I can vividly remember the first time I visited the Museum of Tolerance, in seventh grade. Not personally knowing anyone who had survived the Holocaust, I had been shielded from the grisly details of World War II.
About a year ago I wrote a column about how the word "shvartza" must be retired forever. It is an insulting, offensive, and derogatory term that has no place in the mouths of people committed to ethics.
The ancient rabbis were astute psychologists. They reflected on the inner life, not through theories, but through narratives, especially their analyses of and speculations on the narratives in the Torah.
The U.S. Campaign for Burma puts together an internet and television campaign, with the hope that their messages will reach not only millions of Americans but also the rank-and-file soldiers in Burma, who may not even realize how closely the world is looking at the atrocities many of them are carrying out.
Are we electing a candidate based on his or her ability to lead the country, or are we crowning a king who looks good in pictures and who is above criticism, examination and challenge?
letters to the jewish journal
A group of blacks and Jews have in recent months sought to rekindle a decades-old friendship in hopes of fostering better relations among their broader communities. Sponsored by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), First AME Church, the Brotherhood Crusade and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an interfaith seder became the object of much anticipation earlier this month after one of its organizers was accused of being an anti-Semite.
Review of former Jewish Defense League member Brad Hirschfield's "You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism" (Harmony Books, Random House, 2007).
About 200 Latino evangelical Christians were guests for a Sukkot meal and Israeli flag ceremony hosted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Israeli consulate. The event was designed to strengthen relations between Jews and a specific segment of the Latino community -- evangelicals.
The political lesson of Russell's paradox is that there is no such thing as unqualified tolerance. Ultimately, one must be able to expound intolerance of certain groups or ideologies without surrendering the moral high ground normally linked to tolerance and inclusivity.
Stephen Prothero, author of the new book "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know-And Doesn't" and chair of the religion department at Boston University showed up on "The Daily Show" recently, hawking the fact that his book contains a quiz to test the reader's "religious literacy." Which raises the questions: Can a 15-question quiz test religious literacy?
I do not want an "us" and a "them." If you are not really ready to be part of one community, which means to have friends, to marry, to rejoice together, to grieve together, then all I can tell you is you should find another place. But I think that you are, I hope and pray and believe that you are.
The Schwartzes have been my friends for more than 21 years. Their learning and charisma has had a deep effect on many Jews, not least among them Jews in Hollywood's Jews.
"I want my children to have a future of hope, a future where they can contribute positively to American society as Muslims," Al-Marayati said. "I don't want a future of prejudice, fear and victimization."
"Jews are not cultured people," she complains. The other woman disagrees.
"They are cultured," she insists, "they are just different."
In contrast to the 1960s, when the fabled and overblown black-Jewish alliance was obsessively chronicled and debated by Jewish academics, journalists, essayists and community leaders, the rise of the Latino population has not seemed to capture much Jewish interest, either pro or con. That is especially true now, when so many activist Jews are focused only on Israel.
Leaders of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, ensnared in a raging controversy over one of its members, this week moved to distance themselves from the cause of the furor.
Christmas, you know (unless you've all forgotten, which is increasingly possible), doesn't celebrate the birth of Santa, but the birth of Jesus, and Jesus was a Jew.
Theologically, Chanukah is insignificant, yet its historical lesson is of great importance to all religious faiths.
Jewish and Christian leaders were optimistic when the Turkish Parliament began debating a bill regulating minority foundations and organizations.The draft version -- part of a reform effort driven by Turkey's bid for European Union membership -- contained provisions making it easier for minority groups to operate and reacquire properties that had been confiscated by the state. But after a heated debate on the measure, with many parliamentarians objecting to its liberal approach, the version that passed Parliament offered little improvement over the past.
Of the three major monotheistic traditions, Judaism has arguably done the most admirable job of micromanaging our lust.That's why Judaism has been more agile than other religions at handling modernity's revolution in sexual mores.
With the endorsement Wednesday of three conflicting teshuvot, or halachic responsa, by the movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards -- two upholding the longstanding ban on homosexuality and one permitting ordination of gay rabbis and commitment ceremonies -- it's likely that other rabbis will now begin performing such ceremonies, comfortable in the knowledge that they enjoy halachic sanction from the movement's highest legal body.
In addition to my business, I always take on the opportunity to help in my own community. I believe that it is important to help out whenever you can, whether it's picking up trash at the beach or working at a charity benefit, as well as taking on new challenges.
The magic of the Jaffa Flea Market derives from both its past and present. The market began as a small bazaar in the mid-19th century. It is a rare remnant of the old Middle Eastern way of life in this modern Jewish country. But the market is also a place where Jews and Muslims work side by side as neighbors and friends.
In Los Angeles, the most diverse city in the world, we Jews have grappled long and hard with our sense of place in America. Ultimately, having found our "place in the sun," we have forged meaningful relations with many of the communities that make up this complicated goulash.
It is the small things that merit the blessings. It is the "heel" commandments, the acts we forget about, that can change lives and bring holiness into our world.
Bernie Brillstein, a veteran talent agent, manager and resident iconoclast, said, "Hollywood is a small company town and you figure everyone is entitled to his position. Anyway, everybody takes it for granted that Gibson is an anti-Semite, so people say, 'Well, he did it again.'"
"There has been a significant rise in the past four years in anti-Semitism generally and on school campuses," said Dr. Kevin O'Grady, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) Orange County/Long Beach Region. O'Grady's office recorded 43 cases of harassment and vandalism last year, nearly 50 percent more than in 2003; one-third of these involved public schools.
DREAM is an acronym for Developing diverse, Respectful relationships, Empathy and Action with Meaning through dialogue. The program is a youth leadership project of the ADL's World of Difference Institute, run by the ADL's West Coast office.
As frequent targets of anti-Semitic cartoons -- many of them in the Arab press -- Jews on one hand sympathized with the Muslim outrage over depictions of the Islamic prophet Mohammed, which is considered by Muslims to be blasphemous.
But Jews joined many others in expressing shock at the level of violence the controversy sparked.
A number of Jewish leaders say their efforts to change the Air Force Academy's position on Christian proselytizing were overmatched by the evangelical community, which fought any move to restrict religious discussion on campus.
Filmmaker Michele Ohayon's career previously highlighted serious (and politically correct) subjects, such as oppressed Palestinians and homeless women. She won a 1997 Oscar nomination for "Colors Straight Up," her profile of urban youth in the aftermath of the L.A. riots.
Having never been to a Jewish prayer service before, the non-Jewish students wanted to see what it was like. The tradition fascinated many, and everyone could relate to the singing and dancing.
Local Iranian Jewish leaders George Haroonian and Bijan Khalli were involved in setting up the Museum of Tolerance event. They said they felt a responsibility as Jews to inform their non-Jewish Iranian compatriots about the truth of the Holocaust.
This tour is no typical high school field trip, with its predictable mix of unruly, disinterested teenagers. These students are here mainly because their school, Jefferson High, became a flash point last year for fights between Latino and African American students. The overcrowded, underperforming campus in South Los Angeles was 92 percent Latino, 7.5 percent black and, seemingly on a handful of occasions, nearly 100 percent out of control.
7 Days in the Arts
The authors propose a new map with "multiple homelands" that displaces Israel from "the center of the Jewish universe." They point out that since the mid-19th century, most Jewish religious innovation has originated in the United States, rather than in Europe or Israel. As of 2003, more people emigrated from Israel to Russia than vice versa, and New York is the communal and philanthropic center of Jewish life. Ultimately, the authors find, contemporary Jews are at home wherever they live. "New Jews," they argue, "connect emotionally and culturally with multiple places and traverse routes across national boundaries but are nonetheless rooted in a specific place they call home."
More than any other Arab leader -- and even more than his father, the late King Hussein -- Abdullah has attached his fate to the West.
The exhibit's powerful collection of photographs, awards and artifacts is a virtual walk through history with Wiesenthal, seemingly, as your personal guide. There are his personal pencil sketches of the camp as well as photos and handwritten notes.
I attended the "Liberation!" exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance -- photos and objects and footage from the moments in the spring of 1945 when the doors of the Nazi concentration camps were thrown open to the world, and when those few remaining within were set free.
Just in time for the High Holidays, U.S. Air Force officials are disseminating new guidelines for religious tolerance, in hopes of improving an atmosphere that some airmen say is unwelcoming to religious minorities.
However, while some are calling the new regulations a good first step, others remain concerned that little will change at the Air Force Academy and bases around the country.
In his grossout-doofus comedies, Rob Schneider plays the ultimate schlimazel.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) recently recognized Steven Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in Washington, D.C., by bestowing on it the Boxer Excellence in Education Award.
There's always been a strong Jewish angle to the story of the Armenian genocide, whose 90th anniversary is commemorated this weekend
Prince Harry's Nazi uniform costume might have outraged the world, but most of his British peers can't see what all the fuss is about.
A 99-year-old Jehovah's Witness who survived Nazi persecution has been touring the United States and giving people a face to put on the usually obscure story of the estimated 2,000 Jehovah's Witnesses killed in the Holocaust.
On-campus Jewish groups were upset that the administration did not get outside verification of the meaning and symbolic nature of the stole, said Jeffrey Rips, executive director of the Hillel Foundation of Orange County.
If the controversy pumps up "Heart," its Jewish filmmaker, Louis Schwartzberg, isn't taking advantage.