L'Chaim Magazine October 2023

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October 2023 • www.lchaimmagazine.com

in this issue... COVER STORY Reaching New Heights: Tel Aviv University Research Issues Breast Cancer Breakthrough............................................

1000 WORDS Jewish Involvement on a College Campus: AEPi..........................................................................

FOOD Whipped Chive Ricotta with Truffle Honey and Grilled Sourdough..................................

ISRAEL Israeli Under Attack........................................................................................................................................ FEATURES




10 18

2o 22 24 25 26 28

Hadassah San Diego Presents The Levys of Monticello Documentary.......................


Jerusalem Zoo Fundraiser......................................................................................................................... Stav Festival Fuses Israeli Art, Stage and Musical Performances.................................... Israeli Cancer Research in Israel............................................................................................................ Uri Levi Runs a Marathon of Redemption.......................................................................................



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

PUBLISHERS Diane Benaroya & Laurie Miller EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alanna Maya CREATIVE DIRECTOR Laurie Miller CONTRIBUTORS Ariela Alush, Barbara Birenbaum, Franklin Felber, Donald H. Harrison, Stephanie Lewis, Salomon Maya, Jana Mazurkiewicz Meisarosh, Terra Paley, Mimi Pollack, Rachel Stern, Eva Trieger, Deborah Vietor, Chana Jenny Weisberg, Cheri Weiss

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




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& passages Her Story


n the Torah, our matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah played such prominent roles in the narrative that they are included in the first paragraph of the central tefilah prayers of our Shabbat, holiday, and weekday services. There were, however, other lesser-known women in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) whose compelling stories resulted in changes to Jewish law or ritual. Let us consider the biblical accounts of Hannah and the daughters of Zelophehad. HANNAH

The story of Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel, appears in the Book of Samuel in the collection of biblical books known as Nevi’ im (Prophets). Hannah spent many tortured years yearning for a child. During her yearly pilgrimage to Shiloh with her husband, Hannah snuck off to the local temple sanctuary to pray alone, vowing that if God would bless her with a son, she would commit his life to the service of God. Eli, the High Priest, who watched her swaying back and forth while her lips moved silently, determined that she must be drunk. Until that time prayer had always been said aloud, so her silent prayer was not something he would have understood. Admonishing her for being drunk in the temple, Hannah eloquently informed him that she was not drunk, merely praying fervently to God for a 6


child. A year later, her wish came true. By introducing silent prayer, Hannah taught us that introspection is a key element of prayer. Reaching deep into our hearts and souls, we can quietly connect with God on our own terms. As with Hannah, our private prayers have the power to be transformative. THE DAUGHTERS OF ZELOPHEHAD: MAHLAH, NOA, HOGLAH, MILCAH, AND TIRZAH

In chapters 26 & 27 of Bamidbar (the Book of Numbers), we read that a census of all males over the age of 20 was taken and that God instructed Moses that the land was to be divided up among those males. With their father having passed away and summoning what must have been great courage, the daughters of Zelophehad approached Moses, Eleazar the Priest, the Chieftains, and the entire Assembly to assert their right to a share in the apportioned land. “Our father died in the wilderness… [and] he has left no sons. Let not our father’s name be lost to his clan just because he had no son! Give us a holding among our father’s kinsmen!” (Numbers 27:3-4) Moses agreed to approach God and was told: “The plea of Zelophehad’s daughters is just: you should give them a hereditary holding among their father’s kinsmen; transfer their father’s share to them.” (Numbers 27:7)

Later the terms of their land inheritance were modified to include the condition that they marry within their own tribe (Manasseh) in order to ensure that the division of tribal land remained intact. Nevertheless, because of their courage, the laws of the chain of inheritance were altered to include females in the absence of male heirs. While most female minor characters in the Torah remain anonymous, each of these women is specifically named, thus giving them agency and a voice. In what was a patriarchal society, the fate of women in the Torah was mainly determined by their fathers or husbands. However, this story illustrates a significant departure from what had been the accepted practice, thus setting a precedent for the women of subsequent generations. There are many other great women whose lives are detailed in the Tanakh including Deborah, Yael, Naomi, and Ruth among others. The actions of these women helped shape the course of Jewish history. I encourage you to take the time to look them up. You will no doubt be impressed! RABBI-CANTOR CHERI WEISS IS THE SPIRITUAL LEADER OF TEMPLE EMANUEL IN HONOLULU, HAWAII.





& mishagoss Is It "Sack the Quarterback!" or "Sax Fifth Avenue!?"


s it “The Cotton Bowl?” or “The 100% Cotton Dress?” Okay, okay, I think you get the idea that I need to combine football with fashion for the sake of my new marriage. I can’t be left alone on the sidelines every Monday night or wandering solo through shopping malls all weekend any longer! Surely the two topics have enough in common, they can coexist in a relationship, right? After all, someone had to be the first to merge bagels with cream cheese and latkes with applesauce. I’m gonna try to make a case for football/fashion integration right this very moment as my hubby sits glued to the screen during the game, while I thumb through a Vogue magazine. “Oh no! Look how she fumbled with her purse, searching for a lipstick!” I shout, pointing to a well-dressed blonde on page 28. “And wow! Look at the color-blocking of her dress! I wonder how much yardage of chiffon fabric that took?” He narrows his eyes suspiciously, yawns, then promptly focuses his attention back on the set. Not easily deterred, I give it that old college try once again… ME: Well, whadya know! Vera Wang is finally gonna tackle the issue of hiking up hemlines during the kickoff of her new fall line. Interesting, right?? HIM: Shhhh! Stephanie, I can’t even hear the announcer with all your babbling. ME: (cozying next to him and purring) What daring trendsetters those big brutes are, rocking the 80’s oversized shoulder pads look like that! I think the chinstrap might be a bit much though? A simple bedazzled helmet would streamline their look, while still accessorizing



their concussions perfectly. And whoever does their make-up? Haven’t they heard of waterproof mascara? It’d prevent all those ugly under-eye black marks. HIM: (mindlessly munching Doritos) Uh huh. ME: Let’s toss a coin to see whether we’ll talk football scores or clothing styles first! HIM: (looks at watch) Isn’t there some fashion show luncheon thing at Nordstrom, starting right about now? ME: (coyly) Why? Would you go with me, Coach? HIM: Coach?? As in your new expensive designer Coach brand purse? Look Steph, I know what you’re trying to . . . ME: Shhhh! I’m attempting to listen to that official man in the black and white ensemble, blowing his sterling silver whistle necklace. Didn’t anyone tell him pinstripes are so yesterday? And white pants after Labor Day! Seriously? That’s a makeover just waiting to happen. Tsk, tsk. Just then a Levi Jeans commercial flashes on. But to my surprise, I don’t have to work at getting my husband engrossed. He’s mesmerized by the female model bending over in her slim-fit jeans. HIM: Hey! I’d sure like to hand-off to that tightend! We’d huddle together and talk about our next big PLAY. Then I’d make a smooth as satin (or should that be 100% silk?) pass at

her. Those little back pockets would put me into overtime for sure! ME: (changing channel) Um… Listen, I’ve been thinking. Separate interests are actually quite healthy for couples. It gives them a sense of independence and brings variety to their relationship. A nice balance, if you will. No sense in both people wasting time, enjoying the same thing! HIM: (smirking) Thought you’d see it that way. Next time be more careful what you wish for! Before I respond, I lean over to grab my Coach purse, which I then launch (in a perfect spiral!) across the living room where it lands in the center of the coffee table. HIM: Uh, why’d ya chuck your handbag like that?!” ME: (smugly) Just demonstrating I can throw a winning CLUTCHDOWN pass better than anyone in the NFL. HIM: Stick to writing Mazel & Mishagoss and I’ll be your biggest cheerleader! Just then, the referee tossed a bright fabric sample into the air and we got to have a discussion about whethert my new Chanukah outfit would be ordered in penalty flag yellow or AstroTurf green. Hey, I’ll take the win! STEPHANIE D. LEWIS WILL INJECT HUMOR INTO ANYTHING YOU HIRE HER TO WRITE. EMAIL HER AT THEQUOTEGAL@YAHOO.COM.




An AEPi brother wraps tefillin with Rabbi Pinny Backman, co-director of Chabad at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla. 10





“At AEPi, we always say that we are going to live or die as a Jewish fraternity,” Robert Derdiger, CEO of Alpha Epsilon Pi, says. In fact, according to lore, antisemitism inadvertently paved the way for the creation of the 110-year-old Jewish fraternity, which has 150 active chapters across 190 college campuses in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Israel. AEPi’s 110,000 alumni include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; the late businessman and Jewish philanthropist Sheldon Adelson; Bernard Marcus, founder of Home Depot; Jewish Federations of North America president and CEO Eric Fingerhut, also a former Ohio congressman and state senator; Mike Leven, founder of the Jewish Future Pledge; former and current Citigroup, ESPN and Walt Disney Studios heads; and those across entrepreneurial fields. Alumni ranks also include many in the arts and entertainment world, such as Jerry Lewis, Richard Lewis, Gene Wilder, James L. Brooks, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel; the architect Frank Gehry, in addition to legislators, authors, journalists, sports stars and coaches, and multiple Nobel Prize winners. Here’s how Derdiger tells it. Charles C. Moskowitz received a bid from a fraternity (the identity is unknown) but when he asked if his close Jewish friends and New York University classmates could join, the request was denied. So he and 10 other founders—later dubbed the “Immortal 11”—decided in November 1913 to make their own house happen. The group, from middle-class homes and taking night courses at New York University, “banded together under New York City’s Washington Square Arch,” according to Derdiger, who speculates that antisemitism was behind the rejection of Moskowitz’s request. (He also noted that the 11 were part of the school’s basketball team.) “The story of AEPi is one of survival and thriving,” he says. “It began with these Jewish men, who were friends, venturing off on their own with the intention of creating the world’s Jewish fraternity.” Many surveys suggest that antisemitism is rife on college campuses. Recent data from Ipsos, which surveyed nearly 3,050 students—1,022 of them Jewish—found that 57% of the Jewish students witnessed or experienced an antisemitic incident.

This emphasizes “the need for strong Jewish leadership,” Derdiger says. “Jewish leadership both on campus and in the professional world is our mission.” Martin Volinsky, 33, AEPi’s Florida regional director, is a Buenos Aires native who moved to the United States when he was 10. He learned about the fraternity at a Shabbat dinner that AEPi hosted with Hillel at Florida Atlantic University, his alma mater. Volinsky, who graduated in 2012, says that students face Jewhatred “from different angles” in Florida, including from a campaign associated with Ye (aka Kanye West), which held events at Florida Atlantic, Florida State University, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida. “We at AEPi are on the frontlines when it comes to antisemitism,” he says. He acknowledged certain incidents, including one that happened at the University of Florida in Gainesville, when an antisemitic message referencing Kanye West (“Ye”) was displayed outside the Florida v. Georgia football game in Jacksonville on Oct. 29, 2022. “Within 24 hours, our student leaders put out a statement on social media to condemn it, got involved in the discussion with university administrators, and the biggest part was a community-wide Shabbat dinner to bring the community together,” he says. Volinsky also listed an incident at the University of South Florida where a new member from another fraternity had a swastika drawn on his head. AEPi got in touch with the campus Hillel and Chabad House to support an in-person discussion with a Holocaust survivor that drew hundreds of students. The fraternity announced a partnership in August with the AntiDefamation League. Robby Lefkowitz, a junior double majoring in government and Jewish studies at the University of Virginia, lives with a dozen other brothers in the AEPi house on campus. He also serves as the fraternity’s Jewish identity co-chair. “This is the place for me; I love the vibe,” he says. “A common link binds us together. We come from similar backgrounds and having a group of people around me who are Jewish represents a comfort level. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM



We look out for each other.” The 20-year-old wanted the sense of community in college that he had at the K-12 Jewish day school he attended in Rockville, Md. He has many of the same concerns as other students—grades, social life, mental health—but as a Jewish leader takes time to focus on Israel and religion. Lefkowitz attends Friday-night services and meals at both Hillel and Chabad. And this past winter, he went on a Birthright Israel trip. During his first year, Jewish and pro-Israel students successfully countered a student union push to adopt an anti-Israel policy resolution, but Lefkowitz says that there’s more work to be done. Professors often work with students on changing assignments and exam dates when it comes to Jewish holidays, but the school has no official policy on the matter for faith groups, he says. That is something for the administration to be aware of and change, he pointed out. Lefkowitz sees anti-Israel activities as “very fashionable” at the moment on certain campuses, but he thinks the sentiments come from a “loud but small minority.” He doesn’t recall any specific antisemitism on campus at his school—a campus that has been made more aware of such issues following the “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017, years before he came to Charlottesville to study. AEPi is open to diversity and has non-Jewish members, too, he added. 12


Bari Klarberg, 20, was born in Tel Aviv and moved as a child to Charlotte, N.C. There wasn’t much Jewish life at the schools he attended, so he expected to find a similar situation in Columbia, S.C., where he is now a junior double majoring in finance and real estate at the University of South Carolina. He was surprised to see more Jewish life than he anticipated. “Being Jewish is an important part of my life,” says Klarberg, who identifies strongly as Israeli. “At university, I felt that I needed to stay connected with my Judaism.” As president of the school’s AEPi chapter, he presides over 150 members, recruits new members, and organizes Shabbat dinners and the fraternity’s annual Holocaust remembrance event titled “We Walk to Remember.” He says that he came to college intent on joining a fraternity, hoping to make lifelong friends. He has found AEPi to be a “second Jewish home away from home.” “I felt joining a Jewish social fraternity as opposed to a Jewish organization on campus would allow me to always be surrounded by my Jewish brothers, as opposed to going to events once every week or two,” he says. The junior, who hopes to work in commercial real estate, credits his leadership role at AEPi with helping prepare him for the future. “I learned the art of sales by running this chapter as a business and


“The story of AEPi is one of survival and thriving. It began with these Jewish men, who were friends, venturing off on their own with the intention of creating the world’s Jewish fraternity.” developing the necessary people skills by selling myself to others,” he says. Cornell University’s Phi Tau fraternity became AEPi’s second chapter in 1917. The chapter had 52 initiates, but the fraternity faced a series of challenges during World War I when nearly all eligible members—and much of the rest of the men in the country—were called up to serve in the military. After being inactive during the war and dormant during World War II, AEPi and other college fraternities saw steady growth until the Vietnam War, when “an anti-establishment atmosphere spilled over to negatively impact fraternity life,” Derdiger says. After the war ended in 1975, other fraternities began to welcome Jewish students into their ranks. But many saw themselves as a “historically Jewish fraternity” or a “Jewish heritage fraternity,” while AEPi is unapologetically Jewish, according to Derdiger. On its website, AEPi describes itself as “a brotherhood of individuals united by Jewish values and a commitment to the Jewish people.” AEPi holds great promise for expansion, according to its CEO, who assumed his role last year. It plans to reopen chapters and to reach 175 campuses in the next 10 years—a more than 16.5% expansion,

he says. The fraternity is opening chapters at the University of Southern California and University of Massachusetts, and even at Yeshiva University, despite the undergraduate student population at Yeshiva being almost entirely Jewish. Derdiger says that a group of Yeshiva students approached AEPi and expressed interest in its leadership training. “We believe that this group of students will benefit our fraternity and add to our members’ experience as they can add to the diversity of experiences, thoughts and perspectives in AEPi,” he says.








ctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month — an important reminder for millions of women around the world who undoubtedly have been touched by the disease. Researchers in Israel don’t need a reminder as they are constantly working towards cures, better diagnostics, and treatments for breast cancer. Researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) Faculty of Medicine, are among the leaders working on new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to a disease that killed more than 43,000 women in the US in 2022, according to the American Cancer Society. In fact, eleven of the 72 researchers in TAU’s Cancer Biology Research Center (CBRC) focus exclusively on breast and ovarian cancers. Surprisingly, it’s not breast cancer itself that led to many of these deaths, according to Professor Neta Erez, Vice Dean of TAU’s Faculty of Medicine. Her laboratory studies the role that tumor metastasis plays when the breast cancer spreads to other organs, such as the brain, lungs, and bones. Because there is no cure for metastatic disease, she and her team members work to understand the biology and mechanics of breast cancer cells, trying to prevent metastasis. To this end, her laboratory “grows” tumors by 3D printing them from the patient’s cells, to study the interaction between breast cancer cells and cells that surround it, seeking to understand, and hopefully interrupt, communication between cancer and normal cells, thereby blocking the development of metastasis. Last year, Professor Erez reported on a new treatment can significantly increase the efficacy of chemotherapy and prevent metastasis, developing a treatment combination that reduced the incidence of lung metastasis following chemotherapy from 52% to only 6%. Professor Erez has also discovered changes in healthy lung tissue which indicate their preparation to receive metastases. The changes were identified in the area known as “the microenvironment” of the tumor, and specifically in connective tissue known as fibroblasts. Researchers claim that these changes in the tissues are an early sign for the possible development metastases. Understanding the metastatic process and its diagnosis at such an early stage may lead to life-saving prophylactic treatment. Professor Noam Shomron, Head of TAU’s Functional Genomics Laboratory looks at breast cancer from a genetic standpoint, focusing on microRNAs, tiny molecules found inside our cells that act like “gene controllers” by influencing which genes are active and which are not. “In the context of breast cancer, our lab has discovered that certain microRNAs can help put a stop to the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, which is a major concern with cancer,” Professor Shomron says, echoing Professor Erez’s

“In the context of breast cancer, our lab has discovered that certain microRNAs can help put a stop to the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, which is a major concern with cancer,” Professor Shomron says. research. “Our experiments were carried out on the most aggressive type of breast cancer, ‘triple negative cancer.’ Although our experiments used a mouse model, computational analysis predicts that this might also apply to breast cancer in women. “MicroRNAs act as genetic traffic cops. They attach themselves to specific genes that are involved in cancer growth and spreading. Once attached, microRNAs act like red lights, blocking those genes from giving out their problematic instructions. By doing this, microRNAs can slow down or even halt the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body. This is really important because when cancer spreads, it becomes much harder to treat.” Professor Shomron has proven that microRNAs can stop the spread of breast cancer in mice once they are introduced to the vicinity of the primary tumor. The discovery opens new possibilities for breast cancer treatment, and he is now looking into advanced methods to use microRNAs to help keep cancer under control. Breast cancer tumors themselves are still at the center of TAU cancer research, however. Professor Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, Director of the CBRC and the Head of the Cancer Research and Nanomedicine Laboratory at the School of Medicine, made waves with the world’s first fully functioning 3D-bioprinted model of deadly glioblastoma brain tumors. Now she plans to expand the approach to other malignancies, including breast cancer, as a tool to accelerate new therapy testing, expedite treatment decisions, and improve patient outcomes. The TAU approach to breast cancer diagnosis also crosses disciplinary divides. Most recently, researchers led by Professor Rani Elkon of the Department of Human Molecular Genetics




and Biochemistry and Professor Ron Shamir at TAU’s Blavatnik School of Computer Science have developed a computational model that makes it possible to predict an individual woman’s risk of developing breast cancer based on her genetic profile. Once breast cancer is diagnosed, it must be treated therapeutically. Professor Adit Ben-Baruch, Incumbent of The David Furman Chair for Immunobiology of Cancer, and her laboratory hope to provide better and personalized therapeutic modalities in breast cancer. “Our approach is based on understanding the way the inflammatory/immune microenvironment affects pro-malignancy functions in breast tumor cells and its impact on tumor-stroma interactions,” she says. Professor Ben-Baruch hopes that her work will promote personalized treatment for breast cancer victims. “The battle against breast cancer has been challenged by the fact that, generally, each component is studied meticulously, but singly,” she explains. “Too little attention is paid to the interactions between the tumor cells and their intimate microenvironment, consisting of various cells and soluble factors. Such cross-talks often promote breast cancer development and aggravate disease course; thus, identifying such interactions is crucial for the design of improved therapeutic modalities that are the most effective for the treatment of each individual patient, and thus are ‘custom-tailored.’” The TAU approach to breast cancer research also crosses disciplinary divides. Most recently, TAU researchers led by Professor Rani Elkon of the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and 16


Biochemistry and Professor Ron Shamir at TAU’s Blavatnik School of Computer Science have developed a computational model that makes it possible to predict an individual woman’s genetic risk of developing breast cancer based on her genetic profile. It isn’t only in research laboratories where Tel Aviv University is making a difference in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. In addition to groundbreaking research, TAU emphasizes patient-centered care and support for breast cancer victims and their families. It has developed comprehensive programs to provide them with the information and resources they need to navigate the complexities of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, focusing on holistic well-being and improved patient outcomes. Breast cancer research at Tel Aviv University is making remarkable progress, offering hope to countless individuals affected by this disease. The dedication of these women and men to personalized medicine, early detection, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, genetic research, and patient-centered care underscores their commitment to advancing breast cancer treatment and ultimately finding a cure. As TAU continues its journey towards eradicating breast cancer, the world watches with anticipation, knowing that each breakthrough brings us one step closer to a future without this devastating disease.

TEST YOUR JEWISH IQTM 1. Which of these is not a day of joyful celebration? ____a. Tu B’Av ____b. Tisha B’Av ____c. Tu B’Shevat ____d. All of the above 2. With some exceptions, what is the minimum required duration of service for men in the Israeli Defense Forces once they turn 18? ____a. Eight months to one year ____b. One year and eight months to two years ____c. Two years and eight months to three years ____d. Three years and eight months to four years

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3. Which biblical figure was the first to accept the bedrock principles of Judaism of worshipping only one god and rejecting idol worship? ____a. Adam ____b. Noah ____c. Abraham ____d. Jacob 4. Which American-born Jew became an Orthodox rabbi, cofounded the Jewish Defense League, popularized the slogans “Never again” and “For every Jew a .22,” founded the Israeli party Kach, served as a Member of Knesset until being convicted of terrorism, and was assassinated in 1990? ____a. Meir Kahane ____b. Whitey Bulger ____c. Morris Kravitz ____d. Alexander Portnoy 5. Although the Torah gives the duration of Israel’s stay in Egypt as 430 years, according to Rashi, their actual sojourn in Egypt lasted how long? ____a. 100 years ____b. 210 years ____c. 320 years ____d. 430 years 6. Which of these is a rough partial translation of a pungent Yiddish saying? ____a. You can’t dance with one tuchus at two weddings ____b. From a kleine seed, a grosse tree grows

____c. Make schnell, don’t kvell ____d. Every mishpocha has its mishegas 7. After Jacob’s daughter Dinah was raped and kidnapped by Shechem, the leader of his city, what action did two of Dinah’s teenaged brothers, Simeon and Levi, take? ____a. They confronted Shechem and demanded Dinah’s release ____b. They surreptitiously freed and escaped with Dinah ____c. They slew Shechem and rescued Dinah ____d. They slaughtered all the adult males of the city, including Shechem 8. About what percentage of U.S. Jews say caring about Israel is either “essential” or “important” to what being Jewish means to them? ____a. 20% ____b. 40% ____c. 60% ____d. 80% 9. Jews are commanded to give up their lives rather than perform any of the following sins, but which one? ____a. Violating Shabbat ____b. Murder ____c. Adultery ____d. Idolatry 10. The celebrity, Danny Thomas, helped which struggling young ultra-Orthodox rabbi to pay his way through medical school, after which this rabbi became a world-renowned psychiatrist, expert on addiction, and author of dozens of books on addiction, mental health, religious law, and commentaries on Jewish texts? ____a. Joseph Telushkin ____b. Abraham Twerski ____c. Dennis Prager ____d. Yisrael Meir Kagan

Answers on page 25. ©

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his recipe is heaven. And all it takes is 10 minutes to prepare. That is beyond heaven! Every time I serve this, the reviews are top notch. Feel free to swap the sourdough for sliced baguette, grilled pita, or when you’re out of bread, use your favorite crackers. I always keep a jar of truffle honey in my pantry. Remember, a little bit goes a long way.

2. Using a spatula, gently fold the chopped chives, salt and pepper into the ricotta.

Whipped Chive Ricotta with Truffle Honey & Grilled Sourdough

5. Drizzle the truffle honey over the whipped ricotta and serve alongside the grilled sourdough.

Serves 8 people INGREDIENTS

1 container (16 oz/454 g) whole milk ricotta cheese 1 tablespoon finely minced chives pinch of kosher salt pinch of black pepper 1 loaf of sourdough, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices 1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons truffle honey PREPARATION

1. Using a stand or handheld mixer or handheld mixer fitted with the wire whisk, whip the ricotta on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

3. Heat your grill or grill pan to mediumhigh heat. 4. Brush the tops of the sliced sourdough with the olive oil and grill for 1-2 minutes per side, until golden.


Sourdough is best grilled just before serving. Whipped Ricotta can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours (although the ricotta will be fluffiest when served immediately after whipping). Culinary educator and Sharsheret Board Member Kim Kushner is the best-selling author of ‘The Modern Table,’ ‘I Heart Kosher,’ ‘The New Kosher,’ and ‘The Modern Menu.’ Raised in Montreal, Canada, Kim learned to cook at an early age from her Moroccan-born mother and spent summers with family in Israel. In 2005, she launched Kim Kushner Cuisine and now travels the world teaching her wildly popular cooking classes. Kim’s cooking style reflects her busy life as a wife, mother of four,

teacher, and author. She’s become well-known in New York City and abroad for her healthy and hearty dishes made from locally grown produce. Visit kimkushner.com/ for more information. Join Sharsheret in the Kitchen for “Fall Favorites” a free virtual healthy cooking demo with Kim Kushner on Thursday, October 26 at 5pm PDT/ 8pm EDT. Register at https://link. sharsheret.org/kimkushner23. This program is part of the “Sharsheret in the Kitchen” series, bringing nutritious and delicious kosher ideas to empower all of us at risk for breast and ovarian cancer to make healthier diet choices thanks to generous support from Cedars-Sinai. 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 INFORMATION, VISIT SHARSHERET.ORG OR CALL (866) 474-2774.




Israel Under Attack


he fighting within Israel and in the Gaza Strip continued as we went to press on Monday, more than three days after the surprise Hamas attack began. IDF forces are still actively engaged with terrorists. Over 700 Israelis have been murdered and over 2,200 people have been injured. Additionally, soldiers and dozens of civilians, including young children, have been kidnapped to the Gaza Strip. The official count of hostages is yet to be determined. A political source confirms: "Egypt is conducting a one-sided dialogue with Hamas for the humanitarian release of elderly and children who have been kidnapped." OUR LIVES HAVE CHANGED BEYOND RECOGNITION

By Leah Garber, JCC Association Israel, October 6, 2023


srael as of 6:30 a.m. this morning is an entirely different country than it was last night. Our lives have changed beyond recognition, and we are at the beginning of an event whose horror only becomes clearer as the hours pass.



Exactly 50 years have elapsed since the shock of the Yom Kippur War, which is burned into Israeli memory like a scar that refuses to heal, a demon that won't let go. Today, once again, in the midst of a holiday, our entire country awoke to the reality that peace had suddenly been violated by a brutal, planned attack, intended for one thing: to harm and kill innocent Israelis—including women, children, and the elderly—who were forcefully taken from their beds and dragged into Gaza. At this difficult time, when the scope of the disaster is still unknown, it is so hard to write, to express in words the pain, the shock, the fear, and the worry for our kids who are now making their way down south and up north to join the war. It affects my many family members, sons of friends, and all Israelis who are fighting, shoulder to shoulder, against a cruel, monstrous enemy who drags children into the darkness of cellars. This is what they do; this is who they are; and they are who we are fighting. What I can express is the unequivocal belief in the righteousness of our lives here in Israel, our homeland. We are here by virtue; this is


our home, the only one we have; and we seek peace. The horrors that woke us early today and forced us into the shelters were not preceded by any Israeli provocation. On the contrary. Israel is going through a difficult period of continuous acts of terrorism in our cities, and the army is struggling to put out the flames, not arouse them. How terrible that our enemy seeks to ignite the flames, set the area ablaze, and wreak destruction.



• Support friends and relatives and refer people in distress to seek professional assistance • Join the fight online • Donate money to trustable organizations and ensure that the money goes directly to those in need • Provide support to the local Jewish Student Organizations




The Levys of Monticello

Hadassah Presents their Documentary


adassah San Diego’s Bat Harim Group, in collaboration with Poway’s Temple Adat Shalom and Ner Tamid Synagogue, presents The Levys of Monticello, the astonishing and little-known story about the Jewish life of Monticello. This fascinating 2022 documentary tells the sweeping saga of the Jewish Levy family who saved Thomas Jefferson’s iconic Monticello home from ruin and preserved it from the 1830s to 1920s. Monticello, the cherished home of Thomas Jefferson, had fallen into serious disrepair by the time of Jefferson’s death on July 4, 1826. Jefferson was heavily in debt, thus his heirs had no choice but to sell the property. Uriah Phillips Levy and the Levy family greatly admired Thomas Jefferson, especially the role he played in guaranteeing religious freedom in the newly established United States. Uriah Levy had risen to become the first Jewish Commodore in the United States Navy and had endured persistent anti-Semitism throughout his 50-year career. He felt it was his duty to rescue this important landmark. After Uriah’s death, ownership eventually passed to his 22


nephew, Jefferson Monroe Levy, a wealthy New York businessman and stock speculator who served two terms in the United States Congress. Jefferson Levy also endured anti-Semitism, particularly when a woman named Maud Littleton mounted a national campaign to wrest ownership of Monticello away from Levy in hopes of turning it into a government-run shrine to Thomas Jefferson. While focusing on the Levy family’s 89-year ownership and preservation of Monticello, The Levys of Monticello tells the broader story about the anti-Semitism that is present throughout American history. The film also addresses the pivotal role that enslaved people played at Monticello, during both Thomas Jefferson’s and Uriah Levy’s years as owners. Produced and directed by Steven Pressman, the film received the Building Bridges Jury Prize Award at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Washington DC Jewish Film Festival, and the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2022 Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival.



For 100 years, Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah Villages have helped educate, feed, counsel, shelter, and provide emotional and social support services for at-risk Israeli children and immigrants from Russia and other countries where it’s dangerous to be a Jew. Today, Youth Aliyah continues to provide a safe haven and promising start to refugees and is the new home to 40 Ukrainian students. Youth Aliyah sets them on the path to a successful future, providing love, a safe environment, and a feeling of home, family, and belonging. Youth Aliyah started in Europe during WWII to rescue Jewish children from the Nazis. Hadassah’s founder, Henrietta Szold, was asked to open a branch of Youth Aliyah in what was then Palestine. In 1934, with Hadassah’s support, Henrietta opened the first Youth Aliyah Village, Meir Shfeyah, saving 30,000 children who Henrietta managed to rescue from Nazi hands. In 1948, Hadassah Neurim

opened in North Central Israel as a refuge for children fleeing the gunfire from Israel’s War of Independence. Many Youth Aliyah students are immigrants; they have no knowledge or understanding of their Jewish heritage. Youth Aliyah offers them programs to enhance their knowledge of Judaism, its history, language, culture, and customs, and teaches them to speak Hebrew and English. Meir Shfeyah has everything from computer and science labs to a gym, synagogue, dairy, chicken farm, computerized greenhouse, organic farm, vineyards, and orchards. The Village operates vocational training with programs in high-tech auto repair, precision toolmaking, and wine making. Music plays an important part in the healing and lives of Youth Aliyah’s children. Students study instrumental music and voice and perform for audiences across Israel and beyond, and Youth Aliyah students have gone on to careers as opera singers and symphony members. The new Meir Shfeyah Technology Center offers training in technology areas such as mechatronics and robotics, providing students with expertise in industries that will define the future. Hadassah Neurim programs include sound and audio workshops, animal therapy, pre-army preparation, and carpentry, as well as programs for special needs students and athletically gifted youth. Thanks to the staff, programs, education, and experiences provided through Youth Aliyah, the students complete their Bagrut (graduation) requirements at twice the national average, and 97% of graduates do their army service in the Israel Defense Force. Since the inception of Youth Aliyah, more than 300,000 students from 80 lands have been housed, educated, and graduated from these villages. This must-see film is being shown at a venue in Poway on Sunday, November 5, from 2-5 p.m. There will be a conversation with producer/ director Steven Pressman following the movie. Desserts and beverages will be served. FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER TO ATTEND AND/ OR DONATE TO YOUTH ALIYAH VISIT EVENTS.HADASSAH.ORG/ LEVYSOFMONTICELLO.




Jerusalem Zoo Seeks Financing Reaches out to San Diego Zoo BY DONALD H. HARRISON

Shor Masori, with grandmother Nancy Harrison, grandfather Donald Harrison, and retired Federal Magistrate Victor Bianchini. Photo by Vincent Andrunas.


f you were a Zoo and you had an anniversary wish list, what would be on it? Supporters of the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem found out during a Thursday, Sept. 7, luncheon at the San Diego Zoo. The two zoological gardens have a cooperative relationship. Ranging from $15,000 to $1 million, the Jerusalem Zoo seeks financing for 17 projects. These include “enrichment facilities” for monkeys; a new aquarium tank; a viewing platform for an aviary; the dredging of a lake named for the late Ellen Barnett of Rancho Bernardo; training programs for its animal-assisted therapy programs; classrooms at the animal house; and infrastructure for its Australian Yard, Bible Land Wildlife Reserve, African Yard, Wet Side Story exhibit, and other portions of the Zoo. Other projects include trains for tourists, including those with disabilities; a veterinary ambulance to whisk injured or sick animals



to the zoo hospital; and construction of a Red Sea Living Coral Reef. The luncheon featured short talks by alumni of the two zoos’ program bringing high school students who work at the Jerusalem Zoo to San Diego to learn about operations at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park and to visit other area attractions as well. They are accompanied throughout their visit by San Diegans of the same ages. “One of the most beautiful aspects of this program was the cultural exchange it fostered,” my grandson, Shor Masori, recalled to the luncheon group in the Zoo’s Treetop Room. “It provided us with a unique opportunity to interact with Israelis and Palestinians outside the confines and walls that are so often put between these two communities,” he says. He says he brought the lessons with him to UC Berkeley, from which he just graduated with a degree in psychology. “It’s clear to me now that true understanding could only be achieved through open dialogue, empathy, and cooperation,” he says. “This mindset shaped my interactions on campus, as I strove to bring the same spirit of unity and cultural exchange to others.” Mauricio Schwartzman, a vice president of asset management at Goldman Sachs, and Nik Bandak, CEO of Bandak Property Management, both participated in the program approximately 20 years ago. Schwartzman recalled the friendships he formed. Bandak commented, “Now I have three young boys – twin 5-year-olds and an 18-month-old, and I think the things that I have learned in the program are things that I am trying to teach them.” The luncheon program was emceed by Retired U.S. Magistrate Victor Bianchini, underwritten by Leonard Hirsch, and coordinated by Helena Galper, the San Diego consultant to the Jerusalem Zoo, which also is known as the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem. Among attendees was former U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego), a longtime supporter of the cooperative program between the two Zoos. Information for potential donors is available via the Jerusalem Zoo website at www.israeltoremet.org/amuta/511849937 DONALD H. HARRISON IS EDITOR EMERITUS OF SAN DIEGO JEWISH WORLD. HE MAY BE CONTACTED AT DONALD. HARRISON@SDJEWISHWORLD.COM.


Stav Festival

Fueling Israeli art, stage and musical performances From the stage production, “Best Friends,” part of the Stav Festival in New York City. PHOTO BY OHAD KAB.


he Israeli Artists Project is holding the Stav Festival, named after the Hebrew word for “fall,” from Sept. 28 through Oct. 29 in New York City. With participation from 100-plus Israeli artists, the program offers a mix of theatrical plays, live music performances, an art exhibit, children’s activities and interactive workshops. “It is strategically timed around the Jewish holidays,” according to the project’s founder, Yoni Vendriger, “a period when New York City sees an influx of tourists and locals alike seeking cultural experiences. While the festival is deeply rooted in Israeli culture, its appeal is universal. We aim to bridge cultural gaps and invite everyone, irrespective of their background. It’s not just about appealing to those familiar with Israeli culture but also introducing and celebrating it with a broader audience.” Among the selections, the award-winning “Best Friends” by Anat

Gov—the longest-running comedy in Israel—clinched the Israel National Theater Award for Best Comedy in 1999. Not just limited to Hebrew, the play will also be presented in English. Also on tap is the premiere of the New York version of “The Holylander,” four short stories offering a glimpse into how the Israeli “Generation Y” navigates identity and belonging, realizing that Israel remains not just a geographical location but a state of mind. Vendriger says the artists are driven by a shared vision: “to showcase the depth, diversity and dynamism of Israeli culture. Through their performances, they hope to challenge stereotypes, foster understanding and build bridges between different communities. They aim to present Israel beyond the headlines, highlighting its rich artistic heritage and contemporary creativity.” THE FULL PROGRAM IS AVAILABLE AT: WWW.STAVFESTIVAL.ORG. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM


FEATURE STORY The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. PHOTO BY YOSSI ZELIGER/TPS.



n the ever-evolving battle against cancer, Israeli researchers have uncovered a previously unknown strategy employed by cancer cells to evade detection by the immune system. The findings may open the door for doctors to increase the effectiveness of current cancer treatments. The research, led by professor Yifat Merbl of the Weizmann Institute of Science, sheds light on the intricate world of cellular waste processing and its role in cancer’s ability to fly under the radar of our immune defenses. The team’s findings were recently published in the peer-reviewed Nature Cancer journal. At the heart of this discovery lies the proteasome, the cellular machinery responsible for breaking down damaged or worn-out proteins into shorter protein chains known as peptides. These peptides play a critical role in shaping the cellular profile presented to the immune system. When these profiles appear suspicious, the immune system takes action to eliminate the potentially harmful cell. Cancer, however, throws a wrench into this finely tuned system. Regulatory processes in cancer cells become disrupted, increasing the chances of abnormal proteins being produced and presented as antigens on the cell’s surface. Despite their suspicious antigen profiles, the cancer cells manage to avoid immune detection. Merbl’s team examined proteasome degradation activity in patientderived tumor cells. Their work culminated in the creation of the first-ever map of proteasome degradation activity in these cells. The research involved comparing peptides derived from cancer cells with those from adjacent noncancerous tissue. The researchers observed differences not only in the subset of degraded proteins but also in the processing and cutting of these peptides. “We looked at the cancerous tissue and wondered—what is different about the structure of its proteasomes?” said Merbl. They discovered a significant presence of the protein PSME4 within the proteasomes of cancerous tissues. PSME4, one of the regulatory “caps” that make up the proteasome, was rarely found in proteasomes from non-cancerous tissues. This finding led the team to delve deeper into the unique degradation style of PSME4-enriched proteasomes. 26


The analogy provided by the researchers is that different proteasomes are like chefs with distinct seasoning preferences. Some favor a “sour” flavor, while others create “sweeter” peptides more appealing to immune cells. The Weizmann team found that higher levels of PSME4 led to an increased production of sour peptides and a decreased quantity of sweet-flavored peptides. This imbalance, the researchers said, makes it difficult for the immune system to accurately identify cancer cells, resulting in a compromised immune response. The researchers hypothesized that elevated PSME4 levels in a tumor might diminish a patient’s response to immunotherapy, a treatment designed to enhance the immune system’s ability to combat cancer. To validate their theory, they turned to online databases containing information on various cancers and patients’ responses to treatments. Their findings were striking. While proteasome subunits in different types of cancer exhibited significant heterogeneity, high levels of PSME4 were consistently associated with reduced responsiveness to immunotherapy. To further confirm the connection between PSME4 and immune response, the researchers conducted experiments with mouse models of lung cancer. When mice received injections of cancer cells with reduced PSME4 expression, their immune systems efficiently eliminated the tumors. In contrast, injections of cancer cells with excessive PSME4 resulted in large tumors and a feeble immune response. Importantly, mice without an adaptive immune system were unaffected by changes in PSME4 levels, further reinforcing the link between PSME4 and the immune response. “Our study focused on the proteasome in lung cancer, but our data indicate that there are other cancer types where PSME4 is abnormally abundant,” Merbl explained. Merbl added that her lab is actively exploring the development of treatments that could reduce PSME4 levels in cancer—or block its binding to the proteasome—which would potentially render tumors more vulnerable to immunotherapy.

ANSWERS TO TEST YOUR JEWISH IQTM 1. b. Tisha B’Av, the ninth of the month of Av, is a day of mourning and fasting, commemorating national tragedies. 2. c. As of 2022, men are required to serve in the IDF for two years and eight months, with three years required for some roles. Women are required to serve for two years, with an additional eight months for some roles. 3. c. According to a Midrash, Abraham destroyed all the idols but one in the shop of his father Terach, who was an idol maker, and told his father that the surviving idol had been the vandal. 4. a. Rabbi Meir Kahane’s legacy continues to influence militant political groups active in Israel today. 5. b. According to Rashi, 210 years was the time from the Jews coming down to Egypt to their exodus. The time to their exodus from when their slavery was first foretold to Abraham at the Covenant of the Parts was 430 years. 6. a. “You can’t dance ...” means we can’t take every opportunity that comes our way. Sometimes we have to pick and choose. 7. d. After Simeon and Levi killed all the males of the city, their brothers took captive the women and children and plundered everything in the city and in the field. The cities around Shechem were too terrified to pursue Jacob’s sons. 8. d. 82%, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted from Nov. 2019 to June 2020. 9. a. Shabbat may be violated to reduce a risk of loss of life. 10. b. Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski was the scion of a long line of prominent rabbis descended from the 18th-Century founder of Hassidic Judaism, the Baal Shem Tov. _________________________________________ 0–2 Talmid/Talmida (Student) 3–5 Melamed/Melamedet (Teacher) 6–8 Talmid Chacham/Talmidat Chacham (Scholar) 9 – 10 Gaon/Gaona (Genius) _________________________________________ Your comments are welcome at Felber@Jewish-IQ.com ©2023 Felber, Starmark, Inc., all rights reserved.






n the world of long-distance running, every step is a testament to determination and perseverance. That’s what makes Israeli Defense Forces Col. (res.) Uri Levi’s decision to participate in the upcoming New York City Marathon all the more bold. In 2020, doctors were compelled to remove a lobe of his lungs after he collapsed during the Tiberias Marathon. Three years later, Levi is getting ready to lead a team of 130 Israelis competing in the NYC Marathon on Nov. 5 to raise money for Shalva—The Israel Association for Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. But his journey to becoming a marathon runner was not smooth and straight. It was filled with challenges, setbacks, and ultimately, redemption. Levi’s story begins in 2020, when he and his brothers Noam and Neria made a family pact to quit smoking and get into shape. After participating in several local races, Uri convinced his brothers to join him in his goal of completing the full 42.195-km. (26-mile, 385yard) Tiberias Marathon. It took a bit of persuasion, but he got them on board. The trio spent the next months training intensively for the big day, with Uri serving as their coach. But during a run days before the marathon, Uri suffered severe shortness of breath. Uri, who’d recovered several months earlier from the coronavirus, chalked up his weakness to mild aftereffects. “My weakness persisted, and I experienced occasional bouts of shortness of breath, but I wasn’t about to back out of the marathon. My brothers and I had trained for months. We’d all quit smoking and 28


we were really proud of ourselves and committed to making it to the finish line,” he recalled. The long-awaited day dawned. The weather was perfect for running and Uri laced up his running shoes. The run started out fine for Uri but things swiftly deteriorated. NEVER BACK DOWN

He didn’t feel well; every yard felt like a mile, every mile like an eternity. But military life taught him to never back down, so he continued on despite feeling like his lungs were exploding. Slightly past the halfway mark, Levi collapsed and was rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with spontaneous pneumothorax, a condition in which gas builds up in the space between the lungs and the chest wall. Risk factors include smoking and activities such as scuba diving, being at high altitudes and flying. Untreated, the condition can lead to dangerously low oxygen levels in the blood. As a result, doctors removed an entire lobe of Levi’s lungs in an emergency procedure. Recovery took time, but he eventually returned to his work as a career IDF officer. Later on, he began working out and then running short distances. “It bothered me that after all I’d invested, I’d never completed the marathon, and I was pretty sure that my marathon days were over,” Levi said. Fast forward to 2023. After 25 years of service, Levi retired from the army, determined to devote his talents to the nonprofit sector.


Metastatic Breast Cancer Research, Support and Awareness

Levi is getting ready to lead a team of 130 Israelis competing in the NYC Marathon on Nov. 5 to raise money for Shalva — The Israel Association for Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.


Todd S. Frank, CLU

4660 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite 300 • San Diego 92122 (858)202-2366 • Cell: (858) 922-1415 tfrank@financialguide.com

He settled on Shalva, a Jerusalem-based organization that provides therapies, educational frameworks, social activities, employment training and more for thousands of people with disabilities and their families. In 2022, 65 Israeli runners—the first time a team ran the race in support of Shalva—crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon. “When I came to Shalva, I asked the staff what I could do help. As a retired career officer who had fought in Gaza, in Shomron [Samaria] and Lebanon, they asked me if I’d be willing to talk to the members of Team Shalva who will be running in this year’s upcoming marathon and inspire them,” Levi said. “Getting to know the group and their goals, I was the one who was inspired.” Levi was impressed to learn that Team Shalva has doubled its group of runners in just one year. On Nov. 5, a team of 130 Israelis from all walks of life ran in the race through New York City’s five boroughs. Levi recruited his two brothers to collectively raise 100,000 shekels ($26,000) and run with Team Shalva. “Every day is a marathon for our Shalva families,” said Itamar Shevach, Shalva’s deputy director and chief financial officer, who led the Shalva team and ran in last year’s NYC marathon. “With dedication and determination, Shalva’s kids and adults navigate enormous challenges day in and day out, and they’re an inspiration to us all.”







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