Israel on Campus

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on campus


CAMPS Go Virtual

EDUCATION In the Time of the Coronavirus

JULY 2020



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contents July 2020 •

COVER STORY Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative brings Israeli studies to local studen...............................................................................................................

1000 WORDS The female chefs shaping Israeli dining.............................................................................................





FEATURES Hebrew schools prepare for distance

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learning to extend into next school year...........................................................................................

The ritual of Shiva............................................................................................................................................. Israeli innovation helps combat coronavirus in Africa..............................................................

AJU webinar welcomes Taffy Brodesser-Akner as guest.......................................................


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As pandemic uncertainties continue, summer gets a dose of virtual camp.............. Boot Camp takes summer to new level, improves online user experience................

Kids summer camps you can do from home..................................................................................


06 08

Random Rants.................................................


Mazel and Mishagoss............................

Torah: Of the Book........................................

PUBLISHERS Diane Benaroya & Laurie Miller


L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO, LLC (858) 776-0550 San Diego, CA 92127









Barbara Birenbaum, Daniel Bortz, Michael Gardiner, Donald H. Harrison, Steve Horn, Stephanie Lewis, Salomon Maya, Mimi Pollack, Rachel Stern, Eva Trieger, Deborah Vietor, Chana Jenny Weisberg


Diane Benaroya ( 4


Copyright ©2020 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: Published in San Diego, CA •


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random rants

The Walls Have Ears* *The following column contains adult language.


bout a month ago, a natural phenomenon took San Diego by literal storm. Bioluminescent waves started crashing down on local beaches, attracting hundreds of quarantine-stricken onlookers to pack the dunes of our local beaches. My family and I were one of those curious groups. After being quarantined for what seemed like an eternity, we packed into the SUV one night and drove north from our Chula Vista home. I decided to take the Silver Strand instead of going over the bridge as I hoped to catch a glimpse of the blue waves from the car. According to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography bioluminescent waves are caused by a “red tide” that is an aggregation of dinoflagellates (single celled organisms that float on or near the water’s surface). As we drove, I tried explaining this to my 4-year-old son. Now, Jacob is in the midst of a huge dinosaur and animal phase. So, as I drove I tried to get him to look out the window at the ocean. I tried telling him about the bioluminescence and how it’s created by tiny animals called plankton. He just sat there. I asked Jacob: “Can you say plankton Jake?”



He just looked at me like I was straight out of a Martian landscape and continued looking at the window. “C’mon Jake can you say plankton?” “No!” He yelled from his tightly wound child’s seat. Jeeze, and here I thought I was going to teach him to say bioluminescent next. Oh well. As we continued the drive, we saw a glimpse of the electric blue waves from the car. But for a good view, I knew we would need to park. And parking and walking among people in the midst of a pandemic gave me the typical parental anxiety. I quickly found a parking spot near Coronado beach, and again attempted to get him to repeat the word “plankton,” to which Jacob just rolled his eyes, like a prepubescent teenager upset about getting a curfew. Oh well. Jacques Cousteau he won’t be, I guess. We walked to the sidewalk and watched the crashing waves. The bioluminescence was breathtaking. The beaches were still closed at the time due to COVID-19, so we stayed on the sidewalk. While we watched the blue waves crashing on the beach, my eyes caught Jacob’s and we both shared a moment of “this is so cool.” It’s a special look that belongs to a son and a dad. I didn’t need him to repeat the

word plankton to know how much he loved nature. The sidewalk began to fill up with more and more people, so I started getting a little nervous and decided to end our adventure. Once we were back in the car, I drove through the Coronado streets on the way to the bridge. As I drove, I noticed a great number of people not wearing masks; and more of them seemingly ignoring the social distancing guidelines, and congregating in large groups. I turned to my wife and said, “Wow, look at all these mother fuckers not wearing masks.” She agreed, and we continued the drive home. About five minutes later, as we cruised down the freeway, I checked my rearview mirror to see if my son was asleep. He wasn’t. He noticed I was looking at him, and he smiled. I smiled back. And that’s when Jacob said: “Motherfuckers.” SALOMON MAYA IS A LOCAL EMMYWINNER, ACTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @SALOMAYA OR EMAIL HIM AT SALOMONM@ LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM.

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the book A Chef's Journey


ast night, I joined my family in watching the season 17 finale of Top Chef Masters. Chefs from around the world compete in elimination challenges, under intense judge scrutiny, until the final three duel each other in Italy for the title of Top Chef. As I watched these three cooking under immense pressure, utilizing all the creativity and attention to detail they could to infuse their emotion and life history into their dishes, to tell their unique story, it made me think about how this mirrors our lives. We are all struggling and striving to cook up a lifetime of actions, experiences, and growth into a delicious meal. We encounter stress and challenges galore during our experimentation in finding the right flavors, and the dishes we create contain imperfections and mistakes. But they are our unique story, our contribution to bettering humanity and this world with our special flavor. Why are high-quality paintings so much more monetarily valuable than high-quality photographs? A photograph is far more accurate! If you want to capture exactly what the Pacific Ocean looks like, head to La Jolla with your camera. A painting is merely an artist’s interpretation of a scene. It’s never



perfectly accurate. So why can a painting sell for millions while a postcard photo will sell for 25 cents? We appreciate a painting because it isn’t perfect. A limited human exerts intense effort and skill for long periods of time in an attempt to capture reality. Each painting is unique to its artist, expressing a distinct personality, vision, and talent. This is how an infinite God could so value a finite human’s actions and intentions more than the perfect service of flawless heavenly angels. Angels are purely spiritual beings while human beings live imperfect lives. We rarely express our true potential, often preferring superficial actions to lives of truth. To live a perfect life is impossible, and the angels succeed where we fail. So why did God give the Torah to humans, desiring a relationship with us? The powerful reason is that God desires paintings, not photographs. Your life is being painted; it isn’t a perfect portrayal of goodness and truth, but it’s your own unique expression of your soul. It’s your contribution to the world and to God. If Top Chef was a show of robots who cooked perfect monolithic dishes with ease, we wouldn’t watch. It’d be boring. An artist

expends much sweat and toil to achieve the goal; every brushstroke is essential to the final product. The chef struggles to assemble a dish that’s infused with their passion and love, that comes from their heart and soul. It may not be perfect, but that’s precisely what makes it so endearing. The mystical writings liken a person who transforms a life of negativity into a meaningful life to a spicy, sour dish that’s been tempered with just enough sweetness to be consumed and enjoyed. Our lives are spent beautifying our individual paintings by beautifying the world, adding in kindness and refining our characters, all the while doing our best to avoid damaging our masterpiece. As I watched the winner chosen for the Top Chef finale, the other two contestants looked genuinely proud of themselves for what they’d accomplished. The arduous journey of tremendous growth and resilience will clearly be what they’ll feel most when they look back on their lives. DANIEL BORTZ, THE MILLENNIAL RABBI, IS THE FOUNDER OF JTEEN AND SOUL X. CONNECT AT RABBIBORTZ.COM.

Adat Yesyryn's Virtual Gala to Honor Rabbi Jeff Wohlgelernter

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ongregation Adat Yeshurun of La Jolla is set to mark a historic milestone and transition for its community on July 1 when Rabbi Jeff Wohlgelernter, the synagogue’s founder and its spiritual leader for more than three decades, becomes rabbi emeritus. Rabbi Daniel Reich, Adat Yeshurun’s current assistant rabbi, will become the rabbi of the congregation. On Monday, July 6 at 7:30 p.m., the synagogue is hosting a virtual gala as a special tribute for Rabbi Jeff and Shoshie Wohlgelernter’s 33 years of service. Additionally, Adat Yeshurun is embarking on a campaign to write a Torah scroll which will be gifted to the Wohlgelernters upon its completion. Rabbi Wohlgelernter and Shoshie are making Aliyah to continue their mission of teaching Torah in Modi’in, Israel. The Wohlgelernters came to La Jolla in 1987. Rabbi Wohlgelernter is from New York and Shoshie is from Vermont. They met and married in Israel and worked as Jewish educators in Australia before coming to La Jolla. In January 1987, they founded Adat Yeshurun. During 33 years of service, they have become known for their passion for learning, hospitality, creativity, and love for their diverse community of inspired and growing Jews. Rabbi Wohlgelernter has regularly taught more than 30 Torah classes per week. Shoshie taught for many years at Soille Hebrew Day School and Torah High School. “How can we adequately give thanks to the Wohlgelernters? How can we possibly say, ‘thank you’ for all the love and all the devotion and all the support?” asked Rabbi Reich. His answer: by “giving them what they gave us, Torah.” “If we had to sum up in one word everything that Rabbi Wohlgelernter and Shoshie have done for us here in La Jolla, it’s Torah. Torah is what the Wohlgelernters live and breathe. Torah is the Wohlgelernters’ life. Torah is what the Wohlgelernters gave to us, and so now is our turn. We want to give them back Torah,” said Rabbi Reich, adding, “Our goal is also to gift them the legacy that the Torah that they gave us here in La Jolla is here to stay.” SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE GALA, AS WELL AS OPPORTUNITIES TO DEDICATE SECTIONS OF THE TORAH IN HONOR OF THE WOHLGELERNTERS, ARE AVAILABLE. FULL INFORMATION ON CONGREGATION ADAT YESHURUN’S VIRTUAL GALA IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.WIZADJOURNAL.COM/ ADATYESHURUN2020/?ID=4908.

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ISRAEL ON CAMPUS Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative brings Israeli studies to local students 10




odern Israel has many dimensions. Yet, often the discourse focuses on its challenges, and specifically the challenges of Israel and Palestine. This is especially true on our university campuses. But how many students actually learn about Israel in the university classroom? According to a 2006 Brandeis University study, 75 percent of major universities in the U.S. offered zero or one course on Israel. In 2010, that same study documented a 69 percent growth of Israel-focused courses in those same schools. Today, there are 29 Israel Centers, chairs, or programs on U.S. college campuses. The growth in Israel studies courses on American college campuses is encouraging. Until recently, unlike major university cities such as Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Boston and New York, San Diego had little formalized Israel Studies programming on its university campuses. As a result, the Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative (MGSDII) was created to fill the void. Named in memory of San Diego leader and philanthropist Murray Galinson, who held senior university leadership positions, the MGSDII’s mission is to strategically promote and support education and engagement on Israel through scholarship, collaboration and innovation. Formed in fall 2016, the MGSDII provides a wide spectrum of opportunities to connect San Diego to the State of Israel and is supported by a growing consortium of funders. Since its inception, it has brought over 25 visiting scholars and artists to teach classes about Israel at San Diego universities, has sponsored over 60 events featuring Israeli thoughtleaders, and has reached over 6,400 students and faculty, along with thousands more community members. Participating San Diego campuses include UC San Diego (UCSD), San Diego State University (SDSU), CSU San Marcos (CSUSM), University of San Diego (USD) and California Western School of Law. “Taking the History of the Middle East course turned out to be one of the best decisions I made throughout my education,” said Maria Voss, a SDSU student studying International Relations. “The course, taught by Dr. Levin-Banchik, a MGSDII visiting professor from Israel, not only increased my knowledge of the history of the region, but also changed the way I thought about human identity and conflict resolution in a broader context.” Creating diverse access points to Israel gives students the opportunity and agency to develop more accurate pictures of Israel beyond “the conflict” that saturates much of our lexicon.

In 2018, the MGSDII funded professor Ronit WeissBerkowitz, a well-known Israeli screenwriter, to teach at SDSU. Through her personal story and writings, some of her students learned the commonality they shared as immigrants and first-generation college students, when Weiss-Berkowitz shared her own story of her mother’s arrival in Israel after surviving the Auschwitz concentration camp. One of her students wrote to her, “I am the first one to complete college in my family and venturing through it alone was a difficult process made easier with your help. I learned so much about Israel. Thank you for caring about the stories we want to tell.” A student at UCSD, writing about her Urban Sociology course, taught by MGSDII visiting professor Marik Shtern, said, “We compared and contrasted Israel’s urban areas and their effect on human interactions with those of cities in the U.S. It was particularly fascinating to learn about Jerusalem and its populations made up of ultra-religious Jews, secular Jews and Palestinians. I never understood the complexities of the situation before I took his class.” Classroom and immersion experiences are safe spaces for questions and to challenge assumptions. Those wishing to think beyond slogans and sound bites are generally the primary target audience. Students are encouraged to make up their own minds, based on informed views. “Investing in Israel Studies is an important way to affect knowledge and attitudes concerning Israel,” said MGSDII Director Susan Lapidus. “By creating serious, educated, and balanced discourse, and by not shying away from Israel’s challenges and achievements, Israel Studies has a significant potential to impact and expose students to the country’s many nuances and break down preconceived notions.” DEVELOPING A NEW MODEL FOR ISRAEL STUDIES

To develop the strategy for delivering their mission, the MGSDII looked at the most common models across the country. These models were sharply focused on viewing Israel through a single discipline, and often only one discipline per university. Instead, the MGSDII focused on making connections to a wide range of influencers, professors, and artists existing in the many spheres of Israeli society. This allowed the MGSDII to be uniquely positioned to make deep, multi-faceted education accessible to as many San Diego students and faculty as possible. Through education, students could dive into Israeli’s complexities through the diverse narratives and perspectives of their visiting professors from Israel. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM


COVER STORY “How we view Israel Studies is by treating Israel like any other country,” said Lapidus. “Our visiting professors teach courses on varied topics such as Israeli history, politics, society, culture, film, environmental science, and more.” This multi-faceted, multi-campus model is the first in the country, as the organization is independent of one university, enabling them to work with all four universities across San Diego County, within different departments and disciplines. This “intentional diversity” breeds a fuller picture and a broader exposure to students of diverse backgrounds. INNOVATION CULTURE




In addition to their innovations in curriculum, the MGSDII has promoted collaborative programming in art and culture. An example of this is their emerging filmmaker residencies. This exciting program involves partnerships with student-led film festivals. Through partnerships with the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival and the Jerusalem Film Workshop, the MGSDII holds competitions for three emerging Israeli filmmakers to have a residency in San Diego and for three San Diegans to go to Jerusalem to make films. Through numerous classroom visits and screenings, 4,000 students in San Diego were exposed to these young Israeli filmmakers. Israeli filmmakers who have taught in San Diego include luminaries like Fauda’s Moshe Zonder and In Treatment’s Nir Bergman. “Film has the ability to cross cultural divides, which naturally creates dialogue and connections,” said MGSDII Program Manager Mitchell Price. “Our first filmmaker residency brought together a queer Israeli from Tel Aviv with a heterosexual Palestinian from Nazareth. Using their films, the two filmmakers shared the complexities and beauty of Israel, while providing new faces to a country San Diego students would otherwise know little about.” “Our faculty and students interact and engage meaningfully with stellar Israeli scholars from a broad range of disciplines, including sustainability, media and film, and conflict and border studies.” Said Dr. Adela de la Torre, SDSU President. “This is becoming a point of pride for the community. We look forward to deepening our relationship and creating the connections with more students and faculty in the future.” 12



The MGSDII is also crafting new and innovative programs between San Diego and Israeli universities, including the creation of simultaneous courses that result in professorled academic visits to both countries. These partnerships provide students the opportunity to build lasting relationships with their peers. To date, the MGSDII has helped pioneer and fund four important collaborations between San Diego and Israeli universities: • UCSD and University of Haifa: Marine Archaeology and Climate Change • UCSD and University of Haifa: Social Isolation Among Seniors During the COVID-19 Pandemic • SDSU and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology: Aerospace Engineering • USD and Azrieli College: Water Innovation and Sustainability The USD-Azrieli College collaboration began in 2017 when several USD professors traveled to the Azrieli College of Engineering in Jerusalem to begin discussing collaborations between the two universities. This was the first time many of them had been to Israel. The trip resulted in a new course, “Water in California and Israel: Challenges and Solutions.” Students learn first-hand the similarities and differences between California and Israel policy and technology in water sustainability and innovation. “We have a lot to learn from Israel, a desert climate, that nonetheless has achieved one hundred percent water resiliency,” said Professor Frank Jacobitz. Over the past two years, entire classes travelled to Israel to meet their counterparts, learn together, and visit the best examples of Israel’s engineering mastery, such as the Hadera Desalination Plant. “Going to Israel gave me the opportunity to open my mind not only to new academic endeavors, but also to new experiences within a culture that I knew very little about,” said Sabrina Smith, a student participant of the program. “Because of my time in Israel, I have broadened my knowledge on how to contribute to a sustainable future through water technology.” To date, 61 local students have traveled to Israel and 40 Israelis have been to San Diego as part of these collaborations. The Initiative is an accelerator and amplifier for making these connections.


The MGSDII recently announced the funding of a multi-site, innovative collaboration between world-renowned researchers at the University of Haifa (UoH), Israel and UCSD. This study is a first of its kind and is poised to have a significant impact on the lives of older adults in the USA, Israel and beyond. It is also part of a broader commitment to promote and advance a long-term academic partnership between students, professors, and researchers at UCSD and UoH. This collaboration will adapt pioneering work on the effects of loneliness from the Center for Healthy Aging at UCSD. Specifically, it will address the worldwide issue of social isolation among seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also includes a visiting teaching scholar from the UoH Department of Gerontology and the Center for Research and Study of Aging Israel to conduct research and teach at UCSD. Students will be able to take classes with the visiting professor, participate in conferences, and learn from the brightest of Israel. While some university campuses have moved to online instruction, the MGSDII continues to build lasting partnerships and form relationships between Israel and San Diego. The Initiative is providing innovative opportunities for students, faculty, and the community to engage with Israeli thoughtleaders, luminaries, and artists online. “We’ve had to pivot some, due to the COVID-19 crisis, but we have an exciting year ahead for 2020-2021”, said Lapidus. “We plan on funding six visiting professors, including Ori Elon, the creator and writer of Shtisel, at SDSU and Yuval Gadot, who directs archeology in Jerusalem at the City of David, what he calls the ‘acropolis of Israel,’ at UCSD.” The MGSDII also hopes to continue their student academic trips to Israel, adding new disciplines such as journalism and social work. INTERESTED IN THE WORK OF THE MGSDII? CONSIDER JOINING THE INITIATIVE BY ATTENDING VIRTUAL EVENTS, LEARNING MORE ABOUT ITS PROGRAMMING, AND SUPPORTING THE VITAL WORK IT OFFERS STUDENTS BY VISITING WWW.MGSDII.ORG.

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One of the dishes available at Tel Aviv’s Meshek Barzilay vegetarian restaurant. Photo by Eliana Rudee. 14






n a traditionally male-dominated industry, it is female Israeli restaurateurs at the forefront of Tel Aviv’s thriving culinary scene who are charting the way forward for Israel’s food culture. Ruti Broudo, Merav Barzilay and Shirel Berger each share their compelling messages. Broudo is the co-founder of R2M Group, one of Tel Aviv’s largest and fastest-growing hospitality companies, comprising seven hotel and restaurant concepts in the city, including Hotel Montefiore, CoffeeBar, Brasserie, Delicatessen, Bakery, Herzl 16 and Disco Tokyo, with several more on the way for 2020. Her journey to becoming a restaurateur, she said, began upon her return to Israel after numerous years traveling the world and collecting inspiration. “I came back with a desire and vision to bring my experiences abroad to Israel and offer a new hospitality experience to Tel Aviv that hasn’t been done before,” she said. Two-plus decades later, Broudo has indeed fulfilled this vision, and is recognized as one of the principal arbiters of style and hospitality in Tel Aviv, collecting inspiration from her time in New York, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Paris. When she spots an interesting concept, she applies her vision and taste to reimagine it for her home city of Tel Aviv. The result is a collection of venues as treasured by locals as they are by tourists. The common thread running through them all is a certain chic timelessness, reflecting Broudo’s personal flair. Her core identity, she said, lies in being

both female and Israeli. “I want to be celebrated as a powerful Israeli woman, recognized for my hard work and accomplishments in bringing a variety of amazing establishments to Tel Aviv— that each on its own brings a different kind of energy, happiness, cultural aspect and provides an authentic sense of place,” she said. Especially in a male-dominated field like the culinary arts, Broudo said, “There are always going to be challenges for women who are leaders and visionaries in their field. But for me personally, I established my voice and position in this business early on, so I’ve always been and felt an equal with my [male] partner [Mati Broudo].” The power of food and hospitality, said Broudo, “brings people together and creates discussions and moments,” fostering “a different kind of warmth and sense of belonging that comes with Israeli hospitality.” “I hope to continue shaping the future of Israeli dining and hospitality by continuing to bring new and innovative food concepts to Tel Aviv that elegantly infuse both local cuisine with popular cuisine and culture from abroad,” she added. “Ladies, you can do anything you want, follow your vision, no matter how big or small, and continue changing the world!” Following their own culinary visions and principles, Merav Barzilay and Shirel Berger are at the forefront of Tel Aviv’s vegan food movement. Barzilay is the owner of Meshek Barzilay, and Berger is the head chef at Opa, a recent newcomer that has introduced the concept of

The power of food and hospitality, said Ruti Broudo, “brings people together and creates discussions and moments,” fostering “a different kind of warmth and sense of belonging that comes with Israeli hospitality.” vegan fine dining to the city. Barzilay comes from a long line of agriculture-based initiatives. Before the establishment of the State of Israel, Barzilay’s grandparents established Moshav Yarkona, a small agricultural community, where they planted citrus orchards and raised chickens. In 2002, Barzilay opened a restaurant there, with locally sourced and organic ingredients long before “farm-to-table” eating had even WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM



entered the culinary lexicon in Israel, let alone become a dining trend. According to Barzilay, cultivating and consuming have always been two sides of the same coin, and she expressed concern that many restaurants are losing the connection to the land and its produce. Her journey to becoming a top chef began with her journey as a mother, as she became worried about the food she was feeding her children. This led Barzilay to leave her fast-track job in advertising, and she began planting a lettuce garden outside of what would become the first Meshek Barzilay Restaurant, in her home community of Yarkona. Without knowing it, she was also planting the seeds for an entire movement of organic vegetarian restaurants, her own now being based in the heart of Tel Aviv’s charming Neve Tzedek neighborhood. Growing naturally from the proverbial seeds Barzilay had planted years prior, Shirel Berger’s plant-forward concept at Opa 16


focuses on health and sustainability, where she uses vegetable-only ingredients that are locally sourced — without any part of the plant going to waste. Chef Berger ages all fruits and vegetables for three to five months, salting and vacuum packing with olive oil to preserve the cells, yet maintaining the structure and hydration. Through salting, dehydrating, braising and fermenting techniques, Chef Berger manages to manipulate the flavors and essence of the produce, with fascinating results that mimic contrasting tastes and textures. Any unused vegetable stem is fermented in salt, releasing flavors perfect for stocks, sauces and vinegars. At just 28 years old, Berger has cooked since she was 12, later training with the Culinary Institute of America and working in restaurants in New York City. Highly critical of the dairy and meat industries, she started cooking solely with vegetables and “fell in love” with the creativity required to use vegetables while maintaining the fine

dining experience. Another one of her great loves, she said, is the Israeli environment that creates the perfect terroir for high-quality vegetables. Being more connected to the land and what it produces, Berger said, can help the world be aware of “the amount of what they are consuming,” explaining, “we are living in this world and it has a huge impact on the future, which is important for this planet.” Though being a woman shouldn’t matter in the culinary industry, she said, “The fact that I’m a woman in such a field not really dominated by women has made me stand out,” adding that women need to work harder to reach success in the field, “because women are not taken seriously enough.” In the future, Berger hopes to bring the Michelin star to Israel, “putting Israel on the culinary map like Europe and the United States,” she said. Her message for women is simple: “Believe in yourself, that’s it.”






ebrew schools across North America made a dramatic and rapid shift into virtual classrooms in the wake of COVID-19. Now, with the potential for a second wave of contagion this fall, educational directors are making plans to keep classes online at the start of the next school year. The impact of COVID-19 on the Jewish education landscape was severe, with many synagogues scrambling to adapt their curricula to online platforms, some more successfully than others. Online curriculum providers were suddenly flooded with inquiries, many from educational directors who had little to no experience with virtual classrooms or blended (online and in-person) teaching models. One such nonprofit organization, ShalomLearning, which specializes in online and blended curricula for Hebrew schools, saw demand jump sharply. Since mid-March, an additional 210 teachers began using the platform, while the number of students enrolled in their virtual classrooms grew by 2,000 to 7,800, bringing ShalomLearning’s partnership total to 163 congregations across North America. “We weren’t surprised that interest rose so quickly as our numbers have been growing 18


every year and teachers, students and families are really enjoying our lessons. And there was an enormous increase in demand for teacher training on how to run a virtual classroom since we had the technology in place since 2011 to address this need,” said Joshua Troderman, ShalomLearning’s CEO. “What was surprising, however, are the reports that we are receiving that student attendance in the virtual classrooms are rising tremendously. Many Jewish educators who were once reluctant to embrace new technologies were caught off-guard, but they now realize the necessity and are getting onboard, especially considering all the summer camp closures that have been announced this month and what’s expected this Fall.” Public health officials have begun to warn of a potential second wave of COVID infections later this year, which could be further exacerbated by the return of flu season. With this in mind, several synagogues have already declared their intention to operate virtually at the start of the school year, including Kehilat Shalom in Montgomery Village, MD and Temple Sinai in Brookline, Ma. “We look forward to keeping our virtual learning going in the fall,” said Temple Sinai Director of Education Heidi Smith Hyde. “I’ve heard from a few parents that offering

an online option will make their lives easier by eliminating the need for transportation to and from religious school, especially during a busy work week.” One benefit to online platforms that use a blended model is the ability to seamlessly switch from in-person to online as needed. The curriculums are designed to be flexible and adaptable, which is increasingly important to educators given the current uncertainty over COVID-19. “Kids were so bored sitting at home, so having something like ShalomLearning that was programmed and familiar made it more enjoyable for them,” Rabbi Charles Arian of Kehilat Shalom added. “No one knows what’s going to happen by September and this uncertainty is what’s making people antsy. Continuing our online classes will help give people a degree of certainty.” SHALOMLEARNING OFFERS ONLINE, IN-PERSON AND BLENDED LEARNING PROGRAMS FOR SUPPLEMENTARY JEWISH EDUCATION FOR PRE-K THROUGH 7TH GRADES AND PROVIDES PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR EDUCATORS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT WWW.SHALOMLEARNING.ORG.




was sitting on an airplane when I saw confirmation of my mother’s passing. It came in the form of a broken heart emoji. I froze at the sight. Just that morning, mom was in synagogue for Shavuot services; she recited yizkor and even carried the Torah through the women’s aisle of her Orthodox synagogue. She went home, felt intense heart pain, and was rushed to the ER. She never made it out of surgery. Everything happened so quickly that my emotions couldn’t keep up with the events. All I can recall from the flight was resting my head against a window and silently crying in the thankfully dark plane. At the time of mom’s passing, I had been practicing mindfulness meditation for close to 15 years. Mindfulness, simply put, is paying attention to the here and now. It’s not dwelling in the past, not projecting into the future, and not casting judgement about the present. It is holding your attention on the experience of the moment – what’s happening in your body, your thoughts, your feelings, and the world around you. So how was I mindful with my grief? I cried. A lot. I felt the tears stream down my cheek. I experienced the sinking feeling in my stomach, the ache in my chest area, and

the constriction of my energy. I felt sadness wash over me and did not run from my pain. I did not ask, “why mom?” I did not entertain past regrets. And I did not spend much time in future thinking. Following the funeral in New Orleans, we settled in for Shiva. Though I had attended Shiva gatherings in support of others, this was my first as the recipient. I did not expect to experience the many parallels to my mindfulness practice. To begin, the word Shiva means “sitting,” and meditating is often referred to as sitting. Shiva is designed keep our sorrow front and center – to fully experience our reality and associated grief. We cover mirrors to avoid vanity, we greet visitors but don’t engage in small talk, and we refrain from work or other escapes from our sadness. It is profound presence in the here and now. For me, the most overtly mindful aspect of Shiva was the closing walk. Our Shiva walk consisted of myself, my 87-year-old father (and his dog), my 23-year-old nephew and our Rabbi. We left the house for the first time, other than going to synagogue to recite Kaddish, in a week. We walked silently for 10 minutes, and then paused. Rabbi Gabe explained that this was the conclusion of the

deepest layer of grief. He directed us to look around, to notice the trees and surroundings, and to start to appreciate that life continues – a classic mindfulness practice. I silently stood there, felt my grief, felt the warmth of my dad’s frail hand, and keenly heard a bird’s mournful tune. I was in the moment, mindful of my body, feelings, and the world around me. The power of mindful grieving is healing. Fighting grief only intensifies it. Shiva and the year of mourning that follows provides a structure and guideline to help us be present to our pain and to remind us that it takes time for the hurt to subside. We simply cannot rush grief. And when our heart, body, and mind are present to grief, other unexpected gifts arise. If and when you lose someone close to you, I wish you the gift of Shiva and mindful grieving to help you cope. The present experience brings depths of sadness alongside unexpected gifts and depths of beauty. SHAYNA KAUFMANN IS THE FOUNDER OF EMBRACE THE MIDDLE, A COMPANY FOCUSED ON FEMALE MIDLIFE EMPOWERMENT. LEARN MORE AT WWW.EMBRACETHEMIDDLE.COM. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM


F E AT U R E S T O R Y To date, the DR Congo has 4,778 known cases of coronavirus, with 107 deaths and 600 recovered patients. With cases spreading quickly, the test centers will be vital in order to confirm cases and prevent further spread of the virus. PHOTO COURTESY: MAGEN DAVID ADOM





n the backdrop of expanding IsraelAfrica relations in recent years, Israeli organizations and startups are working to help countries on the African continent fight the coronavirus. Magen David Adom, Israel’s national ambulance service, recently built dedicated software for managing a drive through coronavirus testing facility in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). MDA’s drive-through centers, which have been operating since the beginning of the spread of the coronavirus in Israel, have received more than 120,000 Israelis. They have also sparked interest from the DR Congo’s Honorary Consul in Israel, resulting in a similar center throughout the central African country, as well as a training program with videos and written procedures that has been passed from MDA to medical professionals who operate the facility in the DR Congo. “During the long period in which we operated the many ‘Drive Thru’ sampling facilities, the technology we used proved itself, along with the effective and safe practices that enabled the safety of the suspected infected and the teams,” said MDA chief of information officer Ido Rosenblat. “From the moment they contacted us, we were ready to help at during difficult time to set up the ‘Drive Thru’ sampling facilities in DR Congo, and to share our knowledge.” According to director general Eli Bin, MDA’s medical capabilities, technologies and methods are among the most advanced in the world. “In the light of the fight against coronavirus, we have gained extensive experience in obtaining thousands of samples a day, most efficiently and safely, and now we are happy to share knowledge with other medical entities around the world for the sake of saving human lives.” To date, the DR Congo has 4,778 known cases of coronavirus, with 107 deaths and 600 recovered patients. With cases spreading quickly, the test centers will be vital in order to confirm cases and prevent further spread of the virus. “MDA’s professionalism and technology has a reputation around the world,” its international relations coordinator, Uriel Goldberg, said. During the outbreak of the coronavirus period, he said, “countries and people looking for solutions found us.” After teaching the DR Congo over Zoom how to set up the system, the country now

has four permanent and 90 plus mobile testing sites using MDA’s software that can manage data, including a complex bar-code system, and extract the data to map those infected with COVID-19. It also has an interface for the labs, and the software allows users to book appointment for the drivethrough, as well as fill out an epidemiology questionnaire. Goldberg noted that MDA has made it its role, as Israel’s Red Cross National Society, to assist numerous countries around the world. “Israel has very innovative and practical tech and medical solutions for a variety of issues, including coronavirus. MDA is committed to helping African and developing countries.” Even before the novel virus, he said, MDA helped the Kenya Red Cross to set up an ambulance service, write protocols and train paramedics, who came to Israel for eight months of training. The organization is also known to send personnel and disaster relief, most recently to Haiti, Turkey, Egypt and Nepal. “MDA receives requests for help and advice all of the time; we are always prepared to help and advise any country that requests it,” he said. “MDA’s motto is “he who saves one life, it is as if he has saved an entire world,” he added. “We feel that it is our duty for us to help save lives wherever and however we can.” Israel-based Start-Up Nation Central similarly assists Israeli companies that want to penetrate into African markets with the goal of strengthening their ecosystems. Vered Mivtzari, Start-Up Nation Central’s strategic countries’ director of Africa and India, helps match African challenges with Israeli technology solutions. “COVID-19 brought with it even more local needs in Africa, and African countries needed much help in dealing with food delivery, medical care and response, and providing basic needs to vulnerable populations such as refugees and the elderly while maintaining social distancing and high standards of hygiene,” she said. “Some of the Israeli solutions we are working to promote are Beecardia, a cloud platform for cardiology and pulmonology mobile health; Tyto Care, which provides remote examination and consultation with a physician; and Sight Diagnostics, an advanced blood-diagnostics platform,” explained Mivtzari. “Several Israeli tech companies went above and beyond to advance countries around the

world, offering their technologies in open source to different countries around the world, including in Africa,” she continued. Such technologies includes AmboVent, an emergency ventilation device; Growponics, a manual respiratory balloon tech; and Diagnostic Robotics, an AI diagnostic system for health-care insurers, providers and patients that helps authorities locate potential COVID-19 patients. Israel’s exporting of technology to Africa occurs in a context of increased relations in recent years, now having diplomatic relations with 41 out of 44 Sub-Saharan African states, including a number of Muslim-majority states. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made several visits to Africa in recent years, most recently to Uganda in February 2020. Jerusalem has hosted presidents and prime ministers in recent years from Chad, Liberia, Guinea, Senegal, Togo, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Sierra Leone and Swaziland. As Netanyahu said in 2016 after stepping off the plane in Entebbe, Uganda (40 years after his older brother, Yoni Netanyahu, was killed in the Israeli military rescue operation that saved the lives of 102 airline passengers hijacked and held at the Entebbe airport by Palestinian and German terrorists), “Israel is coming back to Africa, and Africa is coming back to Israel.” According to Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), “in formulating ties with Africa, Israel has largely been motivated by altruism; the drive to circumvent boycotts that were designed to isolate it; efforts to combat external and internal threats to security; construction and consolidation of alliances that reinforce ideals and values; and the attempt to enhance its position as an important actor in the international system.” Additionally, posed INSS, “Israel’s African allies have sought to consolidate their cultural connections with the Jewish state and harness Israel’s technical expertise in the spheres of development and security.” During the time of the coronavirus, Israel has certainly heeded the advice of INSS: “To further strengthen these relations, Israel should focus on technical development assistance. The soft-power approach to bilateral relations is the key to winning the hearts and minds of Africa.” WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM





n the latest installment of American Jewish University’s (AJU) B’Yachad Together online learning series, New York Times best-selling author and contributor Taffy Brodesser-Akner joined AJU Vice President for Advancement Catherine Schneider in a captivating conversation. More than 530 people tuned into the webinar on May 6. During the discussion, Brodesser-Akner discussed the insights she gained from her career as a novelist and reporter as well as the lessons she draws on from her own Jewish journey. Her 2019 best-selling novel Fleishman is in Trouble sparked a stimulating conversation on gender roles, marriage, divorce, online dating, midlife crises and class anxiety in modern society. During the webinar, Brodesser-Akner identified Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Philip Roth as one of her primary literary influencers. Many view her as continuing in his and Woody Allen’s zeitgeist. Regarded as one of the decade’s most 22


prolific celebrity profile journalists, Brodesser-Akner recalled her efforts to help resurrect a subgenre of feature reporting once thought to be dead. Her profile piece on actor Val Kilmer — published in the Times on the same day as the AJU B’Yachad Together webinar — sparked a broader discussion about the current COVID-19 world and what it looks like to “survive a dark moment in history,” as Brodesser-Akner penned in the profile. “What is most remarkable about this moment in history is the way that community and culture have become such integral parts of our resolve to fight this pandemic,” said AJU Vice President for Advancement Catherine Schneider. “It was an honor to facilitate a conversation with Taffy, a remarkable writer known for saving the celebrity profile — and a friend.” As part of B’Yachad Together: Spirited by American Jewish University, the webinar was offered a no-cost. The webinars capture and deliver insights from AJU scholars and

thought leaders across a variety of fields. Since its inaugural webinar in March, AJU has offered more than 40 B’Yachad Together online events, including conversations with journalists, academics, Rabbis, authors, national security experts, attorneys, and arts and culture experts. President of AJU, Dr. Jeffrey Herbst noted, “the current crisis has challenged us to be nimble and entrepreneurial to meet the needs of our community. We are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response to our B’Yachad Together: Spirited by AJU online conversations, showcasing Jewish thought leaders from across the country. We will continue to provide nourishing content based on eternal Jewish wisdom using the latest technologies.” A CALENDAR OF UPCOMING WEBINARS CAN BE FOUND AT AJU.EDU/BYACHADTOGETHER.


BACK TO SCHOOL Fall Semester 2020


San Diego Jewish Academy Will Accommodate Students On Campus Five Dates A Week

DJA Solidifies Plans for Campus Reopening Aligned with Health and Safety Guidelines San Diego Jewish Academy (SDJA), located on a 56-acre campus in Carmel Valley, today announced that campus will reopen five days a week for all students at the end of August. The school, which is K-12 and has an Early Childhood Center, also highlighted success in navigating the demands of COVID 19 distance learning and maintaining strong community experiences online this past spring. “We are extremely proud of our teachers for the world-class academics, online community engagement, and seamless transition our students experienced as we moved to distance learning due to COVID 19,” said Heidi Gantwerk, Chair of the SDJA Board. “Along with positive feedback learned from our recent parent survey — in which more than 90 percent of parents said they would recommend the school to peers at this time — we are preparing for in-person learning this fall. We know this will not look exactly like school in past years, but we are structuring our classrooms and other learning environments to be ready for this new normal.” In addition to the added abilities for distancing provided by the large SDJA campus, plans include an array of changes to further enhance the safety and health of the SDJA students — from intensifying natural air flow in classrooms and building spaces, to instituting appropriate health screenings, and practicing and teaching healthy habits. SDJA’s outdoor courtyard spaces, large garden at the heart of the campus, sports fields, Innovation Center, and other campus spaces can serve as different learning environments. Any student who cannot be on campus for any reason will also be able to utilize the school’s remote learning platform. “We are prepared for a range of scenarios and can offer high quality

academics and meaningful community connections, whether online or in-person,” continued Gantwerk. “Our enrollment is growing and classes are filling up for the fall. We’re able to offer significant tuition assistance, which we know is critical for many families during these challenging times. If families are considering enrolling their students in SDJA for the fall, we encourage them to act quickly.” LEARN MORE ABOUT SDJA’S PLANS FOR THE FALL CAMPUS OPENING AT WWW.SDJA.COM.

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Say hello to Camp Yalla, which will bring entertainment and connections to kids in the most modern of ways BY HOWARD BLAS | Mariel Falk, co-founder and co-director, showing off her painting skills and Camp Yalla enthusiasm.


his past March, when the reality of no school and parents working from home began to set in, a few young Jewish summer-camp lovers began to raise the next inevitable question: What if camps are unable to open this summer? Mariel Falk and Avi Goldstein, veteran campers and staff members at Camp Modin in Maine, and a few friends with years of experience at other Jewish summer camps, created Camp Yalla — a virtual Jewish summer-camp experience for 8- to 12-year-olds. “My heart was breaking over the loss of physical summer camps,” reports Miriam Lichtenberg, a veteran of both Camp Nesher in New Jersey and Camp Ramah, a network of camps affiliated with the Conservative movement. “I wanted to help rectify that and perhaps



fill in the gaps that so many children would be missing — namely, community, friendship and a place to be your full self.” Lichtenberg, will serve as Camp Yalla’s director of Jewish programming, says summer camp is “where I found myself.” “It is where I made some of my closest friends, developed some of my fondest memories and have always been able to be my truest and best self,” she explains. “Camp Yalla gives me hope. At our camp, we will bring some of the best things about physical camp to our experience — the friendships, the laughs, the deepening of the self and the mind, the ability to be silly and free. Camp Yalla will have all of that, and I am immensely grateful and excited to be a part of that experience!”


Camp Yalla will offer three two-week sessions from July 6 to Aug. 14. The camp’s founders are aware that potential participants have spent months in front of computer screens, and have been learning from educators about Zoom best practices and protocols. They report that they will be offering “activities geared towards fun and play.” Campers will choose electives “that suit their interests and gives them a sense of ownership over their day.” To date, 50 campers have expressed interest in attending Camp Yalla. Each session will likely be capped at 120 participants. Co-founder Avi Goldstein, a recent college graduate with 10 years of experience at New England’s Camp Modin — seven as a camper and three as a counselor — explains that Yalla will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for an hour each morning and afternoon. Mornings will consist of bunk activities to “build community, foster friendships and teamwork.” Afternoon electives will include such activities as arts-and-crafts, theater, dance and virtual field trips. On Fridays, campers, as well as siblings and parents, are invited to Shabbat services, which take place well before the start of the weekly holiday, followed on Saturday night with Havdalah. Goldstein, who wrote her undergraduate thesis on the role of Jewish summer camps in the United States in the post-Holocaust period, stresses their desire to offer a taste of Jewish summer camp and to get kids “to want to go to any Jewish summer camp in the future.” “We are so passionate about Jewish camping!” she practically gushes. Goldstein and her team have been in conversation with Rabbi Avi Orlow, vice president of innovation and education at the Foundation for Jewish Camp, about ways to potentially “feed” campers to other Jewish summer camps when they reopen in the future. Yalla may succeed in offering a camping experience to first-timers, who will

Top, from left: Camp Yalla communications director Lulu Weisfeld raising the flag; executive director Avi Goldstein at a virtual campfire; marketing director Sam Schmaier making some impressive bracelets with her Rainbow Loom. Bottom, from left: Executive director Mariel Falk waking up from a living-room camping trip; director of Jewish programming Miriam Lichtenberg carefully applying her sunscreen.

then become lifelong participants. “Our goal is to foster communication, imagination, fun and positivity — and to get kids to want to go to any Jewish camp!” Many Jewish summer camps and camping movements are exploring ways to offer camping virtually this summer, as well as ways to send “camp in a box” packets to families and to offer small family camps on their camp sites. “I am calling this the ‘summer of learning’ because camps will need to pilot new ways to engage, inspire and connect with their communities,” notes Jeremy J. Fingerman, CEO of Foundation for Jewish Camp. Goldstein and her team are getting a wellrounded education in all aspects of running a Jewish summer camp. In addition to learning about offering programming online, they are learning about marketing, budgeting, staff hiring, payroll and the effective use of social media. While offering Jewish summer camping online is new and uncharted, there may be

benefits for both campers and families. David Bryfman, CEO of the Manhattanbased Jewish Education Project, observes that “while summertime is often associated with separating ourselves from our screens, this year offers an opportunity for kids all around the world to engage with one another in meaningful, fun and social experiences. If we are to learn anything from this pandemic, it is that social connections are vital, even as we social distance.” With children meaningfully engaged this summer, their parents may get a few minutes of down time. “During this time — and maybe even more so in the summer months — parents need to be kind to themselves,” suggests Bryfman. “Giving yourselves a couple of hours ‘off-duty’ while your children attend virtual summer camp might be exactly what you need to be the best parents you can for the entire summer.”





Boot Camp takes summer to new level, improves online user experience BY JNS.ORG "Good online experiences are bite-size programs that pack a punch," says Carine Warsawski, founder of Trybal Gatherings.


ith summer programs not operating as usual this year, Jewish leaders got some tips from Trybal Gatherings' Day Camp Boot Camp to learn how to "camplify" online programming with proven techniques and virtual-engagement strategies. More than 150 participants from Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Centers, day schools, preschools, synagogues, foundations, summer camps, startups and elsewhere participated in a recent Day Camp Boot Camp—an online camp-style gathering to hone their skills and keep summer programming strong remotely. "The boot camp blew me away," says Bryan Turkel, assistant director of leadership development at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. "Three months into sheltering in place, this was not just the most engaging remote programming experience I've had, it was by far the most impactful. Detailed planning, creative thinking, understanding how to build relationships among people in any platform—that's what I'm now looking to bring back to my summer programming." Sandwiched between the Boot Camp's opening ceremony, closing friendship circles and other camp-style surprises were electives on how to get the most out of remote programming and avoid Zoom fatigue. "Campers" learned how to use ritual to cultivate a sense of community and culture among strangers coming together in a 26


virtual program. They saw how games, music, video and more can be enriching mechanisms, along with how non-virtual activities, like paper-plate awards, giveaways and use of props can be incorporated into a virtual program. And they learned the technical and camera-related tools everyone should know to lead a smooth and professional-looking program. "Camp isn't only a place, it's a philosophy," says Carine Warsawski, founder of Trybal Gatherings, which during non-pandemic times creates in-person, immersive four-day overnight Jewish camp experiences for young adults across the country. "To 'camplify' your programming means to bring the magic of connection, relationships and meaning to the user experience, whether that's in-person or not. Just because someone makes a great challah doesn't mean they know how to lead an engaging remote cooking program." Elective sessions were designed and led by experts from OneTable, Foundation for Jewish Camp and others committed to delivering engaging programs, in-person and online. "There's a certain sweet spot in how to create and run a fun virtual program," adds Warsawski. "People can join from anywhere in the world, and that's great. But program leaders need to know how to deliver an experience that is inclusive, accessible and offers the entertainment and connections to keep participants coming back. Good online experiences are bite-size programs that pack a punch."



Virtual Cummer Camps feature activities for kids of all ages


s social distancing measures and stay at home orders remain in place with the start of summer on the horizon, families with young children may be looking at ways to keep boredom at


bay. Luckily, there are plenty of camps that have taken their programs online. No matter their age or interests, there’s something for everyone on the internet. Here are a few virtual camp options to keep in mind this summer. HAPPY CAMPER LIVE

Happy Camper Live’s website and app are filled with hundreds of hands-on activities, live daily broadcasts, an original video series and more. Free activities of the day or monthly subscription options are available. When: ongoing Cost: $4.99/month Where: LFJCC CAMP JAYCEE VIRTUAL CAMP

The Lawrence family JCC’s Camp Jaycee has added virtual camp options to their offerings this summer. Weekly camps, featuring fullday, morning, or afternoon sessions are available. When: Through Aug 14 Cost: JCC members: $240/weekly; non-members: $280/week Where: ART CAMP IN A BOX

Participants receive a box filled with all the art supplies and instructions needed to create 10 art projects at home. Access to daily live Zoom calls and a virtual art show at the end of the week are included. When: July 13-17, August 3-7 Cost: $160/week Where: CAMP KIWICO

Camp KiwiCo’s “summer camp in a crate” can be done on five consecutive days, or you can mix and match the activities at your own pace. You can sign up to be notified when camp is open. When: ongoing Cost: $24.95/crate Where:


Hello Future, a nonprofit organization that works with teens living in refugee camps, is putting on a virtual summer camp for teens 14-17. American teens will gain a deeper understanding of the global refugee crisis as they learn from and share with teenage Syrian refugees, and a portion of the tuition fee will go toward Hello Future programming for refugee teens. When: Through August 28 Cost: $2000/month Where: HOMESTEADER KIDS SUMMER CAMP

Farmer and homesteader Cooper Boone teaches “homesteader hacks” to get back to basics in the kitchen, outside and at a makers table. You’ll receive a list of materials and ingredients you’ll need before each zoom course. Dates: Through August 20 Cost: $50/week Where: GOT GAME VIRTUAL SUMMER FUN CAMP

Los Angeles-based Got Game camp sessions include sports, games, crafts, science experiments and more. When: Through August 14 Cost: $95/week Where: WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM




ith the latest predictions suggesting Israel’s tourism industry could lose up to $1.16 billion due to the COVID-19 crisis, Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA) is helping Israeli tour guides through an innovative new “virtual travel” initiative. A group of San Diegans embarked on this novel experience and returned with wide eyes and open hearts. Led by JNF-USA First Lady and San Diego Board Member Lauren Lizerbram, the group “traveled” from north to south and saw unique and captivating Israeli sites. In launching JNF Virtual Travel & Tours, the organization’s travel department is offering seats on virtual tour buses to some of Israel’s iconic and lesser known travel destinations. Current itineraries include visits to the Old City of Jerusalem, Ayalon Institute, Akko, Be’er Sheva, and the JNF Sderot Indoor Recreation Center. The group from San Diego had an enriching experience and even those who have been to Israel many times before saw something new. Among the highlights of the trip were a visit to Bet She’an to see the Roman ruins, a tour of the Western Wall Tunnels, hearing the story of Jerusalem’s reunification at Ammunition Hill, seeing kids play safely in JNF’s Sderot Indoor Playground which houses the C. Hugh Friedman Music Program, and taking a boat ride through the Dead Sea – a truly once in a lifetime experience. “It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint a favorite part of the trip. The entire experience was emotional and educational,” said Lizerbram. “We had a wonderful, knowledgeable, and captivating guide. We saw new places and reflected on memories we’ve created in the locations we’ve visited before. It was truly impactful and inspiring for the entire bus.” The virtual buses have seating for up to 22 participants and include a licensed Israeli tour guide, lay chair, as well as a professional JNFUSA staff member. A $50 registration fee covers one hour of touring 28


and a nightly social dinner and cocktail hour taking place Monday through Thursday. On Friday, tourists participate in a beautiful preshabbat experience. “The beauty of these tours is that they allow us to directly support Israel’s tour guides while also renewing our connection to our beloved Israel,” said JNF-USA National Campaign Director, Sharon Joy. “I’m excited that participants experienced the magic of Israel virtually at a time when we are all yearning to visit in person. And thanks to the expert insights from our Israeli tour guides, we learned about our homeland in a whole new light.” “This was such a fun and unconventional way to experience tourism, all while continuing Jewish National Fund’s vision of supporting the land and people of Israel,” added Lizerbram. Jewish National Fund-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, Jewish National Fund-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure for ecology, special needs, and heritage preservation. To join a virtual trip, or find out more information on JNF’s Virtual Travel & Tours, visit or contact JNFUSA’s San Diego Director Monica Edelman at or 858.824.9178.



& mishagoss Working From Home Now? Do This!


emember “Take Your Daughter to Work” Day? Well that’s over. We’ve brought our work home to our daughters. And our sons. And our spouses. And the family dog. Here’s how to go about it… Difficult to implement this skill set in a home setting because you’re selling a residence to people already living there. Start slowly so your family will adjust. Hang flyers in busy hallways as well as children’s bedrooms advertising square footage and listing age of appliances. Offer chocolate chip cookies to any family member who ventures into the kitchen, so they feel welcomed and open all drawers and cabinets, showing off storage. Point out “Peekaboo” views of the ocean and then play peekaboo as you would with a toddler. (No! Don’t do that.) Instead, ask everyone around your dining table, “How soon can you close?” and “How much will you put down?” REALTOR:

When family members whine about Internet or cellphone connections being slow, instruct them to turn off the power source. Problem solved. IT GUY:

To get your potential client to hire you, you must stir up trouble. Start an argument doing the dishes. After she issues an ultimatum, gain trust by stating you’ll be happy to represent her, promising a fair settlement. Instead of stating, “Justice DIVORCE LAWYER:

will prevail…you’ll have your day in court.” Exclaim, “You’ll have your day in the den!” Keep referencing your wedding portrait over the piano as Exhibit A. HOSTESS: When family complains of hunger,

take their names, and ask about preferences for indoor or outdoor seating. Announce for a party this big, you’ll need a few minutes to set up. Instead of an annoying pager, hand them that classic board game Perfection, and tell them when all the pieces pop up, their table will be ready. Hang banners around the living room that say “A-F, G-L, L-P and R-Z. Anyone whose last name starts with Q is out of luck. Check your family’s vision with a blurry eye chart. Snap their photo when their lids are mid-blink. Ask, “If opposing cars arrive simultaneously at an intersection with a four-way stop sign, who has the rightof-way?” After the correct answer, “the car on the left yields” is given, have them explain exactly how the car “on the left” knows he’s the car on the left. DMV TELLER:

Gaze often and wisely at anyone who wanders into your home office. Eloquently announce, “You may be seated” simultaneously gesturing with your hands. Direct them to stand up/sit down 27 additional times. Answer any question they ask about allowance or borrowing the car with, “What would Moses do?” Hum ‘BimRABBI:

Bom’ as they exit. Sit in the room of the house in which most of the action occurs – the bathroom. Speedily type on a laptop and insist people identify themselves, spelling their official names. When appropriate, ask them to speak up and reprimand them for nodding. Don’t forget to swear them in by having them place their hand on a stack of toilet paper. COURT REPORTER:

Invite your son to sit on an uncomfortable couch. With his fingers, have him tap along the 12 meridian points to restore balance to his disrupted energy field, all while repeating this phrase, “Even though I have this fear, I deeply and completely accept myself.” Yep, you’re THAT sort of therapist. Oh! And be mindful if his sister accompanies him, the tapping technique will become a game of “Gotcha Last.” THERAPIST:

Ask spouse to say something quotable. Credit yourself with famous works that are attributed to ‘Anonymous.’ Instruct family members to send you a form rejection letter 37 times and pin them laundry-room bulletin board, citing Margaret Mitchell received 38 of these before publishing Gone With the Wind. WRITER:






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