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December 2015 Tevet/Shevat 5776

Not All Latkes & Dreidels A Deeper Meaning Behind Hanukkah Recovering The Woman in Gold An Interview with Randol E. Schoenberg

The Original Queen of Sass

MAGAZINE OK

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Rita Rudner

T KIDS? GO

INSID


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6 DECEMBER 2015 |

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inside VIEWPOINT

LIFESTYLE

20

54

Under Seige

A Deeper Meaning Behind Hanukkah

JLIFE | Kislev/Tevet 5775 | DECEMBER 2015

It’s Not All Latkes & Dreidles

Israel Scene

24

56

On The Lighter Side

Menshing Around

Temple, the Gift to Yourself

26

Hanukkah Shining Bright with New Traditions

Hanukkah in Israel

58

FEATURES

O.C.’s Fresh Faces

17

60

Shtetl, Childhood, Writers

Putting our hearts in just the right place.

Israeli Guy

56

Fresh Orange Jews

Lev Echad

Memories and Scenes

32

64

Hanukkiah

History/Blogs

The Origin of Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah

Orange County’s Jewish History & The Blogosphere

36

Woman in Gold

IN EVERY ISSUE

An Interview with Randol E. Shoenberg

16

38

Light Over Darkness

54

First & Foremost

Understanding The Jewish State

18

O.C. Jewish Organizations Provide Deeper Understanding of Democracy in Israel

Words from our Readers

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

40

Letters/Who Knew

52

News & Jews O.C. Jewish Scene

62

Out & About

Seniors Calendar

A Guide to OC Fun

Fitness, Education & More

42

66

Crossword

Advertising Index

In Reverse

44

40

Look inside for Kiddish, our insert publication, right after page 34.

Cooking Jewish With Judy Bart Kancigor

48

You’re Invited Setting The Table for Success!

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28 On the Cover Rita Rudner The Original Queen of Sass Photo by Sandie Ward


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| DECEMBER 2015 9


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| DECEMBER 2015 11


PUBLISHER | MODY GORSKY, LLM, MBA PUBLISHER | MARK EDELSTEIN PUBLISHER | MOTAN, LLC PUBLISHER EMERITUS | DR. MARK MOSS MANAGING EDITOR | TRACEY ARMSTRONG GORSKY EXECUTIVE EDITOR | LISA GRAJEWSKI, PSY.D. EXECUTIVE EDITOR | FLORENCE L DANN CONTRIBUTING EDITOR | TANYA SCHWIED CONTRIBUTING EDITOR | PERRY FEIN FOOD EDITOR | JUDY BART KANCIGOR EDITORIAL INTERN | HANNAH SCHOENBAUM CREATIVE DIRECTOR | RACHEL BELLINSKY PHOTOGRAPHER | CHARLES WEINBERG CONTRIBUTING WRITERS MARTIN BROWER, MERAV CEREN, ADAM CHESTER, FLORENCE L DANN, ROBIN DAVIS, PH. D., RABBI DAVID ELIEZRIE, HARRIETTE ELLIS, JUDY FLORMAN, STEFANEE FREEDMAN, LISA GRAJEWSKI, PSY.D., EVE GUMPEL, CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, DVORAH LEWIS, CARINE NADEL, PAMELA PRICE, NAOMI RAGEN, MAYRAV SAAR, RACHEL SCHIFF, TANYA SCHWIED, ANDREA SIMANTOV, DALIA TAFT, TEDDY WEINBERGER COPYEDITOR JOSH NAMM CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS/ARTISTS RACHEL BELLINSKY, ALLEN BEREZOVSKY, PEPE FAINBERG, JANET LAWRENCE ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES DIANE BENAROYA (SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE) MARTIN STEIN (SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE) EDITORIAL (949) 230-0581 (TRACEY ARMSTRONG GORSKY) OR (949) 734-5074 EDITORJLIFE@GMAIL.COM ADVERTISING (949) 812-1891, MODY.GORSKY@GMAIL.COM CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS MODY.GORSKY@GMAIL.COM, (949) 734-5074 ART ART@OCJEWISHLIFE.COM JLIFE IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY ORANGE COUNTY JEWISH LIFE, LLC 1 FEDERATION WAY, IRVINE, CA 92603

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| DECEMBER 2015 15


FIRST & FOREMOST

LIGHT OVER DARKNESS Do we burn or illuminate? BY FLORENCE L. DANN

“LIGHT IS THE overarching, central, definitive metaphor for Jewish understanding of all of reality…” Hanukkah begins four days before the new moon – the darkest night in the month of Kislev and the closest to the winter solstice, the longest and darkest day of the month. Like many other faiths, the Jewish holiday of Chanukah brings light into the darkest time of the year. “Let there be light,” is the first act of creation, but a midrash asks: “Where was light created from?” The answer is given in Bereshit Raabbah 3:4: “G-d cloaked Himself in a white shawl, and the light of its splendor shone from one end of the world to the other” (Bereishit Rabbah 3:4). Light has always been symbolic Light has served of good and the beautiful. This as the symbol is true of many cultures as well of good and the as ours. beautiful, of all fect metaphor for the victory Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf, that is positive. over tyranny. in his book Chanukah: Eight However, the article also Nights of Light, Eight Gifts for the Soul (Leviathan, 1997) writes that “Light points out that “Above all, the function of light is the overarching, central, definitive metaphor is to illuminate.” We speak about the light of for Jewish understanding of all of reality… and the Torah, of becoming enlightened and of the is so pervasive that it’s almost overlooked….” Jewish people as being a light unto the world. So light has two very distinct properties: it He points out that light appears 36 times in the can both burn and illuminate. In the Talmud, Torah and even more in Psalms. A recent op-ed piece in the Jerusalem Post we find the House of Shammai and the House discusses the symbolism of light in Judaism and of Hillel at odds about the function of light in Hanukkah. “In Biblical Hebrew, redemption, dealing with evil. Shammai argued that we need truth, justice, peace and even life itself shine, to destroy and burn away all evil, while Hillel and their revelation is expressed in terms of the asserted that it was not possible to destroy all revelation of light. The advantage of light over evil—aside from it being wholly unpractical. “It darkness is so obvious that it serves as a sharp would be far better, he argued, to create a greater metaphor: ‘...wisdom excels folly as far as light light in the world to dissipate the darkness.” In view of the violence we face in our world excels darkness’.” (Ecclesiastes 2:13). It seems only natural that light would serve as the per- today—we are challenged to determine the 16 DECEMBER 2015 |

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Model synagogue Model synagogue Tzedakah boxes. Tzedakah boxes. The Sarajevo haggadah

best most effective course of action. Surely we want to attack and destroy what is wrong in the world—but are we not instructed to be a light to the world, “to create such a tremendous light where we are that the darkness just fades away?” In his lecture on “Talmudic Insights into Chanukah,” Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt’l said, “While both methods might be valid, what is supposed to be the main thrust of a Jew; what is to be learned from what happened in Hanukkah? In this matter, Shammai and Hillel are both agreed on the purpose of kindling the hanukkiah – It is to rekindle the light within us that can triumph over darkness.” A Florence L. Dann, a fifth year rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion in LA has been a contributing writer to Jlife since 2004.


F E AT U R E S

MEMORIES & SCENES Shtetl, Childhood, Writers A REVIEW BY CURT LEVIANT

JACOB DINEZON (1856-1919), was a Yiddish novelist and short story writer, as famous during his lifetime as Sholom Aleichem. Previously, Dinezon was unavailable in English, but now Memories and Scenes, comprising eleven Dinezon stories, is beautifully translated by Tina Lunson, and excellently edited by Scott Davis. Dinezon was a social realist, accurately depicting small town (shtetl) Jewish life. With a cinematic eye he zeroes in on his characters, deftly telling fascinating stories while at the same time giving an accurate portrait of the mores, attitudes, speech and foibles of Polish Jews, young and old. In one of the superb stories, “Mayer Yeke, “ we see how a boy’s great fear of the shtetl’s most righteous Jew, Mayer Yeke, turns to love and respect after he witnesses Mayer’s mitzva assisting the town drunk. “Sholem Yoyne Flask” depicts a mild-mannered tailor transformed by the liquor in his flask into a fiery defender of the town’s poor folk. Then something happens when a surprising discovery is made about his flask. With “Motl Farber, Purimshpieler,” we are introduced to a housepainter who languishes during the winter when he cannot work, but at Purim time he becomes the leader of a band of Purim players. When the troupe is arrested by the new Russian police chief, an unlikely “Esther” comes to their rescue. Another moving and profound story is

With Dinezon’s Shtetl and

Scenes we happily encounter a master writer who deserves to be ranked with Sholom Aleichem and Peretz, whom he befriended and who admired him.

called “Borekh,” after the name of the hero, a poor orphan living in the yeshiva. He doesn’t do too well in Talmudic studies but he has a talent for wood carving, making dreidels, Purim groggers and toy animals for the children of the town. One day he decides to leave the yeshiva and start a new life, with hopes of making a great Holy Ark, “one that people have never seen before.” And when he achieves that he will send it to his friend in the yeshiva who he knows will

become a great scholar. And then Borekh leaves the yeshiva without saying goodbye. Some of Dinezon’s autobiographical sketches are as engaging as his fiction. In “My First Work” Dinezon relates the childhood experience of reading his first Yiddish novel, a Jewish version of Robinson Crusoe. He is so taken by the book, he writes his own adventure story. It is not often that we are privileged to make a literary discovery of our own. With Dinezon’s Shtetl and Scenes we happily encounter a master writer who deserves to be ranked with Sholom Aleichem and Peretz, whom he befriended and who admired him. A Among Curt Leviant’s eight critically acclaimed fictions is his recently published collection, Zix Zexy Ztories. He has also translated works by Sholom Aleichem, Chaim Grade, and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

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| DECEMBER 2015 17


LETTERS

TIME FLIES! When I started working at Orange County Jewish Life 10 years ago this month, I was very sad. Nothing had turned out the way I planned. I was supposed to be a rock star, or rich…or something. I had no idea the job would evolve into something wonderful, with people who would become life-long friends. I have seen this magazine through many changes, and it has seen me through just as many. My work with Jlife has allowed me the freedom and flexibility to grow with it, and has offered me stability through everything from breakups, to dog adoptions, to health issues, to new endeavors. I want to take this little spot in our magazine to say thank you, not only to the publishers and sales team, to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude, but to our readers and advertisers, who have unknowingly been on this journey with me, quietly supportive during these last ten years of my life. Thank you. I hope to have the privilege of designing your ads and laying out your stories for another 10 years. Rachel Bellinsky, Jlife Creative Director

“BULLETS & BAGELS” IGNITES MORE FEEDBACK There is no way to keep guns away from those who may turn angry, stupid or crazy. In addition, we have privacy laws concerning mental health matters. How will it ever be discovered if someone has ever had a mental illness, seen a psychiatrist or taken illegal drugs? Will gun purchasers place that information in their application forms? And not everyone with mental or drug issues is going to shoot people. Anyone who wants access to guns will always go around any law we put in place, and we already have plenty of laws that are not being enforced or simply do not work. It’s not about legislating because enforcement is impossible and people are not predictable. To disarm the average law abiding citizen is to create more helpless victims. The solution is to have better security and protection for all citizens and to attempt to improve our ability to diagnose potentially dangerous mental illness. Steve Greenberg, Irvine

We welcome your letters! Email editorjlife@gmail.com with your feedback. 18 DECEMBER 2015 |

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PHOTO BY ZACH DALIN

Kvetch & Kvell

Who Knew? Did you know that the true “King of the Iron Throne” is Jewish? While the novels are indeed written by the talented George R.R. Martin, the author of the Game of Thrones series has put his trust in two lads to spearhead the television adaptation of the widely successful novels. David Benioff is one of those lucky guys. Born David Friedman on September 25, 1970, Benioff is an American novelist, screenwriter and television producer. He is the co-creator and showrunner of the hit HBO series (and previously mentioned) Game of Thrones. Benioff was born in New York City, to a Jewish family. He is the son of Barbara (Benioff) and Stephen Friedman, who is a former head of Goldman Sachs. He is the youngest of three children and his family is of German Jewish and Russian Jewish descent. And as if holding the future of “Westeros” in his hands wasn’t heady enough, he is also tasked with being married to the beautiful Amanda Peet (actress, writer and mother to their three children). It’s good to be “king.”


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| DECEMBER 2015 19


Israel Scene | BY ANDREA SIMANTOV

VIEWPOINT

Under Seige

BRAVE MOTORISTS BLOCKED THE STREET WHILE ARMED CITIZENS STORMED THE STILLCAREENING BUS. 20 DECEMBER 2015 |

BY NOW IT is no secret that Israel is under siege. The attacks are taking place in our streets, schools, supermarkets and on public transportation. Aircrafts that hover above Jerusalem’s skies are used for surveillance only; bombs cannot be dropped on those who are killing us because, in fact, they live among us. My home is in Armon HaNatziv. Now famous, only a few months ago we were a fairly anonymous, lower-class neighborhood nestled between two simmeringbut-contained Arab villages. With only one local shopping center, post office, promenade and bus line, Arabs and Jews uneasily shop and exercise alongside one another and even live in the same apartment buildings. Are we a prime example of coexistence? Not really. If the neighborhood was ugly before, it is a real eye-sore today. Where once the streets teemed with youngsters on bikes and young mommies and old Russians ambled in the afternoons, concrete barricades have been hastily erected to inhibit neighborhood access for knife-wielding youths from Jabel Makabar and Tsur Bahar. Only ‘inhibit’ because they know the side paths better than we do. In mid-October, my neighbor, Richard Lankin, was shot and stabbed on the #78 bus, just outside of my kitchen window. Brave motorists blocked the street while armed citizens stormed the still-careening bus. Almost simultaneously, border police descended upon the scene. Terribly uncomfortable with what we’re suffering, friends have offered anemically, “Wow, you are lucky you weren’t in the supermarket/bank/bus depot/au courant site of the most recent attack.” My tad-snippy answer is always the same. “I wasn’t there because I wasn’t there.” Trying to apply reason to a situation that is void of logic frequently results in well-wishers blaming the victims. “If those people {which people?} didn’t live in Hebron, the Arabs wouldn’t slaughter them. If they didn’t meet friends for coffee on a warm autumn evening, they wouldn’t get stabbed. If you bought a car you wouldn’t be bombed on the Begin Highway.” Jlife

DRAWING BY PEPE FAINBERG

How do you reason with illogic?

And in the end, Richard Lankin died after lingering on life support for almost two weeks. He had a lot to live for; I know because I went to the funeral and heard the eulogies. No, I didn’t know him, but it didn’t matter. He was “us.” Neither I nor my neighbors are living here due to happenstance. Without a shred of uncertainty, I believe that it is critical to live a life that matters, a deliberate life and—if given an opportunity—leave a moral legacy for children and grandchildren. I will never advise someone to keep away from Israel until “…things get safer” or say “Protect your child while I send mine out to man the borders,” because I would not be speaking from the heart. It is painful to those of us who have chosen the Zionist path to know that we are paying a heavy price to keep Israel viable. Sometimes dying in the process so that the children of the Diaspora—who remain Jewish—will have a place to go when unfolding history extracts nearly-unfathomable decisions. A 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 andreasimantov@gmail.com.


On the Lighter Side | BY MAYRAV SAAR

VIEWPOINT

Temple, the Gift to Yourself Tis’ the season for “rededication.”

WE MIGHT FIND THAT WHAT WE REALLY NEED IS A SYNAGOGUE. 24 DECEMBER 2015 |

HANUKKAH IS KNOWN as the Festival of Lights, Eight Crazy Nights or the Thing We Celebrate Instead of Christmas. But really, Hanukkah is a commemoration of the rededication of the Holy Temple. As anyone with an elementary school Hebrew education or access to Wikipedia knows, King Antiochus’s armies looted the Second Temple in Jerusalem, outlawed Judaism, erected an alter to Zeus in the Temple and ordered pigs to be sacrificed there. The Maccabees revolted, the Temple was reclaimed and one day’s worth of oil ended up lasting eight. The original Maccabean celebration was about the Jewish return to the Temple. Maybe in this era of dwindling congregations, we should consider taking the Maccabees’ story to heart. As the infamous 2013 Pew Research Center study revealed, Jews are doing to Judaism what our enemies only ever dreamed of accomplishing: We’re leading ourselves to extinction. We intermarry at dizzying rates–when we marry at all. We have fewer kids than non-Jews–when we have kids at all, and a quarter of us identify as having no religion. More to the point for this particular time of year, less than half of us are affiliated with a synagogue. This means that even many of us who light candles to celebrate the rededication of our house of worship don’t feel compelled to belong to a house of worship. My non-affiliated Jewish friends explained this lack of interest in synagogue membership this way: They don’t join a synagogue because they see no value in it. They’re in book clubs and game clubs and Toastmasters. They take dance lessons and tennis lessons and cooking classes. Who has time for shul, and what would they do with a synagogue membership if they did bother to affiliate? What my non-affiliated friends don’t recognize is that synagogue is not a bowling league; our relationship with shul is more communal, deeper and more meaningful. When your father dies, your Fantasy Football buddies don’t fill your freezer with casseroles. When your daughter gets married, your barre class doesn’t throw her a bridal shower. Jlife

By all accounts, the Maccabees were religious nutters who resorted to all kinds of extremist behaviors that today we’d find appalling. But they did have one thing right: We Jews need a place to be Jewish. We need a community to help us celebrate and mourn. We need a place where we can belong and feel valued. With more of us living farther from our families, we need a deeper bench when it comes to child-rearing and people with whom to celebrate the holidays. When we take a closer look at what’s missing in our lives, we might find that what we really need is a synagogue. So this year, consider celebrating the rededication of the Temple by rededicating yourself to temple. It might be the best Hanukkah gift you’ve ever given yourself. A Mayrav Saar is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.


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Jlife

| DECEMBER 2015 25


Israeli Guy | BY TEDDY WEINBERGER

VIEWPOINT

Hanukkah in Israel The Festival of Lights burns bright.

THE SPIRIT OF HANUKKAH COMES TO LIFE MORE IN A COUNTRY WHERE YOU HAVE TO FIGHT FOR IT.

ONE THING ABOUT the way the Festival of Lights is celebrated in Israel never ceases to amaze me: the total absence of Christmas. In the States, Hanukkah’s relation to Christmas is of crucial concern. The more the two holidays overlap, the more that Jews will be celebrating their winter holiday at the same time that the majority of Americans are celebrating theirs. In Israel, Christmas is simply not on the radar screen for most Israelis, and so Hanukkah goes it alone. Since I grew up in the States and only moved here at the age of 36, I cannot help but think of Hanukkah in relation to Christmas. And so I know that this year Hanukkah is very “early” (beginning on Sunday night December 6)—and I also know what this means in America. An early Hanukkah is disconcerting to many American Jews. It’s sort of like a secret Marano holiday: the Jews are celebrating in their homes while the outside world is filled with anticipation of Christmas. You are wished “Merry Christmas” all throughout your holiday. There are print and broadcast media pieces on Hanukkah, and schools and offices sprout paper menorahs, but these cannot put a dent in the general feeling of Christmas that pervades the outside world. As is the case every year, Hanukkah in Israel is always on time. It is never early or late. And while Israeli life is geared toward the Gregorian calendar (so that, unlike Christmas, even knowledgeable Israelis have to do some figuring in order to calculate the first night of Hanukkah), one can gage the date of Hanukkah by the availability and variety of sufganiyot (donuts). Sufganiyot start making their appearance in October, shortly after the conclusion of Judaism’s fall holidays. As Hanukkah nears, donut makers get more ambitious—augmenting the traditional strawberry jelly filling with butterscotch, chocolate, halva, and even guava and passion fruit, as well as experimenting with more sophisticated donut coatings (like carob powder or ground brown sugar) rather than the usual powdered sugar. I have to admit that left to its lonesome, there’s some drama missing in a Hanukkah without Christmas. After all, as our prayers remind us, Hanukkah cele-

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brates a Jewish victory of the weak and the few over the strong and the many. The spirit of Hanukkah comes to life more in a country where you have to fight for it, where you have to insist on its legitimate place on the cultural spectrum. This is not to say that life here in the Jewish state is without drama. A number of our Arab neighbors help make life in Israel exciting in a Maccabean way all throughout the year. But the Jewish state rather than the Jewish individual is the primary setting for this drama. And the stakes are much, much higher than whether or not to get offended if someone wishes you a Merry Christmas. For my part, I wish you all a Happy Hanukkah. A Teddy Weinberger, Ph.D., is Director of Development for a consulting company called Meaningful. He made aliyah with his family in 1997 from Miami, where he was an assistant professor of religious studies. Teddy and his wife, Sarah Jane Ross, have five children.


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| DECEMBER 2015 27


CONCEPTBY PHOTOS BYSANDIE TARA BERGER WARD PHOTOGRAPHY 路 PHOTO BY RACHEL BELLINSKY

COVER STORY

RITA RUDNER

28 DECEMBER 2015 |

Jlife


COVER STORY

The Original Queen of Sass BY TANYA SCHWIED

R

ita Rudner is a delight! From her hilarious dead pan answers to her timeless jokes about men and children- one of my personal favorites bears repeating, “My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can’t decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.” This woman had me in stitches from the moment we met. I had the great fortune to interview her recently at the lovely Laguna Playhouse where we talked about everything from our bust lines to secrets to a successful marriage. Rita’s new show, Act 3, debuts on January 5th and runs through the 31st. She also talked about her yearly tradition of ringing in the New Year at the Laguna Playhouse. To watch the entire interview please visit our website, www.jlifeoc.com.

are uncomfortable (classic Rita Rudner). I was very excited when Laguna Playhouse decided to do it with an actor named Charles Shaughnessy who was the very handsome father on the TV show The Nanny and he has done lots of stage work and when I forget my lines he’s going to tell me what to say—No I’m kidding I’ve already memorized the play… everything is good and we’re in good hands. I’m curious to know about your comedic influences growing up? I was never funny growing up. I was a ballerina. I was in a ballet company when I was 10, I danced on Broadway and started professionally dancing at 15—I never wanted to be anything except a dancer and when I was in my 6th Broadway show, I was 26, or I don’t know something like that. There were too many dancers, too many actresses and too many singers, there aren’t very many female comedians I’ll be that! And then I started to do it and I loved it so this is kind of my second life. But I love it, I’m so glad I did that. And now I’m doing a play... third life…. ACT THREE! (She gives a hand motion saying it all comes together) We are a Jewish magazine, what is it about Jewish comedians and Jews in particular that makes us so funny? Nothing is funny if everything is going right. And I think we have had a lot of turmoil in our past and most people have turmoil in their present, I turned it

What can we expect from your show, Act 3, which premieres Jan. 5th at the Laguna Playhouse? First, I want to mention the fact that we both have beautiful bust lines. (I say thank you and agree!) Not many women have the beautiful bust lines that we’re sharing with you today (I’m already giggling—it just went from Inside the Actor’s Studio to Hooter’s After Dark) Ok now I’ll answer your question. I’m very excited to be doing Act 3, the writer and producer sent me the script and they originally wanted me to do it in London, I said I can’t do it in London I have a family! BUT I do have a beach house in Laguna Beach, and I will do it at the lovely Laguna Playhouse. This play was so funny, and so original, it was a challenge—and I love a challenge because you can’t just rest on your laurels—they’re very uncomfortable, I find laurels

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| DECEMBER 2015 29


COVER STORY

Rita Rudner and Charles Shaughnessy teasing one another in the hit new play Act 3, at the Laguna Playhouse.

into humor. I’m very lucky that I’m happily married and have the best little girl in the world and my dog is perfect, but you know growing up my mom was sick and I was having to deal with a lot of tragedy in my life so I think that when you have tragedy and you can deal with it in a humorous way it lightens the tragedy and I think that’s why a lot of Jewish people are funny. In your book Rita Rudner’s Guide to Men, you discuss men and dating. What is some advice that you can give us single gals? I have a few jokes, I can’t say that they’re going to help you for real but they’ll be entertaining… Always date a man who has a pierced ear, ask me why? (I chime in…Why?) They’ve experienced pain and bought jewelry—HA HA! You can tell a lot about a guy by the way they play a game, I was playing tennis with this one guy, he couldn’t say thirty love… he kept saying “thirty I really like you but I have to see other people.” I’m fascinated by the comedy world and how you’ve been able to maintain a really normal grounded life, a healthy marriage, a daughter, a dog, a home—what’s your secret? My husband and I have been married for 27 years, almost 28 years, and we’ve been very lucky in that no other person has found either one of us attractive. No, but seriously I put my marriage first all the time and my daughter comes first in my life—my life comes before show business. Show business is going to go away. My family is going to be there so that’s why when someone asked me to do this play in London over Christmas I said “hey that’s not gonna happen.” And even when I was asked to be in movies and on the road in a trailer for four months I said “no I’m married.” Also, my husband and I work together, we met because he produces comedy shows and I perform comedy and he is directing the play, Act 3. He’s directed movies, he’s written movies and I figured he tells me what to do all the time you might as well get paid for it. We worked for three years before I dated him, so it’s our dynamic. (She then tells me that since I’m a single girl she thinks I’m going to meet someone 30 DECEMBER 2015 |

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funny man and the gorgeous blonde woman, now we have Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Melissa Mccarthy, and Kristen Wiig—they’re all fantastic! For a long time only funny men transferred into movies. I think it’s all changing now and it’s fantastic!

“I love a challenge because you can’t just rest on your laurels—they’re very uncomfortable.”

through my work and I’m doing interesting work so it will happen… But don’t do this— she does a swiping motion ie: dating apps). What would you tell your 30-yearold self that you wish you knew at the time? Things are gonna get really, really good really, really soon! I was floundering and not in the best of relationships before I met my husband. I’m the type of person who likes to be with somebody and it’s kind of a comfortable feeling for me so at 30 everything got better. Do you think that it is difficult being a woman in comedy? How has it changed from when you first started? It’s much more accepted now. I chose comedy because there weren’t many female comedians, and there still aren’t that many, but I think this is a great time for women I think funny women are being cast as the lead in movies for the first time. It was always the funny man and the model, the

What am I doing on New Year’s Eve? Where am I going? You are coming here! This is a tradition now, every year I play the New Year’s Eve show at the Laguna Playhouse. It is the most civilized New Year’s Eve experience because it ends at 9 o’clock in the evening and they celebrate with New York, and they have a big screen with the ball dropping and everyone has champagne and chocolate covered strawberries­—you can go home before people get too drunk and then you can watch the parties on television, which is where you should be on New Year’s Eve, you should be home! Also, my daughter Miss Molly Bergman, she opened for me last year because she was 12, so it’s time for her to work (she says in her classic dead pan). She’s a singer/songwriter who sings original and cover songs. She performs at the Kaleidoscope Mall and all over Orange County and you can check out some of her music on YouTube under “mollybmusic.” Rita is still the Queen of Sass in my mind and funny as ever. You know where this girl will be for New Year’s. Be sure to book your tickets for the New Year’s Eve event and Act 3, which is running from Jan. 5th-31st at the Laguna Playhouse. For more information, contact The Laguna Playhouse (949) 497-ARTS (2787) or ticket_office@ lagunaplayhouse.com. A Tanya Schwied graduated from New York University, studied abroad in Israel, and currently works for the CEO and President of Jewish Federation & Family Services.


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F E AT U R E S

The Origin of Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah BY FLORENCE L. DANN

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F E AT U R E S

HANUKKAH COMES EARLY this year. Well, actually it doesn’t. the nights long and dark. So it is altogether probable that the rabbis It is always on the 25th of Kislev—it just seems early on the gave the practice a Jewish explanation. solar calendar. A few years ago it was even earlier. Remember Josephus, the Jewish historian of the 1st century CE, was the Thanksgivukkah? Whatever the date, it is when Jews all over the first to associate Hanukkah and fire. He calls the holiday “Lights,” world light a Hanukkah menorah (a hanukkiah) to commemorate though admits that he doesn’t know what the connection between the Maccabean revolt and the rededication of the Second Temple light and the Maccabean victory is. in Jerusalem in the second century BCE. But that is an explanation The Mishnah or Oral Torah, compiled about 220 CE doesn’t for the tradition of lighting the hanukkiah whose origins remain provide an answer either; it barely mentions the a mystery. In an article in Ha’aretz, writer Elon holiday. There are several reasons why the Mishnah Gilad offered an interesting theory into this redactors may have chosen to suppress the celebratradition and the development of the Hanukkah tion of Hanukkah. One reason might have had to menorah itself. do with the disastrous Bar Kokhba Revolt against No one really knows when exactly Jews started the Romans in 136 CE and any mention of mililighting Hanukkah menorahs. It is not mentioned The earliest tary victory could have been a serious and deadly in 1 Maccabees, the earliest known account of problem for Jews still living under Roman rule. hanukkiahs Hanukkah, nor does the text say anything about Another reason could have been the disapproval of were lamps how it should be celebrated. Most likely it was a celebration that may have had foreign influences, of clay or marked the way all Jewish holidays were celespecially since the holiday had not been biblically stone, with ebrated at that time – with animal sacrifice at the ordained. And maybe, the holiday was simply not Jerusalem Temple. an opening on considered that important. So where did the tradition of the menorah come top to pour in In any case, several centuries later, around 500 from? Gilad asserts that “it was unlikely for a new CE, the practice of lighting Hanukkah menorahs olive oil.” tradition to have been created without a biblical was firmly established in Jewish homes, but withreference. It is far more likely that Jewish houseout specific textual sources the rabbis felt impelled holds adopted the practice from a Babylonian to interpret and regulate the traditions as well as enact regulations ritual. It was a common practice for the Zoroastrians of Persia to concerning menorahs: what kind of oils were permissible and how celebrate the Winter Solstice with a festival of fire that fell at about the candles were to be lit. the same time of year and predated Hanukkah. We should note here Shammai said that Jews should begin Hanukkah by lighting all that it was common for many cultures to have “festivals” or celebrations” of light in the winter months when the days grow short and Continued on page 35 after Kiddish

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| DECEMBER 2015 33


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F E AT U R E S Continued from page 33 in Jlife

eight candles, each day lighting one less. Hillel disagreed and ruled that that Jews should light one candle on the first day, each day adding one until reaching eight. As most Jews know from experience, Hillel prevailed. “The earliest hanukkiahs were lamps of clay or stone, with an opening on top to pour in olive oil, There was a small spout in the front for a wick. On Hanukkah, these lamps were placed at the entrance to the home on a specially constructed stand; people would add a lamp each day. Later, a smaller model appeared: a single lamp made of clay, stone, or, increasingly, metal with eight wick spouts instead of just one. A new and improved model appeared in the Jewish community of 13th century Spain and spread from there to the rest of the Jewish world. These hanukkiahs were made of metal, and could be affixed to the wall of the home. It had a narrow tray on the bottom, with eight dimples for oil. It was in these menorahs that the shamash, the addition-

al “candle” used to light the other ones, first appeared. The hanukkiah we light today is basically a Babylonian Jewish invention that was created hundreds of years after—and hundreds of miles away from where—the Hanukkah story actually took place. Its invention and most of the halakha concerning it took place at about the same time and in the same location that rabbis invented the story about the miracle of oil. But like so many traditions, though the years, the holiday with its symbols have come to represent many things, often reflecting the condition and attitudes of the Jewish community—from the rededication of the Temple, and each of us to our traditions to the freedom of religion so many modern Jews celebrate today. So as we light our Hanukkah candles this year, let us treasure and reflect upon the creativity and adaptability of our people as well as the beauty and the blessings of our heritage. Happy Hanukkah! A Florence L. Dann, a fifth year rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion in LA has been a contributing writer to Jlife since 2004.

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Jlife

| DECEMBER 2015 35


F E AT U R E S

WOMAN IN GOLD An Interview with Randol E. Schoenberg BY PERRY FEIN

RANDOL E. SCHOENBERG is an attorney who represented Maria Altmann in a historic case against the Austrian government. Schoenberg and Altmann successfully sued the Austrian government and won restitution of five incredibly valuable Gustav Klimt paintings that had belonged to Altmann’s family before they were seized by the Nazis. The two are portrayed by Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren in the major motion picture, Woman in Gold. Jlife recently had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Schoenberg about this landmark case and the making of the film. What was it like to hear that this truly remarkable story was going to be given the “Hollywood Treatment” and that you would be portrayed by a movie star like Ryan Reynolds? Well it was a long process, so it wasn’t all at once. The story was bought by BBC Films so it wasn’t going to be completely “Hollywood,” a little bit European also. They hired a screenwriter who came and met with me, and worked on the screenplay and then when Helen Mirren saw it and decided that she wanted to do the film, that’s when it really look off. So then later, they found Ryan Reynolds, I think it was actually Harvey Weinstein who brought him in. When they called me about it, I sort of knew who he was, I think, from The Proposal, but I like to joke that I’m not exactly his demographic… but when I mention it to women or the kids’ babysitters they 36 DECEMBER 2015 |

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They were shooting the scene and then he came over to me and he pointed at me and pointed at himself, and he was wearing the exact same thing! And he said, “Nailed it!” And it was totally unplanned but I guess they knew how a boring lawyer dresses and they dressed him accordingly, so I thought that was really funny.

Randol E. Schoenberg

swoon. It turns out he’s actually a very versatile actor who works really hard, and does a lot of different types of films. And he did a great job. Did they consult you on minor details for the film, such as what you might have worn or what car you were likely to be driving? It’s funny, I only met Ryan Reynolds on the last day of shooting here in L.A. I got dressed in khakis and a blue shirt and went down to the set on a rooftop in Beverly Hills.

You are the son of a prominent Judge and the grandson of a world-famous composer. Was part of the reason why you took this case, fully knowing how arduous and drawn-out it was likely to be, because you thought it would be the deed that could secure your own legacy apart from your accomplished relatives? I don’t know about that. They made me out [in the film] to be a little more naive than I was, obviously. I grew up very aware of my own past. Maria Altman was a very close family friend, she and her husband Fritz were the only non-immediate family members at my grandparents birthdays. They were sort of fixtures, and so when she asked me to help her it was like representing my own grandmother. My grandparents had passed away and she was sort of the last one left of that group, so it really had nothing to do with becoming famous, but representing these people who had become family. Ms. Altmann must have been shocked that a few decades after


F E AT U R E S

The iconic Woman in Gold by Gustav Klimt.

You accomplished a feat that most the systematic murder of Austria’s people thought impossible. You Jewish community, a painting of facilitated what was “the largest a Jewish woman could be hailed single return, in monetary terms, as an emblematic masterpiece of of Nazi-looted art.” Does this Austrian art. Do you think Ms. remain the most impactful case Altmann would have been as motiyou’ve taken on in vated to reclaim the your career? Well painting if it had yeah, it would be hard to not become a symbol have anything more sigor icon for Austria? nificant than this in terms I don’t know…I think of my, or anybody’s legal so. I think they knew all I grew up career, for that matter. along that…Klimt was, in very aware of Each of these cases is so his day, the most famous particular in the facts, so my own past. painter in Vienna. It was individual, that it’s hard to never an insignificant compare cases. What does thing. They knew that translate is when you have Klimt paintings were the pinnacle of that a success like this, it really puts wind in the period in Austrian art, so I don’t think there sails of people trying to do the same thing was any change because of that. They’ve in other areas. And so I see that continuing always been prized. And I think that’s why now. It’s almost ten years now since the case Austria played so terribly with the family, ended, but people still look at this case as with Ferdinand’s heirs, because they were sort of a high watermark and something to very important and valuable paintings and reach for in other cases. It’s basically an inspithey wanted to keep them. ration more than being a particular precedent

that can be used, because, obviously the specifics in the case are going to be different. Klimt’s paintings, this will of Maria’s aunt, of course it’s not gonna come up in other cases. But the fact that you could wage this type of battle over a long period of time and succeed, that was something sort of new. That’s really the continuing legacy of the case. Was the return of Klimt’s Woman in Gold by the Austrian government to Ms. Altmann an isolated incident, or did it catalyze a larger restoration of looted Nazi artifacts back to their original owners? I think it has been a catalyst. There have been many efforts at various types of restitution since the end of WWII. This is certainly not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, but it stands out because it was so successful. Thank you for your time. You’re welcome. A Perry Fein is a contributing writer to Jlife magazine.

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F E AT U R E S

UNDERSTANDING THE JEWISH STATE O.C. Jewish Organizations Provide a Deeper Understanding of Democracy in Israel BY LISA GRAJEWSKI, PSY.D.

Chief Justice Aharon Barak

RETIRED ISRAELI SUPREME Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak delivered the inaugural lecture in a three-part lecture series at UCI’s School of Law. The lecture, which took place on October 12, 2015, is part of a distinguished lecture series entitled, Democracy and Human Rights in Israel: Views from the Supreme Court. Co-sponsored by Jewish Federation & Family Services’ Rose Project, Hillel Orange County, UCI Law, UCI Department of Political Science, and UCI School of Social Sciences, the lecture series (part of JFFS’s Rose Project community education initiative), seeks to provide outstanding presenters to the community to discuss aspects of Israel and the region. During the day, Justice Barak spoke at a 38 DECEMBER 2015 |

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luncheon to a group of community leaders and Orange County faculty and administrators. The topic covered Israeli “constitutional” democracy and the characteristics of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Barak is the architect of what has become known as “Israeli Constitutional Democracy” even though Israel officially does not have a constitution. The Basic Laws, which Barak was instrumental in developing, serve as Israel’s constitution. The Basic Laws, similar to the United States’ Bill of Rights, enshrines basic rights to all Israeli citizens. He talked about the impact of Jewish law on court decisions, and how Jewish law helps to inform the interpretation of democracy and democratic rights. Barak also discussed the ways judges (himself included) have drawn from Jewish law and texts in determining their findings on court cases. According to Barak, Jewish law and democracy complement each other in many ways. For example, where there is conflict, it is up to the judges to determine how law needs to be interpreted. Justice Barak spoke in the evening at the law school to an audience that included students, faculty, and community members. Also in attendance were the predictable protesters that remind those present of the purpose of the Rose Project’s lecture series. The topic is exceedingly relevant on college campuses, as Israel is often accused of being an “apartheid state” by anti-Israel activists. Israel’s status as a Jewish state is also used against it, as it is accused of being racist (a state only for Jews, where non-Jews are systematically discriminated against). The lectures give great insight into the workings of Israeli democracy, and helps to clarify

Israel’s commitment to democracy despite her enormous security challenges. The hope of those involved in the lecture series is that students and community members will leave with a better understanding that Israel’s status as a Jewish state is not about being discriminant of others, it is about incorporating Jewish values into its democratic system. A Lisa Grajewski, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist and adjunct Assistant Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has been a contributing writer for Jlife magazine since 2004.

COMING IN 2016 Thursday, February 18, 7:00 p.m. The Honorable Justice Dalia Dorner (Ret.) will speak on Protecting Human Rights in the Age of Terrorism and Asymmetric Warfare at Temple Bat Yahm. Tuesday, April 5, 7:00 p.m. The Honorable Justice Salim Joubran will speak on Freedom of Religion and the Role of the Supreme Court in Israel at Temple Beth El.


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out&about CONRAD TAO At only 20 years old, Conrad Tao has become one of Pacific Symphony’s audience favorites. Tao will be performing Beethoven’s “Eroica” in Segerstrom Hall on Dec. 3 through 5. He will first perform Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 3” then conclude with Beethoven’s popular “Symphony No. 3”—filled with drama, death, resistance, strife and ultimate rebirth.

Cat Power

A CIRQUE CHRISTMAS A delightful Cirque Christmas concert comes to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Dec. 18 and 19. Holiday tunes add a special sparkle to this jaw-dropping fusion of fliers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers and strongmen who perform their cirque acts while Pacific Symphony provides a joyous soundtrack perfect for the most wonderful time of the year.

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CANADIAN BRASS Celebrate the holidays with the internationally renowned, award-winning Canadian Brass at the Barclay Theatre on Dec. 21. This iconic brass quintet will be performing seasonal favorites, holiday classics and brass standards in an entertaining evening of virtuosic playing and heartwarming humor. Presented by The Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

FILM: ART & SPIRIT

ORANGE JEWCE BAND

Art & Spirit, filmmaker Dale Schierholt takes us inside the studios of one of his former subjects and dearest friends– the painter Harold Garde. This one-time viewing will be held at the Laguna Beach Museum of Art on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. Schierholt spent time filming Garde at work. Their conversations quickly fell into the familiar rhythms shared by old friends, but Schierholt noticed something different in their dialogues.

Enjoy the Orange Jewce Band during the Menorah Lighting Ceremony at Fashion Island on Tues, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Festivities include dreidles, balloon animals and more. Bring an unwrapped gift for a community toy drive. Chabad of Newport Beach and the Friendship Circle together with Fashion Island sponsor this event for a first night of Hanukkah celebration of lights for the whole family.


ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE | December 2015

Eric Burdon and The Animals Eric Burdon and The Animals bring over 40 years of rock-n-roll music for a night at the Coach House Concert Hall Dec. 10. Burdon was lead singer of the Animals, formed during 1962 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The original band was the Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo, which formed in 1958; they became The Animals shortly after Burdon joined the band. The Animals combined electric blues with rock and in the USA were one of the leading bands of the British Invasion. Along with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Hollies, the Dave Clark Five, and the Kinks, the group introduced British music and fashion. Burdon’s powerful voice can be heard on the Animals’ singles “House of the Rising Sun,” “Sky Pilot,” “Monterey,” “I’m Crying,” “Boom Boom,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Bring It On Home to Me,” “Baby Let Me Take You Home,” “It’s My Life,” “We Gotta Get out of This Place,”

“Don’t Bring Me Down,” and “See See Rider.” During 1969, while living in San Francisco, Burdon joined forces with Californian funk rock band War. In April 1970, the resulting album created as a result of this association was entitled Eric Burdon Declares “War,” which produced the singles “Spill the Wine” and “Tobacco Road.” A two-disc set entitled The Black-Man’s Burdon was released later in September 1970. The singles from the double album, “Paint It, Black” and “They Can’t Take Away Our Music,” had moderate success during 1971. During this time Burdon collapsed on the stage during a concert, caused by

an asthma attack, and War continued the tour without him. Burdon began a solo career in 1971 with the Eric Burdon Band, continuing with a hard rock–heavy metal– funk style. In August 1971, he recorded the album Guilty!, which featured the bluesman Jimmy Witherspoon, and Ike White of the San Quentin Prison Band. In 1973, the band performed at the Reading Festival and in 1974 they travelled to New York City. At the end of 1974, the band released the album Sun Secrets and was followed by the album Stop in 1975. In January 2006, he released his blues–R&B

album Soul of a Man. This album was dedicated to Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker. The cover of the album was a picture, which was sent to Burdon a few years before. They also performed at the Lugano Festival and in 2007 he toured as the headlining act of the “Hippiefest” line-up, produced and hosted by Country Joe McDonald. In 2013, Eric Burdon came out with a new album called, Til Your River Runs Dry. The lead single off the album was called, “Water” and was inspired by a conversation he had with former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev.

Eric Burdon and The Animals

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CROSSWORD BY: YONI GLATT } DIFFICULTY LEVEL: MEDIUM

In Reverse

HINT: 42 ACROSS

ACROSS 1 ___-ran, like Herzog 5 Early priest

32 Actress Graynor 33 “___ shall slumber nor sleep...” Isaiah 5:27

65 Where the Jews found 12 wells of water and 70 date palms 66 Coming of age candy?

35 Trains through Boro Park

68 Lisa with a #1 hit, once

37 “___ of Silence”

69 “Eizeh yofi!”

15 It’s like a blintz

39 Look through Chagall’s work on a Mac?

70 Dweller by Eilat’s reefs

16 Kellerman protagonist Lazarus

42 Israel’s Darking, e.g.

17 Wager in the Israeli government?

45 One is worth much less than a shekel

10 False god with a quiver 14 “Survivor: Africa” winner Ethan

19 Weapon of concern for Israel: Abbr.

46 Many a Bible tale, e.g.

71 “___ fatso”, Bunker line from Lear’s “All in the Family” 72 Golam hiding spot 73 Perlman’s occasional “Cheers” co-star

20 Tip on some Yom Kippur footwear

50 Rahab had one

21 Jewish day sch. in Riverdale, NY

51 Insect for Rudd

22 Mahktesh sound

DOWN

53 It could start with 613: abbr.

1 Title prison in a Radcliffe film

23 Like some characters in Mel Brooks’ “High Anxiety”

55 Shavuot need?

2 Biblical times, e.g.

24 High school for kindergarteners near Tel-Aviv?

56 Odd place for a seder?

3 Levine’s co-judge on “The Voice”

59 A forefather, once

4 Genesis, e.g.

27 “We’re ___!” (Words before an IDF operation, perhaps)

61 Moms in Israel (var.)

5 IAF hero

62 “Too Close” was one for Clare

28 Ability in Cronenberg’s “The Dead Zone”

64 “The Wreck of the Mary ___”, Heston film produced by Julian Blaustein

6 Crystal and Diamond are involved in them

31 Title for Michael Kadoorie

42 DECEMBER 2015 |

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7 Pack again, at the makolet 8 Schoenberg works

9 One is useful for work in the Mediterranean

52 Basic garb in the Negev

10 Writer Brown 11 What Tevye dreamed of being

57 Iconic character played by 36-Down

12 Agreeable to (Bibi’s policies)

58 Occupy a Shabbat table

13 Two judges, for short

60 Joy who is often mistaken for being Jewish

18 Cause of the bad pun “eye vey”

54 Bubkes

22 Saul not killing Agag was a big one

63 The Chacham ___

25 Pesach months

66 Deg. for Bloomberg

26 Contraction for Emma Lazarus

67 Midler is one: abbr.

65 High Priest with bad sons

29 Altschul of MTV and CBS 30 West Bank gp. 34 Baltic country that lost nearly half its Jewish pop. in the Holocaust 36 See 57-Down 38 College player highly unlikely to be Jewish 40 Shows Joel love at the Garden 41 CEO Moonves 42 Feature on Ben Gurion, for example 43 Wrap (shawarma in laffa) 44 David and Goliath, e.g. 47 The Garden of Eden story, to some 48 Like Moses, after bringing back the first Commandments 49 Billy Wilder used them

November Answers


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PHOTO BY PHILLIP MATRAI

A&E

44 DECEMBER 2015 |

Making latkes that won’t expand your waistline are a special holiday challenge.

Jlife


A&E

PHOTO BY PHILLIP MATRAI

Traditional Jewish cooking is known to be heavy, but lightening up these dishes is really doable.

Cheese balls complement any gathering.

ENLITENED HANUKKAH Be a little less “naughty” this holiday season. BY JUDY BART KANCIGOR

WHEN JUDAH MACCABEE and a tiny band of Jewish freedom fighters overthrew the enemy and cleansed the Temple, only a small cruse of consecrated oil was found with which to light the eternal flame. Miraculously, this oil that should have lasted but a single day burned for eight, and we’ve been celebrating with a frying frenzy ever since. It’s doubtful that the Maccabees celebrated with latkes. Nevertheless foods fried in oil have been symbols of Hanukkah for centuries. But did the rabbis say how much oil? Lest you call me the Grinch that stole Hanukkah, I propose that a little goes a long way. This year I’m determined to celebrate the holiday without busting my caloric budget, and for tips on how to do that deliciously I turn to Nechama Cohen, founder and CEO of the Jewish Diabetes Association, who slashes her way through the schmaltz with Enlitened

Kosher Cooking (Feldheim Publishers, $39.95), a lusciously photographed cookbook with over 250 good-carb, healthy-fat, sugar-free recipes that nourish the soul without damaging the heart. “I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1985 and was presented with a real kitchen challenge,” recalled Cohen, who spoke to me by phone from her home in Israel, “so I started ‘enlitening’ recipes. After 20 years it was time to put them in writing!” But you needn’t be diabetic to appreciate these healthful and elegant recipes that are short on deprivation and long on flavor. “Traditional Jewish cooking is known to be heavy,” Cohen noted, “but lightening up these dishes is really doable.” We need to look at fat and carbs, and with her slimmed-down versions of our beloved holiday recipes, we can have our latkes and eat them too!

Hanukkah (beginning Sunday, December 6 at sundown) presents a challenge, because this holiday is all about the oil. “With nonstick pans and cooking sprays and healthier oils–olive, canola, walnut, grapeseed–it’s really easy to lighten these recipes,” observed Cohen. Try crunchy cauliflower, cabbage and zucchini latkes, made with a minimum of oil, instead of potato. “Potato latkes are very difficult not to nibble on,” Cohen admitted, “so I try to convince my family to try some potato-combo latkes before they try anything else. And I keep them in the oven on the lowest setting. The nice thing about latkes is if they dry up a bit, they just get crispier.” As a diabetic, Cohen also had to cut down on sugar… fast! “I’ve learned to use other ingredients, so we don’t need to load up on sugar or even sugar substitutes,” she said. “Moderation is key. I don’t believe in the word ‘diet.’ A diet is temporary. Long-term lifestyle changes need to be coupled with moderation so it can last. These recipes contain normal amounts of sugar, not two and three cups of sugar. Same thing with the fat. In standard cookbooks the amount of sugar and fat in the recipes is scary.” A lesser-known Hanukkah tradition involves the eating of cheese. Judith, an unsung legendary heroine of the Apocrypha, was a beautiful Jewish widow. She dined with the enemy general Holofernes, plying him with cheese to make him thirsty for wine. When he fell into a drunken stupor, she beheaded him with his own sword. Because her bravery is said to have inspired the Maccabees, some communities remember Judith by eating cheese on this holiday. But how to work cheese into an “enlitened” Hanukkah table? No problem! Carb-free and low fat, Cohen’s colorful Cheese Balls make an elegant appetizer or satisfying nibble just for yourself. Cohen’s common sense approach to creating a healthy lifestyle means you enjoy the holiday, not just get through it. “Here in Israel the only difficulty with Hanukkah is the sufganiyot (jelly donuts) all over the place in every flavor you can think of,” lamented Cohen. “You can smell them ten miles away. But every Jewish holiday is definitely livelier here and more intense than it is in the states. It’s the nicest time to be in Israel.”

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A&E

Hanukkah presents a challenge, because this holiday is all about the oil.

ENLITENED HANUKKAH LATKES

Cabbage Latkes

Cheese Balls

2 cups cabbage, finely grated

11/2 cups farmer cheese

1 large egg plus 2 egg whites, beaten

1/2 cup 5% soft white cheese, such as low-fat ricotta (well-drained)

Yield: 10-12 servings

With each new batch, spray pan with nonstick cooking spray and/or wipe pan with oil occasionally, as well. You need to be patient with these pancakes and fry them for a long time until they are cooked through, or they will fall apart when flipped.

Cauliflower Latkes Yield: 16 servings

2 large eggs plus 2 egg whites, beaten 1 small onion, peeled 1 (2-pound) package frozen cauliflower or 1 fresh head, steamed and drained 2 tablespoons soy or whole-wheat flour

1 green onion, chopped 2 tablespoons soy or whole-wheat flour Salt and pepper to taste Non-stick cooking spray

Non-stick cooking spray

1 Place cabbage in 4-cup bowl. With

GARNISHES:

wooden spoon, mix in eggs and green onion. Add flour and season to taste.

2 Using wet hands, form latkes and fry on both sides over medium-high heat.

Zucchini-Potato Latkes

Yield: 12 servings ander and squeeze out liquid.

2 Process eggs and onion in food pro-

cessor and add cauliflower, flour and seasonings until finely chopped; do not overprocess.

3 Wipe a non-stick frying pan with paper towel dipped in oil and spray pan with non-stick cooking spray. Put on low heat, wait until hot and drop batter by tablespoonfuls into pan. Brown on both sides.

VARIATION: Substitute broccoli or spinach for part or all of cauliflower.

3 large zucchini, peeled 1 medium potato, peeled 1 large egg plus 2 egg whites, beaten 2 tablespoons soy or whole-wheat flour Salt and pepper to taste Non-stick cooking spray 2 tablespoons canola oil, for frying

1 Grate zucchini and potato, either by

hand or in food processor. Drain well in colander. Remove any additional liquid by wrapping grated vegetables in a clean dishtowel and squeezing well.

2 By hand, mix in egg, flour and seasonings.

3 Form latkes and fry on both sides.

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1/4 cup green onions, minced 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil, for frying

1 Let frozen cauliflower thaw. Put in col-

1 cup low-fat grated yellow cheese (muenster, cheddar, etc.)

1 tablespoon canola oil

The addition of the potatoes does not significantly increase carbs, but it makes a big difference in the taste.

Salt and pepper to taste

Yield: 17 servings

1 tablespoon sweet or sharp paprika 1/3 cup minced dill 1/3 cup minced parsley 1/3 cup roasted nuts, coarsely chopped 1/3 cup roasted sesame seeds

1 Mix together cheeses, green onions

and Worcestershire sauce, if using, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2 Form mixture into small balls and

roll each ball in any of the garnishes. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to two days. It is not recommended to prepare these in advance and freeze.

SWEET VARIATION: Omit green onions. Add 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and roll in cinnamon. VARIATION: For a Chinese twist, use 1 tablespoon light soy sauce instead of Worcestershire and roll in minced fresh ginger. Source: Enlitened Kosher Cooking by Nechama Cohen 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 www.cookingjewish.com.


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YOU’RE INVITED Setting the Table for Success! BY TANYA SCHWIED

Right: Blue ocean hues work perfectly for Hanukkah. Below: The ultimate coffee table book.

RACHELI MORRIS WALKED up to me in the hallway and I immediately knew it was her. She was so elegant- exactly the way you would think someone who puts together such ornate table settings would put herself together, beautifully. But this beauty has brains too, not only does she lecture on Hebrew and Jewish culture at universities in Southern California; she also mentors teachers of Hebrew and Jewish Studies. She greets me with two kisses, “the Israeli way” she says, and we immediately get into discussing her book and how to set the table for the Jewish holidays. These days there are so many “do’s and don’ts” it’s hard to keep up. Racheli has made it her mission to bring her philosophy and ideas to the masses. She encourages everyone to be creative and bring yourself 48 DECEMBER 2015 |

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and your families’ personality to your table. With more than 70 table settings, a history of the Jewish holidays and delicious recipes, her book serves as a foundation where you can take her ideas and make them your own. It is through the table that traditions are learned and new ones are made. What is so special about Racheli’s book is that she combines her deep knowledge of Jewish studies with her creativity and artfulness so that families can learn, in a meaningful way how to celebrate each Jewish holiday with elegance and style. For those of you with children and grandchildren there is even a page for each holiday appropriately titled, “How to involve the children,” where she goes into some fun, festive ways to include your kids! Whether it is making a decorative cupcake, arrang-


A&E

Left: You can use the golden hues of matza as well.

ALL PHOTOS BY DOROTHY WINEMAN

Below: With all that pretty silver and blue... you can’t go wrong.

ing floral headpieces for the guests to wear, or even creating a menorah out of clay! Another unique idea of hers, which I’m certainly bringing to my table, is printing a matzo out on regular stock paper and using it as a runner. These tips and more are included in Racheli’s book; Celebrate the Jewish Holidays with Racheli Morris, a perfect gift for the holidays! You can buy it on Amazon, at The Golden Dreidle here in Orange County, and the gift shops in the local temples. Her ideas are simple, cost-effective and can be done by anyone. These may look intimidating to some (I’m including myself in this category) but if you start small with simple little personal touches here and there —that’s what people remember the most. She even encouraged me, a single girl on a budget, to

check out the dollar store for fun ideas! The most important thing Racheli learned on her journey is to knock on the door and ask for help. That is such a strong statement and I think says something much more than just setting a table. Of course one has to be ready and willing when opportunity comes knocking for you but that’s only half the battle—the rest is up to you. You must have determination and the chutzpah to knock on the door to get what you want. “Don’t wait for anyone,” says Racheli. What a class act. For more information please visit her website www.rachelimorris.com. A Tanya Schwied graduated from New York University, studied abroad in Israel, and currently works for the CEO and President of Jewish Federation & Family Services.

She even encouraged me, a single girl on a budget, to check out the dollar store for fun ideas! Jlife

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News&Jews OC JEWISH SCENE | DECEMBER 2015

Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli Community Scholar Program held its fall lunch event at the Samueli Jewish Campus in Irvine for a delicious kosher deli luncheon buffet and a talk by Prof. Ted Merwin on his newest book Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli. “This fun and informative examination of the New York Jewish deli is half history and half love story; batampte und geshmacht, with a heaping helping ofsakhel–you’ll kvell before you plotz!” [Eric Michael Mazur, co-editor of God in the Details: American Religion in Popular Culture]

Autism Speaks Out

Soldiers and Peacemakers Moriah Films is proud to present the US Theatrical release of The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers, a documentary film by Richard Trank, produced by Rabbi Marvin Hier. The follow-up to critically acclaimed The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers, will open Friday November 6th at Edwards Westpark 8 Irvine. It is the fourteenth production of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s two-time Academy Award®winning Moriah Films, is an epic film that follows the experiences of the late Ambassador Yehuda Avner during the years he worked for Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin.

Ted Merwin, complete with sandwich.

Experience the power of thousands united by a single cause at the 12th Annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks Orange County 5K Walk and Autism Resource Fair, taking place Saturday, December 6 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Hosted by ABC7 Eyewitness News Anchor Phillip Palmer, this funfilled, family-friendly event will feature a large autism resource fair, kid-friendly activities and live performances by ‘80s new wave band Missing Persons, ‘80s cover band Flashback Heart Attack and more. More than 9,000 are expected to walk including Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. To register or for more information, visit walknowforautismspeaks.org/ orangecounty.

Voices in the Night 200 women attended a girls’ night out at Voices in the Night sponsored by Women’s Philanthropy of Jewish Federation & Family Services. The women enjoyed great food, beautiful ambiance, warm camaraderie and a fun presentation by celebrity gossip comedy blogger Kate Casey. Women’s Voice luncheon will be held March 14, 2016–save the date! 52 DECEMBER 2015 |

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Never Again: A Survivor’s Story

TVT GRAMMY© Nomination

Irvine High School’s club, Jewish Student Connection, put together an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime program for their peers. The students organized for Jack Pariser, a Holocaust survivor who lives in Orange County, to speak to local students about his experiences during the Holocaust and his life today. He is known to be an amazing, engaging speaker and we are proud and fortunate to have him as part of our community. The Bureau of Jewish Education would like to thank Dahvi Cohen, Naomi Bridger, Rose Bridger and Naomi Stein, students and leaders of IHS’s Jewish club, for their hard work in organizing this event, which takes place Wednesday, October 21st 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Irvine High School.

Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School announces that Kevin Bachelder, Director of TVT’s Advanced Institute in Arts & Writing, Chair of the Arts Department, and Music Teacher, along with drummer, Jason Lee Bruns, is being considered in the first round of the 58th GRAMMY© Nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Album. To request a hard copy (CD or Vinyl), for a download link, or to learn more, visit cherryfyc.com. “Cherry Avenue” may also be heard on jazz stations across the country via Pandora Internet Radio.

President Yohanan Plesner

PHOTO BY YOSSI ZELIGER

News&Jews

PHOTO BY CHARLES WEINBERG

The Rabin Assassination and Israeli Democracy

Jack Pariser speaks to the group.

Kevin Bachelder Gary Gould

Hundreds turned out for IDI event, cosponsored by Ynet, which took place at the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv. Throughout the event, speakers ranging from Israeli writer and publicist Marzouk al-Habib, educator and politician Dr. Yifat Bitton, Efrat’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, and IDI’s professors Mordechai Kremnitzer and Yedidia Stern, dialogued through panel discussions about peace, equality and the lessons we can garner today from Rabin.

OC Mega Challah Bake JFFS Women’s Philanthropy members Jan Maddick, Rabbi Corie Yutkin, Laurie Schneider, Cantor Linda Ecker, Elaine Fleisher and Eileen Garbutt.

Over 1,600 women attended The Annual OC Mega Challah Bake. The event was an opportunity for the OC Jewish community to come together uniting Jewish women of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations in a communal event that transcends external differences as the making of challah “reflects a different foundation of spiritual energy and blessing.” The goal of the event was to gather the Orange County Jewish Community in solidarity in support of our fellow Jews in Israel and against world wide antisemitism. Jlife

| DECEMBER 2015 53


LIFESTYLE

Many of us struggle annually in our search for deeper meaning within Hanukkah.

IT’S NOT ALL LATKES & DREIDELS A Deeper Meaning Behind Hanukkah BY ADAM CHESTER

HANUKKAH IS MORE than eating a bounty of latkes and donuts, spinning dreidels, and watching cartoon Adam Sandler sing 8 Crazy Nights. Each year friends whip out the “Ugly Hanukkah Sweaters,” doublefisting gelt and gefilte into their mouths while lighting candles, unsure if the menorah should ignite from the left or the right. Last minute gift purchases are shipped to relatives, and Netflix is substituted for quality time once spent with family. Yet, traditions aside, many of us struggle annually in our search for deeper meaning within the holiday. Certainly, reminiscing about Tommy and Angelica Pickles in the Rugrats version of Hanukkah undoubtedly elucidates memories of the beautiful themes 54 DECEMBER 2015 |

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around the miracle of light. However, after gifts are given and fried-food consumed, memories return of sitting around the family room waiting for parents to bring down presents. Thoughts of singing Hanukkah songs, holding hands, and dancing the Horah (which wasn’t cool as a teenager) are all we really want. So how do we find meaning in a tradition that as children means presents, and as adults, mirrors the theme of elongated holiday parties? Hanukkah was only popularized in American Jewry as a commercialized holiday in the mid1800’s, as Jews looked for ways to adapt to American life, celebrating Hanukkah alongside Christmas. Widely observing Hanukkah in the manner it’s celebrated today began in the

1970’s, when Rabbi Menachem Schneerson (The Renowned Lubavitcher Rebbe) called for public awareness of the festival, encouraging public lighting of menorahs. From a religious point of view, Hanukkah is an important, albeit minor holiday. There are no restrictions on working or fasting, and it’s one of the few Jewish holidays not mentioned in the Torah. So where did Hanukkah gain significance? Before modern day traditions, and preceding the Rebbe’s call for public recognition and practice, Hanukkah was about celebrating history. After the Greeks had destroyed the Second Temple and massacred thousands of people, the Maccabees, led by Matisyahu and his 5 sons, defeated the Greeks. The Jews then reclaimed the temple in Jerusalem and lit the menorah, the basis of the famous story of the jar of oil that miraculously burned for eight days. Hanukah, literally translating to “dedication,” is a rededication to the Second Temple. As modern-day Israelis protect themselves against attacks, they can connect with the ancient Maccabee fighters who stood their ground in the same place. Hanukkah’s positive portrayal of the Jewish fighter speaks to the reality of early Zionists and modern Jews who feel particularly connected to the message of freedom and liberty. Today, if seeking to deeply connect with Hanukkah, start by recognizing the issues raised by it’s history: oppression, religious freedom, and fighting for independence. Hanukkah has developed into a holiday rich with historical significance, miraculous narratives, and a deeprooted dedication to Judaism. Think of what “dedication” means. To whom or what can you dedicate yourself? How might you dedicate yourself? Hopefully, as the Festival of Lights approaches this year, a deeper connection can be established, and a renewed dialogue with Jewish history can be made. A Adam Chester graduated from UCSD with a degree in Psychology and is the NextGen Outreach & Engagement Coordinator at JFFS.


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Jlife

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LIFESTYLE

Who couldn’t use their own 5-foot mensch? BELOW: Mensch on A Bench makes a splash in the Shark Tank.

MENSCHING AROUND Hanukkah Shining Bright with New Traditions BY DVORAH LEWIS

MENORAH TREES, GINGERBREAD houses and sweaters are the latest additions to the ancient tradition. These new customs not only prove to be another way to include non-Jewish friends and family in the Festival of Lights but are also a way to reinforce Jewish identity during this time of year. And strengthening Jewish identity is exactly what Neal Hoffman set out to do after gaining inspiration from his son to create the Hanukkah version of Elf on a Shelf. Meet the Mensch on a Bench. In only two years, Hoffman went from Kickstarter to Shark Tank. He’s even appeared on Today and The View. Unlike its Christmas counterpart, children are meant to play with Mensch on a Bench. Every night the doll sits on his bench and watches over the menorah as the candles burn brightly. Accompanying the doll is a book telling the story of Hanukkah as well as how to 56 DECEMBER 2015 |

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be a mensch. The toy was originally intended for children, however, it has reached an older demographic, including celebrities like Seth Green and Tom Arnold. A five-foot Mensch doll was even sent to James Franco’s Bar Mitzvah in October. Mensch on a Bench provides the solution to the December Dilemma for children and adults alike! Even though some would frown upon the adoption of Christmas-inspired traditions and say it’s just another way to commercialize Hanukkah, Hoffman explains, “I am an interfaith dad who wants more Judaism in the house.” The toy teaches about traditions and serves as an educational tool for both Jews and non-Jews. Adopting new traditions to fit Hanukkah is a reflection of the multicultural society we live in. Hoffman recognizes that Mensch on a Bench takes on the traditional Jewish characteristics, and he plans to

launch additional characters that will break the Orthodox mold and reflect the diversity of the Jewish community. Also said to be in the works is a Hanukkah cartoon special. For now, if you want to see what you look like as a mensch, there’s an app for that. Similar to Elf Yourself, the Mensch on a Bench app allows users to paste their face on a mensch and dance to the Maccabeats “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.” Now that’s what I call adding more “Funukkah to Hanukkah!” Stay tuned for some more menschy surprises from Mensch on a Bench! Check out www. menschonabench.com for more information. A Dvorah Lewis is pursuing her Master’s in Library & Information Science with a specialization in Archival Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.


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LIFESTYLE

NextGen

Hila Shprecher, Sharon Shenhav and Jason Sarkozi

PJ Library & University Synagogue Story in the Sukkah Program

When it comes to building community for Jewish young adults in Orange County, NextGen has got you covered! Shalom Family hosted two fantastic Sukkot programs on September 30 in both north and central OC so all families could attend! Mommies, Daddies, and Kendra Gerber, Lisa Grier and Alane Schechter their little ones read stories and shared meals under the Sukkah to celebrate Sukkot as a community. On September 26, NextGen Pairs hosted a bowling night in Costa Mesa filled with appetizers, drinks, and fun! On October 25, NextGen had a great time exploring the Newport Beach Back Bay with a fun Don’t Miss Sunday morning JewGlue’s hike!

Hanukkah Happy Hour Dec. 10 at 6p.m.

Tami & Gregg Applefield

58 DECEMBER 2015 |

Nicole Lahmani & son Liam

Jlife

Shalom Family & JewGlue

Shalom Family and JewGlue are programs of NextGen, the young adult department of Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS). For more information about NextGen and to learn about upcoming events, contact us at NextGen@jffs. org , or visit JewishOC.org/ NextGen.


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LIFESTYLE

PHOTO BY CHARLES WEINBERG

Rabbi Stephen Einstein and Lev Echad founder, Hemi Banner meet with Jlife on Banner’s recent trip to the states.

LEV ECHAD

Putting our hearts in just the right place. BY TRACEY ARMSTRONG GORSKY

NO MATTER WHAT uniform they wear, all first responders are heroes. From the soot-covered firefighter “yellows” to the EMT “blues,” these uniforms make a statement. When you see them, you know that help is here and more is on the way. However, not all first responders wear the garb we readily recognize. Sometimes the first person on the scene is actually a civilian... your every day “Average Joe” if you will. And like most other “Average Joes” we want to lend a hand, but we just don’t know how or where to begin. Well, that is where Lev EchadCommunity Crisis Aid steps in. Lev Echad is an Israeli organization that was established in 2005. The organization is dedicated to putting volunteers in the right places when it matters most. In fact, it is the only Israeli organization that is entirely devoted to empowering and mobilizing volunteer efforts in times of emergency. 60 DECEMBER 2015 |

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“Many times people want to help, but they just don’t know how to go about it,” says Hemi Banner, the founder of Lev Echad. “If volunteers come into an emergency situation and don’t know where and when it is appropriate to help, they can actually cause more harm than help because they overwhelm the emergency responders that are already on sight. Lev Echad works directly with all the professional agencies involved to plug volunteers in exactly where they are needed most.” Specifically, Lev Echad collaborates with the regional authorities and with the Home Front Command and the relevant government offices. Since its establishment the organization has operated over 26,000 civilian volunteers. Operation Protective Edge saw 8,000 volunteers alone who helped in many different areas, not all of them expected. For example, during this volatile time there was a blind man who

was stuck in his home for several days. He was relatively safe in his home, but due to the chaos outside and the sounds of the sirens, he was unable to get out with his service dog to get provisions. He literally ran out of food and it was the volunteers from Lev Echad that came to his aid. Lev Echad is now getting a helping hand from the states as well, especially from three very special Orange County residents. Rabbi Stephen Einstein who is the founding Rabbi and Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley and his wife, Robin, have been to Israel several times. They made six trips with Sharon Haber, a former president and former executive director of Congregation B’nai Tzedek. Sharon and Robin spent three of those trips in a volunteer capacity and on their recent Operation Protective Edge trip they met a volunteer from Lev Echad. They were motivated to help and continue to do so to this day. They have helped establish a non-profit organization called Friends of Lev Echad. This organization aims to raise funds stateside for the Israeli-based Lev Echad. They are a shining example of how you can still plug in and help, even if you’re more than 5,000 miles away. For more information on helping Lev Echad, visit www.levechad.org or www. FriendsofLevEchad.org. or make purchases to contribute through www.smileamazon.com or www.igive.com. A Tracey Armstrong Gorsky is a contributing writer to Jlife magazine.


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| DECEMBER 2015 61


LIFESTYLE

MONDAYS NOV. 23 – DEC. 28 (6 classes) 9:00 – 10:15 AM Gentle Yogalates Merage JCC TUESDAY, DEC. 8 11:00 AM – NOON Rabbi Leah Lewis Freedom as Defined in the Tale of Hanukkah, and Today Merage JCC

SENIORS

CALENDAR DECEMBER 2015

MONDAYS 10:00 AM News & Views Merage JCC 10:00 – 11:00 AM What’s Up Bob & Ruth Wilkoff Ezra AAFC 10:00 AM Tai Chi/ Jack Finkelstein Ezra AAFC 10:30 AM Stretching/ Jerry Steinberg Ezra AAFC 11:00 AM Various Lecture Topics Ezra AAFC 11:30 AM Drop-in Bridge Merage JCC 7:00 PM Drop-in Mah Jongg Merage JCC TUESDAYS 10:30 AM The View for Women of All Ages Merage JCC

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WEDNESDAYS & FRIDAYS 8:45 AM & 10:00 AM Gentle Yoga Merage JCC THURSDAYS 9:30 AM Keeping Fit/ Mel Grossman Ezra AAFC 10:30 AM Various Lecture Topics Ezra AAFC FRIDAYS 10:00 AM Men’s Club at the JCC Merage JCC THURSDAY, DEC. 3 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM The Path to Mah Jongg Wisdom Speaker/Author Karen Gooen Luncheon and Play Mah Jongg Merage JCC

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 9 “Writing for Reminiscences” Marilyn Silverstein Temple Beth Tikvah THURSDAY, DEC. 10 Hanukkah Celebration with Rabbi Joel Berman Ezra Center

Please enjoy this poem by one of the many friends of the Ezra Center.

A TRIBUTE TO THE EZRA CENTER BY CLAIRE RUTH BROWN LAZERSON

Jerry Silverman had a dream That has become a reality A place to meet, a place to learn With just a very minor fee

THURSDAY, DEC. 10 Community Hanukkah Celebration Open to the Community Ezra Center

With some Federation backing And grants obtained from Disney, too Speakers who volunteered their time Leadership with a helpful view

TUESDAY, Dec. 15 10:00 – 11:30 AM Books & Bagels The Jazz Palace by Mary Morris Merage JCC

It was called the Ezra Center Mondays and Thursdays, like Ezra spoke Lectures, movies, entertainment Ezra attracted many folk

THURSDAY, DEC. 17 10:00 & 11:15 AM Concluding Ceremony Entertainment by Cantor Nancy Linder and Bob Altman Ezra Center

Soup, salad, main course, and dessert A Kosher lunch Anita cooked A place to eat and socialize Plus cards and games, as some partook

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: gerid@jccoc.org. 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. For reservations please contact Michelle Sandler at: (949) 423-3746

Jerry and Mel as presidents Planning committees for trips and such Eva's programs, which taught us all And many others we owe so much Margalit kept Ezra running Collecting funds, the business end With bulletins and lunch tickets And email messages to send We learned, we sang, we laughed, we spoke Had special plans for holidays The closeness gained, the friendships made We all enjoyed the happy days!


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Jlife

| DECEMBER 2015 63


LIFESTYLE

ORANGE COUNTY’S JEWISH HISTORY President Isaac Cohen BY DALIA TAFT

BORN IN STRASSBURG, Prussia in 1848, Isaac Cohen arrived in Los Angeles in 1868 and became a U.S. citizen on July 20, 1871. Five years later, he and his two younger brothers Leopold and Max moved to Anaheim to run the general store Isaac had purchased, and this is where he began his active involvement in politics. According to the Jewish Museum of the American West, “The interesting political positions Isaac Cohen held in two of the Southland’s cities and the United States Treasury Department post he held for a time merit historical attention.” Among his numerous achievements: appointment to the LA County Centennial Committee to help plan our country’s hundredth anniversary celebration (1876), chairman of the Anaheim municipal election nominating committee (1878), Isaac Cohen, c. 1910 member of the Anaheim City Council (1878), delegate to the State Democratic Convention in Sacramento (1880), inspector for the U. S. Treasury Department (18851890), and president (mayor) of Redondo Beach (1894-1895). He later retired to Los Angeles, where he continued to live with his wife Emma (née Stencel) until his death in 1930 at 82 years of age. A local Jewish newspaper stated that even at the age of 80, “Cohen’s mental alertness and physical vigor… generate in him an unceasing interest in the march of present events.” Dalia Taft, archivist of the Orange County Jewish Historical Society - a program of Jewish Federation & Family Services - highlights images from the archives every month. For more information, please visit www.jewishorangecounty.org. You can also contact Dalia at history@jffs.org or at (949) 435-3484, ext. 167. 64 DECEMBER 2015 |

Jlife

BLOGOSPHERE Jlife wants to acknowledge some of the interesting blogs related to the Jewish community. Enjoy! IT’S A “GOOD THING” The Queen of Everything, Martha Stewart breaks down all her Hanukkah crafts and decoration ideas. From dreidel card holders to a Manzanita branch menorah this site has got it all.

marthastewart.com/856903/ hanukkah-crafts-and-decorations WHISTLEBLOWER OUTS TOP DREIDEL CHAMPIONS Adolfo Moceri, the 2010 and 2012 International Dreidel Champion, spinning out of Chieti Italy, came clean today about four seasons of his spinning career in which he used performance-enhancing drugs.

messiroots.wordpress.com THIRTY-ONE THINGS TO DO OUTSIDE OF CHRISTMAS STUFF Yes, it is that time of year again when every non-Christmas celebrating family is bombarded by a never-ending flow of jingles, baubles, and cookies galore. This year one mom has “made it her mission to tackle December and embrace the holidays in a whole new way.”

raisingamensch.wordpress.com


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Advertising Index

61 A&B Home Health Care 25 Albertson’s 63 Allan Silverman 31 Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine 25 Avarelle & David Silver-Westrick 34 Benjies 47 Blueberry Hill 25 B’nai Brith 2 Bowers Museum 55 Bradley S. Erodsi Esq 63 Bristol Watch Caregivers 63 Bubbe and Zayde’s Place 35 Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP

66 DECEMBER 2015 |

34 Callahan & Blaine 34 Camp Hess Cramer 68 Community Scholar Program 15 Congregation Beth Jacob 13 Congregation B’nai Tzedek 12 Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot 57 Crews4Kids 14 DJ Yoav Azvelos 14 Door Dash 61 Dr. Blake 65 Dr. Ivar Roth 14 Feig Law Firm 39 Friends of Yad Sarah 7 Gelson’s Market

Jlife

55 Golden Dreidle 63 Harbor Lawn 9 Heritage Pointe 22 Jewish Community Center 23 Jewish Community Center 21 Jewish Federation and Family Services 50 Jewish Federation and Family Services 51 Jewish Federation and Family Services 55 Kaufman, Steinberg LLP 31 Klein Financial 39 Laguna Playhouse 4 La Jolla Playhouse 43 Long Beach Ballet

11 Lucky Strike Bowling 19 Lynda Zussman 59 Melvin M. Browndorf Realtor 33 Mortensen & Reinheimer PC 61 Naples Vacuum Elevators 10 Orangewood Foundation 19 Outcome Genii 13 Party Scapes Unlimited 27 Prov31wraps 5 Ralph’s Market 15 Safeway/Von’s 32 Sherri Primes 19 Soul Mates Unlimited

59 South Coast Repatory Theater 3 Stater Brothers 59 Stoddard Group 6 24 Carrots 13 Temple Bat Yahm 10 Temple Beth Tikvah 19 Temple Beth El 27 Temple Beth El 11 Temple Beth Sholom 19 Torah with Liora 67 Tustin Ranch 39 VITAS


Jlife

| DECEMBER 2015 67


ORANGE COUNTY’S JEWISH YOUTH & PARENTS

LARGER THAN LIFE The Bravest Kids on Earth

SPARK some MEMORIES Making the Most of

MITZVAH DAY ON CHRISTMAS The many ways to give back.

Hanukkah

DECEMBER 2015


Now Enrolling Kindergarten–3rd Grades

PLANTING JEWISH ROOTS

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949-478-6818 www.irvinehebrewday.org

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a peek inside december 2015

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SPARK SOME MEMORIES

MITZVAH DAY ON CHRISTMAS

LARGER THAN LIFE

Making the Most of Hanukkah

The many ways to give back.

Meet some of the bravest kids on Earth.

also inside! Editor’s Note 06 Super Shabbos 07

For December Calendar Events please visit: www.ocjewishlife.com

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THE MIRACLE OF HANUKKAH

KOSHER DOG CONTEST

Lighting the way to our history.

Meet Our Top Dawg!


Make your world more beautiful. GIFTS CANVAS PILLOWS ART PRINTS GREETING CARDS IPHONE CASES LAPTOP SKINS

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EDITOR’S NOTE

kiddish

PUBLISHER ORANGE COUNTY JEWISH LIFE EDITOR IN CHIEF TRACEY ARMSTRONG GORSKY, MBA CREATIVE DIRECTOR RACHEL BELLINSKY COPYEDITOR JOSH NAMM CONTRIBUTING WRITERS TAMMY KECES,, M.A., AUDRA MARTIN, LISA MONETTE, SUE PENN, M. ED., HANNAH SCHOENBAUM ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES DIANE BENAROYA (SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE) MARTIN STEIN (SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE)

L

ight up the candles and spin those dreidels because Hanukkah is here! The Festival of Lights is upon us and we here at Kiddish are beyond excited. It doesn’t

even matter that Christmas is choking the shelves of

every major box store we frequent, we know where to look. Before you can even say “Black Friday” we have already made a beeline for that one lonely Hannukah product section of the store. We have cleared out all the cute Judaica we could get our hands on and have a stock pile of blue candy canes on stand by. We are ready to go! However, this time of year isn’t just about commandeering all the blue and silver holiday items

EDITORIAL (949) 230-0581

TARMSTRONG24@GMAIL.COM ADVERTISING (949) 812-1891

SALES@OCJEWISHLIFE.COM ART

ART@OCJEWISHLIFE.COM ORANGE COUNTY JEWISH LIFE AND KIDDISH ARE PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY

we can find. It is actually about family and our heritage. It is

ORANGE COUNTY JEWISH LIFE, LLC

a time to come together with the people we love. Hanukkah

1 FEDERATION WAY, IRVINE, CA 92603

is also a time to celebrate our history, our strength and our resilience. We are Jewish and we are proud. Check out this latest issue of Kiddish for some great ways to plug in to the community this season and for some fun ideas to celebrate at home. And to the nice lady who was eyeing those blue candy canes as well, my apologies… they promised me they’re getting more in stock.

— 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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ACROSS 2. ‫( מלאך‬3:6) 4. ‫( חיל‬4:6) 6. ‫( כהן‬3:1) 8. ‫( בת‬2:14)

DOWN 1. ‫( ראש‬4:7) 3. ‫( שמר‬3:7) 5. ‫( ראה‬4:2) 7. ‫( אדון‬4:4)

(Hint: Chanukah)

SDEANLC NAHOUTICS

(scramble) ADCIETED BCIZPEULI LMEETP HTIGE

WORD CMRLESAB

• On which Rosh Chodesh do we recite the full Hallel? • On which Rosh Chodesh do we not recite Hallel at all? • How many blessings are in Hallel?

blessings

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Check your answers at: www.thefamousabba.com/chanukah

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Complete the crossword by translating each Hebrew word into English. The reference is from the Haftorah in Zechariah, which is read on Shabbat Chanukah.

CROSSWORD

Share with a friend or family member 2 things that made you think about HaShem this week.

WEEK IN REVIEW

I was brought before the king Antiochus with my seven sons. The king ordered my sons to acknowledge his godliness by bowing down to an idol of himself. All my sons refused to obey the king and to leave Judaism, so the king killed all of them.

whO AM I?

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© 2015 The Famous Abba

Brought to you by:

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WORD FIND

Find the bold italic words on this sheet. The unused letters spell a secret message!

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In 167 BCE, Antiochus Epiphanes of the Syrian-Greek Empire tried to force the Jews in his empire to practice his Greek religion. Antiochus desecrated the Bait Hamikdash, set up pagan idols, and gave the Jews the option of practicing Hellenism or facing death. Many Jews converted to Hellenism, but some refused to leave their Jewish faith. Antiochus also banned basic mitzvot such as: kashrut, shabbat, brit milah, and celebrating Rosh Chodesh and holidays. Matityahu the Kohen Gadol together with his sons, the Chashmonaim, fought back and, although greatly outnumbered, managed to miraculously defeat the Syrian-Greek army. The Maccabees did not gain complete freedom, but the Bait HaMikdash was reclaimed and Jews were able to practice their religion again. Upon entry to the Bait Hamikdash, the Chashmonaim found only one sealed cruse of pure olive oil. This oil, sufficient to burn for one day, miraculously burned for 8 days and nights. Almost a year later, the 2nd Bait Hamikdash was rededicated on the 25th day of Kislev, which is the date the Sages set to begin the celebration of Chanukah. Over the course of the 8 days of Chanukah we read from the Torah about the inauguration of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) in the midbar and of the mitzvah instructed to Aharon to light the menorah daily. By reading these portions, we connect the rededication of the Mikdash to the bravery of the Maccabees, and the commandment given to their ancestor Aharon to light the menorah and dedicate the Mishkan.

EIGHT

LATKES

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weekly chinuch podcast - OVER 100 posted! CHINUCH + Parsha < 5 minutes www.thefamousabba.com/podcasts

400 300 200 100 90

‫א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת‬

‫ר‬ - ‫קצט‬

When there is a 2nd Shabbat Chanukah, the Haftorah is read from:

GEMATRIA

• Your neighbor did not have a menorah in his window during Chanukah. • A cousin canceled the family Chanukah party at the last moment.

Can you judge these situations favorably?

SEASON

MENORAH

you be the judge

MIRACLES KINDLE

spot the difference

Which one is different? (Hint: Hanerot Halalu - “These Candles”)

• The Chashmonaim cleaning the Holy Temple and re-dedicating it on the 25th of Kislev. • A Hellinist telling you not to observe Shabbat, kashrus, or other Jewish laws and what you would do.

Act out these scenes with friends and family:

chanukah SKIT ideas

• The Maccabees found one jar of oil in the Holy Temple with enough oil to burn for 1 night, but the candles burned for 8 days. • A small army of religious Jews led by the Maccabees defeated the mighty Greek army.

Wonders of hashem

SUPER CHANUKAH SHEET 25 KISLEV 5776 CHANUKAH


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DECEMBER 2015

kiddish

Spark Some Memories Making the Most of Hanukkah BY TAMMY KECES

fire. Fortunately, no serious damage

Who doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t love a fistful of gelt?

ever resulted from these incidents and the family gets a chuckle retelling these stories many years later. Although Hanukkah should be a time to create joyful memories, reality can sometimes bring unwanted stress. Whether it be struggles managing our time during the eight-day extravaganza, shopping frantically for the perfect gifts or attempting to cook up a delicious latke feast for family and friends, we sometimes get caught up in the self-

G

imposed holiday pressure and lose sight of

rowing up, our local fire

the true meaning of Hanukkah which tells

department got to know our

the story of bravery against all odds and

family well during Hanukkah:

the miracles that occur during times of

if it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a grease fire from

darkness. This year, as we stand with our

splattering latke oil, it was our dog who went to fetch his new stuffed dreidel

children by our sides feeling the warmth from the flickering candles, we should glow with gratitude for our own daily

toy, knocking over the table full of

miracles. As the smells of latkes fill our

menorahs causing the curtains to catch

homes, we can shed our stress and focus


kiddish

9

DECEMBER 2015

The Festival of Lights sparks even the youngest of imaginations.

As your family embarks on the eight nights of Hanukkah, try some new ideas to make the holiday personally meaningful and memorable:

on the simple Hanukkah traditions that bring depth and meaning to our lives. Reflecting on our childhood memories, it is not the gifts but the feelings we had lighting the menorah together, playing dreidel, hearing our young brother or sister say the blessings on the candles for the first time, or sneaking a piping hot latke off the kitchen platter before they left the kitchen. Keeping Hanukkah simply about togetherness and tradition and less about consumerism will set your family up for a time of joy rather than a time of

• Experiment with different latke recipes and have a family taste test • Make homemade sufganiyot (traditional jelly donuts) • Create homemade menorahs with materials found around the house or in nature • Make homemade Hanukkah cards and send them to family and friends • Attend a community candle lighting • Play dreidel with coins and then donate to tzedakah

frustration. This year, challenge yourself: rather than spending your time on Amazon, find the perfect gift with togetherness, appreciation and celebrating the miracle of the Jewish people. ✿ Tammy Keces M.A. is the principle of Irvine Hebrew Day School and a lead Certified Positive Discipline Trainer.

Or my personal favorite: Invite a family or an individual who may not have strong Jewish ties to experience Hanukkah with you. What better way to celebrate than to share it with others?

KEEPING HANUKKAH SIMPLY ABOUT TOGETHERNESS AND LESS ABOUT CONSUMERISM WILL SET YOUR FAMILY UP FOR A TIME OF JOY.


10

DECEMBER 2015

kiddish

Mitzvah Day on Christmas The many ways to give back. BY AUDRA MARTIN

JCC Cares offers many ways to give back this holiday season.

JCC Cares rounded up nearly a dozen family-friendly volunteering opportunities. No matter the age of your children or family’s interests, chances are there is a program to fulfill your holiday volunteering desires. Visit

www.jccoc.org for these and more: •

Veteran’s First-Cook breakfast for veterans.

Lighthouse Church-Cook breakfast for the homeless.

C

ommon lore suggests

to help and to teach our children the

Christmas day eating

true spirit of the season,” Sheila Dalva-

Chinese food and going

Hornback, who plans to volunteer this

to the movies. JCC Cares, a social

Christmas at the Lighthouse Church with

action program at the Merage Jewish

her husband, son, mother and sister.

Community Center, seeks to change

Christmas party and cookie

“This provides an opportunity

that Jewish people spend

For the second year in a row, JCC

the stereotype. JCC Cares is sponsoring

Cares volunteers will converge on the

a variety of Christmas Day volunteer

Lighthouse Church to make a Christmas

projects for families and individuals.

brunch of breakfast burritos, fruit and

Young and old, will cook and serve

goodies for 100+ homeless people.

breakfast, bake cookies, play bingo, and

In addition, volunteers will hand out

add cheer to our community.

necessary hygiene items to the guests.

Crossing Church-Mid-day decorating for the homeless.

Atria Senior Home-Visit with seniors, play bingo, and serve cookies.

Fire stations-Bake cookies at the JCC and deliver to local firehouses.

Ronald McDonald House-Bake treats for the residents and lead them in a craft. ✿

Audra Martin has worked with children in the JCC field for over 18 years, she is the Director of Children and Camp at the Merage JCC. Contact Audra at audram@jccoc.org.


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DECEMBER 2015

kiddish

Larger Than Life Meet some of the bravest kids on Earth. BY KIDDISH

W

e bask in the California

item than just a “treat” that’s a short car

sunshine for the

ride away?

majority of the year. We run down to the

beach to get our nature fix with relative

a possibility. Larger than Life is a non-

ease. We look at Disneyland as a special

profit organization founded in 2000 by a

family treat, but inwardly gripe about the

group of parents of children with cancer.

$100-plus single guest admission price.

They help not just the children that are

We do these things without a second

affected, but their entire families as

thought really, but what if things were

well. And like the cancer they’re fighting,

different? What if the typical sound of

Larger than Life doesn’t discriminate. This

crashing waves was replaced with the

organization treats all Israelis no matter

sound of alarm sirens? And what if a trip

what their race or religion.

to Disneyland was more of a bucket list

Above: The Vrobel Famiy with all the wonderful gift bags they put together for the kids. Right: The kids and Benny Mor, who graciously opened his house for a memorable dinner.

Well, meet the volunteers of Larger than Life. They make dreams like this

Jlife caught up with this wonderful


kiddish

13

DECEMBER 2015

Left: Larger Than Life helps make memories to last a lifetime. Below: Friends helping friends was just second nature for this bunch.

organization on their annual trip to

home. For others, it was a chance to be

the States and was left with a lasting

a “kid,” not just a “patient” battling this

impression. Over 40 kids—some as young

terrible disease.

as 7-years-old—recently came to the greater Los Angeles-Orange County area with Larger than Life to take in the sites, meet Mickey (although Six Flags seemed to be the bigger hit for most) and take a much needed vacation. But this wasn’t just any vacation, this one was special. It was facilitated by incredible volunteers,

What really stood out though were the relationships being forged. These kids don’t care what language you speak, what G-d you pray to or what the color of your skin is. They just want to make friends: and make them they did. Many came home with wonderful new friends,

included on-site oncologists to monitor

cherished memories and some California

these kids’ special needs and was filled

sunshine in their pockets. For more

with heart and inspiration. For some

information on how you can help please

kids, it was their very first trip away from

visit www.largerthanlifeusa.org. ✿

AND LIKE THE CANCER THEY’RE FIGHTING, LARGER THAN LIFE DOESN’T DISCRIMINATE.


14

DECEMBER 2015

kiddish

The Miracle of Hanukkah Lighting the way to our history. BY SUE PENN

Always use adult supervision when lighting the menorah.

stories with our children, teaching them traditions that have bound us together for generations, hoping that they’ll continue these traditions, letting the light of Judaism guide us into the future. The miracles of Hanukkah are numerous, like the meaning behind the candles we light on Shabbat, in memorial, and for the eight nights Hanukkah. We remember the miracle of the small army of Maccabbees saving the Jews against all odds, the story of the miracle

E

very Friday night, Jewish women bring in the Shabbat

of the oil that lasts for eight days even everything we do. As we kindle our candles and carry

though there is only enough for one, and the fact that we, as a nation, are still

by lighting candles all over

the light forward into the future, we can

strong and vibrant after all the years of

the world. This tradition

remember and preserve the miracles of

persecution and suffering. The candles

has been passed down through the

Hanukkah. Each night for eight nights,

bring us together, binding past, present

generations, linking us to those who

we light the candles, sing songs, eat fried

and future generations of Jewish people,

came before and to those who will

foods, play dreidel, and spend time with

carrying our legacy of culture, tradition

follow us. The candle that we light once

family and friends. We build tradition

and heritage forward--yet another, albeit

a year on the anniversary of the passing

around the candles. In this very busy

modern day, miracle of Hanukkah. ✿

of our ancestors reminds us of how

life, we often struggle to find the time

they impacted our lives. Those who are

to enjoy the company of those we love.

no longer with us shape our behavior

When we come together to light the

and decisions through our memories

candles, let’s remember who taught

of them, thus making them a part of

us these traditions. Let’s share their

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


kiddish

15

DECEMBER 2015

kosher dog MEET DECEMBER’S WINNER, OUR TOP DAWG!

N

ot only is it my 10-year anniversary working with Orange County Jewish Life magazine, it’s the 10-year anniversary of bringing this little girl home. Special Agent Dale Cooper, nerdily named after my favorite TV character, celebrated her 10th birthday this month with a new stuffed fox and a few extra biscuits. She is not my pet—she is my surrogate kid, my constant companion, my napping partner and my favorite photographic subject. I’d never had my own dog before, and the amount of intelligence and character contained in one small creature continues to amaze me. Happy birthday Cooper! I am so lucky to know you.

— Rachel Bellinsky

Be our next 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 editorjlife@gmail.com 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 and put their picture in the magazine.


We would look great on your coffee table.

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