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December 2013 Kislev-Tevet 5774



30 32 74 4 l December 2013

COVER: Our third annual Arts issue highlights the best in San Diego performances, with a roundup of next season’s events across the county

FEATURE: Beth Am continues its Inspiring Minds Speakers Series this month with Jeffrey Tambor

FEATURE: San Diego hosts the Union for Reform Judaism’s Biennial event for the second time

FEATURE: Camp Mountain Chai welcomes Zim Zimmerman as new executive director


Rabbi Ben Leinow


SGS Group of Wells Fargo Advisors

Around Town 10 Mailbag 12 Our Town 14 Event Recap 80 What’s Goin’ On 86 Calendar

68 ARTS: Calendar of Events

A complete roundup of 2013-14 arts programming

Good Eats 76 Food

In Every Issue 8 Welcome 18 Parenting 20 Israeli Lifestyle 22 Dating 24 Guest Column 26 Spirituality 28 Israel 82 News 93 Desert Life Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 5

Benefit from Legal Tax Consultation On Two Continents • Tax Solutions for US-Israeli Businesses • Civil Tax Audits & Criminal Tax Defense • Local Representation in Israel for US Tax Matters Office in Tel Aviv, Israel opening in late 2013.

Supporting the Success of Israeli Businesses Call (858) 450-1040 8910 University Center Lane, Ste. 255 San Diego, CA 92122 December 2013 • Kislev/Tevet 5774 PUBLISHER • Dr. Mark S. Moss CO-PUBLISHER • Mark Edelstein EDITOR-IN-CHIEF • Alanna Berman ART DIRECTOR • Laurie Miller 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, Miki Lamm, Pat Launer, Curt Leviant, David Ogul, Karen Pearlman, Pamela Price, Sharon Rosen Leib, Nikki Salvo, Andrea Simantov CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS/ARTISTS Vincent Andrunas, Leigh Castelli, Pepe Fainberg, Steve Greenberg, Pat Krause, Laurie Miller, Paul Ross (senior travel photographer), Daniel Sakow, Angela Sissa, Daisy Varley ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Diane Benaroya (Senior Account Executive), Sam Epstein (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:

‫דוברי עברית‬

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 ©2013 by San Diego Jewish Journal. The San Diego Jewish Journal is a member of the American Jewish Press Association and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. #SDJewishJournal 6 l December 2013


Welcome by Alanna Berman Editor of the San Diego Jewish Journal

All About the Arts


othing excites us more here at the San Diego Jewish Journal than a night out at the theater. Whether it’s a new work at one of the many great venues across the county or a tried and true favorite, we just love the energy that comes with a live show. It’s part of why we set out to create an annual Arts issue each December, to highlight the great performances being held in our own backyard, in the hopes that you, too, would see what we love so much. This year, our third annual Arts issue features the usual cache of dance, music and eclectic performance, with lots to look forward to in the coming arts season, but I hope that you, our faithful readers, will take the time to see more than your usual number of performances this year. Not just because there are so many great shows coming to our fair city – and there are – but because it really is good for the soul. Nothing can inspire us, give us hope for the future, terrify us, and uplift us (usually in the course of a few hours) like a live performance can. And in 2011, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) proved just that. By analyzing information about participation in cultural activities and health from a populationbased study involving more than 50,000 people from 2006-08, researchers were able to show a definite link between participation in different kinds of communal cultural activities (such as attending a theater performance or viewing an art show) not only with good health, but overall satisfaction with life. Being involved in the cultural arts was also found to decrease levels of anxiety and depression in those same study participants. What’s more, the study found that the more cultural activities men and women participated in, the better they felt. The study showed the same benefits for those who were

8 l December 2013

Nothing can inspire us, give us hope for the future, terrify us, and uplift us (usually in the course of a few hours) like a live performance can. active in the creative process, or performers. As someone who grew up juggling music and drama lessons after school, I can attest to the selfesteem building benefits of such participation in younger children. I was always performing as a child, but as an adolescent, I began to channel that energy into violin and vocal lessons with a choral group. The structure of the rehearsals and the personal dedication those activities required taught me how to manage my time, set goals and achieve them with hard work. Most nights in my teens were spent rehearsing or studying. In October, I attended a J*Company performance and I thought about my rigorous rehearsal schedule. How many of those kids on stage must have had to forgo trips to the mall or beach with their friends because they had to spend time rehearsing – perfecting their craft? The dedication required for such activities is as noteworthy as the fantastic performances those young people, all of them younger than 18, perform each season. If you haven’t made it out to see one of their shows, I highly recommend it. You will undoubtedly forget that those are teenagers on stage in front of you, singing, dancing and making you feel like you are on stage with them. But don’t do it for me, do it for your health. You can thank me later. A

This month I can’t wait: for cold weather accessories!

to feast on Chinese food! to say goodbye to 2013 in style!

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 9

>> mailbag

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

ON NOvember’s issue Dear Editor: The article about “Light Falling Down” (Nov. 2013) unfortunately came out much too late for people to get to know the story. Here at Seacrest, only four residents attended and unfortunately, I was not one of them. There was zero publicity or promotion for such an important play, so we were “losers.” The one error I want to point out to your writer is that Terezin is in the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), not Yugoslavia. Shalom, Frances Caminer Seacrest Village resident Dear Editor, I obviously read your article (“Welcome,” Nov. 2013). Your preferences notwithstanding, it is fortunate for the Jewish people as a whole that you are not a representative of the significant number of learned converts. One becomes Jewish by birth or earning the right to do so. It is those who have freely chosen to associate and affiliate with the observant side of

Jewish practice that have become the wonderful additions to those of us who are natively from a Jewish mother. Others, like your self-proclaimed “twice a year Jew” status, are more or less on-lookers. Lastly, your statistics come from somewhere, and most statistical statements are found to be wanting, if not outright fabrications. They are usually issued by people and organizations that have a point to make and/or axe to grind, and it’s usually political. I don’t have to guess at yours. Respectfully, Leonard I. Antick Chula Vista

Dear Editor, I just got my copy of the Jewish journal and read your first article on Judaism and the decisions in your Jewish life and your reflections. (“Welcome,” Nov. 2013) It was excellent and a really great read. Congratulations on another successful month! Regards, Mike Dolinka San Diego

* correctionS *

follow us

In the November issue of the SDJJ, in the news story titled “Jewish Genetic Disease Screening,” the website given should have been Also in the November issue, in the theater feature, “Bearing Witness and Grabbing Audiences by the Throat,” the concentration camp Terezin (Theresienstadt) was listed as being in the former Yugoslavia. It is actually located in the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia). SDJJ regrets these errors.

Send us your comments: /sanDiegoJewishJournal 10 l December 2013

@sDJewishJournal • 5665 Oberlin Dr., Ste 204 • San Diego, CA 92121



FIDF Salutes Israel...

In October, we enjoyed a musical journey honoring the State of Israel, presented by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces’ San Diego Chapter. Performing at the Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla were IDF Chief Cantor Lt. Col. Shai Abramson, Cantor Netanel Baram, Jonathan Valverde, and Maestro Ofir Sobol, who directed the orchestra. Event Chair was Jackie Gmach. Co-Chairs were Jenny Josephson and Mal Smiedt. Some in the audience were FIDF National President Julian Josephson, Natalie and Anthony Josephson, Norman Smith, Herb “Moshe” Weiss, Mo and Phyllis Gold, Helene and David Bortz, Maty and Bernardo Bicas, Susan Schmalo, Bernard and Zohavit Baruch, Pamela and Bard Cosman, Dan and Nina Brodsky, Haime and Karen Breziner, Charles and Phyllis Kopp, Steve and Ava Weitzen, Rabbi Irv Elson and Diane Kutner.

by liNda beNNett aNd betsy baraNoV betsy1945@Cox.Net l photos by solaNge


Happy 80th birthday to Irwin Jacobs! Happy 91st birthday to Mildred Ackerman!


Annette and Fred Schriber will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary Jan.17. Mazel Tov!


Josh and Anora Schaer of Los Angeles are the proud parents of a new baby girl, Myla, born Aug. 4. Happy grandparents are Carolyn and Herb Schaer of Carmel Valley.


The 19th annual San Diego Jewish Book Fair was most interesting. Opening night was a full house waiting to hear Alan Dershowitz! We heard many acclaimed authors speak this year including Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer, Austin Ratner, Francesca Segal, and Robert Price. During the week of presentations we saw Michele Kipnis, Lolly From, Sabrina From, Sandra Silverstein, Jackie Adler, Ruthie Warburg, Gayle and Bob Silverman, Seth Krosner, Rabbi Marty and Anita Lawson, Chuck and Amy Spielman, Peter and Linda Levine, David and Jackie Gmach, Jim Lewis and Andrea Stein, Rhonda Amber and Jonathan Licht, Sandy and Barbara Rosenthal, Paul and Suzanne Schulman, Brenda Mann, Myra Greenberg Glassman, Geri Sander, Sari Esserman, David and Bunny Amos, Wendy Avraham, Shelly Neiman, Laurie Steinberg, Denise Selati, and Rabbi Hillel and Bobbie Silverman. 12 l December 2013

Top: IDF Chief Cantor, Lt. Col. Shai Abramson. Clockwise from middle: Maestro Ofir Sobol, FIDF President Julian Josephson and Lt. Col. Shai Abramson; Pastor Efraim Valverde and Lt. Col. Shai Abramson; and Milton Krasner and Fanny Krasner Lebovits.

the SCENE by eileeN soNdak l NsoNdak@gmail.Com photos by ViNCeNt aNdruNas

City Ballet Gala

Typically, guests are encouraged to wear black-tie or cocktail wear to major fundraisers, but City Ballet’s “Masquerade Gala” was cut from a different cloth. To celebrate its 21st anniversary of performance and community outreach in San Diego, City invited supporters to come in costume. As a result, many of the patrons at the US Grant Hotel were recently decked out as the Phantom of the Opera, a Medieval Duke, a Victorian gentleman, an old-time train conductor, and a cowboy. Several donned elaborate masks as well – including one guest who wore all the trappings of The Man in the Iron Mask. The event featured a performance by some of the talented City Ballet dancers, along with dinner, dancing to the music of The Mighty Untouchables Band, and a silent auction. Proceeds from the masquerade ball will benefit the company’s education programs, which reach more than 10,000 children each year. Dan and Barbie Spinazzola were honorary chairs of an honorary committee that included Ian Campbell, Jaquelyn Littlefield, Ron Cole and Brian Marsh, Denise Larkin and David Barnard, Susan G. Lowrance, Robert Orsi and Janelle Freiman, Jeanine Palmer, and Stephanie and C. Arthur Myers.

Las Patronas Luncheon

The ladies of Las Patronas gathered at the La Jolla Country Club for a luncheon to introduce six new members and to announce the grand total raised at the 67th Jewel Ball. The gung-ho class of 2013 includes Jennifer Edstrom, Cathy Maywood, Emily Scott, Jenny Tyson, Nicole Velazquez, and Michelle Wiseman. The gala, dubbed “Lucky 13,” was held at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and raised $843,560.16! Kudos to the hard-working women who take philanthropy to such heights! “We are thrilled that the success of Lucky 13 will fund so many critical needs in our community,” President Jena Joyce said. The highlight of the afternoon was the unveiling of the theme for the 68th Jewel Ball: “Moonlit Mambo.” It promises to be “a celebration of the color, music, and romance of 1950s Havana.” That black-tie affair is slated for Aug. 2, 2014.

City Ballet photos (from top): Dee and Jon Ammon; Jeff and Rosemary Schreiber, Kortney Oliver, Darrin Miller, Matt Craig, and Stephanie Sheveland. Las Patronas photos (clockwise from top): Vicky Hillman, Lyn Krant, and Barbara Doren; Vera Pitrofsky and Tracy Lyon; Julia Peck, Jena Joyce, and Sue Kalish.

14 l December 2013

be SEEN by miki lamm l mikisdjj@gmail.Com photos by jeNNa Zetisky

YAD Newcomers Brunch

Every year, young Jewish adults move to San Diego without knowing anyone, for their career, post-college education or simply to follow their dreams. To foster friendships and to educate the community about program offerings, the Jewish Federation’s Young Adult Division holds a semi-annual event to connect these young people. In October, guests to the most recent Newcomers Brunch were offered the opportunity to nosh on bagels and lox while mingling with other attendees. The YAD NextGen Team and YAD Board introduced themselves and spoke about upcoming events and organizations that cater to the young adult Jewish community in San Diego. Guests then broke off into smaller groups, where they could meet others through ice-breaker activities and have more intimate conversations. To learn more about these types of events, contact the YAD NextGen team at

Top: YAD Board Vice President Jon Bell and YAD Manager Carly Ezell. Clockwise from top right: YAD Newcomers Co-Chairs Erica Effron and Megan Kanofsky; Dor Ashur and Jean Dietz; Amanda Wachter and Rayna Karoll; and Joshua Lappen, Karl Olney and Zach Warburg.

16 l December 2013

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 17


musings from mAmA by Sharon Rosen Leib

Discretion Advised

18 l December 2013

of her holding a large red plastic cup (I don’t even want to know what was in it) with two girlfriends beneath a neon-green sign reading, “Cheers to Big Tits!” I groaned when that photo popped up on the feed. My husband said, “Don’t be such a square. It’s college!” Now that Middle Daughter is a college freshman she too has posted a couple of revealing photos on Instagram – like the one of her and a friend dressed as Vegas showgirls for a Halloween party. Considering the fact that she attends a women’s college priding itself on graduating strong women of character, this photo made me question the current state of feminism. When I saw all the skin on display, I worried anew about how social media fuels our current culture of exhibitionism. Last month, at a sorority reunion, I saw the ever-sharp, beautiful Phyllis for the first time in 30 years. I finally had the opportunity to tell her that her advice made more of an impression on me than most anything I learned in Cal’s classrooms. So as a group of us middle-aged gals sat around a table in Chez Panisse’s warm, woodsy, Craftsmanstyle café, I raised a glass to Phyllis and publicly lauded her for teaching us such an important life lesson. I bemoaned the fact that discretion appears to be all but lost – adrift in a sea of Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter. Phyllis smiled from ear to ear and said, “I can’t wait to call my daughters at college and tell them what you just said!” Although our words may fall on collegiate-kid ears deafened by loud partying, as parents it never hurts to educate our offspring that discretion matters. Pledge Trainer Phyllis’s constant reminders to be discreet proved to be prophetic, wise beyond measure and eminently quotable. A



ack in my sorority girl days, our sharp, pretty pledge trainer Phyllis consistently reminded us newbies, “Deltas are discreet.” She knew we’d never obey half of the rules she was obligated to teach us; e.g., no guys hanging out in bedrooms, no alcohol in the house, no making out in the “date room,” and so on. The 1950s were long gone in 1980s Berkeley but many of the decades-old Tri Delta rules lingered, threatening to turn what we hoped would be a fun-filled, Holly Golightly sorority living experience into Dullsville. So bless Phyllis’s collegiate pragmatism, she winked at us 45 fresh-faced young women and kept repeating, “Be discreet!” For the most part, we took her advice. We also took our liberties; occasionally pouring Kahlua into the coffee, vodka into the orange juice and hiding guys in bedrooms. We did the things that make college fun. But we kept each other’s secrets and didn’t advertise our hijinks. Due to our reputation for being responsible young women who got good grades and didn’t party too hard or have bacchanal nights with frat guys, our sorority was known as “The Convent on the Hill.” We respected each other, and we, in turn, garnered respect from the campus community. We were fine with our nun-like rep. Discretion had its virtues – we had our fun, generally stayed out of trouble and rarely embarrassed ourselves. When I look at the photos my two older, collegiate daughters post on Instagram, I harken back to the halcyon days of discretion. I long to recruit Phyllis to pitch our daughters on the merits of keeping party photos close to the vest instead of rolling them out for more than 200 followers to see. One of sophomore daughter’s recent posts is of her and three of her friends reveling in bikini tops and short shorts. Beneath their bodacious bods is the caption, “Before our wild night.” Another is

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Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 19

israeli lifestyle

liVing on THe fronT PAge by Andrea Simantov

“Kacha Zeh”

20 l December 2013



ecause “healing” is a national pastime in these here parts, it behooves me to mention that we are now both healing and/or reeling from recent municipal elections throughout the country. And I’m angry. Angry because the country I love, have sent my sons to fight for, pay my taxes to and will continue to praise (lest some Jew in the West thinks for a moment that this isn’t the Emerald City) is rife with political con-men, thieves, hookers and bums. And that’s on a good day. We old-time, grizzled Anglos and the neophyte Nefesh B’Nefesh idealists, still impassioned Zionists, are expected to react the way a complacent citizenry does by raising our arms and muttering, Kacha-zeh! (“That’s the way it is!”) J’accuse. Waving my national dirty laundry out of my humble balcony I shout that the fraud perpetuated by elected officials in many Israeli cities was staggering to behold. Forged voter registration cards and fake IDs were seized in the hours after polls closed and several mayors were re-elected while under indictment! Reports of pension gouging, brain drain and attacks on hospital personnel dwarfed every glorious attribute of my country, leaving me struggling to remember anything and everything I’ve shamelessly and giddily shared with readers over the years. Shameless is on the other foot this morning and I’m not going to take it anymore. Neither are the good people of the town of Beit Shemesh who were dragged through indescribable political slime only to see their former mayor, at best a thug-protector

and, at worst, himself a thug, reelected by 900 votes. In addition to the aforementioned fake registration cards and IDs, assorted hats, wigs, scarves and other accessories were used to help disguise the fraudsters. Amazingly, the mayor was heralded into office by quite a few votes from dead people, too. It’s rumored that some in Beit Shemesh have put their homes on the market while others talk of secession. Regardless of how this defiance manifests itself, I pray that God afflicts this nation of kacha zeh -niks with an infusion of morality and purpose that will rouse them from their crippling stupor. Finally on the warpath, I’m slipping into a fearsome role of local crazy lady who shouts at people who don’t leash their dogs or pick up their excrement, scold children who don’t stand for the elderly on the bus, and bang on the windshields of drivers who block crosswalks when people are crossing. No longer will I be tolerant of abhorrent behavior from service providers, politicians, medical staff and children. If pierced lips and tattoos can become a fashion in the Jewish state, then I’ll be damned if I don’t try until my last breath to introduce another red-hot trend: civility. Without a doubt I’ll recover from the present rage and, once again, regale friends and not-yet friends with tales of quirky neighbors and the joys of drinking Arab coffee with the vendors in the market. For thousands of millennia, Jews have dreamed of returning to the Zion of our forefathers and, indeed, it’s never been an easy country. Call me corny but my Israel is one of dancing in the street, courtesy and a shared understanding that if we are not kind to one-another, there is a massive world out there that is all too ready to remind us that we’re not “all that.” A

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PlAying WiTH mATcHes by Jennifer Garstrang

you’re not as nice as you Think you Are

22 l December 2013

Suddenly, you’ve made the dating stakes a lot higher. Being attractive to the people we are attracted to is incredibly validating, and goes a long way toward countering our personal insecurities. But on the flip-side, when the objects of our attraction don’t reciprocate, our insecurities have a tendency to rear their ugly heads and find reinforcement. Even worse, when your romantic pursuit is about personal validation, rather than a simple desire to get to know the person you’re pursuing, it can come across as needy. This is a very common way that the Nice Guy and Sweet Girl actually make themselves less attractive to the person they’re pursuing. So, how can you break out of this vicious cycle? By mentally separating who you are from what happens to you. Recognize that rejection is not a negative statement about your – or your rejecter’s – worth as a human being. It just means that, for one reason or another, you aren’t right for each other. So, Nice Guys, if the woman you’re interested in is truly only attracted to Bad Boys, then, like it or not, you’re not what she’s looking for. Stop chasing her, and find a girl who is interested in you. I promise, she’s out there. The same goes for Sweet Girls. I won’t pretend it’s easy. Getting out of a mental cycle that you’ve had for years takes practice and patience. Just as finding a great match can take time and work. But it is doable, and it is worth the effort. I know, because I am also a Sweet Girl. And if I can do it, you can, too! A



any guys believe the “girls don’t date nice guys” story, just as many women believe that “guys don’t go for sweet girls.” It is a common bobbemyseh (old wives tale) used by “Nice Guys” and “Sweet Girls” to explain why they can’t find a decent person to go out with. It’s a simplistic and comforting view of the dating world. It is also a cop-out, and incredibly damaging to the romantic life of anyone who believes it. The cop-out will form a barrier to your goal of finding that special someone, because by relying on it, you shift the responsibility for your lack of love life onto someone or something else. Now, it’s extremely uncomfortable to admit that there is something that you are doing that is stifling your love life. But, believe it or not, taking responsibility doesn’t have to be painful. We must understand why we feel it’s painful in the first place. Because when we say, “There is something I am doing that is stifling my love life,” what we hear is, “There is something wrong with me.” Suddenly, without our “Nice Guy/Sweet Girl” story, we find ourselves falling down the rabbit hole of self-loathing: “People won’t date me because I am [insert insulting adjective here].” No, I’m not calling you worthless, or ugly, or whatever insulting adjective you came up with for yourself. This is what is happening in your own mind. This is the supposed “truth” that you are so afraid of confronting. But guess what? This is every bit as false as the original cop-out. The odds are, I just described the thing that you’re doing to stifle your love life: holding on to some fundamental self-doubt about your own strength or worth as a human being.

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guest column

goD TAlK

by Rabbi Philip Graubart



n the first day of Rosh Hashanah, The Los Angeles Times published an article stating that many American Jews could not relate to the story of God commanding Abraham to kill his son (The Akeidah – the story we chant on the second day). Interviewees described God in the story as “strange and sadistic,” while Abraham’s compliance in the test struck many as lunacy. Yet here we are, chanting the story on one of our most important holidays – a story with a sadistic God, and a lunatic hero. But before we consign the founder of our religion to the loony bin, it’s important to point out that with just a small interpretive stretch, we can read the story as a meditation on deeply held ideals, and how we are sometimes called to make great sacrifices on behalf of these ideals. In the story Abraham is willing to sacrifice his son for a larger cause – in this case, his belief in God. At first glance that might strike us as monstrous or lunatic, but human beings have done this – and continue to do it – all the time. The Akeidah offers a powerful, but obvious lesson. There are causes which call on us to make difficult, sometimes ultimate sacrifices. Our task, in interpreting the story and then relating it to our lives, is to identify what precisely qualifies as a worthy ultimate cause – and what, in the end, is merely an idol. But there’s a deeper, less obvious lesson that has to do with the nature of God, and the way we devote ourselves to our various causes. What does it mean when we say there is one God? The Conservative siddur translates the phrase Adonai Echad (“one God”) as “God alone.” So one possible implication of monotheism is that we all owe loyalty first to God. Nothing, not even our children, can compete with this loyalty. Abraham is asked to choose 24 l December 2013

between two heavy loyalties: to God or to his son. In this understanding of monotheism, Abraham passes the test by choosing God. But there’s another way of understanding the concept of one God – which is that all of our ultimate loyalties are essentially indivisible; they are, in essence, one thing. In the Torah, there’s a Hebrew word which expresses ultimate loyalty: hineni. When a character says hineni he or she is articulating a full, indivisible love, an unconditional connection. The word isn’t used very often in the Torah, but Abraham says it twice in this story, once to God and once to Isaac. God seems to ask Abraham to choose, but, by saying hineni to both God and Isaac, Abraham refuses to choose. His message is that it’s not possible to choose between my love for my son and my love for God. In essence, these are the same thing; they’re not divisible. In fact, to abandon my love for my son – to kill my son – would be to betray my love for God. That seems to be the moral of the story. In the end, after all, God commands Abraham to withhold the knife. There are many important implications to this lesson. Here’s one: I’ve worked for many years to “balance” my responsibilities as parent and husband with my calling as a rabbi. It’s only recently occurred to me that “balance” is the wrong word, since it implies that these are totally different loyalties. In fact, I’m a better father when I’m a good rabbi, and I’m a better rabbi when I’m an attentive father. (If this sounds boastful, I’ll admit that it’s taken me 20 years to figure this out.) Godly causes (loving our children, serving our community) may require difficult, delicate negotiations, but they don’t demand ultimate choices. To choose one is to choose the other. A


danish philosopher søren kierkegaard dedicates an entire book to the philosophical exploration of abraham’s dilemma in his 1843 work “Fear and trembling.”

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THe ArTisT’s TorAH by David Ebenbach

making it real


s we move from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Exodus this month, we do more than turn pages: we move from an idea to a full-blown project. At the end of Genesis, Jacob takes his extended family down to Egypt to join his son Joseph. They’re coming at the invitation not only of Joseph – who is in a position of great power and influence among the Egyptians – but also at Pharaoh’s invitation, and they are welcomed with open arms, given gifts and choice land to settle in as well as their own positions of authority. It’s about as positive an experience as a group of immigrants could hope for. Of course, at that point there are only 70 of them (Genesis 46:27). Things change in Exodus, where we are told that “the Israelites were fertile and prolific,” to the extent that “the land was filled” with Jacob’s descendants (Exodus 1:7). The Israelites now number closer to 600,000 (Exodus 12:37). They’re no longer just an idea of a people, something wonderful and almost unimaginable that was promised to Abraham when he was on his own with Sarah; now they’re an actual people. The promise has become a project, fully underway. As it turns out, the new Pharaoh is not very excited about this, and he pushes back against the Israelites with increasing determination. And so it may go with many of the major enterprises we take on in our own lives. Maybe you’re starting to write a book or to create a business, entering an educational program or a new career direction, beginning a family or a series of sculptures. In all these cases, when your project is still just a possibility, it’s relatively easy for others around you to support it. “Sounds great!” they say. “You should do that!” When it’s underway, however, the project starts to demand resources – time, energy, space, attention, money – and at that point you may 26 l December 2013

meet resistance. Other people and activities want you to devote those resources to them, not to your new preoccupation, and of course it’s probably best to spread yourself out a little, but if you really want an endeavor to succeed, you have to give it what it needs. In the Torah story, this is where Moses comes in – reluctantly. God taps him to lead the people out of Egypt, and at first Moses resists, hampered by self-doubt. It’s understandable; there are many obstacles ahead, and Moses is just one person. It can be daunting for us, too, facing all the work and struggle that lie ahead of us as we embark on something significant. We may not even be able to count on the things that should be working for us. Just as Moses (once he’s accepted the mission) is challenged by his own people, we might find our own natural allies letting us down. Perhaps people who’ve promised to help have found other things to do, or have concerns of their own about the project. Perhaps even your tools won’t cooperate in making something come out well. (My tools – words – are always causing me trouble.) We would do well to remember, in moments like these, that the universe is a lot bigger than us. Our Torah story, for example, turns on forces that are beyond Moses’ control: God not only gives Moses the power of speech and some pretty impressive plagues to back him up, but God also hardens Pharaoh’s heart and his resolve to crush the Israelites. There are forces beyond our control as well – some that will help us, and some that will make things harder. All we can control is our commitment to the idea, to the promise of that idea. And maybe that’s enough. After all, the improbable Israelites succeed. What our Torah may be telling us is that, if the project is a good one, something the world really needs, and if we commit to it, we will ultimately find our work supported. A

 This month’s Torah

portions Dec. 7: Vayigash (genesis 44:18-47:27) Dec. 14: Vayechi (genesis 47:28-50:26) Dec. 21: Shemot (exodus 1:1-6:1) Dec. 28: Va’era (exodus 6:2-9:35)

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Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 27


dances with kippah


By Abigail Klein Leichman/ISRAEL21c

Israel’s all-male Ka’et Ensemble is a unique dance troupe merging spirituality and movement


Hananya Schwartz performs with Ka’et.


t’s no accident that the dance movements of Israel’s Ka’et Ensemble bring to mind the rhythmic swaying of Orthodox prayer. That’s because Ka’et (“right now” in Hebrew) is a unique troupe of religious men who merge the worlds of Jewish spirituality and movement. When dancer-choreographer and movement teacher Ronen Izhaki first saw the seeds of this unusual genre in a group of yeshiva students preparing a performance at the Akko Theatre Center nearly 14 years ago, it immediately transported him emotionally to the boredom he associated with the synagogue of his childhood. “I didn’t like it at first,” he says. “But after 15 or 20 minutes, I fell in love with the movement’s language, and it took another few weeks to fall in love with the people.” Seven years after choreographing for those yeshiva students, Izhaki was approached by some of the young men, who asked him to teach them. Eventually he founded a dance theater school for men, Kol Atzmotai Tomarna (“all my bones shall say” from Psalm 35) and became the director of 28 l December 2013

Ka’et for some of his most talented disciples. “It happened slowly, from the bottom up, without any big vision,” Izhaki explains. “I was slowly seduced to move from my other projects and put my energy into this.” The nine-man ensemble performs its repertoire in Israel and abroad. Its signature piece, “Highway No. 1,” was choreographed by Izhaki and his wife, Tammy. They named it for the road connecting Tel Aviv (representing secular Israeli life) and Jerusalem (representing religious life). “The movement language is totally new,” says Izhaki. “Nobody ever saw anything like this on stage.” Ka’et members Hananya Schwartz, Alon Reich, Yehuda Miller, Eyal Ogen, Yuval Azulay, Tuvia Chisdai, Ohad Stein, Ehud Yehuda Segev and Adam Ben-Tzvi all attended Orthodox schools and completed their military service. Several are married. They do not make their living as dancers, though they hope someday that will happen.

Schwartz, 32, and the other original members were students at Herzog College, a teachers training institute, when they began taking lessons with Izhaki. “My family comes to all the shows but doesn’t understand what brought me to it,” Schwartz says. Ogen says his wife is supportive, though his father has never attended a performance. A former member said it took three years for his family to appreciate his desire to dance. For Chisdai, 28, joining Ka’et was the next step in a process that began after his army discharge. “My music preferences changed. I started to see colors I never saw before, and I started thinking about dancing – I don’t know why,” he says. A female dancer-friend told him about Ka’et and he came to some performances. “I saw a language I did not understand and that nobody had ever told me about,” Chisdai says. The men are among hundreds who have taken classes at Kol Atzmotai Tomarna. “Not long ago, the best chance for a religious male to move was while attending a wedding or participating in [martial arts],” Izhaki says, noting that there is nothing like Ka’et anywhere in Israel. At Jerusalem shows, about 70 percent of the viewers are religious, while in Tel Aviv about 70 percent are not. To Izhaki, this illustrates the need for a piece like “Highway No. 1.” Speaking in a metaphor, he says of the actual road: “I think Highway No. 1 is too narrow. We need another 10 lanes in each direction. We need a way to connect.” Kol Atzmotai Tomarna and Ka’et Ensemble aim to be the additional lanes in that cultural highway, built by men and open to all. A This story was reprinted with permission from ISRAEL21c,

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InspIratIon in All ShApeS And SizeS


A quicK google seArcH of THe WorD “inspiration” yields 256 million results. The booky website Good Reads lists 2,480 different quotes tagged by users as “inspirational.” Christina Aguilera has a perfume and William Hung (remember William Hung?) has a post-American Idol album – both called “Inspiration.” And, interestingly enough, al-Qaida publishes a magazine titled Inspire. Adding another “inspired” bit of content to this diverse list is Congregation Beth Am’s Inspiring Minds Speakers Series, which attempts to be as vast and far-reaching as its namesake (minus any terrorist propaganda, of course). The series, currently featuring one event but potentially expanding to include both a fall and spring program, was launched last year after the Del Mar-based Conservative synagogue began exploring ways to become more involved in the broad, not necessarily Jewish, San Diego community. They modeled the program after a congregation in Minneapolis which created a similar program that continues to expand to astronomical proportions – their series quickly grew to twice-yearly and just recently welcomed former Secretary of State and rumored 2016 presidential candidate Hilary Clinton. Beth Am has a similar go-big-or-go-home attitude. “We had found that there were speakers series that came through the various conventions [to San Diego],” Jobi Halper, chair of the Beth Am series, says of the planning process, “and then very high-priced fundraisers, but nothing that addressed the community as a whole. “We [at Beth Am] had a desire to create for the city of San Diego a good, viable, fairly priced speakers series that would be inspiring for [all of San 30 l December 2013


Beth Am continues its inspiring Minds Speakers Series with Jeffrey Tambor

Diego].” Part of attracting the whole community is bringing in speakers that carry a variety of viewpoints. “We are interested in everything from political speakers to poets, scientists, humanitarians, actors,” Halper says, “we aren’t interested in representing one viewpoint or another. We’re interested in the left and the right and everything in between.” While the funds aren’t quite there yet for Clinton-status speakers, Beth Am is managing to bring some fairly heavy hitters to the stage. Last year’s launch event for the series presented iconic feminist Gloria Steinem, who discussed her long career in journalism and her social and political activism. The event attracted more than 1,300 audience members from as far south as Chula Vista and as far north as Los Angeles, many of whom, Halper notes, represented a wide variety of social demographics from inside the Jewish community and beyond. “It was a diverse, broad group,” she says. “[Steinem] spoke and then she gave everybody a very nice, long question and answer period. I think it was exactly what we were hoping for.” In keeping with their mission to cast a wide net when booking speakers, this year, Congregation Beth Am presents Jeffrey Tambor, a well-known character actor and beloved fixture on the recently-revived “Arrested Development” series. “This year,” Halper says, “we wanted to move a different direction to make sure that we appeal to a variety of different audiences and don’t go

down one particular road.” While the event organizers saw Steinem as inspirational for her influence and accomplishments during the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s and 70s, the group sees Tambor as inspirational for his work in teaching people how to find their inner voice and listen to it. “He does a one-man show that he created,” Halper explains. “It is part performance art, it is part lecture and it is part question and answer; so we’re hoping the city will be inspired in their own actions after this presentation.” Born in San Francisco, Tambor grew up in a Conservative Jewish home and began his acting career in Milwaukee after receiving a Master’s degree from Detroit’s Wayne State University. Throughout his 40-year career, he’s had guest roles on such well-known television shows as “M*A*S*H,” “The Golden Girls,” “Three’s Company” and “Hill Street Blues” along with more recent movie roles in “The Hangover” and “The Invention of Lying.” On Mitchell Hurwitz’s “Arrested Development,” Tambor plays George Bluth Sr., the manipulative and controlling patriarch of the show’s extravagant and outrageous family. But instead of focusing on his storied acting career, Tambor will be presenting his talk “Performing Your Life,” which he has been touring throughout the country for about two years. Based on the notion that “we all have a story,” the talk “celebrates people who have discovered their personal stories by overcoming obstacles, finding freedom and reaching fearlessness,” according to his website (Tambor was unavailable for interview). “His goal is to help people find their true voice inside,” Halper says,

L-R: California State Senator Christine Kehoe, Jobi Halper and Gloria Steinem at Beth Am’s inaugural Speakers Series last year. INSET: Jeffrey Tambor

“and to determine what’s holding them back from performing from that voice. Meaning, as you choose your jobs [and] participate in those jobs, or move to do something new in your daily life, why do you hold back from the voice that you have that is talented and clear and choose another path?” One of the goals of the series is to raise money in part for more high profile speakers. To assist Beth Am in accomplishing this mission, Tambor agreed to help the congregation host a raffle at the event. At the end of the evening, one ticket-buyer will win two round-trip tickets to New York, a hotel for two nights and a private dinner with Tambor. The event takes place at Beth Am Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $60 and limited senior citizen, faculty and student discount tickets are available for $25. Preferred tickets with meet-and-greet access are $180 and VIP tickets, which include a raffle ticket and post-event reception, are $500. In order to expand their reach beyond the Jewish community, Beth Am has partnered with many community organizations, including universities and community colleges as well as theater groups and professional associations. At press time, 23 organizations had signed on. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit A

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feature story l by alanna berman

Meet, Pray, Learn

Union for Reform Judaism hosts Biennial in San Diego this month


ore than 5,000 Jewish leaders are expected to attend the Union for Reform Judaism’s 72nd annual Biennial event at the San Diego Convention Center this month. The largest gathering of North American Jews, Biennial is always a draw for synagogue leaders and lay people who wish to “do Jewish, better,” with speakers and sessions appealing to a wide range of participants. The friendly programming offers attendees the chance to learn, pray, share ideas and connect with each other, as organizers hope the San Diego community will do on Dec. 11-15. Highlights this year include the largest Shabbat dinner in the world, inspiring Torah study sessions and an evening of entertainment in the Gaslamp District that will be open to the community. Speakers include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu, Knesset member Ruth Calderon, Rabbi Elka Abrahamson and URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. The event is obviously a great program for the San Diego community, and highlights the URJ’s efforts at being the most inclusive Jewish branch. “The Biennial is a big enough creature that it has different goals for different people,” Mark J. Pelavin, director for Biennial, says. “Some people will come away with really enhanced skills to

32 l December 2013

enable them to be really great congregational leaders. Others will come away with new music for their congregational repertoire, and others will come away with a deeper understanding of the issues facing the Jewish community today, and I hope that everyone will come away uplifted and motivated by the learning and worship opportunities [at Biennial].” For the first time ever, community Shabbat services will be open to all members of the Jewish community, whether they are members of a URJaffiliated synagogue or not. Pelavin says this is part of a continued commitment to openness on the URJ’s part. “We want to welcome anyone who wants to be with us to come with us,” he says. That theme continues with the wide range of topics being presented at Biennial too. In the past, URJ staff have generated the workshop topics, but this year, community members and attendees could submit topics of their choice. The result was more than 2,500 suggestions that were narrowed down to the 100 on this year’s program. “Topics range from synagogue management to contemporary political issues to deconstructing the morning services and understanding how they were put together to fundraising techniques

to deeper Jewish learning, so they are really a broad range of topics.” URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs will speak to the Biennial crowd Thursday night about the future of URJ. Later, Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu will address the crowd. “We couldn’t be more excited about [Netanyahu’s participation], and it is the first time that a sitting prime minister has addressed the Biennial, so we are very honored,” Pelavin says. Also on Thursday night, Biennial takes over the Gaslamp district, in participation with various venues to promote contemporary Israeli and Jewish musicians. Josh Nelson, Dan Nichols, Julie Silver, Rick Recht, Billy Jonas, and Neshama Carlebach are among the musicians who will play for general audiences that night, bringing Biennial to the entire San Diego community. “We are mindful that we are a large and diverse movement and that people come to Biennial for a lot of different reasons,” Pelavin says. “We wanted to be sure that people had the opportunity to go deeply into whatever they were interested in, as well as to sample things that they think they might be interested in.” For more information on the Biennial and to register, visit A

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 35


36 l December 2013

Our third annual arts issue looks at the great offerings in San Diego’s entertainment scene, with no shortage of great programming to get you through the 2013-14 season. Well-loved performances of music, dance and theater will delight audiences of all ages this year, along with a few original and world-premiere works. Look closely and you will see that this year is chock-full of alternative styles of entertainment. And, though San Diego has not been as well-known for its performing arts scene in the past, local theater troupes are aiming to change that attitude one show at a time. With world-renowned actors and directors coming to our fair city (and many others calling San Diego their home), it won’t be long until everyone starts to take notice. Don’t count San Diego out, we say! There will undoubtedly be something within these pages that you won’t want to miss, so be sure to mark your calendars now, using our full calendar of events, listed by venue on page 68.

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Barry Edelstein directs his first work at the Globe this season.

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t boasts one of the oddest – and most famous – stage directions in theater history: “Exit, pursued by a bear.” The play requires a statue to spring to life. And time has a speaking role. In his production of “The Winter’s Tale,” Barry Edelstein, artistic director of the Old Globe, refuses to reveal how he’s going to make these magical moments happen. “I won’t spoil it,” he says, “The surprises are half the fun.” Although he directed many plays during his years at New York’s Public Theatre and Classic Stage Company, this is his first directing gig at the Globe since he took over last year. “I’m really excited about it,” he says. “I wanted my first major production to be a Shakespeare

38 l December 2013

play. And I wanted to bring Shakespeare indoors, which hasn’t been done at the Globe in 14 years. I think it’s important for an American classical theater to showcase Shakespeare. And that’s certainly the history of the Old Globe.” He’s especially excited about this particular Bard creation, which he claims is his “favorite Shakespeare play.” Though he’s been working his way through the complete canon (he’s already directed nearly half of 37 plays – including “The Winter’s Tale”), he wanted to inaugurate his Globe directing with “a play I love and feel very deeply, emotionally connected to. Having worked on it already, I have an affinity for it, and an understanding of it. “It’s a very strange play,” Edelstein concedes.

True, “The Winter’s Tale” possesses a complex and convoluted plotline. Here’s the gist: King Leontes of Sicilia begs his boyhood friend, King Polixenes of Bohemia, to extend his current visit to Sicilia. When Polixenes demurs, Leontes’s pregnant wife, Hermione, successfully pleads with him to stay. Convinced that Polixenes and Hermione are lovers, Leontes becomes possessed by a blind, raging jealousy. He orders his loyal retainer, Camillo, to poison the Bohemian king. Instead, Camillo warns Polixenes and escapes with him to Bohemia. Leontes publicly denounces his wife, accusing her of infidelity and he throws her in prison, declaring that her unborn child is illegitimate. After the queen gives birth, her loyal friend

illustration courtEsy of thE old GloBE


Paulina brings the baby to the king, hoping the sight of his daughter will soften his heart. But he only grows angrier, and orders Paulina’s husband, Lord Antigonus, to take the baby and abandon it in some desolate place. While Antigonus is gone, a pronouncement comes from the oracle: Hermione and Polixenes are innocent, and Leontes will have no heir until his lost daughter is found. Just as this news is revealed, word comes that Leontes’ young son has died of despair over the accusations against his mother. Hermione falls into a swoon, and is carried away by Paulina, who subsequently reports the queen’s death to her heartbroken and repentant husband. Meanwhile, Antigonus has abandoned the baby, Perdita, on the Bohemian coast. But soon after depositing her, he is killed by the famous pursuing bear. Sixteen years go by. Perdita, who has been raised by a kindly shepherd, falls in love with Prince Florizel, the son of King Polixenes. Polixenes refuses to allow the match. But steadfast Camillo helps the lovers flee to Sicilia. There, Leontes, still in mourning, greets the son of his old friend. After the shepherd reveals how Perdita was found, Leontes realizes that she’s his daughter. Everyone retreats to Paulina’s

house, where a statue of the late queen, Hermione, has been installed. As Leontes grieves, the statue miraculously comes to life. The young couple (Perdita and Florizel) and an older couple (Paulina and Camillo) are united. Revelry ensues. “It’s an eloquent play,” Edelstein says. “It speaks to our world now. At the end, there’s the reunion of this family torn apart by a sudden and inexplicable burst of violence. Their whole world is rocked by this crazy, impossible-tounderstand violence. By the end, Shakespeare transforms the violence into something beautiful. It’s an extraordinary feat of redemption and transformation that points us in a positive direction.” It was exactly 10 years ago when Edelstein first directed “The Winter’s Tale.” That production was very much a direct response to the 9/11 attacks. His theater, Classic Stage, was located on 13th Street, in downtown Manhattan; the staff was directly affected by the attacks. Edelstein’s upcoming production isn’t about 9/11, but “how we respond to violence and move on. How we integrate our past mistakes in a way that’s psychologically wise. Ten years later, with children, I now see the piece more metaphorically, in terms of psychological and emotional ideas.” The play will be staged in modern dress. The action starts in a sophisticated, wealthy world, and moves to “a country fair, with farmers and agricultural people of today.” “I take the play very, very seriously,” says Edelstein. “I see it as real life, not, as some say, a fable, or an old ‘wives’ tale’ [some people’s interpretation of the title]. My favorite Shakespeare looks like it exists in the world in

which I live, populated by psychologically real human beings.” The transition from winter to spring is “very, very pronounced” in the play, according to Edelstein. “At the outset, the young prince says that ‘a sad tale’s best for winter.’ I think Shakespeare is having ironic fun with that line, because he knows where he’s going to take the play.” For his 2003 production, Edelstein had commissioned composer Michael Torke to create a score. He’s bringing Torke on board for this production, too. In this revised version, there will be a pianist playing live onstage. “He writes beautiful, awesome music,” Edelstein says of Torke. “He’s a contemporary American classical composer who’s considered the most romantic of the post-minimalists. He’s got some elements of Steve Reich and Philip Glass, combined with the lushness of Ravel. “I need to tell the story in the most emotionally evocative way,” Edelstein concludes. For the rest of his inaugural season, Edelstein has scheduled works by young up-and-comers, such as Obie Award nominee Laura Marks (“Bethany,” a West Coast premiere) and Pulitzer Prize-winner Quiara Alegría Hudes (“Water by the Spoonful,” a California premiere) on the arena stage in the White Theatre. A lush costume drama “in the great Globe tradition” (“Time and the Conways” by acclaimed 20th century English dramatist J.B. Priestley) will be staged in the Globe Theatre. And on the lighter side, there will be Christopher Durang’s “riotous comedy,” directfrom-Broadway, “Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike,” as well as “Dog and Pony” by Rick Elice and Michael Patrick Walker. Edelstein calls this world premiere musical “a cotton candy delight: funny, goofy, romantic and beguiling.” And so, he quips, “By the time the daffodils appear, laughter will be spring up on both our stages.” “The Winter’s Tale” plays Feb. 8-March 16. A

THE OLD GLOBE 1363 Old Globe Way San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 234-5623

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charlene Koepf and sam Zeller in the lamb's 2013 production of "fiddler on the roof."



ollowing the runaway success of “Mixtape” at the Horton Grand with its many, many extensions before closing in October, Lamb’s Players Theatre has a lot to live up to this season, but luckily, a theater-favorite and a world premiere will keep the troupe on top in 2014. In January, “The Foreigner” opens at the Lamb’s Coronado home. Associate Artistic Director Kerry Meads will direct this hilarious comedy that takes place in rural Georgia, and examines the concept of “the other” in real-time. “It’s one of the most requested shows that we have ever produced,” Meads says, noting that the work was produced about 16 years ago by Lamb’s. “What’s beautiful is that there is a real

40 l December 2013

transformative quality in the characters, and each one is given a gift by their relationship with Charlie (the ‘foreigner’) so there is really a lot of heart. The characters are honest and true, and the humor is really developed nicely.” Also in January, Lamb’s brings “Fiddler on the Roof ” to the Lyceum Theatre, the intimate space below Horton Plaza. In 2013, Lamb’s hosted the beloved musical at their Coronado space to critical acclaim, garnering three extensions to the original run. The Sholem Aleichem tale of Tevye the milkman and his daughters will delight all audiences and is a must-see for families, featuring memorable songs like “Tradition,” “If I Where A Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” and “To Life!” Many of the original cast members and

musicians from that production will return for this performance, although Meads, who played Yenta last year, will be busy with rehearsals for “The Foreigner,” and unable to return. “It was such an exciting piece to be a part of because the story is so strong,” she says, “and has such humanity and heart, it was just a real pleasure and honor to be a part of that story.” The season continues with “The Twelfth Night,” a play set in the Hotel Del Coronado, and “Les Miserables,” the well-loved musical; both appearing at Lamb’s Coronado space. World premiere work “My Dinner with Marlena,” closes out the season in late November. Written by local playwright and UC San Diego professor Anne Charlotte-Harvey, the play chronicles the real-life dinner party hosted by her father in preWorld War II Paris. “The play is about this dinner party where Marlena Deitrich was a guest,” Artistic Director Robert Smyth says. “There is some subtle discussion on the Jewish situation of the time, and a lot of people aren’t aware that [Deitrich] used her influence in a variety of ways to help get people out when things were beginning to fall apart in Europe.” “It’s a world premiere, written by a local playwright, so we are excited to be a part of it.” A

LAMB'S PLAYERS THEATRE 1142 Orange Ave. Coronado, CA 92118 (619) 437-6000


photo a By d ns rrE

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sandra ruiz, Jacqueline lopez and Elisa Gonzales star in "in the time of the Butterflies."



f the San Diego Repertory Theatre’s sexy season opener, “Venus in Fur,” is any indication, the 2013-14 four-play set will surprise and seduce mature audiences all the way through April. Running until Dec. 8, the Broadway smash and Tony Award “Best Play” nominee is based on the 1870 erotic novella of the same name, by the father of masochism, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. There’s a little bit of leather, a little bit of lace and a little bit of love presented in the Lyceum space. The Rep turns to revolution just after the New Year, with “In the Time of the Butterflies.” This play, based in mid-20th century Dominican Republic, delves into the motivations of an underground set of female revolutionaries. Then, spring blooms with “Detroit,” a play about a boozy backyard barbeque that exposes two couples to uncomfortable truths that challenge assumptions about status, comfort, ambition and community. The delirious discussions between characters will prompt audience members to wonder: “If I could reinvent myself starting today, who would I be?” The adventurous season closes with “Red,” a story set at a critical moment in Mark Rothko’s career. When the expressionist artist is challenged to create work for a high-end restaurant, his assistant (the voice of a new generation) labels him a sell-out, prompting an exhilarating and combative battle between student and master. A

SD REPERTORY THEATRE 79 Horton Plaza San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 544-1000

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cassie Bleher and Jonas McMullen star in the J*company production of "the little Mermaid."



an Diego’s Jewish youth theater company, J* Company, has been teaching kids about the power of theater and entertaining a vast array of audiences here since 1993. Last year, they attempted to do something a little more artistically daring by presenting an entire season dedicated to Barbara Streisand. While the company won more awards for those performances than ever in its 20-year history, the seats of the JCC’s David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre were never fully filled. This season, they’re branching out beyond the Jewish niche and they aren’t worried about filling seats. “Once Upon a Time is [what this season is called] and it is all of your favorite fairy tales put into one season,” J* Company’s artistic director,

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Joey Landwehr, explains. In October, the company brought “Shrek” to the stage before moving on to “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” this month. They’ll take audiences off to another far away land with “The Wizard of Oz” in March before rounding out the season with “Disney’s Tarzan,” making its Southern California debut May 9-18. “We did well [for Streisand] and the shows were fantastic … but sadly it did not sell as well as a fairy tale season would sell because [the fairy tale season] appeals to a large variety of people and ages,” Landwehr says. While it is a youth theater company, J*Company wants to make theater accessible not only to children of all ages but to adult members

of our theater-rich community as well. The excitement around this season, for the kids at least, was clear from the beginning. “We’ve had more [kids] audition for ‘Shrek’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ than we had probably all last season. Probably about 200 each show,” Landwehr says. (The shows ended up with 74 and 70 cast members, respectively.) As a community youth theater company, these productions are made possible by a dedicated board and families that are fully committed to the mission. Parents of actors help with costumes and prop designs and kids continue to return year after year. In “Shrek,” both lead actors had been with the company for more than 13 years. And some go on to make theater a lifelong pursuit, with J*Company alums spread throughout the East Coast at Yale’s School of Drama, New York University and working under renowned directors on Broadway. Before developing this season’s lineup, Landwehr and his committee sent out a survey asking the community what they would like to see. After taking in all the suggestions, Landwehr got to work creating a fantastical season to satisfy everyone. Though it may have been a long time since older audiences watched a Disney movie, Landwehr is careful to note that this season will be a delight. “You think about a fairy tale season and you think ‘oh, it’s just for little kids,’ but it’s really not. The well-put-together fairy tales, of which we have four brilliant ones, were created not only to entertain young people, but also with adults in mind, so there’s something for everybody at every age.” A

J*COMPAnY 4126 Executive Drive La Jolla, CA 92037 (858) 362-1348

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ity Ballet has 21 years of successful ballet under its dance belt, a claim very few troupes can make in the shaky world of classical dance. There are many reasons for City’s enviable record in San Diego, not the least of which is the pluck and determination of its artistic director, Steven Wistrich, and his talented wife, resident choreographer Elizabeth Wistrich. The Wistriches have carved out a niche in San Diego with their discerning eye for talent and a quest for excellence on every level, from selecting dancers to the ever-important music and technical support required to stage balletic works. This year, City will thrill audiences with a great season, including works by choreographer

extraordinare and dance icon George Balanchine. Rarely danced by regional groups, their use is carefully controlled by the George Balanchine Trust. Thankfully for San Diegans, City Ballet is a member of the elite club entrusted with Balanchine’s choreography, with an impressive 16 pieces of the master’s work in its repertoire. City Ballet will dance an entire evening of Balanchine’s masterworks in a weekend of concerts March 7-9 that includes “Apollo” (set to the music of Stravinsky), “Serenade” (accompanied by a Tchaikovsky score), “Sonatine” (with music by Ravel) and the San Diego premiere of “Allegro Brilliante” (set to Tchaikovsky). City will dance all three performances at its home theater – the historic downtown Spreckels – with live

accompaniment from the City Ballet Orchestra conducted by John Nettles. “We are honored that the prestigious George Balanchine Trust in New York continues to grant us permission to present works by this great artist,” Steven says. “I love telling people we save them a trip to New York when they see our company perform these masterpieces.” In May, City presents one of the glories of classical ballet, “Swan Lake” (Act II). This stunning example of the ethereal “white ballet” was first created by Lev Ivanov for the Bolshoi Ballet in 1895. Elizabeth Wistrich staged this enduring classic for the City Ballet dancers, with reverence to its noble heritage. It will be performed with a live orchestra May 9-11. Joining “Swan Lake” on this stellar program is a world premiere by Elizabeth Wistrich. Titled “Requiem,” the dance work will be set to the music of Mozart, and will feature a chorus and soloists, as well as a full orchestra. This interpretation of Mozart’s powerful music will be a striking contrast to the classic romanticism of “Swan Lake.” “The new piece will be very different from ‘Swan Lake,’” Steven says. “Elizabeth is doing something much more contemporary. She’s choreographing in a different way. We like to mix it up a little. It will keep people on edge wondering what’s going to happen next. ‘Requiem’ is a great contrast to the classical ‘Swan Lake.’” Elizabeth enjoys the contrast. “A ballet like this doesn’t have the boundries of classical ballet,” she says. “I can be free to push the dance envelope and can explore new ways of moving and dancing.” Pushing the envelope and providing a thrilling dance experience, while maintaining a strong classical repertory, is what City Ballet is all about, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t put on a great “Nutcracker.” This year, the production will include 11 performances at the Spreckels Theatre, featuring a live orchestra and chorus (with Maestro Nettles conducting the City Ballet Orchestra). You can see this holiday delight Dec. 13-15 and 19-22. A


(AT SPRECKLES THEATRE) 121 Broadway San Diego, CA 92101 (858) 272-8663 Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 45


Violinist nadir Khashimov comes to the center on sunday, Jan. 19.



his season at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, is nothing if not diverse. The Center consistently brings internationally recognized artists of many mediums to inland North County and there is never a lull in the action. January features violin virtuoso Nadir Khashimov (Sunday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m.), playing on his 1828 violin, as well as the return of Moscow Nights and Golden Gates. This tour stop in the Russian ensemble’s 10th season takes place on Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. and includes three prize-winning musicians as well as a cadre of dancers. The group is touring together to present authentic and traditional Russian folk music, songs, rituals and stories. There are also opportunities for audience participation so consider wearing your dancing shoes. Later, during the performance-packed month of March, the Center will welcome California-based guitarist Christopher Dean on Wednesday, March 5. “Seussical the Musical” plays a short run March 20-23, and the season continues with performers from Iceland; a Jazz show that harkens back to traditional favorites from New Orleans, Chicago and Dixieland; and all the greatest Opera moments in one show. A

CALFORnIA CEnTER FOR THE ARTS, ESCOnDIDO 340 North Escondido Blvd. Escondido, CA 92025 (800) 988-5253 46 l December 2013

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Malashock dance company dancers.

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By EiLEEn SonDAk

ohn Malashock was a world-class modern dancer with the legendary Twyla Tharp when he decided to return to San Diego in 1988. With a nucleus of high-powered dancers to interpret his vision, Malashock forged a modern dance troupe worthy of his dance pedigree. Now, Malashock Dance and Company is not only in the forefront of modern dance in San Diego, it’s a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. Malashock has teamed up with artists in every discipline, including music, fine art, film, and performance art in his efforts to create cuttingedge, multi-disciplinary dance works. Malashock’s Jewish background is a major source of inspiration for the talented dance maker. As a result, many of his pieces invoke a Jewish

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theme. One of the most exciting Malashock projects on tap for next year is a collaboration with Art of Elan (a chamber music group led by musicians from the San Diego Symphony). The goal is to create all new choreography to three scores of contemporary classical music. “There are several reasons why I often choose Jewish themes,” Malashock says. “It’s part of my own background – my own roots – and the other part is the rich tradition of art in the Jewish world. This part of the music (by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov) is heavily themed in mysticism and the music has a mysterious quality. It’s incredibly rhythmic and lyrical – all the things that make music appealing.” Although Malashock’s work always pushes the

envelope, he thinks this one will move him even deeper into uncharted territory. “It will stretch me as a choreographer trying to figure it out,” Malashock adds with characteristic modesty. The provocative work takes over the Mandell Weiss Theatre April 18-19. Malashock is artist-in-residence at the highlyacclaimed La Jolla Playhouse, and is currently collaborating with composer Yale Strom on an ambitious dance musical based on the life and work of artist Marc Chagall. “The La Jolla Playhouse has been very supportive of this project,” Malashock says. “We’re working on a concept where we tell the story of Chagall, and I’m really excited about how far we’ve come in developing the work. We’re working with another writer and we worked with a projection designer. We definitely want visual aspects, although music and dance are the main aspects. We want it to be rich and theatrical.” With the genius of Chagall propelling the piece, and Malashock and Strom teaming up on the dance and music, this dance musical has all the earmarks of success. Malashock is also planning to launch the piece at a major regional theater, so stay tuned to find out when and where it will make its debut. On March 8, Malashock will reprise his “Malashock Thinks You Can Dance”– an annual fundraiser held at the McMillin Event Center at Liberty Station – as “Malashock Shows You Can Dance,” with a different twist. “We’re not doing it as a dance competition,” he says. “It will be a wonderful party and the company will be performing. We’ll also have a group of willing victims,” he jokes, “who will let us choreograph a piece for them.” Malashock’s hand-picked dancers and inventive choreographic designs have made him the darling of the critics – and his concerts are always well attended. Plan to purchase tickets early and experience Malashock’s creativity firsthand. You can count on Malashock Dance for an outstanding kinetic experience; one that encompasses dance and a whole lot more. A

MALASHOCK DAnCE 2650 Truxtun Road, Suite 202 San Diego, CA 92016 (619) 260-1622

CONTEMPORARY DANCE CLASSES from ages 3-adult. Malashock Dance and Art of Élan Spring Performance April 18, 2014


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la Jolla playhouse's page to stage workshop of “chasing the song” will be directed by christopher ashley.



rooklyn Jewish songwriters, a mythical Chinese orphan, singing Siamese twins and a Bald Soprano. Welcome to the new season at the La Jolla Playhouse. The Siamese twins are onstage right now, in “Side Show,” the 1997 musical based on the true-life story of Violet and Daisy Hilton, who were born conjoined at the hip. The show, in the Mandell Weiss Theatre through Dec. 15, traces their lives from carnival attraction to 1930s vaudeville sensation, with stops along the way for love and disillusionment. The original Broadway production, which earned four Tony Award

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nominations, had only a brief run, though there have been many revivals, including locally. Now, the creative team has gathered in San Diego to reconceive this provocative work, with the addition of Academy Award-winner Bill Condon (best known for his adaptation and direction of “Dreamgirls,” “Chicago” and the “Twilight” films), for a premiere presented in association with the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where the show will run after it closes here. Nearly 60 percent of the script is new; it’s being called a “re-imagining” of the original.

“We’re having a fine time,” composer Henry Krieger said during the rehearsal period. “It’s a dream team.” Krieger is calling it a “revisal.” There are several new songs (written with original lyricist Bill Russell), and “some old songs are out. We even brought back a song we’d written that never made it to Broadway. “In this version, the characters are deepened,” he says. “The story is being told in a new way, thanks to Bill Condon. In one of the new numbers, ‘It’s All in the Mind,’ the brilliant escapologist and mentalist Harry Houdini instructs the twins


photo By craiG schWartZ

tony award-winning actor B.d. Wong (in a 2009 production of "herringbone") stars in "the orphan of Zhao," directed by the playhouse's carey perloff.

in the ways of mentally compartmentalizing, so they can each be themselves.” Born into a German Jewish family, Krieger knew how to be himself from an early age. He started playing piano at age 7. “There was an older couple across the way from us; the husband had been a piano player in a speakeasy. He was playing stride piano at a party, and I fell in love with it. He gave me a Fats Waller album, and I started playing by ear. I still do. I have a mental block against reading music. I still can’t look at a score and play it. Irving Berlin couldn’t either! “Ours was a hyper-assimilated family,” he confesses. “I knew a few Yiddish expressions, but I learned a lot more when I moved to the East Village” (in his mid-20s, just after he started writing music). That’s also when he gravitated toward people in theater. “I started writing songs for shows, and I just

kept doing it.” Among those was “Dreamgirls,” for which he won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Original Cast Album.’ Krieger says his Jewishness is definitely reflected in his work for “Side Show.” “In this score, there are several points where it surely does sound like Jewish music. The Houdini song has a definite Jewish feeling. Another new one, ‘Almost as Famous as Them,’ has a little Klezmer feel.” The new version of “Side Show” is “grittier,” says Krieger, “with more cogent storytelling. There’s lots of comedy and upbeat numbers, but it’s a show about the feelings of the heart. In 1997, the subject matter was tough for audiences to warm to. “Now, at a time when gay marriage is legal in many states, Siamese twins and others outside regular societal expectations are a little better understood. The mind is a little more open. And

that would be good for the Jews!” Speaking of Jews, there are several other shows at the Playhouse in 2014 that have Jewish themes, characters or elements. The DNA New Work Series, inaugurated last year, will include six readings and one workshop. The program kicks off with “Higher,” which is set in America and Israel. “It’s about two American Jewish architects competing to create a memorial about a terrorist attack on an Israeli bus,” Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley explains. “It’s a personal, political and artistic exploration of these two designers that also explores Judaism and the differences between Israel and America. The male superstar is unaware that his semisecret lover is his competition. Then she gets the commission. It’s a little bit ‘A Star is Born.’ Very resonant with current social/political themes.” “Higher,” written by Carey Perloff, artistic director of San Francisco’s A.C.T. (American Conservatory Theater), was presented at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum in 2010 and at A.C.T. in 2012. “If this one-time reading goes well,” says Ashley, who’s directing, “the play will be further developed. Last year, Ayad Akhtar’s ‘The Who and the What,’ about an outspoken girl who upends her conservative Muslim family, received a one-day reading, and now it’s part of our season, Feb. 1-March 9.” Another part of last year’s DNA program was the musical, “Chasing the Song,” by Joe DiPietro (book and lyrics) and David Bryan (music and lyrics), creators of the Tony Awardwinning “Memphis,” which also got its start at the Playhouse. Now “Chasing the Song” moves up to the next level of development, a Page to Stage workshop production. Once again, Ashley directs. “Developing a new musical is a long process,” Ashley explains. “It took 10 years for ‘Memphis’ to go from first reading to Broadway. Joe and David started writing this one about four years ago. The DNA presentation last year was its first reading. They’ll be tinkering and polishing throughout this process, which will include talkbacks after every performance.” “‘Chasing the Song’ is the story of the Brill Building, the famous New York music publishing hub where young (mostly Jewish) men toiled away, writing pop songs. Here, a smart young

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 53

The ARTS christopher ashley

Gabor tompa

woman, a talented newcomer, bursts onto the scene. It’s got a slight ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ quality to it, but it’s set in the early 1960s, just before the Beatles radically changed the world of pop music.” Last winter, the show seemed in very good shape for a new work. It will be exciting for San Diego audiences to watch it evolve. Next up will be “The Orphan of Zhao,” adapted from a famous Chinese story, a legend thought to have roots going back to the fourth century B.C.E. Often described as the Chinese “Hamlet,” the epic tale features love, murder, betrayal and revenge. This co-production with A.C.T. will be directed by Perloff, and will star B.D. Wong, who won a Tony and many other awards for his monumental Broadway debut in “M. Butterfly.” (He was last seen at the Playhouse in the oneman show, “Herringbone,” in 2009.) Television viewers and moviegoers will recognize him from “Law and Order: SVU,” “Oz,” “Awake” and “Jurassic Park.” In James Fenton’s adaptation, set in the aftermath of a violent coup, a young orphan finds

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out the shocking truth of his origins. “If you like Shakespeare, and bold stories theatrically told, you’ll love ‘The Orphan of Zhao,’” Ashley says. Another classic the Playhouse is revisiting is “The Bald Soprano,” by French-Romanian playwright Eugene Ionesco, which premiered in 1950. “It was one of the first absurdist plays I read in college,” Ashley recalls. “It was deeply hilarious to me: the breakdown of communication at a party, the ridiculousness of the small talk and the middle class. It questions whether language can say anything that really matters. It poses questions like ‘What is a play?’ ‘Why do we tell stories that way?’ It’s an adventurous and unexpected evening in the theater. “For me,” Ashley continues, “it starts with a director with a passion for it, who can make a case for bringing it back. Gabor Tompa is the right man at the right time.” The acclaimed Romanian director has been the head of Directing for UC San Diego’s Theatre and Dance Department since 2007. In Romania, he’s been named “Best Director of the Year” five

times. “I’m very excited about this season,” Ashley says. “It’s wildly varied. We have a big, brassy musical in the same season as Ionesco. There’s another world premiere, ‘Kingdom City,’ and more exciting announcements on the way. The recent Without Walls (WoW) Festival of sitespecific work was a huge success, exceeding our hopes and expectations. We’ll be continuing individual WoW projects, and repeating the Festival every other year. “There’s nowhere better than San Diego to do that kind of work. It’s a bold idea of immersive theater. Every play can re-invent the relationship between actors and audience.” A

LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE 910 La Jolla Village Drive La Jolla, CA 92037 (858) 550-1010

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the Broadway production of "Mary poppins," March 2013. the beloved classic comes to the Moonlight stage in July.

MOOnLIGHT STAGE PRODUCTIOnS BroADWAy Fun in norTh counTy By nikki SALvo


orth County’s Moonlight Stage Productions has an eclectic collection of shows lined up for the new year. With the open-air Moonlight Amphitheater location for the summer months, and the AVO Playhouse, the 30-year-old drama house on hold for the winter, Moonlight has the stage set. First up is Dan Goggin’s critically-acclaimed “Nunsense.” Originally based on a line of greeting cards featuring sarcastic nuns, the comedy comes to the AVO Playhouse Jan. 16-Feb. 9. The supernatural comedy “Blithe Spirit,” written by Noel Coward follows Feb. 20-March

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9 at the AVO. This ghostly tale is guaranteed to lift your spirits! “The World Goes ‘Round,” held at the AVO March 20-April 5, features the music of John Kander and Fred Ebb, musical theatre collaborators who worked with such legends as Barbra Streisand and Liza Minelli. The show includes songs from smash-hit Broadway shows such as “Chicago,” “Cabaret,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” and more. Audiences will delight in seeing Monty Python’s merry pranksters come alive on the stage when “Spamalot” plays June 11-28. “Lovingly

ripped off from” the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” this British comedy has an irreverent sense of humor, and according to production notes, “retells the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, and features a bevy of beautiful showgirls, not to mention cows, killer rabbits, and French people.” The original production has won multiple Tony Awards and nominations and has played worldwide. Who doesn’t love the family classic “Mary Poppins,” with its iconic songs “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?” This magical show, based on the 1964 Disney film, features music and lyrics by Academy Award-winning brothers born to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Robert B. Sherman and Richard B. Sherman. It is one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history, and July 16Aug. 2, audiences will be entertained by the “breathtaking dance numbers and spectacular effects” of this family classic. Fall in love with Eliza Dolittle in Moonlight’s production of “My Fair Lady,” running Aug. 13-30. The hit show, based on George Bernard Shaw’s original stage play “Pygmalion,” with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederic Loewe, has been called “the perfect musical.” Also adapted from the 1938 film directed by George Cukor and starring Audrey Hepburn, “My Fair Lady” is the story of an arrogant professor, Henry Higgins, who takes a Cockney girl and attempts to school her into a proper English lass. With themes of oppression and gentrification, and also love, the plot unfolds with Higgins eventually coming to care deeply for the charming young lady. The season concludes with the modern production “Catch Me if You Can,” a musical action piece taken from the 1980 autobiography and 2002 film of con artist Frank W. Abagnale Jr. First premiering at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre, it has become a hugely popular musical and runs at the Amphitheatre Sept. 10-27. A

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cLASSicAL MuSic WiTh An EDgE



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By nikki SALvo



rin Lewis of San Diego Musical Theatre wants you to know that “White Christmas” is “not about Christmas.” The classic show, running from Dec. 12-22 at the charming Birch North Park Theatre, “happens to take place in Vermont in the wintertime,” Lewis says. She calls the musical a “feel-good family tradition,” one that is more about entertainment and community than any specific holiday theme. The 2014 season will be SDMT’s sixth (their third at the Birch), and Lewis, co-owner of the non-profit theater, is excited to bring to audiences “a classic, a family show, a contemporary piece [with] something for everyone.” The new year kicks off with San Diego’s first local production of “Cats,” March 21-April 6. The show, written by T.S. Eliot and composed by Andrew Lloyd Weber, tells the story of a tribe of cats and is the second longest-running show in Broadway history. Next up is “Annie Get Your Gun,” from May 9-25. The touching and funny contemporary piece “Next to Normal” will come to San Diego for the first time Sept. 26-Oct. 12. “White Christmas” rounds out the season, returning Dec. 5-21, 2014. A

SD MUSICAL THEATRE 4652 Mercury Street San Diego, CA 92111 (858) 560-5740

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or those craving classical chamber music with an edge, Mainly Mozart’s upcoming season is sure to thrill. Offering traditional fare alongside newer works, the company celebrates not just beloved pieces, but is at the forefront of contemporary work. The Spotlight series will be enjoying its 25th anniversary and is the largest classical music festival in Southern California, with winter and summer sessions at various eclectic venues in downtown, La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe and Carlsbad. The series begins with performances by The McDermott Trio, Jan. 23-24, a collaboration between Spotlight Series Curator and Mainly Mozart Artistic Leader Anne-Marie McDermott and her two sisters. Other highlights include Beethoven and Mozart master John Lill April 26 and 27, one of only two solo recitals of the season, and the Orion Quartet on May 17 and 18, which includes Steven Tenenbom, among other topnotch musicians. The 2014 season also brings with it the Evolution series, led by Artistic Partner and pianist Steven Prutsman, in collaboration with some of Mexico’s distinguished artists.A

MAInLY MOZART 444 West Beech Street, Suite 220 San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 466-8742



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la Jolla symphony and chorus in rehearsal.



he La Jolla Symphony and Chorus’ (LJSC) 2013-2014 season – Life – features a series of concerts and music events that each takes a page from life, culminating in a celebration of Choral Director David Chase’s 40th anniversary year with the ensemble. The season began in September, but will continue through June 2014 with works from all walks of life. Highlights this year include new works and exciting guest artists, including Venezuelan choral superstar conductor Maria Guinand. “The season is designed to actually feature

the chorus, and of course I am very happy about that,” Chase says. “We are doing almost all new works this season, too, which is new to us. One work is new to the world, and is a premiere performance, a commission that was written for us by Paul Hembree, and so that is totally new.” In addition, LJSC’s season emphasizes Spanish and Latin American works, designed to delight audiences of all ages. “There is a concert of Latin American music, for which we will bring in Maria Guinand from Caracas, and she is just a powerhouse fantastic artist,” Chase says.

The famed Venezuelan conductor will join Chase March 15-16 to conduct a series of works from Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela. The concert will open with “Malambo” by Alberto Ginestera and concludes as vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra perform Antonio Estévez’s famous “Cantata Criolla,” a Faustian tale about a singing contest between a landsman and the Devil. In between, we hear Carlos Chavez’s “Sinfonia de Antigona” and “Chôros No. 10” by Heitor Villa-Lobos. For this concert, Chase will conduct the orchestra while Guinard conducts the chorus, Chase’s usual post. “I get to conduct the orchestra [a lot], and I conduct a lion’s share of the choral orchestral pieces, because I have a good relationship with the orchestra which I really cherish,” Chase says, noting that the collegial relationship is rare in the world of symphonies and choruses. “We are a remarkably integrated organization. For the most part, choruses sort of stand on their own and symphonies use them when they want to. So we have been well integrated for years, and that makes my job really desirable and really enjoyable.” LJS&C’s season concludes with a gala event honoring Chase and his 40-year commitment to musical excellence June 7-8. Alongside Leos Janacek’s “Zarivost” (“Jealousy”), Chase will conduct a chorus favorite, “Ode to Common Things,” a musical setting of Pablo Neruda poems. “We have been expanding our profile around San Diego county, and I think that we will be seeing more pieces like that in our future,” Chase says of what’s to come after his 40th anniversary celebration is over. “We try to push the envelope a little bit as to what it means to be a chorus and to be an orchestra, so that our music is always a bit more adventurous than most organizations, and I am really proud of that.” A

LA JOLLA SYMPHOnY AnD CHORUS La Jolla Symphony and Chorus 9500 Gilman Drive La Jolla, CA 92093 (858) 534-4637

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wo San Diego premieres, two world premieres and a romantic musical round out the 2014 season at the North Coast Repertory Theatre. In January, “Who Am I This Time” by Aaron Posner, adapted from short stories by Kurt Vonnegut, makes its San Diego debut. Posner crafts Vonnegut’s early stories into three tales of love set in mythological small-town America. Artistic Director David Ellenstein describes the work as “a gentle, comedic, human story that charms like a Jimmy Stewart/Frank Capra movie.” In February, “School for Lies,” the second San

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Diego premiere, follows. Tony Award-nominee David Ives adapted this high-energy work from Moliere’s saucy 17th century farce “The Misanthrope.” “It’s a raucous good time: over the top funny with updated, ribald language,” Ellenstein says. This bawdy tale promises a lot of laughs, though the contemporary slang makes it inappropriate for young children and anyone offended by off-color language. North Coast Rep will also host two world premieres at their Solana Beach home, with Ellenstein directing. The first of these premieres, opening in April,

is “Mandate Memories” by British playwright Lionel Goldstein. An early version of the play was mounted in a staged reading as part of the Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Fest in 2010. The narrative centers on two characters, an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor who becomes a freedom fighter in pre-state Israel, and a 62-yearold British widow whose father was a captain in Palestine under British-mandate rule. “A complex mystery unfolds in this smart play that I describe as a drama with a lot of humor,” Ellenstein says. The second premiere, “Faded Glory,” opens in late May. “This show is about one of the most colorful but lesser-known characters in American history. I think it will get done all over the place after our premiere,” Ellenstein says. The play chronicles the amazing life of Daniel Sickles, who was a 19th century congressman convicted of murder; Ambassador to Spain where he became Queen Isabella’s lover; and Civil War general who lost his leg in battle and then displayed it over his mantle. A comedic and educational romp, “Faded Glory” promises to be a crowd pleaser. The musical “Romance/Romance” with book and lyrics by Barry Harman and music by Keith Herrmann closes out the 2014 season. An offBroadway sensation that successfully moved to Broadway, this sweetheart of a musical will play well on North Coast Rep’s intimate stage. This show consists of two acts – the first act, set in 1890, follows seekers of romance in Vienna; and the second, set in 1990, chronicles affection and disaffection at a summer house in the Hamptons. “The same actors play parts in both halves,” Ellenstein says, hinting at the fact that the stories are not directly related, leaving it up to the audience to make the connections between the romantic follies of the two different eras. “We have an interesting group of plays coming up,” Ellenstein says, taking pride in North Coast Repertory Theatre’s growing reputation as an incubator for new work. “I’m excited to see where these plays will go from here.” A

nORTH COAST REP 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive Solana Beach, CA 92075 (858) 481-1055

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f it was their 10th wedding anniversary, the San Diego Symphony would get Music Director Jahja Ling something made of out tin or aluminum. But since 10 years in front of an orchestra is a slightly different kind of holy matrimony, Ling is the one bringing the gifts in honor of this milestone. From San Diego premieres to never-beforeembarked-on world tours highlighting this year’s season, it is fitting that Ling would celebrate a decade with the Symphony in this way, especially since a lot has changed since he came on as director.

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“My first five years here were about developing the Symphony,” Ling says. “I hired 60 new members (some who have since moved on) and we’ve really grown in the last three to four years. We are now a very strong player and many great artists want to return [to play with us].” To kick off the season, for the first time ever, the Symphony took off on an historic 10-day tour that took them to New York City’s Carnegie Hall and then to China to perform five concerts in three cities (Yantal, Shanghai and Beijing) in early November. But packing in the adventure early in the season wasn’t enough. Ling says the

show dates scheduled for Copley Symphony Hall, many of which he has been working on for years, are some of the most exciting this city has ever seen. “We usually plan two to three years ahead, and it really depends on the availability of the artists. But this year we have a lot of new pieces, and by that I mean pieces that are rarely performed, and that is really exciting,” Ling says, exuberant at the prospects on this year’s calendar. While he notes that all are exciting, Ling says he’s most looking forward to seeing some of his good friends perform with the Symphony


throughout the season, because each brings a memory of a specific time in his long career. For example, Ling remembers Lang Lang, the 31-year-old Chinese pianist, from the young prodigy’s first audition in St. Louis at the age of 15. After years of working to bring him out to San Diego, Lang played Rachmaninoff with the Symphony as part of the Carnegie Hall/China send-off show back in late October. This month, Ling will welcome another dear friend, Grammy Award-winning Yefim Bronfman to the stage. The two met when Ling was living in Jerusalem in the 1970s. Bronfman, a Soviet-born, Israeli-American virtuoso pianist, was playing a few shows there and Ling made it a point to introduce himself because he was so enamored with the artist’s work. The two became fast friends but last performed together in the 1990s. Bronfman will play Beethoven with the Symphony as part of the Jacobs Masterworks series, Dec. 13-15.

Bronfman later embarks on a six-city tour with friend and fellow Israeli Pinchas Zukerman, a violinist who studied at Julliard (as did Ling a few years after). Together, Zukerman and Bronfman will perform Schubert’s “Sonatina No. 2,” Beethoven’s “Sonata No. 7” and Brahms’ “Viola Sonata No. 1 in F Minor” in San Diego April 5. Sans Bronfman, Zukerman will play Brahms’ “Double Concerto in A Minor” and Tchaikovsky “Symphony No. 5 in E Minor” with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony on Jan. 24. In addition to seeing old friends, Ling is looking forward to the rarities that are on this year’s schedule. Perhaps the most familiar artist on this year’s Symphony bill, Itzhak Perlman, an Israeli-American virtuoso violinist and conductor, performed at the 2006 Inauguration of President Barack Obama. He has also appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Sesame Street,” “The Tonight Show” and numerous

“Live from Lincoln Center” broadcasts, among other popular and diverse television shows. Perlman hasn’t played with an orchestra in many years, Ling explains, but he will step back onto the stage as a musician rather than a conductor when he leads the Symphony as part of the Return Celebration (though it takes place a couple months after the “family,” as Ling refers to them, arrives back from China) on Jan. 11-12. Later in the season, the orchestra will welcome Christoph von Dohnanyi, an 85-year-old German-Hungarian conductor who spent most of his career with the well-known Cleveland Orchestra. Though he isn’t touring much anymore, von Dohnanyi will make a trip to Copley Symphony Hall on April 25-26 and that, for Ling, is also a landmark occasion. “One of the most exciting things to happen to this orchestra is Christoph von Dohnanyi,” Ling says. “He told me he wants to see my orchestra.” Von Dohnanyi will conduct Brahms’ “Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Major” and “No. 2 in B-flat Minor” along with Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5 in C Minor.” In addition to bringing many important guest musicians to the stage, Ling’s orchestra will also present a few works that have never before been performed by the San Diego Symphony. These include Mendelssohn’s “Hymn of Praise,” Feb. 7-9; Wagner’s “The Ring Without Words,” February 28-March 2; and Tchaikovsky’s “3rd,” May 2-4. “This is the envy of many orchestras,” Ling says with pride. He will conduct these and eight others of the Jacobs Masterworks series throughout the season. After spending years building up the Symphony, this season marks a turning point for the veteran conductor. Violinist Joshua Bell, who traveled with the Symphony to China, perhaps explained it best when he said to Ling: “it is so wonderful to work with an orchestra with this kind of eagerness.” That energy must flow straight from Ling’s baton. A

SAn DIEGO SYMPHOnY 245 Seventh Ave. San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 235-0800

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 65



ferrucio furlanetto in "don quioxte."

oB yc ory





he greatest singers and conductors in the world, bold directors, the most well known operas and renowned cast members make up the San Diego Opera’s fascinating 49th season. And though it may seem that the works being featured this year were easily picked to create a world-class lineup, the planning process has been a long one. “This 2014 season, which will start on Jan. 25, was something that we finalized about three years ago in 2011,” Director of Media Relations Edward Wilensky says. “I can tell you that we are currently locking in our 2016 season, so [the

66 l December 2013

49th season] has been in the works for a little over three years and you have to work that far in advance to get the best singers in the world.” In planning the season, Wilensky says, organizers wanted to present a little bit of everything – from the very popular to the lesserknown operas – to give audiences a wide range of entertainment experiences. The season begins with perhaps the most well-known of all operas, Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci,” which has been used in Rice Krispy cereal commercials, a Seinfeld episode, and the “Simpsons.” “It’s a very well-known opera, used in countless

movies,” Wilensky says. “It’s basically about a traveling troupe and a clown who finds out his wife is having an affair. In a fit of jealousy, he murders both his wife and her lover. Sometimes, we internally joke that it is about a killer clown, but in all seriousness, it’s an opera that a lot of people really love. It’s a verisimo, or an opera that is based on realism, and it’s a stunning work of art.” “Pagliacci” will run Jan. 25-Feb. 2 and features tenor Frank Poretta as Canio (the troubled clown). Another popular opera, “Don Quioxte,”


photo By KEn hoWard

frank poretta plays canio, the troubled clown in sd opera's production of "pagliacci."

will close the season in April. San Diego Opera favorite and great bass Ferrucio Furlanetto returns to sing the show’s wandering knight alongside returning bass Eduardo Chama as his sidekick. Based on “the novel that everyone was supposed to read in high school but never did,” Wilensky says the show is a wonderful piece of music. “Although it is a French opera about a Spanish knight, it has these eclectic sounds of Spanish sunshine throughout,” he says. “It’s a beautiful opera, and has some iconic scenes, but it’s really about a knight wandering the world, wondering if there is still a place for him in it.” In between the popular works, two operas will debut on the San Diego stage: “The Elixir of Love” premieres first in February.

“It’s a wonderful example for what bel canto music is (Italian for ‘beautiful singing’), so expect a lot of those vocal fireworks, those high notes, trills, and really light, effervescent music. It’s almost like drinking a bottle of wine while watching the opera; which is ironic considering this opera is literally about a bottle of wine that may or may not be a love potion.” In March, “A Masked Ball” continues the season, in celebration of Guiseppe Verdi’s 200th birthday. “Verdi liked to talk about very human emotions on a grand scale,” Wilensky says of the Opera’s choice to honor the legendary composer and musician. “His most popular opera is ‘Aida,’ which we presented last year. ‘A Masked Ball’ is basically

a story of brotherly love, of friendship, of best friends; but the players in it are the King of Sweden, his best friend and the royal court.” Wilensky says that despite the grandeur of the players, audiences will get a human drama set on a very grand scale, which is the hallmark of Verdi’s work. Also in March, for one night only, the Opera will present Verdi’s “Requiem,” for a special event performance. “‘Requiem’ is basically a catholic mass that Verdi wrote for Alessandro Manzoni, a writer whom he was greatly influenced by,” Wilensky says. “One of the most powerful pieces of music ever composed, it features a full orchestra and a double chorus, with more than 320 people on stage with four of the best singers in the world.” “Requiem” is also the subject of a PBS documentary, “The Defiant Requiem.” “The film is based on the story of Verdi’s opera being performed 16 times between 1943-44 by prisoners in the Theresienstadt concentration camp,” Willensky says. “It was made from one score, copied, and performed on homemade instruments by self-taught musicians. And it was done for a couple of reasons: one, for selfexpression, and then also for an audience, and to the red cross delegation, as a way to communicate what was happening in the camp.” Verdi, who was not Jewish, is well-known by Jewish audiences who have used his works “as a rally cry for various causes.” “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” appears in his well-known opera “Nabucco.” “Verdi was always a humanist. All of his works focus on the power of the individual and identity. I imagine Verdi, had he known about [the great reception he’d receive from the Jewish people, and the ultimate performance of his work inside a concentration camp], would be very proud that his work was being performed in such a place, while at the same time being horrified at the events that were happening in the world.” A

SAn DIEGO OPERA 1200 3rd Ave. San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 232-7636

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 67


2013-2014 SAn DiEgo ArTS AnD EnTErTAinMEnT

BALBOA THEATRE (619) 570-1100 Dec. 4-6: Under the Streetlamp Dec. 8: Rick Steves Dec. 11: An Evening with The Black Crowes Dec. 31: Paula Poundstone Jan. 24: The Irish Rovers Jan. 25: Tommy Emmanuel Jan. 26: David Garrett in concert Jan. 29: Pink Martini Feb. 7: Joshua Bell and Sam Haywood Feb. 14: Brian Regan Live Comedy Tour Feb. 20: Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood Two Man Group Feb. 23: The Silk Road Feb. 28: St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra April 4: Haydns The Creation Music of the Baroque April 27: Beethoven ‘n Friends Go Country BROADwAY SAn DIEGO (619) 564-3000 Dec. 3-8: Million Dollar Quartet Jan. 4: A Prairie Home Companion Jan 7-12: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast May 27-June 8: The Book of Mormon June 24-29: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Aug. 12-17: Once CALIFORnIA CEnTER FOR THE ARTS, ESCOnDIDO (800) 988-4253 Dec. 3: The Alley Cats: ‘Tis the Season 68 l December 2013

Dec. 4: Wyatt Lowe & the Youngbloods Dec. 6: An Irish Christmas Dec. 7: The Nutcracker Dec. 8: Marco Antonio Labastida,Tenor Dec. 13: Carols by Candlelight Jan. 14: JazzReach: Get Hip! Featuring METTA QUINTET Jan. 18: The Harvard Glee Club Jan. 19: Nadir Khashimov,Violin Jan. 26: Moscow Nights and Golden Gates Jan. 30: 1st Marine Division Band Concert Feb. 4: Tales Alive: African Musical Folk Tales Feb. 5: Sweethearts of Swing Feb. 15: Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, Cello Feb. 26-March 2: Shen Yun March 1-2: The Center Chorale – Carmina Burana March 4: In Tlanextli Tlacopan: Aztec Fire Dancers March 5: Christopher Dean March 15: Ashu, Saxophone March 16: The Center Children’s Chorus – Singing ‘round the World March 20-23: Seussical March 30: Hutchins Consort April 2: High Society Jazz Band April 13: Pavel Kolesnikov, Piano May 3: Bach Again May 4: Civic Youth Orchestra May 7: The Peter Pupping Band May 10: Calder Quartet May 31: Opera’s Greatest Moments June 4: The Sound of Pan June 7: Escondido Recreation Ballet CITY BALLET OF SAn DIEGO (858) 272-8663 Dec. 13-22: The Nutcracker

Dec. 17: Messiah Sing-Along March 7-9: Balanchine Masterworks May 9-11: Swan Lake Act II and Requiem COROnADO PLAYHOUSE (619) 435-4856 Jan. 17-Feb. 23: Chicago April 11-May 18: Sherlock Holmes:The Final Adventure June 27-July 20: Romeo and Juliet Aug. 15-Sept. 21: Dearly Beloved Oct. 24-Nov. 30: Monty Python’s SPAMalot CYGnET THEATRE COMPAnY (619) 337-1525 Through Dec. 22: A Christmas Carol Jan. 16-Feb. 16: Maple and Vine March 6-April 27: Spring Awakening May 15-June 15: The Motherf**ker with the Hat DIvERSIOnARY THEATRE (619) 220-0097 Dec. 5-29: Scrooge in Rouge IOn THEATRE (619) 600-5020 Through Dec. 28: Reasons to be Pretty Jan. 11-Feb. 8: Bug March 1-29: Edgar & Annabel and Far Away April 19-May 17: Passion J*COMPAnY (858) 457-3030

The ARTS Dec. 6-15: The Little Mermaid Feb. 28-March 16: The Wizard of Oz May 9-18: Tarzan LA JOLLA MUSIC SOCIETY (858) 459-3728 Dec. 7: Haochen Zhang Jan. 12: Nadir Khashimov, violin Jan. 17: Alisa Wellerstein, cello; Inon Barnatan, piano Jan. 31: Patti LuPone Feb. 7: Joshua Bell, violin; Sam Haywood, piano Feb. 8: An American in Paris Feb. 15: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Feb. 28: St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra March 9: Siro-A March 12: Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Kathryn Stott, piano March 13: Gala Flamenca March 15: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis March 22: Mozart Connections March 28: Mitsuko Uchida April 4: Haydn’s The Creation, Music of the Baroque April 6: Pavel Kolesnikov, piano April 12: Ramsey Lewis & April 25: Midori, violin; Özgür Aydin, piano April 26: Defining Voices May 9: Barry Douglas May 10: Ann Hampton Callaway May 17: Alonzo King Lines Ballet LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE (858) 550-1010 Through Dec. 15: Side Show Feb. 11-March 9: The Who & The What LAMB’S PLAYERS THEATRE (619) 437-6000 Through Dec. 29: Festival of Christmas Dec. 16-24: An American Christmas Jan. 24-March 2: The Foreigner March 21-April 27: Freud’s Last Session May 23-June 29: Twelfth Night July 18-Aug. 24: Les Miserables Oct. 10-Nov. 16: Dinner with Marlene LA JOLLA SYMPHOnY AnD CHORUS (858) 534-4637 Dec. 7-8: utterly ecstatic Feb. 8-9: sometimes hidden (in plain sight) March 15-16: made for sharing May 3-4: and bursting with promise June 7-8: Life is for celebrating. MAInLY MOZART (619) 466-8742 Jan. 23-24: The McDermott Trio Feb. 27, March 1-2: Manderling Quartet March 29-30: The Beloved Trout April 26-27: John Lill, piano May 9-10: Anne-Marie McDermott and Quartet May 17-18: Orion Quartet May 31: Romance X2 June 1: D’Ambrosio String Quartet MALASHOCK DAnCE

(619) 260-1622 March 8: Annual Fundraising Gala April 18-19: Collaboration with Art of Élan at UCSD’s Mandell-Weiss Theatre MOOnLIGHT STAGE PRODUCTIOnS (760) 724-2110 Jan. 16-Feb. 9: Nunsense Feb. 20-March 9: Blithe Spirit March 20-April 6: The World Goes ‘Round June 11-28: Spamalot July 16-Aug. 12: Mary Poppins Aug. 13-30: My Fair Lady Sept. 10-27: Catch Me If You Can MOxIE THEATRE (858) 598-7620 Through Dec. 8: Skinless Jan. 24-March 2: Crumbs from the Table of Joy May 2-June 8: Mud Blue Sky July 11-Aug. 10: Jade Heart nEw vILLAGE ARTS (760) 433-3245 Through Dec. 31: Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings Jan. 31-March 2: Circle Mirror Transformation April 4-May 4: To Kill a Mockingbird May 30-June 29: The Miss Firecracker Contest nORTH COAST REPERTORY THEATRE (858) 481-1055 Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 69

The ARTS Dec. 11-28: The Humbug Holiday Spectacular Jan. 11-Feb. 2: Who Am I This Time Feb. 22-March 16: School for Lies April 12-May 4: Mandate Memories May 31-June 22: Faded Glory July 11-Aug. 3: Romance/Romance THE OLD GLOBE THEATRE (619) 234-5623 Through Dec. 28: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Jan. 25-Feb. 23: Bethany Feb. 8-March 16: The Winter’s Tale March 26-May 4: Time and the Conways April 12-May 11: Water by the Spoonful May 17-June 22: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike May 28-June 29: Dog and Pony POwAY CEnTER FOR THE PERFORMInG ARTS (858) 668-4797 Jan 24: Direct from Ireland’s Celtic Nights, The Emigrants Bridge Feb. 22: L.A.Theatre Works’The Graduate March 8: Missoula Children’s Theatre’s Cinderella April 4: Yesterday and Today’s Beatles Jukebox May 31: Presidio Brass June 21: 3rd Annual Taste of Our Towne SAn DIEGO OPERA (619) 533-7000 70 l December 2013 Jan. 25, 28, 31, Feb. 2: Pagliacci Feb. 15, 18, 21, 23: The Elixir of Love March 8, 11, 14, 16: A Masked Ball March 20: Requiem April 5, 8, 11, 13: Don Quixote SAn DIEGO MUSICAL THEATRE (619) 239-8836 Dec. 12-22: Irving Berlin’s White Chistmas The Musical March 21-April 6: Cats May 9-25: Annie Get Your Gun Sept. 26-Oct. 12: Next to Normal SAn DIEGO REPERTORY THEATRE (619) 544-1000 Through Dec. 8: Venus in Fur Jan. 4-26: In the Time of the Butterflies Feb. 22-March 16: Detroit March 29-April 27: Red SAn DIEGO SYMPHOnY (619) 235-0804 Dec. 6-8: Beethoven’s Ninth Dec. 13-14: Bronfman Plays Beethoven Dec. 20-22: Holiday Pops – An Americana Christmas Dec. 22: Holiday Pops Jan 1: New Year’s Concert Salute to Vienna Jan 11-12: A Return Celebration with Itzhak Perlman Jan. 17: Ballroom with a Twist Jan 24: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and San Diego Symphony

Feb. 1: Fox Theatre Film Series – The Thief of Bagdad Feb. 4: Nicole Cabell Sings Chausson Feb. 7-9: Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise Feb. 11-12: Moscow Festival Ballet Feb. 14: Tao:Taiko Drummers of Japan Feb. 20: The Ring of Power Feb. 23: The Chieftains – Irish Spectacular Feb. 28-March 2: Wagner’s The Ring Without Words March 3: Martina Filjak Plays Brahms March 13: Beethoven’s Choice March 15: Cirque Mechanics March 21-23: Mozart, Haydn and More March 25: Scharoun Ensemble March 28-29: Peter Nero Plays Gershwin April 5: Pinchas Zukerman and Yefim Bronfman in Recital April 6: SDS With Project Trio! April 12: Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine with San Diego Symphony April 19: Fox Theatre Film Series The Kings of Silent Comedy April 22: The Quint Quintet April 25-26: Beethoven’s Fifth May 2-4: Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony May 9-10: Sheena Easton Sings James Bond May 11: I Love Mother Nature May 15: Rachmaninoff in the Key of Jazz May 16-18: Rachmaninoff ’s Third Piano Concerto May 20: Vadim Repin Performs Bartók May 23-25: Vadim Repin Returns

SECOnD AvEnUE KLEZMER (619) 275-1539 A

bold. uncompromising. theatre

3704 Sixth Avenue 8 San Diego 92103 BOX OFFICE: (619) 600-5020

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 71

>> OP-ED

The Second Hanukkah


or almost a hundred years Jews have been celebrating a second Hanukkah. This came to light when a friend of mine came to me for advice. A producer, he created an animated comedy about six Israeli hamsters who come to the United States to celebrate Hanukkah. It was due to be released on Dec. 8, 2013. The movie would be a success only if it captured the mood of the Hanukkah-December period. The publicity department suddenly realized that in 2013 there would be no real Hanukkah-December period because the holiday ended before the December

shopping frenzy began. The producer came to me with tears in his eyes. Not only for his movie, but because the thought of the Jewish community living through a “No Hanukkah-December” filled him with pain. He talked about the Jewish parents and children not ready to celebrate Hanukkah, the latke boxes on shelves not being used, the toys not bought because it was too late. Feelings of brotherhood would be lost between Christians and Jews when Jews could not reciprocate Christmas invitations with Hanukkah invitations. Imagine donuts drying up in donut shops. Oh, he went on and on with the problems. December would be a dark, lost month. “Don’t worry, this dilemma was confronted around a hundred years ago, and there is a solution to your projected anguish of a dark lost December,” I told him. It seems that in 1918, two groups of people came to the newly appointed senior Rabbi of the oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, and described the problems of Hanukkah starting Nov. 29. One group was from the film industry and the other was from an upscale department store. Leaders of the film industry had made a film on the Maccabees. After looking at the Jewish calendar, they were convinced the film would flop because of the early Hanukkah. The group from the department store explained to the rabbi that without Hanukkah, not enough goods would be sold in department stores during the Christmas period in December to make a proper donation to his congregation. The Rabbi studied, prayed, thought and then decided and declared that any year when Hanukkah was concluded by Dec. 11 would be proclaimed a “No Hanukkah-December” year. Looking at his calendar he noted that the situation of a “No HanukkahDecember” occurred about every three to five years. The Rabbi then pronounced: “When there is a ‘No Hanukkah-December’ we will add a second Hanukkah.” He chose the 18th of Tevet for the first candle because 18 stands for “life.” He wanted to add life to the holiday season. I believe whenever this situation occurs, we should celebrate 72 l December 2013

“Electronica,” a second Hanukkah starting on the 18th of Tevet. Adding a second Hanukkah follows the tradition of increasing a mitzvah. It is a second chance for rededication and renewal. During “Electronica,” wax, oil or digital candles can be lit. Virtual menorahs around the world can unite families, friends and groups of similar interests. When the candles glow, “Electronica” games can be played by children and adults. The games should be non-violent and emphasize positive values. This year, on Dec. 21, “Electronica” and the Winter Solstice could be celebrated together. Everyone can dedicate time and energy to projects making the world a better place. So, in the spirit of “Electronica,” let there be peace and Hanukkah for all men, women and children in the world and for the world.” Hag Samayah, v’Hanukkah Madlik. ______________________

rabbi leinow (619) 992-2367 (760) 727-5333

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 73


Networking for a New Cause Camp Mountain Chai welcomes new executive director BY NATALIE JACOBS


lthough Camp Mountain Chai has been operating in San Diego and the mountains of the San Bernardino Forest since 2004, the camp is still considered one of the newest in the country, with some of its more established neighbors boasting tenures 50 years or more. The camp, now transitioning from infancy to adolescence, has brought on a new executive director to support this development. “We’re calling this Camp Mountain Chai 2.0,” says Zim Zimmerman, the camp’s leader since mid-March. “It took the first seven or eight years to get established in the community and find our base, develop a staffing structure for the camp, and now we’re trying to move the entire organization forward.” Zimmerman comes to Camp Mountain Chai from Colorado, where he was director of Shwayder Camp, owned and operated by the Denver Reform synagogue Temple Emanuel. Though he attended both Ramah and Shwayder camps as a child, he didn’t go directly into camp administration – he came back to camp and work with Jewish youth after running a highly successful computer networking company in the Denver area. “I kind of missed having the people factor in my work,” Zimmerman says of his decision to enter the world of Jewish camp. I had been doing 74 l December 2013

the computer networking for about six years. I was very successful at it but it was paying the wallet, not paying the heart, not doing anything for the soul.” While working with computers, Zimmerman continued volunteering with youth, particularly the URJ’s North American Federation of Temple Youth, so when he realized he wasn’t feeling satisfied, he weighed his feelings in both directions. When the scales tipped pretty heavily toward the youth work, he called up Temple Emanuel, got the job at Shwayder and switched his life around. After 11 years with Shwayder, he’s uprooted his life again, but this time only geographically. He has spent the past few months at Camp Mountain Chai getting familiar with the San Diego Jewish community and restructuring some of the ways the camp operates. This year, registration for summer sessions opened in October as opposed to December, and they’re working to make sure the community knows that the campgrounds are available as a retreat center when not being used in the summer for camp. “The Jewish community here [as opposed to others that I have been a part of ] actually seems to function with many more partnerships,” he says. “I think partnerships here are absolutely the key to success. I’ve been extremely lucky to have been

welcomed so warmly by so many other executives who have reached out to me and sat down with me and helped me learn about the community. It’s just an incredibly welcoming place. People are very cooperative in their approach to Judaism and they celebrate our differences rather than letting them get between us.” To learn more about Camp Mountain Chai, visit A

Zim Zimmerman

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 75

in the kitchen WITH


Gila's stuffed peppers with Goat cheese

H 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.

ome kitchens are intimate places. The character of a kitchen reflects a person, a family, a culture, and a generations-old culinary history. We are each the product of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents; our cooking can’t help but be shaped by our diverse backgrounds and cultures. I find it such a treat to visit the kitchens of friends and learn their family recipes firsthand. A few years ago, on a trip to Israel, I was invited to have dinner with our friend Gila Ronel and learn about her family’s Jewish vegetarian food tradition. Gila lives in the old port city of Jaffa on the outskirts of Tel Aviv with her husband and her dog Bonnie. Professionally, Gila keeps herself quite busy – she’s a doula (midwife) for expectant mothers, and she helps manage a center for family health in Israel. She’s also a vegetarian with a wealth of nutritional knowledge, particularly when it comes to holistic healing foods. For many Jews, the choice to become vegetarian is based on morality; others do it for health reasons. Many find that it makes keeping kosher easier, since it eliminates the concern of mixing milk and meat. There are also spiritual reasons for Jewish vegetarianism. In Deuteronomy 12:20, people are only begrudgingly allowed to eat meat if they cannot resist the temptation. The Talmud further explains: “The Torah teaches a lesson in moral conduct, that man shall not eat meat unless he has a special craving for it … and shall eat it only occasionally and sparingly.” In Gila’s kitchen, you don’t miss the meat. She approaches vegetarian cuisine with imagination and playfulness, creating dishes that are natural and nourishing. Because she lives in Israel, her recipes incorporate many popular Middle Eastern ingredients – chickpeas, eggplant, lentils, spices. She sprouts her legumes to extract as many nutrients as possible. Gila is a vegetarian for many reasons, but her primary concern is nutrition. She takes a natural, holistic approach to cooking. Many of her ingredients are taken straight from the trees and plants growing just outside her kitchen. As we cooked, she periodically walked me into her garden to collect fresh herbs that she used to season our meal. One of the dishes Gila shared with me was her Stuffed Peppers with Goat Cheese, a simple and tasty recipe that has since become a favorite with my own family. You might be unfamiliar with one of the ingredients

76 l December 2013

in this dish: hyssop. Hyssop is a popular herb in Israel that has grown there since Biblical times. In fact, it is mentioned several times in the Torah. In Leviticus, the priests of the Temple of Solomon use the herb for purification rituals. There are about 10 different varieties of hyssop. Unfortunately, the herb can be difficult to find here in the U.S., particularly the fresh kind. You can sometimes find it in Middle Eastern shops or farmers markets, but I’ve never seen it in my regular grocery store. It is pretty easy to grow in warmer climates, so if you have a garden you might want to consider adding this zesty, earthy herb to your collection. The flavor is similar to a wild oregano, but more intense with a hint of mint. If you can’t find fresh or dry hyssop, I’ve provided a substitution in the recipe. Feel free to adjust the herbs according to taste or what you have in your garden or spice cabinet. I’ve provided dry herb amounts here, but I do recommend you use fresh herbs if possible – they really enhance the natural flavors in this dish. I love these stuffed peppers with goat cheese. I’ve also made them with feta, which is equally yummy. My husband adores this recipe. A special thanks to Gila for sharing it with us!

Note: You will need to roast bell peppers for this recipe. To learn how, visit and search for “How to Roast Bell Peppers” for a video tutorial.

Stuffed PePPerS with Goat CheeSe Ingredients 5 large red bell peppers, roasted and peeled 10 tbsp (about 8 oz.) soft goat cheese (or substitute feta) Extra virgin olive oil ¼ tsp allspice 2 tsp fresh minced hyssop (or ¾ tsp dry hyssop – see substitution note) 2 tsp fresh minced sage (or ¾ tsp dry sage) 1 ½ tsp fresh minced oregano (or ½ tsp dry oregano) ½ tsp fresh minced thyme leaves (or a pinch of dry thyme) 1 tbsp sesame seeds Salt

Photos by tori Avey

Gila in the garden.

total time: 45-50 minutes Servings: 5 Kosher Key: Dairy Take a roasted bell pepper and place it on a cutting board. Slice the pepper vertically from top to bottom and spread it open. Cut the pepper flesh in half, slicing it from top to bottom, so you have two equal-sized pieces of roasted pepper. Repeat this process for the remaining bell peppers. You will end up with 10 pieces of roasted pepper. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a small baking dish with extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle the oiled surface with salt. Place one of the roasted half-peppers on a cutting board with the inner side facing up (the side that used to have skin on it should face downward). Form 1 tbsp of the cheese into an oblong oval shape. Press the cheese into the center of the pepper. Wrap the ends of the pepper up around the cheese and pull the sides across till it makes a little package. Turn the stuffed pepper over and

place it into the bottom of your baking dish, seam side down. Repeat the process until all the pepper halves are stuffed with cheese. Sprinkle the tops of the stuffed peppers with allspice. Mix the fresh or dried herbs together in a small bowl till well combined. Sprinkle the herbs evenly over the top of the peppers. In a skillet, toast 1 tbsp sesame seeds over medium heat till lightly browned. Sprinkle the toasted seeds on top of the herbs. Alternatively, you can use pre-roasted sesame seeds or gomasio. Drizzle the tops of the peppers lightly with olive oil and sprinkle the entire surface with salt to taste. Place the dish in the oven and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

SubStItutIoN Note: If you can’t find fresh or dry hyssop, add 1 tsp sage and 1 tsp minced fresh mint to the mixture. Feel free to adjust the herbs according to taste or what you have in your garden or spice cabinet. A


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Winter Wonders by eileen sondak •

‘Tis the season of holiday bonbons. It’s the perfect time to take the youngsters to a live performance. There’s also a lot on tap for music aficionados this month, and don’t forget to check out the newest exhibitions at local museums. The Old Globe’s annual production of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (with delightful music by Mel Marvin) is capturing hearts again this year. The show will continue on the Globe’s Main Stage through Dec. 28. The La Jolla Playhouse is presenting “Side Show” (directed by Academy Award-winner Bill Condon) at the Mandell Weiss Theatre through Dec. 15. Based on a true story of conjoined twins, “Side Show” is a poignant tale about the girls’ transformation from circus novelties

to famous stage stars. This new take on the musical is creating quite a stir in La Jolla, so catch it if you can. Cygnet continues its Yuletide tradition through Dec. 24 with “A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play.” The show (which takes place in 1944) tells the Dickens tale as a radio program, with vintage commercials, live sound effects, and holiday music. The Lamb’s Players is showcasing its annual holiday production, “The Festival of Christmas” through Dec. 29 at its Coronado home. The Lamb’s will also continue its holiday tradition for the 20th year at the Hotel del Coronado. “An American Christmas” is a dinner and musical set in 1913. The dinner show is slated for Dec. 16-24. If you missed “The 39 Steps” during its successful

“An American christmas,” continues the Lamb’s holiday tradition at the hotel del coronado Dec. 16-24.

Symphony Hall will ring out with music and song this month. The Beethoven Festival, featuring Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony,” will thrill audiences Dec. 6-8.

80 l December 2013

Photo by ken jAcques


Photo by kevin berne



run in Coronado, you might be able to get in step with the Hitchcock thriller (turned delightful spoof ) at the downtown Horton Grand Hotel. It’s slated to close Dec. 1, but don’t be surprised if it gets an extension. Symphony Hall will ring out with music and song this month. The Beethoven Festival, featuring Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony,” will thrill audiences Dec. 6-8. Ken-David Masur will conduct, and the San Diego Master Chorale will perform, along with several soloists. “Bronfman Plays Beethoven” is headed to the Hall Dec. 13-15, with Maestro Jahja Ling back on the podium. Pianist Yefim Bronfman will be the featured guest artist. Works by Humperdinck and Schumann are on the program as well. City Ballet is unwrapping its annual production of “The Nutcracker” for two weekends of performances (Dec. 13-15 and 1922). The ballet, danced to a live orchestra, will barrett Martin, emily Padgett, erin Davie and Matthew hydzik in La jolla Playhouse’s be performed at the Spreckels Theatre, and kids re-imagined production of “side show,” running through Dec. 15. can dine with the Sugar Plum Fairy before each Saturday matinee. A champagne reception on conceived, written, and performed by local continue through the end of December. On Dec. stage follows the Saturday evening performance. California Ballet launches its own “Nutcracker” favorite Phil Johnson and Omri Schein. Following 20, the Fleet will unveil the West Coast premiere season at the Civic Theatre Dec. 14-15. Cal on Dec. 16-17 is “Dickens Unscripted,” an of “Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the Ballet’s long-running “Nutcracker” will be improvisational piece culled from Dickens’ work. World.” The exhibition celebrates music from San Diego Musical Theatre will bring its classical to heavy metal and will stay put through accompanied by the Classic Philharmonics the “White Christmas” musical back to the North April 6. first weekend. When it returns to the Civic Park Theatre Dec. 12-22. With its wonderful The San Diego Museum of Art will feature Dec. 18-22, the San Diego Symphony will be in songs by Irving Berlin and an accomplished cast, “Women, War and Industry,” an exhibition of the pit. Conductor John Stubbs will lead both works primarily from the permanent collection. orchestras in the magnificent Tchaikovsky score. the show is a treat for audiences of all ages. Moxie’s production of “Skinless,” directed by That show, which includes posters, photographs, La Jolla Music Society continues its 45th season artistic director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, will and some works by contemporary artists, will on Dec. 7 with Haochen Zhang performing at continue its run in Rolando through Dec. 8. be on display through Feb. 18. The museum’s Sherwood Auditorium as part of the Frieman The Balboa Theatre has two diverse offerings Asian galleries are showcasing “Art of East Asia,” Family Piano Series. The program will include works by Brahms, Beethoven, Lowell in store for local audiences this month. Margaret a reinstallation of Asian art from the permanent Cho will perform on Dec. 5, followed on Dec. 8 collection. Liebermann, Debussy, and Stravinsky. The Air and Space Museum is highlighting a J*Company will give the small-fry set by travel guru Rick Steves. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” exhibition for the first something to celebrate this month. “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” is headed for the La Jolla featuring “Mysteries of the Unseen World,” a time in 80 years. Unfortunately, this fascinating, JCC Dec. 6-15, and it should charm young and film that shows how cutting-edge technology one-of-a-kind show will wind down at the end has given us an amazing look at the microscopic of this year. old alike. The Birch Aquarium will continue its “Sea North Coast Rep is featuring the world world. A new exhibition, titled “Unseen premiere of a holiday musical Dec. 11-28. “The Science,” includes “Molecules in Motion” and Days” series – an opportunity to explore local Humbug’s Holiday Spectacular” will entertain “Nano.” The Center is showcasing “On the tide pools with Aquarium naturalists – through kids and their parents at NCR’s Solana Beach Fly: Technology Takes off ” (an exploration March 2. A home during school vacation. The show was of aerodynamics). This high-flying show will

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 81

n For Your InFormatIon What's happening in your neck of the woods


Bronfman Accepting Youth Fellowship Applications

SDJJ Writer Wins Press Club Award In late October, San Diego Jewish Journal writer Pat Launer was awarded first place at the San Diego Press Club Awards for her piece “Love, Murder and a Couple of Mensches” (SDJJ, March, 2013). We are lucky to have Launer as a contributor and we congratulate her on this honor. To read the piece, visit and search by title. Catch more of Launer’s theater reviews on KSDS radio, 88.3 FM at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday mornings.

The Bronfman Youth Fellowship in Israel is accepting applications for the 28th year of its program. Each year, Bronfman selects 26 North American teenagers for a year of academic study which includes a five-week trip to Israel. Applications are accepted online until Jan. 6, 2014, for students who self-identify as Jewish and who will be in the 12th grade in the fall of 2014. Visit for eligibilty details and to apply.

Dr. Ruth to Speak at Women's Philanthropy Event

This year’s Jewish Federation Women’s Philanthropy event will welcome iconic sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer as keynote speaker. More than 1,000 women will gather for this lunch event Jan. 12 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The event will support the Women’s Philanthropy OPTIONS campaign, celebrating its 21st year in 2014. “We have no doubt that Dr. Ruth’s presence will add both spice and substance to this year’s OPTIONS,” Lisa Kornfield, Women’s Philanthrophy campaign chair, said. “We are looking forward to Dr. Ruth helping us welcome women of all ages; those who are new to Federation as well as those who are veterans in our community.” Westheimer, who grew up in Switzerland and Germany before moving to the U.S. to study education, began speaking about human sexuality on radio and television in the 1980s and went on to write many books on what she has labeled “sexual literacy.” Tickets are $36 and attendees will be asked to make a meaningful gift to the OPTIONS campaign. Register for the event at options2014.

CJC Lectures feature Rev. Canon Jack E. Lindquist

The Center for Jewish Culture’s lecture series continues with two presentations of “The Holocaust and Churches in Nazi Germany: Examples of Complicity and Resistance.” Rev. Canon Jack E. Lindquist will discuss the Third Reich and the complicity of the Lutheran and Catholic churches and their leaders in the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust. The lecture will take place at the Carlsbad Dove Library on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. and again at the Coronado Library on Dec. 18 at 10:30 a.m. The series continues in January with Professor Steven Cassedy discussing “Leonard Bernstein: From Jewish Roots to Broadway.” Find details at All lectures are free and open to the public.

82 l December 2013

n news

Brandeis to Host University on Wheels

Seeking Teen Philanthropists The Helen Diller Family Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, through Jan. 5, 2014. This $36,000 award recognizes up to 10 Jewish teens who are spearheading volunteer service projects in their communities and beyond. Started by San Francisco Bayarea philanthropist Helen Diller, the awards have been supporting Jewish teens since 2007. Teens may self-nominate or be nominated by any community member, but nominations by family members are not accepted. For details, visit

The Brandeis National Committee chapters in San Dieguito and Rancho Bernardo will host Brandeis University’s annual University on Wheels luncheon program on Jan. 8 at 11:15 a.m. at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club in Solana Beach. The program will include Dr. Melissa Kosinski-Collins, associate professor of Biology, speaking about the cause and effect of neurological diseases. For more information, contact Dorothy at (760) 942-1941.

Calif. Law Enforcement Visits Israel

2013 Diller Teen winners

Engaging Jewish Artists Asylum Arts, a global network of Jewish artists, was launched in New York at the end of October with the goal of connecting Jewish artists and cultural organizations around the world. “Empowering Jewish artists from around the globe to advance their professional careers and connections,” the group’s leader, Rebecca Guber said, “helps to broaden Jewish culture and the collective Jewish narrative.” The pilot phase is supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network. Asylum will host retreats and offer small grants to artists in its network to help move innovative projects forward. To learn more, visit Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 83

PhoTo by Tim Williamson

During the week of Oct. 7, a delegation of West Coast law enforcement executives traveled to Israel to participate in a counter-terrorism training program sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. During the week, the delegates met with security experts, intelligence analysts and commanders in the Israel National Police and Israel Defense Forces to learn about effective methods of terror attack prevention and response. “As people living under constant threat of attack,” Tammy Gillies, ADL San Diego regional director, said, “the Israelis are leading experts in security enforcement and response strategies.” The program, now in its fifth year, focused on operational responses to terrorism, border and airport security, maintaining safety and access to holy sites, the role of technology in policing and use of media during a crisis. Among the participants were executives from La Mesa, Oceanside, Escondido and San Diego police departments along with the San Diego County Sherriff’s department and others from Orange County, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo and Seattle.

n news

Community Members Honored as Heroes

sy brenner and yale strom

On Sunday, Nov. 17, Hillel at SDSU celebrated the organization’s 16th annual Mitzvah Day with service projects throughout San Diego County. Alumni and current students were invited to choose one of a handful of projects to participate in with friends in both San Diego and Los Angeles. One Mitzvah project for alumni took place at the San Diego Peace Garden in City Heights where the group helped to build, harvest and plant the garden for the winter season. For more information on Hillel at SDSU’s projects, visit

PhoTo courTesy JFs

As part of their Local Heroes program, Union Bank and KPBS spent the year honoring leaders in a variety of ethnographic categories. Back in May, for Jewish American Heritage Month, musician Yale Strom and activist Sy Brenner were honored for their inspiring work in the Jewish community and beyond. On Nov. 13, they along with the full cadre of honorees were welcomed at the Museum of Contemporary Art for the awards ceremony.

Mitzvah Day

The Gala committee of Jewish Family service held its kick-off meeting on oct. 30 with all 22 members in attendance.

Jewish Family Service’s Annual Heart and Soul Gala will be held Sunday, March 9, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. This year’s theme, Believe in Love, celebrates the accomplishments of Alice and Phil Cohn, Carol and Rick Kornfield, and Karen Foster Silberman for their support of various JFS projects. The gala will feature an acoustic performance by Grammynominated musician Matisyahu. All proceeds from the event benefit the more than 50 programs of Jewish Family Service. To purchase tickets and learn more about the event, call (858) 637-3057 or visit

PhoTo courTesy masa israel Journey

PhoTo by melissa Jacobs

Save the Date for Heart and Soul

84 l December 2013

Connecting Jews from the Former Soviet Union

A cooperative effort between three groups working in Israel launched recently to strengthen the Jewish identity of young Jews from the former Soviet Union. The collaborative effort between The Genesis Philanthropy Group, Masa Israel Journey and the Israeli Roots Odyssey (Masa Yisareli in Hebrew) will take groups on a week-long trip through Israel to explore their personal connections to the Jewish people, the land of Israel and their Jewish heritage. The first group consists of 220 young people who will participate in the trip this coming year. An English-language website is currently under construction.

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TAKE NOTE december 1-31 by natalie jacobs


ast month, we attended an after-hours showing of “Mysteries of the Unseen World,” a National Geographic film that explores everything “too fast, too slow or too small” for the human eye to see, at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. The film was fascinating! San Diego native Louie Schwartzberg directed the film, using high-speed and timelapse photography, electron microscopy and nanotechnology. The film is stunning to see on the 76-foot Heikoff Giant Dome Theater screen. It will run for an open engagement at the science center, and it’s fun for the whole family! Look for showtimes at The Fleet also runs a Saturday Science Club for Girls where they invite fifth- through eighth-grade girls to participate in hands-on science activities on the second Saturday of each month. Saturday, Dec. 14, the workshop topic is “Chemistry of Cosmetics.” Girls will discover how chemists determine the ingredients for new cosmetics, they will perform tests on product samples and even mix their own concoctions to take home. The workshop runs noon-2 p.m. Cost is $12 for Fleet Center members and $14 for nonmembers. To register, call (619) 238-1233, ext. 806. Later in the month, the Science Center will open a new exhibit called “Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World.” Making its West Coast premiere, the exhibit covers the science, sound, history and cultural impact of the guitar. Starting Dec. 20, there will be more than 60 instruments on display, including the world’s largest playable guitar (which museum visitors can actually play!). The exhibit will also cover how an amplifier works and how different types of wood affect a guitar’s sound. Get more information on the exhibit at At the JCC this month, audiences can enjoy a different type of lesson. On Dec. 9, the Center for Jewish Culture’s Distinguished Speaker Series presents Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israeli Religious Action Center (IRAC). She will discuss gender segregation and the struggle for Jews to be able to practice a broad spectrum of Judaism in Israel in a talk titled “Between the Stones and a Hard Place: The Challenge to Gender Equality and Pluralism in Israel.” The evening begins at 7 p.m. at the JCC’s David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre. Tickets are $12 for JCC members and $15 for nonmembers. Purchase over the phone at (858) 3621348 or online at Also at the JCC this month, art lovers and appreciators of Jewish educators are invited to an opening reception with the artists in the latest Gotthelf Art Gallery exhibit smART: The Art of Jewish Educators on Wednesday, Dec. 11. More than 15 educators will be showing pieces that include jewelry, paintings, mixed media, sculpture and photography. The exhibit runs through February. The opening reception is free and open to the public starting at 7 p.m. A

86 l December 2013

NOTEWORTHY mark your calendar.

ANAT HOFFMAN Monday, Dec. 9 7 p.m. Garfield Theatre at the JCC

smART: THE ART OF JEWISH EDUCATORS Wednesday, Dec. 11 7 p.m. Gotthelf Art Gallery, LFJCC Campus

SATURDAY SCIENCE CLUB FOR GIRLS: CHEMISTRY OF COSMETICS Saturday, Dec. 14 noon Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

GUITAR: THE INSTRUMENT THAT ROCKED THE WORLD Friday, Dec. 20 10 a.m. Reuben H. Fleet Science Center


SENIOR EVENTS december 1-31

Lawrence Family JCC 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla Contact Melanie Rubin for details or to R.S.V.P. (858) 362-1141. Annual Hanukkah Party Thursday, Dec. 5, noon Celebrate the 8th day of the Festival of Lights with latkes and entertainment by Sebastian Winston. R.S.V.P. by Dec. 1 Be Friends with Your iPhone Wednesday, Dec. 11, 1:30 p.m. Learn the basics about your iPhone: pictures, texting, searching, e-mail and apps for seniors. R.S.V.P. by Dec. 4. Music and Opera Appreciation Class Tuesdays, 9:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Free student-led classes during the Fall semester. Call Melanie at (858) 362-1141 for details. 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. Hanukkah Celebration Wednesday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m. Lunch available at noon with reservation. Year in Review Thursday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m. Review important events of 2013, exercise and dance. Lunch available at noon with reservation. New Year’s Celebration Tuesday, Dec. 31, 10 a.m. With music of Cam and Dolly Vidal. 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. “The Little Mermaid,” by J* Company Sunday, Dec. 8, bus leaves at 12:15 p.m. Cost is $33 due by Dec. 3. Olympic Training Center Tour Friday, Dec. 13, bus leaves at 10 a.m. Cost is $25 due by Dec. 9. Strauss Symphony Wednesday, Jan. 1, bus leaves at 1:30 p.m. Cost is $38 due by Dec. 13. JFS No. County Inland Center 15905 Pomerado Road, Poway Call (858) 674-1123 for details or to R.S.V.P. Hanukkah Celebration Wednesday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m.


Monday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. Congressman Scott Peters discusses the Affordable Care Act Call (858) 674-1123

With vocalist/guitarist, Peter Seltser. Lunch with latkes and jelly donuts available for $7 at noon. Congressman Scott Peters discusses the Affordable Care Act Monday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. Flight on Film with Historian Mark Carlson Wednesday, Dec. 18, 11 a.m. 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. Herbs from Bibilical Times with Leslee Willes Tuesday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m. Bring in the New Year with the Music Station Tuesday, Dec. 31, 1 p.m. Festive lunch at noon includes hats, blowers and fun. R.S.V.P. Dec. 23.

JFS College Avenue Center 4855 College Ave., San Diego Call (858) 637-3270 for details or to R.S.V.P. Hanukkah Lunch and Party Wednesday, Dec. 4, 12:30 p.m. Latkes, sufganyot and menorahs, with music from Yale Strom, Elizabeth Schwartz and Lou Fanucchi. What is CalFresh? Monday, Dec. 9, 12:30 p.m. Details on the nutrition assistance program Me, My Family and I: An Introduction to Genealogy Wednesday, Dec. 11, 9:30 a.m. Workbook fee is $5 for members and $8 for nonmembers. Congregation Beth El 8660 Gilman Dr., La Jolla Call (858) 452-1734 for details or to R.S.V.P. Movie with Laurie Baron: The Infidel Tuesday, Dec. 10, 11:30 a.m. A

Want More Calendar? The full version of San Diego’s most complete Jewish events calendar is now online at

Send submissions to Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 87



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SETTlInG A lovEd onE'S fInAnCIAl AffAIRS

Sylvia Geffen Vice President – Investments 858-456-7705 Anna M. Scherer, ChfC® First Vice President – Investments 858-456-7706 Gregg Shallan, MBA, CfP®, ChfC® First Vice President – Investments 858-456-7701


ealing with your grief when a loved one dies is hard enough. But often you may find yourself in a situation where you have to deal with financial and investment matters as well. The feelings of uncertainty about what to do next and who to consult can be overwhelming. The following suggestions may help guide you through the process. GATHERInG THE PIECES The first time you’re involved in settling a loved one’s financial affairs, the many details you must address may seem bewildering and time-consuming. As a first step, you may wish to consult your attorney regarding important deadlines and procedures; in some cases, an attorney’s assistance is required. Regardless, there are certain administrative tasks you should complete before too much time lapses. Obtain death certificate copies. Order 10 to 20 copies. The funeral home can help you obtain them for filing insurance and benefits claims, transferring assets, closing bank and credit card accounts, etc. If you find that you need more copies later on, additional documents can be obtained online at Locate the will. It’s important to find the will if the person who has died (the decedent) has left one. The will names a personal representative, also called the executor, who may be a family member, or an institution, such as a bank. Generally, the personal representative must file the will in probate court or have an attorney file it, if the state requires. In general, the will should be filed regardless of whether the estate will be subject to probate. If the will is found in a safedeposit box at the decedent’s bank, the bank will usually file it with the probate court. You may want the personal representative and his or her attorney to be present when the safe-deposit box is opened to inventory its contents. Apply for a taxpayer ID number. The personal representative must apply for a taxpayer ID number for the estate using IRS Form

92 l December 2013

SS-4. (Call 800-829-4933 or apply online at to expedite the process.) This number must be included on tax returns, bank and brokerage statements, and other documents filed concerning the estate. If you fail to include a taxpayer ID number when the IRS requires it, you may be fined. Notify Social Security. If the decedent was receiving Social Security benefits, you must notify his or her local Social Security office. Benefits to the decedent must stop; benefit overpayments after an individual’s death will result in a difficult repayment process. Contact employer(s). Contact the decedent’s current or former employer(s) for information on life insurance policies, health insurance coverage, union death benefits, pension plans and retirement plan benefits. Company benefits departments can instruct you on the procedures for obtaining proper forms and filing claims. As you begin the process of gathering the documents necessary to settle your loved one’s financial affairs, be on the lookout for documents that may affect the disposition of the estate or the division of assets. You should consult an attorney to learn the items required based on the decedent and the circumstances. Your check list of documents should include:

• Income tax returns • Gift tax returns • Safe-deposit box contents • Beneficiary designations • Automobile titles, registrations, loan/lease agreements • Transfer-on-death (TOD) agreements • Health insurance information • Birth certificate, marriage certificate(s), Social Security card • Military discharge papers • List of advisors • Contact list of family members and friends (address book)

• Will • Letter of instruction • Trust documents • IRA/retirement plan documents • Pension plan/401(k) statements • Life insurance policies • Bank, credit union and credit card account statements • Annuity contracts • Stock option/deferred-compensation agreements • Deeds to real estate (recent mortgage statement) • List of assets • List of liabilities

Wells Fargo Advisors does not render legal or tax advice. While this information is not intended to replace your discussions with your tax/legal advisor, it may help you to comprehend the tax implications of your investments and plan tax-efficiently going forward. The material is distributed solely for informational purposes and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy.

To help you determine the appropriate next steps in this process, talk with a Financial Advisor, attorney and tax/legal professionals for guidance, and call for the free reports, Guide for personal representatives and Guide for successor trustees by contacting Gregg Shallan at Wells Fargo Advisors at (858) 456-7701. __________________ This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of The Shallan, Geffen, and Scherer Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in La Jolla at (858) 456-7701.

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANKGUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE. Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered brokerdealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. CAR 0213-02558

desert life

Palm SPringS by Pamela Price

Sweet Sisters Sugar the Desert Sisters run the Just So Sweet Shop together

muffi mendelson and ronna silberman are known as “The sweet sisters.”


t’s “brookees,” “dollees” and rugelach in four flavors if you happen to meet Muffi Mendelson and Ronna Silberman, two enterprising women nicknamed “The Sweet Sisters.” It was by sheer accident I met both at Sunnylands, the Annenberg Estate in Rancho Mirage, during a chamber of commerce mixer. Despite the fact that there were more than 40 restaurants and chefs showcasing their cuisine, it was the “Just So Sweet Shop … just so good!” booth that was noticeably popular. After tasting their homemade caramel corn and toffee, I could see that the wait in line was worthwhile. “Whenever we got together it seemed we were baking!” Mendelson says. “We bake the desserts we have grown up with and love.” A retired businesswoman, Mendelson resides in Palm Desert. Her sister, a retired educator, lives in Fresno, Calif. A year ago, they put their sweet heads together and opened a business featuring their original creations such as the

“brookee,” a combination cookie and brownie taken to the next level with the addition of their homemade toffee. The “dollee,” a graham cracker crust filled with butterscotch, white, dark and milk chocolate chips, coconut and almonds, then drizzled with their signature toffee, was born shortly after. Eventually, the sisters connected with the Share Kitchen, a Cathedral City-based nonprofit organization based on the simple philosophy of “sharing” that promotes business development, event space and, most important for fledgling foodies, a shared commercial kitchen. The heat was on and the sisters got down to business fast, providing their desserts to private parties, including an exclusive event during the Coachella Valley Music Festival in April. The sisters perfect the art of holiday baked goods, too. “We are perfecting rugelach now with four flavors: apple cinnamon, chocolate walnut, apricot pecan and piña colada,” Silberman says. “I credit my Aunt Anna, my grandmother Fanny’s sister, for the recipes. She used to bake for our family when we lived on Chicago’s South Side. [It’s because of her that] cream cheese is still used in our pastry dough.” The sisters, who are 16 months apart in age, can finish each other’s sentences. They say they learned how to bake because their mother, an attorney, was always busy and it was a way to spend time with other family members. “Today, we still enjoy baking together and since we are retired, we decided to combine our talents, came up with a business plan and turned on the oven!” Mendelson says. Children and adults like the sisters’ caramel corn and toffee for holidays. They use butter, sugar and natural products to retain a genuine homemade flavor. Served platter style, their desserts can be arranged to suit any occasion. Through their website, people across the United States can enjoy some of the sisters’ sweet treats all year round. If your sweet tooth craves a dessert now, visit the sisters at A Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 93




EVERY SUNDAY, MONDAY & TUESDAY Buy 1 delicious pizza & get 2nd pizza FREE!

Dine-in only. Must purchase 2 beverages. Can not be combined with other offers.



BOTTLE OF WINE SELECT WINE ONLY Offers cannot be combined.




LUNCH OR DINNER With purchase of two beverages. Max value $8 Lunch. $16 Dinner. Offers cannot be combined.

$10 OFF $50 BILL

ANY TAKEOUT ORDER OVER $25 Offers cannot be combined. Villa Capri Italian Kitchen 8935 Towne Centre Dr., #113 San Diego, CA

Kislev•Tevet 5774 l 95

San Diego Jewish Journal - December 2013  
San Diego Jewish Journal - December 2013  

The San Diego Jewish Journal is the pioneer Jewish lifestyles magazine on the West Coast. It was founded in October 2001 by Dr. Mark Moss an...