Israeli singer Hadar Manor—who lives in London—was just named ‘Queen of the Underground’—and here’s why!
Silent slideshow shows images of the funeral in Jerusalem
Condolence visits are part of a rabbi’s life, but no one ever taught us how to make nine visits in a 48-hour period.
We arrived in Israel on the morning of Tuesday, March 11, and left Israel the following night. Our mission, representing the Rabbinical Council of America, was to express solidarity with the families of the victims of the terror attack at yeshivat Mercaz Harav, comfort the injured in the hospitals and visit the yeshiva.
We were joined at different parts of our trip by Rabbi Joseph Pollack of Boston, Rabbis Milton Polin and Jay Karzen of Jerusalem, and Richard Joel, president of Yeshiva University, and Rabbi Joshua Joseph, his chief-of-staff.
During our two days in Israel, we never heard anyone call for revenge. What we heard was a determination to enhance Torah study, prayer, concern for the welfare of the nation and a vision to double the Mercaz High School enrollment from 250 to 500. This, it was said, would be the appropriate answer to the terrorist’s destruction.
We immediately traveled to Ashdod to visit the family of Doron Meherte, 26. Meherte arrived in Israel from Ethiopia at the age of 8 during Operation Solomon. He was an outstanding Talmud student who was studying for the rabbinate.
Known for his keen concentration, Meherte did not even notice the terrorist entering the library and was the only student killed while sitting at his table immersed in his studies. The volume he was studying became saturated with his blood and was buried with him.
Ro’ie Roth, 16, of Elkana, was passionate about prayer and would often be the last in the yeshiva to complete his daily prayers.
Yonatan Eldar, 16, of Shiloh was part of a close-knit group of friends. Because of his great love for the land of Israel, he became an avid hiker.
Yehonadav Hirschfield, 19 of Kokhav Hashahar was the grandson and great-grandson of two prominent American rabbis. He had completed studying the entire Mishna 70 times, and on that fateful night, he was completing the Mishna once again.
Avraham Moses, 16, of Efrat, the son of American immigrants, was beloved in his community for his exceptional acts of kindness.
Segev Avihail, 15, of Neve Daniel, was a prolific writer at his very young age.
Yohai Lifshitz, 18, of Jerusalem, blessed with an analytical mind, spent his days and nights in the study hall.
Neria Cohen, 15, the youngest victim, was an eager student who wrote sophisticated questions to Israel’s leading rabbis.
At each home, we were received with warmth. Each family remarkably demonstrated an incredible spirit and an awe-inspiring faith. We were shown blood-stained and bullet-burned books that the boys had been studying, and we heard remarkable stories about each boy’s commitment to Torah and acts of kindness.
Each family expressed the feeling that they were not alone in their grief and that the entire Jewish nation was mourning with them. One father remarked that he received calls from all over the world.
Our trip included hospital visits to the three most seriously wounded boys. The oldest was a 26-year-old father of two who suffered a serious arm injury. The youngest was ninth-grader Nadav Samuel. Nadav calmly recounted his experience of being shot six times in his arms and legs while taking cover behind a bookcase.
The most gravely hurt boy was Naftali Sheetrit, 16, from long-suffering Sderot. At the time of our visit, he was in a medically induced coma, with serious abdominal and leg wounds. We met his family sitting outside the intensive-care unit next to an Arab family also waiting on a loved one.
The surgeon who operated on Naftali had rushed to the hospital when he heard about the attack. He was the first to open the door of the ambulance, and when he saw how grave Naftali’s situation was, he wheeled him into the operating room without scrubbing. The boy had to be resuscitated twice during the procedure.
Our call to Mercaz Harav, together with Yeshival University’s Joel, was very emotional. Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, head of the yeshiva, gave us a walking tour of the library and a full description of the murderous attack. The signs of the horror were still visible. Contrary to press reports, the terrorist never had any association with the school.
Our brief visit reaffirmed our pride in Israel and its many unsung heroes. The boys who were murdered take their place among our nation’s martyrs, and the courageous survivors are a great inspiration.
Hershel Billet is the rabbi of Young Israel of Woodmere, N.Y. Elazar Muskin is the rabbi of Young Israel of Century City.
A fabulous Purim Ball will be hosted by Second Generation, an organization founded in 1978 that serves children of Holocaust survivors and is dedicated to Holocaust education and remembrance. Enjoy wine and vegetarian refreshments while exploring the unique setting that features Judaica and sports memorabilia in a two-story venue. Costumes are optional. Sat., 8 p.m.-midnight. $40 (members), $50 (general). Elm Collection, 150 S. Elm Drive, Los Angeles. For reservations, call (310) 277-4438 or e-mail email@example.com.
Spice up your Purim with a fragrant hookah, an elaborate henna tattoo and the mesmerizing gyrations of an authentic belly dancer at the steamiest O.C. party of the season, “Hookahs and Hamantaschen.” Sip cocktails with single and not-so-single young professionals, ages 21 to 45, and indulge in Middle Eastern cuisine while enjoying a live band and ogle fellow partygoers’ funky costumes (guests are encouraged to come dressed up!). Celebrate with the Young Leadership Division in an event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Orange County, Taglit-Birthright Israel, Chemers Gallery and The Buddy Group. Sat., 8 p.m. $40. Dotlot Studios at The Buddy Group, 7 Studebaker, Irvine. (949) 468-0042. ” border = 0 vspace = ‘8’ hspace = ‘8’ align = ‘left’ alt=”pick gif”>Ever wondered what makes music particularly Jewish? Award-winning composer Michael Isaacson, recently honored as one of the 10 most distinguished Jewish sacred music composers in America, will delve into this topic during his book launch of “Jewish Music as Midrash: What Makes Music Jewish?” The Juilliard School of Music and Hebrew University trained composer has written and published more than 500 sacred and secular works, conducted and produced more than 50 CDs and albums and is the founding music director of the Israel Pops Orchestra and the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music. Sun., 2 p.m. $5 (suggested donation). The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring, 525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-2007.
StandWithUs and American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) attended the All Saints Sabeel Conference (Letters, March 7). Rabbis [Steven] Jacobs and [Haim Dov] Beliak got basic facts wrong and grossly mischaracterized the event. The rabbis should not defend Sabeel and attack those who have raised red flags about Sabeel’s objectives and views.
Contrary to the rabbis’ claims, speakers did not advocate a two-state solution. The Rev. Ateek said he “didn’t care” if there were one or two states and elsewhere has repeatedly said one state is the “ideal.”
The conference’s Jewish anti-Zionist speakers, Gabriel Piterberg, Anna Baltzer and Marcy Winograd, all directly or indirectly advocated a one-state solution, which would mean an end to the Jewish state. When Winograd called for one secular state, she got a standing ovation.
These “moderates” twisted history beyond recognition, erased all context for Israel’s self-defense and exaggerated or lied about Israel’s current counterterrorism measures.
Speakers claimed that Palestinians are engaged in “nonviolence,” ignoring the wars and terrorism Israel faces and has faced for 60 years.
Their claim to nonviolence is deceptive. Despite their calm voices, their demonizing narrative is violent and an incitement for physical violence against Israelis.
The rabbis minimized the significance of Sabeel equating Palestinians and Jesus, but such deicide imagery has driven anti-Semitism and pogroms for centuries and gives further justification for Palestinian violence.
How could this event lead the rabbis to believe Sabeel promotes dialogue or to praise them while condemning those who seek fairness and balance? The Sabeel Conference imported the disfiguring propaganda of Arab anti-Israel radicalism into a Los Angeles church.
Mainline Christian support for these views will only inflame the Palestinian extremism at the heart of this ongoing conflict. The Rev. Bacon’s high praise of the Rev Ateek is a betrayal of Christian-Jewish friendship.
Western Regional Director
American Jewish Congress
Flemming Rose’s passionate appeal is fine as far as it goes, but let us Jews not be so smug about the ways our own fundamentalists disparage principles of free speech (“Free Speech and Radical Islam,” Feb. 29).
Last June, the gay pride movement tried to organize a march in Jerusalem that had to be canceled because of threats of violence from the Haredi community. In fact, the year before, a Haredi fanatic stabbed a gay demonstrator with a knife, who barely survived. It was a fanatical Haredi who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin, permanently depriving him of his free speech.
Women who exercise their free speech rights to dress as they wish, pray at the Western Wall or even to sit on buses on certain routes through Jerusalem are beaten, stoned or mauled. And when the Orthodox rabbinate in Israel legally dominates all family rites, such as marriage and funerals, the free speech of every other variety of Jew (secular, Reform, Conservative, etc.) is severely abridged.
So it is not just the fanatics but the very State of Israel that actively suppresses its citizens’ speech and rights.
The problem is not with certain religions or certain cultures but with fundamentalism and fanaticism and their enablers, wherever these excesses occur.
We Jews are not immune.
Eric A. Gordon
The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring
Southern California District
Though I am certain you will not publish this letter, as it is obviously not politically correct, I write to you nonetheless in the hope that those of you in decision-making positions will reevaluate the responsibility you carry as Los Angeles’ only Jewish newspaper.
How ironic that on your online discussion page you sanctimoniously disapprove of lashon hara (slander), yet when it comes to big news, it’s your duty to report it. A case in point is the article written about Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz (“Chai Center Rabbi Explains ‘Off-the-Handle’ E-mails,” Feb. 15). It is nothing less than character assassination.
Yet, alas, you are the only game in town for someone looking for local Jewish news. If editorially, as well as with news reporting, you would begin to present balanced news relevant and sensitive to all branches of Judaism, based upon the demographics of the L.A. Jewish population, many more would look forward to each issue, and you might really become what I sense you would like to be called: Los Angeles’ Jewish newspaper.
I thought your article was accurate on the experience of listening to Karl Rove (“Karl Rove Lecture Spins Crowd Animosity to Admiration,” Feb. 29).
I support the university in its wisdom to present speakers who are controversial.
The evening was fascinating, informative, and Rabbi [Robert] Wexler did a masterful job. I left thinking only how sad it is that a man like Karl Rove, with his brilliance and passion, does not choose to use his obvious abilities to make positive changes in the world.
I fervently support American Jewish University and Gady Levy’s fine work, but hosting Karl Rove was a bad decision.
Rove is brilliant. He is also immoral, even for a politico. His tactics include spreading rumors that former Texas Gov. Ann Richards was a lesbian and that Sen. John McCain revealed intelligence to his North Vietnamese captors.
But I will remember him best as the master strategist of the wedge issue and the attack ad and withholding national Republican campaign dollars from local candidates who refused to follow him into the gutter.
Rove has consistently embodied a classic maxim of evil: The ends justify the means.
Thanks to Rove and former Rep. Tom Delay (R-Texas), our political culture is at its lowest point since Watergate. Principled Republicans who love their party and patriotic Americans who love their democracy would never give him a platform.
Buzzy Gordon is a travel writer who writes frequently about Jewish communities around the world.
Trailer for the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, May 8
Sun., March 9
Barrage in “High Strung.” The young, hip cast of Barrage, a contemporary string ensemble, will dish out high-energy virtuosity in their newest show. The international cast features six violinists/vocalists, a drummer, a bass player and a guitarist who will present an amalgam of music, song and dance with a diverse fusion of cultures and musical styles. Join in on the spine-tingling fiddle-fest. 2 p.m. $35 (adults), $20 (17 and under), $10 (Pepperdine students). Pepperdine University Smothers Theatre, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. (310) 506-4522. http://www.barrage.org.
Tue., March 11
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The renowned dance company, founded by a giant of American dance, comes to Orange County for a program that incorporates gospel, jazz and popular music, modern dance and ballet. Highlights will include Ailey’s masterpiece “Revelations,” which has been performed on hundreds of stages around the world and has been received with awe and delight since its debut in 1960. As an added bonus, ticket holders are invited to a free performance preview with a member of the Ailey company, one hour before the show. 7:30 p.m. Through March 16. $25-$85. Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. (714) 556-2787. http://www.ocpac.org.
“Lessons From Bernard Rudofsky.” In a day and age where body image is the craze, an exhibition of the work of late Austrian-born Bernard Rudofsky will display innovative concepts of the body and fashion in an exhibit presented by the Getty Center Research Institute. Rudofsky, an architect, designer and critic, believed that people in Western society lost their spontaneity to design liberating, not restricting, clothing. Devoting his life to exposing the West to foreign architecture paradigms and unfamiliar customs, this breakthrough artist wrote nine books and more than 100 articles on the subject. View Rudofsky’s work accompanied by a 296-page catalogue with contributions from several talented artists. Tue.-Sun. Through June 8. $8 (parking). The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 440-7300. http://www.getty.edu/.
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” It’s difficult to separate the dashing Johnny Depp from Sweeney Todd’s character, after having seen the recent film. Although Depp won’t be on stage at this show, you can still have an up-close-and-personal look at the eerie character in an exciting theatrical performance based on the 19th-century legend of a London barber driven to madness after a judge takes his wife and child away. Sweeney Todd, played by David Hess, plots his revenge with Mrs. Lovett, played by Judy Kaye, who conjures up surprisingly tasty meat pies infused with a secret ingredient. Adapted from a book by Hugh Wheeler, the production’s music and lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim with musical orchestrations by Sarah Travis. 8 p.m. Through April 6. $30-$90. Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. For tickets and additional show times, call (213) 628-2772. http://www.centertheatregroup.org.
Fri., March 14
“Beaufort.” The Israeli war film “Beaufort” stirred up scads of excitement this year with its Best Foreign Language Oscar nomination. Although the film didn’t win, it won many people’s hearts. Based on a novel by Ron Leshem, “Beaufort” was directed by Joseph Cedar and recreates the events prior to the Israeli troop withdrawal from the Beaufort military base in Southern Lebanon. Led by 22-year-old commander Liraz Liberti, played by Oshri Cohen, the small Israeli cohort of troops become weary of their mission when fellow soldiers are killed and injured. The film takes an in-depth look at the fear and drudgery of soldiers’ daily routines and examines the country’s ambivalence toward the 18-year presence in Lebanon. Playing in two locations: Laemmle’s Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; and Laemmle’s Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino. For tickets and show times, call (310) 274-6869 or (818) 981-9811. http://www.laemmle.com/index.php.
Tori Spelling at Barnes and Noble. Admit it, you have a tinge of curiosity about how Aaron Spelling’s daughter is prolonging her 15 minutes of fame. Since playing Donna Martin on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” the high-school soap-drama that started it all, Spelling has appeared on various reality TV series, wed and borne children and endured a public tussle with her mother over her alleged exclusion from her late father’s estate. Now, Tori Spelling is telling the story like it is with her new memoir, “sTORI Telling,” and today she’ll appear to sign books you can place alongside old “90210” posters. Just don’t expect her to talk about her “poor little rich girl” reputation. 7:30 p.m. Book purchase required for signing. Barnes and Noble at The Grove, 189 Grove Drive, Los Angeles. (323) 525-0366. http://www.bn.com.
“Strauss Meets Frankenstein” at the Long Beach Opera. In a dramatic and different double-bill, actor Michael York will perform Tennyson’s epic poem “Enoch Arden,” about the love and loss that ensues when three friends find themselves romantically entwined. The heartbreak of destiny is deepened by Richard Strauss’ rich, evocative score. The performance changes tone when the audience enters the wild, macabre underworld of Frankenstein where rodents, vampires, werewolves, John Wayne and Superman coalesce in a real monster of a musical. 8 p.m. Also March 15 and 16. $45-$95. Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Center Theatre, 300 E. Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach. (562) 432-5934. http://www.longbeachopera.org.
Pasadena ArtWeekend. During a fun-filled weekend featuring more than 20 exhibitions, performances and cultural activities, Pasadena will host a comprehensive celebration of fine arts, visual arts, poetry, spoken word, music, storytelling and theater. Several cultural institutions will open their doors for “ArtNight,” offering a free peek at their collections. “ArtTalk” features a variety of performances, and the weekend is rounded off with “ArtMarket,” a design open market focusing on the work of students, faculty and alumni from Art Center College of Design and Pasadena City College, which will be available for sale. Sponsored by the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs with the Arts & Culture Commission. ArtWeekend will take place at various venues and times over the course of three days, and all events are free and open to the public. For more information, call (800) 307-7977 or visit http://www.pasadenaartweekend.com.
Gypsy Kings at Cerritos Center. Starting on the shores of the French Cote d’Azur, the Gypsy Kings fused South American rumba with fiery Spanish flamenco and their colorful blend of rhythms, leading to international success and recognition on the World Music scene. Tonight they “cast their spell” for a Southern California audience. 8 p.m. $45-$100. (562) 467-8818.