My Jewish Ancestors Fled Spain. Will Returning Feel Like Home—Or Just Another Diaspora?

Pursuing the Country’s Offer of Citizenship Feels Like Claiming Privilege When What I Want to Claim Is Justice

When the government of Spain passed a law that offered citizenship to the descendants of Jewish people expelled 500 years ago by the Inquisition, half the people I knew sent me copies of news reports about it, or wrote and asked if I planned to pursue Spanish citizenship.

No, I always said. It sounded like a ploy for tourist dollars. And besides, I wasn’t even sure I could prove my connection.

My parents were born in Mexico and fled north to California in the U.S. in 1914 and 1930, respectively, during the …

How Jewish Was Stanley Kubrick?

The Director of 2001 and Eyes Wide Shut Had the ‘Aura of a Talmudic Scholar’ and Favored Plots Dealing With Cultural Outsiders

Many people are surprised to discover that legendary director Stanley Kubrick—whose masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey is 50 years old this year—was Jewish. He rarely spoke of it, his films …

The Amsterdam Rabbi Who Became the Most Famous Jew in the World

In the 17th Century, Menasseh ben Israel Did More Than Anyone to Promote Judaism and Educate Christians of Its Richness

Toleration across political and religious divides is increasingly giving way to suspicion and hostility. So it is no small comfort to study the lives of those who, in even more …

The Jewish Immigrant Philanthropist Who Didn’t Like the Word “Charity”

Julius Rosenwald Made Sears a Retail Giant and Used His Wealth to Give the Poor Tools for Upward Mobility

The biography of Julius Rosenwald, one of the most thoughtful and transformative philanthropists in American history, parallels the life experiences of many Jewish immigrant families of the mid-19th century—women and …

The Jewish Heart of L.A. Lives in Koreatown

The Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s Newly Restored Sanctuary Is Astonishing. So Is the History of the Congregation.

Angelenos regularly travel thousands of miles abroad to view imposing, inspiring edifices, yet we have such a place right here in our city: Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s newly restored sanctuary. This …

Why I Traveled 3,000 Miles to Get to Temple

In the Midst of Divorce, I Escaped New York for a More Serious Religious Experience—and Found It In L.A.

It’s Friday night and I’m sitting by myself near the back of the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, listening to Rabbi Mordecai Finley talk …