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Table of Contents Features
News & Politics
2. Reaching the Readers
24. 2015: A Year in Review
3. Welcome to Jewish Orange County
27. 2016: The Year in Preview
4. The Circle of Life 6. Scaling the summit for SHALVA
Orange County 9. Infectious Energy 10. Echoes of Hope 13. Menorah Magic
Life & Religion 30. Hatzalah Provides Healing 31. Overcoming Bias 32. A Community Kvells
Opinion + More
14. New Year, New Ark
34. Wonders of the World
16. Bonded with a KISS
36. The Power of Women
18. Honoring Those Who Make A Difference 20. Jewish Events in Orange County
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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 kosheroc.com 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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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 // January 2016
The Circle of Life Tragic loss inspires mitzvoth. By Robin Silver-Zwiren
The Circle of Life includes every milestone achieved. This weekend several area pre-teens became Bar/ Bat Mitzvah. They left their childhood behind and are now considered adults in our Jewish world. It is now their obligation, not their parents, to act according to the laws of Moses and Israel. To fulfill the commandments, do mitzvot and take on more responsibilities at home and school. Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah means accepting Judaism as not just a religion but as a way of life. To become positive role models, mentshes. Parents sit listening to their children recite the Torah and Haftarah portions with pride. When the d’var Torah speech is read, many parents need packages of tissues as they remember their first sight of their newborn child so small and innocent. They remember their infant’s first smile, word, day and preschool and then kindergarten. Remember the first bruised knee, broken bone or even the miracle that they are alive. They look up to the bima and see the young adult standing before them and 4
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wonder where the days have gone but look forward to the ones ahead. This week these community simchot are clouded, even though the sky is blue and the temperatures are in the 70’s. The darkness is caused by the tragic news that we have lost one of our own. The circle of life from birth to death is one we all face. However, the loss of an elderly person who has lived a long, full life is not the same as losing someone, in what should be, his or her prime. Toni Cushner Faerber has touched so many of us. Even those who never knew the family mourned when Scott (z’l) passed away about 5 years ago. It seems that whenever we hear someone young and dynamic has the much dreaded cancer, we automatically send positive thoughts and prayers. How much more difficult is it to fathom when a family is hit again? Toni unfortunately was. She was brave until the end — smiling, laughing and cherishing every moment with her children and friends. When her pain was the worst she tried so hard to keep things
routine for her children. She tried everything — radiation, chemo and surgery — to make sure the original diagnosis of six months was extended. Yet even 3 years does not seem fair. Zach, Noah and Emma are far too young to be without parents. Those who celebrated their Bar/Bat Mitzvah this weekend, as is true every weekend, gave a speech thanking their parents for their support and guidance. Who will guide and support the Faerber children? Although all are adults according to Jewish law, only Zach is of US legal age. Even at 21 he is far too young to be an orphan, to take full responsibility for his younger siblings. Toni knew this and made arrangements. Loving family members and friends have stepped up to fill some of the void but none can fulfill the emptiness left by losing Scott and Toni. Toni and Scott will forever watch over their children as they lay side by side, hand in hand. Our faith is tested at times like this when nothing seems fair or just. Yet we must believe that parents are always there even if only
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in spirit. Knowing Toni and Scott, they will forever be a guiding light not only for their children but for so many of us. As they are no longer on this earth, it is up to this community to do everything possible for their children. It is time to give emotional and financial help, not only today but in the years to come. We can help to finance college and, when the time comes, a few weddings. This is what community is all about. This community that is not always united, does not always stand up for others as it should, must do so for Zach, Noah and Emma Faerber. Donations can be made to the Faerberâ€™s College Fund via Cuck Fancer. at http://go.kosheroc.com/ faerber. ď ?
Scaling the Summit for SHALVA Jews come together to move mountains in global effort. By Rachel Gross
Scaling the largest free-standing mountain in the world is an unbelievable accomplishment — a test to human endurance and tenacity. Raising a special needs child can require the same tenacity.
With participants from as far away as the UK, USA, Canada and Israel, the climb attracted an eclectic group of trekkers all bound together with a common goal. The group spanned the spectrum of the Jewish community from secular to ultra-orthodox. This October, some 30 Jews from around the world climbed Mt. They all had their own reasons for choosing to reach beyond their own Kilimanjaro to raise money for SHALVA, the Association for Mentally limits to do something incredible. and Physically Challenged Children Trip coordinator Gaby Hirsch said, in Jerusalem. They were helping the “Everyone at SHALVA is touched parents and kids of SHALVA scale that so many SHALVA supporters have come together to climb for their own personal “mountains.” one cause. What started as a UK initiative became a global effort as the unique opportunity captured imaginations around the world.” John Corre, a Jerusalem resident and grandfather of nine, participated to celebrate his 70th birthday. He 6
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said, “The climb up Kilimanjaro was the most wonderful Jewish experience as well as being a very enjoyable and satisfying challenge, with a group of wonderful people, who became one big happy family.” These intrepid climbers were the latest members of the SHALVA family. For 25 years, SHALVA has been helping children with special needs move beyond their limitations. SHALVA programs and services are designed to provide individual treatment for the child while also strengthening the fabric of the family. Providing services for more than 500 infants, children and young adults, SHALVA accompanies each child from birth to adulthood. Individual tailored programs are designed to help participants reach their full potential and integrate into the community. John Corre explained, “Our ages ranged from 27 to 71 (me), but age differences didn’t matter. We all realized that whatever challenge we faced on the mountain was insignificant compared to the daily challenges faced by the children of
Shalva, for whom we were delighted to have raised over $300,000 from our incredibly generous family and friends.” Each climber pledged to raise $10,000. Each one found his or her own unique methods of raising money, from running an Auction of Promises to sponsored paragliding. The money raised is helping to fund SHALVA’s National Center due to open in the heart of Jerusalem next year. This state of the art facility will enable SHALVA to expand its services to offer treatment to four times as many children, making SHALVA a beacon of hope throughout the Middle East. Climb participant Helen Silverstein recounted that she left her comfortable home in Toronto because “I wanted to do it because the kids at SHALVA can’t.” To make the trip as inclusive as possible, the organizers decided to make it adhere to the highest possible standards of Jewish law. The trekkers were served vegetarian food, and the organizers purchased new cooking and eating utensils. On the seventh day of the trek, the group rested for Shabbat on Mt. Kilimanjaro, allowing the trekkers to join millions of Jews around the world keeping Shabbat as part of the Shabbos Project. While no participant was required to keep Shabbat, by making the trip adhere to the most stringent feasible level of Jewish observance, all climbers were able to maintain their own comfort level. Corre was moved by the level of Jewish observance possible while climbing the world’s highest freestanding mountain. He recounted that participants had “a minyan 3 times a day; a Chumash with Rashi Shiur every day given by a young
rabbi ; an eruv built at 4,200 meters so that we could carry on Shabbat; a Carlebach Kabbalat Shabbat led by a young chazzan from London; wonderful services on Shabbat; and a siyum on Shabbat with a shiur given by Shoshanna Baker from Ra’anana, who had been learning Daf Yomi.” The would-be trekkers were not without their apprehensions before the climb, and for good reason, in the course of nine days they hiked approximately 100 km. Trekking through five different ecosystems, participants were pushing their personal endurance to the limit. One of the biggest risks was altitude sickness. This condition occurs when the body responds badly to the reduced level of oxygen present at higher altitudes. Climbers were warned to watch out for headaches, dizziness and nausea. As the climb progressed, altitude did prevent some of the climbers from reaching the summit, but all climbers were winners.
Just as SHALVA has brought together people from across Israeli society, united by the desire to give all kids the best start in life, the SHALVA Mt. Kilimanjaro climb brought together Jews from every possible walk of life to continue that vital work. This unique trip demonstrates how we are all climbing mountains of one variety or another in our lives, and reminds us that it is incumbent upon us to reach out our hands and help the other up.
Helen Silverstein explained that the camaraderie among the group members was the real highlight of the trip. “The actual climb was amazing, and the scenery spectacular; however, the ‘one on one’ interaction with the various climbers over the course of 9 days was priceless and irreplaceable. If I could have handpicked our ‘team,’ it would have included each and every one of the players.”
Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
Pride for the tribe.
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Dan Nichols is ready to rock the house at Temple Beth Sholom. By Ilene Schneider
Creating excitement infused with Jewish spirituality, Dan Nichols and Eighteen (E18hteen) will take center stage at Temple Beth Sholom on Saturday, January 8, at 7 p.m. Bringing a positive message of Jewish values, identity and pride that have captured the attention of people all over the world, the dynamic performance is sponsored by Temple Beth Sholom Sisterhood’s Maxine Horwitz Cultural Series Fund. “Dan Nichols is considered a stellar Jewish singer with an upbeat and meaningful message that resonates with Jewish people everywhere,” said Michele Shugarman, one of the chairs of the event. “His impact has been powerful.” Nichols has been described as a singular talent in the world of Jewish music. He is one of the most dynamic, influential and beloved Jewish musicians in North America. His melodies have become an integral part of the spiritual and liturgical experience of countless individuals and Jewish communities.
A product of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Jewish camping movement, Nichols has toured Jewish summer camps across North America for the last 15 years. A classically trained singer, he received his Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance at the University of North Carolina. In 1995, realizing the potential of music to make powerful connections with Jewish youth, Nichols established the Jewish rock band Eighteen. Since that time, Dan and Eighteen have released 11 albums. Songs like, L’takein (The Na Na Song), B’tzelem Elohim, Kehillah Kedoshah, Chazak, Hoshia and Sweet As Honey and have become Jewish communal anthems throughout North America. Nichols tours more than 180 days each year and often serves as artist-in-residence and teacher for congregations and camp communities. He has served on the faculty of Hava Nashira since 2001. In 2009 he co-founded Shulhouse Rock, a songleading workshop for Jewish high-school students. He has
performed live in Israel at the historic fortress of Masada and in the studio for the groundbreaking XM Radio presentation of Radio Hanukkah. Nichols created the Road to Eden Deep South Sukkot Tour to bring the message of Sukkot to communities in the southern United States, where he and his band played 11 shows in 10 days. Their experiences are captured in the documentary film, Road to Eden. The film is now touring Jewish film festivals across the country. In addition to these highlights, Nichols has been featured at conferences and conventions of nearly every major Jewish movement, including the URJ Biennial, NFTY Convention, BBYO International, Limmud and the Wexner Heritage Program. Nichols lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, Elysha, and his daughter, Ava.
_ Tickets for the Dan Nichols concert, which will be held on Saturday, January 9, at 7 p.m. at Temple Beth Sholom, 2625 N. Tustin Avenue, Santa Ana, are available online. Prices are: ga $18; reserved seating, $36 (includes a gala dessert reception). For tickets, visit dannichols.brownpaperticket. com. For more information, email Lori Glasky at email@example.com or www.tbsoc.com. Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
Echoes of Hope
Musical program celebrating composers affected by the Holocaust offers insight and inspiration. By Ilene Schneider
Many Orange County residents remember a young local violin virtuoso who was a protégé of Lil Firestone. He went to a prestigious music school, became the student of some of the world’s most brilliant violinists and performed all over the world. Now, acclaimed violinist David Lisker, a Juilliard graduate and former student of legendary violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, is back in Orange County to present an unforgettable event celebrating the lives and music of six Jewish composers directly affected by the Holocaust, five of whom perished in the concentration camps. The event, titled “Echoes of Hope,” will feature an inspiring program of
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classical works by these composers performed by renowned musicians commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the liberation of Auschwitz 71 years ago. The concert will take place on January 24, at 4 p.m., at Irvine Valley College Performing Arts Center. Lisker and four other acclaimed musicians from New York will perform an array of works by these inspiring individuals who might have entirely changed the
course of music in the 20th century. “Everybody Jewish is affected by the Holocaust,” Lisker said. “The real tragedy is that the musicians whose work is in the program were never able to achieve their potential. Still, the music is great and uplifting, showing what people can accomplish even in the darkest of times.” Five years ago Lisker performed at a music festival in Warsaw. He discovered the Weinberg Piano
Trio. He created “Echoes of Hope” to celebrate the lives and music of composers directly affected by the Holocaust. “When I was first introduced to this type of music, I was completely blown away by the level of these composers,” Lisker said. “I realized what a profound shame it was that so few people in the music world and otherwise knew about these individuals and their music, mainly because anything they were able to achieve in the short time allowed them was completely overshadowed by the fact that they were victims of the Holocaust.” He added, “ So my goal with this program is to introduce their music and their stories to the community not so much to emphasize the tragic nature of the Holocaust, but to celebrate their achievements despite the circumstances. Some of these pieces are the only remaining works of the composers. It’s a project that’s very close to me, and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share it with Orange County, a community that has supported me for so many years.” The program will be performed by violinists David Lisker and Regi Papa, violist Molly Carr, cellist Michael Katz and pianist Renana Gutman. It will feature the Piano Trio by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, selections from string quartets by Erwin Schulhoff, movements from string trios by Hans Krasa and Gideon Klein, the first
movement of Piano Sonata no. 7 by Viktor Ullmann, the only surviving composition by Robert Dauber, as well as beloved works by Joseph Achron and Ernest Bloch. Lisker, recipient of the prestigious 2014 JUF Tikkun Fellowship Grant, has been described as an “exquisite virtuoso violinist” (Chicago SunTimes) whose “playing possesses a deeply profound musical instinct” (The Classical Network) and a “cultivated artistic taste” (Kulturas Diena, Latvia). Since arriving in the United States from Russia in 1990, Lisker has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Israel’s Mann Auditorium, China’s Shanghai Theater, Ecuador’s Casa de la Musica, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre and The Orange County Performing Arts Center. He has performed on the PBS television broadcast of “Live from Lincoln Center,” was featured on Bob Sherman’s “Young Artist Showcase” on WQXR and was the only violinist ever to appear on David Dubal’s “Piano Matters” on WWFM Radio.
Hailed as “an exciting young violinist with brilliant technique and an excellent sense of style” (The Strad Magazine), violinist Regi Papa has dazzled audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. In his native Greece, Papa has been heard in such prestigious venues as the Athens Concert Hall, the Pallas Hall, the Parnassos Hall and the Athenaeum Hall. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2006, performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the New York Senior Concert Orchestra under the baton of David Gilbert, and has also appeared as featured soloist with the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble and the Manhattan School of Music Philharmonia. Regi is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School, and is currently pursuing his doctorate at Stony Brook University as a student of Soovin Kim and Phil Setzer. Violist Molly Carr, praised for her “ravishing sound” (STRAD) was a top Prize Winner in the 2008 Primrose
Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
International Viola Competition. As winner of the 2010 Juilliard Viola Concerto Competition, Ms. Carr made her New York Concerto debut with the Juilliard Orchestra under Xian Zhang in Alice Tully Hall. She is currently an artist of the Marlboro Music Festival and has performed at Ravinia’s Steans Institute, Music@ Menlo, the International Musicians Seminar and Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove (Cornwall, UK), Bari International Music Festival (Italy), Mozartfest (Wurzburg, Germany), Nevada Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Yellow Barn Music Festival, YAP Ottowa, and the Perlman Music Program. A native of Reno, Nevada, Ms. Carr holds a B.M. and M.M. from the Juilliard School, having studied with Heidi Castleman, Steven Tenenbom, and Pinchas Zukerman. She is on the Viola Faculties of the Juilliard School’s precollege program and the Academia Internacional de Música IVAN GALAMIAN in Málaga, Spain. Described by the press as “outstanding” and “warm-toned,” Israeli cellist Michael Katz has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in concerts throughout North America, Europe and Israel in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy
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Center, Jordan Hall, Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Merkin Hall, Philips Hall in Eindhoven Netherlands, Monaco Theatre Hall, and the Jerusalem Music Center. Winner of all three categories at the 2011 Aviv Competition, Michael has also won first prizes at the Juilliard Concerto Competition, the Turjeman Competition; and as the cellist of the the Lysander Piano Trio, he won the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. Michael received his Bachelor Degree from the New England Conservatory where he studied with Laurence Lesser and his Master Degree from Juilliard where he studied with Joel Krosnick. Praised by the New York Sun for playing “with great vigor and aplomb” and for the “true poetry in her phrasing”, Renana Gutman has performed across three continents as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and collaborative artist. She won top prize at the Los Angeles Liszt Competition, performed in the renowned International Keyboard Festival in New York City, and was one of four pianists to be selected by legendary pianist, Leon Fleisher, to participate in his Beethoven Piano Sonata Workshop in Carnegie Hall. Renana has soloed with the Jerusalem Symphony, Haifa Symphony, Belgian
“I Fiamminghi,” and Mannes College Orchestra; she has performed at the Stresa Music Festival (Italy), Ravinia Rising Stars and Dame Myra Hess Conert Series (Chicago); and she has been heard in such prestigious venues as St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia Hall (Russia); Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall and Rockefeller University (New York); Jordan Hall (Boston); Herbst Theatre (San Francisco); and the Washington National Gallery. Gutman earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music Degrees at the Mannes College of Music as a student of Richard Goode, and is currently faculty at the 92nd Street Y Music School and Bard College’s Precollege Division. Lisker emphasized that the program is designed to be accessible to all, even those without musical background. “It’s an all-encompassing experience that shows that, even in the darkest times, people retain their belief in humanity.” _ The program is presented by Irvine Valley College in partnership with the Lisker Music Foundation. Tickets are $10 to $20. For tickets and info, call (949) 451-5333 or visit IVCarts.org.
Two Chanukah events light up San Clemente. By Sara Gold
About 300 people gathered at the San Clemente Pier on Dec. 6 to participate in the lighting of a 10-foot electric menorah during the Chabad of San Clemente’s annual Chanukah event.
Local Jews continued an annual Chanukah event and pioneered a new tradition in their celebration of the Festival of Lights. About 300 people gathered December 6 at the San Clemente Pier, where Chabad of San Clemente has led a menorah lighting for the past six years. The pier, illuminated in the sunset by a 10-foot electric menorah, abounded with singing, latkes and sufganyot, and live music by the Orange County Klezmers. Rabbi Mendel Slavin, cofounder of Chabad of San Clemente, led the menorah-lighting blessings. Representatives from San Clemente’s city council, fire department and police force also spoke. Tzippy Slavin, Rabbi Mendel’s wife and co-founder of the congregation, called the menorah a symbol of peace amidst life’s daily stresses. “The world right now feels like we are sometimes lost at sea, with darkness and waves crashing down on us,”
she said. “The lights of Chanukah are like a pier on top of the water, representing stability, hope and unity.” To commemorate the last night of Chanukah, the congregation partnered with the brand-new Outlets at San Clemente to host a second menorah lighting December 13 at the Outlets, which opened in November. Participants ate latkes and sufganyot, sang Chanukah songs, danced the Hora and watched a magic show by a professional magician. “It was nice to get the family together and be a part of the Jewish community on the last night of Chanukah,” said Lisa Lapin, who attended with her husband, two elementary school-aged children and the children’s grandparents from San Diego.
“I didn’t realize there are so many Jews in San Clemente,” he said. “It was wonderful to see the community come together to celebrate the holiday.” “It was a unique experience to have so many Jews come out to the menorah lighting, held at a location that was brand-new to most of the people who came,” said Natalie Stein, a San Clemente resident of 21 years. “I love seeing the children’s joy, and it’s great to see the Outlets’ support of the San Clemente Chabad and our Jewish community.”
Eric Mattoon, a Marine who recently returned to Camp Pendleton after being deployed in Japan, said that the menorah lighting was a great way to immerse himself in San Clemente’s Jewish culture.
Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
New Year, New Ark
Chabad of Mission Viejo builds new ark in conjunction with 20th anniversary. By Sara Gold
Rabbi Zalman and Bassie Marcus, co-founders of Chabad of Mission Viejo, have nine children ages 2-21.
“At that time, the Jewish community here was very isolated – people didn’t know about their Jewish neighbors,” Rabbi Marcus said. “They supported the Chabad mission but discouraged us from coming to Mission Viejo, because they didn’t think there were enough Jews here to sustain it. Since then, those families have said, ‘Thank God you didn’t listen to us.’”
Chabad of Mission Viejo achieved two exciting milestones in 2015: its 20-year anniversary and its first-ever permanent Ark. The Ark, covered in imported Jerusalem stones and accompanied by a platform decorated with stones from Hebron, was truly a communal effort. The idea started in 2011 when one of the Chabad families drew the design that would later become the basis of Chabad of Mission Viejo’s new, permanent Ark. A stone business volunteered to supply the stones and build the 10-foot-wide, 15-foot-tall Ark that now occupies the front of the sanctuary. “It’s a piece of Israel right here, truly a centerpiece,” said Rabbi Zalman Marcus, the congregation’s founding rabbi. “Our goal here is to create a place where people feel welcomed and embraced in a safe, nurturing space. I believe that the Ark contributes to this atmosphere.” 14
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Chabad of Mission Viejo, founded in 1995, celebrated its 20th anniversary last year by welcoming its first-ever permanent ark, covered in imported Jerusalem stones. The ark is one of 18 projects that are part of the congregation’s Centerpiece Project.
A permanent Ark had always been one of Rabbi Marcus’ goals for Chabad of Mission Viejo. Rabbi Marcus and his wife, Bassie, moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Mission Viejo in 1995 to open their Chabad Jewish Center. They had been searching for a good place to start a Chabad; acting on a suggestion from a resident, the couple visited Mission Viejo and met with a few local
When it opened in September 1995, Chabad of Mission Viejo was South Orange County’s third Chabad Jewish Center, with the other two located in Irvine and Laguna Beach. About 50 people attended the congregation’s first Rosh Hashanah service, held at the Mission Viejo YMCA. Half of those people are still involved with the congregation 20 years later. For its first two years, Chabad of Mission Viejo operated out of the Marcus’s Mission Viejo home. After that the congregation rented a local
storefront to house its activities while also using space at Mission Viejo High School and the Norman P. Murray Community Center to house the expanding Hebrew school.
The Centerpiece Project comprises 18 projects to improve various aspects of the Chabad building. Three of the projects – constructing the new Ark, painting the building exterior and creating a new office – are already near completion.
The congregation moved into its current 6,000-square-foot building on Marguerite Parkway in 2000. Now serving more than 500 families, Chabad of Mission Viejo offers Shabbat services and holiday programs, Hebrew school, teen programming, a Jewish Women’s Circle and classes for adults. Bassie Marcus is the congregation’s education and program director. Chabad of Mission Viejo also does community outreach through The Circle, a program that organizes volunteers to provide meals for the needy, visit hospitals and seniorliving facilities and more. Currently, The Circle is helping a community member who requires but cannot afford cataract surgery. In recent years, South Orange County has welcomed several new Chabad centers, including locations in Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, San Clemente and Rancho Santa Margarita. Still,
Rabbi Zalman Marcus and his wife, Bassie, moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Mission Viejo to open South Orange County’s third Chabad Jewish Center, which now serves more than 500 families annually.
the number of participants at Chabad of Mission Viejo has “grown exponentially” over the past three years, Rabbi Marcus said, attesting to the need for Chabad Jewish Centers in the region. “It is very fulfilling to be able to help people live a more connected, healthier, happier, ‘Jewisher’ life,” Rabbi Marcus said. “With some improvements to our facilities, which is the purpose of the Centerpiece Project, we want to meet the needs of the local Jewish community for years to come.”
The rest of the projects are planned for completion over the next few years in two phases. Currently in progress, Phase I includes dry-walling the ceiling, along with replacing the sound system and audio-visual technology. Phase II will include renovating the flooring and airconditioning, installing new sliding walls, expanding the kitchen and converting storage space into a new classroom. The projects will be made possible by donations of money, equipment and services. “Already there has been so much support from community members and local businesses,” Rabbi Marcus said. “It’s very amazing, very touching to see, and we are absolutely appreciative of everyone’s generosity.”
_ For more information, visit http:// go.kosheroc.com/chabadmv
Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
Bonded with a KISS
Kol Isha Shabbat Service empowers the women of Temple Beth El to shine in a sacred space. By Ilene Schneider
“The Kol Isha Shabbat Service (KISS) at Temple Beth El of South Orange County is a gem of our congregation,” said Rabbi Rachel Kort. “”It represents the best of Temple Beth El and the best of congregational life. It’s a group of amazing congregants and lay leaders creating a service that empowers people to come together around Torah and community.” Rabbi Kvod Wieder thinks it is “incredible to see so much congregational leadership coming forth in a ritual space,” adding that “Kol Isha is an example of passionate people building community. The enthusiasm rubs off on all of us.” The congregation will celebrate “every woman” and “woman’s voice”... kol isha... with its sixth annual allwomen-led Kol Isha Shabbat Service on Saturday, January 23, at 9:15 a.m. in Temple Beth El SOC’s Eisenberg Chapel. The service, which was spearheaded by congregant Wendy Lupul, had been held at Congregation Eilat. When the two congregations merged, the tradition continued with
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Lupul – whom Rabbi Kort described as “an organizing powerhouse” – at the helm as KISS task force chair. “Kol Isha will be truly Shabbat Shirah (Shabbat of Song). This year we will be even more musical, more engaging with Cantor Natalie Young providing instrumental support during the service to enhance the musical flow of the service,” Lupul said. “While we don’t rehearse per se – each woman practices on her own – there are options for support: (e.g. a sing-through), and there is also opportunity to prepare with Cantor Natalie Young.” More than 80 women, including Rabbi Kort and Cantor Young are participating in leading KISS, which is a Shabbat morning Conservative service (leading English or Hebrew prayers, aliyot, reading Torah, serving as greeters and delivering the drash). KISS has been very well attended, not just by women, but by spouses, children, teens (some of whom also participate in leading), family and friends, according to Lupul.
“It’s a great opportunity to be present as the Rabbi but to give space for women’s voices to shine in a service led and orchestrated by the lay community,” Rabbi Kort said. “The goal is to empower congregants, and the mission is to be inclusive of all the women of Temple Beth El.” “Cantor Young will help to create musical seamlessness that will incorporate traditional melodies from the Conservative service with newer ones,” Rabbi Wieder explained. “She will bring a cohesive feel to music that includes old-style Conservative, Jerusalem Shabbat and Friday nigh Reform services.” He added, “We wove the service together with three different melodies. Wendy asked people to participate with one of the choices, so all of the participants could do what was most comfortable for them.” The special guest speaker will be Cantorial Student Heather Seid, whose drash will be “A Miracle in
this Place.” She will also chant the shir, the lengthy poem that gives this Shabbat it’s name. Seid, who is the Healthy Athletes Coordinator, for the Special Olympics Southern California, brings a joyful integration of warmth, thoughtfulness and thorough planning to everything she does, Lupul said. She and her husband, Rabbinical Student Sammy Seid, led High Holy Day and many other Shabbat and holiday services this year at K’hilat Horim at Heritage Pointe. Song of the Sea (Shirat HaYam, also known as Az Yashir Moshe) is a poem that appears in Parashat Beshallach in Exodus 15:1-18. It is followed in verses 20 and 21 by a much shorter song sung by Miriam and the other women. “Parashat Beshallach recognizes the important role of women in the Exodus and their activities upon crossing the Red Sea, a time when their voices were most distinct,” Lupul said. She added, “At the sumptuous KISS Kiddush lunch that follows services, we’ll again enjoy entertainment:
specially choreographed dances that relate to the Torah reading by Ellen Prince. There will be a special surprise in the live musical accompaniment.” The centerpieces on the KISS Kiddush Luncheon tables are always creatively presented items that are repurposed by Temple Beth El’s ECC (Early Childhood Center). This year there will be pre-school supplies including glue sticks and bottles of glue with the idea of “sticking together,” which Lupul described as “a wonderful theme well-suited for our synagogue dedicated to a strong cohesive commitment to its Reform and Conservative congregants.”
Rabbi Kort concluded, “I am in awe of the strength on numbers and energy that individuals bring to this service. It represents the best of who we are, the power of a lay-professional partnership and our unique identity as a Reform-Conservative community.” _ For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Lupul, “Our diversified congregation ‘sticks together’ through organized events such as the Kol Isha Shabbat Service. We’ve also learned that congregants want to participate more in worship services, which results in greater (member) engagement and community commitment...another way of ‘sticking together.’”
Available at shop.kosheroc.com Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
Honoring Those Who Make A Difference Awardees reflect wide reach of ADL. By Robin Silver-Zwiren
The Anti Defamation League (ADL) continues to honor those who have done so much for not only the Jewish community but to everyone. The ADL partners with many other individuals and organizations, all doing their part to ensure safety and peace. The ADL joins with Google, Facebook and other online venues to ensure internet safety. ADL staff members train peace officers in counterintelligence techniques which, unfortunately, are something very much in demand. They investigate and inform about hate crimes as well as train educational leaders across the globe. The ADL has years of experience and an immense library of data which forms tools for educators. The ADL school-wide anti-bullying program “No Place for Hate” and curriculum teaches our youth how to identify and deal with these issues of bullying, prejudice and racial bias in hopes “a world without hate will not just be a dream but a reality.” Those honored at the ADL Brunch on December 6 — Dr. Arthur (Archie) Kreitenberg, Melissa Carr
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Kreitenberg, Esq., and Prof. Marilyn Harran — certainly do their part in fulfilling the ADL mission. Evan Bernstein, the ADL Director of National Development, was the guest speaker. He said that unlike other periods in our history, Israel now has the support of many European nations. Yet this is the worst time for Jews since 1945, which is the main reason why Jews in countries like France are making Aliyah more than ever. So why if so many support Israel is this the worst time for Jews? Bernstein assured us that not all Muslims are bad, but the radicalization of many is certainly an issue. He said it is essential to know about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, especially being surrounded by University of California campuses where it is rampant. (Buying Israeli made products and supporting Israeli businesses certainly helps too!) Mike Rubin, the OC-LB Regional Chair, introduced the dynamic duo of Archie and Melissa. Archie, the child
of survivors, said that when he first brought Melissa home, his mother pulled him aside and said “Nu?” Thankfully, he listened not only his to heart but to his mother, because our region is blessed to have this pair. Melissa was inspired by Anne Frank at an early age, and Holocaust education is one of her passions. She has made it her mission to bring programs like these into our public schools. As a lawyer, her expertise is called upon, and she is widely recognized by the sheriffs, police officers and educators she has trained over the years. Mike Rubin presented them with the gift of a magnificent Chanukiah that shows light from every direction just as Melissa and Archie do. Chapman University Chancellor, Daniele Struppa spoke about his colleague Dr. Marilyn Harran and how the University strives to make its distinctive, multi-faceted Holocaust Studies Program not only well known but well respected. With Dr. Harran at its helm, it is. Irv and Nancy Chase spoke about their relationship with Dr. Harran. Irv said that until he met
her, he never opened up about being the child of survivors. Nancy listed her friend Marilyn’s accomplishments. She said it is not just her decency and kindness nor just her ability to teach thousands of middle school children who visit the Sala and Aron Samueli Memorial Library annually or her selfless and caring friendship but every one of these qualities that make Dr. Marilyn Harran the only person to be honored by the OC-LB region twice. Dr. Harran said that “although we can’t teach love we can teach people how to love, how to respect, others.” She thanked Chancellor Struppa, the Chapman students, Rogers Center staff and the ADL and its “Echoes and Reflections” program. She hopes that together they have succeeded in making a difference. “Our memories of the past inspire us, so we never forget and we continue to reject indifference and despair,” she explained. Jennifer Smith, the ADL Director of National Special Projects, spoke from the heart about her family. Her paternal grandparents were survivors of Nazi death camps and had both lost their first families and many relatives. Her father, Yossele Schmitz, was born in a DP camp. When they finally immigrated to the United States, they moved to Bangor, Maine, where little Yossele became “Joe Smith.” Jen was the first in the family born in the United States. In Bangor she was often pointed out and/or called “that Jew” but soon learned that this was not only apparent in places like Bangor
but everywhere. The ADL has gained an individual who truly understands what it means to be singled out and bullied. We must never forget the atrocities of war. As Jen said, “We need to make a difference every day.” _ Johanna Rose chaired an amazing, inspiring event of several hundred people from Chapman University Hillel students to Archie Kreitenberg’s European-born parents. They are all people all willing to do their part to make a change. If you are willing to do the same either by donating and/or becoming part of the Glass Leadership Institute, please contact Jen Smith, email@example.com, www.adl.org, (949) 679-3737.
Jewish Events in OC January 2016
Plan your month with our January 2016 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, festivals and our favorite picks. Tuesday, January 5, to Sunday, January 31 The Orange County Community Scholar Program (OCCSP) presents “Sex, Magic and Death in the Bible and Its World” at various Orange County locations. 15th Annual CSP On-Month Scholar Dr. Sharon Keller talks about how these three sometimes provocative topics are an essential part of some of the Bible’s most familiar lessons and stories. (See our December issue and website for specific times and locations). For details, www.occsp.org. Wednesday, January 6, 7 p.m. The 26th Annual Orange County Jewish Film Festival presents “Precious Life” at University Synagogue, 3400 Michelson Drive, Irvine. Buy tickets at the door for $10. Friday, January 8, 7 p.m. Eighth to twelfth graders are invited to join the Bureau of Jewish Education County-Wide Teen Shabbat Dinner. To RSVP, (949) 435-3450 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sunday, January 9, 7 p.m. Temple Beth Sholom Sisterhood’s Maxine Horwitz Cultural Series Fund presents Dan Nichols and E18hteen in concert. Nichols has been described as a singular talent in the world of Jewish music. Prices are: general admission, $18; reserved seating, $36 (includes a gala dessert reception). For tickets, visit dannichols. brownpaperticket.com. For more information, email Lori Glasky at email@example.com or www.tbsoc.com. Tuesday, January 11, 7 p.m. Jewish Women’s Circle presents “Kosher Culinary Experience – You Are What You Eat” at Chabad Center of Jewish Life at 2400 University, Newport Beach. Delve into the hows and whys of the meaning and significance of Kosher. Gain tips and taste delicious Kosher cuisine and observe how Kosher can be tasty and beautiful too! To RSVP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Wednesday, January 13, 7 p.m. The 26th Annual Orange County Jewish Film Festival presents the Southern Calfornia premiere of “Remember” at Regal Westpark 8, 3735 Alton Parkway, Irvine. For tickets, call Susan (714) 964-0565 or buy the door for $18. Wednesday, January 13, 7 p.m. Temple Bat Yahm invites the community to its Tu B’Shevat “Tasting of the Tree”. Information on purchasing trees from the JNF will be available. For more info and RSVP call (949) 706-0644 Sunday, January 17, 12 p.m. The Friendship Circle Teen Volunteer Workshop will tell teens how they can enjoy great activities, make new friends and perform a great mitzvah. The event will be held at Chabad Center for Jewish Life, 2400 University, Newport Beach. For details, contact email@example.com. Thursday, January 21, 9:30 a.m. Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School will hold a TK-12 admissions open house for prospective families. The introduction to TVT’s extraordinary educational experience will enable families to meet students, administration and faculty and see what makes TVT such a unique and special community. RSVP at www.tarbut. com/OpenHouse. Thursdays, January 21, 28 and February 4, 10 a.m. University Synagogue’s Women’s Connection presents “A Journey into Mindfulness.” This 3-session, introductory class will be led by Adrienne Beattie, MA, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist and teacher for the Susan Samueli Integrative Center at UCI. Sunday, January 24, 1:30 p.m. Orange County Jewish Genealogy Society meets at Temple Bat Yahm, 1011 Camelback Street, Newport Beach. Joan E. Rambo, Past President of the OC California Genealogical Society (OCCGS), is the speaker. The Orange County California Genealogy Society has a collection of over 20,000 books housed at the Huntington Beach Library. Come and find out about this amazing resource right here
in OC. Contact Susan firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday, January 24, 2 p.m. 8-12 grade teens and parents are invited to attend “Navigating the Challenges Teens Face,” a free conference hosted at Temple Beth El (2A Liberty, Aliso Viejo) and co-sponsored by JFFS. Workshops focus on technology and social media, substance abuse, friends and community and education. Boxed dinners are available for purchase, and a teen after party with entertainment is included. Keynote speaker, Dr. Wendy Mogel will discuss her book, The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers. Sunday, January 24, 4 p.m. Acclaimed violinist David Lisker, a Juilliard graduate and former student of legendary violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, is back in Orange County to present an unforgettable event celebrating the lives and music of six Jewish composers directly affected by the Holocaust. “Echoes of Hope,” will feature classical works by these composers performed by renowned musicians commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the liberation of Auschwitz 71 years ago. The program at Irvine Valley College is presented by Irvine Valley College in partnership with the Lisker Music Foundation. Tickets are $10 to $20. For tickets and info, call (949) 451-5333 or visit www.IVCarts.org. Monday, January 25, 7 p.m. For Tu B’Shvat, create a beautiful succulent pot that is easy to care for and water wise. The Merage JCC has all the supplies and a great instructor. Pick your pot and plant and learn how to create something beautiful to decorate your home. The instructor is Serena Preston of Lush Succulents; cost is JCC Members $40, Public $45; and registration deadline is January 20. For information, contact email@example.com. Wednesday, January 27, 7 p.m. Author/Speaker Daniel M. Cohen presents the amazing and inspiring story of Tibor “Teddy” Rubin, Holocaust Survivor, Korean War Hero and Medal of Honor Recipient at the Merage Jewish Community Center. For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Saturday, January 30, 7 p.m. Bat Yahm Players Comedy Club invites you to a laugh filled “readers Theater” presentation of “Guilt and Others Trip”. Tickets are $18. For tickets and info, call (949) 7060644
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News & Politics
2015: A Year in Review Top ten Jewish news topics of 2015. By Kosher OC Staff
News affecting the Jewish world in 2015 was nearly as diverse and complicated as the complexity of Jews who inhabit the four corners of the world. While there are mixed opinions on everything from politics to practice, here are the topics that affected Judaism as a whole and the opinions of our editors and other people about them. We hope that some of the issues herein will have a softer side once we flip the calendar page. Affiliation According to My Jewish Learning, “Not too long ago, one’s Jewish affiliation was marked by a specific denominational categorization. That remains true today for many Jews, but the picture is more complicated in an age where people tend to shun labels and are less likely than in the past to define themselves via institutions and mainstream categories.” However, as the article went on to say, the various streams of Judaism are proud of their place in the Jewish world. In some cases, they have 24
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made adaptations to circumstances – Reform Judaism embracing some elements of tradition, feminism becoming a factor in Orthodoxy or some institutions combining two streams as one congregation under one roof. Some other cross-affiliation took place locally as several synagogues bonded for a high school program designed to prepare students for situations they are likely to encounter on campus. See our next issue for more details. Anti-Semitism in Europe Rabbi A. James Rudin, the American Jewish Committee’s senior interreligious adviser, wrote, “In January an Islamic terrorist killed four Jews inside a Paris kosher market, and in February a terrorist killed a synagogue guard in Copenhagen. The number of French Jews moving to Israel grew during the year.” We wonder how many other antiSemitic incidents fly under the radar of media attention in Europe and elsewhere. Radical Islam has made
its presence felt in many parts of the world. Anti-Semitism on Campus Schooled in Hate: Anti-Semitism on Campus, a document from the AntiDefamation League (ADL) described the reasons for anti-Semitism on campuses which have eschewed quotas for Jews and where, for the most part, Jews have flourished: “As students form their sense of self at college and seek a niche in the world, some are especially vulnerable to hatemongers who either stir their developing political passions or couch bigotry in academic terms designed to appeal to their intellectual curiosity. Controversial speech is often welcomed at universities more than in other venues; students see their campuses as havens of free expression, with the right to speak near sacred.” The document went on to say, “Racists and demagogues have ably exploited schools’ commitment to free speech, cloaking their propaganda in the guise of academic freedom. They have two objectives: hooking
News & Politics
the country’s future leaders on the ideas they preach, and generating mainstream media coverage through the controversy that inevitably erupts over particularly incendiary events.” The mainstream media have been cooperative with the objectives of those who foment anti-Semitism on campus. They also call attention to certain campuses, possibly making the situation look worse than it really is. BDS In spite of the fact that there is no such thing as “freedom of information” in many countries in the Middle East, “this dismal reality does not prevent the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, started in July 2005 by 171 Palestinian non-governmental organizations, and now with international connections, from continuing to refer to Israel as a racist and apartheid state, from condemning Israel and its citizens for alleged violations of international law, demonizing it as a state, and advocating a boycott of the only democratic state in the Middle East region,” according to an article in The American Thinker. The article went on to say, “Notwithstanding their denials and pretensions of moderation, the Palestinian boycotters and their companions have an agenda that transcends rational discussion. It is certainly appropriate to stage nonviolent protests over questions such as the disputed territory, or refugees, or the building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, or checkpoints on travel by Palestinians, or allegations of discrimination…Yet it is absurd and disingenuous for Palestinians and their anti-Israeli champions to call for a boycott of businesses,
cosmetic firms, Israeli theatrical and dance groups, a performance of Israel’s Philharmonic Orchestra in London’s Royal Albert Hall, cancer clinics, health centers, universities, and individuals, regardless of any connection by them with Israeli policy towards Palestinians, or the nature and policies of the State of Israel in general.”
emergency. The product, called SkySaver, was inspired by the 9/11 terrorist attack, and those who died while trapped on the top floors of the World Trade Center with no way to escape. The Facebook post about the Israeli device reached 27 million social media users and attracted 10.1 million video views, TIP revealed in a statement.”
Sadly, academic movements all over the world have joined BDS. The absurdity is that Israeli innovation is responsible, in most cases, for the computer technology on which BDS promoters spew their diatribe.
Election Rudin cited the candidacy of Bernie Sanders as a top story. As he said, “Although Sanders, Independent Vermont senator, is a self-professed ‘secular Jew,’ and is unlikely to win the Democratic nomination, for many people he is the political personification of the strong Jewish religious commitment to social justice concerns.” As the election gets closer, the stance of each candidate on Israel will be closely scrutinized. Most candidates thus far have pledged support to Israel. Domestic policies will affect the choices of American Jews as well. While the Democratic front runner is clear at this point, it will take a few primaries to establish the Republican front runner. Inventions Algemeiner related, “Taking the number 1 spot on the list (of top social media stories of 2015) is a video about an Israeli device that helps people rappel down the side of buildings in case of a fire or other
Dennis Ross, former senior adviser to President Obama, and Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, have grave concerns about the Iran deal, according to Jennifer Rubin in the “Right Turn” blog for The Washington Post. “One of my main concerns is what happens after year 15, when they basically can have as large a program as they want, and the gap between threshold status and weapon status becomes very small,” Ross said in an interview with the Times of Israel. He also believes that the deal prevents graduated sanctions against Iran. Naturally, we hope Iran does not need to be sanctioned. Realistically, we worry. ISIS As quoted from the Jerusalem Post, “A German journalist who spent 10 days with Islamic State (ISIS) says that the radical jihadist group that has captured wide swaths of Syria and Iraq is deterred by only one Middle Eastern country – Israel. In an interview with the British Jewish News, Jurgen Todenhofer recalls his brief time behind enemy lines during which he spoke with ISIS fighters. “The only country ISIS fears is Israel,” Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
News & Politics
Todenhofer, a former member of the German parliament, told Jewish News. “They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them.” The writer said that ISIS wants to lure British and American forces into Syria and Iraq, areas where it thinks it has an advantage. Random Acts of Violence in Israel The second half of 2015 brought a spate of violent acts, including stabbings and car rammings by socalled “lone wolf ” terrorists all over Israel. Some people question that logic. U.S. Senator Robert G. Torricelli (D-NJ), addressing 100 Shaare Zedek Medical Center founders and friends in New York, talked about the unrelenting terror that Israelis are living with daily, saying, “The random acts of violence in Israel are not random at all; they are as planned and rational as they are evil.” According to the organization, he elaborated by saying that the terrorists are trying to destroy Israeli society by destroying its institutions and that the best way for the Israelis to counter terrorism is “to seek courage through their neighbors, government and institutions.”
at West Point.)” According to the Reform Judaism blog (December 25), “In April, after a 26-year struggle, Women of the Wall read from a full-sized Torah scroll in the women’s section of the Kotel, thanks to allies in the men’s section who passed it over the partition that divides the Wall’s gender-specific prayer spaces.” Notable Jewish Deaths Here are prominent Jews who died in 2015, as listed by the Israeli publication Haaretz. They were: Theodore Bikel, 91, best known for playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Bikel was a prolific folk singer who recorded 27 albums in Hebrew and Yiddish, championed causes such as the Soviet Jewry movement and the progressive Zionist movement. Leonard Nimoy, 83, best known for portraying the half-Vulcan alien Spock — who became one of the most popular television characters of the second half of the 20th century. He based Spock’s iconic split-finger salute on a Kohanic blessing that manually approximates the Hebrew letter “shin.”
Oliver Sacks, 82, a neurologist and an author of books such as The Mind’s Women Eye and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.” He was among the Rudin’s comments were, “The ‘Women best-selling science writers of the past of the (Western) Wall’ organization half-century. continued the fight for the right of women at Judaism’s holiest site to read Alberto Nisman, 51, the special from the Torah scroll, sing and pray, prosecutor who at the time of his wear religious garments, and exercise shooting death was guiding the other rights granted to men. Despite investigation of the 1994 AMIA opposition from many Orthodox Jewish center bombing in Buenos Jewish leaders, progress continues Aires. Nisman was found dead in to be made, albeit slowly. (In the his Buenos Aires apartment the U.S., Rachelle David of Syosset, N.Y., day he was scheduled to reveal the was the first female graduate of an details behind his allegations that Orthodox yeshiva to become a cadet then-Argentine President Cristina 26
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Fernandez de Kirchner and its Jewish foreign minister, Hector Timerman, had covered up Iran’s role in the AMIA attack. Dave Goldberg, 47, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Goldberg, who was the CEO of Survey Monkey, had worked previously at Capitol Records and founded his own media company. Rochelle Shoretz, 42, founder of Sharsheret, a nonprofit that provides educational and support services to Jewish women with breast and ovarian cancer. The organization, which Shoretz founded in 2001 while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, now runs programs nationwide and has an operating budget of over $2 million. Rachel Jacobs, 39, and Justin Zemser, 20, killed in an Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia. Jacobs, the daughter of Michigan State Sen. Gilda Jacobs, had worked at McGraw Hill and launched an entrepreneurship nonprofit called Detroit Nation. Zemser, a sophomore at the U.S. Naval Academy, aspired to be a Navy SEAL. According to Rudin, “Other notable 2015 deaths included Novelist E.L. Doctorow; Weavers folk singer Ronnie Gilbert; former Israeli President Yitzhak Navon; Major League Hall of Famer Al Rosen; and Hungarian-born World War II American Medal of Honor recipient and Holocaust survivor Tibor Rubin.” Tune in for an interesting 2016. With this kind of prologue, the next 12 months will make for chances to surmount challenges.
News & Politics
2016: The Year in Preview Top ten stories we anticipate for 2016. By Ilene Schneider
Happy secular New Year! While the real New Year already happened, the other one looms large as well. The Presidential Election Who will emerge as the Republican candidate? Will Bernie Sanders have any impact on the Democratic platform? Who is good for the Jews? Which Jews? Which party? Which candidate? Do social issues take precedence over Israel for some Jews? Is there a Jewish vote? The Murky Middle East Situation Will Iran behave? Can we tame ISIS? Can the world understand that Israel is about freedom, democracy, innovation and living wages in a rough neighborhood? Can those random people please stop launching missiles, wielding knives and otherwise disrupting life in Israel?
Mergers and Cooperative Ventures Will the new year bring more institutional mergers? Can organizations meet people where they live with what they need globally and locally? Warm and Welcoming What kinds of innovative programs are synagogues and other Jewish organizations planning to engage people of all ages? How do they measure success? Keep It Real While Jewish organizations want to be engaging, they still want to be Jewish organizations. How do we emphasize the Jewish component? What do organizations do to keep programming fun and meaningful at the same time?
The Local Leadership
Enter the Young
Who will be at the helm of Jewish Federation & Family Services? What challenges will he or she face? What issues will have priority?
How will the community as a whole address the needs of youth and millennials? Are teens, twentysomethings and thirty-somethings
getting a fair share of the institutional pie without eliminating programs for other populations? How do we capture the imagination of these populations? Preserve the History How can we treasure Holocaust survivors and meet their unique needs? Are we doing enough to tell their stories, as well as those of other elderly people? Are we sensitive to sacred aging? Leave a Legacy How do institutions motivate people to think about the future? What programs are in place? Secure the Site How big an issue is security? In the wake of some of last yearâ€™s incidents, how safe do we feel? How do we handle it without scaring people? ď ?
Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
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Life & Religion
Hatzalah Provides Healing Gaza border residents receive art therapy kits. By Daniela Berkowitz
Children from the Gaza periphery enjoy a day of healing art therapy tailored to assist them recover from the trauma of rocket fire and war. Courtesy of United Hatzalah of Israel
Seventy-five families from Southern Israel received specialized art therapy kits, thanks to a new project organized by United Hatzalah of Israel’s Team Daniel initiative. In conjunction with Artists 4 Israel, the art therapy kits were distributed on December 8 to 10, along with a program showing parents how to use the kits with their children and visits by graffiti artists who worked with teens to paint neighborhood bomb shelters. Various art therapists also participated in the events. Last summer during Operation Protective Edge, a group of Chicagoans was touring the Eshkol region as sirens were blaring. These community members were so moved by their experience. After hearing about the death of 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman, they decided to raise money to help the region. Some 50 Chicago families established Team Daniel to fund the training, placement and equipment needed for 100 United Hatzalah medics to service Southern 30
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Israel. The new trauma kits are given directly to the families of these volunteers, who often run out on a moment’s notice to attend to rocket attacks and other local emergencies. “This is the least we could do for these children and families, who have endured so much and are struggling to heal from deep trauma,” said Brielle Collins, Chicago Regional Manager for United Hatzalah. “I really wanted to do something for the children in this community, since they suffered from many traumas during the war. Because these particular families are committed to saving lives as United Hatzalah medics, it was important that we give them a way to cope. Art is such a powerful tool to give to people who are recovering from war, stress and tragedy.” The Healing Arts Kit was developed by leading experts in the mental health field in collaboration with the non-profit group Artists 4 Israel. Top psychologists and trauma specialists from both Israel and the United States worked together to create a “first aid kit for young minds” that will
immediately combat the effects of trauma and eliminate the chances of PTSD by as much as eighty percent through self-directed, creative play therapies. United Hatzalah, Israel’s premier community-based emergency medical response organization, has been distributing the kits in a pilot program throughout Israel since July. The Healing Arts Kits were first used in this same region during last summer’s war with Hamas. Artists 4 Israel gave out kits to every child in Kibbutz Said and Alumim. “We are honored to be working with Team Daniel and United Hatzalah on this important project; they truly understand what it takes to help protect and promote life in the region and we are glad to contribute to this work.” said Craig Dershowitz, Executive Director of Artists 4 Israel.”
Groups monitor textbooks to eliminate anti-Israel bias. By Ilene Schneider
Examining Bias in our Schools,” she said that “California is a hotbed for Arabs with an agenda training people about history. When you look at the names of textbook consultants, you see the names of prominent Arab organizations.” Four Orange County women assumed leadership roles at Hadassah Southern California’s winter conference and installation in Los Angeles December 13. They are, left to right, Merle Carter Propp of Newport Beach, Michele Shugarman of Santa Ana, Lynda Youngblade of Irvine and Dorothy Lasensky of Irvine.
“Academia is dangerous,” said Dr. Sandra Alfonsi, national curriculum watch chair of Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America. “”People on campus are in jeopardy. I’d rather deal with people who don’t understand history than people who have rewritten it.” Alfonsi, who spoke on a panel at Hadassah Southern California’s winter conference and installation in Los Angeles December 13, is a professor of French at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In the program, “CURRICULUM WATCH: Erasing History, A Panel Discussion
Alfonsi claimed that a five-year plan developed in Saudi Arabia in 1974 “has changed the face of the curriculum of education and influenced elite media.” Doctoral dissertations are being given authenticity as recognized scholarship and have influenced textbooks. Textbook adoption is cyclical in 22 states, and then other states buy the same ones. “You can’t undo the damage already done by inaccuracies in textbooks, so Curriculum Watch has been working since 1990 to correct those inaccuracies,” Alfonsi said. Beth Shuster of the Los Angeles Times and moderator of the panel, said that there are many instances of antiSemitism in higher education. She posed questions to the panelists about remedying them.
Aliza Cramer Elias, director of the Institute for Curriculum Services of the San Francisco Community Relations Council of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, emphasized being proactive. She has been responsible for supporting local communities in instituting changes in textbooks by building the trust of publishers. Ariella Schusterman, associate regional director of the AntiDefamation League (ADL) of Los Angeles, talked about the Echoes and Reflections program in which ADL, the Shoah Foundation and Yad Vashem have pooled their resources to prepare educators with professional development and resources to effectively teach the Holocaust. “Hate is learned and can be unlearned,” she said. Alfonsi concluded, “We are the progeny of Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah. We are the bearer of the standard and the standards.”
Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
Life & Religion
A Community Kvells
Hepner Bnot Mitzvah was meaningful on many levels. By Ilene Schneider
The first weekend of December marked the B’not Mitzvah of the brilliant, talented and engaging Hepner twins, Ada and Eve, daughters of Karin and Absalom Hepner. For the family, the friends and the entire Beth Jacob congregation, it was a simcha to remember. For the girls, it was a meaningful experience on many levels and in several facets, thanks in large part to extensive, innovative parental planning and the unique talents and interests of the twins. The Bat Mitzvah had several phases: Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat (women’s only) with debut performance of women’s choir of a special blessing. Shabbat day: Women’s Haftarah and speeches, Shabbat in shul speeches about Parshat Vayeshev after services. Sunday morning: The girls had been learning (with Absalom) a tractate of the Talmud, Masechet Megillah, for a full year, with a Siyum (completion) ceremony at the Bat Mitzvah. 32
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Karin Hepner shared with me the motivation/thought process/ inspiration behind the structure of this very ambitious Bat Mitzvah: The question of how to make Ada and Eve’s Bat Mitzvah meaningful and relevant to them as individuals had been on our minds for many years, as there wasn’t a Bat Mitzvah formula in place that we felt accomplished that goal. In the quest for a meaningful Bat Mitzvah experience, we first asked ourselves: what exactly are we celebrating? We know, at a basic level, that a hallmark of the Bat Mitzvah milestone is that our children take on responsibility for the fulfillment of mitzvoth of the Torah. But I would like to phrase this differently: the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a turning point in which our children take responsibility for their own spirituality, their spiritual growth and spiritual fulfillment. Our young children often depend on us to create meaningful experiences for them… and as parents we provide our children with a breadth of meaningful experiences from which they can draw upon as they grow into adults when, ultimately, they must seek out those meaningful spiritual experiences for themselves. So really, the responsibility that our B’not Mitzvah take on is a responsibility to themselves to figure out how they as religious adults can create a life of spiritual fulfillment. At the point that our children reach this milestone, we hope we have given
our children the skills to discover themselves, to understand their strengths and uniqueness and to embrace their challenges with grace. It occurred to me that I wanted this Bat Mitzvah weekend, in reflecting this understanding of the Bat Mitzvah, to be one in which we would take this journey of spiritual discovery along with Ada and Eve. Over this weekend they had the opportunity to lead religious activities which reflected their love of Torah and mitzvoth (Friday night women’s kabbalat Shabbat, and a Saturday women’s reading of the Haftarah); they would have the opportunity to share their sharp intellect (through composing and delivering three speeches each, as well as a Siyum on a tractate of the Talmud!), to share their musicality (through a women’s choir that we created and debuted at the Kabbalat Shabbat service), to experience their sense of chesed and compassion (a unique menorah creating experience and Chanukah gift giving for both the Mandel House and Simchat Shabbat), and to connect with those who love them. So if spiritual fulfillment requires an understanding of one’s uniqueness, then certainly this weekend was a celebration of their unique and special nature.
The girls embraced the opportunity wholeheartedly. Mazel tov and yasher koach to the whole family. Enjoy the speeches on our website.
Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
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Wonders of the World Special sites are great blessings. By Robin Silver-Zwiren
The world is full of wonders, ancient and modernâ€Ś The Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, are truly a wonder, built around 2570 BCE. Geometry takes on art form. The pyramids were built by thousands of slaves, very possibly the Hebrews who followed Moses out of this country ruled by cruel Pharoahs. The Torah states that our ancestors built the store cities of Pithom and Raamses, and ancient buildings like this still stand on roads near Giza. The Sphinx, Luxor Temples, Old City of Cairo and the Nile River all hold powerful memories of Jewish history in Arab lands before the time of Mohammed and Islam.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric circle of massive stones in an otherwise quiet area of England. It is said to be a burial ground first used around 3100 BCE. How these huge rocks were lifted and placed certainly means manpower was assisted by poles and frames. Nowadays the area is roped off to visitors; however, when my family and I visited there, we were actually able to touch these stones. My siblings climbed on them, and it was certainly a wonder. We were equally intrigued by the Roman Baths, Big Ben, Tower of 34
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London and British bobbies though.
Niagara Falls may not be on every list, but it is certainly a wonder in North America. Not only does this magnificent site give the area water but power as well. In fact, if alternative fuel sources were used more, we might not be so beholden to other nations for oil. The Bay of Fundy in Canadaâ€™s maritime east coast boasts the largest tidal range in the world and is also miraculous.
The Modern Wonders of the World are often creations of man/woman and technology. Tower-like structures like the Empire State Building in Manhattan, CN Tower in Toronto
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and Eiffel Tower in Paris are examples. The Golden Gate Bridge linking San Francisco to Marin County is another most frequented tourist crossing. One can visit Las Vegas and believe the ostentatious hotels are the same as the actual sites they are named for, but it is not the same. Legoland also has a miniature village, but no matter how much talent went into making these play structures, it is certainly not the same as seeing the real London Bridge.
The Grand Canyon, a natural wonder of the world, is truly remarkable, but there is more to see along this route. Heading north from Phoenix-Scottsdale is Montezuma’s Castle, the creation of an ancient Native American people. The Sinagua and Hohokam peoples lived in the Verde Valley area over a thousand years ago. It is possible that the area is “verde,” green and lush, thanks to these productive farmers who also built irrigation channels. The remains of the multi-story Montezuma’s Castle are forged ingeniously into the mountain rocks. These tribes and many others no longer exist, mostly because of the Europeans who brought disease and resettlement to the first peoples who rightfully inhabited these vast lands.
doubt that the Grand Canyon is aptly named. The Old City of Jerusalem is the wonder that fills me with the most pride, no matter how many times I am there. Just a glance of these ancient walls gives me the sense of being home, of being safe even though the area is filled with many who want every Jew gone and the city in the hands of others. The land was bequeathed to our ancestors by Hashem, our G-d, even before Native tribes roamed the Americas.
Seeing these wonders, my faith in Hashem, an all powerful G-d, is intact. The miracle of the Reed (“red” is a typo yet to be corrected) Sea was not that it parted, but that it split just as the Hebrews were crossing and stopped when the Egyptians entered it. Seeing the tsunami years ago, it became more clear that huge waves could separate into sea walls. Whether these great wonders are built by human hands or simply part of earth’s structure does not lessen these miracles of creation. There is so much to be thankful for. Take a moment to really look at all the blessings in your life. Happy 2016
The Grand Canyon itself could only be one of Hashem’s numerous creations. Layers and layers of rock formations give a geolithic eye to a past 2 billion years ago. Granite, red shale, sedimentary and limestone rocks give this wonder its magnificent hues. Animals from prehistoric dinosaurs to bighorn sheep, mountain lions, beavers, rattlesnakes, turkeys and several species of squirrels have called this spectacular area “home.” Various birds, trees and natural water sources add to the splendor. There is no Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
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The Power of Women Women’s works shine in Orange County. By Ilene Schneider
“Thursday Thought: The Power of the Jewish Woman,” a short, inspirational look at Parshas Shemos with TorahMates coordinator Mrs. Sarah Feldman, appeared on Oorah Spirit (email@example.com) just as the year was drawing to a close. She related that Torah portion Shemos (Shemot) talked about the midwives Shifra and Puah, who birthed Jewish children and kept the boys safe in spite of Pharoah’s decree against it. Mrs. Feldman also cited powerful Jewish women from the matriarch Sarah to Golda Meir and beyond. “Women, you are my heroes,” she concluded. So, too, do we see the many efforts of local women reflected in the events of December 2015 and January 2016. In December we witnessed an amazing Hepner B’not Mitzvah, chock full of women’s voices, and a powerful presentation about Hadassah’s efforts to undo the rewriting of history. We also read about the selection of Rabbi Heidi Cohen of Temple Beth Sholom in Santa Ana and children’s author
Robin Priess Glasser were named as being Orange County’s most influential of 2015 by the Orange County Register. In January Temple Beth El will present its Kol Isha Shabbat Service, reflecting the double entendre of “all women” and “women’s voices” in a women-led and lay-led service. Temple Beth Sholom Sisterhood will offer a concert by Dan Nichols and E18hteen. “Echoes of Hope,” a concert presenting music composed by people affected by the Holocaust, is the work of violin virtuoso David Lisker, whose talent was nurtured by the late Lil Firestone.
major Jewish institutions. Truly, women are doing remarkable things. Join us as we explore the Jewish journeys of these women — along with the great stories of the men making a difference in Orange County, Israel and elsewhere. Happy “news” year to all of our friends!
February marks the Congregation Beth Jacob Gala, which will honor three outstanding women – Hazel Dyer Pflaum, Nicole Hassan and Ilana Baumgarten. In March the JFFS Women’s Philanthropy’s Women’s Voices luncheon will honor Toni Mandel McDonald. In Israel Women of the Wall are in the news. In the U.S. women are heading Kosher oc Magazine // January 2016
Pride for the tribe.
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