November 15, 2012 |
"The Optimists" is a simple film, as much family memoir as documentary. But the story it tells is as significant as it is little known: how the people of Bulgaria rose up in 1943 and saved the country's Jews from deportation to the death camps of World War II. Completed several years ago, "The Optimists" (named after a jazz band of the period with Jewish members) is playing in Los Angeles now because of an exhibition at UCLA's Hillel Center titled "Bulgaria and the Holocaust: The Fragility of Goodness.
October 28, 2012 |
JERUSALEM - A simple, ancient ritual is threatening the delicate security balance atop Jerusalem's most sacred plaza: Jews are praying. On most days, dozens - sometimes hundreds - of Jewish worshipers ascend to the disputed 36-acre platform that Muslims venerate as Al Aqsa mosque and Jews revere as the Temple Mount with an Israeli police escort to protect them and a Muslim security guard to monitor their movements. Then, they recite a quick prayer, sometimes quietly to themselves, other times out loud.
October 19, 2012
Re "Debating free speech at Berkeley," Editorial, Oct. 15 Academic freedom and the right to free speech are sacred and deserve protection. At the same time, when anti-Israel activity crosses the line into anti-Semitism and expressions of support for terrorism, it is imperative to urge university officials to issue condemnations. There is a fundamental difference between criticizing Israel's government and its policies and "opposing" Israel's existence. The former may or may not be offensive speech.
October 1, 2012 |
JERUSALEM - If the Messiah descends from the Mount of Olives as foretold in the Bible, America's two biggest Christian broadcasters are well-positioned to cover it live thanks to recent acquisitions of adjacent Jerusalem studios on a hill overlooking the Old City. Texas-based Daystar Television Network already beams a 24-hour-a-day live webcam from its terrace. Not to be outdone, Costa Mesa-based Trinity Broadcasting Network last month bought the building next door. The dueling studios are part of an aggressive push by U.S. evangelical broadcasters seeking to gain a stronger foothold in the holy city.
September 18, 2012 |
The family always knew there was something mysterious about Wang Fanglian, secrets he dared not share with even his closest relatives. Although he was just an ordinary worker at a diesel engine factory, he spoke four languages, among them English with a guttural German accent. His narrow brick-faced house had a flush toilet, a gas stove and a balcony for drying clothes, all strange luxuries in his rickshaw-wide Shanghai alley. Only late in life did Wang explain himself, when it was safe to talk about his friendships with Jews.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2012 |
Nearly four decades ago, 18 friends came together to offer free legal services in Los Angeles' Fairfax district. They were lawyers and legal secretaries and law students and social workers, and they found themselves a storefront on Fairfax Avenue. Each month, they chipped in $5 apiece, which was enough to cover rent, electricity and phones. No one got paid a dime. All volunteered time. Theirs was a tiny operation with a name huge with hope: Bet Tzedek, which in Hebrew means House of Justice.
September 7, 2012 |
Jew Pond, an unassuming human-made body of water in New Hampshire that nonetheless became a center of controversy, will henceforth be known as Carleton Pond. "It's a good day here in Mont Vernon," said Rich Masters, a proponent of the change who became concerned about the pond's name after discovering it on a U.S. Geological Survey map. But when the name change first came before the citizenry of this small New England town earlier this year, not all were in favor. The feeling, for some, seemed to be: Why bother at this late date?
August 30, 2012 |
To paint a portrait of European Jewry between the world wars, novice filmmaker Isaac Hertz mined the childhood memories of two dozen interview subjects and matched their recollections to well-chosen (and unidentified) archival footage. His documentary "Life Is Strange" is unfocused yet intermittently effective as an illustrated oral history. An American who professes an affinity to his grandparents' generation, the director spoke with a seemingly random assortment of people who survived or escaped the Holocaust.
August 19, 2012 |
Hostage A Novel Elie Wiesel, translated from the French by Catherine Temerson Alfred A. Knopf: 214 pp., $25.95 It's hard to read Elie Wiesel's new novel, "Hostage," without thinking about his classic Holocaust recollection, "Night. " That's partly because both deal with captivity, and even more with questions of faith and identity and our place in the universe, at a moment when such elements appear to have been rendered moot. But even more, "Hostage," like "Night," begs the question of how we read it - of the type of document it is. In the case of the earlier book, that tension (and it is very much a tension)