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July 2014 Tammuz/Av 5774

ORANGE COUNTY JEWISH LIFE

White & Blue Genes Exploring Our Genetic Genealogy

Making a Mishpucha A Look at Fertility Treatments Today “Jersey Boys” Hits the OC An Up-Close Look at This Hit Play

T KIDS? GO

MAGAZINE OK

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inside 56

PROFILE

16

He Served a Lifetime Remembering Rabbi Haim Asa

“Rebbe” A great read and even better guide.

VIEWPOINT

LIFESTYLE

60

17

A Friend to Us All Honoring Rabbi Haim Asa

18

Israel Scene Sandy Summer Shabbats

20

On the Lighter Side DNA and Diaspora

22

Israeli Guy Deficit Spending or Modest Living? FEATURES

Comically Jewish An exploration of Jews and comics.

44

62

History/Blogs Orange County’s Jewish History & The Blogosphere

64

Genes We All Wear Jews are connecting in more ways than you think.

65

Rachel Goes Rogue Break In Thought

52

66

30

Dena DNA Presenting Genetics in an Entertaining Way

Fresh Orange Jews O.C.’s Fresh Faces

32

Stock In Israel Banking On Fischer

Making a Mishpucha Fertility Treatments Today

67

IN EVERY ISSUE

36

Jersey Boys Meet OC The Season for Theater

40

Oy Vey League I-Fest: Celebrating Israel at UCI

44

Is Cloning Kosher? Science allows us the opportunity but “should” we?

12

First and Foremost Genetically Chosen

14 46

News & Jews O.C. Jewish Scene

50

Seniors Calendar Fitness, Education & More

Concert Calendar Courtesy of the Orange County Concert Guide

Advertising Index

52

Cooking Jewish with Judy Bart Kancigor Jlife

50

Letters/Who Knew Words from our Readers

68

A&E

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70

Look inside for Kiddish, our new insert publication, right after page 36.

24 On the Cover

White & Blue Genes: Exploring our genetic genealogy.


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PUBLISHER | MODY GORSKY, LLM, MBA PUBLISHER | MARK EDELSTEIN PUBLISHER | MOTAN, LLC PUBLISHER EMERITUS | DR. MARK MOSS MANAGING EDITOR | TRACEY ARMSTRONG GORSKY EXECUTIVE EDITOR | DR. LISA GRAJEWSKI EXECUTIVE EDITOR | FLORENCE DANN GEN Y EDITOR | RACHEL SCHIFF FOOD EDITOR | JUDY BART KANCIGOR ART DIRECTOR | RACHEL BELLINSKY CONTRIBUTING WRITERS MARTIN BROWER, ADAM CHESTER, FLORENCE DANN, RABBI DAVID ELIEZRIE, HARRIETTE ELLIS, JUDY FLORMAN, STEFANEE FREEDMAN, EVE GUMPEL, DEBORAH LEWIS, CARINE NADEL, PAMELA PRICE, NAOMI RAGEN, ILENE SCHNEIDER, MAYRAV SAAR, RACHEL SCHIFF, ANDREA SIMANTOV, REINA SLUTSKE, TEDDY WEINBERGER COPYEDITOR MICHELLE ITEN EDITORIAL INTERN HANNAH SCHOENBAUM CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS/ARTISTS RACHEL BELLINSKY, ALLEN BEREZOVSKY, PEPE FAINBERG, JANET LAWRENCE, CHARLES WEINBERG

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


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FIRST & FOREMOST

GENETICALLY CHOSEN Where Do We Strand On Jews and Genes? BY DR. LISA GRAJEWSKI

AS HUMAN BEINGS, we are fascinated about genetics and DNA — the stuff we are made of — especially since the completion of the Human Genome Project, which determined the sequence of chemical base pairs that make up human DNA and identified and mapped all of the genes from a physical and functional perspective. Genetics is also loaded with controversy as we enter an age where stem cells are making or breaking elections and creating divisions in boardrooms, classrooms and places of worship. Genetics as a topic could fill dozens of issues of this magazine, let alone one issue. The topic, so technical, is likely beyond the scope of Orange County JLife — but that does not mean we cannot attempt to weave this beguiling Like the human topic into something our readgenome, ers will learn from and enjoy. important for understanding Like the human genome, our Jewish the possibility of treatments our Jewish community is dicommunity is and cures for diseases that have verse and full of surprises. diverse and full gone unchecked. We have in our community of surprises. And then there is the topic Jews from all over the world of genetic genealogy. How do — Jews who, if they were to we explain the genetic ethniclook at their DNA, would find ity of a religion? Judaism is a origins in Iraq, Iran, Eastern Europe and Asia culture, yet Ashkenazi Jews are used in many and hidden Jews who, until they researched genetic studies to eliminate variables as they their genes, had no idea they were Jewish. And provide a homogenous population to study. perhaps, as mentioned by Catherine Afarian, Yes, we are a religion; however, there are genes spokesperson for 23 and Me, there are Jews in we carry that lead to a higher propensity of our community with no genetic links to Judacertain diseases among Jews. Therein lies the ism whatsoever. question of ethnicity that is so often a difficult Our opinions of genetics — especially the topic to hone. topic of cloning — are no less diverse. In this Join us as we explore a topic that varies as issue, we hear an Orthodox Jewish woman much as the human gene holds in informawho also happens to be a molecular biologist tion. This month we will also delve into the give her perspective on cloning. The topic, one personal and poignant experience of fertility that has created many heated conversations, is 12 JULY 2014 |

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treatment; learn about the plight of our fellow Jews who live with physical and mental challenges (be they temporary or lifelong); find out how UCI’s iFest made its mark this year; and bring Broadway to the OC with the awardwinning Jersey Boys. And we end with saying goodbye to a long time friend and member of the Orange County Jewish Community, Rabbi Haim Asa. He made such a salient impact in Orange County and around the world that his loss is felt not only the Jewish Community but many other communities as well. JLife, like this issue, is evolving to fit the needs of our community. We look forward to and welcome your input, comments and responses, and thank you for making us part of your Orange County Jewish life! A


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LETTERS

Kvetch & Kvell JLife would like to address our use of the term “shiksa” in last month’s “The Peel,” our “Millionaire Matchmaker” feature story and past “Rachel Goes Rogue” articles. This is a term that is used rather loosely in today’s vernacular to describe a non-Jewish woman, and we have recently used it in several instances. However, it has come to our attention that the use of this term can be rather offensive. In fact, the etymology of the word is partly derived from the Hebrew term “shekets,” meaning “abomination,” “impure” or “object of loathing” depending on the translator. Also, many dictionaries define “shiksa” as a “disparaging and offensive term applied to a non-Jewish girl or woman.”

DEAR JLIFE As I read through the article by Dalia Taft on Eichler, a big smile appeared on my face. I grew up in the vast Eichler developments of the Bay Area, Palo Alto to be specific. I lived in an Eichler home from 1958 through 1969, taking me all the way through elementary and junior high schools. Almost everyone I knew lived in one. The developments ran from South Palo Alto to Cupertino. When I moved to Orange County, I was thrilled to find they existed in Southern California as well. The flat gravel roofs, radiant heating and wood wall paneling were the trademarks. There are companies that now specialize in providing original and replacement and maintenance parts for these houses such as the round light globes common in these homes. I don’t think another builder has such a cult following.

This slang term is used so often in today’s language that when its offensive nature was brought up at our last editorial meeting, we as a team struggled to come up with a term that could adequately replace it. In fact, we challenged each other to recite a one to two-word term that could describe a non-Jewish woman (without using those exact two words) and came up empty-handed. So we are calling upon you, dear readers. Please give us your opinions. Are you offended by the use of the word “shiksa?” Can you suggest another way to describe what the term “shiksa” embodies that is more “politically correct?” We are always looking for ways to improve JLife and the last thing we want to do is offend… so we welcome your feedback. Sincere Thanks—Ed.

Thank You — Alan Block

PHOTO BY ZACH DALIN

A “SHIKSA” YOU SAY?

Tell Jlife! Sex and The City’s “Charlotte York Goldenblatt,” played by Kristen Davies, captured our hearts with her eternally optimistic quest for true love. When she found it in the arms of her Jewish divorce attorney “Harry,” played by Evan Handler, she converted to Judaism. The two married and lived happily ever after. Harry deemed Charlotte his “Shiksa Goddess,” and a pop culture stereotype was mainstreamed right through our living rooms. However, should “Charlotte” have been offended? Are you? Source: hbo.com

We Apologize To our valuable and valued readers — we apologize for a comment made in “The Peel” section of the June, 2014 JLife. The use of ‘grand inquisitor’ was in no way meant to insult or demean anyone and we apologize for any misconceptions that may have come from an attempt to be satirical and humorous. —Ed.

We welcome your letters! Email editorjlife@gmail.com with your feedback.

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PROFILE Rabbi Haim Asa will be truly missed.

HE SERVED A LIFETIME Remembering Rabbi Haim Asa BY DR. LISA GRAJEWSKI

FINDING THE WORDS to reflect on the passing of anyone can be difficult. But, finding the words to reflect on the passing of a man loved by an entire community is nothing short of daunting. Rabbi Haim Asa was such a man. He died of complications from diabetes on May 28, 2014. Rabbi Asa was born May 1, 1931 in Bulgaria to a Sephardic family that had escaped the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal. The family was living in Bulgaria during World War II, and Rabbi Asa’s father was instrumental in saving Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust. In 1944, during the Nazi occupation of Bulgaria, Rabbi Asa and his family left Bulgaria and immigrated to Israel (at the time Palestine). At the age of 15, Rabbi Asa was admitted into the Gadna, the youth division of Haganah (underground military unit), and was sent to 16 JULY 2014 |

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Platoon Commanders School in the summer of 1947. Rabbi Asa served in the Haganah during the War of Independence of 1948 and after honorable service went on to become one of the founders of NACHAL, a division of the IDF. Rabbi Asa’s life as a rabbi began in 1958 after he enrolled in the Hebrew Union College-Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Before transferring to Cincinnati to pursue the last three years of studies, Rabbi Asa married his beloved wife Elaine. The couple spent three years in Cincinnati, and Rabbi Asa was ordained in 1963. Rabbi Asa went on to serve many congregations and organizations across the world, but it was in Orange County that he spent the past 48 years of his life serving as the rabbi of Temple Beth Tikvah in Fullerton. Becoming the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Tikvah in 1966, Rabbi Asa was granted lifetime tenure in

1971 and actively served as rabbi until becoming Rabbi Emeritus in 1996. He was also involved in the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis: was a past president of the Orange County Board of Rabbis and the Fullerton Interfaith Ministerial Association: and was instrumental in developing Jewish Federation Family Services of Orange County. Miriam Van Raalte, Temple Beth Tikvah’s Administrator and Director of Education and a close friend of Rabbi Asa, said, “Within the Temple Beth Tikvah community, he helped to raise five decades of youth, encouraging a good number to go into Jewish communal work. Rabbis, cantors, educators and social workers credit him for being instrumental in their decision to pursue their careers.” Rabbi Asa was what one would call a “24/7 rabbi,” according to Van Raalte. In addition to serving the last 18 years as Rabbi Emeritus he recently served as a senior chaplain with the State of California Department of Mental Health serving Metropolitan State Hospital and Fairview Hospital, both inpatient facilities for the severely mentally ill. Rabbi Asa taught in universities, worked tirelessly on issues benefitting Israel, fought injustice against Jews in Argentina, and was instrumental in the efforts acknowledging the role of the Bulgarian people and the nation in saving the entire Jewish population of Bulgaria during the Holocaust. As a survivor of the Holocaust, Rabbi Asa was driven to create a physical memorial in Orange County where people of all faiths could “remember, reflect, and resolve.” “Haim’s influence on the formation, direction, and development of the Orange County Jewish Community cannot be overemphasized. We are all in his debt for the wise counsel he offered. His acts of loving-kindness are legion. He will truly live on in all the good he accomplished,” said Rabbi Einstein (Founding Rabbi and Rabbi Emeritus of Temple B’Nai Tzedek). Jlife wishes comfort to Rabbi Asa’s wife, Elaine, their four children: Aviva (Daniel) of Efrat, Israel, Ariel (Michele) of Atlanta, Ga.; Liora (Michael) of Har Halutz, Israel; Eliana (Jeff ) of Los Angeles; and the 14 grandchildren. A


Rabbinic Reflections | BY RABBI DAVID ELIEZRIE

VIEWPOINT

A Friend to Us All Honoring Rabbi Haim Asa

I LEARNED MUCH FROM HAIM, MOST IMPORTANTLY CONCERN & COMPASSION FOR OTHERS.

SOME FIVE HUNDRED people had gathered for the auspicious event: the dedication of a Holocaust memorial at Temple Beth Tikvah. It was Rabbi Haim Asa’s moment of great pride. It was a deeply personal achievement for him; his family had been saved during the war by the intervention of the Bulgarian government. He announced to the crowd, “This is the only Temple in Orange County with a Holocaust memorial.” I was listening in the second row. Suddenly in typical Haim style, he added a surprising remark, “Right, Rabbi Eliezrie?” I was a bit surprised so I lifted up my arms and belted out “Of course, Haim”. He turned to the audience and exclaimed, “Would you believe a Chabad rabbi and a Reform rabbi agree?” The crowd responded, roaring with laughter. Our friendship spanned thirty years, from the time I arrived in Orange County until his passing just a few weeks ago. There is no question that there were many issues we did not agree on, but we did not let this theological division define our relationship. He would turn up at my house on Shabbat and with a smirk say, “You need any lights turned on?” When he decided to go kosher, I turned up at his house, blowtorch in hand. Once he travelled with me to Brooklyn, to attend at Farbrengen, a Chassidic gathering with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Thousands of Chassidim filled the room. We sat on the wooden benches in the middle of the synagogue. I told Haim that on the other side was Alexander Schindler, then head of the Reform movement. Haim stood up, and they waved across the expanse of Chassidim. I learned much from Haim, most importantly deep concern and compassion for others. I always knew that if, at 3 a.m. I needed help, Haim would be at my side within minutes. Haim was man who lived Ahavat Yisroel, love for your fellow. It was

not a theory, but the way he lived every single day. Coupled with this was his great commitment to a thriving Jewish community. He would look beyond his own parochial interests and see value in anyone who was working for the welfare of the Jewish people and Israel. He celebrated the achievements of others, because at his core his concern was Jewish destiny. More than once a family that had been involved in his Temple intensified their level of observance. He would encourage them along in their Jewish journey. Just a few months ago, he stood with pride as we celebrated together the Brit of a family that had become Shabbat observant, even though they no longer attended his congregation. And he wondered about the mundane things in life. Once he noticed the tires on my wife’s car were worn, so he demanded I come right away to get a new set. If someone needed help he would be there without a tumult or fanfare to lend assistance. Untold numbers can tell stories of his help in their finding a job or apartment. How he stood at their bedside in a dark moment of sickness, giving hope. Just a week or so before he passed, I visited Haim in the hospital. We went for a walk around the ward, the nurse helping him along. I was holding the oxygen tube. The conversation was upbeat, his classic optimism still strong even though he was fighting for his life. As I left, he turned to me and said, “David, I love you”. His sweet voice touched deep into my heart. Stella and I have lost a dear friend; a community has lost a man who truly cared for all of us.

Rabbi David Eliezrie is rabbi at Congregation Beth Meir HaCohen/Chabad. His email is rabbi@ ocjewish.com.

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Israel Scene | BY ANDREA SIMANTOV

Sandy Summer Shabbats

I THREW DOWN THE SOGGY DISHTOWEL AND SHOUTED, “I WANT TO GO TO THE BEACH! I. NEED. OCEAN.” 18 JULY 2014 |

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DRAWING BY PEPE FAINBERG

A precursor of “Me Time” on our day of observance.

IN ISRAEL, WE don’t have Sundays. This isn’t to say that Sunday doesn’t appear on the calendar; but it’s a work day, a full blown-make-a-deposit in the bank and what-time-is-your-doctor’s appointment kind of day. When we Westerners complain about this and extol the virtues of a bagel-and-lox kind of Sunday followed by lolling around, hitting some flea-markets, barbecuing with friends and catching a ball-game, the sabra retort usually is, “That’s why we have Fridays!” For many Israelis, Friday is a day for mall-crawling and cafe brunches. Schools operate half days so couples can enjoy alone-time and squeeze in a few hours of

“dating” before returning to full-time parent duty. But for the religiously observant, Fridays just don’t cut it, especially when — like me — one works full time and needs the Friday “day off ” to prepare for the sabbath. I love being religious, but on some days, it just doesn’t feel fair. And so, on a recent Friday, I threw down the soggy dishtowel and shouted, “I want to go to the beach! I. Need. Ocean.” My husband, not easily frightened, appeared shaky as he’d never seen me lose it in such a determined manner. With uncontrolled determination, I threw a chicken in a crock pot, found some passable


VIEWPOINT

Find love now! Personalized Jewish Matchmaking

Judith Gottesman, MSW vegetables and tossed them in as well, covered the mess with an open half-bottle of pinot noir and some spices that I couldn’t remember the names of, covered it, grabbed a blanket for the sand and was out the door. The dutiful husband followed, dragging a plastic chair (which he’d purchased with supermarket coupons) through the parking lot. The nearest beach to Jerusalem is 60 kilometers away and takes at least an hour to reach during Friday traffic. It was already noon and Shabbos was scheduled to arrive at approximately six o’clock. Did I care? Not on your life. My need for sea and sand was nearly manic, replete with a feeling of entitlement that was both foreign and scary. I knew that only by diving underneath and jumping above the waves could I wash away the nagging feelings of being cheated out of fun and wholesome recreational activities. We’d forgotten to bring anything to eat in the frenzy to hit the waves, but any thoughts of hunger dissipated the moment I saw the shimmering blue band of water ahead, calling my name. I don’t own a bathing suit, but basketball shorts and tank tops work just fine, thank you, and the salty brine that washes over pasty city skin doesn’t care if I’m in a bikini, maillot or gym shorts. Only when I’m rolling in the waves or lying wet in the sand do I remember that Jerusalem is the only place I’ve lived that doesn’t abut water. Thus said, as long as the summer weather will hold out, Friday will find us at the beach, happy as clams (groan). Now that the Friday beach pattern has been established, the only remaining challenge is “which beach?” If we stay too late on a Friday afternoon in Rishon LeTzion, the assault of emerging boom-boxes mars the pre-Shabbos mood; there is an inlet beach near the Herzlia mall that is more upper-class, but the waves are too tame for my liking due to the surrounding jetties. However, this past week we discovered a patch of shore and water that was so pristine, so beautiful, so inhabited by young and gorgeous people that we had to try it. The only problem was that there was no paved walkway from the parking lot. In order to reach the place, we had to traverse a steep and poorly carved trail down a cliff. It was hard! Halfway down I questioned our sanity but was too far along to turn back. Wearing foolish flip-flops, I nearly lost my footing several times, but the end result was worth it. I’d never been on such a beautiful, unspoiled piece of God’s land. That Ronney and I were at least forty years older than the rest of the crowd only added to the fun. The return ascent was equally daunting, and I fell once, scraping my knee. The knee hurt far less than my pride, but I remained grateful that we are fit and adventurous enough to embrace this seemingly Holy little corner of Paradise. It makes Shabbos that much sweeter, content with the knowledge that on the other side of a relentless work week, there is respite and abandon.

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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 elkadee@netvision.net.il.

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| JULY 2014 19


On the Lighter Side | BY MAYRAV SAAR

VIEWPOINT

DNA and Diaspora

We as a Jewish population are connecting in more ways than you think.

ALL JEWS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ONE ANOTHER BECAUSE WE ARE CONNECTED. 20 JULY 2014 |

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A FEW YEARS ago, I had the privilege of interviewing a researcher who was the first to discover that Jews across the globe share distinct genetic traits that are different from other groups and that trace back to the ancient Middle East. “The debate is over,” Dr. Edward R. Burns said. “The Jewish people are one people with a common genetic thread that evolved in the second or third century BC.” I was excited about Dr. Burns’ study because it confirmed something I knew in my bones: Jews are, in fact, a people and Israel is our home. The study, “Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era,” compared the genetic analyses of 237 Jews, including Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, with an analysis of 418 non-Jews worldwide, and found that the Jews were more closely related to each other than to their fellow countrymen. The study also scientifically undermined arguments made by those who challenge Jews’ historical relationship to Israel. That study was published four years ago. Why do I bring it up now? Anti-Semitism is on the rise everywhere from France to UCLA, and I am not sure our people are doing enough for our People. There is a saying in Hebrew, k’lal Yisroel arevim zeh bazeh: all Jews are responsible for one another because we are connected. And, truly, really, in chromosome as well as in practice, we are connected. So I wonder what that connection amounts to when pictures of Justin Timberlake at the Western Wall get more social media play than the stories of the four people shot and killed at the Jewish Museum of Belgium. Our French brethren undergo daily harassment, and I haven’t heard the lox-and-bagel set at Katella Deli talking about it. Does anyone care? My synagogue recently tried to host a speaker from UCLA to talk to the congregation about the problems plaguing the Jewish and pro-Israel students there, but few wanted to listen. Emails that bounced around

about the proposed talk essentially boiled down to, “Why would anybody want to go to that talk? It’s not our problem.” Of course it’s our problem. I don’t need a cheek swab to tell me that I’m connected to the harassed French Jews, the fearful Belgians or the Birthright kids from UCLA. But knowing about my genetic link makes me feel as though those attacks happened to my own family. Because, in reality, it did. No matter how assimilated or anti-religious a Jewish person is, when someone attacks the rights of one of us to circumcise our sons (San Francisco), wear a kippah in public (France) or attend a Birthright trip before running for student office (Los Angeles), we are all under attack. People will often counter assimilation by saying, “You’d have been Jewish enough for the Germans.” That always makes me cringe. I hate to think that a person’s identity could be defined by his enemy. But on the flip side, if enough people don’t take ownership of their Jewishness and the responsibilities inherent in it, we run the risk of having that identity thrust upon us all in ways we’d rather not think about. After speaking to the researcher all those years ago, I also spoke to prominent Los Angeles Rabbi David Wolpe, who told me he wasn’t that impressed with the DNA findings. “The findings say more about the spiritual strength of our forbearers, the way they treasured tradition so much that they would not compromise it to be part of the rest of society,” he said. “Our spirit guarded our DNA, not the other way around.” Where is that spirit today?

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


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| JULY 2014 21


Israeli Guy | BY TEDDY WEINBERGER

VIEWPOINT

Deficit Spending or Modest Living?

So many changes — yet the important things remain.

THE BEST GIFT WE GAVE OUR GIRLS WAS TO HAVE THEM GROW UP TOGETHER IN ONE SMALL BEDROOM. 22 JULY 2014 |

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I WAS RECENTLY in New York for a few days and then traveled to Potomac, Md. to help celebrate the bat mitzvah of my niece Renee Fuller. I was struck by a comment made to me by several different people during the course of my visit in the U.S. These people each said, “My children are going to have a lower standard of living than me.” This was not the first time that I had heard such a comment, and from what I can tell, there is a growing realization among middle-aged, modern-traditional Jewish professionals in the United States that the success story begun with the generation of our parents will not last into the next generation — and not primarily because of assimilation but because of economics. The Jewish day schools, the overnight camps, the synagogue and JCC memberships, the gorgeous homes, the Passover vacations, the ski vacations, the sheer abundance of cars, jewelry and clothing — all of this is predicated upon a couple earning a minimum of $300,000 a year. Two things are happening economically to put this life out of reach of the next generation of America’s modern-traditional Jews. One is that growing numbers of these young people are choosing professions that do not typically pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. From speech therapists to graphic designers to audio engineers, precisely the at-homeness of traditional Jews in America is leading to greater professional diversity than what my generation was trained to think possible. The other factor, of course, is that the U.S. economy can no longer be expected to reliably throw off a sufficient number of quarter-of-a-million-dollar jobs to keep the modern-traditional miracle humming along. What will change? Parochial Jewish education as we know it will change. Families with three school-age children will simply not be able to afford tuition bills of $50,000 a year or more. Many families are already in this situation, but currently the center is holding — thanks to scholarships, grandparents, and personal sacrifice. At a certain point in the near future, there will just be too many families struggling with tuition

payments. Already, alternatives to the traditional day school are cropping up. My cousin Abby Flamholz, in New Jersey, helped start a day school that relies on a mix between online and face-to-face instruction (to allow for larger classes); tuition is $9,000 a year, which is just over half the normal tuition cost for Jewish primary school in her area. What else will change is fairly obvious: the lifestyle will need to be cut back. People will have to make do with fewer vacation trips and have to settle for less expensive cars, homes, jewelry and clothing. One bright spot here: The Passover Seder, which so emphasizes the family unit, will take place less often in a hotel and more at home. Now I’d like to jump across the Atlantic to assess my own children’s future. Relative to their peers in the U.S., my kids grew up quite modestly as far as material goods, so this won’t be hard to improve upon should they want that (although I still maintain that the best gift we gave our girls was to have them grow up together in one small bedroom—they have become true soulmates). However, I see a marked increase in the quality of my children’s lives coming from a different factor. My children, now young adults between the ages of 19 and 26, are all planning on making their lives and raising their own families in Israel. What this means, since Israel is a very small country, is that they will always have easy access to each other’s lives. Not just for big life-cycle events (as can be the case even in huge America), but for holidays, birthdays and regular Sabbaths. Who wudda thunk it? Aliyah not just as Jewish selfrespect, not just as participating and contributing to the modern Jewish state, but aliyah as facilitating a higher quality of life for one’s children.

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


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Jlife

| JULY 2014 23


COVER STORY

24 JULY 2014 |

Jews & Genetics

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COVER STORY

White & Blue Genes Exploring Our Genetic Genealogy By Dr. Lisa Grajewski

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| JULY 2014 25


COVER STORY

Jews & Genetics

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n most movements in Judaism, it always seems that knowing your mother was Jewish was enough to pass the religion along. Some speculate that this was due to the fact that one always knew who the mother was, but not necessarily the father. This may be especially true given the fact that Jews often lived among communities that were less than welcoming and were the subjects of slavery, rape and forced conversion (out of Judaism). Prof. Shaye D. Cohen, the Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University, wrote a book and several articles on this issue. Cohen found that matrilineal descent evolved from an original policy of patrilineal descent. In the Torah, a person’s status as a Jew seems to come from his father. Joseph was married to a non-Jewish woman, and his children were considered Jewish. The same was the case for Moses and King Solomon. However, Leviticus 24:10 speaks of the son of an Israelite woman and an Egyptian man as being “among the community of Israel” (i.e., a Jew). The “official” change to a policy of matrilineal descent appears to have come in late antiquity. Cohen speculates that the Tannaim, the rabbis who codified the concept of matrilineal descent, were influenced by the Roman legal system of the time. According to two sources from the end of the second century Common Era (CE) and the beginning of the third century CE, in a marriage between two Romans, a child would receive the status of his father. In an intermarriage between a Roman and a non-Roman, a child received the citizenship status of its mother. Reform Judaism tells us that a child born from a Jewish father and raised Jewish is Jewish. Most Conservative rabbis and all Orthodox rabbis subscribe to the practice that matrilineal descent — regardless of what religion the child is raised in — means the child is Jewish. But what if my genetic makeup says I am Jewish? I am a student of psychology, not genetics, so I looked to genetic genealogy to gain some insight into the question surrounding “Jewish genetics.” In my research and asking about information on professionals 26 JULY 2014 |

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who dealt with genetics and genealogy, I around the world or right next door. It helps discovered 23andMe. Founded in 2006, if parents have contributed DNA and thus the company created a program to create a are in the database, but it is not completely visual map of one’s ancestor composition. necessary — as most of us know a little And, as a lot of people with Jewish roots about each parent’s origins. Less technically have sought information on their back- speaking, you are also able to expand your grounds, and many genetic studies are done family tree (which is what this author was with Ashkenazi Jews (the group eliminates interested in as I was unable to glean clearvariables and provides a homogenous pop- cut answers before losing my grandparents ulation to study), 23andMe has a sizeable and parents). Scientists can “read” DNA database of Jewish DNA to compare from. back so far that one may even find out Founded by Linda Avey, Paul Cusenza just how much of one’s DNA comes from and Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe did not ini- the high-browed “Modern Human” or the tially set out to solely help Jews (or anyone knuckle-dragging “Neanderthals.” else for that matter) find out their ancestral The system works by cross-referencing makeup. 23andMe DNA, comparing was originally foundyour DNA to others’ ed to provide inforDNA in the datamation on healthbase. And, according “In an care factors and map to Afarian, “It is very intermarriage genetic genealogy. specific to parents, Managed by Medical cousins, aunts, and between a Roman Doctors, PhDs, uncles… It makes and a non-Roman, and various scienaccurate predictists, the company’s tions up to second a child received Leadership Team is and third cousins… the citizenship a who’s who of the Even if your parents best universities on or extended relatives status of its the North American have not contributed mother.” Continent, and DNA for comparithe Research Team son, you will at least would put the know from where Manhattan Project you have come.” to shame. But success has not come without 23andMe has proven to be a teachroadblocks; in November 2013, 23andMe ing tool as well. It has allowed people to put a hold on offering health-related genetic reconnect with ancestral roots, for instance reports to new customers to comply with bringing to light the “hidden Jews,” people the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s who, two or three generations removed directive to discontinue new consumer from Judaism, are pulling together the access during a regulatory review process family secrets and strange rituals passed (the FDA saw 23andMe as a medical device down from their Jewish origin. “People and asked the company to cease providing are curious about where they come from,” medical reports). While anticipating FDA said Afarian. “Those ‘mystery’ diagnoses of approval for healthcare factors, the com- Crohn’s Disease and breast cancer due to the pany is now compelled to focus on help- BRCA Gene suddenly make sense…” ing individuals get genetic information for In addition, the ability to read DNA nonmedical purposes at an affordable cost. has provided adoptees, who may have no According to 23andMe spokesperson knowledge of their background or ancestry, From cancer research to genetics to biotechnolthe opportunity to find out incredibly valuogy, Israeli researchers are making meaningable information on who they are. “This ful, actionable discoveries. Catherine Afarian, changes the way we expose our children 23andMe provides “a fixed circle that tells — it opens up options to how we educate what [DNA] comes from each parent.” The procedure allows people to find relatives Continued on page 28


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COVER STORY

Jews & Genetics Investigating your family tree can bring about amazing discoveries.

Continued from page 26

Did you know?

our children and live our own lives,” said Afarian. At the 124th Annual Conference of American Rabbis in March 2013, Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23 and Me, delivered a presentation on understanding and accessing one’s own genetic information, raising the interesting question of what it means to be “genetically Jewish.” In addition to the Jewish Diaspora, it has also helped others from diasporic communities, such as the Armenians, French Canadians and people with African origins piece together where they have come from. Even celebrities are interested in finding out who they “really” are. Programs like “Who Do You Think You Are” have helped celebrities explore their roots going back generations — sometimes making discoveries that were noticeably shocking, such as comedienne Chelsea Handler who, while raised Jewish, found out her grandfather served in the German Army under Hitler 28 JULY 2014 |

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during World War II. A.J. Jacobs, editor of Esquire Magazine and author of several books, has also jumped on the genetic bandwagon. He ordered his DNA chart from 23andMe and has scheduled “The Mother of All Reunions” in June 2015 upon completion of his book about “DNA and this history of the human race.” It seems we all want to know where we come from. Or do we? The question remains: do we really want to know? What will knowing our origins prove to us, and will it make a difference in how we live our lives and practice Judaism in Orange County? Share your experience with JLife! If you have participated in 23andMe or another program that tests genetic genealogy and would like to share your story, please contact: editorjlife@gmail.com.

?

23andMe’s lab partner  adheres to strict quality  standards that are  part of the Clinical  Laboratory Improvement  Amendments of 1988 —  known as CLIA. These  are the same standards  used in the majority of  other health and diseaserelated tests.   23andMe traces  everyone’s maternal  ancestry by using a small  piece of DNA passed  down from mother to  child. While males can  also uncover their direct  paternal ancestry through  the Y chromosome that  is passed down from  father to son, both men  and women receive  information about both  sides of their family  from the 22 other  chromosomes.


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F E AT U R E S

Jews & Genetics

Genetics is providing more viable options for those in the midst of family planning.

JEWISH GENETICS Dena DNA BY ADAM CHESTER

IN A RELIGION with “Jewish Bowel Syndrome” and more tummy-aches than guilt-driven grandmothers, the common Jew may often ponder why JBS isn’t a diagnosable disorder. Maybe it’s not in physicians’ manuals, but it’s totally in the Torah somewhere. However common our intestinal issues, they usually aren’t the cause of avoiding dat30 JULY 2014 |

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ing Jews. More frequently, we find the uninformed uttering, “I’m Jewish, but I won’t date another Jew because they carry genetic disorders, and I don’t want my children to have a genetic disorder.” This type of benighted statement is what keeps genetic counseling intern Dena Goldberg invested in her UCI Master’s program. “My main goal is to educate others,”

Goldberg noted, as ignorance drives her to take the extra step and reach out to others. Goldberg’s “I’m here for others” mentality has provided Irvine’s highly selective genetic counseling program a well-rounded candidate. Although in her first year of the program, she’s no stranger to sharing the sciences with the larger community. Having dabbled with spreading awareness of Jewish genetics through presentations at Jewish organizations, Goldberg is piercing the minds of many unenlightened individuals with her vision and creativity, impacting her whole community. Regarding genetics, a full understanding of the subject is certainly no cakewalk. Even for a trained geneticist, new discoveries made daily through extensive research make it necessary to constantly read new fieldwork and educate oneself in an everevolving field. “Many physicians are not educated in genetics,” said Goldberg. “If a physician or patient believes [what a patient has] is genetic, they should be referred to genetics, instead of having a physician order an unnecessary test they can’t interpret, as many physicians order the wrong test, read it wrong, and cost patients a lot of money and time.” As such, it makes sense that anybody not fully immersed in the realms of the deep-dark biological sciences (genetics) is unable to fully grasp the developing field. Even today’s brightest, most educated minds bear broad misconceptions and utter ignorance of genetics. Fortunately, with the help of Goldberg and others in her field,


F E AT U R E S

How are we different? Assistant Professor Loma Linda School of Dentistry Former Clinical Instructor Hadassah, Jerusalem School of Dentistry, Israel

There are many genetic disorders that can come from having a partner of any race, ethnicity or religion.

genetics is elucidating more viable options for those in the midst of family planning. The good news: Genetic disorders are relatively rare. According to Goldberg, “First, you have to be a carrier for something. Then, your partner has to be a carrier for the same exact thing. “Then,” if (and only if ) both partners carry the “same” mutation (very rare), there is only a 25 percent chance for each child to be affected.” If families have concerns, genetic services are available, but you should always consult a genetic counselor before having genetic tests. Fully understanding the need to explain genetics in a relatable manner to the public, Goldberg makes it her goal to present genetics in an entertaining way. As a classically trained vocalist and avid participant in performing arts, Dena is more diverse than just a soon-to-be-licensed genetic counselor. Through her online blog, DenaDNA.com, she connects her artistic background with her other passion, genetics. Her comic series discusses what genetic counselors do and debunks common misconceptions of genetics, serving as an advocate for her colleagues and those with genetic disorders, while spreading awareness of the availability of genetic services. In the future, Dena would like to turn to film and television to reach a larger audience. Although she works with patients of all ages and backgrounds, her target media audience is young professionals who may have a family soon. We (Jews) have been murdered, gassed, tortured, enslaved, burnt, hung, and all other variants that can be thought up to harm another. But, if history tells us anything, it’s that Jews are survivors. Not wanting to marry another Jew is counterintuitive to the success story of our ancestors. In fact, there are many other genetic disorders that can come from having a partner of any race, ethnicity or religion. Therefore, if concern for genetic disorders is caused from dating a Jewish person, then the same concerns should be addressed about dating anybody at all! A

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Adam Chester is a contributing writer to JLife magazine and the NextGen Outreach & Engagement Coordinator at Jewish Federation and Family Services.

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F E AT U R E S

MAKING A MISHPUCHA How fertility treatments are making the impossible possible for many parents. BY TRACEY ARMSTRONG GORSKY

ALTHOUGH THE TRADITIONAL means of making babies involves “when a man and woman are in love and live happily ever after,” today that is not always the case, and sometimes it’s just not that straightforward. Nowadays, men and women are waiting much longer to get married and start their own families. Sometimes this is due to putting their careers first, pursuing their educational goals or the all too common problem of just not meeting the right person yet. No matter what the reason, though, women just aren’t procreating as early as they used to. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of women having their first children between the ages of 40 to 44 has actually increased fourfold from 1985 to 2012. Potential parents are choosing to build families with opposite-sex partners, same-sex partners and sometimes on their own. There is definitely a shift in the perception of what constitutes a parental unit today, and infertility treatment helps aid these couples and single parents alike. Fertility treatment also helps want-to-be parents overcome the pitfalls of biology. Women are most capable of conceiving while they are in their mid-20s. As women get older, this probability starts to drop. By the time they are in their 30s, the odds of getting pregnant start to decline, at 37 women experience a significant drop in success rates and that number drops even more sharply after 40. With women waiting until later in life to start families, this can be a real problem. Perhaps this is why the U.S. has seen a $3.5 billion market for fertility treatment emerge since 2012, according to Marketdata, a market-research firm. There are several different options out there for fertility treatments: fertility medications, 32 JULY 2014 |

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artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. Each option is approached differently, and they are as unique as the people who are pursuing them, so there is no “right one.” It is different for everyone. For more detailed information on these procedures, please visit: infertility.about.com. While fertility treatments are miraculous in many ways, Jewish legal authorities have raised some concerns about how fertility technology is used, the most surprising of which pertains to surrogacy. Traditional Jewish law suggests that when the sperm and egg of two Jewish people are implanted in a non-Jewish surrogate mother, the child born is not automatically Jewish. According to most Orthodox and Conservative rabbis, Jewish status is determined by the mother who carries the child to term — not by the child’s genetic material. These rabbis would require conversion for any child born to a nonJewish surrogate. How you chose to pursue your dreams of being a parent is a very personal journey, and what route you take is something that will take a lot of consideration. There are different options, different time frames and different specialists to consider. JLife magazine caught up with one very special and successful fertility doctor, Dr. Larry Werlin from Coast Fertility Center in Irvine, Calif. and asked him about his path and practice. How long have you been practicing fertility medicine in Orange County? 32 years Do you have children? Three children What was your relationship to Judaism growing up? Very strong relationship with Judaism. My grandfather was an orthodox rabbi


F E AT U R E S

Dr. Larry Werlin of Coastal Fertility Center in Irvine, Calif. with one of the many special “gifts” he receives from his patients.

and I actively participated in Hebrew school in all functions that occurred in our temple. Where did you study medicine? Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City What are some milestones in your education, research and practice that you are particularly proud of? 1) I was the National Fellow in Reproductive Medicine at the National Institute of Health; this is where I did my fellowship from 1980-1982. 2) I published the original studies utilizing a medication called Lupron for the treatment of Endometriosis. This was done during my fellowship. 3) I have been a faculty member at UCI MC, and have enjoyed participating in the residency education program. 4) In August 2003, I was the lead investigator in the first randomized prospective study published to evaluate the benefit of PreImplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) in highrisk patients. 5) Our group at Coastal Fertility continues to present new clinical research at our annual national meetings. What made you decide to specialize in Fertility Medicine? I deal with a population that is basically healthy and when we are suc-

cessful it is the most exhilarating feeling one can experience. When unsuccessful, although emotionally devastating, the recovery is likely to occur and other options become available. Secondly, reproductive medicine allows me the ability to work with hormones in fine-tuning the process of trying to successfully conceive. What do you like the most about your area of practice? The ability to help couples achieve their ultimate goal of having a family. I’ve heard that many of your past patients stay in touch. Can you please elaborate? This is an emotional journey. There is an emotional bond that develops between the physician, the patients and the practice. We are always excited to hear from our patients on Facebook, our website, through holiday cards and our Annual Halloween Party where we host approximately 500 families. What are some of the more unique thank you gifts you have received over the years? The most common gift I received are dolls that look like me. Have you felt any effects of the changes

Each option is approached differently, and they are as unique as the people who are pursuing them, so there is no ‘right one.’ Jlife

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F E AT U R E S

By the time women are in their 30s, the odds of getting pregnant start to decline.

There is an emotional bond that develops between the physician, the patients and the practice. 34 JULY 2014 |

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in coverage that we have seen since the Affordable Care Act passed? Primarily in California insurance does not play a significant role in fertility care.

maintaining a healthy lifestyle can only benefit a couple. Alternative techniques such as acupuncture can also be beneficial in conjunction with fertility care.

Israel covers fertility treatment as part of their national health care program. Are there any international studies or research findings that you feel the U.S. can benefit from? There was a large study published from Israel about one or two years ago involving 85,000 patients who received fertility medication. This study was beneficial in that it showed that patients were at no greater risks for various cancers based on utilization of fertility medication in non-high risk patient groups.

Are there any lifestyle risk factors couples should avoid in order to become pregnant? Smoking, excessive alcohol use, or recreational drug use are factors that can have a negative effect on your ability to conceive.

Have you noticed any average trends (age or otherwise) in regards to couples that seek treatment? As patients become better educated with respect to fertility care, we are seeing patients from all age groups. There does appear to be a trend with women who are not yet ready to pursue a family and have other goals such as business or professional goals, who are now utilizing fertility preservation techniques. This offers the opportunity of freezing their eggs at a younger age, and then pursuing their family when they are ready.

What is the most exciting thing you have seen in your field in the last ten years? The first one is that patients are better educated about their own physiology and what is available for fertility care. Secondly, the development of Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS/ PGD) has been beneficial in helping high-risk patients successfully achieve a pregnancy and prevent certain hereditary diseases from continuing in families. Thirdly, the use of fertility preservation in both the cancer patients and non-cancer patients has given these people new life choices.

Are there any lifestyle choices and/or practices that you can recommend to couples trying to get pregnant? There is no question that eating correctly, exercise, and

During the first trimester, are there any practices you would recommend to expectant mothers? The most important advice I can give, is to live a healthy lifestyle during the first trimester. This is the time when all the organ systems develop.

Tracey Armstrong Gorsky is a contributing writer and managing editor of JLife magazine.


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F E AT U R E S

Interfaith Marriage

JERSEY BOYS MEET OC Writers revel in telling the story of four gritty guys who succeeded against all odds. BY ILENE SCHNEIDER

36 JULY 2014 |

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ORANGE COUNTY’S JEWISH YOUTH & PARENTS KOSHER DOG Orange County’s Hippest Pets MITZVAH Making a Mark on the World

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a peek inside july 2014

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

www.ocjewishlife.com

07

08

MAKING A MARK ON THE WORLD

MORE ABOUT THE MITZVAH

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These events are lots of fun. Find a way to not lose sight of the important life lessons that are attached to this rite of passage.

10

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BAR & BAT MITZVAH THEMES

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Your children have been preparing and waiting for this special day. Now is the time to have some fun!

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6

EDITOR’S NOTE

kiddish

PUBLISHER ORANGE COUNTY JEWISH LIFE EDITOR IN CHIEF TRACEY ARMSTRONG GORSKY, MBA CREATIVE DIRECTOR RACHEL BELLINSKY COPYEDITOR MICHELLE ITEN CONTRIBUTING WRITERS HEIDI KAHN, SUE PENN, M. ED. ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES DIANE BENAROYA (SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE) MARTIN STEIN (SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE)

H

ello Readers, and welcome to the new issue of

EDITORIAL

Kiddish magazine. Now that school is out, we

(949) 230-0581

hope you are getting in some quality family time. Orange County summers just really can’t

be beat in terms of providing outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. Now that July is upon us, hopefully you and

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SALES@OCJEWISHLIFE.COM

your clan are getting into a nice summer vacation “routine” and letting the “good times roll.” The summer is also a great

ART

time to celebrate your child’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah (if you’re

ART@OCJEWISHLIFE.COM

lucky enough to have their birthdays fall between June and July). The great weather provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this rite of passage in both indoor and outdoor venues (or even a combination of both). In this issue, we hope to provide you with great lessons to focus on during

ORANGE COUNTY JEWISH LIFE AND KIDDISH IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY ORANGE COUNTY JEWISH LIFE, LLC 1 FEDERATION WAY, IRVINE, CA 92603

this special rite of passage and also give you some great ideas regarding where and how to celebrate! Dig in and enjoy.

— Tracey Armstrong Gorsky, Editor in Chief Dear Readers, we regretfully misprinted the phone number for JFFS in our article on the Mandel House; please accept our apology. The correct number is: (949) 435-3460.

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 Master’s 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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7

LOCAL FOCUS

Mitzvah Kids and Teens Making A Mark On the World BY AUDRA MARTIN

A

ccording to the Corporation

Teens at JCC Cares pack lunches and uplifiting notes for the Friendship Shelter in Laguna Beach.

for National and Community Service, fifty-five percent of our youth, 12 to 18 years

old, volunteer each year. That rate is nearly twice the adult rate. Youth involved in religious activities are even more likely to volunteer. So, it is not surprising to see communities of Jewish youth traipsing around Orange County making a difference. Yet, it can still be a challenge to find a volunteer experience. Each year, Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’a lot hosts its Mitzvah Launch, engaging nearly 500 youth, ages 3 to 16, in volunteer work. Rabbi Leah Lewis explained that the idea is to introduce children to nonprofits and community work and “launch” them into more regular volunteer efforts. Likewise, in addition to its own congregation-wide Mitzvah Day, Rabbi David Young, at Congregation B’nai Tzedek, is planning a family volunteer weekend in New Orleans. While enjoying the sights and sounds of New Orleans, with and without parents, youth will work hard each day with Habitat for Humanity, continuing the recovery efforts. At the Merage JCC, JCC Cares, the social action committee invites the community to get involved in monthly mitzvah opportunities developed for all ages. “We’re making a real effort to in-

clude families and kids,” says JCC Cares co-chair, Nancy Chase, “Volunteering as a family is a great opportunity to do something constructive together while helping to teach your kids about big issues. Besides the wonderful benefits to our community, there are many benefits for your family. Volunteering together enhances values such as kindness, compassion and tolerance.” Families are invited to join JCC Cares at the Orange County Food Bank August 3, register at www.jccoc.org. ✿ Audra Martin has worked with children in the JCC field for over 17 years and is the Director of Children and Camp at the Merage JCC. Contact Audra at: audram@jccoc.org.

YOUTH INVOLVED IN RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES ARE EVEN MORE LIKELY TO VOLUNTEER.


8

BAR & BAT MITZVAHS

kiddish

More About the Mitzvah Less About Raising the Bar BY SUSAN PENN, M.ED.

O

OOOOhhhhh… that

our daughters are hormonal and cry

wonderful time of life

easily. They all want to be the popular kid

when our children become

and are struggling to find their way. And

Bar or Bat Mitzvah. It’s a

right in the midst of this, we say, “It’s time

rite of passage, an affirmation of their Jewish identity, supposedly the time

for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah!” How do we take all this turmoil and

they become an adult (really???). Why

make it meaningful, creating lifelong

does it have to be right in the middle of

lessons and memories? The answer is

puberty? Our sons’ voices are cracking,

simple, but we often don’t see it. We need to focus more on the Mitzvah and less on raising the Bar: learning the lessons of our ancestors, embracing the traditions of generations before us, creating new rituals, immersing ourselves in community and bringing relevance and contemporary meaning to this ancient ritual. The Mitzvah Project should play a central role in this process. It should focus on what the student is passionate about or on something that touches them in some way. It can even tie into the Parasha (Torah portion) that they read. The student should own it, the family should embrace it, participating, encouraging and sharing the Mitzvah. This way the family becomes part of the Mitzvah process. Similarly, the family

There is a lot of preparation that goes into this big day.

should discuss the Parasha with the student before the student writes their


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9

BAR & BAT MITZVAHS

Dealing with puberty is hard enough; try reading Hebrew in front of a congregation.

D’var Torah (explanation of the portion).

or the Parasha. Let them have input

It will allow the family to understand

on the party. It does not have to be

what the Parasha is about, and it may

bigger than their classmate’s, fancier

lead to discussion about related topics

than your neighbors or more elaborate

and help the student with the D’var

than your attorney’s son’s party. It

Torah. This shows familial interest in the

should reflect your child’s personality.

text and models care for our traditions

A quiet, introverted child would be

and for communal learning.

uncomfortable with a big, splashy party

Those honored in the service should be central to the child’s life. They should be someone who is present in their life,

whereas an extroverted, social child would prefer it. Let us remember that this is

who cares about the child and whom the

about the Bar or Bat Mitzvah child, not

child knows well. Close friends, family

about us. The child is already dealing

members, teachers, coaches or mentors

with puberty as well as insecurity

will add to the meaning and joy in the

about reading Hebrew in front of a

service — whereas your brother’s friend’s

congregation. Let’s embrace the entire

cousin who flew in and whom your child

Bar or Bat Mitzvah process — the mitzvah

has not seen since his Bris — will be

project, the service, family learning and

meaningless to the child and detract from

the celebration. This will encourage a

the significance of the day.

meaningful experience. ✿

Now comes the party: how do we keep it meaningful? Focus on the Bar or Bat Mitzvah student. Choose a theme that ties into their interests, their lives

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

A QUIET, INTROVERTED CHILD WOULD BE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH A BIG, SPLASHY PARTY WHEREAS AN EXTROVERTED, SOCIAL CHILD WOULD PREFER IT.


10

BAR & BAT MITZVAHS

Fun Bar Mitzvah Party Themes Throw them a party they will never forget. BY TRACEY ARMSTRONG GORSKY

The Goldbergers pulled out all the stops fors on Josh’s James Bond “Goldfinger” movie theme.

JAMES BOND 007 THEME

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11

BAR & BAT MITZVAHS

Above: Do you recognize any of these scary guys? Josh’s special day was filled with villains from 007’s past.

H

aving a Bat or Bar Mitzvah is a rite of passage for the young Jewish lady or man and is rich with tradition, but that does not mean you can’t think outside of the box when it comes to themes. Many times, going for something unique or putting a new twist on an old favorite is the key to

making this event beyond memorable. Finding a fantastic idea is often the magic key to throwing an awesome party and everything unfolds beautifully around that one single theme. From the invitations to the balloons, leave no element untouched.

A Movie Theme What is your child’s favorite movie these days? With all the options out there, if it something that sticks with them, chances are it is something fantastic. You can incorporate the characters, locations… even the food into a great day your guests will never forget.

Top left: Creating a cool backdrop for photos that ties into your party’s theme is a great way to commemorate this special day. Top right: Yep, that’s Sean Kingston there rocking the Bar Mitvah party.


12

BAR & BAT MITZVAHS

Fall down the rabbit hole and into this magical land full of color and fantastic characters.

FINDING THAT ONE FANTASTIC IDEA IS OFTEN THE MAGIC KEY TO THROWING AN AWESOME PARTY.

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ALICE IN WONDERLAND THEME


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13

BAR & BAT MITZVAHS

LEFT: Alice in Wonderland provides several different variations to use: the original Lewis Carrol style; Disney’s take; and the most recent Tim Burton style (sorry, Jonny Depp might be hard to book). RIGHT: Use your imagination! This theme provides ample ideas for invitations, color schemes and activities. Game of cards anyone?

âœż Creating a menu that ties into the movies theme is one of the best parts of using an Alice in wonderland theme.


14

CONTESTS

kiddish

kosher dog JULY’S WINNER!

Mooshy & Teddy Bear

Peanut & Tammy

Honorable Mention Lee Netzer’s two kitties Peanut (rear) and Tammy lounge away in their Huntington Beach backyard.

Be our August winner!

T

his month’s winners are “Mr. Teddy Bear” and “Mooshy”! These cuties belong to Orange County’s Diana Shabtai. “Mr. Teddy Bear” is a 1-year-old Maltese and “Mooshy” is an American Eskimo. They were both born in New York, where Diana got them when they were 6 weeks old. They are both purebred boys. They are very sweet, loving and happy dogs and “Mr. Teddy Bear” is a certified therapy dog. They really love to play with each other, play with their toy balls and love people. Teddy loves to wear his many outfits and is a big Lakers fan. “Mooshy” knows how to shake hands and sunbathe. They are both very smart and like crunchy lettuce as their favorite snack.

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 pics@mydogbowl.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, put their picture in the magazine and provide a wonderful treat for them courtesy of My Dog Bowl.


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F E AT U R E S

FROM “SHERRY” TO “Oh, What a Night,” the music of The Four Seasons was pervasive during the early to mid-1960s and beyond. The band was a virtual hit machine. One would imagine that the writers of the biographical play “Jersey Boys” were drawn to the vast musical range of Frankie Valli, the upbeat rhythms of Bob Gaudio and the light but eclectic lyrics of a group that popped up on the Top 50 constantly. Interestingly, when the writers were introduced to each other by a mutual friend, neither had had much exposure to The Four Seasons. “I’m a red-diaper baby,” said Marshall Brickman, who wrote comedy for Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett before teaming up with Woody Allen on the scripts of such films as “Sleeper,” “Manhattan,” and “Annie Hall,” for which they won screenwriting Oscars. “My parents were progressive. The Four Seasons were not high on my list of music when I was growing up. I listened to Pete Seeger, the Weavers and Woody Guthrie. When all the people who are now coming to our show were in the back seats of their convertibles making out to ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,’ I was singing ‘We Shall Overcome.’” Co-writer Rick Elice, who was captivated by the theater at an early age but spent many years at an advertising agency before trying his hand at writing a theatrical production, was too young to remember when The Four Seasons had a hit song every season. Still, he and Brickman “appreciated the scope of their work” as they became acquainted with Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio. For Brickman and Elice, the attraction went far beyond the music and was about something else entirely — the chance to tell a great story about four gritty young men growing up in the shadow of

Jersey Boys tells the true story of The Four Seasons in their own words and with their own music.

the mob and succeeding in spite of it. “Marshall and I had ‘eureka moments,’ because it was a true story, a good story, an untold story and more than writers could possibly wish for. It was like winning the lottery,” Elice said. “The Four Seasons had never been written about, because the cultural elite didn’t think they were exotic enough and because they came from the wrong side of the river.” Brickman compared the experience of doing “Jersey Boys” to making a dinner date six months in advance and never expecting Continued on page 38

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F E AT U R E S Continued from page 35

it to happen. Although many biographical plays are short-lived and work,” Elice explained. “It informs my sense of humor and how I only one in a thousand makes it to Broadway in the first place, hear characters when I write. Being Jewish is so much of who we are, how we think and how we see the world.” Brickman and Elice knew they had to give this one a shot. ”Jersey Boys” was developed in La Jolla to avoid the gravitational Brickman said, “Being a Jew informs everything I do. Jews always pull of Broadway. Brickman and Elice came in at the end of a season had something witty to say. The national character is about selfwith a number of failed productions about singers, so they ran into deprecating sarcasm with warmth mixed in. There’s a great sense a great deal of skepticism about their idea of doing a “jukebox pro- of irony.” For Brickman, Judaism is “not so much the religious thing” duction.” Producers were having a hard time getting theaters and but the cultural aspect that is important. He investors to put on such shows, but, as Elice put it, “the stars were in alignment.” believes that Sholom Aleichem stories are As Brickman said, “We loved the story of “seminal and important to attitudes that leaked into other cultures,” adding that “every wave The Four Seasons, and we discovered that we of immigrants has its own sense of defining were knocked out by their music, which had The Four Seasons attitudes and character.” real authority and real voice. The success of had never been the show is in debt to the music. The songs Humor has suffered, according to Brickman, written about, are designed to get you moving.” because “we’re all so homogenized.” Humor, he said, is “a corrective that points out deficiencies Elice added, “From the first performance, because the cultural we knew we had caught a tiger by the tail. and incongruities and helps you own them.” elite didn’t think Elice, who loves working in the theater I never saw an audience behave like this in they were exotic the theater. People acted as if they were at a and thinks there is nothing more “thrilling, enough. rock concert. They sang and danced with the terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time music. There were standing ovations at the end than being in the theater,” has another view. of the first act.” He looks forward to “the day we can celebrate “Jersey Boys” has captivated audiences since 2005. This is its world peace,” and he believes that the answer lies in live events like second performance run at the Segerstrom Theater in Costa Mesa. the theater. At around the same time, the movie, also written by Brickman and “When people are enjoying a collective socializing experience, Elice, will be making its debut. Both writers believe that the movie they are understanding what we all have in common,” Elice said. remains true to the original concept they created, and both empha- “Instead of dividing the world into us and them, they are in the size remaining true to their Jewish roots. midst of a thousand people. That’s why we still have live theater, and “Being Jewish is about who I am as a man and how I do my there’s nothing more powerful and wonderful.”

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F E AT U R E S Don’t miss your chance to see this show in person.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts welcomes back “Jersey Boys,” the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical about Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, playing in Orange County from June 24 to July 13, 2014.

boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sound and sold 175 million records worldwide — all before they were thirty.

”Jersey Boys” is the story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. This is the story of how a group of blue-collar

Tickets are available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. A

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F E AT U R E S

OY VEY LEAGUE Celebrating Israel at UCI BY ILENE SCHNEIDER

WHEN IFEST STARTED at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), it may have had something to do with the fact that Jewish students wanted to have a big event that would make them feel better about Muslim students bringing controversial speakers to campus. Today, iFest is simply “a week-long celebration of Israeli culture that brings fun, food, learning and a sense of community pride to the campus,” according to Jackie Zelener, a junior public health major who serves on the board of Anteaters for Israel. iFest, supporters say, stands on its own to emphasize the positive aspects of life in

Students sported blue T-shirts and tank tops courtesy of iFest.

40 JULY 2014 |

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Israel and the innovative ideas that Israel offers the rest of the world. It gives people, from casual passersby to those highly involved in events, a chance to learn something while eating Israeli food or winning prizes. This year, the parties, concerts and other activities engaged nearly 1,000 students — some Jewish and some not — in one way or another. Members of the Orange County Jewish community supported and attended the events as well. Many hands and many months of planning went into the celebration, which was coordinated by Anteaters for Israel, the pro-


F E AT U R E S

The barbecue gave people tidbits of information about Israel with their hot dogs and hamburgers.

Israel group on campus that celebrates the culture, diversity and achievements of Israel. Twelve other organizations — Camera, StandWithUs, Zionist Organization of America, Chabad, Hasbara, Men of Reform Judaism, MASA, AEPI, AEPHI, Hillel at UCI, Rose Project and Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS) — were sponsors of various events at iFest. The iFest week, which went from Friday, May 2, to Thursday, May 8, had a little of everything. It began with a Shabbat dinner and service sponsored by Chabad UCI. Monday’s iFest events included “Pizza, Politics and Parasha” co-sponsored with Chabad; “Israel — The Land and the Spirit”; a movie screening of “A Hero in Heaven” co-sponsored with College Republicans; a Q&A with politicians; and then Pub Night and Trivia at the Anthill Pub. Most of the Tuesday events were on Ring Road in the center of campus, including a festival with tabling, games, a free barbecue and a Krav Maga class. People could answer a trivia question and get a T-shirt or a tank

top. The barbecue, sponsored by Chabad, gave people hot dogs and hamburgers with little flags containing factoids about Israel. Four hundred people got to learn something about “why we need to support Israel along with their piece of kosher meat,” according to Miriam Tenenbaum, wife of Rabbi Zevi Tenenbaum of Chabad UCI. While the students ate, there was a guest speaker at the flagpoles. An Israeli Krav Maga Self Defense Class in Aldrich Park followed later in the day. On Wednesday, AFI, Hillel at UCI and the Department of Jewish Studies welcomed Dr. Barbara Glück, who spoke about the Mauthausen concentration camp and how it relates to the Jewish community. Dr. Gluck is the director at the Mauthausen Memorial in Austria and is currently serving as the Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C . The week wrapped up on Thursday with another festival on Ring Road and a free concert given by Rabbi Blue, who does

Many hands and many months of planning went into the celebration, which was coordinated by Anteaters for Israel. Jlife

| JULY 2014 41


F E AT U R E S

iFest gave everyone a chance to celebrate, both young and old.

Jewish songs with a hip beat. Hundreds of students attended the venue party, which the organizers called “a very successful event.” “While we have no exact way to measure the impact of iFest, it was very well received,” said Rabbi Tenenbaum, who acts as advisor to AFI. “It boosts morale for Jewish students on campus as far as having a voice, and it does a decent job of reaching out to the UCI community at large to show the real facts about Israel. All of the activities show what a multicultural and tolerant place Israel is, and the students seem receptive.” Rabbi Tenenbaum, who has been on the campus for five years, thinks that Jewish student life at UCI is “going in the right direction.” He cited the contributions of JFFS and the Rose Project, as well as collaborations between Hillel and Chabad and other organizations that make Jewish students feel welcome. There are often 70 42 JULY 2014 |

Jlife

or 80 students at Shabbat dinners and many more for events such as iFest. “Jewish life on this campus is thriving,” he said. “The students feel that they have support, infrastructure and a safe haven. They have people to turn to and places to go.” Both Rabbi Tenenbaum and Brad Erbesfield, the assistant director of Orange County Hillel, were impressed with the way the students ran the iFest events. According to Erbesfield, “We collaborate as a community, working together where and when we can. The AFI board is passionate about Israel in so many different ways. It’s a lot of hard work, and you have to really want to do this. There’s a lot of setup, cleanup, promotion and organization involved.” Erbesfield also praised the students for finding ways to insert learning into fun events. “All in all, iFest is a great cultural celebration,” he said. A

Anteaters for Israel According to its website,  www.afiuci.org, Anteaters for  Israel is the Israel cultural club  at UC Irvine. It is “first, and  foremost, the campus access  point to Israel.” By celebrating  and promoting Israel  awareness through cultural  and educational events, the  organization attempts to build  and strengthen relationships  with other campus students  and organizations. Anteaters  For Israel accepts the  responsibility of “seeking new  avenues of advocacy and  student education by fulfilling  its role in representing Israel  on campus.”


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F E AT U R E S

IS CLONING KOSHER? Research allows gives us the ability to do it, but “should” we? BY KARIN HEPNER, PH.D.

There are two types of human cloning: therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning.

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F E AT U R E S

WHAT WAS ONCE a futuristic sci-fi concept along with time travel and alien warfare is now within the grasp of modern technology. Though this breakthrough promises to be the Holy Grail in medical research, it has not been without its ethical snags. Cloning poses a host of ethical obstacles, and human cloning is undoubtedly the most controversial player in the debate. There are two types of human cloning: therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. The goal of therapeutic cloning is the generation of embryos from which stem cells can be harvested for medical research, such as Alzheimer’s or diabetes research. On the other hand, reproductive cloning results in the creation of a fully formed human clone genetically identical to the DNA donor (though this is still a theoretical concept as it has not yet been achieved). Both forms of cloning involve a process called somatic nuclear cell transfer in which a nucleus from a donor cell is transferred to an egg cell from which the nucleus has been removed. The resulting cloned embryo is either used as a source of stem cells (in the case of therapeutic cloning), or implanted in a host mother to produce a whole organism clone (in reproductive cloning). Medical research has reached a formidable milestone with these advancements in cloning, yet the fundamental moral question remains: Are we playing G-d? Let us examine this from the Jewish perspective, which involves an ongoing discussion among rabbinic authorities. We begin with the question: What is the Torah’s view of Man’s creative and intellectual potential? The first commandment of the Torah given to G-d’s creations states, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the land, and conquer it.” Conquering, as understood by biblical commentators, is a directive for Man’s active participation in creation. Man is charged with the responsibility of emulating God through action, exploration and invention. Natural law is clearly not defined solely by that which occurs “naturally,” since in Jewish law we have a moral imperative to save a life despite naturally occurring illness and disease. Bearing in mind both Man’s directive

to participate in creation and the rabbinic endorsement of medical intervention, it may be inferred that since therapeutic cloning is designed for life-saving research and intervention, it should be permitted. Some legal authorities have also addressed the use of excess human embryos that were frozen and stored during in-vitro fertilization procedures as a source of stem cells. If the family does not intend to use these additional embryos for future implantation they may be considered a viable source of stem cells. In fact, their availability as a source of cells that would otherwise be unused or discarded may in fact make them preferable. However, is there a point at which we cross an ethical line, corrupting natural order and usurping, rather than promoting, G-d’s will? A legal precedent may be found in the biblical injunction of “kilayim” (Leviticus 19:19), which includes the prohibition of interspecific hybrids, or the mating of two species, usually resulting in sterile offspring (e.g., the mating of a horse and donkey to create a mule). According to Maimonides in his “Guide to the Perplexed,” one who couples creatures of different species defies the laws of nature and ethics. Maimonides was a rabbinic authority and physician who viewed science and medicine as within Man’s purview, yet believed that interfering with a species’ ability to propagate by overriding reproductive laws is a violation of the natural order. Monogenetic, asexual reproduction disregards a fundamental natural law in which genetic variation is axiomatic (obvious) and critical for sustaining the integrity of a species. Honoring the boundaries of the human partnership with G-d in creation by accepting the immutability of natural law may, under such circumstances, require squelching of scientific curiosity. A

Dr. Karin Hepner is a molecular biologist, cancer researcher and an expert in molecular cloning technology. Originally from N.Y., she now lives with her husband Absalom and five children in Irvine, and is Board president and a founder of Irvine Hebrew Day School.

Medical research has reached a formidable milestone with these advancements in cloning, yet the fundamental moral question remains: Are we playing G-d? Jlife

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News&Jews OC JEWISH SCENE | JULY 2014

New Interim Executive Director for Temple Beth Shalom Bill Shane is now serving as Interim Executive Director of Temple Beth Sholom in Santa Ana, the oldest Reform Synagogue in Orange County. Bill will be working closely with Rabbi Heidi Cohen and Susie Amster, Director of Living Legacy and Fire Restoration. Bill and three generations of his family have been active in the Orange County Jewish Community dating back to the 1960s. Bill can be reached at the Temple or at: (949) 677-6728.

Celebrate Summer With New Friends Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County has updated its Jewish Singles Meetup Group! This Meetup group is the online presence for the Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County’s Singles group for local Jewish Singles 40+, although everyone is welcome in this group and/or at events. The group meets approximately two to three times a month for exciting activities like Jews & Brews, movies, game nights, bonfires on the beach and much more. There is no fee to join the group: you pay per event.Whether you have been in the group for years or are a recent addition, check out all the great new happenings at: www.jccoc.org/adults/singles/events.

Israeli Culture Celebrated and Awarded Congratulations to University Synagogue congregant Gene Alterman for winning second place at the Second Annual IsraeLeader Award given by Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County on May 18 at the 2014 Israel Expo. Alterman was nominated by University Synagogue for his outstanding commitment to Israeli culture, bringing the finest in Israeli film to Orange County year after year, and for his decades of commitment and work with the Anti-Defamation League. 46 JULY 2014 |

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News&Jews University Synagogue Appoints New Youth Leadership University Synagogue is pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca Lynn Robinson (Lake Forest, Calif.) as Youth Director. Robinson has held positions in University Synagogue’s Preschool and Religious School since 2010. She first served as a lead teacher in the preschool and religious school programs, then as a classroom teacher and more recently as Games Specialist and Youth Engagement Lead. This appointment will allow University Synagogue to develop a new teen youth group program, providing all those involved with opportunities to gain leadership skills while getting involved in social action projects. For more information about University Synagogue, please visit: www.universitysynagogue.org/.

TBY’s New Executive Director Returns to Cali Temple Bat Yahm (TBY) in Newport Beach is pleased to announce the appointment of Adam L. Inlander as its new Executive Director. Since 2007, Inlander has served as Executive Director of Temple Beth Shalom in New Albany, Ohio. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of Temple Ohabai Sholom in Nashville, Tenn., and Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame, Calif. “As a professional I can see that it is an exciting moment in the life of Temple Bat Yahm, and I am so pleased for the opportunity to lend my professional skills and talents to the critical and important work of the congregation,” Inlander said. “Personally, this is a great move for me and my family as we return to our home state to be nearer to aging parents and other family and friends.” For more information please visit: www.templebatyahm.org/ Jlife

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News&Jews Merage Jewish Community Center’s Celebration Ball Merage Jewish Community Center (JCC) recently invited the community to celebrate “Brighter Futures for Our Children” at its annual Celebration Ball. Chaired by Adrienne Matros and Wendy Stark, the Celebration Ball honored the outstanding achievements of CHOC Children’s Hospital of Orange County; the JCC’s Preschool Expansion, and its chairs, Jay Witzling and Scott Cross; and JCC’s own artiste extraordinaire, Lynne Kaplan. Attendees of the ball were delighted by the musical stylings of Will Champlin as well. Will was a top three contender in last year’s season of “The Voice.” At his auditions, three of the four Voice coaches turned around to try to get him on their team. His performance at the ball was a great example of his shining talent and way with the audience, and numerous requests for an “encore” could be heard throughout the room. All proceeds from the JCC Celebration Ball support scholarships for its kids. In the past 10 years, The Merage JCC has given over $2 million in scholarships to kids in its community to attend preschool, camp, Maccabi Games and after-school programming. For more information please visit: www.jccoc.org.

TBY Welcomes New ECE Director Temple Bat Yahm is pleased to announce the appointment of Laura Gramling as its new Director of Early Childhood Education. Gramling has worked at Temple Beth El SOC for the last 10 years as an inclusion aid, a preschool teacher and as the assistant director of the Early Childhood Center. The native Californian received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in Clinical Neuropsychology from San Diego State University. Gramling worked with head injury patients for the Defense and Veterans Head Injury Program as well as with children prenatally exposed to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Gramling earned her Early Childhood Credential through Saddleback College and has been very involved with curriculum planning for the early childhood classroom. She is a member of NAEYC as well as CAEYC. We welcome Laura, her husband Kevin, an attorney with Klinedinst Law Firm and regional commissioner with Laguna Hills AYSO, and their three daughters to our congregation. A 48 JULY 2014 |

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We would look great on your coffee table.

Flowing & Flattering Israeli Des Do it Wit igners h Surprises All You Need is Love? The Hur dle of Marryi s ng in Israel

Bravo Cupid’s

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concert highlights MATISYAHU Matthew Miller, who is best known by his Hebrew name and stage name Matisyahu (“Gift of God”), will be performing at the Pacific Amphitheater July 13 as part of the OC Fair’s concert series. Known for blending Orthodox Jewish themes with reggae, rock and hip hop along with beatboxing sounds, Matisyahu’s 2005 single “King Without a Crown” was a Top 40 hit in the United States. He has released four studio albums as well as two live albums, two remix CDs and two DVDs featuring live concerts.

GEORGE GERSHWIN CHER

VONDA SHEPARD Vonda Shepard is an American pop/rock singer. Shepard will be on the Coach House stage Thursday, July 10. She appeared as a regular in the television show “Ally McBeal” in seasons one through five, in which she played a resident performer at the bar where the show’s characters drank after work. She plays piano, guitar and bass.

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Cher will be at the Honda Center July 3. She became prominent in 1965 as one-half of the folk rock husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher. She returned to stardom in the 1970s as a television personality with her shows “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour” and “Cher,” both of which attained immense popularity. She became a fashion trendsetter with her daring outfits. In September 2013, Cher released a new studio set, “Closer to the Truth,” the results of further sessions with assistance from Mark Taylor, the British songwriter/producer who had been a regular collaborator since her hit song “Believe.”

George Gershwin’s music will be played by the Pacific Symphony at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on July 20. The son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Gershwin began his foray into music at age 11 when his family bought a secondhand piano for his older sibling, Ira. Gershwin dropped out of school and began playing piano professionally at age 15. Gershwin died immediately following brain surgery on July 11, 1937, at age 38.


COURTESY OF THE ORANGE COUNTY CONCERT GUIDE

THE COACH HOUSE

Friday, July 11 The Aquabats

Friday, July 25 Donavon Frankenreiter

Sunday, July 13 Rusty Johnson

Saturday, July 12 Quiet Riot

Saturday, July 26 The White Buffalo

Saturday, July 19 Terry Steele

Thursday, July 10 Vonda Shepard

Sunday, July 17 Marisela

Wednesday, July 30 Echo and The Bunnymen

Sunday, July 20 Steve Oliver

Friday, July 11 Jefferson Starship

Friday, July 25 Foreverland

33157 Camino Capistrano San Juan Capistrano (949) 496-8930

Sunday, July 28 Tye Tribbett

THE OBSERVATORY 3503 S. Harbor Blvd. Santa Ana (714) 957-0600 JULY 16, 2014 SOUL ASYLUM Wednesday, July 16 Soul Asylum Friday, July 18 Benise Saturday, July 19 Henry Kapono Sunday, July 20 The Wailers Thursday, July 31 Queensryche

Friday, July 4 Juicy J Saturday, July 5 Nekromantix Tuesday, July 8 Robert Francis Wednesday, July 9 The Foreign Exchange Thursday, July 10 Aleks Syntek Friday, July 11 J-Boog

GROVE OF ANAHEIM

THE HONDA CENTER 2695 E Katella Ave. Anaheim (714) 704-2400 Tuesday, July 3 Cher with Cindy Lauper

HOUSE OF BLUES ANAHEIM 1530 S. Disneyland Dr. Anaheim (714) 778-BLUE (2583) Tuesday, July 8 Mkto

100 Fair Drive Costa Mesa (714) 708-1500

Friday, July 25 Ariana Savalas Saturday, July 26 Brian Hughes

Sunday, July 13 Matisyahu Thursday, July 17 Bad Religion Friday, July 18 Zendaya Saturday, July 19 Ziggy Marley

JULY 26, 2014 SANTANA

Sunday, July 20 The Happy Together Tour

Sunday, July 27 Steven Wayne

Wednesday, July 23 Pat Benatar

Wednesday, July 30 Gabriel Johnson

Thursday, July 24 LeAnn Rimes

Wednesday, July 30 Lifehouse JULY 30, 2014 ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN

Wednesday, July 23 Vincent Ingala

Friday, July 11 The Offspring

Friday, July 25 The Go-Go’s

2200 East Katella Avenue Anaheim (714) 712-2700 Sunday, July 13 Ted Nugent

PACIFIC AMPHITHEATER

Thursday, July 31 Little Big Town

SPAGHETTINI

VERIZON WIRELESS AMPHITHEATER 8808 Irvine Center Drive Irvine (949) 855-8095 Friday, July 4 Pacific Symphony: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Saturday, July 5 Kiss

Saturday, July 12 Smut Peddlers

3005 Old Ranch Pkwy. Seal Beach (562) 596-2199

Sunday, July 13 Flume

Saturday, July 5 Eric Marienthal

Saturday, July 19 Slightly Stoopid

Wednesday, July 16 Pennywise

Sunday, July 6 Darryl Williams

Friday, July 18 Morbid Angel

Wednesday, July 9 Vivian Sessoms

Sunday, July 20 Pacific Symphony: Gershwin Greats

Saturday, July 19 Bart Baker

Friday, July 11 Louie Cruz Beltran

Thursday, July 24 RL Grime

Saturday, July 12 Kyle Wolverton

Saturday, July 12 Brad Paisley

Tuesday, July 22 Motley Crue Saturday, July 26 Santana

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PHOTO BY ANSON SMART

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Healthful food made delicious.

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Blending several ingredients together can make one deicious dish.

PHOTO BY ANSON SMART

Masters claims to use her blender five times a day, but it is more than a mere cooking implement.

BLENDAHOLIC An intuitive approach to health. BY JUDY BART KANCIGOR

“Hi, my name is Tess, and I’m a blendaholic,” admitted Tess Masters recently at the book launch for her new cookbook, “The Blender Girl: SuperEasy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts & Drinks” (Ten Speed, $19.99), held at Melissa’s Produce headquarters — “the perfect messenger,” she said. Think your blender is just for smoothies? Think again. “I don’t expect everybody to stop using their teeth,” she quipped. You’ll find appetizers, salads and main dishes with a blended component like Fresh Spring Rolls with Orange-Almond Sauce and Spicy Chickpea Burgers with Portobello Buns and Greens; pizza and pasta dishes; and desserts like Chocolate-Chile Banana Spilly, Flourless Triple-Pecan Mousse Pie

and Chai Rice Pudding. Of course, no blender cookbook would be complete without smoothies and shakes, and with tempting titles such as Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake and Tastes-Like-Ice-Cream Kale, you’re thinking, this is a health book? Bonus sections include what to look for in choosing a blender as well as nutritional information, such as the benefits of soaking, sprouting and dehydrating; proper food combining; and eating raw, probiotic-rich and alkaline ingredients. Masters developed her interest in health and nutrition when, as a teenager, she was struck with the Epstein-Barr virus. “A naturopath suggested I forget gluten, dairy and meat, and embrace a diet high in plant-based foods and fish,”

she said. “Almost overnight, I felt better. It turned out I was gluten- and dairyintolerant. This was my own awakening to food as medicine, and the miracle was not lost on me.” She studied nutrition and took cooking classes, and for years seesawed between different health regimes until discovering the concept of bio-individuality. “No single blanket diet will work for everyone,” she noted. “I shifted to an intuitive approach to my health, listening to the signs in my body, and teaching myself a healthier way to move through the world with food. I discovered that flexibility and fluidity rather than rigidity were, for me, among the keys to health and happiness.” Masters claims to use her blender five times a day, but it is more than a mere cooking implement. “It is a metaphor for my life,” she said. As she notes on her website, “While I am a plant-based eater and am convinced that a diet containing vast quantities and varieties of leafy greens, alkaline vegetables, raw sprouted nuts, seeds and grains, all combined with daily green juices and smoothies can be beneficial to anybody, I also believe that each person’s ‘perfect blend’ (foods, exercise, joyful activities, fulfilling work, loving relationships, time with family, etc.) will add up to a unique combination, and so the ingredients each of us will put in the blender will also be a unique combination. We nourish our beings with many things, and so it only makes sense that we nourish our bodies in diverse ways, too. That’s the great journey called life, isn’t it?” Jlife

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We nourish our beings with many things, and so it only makes sense that we nourish our bodies in diverse ways, too.

Incredibly Edible Edamame Dip One of the enduring favorites on my [Master’s] website, this recipe is addictive. Not only because it tastes so darn good, but also because it only takes minutes to blend up and devour. For this recipe use a high-speed blender or food processor. Use it as a dip with raw vegetables and crackers, or spread it on sandwiches or wraps. Totally guilt-free, super-healthy, alkalizing, and nutrient-dense, this one’s a winner on all fronts.

which some people prefer. Tweak flavors to taste. (You may like more lemon juice, garlic, pepper flakes, or salt.) Serve topped with sesame seeds and parsley.

Chai Rice Pudding

A rice pudding you don’t have to stir for an hour! Other reasons to swoon for this dessert: the incredible creaminess and the delicate blend of spices that sing in perfect harmony with the apples, raisins, and maple syrup. Serves 6 to 8

Makes 2 and 1/2 cups

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons water

2 cups shelled raw edamame beans 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste 3 tablespoons tahini 1 and 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped onion (yellow, white, or Vidalia is good, but not red)

2 apples, peeled, cored, and cubed 1 cup canned coconut milk (shake, then pour) 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch natural salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste

3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice (soft but not mushy)

1 teaspoon natural salt, or to taste

1/4 cup raisins

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (strained if homemade)

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even chilled; add 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup milk if you serve it chilled, to soften it up. Sprinkle pistachios on each serving.

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom Pinch ground cloves

Throw oil, edamame, spinach, lemon juice, tahini, onion, garlic, cumin, pepper flakes, and salt into blender or food processor and blend on high or process about 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides of container periodically to fully incorporate ingredients. A food processor will give mixture a coarse consistency,

3 Serve warm, at room temperature, or

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cloves garlic, minced, plus more to taste

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

2 Meanwhile, put coconut milk, remaining 3 tablespoons maple syrup, vanilla, ginger, spices, and salt into blender and blast on medium-high about 10 seconds until combined. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of the rice and process on medium-low a few seconds, until creamy but rustic. (If using high-speed blender, do not overblend. If using conventional blender, your machine will let you know when the mixture is ready; it’ll thicken and be difficult to blend.) Add the blended mixture and raisins to cooked apples and stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 cup of the almond milk and remaining 1and 1/2 cups cooked rice. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup almond milk and simmer 5 minutes more, until desired consistency. (I take my rice pudding off the heat as soon as liquid has been absorbed). Tweak maple syrup to taste.

1/3 cup chopped raw pistachios

Please join me on Sunday, July 20 at 1:00 pm at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach (site of the Pageant of the Masters) for a cooking demonstration from my cookbook “Cooking Jewish” as part of their “Art of Cooking” Sunday summer series. Tastes, of course, are happily included! – Judy

1 In saucepan over high heat, bring 1/4 cup maple syrup and water to a boil. As soon as mixture bubbles, reduce heat to mediumlow and stir in apples. Cook apples about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they caramelize lightly and soften slightly but remain mostly firm.

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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BOOK REVIEW

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, also known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

“REBBE”

A Great Read and Even Better Guide BY RABBI ZALMAN A. KANTOR 56 JULY 2014 |

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“I ONLY HOPE that I have fairly and accurately conveyed a least a part of his essence. If I have, then of one thing I am confident: you will become a better person as a result of learning and reading about him…” So read the last sentences of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s most recent book, Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History, by Joseph Telushkin (HarperWave, 640 pages). Rebbe, a book that has just made the New York Times bestseller list and has enjoyed consistently positive reviews in news outlets from across the spectrum, including the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and Commentary. Unusual as it might be to begin a bookreview with the last sentences of a book (from the acknowledgement pages, yet), in this case it seems to me most judicious. The sentences express succinctly what you are likely to gain from investing in this 640-page book: you will become a better person. Telushkin weaves together philosophy, narrative and commentary to offer a fresh, endearing, honest, broad and well-sourced look at the life of the Rebbe, whom he calls “the most influential rabbi in modern history.” In clear and inviting prose he describes a world leader, recipient of the rare Congressional Gold Medal, who interacted with U.S. presidents (President Reagan would personally draft his responses to the Rebbe’s letters), Israeli prime ministers (his advice to Israeli PM Netanyahu, then Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., “You are going into a house of lies; light a candle for truth...” is famous by now), foreign leaders and Jewish activists and scholars. He shares with the reader the Rebbe’s unabashed philosophy on life; his pride, cour-


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The sentences express succinctly what you are likely to gain from investing in this 640-page book: you will become a better person.

age and vision of a thriving Judaism in America and the modern world; and his vital 10-point mitzvah campaign. In story after story, Telushkin paints the image of a humble leader who was “more concerned about creating leaders than followers.” A leader who could encourage a reform rabbi not to leave his post, a law student to interest himself in unmet Jewish needs on campus, a director of the UJA (later to be a U.S. senator) to combine fundraising with raising Jewish awareness, and an African-American congresswoman to transform her unwelcome committee-appointment as a force for good. Page after page of touching anecdotes draws the reader into the world of a caring teacher, a spiritual guide, and, more often than not, a father figure, who never lost sight of the trees for the forest — whether it entailed teaching an orphaned, starry-eyed girl about true love, a young boy the importance of prayer or a seemingly insignificant Jew in a remote country how to view himself (“There is no such thing as a small Jew”). What I found particularly insightful was Telushkin’s selection and presentation of various universal virtues and ethics that take on a whole new depth and meaning in the Rebbe’s world that all people can learn from — ideals like loving your neighbor, trading fear for growth, optimism, sensitivity, productiveness, prioritizing and much more. I trust you will walk away from this book with a renewed belief in humanity, a firmer belief in yourself and the inspiration, tools—and urgency—to change your life and our world for the better. This is not a book about the Rebbe. It is a book about you and me. The book is available for purchase at your favorite online or local bookstore. July 1st marks the Rebbe’s twenty years yahrzeit. Chabad of OC invites the community to a special event, honoring the Rebbe, whose vision brought Chabad to Orange County already in the 1960’s. Thursday, July 10, at 7:30 pm, at Chabad of Irvine facility 5010 Barranca. Special guest Rabbi Leibl Groner, the Rebbe’s personal secretary for over 40 years, video presentation, and personal encounters. $15 in advance, $18 at door. More information at www. chavadirvine.org. A Rabbi Zalman A. Kantor and his wife Rochel direct the Chabad Jewish Center of Rancho S. Margarita, one of 17 Chabad branches servicing communities in Orange County. He can be reached for comment at: info@jewishrsm.com.

got simcha? We want your announcements! Send us your births, birthdays, bar/bat mitzvahs, graduations, weddings or any other family milestones, and we will print it in Jlife’s new section, Simcha & Such. Email us at editorjlife@gmail.com.

My daughter EMMA AINSLEY FISHER will be celebrating her bat mitzvah on June 21 at Surf City Synagogue. She did her Mitzvah Project for the Todd Cancer Center at Long Beach Memorial with her swim team, Golden West Swim Club, raising over $2,000 to help cure cancer. Feel free to contact me with questions at ronit1957@yahoo.com. — Ronny (Ronit) Fisher

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LIFESTYLE

COMICALLY JEWISH An Exploration of Jews and Comics BY DEBORAH LEWIS

Did you know that many of the comic characters you know and love were created by Jewish minds?

AS YOU MEANDER through the crowded San Diego Convention Center during this year’s Comic Con, most of the characters that you will see were in fact created by Jews. One is Stanley Martin Lieber. You may know him better as Stan Lee, cocreator of various comics including Spider60 JULY 2014 |

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Man and the X-Men. According to Arie Kaplan’s history of Jews and comic books “From Krakow to Krypton,” Jews built the comic book industry. Unlike newspaper, advertising and other agencies that had quotas for Jewish employees, the comic book industry did not discriminate.


LIFESTYLE

Over the next few decades after the invention of the comic book in 1933, the comic book characters were not explicitly Jewish. Other than having a Hebrewsounding birth name (Kal-El), Superman, the most widely-known representation of the Jewish experience, held no other Jewish characteristics. Not surprisingly, the creators of Superman were also Jewish and their story would inspire Michael Chabon, an alum of our very own UC Irvine MFA Creative Writing program, to write “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.” Comic books evolved from children’s entertainment with Jewish allusions into historical narratives with openly Jewish characters taking form as award-winning graphic novels, such as Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” and Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman.” Comic books aren’t the only medium to grasp the attention of mainstream culture. It seems every year there is a new comic book adapted into a film. The latest installment of the X-Men franchise, “Days of Future Past,” was released in theaters at the end of May. Magneto’s Jewish background is touched upon in all of the films and explored more intimately in “X-Men: First Class.” The fact that he is a Holocaust survivor is given to us in the opening scene of the first film, “X-Men.” Within the comic books, Chris Claremont, who took over writing X-Men after Stan Lee and who is also a Jewish writer, revealed Magneto’s background in August1981, issue #150. Some would argue that the portrayal of the Holocaust with entertainment purposes is disrespectful; however, there are others, like Danielle Berrin from the Jewish Journal, who argue the more Holocaust imagery that is integrated into mainstream culture, the better. The mantra “Never Again” cannot exist without “Never Forget.” Within the films especially, we see Magneto fulfilling these mantras and protecting his people, the race of mutants. The way he enacts his goals (trying to turn humans into mutants regardless of the fact that it will kill them) makes it seem like he is a villain. As I watched each film, my opinion of Magneto became even

more conflicted. I like Magneto and even respect him. He fulfills a revenge fantasy for many Jews, but does that make his actions okay? Is he a hero? Or is he a villain? I set out to gain a better understanding of Magneto’s character and spoke with Keri Hughes who is not only an X-Men fanatic, but also has a Master’s in Religious Studies from the California State University of Long Beach and has written conference papers on the righteous demon archetype. She pointed out an important comparison between Magneto and the wrongs inflicted upon his people: “His revenge against the Nazis and those who wronged him are a major driving force for him, but it becomes problematic when his actions parallel the Ubermensch mentality of Hitler. He even refers to the mutant species as ‘Homo Superior.’” In contrast to Hughes’ statement, Magneto’s actions can also be seen as proactive and comparable to the stories of preservation found within the Hebrew Bible, in order to ensure the safety of his race. In response to my question about where Magneto stands, Hughes stated, “Magneto is a more engaging and relatable character when he’s at his worst, and a more heroic figure when he’s at his best, because he has to overcome so much more than traditional heroes like Xavier and the other ‘good guys.’” Depending on which argument you side with, Magneto can be seen either way. Perhaps, the proper label is anti-hero — a flawed hero, but a hero nonetheless. Deborah Lewis recently graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Jewish Studies. Starting this fall, she will be pursuing a Master’s in Library and Information Science with an emphasis in Archival Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

He fulfills a revenge fantasy for many Jews, but does that make his actions okay? Is he a hero? Or is he a villain? Jlife

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ORANGE COUNTY’S JEWISH HISTORY Dentist Over the California National Bank BY DALIA TAFT

JULIUS JACK JACOBS (otherwise known as JJ) was born on June 24, 1886 in Nappanee, Indiana, the youngest child of Russian immigrants Max and Golda, who had come to the United States in the late 1860s. He attended the University of Michigan and went on to become a dentist, establishing a practice in Santa Ana in the 1910s. Married in 1921, he and his wife Ruby had four children: Marvin, Goldie, Doris and John. He was one

of a handful of Jewish doctors and dentists at the time; most of his fellow Jewish residents were businessmen. His office, located on the second floor at 102½ E. Fourth St., was on the corner of Main, and he worked there until his retirement. Today it is still in use as a dentist’s office. Seen below: Ad in the Santa Ana High School Yearbook, 1918

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

“There are a lot of great Jewish bloggers out there, and they deserve all the attention of the world showered on them. I’d like to take the opportunity to share with you a few that I think are doing amazing, amazing work.” popchassid.com “The term ‘carrier’ means that you have an altered copy of a gene in your genetic makeup. Being a carrier for a Jewish genetic disease has absolutely no impact on your health. Everyone is a carrier for something.” www.kveller.com

DALIA TAFT, archivist of the Orange County Jewish Historical Society — a Connect 2 People Initiative of Jewish Federation & Family Services — highlights images from the archives every month. For more information, please visit www.jewishorangecounty.org/historical. You can also contact Dalia at (949) 435-3484, ext. 167. 62 JULY 2014 |

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“We are like trees in the field. I was at a class this week and the teacher explained, ‘Just like a tree is always growing no matter how old it is, human beings never stop growing. You are never too old to grow.” — Esther Rosen www.chabad.org


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LIFESTYLE

From cancer research to genetics to biotechnology, Israeli researchers are making meaningful, actionable discoveries.

GENES WE ALL WEAR Our heritage can define our culture as well as our DNA. BY MERAV CEREN

MOST MAY HAVE heard of Tay-Sachs, Canavan, Fanconi anemia, Niemann-Pick or Gaucher disease. These devastating disorders tend to afflict those in the Ashkenazi community (Jews of European descent) and have been well-researched. The genetics of Sephardic Jews are a bit more complicated, as this population tends to be slightly more diverse. This doesn’t mean, of course, that this population is immune to genetic diseases. This community, which accounts for about 1.4 million of Israel’s 7.9 million residents or a bit over 15 percent, and the genetic disabilities that tend to afflict it are the specific targets of the well-decorated laboratory at Ben Gurion University in Israel’s south. These discoveries improve the lives 64 JULY 2014 |

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of countless individuals, but the importance is also seen at home. Neglected for so long, research into the diseases that afflict Jews of Arab or Sephardic descent (those who descend from Middle East ancestry and lived in southern Spain until the Spanish Inquisition) has been at the center of Professor Ohad Birk’s lab. In March of this year, researchers at BGU found the cause of a severe genetic defect that afflicts a number of Moroccan Jews. PCCA 2 (Progressive Cerebello-Cerebral Atrophy Type 2) is a hereditary disease carried by one out of every 37 Moroccan Jews. Children with the disease appear healthy at birth and develop normally until about six months of age. They begin to rapidly deteriorate soon after, experi-

encing brain atrophy, severe retardation, and epilepsy by their first birthdays. The research team, led by Birk, found that the disease is caused by a pair of mutations that affect a gene which causes the accumulation of excess “junk” within the cells, making the disease detectable in parents and also in the fetus. This is just the most recent discovery in Birk’s lab. The professor, who serves as head of BGU’s Morris Kahn Lab, has led research that has been instrumental in the discovery of more than 20 genetic diseases common in Jews of Arab and Sephardic descent. In a press release, Birk explained the impetus of his work: “There was an idea that Ashkenazi Jews have more disease than others, but when one begins looking at Sephardic Jewish diseases, they are there,” Birk said. “They have just not been sorted out. Because they have not been sorted out, there was no carrier testing, no prevention programs or anything. I have shifted part of my lab into Jewish non-Ashkenazi — or Sephardic Jewish — diseases.” Past discoveries have included the gene mutation that causes PCCA, a similar mutation which is carried by one in 40 Jews of Sephardic or Iraqi descent, and another mutation which results in severe mental retardation and epilepsy associated with the production of an amino acid. The ability to detect these conditions has led to the availability of dozens of routine genetic carrier tests. Israel is well-known for its innovative, inquisitive spirit. This year, Bloomberg Rankings put the Start-Up Nation at #1 globally in the Research and Development category, which analyzes R&D as a percentage of a nation’s GDP. Birk’s lab is just one example of the impressive work Israeli scientists contribute. From cancer research to genetics to biotechnology, Israeli researchers are making meaningful, actionable discoveries. Merav Ceren is a contributing writer to JLife magazine.


LIFESTYLE

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ng

so By fa J e w is h M ille n nial.

“Break” in Thought

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Ra

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here is a point in life where we break down physically and have to take it easy. As Father Time takes his toll on our bodies, we forget that it is connected completely with our emotional state of being. Today is week five of a broken foot. When I show up at my podiatrist’s office (he’s actually quite kind and good to me), he is tending to my foot. Yes, he listens to me and tries to provide me with the best quality care he can, but this battle is not just with the aches and pains of my body — the challenge this has placed upon me seems immense. Everyday tasks, like a shower, become grueling as I fall backward on a bench placed sideways in my shower (the only way it would fit) and dangle my inoperable leg in a plastic bag. Dishes, laundry, the stairs to get into my house — these are no longer small tasks. So of course, the one dependable thing I can turn to is my dog, yet she can’t stay in my second-story condo without being walked. Sadly, I had to hand her to my parents. Chores and basics like going to and from the mailbox have become energy consumers of an immeasurable size. Grocery shopping

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JYA has recently launched a joint effort with JCC Cares, the Merage JCC’s social action team, to involve the J’s Young Adults in giving back to the community. Temple Bat Yahm (TBY) has a group called “The Jeremiah Society.” They provide community members with a three-hour program that is held on the third Sunday of every month. In addition to TBY, Chabad has created a group called “Friendship Circle” that promotes Jewish community for those with physical and mental disabilities. Their community has an online presence as well as brick and mortar, allowing Jewish traditions and education to be tangible for all Jews. Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS) offers a residential solution to encompass the Jewish residents of OC, the Mandel House. According to JFFS, this “home offers adults [18 years of age or older] with disabilities an independent, communitybased, group living environment that meets their unique needs and helps them remain active in Jewish life. Special attention is paid to assisting residents with activities of daily living, socialization, and good nutrition.” In addition, JFFS provides other services to those in need of physical and emotional assistance. It is a great pleasure to see that OC does not marginalize community, but embraces all of its Jewish residents — placing value not just on life, but on the quality of a Jewish life in Orange County.

Everyday tasks, like a shower, become grueling.

is impossible alone. I make lists and have friends and family deliver what I need. The men at the local Indian restaurant now know my order by heart and know to just drop it off at the door because it takes me too long to get there myself. I have become physically disabled. It’s only for a little over a month. However, it has made me rethink what it means to be independent. I am lucky. This for me is a tiny glimpse of what many others in the community have to battle for the rest of their lives. This small infraction on my being has really made me wonder how we as a Jewish community organize events and provide community that is accessible to those with physical and emotional limitations. I know many organizations do outreach for the elderly, but how do we as a community provide access for younger disabled Jews? After further nvestigation, I found that local and national groups have identified a Jewish community with diverse needs and does provide for them. Happily, I also discovered that all of these opportunities welcome ages 21 to 45, but are not necessarily specific to the GenY demographic. Our very own Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County’s

RACHEL SCHIFF

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

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GET YOUR GROUP ON! Young Professionals have been keeping active! NextGen OC held another successful Nefesh Shabbat dinner and service and launched a biweekly pickup basketball group. Merage Jewish Community Center’s (JCC’s) Young Adults (21-35) - joined forces with JCC Cares, the Merage JCC’s social action team, to volunteer as part of Big Sunday. They sanded, painted, dusted, scrubbed, organized, hung clothes and had a great time making new friends while helping Laura’s House, a local shelter for battered women and children. Laura’s House provides domestic violence-related services to women and families. Big Sunday is a nonprofit organization that works to build community through community service… one of the largest regional community service events in America. TOP LEFT: L-R: Daniel Rosen, Elana Simon, Shira Wolf, Alex Kaplan, Lena Bakman, Roman Vilensky, Joey Cymerint, Liora Schneider and Heather Zucker TOP RIGHT: NextGen OC’s pickup basketball group MIDDLE LEFT: Roman Vilensky sweeping a supply closet MIDDLE RIGHT: Nefesh Shabbat dinner and service BOTTOM RIGHT: More pickup basketball with NextGen OC

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF JACKIE MENTER OF JEWISH FEDERATION & FAMILY SERVICES

Orange Jews


STOCK IN ISRAEL

Stanley Fischer

BANKING ON FISCHER The former Bank of Israel governor awaits Senate confirmation to fill the spot vacated by new chairwoman Janet Yellen. BY BILL GUNDERSON

EARLIER THIS YEAR, on January 10, President Obama nominated Stanley Fischer to be Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Fischer was sworn in as a member of the Federal Reserve Board on May 28. Assuming his nomination is confirmed by the Senate this June, he will become second in command behind Fed Chair Janet Yellen, taking over her former position. Fischer has an impressive resume and diverse background with decades of experience in Financial Economics. Given that Fischer is expected to play an influential role in helping shape U.S. monetary policy at a time when the Fed is winding down its massive bond-buying

stimulus, it is a good time to get to know more about Stanley Fischer’s background, experience and range of influences. Born into a Jewish family in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Fischer holds dual citizenship in Israel and the U.S. When he was 13, his family moved to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where he became active in the Habonim Zionist youth movement. In 1960, he visited Israel and studied Hebrew at a kibbutz. Originally, he planned to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but instead attended the London School of Economics after receiving a scholarship there. After obtaining his B.S. and M.S. in Economics, he moved

to the U.S. to study at MIT, earning his Ph. D. in Economics in 1969. In the early 1970s, Fischer worked as an associate professor at the University of Chicago. He later returned to MIT where he was a professor there in the Department of Economics. In the late 1970s, Fischer became a central figure in New Keynesian economics, combining the classical theories with the idea that active monetary policy could help in times of economic downturns. Whether or not you agree with his economics, Fischer’s resume and credentials are indeed impressive. From January 1988 to August 1990, he was a Chief Economist at the World Bank. Then he was a Managing Director with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 1994 to 2001, during the time of the Asian crisis of the 1990s. After leaving the IMF, he served as Vice Chairman of Citigroup from 2002 to 2005. In January 2005, Fischer was appointed Governor of the Bank of Israel by the Israeli cabinet upon the recommendation of thenPrime Minister Ariel Sharon and Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Fischer became an Israeli citizen in order to assume the role, but did not have to renounce his American citizenship. At the Bank of Israel, Fischer was credited with adeptly steering Israel’s economy through the global financial crisis. During a Senate hearing last March, Fischer broadly endorsed the current direction of the Fed. He agrees with Yellen’s position that the unwinding of the Fed’s accommodative monetary policies still leaves ample room to fuel economic growth and boost employment. Fischer’s term as governor would extend until January 31, 2020, which is the remainder of Yellen’s term. Fischer is 70 years old and brings to the job what Obama described in nominating him: “one of the world’s leading and most experienced policy minds.” We are certainly at a pivotal point in Fed history as the Fed continues to taper its economic stimulus. Hopefully, Stanley Fischer’s past background and diverse experience will serve him, and our country, well in his new role. Bill Gunderson, president of Gunderson Capital Management, has been featured in Fox News, Fox Business TV, Lou Dobbs, Megyn Kelly, David Asman, Barron’s, Bloomberg Radio, Forbes, The Street, Los Angeles Business Journal, Phoenix Business Journal and Yahoo Finance.

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LIFESTYLE FRIDAYS 10 AM Men’s Club at the JCC Merage JCC Sunday 1 PM (games start) July 13 Poker League 2014 Merage JCC

SENIORS

CALENDAR J U LY 2 0 1 4

MONDAYS 10 AM News & Views Merage JCC Mondays 7-9 PM Drop-in Mah Jongg Merage JCC TUESDAYS 10:30 AM The View for Women of All Ages Merage JCC 10 – 11:30 AM (meets once a month) Books & Bagels July 29—The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer Merage JCC 10 AM – 12 PM July 1 – August 5 (6 classes) Beginner Bridge Supervised Play with Ann CressmanMerage JCC 1 – 3 PM July 1 – August 5 (6 classes) Intermediate Bridge Supervised Play with Ann Cressman Merage JCC

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7 – 8:30 PM July 8-29 (4 Classes) iPhone Tips and Secrets Merage JCC 7 – 9 PM July 15 Men’s Wine Tasting RSVP Required to Sid Field, Coordinator (949) 464–9939, Bacchus1961@cox.net. JCC Members only: Free. Merage JCC WEDNESDAYS & FRIDAYS 8:45 AM Gentle Yoga Merage JCC THURSDAYS 9:30 AM Drop-in Mah Jongg Merage JCC

MONDAY, JUNE 2 10 AM Tai Chi/Jack Finkelstein 10:30 AM Stretching/Al Talberg 11:00 AM What’s Up/ Bob & Ruth Wilkoff Ezra Center AACA THURSDAY, JULY 3 9:30 AM Keeping Fit/Mel Grossman 10:30 AM Travelogue/ Eva & Jerry Silverman Ezra AAFC MONDAY, JULY 7 10 AM Tai Chi/ Jack Finkelstein 10:30 AM Stretching/Al Talberg 11 AM What’s Up/Bob & Ruth Wilkoff Ezra AAFC WEDNESDAY, JULY 9 11 AM “Writing for Reminiscences” Marilyn Silverstein Temple Beth Tikvah THURSDAY, JULY 10 9:30 AM Keeping Fit/ Mel Grossman 10:30 AM Maintaining Brain Health/ Jennifer Mitolo, Psy.D. Ezra AAFC MONDAY, JULY 14 10 AM Tai Chi/ Jack Finkelstein 10:30 AM Stretching/Al Talberg 10:30 AM Living at home as a senior/ Penny Byran Ezra AAFC THURSDAY, JULY 17 9:30 AM Keeping Fit/ Mel Grossman 10:30 AM To be a Jew in the Free World/ Rabbi David Eliezrie Ezra AAFC

MONDAY, JULY 21 10 AM Tai Chi/ Jack Finkelstein 10:15 AM Stretching/Al Talberg 11 AM Events that Changed the World/ Jerry Silverman Ezra AAFC WEDNESDAY, JULY 23 11 AM “Writing for Reminiscences”/ Marilyn Silverstein Temple Beth Tikvah THURSDAY, JULY24 9:30 AM Keeping Fit/ Mel Grossman 10:30 AM The New Testament/Jerry Silverman Ezra AAFC MONDAY, JULY 28 10 AM Tai Chi/ Jack Finkelstein 10:15 AM Stretching/Al Talberg 11 AM The Happiness Hour/ Allen Koven Ezra AAFC THURSDAY, JULY 31 9:30 AM Keeping Fit/ Mel Grossman 10:30 AM Jews That Changed The World/ Joan Kay, Ed. D. Ezra AAFC The Merage Jewish Community Center is located at 1 Federation Way Suite 200, Irvine, (949) 435-3400 x 303 For reservations please contact Sid Field, Coordinator at (949) 464–9939, or e–mail Bacchus1961@cox.net. The Ezra Center is located at Temple Beth Emet on Monday & Thursday 1770 W. Cerritos, Anaheim, (714) 776-1103 and Temple Beth Tikvah on Wednesday 1600 N. Acacia, (714) 871-3535 Temple Bat Yahm is located at 1011 Camelback St., Newport Beach, (949) 854-8854 For reservations please contact Sandy Bursten at: sandybee1@ cox.net.


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Advertising Index

27 American Friends of Hebrew University 69 Allan Silverman

19 Foundation for Holocaust Victims

69 Alzheimer’s Family Services Center

23 Golden Diamond Corp.

23 Art A Fair

49 Heating & Air

69 Bubbe and Zayde’s Place

63 Heritage Museum of OC

38 Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP

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6 Laguna Playhouse 10 Larry Kutinsky 15 L’Dor V’Dor 63 Long Beach Playhouse 23 Luggie Scooters 43 Master Construction

27 Rock Doctor 23 RSM Plumbing 72 Scholar Share 57 Signature Elegance 63 Solomon’s Bakery 19 Soul Mates Unlimited 27 South Coast Repatory Theater

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4 Stegmeier, Gelbart, Schwartz & Benavente, LLP

13 Jewish Community Center

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63 Stephen Danz & Associates

5 Colony Theater

31 Jewish Federation of Omaha

35 Nancy Aynehchi

2 24 Carrots

4 Congregation B’nai Tzedek

58 Jewish Federation and Family Services

35 New Life Framing

63 Taly Hypnosis

21 Nicole Lahmani

15 Temple Bat Yahm

11 Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’a lot

59 Jewish Federation and Family Services

55 Pageant of the Masters

7, 21 Temple Beth El

63 Debbie Guimond

4 Jewish National Fund

71 Dr. Ivar Roth

63 John Fine Arts

5 Eaton Unlimited

35 Klein Financial Services

43 Callahan & Blaine 63 Catalina Treasure Wharehouse

43 Eco Water System

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43 Idyllwild Jazz Festival

15 Laguna Hills Dental Arts

37 Mortensen & Reinheimer PC

5 Cal Vista Mortgage

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29 Eden Memorial Park

3 Phil Roy Producer 69 Professional Health Care Services Inc 7 Renaissance Club Sports

13 Temple Beth Emet 10 Temple Beth Tikvah 19 Torah with Liora 31 Yuri Ausker DDS


Orange County Jewish Life - July 2014  

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

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