Posted by Danielle Berrin
And the Lord said to Moses, “This is the Land I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there…
And Moses the servant of G-d died there in the Land of Moab by the mouth of G-d… and no man knows his burial place to this day…
There arose not a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom G-d knew face to face.
8.18.08 at 2:26 pm | Hollywood producer/talent manager Joan Hyler. . .
8.15.08 at 7:21 pm | Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be. . .
8.14.08 at 6:37 pm | In town to promote her new book, House Speaker. . .
7.18.08 at 3:03 pm | The new Contemporary Jewish Museum in San. . .
6.25.08 at 10:36 am | Jina, our Calendar intern, is heading to an. . .
6.24.08 at 11:18 am | A clandestine love affair at a girls seminary. . .
1.9.08 at 5:24 pm | (20)
1.24.08 at 6:56 pm | (15)
2.19.08 at 11:30 am | (15)
September 26, 2007 | 5:05 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
If you think you’re tired from 10 days of spelling out your sins, imagine how the children of Israel felt wandering through the wilderness for 40 years! All that walking in the hot, hot desert and not a drop of rain to boot? (Had biblical scribes been to Los Angeles?) Without shelter, the Jewish people built Sukkahs in which to wine and dine away the drudgery of wandering. Today, we commemorate their journey by building our own Sukkahs where we eat festive meals under a starry sky. In the Sukkah, ordinary acts become holy and in that sacred space, we are connected to four thousand years of history.
If you have a backyard, you can build your own but if space is scarce and you still want to celebrate, here are some creative ways to satisfy your soul:
1200 square feet of hanging fruits, ripe red apples and flowing honey - that’s what you’ll find in LA’s largest Sukkah. There will be honeycake and sweet wine, fresh fruit and lots of fun. 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. Free. The Chai Center, 115 N. McCadden Place, Los Angeles. (310) 391-7995 www.chaicenter.org
The young and hip will be draped in white, steaming with the smoky fog of hookah in the sukkah at this sexy middle-eastern experience. 7 p.m. $20, ladies are 2-for-1 until 9 p.m.
Simcha Hall at Nessah Synagogue, 142 South Rexford Drive,
Beverly Hills. www.nessah.org
A festive and fun Sukkot Carnival for the whole family. Fresh grilled bbq, waterslides, carnival games and a special treat for summer camp alum - singing with Robbo! 1-5 p.m. $10.
Camp JCA Shalom, 34342 Mulholland Highway, Malibu. (818) 889-5500. www.campjcashalom.com
The Shabbat Sukkah
Friday, Sept. 28
YABA-daba-doo! Celebrate Sukkot with Young Adults of Beth Am who will host Shabbat dinner in the Sukkah preceded by a warm holiday service at Neshama Minyan. 5.45 p.m. (service), 7 p.m. (dinner). $10. Temple Beth Am, 1039 South La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles. (310) 652-7354 x 230. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
At this intercultural/interfaith festival, two traditions will celebrate common ground. A group from the Islamic Center of Southern California and MPAC-PJA NewGround Project will join IKAR’s Jewish community to celebrate the unique calendar moment when the Jewish month of Tishrei coincides with the Muslim month of Ramadan, a period in which Muslims fast during daylight hours. As part of IKAR’s “Religion in the City” program, this one-of-a-kind event combines Sukkot, the traditional iftar (in Islam, the evening meal breaking the daily fast), a Shabbat seudat shlishit, the Maghrib prayer (recited at sunset), and Havdalah â all in the sukkah! 6:30 p.m. Westside JCC, 5870 W. Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles. (323) 634-1870. www.ikar-la.org
Spread your picnic blankets over the lawn for an evening of stimulating discussion with scholars and activists on the theme of housing and homelessness. Afterwards, there will be eating, drinking, singing and children’s activities. 3-5 p.m. Progressive Jewish Alliance. Roxbury Park, 471 S. Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills. R.S.V.P. to email@example.com or call (323) 761-8350
Celebrate the harvest by helping to build the sukkah. Bring harvest snacks like fruits and nuts to hang from the sukkah and to share with the community. All are welcome. 12-1 p.m. Sholem Community, Culver City Middle School, 4601 Elenda Street, Culver City. (818) 760-6625. www.sholem.org
Where can you find beer, Monday Night Football and a sukkah all in the same place? At ATID’s Sukkot Sports Bar. One of the more interesting ways to fulfill the mitzvah of dining in the Sukkah is this modern spin on tradition for the young professional set.
7 p.m. $10 (members) $15-$20 (nonmembers). Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 481-3244.
September 25, 2007 | 2:58 pm
Posted by Dikla Kadosh
...that if you want to succeed in the world of Jewish dating, stop yakking on your cell phone, wait a couple of days to ask a girl out, and ladies: don’t act interested if you’re not. Guys don’t appreciate it.
JCafeLA’s “Jewish Family Feud” game, where everyone had to ask four members of the opposite sex to answer survey questions about dating, was a fun little ice breaker that gave people a good excuse to approach whoever they’d been eyeing all night. Besides stimulating connections, the game also generated some interesting results. Here they are:
WOMEN’S QUESTION 1
Whatâs the Most Annoying Thing a Man Can Do On a First Date?
A. Show up late 24%
B. Continuously talk on his cell phone 38%
C. Continuously bring up his ex 27%
D. Not offer to pay for date 11%
MENâS QUESTION 1
Whatâs the Most Annoying Thing a Woman Can Do On a First Date?
A. Show up late 8%
B. Continuously talk on her cell phone 56%
C. Continuously bring up her ex 23%
D. Order a lot of food & eat nothing 15%
WOMENâS QUESTION 2
How long should a guy wait to ask you out after getting your number?
A. 1 Day 40%
B. 2 Days 42%
C. 3 days-1 week 12%
D. No set time 6%
MENâS QUESTION 2
How long do you normally wait to ask a girl out after getting your number?
A. 1 Day 32%
B. 2 Days 36%
C. 3 days-1 week 14%
D. No set time 18%
WOMENâS QUESTION 3
Have you ever given a guy âmixed signalsâ that youâre not interested, even when you really are?
A. Yes, intentionally 17%
B. Never 32%
C. Perhaps, unintentionally 48%
D. Wonât Admit women actually do this 3%
MENâS QUESTION 3
What do you do when you receive âmixed signalsâ from a woman?
A. Laugh 10%
B. Consider it cute & stay interested 27%
C. Say ânextâ & move on 40%
D. Respond with my own mixed signals 23%
(Thanks to Dan and Alycia Witzling and Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters for counting 4800 answers)
Jay Firestone, Jewish Journal Editorial Assistant and videographer, documented the evening.
September 24, 2007 | 5:48 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
‘Twas the night after Yom Kippur and hundreds of young Jews gathered for some flirty fun. It was the inaugural event of a new “club” for the romance-ravenous yuppies of Jewish LA. There was music and comedy and a microphone cacophony. There were men with bar tabs and women with beauty and brains. There was an eccentric host, an eclectic crowd and exuberant entertainment. It was an unusual evening, with the quintessential kinks that transform an ordinary Sunday night into something memorable. It was fun but it was also peculiar…
The Calendar Girls’ Top Ten Moments at JCafeLA:
8) The Camp Talent Show From Chelm: with the majority of the crowd more interested in getting digits than digging the arts, disgruntled performers improvised irritation, chastised the “single” minded and interacted with interested folks encircling the stage. (DB)
5) Playing Jewish Family Feud, I walked up to a random guy and handed him the card with the survey question he would answer for me as part of the game. The question was, “What is the worst thing a girl could do on a first date?” He wrote his initials, DK, next to the answer he agreed with most - “talk about an ex.” When I saw his initials, I said, “We have the same initials!” He replied, “That’s funny. My ex had the same initials too.”(DK)
4) The not-so magical âmindreader.â Dikla volunteered the naked contents of her brain to the mysterious, mind-reading magician (a.k.a. Seth Grabel). She discovered she has a new favorite color (red), two of her sisters vanished completely, and suspects her randomly chosen word was selected from a trick novel. A skeptical spectator shouted, “It’s fixed, it’s fixed! The Calendar Girls are in on it!” (Rest assured dear readers, we comply with the highest standards of truth in reporting and ethical journalism.) (DB)
September 21, 2007 | 1:08 pm
Posted by Dikla Kadosh
I dreamt of chickens last night.
I couldn’t get the squawking, fluttering birds out of my head after my first experience with kapparot. The ancient tradition of swinging chickens over your head in a symbolic act of atonement the day before Yom Kippur is fraught with contradictions and controversy. Though practiced since the ninth century, several prominent Jewish sages throughout history have strongly opposed what they called a foolish and pagan ritual. Modern Jews have objected to the treatment of the live chickens and expressed concern about children who witness the slaughtering of the animals.
But I wasn’t contemplating all that last night as I stood in line in a dark parking lot on San Pedro Street on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles. It was 1 a.m. and very cold. The powerful smell of fowl was nauseating. The birds’ anguished cries echoed through the parking lot as men, women and children clamped down on their wings and feet and circled them around their heads - one time, two times, three times.
“This is my exchange, my substitute, my atonement; this rooster (or hen) shall go to its death, but I shall go to a good, long life, and to peace,” they intoned three times. Then they handed the doomed chicken to a shochet, or slaughterer, to slit its throat in one quick motion. Tossed into upside down orange cones suspended above the ground, they jerked and spasmed for a few second until all the life had dripped out of them, along with their blood from the bottom of the cone.
My stomach was in a knot as we approached the front of the line. A man shoved a box towards me. I peered inside and saw a white, undersized hen sitting there quietly. I felt a small sting in my heart for the poor creature destined for death. “You’re freeing the soul trapped inside that chicken,” my boyfriend reassured me, referring to the Kabbalist notion of reincarnation.
I took a deep breath and gently lifted the chicken by its wings. Its warm, pulsating body startled me and I whispered, “I don’t think I can do this.” An instructor from the Kabbalah Center stood beside me. “Yes, you can. You’ll be fine,” she said reassuringly. I swung the bird over my head, repeated the prayer quickly and handed my little bird over to a young shochet-in-training.
I tossed ashes on the pool of blood beneath the cone where my hen was dumped and that’s it. It was done.
I haven’t yet processed how I feel about this experience, but a few words come to mind: strange, primitive, cultish and scary.
I sincerely hope that whatever misfortunes were scheduled to occur in my life this year were transfered to that bird and the sins I committed were eradicated with its passing.
I also hope that tonight as I lay in bed, hungry and thirsty, there won’t be chickens flapping in front of my mind’s eye.
September 20, 2007 | 6:22 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Jewish Journal Sales Coordinator and guest blogger Debbie Kahen got an earful about the Jewish perspective on modern sexual relations from a renowned celebrity rabbi while getting a handful of the ubiquitous Japanese morsels at Nessah’s Sept. 17 event. Here’s what she had to say about the night:
What happens when you cross an outspoken Orthodox Rabbi with a bunch of young, single and Persian Angelenos? A party that will never be forgotten.
Thrown at the popular Nessah congregation located in Beverly Hills, the night began with sushi, sake andâ¦umâ¦“Kosher Sex.” World-famous author and reality television host Rabbi Shmuley Boteach attended the VIP reception while those brave enough to show up indulged in tasty California rolls, chatting the night away.
Rabbi Boteachâs charismatic personality captivated the audience as he lectured about the importance, beauty, and sanctity of relationships in the eyes of Jewish law. He informed the audience that contrary to widespread belief, procreation is not the sole purpose for sexual activity. Rather, it is for intimacy to be shared by two people - a companionship. âKosher sexâ could then be described as a holy and powerful act which takes place in an intimate relationship that âelicits lasting emotions.â
Following the speech, guests strolled over to Neiman Hall which had been converted from a synagogue to a trendy lounge. It was decorated with beautiful white curtains, hot pink fluorescent lights with two martini bars located near the dance floor. The DJ played the latest in Persian, Israeli and hip hop music. Singles chose to mingle with new faces instead of dancing.
Did Rabbi Boteach’s words inspire the crowd to overcome the LA mentality of acting aloof? ABSOLUTELY.
September 20, 2007 | 9:15 am
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Jews are in the news this week. The world knows it’s a BIG week for members of the tribe, but they may not know the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called “Yamim Noraim,” the Days of Awe. Of course that’s supposed to translate to 10 days of repentance and reflection, but we live in a secular world. Nowadays, high holiday sentimentality equals membership and money for synagogues, and non-Jewish celebrities dash into the limelight for their piece of prayer.
You decide if this week’s headlines are awe-some or aw-ful:
I recently posted about Madonna’s Kabbalah-inspired trip to Israel. But there was more in store than tossing her sins into the Mediterranean Sea. This past weekend Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie, met with President Shimon Peres for nearly two hours. They spoke of peace and exchanged books; Madonna presented Peres with The Zohar and he gave her the book of Torah. Apparently, she called herself an “ambassador for Judaism.”
Home for the holidays, in the humid heat of Miami, Florida, the town is abuzz with the latest synagogue press stunt. In an effort to draw even more attention to South Beach’s already popular house of prayer, Temple Emanu-El posted an ebay auction for lifetime high holiday seats. Situated in the front row and good for three generations, the price for such proximal prayer? $1.8 million. Unsurprisingly, the seats did not sell but it seems the widespread coverage was worth the inflated price tag.
September 19, 2007 | 7:34 pm
Posted by Dikla Kadosh
There’s something very sexy about a man holding a darbuka in his lap and striking his fingers across the top of it in rapid rhythmic movements. The earthy, primitive sound, the quick-paced beats, the flurry of hand motions - it’s absolutely mesmerizing.
Jamie Papish can teach you how to be enchanting and entertaining while playing the darbuka, a vase shaped drum also known as the dumbek, derbekke or tablah that is extremely popular with Israelis, Persians and Arab cultures. Papish is a hand percussionist who specializes in Middle Eastern styles and in addition to performing regularly with the Yuval Ron Ensemble, the Nashuva Band and many other groups, he teaches drumming workshops for kids and adults.
Starting Sept. 27, Papish will be teaching a 10-session Middle Eastern rhythms class on the fourth Thursday of every month. He’ll teach basic technique on four main percussion instruments: the darbuka, the riqq (aka Arabic Tambourine) - a small frame drum with cymbals, the zills (aka finger cymbals or zagat) - small brass cymbals placed on the thumb and middle finger of both hands, and the duff (aka frame drum, tar or bendir) - a large drum that sits between your legs.
Papish will guide you through various combinations, teach you how to enhance the groove, add dynamics and throw in bright bits of color.
Before long, you’ll have mastered the darbuka, discovered a new passion, and developed a powerful sense of confidence. Now that’s sexy.
Check out this lively darbuka performance from youtube:
7-9 p.m. every Thursday starting Sept. 27. Remo Recreational Drum Center, 7308 Coldwater Canyon, North Hollywood. (310) 463-1956. www.jamiepapishmusic.com.