March 2016

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Table of Contents Features

News & Politics

2. Reaching the Readers

18. Remembering Justice Scalia

3. Welcome to Jewish Orange County 4. Elegant Evening 6. My Akiva

Orange County 8. Yes, We Can

Life & Religion 22. All About Purim 24. Antitode to Anger

Opinion + More

10. Popular Program

25. Travel to Israel FREE

12. ECC Excitement

26. The New Islam

13. Sushi Making & Sake Tasting 14. Jewish Events in Orange County

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How to Reach Us Atarem Website Solutions Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine Chabad at UC Irvine Chabad of Irvine Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot

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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 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

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Elegant Evening

Beth Jacob honorees show diversity, warmth of community. By Ilene Schneider

When I met Hazel Dyer-Pflaum sixteen years ago, I thought she was beautiful, elegant and warm. I was interviewing her for a story in the Jewish Journal about the South African community in Irvine, and she seemed to know everybody in that situation. She had a smile that lit up a room, a great love for her family, a boundless desire to build her Jewish community and many stories to tell. Much has changed, but much has stayed the same. The smile is as bright as ever, and the family and stories have grown. The giving has included her beloved congregation Beth Jacob of Irvine, the Jewish National Fund and many charities in the US and Israel. After losing her husband, Charles, she eventually met and married Peter Pflaum, who shares Hazel’s love for travel and philanthropy. According to Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, who first met Hazel when she was the synagogue’s administrator and he was interviewing for the position, “Hazel was serious, loving and protective of Beth Jacob and she wanted to 4

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make sure that they (the board members and search committee) were considering the right person!” Now, he said, “It is an honor for us to honor you.” Honored at Beth Jacob’s 2016 Annual Gala on February 14 for community service was Ilana Baumgarten, who serves as mashgicha of the Beth Jacob kitchen and a mikvah attendant. Ilana, who grew up in a traditional home in Santa Rosa, became more observant after experiences at a summer camp and Israel. The road to Orthodoxy led her to the intricacies of maintaining a kosher kitchen. When Beth Jacob’s previous mashgicha left, Ilana came into her present role. Eventually, she became the mashgicha for Blueberry Hill Catering, Hotz Stuff and Catering by Nina. She has even attended a convention for women working as mashgichot, learning the ins and outs of dealing with hotels and washing and checking vegetables. She hopes to be a role model for her two daughters. Her husband, Leonard, is her biggest supporter. Beth Jacob president

Steve Kaufman described Ilana as “a community service champion.” Nicole Hassan, honored with the Adina Kaufman Eishet Chayil Award, found Beth Jacob to be “warm and accepting” when she and her husband, Michel, and their children moved to Irvine from France in 1997. She remembers many volunteer projects, including baking and making more than five thousand hamantashen to deliver in Purim baskets. That bonding experience led to great friendships, including that of Adina Kaufman, of blessed memory. Nicole is grateful for being able to grow spiritually and religiously at Beth Jacob, which embraces diversity. In that vein, she and her husband have “founded, nurtured and maintained” the Sephardic minyan at Beth Jacob, Rabbi Ciner said. The gala was a fun and elegant experience, according to all who attended it. The event was sold out two weeks in advance. 


My Akiva

An original jukebox musical based on the true story of Rachel, the wife and woman behind the great Rabbi Akiva. Presented by Chabad Women of Irvine. By Esther Tenenbaum

Years ago, in the land of Israel there was a wealthy philanthropist and widower called Kalba Savua, whose pride and joy was his only daughter Rachel. Rachel was kind and beautiful, and she lacked for nothing, including an education. In his employ, Kalba Savua had a shepherd named Akiva. Akiva was also a young widower, who couldn’t read and write even though he was already forty years old. Rachel saw Akiva for more than the ignorant shepherd he was, and often encouraged him to start learning. Akiva refused, insisting it was too late for him, and Rachel eventually offered to marry him if he would agree to learn. One day, while walking along a river, Akiv noticed a large rock in which a small hole had been eroded by the water flowing past. Akiva reasoned that if tiny droplets of water can wear away at solid rock, then surely words of Torah could pierce his hardened soul. Akiva agreed to Rachel’s proposal, but when word got back to her father, an infuriated Kalba Savua kicked Rachel out of his house and disowned her.


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Undeterred, Rachel continued to support and believe in her husband’s potential. Over time, Akiva went away to study in Yeshiva for twenty-four years, and returned home with over twenty-four thousand students. Not initially recognizing him, Kalba Savua approached Rabbi Akiva for guidance in making amends with the daughter he had disinherited all those years ago. Kalba Savua begged Rabbi Akiva’s forgiveness and was reunited with his daughter. Today, Rabbi Akiva is considered one of the greatest sages of the Talmud, whose teachings are still learned the world over. He was known for his positive perspectives, warmth and consideration of others. Rabbi Akiva credited all he had learned and all his students had learned from him to his faithful wife Rachel. Chabad Women of Irvine, with a cast of women and girls from communities all over Orange County, present a musical performance about Rachel, the woman who taught us how to unearth and believe in the potential of those around us. With an original

book and adapted musical numbers, this performance is strictly for women, with women, and by women. The show will be performed at the Merage JCC in Irvine on March 20, 2016, Matinee performance at 1:00pm and Evening performance at 7:00pm. All women, regardless of affiliation, are welcome and encouraged to join us, no prior experience or knowledge necessary. 


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Yes, We Can

New Heritage Pointe CEO believes in positive attitude, fun atmosphere. By Ilene Schneider

Jewish senior facility. It was b’shert, he said, that he met Jodi Greenbaum at the Jewish Home Conference and learned of the opening at Heritage Pointe.

Meet Mike Silverman, CEO Heritage Pointe

When I met Mike Silverman, the new chief executive officer of Heritage Pointe, he was wearing a funny multicolored hat in celebration of an employee’s retirement. It is symbolic of two of Silverman’s objectives: to have more fun and to create a buzz in the community. Silverman, who has worked in Jewish senior care for more than 20 years in New York, Connecticut, Nebraska and California, served concurrently as the chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Omaha and the executive director of the Omaha 8

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He hopes to implement objectives that serve the residents while making Heritage Pointe a community destination and collaborating with other Jewish organizations on programs and celebrations. He also wants to “make physical improvements to the plant and create a different aura.” Silverman, who claims that he left a successful retail career to go into Jewish community service in order to meet a nice Jewish girl, said, “My personal and professional goal is simple: Work each day to make the Jewish community as strong and vibrant as it can be.” His wife and sons, ages 16 and 13, plan to be active in the Orange County Jewish community too. Believing in “an open line of communication with residents,” Silverman said that he feels “privileged to work in their home.”

He emphasized that there will be a philosophy of “yes, we can,” adding, “We’ll try to figure things out. If it’s important to the residents and improves their quality of life, we’ll find a way to do it.” “Taking care of seniors is what I care about most,” he concluded.  Heritage Pointe, which has 187 apartments, provides a continuum of care to seniors, combining the best healthcare and housing in a traditional Jewish environment. The senior community is dedicated to meeting the religious and spiritual needs of residents with traditional Judaic programs, services and festivities.

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Orange County

Popular Program

CSP features dramatic Israeli short films from the Ma’aleh School. By Brenda Barie

As part of a multi-city tour, three short films from the Ma’aleh School of Television Film and the Arts were shown in Orange County February 9 at the Merage Jewish Community Center at a Community Scholar Program (CSP) event. Neta Ariel, director of the school, tours in February, often bringing student directors and producers with her. This year she traveled alone. As always, demand around the United Sates for the work of her twenty-six year old school (she has been affiliated with the school for twenty years) was high.


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Among stops this year, Ariel showed films in New York at a highly regarded cultural arts series in New York’s Tribeca district. There she was told that the program of short films she presented was “the best evening ever.” Other stops have been at more than a dozen locations up and down the east and west coasts including San Diego, Los Angeles and, of course, Orange County, Arie Katz, founder and chair of CSP, introduced some Orange County residents to the school during an October 2014 trip to Israel, when they visited Ma’aleh. At the sellout event on February 9, participants of that trip came to greet Director Ariel, but the crowd included many others who were excited to see the work of the school for the first time and some who knew it from other venues.

One couple, Zorica and Jerome (Jerry) Sorkin, traveled more than an hour from their home in Rancho Palos Verdes. They had visited the school on the CSP trip toIsrael and were very happy to be interviewed by Ariel for a film she is making about her tour of the United States. In addition, Zorika Sorkin’s connection to the school goes deeper. As a young immigrant child to Israel, she was raised in the area of Jerusalem where the school is now located. “It was a tough neighborhood then,” she said, when interviewed after the films Ms. Ariel showed. “Now it’s much changed. It’s been wonderful to see how the school helped to change the area.” The three films featured were created, produced and directed by students at the school. Each was a strong, original statement. Willingly is a fresh look at a divorce in Israel, where a young woman attempts to wrest some small measure of control of the proceeding from her


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husband which is, of necessity, totally dictated by the all-male rabbinic court. Another film, I’m Ready, highlights the difficulties facing a grown son with Down Syndrome and his elderly father suffering the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s and the father’s awareness that the two will be separated. The third film, The Rabbi’s Daughter, outlines the pressures on the daughters of several well-known Israeli rabbis.

Israel, although many of the 150 such schools do work with universities for students working toward degrees. She said that often Israeli parents are concerned when their children want to work in areas that seem so difficult, but she also said that when the drive is there, usually students feel compelled to do the work. The quality of the films shown suggests that the film industry in Israel, which is well known worldwide, will continue to produce quality material.

has the goal of strengthening the pluralistic Jewish character of Israel, nurturing connections between Israelis of different backgrounds, and building bridges between Israeli young adults and their Diaspora peers. Dr. Goodman has taught at the Knesset, at the official residence of the Israeli Prime Minister and President, teaches at Princeton University and is a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Search OCCSP on I-tunes to hear his fascinating discussion: Three Narratives of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. 

Asked if students at the school were ever drawn to comedy, Director Ariel’s own sense of humor flashed when she CSP Hosts Micah Goodman admitted that writing and producing works of humor seems to be more The Community Scholar Program difficult than creating dramatic works. (CSP) recently hosted the amazingly dynamic speaker, Dr. Micah The Ma’aleh School is not degree Goodman, who directs Midrasha, granting, which is the most common Israel’s leading pluralistic Beit format of arts-related institutes in Midrash for young adults, which

Kosher oc Magazine // MARCH 2016


Orange County

ECC Excitement

Temple Beth El announces new ECE director and programs for summer and fall. By Ilene Schneider

When Temple Beth El’s Gordon & Sklar Early Childhood Center (ECC) Program begins its summer session, it will have a new director. Carolyn Kappes, who has been involved at the Aliso Viejo congregation for 15 years, is currently the assistant director. She runs curriculum meetings, establishes policy and supports children with special needs. According to the current director, Terry Fierle, Kappes is “very engaged in and committed to the needs of all of our children. Formerly an elementary education teacher in the public schools, Kappes finds early education exciting. “Once an educator, you’re always an educator, but early childhood education is about the early formulation of the child,” she said. “At Temple Beth El, we have a loving, Jewish, nurturing environment. The kids learn Jewish values, and their parents feel like part of the temple as we integrate the Jewish piece into the school.” She added, “This job is a combination of everything I’ve done professionally. It brings it all together and lets me support TBE and build community.” 12

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The ECC, which opened its doors in 2001, is committed to nurturing each child’s natural love of learning while integrating Jewish values and cultures, all in a creative and stimulating environment. The summer program promises “friends, activities and fun” for children from 7 months to entering kindergarten. The youngest children (7 to 24 months) and their parents begin their journey in the ECC family center. Preschoolers (ages 2 to 4) can enjoy a rotation of activities including water play, arts and crafts and Jewish celebrations five days per week in seven one-week sessions. Children will explore summer themes through imagination, creative play and themerelated special visitors. Camp Simcha provides a small and nurturing environment combining summer memories and Jewish content for children entering kindergarten. There are special on-site field trips with activities including Jewish character building, arts and crafts, sports, cooking, science and music.

Afternoon programming for preschoolers includes music, cooking, science, yoga and sports. Extended care is also available. In the fall, beginning August 24, ECC starts families and their children on a journey of learning together with a parent participation class, based on the child’s age. Children learn how to interact with peers and navigate the preschool setting while parents learn about discipline, sleeping through the night, nutrition and Judaic topics. Preschool classes – for 2- and 3-yearolds, 3- and 4-year-olds and pre-K – provide developmentally appropriate activities. The younger group gets a positive first experience of separating from parents, the second group is the typical preschool curriculum and the older group builds on the skills attained in the younger groups. Enrichment classes for the second and third category include yoga, art, math, cooking and sports. Extended care is also available.  For more information regarding the Early Childhood Center, call (949) 362-3999 ext. 317. Temple Beth El is at 2A Liberty, Aliso Viejo, California 92656; phone: (949) 362-3999; fax: (949) 362- 5323.

Orange County

Sushi Making & Sake Tasting

Recap of event for young adult Jews in the Orange County area. By Marc Ponseggi

Zach Newman and Marc Ponseggi in partnership Sarah VanZanten and Moishe House without Walls put on an event for young adult Jews ranging from 21 to 35 in the Orange County area. About 40 people came to the event. There was a sake station outside where people could taste about five different kinds of sake and eat edamame. Inside Zach passed out bowls of miso soup to everyone as people started to socialize with one another. Before Zach started with the tutorial, he showed the sushi rolls he had made earlier. Then about 15 people crowded around the table inside as Zach started showing people how to roll sushi with the assorted fish and veggies placed on the table. Once everyone at the table had made at least two rolls, it was time to switch.

As the night went on, there was a little surprise. Two Israeli students from Stand with Us — Edan and Gilad — shared stories about their time in the IDF. They then opened up for questions and answered them. They helped to explain Israeli tactics and reasons for doing some of the military actions Israel does. The event was a big success. It all came together because two people from the Jewish community wanted to do an event that would bring people together. They did just that. 

Fifteen more people gathered around the table as Zach did another tutorial on how to make sushi. This happened one other time, and everyone had made at least two sushi rolls.

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Orange County

Jewish Events in OC March 2016

Plan your month with our March 2016 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, festivals and our favorite picks. Fri. March 4, 8 pm / March 5, 1 pm / March 6, 10:45 am “Moral Matters” Scholar-in-residence series with Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Ph.D. Congregation B’nai Israel, 2111 Bryan, Tustin (714) 730-9693 or Friday, March 4 to Sunday, March 6 Shabbat weekend with Rabbi Emeritus Shelton Donnell Temple Beth Sholom, 2625 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana (714) 628-4600 Friday March 4, 5:30 pm Shabbat across America Beth Jacob Congregation, 3900 Michelson Drive, Irvine (949) 786-5230 Sunday, March 6, 11 am Basketball Buddies, a way that The Friendship Circle volunteers and kids with special needs can be with each other while playing a sport that they love while kids are part of a team Las Lomas Community Park, 10 Federation Way, Irvine or (949) 721-9800 Sunday, March 6, 2 pm Sunday Circle, a monthly event where children, volunteers and staff of The Friendship Circle come together for entertaining, recreational & enriching activities Bonita Creek Park, 3010 La Vida, Newport Beach or (949) 721-9800 Sunday, March 6, 4 pm Jewish Music & Latin Rhythms, an edutaining concert by world renowned scholar and musician Yale Strom and his band Hot Pstromi. Strom is Artist in Residence in the Jewish Studies Program at SDSU and former prof. at NYU. Merage JCC, 1 Federation Way, Irvine


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Sunday, March 6, 5 pm Young Adult Circle, integrating special needs secondary school students with life skills they can use on a daily basis Chabad Center for Jewish Life, 2240 University Drive, Newport Beach or (949) 721-9800 Sunday, March 6, 5 pm Hebrew Academy Visionary Dinner Four Seasons Hotel, 300 S. Doheny Blvd., Los Angeles Sunday, March 6, 6 pm Willam Shatner Beaming into Temple Bat Yahm William Shatner, the original Captain Kirk of Star Trek and Denny Crane from Boston Legal, will share stories Tuesday, March 8, 4 pm OC Jewish Genealogical Society, International Tracing Center Overview of Records from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Megan Lewis, reference librarian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC Temple Bat Yahm, 1011 Camelback Street, Newport Beach Wednesday, March 9, 7 pm Jewish Women’s Circle — The Feminine Mystique: Family Purity — the deep spirituality and splendor Judaism brings to marriage; make luxurious, soothing bath salts and scrubs Location: given upon RSVP or (949) 721-9800 Friday, March 11, 1 pm Women’s Monthly Discussion Group facilitated by Randy Steinman, LMFT University Synagogue, 400 Michelson Drive, Irvine (949) 553-3535 Sunday, March 13, 1 p.m. The People vs. Moses, University Synagogue’s Annual Biblical Trial University Synagogue, 3400 Michelson Drive, Irvine

Sunday, March 13, 7 pm Purim Shpiel Temple Beth David, 6100 Hefley Street, Westminster (714) 892-6623 Monday, March 14, 10 am Women’s Voices Luncheon Hotel Irvine 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine Friday, March 18, 7:30 pm Purim Synaplex Temple Beth David, 6100 Hefley Street, Westminster (714) 892-6623 Sunday, March 20, 9 am Purim Carnival and Spiel Temple Beth Sholom, 2625 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana (714) 628-4600 Sunday, March 20, 10 am Purimshpiel and Family Carnival Extravaganza Cong. Shir Ha-Ma’alot, 3652 Michelson Drive, Irvine Sunday, March 20, 11 am Purim Carnival and Puppet Show Temple Beth David, 6100 Hefley Street, Westminster (714) 892-6623 Sunday, March 20, 1 pm and 7pm Chabad Women of Irvine Present “My Akiva” Merage Jewish Community Center 1 Federation Way, Irvine Monday, March 21, 9:30 am Friendship Circle Support Group — support network for special needs families working together on mainstreaming and other common challenges or (949) 721-9800 Thursday, March 24, 6 pm Star Wars: The Purim Party: Multimedia Megillah Reading, buffet dinner from a Galaxy Far Far Away, Star Wars entertainment and activities for adults and kids Come dressed to fight for a prize Chabad Center for Jewish Life, 2240 University Drive, Newport Beach or (949) 721-9800

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News & Politics

Remembering Justice Scalia Conservative justice sought to preserve the Constitution as written. By Robin Silver-Zwiren

Justice Antonin Scalia, aged 79, died of natural causes on Saturday, January 13, in Texas. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1936. In September 1960 he married Maureen McCarthy, and their union was blessed with five sons and four daughters. He served several administrations including Presidents Nixon and Ford before President Reagan appointed him to serve on the Supreme Court in 1986. He was the first Italian-American to serve. Justice Scalia was a devout traditionalist Roman Catholic and Ultra-Conservative. His strong ideology and convictions combined with his solid education made him a powerful voice for justice. Scalia believed in the powers of each branch of the government and the Constitution. During his thirty years serving on the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia ruled on many cases. He believed that the death penalty is constitutional but did not believe children of 15 even if they had committed murder should be sentenced to death. However, he often 18

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ruled strongly against pedophiles and rapists. Like the Bible he believed the Constitution was a rule book to be followed in the ways it was written, to be preserved for all time. Scalia was against abortion, something which many have held against him. As an Orthodox Jew, I can understand why he is against murdering an unborn child. The major difference between us is that while Christians believe in saving the unborn child first, in Judaism we do all we can to protect the mother. Therefore if the mother’s health is an issue, abortion is permitted in Judaism. Although Scalia and other Christian Justices would vote against abortion, this did not mean he would want medical clinics that performed the procedures to be picketed and attacked. He would not want doctors who happen to perform abortions to be murdered either. The ruling on Hobby Lobby’s rights to refuse to cover birth control for their employees is a monumental one. Judge Scalia was one of the Judges who ruled that a company has the

right to refuse to cover the medical costs if it goes against their religious beliefs. It should. Should an Orthodox day school, Christian, Jewish or Muslim, have to cover the cost of birth control for their female employees? Thanks to the Hobby Lobby ruling, they will not. Those that are against the beliefs of their employer should find another job. Scalia did not believe that minorities should be given benefits because of their gender, race or sexual orientation. He was against affirmative action giving minority students accessibility to colleges to fulfill quotas. He was against positions going to minorities rather than to those who are truly qualified. He did not believe that inner city children should keep getting handouts just because their ancestors may have been enslaved. Scalia’s own father was an immigrant from Sicily who learned English, attended college and even became a professor of Romance Language at Brooklyn College. Scalia believed that by continuing to give minorities benefits, things would never change in their lives, a lesson he probably

News & Politics

learned well on his father’s knees. Just before he died, he wrote comments on Fisher vs. University of Texas where race plays a pivotal role in university acceptance. Scalia responded that maybe blacks and other minorities should not gain admission to fulfill quotas. Even if minority students score in the top 10% in their respective high schools, are they up to the rigorous standards of the universities they attend? Is the education in those inner city schools the same as in other locations? Maybe Abigail Fisher did not deserve to be admitted to University of Texas; however, this case is one the Supreme Court needs to rule on, and it is sad that Justice Scalia will not be part of the final judgment. Scalia believed that the Second Amendment right to bear arms • • • • • •

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continues to be constitutional. More liberal judges believe that the right to bear arms refers to the militia, but Scalia argues that when the Constitution was written, individuals had to protect their homes and lands. Scalia himself loved hunting as much as opera and other hobbies. It was at a hunting lodge that he passed away. It gives me — and hopefully his family –some comfort knowing he passed away being relaxed and happy, not while sitting in session frustrated over some case. Ultra-Conservative Scalia had a unique friendship with Ultra-Liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Although they seldom voted alike, they respected each other’s’ intelligence and sense of duty. They both liked opera, had a sense of humor and, according to Scalia, their biggest difference was their view in the law. Even that

was not enough to stop them from dining together and celebrating New Year’s together with family members. Perusing headlines and articles since Scalia passed away, it seems he will be missed by many who respected him greatly. His intelligence, expertise, integrity, writing ability and sense of humor will be missed by many. Baruch dayan Emet, may Hashem, our G-d, bless you, judge, your service and faith and grant you a speedy Aliyah to the heavens above. 

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Life & Religion

All About Purim How do we celebrate this holiday? By Robin Silver-Zwiren

Carnivals are a lot of fun, but they are not part of the mitzvot we are required to fulfill on Purim. Yes, making the holiday exciting for children, just like getting them involved by asking the Four Questions at the Pesach Seder, is wonderful, but there is more. In America Halloween is a big deal, but in fact it is a pagan custom based on some truly horrific traditions. While I dislike comparing the two, Purim is a way to steer our Jewish children to a more positive holiday fair. Since it seems this country, and Hallmark stores have begun to prepare for other holidays months in advance, start preparing for Purim in the Fall. If nothing else, the first week in November is a great time to buy costumes at a discount!

required mitzvot. Although many give elaborate baskets filled with many scrumptious goodies, that is unnecessary. Although every person over Bar/Bat Mitzvah must give two prepared food items to one person, there is no reason why even young children should not learn to do the same. Megillat Esther mentions how Jews gave these foods to each other, so that everyone had special foods to eat. It was a way to celebrate how the Jews of Persia were saved from the evil Haman. Even if your family contributes to synagogue or school Shalach Manot fundraisers, you are still required to give on Purim day. Preschoolers will rejoice in choosing a few treats to give to their very best buddy.

Even preschoolers can learn to fulfill the mitzvot. Baking hamantashen? Have your children assist. I still remember the days my Mum would get all the ingredients out with my sister and me by her side. In those days, boys like my brother were exempt from these activities, but my son was always included (which may be yet another reason why he loves cooking even now). My Mum, z’l, would roll out the dough with our help of course. We learned to fill the triangles and close them up at an early age. Mum made her own fillings, one a prune based and one a yummy fruit filled. When I do get the opportunity, I try to make it the same way to keep the traditions alive — plus I like them best.

Matanot La-evyonim means giving charity to the poor. Some Jews throughout time have not been able to prepare a special Purim Seudah. Sometimes they don’t have the money for buying challah or chicken for a Shabbat meal either. Although it is acceptable to give someone in need money directly, sometimes that is embarrassing. Maimonides said there are several ways to give charity, and the highest level is to give to someone you don’t know. You can make someone your shaliach, like giving directly to the rabbi to give to someone he may know. Often synagogues place plates or baskets out so you can add to that. You can decide to give to Tomchei Shabbat, a wonderful project that delivers food for Shabbat to a family in need. Even if your young child adds a penny,

Mishloach Manot is one of the 22

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make a big deal that he or she gave tzedaka and did a wonderful mitzvah. Megillat Esther, the scroll of Esther, is read in the evening and again during Purim day. It retells the story of Esther and her Uncle Mordechai’s determination to save the Jews from the evil Haman and how Esther went into King Ahashuerus’ court for exactly this reason. When the Megillah is read, graggers, noisemakers, are sounded, so we can’t tell the difference between the names of Mordechai and Haman, the Amalek. Young children often make their own graggers in school. If not, shuls always have plenty to go around. Do make sure your child only sounds the noisemakers for the moment “Haman” is heard. Otherwise, it gets disruptive, and it is necessary to hear every word of the Megillah. Seudah, the festive meal, is a time to rejoice at our redemption. Although Purim took place in Persia, it is a wonderful time to remember all the times that Hashem, our G-d, has saved us — from Moshe at Har Sinai to all the times Hashem has saved the Land of Israel and Jewish people. As horrific as the Spanish Inquisition and Holocaust were, the evils in our world are even more powerful and detrimental today. The threat of annihilation is even scarier as the terror increases worldwide. As you gather for this festive occasion, thank Hashem for these traditions and say a prayer for the Modern State of Israel and all those who protect it. 

Life & Religion

Antidote to Anger

Taking a whole day off can do wonders for the soul. By Ilene Schneider

It’s everywhere – politicians screaming at each other, consumers trying to get their money’s worth, drivers cutting each other off but ending up in the same place on the Carmageddon. It seems that everyone is complaining about something. Maybe it’s just human nature. Maybe people are overworked, overwhelmed and overcommitted. Maybe they are just afraid of the unknown, or maybe they don’t take the time to appreciate how good things really are.

Judaism has an answer. It’s called Shabbat, and the way you look at it can make all the difference in your life. Shabbat is our day of rest. It’s holy, because God rested on the seventh day. God stopped creating at that point, so we stop doing creative work. We make it holy by the activities we engage in instead of working. Instead of just taking a break from the mundane, putting the problems on hold for a day and forgetting to complain, we can use the time to

appreciate what we have and enjoy the experience. For those not accustomed to observing Shabbat, it may seem restrictive to turn off the electronics, leave the car in the garage and spend much of the day in the synagogue. Actually, setting the day apart and making it special is liberating. Try it – even if you take it one step at a time – and you’ll be amazed at the serenity and peace you feel. You may even stop being angry for good. 

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Travel to Israel FREE*

Been to Israel? What! Why not—it’s FREE (knew that’d get your attention) all thanks to Birthright. *FREE FREE By Zach Miller

Since 1991, with the help of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Israeli government, private philanthropists, Jewish communities around the world and founders Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt, Israel has welcomed back Jewish souls who have not yet been to Israel in their young lifetimes thanks to Birthright. For young adults up until the age of twenty-six, Birthright, a free ten-day trip to Israel, is meant to rekindle a sense of heritage that Western society doesn’t really encourage, as foreign diplomacy sadly parallels. Taglit, or “discovery” in Hebrew, is the goal of these Birthright trips designed by educators, historians and tourism professionals. Most participants have never been to Israel. Although the trip is not meant to be political, it’s

hard to separate the concept of heritage from independence and thus foreign diplomacy. GO SIGN UP NOW, because there are always more participants than spots available. That’s because Birthright is a not-for-profit organization, so support the cause, support Israel, and support yourself with a spiritual reconnection to your heritage—Israel. 

Kosher oc Magazine // MARCH 2016


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The New Islam

Documentary shows how people get involved in extremism. By Robin Silver-Zwiren

My Brother, the Terrorist is a documentary on how Robert Leech filmed his step brother, Richard Dart’s, path becoming a radical Muslim. Rich is now serving a prison term for terrorist activities. He was heading to Pakistan for terrorist training when apprehended. So how does a white, middle-class British citizen find himself down the road where few return? Why do so many European and American people accept a life so different than the one of their birth?

other search engines may bring us to the most extremist sites. What will this do to someone vulnerable? It is not difficult to find indoctrination sites, videos to watch and imams willing to convert an innocent soul. Just consider how many homegrown terrorists there are, and we certainly do live in a scary world. We don’t even have to leave home to be indoctrinated. All we need to do is open a computer, which means shy, introverted persons get hooked easily.

Radical Islam is a cult like any other extremist belief that claims to be a religious one. It often attracts those who have had difficulty fitting in with society, people who have been bullied in the past or may be naive. Those more easily manipulated are always the most likely to accept the indoctrination of a charismatic leader. Unfortunately, most cults pride themselves on having such leaders, and radical Islam is no different.

Rich Dart was the perfect candidate. At one point in his life, he found Catholicism on his journey to religious discovery. Then Dart discovered and was converted to Islam by hate preacher Anjem Choudary. Choudary was born in the U.K and is of Pakistani descent. Like many native born, he did not grow up in a household that believed Sharia Law had to be adopted. He was quite the party boy before accepting such extremist ways. He did not follow one individual imam or study Islam but has a deadly group of followers. Rich Dart was quickly entranced and radicalized.

It is all too easy to become radicalized fundamentalists. Is it because we hear so much about war that we no longer believe our own media? Google and 26

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Choudary compares the British government to the Nazis, because it treats the average Muslim poorly. Of course, it is more likely that the government is suspect when people like Choudary curse the government constantly. Choudary, who praised those who committed the horrific 9-11 crimes, believes that Sharia should be the law of every land and believes that it is acceptable to slaughter those who do not accept strict Islamic law. Thus, he thinks that every non-believer should be murdered. Choudary has taught his followers that it is acceptable to protest the law of the land, so it is no wonder that police officers in Britain may sometimes arrest his followers for suspicious activity. The same rules apply to the growing numbers of fundamentalist Muslims living across Europe and the Americas. So why do they choose to live outside their own lands? It is simply because they want to control the world. The “sea to sea” of Israel actually means Pacific to Atlantic, Arctic to Antarctic and everywhere

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in between should be following fundamental Islam. Those who don’t should not be allowed to live.

to condemn it. It is doubtful that President Obama has ever discussed the issue.

With the daily news claiming attacks on civilians and further threats by radical Islam, it is a wonder that more do not make the effort to stop it. Instead, it is Israel that gets tried for war crimes when no Palestinian Arab suffers even an iota as much as a woman or homosexual in Arab lands. Young girls do not have to fear genital mutilation in Israel as they do in Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen, but the U.N. keeps bringing charges against democratic Israel. In fact, there are instances of female genital mutilation by immigrant populations in Europe and America, and although illegal the United Nations and European Union are not doing much

The only way to end fundamental Islam from creeping into every crevice of our lives is for our governments to speak up against it. Maybe then fewer of our citizens, our young, will become indoctrinated into these dangerous practices. The US government raided David Koresh’s Branch Davidians compound and hopefully will do the same whenever a terrorist training camp is discovered on our shores. We must do our part to make sure our representatives truly stand for “justice and the American way.”

the lives of those directly affected by radical Islam. Maybe if our teenagers watch it, they too will understand why it is so important to be strong, to stand up against those trying to recruit more college-aged individuals. 

My Brother, the Terrorist is worth watching to get a personal view into Kosher oc Magazine // MARCH 2016


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