Picture of Ryan Torok

Ryan Torok

Sharing in the Celebration

Since not everybody in the room knew the Chanukah story, David Nava took the time to tell it. He explained it rudimentarily, saying that a very small band of Jews, fighting for their right to practice their religion, defeated a very large army of Greeks.

DJ Diwon Brings Jewish Fusion West

If the photos on Erez Safar’s MySpace page make it seem like he’s busy, that’s because he is. The 30-year-old genre-bridging DJ and multi-instrumentalist, who performs under the name Diwon, is also a producer and CEO of the Jewish indie label Modular Mood Records as well as the founder of New York’s Sephardic Music Festival and Shemspeed.com, a super-site that promotes Jewish concerts and artists.

Still Playing After All These Years

Football and Thanksgiving have gone together since the first professional league formed in 1902. It’s an American tradition found in every level of the game, from high school to the NFL’s Thanksgiving Classic.

Smooth-E’s Jewtronic Music-Making [HONIKA ELECTRONICA]

Eric Schwartz has accomplished a lot in one day. He’s played dreidel with a Lady Gaga impersonator, avoided a meteor shower of mitzvah balls in space, fended off Martians and spent time text messaging in a synagogue — which he refers to as “temple textin’” — all by 6 p.m. There’s an hour to go before production on his new music video, “Honika Electronica,” wraps in Burbank, bringing an 11-hour shoot to a close.

Environmental Collaboration Between California, Israel Planned

The “California-Israel Memo of Understanding” legislation, authored by assembly member Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley), has inspired Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — visiting Israel this week for the annual Saban forum — to sign a letter of intent with Benjamin Ben Eliezer, Israel’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor.

State Budget Cuts Create Stumbling Block for Special-Needs Kids to Attend Camp Ramah

For 30 years, the Conservative Jewish summer Camp Ramah in the Ojai Valley has provided programming for children and young adults with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism. Despite the high costs — around $4000 per camper — families were able to afford the programs through state money allocated to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and nonprofit regional centers.

Phish, Shabbat Mingle in Coachella

For three days over Halloween weekend, between 30,000 to 40,000 fans of the eclectic, free-form rock band Phish gathered on the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, site of the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, for Phish Festival 8. RVs and thousands of small camping tents staked out territory throughout eight campgrounds. And in one of those tents, on Friday night, Rabbi Yonah Bookstein led 35 people in a Kabbalat Shabbat service. This was the Shabbat Tent.


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