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  • Happiness, Addiction, Training

    By Rabbi Mordecai Finley

    September 18, 2013 | 5:54 pm


    How Can Emotions Be Commanded?

    ‘How can emotions be commanded?’, I am asked, when I go over the three main commandments regarding Sukkot:  to live in rickety hut with an unfinished roof (Sukkah), wave a bunch of foliage around, and be only happy. I am certainly asked to explain...

  • Financial mistakes can haunt estate executors

    October 16, 2008 | 7:19 pm

    Two chores that most people will gladly put off are writing a will and keeping it up to date to reflect changed circumstances. However, when you do get around to writing and revising your will, consider carefully when you select or replace an executor—the legal term for the person...

  • Cutting someone out of will can leave a legacy of pain

    By Soriya Daniels

    August 2, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Steve Kaplan had just finished sitting shiva for his mother when he was dealt another blow: He had been written out of her will.

    No written explanation. Not a word.

    He was shocked, having believed his entire life that he and his mother were close. Kaplan (not his real name) was...

  • Semper Fiber

    By Judy Gruen

    January 18, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    I am a big believer in New Year's resolutions, especially of the weight-loss variety. I've even been known to renew my vows on a weekly basis. Yet, I have learned that any drastic promises, such as, "I will never eat another bowl of Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream...
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  • Laura’s Smile

    By David Suissa

    December 28, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Laura Benichou was born on June 9, 1998, with a hole in her heart. This hole probably saved her life, because she was also born without her main pulmonary artery.

    The blood had to go somewhere, so it went through the hole. Her condition would take too long to explain, but one result...

  • Holy Doubt

    By Rabbi Debra Orenstein

    December 7, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    This week's Torah portion contains a story that most of us skipped in Hebrew school -- the story of Dina.

    Dina goes out to "see the daughters of the land."

    Shechem, the eponymous local prince, sees her, sleeps with her and vaye'aneha -- sexually forces or humiliates her.

    His...

  • There is God in this place

    By Rabbi Judith HaLevy

    November 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Jacob departed. Unlike his grandfather Abraham, who went forth, lech lecha, in response to God's command, Jacob departs, vayetze, from everything he knows to escape his angry brother and find a wife in Haran. He leaves a comfortable, established life to find himself in the chaos and...
  • Single, 60, and invisible no more

    By Esther W. Hersh

    October 19, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    I'm over 60, single, considered sexy by some and ignored by others.

    My experience is that if you are over 60, single and a woman you're somewhat invisible. Unfortunately, we live in a youth-oriented society where emphasis is placed on the young. So I started to make mental notes...

  • Life at 85: what a trip!

    By Red Lachman

    October 12, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    I was born in Chicago some 85 years ago. My home was Jewish Orthodox and consisted of my mother, her two brothers and their father, my grandfather. I specify my grandfather because, in those days, nobody ever thought of placing their old father in an old folks' home.
     
    My closest...
  • Book Review: Tools to fight terror: big dreams, good friends

    By Robert David Jaffee

    October 12, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "Prisoners: A Muslim & a Jew Across the Middle East Divide," by Jeff Goldberg (Knopf, $25).
     
    The full title of Jeffrey Goldberg's new book, "Prisoners: A Muslim & a Jew Across the Middle East Divide," immediately conjures up notions of a Pinteresque power struggle between two...
  • Lebanon War: Mission Accomplished

    By Dan Gordon

    August 31, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Contrary to what is now the accepted wisdom in the media, Hezbollah, in its recent offensive against Israel, neither badly bloodied the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) nor fought it to a standstill.

    In fact, the opposite is the case.

    By any legitimate measure, the IDF handed a...

  • Skateboard Creator Builds Business on Performance

    By Amy Klein

    August 31, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Don Tashman doesn't look like a skater boy, not with his scraggly, brown hair and three-day-old unshaven stubble that's yet to materialize into a beard.

    This religious boy from Beverlywood doesn't even look like a surfer boy -- which he is, as these things usually go hand in hand,...

  • Tallying Success and Failure

    By Leslie Susser

    August 17, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    As a U.N.-brokered cease-fire takes effect after 33 days of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, criticism is growing of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's handling of the war.

    Some politicians and opinion-makers are calling for his resignation. Israelis are also asking more searching...

  • American-Born Spokeswoman Big Asset to Israel

    By Dina Kraft

    August 17, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Miri EisenMiri Eisen fixes an eye to the camera and speaks clearly and deliberately -- and, most importantly for Israel, convincingly -- to the world media. The American-born Israeli government spokeswoman was an important strategic asset in a war against Hezbollah, where victories and...

  • Persian Angelenos Pledge Money, Support to Israel

    By Karmel Melamed

    August 10, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Karnit Goldwasser

    The young woman stood at the podium and spoke to a quiet, tearful audience. "We just got married last October," said Karnit Goldwasser, "and I can't describe to you how my life was just turned upside down on that one day."

    Goldwasser's husband is Ehud Goldwasser, one of the...

  • We Will Not Capitulate or Be Trampled Upon

    By Ben Caspit

    August 10, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Ben Caspit proposes the text for a speech by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that would explain to the world exactly what Israel is fighting for.

    Ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world, I, the prime minister of Israel, am speaking to you from Jerusalem in the face of the terrible...

  • Small Things Add Up

    By Rabbi Toba August

    August 10, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    My friend announced that she was off to Hawaii, and I was surprised that she could afford to go when her job paid a minimal salary.

    "I saved my pennies," she said.

    I know that I often tell a cashier to "keep the pennies," as if the penny is so insignificant, as if it does not...

  • Tour Keeps ‘American Idol’ Runner-up on the Run

    By Keren Engelberg

    August 10, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Elliott YaminElliott Yamin is on the summer road trip of his life, but it's no vacation. The second runner-up on the most recent "American Idol" has been performing as part of the "American Idols Live Tour 2006" since early July -- not to mention promoting the heck out of it -- when he's not on...

  • A Mother’s Letter: Israeli Volunteers Aid in War Effort

    By Donna Zeff

    August 10, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    On Sunday morning, July 16, after spending a restful Shabbat with his family, my 20-year-old soldier son found out that instead of going on an educational trip to Yad Vashem with his army buddies, he was to be sent to the small moshav of Netua on the Lebanese border.

    That same...

  • We’d All Rather Be in Venice

    By Ellen Switkes

    August 4, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "What a bunch of shleppers," my father remarks, his head doing a 180-degree pan as he takes in the view. "Not one of them has anything unique to say. Such conformists. Just looking at them makes me nauseous."

    I turn to look, so that I, too, can take in the same view. Yes, we're at...

  • The IDF and Civilians:  A Personal Account

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    July 27, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    To all those who feel that Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers have no regard for civilians, and that they "do what they need to do" without regard for potential civilian casualties, I offer no opinions on this matter.



    Instead, I offer this personal experience for your...

  • Israelis Bring Situation Close to Home for Campers

    By Julie G Fax

    July 19, 2006 | 8:01 pm

    When news of Israel filters through to Camp Hess Kramer, the kids do what is only natural -- they turn to the Israelis who are spending the summer with them to make sense of what they're hearing, and to bring it home in a way that is intensely personal.

    "Because my campers know...

  • Large-Scale Israel Solidarity Rally Planned for Sunday

    By Marc Ballon

    July 18, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    In an effort to demonstrate solidarity with Israel, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and other Jewish groups are organizing a major community rally to take place in front of the Federation's Wilshire Boulevard headquarters this Sunday, July 23 at 4 p.m.

    ...

  • Worst Fears Come to Pass for Foes of Gaza Pullout

    By Marc Ballon

    July 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Librarian Stephanie Wells so opposed Israel's unilateral withdrawal from 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza last summer that she moved to the disputed territory just three weeks before troops moved in. She stayed to the bitter end.

    Among the most committed in the fight against the...

  • Converts’ Hardships Expose Truth

    By Laura Birnbaum

    July 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "My father didn't survive the Holocaust to have his grandson marry a shiksa."

    Alison, my classmate from the University of Pennsylvania who is currently in the process of converting to Judaism, gasped at the harshness of the words delivered stoically by her boyfriend's mother.

    He...

  • Spectator - The Woman Who Fought the Tigers

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    July 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Helene Klodawsky remembers how her survivor mother and girlfriends stayed up all night, laughing and crying as they recounted their Holocaust experiences over cigarettes and coffee.

    "I became consumed with questions about women and war," the 50-year-old Canadian filmmaker said.

    Her...

  • Sderot’s Kids Living in Fear

    By Uriel Heilman

    June 29, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Eleven-year-old Shir Lazmi says she loves going to school. Why? Because she's not really allowed to go anywhere else.

    That's because Shir lives in Sderot, where months of intense rocket fire by Palestinians from the nearby Gaza Strip have all but confined schoolchildren like her to...

  • Healing Torah Makes Hospital Rounds

    By Amy Klein

    June 22, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    One day last year Rabbi Levi Meier, the Jewish chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, was summoned to the room of an elderly Russian man in the ICU who had cancer.

    He was in poor spirits, so Meier decided to bring in the Torah from the chaplaincy ark. The patient's eyes lit up at...

  • Next Year in Cannes

    By Max Gottlieb

    June 15, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    It's a tough thing trying to arrange a Shabbat dinner at the Cannes Film Festival.

    My friend, Scott Einbinder, had gotten the idea two years ago, during my first trip to the festival. At first, I was hesitant. I was focused on business, a filmmaker obsessed with my career. Plus, I...

  • Wandering Jew - We Shall Pursue

    By Rabbi Rebecca Yaël Schorr

    May 4, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    As I drove my children home after school last week, how many men, women and children were fleeing from their homes in Darfur? As I tucked my children snuggly into their beds, how many mothers crept out of their refugee camps at night to gather firewood to keep their children warm in...

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