Anti-poverty activists and residents say the situation of many towns like Shechunat Hatikvah is the result of decades of government neglect and poor planning -- places seen as dumping grounds where immigrants were settled in demographically strategic locations but far from job opportunities.
The segment begins with host Jimmy Smits providing a quick overview of a familiar litany of problems besetting Los Angeles. There are traffic-choked interchanges, vast tracts of unchecked development, a trickle of water to slake a thirsty city and brownish air.
As life would have it, the term of tranquility is short, but we can emerge from these times strengthened both physically and spiritually.
"Homelessness is curable and we must cure it," Leo Baeck Senior Rabbi Kenneth Chasen said in his welcoming remarks. "Jews know too well the experience of being strangers and outsiders. We have lived in countless places where there were no homes for us."
Phillip Roth's "Everyman," (Houghton Mifflin) is a short, and in some respects, slight work. Clocking in at around 200 pages, it recounts the life of one man through his medical history. As an organizing principle, this one's as valid as any, even if in this instance, it doesn't necessarily yield the most compelling, multidimensional portrait.
In this week's double Torah portion, Tazria-Metzorah (Leviticus 13, in particular), God instructs Moses and Aaron on the role of priests when people take ill.
The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza last summer, and Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's pledge to withdraw from isolated settlements like Avne Hefetz by 2010, haunts the settler community.
My act of civil disobedience -- refusing to consume the flesh of once-living, breathing animals -- has virtually no effect, perhaps none whatsoever. Agribusiness decides far in advance how many cows to raise and then slaughter without regard to my individual case.
Anatoly Obermeister, president of the construction and development firm ASTRA, plans to offer the ground floor -- about 6,000 square feet -- of a new housing project in the center of town for use as a Jewish community center that could include a restaurant, clinic, school and other social services.
Post-Bar Mitzvah Stress Disorder (PBMSD) usually follows a case of Pre-Bar Mitzvah Stress Disorder. This is characterized by speed-dialing your caterer several times daily until you actually hear him chewing antacids while you speak; zipping around so frantically from errand to errand that you have no time to eat anything other than large brownies in the car (perversely, this still causes weight gain), and bursting into tears with no warning because your little boy is no longer a little boy but a newly minted teen who has the audacity to catapult into puberty before your very eyes.
Darkness is frightening. It is the realm of uncertainty, with everything enveloped in a state of unified oblivion. The world we call "real" -- based on substance, physical existence and visible actuality -- is nullified by the blackness of night.
Perhaps what's at issue is my own life: I'm a word person. For more than 20 years I've made my living by writing and editing. Getting the words right is what I labor to achieve, all day every day. It's a struggle that often leaves me in despair.
"I'm thrilled. I'm in heaven. It's still hard to believe we did it," said Silver Lake president Janie Schulman, who spearheaded efforts to save the center, which has more than 100 children enrolled in its preschool and kindergarten and offers many social, education and cultural programs.
In response to the three clerics who made the front page of The New York Times, in just one week several hundred clergy, mostly from the United States, signed on to a letter of support for WorldPride in Jerusalem, saying, among other things, that "Jerusalem, a living, holy city, a pilgrimage site for people of many faiths and many beliefs, increases in holiness when all are welcome within her walls."
One of the worst things to say about an American Indian is that he or she acts like they have no family.
"Our modern brand is in trouble," Weinberg told a group of Los Angeles Jewish leaders who gathered last week to discuss branding and advocacy on Israel at the Israeli consulate.
The paucity of Jews serving on front lines may explain the dwindling numbers of members belonging to Jewish war veteran organizations.
Israeli politics is always a mix of high drama and low comedy, but the current fight within Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's divided government is anything but entertaining for Jewish leaders here.
Israeli commentators have noted that it is a struggle for the soul of the Likud party. How that turns out will have consequences for the U.S.-Israel relationship and on Israel's already-low standing around the world.
Determination is a virtue. Remember how determined we were in Vietnam?
The immigration issue burst into state politics in 1994 when unpopular Republican Gov. Pete Wilson used Proposition 187, a measure to deny public services to undocumented residents, to save his reelection.
Sitting at a French Cafe in Westwood, Eitan Gorlin comes across as the very antithesis of the Hollywood self-promoter. The writer-director of "The Holy Land" has indeed kept such a low profile that, during months of inquiries, his name drew an absolute blank among Israel film mavens in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles.
But the debut feature by this unknown has already won remarkable recognition in America, including an Independent Spirit nomination for Gorlin as "Someone to Watch."
Korah forces us to examine the motives of those who are either appointed or elected officials. Furthermore, we're encouraged to probe the reasons why some people attempt to become self-appointed leaders.
On May 7, at about 6:30 a.m., I was awakened by a call informing me that an incendiary bomb had been thrown through the stained-glass window of our sanctuary at Valley Beth Shalom. I rushed to the temple, only to find that our custodians, uninstructed by any temple official, had themselves rushed into the sanctuary, opened the ark, removed the scrolls of the Torah and deposited them safely in another room. A spark of holiness penetrated the darkness of our mood. Here were men and women who take care of the grounds of the synagogue, clean and prepare the classes, seminars and programs of our congregation, people mostly Hispanic and Catholic, not of our faith or our catechism, who would not stand idly by and observe without action the violation of a people's sanctuary. We must acknowledge Marcial Cano, Martha Arelleno, Irma Buenelo and Carlos Crespian, custodians lovingly supervised by Sigfredo Barker and his daughter, Noemi Lasky. Here are people who realized in their lives the potentiality of God's image invested in every child of Adam and Eve.
The Bush administration starts a new round of Mideast diplomacy with a strong hand, thanks to its successful military action in Iraq and weak opposition at home.
The following piece was written after a recent trip to Haiti, during which a delegation from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger was hosted by the Lambi Fund, one of MAZON'S longtime grantees.
In "Finding Ben: A Mother's Journey Through the Maze of Asperger's," (McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Books, 2003) author Barbara LaSalle writes about her family's struggle to help her young son overcome a baffling neurological disorder and have a "regular" existence. Misdiagnosed and maladjusted, Ben Levinson was labeled as everything from learning disabled to emotionally disturbed and was even committed to a psychiatric ward before LaSalle, a marriage and family counselor, was able to correctly diagnose him with Asperger's Syndrome (AS).
Every day before Dina Goldstein (not her real name) leaves the house to take her two young children to day care and herself to work, she grabs two bagels and two boxes of orange juice. After buckling the kids into the car, she gives them the bagels and the juice, and they eat breakfast in the car on the way to school.
"I just don't have time to get them ready, myself ready and feed everyone before I leave the house," said Goldstein, who works as a religious day school teacher.
Like Goldstein, many women find maintaining a family and a job overwhelming.
"It highlights the fact that the myth -- that all terror against Israel is because it occupies Palestinian territories -- is wrong," said Matthew Levitt, a terrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The return of suicide bombings following Israel's military campaign in the West Bank demonstrates, among other things, that Israel and its supporters are in this struggle for the long haul.
And as the time span increases, so does the chance of dissension within the Jewish community.
Last week in Los Angeles, the inevitable crack turned into something more like a compound fracture. An article written by Middle East commentator Avi Davis and posted on the Web site standwithus.org took issue with UCLA Hillel Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller's statements and actions regarding Israel's current crisis.
Let's not kid ourselves: Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) has been hurting for a long, long time.