HADASSAH: The power of Women Who Do
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contents November 2021 • www.lchaimmagazine.com
COVER STORY Hadassah: The Power of Women Who Do .................................................................................................
1000 WORDS Part of the Story: ‘Olim’ and Israel Mark Aliyah Day.....................................................................
FOOD The Kosher Baker's Fruit Galette.............................................................................................................
FEATURES Ruth Weber and Emilia Lopez Yañez release new music, inspired by immigrant stories..................................................................................................................
Theater Review: Ben Butler........................................................................................................................ Success and Growth at SDJA.................................................................................................................. Children's Nature Retreat............................................................................................................................
Smartphones Around the World............................................................................................................. Can a Synagogue Feel Open with Locked Doors?....................................................................
COLUMNS Prayers & Passages..................................
PART OF THE STORY
20 21 22 23
The Israeli Company Quietly Securing Sensitive
Mazel & Mishagoss.................................
PUBLISHERS Diane Benaroya & Laurie Miller
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TORAH l BY RABBI-CANTOR CHERI WEISS
& passages Chanukah and the Mitzvah of Kindness
s a youngster, Chanukah was my favorite Jewish holiday. I admit that it was mainly about the presents. I was caught up in the whole gift-giving madness of the season. Each year I agonized over whether or not I would get the gifts I had my heart set on. As I grew older, I was wracked with anxiety over what gifts to give to my family and friends. All these years later, I don’t remember a single gift received or purchased. (I do, however, recall asking for the game “Battleship” and being incensed when my mother determined that it was a more appropriate gift for my brother!) What I do remember vividly (besides the early lesson in sexism) was the joy I felt when sitting around the table with my family, eating latkes, playing with dreidels and lighting candles. I can even recall making sour faces at those who ate their latkes with apple sauce instead of sour cream. The horror! I moved to Israel in my early 20s and stayed for six inspiring years. Ever the American Jew, imagine my surprise upon learning that in that country, Chanukah was not considered as a gift-giving holiday. The Christmas-inspired frenzy that permeated the American Jewish community had not reached the Holy Land. Recalibrating my relationship with this holiday, I reveled in the joyous ambience that permeated the streets 6
L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER 2021
of Tel Aviv during the morning rush to buy sufganiot (jelly-filled donuts), a special food that was only available around the time of Chanukah. I also marveled at seeing the lit Chanukiot (Chanukah menorahs) glowing from the windows of so many homes. It was a relief to focus my attention on something that was larger than myself. In late October, we read the Torah parsha “Vayeira.” As the story unfolds, Abraham (who was likely still recovering from the circumcision described at the end of the previous parsha) looks up to see three men standing nearby. “When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground…” (Genesis 18:2) Imploring them to stay for a while for some rest and nourishment, we are told that, “… Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. ‘Quick,’ he said, ‘get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread’” (Genesis 18:6). Notice the words used: Abraham runs from his tent to greet the guests. He hurried to speak to Sarah about preparing food for their guests, while insisting that she do so quickly. We see Abraham’s sense of urgency to perform the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim (hospitality to wayfarers). Even post-circumcision pain could not dampen
his eagerness to show kindness to others. Abraham did not just fulfill these mitzvot (even before they were officially declared mitzvot), he embraced them with joy. We, too, should feel this kind of excitement when we have the opportunity to fulfill a mitzvah, especially one that has a loving, positive impact on others. Let us approach this festival of lights by bringing light into the world of others through mitzvot: feeding the hungry, attending a shiva minyan, visiting the sick, welcoming the stranger into our midst, among many others. Let us do so with joy and compassion, and yes, even a sense of urgency. The next time an opportunity to fulfill a mitzvah of kindness presents itself, I hope that, like Abraham, you will quickly run to perform it." RABBI-CANTOR CHERI WEISS IS THE FOUNDER AND SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THE SAN DIEGO OUTREACH SYNAGOGUE, A POST-DENOMINATIONAL CONGREGATION THAT WELCOMES PEOPLE OF ALL AGES AND BACKGROUNDS INTERESTED IN EXPLORING A UNIQUE MIXTURE OF TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSIC, PRAYER AND LEARNING. SHE TEACHES JUDAIC STUDIES AT THE SAN DIEGO JEWISH ACADEMY.
MY COMIC RELIEF l BY SALOMON MAYA
I Got a Woke to Tell Ya
would like to begin by apologizing to our readers for my absence. Some of you clamored for my return and I thank all three of you. I do have a ton to say obviously, and approximately three of you (two of which are my parents) want to read it. I am a recovering failed stand-up comic. What does that mean? Well, I tried for two years in Los Angeles to make my living as someone who tried to make people laugh. I failed. But that’s okay. I learned invaluable lessons like never drink copious amounts of Jägermeister before a set. Drunk comics are NOT funny. You know what is funny. Dave Chappelle. Recently Dave has entangled himself in quite the controversy of things you can and cannot say on stage while attempting to make people laugh. So let me take out that dusty ‘ol soapbox of mine and state my opinion. Comedy should have no rules. Dave Chappelle is a brilliant comic. His brand of humor is shocking, topical, and controversial. What Dave Chappelle’s 8
L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER 2021
comedy isn’t, is hate-filled or transphobic. Again, let me state the obvious. This is my personal opinion. By stating this opinion, it does not mean I am also hate-filled or transphobic either. I accept a community’s right to basic civil rights. I also accept that I can laugh at said community with a well-crafted joke at their behalf. For the love of God, I’m both Jewish and Mexican…we’ve been making fun of ourselves since God made us out of maizeflavored matzo meal. The beauty of comedy is that it takes a receptor for it to be considered comedy. A comic can stand in the middle of the forest and say a joke, but if there isn’t anyone around, is it funny? Dave Chappelle can stand on stage and do a set on whatever he wants. It’s you, as the receptor, to decide whether you want to hear it or not. You even have the right to get angry, upset, even offended. It’s the beauty of art! Feeling something isn’t wrong, it’s what we, as artists, are trying to accomplish. But
where I draw the line is when you (again as the audience) decide that what you heard is so offensive that I (another member of the audience) should never hear from that artist again. The beauty of comedy is that there is no one sole judge, jury, and executioner. If you didn’t like the special, don’t watch it. Dave has the right to say jokes. You have the right to not like them. I have a right to laugh at them. It’s that simple. And that’s no woke — err — joke. In the end, follow the sage words of a comedian taken from us way too soon. One of my favorites, Mitch Hedberg who once said: “I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it. SALOMON MAYA IS A LOCAL EMMY-WINNER, ACTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @SALOMAYA OR EMAIL HIM AT SALOMONM@LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM.
Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam asher kideshanu be-mitzvotav, ve-tzivanu le-hadlik ner shel Hanukah.
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Sam Parker (left) hiking in the Jordan Valley with a friend. CREDIT: COURTESY.
L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER 2021
PART OF THE STORY: HAVING MADE THE MOVE, 'OLIM' AND ISRAEL MARK ALIYAH DAY
y the time newly minted Israeli Shira Denise Kilemnic Mac and her husband, Abraham, along with their two youngsters, stepped off the plane in Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport on July 22, her reputation had preceded her by a full six months. It came in the form of a music video that had gone viral in Israel through online and news outlets and around the globe with more than 10,700 hits. “People still stop me on the street here and ask, ‘Are you Shira Denise? Aren’t you the one who sings that song?” That’s because last January, Mac released “Ra’anana,” recorded in her Argentina home (including in the bathtub). Here, Mac recasts Camila Cabello’s familiar “Havana” with new lyrics of English, Spanish and Hebrew honoring their soon-to-be home in Israel. “It was like, even though we were still physically in Argentina then,” she says, “our hearts were already in Israel.” Though it meant leaving behind her job as a lawyer and her husband’s career in human resources, just three months into Israeli citizenship, Mac says the joys just keep coming, as do the contrasts. In addition to the economic woes and high crime rates the country is experiencing, “in Argentina, it’s hard to keep kosher and keep Shabbat, and people would stare at my husband in his yarmulke,” she says. “Here, these things are perfectly normal parts of life. And knowing
our kids are safe to play outside is a huge relief.” But they didn’t expect the warm welcome they received this summer, says Mac, including the furniture and housewares that materialized along with toys for their kids. “The love and hospitality have been amazing. These people were olim chadashim (“new immigrants”) a long time ago, but they haven’t forgotten what it was like to be an immigrant.” As the world celebrates Aliyah Day this week, the total number of olim (immigrants to Israel) from North America is expected to top 4,500 by the time 2021 ends—the biggest year since Nefesh B’ Nefesh began keeping records nearly 20 years ago. The leading states these new arrivals are coming from are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida and California. The rest of the world is also doing its part in contributing to new citizens as well. Immigration is up 31 percent so far this year, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) reported this week with 20,360 olim arriving compared to 15,598 during the same ninemonth period last year. The uptick is in part due to the coronavirus pandemic, which had many Jews living overseas deciding for economic and social reasons that now was the time to make their homes in Israel. These new citizens are a strategic asset to
the State of Israel and contribute to every aspect of life, says JAFI acting chairman of the executive Yaakov Hagoel. “We are strengthened by each oleh who comes to Israel.” Topping the list is Russia, with 5,075 immigrants, followed by the United States (up 41 percent from the first nine months of 2020), France, Ukraine, Belarus, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa and Ethiopia, many of whom are now reunited with their families after decades apart. Where do these immigrants and countless others find the chutzpah to rise to the top even while facing so many hurdles starting with a new language and culture? “It’s their willingness to take a risk, the same concept of a startup — the courage to leave behind everything you know and put yourself in a new place where you’re going to be an outsider is the same courage to believe you can accomplish something new once you’re here,” says Marc Rosenberg, vice-president for diaspora partnerships at Nefesh B’Nefesh, which has helped 65,000 North Americans make the move since 2002. “They come here with a spirit of innovation, that they’re going to do something that hasn’t been done before and, because they’re basically outsiders, they can see things that need to be done that insiders just can’t.” One of them is Marissa Brower, formerly WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM
of Newport Beach, Calif., whose blog and other social-media presence unpack her aliyah experience and fills in the folks back home—and her countless followers — on her life in Israel. “Three years in, I’m finally at the point where I’m able to understand Israelis, but usually, I still respond in ‘Heb-lish,’ “ sighs Brower, 25, who made the leap after college following a transformative Birthright Israel experience in 2017. Though she started out her Israeli life using her statistics degree in a high-tech job, Brower recently quit to devote all her time to her social-media activity about the oleh life — “Instagram, TikTok and YouTube just for fun” — and is branching out into launching online campaigns for others as well. With family back in the States who have been “really supportive” — a couple of whom are considering making the move themselves in the future — being an Israeli has also shifted Brower’s thinking in some fundamental ways. “Before living here, marrying Jewish didn’t seem all that important, but being in Israel now I can see so much more meaning in it.” But about halfway through his graduate program in counterterrorism and homeland security at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Reichman University in Herzliya, Sam Parker “knew I definitely wanted to stay.” Though culturally it’s a long way from his Minnesota roots, Parker was raised in an Israel-loving family and as a teen spent several months at the “super-Zionistic” Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Now 26 and living and working in Tel Aviv, Parker says “some my Israeli friends who’ve always been surrounded by Jews, since they didn’t grow up in the galut (‘diaspora’ or ‘exile’), they don’t know what it feels like to be one of the few Jews around.” For years, Denver-dwellers Shlomo and Sarah Fisherowitz had dreamed of living in Israel and, as soon-to-be retirees with kids and grandkids already there, the allure was too great to resist. That was eight years ago. Now the couple makes their home in Jerusalem, a short distance from one set of their kids. And they’re seeing that, at every age, olim have something to contribute, says Shlomo, now 72. “The 20- and 30-year-olds help sell Israeli services and products to the rest of the world, 12
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and we older olim support the economy and the symphony and the other arts. And now, for the first time, we actually have the time to enjoy everything available here.” In addition, immigrants are Israel’s best PR people, says Fisherowitz. “We can let the people back home know what’s really happening here, and it’s not necessarily what they see in the media.” “In addition, we are blessed with being surrounded by our fellow Jews from every country, speaking different languages and with different skin colors,” he adds. “Living here, if you allow yourself to grow, you realize that you are a cog in a beautiful multifaceted society.” “It’s one-part flexibility and one-part the determination to make it work,” says Rosenberg over at Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Your willingness to try this on this new culture; to try and speak Hebrew, even if not perfectly; to adopt the flexible Israeli rhythm of life that’s so full of surprises — if one neighborhood you had your heart set on didn’t work out for instance, the next one will probably turn out to be a better fit. And where else can you walk streets named after our military heroes and sages?” Akiva Gersh, the author of Becoming Israeli, puts it this way: “The secret isn’t just making aliyah but actually becoming Israeli, an attitude that doesn’t appear overnight,” says Gersh who works with teens on Jewish and Israel studies, mostly online of late. “It means embracing your new home by weaving Israeli words into your vocabulary, Israeli foods into your diet and adopting their attitude of hakol b’seder—’Don’t worry,’ everything’s going to be OK.” For Brower, one secret to a successful transition has been dumping the competitive impulse. “When I made aliyah, I was 21 and, when all my friends back in the U.S. were landing great jobs. I was in kitah alef (‘first grade’) in ulpan trying to understand how to conjugate Hebrew verbs.” Eventually, she realized that “I’m on another path, I’ve got another plan, and there’s no comparison to what others are doing. When you go at your own pace and start really embracing the life here, that’s where happiness lies.” Someone who’s been studying the impact of olim for decades is Shay Felber, JAFI’s deputy director-general, who also heads up
its Aliyah and Absorption Unit. “Not only do we see a sizeable economic contribution in their business-to-business skills in their native language growing the economy and the younger ones joining the IDF, but olim are also diversifying the scene, including all the Brazilian, Ethiopian, Indian and French restaurants.” The numbers who continue to arrive remind Felber “that Israel is above all the Jewish homeland—still in the business of welcoming Jews from around the world. Coming in such great numbers now, they remind native-born Israelis to take even more pride in our country because, despite any and all difficulties, so many Jews from around the world want to come and live here.” “Facing the hard things here — like missing the family holidays back in America — you can see how they fit into the whole picture of the challenges and joys of Israel mixed together,” says Yael Leibowitz, who made aliyah in 2014 with her family and now teaches Jewish biblical thought at Matan: the Sadie Rennert Women’s Institute for Torah Studies in Ra’anana, Jerusalem and Modi’in where she also lives. “It’s like when you have children; you don’t really want to wake up for the 3 a.m. feeding, but that moment pales in comparison with the immense joy of being a parent.” But had things not been so difficult in Argentina, does new olah Mac think she and her family would be citizens of Ra’anana today? “I believe there are times in life when you get a push from above to do what you need to do,” she says with a laugh. “All the times we were here as tourists were a lot of fun, but you don’t know what it’s like until you put your skin in here. Once you do that jump of hope, you start seeing life in a new way, through Israeli glasses.” “Even though you can expect to make a somewhat smaller salary than the United States, the quality of life is just so much higher here,” adds Parker. “I’ve got a good job, so I can be self-sufficient, and a great social life. Who would expect a kid from Minnesota to be living a block from the Tel Aviv beach?” “Yes, it’s a very different culture than in the United States,” allows Girsh. “But when you see your own kids growing up here as Israelis, you can’t help but feel that you’re part of the story of Israel.”
COVER STORY | BY ANDREA ROBERTS, DEENA FEINMAN, AND AUDREY LEVINE
HADASSAH The Power of Women Who Do
Hadassah Hospital plays a major role in caring for people in the Middle East. COURTESY: HADASSAH.
L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER 2021
adassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA), is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States, with nearly 300,000 members, associates, and supporters. Here in San Diego, there are over 2,100 members and groups for women of all ages. Hadassah’s three pillars are: Empower women to advocate, build strong leadership and community, and advance health and well-being. It’s an organization where you can meet and connect with a diverse group of women, participate in a wide variety of activities, attend enlightening programs, join books or play Mah Jongg, and have fun. Hadassah trains leaders and affords opportunities to people worldwide. Hadassah is usually associated with Hadassah’s Hospitals in Israel, its research, medical breakthroughs, advancements in women’s and children’s health, and medical care. Hadassah does create “miracles”, but in more ways than just medicine. Hadassah works to combat anti-Semitism, strengthen bonds with Israel, prevent human trafficking, and creates opportunities for youth and families. Hadassah advocacy supports a legislative agenda that puts values into action. One such miracle is Mayar’s story. Gaza resident Nourhan noticed an unusual white stain in her baby daughter’s eye. The diagnosis was a rare aggressive eye cancer. Numerous ophthalmologists concurred that there was no other choice but to remove the eye. Noura was devastated but wouldn’t give up. She took Mayar to Hadassah Hospital. Within three days,
the Endovascular Neurosurgery and Stroke Unit team performed a procedure focusing chemotherapy directly to the tumor. It was a success. The eye was saved and Mayar could see. “It’s impossible to describe the emotions we experience and satisfaction we derive when we give this news to a family,” said ophthalmologist Shahar Frankel. “The team here at Hadassah not only saves sight and heals difficult and complicated medical conditions, but we also serve as a bridge between peoples.” LEADING THE WAY IN RESEARCH, AND CARE
Over its 109-year history, Hadassah women have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to grow Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) from a small nursing clinic into two world-renowned academic research hospitals in Jerusalem, with a diverse staff that treats over one million patients per year regardless of race, religion, nationality, or ethnicity. Hadassah Hospital plays a major role in caring for people in the Middle East as it’s one of the region’s only Level One trauma centers. When disaster strikes anywhere in the world, Hadassah medical teams are there. In 2005, Hadassah was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for building “bridges to peace” through medicine. Hadassah Hospital, Ein Kerem shares a campus and collaboration with Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine. All signs throughout the hospital are in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, and the hospital treats anyone. Israeli and Palestinian patients share rooms, where visiting family members sit together, united in having a loved one who is ill. The hospital has a 19-story in-patient tower with 5 floors of underground stateof-the-art surgical suites sheltered deep in the Jerusalem hillside and fortified against conventional, biological, and chemical
warfare. The hospital is also home to the beautiful Marc Chagall stained-glass windows in the Abell Synagogue. Hadassah volunteers can be found in 28 countries, including China, Japan, and Russia. The universal language of medicine allows Hadassah International to establish research and clinical ventures between Hadassah Medical Center and medical institutions worldwide. Says Hadassah’s new National CEO Naomi Adler, “Every single day, what they do there makes peace as a true expression of tikkun olam, repairing the world.” FIGHTING ANTI-SEMITISM
A major focus of Hadassah is fighting anti-Semitism. Hadassah led the effort to secure the signing of the Never Again Education Act. It ensures we never forget the tragedy of the Holocaust, that students will learn its lessons of tolerance, and that educators will be better prepared to teach this critical subject matter accurately and confidently. Hadassah has been involved in the wording and content of ethnic studies curriculums and in urging the UN to ensure greater accountability of educational materials being used worldwide. YOUTH ALIYAH — CARING FOR YOUTH IN NEED
Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah program supports two youth villages in Israel, Meir Shfeyah and Hadassah Neurim. More than 300,000 young students from 80 lands have been housed, educated, and graduated from these villages over the last 87 years. Youth Aliyah helps educate, feed, counsel, and provide shelter and multiple social supportive services for at-risk Israelis, young immigrants, and children from countries where it is no longer safe to be a Jew. Recently, the children and teens have come from Russia and Ethiopia, as well as from dysfunctional or poor
HADASSAH AND MOMENTUM INSPIRE YOUNGER WOMEN
families. At the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Tokyo, one of Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah graduates carried the flag for the Refugee Olympic Team. PROTECTING THE HEALTH OF FAMILIES
The challenges of infertility on families are acute. Hadassah is expanding infertility awareness and education for policymakers. Certain conditions that cause infertility are more prevalent in the Jewish community, and a higher incidence of genetic mutations—including BRCA— increases the need for fertility preservation and other treatments. Hadassah is on the forefront of genetic disease research. Women’s health is a foundation of Hadassah’s focus. Women often present different symptoms or incidence rates for diseases and react differently to drugs, medical devices, and treatments than men. Understanding how diseases impact women and men differently, supporting the medical community in gathering information, and improving research,
L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER 2021
education, and screening for diseases are essential for better health outcomes. PARTNERING FOR HEALTH
For decades the US and Israel have collaborated in medical partnerships. Hadassah was an advocate for an innovative US-Israel medical partnership that advanced the detection, treatment, and prevention of COVID-19. Hadassah champions the United States-Israel Collaborative Research Act to better diagnose and treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. Hadassah Hospitals have been leading efforts to expand PTSD research and treatment options, has conducted research examining the impact of PTSD in Israeli Defense Force soldiers, and done comprehensive studies analyzing the impact of childhood trauma into adulthood, specifically in regard to biological and DNA changes in those who experienced trauma at a young age.
Hadassah’s partnership with Momentum provides an opportunity to experience a deep connection and love for Israel and connect with one’s Jewish heritage. The goal is to inspire women and create bonds that transform their lives, their families, and their communities. Women under 50, with children living at home, are eligible. This year-long journey includes self-exploration, experiences in Israel, and Jewish learning. It includes a free 8-day trip (airfare not included) to Israel from November 28 to December 6, 2022. Participants build relationships with pre-trip gatherings and continue their experience and learning in monthly educational and social gatherings once they return. Says Joan Rosenberg, Co-President of Hadassah San Diego, “The women of Hadassah believe that each of us has the power to make an impact. Together, we can effect change by advocating on critical issues concerning Israel, the Jewish people, and women’s health equity. Hadassah helps change lives through medicine, advocacy, and education. This is just a morsel of what we do and who we are! This is the organization of The Power of Women Who Do!” TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HADASSAH, VISIT WWW.HADASSAH.ORG. FOR HADASSAH MEMBERSHIP AND PROGRAMS, CONTACT DEENA FEINMAN, DIRECTOR, HADASSAH WEST COAST, 858-243-8575, DFEINMAN@ HADASSAH.ORG.
Check www.krispykreme.com for Locations
L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER 2021
FRUIT GALETTE BY PAULA SHOYER, THE KOSHER BAKER @KOSHERBAKER
hanksgiving and Chanukah are right around the corner! End of year celebrations often offer sweet and sugary treats. Join world renowned chef, teacher and cookbook author, Paula Shoyer, The Kosher Baker @kosherbaker, as she demonstrates a few delicious “lighter” desserts we can make at our upcoming holiday celebrations during Sharsheret’s “Lightening Up Holiday Desserts” virtual cooking demonstration. This program is part of the “Sharsheret in the Kitchen’’ series, which brings nutritious kosher meal options to help empower all of us at risk for breast and ovarian cancer to make healthier diet choices. Register at sharsheret-org.givecloud.co/ SITKPaulaShoyer/. Fruit Galette Serves 8 Ingredients 1¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust work surface and sprinkling ¼ teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons butter, coconut oil or margarine, frozen for at least 30 minutes, or cold butter cut into 6 pieces 1 large egg, separated 3 tablespoons ice water 3 cups berries or fruit sliced into ½-inch pieces 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon granulated sugar substitute, optional Directions 1. To make the dough, place the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to mix. 2. Add the fat you are using into the bowl and pulse 10 times or cut the fat into the dry ingredients by hand using two knives or a pastry cutter. 3. Add the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of the ice water. Pulse 5 times or mix gently by hand. 4. Add another tablespoon of the ice water and pulse another 5 times or mix again. 5. Add the last tablespoon of water, pulsing or lightly mixing the dough for 10 to 15 seconds until it looks like clumps
of couscous; the dough does not have to come completely together. 6. Take a large piece of plastic wrap. Place the dough on top, lift up the edges of the plastic wrap and press over the dough pieces to bring them together, going all around the dough. 7. Wrap around the dough and then flatten into an 8-inch pancake. Place the dough in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it feels firm, but you can still press into it a little. 8. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. 9. Take a large piece of parchment and sprinkle it with some flour. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and place it on top of the parchment. Sprinkle some flour on the dough and then place a second piece of parchment on top. Roll out the dough until it is about 12 to 13 inches wide, trying your best to keep the shape round. Peel back the top parchment and sprinkle some more flour once or twice while you are rolling. 10. To make the filling, place the fruit into a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and mix gently. 11. Place the fruit in the center of the dough circle and spread it outward, leaving a 2 to 3-inch border on the outside. 12. Take one small section of the dough border, about 2 inches, and fold it over the fruit, leaving the fruit-filled center open. Pick up another 2-inch section of the border and repeat, pressing one section into the next to seal it, so you end up with dough pleats. Use a pastry brush to brush off any excess flour on the dough. 13. Beat the reserved egg white and brush all over the dough. Sprinkle with the sugar substitute, if using. 14. Bake for 25 minutes. Move the galette to a middle rack in the oven and bake another 5 to 10 minutes or until filling looks bubbly. 15. Let cool for 20 minutes. Store covered for up to three days. 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. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM
I HAD A DREAM SONGS OF AN IMMIGRANT | BY DEBORAH VIETOR
uth Weber and her daughter Emilia Lopez Yañez, have released a new CD, I Had A Dream — Songs of an Immigrant. Each of the songs produced represent a fusion of musical dreams between mother and daughter, honoring the poetry of Ruth’s grandmother, Betty Karon Hertz. These ethereal and visceral songs are derived from grandma Betty’s poems, some in Yiddish and others in English. Both women are voting Grammy (The Recording Academy) members. Together they have performed on several award-winning 20
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Billboard-charting albums. Weber is a composer, pianist, musician and record producer and the Artistic Director/Conductor of the San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir. With too many accolades to mention, Weber also recently won the John Lennon Songwriting Award. From video games to feature films and children’s CD’s, Lopez Yañez has been in commercials, voice overs and performed studio work. She received a Master’s in oboe performance at USC, with an undergraduate degree in vocal and oboe performance at Chapman College. Her beautiful voice and oboe playing has been featured
Ben Butler at North Coast Rep internationally. The duo have worked with many celebrities on award winning projects, including Julian Lennon, Quincy Jones and Ketchi. According to Weber, Betty experienced a most religious upbringing, combined with a life of poverty. Often the Rabbi allowed her to sit in while the men learned Torah, something unheard of in her day. Her dream? To write poetry and someday visit the state of Israel. Betty was never able to visit Israel, however she and her daughter honor her, capturing her great story through music. Weber’s settings of some of the songs were arranged with the assistance of her son, Enrico. Melodic themes reflect hauntingly unusual times, combining classical with new age music. Lopez Yañez’s melodic and spectacular vocals resonate with the population, creating hope, crossing many boundaries, forming a connection between generations. Betty, who thought her family was the greatest, traveled to the United States from Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. She created a book of poetry, eloquently describing her life experiences and transition. Upon arriving in the U.S., Betty shared her collection with a neighbor in her building who scoffed at her poems, causing Betty to feel embarrassed and burn this treasure of poetry. What remained were 12 meaningful poems. For the musical dynamic duo team, working together has been a dream, as during the pandemic Lopez Yañez relocated to San Diego and Weber was able to take a semester sabbatical from teaching at San Diego Miramar College to work on this project. Weber’s husband John converted a closet into a recording studio where they created magic. Lopez Yañez came to know her great-grandmother through their family reunions in Wisconsin. They would sit on the couch as Grandma Betty shared her stories. Both grandparents spoke Yiddish. “She was so proud of everyone in her family!” declared Lopez Yañez. One song, “Mushrooms,” describes Betty in her youth as she picks mushrooms for her family with little else for them to eat. Inspirational, educational and entertaining, these songs will live on in the hearts of many for generations to come. LEARN ABOUT RUTH AND EMILIA AT RUTHMAKESMUSIC.COM, EMILIALOPEZYANEZ.COM, AND RUTHANDEMELIA.COM.
“I was always a friend of Southern rights but an enemy of Southern wrongs." -Ben Butler North Coast Rep does a terrific job in its delivery of Ben Butler by writer Richard Strand. A Civil War story, Ben Butler takes on racial stereotypes through the use of wordplay. At various times sarcastic, droll and witty, this clever dialogue and terrific acting make this play captivating and thought provoking. The story is about an escaped slave who shows up at Fort Monroe seeking sanctuary. General Benjamin Butler is then faced with an impossible moral dilemma, either follow the letter of the law and return the slave back to the Confederacy or make a game changing move that could alter the course of US history. What ensues is a battle of wits between Shepard Mallory, the slave, and General Butler. One of President Lincoln’s top Generals, Benjamin Butler was hated and reviled by many, lauded and praised by others. He was unique, accomplished, imposing and original. He did many great things, and perhaps as many that were not so great. He was also a lawyer, politician and businessman. Some of his actions helped to change the course of American history. The cast of four is extraordinary. Richard Baird, Brian Mackey, Brandon Pierce and Bruce Turk have brought their skill and talent to bear to create a wonderful artistic venture. BEN BUTLER PLAYS NOW THROUGH NOV 14 AT NORTH COAST REP THEATRE, 987 LOMAS SANTA FE DRIVE, SOLANA BEACH. FOR TICKETS AND MORE, CALL (858) 481-1055OR VISIT NORTHCOASTREP.ORG.
SUCCESS & GROWTH SAN DIEGO JEWISH ACADEMY 2021-22 SCHOOL YEAR UNDERWAY
he San Diego Jewish Academy (SDJA), a pluralistic community K-12 school with a thriving early childhood center, highlighted the successful start of the 2021-2022 school year and the milestones the school will celebrate this year, including a new 350-seat performing arts center expected to open in early 2022 and a continued focus on wellness to ensure the health and safety of students and staff as the school continues to focus on in-person learning experiences. “SDJA is extremely proud of our community, families, students and staff who have worked tirelessly to bring a worldclass, in-person education safely to our students,” said Head of School Zvi Weiss. “We are excitedly anticipating our new Performing Arts Center, which will further enhance the arts program and give students more opportunities for personal growth and creativity. We also continue to plan the new physical space for our Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking (CIET), building on the dynamic learning opportunities the CIET already offers our students in all classes.” Expected to open in early 2022, work is almost finished on SDJA’s 350-seat state of 22
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the art Performing Arts Auditorium. This problem solving. center will not only be used for student SDJA’s student body also grew by 150 productions throughout the year, but will new students this year, based not only on also add to SDJA’s co-curricular offerings the school’s steadfast commitment to a as students from all grades explore their high-quality education, safety, and wellness, interests and try various new programs. but also because of its Open Door tuition SDJA continues to view every program, reduction program that makes an SDJA class, or activity through a wellness lens so education accessible to more students. The that we help our students and offer the social Open Door program continues in 2022/2023 and emotional support they need to thrive. to reduce the cost of an SDJA education by SDJA builds a strong emotional foundation at least $10,000 for incoming K and 9th in students, premised on personal value and graders, and keeps that reduced tuition cost strong self-esteem. Beyond personal wellness, stable for 4 years. SDJA focuses on the wellness of our planet “Our Open Door program has enabled us with a focus on sustainability. The school’s to welcome so many new wonderful families communal garden serves as a dynamic and students into our community,” adds learning environment for both aspects of the Weiss. “At the same time, we still provide Wellness Initiative. the personalized learning opportunities and SDJA students excel in an environment teacher attention that enable each student to that emphasizes personalized learning. thrive and pursue their interests.” In particular, new investments in Math education in the Upper School are leading to TO LEARN MORE, VISIT SDJA.COM. high levels of achievement. Anchored with new teaching methods that emphasize both conceptual understanding and academic skill development like collaboration study habits, the SDJA math program aims to instill in our students a deep acquisition of math fluency through critical thinking and creative
CHILDREN'S NATURE RETREAT A SANCTUARY FOR ANIMALS AND PEOPLE | BY MIMI POLLACK
iving back to others is always good, but when you can give back to both animals and humans, that is even better! Local humanitarian, Agnes Barrelet, is doing just that up in Alpine, heading up the non-profit, Children’s Nature Retreat Foundation. Now the retreat needs our help. The Children’s Nature Retreat is in a rural area of Alpine. It is a haven for all kinds of animals, including two zebras, three Friesian horses, African cows, camels, mules, donkeys, rabbits, mini horses, mini goats, mini pigs, ostriches, sheep, llamas, alpacas, a bison, and tortoises, etc. There are over 202 domesticated livestock and exotic animals with 24 species and 64 breeds from around the world. They all live comfortably on this beautiful 20-acre property. There are several animal enclosures, including Barnyard Alley, Tortoise Landing, African Grasslands, and Mini and Big Farms. For example, in African Grasslands, you will see the two zebras with several ostriches. One thing that struck me was how friendly most of the animals are which makes this place especially suitable for children. Barrelet opened this place in February 2017, with the goal of providing a place in the countryside
where both children and adults can come and experience the beauty that nature has to offer as well as interact with the animals and learn all about them. The place is serene and therapeutic. One of the original goals was Barrelet wanted children to feel a connection to nature that would last. Before the pandemic, CNR was working with local schools and organizations to help fund free field trips for schools and children that normally would not be able to pay for them. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, CNR has lost a lot of its usual funding, including daily visitors, and the retreat is in trouble. The majority of the animals at the retreat have been rescued by Barrelet. Some belonged to people who could no longer care for them, some were just dumped and some were rescued from being put to slaughter. Her place is a labor of love, but an expensive labor of love. It costs $1,500 a day just to run the retreat. The retreat needs a minimum of 80 visitors a day to cover that, but since the pandemic, there have been days with no guests at all. Barrelet does not pay herself from the money raised and she works seven days a week. This place is everything to her.
They had their annual fundraising gala last month, but again, fewer people attended and not enough money was raised, and since there have been far fewer daily visitors, she is hoping some monthly donors will step up and help. Agnes Barrelet is a formidable woman who is very sweet with a steel core. She is steadfast in her desire to bring happiness into the lives of others, especially children, and to help animals. Born in Nimes, France, she came to the United States in 1993 to get a BS in Business Administration. She and her 18-year-old daughter, Vanessa, moved to Alpine and now live on site. Many times, they nurse a sick or injured animal themselves at their home. They also live with four dogs, a cockatoo, a conure, and have a nursery for 22 baby tortoises. During the interview, she told me it was the movie, I Bought a Zoo, with Matt Damon, that inspired her to open this animal sanctuary. Today, this inspiration has become a reality that with some muchneeded funding will continue. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT CHILDRENSNATURERETREAT.ORG.
SECURING SMARTPHONES ASSAC NETWORKS QUIETLY KEEPS COMPANIES, GOVERNMENTS AND SECURITY FORCES SECURE BY YAAKOV LAPPIN, JNS.ORG
n recent weeks, the Israeli spyware program Pegasus and its maker, NSO, were at the center of a firestorm of media reports alleging misuse of this powerful tool by clients. However, another Israeli cyber company that delivers advanced cyber defenses worldwide tends to maintain a much quieter media presence. Assac Networks protects smartphones from both hacking and tapping, and the fact that it does both at the same time (a rarity in the market) has made it a “go-to” cyber-defense provider for security forces, government and defense organizations, and companies worldwide. Banks, fintech companies, cell-phone providers and government clients spanning Spain, Singapore, Mexico, Italy and many other states are among Assac’s clientele. Shimon Zigdon, an encryption expert with 25 years of experience in the telecommunications security sector, founded the company and serves as CEO. “For all of my adult life, I have dealt with encryption,” Zigdon, who was previously a communications security manager at Elbit Ground Systems, said. After leaving Elbit in 2012 to set up Assac (which comes from the Hebrew word Hazak, meaning “strong”), Zigdon felt it was time to create a level of cyber defense for phones that could deal with the everincreasing sophisticated threats. As Assac’s product spread around the world, it sometimes found itself in the same markets that NSO was operating in, only Assac was selling a powerful cyber shield rather than a sword. 24
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In 2017, Assac carried out a project in Mexico, securing the Mexican Naval Infantry Corps (the Marina), as NSO reportedly sold its spyware to the Mexican military. As cyber hacking and eavesdropping became more and more advanced, said Zigdon, “I understood that if we don’t step up defenses, there will be no place left for encryption in the space of cyber threats.” Conventional smartphone defenses are largely irrelevant, he argued, since high-end attackers break into phones “locally,” meaning that they allow the phone to do the deciphering work, and then simply break and enter into the device and steal its information. This can include anything from camera and microphone data, text communication and using the phone as a launchpad to break into company networks. “As soon as the hack is conducted locally, there is no encryption challenge. It doesn’t matter how well-encrypted the data is on the way to the phone if someone has taken local control of the phone,” he warned. As a result, Assac focuses on defending what it calls the “endpoint” — the smartphone itself — whether it runs on Android or iOS. “We defend the phone as it was bought, off the shelf. We tell our clients to simply bring their own device,” said Zigdon. With so many personnel involved in sensitive work using their home devices for work communications, such as email, the need to secure personal phones is more acute than ever. Zigdon outlined the two main types of threats posed to anyone with a smartphone in their possession: hacking and tapping.
Just as computers come with a range of defenses — from anti-virus programs to firewalls to virtual private networks (VPN) — so, too, do smartphones require an extensive protective shield, he said. “We know there are a lot of bad actors out there. There are multiple ways for them to take control of a phone — a man in the middle attack [in which attackers can pretend to be a local Wi-Fi server, for example], breaching an operating system or installing malicious applications,” Zigdon said, listing off entry points. “Defending against these attacks is anti-hacking.” So what exactly is anti-tapping? Zigdon explains that if an attacker is equipped with a device that can “hijack” a phone’s radio emissions before they reach the intended base station pounces, then that person is engaged in tapping. This can be done through a “GSM suitcase,” which seizes a local phone’s signal and listens in on it, for example. The only way to defend against this kind of attack is to encrypt the radio signal before it leaves the phone, so that even if it intercepted “mid-air,” it remains incomprehensible to the eavesdropper, said Zigdon. “If I take a combination of end-point protection against hacking and tapping, and create an envelope that protects against both, I receive complete protection,” he said. This, in essence, is what Assac offers its clients around the world. The target market is not individuals, but rather, companies — often large organizations and often in the defense sector — as well as governments and security services. “Smartphones are the most vulnerable point in any company’s IT network,” said Zigdon. While company IT managers will always make sure to set up defenses around computers and domains, far too often the need to secure the smartphones used by employees and managers to access the organization’s systems is overlooked. “An unsecure phone means the entire company system is exposed,” he emphasized. With any modern smartphone able to track a user’s precise location, record conversations, film surroundings and used to eavesdrop on all forms of remote communication — and be exploited as a gate into organizations’ IT networks—the risks are considerable. “The only way to disappear from the grid is to throw out your phone,” said Zigdon. Assac offers two applications to its clients: ShieldiT, available from Google Play and App Store; and ManageiT, which must be operated by an IT manager, tracks the management of the first app. One of the notorious features of modern hacking patterns is to use tools such as phishing emails to get users to install malicious code on their smartphones by clicking links. But the most advanced spyware programs, such as Pegasus, can do this via a network even without getting the user to click a malicious link. “As soon as someone makes an attempt like this, Assac will send out an alert. It has an executable program that runs on the phone and constantly checks on the correlation between my phone’s app and what’s taking place on the network. If I open WhatsApp and someone else opens it from another gate, the alert will arrive,” explained Zigdon. Asked to comment on the NSO controversy storm, which continues to reverberate, Zigdon said that Israel does a thorough job of regulating its defense exports, calling Israeli licensing protocol “the
strongest in the world.” “When NSO set up its system, this was only after it received full authorization for selling abroad for homeland security needs. Israel has lots of technology for attack and also for defense,” he stated. “Assac comes from the world of defense, but our solution is also tightly regulated and subject to the Israeli Encryption Act [that obligates companies that sell encryption technology to receive Defense Ministry authorization].” He added, “I won’t sell something that will harm national security or which will be unethical.”
FEATURE STORY Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa. PHOTO BY: JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH.
CAN A SYNAGOGUE FEEL OPEN WITH LOCKED DOORS? RABBIS REFLECT ON PITTSBURGH, THREE YEARS LATER
BY JACOB KAMARAS, JNS.ORG
n a sense, the Jewish communal reactions to the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and the coronavirus pandemic were diametric opposites. After Robert Bowers shot and killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018, American Jews were urged to show up at services in droves the following Shabbat to display solidarity with the victims and to make clear that their rituals and way of life would not be threatened. Conversely, in the early stages of COVID-19, health concerns meant that they were forced to stay home as most in-person prayer was put on hold. Today, as three years have passed since the Pittsburgh attack and as synagogues navigate the complexities of reopening, these seemingly unrelated events raise the same question: How can synagogues balance necessary precautions with a welcoming
approach? “Since people are so eager to be back in a community together — and so yearning to feel this sense of openness and warmth and welcoming — I’ve tried really hard that to make sure that we’re able to do that while also being attentive to ongoing safety and security matters,” Rabbi Daniel Berman, leader of the Conservative congregation Temple Reyim in Newton, Mass., said. Offering a hypothetical scenario, Berman explained that congregants may not be as careful about security protocols such as keeping the synagogue doors closed and locked when they are seeing a friend for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Rabbi David A. Lyon, senior rabbi at the Reform synagogue Congregation Beth Israel in Houston and vice president of the board of the Central Conference of America Rabbis, said the only concerns surrounding the
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synagogue’s reopening pertained to COVID rather than security. Still, he acknowledged the balancing act that accompanies this “new era” in synagogue security after the Pittsburgh shooting. He shared that when recent visitors to Beth Israel went through standard procedures — they rang the bell, got let in by security, presented their driver’s licenses and put identification stickers on their lapels — one of them turned to him and said, “I guess can get out any door we want, but we can’t get in that easily.” “Our doors are locked, and they only work one way,” Lyon said. “What does that really mean about the way we’re living and the way we want to grow our Jewish community? It’s a literal thing we’re dealing with, but figuratively, when we think of the synagogue as a place of communal gathering, I’m old enough to remember a day when you just opened the door and walked in. It has
changed, and it’s not going back. When we enter synagogues in America, like we would enter synagogues in Europe, we have to call, make arrangements and buzz in.” Rabbi Elazar Muskin, leader of the Young Israel of Century City (YICC) in Los Angeles and president of the Orthodox movement’s Rabbinical Council of America from 2017 to 2019, recalled that shortly before the Pittsburgh attack the synagogue had been considering decreasing some security expenditures due to a relative “lull” in incidents. But the Tree of Life shooting swiftly served as an “awakening” that underscored the “false sense of security that we had prior to it,” Muskin said. Accordingly, YICC did not reduce any security measures. The awakening continued into 2019, a year in which the Anti-Defamation League reported a record-high number of antiSemitic incidents in the United States, including another deadly synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif. Muskin noted that Lori Gilbert Kaye, the 60-year-old woman killed in the attack at Chabad of Poway, was the sister of a YICC member. “That is a tragedy that still has an impact upon my community,” he said. Although 2020 saw a slight decline in antiSemitic incidents, a massive surge in Jewhatred accompanied the 11-day conflict in May between Israel, Hamas and other terror factions in the Gaza Strip. This included an attack on both YICC and Pat’s, a kosher restaurant next door to the synagogue, in which the vandal broke a window at the eatery but failed to do so at the synagogue because its windows are made of reinforced glass. In October, the Jewish Federations of North America launched a three-year, $54 million initiative called LiveSecure, geared to ensure that all 146 communities across the country with a Jewish Federation have the Community Security Initiative, which is currently in place at 45 Federations nationwide. The initiative serves as a single point of contact for critical incident coordination, information and intelligence sharing, safety and security training, and
resources for every Jewish institution in a community. “Hatred across the country is on the rise, anti-Semitism is clearly on the rise,” said Muskin. “It’s something we have all have to be concerned about. The Jewish community is always very sensitive to anti-Semitism. We have strong organizations that are outspoken about this. They rally the troops to be outspoken.” Berman said Temple Reyim’s security protocols changed “dramatically” after Pittsburgh, which “put our community in a different frame of mind. We needed to really shift the way we were thinking about safety and security in our synagogue.” Temple Reyim began locking its doors during office hours and Shabbat services, whereas previously the doors were only locked when the building was empty at night. The congregation now has a key fob system for community members, while other visitors need to make arrangements ahead of time or speak with the office onsite in order to enter the building. While the new system marked “a dramatic shift for a community which previously had open doors,” said Berman, the Tree of Life incident left Temple Reyim with no choice but to change its protocols. He said he still grapples with the question of “How do we make sure that we are still loving, welcoming, open, and expressing this desire for people to always feel at home here, with the need to lock our doors?” Pittsburgh “created out of necessity a time to review” the security procedures at Beth Israel, said Lyon, noting that the synagogue increased visibility and has a Houston police presence on its campus every day. “We’re fortunate to have a very compatible relationship with Houston Police Department, the local FBI, the local ADL and other agencies. If anything is heard or reported, we learn about it,” he said. Increased security has the silver lining of adding a layer to the community’s relationship with law enforcement on a cultural level, he said. Lyon recounted that after a police officer once wished him “Shabbat Shalom” on a
How can synagogues balance necessary precautions with a welcoming approach? Friday night, the rabbi told his staff that if the officer ever wished him zei gezunt (Yiddish for “be healthy”), he would fall over. Indeed, one day the officer told the rabbi zei gezunt as he exited the campus. Three years after the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, YICC’s Muskin affirmed that the uninterrupted continuation of synagogue life remains a key aspect of the communal response. “Anti-Semitism is a perennial problem,” said Muskin. “It never went away, and it never is going to go away. We just have to be constantly on alert to it and not allow it to fester. We should never be threatened to a point where we become paralyzed. We were not going to stop after the attack in Pittsburgh. I rallied our members and said, ‘We need to really, really show up.’ Threats to our very existence are not going to be tolerated.”
JWV POST 385 - NORTH COUNTY
“Boldest Post in the West” • Fight anti-semitism • Support our military overseas • Comradeship • Support Naval Hospital San Diego & Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and much more... CDR Marc Poland, USN Ret (858) 232-1645 Meet 2nd Sunday of the month 11am Veterans Association North County (VANC) 1617 Missions Ave, Oceanside, CA 92058 JWV is the oldest congressionally commissioned veterans organization in America
Album available in time for Chanukah Amazon | Apple Music | Spotify 28
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HUMOR | BY STEPHANIE LEWIS
& mishagoss The Phantom of the Cellphone
y mother is breathless. “Happy Chanukah! Are you okay? You’re not lying hurt on the side of the road, are you? Because I see I’ve missed three calls from you not saying a thing!” Confession: I regularly hang up on my mom’s outgoing phone announcement because she gives painful instructions on waiting for beeps, admonishes her callers to speak slowly, enunciate clearly, and requires them to give the date and time of their call. (She also says she’s “indisposed.” Who says that?) By the time she’s all done specifying protocol for leaving a message, I could fry up some latkes and bring them to her in person. But on this particular occasion, I haven’t called her at all, let alone three times. However, something is odd because my cellphone log shows I’ve telephoned my mother thrice within ten-minutes. Odder still, an hour later I receive a message from my old Avon lady thanking me for contacting her and announcing light blue shimmery eyeshadows just came in and how surprised she is to hear my voice after all these decades. I envision her hobbling up to front porches, ringing doorbells, gleefully screeching, “Avon calling!” Moments later my long-lost Tupperware representative calls, claiming I just rang her up and promptly disconnected when she answered. She wants to know if I want to schedule a Tupperware party? “Does the
word ‘Ziploc’ mean anything to you?” I retort. What’s the deal with my cellphone calling people from the 1970’s? It’s like the reverse of people who insult me by saying, “The 70’s called. They want their Farrah Fawcett hairstyle back.” At the kitchen table, I scrutinize my mobile device suspiciously as I eat cottage cheese w/ pineapple and lime Jell-O. It doesn’t dial up Dorothy Hamill or Billy Jean King. Whew! But just as I swallow some curds, it emanates an ominous glow, and a notification pops up “1 outgoing call.” Seriously? This is no pocket or purse dial! I had my eye on it the entire time. Paging Rod Serling! Or is this Siri’s revenge for when I drowned her in the washing machine? When I see who this call is from, it’s the Rabbi from Los Angeles who oversaw my Bat Mitzvah in 1977. I know he told me that was only the start of my Jewish education and to check in with him to let him know how I was progressing, but this is ridiculous! I install an update to make my cellphone more current, yanking it out of the past. Only now, not only does it continue making random embarrassing calls by itself, (my dentist, Uber, and D.Z. Akins) but it actually starts efficiently connecting people together from my online address book via its 3-way conference calling feature! It introduces the following contacts to each other:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
My gynecologist to my pregnant girlfriend My Weight-Watcher leader to my chocoholic brother My wedding planner to my divorce attorney Dr. Harris (my Cocker Spaniel’s vet) to Harrison (a cocky Vietnam vet) My son’s football coach to my life coach My handyman (who fixes stuff) to my neighbor (a broken-down divorcee) My personal clothing shopper (Nan) to a Nun (who never removes her habit) and My therapist to…you guessed it, my mother! (Perhaps so she can analyze why nobody ever leaves her a voicemail?)
And now that I’m Chanukah shopping in earnest, I discovered a new popular trend on the market – a clear plastic food storage container (with a burping seal!) that contains . . . wait for it…six frosted pink lipsticks. And that’s when I knew the Phantom of the Cellphone struck again – this time he’d actually gone and connected my Tupperware gal with my Avon lady. Bravo! STEPHANIE D. LEWIS WILL BRING HUMOR TO WHATEVER YOU NEED MADE MORE FUNNY! GOOGLE HER ON THE HUFFINGTON POST TO SEE HER PORTFOLIO. THEQUOTEGAL@YAHOO.COM
L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER 2021