‘What’s the Meaning of Life ?’

Love answering children\'s questions. I\'ll visit a classroom and face an eager chorus of \"DidGod create dinosaurs?\" and \"Where do people go when they die?\" Then,at the end, there\'s always one wise guy, who smirks and asks, \"What\'sthe meaning of life?\" I love that kid. I admire his chutzpah, and Ilove the question.

Concerned Christians

Strains of somber organ music resonated in the large sanctuary as the eight Holocaust survivors told their stories. As each spoke about horrors endured, loved ones lost and, ultimately, faith reclaimed, the congregation punctuated their speeches with murmurs of \"Thank You, Jesus.\"

A Sephardic Celebration

Sephardic, Ashkenazic, Mizrachic, or just out for a good time -- whatever their background, Jews poured into the Skirball Cultural Center last Sunday for the first annual Sephardic Arts Festival. The event was a success beyond its organizers\' wildest dreams. Attendance, estimated at more than 4,000, was more than double the anticipated turnout, making it the largest audience for any one-day event since the Skirball opened in April 1996. Despite long lines for shuttle buses and food, the mood of participants -- a mix of generations and ethnicities -- was festive and good-humored. Many people bumped into relatives and friends -- often literally -- while searching for seats, program notes or restrooms.

Up Front

Up Front

A Warning to Revolutionaries

Once, I was a revolutionary. I belonged to the generation of long hair and crazy ideas. We did more than invent rock music and protest an unjust war. We believed that we could create a new society, populated by new people -- people freed of the prejudices and life-choking rigidities of the past. We believed that we could change the world, and bring greening to America. America did change. But our dream went unfulfilled.

Wolpe Reaches Sinai

Rabbi David J. Wolpe, along with his wife and 6-month-old daughter, arrived in Los Angeles from New York on June 30.

Up Front

I love cookbooks, but on lazy summer days, I usually read fiction -- few cookbooks are engaging enough to replace a good novel. And when I go into the kitchen at all, it\'s usually just to stand in front of the open freezer. But when I do find a cookbook that captures me, cooking with it is just a plus.

Torah Portion

Torah Portion.

Bringing Liberal and Orthodox Jews Together

My two colleagues were Dr. David Lieber, president of the Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative), and Rabbi Rafael Grossman, immediate past president of the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox). Rabbi Lieber and I had been moved by the statement that Rabbi Grossman\'s organization, along with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, issued earlier this year after the Union of Orthodox Rabbis declared that the movements Rabbi Lieber and I represented were not Judaism.

Up Front

Dr. Susan Marilyn Block is a nice Jewish girl, who talks about sex on late-night cable TV. From Esther to... Dr. Suzy?\n

Do You Believe

Torah Portion.

Follow the Leader

A yeshiva outgrew its downtown quarters and moved to the former site of an upstate boys\' academy. Finding a boathouse on the property, the Rosh Yeshiva called in one of the rabbis and ordered him to organize a rowing team.

The Spiritual Tourist

My neighbors completed an around-the-world trip. It was their dream, the trip of a lifetime. When we gathered to welcome them home, they eagerly described the journey\'s highlights -- the Sheraton in Bangkok, the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Beijing, a Clint Eastwood film in a Calcutta theater, Budweiser in Holland and Kellogg\'s Corn Flakes in Great Britain.

Alligators Under

I learned most of my theology not from my teachers but from my children. When my daughter, Nessa, was 3 years old, we had a routine. Each night, I would tuck her into bed, sing our bedtime prayers, kiss her good night and attempt to sneak out of the room. Halfway down the hall, she began to scream, \"Abba!\" An avid reader of Parents magazine, the Torah of parenting, I knew what to do: I walked back to the child\'s room and turned on every light. I looked under the bed. \"No alligator, Nessa.\" I checked the closet. \"No monsters, Nessa.\" I surveyed the ceiling. \"No spiders, Nessa. Now go to bed. Tomorrow is coming, and you\'ve got to get to sleep,\" I\'d say. \"Everything is safe. Good night.\" \"OK, Abba,\" she said, \"but leave the light on.\"

Up Front A Museum of Tolerance &’009;&’009;in Israel

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is fully committed to building a $50 million museum in Jerusalem -- despite skepticism expressed by some Holocaust scholars.\n

Up Front

The first thing that catches the eye when meeting Sister Rose Thering is the large pendant of a Star of David intertwined with a Cross dangling from her neck.

Finding Their Way

Like most converts, the Hardins take the precepts of their adopted faith more seriously than many born to it, and they display an intense hunger for knowledge, as if to make up for what they missed during their childhoods.\n

10 Ways to Welcome Converts

Rabbi Maller has written dozens of articles on conversion during his 30 years at Temple Akiba, Culver City. In \"God, Sex and Kabbalah\" (Samuel Weiser), he notes that many converts to Judaism were found to have Jewish ancestors.\n\n\n

Torah Portion

Because of our sins were we exiled from our land, and displaced far from our soil.\"

Orthodox Women Rabbis

The time has come to educate women and give them the titular and legal authority to right that which has gone so terribly wrong in the Orthodox world

Up Front

At the Dixieland Jubilee in Sacramento, the annual super bowl of jazz, the band that got the most ecstatic reception a couple of years ago was cradled a few thousand miles east of New Orleans.\n\nIt was the Jerusalem Jazz Band, whose members hail each other by such fine old Southern names as Boris, Mika, Shmulik, Stanislav and Aaron.

Up Front

Go into any synagogue, in any part of this town, and you will find them -- people whose courageous stories of survival during the Holocaust could each be the subject of a compelling movie or book.


No Jewish cookbook of this year, or any year, for that matter, compares with Claudia Roden\'s \"The Book of Jewish Food\" (Knopf), but two new local additions to the genre have plenty of charms on their own.

L.A.’s Kabbalah Learning Center seems to attract many searching Jews, but criticism of it is widespr

Mike Gold* had a successful small business, a nice home, a wife and two kids when he began to wonder about his soul. Questions about life\'s meaning, about God and spirituality and his Jewish heritage would not go away. \"I started studying Judaism by myself, and I realized,\" he said, \"I didn\'t know anything.\"

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