Rebecca Spence


Hopes Dashed as Obama Avoids Calling Mass Killings of Armenians ‘Genocide’

By Rebecca Spence

This year, on Armenian Remembrance Day — when the mass killing of more than 1 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire is commemorated — Armenian-American activists had high hopes that a president who ran on a message of change would indeed change the pattern of previous administrations. That is, they hoped President Obama would use the term “genocide” to describe the human tragedy that occurred nearly a century ago.Read More


Wagner’s ‘Ring’ Strikes a Jarring but Muted Chord in L.A.

By Rebecca Spence

Wagner’s ‘Ring’ Strikes a Jarring but Muted Chord in L.A.
When the Los Angeles Opera launches its most ambitious project to date — a 10-week citywide festival celebrating Richard Wagner’s “The Ring,” which will culminate in a massive production of the epic opera — not everyone will be celebrating.Read More


Leading Combatant in Gay Marriage Fight To Head Southern California Rabbis

By Rebecca Spence

Leading Combatant in Gay Marriage Fight To Head Southern California Rabbis
When Denise Eger assumes the leadership of this region’s local rabbinic association, she’ll be making history — twice over.Read More


Government Grant Helps California Synagogues Find Eternal Sunshine of the Holy Kind

By Rebecca Spence

In 1897, two New York policemen disrupted a public ceremony marking the Blessing of the Sun and dragged a rabbi down to court for failing to have a permit. More than a century later, on the opposite coast, government officials are not only giving a similar ceremony their blessing — they are also putting money behind a new environmental program in its honor.Read More


Hollywood’s Spring Fling With Blooming Israeli Actresses

By Rebecca Spence

In Hollywood, Israeli actresses are stealing the show. No fewer than three Israeli starlets will be appearing in major American studio releases over the next month, while others are scooping up roles on television shows and in theater productions. Ayelet Zurer plays the female lead in the forthcoming “Da Vinci Code” sequel, “Angels & Demons,” while Noa Tishby has a smaller part in the romantic comedy “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” A former Miss Israel, Gal Gadot, is appearing in the fourth installment of Vin Diesel’s cars and babes franchise, “Fast & Furious,” and onstage, Meital Dohan, known for her role in the Showtime series “Weeds,” recently appeared in the Los Angeles run of the play “Stitching.”Read More






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  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
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