If I were asked to identify the greatest Jewish teaching, the most important lesson to be learned from all of Judaism, I would argue that, aside from ethical monotheism, it is that behavior matters more than anything else, and certainly more than feelings.
In the midst of the never-ending debate about whether this will be the election that moves Jews to the right, an intriguing new poll is just out from the Public Religion Research Institute. Titled “Chosen for What? Jewish Values in 2012,” it found that 62 percent of Jews want to see President Barack Obama re-elected, compared to 30 percent who favor a Republican candidate.
Capitalism in pursuit of social justice. The notion is becoming more common in Israel as a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators in the fields of high-tech, industry and real estate is delving into philanthropy.
Social justice protesters in Israel say they will hold a nation's strike at the end of the month.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel was awarded the 2011 Gruber Justice Prize.
Progressive Jewish Alliance & Jewish Funds for Justice has hired Alan van Capelle, the deputy comptroller for the City of New York, as its new president and CEO.
Nearly 4,000 American Jews have signed a petition from the New Israel Fund in support of Israel's social justice movement.
More than 400,000 Israelis demonstrated in cities across the country under the banner of social justice in what some say was the largest protest in Israel's history.
Two weeks ago, on July 29, 170 Jews from 16 states gathered at the White House. The reason: to make clear that growing an economy that works for all Americans is at the top of the Jewish communal agenda.
Tisha B'Av Social Justice
As the public face and founding executive director of PJA, Sokatch, 40, has been lauded by the left and loathed by the right.
If money is, as former California Treasurer Jesse Unruh said, the "mother's milk of politics," then Alan Solomont is one successful dairyman. Solomont, a longtime leader in Jewish philanthropic and national Democratic political circles, is one of the go-to men when big money is needed.
Kedoshim is a lofty and powerful parsha, known as the holiness code, which the Talmud and Midrash understood to be rav gufei Torah, or encompassing the majority of the Torah, namely that this chapter is a summation of the entire Torah itself.
When Max Webb was interned at 18 different concentration camps during the Holocaust, he made a promise. "If he survived, he would make sure he would contribute to the advancement of the Jewish people and Judaism in any way he could," said his grandson, Greg Podell, the director of the Max Webb Family Foundation.
Webb has made good on that promise, donating to causes in Israel and to local Jewish charities, including The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. And now, as he's about to turn 90, his foundation has purchased a plot of land for $3 million for a center to house two socially conscious Jewish organizations.
On the first night of Chanukah my true love gave to me...social justice? That's the theme of one of the hottest parties of the Chanukah season, "Vodka Latka: The Festival of Rights," sponsored by the Progressive Jewish Alliance (PJA), JDub Records and Reboot on Dec. 13 at the El Rey Theatre in Mid-Wilshire.
In 1969, a group of college students staged a protest at the premiere gathering of the organized Jewish community, demanding more say and more attention to issues that mattered to them. The demonstrations and vocal disruptions at the Boston General Assembly lead to the formation of the North American Jewish Students Appeal, which was funded by federations until 1995.
Ever since then, students have been a part of the GA, which this year is taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center Nov. 12-15.
Despite having a population of far more than 3 million and a cultural and economic diversity rivaled by very few places, Los Angeles is not quite viewed as a real city by much of the outside world.
For many Jewish activists, the dilemma is excruciating: Congress and the administration are debating a revolution in American life, but Jewish organizations, with rare exceptions, have been struck dumb.
Don't call them synagogues.
They are minyanim, or spiritual communities. They have evolved from shared and individual dreams and from serendipitous, profound and beshert connections. They are new, egalitarian, independent, warm, collaborative and vibrant.
And they are all led by female rabbis.
Rabbi Robert Gan, 63, has been senior rabbi at Temple Isaiah, an 850-family member Reform congregation on Pico Boulevard, for more than 30 years. At Temple Isaiah, Gan demonstrated his commitment to social justice, inviting such speakers as Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to address his congregation. This year, Gan begins his newest role, as president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, an agency of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles that brings together 250 rabbis from all denominations. Gan spoke to The Journal about his plans for his new position, and the problems facing the Jewish world today.
If there was any doubt that the Polish government is taking seriously plans to build a Museum of Polish Jewish History in Warsaw, they were
put to rest Feb. 5 in Beverly Hills.
Rabbi Stanley F. Chyet, professor emeritus of American Jewish history at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) campus since 1976, and assistant to the president and secretary to the board of trustees of the Skirball Cultural Center since 1981, died at the age of 71 at his home in Sherman Oaks on Oct. 19, 2002, after a two-year battle with cancer.
Rabbi Leonard I. Beerman's art-filled home on a quiet, verdant Brentwood street is a world away from the gritty industrial world in which he lived as a child during the Depression and again as a young man on the cusp of World War II. But it's his experiences in that world of assembly-line workers that led him to the rabbinate and to his 52 years in Los Angeles.