Julie Gruenbaum Fax
I have a vivid memory of sitting in my yeshiva high school principal’s office, imploring him to start teaching the girls Mishnah and Gemara, to offer a little more respect to our intellects and our souls by giving us access to all the Jewish texts that form the basis of our heritage, of what we were expected to live every day.
Jill Cooper Lefferman doesn’t like surprises, and especially not at her daughter Maia’s bat mitzvah, where she planned every detail, from Maia’s reading from the 100-year-old Cooper family Torah to the handcrafted, color-coordinated, Maia-inspired, donatable centerpieces.
“By the way, I forgot to mention,” Georgia Freedman-Harvey said at the end of a long interview, “I was a bone marrow donor for a stranger 10 years ago.” That Freedman-Harvey physically gave of herself wasn’t a surprising revelation.
Just try asking Connie and Harvey Lapin to recap 44 years as parent activists in the world of autism. In hyperactive tag-team, the couple bursts forth with stories and ideas, only to interrupt themselves and one another with still more anecdotes, ideas and accomplishments.
When Rabbi Mark Diamond was honored for his 12 years of service to the Board of Rabbis of Southern California during a farewell lunch a few weeks ago, colleagues from synagogues from across the city and spanning denominations hugged and chatted, catching up on everything, both personal and professional. “One of the strengths of the Board of Rabbis is that people know each other,” said Rabbi Denise L. Eger, immediate past president of the region’s only cross-denominational rabbinic professional organization and spiritual leader of Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood.
When Sarah Shulkind, head of school at Sinai Akiba Academy in Westwood, was a child in Winnetka, Ill., a woman walked into the elementary school four blocks from Shulkind’s house and opened fire, killing one student and injuring five, as well as a college student.
Usually, the frantic words, “Someone get the rabbi!” uttered in a hospital room mean only one thing. So Debbie Marcus burst into tears when Rabbi Jason Weiner was summoned to her grandfather’s room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in July 2008.
John Fishel says one of his favorite parts of his 17-year tenure as president and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles was visiting communities around the world, where he could tap into his background as an anthropologist and social worker to determine how Jews in Los Angeles could have a global impact.
When Rabbi Sharon Brous first read an essay by Rabbi Daniel Gordis, a colleague and former teacher, accusing her of betraying Israel, she was shocked and angry, she said. Nevertheless, her initial instinct was to refrain from feeding the publicity machine.
Eliza Wilson’s holy moment in Israel didn’t come at the Western Wall. Sure, the 21-year-old with autism was honored and moved to place a note in the Wall on behalf of the 40 people traveling with her on a mission to learn about Israel’s programs for adults with special needs.
The arrest of Israeli feminist Anat Hoffman at the Western Wall last month sent ripples of alarm across the Jewish world, and leaders in Los Angeles will address their concerns about religious pluralism in Israel to Los Angeles’ Israeli Consul General in a public forum Nov. 26 at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills.
Amid life-sized cutouts of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, Republicans gathered in a backroom at the Daily Grill in Santa Monica on Tuesday night to watch Fox News election returns on two large screens. The mood was festive as the evening kicked off with drinks and appetizers and the waiters set down oversized plates of pasta and chicken on tables decorated with red, white and blue tinsel centerpieces.
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS) announced layoffs in some areas and expansion in other areas of its operation Oct. 16, saying it was looking to position JFS for success as it responds to shifts in how programs are funded.
After 12 years as the top professional at the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, Rabbi Mark Diamond took his post this week as director of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Los Angeles chapter, the local arm of the more than century-old global Jewish advocacy group.
It’s not often that a rabbi’s High Holy Days sermon is interrupted by a standing ovation. But that is what happened — twice — when Rabbi John Rosove, senior rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood, dedicated his sermon on the first day of Rosh Hashanah to explaining why he was changing a long-held position and would from now on officiate at interfaith weddings.
In July, Ivonne Goldberg was at the park with her 3-year-old son, Mikey, and with Nofar Mekonen, a sunny 14-year-old girl visiting from Israel. Nofar was chatting on and on about her trip to Los Angeles, her family, her school.
Aviva Dese believes that without the Ariela Foundation, she’d probably be back in Nazareth Ilit, the factory town in the Galilee where she grew up, maybe with a low-paying assembly-line job, or maybe still wondering, like so many of her friends, what to do with her life.
LimmudLA honored its founders, Linda Fife and Shep Rosenman, in an evening of dinner, music and study on Sunday, Sept. 9, at the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens. LimmudLA is the local outlet of an international model of interdisciplinary, interdenominational, no-boundaries Jewish conferences and events. Founded in the United Kingdom more than 30 years ago, Limmud now conducts 60 conferences in 30 countries, all of them almost entirely run by volunteers.
Shalhevet high school is close to finalizing a deal to sell more than half of its 2.4 acres to a property developer who plans to build an apartment complex on the lot at the corner of Fairfax Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard. The plan will put Shalhevet on firmer financial footing, head of school Ari Segal told the Boiling Point, Shalhevet’s school newspaper. The school currently carries heavy debt and has limited funds for capital improvements and programming, Segal said.
Gerald B. Bubis is 88, and he knows there are things he’ll never do again. He’ll never travel to Israel again, for one, and after 46 trips, that’s a tough one to swallow. Then there’s the fact that this author and/or editor of 12 books and 200 articles on serving the Jewish community now has a tremor in his hand that prevents him from putting pen to paper. He also can’t drive anymore, and he can’t stand up long enough to wash dishes.
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles is heading up a collaborative effort, funded by President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions for Medicare patients. The newly formed Los Angeles-Mid-City Integrated Care Collaborative will involve three hospitals and 14 nursing facilities, as well as a roster of community-based organizations in providing the medical, social, case management and mental health services needed to keep the elderly at home after they have been released from a hospital.
Tani Lazaroff had some news to share with his mother a few months ago. “Chanie, do you know what I have?” the 10-year-old asked his mother, addressing her, as he usually does, by her first name. “I have a neshama. Did you know that I have a neshama?”
For a parent who has been caring for a child with special needs, it can be jarring to realize that at age 18, the child is considered a legal adult, whether or not he can sign his own name or understand the value of a dollar.
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A recent “Ask the Rabbi” online class for a private New York Orthodox girls’ high school was Zoombombed. CBS News reported on April 2 that...
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Dear all, This year at Seder, the question is not, “How is this night different from all other nights?” Rather, the question is, “How is...