March 2022 L'Chaim Magazine

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MARCH 2022

ZELENSKY

LEADS

AS RUSSIAN FORCES BEAR DOWN

Plus: PURIM


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L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE • MARCH 2022


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contents March 2022 • www.lchaimmagazine.com

in this issue... COVER STORY Ukrainian refugees in Lviv speak.......................................................................................................................

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14 REFUGEES SPEAK

1000 WORDS Julie Platt talks life after COVID and strengthening American Jewish leadership as new board chair of JFNA...................................................... FOOD Simple Ceviche.................................................................................................................................................... PURIM Beyond the Hamantash: Traditional Purim dishes tell the story of Diaspora life.....................................................................................

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SIMPLE CEVICHE

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THE HOMECOMING

FEATURES

Hedy Dalin retires from JFS....................................................................................................................... The Homecoming lands at North Coast Rep.................................................................................. Israel’s future foresters are mostly women..................................................................................... Hadassah's Mitzvah project adds Holocaust remembrance to the mix......................

COLUMNS

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Prayers & Passages..................................

Mazel & Mishagoss.................................

PUBLISHERS Diane Benaroya & Laurie Miller

L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO, LLC (858) 776-0550 P.O. Box 27876, San Diego, CA 92198

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CONTRIBUTORS

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Copyright ©2022 L’Chaim San Diego LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator” to: publisher@lchaimmagazine.com

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TORAH l BY RABBI-CANTOR CHERI WEISS

prayers

& passages SANCTUARY V’asu li mikdash v’shachanti b’tochan (Then have them make for me a Sanctuary and I will dwell among them.) - Exodus 25:8 My daughter, Emma, recently married her high school sweetheart, Tyler, in an intimate outdoor ceremony at a local winery. I was honored to be asked to officiate. As we stood under the chuppah surrounded by the love of family and friends, listening to them speak their self-written vows to each other, I felt the spirit of the Divine fill the space. As I looked at my child, I saw snippets of her life flash in front of me: looking into each other’s eyes right after her birth, holding her for the first time, graduations, all the fun we had driving up and down California to and from water polo tournaments, and especially all those moments she made me so proud by displaying kindness and compassion to other creatures: human and animal. Every day with her is a miracle and a testament to the presence of God. Just as God needs us in order to bring children into this world and raise them to adulthood, we call on God’s loving presence to help us be the best parents we can be, and to partner with us in raising them to become productive and loving people. We invite the 6

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Shechinah (i.e., the tangible aspect of God where connection is most perceivable) not only into our own lives but into our children’s lives as well. We recently completed our annual reading of the Book of Exodus. The final parshiot (portions) include instructions on the portable Tabernacle (“Mishkan”) the Israelites were to build as a sanctuary to God. This construction manual provides details regarding the décor for interior and exterior of the structure as well the specifics of the priestly clothing that is to be worn. We are told that when the Tabernacle was completed, the spirit of God rested within its interior. During the day, a cloud hovered overhead; at night, a fire. Having recently experienced the fiasco of the Golden Calf, perhaps God realized that in order for the Israelites not to lose their faith in God, they needed a constant visible manifestation of the presence of the Divine. Our contemporary synagogue sanctuaries serve a similar function. They range from the moderately ornate to the excessive, all to remind us of the existence of God. But where does God really dwell? Is the synagogue sanctuary the actual home of God? If so, is it still sacred when it is empty? What about the Aron Ha-Kodesh

(the Holy Ark) that houses the Torah, the most sacred object in Judaism? Is the scroll — that which contains our history and God’s mitzvot — actually where God resides? The true spirit of God lies in LIVING the words of the Torah, in living sacred lives. We may feel uplifted by attending a worship service and listening to words of Torah in sung or spoken form, but what really matters is what we do with these words when we leave the sanctuary. Prayer should be an inspiration to us to pay love forward — in all its manifestations. The presence of God lies not necessarily in a specific space designated for worship; it may be expressed in the actions we take that show compassion, caring, humanity, and gratitude. The Divine exists where there is love for others, which may be felt anywhere. We just have to open our hearts. RABBI-CANTOR CHERI WEISS IS THE FOUNDER AND SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THE SAN DIEGO OUTREACH SYNAGOGUE, A POST-DENOMINATIONAL CONGREGATION THAT WELCOMES PEOPLE OF ALL AGES AND BACKGROUNDS INTERESTED IN EXPLORING A UNIQUE MIXTURE OF TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSIC, PRAYER AND LEARNING. SHE TEACHES JUDAIC STUDIES AT THE SAN DIEGO JEWISH ACADEMY.


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HUMOR | BY STEPHANIE LEWIS

mazel

& mishagoss Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Find Us a Couple

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ow that I’m engaged, it’s difficult making Jewish, compatible, couple friends. Jeff, my fiancé disagrees — because he’s never tried! I decide to take out an ad in L’CHAIM magazine, when my other half strolls in, noticing the headline. “Perfect Pair!” He asks if I really need more shoes. “I’m not looking for footwear,” I say. “Think again. What else could ‘pair’ indicate?” He looks me up and down, then confesses he’s finally gotten used to my figure, so there’s no need to remodel the ‘upstairs.’ Gee, thanks.

Five minutes later the men are ensconced in barcaloungers, yelling at the baseball game. Ruth and I play Scrabble alone in her kitchen. I form the word, ‘failure’ — seven letters and worth bonus points. So much for an unplugged couple’s Shabbat. I compose a new ad, specifically asking for active, outdoorsy people. A nice Shabbat walk will be a wonderful change of pace. My heart sinks as Couple Number Two answers their door, holding anniversary balloons with the number ‘61’ on them.

Me: Listen up! Not that kind of pair! I’m searching for a couple. Fiancé: A couple of what? Me: Shabbat candlesticks! What do you think??

Me: Wow! A nice, long marriage. But I’m positive you emailed, ‘Married for 16 years?’ Wife: That would be Howard typing that. He has dyslexia. I just need new reading glasses. Me: Oh. So, which one of you loves to surf? Wife: That would be Howard again. He surfs the web. I just wanted him to appear active. Fiancé: Oh. So, which one of you is Howard?? Me: (Elbowing fiancé roughly) He means, which one of you bowls? Wife: We both put our ice-cream in bowls, right Chunky Monkey? Howard: That’s right, Rocky Road!

Frustrated, I switch the subject, asking what he thinks a cute couple name for us can be, combining both Jeffrey and Stephanie? I offer up ‘Stephrey.’ Always needing to be first, he counters with ‘Jeffanie.’ He eventually agrees to my version if we find a baseballloving couple. I tell him not to count on it. I’m looking for a Jewish Scrabble playing couple to have electronics-free Shabbats with. Fast forward to Friday night — our first meeting with Couple Number One, a pair from my ad. I hold a freshly baked challah when the wife answers the door, introducing herself as Ruth. With the television blasting in the background, her husband yells, “Who’s on our porch, Babe?” “Babe? Ruth?” My fiancé’s ears perk up. 8

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Oy! I console myself that at least there’s no electronics on in their home. But when we set up Scrabble, they simultaneously yawn, drop their dentures in a glass, announcing, “Bedtime!” Finding the right couple is

trickier than I thought. Fresh idea! A more explicit ad! This time I specify a new Rabbi and his wife (‘New’ will likely mean younger.) who’ll teach us to honor Shabbat. (This eliminates electronics.) On Saturday morning, I’m pleasantly surprised to hear davening as we enter their home. How nice! We’ll meet several Jewish couples to interact with! My excitement is short-lived when I’m directed to sit on the women’s side and my fiancé is whisked off somewhere I can’t see, because of a tall divider. So much for couples Shabbos. I guess you can’t plan this stuff in advance. It must happen organically, more impromptu, if you will. So, I wait for Purim to arrive, then drag my fiancé to a costumed festival where we spot two couples sitting together. The men wear Mordecai masks, the women of course, disguised as Queen Esthers. I introduce us as a fun couple named “Stephrey!” But when I spontaneously pull out Scrabble, I sense something very familiar as their masks come off. It’s none other than the Babe Ruth couple and Mr. and Mrs. Dentures. Howard makes the first word of the game — Mashuga. “Bonus points!” Ruth shrieks, as the orthodox Rabbi comes around the corner to separate the men from the women. Perfect. STEPHANIE D. LEWIS (THEQUOTEGAL@YAHOO.COM) WILL INJECT HUMOR INTO ANYTHING YOU HIRE HER TO WRITE.


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L’CHAIM | BY MIKE WAGENHEIM | JNS.ORG

Julie Platt, the new chair of the Jewish Federations of North America’s board of trustees, with her son Jonah in Hollywood, Fla., in 2019. 10

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L’CHAIM

1000

WORDS

JFNA'S NEW BOARD CHAIR TALKS ABOUT HER PRIORITIES

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he’s taking over a powerhouse of American Jewish fundraising. And she hasn’t seen her predecessor in two years. Transitioning into post-pandemic Jewish life will be among the major challenges for the Jewish Federations of North America’s new chair of the board of trustees. But Julie Platt says it can only happen successfully if the Jewish community feels secure. The JFNA — representing 146 Jewish Federations and 300 independent Jewish communities across North America — announced on February 15 that Platt would assume the leadership of the umbrella body that in 2019 raised $270 million. Only the second woman to lead the organization, Platt is a former banker who has focused on promoting Jewish education and helping to rescue the Jewish camp movement during the pandemic. Platt serves as JFNA’s national campaign chair and chair of LiveSecure, the organization’s initiative to broaden and deepen the security umbrella for the communities JFNA serves. “This is the largest campaign JFNA has ever undertaken, but it’s also the largest campaign in American Jewish history for any security initiative, and it’s required at this moment,” Platt says. “We knew it before Colleyville. We were sort of waiting for what, sadly, would be the next place, the next Jewish address that would be under attack. But now we have no choice. And this is what JFNA is poised to

do: to convene, to galvanize resources, to send them out into the system.” She continues, saying “we’ve raised, or are to actually exceed our goal to raise, a national fund that will be matched locally, that will literally provide grants for security. We need to be at the front of that advocacy because honestly, how can you flourish as a Jewish community if you’re afraid to go into a synagogue or Jewish community center? I don’t want to have to focus on anti-Semitism and on hate. I want to focus on ensuring a Jewish future and engagement. But we have to do the first so that we can ensure the second.” Platt has served as chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, chair of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Future Pledge and on the board of trustees of her alma mater — the University of Pennsylvania — and Penn Hillel’s National Board of Governors. Platt says that she has just begun to think about what her goals are going to be beyond LiveSecure, which she says she will continue to spearhead. She says she will be focused on strengthening Israel-Diaspora relations — always a hot topic in the American Jewish community and a relationship some say was particularly strained during the distancing brought on by the pandemic. She also plans to work on efforts to support and build JFNA’s leadership pipeline, which has been

ravaged by the effects of the last two years. “We’re in a position right now with Nachman Shai as the Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Isaac Herzog as the president of Israel — both of whom come from a life in the Jewish Agency — to have a unique and wonderful opportunity to put this in the very front focus. I look forward to engaging in that conversation in a much more active way,” says Platt. “I feel that there is a cost of having not seen each other and been with each other and been back and forth to Israel as we most normally do,” she adds. “I mean, I think it’s significant that on his first official trip to the United States, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett asked to be hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America. I feel the distance has been impacted by the pandemic, and I think we will feel the closeness that we need by being back in each other’s company and convening not over Zoom.” Platt acknowledges the new community reach that Zoom has brought the federations as a plus, but it has come at a cost for JFNA’s progress. “I cannot wait to convene in person. I actually had the opportunity to see Mark Wilf [JFNA’s current chair of the board of trustees, who Platt will replace in June] this last weekend. We could not believe that we have not seen each other in two years; I work with Mark every single day and I had not WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM

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L’CHAIM

Julie Platt, the new chair of the Jewish Federations of North America’s board of trustees, with her husband Marc, at the General Assembly in 2017. Photos courtesy JFNA.

seen him. There’s nothing to replace what human interaction is like in the hallways walking to and from a meeting, sitting for a meal together. We’ve lost that kind of intimate conversation, which actually results in creativity and innovation that isn’t always captured in a Zoom room.” Platt notes that JFNA hopes to convene in person in October at its General Assembly in Chicago, and is planning a massive General Assembly in Israel for its 75th birthday next April in conjunction with individual federation communities that are planning missions to Israel at the same time. Next month, JFNA will send its National Young Leadership Cabinet — the organization’s young leadership pipeline of JFNA — to Israel on what is believed to be the first large-scale mission of a Jewish organization since the pandemic started. Developing and maintaining a leadership pipeline will be among Platt’s most critical tasks, she says. “One of the new things that will really be an opportunity that has come from within JFNA is this very strong focus on a lay leadership pipeline and on the professional Jewish communal service journey,” says Platt. “Those are two things that I need think need 12

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more attention. How do you help a lay leader, whether they’re at the beginning of their journey, whether they just completed a very significant position and whether they come to us in the middle of changing careers, that gave them more opportunity to serve. How do you plug them into a leadership pipeline with intentionality, so nobody falls off feeling unappreciated or unwelcome? “And coming out of this pandemic to have been a nonprofit, Jewish communal professional, I think everyone is exhausted beyond belief,” she notes. “We don’t want to lose those professionals because what they did is help us survive the pandemic, and that’s what Jewish communal service workers have done. And we need to make sure that they are appreciated; that they are recognized; and that they feel supported, developed and thoughtfully set upon a professional journey to keep them and hold on to them in the nonprofit Jewish world.” Platt said she will rely heavily on her leadership team, including vice chair David Brown of Chicago; treasurer Suzanne Grant of Wilmington, Del.; and Secretary Neil Wallack of Boston, all of whom Platt credits as being “phenomenal, seasoned,

experienced, smart leaders.” She says she will carry on Wilf’s passion for supporting JFNA’s Holocaust-survivor community, noting that Wilf helped reinvigorate JFNA’s national campaign to support those survivors. She says that her notable Hollywood family — husband Marc, who is an entertainment producer; son Ben, who starred in the “Pitch Perfect” film series and debuted the eponymous role of “Dear Evan Hansen”; and son Jonah, a well-known an actor, musician and producer, along with her three other children — will all continue to be heavily involved in communal Jewish life and support JFNA’s efforts. “My parents were engaged in Federation life in Wichita, Kansas. I literally was born with a pledge card in my hand. So I very much have been on this journey my whole life,” she notes. “I have found great meaning in serving the Jewish community. I’m appreciative of the opportunity to set this example, for my children and six grandchildren,” she says. “And I want them to see that helping the Jewish world and ensuring a Jewish future can provide enormous meaning to your life, and it has for me for sure.”


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COVER STORY | BY ELDAD BECK | ISRAEL HAYOM VIA JNS.ORG

In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

WE NEVER IMAGINED ANYTHING LIKE THIS Ukrainian refugees in Lviv speak

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COVER STORY

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s the Russians renewed their assault on Kharkiv Monday, Katerina (28, a quality assurance engineer), Yevhen (27, a programmer) and Ludmila (54, a yoga teacher) arrived in Lviv after five days on the road from Kharkiv. They stopped a few times on the way, staying with friends and acquaintances. After arriving in Lviv, they made their way to friends’ homes, where they plan to stay until they can make up their minds what to do — head for a neighboring country or stay in Ukraine. Some of their relatives stayed behind in Kharkiv. “They weren’t sure what was more dangerous — staying or going,” said Katarina, on the verge of tears. “Sometimes we are able to get them on the phone, and it seems like they’re still all right,” she adds. Ludmila said that “the Russians surrounded the city on two sides,” and that “from the windows of my apartment, I could see the bombing coming closer to the city, and during one of the lulls we decided to flee.” Yevhen said, “The explosions were so strong that I could hear them for days.” He covered his ears as if he could still feel the vibrations. “The situation is terrible, just terrible.” Yelena, in her 30s, is standing outside a home in central Lviv, holding the hand of her eight-year-old son, surrounded by parcels, blankets and bunches of clothes she is taking out of her car. “We left Kyiv two days ago. It wasn’t the traffic that held us up, it was that there wasn’t any more gas in gas stations along the way. Only in the Lviv district is there still gas. We had to ask people for a little gas,” she said. “The situation is awful. My sister lives here [in Lviv]. My youngest daughter is in Poland. We heard about the long wait at the border crossing. We would have wanted to cross over to Poland to be safer, but it’s not easy. We never imagined we’d find ourselves in this situation,” she added. Lisiy, 32, and Katya, 38, both work at the Kyiv airport, and live nearby. On Monday evening, they reached Lviv after a day and a half on the roads, with their young children. They immediately noticed that I was taking down their words in Hebrew. “We work a lot with Hassidic [Jews],” they said, and tossed out a few Hebrew expressions. Both their husbands volunteered to fight, “for our children’s future.” “The grandmothers stayed behind, even though the Russian

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Official Photo.

"It’s not clear what Putin is thinking and how real his nuclear threat is. We have no idea what the day will bring.” WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM

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COVER STORY

Olim en route from Lviv to the border crossing with Poland. Credit: Jewish Agency for Israel.

forces were moving closer, because the potato season just started and they didn’t want to miss it — war or no war,” they said. Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, gives the influx of refugees a certain sense of normalcy after the hell they have been through. Despite occasional sirens, the city has not yet come under assault. Still, the war is felt. Most shops and businesses are closed, other than supermarkets, liquor stores, pharmacies, and a few banks. Many ATMs have been emptied, and there are long lines at the ones still dispensing money. Both locals and new arrivals can be seen hauling bags of food and bottles of water. The comparative calm is mixed with the

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difficult feeling that it could all end at any minute. “We don’t know what will happen,” said Igod, a television broadcaster from Kyiv who moved to Lviv with the rest of the staff at the TV station where he works. “I left my home in Kyiv with the sense that I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to go back to it. It was a terrible feeling. No one thought the Russians would attack. Even Thursday morning, the first day of the war. It’s not clear what Putin is thinking and how real his nuclear threat is. We have no idea what the day will bring,” said Igod. Max and Roman, two 17-year-olds from Lviv, are still in high school and are frustrated that they are too young to join the war. Even the civil defense won’t take

them, although they would very much like to fight for their country. Still, they think that the battles will die down in the next few days, either thanks to the “peace talks” or because Putin will drop an atomic bomb. “Is he really capable of doing something like that?” I asked the boys. “Yes, he’s insane,” they said with certainty. Note: This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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FOOD

SIMPLE CEVICHE C

eviche is a healthy Peruvian dish that is usually served as an appetizer. It’s generally made from raw, fresh fish that is marinated in lemon and/or lime citrus juices. The acidity in the citrus cures the fish, causing it to denature the proteins and become firm and opaque while absorbing flavor. After the seafood has marinated in the citrus juices, other ingredients are tossed in such as onions, cilantro, peppers, and tomatoes to round out the flavor. Served chilled, ceviche is a perfect dish during warmer months, and can be eaten alone or with chips or tostadas. This delicious and simple ceviche recipe comes from renowned cookbook author, Naomi Nachman, The Aussie Gourmet. For more of Naomi’s recipes, follow her @naominachman or visit her website at naominachman.com. On Thursday, March 10 at 11 a.m. PST, Naomi will join Sharsheret in the Kitchen for “Shabbat Around the World,” where she will show participants how to bring healthy world cuisine into your Shabbat meal during this free virtual healthy cooking demo. This program is part of the “Sharsheret in the Kitchen’’ series, which brings nutritious kosher meal options to help empower people at risk for breast and ovarian cancer to make healthier diet choices. Register at link.sharsheret.org/sitknaominachman. This program is made possible with support from Cedars-Sinai.

SIMPLE CEVICHE

Ingredients 1/2 pounds salmon fillet, finely chopped 1/2 pounds tuna fillet, finely chopped 1/2 cup lemon juice 1/2 cup lime juice 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped 2 Tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and finely chopped 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions 1. Combine salmon, tuna, lemon juice, lime juice, jalapeno, olive oil, salt, pepper, and onion in a medium bowl. Marinate, covered in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. 2. Just before serving, add avocado to the fish mixture, sprinkle with cilantro. Sharsheret, a non-profit organization, is the Jewish breast cancer and ovarian cancer community. If you or someone you love has been impacted by breast or ovarian cancer, or has elevated genetic risk, contact Sharsheret for free support and resources. For more info, visit sharsheret.org or call (866) 474-2774. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM

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PURIM

Beyond The Hamantash Traditional Purim dishes tell the story of diaspora life BY SARAH OGINCE | JNS.ORG

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egillat Esther, or the Scroll of Esther, read on the upcoming holiday of Purim, describes the Jewish people’s escape from annihilation in Persia in the fifth century BCE. But really, it’s a quintessential story of Jewish life in the Diaspora, where — absent splitting seas and falling manna — Jews must rely on their wits and influence to preserve themselves and their way of life. Purim, celebrated this year on March 17, does have one thing in common with every other Jewish holiday, however: It revolves around food. Edible gifts, called mishloach manot, are delivered to friends and family, and the day ends with a feast in commemoration of the wine-tastings Queen Esther hosted for King Ahasuerus and his wicked adviser, Haman. Still, Purim cuisine is not known for its diversity. For most people, it begins and ends with hamantaschen — the triangular, fruit-filled cookies that represent Haman’s hat, or maybe his pocket (more on that later). In fact, Jews all over the world cook an incredible variety of dishes to celebrate the story of Persian redemption, and these foods tell their own story of Jewish acculturation and continuity. First and foremost, it’s a story of faith, says Joan Nathan, journalist, and author of 11 cookbooks, most recently King Solomon’s Table: “Jewish food is the dietary laws, no question about that. Even if you don’t observe them, I think they’re always in the back of your mind.” But equally, Nathan says, Jewish cooking in the Diaspora is about adaptation. “Going elsewhere, going throughout the world, and making these dishes kosher. It’s a quality of Jewish food. Unlike French or Italian cuisine, it’s not limited to a place.” In Russia and Poland, for example, Jews celebrate Purim with koyletsh — a large, sweet loaf topped with white frosting and sprinkles. It shares a name, and a striking resemblance, to a panettone-like Russian bread served at Easter, but its shape — braided like challah — makes it Jewish. Koyletsh is said to represent the rope used to hang

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Haman after his downfall. Giving food a symbolic meaning was a common way of incorporating local cuisine into Jewish culture. “Stuffed foods are really common on Purim to represent the surprises of the story,” says Jonathan Katz, an amateur chef who explores the diversity of Jewish cooking on his blog, Flavors of Diaspora. “One old Eastern European tradition is to serve pierogi, and there are Sephardi traditions to make bourekas on Purim — both have equivalents in surrounding communities.” In some cases, symbolic meaning was attributed to foods that were already a staple of the Jewish diet. Seasoned chickpeas, another Purim dish, are served because Queen Esther is said to have maintained the kosher laws in the palace of King Ahasuerus by subsisting on legumes. Garbanzos were so closely identified with Jews in Spain that during the Spanish Inquisition, anyone caught cooking them was subject to arrest. But Ashkenazim, who call them arbes or nahit in Hebrew, eat chickpeas primarily on Purim and a few other select occasions, such as during the Shalom Zachor, the first Friday night after baby boys are born. If the story of Purim food has a protagonist, however, it’s the dessert table. Pastries of every kind abound, and that’s not only because it’s a fun, kid-friendly holiday, Nathan says: “Purim was a time to get rid of your last flour before you’d replenish it after Passover.” The necessity to rid the house of all leaven led Jewish cooks into an orgy of invention and vengeance: Almost every traditional Purim dessert claims to be some part of Haman’s body, so that — after drowning out the sound of his name during the reading of the Megillah — Jews can take it one step further at the feast. In Sephardic communities, fried dough shaped variously as Haman’s ears, shoes and fingers is dipped into syrup and topped with sesame seeds and powdered sugar. Hojuelas — rose-shaped, fried confections — are enjoyed by Sephardim around the world. European Jews have


PURIM

"Haman begging Esther for Mercy," Purim story, oil on panel, circa 1618, by Pieter Lastman. Credit: National Museum in Warsaw via Wikimedia Commons.

their own take on eating the enemy. Refusing to settle for a mere ear or finger, German bakers serve gingerbread and lemon (Ha)manshaped cookies. But the hamantash, in its many variations, remains the most beloved Ashkenazi Purim dessert. The triangular cookies emerged in the late 16th century, a variation on a medieval German treat called mohntasche, or poppyseed pocket. It was a phonetic similarity that led to the pastry’s rebirth as the bribe-filled pocket of Ahasuerus’s wicked adviser. The hat was a later interpretation, reflecting the fashions of 17th-century Europe (Persians didn’t wear tricornered hats). Aficionados debate over the dough (yeast is more authentic), and the proper filling continues to be a source of heated controversy among young and old. Nathan prefers a butter crust with orange or poppyseed filling. “My grandchildren like chocolate,” she says, “but it doesn’t do anything for me.” Hamantashen may never lose their place of honor at the Purim table, yet the diversity of Purim cuisine is a reminder that Jewish life in the Diaspora has its moments of triumph and sweetness. “Jewish cultures and Jewishness are a kaleidoscopic world, and I think we lose something when we insist on only one tradition,” says Katz. “We’re supposed to be joyful on Purim, and what’s better than a range of delicious food to bring joy?”

Hamantashen may never lose their place of honor at the Purim table, yet the diversity of Purim cuisine is a reminder that Jewish life in the Diaspora has its moments of triumph and sweetness. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM

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FEATURE STORY

TRAVEL

HEDY DALIN DEDICATED JFS EMPLOYEE RETIRING AFTER 21 YEARS

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edy Dalin, a devoted and passionate longtime employee of Jewish Family Service of San Diego, is retiring after 21 years. Her incredible work and commitment to support Holocaust survivors and the Jewish community in San Diego is commendable. Dalin’s positive impact on the lives of so many is undeniable and can be seen through her numerous contributions and accomplishments in the community. Most recently she oversaw JFS’s “Serving Older Survivors” program, a support service to help low-income Holocaust survivors maintain their health, independence, and connection to the community. Dalin also supervised the agency’s Geriatric Care Management service and Bikkur Holim Friendly Visitor program, a service that matches older adults with caring volunteers who offer companionship and connection to the community through weekly in-home visits. 22

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Throughout Dalin’s career she supervised countless other programs, including JFS Fix-It, Hebrew Free Loan, Information & Referral for Older Adults, Home Not Alone, Heartfelt Homes Placement, Hospital Medical Care Management, In-home Medicare Counseling, the Refugee Program and the Jewish Poverty Task Force. In the process she has supervised over 100 staff and interns. Dalin also spearheaded the initiative for the book “Life Lessons,” a compilation of interviews from 44 Holocaust survivors. Through a trauma-informed and person-centered approach, this book honors the legacies of our community’s survivors, allowing their stories to live on and inspire others. “At JFS I have been able to work my values.... Helping others and strengthening the Jewish Community has always been an important part of who I am and what motivates me,” Dalin said.


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FEATURE STORY Frank Corrado and James Newcomb star in The Homecoming at North Coast Rep. Photo by Aaron Rumley.

WELCOME HOME TO... HAROLD PINTER'S THE HOMECOMING AT NORTH COAST REP THEATRE BY DEBORAH VIETOR

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arold Pinter, influential British post-World War II dramatist and Nobel Laureate was a Jewish playwright, screenwriter, actor, poet, and theatre director. Pinter achieved many outstanding awards over the years, including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. His writing career spanned over 50 years. Born in 1930, Pinter was raised in Hackney, East London, and was the son of a Jewish tailor. Educated at Hackney Downs School, he studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Although he died in Acton, London, England in 2008 at the age of 78, Pinter’s brilliant works live on. Pinter achieved the Tony Award for The Homecoming, in 1967, Best Play award for The Caretaker in Evening Standard Theatre Awards, Shakespeare Prize (Hamburg), Laurence Olivier Special Award, a BAFTA Fellowship, and countless others. It has been said “His plays uncover the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms.” Pinter’s plays identify a lightheartedness which fall into something more serious. His complex works address challenging subjects in at times an obscure manner, utilizing the vehicle of small talk, pauses, hesitations and silences, revealing alienation and layers of meaning, even found in innocuous sentences. These techniques convey the substance and many layers of a character’s thought. In his lifetime, Pinter said, “I have often been asked how my plays came about. I cannot say. Nor can I ever sum up my plays, except to say that this is what happened. That is what they said. That is what they did.”

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A noted poet, his verse collected in War reflected his political views and passion for numerous causes. A prolific and profound writer, Pinter’s first radio piece, was broadcast on the BBC in 1959. A Slight Ache, The Room and The Dumb Waiter were one act dramas, which established the mood of Comic Menace, figuring in later works. His first full length play was The Birthday Party. Typically, Pinter’s plays include stereotypical characters who are jolted and disrupted by a stranger, with the stability of the characters disintegrating over the course of the work. Fears, jealousies and hatred, sexual preoccupations and loneliness rise to the surface. Plays such as Landscape, Silence, Night, and Old Times eliminated physical activity on stage. His later successes include No Man’s Land, Betrayal, Moonlight and Celebration; all works of great power. Pinter wrote countless other plays, and from the 1970 on, he directed his and other’s works. Presented initially by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Aldwych Theatre in 1965, with the first American production opening at the Music Box in 1967, The Homecoming although often obscure and ambivalent offers insight into the rivalry of a complex male dominated Jewish family. “Harold Pinter, and The Homecoming specifically, seared its way into my consciousness when I first saw the filmed version in 1973,” Director David Ellenstein said. “The unsettling, very funny and unapologetic nature of the writing and the content made a lifelong impression. Pinter’s Comedy of Menace is filled with vivid characters,


FEATURE STORY

“Harold Pinter, and The Homecoming specifically, seared its way into my consciousness when I first saw the filmed version in 1973,” Director David Ellenstein said. “The unsettling, very funny and unapologetic nature of the writing and the content made a lifelong impression." unexpected action and poetic rhythms.” Set in an old, unsavory, dilapidated house in London, the setting serves as a metaphor for what is soon to arrive. The audience receives an intimate glimpse into the lives of this dysfunctional family. The delivery is expertly demonstrated with much sarcasm, bickering and denouncement between an acerbic, aging patriarch who has lost his wife, his brother, his 2 sons, another living in America, and his wife. Pour sarcasm, add a pinch of cynicism and rivalry, add loneliness, mix detachment and rage, add humor, stir in a highly charged sexual environment, and bake, this unusual play delivers something unique and delicious, with a fully charged ending. CONTACT NORTH COAST REPERTORY THEATRE BOX OFFICE AT (858) 481-1055, OR EMAIL BOXOFFICE@NORTHCOASTREP.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM

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FEATURE STORY

Forester Veronica Moreno Llorente. Photo courtesy KKL-JNF.

WOMEN FORESTERS ISRAEL'S FUTURE FORESTERS ARE MOSTLY WOMEN BY MAAYAN HOFFMAN | JNS.ORG

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lanting trees is a national pastime in Israel. The country prides itself as being one of the only nations in the world to enter the 21st century with more trees than it had 100 years prior, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Even before the state was founded, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael– Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) had planted 4.5 million trees, the ministry said. Today, more than 200 million trees in forests and woodlands cover some 300,000 acres of Israeli land. Planting trees is also “a way of saying we are here,” a scientist told Yale University researcher Fred Pearce in 2019. But the forestry of 1948 and 2022 are different, explained veteran KKL-JNF forester Chanoch Zoref, the chief forester in the Jerusalem hills. He told JNS that what used to be known as forestry is now called “ecosystem-based management” — approaching forestry with an eye for the entire ecosystem, including humans. At the same time, Israel’s foresters are aging out. “We expect that in the next five or six years, more than 50 percent of the country’s professional foresters will retire,” said Zoref. “We have to find other people to replace the current generation.” So KKL-JNF took a proactive step toward ensuring a green Israel. “Forester of the Future” is a new program that is training 30 young adults in ecosystem management and then putting them in the field as members of the KKL-JNF team. The first round of students is expected to graduate next month. The plan is to run a second session, ensuring around 60 new foresters enter the field this year. Of the program’s 30 current students, more than half (17) are women.

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“Forestry is a profession that was usually staffed by men as foresters have to spend most days in the field,” said Zoref. However, he added that during the recruitment process and thus far in their training, he has found women to be equally if not better equipped for the new area of ecosystem management, where the focus is more on topics related to scientific developments in the field of forestry, grazing and preparing for climate change. There is also a focus on modern technology. For example, following the fires in the Jerusalem mountains last summer, KKL-JNF took significant steps to develop and maintain technologies to prevent fires. The organization has aircraft that produce thermal images of fields to detect wildfires before they occur. It is also using advanced technological tools for assessing the severity of the damage caused by a fire to the vegetation and to locate the undamaged areas to continue the existing biodiversity, the organization’s spokesperson explained. Those participating in the program are also learning how to leverage these tools. The students underwent an intensive five-week in-classroom course and are now engaged in nine months of hands-on training in the field. Upon completion, they are expected to join the Israeli staff in various roles. Veronica Moreno Llorente is one of the students. She worked in forestry in Spain and Scotland before moving to Israel with her boyfriend. When she found out about the KKL-JNF program, she applied and was accepted.


FEATURE STORY

While Israel plants a lot of trees, she said the country is not yet considered a leader in forestry — commercial or management. But she has been surprised by the KKL-JNF program and the “huge power and potential of forestry in Israel.” She said that she plans to stay on and help replant and replenish the Jewish state’s forests. Llorente is learning Hebrew and hopes to take a job with KKL-JNF. Maya Millet enrolled in the program after working in the Israel National Parks system and teaching science and geography for several years. A mother of three with a bachelor’s degree in those fields from Ben-Gurion University, she was looking for a change. “Foresters of the Future,” she said, “is a very special program in a very special organization. I am really enjoying what I am doing.” She said she has lofty expectations for the program and a real desire to succeed for herself and her family. She also sees it as a win for women. “In America, women have broken more glass ceilings in jobs that are not traditionally so-called ‘women’s work,’” Millett said. “There are more women construction workers and police officers. “Now, Israel has a new platform for women to advance forestry,” she continued. “KKL-JNF discovered that women are equally qualified as men, and it is coming to fruition in this program.”

"Israel has a new platform for women to advance forestry. KKLJNF discovered that women are equally qualified as men, and it is coming to fruition in this program.” WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM

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FEATURE STORY

MITZVAH SOCIAL ADDING REMEMBRANCE TO THE MIX

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n the spirit of Purim and to fulfill the traditional mitzvah of Mishloach Manot, the Bat Harim Group of Hadassah San Diego held a Mitzvah Morning Social on March 6. In collaboration with Jewish Family Service, they prepared Purim bags of kosher food and goodies which JFS delivered to the 70 Holocaust survivors living in San Diego. In addition, to remember the 1.5 million children killed during the Holocaust, and to honor our commitment to Never Forget, the women of Bat Harim painted ceramic butterflies that will be hung outside the Hadassah office, located in the San Diego Jewish Federation building. The Butterfly Project is a global education and arts program whose mission is to paint and display 1.5 million ceramic butterflies to honor and remember each child killed in the Holocaust. It fosters education and awareness of the dangers of hate and bigotry by mobilizing the global community to stand up against injustice and create a more compassionate and peaceful world. The project was co-founded in San Diego in 2006 by educator Jan Landau and artist Cheryl Rattner Price as an initiative to take Holocaust education out of the textbook

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and bring it to life in a way that inspires students to make the world a better place. As of 2018, installations totaling nearly 210,000 butterflies have been created in communities of all faiths across the United States and in such diverse countries as Israel, Mexico, Poland, Australia, Czech Republic, Canada, and Argentina. Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA), is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With nearly 300,000 members, Associates, and supporters, Hadassah brings women together to effect change and advocate on such critical issues as ensuring the security of Israel, combating antisemitism, and promoting women’s health. SAN DIEGO’S BAT HARIM GROUP MEETS THE FIRST SUNDAY MORNING OR MONDAY EVENING OF THE MONTH. FOR MORE INFORMATION, EMAIL RSVPBATHARIM@GMAIL.COM.


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