The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on July 7, 1976 · 52
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 52

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Los Angeles, California
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Wednesday, July 7, 1976
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52
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Jewish Women Turning to Orthodoxy Cos Ansclcs (Times V IEW PART IV WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 1976 JACK SMITH ... In the Eye of the Beholder In suggesting a one-day tour of Los Angeles for visitors from New York and other provincial cities I had no thought of a definitive tour, but several readers have written sternly because I left out their favorite places. It takes months, really, or years, to discover any large city, and I was only suggesting how to impress a New Yorker with our wealth and beauty, between breakfast and dinner, without exposing him to any of our blemishes. I thought it was rather an ingenious plan, taking in the flowering residential estates of Bel-Air, Pacific Palisades, San Marino and La Canada, stopping briefly for a look at the Pacific Ocean, the Arboretum and Descanso Gardens, and reaching my home on Mt. Washington in time for dinner. Also, the economy-minded reader might have noticed that the plan requires the host to spend no money on his guests except for gasoline and the cost of tuna salad sandwiches and Cokes at the Arboretum lunch pavilion. "Lunch at the Arboretum?" wrote Charles Richter. "Yes, they do have a coffee shop and also slot dispensers. But dear me, you overlook Fashion Park, which among other lunch and dinner spots has one of the four Magic Pan creperies ... I frequently travel quite a way to go there because I like the people and the cuisine . . ." I have enjoyed crepes at Fashion Park myself, but I would point out to Dr. Richter that the slot machine sandwiches at the Arboretum are less expensive, and from your window you can usually see a peacock. "You said you would take the Pasadena Freeway to Monterey Road and drive through San Marino," wrote Mary Lejeune of South Pasadena, "and of course, there is no Monterey Road exit; you have to use Marmion Way or if you missed that, Fair Oaks. Even allowing for poetic license, you failed to mention that this would take you through beautiful South Pasadena . . ." Actually, I never use poetic license. I don't have the credentials. But I often leave things out. I wasn't attempting to guide the reader through every turn of the route. How a person gets from the Pasadena Freeway to Monterey Road is his problem, not mine. As for not mentioning that to get from the Pasadena Freeway to San Marino over Monterey Road you have to pass through South Pasadena, I was of course aware that whoever tried it would find that out for himself in good time. Surprises are half the fun. J. T. Phillips expressed indignation over my "most abject act of sacrilege in excluding a trip up Orange Grove Blvd. to Colorado Blvd., which intersection is both the hub of the Rose Parade and the hub of history for old-line Pasadenans." Phillips apparently doesn't remember the many times I've written with admiration of Orange Grove Blvd., including the time, only last December, when I told of being suddenly overcome by the Christmas spirit as I turned off Orange Grove onto Colorado and drove north along that merrily decorated thoroughfare. (And believe me, that brought me almost as many letters as my report about the man on Mt. Washington who was seen chasing a cat with a broom in his pajamas.) "You must enjoy getting letters of protest," writes Rosie Thomas of Redondo Beach. "Why else would you leave out the entire South Bay when you were showing your friends L.A.? Next time when you get to Santa Monica continue on Lincoln to Pacific Coast Highway. Then take the highway through the beach cities to Palos Verdes and the Wayfarer's Chapel an incomparable view! Over the hill and down to San Pedro and across the Vincent Thomas Bridge. You can see the Queen Mary from there, but point the other way and they'll never notice. Then you can take the freeway back to the L.A. skyline . . ." I am very fond of the South Bay cities, but I can't say that getting from one to another over Lincoln Blvd. and Pacific Coast Highway would give the visitor an uninterrupted impression of our natural beauty. On the other hand, there is something to be said for the South Bay tour as an alternate. Immediately after crossing the Vincent Thomas Bridge, if memory serves, one is astonished, not to say appalled, by what must be the world's largest automobile wrecking yard. Here an escalator trundles the squashed bodies to the maw of a giant machine, like tyrannosaurus rex, which swallows them, pounds them into little squares, and disgorges them for shipment to Japan, where they will be made into Toyotas and Datsuns and sent back. It is the end of the great American treadmill; an inspiring sight indeed. You may then drive on across lovely Terminal Island, and as long as you're in the neighborhood you might as well have a look at the Queen. Better hurry, too; because someday, you know, they're going to grind her up in that machine and send her to Japan. THE VIEWS INSIDE BOOKS: Tom Keneall's "Gossip From the Forest" by Rob Ross on Page 16. MOVIES: "Breaking Point" by Kevin Thomas on Page 13. MUSIC: Newport Jazz Festival by Leonard Feather on Page 10. STAGE: "Elizabeth One" at the Odyssey Theater by Sylvie Drake on Page 8 "A Cry of Players" at the Globe Playhouse by Sondra Lowell on Page 11. AND OTHER FEATURES Dear Abby Page 6 Jody Jacobs ....Page 2 Bridge Page 16 Cecil Smith Page 15 Call Sheet Page 7 Things Page 3 Comics Page 17 Television .... Pages 15,16 Robert Kirsch is on vacation. ST&r 5 4 v : ' - . , ; - -". - 0 $kliSit 5 i i I - - ' Vr. V. 1 ftffeJy vfw, -at-- - I masw WBMW e PHI i j ii m ': ' " tmfctWmmmmnwmrnmmmmwmtwmmmm i " irnnumi unrni nvrr tw-i r tiwri irirmw ni"" "n m iiifiiiiiiiiiiiiii'iTi'H--i)r i"Tnfiiirrii-ninin: STEPS TO RITUAL-Scndy Reese, left, and Gail Mauer, of Los Angeles Mikvah Society, sit beside the new ritual bath under construction and scheduled to open in the fall. Times photo by Kathleen Ballard MOVIE REVIEW David Bowie Comes Down to Earth BY CHARLES CHAMFLIN Times Arts Editor Nicolas Roeg began as one of the most supple and imaginative cinematographers in the industry, responsible for the look and the mood of "Fahrenheit 451" and "Far From the Madding Crowd," the feverish fancies of "Performance" (which he co-directed with Donald Cammell) and the surrealist landscapes of the Australian outback in "Walkabout," his first solo venture as a director. Roeg's latest, "The Man Who Fell to Earth," with singer David Bowie as an extraterrestial visitor come to find relief for his drought-ridden planet elsewhere in space, is half or maybe two-thirds of a very interesting movie indeed. Through the opening titles, he establishes through grai ny telescopic images a planetary blast, a fireball careening down the void and, on earth, a resounding splashdown in a mountain lake in New Mexico. He can generate mystification, suspense, a forcing of new importance into banal signs, acts and silences. Bowie, pasty white, his hair dyed to a Christmas-wrapping red, slip-slides down what seems to be a slope of tailings behind an abandoned mill. Someone watches, but who? (Damned if I know.) He hikes into town, pawns a wedding band (one of hundreds) to build a stake, and next surfaces in Manhattan, consulting a patent lawyer (Buck Henry in half-inch-thick eyeglasses). Please Turn to Page 11 Col. 1 MUSIC IN THE AIR A lunchtime crowd listens to the City of Angels Big Band Express atop the Arco garage in downtown LA. Program is part of Concerts in the Sky series. Times photo by Mary Frampton ART SEIDENBAUM Cats on a Hot Concrete Roof The belch of downtown horns was fat and in rare harmony. More than 200 people sat atop the Arco garage, listening to the City of Angels Big Band Express, a jazz ensemble with swinging respects to Count Basie. Buttoned down men from the nearby banks, hauling their brown bags outdoors. Well-dressed women, several having shed their shoes to let the breeze begin at their toes. Old people who live on the fringes of the towering new neighborhood. Construction workers, sitting white-on-white, against the background of the Bonaven- ture Hotel abuilding. A scattering of children. A smattering of teen-agers. Concerts in the Sky, it's called, a whole summer series of music and theater every Monday, Wednesday and Friday smack in the middle of Bunker Hill, which is finally beginning to bloom. Noon to 1:30. Today, the Central Area Theater Company, supported by the Municipal Arts Department. Free. It's a joint venture by Music Center Presentations, Atlantic Richfield and Bank of America, Please Turn to Page 9, Col. 1 Construction of Mikvah Denotes New Life-Style BT KATHLEEN HENDRIX Times Staff Writer The bumper sticker on Sandy Reese's car says "MK-VA." It started out as a campaign sticker for a judicial candidate but Mrs. Reese trimmed it down for her own purposes. A few weeks ago she was in a gas station, she laughs, and through the rear window saw an attendant motion to the sticker and mouth to another attendant, "Can you believe it?" For the past few years Sandy Reese has been president of the Los Angeles Mikvah Society, a group of women interested in informing the Jewish community about mikvah (ritual immersion) and the laws of family purity and increasing observance of them. The society is not just spreading the word. Under its auspices, a new mikvah, or bath, costing upwards of $150,000, is under construction on Pico Blvd. and is scheduled to open in the fall. The society has an estimated 50 active members but the ' women say it is difficult to project the potential number of mikvah users, as some women who belong to Orthodox temples do not use the mikvah, while others who do not belong are mikvah users. 'One is a religious Jew not through a personal relationship to God but through daily activities." Mrs. Reese and Gail Mauer, the incoming president, gladly conduct a tour of the uncompleted mikvah, housed in a one-story block of shops. Most people will enter from the rear for modesty's sake, they explain and that is where the waiting room is, its plan similar to a doctor's office couches, coffee and magazines. Women will come there after sundown and an attendant will lead them individually to one of seven dressing rooms. The women will undress completely, and if she has not already done so at home, bathe for one-half hour. She must be scrupulously clean nail polish removed, nails cut and cleaned, hair washed and combed out, rings, Band-Aids, false teeth, anything foreign to the body taken off. The attendant will inspect her and lead her to one of two mikvahs, blue-tiled rooms with deep stairs leading into a pool. The woman will immerse herself three times and say, "Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us by His commandments and has commanded us to observe the Ritual Immersion." After that ancient ritual, the woman will have the option of dressing and going into a mirrored room equipped with hairdryers, hot combs and curlers, or first making a stop in the sauna. On the other side of the building is a less elaborate brown-tiled mikvah for men, and a small cistern for the dishes. There already are two older mikvahs in the city and a new one in Long Beach. The mikvah is not intended just for Orthodox women, Gail Mauer explains. Any Jewish woman can use it. About the seven dressing rooms, she smiles: "We plan ahead." The mikvah seems, at the very least, an anachronism at a time when Judaism and feminism have been meeting head-on in the consciousness of Jewish women. Jews, and especially Jewish women, are asking themselves if Judaism and feminism can be reconciled, and if so, how? Among the issues raised and signs of change in the air: The Conservative Rabbinical Assembly voted in 1973 to count women in the minyan, the group of 10 necessary for communal prayer. The following year the assembly voted against ordaining women to the rabbinate. The Reform movement, however, has had a woman rabbi since Sally Priesand's ordination in 1972. Gay Jews founded a synagogue, Beth Chayin Cha-dashim, in Los Angeles in 1972, and two years later it was chartered by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Ms. magazine asks, "Is it kosher to be feminist?" A new national magazine, Chai, profiles the national Jewish Feminist Organization. Davka, a Jewish quarterly published by the Hillel Council of UCLA, follows up a 1971 issue on the Jewish woman with a June, 1976, issue on the subject, and Davka's editor, Aaron Hirt-Manheimer, calls feminism one of the three big issues for Jewish magazines, along with Soviet Jewry and the state of Israel. At a lecture at UCLA Extension in April, Rosa Maybe it is time to redefine the family and ask "Is a woman with a child a family?' Felsenburg Kaplan, the first full-time woman faculty member at Hebrew Union College, described the traditional role of the woman in Judaism to be a helpmate to her husband, run the household and rear the children and some of the difficulties that role causes feminists. She introduced Marcy Schoenburg, a graduate student in the school of Jewish communal service at the college, who spoke on the problem of singles, especially single women, in the Jewish religion: There is no place for them. "This is not a by-yourself religion," Ms. Schoenburg said. "One is a religious Jew not through a personal relationship to God but through daily activities," and for most of those activities, "the family is the unit." Maybe it is time, Ms. Schoenburg suggested, to redefine the family within Judaism and ask, "Is a woman with a child a family?" Or is a homosexual couple? Or a commune? Debbie Prinz, a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union, then spoke to the group, telling them "the feminist as well as the male chauvinist can quote Scripture." Her topic was the modern implications of the Lilith myth. (According to Judaic myth, Lilith was the first woman. She believed in sexual equality and was banished in favor of Eve.) An impatient woman in the audience wanted to know why everyone was even bothering with the beliefs of primitive, superstitious people. "One of the struggles today," Ms. Prinz answered, "is that things that seem so primitive and illogical have been carried over until today. They affect us whether we believe them or not." The Lilith myth is important, she said, "to those Jewish women who are trying to legitimize their feminism within the tradition of Judaism. They are interested in restructuring Jewish life within the roots of the tradition." This summer a collective group of Jewish feminists in New York is publishing the first issue of Lilith, a magazine "changing the consciousness of Jewish women," the brochure reads. Among the projected articles is "How to Raise an Orthodox Jewish Feminist." Who are these Orthodox Jewish women and how do Please Turn to Page 4, Col. 1 I

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