May 2016

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Table of Contents Features

News & Politics

2. Reaching the Readers

20. ‘If Israel Had Done That’

3. Welcome to Jewish Orange County

22. Israeli Anti-Tunnel Tech

4. Bringing Us Together 6. Bring Back the Bureau

Orange County 8. Standing for Ourselves 10. Moving Forward

Life & Religion 26. The Jewish Spring 28. Motherhood 101

Opinion + More

12. Antidote for Isolation

30. Judaism Re-Visioned

14. Musically Yours

32. Chilling Scenario

16. Jewish Events in Orange County

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


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


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Hello Readers

Welcome to Jewish Orange County Kosher OC Magazine is here to give the Orange County Jewish community news when it happens, here and around the world. We combine the best of modern media and dedicated journalism to give you timely and interesting stories about the movers and shakers of the community and the great events they hold. We also talk about Jewish trends and trendmakers in Israel and throughout the globe with interesting ideas about celebrating holidays and celebrating each other. Join us for a window into the world of Judaism, and let us have your insight and input. It is our pleasure to serve this wonderful community. Zach Miller

Kosher oc Magazine // May 2016



Bringing Us Together FIDF concert rocks the house. By Robin Silver-Zwiren

We are B’nai Yisroel, the children of Israel. Yisroel was another name for our patriarch Ya’akov (Jacob), and our lineage is long and proud. The land of Israel that Hashem, our G-d, gave us, that Moses led our ancestors to so many years ago, is our birthright. Being a proud Jew means being a proud Zionist and recognizing that our homeland is a gift we must do whatever we can to support. Members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continue to protect our land from those who vilify us. The IDF is not just made up of Jews but of many others who believe in Israel being our rightful homeland. Druze, Bedouin and Circassian Muslim persons who have long ancestral claims to living in these lands also serve proudly. Arab Christians and Muslims also volunteer to serve, although it is certainly not required. There are also special IDF units for people with disabilities including hearing and vision impaired, autism spectrum and physical handicaps. Anyone willing to do his or her part to protect the land of Israel is encouraged to do so. These people protect our land, our heritage, 4

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and we should do all we can to look after them. The Friends of the IDF (FIDF) Music Brings us Together event on Thursday April 14, was an inspiring evening for the entire community. It brought together the talented IDF Chief Cantor Lt. Col. Shai Abramson and Cantor Netanel Baram, who rocked the hall of the Barclay Theater in Irvine. Adding Maestro Ofir Sobol and his amazing orchestra would have made the recipe complete, but the event added the superb voices of the IDF Choir Ensemble. Jonathan Valverde is not only an extremely talented singer but the director of Latinos for Israel building alliances between Jewish and Latino groups in the Americas. Valverde was proud to say he has been performing with Nati Baram and the others for three years, and we should all be grateful for his support of Israel. Considering that there are Jews less supportive of Israel, we must be especially thankful to Christian groups who are. Arale Wattenstein is an officer in the IDF Paratrooper Brigade who

was severely injured in 2005 when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at his vehicle. The severe burns and broken spine did not deter him from his mission. Along with several other wounded soldiers, Brothers for Life helps wounded soldiers by giving them the emotional, psychological and financial aid needed immediately after their life takes a turn. The organization helps guide these people by introducing them to other wounded vets and helping them to find a new career where their lives will not only be enriched but where they will enrich the lives of others. “Injured Soldiers Helping Injured Soldiers” is the group’s motto. Israeli wounded vets do not sit back collecting government aid as is often the case in other nations. Israeli wounded vets learn to live productive lives and as the FIDF sponsors Achim L’Chaim, we should support the FIDF. Jessica Richman, an LA native and Lone Soldier, spoke from her heart about why she chose to serve in the IDF. Jessica proudly serves in the Air Force, and her accomplishments are numerous. We should be grateful


to all those who dedicate their lives to the State of Israel. The number of SoCal Lone Soldiers grows yearly, and the FIDF is an excellent support group, providing financial and emotional support while they serve so far from home. It is the FIDF that often covers the cost of airfare to bring them home to visit their families. It is because of the FIDF that Jessica will be spending this Pesach vacation with her parents, brother and extended family and friends. The FIDF Music Brings us Together Concert brought together many talented musicians with the voices of IDF heroes. Thanks go to our local FIDF Executive Director Nir Benzvi, Judy Clayton, event sponsors the Isadore and Penny Myers Foundation and TVT Choir Director Rocky Brown and all the volunteers who made the evening so spectacular.  Please continue to support this vital organization. Your generous donation can provide the following: Gloves – $18 Fleece Jacket – $36 Food Voucher – $50 Radiator – $75 Spirit Week (1 Soldier) – $120 Stovetop Oven – $360 Bunk Bed – $550 Family-Sized Fridge – $750 Lone Soldier Flight – $1,200

Kosher oc Magazine // May 2016



Bring Back the Bureau Agency helped youth and teens create Jewish memories. By Ilene Schneider

I know I speak for thousands of parents and children – including children who grew up in Orange County and became parents – when I say that it broke my heart to hear that the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) was being closed. Many of us can remember bonding with each other when picking up our children after BJE events, seeing their happy faces as they did their own bonding and shedding a tear or two at the siyyum, the closing ceremony at the end of twelfth grade.

programs. They made us better parents and better people.

For younger kids, the BJE provided occasional weekends away with their peers in an immersive camp environment. For teens it provided a home away from home – four immersive weekends a year, classes and a chance to relate to their peers from many different schools. The TIES program gave teens a chance to experience Israel for much of a summer. When the TIES trip was put on hold because of the Intifada, the BJE arranged a Birthright trip for the students who had missed out.

Demographics are changing, and many families are having fewer children. Putting on meaningful programs is expensive. Still, our children are our future, and they deserve the learning and bonding experiences that the BJE provides.

Even adults benefited from BJE 6

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It is not always easy to be a Jewish child or teen in Orange County. In some schools Jewish students feel isolated, because there are so few of them. While Jewish people believe in embracing diversity, not everybody else does. The BJE gave Jewish young people from all over Orange County a chance to have a “Jew crew.” It fostered lasting friendships that continued through and beyond college.

I hope the BJE can find a way to emerge again to serve the youth of Orange County. I hope we can all give it our love and support. 

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Orange County

Standing for Ourselves

IDF veteran Sassy Reuven visits Orange County to speak about his experience in Operation Thunderbolt. By Sara Gold

Sasson “Sassy” Reuven is a worldtravelling speaker in addition to being the owner of a construction development company and the father of three children. No one would guess that he is also a disabled veteran. Reuven, who spoke at Chabad of San Clemente in April, became disabled when he was shot in the leg in 1977 while serving on an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) special infantry reserve unit. That injury took place mere months after his most monumental experience in the IDF – Operation Entebbe, also known as Operation Thunderbolt. On July 3-4, 1976, Reuven was one of about 200 Israeli commandos who embarked on a 2,500-mile journey to Entebbe Airport in Uganda, where seven terrorists were holding 95 Air France plane passengers and 11 crew members hostage. In 90 minutes, the IDF commandos freed 106 hostages and killed all seven terrorists. During his April 10 presentation at Chabad of San Clemente, Reuven gave a vivid retelling of the operation, 8

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which will reach its 40-year anniversary this summer. “We learned the inside scoop on the story and all the details of the incredible rescue operation and what a genuine miracle this all was,” said Tzippy Slavin, co-founder of Chabad of San Clemente.

Netanyahu, was killed, the number of IDF casualties was far below what the troops anticipated. “God was right there with us,” Reuven said. “It was not possible without help from above. As one of the generals stated, ‘God worked overtime that night.’” Reuven came out of Operation Entebbe uninjured but was confined to crutches for three years following his later injury in the IDF reserve. In the few years after his injury, Reuven underwent multiple surgeries and rehabilitation therapies while studying civil engineering at Ben-Gurion University.

IDF veteran Sasson “Sassy” Reuven visited Chabad of San Clemente to share his experience rescuing Jewish hostages from a Ugandan airport in July 1976 as part of Operation Entebbe.

Reuven said, “You don’t feel excitement or fear – you are in a different state of mind. You have a target, a mission you have to complete, and your senses are working overtime.” Although four Israeli commandos were injured and one, Lt. Col. Yonatan

An IAF Entebbe Karnaf crew. (IAF)

An Israeli native, Reuven moved to New York in 1980 to study engineering at Brooklyn Polytechnic (now NYU). A few years later, he moved to Los Angeles to serve as El-Al cargo security director at LAX, where he met his future wife. The couple now lives in Calabasas, where Reuven runs his construction development company, AMD Development. Reuven has been giving presentations since 2013, when he gave his firstever speech at his local Chabad of Calabasas. In addition to traveling to more than 15 U.S. states, Reuven has spoken in Australia, Canada, Panama and the U.K. “My favorite part is sharing this piece of history to emphasize that the IDF will always stand behind the Jewish people,” he said. “People usually react with excitement, appreciation, and a feeling of being proud as Jews.” Although he is still technically considered a disabled veteran, Reuven says that his leg has mostly healed, and he leads a normal life. By sharing his experiences, he hopes to “spread the word fighting anti-Semitism.” “I want to spread the message of not giving up and also standing for ourselves as Jews,” he said. “The IDF will not give up saving Jews – we will go the longest distance to protect our people.”  To book Sassy Reuven for a speaking engagement, call 818-536-9500 or visit

Orange County

Moving Forward

Merage JCC adds a new executive to leadership team. By Julie Holdaway

The Merage Jewish Community Center in Irvine is excited to announce that Samantha Cohen (“Sam”) has been promoted to Assistant Executive Director/Vice President of Program Services. Sam first joined the Merage JCC from 2006-07 as the Assistant Director of the JCC Maccabi Games. Those Games turned out to be the second largest Maccabi Games in JCC history, and an overall success. In 2011, Sam returned to the Merage JCC as the Director of the 2013 JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest and quickly moved to the position of Program Director, overseeing a number of programs and departments. In her new role she will serve as Assistant Executive Director/ Vice President of Program Services, overseeing growth in Cultural Arts, Adults, JCC 10

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Cares, Israel and Jewish Engagement, Maccabi and Leadership Development programming, as well as launching the new BJE @ the JCC, Jewish and Israel education program. Born and raised in London, England, Sam holds a Bsoc.sci in Politics and International Relations from Manchester University and Msc. in Human Rights from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Sam has been involved in Jewish Community life since her early teens. She started as a Jewish athlete in Maccabi and in Hanoar Hatzioni, a Zionist youth movement, as a camper, Israel tour participant and leader. As a Jewish student, she became a political leader representing Jewish student interests and the case for Israel at a local and national level. She went on to work professionally for the UK Jewish Community in political affairs and played a leading role in the International Jewish Community coalition’s campaign in response to the 2009 Durban 2 conference at the United Nations in

Geneva. Additionally she represented UK Jewish interests to government and NGO’s, developed and delivered political as well as community development strategies and spearheaded the event logistics and mobilization of 50,000 attendees for a Pro-Israel rally in Central London during the 2009 Gaza conflict. In addition, Sam participated in 25 Maccabi/JCC Maccabi Games. She first represented Team Great Britain as a junior tennis player in 1999. Through Maccabi she has been all over the world as an athlete, coach, manager, Delegation Head and Games Director. She loves movies, to travel, playing sport and supporting Arsenal Football Club. “We are lucky to have such a highly qualified person as part of our executive team,” said Dan Bernstein, president and CEO of Merage JCC. “I am confident under Samantha’s consummate guidance, we’ll take our programming — and the J overall – to the next level, building an even stronger and more vibrant Jewish community in Orange County.” 

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Orange County

Antidote for Isolation

Friendship Circle creates lasting relationships by pairing teens with special needs kids. By Ilene Schneider

Imagine feeling entirely alone. Imagine feeling isolated because of being different. With a stated mission of “envisioning a world in which people with special needs and their families experience acceptance, inclusion and friendship,” the Friendship Circle brings together teen volunteers and youngsters with special

needs. The results are astounding. “Buddies” form lasting relationships, families gain support and everyone grows from the experience. “There are so many exciting things – watching the kids call the teens their friends, seeing parents leave their kids with us and have free time and witnessing the growth of the kids themselves,” said Chani Mintz, who along with Rabbi Reuven Mintz of Chabad Jewish Center of Newport Beach, runs the program. “Many of the volunteers started out just to fulfill community service requirements, but the program does more for them than for the kids,” she added. “The more they give, the more they get. They love the kids for who they are. Outside of the program, the volunteers look for kids who are alone at school and include them, making other teens think about how they treat people who are different. One of the special needs kids in the Friendship Circle is even going to the prom with one of the volunteers!” Sometimes, the Friendship Circle


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becomes a family affair. Dani Blieden, a senior at Woodbridge High School in Irvine, started volunteering at the Friendship Circle, because her brother, who has autism, goes to it. Now her sister is involved, and her parents have hosted events. “I like the atmosphere, because people are accepted for who they are, and nobody is treated differently,” Blieden, who has been in the group for six years, said. “I see real changes in the kids as they get more comfortable, talk more and understand that they’re my friends.” When the Friendship Circle holds its tenth annual evening of recognition on May 11, it will truly come full circle as it honors the couple who started it all – as well as more than 250 teenage volunteers who make it happen. Sam and Audrey Silverman, who will receive the Jo Ann Krupp Friendship Award, first read about the Friendship Circle in the book, The Rebbe’s Army. “We then visited the Friendship Circle of Michigan where we were

Orange County

both amazed and touched by the beautiful work they were doing with the special needs children and the life center that they had built for their community,” Audrey Silverman said. “We had conversations with a couple of Chabad centers regarding starting a local Friendship Circle. It was Rabbi and Chani Mintz who were very excited and willing to start one and take on the challenge.”


Y O U A R E I N V I T E D T O AT T E N D F R I E N D S H I P C I R C L E ’ S

Evening of Recognition Hon or i n g

5 . 11. 16


“Audrey and Sam were with us from the very beginning,” Chani Mintz said. “We had a shared vision.”






As Silverman explained, “We thought by bringing the youth volunteers together with the special needs children, we could bring awareness, acceptance and tolerance for all. Over the last 10 years, we have watched these volunteer teens, including our own children, nieces and nephews, create amazing friendships along the way. We wanted to bring light into our community, and we believe the Friendship Circle has. Over these last 10 years, working with Rabbi and Chani has been a pleasure, and the program has exceeded our expectations and continues to grow. With our new center we believe that we can take it to the next level.” Mintz said that she was always drawn toward special children and knew she would be there for them. As she pointed out, “This is an area that’s untouched in some communities. Inclusion is so important. Why should kids be left alone just because they’re a little different? We’re determined not to let that happen.” 

Wedne sday,

Feat u ri n g : Ar i an a B e rl i n SAM &AUDREY SILVERMAN


Ariana was a gymnast, professional dancer and now a TV producer known for her comeback story following a car accident. Her story has since been turned into a movie, “Fall Out”.

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The Friendship Circle

Friendship Circle’s goal is to provide every individual with special needs the support, friendship and inclusion that they deserve by providing recreational, social, educational and vocational programming. Friendship Circle enriches its vast network of volunteers by enabling them to reap the rewards of selfless giving. Friendship Circle Programs Adult Mentors/Buddies • Basketball Buddies • Birthday Club • Coffee Chat Support Group Computer Coding Courses • Friends at Home • Friendship Fairs • Hangin with Friends Holiday Programs • Lunch Buddies • Mom’s Night Out • Parent Webinars • Summer and Winter Camp Sunday Circle • Training Workshops • Volunteer Club • Young Adult Circle

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Event: Tenth Annual Evening of Recognition – The Beckman Center, 100 Academy, Irvine May 11, 2016, 6 P.M. Dinner Reception, 7:15 P.M. Program and Award Ceremony. Honoring Sam and Audrey Silverman with the Jo Ann Krupp Friendship Award and 250 volunteers from 54 schools. Featuring Ariana Berlin, former gymnast and professional dancer and now television producer who is known for her comeback story following an automobile accident. Kosher oc Magazine // May 2016


Orange County

Musically Yours

CSP’s Patron and Legacy Event was a musical masterpiece. By Brenda Barrie

Arie Katz with Pacific Symphony Piano Soloist Simone Dinnerstein.

The Community Scholar Program’s Patron and Legacy Circle event, with the Pacific Symphony was enriched beyond music hearing from Symphony President, John E. Forsyte. He shared his personal history and memories of growing up in his intensely musical Hungarian Jewish family in this country. Before hearing the symphony, CSP members were also treated to what amounted to a ‘master class’ from Joseph Horowitz the artistic advisor and music historian. The Charles Ives Symphony No.2 was directed for the first time in California the evening of the CSP event by the Pacific Symphony Musical Director Carl St. Clair, who was a student of Leonard Bernstein’s and was mentored by him. The Symphony was written early in the 20th century but only introduced publicly at Carnegie Hall by Bernstein in 1951. At the time his music premiered, Charles Ives, still alive, listened in on the radio, from his neighbor’s 14

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home in Connecticut, where he had lived all his life, working as one of the most successful life insurance executives in America. His music, an all-consuming passion, remained essentially unheard. Ives’ music has remained largely unknown, although it predates Aaron Copland, who is usually termed “the father of modern American music” by an entire generation. The evening’s program was completed with piano soloist Simone Dinnerstein’s interpretation of Maurice Ravel’s Concerto in G Major for Piano and Orchestra and her especially stunning performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. 

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Kosher oc Magazine // May 2016


Orange County

Jewish Events in OC May 2016

Plan your month with our May 2016 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, festivals and our favorite picks. Submit your events:


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News & Politics

‘If Israel Had Done That’ Let’s play a game called “What if Israel had done that”. By Stephen Flatow

If you ever wonder whether or not the international community applies an unfair double standard to Israel, all you need do is play a little game that I call “If Israel had done that.” It’s easy. Just glance at what’s in the news, on any given day, concerning what Palestinian leaders are doing. And then ask yourself: What would the reaction be if Israel had done that? Take Wednesday, April 20, for example. Palestinian groups and leaders from all factions publicly praised or justified the recent bus bombing in Jerusalem. Note that it was an attack on a civilian bus, not a military vehicle. And it took place within the 1967 borders—not in some settlement in “occupied territory.” Yet so-called moderates and so-called extremists joined hands in defending the attempted slaughter. As expected, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other, smaller factions all praised the bombing. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu 20

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Zuhi issued a press release which began, “Hamas praises the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) operation,” and Musa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas leader who was at one time in U.S. custody, declared on his Facebook page that the bombing was “a most beautiful gift to our hero prisoners.” Palestinian Islamic Jihad said it “praises” the attack and considers it an illustration of “the importance of resistance as an option.” The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hailed “this heroic action,” while the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) praised “these quality operations” against “the crimes of the occupation.” Some years ago, the Bill Clinton administration removed the DFLP from the U.S. list of terrorist groups, claiming the DFLP had given up violence and embraced peace. And what about the so-called moderate Palestinians? What was the response of Fatah, which is chaired by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas? Fatah’s Jerusalem spokesman praised the bombing as “a natural response” to Israeli policies.

When Hamas claimed that Fatah had condemned the bombing, Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi rushed to deny what he called Hamas’s “lies, falsifications, and forgeries.” Imagine if there had been similar wall-to-wall praise by Israeli political parties in response to one of the extremely rare instances of Jewish terrorism against Arabs. Imagine if every Israeli faction, from right to left, praised Jewish terrorism as “beautiful” and “heroic” and “a natural response” to Palestinian actions. If just one obscure Israeli rabbi praises Jewish violence, it’s treated as major news by the New York Times—imagine the world’s response if Israeli leaders were united in favor of terrorism, as all Palestinian leaders are. Or how about this April 20 news story: A military court in Hamascontrolled Gaza last week sentenced five Palestinians to death for allegedly “collaborating” with Israel. Let’s leave aside the fact that Hamas sometimes uses the “collaboration” charge to cover up executions that are actually related to trivial feuds or the settling

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of personal scores. Let’s assume they really did “collaborate” with Israel. Now imagine if Israel announced that it was going to execute five Palestinians for collaborating with Palestinian terrorist groups. Imagine the condemnations that would rain down upon Israel’s head from around the world. And contrast that with the silence that has greeted Hamas’s execution plan. Here’s another item taken from the April 20 headlines. The PA’s Abbas told Spiegel Online that “I do not want to run again” in the next elections. Of course, there is no telling when the next elections might take place, because Abbas’s term expired back in 2009 and he has refused to hold a new vote. Now imagine if Israel’s prime minister did that. Imagine if when his term expired, he simply refused to hold new elections, so that he could stay in office. Would the international community keep silent for seven years, until the prime minister finally announced that he didn’t want to run again? Or would the State Department

and United Nations be condemning him every week for being undemocratic? Would the world’s newspapers be filled with stories about Israel’s dictatorial leader? And would American Jewish organizations be complaining about how Israel’s prime minister was acting contrary to democratic values? So why doesn’t anybody say anything about Palestinian leaders justifying bus bombings? Why is everybody ignoring Hamas’s executions? And why is everyone silent about Abbas’s president-for-life style of governing? I guess we all know the answers to those questions. And thanks for playing “If Israel had done that.”  Kosher oc Magazine // May 2016


News & Politics

Israeli Anti-Tunnel Tech Could Thwart US-Mexico Smugglers

Reports claim the innovative detection system can pinpoint the length of a smuggling tunnel and its exact location without false alarms. By Viva Sarah Press and ISRAEL21c

Smugglers of drugs and illegal migrants using tunnels along the US-Mexico border may want to keep an eye on Israel. The US government, after all, is cosponsoring the tunneldetection technology now being developed by Israeli engineers.

agency officers, civilian engineering, infrastructure contractors and tunnel construction experts are also credited with helping.

“The search for tunnels is at the top of our priority list … and we will not spare any efforts,” said Defense Described by the Hebrew media as the Minister Moshe Ya’alon, following the underground equivalent of Iron Dome IDF announcement that it found a anti-missile defense system, this latest tunnel extending from southern Gaza innovation hit world headlines upon into Israeli territory. the announcement that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) uncovered a two-kilometer-long, concrete-lined tunnel on its Gaza border. The media is awash with reports about this first-of-its kind tunnel detection system. While the Israeli government has been funding its development for five years, few details about the new system have been reported until now. News reports say that up to 100 companies – including Iron Dome’s developers, Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems — are involved in assembling this groundbreaking detection system. Military units, Shin Bet security 22

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The fine details about how the antitunnel technology works are still under wraps. But according to Yediot Aharonot, dozens of Israeli-developed sensors gather information from the field and transmit it to a control

system for analysis using advanced algorithms. The system, says the report, can identify the length of the tunnel and its exact location without false alarms. Like many of Israel’s other astonishing tech achievements, this “world’s first” anti-tunnel technology reiterates the extraordinary culture of Israeli military research and development. “We do whatever we can to find a technological solution,” Maj. Gen. Nitsan Alon, head of the IDF operations directorate, said at a briefing. “Dealing with the phenomenon of tunnels is very complex, and the state of Israel is a world leader in this field. This battle demands from us persistence, creativity, and also responsibility and good judgment,” said Ya’alon. According to a report in Defense News, Israel’s Ministry of Defense has invested more than $60 million in anti-tunnel technologies. In February, the Financial Times reported that the

News & Politics


US will provide $120 million over the next three years to help develop complementary technologies. An Israel Today report says the country is building a counter-tunnel barrier along the Israel-Gaza border that “will also feature a state-of-theart fence, complete with sensors, observation balloons, see-shoot systems, and intelligence gathering measures, as well as an underground wall.”  • • • • • •

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Life & Religion

The Jewish Spring Lag B’Omer is a great time for learning. By Robin Silver-Zwiren

Pesach has ended, with kitchens being restored and bread on our tables again. Nevertheless, the season that began with Pesach is still being counted. Sefirat ha´omer marks the weeks between Pesach and Shavuot. In ancient Israel it was the time of the harvest and culminated when our ancestors brought their tithing to the Jerusalem Temple. With the Temple gone, it is not a joyous season as it once was. We now mourn for what we had and lost.

however, it is never too late to start. It is a wonderful practice to learn with your children, no matter what day of the week or time of the day. You may not realize how many of Pirkei Avot ethical messages you already know, and this is certainly a fantastic opportunity to share and discuss as a family.

Chapter Three:

Pirkei Avot is from Mishnah Seder Nezikin but is found in many siddurim (prayer books). If you can’t get through the entire chapter, peruse it before sitting down as a family and choose one or two quotes to discuss. In fact, not every verse is appropriate for young children. Keep in mind the time when the Mishnah was written. In fact, you may recognize some of the rabbis quoted as many names are also found in the Haggadah read at the Pesach Seders. 

Chapter Four

On L’ag B’omer, the 33rd day of the counting period, we take time to celebrate. It is a time for the traditional OC Chabad-sponsored BBQ, Israeli scouts bonfire and other such events. It is a time to remember that the curse of death was lifted from Rabbi Akiva and his students. It may be the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, but he would want us to celebrate our blessed lives. L’ag b’Omer Suggestions gives spring an added lift, a time to glorify all that Hashem has bestowed Chapter One: • Shimon haZaddik the righteous said upon us. There are seven weeks between Pesach and Shavuot and six chapters in Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers. It is, therefore, an appropriate time to learn this engaging text during the weeks of Sefirah. There is actually a custom to learn one chapter of Pirkei Avot each Shabbat afternoon; 26

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how “the world stands on three things; Torah, Chesed service and acts of loving kindness.” • Rabbi Hillel said, “If I am not for me who will be, when I am alone where am I and if not now when?”

Chapter Two:

• Rabbi Yossi said how “the property of others is as precious as your own.”

• Rabbi Tarfon discussed how “the day is short, the task is great, workers are lazy yet the reward is great and Hashem is demanding.” • He continued with “it is not for you to finish the job but you are not free to avoid it.” • Rabbi Yishmael said, “Be kind to elders, pleasant with others, and receive all people with joy.”

• Ben Zoma said, “Who is wise? He who learns from all people.” • Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua said, “May the honor of your students be as dear as your own, may the honor you give your friend be like the reverence to a Rebbe/teacher, and the reverence to a teacher be like the fear of Heaven.” • Rabbi Masia said, “Always be the first to greet others…”

Chapter Five

• ”The World was Created with Ten Sayings…” (Open a Chumash and read the ten sentences describing creation. Then look up the other times that “10” is noted like ten generations between Adam and Noah, ten Commandments, ten plagues…) • Bin Hai Hai said, “The reward depends on the effort.”

Chapter Six

• ”Do not seek greatness for yourself or covet honor, more than your learning is your actions.” • ”Grandchildren are the crown of the old, and the glory of children is their parents.”

Life & Religion

Motherhood 101

Mothers need to impart values to their children. By Robin Silver-Zwiren

The first lesson of parenting does not truly take place when our newborn is placed in our arms as much as the moment we know we must care for this infant forever. No matter how old our children are, any good parent knows that they must be our first concern. Not that I can understand how a father feels, but I know how this mother feels. In fact, I come from a long line of devoted mothers. My mother, of blessed memory, was extremely doting and dedicated to my siblings and me. Nothing worried her more than seeing her children harmed. In fact, her last words were that she wanted to be reunited with my late brother. In my heart I want to believe that they are together in Olam Ha’Ba with my maternal grandparents, aunts and uncles. I believe that by being good parents, good people, we all will make our Aliyah to Olam Ha’Ba when it is our time. Until my time comes, though, I will continue to worry about my children. When my son was about 3 weeks old, he was rushed to the hospital with a very high temperature. When it was time for the spinal tap, thankfully, my husband stepped in, because that would have crushed me. Had he not been there, I would have stood by, but was relieved that I had someone to lean on. Seeing our teeny baby in a 28

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hospital crib that made him look even smaller was torturous. Seeing doctors examining him over and over and techs drawing more and more blood was heartbreaking. Now looking at the husky grown man he has become, it is hard to believe he was once so incapacitated. I only pray that he is never in that situation again. Many years ago, my eldest daughter broke her hand for the first time. She was a preschooler, and sitting in the hospital, through x-rays and getting her arm set was horrifying. A few weeks later we welcomed another baby girl, and big sister was never far away. She proudly fed and cared for her sister. It brought back memories of how at the age of four, I also cared for my younger brother when our mother was injured and needed help in the age of cloth diapers and pins. Maybe there is truly an inborn, nurturing gene in all females, because even at so young an age, all she wanted was to help care for her younger siblings. While episodes like this put stress on my psyche and test my mothering skills, I know I had found my true calling. Unfortunately, because the kids have my genes, the broken bones and surgeries are still very much a part of our lives. As I once leaned on my mother for emotional support

and aid at these times, it seems so do my children. They want to be independent teens but sometimes a mother’s arms are truly appreciated. They may not want to admit it, but neither did I when I was their age. My mother would often sleep in a hospital chair by my bedside even if I had a private nurse in a private room. My siblings wanted her home with them, but she felt I needed her more. She worried that during her long drive home something would happen, and the hospital staff would not be able to reach her. Of course I was cared for just as my brother z’l was while he was hospitalized, but my mother took great pride in her main role. I know I can never do all she did but hope my children know I am there for them (even if it takes me a few minutes to get there). Mothering is not smothering. We need to stand by and let them fall but also need to be near to help them stand up again. We need to teach our children strong moral and ethical values and hope that they will continue on this path. We hope that the principles we instill in them when young will continue to guide them through life. If we don’t give them the skills to make the right decisions, then they will never have the ability to act like responsible adults.

Life & Religion

Eve, the first mother, had two sons who did not get along. Cain, in fact, slew Abel. It is possible Eve did everything she could to raise her sons better, but maybe her lack of education limited her. Nowadays there is certainly no excuse for having children who hate so deeply. Certainly, not all siblings get along, but if raised well, murder should not be in their hearts. However even Cain knew he had done wrong and tried to live the rest of his life morally and properly. He heard the voice of Hashem but very possibly remembered the lessons he heard at his mother’s side as well. Devorah, prophet, judge and “mother of Israel”, was not without faults. However, she led by example. In a time when men ruled, she took charge. What an example for every woman since that time. She was a woman of courage, of wisdom, who nurtured her people. Devorah lived thousands of years ago, but her essence and spirit should live in us all. Devorah’s lessons should continue to live on for mothers everywhere. Imagine if mothers of children in inner city slums taught their children about Devorah. Imagine if mothers taught their children it is not okay to throw stones, carry knives or guns in order to harm others. If mothers everywhere learn these lessons, imagine the values they can pass on when blessed with children. We have Biblical legends to emulate. We can look up to modern-day heroes who showed strength and courage during extremely difficult times. We don’t need to follow the path of the divas who are more concerned with what designer label they are wearing than in being moral individuals. Look to the women who helped mold your being, who sheltered you from harm, not only on Mother’s Day but every day. 

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Judaism Re-Visioned Welcome to New York City 2016, Judaism re-visioned. By Brenda Barrie

What do you get when you combine (i) the city of New York, (ii) a sixtyfive page itinerary arranged by the indefatigable CSP founder, Arie Katz, (iii) a group of 20+ Jewish thought leaders who are re-visioning Judaism and (iv) 50 OC travelers willing to walk at least 8 miles a day in the kaleidoscope of seasons that is the “Spring” in NYC? Answer: “NYC:2016 Judaism Re-Visioned”, an intense 5 day walking-talkingeating-learning trip to New York City co-sponsored by the Community Scholar Program, Congregation B’nai Israel and the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County. This trip was no “we’re all on one bus — get off the bus — listen to the spiel — get back on the bus — then do it again — kind of trip.” Rather this was a multi-faceted approach to travel with people arriving in the city on different flights, staying in different hotels (mostly in the Upper West Side) and tackling different itineraries every day, including different walking tours, night-life options 30

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(including a Broadway foray to see sample. Tuck Everlasting with a post-event, producer meet and greet) and a variety of food adventures (from Second Avenue Deli to Katz’s and the Pastrami Queen) — with each meal and snack opportunity more delicious, more memorable and more evocative of Jewish taste bud memories than the last. Did you visit the pickle man, one asks? How did you enjoy the Upper West Side walking tour with Marty Shore? What did you think about the sanctuary in Temple Emanu-el? Tell me what David Kalb had to say about “John Lennon and Jewish Music”? What about Russ and Daughters — a world-famous deli that has been run by the same family for four generations — and where at one breakfast there were four varieties of smoked salmon, never mind the bagels and cream cheese? What was your favorite knish at the Yonnha Schimmel knish tasting event? Did you love the BBQ brisket at Izzy’s Kosher Smokehouse in Crown Heights? (All agree the barbeque was a high point.) And that’s just a

Stanton Street Group

Despite the unusual format of the tour, you have only to talk to the participants to know that this was very much a group experience. They’ve already planned a reunion, so they can see each other again. And there’s already a talk of another trip, with a whole different itinerary (May 15-22, 2017 – “NYC Revisited: Origins, Evolution & Revolution”). Arie promises more excitement next year, with visits to Williamsburg and the Bronx, more tours in the Lower East side and other special options, including a NYC Pizza tasting excursion. Jewish New York offers an almost infinite variety of experiences.

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Joy Levitt, Andy Bachman, Jill Jacob, Asher Lopatin and David Kalb). Those events were events that many in the group agree were highlights.

Yonnah Schimmel

But, to get back to the trip: There were very special moments that brought all, or almost all, the travelers together, as at the opening breakfast with Rabbi Arnold Eisen, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary; the opening dinner at Shearith Israel (the oldest synagogue community in the United States founded by the original Sephardis who first set foot in America in 1654, where the group dined on Sephardi delicacies and enjoyed a post dinner panel – “The Search for God in the 21st Century” – moderated by Ari Goldman formerly of the NY Times, with Jewish visionaries Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, Rabbi Jan Uhrbach, Amicha Lau-Lavie and Erin Leib Smokler); a morning trip to Crown Heights to meet privately with Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, head of Chabad, at the Rebbe’s former home, and a tour of 770 with OC’s own Rabbi Eliezrie; breakfast at Russ & Daughters on the Lower East Side with 4th generation owner Niki Russ Federman; Friday night services at Romemu on the Upper West Side followed by dinner with Rabbi David Ingber at Talia’s Kosher Steakhouse; Shabbat lunch at the JCC of Manhattan with Rabbi Adam Mintz; and a closing dinner event at the Museum of Jewish Heritage overlooking Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (with a post dinner panel moderated by Sara Ivry from Tablet Magazine – “Judaism Outside the Box” -with a panel of Jewish visionaries, including Rabbis

In talking with many of the travelers there was surprising unanimity that the old synagogues of New York City, like the Bialystoker Synagogue, styled ‘the beautiful’, the Eldridge Street Shul, Shearith Israel, Temple Emanuel, Park Avenue Synagogue, and other historic buildings some grand and almost garish, some somber and gorgeous in the style of “Grande Dames” of the last century, were aweinspiring. Many individual memories stand out. It’s only possible to share a few of the most poignant. For Fran Gustin, it was being able to accompany her mother to the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue that she had attended as a child. She recalled exactly where she had played with her friends. Seeing this beautiful building through her 89-year-old mother’s eyes was a special moment. Her mother was able to join the group for many parts of the trip. For Elliot Vogelfanger, it was the opportunity to stand on the Bimah of the Bialystoker Synagogue in the Lower East Side where he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah many years ago. For Rabbi Elie Spitz, one such moment that brought tears to his eyes, came during the surprise appearance of a famous Chazzan, Yaakov ‘Yanky’ Lemer during the groups’ visit to the Bialystoker Synagogue. The Cantor sang a lullaby Rabbi Spitz had not heard since his mother, a Czech Holocaust survivor, sang it to him in Yiddish during his childhood in Phoenix. The lullaby Home Again in Israel heard again, in Yiddish, was a matchless moment.


As for the rest of the trip, Rabbi Spitz says it was not the individual moments, but the balance of events, sights and discussions, even the architecture of the buildings, that made the trip so outstanding; that made the re-visioning of Judaism such a powerful likelihood. All agree that every variety and shade, every denomination and gradation of Judaism, gave everyone experiences they would like to share, to bring those who create these experiences of re-visioning to Orange County. So, many of the people they met in New York, will be on the Community Scholar Program lists in the next year or two. “New York may be where it’s happening Jewishly,” says CSP chair Arie Katz, “but there isn’t a reason in the world that Orange County cannot share in the dramatic re-visioning of American Judaism.”  If you’ve received this email your name is already on the CSP mailing list. As a CSP subscriber or member you will be seeing the names and programs generated by this New York City trip. Hopefully, you will be attending these future programs. You may have friends who would appreciate receiving these regular emails, plus this new service, detailing past programs. Why not forward this material to them? If they want to receive regular email notice of speakers, they only need to go to www.occsp. com and register. Like you, they’ll receive advance notice of all speakers and programs, and information about membership levels if they would like to join and support CSP.

Kosher oc Magazine // May 2016


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Chilling Scenario Human trafficking is everywhere. By Ilene Schneider

Susan Patterson, author, speaker and advocate in the fight against human trafficking (Marc Ponseggi)

According to the California Attorney General’s office, “Human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise and is an estimated $32 billion-a-year global industry. It is a form of modern day slavery that profits from the exploitation of our most vulnerable populations.” What the statistics fail to say is that human trafficking is happening in the best neighborhoods, right under our noses. It may even be touching our families and friends. To create awareness of human trafficking, two local organizations Hadassah Southern California Long Beach/Orange County Area Kesher Group and Beach Hillel -- teamed up to present an authoritative speaker and a chilling movie that explained human trafficking in graphic detail. I Am Not For Sale: Human Trafficking – Modern Day Slavery was a shocking and informative look at the perpetrators and victims of sex trafficking.


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The film, Tricked, showed the coldness of the greedy people who engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of American children and girls. Using actual pimps, johns, police, parents and victims of America’s thriving sex trade to tell their stories, the documentary portrayed modern-day slavery as a thriving business that is alive and well in the United States. According to the film, thousands of victims are trafficked throughout the country to satisfy America’s $3 billion-a-year sex trafficking industry. Susan Patterson, author, speaker and advocate in the fight against human trafficking, talked about how sex trafficking solicitation works – in the schoolyard, on the campus, online and elsewhere. Her book, How You Can Fight Human Trafficking: Over 50 Ways to Join the Fight, was written to empower individuals and groups to join the fight against human trafficking in their own communities. Hadassah is continuing the fight by meeting with federally elected officials to share the organization’s position on

Human Trafficking while advocating for policy change on this important topic. Hadassah members will visit the California State Capital in Sacramento to meet with elected officials and engage in meaningful conversations with them on May 9 and 10. Hadassah also operates the Bat Ami Center for Victims of Sexual Abuse at Hadassah Hospital, the only place in Jerusalem where victims of rape receive comprehensive treatment. The center, which is known for its sensitivity to rape victims, treats approximately 16 victims each month, ranging in age from 2 to 75, twelve percent of whom are under the age of twelve. 

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