There’s a study that shows that lab rats don’t get as stressed from being shocked as they do from not knowing when the shocks will come. Put that rat on a regular shocking schedule, and it doesn’t freak out.
After spending the summer at Lishma, an intensive yeshiva-style program for young adults at Camp Ramah in Ojai, sisters Olga and Anna Dramchuk expected to be teaching Torah to fellow university students at Hillel in Novosibirsk, Siberia. Instead, they're back in Los Angeles in search of more Jewish life and learning.
"Lishma was one of the best experiences we ever had as Jews, but it was only the beginning," said Anna Dramchuk, 18.
"Derech Hashem -- The Way of God" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Feldheim, 1997).
Quietly studying a page of the Talmud on a crowded plane, the great Orthodox teacher and thinker Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was interrupted by a passenger in the next seat.
"Pardon me. What is that you are studying?" the man asked.
Soloveitchik explained the nature of the Talmud, and that he was a professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University.
The man was incredulous. "Do you mean that people spend their entire lives thinking about religion?" he asked. "Why, I thought that all of religion could be succinctly summarized as 'Do unto others what you would have them do unto you'!"
Normally, a parent might agonize over her teen's decision to defer her freshman year of college. But when my 18-year-old daughter Lauren left recently on a flight to Israel -- deferring her first year at college for yet a second time -- I was thrilled.
When friendly strangers find out I'm a convert to Judaism, they want to know why.
And I've learned to be ready.
I have two stories: One is
respectable, and one involves comic books and video games.
For The Kids
On Waring Avenue, west of La Brea Avenue, Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad is undergoing a $5 million expansion. Under construction is 35,000 square feet of dormitories and study rooms, including a light and airy beis midrash (study hall) that will double as a synagogue.
Dr. Peretz Lavie has spent his career studying sleep and sleep disorders. The fifth-generation Israeli is head of the Technion Sleep Laboratory, which has hosted more sleep patients than any other laboratory in the world.
"We've had about 60,000 patients who have slept with us," he joked.
Lavie's most recent book, "Restless Nights: Understanding Snoring and Sleep Apnea" (Yale University Press), examines the history of sleep apnea and provides advice for people suffering from this potentially life-threatening sleep disorder.
After working with two private tutors last fall, Aliza J. Sokolow took the SAT college entrance exam in January. Devastated by her test results, the Milken Community High School junior studied on her own and took the test again in April.
"My scores went up insanely and I was beyond happy with them," said the 17-year-old, who is now a senior. So, why is Sokolow taking the college entrance exam a third time this month?
First a disclaimer: I have never met Arnold Schwarzenegger, have never spoken to him, was never contacted by his political people, no one ever asked me to support him, or offered me money to do so. I supported him because I respect him and because I am convinced that he will be good for California. In fact, if I may brag just a little, I started predicting that he would be the next governor of California many months ago, when only a few hard-line nuts seriously considered that a recall could be successful. I didn't think/hope that Gray Davis would be recalled. I just was sure that Arnold would run and win the next race.
iel Avrech died of complications from severe pulmonary fibrosis on July 1. He was 22.
"He was incredibly learned," said Avrech's father, Emmy-winning screenwriter Robert Avrech ("The Devil's Arithmetic"). "I always learned from him. Our roles were reversed. He was also very funny and had a very dry, ironic sense of humor."
Los Angeles' three rabbinical schools will present the Jewish community with 26 freshly minted rabbis this month as the seminaries hold their ordination ceremonies.
"For bioterrorism, we're about as prepared as we are for snow," said City Councilman Jack Weiss, who has spent a year working with security experts and local officials to figure out what Los Angeles needs to do to prepare for and prevent terrorist attacks.
Mayim Bialik's nickname on campus is "Super Jew." The down-to-earth 26-year-old who starred for five years in the hit sitcom "Blossom" has ceased acting, focusing her attention instead on Judaism.
In 1978, when I first applied to college, I didn't know what I wanted to study as an undergraduate. I left the space blank on the college application form where I was supposed to indicate an intended major. Someone in the admissions office, based on my grade point average and my achievement test scores, took the liberty and placed me in a major called leisure studies.
Recently, I've been competing with a bunch of 13-year-olds and coming up short. This is because, as of last month, I've been studying for my Bat Mitzvah, the same event that at one point was originally, if tentatively, scheduled for June 1972. But when I was 12 and my father, who in our house was the boss on all things Jewish, asked me if I wanted to have a Bat Mitzvah, I adamantly refused. Indeed, I would have preferred to eat sawdust for the rest of my life than learn a bunch of indecipherable and stupid Hebrew prayers that no one understood anyway, and even if they did, the whole thing was ridiculous.
When a 30-something British financial investment manager took a few years off to study Jewish texts in Israel, he was struck by the differences between the financial and Jewish communal worlds.