Support Israel Shirts My heart is with Israel
Table of Contents FEATURES 3. Safe Space for Jews
ORANGE COUNTY 4. Going for Gold 5. A Tribute to Emily 6. Frum and Feminist 8. Empowering Women 9. Tikkun for Troops 10. OC-Israeli Inspiration 11. Jewish Events in Orange County
NEWS & POLITICS 14. The Passing of Elie Wiesel
OPINION + MORE 16. Got a Date Who’s Sweeter than Chocolate? 17. Musings on Brexit
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Welcome to Jewish Orange County Kosher OC Magazine is here to give the Orange County Jewish community news when it happens, here and around the world. We combine the best of modern media and dedicated journalism to give you timely and interesting stories about the movers and shakers of the community and the great events they hold. We also talk about Jewish trends and trendmakers in Israel and throughout the globe with interesting ideas about celebrating holidays and celebrating each other. Join us for a window into the world of Judaism, and let us have your insight and input. It is our pleasure to serve this wonderful community. ZACH MILLER
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Safe Space for Jews
University of California Irvine: a space for free speeach, and a safe space for Jews By Lisa Armony
The Jewish students at the University of California, Irvine and their supporters took a strong stand recently, showing the campus community that we will not be intimidated or allow our vocal support for Israel to be stifled. In May, a pro-Israel event sponsored by the UC Irvine student organization Students Supporting Israel (SSI), with support from Hillel, was targeted by anti-Israel protesters on the UCI campus. A dozen students had gathered in a classroom to watch the Jerusalem U film, Beneath the Helmet. The program was meant to inform young people about how their contemporaries in Israel prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally for the awesome task of protecting their country. A screaming mob disrupted the screening, tried to force their way into the room, and chased one student into hiding after she had been caught outside when the protesters arrived. Our students and staff had to be protected by campus police. How ironic that at a site intended for learning, anti-Israel students tried to shut learning down.
Through bullying masquerading as social justice, they sought to make a statement that engagement with Israel will be met with harassment and intimidation. The incident made the news. It scared some people. And it made people question whether proIsrael students can safely hold events on their own campus. Three weeks later, the campus and broader communities made a statement of a different kind. More than 400 students, alumni, and Jewish community members gathered for a rescreening of Beneath the Helmet at the UCI Student Center.
Community Network of Jewish Federations of North America. Our messages that night was clear. The community and the university will not allow our studentsâ€™ right to engage with Israel on campus to be curtailed. Freedom of speech and assembly, and the rights to inquire and learn, are fundamental values of UCI that belong not to only some students, but to everyone. Most important, our students stated forthrightly that despite the egregious incident of May 18, they feel safe at UCI. They
implored audience members to send their children and grandchildren to UCI in order to grow and strengthen the community of students connected to Israel. With two student missions departing for Israel this summer, and a full slate of Israel programming scheduled for next year, Hillel, the UCI Jewish community, and our supporters have reaffirmed that our campus is a safe space for free speech and for Jews. ď ?
IDF Commander (Res.) Eden Adler, featured in the film, attended the event and shared his personal story with the audience. Middle East expert, US army veteran, and attorney Elan Carr also spoke; I was also a speaker, representing Orange County Hillel and the Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services. We were joined by colleagues and friends from many other organizations who partnered with us on the event, including Chabad of UCI, StandWithUs, Hasbara Fellowships, and the Secure KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JULY 2016
Going for the Gold
Merage JCC receives three Zahav (gold medals) for national excellence. By Julie Holdaway
The Merage JCC received three Zahav (gold medal) awards at the recent JCCs of North America Biennial in Baltimore, Maryland. The prestigious Zahav Award – the highest award available to JCCs from the global association – recognizes outstanding, visionary initiatives with maximum impact on Jewish communities. The awards went to the Merage JCC’s programs in: “JCC Cares Family Volunteering,” “From LA to Mexico City: Building Global Jewish Peoplehood” and “Creating a Language Academy for Young Children.” Additionally, the JCC’s Reflections series received an honorable mention. There were 213 submissions for the awards from 60 JCCs. Nearly 1000 people from the U.S., Canada, Israel and countries in Latin America and Europe and the former Soviet Union attended this showcase event. “Those who choose to work in nonprofits and dedicate their careers to building community aren’t always recognized when their work succeeds or goes beyond expectations,” said Robin Ballin, JCC Association senior vice president. “This is a chance 4
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for them to shine, for their peers to see what excellence looks like and for others to get ideas and run with them.” Here are a few details on the JCC’s gold medalists: JCC Cares Family Volunteering Seven years ago, JCC board members Nancy Chase and Adrienne Matros were inspired by a biennial conference. Because they were moved to do more for our community, JCC Cares was born. The two women successfully tapped into the hearts and minds of those passionate about tikkun olam. As the program grew, local families clamored to be involved. Almost two years ago, JCC Cares launched its Family Volunteering initiative, mirroring JCC Cares’ commitment to engaging the Jewish community inside and outside the JCC walls, empowering the community to better the lives of others and directly serving some of Orange County’s most critical needs. Since its launch, families have volunteered more than 1000 hours, impacting 22 nonprofits and community programs. Nancy Chase explained, “Volunteering as a family
is a great opportunity to do something constructive together while helping to teach our kids about big issues. Volunteering together emphasizes values such as kindness, compassion and tolerance.” From LA to Mexico City: Building Global Jewish Peoplehood Probably the most challenging demographic to engage in Jewish programming and the most important for the future of the Jewish people is the teenage generation. Building Jewish Peoplehood is the JCC’s Family Tree program in partnership with JCCs in Mexico City and Kfar Yona, Israel. The Family Tree program aims to engage the teenage demographic. By connecting teenagers to our past and future and to Jews globally, the initiative creates Jewish advocates and leaders. Wendy Stark, Merage JCC Board Vice-Chair, shared, “There are many potential benefits in finding common ground and a common agenda among Jews who live far apart from one another; among them, the continued existence of the Jewish people as a thriving, collective entity.”
The teens spend six months studying their families’ and communities’ Jewish history. They then join peers from Mexico and Israel to share their research and gain a deeper understanding of the Jewish history of respective communities. Ultimately, the teens develop bonds that strengthen international ties and Jewish peoplehood. Creating a Language Academy for Young Children Our Language Academy is a significant component of the the Aronoff Preschool at the JCC, offering language immersion for 3- to 5-year-olds in Italian, Spanish and Mandarin. In just three years the Academy grew by 145 percent, suggesting that the JCC is doing something right. Brain research shows that language acquisition is at its pinnacle when children are between the ages of 18 to 48 months. Building on the strengths of language immersion, like all JCC preschool classrooms, the Language Academy remains deeply rooted in Judaic values and Reggio-inspired inquiry. All the students learn about Shabbat, Jewish values and Jewish holidays. They approach learning through provocations,
A Tribute to Emily
In a short time, Emily Neufeld made an impact on TVT students. By Matana Zwiren
When you go to a small private school, everyone knows everyone else, whether or not you’re in the same class. Thankfully at TVT, it is one big family. When new kids come to school, they immediately have a new family and over 100 friends. Emily Neufeld came to TVT this past year, 2015-2016. The moment she walked into school, she made a huge impact on everyone’s lives. She always had a smile on her face and made hilarious jokes that made everyone laugh. I heard from a fellow cheerleader that Emily wanted to do cheer. As one of the cheer captains, I immediately texted her and got to know her. She didn’t join cheer in the end, but she did other sports and was extremely talented in every sport she played. She was one of the stars on the volleyball and soccer team. She was the girl
inquiry and hypothesizing. Reggio-inspired curriculum is certainly not unique to the English language, and the Language Academy unequivocally embraces its philosophies and practices.
to start all of the cheers on the bus and was the one who was there to comfort all of teammates when they didn’t win. She wasn’t even on the basketball team but went to almost every basketball game and cheered the team on, sometimes louder than the actual cheerleaders. She had more school spirit than most of the “lifers” at TVT.
Emily didn’t only have school spirit when it came to sports but also when it came to other activities. During our annual Purim Contest, she and her friend were some of the only people to lip sync and perform a very funny choreographed dance that made the whole school laugh uncontrollably.
You were at TVT for one short year but made a huge impact on everyone’s lives. I personally thank you for your friendship.
When I talked to her after she was diagnosed, her words were, “I’m so blessed to be in everyone’s prayers.” Emily was in everyone’s prayers. Now, we pray for her family. Rest in Paradise, Emily. Heaven gained a new angel, and I know you’ll still be cheering on all the sports teams.
I wasn’t so close with Emily. I ate lunch with her sometimes. What I did know about her in the short few months was that she was a motivated, strong, incredible, talented and beautiful person. Emily left on her Poland/ Israel trip almost a month ago. The whole point of going from Poland to Israel is that you can see destruction to rebirth. Emily never got to see the rebirth. She was diagnosed with nonHodgkins Lymphoma. Sadly, on June 26, we lost her. We lost one KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JULY 2016
Frum and Feminist
CSP patrons hear Rabba Rahel Berkovits explain interpretation of Orthodoxy. By Robin Silver-Zwiren
About 40 CSP patrons were honored to attend a lunchtime lecture with Rabba (feminine for “Rabbi”) Rahel Berkovits on Wednesday June 15. Arie Katz was equally proud to mention that Rabba Berkovits also attended his alma mater, Maimonides School, in Boston. Rabba Berkovits was introduced by dedicated community member, Dr. Karin Hepner, who is a member of Congregation Beth Jacob, TVT parent and founder- parent of Irvine Hebrew Day School. Karin is also the spouse of Dr. Avshalom Hepner and loving mom to five wonderful children. The Hepner family ascribes to the teachings of people like Rabba Berkovits and the mission of the Pardes Institute where she teaches. It is a place where Modern Orthodox traditional practices are a constant surrounding every aspect of life. Rabba Rahel Berkovits is a member of Shira Hadasha in the German Colony area of Jerusalem. It is “a religious community that embraces our commitment to halakha, tefillah and feminism” in response to “the growing need of many religious women and men to readdress the 6
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role of women in the synagogue.” Shira Hadasha leaders believe in the rights of women to read from the Torah as was the practice many times throughout history. Rabba Berkovits introduced us to Pardes style learning when she gave us some insight into the Rabbis of Mishnaic times and the particular text we would be learning. We then broke off into small chevruta style learning with our partners for a few minutes of shared thought. This Beit Midrash style learning is not only used at the Pardes Institute but many Yeshivot and seminaries across Israel and the world. It is a much more engaging method than sitting in a room listening to a lecture without having any input or the ability to ask questions. It is also the mode used by rabbis studying Talmud, which then became our written Mishnah. These Rabbinic discussions are noted in other texts like the Pesach Seder service as well. Mishnah Gittin 5:8 discusses issues within the realms of property. Although not illegal to take traps a hunter has set, it may not be ethical to steal someone else’s property. It may anger the hunter, but he/she has no legal
recourse to sue. The rabbis said that in the interests of peace, just let the matter go. Rabbi Yose, however, disagrees. He says it is robbery to take someone’s hard work, whether from their traps or trees. This teaches us how important it is to leave a portion, lekat for gleaning, for poor people — Jews or non-Jews. The laws for the entire community: Kohen, Levi, Yisrael, non-Jew, rich, poor, healthy and/or disabled is the same. This teaches us how we should interact with everyone in the same way, with “shalom” peace. Gittin 5:9 discusses issues pertaining to women and the home (of course). In Perek 8 a less observant woman asks her friend to use her utensils and oven to bake bread, and it is permitted. R’ Rahel says, “Imagine a strictly kosher person today offering her dishes and oven to cook treif?” In Perek 9 the wife of a rabbi and another less scrupulous woman are baking together. They can work together until water is needed, and then the more traditional woman must separate before the challah bread is baked. The rabbis say that both of these are in the interests of peace. We should not shun our neighbors but try
to coexist, which is certainly a lesson to be learned in modernday Israel! In Perek 10 we read how we are allowed to help the non-Jew but not the Jew during shmittah. The reason is that non-Jews are permitted to raise and sell their crops, even to work Jewish owned land when Jews cannot. This reminds me of how we could not buy Jewish produce in Israel during the past shmittah year. Several of my family members and I were driving around the Druze village of Majdal Shams when I was in Israel last summer. There were many roadside stands with people selling various wares and produce. A young woman was selling cherries from trees growing in her personal yard. We stopped and greeted her. An elderly couple, most probably her grandparents, were sitting on a porch above the road (and probably chaperoning the lone young woman). We greeted them as well and purchased the most delectable red cherries ever. Little did we know how we were living the Mishnah lesson for aiding non-Jews and greeting them respectfully. It just seemed like common sense. Rabba Berkovits’ teaching
continued with Mishnah Brachot where we learn how we can also stop saying the Shema prayer in order to greet someone. We can even cite a name of Hashem, our G-d. Rabba Berkovits says from this we learn how to relate and respect everyone, because we are all Hashem’s creations and that like Rabbi Yose we don’t have to agree with everything but must still treat others with respect. We need to build a community with others even if they are different from us. If only more of us followed this lesson in peace. On a personal note I want to thank Rabba Rahel Berkovits for giving my own Orthodoxy a brilliant voice. I often get asked how I can say I am Orthodox when I do not cover my hair, wear short sleeves (and in my case wear pants). In fact, I once got asked by one of my own professor-colleagues in Israel how I can be dati-a and wear shorts, so this is not just questions that come from the uneducated in our society. Ivanka Trump seems to be getting the same tirades as even on Jewish websites there are an ad nauseum amount of people questioning how someone who dresses as she does can be Orthodox. Ms. Trump-Kushner has been converted by a very well respected Modern Orthodox Rabbi and takes her Judaism quite seriously. Her mode of dress, although not what other may consider modest, adheres to Modern Orthodox style living on the Upper East Side of New York. We no longer live in East European shtetls. Many people do not realize that being Orthodox is not living in a bubble. Modern Orthodox practices are not Hasidic or Haredi. Yeshiva University began with the principles of Torah uMadda, Torah and secular learning. It means understanding the scientific principles within Toraic texts. It means understanding the life rabbis of Mishnaic times, because the era is studied in history
class and the dynamics during psychology lectures. It means acknowledging that the wives of these ancient rabbis did not wear sheitels. In fact, being that head covering is not the mode today many, like Rabba Berkovits and I, take that to mean we don’t have to cover our head. I do wear a hat to synagogue, which in fact is how generations of my female ancestors have done. Thank you, Rabba Berkovits, for giving me a knowledgeable person that represents the Modern Orthodoxy I maintain. Hopefully, now a few dozen more local community members also understand that the more stringent Orthodoxy they often see is not the only one that adheres to halacha. Thanks to Arie Katz and the Community Scholar Program for bringing yet another well respected illustrious individual to share some thoughts of Torah with us. For more on: Rabba Rabbi Berkovits email@example.com Pardes Institute www.pardes.org.il Shira Hadasha www.shirahadasha.org.il
Empowering Women Local women take JWRP trip to Israel. By Ilene Schneider
The Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) seeks to inspire women to transform themselves, transform their families, their communities and the world, according to the organization’s website. Its mission is “to empower women to change the world through Jewish values that transform ourselves, our families and our communities.” Lori Palatnik is the founding director of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, which is based in Rockville, Maryland. Palatnik, an author and a Jewish educator, has appeared extensively on television and radio. Since JWRP’s inception in 2008, 7,300 women from 21 different
countries have experienced this life-changing trip. They have come home with what the website describes as “the best gift of all — a deep, eternal connection to Israel, a profound kinship with each other and a heart filled with Jewish values.”
continue the journey through continually evolving follow-up programming that keeps the inspiration going and helps to create bonds that extend not only to communities, but globally.
Twelve Orange County Jewish women, led by Rebbitzen Natalie Ciner of Congregation Beth Jacob of Irvine, spent eight days in Israel on JWRP’s flagship program, Momentum. From May 9 to 18, the women had a chance to explore Israel while exploring themselves.
The trip began in Tiberias and the Kinneret with dinner and dancing. It continued with kayaking on the Jordan River, the artists’ colony of Tzfat and a mikveh tour. In the old city of Jerusalem the women prayed at the Western Wall and had Kotel tunnel tours. The tour continued with Masada, the Dead Sea and Eretz Bereshit.
JWRP works in partnership with a wide spectrum of community organizations to recruit the women, staff the buses and
The next day was about challah making, candle lighting, singing and dancing at the Western Wall and Shabbat dinner. On Shabbat
the women experienced classes, dining in individual Jerusalem homes, the third meal with IDF soldiers and a rooftop Havdalah overlooking the Temple Mount. The next day included an IDF base visit, a trip to Yad Vashem and a visit to centers supporting children and seniors in need. The trip culminated with a seminar on bringing the inspiration home, a banquet and plans to keep the momentum going. After the trip, there are followup events, enabling participants to learn, grow and create change. Women attending the Momentum trips commit to attending a learning activity once per month and five group activities per year.
Tikkun for Troops Millennials make packages for soldiers. By Marc Ponseggi
Tikkun for Troops is a JFFS NextGen Cares project. NextGen Cares, in collaboration with Operation Gratitude, JCC Cares and Tarbut Vâ€™Torah, endeavors to make a positive impact on the lives of U.S. troops. People come together to put packages together filled with soap, socks, deodorant
Harel, the NextGen marketing, communications and events coordinator, said next year they plan to make 4,000 packages. ď ?
and other toiletries to send over to the troops serving overseas. This is the third year that NextGen Cares has done this project, and it has grown. Last year there were 200 volunteers who together made 2,000 packages. This year 250 men, women, children and veterans came together to make 3,300 packages. Nitzan KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JULY 2016
Founder of Lulyboo, Pazit ben-Ezri, is award-winning mompreneur. By Robin Silver-Zwiren
Lulyboo is certainly a labor of love for Pazit Ben-Ezri. She is a devoted mother who has spent the past few years finding solutions to make infants and toddlers more comfortable, thus putting parents more at ease. Born in Israel, she moved to Orange County with her husband, Nati, and their infant daughter in 2004. She gave birth to her fourth child less than 2 months ago, but nothing seems to slow her down. Pazit Ben-Ezri is one of the most dedicated, influential individuals I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Not having a background in the “shmatta” rag business or merchandising, the Lulyboo CEO, founder and innovator is truly remarkable. Ben-Ezri took an idea and put the first model together with foam and safety pins. Gathering her thoughts while speaking to relatives and friends, she formulated each and every detail. Her creative juices continue to flow with new ideas that are comfortable, convenient and cost-effective. She is a truly inspirational entrepreneur. Her award winning products have been recognized by The Baby Center Blog, Guguguru Blog, Entrepreneur Magazine. She won the Creative Child 10
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Magazine Top Choice Award and a SCORE mentor innovation award in 2014. Ben-Ezri has been nominated by the Orange County Business Journal for the 2016 Women in Business Award. She also earned a monetary award from the Irvine Chamber of Commerce for her vision and motivation. I asked if she has ever faced controversy as a woman, a Jew and an Israeli. She says if anything it seems to have a positive impact on the young women she meets. Some may make comments about Jews being smart and always achieving. People also say how it is no wonder Jews succeed because they are so determined and resourceful. Ben-Ezri is not afraid to tell people that she did not speak much English when she came to the U.S. She faced many obstacles but had a vision. She continues to mentor and coach other women free of charge, taking tikkun olam and chesed to a new level. “Don’t be afraid, take on challenges, take each day, look forward, learn from your mistakes, and you can achieve your goals.” – Pazit Ben-Ezri The Baby Lounge-To-Go is listed on EBay as a top infant travel
bed with fabrics that are machine washable, waterproof, soft and cozy like a mother’s womb. It is an ideal gift for every new parent or even grandparent. The products fold up into a convenient back pack and are light enough for even a young sibling to carry which promotes a sense of family responsibility. The product is ideal for indoor and outdoor activities.
The other Lulyboo products include:
Pazit Ben-Ezri has come a long way from the first ABC trade show she attended in 2008. She admits that she did not sell anything but that the show was a professional breakthrough. Soon she will travel to the Kind + Jugend Show in Cologne, Germany.
The LulyZoo, a combination bassinet, travel bed, playmat and even a stuffed animal to cuddle. Time to welcome a comfortable zebra, hippo, elephant, ladybug or lion into your home for children up to age 3 this is the ideal item. The Comfy Ride Set is a great addition to every stroller or car seat. It is reversible with soft straps that make your baby much more comfortable than the standard ones. The Itty Bitty Changing Kit is a diaper bag and changing kit in one. It conveniently rolls up, holds diapers and a change of clothes. It means not having to carry around a heavy diaper bag and ideal to keep in a car or stroller. When it is time to change a diaper, the pocket becomes a
The Easy Roll-Up Blanket is “versatile and easy to carry”. It is ideal for travel or a day at the beach. Pick one up for each and every family member and maybe even some extra gifts for friends. All items are available online from Amazon, Babies R Us, ByeByeBaby, Walmart, Target and Burlington Coat Factory.
Ben-Ezri has certainly earned her Top Choice Award not only for her products but for her being. She tells others to “be a mom, have a passion and make a difference,” and she certainly does. In addition to her primary role as mompreneur, Pazit is involved with OC Israeli, Chabad of Irvine, the Orangewood Children and Family Center and other organizations. Kol haKavod for being such a positive role model to so many and for creating products that improve family life.
Jewish Events in OC July 2016
Plan your month with our June 2016 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, festivals and our favorite picks. Submit your events: http://my.kosheroc.com
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NEWS & POLITICS
The Passing of Elie Wiesel
Professor of Religious Studies and History at Chapman University reflects on the passing of Elie Wiesel. By Marilyn Harran
Dear Friends, As I know you understand, this is a very difficult day. What Elie meant to our Chapman program and to me is more than I can ever adequately express. Elie liked to say “life is not made up of years, but of moments,” and I think he found his moments at Chapman, particularly with our students, among the most meaningful of the latter years of his life. He was described by the Nobel Committee as a “messenger to mankind,” which, of course, he was, but I think he treasured even more than the Nobel Prize and all the other accolades he received, the title of teacher. Elie taught not only in the classroom and in his books but through his very being in the world. He struggled to understand throughout his life after the Holocaust how human beings could murder one another, and he struggled to understand how both the divine and much of humankind could be seemingly silent while genocide occurred. A lesser person might have given up struggling, but not Elie. He remained true to his Hasidic upbringing, saying even though he might not dress like 14
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a Hasid, he was a Hasid, and he continued to be a devout Jew. He believed his Judaism drew him closer to all of humanity, and so it did. His kindness and gentleness of spirit were unfailing. Sometimes I wondered if he really knew he was famous. He was undemanding and always grateful even for the smallest of thoughtful gestures. I think back to some of the moments I think he most enjoyed at Chapman, and I remember how much he liked “surprises.” He never really wanted to know in advance what I had planned for his time at Chapman, and I think sometimes he just tuned me out when I went into painfully precise, minute by minute detail, of what his stay four months later would include. That in itself I found remarkable. It speaks to his anticipation and hope for the good, even when it meant being vulnerable to pain. He believed even when he suffered the most in the human possibilities to be and to do good. He inspired us all to try to meet his hopes, to be better individuals, and to create a world where no child would suffer as he did. There is much more I could write, but in the end, words will not
express either the depth of my grief and my gratitude for all he has given to Chapman, to our students, and to me. I know the traditional Jewish statement is “may his name be forever a blessing.” I believe with all my heart his name will be that forever, especially for those of us who were privileged to know and love him. Marilyn
OPINON + MORE
Got a Date Who’s Sweeter than Chocolate?
Keep her that way by getting something sweet, and kosher, at Yogurtland. By Zach Miller
Practically the biggest kosher secret in Orange County, the ever abundant Yogurtland is actually kosher. It’s true. Why is it a secret? Well, it’s just that there are no certificates of kashrut hanging on the walls, like Coffee Bean often does, or any fine print at any store. However, check their website, and bam—kosher. Sorta… Here’s the deal. All the frozen yogurt and sorbets are 100% kosher. But that’s as far as it goes, because there are toppings that Yogurtland cannot guarantee are kosher to begin with. Don’t forget, there’s also cross
contamination—there’s sprinkles in my mango!—so even if it was kosher to begin with, you can never really know… except with the frozen yogurt! The reason why all the frozen goods are kosher is because they are made in a facility that is 100% kosher. Once shipped, it’s up to you to keep it that way. Bonus—some flavors are not only sugar free, but actually parve. That’s right! You can get a dairy free dessert after a large meaty meal because most sorbets, if not all, are labeled “dairy free.”.
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OPINON + MORE
Musings on Brexit
What will Britain’s departure from the EU mean to Israel and worldwide Jewry? By Ilene Schneider
Some conservative Israeli pundits think that Brexit, the British exit from the European Union (EU) is good for Israel because it makes the EU weaker. It seems to change the dynamics of power and open up the possibility of either the EU becoming a selfgoverning entity or dissolving itself altogether. If Britain is the most pro-Israel country in Europe, does its exit from the EU make Europe more anti-Semitic? If the EU fragments eventually, is Israel better off in the long run? Worse yet, do the Jews of Europe, Israel, the US and elsewhere get blamed for Brexit if it brings economic uncertainty or worse to world markets? According to Shmuel Rosner of the Jewish Journal, “Jews ought to be afraid of these tumultuous times, and on the other hand, European Jews also have reasons to dread the status quo of the EU. The mass immigration of Muslims has made life more complicated for EU Jewry (anti-Semitic incidents), and the universalistic ideals that the EU attempts to advance have also proved tricky for Jews to handle (restrictions on kosher slaughter and circumcision). The European status quo means that the trends threatening Jews’ ability
to survive in Europe continue uninterrupted.” David Patrikarakos, writing in Jewish Business News, said, “There are genuine arguments to be made against the EU. It is bloated and in part corrupt, and does infringe on national sovereignty to a degree, though not nearly as much as its critics claim. But it is also a stabilizing force that has kept Europe peaceful, and thus safe for the Jews, for almost half a century. A Europe with a weakened EU would undoubtedly start to fragment politically and socially. This fragmentation would, over time, empower various reactionary forms of nationalism across the continent…More immediately, Brexit would mean that the UK can no longer be an easy refuge for continental Jews whose lives are far more difficult. The UK has its problems, but it remains the best place in Europe to live as a Jew. In the last year alone, just under a thousand French Jews have arrived in London, fleeing anti-Semitism.”
and supporting Israel. Still, the vote affected the British stock market, and economic downturns have bred anti-Semitism in the past. The most interesting – albeit strange – analogy cited was that of Bill Kristol, the prominent Jewish neoconservative. According to a story in JTA, Kristol said the “surprising outcome could reflect a tendency on the part of pollsters to undercount the right-wing vote — as they did when Britains’s Cameron and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu won elections in 2015 — and that (Donald) Trump may be doing better than it seems.” Only time will tell what Brexit means to Britain, Israel, the US and all around the world. Clearly, we are in for a lively ride this summer.
Stephen Pollard, editor of The Jewish Chronicle newspaper, said the vote was “a wonderful day for Britain — and its Jews.” He believes that Britain can go its own way in fighting extremism KOSHER OC MAGAZINE // JULY 2016