Big Sunday Weekend just keeps getting bigger. The nation’s largest regional community service event, which started in 1999 as the project of a single synagogue in Hollywood, last year boasted some 50,000 participants and next weekend, for the first time, will stretch statewide — all the way from San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento.
ZAKA International Rescue Unit said Friday it will send a team of trained volunteers from Israel to help the search and rescue efforts in Japan, following the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that rocked the country earlier that day.
Lillian Mizrahi is not your typical Peace Corps volunteer. She first considered joining 40 years ago, when she moved to Los Angeles from the Bronx, but her life became busy with children and a career.
Volunteers from Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) in Encino and Family of Faith Christian Center (FFCC) in Carson fed 150 homeless people from the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission in North Hollywood in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the National Day of Service on Jan. 17. This is the second year the church and synagogue have come together to feed the homeless on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a tradition they plan to continue. “Our tradition is as much about action as belief,” VBS Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas said.
The Etta Israel Center honored three young volunteers for their work in helping students with special needs. The Jan. 9 gala at the California Science Center recognized Esther Levine, Daniel Schwartz and
Rita Miller Statman for the time they’ve put in as one-on-one counselors at camp, weekend retreats and holiday programming for children and young adults with special needs.
The Jewish Journal created this list as a response to all those lists extolling fame, money, power and hotness. We honor these special ten because they are just people -- menschen, to use the proper Yiddish plural -- who understand the power and possibility of just one person.
Meet Gabriel Halimi, Kim Krowne, Manijeh Youabian, Andrew Wolfberg, Susan Corwin, Ari Moss, Richard Braun, Bracha Yael, Jack Matloff and Neil Sheff
Although the voice at the other end of the phone is always that of a young person, the driving force behind Teen Line is Elaine Leader, a 79-year-old great-grandmother with a British accent and a propensity for hats and oversized costume jewelry.
We are 17-year-old identical twin brothers, living a comfortable life in suburban Los Angeles.
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.
An exhibit commemorating the American and Canadian volunteers who had fought in Israel's War of Independence in 1947-1949 and manned the "illegal" Aliyah Bet ships carrying refugees to the Jewish state.
For several weeks, I had been visiting Nathan, a 6-year-old boy diagnosed with autism. We had been brought together through the Conejo Valley Friendship Circle, an organization that extends warmth to families in the community that have children with special needs.
Corporate, private and organizational donors underwrite the day, including Temple Israel. The budget this year is $450,000. The city's participation will include providing security, busing and street closures. Additional donors are both welcomed and needed, Levinson said.
This week's cover story celebrates not make-believe angels, but real live ones.
The central display of the Aliyah Bet and Machal Museum, which opens formally this week, commemorates the deeds of the two groups of volunteers for whom the museum is named. The Aliyah Bet portion honors the 240 North Americans who manned rickety ships and ran the British blockade to bring Holocaust survivors and refugees to Palestine between 1946 and 1948, in a clandestine operation. Among the 12 ships was the famed "Exodus 1947."
Between 35,000 and 40,000 people spent Sunday, May 15 at Woodley Park in Van Nuys for the annual Israel Independence Day festival.
The festival's early afternoon main event featuring pro-Israel speeches and politicians lasted exactly one hour; on the last note of "The Star-Spangled Banner" skydivers appeared above. "The coincidence was amazing," festival executive director Yoram Gutman said.
In the late afternoon, more than 7,000 people crowded the festival's main stage to hear Israeli pop superstar Sarit Hadad. Fire marshals had difficulty clearing fans from the aisles.
The high concrete walls of the little-used cafeteria at the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles hardly spoke to Passover’s concept of freedom found and bondage ended. But this is where a dozen inmates gathered for their seder, in a setting that cried out Egypt rather than the promised land.
Rabbi Yossi Carron, the jail’s Jewish chaplain, held up a sprig of parsley to redefine the bleak surroundings.
“This is a real great symbol for you,” the Reform rabbi said. “I really want you to believe in the green parts of yourself. This symbol is you.”
n Feb. 13, an estimated 1,600 volunteers will place thousands of phone calls to community members with the hopes of making this the most Super Sunday ever.
Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn will inaugurate the daylong fundraising drive at 9:30 a.m. at the headquarters of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles in Mid-Wilshire. Actor Josh Molina of TV's "West Wing" will be on hand to show his support.
Always an ardent patriot, after Sept. 11, Robert Rosenthal felt strongly that he had to do something constructive. When he learned that in contrast to USO shows for troops overseas, there was no similar entertainment at stateside bases, he suggested to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that something be done to close the gap.
Big Sunday, Big Turnout
I'm spending Passover in Chicago -- home of the Cubs, the Bears and the whole Davis mishpachah (family). Mom's serving up chopped liver, chicken soup, matzah balls, matzah kugel, gefilte fish -- and those are just the appetizers. We'll drink wine, read the haggadah and belt out our never-ending version of "Chad Gadya."
It'll be a feast of freedom, family and what else -- food. One of my favorite holidays, Pesach does more than bring loved ones together, it brings us together with spirit.
Marc Miller's fundraising goal is to surpass last year's record $2.25 million Federation campaign by 10 percent.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles had a super Super Sunday, ringing up pledges of $4.5 million, or $800,000 more than last year.
Bailey Silverman and Rebecca Namm are in many ways typical teenagers. The best friends like to go to the mall, hang out with pals and talk on the phone.
But come Super Sunday, Feb. 22, the two Milken Community High School juniors will undertake the very adult mission of raising money for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and its 15 beneficiary agencies, including Jewish Family Service, Jewish Vocational Service and Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters. During Super Sunday, the girls will supervise a group of high school and college students in the San Fernando Valley who will call Jews throughout the Southland to make The Federation's annual fundraising extravaganza just that much more super.
Last month, seven Los Angeles rabbis and five community leaders traveled to Argentina for a whirlwind 72-hour trip. The mission, organized by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, helped them gain firsthand knowledge of the crisis in Argentina. Upon their return to Los Angeles, the leaders have begun promoting the Federation's Lifeline to Argentina campaign, a $1 million challenge grant matching every dollar raised. Below are some of their thoughts and photos of the trip.
Renamed Big Sunday to represent the eclecticism of its volunteers, the fifth annual day of community service will take place this year on Sunday, May 4.
The CST model may not be a perfect fit, and it wouldn't replace increased help from the local and federal governments, but a closer look at it may provide a new and improved way to address the increased security needs of our community.
No matter what the profit, most synagogue administrators agree that the yearly celebrations are helpful morale boosters.
"The world exists only because of the innocent breath of schoolchildren," attributed to Jewish sages, first century Talmud.
The Federation raised more than $4 million this year on Super Sunday, $1 million less than last year's $5 million tally. But organizers say that a new fundraising strategy this year has rendered the single-day total superficial.
In an unprecedented event, 650 of the most successful members of Los Angeles' Russian Jewish community gathered under the banner of
Judaism and Israel.
In the grim underground parking lot of the Rishon LeZion shopping mall in central Israel, hundreds of men and women of all ages are nervously sitting, standing restlessly or milling around, their faces weary, their eyes expectant.
The doors of the 107th Street Elementary School opened at noon; reggae music blared over the sound system and pizza was ready to be served.
We don't shut down something important; we find a solution ("Centers in Crisis," Dec. 7).
Reading Is Fundamental
It's accepted wisdom that when children read, they develop wider vocabularies, score higher on intelligence tests and display more enthusiasm to pursue higher education. But many children don't have access to books, even at school.
This is by way of being an advance notice, a leg up, if you will.
At the start of the upcoming school year, the Jewish Federation will embark on a new venture, Koreh L.A., the Los Angeles Jewish Coalition for Literacy. Its staff is busy (today) setting in place a cadre of volunteers who will work with third-graders in Los Angeles' public schools. The goal is simple: try to help improve reading ability -- literacy is the formal phrase -- by concentrating one-on-one with individual schoolchildren. That's one volunteer assigned to work with one specific child one hour each week for the duration of the school year. Its virtue to me is that this is direct, purposive and personal; and, not to be underestimated, it is also modest in scope.