The Boiling Point

Why do we count up for the Omer?

Mati Hurwitz, Staff Writer

July 13, 2012

The seven weeks between Pesach and Shavuot, known as the period of the Omer, are filled with additional halachot (laws). We put ourselves into mourning as we commemorate the losses of many Jews over the ages at this time of year, among them Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 students. Until the 33rd day of the Omer (Lag B’Omer), we refrain from getting haircuts, shaving, getting married ...

Dvar Torah Parshas Balak

Mati Hurwitz

July 6, 2012

In Parshas Balak, we see Bilaam initially team up with Balak in order to oppose Bnei Yisrael and curse them. Bnei Yisrael became a threat after they demolished the Emori at the end of Parshas Chukas, causing fear and hatred to spread, starting from the tribe of Moav. Balak’s fear grew and he sent messengers to Bilaam requesting him to come and use his powers to curse Bnei...

‘Ethical hechsher’ catches on, but slowly

‘Ethical hechsher’ catches on, but slowly

June 13, 2012

According to Judaic Studies teacher Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, all the kosher restaurants on Pico Boulevard have been invited to apply for the new Tav HaYosher,* or ethical seal, proving that they treat their workers according to ...

‘Kol isha’ has range of meanings at Modern Orthodox high schools back east

Rebecca Mandel, Arts & Entertainment Editor

April 18, 2012

In other Modern Orthodox schools, there is a lack of consensus on the interpretation of kol isha. But in every case, the policy has been arrived at deliberately and with halachic support. SAR High School in Riverdale has a co-ed choir and allows the girls to have solos. “We want to give both boys and girls opportunity to express themselves through non-suggestive and appr...

Modern Orthodoxy should be a bridge between secularists and Haredim, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks says

Ari Feuer, Deputy Editor-In-Chief

March 17, 2012

Britain's chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, addressed about 320 students and faculty of local Jewish schools at Harkham Hebrew Academy  Feb. 23 and said Modern Orthodoxy needed to become stronger to exert its natural influence in the Jewish world. Answering a question from the audience about religious clashes in Beit Shemesh, Israel, Rabbi Sacks said Modern Orthodox Jews...

Revamping the schedule, new ‘mini-mesters’ prepare seniors for Jewish life after high school

By Sarah Soroudi, Torah Editor

March 16, 2012

  It was Tuesday, Feb. 21, and Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg was telling a room full of seniors and faculty that their spring coursework had been created with the intention of “giving the knowledge and information for later on in your life, regardless of if you are religious or not at this moment.” At that moment, members of the cooking class scrambled in late, with...

Revamping the schedule, new ‘mini-mesters’ prepare seniors for Jewish life after high school

Sarah Soroudi, Torah Editor

March 16, 2012

It was Tuesday, Feb. 21, and Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg was telling a room full of seniors and faculty that their spring coursework had been created with the intention of “giving the knowledge and information for later on in your life, regardless of if you are religious or not at this moment.” At that moment, members of the cooking class scrambled in late, with oily hands,...

Second symposium explores modern viewpoints

Sarah Soroudi, Torah Editor

December 23, 2011

In a packed Beit Midrash, three prominent area rabbis shared their views Dec. 2 on a variety of topics, disagreeing on whether women should carry the Torah scrolls and how many days of yom tov to keep while in Israel, but agreeing on Shabbat observance and whether to visit a church. Each also shared his vision for the Los Angeles Jewish community of the future. Rabbi...

Song, spirit and a whiff of chulent

Sigal Spitzer, Staff Writer

December 23, 2011

As the aroma of chulent fills the Shalhevet hallways each Friday afternoon, around 20 students and staff gather to eat, talk, sing zemirot and pound the table in this year’s louder-than-ever version of pre-Shabbat ruach, or spirit. In the conference room nearest the foyer, the raucous group lunch -- more commonly referred to by its English-language initials, “PSR”--...

YU’s Richard Joel says to pursue Judaism after high school

Rebecca Mandel, Staff Writer

December 23, 2011

Chuckles spread among the 11th and 12th grade students in the Beit Midrash Thursday as Richard Joel, the President of Yeshiva University, imitated former President George Bush’s Texas accent, recalling his excitement on a trip he had made to the White House. At an Oval Office meeting with the then-president and other Jewish leaders, President Joel had offered his philosophy...

New Sephardic minyan lets students feel at home

Leila Miller, Editor-in-Chief

December 22, 2011

Their voices rolling with a North African lilt, students in the two-month old Sephardic minyan sing to a different melody than Shalhevet’s two Ashkenazic minyans. For the first time since about 2001, Shalhevet’s Sephardic students have a minyan they can call their own. Although there is increased interest among its 26 members to learn how to lead the fast-paced service,...

Are gifts meant for Chanukah?

Adam Kellner, Staff Writer

December 22, 2011

To give or not to give? This question has been around for generations and has haunted me every time December rolls around. Should we give and receive presents on Hanukkah? Isn’t it just a response to Christmas and its tradition of exchanging gifts? Won’t presents just take away from the essence of the holiday? Well, that’s what I always thought, and thus was somewhat...