In parched California, Jewish environmentalists seek to revisit ancient notions about water and the land. More ▸
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an economic and research partnership agreement with California Gov. Jerry Brown. More ▸
Need kosher food on the slopes? Something for the kids or non-skiers in your family? JTA runs down the five best spots in America for Jews to test the powder this year. More ▸
The longest-serving Jewish member of Congress now has a best-selling author running against him. More ▸
By Ron Kampeas
Jewish groups split on their response to a federal appeals court ruling that allows same-sex couples to marry in California. More ▸
By Jewz Newton
Everyone knows Mel Gibson sucks. He gets insanely drunk, treats women like crap, and has been known to make an anti-Semitic remark or two. And while natural instinct would be to tar and feather the man, my mom always taught me that the best way to kill is with a two barrel shotgun kindness. So what’s… More ▸
By JTA Staff
A massive billboard calling attention to the plight of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is going up in Los Angeles. More ▸
By Dan Klein
A state Superior Court judge in California ruled that a proposal to ban circumcision for minors must be struck from San Francisco’s November ballot. More ▸
By Ami Eden
A San Francisco Superior Court judge tentatively ruled that an initiative banning circumcisions for anyone under 18 be removed from the November ballot. More ▸
By Ben Harris
Santa Monica pier at sunset. It’s been cold by L.A. standards and the wind was whipping off the ocean. Tourists were bundled up in their hoodies, but the seagulls didn’t mind. They hung effortlessly in the air, buoyed by the breeze.
To hear Jay Sanderson tell it, he’s trying to pull off a similar trick. The recession has taken a large bite out of the L.A. Jewish Community Federation, as it has basically everywhere, prompting some anguished hand-wringing over the future of Jewish philanthropy. Fundraising in L.A. was off more than 12 percent in 2009 from the year before — not good, but not nearly as bad as elsewhere. Sanderson, though, was as buoyant as the birds.
I met Sanderson late on Monday in an upper floor conference room at the Federation headquarters on Wilshire. It’s a deeply institutional space; it’s heavy wooden table is inlaid with teleconferencing mics, and floor-to-ceiling windows offer a commanding view of Beverly Hills. The lustrous black ellipse of the Flynt Publications building dominates the horizon. The setting practically screams Jewish power.
From the start, it’s clear Sanderson has no business being there. The former CEO of the Jewish Television Network, Sanderson was tapped last year to helm the L.A. Federation and it’s obvious he is not a man tamed by the mores of Jewish organizational life. He has yet to internalize the maddeningly evasive yet verbose style that is the lingua franca of Jewish bureaucrats.
Sanderson did me the utmost kindness of answering my questions in plain English. He’s extremely polished and quick with a fresh coinage — perhaps excessively so. Several of his lines I later located almost verbatim in interviews he’s given to the L.A. Jewish Journal. But to a refreshing degree, Sanderson calls em’ like he sees em’. More ▸