Message From Kosher OC Magazine Kosher OC is here to give the Orange County Jewish community news when it happens, here and around the world. We combine the best of modern media and dedicated journalism to give you timely and interesting stories about the movers and shakers of the community and the great events they hold. We also talk about Jewish trends and trendmakers in Israel and throughout the globe with interesting ideas about celebrating holidays and celebrating each other. Join us for a window into the world of Judaism, and let us have your insight and input. It is our pleasure to serve this wonderful community.
Table of Contents FEATURED 4 Chancellor’s Comments: Gillman Stresses Opportunity for All, Excellence of UCI 5 Remember the Real Message of Chanukah 6 Alumni Day Is for Everyone 11 Revolutions, Ruptures and Revisions: Transformation in Judaism 13 TVT Dedicates Israel Discovery Park
CHANUKAH 7 Chanukah Community Happenings 8 Lighting the Darkness 9 Chanukah FAQs
20 TVT Girls Volleyball Team Wins League Championship, But Loses in Quarter Finals of Playoffs 21 The Golden Dreidle Offers Judaica and Books Galore for Chanukah and the Rest of the Year 22 Scholar Examines “American Jews and the Civil War” 23 Rabbi Regales CSP Audience with Tales from Asia
STUDENT VOICE 26 AIPAC High School Summit 27 Why Not To Keep Your Nudes On iCloud
ISRAEL 28 Israelis Grapple with Synagogue Safety in Aftermath of Jerusalem Attack 29 Two Israelis Hurt in Palestinian Stabbing Attack in Supermarket 30 New Contrast-Enhanced MRI Developed by BGU Visualizes Brain Injury
OPINION 32 This Land is Mine 35 Can We Play Nicely? 36 Jewish Students Have the Right to Feel Safe on Campus
LOCAL 16 PJ Library Helps Jewish Families To Read Together 17 Groups Collaborate on Day about Breast Cancer Awareness 18 Another KISS from Temple Beth El SOC 18 Pretend City Welcomes the Dimant Family
How to Reach Us
19 A Walk Down Memory Lane with Chai Tots Preschool
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Kosher OC Magazine PO Box 7054 Newport Beach, CA 92658 Email: email@example.com Web: www.kosheroc.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/kosheroc Twitter: @kosheroc YouTube: www.youtube.com/kosheroc Issuu: www.issuu.com/kosheroc
DR. HARTLEY LACHTER December 18 - January 14, 2015
Opening Lecture: Thursday night, December 18, 2014, 7pm Temple Bat Yahm, 1011 Camelback St. Newport Beach “Anything but Secret: On the Ironically Public Role of Kabbalah in Shaping Judaism” Sample Lectures: “Nothing Held Back: Why Hasidism is both Loved and Feared” “Jewish Mysticism Then and Now: Kabbalah as a Cultural Phenomenon from the Middle Ages to Madonna” “Kabbalah in a Surprising Place: On the Role of Jewish Mysticism in Early Mormon Theology” “From the Ba’al Shem Tov to Menachem Mendel Schneerson: Following Prophets and Redeemers in the Modern World” “Jews and Religious Violence” “Human Bodies in Divine Form: Incarnation as a Jewish Idea” “Crisis of Authority: Cautions from the Jewish Past for Today’s Israeli Rabbinate” “A Path for Each Soul: Isaac Luria and the Modernization of Judaism”
14TH ANNUAL ONE MONTH SCHOLAR PROGRAM
“Medieval Charitable Organizations and the Creation of Judaism as We Know It” “Was Maimonides a Radical?”
Honoring Polly Sloan in celebration of her 90th Birthday
“Expelled: Jewish Exiles and the Shaping of Jewish Identity”
Revolutions, Ruptures and Revisions: Transformation in Judaism
“Facing Forward: Lessons from Past Transformations for Jews in the 21st Century”
Running from December 18, 2014 to January 14, 2015, CPS’s 14th Annual One Month Scholar Program features over 25 presentations by Dr. Hartley Lachter and explores how transformation has served as a creative and productive tool for Jewish vitality (with particular attention to how Kabbalah, one of the most radical and yet traditional
forms of Judaism, serves as a fascinating example of how transformation both protects and renews Jewish life). Questions to be addressed include: How does change sometimes enable tradition to persist? Why are some changes embraced while others are rejected? How do new developments mask themselves as old, and why is this necessary?
And much more!
Are there ways that periods of disruption have served as catalysts for Jewish creativity and renewal? Dr. Lachter is an Associate Professor of Religion Studies at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, holds the Philip and Muriel Berman Chair in Jewish Studies and serves as the director of the Berman Center for Jewish Studies.
We are the Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program - We ignite passion for Judaism! Celebrating our 14th year, the mission of the Community Scholar Program is to share the joy of Judaism, build community and celebrate our Jewish heritage with a rich adult education program and unique family experiences. Whether we are picking apples for Rosh Hashana, celebrating Shabbat while camping, clapping along with Jewish Blues or Rock musicians, hosting a community-wide Shabbat Alive outdoors, learning with internationally-known scholars or making life-long Jewish friends at family and adult retreats, CSP has programs to offer for all ages. CSP is supported by an Impact Grant from Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County and participates in the Create a Jewish Legacy “Assuring Jewish Tomorrows” in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
For more information, contact: Arie Katz - Orange County Community Scholar Program - (949) 682-4040 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chancellor’s Comments: Gillman Stresses Opportunity for All, Excellence of UCI By Ilene Schneider learning and understanding science as faced by a growing population of elementary school students, many of whom are non-native English speakers. Partners are the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Orange County Department of Education. In addition, there are many other leading-edge projects happening at UCI, including an interdisciplinary center on family violence, research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and an initiative called Chemistry at the Space Time Limit (CASTLE). “Building a university is a commitment to the future,” Dr. Gillman said. “I’m not sure there was ever a time when we expected college students to sink or swim, but now it really takes a village to help them find the identity and strength to be educated at a world-class university,” said Howard Gillman, Ph.D., who became UC Irvine’s sixth chancellor on September 18.
from underrepresented groups. “It’s not enough to create institutions for privilege to reproduce privilege,” he said. “We have to extend opportunities and create support structures. We need partnerships to make sure that talented young people are on a path to achieve their highest potential and help humanity.”
Chancellor Gillman, who addressed an audience of about 300 people at a community forum entitled “UCI and the Future of Orange County” on Monday, November 24, had previously served as provost and executive vice chancellor since June 2013 and interim chancellor since July 1. The forum, which was held at University Synagogue in Irvine, was presented by the Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS) and cosponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Chabad UCI, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) of Los Angeles, Hilllel of Orange County and AEPi at UC Irvine.
He pointed out that UCI, which will be 50 years old next year, is the youngest institution to join the American Association of Universities, which includes the top 60 research universities in the country. As such, it has a “huge impact on the development of the region, igniting innovation, with a commitment to excellence in education, discovery and service,” he said. In addition to being “an engine of economic growth with initiatives in technology transfer and commercialization,” UCI contributes to the overall wellness and health of the region, according to Dr. Gillman.
Dr. Gillman, who was a first-generation college student, related that 58 percent of the current students at UC Irvine are also first-generation college students and that a third of them come 4
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With $6.4 million in National Science Foundation funding, UCI has established the Equitable Science Curriculum for Integrating Arts in Public Education (ESCAPE) project, which will address the challenges of
He also discussed the burning issue on many people’s minds – how to address what Rose Project Co-Chair Jeff Margolis described as “moving UCI from the highlight reel on antiSemitism to an example of how to deal with activities to create a campus that’s positive constructive and safe.” While some measures have been in place to create a leadership cadre of Jewish students on campus, create dialogue between the university and the community and develop relationships between UCI and Israeli universities, Dr. Gillman acknowledged that “cable news networks have gotten good at creating an outrage machine.” He hopes that the university community can have certain touchstone values, including free speech and a culture of inquiry, and that students are given the appropriate tools to deal with problems “even when things get tough.” He concluded,” Free speech is not shouting people down. We need to create the right culture, establish support structures and establish expectations.” Who Is Howard Gillman?
An award-winning scholar and teacher, Dr. Gillman has academic appointments in the departments of political science, history, law, and criminology, law and society. Among his books are The Constitution Besieged: The Rise and Demise of Lochner Era Police Powers Jurisprudence (Duke 1993), The Votes That Counted: How the Court Decided the 2000 Presidential Election (Chicago 2001), and American Constitutionalism (with Mark Graber and Keith Whittington). He has also co-edited two other volumes and authored more than 40 articles and book chapters. He has received many awards for his scholarship, and for teaching excellence and dedication to students. Prior to his appointment as provost and executive vice chancellor at UC Irvine, Dr. Gillman was a professor of political science, history, and law at the University of Southern California. From 2007 to 2012, he served as dean of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. A native of Southern California, Dr. Gillman grew up in North Hollywoodt. He earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in political science at UCLA. His wife, Ellen, earned a bachelor’s degree at UC San Diego and a master’s and doctorate in psychology at UCLA. They have two children.
FEATURED The Power of Light
Remember the Real Message of Chanukah By Ilene Schneider
Light means many things to many people. Judaism is replete with references to light, beginning with Creation. It symbolizes hope, as in the promise of the new day. When one speaks of enlightenment, one thinks of wisdom. Lighting the way is the power to lead and to accomplish things that might seem impossible. Light is often used to represent the forces of good, while darkness usually depicts the forces of evil. Chanukah is all about light. It is the story of enabling Judaism to continue against all odds, the triumph of the few against the many and the ability to rededicate the Temple when there seemed to be less than enough resources to do so. It symbolizes triumph through faith and will – whether during the time of the Maccabees or in the present. While Chanukah is accorded less status than some of the other Jewish holidays, it is a big holiday for American Jews. For some people it is a way to keep the children happy while avoiding the “December dilemma.” For others, it is a fun celebration with enjoyable – and delicious – rituals. For
still others, it is a way to explain the lack of other people’s rituals to one’s neighbors. While we light the candles, give and get the presents and eat the latkes and sufganiyot, let us remember the real messages of the holiday. It was never easy to be Jewish, and sometimes we have to fight for it. There are many competing influences in our world, and we have to work at making Judaism a priority. Judaism is both an individual and a collective effort: a fully lit menorah gives so much more light than one candle, but each candle contributes some of that light. In 2014 many of our brethren faced challenges, especially in Israel. By standing together, like the lights of the menorah, we are stronger. Kosher OC wishes you and your family a joyous Chanukah that brings light into your home and into your heart.
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
FEATURED A Thanksgiving Tradition
Alumni Day Is for Everyone By Robin Silver-Zwiren gymnasium filled with pennants, many of which Cami and her siblings help TVT win, there is now a jersey framed to be displayed with these other achievements. Her professional career is one we will continue to track with our lions’ pride. David Samson, a classmate of Cami, is now on the TVT Board of Directors. His leadership skills began many years ago when he served as ASB President. Following graduation he spent a year in Israel volunteering in many capacities and improving his Hebrew language skills. He returned
Several years ago another Thanksgiving tradition was added to many Tarbut families holiday weekend. On Wednesday, when so many graduates return home from college, Alumni Day the annual basketball game between a team of graduates and the HS regulars began. Now a game of soccer and baseball are added to the festivities. Games between teachers, graduates and students fill the morning with lots of laughter and fun. This year Booster Day where the cheerleaders and kindergarteners perform a routine was added to the agenda. Even before being a parent of TVT graduates I enjoyed seeing so many others return to the campus. Seeing the stands fill up with familiar faces, watching their expressions when they reunite with friends and relatives. My camera captures these moments year after year. Many of those on the Alumni Teams are those of ones I took when they were in kindergarten so many years ago. In fact I remarked to veteran teacher, Linda Cooper, how many hundreds of photos we may have taken of these basketball players over the years and she answered “more like thousands”. I never tire of it though. 6
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This year, very possibly, because my own two grads are living in Israel the day seemed to be even more enjoyable. Add that to the fact that my remaining TVT student is on the cheer squad certainly added to the pride I felt. There is something special about being a part of the TVT family. Sharing in each other’s successes whether they are at Tarbut, at college and as they marry and have children of their own. Camille Levin graduated Tarbut in 2008 and attended Stanford University until graduation in 2011. She was named First Team All American by the Women’s Soccer NSCAA. In fact Stanford won their first ever NCAA Championship Title because of how Cami set up the game-winning goal. She excelled academically as well as on the soccer field which proves how important these skills are to Tarbut. In a
to attend USC’s Marshall School of Business and has embarked on his banking career. David is the first TVT graduate to sit on the Board and will certainly bring many ideas to ensure that the next generation can also claim such an exemplary education. Michael Hirschberg another TVT alumni is making his mark on the community as Publisher of Kosher OC Magazine. Michael attended UCI and has taken his business, computer, and interpersonal skills a step further with Aterem Website Solutions too. This magazine, website plus his freelance work, keep him busy but he finds time to help out in the community. I am certainly looking forward to many more Alumni games and news in the years to come.
CHANUKAH A Thanksgiving Tradition
Chanukah Community Happenings By Kosher OC Staff
December 7, Noon – Congregation B’nai Israel Chanukah Carnival and Boutique December 11, 6:30 p.m. – ATID Hadassah 8 Days of Oil at the Home of Laudie and Ken Freed (email@example.com) December 13, 6 p.m. – Temple Beth Ohr Iron Chef Latkes December 16-23, 6 p.m. – Temple Beth Sholom Menorah Lighting at Orange Circle December 16, 5 p.m. – Chabad of Irvine Hot Pretzel Menorah Lighting at Tustin District December 17, 3:30 p.m. – Chabad of Irvine Lollipop Menorah Lighting at Irvine Spectrum December 17, 3 p.m. – Pretend City Menorah Lighting sponsored by Chabad of Irvine and Shalom Family December 19, 6 p.m. – Congregation Chabad Beth Meir HaCohen North Orange County Chanukah Friday Night Dinner December 21, 10 a.m. – JCC Chanukah Storytime December 21, 3:30 p.m. – Chabad of Tustin Giant Menorah Lighting at Tustin City Hall December 21, 1 p.m. – Beth Jacob Chanukah Carnival December 22, 6 p.m. – SCORT (South County ORT) Chanukah Party (firstname.lastname@example.org) December 24, 8:30 p.m. – Jew Glue 9th Night at the Yost Theater
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
Lighting the Darkness By Chabad.org defiled the Holy Temple in Jerusalem with Greek idols. A small, vastly outnumbered band of Jews waged battle against the mighty Greek armies, and drove them out of the land. When they reclaimed the Holy Temple, on the 25th of Kislev, they wished to light the Templeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s menorah (candelabrum), only to discover that the Greeks had contaminated virtually all the oil. All that remained was one cruse of pure oil, enough to last one nightâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and it would take eight days to procure new, pure oil.
Some 2100 years ago the Land of Israel came under the rule of the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus, who issued a series of decrees designed
to force his Hellenistic ideology and rituals upon the Jewish people. He outlawed the study of Torah and the observance of its commands, and
Miraculously, the one-day supply of oil lasted eight days and nights, and the holiday of Chanukah was established. To commemorate and publicize these miracles, we light the Chanukah menorah (also known as a chanukiah) on each of the eight nights of Chanukah. This year, we start lighting the menorah on Tuesday night December 16, 2014.
Chanukah FAQs By Chabad.org Why does the date of Chanukah seem to change each year? Chanukah begins on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev. The Jewish calendar is primarily based on the lunar cycle, and its dates fluctuate with respect to other calendar systems. Thus the first day of Chanukah can fall anywhere between November 28th and December 26th. How is Chanukah celebrated?
What does the holiday of Chanukah celebrate? Chanukah celebrates two miracles: 1. The 2nd century BCE victory of a small, greatly outnumbered and out-armed army of Jews, known as the “Maccabees,” over the mighty Greek army that occupied the Holy Land. The rebellion was in response to the Greek attempt to force a Hellenistic G‑dless lifestyle on the Jewish inhabitants of Israel. 2. The kindling of a seven-branched Menorah (candelabra) was an important component of the daily service in the Holy Temple. When the Maccabees liberated the Temple from the hands of the Greek invaders, they found only a small cruse of pure and undefiled olive oil fit for fueling the Menorah. The problem was, it was sufficient to light the Menorah only for one day, and it would take eight days to produce new pure oil. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days and nights. How is it spelled, Chanukah or Hanukkah?
In the Hebrew, Chanukah is pronounced with the letter chet. The chet’s “ch” sound is not enunciated like the “ch” in child; rather it’s a guttural, throaty sound—like the “ch” in Johann Bach—which does not have an English equivalent. The letter “H” is the closest, but it’s not really it. So while some people spell and pronounce it “Chanukah” and others settle for “Hanukkah,” they really are one and the same.
On each of the eight days of Chanukah, we light the menorah, a nine-branched candelabra, after nightfall (aside for Friday afternoon, when the candles are lit shortly before sunset). On the first night we kindle one light plus the shamash (attendant candle), on the second night we kindle two lights plus the shamash, and so we continue until the eighth night when we kindle all eight lights plus the shamash. The menorah lights can be either candles, or oil and wicks. It is traditional to eat foods fried in oil on Chanukah, to commemorate the miracle of Chanukah which occurred with oil. It is also customary to eat dairy foods during the holiday. It is customary on Chanukah to give money gifts to children, and to play dreidel games.
What does the word Chanukah mean? Chanukah means “dedication” or “induction.” Following their victory over the Greeks, the Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple and its altar, which had been desecrated and defiled by the pagan invaders. The word Chanukah can also be divided into two: Chanu—they rested, and Kah—which has the numerical value of 25. On the twenty-fifth day of the Hebrew month of Kislev the Maccabees rested from their battle, and triumphantly marched into the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, ready to rededicate it.
It is also customary to give an increased amount of charity each day of Chanukah. There are also certain passages we add to the daily prayers and Grace After Meals. What are some of the traditional Chanukah foods? Because of the central role that oil played in the Chanukah miracle, it is customary to serve foods fried in oil. The traditional foods vary according to country of origin:
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
Jews of Eastern European (or Ashkenazi) origin eat latkes, fried potato pancakes. Sephardic Jews eat different varieties of deep-fried doughnuts. Greek Jews call them loukomades; Persian Jews refer to them as zelebi, while in Israel jelly doughnuts are wildly popular and known as sufganiot. It is also customary to eat dairy foods on Chanukah, in commemoration of the bravery of Yehudit, who used cheese to defeat the Greek general Holofernes. It is customary amongst Sephardic residents of Jerusalem to arrange communal meals during the eight days of Chanukah. Friends who quarreled during the year traditionally reconcile at these meals. Where does the name “Maccabee” come from? The name Maccabee may come from the Hebrew word for hammer, or for hitting. It is also an acrostic for Mi Kamocha Ba-Elim Hashem! (Who is like You among the mighty, O G‑d!) What does “Dreidel” mean? Dreidel is a Yiddish word which comes from the word drei, which means to turn, or spin. The dreidel is a speciallydesigned spinning top used for Chanukah games. What is a Dreidel? Dreidel is Yiddish for a spinning top. A dreidel is a pointed, four-sided top which can be made to spin on its pointed base. Dreidels are normally made of plastic or wood, though there are silver or glass “designer dreidels” available on the market, usually intended for display purposes. It is customary to play dreidel games on the holiday of Chanukah. There is a Hebrew letter embossed or printed on each of the dreidel’s four sides. These four letters form the acronym of the phrase Nes gadol hayah sham, “A great miracle 10
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happened there”—a reference to the Chanukah miracle that transpired in the Land of Israel. The dreidel, known in Hebrew as a sevivon, dates back to the time of the Syrian-Greek rule over the Holy Land—which set off the Maccabean revolt that culminated in the Chanukah miracle. Learning Torah was outlawed by the enemy, a “crime” punishable by death. The Jewish children resorted to hiding in caves in order to study. If a Greek patrol would approach, the children would pull out their tops and pretend to be playing a game. By playing dreidel during Chanukah we are reminded of the courage of those brave children. Is there any significance to the blue and white Chanukah candles? None whatsoever. Chanukah candles can be any color, shape or size (provided that they burn for the minimum half-hour, or one and a half hours on Friday night). The colored candles are apparently born of the desire to add an aesthetic touch to the holiday, and perhaps to make it more appealing to the children. And certain manufacturers decided to give Chanukah a unique color theme, too. The blue and white of the Israeli flag appealed to them, and thus the reason for the proliferation of blue and white Chanukah candles. In what order do we light the candles? On the first night of Chanukah, set one candle to the far right of the menorah. On the following night add a second light to the left of the first one, and then add one light each night of Chanukah—moving from right to left. Each night, light the newest (leftmost) candle first, and continue lighting from left to right. In other words, we add lights to the menorah from right to left, and we light from left to right. What is the ninth candle for?
The ninth candle is called the shamash or “attendant” candle. It is used to light the other ones.
FEATURED Anything But Secret
Revolutions, Ruptures and Revisions: Transformation in Judaism By Ilene Schneider form of cultural resistance for some pre-modern Jews. His recent book, Kabbalistic Revolution: Reimagining Judaism in Medieval Spain, was published by Rutgers University Press. In an interview, Prof. Lachter explained that the development of Kabbalah can be traced to the 13th or 14th Century. “It was embraced and became a paradigm shift in the way Jews expressed their identity,” he said. “One would expect it to be regarded with suspicion, but instead it was embraced. It seems like a discontinuity.”
Hartley Lachter explores role of Kabbalah in shaping Judaism during 14th Annual One Month Scholar Program. Change can cause chaos, and yet it can be critical for maintaining long-term viability. Change and discontinuity are the constants of Jewish experience, but Judaism has managed to maintain its coherence and viability over the course of its dynamic development. According to Hartley Lachter, associate professor of religion studies at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and the scholar of the 14th Annual One Month Scholar Program, “A rebellion occurs when people are disconnected. A revolution is not a rejection against something but the advancing of an alternative. It can mean that people are actively engaged but not conventional. A healthy kind of revolution keeps people engaged and committed.” The Community Scholar Program series, which will run from December 18 to January 14, will explore how transformation has served as a
creative and productive tool for Jewish vitality. Prof. Lachter, who holds the Philip and Muriel Berman Chair in Jewish Studies and serves as the director of the Berman Center for Jewish Studies at Lehigh will answer such questions as: How does change sometimes enable tradition to persist? Why are some changes embraced while others are rejected? How do new developments mask themselves as old, and why is this necessary? Are there ways that periods of disruption have served as catalysts for Jewish creativity and renewal? Prof. Lachter will devote particular attention to how Kabbalah, one of the most radical and yet traditional forms of Judaism, serves as a fascinating example of how transformation both protects and renews Jewish life. His scholarship focuses on medieval Kabbalah, with emphasis on the relationship between Jewish historical experiences and the development of kabbalistic discourses. His work explores how medieval JewishChristian debates, as well as disruptive moments of violence and forced conversion, shape Jewish mystical literature and serve as a
However, Prof. Lachter believes that the radical shift represented by Kabbalah is consistent with other changes in discourse in Judaism – such as the shift from the Judaism of the Temple to rabbinic Judaism, the Enlightenment and the Reform movement — that have “kept Judaism going as a living phenomenon, making changes over time, altering the course of Jewish history and then giving way to other phenomena.” The Hasidic movement, which seems very conservative, was radical for its time in the mid-1700s, opined Prof. Lachter, whose teaching interests include courses on Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah, survey courses on Judaism and Jewish thought, theory and method in the study of religion and explorations of contemporary religious extremism and violence. While many Jews were part of the Enlightenment and were engaged in the economic and political life of the nations where they lived, the Hasidim rejected it. Hasidic groups were based on the genealogy of authority, he said. As Prof. Lachter explained in an article in The Forward, “The perception of medieval Kabbalah as a carefully guarded, secret discourse is the result
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
of an overemphasis on the claims of some of the early kabbalists, as well as a narrow selection of texts that have received disproportionate attention due to their prominence in later centuries. In fact, many medieval kabbalistic texts reflect an explicit desire to introduce Kabbalah to readers who are just beginning to study Jewish esoteric lore.” Countering the perception that Kabbalah was secret or shared with only the worthy, Prof. Lachter said that early kabbalists wanted to spread rather than restrict it. Then, with the invention of the printing press, many Jews were reading, writing and reproducing texts, spreading it even further. Today, however, people are “suspicious of the Kabbalah Center,” believing that it has “transgressed a boundary,” he said. “People seeking fulfillment in the contemporary world draw from facets of traditions, and medieval Jews did the same thing in terms of their culture. In both cases, people felt that Jewish esoteric knowledge has something to offer. It’s analogous, even if the content is very different.” Prof. Lachter stated that “everyone is selling religion as a commodity in the 21st Century. People are trying to understand it in the context of what’s happening now.” Additionally, he said, people are rethinking social and religious boundaries. The Kabbalah Center is unbounded by the “distinctive nature of Judaism.” It focuses on the medieval period and methods Jews had for coping with various issues. As he said, “Ultimately, everything gives way to something else that people weren’t contemplating 20 or 30 years ago. We don’t know what the Kabbalah movement will do next, and it’s exciting to think about it.” In terms of current trends, Prof. Lachter said that previous denominational boundaries in Judaism are less important in the lives of some people, adding that “People will take the initiative to express their identity in 12
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other ways. At one time actors didn’t express their public Jewish identity. Today there is greater integration of Jews with other people, because open options are provided by democracy.” He believes that Jews will be “increasingly integrated into the culture in which they live,” providing both challenges and opportunities.” Identities are much more complex, according to Prof. Lachter. For instance, in families with one Jewish parent, there is a “complicated continuum.” He added, “Assimilation is tricky. There is a postmodern breaking down of people. It is a question of how Jewish communities understand their continuity. Jews have the freedom to make choices, including marrying nonJews. Every major shift that happens in and around Judaism leads to a mixed combination of opportunities and challenges. Jewish leadership is figuring out how to address the problems presented by contemporary reality.” Prof. Lachter, who invites his readers and students to consider how religious identities are negotiated through the production of public discourses that shape, and are shaped by, the interactions across identity boundaries, is excited to come to Orange County. He was recommended to the Community Scholar Program by Marc Michael Epstein, who was the One Month Scholar in January 2013. Hartley lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Dr. Jessica Cooperman, who is a religion studies professor at Muhlenberg College, where she directs the program in Jewish studies. They have two daughters, Zoe and Mollie. 14th Annual One Month Scholar Program Honoring Polly Sloan Anything But Secret On the Ironically Public Role of Kabbalah in Shaping Judaism Hartley Lachter Thursday, December 18, 7 pm reception; 7:30 presentation
$10 per person with RSVP by December 10; $18 per person at the door Free to CSP members and Temple Bat Yahm members who RSVP by December 10 Community Scholar Program participates in the Create a Jewish Legacy”Assuring Jewish Tomorrows” in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. CSP’s 14th annual one-month scholar program is supported by an impact grant from Jewish Federation & Family Services Orange County.
to try out the new playground.
TVT Dedicates Israel Discovery Park
An advanced playground encouraging health, movement, learning and social integration, Icon combines modern technology with classic play equipment. Bringing together gaming technology with outdoor play equipment, Icon provides an engaging, challenging and fun play area promoting a healthy active lifestyle, according to Kompan, the manufacturer.
By Kosher OC Staff
Dressed in green T-shirts to commemorate the occasion, the lower school students of Tarbut V’Torah (TVT) Community Day School got their first look and feel of a new outdoor playspace at a dedication ceremony and official ribbon cutting in November. Named the TVT Israel Discovery Park, the innovative outdoor play area has segments divided into spaces that have the motifs of geographic areas of Israel. They include the Caesaria Amphitheater, the Negev Sandbox, the Jordan River, the Hula Basin, the Daganya Dam and Machane Yehuda. The new playground, which also offers many different kinds of physical training opportunities, is “for the education and enjoyment of the children, an outdoor classroom and an inspiring and joyful place,” said Dr. Jeffrey Davis, TVT’s head of school. “It’s a place to build friendships, just to be kids and just to play.” Dr. Davis, who welcomed students, parents and friends to the dedication, added that the playground is one of many exciting things happening on campus this year, including the advanced institutes, which serve 200 students involved in after-school programs and many other students in
advanced tracks of study during the school day. “We’re blessed with an amazing school and achieving new heights,” he said. TVT President of the Board Sue Littman introduced Fred Taylor, a member of the board, who, in turn, presented a plaque to TVT Founder Irving Gelman, saying that the park would be a living tribute to the Gelman family. Gelman, who expressed gratitude to the staff, teachers and parents, related that TVT was a lifelong dream “to see kids learning and having a Jewish experience.”
The playground structures were created to enhance language and movement development as well as social learning with parents and teachers in truly fun ways. Teachers are looking for creative ways to engage the whole child in learning, recognizing that young children often learn best through experiential learning and do not usually sit still for too long. The structure features numerous manipulatives that offer an array of tactile and explorative experiences. The developmental benefits from free play for children’s physical, social and cognitive skills are well documented.
Rabbi Stuart Light blessed the playground, saying that the “world of our dreams needs to be a place that has three things: study, words of gratitude and good deeds.” He added that everything on the playground should be done with “respect, love and kindness” and that “the beautiful structures of the playground should match the beautiful structures of our character.” He asked that the students treat the playground as “a garden of fairness, a park of honesty and a place of peace.” After singing the Shehechiyanu, Papa Gelman cut the green ribbon. All of the grade levels were promised a chance KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
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PJ Library Helps Jewish Families To Read Together By Ilene Schneider beautiful story books,” says Harold Grinspoon Foundation President Winnie Grinspoon. “They tell us that the books have led them toward richer, more connected Jewish lives. We feel wonderful that the program is having a positive impact.”
For the eight days of Chanukah, Jewish families light the menorah’s candles to commemorate a time when their ancestors were denied the freedom to worship and study sacred texts. Today, in honor of Jewish literary pride, PJ Library sends children’s books each month to a growing number of families across the globe to engage them in Jewish heritage, tradition, and holidays. In Orange County, the PJ Library is reaching 1,114 families who are opening their mailboxes this month to find featured Chanukah books such as: Hanukkah Bear by Eric Kimmel, a 2013 National Jewish Book Award for Illustrated Children’s Book recipient.
Hanukkah in Alaska by Barbara Brown, a 2014 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Younger Readers award recipient. The Peddler’s Gift by Maxine Rose Schur, a 1999 Sydney Taylor Award for Younger Readers recipient. PJ Library is educating Jewish families at home as they read together this holiday season. Started in 2005 by Jewish philanthropist Harold Grinspoon, PJ Library is made possible by local donors and partner organizations such as Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County. More than 130,000 children, between the ages of six months and eight years, in approximately 200 communities in the United States and Canada receive books from PJ Library, and the number is growing every day. “Each day we receive letters of thanks from families who delight in sharing the joys of Jewish tradition with their children through PJ Library’s
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PJ Library is an award-winning Jewish family engagement program designed to strengthen the identities of Jewish families and their relationship to local Jewish community. In addition to North American efforts, more than 220,000 schoolchildren in Israel receive Hebrew language, Jewish valuesbased books through PJ Library sister’s program, Sifriyat Pijama. PJ Library is also available in Australia and Mexico with further international expansion anticipated. Originally inspired by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library which sends books to children in underprivileged areas of the US, PJ Library (“PJ” is short for “pajamas”) strives to contribute to the magic that Jewish books bring to bedtime. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation works in partnership with philanthropists and Jewish non-profit organizations to bring PJ Library to families raising Jewish children. For more information, visit www. pjlibrary.org
LOCAL Teaming Up for Tatas
Groups Collaborate on Day about Breast Cancer Awareness By Ilene Schneider Lappen explained how genes and gene mutations work and how both heredity and environment can play a role in mutations. She also explained the founder effect, in which in-marrying increases cancer risks generations later. Susan Tamala, a 16-year breast cancer survivor, is a self-proclaimed type A personality. After transferring from Joliet, Illinois, to Redondo Beach, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and thought it might have been triggered by stress.
A woman can do everything right and still learn that she has advanced-stage breast cancer. A mammogram may not be adequate for some women, but there are other diagnostic tests. Cell phones carried too close to breasts can be harmful. These and other facts were part of the “Celebrating the Tatas: Breast Cancer Awareness Event” sponsored by a variety of organizations – Hadassah Southern California Long Beach/ Orange County Area, Alpert Jewish Community Center, Jewish Federation of Greater Long Beach & West Orange County – Women’s Philanthropy, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Long Beach & West Orange County and National Council of Jewish Women. Because Ashkenazic Jewish women are more highly susceptible to breast cancer than the rest of the population, the event – held at the Alpert JCC in Long Beach November 19 – offered a lot of insight on new findings and procedures, how to get help with medical and spiritual issues and the role of genetics in the disease. The day was fun too, with participants
decorating bras in order to “support breast cancer research from A to DD.” John West, M.D., breast surgeon from Breastlink Medical Group in Orange, explained that mammograms work on fatty breasts but not dense ones, adding that a California law requires that women be informed that density may increase the risk of breast cancer and that there are other diagnostic options, such as wholebreast ultrasound. He believes that women under 40 tend to be ignored and suggests that those with a family history of breast cancer take special precautions. “Learn the normal of your own body, so that you can detect subtle changes,” he said. “Exercise, diet and weight control are helpful, and people should know the facts, risks and options.”
Many years later, she got her yoga certification. “Now I teach other people how to relax as a way of giving back to the Cancer Support Community,” she said. Debbie Oates, a nurse practitioner/ nurse navigator at Long Beach Memorial Care Todd Cancer Institute, related that “many people perceive cancer as a death sentence.” Her job is to help patients understand what may be down the road and help the families with practical matters. A survivor herself, Oates enjoys assisting patients with physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. “An important part of the diagnosis is to tell people what to expect next,” she said.
Karen Lappen, a licensed certified genetics counselor at Long Beach Memrorial, believes that people should “understand the inheritance of cancer susceptibility and then do genetic testing.” She added that “all cancer is genetic, but not all cancer is inherited.”
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
Another KISS from Temple Beth El SOC By Kosher OC Staff KISS is always on Shabbat Shirah (Sabbath of Song), when we read Parashat Beshellach, in part due to the important role women played in the Exodus, their activities upon crossing the Red Sea, a time when their voices were most distinct. This year’s special guest speaker will be Director of Education Emeritus Linda Kirsch. This popular Conservative service, which draws men, women, teens and children from throughout the Beth El community, will be followed by a sumptuous Kiddush Luncheon featuring specially choreographed entertainment. Temple Beth El SOC will once again celebrate “every woman” and “woman’s voice”…”kol isha”… with
their annual all-women-led Kol Isha Shabbat Service (“KISS”) on Saturday morning, January 31, 2015.
Pretend City Welcomes the Dimant Family By Kosher OC Staff Pretend City welcomed the Dimant Family to the “Our Home” exhibit. The Dimant family shared their values, traditions and activities which are deeply rooted in Judaism. Visitors learned about traditions such as how the Dimant family sits down to enjoy Shabbat meals together every Friday. They also learned how to make homemade Challah with a take-home recipe card. The family’s strong ties to their heritage and maintenance of traditions inspires families to begin traditions of their very own.
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A Walk Down Memory Lane with Chai Tots Preschool By Robin Silver-Zwiren
About 15 years ago my son, Ari, went to Chai Tots Preschool of Chabad of Irvine. At that time Binie had a few boys overtaking her home. It was at their first Barranca location that Ari and his buddy Ethan officially graduated. Two years later Matana graduated with more than 15 others. The school continues to grow and flourish. There is no doubt that Binie’s warmth and enthusiasm is what attracts people most. Binie’s Babies (as I lovingly called
her preschoolers)-Mommy and Me was a step back in time. Binie’s own daughter, Baila Rochel, and grandson were willing participants. Seeing Justine Haase-Moraes holding her own child as she once held my own took some getting used to. Story time, singing and of course some yummy treats made everyone smile. All the precious toddlers being entertained by Binie as so many of the mothers’ were years ago. The next generation of Chabad of Irvine families is certainly growing.
The playground was abuzz with the sounds of laughter. Dozens of preschoolers playing in the sand, riding bicycles, sitting in the playhouse, blowing bubbles and climbing through the play structure. Seeing young children sharing toys because that is a mitzvah lesson they are taught well. Boys and girls interacting in a safe, fun environment while their devoted teachers look on. These children may not know it now but their preschool pals may well become their lifelong friends. Just like the dear friends my own children have been blessed with from their days at Chai Tots.
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
TVT Girls Volleyball Team Wins League Championship, But Loses in Quarter Finals of Playoffs By Kosher OC Staff the team ground out a 3-1 victory to advance to the “Elite 8.” The Quarter-Final matchup took place on the road against #4 ranked Lake Arrowhead Christian. The TVT Lady Lions were ranked #5. Despite a valiant effort, the TVT team lost 3-1 in the quarter-finals of CIF playoffs. The opponent, Lake Arrowhead Christian, has since advanced to the CIF Finals for Division 5A.
Tarbut V’Torah (TVT) Community Day School had a girls volleyball team that went places no girls volleyball team has gone before, according to Coach Brent Dohling, who also serves as K-12 athletic director at the Irvine school. The girls finished with a record of 18-1 and were crowned league champions. “The girls put on a dominating performance in their first round victory
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over Calvary Christian,” Dohling said. “The team took down Calvary Christian in straight sets in front of the home crowd at TVT. That victory marked the first time in school history that girls volleyball had advanced past the first round of CIF playoffs.” Then the girls traveled to Torrance to take on #12 ranked Pacific Lutheran in the second round of CIF. With TVT parents and supporters in the stands,
“The girls’ volleyball program will receive its first league championship banner since 2002.” Dohling said. “The banner will be revealed at the Athletics Awards Assembly in April. This is clearly the best girls volleyball team TVT has ever seen.”
The Golden Dreidle Offers Judaica and Books Galore for Chanukah and the Rest of the Year By Ilene Schneider One new item this year is the Glowing Menorah, which uses glow sticks instead of candles. Julie described it as “perfect for the dorm, the young child or the infirm.” The Pop N Spin Dreidle for ages 3 and up lets kids play anywhere without surface space. There are foam necklaces for the younger set with pop-out hamsas and Mogen Davids in different colors.
The Golden Dreidle, Orange County’s one-of-a-kind Judaica store, displays an almost overwhelming array of the colors, shapes, textures and designs that make up today’s ceremonial Jewish artistry. Yet among the 24-foot wall of tallitot in every color and fabric, the five shelves of menorot in elegant styles from classical to modern and dozens of boxes of colorful and dripless candles from Safed, Israel, there are items for curious young people as well as whimsical gifts for all ages, as well as dozens and dozens of books. There are two online stores as well, one for general Jewish merchandise and the other for customized ketubot, Jewish marriage certificates. Shahrokh and Julie Ghodsi have owned the Golden Dreidle for 24 years, first in Costa Mesa and now in Irvine. With his background in jewelry and hers in retailing, they have brought together a collection of ritual and gift items for simchot, holidays and daily observance. It is a treasure trove of Judaica for all ages and varieties of practice. The owners take pride in helping customers find what they want in the store or on line and even greater pride in making people
feel welcome. The store – the only Judaica store south of Los Angeles — is often the first contact for new Jewish families in Orange County. People find it on line for various items. “When they come in, they feel lost, because they can’t find a synagogue, a butcher or other aspects of Jewish life,” Julie Ghodsi said. We have referred people everywhere.” She added, “We also take care of people’s problems. When families buy items elsewhere and run into problems like items not showing up or having the wrong imprint, we fix them. We have great relationships with out vendors, and we take care of them and our customers. We are known for our customer service. We also have great relationships witj local synagogues and rabbis.”
Maccabee on the Mantel, winner of the 2014 Parent Choice Award, is an interactive book and toy concept designed to allow families the flexibility to create their own personal holiday traditions while at the same time educating their children about the story of Chanukah. Honeyky Hanukah is a 24-page book and CD by Woody Guthrie with a song recorded by the Klezmatics. Julie takes special pride in the “goofy gifts,” like the Pink Freud pill box, the Freudian sip cup, the Kosher Fruit and Nut Bar with jokes and the Kosher Kards. There are tongs that look like latkes, silicone trivets and spatulas, dreidle-shaped cookie jars and dreidle-shaped ice cubes. In short, there is something for everybody this Chanukah and all year long. The Golden Dreidle 2626 Dupont Dr, Ste 40 Irvine, CA 92612 GoldenDreidle.com 949-955-0900
The Golden Dreidle also has customers from San Diego, Las Vegas, Arizona, Hawaii, Seattle, San Francisco, the San Fernando Valley, Palm Springs, the desert communities even even LA. Now the owners are excited about new Chanukah merchandise.
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
LOCAL Through the Lens of History
Scholar Examines “American Jews and the Civil War” By Ilene Schneider during the Civil War. Some Jewish soldiers observed kashrut. The U.S. chaplaincy law was amended during the Civil War. At one time only Protestants were allowed to be military chaplains. Then other branches of Christianity could serve in that position. A Hebrew teacher was elected chaplain of a Pennsylvania regiment, resulting in a protest and his discharge. A rabbi was then elected, and he was persistent in trying to see President Abraham Lincoln, who agreed to speak to Congress.
Americans are in the midst of observing the Civil War Sesquicentennial (150th year). What does this mean for the American Jewish community? Dr. Joellyn Wallen Zollman, who spoke at a lunchtime lecture sponsored by the Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program (CSP), asked and began to answer this question by examining the American Civil War through the lens of the American Jewish history. “This is an opportunity for a new generation of scholars to offer new perspectives,” said Dr. Zollman, who holds a Ph.D. in Jewish history from Brandeis University and has worked with the Jewish material culture collections at the Smithsonian Institution, the Skirball Museum, and The American Jewish Historical Society. “The typical themes of Jewish history include labor, immigration, Jewish success, films, banking, assimilation, social responsibility and civil rights, but the Civil War falls outside of these narratives.” She related that there were 175,000 Jews living in America in 1861. Of that total, 150,000 lived in the North, 22
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primarily in New York, Philadelphia and Cincinnati. The 25,000 Jews living in the South – mostly in Charleston, Richmond and New Orleans – strongly identified with the region. In fact, Rabbi Maximillian Knickerbocker wrote a prayer for the Confederacy. Ten thousand Jews fought in the Civil War — seven thousand for the North, and three thousand for the South. “There was a strong identification with America on both sides,” Dr. Zollman related. “American Jews believed in the promise of America and were willing to fight for it.” During the Civil War religion posed no barrier to military promotion, and Jews were part of the action, she added. The United States offered Jews an opportunity to fight as equal citizens. They were not taken for granted. That was different from the role Jews played in the Russian army, according to Dr. Zollman. Once young men were conscripted, parents never saw their sons again. Just before the Civil War, Russia had the biggest Jewish community in the world. There are reports of Passover seders
“The episode shows that the Jews were comfortable enough to call out the U.S. Government,” Dr. Zollman said, She related that “the most antiSemitic act of the U.S. government” was when Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders #11, expelling Jews from Tennessee in 1862. Grant, she explained, was convinced that Jews were back market traders in cotton. President Lincoln eventually rescinded the order, saying that no citizen should be wronged in that manner. “Jews fought tenaciously for their rights and got an outright repudiation of anti-Semitism within a month,” Dr. Zollman related. “They understood that there was prejudice and were willing to fight it.” She added that Grant did appoint more than fifty Jews to his administration and talked about the rights of Jews in Russia and Romania. “He atoned for his mistake with General Orders #11, which proves that we need to know the whole story,” she said. Dr. Zollman concluded, “Lincoln was a great scholar of the Bible. Kaddish was said for him when he died.”
LOCAL Tales from Tokayer
Rabbi Regales CSP Audience with Tales from Asia By Ilene Schneider give up until the Japanese Constitution included rights for women and children; the secret behind one of the world’s most famous logos; and the American baseball player who spied for the United States in Japan. Other stories include the eccentric writer who introduced China to the West with her pet gibbon always at her side; the Marrano physician in India whose famous volume on botany and pharmacology in the sixteenthcentury caused as much excitement as the discovery of penicillin did in the twentieth-century; the Jewish musicians who enhanced both Eastern music. With 1 billion, 350 million people in China, who would believe that the Chinese national anthem was written by a Jew? Who would believe that the first psychiatrist in China was Jewish? Did you know that Mao Tse Tung’s doctor, dentist, babysitter and sex therapist were Jewish?” These are among the amusing anecdotes that consummate storyteller Rabbi Marvin Tokayer uses in his recent book, Pepper, Silk & Ivory, and that he related to a capacity crowd at University Synagogue. The lecture, sponsored by the Community Scholar Program, drew on Rabbi Tokayer’s personal experiences in Asia and knowledge about Jews and the Far East. “Yaacov Rosenfeld, a concentration camp survivor, went to China during the time of the civil war and Japanese invasion when disease was running rampant,” Rabbi Tokayer said. “He taught the locals basic hygiene and basic drug making with herbs. He became the chief of medicine in China and eventually the doctor to Mao Tse Tung. Later, he found out that his brother, who had survived the concentration camps, had gone to Israel. He went there to see him, died
there and is buried in Tel Aviv.” Another fascinating story is about “Two Gun Cohen,” a truant arrested at the age of six who eventually went to Canada, encountered Chinese people working on the railroad there, got adopted by them after he protected them, became Sun Yatsen’s bodyguard and ultimately met with the Chinese UN ambassador in 1947 to get him to vote “yes” on the partition of Palestine. “Both Mao Tse Tung and Chiang Kai-Shek went to Two Gun Cohen’s funeral, the only time both Chinas were in the same place at the same time,” Rabbi Tokayer said. Rabbi Tokayer also revealed that the oldest Hebrew document found anywhere in the world was located on the Chinese-Tibetan border. The first prime minister of Singapore was Jewish; he had been a prisoner of war of the Japanese during World War II. Hong Kong had a Jewish governor for whom a main street is named. A military junta in Burma was led by a Jew. Co-authored by writer and television producer Ellen Rodman, Ph.D., Pepper, Silk & Ivory also has colorful tales about the woman who refused to KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
Your smile is our passion (949) 248-2525 www.myscdental.com
AIPAC High School Summit By Matana Zwiren at the Jerusalem synagogue. Ms. Pelosi’s office sent out an email to all of her constituents mourning the loss of the four rabbis and policeman. The Jewish people comprise less than 1% of the world; if we were the only supporters of Israel, then there would not be an Israel. Israel needs support from outsiders in order to survive. On the first night of AIPAC weekend, a poll was held in which five people discussed their reasons for supporting AIPAC and Israel. None of those people were Jewish: one was Mormon, the rest Catholic and one Muslim.
During the weekend of November 16, eight TVT students went off on a journey to the AIPAC High School Summit in Washington, DC. Starting out with busy schedules and hundreds of names to remember, overall AIPAC was a success. Not only was the social scene active, but the learning aspect was also an eye opener. This trip taught us about many USIsrael policies and relations. The TVT group consisted of the largest group TVT ever had for AIPAC: Sarina S., Vivian H., Leah A., Daniel A., Max H., Rachel S. and Matana Z., along with the Hebrew department chair, Mrs. Bracha, as our advisor. We were lucky enough to go in such a vulnerable time for Israel with the summer’s events a recent memory and the grim sin the past week in which four Jews were killed while in a synagogue doing morning prayers. The three days focused on learning about the political issues between the US and Israel, gaining leadership skills and approaching situations in which people are Anti-Israel and Anti-Zionist. Sunday and Monday were taken up by preparation for the meetings with Congressmen and Congresswomen on Tuesday. Our meeting discussion topics ranged from the dangers of a nuclear Iran, to 26
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the US’s plan to contain the growth of terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Hamas. In addition to discussions about the Middle East, TVT’s AIPAC team also attended a session to help develop public speaking skills, overcome apathy and overextension, learn how to use social media to publicize a message and more. These sessions helped to prepare us for our meeting on Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoon, our team met with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office. Since Nancy Pelosi does not represent our district, some of our team was nervous about lacking a communication with her and her office. When we met with the staff, however, we discovered that she and her office were strong supporters of Israel and stated that Israel’s establishment was one of “The Greatest Achievements.” Pelosi and her office supported all of our points about the rise of terrorism, which not only affects Israel but also affects the US because of the beheadings of two US citizens. Another stance that Pelosi’s office supports is the disarmament of militaries in Gaza for the safety of not only Israel, but of the citizens of Gaza. The morning we arrived at her office was also the day of the four murders
The majority of high school students at AIPAC came from Jewish high schools from all over the US; however, the majority of the college students were not Jewish. These students felt a connection to Israel and decided to advocate for US support of Israel. Overall, AIPAC was a substantial learning experience. I learned more in those three days than I have from reading articles on these situations. I strongly recommend AIPAC to anyone who supports Israel and wants to see a change in the US-Israel policies. The changes we are expecting to see are a pass on the bill to not have a nuclear Iran, American army going to Iraq to defeat ISIS once and for all and mainly the US stronger support of Israel.
Why Not To Keep Your Nudes On iCloud By Aaron Sigal insecure and dangerous. In response to these most recent bouts of attacks, the author will be revamping his own passwords using the aforementioned advice and advises his readers to do the same. Nothing is worse than having one’s identity stolen out from under him or her because of a weak password.
The Cloud is a relatively new medium of digital storage. There are many options, but the most popular ones are iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. They have, until recently, been believed to be secure. An anonymous hacker recently proved this notion false by hacking over 100 celebrities’ personal iCloud accounts and releasing “private” photos to websites such as 4Chan and reddit. Among these celebrities were Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Victoria Justice and several other high profile Hollywood actresses. The attacker devised a tool that would let him test hundreds of thousands of passwords against a single iCloud account within minutes without being stopped by the page. This is known as a brute force attack. The tool likely used phrases from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While iCloud was not compromised, it shows just how vulnerable these major services are to the oldest form of hacking. Many websites today employ a feature that counts the number of times one attempts to enter a password, locking people out if they pass a predetermined number of tries. This is a security measure that was established to prevent password-
guessing attacks, but it has proven ineffective against sophisticated automated attacks. This was a fairly complex attack, but even with just one or two pieces of personal information, an individual can compromise some of the most major forms of social networking. For instance, in 2012, a journalist was subject to a large number of attacks that would ultimately lead to his AppleId, Gmail, Twitter and Facebook accounts all being hijacked. Due to a fundamental flaw in the security measures employed today, anybody who wanted to hack an online account badly enough could do it. The most effective form of defense is to employ strong, complex and unique passwords that are not found in dictionaries. Replacing letters with numbers is an effective way to prevent this, along with fictional character names and places. For example, the password “b00zE1sB@d” and “W33L0vLurNinG” are excellent passwords and would be incredibly difficult for an automated brute force attack to crack. Sharing passwords across multiple websites is very dangerous and explicitly not advised. Having a password of or containing names of pets, parents, siblings, street names, nations, states or cities is KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
Israelis Grapple with Synagogue Safety in Aftermath of Jerusalem Attack By Deborah Schabb/JNS.org Over in Maale Adumim, Ze’ev Orenstein is president of the Nachalat Yehuda congregation, which attracts a mix of young and old to Shabbat services. “I don’t think anyone is panicking or planning to stay home on Shabbos out of fear,” he says. “But, though on the one hand it’s important not to panic, on the other hand, we also need to be alert around our congregation’s safety.” At Nachalat Yehuda and many other shuls, that means having volunteer “shomrim” (guards) take shifts during services and get training from the city’s police force. Seven a.m. It’s an hour when most are still battling with an insistent alarm clock. But for those intent on being part of a morning minyan (prayer quorum), it’s prime time for showing up at synagogue to thank God for the vast possibilities of a brand new day. On Nov. 18 in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood, that morning routine was unspeakably shattered. With the images of the slaughter at Kehilat Bnei Torah still fresh in the minds of Israelis and not likely to go away anytime soon, leaders of synagogues around the country are grappling with setting the right tone and safety procedures for an uncertain future. In the days that followed the attack, thousands came out to mourn the four murdered rabbis and the slain Druze policeman who tried to save them. While it seems that almost everyone in Israel is personally connected to at least one of the victims in some way, those who are not still feel immense sympathy for their fellow Jews who were gruesomely killed while wrapped in tallit and tefillin by Palestinian terrorists wielding butcher knives, axes, and a gun.
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How does this attack affect the Jewish state’s roughly 11,000 other synagogues, which in many neighborhoods can be found on virtually every block? “Of course, we are all reeling from this terror that has echoes of [the] Kishinev [pogrom] over 100 years ago and [the] Hevron [massacre] in 1929,” says Rabbi Daniel Beller of the Kehillat Shivtei Yisrael synagogue in Ra’anana.” He adds, “Yes, we do plan to be more vigilant at shul.” That commitment to heightened security is a common theme in conversations with Israeli synagogue leaders, particularly concerning Shabbat services. At the Mizmor LeDavid synagogue in the trendy Jerusalem neighborhood of Baka, where more than 200 crowd into the building each Friday night for a rousing Kabbalat Shabbat service, there is talk of hiring a guard—someone who packs a gun and knows how to use it. “We know we need to do this. Though it’s certainly not anything we ever wanted to do,” says Naomi Goldberg, wife of Rabbi Mordechai Goldberg, the congregation’s leader.
“It’s been a difficult week but this is not the first time Jews worshipping have been targeted, and we have to learn how to deal with a minority who doesn’t want us here,” says Orenstein. “But one of the blessings of the sovereignty of having a Jewish state is that, thank God, after 2,000 years in exile, we have police and an army whose job it is to protect us. That’s something our grandparents and great-grandparents never had.” At one of Tel Aviv’s busiest synagogues, Beit Daniel, “hundreds of people come into our building every day, not just on Shabbat,” says Rabbi Meir Azari. “And in this day and age we have to have a guard,” says Azari, who reports that since the second Palestinian intifada (uprising), when one of its members was killed in a bus bombing, the congregation has made use of a security camera and an alarm that alerts the police when triggered. “Of course, the cost of all of this is enormous,” Azari says. The rabbi balks at the idea of having a gun inside the synagogue during services. “People come to synagogue looking
for the peaceful energy of this place, and seeing a gun can take that feeling away,” he says. “Still, I might have to compromise someday. I don’t want to, but it may become necessary.” Yet guns inside synagogues are already common sights elsewhere in the country, including in the community of Efrat.
Two Israelis Hurt in Palestinian Stabbing Attack in Supermarket By JNS.org
“So as a result [of having guns] we are pretty well-covered,” says Barry Friedman, who is on the board of the Lev Efrat congregation. “But I’ve been here for 20 years and seen thing kind of thing before, as the Palestinians’ fanatical leadership incites their people to violence. We just have to remind ourselves that having our own country is a miracle, and we need to be strong and maintain a Jewish life and future here no matter who doesn’t want us here.” Was the synagogue in Har Nof targeted simply because it is a synagogue? Rabbi Azari in Tel Aviv does not believe so. “It could have been a community center, school, or any place where many people congregate,” he says. “[Terrorists] choose places where many Jews are together and easy to kill.” Gabie Sykora, a board member at the Kinor David synagogue in Ra’anana, disagrees. “By attacking people in a synagogue, they attacked us where it hurts the most, literally at the heart of the Jewish people,” she says. Kinor David has had congregants taking guard shifts since the second intifada, and in the wake of the Har Nof attack is considering bolstering security further with an armed guard.
Two people were stabbed Wednesday in a Rami-Levi supermarket branch in Mishor Adumim east of Jerusalem in Judea and Samaria. The suspected terrorist, who was injured after being shot by a security guard, and two other Palestinian suspects, were arrested in connection with the attack. The stabbing attack occurred just after 4 pm local time. One of the injured victims is a Magen David Adom paramedic who tried to subdue the terrorist. The injured victims were
evacuated to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Rami Levi, the owner of the supermarket chain, told Yedioth Achronoth, “I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded. They evacuated the terrorist and the victims and we’ll have the store open soon. We will not allow this to affect us and change our routine. We will prove to them that they will not beat us.”
“We don’t want to have Jews needing to work on Shabbat, but when it comes to our congregants’ safety, it’s whatever it takes,” says Sykora. “Nothing else matters nearly as much.”
KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
New Contrast-Enhanced MRI Developed by BGU Visualizes Brain Injury By Kosher OC Staff percent of the examined football players with unreported concussions had evidence of “leaky BBB” compared to 8.3 percent of the control athletes. “The group of 29 volunteers was clearly differentiated into an intact-BBB group and a pathological-BBB group,” Friedman explained. “This showed a clear association between football and increased risk for BBB pathology that we couldn’t see before. In addition, high-BBB permeability was found in six players and in only one athlete from the control group.”
Pro football players can have brain damage from mild “unreported” concussions, says Ben-Gurion University of the Negev research group. A new, enhanced MRI diagnostic approach was, for the first time, able to identify significant damage to the blood-brain barrier (BBB) of professional football players following “unreported” trauma or mild concussions. Published in the current issue of JAMA Neurology, this study could improve decision making on when an athlete should “return to play.” According to Dr. Alon Friedman, from the Ben-Gurion University Brain Imaging Research Center (Beersheva, Israel) and discoverer of the new diagnostic procedure, “Until now, there wasn’t a diagnostic capability to identify mild brain injury early after the trauma. In the NFL, other professional sports and especially school sports, concern has grown about the longterm neuropsychiatric consequences of repeated mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and specifically sports-related concussive and sub-concussive head impacts.” 30
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The paper, published by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center, describes a new diagnostic approach using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for detection and localization of vascular pathology and blood-brain barrier breakdown in football players. As explained by Dr.Friedman, “The goal of our study was to use our new method to visualize the extent and location of BBB dysfunction in football players using Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCEMRI) on a Phillips 3-T Ingenia. Specifically, it generates more detailed brain maps showing brain regions with abnormal vasculature, or a ‘leaky BBB.’” Study participants included 16 football players from Israel’s professional football team, Black Swarm, as well as 13 track and field athletes from Ben-Gurion University who served as controls. All underwent the newly developed MRI-based diagnostic. The DCE-MRIs were given between games during the season and revealed significant damage. Forty
Friedman also explained that not all of the players showed pathology. This indicates that repeated, mild concussive events might impact some players differently than others. This level of diagnosis of individual players can provide the basis of more rational decision making on “return to play” for professionals as well amateurs of any age. “Generally, players return to the game long before the brain’s physical healing is complete, which could exacerbate the possibility of brain damage later in life,” said Friedman. A decade of research in the BGU Laboratory for Experimental Neurosurgery has shown that vascular pathology, and specifically dysfunction of the bloodbrain barrier (BBB), plays a key role in brain dysfunction and degeneration, and may be an underlying cause of neurodegenerative complications after brain injuries. The BBB is a highly selective, permeable membrane that separates circulating blood from extracellular fluid. It protects the brain by preventing many dangerous substances from penetrating, and therefore is not meant to be damaged. Medical researchers, including Friedman’s group at BGU, are working to discover ways to find
drugs that will target the BBB and facilitate its repair, allowing for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain-related disease. “Prof. Friedman has been able to conduct this breakthrough brain research using the state-of-the-art MRI machine donated as a result of contributions from American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU),” explained Doron Krakow, AABGU executive vice president. “We believe that with continued support, Prof. Friedman and the DCE-MRI can help render more accurate and informed decisions by athletes and others exposed to mild concussions about when to resume activities.” Other members of the research team include BGU Ph.D. candidates Itai Weissberg and Ronel Veksler, who developed the new imaging method. Lyn Kamintsky, Rotem SaarAshkenazy and Dan Z. Milkovsky conducted the study. Dr. Ilan Shelef, BGU lecturer and a member of the Department of Medical Imaging at Soroka University Medical Center, also contributed. This study was supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013; grant agreement 602102, EPITARGET to Dr. Friedman) and the Israel Science Foundation (grant 713/11 to Dr. Friedman).
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This Land is Mine By Robin Silver-Zwiren James Cook and other explorers have recorded their visits as well. Native chiefs often fought for power. King Kamehameha, King Kalakaua, Queen Liliuokalani succeeded as monarchs for a time. Native families have resided there for generations upon generations. Imagine if they now came forward to take back their historical home? Lands legally signed by President Eisenhower with over nearly 95% of the Hawaiian people wanting Statehood. What if that small percentage of individuals were led to believe that it was their land and they had to take it whatever the means? Would the US allow these radicals to win? In 1864 James Irvine purchased land from Mexican and Spanish land grants. He and his partners bought 120,000 acres in total. The Irvine Company donated over 300 acres to create the Irvine Regional Park in 1897. In 1918 the Coast highway gave access to communities and beaches. Once the highway was opened the Irvine Company began to build communities along the shores. In 1953 50,000 Boy Scouts from all over the world gathered for the Jamboree which named a now well-known street. The Irvine Company decided to set aside over 10% of their original acreage for parks and open space. Also in 1960 the Company made it possible for 1000 acres to build the UCI site. Over the next decades more communities and shopping malls are built. By 2006, 40,000 protected acres of the Irvine Ranch are designated National Natural Landmarks. By 2014 the Irvine Company has gifted nearly 55,000 acres of the original ranch. Imagine if in 2018 Mexico decides it wants its land back? Someone comes forward claiming that it was the property of their family hundreds of years before and the Mexican government had no right to sell it off. What would the Irvine family descendants do? Would every citizen 32
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have to give up their homes and move elsewhere? Would the Mexicans come across our borders shooting at us, kidnapping our children, blowing up our buses? Would people rush into the University that educates women and people of every race and religions, throwing Molotov cocktails? Would our police allow this happen? Would it be okay for them to even shoot at our attackers? In fact what would happen to the State of California if Mexico nullified treaties and promises? In 1959 Hawaii became the 50th US State. The islands that comprise the state are in the Pacific Ocean in Polynesia. Hawai-i continues to be an official language of the State. The Hawaii Admissions Act granted this land made of volcanoes its statehood. From 1810 until 1893 this Kingdom had a monarchy. In 1893 however the Monarch was overthrown by some American and European businessmen. From 1894 to 1898 it was an independent republic until becoming an official US territory and then state. Hawaii did not just erupt into reality in the 1800’s. In fact Polynesian settlers may have arrived as early as 300 CE. Tahitians also lay early claims. Spanish explorers, British Captain
Alaska, “the last frontier” was acquired from Russia in 1867. This US State actually borders the Canadian Yukon Territory and province of British Columbia. Alaska also borders the Pacific and Arctic Oceans and Bering Strait. Alaska is made up of several regions including areas of the Alaska Range, Tongass National Forest, Denali National Park, Mount McKinley, Kodiak and Aleutian Islands. The US Federal Government owns about 65% of the land with additional acres subdivided for boroughs, and even the University of Alaska. Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act controls vast interests as well. Indigenous peoples arrived thousands of years before Europeans. Russians settled the Aleutians long before the US came into the picture. Imagine if Putin decided he wanted territory in order to invade the US easier? As more and more of the population are intermarrying maybe they are learning how the indigenous peoples have been unfairly treated and start demanding land right? Will the US allow them to revolt? Will the US just rip up its land treaty, give up oil rights and move on? In fact what about the rights of Native Americans all over the US. Their land was taken. They were put in Reservations. Is the US going to give them back what they had less
than 200 years ago? There are some peoples that have lived in their native lands for thousands of years more. In 515 BCE the First Temple is dedicated in Jerusalem at a time when Jewish judges and Rabbis ruled the land. Yes, The Romans and others had their moments of rule but Jews inhabited the lands through every rule. Long before Jesus of Nazareth or Muhammed were born Jews lived in Arabia, Europe and Palestine. When Jews were expelled from other lands leaving their homes and worldly possessions they dreamt of Jerusalem, prayed towards the Holy City. When Columbus sailed off he carried several prominent Jews on boards who would be saved from the fires of the auto-de-fe. During this time the population of Palestine grew with the likes of the prominent Rabbis Joseph Karo, Isaac Luria. In the Americas Jews became more educated and respected. In 1895 Theodor Herzl wrote the “Jews State” while the weight of the Dreyfus affair was at its peak. Herzl, although not religious, believed that the only way for Jews to live without blatant discrimination is if given a land of their own. Over the next few years he met with Jews and world leaders trying to gain support. By the time of the 6th Zionist Congress in August 1903, Herzl announced that the British offered a stretch of land in Uganda. The delegates did not want Uganda they wanted the land promised by G-d thousands of years before. The stress on Herzl took its toll and in 1904 he passed away. Thankfully he had gathered many supporters who continued the Palestinian Zionist Activity including Baron Edmond de Rothschild who continued to buy land. During WWI Jews fought with bravery and distinction throughout Europe. They fought alongside men who hated them for no other reason than their birthright. Jews who had fled one country often signed up to fight for another if able. Six hundred (Jewish) Palestinian refugees formed the “Zion Mule Corps” in Egypt. Many would later form the Jewish Legion fighting for a Zionist State. On November
1, 1917 Arthur James Balfour, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs allowed Lord Rothschild to read the following declaration to Jewish Zionists: “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing nonJewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in other countries.”
to have disappeared very likely into Philistine, Phoenicians and Israelite cultures. Seeing that the ancient lands were also broken up into the tribes of ancient Hebrew brothers plus areas ruled by other peoples ruling parties changed often. The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah existed in the ancient Levant. Before falling to the Assyrians in 722 BCE the kingdom of Israel was an important local power. It included Jericho, Jaffa, Samaria and Bet-El. Judah, which included Beersheva, Hevron as well as Jerusalem was prosperous until falling to the Babylonians in 586 BCE.
The British troops had captured Beersheva and Gaza. General Allenby entered Jerusalem and soon after the Turks left the city. In June 1922 the British “White Paper” reaffirmed the British government’s policy of a Jewish national home in Palestine. More and more Jews were allowed entry. English, French, Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew and Arabic were heard everywhere. On April 1, 1925 the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was consecrated. A modern day temple for learning amongst the many Yeshivot and ruins of the Holy Temple in a Jewish city once again. Needless to say the Arab population was not pleased. Jews seem to have suffered throughout history in every land. Jesus, who lived and died a Jew, did not create Christianity his disciples did. Muhammed, the illiterate preacher, who first tolerated the other monotheistic religion of the Jews also became less tolerant. Jews were often learned and served as advisors but somehow our accomplishments made others less complacent. Forced conversions, children kidnapped, women raped and beaten and sadly these horrific unjust acts continue to this day. No matter how much factual history we have for making Israel our homeland others do not want this to happen. Other countries go to war and whatever lands they acquire are added to their borders. Every land except Israel that is. The Canaanites of the Bible seem
When Babylon fell to Persian king Cyrus in 539 Judean exiles were able to return. Hellenistic rule followed but the Jews revolted and the Hasmonean rule resulted with control of Judea, Samaria, Idumea, Iturea, the Galilee and even Perea. Unfortunately this rule too ended but throughout all these periods there were Jews who remained in these lands. After the revolt of Simon bar Kochba in 135 CE the land once known as Judea became Syria Palaestinia. The Kingdom of Samaria included the 10 tribes of Israel which following the conquest by Assyria were dispersed. The land of Palestine was populated by Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, Bedouins with everyone having the same citizenship. In fact until 1948 when the State of Israel was born every citizen no matter their religion
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was a Palestinian. In 1948 the UN Resolution to partition the land into Arab and Jewish states was passed. Just as the Arab League voted against the approval for a State of Israel they did not accept the partition plan either. In fact they have never accepted a partition plan because the fact is they want the land from sea to sea. Land that is not theirs. Land that the Jewish National Fund legally purchased from landowners. In 1997 an article published by an Arab-Israeli mentioned how many people sold off their land. Included in the list is a relative of Yasir Arafat who also happened to be the father of al-Hajj Amin al Husseini the former extremely anti-Jewish mufti of Jerusalem. Kazem al-Husseini the grandfather of another top PLO official Faisal Husseini also sold off land in Jerusalem. Yaakub al-Ghussein, who created the Arab Fund to support Palestinian causes, sold Jews land in Jaffa and the area now in the Gaza Strip. Plus the Sursock, al-Salem, alTiyun, al-Qabbani, al-Yousef and other families in Syria and Lebanon who sold off their acres. Land that they had
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Arabs work for them in exchange for a small section of land and home for their growing families. So what gives their relatives the right to demand it back now? Unfortunately the UN and many nations and people continue to listen to the cries of refugees. What refugee can freely cross neighbouring borders? Ask those in lands like the Sudan where Muslim fundamentalists enslave their brethren? Ask the young girls taken by Boko Harem in Nigeria what it means to be brutalized. What about the persecuted Christians in Lebanon or Kurds in Syria? Israel supplies Gaza with water as well as gas and electric. Ask survivors of the Holocaust if Nazi death camps were so endearing. Yet all too many listen to Palestinian Arab cries. If Palestinian Arabs had accepted the partition plan in 1948 they would have land of their own to govern as they wish. Land in Transjordan. Not sure that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan would be happy to give up their reign now but maybe that is what should happen. According to the UN Resolutions that is the territory the Palestinian Arabs had a right to.
Yes, Arabs had lived in the land for centuries but they had not ruled it as Arabs in Syria or Iraq could claim. As for their religious claims to Jerusalem since Muhammad was never there and since Mecca and Medina are their favoured pilgrimage sites why the interest? Anything to upset the balance in the Jewish State of Israel! The lands the JNF purchased from Arab landowners should remain in Israeli hands. The Israeli Arabs can remain if they are willing to live by the rules. That means no kidnapping and stone throwing. If they don’t attack the Israeli police, which includes Israeli Christians, Druze and Arabs as well as Jews, won’t have to use deadly force. If Israel could secure their borders so that terrorists can’t enter then there could be peace in this land once again. Now even though the Arab League attacks Israel from every side Israel triumphs. Yet Israel gains territory which they are expected to return. Israel should not have to return to pre-’67 borders either. When the US returns the lands to Native Americans, Mexicans and Russians then they will have the right to comment on what Israel should do!
Can We Play Nicely? By Robin Silver-Zwiren looking over your shoulder, making sure no one is walking behind trying to trip you. Our preschoolers grow up. Some of us even had high schoolers who volunteered at polling stations. One day soon they will vote, and I hope they learn to vote for the best candidate, not the one who is loudest and nastiest. The 2014 elections are over, and I certainly hope all of our elected officials learn to work together well, to set aside differences and do their job lawfully and legally for the better of the Irvine community.
Before I moved to Irvine, a friend told me how wonderful a community it is, how the public schools are amongst the best in the state, how being surrounded by greenbelts is so great for children. Fortunately for my friend, she never had to live through Irvine elections. Irvine elections course 101 is a failure. That course certainly did not teach our children any proper lessons in etiquette. Every year things get worse, and this year’s certainly topped the list. The fighting seems to have begun the day the 2012 elections were over. The innumerable mailings and phone calls not only sang the praises of a candidate but cursed out the opposing candidate. Leaving the polling site, I turned to someone and commented that my mailbox won’t be full, and he responded how, thankfully, the phone calls will cease too. If it is awful for the adult residents, how much worse for our children? News worldwide is horrifying. Boko Harem kidnaps teenage girls, ISIL is torturing Syrian residents and Hamas murders teenage boys. The World Trade Center-Ground Zero site now hosts a Memorial Museum so we never forget the day this nation was attacked and more than 3,000 citizens
died. We can’t, and should not, protect our children from reality, but they certainly need a safe zone. That is what home should be, what the Irvine community should be. Instead, we have a community that plays like a bunch of preschoolers — as if Irvine were a large sandbox and the candidates were throwing handfuls of sand and toys at each other, using shovels to unearth as much dirt as possible and slinging it. Instead of working together to build a magnificent sand castle, they kick and step on what another group had tirelessly built. Worse still, they expect the rest of us to stand by and watch these immature acts. When will it end? Cities the size of Irvine, especially in communities like Orange County, are often bipartisan. It should not matter if the water district supervisor is a Democrat or Republican, just whether he or she can do the job. Those who represent the school district should be educators, people who know something about what our schools need. We expect our police to be trained, our firefighters to know what to do when faced with flames and our mayor and city council members to know how to put those “fires” out. That is hard to do when you are too busy KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // DECEMBER 2014 |
Jewish Students Have the Right to Feel Safe on Campus By Melanie Goldberg/JNS.org
It all started when I took out some anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) information sheets at a Brooklyn College-sponsored event last year that featured Omar Barghouti, the founder of the BDS movement. You’d expect that of any student opposed to the speaker’s anti-Israel views. I planned to challenge Barghouti by taking notes as he spoke and asking questions during the Q&A period. But I never got the chance to participate. A member of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the event’s main organizer, had other plans. He had the view that this wasn’t the time or place to voice opposition, so I should either hand over my sheets or be kicked out. When I refused, he had City University of New York (CUNY) security officials escort me and two other yarmulkeclad students out of the event, no questions asked. The following week, my name was synonymous with “First Amendment oppression.” My phone rang incessantly. Politicians wanted to speak to me and lawyers flooded my inbox with requests to advocate for my legal rights. Yet I was a college senior. I should’ve been applying to graduate schools, finishing my honors thesis, and 36
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interviewing for jobs—not vetting law firms, bonding with politicians, and answering reporters. I was elbow deep in a controversy that was much bigger than myself, and while I began to realize that indeed a gross constitutional violation had been committed, I didn’t know enough to understand what I was entitled to and what consequences the courts could enforce against the violators. Enter the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. Like in my case, students are often unfamiliar with their rights. This ignorance can lead academic institutions to unlawfully restrict students. Ironically, academia should be the place where students feel safest to speak their minds. The Brandeis Center assisted me and the two other students, and Brooklyn College eventually apologized. The apology wasn’t personally important to me. But it was crucial to know that other students wouldn’t have to experience what I did. Fast forward to today and, in less than two years, the situation has become more grim for Jewish students. There has recently been a dramatic spike in anti-Semitic incidents on campuses nationwide. In fact, more than 40 percent of Jewish American
college students report that they have experienced or are aware of antiSemitism on their campuses. Just this month, swastikas were drawn on two fliers posted at Northeastern University to publicize a lecture by an Israeli military official. Last month, a Jewish student at Claremont University had his Israeli flag and mezuzah ripped off his dorm room. A month before that, a Jewish student at Temple University was punched in the face, knocked down, and called “babykiller, racist, Zionist pig” by a fellow student. Last spring, SJP at Vassar College republished a vile anti-Semitic Nazi cartoon. Around that same time at the University of Michigan, antiIsrael student activists hurled death threats at a Jewish student and called him “dirty Jew” and “kike.” And these examples cover only roughly the past six months. Back to New York, where Brooklyn College students still worry about SJP’s discriminatory practices on campus. A resolution against SJP’s unlawful behavior was never instituted. Concerns are voiced at CUNY John Jay and the CUNY Graduate Center, ranging from students’ fear to wear their yarmulkes on campus due to the recent anti-Zionism morphing into anti-Semitic chants, to the legality of a pro-BDS resolution vote being held on a Friday night to prevent Jews from vocalizing their side. At Fordham University, students are worried because a professor who vocalized opposition to the American Studies Association’s pro-BDS stance was investigated. Unfortunately, the list goes on an on. This is why I recently founded a Brandeis Center chapter at Cardozo School of Law, where I am currently a student. We are proud to be part of a nationwide network of studentled Brandeis Center chapters in Boston, Charlottesville, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Saint Paul, and Washington, DC, that
will participate in a wide range of activities to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on campus and to help victims. Some of the work includes providing pro-bono legal research and advocacy, working with university leaders on policies to protect Jewish students, and hosting speakers and events on a variety of civil rights and anti-Semitism issues. Personally, I would like to focus on protecting freedom of speech. Both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict have a right to be heard, but it’s about securing equal time and exposure for both sides of this complicated story. It’s about fact-based logic rather than sensational hatred-based
rhetoric. Right now, especially in New York-based public institutions, the pro-Israel side is being drowned by its opponents. We must show that antiZionism is in fact anti-Semitism when one side’s position is stifled. Jewish students have the right to feel safe on campus. They have the right to walk the halls wearing a yarmulke. They have the right to hang a mezuzah. They have the right to host pro-Israel events, and to speak freely about their support for Israel in the classroom and on the square. When he headed the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Brandeis Center President Ken Marcus took the first step by including
protection against anti-Semitism under Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. But more must be done to ensure that universities comply with the law. I know firsthand how distressing it is to be a victim of anti-Zionism that morphs into anti-Semitism. I will carry that passion of personal experience with me when helping other students. The Brandeis Center chapters give law students like me a chance to do our part.
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