L'Chaim Magazine December-January 2024

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December 2023/January 2024 • www.lchaimmagazine.com

in this issue... COVER STORY San Diego’s Solidarity Mission to Israel........................................................................................................


1000 WORDS Sheryl Sandberg: UN Silence ‘Unacceptable’ For Israeli Women, All Women.................................................................................

FOOD Dijon Glazed Carrots.......................................................................................................................................

Israeli Philharmonic Heals through Music........................................................................................


10 18

TEST YOUR JEWISH IQTM.........................................................................................................................




20 22 24 28


Our 2023 Moment............................................................................................................................................

Poem........................................................................................................................................................................ Movie Review: Bella! This Woman’s Place is in The House...................................................



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


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

PUBLISHERS Diane Benaroya & Laurie Miller EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alanna Maya CREATIVE DIRECTOR Laurie Miller

ADVERTISING & SALES Diane Benaroya: dianeb@lchaimmagazine.com 4


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

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& passages Prayer for Healing

Mishebeirach avoteinu, Avraham, Yitzchak v’Yaakov Mishebeirach imoteinu, Sara, Rivka, Leah v’Rachel May the One who blessed our mothers May the One who blessed our fathers Hear our prayer And bless us as well Bless us with the power of your healing Bless us with the power of your hope May our hearts be filled with understanding And strengthened by the power of Your love — Cantor Lisa Levine Mi Shebeirach is one of the central prayers of our contemporary Jewish liturgy, recited on behalf of people in need of healing in body, mind, and spirit. It is our Jewish custom to surround those who are suffering with our compassion, love, and prayer for their wellbeing. We hold them close to our hearts and ask God to bless them with healing. Traditionally, the Mi Shebeirach prayer is said when the Torah is read in synagogue: Shabbat, major Jewish holidays, as well as during the week on Mondays and Thursdays. In Reform temples, it is also common to include this prayer during the Friday night service. The original text (translated from the 6

Hebrew) is as follows: May the One who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, bless and heal those who are ill: [insert names]. May the Blessed Holy One be filled with compassion for their health to be restored and their strength to be revived. May God swiftly send them a complete renewal of body and spirit, and let us say, Amen. The great composer Debbie Friedman (of blessed memory) popularized Mi Shebeirach when she composed her well-known version of this prayer, which includes these English lyrics: May the Source of strength Who blessed the ones before us help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing, and let us say, “Amen.” Bless those in need of healing with r’ fuah shleima [complete healing], the renewal of body, the renewal of spirit, and let us say, “Amen.” These words and this song have touched a chord in many people’s hearts; and today it is the most common version of the Mi Shebeirach prayer, sung in synagogues across the country, perhaps the world. Other composers have since contributed their own beautiful settings including Cantor Lisa Levine (see lyrics above) and the prolific Craig Taubman, who included the words,


“Eil na r’ fa na la,” (“Please, God, heal her.” —Numbers 12:13). These five words were the only ones spoken by Moses when he beseeched God to heal his sister, Miriam, from her skin affliction. Recitation of this prayer in any its various iterations is not limited to the Sanctuary. It may also be heard in hospitals or homes where someone is ill. It may be led by rabbis, chaplains, and other healthcare professionals, or perhaps family and friends on behalf of their loved ones. Its power may be transformative for those who recite it as well as those who hear their names included in the blessing. Knowing that people care about you and are praying on your behalf may even assist in the healing process. Today, with so many people facing extreme challenges, I ask you to take a moment to offer up your own prayer for those who are hurting and in need of a healing blessing. May you find fulfillment in comforting others who need your help, and may you too be blessed with comfort, healing, and love by the One who gives us life. RABBI-CANTOR CHERI WEISS IS THE SPIRITUAL LEADER OF TEMPLE EMANUEL IN HONOLULU, HAWAII.





& mishagoss Start the New Year Off Right with a Creative Closet


hroughout 2023, many readers wrote to me asking for a column on Jewish home organization. Not really, but they might have, and you’d never know. So, let’s examine interesting ideas for utilizing a spare closet, shall we? Something more innovative than just storing linens, coats, Chanukah decorations, or extra Manischewitz soup mixes, because you’re too lazy to make it from scratch. Wait, I know! You could remove the closet door, fit a desk inside, creating a micro “office.” Or install lights and a vanity table with mirror for a makeup nook. Or a loveseat and books instead of the vanity table (because aside from being lazy, you’re also too vain!) will make it a reading alcove. Or shelves laden with wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, boxes, bags, and scotch tape, providing a nifty giftwrapping station or… Hold up! Did someone just mention the word ‘Gift?’ As in a Gift Closet? That’s it! That’s what I wanna devote this month’s column to. Because Gift Closets are ingenious! You’ll never stand in long return lines after the holidays or your birthday! All that unwanted merchandise will finally serves a purpose…stocking your Gift Closet! Let’s examine the pros and cons of a Gift Closet. PROS MONEYSAVER: You’ll see an item on sale,

thinking, “Gosh! It’s the perfect object for Uncle Irwin -- but alas, his birthday’s far away.” Never fear…buy the patriotic musical toilet-flusher anyhow, stashing it in your 8

brilliant Gift Closet for the future! TIMESAVER: In fact, purchase 8 of them

because let’s face it: if Irwin would like it, others will too! COUNTS AS A UNIQUE MITZVAH: You’ll

comfort anxious family/friends when they forget someone’s anniversary or need a hostess gift, because they can shop in your closet at the very last minute! CONS DECEPTION:

Gift Closets encourage shrouding of the truth. Like when the recipient unwraps it, cites wrong size, then asks where you bought it? Whatcha gonna say? “Um…a little hole in the wall that Encinitas locals call, ‘The Tchotchke Closet’ but there’s no returns!” MEMORY LOSS: Trust me. You won’t recall

buying your mother a Mother’s Day bracelet way back during after-Xmas sales, so in May you’ll panic and grab her a Macy’s beach bag. (Note: She’ll hate both presents!) You might even completely forget you’ve started a GiftCloset in the first place. OVERSPENDING: Everywhere you go, you’ll

keep your eyes open for cute little items to round-out your Gift Closet. Turtle-shaped staplers at Office Depot? Absolutely! Face it, you’re actually shopping for your future garage sale. Admit it, you’ll brag about this Gift Closet. You’ll even leave the door BOASTING:


“accidentally” ajar during the “Mazel Tov, You’re a Lawyer!” party you throw for your niece Susan, so she’ll pass it heading to the bathroom and see how clever and organized you are. “Congrats on passing the bar, Susan!” you’ll say. “I coulda become an attorney too, if my Gift Closet didn’t consume all my brainpower.” You’ll spend hours photographing your Gift Closet to put the perfect pics on Instagram and Pinterest. Because nothing says, “I’m resourceful and you’re not!” like a nicely laid-out Gift Closet. TIME-WASTER:

C’mon now! Do you really have space to dedicate a closet to this kind of narishkeit and mishagoss? Who’re we kidding here? Now umbrellas, brooms, vacuums, dog leashes, and extra clothing (for when you gain ten pounds) must be shoved into an already overpacked garage. Rereading above, clearly the paragraph listing the pros of Gift Closets is miniscule, while the paragraph with the cons is so long, it’s annoying my editor. Therefore, you should probably just forget the entire thing. But you already knew that; because who takes advice from a Jewish humorist who insults her readers by calling them vain and lazy, then tries to justify her hoarding as a “Unique Mitzvah?” CROWDED:


SINGING & SHARING a variety of traditional Jewish music We welcome new members! Email Rita for more info: rheller8@gmail.com



L’CHAIM | BY MIKE WAGENHEIM | JNS.ORG Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan speaking at “Hear Our Voices: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Oct. 7 Hamas Attack,” on Dec. 4, 2023. Credit: Israeli Mission to the United Nations.







peaking with JNS just outside the lines of U.N.-member state flags at Flag Hall in December, the technology entrepreneur, philanthropist and author Sheryl Sandberg said there was nowhere else she’d rather be than there, standing up for the Israeli women who were killed, raped, abused and kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. “It’s the only thing I would want to do today,” said Sandberg, who is Jewish and who founded the nonprofit group Lean In. The former chief operating officer of Meta, which owns Facebook, and former vice president at Google said that men run most of the countries whose flags fly nearby in the U.N. hall. “That means that women had to fight hard—and much too hard— to establish that rape is a crime against humanity,” she said. “The current moment, with the current silence, threatens to undo that progress. That’s unacceptable.” Silence in the face of violence against Israeli women is unacceptable for those women and, “what everyone needs to understand is that’s unacceptable for all,” she said. Sandberg was on hand to keynote “Hear Our Voices: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Oct. 7 Hamas Attack,” sponsored by the Israeli mission to the United Nations. Coordinating the Dec. 4 event were the National Council of Jewish Women; World Zionist Organization; Shazur, Women’s International Zionist Organization; Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; and Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America. It took place against a backdrop of what U.N. critics called a “shameful silence” amid mounting proof, including videos, eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence, of sexual violence that Hamas terrorists carried out for hours on Oct. 7. Just last month, U.N. Women—the body’s entity charged with advocating for women’s empowerment—issued a statement on reports

of Hamas’s sexual-based atrocities that occurred on Oct. 7, calling for an investigation. The United Nations assigned that investigation to the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, which has long included members with long histories of blatantly antisemitic and anti-Israel comments, even drawing criticism from U.N. member states that don’t typically align with Israel. An overflow audience gathered in a U.N. conference room on Monday to hear from Sandberg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and others. Several speakers paused, choking back tears; their condemnations of U.N. inaction and a lack of empathy, coupled with accusations of anti-Israel and antisemitic undertones, drew rousing ovations that are rarely seen in the protocol-driven U.N. halls. “When I saw the list of women’s rights organizations who have said nothing, I nearly choked,” Gillibrand said. The senator described what she saw during a Senate viewing of raw footage of the Hamas terror attacks on Oct. 7 as “haunting and unacceptable.” “Where is the solidarity for women in this country and in this world to stand up for our mothers, our sisters and our daughters?” she asked. Gillibrand demanded that the United Nations denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization, drawing thunderous applause that drowned out the last sentences of her statement. Simchat Greyman, a volunteer for ZAKA Search and Rescue, told attendees that he saw a dead woman with “nails and different objects in her female organs.” Struggling to speak at times, he recounted a body that was so disfigured that rescuers “couldn’t even identify if it was a man or woman.” Shari Mendes, an Israel Defense Forces reservist tasked with WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM


L’CHAIM Sheryl Sandberg, former CEO of Facebook, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 28, 2011. Credit: Jolanda Flubacher via Wikimedia Commons.

preparing female soldiers’ bodies for burial, told attendees that “many young women arrived in bloody, shredded rags or just in underwear, and their underwear was often very bloody.” She added that “our team commander saw several female soldiers who were shot in the crotch, intimate parts, vagina or shot in the breast.” Sandberg said that she had not heard direct evidence of Hamas’s sexual crimes before Monday’s event. “I had read about it, but I had not met these first responders. That woman who talked about handling the bodies and trying to do so with respect; that man who couldn’t speak because of what he’s seen … I think the world needs to hear those stories,” she said. “I’m grateful to them for their work—for traveling all the way here to share their stories in this building that has the responsibility and the obligation of making sure this doesn’t happen again,” she said. When asked if she had met with any U.N. officials during her Monday visit, Sandberg demurred uncomfortably. Pressed again, she declined to comment on the record. She said that it is imperative that officials and member states look past the political implications of Oct. 7 and its aftermath when dealing with the issue of sexual violence. “No matter what your views are, it is absolutely, unequivocally clear that we stand against rape, always, every time—for Israeli women, for all women,” Sandberg said. Some 150 protesters demonstrated in front of U.N. headquarters before the start of Monday’s event. “When the institutions that are globally mandated to protect women stay silent, not only does international law lose meaning, humanity’s shared values lose meaning,” Cochav Elkayam-Levy said at the rally. Head of Israel’s Civil Commission on Oct. 7 Crimes by Hamas Against Women and Children, Elkayam-Levy said that the silence by the United Nations “directly contributes to a rise in global antisemitism.” 12


“Are Israeli women even considered human by you?” she rhetorically asked the United Nations. At the U.S. State Department’s press briefing on Monday in Washington, Matthew Miller, the department’s spokesman, suggested that Hamas didn’t return women hostages to Israel, fearing that they would talk about what happened to them while they were held captive in Gaza. When pressed, Miller acknowledged that he had no evidence of such a claim. “I don’t have the information, but it sounds reasonable,” Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan said. “If you look at Hamas’s standards, and they now realize some of the atrocities are turning against them, so yes, it might be possible, but I don’t have the information,” he said. Former first lady and U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who has vigorously denounced Hamas and defended Israel’s military response to Oct. 7, addressed attendees of Monday’s event via prerecorded message. “As a global community, we must respond to weaponized sexual violence wherever it happens with absolute condemnation,” she said. “There can be no justifications and no excuses. Rape as a weapon of war is a crime against humanity.” Sandberg said that Michal Mentch-Gerstler, chief-of-staff to Erdan, and mission counselor Avital Mimran-Rosenberg invited her to the event. “These women worked tirelessly through the last … just very short period with the ambassador to pull off this event,” she said. Sandberg’s daughter, nieces, mother and mother-in-law joined her at the United Nations. JNS asked if she typically brings family members with her when she speaks. “This is a special event. This is for all of us,” she said. “This is for my daughters, so they live in a different world.”









t was just over six months ago that more than 200 San Diegans traveled to Israel on Jewish Federation of San Diego’s CommUNITY Trip and spent a memorable day in our sister region of Sha’ar HaNegev celebrating 25 years of partnership. It feels like yesterday, and it feels like a lifetime ago. Since then, the ground has shifted under our feet, and no place and no one in Sha’ar HaNegev or anywhere in Israel is untouched by the tragedy of October 7—a day many are now calling the Black Sabbath. I am speaking from firsthand experience, having just returned from Federation’s Solidarity Mission alongside a small group of local Jewish community leaders, donors, and clergy. It was an intense, emotional journey for all. Our purpose was three-fold: To bear witness to all that occurred on October 7 and be prepared to share the truth of it all to counter the disinformation that continues to rapidly spread. To begin to build the foundation for “the day after,” and plan for the resources that will be needed to rehabilitate Sha’ar HaNegev. And, most importantly, to be there for our friends— to hug them tight, listen to their experiences, and let them know we are steadfast in our support of Israel and her people. Coming down the famous long hallway at Ben Gurion, we came face-to-face with the images of the hostages. The airport and the roads were quiet. Coming into Sederot and Sha’ar HaNegev, which sits right on the border with Gaza, signs of a country in wartime were everywhere. Trucks carrying well-used tanks on the highways. The military guarding all entrances to Sederot and all the kibbutzim in Sha’ar HaNegev. We stopped at what used to be the police station in Sederot and is now a pile of rubble with a few colorful flowers someone planted to mark the site. We met soldiers taking a break from serving in Gaza at the Community Center in Sha’ar HaNegev, which is now used exclusively by the IDF. We took in what seemed an endless sea of burnt, mangled, twisted cars that once belonged to the young people who had attended the Nova Music Festival. It left us speechless. “The magnitude of the murders and hostage-taking of young people celebrating music and peace—the themes of the festival—were evident in looking at those abandoned cars,” said Alan Viterbi. We sat and listened to stories of survivors of the massacres at Kfar Aza and Nachal Oz. Their stories of terror were all the same, while their stories of survival were all totally unique. They shared the most intimate details of their experiences along with profound wisdom and resilience. “Their testimonies were heartbreaking, and yet, showed tremendous strength and courage. It is unimaginable what these families went through. [These were] families with young children

And yet, amidst these dark and disturbing accounts, there were moments of hope, inspiration and powerful pride that helped balance the pain. who endured this terrorist attack for 20 [to] 30 hours alone and cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no water, no food, no bathrooms,” said Debbie Kornberg. We met with Zaka volunteers, Haredi Jews who care for the bodies of victims of terror. These men have seen the worst of humanity for years, and yet they were clearly, distressingly traumatized beyond measure by what they saw Hamas had done to women whose bodies they had come to care for. They could barely speak. It had changed them. And as we read some of the evidence the IDF is beginning to share describing in detail the sexual violence on October 7, I broke. The acts against women, girls, vatikim (elderly women)—such evil, it is beyond comprehension. And yet, amidst these dark and disturbing accounts, there were moments of hope, inspiration and powerful pride that helped balance the pain. We had the honor of meeting with President Herzog at his private residence and hear his candid thoughts about what must happen now and the critical role the diaspora must play in the future of the Jewish state. We learned from one of the most brilliant Israeli minds of our generation—Donniel Hartman of the Shalom Hartman Institute, who reminded us of the importance of sharing what we we’ve seen, what we’ve heard, and how we feel – as far and as wide as we can. We visited the Ramat David Air Force Base, where we served dinner to the entire squadron of pilots and navigators—all dedicated to protecting and defending the Jewish state.




We gathered in song at the Healing Space, a farm that has been transformed into a beautiful, one-of-a-kind venue for survivors and loved ones of the young people murdered at the Nova Music Festival to come together and heal. We met venture capitalists and other high-tech leaders who are now leading the Brothers and Sisters for Israel Command Center in Tel Aviv. This massive grassroots organization was originally mobilized as a pro-democracy political organization, but overnight, was transformed into a center for humanitarian aid. “It was incredibly inspiring to see the commitment of the managers and organizers who see what happened as an opportunity for solidarity; [to renew] the wellbeing of the state and the communal connections between Israel and world Jewry, as the bond of Jewish people is critical to the future,” said Rabbi Yael Ridberg. There were countless other moments on this trip that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Our love for Israel and Sha’ar HaNegev has only intensified, and we have returned more determined than ever to help them rebuild in the months and years ahead. It will be a long, difficult road, but one our San Diego community has 16


already shown it is willing to travel—as evidenced by the more than $8 million we have raised since October 7 in support of Israel and Sha’ar HaNegev. The survivors, the victims, the hostages, the soldiers, the volunteers, and all who love them—their stories are now our stories, and we will do everything we can to ensure they are not forgotten. Never again starts now. AS PRESIDENT AND CEO OF JEWISH FEDERATION OF SAN DIEGO, HEIDI GANTWERK OVERSEES THE 90-PLUS-YEAROLD NONPROFIT IN ITS MISSION TO BROADEN AND DEEPEN ENGAGEMENT IN JEWISH LIFE, STRENGTHEN JEWISH IDENTITY, FOSTER DYNAMIC CONNECTIONS WITH ISRAEL, AND CARE FOR ALL JEWS IN NEED. FEDERATION ALSO SERVES AS A PRIMARY CONVENER OF THE SAN DIEGO JEWISH COMMUNITY – MOBILIZING THE COMMUNITY’S RESOURCES, LEADERS, AND ORGANIZATIONS TO ADDRESS THE COMMUNITY’S MOST CRITICAL NEEDS, CREATING PROFOUND IMPACT LOCALLY, IN ISRAEL, AND AROUND THE WORLD.

TEST YOUR JEWISH IQTM 1. Which Jew was the only passenger to accompany, and become friends with, the Prime Minister of England and the Crown Prince on a flight from England to Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral in Israel? ____ a. Elie Wiesel ____ b. Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau ____ c. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks ____ d. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef 2. Moses appointed men as leaders and judges who had all these qualities but which one? ____ a. They despised money ____ b. They were accomplished ____ c. They were truthful ____ d. They were Torah scholars 3. In which of these movies featuring the Jewish actor, Jeff Goldblum, does he not play a stereotypical nerdy scientist or engineer? ____ a. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) ____ b. The Fly (1986) ____ c. Independence Day (1996) ____ d. Jurassic World Dominion (2022) 4. Which of these is not one of the Ten Commandments? ____ a. Do not worship idols ____ b. Do not steal ____ c. Do not cheat ____ d. Do not covet 5. Which Nazi war criminal did Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal play a role is capturing in Buenos Aires in 1960? ____ a. Adolf Eichmann ____ b. Hermann Goering ____ c. Heinrich Himmler ____ d. Josef Mengele 6. What is the ratio of positive commandments to negative commandments in the Torah? ____ a. 72/541

____ ____ ____

b. 248/365 c. 307/306 d. 541/72

7. According to the Talmud, if someone is coming to kill you, what should you do? ____ a. Rise against him and kill him first ____ b. Subdue him with the least force necessary ____ c. Make your best effort to escape ____ d. Offer passive resistance 8. What is the name of the certificate on the wall of a restaurant or of the symbol on the packaging of a food product certifying that the restaurant or the food product is kosher? ____ a. Hechsher ____ b. Shochet ____ c. Kashrut ____ d. Sieman 9. There is substantial evidence that which of these early sea-faring explorers was Jewish? ____ a. Balboa ____ b. Columbus ____ c. Magellan ____ d. Ponce de Leon 10. Until the stock market crash and Great Depression wiped out much of his wealth, which Jew endowed a 20-year construction campaign that built over 5,000 schools in neglected black communities, schools that educated more than a fourth of black children in the South? ____ a. Bernard Baruch ____ b. Julius Rosenwald ____ c. Lionel Rothschild ____ d. Robert Lehman

Answers on page 29. ©

2023 Felber, Starmark, Inc., all rights reserved.








aise your hand if you need to whip up a satisfying accompaniment for your next holiday get together. Glazed with a perfect balance of flavors, this nourishing side dish is always a real crowd-pleaser at my Shabbat dinner table. A tiny bit of maple syrup and some dijon adds nice flavor complexity, while my Vegitude POWER Spice blend cranks up the antioxidant value of these gems, making these carrots a standout in both taste and nutritional power. A must try that’s perfect for any festive gathering! This simple, power-spiced recipe (and 100+ more) can be found in my newly released, best-selling book, SpiceRack, which is currently offered as a bundle along with our carefully crafted line of power spice nutrition blends. Snap them up before they’re gone! Dijon Glazed Carrots Active Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 30 mins Serves: 8 Ingredients 2 pounds carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise 1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup 2 teaspoons dijon mustard 1 teaspoon Vegitude Power Spice Blend* Salt and pepper, to taste Directions 1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

Glazed with a perfect balance of flavors, this nourishing side dish is always a real crowd-pleaser at my Shabbat dinner table. 2. Line a sheet pan with parchment

paper. 3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together oil, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and spice blend to create a glaze. 4. Place the carrots on the lined sheet pan and pour the glaze over top, brushing to ensure an even coat. Lightly season with salt and pepper. 5. Bake 20–30 minutes, until the carrots are fully roasted and fork-tender. Rachel Beller is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), CEO of Beller Nutritional Institute, creator of the Beller Nutrition Masterclass, and best-selling author. She specializes in oncology and weight management. Visit bellernutrition.com for more information. Beller will be a guest on Sharsheret in the

Kitchen on Wednesday, January 10, at 11 a.m. PST. This free national webinar 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 healthy diet choices. Email Jessica Jablon at jjablon@sharsheret.org to register or for more information. THIS RECIPE WAS SUBMITTED BY THE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION, SHARSHERET, 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.




Israeli Philharmonic Healing through Music

The Special in Uniform band performed at the Global Conference


ollowing the horrific Hamas attacks on October 7, Israel State Department guidelines postponed the opening of the 87th Israel Philharmonic’s season. The orchestra immediately pivoted, despite the intensifying war, to bring hope and light to people in Israel and around the world. Some of their activities have ranged from volunteering to harvest vegetables to performing for evacuated families and uniting Jewish communities everywhere through the healing power of music. Even though a musicians’ hands are their livelihood, philharmonic members did not hesitate to volunteer for time-sensitive harvesting work, supporting the farmers who were drafted. Instead of holding million-dollar instruments, they held tomatoes and avocadoes, to keep the economy going and feed the citizens of Israel. In keeping with the tradition of the Israel Philharmonic bringing Israelis comfort during times of crisis, the Philharmonic has been traveling across the country in trio and quartet groups to perform for evacuated children, families and wounded citizens. Avida Bachar—a member of Kibbutz Be’eri who survived the attack but suffered a leg amputation and lost his wife and son—received an especially moving performance from Israel Philharmonic musicians at Soroka Medical



Center. The Israel Philharmonic continued to promote peace and unity for Jewish people everywhere on October 22, broadcasting their “Salute to Israel” concert to Jewish communities around the world. The musicians performed Israel’s national anthem, Paul Ben-Haim’s “Fanfare to Israel” and Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, “Eroica,” to an empty hall with only the images of all hostages ‘looking’ at the musicians from the seats in the first rows. Music Director Lahav Shani addressed viewers with a moving speech, “I ask myself, how is it possible to contain both this sense of distress and anguish alongside hope and yearning for life? In our daily life, this seems almost impossible. The grief and anger are so strong that it is difficult to feel anything else. But it is at these moments that music has incredible strength. Music can contain and reflect all our feelings, side by side.” THE CONCERT HAS BEEN VIEWED MORE THAN 150,000 TIMES WORLDWIDE. TO WATCH THE ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC’S “SALUTE TO ISRAEL” CONCERT, VISIT WWW.AFIPO.ORG/SALUTE-TOISRAEL.




Our 2023 Moment BY JACOB KAMARAS

The Special in Uniform band performed at the Global Conference


icking off the Jewish National Fund-USA Global Conference for Israel in Denver last month, the organization’s San Diegobased National President Dr. Sol Lizerbram gave both a history lesson and an immediate call to action. “This is our 1901 moment. This is our 1948 moment,” he told the 2,500 attendees, referring to the years of the founding of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) and the State of Israel, respectively. “In the shadow of tragedy and uncertainty, we will rebuild.” Or perhaps, in the aftermath of the darkest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust, today’s challenges stand on their own in defining our 2023 moment. As Lizerbram later told me in an interview, “October 7th changed the Jewish world.” Lizerbram reflected in his opening remarks that “things have changed...it feels as though we are in a fight for our very survival.” At 22


the same time, he declared, “We say to the world that we are one and we are an insurmountable force.” Another San Diego-based speaker at the conference who projected optimism was Ron Nehring, former presidential campaign spokesman for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and director of international programs at the Leadership Institute. “One day, Israelis and Palestinian Arabs will live in peace. That will happen,” Nehring said during a session on pro-Israel advocacy and social media. “Even the Hundred Years’ War came to an end after 116 years…eventually that will come in the Middle East. But it won’t come with Hamas…violence and genocide are foundational to what Hamas is, the same way they were foundational to what the Nazis were.” That is why as a supporter of Israel, he said, “You should have total confidence that you are on the right side. Look at what the other


side has to defend. They have to defend authoritarianism, terrorism, and death. They are playing the weak hand very well, but they’re still wrong.” REMEMBERING THE SLAIN MAYOR OF SHA’AR HANEGEV

The memory of Ofir Libstein—the late mayor of San Diego’s longtime partner region of Sha’ar HaNegev, who was killed while defending his kibbutz on October 7—was a fixture throughout the conference. This past January, Libstein invited Israeli social entrepreneur Gidi Grinstein to Sha’ar HaNegev. They drove along a bumpy road on the border with Gaza, and they envisioned peace-building humanitarian projects that could benefit Palestinians. “Ofir was very proud of his turf,” Grinstein said, noting Sapir College near Sderot as well as local infrastructure supported by JNFUSA such as schools, parks, a high-tech center, and a pool for people with disabilities. On their tour of Sha’ar HaNegev, “wherever we stopped, there was a sign with a blue-and-green box,” noted Grinstein, referring to JNFUSA’s iconic tzedakah box. JNF-USA’s CEO Russell Robinson said that if he were still alive, Libstein “would be telling us to move forward. He would be telling us about his hopes and dreams.” The slain mayor’s brother, Doron Libstein, thanked conference attendees for showing “empathy, love, and friendship.” “What I’ve seen here is that we are not alone in Israel,” he said. San Diego’s imprint on the conference could also be seen through the work of Elyasaf Meira, the Israeli artist who beautifies JNFUSA’s bomb shelters in the area known as the Gaza Envelope. Meira was present in Denver to work on live paintings. Philanthropists in San Diego and nationwide — including Lizerbram and JNF-USA San Diego Board President Jacqui Schneider — partner with the organization for its bomb shelter beautification initiative. The murals help with PTSD and make them less scary for children, especially when they are located next to playgrounds and other areas where kids play. FROM THE PANDEMIC TO THE WAR

Lizerbram said in our interview that two different all-encompassing episodes during his time as JNF-USA’s national president — the COVID-19 pandemic and now, the war in Israel — have demonstrated “the flexibility of the organization.”

“When COVID hit, we immediately went into Zoom mode, and we began creating opportunities for our Israeli partners that were suffering economically,” he said, adding, “We always talk about the blue box. This showed our ability to think outside of the box.” He continued, “To the same effect, it happened now with October 7th. So now, they call me a wartime president. Within 24 hours, JNFUSA set up a situation room in Israel to deal with the needs of the people and the land of Israel….Both of these disruptions, COVID and the war, showed how JNF-USA’s agility enabled us to satisfy the needs of the people in Israel.” The conference itself was another indicator of the organization’s nimble character, Lizerbram said, as the entire program needed to be altered following the onset of the war. Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan told reporters that he devoted time to the conference because “I see it as part of my role to serve as a bridge between the State of Israel and Diaspora Jews, and it’s also very important that they will understand what is truly happening in the house of lies where I serve, the U.N.” “Since we’re not only fighting on the battlefield, we’re also fighting for the hearts and minds of people in the United States, the young generation, it’s important for me to share my experience with Jewish and other communities and hope to convince them,” Erdan said. BUILDING TOGETHER

The conference concluded with the announcement of Livnot B’Yachad (Build Together), a $50 million joint campaign from JNF-USA and KKL-JNF to rebuild and revitalize the Gaza-border communities that were devastated by Hamas. JNF-USA’s Robinson told attendees that after October 7, “Life will never be the same. Sleep will never be the same. Sunrise will never be the same. Yet, we will never allow our light to go out.” He added, “We believe in tomorrow and we will build tomorrow.” JACOB KAMARAS IS EDITOR AND PUBLISHER OF SAN DIEGO JEWISH WORLD. HIS WRITING ON THE MIDDLE EAST, AMERICAN POLITICS AND EURASIA HAS APPEARED IN THE WASHINGTON TIMES, INDEPENDENT JOURNAL REVIEW, THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR, THE DAILY CALLER, CNS NEWS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS.




Angry at my Sisters BY S. RAPOPORT


here are you, sister? I’ve sat with you singing hymns, thinking they were ours. Rejoiced knowing that our voices, together, were finally making a dent in a patriarchal society. One that would allow gender violence to go unpunished, unmentioned, cancelled. Hey, I even made it my task to read the testimonies of Harvey Weinstein’s victims, finding a common thread of fear and paralysis. When #MeToo erupted, I was ecstatic we shed light on a victimblaming mentality. And yet now you sit silent. Where are the protests, when the lifeless naked body of a woman is paraded around in a car — a sick punching bag for men at war? Where were you when we saw them taken by force, their crotches bursting with the blood of brutality? Where is your outrage in the aftermath of October 7th, defending the captive? That voice that gave us power because we raised it by the thousands — race, religion, country of origin notwithstanding. 24


Are you silent, by any chance, because the victims were Israeli, or in Israel, and thus “deserved it,” and “had it coming”? And you say my writing’s not valid, because it comes from a place of anger. Well, back then, anger was the rightful emotion to denounce the weaponization of sexual power. Look in the mirror, sister. Why aren’t you up in arms protesting, screaming: me too, I AM you? If anything, you should be furious. About what happened to them. About what could happen to us, in a world that stays silent. So much has been lost in this conflict. I hope our sisterhood doesn’t end up a casualty. #angryatmysisters #meto #unwomen









This Woman's Place is in the House.




had the enlightening privilege of screening Bella! This Woman’s Place is in the House at KBPS. Prompted by a suggestion from his mother, writer and director Jeff Lieberman created the documentary film because, surprisingly, it hadn’t been done yet. This very human story needs to be told, especially to the youth of American society. It’s the story of the remarkable powerhouse that was Bella Abzug. Viewers learn about the inspiration of her “speak up movement”, as her civic voice raised up the most influential women in the decades of the latter half of the 20th century. As the original incarnation of the now famous “Neverthelss, she persisted,” she broke glass ceilings, showed the political patriarchy what she was about and paved the legislative way for Women’s equity, especially regarding credit cards



in their own name, civil rights, child care, minority and LGBTQ+ protections. Her approach to politics upended the status quo in Washington and provided a golden pathway for generations of women to lead with conviction and heart. The film brings her career to life through archival footage and new interviews. The list of prominent activists who admired and supported her is impressive. Audiences are are treated to the passionate voices of superstars like Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Marlo Thomas, Shirley Maclaine, Gloria Steinem, and political figures who walked in her footsteps like Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi as well as her staff. Representatives of the marginalized groups who were her dearest constituants speak with endearing messages of gratitude and inspiration. Hearing and seeing them speak


As the original incarnation of the now famous “Neverthelss, she persisted,” Bella Abzug broke glass ceilings, showed the political patriarchy what she was about and paved the legislative way for Women’s equity. adds an admirable dimension to her life story. Her story began challenging the patriarchy by applying and succeeding in earning her law degree from Harvard. She started her own law office, joining forced with a women’s activist group, Women Strike for Peace, who changed laws relating to use of nuclear power. With her own brand of ambition, she then launched a campaign for Congress, representing a large district of lower Manhattan. Recognizing her potential, “Broadway performers lent support, most notably Barbra Streisand, who recalls how Bella easily connected with The Lower East Side’s elderly Jewish voters”. Bella’s faith connections began in her childhood synagogue where she proudly learned Hebrew prayers from her Orthodox grandfather. “When Bella’s father died suddenly, she was intent on publicly reciting the traditional mourner’s prayer. The elders would not allow it. That did not stop Bella…” Bella Abzug showed the country how it could be done, despite efforts silence her driving voice. To make it difficult for her to win again, the district lines were redrawn. Nevertheless, she served three terms in the House. With her signature hats and no nonsense language, she spoke candidly and loudly to advocate for and protect the most vulnerable members of society. Even as the president and FBI attempted to silence her, she persisted, trailblazing a blueprint for feminist leadership in American government. THIS AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY PREMIERS IN SAN DIEGO ON FEBRUARY 8, 2024. READ MORE ABOUT THE FILM AT HTTPS://BELLA1970.COM/

ANSWERS TO TEST YOUR JEWISH IQTM 1. c. Rabbi Sacks, then Chief Rabbi of the United Synagogues of the United Kingdom, did not know what to say to Prime Minister Major and Prince Charles on the flight, so he pulled out his Chumash and started studying the parsha of the week. They came over to ask him questions and became his good friends. 2. d. Moses appointed the judges shortly before the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai (Exo. 18:21-26). 3. a. In Body Snatchers, Goldblum plays an aspiring writer. In The Fly, he plays Dr. Seth Brundle; in Jurassic, Dr. Ian Malcolm; and in Independence Day, David Levinson, an MIT-educated satellite engineer. 4. c. Do not cheat is a commandment, but not one of the Ten. Do not worship idols is #2; do not steal is #8; do not covet is #10. 5. a. Eichmann was seized by Israeli agents in Argentina on May 11, 1960 and smuggled to Israel nine days later. Two years later he was hanged and his ashes were thrown in the sea. 6. b. The 248 positive commandments correspond to the number of organs in the human body. It is also the number of words in the Shema prayer. The 365 negative commandments correspond to the number of sinews and ligaments found within a person’s body, according to the Zohar. 7. a. Kill him first (Sanhedrin 72a). 8. a. In the U.S. a common hechsher symbol is the “OU” from Orthodox Union Kosher, the world’s largest kosher certification agency. A bare “K” by itself does not signify a kosher hechsher, because anyone may put the letter “K” on a product. 9. b. Research suggests that Columbus was a Marrano, a Jew who feigned to be a Catholic, and that he either was seeking a safe haven for Jews from Spanish persecution, or was seeking gold in Asia to finance a crusade to take back Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. His voyage was not funded by Queen Isabella, but rather by two Jewish Conversos, Louis de Santangel and Gabriel Sanchez, and by Don Isaac Abravanel, a rabbi and Jewish statesman. 10. b. Julius Rosenwald, a high-school dropout, became president of Sears. His Rural Schools Initiative had a tremendous effect on black literacy and the Great Migration to the North.

_________________________________________ 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.



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