As we prepare for the High Holy Days, we often do not consider one aspect of ourselves, our voice. I’m taking about our actual vocal cords; our means of producing sound.
Real estate developer Sev Aszkenazy recently settled a lawsuit with the city of San Fernando over a liquor permit he was denied for a planned steak house. He said the denial was due, in part, to anti-Semitic bias.
Rob Eshman, whom I admire a lot, and who argued strenuously -- even pleaded -- for his name not to be mentioned in this (but clearly lost), was nice enough to ask if
I would write something for this special issue of The Journal (which I admire -- and read -- a lot), and I was very flattered.
My girlfriend "E" was the first to declare what others had been observing for a while. "God sure is having a good laugh," she said. "You write a column called 'A Woman's Voice.' And yet you have no voice". The irony had crossed my mind.
Saturday, February 4
It’s the year of the gay cowboy, so why not the privileged lesbian? Head to the Geffen Playhouse for the Los Angeles premiere of David Mamet’s, “Boston Marriage,” titled after the Victorian euphemism used to describe a long-term, intimate relationship between two unmarried women. The play about two upper-class women involved thusly is also directed by Mamet and stars Rebecca Pidgeon, Alicia Silverstone and Mary Steenburgen.
Through March 12. $35-$69. 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. (310) 208-5454.
Sunday, February 5
Israeli musician Ehud Banai comes to the Avalon Hollywood. Hear songs from the folk/rock/traditional songwriter’s album, “Answer Me,” which won Best Album of the Year at the 2004 Israeli Music Awards, and other favorites tonight only.
9 p.m. $45. 1735 Vine St., Hollywood. (323) 462-8900. www.groovetickets.com.
This section of the page will be a way for you as kids to sound off on an issue. This month's kein v' lo (yes and no) is about New Year's. Should Jews care as much about the regular New Year as we do Rosh Hashanah? Here's some info for both sides of the argument.
"It's All True" (Simon & Schuster, 2004) by David Freeman offers us a portrait of an outsized Hollywood, so unbelievable that it must be dead on. It is, more precisely, a novel, lovingly unfolded about the movie business: How it works and how its players -- adults spoiled by too much money and power -- act out their lives. "Oh me-oh, my-oh," as Henry Wearie would say.
Wearie is the novel's hero. He is actually a fictitious character, a screenwriter trying to hustle a script idea into a movie deal, but in a voice that sounds eerily like that of Freeman, who himself is a screenwriter. In its way, this book serves as a more knowing successor to Freeman's earlier work, "A Hollywood Education," published 18 years ago, after the author had moved to Los Angeles from New York.
The first thing one notices about Theodore Bikel is the voice.
As he settles on a divan in his book-filled West Hollywood apartment, chatting about his upcoming 80th birthday gala, it's not so much his strapping frame, white beard or sharp blue eyes that make an impression as his voice.
This is the resonant baritone that has sung countless folk music concerts, recorded 27 albums in 21 languages and performed in approximately 35 films. This is the actor who has appeared more than 2,000 times as the milkman Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof," besides playing Captain Von Trapp in Broadway's "The Sound of Music" and opposite Bogie in the film, "The African Queen."
"Everyone wanted to clone our mother, which is why we created our Dancing Matzahman, said Davida Lampkin-Tydings. Actually, the singing, swaying doll -- voted best new Passover item at the 2003 Kosherfest -- looks like a male chef wearing matzah print. But press his foot, and the plush figure raps in the voice of Lampkin-Tydings' mother, Pauline S. Lampkin, whose photo is on the tag.
"I am very proud of my Jewish heritage," Jason Pullman said, talking to The Journal from the Clear Channel offices (Star's parent company). "I used to use stage names, but then as of four or five years ago [I decided] I am myself, and that is only person that I want to be."
"Love is a fine thing," the Yiddish saying goes, "but love with noodles is even tastier."
Tashbih Sayyed believes in democracy as a way of life. He can be counted among the few Muslims in America who believe that modernism, free-thinking and education are keys to rid Muslims from the morass of extremism.
Watching the sunrise over Lake Tahoe is one of my great summer pleasures. I usually awake before my family and, in solitude, watch as the contours of the lake begin to take shape in the morning light. The serene stillness of this mountain silence is punctuated later only with the distant sounds of speed boats and water skiers, the mute screams of glee from those sailing beneath billowing parachutes pulled by fiberglass vessels. And if it is quiet enough, I can hear the flapping sounds of sails riding on crafts as they slowly pass me.
On the sunny porch of his Santa Monica cottage, a scruffy-looking Harry Shearer, Los Angeles' preeminent satirist, is describing his fascination with an all-male power retreat called the Bohemian Grove. It began about nine years ago when the caustic, 58-year-old humorist started interviewing Grove guests -- and hookers -- about the super-exclusive Northern California resort. The interviews eradicated every conspiracy theory he'd had about the place: "These guys aren't micromanaging the world," says Shearer, best known for voicing myriad "Simpsons" characters and for his National Public Radio program, "Le Show."
Remember Hanna-Barbara's "Squiddly Diddly?" Well, a new cartoon cephalopod has come to town, and his name is Oswald the octopus. Voicing the title character on "Oswald," Nickelodeon's new addition to its children's line-up, is a Valley boy who has been a popular actor since childhood, Fred Savage.
Jewish prayer is a spiritual discipline for regaining wonder each day. One hundred times a day we are instructed to stop and recite a bracha recognizing the miraculous in each moment of life.
One of the most engrossing reality-based television shows is the thrice-weekly KLCS public broadcasting program, "Conversation with Roy Romer." Unlike "Survivor" and "Temptation Island," where contestants wearing cruise and safari garb compete against each other and the weather, "Conversation" features little more than a white-haired man in a black suit talking to off-camera live callers wearing who knows what. Nevertheless, the sharks are out. Romer is superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and what is at stake on the show is the education of some 700,000 Los Angeles children.
Nostalgia for Bill Clinton? Don't say I didn't warn you. Even as George W. Bush takes office, the Jewish community is weeping sentimental tears for the almost lethally charismatic president who, in the words of The Forward, "had come to embody the hopes of Jewish liberals in America and Israel during the 1990s." Clinton, who is no stranger to schmaltz, had policy wonks and foreign affairs careerists alike publicly weeping when he chose the Israel Policy Institute as the site of his last address last week, hinting that yet one more attempt at an Arab-Israeli solution was still in the works.
God spoke to me once when I was 12 years old. Although it happened years ago, I remember it as clearly as if it were today. Revelation is a tricky thing. I am reminded of the Midrash that when God gave the commandments at Mt. Sinai, God speaks to the Children of Israel in a divine voice so powerful they are too terrified to hear anything beyond the very first word of the first commandment. Since even that was too much to bear, God arranged it so they only heard the first letter of the first word. The first word is Anohi ("I am"), and the first letter is an alef, which is silent. So the rabbis teach us that what the Jewish people heard when God spoke was the Divine Silence of the mitzvot. Within that Divine Silence, each woman and man experienced her or his own unique divine revelation.
Israel has always meant a lot to my parents, butit was my mother who took the Jewish state personally. She waspregnant at the time Israel was being created, in the spring of 1948,and to this day, she still describes the joy -- the triumph! -- ofbringing a new life into a world where the blue-and-white flag couldproudly fly.
My friend Susie asked me to recommend a "goodhaggadah" for her seder. Tell me first about your guests, I said. Arethere many children? Grandparents? Republicans? Buddhists? Today,selecting a haggadah is a form of Rorschach test, a unique,personalized snapshot of you in the here and now, never to beduplicated again.
My Passover seder was once again acclaimed by one and all as the best ever. Good thing, too, since, as befits a holiday filled with questions, anxiety had dogged my every step -- right until the last moment.
Four Takes on Fifty
In the aftermath of thedeaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa, every woman I know hasparticipated in some version of "The Goddess or the Saint." We'vetaken sides, debated our husbands and boyfriends, our mothers, ourfriends. At Torah study last Saturday, we weighed the two women interms of a moral dilemma: The princess or the nun, the glamour or thegrit. Our choice of icons defines our lives.
Linda Deutsch and Theo Wilson liveda cross the street from each other for most of the past 21 years. They were trial reporters who met in the Charles Manson courtroom, competitors and best friends. On Jan. 17, Wilson called Deutsch four times while anxiously awaiting the limo that was to take her from her Hollywood Hills home to a CBS interview -- the official start ofpromotion for her new book, "Headline Justice," which had taken her 10 years to complete.
True story. Last week at the Westside Pavilion, just
outside Nordstrom, six women, dressed in the garb of
Islam, were standing by the mall's ATM. Four wore
colorful scarves, exposing the face and a bit of hair; two
were completely in black, with only small slits, 1 inch by
4 inches, revealing huge, dark eyes. From a distance, the
human form disguised, they looked like a gathering of
Where does a parent -- a Jewish mother -- begin a frank consideration of her daughter's sexuality?
Are seniors at Milken Community High School really "Wildcats" after all? Aaron Fishman, outgoing student body president, told me that earlier this year, students tried to change the school's sports mascot from the Wildcats to "something more Jewish."
The restaurant billboard advertised its Father's Day brunch in letters too large to miss. "If I had a father, we could take him out to eat," my daughter, Samantha, said, as we drove by.