Almost two years ago, while watching a YouTube video of Mohammed Fairouz’s “Tahrir for Clarinet and Orchestra,” Neal Brostoff, a visiting lecturer in Jewish music history at UCLA, had an idea. The concerto sounded “surprisingly Jewish,” he thought, and not just because the soloist was the eminent klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer.
A retirement plan run by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is more than $25 million underfunded, according to financial statements filed in October. The statements say the pension fund, which holds savings for more than 2,000 employees working for eight different Jewish-affiliated organizations, hold assets equivalent to only 76.1 percent of its projected liabilities. Because that number is below 80 percent, the Internal Revenue Service considers the fund in “endangered status” or a “yellow zone.”
Women of the Wall did not decide to pray on [Religious Affairs Minister Naftali] Bennett’s sun deck (“A Kotel Platform for No One?” Oct. 25). We decided to negotiate with the government on the creation of a third section at the Kotel. This section will have to accommodate our women’s-only prayer group as well as egalitarian services.
Etgar Keret, with his collections “The Nimrod Flip-Out” and the recently published “Suddenly, a Knock on the Door,” reinvigorated the short story (and the short, short story). The author, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Zoetrope and on “This American Life,” recently spent a day in Los Angles, at UCLA, as a guest of the Israel Studies department, and at a reception in his honor at the home of Sharon Nazarian, president of the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Foundation, which sponsored the event.
Hillel at UCLA enjoys a good relationship with the local Chabad (“Sharing the Next Gen — Hillel and Chabad on Campus,” Oct. 25). The unconditional love they exhibit is indeed laudable, and it is true that Chabad’s free Friday night dinners influenced us to also offer our dinners for free
Sophie Zeidman Hamburger, 94, of Los Angeles passed away at home Oct. 10th with her family by her side. A Holocaust survivor, Sophie inspired many people with both her courage and her warmth.
Shabbat dinner tells one part of the story. When Alon Kashanian, a UCLA senior, wants a “very big social atmosphere” on erev Shabbat, he goes to Hillel’s grand, Jerusalem-stone-adorned, 25,000-square-foot Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life on Hilgard Avenue in Westwood. He socializes with friends and mingles with some of the 100 to 200 students — the number can vary widely — who come for services and Friday night dinner.
The race to find a cure for AIDS, one of Earth’s most pressing epidemics for more than three decades now, is often more of a chaotic relay. Thousands of international scientists must constantly revise their own projects to keep up with findings from across all scientific disciplines — always collaborating toward a common good, yet also trying to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Philanthropist and community activist Joyce Black, wife of real estate magnate Stanley Black for 57 years, died on Oct. 4 after a prolonged battle with cancer. She was 75.
How does an irreligious Jew find consolation at a religious service? Seeking such consolation, I attended the Hillel at UCLA High Holy Days services conducted by Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller. I don’t often go to services, but in February our oldest daughter, Robin, died, and I felt drawn there.
For the first time since the Academy for Jewish Religion, CA (AJR-CA), was founded 13 years ago, the pluralistic institution that trains rabbis, cantors and chaplains has its own space. The school moved from Westwood into the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles earlier this month.
According to the rabbis, the holiday of Sukkot commemorates the 40 years of wandering in the Sinai Desert, and we eat and sleep in a sukkah — that temporary structure made with a roof of dried vegetation, such as palm fronds — because the Israelites slept in sukkot (the plural of sukkah) on their journeys.
In addition to his vast experience as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst treating survivors of childhood and adult trauma, Dr. Stephen Marmer is known by many of his patients as someone who has a positive view of the role religion can play in one’s psyche and happiness.
In 2001, Martin (Marty) Sklar, now 79, was officially recognized as a “Disney Legend” — The Walt Disney Co.’s version of the Hall of Fame. In 2009, another exclusive distinction was bestowed on the low-key leader who had for decades guided Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), the group that designs and constructs Disney’s theme parks and resorts worldwide: On his final day before retiring, Sklar was honored with a window dedicated to him on Disneyland’s Main Street.
Young American Jews have closer ties to Israel than ever before, while Israelis who have moved to the United States are raising the Jewish consciousness of all Jews in the New World.
Shari Rosenman decided to homeschool her children because it gave her the freedom to set her family’s schedule. Leat Silvera does it because she wants her children to pursue their passions.
They say if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Life gave Susan Trachman multiple sclerosis (MS), so she made … art.
In 2010, Judith Prays, a 26-year-old multimedia expert from Long Beach, created a great deal of buzz (CNN, Time, “The Colbert Report”) by inventing Pheromone Parties, a matchmaking experiment based on scent.
Sharon Nazarian has a mysterious quality about her. I’ve bumped into her occasionally over the years, but never long enough to have a real conversation. I always knew she was highly educated and a big lover of Israel, and that a few years ago she founded the groundbreaking Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA, where she also teaches political science.
I have known Wendy Greuel for almost 30 years, since she was a young UCLA graduate working for Mayor Tom Bradley.
It’s back! Remember long ago in those dark days of 2011, when “Pacific Standard Time,” the Getty-sponsored initiative, got more than 60 cultural organizations throughout Southern California to shine a light on the impact of Los Angeles’ art scene between 1945 and 1980?
When Los Angeles was incorporated as a city in 1850, eight Jews, all bachelors, were included on the population rolls. Today, according to the best estimates, somewhere between 600,000 to 650,000 Jews live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, with figures varying depending upon who does the estimating, how they define the geographical boundaries and, indeed, the definition of who is a Jew.
There’s an old saying that goes something like this: We spend the first half of our lives running away from home and the rest trying to get back. Consider Homer, way back in ancient Greece, who defined our notion of a life’s odyssey as a journey that begins and ends at home.
Adam Pearl, now ten-years old, never met his father, Daniel -- a heroic journalist who family and friends say gave his life for truth.
For people with a palate for intellectual, social and physical nourishment, the annual Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture at UCLA is a not-to-be-missed event.
Nearly 500 local Iranian Jews packed two auditoriums at UCLA’s Fowler Museum on Jan. 28 for an event honoring three prominent Los Angeles-area Jewish nonprofits and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS).
Eveline Leisner, a longtime French educator, died on Jan. 5 after living with Alzheimer’s disease for 12 years. She was 75.
Last month, for our seventh-annual mensch list, we again invited all of you to submit your nominations of extraordinary volunteers, and again the outpouring of suggestions of amazing people was overwhelming.
When author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was recently asked if he feared future generations might forget the Holocaust once the last surviving witnesses had perished, he answered that he had quelled his anxiety over this problem with a simple dictum: “To listen to a witness,” he said, “is to become one.”
Seven scientists and an architect were named recipients of Israel's prestigious 2013 Wolf Prizes.
I met Lou’s dog before I met Lou. I was eating in the park with my family when his dog ran over excitedly, stepped into my daughter’s lunch and then took off again when he saw his owner running toward him.
It takes more than a lineup substitution — even a major lineup substitution — to rattle the Israeli Chamber Project (ICP). The circumstances that will bring the company — which offers a rotating roster of musicians from Israel and elsewhere — to make its Southland debut on Nov. 30 in a Da Camera Society concert at the Doheny Mansion were fortuitous, if not a bit tumultuous. How about two of the three originally scheduled musicians bowing out?
The talk at the second annual Jewish Women’s Conference of Southern California focused not so much on the Jewish part, as on the women’s part. Some 300 women (and one man — a devoted husband, perhaps?) filled the ballroom of UCLA’s Covel Commons on Nov. 11 for a series of sessions on activism, feminism today, women’s health, the effects of the recession on women, plus one session on Israeli women and another on rabbinical interpretations of women’s equality within Judaism.
As a tail gunner stationed on bombers during World War II, Mort Schecter frequently found himself a sitting duck.
On Nov. 1, Israel’s most popular and enduring pop icon, Rita Yahan-Farouz, known the world over simply as Rita, will appear at UCLA’s Royce Hall, along with a special band assembled for this tour.
Greta Berlin, the co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement —who has come under fire for tweeting that Zionists created and ran the Nazi concentration camps — has had her upcoming book talks canceled by at least two California venues.
The history of Iranian Jewry goes back nearly 3,000 years, so Nahid Pirnazar has a lot of ground to cover in her Oct. 21 lecture at the opening of “Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews,” a wide-ranging, five-month exhibition at UCLA’s Fowler Museum.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem discusses reproductive rights and their importance in the upcoming presidential election. While this free event is open to the public, seating is limited. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sun. 7 p.m. Free. UCLA campus, Broad Art Center, Room 2160E, Los Angeles. (310) 825-4601. history.ucla.edu/events/gloria-steinem-lecture.
The sukkah in the backyard of Leat Silvera’s home in the Beverlywood neighborhood of Los Angeles is up a little early this year. It’s not because she’s trying to get a jump on the holidays; it’s because she needs a place to look at her work — three large sukkah wall hangings that she designed herself.
Elliot Caplow, a prominent real estate developer and philanthropist, died Aug. 16 at the age of 83.
Today come reports that hospitals in Zurich and St. Gallen have suspended the practice on Jewish and Muslim boys in the wake of a similar ban in Germany ordered by a judge in Cologne.
A Conservative movement college outreach program has survived potential demise — for now. Responding to an organized outcry by students and alumni, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) voted on June 10 to fund KOACH, its campus program, with $100,000 for the coming year on the condition that KOACH raises an additional $130,000.
When Todd Samuel Presner was “drilling down” through the history of Los Angeles, he noticed something unusual in a 1939 map of the city’s eastern part.
The Washington Nationals drafted a 2012 graduate of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Maryland in the Major League Baseball draft.
Almost every day, Marissa Meyer, an 18-year-old senior at Agoura High School, heads out to the stable where her riding teacher rehabilitates abused horses. There she works with her 15-year-old gelding, Lucky. Helping to heal him after his difficult life at a dude ranch has been one of her passions for the last seven years and has also helped spur her interest in physical therapy and sports medicine in humans.
For the first time in U.S. history, the lifespans of today’s children will be shorter than those of their parents, thanks to the American way of unhealthy living.
What are the moral and artistic limits faced by a novelist, filmmaker, historian or artist in depicting the Holocaust?
Gerald (Jerry) Estrin, a computer pioneer in the United States and Israel who built the first computer in the Middle East, has died.
A UCLA student group that supports the homeless is headed to the White House, one of five initiatives to win the White House’s Campus Champions of Change Challenge. The White House selected 15 finalists from hundreds of applicants, and online voters chose the top five.
“We must be patient and realistic in our expectation regarding the Middle East,” Sen. George Mitchell told an audience at UCLA on March 1.
As members of a committee that is actively engaged in outreach with the Los Angeles Jewish community, we enjoy reading articles in The Jewish Journal that accurately profile other religious faiths.
How would most American Jews react to the following historical assessment by a noted Yiddish scholar, professor Gennady Estraikh of New York University?
“The Reform service is going crazy, the Conservative service is going crazy. Orthodox [service] is huge,” Josh Kaplan, a Jewlicious board member, said as he walked past the concierge to the Jewlicious merchandise booth.