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September 2014 Elul 5774/ Tishrei 5775


A BIG BANG & BEYOND The Blossoming of Mayim Bialik T KIDS? GO








T E R PA G E 3 6

50 Years of Foundation JFFS’s Golden Anniversary Wow, Time Flies The Merage JCC Turns 10

COME, CONNECT & CREATE YOUR JEWISH FUTURE Over 5 decades of Jewish enrichment, spirituality and inspiration in North and Central Orange County

TBE Welcomes the New Year Selichot Program and services – Saturday, Sept 20 – 8pm Rosh Hashanah Wednesday, Sept. 24 Festive Erev Rosh Hashonah dinner – 5:45pm Call the temple office for reservations Service – 7:30pm Thursday, Sept. 25 Shacharit – 9am; Evening Service – 6:30pm Friday, Sept. 26 Shacharit – 9am; Evening Service – 6:30pm Yom Kippur Kol Nidre – Friday, Oct. 3 – 6pm Saturday – Oct. 4 Shacharit – 9am; Yizkor and Sermon – 11:00am; Ne’ilah – 6pm Shofar sounding – 7:10pm

Temple Beth Emet is a Conservative congregation that worships together, learns together, shares life cycle events and more within a spirited, caring community. • Traditional and alternative Shabbat and holiday services • Shabbat dinners and programs on the last Friday of each month • “Tamid” educational experiences for youth and teens • Engaging adult education classes with the Rabbis including adult b’nai mitzvot • Men’s Club, Women’s League and Chavurot • Mitzvah Day programs all year long • Grandparents’ Circle for Jewish grandparents with interfaith grandchildren • Judaica gift shop • A home to the Ezra Center for active adults

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Temple Beth Emet


1770 W. Cerritos Avenue Anaheim, CA 92804

Rabbi Joel Berman Cantor Zev Brooks Dr. Mordecai Kieffer Rabbi Emeritus

New members receive free membership for their first year. Temple Beth Emet warmly welcomes interfaith couples and families wishing to embrace Jewish tradition.

Stegmeier, Gelbart, Schwartz, & Benavente, LLP

Saul Gelbart is a Certified Family Law Specialist who has been helping people resolve all matters of Family Law with the utmost care and discretion for over 30 years. He is an active member in his community, taking time to serve at local schools and coaching athletics.

 Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; Past President of the Southern California Chapter.  Named one of the Top 50 lawyers in all of Orange County - all specialties included by Super Lawyers.  Southern California Super Lawyers list, 10 years in a row.  Best Lawyers in America list, 4 years in a row.

949-337-4050 · 20320 S.W. Birch Street, Third Floor · Newport Beach, CA


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JLIFE | Elul 5774/Tishrei 5775 | SEPTEMBER 2014




Israel Scene The Show Goes On

The Peel Laughing it Off in Orange County



On the Lighter Side Facebook Needs Moms

Running to the Green Line A Trip to the War Zone



Israeli Guy Yom Kippur and Shade


Think it Forward An Unconventional Guide to Giving Back




Wow, Time Flies! The Merage JCC Turns 10


Moral Clarity in Gaza Israel Fights to Protect its Home


Israel Soul Searches Israelis Use the High Holidays to Reflect


The Jews of Prime Time Representations of Jews in Popular Television Shows



50 Years of Foundation The JFFS Celebrates its Golden Anniversary

Fresh Orange Jews O.C.’s Fresh Faces


Looking Outside the Box II OC Synagogues Design Ways to Keep Jews Educated


That Food You Do The Origins of Symbolic Foods on Rosh Hashanah


Rachel Goes Rogue Demographic Dismissal


History/Blogs Orange County’s Jewish History & The Blogosphere IN EVERY ISSUE




First & Foremost Prophet or Priest

Comedic Kudos Solomon Society Honors Gideon Bernstein with Howie Mandel



Letters/Who Knew Words from our Readers




News & Jews O.C. Jewish Scene

Out & About A Guide To OC Fun



Seniors Calendar Fitness, Education & More

Cooking Jewish with Judy Bart Kancigor


Advertising Index

Look inside for Kiddish, our insert publication, right after page 46.

28 On the Cover

A Big Interview Bang with Mayim Bialik 8 SEPTEMBER 2014 |



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Jlife is published monthly by Orange County Jewish Life, LLC. Subscription rate is $24 for one year (12 issues). Send subscription requests to Jlife, 1 Federation Way, Irvine,CA 92603. Jlife is a free and open forum for the expression of opinions. The opinions expressed herein are solely the opinion of the author and in no way reflect the opinions of the publishers, staff or advertisers. Orange County Jewish Life, LLC is not responsible for the accuracy of any and all information within advertisements. Orange County Jewish Life, LLC reserves the right to edit all submitted materials, including press releases, letters, articles and calendar listings for brevity and clarity. Orange County Jewish Life, LLC is not legally responsible for the accuracy of calendar or directory listings, nor is it responsible for possible postponements, cancellations or changes in venue. Manuscripts, letters, documents and photographs sent to Orange County Jewish Life, LLC become the physical property of the publication, which is not responsible for the return of such material. Orange County Jewish Life, LLC is a member of the American Jewish Press Association and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. All contents © 2014 Orange County Jewish Life.

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We are the only full service synagogue in O.C. providing services three times a day, 365 days a year.

Kosher Café

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• Expanded Samson Family Campus • Olam Jewish Montessori Preschool • Social Hall • Rabbi Yisroel Ciner • Irvine Community Mikveh • NCSY Teen Program • Life Cycle Events • Bar and Bat Mitzvah Training • Beth Jacob Women’s Group • Hebrew Classes • Judaism and Torah Classes for Adults of all Levels • Jewish Enrichment Classes for Children • Regular Daily and Shabbat Services • Community Events • Guest Speakers • Kosher Café

Contact (949) 786-5230 •

Call for a tour of our preschool!


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IN JEWISH BIBLICAL history, there are two religious leaders of the Israelites: the prophet and the priest. The figure of the prophet has always captured the imagination. He (or she) is a person of drama, “speaking truth to power,” unafraid to challenge kings and courts, or society as a whole, in the name of high—even utopian—ideals. No other type of religious personality has had an impact like that of Israel’s prophets. While the prophet is uncompromising, the priest tends to be accommodating— willing to compromise. The priests were for the most part quieter figures, negotiating between the demands of the prophet and the realities of the world they inhabited. Today, we can find Is there anything these archetypes in society as that we feel so well as in ourselves. strongly about During the Days of Awe, that we are we are asked to review the past year to look into our willing to endure hearts and consider how we ridicule or what can be. might commit ourselves to unpopularity? To that end, each of us just do better in the coming year. may have a bit of the prophet Perhaps it is also a time to within our own consciousconsider the prophet and ness. But we also have the compromising priest within us. priest, which allows us to navigate the world The prophet’s single purpose in life is to in which we live. make the ideal vision come into being. It is While it is probably safe to say that for not the art of the possible; it is the pursuit most of us the priest dominates our daily of the ideal. The prophet is isolated from lives, this is a good time of year to examsociety and does not generate tolerance from ine the prophet within us. What are those those who have other ideas, and usually persecuted. Yet, it was the prophets who served powerful ideals we may have relegated to as the conscience of the people. When the the recesses of our own consciousness, or prophet saw inequity, s/he spoke of it; the perhaps abandoned, believing them to be priest does not have the idealistic fervor to impossible to achieve? Is there anything that fight opposing forces—but takes a broader we feel so strongly about that we are willing view and seeks not what ought to be, but to endure ridicule or unpopularity? Prophets 14 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


committed their lives to ideals; maybe this year we can commit ourselves to an ideal long forgotten. This issue includes an intriguing interview with Mayim Bialik, highlights some aspects of the season not usually addressed, and celebrates the anniversaries of two important Jewish organizations in Orange County, the JCC and the JFFS. L’Shana Tova to all our readers and their families! A Florence L. Dann, a fourth-year rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los Angeles has written for JLife since 2004. She served as the Vice President of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation West Coast and currently teaches English as Second Language to adults.


October 5,2014 • 1 to 5 p.m. Hilton Irvine 18800 MacArthur Blvd. Irvine, CA 92612

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DEFICIT SPENDING OR MODEST LIVING? A couple of points regarding Teddy Weinberger’s otherwise excellent piece. One, American young people are not necessarily “choosing” lesslucrative occupations than did recent generations. Rather, post-secondary education—especially training for elite professions—is increasingly out of reach, as financial aid has morphed over the past 30 years from mostly grants to mostly (insufficient and daunting) loans. Two, this problem is less extensive in most industrialized countries—including Israel—where the higher education of one’s choice is publicly financed, then paid back through one’s taxes after, and insofar as, one prospers. This indeed is yet another benefit of life in Israel; too bad Weinberger didn’t make this explicit. Lisa Miller

A SHIKTZAH YOU SAY? We received a number of responses regarding our inquiry in the July issue about the use of certain terms (“shiktzah,” the feminine form of “shaketz” and “goy/goyim”). While we

appreciate the various perspectives, we feel it necessary to state our editorial policy. While some may not see these terms as derogatory, many more understand them to be derisive and exclusionary, including, most importantly, a number of Jewish leaders and those in our community who are not Jewish. There is also no distinction between the orthodox understanding and use of the word and the secular or modern use. Firstly, the modern Jewish community does not at all condone the use of those terms; and secondly, even in a Modern Hebrew dictionary “shaketz” is defined as a “detestable thing” or an “unclean animal.” As to the term “goy” and its plural “goyim,” they do indeed refer to the nation of Israel as well as other nations in the Torah. That is the exact meaning. But regardless of how it may be used in Israel, here in the U.S. and the dispora among Jewish populations, it is used quite differently. Words tend to morph throughout the ages, and the term has taken on a negative meaning. This is understandable: since we as a people were subjugated for so long, it is only natural to use language as a means of expressing contempt for the oppressor—or as it has come to mean in today’s vernacular—the other, somehow indicating our superior state of being. In addition, according to the Talmud (Bava Metzia 58b) one is prohibited from attributing any hurtful word or term to another, even if said without malice. It is considered shaming. Therefore, this publication will refrain from using these or any other words that are deemed insulting to any group of people. We appreciate your input and thank you for your continued patronage. — Ed.

We welcome your letters! Email with your feedback.

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Kvetch & Kvell

Who Knew? Our cover girl, Mayim Bialik, is part of the fabulous cast of CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory,” currently the number one sitcom on network TV and in syndication. She and her fellow cast mates all just signed new deals (with some of them rumored to be in the $1,000,000 per-episode range). Since the show is now slated to run at least three more years, taking it through its tenth season in 2016/17, that is one Big Bang indeed.


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The Show Goes On



“Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”

ONE DAY WE were picnicking in the park and the day after, cowering in a bomb shelter. It happened so fast—as does everything in Israel. The sounds of red alerts pierced the summer silence intermittently, and we Jerusalemites suddenly became part of the “am”— the real Israelis from the south and the north and the center who have been dodging Hamas missiles for years. It shames me now to think that I’d felt a sort of exemption, like a member of a higher caste who was protected by virtue of living in the holy city.

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None of us were spared from this most recent attempt to impose a final solution upon the Jews of Israel. Naive as we tend to be in this neck of the Middle East, we were completely blindsided by the broad-brush condemnation from every corner of the world as an avowed and ruthless enemy swore aloud to rid us from the land by either “driving [us] to the sea” or (preferred) reducing us to ash. In an all too familiar manner, we painstakingly clamored—and continue to clamor—to defend ourselves with no


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Judith Gottesman, MSW Soul Mates Unlimited® less fervor than our soldiers in Gaza, peppering the pages of Facebook, Twitter, New York Times and Le Monde, all of which are screaming, “J’accuse!” Are any of us unaware that Palestinian children died? Do we not see, hear and feel for the children who are placed in the line of fire in order that they be maimed or killed? The clever enemy has studied and come to understand Jewish compassion, subsequently daring us to save ourselves at the expense of public opinion and world condemnation. Still, we shout! We explain! We protest! We plead! Certainly moral men, logical men will come to our aid and tell the aggressor to back off and build their communities with the billions upon billions of dollars that the West pushed on them, count their blessings and join with us in the pursuit of common, life-affirming ends. But few of these aforementioned men exist; instead, we are censured and mocked when uttering a defense-of-our-defense. There is an irony in that we Israelis know the enemy can see the whites of our eyes. Not so the cousins in Chicago who had notes telling them to return to the ovens placed underneath their windshields. Not so the son in London whose neighbor’s door was plastered with swastikas. Not so my daughter in South Africa who was rhythmically jeered at in her college cafeteria with the phrase, “Baby killer, baby killer!” When I posted on someone’s page that it was hard remaining stoic with a son in the army, I received a note—signed, no less—stating, “I hope your son dies a terrible death.” After the initial gasp, I scratched my head and wondered what I’m missing. I asked myself, “To whom do I wish death? How does it feel to live with such hatred?” I couldn’t imagine the answers. My soldier son doesn’t hate. He feels motivated and dedicated and kindhearted and wants to live in peace. He wants his family to have peace. He loves Israel and wants his children to grow up in a country where swords become plowshares and bomb shelters morph into pottery workshops. Sometimes it appears as if those who encourage us to deal Hamas an iron-handed blow and show no mercy are dreaming that the battles fought in the sands of Gaza will miraculously resolve the Islamization of Hendon, Paris and Johannesburg. Only God knows the next step and the next playing field(s). What I do know, however, is that after the summer of 2014, there is nothing sweeter than sitting in a city park with an icepop or sandwich in hand and, in lieu of blasting rocket fire, listening to the wrens chirping and the drone of pedestrians discussing anything and everything mundane.

Read testimonials at

All ages and backgrounds (510) 418-8813

Join CBT for the High Holidays For Erev Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, and Day Services, please call our office for tickets and information.

JOIN US FOR THESE FREE SERVICES: •Second Day Rosh Hashanah services with Temple Beth David at the Huntington Beach Pier (Pier Plaza) • First Day Children’s Services (Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur) Call CBT’s office or log on to our website for locations and times. Not all services are at CBT.

New York-born Andrea Simantov is a mother of six who moved to Jerusalem in 1995. She frequently lectures on the complexity and magic of life in Jerusalem and can be contacted at · 714-963-4611

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On the Lighter Side | BY MAYRAV SAAR


Facebook Needs Moms We may hate to admit it, but they really do know a thing or two.


YEARS AGO, WHEN Facebook was new and shiny and solely the purview of the young and hip, I wrote a column begging, pleading and pretty much threatening my mother to stay off the site. Facebook was a place for 20-somethings to post pictures of themselves acting stupid, and who needed Mom commenting, criticizing and ruining the fun? Well, here it is in print, Mom, so you can frame it, or tape it to your forehead and show it to all your friends: I was wrong. Facebook needs you. You may have weird syntax and bad grammar and a complete disdain for spellcheck, but you have something that Facebook posters don’t have these days: knowledge. My about-face started with Israel, when people began posting that Israel was committing genocide and that the world would be better off with fewer Jews. Mom, you were born in a refugee camp to Polish parents who lost everything except their lives. You lived down the road from where Eichmann was jailed and you served in an Israeli army that continues to protect Jews from slaughter while providing humanitarian aid to the very people who are trying to kill us. You have the experience and the knowledge and the power of truth to face down people who have never been east of Manhattan but who confidently type nonsense about Israel from their dorm rooms in Berkeley. Most importantly, you know what posts like theirs portend. And you know that, this time, we fight back. So you chose to be a teacher and you instilled a love of Judaism in a bunch of Southern California kids, many of whom went on to become rabbis—including some of the girls. You made sure that the people you spoke to understood what Israel stands for—and what it definitively doesn’t. You empowered countless girls to become the kind of women who expect to be treated with respect at work, the kind of respect you demanded from the people around you.

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That’s why you’re needed on Facebook. It is the world’s town square; information—and misinformation—is shared there. Public opinion is shaped there. Society is building a collective unconscious there. “Educated” people get to believe that stuff too, now. Then they can share those views in between posts featuring pictures of their food. Progress! So, Mom, post away on Facebook. Make your voice heard; share your stories and experiences with a generation of people who need to hear it. Make a difference on the world stage and set straight the countless “experts” who spew toxic misinformation to millions of people every day. Just stay away from Instagram.

After a 10-year career as a newspaper reporter for the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register, Mayrav Saar left to try her hand at child rearing and freelance writing.

TEMPLE JUDEA WANTS YOU! Ask about $350 membership & High Holy Days

We’re looking to grow our family. Temple Judea 24512 Moulton Parkway (1 block south of El Toro Rd) 949.830.0470


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Yom Kippur and Shade And why a gourd is more than just a squash.


BEFORE I MOVED to Israel, I was always puzzled by the ending to the Book of Jonah, read on Yom Kippur as part of the mincha service. As you might recall, Jonah is upset at G-d for pardoning the city of Nineveh, and he says: “Please, Lord, take my life, for I would rather die than live.” Jonah then goes to the outskirts of Nineveh, builds himself a hut and looks out upon the city (perhaps hoping that the people would backslide into sin and thus destruction). G-d causes a gourd to grow, and Jonah “was very happy about the plant” because of the shade it provided him. But the next day G-d causes the gourd to wither, “and Jonah begged for death, saying, ‘I would rather die than live.’” I could never understand Jonah’s reaction to the gourd. Okay it gave him shade, but wasn’t he laying it on a bit too thick with this business of wanting to die when the gourd shriveled up? Then I moved to Israel and started hiking around the country, and I learned that the difference between full Mideast sun and a nicely shaded area is, well, striking. There are days when to stand in the sun is to feel like the heat is being bored into you, and yet if you make it

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to a shaded sanctuary suddenly the weather seems pleasant; the breeze that had seemed ineffectual only moments before is now cool and refreshing. I learned to always be on the lookout for shaded areas, and I even have a scar just below my right pinky as a souvenir from a shade-hunting sortie that ended badly (let’s just say that it’s a good idea to obey all “stay on trail” signs). So it was only after making aliyah that I really understood Jonah’s reaction to the death of the gourd. I will close here with some thoughts from my friend and teacher Rabbi Lior Engelman that nicely capture the connection between Yom Kippur and the Book of Jonah: “Yom Kippur is a day when the spirit of pardon and forgiveness blows through the world. A day for the renewal of the trust between the Master of the Universe and the creatures of His world. A day when the honor of G-d increases because of the good that is victorious in His world.”

Teddy Weinberger, Ph.D., is a tennis coach who made aliyah with his family in 1997 from Miami, where he was an assistant professor of religious studies. He and his wife, Sarah Jane Ross, have five children.

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of Orange County

Young Israel of Orange County (949) 300-8899 • or e-mail us at: Jlife

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Break out the popcorn–it’s movie time! The Orange County International Jewish Film Festival Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with an Unbeatable Lineup

September 3, 2014 through April 26, 2015 21 Feature and Documentary Films from around the World Not To Be Missed: • Theodore Bikel – In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem • Crimes and Misdemeanors (yes, that one!) followed by a Q&A with Martin Landau • Run Boy Run – Opening night selection for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Founded by University Synagogue and Co-sponsored by: Temple Bat Yahm Temple Beth Tikvah Temple Beth Emet Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’a lot

Features Screened in comfort at Edwards Westpark 8 For film, schedule and pricing: • 949-553-3535 562-430-5055

©2014 Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. Hadassah is a registered trademark of Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.


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28 SEPTEMBER 2014 |

There is certainly more than meets the eye with this talented and smart gal.





Life spoke on the phone with Mayim Bialik, who proved to be a humble, intelligent and insightful Jewish woman. Raised in the Reform movement, Bialik now considers herself an observant Jewish woman. An actress, scientist and woman of faith, she is the mother of two young boys. Bialik portrayed a young Bette Midler in the movie “Beaches” but is best known for her lead role in the 1990s NBC sitcom “Blossom.” She currently portrays Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory.”


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I like to start my interviews with something fun. I can do fun… Tell us about something funny related to Judaism that happened to you as a kid. Let’s think. There are so many [chuckling]. It’s not that I don’t have enough. I think one of the things was my sort of very recognizable Jewishness, in terms of my face and my nose. I was always told I looked like Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler, which is always an odd thing for a small child to hear, especially since I wasn’t up on my Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler as a small child. But I think it is something that when I was cast in “Beaches,” as a young Bette Midler—I was 11 or 12 years old—it was kind of a nice nod for different-looking girls or girls who look Jewish. And even though that was kind of a weird way to get that recognition, it felt nice to be publicly acknowledged for looking, quote, Jewish. I noticed you were raised in a Reform household and now you have gravitated toward the observant lifestyle. How did that come about? Yes, a lot of that shift in observance took place in college, when I got to leave my parents’ house and I got to discover things for myself. I tend to support halachic Judaism, but I am very, very liberal. I am socially conservative, but I would be on the far left of Modern Orthodox if I fit into a box, which I don’t [laughing]. You see I believe in halachic Judaism and I studied with an amazing rabbi in Hillel at UCLA, Rabbi Haim Seidler-Feller. He helped me… not choose a denomination, but taught me how to go about being a serious Jew. How would you describe your Judaism since you cannot put it into a box? [laughing] Well, a lot of us are post-denominational. One of my mentors likes the term, “Serious Jew,” which many of us have used, but I like it in a lot of ways. I consider myself an intellectual Jew, I don’t fit into a box and I think many of us, especially in the Southern California area, don’t [fit

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into a box]. So it’s a lot about finding places that prayer is comfortable and comforting without feeling pigeonholed. The term “Just Jewish” is a term used in the Pew Report, [which says] that millenials describe themselves as “Just Jewish.” Is this a topic that you have any thoughts on? There is so much to say about it. I’m not an authority on any aspect of this conversation. So, I grew up in a Reform synagogue where other kids in my school who were Conservative told me I was not as Jewish as them. And I hear this a lot from people. They will say, “I’m not as Jewish as you.” But I would rather people say they are “Just Jewish” rather than being “Bad Jews” because there is no such thing as far as I am concerned. You are either Jewish or you’re not. I think, there is a lot to cover. For instance, when you think about Israeli Jews, secular Israelis who

So it did start with the fact you preferred a skirt over pants…. Yes. And the producers also wanted Amy to be kind of androgynous in her presentation and not have there be any sexy factor to her. It would make sense with the character line. That leads me to a two-fold question: feminism and Judaism. I know that you are a huge proponent of both. You probably bring your Judaism onto the set in some way, shape or form, whether it be known by everyone or it’s your own private way of practicing. I’m curious about that. I don’t want to say I’m just Jewish. There is something Jewish about me all the time. There are other Jewish members of our cast and creators. There are a lot of Jewish people around. People know I eat differently at Passover, people know that I don’t do certain things

It felt nice to be publicly acknowledged for looking “Jewish.”

consider themselves Israeli and not Jewish. It’s really, really complicated. Your character Amy Farrah Fowler is an amazing character. And she is always dressed incredibly modestly. Is that a choice of tznius (modesty) or purely costume design? When I was first brought on the show, several costume designs were offered. I voiced the opinion that I would love to have Amy in a skirt because I don’t wear pants outside the house, so it’s just something that stuck. There were opportunities where she could have worn pants, but it became my preference not to and, as with all of our characters, each character has a distinctive look that they stick with. So, Bernadette also never wears pants.

on Shabbat and Yom Tov; however, there are certain things I am contracted to do. But I don’t know if there is anything more distinctive. People know I don’t wear pants, and I get teased for that [chuckling]. I’m sure it’s in jest. Do your thoughts on feminism play a role in that as well? Sometimes. It sort of forms the person that I am. A lot of my choices are a statement of feminism, meaning I choose how I dress and I want to control how I dress rather than how trends dictate what women should look like. So, to a certain extent that plays into it for me.

Continued on page 32


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Continued from page 30 Mayim finds a way to balance a successful career, while staying true to her convictions.


think one of the great things about Judaism and being Jewish is that there are no limits to how you are. It’s all contained in Judaism, meaning there’s no rule that if you don’t eat meat, you don’t get to light Shabbos candles. There’s not a list of things that you have to do in order to “qualify” for some sort of Jewish gold star. So, I think it’s neat that there is a place in Judaism for all parts of me whether they are feminist parts or vegan parts; that is something that is very comforting to me about being Jewish.

I know you are active in Shamayim V’aretz [a Jewish animal welfare organization that educates, trains leaders, and leads campaigns for the ethical treatment of animals]. What is your role in that? I was actually involved in the founding of it [Shamayim V’aretz] but there is no continuing or ongoing activity that I have been part of. I don’t know if it stalled, but I’m not the person to ask about it, Rabbi Yanklowitz would be. I was part of it at the start, that 32 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


was several years ago, but I don’t know if he has done anything formally with it. They’re having retreats, I looked into it. Just so you know. Yes, but beyond that I don’t have formal involvement. But I assume you are still keeping up with the vegan diet that you mentioned in your book.Absolutely. Can you tell me how you feel more spiritually connected with that diet? I

I am going to assume that translates into your home. I know you have two children. Are there any particular traditions you practice with them to educate them Jewishly? We have a Jewish house, we have a kosher house and vegan. But we celebrate Shabbos, and we celebrate holidays. My older son studies with a Jewish Studies tutor on a weekly basis, so there are all kinds of Hebrew homework I oversee. My sons’ consciousness is that of forward-thinking, liberal, Jewish young men. We talk a lot about a lot of issues in Judaism and society and I try to instill in them the notion of Tikkun Olam, which is a huge part of my Reform upbringing and one of the beautiful aspects of the Reform movement. Is there any particular Tikkun Olam that you do on a regular basis that you would like to talk about? Gosh, I make a lot of choices about personal charities. I participate in Bet Tzedek, which is an organization that provides free legal

Rabbi’s Office (949) 300.8899

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Saturday Mornings: “Hebrew (Track 1): Basic Reading for Adult Beginners” Every Saturday Morning at 9:15-10:00 a.m.



Wednesday Nights: “What’s Bothering Rashi? Chumash-Rashi-and-So-Much-More” Every Wednesday Night at 7:30-9:00 p.m.

Shabbat Afternoons: “Shulchan Arukh: Orach Chaim and Mishneh B’rurah” Every Shabbat Afternoon at 60-75 minutes before Mincha


Monthly Navi Class in Books of the Prophets: The Books of Judges & Samuel I and II will meet one night each month at rotating hosting homes. (Coming Soon: Details TBA)




Thursday Afternoons (for Young Ladies, Ages 12-16) “Torah and Hebrew Enrichment Classes for Tween & Teen Ladies” • Every Thursday 4:45-5:30 p.m. – Hebrew Reading, Siddur Skills, Holidays & Customs • Every Thursday 5:30-6:15 p.m. – Chumash (Bible) and Rashi Commentary . . . and Movies Thursday Afternoons (for Young Gentlemen, Ages 12-16) “Torah and Hebrew Enrichment Classes for Tween & Teen Guys” • Every Thursday 4:00-4:45 p.m. – Talmud • Every Thursday 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Chumash (Bible) and Rashi Commentary Wednesday Nights: “Hebrew (Track 3): Intro to Conversational Hebrew” Every Wednesday Night at 6:45-7:30 p.m.

10. Sunday Night at the Movies & Jewish-Themed TV Episodes . . . with the Rabbi Meets one Sunday Night each month at Back Bay Center at 6:30-9:00 p.m. 11. Open Yeshiva High School for Teen Boys – Gemara-Text Learning for Teen Boys: By Appointment with Rav Fischer (4 Now Studying) (All YIOC Classes are Taught by Rabbi Dov Fischer: Never a Cost to Attend Any YIOC Class) “We Teach Torah for your Living, Not for Ours”

Rabbi Dov Fischer — also an Adjunct Professor of Law with over a decade’s legal prominence in high-stakes business and employment litigation — provides the highest level of private pastoral counseling and professional guidance and life-coaching for leading rabbis across the United States and in Canada. He is available privately for your family’s spiritual and religious needs right here in Orange County. Come and spend a Shabbat with our Rav and Rebbetzin.


| SEPTEMBER 2014 33


“I would like my children to respect me and see me as their mother, but also someone who is on this journey of life with them.”

care to those who cannot afford legal care. Specifically the elderly; [Bet Tzedek] started working with Holocaust survivors, the disabled, mentally challenged, and people who cannot afford legal defense when they are unjustly accused of things or evicted. So, I love Bet Tzedek, and I love the Gift of Life, which is a bone marrow foundation I did some work with to find 29 bone marrow matches. Wow, I’m taken aback. That’s 29 lives you’ve saved! It’s really an incredible organization. You have a Bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D in neuroscience. Is there a conflict between the neuroscience and Judaism? Did you find that a factor—to be torn between science and spiritual faith? I was taught by my rabbi that the Torah is not a science book. To be a person of faith is not in conflict with being a woman—in my case—of science. The more I learn about science, the more I am enthralled with the idea that I did not create all of the things in the universe. And the more I learn about religion, the Jewish notion of divinity, the more I appreciate the scientific world as a direct expression of the will of something bigger than me. That is a great way to explain that! It’s so hard and I’m sure you get asked that a lot. It is hard, and I’m asked it very frequently, but there are plenty of very famous Jewish scientists and Jewish thinkers. Maimonides was a physician… It absolutely can exist. Do you find yourself conflicted between science and acting? At this point in my life the place that I pay my 34 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


mortgage from, feed my children, and pay for health insurance is from being an actor. But my training as a scientist is so incredibly important to me and will always be part of my brain and how I see the world. You are incredibly successful. If there is one thing that made you feel like a success, what do you think it would be? Wow! That is a great question! To me being a mom is the hardest job and the one for which we receive the least formal training. I would like my children to respect me and see me as their mother, but also someone who is on this journey of life with them. So, I do not know if I will see that now or in five years, or 10 years, or 20 years. But I would hope that I would be able to see that. And that would feel like success to me. Is there something you have not accomplished yet or that is still your journey? There are a lot of things I haven’t accomplished personally, professionally, emotionally. I would like to be less judgmental [of others] and I’d like to be less critical of myself. There’s a lot of personal growth I look forward to as I get older and hopefully wiser. But I try to be grateful for what I have and try not to have regrets. I saw you on “What Not to Wear.” I remember watching that show and being amazed at how humble you are. Was that your true self? That’s my Jewish self! I was taught to behave as the Talmud or Mishna indicates, if you have two pieces of paper in your pocket, one should say, “For me the entire world was created” and the other should say, “I am the dust and ashes.” That’s a very Jewish ethic, to walk humbly.

I saw you speak at Tribe Fest; you speak to people in the 21- to 40-yearold demographic quite frequently. You will get that demographic in this magazine. I wonder if there is something you would like to tell them. I don’t know how specific to be. I’m sort of reluctant to be a role model and that gets put on me quite often, especially in the Jewish Community. But the Jewish world has always been full of very public leaders and very private leaders and I am absolutely grateful for the pressure put on me, but I also believe very strongly in not just public people doing great things as Jews or women, but in everyone’s ability to do so. And if there’s one piece of Jewish advice you have for our readers, what would it be? Learn before you decide what you want your practice to be. And, one thing to tell Jewish mothers… [Laughing] We don’t have to be like our Jewish mothers. We can take the best part of our Jewish mothers and create our own notion of Jewish mothers. Mayim Bialik also writes for the blog Kveller. com. As private as Bialik is, she is able to address a lot of difficult and timely issues on the blog, and it is a “safe place to discuss being a Jewish female, being a Jewish woman in Hollywood, and some of the more intricate and personal issues of being a divorcee.” The blog is about helping other women with a similar journey. If you would like to read more about what Mayim Bialik has to say, go to A Rachel Schiff is an English teacher who graduated from Cal State Fullerton. She was president of Hillel, a representative of World Union of Jewish Students and a YLD intern. Currently, she is a Master’s degree student in American Studies with emphasis on Jews in America. Dr. Lisa Grajewski is a psychologist working toward licensure. She is a therapist with Jewish Federation Family Services and is a psychological assistant for a private practice in Tustin. Dr. Grajewski has been writing for JLife since 2004.

F E AT U R E S Merage JCC offers many ways to connect with your faith and the Jewish community.


36 SEPTEMBER 2014 |



FOR A LONG time it seemed as though it could not be done: have a central place for Jews to congregate in Orange County, California. As a matter of fact, for many years, being a Jew in Orange County was an oxymoron, and as Irving Chase said, “[If you took a job in Orange County] it was like being transferred to Siberia.” But Jews in Orange County always found a place to gather—whether it was the synagogue, or the JCC in Laguna Beach, Garden Grove, or Baker Street in Costa Mesa, there was always a place. But it always fell a little short. Then in the early part of the twenty-first century, a Campus Committee of approximately seven members changed that. At first, members like Chase, Mike Lefkowitz and Ralph Stern had no clearcut goals. “We did not know what to compare it to,” said Chase. No one knew what was going to be built, and most of the goals evolved in a “learn as you go” process. It was not the usual way of starting a JCC, and that required someone who had experience in getting Jewish Community Centers off the ground—enter Dan Bernstein. Bernstein was living in Sarasota, Florida. He and his wife loved the warm weather, but he wanted to go back to New York. “When Avi Namak approached me, I said ‘no’ three times,” says Bernstein. So what impelled Bernstein to say yes? “The weather, the new building, and the fact I did not need to wear a suit and tie!” laughed Bernstein. “Additionally, I felt an instant connection to the people who interviewed me.” Fortunately, Bernstein’s disdain for ties was the advantage the Orange County Jewish Community needed! And the dream of a permanent building, where Jews could gather to learn, play basketball, swim, work out, or throw a pot, was realized on August 15,

Emma Greenberg and friends at the JCC.

2004. “Our goal was 500 families on opening day,” said Bernstein. “We had 1,100!” And the campus was packed with between 3,000 and 4,000 people interested in checking out the new JCC. Today that number has grown to 50,000 repeat customers walking through the doors each month, and the JCC has opened its doors to all, regardless of race, religion, age or family status. Diversity graces the halls of the Samueli Campus, and, as stated by the website, “…the programs and services at the JCC celebrate family, foster health and well-being, embrace tradition, create friendships, and expand cultural horizons all in a safe, positive, friendly and inviting Continued on page 40



Tamsen R. Reinheimer, Esq

(714) 573-7149 2855 Michelle Drive, Suite 120 Irvine, California 92606


| SEPTEMBER 2014 37


Jews & Education

Continued from page 37

environment.” It is fulfilling the vision of Bernstein and the original other Jewish kids…. Now, you just have to go to the J.” And it brings families together as well. “Where else can you come Campus Committee who saw it as a place to build Jewish lives. When Bernstein came on board, he had another dream for Orange together as a family, then part ways as the grandparents go to the County. An avid sportsman who loves basketball, Bernstein made it fitness center, the parents go to an art class, and the kids play in the his mission to bring the Maccabi Games to Orange County. In 2007 gym—then a couple of hours later you meet at the café? That really the Maccabi Games put Orange County on the (Jewish) map. The happens here!” said Bernstein. “It is a safe place where you can feel Opening Ceremony, held at the Honda Center, brought together connected Jewishly.” But bricks and mortar were the easy part. “The most difficult 9,000 spectators and 3,000 Jewish teen athletes who waved flags challenge,” said Bernstein, “was to hire 45 and banners as they paraded around the floor. people who had never worked at a JCC. It is It was an evening that brought Jews in Orange a unique industry—you have to understand County together under the premise of pride, the JCC, you have to understand working strength and community. Many Jews who with Jews…. You need an arduous work ethic had not stepped foot in a synagogue for years, It is a safe place and be okay with all the moving parts of the or into a JCC for that matter, attended the where you can feel JCC.” Everyone was nervous about how the opening ceremonies. The five-day event hosted connected Jewishly. Merage JCC would turn out. The idea of a sports ranging from soccer to dance, and in self-sustaining organization with membership addition to the 15,000 people involved in the — DAN BERNSTEIN fees was uncharted territory in Orange games, 800 Jewish homes opened their doors County. “We had to build an organization to Jewish athletes from around the world. that served the mission and provided good “Since then,” said Bernstein, “people from all over want to come to the Merage JCC!” In 2013, Orange County again hosted the quality programs and products,” said Bernstein. “We have that JCC Maccabi Games and Art Fest. This time, 2,000 visiting Jewish great value…. We have great programs, a great fitness center, a great teens from across the globe and thousands of members from Orange preschool.” As with any new organization, there were growing pains, County’s own community, including 800 host families, 1,500 starts and stops to hiring, and attrition; but many of the JCC staff volunteers and 350 teen athletes and artists participated in the members that came on board in 2004 are still with the JCC 10 years later. “This is not science,” said Bernstein. “There is no magic; the games. But the Merage JCC is not all about sports and athletes. The staff knows they have to deliver. They know the expectations and JCC provides a place for Jews to gather outside of the synagogue. they meet them. The staff delivers!” But regardless of the tenure, “When my kids were young,” said Chase, “you had to call around the staff has helped to make the organization what it is today. And and possibly drive across town if you wanted your kids to play with according to Chase, “The success [of the Merage JCC] comes from


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the staff—from Dan Bernstein on down.” So what is in the cards for the next 10 years? According to Bernstein, “It is time to give another community the opportunity to host the Maccabi Games!” So no games are scheduled for the OC. Bernstein plans on focusing on the JCC’s mission to keep Jewish people Jewish. How? “By enriching Jewish identity through programs,” he said. “And building memories of being Jewish.” It is Bernstein’s hope to start people on their Jewish journey as well as stay on their Jewish journey. The Merage JCC is the place for informal Jewish education. “The JCC is the destination for Jews who do not want to join a synagogue,” said Chase. “For some that’s enough.” For others, being around Jewish people makes one feel Jewish. The community has grown since the Merage JCC opened in 2004. The JCC was respectful of synagogues and other Jewish organizations in Orange County, and that has worked in helping the community grow. “We’ve come a long way,” said Bernstein. “Now we’re at the point of solidifying things.” What does that look like? More global community partnerships; figuring out how to make people feel just that much more Jewish; building more Jewish memories; and showing Israel in a positive light. The best way to describe the JCC, said Bernstein, is that it has a “social worker heart and business mind.” That is evident by the $300,000 in scholarships given away by the Merage JCC. A See the following page (page 40) for 10 years of the Merage JCC by the numbers. Dr. Lisa Grajewski is a psychologist working toward licensure. She is a therapist with Jewish Federation Family Services, and a psychological assistant with a private practice in Tustin. Dr. Grajewski has been writing for JLife since 2004.

Jerry and his babe Jacob at the JCC.




Marea A. Barsky, Esq

(714) 573-7149 2855 Michelle Drive, Suite 120 Irvine, California 92606


| SEPTEMBER 2014 39

10 Years of the Merage JCC by the numbers

$ 25,675

scholarship dollars


total members


5,100 campers

3 JCC trips to Israel nearly five million people walked through our doors


over 2 million

years voted as a top gym in OC

949.435.3400 • Jlife



Team OC Maccabi athletes & artists

10,000+ volunteers

1 Federation Way, Irvine CA 92603

40 SEPTEMBER 2014 |



| SEPTEMBER 2014 41


MORAL CLARITY IN GAZA Israel fights to protect its home. BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

ISRAEL ACCEPTS AN Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking. “Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.” Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent “cycle of violence.” This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows Hamas’ proudly self-declared raison d’etre: the eradication of Israel and its Jews. Apologists for Hamas attribute the bloodlust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? There is not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli in Gaza. Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling diehard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. 42 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


There was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce. The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel’s desire to leave the West Bank too and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution. And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them—an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel. Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons


The idea was to create two states that were able to live peacefully side by side.

and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Why? The rockets can’t even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?” It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as a Washington Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire. This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack. To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.’s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, neartotal historical ignorance and reflexive sympa-

thy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense. In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, Hamas’ depravity begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera—both deeply sympathetic to the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity’s worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years which nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields. It’s to the Israelis’ credit that amid all this madness they haven’t lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear. A

Charles Krauthammer’s email address is

“Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.” Jlife

| SEPTEMBER 2014 43


FIFTY YEARS STRONG Serving a unique county with unique programs, the JFFS celebrates its golden anniversary. BY FLORENCE L. DANN

WHEN THE JEWS were exiled from the Land of Israel, they dispersed across many countries, fragmenting into small groups among widely divergent cultures and empires, but what held them together was an allegiance to a code of laws and rituals set forth in the Torah and Talmud. But Judaism is more than a religion; it is a way of life experienced through the kehillah, the community. Forced to endure harsh conditions, without anyone to rely on for assistance but themselves, Jews developed a communal infrastructure that was uniquely Jewish. With an obligation in Jewish law to help the less fortunate, everyone in the community made regular contributions to the

We are proud to recognize 50 years of wonderful service to the Jewish community.

44 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


collection box. This system continued in the new country, and despite the hardships, Jews, for the first time, went about their business with relative freedom; many became quite successful. They continued to be involved with human rights and looked out for their less fortunate neighbors by creating a sophisticated philanthropic network that served the needs of the whole community. The first Jewish Federation was founded in Boston in 1895, and as Jews moved across the country, more Federations were established. From the 1930s onward, there was a massive influx of population to Southern California, including Orange County. It was only a matter of time until there was enough of a vocal


Jewish presence to organize a Federation as in so many other cities in the country. That began in 1939, when Sam Hurwitz founded the United Jewish Welfare Fund of Orange County to raise funds for a variety of needs for the small Jewish community. In 1955, at a meeting held in what was then the California Federal Bank in Anaheim, the organization became a Community Council. Until 1964, the only community-wide Jewish activities were fundraising. Then on July 6, 1965, the Jewish Federation of Orange County was officially incorporated, with the goals to provide needed communal services and support its beneficiary organizations. Over the next several years, the Federation helped to form Hillel at Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine; the Hebrew Academy opened in Huntington Beach; and in 1970, the First Federation Women’s Division (now known as Women’s Philanthropy) was formed, with a fundraising goal of $25,000. Several JCCs were also established throughout the county. With the opening of the Baker Street Jewish Community Campus in Costa Mesa, in a building generously donated by Allan and Sandy Fainbarg and Arnold and Ruth (z’l) Feuerstein, the Laguna Beach and Garden Grove JCCs were merged. And in 1991, Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School was founded by Holocaust survivor Irving Gelman at that location. Today, the large, expansive and impressive Community Building on the Samueli Jewish Campus houses the offices of Jewish Federation and Family Services, the newly renamed Merage Jewish Community Center, the offices of B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, the Jewish Community Foundation and Hillel.

The growth of the Federation mirrors the growth of Orange County. By 2005, some 3 million people were living in OC with estimates placing the Jewish population between 80,000 and 100,000. Yet only about 80 percent of the Jewish population has been identified. Most think of the Jewish Federation as primarily a fundraising organization that supports a number of beneficiary agencies. While that is undoubtedly one of its primary goals, today establishing an ongoing dialogue with the Jews of OC is an important focus. And because Orange County is one of the fastestgrowing, most vibrant and most diverse Jewish communities in the country, JFFS has had to develop an innovative approach to achieve its goals. “The Federation also needed to examine their structure and how it could be improved. The merger with the Jewish Family Services is an example of how organizations need to work together,” said Shalom C. Elcott, President and CEO, who came to the OC nine years ago. “By altering the structure, we became more effective at delivering a broad range of services.” “When the recession hit, both the Federation and Jewish Family Services were seriously affected,” said Debbie Margolis, Chair of the Board, JFFS. “Donors were stepping back, and grants were not coming in at a time when the need was increasing.” The feeling was that the two organizations would be stronger they if merged. “This made approaching the donor population easier because now it made for an easier ask,” added Margolis, “and it was a single ask.” “This is a very young Jewish Community,” said Elcott. The challenge has been to find unique ways of engaging the Jewish commu-

nity. “One very big challenge in OC is that many of our organizations cannot find what I like to call the ‘hidden Yidden,’” Elcott added. Those are the Jews who have not participated in the Jewish community at any level. “How do we reach them?” To “belong” is a very challenging concept today in OC. A recent study completed by the Federation notes that many younger Jews are not attracted to the traditional organizations of the Jewish community. “These folks are more interested in a DIY approach to their Jewishness,” the report noted. “We may be forced to teach the younger generations about the importance of community and of Israel,” said Elcott. “Our goal needs to be to connect the Jews of OC to the greater Jewish Community including the State of Israel.” The next generation is not interested in doing what their parents did—giving because their parents gave, or joining an organization because their parents did. “The younger generation wants to see exactly where their money is going,” said Margolis. “Today people want to see their money in action, so we have more hands-on donors. While Super Sunday may have worked for our parents, it is not at all effective today.” And so in November 2005, the Federation rolled out “Connect 2 Community,” a new series of community-building initiatives designed to give investors choices in their philanthropy for Jewish Orange County. In addition to creating an innovative program for its donors, the Orange County JFFS took the same approach when it came to designing other aspects of the organization. Programs needed to reach out to those who were not involved in the Jewish community.

While Super Sunday may have worked for our parents, it is not at all effective today. Jlife

| SEPTEMBER 2014 45


It’s easy to celebrate good work.

“We want to meet them where they are,” said Margolis. Elcott echoed that sentiment by pointing out all the variety of unique programs that have been established to engage Jews at every age, interest and level of observance to participate in the conversation about being Jewish in Orange County. “We have developed 23 portals through which we can reach out to Jews in the community,” said Margolis. These are not fundraising entities. Some focus on leadership development, and some on service. These portals have been designed to find Jews, attract them into the community and then provide them with convenient and inexpensive ways of “doing Jewish” in order to instill a “love for Jewish.” One of the most successful is the PJ Library Program, which provides books, music and CDs at no cost to Jewish families with children ages 6 months to 8 years and has reached 1,800 families. Families are then invited to special events introducing them to other aspects of the Jewish community. NextGen OC (formerly Young Leadership) is the nexus of the OC’s vibrant community of Jews in their 20s to early 40s. These young leaders participate in tikkun olam through projects including Second Harvest Food Bank, the Walk to End Genocide and rebuilding New Orleans.

46 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


“Our primary goal is to build community,” said Lisa Grier, Chair of NextGen. “That is the key to everything. Once we have a strong community then we will have everything— donors and tikkun olam.” The biggest challenge for this demographic is to understand why donating is so important. “But they do want to volunteer,” Margolis added. “We had over 87 volunteers come out to put together over 1,000 care packages for the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] troops. We did it in an hour and half.” Another portal for reaching out to Jews in Orange County is the Community Scholar Program, which provides high-level education in a variety of settings. “Arie Katz [the program’s founder] had an idea, and we supported it,” said Elcott. Now the CSP attracts large numbers of Jews from all over the community who attend these programs. And the list of vibrant JFFS programs goes on, with something for everyone. The Rose Project, for example, educates OC students about the facts and myths of Israel, instills self-sufficiency in Jewish student leaders, and encourages students to engage their peers to develop greater understanding of Israel and its centrality to the Jewish people. Members of Mitzvah Mavens, a volunteer arm of JFFS, write letters to Israeli soldiers, bag lunches for soup kitchens, design centerpieces for

Holocaust survivors for their annual lunch, and acquire gift cards for the annual “Adopt a Family” program at Hanukkah. JFFS also recently established the Mandel House, a residential home for special-needs adults that offers those with developmental disabilities a place of their own. It provides an independent, community-based, group living environment that meets their unique needs and helps them remain active in Jewish life. Yet another service is Silver Streak transportation help for older adults, 60-plus, who cannot drive. This service allows these folks to maintain their connections to friends and family, be active and involved in the community, run important errands, and attend medical and social service appointments. From Shalom Baby to Silver Streak, the JFFS continues to provide assistance and unique opportunities for engagement in the Jewish community in Orange County. In 1981, Herb Brin in his publication “The Heritage” wrote the following in a tribute to the Federation: “It is the idea of one’s Jewish responsibility for another that enabled us to survive terrors beyond imagination. This survival instinct gave us all a special social radar system—and no matter what our personal beliefs were in politics or how we strove for social standing, as one Jew fares, we must all must fare. History gives us no luxury of separation from our people.” It is this sense of responsibility that motivates and drives all those who work for and support the JFFS. Happy Fiftieth Anniversary and best wishes for continued success! A Florence L. Dann, a fourth-year rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los Angeles, has been a contributing writer to JLife since 2004. She served as the Vice President of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation West Coast and currently teaches English as Second Language to adults.


The Sweet Life

The Memories That Shape Us Lessons Learned from the Past Goldileh: A Goldilocks and The Three Bears Story

Celebrating the High Holidays Together


G IN LL W LL RO O FA EN NOR F PRESCHOOL FOR CHILDREN AGES 26 Olam Programs • Ages 2-6 years old • Choice of two, three or five day classes • Half-day program: 8:30 to 12:00 • Full-day program: 8:30 to 2:30 • Full-day Plus: 8:30 to 5:30 • Early Care: 7:30-8:30 am

Extra-Curricular Activities These activities are available in addition to our Montessori curriculum. The instructors come to Olam once a week for families who are interested in additional programming. • Gymnastics with Mr. Dean • Webby Dance • Play Ball • Summer Camp

“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” — Maria Montessori 3900 Michelson Drive · Irvine, CA 92612

Call for a tour! (949) 786-5230



a peek inside september 2014

also inside! Editor’s Note 06 For September calendar events please visit:





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Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) — occupy only three days alone, there is an entire

period between them that is full of “high” expectations. The focus of this 40-day period is the process of teshuvah, or



repentance. This is a time for Jews to ask forgiveness, admit their sins and resolve not to repeat them. In a busy family,


just getting everyone out the door with both socks can be a


challenge in itself. So what can you do to slow things down? Take a time out and find some space to reflect? Just brrrrrrrreathe. That’s right, take a deep breath. It sounds silly, but this is the first step. Grab your kids and sit them down. Close your eyes and hold hands together for even just one minute. This


will set the stage for a calm environment and mind. Maybe then you will all be better suited to take on the lofty task of self-examination and personal change. Because let’s face it, making a personal promise to keep your room clean for even a week, let alone 40 days, can be a miracle in itself. Happy Reflecting! — Tracey Armstrong Gorsky, Editor in Chief

Editor Tracey Armstrong Gorsky is the managing editor for JLife and former editor and writer for Making Waves, Pet Product News, Veterinary Practice News and Surfing Magazine. She brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to Kiddish magazine and holds a Masters in Business Administration.

OCJL is published monthly by Orange County Jewish Life, LLC. Subscription rate is $24 for one year (12 issues). Send subscription requests to OCJL, 5665 Oberlin Dr., Ste. 204, San Diego, CA 92121. Orange County Jewish Life is a free and open forum for the expression of opinions. The opinions expressed herein are solely the opinion of the author and in no way reflect the opinions of the publishers, staff or advertisers. Orange County Jewish Life is not responsible for the accuracy of any and all information within advertisements. Orange County Jewish Life reserves the right to edit all submitted materials, including press releases, letters, articles and calendar listings for brevity and clarity. OCJL is not legally responsible for the accuracy of calendar or directory listings, nor is it responsible for possible postponements, cancellations or changes in venue. Manuscripts, letters, documents and photographs sent to OCJL become the physical property of the publication, which is not responsible for the return of such material. Orange County Jewish Life is a member of the American Jewish Press Association and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. All contents © 2014 Orange County Jewish Life.

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Serious Holidays, Family Fun Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur BY AUDRA MARTIN


osh Hashanah deals with serious topics, like forgiveness

Of course, apples and honey are the

and thinking hard about how

cornerstone of many families’ traditions.

to be a better person. It is

Rather than just picking up apples at

also said to be a celebration of renewal

the grocery store, take your kids to the

and of the world’s birthday. In addition

nearby mountains to the nearest pick-

to the traditional family dinners and

your-own apple orchard and let them see

going to services, there are many ways

where apples really come from.

our JCC families add fun and meaningful activities into their holiday traditions.

Apples and honey are a way to symbolize a sweet new year to come.

Below we share just a few.

Rabbi Leah Lewis suggested her family enjoys honey-tasting during the




Have you ever tried getting sound out of a shofar? It’s harder than it looks.

holidays. There are lots of different kinds

about the past year and shares a goal

of honey from different bees, nectar and

for the coming year. The journal is filled

flowers. Assemble your family for a taste

with kids’ illustrations and family photos

test. Arrange a smorgasbord of foods

as well. During the quiet of Yom Kippur,

to dip into the various kinds of honey—

they thoroughly enjoy revisiting years of

challah, apples, pretzels, bananas, etc.

family stories.

Other foods were mentioned as well.

Tradition suggests that 100 notes

Pomegranate is popular, representing

are sounded on each holy day from the

wishes for a year filled with good

shofar (ram’s horn). Make it a tradition

deeds as bountiful as the seeds. Since

in your family to give each member

Rosh Hashanah represents a new year

a chance to make noise and blast the

and renewal, it is a good time to get

shofar. In one family, the person blowing

experimental. Try starting off the year

the loudest blast gets to cut into the

off with a new fruit your family has never tasted. While, as Jews, we certainly like our food, there are other traditions as well. One of our JCC families suggested they keep a “once-a-year” journal that comes out every Rosh Hashanah. Each family member writes something memorable

challah first. Try one of these activities—or anything new—and if all goes well, you could have a new family tradition on your hands. ✿ Audra Martin has worked with children in the JCC field for over 17 years. She is the Director of Children and Camp at the Merage JCC. Contact Audra at





The Memories That Shape Us Lessons we may learn from the past. BY SUE PENN, M. ED.


while ago, as I was happily

years Jews in Israel and the Diaspora had

taking down the “Free Gilad

fought together across philosophical lines

Shalit” sticker from my notice

for Gilad’s freedom. We sent letters, signed

board, I started to think about

petitions, sang songs, wore badges, set

the impact of Gilad’s freedom. For five

For five years Jews in Israel and the Diaspora fought together across philosophical lines.

places at our Seders and Shabbat dinners




in his honor and never forgot.

Anatoloy Sharansky was an inspiration for many.

This reminded me of another Jew who fought for his freedom. Someone else who had caused the Jewish people to come together and whose freedom we celebrated when it came—Anatoly Sharansky, the Soviet “refusnik.” As a young child, I remember watching a film about the difficult life the Jews faced in the Soviet Union, where their religious freedom was denied. I purchased (through an international magazine) and wore a silver bracelet bearing Sharansky’s name. Years later, once he had been freed, he happened to visit my high school while he was on a tour of South Africa. I remember nervously walking up to speak to him after his presentation, taking my bracelet off and handing it to him. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said two words— words which I will remember for the rest of my life: “Todah Rabah” (thank you). Fast forward to today, to us sitting

there. Share their stories, show their

safely in North America while our brothers

photographs and think of the enormous

and sisters are fighting for security and

impact they are making by living in Israel

survival in Israel. The media bombards

and in some cases, fighting for the survival

us with politics, rhetoric and stories to

of the Jewish nation.

illustrate their agendas. Our children hear

When we work together toward a

us speaking, may glimpse something on

common cause, we generate power. I am

television or may even be totally aware

sure that Anatoly Sharansky’s “Todah

of the current Middle East situation. As

Rabah” is echoed by Gilad Shalit and his

Jews in the Diaspora, Israel’s survival is

family. This is the same “Todah Rabah”

vitally important to us. We can only live

we extend to those who choose to live

freely in the Diaspora as Jews because

their lives in Israel and to fight for its

of Israel’s existence. No matter what we

survival. These are the moments that

think about the fighting or how we feel

shape all our lives and build us into proud

about the victims of war and the leaders

Jewish people who believe in freedom,

whose orders may or may not have caused

democracy and equal rights for everyone,

casualties, it is important for our children

no matter where they live. ✿

to understand our allegiance to Israel and to see us model it. Many of us know or are related to soldiers on the ground, families who live in Israel or students studying

Sue Penn is the mother of three, Education Director at University Synagogue, president of Jewish Reconstructionist Educators of North America and a member of the Jewish Educators Assembly.







y name is “Willow,” and I am the proud companion

of Rachel Schiff. We are Orange County residents and enjoy taking leisurely strolls all around our beautiful neighborhood. This is a real treat for me, because I just finished nursing my friend Rachel back to health after a major foot injury. Now we are back on our feet and out and about again. The two of us are thick as thieves and ready to bend a few dog park and city ordinance rules again!

— “Willow,” Irvine, CA

Be October’s winner!


Our pets are definitely part of our families, and here at Kiddish magazine we want to know what your four-legged friends are up to. Please send a picture of your pooch to and tell us what they love to do in our wonderful Orange County neighborhood (a picture at the location is even better). Pictures of kitties are welcome too! We'll pick a winner each month, put their picture in the magazine and provide a wonderful treat for them courtesy of My Dog Bowl.





Goldileh chased leaves alongside a road that led into the Winter forest.

Goldileh A Goldilocks And The Three Bears Story. BY LAURA ARON MILHANDER





nce upon a Friday

pulling her coat tightly around her. At

afternoon, a sharp, cold

that moment she spied a cabin ahead,

winter wind was blowing

barely visible among the trees, with

across the roads of Prague.

only a narrow clearing in front. Goldileh

The snowy road was quiet, except for the

approached the cabin and noticed a post

sounds of the wind rustling autumn’s

with the name GOLEM. Outside the door

old leaves, the ones which had escaped

were three pairs of dirty boots. The first

being buried under snow, and the

was a very large pair, the second was a

footsteps of a girl named Goldileh.

medium-sized pair, and the third was a

Goldileh watched the leaves rush by and began chasing them, making a

pair small enough to fit Goldileh! Goldileh knocked hard on the door.

game out of catching the biggest among

Nobody answered, but the door opened

them. She ran alongside the road and

slightly, and she peeked inside. Goldileh

chased one particularly large leaf

called out, but nobody responded, so

beyond the edge of the city. Here, the

she took a slow, single step into the front

road had become a trodden path which

room. She saw piles of firewood in the

continued into a great forest. So, too,

corner, scraps of paper covering three

continued Goldileh.

chairs, and clay toys scattered over the

Goldileh stopped when she lost


dusty floor. “Oy, what a balagan!” she

sight of the leaf. Breathless, and now

whispered to herself. Goldileh was curious,

cold, she sat down on a flat rock,

and so she closed the door behind her and

Goldileh approached the cabin and knocked on the door.




She noticed a table set for Shabbes covered with heavy candlesticks.

began to look around the cabin. Across the floor, Goldileh noticed a

and Goldileh cheered “Mazel tov, these

table, upon which was placed a folded,

are just right!” Goldileh placed the

white tablecloth and a Siddur. The

candlesticks on the table along with a

Golems must be preparing for Shabbes!

pair of white candles she found in one of

Goldileh spread the tablecloth over the

the drawers.

table and set the Siddur in the middle.


The third pair was shiny and sturdy,

On the bottom shelf, Goldileh

Built into one wall was a cabinet with

noticed three Kiddush cups. The first

shelves on top, drawers below, and

Kiddush cup was so enormous that

cupboards on the bottom. On the top

Goldileh thought it could hold an entire

shelf were three pairs of candlesticks, but

bottle of wine! “Oy vey, this is too big!”

the girl couldn’t lift the first pair!

complained Goldileh. The second cup

“Oy vey, these are too heavy!”

was so tiny that Goldileh thought it

Goldileh declared aloud. The second pair

could hold but only a sip of wine. “Oy

was just the opposite. “Oy gevalt, these

gevalt, this is too small!” Goldileh whined.

are too light!” Goldileh disapproved.

The third cup fit very comfortably in

“They could fall over with the candles

Goldileh’s hand. “Mazel tov, this is just

burning and set the tablecloth on fire!”

right!” she laughed, and she placed it next




to the candlesticks.

braided it into a challah. She covered

was exhausted, yet awoke when she

it and let it rise while she cleaned the

sensed the Golems standing over her,

wandered into the kitchen, looking for a

kitchen. While the challah baked,

and she nervously introduced herself

little nosh. On the counter were a pitcher

Goldileh straightened up the rest of the

to them. They were silent, and Goldileh

of water and three nearly-empty bowls

cabin. After removing the golden-brown

of porridge, which Goldileh figured

challah from the oven, Goldileh covered

had been the Golems’ breakfast that

it with a clean, white cloth and placed it

morning. She spotted a wooden bowl

on the table beside the candlesticks and

covered with a towel. Goldileh removed

the Kiddush cup. Goldileh returned to

the towel to find a ball of dough. She

the kitchen and busied herself for the

turned over the bowl, and the dough

remainder of the afternoon.

Goldileh became hungry and

dropped onto the counter with a

As the sun was beginning to set in

feared they must be very angry with her. However, the youngest Golem offered Goldileh his hand, and they invited Goldileh to stay for Shabbes dinner. Once they were seated, very quietly,

Mameh Golem led the blessing over the candles, Tateh Golem led the blessing

thud. “Oy vey, this dough is as hard

the western sky, the Golems returned

over the wine, and Young Golem led the

as stone!” Goldileh cried. She put the

home to find the clean cabin, the smell

blessing over the challah. After dinner,

dough back into the bowl, added a little

of freshly baked challah, and the table

and just the littlest bit of conversation,

water from the pitcher to the dough,

set for Shabbes… but that wasn’t all

the Golems walked Goldileh back to her

and began to knead it until the dough

they found. In the kitchen was a pot of

became soft… too soft. “Oy gevalt, now

matzah ball soup, brisket, noodle kugel,

this is too sticky,” Goldileh mumbled.

vegetable tzimmes, and parve babka

She again turned the dough onto the

for dessert! The Golems looked around,

counter, added a little flour she found

but could find no one. Going to their

in the pantry, and again kneaded the

bedrooms to change out of their work

the Golems were. There was a chill in the

dough until it made a soft, smooth ball.

clothes and into something nice for

night air as the four of them walked, and

“Mazel tov, this is just right!” Goldileh

Shabbes, they found Goldileh sleeping

the road was quiet, except for the sound

sang, and she divided the dough and

in the youngest Golem’s bed. Goldileh

of the snow crunching beneath their feet.

own home, making sure she arrived there safely. After all, Goldileh had welcomed in a beautiful Shabbes for them, and anyway, that was just the kind of family

Goldileh worried the Golems would be angry with her as they tried to figure out who made all the delicious food.




The Vltava is the longest river in the Czech Republic, near the German border through Prague.


more safely. One of their most

TZIMMES (TZIM-mes) is a sweet

important duties was to escort the

side-dish of vegetables and dried

Who is Goldileh?

Jews through the city and protect

fruit cooked together

Goldileh is an imaginary child who

them from harm.

PARVE is food that is made with neither meat nor milk products

may remind you of Goldilocks.

BABKA (BOB-ka) is a delicious

family living in a cabin in a forest

What are some of the special words Goldileh uses?

adjacent to the Vltava River. They

Goldileh is speaking Yiddish.

(TAH-teh) are Mama and Papa

take the place of “the three bears”

Yiddish was very commonly spoken

in the Goldilocks story. There

by the Jewish people who lived in

Where is Prague?

are many Jewish legends about

many parts of Europe, including

Prague, or Praha, is the capital

golems, which were creatures

Prague. Goldileh, being a sort of

and largest city in the Czech

made by rabbis for use as servants

Jewish Goldilocks, would certainly

Republic, which is in central

and protectors of the Jewish

have known Yiddish. Were you

Europe. About 2.3 million people

communities. In one legend,

able to figure out what the Yiddish

live there and around there, and

around five hundred years ago,

words in the story mean?

it is considered one of Europe’s

Who are the Golems? In this story, the Golems are a

Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel

cake-like dessert MAMEH (MAH-meh), Tateh

most beautiful cities. Prague has

(nicknamed the Maharal) of

BALAGAN (ba-la-GAN) is a mess

been a city for over a thousand

Prague, is said to have created a

KUGEL (KU-gel) is a noodle

years, and Jewish people have

golem from the clay of the Vltava


always lived there. During the

(also known as the Moldavka)

MAZEL TOV (MA-zel tov) is

time of the Maharal, Prague was a

River. Golems slept all day and


prosperous city and an important

worked all night, and they did

NOSH is a nibble or a snack

cultural center in Europe, with

not speak. They would not have


a population of about 60,000

celebrated Shabbat or eaten a

is “Oh, no!”

people. The Vltava River runs

Shabbat dinner, but they would

SHABBES (SHAB-bes) is Shabbat

through Prague and is the longest

have helped the Jews to do so

SIDDUR (SID-dur) is a prayer book

river in the Czech Republic.




Prague is considered one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

Do Jewish people live in Prague today? Yes, there are Jews living in Prague. Prague has an active Jewish community, synagogues, kosher restaurants, Jewish museums, Jewish organizations, and an historic Jewish quarter. The oldest synagogue in Europe still in use today is

located in Prague. It is called the OldNew Synagogue and was built in 1270. Coincidentally, this was the synagogue where legend says the Maharal stored his golem after he stopped using it. âœż Laura Aron Milhander has a background in Jewish Studies and both Jewish and secular education. She and her husband Rabbi Kenneth Milhander are the parents of four children and live in Orange County.


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LOOKING OUTSIDE THE BOX Part II: More Orange County synagogues are designing innovative ways to keep Jews educated. BY LISA GRAJEWSKI, PSY.D.

Approaches to Jewish education are evolving with the times.

50 SEPTEMBER 2014 |



THE ISRAELI NEWSPAPER Haaretz provided some takeaways from the ominous Pew Survey on U.S. Jews that said Judaism appears to be on the decline: 44 percent of married U.S. Jews are married to non-Jews; 40 percent of Jews believe that [the current land of ] Israel was given to the Jewish people by God; 43 percent of Jews have been to Israel—only 23 percent more than once; only 38 percent of U.S. Jews believe the Israeli government is making a sincere effort to establish peace with the Palestinians; 43 percent of Jews believe caring about Israel is essential to being Jewish, while 42 percent believe that a good sense of humor is essential to being Jewish. With intermarriage, a decline in synagogue attendance, and diminished concern for religious education, it’s valid to wonder whether the Jewish people will survive the next decade. However, as noted last month in JLife, synagogues are working to engage youth in Judaism and grow Judaism “outside the box” of Jewish education. According to Congregation B’nai Israel’s Education Director, Rabbi Robin Hoffman, CBI is unique in its blending of tradition and modernity: “We offer creative services each week during religious school for our students as well as a traditional Shabbat experience where our students can gather for lunch with their families every Saturday.” Beyond the Bar and Bat Mitzvah, Hebrew High students in grades 8 to 12 have the opportunity to learn with the Rabbi and Cantor weekly and enjoy being a part of our religious school by serving as madrichim. The teens are role models for younger students—helping in the classroom, tutoring Hebrew, and demonstrating their commitment to Jewish learning. And, at CBI, it is a family affair: “We engage parents in our Religious School by offering opportunities for Family Education at all grade levels,” said Hoffman. Providing the students with the opportunity to personalize their Judaism, CBI has a unique art program, sponsored by the Zembrosky Youth in Art Fund, in which students of all ages create meaningful ritual objects that they use for their B’nai Mitzvah and at home.

According to Hoffman, “The most important thing that happens at CBI are the relationships that are born in our classrooms while they learn about being Jewish…. They create lifelong friendships and connection with CBI.” “The first observation people often [make] about Temple Beth David is the music!” said Education Director Elliot Fein. “There’s something special about the way everyone gets involved singing together at TBD. That special quality starts early.” Sharon Matalon, the religious school’s Creative Arts Director, leads an incredibly active youth choir where students participate in monthly Shabbat services and perform at a number of other special events. Graduates of the religious school often continue their involvement singing in the adult choir or performing in one of the ensemble of musicians that frequently assist Cantor Nancy Linder in setting the right melody for prayer. In addition to a wonderful musical experience, TBD prides itself on the generous support it gives its youth to maximize their Jewish learning and involvement beyond the synagogue. And, as we know that being Jewish can sometimes be expensive, Beth David is able to lend some financial assistance through the Temple Foundation Program to youth who stand out. In addition, Beth David tries to make youth involvement as easy as it can be on parents’ finances, including a Camp Newman or other Jewish summer camp experience, plus National Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) SO CAL and Bureau of Jewish Education Teens Are Leaders In Training (BJE TALIT). Finally, B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley keeps its youth engaged through B’nai Tzedek Temple Youth (BTZY), a youth group for high school teens. Affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism’s National Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), BTZY offers Jewish leadership opportunities, social events and opportunities to participate in social action projects, such as Mitzvah Day, Walk to End Genocide, food drives, blood drives, and various Bar and Bat Mitzvah projects. According to a message on B’nai Tzedek’s

With intermarriage, a decline in synagogue attendance, and diminished concern for religious education, it’s valid to wonder whether the Jewish people will survive the next decade.

website from Pam Rosen, B’nai Tzedek’s Director of Religious School Education, “Religious School education should provide tools to allow students to feel capable and comfortable within any Jewish environment; depend upon employing knowledgeable, loving teachers and madrichim committed to making Jewish learning fun and meaningful; involve partnering with parents and caregivers to strengthen children’s Jewish identity, knowledge and commitment to the Jewish people and their Jewish community; impact students’ behaviors and decision making outside their Jewish community; and be inclusive and fun for everyone!” It appears the Jewish youth of Orange County are in good hands. With all of the youth engagement going on in Jewish Orange County, perhaps it is possible our Jewish Community will survive the dreaded demise predicted by the Pew Report. All of the synagogues mentioned and others in Orange County offer programming for adults and families as well. If you are interested in what the synagogues are doing, go to and check out the Calendar of Events. A Dr. Lisa Grajewski is a psychologist working toward licensure. She is a therapist with Jewish Federation Family Services and is a psychological assistant for a private practice in Tustin. Dr. Grajewski has been writing for JLife since 2004.


| SEPTEMBER 2014 51

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THAT FOOD THAT YOU DO The Origins of Symbolic Foods on Rosh Hashanah BY LISA GRAJEWSKI, PSY.D.

IT IS THAT time of year again… dipping… But this time it is not parsley in salt water or our pinky finger in wine. Get out the dvash! This time of year, we dip in honey. Dvash actually refers more to the sweetness of any fruit. So, unlike the orange blossom honey we Californians may be accustomed to, there is an entire uncharted world of honey out there! A favorite in Israel is silan; not only is silan great for dipping apples and challah, it makes one of the best marinades for chicken or a replacement for regular honey in the honey cake. Go to Tuscany, Italy, and you will find

Jlife wishes you all a very sweet New Year!

54 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


raspberry honey, strawberry honey, and my favorite, blackberry honey. For those of you who can’t make it to Tuscany, check out your local Farmer’s Market. Change up the Yom Tov table with some extraordinary honey. Why the “round” challah? Eating a round challah at Rosh Hashanah reminds us of the continuity of creation. And all those raisin challahs? Raisins are sweet! Dipping the challah and apples and making a blessing on the first night expresses our hope for a sweet new year. The roundness is also symbolic of fertility, a continuous cycle, no end and no beginning—a reminder of the


brings the honey cake from the kosher deli in Manhattan or Los Angeles to “wish you a sweet New Year.” You know the cake—it stays on the counter through Yom Kippur, and is only disposed of when it is safe to assume the same guest will not arrive asking for a piece. This is one of those foods that may be a food in symbol only! Thankfully, not all honey cakes are equal! And to wish for a sweet year does not mean the honey cake has to double for a doorstop. Often, families use recipes passed down through the generations. And, as Rosh Hashanah takes place in fall, the cake can be made with the lovely, aromatic spices of autumn: cloves, cinnamon

frailty but immensity of life. Some homes serve the entire fish, with the head included, as a symbol of Rosh Hashanah (literally, the head of the year). However, you will likely find the gefilte fish, which may be more aesthetically pleasing to most. Why the fish? Remember that many of the holiday symbols are rep-

resentative of ancient symbols. Fish is an age-old symbol for fertility and abundance. Each year there is always the guest who

and allspice. For the truly adventurous, add a little rum to not only moisten the cake but add to its flavor. On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, we eat a new fruit, one that has recently come into season but that we have not yet had the opportunity to eat. Though this may be difficult in California since we can have any fruit all year round, we often use a pomegranate as the new fruit. Why the pomegranate? In the Tanach, Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also believed that the pomegranate contains 613 seeds: symbolic of the 613 mitzvot. And,

For those of you who can’t make it to Tuscany, check out your local Farmer’s Market. Change up the Yom Tov table with some extraordinary honey. Jlife

| SEPTEMBER 2014 55


There are many ways to enjoy naturally flavored honey.

the shehechiyanu blessing thanking G-d for keeping us alive and bringing us to this season. Regardless of your level of observance or family traditions, Rosh Hashanah is a time to reflect, renew and remember. The symbolism of food reminds us of the traditions that have been passed down for generations and sustain us as a religion and a nation. Add a new symbol to your table this year, let the novelty rub elbows with tradition and see what happens. Shanah tova! A it’s a tradition for blessing and eating pomegranate on Rosh Hashanah to ensure that our good deeds in the coming year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate. When we eat this new fruit, we say 56 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


Dr. Lisa Grajewski is a psychologist working toward licensure. She is a therapist with Jewish Federation Family Services and is a psychological assistant for a private practice in Tustin. Dr. Grajewski has been writing for JLife since 2004.

Rosh Hashanah 2014 begins on the evening of Wednesday, September 24 and ends on the evening of Friday, September 26.


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Howie Mandel, below, performs at the sixth annual Late Night with Solomon Society, honoring Gideon Bernstein, right.


Solomon Society Honors Gideon Bernstein with Howie Mandel. BY TANYA SCHWIED

HOLD ON TO your kippahs gentleman, and get ready for some comedy, cocktails and cuisine! It’s time for the sixth annual Late Night with Solomon Society, held on Thursday, September 18th, at the City National Grove of Anaheim. The evening will be headlined by comedian, actor, television host and voice actor Howie Mandel, who recently served as one of the judges on NBC’s summer hit talent competition series “America’s Got Talent.” The Master of Ceremonies, Elon Gold, is back by popular demand and becoming quite the staple now at the Late Night events. “Hilarious,” “original,” “incredibly talented” and “extremely 58 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


handsome” are just a few of the terms Gold uses to describe himself. You may be asking yourself, just what is Solomon Society? It is Orange County’s fellowship of dynamic men—brothers, fathers, sons, and friends—who inspire each other through Jewish values and commitment to the community. Through networking, leadership, philanthropy and leveraging of collective power, Solomon Society of Jewish Federation and Family Services provides support for Jews in Orange County, Israel and around the world. Guys Night Out and Supper Clubs are among some of the annual events Solomon

Society members participate in. It’s safe to say that Late Night is the one they look forward to the most—filled with lots of laughs, good friends, and strong drinks. Not to mention it is the largest annual gathering of Jewish men in Orange County! Ladies, word to the wise, this might be a good place to stake out at the end of the evening. This year’s prestigious honor of Mensch of the Year goes to Gideon Bernstein, who embodies the true meaning of mensch, defined in the Yiddish dictionary as “a person of integrity, with noble character—someone to admire and emulate.” Professionally, he is the Director of Research and Portfolio Management at Leisure Capital Management, responsible for research, securities analysis and training. Gideon and his wife Jeanne live in Orange County with their three children Blaze, Jay, and Beaue. For more information about Solomon Society please email Doris Jacobsen, doris@, call (949) 435-3484, or visit their website, A Tanya Schwied graduated from New York University, studied abroad in Israel, and currently works for the CEO and President of the Jewish Federation & Family Services.

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out&about COLIN HAY Colin Hay will be playing at the Coach House Sept. 4. Hay is best known as the lead singer for Men At Work, the Australian band that topped worldwide charts in the 80s with anthems like “Down Under,” “Overkill,” and “Who Can It Be Now?” Hay’s proud of his place in pop history, but since moving to Los Angeles in 1989, he’s made 11 solo albums and feels his latest recording “Gathering Mercury” is one of the best of them.

LARRY CARLTON Los Angeles-based Jazz guitarist and composer Larry Carlton will be at the Coach House Sept. 19. Carlton’s studio credits from the 1970s and early 80s include musicians and groups like Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, Sammy Davis Jr., Herb Alpert, Quincy Jones and literally dozens of others.




Opening this year’s 2014/15 Pacific Symphony season is violinist Joshua Bell. Bell is a successful concert violinist touring all over the world while also partnering with artists outside the classical arena and has recorded on a variety of movie soundtracks.

Katy Perry will bring the North American leg of her highly anticipated Prismatic World Tour to Honda Center Sept. 16 and 17. Tegan and Sara will be the opening act for Perry’s shows in Orange County.

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND The Dave Matthews band will be at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Sept. 6. Known for incorporating many different genres into their music, including jam, world music, rock, and jazz, the band provides concertgoers a new experience at every show.


September may mark the end of summer, but there is still a lot to look forward to when it comes to nice weather and fun events happening around Orange County. Here are some events happening around the county this month, making the transition from summer to fall an exciting time in the OC.

The National Acrobats of China

OC Fashion Week® The Premiere Runway of the California Riviera happening Sept. 3-6 featuring such designers as Sunset At Six, Sparkle Collections Seven Deadly Sins, Makeup Artist Competition West Coast Streetscene, Streetwear, Prêt-À-Porter Atelier and select independent collections and “Live Art” displays.

The AvantGarde Collection Opening Day Join the Orange County Museum of Art on Sun., Sept. 7 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. for the Opening Day of The Avant-Garde Collection. Hear from the exhibition curators Dan Cameron and Fatima Manalili and enjoy a gallery talk with select artists including Bruce Yonemoto and Jennifer Steinkamp.

Laguna Beach Playhouse Laguna Beach Playhouse will host two plays during

the month of September. Menopause The Musical® - Come Join Our Sisterhood! will run Sept. 16 through 28 and showcases the story of four women at a lingerie sale with nothing in common but a black lace bra and memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more. This hilarious musical parody is set to classic tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Gene Kelly: The Legacy will be at the Playhouse Sept. 29 and 30, bringing to life the legendary dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly as told by his biographer and wife, Patricia Kelly. She guides us on an unforgettable journey into the life and

heart of the man who changed the look and style of dance on film while becoming one of the world’s most beloved Hollywood stars.

Orange County Center for the Performing Arts The Orange County Center for the Performing Arts will host a variety of exciting events this month. On Sept. 13 the National Acrobats of China returns to Segerstrom Center to thrill young and old alike with their athletic skill, daring feats and amazing artistry.

Legendary Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson returns to the OC on Sept. 18 and is joined by his current band that features guitarist

Florian Opahle, bassist David Goodier, keyboardist John O’Hara, drummer Scott Hammond and backing vocalist/actor Ryan O’Donnell. The group will be performing songs off of Anderson’s latest new album, Homo Erraticus, in its entirety, along with a selection of best-loved Tull classics.

Engelbert Humperdinck and Shirley MacLaine share the Segerstrom Center stage on Sept. 20, and Yanni will return to the Center’s stage on Sept. 21. For tickets or more information on events happening at the Orange County Center for the Arts, call the box office at (714) 556-2787 or visit them online at: www.


64 SEPTEMBER 2014 |



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66 SEPTEMBER 2014 |

Who doesn’t love fresh, warm challah?



You can do amazing things with French toast!


The round challah is a symbol of the holiness of life and of the life cycle, the endlessness of life.

ROSH HASHANAH 2014 Grand spiral challah is the centerpiece of our celebration. BY JUDY BART KANCIGOR

WITH ROSH HASHANAH approaching, Jewish cooks everywhere are cutting and chopping, searing and sautéing. And towering over our festive holiday spread stands the majestic spiral challah, the centerpiece of our Yom Tov celebration. “The round challah represents the cycle of life and the cycle of the year,” said Maggie Glezer, author of the awardwinning cookbook, “A Blessing of Bread: Recipes and Rituals, Memories and Mitzvahs” (Artisan, $35) by phone from her Atlanta home. “In Yiddish it’s called ‘faigele’ or ‘little bird.’ My hypothesis is that it originally came from the Ukrainian round bread baked with a bird’s head shaped in the center. Perhaps it became

simplified and they lost the bird. The bird represents the quote from Isaiah: ‘As birds hovering, so will the Lord of Hosts protect Jerusalem.’ The symbolism always harks back to something holy, so that we keep G-d in our sight at all times.” For the Yom Kippur Break-the-Fast meal, some actually shape the dough into birds of prayer, as explained by Phyllis Glazer, author with her sister Miriyam Glazer of “The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking” (HarperCollins, $29.95), emailing from her home in Israel. “Though the process of creating the little birds may seem complicated at first,” she cautioned, “once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to hatch them out in minutes, if you

carefully follow the directions,” (which you can find on our website: www.ocjewishlife. com.) “Perched on a nest of bay leaves, they almost seem as if they’re resting just before carrying our prayers up to the heavens.” On Rosh Hashanah, which begins at sundown September 24, we create grand spirals to dip in honey. “Since Rosh Hashanah also celebrates the creation of the world, the round challah is a symbol of the holiness of life and of the life cycle, the endlessness of life,” explained Miriyam. “We add raisins for the same reason that we dip apples in honey, to enjoy a sweet new year.” To shape the spiral—or any shape using strands of dough—Maggie Glezer offers an amazing tip to eliminate air pockets and produce even strands. “At the American Institute of Baking they have a machine that takes the blobs of dough and sheets them out to a couple millimeters thick for an incredibly fine texture,” she explained. “I thought, why couldn’t you do that at home.” For the Rosh Hashanah spiral, roll each portion of dough as thinly as possible into an approximate circle. Then roll the thin sheet tightly into a strand with your palms. “To lengthen the strand, don’t pull,” she warned. “Push down, not out, letting the dough extend itself.” Braid the strands and join them to form a circle for the holiday. Braid loosely for the most defined shape. “Bread is the most important food in the Jewish diet,” she noted. “The ancient Israelites took the majority of their calories from bread. In the Torah, the Hebrew word lechem is synonymous with food. A meal is not a meal unless you’re eating bread. Otherwise it is just a snack.” Traditionally, even at the most formal feast, bread is torn, rather than cut. “Knives are a weapon of war, and you don’t want a weapon of war on your table,” she explained. The Classic Challah recipe from “Kosher Revolution” (Kyle Books) by Geila Hocherman and Arthur Boehm produces


| SEPTEMBER 2014 67


A meal is not a meal unless you’re eating bread. Otherwise it is just a snack.

a golden, moist loaf with a beautifully layered crumb. You’ll find the full recipe on our website, The chocolate version included here can be dairy or pareve, depending on the kind of chocolate you use. Leftover challah (should you have any) makes awesome French toast. As with so many dishes, the origins of French toast, which some say is neither French nor toast, are buried in legend. As one story goes, in 1724 Joseph French, the owner of a roadside tavern near Albany, New York, named the dish after himself. Others claim the dish has at least Belgian, if not French, roots. But what’s in a name? The version offered here from the son of a friend is flipped over to reveal the luscious, gooey, oozy caramel topping. Serve it warm to keep the lava flowing.

dough like a Swiss roll. Bend roll to form a U shape with two ends nearest to you. Hold the middle and twist to form a braid with four bumpy sections. Place in one of the prepared tins and, using tip of sharp knife, slit each section on the diagonal so chocolate can be seen. Repeat with remaining dough half and filling. Cover loaves with plastic wrap and allow them to rise until tripled in bulk (about 2 hours).

4 In small bowl, combine egg with 2 tablespoons water. Brush risen loaves with egg glaze and proceed to bake following basic Classic Challah recipe.

Eric Silverberg’s Caramel French Toast Casserole Lovely for brunch, because it is prepared the night before.

Chocolate Challah

Serves 8

Makes two 1-pound loaves

5 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing pan

Similar to babka but moister, this tempting loaf is delicious for French toast or on its own. Find the Classic Challah recipe referred to at

1 cup (packed) light or dark brown sugar

4 ounces dark chocolate

1 loaf (1 pound) challah, brioche, or other rich bread, thickly sliced

1 teaspoon cinnamon

in a bowl, and pour mixture over bread. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

4 When you are ready to bake casserole, preheat oven to 350°F. 5 Bake, uncovered, until puffy and golden brown (about 45 minutes). When it is removed from oven, top will settle down. 6 To serve, loosen sides well with spatula or knife, invert large platter over baking dish and flip the two over together. The top, which was the bottom, will be caramelized. Spoon any hot caramel remaining in pan over casserole, and serve immediately. Casserole can be kept in preheated 200°F. oven for up to 15 minutes before serving. Source: “Cooking Jewish” by Judy Bart Kancigor

2 tablespoons light corn syrup 2 tablespoons molasses

5 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 Prepare challah according to the Classic Challah recipe up to Step 4. 2 Grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans. Combine chocolate, cinnamon and sugar in mini food processor and chop very finely.

3 Halve the dough, and roll one half into an 18 x 9 inch rectangle. Sprinkle half the chocolate mixture evenly over dough and, starting from nearest long end, roll

68 SEPTEMBER 2014 |

3 Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla together


1 Butter a 13 × 9-inch baking pan. 2 Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup

and molasses in medium-size saucepan over medium heat and heat until bubbly. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Arrange bread slices over syrupy mixture in two layers, breaking bread apart if necessary to fill all the spaces. (You may not need to use all the bread).

Jlife Food Editor Judy Bart Kancigor is the author of “Cooking Jewish” (Workman) and “The Perfect Passover Cookbook” (an e-book short from Workman), a columnist and feature writer for the Orange County Register and other publications and can be found on the web at

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3 Layer Gefilte Fish Cake, $69 Tzimmes, $39 DESSERTS Malva Pudding, $39 Pavlova-Fresh Berries, $49 Iced Lemon Pound Cake, $19.99 (10 slices) Parve Cookies, $1.25 ea Parve Brownies, $2.25 ea

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Kosher orders call 949-435-3400 ext 239 All others call 562-981-8300 Jlife

| SEPTEMBER 2014 69



The High Holidays A time for reflection.

Dear N.: Oh, how I love the High Holidays. All of our dear, close friends whom we see once a year come to shul, dressed to the nines. For months in advance I look forward to seeing my beloved Milton in his new suit from Nordstrom. (Even at his age, he can still buy off the rack!) Some parts of the service make me uncomfortable, though. “We have sinned, we have betrayed, we have stolen…” Jews, engaged in such behavior? Ridiculous! Except for that goniff Shapiro, charging $350 an hour just to write a letter to the city, and yet they still haven’t fixed the street light outside our condo. But he

70 JUNE 2014 |


doesn’t even go to our shul. (He goes to Reform. Obviously.) N., my Milton and I live blameless lives. At the end of the day, I just don’t see why I should fast, or even show up at services. What’s in it for me? — Pure as Driven Snow Dear Snow: I should judge? If you tell me you’re as pure as all 36 hidden tzadikkim put together, who am I to argue? Fortunately, vanity is not considered a sin among our people. If it were, we could never have been blessed with so many doctors. N., if you’re hungry, eat—but wait for a break (which is to say:

discreetly sneak out just before should only be healthy. Of the sermon. The easiest way course, first you’ll want to rule to do so is to embed yourself out the girls who are dressed within the hundreds of others like they’re going dancing rather doing the same). Otherwise, than davening, which means you might miss some of the best that 74.2 percent of them will parts of the service while you’re be immediately disqualified engaging in gluttony (also not based on skirt length alone. a sin—it’s great And so, Snow, to be a Jew, no?) whether in the at the nearest end you choose FASTING JUST deli, which, such to feast or to ISN’T FOR a shanda (but fast, be sure to EVERYONE. also convenient) attend services. is open on Yom Does G-d care? I don’t know, but Kippur, hardly I do know this: surprising for a place that will serve you a ham in an average Major League and cheese as fast as you can say game there can be 20 or more foul balls hit into the stands. “extra mayo.” Choose wisely. Yom Kippur services are long and boring, which is why G-d — N. Troyer has to threaten to withhold us from the Book of Life to get us In the spirit of the High Holidays, N. to attend. But it is a great time Troyer agrees to forgive you your to look around and see which trespasses against the author in of the young maydelach present exchange for your sending a copy of this publication to somebody could be a suitable match for who doesn’t already receive it. It’s your handsome grandson, she a good deal.


New Leadership for ORT America Igal Zaidenstein has been appointed Executive Director of the West Coast Region of ORT America, the primary fundraising arm of the world’s largest Jewish education organization. Born in Israel to parents who had made aliyah from Paraguay, Zaidenstein studied political science at Tel Aviv University and graduated from law school. He has “a life-long passion to strengthen Israel-Diaspora relationships.” To learn more about ORT America, visit

Israeli Soldiers: You Are Not Alone During Purim this year, families and children of Shevet Tapuz wrote notes, created arts and crafts, collected food, and gathered other reminders of home to send as mishloach manot to Israeli soldiers with families in Orange County. The packages took a little longer than expected to reach the active-duty soldiers, but with the help of a few families from Irvine and Israel, the packages arrived at their destinations. One soldier in particular, Saar Elbaz (son of Shimon and Ilana Elbaz of Irvine), was hand-delivered his package on the preparation grounds of the Gaza border. In true Israel Defense Forces spirit, Saar shared his goodies with all members of his unit!

Educating the OC On July 22, the Anti-Defamation League in Orange County hosted three top Israeli law enforcement officials as part of the Counterterrorism Conference. Chief Superintendent Eitan Menashe, Israeli National Police, spoke about intelligence gathering and information sharing, and Lt. Col. (Res.) Gideon Avrami, Director of Security, Malcha Mall, addressed the issue of the balance between security and commerce. Sgt. Major Ronit Tubul, Israeli National Police, shared her personal story of being critically injured while traveling in a bus to work when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up. 72 SEPTEMBER 2014 |



In Memory of Rabbi Asa On August 17, the Asa Family held a gathering at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills to inform the community about the synagogue being built and dedicated in Israel in Rabbi Asa’s memory. The gathering was a continued tribute to Rabbi Asa’s memory. If you would like to contribute to the synagogue, contact Aviva ZahaviAsa at

Orange County Jews Support Israel On July 29, close to 3,000 people gathered at the Samueli Campus in Irvine to hear special guest speaker The Honorable David Siegel, Consul General of the State of Israel. In addition, attendees viewed a live webcast with soldiers on the front lines and sang inspirational songs of Israel with Rabbi David Eliezrie of North Orange County Chabad. The event, sponsored by more than 50 Jewish community organizations and congregations, was a testament to Orange County’s ongoing support of Israel.

Hadassah Hosts Tea Hadassah’s Laguna Woods-Saddleback Group will hold a tea for newcomers, old timers, new members and all who wish to help Israel and Hadassah hospital. The event will be held at the home of Sharon Diskin on Sunday, September 14. To RSVP and receive the event address, email or call Rena Konheim at (949) 208-1102. Jlife

| SEPTEMBER 2014 73


Spare Change for Change Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) Senior Isabel Bellino spearheaded an at-home coin collection campaign designed to make a difference in the lives of local teenagers newly emancipated from the foster care system in Orange County. Students at OCSA, Corona Del Mar High School and Buena Park High School, as well as a women’s bridge club and friends in the community, have successfully tripled the club’s donations to Orangewood Children’s Foundation for the 2013-2014 academic year. The year’s sum totals $3,635.33.

Irvine Hebrew Day School Welcomes Director Rabbi Aaron Parry, educator and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Talmud,” has been hired as the Jewish Studies Director when IHDS opens in fall 2014. In addition to working with the IHDS Kindergarten Judaic program, Rabbi Parry will teach the IHDS afterschool Talmud Torah Program, designed for children in the first grade and up. Rabbi Parry has a Master’s Degree from Touro College (SUNY) in Jewish Studies and Education. He taught religious studies for over ten years at both Valley Torah and Shahevet High Schools. He’s also taught at the elementary school level at both Hillel Hebrew Day School and the Kabbalah Children’s Academy. Rabbi Parry is married to Rivka Chana Hirsch, an accomplished artist and president of a non-profit organization. They have 11 children and currently live in Los Angeles. To find out more about IHDS, visit the website at or contact Tammy Keces at (949) 478-6818.

High Tea for Israel

On August 5 at the Royal Tea House in Costa Mesa, Rachel Schiff and Next Gen of JFFS sponsored a tea to support Israel. The $10 admission gave the fifty attendees the opportunity to feast on delectable sweets and an assortment of teas. People were then brought up to date about the current situation on the ground in Israel and asked to make pledges to JFFS’s Israel Emergency Campaign. 74 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


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Thank G-d for the brave men and women on the frontlines.


THE SENSE THAT something was profoundly different happened when I was pulled over for a spot check at customs in Ben Gurion Airport. With the battle raging in Gaza, I had arrived after a long flight from Los Angeles and headed right through the green line. I was suddenly asked to have my bag checked. The inspector started to question me, asking if I was carrying over $25,000 in cash. Identifying myself as a Chabad Shliach, I told him, “I don’t have that much 76 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


but I do have a large amount, I’m picking up iPads and I’m headed straight to the hospital to distribute them to soldiers.” The inspector’s tone suddenly changed: “I just put on Tefillin 30 minutes ago in the Chabad booth in the airport.” Then he started to bless me like I was his son on my wedding day, at the same time showering me with good wishes on my mission to Israel. I spent most of the day at the hospital in Tel Hashomer with the soldiers, and between

the youth groups bearing cookies and countless relatives, the soldiers were full of good spirits. However, what was most impressive that day were the soldiers: while deeply touched that someone would fly across the world to give them a gift, they wanted to get well and back to the front. I was saddened by the injuries, but it was encouraging and clear that none of the soldiers had lost resolve. On Tuesday, I attended the funeral of a soldier in Mount Herzl. I stood with thousands who had never met him, but felt connected to his self-sacrifice. An eighteen-year-old young man, his life snuffed out because he stood up for the Jewish people’s right to live in peace in their homeland. My heart broke as his grandmother wailed, and his sisters and friends spoke. At sunrise the next day, I discovered the great spirit of the soldiers yet again. I had arranged in typical Israeli style (I know someone, who knows someone) to do a live webcast from just outside Gaza for the over 2,000 Jews who had gathered for an evening rally in Irvine, California sponsored by Jewish Federation and Family Services. The soldiers led the Jews in California in a communal reciting of the Shema. Then the twenty soldiers sang and danced on APC—in California the crowd rose in song, musicians played music and we were connected together across thousands of miles as we sang Am Yisroel Chai, Ose Shalom and Dovid Melech Yisroel. California Jews, far from the battle, and young Israeli soldiers, groggy from rising at 5:30 a.m. after a night of patrols, dancing and singing together. The Jewish people stand united! A Rabbi David Eliezrie is at Congregation Beth Meir HaCohen/Chabad. His email is rabbi@


Donating and attending rallies are great actions toward aiding others.

THINK IT FORWARD An unconventional guide to giving back for the “full of love” and “empty of pocket.” BY ADAM CHESTER

WITH THE VICIOUS uproar of antiSemitism and terrorism overseas, many have been affected physically and emotionally. We see more media coverage of Israel-related content than any other (arguably) more atrocious event occurring in the world. Why is this disproportionality of hatred and attention directed toward Israel? 78 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


The answer’s easy, and rhymes with: “Because we’re Jews.” We have difficulty understanding this animosity, and struggle further when asking, “What can I do to help?” We hear “donations needed” and “financial aid requested.” Well, tzedakah is an amazing first step in helping our brethren.

Contributing the appropriate amount per-individual shouldn’t be a quantity with which we’re immediately complacent. If one writes a check, sends it to their targeted organizational campaign, and never thinks about it again, they probably could’ve given more. If we have to think about or second-guess the quantity, that’s a recognizable indication that we’re likely providing what’s appropriate relative to our individual funds. Donating and attending rallies are great actions toward aiding others. However, not everybody has the capacity to give a tangible, exponentially significant gift they feel has the impact for which they strive, nor a quantity they feel represents their passion to support a cause. Some can’t give at all. As such, many search for alternative measures of Tikkun Olam. Fortunately, the High Holidays are swiftly approaching, presenting an opportunity for rich and poor to participate in giving tzedakah. This approach doesn’t necessitate checks written or credit cards swiped. It requires thinking about the things you want to happen in the world. Whether your thoughts are for yourself, a stranger, a nation or Hashem, the gift of thought has greater power than we can comprehend. This concept of “thought” might sound awfully similar to “prayer.” “Prayer” doesn’t necessarily resonate with everybody. Some don’t know what they’re praying to or for. Many wouldn’t know where to begin if told to “pray.” However, we’ve all “thought” at

F E AT U R E S Serving Orange County since 2004

Thoughts create actions, and the effects of action may never even occur without the opportunity to think.

some point or another in life. We understand the feelings and emotions evoked from a solitary moment of thought. If told to visit the park and think, you could probably manage to do it. Maybe you’d have no idea what to think about, but that itself is a thought. The location in which these thoughts occur isn’t pertinent to the success of said process. So why not bring one’s meditative state or thoughts to a community that likely has similar values, and perhaps comparable thoughts? Simply attending a like-minded community provides an opportunity to bequeath our cerebration unto others, perhaps expanding upon our own preconceived ideas. This approach to Tikkun Olam may seem indirect, as personal thoughts may not be physically heard by those to whom we direct them. However, it’s virtually impossible to quantify the effect of prayer or thought. Considering that action (tzedakah or fighting a war) is often seen as more effective than thought, it may be of importance to note that thoughts create actions, and the effects of action may never even occur without the opportunity to think. The opportunity to attend a synagogue for the holidays, join a thriving Jewish Community, and make your thoughts heard is readily available in Orange County! During the High Holidays, discounted or free options by local organizations are offered to young adults and families, and these organizations welcome newcomers with open arms. NextGen is pleased to offer free or reduced-cost High Holiday tickets at participating congregations. Search: tiny. cc/2014OCHighHolidays. Also check JewGlue, JYA, and Moishe House for holiday events. The Jewish people have exemplified the definition of strength for thousands of years. We have persevered and must remain united through difficult times. We will survive, even with something as simple as “thought.” A

The Torah U’Masoret Religious School We offer small, personal classes with involved instructors to provide a nurturing environment for children to learn and grow in Judaism. Wednesdays and Sundays in Costa Mesa. 714-596-2220 2987 Mesa Verde Drive East Costa Mesa, CA 92626



Adam Chester focuses his work on the GenY demographic as both the NextGen Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for Jewish Federation & Family Services and contributing writer to JLife magazine.


| SEPTEMBER 2014 79


This holiday season, Israel is likely to go through some significant soul-searching as a nation.

ISRAEL SOUL SEARCHES Israelis use the High Holidays to reflect. BY MERAV CEREN

IN ISRAEL, WE have a saying: “achrei ha’chagim,” after the holidays. Every year, instead of the two weeks Americans take off for the holiday season at the end of December, Israelis observe a group of holidays that spans the full month of Tishrei, usually around the end of summer. As the earth begins to quiet and prepare for winter, Israelis usually spend this time reflecting and visiting family. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur may be those that you’re most familiar with, but in Israel, Sukkot, Chol HaMoed and Simchat Torah are all part of a month in which Israelis slow down, enjoy 80 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


family meals and take time from work, regardless of their level of religious observance. This holiday season, Israel is likely to go through some significant soul-searching as a nation. As we consider the Gaza conflict and our responses to Hamas, Israelis may watch our newfound unity begin to unravel. What we can agree on, however, is that it’s good to have the ability to talk about these topics here, in the Jewish country. We are also all shocked at the vitriol that has accompanied the outbreak of anti-Semitic incidents in Turkey, France, America and throughout the world.

Expect many an op-ed in Israeli newspapers, both English and Hebrew, debating whether we’re still living in 1930s Europe. These events are reminders of why many of us choose to move to Israel. There is nowhere in the world it is safer to be a Jew, despite the threat of rocket attacks. Sophia (not her real name), a Danish oleh, or immigrant to Israel, put it most succinctly. On the last Friday in July, the Danish Zionist Organization held a pro-peace rally in Copenhagen with some Iranian dissidents. About an hour into the rally, other protesters began rallying around the group, armed with Hamas flags and chants of “Death to Jews,” and the police worried that violence may ensue. Instead of arresting those who wished harm on their fellow Danish citizens, Copenhagen police chose to dissolve the propeace rally because the police could no longer guarantee the safety of those in the square. Sophia told me it was the last straw, that she knows now that she could never move back to the place she grew up. One of her countries was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars inventing incredible, advanced technologies such as the Iron Dome to keep her safe from anything and everything that may be used to cause her harm, and the other country was telling her that her right to speak could easily be taken away by those who use violence to assert their positions. The fallout of the fight against Hamas will be a larger, more drawn-out debate, both in Israel’s government and on the Israeli street. We can all agree, however, that we’re happy to have the ability to have the conversation here. A Merav Ceren is a contributing writer to JLife magazine.

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Sometimes the representation of Jews on television isn’t directly stated, but instead implied.

THE JEWS OF PRIME TIME Representations of Jews in Popular Television Shows BY DEBORAH LEWIS

AS I WATCH my favorite television shows, I like to play a game and guess which characters are Jewish. Sometimes it is obvious, but most of the time there are characters who aren’t explicitly Jewish. In “Television’s Changing Image of American Jews, ”Joyce Antler defines these covert Jews as “cryptoJews” or “masked Jews.” Over the past few years, there has been an increase in Jewish characters within many popular television shows, regardless of whether the characters are overtly Jewish or not. This increase began in the 1990s with hit shows like “Seinfeld,” 82 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


“Friends” and “The Nanny.” The first two did not have characters who were overtly Jewish. True, the audience knew Seinfeld was a Jew, but Seinfeld’s character stood in contrast next to George Costanza’s character, a neurotic, and arguably, Jewish stereotype. “Friends” also showcased “crypto-Jews” in the form of Rachel Green and siblings, Ross and Monica Geller. It was never explicitly stated within the series that either one of these characters was Jewish. By picking up on clues in different scenes, for example a menorah on a holiday episode, the audience

can deduce that these characters are Jews. Many of the Jewish characters in today’s shows are seen as universal representations, but there are still characters among these “crypto-Jews” who openly identify as Jewish. In “New Girl,” I don’t think there has been one episode where the Jewish playboy, Schmidt, has not mentioned some aspect of his heritage. “The Big Bang Theory” also has not gone an episode without referencing Howard Wolowitz’s Jewishness. In contrast, other shows will go entire seasons before mentioning the Jewish identity of one of their characters, and even then it is used as a plot device. In “Sons of Anarchy,” it’s not revealed that Gemma, the matriarch of SOA, is Jewish until a Neo-Nazi crew targets her for her heritage. Last fall, “The Goldbergs” premiered, highlighting a Jewish family. Similar to other Jewish television characters, this family is not overtly Jewish. Sure, the characters use Yiddish, but the only Jewish characteristic is the name of the show. It also helps if the audience knows that the show is based on a true story, the life of Adam F. Goldberg. Within the past two decades alone, the representation of Jews on television has changed from a stereotypical image to one that is more universal. As new seasons premiere this fall, not only am I eager for the return of “The Goldbergs,” but I am also eager for the return of the guessing game. A Deborah Lewis recently graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Jewish Studies. Starting this fall, she will be pursuing a Master’s in Library and Information Science with an emphasis in Archival Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.


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SHALOM FAMILY, a program of Jewish Federation & Family Services, connects new parents and families with young children to each other and to the Jewish Community. On July 24, Shalom Family & PJ Library hosted a Mommy’s Night Out session at Studio H Fine Art Studio. The evening was filled with creativity and peaceful relaxation and was a great opportunity for Orange County moms to meet and bond with one another in a fun, social setting. The Merage JCC’s Young Adults (JYA) organization celebrated the 4th early with drinks, dinner, and cotton candy with its All-American Happy Hour event. They also enjoyed a fun night out to see “Jersey Boys” at the Segerstrom Theater. Not to be outdone, the JYA art scene was also in high gear with a night full of fantastic creating at its Art & Wine event. TOP LEFT: Rachel Lederman, Sarah Brenner and Laura Givner TOP RIGHT: Allison Dotan, Ashley Slipakoff and Robyn Slipakoff MIDDLE LEFT: Joella Savitt MIDDLE RIGHT: Jersey Boys at Segerstrom BOTTOM RIGHT: Back Row L-R: Naomi Lichtner, Patrick Martin, Liora Schneider, Alex Kaplan, Melissa Weinger, Bella Staav and Matt Singer. Front Row: Alexa Levine, Elana Simon, Jacey Simon and Mak Kahn

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Orange Jews



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Demographic Dismissal












e o s G l R o e g h

here were you? Really, where the heck was everyone? I know this isn’t a positive way to start my column, but I need to push away my humor and joy to really make a point. See, Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS) threw one of the largest community rallies for Israel in the country. Approximately 2,000 Jews showed up with passion and force to support Israel (I’m so impressed with the OC Jewish community), both emotionally and monetarily, yet our age demographic did not show up in mass. Less than two percent of the 2,000 people were between the ages of 21 and 40. I’m devastated. This is the difference between my mother’s generation and mine—and I think we need to learn from this moment. See, at the rally, there were seniors and what I would endearingly call “super seniors” in force. There were people who used canes and other walking aids to mobilize their bodies. Hands with history held signs with “Am Yisrael Chai.” Songs of Jewish pride

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JFFS allowed me to partner with NextGen, providing another avenue for our age demographic to give and get involved. We worked on “Safe-Tea,” a philanthropy event on August 5 that allowed participants to donate to the Israel Emergency Campaign. One hundred percent of the donations went directly to Israel. This event is of brick and mortar. It is one thing to be in the virtual world, but we must deal in reality. Social media can be a wonderful tool, but we need to continue to be a community and a demographic that follows words posted on social media with action and support. Our strength is as a unit. Our need to defend Israel is much greater than a post on social media. We are the Jews of Orange County. We love what we have in America, but let’s not forget Israel is our extended home and should be a safe place for Jews for years to come. As our families avoids missiles and attacks, I implore you to become an active investor in Israel’s future. Be passionate, be Jewish, be a hero and give! Am Yisrael Chai! If you would still like to donate to the Israel Emergency Campaign, you are able to continue to do so at the following link:

Really, where the heck was everyone?

were sung and the names of fallen soldiers were tastefully read, bringing tears to the eyes of many. However, we were not there! It is wonderful that we all use social media to have a common voice for Israel. It is amazing that we can sit behind our computers in our pajamas or when our bosses aren’t looking, to mention when another missile is launched. But, our generation is absolutely missing the point. This is something I feel so strongly about that I encourage you to stop and reread this next sentence. Israel needs our hands, our hearts and our action… support, real support, is not just words or pixels. We need to stand together, we need to give resources together, we need to continue visiting Israel, and we need to send them our money. We cannot stand on the shoulders of our parents anymore. Some of us are parents…. I am not trying to shame or condemn my readers, so let me apologize if this has sparked that emotion in you. However, we are the ones who just got a free trip to Israel through Birthright. We are the next generation of Jews to ensure the Holocaust is not able to happen again, and I am concerned that we are not in an activist’s era.


is an English teacher who graduated from Cal State Fullerton. She was president of Hillel, a representative of the World Union of Jewish Students and a YLD intern. Currently, she is a Master’s degree student in American Studies with emphasis on Jews in America.


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ORANGE COUNTY’S JEWISH HISTORY Stein & Fassel: Cows, Plowhorses, Sewing Machines and Mowing Machines

BLOGOSPHERE Jlife wants to acknowledge some of the interesting blogs related to the Jewish community. Enjoy!


Stein & Fassel Mercantile, Olinda (now part of Brea), 1920

“My grandfather may have recorded more than 200 novelty songs, but Benny Bell was even more devoted to his faith, and a song he wrote about the State of Israel will always be one of his most memorable. “Home Again in Israel,” is among the most emotionally charged entries in his 70-year discography.”

FELIX STEIN, WHO was born to a Jewish family in Germany in 1888, immigrated to the U.S. at sixteen and later worked as a clerk at the main Stern & Goodman store in Fullerton. When the Olinda, Placentia and Yorba Linda locations came up for sale in 1910, Stern, along with fellow employee William Fassel, purchased all three. The stores sold both groceries and dry goods, and in a 1970 interview with the Cal State Fullerton Oral History Program, Stern stated that “We sold everything. You could buy a cow or you could buy a plowhorse. You could buy a sewing machine or you could buy a mowing machine. We had everything.” In addition to the stores, he owned and maintained several orange and lemon groves. In 1918, he and Fassel bought the main store in Fullerton, which he ran until his retirement in 1970.

DALIA TAFT, archivist of the Orange County Jewish Historical Society — a Connect 2 People Initiative of Jewish Federation & Family Services — highlights images from the archives every month. For more information, please visit You can also contact Dalia at (949) 435-3484, ext. 167. 86 SEPTEMBER 2014 |


“Compared to the ISIS, Al Qaida looks like Sesame Street. However, this is no longer a joke… they are spreading quickly in the direction of Lebanon and Jordan, which puts them right near our backyard fence here in Israel.” “Yes, “the world’s most famous living architect,” Frank Gehry is a Jew. He is now completing a number of projects to promote mutual understanding and respect among the world’s communities.”

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11:00 AM Down with the fall Coalition Ezra AAFC TUESDAY, SEPT 9 7:00 PM Men’s Wine Tasting Merage JCC



MONDAYS 10:00 AM News & Views Merage JCC

FRIDAYS 10:00 AM Men’s Club at the JCC Merage JCC

11:30 AM Drop-in Bridge Merage JCC

THURSDAY, SEPT 4 10:00 AM Tai Chi/ Jack Finkelstein

7:00 PM Drop-in Mah Jongg Merage JCC

10:30 AM Stretching/Al Talberg

TUESDAYS 10:30 AM The View for Women of All Ages Merage JCC WEDNESDAYS & FRIDAYS 8:45 AM Gentle Yoga Merage JCC THURSDAYS 10:30 AM Drop-in Mah Jongg Merage JCC

11:00 AM Exhibition of Syd Kuff Work/Carol Edmonston Ezra AAFC MONDAYS, SEPT. 8- OCT. 27 7:00 PM Learn to Play Mah Jongg- 8 classes Merage JCC MONDAY, SEPT 8 10:00 AM Tai Chi/ Jack Finkelstein 10:30 AM Stretching/Al Talberg

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TUESDAYS, SEPT 9 - OCT 21 10:00 AM Intermediate Bridge Workshop6 classes Merage JCC THURSDAY, SEPT 11 12 NOON TO 2:00 PM High Holiday Events Jewish Women’s Theatre and High Holiday Luncheon Merage JCC FRIDAYS, SEPT 5, 12, 19, OCT 3 11:30 AM iPhone Tips and Secrets Merage JCC WEDNESDAY, SEPT 10 11:00 AM “Writing for Reminiscences”/ Marilyn Silverstein Temple Beth Tikvah THURSDAY, SEPT 11 9:30 AM Keeping Fit/ Mel Grossman Facts and oddities of our fall holidays/ Rabbi S. Einstein Ezra AAFC SUNDAY, SEPT 14 1:00 PM Poker League Merage JCC MONDAY, SEPT 15 10:00 AM Tai Chi/ Jack Finkelstein 10:30 AM Stretching/Al Talberg 11:00 AM Events that changed the world/ Jerry Silverman Ezra AAFC WEDNESDAY, SEPT 17 10:30 AM Writing Your Story Merage JCC THURSDAY, SEP 18 9:30 AM Keeping Fit/ Mel Grossman

10:30 AM To be a Jew in the Free World/ Rabbi David Eliezrie Ezra AAFC SUNDAY, SEPT 21 4:00 - 5:30 PM Great Jewish Americans 101 Contemporary Literary Giants Merage JCC MONDAY, SEPT 22 10:00 AM Tai Chi/ Jack Finkelstein 10:15 AM Stretching/Al Talberg 11:00 AM Happy Hour/ Allan Koven Ezra AAFC WEDNESDAY, SEPT 24 11:00 AM “Writing for Reminiscences” / Marilyn Silverstein At Temple Beth Tikvah MONDAY, SEPT 29 10:00 AM Tai Chi/ Jack Finkelstein 10:30 AM Stretching/Al Talberg 11:00 AM What does tzedakah mean to me/Judge Mitch Goldberg Ezra AAFC MONDAYS, SEPT 29 - NOV 17 9:00 AM Gentle Yogalates & Meditation Merage JCC TUESDAY, SEPT 30 10:00 AM Books & Bagels The Little Bridge by Anna Solomon Merage JCC The Merage Jewish Community Center is located at 1 Federation Way Suite 200, Irvine, (949) 435-3400 x 303. For reservations please contact Geri Dorman, Prime Time Adult Director at: The Ezra Center is located at Temple Beth Emet on Monday & Thursday, 1770 W. Cerritos, Anaheim, (714) 776-1103 and Temple Beth Tikvah on Wednesday, 1600 N. Acacia, (714) 871-3535. Temple Bat Yahm is located at 1011 Camelback St., Newport Beach, (949) 854-8854. For reservations please contact Sandy Bursten at:

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Advertising Index

71 A&B Gefilte Fish 64 American Friends of Hebrew University 18 AFMDA 31 Albertson’s 89 Allan Silverman 15 Animal Donation Advocates Inc.

21 Congregation B’nai Tzedek 10 Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’a lot 49 Custom Clothes 2 Diller Teen 91 Doubletree Irvine 83 Dr. Ivar Roth

59 Benjie’s Deli

87 Eaton Unlimited

69 Blueberry Hill Catering

48 Eden Memorial Park

89 Bubbe and Zayde’s Place

92 Gelson’s Market

38 Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP 79 Callahan & Blaine 5 Chabad Newport Beach 35 Chapman University 31 Coastal Fertility 11 Congregation Beth Jacob 15 Congregation B’nai Israel

90 SEPTEMBER 2014 |

87 Golden Dreidle 59 Gourmet Detective 27 Hadassah 75 Heating & Air 87 Heritage Museum of OC

59 Jason Novack Realtor 11 Jewish Community Center 3 Jewish Community Center 41 Jewish Community Center 6 Jewish Community Foundation 7 Jewish Community Foundation 19 Jewish Federation and Family Services 60 Jewish Federation and Family Services 61 Jewish Federation and Family Services 81 John D. Milikowsky 81 Kids Room 53 Klein Financial

9 Heritage Pointe

59 Larry Kutinsky

13 Heritage Pointe Planned Giving

81 L’Dor V’Dor

52 Israel Ad

81 Mad about Mah Jongg

23 Israel Bonds

89 Master Construction


37 Mortensen & Reinheimer PC

21 Stephen Danz and Associates

39 Mortensen & Reinheimer PC

79 Surf City Synagogue

47 Nancy Aynehchi 64 Pirates Adventuire 87 Professional Health Care Services 75 R. Rauch & Associates Hotels 17 Ralph’s 41 Rico Sicro State Farm 52 Rock Doctor 47 RSM Plumbing 27 Safeway Von’s 81 Solomon’s Bakery 21 Soul Mates Unlimited 52 South Coast Repatory Theater 77 St. Regis 3 Stegmeier, Gelbart, Schwartz & Benavente, LLP

57 24 Carrots 81 Taly Hypnosis 12 Temple Bat Yahm 4 Temple Beth David 3 Temple Beth El 2 Temple Beth Emet 13 Temple Beth Tikvah 23 Temple Judea 81 Torah with Liora 87 Tuscany Mediterranean Grill 65 Tustin Ranch Golf Club 47 University Synagogue 26 University Synagogue 25 Young Israel 33 Young Israel 89 Yuri Ausker, DDS


| SEPTEMBER 2014 91

Orange County Jewish Life - September 2014  

Orange County Jewish Life & Kiddish Supplemental September 2014 - The Orange County Jewish Life is the sister publication of the San Diego J...

Orange County Jewish Life - September 2014  

Orange County Jewish Life & Kiddish Supplemental September 2014 - The Orange County Jewish Life is the sister publication of the San Diego J...