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Sunday, June 10, 2012

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Balkan Beat Box Brash Israeli band headlines the show

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Dream gig Local band plays backup to Israeli songstress

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Challenges and opportunities Consul general recaps tumultuous year

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Let’s talk Israeli hopes to duplicate “Night of 1,000 Tables”

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Enter the “O-Zone” Energetic DJ connects with teens

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Shoppin’ the shuk Artists breathe life into “Sheinkin Street”

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Improvise this Local troupe acts out on fun “Jewish stuff”

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Strike the drums Cal marching band, Hadassah team up

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israel in the gardens

Tribute to the Jewish state plays out at daylong party dan pine

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movement — is guaranteed to get the crowd moving. But music is only one aspect It’s a rite of spring for the Bay of this giant Jewish party. Area Jewish community: Come Scores of booths, collectiveJune, thousands flock to Israel ly known as the Tents of in the Gardens for a taste of Community, will go up, repreIsraeli culture and a large dose senting a cross-section of the of blue-and-white pride. Bay Area’s Jewish world. It’s almost always something Synagogues, day schools, of a rock concert, with constant camps, Jewish agencies, nonentertainment and a headliner profits, Jewish collegiate groups bringing the stage show to a and many others will pitch crescendo in the late afternoon. tents to kibbitz, answer quesBut this year, Yerba Buena tions and get the word out Gardens will look a lot more like about the good things they do. Woodstock. Organizers of the Of course, the community’s June 10 event — the Israel unshakable love for the Jewish Center of the S.F.-based Jewish state is the unifying force at Community Federation and this annual event. Israel will be Endowment Fund — have strongly represented, especialbooked not one or two, but ly by the soon-to-be-departthree major Israeli bands to perphoto/amanda pazornik ing consul general of Israel, form on the main stage. Akiva Tor, whose four-year Headliners Balkan Beat Box Yerba Buena Gardens blooms with tents — and thousands of visitors — at Israel in term expires this summer. He’ll will be joined by Israeli pop star the Gardens in 2010. Efrat Gosh (backed by South Bay-based band Peatot), High School’s Jew Man Group, and Contra Costa Jewish be there to say his collective farewells. So will a group of Bay Area-based new olim (émigrés to and — direct from Israel — the unique a cappella Day School’s 99 Llamas) will kick things off on the main ensemble Voca People. The performers take the stage stage at 11 a.m. And a rousing 12:15 p.m. performance by Israel) who will soon start fresh lives in the Jewish state, beginning at 2 p.m., and the music goes on until 5 p.m. the Friendship Caravan of Tzofim — the Israeli scouting but not before they wave goodbye from the main stage. The Israeli-style “shuk” (marketplace) will feature a Live music is always a draw for Israel in the Gardens, and Israel in the Gardens broad range of jewelry, crafts, Hebrew books and other not just the headliners. As in years past, young talents 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 10, Yerba Buena Gardens, 750 Howard St., S.F. DAYLONG, 20b from local Jewish schools (such as Jewish Community j. staff

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Balkan Beat Box brings brash style to the masses dan pine

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Balkan Beat Box sax man Ori Kaplan says his band has a rule of thumb when it comes to songwriting. Better make that a rule of toe. “It needs to speak to the feet,” he says of their music. “That’s the first prerogative: from the feet to the head. When you dance, you’re happy.” Kaplan and his Balkan Beat Box band mates should encounter around 20,000 happy pairs of feet when they perform on the main stage at 3 p.m. Ever since their 2003 debut album, the trio — Kaplan, along with singer Tomer Yosef and drummer/programmer Tamir Muskat — has been one of the most embraced Israeli bands worldwide, in part because they sing in English and they don’t sound like any other Israeli band. In fact, with their brash blend of electronica, funk and Gypsy punk, they don’t much sound like anyone else, period. When it comes to the band’s fifth and latest album, “Give,” and its cacophony of samples, scratches and synthesizer-driven rhythms, the beat is definitely on. But Kaplan hopes BBB fans will take the music a step further. Contrasted with the upbeat spirit, the subject matter on “Give” is serious stuff. Money, greed, power, violence and oppression all appear and reappear like dark threads in an otherwise bright musical weave. Wisps of lyrics (“Everybody wants to be king of the world/Everybody wants to turn dust into gold”) become recurring motifs and rallying cries.

“There is stuff that pisses us off,” Kaplan says from his home in Vienna,“especially with the climate of last year’s protests and revolutions. It was in the air.” These uprisings include not only the Occupy movement in the United States and the revolutions in the Arab world, but the massive demonstrations in Israel photo/courtesy of the fillmore last summer protesting the glar- Tamir Muskat (from left), Tomer Yosef and Ori Kaplan of ing inequities in Israeli society. Balkan Beat Box The members of Balkan Beat Box were there, and some of that citizen-fueled anger rubbed formed in New York City and was based there for years. It allowed the band to branch out into a more global act. off on the trio as they wrote and recorded their new album. “We always attempted to create our own aesthetic,” Moreover, it opened the door to collaborations with musiKaplan adds. ”We see ourselves as a hip, global sound cians from Iran, Syria and other no-fly zones for Israelis. “We met many great musicians,” Kaplan says. “There is a system, as art pop. There are many things that are part of community of open-minded what this project is.” Balkan Beat Box In one new BBB song,“Enemy in Economy,” art imitates musicians that really think plays 3 p.m. on the main stage life. It retells the true story of wild-eyed, dark-skinned beyond borders.There’s also a band member Tomer Yosef fiddling with his new digital curiosity.” The band is more far-flung now, with Kaplan having relocamera on a commuter flight to Santa Rosa two years ago, and arousing suspicions that he might be a terrorist. cated to Vienna to be closer to his Croatian wife’s family. Yet the band remains Israeli to its core. And now, their Instead of the usual “buh-byes” from the flight crew, Yosef was hauled off by federal agents. “There were a countrymen and women are catching up to the BBB vibe. “Israelis play our songs on the radio there,” says few hours of interrogation,” Kaplan recalls. “It was racial Kaplan.“They know we’re out there spreading our work. profiling, but it leant itself to song.” Though all three members are Israeli, Balkan Beat Box We crossed over a bit, but we are Israelis.” ■

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israel in the gardens

Israeli singer, South Bay band team up via YouTube dan pine

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It’s a plum gig for a local band: playing backup for Israeli pop star Efrat Gosh at Israel in the Gardens. But to prepare for the concert, members of the South Bay quintet Peatot had to learn her songs, and fast. So they clicked on YouTube and started cramming. Making their fourth straight appearance at Israel in the Gardens, Peatot specializes in covers of Israeli rock classics from the last 30 years. When they heard Gosh would not be bringing her own band — and were offered the opportunity to accompany her — they jumped on it. “I think she’s a very unique artist,” Efrat Gosh says Peatot lead singer Yoram Zarfaty. “The plan is to do some of her songs, some duets, and then she’s going to join us [on] some covers.” They’re scheduled to play at 2 p.m. on the main stage. Ever since her 2005 self-titled album debut, Gosh has captivated Israeli music fans with her smoky jazzbased take on contemporary pop, a kind of LadyGaga-meets-Nina-Simone. She’s also been cast in a number of Israeli films and television shows. However, her music has a bit of a down-tempo dark side, nothing like the nonstop party vibe of Peatot. Neither Gosh nor Peatot worried about the disparity. “I heard their music and it sounds really good,” says

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Gosh, 28, whose Israel in the Gardens gig marks her first visit to California. “I told myself, ‘OK, let’s do it.’ ” Gosh forwarded the band links to her YouTube clips, which Zarfaty and company studied closely. “At the beginning we thought, oh, she’s low key and not what we do,” he recalled, “but we chose some songs together with her that sound really good. At Israel in the Gardens, you need to come up with something alive.” That’s something Peatot can do. Formed in 2008 (and named for the Hebrew plural term for pita bread) Peatot is made up of five Israeli expatriates who work in Silicon Valley. Besides Zarfaty, other regular band members are Raviv Moore on guitar, Guy “L.” on the keyboard, Tomer Dichterman on drums and Shay Shmeltzer on bass. Hi-tech is just their day job. Rock ‘n’ roll is their passion. The members have lived in the region for years, with some as long as a decade. Playing in Peatot “is complementing our being Israelis in Silicon Valley,” Zarfaty says. “We spread the love of Israeli music among the Israeli and Jewish communities here. I like to see people dancing to Israeli music and having fun.” Peatot does have an original or two, but mostly churns out songs made famous by Israeli stalwarts such as Rami Kleinstein, Machina and Monica Sex. Zarfaty says Peatot has a simple formula for picking songs: Make sure at least 90 percent of the Israelis in

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the audience knows the tune. Zarfaty and Gosh plan to sing a few duets on stage at Israel in the Gardens. “It’s exciting to work with new people,” Gosh says. Both Gosh and the band will have a chance to move beyond playing along with YouTube clips. Gosh arrives

Peatot

in the Bay Area a few days before Israel in the Gardens, allowing for a live rehearsal or two. Though based in the South Bay, Peatot gets around. Last year the band performed shows as far away as Milwaukee and Chicago. Peatot recently returned from Las Vegas, where the group played a concert in Efrat Gosh honor of Israel’s Independence Day. and Peatot That’s actually how it all started for play 2 p.m. on Peatot. the main stage “The band was created to play for a party for Independence Day in 2008,” Zarfaty says. “It makes me feel closer to who I am. I’m Israeli. I’m very lucky to have this band.” ■


The East Bay wishes Israel a t h Happy 64 Birthday! n t e w s ith love e r a r s h u e e arts a O p o . . h . r u re with y O our people... u b n a dance. n i e r a e c a e p r o f s e h s i Our w Beth Jacob Congregation, Oakland Congregation Beth El, Berkeley Congregation B'nai Shalom, Walnut Creek Congregation B’nai Tikvah, Walnut Creek Contra Costa Jewish Day School, Lafayette Grand Bakery, Oakland The Jewish Federation and The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay Jewish Family & Children’s Services, East Bay Kol Hadash Community for Humanistic Judaism, Albany Oakland Hebrew Day School, Oakland Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, Danville Shalom Bayit, Ending Domestic Violence in Jewish Homes Tehiyah Day School, El Cerrito Temple Beth Abraham, Oakland Temple Isaiah, Lafayette Temple Sinai, Oakland


israel in the gardens

Israel at 64 After a tumultuous year, Israel faces new challenges — and opportunities Israel remains committed to achieving a permanent peace with the Palestinian people In the last year, the Arab awakening continon the basis of two states for two people. This ued to transform the Middle East by way of is not a mantra, but rather the operative politballot, bullet and popular uprising. The final ical principle of a wide and stable Israel govoutcome of this momentous process remains ernment coalition. unknown, and we cannot yet determine To our regret, the Palestinian leadership when this tectonic political shift will reach continued this year to avoid a substantive stable form. negotiation and has refused to meet with However, one aspect Israel on a sustained basis. Hamas remains of the emergent politiensconced in Gaza and is an ongoing threat cal order is already to Palestinian moderation. clear. In every parliaUntil such time as we achieve a full peace mentary election held with our Palestinian neighbors, we will seek to last year in which Arab engage them in a manner that allows maxisocieties were given mal Palestinian economic growth and politifree voice, the parties of cal empowerment which do not hinder our political Islam emerged photo/creative commons-ramy raoof security. as the unambiguous Egyptian protests in February 2011 led to a sea change in The Iranian nuclear weapons program victors. Such was the case in Morocco, Egypt the government and a presidential election in late May. remains Israel’s greatest strategic challenge. and even in cosmopolitan Tunisia. This is a political fact of the first order which we need to recog- ity of the Jewish national movement, and its varying Thankfully, the international community has at long iterations range from Hamas, committed to terror last recognized that they too are threatened, and put nize and comprehend its implications. Israel will make every effort to reach out to the and Israel’s destruction, to the Egyptian Muslim strong economic sanctions in place. We hope this leadership of political Islam. We will seek friendship Brotherhood, whose public pronouncements are strategy will be pursued with determination and fortitude until Iran desists entirely from its nuclear and cooperation wherever possible, and correct, more moderate. The challenge of engaging political Islam is great — weapons ambition. pacific relations when not, but it remains unclear if our newly empowered partners are receptive. The and perhaps insurmountable. But if we succeed even parties of political Islam hold a worldview that has in part, the opportunity for deepening Israel’s region- Israel on the domestic front Israel looked at itself in the mirror long and hard in the not until now recognized the legitimacy and historic- al acceptance is profound.

Israel’s geo-strategic condition

The Jim Joseph Foundation proudly funds Israel education in solidarity with the people and State of Israel. We congratulate the Israel Center and Bay Area Israel education organizations for making this signature celebration of Israel possible. The Jim Joseph Foundation, established in 2006 as a private foundation, is committed to a sustained program of grant making in pursuit of a vision that leads to ever-increasing numbers of young Jewish engaged in ongoing Jewish learning and choosing to live vibrant Jewish lives. .

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past year. We saw muscular economic performance, robust prosperity, high growth and low unemployment. But we also heard the outcry of a struggling middle class, and we saw the deepening of simmering tensions between general society and the ultraOrthodox. Both of these represent cracks in the social fabric that we must mend, with tolerance and without demonization, because we are a people and a nation-state, and also a family.

photo/jta-kobi gideon-flash90

Strength of Bay Area Jewish community In the last four years it is has been my privilege to represent Israel in the Bay Area. I’ve encountered a Jewish community that is passionate and engaged about Judaism and Israel, and that is blessed with a devoted and skilled professional and lay leadership. The synagogues are vibrant, the day schools and Jewish community high schools are hubs of quality Jewish and secular education, and the Jewish organizational framework is constantly seeking ways to be more relevant and cutting edge. The Jewish community is far stronger and more united than at times it believes of itself. My caveat regards our strategic vision. The core affiliated Jewish community is strong and has created structures for deepening learning and transmitting Jewish identity. But the great mass and majority of Bay Area Jews

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live their lives outside of all frameworks of Jewish affiliation. How shall we engage our brothers and sisters living next door to us and invite them into Jewish life? One obvious means is Birthright, the only program in the toolbox of Jewish identity which is largescale and capable of reaching everyone. But here, I fear we suffer an eclipse of judgment. Taglit-Birthright’s free, 10-day trip to Israel is open to all Jewish young adults, ages 18 to 26, post high school, who have neither traveled to Israel before on a peer educational trip or study program nor have lived in Israel past the age of 12. Last year, 3,489 young people in the Bay Area applied to Birthright. But 2,484 of them (62 percent) were not accepted and were deferred to waiting lists. The great majority of these people will not reapply,

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Haredi Orthodox men argue with secular Israelis in Beit Shemesh on Dec. 26, 2011. At left, thousands march Aug. 20, during a protest in Tel Aviv against the rising cost of living in Israel.

and it is unclear when, if ever, we will have the opportunity to engage them again. These are the unaffiliated of whom we speak, and they are the community’s promise. A young Jew working at a start-up in Mountain View or living in U.C. Berkeley dormitories hears that the Jewish people are offering them an opportunity to visit to their homeland. They are intrigued and come knocking at our door — and we turn them away. This is a failure of vision whose remedy is well within our community resources, even in a year of slow economy. I urge you that we meet this obligation to our future. ■

Akiva Tor is completing his four-year term as consul general of Israel to the Pacific Northwest, and will return to Israel this summer.

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israel in the gardens

What does it mean to belong to a Jewish community? Visitors encouraged to sit down and share thoughts dan pine

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j. staff

When it comes to dialogue about social change, Danny Gal generally prefers to table the discussion. As long as the table is round and plenty of people show up. That’s what happened last September when Gal organized “The Night of 1,000 Tables” in his hometown of Tel Aviv. Spreading out in the courtyard of the Tel Aviv Museum, the event drew 5,000 Israelis for the express purpose of sitting together and launching that dialogue. Now, Gal wants to bring a taste of it to the Bay Area by replicating those roundtable discussions at Israel in the Gardens. It will involve far fewer than 1,000 tables, but he hopes to unleash the same positive energy. “The invitation is to come speak about what it means to belong to the local Jewish community,” Gal said by phone from Israel. “We plan to have people answer, then switch tables, allowing [them] to meet as

many [people] as possible. That way we access the collective wisdom of the group, to identify the main issues in the Jewish community.” The plan is to set up 10 tables in Yerba Buena Gardens, and hold three 45-minute dialogue sessions over the course of the afternoon, starting at 12:30 p.m. Gal hopes as many as 150 Bay Area revelers will take part. The invite came about by happy accident, when Israel Center director Michal Danny Gal hopes to replicate the energy of “Night of 1,000 Tables,” held last September Kohane met Gal a few in Tel Aviv, at this year’s Israel in the Gardens — though on a much smaller scale. months ago during his “Most pieces of the event were com- sure how to do it. That’s when Danny last swing through the Bay Area. He told her about his roundtable project, and ing together beautifully, except one,” showed up. “We brainstormed the idea of ‘roundshe told him about Israel in the she said.“We wanted to hold some form of community dialogue and were not table community conversations’ in our Gardens. Then a light bulb went off.

The JCRC proudly supports the Jewish community celebration of Israel in the Gardens

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community. Our federation staff committee approved, and here we are.” An organizational consultant by trade, Gal said he has employed the roundtable idea before, often in corporate settings. As the point person for the Tel Aviv branch of The Hub, a 7-year-old international network of meeting places that host lectures, cultural events and other events, he is used to bringing many people together for discussion and interaction. He also has fostered dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, working with the Center for an Emerging Future, an Israeli nonprofit that helps build joint projects between the two peoples. “It’s a process of reaching partnership through dialogue,” Gal said. “Trust-building, sharing stories, listening to each other, and using the tools of the roundtable to build community Danny Gal and listen.” In the midst of the intense social protests that rocked Israel last summer, Gal decided to try his roundtable idea out on a large scale with the Tel Avivbased event. With thousands in attendance, he had each person answer three questions: Why are you here? What are the top two changes you want to see from this? What can you do to help generate those changes, either alone or in community? Gal compared the experience to Moses on Mount Sinai. “Imagine the energy of 5,000 people sitting around tables in Tel Aviv and another 500 [tables] around the country at the same time, all discussing the same questions.” He added that, defying expectations, the biggest sound coming out of the 1,000 tables was silence. “It was silent because people mostly listened to each other,” he noted. “It was a very respectful Roundtable environment. For community us in the Middle conversations East, that was take place 12:30-1:15 almost a miracle. p.m.; 2-2:45 p.m. and Beyond that, we 3:30-4:15 p.m. in the really respected gardens. each other’s diversity, sharing our shared humanity and solidarity. It was so needed in our country.” Gal believes there have been positive changes as a result of “The Night of 1,000 Tables.” “I see what we did as a plug-in to Israeli democracy,” he said. “Many municipalities are now using the roundtable method to discuss issues. People are using the method as a practical tool when they want to engage the community.”

Film loop at CJM showcases up-and-coming Israeli filmmakers Besides being top, award-winning Israeli filmmakers, what do Joseph Cedar (“Footnote”), Ari Folman (“Waltz with Bashir”) and Eytan Fox (“Yossi and Jagger”) have in common? They are graduates of Tel Aviv University Film and Television School,

Israel’s oldest and largest film school. In honor of the school’s 40th anniversary, the S.F.-based Israel Center and San Francisco Jewish Film Festival are presenting a loop of short films by young Israeli filmmakers on June 10. The narrative and documentary movies

deal with various facets of contemporary Israeli experience. Eleven films will run continuously from noon to 4 p.m. in the theater room at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St. (directly across from Yerba Buena Gardens). ■

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israel in the gardens

DJ brings his show to all-new ‘O-Zone’ george altshuler

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Aaron David grew up a performer and he grew up busy. He began taking acting and music classes as a young boy, became a DJ at age 16, and when he was 23, he joined the Afrodisiacs, a touring ‘80s cover band. Because he was so busy, David, who grew up outside of Chicago in a Conservative Jewish household, didn’t get a chance to do something he always wanted to do — he never went to Israel. But now that he’s established and in his late 20s, David, who works as an allin-one emcee, dance leader and singer based in Mountain View, was able to block off Aaron David aka Irving three weeks last ‘Earnest’ Smorgasborgnine November and III (left), as lead singer for finally go to the the Spazmatics Promised Land. His time there didn’t disappoint. “It was a turning point for me internally,” David said recently, as he described staying with an Israeli family and traveling throughout the country.“I felt things there that changed me.” This connection to Israel motivated him to give back to the Jewish community at home. After volunteering at the 2012 Jewish Family and Children’s Gala in March, David

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— along with his ensemble of dancers — will donate their time to perform and emcee at the interactive “O-Zone” at Israel in the Gardens. The action starts at 12:15 p.m. “This will be 100 percent tzedakah,” David said. “I jumped at the opportunity to give the families and the kids an experience that would reflect even a small amount of what I felt in Israel.” During his visit to the Jewish state, David stayed with an Israeli family he knows in Netanya. One night, a group of veterans from Shayetet 13, the Israeli verphoto/richard mayer photography sion of the Navy Seals, came over to the Now a DJ in Mountain View, Aaron David entertains house to watch a documentary on TV the b’nai mitzvah crowd. about their unit. Spending time with these men and hearing their stories had a profound walls between performers and the audience, as being more fulfilling for him than traditional performances. effect on David. “You can begin to form relationships with the crowd “It wasn’t that Israel grew around them; these men were part of history,” he said. “It really put things in per- with this type of performance,” he said.“[These relationspective and it makes being able to go to Israel and trav- ships] do a lot more for both the people being entertained and for the entertainers.” el around in a free Jewish country hit home.” David is also used to breaking down the traditional Back in the Bay Area, David owns and operates Aaron David Productions, a group of interactive entertainers barrier between singing and acting. At age 23, he became lead singer of the Spazmatics, that perform what David describes as “hip-hop meets ‘Glee’ meets camp counselors meets break dancers.” His a touring ’80s cover band in which each member perproduction company specializes in b’nai mitzvah parties formed as a nerdy character. David took on the perand also performs at corporate and charity events, sona of one Irving “Earnest” Smorgasborgnine III, a including recent performances for the Contemporary play on the actor Ernest Borgnine and cybernetic Jewish Museum in San Francisco and the S.F.-based “borg” organisms from “Star Trek.” “We always performed in character, wearing Jewish Community Federation. DJ, 27b David describes this type of show, which breaks down

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israel in the gardens

Fair Trade Judaica

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Jewish artisans bring crafts to bustling ‘Sheinkin Street’ shuk Looking for a beautiful piece of Judaica to grace your home, a handpainted tallit for a gift or a one-of-a-kind pair of earrings? Chances are you’ll find something to like at the “shuk” — an Israelistyle marketplace that springs to life annually at Israel in the Gardens. Among the 20-some vendors selected to participate this year are a few new faces: One of them is custom jeweler Mendy Marks of San Francisco. Though you’ll typically find her at work in her Inner Sunset studio, Marks eagerly accepted an invitation to set up shop at the shuk. A veteran of the former To Life! Jewish Cultural Street Festival in Palo Alto (which was replaced last year with a Sukkot harvest festival at the Oshman Family JCC), Marks said she always enjoyed the Jewish vibe at the South Bay community’s annual event. Marks, a former member of Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco, fashions colorful, contemporary-style earrrings, pendants and other jewelry out of mixed metals. She will join Israel in the Gardens veterans such as Elissa Wellikson, a South Bay resident who hand-paints silk scarves, tallits, challah covers and other “wearable art”; Santa Rosa artist Nina Bonos, whose lush watercolors and collages can be found on everything from Judaica note cards to Torah mantles; and Gila Sagy of Concord, who specilizes in fused glass art, including mezuzahs for doorways. Also on board again this year: Fair Trade Judaica, an East Bay nonprofit that will bring merchandise from around the world. Look for the art vendors’ colorful booths along “Sheinkin Street” at Yerba Buena Gardens. — liz harris ■

Elissa Wellikson tallit

Gila Sagy

Mendy Marks

The Jewish Day Schools of the South Bay and the Peninsula proudly salute Israel on her 64th Birthday. Yom Huledet Samaech!

www.wornickjds.org

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Don’t sit back and relax at improv: Engage emma silvers

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There will be plenty of opportunities to sit back and be entertained at Israel in the Gardens — but Debra Schifrin and the Improv Artists have something a little more interactive in mind. “A big part of what we love about improv is that it’s really collaborative, very playful,” explains Schifrin, the producer and artistic director of the seven-person troupe, which will be performing at Israel in the Gardens. “When the audience is involved in creating a scene they become that much more connected to the action. It’s exhilarating.” The Improv Artists will be the keynote performers in Israel in the Gardens’ first-ever “Theater Zone,” from 12:30 til 1:45 p.m. Schifrin formed the troupe in 2009, when curators at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco wanted a live theatrical program to go with their “Chagall and the Artists of the Russian-Jewish Theater” exhibit. (Schifrin’s brother, Dan, is the director of public programs at the CJM, and

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asked for Debra’s help.) Drawing on actors she knew from her longstanding involvement with San Francisco’s improv community — people she’d met while working with troupes such as Bay Area Theater Sports (BATS) and the Unscripted Theater Company — Schifrin pulled together an ensemble for a unique show at the museum. The actors projected images from the exhibit onto a screen Improv artists (from left) Patricia Pearson, Pamela Hawley, Debra Schifrin and asked audience members and Channing Clarkson do their shtick. to call out words and settings the art brought to mind, and the sions of it for two more shows, a fall works as a researcher at the Stanford improv players used them as a jump- 2009 exhibit on the art of Maurice Graduate School of Business. She ing-off point for crafting comedic Sendak, and a 2010 exhibition of New turns to improv as a creative outlet, Yorker covers by artist Maira Kalman. she says. scenes. This will be the troupe’s first appear“The fact of the ensemble coming “Sometimes just saying ‘What do you see in this piece? What character ance at Israel in the Gardens, where together to create something, and the stands out to you, or what’s a relation- Schifrin says instead of art, the audi- fact that it’s new every time is really ship you see here?’ can yield some real- ence will be asked questions about what makes improv magical,” she says. ly interesting results,” says Schifrin. “fun cultural Jewish stuff” so improv “We’re just excited to share that with as “The thing with improv is to always actors can riff on their responses. The many people as possible.” performance is appropriate for all focus on questions.” Improv Artists perform 12:30 p.m. in the That show was such a success that ages. In her non-theater life, Schifrin Theater Zone. the CJM asked them to prepare ver-

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11:00 Young Bay Area Talent Brandeis SF and Marin bands, JCHS Jew Man Group, CCJDS 99 Llamas & rock band

11:30 Yoga with Kellyn Foxman Jumpstart your day and experience the powerful abilities of yoga

12:15 Tzofim Friendship Caravan Energetic Israeli musical entertainment with the Israeli Scouts

12:00 Tikvah Dancers Folk, Russian & contemporary dance from JCCSF’s Tikvah School, Folk, Russian, Israeli

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Walk honoring Hadassah’s Centennial Bay Area Hadassah, the Women’s Organization of America & Cal Marching Band

12:30 The Improv Artists 1:00 The Improv Artists 1:30 The Improv Artists

Interactive sessions of a new type of musical and comedic storytelling

Main Ceremony JCF and Israeli Consulate leaders, new olim and Cantor Sharon Bernstein

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Dancers/choreographers Troy Macklin & Cat Kamrath

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Voca People Israeli-initiated sensational ensemble of snow-white aliens with perfect harmony Courtesy of Marines’ Memorial Theatre Efrat Gosh and the Peatot Israel’s hot female vocalist with popular Bay Area-based band

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Cal Marching Band UC Berkeley’s 100 year-old band rocks the gardens

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Balkan Beat Box Internationally-acclaimed Israeli band, fusing rock, Mediterranean & world music

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12:30–1:15 Open outdoor roundtable conversations led by Tel Aviv Hub co-founder, Danny Gal. 2:00–2:45 What does being part of the local Jewish 3:30–4:15 community mean to you? Join in to talk, listen, argue and learn about a variety of issues Roundtable Zone: lawn behind Kids’ zone, 3rd St.

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12:00–4:00 Short films from Tel Aviv University Film School, celebrating its 40th anniversary. Stories about childhood, Russian immigrants, Israeli Arabs, soldiers & love Co-presented with the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Continuum: Dance

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African Drum Circle with Rhythm Village Drum circle and dance workshops. Everyone can participate Capoeira Sul da Bahia 400-year-old martial art that blends music, dance, singing, and acrobatics Circus School Students perform and showcase juggling, gymnastic & tumbling skills

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12:15 DJ Aaron David Fun activities and dancing with entertainer, singer, DJ and emcee 12:45 Israeli Folk Dancing with Café Shalom Way beyond the Hora! All levels welcome 1:15 DJ Aaron David 2:00 African Drum Circle with Rhythm Village Drum circle and dance workshops. Everyone can participate Sponsored by Be’chol Lashon 2:30 DJ Aaron David 3:30 Israeli Folk Dancing

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Popular scavenger hunt is back, as well as new exciting games. Play to win prizes! An ongoing reflection program for people of all ages: Create a drawing that reflects your own values

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Havdalah Besamim Create potpourri sachets with exotic spices First Fruit Block Prints Craft block prints of bikurim (spring harvest) from Israel and China Portrait Magnets Make a magnet with your photo and words in Hebrew, Spanish & Ugandan Mexican Folk Art Create bright paper flowers from papel de China and papel picado Make Your Hair Bloom Make flowers from pipe cleaners, ribbon and beads Make your Tzedakah Box Peace services in the Jewish tradition of giving with the Jews of Uganda to their Christian and Muslim neighbors

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685 Sutter St., SF

Schmooze, Dance & Make New Friends! Presented by Tzavta, the Israel Center’s Young Adult Division (supported by Helen Diller Family Foundation). Co-sponsors: JCF’s YAD, Birthright Israel Next & the Cellar Get a Free 1st Drink ticket @ the Fed Café & Roundtable, Israel in the Gardens!


Main Entrance

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Israeli Film Series at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Main Stage


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# ORGANIZATIONS - ZONE A A Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation A VITAS Hospice Care A A Wider Bridge and Keshet A Hazon Jewish Inspiration, ORGANIZATIONS - BOOTHS Sustainable Communities 1 JFCS, Jewish Family and Childrens Services A Hebrew Free Loan 2 J. Weekly 3 JCRC, Jewish Community Relations Council A JVS (Jewish Vocational Service) A ZOA, Zionist Organization of America 4 AIPAC, American Israel A American Friends of Tel Aviv University Public Affairs Committee FED CAFÉ FC JCF, Israel Center, JAFI (Jewish Agency for Israel), MASA, PJ Library

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

FIDF, Friends of The Israel Defence Forces StandWithUs Consulate General of Israel AJC, American Jewish Committee J Street Chabad of the Bay Area Sinai Memorial Chapel Jewish Home of San Francisco American Friends of Rambam Center Hadassah, Women's Zionist Org of America Hillel, Foundation for Jewish Campus Life JCHS, Jewish Community High School Camp Tawonga URJ Camp Newman CJM, Contemporary Jewish Museum UpStart Bay Area NBN, Nefesh B’Nefesh JCC, Jewish Community Centers of the Bay Area 23 Yerba Buena Gardens 24 Yelp 25 ELAL Airlines Fed Café Organizations Organizations Roundtable Theater Zone Children’s Area Teen Area Art Vendors Food

ROUND TABLE CONVERSATIONS RT Roundtable Community Conversations THEATER ZONE TZ Theater Zone: Yoga, Dance, Improv

ORGANIZATIONS - ZONE B B BJE, Bureau of Jewish Education B Jewish Study Network B San Francisco Jewish Film Festival B ORT America B JIMENA, Jews Indigenous to the Middle East & North Africa B AEPi, Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity B BBYO, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization B Brandeis Hillel Day School B Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa and World Zionist Organization B Hanukkah Hoops B NAALE High School Program, Israel B Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School B ZBT, Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity B Graduate Theological Union, Center for Jewish Studies B Tzofim, Friends of Israel Scouts ORGANIZATIONS - ZONE C C ADL, Anti-Defamation League C BlueStar PR C JNF, Jewish National Fund C NIF, New Israel Fund C Republican Jewish Coalition C Volunteers for Israel C G&S Travel

CHILDREN’S AREA CH Be’chol Lashon - Kids’ Zone O-ZONE - TEENS OZ Diller Teens, DJ Aaron David Snap Fiesta Photobooth ART VENDORS 26-27 Kova Caps 28 Tali Grinshpan - Glass Creations 29 David Casella - Metal Arts 30 Amina Harris 31 Friedman Designs 32-33 Gila Sagy Fused Glass Art 34 Ceramics by Marcelle 35 Peace in Mind 36 Scarves By Elissa 37 Nina Bonos - Joyous Judaica 38 Aimee Golant 39 Joyce Steinfeld - Homegrown Judaica 40-41 Rimonim 42 The Matzah Baller 43-46 SABRA Collection MO Judaica 47 Fair Trade Judaica 48 Bareket Fine Jewelry 49 Mendy Marks - Fine Hand Made Jewelery 50 Carrie Zeidman Fine Art 51 Sabra Jewelery Design 52 Tzomet Sfarim FOOD VENDORS FF Flying Falafel GFM Gluten Free Grocery KA Kosher Affairs ICE Rainbow Italian Ice


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Honorary Chairs, Israel in the Gardens Barbara & Ron Kaufman The Jewish Community Celebration: Israel in the Gardens is brought to you by the San Francisco based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund M ajor Event S ponsors

Nancy Grand President, JCF Jennifer Gorovitz CEO, JCF Jim Offel COO, JCF Michael Futterman Chair, Israel Center Michal Kohane Director, Israel Center Donny Inbar Arts & Culture Director, Israel Center Amit Caspi Project Director, Israel in the Gardens Suzy Drell Producer, Israel in the Gardens Mark Bethel Stage Manager, Israel in the Gardens Israel Center Team Amit Caspi, Donny Inbar, Michal Kohane, Irin Kutman-Levy, Barak Loozon, Nathan Pam, Judith Ramirez, Danna Rubin, Dana Shmueli

Me dia S ponsor

Special Thanks to Liki Abrams, Absolutely Music, Accurate Staging, Ariel Chasnoff, Steve Cho, Nora Contini, Delicate Productions, George Edwards, Slava Finkelstein, Dalit Gilberg, Nancy Grand, Andy Greenberg, Harriett Hardy, Luis Ibarra, Angela Ingel, Island Creative Management, Liz Harris, Doug Kahn, the Kohane-Taylor kids, Allan Lavigne, Steve Leibman, Linda Lucero, Gideon Lustig, Cathleen Maclearie, Ran Malool, Segev Malool, Mary McCue & MJM Management, Liza Meckler, Reymond Mesias, Jean Marie Mink, Amor Ordonez, Judith Ramirez, Matthew Reiff, Glen So, Jayne Sorenson, Stuart Rental Company, Katherine Tick, Talia Turkenitz, Lori Warren, Rhoda Wolfe A Special Thank You to the Following Individuals for their Generous Support Liki and Joseph Abrams, Anne Bear, Riva & David Berlson, Karen Robbins & Max Bernstein, David Blumberg & Michel Armand, Avi Caspi, Debbie & Barry Cohn, Adele & William Corvin, Amy & Mort Friedkin, Janie & Don Friend, Dr. Sam & Carmela Gill, Nancy & Stephen Grand, Barbara & Ron Kaufman, Robert Kaufman, Yael & Amnon Landan, Susan & Moses Libitzky, Marilyn & Lawrence McClaskey, Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation, Aliza & Raanan Peleg, Barbara & Richard (Dick) Rosenberg, Carol & Harry Saal, Scott Seligman, Roselyne Swig, Rivka Barlev & Jacob Tal, Valli Benesch Tandler & Bob Tandler, Dana Corvin & Harris Weinberg, Rhoda & Sheldon Wolfe

Event S ponsors

JEWISH HOME  Jewish Senior Living Group

S u p p o r te r s

ADL, Anti-Defamation League AEPi Fraternity American Friends of Tel Aviv University Bank Leumi USA BBYO, Bnai Brith Youth Organziation BlueStar Brandeis Hillel Day School BJE, Bureau of Jewish Education G&S Travel GTU, Graduate Theological Union, Center for Jewish Studies Habonim Dror, Camp Gilboa and

WZO, World Zionist Organization Hanukkah Hoops Hazon Hebrew Free Loan Jewish National Fund Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation Jewish Study Network Jewish Vocational Service JIMENA Keshet & A Wider Bridge MASA NAALE

NIF, New Israel Fund ORT America Republican Jewish Coalition Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School Tzofim, Friends of Israel Scouts San Francisco Jewish Film Festival VITAS Hospice Care Volunteers for Israel WIZO, Women’s International Zionist Organization ZBT Fraternity Zionist Organization of America


israel in the gardens

‘Theater Zone’ to showcase dancers, movers, shakers The Theater Zone will host a range of performances. As a warmup to the Improv Artists’ set at 12:30 p.m., there will be a yoga demonstration at 11:30 a.m., and at noon Russian folk dancing with Tikvah Music and Dance School students from the JCC of San Francisco. Following the improv, at 1:50 p.m. contemporary dancers Troy Macklin and Catherine Kamrath will perform a duet they choreographed just for Israel in the Gardens. Macklin, an alumnus of the Juilliard School in New York City, described the duet as “quite intense” and said that he and Kamrath scripted the choreography first through improvisation. “In creating this duet we decided to create a move- Troy Macklin ment dialogue,” he said. “One of us would start with a move- child; Kamrath was his first student ment and the other one would when he began teaching. Macklin believes modern dance respond. We were constantly trying to find what level the other person was should be “open and free to interpretation” and he hopes that audience memon, to match that, and go beyond.” The dance will be set to “At the Door,” bers come to their own understandings a piece by composer David Karagianis of the performance. “The most important thing is for that has a steady tempo and uses both classical and contemporary instru- people to foster their own artistic expression,” he said. “People can create ments. Macklin has taught for the past six their own expression within other peoyears at the San Ramon Valley Dance ple’s physical expression.” — george Academy, where he took lessons as a altshuler ■

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israel in the gardens

Daylong party is Bay Area’s tribute to the Jewish state from 2b products designed to stir the Jewish heart. For the young ones, the S.F.-based nonprofit Be’chol Lashon will once again sponsor the Kid Zone, with arts and crafts, acrobats from the Circus School and an African drumming circle, among other activities. Teens will have their own corner of the gardens, with activities organized by such community organizations as the Diller Teens, Kehillah Jewish High School, and the BBYO Central Region West. Oh, and bring your appetite. The food vendors this year promise to deliver exceptionally succulent treats, from Middle Eastern falafel to Italian ice. While most of the action takes place in Yerba Buena Gardens, organizers hope folks also will hoof Festivalgoers picnic and enjoy live music. it directly across Mission Street to the Contemporary in the Gardens”). In concert with the event, the museum will host an Israeli film loop, a drop-in stained-glass crafts workJewish Museum for part of the day. There, patrons can get two-for-one admission tickets shop for families, and for the linguistically adventurous, an simply by mentioning the secret password (hint: try “Israel architectural tour of the museum conducted in Hebrew. ■■■

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As for night owls, there’s always the after-party, to be held at The Cellar on Sutter Street (not far from Union Square). With activities planned from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Yerba Buena Gardens, the after-party, and even the JCF annual board meeting starting at 9:30 a.m. (nearby at the Metron), it’s tough to pick out one highlight of the day. Some features are new this year, while others come back year after year. But Israel in the Gardens wouldn’t be such a huge hit year after year without the thousands of Bay Area Jews who unfailingly turn out in force to show their support for Israel. Some things change. Facebook went from fun to boring. “House” is in its final season on TV. Mariano Rivera may never pitch again. But Israel in the Gardens will always be the Bay Area Jewish community’s biggest party — and tribute to the Jewish state. ■


cook

Israeli market is beehive of activity, feast for the senses Nowhere is the Israeli passion for life more pronounced than in kitchens, markets and restaurants. Despite Israel’s precarious circumstances, daily life goes on, never skipping a beat. Cafés are always full, new restaurants open daily, and street food can be found on almost every corner. Gorgeous, world-class shuks are an integral part of Israeli life. In fact, one could call these outdoor markets giant salad bars. On Thursdays and Friday mornings, they are teeming with people getting ready for Shabbat meals. The food sold comes directly from the fields, bypassing wholesalers, which provides the consumer with the best and freshest produce, herbs and

spices. Add to this the seductive aromas, vibrant colors and personalities of the vendors, and the whole experience becomes a feast for the senses. I am always envious of the shoppers loading their baskets with breads, produce and a dozen types of olives and hummus. As a tourist, I can’t partake in that pleasure, but I do bring back the dried herbs and spices that make Israeli cuisine unique. Lemony sumac and the pungent blend of spices called zatar are my favorites. I also make a beeline for the Falafel King, the Hummus King, the fresh warm pita bakery and Halvah King for snacking as I walk through this wonderland of food.

Parsley Salad Serves 4-6

2 large bunches parsley, stems removed 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced 2 tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 Tbs. sumac 2 cloves garlic, minced juice of 1 lemon 3–4 Tbs. olive oil salt and pepper sumac for sprinkling

Chop parsley, combine with remaining ingredients and sprinkle lightly with sumac.

Fatoush (Middle Eastern Bread Salad) Serves 6-8

3 (6-inch) pitas, lightly toasted, torn into bite-size pieces 1 ⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice 1 English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced 4 scallions, thinly sliced 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced 4 ripe medium-size tomatoes, diced

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 1 ⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley 6 fresh mint leaves, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 ⁄2 tsp. ground cumin seed 1 ⁄2 cup olive oil salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 2 Tbs. zatar

In a large bowl, moisten pita with 3 Tbs. lemon juice. Add cucumber, scallions, pepper, tomatoes, beans, parsley and mint. Toss again. In a small bowl whisk together remaining lemon juice, garlic, cumin and olive oil. Toss with salad and add salt and pepper. Sprinkle with zatar.

Salmon with Sumac Serves 4

4 salmon fillets, about 6 oz. each 2 tsp. sumac

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar olive oil lemon wedges

Sprinkle sumac over the fleshy sides of the salmon (not the skin part). Pour balsamic vinegar on top. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes to 2 hours. Just before cooking, drizzle or spray a light coating of olive oil on the fish to keep it from sticking. Pan fry, broil or grill until done. Serve with lemon wedges.

Grilled Chicken with Zatar Serves 4

2 heads of garlic, top third cut off 6 Tbs. olive oil, divided 3- to 4-lb. chicken, cut in half lengthwise, backbone removed 4 Tbs. zatar 11⁄2 tsp. lemon zest and 3 Tbs.

fresh lemon juice 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary 1 small serrano chile, seeded and minced (optional) 2 tsp. dried marjoram kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put garlic on a large sheet of foil. Drizzle with 1 Tbs. oil and wrap tightly with foil. Roast until tender and golden brown, 45–50 minutes. Let cool. Place chicken in a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle 21⁄2 Tbs. zatar over chicken. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of skins and into a small bowl; mash into a paste with the back of a fork. Add 4 Tbs. oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, chiles and marjoram; whisk to blend. Pour over chicken; turn to coat. Cover and chill overnight. Season chicken with salt and pepper; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to mediumhigh. Brush grill rack with remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Grill chicken, turning occasionally, about 35 minutes until skin is crisp and browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the thigh without touching bone reads 160 degrees. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, sprinkle with remaining 11⁄2 Tbs. zatar, and let rest 10 minutes. ■

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to loufiszer@aol.com.

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israel in the gardens Pomp and ceremony mark Hadassah’s centennial celebration While an impressive lineup of musicians will take the stage at Israel in the Gardens, one musical act in particular will keep festivalgoers tapping their toes. The U.C. Berkeley Marching Band, one of the oldest college marching bands on the West Coast (it began in 1891) will be on hand to provide the fanfare for Hadassah’s centennial celebration, leading members of the women’s organization from throughout the Bay Area in a procession around the perimeter of Yerba Buena Gardens. “We love participating in events that expose us to different communities,” said Colin Kealey, the band’s student director (and a trumpet player). Cal’s marching band played at the opening ceremony of

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Berkeley’s Magnes museum in January of this year, and Israel Center Director Michal Kohane approached the musicians afterward to ask if they’d be interested in joining Israel in the Gardens. Kealey said they didn’t have to think twice.“We’re always open to this sort of thing,” he added. “It’s fun.” While the full band includes more than 200 musicians, roughly 30 will be taking part in the June 10 performance, according to Kealey. The band will also be included in the event’s main ceremony, said organizers, playing both “The StarSpangled Banner” and “Hatikvah.” — emma silvers ■

| the Jewish news weekly israel in the gardens supplement

photo/courtesy of jody hauser

Marching band members ham it up.

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University scientists team up with growers to ‘make crops with less drops’ rahel musleah j. correspondent

Israel is famously known as a land of milk and honey, but it is hardly one that is flowing with water. For Israeli scientists today, maximizing water use is a key focus for research and innovation. It may also be key to avoiding the regional war everyone says must happen some day — a war for water. For the scientists, though, the main goal is finding ways to grow plentiful amounts of food in arid lands. In the midst of harsh desert conditions in the Negev and the Arava, Israel’s long, eastern valley, Israeli researchers and farmers have created a flourishing network of high-tech agriculture. Tomatoes, peppers, olives, cheeses, and grapes emerge from the arid land despite the fact that annual rainfall totals are measured in mere inches and the proximity to the Dead Sea produces groundwater that is highly saline. Naftali Lazarovitch, a specialist in irrigation at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), does much of his experimentation at the Zohar Research Station near the Dead Sea, where greenhouses that resemble white plastic caterpillars serve as indoor fields as well as laboratories. Before Lazarovitch explains the technology that allows crops to grow with saline irrigation water, he offers visitors the fruit of his research — literally: a gorgeous array of orange, purple, yellow, and red bell peppers packed with crispness, crunch and flavor. The peppers, which are exported to global markets, grow in small containers of perlite, a soil-less culture made of a mixture of stones, coconut powder and crushed building material. The Israeli-pioneered method of subsurface drip irrigation — which allows water to trickle slowly to the roots of plants — nourishes fat red tomatoes planted in soil, agricultural guinea pigs of sorts for experiments on water use, evaporation, irrigation and salinity levels. Melons and sweet basil grow in nethouses. The main idea, Lazarovitch explains, “is how to make crops with less drops.” The area is disconnected from the country’s main water supply, and desalinated water is available only by pipe when municipalities and factories have an overage, so farmers have learned to use the saline water below

the soil. Sometimes, the unforgiving conditions that Negev scientists tend to call “stress” create good things in plants: more antioxidants, better color. The yield, however, is reduced. On the road south from Beersheva, a grove of 250 olive trees newly planted at the experimental Wadi Mashash Farm has sprouted almost miraculously in seemingly parched sand. Pedro Berliner, director of the Blaustein Institutes, explains that modern agroforestry is reclaiming ancient Nabatean

photo/courtesy of bgu

Students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev get a first-hand look at the harshness of the desert, and the challenges it poses.

methods of water harvesting, a cheap, robust and efficient system. The amount of rainfall in the area is only four inches, he says, but there are a few “high intensity events.” Instead of

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being absorbed immediately into the ground, the heavy rains flow to lowlying areas and pool in previously prepared plots surrounded by dikes. The CROPS, 30b ■■■

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israel in the gardens

Drum circles, arts and crafts geared for the younger set Throngs of families fill Yerba Buena Gardens for Israel’s day to shine in San Francisco. From infants in strollers, to toddlers, to school-age young children, all should find something (even if it’s giant bubbles floating in the air) to keep them happy and engaged for hours. Be’chol Lashon (In Every Tongue), the S.F.-based organization that advocates for the growth and diversity of the Jewish people, is once again organizing the “kids and family zone,” with performances and ongoing arts and crafts activities. Drum circles and dance workshops led by Rhythm Village are slated for 1:15, 2:45 and 4:15 p.m. Several hands-on projects that kids can work on and take home will continue through the afternoon. They include making potpourri sachets, crafting block prints of bikurim (spring harvest) in Israel and China, fashioning Mexican folk art paper flowers, creating tzedakah boxes and more. ■

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Gabriel Harris of Rhythm Village performs on the drums.


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israel in the gardens

photo/israel 21c

The new Habima Theater opened with fanfare earlier this year.

$26 million face-lift adds grandeur The stage was set in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1905: Young Jews eager to explore their lost identity and culture founded Habima (The Stage), the first-ever Hebrew-language theater. It was a huge milestone. The theater company then moved to Moscow and faced continual persecution from successive governments. Over the years, Habima went through various incarnations, and by the late 1920s, the troupe moved to Israel and finally settled in Tel Aviv. Now it has an even grander home, thanks to a $26-million renovation along with new public space. The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality contributed

$15 million toward the five-year refurbishing project. Habima was Israel’s first theater to adopt the revived language uniting immigrants from across the diaspora. “It is the center of culture in Israel,” says Habima spokesperson Osnat Chen.“It is the national theater of Israel, and it is also the first Hebrew theater for artists, even the foundation for the beginning of the Hebrew language.” About 80 actors and 120 staff members work to support Habima’s ongoing productions, which are open to the public, including schoolchildren from the central and peripheral regions of Israel. — israel 21c

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DJ brings his show to ‘O-Zone’ from 10b costumes,” said David. “We got really into it — everyone started calling me Irving backstage and on tour. It was great.” A few years later, he moved on to the Afrodisiacs, an offshoot of the Spazmatics that had members around the country, some of whom performed at the Stanley Cup Finals and for President George W. Bush at the White House. David himself performed for the pop star Jessica Simpson and guitarist Joe Satriani. After David and his ensemble complete their first act in the O-Zone, the Israeli folk dance group Café Shalom will lead dancing at 12:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. At 2 p.m. Be’chol Aaron David Lashon, an S.F.kicks off action in the based nonprofit that O-Zone at 12:15 p.m. aims to foster understanding and opportunities for Jews of color, will sponsor an African drum circle with Rhythm Village. David will emcee and provide entertainment between acts, with performances slated at 1:15 and 2:30 p.m. Diller Teen Fellows will also run activities in the O-Zone, including their popular annual Israel in the Gardens scavenger hunt. ■■■

Groups spread word about worthy causes Dozens of organizations that serve the community will be on hand at Israel in the Gardens to spread the good word about what they do. Some are flying in just for the occasion. Among first-timers: American Friends of Rambam (from New York City), the U.S. fundraising arm of the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel. Also making debut appearances are two Jewish fraternal organizations: Zeta Beta Tau, which bills itself as the “world’s first Jewish fraternity,” founded in 1898 to serve New York City university students; and Alpha Epsilon Pi, which got its start at New York University in 1912. Both have Bay Area chapters. Another newcomer is VITAS Innovative Hospice Care. “Since its founding in 1978, VITAS and its staff have worked diligently to expand hospice access for all ethnic and diverse populations who can benefit from hospice and palliative medicine,” said Jeff Rosenberg, Bay Area community liaison. VITAS began serving patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families in the East Bay in 2004 and the South Bay in 2007. On a lighter note, there will be groups that serve happy, healthy children and adults, including URJ Camp Newman and Camp Tawonga, and the Bureau of Jewish Education. ■

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israel in the gardens

Negev desert blooms with boutique wineries, farmstead cheeses, posh hotel faye bittker

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special to j.

Tell your friends that you are traveling to southern Israel to tour some of the new boutique wineries that have opened in the Negev, and most of them will think you have already had too much to drink. The Negev, a semi-arid region that contains more than 60 percent of Israel’s land mass but less than 10 percent of its population, is a vast desert region that most tourists simply ignore. But no more. On Route 40, which runs from Mitzpe Ramon in the south up to Beersheva (informally called the “Wine Route”), travelers can stop at more than 20 “ranches” that dot the region, including a number of exceptional small wineries, delicious goat cheese farms and historic sites that offer a glimpse of the great Nabatean cities that once followed the ancient spice route. One of the wineries is run by former Bay Area resident Zvi Remak. You can find him at Kibbutz Sde Boker, which also houses the modest retirement home of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, and a small museum. Those who want to enjoy a glass of wine only have to stop by the visitors’ center at the entrance to the BenGurion Museum, where winemaker Remak will happily offer tastes of one of his vintages, grown and fermented on the kibbutz. .

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Born in San Francisco, where his family belonged to Congregation Beth Sholom, Remak later moved to Marin County with his family, and attended Cal Poly Pomona. “I worked and studied at all of the great wineries in Napa Valley, learning about the business of winemaking,” he said. Remak moved to Israel in 1980 and now manages all aspects of the Sde Boker winery. With less than eight inches of annual rainfall, farmers long thought that the region was too dry to sustain agriculture. But the altitude of the highlands creates a nearly perfect situation of hot, sunny days and cool, dry nights, explained Moshe Zohar of Nahal Boker Farm winery, just north of Sde Boker. “And the inhospitable weather means that the vines don’t suffer from the mold diseases or other insects,” he added. Like most of the farmers in the region, Zohar uses state-of-the-art technologies while planting his vineyards between the ancient terraces that trap runoff water from winter rains. In addition to his winery, Zohar and his wife, Hilda, operate a bed and breakfast and hope to open a Negev wine cellar in the fall. “The wineries in the Negev are all spread out. We want to give people a chance to taste the different wines in one central location,” he said. Located next to the ruins of an ancient farm from the Middle Bronze period, the


Grapes growing in a wadi (dry river bed) create a verdant green path at Carmey Avdat farm and winery.

Kornmehl Goat Cheese Farm sits high on a hill with a 360-degree view across the desert. Anat and Daniel Kornmehl opened it in 1997 and maintain a herd of 100 goats, producing a variety of French gourmet kosher cheeses. They also operate a small dairy restaurant (not kosher) open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. “We were the first people to answer the call to create cottage industries in the Negev,” said Anat as she offered tastings of their eight different cheeses. “We picked this spot because it was clear that the area once sustained a farm and that it was a thriving area.” Hannah and Eyal Izrael opened Carmey Avdat farm and winery in 1998, only a few miles away from Avdat National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that includes an original Byzantine wine press and remnants of a large, prosperous Nabatean city. The couple planted their modern vineyards along a natural wadi, a riverbed that is dry for most of the year. The verdant green path of the wadi flows up to a small complex of rustic buildings that include the winery, a gift shop selling local products and six cabins, each with its

own small pool. “If you take a room of Israeli wine experts and give them a blind taste test,” Hannah Izrael said, “they will always be able to identify the wines from the Negev. They have a very distinctive, fruity taste that sets them apart.” Others in the area agree.“I was always a farmer but I had to learn to grow grapes in the desert,” said Erez Rota of Rota Winery, noting that the extremes in temperature provide the wine with its own personality. An environmental artist who has exhibited his works around the country, Rota has turned his farm into a personal “installation,” juxtaposing eclectic sculptures with native desert plants. Beyond the quality wines, Isrotel’s new spa hotel in Mitzpe Ramon allows travelers to take their time exploring Israel’s last frontier. The Beresheet (“Genesis” or “The Beginning”) hotel is giving the entire region a boost. Located on a cliff overlooking one of the Negev’s three spectacular natural erosion craters, the hotel was built as a “destination” resort and has been operating at capacity since it opened in April 2011. ■

Resources: Avdat National Park www.parks.org.il/BuildaGate5/ general2/data_card.php?Cat=~25~~ 397886454 Beresheet Hotel www.isrotelexclusive collection.com/beresheet Carmey Avdat farm www.carmeyavdat.com

Kornmehl Goat Cheese Farm http://kornmehlfarm.ramon.goneg ev.co.il/english.asp Nahal Boker Farm www.israeldesertlodge.com/ Rota Winery www.rotawinery.co.il/ (Hebrew only) Sde Boker Winery www.sde-boker.org.il/winery/

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| June 1, 2012


israel in the gardens

Crops with ‘less drops’ from 23b soil slowly absorbs and stores the water so crops can grow throughout the summer. Using the same technology, an adjacent acacia forest provides firewood and fodder for animals; corn will be planted in between the trees. The techniques developed at Wadi Mashash are helping Third World countries combat desertification, the further degradation of arid lands. Three dozen ranches in the Negev specialize in olives, goat cheese, and fish, and a dozen different vineyards produce anywhere from 1,000 to 150,000 bottles a year. At Kish Farm, Daniel Kish, a sculptor, has turned his artistry to the creation of boutique organic wines. BGU researcher Aaron Fait works photo/rahel musleah with Kish to test the impact Winemaker Daniel Kish of intense light, temperature, and mild drought conditions on the Makhtesh Ramon, often called Israel’s grapes, and to determine how those Grand Canyon. The hotels’ panvariables affect the quality of the wine Mediterranean restaurant purchases and the presence of anti-inflammatory ingredients from local kibbutzes, farms and wineries. The hotel only has to satiscompounds like Resveratrol. The low humidity prevents fungi and fy the appetites of its hungry guests, but bacteria, so pesticides are unnecessary. multiplied exponentially, the scientific Birds are the biggest nuisance. “If you and agricultural advances in the Negev are the only wet and colorful thing in a have vast potential. As Lazarovitch says, “If we figure out how to solve the comdesert, you will be eaten,” jokes Fait. In fact, the combination of technolo- bined stresses of drought and salinity, gy and agriculture has created quite a we could feed the world.” lot to eat in the desert. Many of the artisanal foods are served at the luxurious Rahel Musleah is a New York-based new Beresheet Hotel, built on high cliffs journalist who took part in the AABGU 7th Annual that look down into the panorama of Murray Fromson Media Mission. ■■■

Young adults can party on into the night After partying at Israel in the Gardens all day, there’s no reason to stop the fun at 5 p.m. Young adults are invited to continue the merriment at an after party just a few blocks away, near Union Square. Tzavta, the Israel Center’s young adult division, is once again organizing the evening event for ages 21 and above. It runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at

Happy 64th Birthday from

Leonard W. Williams, CPA Elaine H. Raitt, CPA • Bruce M. Pajak, CPA Brenda L. George, EA • T. Patricia Cohen, EA Mary King, EA • Mary Koeppen, EA

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J.

| the Jewish news weekly israel in the gardens supplement

30b

The Cellar, 685 Sutter St., in San Francisco. Co-sponsors include the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federaton YAD, Birthright Next and The Cellar. (Partygoers can pick up a free firstdrink ticket at the fed café and roundtable at Israel in the Gardens.) Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , v i s i t www.jewishfed.org. ■


Hooha! Israel’s first hotel for bikers up and running Many seasoned travelers are so over the one-week all-inclusive vacation packages to Cancun. New values have streamed into our consciousness: values like environmental awareness, keeping fit and getting in touch with the local culture and surroundings. Looking to fill the niche market of cycling holidays, the HooHa Cyclists House is the first cyclists’ hotel in Israel. Established six years ago in northern Israel, the hotel offers single rooms and dorms to accommodate up to 30 people looking to bike around Israel’s scenic Mount Tabor and Lower Galilee region. HooHa caters to amateur and pro cyclists as well as teams. Dror Nevo and his wife, Hadas, opened HooHa in the village of Kfar Tabor, but not because they were lacking work. The parents of two both had lucrative careers: he as a vice president in a high-tech software company, she as a veterinarian. However, after a three-month cycling vacation in New Zealand seven years ago, they decided to turn their dream into reality: They would open a cyclist hotel. They scouted around, found a location, and a year later the doors were open

and the wheels were rolling. About 85 percent of their guests are Israelis, Dror surmises, about 60 percent of them cyclists, the rest just visitors who enjoy the location and ambience. Dror has launched a marketing campaign to attract tourists, and already has a dream itinerary for a three-day ride. “Of course it depends if they are mountain bikers or road bikers,” he explains. “Most of the people would like the Beit Keshet single track, a trail we established with the Jewish National Fund. And all the area of the Tabor River. We could end the trip in the area of the Jordan River or the Kinneret [Sea of Galilee].” HooHa offers a range of room rates — the least expensive is comparable to a hostel, while the most expensive is more like a three-star hotel. Cycling equipment can be rented as part of a package, and it’s also possible to hire Dror as a guide. He believes that bicycling is becoming a way of life for some Israelis, especially on the weekends: “It’s become like a culture and I hope it’s here to stay.” The entrepreneur is already planning a cycling hotel network throughout Israel, linking it to Europe. — israel 21c

T h e B ro t h e rs o f A l p h a E p s i l o n P i a re h o n o re d t o c e l e b r a t e Is rae l’s 64 th bir thday w it h th e G reater S an Fr anc isco c ommu nity a n d s h o w o u r co n t i n ue d s u p p o r t f o r t h e J e w i s h s t a t e .

D.A.C Metals

The staff and board of Shalom Bayit congratulate

David Casella

Zephira Derblich-Milea

Metalsmith Jeweler Designer •

on winning the 2012 “Informal Education” Helen Diller Award for Excellence in Jewish Education

www.dac-metals.com See you at Israel in the Gardens Custom pieces are my specialty

Alef Bet J u d a i c a Unique & Elegant Jewish Art & Gifts

We have Israeli Art & Jewelry

We are delighted to see Zephira recognized for her extraordinary work these past 7 years with Love Shouldn’t Hurt, educating children and teens about healthy friendships and relationships. She is helping to bring about a safer, violence-free future for us all – and we know how much teens love her! We couldn’t be prouder.

Mezuzot, Talitot, Ketubot, Bar/Bat Mitvah Invitations, Cards, Books, Holiday Items & Music

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| June 1, 2012


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