Saturday, July 11, 2020


Howard Blume


Our First Cover: Bobbi Fiedler

Bobbi Fiedler, who rode an anti-school busing platform to political prominence, stood out as the potential vanguard for Jewish conservatives when The Jewish Journal profiled her as its first cover story in February 1986. The Journal recently caught up with the still-active Fiedler, 69, between civic activities.

Dad’s Gone, but His Melody Lingers On

When a person is slightly famous mostly for one thing, that thing becomes the one thing about him when he dies. So it was that Dave Blume, my father, over and over again in late March was noted as the composer of that likably odd 1966 hit, \"Turn Down Day,\" a pop turn on what began as one of his jazz compositions.

What About Judas, Mary Magdalene?

Scholars who probe the history surrounding the Bible are mining to decipher a real Da Vinci Code. They seek clues from the past that suggest truths that underlie the narratives of tradition and faith.

The Road to Recovery

When you think of victims of Middle East unrest, tour guides are probably not the first to come to mind. But Amir Orly knows of two who committed suicide in the last couple years. Others have left the country or taken odd jobs -- anything to make ends meet.

Competing Moments of Truth on Schools

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa\'s first state-of-the-city speech is likely to put bone and muscle on his school takeover pitch which, up till now, nearly a year into his term, has been theoretical and short on specifics. If Villaraigosa delivers what people all over town have been waiting for, a slew of interest groups will know where they stand and will begin to respond accordingly.

Competing Moments of Truth on Schools

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa\'s first state-of-the-city speech is likely to put bone and muscle on his school takeover pitch which, up till now, nearly a year into his term, has been theoretical and short on specifics. If Villaraigosa delivers what people all over town have been waiting for, a slew of interest groups will know where they stand and will begin to respond accordingly.

The Meatiest Offer in Town

The tables were filled and the clock turned back at Canter\'s on Monday, as the landmark Fairfax deli lowered the price of a corned beef sandwich to 75 cents in honor of the restaurant\'s 75th anniversary.

Questions Emerge Over School Board Candidate

A leading contender in next week\'s L.A. school board race is at odds with USC and UCLA over his academic standing, the latest in a series of uncomfortable disclosures for Christopher Arellano.

Shlomo’s World

Shlomo Wollins begins his narration well before we reach Hebron, a city on the very fault line of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His tour, by car and by foot, on this late January day is an entry into a worldview of The Chosen and The Other, in which Jews, God\'s Good Guys, are the victims of Arabs, but it\'s also a world in which Jews are victors over Arabs.

Superintendant Romer Wants to End Term Early

Los Angeles schools Supt. Roy Romer, the central figure in efforts to improve local schools, has quietly informed top school officials that he would like to leave the job by September, some nine months before his contract expires.

There’s the Rub — in Tel Aviv

Tierra\'s setting in its bustling, mostly residential neighborhood is stylish coffeehouse; the food is inventive. One typical appetizer consisted of figs stuffed with mushrooms, macadamia nuts and chicken -- flavored with cardamom, cinnamon and a Hindu date dressing (34 sheckels). Not all the entrees strain to be eccentric; there\'s \"grilled pullet and polenta\" for 58 sheckels and \"calamari paperdello\" for 54 sheckels. Some menu offerings are mouth watering; others more creative than tasty. But there\'s a full bar to wash everything down.

Special Report

KANCHIPURAM DISTRICT, INDIA -- The bright, clear morning of Dec. 26, 2004, would forever change S. Desingu\'s life. The first monster wave rose from the Sea of Bengal without warning at 8 a.m. -- silently, massively. For the Indian fishermen at sea, the startling energy pulse bumped harmlessly under their boats, passing in an instant. The wave started to rise ominously in the shallows. Onshore, the 36-year-old Desingu glanced up to see a 30-foot liquid wall surging in as tall as the tops of the soaring coconut palms. The fishing craft along the shore rolled end over end, tossed as easily as playthings in a bathtub.

A Plan to Take Over Troubled School

A successful charter school operator will launch a campaign to take over the Los Angeles high school where racial tensions erupted into campus brawls earlier this year.

Battling Board Backs Bond

What a difference a day makes. In 24 little hours, the L.A. school board journeyed last week from chaos to harmony; from nothing to a November ballot measure; from no new taxes to a bond measure that will ask voters to raise their property taxes for schools \"one last time.\" If voters go for it, these local school bonds would be the fourth in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) since 1997, and would raise $3.985 billion to pay for new and repaired schools. Part of the money is needed to make up for the feverishly rising cost of school construction; the rest would fund a program that has expanded to some $15.2 billion, perhaps the nation\'s largest ongoing public works project outside of Iraq.

Q & A With Daniel Ayalon

The mid-August Israeli pullout from Gaza is fraught with risks and unknowns, but the Israeli government remains committed to \"unilateral disengagement,\" says Daniel Ayalon, Israel\'s ambassador to the United States.

Community Briefs

The family of an Israeli immigrant fatally wounded by Burbank police has filed a $51 million wrongful death suit against the cities of Burbank and Los Angeles. Assaf Deri, 25, died June 25, 2004, when Burbank undercover officers shot him in a North Hollywood alley.

Wrongful-Death Claim in Burbank Shooting

The family of an Israeli immigrant killed by Burbank police is pursuing a $51 million wrongful-death claim against the cities of Burbank and Los Angeles. Assaf Deri, 25, died a year ago when Burbank undercover police officers shot him in an alley in North Hollywood. Attorneys for the family said they filed their claim late last month, just prior to the one-year anniversary of Deri\'s death, but the filing could not be verified on Friday, when the family went public with the legal action.

Q and A With Floyd Abrams

New York Times reporter Judith Miller went to jail this week for refusing to reveal confidential sources. The attorney for Miller and the Times is Floyd Abrams, who spoke with The Journal about the case, about his career, and also about his new book, \"Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment.\" Miller faced imprisonment after the U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to hear her appeal and also an appeal by another reporter, Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine. A judge had held both reporters in contempt for not talking to the grand jury probing an alleged leak by someone in the Bush administration. The investigation centers on who may have violated federal law by disclosing the identity of a covert CIA agent. The leak of the agent\'s name, Valerie Plame, could have been retaliation, because it occurred shortly after Plame\'s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, became a public critic of the Bush administration. Cooper avoided jail time after agreeing to testify. He said his confidential source had, at the last moment, given him clearance to answer questions. Miller could remain in custody for as long as four months - until the grand jury completes its term. In the interview, Abrams also talked of the Jewish perspective in his legal work, and about his role this year as an adviser to a Columbia University committee assembled following high-profile allegations of campus anti-Semitism.

Two Families’ Dreams Were Not Demolished

It\'ll be a heart-wrenching summer in the Gaza Strip, when Israeli forces order Jewish settlers to leave as part of the government\'s historic disengagement plan.

Twice Upon a Time

The adoring crowd, a beaming Antonio Villaraigosa, a message of inclusiveness and leadership -- the image could have been from four years ago, when Villaraigosa\'s campaign for mayor energized much of Los Angeles. But this time, Villaraigosa also got the more votes than the other guy, and then some, scoring an astounding 59 percent, to make incumbent James K. Hahn a one-term mayor. Under a clear night sky, framed against a canopy of downtown skyscrapers, Villaraigosa projected energy and hope amid cheers that drowned out question marks and rumblings of unease in his very different, second-time run for mayor.

Mud That May Not Stick

Until last week, Los Angeles mayoral challenger Antonio Villaraigosa had received unchallenged campaign mileage from touting his role in Proposition 1A, the $9.2 billion school bond that voters approved in November 1998. Villaraigosa had been state Assembly speaker when the Legislature put it on the ballot.

Schoolyard Brawl

Hahn characterized his predecessor, Mayor Richard Riordan, as someone who \"spent a lot of time and effort raising money to rearrange the members of the school board.\"

AIPAC Packs Punch Despite Fed Probe

>It was a balmy spring evening, and the Jewish elite of Los Angeles had gathered in Beverly Hills to hear two U.S. senators provide a top-level briefing on Israel and the Middle East. The dinner at the Beverly Hilton was hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the nation’s pre-eminent pro-Israel lobby, and it was a record-setter, with 1,100 in attendance, checkbooks in hand.

Villaraigosa Gets Hertzberg Boost

The final act of Hertzberg-for-Mayor played out last week, with Bob Hertzberg endorsing challenger Antonio Villaraigosa. And although there was some unexpected drama, the endorsement itself proved anticlimactic: Villaraigosa already had surged to a comfortable double-digit lead in two polls.

Newsroom Rebellion Silences Gossip About Mayor’s Family

The tip/rumor/innuendo in question involves personal information, as yet unconfirmed and unpublished, about a member of Mayor James Hahn\'s family. Faced with resistance from reporters, management at the Daily News has since dropped the subject. The L.A. Weekly\'s editor, apparently, still wants the story. Editors at the Los Angeles Times, for its part, elected to let the matter lie; no reporters\' rebellion was required.

Little Scandal Becomes Big Deal

The still-simmering flap over forged endorsements for Mayor James Hahn is the classic scandal that didn\'t have to be. A little more than a week ago, this incident grew from niche story -- something that only Jewish Journal readers might notice -- to the week\'s hottest local political fracas, with widespread coverage in newspapers and on radio and TV.

Q & A With L.A.’s Next Mayor

Four major contenders are vying to unseat 54-year-old incumbent Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn in next week\'s primary election. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two finishers will meet in a May runoff.

Conflicting Schools of Thought

You don\'t have to go far to hear complaints about the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD), the city\'s beleaguered public school system, nor very far to catch grumbling about Mayor James K. Hahn. But linking the two is a stretch for many, because Los Angeles\' mayor has no authority over the city\'s schools -- none at all. Yet one challenger in particular, Bob Hertzberg, has made LAUSD the centerpiece of his campaign by pledging, somehow, to break up the nation\'s second-largest school system. Politically, the strategy isn\'t off the wall.

Latest news

‘Free Palestine’ Spray-Painted on University of Wisconsin Hillel

Out of 44,411 students at the university, 5,200 of them are Jewish.

‘Spanish Schindler,’ Who Reportedly Saved Over 5,000 Jews During WWII, Finally Gets Tribute

“He never expected recognition or thought he had to have it.”

New York City’s Flagship Jcc Cuts 35% of Jobs as Pandemic Layoffs Continue

“They are vital to the core mission of the JCC,”

Israel Outlaws Solicitation of Prostitution

LGBTQ and women’s rights groups had sought to delay the law’s implementation.

Sen. Susan Collins Is Facing a Major Challenge in Maine. Jewish Voters May Be One Reason Why.

The progressive J Street PAC is working to spend $300,000 to support Collin's challenger.