When Allen Alevy was 12 years old, he was called to the Torah for the first time. Although he hadn’t yet had a bar mitzvah, his maternal grandfather’s Orthodox synagogue was one man shy of a minyan.
Saturday afternoon on the upper deck of the Queen Mary, six young Jewish adults were engaged in a heated discussion over who’s hornier — men or women.
Three years after members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the Jewlicious festival, two granddaughters of the controversial congregation’s pastor appeared at the weekend event to give their first speech since defecting from the group, most of whose members are their relatives.
“The Torah that I am prescribing to you today is not too mysterious or remote from you. It is not in heaven ... it is something that is very close to you” (Deuteronomy 30:11-13).
I have a feeling that several years from now, as the movement to strengthen Jewish connection in America accelerates, the coolest night of the year will be Shavuot.
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein knows how to excite Jewish youth. He’s been the guiding light behind the annual Jewlicious Festivals in Long Beach, which bring together youth from all denominations to celebrate their spirituality with raucous concerts mixed with some serious learning; he’s been a highly popular campus rabbi at Cal State University Long Beach Hillel, and now, he’s just moved to Los Angeles to head up JconnectLA, which presents social events for young Jews. Bookstein (or Rabbi Yo, as he’s known to his followers) and his wife Rachel have also worked hard on behalf of Jews living in Poland. He talked with The Journal recently about what being a rabbi at JconnectLA means to him.
More than rabbi and rebbetzin, they serve as a model married couple for hundreds of Jewish students.