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APRIL 2014 l NISAN 5774


New Trends for the Exodus Holiday

PLUS: Planned Giving

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April 2014 Nisan 5774


COVER: Passover is here! Celebrate the Exodus with a new Haggadah, local matzah and a Seder story from Israel


FEATURE: Malashock Dance and Art of Élan collaborate to perform “Lifeblood Harmony,” a celebration of movement and sound


PLANNED GIVING: The Ranch, North County’s hub for Jewish life builds upon Lee and Toni Leichtag’s vision


THEATER: Lionel Goldstein’s “Mandate Memories” tackles with love affairs, dreams, and the founding of Israel at North Coast Repertory Theatre

4 l April 2014

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Ner Tamid’s Hebrew school

Good Eats 86 Food



Locals weigh in on the Kerry Initiative for peace


Local Matzah on the rise


The new Bronfman Haggadah


Secular Seders in Israel


Considering “Next Year in Jerusalem”

74 PLANNED GIVING: JFS’s Youth Leadership Program

76 PLANNED GIVING: Ellen Dolgen, Planned Parenthood and Women’s Health


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Around Town 10 Mailbag 12 Our Town 14 Event Recap 84 What’s Goin’ On 98 Calendar In Every Issue 8 Welcome 18 Parenting 20 Israeli Lifestyle 22 Dating 24 Guest Column 26 Spirituality 28 Israel 90 News 101 Desert Life

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ASSISTANT EDITOR • Natalie Jacobs ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR • Eileen Sondak ADVERTISING DIRECTOR • Mark Edelstein CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tori Avey, Betsy Baranov, Linda Bennett, Tinamarie Bernard, David Ebenbach, Judith Fein (Senior Travel Correspondent), Michael Fox, Jennifer Garstang, Rabbi Philip Graubart, Natalie Holtz, Miki Lamm, Pat Launer, Curt Leviant, David Ogul, Pamela Price, Sharon Rosen Leib, Nikki Salvo, Andrea Simantov CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS/ARTISTS Vincent Andrunas, Leigh Castelli, Leetal Elmaleh, Pepe Fainberg, Steve Greenberg, Pat Krause, Laurie Miller, Paul Ross (Senior Travel Photographer), Angela Sissa, Daisy Varley ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Diane Benaroya (Senior Account Executive), Alan Moss (Palm Springs) SAN DIEGO JEWISH JOURNAL (858) 638-9818 • fax: (858) 638-9801 5665 Oberlin Drive, Suite 204 • San Diego, CA 92121 EDITORIAL: ADVERTISING: CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS: ART DEPARTMENT: LISTINGS & CALENDAR:

SDJJ is published monthly by San Diego Jewish Journal, LLC. Subscription rate is $24 for one year (12 issues). Send subscription requests to SDJJ, 5665 Oberlin Drive, Suite 204, San Diego, CA 92121. The San Diego Jewish Journal 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. The San Diego Jewish Journal is not responsible for the accuracy of any and all information within advertisements. The San Diego Jewish Journal reserves the right to edit all submitted materials, including press releases, letters to the editor, articles and calendar listings for brevity and clarity. The Journal 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 the Journal become the physical property of the publication, which is not responsible for the return or loss of such material. All contents ©2014 by San Diego Jewish Journal. The San Diego Jewish Journal is a member of the American Jewish Press Association and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 2012© Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Owned & Operated By NRT LLC. CaBRE Lic#01333258

6 l April 2014



WELCOME by Alanna Berman Editor of the San Diego Jewish Journal

Birthdays with Matzah


pril has always been my favorite month, because I get to celebrate my birthday again. April is also the month I sometimes loathe, because that means that Passover is here – and I probably don’t have to go into detail about why Kosher for Passover birthday cake is not my favorite dessert. I can probably count on my two hands the number of times the holiday has put a damper on my birthday celebrations, and this year, that magical matzah-filled holiday will once again overlap with my birthday festivities. As an Ashkenazi Jew marrying into a (mostly) Sephardic household, the Passover Seder has been something that always requires a bit of planning on my part. Besides the usual chametz items that are forbidden during Passover, I am additionally restricted by food items that fall under the kitniyot category (rice, corn, lentils, beans), which my new family partakes of with delight and joy at the Seder each year. But this isn’t anything new. I’m used to a chametz- and kitniyot-free Passover. Still, the idea of a chametz- and kitniyot-free birthday just sounds horrible! Passover is already a week-long denial of all my favorite foods, and now: cake! When I found out that this would be one of the Passover/birthday years, I did what any 20-something would do: I Googled. An onslaught of recipes for flourless chocolate cakes, honey cakes, fourless jelly rolls and cakes cooked with matzah meal came at me in an instant, and I was even more discouraged than I had been before said Googling. But then, a spark of light! Ice cream! That wonderfully cold creation was pretty much Kosher for Passover already, especially if you buy the good stuff (with no artificial junk, just milk, sugar, eggs and – I’m no chef – fairy dust?) Hooray! It will be an ice cream sundae birthday this year! 8 l April 2014

“This year, that magical matzahfilled holiday will once again overlap with my birthday festivities.”

In addition to the birthday festivities this Passover, I am actually looking forward to trying some new recipes to get out of that same old boring funk of matzah pizza and matzah sandwiches. Last year, I made incredibly easy matzah muffins – even our non-Jewish friends were impressed! There’s a great recipe on page 90 for Passover mandel bread, and I’m even looking forward to trying out some recipes in Aviva Kanoff ’s “No Potato Passover,” a book I acquired last year around this time, but until now hadn’t perused. An announcement by the Orthodox Union earlier this year that quinoa was now considered Kosher for Passover was cause for joy around our offices, too – the more options the better this time of year! And after Passover is over, I’ll get to look forward to other great things that this month has to offer. No longer must we deal with Southern California’s harsh winter (ha-ha), and spring showers will bring with them some much-needed love for our gardens. The Flower Fields in Carlsbad are already in bloom with ranunculus flowers, and visitors to the Fields can go on tours of the grounds, take pictures and spend a day in one of the prettiest locations in town. On one of my first visits to the area, it was the Flower Fields that caught my eye, and I spent an afternoon wandering around the grounds like a tourist in my own city. If you’ve never been, now is a perfect time to enjoy a mini vacation up the coast of San Diego. Just don’t bring your leftover matzah with you – the birds aren’t interested. A

New Passover products I’m excited about:

Pistachio Orange Macaroons

Matzo Granola

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>> mailbag

We’re Listening! Let us know what you’re thinking.

MARCH 2014 l ADAR I • ADAR II 5774




HISTORY HUNTER Craig Gottlieb makes sense of the past with military artifacts

BIRTHRIGHT ELIGIBLE: A WAKE UP CALL Dear Editor: Sharon Rosen Leib’s article (Feb., 2014) saddened me. Not because of her niece and the Birthright trip, but because of her “proud, secular and intermarried” sister-in-law who has children that do not know what challah is. This is a self-inflicted spiritual holocaust. And as the Pew Research Study shows, the majority of American Jews are part of this trend. This should be a wake-up call to all of us. Birthright alone is not the magic pill that can cure this. I read an article about the generosity of Jewish philanthropists and donors that generously give money to the arts, the environment, universities, and an array of good causes. However, the amount that most of them devote to Jewish causes and especially Jewish education is almost minimal. And for those of us that are big supporters of Israel and donate to organizations such as AIPAC, StandWithUs and others, I can only say “Bravo!” But who will give to those causes in the future unless we start investing heavily in Jewish education?

There are heavy chances that many of the parents and grandparents of the proud secular intermarried Jews were big supporters of Israel and identified with Judaism but failed to give their children a Torah education. The results speak for themselves. Let’s stop the self-inflicted spiritual holocaust. Let’s give our children the gift of Torah education and let’s make sure that we give at least as much to Jewish day schools as we give to other causes. Susana Idesses San Diego

A NEW PERSPECTIVE Dear Editor: I wanted to thank you for publishing the op-ed piece (March, 2014) by Michael Hayutin. His message is very direct and probably not the most popular view of the situation we are all facing – whether we want to or not – in the world today. Please continue to publish articles from those who are brave and committed enough to share their concerns and hope that the Jewish community has our eyes wide open, from all perspectives. Wendy Avraham San Diego Dear Editor: I really appreciated the article in your recent edition by Michael Hayutin. He is a clear thinker and writer, and I’d like to read more by this author. Lindy Robbins San Diego Dear Editor: I would like to compliment the editors for publishing the excellent article by Mr. Hayutin. As an OpEd, it presents truth that many wish to avoid. While your readers could

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say Mr. Hayutin is merely giving his personal opinion, selections from the Qur’an are not personal opinions. The Pickthall edition of the Qur’an is accepted by every Muslim authority. Your readers should be able to read what Muslims read on a routine basis. While some may speak of the “equality” of the Abrahamic religions, the Qur’an does not support that view. Harold Reisman Carlsbad Dear Editor: I’m all for differing points of view being published with respect to the relationships between various religious groups, but Michael Hayutin’s Op-Ed only inflames rather than enlightens when he discusses contemporary Islam. Yes, there may be “hundreds of millions” of Muslims that practice the disgusting behavior he mentions,

but there are hundreds of millions of others who don’t. Is Mr. Hayutin saying that all Muslims in America act that way? Or only a few? Should we treat anyone who has a Muslim background with suspicion? Mr. Hayutin praises the pastor John Hagee as one who regularly receives gratitude from Jews. Is this the same John Hagee that said that the anti-Christ is “halfJewish, as was Adolf Hitler” and that Hurricane Katrina was God’s retribution against New Orleans for having the audacity to plan a gay pride march? If Pastor Hagee is representative of today’s Christianity, (and I don’t think he is) then as the old saying goes, “with friends like that, who needs enemies.” Rob Cohen San Diego


The first photo in “What’s Goin’ On” from the March 2014 issue was from a previous show at the Old Globe. The photo that should have run is shown above from William Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale,” which played in March. The SDJJ regrets the error.

Send us your comments: • 5665 Oberlin Dr., Ste 204 • San Diego, CA 92121

Nisan 5774 l 11



StandWithUs Fundraiser

Executive film producer Ralph Avi Goldwasser (“Northeastern Unbecoming,” “Columbia Unbecoming”) was keynote speaker at an event for StandWithUs, an advocacy organization for Israel which has 18 offices around the world. Founder Roz Rothstein of Los Angeles was at the event on Feb. 23 with about 250 people attending. Among those were Herb Weiss, Debbie Kempinski, Jenny and Julian Josephson, Wendy and Chaim Avraham, Audrey Jacobs, Barbara and Terry Rakov, Tami and Tibi Zohar, Anthony and Natalie Josephson, Fanny Lebovits, Milton Krasner, Linda and Eric Daniels, Jackie Tolley, Karen and Bob Zeiger, Sheryl Baron, Mark and Hanna Gleiberman, Jackie Gmach, and several San Diego college students.



Happy 101st birthday to Ina Bartell! Happy 82nd birthday to Don Wolochow!


Mazel Tov to Sam and Blanche Weiss, who celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary with family and friends in March! The couple met as teenagers at Coney Island and moved to San Diego in 1936. Sam (100) and Blanche (97) currently live in San Marcos. Mazel Tov to Al and Naomi Ruth Eisman, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in February! Mazel Tov to Aaron and Anya Rubin, who will celebrate their first year of marriage on April 28!


Rachel Yemini and Jeffrey Spector, son of Nancy and Alan Spector have announced their engagement! No wedding date has been set.

Bnai Mitzvot...

Savannah Bruggeman was called to the Torah for her Bat Mitzvah on Jan. 11 at Congregation Beth Am in Palo Alto. She is the daughter of John and Stefanie Bruggeman and granddaughter of La Jolla’s Danny and Carol Strub. 12 l April 2014

Top: Caron and Josh Feder. Clockwise from middle left: Jonathan Valverde and Jenny Josephson; Anton and Susan Monk; Daniella Lewis, David Ellman, JJ Surbeck and David Bramzon.


Rady Children’s Hospital Charity Ball

The Charity Ball has been raising money for Rady Children’s Hospital for 105 years. Not many fundraisers can boast such a long and successful history. Recently, supporters of Rady Children’s Hospital celebrated at a black-tie affair held at the Hotel del Coronado. This year’s Charity Ball was a benefit for the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. Aptly named “From the Heart,” the gala turned out to be another elegant evening of dining and dancing – in the grand tradition of the long-standing Charity Ball. As usual, the large crowd opened their hearts to the plight of sick children and made this ball a blockbuster. In keeping with the “Heart” theme, the reception room was decked out in red crushed iridescent satin tablecloths, and the ladies were given heartshaped rings as they entered. The two ballrooms where dinner was served featured red and pink roses. The same bold color scheme dominated the Grand Ballroom where guests could dance the night away.

JFS Heart & Soul Gala

More than $900,000 was raised for Jewish Family Service at the annual Heart & Soul Gala in March. This year’s theme, “Believe in Love,” celebrated the extraordinary accomplishments of the 2014 Mitzvah Award Honorees: Carol and Rick Kornfeld and Karen Foster Silberman. The event also included a special tribute to remember Alice Cohn z”l. The Gala is a major fundraiser for JFS, which provides vital social services for more than 35,000 members of the community annually. Gala co-chairs were April and Mathew Fink, Karin and Tony Toranto, and Jennifer Kagnoff, with Auction Chair Heather Keith. The event featured an acoustic performance by Grammy-nominated recording artist Matisyahu.

Top: Elizabeth and David Hahn. Clockwise from top right: Dave and Phyllis Snyder, Clarice and Bill Perkins; Adam and Rachel Welland; Loretta Adams and William Snyder; April Fink, Karin Toranto, Jennifer Kagnoff and Heather Keith.

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YAD and Beth El’s Ultimate Purim Party Jewish Federation’s YAD and Beth El’s 20-30’s group, Chai, teamed up for the ultimate Purim party, “Battle of the Nerds Trivia,” last month. Upon arrival, guests were treated to Kosher hors d’oeuvres, drinks and everyone’s favorite holiday dessert: hamantaschen. Teams quickly emerged with the two goals of harnessing the most obscure Jewish knowledge within one group and more importantly, having fun. The evening was hosted by Brian Rubinstein of Sunset Trivia and questions featured a unique combination of topics encompassing Jewish music, television, sports, movies and religious traditions. The evening ended with a costume contest, won by siblings Jenna and Parker Bush. If you are new to San Diego or would like to learn more about groups for young professionals contact Chai Coordinator Elana Kobernick at chai@cbe. org or YAD’s NextGenTeam at

Top: Meghan Kanofsky and Stacy Soefer. Clockwise from top right: Sarah Hoffman and Carly Ezell; Jenna and Parker Bush; Allison Madwatkins, Sarah Krause and Mark Levine; Adina Alpert, Alexandra Caplan, Erin Hameroff and Janese Cassel.

16 l April 2014

Nisan 5774 l 17


MUSINGS FROM MAMA by Sharon Rosen Leib

Are We Having Fun Yet?


roll my eyes at parenting books – what can they tell me that I haven’t already learned the hard way? How can any author comprehend the Herculean effort required to keep three teenaged daughters reasonably happy and well adjusted? Yet Jennifer Senior, in her new book, “All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood” gets it. She proffers cultural insight and empathy rather than hackneyed advice like “parents need regular date nights.” Reading her book relieved some angst and saved me about $500 in therapy bills. Senior, a journalist, sat in on parent groups, read tons of studies and interviewed experts. She synthesizes all this data into a highly readable account of the strains of being a parent in the 21st century. Her book resonated so loudly with me I heard a gong go off. A couple of friends, who, like me, are parents of high school and college kids, asked, “Is it too late for me to read?” Definitely not! Senior covers the whole parenting spectrum from newborns to extended adolescence (a.k.a college). She expresses her hope “that parents will read this book to better understand themselves – and, by extension, be easier on themselves.” The first couple of chapters deal with the daily grind of newborns and toddlers – the sleepless nights, the dirty diapers, the vomit on the carpet – all the hardcore physical chores that leave new parents sleep deprived with little time for romance, sustained focus or creativity. Reading this brought back memories of the exhaustion, frayed nerves and sense of being in survival mode when we had three children aged five and under. Looking back, I remember some days seeming interminable. Now that Oldest Daughter recently turned 20, I realize that although the days were long, the years were short. What Senior calls the “simple gifts” of young children – their wonder and delight at watching an airplane fly overhead, their

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naïve but profound questions like “Why are people mean?” and their unselfconscious generosity with hugs and kisses – vanish all too quickly into the tough emotional terrain of the teen years. Senior taps into our cultural anxiety when she addresses the elementary school years – the time when many middle-class parents get caught up in the “arms race” of loading up on extracurricular activities to make sure their kids stay competitive. We get sucked into the relentless vortex of soccer practices, dance rehearsals, violin lessons, martial arts, etc., because we fear our kids might miss out on opportunities to improve their odds for future success. In this “Tiger Mom” era (thanks a lot, Amy Chua) we’re plagued by self-doubt that we’re not doing enough to make our kids stand out. Now that our two older daughters are thriving in college, I see that much of our frenzy was unwarranted. Letting our kids evolve and pursue their own passions (with parental encouragement) would’ve been the saner approach. Senior’s chapter on adolescence is the piece de resistance for parents of teens, particularly for hapless mothers of teen daughters like me. She cites research findings that teenagers literally do drive parents crazy. Having a teenager at home correlates with declines in parents’ mental health – with stayat-home moms of teenage daughters being the most vulnerable to mental health problems. Ironically, reading this cheered me up. I felt less alone and more validated about my down days and bouts of crazed frustration with my daughters. Senior suggests that parents transcend the everyday aggravations whenever possible. After all, children are our pride and joy. They, more than anything, both embody life and give us reason to live. A

There’s a book for that: A recent search of “parenting books” on revealed more than 85,000 results.

Nisan 5774 l 19

israeli lifestyle


Body Talk


he novelist Catherine Aird is probably less noted for her novels than for her pithy barbs, one of which states, “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” Oh, how I yuk-yuked at that one, cutting it out of the paper and hanging it on the door of one particularly recalcitrant and generally uncooperative male child. I was reminded of this recently when, after a few months of feeling generally low energy and listless, I was finally convinced by my savvy husband to get a blood test. This isn’t to say that my regular physician, Quasimodo Birnbaum, wasn’t frequently ordering tests for me as a matter

20 l April 2014

of sound medical practice; I’m a crummy patient and kept losing the prescriptions, forgetting my appointments, postponing and wishing away any routine health care. When I could barely comb my hair last week and only put lipstick on the right side of my mouth, my husband pushed me into the car and drove me to the blood lab. He’d already made an appointment for me with my doctor for the next evening to discuss the results. Well, lo and behold, a full day before the dreaded post-bloodletting appointment, Dr. Quasimodo B. called my office to say that I had a hemoglobin count of 6.7 and needed an

immediate blood transfusion. The words “I told you so” were unnecessary; between the blood tests, electrocardiogram, repetitive questionnaires and beeping machines that guarantee sleepless nights for any Jew in a four-mile radius, I felt duly chastised. However, my husband’s mood became greatly uplifted when he observed me dive under an examination table before a prophylactic rectal exam. Oh, the mirth! The gaiety! The lighthearted fun! Only 24 hours after arriving at the Emergency Room, I was moved to the wards. In the interim I received several liters of life-saving blood, listened to curses in several indigenous Middle Eastern languages and enjoyed an upper endoscopy under superior sedation. Since ending the last fast, I’ve been allowed to eat anything that doesn’t contain fiber. My spirits are still good. My two boys are coming to spend Shabbos with me and I’ll watch them make kiddush over wine, eat egg-andhoney challah and dine on roast chicken and kugel. I’ll be ingesting a sumptuous meal of clear jello, chicken broth and weak tea. Because while other Jews celebrate the departure of the Sabbath with a party called a Melave Malke, I’ll be having a colonoscopy. (I can’t decide if I should wear pearls or not.) On the truly bright side, I’ve discovered that anemia, enemas and jello fasts offer a helpful boost to the Weight Watchers Quick Start Program that I recently joined. I’ve already promised the doctor, the husband, the children and the new boss that once I break out of this joint, I’ll keep my appointments, take the meds, rest when tired and stop trying to personally cure all of the world’s ills. And what am I looking forward to more than anything? Getting on the scale at the next Weight Watchers meeting. A

Nisan 5774 l 21


PLAYING WITH MATCHES by Jennifer Garstrang

Taking the Next Step: How Soon is Too Soon?


recently got back from an incredible trip to Israel through Birthright (a program that I highly recommend to every young Jew), and am proud to say that while I was there, I took my dating advice to an international level. That’s right. I gave relationship advice to an Israeli. So, what question did my friend from across the sea ask of me while we stood in line at the falafel restaurant? Well, apparently, there is something of a leasing cycle in Jerusalem, which means that most apartments open up in June/July (who knew?), and he was trying to decide whether to ask his girlfriend of two months to move in with him. It turns out many Israeli singles face the same kinds of conundrums we do, and I was able to draw on my own experience to help him out. See, about three months into my current relationship, my boyfriend got offered an awesome job in Seattle. Needless to say, we had some decisions to make, including whether or not to take the plunge and move in together. Now, as I sit in the apartment I share with my boyfriend, I will share with you the advice I gave my Israeli friend: “You should wait at least a year before moving in together.” At the time of the job offer, we both agreed that three months was far too soon to move in. Fortunately, with a little more searching, my guy found an even better job offer and stayed in SoCal. It wasn’t until much later – almost exactly one year after our first date, in fact – that we signed our lease. So, why wait a year? Well, first off, whether you are planning to get married and move in, or to simply share a lease, cohabitation is a big commitment. So before you jump in, you should be pretty darn 22 l April 2014

certain you want to see that person every day (at least for the next year). Otherwise, you may find yourself trapped in a dead-end relationship with no simple way out. “But,” I can almost hear you object, “what if I know that the person is right for me after a month or two?” Woah now! Cool off, Hot Shot! After a month or two – or even six months, for that matter – you are almost certainly still strongly in the throes of infatuation; a state which researchers say resembles a cocaine high. I’m not saying that the person you’re with isn’t “the one,” but there is no harm in letting the shine wear off before making that kind of long-term commitment; because I can guarantee that moving in together will put steel wool to that new relationship shine. Give yourselves time to experience each other in a variety of circumstances, and more importantly, to figure out how to resolve conflicts. After all, once you move in together, you will no longer simply be friends and romantic partners. You will now be (duh nah naaaaah) roommates! You want to talk about wearing the shine off a relationship? Let’s see how romantic you feel when scrubbing dishes, paying the electric bill, or deciding who’s on toilet cleaning duty. That said, living together is not some horrible anathema that will destroy all romance. In fact, my guy and I have had wonderful times bonding over dishes (I scrub, he rinses). But you don’t have to rush. Take the time and enjoy that new relationship smell...because long-term love can sometimes smell a lot like dirty laundry. A

Did you know?

Cohabitation before marriage has increased almost 900 percent since the 1960s.

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guest column


by Rabbi Philip Graubart

Hearing God’s Voice


ow do we know when we’re hearing the truth? Another way of asking the question: how is it that we can believe so many lies from one person for so long? How do we distinguish truth from falsehood – in our workplace, our homes, among our friends, our loved ones? Or, for that matter, in our hearts. The final paragraph of our most important prayer – the Shema – warns us not to be “led astray” by our hearts, or even our eyes. Emotions can be a source of deception. We all know that; who hasn’t been led astray by love, or anger, or passion? But even our senses can fool us – our “eyes,” our measurements, what we hear, what we analyze. Scientists become convinced of certain facts, but then change their minds. The truth, in other words, hides itself pretty well. So how do we know it when we hear it? We could ask the same question about the voice of God. Or, I should say, the “true” voice of God – the God we understand as the source of all objective truth. How do we know that voice when we hear it? The Torah claims that every Israelite heard the true voice of God at Sinai. But some of them must have misheard something, because the next day they built a Golden Calf. What they heard at the time as truth turned out to be wrong. In the first verse of Leviticus, God calls Moses. The Hebrew word here for “call” – vayikra – includes a famous anomaly: the final letter, the silent aleph, has mysteriously shrunk; it’s half the size of the other letters. Rashi and many other commentaries explain that the nature of God’s voice has changed. Previously, God had spoken to the entire community. But that overwhelming voice led to the catastrophe of the Golden Calf. So God shifts God’s mode of revelation. From now on it’s a “still, small voice” – a personal call, audible only to the individual. 24 l April 2014

But that leads to all sorts of problems. How does the individual know it’s God’s voice? Abraham was convinced he heard God’s voice commanding him to kill his own son. One of my favorite teachers once explained to me that the voice Abraham heard telling him to slaughter Isaac was the false voice of God, while the one imploring him to save Isaac was God’s true voice. But how was Abraham supposed to know? For that matter, how am I supposed to know when my heart is leading me astray? Leonard Cohen once wrote that sexual desire is “a voice that sounds like God.” The Torah itself offers one interesting solution. Three days before Sinai, Moses tells the people to “prepare themselves” to hear God’s voice. Listening for the truth is a discipline which requires readiness – active preparation. This can mean prayer, meditation, and study – moments of quiet, reflection, contemplation. Or, an active, engaged life of love and compassion, rich with human experiences. The great Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz offers another suggestion. He notes that when God speaks to Moses the voice only carries as far as the borders of the Tent of Meeting, and no further. You don’t hear the voice unless you’re in the tent, which Leibowitz interprets as being actively engaged in sacred work. People who feed the hungry, or comfort the sick and bereaved, or support the homeless – or pray, or engage in sacred rituals – are more likely to hear God’s true voice. Living a holy life opens your heart to the truth. Of course none of this is a guarantee, or an inoculation against a skilled liar. But if you live a life in service to others, you won’t have to worry so much about finding and then recognizing the truth. Ultimately the truth will find you. A

This month:

Rabbi Graubart will speak at Congregation Beth El on April 8. See page 99 for details.


THE ARTIST’S TORAH by David Ebenbach

Interrupting Perfection


he Book of Leviticus is primarily and emphatically about perfection. In Leviticus’ terms, this is often described as holiness, and, throughout this Book you read the words “shall be holy” again and again; there are occasions (i.e., the Jubilee) that are expected to be holy, sacrifices and objects that must be holy, and, above all, people who shall be holy. The Israelites are told in Leviticus 20:26, “You shall be holy for I, the Lord, am holy,” which shows you that this is no small thing – it’s a call to be like God. In its efforts to get us to this lofty place, Leviticus calls for us to “purify” ourselves in a variety of ways. We are told to make our bodies, minds, and souls pure, to purify our clergy, to approach eating and sex with a purity of purpose and process; we are even commanded to, when necessary, purify the walls of our homes. We must be pure; we must be holy; we must strive for a spiritual perfection that manifests itself in our physical beings, in our dwelling places, and in our every action. It’s daunting. And though in our culture today we’re not always laser-focused on holiness, certainly we, given the fevered quest for achievement and fulfillment and success that drives so many of us, understand perfectionism. It is this striving for perfection that Passover interrupts. This month we’ll spend our first, second, and fourth Shabbats reading Torah portions from our normal cycle of readings – but the third Shabbat falls in the middle of Passover, and so on that day there’s a special reading in honor of the holiday. Specifically, we go back to Exodus, and to the story of Moses trying to get closer to God. “Show me now Your ways,” Moses says (33:13). “Show me, I pray, Your glory.” (33:18). God agrees and allows Moses a glimpse – all that Moses’ human limitations can allow – of that glory. This is an

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“The Passover interruption tells us that, ultimately, we need to identify, cherish, and pursue what’s genuinely meaningful.”

intense, deeply meaningful moment of closeness. We go on from there to hear God recite God’s 13 attributes, and then a reminder about how we’re supposed to approach Passover. After all, Passover is a holiday of memory. Remember that our ancestors were strangers in Egypt; retell the ancient story of our liberation; and, as this reading suggests, remember what’s important. Of course, there’s value in our spiritual and personal strivings (and in fact as soon as we’re done with the Passover Torah reading we get right back to Leviticus and its exhortations the following week), but those things only have that value because (or if) they are motivated by something bigger than just the hounding voice of “Get better. Get better. Get better.” The Passover interruption tells us that, ultimately, we need to identify, cherish, and pursue what’s genuinely meaningful. Sometimes this pursuit actually requires imperfection. The person who prizes flawlessness does only what’s safe and easy, while the person who prizes truth, holiness, and discovery must take some risks, risks that can lead to mistakes. The Torah has room for this; after all, Leviticus offers many ways to purify oneself after something goes wrong. This month, ask yourself whether you ought to give perfection a little rest – and see if liberation will take its place. A

 This

month’s Torah portions April 5: Metzora (Leviticus 14:1-15:33) April 12: Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16:1-18:30) April 19: Chol HaMo’ed Pesach (Exodus 33:12-34:26) April 26: Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27)

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Migdal HaEmeq is the newest place in Israel for Anglo Olim to settle


Aerial view of Migdal HaEmeq.


igdal HaEmeq, a small city in the north of Israel, not far from Afula, is developing an affordable new neighborhood for English speakers. The city lies between the magnificent Nazareth mountain ridge and the beautiful Jezreel Valley foothills in the Lower Galilee. Known as the “Silicon Valley of the North” due to the business parks it has developed, the city is abuzz with high-tech and precision manufacturing industries as well as new biotech, medical research and clean tech companies. Not only does this mean the city is faring well economically, but it also shows there are many opportunities for development and employment. Migdal HaEmeq has been awarded a National Priority Zone A status, which means there are many tax breaks for businesses and individuals and extra subsidies for housing and education,

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making it an attractive place to settle for Anglo Olim. “Olim get extra support from the government for moving to this part of the country, over and above the usual absorption basket,” says Oded Feuer, director of Habayta, the World Zionist Organization’s Aliyah Promotion Unit, “and in addition, they get support from the city when they make their home in Migdal HaEmeq.” A dedicated Aliyah coordinator will even make the effort to help the new Olim find employment in a multitude of top companies and fields. In an effort to encourage English speakers to join the community, the WZO has partnered with the Migdal HaEmeq Municipality and the Ministry for Development of the Negev and the Galilee on the exciting new project. “This neighborhood will be open to Olim straight off the plane,” Feuer says. “But we also

hope to attract Olim who are not new to the country; Olim who have already integrated and know their way around Israel. They’ve started their lives here, but are looking to improve their quality of life. “Migdal HaEmeq may not be a new city in Israel, but this neighborhood is a new development and therefore, we are looking for people who are pioneers, visionaries. We are hoping to be able to bring three or four dozen families to the city in the summer and they will form the first English-speaking community of Migdal HaEmeq.” One of the major benefits for the first group of Olim who join the project is the temporary housing that will be supplied, so they won’t need to worry about finding homes when they arrive – and it will be subsidized as part of the package. In addition, Olim families receive many benefits for their children during the first year of Aliyah, including exemption from school tuition fees, full funding for meals at kindergarten and elementary school, free school text books and tiyulim (excursions), funding for one extracurricular activity per child, extra help in Hebrew for children and help with their homework, and counseling and support for college students. “We offer a complete absorption process from A to Z,” Architect Ronen Pelleg, Migdal HaEmeq’s city planner, says. “For example, we help people find employment, assist with registering their children at kindergarten and elementary school, offer free tickets for performances and cultural evenings in the city, and integrate them into the community and the Israeli way of life.” The new neighborhood will cater to all religious streams from secular to Haredi and will include religious schools and kindergartens, a religious Zionist community and a Beit Midrash. “We want to give Olim a soft landing and a warm hugging experience. And then they’ll feel like they’re part of a community, like they’re coming home to a very welcoming place,” Pelleg says. A For more information, contact Zev Berman, Program Director, Olim LaGalil Project, North America at or visit olimgalil.

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Ner Tamid’s Sam S. Bloom Learning Center uses revolutionary Hebrew curriculum BY ALANNA BERMAN


Students dance and play as teacher Liat Levitt jams on her guitar.


alk through the hallways at Ner Tamid’s Sam S. Bloom Learning Center while Hebrew school is in session and you will hear a few things that are uncommon in Hebrew education: excitement, laughter, joy – all from students who are understanding Hebrew and really succeeding in their study. “Human beings are driven by meaning; by engaging in something in a meaningful way and finding patterns and playing games, we see that learning is actually really fun,” Liat Levitt, director of education at Ner Tamid says. “The program that we are using, ‘Hebrew Today’ focuses on free speech and the main idea behind it is Sheltered Initiation Language Learning or the SILLy method.” Designed by UC San Diego professor Zev bar-Lev, the program focuses on creative, spontaneous Hebrew speaking and reading. Using targeted vocabulary words taught with puzzles, games, associations, skip reading and skip listening students are able to gain confidence in their Hebrew skills from their first lesson. “Teaching by sight-words, we are able to get an association with the Hebrew letters before the 30 l April 2014

students even know the names of these letters, and then we can ask them what sound the letters might make based on the words they have already learned,” Levitt says. This is the first year that Ner Tamid has implemented the new teaching style, and Levitt says the students have really responded to this new teaching style. “There is nothing more frustrating as an educator to watch as someone is continually being turned off, and in the prior method of teaching Hebrew, it was very discouraging to the students, so of course they were disengaged; but with this program, many of the students are now saying that they love Hebrew school.” Each year of the five-year program covers about 36 Hebrew vocabulary words. “By the time students graduate, they have a 136-word vocabulary in Hebrew,” Levitt says. “These are words that they can actually use in simple conversations and to read from the Torah.”

Levitt, who comes from a camp education background, is fluent in Hebrew. She spent a year living in Israel, where she participated in a leadership training course for teachers. She says that time taught her that if the teacher is not engaged and excited about what they are teaching, the students won’t be either. “We have to find ways to engage ourselves first, and then figure out how to make learning fun for the students,” she says. In Ner Tamid’s classrooms, she often uses her guitar as a tool to encourage student participation, and many students begin to shout Hebrew in these sessions, empowered by the playful environment of the school. “It’s fun, it’s engaging and it’s meaningful,” Levitt says of the program. “Our kids connect with the prayers and the Torah portions in a much more meaningful way, because now they can understand what they are doing.” A To learn more, visit

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The Kerry Initiative on Trial * Amidst global discussion, where do the locals stand?

BY ALANNA BERMAN AND NATALIE JACOBS In late February, amidst rising discussion of Secretary of State John Kerry’s soon-to-beproposed “great constituency for peace” between Israel and Palestine, Former Mossad Director, Major General (Ret.) Danny Yatom was the guest of honor at a J Street town hall meeting in San Diego. The program was one of many such events being held across the country. J Street (and its representatives, like Yatom) advocates for a two-state solution to the conflict regarding Israel’s borders. In San Diego, Yatom identified two possible outcomes to an alternative solution: continue with the current situation, or separate amicably.

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Only one option, according to Yatom, would result in the continued existence of a “Jewish, democratic state.” “There is a vital need that we, the Israelis, separate ourselves from the Palestinians, and to agree and to preserve the rights and the interests of the other side,” Yatom said in a private interview prior to the town hall event. “If we want to continue to have a vibrant and democratic Jewish state – the only one on earth – we need the vast majority of people under our sovereignty to be Jewish people. “The ideal situation would be the area that we call the Israel before ‘67, where we have 80 percent Jewish people and less than 20 percent Israeli Arabs,” Yatom said. “In this ratio, we can ensure that Israel is both Jewish and democratic. “Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, there are 11 million

inhabitants. About six million are Jews and five million are Palestinians. In something like 10-15 years, the Palestinians will be the majority in that area [which will make democracy very difficult]; but even today, when we are the majority, to continue to control an area with five million Palestinians is impossible if we wish to preserve the state of Israel as Jewish and democratic because the demographic ratio does not enable us to be both.” Yatom urged attendees to support the Kerry Framework, which has an April 29 deadline to be considered by Congress. When asked what American Jews can do to support a peaceful solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Yatom said the debate is “not for the American Jews to intervene ... it is our responsibility and our fate ... please call your congressional representatives and tell them to endorse the Kerry initiative.”

So where do our local politicians and neighbors stand on the issue? Read on for a quick rundown and share your comments with us on Facebook, Twitter or email SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS:


“In my opinion, this has really been our first good shot for peace in a long time. It has been accepted – by the Palestinian community, the Arab community, the American community, the Israeli community – that the only solution to the conflict is a two-state solution and Secretary of State Kerry is going out and trying to achieve exactly that. I feel like Bibi’s a good partner for peace, Abbas is a good partner for peace; Kerry is trying to bridge the gap between the two. And I think the fact that he has a framework and a time span for how he wants it to go, he knows what he’s getting into. I think that if the American Jewish community and the world backs it, I feel like this could really be a good first step toward a solution to the conflict.” – Rebecca Asch Co-chair, J Street at UC San Diego, International Studies Major

“These days, perhaps more than ever before, it is clear that defensible borders are vital, while international guarantees are worthless. Israel cannot and should not surrender the strategic hills overlooking Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport to a hostile state. The YESHA Council together with the vast majority of Israelis – that elected Netanyahu – call on our Prime Minister to stand firm and reject the unwelcome intimidation tactics being employed by the U.S. Administration.” – Dani Dayan Chief Foreign Envoy for YESHA Council, an umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank

SENATORS: “I am passionate about my love for Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people and as a democratic state. I see the Kerry initiative as one of the last opportunities to make that possible. When Yatom spoke here in February he made it clear the status quo is untenable militarily. Jews living in outlying settlements cannot be effectively defended in the long run. Moreover, he argued, Jerusalem as it is will soon become a majority Palestinian city with (most likely) a Palestinian mayor. To those who disagree with Yatom I say, what is your alternative?” – Martin Bunzl La Jolla resident, member of J Street’s national advisory board, philosophy professor at Rutgers University

Diane Feinstein, (D) – on March 19, 2013, California State Senator Diane Feinstein, together with 26 other senators, sent a letter to President Obama asking him to reaffirm his commitment to a two-state peace agreement, after authoring a Senate Resolution advocating for the same position.

Barbara Boxer, (D) – Boxer signed Feinstein’s letter supporting the two-state solution.

“Personally, I support the U.S. involvement in negotiations with Israel seeking peace with the Palestinians. As far as the deal specifics go, what I think doesn’t matter. What matters are the opinions of the people making the decisions – the people in Israel’s leadership – and the people of Israel who have to live with the outcomes of any of these deals. As far as the two-state solution, if that is the position of the Israeli government, then I’m all for it. As an American Jew, as a Diaspora Jew, I think it’s my obligation to support the democratically elected government of Israel because it’s the people of Israel who are ultimately going to live and die by those decisions.” – David Bramzon Real estate developer

“While StandWithUs does not comment on public policy, we do hope to see peace achieved through a two-state solution and support our representatives in both the United States and Israel as they negotiate what we hope will be a long lasting peace in the region.” – Nicole Bernstein Regional Director, StandWithUs

CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES: Susan Davis (D), 53rd Congressional District – Co-sponsored House Resolution 365, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives commending efforts by the United States to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a negotiated two-state solution,” in Oct., 2013.

Scott Peters (D), 52nd Congressional District – Also co-sponsored H.R. 365 in Dec., 2013.

Juan Vargas (D), 51st Congressional District – Sponsored H.R. 2846 - Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel Act, in July, 2013.

Nisan 5774 l 35

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From Farm to Seder Table Locally grown matzah on the rise l BY TALIA LAVIN, JTA


n their small farmhouse bakery in Vermont, Doug Freilich and Julie Sperling work around the clock producing matzah in the period preceding Passover – a matzah that feels ancient and modern at once. Using a mix of grain they grow on their own farm and wheat sourced from other local farmers, the couple create hundreds of pieces of the wholesome unleavened bread they call Vermatzah. “The idea came because of our initial interest in growing grains, looking at them from the harvest to the baking in a very simple sense, and highlighting grains that have good flavor,” 40 l April 2014

Freilich says. “We celebrate our own Passover each year, we go through the matzah-making ritual for both the spring awakening and remembering the storytelling of this holiday.” Freilich and Sperling, co-owners of the Naga Bakehouse in Middletown Springs, Vt., are among American Jewish bakers looking at new ways to create matzah in ways that dovetail with the concerns of an age of foodies and locally sourced groceries. They are joined in the process by their teenaged children, Ticho and Ellis. “Between the four of us, we are working each

and every piece by hand: they are handmade with fingerprints, and heart, and soul,” Freilich says. “Our matzahs are tinted and kissed by the fire of the wood oven.” At the end of the labor-intensive process, each matzah is wrapped in parchment paper and hand-tied before being sent off – with a bonus seed packet of wheatberries from the family’s farm – to prospective customers throughout the country. Vermatzah is primarily available in Vermont, New York and Massachusetts, but Freilich says a huge increase in web orders means the product is now making its way across the United States.


Julie Sperling works the matzah dough at the Naga Bakehouse in Vermont.

Pas sover Freilich and Sperling have been making Vermatzah for six years, and others are now beginning to embrace matzah’s role in the farmto-table trend. The Yiddish Farm, an eclectic collective in Goshen, N.Y., that combines Yiddish language instruction with agriculture, is producing its own matzah this year baked with grain grown in its fields. The matzah will be whole wheat and shmurah – a ritual designation for matzah that refers to a process of careful supervision which begins when the matzah’s grain is in the field and doesn’t stop until the matzah is baked. The process involves planting, combine-harvesting, reaping, milling and sifting at the Yiddish Farm, according to the Forward. The end result is a locavore’s matzah dream that will travel from Goshen, in upstate New York, to

Manhattan and New Jersey prior to Passover. For Anne Kostroski, the owner of Crumb Bakery in Chicago, making her own matzah has less to do with food ideology than more practical matters. “I don’t like eating store-bought matzah because I think it tastes awful,” she says, laughing. Kostroski, 41, has been making her own signature matzah for nearly 10 years, since her conversion to Judaism in the mid-1990s. “The matzah I make is made with honey, locally sourced eggs, black pepper and olive oil,” Kostroski says. “It’s flat and crunchy, but not as dry as the regular store-bought plain matzah. There’s a hint of heat and sweetness that makes matzah more interesting.” For Kostroski, matzah-making has been a part of her Jewish journey, even when she hasn’t been able to attend synagogue regularly under the

strain of a baker’s life. Matzah creates a feeling of connection with history and tradition, she explains. And her homemade matzah, which she sells at farmers’ markets, her Chicago eatery, the Sauce and Bread Kitchen, and by pre-order – is made lovingly and painstakingly by hand. “I make several hundred matzahs a year, mixed, rolled and baked,” she says. “One batch is maybe two dozen and it’s really labor intensive.” Kostroski says demand is increasing, slowly but surely, year by year. “I came across this recipe in 1995 and I started making it, and I’ve been making it ever since,” Kostroski says. “People are not expecting different types of matzah – they expect something flavorless, and it doesn’t have to be.” A

Nisan 5774 l 41


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Bronfman Haggadah Enters the Digital World Just in time for Passover l BY ALINA DAIN SHARON, JNS.ORG


n the Exodus story, Moses decides to rescue his people after he hears God speak to him through the burning bush. But when New York City-based artist Jan Aronson imagined the famous episode in which Moses must decide which path to take in life, she didn’t see a magic fire, but rather the broiling sun rising and shining on the desert brush. In that moment

44 l April 2014

of meditation, Moses heard the voice within himself that told him to go confront Pharaoh. That is just one of the inspirations behind the illustrations that Aronson included in “The Bronfman Haggadah,” a collaboration with her recently deceased husband, the renowned Jewish philanthropist Edgar Bronfman. The original hard-cover book was released as an app for the

iPhone and iPad last month. The app version takes the themes of the book to a digitial level. It includes video interviews with Bronfman and Aronson, narration, animation, and singing of the Passover songs by actors. The Exodus story does not appear in traditional Haggadot, but it is told in the Bronfman Haggadah. The story is narrated in the


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app; using animation, it shows the basket with baby Moses moving down the river. “We get a sense of just how monumental it was that this baby was saved,” Dana Raucher, the executive director of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, says. Bronfman and Aronson wanted “to get this app out to audiences that are not necessarily visiting bookstores or buying hardcover books,” according to Raucher. “They were mostly thinking of younger audiences, which this book is very much geared to, people who are transient in their lives, living in college dorms, moving from city to city, and not necessarily lugging heavy books with them,” she says. “However, they are curious about the Jewish tradition ... redefining certain rituals, and in general just taking an open and expansive look at what the Jewish tradition tells us that is relevant in the modern day.” Bronfman and Aronson worked on the hardcover Haggadah over many Seders, after Bronfman had felt dissatisfied with the texts of traditional Haggadot. He decided to write his own Haggadah. Aronson was enlisted to illustrate the book. “Edgar brought not only the story of the Passover, and what’s usually in the traditional Seder, but he went beyond that. He talked about lessons of justice, equality and ethics in his Haggadah and often quoted texts from all sorts of people,” Aronson says. Bronfman and Aronson also espoused a humanist view of Judaism that favors godliness, or living an ethical life, over the idea of the supernatural God. “This Haggadah is written for a postdenominational world, a post-gender world,” Aronson says. “I think what Edgar [Bronfman] would say is that he is trying to appeal to the Jew who is not affiliated with any particular branch of Judaism. I would like to appeal to all Jews.”

Aronson believes there are “many ways to be a Jew” and that almost every Jew “is a pick-andchoose Jew.” “We need to create an environment that every Jew is welcomed into the tent,” she says. “Just because you don’t believe in a supernatural God doesn’t mean you don’t have faith, [which is] living an ethical life, where you give back to society [and] do unto others as you wish them to do unto you.” In fact, Aronson says she has given the Bronfman Haggadah to plenty of her non-Jewish friends, who have loved it. But she says the Haggadah probably does not appeal to strictly observant Orthodox Jews. “The app allows the user to take a more indepth look at some of the ideas and images that are present in the Bronfman Haggadah,” Raucher says. One can use it in “pre-Seder preparation” or by “learning about the Seder and the traditions of the Seder” during the dinner portion, she says. For instance, in the Haggadah, Aronson illustrated a biblical map. “There are many people who do not have a reference as to where certain places were or what the area really looked like in biblical times,” she says. Aronson added that she and Bronfman questioned why the traditional Seder requires that we open the door for the Prophet Elijah near the end of the service. “Certainly we should open our door to the stranger at the beginning of the service when the children are most alert, when they are excited about being there, when the lessons of opening the door to the stranger are going to be the most welcomed,” she says. “And why should we give the stranger the leftovers? Let’s bring him in at the very beginning. That’s another big difference in the Bronfman Haggadah.” According to Amalyah Oren, the communications director of the Samuel

Bronfman Foundation, the app’s narration gives it an entertainment-style feel for people who want to experience the Haggadah in a more theatrical way. “It’s a really good tool for learning the tunes of the songs beforehand, or if you just need help accompanying during the actual Seder,” Oren says. There are also families who conduct a do-ityourself Seder by veering from the traditional order of events and asking a lot of their own questions at the table. There is a glossary in the Bronfman Haggadah app that doesn’t exist in the hardcover book, allowing users to look up information on various topics. “By having an app at the table, you are connected to the Internet and you can kind of bring [a] third dimension to the conversation,” she says. Aronson, originally from New Orleans, created all the original illustrations in the hardcover Haggadah by hand with watercolors. But the app can be a more dynamic and interactive experience, she explained. “As you turn the page [in the app] you might see the wine glass being filled with wine,” she says. “You might see the lights flicker from the candles being lit at the very beginning of the service. You might see a fish circling the page instead of it being static. “You’re taking a traditional book and making it digital, [so] instead of turning a page you swipe it,” Aronson added. “The joy of it will be revealed as people use it.” Egdar Bronfman, Aronson’s partner in life and on the Haggadah, died in December, 2013. Aronson says she cherishes the fact that she had the chance “to create something as a couple… to be able to collaborate with him in the last years of his life.” A

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46 l April 2014

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Pas sover

On Kibbutz, Secular Seders Stray from Tradition Modernizing Passover throughout Israel l BY BEN SALES, JTA


he families surround long tables covered by white tablecloths. Festive decorations line the walls, and the kitchen is free of chametz, the leavened foods forbidden on Passover. Seder plates sit in front of hungry participants. But instead of someone reading the Haggadah or reciting the kiddush over wine, the crowd sings a modern Israeli kids’ song about Passover: “Great joy! Great joy! Spring has arrived, Pesach is here!” So begins the holiday at Ramat Yochanan, an

48 l April 2014

80-year-old secular kibbutz near Haifa. Many secular Israelis attend traditional Seders on Passover; as with American Jews, the Seder is one of Israel’s most widely performed religious rituals. Several of Israel’s oldest kibbutzim depart from tradition, however, and conduct secular Seders according to their own sensibilities rather than the dictates of the traditional Haggadah. At many secular kibbutzim, the emphasis is on the themes that motivated their founders to settle the land nearly a century ago: freedom, nature and the Jews’ return to the land of Israel.

Ramat Yochanan’s Seder does not “tell midrashim how many plagues happened at the sea, this and that,” Miri Feinstein, who organizes the meal, says. “Our conversation about leaving Egypt and guarding the freedom of the other is more important.” Its Haggadah features illustrations of landscapes and Jewish history drawn by a kibbutz member from the 1940s and includes biblical verses not found in the traditional text – from the book of Exodus as well as from “Song of Songs,” which is traditionally read on Passover.

Pas sover

At Kibbutz Ein Shemer, near the Mediterranean coast, the Seder is marked by children’s plays, Israeli folk sing-alongs and musical performances. Hundreds of kibbutz members and their guests attend. The kibbutz Haggadah, which it has used for decades, has four sections: spring, from freedom to slavery, peace, and the land of Israel. The division is a nod to the sets of four (cups of wine, sons, etc.) that pepper the original Haggadah. “We see it as the founding holiday of our nation, which we celebrate according to our rules,” Anna Sasson, who has been running the Ein Shemer Seder for 15 years, says. “We give it its own character from our secular world, and we have a lot of love for tradition, homeland, agriculture, spring and freedom.” As at other kibbutzim, Ein Shemer pays homage to the Seder’s religious roots in its Haggadah by quoting heavily from the Bible, using verses describing springtime or the Exodus. Shlomo Deshen, author of “Secular Israelis on Pesach Night,” says kibbutzim long have led the way in making Passover a modern Israeli holiday of “Zionism, socialism, humanism.” “The holiday inspired creative ceremonies whose greatest expression was through the new Haggadahs of the kibbutz movement,” Deshen writes. Today, even many religious Israelis have incorporated nontraditional elements such as children’s plays and modern songs into their own Seders. But the kibbutzim take things further. At Ramat Yochanan, one of the community’s Passover highlights is a gathering on the holiday’s first day in a wheat field for a reenactment of a ceremony described in the Talmud: the wheat harvest celebration. “Is the sun coming?” asks a man standing on a stage. “Is it time for the harvest?” “Yes!” the members answer. The kibbutz’s boys then rush into the field to grab sheaves of wheat and throw them into baskets held by the community’s girls. The girls swing the baskets up and down and side to side while a leader reads passages from the Bible about the wheat harvest and settling the land. A choir and band then perform on stage while kibbutz members sing and dance to Israeli folk songs. Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek, in northern Israel, stages a smaller harvest ceremony. “Our holiday is based on our being an agricultural town and the spring being an awakening,” Raya Shlomi, who runs the kibbutz’s Seder, says. “We also have the story of the Exodus from Egypt, but unlike a traditional Seder, where God performs all the miracles, Moses plays the central part.” As the kibbutz movement has changed in recent decades, becoming less communal, the Seders at Ramat Yochanan have shrunk. Decades ago, more than 1,000 people used to turn out for the holiday celebration; today the number is down to 400, according to Feinstein. Most kibbutz members now choose to celebrate at home with their families, she says. “People need to feel like the Seder is theirs and that they’re not sacrificing themselves,” she says. “The collective used to be in the center. Now the individual is in the center, and he needs to decide what’s appropriate for him.” Feinstein isn’t ready to give up on the communal meal. “What I see in the kibbutz Seder is ‘brothers sitting together,’” she says, quoting a famous biblical verse. “Even when we were poor, we always invested in Passover. People want to safeguard the community.” A Nisan 5774 l 49

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50 l April 2014


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Nisan 5774 l 51

Considering "Next year in Jerusalem" An ideal, a hope, a possibility l BY DASEE BERKOWITZ, JTA


n a recent trip to Jerusalem, my son decided that his favorite color was gold. Whenever he’s asked why, he replies with a wry smile befitting a five-year-old. “Jerusalem is the city of gold, of course,” he says. When we told him our family was moving to Israel this summer, he was quite pleased. “Ima, will we live there until I’m a grown-up?” he asked. That’s the idea, we nodded. 52 l April 2014

While I know what my family will mean when we reach the end of the Passover Seder this year and say “Next Year in Jerusalem,” for those not making the trek to the Holy Land anytime soon, what do these words mean? Are we being disingenuous? Or, as the Rabbis encourage with every other part of the Haggadah, are we expounding, embellishing, interpreting and reading ourselves into the story of the Exodus from Egypt? The end of the Haggadah, with the promise to arrive “next year in Jerusalem,” is just as ripe for

exploration as the beginning. I am always struck when Israelis, especially Jerusalemites, say “Next year in Jerusalem” with the same intention as their Diaspora brethren. Jerusalem surely cannot only represent a physical destination. It must represent more; an ideal, a hope, a possibility. In the language of the Haggadah, the land of Israel and Jerusalem represent the final stage of redemption. When we lift the four cups of wine during the Seder, we are giving ritual expression to the four stages that the Jewish people move


Pas sover

Pas sover I am always struck when Israelis, especially Jerusalemites, say “Next year in Jerusalem” with the same intention as their Diaspora brethren.Jerusalem surely cannot only represent a physical destination. It must represent more; an ideal, a hope, a possibility.

through, with God as their guide, to reach freedom and leave Egyptian slavery in the dust. The Torah explains (Exodus 6:6-8), “I [God] will bring you out from under the burdens of Egypt” (cup 1); “I will deliver you out from their bondage” (cup 2); “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm” (cup 3); and “I will take you to me for a people” (cup 4). But there is a fifth mention of redemption just a few verses later in the narrative: “And I will bring you into the land [of Israel].” Arriving to the land is the final stage of redemption and corresponds to the cup of Elijah, the prophet who is said to be the one who ushers in messianic times. The cup, untouched yet filled with wine to the brim, represents the future ahead, filled with possibilities and promises for peace on earth. As the late Rabbi David Hartman writes in “The Leader’s Guide to the Family Participation Haggadah: A Different Night,” “The cup is poured, but not yet drunk. Yet the cup of hope is poured every year. Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become. That is the significance of ‘Le’shanah ha’ba’a b’Yerushalayim’ [Next year in Jerusalem].” Now that we are freed from the bondage in Egypt, we are called to embrace our biggest

dreams, and our wildest aspirations for ourselves, for Israel and for the world. Or when we say “Next year in Jerusalem,” are we referring to a more modest endeavor? There is a midrash about the etymology of the word Jerusalem or Yerushalayim. The Rabbis look at the word “Yerusha,” which means inheritance, and “ayim,” which connotes doubling, and understand that there are two Jerusalems – a heavenly one (“Yerushalayim shel ma’alah”) and an earthly one (“Yerushalayim shel ma’ata”). While the heavenly Jerusalem might refer to the possibilities of a world redeemed, an earthly one is rooted in the complexities of politics, economics and daily life. It is a place filled with energy, vibrancy and urgency. In the late poet Yehuda Amichai’s terms, Jerusalem is a place where its inhabitants are longing for God’s presence. Jerusalem, he writes, is “saturated with prayers and dreams like the air over industrial cities. It’s hard to breathe.” And according to the Midrash, the earthly Jerusalem is the place where God will arrive even before reaching the heavenly Jerusalem. As the Midrash imagines God saying, “I will not come into the city of Jerusalem that is above until I first come into the city of Jerusalem that is below.” What does it mean to make earthly Jerusalem a place in which God – whatever God means for us – can enter and reside? Let us create partnerships

with Israelis that help let a sense of godliness, justice and love permeate the city. Let us devote more time to learning more about the complexity of life in Israel through travel and research. Let’s partner with Israelis working on the ground to improve society through education, social and economic equality, and religious pluralism. Let’s read more Israeli literature and honor Israeli artists. Or is Jerusalem a state of mind? More than physical places, rabbis have noted that Egypt and Jerusalem represent two inner spiritual states. Egypt, or mitzrayim, has at its root “tsar,” or narrowness. Egypt represents the places in which we live in narrow places, where we feel constricted and confined. It is a state in which we are quick to anger, to react, to put our own ego needs before the needs of others. Jerusalem, on the other hand, has at its root “shalem,” or “wholeness.” It is the feeling of expansiveness, when the disparate parts of ourselves weave together into a seamless whole. As the Seder winds down and the matzah crumbs are swept off the table, let the question of “next year” continue to echo – with all its hopes, plans and the self-understandings of where Jerusalem resides for each one of us. A

Nisan 5774 l 53

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54 l April 2014


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Nisan 5774 l 55

Why should you support the Beyster Institute for Nursing Research at the University of San Diego? Because one day, you will need a nurse. The Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science at the University of San Diego, (USDSON), ranked in the top 10% of nursing schools, is the only school in Southern California dedicated to the graduate education of nurses. A recent Institute of Medicine report noted that the graduate education of nurses is now imperative due to the complexity of modern healthcare, including new technology, pharmacology, and the plethora of research required to guide the nursing profession. USDSON is important for several reasons. First, the school is critical to the healthcare of San Diego because they control the supply and quality of nursing care for the region. There is a severe nursing shortage around the country due primarily to lack of faculty. California is near the bottom in RNs per capita. USDSON produces about 43% of the faculty and many of the Deans for Southern California nursing schools. Second, USDSON has produced the chief executives and nursing officers for the largest San Diego hospitals and health care agencies, ensuring those institutions have excellent nursing leadership. Third, advanced practice nurses, especially in primary care, help ameliorate our primary care provider shortage. Fourth, USDSON is one of a few nursing schools in the U.S. with a Nursing Simulation Laboratory that trains nurse clinicians with computerized mannequins and more than 150 patient actors. Fifth, USDSON graduates nursing scientists and produces more PhD nurses than UCLA. Sixth, twenty percent of the student body includes active duty military or veterans. The school has the only Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nursing Program in California focused on PTSD.

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56 l April 2014

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Nisan 5774 l 57

Rosina Reynolds and Apollo Dukakis star in "Mandate Memories" at North Coast Repertory Theatre this month.

A Mandate for Israel, Remembrance and Reparation: North Coast Repertory Theatre premieres Lionel Goldstein’s “Mandate Memories” l BY PAT LAUNER


ow much do you know about The British Mandate? You’ll learn a lot about that, and other aspects of the leadup to the establishment of the State of Israel, in “Mandate Memories,” the world premiere by Lionel Goldstein, at North Coast Repertory Theatre, playing April 9-May 4. “One of the reasons I wrote the play,” says the affable playwright, “was the current situation between Israel and the Palestinians. The vast majority in both camps are utterly, totally ignorant. They don’t know anything about the history.” There’s a lot of history in the play, which is primarily about the relationship between two disparate people. More on that in a minute; but first, a little historical refresher.

58 l April 2014

TIME OUT FOR SOME HISTORICAL BACKGROUND In 1917, the British foreign minister, Lord Arthur Balfour, issued a statement (The Balfour Declaration) announcing the government’s support for the establishment of “a Jewish national home in Palestine.” After the first World War, Britain and France convinced the new League of Nations, in which they were dominant powers, to grant them quasi-colonial authority over former Ottoman territories. Britain obtained a mandate over the areas that now comprise Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jordan. The British Mandate, which was ratified in 1923 by the League of Nations, formalized the division of Palestine into a national home for the Jewish people, under direct British rule.

Twenty-five years later, after the U.N. General Assembly adopted the resolution to partition Palestine, Britain announced the termination of its Mandate over Palestine, effective May 15, 1948. One day earlier, the State of Israel was proclaimed.

A MANAGEABLE “MANDATE” All this serves as backdrop to the play, a twoperson drama set in 2009, in a worn old house in Berkshire, England. The two characters are Jane Stirling, a “poised ... confident but defenseless and vulnerable” woman in her early 60s,” as the stage directions put it. “Life has taken a toll on her spirit.” Gustav Frolich is an elderly man with a pronounced accent, who makes an unannounced visit from Israel. She’s never seen him before, but he knows a great deal about her.




L-R: Apollo Dukakis, Rosina Reynolds and David Ellenstien receive pointers from playwright Lionel Goldstein during rehearsal for "Mandate Memories."

“Your father,” he tells Stirling, “served in my country when it was Palestine.” He was a Captain in the Army. Stirling, who never met her father, explains that he was “an early victim of terrorism.” “Jewish terrorists,” Frolich counters. And so begins an unraveling of longburied truths and surprising revelations about Stirling’s father and the extraordinary one-sided relationship that has existed between Frolich and Stirling. “It’s a play about two people,” says director David Ellenstein, “and the way their encounter unmasks them and makes them see the world in a different way. He alludes to a connection to the past that she doesn’t know about. There’s a secret that is only revealed late in the play.” This isn’t Ellenstein’s first work on a Goldstein creation. He helmed “Halpern and Johnson” at North Coast Rep, where he’s artistic director, also mounting productions in Portland, Maine, and Miami. That play has been produced all over the world: Australia to Argentina, Germany to Israel to the Czech Republic.

In “Halpern and Johnson,” two older men meet over a grave at the cemetery. And they ultimately realize that, throughout their lives, they were both in love with the same woman. “In a weird way,” Ellenstein muses, “this new play has an echo of that one. This guy Frolich has followed her whole life, unbeknownst to her.” “Mandate Memories” was presented as a reading three years ago at the Lipinsky Family Jewish Arts Festival in San Diego. Ellenstein directed and Rosina Reynolds played Stirling. “When she first walked in,” the playwright recalls of Reynolds, “I said: ‘You walked out of my imagination. You are Jane Stirling come to life!’” At that reading, Reynolds reported that the audience was mesmerized. “‘How do you know that?,’ I asked,” says Goldstein. “‘Because,’ she told me, ‘the audience didn’t cough, budge or shuckel’ [Yiddish for ‘shake,’ as in davening or praying].” The last word was Goldstein’s addition. For the reading, Reynolds’ co-star was L.A.based actor Robert Grossman. Now, it’s Apollo

Dukakis, younger brother of Academy Awardwinning actress Olympia Dukakis and cousin of Michael Dukakis, former Massachusetts governor and presidential contender. Ellenstein goes back a long time with Dukakis, who’s performed on TV and in film, but mostly on regional stages. Ellenstein is excited to direct him for the first time. And Goldstein is thrilled to be working with Ellenstein again. “I love the man,” Goldstein crows in a Skype conversation from Israel. “He’s one of my favorite directors. When he does my work, he gets it. He’s a very intuitive and sensitive man, highly intelligent and very experienced.” At first, “the play scared me,” Ellenstein admits, “because it was so loaded with political and historical stuff. But I liked the people and their relationship so much. Lionel did a rewrite, and we’re still working on it. He’ll be here the whole time, and that will be great. “I like his willingness to leave a lot open for the actors to find and live the characters in a personal way. Actors appreciate his willingness to listen to Nisan 5774 l 59


them and let the characters evolve.” In Ellenstein’s view, the play is “a glimpse at two people’s souls. Frolich is a survivor, who was damaged by what he went through and witnessed, and what he did himself as a young man in the fight for Israel. He became an employee of the State in an espionage capacity. Now, at the end of his life, he’s trying to do right, to make amends for the evil he did.” Stirling, according to Ellenstein, “has led a middle-class, somewhat routine English life. She never married, though she had a Jewish boyfriend that she loved, someone she should’ve married. At the end, she’ll step out of her comfort zone, join Frolich in bearing witness at the grave of her father. “One of my favorite things about the play,” adds Ellenstein, “is the way it ends. When Frolich departs, having left Stirling a letter from her father to her mother, she goes outside to do her gardening, as she was at the outset. She never opens the letter, and you get the sense that she never will. The play is a touching and interesting ride.”

TOPOL’S MANDATE The journey of “Mandate Memories” has recently gotten even more interesting. The reason Lionel Goldstein was in Israel when we chatted was, he was talking with noted actor Chaim Topol about doing an expanded version of the play at the 800seat Gesher Theatre in Tel Aviv. “I wrote the play as a two-hander,” explains Goldstein, “but friends of mine, film producers in Toronto, thought it’d make a movie. I thought, ‘No way. It’s all set in one room.’ But they convinced me. So I re-wrote it as a movie. They said it needed a more dramatic title. So it’s called ‘The Last Mission.’ “Topol has been a very good friend for 40 years,” Goldstein continues. “When I showed it to him, he said, ‘Why don’t you turn the movie script into a play?’ Chaim doesn’t like two-handers; he wanted something bigger, more theatrical. So the new version of the play has nine speaking roles. Virtually all the original dialogue is in the new play, but on the periphery, there are the Secret Services of Israel and the UK listening in on the conversation between Frolich and Stirling. So, it’s gone from a stage play to a movie script and adapted back to a play!” But San Diegans will see the initial version, whose plot harks back to history. 60 l April 2014

In 1947, says Goldstein, two British sergeants were hanged by the Irgun [the Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine]. “I made up the name of the prisoner, but not the event. What I found out is that it’s not uncommon in Israel that those who have been responsible for ‘collateral damage’ want to pay compensation in some way, to right the wrongs. I thought I’d invented that notion and it was a bit far-fetched. But apparently not. “When Frolich describes himself as working for the Government, in reality he’s an ex-Mossad [intelligence] agent. It’s written between the lines. In the film, he’s monitored by Mossad and MI-5, and is at risk of being assassinated. “But there’s no Mossad in the San Diego version, no danger for Frolich. No other agenda. He comes, he talks to her, he leaves.”

A DRAMATIC LIFE Goldstein has personal experience with danger, having grown up in London during World War II. “My life was interrupted by six years of war,” he reports. “So I never went to school or had a home life. My father was drafted into the London Fire Brigade, and was injured in a bombing raid. During the Blitz, we were always running to different shelters. I was evacuated six or seven times, and was sent to different places, some very far from London. I saw the planes for D-Day.” Sometimes, his mother and sister were with him during these evacuations. But there were times when he was sent off alone. Some of the families he lived with were Jewish; others, not. “When you’re a child,” he notes, “you just accept whatever your life is as normal. I didn’t realize until well after the war that my experiences were a bit unusual. Most kids were evacuated to one location and they stayed there for the duration. My situation was different because my father was in the Fire Service, and he had a 3 days on/2 days off schedule, and my mother didn’t want to leave him. She was torn between staying with her husband or being with her children. Every time she thought there was a lull, we came back again.” Goldstein remained in London most of his life, except for the short time, as a young man, that he lived in Israel. For months at a time he’d reside in Canada, since his wife was a Canuck

(they’ve been divorced for many years, but his two daughters still live in Toronto). He ended his erratic schooling before age 15. It was expected that he’d go into his father’s fur business. There was no thought of any kind of academic future. “The notion that I’d one day become a writer is so far removed from the reality of my family,” says Goldstein. “My parents were utterly bemused and confused. That was not my background, not part of the plan.” His early jobs, in addition to furrier, included hairdresser, fruit machine mechanic and builder. And then he started writing for the BBC. “I look back and think it was just sheer luck,” he says, at 78, still amazed by his life. He started writing short stories at age 19, his first novel in his 20s, three more novels in his 30s. “The third I adapted into a play for British TV. It was not my intention or ambition to write a play. I tried to wriggle out of it. I never attended theater, didn’t have a passion for it. I had only seen one or two plays in my life. I fell by accident into stage-play writing. “A lot of my career has been happy accidents. It sometimes gives me goosebumps how easily fate might not have smiled on me. Some people strive more and are more deserving. For me, it’s all serendipity.” Goldstein didn’t have his first play produced until he was 44. Now, as a septuagenarian, he says, “I’m still learning the job as I go along.” What he’s learned about “Mandate Memories” is that “it’s really her play, not his. She has to undergo the revelation that the life she led wasn’t what she thought. She has to achieve a level of forgiveness and acceptance. She has to undergo the upheaval and change that he experienced when he was young. He makes the physical journey; she makes the mental one. “As a person, as a Jew, living in this era,” he says, “I wanted, needed, to write this play. Israel was created the same year as my bar mitzvah. We’ve kind of grown up together.” A “Mandate Memories” runs at North Coast Repertory Theatre April 9-May 4. Performances are Wed. at 7 p.m. (except for opening night, which is at 8 p.m.), Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 7 p.m., Sat. and Sun. matinées at 2 p.m. Tickets are $37-54. Tickets are available by phone at (858) 481-1055, or online at


GALA San Diego Center for Children’s 127th Anniversary Celebration

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 San Diego Hilton Bayfront 2014 Honorees Doreen & Dr. Myron Schonbrun "We are San Diego's oldest accredited children's center offering comprehensive behavioral and emotional health programs on seven campuses for children 3 to 21 years of age. We help children restore their childhoods and grow into successful adults, ensuring a healthier San Diego." Nisan 5774 l 61

62 l April 2014

THEATER Malashock dancers perform in last year's production of "Malashock/RAW."

Malashock Dance and Art of Élan collaborate to present "Lifeblood Harmony" BY NIKKI SALVO

64 l April 2014





he space where music and dance collide and inspire is an extraordinary one, especially when those on stage are from Malashock Dance and Art of Élan. Original coreography set to the music of today’s most exciting contemporary composers will bring the two worlds together this month in a never-beforeseen performance titled “Lifeblood Harmony.” Harmony means many things to John Malashock, founder of San Diego’s Malashock Dance, who revealed “overarching themes” within the project during rehearsals last month. “Music really is the lifeblood of dance,” he says. “It’s what drives it, motivates it, brings it together ... there is harmony in working together with Art of Élan ... bringing those two kind of natural bedfellows of music and dance together.” Art of Élan musicians strive to expand the scope of classical music to new audiences, and will bring the work of David Bruce, Judd Greenstein and Osvaldo Golijov to the stage as part of the collaboration with Malashock. Now in its seventh season, the musical powerhouse is “bringing back the excitement of classical music,” by “drawing inspiration from the word ‘Élan,’ which represents momentum, vigor, and spirit, and providing an opportunity to connect directly with concertgoers.” Malashock has always admired Art of Élan, and says he knew there would come a time when the two artistic organizations would work together. He, along with Pat Rice, Malashock development director, connected with Kate Hatmaker of Art of Élan to bring this exciting project to life. Hatmaker suggested some pieces to listen to, and Malashock, who had always been a fan of composer David Bruce’s work, chose “Gumboots.” He describes “Gumboots” as the piece with his “cast of thousands,” as he is utilizing all dancers in the project for it. At its heart, “Gumboots,” composed by Bruce in 2008, taps into the paradox of life-enriching art born out of tragedy. Traditional gumboots dancing came about amidst the brutal and oppressive conditions of South African miners working under Aparthied, chained together by their Wellington-style boots in flooded gold mines. The miners began to slap their chains and boots as a way to communicate – which was otherwise banned – and this rhythm evolved into a form of dance. On his official website, Bruce points to the “resilience of the human spirit” as an explanation for the joyous force of dance that came out of this unfortunate time, a “huge vitality and zest for life” that was displayed and has therefore inspired this work.


The string quartet and clarinet in “Gumboots” reminded Malashock of Grammy Award-winning Osvaldo Golijov’s music in configuration, which, in part, led him to Golijov’s 1994 piece, “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind.” The most intense of the three musical creations represented in this project, Malashock depicts the piece as “deep, dark, spiritual, wild, and trance-like, the ultimate Hasidic rapture.” For Golojov, the piece represents what is beneath the surface. “[This song] posseses the element of rapture, of communing with the spiritual on such an intense level that it brings rapture,” Golojov says. Clarinet and violin are a commanding presence in “Lifeblood Harmony,” and in rehearsals, the dancers respond with leaps and lifts in this physically demanding number. Malashock envisions “losing oneself into a wildness” when relating the piece of music set to his choreography, a sense of “...battling the chaos that is the universe, and our somewhat feeble attempts to bring order to that chaos.” He says that for him, spirituality at its core is an effort to battle the harder forces, balanced with positive forces; and he sees that effort in life and in this piece. Similarly, Golijov says he feels that while his Jewish spirituality is not necessarily obvious in every piece of work, it is something that is always in his heart. “It’s a way of being in the world,” he says, speaking about music allowing one to have a relationship with God without a hierarchy, with no mediator. The image he had when crafting this piece 20 years ago was one of “writing it in stone, the way Moses hammered into stone The Ten Commandments.” He talks about the nature of the music feeling hard – hammering with nail into stone to form the letters, an ancient atmosphere before paper was invented – and wanting to replicate that sense. “Yiddish has an infinite variety of terms to define different gradations of personality, one that has put a lot of care in defining variety in human behavior, and I wanted the music to be like that; very human...attuned to the theatre of life,” Golijov says of another, more nuanced component to the piece. Golijov grew up in an Eastern European Jewish household in Argentina surrounded by classical chamber music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music. In 1983, he moved to Israel, where he studied at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy and immersed himself in the colliding musical

John Malashock and Amy Hatmaker

“Music really is the lifeblood of dance ... It’s what drives it, motivates it, brings it together ... there is harmony in working together with Art of Élan too."

traditions of the city. The past two decades have brought collaborations with renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw, Yo-Yo Ma, and many other talented musicians, and he has received numerous commissions from major ensembles and institutions in the U.S. and Europe over the years. He also has been Composer-in-Residence at many prestigious musical organizations including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and is currently the Loyola Professor of Music of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., where he's taught since 1991. Another essential quality of the project, according to Malashock, is finding a positive sense out of difficult circumstances. Malashock believes life should have a balance, and this program is also about “learning from loss ... losing someone you’re very close to doesn’t just have to be a downer. That can be a motivator to live your life in a way that you want, because it’s going to be gone at some point.” Judd Greenstein’s “At the end of a really great day” demonstrates that idea perfectly, Malashock says. Greenstein, who wrote his first piece when he was 9 years old, is an accomplished composer who says there is “no question” that his experience growing up learning about Jewish themes and Nisan 5774 l 65


“Judaism acts as a lens through which I can examine spiritual questions ... into a dialogue with music."

ideas has been a major source of inspiration throughout his adult life. “Judaism acts as a lens through which I can examine spiritual questions,” Greenstein says, “and bringing these questions into a dialogue with music – which I consider to be my main spiritual practice – is an act that I’ve often found to be deeply meaningful.” The culmination of this process so far has been Greenstein’s group, The Yehudim, a collaboration with other like-minded artists. In 2008, Greenstein was commissioned to write a work for the Seattle Chamber Players, and as he was writing the piece, a friend was suddenly killed in an accident. An outpouring of friends, family, artists and community members rallied together to celebrate her life, and Greenstein found himself at the heart of a great support network. When he returned to the piece he had been writing, he says, it was impossible to go back to what he was working on before. “I felt inspired to bring that spirit of collective support in the face of tragedy into the work,” Greenstein says of the piece he began to work on, a piece that “could reflect her spirit in the widest sense – not just in death but in life.” 66 l April 2014

The work then became a combination of what he had originally been working on and the new material that came into play. “I hope that it is evocative and a tribute to her and to the community that sprung up around her memorial, as well as a celebration of life with an eye to the fact that death is a part of the process of living any life ... every day ends, even the great ones.” In rehearsal, the music is lively, with moments of quiet, this being the lightest in spirit among the three pieces. Violin and flute flutter around one another with fragility and strength, as sounds call to mind images of dawn breaking, and rhythms of nature lend a shimmering backdrop against the falling, catching, supporting dance movements Malashock has created to accompany it. The fluid-stacatto-fluid patterns, sometimes yogic in form, flow in synergy with the music for a playful, loving display of friendship on the stage. At its most basic, says Malashock, in this section, the two male dancers represent a man who has lost someone, and the three women, the woman he has lost, rather than using the typical arrangement of one male/one female pairing. Without forcing a theme and risking coming


Art of Élan musicians play at the San Diego Museum of Art.

across as too literal, which he says never works artistically in dance, he says: “At the end of a really great day” is inspired by a simple storyline of very complex emotions. As the father of this exhilarating project, John Malashock is the lifeblood that has brought together an eclectic group of talent. Although he has now officially retired from performing, he moves easily between the roles of coreographer, director and teacher, fine-tuning each project with a slight smile. Malashock says while the three pieces couldn’t be more diverse, they are all extremely musical and appealing in different ways, but share some common threads, which lends the project its harmony. “The piece is intense and challenging,” he says. “Musically, physically and dramatically.” A “Lifeblood Harmony” plays April 17-19 at the Mandell Weiss Theatre in partnership with the UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance. Tickets are $15-45, and can be purchased at

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A LEGACY OF JEWISH GROWTH North County’s hub for Jewish life builds upon Lee and Toni Leichtag’s vision l BY SHARON ROSEN LEIB


L-R: Jewish Food Justice Fellows Avi Asnkow and Annabella Harari meet with the Leichtag Foundation's Joshua Sherman at North County's Jewish Hub, a collaborative workspace at the Ranch in Encinitas.


ee and Toni Leichtag were the embodiment of the American Dream. Both hailed from economically challenged backgrounds and grew to amass great wealth in their lives together, yet neither would ever forget where they came from. “[They] viewed their wealth as a community resource,” Jim Farley, president and chief executive officer of the Leichtag Foundation, says. Upon their deaths, the Leichtags left 98 percent of their assets to the foundation bearing their name. Today, with its acquisition and repurposing of the 67-acre Ranch on Saxony

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Road in Encinitas (where Ecke poinsettias once grew), the Leichtag Foundation is carrying out the values its founders reflected throughout their lives. “The Leichtags realized their early poverty made them vulnerable, which motivated them to help those most vulnerable – the very young and the very old,” Charlene Seidle, the Foundation’s executive vice president, says. “They were also entrepreneurs who embraced experimentation, investing in talent and risk taking. Their entrepreneurial spirit is manifested in what we’re doing here at the Ranch.” The Leichtags lived and worked in North

County and envisioned the area’s growing Jewish population as fertile ground for developing new forms of Jewish communal engagement. And, since the Foundation purchased the Ranch in December 2012, its activities have already attracted widespread attention. The property has hummed with the energy of a new, young generation of Jewish leaders. Intent on reaching out and reigniting Jewish connection through issues that speak to their generation: the environment, sustainability, food justice and social action; Ranch leaders welcomed more than 1,000 participants at a September 2013 community-wide Sukkot celebration.


"The Leichtags were entrepreneurs who embraced experimentation, investing in talent and risk taking. Their entrepreneurial spirit is manifested in what we’re doing here at the Ranch.”

L-R: Leichtag Foundation's Joshua Sherman, Jim Farley, Anahid Brakke, Marsjana Heimbuch, Vanessa Oshiro, Zarin Godrej and Daisy Hom gather at the High Point at the Ranch. Shortly after moving onto the property, the Foundation launched the Jewish Food Justice Fellowship, a pilot professional development program. Defining food justice as “access to fresh, healthy, affordable and appropriate food for all,” the Fellowship’s goals include combating poverty by increasing food access and self-sufficiency and supporting a vibrant Jewish North County coastal community. Rabbi Andy Kastner serves as the program’s director. He oversees the work of seven 20-somethings handpicked by the Leichtag Foundation to be the program’s first fellows. “The Fellowship arose from our desire to build talent here from the ground up,” Seidle says. “We found the most creative people from this country and Israel. The fellows’ resumes demonstrate they are indeed the best and the brightest, including alums from Ivy League colleges and veterans of the most cutting-edge, global Jewish food programs, such as Urban Adamah in Berkeley, Calif., and the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Israel.”

This first Fellowship cohort began in September 2013 and will complete its service in December 2014. The Leichtag Foundation provides the fellows with housing on the Ranch property and a stipend. Each fellow works offsite three days a week pursuing food justice at a local nonprofit. Placements include Community Garden Support at the Community HousingWorks, an organization that encourages home ownership in underserved neighborhoods; and the North County Food Policy Council at North County Community Services, a nonprofit providing both a food bank and child development services to low-income families. One Fellow worked helping Oceanside preschoolers grow fruits and vegetables in raised beds on their playground. The preschoolers enjoy the healthy fruits of their labor at snack time. The remaining two days a week, the Fellows work at the Ranch innovating new programs. “We consider them a brain trust working in their respective specializations to further the Ranch’s development,” Rabbi Kastner says. “Most

recently, they’ve been busy conceptualizing and planting a two-acre vineyard on Ranch property. Combining their mission of implementing and educating, the Fellows enlisted the help of community volunteers to build trellises and plant grapevines.” In a barn on the Ranch, the Leichtag Foundation has built a wired, technologically advanced hotbed for Jewish social entrepreneurship. The Ranch’s North County Jewish Hub is a co-working space shared by 12 national and international organizations expanding their services and programs to North County. Each organization has its own small, contained office with large windows and a door opening up to large, airy, high-ceilinged meeting spaces. These spaces – furnished with bright orange plastic chairs, comfy wicker globe seating, retro Danish modern couches and ergonomic balance ball seats – serve as informal meeting areas designed to inspire collaboration and innovation. “I feel like I’m sitting in a Jewish Community think tank,” Jessica Kronis, director of Hillel Nisan 5774 l 69


The Ranch's North County Jewish Hub is a collaborative work space shared by 12 national and international organizations branching out into North County. of San Diego, North County, says. “If I have a question about something going on, all I have to do is walk two steps out of my office and get answers.” Kronis oversees Hillel programming at California State University San Marcos and Palomar and Mira Costa Colleges. Hillel groups from these colleges participated in the Ranch’s Sukkot kickoff and have hosted Shabbat dinners at the Ranch House adjacent to the Hub. The Ranch House, designed by famed architect Lillian Rice in 1935, was home to three generations of the Ecke family. The Leichtag Foundation beautifully restored and updated it to serve as a gathering place for its Hub partner organizations. “It’s a joy to work with such a special, dynamic, collaborative group of individuals,” Naomi Rabkin, the Foundation’s director of strategic initiatives for North County Jewish life says of 70 l April 2014

the Hub’s members. Waters of Eden, San Diego’s Community Mikvah and Education Center, is a Hub organization led by Executive Director Rabbi Lenore Bohm. Waters of Eden has offered yoga classes at the Ranch and will be hosting a contemplative Shabbat retreat there in May. Moishe House, the world’s largest organization serving post-college Jewish young adults aged 22-32, relocated its headquarters from Oakland, Calif., to the Ranch Hub in November 2013. The new location serves as a nerve center for Moishe House’s 25-person global staff, located in offices from London to Philadelphia. In existence for just 7 ½ years, Moishe House has built a network of 61 homes around the globe (including Sydney and Shanghai) that provide subsidized housing and community programming for young Jews seeking connection.

“We are like a research and development lab for different programs,” Moishe House’s Chief Program Officer Jordan Fruchtman says. “We have seven staff members here at the Ranch and are planning on adding a couple more by the end of 2014 so we can further our mission of reaching out and engaging young adult Jews in programming created by and for them.” Fruchtman’s fast-talking, earnest enthusiasm makes it easy to understand why Moishe House events have attracted more than 80,000 attendees in less than eight years. Like many Hub members, he represents the go-getting, communitybuilding spirit Lee and Toni Leichtag embodied. Hazon, the nation’s largest Jewish environmental organization, is the Hub’s newest addition. Since its founding in 2000, Hazon has engaged Jews in hands-on approaches to Jewish values via Jewish outdoor, farming, food and

PLANNED GIVING environmental education (encapsulated by the acronym JOFFEE). Hazon’s mission dovetails with the type of Jewish engagement the Leichtag Foundation is pursuing via the development of the Ranch’s Jewish Community Farm and other future projects. Last month, Hazon released a study called “Seeds of Opportunity,” finding that JOFFEE experiences have a positive influence on participants’ Jewish attitudes and behavior, particularly those in the 18- to 39-year-old age range. The Leichtag Foundation co-funded this study and Seidle and Rabkin served on its advisory board. “The study results align with what we learned from a series of focus groups we conducted in North County,” Seidle says. “People care about their health, the environment and social justice as meaningful ways to connect with other Jews and the community.” The study also demonstrates that younger, unaffiliated participants appreciate the more open-minded and inclusive Jewish community JOFFEE experiences provide. “We want to collaborate with communities, funders and leaders to create more JOFFEE experiences; to offer more Jewish people a chance to opt-in to Jewish life; and to enable the community to make a difference in the world,” Hazon’s founder and president Nigel Savage says. Savage hopes the study, by providing tangible information about the outcomes of JOFFEE experiences, will inspire continued expansion of

environmentally oriented programming. “This report and its findings will be extremely valuable as we embark upon the development of Southern California’s first Jewish Community Farm here at the Ranch,” Seidle says. “We envision the farm being a resource for the entire region. We’ll connect with the local food system including food banks and our neighbors – the San Diego Botanic Garden, YMCA, the Encinitas Union School District, Seacrest Village and the San Dieguito Heritage Museum – who will have the opportunity to learn about Jewish values on the Farm.” The Foundation plans to break ground on the Farm this fall. “We hope the Farm will be a model for other communities to impart Jewish values relating to the food system, the creation of self sufficiency and workforce and early childhood development,” Farley says. He believes the Farm will be the “kind of space and integrated social enterprise people want to be in together.” With all this development, the Ranch’s influence is poised to go global. Dr. Jeffrey Solomon, President of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies (innovators of the wildly successful international outreach program Birthright: Israel, amongst other successful endeavors), joined the Leichtag Foundation’s Board of Directors in December 2013. “Dr. Solomon is considered the ‘Dean’ of Jewish philanthropies. He views the Ranch as

a dynamic lab and demonstration ground of what the Jewish community will be like 20 years from now – how Jews can forge their identities through a spectrum of opportunities to connect in ways that are most meaningful to them,” Seidle says. “The Ranch is a place where people are living Jewish values and practicing a Judaism infused with joy, celebration and gathering.” Ultimately, the Leichtag Foundation’s greatest commitment is to building the next generation of Jewish leaders and philanthropists. The Ranch furthers the Leichtag legacy by nurturing and supporting young and innovative leaders to ensure a tangible, flexible and everlasting Jewish bond from generation to generation. Life on the Ranch, and by extension the Jewish future, has rarely looked better or been so full of promise. A The Ranch is located at 441 Saxony Road in Encinitas. To learn more, visit theranch.

NORTH COUNTY JEWISH HUB MEMBERS Groups working in a collaborative workspace located at the Ranch. • Jewish Food Justice Fellowship • Hazon • The Center for Jewish Culture • PJ Library • Jewish Family Service • Tarbuton: Israeli Cultural Center

• Lawrence Family JCC • Shalom Baby • JDC Entwine • Moishe House • Hillel of San Diego North County • Waters of Eden

Tours of the Ranch are given monthly, on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 10 a.m.-noon; the last Sunday of each month, 2-4 p.m.; and the last Wednesday of each month, 2-4 p.m. Request a tour at ranch-tours.

Nisan 5774 l 71


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Just Like Grandma Used to Make A&B Famous Offers Upgraded Gefilte Fish for Passover and Beyond

Gefilte fish is one of those longstanding Jewish delicacies that has maintained its metaphorical meaning over the years, but has lost its ubiquity in Jewish households. Shalom Halpern, marketing director for A&B Famous, wants to change that. “We’re trying to upgrade a watered-down tradition,” he says at his booth at the 2013 Union for Reform Judaism Biennial held in San Diego last year. He came out all the way from New Jersey, where he has run the sales division at A&B

Famous for decades. “To make gefilte fish, it’s supposed to be a real delicacy. One hundred years ago, gefilte fish was such a delicious tradition but the transition to the jarred varieties became a symbol. People didn’t have the time or patience to make it like grandma used to.” A&B’s gefilte fish is fresh-frozen, not jarred, so it’s just like homemade. And it comes in more varieties than you thought possible. From salmon to white fish and pike varieties plus low sugar, low cholesterol and gluten free options, there’s plenty here to suit a wide array of taste buds. “Many people who try it say things like ‘since grandma passed, it’s never tasted so good,’” he concludes. Try it for Passover and keep it in your repertoire all year round. A&B Famous is sold at Ralphs, Safeway and select Jewish delis in San Diego or can be ordered online (minimum three loaves per order) at

Nisan 5774 l 73




Youth Leadership at JFS requires a community committed to its success l BY ALANNA BERMAN


ervice to the community has always been part of the model of Jewish Family Service. But with more than 50 programs reaching San Diego families each year, it can be hard to run without a community that supports the organization. Thankfully, here in San Diego numerous donor groups and individuals have supported and helped to grow the programs of JFS, particularly in the area of youth leadership. “As a nonprofit, we [at JFS] really work on engaging volunteers in the community and one of the things that we really emphasize to our teens is that giving back is not only important but it can be really fun too – it’s something

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our teens appreciate and understand about the community,” Jessica Nare, supervisor for youth leadership programs at JFS, says. Each of three programs: Girls Give Back, the Hand Up Teen Leadership Program and the Ladies of Construction Technology Academy, follow a model of leadership development through service learning. Teen participants learn real-world skills that will carry them into their future endeavors, ensuring the next generation of Jewish leaders. “One of the broader goals of JFS is to increase community connections and to increase the selfsufficiency of San Diegans, so the programs in

our teen leadership department really help to do that,” Nare says. Each program is funded differently, but all require support from the Jewish community to ensure that teens in the future can continue to benefit. “Girls Give Back and Ladies of CTA are funded by grants and groups of individual donors, so we are always looking for funding to support those programs specifically,” Nare says. “Hand Up is a deficit program that has been around for about seven years, but [through these programs] we develop our own curriculum and high-quality service learning that supports the community,


to the audience about hunger in San Diego, and encourage people to host their own food drives to support the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry.”


LEFT: Members of the Hand Up Teen Leadership Program visit Feeding America as part of their service to the community. ABOVE: Teens sort donations at Feeding America. and it always takes a level of community support to do that.”

GIRLS GIVE BACK A program for Jewish girls in grades 9-12, Girls Give Back focuses on issues facing women and girls. Priority action areas identified by teen participants include gender-based violence, discussion of the Equal Rights Amendment and empowerment of Jewish girls in middle school. Surveys have shown that 100 percent of participants reported that participation in this program “increased their sense of self, including their social mindedness, healthy self-esteem, empathy, and resilience.” In conjunction with the Jewish Women’s Foundation, the inaugural class of Girls Give Back was formed about four years ago, and that initial grant will expire in June. JFS is currently looking for additional funding to support the program.

HAND UP TEEN LEADERSHIP PROGRAM Probably the most visible of JFS’s teen leadership programs, Hand Up participants in high school learn about hunger and food insecurity in San Diego. They support the JFS Hand Up Youth Food pantry by planning fundraisers, organizing food drives, managing volunteers and doing advocacy work throughout the county. Recently, teens in the program applied for and were awarded a grant from the Sodexo Foundation, which works to fight child hunger in the U.S. As part of the conditions of the grant, Hand Up will be screening a documentary called “A Place At the Table” this month at Qualcomm. “One main focus of the program is for the teens to go out into the community and educate people about food insecurity,” Nare says, “so following the film, they will give a presentation

This program is made possible in partnership with the Stanley E. Foster Construction Technology Academy on Kearny High School’s campus. Girls comprise only 25 percent of the teens who attend this project-based learning school focused on engineering, architecture and construction. Ladies of CTA is a weekly afterschool program that teaches teen girls resiliency, conflict resolution and leadership skills, empowering them with the skills necessary to be successful in STEM fields. Though only in its second year of operation, 95 percent of participants in the program said it “helped them to feel more like a leader” and “helped them develop a positive support system of female friends at CTA.” The program is funded through a collective of women at the Jewish Community Foundation.

HOW YOU CAN HELP Community support is necessary to continue the programs of the Youth Leadership department, and all programs of JFS. Donations are accepted over the phone, by mail and online. Employer matches and personal fundraising pages are also a great way to support youth leaders. “[In all these programs] we work to increase self-confidence, leadership skills, and civic engagement,” Nare says. “About half of our teens receive some kind of financial support from us, so people can make contributions to any of the teen programs in the form of a scholarship for participants in addition to a general donation to the Youth Leadership department.” A To learn more, visit

Nisan 5774 l 75



And other women's health issues addressed with advocate Ellen Dolgen l BY NATALIE JACOBS


Ellen Dolgen hosts an event for "Menopause Mondays" on a naval base in San Diego.


id you know menopause-related symptoms can start as young as age 38? If not, you definitely aren’t alone, according to women’s health advocate Ellen Dolgen, but there are some things you should know that you probably never learned in health class. “I’m not a doctor or a scientist,” Dolgen explains, “but I am someone who went through perimenopause and menopause and struggled until I realized what my options were and how to find a good doctor.” Perimenopause is that strange time in a woman’s life between the ages of 38 and 48 where she’s still menstruating but her uterus and ovaries are beginning to slow down. That process can wreak havoc on the mind and body in a variety 76 l April 2014

of ways that people are only just beginning to talk about. Through a couple of books, a nationally syndicated blog called “Menopause Mondays” and speaking engagements around the country, Dolgen, who recently celebrated her 60th birthday, has made it her mission to educate women about the changes that happen in their bodies at this surprisingly young age. “I’m kind of the girlfriend who happens to know a lot about menopause,” she says with a chuckle. When Dolgen was in her 40s, she began experiencing intermittent “brain fog,” and while she was concerned about the early onset of Alzheimer’s, she, like many women, told herself she was fine. Then, sleeplessness started to kick

in and she began spending many nights awake, researching her symptoms on the Internet. “I [always] thought I would wake up at 65 and that would be menopause,” she says. “My period would be over, and I couldn’t wait. But I had no idea that the symptoms start way younger ... and that period of time can last quite a long time, ranging from two to 10 years.” Familiar with only the standard menopause symptoms that everyone jokes about – hot flashes and moodiness – she was at a loss. “We get the conversation about getting your period, but there is no conversation about what happens when your period starts to leave. Frankly, it’s a big part of a woman’s life.” After “suffering in silence” for a while, Dolgen began to talk to her friends about her issues and


realized she wasn’t the only one in the dark. To document her struggles, she began keeping a journal which she only intended to give to her daughter. But it evolved rather quickly into a book, which turned into speaking tours and engagements on national TV and radio shows like “Katie,” “Oprah Radio” and “The Doctors.” Prior to experiencing perimenopause and still today, Dolgen worked with her husband, David, in their real estate investment company but her personal struggle made it impossible to deny a calling to help others. “I was not in the business of speaking about my vagina all over the United States, trust me,” she says. “This was my encore career. It’s a career that came out of a difficult time and with that, I’ve turned it into something I can give back to the sisterhood.” Dolgen’s family was very involved in the Jewish community of Tucson, Ariz. (where she grew up). In 1977, after Senator Harry M. (Snoop) Jackson’s presidential campaign, Dolgen’s father, Jack Sarver, started the first two political action committees created to support pro-Israel senatorial and congressional candidates, in an effort to make sure Israel could create a healthy and thriving democracy. Both Ellen and David were and continue to be involved in these efforts. “I grew up with a commitment to philanthropy and an understanding that it’s important to help others. I guide my life like that,” she says.

Included in her current efforts to give back is her position on the Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest’s board of directors. After being a financial supporter of the organization for many years, she and David will chair this year’s anniversary dinner, called “The Main Event,” on Thursday, May 8. “It really makes sense that I’m on the board of Planned Parenthood of the Southwest because I want to make sure that all women, no matter what religious background or walk of life [they come from], have access to good healthcare and are able to make choices as to what should happen to their own bodies.” San Diego’s Planned Parenthood network is the organization’s second-largest affiliate, with 19 centers and one in three San Diego households reporting a current or former Planned Parenthood patient. The centers spend most of their time and operating budgets on cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, and breast health services for a wide range of women and men. “No organization does more to prevent abortions than Planned Parenthood,” Dolgen explains. “And it’s a bigger issue than just making sure people have reproductive healthcare. It’s a human rights issue. David and I feel women should have the right to make decisions about their own bodies and also have access to good healthcare.”

The anniversary dinner will have a boxing theme, because, as Dolgen explains, Planned Parenthood and women across the country are engaged in a fight, personal and political, for their bodies. As for Dolgen’s menopause awareness work, she continues to get loads of positive feedback from women all over the world. “I feel great, but I didn’t for a few years – until I got it all figured out,” she says. “It is hard for women to take care of themselves. It was very hard for me to realize I had to put myself on the top of the list and get the help I needed and deserved.” A The Planned Parenthood anniversary dinner will take place at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on Thursday, May 8. Reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with lots of surprises in store for guests. To learn more about “The Main Event,” visit To learn more about Ellen Dolgen’s work, visit

DID YOU KNOW? Perimenopause and Menopause Symptoms MENTAL/EMOTIONAL: Forgetfulness/memory lapses Increased sensitivity Depression/withdrawal Anxiety Weeping/crying/sobbing Irritability Anger Low/no sex drive

PHYSICAL: Hot flashes/night sweats Insomnia Low energy Dry skin Hair loss Bloating Sore/swollen breasts Increased chin whiskers

Acne Deepening voice Headaches Heart palpitations Weight gain Aches Bladder issues

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Nisan 5774 l 79



FOUNDATION STONES A young Jew from Uganda begins a year in San Diego l BY NATALIE JACOBS


The Cesna 127 – a dual engine plane with retractable landing gear – will be Armstrong's final conquest at SDFTI.


t one time, Israel-visionary Theodore Herzl proposed Uganda as the first site for the Jewish state. Although that didn’t happen, there continues to be a Jewish presence in the region, in the eastern Ugandan town of Mbale. Called Abayudaya, meaning “people of Judah,” there are only about 1,500 members left in this community. From 1986 to 2006, Uganda was besieged by militants from the Lord’s Resistance Army. The U.S. Department of State reports that at the height of the war in the region, this fundamentalist group was responsible for displacing nearly 2 million people. After moving 80 l April 2014

on from Uganda in 2006, it is reported that the group has settled in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of South Sudan. In its wake, Uganda struggles to develop a modern economy built on a solid and reliable infrastructure. But one Abayudaya Jew is hoping to catalyze change, after he returns from the United States with a commercial pilot’s license.

OPPORTUNITY WHERE THERE WAS NONE Deb Plotnik met Gidongo Armstrong when she visited the Abayudaya in 2011. A year prior, she had started an organization called U-TOUCH to

create technology centers throughout Uganda, providing access to modern technologies as well as instruction on how to use them. When she was speaking with the town’s rabbi about her work, she explained that in order to create a U-TOUCH digital center for the Abayudaya, she’d need the help of a really smart local. Armstrong was the clear choice and the two made an immediate “soul connection.” How he got here last month and enrolled at San Diego Flight Training International, was a bit more complicated. As part of her work with U-TOUCH, Plotnik takes groups of “voluntourists” to Uganda during the summer to “engage with the people in the


L-R: Phil Thalheimer, Gidongo Armstrong and Larry Kesslin at Montgomery Field Airport. villages, see how they live … see the wildlife but also engage in the culture.” Larry Kesslin and his wife and two kids were part of this group in July of 2012. Plotnik introduced Armstrong to Kesslin and his family, who quickly learned that the 25-year-old Ugandan had big dreams of becoming the first pilot from his community, along with larger goals of bringing infrastructure and opportunity to his people. Armstrong needed $1,000 to continue his flight training in Nairobi. Serendipitously, Kesslin had just received $1,200 in cash from Turkish Airlines for the inconvenience of losing the family’s bags for a week, and gave Armstrong the money he needed.

The two kept in touch during weekly Skype calls and Kesslin continued to help fund Armstrong’s flight schooling in Africa. But Armstrong couldn’t get the commercial certification he needed in Africa, so, eventually, Kesslin figured out a way to get him into flight school here, in San Diego. “I started talking to people who were into flying to see what it would take [to get him to San Diego],” Kesslin says. “I knew that if I left him in Nairobi, it would be much harder to raise the money by showing people a picture of a Jewish kid [in Uganda] than it would if I could get him here.” Kesslin is a networker by profession, so it was

easy for him to get on the phone and start asking questions, but he would need help sponsoring the Visas and paying for the flight school. Eventually, he was put in touch with the owner of San Diego Flight Training International, Phil Thalheimer, who also happens to be Jewish. “I think the idea of providing pilots to Africa,” Thalheimer says, “of changing the community the way this would; that was just something that I was really excited about. You add that to the fact that he is Jewish and that there is a Jewish community that we can directly impact, now the excitement becomes euphoria.” After taking a year to figure out the details, Nisan 5774 l 81


Kesslin and Thalheimer succeeded in bringing Armstrong to San Diego in early March and he is scheduled to be here for one year. “This is a really different world from where I live,” Armstrong says, “completely different. But I think we are connected as Jewish people because I think the Jewish journey is the same. Every Jewish person in the world has what we call an intersection with one another, there is something we have in common.” Armstrong is staying with Plotnik in Scripps Ranch, as she lives closest to the Montgomery Field Airport where he is learning to fly. He has been studying to be a pilot for four years, but African licenses are restrictive and the training was made difficult because Armstrong couldn’t afford to take it sequentially. “I used to fly in Kenya but I was never sure, because I never had the money to receive training [all at once]. And then you are never sure because if you aren’t consistent [it’s harder to learn something]. So when I came here, I have been assured that I am able to fly.” Kesslin agreed to split the immigration documentation responsibilities with Thalheimer who also agreed to train Armstrong at no cost. They are raising money through The Global Good Fund to support these efforts. “He’s here to learn as much as he can to go back and transform his country,” Kesslin explains. In addition to learning how to fly, Armstrong is 82 l April 2014

taking in as much as he can so he’ll be prepared with actionable ideas once he returns to Uganda. “Basically,” Armstrong says, “I’m working on me as an individual and as a member of my Jewish community because I wouldn’t have been able to succeed and come to the United States [without my] friends and brothers. “A plane has never been in my home town. So if we can create more pilots and aeronautical engineers, by doing so we shall create employment.”

A WORK IN PROGRESS “People here [in the U.S.],” Plotnik says, “take for granted turning on water, flushing a toilet, taking a shower, going to school, driving in a car, driving on roads. You don’t have any of the infrastructure over there so people work so hard in their day but they have such amazing hearts.” Armstrong is one of 10 children and when he calls home once a week, there can be up to 40 people on the loudspeaker asking endless questions about what it’s like here. “I’m acting like a camera. … They ask me ‘what about the roads?’ ‘How are the people like?’ ‘What do they eat?’ ‘What do they say?’ ‘How do they think about us?’ So I have a lot of things to answer to people. “Life has not been good for us,” he continues. “What I’ve discovered is that you don’t know much about the United States unless you’re here.

But now that I am here, I can now see the reality and compare it to where we are. We are trying to find a direction in which we can move, trying to close the gap.” To do this, he hopes to organize a group of his peers to start addressing his country’s problems, from the ground up. Plotnik says Armstrong is here because he is going to be a leader in his country. “I know one thing about myself: I know what I want,” Armstrong says. “I think I’m bright enough to steer my country and tell the people about who we are and for us to achieve greatness. We are not stupid, but we don’t have the opportunities. We have resources but we don’t have the skills to utilize all the resources.” Giving monetary aid to developing nations has long been a contested issue. Plotnik felt this firsthand when she started her philanthropic work in Africa in 2005. It’s not that the money she donated to send kids to schools didn’t actually send kids to schools, but the conditions of the schools were so not conducive to learning and the system of donating to one school-child at a time seemed so unsustainable that she had to find a better way. That’s why she created U-TOUCH and that kind of success-for-thinking-out-of-thebox is what Kesslin is hoping to accomplish with Armstrong. “I know that we can change the socio-economic conditions in some of these communities around the world by giving people like Armstrong an opportunity to go back and change his own culture,” Kesslin says. While we may have infrastructure to support modern life here in the U.S., there’s one thing Armstrong thinks Africa has a leg up on. “Here, people are more for themselves. But for us,” he says, “it’s a group of people. We are not alone. I can walk through the street and talk to people. I know my neighbor. But here in the United States, especially where I’m staying, everyone seems to be on his own island.” After he finishes flight school, Armstrong may stay longer to pursue a degree in computer science. A Individuals wishing to support Armstrong can contact Larry Kesslin at For more information on U-TOUCH’s technology centers, visit


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Spring Has Sprung by eileen sondak •


he entertainment landscape is dotted with pleasant surprises this month. “Art Alive” – with its colorful floral interpretations of artworks – returns to the San Diego Museum of Art, Malashock Dance and Art of Élan will unveil their first collaborative effort, the North Coast Repertory Theatre will launch a world premiere, and Pinchas Zukerman and Yefim Bronfman will team up for a recital at Symphony Hall. Add these enticing special events to the typical mix, and you have a magnificent mosaic of entertaining offerings on the April slate. You know spring has sprung when “Art Alive” bursts on the scene. This year, the flora and fauna extravaganza that sets floral designers loose in the galleries of the San

Diego Art Museum will take place April 11-13. Floral artists create live artworks to complement the permanent art on display, and the transformation is breathtaking. The centerpiece of this weekend of activities is the “Bloom Bash,” an opening celebration slated for April 11. Supporters will sample culinary delights and listen to live music after they wind their way through the decorated halls of the museum. Dance aficionados will flock to the Mandell Weiss Theatre April 17-19 for “Lifeblood Harmony,” a firsttime collaborative effort between Malashock Dance and Art of Élan, in partnership with UC San Diego. The concert, set to original music, will highlight works by three contemporary composers, including Judd

An internet chat room with four strangers leads the protagonist to blur the boundaries between the real world and the virtual one in Pulitzer Prizewinning "Water by the Spoonful" April 12-May 11 at the White Theatre.

L-R: Leanne Agmon as Carol Conway, Kim Martin-Cotten as Mrs. Conway, and Amanda Quaid as Kay Conway in J.B. Priestley’s “Time and the Conways,” directed by Rebecca Taichman, March 29-May 4 at The Old Globe.

84 l April 2014






Greenstein. A VIP performance on Saturday evening will feature pre- and post-concert festivities with Greenstein. North Coast Repertory Theatre will take on a brand new work by Lionel Goldstein at its Solana Beach home. “Mandate Memories,” a play dealing with topics as diverse as love affairs, dreams, and the founding of Israel, will bow in on April 9 and remain on the boards through May 4. The drama reveals a mysterious connection between a Holocaust survivor and an English widow – and takes us deep into the hearts of these two fascinating characters. Sounds like a must-see for local theater buffs. The Old Globe will stage “Water by the Spoonful” April 12-May 11 at the White Theatre. Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, this timely new play revolves around a returning Iraqi veteran who attempts to start a new life. An internet chat room with four strangers leads “Spring Awakening,” an electrifying rock musical that earned eight Tony Awards, plays at the protagonist to blur the boundaries between Cygnet's Old Town Theatre through April 27. the real world and the virtual one. The play contains strong language and is recommended quest for the impossible dream. Eduardo Chama Schubert, Beethoven, and Brahms. On April for mature audiences. Still on tap on the Globe’s Main Stage is a is his sidekick Sancho Panza, and Anke Vondung 6, “Project Trio: Classical Music Remixed!” “re-imagined” production of the period classic, sings the role of his idealized Dulcinea. Local will feature a threesome that is taking chamber “Time and The Conways.” The play is set in favorite Karen Keltner will conduct the orchestra music to a new level with a mix of classical, jazz, hip-hop, and rock. Slated for the matinée on Yorkshire, and moves from a birthday celebration for this final opera. The San Diego Repertory Theatre will April 6 is another Family Festival to introduce in 1919 to the year 1937 – when a spirit of hope from the end of the Great War is replaced by a culminate its 2014 season with “Red,” a multi- youngsters to classical music – with Project Trio much darker mood. Playwright J.B. Priestley Tony Award-winning play (including best doing the honors. Among the interactive prebends time and space in this potent family play of 2010) about artist Mark Rothko. Set concert activities is a musical petting zoo. Megadeth’s guitar sensation Dave Mustaine drama, directed by Rebecca Taichman. It will in 1958, “Red” explores the artist’s struggles to create a painting for the exclusive Four Seasons performs with the San Diego Symphony on play on through May 4. Cygnet Theatre is taking audiences on an Restaurant. The show will remain on the Rep’s April 12. The concert, dubbed “Symphony Interrupted,” will include works by Wagner, adventurous theatrical journey with “Spring Lyceum Stage through April 27. San Diego Musical Theatre is back in North Vivaldi and Dvorak. The Jacobs Masterworks Awakening” – an electrifying rock musical that earned eight Tony Awards and an NC- Park with a home-grown production of the Series will feature “Beethoven’s Fifth” on April 17 rating for its provocative theme. “Spring beloved musical, “Cats.” Take the whole family 25-26, with pianist Emanuel Ax performing two Awakening,” which continues at the Old Town to this dance-packed show before it closes on Brahms Concertos in this dynamite program. The Quint Quintet performs “Argentine Theatre through April 27, focuses on a group of April 6. The Welk is featuring “A Funny Thing Tango and more!” – a program that explores the rebellious 19th century teenagers as they move on Argentine tango tradition – on April 22 at The to sexuality and adulthood in oppressive times. Happened on the Way to the Forum” through April 20. The vintage musical makes merry Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). The Fox Film The musical promises to awaken passions in with ancient Rome. On selected Wednesdays Series will present “The Kings of Silent Comedy” mature audiences. The Lamb’s production of “Quilters,” a through April 23, you can see “The Hypnovideo at Symphony Hall on April 19, starring Harold celebration of America’s West, remains in Show,” hosted by Dominick Carlo. It’s a G-rated Lloyd, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Mainly Mozart will present pianist John Lill in Coronado through April 27. Directed by the introduction to the world of hypnosis – with a generous helping of humor to add to the show. a performance at TSRI on April 26. The program Lamb’s own Robert Smyth, “Quilters” salutes the pioneer women who helped settle the Old West. On April 23-24, the Welk will showcase Renee will include works by Mozart, Beethoven, and “The Foreigner,” which was a major hit for the Taylor in a one-woman show titled “My Life on Prokofiev. The Poway Center for the Performing Arts Lamb’s at their Coronado home, moved to the a Diet.” The San Diego Symphony will be buzzing all will feature “Yesterday and Today: An Interactive Horton Grand Theatre. If you missed it, you’re month with musical milestones, such as violin/ Beatles Experience” on April 4. The program of in for a treat at the troupe's downtown location. The San Diego Opera will bring “Don Quixote” viola virtuoso Pinchas Zukerman and pianist music by the Fab Four will be determined by to life at the Civic Theatre April 5-13. Ferruccio extraordinaire Yefim Bronfman in recital. This audience request and performed by a group that Furlanetto stars as the chivalrous Knight on a collaboration between two musical giants is knows how to make the Beatles’ music sing. A set for April 5. The pair will perform works by

Nisan 5774 l 85

in the kitchen WITH



P Tori Avey is an awardwinning food writer, recipe developer and creator of two cooking websites: The Shiksa in the Kitchen and The History Kitchen She writes about food history for and PBS Food. Follow Tori on Facebook by searching “Tori Avey" and on Twitter @theshiksa.

assover is one of the most important Jewish holidays, a seven-day springtime festival commemorating the liberation of the Ancient Israelites from Egyptian enslavement. It also happens to be one of my favorite holidays because of the wonderful food and family traditions it inspires. Two years ago, I had the privilege of meeting an amazing woman named Mary Goldberg. When I met her in 2012, she was 104 years old. You read that right – 104! We met around Passover, and she shared her Passover Mandel Bread recipe with me. She also told me a bit about her life. Mary Goldberg was born Mary Ziff in England in 1908. Her English mother and Russian father immigrated to America when she was 9 years old. They lived in Chicago before making their way west to California. Mary was married at 18 years old and gave birth to three children. She lost her first daughter to leukemia when she was quite young. Her other two children, now in their 70s, also live in Southern California. When I met Mary she was still cooking from time to time – not much, but once in a while, she made chicken soup with matzah balls or kugel. “I was a good cook in my day,” she said. “Every Saturday, I used to bake a yellow cake and bring it down to the beauty shop.” She shared her holiday memories, including her mother’s oven roasted brisket and eating gefilte fish and kugel. When I asked Mary about her favorite Jewish food, she said, “I don’t eat pork, or ham, or bacon. I do like herring, very much. My son brings it to me sometimes, and I love it. I also like making noodle pudding – lokshen kugel.” When we got to talking about food, Mary pointed out a floral recipe box on top of her refrigerator. We got it down and started sifting through the contents. Inside were some of her favorite recipes. As we talked about them, Mary handed me the box and said, “Take whichever cards you want. I don’t cook much anymore. You enjoy them.” I can’t tell you how much this warmed my heart. I chose four cards from the many that were there, including her recipe for Passover mandel bread. Mandelbrot, or mandel bread cookies are an Ashkenazi Jewish dessert dating back to the early 19th century. They are closely related to the Italian cookies

86 l April 2014

known as biscotti, which were first made in the Middle Ages. The word mandelbrot means almond (mandel) and bread (brot) in German – in Yiddish, the cookies are known as mandelbroit. In America, these tasty little cookies are known as mandel bread. Typically mandel bread are twice-baked, which makes them crunchy. They’re perfect for dipping in your tea or coffee. Because most of the moisture is baked out, they also have a fairly long shelf life. Before meeting Mary, I had never made Passover mandel bread. Mary’s recipe inspired me to give it a try and the results were very tasty. Her version has a nice tender texture – it’s on the softer side, even after the second baking cycle, with a lovely hint of citrus and a nice crunch from the nuts. It’s a great treat to have on hand for the week of Passover. Before we parted, I asked Mary what her secret for longevity was. She shrugged and said, “Well, I don’t know. I like people. All the things that you see around me – the pictures – they’re all my children and grandchildren. I’m a lucky woman, I had good children. I live a good life.” Throughout our visit, she spoke with pride about her family. After meeting with Mary for a short time, I realized her secret is simple… she appreciates the love in her life, and the love of her family. When she says, “I like people,” she really means it. She’s a genuinely warm, friendly, and positive person who was very happy to sit with me and share her story. Now I am happy to share her story, and her recipe, with you!

MARY GOLDBERG'S PASSOVER MANDEL BREAD Ingredients 3 eggs ¾ cup vegetable oil (I used canola) ¾ cup + ¼ cup sugar 2 tbsp lemon juice ½ tsp lemon zest 1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp salt 1 cup matzah cake meal ¼ cup matzah meal 2 tbsp potato starch


1 cup slivered almonds ¾ cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts) You will also need: Mixing bowls, whisk, plastic wrap, baking sheet, parchment paper or nonstick cooking spray, cooling rack Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes Servings: 20 Kosher Key: Pareve, Kosher for Passover In a mixing bowl, whisk together oil and ¾ cup sugar. Beat in the eggs until well mixed. Whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon and salt. Use a large spoon to stir in the matzah cake meal, matzah meal, and potato starch till a wet, sticky dough forms (the consistency should be half dough, half batter). Stir in the slivered almonds and chopped nuts. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, up to 48 hours. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper for easier cleanup. Lightly grease your hands with canola oil. Use the dough to form 2 long, thick

rows or rectangles on the baking sheet. Each row should be between 3½ - 4 inches wide. Make sure you leave at least 2 inches between the rows, as they will expand during baking. Bake mandel bread for 30 minutes. Take mandel bread out of the oven. Place the cooked dough rows on a cutting board and let them cool for 10 minutes. Handle the rows carefully, they are delicate and prone to crumbling. Slice the rows into ½-inch wide biscotti-sized slices. Pour ¼ cup of sugar into a shallow dish. Roll each cookie in sugar. Again, handle the slices somewhat carefully to make sure they don’t crumble. Put the slices cut-side down back onto the cookie sheet, then bake for another 1020 minutes, until firm with crisp edges. The longer they stay in the oven, the crisper they’ll be. Keep an eye on the texture and don’t over-bake, or the mandel bread will dry out. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a rack. Store in an airtight container. Mandel bread will last several days because most of the moisture is baked out of it. For a longer shelf life, wrap each individual cookie in foil, place in a sealed plastic bag, and freeze for up to three weeks. These are especially delicious when dunked in coffee or tea. Yum! A


Nisan 5774 l 87

Villa Capri Italian Kitchen R E S TA U R A N T R E V I E W

Address: 8935 Towne Center Drive, Ste. 113 San Diego, CA 92122 Contact: (858) 622-1202 • The Atmosphere: Casual Reservations: Yes • Happy Hour: No • Take Out: Yes Delivery: No • Catering: Yes • Patio Seating: Yes

Homestyle Italian Cooking in UTC


illa Capri Italian Kitchen is a relative the dinner menu. We loved the Melanzane newcomer to the University Town Ripiene ($9). This dish consists of grilled Center area – but the name is familiar eggplant rolled and filled with pine nuts, to San Diego diners. Most aficionados golden raisins, bread crumbs, and leeks, then of Italian cuisine have enjoyed a dining topped with fresh tomato sauce. It tastes even experience at Villa Capri’s Poway and Carmel better than it sounds. The salad selection is very good as well and Valley locations. In fact, the Villa Capri family of restaurants has been catering to San Diego features traditional and new options, like the Mozzarella Caprese ($8) and the Villa Capri diners for the past 13 years. This new location, situated in the salad ($8) with sliced pears, mixed greens, Renaissance Shopping Center near the UTC grapes, caramelized walnuts, and gorgonzola mall, offers authentic Italian culinary creations cheese, dressed with a raspberry vinaigrette. You can get pizza for lunch or dinner at in a casual setting. Salvatore Ercolano, managing director of Villa Capri. We tried the Margherita Pizza, the Villa Capri restaurants, discovered Roman topped with fresh tomatoes and basil ($11), but several of the other pies Jewish ghetto cuisine when sounded delicious, including he lived in New York. As he explained, “In Italy, they still SIGNATURE DISHES the wild mushroom ($12) and Carciofi alla Giudea the pear and gorgonzola ($12). serve the food that began in Ravioli of the day Villa Capri has a the Roman Jewish ghettos, delightful assortment of pastas but you can’t get it around Pizza too, and you’ll always find a here.” HOURS: That’s what makes Villa 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. homemade ravioli of the day and a special risotto. If you Capri so special. There are a 4.-9:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. love eggplant as much as we few fabulous dishes on the do, try the Melanzane alla menu that had their roots in Parmigiana ($14). The dish is the Jewish ghetto in Rome. The antipasti menu offers Carciofi alla Giudea served like a lasagna, with slices of eggplant ($10.50) – one of the best baby artichoke baked with tomato sauce and basil and topped dishes you’ll ever taste. These beauties are with mozzarella cheese. It’s the perfect meatless sautéed with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil, choice. The chef features a fresh fish of the day, as and parsley. Another option is Mozzarella in Carrozza ($8.50). This is a Roman Jewish well as chicken, veal, salmon, and other entrée version of grilled cheese – a breaded cheese preparations. Chicken piccata ($16) and veal sandwich with caper sauce. Be sure to try one parmigiana ($19) are just a couple of the succulent offerings on the dinner menu. of these outstanding starters. The restaurant is kid-friendly, and the Vitello alla Ebraica ($21) is a Roman Jewishstyle veal scaloppini dish, sauteed with white children’s menu reflects that. Choose from wine, peas and onions, as is the Salmon alla several kid favorites, such as mac and cheese Giudea ($21) – a dish made with golden ($7), chicken fingers with fries ($8), fettuccine raisins and pine nuts. These ghetto-based alfredo ($7), and pizza ($7). Excellent service and a delightful atmosphere delicacies are highly recommended, and you make Villa Capri a terrific choice for dinner won’t have to travel to Italy to savor them. There are several interesting appetizers on seven nights a week. A 88 l April 2014



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N news

San Diego Celebrates Israel

Netanyahu Signs Partnership Agreement with CA Governor Brown JTA – In the midst of a U.S. visit that included a White House meeting with President Obama and an address before the AIPAC conference last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an economic and research partnership agreement with California Governor Jerry Brown. The agreement will enhance cooperation between Israel and California in a number of areas, including water conservation, alternative energy, cybersecurity, health and biotechnology, education, and agricultural technology, according to a news release from Brown’s office. It also allows Israeli companies access to California's technology research facilities, including technology incubators, research parks, federal laboratories and universities. “The opportunities of our partnerships are truly limitless,” Netanyahu said. “They’re limited only by our imagination.” While in California, Netanyahu met with Apple CEO Tim Cook, as well as with Jan Koum and Brian Acton, founders of the text messaging service WhatsApp.

Noa to perform in Concert at Belly Up PHOTO COURTESY SD CJC

Local Woman Joins NCJW Board

At the recent National Council of Jewish Women’s convention, San Diegan Nancy Wolman was named to the group’s National Board of Directors. A longtime member and previous president of the NCJW Greater San Diego Section, Wolman is also the group’s State Policy Advocacy cochair and former Commissioner. Wolman will support the group’s advocacy goals for the 2014-2017 term, including combatting human trafficking and continuing the fight to protect women’s reproductive rights. For more information, visit


Save the date for San Diego’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration on Sunday, May 18 at Nobel Athletic Field. The free event will feature live music by The Fountainheads, rides and a petting zoo, Israeli folk dancing, wine tasting, a garlic eating contest, prizes and giveaways, a hummus cook-off, shopping and much more! The Friendship Circle will begin the day at 10 a.m. with the annual Friendship Walk (registration is at 9 a.m.), and the festival runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. A trip to Israel including flight and hotel will be raffled off at the celebration. Go to for more information and to enter the raffle.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

L-R: Nancy Wolman, with NCJW President Sharon Scott Gustafson.

The San Diego Center for Jewish Culture will present Israeli singer Noa performing live at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach on Thursday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. Likened to Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen combined with jazz, classical and rock sensibilities, Noa has a unique sound that The Washington Post hailed as “so impossibly perfect.” This will be her first and only San Diego concert. Tickets are $23 for members and $28 for nonmembers if purchased before March 21 (door price is $40). Purchase tickets at The Belly Up is a 21+ venue.

90 l April 2014

N news

Sheldens honored at Ohr Shalom Fundraiser

The Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University, in partnership with Temple Emanu El, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of San Diego and the Consulate General of Israel in L.A. will host “Israel at the Crossroads: A Town Hall Meeting with the Honorable David Siegel, Counsul General of Israel” on Tuesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. Admission is free but advance registration is required. Register at


The Lights of Ohr Shalom Spring Gala will be held on Sunday, April 6. The event will honor longtime synagogue supporters Al and Marilyn Shelden for their service and commitment to the synagogue and the San Diego Jewish community. The Spring Gala will have a Monte Carlo theme, complete with black jack, craps, roulette and poker tables with professional dealers and a chance to win $1,000. Tickets are $125. For details, visit

SDSU to Host Town Hall Meeting with Consul General David Siegel

Gil Tamary, Washington Bureau Chief for Israel's Channel 10 News, will speak at the JNF Brunch in May.



JNF Hosts Love of Israel Brunch

On Sunday, May 4, the Jewish National Fund will host its third annual Love of Israel Brunch at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel beginning at 9:30 a.m. The program will feature Gil Tamary, Washington Bureau Chief for Israel’s Channel 10 News. Tamary has worked for Israel Broadcasting Authority, Israel Public Radio and Good Morning Israel covering a wide range of Middle East issues and the Israeli economy with U.S. perspective from influential political figures. “It is very important to connect the San Diego Jewish Community with Israel and Jewish National Fund,” JNF’s Ezra Erle said of the motivations behind the event. “JNF hopes to expose many people to our vision for the future of Israel. By attending the brunch and supporting JNF’s mission, the San Diego community can make a tangible connection and positive impact on the people of Israel, and the land itself.” This event is free and open to the community but R.S.V.P. is required by April 25. To register, visit or contact Stacey Lewis at

Study: Parkinson's Disease in Ashkenazi Jews The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is launching a new arm of their ongoing biomarker trial called Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), to study individuals with genetic mutations associated with Parkinson’s disease. One such mutation, the LRRK2 gene, has been identified as more prevalent in Ashkenazi Jews, so the group is currently enrolling participants from that population. Lead investigator is Dr. Douglas Galasko, professor of neurology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. Participants for the study are wanted in San Diego and Los Angeles. For more information on the study, visit

Nisan 5774 l 91

N news

Adopt a Family Foundation Fundraiser

ADL Hosts Seder The San Diego chapter of the Anti Defamation league (ADL) held a Seder event dubbed “A Nation of Immigrants” in March. The event, which was attended by community leaders and members of faith-based and ethnic communities from across the county, celebrated shared histories of suffering, liberation, and redemption through the Passover narrative. This was the first time the program was held in San Diego, with more than 75 people in attendance at The Ranch in Encinitas. To learn more about the programs of the ADL, visit

The Adopt a Family Foundation will host its annual fundraiser on May 3 at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. The evening will include music by the Yuval Ron Ensemble, which includes "Jewish, Christian and Muslim artists who have been actively involved in creating musical bridges between people of various faiths and ethnic groups," and a silent auction. Funds raised at this event will go toward the Foundation’s work connecting San Diego residents with Israeli victims of terror. Find more information about the fundraiser and AAFF's work at adoptafamilyfoundation. org.

StandWithUs Brings Israeli Soldiers to San Diego StandWithUs will welcome two Israeli soldiers to the San Diego region this month as part of the group’s “Israeli Soldiers Tour,” with stops across the country. The soldiers will be in San Diego April 8-10 as part of the program. Public events will be held at San Diego State University on April 9 at 5:30 p.m. and at Congregation Beth El on April 10 at 6:30 p.m. Talks will focus on the moral issues involved in fighting terrorist groups in Gaza and the West Bank. For more information on the San Diego events, visit


Butterfly Project Nests at Gotthelf Art Gallery

92 l April 2014

The Butterfly Project, an undertaking by artist Cheryl Rattner Price and the San Diego Jewish Academy to commemorate child victims of the Holocaust, will be on display at the Gotthelf Art Gallery at the Lawrence Family JCC until May 28. For this exhibit, the gallery has invited several local artists to explore the theme of “transformation.” The one-of-a-kind pieces in the show celebrate the mystery of the butterfly and the hope of the human spirit. Featured artists include Sandra Berlin-Kroll, Barbi Dorfan, Patricia Frischer, Becky Guttin, Jacqueline Jacobs and Irv Lefberg, among others. All art is for sale and proceeds benefit the Gotthelf Gallery. For more information, call (858) 362-1344 or email

Nisan 5774 l 93




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96 l April 2014

On March 8, the Ken Jewish Community celebrated International Good Deeds Day, with 300 volunteers doing community services of all different facets, and in the process aiding more than 15 organizations throughout San Diego County. Projects ranged from fun-days for lowincome seniors and children, to feeding the homeless, to Mishloach Manot and quilts for Jewish Children with cancer. The KEN even donated food-packages, shoes, toys, toiletries and money collected from a Garage Sale to help those in need. The major community service project in it of itself is beautiful, but it must also be the start of more people, schools, organizations, and companies being involved in the International Good Deeds Day.



You’re looking for something different for your child. RVA’s classes are flexible; they don’t look like what you’re used to. They’re different. What happens when we work with children? When one of them has an insight, the room crackles with energy. We laugh and learn together. One example: Miss Nancy was teaching math, reminding everyone about prime numbers. “Come on,” she said, “I know you’ve played with prime numbers before, haven’t you?” A girl answered: “We learned prime numbers last year, but we never played with them.” Renaissance Village Academy is a private non-religious full-time school serving GIFTED, PROFOUNDLY GIFTED, AND HIGHLY MOTIVATED children in grades K-8. Each student learns at his/her own level, based on ability, not age. Subjects include: English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Logic, Music, Drama, and Karate.

Renaissance Village Academy 9988 Hibert St., #301 • San Diego, CA 92131 858.564.9622 • • Nisan 5774 l 97


by natalie jacobs



pril is full of highs and lows. Tax day is looming and the rain clouds may return at any moment, but the days are longer and spring is in the air. And Passover – which celebrates Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt – is followed by Yom HaShoah which commemorates the darkest time in our collective history. While you might often find it difficult to assess how you’re feeling about life this month, take extra care to immerse yourself in activities that surround you with family and friends. Here are a few to get you started: You probably have your favorite Passover traditions that include your neighborhood synagogue and Seder at a relative’s, but there are a couple unique programs happening this year to consider if you fall into these special interest groups. First up, The San Diego LGBT Community Center will host “Coming Out of Egypt: LGBTQ and Allies Seder” on April 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Led by Rabbi Lenore Bohm and Cantor Kathy Robbins, this traditional vegetarian Passover is $18 per person. For details, call (858) 565-6896. The young adult crowd is invited to attend Congregation Beth Israel’s intimate “20s and 30s Seder” hosted by Rabbi Michael Satz on Monday, April 14 from 6:30-9 p.m. The dinner is catered and Haggadot will be provided. Cost is $40 for members, $45 for nonmembers and an R.S.V.P. is required. Visit to register. Lighten the mood before heading into the end of the month with “Old Jews Telling Jokes” playing at the Lyceum Theatre April 23-May 25. This hit New York comedy created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent showcases five actors paying tribute to and reinventing classic jokes of the past and present. The website promises “you’ll laugh ‘til you plotz.” The show runs 90 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are $45 for Wednesday and Thursday showings and $55 for Friday-Sunday shows. For more information and to buy tickets, visit Slip on your jazz shoes and head down to the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation on Friday, April 25 at 6 p.m. for the “Revitalizing Together Benefit” jazz show. Internationally renowned recording artist Michelle Coltrane, daughter of legendary jazz artist John Coltrane, will perform at this fundraising event to support Jacobs Center programs involved in resident engagement, redevelopment, economic opportunity, and arts and culture. Tickets are $125, available by contacting Here’s where things get heavy this month: Defiance, Rebellion, and Resistance, 2014 Community Holocaust Commemoration on Sunday, April 27 from 1-3 p.m. Presented by a number of community organizations but hosted at the Lawrence Family JCC, this event is free and open to the public. This year’s keynote speaker will be Elan Bielski, grandson of Zus Bielski, a partisan leader responsible for rescuing approximately 1,200 Jews from execution during World War II. A 98 l April 2014

Mark your calendar.

COMING OUT OF EGYPT: LGBTQ & ALLIES SEDER Monday, April 7 5:30-7:30 p.m. SD LGBT Comm. Center 3909 Centre St. San Diego, CA 92103

SEDER FOR 20S & 30S Monday, April 14 6:30-9 p.m. Congregation Beth Israel 9001 Towne Centre Drive San Diego, CA 92122

OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES April 23 - May 25 Wednesdays 7 p.m. Thurdays 2 & 7 p.m. Fridays at 8 p.m. Saturdays 2 & 8 p.m. Sundays 2 & 6 p.m. Lyceum Theatre 79 Broadway Circle San Diego, CA 92101

JAZZ BENEFIT Friday, April 25 6:30 p.m. Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation 404 Euclid Ave. San Diego, CA 92114



Lawrence Family JCC 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla Contact Melanie Rubin for details or to R.S.V.P. (858) 362-1141. Don Quixote at the San Diego Opera Tuesday, April 11, bus leaves at 5:45 p.m. Purchase opera tickets at, then reserve a seat on the bus by calling Melanie Rubin at the number above. Cost for the bus is $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers. Basic Computing Tips for Beginners Tuesday, April 29, 1:30 p.m. Another technology class with Barbara Drizin. Find out how to use the address bar, attach a photo to email, chose a password and more. Cost is $8 for members, $10 for nonmembers. Mandate Memories Wednesday, April 30, bus leaves at 6 p.m. Join the JCC senior center for a trip to the North Coast Rep to watch this taut and witty drama filled with revelations of love affairs and the founding of Israel. Cost is $31 for members, $52 for nonmembers. Oceanside Senior Center 455 Country Club Lane, Oceanside Call Josephine at (760) 2952564 North County Jewish Seniors Club Third Thursday of each month, 12:30 p.m. Join us to hear speakers and/ or entertainment at our monthly meetings. Light refreshments served. Visitors welcome. Joslyn Senior Center 210 Park Ave./Broadway, Escondido Call (760) 436-4005 Jewish War Veterans meetings

Second Sunday of each month, 11 a.m. Preceded by a bagel/lox breakfast at 10:45 a.m. San Diego North County Post 385. JFS University City Older Adult Center 9001 Towne Centre Drive, La Jolla Call Aviva Saad for details or to R.S.V.P. (858) 550-5998. Passover at UCOAC Thursday, April 10, 11 a.m. Reservations required. Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s 65th Birthday Tuesday, April 16, 10 a.m. Have lunch and enjoy the music of Joan Kurland. Reservations required. Yom HaShoah Tuesday, April 29, 10 a.m. Lunch available at noon with reservation. On the Go excursions A program of Jewish Family Service, On the Go provides transportation to events throughout the county for homebound seniors. For information on any of these excursions, please call (858) 637-7320. Mandate Memories, North Coast Rep Sunday, April 20, bus leaves at 12:30 p.m. Cost is $76, due by April 7. Flower Show Sunday, April 27, bus leaves at 12:30 p.m. Cost is $38, due by April 18. 31st Annual Fiesta Old Town Cinco De Mayo Sunday, May 4, bus leaves at 11 a.m. Cost is $28, due by April 28. JFS No. County Inland Center 15905 Pomerado Road, Poway


Call (858)674-1123 for details or to R.S.V.P. DooWop in the Chocolate Shop Annual Fundraiser Sunday, April 27, 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at

Call (858) 674-1123 for details or to R.S.V.P. Our City, Our Neighborhood with Gabe Selak of the San Diego History Center Monday, April 7, 11 a.m. Learn more about the communities of Mission Hills, Old Town, Little Italy and more. Fabulous Futures Workshop Wednesday, April 30, 11 a.m. Learn about fiduciary solutions, estate planning, home modifications and more. JFS Coastal Club at Temple Solel 3575 Manchester Ave., Cardiff by the Sea Call Melinda Wynar at (858) 674-1123 for details. R.S.V.P. for lunch by Monday at 12:30 p.m. Model Seder with Rabbi Aliza Berk Tuesday, April 8, 11 a.m. Take the journey through the Haggadah.

details or to R.S.V.P. Passover Luncheon and Model Seder Monday, April 14, noon Led by Rabbi Aliza Berk. No reservations needed, seniors 60 and older are free but $4 donations are suggested. Karaoke with Laura Jane Friday, April 25, 12:30 p.m. Our favorite San Diego songstress returns with her karaoke machine, giving each of us a chance to be a star for the afternoon. Yom HaShoah Monday, April 28, 1 p.m. Film showing Congregation Beth El 8660 Gilman Drive, La Jolla Call (858) 452-1734 for details or to R.S.V.P. Rabbi Graubart Series: If Not Higher Tuesday, April 8, 11:30 a.m.

JFS College Avenue Center 4855 College Ave., San Diego Call (858) 637-3270 for

WANT MORE CALENDAR? The full version of San Diego’s most complete Jewish events calendar is now online at

Send submissions to Nisan 5774 l 99

Ensuring a Vibrant Jewish San Diego for Future Generations Established in 2004 by the Jewish Community Foundation, the Endowment Leadership Institute (ELI) brings together Jewish organizations, day schools and synagogues in San Diego to learn about building endowments, including setting goals and monitoring success. The Foundation is excited to announce a new phase of the program that will build on the historic achievements of San Diego’s Jewish community organizations. Currently, 15 organizations with over 80 members of the community, both professional and lay leaders, have committed to learning about and growing organizational endowments. Enabled by the Endowment Leadership Institute over the past ten years, organizations have partnered with nearly 1,000 families to create legacies with estimated planned gifts at over $200 million. More than $32 million has already been received by these organizations. Largely as a result of Gail Littman’s z”l work through ELI to expand legacy programs in San Diego, ELI became the model for at least 25 other Jewish communities across the country to grow endowments and ensure their organizations will thrive for years to come. ELI in San Diego continues to be a high quality, results-oriented program that maximizes the positive relationships organizations have with their donors. As one organization put it, “ELI opened up a whole new world of possibilities…A collective power comes from being with other organizations. ELI makes a huge difference in our community.“ In its current effort, the Foundation engages San Diego’s Jewish organizations with ongoing education, marketing and planned giving technical support. The Foundation continues to work with these 15 community partners to secure a vibrant future for San Diego’s Jewish community. To help strengthen the community and create your Jewish legacy, visit or contact your favorite Jewish organization. To learn more about ELI and the participating organizations, visit


ALL SERVICES ALREADY HELD David Frederick – San Diego 8/1/1946-11/19/2013 Survivors: son, Cuinn Frederick; and sister, Karen Frederick Paul Ericson – San Diego 12/12/1956-11/20/2013 Survivors: brother, William Ericson Josepha Cohen – San Diego 3/31/1917-11/21/2013 Survivors: daughter, Sandra Cohen; and son, Ross Cohen Lyudmila Pereplyotchikova – San Diego 5/29/1927-11/21/2013 Survivors: daughter, Helen Apotovsky James Schneider – San Diego 8/30/1941-11/21/2013 Survivors: wife, Candice Schneider; daughter, Kim

Schneider; and sons, Keith and Jason Schneider Dorothy Stone – La Mesa 5/6/1921-11/22/2013 Survivors: daughters, Debbie Macdonald, Linda and Barbara Stone; son, David Stone; and seven grandchildren David Byer – San Diego 5/30/1916-11/22/2013 Survivors: wife, Sylvia Byer Ludmilla Berengolts – Rancho Santa Fe 2/17/1937-11/25/2013 Survivors: husband, Yuri Berengolts; daughter, Regina Berengolts; son, Michael Berengolts; and two grandchildren Frank Kane – San Diego 6/21/1927-11/27/2013 Survivors: niece, Diane Gevertz

100 l April 2014

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Desert eatery celebrates with Passover-inspired cuisine

Friends Talia Lizmer-Hawley, Shelley Fisher, Cheryl Scarlett, and Joann Horwitz at Cello's An American Bistro.

that are comforting. “When they are blended with Cello’s flair and presentation, dining out during Passover takes on a new meaning with friends and family,” Scarlett says. This means from matzah ball soup (with carrots, celery and onion), beet salad and gefilte fish to short ribs, chicken liver pate, quinoa pilaf with fresh vegetables and a chocolate truffle dessert, the nostalgic specialties of Passover will be served religiously between April 15-22. You can sip the house specialty, limoncello – an Italian liquor made from lemons – in addition to the selections from their wine menu, such as a Filus Malbec, a hearty red wine from New Zealand, as you dine out during the Exodus holiday. So, what’s next on the menu? “Maybe chocolate covered matzah,” Barkley says with a twinkle in her eye. A Cello’s An American Bistro is located at 35943 Date Palm Drive (at Date Palm and Gerald Ford) in Cathedral City, Calif. For more information or reservations, call (760) 328-5353, or visit


onnie Barkley and her husband Tom Steferak, owners of Cello’s An American Bistro in Cathedral City decided they would create a menu around Passover this year. With the help of Cheryl Scarlett, their outside catering manager, this mission was accomplished. “We created a menu based on the protocols of Passover, reflecting upon its history and the message which is shared by Jews around the world,” Scarlett, a Coachella Valley resident since 1985, says. “Dishes that are holiday-specific add a twist to our menu and offer alternatives for our guests who have have special requests, from gluten-free to vegetarian diets. Bonnie, Tom and I took all of that into consideration when developing this, our first Passover menu.” This collaboration has added a gastronomic dimension to dining out during Passover that is creative without compromise. The hasty exodus of the Jews from the land of Egypt was historically a turning point in Jewish cuisine. Necessity being the mother of invention meant there was a rush on breadmaking. Commanded to flee Egypt without time to prepare adequately, there was no time left for bread to rise. The crisis was resolved and the solution – matzah – became a legend and a holiday. “Matzah was the result of baking on the run,” Phyllis Eisenberg, who celebrates Passover alternatively between Chicago and Palm Desert, says. “Passover has been passed from generation to generation. In the desert, in the past there have been Seders in hotels, homes and country clubs. Now that Cello’s has debuted a Passover menu with traditional choices, updated with a 21st century personality, Jewish cooking is taking off in a new direction.” Barkley says the recipes took months to develop. “[The] recipes capture the flavors of Passover and they are all gluten free; from appetizers to dessert,” Barkley says. Scarlett adds that the recipes Barkley and Steferak have been refining are reminiscent of your grandmother’s kitchen, with flavors Nisan 5774 l 101

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San Diego Jewish Journal April 2014  

San Diego Jewish Journal April 2014 The San Diego Jewish Journal is the pioneer Jewish lifestyles magazine on the West Coast. It was founded...

San Diego Jewish Journal April 2014  

San Diego Jewish Journal April 2014 The San Diego Jewish Journal is the pioneer Jewish lifestyles magazine on the West Coast. It was founded...