat and her stark features grooved like gashes in alabaster, lookslike a female Erich von Stroheim -- who, let's face it, could himselfhave been a woman in drag. Short, stubby, Teutonic, and with the kindof wracked expression one imagines Rimbaud wore after his season inhell, she could just as easily be the commandant of a Nazi death campas the most senior and compelling Performance Artist inCalifornia.