He has been to Shabbat dinner, lit the menorah and he broke matzah with friends at a Passover seder. This Valentine’s Day, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined a club that even many Jews don’t belong to — he helped complete a new Torah scroll.
Police in Israel have reportedly arrested a rabbi suspected of stealing Torah scrolls from the synagogue of his community near Be’er Sheva.
On Nov. 17, some 20 devout Muslims from the King Fahad Mosque bowed and prostrated themselves as they recited the Isha, or night prayer, at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, with about 80 Jews watching the unfamiliar ritual. At the same time, in another room of the Reform temple, Jewish congregants participated in the Ma'ariv evening prayer, watched respectfully by a group of Muslims.
The calligraphy on the coffee-colored parchment is crisp and clear, with delicately ascending crowns adorning the Hebrew letters. But rather than being unfurled on a bima and read by a proud bar mitzvah boy, this water-stained fragment of a Torah scroll from Turkey -- thought to be about 300 years old -- is spread out on a drafting table in the backyard studio of Sam and Debbie Gliksman. The Gliksmans have recently launched Spiritual Artifacts, a business that preserves, frames and sells fragments from decommissioned Torah scrolls.
Leo Baeck Temple in Bel Air hosted an unusual commemoration of Kristallnacht, the event that is often considered the beginning of the Holocaust. Instead of focusing on mourning, the gathering last weekend was marked by raucous joy and a sense of reunification.
The central symbolism was provided by guest of honor Olga Grilli, who fled Nazi-occupied Europe as an 11-year-old. On Saturday, she saw once more and touched the Torah scroll from the shul of her Czechoslovakian hometown. She had last attended this temple as a child.