Home Authors Articles by David Suissa
It was a week to be reminded that miracles do happen, in foxholes, baseball dugouts and even synagogues.\n
If there\'s one question I\'ve heard a thousand times from Jews all over, it is this: Why is Israel so bad at PR? I know that when Jews ask me that question, they\'re also saying, \"Suissa, you\'re in the business, can\'t you do something?\"\n
A mysterious resignation. Legal papers served during evening prayers. Police called after a mid-day altercation. A missing contract. Accusations of betrayal.Many heated conversations.What is...
One of the bonuses of living in exile is that you can see Israeli society more clearly, one lunch, party, speech or cappuccino at a time. When I\'m in the Holy Land, I lose myself in a noisy, beautiful, hectic, joyful and soulful blur.It\'s as if I\'m inside a boat in a stormy sea. Here in the Diaspora, Israel comes at you in neat little waves. Over the past month, I\'ve had encounters with four passionate Israelis, and each, in their own way, has helped me make sense of the craziness of what it is to live the Zionist dream.\n
A fascinating debate has broken out among certain members of the community regarding the appropriateness of publicizing people\'s personal e-mails. A week ago, this paper went public with some incendiary e-mails from a rabbi who was trying to discourage women -- who were considered non-Jewish according to the Orthodox tradition -- from crashing his singles parties and dating Jewish men.\n
I got to know a quirky, passionate Los Angeles native who never dreamed he\'d become a counsel to skin merchants nationwide and the reviled bÃªte noir of neighborhood groups everywhere.
In one of the oldest synagogues in Los Angeles, Congregation Mogen David, located on the western edge of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, the rabbis have created their own version of \"Saturday Night Live.\"\n\nDuring the winter months, from 7-8 p.m. every Saturday night, children and their fathers are invited to learn Torah together. Small rectangular tables are arranged in a large hall, and on many of those tables you will see a father learning with his child. I was one of those fathers recently, and I was there to learn with my 8-year-old son Noah.
If the great Maimonides ever came back to life and found himself in Los Angeles, chances are he\'d look for a house on a small street called Detroit, between Oakwood Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, one block west of La Brea Avenue. There are no holier streets in Los Angeles.\n\nThis little discovery happened thanks to my 10-year-old daughter, Mia, who informed me recently that she had volunteered me to be a driver for her upcoming class outing. Little did I know what kind of class outing it would be: a minitour of a very Jewish neighborhood -- not my neighborhood of Pico-Robertson, but the neighborhood of Hancock Park.
Ruthie Rotenberg is the executive director of Limmud in Los Angeles. The idea behind Limmud is to gather Jews of all denominations to celebrate the kaleidoscope of the Jewish experience. For the conference on Presidents\' Day Weekend, there will be up to 14 different classes from which to choose. They have almost 400 reservations from Jews of all denominations, and they have maxed out on presenters.
The Brooklyn-born activist rose from his seat, walked slowly to the microphone, cleared his throat, and in front of a couple of hundred fellow activists assembled in an auditorium on a chilly Wednesday night, expressed his righteous indignation.
Only in Los Angeles can you have a convention of Orthodox Jews where the keynote address is given by a woman named Bacon, the special guest speaker is a famous Hollywood film critic and the executive director begins his Shabbat sermon by talking about Christmas.
When Baruch Meir Yaacov Shochet called Asher Klitnick into his office on that day in 2004 to discuss the growing crisis of poor Charedi families, the rebbe had more on his mind than just fundraising. This time, he was also thinking about jobs. He asked Klitnick and his team to prepare Charedis to join the working world.\n
This is especially true for Jews who study biblical texts. Over the millennia, Jews have never stopped dissecting and debating the multiple layers of meanings of the written and oral Torah to arrive at deeper truths.\n\nThe vision of a chevruta -- two Jews, sitting across from each other, arguing over minute details -- is an icon of the Jewish intellectual experience. There is one thing, however, that is rarely challenged or debated: the sitting position.
Philippe Karsenty is not sure exactly when he snapped. He does recall a certain morning in Paris when one of the employees in his software firm walked into his office, and, instead of talking business, brought up something rather unexpected: \"What did you do yesterday in Gaza? When will you Jews stop murdering Arab children?\" the employee asked.
Which brings me back to the good news: Here\'s an opportunity for The Federation to strengthen its relations with the Orthodox community, return a beloved minyan to a cherished location and help a local tradition survive. In other words, instead of thinking like an owner or a distant landlord, maybe The Federation can act like members of the Jewish family who are caretakers of property that rightfully belongs to all of us.
Mark Schiff is a rare bird. He\'s made a living as a stand-up comic for more than 30 years and is much admired in the fraternity of American comedians. For years, he\'s been performing on the road with Jerry Seinfeld (one of his closest friends). Last year, his book, \"I Killed,\" a compilation of stories of the road from the country\'s top comedians, got a glowing review on that most exclusive of book review stages, the Sunday New York Times. But swing by my neighborhood at around midday on any Shabbat, and chances are you\'ll see another Mark Schiff. This is the Orthodox Schiff, who is quietly walking back from synagogue with his wife, Nancy, and one or more of his three sons.
In my dream, I would see a mini-Skirball right in the heart of the hood, nestled among the shuls, food markets and falafel joints of Pico Boulevard. I love the idea that as people walk and drive through the neighborhood, they will see that Jewish creativity is part of the soul of Jewish life -- at least as important as a Nathan\'s Famous Hot Dogs or even a house of worship. In a neighborhood where many people stick to their own communities, the museum would be the place for all communities -- the place that would celebrate peoplehood right in the hood.
The author of \"God\'s To-Do List,\" Dr. Ron Wolfson, is one of the shining lights of the Conservative movement, and thinks that a huge dose of simple, practical advice can transform Judaism\'s words of wisdom into action for everyday life.
Rabbi Kanefsky is as passionate a Jew and lover of Israel as I\'ve ever met. By lighting up a firestorm of passion in other Jews, he reminded me why I so passionately love my people, even -- and sometimes especially -- when I disagree with them.
f you want to be popular in the Jewish world today, just say tikkun olam. Everywhere you go it seems that Jews of all stripes are jumping on this universal bandwagon. Recently, in one day, I got to experience three different views of tikkun olam. The last view was so politically incorrect, it was almost embarrassing.\n
Luckily, Judaism can hold its own in this wild ride -- because it already has a very big \"buffet\" that can appeal to a wide range of different tastes. We get in trouble when we focus on only one part of this buffet as if it\'s the whole thing. That smells like dogma. If we can display all the spiritual, cultural, mystical, intellectual, historical, ritual, artistic and communal courses of the great Jewish feast -- and invite Jews to partake in its many delights -- maybe the new generation will stop dismissing or trying to \"upgrade\" Judaism, and, instead, will explore what\'s being offered until they find something that turns them on.\n
Eva Brown tells her story of survival.
After 13 years of virtual exile, The Happy Minyan has relocated to one of the busiest stretches of the hood -- with its very own storefront.
After two days of talking marketing with Jewish organizations, I\'ve come to appreciate that marketing is not a very Jewish idea.
Does the American Jewish community take a \"myopic\" view of Israel? A local Jewish leader, known for his progressive views, believes that it does.
Over the past couple of decades, the Conservative movement has been in a steady decline. A couple of years ago, one of the leaders, in his outgoing speech, described the movement as suffering from \"malaise\" and a \"grievous failure of nerve.\"
Is there a better day than the one when we abstain from all physical sustenance to reflect on the sanctity of the human body and honor the Torah\'s injunction that \"You shall guard your being\"?\n
I remember the moment well. I had just picked up my 74-year-old mother at LAX, and as we entered my new house in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, I proudly showed her the new kitchen.\n
What did Gary Wexler, do? He took out a full-page ad in the local trade publication, Adweek, put a picture of himself in the middle of the ad, and did something rarely seen in the business.\n\nHe spoke the naked truth.\n\nThe boldfaced headline read: \"Gary Wexler Is Miserable.\" The rest of the ad explained why.\n
It must have been quite a scene in that little courthouse in Jerusalem. Rav Qapah, a Yemenite Jew who sat on the Jerusalem Beit Din (court of law), was hearing a case involving a commercial dispute between a Jew and an Arab.