Jonathan Lynn wants to know what an egg cream is. Sitting in Jerry’s Deli in Westwood on an absurdly hot day in early May, he’s less interested in talking about his show “Yes, Prime Minister” at this moment than he is about finding out what ingredients go into the classic New York drink.
With focused eyes and wide smiles, a sea of preschoolers in white baker’s hats worked slowly, carefully kneading and flattening the dough that would soon emerge from a brick oven as that classic Passover food: matzah.
Rabbi Avi Stewart has been appointed to the head clergy position at Orthodox congregation Westwood Kehilla on Santa Monica Boulevard. His installation ceremony took place Feb. 13 at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel in Los Angeles.
Junior’s Delicatessen, which served the West Los Angeles Jewish community and the broader residential Westside for 53 years, will shut its doors for the final time on New Year’s Eve.
More than 100 James Joyce enthusiasts, performance artists and Irish descendants gathered at Westwood’s Hammer Museum on June 16 to celebrate Bloomsday. Taken from the name of Leopold Bloom, the assimilated Jewish protagonist in Joyce’s monumental book, “Ulysses,” the event celebrates the life of the Irish writer and relives the events of the day the tale is set: June 16, 1904.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has received its largest gift ever — a $20 million bequest from Geri Brawerman to create a scholarship and fellowship program for needy Jewish college students from Los Angeles. Brawerman is a Westwood resident who, along with her late husband, Richard, has long been a major force in funding educational initiatives.
Lauren Levine is settling in with a group of friends apartment to watch “American Idol,” when a look of panic comes over her face. She rummages around, finds her keys and darts out.“I left the hair thing on,” she says when she returns, breathless, from her own apartment downstairs. “I was straightening Jasmine’s hair before we came up here, and I forgot to turn it off. Wow. That was close.” Levine has wide blue eyes accentuated with sparkly eye shadow, and her voice is spiced with a sense of interested wonder.
A program that is credited with creating a vibrant Orthodox community at UCLA needs to prove by the end of March that it can raise $80,000 annually to ensure its future on the Westwood campus. The Orthodox Union (OU) has paid the salaries for two professionals who founded and have been running Shabbat programming, Torah study and daily services at UCLA for ten years, and now OU (http://www.ou.org/) says Los Angeles needs to put up a share of the cost, as other communities have done to support the program at 15 campuses across North America.
On March 28, nearly 10,000 Los Angeles Iranian Americans of various religions, including local Iranian Jews, celebrated the Persian New Year of No Ruz on Westwood Boulevard in Westwood Village, with the official naming of a street corner as Persian Square. Los Angeles City Council man for District 5, Paul Koretz, was on hand for the ceremony; he introduced a motion in the council to name the corner of Westwood Boulevard and Wilkins Street as Persian Square earlier this year.
Thousands of pro-Israel demonstrators crowded the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Veteran Ave. in Westwood.
Brad A. Greenberg reports from today's pro-Israel rally outside the Federal Building in Westwood.
Religion Editor Amy Klein speaks with Rabbi Sherre Hirsch about Hirsch's new book 'We Plan, God Laughs: 10 Steps to Finding Your Divine Path When Life is Not Turning Out Like You Wanted'
There is no demographic study of the Iranian Jewish community in Los Angeles, although its size is generally given as 30,000, including the American-born children of the original immigrants.
This year, as Jews living in Los Angeles, we are teaming up not only with God but also with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has launched an ambitious drive to plant 1 million new trees in Los Angeles neighborhoods, schoolyards and parks, on both public and private properties, over the next several years.
Picks and Clicks
"I wanted to be a coach because I like sports," said Gaskin of her involvement with the Prime Time Games program.
The Pacific Palisades resident initially took on the responsibly to fulfill an outreach requirement for her bat mitzvah last spring. The experience has satisfied more than a ceremonial obligation.
"I feel good because I'm helping other people," Gaskin said.
Having celebrated Shabbat around the world, Elie Wiesel conveyed the novelty of Sinai's Friday Night Live service, which invites singles to stick around for socializing.
How do you sum up 100 years of history? That's the task of historian Florie Brizel, who was hired by Sinai two years ago to write the history of the shul. She just completed "Sinai Temple: A Centennial History," a narrative that runs more than 200 pages.
7 Days in the Arts
Since the early 1990s, Rabbi Abner Weiss, former rabbi at Beth Jacob Congregation and current rabbi at the Westwood Village Synagogue, has been using kabbalistic tools in his psychology practice. Recently, he published "Connecting to God, Ancient Kabbalah and Modern Psychology," a book that asserts the congruity of the two disciplines.
Cunningly constructed, the play relates the adventures and misadventures of the Sycamore Family of New York, whose guiding motto is, do whatever turns you on, however eccentric, and you'll have lots of fun, avoid ulcers and enjoy a happy ending.
For most L.A. City Council members, the March municipal election is less a race than a stroll in the park. Mayor Jim Hahn faces four serious challengers, but just before the December filing deadline, it seemed that the only serious council race was in the Westside's 11th District, where newbies Flora Krisiloff and Bill Rosendahl are squared off to replace Cindy Miscikowski, who has been forced out by term limits.
Sinai Temple in Westwood has spent at least $365,000 annually on increased security since Sept. 11.
"That's just for my manpower, to have bodies here when the building is open," said Howard Lesner, the Conservative synagogue's executive director, who gleans the extra security budget from a post-Sept. 11, $36-per-student fee at Sinai's day school and another $200-per-family temple fee.
7 Days in Arts
On the day the war in Iraq began, I endured a migraine-inducing traffic jam on Wilshire Boulevard. As I inhaled car fumes for nearly an hour, my frustration grew. It reached the boiling point when I learned the cause behind the gridlock: antiwar protesters. The blocking of traffic by the No-War-In-Iraq protesters not only had no impact on the events unfolding abroad, but they diverted valuable police resources from fighting crime and preventing terrorism. They also made me late for dinner at my parents' house.
So it was with scant enthusiasm that I went to the Federal Building in Westwood a few days later to cover the antiwar marches for The Journal. On my way to the rally, I walked by a hippie with a stringy gray ponytail. Shouting "Bush is a fascist" in a stentorian voice, he gave the Nazi salute to shocked motorists, presumably an expression of his anger toward the administration.
His antics failed to move me. Neither did the opinions of the first protester with whom I chatted. After accusing the United States of going to war for oil, he said America was "killing innocent Iranians for no reason."
Call me uninformed, but I thought the America was fighting in Iraq.
7 Days in Arts
Judging by some reviews of the current play, such ignorance may be bliss, and to me and the rest of the audience, the sturdy underpinnings of the basic plot line easily carried au courant references to cell phones, e-mail and béarnaise sauce.
It may not be as long and involved as the Passover seder, but for Raquel Bensimon, the ritualized dinner of Rosh Hashana is just as sweet and just as replete with memories.
Lunda Hoyle Gill sat in her spare room at a Westwood assisted-living center, the last stop on her remarkable life journey.
The artist once traveled to the remotest parts of the globe, racing to paint indigenous peoples before they disappeared. But that was before cancer ravaged her gut and Parkinson's disease crippled her fingers. Today, at 72, the artist can no longer paint. She can barely walk or hold a spoon.
A month after Passover, the winds have not yet died down from the "Wolpe Hurricane."
Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Westwood caused a stir when he asserted, in earshot of a Los Angeles Times reporter, that the Exodus story can still inspire us even if, as some archaeologists assert, the story of the liberation from Egypt is not true. Rabbi Wolpe's remarks ended up on the Times' front page during Passover and became grist for sermons and Torah study all over town.
Many of Rabbi David Wolpe's congregants at Sinai Temple in Westwood took strong exception to a series of sermons he had delivered before and during Passover that examined the question of faith despite doubt and questioned the historical veracity of the Exodus.
The event, called "Meeting in Torah," was sponsored by the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and the CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and supported by a dozen Westside shuls of all denominations.
Friday Night Live is a relatively new Shabbat service designed to attract 25- to 40-year-old Jewish singles. The Westwood service has become increasingly popular since its inception in June, now attracting standing-room-only crowds of up to 800.
Started in June as a once-a-month event, "Friday Night Live" has become a happening, of sorts. The most recent service easily drew 800 people.
Rabbi David J. Wolpe, along with his wife and 6-month-old daughter, arrived in Los Angeles from New York on June 30.