December 2015

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Table of Contents Features


2. Reaching the Readers

16. Unbreakable Bond

3. Welcome to Jewish Orange County

18. France Knows: This Is War

4. Bible in Its Own Context 6. Baker’s Dozen

oRANGE cOUNTY 8. On Being Thankful 10. Chanukah Bonanza 12. Jewish Events in Orange County

lIFE & rELIGION 22. Kosher Food in Orange County? 23. The Roving Rav Review 24. Lighting the Darkness

Opinion + More 26. Defining Diversity 27. Refugee Redux 28. Israel Immersion

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Kosher OC Magazine PO Box 7054 Newport Beach, CA 92658 Email: Web: Shop: Twitter: @kosheroc


Reaching the Readers Kosher OC Magazine is a combined website, digital publication, and Facebook page designed to cover Jewish news as it occurs in Orange County, Israel, and all over the world. We combine modern technology with dedicated reporting to be timely, accurate, and responsive to global and local happenings. Kosher OC Magazine previews and reviews the key events in the community and profiles the people who make them possible. We provide and share the opinions of people about Jewish news, Jewish customs and observance, and features on food, fashion, literature, music, and sports. With daily postings of news and insight and periodic listings of special events, we keep the community informed about where to worship, where to learn, where to buy, where to socialize, and where to make a difference. We reach all ages and stages of Jewish people living in Orange County. Visit us at and ask to be put on our mailing list. Like us on Facebook. Then be prepared for a stimulating Jewish journey. Learn more about advertising with Kosher OC Magazine, including media kit download and the latest rates, visit us online at kosheroc. com/advertising Kosher OC Staff


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Hello Readers

Welcome to Jewish Orange County Kosher OC Magazine 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. Zach Miller

Kosher oc Magazine // December 2015



Bible in Its Own Context

Dr. Sharon Keller, 15th Annual CSP One Month Scholar, explores “Sex, Magic, and Death in the Bible and its World.” By Ilene Schneider

doctorate at NYU in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies in the area of Bible and the Ancient Near East, Dr. Keller is currently on the Classics faculty at Hofstra University Who protects the mothers (and their where she teaches courses as diverse children) when they do not have as “Women in The Hebrew Bible,” husbands (or known fathers)? “Magic, Miracle, and Medicine in the Ancient World” and “Greco-Roman “May the Lord Bless You and Keep Comedy.” She believes that “people You” — where and from what? look at the Bible with an idea that the text doesn’t have, because we are When Dr. Sharon Keller decided to accustomed to looking at the Bible earn a PhD in Bible and Egyptology either from the depths of rabbinic when she was in the 6th grade and thought or through the lens of to work with Dr. Cyrus Gordon at NYU, she did it because, as she said, modernity.” Instead, she believes that we should look at the Bible, its stories, “The ancient world is fascinating. laws and customs with the light of its I was thrilled by the idea of trying ancient contemporary environment. to understand it. It allows you to “The Bible is an amalgam of texts, understand the modern world in a different way. It’s the foundation upon an anthology of sorts that reflects the ancient world and sex, magic which we’re built.” She will convey that excitement as the 15th Annual and death were as much a part of the CSP One Month Scholar from January ancient world as at least sex and death are a part of ours,” she said. 5 to 31, 2016, at various venues in Orange County. She will also show For instance, people look for Sarah’s how the Bible answers the above questions, bringing enthusiasm and voice in the binding of Isaac, but “that’s not the trajectory of the text,” humor to esoteric subject matter. she explained. “We tend to overlook A native New Yorker who got her things that ARE there and come away What do flying birds, cows’ livers, shaken arrows and mold on walls have in common?


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with negative baggage. We have to look at the Bible without the lens of modernity, to look at the world of the Bible as close to its context as possible.” Another example is the chariot of Ezekiel. Modern Hebrew uses the word “hashmal” to mean “electricity,” but the brilliance or sparkle described in the Bible could not be translated that way at that time. Dr. Keller, who has been an assistant professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at The Jewish Theological Seminary and at Hebrew Union College, and written and edited numerous scholarly articles and academic books, seeks to get as close as possible to the context and framework of the Biblical text. “We tend to forget that in the Bible, it was a different world, not our world. While sex, magic and death are not the first words that come to mind when thinking about the Bible, each of these three sometimes provocative topics can be an essential part of some of the Bible’s most familiar lessons and stories.”

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Dr. Keller, whose most popular book, Jews: A Treasury of Art and Literature, was awarded the prestigious National Jewish Book Award, added, “There is a truth beyond historical veracity. The Bible holds a universal truth and a Jewish truth. Looking for historicity does a disservice to the Biblical text.” Some of Dr. Keller’s favorite women in the Bible are Yael, Tamar and Rahab — “the strong, spicy ones who take


matters into their own hands and get the job done,” she said. “Sometimes, but not always, the end justifies the means.” She added, “Beauty isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s not always positive. When used as a descriptor, it always means that something else is going to happen, just as ‘barren’ means that the woman is going to have a designated heir who is fantastic, later rather than sooner.”

Issues of translation get in the way of our understanding of the Bible, according to Dr. Keller. The concubines Bilhah and Zilpah could be thought of as matriarchs in a legal system we might not understand, because things change over time, she said. “Language, translation and understanding are huge when we look at the Bible in its own environment,” Dr. Keller concluded. 

Kosher oc Magazine // December 2015


Orange County

On Being Thankful New tradition has ancient origins. By Ilene Schneider

Thanksgiving started out as a pictureperfect day, especially when viewed from the scenic Shady Canyon area of Irvine. It was a time to appreciate the beauty of nature, the generosity of people and the physical prowess to combine them into a fun event with a purpose. It was a chance to participate in a new tradition before engaging in the more familiar Thanksgiving traditions of cooking, having downtime with family and friends, eating and more eating. This year Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School (TVT) held its first annual Turkey Trot with two races – a 5K walk/run at 8 a.m. and a 1K funrun at 9:45 a.m. All proceeds will go to TVT Cares, which will package 50,000 meals to feed the hungry on Super Bowl Sunday morning, 2016. Students, parents, grandparents, teachers, administrators and members of the community gathered to strut their stamina, burn a few calories before the big feast and mingle with each other. The event was not about running the hardest or the fastest, although there 8

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were prizes for each age category. It was about being there from start to finish, appreciating our good fortune and raising money to share it with others. It was a great beginning to a feel-good holiday that may not be classified as a Jewish holiday but that, nonetheless, may have origins in Jewish tradition. Some say that the concept of giving thanks, in the autumn, after the harvest, has its roots in the Jewish festival of Sukkot. The Pilgrims, after all, were learned in the Bible, regarded their journey as a type of exodus and had spent time with Sephardic Jews in Holland to avoid religious persecution in England. In any case, Thanksgiving is a time when we can share the Jewish concept of gratitude with everybody around us. While gratitude in Judaism begins with the daily morning prayers and continues throughout the day, 365 days a year, Thanksgiving is a time when all Americans celebrate gratitude, with food, football and relaxation. There are no phone calls from clients who forget that we are celebrating a holiday (that we may find out about 24 to 48 hours after

the fact) and no explaining to anyone that we need a day off. For those who do have to work on that day, such as the policemen who protected the perimeters of the Turkey Trot course or the members of the armed services who protect Americans every single day, we are especially grateful. Thanks to TVT’s Turkey Trot and other events like it, there is even more to our celebration of Thanksgiving – a chance to give back. What a great new tradition to share – any day of the year! 

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Kosher oc Magazine // December 2015


Orange County

Chanukah Bonanza If it’s Jewish, you can find it at The Golden Dreidle. By Ilene Schneider

It’s December, and everybody’s thoughts are turning to buying that perfect gift – or lots of perfect gifts. If the gift is a Jewish book, household item or ritual object, you can find it at The Golden Dreidle. Orange County’s top-notch Judaica store has lots of new items for this Chanukah, as well as gifts that can be used throughout the year. Owners Shahrokh and Julie Ghodsi take pride in the breadth and depth of selection at The Golden Dreidle and go the extra mile to help customers to find just the right item. The displays – from the colorful wall of hundreds of tallitot to the diverse selection of menorahs – are breathtaking. This year there are new menorahs by Gary Rosenthal, Tamara Baskin, Melanie Dankowicz and others. Rosenthal sculpts in welded metals and combines them with fused glass. Baskin offers innovative and often whimsical fused glass menorahs. Metalcut menorahs by Dankowicz create beautiful shadows as the Chanukah lights shine through to the table. 10

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Choose from a variety of new toys for kids, including Mench on the Bench, Building Blocks Menorah, Jewish Spot It and wooden Chanukah sets. There are gifts for children of all ages. Chanukah fashions for ladies and young girls include Fashion Temporary Tattoos, Hanukkah Leggings, Instant Ugly Sweater Kit and more. As usual, The Golden Dreidle has the biggest selection of Tallitot on the west coast with new shipments coming a few times a month. “We are very grateful to our customers who find Jewish items in department stores, but make a point to purchase at The Golden Dreidle,” Shahrokh Ghodsi concluded.  — Check out The Golden Dreidle at 2626 Dupont Dr., Ste. 40, Irvine, CA92612; (949) 955-0900;

Hanukkah, the festival of lights.

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Jewish Events in OC December 2015

Plan your month with our December 2015 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, festivals and our favorite picks. Thursday, December 3, 7 p.m. Eight Nights of Oil and Vinegar Too Celebrate Chanukah and sample herbed olive oils and balsamic vinegars with Atid Hadassah RSVP:

Monday, December 7, 6 p.m. This year, Heritage Pointe is pleased to announce an All-Chapter Chanukah Party for the community to join together for latkes and vodka (of course brisket, too.) Grab your friends and celebrate together enjoying entertainment provided by Broadway Nights Cabaret.

Friday, December 4, 5:30 p.m. Family Chanukah Celebration and Dinner Congregation B’nai Israel, 2111 Bryan Avenue, Tustin Sunday, December 6, 9 a.m. DIY Kids Menorah Workshop The Home Depot, 2782 El Camino Real, Tustin Sponsored by Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine Youth and The Home Depot (949) 786-5230 Sunday, December 6, 10:30 a.m. Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Appeals Brunch Newport Beach Sunday, December 6, 3 p.m. Giant menorah lighting at Fashion Island (Atrium next to Barnes & Noble) Chabad Jewish Center of Newport Beach Sunday, December 6, 3:30 p.m. Giant menorah lighting at Tustin City Hall with baseball great Shawn Green Chabad of Tustin Light first Chanukah candle at 4:43 p.m. Chanukah 2015 begins in the evening of Sunday, December 6 and ends in the evening of Monday, December 14 Monday, December 7, 6 p.m. Heritage Pointe Latkes & Vodkas Dinner Temple Bat Yahm, 1011 Camelback, Newport Beach 12

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Tuesday, December 8, 11 a.m. Chanukah Inspiration with Rabbi Leah Lewis “Freedom as Defined in the Tale of Chanukah and Today” JCC and Shir Ha Ma’alot Members, Free, Pubic $15 Merage Jewish Community Center RSVP: Wednesday, December 9, 10:30 a.m. Volunteers Make a Difference Presenters: Reega Neutel, MSW, and JCC Cares Merage Jewish Community Center

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Thursday, December 10, 5 p.m. Community Chanukah Celebration Free and open to the community Merage Jewish Community Center Thursday, December 10, 6:00 p.m. Friendship Circle’s Annual Chanukah Family Bowl An awesome evening with pizza, bowling and fun for the entire family – at no cost Fountain Bowl, 17110 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley Register: or call (949) 721-9800 Saturday, December 12, 7:30 p.m. Lighten Up! Chanukah Comedy Night Starring Mark Schiff. Open bar, salad bar, latke bar, blintzes, lots of laughs, menorah lighting. Tickets: $20 advance $25 at the door $180 event sponsor Chabad Center for Jewish Life 2240 University Drive, Newport Beach Register: or call (949) 721-9800 Sunday, December 13, 10:30 a.m. Curriculum Watch: Erasing History: A Conversation Examining Bias in Our Schools Conversation with a panel of experts — Dr. Sandra Alfonsi, Hadassah nat’l chair of Curriculum Watch; Ariella Schusterman, assoc. regional director of the ADL, LA; and Aliza Craimer Elias, director of the Institute for Curriculum Services, the National Resource Center for Accurate Jewish Content in Schools; and moderated by Beth Shuster, education editor of the LA Times. Hadassah Southern CA Winter Conference & Installation Luxe Sunset Hotel, 11461 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles Register: or (310) 276-0036

Sunday, December 13, 4:45 p.m. Chanukah Celebration with Rabbi Elie Spitz and Carl Cedar. Latkes, donuts and more. Congregation B’nai Israel, 2111 Bryan Avenue, Tustin Register: (714) 730-9693 or Tuesday, December 15, 10 a.m. Open House: Experience the Interactive Hebrew Program Olam Jewish Montessori at Beth Jacob Cong. of Irvine 3900 Michelson Drive, Irvine Tuesday, December 15, 10 a.m. Books & Bagels: The Jazz Palace by Mary Morris JCC & JFFS Members: Free, Public $10 Merage Jewish Community Center Thursday, December 24, to Sunday, December 27 NCSY Regional Conference Jewish teens from all over the west coast La Jolla Register:; (949) 786-5230 x106

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News & Politics

Unbreakable Bond

Diplomat Dennis Ross discusses U.S.-Israel relationship. By Ilene Schneider

Dennis Ross has the inside track on the connection between the U.S. and Israel. While he acknowledges incorrect assumptions various U.S. administrations have made about the situation in the Middle East, the longstanding diplomat is “still optimistic for the future of the U.S.Israel relationship.

Community Center on November 22, called ISIS an organization that is creating an apocalyptic war and presenting itself as being on a divine mission. ISIS, he said, was focused on more than creating an Islamic state: it was diverting attention by operating elsewhere to cover setbacks, creating polarization and conflict.

Currently the counselor and Davidson fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a distinguished professor in the practice of diplomacy at Georgetown University, he was the director of policy planning in the State Department for George H.W. Bush, Middle East peace envoy for Bill Clinton and a special assistant to the President under Barack Obama. Ross’s new book, Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama talks about how administrations have distanced themselves from Israel because of mistaken assumptions, how to understand the priorities of Arab leaders and how to shape future Middle East policy.

As to the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the aborted attack in the United Kingdom and the potential attack in Germany, Ross said, “It took a lot of planning, and it was astounding that the French were on high alert and missed it. The situation in France was a coordinated attack on multiple sites, with weapons, choreography and rehearsals. ISIS trains and recruits terrorists by means of a factory-type operation in Syria. I guess that we’ll see more of it. We need to inflict attacks on them and carry out relentlessness against them.”

Ross, who spoke at the Merage Jewish 16

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There is a connection between the situation in Paris and the terror attacks in Israel, he said. However, in the Middle East, nobody is focused on the Palestinians.

“When the First Intifada began in 1987, the world was not paying attention to the Palestinians,” Ross said. “”Today Palestinians have no affiliation. They are lone actors who may be motivated by ISIS or social media. There is a false narrative about Israel upsetting the status quo.” He added, “The Palestinians are angry at their own leadership, which is corrupt, meaningless and not substantive. They are angry at both Arabs and Israelis. There are stabbings almost daily. There is no more intimate form of terror than stabbings, where perpetrators can actually see their victims.” Ross then proceeded to talk about how various U.S. administrations have dealt with the Palestinian situation. According to Ross, the Obama administration said we have to stop the cycle of violence, rather than condemn what was going on, thus linking the problem to the Israelis. As he explained, “Obama thinks you can single out Arabs or they will take it out on us. Israel has been seen as a

News & Politics

problem, rather than a partner.”

battle – with cancer.”

According to Ross, “Bush 2” declared war on terror and asked the Israeli government to talk to the Arab governments about the Palestinian problem. By the end of the Bush administration, he had “an emotional attachment to Israel.”

Ross talked about Ronald Reagan’s change of heart and how it has shaped Israel policy for many years. Reagan, he said, suspended weapons to Israel after the bombing of the Osirak reactor in Syria, but then he built security, defense, counter-terror and economic relationships with Israel in 1984, and every U.S. administration has built on that. “Reagan said he had an abiding commitment to Israel,” Ross said. “After the first two years of his presidency, he came back to his roots and had a constituency that backed the idea of helping Israel.”

The Clinton administration was the only one since the founding of Israel that had no negative constituency against Israel. “Clinton said that Israel was the U.S.’s only friend in the world,” said Ross. The Eisenhower administration was the toughest on Israel, according to Ross. Eisenhower thought Truman catered to the Jewish vote for political reasons. People who shaped Cold War policy in those days were anti-Israel, but Truman recognized Israel anyway. Clark Clifford, an advisor in the Truman administration, pointed out that giving in to the Arabs sounded like appeasement and the Arabs needed to sell oil to the U.S. Truman agreed to recognize Israel, but he did little besides that until providing economic assistance to the fledgling country six months later. “When Eisenhower came into office, he thought Truman did a lot for Israel and decided to align with the Arabs,” Ross explained. “He suspended loans to Israel for using the Jordan River water for hydroelectric power and irrigation. Meanwhile, Israel was absorbing a huge amount of people. His secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, told the Arabs that the U.S. was not beholden to the Jews. The British and the French backed Israel against Egypt over the Suez Canal, and the U.S. threatened to get Israel expelled from the U.N. Things changed after Dulles had his own

According to Ross, there are three assumptions that have caused American presidents to make life difficult for Israel. They are: 1) by distancing itself from Israel, the U.S. will gain ground with the Arabs; 2) if the U.S. cooperates with Israel, it will lose ground with the Arabs; and 3) in order to transform the region, we need to deal with the Palestinian issue. There have been what Ross called “egregious examples” in almost every administration.

not stopping any of the problems in the region. “The real priorities of Arab leaders are their security and survival, not Israel,” Ross said. “Now Israel and the Sunni states have common ground, and the Arab countries focus on their own needs. We have to see the region as it is and see Israel as it is. America and Israel share values, interests and threats.” Ross concluded, “The region will struggle with identity, and Israel will stand in complete contrast with the rule of law, segregation of power, an independent judiciary, free elections, artistic freedom, freedom of the press and freedom of speech.” 

For instance, Obama created “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel but did not gain with the Arabs. At the beginning of his administration, Nixon tried to reach out to Nasser and suspended weapons to Israel, but Russia helped Egypt and Nasser made new demands. Nixon did, however, provide enormous help to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Kennedy provided arms to Israel although his secretary of state, Dean Rusk, was against it. Rusk met the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who raised other issues, and then Kennedy met with him, and he raised other issues as well. Today, the Obama administration’s concern with the Palestinian issue is Kosher oc Magazine // December 2015


News & Politics

France Knows: This Is War Terror must be eradicated, not explained and not understood. By Boaz Bismuth / JNS

“This is an act of war,” French President François Hollande proclaimed after convening his security cabinet on Saturday. Hollande said the Islamic State terror group was responsible for Friday night’s appalling series of terrorist attacks, in which at least 129 people lost their lives, and that the attacks were planned outside of France. “France will be merciless toward the barbarians of the Islamic State group” and “will act with all the means necessary…on all fronts: interior and exterior, in coordination with our allies who themselves are targeted by this threat,” vowed Hollande, who at 4 a.m. spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama over the phone. France is at war. A countrywide state of emergency was declared along with three days of national mourning. In the upcoming days we will also see many more soldiers in the city of lights. The city’s main tourist attractions and public institutions remained closed Saturday. At least eight terrorists, among them seven suicide attackers, took part in the multi-pronged assault. A manhunt 18

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is underway to find the planners and those who provided the attackers with logistical support. The overriding fear is that this isn’t over. There isn’t a dearth of terrorists in France. The jihadists returning from Syria are potential ticking time bombs. The problem is that this is no longer about potential. The terror is already here. France is at war, and not just any war. It’s a religious war: the most dangerous and fanatical kind. “War in central Paris,” stated the top headline in French newspaper Le Figaro on Saturday. “This time it’s war,” read the headline in Le Parisien. And they expressed what almost every French citizen is saying or thinking. The other headlines in the French press are no less horrific, with words like “massacre” and “slaughter” being used over and over to describe what transpired. On-line social networks were especially busy, and on a new Facebook page named “Attacks in Paris,” people offered to shelter shell shocked fellow Parisians in their homes. Taxi drivers drove survivors home with the meters turned off. Ever since that terrible war some 70

years ago, France hasn’t known such solidarity. The entire world is stunned. This was the worst terrorist attack since Madrid in 2004. Then, al-Qaeda was responsible. Now it’s Islamic State. From the Westerner’s perspective, it’s exactly the same ideology. The simultaneous attacks Friday night were no longer aimed at symbolic targets: a Jewish school; the offices of a satire magazine that mocked the Prophet Muhammad; a policeman or soldier in uniform representing the republic. This time the symbol is everyone. The choice of targets explains precisely why France is so anxious: It is a drastic escalation in the degree of carnage, danger, madness, nihilism, and hatred. These attacks were aimed at people. These attacks were blind. France understands today that in the eyes of Islamist jihad, all Frenchmen, all Westerners, are infidels—and no one is immune. The people of France are struggling to understand how it all happened. They want to know why the attack at the Bataclan concert hall didn’t end with

News & Politics

fewer casualties, mainly because it was so reminiscent of the terrorist attack in the Russian city of Beslan in North Ossetia in September 2004. “Ask the Israelis, they will tell you how hard it is to cope with suicide terrorists,” said the commander of the GIGN, France’s elite counterterrorism unit, Amaury de Hauteclocque, who stormed the Bataclan with his men. In the video footage from the scene, the sounds of explosions are clearly discernible. In this day and age everything is videotaped and recorded. From the terrorists’ vantage point, the victory is two-fold: They can kill and also become famous. The writing was on the wall “I saw the dead on the floor, I saw body parts,” recounts Sebastien, who managed to escape from the Bataclan theater with his life. “I heard them shouting ‘Allahu akbar— we are avenging the deaths of our brothers in Syria,’” recalls Celine, another survivor. Not far from there a newspaper salesman and his customers gather, stunned. “That’s it, they’re here,” says one Frenchman who buys all the papers. “I’m buying them for my kids, so they remember the day it all started.” At Rue de Charonne, the site of the ghastly restaurant shooting that left 18 people dead, stands Luke, a young man who had met some friends for dinner the night before. “I can’t believe a terrorist attack happened right under my home. A Kalashnikov [rifle] right here under my house. Does that make any sense?” he asks bewildered. The fear for French citizens is real and tangible. They saw the footage of the panicked escape from the Bataclan, captured on film by a Le Monde cameraman. The optimists are afraid it’s not over, the

pessimists are afraid this is just the beginning, while the realists have become more and more pessimistic. Much like in the 8th century, secular France is again facing a religious war, but ladies and gentlemen, we are in 2015. We can’t say the writing wasn’t on the wall. We can, of course, use France’s participation in the bombing campaign against Islamic State in Syria as an excuse, but France was already in the crosshairs long ago. France can no longer bury its head in the sand: Islamist jihad has declared war on it and its intention is to kill, deter, terrify, and also conquer if it can. Again, it intends to kill, kill and kill some more; and to die in the process if necessary. We can only wish the French the best of luck, although it won’t be easy: The jihadist invader is already on French soil, and many of his comrades even have French passports. What’s worse, he learned his profession (terrorism) in Syria and Iraq. “It’s hard to believe all this happened in Paris, that suicide terrorists detonated explosive belts, just like in Beirut a few days ago, just like in the Middle East,” says veteran French anchorman David Pujadas of France 2. Pujadas, who anchored the broadcast following the September 11 attacks in New York, couldn’t believe that 14 years later he would anchor a similar broadcast in Paris. I was in France during the terror wave in the 1990s. I was also in Toulouse when 23-year-old Mohamed Merah carried out his attack at the Jewish day school; I was there in January after the attacks the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket and Charlie Hebdo offices. It seems France always searched for a reason for those attacks, essentially to avoid

confronting the truth. One time it was the war in Algeria; another time it was a disagreement with Iran; or a Jewish target; or because Muhammad was ridiculed. France never wanted to truly cope with the truth: The home of Voltaire, Moliere, Balzac, Maupassant, and universal values is in the crosshairs of global jihad. Enough is enough; no more looking for excuses. France’s Catch-22 Just a reminder: Prior to the January terror attacks were several attacks where the perpetrators yelled “Allahu akbar.” These were discounted as the actions of crazy people. And then January came along, and with it, the terrorist atrocities. We have also recently seen attacks and attempted attacks in Villejuif, south of Paris; on Thalys, the high-speed train operator; and near the city of Lyon. They tried so hard to diminish the severity and implications of these events. France is in a Catch-22: On the one hand it is waging a struggle against the radical ideologies propagated by states (Saudi Arabia and Iran), but the moment these states display a modicum of economic liberalism, France treats them as kosher. Additionally, waging a war against jihad means running the risk of finding yourself in a war against all Muslims, and this is the catch that Islamic State, like al-Qaeda in the past, seeks to exploit today. And one more word to the West: With all due respect for words and desires for peace, when will you understand that terror is eradicated, not explained and not understood? One of these days, some leaders will have to explain to us how they allowed this monster named Islamic State to grow to such proportions. 

Kosher oc Magazine // December 2015


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Life & Religion

Kosher Food in the OC?

Kosher foods, glatt kosher meats and more available at Trader Joe’s. By Zach Miller

Living in Orange County? You won’t be forced to vegetarian. Not that there’s anything lacking in being a vegetarian—except, meaty meat, that is—Los Angeles is known as the hub for kosher meats. However, if you just need a protein filled pastrami sandwich, or a simple roasted chicken for dinner, you don’t have to shlep, or drag, yourself about a hundred miles roundtrip. Trader Joe’s is the answer, and has been for years—so they’re not noobs who can barely spell kosher. In fact, Trader Joes has become a destination for kosher chicken. Thanksgiving isn’t • • • • • •

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lacking either, because for a few years now, kosher Turkeys have flocked to Orange County all thanks to Trader Joes. In fact, not only are the meats kosher, they’re Glatt Kosher. What’s the difference? That’s another link… Don’t forget, besides kosher poultry, Trader Joe’s has an abundance of kosher snacks, desserts, sauces, drinks, and everything else between meals. In fact, at times it feels like Trader Joes is more kosher than your local super chain supermarket. 

Life & Religion

The Roving Rav Review

Temple Bat Yahm offers short, traditional-style Shabbat morning service. By Rav Hazzan Marcia Tilchin

Realized to perfection, the Jewish Sabbath is 25 hours of rest, repose and connection to family, friends and community. Historically, it was framed by delicious meals, stimulating conversation at the Friday night and Saturday afternoon Shabbat table, singing, study, synagogue attendance and, if all went as planned, at least one great nap on Saturday afternoon before mincha. The centerpiece of synagogue worship was Shabbat morning. In traditional communities, this is still the case. You will find a full Shabbat morning service at any one of Orange County’s many Chabad houses, at Congregation Beth Jacob in Irvine (Orthodox), Young Israel of Irvine (Orthodox) and at the four Conservatively affiliated shuls in north, central and south county. Some traditional communities even offer multiple minyanim. These 2to 3-hour services include shaharit, traditional Torah and Haftarah readings, a poignant message and (most of the time) musaf. Services are generally followed by a communal Kiddush luncheon. Congregations are

happy to welcome new faces! If the above description appeals to you, but 2+ hours of worship is not possible for some members of your family or you cannot get to synagogue before 10:30 a.m. but would be disappointed to miss the morning service, you may want to visit Temple Bat Yahm on a Saturday morning for its intimate, traditional-style Shabbat morning service. Led by Rabbi Rayna Gevurtz from 10:30 to 11:50 a.m., she and her rotating cantorial partners touch upon high points in birkhot hashahar, p’sukei d’zimra and shaharit. A portion of the weekly triennial reading is chanted by congregants. Informal and relaxed, this service is the perfect environment for the novice Torah and Haftarah reader to work on building laining skills. The best part? Rabbi Gevurtz makes everyone in the room feel welcome and cared for. Afterwards, attendees enjoy a lovely light Kiddush lunch and a chance to schmooze. Parents looking to introduce young children to traditional worship may find Bat Yahm’s Saturday morning experience very appealing.

Seeking more in depth Shabbat learning? Join one of the Bat Yahm clergy for stimulating Torah study from 9 to 10:15 a.m. and then stick around for the hamish Shabbat morning worship. You’ll be glad you did! 

Kosher oc Magazine // December 2015


Life & Religion

Lighting the Darkness Menorah lighting guide to light up your home. By

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 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 Temple’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 night—and it would take eight days to procure new, pure oil. 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 24

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menorah (also known as a chanukiah) on each of the eight nights of Chanukah. This year, we start lighting the menorah on Sunday night December 6, 2015. The Menorah The basic elements of a menorah are eight holders for oil or candles and an additional holder, set apart from the rest, for the shamash (“attendant”) candle. The Chanukah lights can either be candle flames or oil-fueled. Since the miracle of Chanukah happened with olive oil – the little cruse of oil that lasted for eight days – an oil menorah is preferable to a candle one, and olive oil is the ideal fuel. Cotton wicks are preferred because of the smooth flame they produce. The Shamash The shamash – the “attendant” candle that is used to kindle the other lights – sits a bit higher or lower than the other candles, on the ninth branch of the menorah. Many Jews have a tradition to use a beeswax candle for

the shamash. Though the shamash’s primary function has been served once the candles have been lit, we don’t extinguish the shamash. Instead, we set it in its place adjacent to the other lights, ready to “serve” in case a candle blows out. Another reason why we leave the shamash lit is because it is forbidden to use the Chanukah lights for any practical reason. This way, if a candle is needed, the shamash is available for use, preserving the sanctity of the mitzvah lights. 

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Defining Diversity

How do we decide whether something is Jewish or not? By Robin Silver-Zwiren

What is Jewish? No one can argue that the OC Challah Bake where 1600 women gathered was anything but a Jewish event. Even if not everyone in the room was halachically Jewish, while there kneading and braiding challah, each woman fulfilled the mitzvah of challah. On the following evening, Shabbat, hundreds of these Jewish families probably ate dinner at home rather than going to a restaurant. Not only was the hamotzi made over the challah but kiddush made over the wine.

that there is always a table filled with kosher bagels, lox, cream cheese and a babke adds to the flavor of it being inherently Jewish.

The yearly Challah Bake is certainly something many Jewish women look forward to joining. A huge, diverse committee works together to make everybody feel welcome.

How many other OC Jewish groups keep kosher practices? The yearly ADL honorees brunch always has a strictly kosher food option even though regular meetings do not. Some organizations serve only dairy, vegan and fish options. Some of the more traditional people in the area who may be strictly kosher at home eat dairy out. I do not. I will eat fresh fruit but not fish or bread or most of the yummy looking desserts. So how can people call Bullets and Bagels “unJewish” if it is filled with Jews that are able to eat kosher?

What other OC programs are Jewish? Some have complained that Bullets and Bagels is not. I disagree. Learning to shoot a 22-caliber pistol was only part of the program. The fact that the majority of the group members are Jewish certainly qualifies this program to be a Jewish one. Socializing with other like-minded Jews makes Bullets and Bagels a Jewish club. The fact

Those who say Bullets and Bagels should not be called Jewish because it supports our rights to bear arms should take a glance at other programs. Is the reading group at the JCC Jewish because it is held in that particular building? While the Bureau of Jewish Education Shabbaton experience helps teach a love for Yiddishkeit and Israel, cell phones and


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microphones are used on Shabbat. In any case is Bullets and Bagels any less Jewish than our books clubs and BJE teen programs and scholar-inresidence dinners? That would be like saying the Democratic party is Jewish (as most of our descendents probably voted this way), and the Republican party is un-Jewish. Of course, this is untrue. Chassidim wear different style hats depending on if they came from Poland or Russia. Ashkenaz customs are not the same as Sephardim or Mizrachi ones. With all these differences, we are all Jewish even if we don’t always agree. Open the window and let the breeze in; open your minds and let in more thoughts and ideals. 

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Refugee Redux Protecting people Is paramount By Ilene Schneider

Immigration is a loaded subject for a Jew. One cannot help but think of the lives that could have been saved during World War II if the US government had been willing to alter its immigration policies. We can picture the faces of innocent men, women and children who had no desire to do anything but lead normal lives, practice their religion and live without fear of that fatal knock on the door. We can imagine the sheer horror of the passengers on the St. Louis who could see the lights of Miami but could not disembark on American soil because of strictly enforced immigration quotas. And now? Syrians and Afghanis are living under terrifying conditions. Many of them might just want to lead normal lives in a place where they need not fear that knock on the door or bullet in the street. Still, the fact that the US is expending time, effort and money scrutinizing the motives of primarily 18- to 45-year-old men among the 10,000 immigrants who arrived in New Orleans recently makes one concerned – especially in

view of what happened in Paris. Can it happen here? You’d better believe it. The new immigrants will be scattered among 180 American cities. While most of them might have the best of intentions, how can we be sure that we can go to concerts, watch ball games and run marathons without incident in so many different places? Why should we have the added worry? Does political correctness supersede safety? Whose country is this anyway? The US always has been a melting pot, replete with the cultures and contributions of people from every continent. A generation after immigration – or maybe even sooner – people from many faraway places regard themselves as Americans, often forgetting about any kind of hyphenation. They can choose

to blend with the environment or celebrate their heritage or both. Nobody challenges their freedom to practice their religion or any other activity as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of any other American. Everyone who crosses these borders has to prove that he or she is not a safety concern for the rest of us. It is naïve to think that we are protected by oceans when one or two malcontents with homemade bombs – or several different fanatics willing to lose their lives in the process – can wreak havoc on a whole city at any given time. Wake up, America. 

Kosher oc Magazine // December 2015


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Israel Immersion

TVT Gap Year Program gives students ideas for a year in Israel after graduation. By Robin Silver-Zwiren

When Matana Zwiren, TVT senior, approached Johnathan Rastello, director of college counseling, and Grace Rios, registrar and college counseling assistant, about the idea of hosting an Israel gap year program, they were right on board with her. The project has taken months to plan, but on Thursday December 19, several program representatives were on campus to share their knowledge and insight. Many TVT grads have gone on Israel Gap year programs in the past. With so many options it is important to find one that best suits each individual. Aardvark This year-long Israel program gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in truly living an Israeli lifestyle. While living in apartments in Jerusalem and/or Tel Aviv, participants learn to live with their peers and share in a wide variety of experiences — from shopping for food in the shuk markets to volunteering at schools and senior 28

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residences and from exciting field trips to explore the ancient and modern land of Israel to interacting with Israelis. Aardvark Programs can be customized according to every participant’s ideals, whether entrepreneurial, governmental or military. Students preparing for medical school can take Magen David Adom training and work on ambulances or in a hospital. Those who plan on a career in business can get an internship at an Israeli startup. Opportunities are there for those who want to learn about international law and meeting lobbyists. Hebrew language skills improve daily, and college credits are given for this program. Aardvark also offers an international program for those who want the opportunity to travel and meet Israeli delegates in foreign nations. Countries that have been visited include China, Germany, Ethiopia, Holland, Italy, France, Spain and the Czech Republic.

Bina Bina’s gap year program is defined by its commitment to social action and study in Tel Aviv. Participants from Israel and around the world get the opportunity to live together, travel together and experience life in this dynamic city, studying Judaism from a pluralistic perspective while exploring Israel and all the ancient and modern state have to offer. History, politics, social action and text-based study are ways to immerse into Hebrew language. While volunteering in a wide range of projects, individuals gain first-hand knowledge into Israeli life. By the second semester, participants are not only able to speak Hebrew but to think in Hebrew. B’nai Birth Youth (BBYO) BBYO Beyond is a pluralistic program with a 5- or 9-month Israel experience that is “designed for Jewish young adults seeking a unique launch into adulthood.” This program gives individuals the opportunity to better

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understand Israeli society and culture while developing leadership skills. First semester is centered in Tel Aviv. While living on the beautiful campus of Tel Aviv University, students earn college credits. They also travel around Israel and learn about Jewish heritage while growing as individuals. Volunteer opportunities, kibbutz living, Magen David Adom paramedic and/or Marva IDF training are added options, depending on personal interest, for second session. The program is limited to 45 participants with extremely dedicated, professional staff members who mentor each teen. Optional add-on trips to places like Ethiopia, Spain and Portugal are also available. Hevruta Hevruta is a pluralistic gap year program for North Americans and Israelis in collaboration with the Shalom Hartman Institute and Hebrew College. While living in Jerusalem apartments, the young adults get to learn from each other while madrichim, counselors, live in separate apartments in the same building. This program gives teens from different backgrounds the opportunity to learn from each other. Intensive text-based study gives participants the means to discover and discuss Jewish history and ideas. Interacting with professionals and organizations gives students the opportunity to be a part of issues that shape Israel and worldwide Judaism. Attending lectures, concerts and museum exhibitions offers a cultural immersion not often a part of young adults’ lives. Internships and community service opportunities can include placements at museums, cultural centers and the Knesset, as

well as tutoring children with special needs or serving as a Big Brother/ Sister. These awesome opportunities help build tomorrow’s leaders who, when they return to America, attend top universities. Kivunim Kivunim is an exciting gap year program that builds the future by experiencing the present and studying the past. Kivunim is now in its 10th year, so relatively new compared to other programs but extremely well thought out and planned. Based in Jerusalem, participants get the opportunity to explore the ancient and modern city while learning how much more is needed to fulfill the Zionist dream. Students are not only introduced to Jewish history but to the ideals of tolerance, mutual respect and building a more peaceful world. The Arab-Jewish issue is discussed in hopes that dialogue between the groups will bring better understanding. Kivunim hopes that its participants will return to American college campuses better prepared to face adversity and the conflict that so often occurs. Kivunim participants should be intellectual, open-minded and interested in other cultures and beliefs. For the 201617 year, travel to India, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and Jordan is being planned, so, obviously, participants should desire this opportunity.

in this life-changing opportunity. Participants study and volunteer with same-age Israeli peers. Mechina programs for Israelis can be the bridge between high school and serving in the IDF. The year builds leadership skills to better prepare participants for the future, whether it is army service or college life. While studying Jewish history, students gain insight into our culture and identity. Volunteer opportunities are limitless and have a positive impact on those aided as well as those providing the care and attention needed. Trips and encounters give the participants a better knowledge of the land and people. Yachad shapes our next generation of Jewish leaders in Israel and North America. University Programs Israeli Universities from IDC Herzliya to Tel Aviv to the Technion to Hebrew University all have year programs for overseas high school graduates. Students can take English, or Hebrew classes that can be transferred to most North American colleges. Many of these universities also recognize Israeli universities for gap year or semester abroad programs. For more information just look up the individual institution or MASA Israel is a great resource for all programs, whether yeshivot, seminaries or volunteer programs: www.masaisrael. org ď ?

Yachad Yachad Gap Year is a Mechina program that immerses the individual into Israel. Several Orange County teens have actually participated Kosher oc Magazine // December 2015


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