Rabbi Laura Geller is well known as a woman who does not shrink from a challenge. A senior rabbi at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, she stands as a pioneer among women rabbis, the third women ordained in the Reform movement and the first to lead a major metropolitan synagogue.
When Billy Crystal met Steven Spielberg at the Oct. 22 Shoah Foundation dinner, the comedian had a beef with the filmmaker.
Temple Emanuel was rockin' recently when it hosted the Temple Bryant A.M.E. Church Choir that performed with Emanuel's choir at a Shabbat Shira Service. The entire congregation and guests were on their feet singing and clapping in joyous rapture.
It's Friday night, and as I wander toward the entrance of Temple Emanuel, a Reform synagogue in Beverly Hills, an usher approaches and asks brightly, "Are you with the choir?" I'm African American, but I'm not with the choir, at least not with the choir of Temple Bryant A.M.E. Church, which is visiting the synagogue tonight. I smile through a twinge of annoyance.
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In choreographer Roni Kosmal-Wernik's piece about the aftermath of a suicide bombing, a dancer prowls the stage as if searching for a lost loved one. Her movements become heavy, brooding, as if she is burdened by an invisible weight.
Inspired by a family friend's death in a 2001 attack, Kosmal-Wernik's work will help kick off a June 20 event at Temple Emanuel to support other victims of terror. Performers such as pianist Sha-Rone Kushnir will appear to benefit ATZUM, a Jerusalem-based charity that provides necessities for families not covered by Israel's overburdened welfare system.
"Artists for ATZUM," is the latest Los Angeles response to Israel-based violence.
It's erev Shabbat, and this joint is jumpin'. As dusk deepens, seniors who have just emerged from a talk on globalization mingle with new arrivals in the lobby of Temple Emanuel's school building on Burton Way in Beverly Hills, where "Cafe Synaplex" has been set up.
Rabbi Jonathan Aaron of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills knows as much about show business as shul business.
The 39-year-old rabbi, a former actor and managing director of the Open Forum Theatre in Connecticut, is the author of a new musical, "Hyrcanus," an intergenerational production of the temple's Emanuel Arts Center.