A network of volunteers from many of the nation's leading law firms, recruited through a Los Angeles initiative, is helping to write what appears to be the last chapter in the long and contentious history of reparations to Holocaust victims.
Environmentalism may be trendy, but expensive hybrid cars and solar paneling aren't the only ways of being fashionably green.
"It is hard to convey the special sense of respect, dignity and approbation that can be conveyed by calling someone 'a real mensch,'" writes Leo Rosten in "The Joys of Yiddish."
The Yiddish word infuses the basic German denotation -- "person" -- with an almost indefinable connotation. A mensch is a person who is upright, honorable, decent, as Rosten writes, a person to admire and emulate.
A summer without camp? The thought was incomprehensible. I had my life ahead to travel and explore the world, yet only childhood for camp. Soon, I would be inundated with the stresses of being an adult, and it felt as if I was being forced away from my youth. I wanted to be in Malibu; I wanted to be a Jewish camper.
Is "living by your wits" the same thing as "witty"?
Gila Garaway says that the vision for her organization, Moriah Africa, came to her as she was lying in a hospital bed in Nigeria in 2001.
In 1969, a group of college students staged a protest at the premiere gathering of the organized Jewish community, demanding more say and more attention to issues that mattered to them. The demonstrations and vocal disruptions at the Boston General Assembly lead to the formation of the North American Jewish Students Appeal, which was funded by federations until 1995.
Ever since then, students have been a part of the GA, which this year is taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center Nov. 12-15.
Daniel, a 24-year-old UCLA student, has gotten under my skin. I met him a month ago when I followed Rabbi Yossi Carron on his rounds through Men's Central Jail and Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles.
With our children as our inspiration and the news of Katyusha attacks getting worse, despite the heroic efforts of the Israel Defense Forces, my husband, Rabbi Joel Zeff, and I decided we needed to do whatever we could to help, even if just a little.
Any organization's program and operational decisions should stem from the philosophy, beliefs and vision that are its reasons for being in the first place. These basic values, however, are often assumed, yet rarely articulated.
Carolyn Blashek is a Jewish mother in Encino who, like most Americans, was horrified by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. However, her reaction was slightly different than that of the average Jewish mother -- she tried to enlist in the military.
That volunteer work is vast. She served as the sisterhood president of Temple Israel of Hollywood and currently co-chairs its AIDS lunch project, which distributes food once a month. Gilman is also social action chair for the Western Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, which presents the women's positions on legislative policy.
The call for "Jewish continuity" sounded by American Jewish communal leaders more than a decade ago as an antidote to rising intermarriage rates and other signs of weakening identity has spawned a veritable industry aimed at making American Jews more Jewish. There has been an ever-more impressive array of endeavors to promote day schools, send kids to Israel, transform synagogues and bolster adult Jewish learning, to name just a few.
After only a few months in Los Angeles, Shirley N., a 30-year-old Jewish immigrant from Iran, almost returned to her homeland because of financial difficulties.
At Sinai Akiba Academy recently, Bryna Vener vigorously conducted close to 100 first- through-eighth-graders in a passionate rendition of "Hava Nagila" as students danced in their seats. If the atmosphere was celebratory, it was because the assembly was a dress rehearsal for the orchestra's 25th anniversary concert and alumni reunion June 10, when graduates will return to fete Vener and her remarkable group.
The Tu B'Shevat seder, with its many fruit and nuts, challenges us to reconsider our usual diets, and the recommended Jewish diet. While the FDA recommends a diet high in grains, rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats, Judaism recommends a diet high in holiness, rich in consciousness and connection, and low in selfishness. These four factors guide not only a Jewish diet, but also a Jewish life.
David Levinson, 44, has written for television, theater and feature films. He and his wife Ellen Herman, also a television writer, have crafted a good life from an unforgiving business, with a home in Hancock Park and three growing children, who, he informed me over lunch this week, are wonderful.
Former U.S. Rep. Mel Levine has been tapped as chair of the Jewish Community Relations Committee (JCRC), a move that some observers said they hoped would restore the luster of the embattled agency.
I recently joined some 30 volunteers from a dozen countries as part of Sar-El Volunteers For Israel to work with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). As a Christian Zionist on his third visit to Israel this year, I was mostly united in purpose with the others who came at the outset of the war against Iraq.
Back in Hollywood's Golden Age, a radio host asked director Mark Sandrich who, in his opinion, was the most alluring woman in Hollywood. "That's easy," said Sandrich, who directed such stars as Ginger Rogers and Claudette Colbert. "My wife, Freda."
Is our national health care system beyond cure? Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Dr. Alexandra M. Levine, medical director of the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, believe that the Jewish community can take a role in advancing remedies for our nation's health care ills.
"I didn't really know until I got into it that it was a Jewish organization," said Deborah Jennings, who is now the Talkline shift leader on Thursday nights. "It took a little getting used to."
As 5760 pulls out of the station and the bright lights of the oncoming 5761 approach the platform, here are some opportunities to explore your sense of humanity and compassion by getting involved and helping others who might be less fortunate than you.
When I'm 79, I want to be Mollie Pier.
Dr. Susan Marilyn Block is a nice Jewish girl, who talks about sex on late-night cable TV. From Esther to... Dr. Suzy?