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Judaism

Pushing Each Other’s Buttons

Predictably, it happened again. Conservative and Reform Jews choseto demonstrate their right to worship at the Kotel in their way, menand women together. This time, however, the worshipers had officialclearance. But their permit did not help. Sadly, but alsopredictably, Orthodox Jews prevented them from praying in their way.Passions flared. The scene became ugly. Religious extremists,unconcerned about Torah prohibitions against striking another person,became violent. Hurt and humiliated, the non-Orthodox worshipers wereforcibly removed by the police. And, of course, the media had beenprepped. The cameras were ready. They captured the tears of thevanquished and the jeers of the violent. The angry scenes wereflashed across the world.

Finding the Adult Within

\”So, tell me, what are you looking for in awoman?\” I ask.
\”Someone kind and gentle, intelligent, educated,cultured, witty, fun, a professional, independent, but interested intraditional things, Jewish, haimish, warm, family-oriented…andthin, tall, attractive, blond, well-dressed.\” He continues, but Irealize already that I know him. He\’s my 3-year old. The open mouthof the infant: \”I want, I want, I want.\”

I know what he wants: a Playboy playmate who willadore him, cook like his mother but make no demands on hissoul.

He isn\’t alone. He belongs to a whole culture ofchildishness.

Yom Ha Shoah

In truth, though, many other Orthodox Jews — including most of Agudath Israel\’s constituency — do not consider Yom Ha Shoah to be the appropriate time for focusing on the destruction of Jewish Europe.

‘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.

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.

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 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.

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