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Fresh from triumphant runs in Los Angeles and New York, comes this fascinating, skillfully wrought family drama that dazzled critics and audiences alike A finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize, MARJORIE PRIME is set in the near future, a time when artificial intelligence has reached new heights, and lifelike robots provide companionship for the lonely. This smart, thought-provoking play about memory is guaranteed to inspire stimulating conversations long after you leave the theatre.
Legendary playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America) displays his brilliance in this wildly inventive tour de force, which celebrates the magic and illusory nature of theatre. Using crackling, contemporary language and sheer artistry, Kushner creates his most joyfully theatrical play: a wildly entertaining tale of passion, regret, love and magic. THE ILLUSION transports you on a wondrous journey filled with laughter and a few tears along the way.
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Paying a visit to Vista's only Jewish preschool during their annual holiday party means rainbows and handmade treats.
Business networking for high schoolers and how to market Israel to Generation Z.
Marta Fuchs and her mother, a Holocaust survivor, always had difficulty getting along. Now that her mother has passed away, how does Marta feel? It's complicated.
SDJJ's advice columnist shares a personal story about her relationship to her deafness, and how sometimes you don't know what you've lost until it returns.
Don't let the title turn you off, "Bad Jews" is a rich play about young people and their connection to family history, writes Pat Launer.
8 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
MONTHLY COLUMNS 12 The Starting Line 22 Parenting 24 Israeli Lifestyle 26 Aging AROUND TOWN 18 Our Town 20 The Scene 68 What's Goin' On 74 Synagogue Life IN EVERY ISSUE 14 Mailbag 16 What’s Up Online 70 News 72 Shabbat Sheet ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: 28 EDUCATION:
Meet San Diego Jewish Academy's new Israeli music instructor.
Checking on the StandWithUs high school internship program.
How to help your student earn college admission.
How parents can stay sane during homework help.
Soille alum honored for her work upholding Zionism around the world.
Rabbi Yael Ridberg offers insight into the Torah's perspective on longterm relationships.
Bulgaria revitalizes its relationships with the Jewish community.
Local Holocaust survivor Ruth Sax shares memories from a life well lived.
Exploring the two-way-street that runs between a mentor and her little pal.
How Laurie Coskey has connected social justice to a long career.
That time when Rabbi Jacob Rupp chose fatherhood over rabbihood.
Can Yiddish words change the way we feel about our bodies?
How and why Sarah Dolgen Shaftel is planning the San Diego March for Women's Rights.
The Seacrest Gala is right around the corner - read what's new this year.
Yemenite soup to warm your soul. Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 9
are to to choices, You You are going to have to make somesome choices, You are going going to have have to make make some choices, but you don’t have to make them alone. but you have to make them alone. but don’t yougoing don’t have make them alone. You are to have totomake some choices,
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You are goingdifficult to have to make some choices, Changing jobs can bePlans but we are with you every step of the way. Retirement Retirement Plans Retirement Plans but you don’t have to make them alone. Life/Disability Life/Disability Insurance Retirement Plans Insurance Life/Disability Insurance You are going to have Changing jobs can be difficult but weto aremake with you some every stepchoices, of the way. Life/Disability Insurance Investment Strategies Investment Strategies Investment Strategies
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF • Natalie Jacobs CREATIVE DIRECTOR • Derek Berghaus ASSISTANT EDITOR • Brie Stimson ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR • Eileen Sondak OFFICE MANAGER • Ronnie Weisberg
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS 12531 High Bluff Drive, STE 400 12531 High Bluff Drive, STE 400 San Diego, 92130 12531 High Bluff Drive, 400 12531 12531 HHigh H igh igh BBluff Bluff luff Drive, DCA D rive, rive, Sigh TE SSTE TE 4B 400 00 12531 STE 400 Tori Avey, Betsy Baranov, Linda Bennett, Eva Beim, Judith Fein 12531 H luff D rive, S TE 4 00 12531 High Bluff Drive, STE 400 San Diego, CA 92130 858-523-7904 San San D Diego, iego, CCA CA A 992130 92130 2130 San Diego, CA 92130 San Diego, San Diego, CA 92130 858-523-7904 San Diego, CDrive, A 92130 (Senior Travel Correspondent), Michael Fox, Pat Launer, Sharon 12531 High www.liberlincolnwmg.com 12531 High Bluff Drive, STE 400 Bluff STE 400 858-532-7904 858-532-7904 858-‐ 5 23-‐ 7 904 858-532-7904 858-‐ 523-‐7904 858-523-7904 www.liberlincolnwmg.com 858-523-7904 858-‐523-‐7904
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Jeffrey R Liber, CFP® Jeffrey Managing R Liber, CFP® Investments Jeffrey Jeffrey RR L iber, LDirectoriber, CFP® CFP® Jeffrey R DirectorLiber, CFP® Managing Investments CA Insurance Lic #0C28496 Managing Managing DD irector-‐ irector-‐ Investments Investments Managing Director- Investments firstname.lastname@example.org CA Insurance Lic #0C28496 CA Insurance ic #0C28496 CA Insurance Lic L#0C28496 Insurance Lic #0C28496 R email@example.com CA firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Jeffrey Liber, CFP® Jeffrey R Liber, CFP® Jeffrey R Liber, CFP®
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Don Lincoln, CFP®, CIMA® www.liberlincolnwmg.com Don Senior Vice PresidentInvestments Don Don LLincoln, incoln, Lincoln, CCFP®, C FP®, FP®, CIMA® CCIMA® IMA® 12531 High Bluff Drive, STE 400 Don Lincoln, CFP®, CIMA® Senior Vice PresidentCA Insurance Lic #0821851 Senior Senior VV ice ice President-‐ President-‐ Investments IInvestments nvestments San Diego, CA 92130 Senior Vice LPresidentInvestments firstname.lastname@example.org CA Insurance Lic ##0821851 0821851 CA IInsurance nsurance ic #0821851 CA Lic 858-523-7904 CA Insurance Lic #0821851 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org 12531Don High Bluff Drive, STECIMA® 400 email@example.com Don Lincoln, CFP®, CIMA® Lincoln, CFP®,
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San Diego, 92130 Katelyn Barr, Alan Moss (Palm Springs) Managing Managing Director- Investments Senior ViceSenior PresidentInvestments DirectorViceCAPresidentDirector-Investments Investments Investments Yesenia Gil Gina Grimmer Managing 858-523-7904 Jeffrey R addell LRaddell iber, CCFP® FP® Don Lincoln, CLic FP®, CIMA® CA Insurance Lic #0821851 CA Insurance Lic #0C28496 CA Insurance Lic #0C28496 CA Insurance CA Insurance Lic #0C28496 #0821851 Client Associate Gina Gina G G rimmer rimmer Registered Client Associate Alissa Alissa W W Jeffrey Liber, Don Lincoln, CFP®, CIMA® Yesenia Gil Gina Grimmer Registered Registered CVice C lient lient AA ssociate ssociate Director-‐ Investments Senior Vice PInvestments resident-‐ Investments Yesenia Fluent in Gil Spanish firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com AVP AVP -‐ R -‐ R egistered egistered CC lient lient AA ssociate ssociate CA insurance Lic #O178195 Gina Grimmer firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Managing Managing DirectorInvestments Senior Presidentjeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org Client Associate Client Associate Registered SAN DIEGO JEWISH JOURNAL CA CA insurance iCA nsurance Lic Lic #I0178195 #nsurance 0178195 email@example.com CA iInsurance nsurance LLic ic ###0C28496 0I18483 CA insurance LLic #0I18483 firstname.lastname@example.org Client Associate Registered Associate Insurance Lic #0821851 CA ICA nsurance ic 0C28496 CA Jeffrey RClient Liber, CFP® Don Lincoln, CFP®, CIMA® Lic #0821851 Fluent in Spanish CA insurance Lic #O178195 Eugenia.email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org CAalissa.email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Fluent in Spanish insurance Lic #0178195 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org (858) 638-9818 • fax: (858) 638-9801 Managing DirectorInvestments Senior Vice President- Investments email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org CA Insurance Lic #0C28496 CA Insurance Lic #0821851 Yesenia GilYesenia Gina Grimmer Gina 5665 Oberlin Drive, Suite 204 • San Diego, CA 92121 Gil Grimmer Gina Grimmer email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Client Associate Registered Client Associate Client Associate Registered Client Registered ClientAssociate Associate Investment Investment and andInsurance Insurance Products: Products offered !NOT FDIC through Insured affiliates: !NO!NOT Bank Guarantee FDIC Insured !MAY !NO Lose Bank Value Guarantee Yesenia Gil Gina Grimmer !MAY Lose Value Fluent in Associate Spanish CA insurance Lic #0178195 Fluent in Spanish& Gina G rimmer CA insurance Lic #0178195 CA insurance LicAssociate #0178195 Client Registered Client @JeffreyLiberWFA @DonLincolnWFA Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is aNOT registered broker-dealer a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Investment and Insurance Products: FDIC Insured and NO Bank Guarantee MAY Lose Fargo Value EDITORIAL: email@example.com Fluent inInsured Spanish Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, SIPC,offered is a registered broker-dealer and firstname.lastname@example.org separate non-bank affiliateNO of Wells Fargo & Company. Company. Yesenia Gil CA insurance Lic Member #O178195 and Insurance through affiliates: NOT FDIC Bank Guarantee email@example.com Gina Grimmer firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Registered Client AProducts ssociate firstname.lastname@example.org Investment ©2009 Wells FargoAdvisors, Advisors,LLC. LLC.All Allrights rightsreserved. reserved.88580 88580–v1 –v1-0312-2590 -0312-2590(e7460) (e7460) ©2009 Wells Fargo MAY Lose Value Wellseugenia.email@example.com Fargo Advisors is a Associate trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC Client Associate firstname.lastname@example.org Registered Client ADVERTISING: email@example.com Investment and Insurance Products: NOT FDIC Insured NO Bank Guarantee MAY Lose Value CA i nsurance L ic # O178195 (c) 2016 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC All Rights reserved 1016-02995 Fluent inLLC, Spanish CA Advisors insuranceisLic #0178195 Fargo a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, Member Jeffrey FINRA/SIPC Liber Don Lincoln CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS: firstname.lastname@example.org Wells Wells email@example.com Fargo Advisors a trade Services, name used byAll Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC firstname.lastname@example.org (c) 2016 Wells Fargois Clearing LLC Rights reserved 1016-02995 email@example.com (c) 2016 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC All Rights reserved 1016-02995 ART DEPARTMENT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Investment and Insurance Products: !NOT FDIC Insured !NO Bank Guarantee !MAY Lose Value InvestmentInvestment and Insurance offered through affiliates: FDICNOT Insured NO Bank Guarantee Investment andProducts Insurance Products offered throughNOT affiliates: NO Bank Guarantee and Insurance Products offered through affiliates: FDIC Insured Guarantee MAY LoseMAY Value Lose MAY LoseValue Value Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Investment and Insurance Products offered through affiliates: NOT FDIC Insured NO Bank Guarantee Investment Insurance Products: NOT FDIC Insured NO Bank Guarantee MAY Lose Value Company. Wells Fargo Advisors is Advisors aAdvisors trade used name by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPCFINRA/SIPC MAY Lose Value name Wells Fargo isaatrade trade used by Wells Wells Fargo Clearing Wells Fargo is by Fargo Clearing Services, ©2009 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Allname rightsused reserved. 88580 –v1 -0312-2590 (e7460) LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC ) 2016 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC Allused Rights reserved 1016-02995 (c)2016 2016Fargo Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC AllFargo Rights reserved Wells Advisors is a trade name by Wells Clearing Services, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC (c) Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC All Rights reserved 1016-02995
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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 ©2016 by San Diego Jewish Journal. The San Diego Jewish Journal is a member of the American Jewish Press Association and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
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THE STARTING LINE by Natalie Jacobs
EDITOR’S LETTER firstname.lastname@example.org
few months ago, Vanity Fair published a “sisters” issue. In it, a handful of famous female siblings contributed essays and personal stories about this very particular kind of relationship. Amy Schumer was the cover story and it made sense because she has a well-known relationship with her sister Kim Caramele – they’re writing partners, Schumer mined parts of their relationship for her movie “Trainwreck” and Caramele often acts as Schumer’s Twitter police when the comic says a little more than she should on the social media site. The stories shared in that issue were all very sweet, but I don’t have a sister, so I felt a bit left out. I did, however, like the idea of dedicating an issue to the pursuit of one subject told through different personal lenses. So in planning for this, our third annual women’s issue, I decided that we could take a page from the Vanity Fair playbook but open it up to relationships more broadly. Here we have personal essays on the obvious kinds of relationships, like those between a mother and daughter or between long-time friends. But what about the things in our lives that we don’t usually think of as co-dependent interactions, like the words we use to describe our bodies, the push and pull of our professions, the Jewish connection to social justice or how a country treats its Jewish community? These too are relationships and they affect us in different ways all the time. And even the essays that may be about the obvious relationships aren’t really what you’d expect either, like the story of Marta Fuchs and her relationship with her mom. This is a brave reflection on a very fraught relationship, made ever more complicated by the fact that Fuchs’s mother was a Holocaust survivor. And the long-term relationship 12 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
perspective is unique because it’s from Rabbi Yael Ridberg who engages in a thorough text study of the Torah and the wisdom it can provide about the human need for ongoing social connection. I should note, although this is the women’s issue, we do have a personal relationship essay from a man, Rabbi Jacob Rupp, who writes candidly about the difficult decision he had to make between being a rabbi and being a father. Pair that with Laurie Coskey’s reflection on her career as head of the United Way in San Diego and any remaining, outdated conventions of gender roles may hopefully be forever flung right out the window. The essays we’ve pulled together from a really exciting group of contributors definitely do not represent an exhaustive list of the different kinds of relationships that exist in our lives, but the simple truths these pieces bring forward make them applicable to more than one kind of affiliation. There’s also something in Sharon Rosen Leib’s column this month that touches on the importance of relationships at this particular point in our collective history. She writes about the need for herself and her fellow Hillary Clinton voters to overcome the urge to think ill of people who voted for Donald Trump. In these deeply divided times, it can be easy to forget that there were once convivial relationships between people of differing political opinions. And, Leib has found, thanks to the wisdom of her teenage daughter, when we look past the political labels we put on ourselves and others we may be able to see through to the other, perhaps more important things that define us. A
New Releases “Waking Lions” The first page of this novel, the author’s first to be published in the U.S., is dripping in the caustic poetry so characteristic of contemporary Israeli writers. From there, Gundar-Goshen weaves an irrisitibly complicated tale. Word on the street is NBC is already adapting it for television.
“The Kurbo Cookbook” Free book alert. This one is a cookbook focusing on “family friendly recipes.” The intro outlines all of the reasons that it’s easy to skimp on healthy home cooked meals with a young family, but, authors Thea Runyan and Arielle Adelman argue that their recipes will help parents dump the cooking excuses down the drain.
“Relax, We’re All Just Making This Stuff Up!” Founder, artistic director and CEO of San Diego’s Finest City Improv, Amy Lisewski, is out with a new non-fiction, self-helpesque book geared for introverts who could benefit from the tools of improvisation to “cultivate more courage and joy” in their lives.
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we’re listening let us know what’s on your mind Did you know?
Send us your comments: firstname.lastname@example.org 5665 Oberlin Dr., Ste 204, San Diego, CA 92121
The San Diego Jewish Journal and The Atlantic magazine have something in common – we both featured stories on the San Diego-based Glenner Center and its pending new reminiscence therapy day center for adults with dementia and Alzheimer's. Ours was featured in the architecture section of our December issue, theirs is in the January/February issue's health section. So, technically, you heard it here first!
ON THE COVER This month's cover image was designed and assembled by local collage artist Andrew McGranahan. His work has been featured in gallery shows, on concert posters and for other local publications throughout San Diego.Follow him on instagram @andrew_mcgranahan.
14 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
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whatâ€™s up on sdjewishjournal.com WOMEN MARCH IN WASHINGTON, SAN DIEGO AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY On the day after the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, women will march on Washington and in cities across the country in an effort to show the strength of the women's rights movement. Locally, the Leichtag Foundation has organized a delegation to go to D.C. and Aviva Paley shared her reasons for why this is so important to her, in our web story. In this magazine, on pg. 58 you'll meet the Jewish woman who is involved in organizing the San Diego solidarity march.
TRUMP NOMINATED DAVID FRIEDMAN AS AMB. TO ISRAEL Continuing with the marathon of cabinet nominations, Trump in December announced bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman as his pick for Amb. to Israel, exposing a riff between Jewish American groups. Details in our online story.
TECH GIANTS AGREE TO SHARE INFO Even before the 2016 election season, social media and under-the-radar online communities were breeding grounds for terrorist sympathies. This announcement between tech giants Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft has critics crying "too little too late" but the four are moving forward with plans to create a shared database of "unique digital fingerprints, called hashes, for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that were removed from their services."
16 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
IS BDS OVER? Many colleges have successfully blocked measures by Students for Justice in Palestine and other pro-Palestinian groups to divest from Israeli companies. Some campuses, like Northwestern, have passed divestment resolutions, it's just that they don't actually result in any divestment. That has some people wondering if the pro-Palestinian groups who have been backing BDS are moving on to more extreme measures to influence Israel sentiment on campuses. JTA's Ben Sales explores, and we've got the story on our website.
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Festival of Lights
our TOWN BY LINDA BENNETT AND BETSEY BARANOV, PHOTOS BY EMILIO AZEVEDO
The fifth annual celebration, Festival Of Lights, for StandWithUs San Diego was held Dec. 3 at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel. The gala, named Voices of Courage, was a smashing success with 500 Jews and non-Jews attending. Jonathan Valverde, and The Hebrew Project served as the evening’s entertainment. Keynote speakers were Miri Eisin, Colonel (ret.) IDF, geopolitics expert and Kay Wilson, survivor of a brutal terror attack. Among those attending were Lea and Vick Soffer, Monica and Victor Mizrahi, Bobbi Warren, Rabbi Yael Ridberg, Rita Heller and Jeff Zimmerman, Todd Frank, Rebecca O’Neil, Simon and Ireni Patlis, Senator Marty Block, Rabbi Avi and Vicki Libman, Deborah Taubman, Lee and Stuart Posnock, Jenny and Julian Josephson, Joan and Paul Schultz, Hanna and Mark Gleiberman, Tibi and Tami Zohar, Racquel Lyons, 17, Eitan Feifel, 17, Donna and Larry Dawson, Alan Alpert, Mindy Gold and Evelyn Rady.
Happy 80th birthday to Coop Cooprider! Happy 103rd birthday to Sam Weiss!
Happy 66th anniversary to Anabel and Ted Mintz! Mazel tov to Jamie Mittleman on becoming Bat Mitzvah on Nov. 12 at Temple Emanu-El. Mazel tov to Sharon Bakcht and Ben Gamboa on the birth of their son Julian Gamboa.
COUNTER-CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Devorah Shore and Moises Eisenberg • Councilwoman Susan Davis and Hillary Liber • Joanna Fox, Geof Fox and Leslie Caspi • Micha "Mitch" Danzig.
18 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
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This is my year for _______.
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Counseling offers an opportunity to reflect on significant people, circumstances, and life events with the purpose of improving your personal wellness. Whether you are living with depression, anxiety, relationship challenges, or trauma, our counselors can help support your well-being in the New Year. • • • • • •
Individual and couples therapy Licensed clinicians Support groups Day and evening appointments Insurance, including Medicare and TRICARE, accepted Serving the entire community
Call: (858) 637-3210 or start the process online: www.jfssd.org/counseling Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 19
BY NATALIE JACOBS, PHOTOS BY AARON SHEINBEIN
Latke Vodka 2016 In early December, the Jewish Federation of San Diego County’s NextGen group hosted another Hanukkah party on Dec. 8 in Little Italy. A total of 150 young adults attended the event where blue and white garlands adorned the walls, menorahs were spread throughout the venue (98 Bottles) and donuts were the dessert du joir. A photo wall, life-size Jenga, and specialty drinks had patygoers entertained late into the night.
20 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
CLOCKWISE FROM MIDDLE RIGHT: Rayna Karoll, Samantha Nusbaum and Rebecca Paushter • Esther with Zach Warburg • Sharon Grubner and Lee Henig • Sharon Beth and Vanna Rocchi.
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Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 21
MUSINGS FROM MAMA
by Sharon Rosen Leib
Let’s Get Constructive
o start binding our radically divided United States together this new year, we need to emerge from our anxiety-fueled, post-election anger/despair and work on making America whole again. When we become so entrenched in our blue state/red state silos that we close our minds instead of opening our hearts, we all lose. Wise beyond her years, Youngest Daughter has been teaching me a thing or two about reaching out and keeping an open mind. It should surprise no one that as a Democrat and feminist mother of three daughters I voted for Hillary Clinton. Like many (but by no means all) of you, I was upset when she lost to a man who appealed to some Americans’ basest instincts to get elected. Youngest Daughter has several friends whose parents voted for President-elect Trump. I can’t dismiss them as uninformed, boorish racists because I’ve known them throughout her school years and respect their commitment to our children’s wellbeing. Youngest Daughter bristles when she hears family members describing Trump voters as awful, irredeemable people. She’s spent many a night at these people’s houses. They’ve taken her on vacations and invited all of us into their homes for holiday and pre-prom parties. She makes a valid case for tolerance. When we summarily dismiss other parents for their choices, we diminish ourselves. By writing people off because they cast their ballots for someone we consider abhorrent, we teach our children that listening to others’ opinions and trying to find common ground – the foundations of meaningful human relationships – can be tossed aside during an election year. Demonstrating a callous disregard for others’ points of view doesn’t teach our children strength of character or bode well for the future of the country, let alone the planet. 22 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
My wonderfully forbearing late father used to say, “Let’s agree to disagree,” whenever my siblings and I got overheated during a family debate. I internally summon his calming, wise voice when I’m heading for code red during a political disagreement with a friend or relative. Belaboring arguments to the point of beating a herd of already dead horses serves no one. I recently hosted a party where one of the guests, also sorely disappointed about Clinton’s loss, engaged me in a discussion about what caused the candidate’s electoral failure (a fruitless topic from the get-go). We disagreed. He became agitated, wagged his finger at me and said several times, “You’re wrong!” I kept calm but held my ground until a friend cajoled him out the door. I was struck by the irony of how much he sounded like Trump interrupting Hillary to declare her “WRONG” during the presidential debates. Bottom line, neither Trump nor our friend modeled appropriate, constructive behavior. I challenge all of you this new year to reach out to someone across the socio-political divide, wave an olive branch and attempt to build a bridge. Even a straw bridge is better than none. An excellent starting point would be to reach out to women (and men) across the political spectrum and invite them to attend one of the many Women’s Marches taking place around the country on Jan. 21. These events aim to provide “community, positivity and inclusion at a time when those values are more important than ever” (per the Women’s March Los Angeles Facebook page – for more info on San Diego’s march turn to pg. 58 of this magazine). Whatever your political stripe, Hillary’s campaign slogan still rings true. We really are stronger together. We need to work on being more righteous and less self-righteous for our children’s sake. They deserve a safer, more unified world. A
Nicolas Leslie Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser Help support the Leslie family in the creation of a scholarship at Torrey Pines High School in their son’s honor. Nick, a graduate of TPHS class of 2014, was murdered in the ISIS terrorist attack in Nice, France on July 14, 2016. The fundraiser is at Powerhouse Park on Jan. 7 from noon to 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door with all funds going to the establishment of the scholarship which will support students who wish to study abroad. Details and tickets at tphssf.org.
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January is National Mentoring Month. Come and meet your match.
www.jfssd.org/bigpals | (858) 637-3210 Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 23
LIVING ON THE FRONT PAGE by Andrea Simantov
ISRAELI LIFESTYLE firstname.lastname@example.org
Everything Old is New Again
raditional Jews celebrate their new year at summer’s end but this year, as we well know, it arrived quite late, in early October. Please, however, don’t ever say this to my-husband-the-rabbi who sneers when I say things like that, retorting, “It isn’t late. It’s exactly on time. The way G-d designed it.” Ignoring him, I’d like to point out that the fact that Hanukkah this year fell on Christmas made it even harder for Jewish parents to protest that the two holidays have nothing in common. Folderol aside, I try not to miss the Old Country, defensively reflecting on how marvelous it is to live an authentically Jewish life in the only Jewish country in the world. It works about half the time because January in Israel is one gantze “blah.” Crappy weather but not cold enough for really stylish winter clothing. (One neighbor, upon seeing my LL Bean catalog, asked if it was a cholent factory.) We do get snow periodically in Jerusalem but it’s sub-par, lasting a day or two on the oily ground and no one, except for the Russians and me, knows what
24 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
to do with it. We make a few anemic snowmen in the parking lot and throw mushy snowballs – more like snow-latkes – at our children, pretending to have a blast. Most of my neighbors don’t even own water-repellent boots because, hey, we live in the desert and they resort to tying plastic, logo-imprinted grocery bags over their Nikes. I open my doors to the building’s youngsters, offering paper cups of homemade hot cider and cocoa. The experience, en toto, is pathetic. Jews aren’t supposed to make resolutions in January because we’ve technically done the work by the end of Sukkot. And the three daily prayers we are required to intone – Shacharit, Mincha and Maariv – supply ample refresher paragraphs that keep the High Holy Day plaints frontand-center of Heaven’s bracha department. How do I know this stuff? I just do. Like everyone else, I’m on a diet (again) and resolve to be thin by Passover. But I digress. Let’s get back to January. While everyone else was in synagogue praying during Yom Kippur, I was hospi-
talized with a brutal infection from total knee-replacement gone-awry. The surgery occurred just before Rosh Hashanah which meant that religious-me paid almost no dues during the most important plea-period of our year. Thinking I might never walk again, I spent the autumn and early winter dreaming of cross-country skiing, ice skating, bicycle riding and snorkeling in the Red Sea. Skiing and ice skating are rare activities in this country during the best of times but that isn’t the point. I wanted my legs back but, with a plethora of complications, my dreams were repeatedly put on hold. But Israel’s blessedly-blah winter weather permits me to, with or without a cane, walk to the Old City and pray at the kotel for the first time in years. I can ride a bicycle again and hop off as I please, whenever the aroma of fresh felafel calls my name. I can take out the garbage and wade into the ocean. January provides me with a brand new opportunity to scream gratitude from every roof-top along with a heartfelt, “Shana Tova, one and all!” A
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12/13/16 11:16 AM The Behavioral Health Committee of Jewish Family Service Invites You to an Educational Event in Support of Mental Health Awareness
We all want a bright future for our kids.
How do we know if we’re setting them up for success?
Join our community conversation about raising resilient kids, ready to take on the future Wednesday, January 25, 2017 | 5:30-8:30 pm
Congregation Beth Israel | 9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego 92122
How do we tell the difference between typical development and problem behavior? How do we respond in ways that nurture our child’s strengths and resilience? Join us to gain the insights and tools to address challenging behaviors, form realistic expectations, and support a successful start to school. For parents, grandparents, guardians, and educators of children in the first years of elementary school and younger.
RSVP by January 23: www.jfssd.org/childhood Free Event | Open to the Community Questions: Contact Crystal at (858) 637-3284
Mark Katz, Ph.D. Author and Psychologist, Director of Learning Development Services
Cindy Marten Superintendent, San Diego Unified School District
Jeffrey Rowe, M.D. Supervising Psychiatrist, Juvenile Forensic Services, County of San Diego, Associate Clinical Professor, UCSD
Moderator: Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Ed.D. President & CEO, United Way of San Diego County
Linda & Ed Janon
Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 25
OLDER, WISER, BETTER by Jon Schwartz AGING
Resilience and Adaptibility
am a great admirer of the late Elizabeth Edwards. In her profession, Ms. Edwards was an attorney and also an ardent advocate for access to health care. But she is perhaps best known as the wife of former U.S. Senator and 2004 Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards, whose political career ended in scandal. For Ms. Edwards herself, history may prove that it is her book, “Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities,” that will best resonate with people for generations to come. Edwards wrote the book in response to parts of her life that she defined as beautiful – her career, children and marriage (for many years) provided tremendous amounts of joy to her. However, like many of us, she faced adversities. She lost her son at 16 to a car accident, her husband’s very public infidelity, her diagnosis of breast cancer, which ultimately was the cause of her death at age 61. I believe she wrote the book to stress the importance of bouncing back after difficulties and to inspire others to maintain a strong sense of resiliency throughout one’s life. After reading her book, I could not help but think about the word, resilience. An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change is an incredible trait that we all possess. No one escapes life without adversities. Perhaps the older we get, the more likely we are to have accumulated multiple trials and tribulations. However, as we age, we become more equipped to cope with and rebound from life’s challenges. For this piece, I want to share with you some strategies that I have learned from Elizabeth Edwards and others on how we can all build
26 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
upon our resilience. Allow yourself to be optimistic. Optimism is not about being happy or positive all the time. Rather, optimism is simply seeing difficult times as temporary. Optimistic people tend to live longer, heal faster and generally have less depression and anxiety than those who are more pessimistic. Shift your focus to what some call, “thin slices of joy.” This expression is suggestive that individuals should focus on the more simple pleasures of life. These thin slices could be a comforting conversation with a friend, a walk with your spouse or a lunch that you enjoy. Take time to recognize these small slices of joy. Process difficult feelings. Take time to write about your traumas in life. Allowing yourself to release pent-up feelings can actually be very healing. When difficult times happen, ask yourself, what have I learned about myself that I didn’t know before? Connect with other(s). Studies have shown that being isolated, without human connection is the equivalent of smoking fifteen packs of cigarettes a day. People with social supports enjoy longer lives than those who do not. Be present. We can all sharpen our ability to be present through as a little as 10 minutes of daily meditation. One of the greatest lessons I continue to learn from the elder population is the importance of getting back up after life throws us challenges. I believe life is about the survival of those who are most adaptable. We are all strong, adaptable and resilient. Difficult times are temporary. We will persevere if we aim to be a bit more optimistic, present and grateful for life’s simple pleasures. A
Meetings and Events Jewish War Veterans of San Diego, Post-185 Contact Jerome Klein at (858) 521-8694 Jan. 8, 10 a.m. North County Jewish Seniors Club at the Oceanside Senior Center Contact Josephine at (760) 295-2564 Jan. 19, 12:30 p.m. Veterans Association of North County, Post-385 Contact Marc Poland (858) 232-1645 Jewish War Veterans meetings Jan 8, noon Lawrence Family JCC Contact Melanie Rubin (858) 362-1141 Jan. 16, 1 p.m., “Reflect” a documentary on successful aging. Free! JFS Balboa Ave. Older Adult Center Contact Aviva Saad (858) 550-5998 New Monday program starts Jan. 9, open weekly 10-2 p.m. On the Go Excursions Contact Jo Kessler (858) 637-7320 Jan. 22, 1 p.m., “Bad Jews” at Cygnet. Reserve by Jan., 13. JFS No. County Inland Center at Adat Shalom Contact (858) 674-1123 Jan. 23, 11 a.m. Free kickoff party to welcome 2017 JFS Coastal Club at Temple Solel Contact (858) 674-1123 Jan. 24, 10 a.m. Monthly celebration with MusicStation JFS College Avenue Center at Temple Emanu-El Contact Sara Diaz (858) 637-3270 Jan. 24, 12:45 p.m. Interesting locales of San Diego with Elsa Sevilla, KPBS
YOU’RE INVITED TO ATTEND...
at the Academy WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18TH 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Join us at San Diego Jewish Academy on this special night for a light dinner and refreshments, meet current parents, hear from our Head of School, and see our students’ work showcased among all of SDJA’s talented students. Parents and children are warmly invited to attend.
EVENT DETAILS Preschool Showcase will be located in the Ulam
Lower School Showcase will be located in the Gym
Upper School Showcase will be located in the Quad
Kindly RSVP to email@example.com Or call 858-704-3717 with questions.
PHOTO COURTESY SDJA
||| EDUCATION |||
Israeli singer Shani Zamir leads a music performance at an SDJA assembly.
hani Zamir is an Israeli Soprano Coloratura who performs across a spectrum of operatic arias, popular songs, and musical theatre. She has released songs that performed well on the Israeli music charts. She competed on the European Television Song Contest “Israel Pre-Eurovision” and won 1st Place – People’s Choice. In 2005, one of her songs, “The Land of Dreams,” was nominated for song of the year and now, for the 2016-17 school year, she is challenging, inspiring and helping the children at San Diego Jewish Academy’s lower school to explore their musical interests. “We interviewed a number of candidates, but none had all the requirements we were hoping to fill – successful teaching experience, wonderful with children, a talented vocalist and instrumentalist, and strong Judaic knowledge and Hebrew speaking ability,” says Kelley King, Head of SDJA’s Golda Meir Lower School. “We could tell that she was full of warmth, motivation and a passion for children and for music.” Zamir is not only a professional singer, she is also an accomplished musician and uses SDJA’s new state-of-the-art keyboarding lab to inspire children from the lower school, as well as introducing the students to a variety of musical instruments. “We had her lead a demonstration lesson,” added King, “and the children were captivated!” How did she go from the stage to the classroom? 28 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
“A good friend of mine told me there was an open position at SDJA,” Zamir says, “and she highly recommended the school. I love working with children and being part of educating the new generation of the Jewish community.” Zamir began her music career in the classical tradition, trained in piano at the tender age of 6. After winning numerous singing competitions in her youth, she studied opera with the well-known opera composer Ella Milch, and performed with the Israel Camry Orchestra. “Music has always been my passion and my comfort,” she says. “I grew up in a musical home, as I come from a legacy of rabbis and cantors.” Zamir went on to serve in the IDF in ELRAM - The Technology Logistic Force as education financial manager. “This was a lifetime experience for me,” said Zamir. “At the age of 18 the IDF becomes your new family. Functioning in that position gave me great tools for life, and helped me to develop work ethics, a sense of responsibility, and maturity.” After the IDF, Zamir continued her studies at the Rimon Music Academy, specializing in music composition and the performing arts. For six years she taught music for both adults and children on behalf of the Israel Ministry of Education. Singing in 11 different languages, Zamir has performed for many Jewish organiza-
tions across the U.S, including The Jewish National Fund, The Magbit Foundation (IJF – Los Angeles), Child Help, Hadassah, JCC Of Greater Orlando, The Jewish Community Foundation – Los Angeles, The Jewish Federation of San Diego, The Israel Film Festival, IAC, San Diego Ken Community and many more. “My childhood home was a combination of east and west,” she says. “Thanks to my beloved father, Jacob, who exposed me to a wide variety of music genres, I was able to pick up the different languages naturally. In addition, in my years of training and performing in opera, I learned arias in Italian, Spanish, French and German.” Zamir grew up in a musical home, her great grandfather Rabbi Ya’akov Zamir and her grandfather Cantor Asher Zamir are the founders of a well-known synagogue in Israel. “I am very aware of the importance of a child’s first steps in music. Music is a great tool for self-expression and for building confidence. I already see the positive effect on the students when experiencing their first steps; singing live on stage at our Kabbalat Shabbat and weekly services.” From the response she gets in and out of the classroom, it’s pretty clear that the children are now her biggest fans. “I am grateful I get to expose the students to the world of music, and in particular to the Jewish and Israeli classics on which I grew up.” A
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Kavod intertwines a uniquely dynamic and interactive learning model with the benefits of dual language. Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 29
||| EDUCATION |||
PHOTO COURTESY THE GARDEN PRESCHOOL
Exploring Vista's only Jewish preschool during their annual holiday party
30 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
e’re gonna to sing a rainbow song!” preschooler Violet tells me between running around with her friends. She and the other toddlers are gathered at the Garden Preschool in Vista for their annual Thanksgiving performance, which will have, among the assortment of entertainments, a rainbow song. Violet has been at the school for three months and her mother, Jessica Korunsky, couldn’t be happier. Having just moved from Kansas, she’s tried to make the transition as easy as possible for her two children. “I think that this has just, for me, been – since I’m new to the community – it’s been amazing,” Jessica tells me. “This has really eased the transition for her, which eases the transition for us and for me it’s just a prime example of why I want to be here. She can be outdoors all year round … She has the opportunity to make lots of new friends and to just develop those skills she needs before kindergarten.” Korunsky says proximity to the preschool was one of the things that attracted her to the area. The school also brings in kids from places like Carlsbad, Escondido and even Bonsall. In Kansas, Violet spent twice the time she’s been at the Garden Preschool at a Jewish Community Center, and her mother says she’s already learned more in three months here than her entire time in the Midwest. “She looks forward to school every day and I love just how much she learns and how much she soaks in and brings home Jewish learning. But also her teacher works with her one-onone with different skills that she thinks she’s ready to develop,” she says. The preschool’s building has a long history. In its first incarnation, in 1964, it was the Jewish Community Center of North County. Then the structure served as a temple and synagogue for many years until it was sold to a church in 1999. “The community dissolved, basically,” Rabbi Baruch Greenberg tells me. “They moved to different places.” After running a synagogue and community center out of their home for nine years, the Greenbergs in 2013 bought the storied building where they now operate as Chabad Jewish Center of Oceanside. “The revival of the Jewish community here just came back together,” Rabbi Greenberg says. “Many people that grew up in the synagogue … for them to come back it was like
coming back home.” Roberta Kaplan, proud grandmother of four-year-old Noa, agrees. “I’ve been here. I’ve seen all the changes – these people are here to stay,” she says. “They’ve made a nice community. Everybody loves them and they’re what holds it together. They are just wonderful people.” As the Thanksgiving performance gets closer the kids get crazier, in the adorable, perfect way children get excited. More parents arrive and it’s not hard to pick out whom the children belong to – just wait for the run and hug. “We’re really, really happy that we get to be able to be there for the Jewish children, to be able to celebrate their being Jewish especially up here in North County where they’re such a minority,” Nechama Greenberg, the director of the preschool and Rabbi Greenberg’s wife, says. “They’ll grow up and going through all their schooling, they’re going to be one or maybe two kids in the class that are Jewish. Here they get to be proud of being Jewish. They get to celebrate all the Jewish holidays, celebrate Shabbat each week and they get to make the challah.” Finally, it’s time for the performance. Every parent is video recording the show and every child knows right where to look for their mother or father. The kids run through a series of songs about thankfulness – and rainbows – a little unclearly, at times looking to each other for cues, but enjoy performing for their parents. It’s easy to see the kids are proud of their performance and even easier to see the parents are proud of their kids. When the show is over there’s resounding applause. The teachers look relieved. It’s a success. As I leave the preschool, kids sit with parents who lavish praise for their talents. Together they eat the festive foods the kids prepared themselves. Seeing the success of his wife’s school, Rabbi Greenberg has big plans for its future. “The plan is that this will hopefully become the hub of Jewish life – not only religious life – Jewish life in general for the whole North County, so we’re hoping to have over here a big community,” he tells me. “We would like to welcome with a warm hand every person who would like to come in, who needs help, or just a feeling of family and a community, feeling belong, this is the place. We’re happy to have each and every one of them.” A
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||| EDUCATION |||
iz Brough, the Irish American, non-Jewish coordinator of StandWithUs’s high school internship program, urges all people to find their story in Israel. She says the melting pot country is very similar to the Untied States, and she hopes for diversity in advocates. “No cookie cutter advocates,” she says. “No matter where you fit on the political spectrum, no matter where you sit on the religious perspective as long as you care about the rights of individuals you can find your reason to support Israel.” One funny example Brough likes to give to public school students regarding Israel’s relevancy is the fact that Israeli scientists created the technology for the selfie – an integral part of high school life. “Israel is not just benefiting its own people,” she explains, “but it’s helping the world and, of course, just a funny example of that is the selfie.” Brough, who is the coordinator for six states in the southwest region, relates to her “cookie cutter” analogy for one because she is not Jewish. She found her personal connection to Israel on a post-high school trip and her commitment was challenged by anti-Israel activity she witnessed in college. As a coordinator for StandWithUs, she works to give students the tools to advocate against the kind of rhetoric and actions she herself was challenged by at their age. Racquel Lyons, a junior at the San Diego Jewish Academy, became interested in Israel 32 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
after watching her parents’ involvement in the Jewish community. She is the president of her high school’s Israel club and attended last year’s AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C. She says she intends to continue her advocacy after her internship finishes and once she graduates from high school. “I actually got to lobby my congressman and so I plan on just maintaining ties with StandWithUs and with AIPAC and with as many pro-Israel organizations as I can,” Lyons tells the Jewish Journal. “At this point, I really feel like I’m discovering how Judaism is very much a part of me and just because the program’s over is not a reason that I would want to ever lose [that connection].” The ambitious high school student, who plans assemblies and other pro-Israel events, is interested in becoming an immigration lawyer or accountant. She says, though, that she has a creative side and hopes that will drive her in her work as well. “I’m really grateful StandWithUs exists and is an organization that I can be a part of because through learning how to advocate for Israel I’m also learning why it’s important to me and where my connection comes from,” Lyons says. “That has really allowed me to grow and further my Jewish identity and I feel now that it’s become a part of me and I can truly say I really see the validity of being Jewish and the value and the beauty that comes with that.” She says she took it for granted before her internship that her Judaism was always just
there. “Through learning about Israel and learning how to advocate it I really personally feel like I’ve connected further to my Jewish identity and that’s something that I’m really grateful for.” Lyons says even without StandWithUs she thinks her Jewish identity was strong enough that she would have discovered her passion, but “probably not at such a young age.” Brough, as part of her work, gives presentations at various high schools in the region, and Eitan Feifel attended one of them. “Liz Brough … came and gave a presentation to my Jewish Student Union (JSU) Club at [La Jolla High] school, which I was president of, my junior year,” Feifel says. “I kept in contact with her, regarding the internship, and attended many more events that year. When Liz contacted me about an opportunity of applying for the internship, I knew immediately that I was interested.” To start off, Feifel attended a weeklong seminar in Los Angeles this past August where he, along with all the other interns from across the U.S. and Canada, was trained in how to be an effective advocate. He has since worked on planning educational events for his peers. “I have attended San Diego StandWithUs board meetings to keep them updated on the progress of the interns within San Diego,” he says. He also spoke at the Festival of Lights gala in early December. The national conference at the end of the summer brings together nearly 100 students,
PHOTO COURTESY STANDWITH US
Jeff Gold, Torrey Pines High School; Dan Benaroch, Southern California Yeshiva; Liz Brough, StandWithUs Southwest High School Coordinator and Eitan Feifel, La Jolla High School.
both Jewish and non-Jewish, to begin the yearlong program. “They spend four days really moving beyond the talking points and gaining some depth on Israel as an issue and then being able to discover ‘how do I share Israel’s story with my community?’” Brough says. For the rest of the year, the interns focus on what their community’s needs are regarding education on Israel. Feifel says the internship has taught him that not everyone thinks the same way he does and he has learned how to deal with those people who have opposing views in a respectful way. He says he’s learned that although he may feel strongly about his beliefs there are others who feel just as strongly about theirs and it’s important to find common ground. The program, Feifel says, has emboldened him that his voice matters. “This internship has shown me how much I, just as anyone else, can have such a large impact onto other people. Every person can play an integral role in standing up for Israel, and it is important that we help teach them how to do so.” Jeff Gold, a senior at Torrey Pines High School, applied for the internship after watching television news. “[I was] just thinking I’m just sitting here watching tv and just hearing about all the bad stuff happening around the high school and college campuses – that I could make a difference,” he tells the Jewish Journal. Gold has been actively involved in his syn-
agogue and with United Synagogue Youth (USF) since second grade. He’s the executive programming vice president and communications president in the far west for USY and creates all custom apparel for USY for California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. He is currently planning an educational program at the next USY event to teach the members about the history of Israel and the current conflicts going on in the region. Gold also hopes to bring virtual reality goggles that are supplied by StandWithUs to share with the Jewish club at his high school. “I don’t think a lot of the kids have been to Israel,” he says. Gold wants to use the goggles to teach his fellow classmates about the country by letting them take a virtual tour. During the program, Gold says he’s had some time for introspection on his personal relationship with Israel. “Just growing up it’s always been thinking I am pro-Israel and having that mindset, but then when I went on my first trip to Israel I really saw in person just what I’d been seeing in pictures and just really saw the magic and amazingness of Israel and why it needs to continue for the Jewish people,” he explains. Brough likes to think of the high school internship – to use a sports analogy – as spring training and students’ work on college campuses as the big game. All three San Diego interns report plans to continue their advocacy into the big game. “I would just want to transition my pro-Israel advocacy onto college campus-
“Just growing up it’s always been thinking I am pro-Israel and having that mindset, but then when I went on my first trip to Israel I really saw in person just what I’d been seeing in pictures and just really saw the magic and amazingness of Israel and why it needs to continue for the Jewish people.” es and then use StandWithUs as a resource and maybe even become a fellow in college through StandWithUs,” Racquel Lyons tells the Jewish Journal. “This internship is preparing me for the impact I can have while I attend college and I hope to work with StandWithUs throughout,” Feifel agrees. “I plan to continue with the advocacy skills I’ve already learned from StandWithUs, and I’ll learn more throughout the year to be able to use them on college campuses where anti-Semitism is much more apparent,” Gold adds. “Depending on my involvement and enjoyment in this internship, which I’m loving so far, then I might apply to [the StandWithUs college internship] to continue being involved.” For Brough, who has influenced each intern in different ways, it always comes back to diversity in thought – and her dessert analogy. “My goal is to never create a cookie cutter Israel advocate,” Brough reiterates. “I want my students to have a variety of reasons, and a variety of points of connection to Israel. And then from there I want them to invite other people to have a connection to Israel if they don’t already and then strengthen that connection for those that do.” A Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 33
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iven the competition to earn admission to the UCs and elite private colleges, it is never too early for high school students and their families to prepare to apply and pay for college. Consider the following: 1. Write a personal statement that demonstrates perspective and maturity Colleges seek students who have perspective, maturity and personality that will add to the campus and their classmates’ education. The personal statement is the opportunity to show individuality. Focus on one instance that demonstrates something significant and ties to the application prompt. College admissions officers want to understand what excites the applicant and will drive her success. The gatekeepers are also looking to see how the
34 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
applicant will add to the college culture and classrooms. 2. Consider a Jewish Studies major or minor Some colleges take into consideration the major or minor selected in the application. Demonstrating interest in Jewish studies through extracurricular activities could present the applicant in a more unique light. Keep in mind, the choice displayed on the application is not binding – minds can be changed once enrollment begins. 3. Demonstrate leadership Demonstrate leadership experience through a club, community service, sport, or student government, to show that the applicant is able to propel the college forward. 4. Decrease the cost of college The only thing more daunting than getting
into college is figuring out how to pay for it. Consider scholarship opportunities when sifting through acceptance letters. And start the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. Beyond the colleges themselves, local organizations also offer scholarship opportunities. Consult with a high school guidance counselor, temple youth director and visit scholarships.com for an abundance of ideas. A Greg Kaplan is a college application strategist, co-founder of Soaring Eagle College Consulting and the author of “Earning Admission: Real Strategies for Getting into Highly Selective Colleges.” Greg grew up in San Diego, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and UC Irvine School of Law. Visit earningadmission.com for more info.
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or a typical learner, homework can be challenging. For a child with learning differences, homework is hard on the student but also can be exhausting for parents. Here are six tips that I’ve picked up from years as a learning specialist, educational therapist and parent of a child with learning challenges: 1. Keep your sense of humor. Years ago, I was attempting to help my 5th-grade son, who was very distractible, complete an essay at our glass dining room table. I was concentrating intensely on proofreading it for him, when suddenly next to the paper, I noticed his face smushed up against the table top from underneath the table! At the time, I didn’t see the humor the way I do today. That boy is now getting a Ph.D.! Enjoy your child’s individuality and laugh as much as possible together.
2. Allow your child to learn in the way that fits their unique style and needs. Many children with attention difficulties or processing issues need to move, talk and sing as they do homework. Allow your child to stand and work if they are having difficulty sitting still. 3. Make a list all of the tasks due the next day, and a small weekly calendar for upcoming tests and projects. Having a list of homework gives your students the opportunity to prioritize, practice time management, and offers the great satisfaction of crossing or checking off completed work. 4. Allow your child to chew gum, eat, and/or hydrate while studying. This can help visual and auditory concentration. 5. Have all the materials you need in one location. Make a drawer or a totable container for pencils, erasers, paper, notecards, markers, crayons, colored pencils,
fastening devices, and a three-holed punch. This gives the student a sense of security and limits distraction that comes from looking for materials. 6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Despite our best intentions, we may need the support of a specialist. If homework time has begun to interfere with family time and your relationship with your child, seeking additional help may be a good option. In other instances, you may need more support in the area of remediation of a skill or processing area. A Brenda Moss, M.Ed. is a private educational therapist with a Masters of Education in Special Education/Educational Therapy and more than 30 years experience teaching students how to learn. Her home office is in North County, but she also supports students in your home. (760) 652-5331; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 35
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Soille Hebrew T Day Alum Honored at ZOA Gala San Diego native Adina Wollner recognized for her service to Israel at home and abroad SUBMITTED BY SOILLE HEBREW DAY SCHOOL
Adina Wollner was awarded the Myron Zimmerman Award for Outstanding Student Activism from the Zionist Organization of America.
he Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) presented its prestigious Myron Zimmerman Award for Outstanding Student Activism to a San Diego native for her service to the State of Israel both as a lone soldier in the IDF and as a student activist fighting for Israel on campus. Adina Wollner, a Zionist student leader at UC San Diego and Soille Hebrew Day School alum, received her award at this year’s Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award Dinner held on Sunday, Nov. 20 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. Her parents, Marcia and David Wollner, attended the Gala with her. She spoke movingly about her Jewish commitment. Wollner shared the stage with some of the most prominent pro-Israel figures in the world. Other award recipients include the Honorable Danny Danon (Israel’s ambassador to the UN), Congressman Ed Royce (Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee), Harvard professor and author Alan Dershowitz, and Home Depot Co-Founder Bernie Marcus. Philanthropists Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson attended. Presenting the award to Adina was Dr. Bob Shillman. “Adina has distinguished herself as a heroic young lady, proud of her strong Jewish identity and deep connection to Israel and the Jewish People,” noted Rabbi Simcha Weiser, Head of School at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School. “She sets a great example for the American Jewish community, giving us hope that the dire predictions in the Pew Survey can be overcome through strong family involvement, effective Jewish education, and personal courage of conviction.” Wollner has led the pro-Israel efforts for years in San Diego at a time of great turbulence at the UC system of universities, with antagonism toward Jewish and Zionist students growing ever more strident. UC San Diego is known for anti-Semitic activities perpetrated by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a student group that calls for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state. Adina worked with ZOA Campus and other pro-Israel organizations to combat SJP and make UC San Diego a safer place for all Jewish and pro-Israel students. Wollner also attended the ZOA Student Leadership Mission to Israel, a two-week educational and advocacy mission that takes students across Israel, including the West Bank, to train them to become more effective Zionist activists on campus. Previously, she took part in the March of the Living, seeing first hand the relics of the Holocaust and the vibrancy of Jewish life in Israel. The ZOA gathers every November for its award dinner in New York to celebrate the pro-Israel community and those leading the fight for Zionism and Israel. A Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School offers an award winning program of general and Judaic studies in its Preschool, Elementary, and Middle Schools. It is accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools and has grown by 50% in the past decade thanks to innovative programs and community outreach. Soille alumni are distinguished by their good character rooted in Jewish values, their in-depth Torah knowledge, and their deep commitment to community leadership. Soille Hebrew Day widens the circle of Jewish continuity by attracting families with diverse Jewish affiliation from throughout San Diego County.
36 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
PHOTOS COURTESY JENNIE STAR AND TARBUTON SAN DIEGO
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igh school students don’t get many opportunities to network with business people. Maybe that’s by design, but the Israeli American Council and Tarbuton San Diego see this as a missed opportunity not only to enhance business skills well before going into business, but also to consider entrepreneurial ways to support and promote Israel sooner rather than later. With their first group of Eitanim – the IAC program named in honor of Major Eitan Balachsan who was killed in 1999 on an IDF mission in Lebanon – Tarbuton San Diego introduced 14 high schoolers (and one middle school student) to “soft skills” like problem solving, teamwork, time management, research and development, leadership, debating and pitching over the course of four meetings. This first group’s project, which started in October and finished in December, was to develop a tourism marketing plan to sell Israel to their peers in Generation Z. On the day that I observed the group in mid-November, they started their Sunday morning (after bagels and schmear) with a few rounds of ice breakers pulled from Mitch Simon’s improv training. Then it was on to the conference room at Proven Con-
sulting’s Sorrento Valley headquarters to refresh themselves on their group members and project ideas. The meeting locations are intentional. While most of the participants in this group come from the coastal core of Carmel Valley, Del Mar and La Jolla, some live as far north as Carlsbad and as far east as San Carlos. But it’s the office buildings that are most significant. Tarbuton’s founder Jennie Star writes, “We are deliberately in corporate settings to take [the participants] out and into authentic spaces where innovation and creation are taking place by professionals.” Other meeting locations from this first project were HeraHub, a co-working space and business accelerator for women; CorTech Labs, maker of diagnostic imaging software used by neurologists, radiologists and clinical researchers; and Launchbox, a coaching company that focuses on integrating millennials into the workforce. At the Nov. 20 meeting, Star marveled that one of the revelations of this generation is they don’t look at websites anymore. Where a few years ago a group like this might have pitched a website redesign for the Israel tourism authority, these teens were
thinking more along the lines of Snapchat videos and Instagram campaigns, something an experienced professional might call peerto-peer marketing. Central to Star’s program is the business networking component. She has partnered with two local business leaders – Guri Stark and Mitch Simon – on the overall curriculum for the program, and brought in guest facilitators like Dan Negroni and Doron Malka for specific workshops. At the end of the first project set, the participants pitched their ideas and prototypes to their parents and the professionals they had met throughout the course. “A reminder to all that this program is less about perfection and more about experience and creativity,” Star wrote in her email to parents and participants leading up to the final presentations. “Eitanim is about connecting teens to a business network, exposing them to industries, shaping soft skills and practical experience to better prepare for the future.” Star and Tarbuton San Diego will run two more Eitanim group programs this year, Feb-June, with the same structure but different projects. For more information and to register, contact Star at email@example.com. A
PHTOS ABOVE: At the last meeting for the San Diego Eitanim group one, participants readied their pitches for a “Shark Tank” style presentation.
Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 37
PHOTO COURTESY MARTA FUCHS
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Ilona and Marta Fuchs, 1968 Pasadena, Calif.
y 98-year-old mother died last week and I’m waiting to feel something. I watched family and friends cry at her funeral and I listened to their outpouring of love and accolades for the remarkable woman my mother was. They spoke of how loving and generous and talented she was, how much of an impact she made on them, how they remain in awe of how she survived Auschwitz at great odds, and how she rebuilt her life multiple times with flair, energy, and optimism. She was all of those things, but also forceful and insistent, difficult and distant. I sat there quietly, gripped by cognitive dissonance. The woman everyone knew was all those things they described. She was a resilient survivor, a gifted dressmaker and teacher, a devoted friend. But with me, her other side overshadowed it all. Early on, as a Jewish child in postwar Hungary, I knew my job was to take care of her emotionally, to mitigate the suffering that happened to her before I was born. I spent a lifetime doing that while also being the brunt of her relentless criticism and control. It often felt as if nothing I did was ever enough (though I do recall seeing her happy at times with my outfits and I know she took pride in my accomplishments). But regrettably, I am now hard-pressed to recall more than a few positive moments with her over the more than six decades of our life together. I rarely cried when she would mercilessly pick on me. Depression was more my style. I knew she had to win and I had to surrender in what always felt like a life and death struggle no matter the issue. Shortly before my father passed away, I was visiting and Mom, once again, was 38 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
picking on me. I finally stormed out in tears. From my brother’s childhood bedroom I heard my father echo what I had been pleading with her, “Ilona! She’s almost 50 years old! When are you going to stop dictating what she should do?!” “I am so sorry she treats you like this” he came in to comfort me, adding his perpetual advice, “Don’t pay attention to her and do what you think is best.” Soon after Dad passed, Mom and I came to blows again, and she retorted accusingly, “Your father said I should be nice to you since you are so sensitive.” This was not a valued trait to her, and I understand why. Being sensitive was a luxury she could not afford if she was to survive as a young woman in Auschwitz. In fact, once, when we were talking about Auschwitz, she looked at me and stated matter of factly, “You would never survive.” Perhaps she’s right, yet we don’t really know until we’re tested. And at least I can say that thus far I have survived her, albeit with scars. There was a period of two blessed weeks the summer I turned 60, when I had the mother I wished for: kind, calm, appreciative, going with the flow. She had fallen in her doctor’s office after getting a clean bill of health and broke her hip, then suffered a cascade of near fatal medical complications. My brother and I took turns staying around the clock with her in the hospital and then in rehab, to be her advocate and translator, as she often reverted to her native Hungarian. It was painful to watch her suffer and I did everything I could to alleviate it. But it was also a period of relief, for she was too sick to do battle with me. Once she began to recover, she was back to her true self with me, which for all of us was an ironically
good sign. I did learn a lot from my mother. I know that I inherited her creativity and resourcefulness, for which I’m grateful. I do feel good about having been the consummate dutiful daughter despite her wrath, and perhaps I did a public service being her emotional caretaker. Maybe that allowed her to be a shining star for the rest of the world, making such a positive impact on others. Whatever I inherit from her will, though, mostly feels like reparations, for I, like many children of Holocaust survivors, remain collateral damage. Remarkably, despite our battles, my mother and I never stopped loving each other, and fortunately I could always summon enough amnesia to begin each visit anew. As I stare at the dwindling light in the tall, blue shiva candle graced with a simple Star of David, I am coming to accept that it’s okay that I am not filled with the same sorrow and aching, boundless reservoir of love that I felt when my father passed. I felt sorry for Mom. I loved her. I admired her. I wrote books and articles about her. I did as much as I could for her. And what I am most grateful for is that with my own kids I have the kind of warm and supportive relationship I wish I could have had with her. May she rest in peace and may her memory be for a blessing. A Marta Fuchs, MLS, MFT, is a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author of “Legacy of Rescue: A Daughter’s Tribute.” She was born in Hungary to Holocaust survivor parents and escaped with her family in the wake of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Her website is martafuchs.com
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בנ ֶיָך ָ ְו ְשִׁ נַּנ ְתָּ ם ל INSPIRE YOUR CHILDREN
Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 39
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How the Torah Underscores the Human Need for Relationships Text study in advance of a “Tapestry” day of learning session BY RABBI YAEL RIDBERG
n the biblical stories of creation, perhaps the most compelling line in the whole of the story comes in Genesis 2:18, when the Torah imagines that after G-d took the human (Adam) and placed him in the garden to till and tend it, G-d reflected, “Lo tov heyot ha-adam l’vado, e’eseh lo ezer kenegdo”“It is not good for the human to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him.” Beyond all of the details of the creative endeavor comes the powerful message that the human being was not created and did not evolve to live a life of solitude, but rather a life in relationship to the world entire: with plants, animals, and ultimately with other human beings. G-d was not satisfied with the options merely of other living creatures, and recognized that the human needed someone who was at once, “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” which is a powerful statement as to how humans grow up in one family, leave it to create another family, by love, by choice and by desire. While one could read the Genesis text as merely a declaration of heterosexual relationship or marriage generally, I see the message as one that underscores all levels of desired companionship in life. In later sacred texts the message of companionship is heralded by the teaching that “Tovim ha’shnayim min ha’echad” – “Two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9), and “O hevruta o metuta” – “Either companionship or death” (BT Taanit 23a). In other words, creating and sustaining relationships is the key to life. No doubt there are differences between romantic relationships and those with 40 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
Human being was not created and did not evolve to live a life of solitude, but rather a life in relationship to the world entire. friends or colleagues, but there is enormous crossover between how the tradition treats the expectations in marriage and what is expected between friends. Maimonides differentiates three friendship categories that, while understood to be about marriage, one can certainly extract meaning applicable to friendships, business dealings, and even a relationship with community. First is haver le’davar, a useful friend, or a utilitarian association that depends on reciprocal usefulness. Often, when the davar – the thing that binds the parties disappears, so does the bond of connection as well. Second, is haver le’deagah, a pleasant and concerned friend, someone with whom to share sorrows and joys. This kind of relationship is needed by each of us in order to share the burdens and celebrations of life. This kind of companion can be regarded as delightful (as in the case of a lover) and
trusted (as in the case of a confidant), and can both be found in a single person or in more than one. The third category is haver le’deah, a friend who shares knowledge and a joint dedication to common goals. One who might inspire and instruct, a relationship where both parties dream of realizing ideals, and a readiness to sacrifice for their attainment. Each category represents a deepening level of confidence and trust in both intimate relationships and deep friendships. Human beings are drawn to one another for so many reasons, it is especially meaningful to see that reflected and refracted through many traditional texts on what it is to be in relationship. From the beginning, the underlying mission of relationships between men and women, and really, between all living creatures has been one of interdependency. Each one of us can serve as an ezer kenegdo – a helper for one another. The power and meaning of this role could not be more resonant today. In the personal realm, in the communal sphere, and in the public square, we are called upon to be a companion to others, to work for a better world for us all. A This article is based on the text study that Rabbi Yael Ridberg will be presenting at “Tapestry,” the Center for Jewish Culture’s community celebration of Jewish learning. The three-hour program is Jan. 7 beginning at 6:45 p.m. Rabbi Ridberg is one of 26 speakers. Find details about Tapestry at sdcjc.org.
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Rebirthing Bulgaria’s Jewish Community How a centuries-old country is re-establishing a new relationship with its growing Jewish population BY SHARON ROSEN LEIB n matrilineal Judaism, Jewish women birth Jewish children. In Bulgaria, young Jewish women are rebirthing Jewish communal life. Bulgaria’s two-millennia-old Jewish community lay dormant between 1944 and 1989 while the ruling Communist regime imposed a strict secular ideology forbidding religious practice. When the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) returned to Bulgaria in 1990, after being expelled by the Soviets in 1949, it began resuscitating the country’s culturally and financially impoverished Jewish community. The JDC continues to support and guide Bulgaria’s 6,000 Jews through an unprecedented renaissance. Julia Dandalova, JDC’s 38-year-old country director for Bulgaria, leads the charge for Jewish renewal with an irresistible combination of buoyant energy, motherly concern and charming English translations of Bulgarian folk wisdom. While leading a tour of the Sofia Jewish Community Center’s preschool, she repeatedly apologized for the messy class-
rooms. Ironic, since the preschool’s name Gan Balagan is Hebrew for messy or chaotic. And messy chaos is to be expected when a cadre of young Jewish women preschool teachers ready their classrooms for the start of a new school year. The oily aroma of fresh paint, still wet in patches, filled the air as the women chatted in Bulgarian while dusting desks, sorting books and hanging photos of their young students on classroom doors. The large classrooms looked fresh and modern with sleek, utilitarian cabinetry and modular, pint-sized furnishings. “All of the designing was done by a volunteer parent who studied in Milan,” Dandalova says with pride. Sofia’s Jewish community built the center that houses the preschool in 1932, directly across from Bulgaria’s landmark synagogue. After the fall of Communism, the community lacked the resources to keep the JCC’s doors open and was almost forced to demolish the building. The JDC came to the rescue, offering interest-free loans that enabled the com-
munity to keep this essential center. “No one knew what to do when Bulgaria became a democracy. Most people were unemployed because government-supported companies no longer existed. The JCC became a lifesaving place – our safe zone,” Dandalova says. Gan Balagan, the first Jewish preschool in Sofia in more than half a century, opened its doors in 2010 and currently enrolls 80 children. The building also houses a Hebrew day school and the headquarters of Shalom, the umbrella organization supporting Bulgaria’s Jewish communities. This hive of Jewish activity was inconceivable during Dandalova’s youth in Communist-era Sofia. She knew nothing about her Jewish identity until 1990 when, as a 12-yearold, her grandfather brought her to the JCC’s first Sunday school class. She imagined it would be an entire morning of boring backgammon, the only activity her grandparents engaged in at the center prior to Communism’s fall. When she arrived, she was happy
TOP LEFT: Celebrating Havdalah at the JDC sponsored annual Limmud-Keshet event, the biggest gathering of Bulgaria’s Jewish community with 600 multi-generational participants. TOP RIGHT: Making challah in Sofia, Bulgaria.
42 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
to see a lot of her friends and cousins assembled to begin their journey of forging a Jewish identity. Dandalova believes the successful resurgence of Bulgaria’s Jewish community stems from the pride Bulgarian Jews take in their country’s acceptance of them. Bulgaria was the only European country that protected its Jews from deportation during the Holocaust. Bulgaria’s King Boris III joined forces with Germany in 1941 rather than fight the Nazi troops amassing at his borders. At the time, Bulgaria’s Jewish community numbered 50,000. As a German ally, Bulgaria occupied Macedonia and Thrace (Northern Greece) and agreed to deport 20,000 Jews to meet Hitler’s demands. King Boris complied by rounding up 13,000 Jews from Macedonia and Thrace who were deported to Treblinka. This left him 7,000 short. Under tremendous pressure from the Nazi regime to fulfill the promised quota, he attempted to round up the Jews of Bulgaria proper. The Bulgarian government’s move to begin deporting Jews caused a public outcry. Prominent clergymen from the Bulgarian Orthodox church, journalists, physicians, lawyers, politicians and many rank-and-file Bulgarians refused to turn against their Jewish friends and neighbors. A priest threatened to lie down on the railroad tracks rather than allow a trainload of Jews to be deported. King Boris III capitulated. He told Hitler that he needed Bulgaria’s Jews to construct rail lines and perform other wartime-related hard labor. Instead of sending Jews to their deaths, the government relocated them from Bulgaria’s big cities to labor camps in the countryside. The Jews lived restricted lives and were forced to wear yellow stars, but they all survived the war. “I think this made Bulgaria’s Jewish community stronger and more positive than others,” Dandalova says. After WWII ended, 90 percent of Bulgaria’s Jews emigrated to Israel. “Our Jewish community was always very Zionist. After the war, the Jews believed going to Israel was their best option.” The Jews who remained in Bulgaria believed in Communism. “They thought the Bulgarians helped us so we should stay and help them. They ended up being disappointed. Everyone expected life behind the iron curtain to be better than it was,” Dandalova says. Her grandparents were amongst the Jews who stayed. “I didn’t know much about practicing Juda-
ism until I became a mother. But I wanted to raise my kids Jewish.” So she made sure they got a Jewish education. When Dandalova’s 18-year-old son was 12, he read from the Torah and gave a drasha. “I couldn’t enter a synagogue until I was 12, but my six-year-old daughter knows the recipe for challah and how to say the Shabbat prayers by heart.” Dandalova sees a bright future for Bulgaria’s Jews as a new generation comes of age having actively participated in the community throughout their young lives.
Daria Melamed and Maia Ferdman
San Diego native and UCLA graduate Maia Ferdman, 23, echoes her former office mate and friend Dandalova’s optimism about the future of Bulgaria’s Jewish community. She recently returned to Southern California after a year working in Bulgaria as a JDC Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps/Fishel Fellow (co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles). While in Bulgaria, Ferdman observed a session of Jewish family camp. “The families celebrated Havdalah but the parents didn’t know the rituals so their kids showed them,” Ferdman remembers. The kids learned Jewish practice while attending Camp Semkovo, Bulgaria’s popular annual two-week, JCC-sponsored summer camp. “Bulgaria’s Jewish community is raising kids to be self-reliant Jews so they won’t have to depend on institutions – they’ll be able to develop Jewish life at home – something Jews didn’t know how to do under Communism.” So who is teaching the Jewish children how to be Jewish? Ferdman attributes the revival of Jewish traditions to her young Bulgarian contemporaries. One of her close Bulgarian friends, 26-year-old Daria Melamed, learned Jewish practice and leadership skills as a camper at the JDC-operated Szarvas International Camp for Jewish teens in Hungary. Melamed
Bulgaria was the only European country that protected its Jews from deportation during the Holocaust. put these skills to use as a counselor at the camp where she interacted with others her age and became engaged in the global Jewish world. What she learned from her peers inspired her to approach the JDC about sponsoring a Moishe House, an international project that provide young Jews an informal gathering place, in Sofia. The doors opened two years ago with Melamed as one of three founding residents. Daria and her Moishe House cohort have devised innovative ways to make Judaism relevant and approachable to their peers such as hosting a hipster, sushi Seder last Pesach. “Moishe House is already a central part of Jewish life in Sofia – a hub that brings young adults together and one of the best ways to make friends,” Ferdman says. Recently, her Sofia Moishe House pals went all-out to help her prepare an American-style Thanksgiving dinner. “Daria drove me from grocery store to grocery store to find a turkey,” Ferdman said. Through camps, the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) and Moishe House, Bulgaria’s young Jews have created a community that gives them a strong sense of belonging. “The fact that young people are shaping the Jewish community says a lot about the future. They are forward-looking, passionate and rising to the challenge of trying to innovate while staying true to tradition,” Ferdman says. She believes her generation in the United States can learn a lot from young Bulgarian women like Daria Melamed. “She has tremendous individual drive and a sense of responsibility to her community to pass Judaism on to the younger generation. We don’t take as much responsibility here because we don’t have to.” Ferdman returned home with tremendous admiration and affection for her Bulgarian friends. “They became like family to me. I really miss them,” she says. As a witness to and participant in the renaissance of Bulgaria’s Jewish community, Ferdman felt she did meaningful work. She and her Bulgarian contemporaries have helped rebirth a Jewish community that they hope continues to grow for generations to come. A
Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 43
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TOP: Ruth Sax with a photo of her younger self. BOTTOM: Sax’s daughter and coauthor Sandra Scheller.
44 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
pon meeting Ruth Sax, one finds a woman who is gentle and kind, with a powerful and positive outlook on life. She is very quiet at first but it’s clear that she can see everything, even your soul, before she says anything. In fact, it’s impossible to imagine all of the things her eyes have seen. Hers is a story told with humility and a sense of pride, in that she survived the great tragedy of our time. Ruth Sax is a notable Holocaust contributor to the South Bay community in San Diego, and now her story has been documented by her daughter, Sandra Scheller, in a book entitled, “Try to Remember – Never Forget.” Born in 1928, “Ruthie” was only 10 years old when the Holocaust came to her front door in Brno, Czechoslovakia. “On March 14, 1939, my mother was listening to the radio,” Ruth remembers. “She woke me up and said, ‘We have to go now. Go downstairs to the taxi and wait for us.’ My father was afraid of using his own car because people in the street would recognize us. Until now, no one had talked about the Nazis [in Brno].” She had grown up an only child of a successful businessman, Oskar Goldschmied, who was a salesman representing men’s socks with elastic. Ruthie was a child with curly black hair who played often with her distant cousin, Kurt Sax, who was 13 at the time and studying for his Bar Mitzvah at their grandparent’s. Ruth later married Kurt who was always the love of her life. In my interview with Ruth last February, she mentioned that she had always wondered how the flags with swastikas just jumped
out of nowhere. It was believed that the Nazis had already infiltrated Brno, recruited, intimidated or turned the local non-Jewish population in secret, but no one had told the Jews. This they found out most harshly. The Sax family ran from home to Oskar’s factory. “A man comes out with a swastika on him and he said ‘You might as well turn around and go back home. Hitler has occupied Czechoslovakia.’ My father was devastated.” Ruth and her parents tried to return home but without taxis for Jews they had to get a ride in the back of the train. Little by little, Ruthie and her family were robbed of everything that had once been routine. The fact of Ruthie and her family’s Jewishness had never been a problem before. “I went to public school,” she recounts. “People never cared [about who was Jewish]. I was the only Jewish girl and had non-Jewish girlfriends. No one would say anything. But once Hitler was around, I couldn’t go to public school. I was transferred to a Jewish school. [The Nazis] closed the Jewish school and made it into a dentist’s place ... everything was closed [for Jews].” The reality of the Nazis and the horrors of war had begun. Oskar was immediately sent to Auschwitz, from which he later escaped, while Ruth and her mother stayed together. “We thought that Hitler would only occupy 25 kilometers around. We later found out he occupied the whole country.” They started in Theresienstadt and remained there for three and a half years. Then it was on to Auschwitz where the two women faced Joseph Mengele, “Dr. Death,” six
times. Ruth explained that this camp was by far the worst – they had to be counted numerous times, watching people leave but not return, followed by smells and smoke. It was a miracle that Ruth and her mother’s time in Auschwitz was short. There was an announcement made that they were looking for people to work and the pair were sent to Oederan where she made bullets and laid cable in the street during the winter of 1944. They remained in Oederan until April 11, 1945 when they were told to board another transport. This time, things were different. There was the invasion of the Russians and then liberation. This too was not easy for Ruth and her mother. Quarantine for typhus and back at Theresienstadt, Ruth longed for her father. With help from the Red Cross, a man approached Mrs. Sax who stood behind an electric fence. Ruth thought it was her uncle, but as he neared she realized it was her father, at first unrecognizable without his mustache. The family left the camp together in June of 1945. Eighty-eight years of age now, Ruth Sax continues to educate, lecture and advocate to those wanting to know about the concentration camps and her survival. Ruth easily
could have given up with the odds against her, but she is a miracle in herself and has never lost her sense of faith in humanity. As Ruth says, “G-d created a beautiful world; only some people make it so miserable.” This is why her faith in G-d is strong and her family is so important. With two daughters and four grandchildren, she is blessed. Her older daughter, Eva Sax Bolder, is a Rabbi in New York and Sandra continues to raise awareness and support for Holocaust survivors. Portions of the proceeds from the sales of “Try to Remember – Never Forget” go to members of the New Life Club of the San Diego Jewish Federation. Ruth’s life is filled with much activity and prayer. She is regularly seen at Ohr Shalom in San Diego. Together, Ruth and Sandra continue to build awareness of Ruthie’s story of survival and what it means to “never forget.” Over the next few years, more and more stories of survivors and the allied soldiers who liberated them will be lost to time. The opportunity to hear a story live and to read it first hand is impactful indeed. We cannot mend the wounds of the past but we can heal our present. In listening to Ruth’s story and reading the book, the message is simple; the past makes us who
Ruth with her husband Kurt.
we are. Coming up on April 23 at Ohr Shalom, both Ruth and Sandra will discuss their book and sign copies. Presented during their talk will be the original dress worn by Ruth’s mother in Auschwitz and Oederan. Ruth is not just a friend, she is family. Upon meeting her in person and hearing her story, you will most certainly feel the same. A
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Punch Drunk Love A heartwarming look inside the unique bond between a pair of pals BY BRIE STIMSON
h, there are so many,” 14-yearold Melody Nuñez laughs. I asked what’s her favorite thing to do with Robin Halter. “Usually we like to go to the mall and try stuff on just for fun and we always go to Starbucks first. That’s like our meet-up hangout.” Melody isn’t talking about her high school best friend; she’s talking about her BigPal. The BigPals program, run by Jewish Family Service and modeled after Big Brothers/Big Sisters, pairs adults 25-years or older with kids aged 6 to 16 living in a non-traditional or single parent family. The adults mentor the children while having a lot of fun together. Melody says she and Robin like to go shopping and try on clothes. “I like to go to Bloomingdale’s to try on the dresses because those are the most fun,” she explains. The duo have been getting together for four and a half years now – since Melody was just nine years old. “When she was 9 she always liked trying on my shoes,” Robin remembers. “Of course, when she was 9 they didn’t fit at all, but she’d put on my high heeled shoes and walk around and … now she’s grown out of my shoes.” Melody says she joined the program after her cousin told her about it. “She really liked it and right before, I was always bored because both my parents were like, always working, and I just have my sister. But it was kind of boring because we just do the same things over and over and over again. I was talking to my cousin … and she was just like ‘oh yeah, I have a BigPal and when I’m bored I just text her and she’ll be there’ and I’m like ‘that’s so cool!’ So I decided to join the program.” Robin says the two of them usually do sim46 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
Robin Halter with her pal Melody Nuñez at the Shabbat San Diego Mega Challah Bake.
ple things like hiking or cooking or going to the beach. “She insisted that I go boogie boarding. That was an experience when you’re 50-some years old,” she laughs. “But it was a lot of fun actually.” She says getting to know Melody has been good for her too, and they both agree it’s opened her up. Growing up as a shy kid, Robin wishes she’d had someone like a BigPal to talk to. “I didn’t have a sister and there were definitely ups and downs in my youth and I didn’t really have anybody to talk to or go out and do some things with,” she tells the Jewish Journal. “I think it would have been of tremendous value to me and I think I lacked some confidence growing up … and just to have somebody there and support me, of course in addition to my parents, I think I really would have valued that.”
Melody, who says she hasn’t really thought too much about what she wants to do to for a career yet, does love acting. Although she cut back to focus on her grades, she and Robin often put on impromptu fashion shows, film choreographed dances and produce a fake science show that often has unintended (but hilarious) results. “She likes science and of course I have a science background,” Robin, who researches new drugs for Johnson and Johnson, explains. “We’re pretending like we have a show on tv and we’re talking about how to do a science experiment … mix this, do this, they’re hysterical … None of the projects ever turn out. Things are supposed to turn blue or fizzle and we’re just like staring at it.” Robin, who is single and has no children of her own, says she joined the program because she wanted to be able to give another child what she didn’t have growing up, and to help
instill the values of being a good person. “I wanted to share some of my advice or just share what I went through to be there for somebody as I would like somebody to have been there for me,” she says. When they’re together, Robin says she gets to act like a kid and embarrass herself. Melody loves to make up games while the two of them are just walking or driving around. Robin gives the example of the license plate game where you get to punch the other person when you see a certain license plate, but laughs that since she’s always the one driving, Melody usually sees the license plates and gets to punch her over and over. For Melody, who says she’s drifted away from her sister as the older one has aged, her relationship with Robin is important. “We like to have fun together. She’s really courteous and she has really good ears to listen with.” Melody calls Robin her “adventure buddy.” The two have been ice skating, on a harbor cruise, spent the day at Soak City Water Park, gone to the zoo and they get together for holidays and special milestones. “She threw me a birthday party,” Robin explains with still a bit of surprise in her voice. “You don’t think of a kid wanting to throw an
“Sometimes I think I get more out of it than she does,” Robin candidly muses. adult a birthday party at my house, but it was great and so, you know, when I have a party I pretty much just call family, have some wine and just talk but as a kid she’s like, ‘we’ve got to plan! What games are we going to play? What activities?’ I had probably about eight adults over here, and her. We cooked all day and she planned out the games and everybody who came had a great time. We did chalk drawing on the sidewalk, we did two truths and a lie … or drawing and trying to guess the drawing – it was a lot of fun – more fun than if I had planned it myself. She has a good heart. She’s good that way. She thinks about doing for others … She’s a great kid.” The cooking happens even when birthday parties aren’t involved. “We like to cook together and prepare a dinner or bake a cake, which doesn’t always go so successfully because we don’t follow a recipe,” Robin laughs. Not following a recipe is a good analogy for their relationship. Whether they’re performing a dance Melody choreographed, trying on clothes at Bloomingdales, skipping to Robin’s car from the parking lot because Melody thought it would be fun or planning a birthday party, the two have nothing but good things to say about each other. “Sometimes I think I get more out of it than she does,” Robin candidly muses. Robin, who works a lot at her research job, says the program has been good at forcing her to do something that isn’t work. She also says over the last four and a half years, she’s not the only one who’s lent an ear. “There’s been times … in the years that … things haven’t been going so great for me either,” Robin explains. “I lost both of my parents, I lost my dog. I’ve talked to her about it and so she’s been there for me as well.” Melody, whose love of the program is clear in her voice, hopes to stay in it for a long time. “I’m really happy I joined it. I’m very happy.” Robin agrees. “It’s been great ... We’ve supported each other.” A
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Heart in Hand
Exploring one woman’s Jewish relationship to social justice and how that translated to a career focused on giving back BY LAURIE COSKEY
emember dinners around the table – I became an ordained rabbi, joining other nity partners across the county – governthose days before cell phones, com- trailblazing women in the clergy. That sense ment and business leaders, law enforcement puters and distractions? Growing of optimism, driven toward the possibilities and educators – aligned to make a difference up in my house, we ate dinner together as of peace and equity, shaped by the Jewish for San Diego’s children. I learned that for a family every night. And at that table we precept that we are indeed all responsible for 96 years, United Way of San Diego County spoke about our Jewish responsibilities for one another, has defined my career of jus- has disrupted the cycle of poverty by promaking the world better in the post-Holo- tice seeking, alongside many extraordinary viding more opportunities for families and caust ’60s and ’70s. We learned how my par- advocates and justice seekers in San Diego children. ents helped children in need by volunteering for more than 30 years. So I came to United Way for the kids. Evtheir time, even as they raised three young In 2001, after serving as a rabbi for eight ery day, I am humbled and honored to ask: daughters and worked to earn a living. years and completing a doctorate in leader- “What more can we do to make a difference We didn’t use the expression tikkun olam ship studies with an emphasis on transfor- for children in San Diego? And how can we yet, but as I reflect on those dinners, really move the dial?” Our work reminds me of a story in the whether the five of us in my immediOur work reminds me of a story in ate family or a full 25 at my grand- Midrash of an old man planting a fig tree. the Midrash of an old man planting a parents’ Shabbat table, I understand The youngsters nearby wonder, “did he fig tree. The youngsters nearby wonnow that my family’s response to the der, “did he truly think he’d live long truly think he’d live long enough to eat the enough to eat the fruits of his labor?” tragedy of their lifetime was to cling fruits of his labor?” to the belief that if we work to repair “My ancestors planted for me, and the world, we can translate our Jewnow I plant for the children who come ishness into a call to justice. I mean that mational change and equity, I became the after me,” replied the old man. literally – we would always sing a jingle by executive director of the Interfaith Center By investing in San Diego’s children and Chuck Feldman, Camp Hess Kramer’s be- for Worker Justice, putting my doctorate families – by creating summer reading proloved song maven: “Justice, Justice Shalt to the test. I learned that so much more is grams where thousands of hours of tutoring Thou Pursue.” accomplished when all faiths work together, increased reading scores; by providing tens This call to justice serenaded me into the addressing the struggles of San Diego’s work- of thousands of books to low-income famreform Jewish youth movement’s SCFTY ing families through activism and advocacy ilies to read over the summer, so reading and North American Federation of Temple in the public and private sector. My work scores don’t slip while they’re out of school; Youth (NFTY), where we raised monies and there focused on issues including poverty and so much more – we’re planting worlds cut our political teeth saving Soviet Jewry, and sustainability, education, immigration, of possibilities for future generations. debated our identities as Jewish-Americans human trafficking, race relations, labor/ Be in touch with me, Laurie.Coskey@ or American Jews, and made our first group management relations, affordable housing uwsd.org, and let’s plant together. A pilgrimages to eretz yisrael, where flowers and more. Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Ed.D., is the president bloomed in the desert and we were certain And then last February, when I was re- and CEO of United Way of San Diego Counthat peace was arriving soon, really soon. cruited to apply for the local United Way’s ty. United Way is focused on educational mileMaking the world a better place by serv- highest office, I discovered how committed stones and academic success, providing support ing our community led me to Stanford Uni- this organization is to changing the odds for outside the classroom so children can be successversity and Hebrew Union College, where children. By that we mean getting commu- ful inside the classroom uwsd.org. 48 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
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When Dad Duties Call How one man reconciled his ambitions to be the world’s best rabbi with his desire to be a good father BY RABBI JACOB RUPP
ur living room was full to capacity with nearly 100 college students. It was loud and chaotic. We were about 45 minutes into Shabbat dinner. Pushing my plate aside, I jumped up to deliver the most important component of the experience – the Torah insight. My wife and I had spent most of the week preparing this meal, and yet it all came down to this moment. With great skill and some shouting, I managed to subdue the crowd and earn a moment of their silence. As I was about to start, my six-year-old daughter sprung from her seat and began to offer her own thoughts on the Torah portions of the week. At that moment I was faced with a question that indicated a larger identity crises at play; do I quiet her so I can deliver the impactful speech I had so conscientiously prepared and thus fulfill my role as rabbi? Or do I lose the moment of silence from these rowdy students in favor of being a good dad? When I put the options in those terms, there was no longer a question in my mind. I stood next to my daughter, shushed the students again, and let her speak. Moments of extreme change are rare. And when they do happen, we’re only able to appreciate them and their impact in retrospect. These moments only make sense to us when we look back wondering who we became and why. I really think I didn’t become a dad until my daughter was six years old. It took me that long to recognize that there were things in life more important to me than being the world’s best rabbi. Until 50 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
then, I think I may have seen her and our other kids as accessories to rabbihood. But at that table, my identity changed. Sure, this new identity still needs constant reinforcing, through daily choices that uphold the decision to be a different, better version of myself and ultimately I’m proud of the decision I made. It’s probably true that to be a good rabbi is to be a good father, but for me, I learned that day if I had to choose only one thing to truly excel at, I know what it is. Being flexible is not something I have ever been great at. And yet, I can’t think of one element of my life that I have not had to purposely alter, sometimes completely flip. For example, how do I balance my children’s needs when they come at the expense of what I want? I don’t think being a parent means we should live as martyrs who blindly give up what we want for our loved ones. At times, being selfish is what makes us good parents and good spouses. There is nothing better for my kids and wife than me going to the gym and working out while listening to Metallica. Or learning Torah. These kinds of independent activities focus and refresh me. The experience of being a spouse and parent has sometimes been a painful push to care beyond myself. Of course I love my wife and our children, but more than myself? It may sound like a horrible question, but if I don’t ask it, I risk sinking unconsciously into resentful martyrdom or pulling away entirely in favor of my own whims and impulses. When it came to understanding the true
core of my identity, between saying first I’m a father or first I’m a rabbi, I had to ask if I was taking care of myself for me or for someone else. Back to that moment at the Shabbat table in front of nearly 100 eager, young Jewish minds. The distinctions between my two identities could not have been more clear. What I loved most about being a rabbi was the spotlight, the speech, the instant feedback. “Rabbi! Wow! I never thought of it that way.” “Rabbi, how did you manage to make something so old seem so relevant?” “Rabbi, thank you, I want to study with you all the time!” “Rabbi, I think I need to go to Israel. You’ve been making me think and now I want to do something Jewish.” What was expected of me as a father was to take a back seat – give all of that up so my daughter could sing a song. And never a thank you. For the students around my Shabbat table, if it’s not me delivering remarks on the Torah, it will be someone else equally as qualified and insightful next week. My kids only have one dad. With them, I can’t be replaced. So my obligation is to them, no matter how much of a struggle it is at times. Judaism teaches that we should always be asking “What is my responsibility at this moment?” There is no set-it-and-forget-it option in life. We are meant to constantly evolve, to respond to the changing needs of ourselves and others at any given time. When I remembered the right question, the answer was clear. A
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Tevet â€˘ Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 51
A Community Celebration of Jewish Learning Under One Roof SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 2017 • 6:30 p.m.
JOIN US AT TAPESTRY AT THE LAWRENCE FAMILY JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER 6:30 p.m. – Registration 7:00 p.m. – Community Havdalah Led by Rabbi Nadav Caine in the Theatre 7:30–8:25 p.m. – Session #1 Select one class to attend 8:35–9:30 p.m. – Session #2 Select one class to attend 9:30 p.m. – Dessert & Champagne Reception and Celebration in the Theatre
7:30–8:25 p.m. SESSION #1 SELECT ONE CLASS TO ATTEND 1A. Live, Learn, Love: A Jewish Guide to Nurturing and Retaining Relationships Rabbi Yael Ridberg, Congregation Dor Hadash 1B. Tales from the Zohar: Unanticipated Encounters with Radical Teachers on Life’s Journeys Rabbi Scott Meltzer, Ohr Shalom Synagogue 1C. Jewish American Millennials Rabbi Josh Burrows, JCoSD 1D. The Chosen People: Is that Supremacist? Rabbi Rafi Andrusier, Chabad of East County
1G. Capturing Beauty, Brutality, Hope: Holocaust Art Guri Stark 1H. Rendezvous with God: Revealing the Meaning of the Jewish Holidays and their Mysterious Rituals Rabbi Nathan Laufer, San Diego Jewish Academy 1I. “Dress British, Think Yiddish” – Jewish Wisdom for Today’s Tech-Driven Business World Clifford T. Boro, Congregation Beth El
1E. Jewish Meditation Julie Potiker, The Balanced Mind Meditation Center
1J. The Problem of Paul: How Jewish Scholars Interpret the Apostle to the Gentiles Emerita Professor Rebecca Moore, San Diego State University
1F. Eco-Kashrut Cooking Class (Limited T to 12 people) L D OU SO(Same Gabi Charo, Hazon San Diego as 2J)
1K. Shabbat-Transforming Your Life Rabbi David Castiglione, Temple Adat Shalom
In cooperation with the San Diego Rabbinical Association Generously supported by the Jewish Education Leadership Fund Families: Chortek Family Foundation • Leichtag Foundation • Melvin Garb Foundation • Viterbi Family • Eric Weisman & Susan Chortek Weisman
52 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017 TapestryJJAdFINAL16.indd 2-3
Become a Tapestry Gold/Silver/Bronze Thread supporter; call Dr. Ilana De Laney (858) 362-1327 Go to sdcjc.org/tap to register or call (858) 362-1348 • Community Havdalah • 22 Speakers (Topics range from Art to Zohar) • 20 Local Jewish Organizations • Delicious Dessert & Wine* Reception • 3 Unforgettable Hours! • $36 Tapestry pre-registration • $30 JCC Member • $20 Teacher Pre-Registration closes Thursday, January, 5, 2017 at noon. Registration at the door will be $50 per person. All classes will be filled on a first-come basis.
8:35–9:30 p.m. SESSION #2 SELECT ONE CLASS TO ATTEND 2A. What is Jewish Music? Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal, Tifereth Israel Synagogue 2B. Holocaust or Shoah? What Do these Terms Mean and Why Does it Matter? Emerita Professor Rebecca Moore, San Diego State University 2C. Israel, the Balance Judaism and Democracy-A Case Study Dr. Raymond Fink, Shalom Hartman Institute 2D. Joshua and the Ethics of War Rabbi Devorah Marcus, Temple Emanu-El 2E. Gratitude: Waking up to Life Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ezagui, Chabad La Jolla 2F. The Zen of the Jew-Bu: Moses’ Buddhist Enlightenment at the Burning Bush Rabbi Nadav Caine, Ner Tamid Synagogue
2G. Wrestling with Jewish Identity and with Jewish Expression: A 19th Century Dilemma Rabbi Adam M. Wright, Temple Solel 2H. Talmud for Today Rabbi David Kornberg, Congregation Beth Am 2 I. Havdalah: A Magic Wand aka Spiritual Power Tool Rabbi Alyson Solomon, Congregation Beth Israel 2J. Eco-Kashrut Cooking Class (Limited to 12 people) D OUT(Same as 1F) Gabi Charo, Hazon San SOLDiego 2K. Re-inhabiting the Village: Community Living in Our Modern Era Rabbi Jonah Fradkin and Craig Saloner, Campus of Life a division of Chabad Hebrew Academy
9:30 p.m. DESSERT & CHAMPAGNE RECEPTION AND CELEBRATION CATERED BY THE PLACE (dietary laws observed) San Diego Center for Jewish Culture Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS 4126 Executive Drive • La Jolla, CA 92037-1348
Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 53 12/21/16 2:23 PM
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The Sounds of Silence SDJJ advice columnist explores her relationship to her deafness BY MARNIE MACAULEY
y dear San Diegans: Our fabulous editor caught my “admission” of deafness in an earlier column (not to mention the fact that I “Wha? Wha?” her on the phone). So in this column, she asked that I tell you the ganza about living in semi-silence. I rarely talk about it, except to apologize to assorted clients, friends, and yes, even the power company for responding 10 minutes later to the question “What’s your name?” So here’s my story. If you feel an ounce of pity, send Chinese food. THE EARLY YEARS The year was “back when.” I was five. In school I got a note pinned to me. I flunked “hearing.” With each grade I also broke the kid-code – I ran to take the front seat in all my classes. Colds made it worse. Mom took me to “a hearing guy” when I shnarfled. “Eustachian tubes!” was the diagnoses. I was “blown out” at least 30 times. Today, modern medicine with its marvels has also created a country of meshuge moms. If a child can’t read at 2, we hear “Oh G-d. We have to test him for ADHD or Asperger’s!” “Back when,” no one got crazy. Bubbe said, “She’ll grow out of it.” I didn’t. Later, I started noticing something. Noise. Not people talking. Not music playing. I heard … click-ringing. Like a crazed cricket took root inside my brain – with a bell. So I did what any child would do. I poured stuff in my ears. Water. Syrup. Seltzer. When my parents noticed I was getting a concussion from banging my head against hard objects, it was time to take action. 54 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
THE GAWGEOUS DOCTOR … UM, THE DIAGNOSES A friend recommended we stop futzing and go to his doctor on Park Avenue, which, let me tell you, is a long way from Queens. He was a sweet old guy. Within five minutes he said … “Little girl, I’m taking you across the hall to see my son.” Mom teared up. Wha? Seems Doctor-Son was famous for one thing. Oy, did I have the thing? We passed through a sea of patients waiting (for a year) for sonny and sailed into his office on his Daddy’s wing. His name was Dr. Alan Austin Scheer. ANCILLARY NOTE: He was the handsomest man I had ever seen or would ever again see. An auburn-haired Burt Lancaster he was. My mother, the Queen Victoria of marital loyalty, went into shock, her jaw hitting the floor. The gum I was chewing hit the wall, bounced onto a replica of middle-ear stapes, then hit him in the face. Using a tuning fork, the whole shmear took five minutes. I had “the thing.” “Your daughter has otosclerosis,” he said, when we managed to stand upright. To simplify, the stapes becomes stuck in place, can’t vibrate, you grow deaf. He was excited. I was his “youngest” candidate for surgery to replace the stapes, one ear at a time. “But,” he cautioned, “by the time she’s 40 it will hit the nerves, and she’ll be deaf.” My mother got hysterical. I retrieved my gum. “Forty?!” I thought. “Yeah, right. We’ll be on Pluto by then!” ANCILLARY NOTE TWO: This was November 22, 1963. “Ninotchka.” That’s what I was watching at 3 a.m. three weeks after the operation. I
couldn’t hear Garbo (then, who could?) because temporary scar tissue had formed. “It will fall out in three weeks” Dr. Gawgeous explained. Suddenly, I heard a WHOOSH. And when Garbo said “I should hate to see our country endangered by my underwear.” She sounded like a Swedish James Earl Jones. I thought I went deaf in the other ear, which also wasn’t terrific. It was three weeks plus 10 hours, plus “Ninotchka.” I ran to the window. I heard birds. I ran downstairs, I heard the fridge hum. I hummed. I heard. And I cried. The years passed. The other ear started ping-ringing, and I was now sitting on my professors’ laps. It was time to do the other ear. Especially as I had a major mid-term coming up. “HAPPY 39TH DEAR MARNIE” … Wha? Were we on Pluto and didn’t Dr. Gawgeous warn mom … yesterday? The next week I had a big confab with Geraldo’s producer. Him: “Nice to meet you.” Me: “Yes ... ice on streets, can kill you.” Him: “So, you’re interested in doing the show.” Me: “I love doing things in the snow.” Him: [looking at me strangely]: “Well, you have a solid background...” Me: [what’s with him an precipitation?] “Yes. Especially when it’s packed ‘solid’ ... the snow.” I sensed I was losing ground here. Then, I tried to call home on a public phone. ET had a better shot.
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And, for the very first time, I realized ... I’m deaf. And, for the very first time, I felt … helpless. And, for the very first time, I got hearing aids … and the lady audiologist said: “You must be exhausted working so very hard to hear.” I fell into her arms sobbing. Now, for those of you who are PC enough to call short people “altitudinally disadvantaged,” let me tell you, we deaf get bupkes. Especially if we’re afflicted later in life. What we get is … annoyance. We are annoying. We don’t look, speak or appear “challenged.” What we do is whistle from our aids, ask “Wha? Wha?” misunderstand you, make you scream and turn up the volume to sonar. Over a year ago, I took the BL (Big Leap) and let them bore (yet another) hole in my head. Yes. I had a cochlear implant. Is it perfect? No. Is it odd? Not for Mentalo. Is it better? Oh yes. I’m less deaf … but I miss it a little. Trust me, so would you. Being deaf definitely has its advantages … WHEN I WAS DEAFER … If a boring person approached me and reading his lips I was ready to chalosh, I had an escape. It isn’t easy being boring-by-lip, but they’re out there. Now I hear them. (It was then I PCd “deaf” to “audio-bore-ialis.”) When my darling husband was alive, he was a snorer. Did I hear it? Of course not. Did I care? Of course not. I couldn’t hear an earthquake when it moved our bed into the kitchen. Perks. Whether it was bill collectors or (horrors!) telemarketers, I actually made them so meshuge with my “Wha? Wha? Who? Who?” they hung up on me. Interruptionability: I was an interrupter? Not my fault. Who knew they were talking? SO YES … DEAF HAS ITS ADVANTAGES. And so my journey as a semi-hearing person continues. Has it made me more empathetic? Has it forced my mind to adapt and become laser-focused? Has it made me listen closely with all my senses? Has it helped me write with my heart? I believe so. I still miss the subtlety of music, the mellifluent sounds of nature and the sweetness of the whisper. So if you read my columns, or you see me coming, and should I say “Wha? Wha?” Come a little closer … and let me hear the whole you, with the whole of me. A
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Illustration by Terry LaBan. 56 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
Tevet â€¢ Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 57
||| FEATURE |||
fter the election was called for Donald Trump in the early morning of Nov. 9, 2016, Sarah Dolgen Shaftel spent a couple days feeling paralyzed. She also felt nervous about what the future might look like for her two-year-old daughter. But she didn’t let those feelings get comfortable. By just a couple days after the election, the Women’s March on Washington, which was first called the Million Women March, had been scheduled for Jan. 21, the day after the presidential inauguration. “I thought I would really love to go and be there,” Sarah says. “I felt such a calling to go and be in that space with these women and people marching. And quickly reality set in.” Washington D.C. is a long way from San Diego, and coordinating travel around a surgeon-on-call-husband and a two-year-olddaughter can be difficult. So Sarah created a Facebook event for a solidarity march in San Diego. The event grew to about 300 people and word got to Sarah that another local woman, Dawniel Stewart, had done the same thing. By Nov. 13 the two had joined forces. On Nov. 15, they put out a call on their newly created Facebook page for volunteers to join the planning committee. The online form shows 198 people signed up and Sarah says that about 200 people attended the first meeting, held at the ACLU’s downtown offices on Nov. 20. “It’s a beautiful thing,” Sarah says of the volunteer involvement. “I think there are so many people feeling all of this very deeply and we’re giving them an opportunity to do something with their feelings in a safe, peaceful way.” In addition to their own march, Sarah says she and representatives from all of the California marches – eight in total – get on conference calls once or twice weekly to update each other on progress. The state-level orga58 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
nizers (from all 50 states) then report progress to those who are organizing the national march. With all of this coordinating, Sarah says each of the marches will still have their own “local flavor.” “Everyone has their own fight and their own reason for showing up,” she adds. “But ultimately, we have to show up as one.” Co-opting Hillary Clinton’s famous phrase from her 1995 speech in Beijing, China, San Diegans are marching under the banner “Women’s rights are human rights.” Exactly what that means, and if it translates into action for or against the new administration after the march is over will likely change from person to person. There are also San Diego groups organizing to participate in the Washington march, like Leichtag Foundation which I reported on our website in early December. Aviva Paley, who is joining that delegation, says she sees this as “a really amazing opportunity to have our voice heard and really show what issues are important to us ... [to] hopefully send a message to the Trump administration as to the rights we hold dear to us.” While it is too early for the march to attach itself to any actionable legislation, the idea is for the visual of many thousands of people marching in different cities across the country to make a strong statement. “It adds context to other things that are happening in society,” says David Dolgen, Sarah’s father who was involved in civil rights marches during his college years, in 1960s Washington D.C. “People understand that there are negative pressures on women’s rights – which are civil and human rights – today. Without becoming partisan you can create a national environment that says that this is unacceptable. It helps to support legislative and political issues that various individuals and advocacy groups may choose to support.” “We need to rise up, show up and shine,”
Sarah says. “We really need to get up and
5 Steps to Organize a March
1.Rally a group of like-minded individuals. 2. Write a mission statement that encompasses the ideas of the full, diverse group. 3. Meet regularly, delegate tasks, and stay energized. 4. Contact the city early and often. Organizing is allowed, but permits are required. 5. Spread the word, especially to local media and elected officials. move and not be paralyzed because that won’t get us anywhere.” The San Diego Women’s March takes place Jan. 21. Time and location details were still forthcoming at press time. For the most up-to-date information as planning progresses, visit the Facebook group and event page at facebook.com/sandiegomarch. A
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||| FEATURE |||
ala Chairs Cindy and Larry Bloch along with approximately 350 guests, will gather on Saturday, Feb. 25 for the 39th Annual Seacrest Foundation Gala: “Seacrest Vintage 2017 – A Magical Evening in the Vineyard.” Proceeds will benefit the Seacrest Village Resident Assistance Fund. “This year’s vineyard theme is in keeping with the work of Seacrest,” remarked Robert Haimsohn, President of Seacrest Foundation. “As grape vines and wine improve with time, so have the expertise and level of care provided to countless individuals and family members residing at Seacrest Village over the years. The ongoing work of Seacrest is dependent upon our generous supporters who are committed to caring for those who came before us, and we look forward to sharing this wonderful evening with the community.” All proceeds raised will support the Resident Assistance Fund, which provides charitable care for those who need it. This year alone, Seacrest will provide almost $2.5 million in charitable care. To support the increasing financial needs of our community, the evening will include a live auction with an opportunity to bid on the following items: Dinner for 10 with wine pairings at Pamplemousse Grille; a 3-day stay at the award-winning spa at Cal-A-Vie; and a fabulous weekend getaway in New York with first class flights and tickets to see Broadway’s hit musical, “Hamilton.” There will also be a chance to raise your paddle to support the “Fund-A-Need,” the Resident Assistance Fund to provide charitable care. “I’ve been involved with and attended many Seacrest events over the years,” said gala chair Cindy Bloch. “With Larry’s mom now
60 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
residing at Seacrest Village in the Goldberg Building, one of Seacrest’s independent living facilities, the time is right for us to take a more active role in supporting this outstanding organization. “We must care for the elderly and disadvantaged members of our community by providing a warm, loving and safe community in which to live with dignity, regardless of their ability to pay,” Cindy added. As a Seacrest Foundation Board Member and Chair of the Legacy Committee, Cindy chose to chair this year’s gala hoping to strengthen the Charitable Care program offered by Seacrest, as well as to fortify a continuing legacy. “Larry and I are committed to honoring our parents’ and grandparents’ generation and leaving a legacy for the generations that follow.” A dedicated steering committee is in place to make this fundraising goal a reality. Many thanks go to Sherri Adler, Judy Belinsky, Jessica Chodorow, Liz Coden, Suzanne Cohen, Rebecca Collopy, Emily Einhorn, Mary Epsten, Esther Fischer, Nancy Gordon, Merrill Haimsohn, Tammy Hershfield, Lisa Levine, Linda Otchis, Roselyn Pappelbaum, Monica Perlman, Linda Platt, Lori Polin, Isabel Wasserman and Sharon Wax. The evening will begin with a cocktail reception and a unique wine tasting with the opportunity to sample varietals from two of San Diego’s wineries, Milagro and Oak Mountain Winery. In keeping with the evening’s theme, a farm-to-table, organic and locally sourced dinner is planned alongside specially selected wine pairings. A delectable assortment of desserts will be presented with a make-your-own “All Grown Up S’Mores
Bar” to add to the outdoor vineyard theme. The Foundation’s newest event for emerging leaders, attendees 40 and under, includes an after party in the Hyatt’s newly renovated Drift Lounge. Talking about the after-party, Justin Levine said, “I’m very lucky to have role models like my parents, who value giving back to the community. I know they have a very special place in their hearts for Seacrest and I hope to contribute in a meaningful way as well. It’s cool to see new people getting involved. The gala is always a great opportunity to learn about Seacrest and get excited about being involved, so I hope we can encourage the younger crowd to come this year – and hang out at the after-party too!” Gala tickets for emerging leaders, including the after party, are priced at $90 this year. A For more information about the gala and to register, visit seacrestfoundation.org.
Gala chairs Cindy and Larry Bloch
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Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 61
||| THEATER |||
dmit it. Somewhere along the line, whether you’re secular or observant, the back of your neurotic brain has taunted you by saying, “You’re a bad Jew.” The play called “Bad Jews,” by Joshua Harmon, has clearly struck a chord… and not only in the Jewish community. It’s been a big success in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Memphis, as well as Canada, England, Germany, Israel, South Africa and Australia. The biting dramedy inspired critics to wax oxymoronic: “exhilaratingly abrasive,” “ferociously clever,” “scaldingly funny,” “delectably savage.” When it ran Off Broadway (2012) and then On Broadway (2013), the comedy was nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Play. So, who are the bad Jews? A New York Jewish family recently lost a beloved grandfather. He left behind a treasured piece of religious jewelry, a chai that he managed to hide even from the Nazis. On the night after the funeral, gathered in a cramped Manhattan apartment, the grandchildren (three cousins), fight over who is more “deserving” of the treasured family heirloom. In the process, they hurl vicious verbal attacks at each other over their religiosity and legacy, their relative closeness to their patriarch, their faith, cultural assimilation and even the validity of their love relationships. New York-based playwright Joshua Harmon, age 33, is a graduate of Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon and Juilliard, who worked 62 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
under acclaimed playwrights Christopher Durang and Marsha Norman. Just to give you a sense of his sensibility, he had a grandmother who, when he was 10, gave him a play to read and said that if/when he finished it, she’d take him to see a production of it. That play was “Medea” (the famously brutal Greek tragedy about a wronged woman who, in revenge and despair, murders her two children). He grew up to write what have been called “cruel, tender and very funny plays.” Harmon’s first playwriting effort, “Bad Jews,” is a complete fiction, purportedly not in any way based on his own personal experiences. He insists that he had “a really nice family and nice cousins.” But the question he started with when he began to write the play, was “What do you do with Judaism?” His characters include Daphna (née Diana), a big-haired, verbally aggressive, judgmental, Vassar-attending religious-fanatic, who’s aiming for the “pre-rabbinate” in Israel, where she reports having a soldier beau. Her cousin Liam is rich, spoiled, dating a shiksa (Melody, who’s also present), and too busy skiing in Aspen to have made it to his grandfather’s funeral. At the University of Chicago, he’s working toward a Ph.D. in contemporary Japanese youth culture. Between the battling cousins, running interference but not wanting to take sides, is young, geeky Jonah, who’s mostly into video games, but turns the tables on everyone at the end. Washington Jewish Week, suggesting that a better title would be “Jews Behaving Badly,” called the play “an attempt to be part ‘Odd Couple,’ part ‘Virginia Woolf ’.” The
Chicago Tribune spoke of “two powerful, unyielding, opposing characters, each a toxic blend of certitude and insecurity.” The bottom line of the lethally funny, fast-paced comedy is an exploration of what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. “I think this play is dealing with the legacy of the Holocaust on Millennials,” says Rob Lutfy, associate artistic director at Cygnet Theatre, where he’s directing the production (Jan. 12-Feb. 12). “They will be the last generation to know a survivor. Among many other things, this play is about how to grapple with that legacy.” When Cygnet co-founder/artistic director Sean Murray first suggested the play, Lutfy thought that, not being Jewish, he was the wrong one to direct it. But, he says, “a friend of mine, also a goy like me, directed it in San Francisco. And he said that, at the beginning, the audience dies laughing, and then they’re hit in the face. But he was really struck by the conversations overheard after the performance, from the lobby to the parking lot to drinks afterward. These families just wanted to keep talking about it. That sold it to me.” Besides, Lutfy continues, “part of Cygnet’s mission is ‘to ignite the base.’ I hope this play ignites conversation and debate. That interaction – unpacking the ideas – was more interesting to me than seeing the play itself. This play really frames the conversation.” Though not born Jewish, Lutfy considers
PHOTO BY KEN JACQUES
PHOTO BY KEN JACQUES
The cast of “Bad Jews” from left to right: Katie Sapper plays Melody the shiksa, Josh Odsess-Rubin as the spoiled cousin Liam, Danielle Frimer plays intensely observant Daphna, and Tom Zohar is Jonah, the quiet one with the big surprise.
himself to be “super super sensitive to our relationship to our immigrant past. But of course, he acknowledges that this is ultimately a Jewish story. And to honor that, he wanted to be sure to cast Jewish actors in the roles: Joshua Odes Ruben (also in the magnificent production Lutfy directed last year, “When the Rain Stops Falling”) as Liam; Israel-born local Tom Zohar as Jonah, and Danielle Frimer as Daphna. “I think young Jewish actors are drawn to this play,” says Lutfy. “They want to play these roles; they feel like they know these people. I’ve never gotten so many unsolicited submissions (Frimer, the Yale University alumna who plays Daphna, sent a video). “I don’t want the audience to pick sides,” Lutfy asserts. “In the way the play is written, you’re supposed to identify and empathize with all of them.” Or hate each of them in turn, as the case may be. “The challenge is not playing into stereotypes. At the core of these characters and arguments is this symbol, a ‘chai.’ To the playwright, it’s a reminder to value the time
you have on earth.” The battle is primarily between Daphna, who has, according to Lutfy, “embraced a wholesale immersion in the legacy of her religion, especially the Holocaust; and super-assimilated Liam, to whom all that feels inauthentic. They’re both living out their authentic truth, but they hate each other. Jonah is the wimpy one between them – who turns out to be actually living the truth. “The dilemma for Jewish Millennials,” Lutfy continues, “is, ‘If I don’t want to be a Zionist, but I don’t want to completely deny this, where does that leave me?’ Then there’s Melody, who has no identification with her past at all. She barely knows where her family came from, which is true of many gentiles. ‘Bad Jews’ is something like a [George Bernard] Shaw play; the characters represent ideas in a claustrophobic setting. “I think, deep down, the cousins all love each other. They’re all Jewish; they’re family. It’s about identity, how to carry through our past. How to preserve the history and the Holocaust.” After he graduated college (the North
Carolina School of the Arts, also Sean Murray’s alma mater), Lutfy lived in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and had many Jewish (Orthodox) friends. At times, he served as the “Shabbos goy” turning appliances off on Saturday. He was invited to the synagogue, he ate “incredible kosher food.” So he’s not completely unaware of the culture or the issues. “One of the major themes of ‘Bad Jews,’ he says, “is the legacy of our own history and how to live authentically in relation to the past. Especially for minority groups; they need to reproduce. As Daphna puts it ‘we need to keep the bloodline.’ (To which Liam responds: “Keeping the race pure? You sound like a Nazi.”) Lutfy continues: “The whole concept of ‘bad Jew’ vs. ‘good Jew’… what does that mean? Is it tied into religion? History? Looking back to look forward? Especially to the younger generation, the question is important. If you embrace your cultural heritage, but not the religion, can you be a ‘good Jew’? Are folks in the younger generation, who may be intermarrying and moving Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 63
away from Zionism and questioning Israeli politics, ‘bad Jews’? “For me,” Lutfy continues, “I don’t have that cultural heritage. My grandparents were Maronites, a Catholic sect hidden in the mountains of Lebanon. When they came to the U.S., they completely assimilated; they only wanted my father to speak English, to be American. On my mother’s side, there’s the American South; that’s not necessarily a history I wanted to identify with. “This play is about preserving Jewish identity and culture. Holding fast to it. In a Christian family, there isn’t that same tradition or issue. In America, it’s often more about piecing together your own culture. But Jewish people never forget; there’s a purity to that. Keeping it alive. That appeals to me.” In most cases, Lutfy explains, he’s drawn to plays “that demand my point of view. But this is the opposite. I just want to get out of the plays’ way. The poetry is in the relationships and how these people use their words. This is an actor’s play. These are witty, mean, real characters. “In every design element,” he continues, “I don’t want a point of view. No poetic
statement. It wants to be realism. The play starts in real time and doesn’t stop. We’re stuck in this small, confined apartment. There’s a lot of resentment among these highly emotional characters. And they’re all in mourning, at the same time.” Liam and Daphna both think they’re entitled to the chai. He’s the oldest grandson. He just wants to think about his grandfather’s personal life; it has nothing to do with his cultural past. Daphna identifies with the culture and the religion. She feels that, for that reason, she was the closest to their grandfather. “For lots of people, Jonah is a way into the play,” says Lutfy. “He’s in the middle of this tennis match. We may not like either of the players. He’s kind of the ‘Can’t we all just get along and remember this man?’ character. “I’m excited to work with these actors, with the moment-to-moment of the comedy. And I want us to explore what happens after the play, when the characters pick up the pieces. How do we think they go on? These characters are young people in their 20s. They have a lot of learning to do. It’s about finding hope within a dark moment of life. I like to think there’s some hope for
them all at the end. But I’m an optimist. I like optimistic theater.” As for what happens to the audience after – Lutfy is well aware that Jewish culture welcomes debate and discussion. “You don’t really have that in other cultures. For non-Jews, the play opens up a conversation. How do gentiles look at their past, carry it in their hearts? Josh [Harmon, the playwright] brings the humor to help everyone grapple with these issues. Sections of the audience will identify with one character or another. And that’s something for discussion, too. “There have to be some Daphnas – headstrong, indomitable. Staying strong to the cultural heritage. And there will always be Liams, too. This is the conversation we need to be having at the end of the play. If Jews and gentiles are sitting next to each other and jointly engage in the discussion, so much the better.” A “Bad Jews” runs Jan. 12-Feb. 12 at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town. Tickets ($36-$57) and information are available at (619) 337-1525 and cygnettheatre.com.
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Tori Avey is an award-winning food writer, recipe developer, and the creator of the popular cooking website toriavey.com. She writes about food history for PBS Food and Parade.com. Follow Tori on Facebook by searching for “Tori Avey” and on Twitter: @toriavey.
in the kitchen WITH
PHOTOS BY TORI AVEY
66 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
obody knows exactly how a group of several thousand Jews settled in Yemen. Oral Yemenite tradition suggests that a group of Jews left Jerusalem after hearing Jeremiah predict the destruction of the first Temple. Archaeological evidence shows that Jews have lived in Yemen since at least the 3rd century CE. Though it’s not exactly clear how or when they arrived in Yemen, the history of Yemenite Jews distinguishes them from all other Jewish populations. Because of their remote location and relative isolation, Yemenite Jewish tradition has remained largely unchanged throughout the centuries. They preserved many ancient Jewish religious customs that might otherwise have been lost to the passage of time. In fact, some researchers believe that the Yemenite Hebrew dialect is more closely related to Biblical Hebrew than any other dialect. In the late 1800s, the first in a series of mass migrations to Israel began. Facing increased persecution from Muslim communities in Yemen, most Yemenite Jews immigrated to Israel before 1962. The Yemenite Jews are known for their complex spices and rich, flavorful dishes. I was introduced to Yemenite cuisine for the first time at a Los Angeles restaurant called
Shula and Esther, owned by two Yemenite women. Their soup was my favorite; it was spicy, rich and delicious. Some days they featured lamb or beef Yemenite soup and some days chicken. Since then I’ve tasted many versions of Yemenite soup, including several in Israel where the majority of Yemenite Jews now live. When Shula and Esther closed (a tragic day for us), I had to figure out how to make the soup on my own. I learned the basic method and ingredients from my friend whose mother has Yemenite ancestry. Over time I’ve looked at various recipes and adjusted the seasonings until I honed in on the distinct flavor that we remember from Shula and Esther. Yemenite soup is traditionally served as the entree of the Shabbat meal on Friday evening. The Jews of Yemen typically used chicken in their soup because meat was expensive and difficult to come by. The broth of this soup is spiced with hawayej, a Yemenite spice blend that can be purchased at most Jewish markets. Every Yemenite family has a different recipe for this soup, but the basics remain the same – a meat or chicken broth, marrow bones, onions, potatoes and hawayej. This soup is generally served with two Yemenite
1 whole 3-4 lb. chicken cut into pieces 4-5 chicken drumsticks 2 beef marrow bones 2 tsp turmeric 3 garlic cloves 1 bunch of cilantro – cleaned, rinsed, and tied in a bundle, plus more cilantro to garnish soup 1 large onion, rinsed and halved, skin on 2 tsp hawayej spice blend 1 ¼ lb. russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 4 medium russets), peeled and cut into large 2-inch chunks Additional vegetables, if desired – you can add zucchini, yellow squash, or carrots if you wish (it is more traditional without the vegetables) Salt and pepper
YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
You will also need: 6-8 quart stock pot, kitchen twine Yield: About 8 servings Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes Kosher Key: Meat
Place chicken pieces and marrow bones on the bottom of a 6-8 quart stock pot. Add 12 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes, skimming the foam that rises to the top. Stir 2 tsp turmeric, ½ tbsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper and garlic cloves into the pot. Add the cilantro bundle and onion, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the soup cook for 90 minutes, keeping an eye periodically to make sure the simmer is low and bubbling but not boiling too rapidly. Stir gently a few times during cooking. After 90 minutes, use a pair of tongs to pull out the onion, the cilantro bundle and the two
condiments, hilbeh and schug. Hilbeh is a gelatinous sauce made with fenugreek seeds; it takes 2-3 days to make and the process is quite involved. Schug is a sort of Yemenite salsa made from peppers, garlic, and spices. A recipe for schug can be found on my blog, as well as a beef version of this soup. Enjoy!
chicken breasts on the bone. Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board. Pull the meat from the bones and shred it. Discard the bones and skin. Add the chicken breast meat back to the soup pot. Stir 2 tsp hawayej spice blend into the broth along with additional salt and black pepper to taste. I usually add about 1 tsp more of salt, it really makes the spices pop. Add the potato chunks to the broth. At this point, you can also add other vegetables if you wish, including small slices of carrot, celery, zucchini, etc. Bring back to a low simmer and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes more, or until the largest potato chunks are tender (and the other veggies, if you decide to add them). Scrape the marrow out of the bones and add it to the broth, if desired, or serve the marrow bones with soup to anybody who enjoys them. Serve each bowl with a few potato chunks, a chicken leg, and some of the shredded chicken meat. I usually remove the skin and cartilage from the chicken pieces prior to serving for a nicer presentation. Garnish each bowl with fresh chopped cilantro. This soup is usually served with schug alongside; it can be stirred into the broth to add more spicy flavor. A
Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 67
? GOIN '?ON ?? WHAT'S BY EILEEN SONDAK
Lamb’s Players Theatre
Cygnet Theatre is ready to unveil “Bad Jews,” a savage comedy about family, faith and legacy, written by Joshua Harmon. This San Diego premiere involves a verbal battle for an heirloom, after the death of the family patriarch. Despite its serious theme, it has been lauded as the funniest play of the year – and it sounds like a must-see. Read Pat Launer’s feature on pg. 62 of this magazine. The show will dominate the Old Town Theatre Jan. 12-Feb. 12.
The Lamb’s will revive James Sherman’s comedy, “Beau Jest,” on Jan. 6. The show was pushed back when “American Rhythm” was extended, but it’s due to stay put at the Lamb’s Coronado home through Feb. 12. The Journal also featured an article on this play in the December arts issue, and you can still find the story on our website. Moxie Theatre will present “Blue Door” at its El Cajon Blvd. home on Jan. 29. The show – a Pulitzer Prize-nominated play – revolves around a couple living with (and trying to escape from) the past. “Blue Door” will be open for theater-goers through Feb. 26. PHOTO COURTESY LJMS
Broadway-San Diego has a treat for all ages to start the year off right. “Matilda the Musical,” winner of four Tony Awards, is headed to the Civic Theatre Jan. 31-Feb. 5, and it’s a wonderful show, based on the beloved children’s book. Take the kids and enjoy!
La Jolla Playhouse
La Jolla Playhouse has a new musical on the boards at the Weiss Theatre – and it borrows its title from the macabre. “Freaky Friday” is actually a comedy about an overworked mother and her teenage daughter who magically swap bodies. This contemporary update of an American classic promises a lot of laughs Jan. 28-March 5, so check it out.
Bridget Carpenter, “Freaky Friday” author.
San Diego Repertory Theatre
San Diego Repertory Theatre has another gift from local favorite, Hershey Felder. “Our Great Tchaikovsky” – which will be ensconced at the Rep’s downtown home Jan. 12-Feb. 12 – uses Felder’s brilliant storytelling and musical stylings to offer insights into the composer’s genius. Look back on our December interview with Felder at sdjewishjournal.com.
North Coast Repertory Theatre
North Coast Repertory Theatre is ready to deliver the San Diego premiere of “Marjorie Prime.” This Pulitzer Prize-finalist is set in the near future, when artificial intelligence has come of age and life-like robots provide companionship for the lonely. You can see this thought-provoking new play Jan. 11 through Feb. 5.
The Old Globe
The Old Globe has no Main Stage offerings this month, but it will be featuring its annual New Voices Festival Jan. 13-15. There will be four plays by emerging playwrights included this year.
68 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
Kronos Quartet plays at Sherwood Auditorium on Jan. 20.
La Jolla Music Society
La Jolla Music Society will present Louis Lortie on Jan. 14, performing an all-Wagner program at Sherwood Auditorium, as part of its Piano Series, followed on Jan. 20 by the Kronos Quartet. Edgar Moreau will perform four pieces on his cello on Jan. 22 at the Auditorium at TSRI, and on Jan. 25 the Society will sponsor a performance by the Prague Philharmonia at Symphony Hall. Their three-piece two works by Dvorak.
San Diego Symphony
The San Diego Symphony is celebrating “Our American Music” with free concerts and discussions as well as formal concerts, starting Jan. 6-8 with Andrew Gourlay conducting the orchestra for “Americans and Paris.” Inon Barnatan will tickle the ivories for both Andrew Norman’s “Suspend and Copland’s Piano Concerto.” Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” and a piece by Varese are also on tap. Jazz is in the spotlight on Jan. 14, when “Birth of the Cool: A West Coast Jazz Salute” features an homage to the greatest West Coast jazz artists, such as Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis. Jan. 20-22 brings “LA/ NY” to Symphony Hall. This concert will include works by Stravinsky, Adams, Copland and Bernstein. The symphony will perform “Bernstein, Perlman, Hollywood” on Jan. 21, with the great Itzhak Perlman on violin. The program features three pieces, including a Hollywood medley for Perlman arranged by John Williams. “American Riffs and Rhapsodies” is slated for Jan. 27-29, with James Gaffigan on the podium and dancer Cartier Williams as guest artist. The performance includes five diverse pieces and a Tap Dance Concerto by Morton Gould. To round out the month at Symphony Hall, you can enjoy “Beyond the Score: Things Our Fathers Loved” – performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 28. James Gaffigan is conducting Ives’ Symphony No. 2.
Planet” is a portrait of the Earth, made in cooperation with NASA. “National Parks Adventure,” narrated by Robert Redford, takes us to the most stunning spots in the country, and “Extreme Weather” (something we rarely experience first-hand in San Diego).
Mingei International Museum
This month, on Jan. 14 the Mingei International Museum opens its Sandy Swirnoff – Knotted Fiber Jewelry exhibition. A retrospective of Swirnoff ’s fiber necklaces and bracelets, the exhibition will also showcase the artist’s collection of Art Nouveau glass shards. Layers of Brilliance, featuring Japanese lacquer tools continues, as does American and European Folk Art, The Erick Gronborg Experience and Europeand Scandanavian Textiles.
San Diego Museum of Art
The San Diego Museum of Art continues with “Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture” until Jan. 31. Featuring 200 objects related to Kahn’s most famous works, including the acclaimed Salk Institute in San Diego, this salute to architecture is full of information on the modernist master.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla will wind down “The Uses of Photography: Art, Politics, and the Reinvention of a Medium” on Jan. 2. The exhibition examines a network of artists working in San Diego in the 1960s-80s. The museum’s downtown facility is showing off Jennifer Steinkamp: Madame Curie” – a digital video animation inspired by the artist’s research into atomic energy. You can see this unique offering through Aug. 27. “Dimensions of Black: A Collaboration with the San Diego African American Museum of Art” is on view downtown through April 30, as is “Tristano di Robilant,” sculptures balancing geometric forms with delicate light and color.
Fleet Science Center
Lifelike replica of Sue leaves TheNat Jan. 2.
The Natural History Museum’s exhibition Animals: Machines in Motion, which features the lifelike replica of Sue, the most complete dinosaur ever to be reconstructed, will close on Jan. 2. But dinosaurs will again be on display at the museum when Ultimate Dinosaurs opens on Feb. 25. In the meantime, Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science stays on permanently in the converted upstairs library space, along with Fossil Mysteries, Water: A California Story, Skulls, and the films “Whales 3D” and “A Reef Reborn.”
The Fleet Science Center’s hit show The Art of the Brick will close this month, but you have until Jan. 29 to see the amazing lego sculptures. Three stunning IMAX films will continue on, though. “A Beautiful Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 69
news Brandeis Nat’l Committee Brings Neuroscientist to Local Chapters Brandeis National Committee will welcome Dr. Don Katz, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, to San Diego as part of “University on Wheels.” He will stop at the Rancho Bernardo Chapter on Jan 10 at 11:30 a.m. for a lunch at Olive Garden on Carmel Mt. Rd. Then, on Jan. 11 the San Dieguito Chapter will welcome him at 11 a.m. at The Crossings in Carlsbad. Both are open to the public. Dr. Katz’s work focuses on gustatory perception, a study of neuroscience that deals with the taste of food and how our brains help us decide what we like or don’t. He is a winner of Brandeis University’s Lerman-Neubauer Prize for excellence in teaching and mentoring, and has given a TED Talk. To R.S.V.P to Rancho Bernardo, contact Trudy at (858) 487-6585. For San Dieguito, contact Suzie at (858) 309-8348.
Rabbi Mendel Alperwoitz, middle, becomes South Dakota’s first permanent rabbi in decades.
South Dakota Welcomes First Permanent Rabbi The Chabad-Lubavitch movement is preparing to move into its 50th state with a new center in South Dakota. With the move, South Dakota will also welcome its first permanent rabbi in decades. The only U.S. state with no permanent rabbi, South Dakota will welcome Rabbi Mendel and Mussie Alperowitz to Sioux Falls from Brooklyn this winter. The rabbi estimates the community may be home to as many as 1,000 Jews. Chabad-Lubavitch has been serving South Dakota with the roving rabbis program for more than half a century.
U.S. Department of Education Data Shows Community College Graduates Earn Higher Wages Than For-Profit College Grads Data released last month from the U.S. Department of Education shows that graduates of certificate programs are largely working in well-paying jobs. It also showed that community colleges are producing 75 percent of graduates with certificates and more than half of certificate program holders from public institutions work in higher-paying fields. Community colleges are able to provide students with low-cost, high-return programs that are suited to the needs of businesses in a given community, Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) President and CEO J. Noah Brown, said. “Community colleges are increasingly in touch with workforce needs, and they’ve proven that they are flexible and responsive to market demands. I hope college leaders will use these data to make strategic decisions that serve the best interests of their students and communities,” Brown said. Those who completed public undergraduate certificate programs were found to earn nearly $9,000 more than graduates of for-profit certificate programs. In many cases, the data showed that for-profit college programs produced graduates who make less than full-time minimum wage workers (which, at the national minimum wage rate, would be $14,000 per year). Students who graduated from nursing, welding or HVAC certificate programs earned the highest salaries. Graduates of licensed practical (LP nursing) nurse training programs earned the most, more than $33,000 a year on average. 70 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
Yiddish Book Center Accepting Applications for Yiddish Program, Graduate Fellowship The Yiddish Book Center is accepting applications for the 2017 Steiner Summer Yiddish Program and the 2017 Yiddish Book Center Fellowship Program. Students can earn six college credits during the seven-week immersion course. The program, which includes a trip to New York, takes place June 4 to July 21. The fellowship allows recent graduates the opportunity to work at the Center full-time from September 2017 to August 2018. Applications are due February 6 and January 9 respectively. Details and application can be found at yiddishbookcenter.org/fellowship-program.
Front Row, From Left to Right: Anat Greenberg, Jami Dajman (Bat Shemesh Honoree), Amy Kahan: Back Row, From Left to Right: Stacie Bresler-Reinstein Melanie Rubin, Gillian Argoff-Treseder, Tzili Ressler, Naomi Blyveis For more information about Hadassah, contact Deena Feinman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (858) 268-3200.
Hadassah Honors Women of Excellence On Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 Hadassah honored nine women, one from each Hadassah group, at the “Women of Excellence” luncheon at the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo. Sue Appelbaum, Flora Calem, Hannah Cohen, Jami Dajman, Lori Good, Rinkie Pollack, Lynn Salsberg and Linda Simon were chosen by their respective groups because of their leadership and dedication, and for making a significant contribution to Hadassah and the Jewish Community over a number of years. Also honored were Karen Krasne, owner and executive chef of Extraordinary Desserts and Marti Emerald, San Diego City Council President Pro Tem, both of whom excel in their respective fields, and have enhanced the quality of life for our city. Proceeds from “Women of Excellence” benefitted Stem Cell Research at Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem.
Gotthelf Gallery Calls for Photography Submissions The Gotthelf Art Gallery at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center is accepting submissions for a photographic show opening in March 2017. “Eye Connect: Our Global Jewish World” will focus on Jews and Jewish life around the world. The deadline to submit work for consideration is Jan. 10. If interested in participating in the show, please contact Randy Savarese at randybeth@aol. com or (858) 452-5553.
In the Gotthelf Gallery’s recently closed group show, Susan Kanfer exhibited this and other photographs from the Western Wall.
Dinner Forum to Explore Opportunities in Social Entrepreneurship The Men’s Club Dinner Forum at Congregation Beth Israel will host Charlene Seidle and Sharyn Goodson of the Leichtag Foundation on Jan.18 at 6:30 p.m. The two will talk about social entrepreneurship, inspiring Jewish life and new developments from the Coastal Roots farm. The Foundation, which honors the legacy of Lee and Toni Leichtag, has granted more than $100 million, primarily to programs in San Diego and Jerusalem. The dinner forum program is open to the entire San Diego community – both men and women. R.S.V.P. at cbisd.org.
Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 71
torah Fun vayechi 5777 Yaacov lived in Egypt for 17 years before he died at the age of 147. Before he died, he had Yosef take an oath to bury him in Cave of Machpelah. Yaacov gave a blessing to Yosef’s two sons, Ephraim and Menasha. Yaacov put his right hand on Ephraim, the younger child, and said the younger one will become greater than the older. Yaacov told Yosef that HaShem will be with him and will bring him back to the land of his fathers. Yaacov blessed all of his children. When Yaacov died, Yosef had him embalmed. Egypt wept over his death for 70 days and Yosef received permission from Pharoah to bury him in Cave of Machpelah. All of Pharoah’s servants went with Yosef and his brothers to bury Yaacov. Yosef told his brothers that everything that happened was from HaShem. Before Yosef died at the age of 110, he asked that his bones be brought out of Egypt.
Can you discover the Secret Message? Find and circle the bold, italicized words from the Torah summary in the Word Find. Write the unused Word Find letters in the spaces below to spell the Secret Message. Have Fun!
E G Y
E D A D C O O D V
A G R B Y
A H E
V D S
T O L W T E
Which one is different? Hint: People buried in the Cave of Machpelah
CROSSWORD Complete the crossword by translating each Hebrew
word into English. Use the parsha reference for help. 1
5 6 7
1. ( ּברך48:3) 4. ( קבר47:29) 5. ( מים49:4) 7. ( נפש49:6)
2. ( מצרים48:5) 3. ( ּבן47:29) 5. ( זאב49:27) 6. ( קשת48:22)
E N O L P
H A T
E N A B
A H A N D K S
E U C
D E R O R N Y
N E D G A V T
spot the difference
Y A D A
E W R S B E
F O R E
______ _____ __ _____ ___ _________ _____
Hint: Who did Yosef bless with his right hand?
יט + כא
לח + מב
- צט א
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת 400 300 200 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10
NUEERV ______ HEDAHYU _______
HNOIMS ______ VEUULZN _______
LVIE ____ CHARAYISS _________
Hint: The first six son’s Yaacov blessed in the Parsha
CANDLELIGHTING IN JERUSALEM 4:16 P.M. weekly chinuch podcast - OVER 150 posted! parsha + chinuch < 5 minutes www.thefamousabba.com/podcasts
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Brought to you by:
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Check your answers at: www.thefamousabba.com/vayechi
PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF THE PACIFIC SOUTHWEST 54th ANNIVERSARY DINNER
NOW MORE THAN EVER Thursday, April 6, 2017
Chairs: Randy Clark & Tom Maddox, MD Hilton San Diego Bayfront
One Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101 Reception 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Dinner & Program 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Now More Than Ever, support and protect access to reproductive health care and sexuality education in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties, and all across the country. Join us as we celebrate Planned Parenthood’s 54 years of high-quality health care, education, and passionate advocacy on behalf of women, men, and youth in our region. Individual tickets $175 Tables start at $1,750 email@example.com 619.881.4500
www.planned.org/dinner Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 73
SYNAGOGUE LIFE SPECIAL SHABBAT Friday Night Community Meal at Chabad at La Costa Jan. 13, 5 p.m. 1980 La Costa Avenue Carlsbad, CA 92009 Themed food, candle lighting, sing along service and a community meal. Call (760) 943-8891 for details. It’s All Shabbat To Me: A Beth Am Community Shabbat Celebration Jan. 6, 5:30p.m. 5050 Del Mar Heights Road,San Diego, CA, 92130 Campfire shabbat focused on “coming together.” Call (858) 481-8454 to R.S.V.P.
SPECIAL EVENTS MLK Jr. Day of Interfaith Community Service with Congregation Beth Israel Jan. 16, 9 a.m.. Meet at the west side of Balboa Park, corner of Juniper and Balboa. Bring work gloves, pruning tools, picnic food, blanket, chairs, and your signed waiver. Register at fumcsd.org/mlk. “50 Stories From Israel” Discussion at Beth El Jan. 22, 10:30 a.m. 8660 Gilman Drive La Jolla, CA 92037 Join a lively and interactive discussion of short stories from the book “50 Stories from Israel: An Anthology.” Call (858)452-1734 or go to cbe.org/event to R.S.V.P. *Interested in having your event featured? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are due by 15th of the month for the next issue.
74 SDJewishJournal.com l January 2017
Speed Schmoozing at Tifereth Israel Jan. 21, noon 6660 Cowles Mountain Blvd. San Diego, CA 92119 This is a fun and efficient way to get to know members of the community of all ages. The more people you know, the more like a family Tifereth Israel and the San Diego Jewish community becomes. Info at tiferethisrael.com.
WEEKLY EDUCATION EVENTS Walk & Talk at Chabad Center of University City Sundays, 10 a.m. 3813 Governor Drive, San Diego 92122 Meet in University City and ride together to the La Jolla Cove for an inspirational stroll with Rebbitzen Sura Leider. Call (858) 455-1670 to join. Lunch & Learn at Chabad of Downtown Wednesdays, noon 308 G. Street, San Diego 92101 Take a lunch break to learn about the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Zalman Carlebach. Call (619) 702-8518 for details.
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Stein Center Adult Day Services provides an enriching and stimulating environment for those with mild cognitive impairment or early stages of dementia. Our programs are developed to motivate and stimulate individuals and encourage connections, conversation, self-esteem and feelings of success. We offer half and full day programs with flexible days, Monday – Friday, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Our program includes: d
Creative art offerings such as watercolors and papier mâché
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Educational discussions and cultural conversations
Participation in live music and dancing
Healthy, nutritional Kosher meals (catered to vegetarian or other dietary needs)
As a member of the Stein Center, you and your loved one are part of the Seacrest Village Family. Call 760.632.0081
or visit seacrestvillage.org
SEACREST VILLAGE RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES
Senior living in the Jewish tradition 304 SEACREST WAY, ENCINITAS, CA 92024 • LICENSE # 374603545 Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 75
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7313 Carroll Road • 92121 www.rotisserieaffair.com Tevet • Shevat 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 77
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The San Diego Jewish Journal's Third Annual Women's Issue focuses on relationships. Plus, you'll find a very varied education supplement and...
Published on Jan 1, 2017
The San Diego Jewish Journal's Third Annual Women's Issue focuses on relationships. Plus, you'll find a very varied education supplement and...