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There’s a JCC in Turkey? Barons Market: Healthy Food, Low Prices





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Dec. 2015/Jan. 2016

L’Chaim 12 A Thousand Words Barons Market: Healthy Food, Low Prices

Cover Story 36 INSIDE: There’s a JCC in Turkey?


Chanukah 16 Eight Ways to Celebrate

Without Gifts Education 20 STEM Studies at Soille

22 Honoring the Past with 36 Years of SDJA 26 Why Speaking Hebrew Matters

Food 30 The Vilna Vegetarian

Cookbook: A Two-Way Culinary Time Machine Cauliflower Sopes, Mushroom, Corn & Guacamole

Features 32 Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin


at La Jolla Playhouse

33 In Conversation with Micky Rosenfeld

Headlines 44 News to Know Now Columns

6 8 10 43 45

My Comic Relief What Jew Mean Of the Book Guest Column Mazel & Mishagoss

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

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





Copyright 2015 L’Chaim San Diego LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any CONTRIBUTORS means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without Yigal Adato, Daniel Bortz, Stephanie Lewis, the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in Rita Mailheau, Salomon Maya, Sharon critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission Rapoport, Eva Trieger, Deborah Vietor requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator” to: publisher@ ©


Diane Benaroya (dianeb@lchaimmagazine. com), Sharon Rapoport (sharonbux@gmail. com)

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RANDOM RANTS l BY SALOMON MAYA “Faith is a beautiful thing. Yet we live in a world where people have perverted their religion in the name of God.”


comic relief Viva La Terra


h, religion. I know I may get into some hot water for this but the recent terrorist attacks in Paris remind me of the dangers of extreme religious zealots. While you read this, and if you disagree, please let me know. Tweet me @salomaya or the old fashioned way, just email my editor. But I’m going to state my opinion, and to save any hard feelings toward our loyal and amazing readership I shall state the obvious that this is my opinion alone and not that of L’Chaim Magazine or its publishers or advertisers. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here folks, nor say something that is so out of left field it will cause an uprising. But in today’s world we just can’t sit as fanatics gain more traction. And by fanatics I mean in EVERY religion, including our own. For even today, an extreme form of Judaism exists, and if you think by being God’s chosen people we are exempt from morality and ethics, you’ve got another thing coming. Now, we all know about extreme Islamic Jihadists. No need to rehash. Terrorist groups


such as ISIS are not only growing in number but also growing in violent acts. Not since the Nazis has a group cared so little about the world and so much about growing their own belief of a utopian society. Yet extreme religious zealots are not unique to Islam. In parts of Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Burma there exists an extreme group of Buddhist Monks hell bent on harming Muslims, to the point of killing some of them. In 2013, Buddhist Monks in Meiktila, Burma left 43 dead and 12,000 displaced. The group even has their own “Buddhist Bin Laden” (yes he actually called himself that) named Ashin Wirathu, who was released from prison in 2012. The violence grew so much in 2013 that even the Dalia Llama asked that these monks curtail their violence toward Muslims. Now when it comes to extreme religious Christian nuts don’t look further than the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Ks (WBC). Founded by Fred Phelps, the WBC have


famously picketed the funerals of veterans and homosexuals and proudly state that they have picketed in every state in the US. Although they are not violent, their hatred sometimes cuts deeper than a knife ever can. Even Jews are not exempt from these extreme ways and, we too, have literal blood on our hands. In 2014, Four Orthodox Jewish rabbis and one of their sons were indicted on charges of kidnapping Jewish men and violently forcing them to grant divorces to their wives. In the indictment, testimony included that the “rabbis wore bandanas and Halloween masks and brought rope, surgical blades, and a screwdriver to carry out the beatings.” Faith is a beautiful thing. Yet we live in a world where people have perverted their religion in the name of God. They have slandered, abused and killed in His name. We are the smartest species to ever roam this planet. Yet we murder each other in the name of a prophet, a messiah, a God. We currently destroy the very same planet we all inhabit and yet believe there is somewhere else we’re to go from here … a heaven … a paradise … a blind faith. If there is a God, and we all were created in his image, well … then I look around and maybe I just might not want to meet him. May the victims of the tragedy of November 13, 2015 in Paris be always remembered. SALOMON MAYA IS A LOCAL ACTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @SALOMAYA.





jew mean

“Be honest and open to who you are and you will live the life of more freedom …”



have been writing for L’Chaim magazine for some months now, and at first I was terrified. I always saw myself as a better speaker than a writer. I remember freaking out over the prospect of writing a 15-page essay in college; so writing as an art form was something I never really tried. But over the course of my time with this magazine, I have come to look forward to writing my monthly contribution. As I thought about what to write for the education issue, nothing rung truer than educating yourself. Here are three ways you can learn something new to improve your life.


We live day after day in the monotony of routine: Wake up, go to work, do errands, come home, have dinner and go to bed. Although all these are activities are important, it’s seldom that we sit and contemplate about our wants or needs; and more importantly who we have become. Over time we change; we start liking different foods, want to try new things or 8

even have different goals. Being able to sit and figure out who you are deep down will open up an understanding of who are becoming. It is not just important for you but for those around you to know who you are and being able to partner in fulfilling those necessities. Have courageous conversations about things that upset you or things that make you laugh out loud. Be honest and open to who you are and you will live the life of more freedom than you can imagine. 2. LEARN A HOBBY

You might want to run marathons or master the piano. Whatever it is, start NOW! Stop the fear of failure and dive into something that will put a smile on your face. When you practice a new hobby, it not only makes you happy but helps your mind stay focused. Imagine six months or a year from now when you can play a couple of songs on your favorite instrument or you cross the finish line. There will be setbacks and times where you feel like you are failing but remember to enjoy the ride and love the results.


First, learn trust yourself. Yes, you have made mistakes and failed at things but you are not alone. Most people who are successful, from business to sports fail and make mistakes, but it doesn’t stop their drive or their faith in themselves to get it done. Trust your instinct and trust your gut. Trust that you can accomplish what you set your mind to, and most importantly trust that things happen for a reason. The reason might be for you to learn a lesson or to change your perspective but learn from it and move on. Second, trust others. Some of you will think about those who have betrayed you, but take a moment and picture the friends and family who have supported you through a tough time and been there to make you laugh. There is good out there, and you have to keep trusting to be free of stress. I am still learning to be a good writer, but it takes knowing who I am deep inside to be able to express myself in words. I chose to write as my hobby to be able to practice and perfect, and I love every minute. It keeps me on my feet and allows me to process my thoughts and share them with you. So take some time to reflect and learn who you are today. Pick up a hobby that you have wanted to learn for years and trust that you can crush it. I can’t wait to see what you achieve. CONNECT WITH YIGAL ON TWITTER @YIGALADATO.

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of the

“Before having a second to blow out the candles and hide the menorah, the door of the bunk swung open.”

book A Chanukah Miracle


ight years ago, I was learning in a Yeshiva in Toronto, Canada. That year, before Chanukah, I heard a wellknown, true story from my friend Asher Sossonko. He relayed the story as follows: My grandfather, Asher Sossonkin, was a Jew who practiced real self-sacrifice. Living in Russia, where it was illegal to practice or teach Torah, he nevertheless did his utmost to teach as many children as he could, until he was arrested and sent to a labor camp in Siberia. There my grandfather never gave up, and with his great wisdom and joyful demeanor, he was a beacon of hope to all of the Jews in the camp.  A particular Russian Jew, who was sent to the labor camp for crimes much less noble than spreading Torah, became very close to my grandfather. He learned a lot about his faith that he had never known, and began secretly to observe as much as he could in the camp. As Chanukah approached, my grandfather taught this man about the holiday and the Menorah. “But how are we going to light the candles here in the camp?” this man asked. My grandfather replied: “Well, I will try and scrape together some potatoes and make holes in them. Then I’ll place string inside and light them. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best we can do.” But this man would not stand


for it. He wanted to do the best for G-d. So he used the connections he had in camp, and in exchange for a large sum, he was able to have a metal menorah constructed in time for the holiday. On each night of Chanukah, with my grandfather leading the proceedings in the back of their bunkhouse, this menorah was lit, much to the consternation of their nonJewish bunkmates. One night, on the fifth night of Chanukah, as my grandfather and this man watched the flames flicker, silently singing the Chanukah songs, they suddenly heard a shout: ”The commander’s coming!”  Before having a second to blow out the candles and hide the menorah, the door of the bunk swung open. At the entrance stood the commander. Staring at my grandfather, the commander shouted:  ”P’yat!?” (five). My grandfather nodded, “P’yat.” The commander nodded back, and with that, he was gone. When recounting this story, my grandfather always commented that perhaps this commander was none other than Elijah the prophet. But even if it was, he hadn’t come in his merit. He came because of this simple Jew, who in his great desire to make G-d happy, did his best to commemorate Chanukah in the most beautiful way he could.


The faith of the Jewish people is something very special. 2,154 years ago, the Syrian-Greek Hellenists tried to stamp out Jewish practice and beliefs. Our Sages point out that the aim of Greeks was not simply to uproot our Torah learning or Mitzvah observance. As an enlightened culture, they appreciated the great wisdom found in the Torah. Rather, they despised the spirit behind the practice, attributing the wisdom to G-d. They appreciated commandments that were logical, such as Don’t murder, Don’t steal, Set up courts of justice. But eating kosher? Putting on Tefillin? The Greeks desired to stamp out the G-d behind Torah wisdom and tradition. Jewish mystics liken oil to the essence of the soul, which, like oil when mixed with other substances, pervades all and rises to the top. When the Maccabees were victorious, they miraculously found one jug of undefiled oil to light the Menorah, forever to be lit by Jews around the world every year hence, signifying that the pure faith, the soul of a Jew and its light, will never be extinguished. RABBI DANIEL BORTZ IS THE DIRECTOR OF JTEEN SAN DIEGO, JTEENSD.COM. FOR INFORMATION ON CLASSES, CONTACT HIM AT DANIELBORTZ@GMAIL.COM.

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he L’Chaim team spent the afternoon at Barons Market in Point Loma, the home location in a tasting meeting where we experienced what Barons employees routinely do when they pull product (as in purchasing something not needed). An eclectic group of employees meet each Thursday to discuss which products will be in the store and which may not make it based on taste, quality and pricing. Much discussion and sharing enters into the process so that only top quality products are available to the public. A family owned operation, Barons is most supportive of the Jewish community in Rancho Bernardo, Poway and the surrounding areas. Joe Shemirani and his daughters Rachel and Dana are the owners, in addition to brothers Paris Shemirani, Eli and their cousin Bijan Moossazadeh. Sandwiches are made fresh daily and there are fresh and amazing baked goods available. Three important questions the staff asks regarding products to be carried in-store include: Is it locally grown? Is it affordable, and would the customer buy it again? Team L’Chaim tasted from the salad and olive bar, Indian cuisine, items such as couscous, and organic salads. At Barons, there are many products that one does not see in many other stores, including cookie butter which is sinfully delicious! Some of the items which will be on the shelves this week due to the past tasting include: Rotini with Spicy Winter Squash, Tofu Salad with Asian Sauce, Red Quinoa

for the salad bar, Pappillon Roquefort Cheese, Woodstock Organic Bar B Que Sauce, Woodstock Organic Kosher Dill Pickles, Bon Maman Purple Fig Spread and many other items. Additional brands carried in the store include: Roland products, Baba Foods Hummus and Pita Chips, Bitchin’ Sauce, Bread and Cie, and Hilliker’s eggs just to name a few. Some of the brands are typically found in Eat Coast markets such as Zabar’s in New York. For the holidays, expect more quality at Barons with cheese stuffed peppers, marinated mushrooms, stuffed grape leaves, balsamic cippoli onions and cookies Con Amore which are locally made Italian cookies. At Barons, 96% of store products are organic and natural and they are moving toward a goal of 100%. Locations include the home store in Point Loma which opened in 1993, Alpine, Rancho Bernardo, Temecula, Wildomar with a store planned soon in Murrieta. With about 9,500 products, friendly and educated staff and smaller spaces, logistics help shoppers reach a goal of 10 minutes total shopping time to achieve a great shopping experience. We spoke with Mia Bolton, Public Relations Consultant for Barons and she shared some interesting facts with us. L’CHAIM MAGAZINE: DOES BARONS USE LOCAL GROWERS FOR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES? MIA BOLTON: We definitely buy from local

growers whenever we can. Farms that we work with are Be Wise Ranch, Suzie’s Farms, Crows Past Farms and other family farms. We believe in supporting local farms because we’re not only supporting other businesses but we like to know exactly where our produce comes from. Plus, when we buy locally, we save money on transportation costs and can pass those savings on to the customer. L’CHAIM: WHAT DO YOU FEEL SETS BARONS APART FROM OTHER MARKETS? M.B.: We are a neighborhood market. We

hire employees local to the area, we support local organizations and we participate in community events that are important in the neighborhood. Also, we have designed the store to give our customers a 10-minute shopping experience. People are busier than ever and customers are usually in and out of our store, grabbing fresh foods in under 10 minutes. We really believe in offering value to the customer, which means good quality products at the best prices. You will not find “sales” or “club cards” here. Our prices change only if our costs change. Finally, each product we carry has been hand selected by our food panel. Every Thursday, 30 Barons managers, deli managers, buyers and even the owner, Joe, sit down to taste and evaluate 80-120 products. We evaluate the taste, look at the ingredients, discuss the price and vote. L’CHAIM: IN ADDITION TO THE TASTINGS AND INPUT FROM THE CUSTOMERS, HOW WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM



Check it out

DOES BARONS SEEK TO BE UNIQUE IN THE MARKETPLACE? M.B.: Because we are not a large chain,

we have the flexibility to constantly add new features in our store. For instance, we added our olive and antipasto bar, then our hot soup bar and most recently our salad bar. We hope to add fresh squeezed OJ made from locally grown oranges in the near future. We are constantly changing because it’s important to keep improving our customer shopping experience. L’CHAIM: HOW ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS? WHETHER CHRISTMAS OR CHANUKAH, ARE THERE ANY SPECIALTY ITEMS WE MIGHT NOT FIND ELSEWHERE? M.B.: Cucina and Amore Italian cookies are

a locally made, all natural Italian cookie company. This is a perfect hostess gift or you can serve it as a delicious desert. We probably have the best craft beer selection of any grocery store in San Diego. So, if you


are looking for the perfect gift for the craft beer lover in your life, you will definitely find the latest and greatest local beer at Barons. Speaking of beer, in September, Barons Market hosted a Pizza Port Brewing Harvest of Fall Flavors. Pizza Port Brewing Company was announced as the partner for its food and local brew speakeasy. Each location transformed their loading dock and stockroom into quaint speakeasies for beer and food lovers. In addition to eating and drinking for a cause, Barons hosts its Backroom Beer Pairings to support local breweries and bring the community together for an evening with neighbors and friends. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Barons donated proceeds to two cancer support organizations: Michelle’s Place in Riverside County and Cancer Angels in San Diego County.


“For Breast Cancer Awareness month, we wanted to support two organizations making a tremendous difference in the lives of our neighbors going through tough times,” says Rachel Shemirani, ViePresident of Marketing at Barons. “We’re giving back to these heroic organizations in the Barons Market way.” In addition to a quick and quality shopping experience and weekly management meetings to vet every product, Barons prides themselves on a large selection of gluten free products collected in one place, a focus on cultivating community and good food at good prices every day. Barons Market carries a terrific selection of organic, natural and specialty food at rock bottom prices, they are passionate about value and enthusiastic about passing great deals on to you.




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each candle, and you’re done! My younger kids love the feel of the gushy paint and often use a different color for every finger candle. My oldest daughter is careful to ensure her print looks authentic. She uses the same color for the palm and the fingers and then adds perfect yellow or orange ovals on top.


CHANUKAH PARTY It might not seem so original, but Chanukah is a great time for a party. Unlike other Jewish holidays that involve extra time in synagogue, or for Orthodox Jews might preclude playing music or driving, Chanukah is eight days (except for a regularly observed Shabbat) of unabashed fun. Birthday in a Box ( offers traditional Chanukah party tips, as well as some fun and quirky new spins on Chanukah decorations, food, and favors.



HANUKKIAH TOUR If you live in a “Jewish area,” where lots of families celebrate the holiday, Arnold suggests taking a “hanukkiah tour.” He says in that Baltimore or Israel (where he used to live), one can walk around the streets and see everyone’s lights in the windows.

A collage of Chanukah craft projects for children.


espite Chanukah being one of the few Jewish holidays not mentioned in the Torah, it gets a lot of play—pun intended. Shmuel Arnold of Baltimore recalls how while growing up in a secular Jewish household, his parents made an extra effort to give Chanukah gifts every night. Sometimes they needed to get creative, like wrapping socks or delivering a gift from an extended family member. Without even a rendition of “Rock of Ages” around the Chanukah menorah, Arnold says the holiday had one meaning: presents. Today, however, married with three children ranging in age from 9 to 18, Arnold—like many other parents—tries to infuse more meaning into the Festival of Lights. With eight days of Chanukah coming up, here are eight ways to celebrate the holiday that don’t involve gifts:


CHANUKAH CRAFTS Every year, children learn how to light the candles and about the miracle of the Maccabees in school or Hebrew school. They also make a token Chanukah menorah (or hanukkiah)—likely out of clay, nuts, and bolts. Fun and creative activities can help Chanukah come alive at home, too. Pinterest has a colorful variety of Chanukah crafts that work for children ranging from toddlers through high schoolers. A favorite in my house is the Chanukah handprint. Children dip their palms into a bowl of fabric paint and stamp it on a sweatshirt (it works on paper, too, but a sweatshirt is more practical). Then, they dip each of their fingers into paint to create finger candles. Finally, they take their thumb and stamp it in the middle— the shamash (worker candle). Add a flame to

“It’s amazing…Being a yid is something you don’t have to hide anymore. When my father was growing up he used to get beaten up for being Jewish and he learned to place the menorah on the table, somewhere hidden inside the house,” says Arnold. “When we light, we make a big deal to put it in the window…and help people remember that you can be proud to be a Jew.”


DREIDEL TOURNAMENT You have a little dreidel—so use it! Pull the neighbors, young and old, together for a dreidel tournament. Break into teams of three and four and get spinning. We use candy as prizes. (It’s best to use something wrapped since it will be touched by lots of little hands). You can purchase dreidels in bulk from or often at your local synagogue’s WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM



gift shop. It adds to the excitement when you have dreidels of various sizes and colors. If you’re particularly serious about dreidelplaying, I found a website for a “Chai stakes” dreidel tournament that breaks down the “official” rules and regulations for “World Series Dreidel” at In my house, however, we seem to do better when the children are free to cry over spinning too many Hebrew-letter shins (put two antes in the center), and the prize is Hershey’s Kisses.


TALK ABOUT THE MIRACLE As Arnold’s children have gotten older, he uses the 30 minutes required to sit around the Chanukah candles as a way to discuss the miracles of the holiday and some of its more esoteric significance. “When Hashem created the world there were no stars or planets. The or—the light—was a nonphysical or. That or, the light of God, is what the Yevanim (Greeks) were trying to knock out of the world,” Arnold explains. “I tell my children that we can use Hashem’s light like a soldier uses night vision goggles… to see His hidden


miracles, to appreciate the spiritual light.”


SHOP—FOR SOMEONE IN NEED Rebecca Katz of Overland Park, Kan., remembers that as a child she and her family would work with a local charity to receive the names of local families in need—Jewish and non-Jewish. Then, she and her siblings would be provided those families’ holiday wish lists and go shopping for them (instead of for themselves). Once the gifts were purchased, they would hand wrap them and deliver them in person. “I remember one year, we got to this family, went upstairs and they had a tree, but it was completely empty underneath,” Katz says. “We put all the gifts there and it was so unexpected. The children were so happy.”


RE-ENACT THE CHANUKAH STORY Younger children can enjoy a game of dress-up. If you have enough kids or can get classmates involved, a reenactment of the Chanukah story can


add to the spirit of the eight days. Kids enjoy dressing up in togas (just use some old sheets) and wielding plastic swords and shields. To make it easier, use a book, such as “The Story of Chanukah” by Norma Simon, as a guide. If your own children don’t want to dress up and tell the Chanukah story, has a large collection of Chanukah videos that both educate and entertain.


SUFGANIYOT Chanukah is sweeter and oilyfinger-lickin’ good with homemade sufganiyot (deep-fried jelly doughnuts). Miriam Litt of Modi’in, Israel, recalls how she used to spend hours in the kitchen baking Chanukah donuts. “I used real whipping cream and added pudding and then I would squirt it inside,” she says. Sometimes, she would get creative by mixing up the creamy flavors. “I did my thing and the kids—they sure liked eating it,” Miriam says with a laugh.

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STEM Studies at Soille



ownloading new software intimidates me, learning how to use my new operating system baffles me, and just about any gadget that vaporizes to the Cloud sends me running for cover. But as much as I try to maintain my Neanderthal status, technology won’t allow me to be a backward ostrich much longer. Thankfully, schools like Soille San Diego Hebrew Day are forging ahead to meet the future… today! The Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education created an engineering and design program entitled STEM. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics 20

program is not a new concept for Soille, a pre-school–8th grade school that currently and proudly holds the greatest number of Science Fair winners in the county. However, this past summer, Soille Hebrew Day School earned a grant that allowed them to put even greater emphasis on equipping today’s students for tomorrow’s world. The mission statement from the California Department of Education is as follows: “K–12 STEM education encompasses the processes of critical thinking, analysis and collaboration in which students integrate the processes and concepts in real world


contexts of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, fostering the development of STEM skills and competencies for college, career and life.” Recently. I had the great fortune to meet with Soille’s STEM implementers: Matt Bessler, Rabbi Meir Cohen, and Headmaster Rabbi Simcha Weiser. They informed me that Soille Hebrew Day has always embraced the county science fairs because they are deeply committed to the Jewish concepts of exploration and understanding. As the trio explained to me, Jews have a natural curiosity to dissect and find meaning in their world, not just as


Students experiment with inclined planes as part of the STEM program.


hands-off observers. To this end, the science curriculum enhances the Jewish learning and the two counterparts create a whole student; one who is ready to tackle the real world. Dr. Adrian Krag is mentoring Soille’s West Coast CIJE STEM program and was very proud to bring the pilot program to the middle schoolers. It is the first school on the West Coast to upgrade their technology, employ smartboards and institute unique programs to teach students and staff the importance and applicability of these tools for problem solving in everyday situations. The decade long relationship with CIJE has reinforced the faculty’s comfort with, and commitment to, bringing it to fruition. Many parents and all teachers have heard the “When I am ever going to use this in real life?” from a querulous student facing a challenging Math or Science concept. That’s what STEM is about. This invitation for innovative engineering and problem solving through critical thinking encourages and draws out even the most reluctant learner to discover for him/herself why something works the way it works … or how it can be made to work better. Currently, the middle schoolers are working on a Bobsled lab. This teaches them about forces, motion and friction. How does one calculate force? What is a trajectory and how can I graph it? These ideas are all taught, or perhaps I should say experienced, with a very hands-on approach, bringing it directly into the student’s cognition without reltying solely on the printed word of some scientist of old. These students literally get to reinvent the wheel. How does this creative approach mirror or support the holistic Jewish education that Soille students have been receiving since 1963? In response to my question, Rabbi Meir Cohen said that the children learn it on their own, “not knowledge, but insight.” The novel program is not without its challenges. Firstly, the science lab doesn’t look like a standard lab with sinks, Bunsen burners, or graduated cylinders. It is flexible and everything is on wheels. This is a bit puzzling to the older generation, who have visions of their own science labs in middle

and high school. Apparently, it caused quite a stir on Back to School Night. But not all parents were put off. In fact, a number of parents who are engineers and technologically oriented have come in and shared their wisdom and expertise with the 6–8th graders. They are well received and offer much to the credibility and impetus of the program. In addition, there has been some communication with the local universities. Mr. Bessler and the rabbis reported that outside voices offer new perspectives. Differentiation is made possible because all modalities are tapped into as students explore the labs and teaching. The teacher presents the lesson as “Here’s the goal, and there are many different ways to get there.” This allows for all types of learners to be successful and benefit from the exercise and activities in a meaningful and personal way. Students are encouraged to delve into their creativity, using animation, voices, songs etc. This goes way beyond the PowerPoint presentation that has become the mainstay of so many classrooms in the past decade. The program also is forward thinking in that it prepares students for the workplace of the 21st century. No longer are we a society of office drones sitting in cubicles, meeting only at the water cooler. Today, teams work together in collaboration, employing technology. It is process driven by and requiring innovation, networking and a free exchange of intellectual ideas. And this is perhaps where the Jewish way of understanding comes in. The Gruss Life Moments Funds was established in 1991 with the sole purpose of supporting Jewish education. Founder, Joseph Gruss, grew up in Lvov, Poland. His father was a Talmudic scholar, and though Joseph went on to become a banker, he was committed to Jewish Education. He saw a need to improve Jewish schools in the United States and he, along with his Czechoslovakian wife, established this amazing legacy. Their efforts are intimately entwined with the CIJE, and their largesse has created a path for understanding the world far beyond that which Mr. and Mrs.

Gruss could have imagined. Rabbi Weiser spoke of the greatest engineer of all: G-d! Weiser said the He engineered the world and provided us a guide for living with the Torah, but that Judaism doesn’t stop there. It is not theoretical nor simply historic, but that we are charged with using our wits to understand our world and make it better. The onus is on us to take it apart and put it back together to make things function more smoothly and harmoniously. So while some may feel that technology is disconnecting us from the world, used constructively, it will actually deepen our understanding of the world around us, and our relationships with each other. Dr. Krag has been an inspiration to the STEM program at Soille Hebrew Day, encouraging students to “figure it out on your own,” “practice with a team,” and reassuring them, “failing just provides a new opportunity to try it a different way.” Teacher, Matt Bessler explained, “We give problems, we don’t teach. We’ve given up on the scripted things, to make room for the unscripted.” On a personal note, I’m quite excited about the end of year project. Students are to make their own Rube Goldberg invention using a specific number of levers, pulleys, screws, and inclined planes. I’m certain the innovations will prove entertaining, artistic, educational and challenging. And it does console me to know that if by June, I’m still unable to move pictures from my phone to my laptop, or how to burn a CD, there’ll be a bumper crop of Soille Hebrew Day students that can teach me how to embrace my inner engineer. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT HEBREWDAY.ORG.




Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future. SAN DIEGO JEWISH ACADEMY CELEBRATES 36 YEARS





tanding outside San Diego Jewish Academy’s (SDJA) Maimonides Upper School quad looking west from the 56-acre campus, one can see over the school’s award-winning athletic fields straight out to the Pacific Ocean. It’s a clear day and all of Carmel Valley is visible. But SDJA’s future wasn’t always that clear. Back in the spring of 1979, 15–20 parents sat in a small room discussing a dream— to create a new school to serve San Diego’s growing Jewish community. “I had a daughter preparing to enter kindergarten,” says Charles Wax, a successful San Diego businessman and SDJA’s Founding President. “I was asked to attend this meeting to discuss the idea of creating a new school—one where I would be willing to send my daughter.” That was March of 1979. The group’s goal: to launch a new school by September. “I didn’t want to fail,” says Wax. “I thought we could create something special; something that would appeal to more of the community. We made arrangements with Tifereth Israel Synagogue for our location, but we still had to hire a principal … and teachers … and there was so much to do.” Wax was determined to accomplish what he and the others had set out to do. He spent most of his time fundraising and many of his evenings attending meetings that lasted nearly until midnight. “We met with a lot of resistance,” says Wax. “But we did it! In six months’ time we opened our K–5 school—San Diego Jewish Academy—with 94 students.” That was just the beginning. SDJA still had to recruit students. They needed to gain their parents’ trust and they had no track record. “I remember Chanukah of 1979 we had our school dedication,” recalled Wax. “The Rabbis spoke like it was a miracle. And perhaps it was. Many in the community didn’t believe it was possible. But we did it—in six months!” Wax’s and the others’ persistence and

attention to detail paid off. SDJA quickly grew at its San Carlos location and not long after added a second campus in La Jolla—at Beth El. The decision was made to not only move to La Jolla, but to also open a middle school. SDJA had grown way beyond its founders’ wildest dreams. “SDJA continues to be a great school,” says Wax. “SDJA sends kids to great colleges and continues to raise good Jewish community citizens.” Fast forward to the new millennium and you find SDJA atop its perch overlooking Carmel Valley. “I got involved with SDJA around 1992,” says Ann Jaffe, a former parent, Board President and ongoing supporter of SDJA. “We had one campus in San Carlos and one in La Jolla.” Jaffe recalls the school’s 18th anniversary celebration and the general thinking was that “we had come a long way.” Claire Ellman, SDJA’s president at the time, was looking for a way to unify the school. They needed to find space as SDJA was adding more students every year. “I was on the committee to look at various locations for the new campus—and now everyone wanted SDJA in their backyard,” recalled Jaffe. “The Jewish population was really finding its center in the north coastal region, so the Carmel Valley location was the best choice.” Three parcels were joined together to form the now 56-acre campus. “I think of the school’s location as the envelope,” says Jaffe. “But what’s inside the envelope—the school—is what’s really exciting!” San Diego Jewish Academy opened in Carmel Valley in September of 2000 and the campus dedication ceremony and Torah processional—where Ann helped lead the way along with Rabbi Ralph Dalin—was held in January, 2001. At that time, SDJA was a K–10 school. Ann and her husband Richard are longtime supporters of SDJA, always willing

to serve on various committees, and their children attended and graduated from the Carmel Valley campus—now aptly named “The Jaffe Campus.” “The reality is now bigger than the dream,” says Jaffe. “When I see the little children on campus, it’s an amazing feeling. My heart just bursts knowing that these children are being nurtured and are getting the full experience of knowing what it is to be Jewish.” As SDJA prepares to celebrate its “double chai” (36th) anniversary, Jaffe hopes that more students will enroll because of the excellent education at SDJA. “I see SDJA students giving back to the Jewish community,” says Jaffe. “I see them giving back to the entire world.” Jaffe is not alone in her hopes and dreams for SDJA. The school’s current leadership respects the vision and hard work of its dedicated founders and ongoing supporters. “As the board chair of SDJA, I spend a lot of time thinking about all of the determination and passion that got the school to where it is today,” says Theresa Dupuis, SDJA’s Board of Trustees President. “Years and years of amazing leadership, of tireless dedication, and visionary thinking have culminated in a school of which we are all very proud.” Students at SDJA graduate as learned scholars, educated and passionate Jews, and as true citizens of the world.  “It is our time now as parents, as leaders, as community members to make sure that our SJDA continues to raise the bar on excellence,” says Dupuis, “and continues to be a critical part of our San Diego Jewish future.” SDJA recently opened an Early Childhood Center, which includes their Beit Yeladim infant care center and a preschool, and now the school serves children from 6 weeks old through high school. As was true from the very beginning, SDJA’s parents are fully integrated and active in promoting the school. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM



“I started as a student here in the first grade,” says Sonia Mandelbaum, an SDJA parent and one of three members of SDJA’s 36th Anniversary committee. “Celebrating SDJA’s 36th anniversary is like coming full circle. I was a student, my husband was a student, and now seeing our three children here is truly an amazing experience.” The Double Chai celebration is about bringing together this wondrous community and showcasing the many accomplishments and recognizing all the people whose vision, dedication and generosity have enabled SDJA to become what it is today. “It is also an opportunity to re-emphasize why we all chose SDJA,” says Mandelbaum. “The excellent education is a given that all parents expect when they send their children to private school. But SDJA goes beyond that to teach the intangible qualities that differentiate ordinary people from the extraordinary ones; tzedakah, compassion, empathy and kindness.” 24

SDJA’s 36th Anniversary celebration involves a gala event on February 27, 2016. The International Black and White Soiree will be an evening full of fun, music, dancing and celebration. “This gala is going to be the best event that SDJA has ever hosted,” says Tamara Klein, who is on the 36th Anniversary committee and is a current SDJA parent whose husband David was one of SDJA’s first students. “Regarding  the event name, we wanted the event to be very elegant so the black and white represents that and the word ‘international’ represents the diversity at our school, as we have families from all over the world.” Beyond a celebration, the International Black and White Soiree is all about looking back as well as looking to the future. “The piece that is most striking to me about looking back as well as looking forward is that the parents from three decades ago wanted the exact same thing that current parents want today,” says Heidi


Silberstein, the third member of the 36th Anniversary committee, a current SDJA parent and a former student. “We all want our children to receive an exceptional secular education and, of equal or more importance, we want our children to grow into productive, accountable, empathetic, generous and creative adults whose moral compass is rooted in our Jewish traditions and beliefs. Furthermore, we want to raise our children within the SDJA community together as an extended family. These goals and ideals have remained unchanged for over 36 years and I suspect, will be the same 36 years from now.” FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SDJA’S DOUBLE CHAI ANNIVERSARY GALA, AS WELL AS OTHER CELEBRATORY EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, VISIT SDJA. COM OR CALL (858) 704-3700. 




Israeli? Israeli-American? American? Why Speaking Hebrew Matters 26



am an Israeli-American, raised in the US, but I didn’t learn to speak Hebrew until I was an adult. Speaking Hebrew strengthened my connection to Israel, family, Israelis and even Jewish life. It helped me relate, made me more passionate about Israel’s vitality, and increased my sense of ownership in Israel’s future. Since then, I’ve encouraged many parents to teach their children modern Hebrew and expose them to Israeli culture. Israelis who don’t speak enough Hebrew at home worry their kids are behind and they often see their 2nd and 3rd children responding only in English. Some Israelis bypass Hebrew study entirely encouraging the study of different languages instead. If I had a nickel for every Israeli parent that told me they think Chinese is more important I’d be rich. Couples comprised of one Israeli and one American parent


raise concerns about speaking to their American born child in Hebrew, believing it may harm their relationship if their child can’t understand them. On the contrary, if they speak Hebrew from birth consistently with their child they will have an intimate special language, deep connection to Israel and a bilingual child. The spouse will learn more Hebrew too. Americans can gain the same benefits from learning Hebrew. It’s possible that if Americans learn to speak more Hebrew we will understand each other better, be more united and support Israel in spectacular ways. Hebrew Bridges the Cultural Divide Most of my family lives in Israel, but growing up I viewed Israel as my Dad’s home not mine. I didn’t understand my family during visits in Israel. They tried speaking in English, but they typically switched back to Hebrew rapidly during the most important conversations, the ones where they really connected, in Hebrew. How does a Diaspora Jew with no other concrete personal connection to Israel feel; does he/she make a strong connection and feel at home? From the PEW report, a Portrait of Jewish Americans we learned that “half of Jews (52%)… say they know the Hebrew alphabet. But far fewer, 13% of Jews overall, say they understand most or all of the words when they read Hebrew.” Much like Jewish Americans, many Israeli-Americans raised in the US never learn to speak Hebrew. According to a 2013 report by the Israeli-American Council, children of Israelis living in the U.S. 10 years or more are far less likely to speak Hebrew. But, if you raise children who speak and understand Hebrew, they may look, feel and engage with Israel and Israelis differently with more understanding and connection. Hebrew and Israel Can and Should Feel Like Home and Family I’m often asked if I think every Jew should be able to speak Hebrew proficiently, and I always respond that I know that’s not realistic. But I do believe every Jew can and should understand and speak enough Hebrew that they feel comfortable and connected to Israel and Israelis when they hear it. If they did, American Jews may also

be inspired to strengthen their connection to Israel and make more Israeli and Jewish friends. When they hear Hebrew spoken, whether in Starbucks, a market in Thailand, or on visits to Israel, Hebrew would be familiar enough that they wouldn’t hesitate to join the conversation and make a connection. Hebrew should be one of their “native” languages; it should feel like home and family. Am I Israeli or Israeli-American If I Don’t Speak Hebrew? An estimated 200,000 to 1 million IsraeliAmericans live in the U.S. today. The IsraeliAmerican Council’s 2nd Annual conference October 17–19 in Washington D.C., will bring many Israeli-Americans together, and Americans as well, to discuss issues of identity, Israel connection, and bridging with Jewish communities. I believe Hebrew is an important piece of that puzzle for all of us. I raise this issue linking Israeli identity to Hebrew language skills, knowing it is sensitive, to inspire dialogue about the importance of Hebrew. The Reut Institute did a study of Israelis abroad in 2012, and concluded that “First generation Israelis view Hebrew as the most important component of childhood education—The ability to communicate, read, and write in Hebrew is seen as a guarantee that their children’s ‘Israeliness’ will be preserved.” Yet many families fail to teach their children Hebrew citing a lack of suitable educational options, cost, busy schedule and more. Israeli Government and Jewish Agency representatives have both defined “Israeli” for me as “one who speaks Hebrew.” But, for some Israelis living in the U.S. this definition is hard to swallow. Years ago in the midst of a conversation in Hebrew with Israeli friends, one friend shared with the others his amazement that I could speak in Hebrew with them. “She’s an American, unbelievable” he said. This wasn’t about my Hebrew skills, which have plenty of grammar mistakes. This was about Hebrew and identity. Why? Because later, when another of the friends defined an “Israeli” as “one who speaks Hebrew” this same friend grew visibly angry and strongly disagreed. The comment struck a nerve because he raised children in the U.S. that could not

speak Hebrew and he was not prepared to concede their Israeli identity was lost with their Hebrew skills. For what it’s worth, when I learned to speak Hebrew, I finally felt comfortable identifying myself as an Israeli-American. Until then, I felt I didn’t own that part of my identity the same way. Hebrew Language Programs in America One thing is certain, we have more options today than ever before to raise a child with Hebrew in their lives. Starting in preschool, you can have Hebrew books delivered free to your home from Sifriyat Pijama b’America and free storytimes are offered nation-wide. Some lucky children get daily instruction for free at Hebrew Language Charter Schools in Los Angeles, San Diego, NYC, Washington D.C. and New Jersey. Weekly programs such as Keshet in New York, Tarbuton in San Diego and the Ami School in Los Angeles are available for elementary and middle school years. Machane Kachol Lavan treats children to summer camp in Hebrew in California and New York. These programs and others are creating Jewish educational alternatives nationwide that develop Jewish and Israeli identity and strong Israel connections. Offered outside of religious institutions, they reach many seeking cultural rather than religious experiences and engage them in Jewish life. Americans will tell you in droves they went to Hebrew school, but never learned Hebrew. With estimates of up to 1 million Israelis living in the U.S., we have at least a generation if not two of Israeli-American children who may not speak Hebrew either. I hope the growth in the availability of these Hebrew programs means Hebrew literacy will be a strong part of our toolkit for building Jewish identity in the U.S. leading to a next generation with deep Israel–US connections.



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The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook:



y mother is a superb cook. She was born in Vilna (now Vilnius), Lithuania. I have long been convinced that the reason my mother is a superb cook has exactly nothing to do with the fact she was born in Vilna. Then again, I’d neither met nor heard of Fania Lewando. In the most memorable line of The Price— one of Arthur Miller’s most brilliant, if not most celebrated, plays—Miller has Esther say to her husband, Victor: “Just because it’s ours why must it be worthless.” She 30

was talking about the possessions he and his brother had inherited from their justdeceased parents. But after reading The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook—Lewando’s brilliant, just-published (in English) book— it seems possible she was talking about Ashkenazi Jewish cooking. As I taught myself to cook I thought little of my Ashkenazi heritage. I honored classic European technique, valued Asian ethnic flavor profiles and saw a lot to like in Sephardic cuisine. But Ashkenazi


(and Mexican) flavors—the ones I grew up with—were ones I took very much for granted. They seemed to lack ambition. Enter Fania Lewando, courtesy of Eve Jochnowitz and legendary Jewish cookbook author Joan Nathan. Jochnowitz—the book’s translator and midwife—approached Nathan following a lecture at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Westchester County, New York with a copy of the manuscript in hand. Nathan new what to do from there.

BADASS KOSHER At one level, The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook is something of a culinary and cultural time machine, giving us a window into a time and a place that no longer exists and never will again. The Jerusalem of Lithuania, Vilna was a major Jewish cultural center with robust intellectual infrastructural institutions. Lewando’s restaurant, Kuchina Dieto-Jarska Jadlodajnia was one of those institutions. More than a restaurant, it was also a gathering place where the intelligentsia discussed art, politics and storm clouds. A review of the list of restaurant guests (some included in the book) reveals luminaries like Marc Chagall and Itzik Manger, Otto Schneid and Shlome Mendelson. But the book is more than a museum piece. It is, in some ways, a startlingly modern document. Both Kosher and vegetarian, Lewando’s cuisine was about transforming meatless meals—often a sign of mourning and suffering—into glorious celebrations of bounty, health and wellbeing. The recipes— expressed in Lewando’s unique voice (lovingly delivered by Jochnowitz) —reveal a searching mind, finding new ways to do Ashkenazi things, featuring étude-like variations on themes. Small changes in a latke’s starch, for example, yield intriguing flavor variations. And Lewando gets there with ideas that are as current as the morning paper: “There is only a small difference in price between the best and worst produce, but in cooking there is a great difference, in taste as well as nutrition,” she wrote, in 1938. Fania Lewando’s book is not just a historical document nor merely a collection of old—even nostaligic—recipes. It is today as it was in 1938 an introduction to a living cuisine. It is a proposal, a campaign white paper. And it is with that in mind that rather than presenting a recipe from the book I set out to offer one inspired by Lewando. It is a variation on the classic Mexican antijito, sopes: mushrooms and corn, two ways, seen through a lense of cauliflower. The key to the dish is the sope itself. Sopes look like overly thick corn tortillas with the edges pinched up, usually topped by refried beans or meat with cheese. Here, though, I’ve replaced some of the water and corn flour with cauliflower reduced to a rice in a food processor. Doing so gives the sope a freshness that plays off well against the earthiness of the corn masa and

mushrooms. It is a dish that is very much in the spirit of Fania Lewando. It—and this marvelous book—helps me see that perhaps the reason my mother is such a good cook is because of where she comes from rather than despite it.


FOR THE CAULIFLOWER SOPES: 1 head cauliflower 1 cup masa harina ½ - 1 cup warm water FOR THE FILLING: ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms 1 red onion, finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 1 bulb fennel, finely chopped 2 tomatoes, diced 1 cup vegetable stock 1 cup good quality red wine 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced 1 ear corn, kernels off the cob Kosher salt Freshly ground pepper 1 cup Castillo Real cheese (or other soft textured cheese) FOR THE GUACAMOLE: 1 shallot, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced ½ tomato, skinned and chopped. 4 ripe medium avocados 2 tablespoons, sherry (or balsamic or red wine) vinegar 1 teaspoon soy sauce 2 tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil Several sprigs, fresh thyme FOR THE GARNISH: 1 bunch of cilantro (optional) Grated cotija cheese 1. Prepare the Mushroom-Corn Filling Ingredients. Soak the porcini mushrooms in warm water. Meanwhile, sweat the onion, carrot and fennel in a sauce pan, covered, for five minutes. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Add in the tomato, season with Kosher salt, and continue cooking until the tomato loses its texture, about another five minutes. Add

in the stock, wine and 1 cup of the porcini soaking liquid and continue cooking until reduced by half. Add in the botton mushrooms, corn kernals, woaked porcini mushrooms and cook until reduced by half again. 2. Prepare the Cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Trim the head of cauliflower discarding the thick hard stems. Place the remaining florets of cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade and process to a fine rice texture. Place the cauliflower rice in cheese cloth and squeeze to drain the liquid from the solid. 3. Begin Preparing the Sopes. Combine 1 cup of the masa harina, 2 cups of the cauliflower rice and a ½ cup water in a bowl and knead to achieve a uniform dough, about a minute or two. If it is too dry add a little water, if it is too wet add a little more masa harina. Roll the dough into one large ball cover with plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out. 4. Make the Guacamole. Combine the shallots and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 10-15 seconds until finely chopped. Add the tomato and process for 30 seconds until the tomatoes have combined with the other ingredients. Add the avocados and process to as smooth a taste as possible. 5. Make the Sopes. Line a hotel pan with parchment paper. Cut the masa ball into four to six smaller balls, rolling each one out with a rolling pin or clean wine bottle until you achieve thin 3 inch disks of about ¼ inch thickness each. Build up the edge around each disk (to about ½ inch around the edge). 6. Bake the Sopes. Bake the sopes until they just begin to look dry, about 20-30 minutes depending on the water content of the dough (which will be more than it seems at first blush because of the water content of the cauliflower). Lightly cover the indented surface of each sope with the grated cheese and return to the oven, baking until the cheese is melted, about five minutes. 7. Plate the Dish. Chiffonade the cilantro, if using. Place one sope at the center of each plate. Ladle the filling over each sope until it is just filled but not overflowing. Drizzle each sope with liquid from the filling. Garnish with the avocado puree. Top with the chiffonaded cilantro and/or cotija cheese, if using. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM








ward-winning performer and San Diego favorite Hershey Felder (“George Gershwin Alone,” “Maestro Bernstein”) brings to life the remarkable story of Irving Berlin at the La Jolla Playhouse. Featuring the composer’s most popular and enduring songs, Felder’s signature creation of character and musical performance will make this evening with Irving Berlin an unforgettable one for the whole family. We talked with Felder last month about the show and his approach to performing. L’CHAIM MAGAZINE: WHAT CAN AUDIENCES EXPECT TO SEE AT THIS PERFORMANCE?

Hershey Felder: It’s a traditional play in the sense that I am playing a character, but I am playing a musical character, so I recreate the circumstances and the instruments that they play. A lot of people know what I do now because I have been around for long enough, but it is a certain kind of style of combining music at a very high level with acting at a very high level and performance as storytelling, so it is a comprehensive style. L’CHAIM: ARE YOU DRAWN TO PERFORMING THIS WAY FOR ANY REASON?

HF: I am drawn to it because I am actor, pianist, musician and also a writer. I am 32

fascinated with these lives and these lives who contributed; fascinated with immigrant Jews who came and made good; who gave a country a sound, and who inspired generations of musicians. Between all these characters, the thing that I share with them is that I am an immigrant. I was born in Canada, and although I have lived in the US all my life, I know what the experience is to come from another country and create something that becomes a part of the fabric—even though it is a small part of the fabric—is, and that is something that I find attractive and interesting. I am able to understand that portion of the character.

HF: Well, I perform this show all year round, and no matter what time of year it is, people sing along to “White Christmas” in the middle of summer. I think popular culture is important and it’s not Christian culture, I think to these guys it was their popular culture. It’s what they came to, and I think these songs could have been written by a non-Jewish person, but a Jewish person was able to see it from the outside, and clearly could see what was important about it. I don’t think it is a Jewish thing or a not Jewish thing, I think it is just a good composer thing.



HF: You don’t get bored because there is a responsibility you are not allowed to get bored. You take on the responsibility of the piece and you have to do it; you have to do it to the best of your ability and do it well. It is very important to me to bring a high level performance [to audiences]. I know how lucky I am to have this career, and recognizing that I don’t fool around. It is very important to my ethical responsibility to the whole thing. L’CHAIM: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU THAT SO MANY POPULAR CHRISTMAS SONGS WERE WRITTEN BY JEWS AND



HF: In every city that I am in, I usually give master classes, more or less at the university level but for gifted students anywhere; and when I have time, my gift is to be able to advance anybody’s career who I can with help through master classes and the like. HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN PLAYS AT THE LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE DEC. 16–JAN. 3 WITH SPECIAL HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES DEC. 23, 24, 31 AND JAN. 2 & 3. FOR TICKETS OR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT LAJOLLAPLAYHOUSE.ORG.



SUPERINTENDENT MICKY ROSENFELD Israel National Police Spokesman to the Foreign Press and we have limited casualties despite many attempts by terrorists. L’CHAIM: CAN YOU SPEAK ABOUT POLICE STRATEGY AND TACTICS? 


’Chaim met with Micky Rosenfeld on November 9 after he completed a training session with San Diego Police officers and other local law enforcement at Congregation Beth Israel, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Here is the summary of our interview. L’CHAIM: WHY DID THE ADL BRING YOU TO SAN DIEGO?

Micky Rosenfeld: In Israel we have constant threats from extremists. The Israel National Police (INP) deals with the same situations that police forces around the world deal with. ADL brought me so I could share Israel’s expertise with local law enforcement. Today I gave a briefing on the current situation in Israel and how we prepare for different threats and scenarios related to hate crimes and extremists.


MR: The INP deals with both crime and terrorism. Generally the activity that INP deals with is 80% crime and 20% terrorism. Because of the latest wave in terror attacks these percentages have reversed. L’CHAIM: WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DID YOU PROVIDE?

MR: My lecture was about how the INP deals with different threats and terror scenarios. I reinforce the importance of having a good relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve, because this is essential to fighting hate crimes and terror attacks. Our specific tactics and strategies in combating terrorism have proven successful

MR: Firstly, we must solve the terror related incident. Secondly, we must get the incident on the ground back to normal. We have changed our tactics to include using social media to uncover potential terror threats.  Terrorists often post clues that lead us to assume they are ready to act. Also, through community policing, we have our finger on the pulse. We are in the communities, on the streets, speaking Hebrew and Arabic, on buses, undercover and in uniform. We are able to preempt many violent incidences this way. In the event of a terrorist related incident, large or small, our emergency services work together. Medics and law enforcement officers’ work together to get the incident on the ground back to normal, for the victims and for the public. The public knows there is a police force out there, despite the incident that has happened, and the connection between the police and the public is strengthened.   L’CHAIM: WHAT ABOUT PREVENTION?

MR: Intelligence is prevention and community policing is the best prevention. L’CHAIM: IS THIS A THIRD INTIFADA?

MR: Absolutely no. The perpetrators are lone wolves, politically motivated, between the ages of 13–33. L’CHAIM: IS RESPONSE FROM THE INP PROPORTIONAL?

MR: Absolutely yes. Israel puts out its cc footage immediately to prove to skeptics that police officers do not shoot to kill, unless they must save a life or their own. L’CHAIM: DID YOU MEET WITH OFFICIALS IN OTHER CITIES?

MR: I briefed Congress about the current situation in Israel. Also, I met with NYC police to discuss terror situations and advise. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM



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Jewish day schooling at a Turkish Jewish Community Center in Istanbul.

“We have to keep Judaism alive and sparkling. The younger generation is moving away from religion and becoming more secular. So we need some sparks, energy, and enthusiasm,” says Sami Azar, a volunteer with the Turkish Chief Rabbinate Foundation—the Jewish Community of Turkey, otherwise known as the Turkish Jewish Community Center or TJC. Azar, who lives in Izmir, runs a smaller JCC program about a 45 minute plane ride from Istanbul, where two larger JCCs are established. In his town of nearly 4 million people, only about 1,700 are Jewish. “In the last 10 years, we have had 387 deaths and only 38 births,” notes Azar during a recent interview in Jerusalem. He and his colleague, Tuna Alkan, who volunteers with youths between ages 18 and 35 through the Istanbul TJC network, 38

attended the JCC Global 2015 World Conference from Nov. 3-6. Somewhat isolated as a Jewish community in a Muslimmajority country where Jews are forced to keep a low profile, Azar says the conference helps her to “feel more motivated. … It is very good for us.” The institution of the JCC in Turkey is different than the traditional model in the United States, whose pillars are early childhood, camping, health, and recreation. In Turkey, the JCC is “really the center for the Jews to feel safe and they feel that is their community,” explains Smadar BarAkiva, executive director of the JCC Global organization in Jerusalem. Alkan, a dentist by profession, says life is not as bad for the Jews in Turkey as it might appear in the news. While she admits that the current Turkish government—led


by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Islamist—doesn’t “agree with anything Israel does,” she says the government tries not to take out its frustration with the Jewish state on the local Jewish community. “The leaders say in Turkey that Jews are citizens and the problem is Israeli politicians. We are guaranteed our rights as citizens—security, everything. Do I feel like that is true? Yes,” says Azar. “We haven’t had anything in the streets in a long time,” adds Alkan. “I feel safe.” She also feels that there is a future for Jews in the Muslim-majority country. “In Turkey, we survive our Jewish life,” Alkan says with a smile, taking a trip back in history. Jews have lived in Turkey since Hellenic times. There are several historic synagogues there, including a synagogue in Sardis that dates back to the Third Century CE. The majority of Jews arrived in Turkey in 1492 from the Iberian Peninsula, after the Spanish expulsion. Today, there are estimated to be as many as 18,500 Jews throughout the country. The majority of them (17,000) reside in Istanbul. Some 96 percent are Sephardic and the other 4 percent are of Ashkenazic descent. “Even though we are small, we are very successful,” says Alkan. “We have very famous artists, academicians, very successful businessmen and women and some very well-educated people working in very famous international companies at high levels. Really, we are doing okay.” Alkan describes the Jewish community as “traditional,” with roughly 5 percent of the Istanbul community and 10 percent of the Izmir community identifying as Orthodox. Through TJC. families can take part in a number of Jewish opportunities ranging from youth and family clubs, synagogues (Turkey has 19), social support organizations, Jewish day schooling (640 students are enrolled), Jewish kindergartens (two, with about 200 children each), and a Jewish newspaper (Salom). There are shochtim (kosher slaughterers), mohelim (ritual circumcisers), cantors, a burial society, a mikvah (ritual bath) and kosher




butchers. One initiative that Alkan is proud of started four years ago in Istanbul. “We have about 350 to 400 families in need,” says Alkan. “We try to provide them with food, money—everything they would need. So a group of women started volunteering to do kosher catering. They started like amateurs. Now, they do really, really wonderful things. They have a big catering business—so big that this catering company is giving the kosher meals to Turkish airlines.” A portion of the proceeds are still given to the Turkish families in need, helping to continually sustain them. The new programming for young adults that Alkan runs is meant to halt a rapidly growing rate of intermarriage. She says there is an intermarriage rate of around 34 percent in Istanbul; Azar says the rate is around 20 percent in Izmir. In many Muslim countries, intermarriage between Jews and Muslims is strictly forbidden. In Morocco, for example, Jewish families send their teens to France in high school and beyond in hopes of them getting a Jewish education and having them meet a Jewish spouse. Intermarriage is forbidden there. In Turkey, however, it is welcomed— or at least not shunned. “By Turkish law it is okay. By Jewish law it is not okay,” says Azar. “For us, the assimilation needs to drop—that’s why we are doing so many activities to attract young people.” Bar-Akiva calls the JCC an important venue “to socialize as a Jew and keep Jews Jewish.” “In many places there is competition between the JCCs and other Jewish institutions or even non-Jewish institutions. In Turkey, the JCC is place to congregate and study about traditions. It is not just a music class or a lecture,” says Bar-Akiva. She adds, “All Jews are responsible for one another. With the global JCC movement, we are really trying to breathe life into [this phrase] and to turn it into action.”

JDC ENTWINE JDC IN TURKEY THE The Jewish community arrived in

JDC Entwine engages more than 15,000 young Jewish adults each year through its quickly growing platform of service, educational and leadership opportunities that involve young adults in global Jewish issues while simultaneously creating a re-charged Jewish identity. In addition to its continuum of international service experiences – including short, mid, and long-term options for young Jews to impact global challenges in Jewish communities, Israel, and in developing countries where humanitarian needs exist—JDC Entwine’s Learning Networks in New York City, Boston, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, Dallas, and London create volunteerled events that feature meaningful, peer-to-peer education, combined with socializing and networking.

ABOUT JDC The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters. For more information, visit

Turkey about 500 years ago as a direct consequence of the Spanish Inquisition. They are Sephardic in origin and even today, many speak Ladino—a unique language similar to Spanish that uses Hebrew letters. Through the early 1900’s Jews lived in small villages and were free to practice their religion without any interference from the governmentthe Ottoman Empire. In the early 1900’s the Jewish population in Turkey was over 200,000 twice as large as San Diego’s Jewish community. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s involvement in Turkish Jewish Community began following World War I when it came to the aid of Jewish children orphaned by its conflict with its neighbor Greece. In 1992, JDC re-entered after the Jewish community’s request for help in improving social services and community-based economic development. Today JDC supports the community’s effort to improve services for the elderly and most vulnerable; scholarships and support for a Jewish school in Istanbul with an arts center; sends Jewish teens to JDC-Lauder International Jewish summer camp in Szarvas, Hungary where they live carefree and learn how to be strong Jewish leaders; and leadership training seminars and Jewish education and networking for young adults through regional programs that include all countries in the region. In addition, JDC sends a JDC Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps fellow to Izmir, Turkey every year to assist the community in leadership development for their teenagers and support their youth Hebrew school program. San Diego’s very own Ariel Moritz served as a JDC Entwine Global JSC Fellow in Turkey two years ago. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM




Last March, I had the privilege of traveling with JDC Entwine – the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s one-of-a-kind movement for young Jewish leaders, influencers, and advocates who seek to make a meaningful impact on global Jewish needs and international humanitarian issues—on its Insider Trip for Young Professionals from the San Diego area to Turkey. This trip was supported by Leichtag Family Foundation to catalyze a leadership cohort of Jewish young professionals in our community. I signed up for the trip because I love to travel. I was a geography and regional development major during my undergraduate days and have had really great experiences in the past on group trips like Birthright and BBYO. I love getting to know new people and a new community. I choose Turkey as my destination because it was a trip for San Diego residents only and I was interested in traveling with a group of peers 40

that shared similar interests and was excited to bring the experience home with them. One of the things that stood out to me most was how vibrant and proud the Jewish community in Turkey is. There is a genuine sense that they each deeply care about one another other and the community. We spent the first few days of the trip in Izmir, a smaller city on the west coast. It is a beautiful port town with very friendly people and a deep history. We spent a day touring an old marketplace that had a synagogue on every corner that were reminiscent of a time when the Jewish community was large and thriving. Today, less than 2,000 Jews remain in Izmir and I am concerned that one day there will not be a community left to visit. Many young Jews start their careers and families in other places that have larger Jewish communities and never return to Izmir. The second half of our trip was spent in Istanbul. Istanbul has a


larger community of 15,000 Jews out of a population of 14 million in the city. We visited two synagogues that had been attacked by terrorists in the last decade and spent a day at the Jewish school where students were preparing to take the ACT so they could come to American colleges. We happened to be there over Purim and went to a community Purim party held on an island on the Bosporus River. On our last night in Turkey, we were asked to reflect on the trip and on our greatest takeaways. I was overcome with jealousy for their strong sense of community and everyone’s eagerness to participate in it. I couldn’t help but juxtapose these experiences to my experiences in the U.S. where some Jewish programs entice participants with promises of drink, food, and heavilydiscounted admission costs over meaningful content.   Since the trip, I have realized the importance of my role in helping local young adults feel a strong connection to our community and a stronger sense of Jewish identity. Going on this trip was life changing for me. I feel so inspired and connected to the work of the JDC. I am fortunate to live in a place that where being Jewish does not happen at the expense of my own freedom and safety. I hope to be involved with this amazing organization for many years to come because for me there is no greater act of tikkun olam than to care for our brother and sisters around the world that are facing challenges and struggles that we here in San Diego will never have to. I am proud to serve on the Entwine planning committee here in San Diego, I hope to one day serve on JDC’s board and ensure that the needs of all global Jewry are met. There is an opportunity for you to travel with Entwine to countries such as Turkey, Israel, Morocco, Georgia and more! For  more information, visit

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ISRAEL RIDE 2015: Cycling, Sustainability and Coexistence

Perhaps you’ve been to Israel and seen the gorgeous landmarks by bus, by foot, and possibly, even by camel, but it’s likely that you haven’t done it by bike. One hundred and sixty two people dared to change the way they experienced Israel on the 13th annual Israel Ride that began October 27th and ended November 3rd. This unique event is a combination tour and fundraiser – riders must enlist donors to sponsor their five-day ride from Jerusalem through the Negev to Eilat. Two very worthwhile organizations benefit from this effort: Hazon, an organization striving to build a more sustainable Jewish community, and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a Jewish National Fund (JNF) partner and leading environmental and academic institution that brings Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and other international students together to promote regional cooperation and sustainability. Team JNF made up a sizable portion of this year’s participants, bringing 42 riders from JNF boards and organizations around the globe and raising more than $200,000. David Eisenberg, who serves on JNF’s New England Executive Board of Directors, has been riding in the event for the past 10 years and donned an Israeli flag inscribed with his donors’ names on the back of his riding jersey. He promised to donate a tree in honor of each one of his donors so that they could “really leave a piece of themselves behind.” For Eisenberg, the connection between JNF and the event is clear: “JNF is huge and very diverse – it’s not just about development and planting trees, but about sustainable development.” He also 42


spoke of excitement and optimism for the future because of the work of Arava’s diverse student population that this event directly supports. Carl Jacobs, also from Team JNF and a member of the Board of Directors for the Arava Institute, is continually impressed with what these students do to “push forward the State of Israel.” He also added that each one of the organizations involved in the Israel Ride simply enhances each other’s work and goals. Event participants can choose which group to join, with less experienced riders averaging 30-35 miles a day, more experienced riders biking 50-55 miles a day, and very experienced riders pedaling 70-75 miles a day. Many riders are so passionate about their personal experience and the investment they are able to make to the worthwhile organizations that they return year after year. Eisenberg spoke of coming on this ride with different people each year and leaving with “friends from every single ride that I’m still in touch with.” Jack Platt, another member of Team JNF, came to Israel for the first time on this ride four years ago, and this year, in spite of undergoing dialysis and weighed down with medical machinery, he was determined to complete as many miles as possible. “It’s worth it to come and support the Arava Institute,” he said. Early registration is already open for next year’s Israel Ride which will take place from November 7-14, 2016. For more details, visit


cheer or sneer Coping with the Holidays


hey’re coming: the holidays. Chanukah and Christmas are around the corner once again. Are you looking forward to this time of year with gleeful anticipation or do you want to hide under the covers until it’s all over? Perhaps you are like me and your experience is somewhere between these extremes? Maybe because Chanukah is a minor Jewish holiday, my parents did not make a big deal of it. We usually exchanged gifts unceremoniously on the first night and then lit the menorah if someone (usually me) took the initiative to dig out the wax from the previous year and remembered to say the prayer for eight nights. Growing up Jewish in a Christian neighborhood, Chanukah felt like the consolation prize to the much media hyped Christmas that my friends were celebrating. I grew up to be an adult observer of the holiday consumerism,

making sure at this time of year to avoid the parking lot at the mall at all costs. However it’s not my desire to completely ignore the holidays, especially when good friends invite me to their celebrations. Once in a while if I am in the mood, I will attend a Chanukah party, and some years ago, I started bringing dreidels and latkes to my Christian friends’ secret Santa parties. It is a way to participate and honor my heritage at the same time. It also makes me happy to see my friends’ eyes light up when I take the tinfoil off the tray of fried goodies! So, in my own way, I found a way to make the holidays more enjoyable and not feel left out or pressured to participate. As a psychologist this time of year, I often hear from my clients about holiday experiences past and present. Some common themes are loss and grief and not getting along with family. Often our

sessions are about how to deal with difficult feelings associated with the holidays as they arise. In general, I recommend learning to take time out of the holidays to care for oneself. This can take many forms, such as allowing yourself to decline an invitation to a stressful family function, to sitting in the car and centering oneself before entering the house. One can even learn to nurture oneself while sitting at the holiday dinner table: if Aunt Rose makes a comment that causes your heart to race and your face to flush, try resting your back against the dining chair and letting your eyes rest on something insignificant, and focus on that until the moment passes. If you are comfortable, take one or two deep breaths into your belly. Finally, if you need to get up and go to the bathroom to splash some water on your face and look in the mirror and remind yourself that you are an adult and can get in your car and go home anytime you want, that is ok too. This time of year, stories we see in magazines and television and film may mislead us into feeling that we are not measuring up if our holidays are not as wonderful as what we see portrayed in the media. The reality is that for most people, the holidays can be a time of joy, stress, and sadness. Finding ways to care for ourselves in the midst of the holidays may be the best present of all. KAREN GREENSPAN, PSYD IS A PSYCHOLOGIST IN PRIVATE PRACTICE. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT GREENSPAN. BREAKTHROUGH.COM. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM










The House of Israel was thrilled to welcome the Israeli Ambassador to Mexico, Jonathan Peled, recently. Ambassador Peled viewed the displays, sampled bourekas (which he judged to be “excellent”), and chatted with volunteers. He was intrigued to learn that the House of Israel was the first public building in the U.S. to fly the Israeli flag. The Ambassador was in San Diego while meeting with the Jewish community in Tijuana, and the Ken Jewish Community of San Diego. House of Israel will once again participate in December Nights, the crazy/fun 2 day Holiday celebration in Balboa Park. The event draws about 250,000 people each year. The House of Israel will open its doors Friday, Dec. 4 from 5–10 p.m. an Saturday, Dec. 5 from noon–11 p.m. and serve latkes and sufganiyot.



Despite the recent resurgence in attacks on Israeli civilians, 40 American supporters of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) sent their own messages of courage by biking the length of Israel in November. From the Galilee hills in the north to the Red Sea in the south, FIDF’s “Israel on Two Wheels” Cycling Tour of Israel brought this adventurous group on a once-in-a-lifetime journey, visiting Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bases along their route to show support for Israel’s brave men and women in uniform. Also joining the tour were eight wounded Israeli veterans, all of whom are participants in FIDF’s Strides Program, which provides advanced athletic prosthetics to wounded IDF veterans so they can participate in and enjoy sports. “Biking across Israel was an incredible experience—while riding up Mt Hermon was a significant accomplishment for me, it pales in comparison to the actions of the brave men and woman stationed at the top protecting Israel,” said FIDF supporter and cyclist Steven Larky of Del Mar. “It was truly an honor to be able to ride alongside wounded IDF veterans and share their stories.” The challenging six-day tour covered 400 miles and a total vertical climb of 32,000 feet. The riders began in the northwest corner of Israel near the Mediterranean Sea, climbed the Galilee foothills heading to Mt. Hermon, the tallest peak in Israel. They crossed the volcanic Golan Heights near Syria, and then descended into the Jordan Valley before reaching the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea. From there, the participants rode south, through Israel’s Negev Desert, to the Red Sea.





Sandy Roseman & Richard Prager, from the Law Offices of Charles S. Roseman, were the recipients of the “Outstanding Advocate Award of 2015” from the professional organization, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. Here is a synopsis of their winning case: Melissa Rannells, who has been deaf since childhood, went to the Emergency Room at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center suffering from abdominal pain. She asked for a qualified American Sign Language interpreter, which the hospital was legally obligated to provide at its expense. Every day she was informed by hospital staff that they would get an interpreter for her that day, but no interpreter was provided until she was given her discharge instructions, six days after admission. Melissa claimed she was denied informed consent and was given inappropriate treatment that prolonged her hospitalization, and causer her to suffer injuries, as a result of not being provided with an interpreter. Her lawsuit that took more than five years to resolve. During this time, Melissa and her attorneys rejected several settlement offers in order to achieve comprehensive system-wide settlement affecting sweeping policy changes. As a result, Sharp initiated procedures to ensure that a sign language interpreter is provided to every deaf person when needed. In addition, any deaf person who now arrives at a Sharp ER or hospital will have immediate access to cutting-edge iPad or similar technology to remotely communicate with sign language interpreters, allowing the deaf to instantaneously and effectively communicate with health care providers.




mazel &

mishagoss Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?


hy does standing in line for food bring out the DMV in people? This holiday season, have you considered categories for the various people at buffets? Don’t worry if you haven’t because I’ve done it for you. Soon you’ll identify everyone at your next Chanukah party with just one glance at the Latke bar. (You are having one of those, aren’t you? Don’t forget sweet potatoes.) A BUFFETER SURVEYER These folks have read “helpful” articles with tips about not gaining weight at smorgasbords and have conspicuously edged closer to peruse the offerings in their entire glory prior to making careful selections. They’ve been promised if they have a calm, relaxed demeanor and a predetermined game plan approaching the buffet (and use a salad plate) all will be right with the world. Give them a running start. A BUFFETER OVERSTAYER Buffets are their home base. They’ll linger, integrating all kinds of tasks like talking, eating, wiping, consulting, organizing, refilling, and generally becoming a permanent fixture by the soup. Not compatible with the next type...

condiment while packing a to-go container for . . . God. A BUFFETER CABARETER Hums songs about eating. Often belting out “Food, Glorious Food” from Oliver or “Be Our Guest!” A BUFFETER DELAYER You know they want food, they know they want food, but they sit until the last person gets up, not wanting to appear overeager. Next year they’ll gossip about how you never prepare enough food. A BUFFETER WEIGHER—A killjoy. Recites calories for water and whips out little kitchen scale for an official cranberry calibration. A BUFFETER BETRAYER Intimately acquainted with the hostess, they won’t hesitate to spill the beans. Yes, even the pintos. “That salad she claims is organic? Ha! And it’s a Costco pumpkin pie even if she’s boasting homemade. Skip the baked potatoes, she doesn’t wash the skins.”

A BUFFETER GET-OUT-OF-MY-WAYER! They mean business. Napkin tucked, first in line, and makes appreciative sounds, making you wonder if a nearby barnyard took attendance today.

A BUFFETER OKAYER You’ll not meet a more pleasant, jovial person in line. The answers to the following questions will always be “Okay!” 1. Can I go in front of you? 2. How’ve you been since last Chanukah? 3. Do you think I should help myself to goosing cousin Cindy as she helps herself to some goose?

A BUFFETER PRAYER SAYER A religious Jew reciting blessings for every

A BUFFETER BOUQUETER Gardening types who salivate at floral

centerpieces. Prefers Roasted pale pink Roses or Fried Fuschia Freesia to light or dark turkey parts. A BUFFETER CLICHÉR This guy’s vocabulary is stuffed (fuller than the turkey!) with stupid puns and double entendres. While staring at the carved bird, he remarks, “Looks scary... It’s a Goblin! Get it?” Or “I’m suddenly in a fowl mood!” Tell him you gave up laughing at stupid jokes “cold turkey” and move along. A BUFFETER FOULPLAYER If it’s accidental, it can be forgiven—but classless buffet-goers will drop a cherry tomato into the honey-mustard to see if it floats or sinks. That’s just the beginning of the havoc they’ll wreak. I hesitate to offer more examples lest I offer ideas. A BUFFETER OYVEYER “Oy vey, my doctor says my triglycerides are high.” Ask them what a triglyceride is and they’ll just sigh deeply and say, “Oy vey, I really shouldn’t be eating this,” or worse, “oy vey, should YOU really be eating that?” A BUFFETER ESSAYER Someone observing buffets in the hopes of writing an article for L’Chaim magazine. The nerve. READ MORE FROM STEPHANIE D. LEWIS AT THE HUFFINGTON POST OR CHECK OUT HER HUMOR BLOG, ONCEUPONYOURPRIME.COM. FOLLOW ON TWITTER @MISSMENOPAUSE. WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM


Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam asher kideshanu be-mitzvotav, ve-tzivanu le-hadlik ner shel Hanukah.


Sandy’s Grandsons, Jackson Evan Bold, Andrew Michael Roseman, Jason Gabriel Roseman, & Elliot Harrison Roseman; Granddaughter, Sydney Ilyse Bold; Daughter & Son-in-Law, Rochelle & Bill Bold; Son & Daughter-in-Law, Loren & Dana Roseman.

- Sandy Roseman & Families

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Profile for L'Chaim San Diego Magazine

L'Chaim December 2015  

L'Chaim December 2015