Jewish Journal January
Tevet | Shevat | 5781
SDJAâ€™s Quest for Self-Sustainability
When the the world changes, When rely on on us rely We can can provide provide customized, customized, comprehensive comprehensive advice We advice and and guidance to to help help you you stay stay on on track guidance track and and pursue pursue your your goals. goals. Call us us to to talk talk itit through. through. Call The The Callahan Callahan Pascua PascuaGroup Group
Frances Pascua, CIMA®®, CPFA Frances Pascua, CIMA , CPFA Senior Financial Advisor Senior Financial Advisor Senior Portfolio Advisor Senior Portfolio Advisor 619.699.3931 619.699.3931 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Michael C. Callahan Michael C. Callahan Vice President Vice President Senior Financial Advisor Senior PortfolioFinancial ManagerAdvisor Portfolio Manager 619.699.3936 619.699.3936 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Merrill Lynch Wealth 701 B Street, Suite 2400 Management 701 Diego, B Street, San CA Suite 921012400 San Diego, CA 92101 fa.ml.com/callahanpascua fa.ml.com/callahanpascua
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S” or “Merrill”) makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S” or “Merrill”) makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies Investment products: Are Not Corporation FDIC Insured Are Not Bank May Lose Value that are affiliates of Bank of America (“BofA Corp.”). MLPF&S is aGuaranteed registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp. The Bull Symbol is a registered trademark of Bank of America Corporation. Investment products: Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value CIMA® is a registered service mark of the Investment Management Consultants Association dba Investments & Wealth Institute. The Bull Symbol is a registered trademark of Bank of America Corporation. © 2020 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. MAP3016351 | AD-11-20-1119 | 472522PM-0520 | 11/2020 CIMA® is a registered service mark of the Investment Management Consultants Association dba Investments & Wealth Institute. © 2020 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. MAP3016351 | AD-11-20-1119 | 472522PM-0520 | 11/2020
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why I choose
"They are willing to teach without judgment." Andrea S. "Because of the sense of community I get there." Jon R "Because of the excellent education and how it inspires our children." Clive C. "They are truly our family. They offered help and comfort when our son passed. Their thoughtfulness and kindness will never be forgotten and always appreciated." Shari C. "They have provided a guiding light into helping us reclaim our Jewish Heritage through classes, meetings and social events." Ira B. "They are accepting of all Jews regardless of affiliation or level of Judaic knowledge and welcome all with open arms and a big smile." Sam S! "Because my Rabbi has always been there for me. " Len H
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Tevet | Shevat 5781 January 2021
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SDJA’s Hallmark Sustainability Initiative
IN THIS ISSUE
Devoted to Dreams
Unlocking the Jewish Interfaith Home with JCo and 18Doors
IN EVERY ISSUE
10 From the Editor 18 Personal Development and Judaism 20 Israeli Lifestyle 22 Examined Life 24 Religion 42 Advice
12 Mailbag 14 What’s Up Online 16 Our Town 36 Online Offerings 35 Food 40 News
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 39 OP-ED: Tikkun Olam Part 10
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Actress, Comedian, and Daughter of Famed Entertainer Richard Pryor
February 28, 2021 | 11am Celebrate the resilience, strength, and hope of women who build and support Jewish community today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. Chairs: Stacie Bresler-Reinstein | Judi Gottschalk | Carla Modiano We are looking for Virtual Table Captains to join our recruitment effort and to help build a vibrant virtual community. For more information, contact Molly Okun: 858-737-7121 | email@example.com
Register: jewishinsandiego.org/options An $18 minimum donation is requested to attend this event.
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Larry M. Katz Certified Public Accountant
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On The Cover : SDJA 8 SDJewishJournal.com January 2021
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Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 9
The Quiet, Cautious Masses
think rarely does the turning over of a new calendar year correlate to any major shifts in society; 2020 to 2021 may be an exception. We are seeing the distribution of the vaccine roll out and we will soon have a new president. I enjoy the shiny new hope of the new year, but I think expecting everything to be solved at the turn over of the clock will only lead to immense disappointment. Granted, being the mouth piece for pessimism doesn’t bring me joy. I really believe taking the developments of the day one step at a time is the path forward and leads to the best outcome. At time of writing, there have been just over half a million doses administered in the U.S.. And a new, more contagious strain has been detected. The signs look hopeful that the vaccines will be effective on the new strain, but that still leaves the job of getting the vaccine to everyone. And it will not be quick. Finding any kind of estimation on that timeline is impossible. (I’m holding out hope that by the time you are reading this, that isn’t true anymore.) Furthermore, where the doses are going is determined by each state. Suffice to say, there is not an overwhelming amount of certainty on how this will all play out. The state-by-state approach opens the door for a very strange and piecemeal ap-
proach. What if say Tennessee and Washington state differ in their prioritizations? You will have some groups in some places like essential workers in Indiana not yet covered, but people over 65 in Maine will be. So we wait. This could lead to a “vaccine purgatory” as the Atlantic called it. My stomach churns at the ethical mess this could become. Personally, I’m an adult, non-student and likely to be at the end of the priority line, but I can see how a person over 65 could be getting their dancing shoes out of the closet getting ready to celebrate their individual immunity. Perhaps I’ll see from my window a horde of people dancing the hustle while I wait for my dose. We’re already seeing politicians (even those who stake pro-dying-over-being-vaccinated crowds!) jump to the front of the line, ahead of nurses. I spend a lot of my time thinking about all the ethical questions 2020 has raised. And I spend a lot of time trying to put myself in the shoes and minds of the people who I believe have behaved unethically. Psychologically, the pandemic has been brutal to bear: isolation, unemployment, poverty, sickness and death of loved ones. Then there are the more abstract pressures. One can feel unsettled by the half-hearted
From The Editor 10 SDJewishJournal.com January 2020
governance from our elected leaders and gas-lit by their friends and family who flippantly risk their own and others’ lives. We all cope in our own ways. I try to have grace for the people who risked a family gathering–for Thanksgiving for example–and my eye turns to the 60 53-foot refrigerated morgue trucks coming into California. It is easy to forget that the cautious masses won’t be on the news. I’ll be here to say that I see you. I see that you always wore your mask, that you always used hand sanitizer before and after grocery shopping, gave up travel plans, didn’t go out for drinks and donated blood and time and money. Your actions are the reason someone is alive today and tomorrow and next week and however long until you are vaccinated. And that is worth it. You and I won’t know who we saved, but it could’ve been each other, so thank you. A
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let us know what’s on your mind.
Good morning, I started baking challah during the pandemic and this past Friday I made a special one. – Susan Levin
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Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 13
From Dubai to hospitals to, yes, Zoom, here are 12 snapshots of how Jews around the world celebrated Hanukkah this year What would Hanukkah be without parties? That’s the question Jews around the world faced this winter, with the coronavirus pandemic making gatherings of any size unsafe. But as with the other holidays that have taken place since the pandemic began in March, the celebrations adapted to meet the moment.
Rio inaugurates long-awaited Holocaust memorial with 72-foot-tall tower Rio de Janeiro inaugurated a Holocaust memorial that includes a 72-foot-tall tower and overlooks the Sugarloaf Mountain, one of South America’s most famous landmarks. The memorial’s tower is divided into 10 parts, representing the Ten Commandments. At its base, the sentence “Thou shalt not kill” is written. A large underground space houses a high-tech interactive exhibition area.
How homemade jachnun is giving a lifeline to European Jews in a second COVID wave
After Gal Graber and Tal Goldman had a disappointing experience with a store-bought jachnun, the two Israelis living in Amsterdam set out to make the slow-cooked Yemenite bread on their own.
Here’s what that looked like.
New York City The car parade has become a feature of 2020 celebrations. In New York City, a group of Chabad Jews danced on top of a car in the center of Times Square on Dec. 14, 2020, while others drove around the city in vehicles decked out for the holiday.
Tel Aviv Medical staff workers lit Hanukkah candles and celebrated with patients at the COVID-19 isolation ward of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv on Dec. 15, 2020.
“As with many Israelis, jachnun is connected in our minds with Saturday mornings, with quality time,” Graber told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “But the frozen ones for sale here are not great. So we decided to make our own.” It turned out to be a prescient undertaking. Earlier this year, the restaurant where Graber was working–& moshik, which had two Michelin stars thanks to its Israeli chef Moshik Roth–shut down during the Netherlands’ first coronavirus lockdown. Like restaurant workers around the world, Graber and his French girlfriend, Mathilde Lair, who was head pastry chef at & moshik’s, both lost their jobs. Now, Graber, Goldman and Lair spend their days baking and delivering the buttery rolled bread that is a standby of Yemenite families’ Shabbat lunch tables and delivering it by scooter throughout Amsterdam. 14 SDJewishJournal.com January 2021
Italy The chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, lit the Hanukkah menorah on Dec. 5 in front of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani, where thousands of patients with COVID-19 received treatment. The event was dedicated to the doctors and health workers on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic, which hit Italy early and hard.
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our TOWN BY LINDA BENNETT & EMILY BARTELL
With limits placed on live events in our community we are grateful for the joy we continue to receive from our life-cycle events:
Noah Mattes on becoming a Bar Mitzvah on Nov. 21 at Temple Beth Am. Happy parents are Hilary & Michael Mattes. Looking on with pride were grandmothers Judy Gumbiner (it was her birthday too) and Lily Mattes and siblings Sean (15), and Ryan (10). Late Grandfathers Steve Gumbiner and Sam Mattes would be incredibly proud of their grandson. Leading the service were Rabbi Kornberg and Rabbi Earne. Charles Colona and Gabi Tukeman on the announcement of their engagement. Parents are Carrie & Mathew Colona and Mark & Sally Tukeman, of Temple Emanu-El. Mazel Tov to Morganne Sigismonti and Hillel Rubin on the announcement of their engagement. Parents are Cathy & James Sigismonti, Kathy Robbins and Jan Statman. Grandparents are Harriet & Les Ness. Jordan & Alex Chaim on the birth of their son Leo Autana. In a year unlike any other, usually held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the ADL presented its first ever virtual presentation, “In Concert Against Hate”, on Dec. 6. Hosted by Debra Messing, this 25-year tradition enjoyed an extraordinary lineup of talent including Andra Day, Kenny Loggins, Adam Levine, Bebe Neuwirth, Bob Costas, George Takei, Olivia Boisson and many others. Among the 2020 Honorees was our dear friend, Holocaust survivor, Gerda Weissman Klein, who has spent her life teaching and healing others. 18 years ago, having 16 SDJewishJournal.com January 2021
been a part of her life, Gerda was in attendance when Marla Ann Bennett was honored in memoriam. The “Friday Afternoon Yenta’s Group” has been meeting since April in driveways and backyards to exchange ideas, information and laughs during this pandemic. With social distancing always enforced, this small group includes Vivian Wohlwend, Susan Kaplan, Rosie Jacobson, Marilyn Green, Pam Monroe, Linda Luttbeg, Judy Gumbiner and assorted guests. Mazel Tov on the success of a new children’s book that came out in time for this past Hanukkah by Yale Strom! “Shloyml Boyml - Bilingual Hanukkah adventure in Yiddish and English.” A marvelous Hanukkah adventure in Yiddishland! The text is in English, Yiddish and Swedish, with illustrations by the wonderful artist Emil Fur. Mazel Tov to Mien Le and writing partner, Dan Santat on their book, “LIFT” being named one of the Best Children’s Books of 2020 by the Washington Post. Mien Le is married to San Diego native, Aimee Oberndorfer Le.
Yom Huledets Sameach to…
Rose Schindler celebrating her 91st birthday.
Celebrating Wedding Anniversaries with infinite love & happiness, Nikki & Jerome Klein, 65 years. Gail & Thomas Pliner, 58 years. Erin & Richard Savitch, 55 years. Nancy & David Amiel, 54 years. Lauren & Robert Resnik, 54 years. Ann & Alan Chaitin, 53 years. Benjamin & Olga Mandel, 50 years. Harry & Janet Zanville, 50 years. A
Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 17
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND JUDAISM
THIS WAY TO EDEN by Rachel Eden email@example.com
recently saw a photo online of a determined-looking man with a single tear running down his cheek. I read the attached story: Alex Idrache grew up in a slum in Haiti and he tells the story of how U.S. soldiers were deployed to his neighborhood following the earthquake there several years ago. He says their presence was the first experience of “hope” he recalls in his childhood. He remembers looking at his dad and asking him who the people were that were helping. His dad looked at him and said, “They are American soldiers.” He looked back at his father and said, “One day, I will be an American soldier.” His father knew the situation in Haiti was unworkable and tried for several years to obtain a visa to come to the United States. After being denied for several years, he was finally granted a spot in Baltimore. He purchased a ticket on a boat for his family and left Haiti. They arrived and Alex, remembering his dream in the slum several years prior, looked for a way to join the U.S. Army. He found a national guard program that allowed him to join the Army in exchange for citizenship. He didn’t hesitate. Despite his severe lack of formal education, he graduated as an honor graduate. From a slum in Port au Prince to soldier. Alex Idrache is living his life all-in. He didn’t just try to join the army or integrate as a U.S. citizen. He got it done, he demonstrated heroic determination and he fully committed. Peter Weintraub, weight loss specialist 18 SDJewishJournal.com January 2021
and coach, wrote an article in the Huffington Post called “Why Trying Isn’t Good Enough”. He wrote of how his mindset was critical in successfully losing 100 lbs and keeping the weight off. In his words: “Early on in my relationships with my clients...I can often tell whether certain people are going to be successful or if they’re not going to be successful by their language. I’ve seen many a person come to me amped up and ready to go, but then I hear them say things like, ‘I’m going to try my best!’ I understand that many of us are taught to be modest when growing up, but when it comes to succeeding on this crazy journey of ours, trying simply isn’t good enough.” Here’s why this matters in my life. If I phone in my marriage, for example, I can skate by for some time. My husband and I will check the boxes of discussing necessary logistics for running a household; we’ll make coffee and a breakfast shake for each other every morning and we’ll remind one other to go to the doctor, pick up the dry cleaning and pay the SDG&E bill. He’s funny so I’ll probably still laugh at his jokes and I’m fun, so he’ll probably smile from one of my antics. But, the truth is, we’ll drift. Phoning it in will mean we won’t carve out time for our daily talks where we hash out our feelings or just take a quiet stroll. Phoning it in will mean allowing little annoyances to manifest in eye rolls or slight head shakes. We won’t put down what we’re
doing to listen to each other and we won’t flex the muscle of gratitude for everything we, respectively, do. Eventually, phoning it in will be unsustainable and we’ll be out. So I choose in. Choosing ‘in’ is a unilateral decision. One person can decide to have a better marriage, a more fulfilling job, a healthier lifestyle in the face of challenging circumstances. A difficult relative, friend, spouse, or boss can certainly create challenges but, like Alex Idrache, we can realize our dream. Determination isn’t delusion where we confuse our abilities with an outcome beyond our control. Determination is connecting deeply with one’s own power and utilizing G-d’s gifts for us (creativity, resourcefulness, communication) to actualize our desires. I recently heard a dating coach advise: “Never date a 7.” He quickly explained to avoid misunderstanding. A 7 doesn’t refer to the value of a person, but rather your perception of him/her. If you feel that the person you’re dating is a 7, it means you’re not all-in. You’re also not out. You’re in tepid water, it feels so-so, the situation is tolerable. He proposed that people only date 8’s, 9’s, or 10’s. 7s drain our energy. We know how to walk away from someone or something that’s a 1-6 but a 7 can seduce you to staying far too long and playing a mediocre game. We are not meant to live a 7 life. Our job is to filter for 8’s, 9’s, and 10’s and be all-in. A
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LIVING ON THE FRONT PAGE by Andrea Simantov email@example.com
or Torah-observant Jews, January 1st is exactly that. The first of January. The Hebrew calendar is a yardstick by which we commemorate both birthdays and yahrzeits, as well as a myriad of holidays/chagim that pepper the year with fasts, feasts, simcha and mourning. And while Dec. 31 has something to do with the conclusion of some sort of fiscal period, the Hebrew calendar has remained the reliable date-keeper for the past 5,781 years. Nevertheless, most Jews cannot easily recite the names of the Hebrew months, or tell you when their Hebrew birthdays are. Ever since the destruction of the Second Temple, the Gregorian calendar has served members of the Tribe as our go-to reference for national holidays, respective religious observances and Hallmark-mandated festivals. Apparently, the signs of the Zodiac hold equal status to the twelve-month calendar. I cannot remember a time when I did not know I was a Libra. I’ve memorized the traits as well as the best career paths to follow. I know which partner-signs ensure a life-time of bliss and who will destroy my spunk. As an observant Jew, I’m aware that giving any credence to my daily or weekly horoscope is tantamount to idol worship. Thus, whenever my eyes casually scan a negative reading for Libra, I tsk-tsk and feel a tad holier-than-thou. ‘Not my religion. Hah!’ Except. Except when I accidentally trip over a positive reading. This is when my yetzer-hora, my evil inclination, takes over. After all, what harm is there in believing that good things are going to happen? Is it any different than having a stranger tell you, “Let a
20 SDJewishJournal.com January 2021
smile be your umbrella,” or wearing a bracelet that says, “When you can’t see the sunshine, be the sunshine!” Clearly, I am not as lofty as I’d like to imagine and, on my best day, I’m all too human. Nearly eleven months into the “Year of Corona,” like everyone else I’m anxious for signs. I read everything I can about the distribution criteria for vaccinations, the projections for how long the experts predict we’ll need to remain masked and, most important, when my gym will open. The novelty, shocks, intrigue and outrage have paled as we seemingly turn inward, weary and deflated from the day-inday-out inability to make concrete plans for travel, celebrations, work. There was a period of time during the “Year of Corona’’ when I yearned to go to the movies, attend lectures and spend a weekend or two at a spa-hotel. Never one for malls, still I pined for a lazy Autumn stroll amidst the crowds in Tel Aviv’s open-air antiques market. I ached to absorb the spirit of the people I’d encounter: film-buffs, masseuses, Bedoin artisans and grizzled marketeers of all stripes. People. Oh, how I longed to be with people. Something has changed. I do want to see my family, but as we flip from one calendar year into the next, my desire to mingle with the great washed and unwashed has been replaced with a near irrepressible urge to hike in the wilderness, build a fire and cook supper, sleep under the stars and walk barefoot, for miles on end, along the pristine Meditarrean shoreline. Despite living apart from
one another during this most unusual and complicated year, it does not feel to me as though people have grown kinder. Or more patient. Or wiser. As we flip the page of this new calendar and change not only the month but the year, I hope the paper doesn’t make too much noise. The cacophony of rancor that has monopolized the public arena and enveloped our lives has become too unwieldy for me to lug into space that I’ve reserved for contentment. If, like the song says, “There’s got to be a morning after,” it would seem to make sense that we begin preparing the ground for a season of sowing and, consequently, ready the Earth to receive our seeds of kindness, honesty, humility and acceptance. Whether one calls this pivotal twist an ‘Aha Moment’, an ‘awakening’ or New Year’s Resolution, by recommitting to these aforementioned values, we will emerge from a season of darkness into the light, love and opportunities that lay, only for now, just beyond our spiritual reach. A
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OUR EMOTIONAL FOOTPRINT by Saul Levine, M.D., Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry at UCSD firstname.lastname@example.org
Gratitude for Grandparents
o matter what culture or ethnic group, grandparents are usually adored by their grandchildren. They are addressed with special “sweet” names, common in every culture, but they are more than merely unique: They inherently embody affection and convey cherished bonds of deep love. (Some examples are Zaidie/Bubbie, Awa/Tata, Grandmere/Grandpere, Abuelo/ Abuela, Yeye/Nainai, Nonna/Nonno and of course so many more.) Questions for you: Were you close to your grandparents? Did they have special names? Are you young enough to enjoy your relationship with them now? Are you old enough to have grandchildren of your own? Given the increased life expectancies prevalent in many countries today, the answers are most often affirmative. My experiences with my own grandparents were extremely sparse: I knew only one, my maternal grandfather and he passed away when I was only two. (I cherish a photo of him holding me close, taken shortly before he passed away.) My paternal grandparents were killed in the Holocaust and my maternal grandmother died before I appeared. I do, however, have a cognitive and visceral perception of them, as well as a spiritual sense of closeness, based on old photographs and the lore related by my parents and other relatives. I was fortunate to meet many grandparents of cousins and friends when I was a child and remember feeling how lucky they were to have those special relationships with relatives from another generation. I’ve read about these unique relationships in novels and family studies (since I was a clinician) and I worked with grandparents (and grandchildren) in my practice and in my research studies. There is a humorous parable about grandparents “having all of the pleasure and none 22 SDJewishJournal.com January 2021
of the responsibilities” of raising children, the point being that they can play with their grandchildren, provide excess sweets and gifts, impart pearls of wisdom, contradict or criticize their parents (your children!), but they don’t have to assume the burdens of disciplining, emotional upheavals, pains or expenses, borne by the “real” parents. That is an exaggeration, of course, as many grandparents feel close to and share the joys and sorrows of their grandchildren. Moreover, millions of grandparents throughout the world participate in child-rearing and are actively engaged in the work and pleasure of raising and protecting their grandchildren. Some grandparents have the time, means, energy and the desire to create close bonds with their grandchildren and voluntarily help out in raising them. Much more often, however, these kinds of arrangements are less planned and smooth and borne of necessity. That is, circumstances arise and dictate that grandparents are needed to fulfill parenting roles, due to the temporary absence of the parents for any number of reasons. Often there are even more salient and poignant needs for grandparents’ involvement in childrearing. These occur under pressured or dire circumstances, as when one or both parents leaves due to marital break-up, or one spouse’s withdrawal, or severe illness (physical or mental) or the death of one or both parents. These mixed burdens and blessings for grandparents are increasingly necessitated by demanding fiscal realities, particularly in impoverished and underdeveloped countries. In the recent movie, “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix), based on the best-selling book by J.D. Vance, the actress Glenn Close evocatively plays an overburdened grandmother who was always deeply and inextricably involved in the complexities and challenges,
sometimes the chaos, faced by her children and grandchildren. She was by no means perfect, but in spite of her faults and frailties she was a dominant and protective force of nature which supplied her grandchildren with stability and the presence of intense love. It was clear that without her powerful influence, the family would have suffered immeasurably and likely have fallen apart. She captured the profound emotions that many grandparents experience in their close involvement with their grandchildren: The palpable joys and meaningfulness, the pride and passions, worries and pains and the caring and love which she felt so powerfully and which she imbued in the lives of her family. In my studies years ago, I interviewed retired individuals (mostly octogenarians) about the central criteria for feeling personally fulfilled and worthwhile during their long lives. I was especially interested in, while looking back, their senses of having achieved “The Four B’s: Being, Belonging, Believing and Benevolence.” In each of these areas, it was remarkable to me how often and spontaneously they brought up their relationships with their grandchildren. It was particularly meaningful and moving to the grandparents when they felt loved and needed by their grandchildren and vice versa. This was of singular importance to them in assessing the worth of their lives. Grandparents who have sufficient health, motivation and means to help care for and raise their grandchildren represent to me the epitome of a “win-win” situation, as both generations can benefit immensely from each other. It goes without saying that this arrangement can be as much or more a benefit to the generation in between. So much so, that I wonder if this particular arrangement (grandparents helping with the
raising of grandchildren) could not be more formally encouraged, planned for and officially supported by municipal, state and federal governments. Grandparents in families with insufficient means could be de facto “hired” to give the mothers or fathers some respite. It could be voluntary and preschool and daycare would still be important, but these services could be modified and tailored to the needs of the children and their grandparents. During the current pandemic, grandparents are like an “endangered species,” in that they are more susceptible to the coronavi-
rus, and thus often separated for their own protection from their grandchildren by the dictates of public health authorities. This situation may be temporary but it is particularly poignant and one in which I find myself. This particular octogenarian hasn’t seen two of his three sons and their wives and five of his seven grandchildren, in over a year. My grandchildren, ranging in age from eight to 20 years, individually and as a group enhance and ennoble my very existence. And as I increasingly remove myself from the day-to-day frenzy of productivi-
ty, competition, obligations and deadlines which besiege so many stressed parents, I can in retirement (end of pandemic allowing!) give more of myself to the lives of my grandchildren and without a doubt, to myself. In a way, our grandchildren “complete” the circle of our lives. No, I am not being fatalistic or morbid: To the contrary, I am energized and hopeful, aware that these are our legacy gifts to humanity and to our planet which reside in the lives of these wonderful young people. If so, the world will be in good hands. A
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The Swedish Approach to Marriage
ometimes marriage feels about as easy as putting together IKEA furniture. When my wife, Julie, and I would get into disagreements, or had our long arcs of disconnection, honestly that’s what our marriage felt like–like we were living the trauma of putting together IKEA furniture every day. The boxes are so heavy. You don’t understand the instructions (if you still have them). You think you’re missing a piece or the right tool. And at the end of the day the thing comes out flimsy and broken, so what’s the point? And then you’ve spent all day doing it and you wish you had just had more faith in yourself and hired someone to come do it. So on top of your shoddy, flimsy product, your hours invested and frustration at putting it together, you wish you had done something differently. Except when it’s your marriage, the stakes are so much higher. Maybe I’m not a Swedish carpenter–in terms of making IKEA stuff, or with marriage. What I mean is that sometimes in marriage it feels like no matter what you do, or the work you put in, you can’t change your relationship. You feel stuck. And that brings up all these feelings of inadequacy, frustration, anger, perhaps at yourself or your spouse. It’s literally like the IKEA stuff; you think to yourself this stupid marriage is missing a part! You don’t own that you might have lost the part, or maybe you screwed the wrong screw in five pages back. You don’t even see
24 SDJewishJournal.com January 2021
that. You don’t want to own that it was your mistake. And the “directions”–all the marriage experts or books are talking about the formula for marriage. Or like one targeted ad I got recently that “you can change your marriage all by yourself!” How’s that supposed to work exactly? My favorite are the masculine marriage savior programs, with the tattooed good looking middle-aged men talking about taking your power back with his model wife in their Lamborghini. “Cause, you know, owning a lambo and treating your spouse like a car model is the perfect way to make her fall in love with you again. Of course, it looks great in the showroom. Who wouldn’t want that?” But what you get when you get home is that you still have your stress in your head, your spouse is distracted and disconnected and the house is a mess. Plus, there are old cookie crumbs and spilled slurpee all over your family SUV. So suffice to say that working on marriage, or thinking about working on your marriage usually feels like you’re buried under a mountain of complicated IKEA furniture: 1. There’s just so much to do to make it good and, 2. You’re pretty powerless when it comes to changing the other person and 3. (this is a naughty thought) You don’t want to change for the other person because they treated you so badly in the past that they don’t deserve your being nice. Here’s the secret: If you feel like you’re under a mountain, you are. If you feel helpless, I get that too. But you’re not. Because you don’t need someone (your spouse) to come
in and dig you out. You don’t have to change anything in your life. Life isn’t an IKEA piece where you screwed something up, you could lose a piece, or you messed up by not hiring an expert to do it for you. A good marriage isn’t the outcome of a product or formula. It’s the result of healing. Sure, pick up your socks. (Or if you’re like me, floss picks–hey I like oral hygiene, shoot me). Smile when you wake up. Do all those basic stupid things we don’t do until we read a marriage book. But the real work is all on you and your healing. And it’s not about manipulating them, or becoming something else. It’s asking why, right now, you buried yourself under a mountain. What was it in your life where you had to develop the defense mechanisms? What are you avoiding? Where have you been not clear? It’s moving past judgment and labeling and getting curious. Read that clearly: Getting stuck isn’t something that happened to you, you chose to get stuck. Somehow getting stuck, getting in this marriage served you subconsciously. Get curious about you. Your marriage looks the way it does because of what you’ve done and how you’ve shown up. You aren’t bad and it isn’t too late unless that’s what you want to tell yourself. So that’s the real question. How does your current circumstance serve you? The answer is not ‘it doesn’t.’ If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be happening. Once you see why and how you create right now, you develop the freedom to create something different. Always. A
Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 25
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SDJA’s Hallmark Sustainability Initiative BY NATHALIE FEINGOLD
an Diego Jewish Academy is on track to being the first independent school to achieve electricity self-sustainability in the United States. Solar panels, marking the first stage of a three-part plan for their sustainability initiative, are expected to be commissioned in late February. The second stage involves installing a battery system and the final stage culminates around a thermal electricity generator. The entire project is estimated to take 1-2 years, and upon completion, the campus will be completely electricity independent. “It’s going to become one of the hallmarks of what SDJA is and of our education,” Zvi Weiss, head of school at SDJA, said. He emphasized that this project will be as much a hands-on learning opportunity for SDJA students as it is a sustainable and economically-wise decision. “It’s a win, win, win, win situation here... This is an amazing opportunity for us to impact our educational program,” Zvi explained, “We now have a living example of many different aspects of science on our campus. One of the educational goals at the heart of SDJA is making learning purposeful and relevant and having this is going to enable us to do so much more on that front with our students, right here at home on our campus.” SDJA’s Chief Sustainability Officer Michael Zimerman also believes that the sus-
tainability initiative will be a crucial part of SDJA students’ education. “It brings everything together into one place, from science to Jewish values. It sets an example for our kids as part of their educational journey, so it’s an amazing opportunity,” Michael said. This is something personal to him as one of his kids is enrolled at SDJA. He and Zvi both noticed a tangible excitement surrounding this project from the student body. Zvi shared a story about a preschool class in the Early Childhood Center at SDJA. He said that the three-year-old children were excited to see all of the construction equipment, so he took that as a learning opportunity to ask them if they knew the purpose of the equipment. “They said, ‘yeah, it’s for the solar panels.’ So I asked, ‘do you know what solar panels are?’ And they said, ‘yeah, they take the sun and turn it into electricity.’” Zvi described, “So at a three-year-old level, they were able to start to understand it and it created excitement and a lesson that they probably never would have learned earlier. That same excitement can be seen throughout the campus.” Zvi is particularly proud of how perfectly this project aligns with the Academy’s Jewish values. “What I’m most proud about is the fact that it is a way of living our Jewish values and showing our students and our community that we live what we teach,” Zvi said.
There are also accompanying benefits to self-sustainable electricity, including environmental, health and economic advantages. “By going solar, instead of us sucking potentially dirty electricity from the grid, we’re producing our own clean electricity,” Michael said, “But beyond that, I’ve been in the sustainability business since 2009 and the cost of solar has plummeted in the last ten years. There’s a powerful dollars-and-cents argument that can be made today.” Michael believes that many other educational institutions will follow in SDJA’s footsteps. “It’s something that, right now, is a forward-thinking nice-to-have, but you fast-forward ten years, and these are not going to be optional elements to educational programs anymore. It’s crucial that this is part of the collective consciousness.” SDJA prides itself on being an innovative and cutting-edge learning institution. “One of the big things that drew me to SDJA is the focus on innovation. Whatever world we may be living in, we can be sure that the students are well-positioned to emerge into it as leaders.” Michael explained, “They have leaders in front of them, showing them the way and shepherding them into becoming the next generation of leaders. Hopefully, we’ll see some of them in my job, for example.” A Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 27
28 SDJewishJournal.com | January 2021
Devoted to Dreams Dr. Steven D. Lavine.
Jörn Jacob Rohwer.
BY NATHALIE FEINGOLD
n January of 1994, disaster struck when a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit Los Angeles, nearly wiping out the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) campus in its destructive wake. Dr. Steven Lavine, the president at the time, recalls standing amidst the remains of his beloved institution. He painted a dystopian picture describing flames blazing out of the earth due to broken gas lines underground, broken freeways all over Los Angeles and millions of dollars of structural damage. “We suddenly had a $40 million problem. We only had $15 million in endowments. It looked like it was impossible to get beyond where we were,” Steven continued. “There’s no book that tells you how to do that. It’s just: ‘You’re president, you’ve got to lead the way to do it.’” He immediately improvised and, in the two weeks following the earthquake, he moved the entire campus to remote locations in LA. Then in the eight months following, they were able to rebuild and open on time the following Fall with an improved facility. “I stuck with it and it became a turning point for the school. Up until then, a lot of the faculty thought CalArts is just too idealistic to survive. But, once we survived the earthquake, people thought ‘well, if we can get through this, we can get through anything,” Steven said. “It was a key moment in my life. My degree of confidence in myself radically changed after that,” Steven explained. That resilience and commitment to his students and staff is a large part of what defines Dr. Steven Lavine–and makes up the premise of Jörn Jacob Rohwer’s new biographical book, “Failure is What it’s All About: A Life
Devoted to Leadership in the Arts.” always found he was quite modest as a person in contrast to what he did. Running a prolific art school–saving it from disaster, rebuilding it, shaping it into an internationally renowned institution, very devoted to his students, to all of their hopes and dreams, needs and aspirations,” Jörn continued. “And as I found, willing to do almost anything for them. Devoting all his time and a great part of his life to them, without making a big fuss of it. And that struck me as quite exceptional.” Jörn grew more and more curious about the generous and giving person behind this long list of achievements, the artist behind the artist. “When you run an art school, you notice, witness and accompany the making of artists and their careers. So it’s them who win the applause in the end and it’s the person in the shadow, so to speak, who often goes by unnoticed.” As the biography title indicates, failure is a big theme in Steven’s personal philosophy. To elaborate on this, Steven referenced the German word, “Bildung.” “That goes back fairly directly to this German idea–popular among German Jews in the late 19th, early 20th century–that life was bildung, which just means building. What you do as a person is you build yourself and your life is refining that and building it further,” Steven explained. This was shown in a literal sense in his commitment to rebuilding CalArts when faced with near-certain destruction, but also through his personal interactions and the distinctly humanistic way he treats his students and staff.
Jörn believes that a person’s essence can be found in the details, in the nuances of their facial expressions and their gestures. Through their conversations, Jörn learned that Steven is a man of a gentle demeanor and strong values. Steven’s leadership style is shaped by the values instilled in him by his past, particularly his father, who was a country doctor in Wisconsin. His father lived by a sense of ethical Judaism and if a patient of his couldn’t afford to pay their bills, he didn’t ask them to pay it. “One of the things my father carried with him is that we’re all pretty much the same. He wanted all of my friends to be doctors. He said, ‘if you can fix a car, you can be a doctor.’” Steven explained, “So, I was raised with this idea of a common human nature that we all share.” Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 29
As a young adult, he sought a career that would, like his father, ease human suffering in some way. He explained that, in his eyes, there are three ways to do this: medicine, the arts, or religion. Steven chose the path of the arts. His mother was equally influential in shaping him into the leader he is today. He explained that his mother was a very gifted pianist, but she lacked the financial backing or the confidence for a concert career. This caused her a great deal of unhappiness. “My passion as an educator was that the students at CalArts be able to live up to their dreams of being an artist. I think, indirectly, I was trying to make it up to my mother. It seemed like nothing was more important than that,” Steven explained. He combined his dedication to his mother with the unique, ethical and forgiving standard passed on to him by his father. Steven’s compassion in leadership is most notably shown through the first program he started at CalArts, known as the Community Arts Partnership (CAP). CAP was a collaboration between CalArts and several neighborhood organizations in economically disadvantaged areas of Los Angeles. Steven said
that CAP ended up becoming CalArts’ single biggest program. “If you are convinced that all children and youth have the potential to see the detail–to acknowledge it and cherish it–and that they have talent, it’s just about seeing it, seizing it and bringing it out of them,” Jörn said of Steven’s intentions when starting CAP. When Steven first began his presidency at CalArts, he described it as primarily a white, middle-class institution. He dreamed of sharing opportunities with young artists and turning CalArts into an institution more representative of America. After 29 years at the helm of the institution, Steven transformed CalArts into one of the most economically, ethnically and gender-diverse art schools in the country. This left behind a legacy of equity and authenticity. örn said that “Failure is What It’s All About” will be his final biographical book, with Steven being his final subject. Jörn has spent three decades conducting biographical conversations with countless extraordinary people. In a way, he is similar to Steven. He has spent a great deal of his life in the shadows– or more literally, behind a tape recorder–de-
voting his career to other people. Turning himself into a human vessel for others to share their stories. Jörn has a very personal and intensive interviewing process. He refuses to call his exchanges with his subjects, “interviews.” It was clear that, to him, they are “conversations.” “The difference is that, if you’re doing an interview, it’s fact-oriented, short questions, short answers, prepared for an audience to inform them,” he explained. “Whereas, if you’re doing biographical conversations, it is conducted and then later on written in a way that enables the reader to read the subtext, to read between the lines.” Steven spent nearly 30 years giving of himself to help aspiring artists and creatives achieve their dreams. However, he emphasized that it’s not just of himself that he gives; his legacy is also defined by his history and the histories of his ancestors. “This is a story about the positive values of my parents–which are inherited from their past–passed on to my generation and then me passing it on through my work at CalArts to another generation,” Steven concluded. A
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Unlocking the Jewish Interfaith Home with JCo and 18Doors BY NATHALIE FEINGOLD
en years ago, Sherwin Chasen and his wife discovered that they were the only couple out of the 12 in his Chavurah (Jewish social group) that did not have an interfaith relationship in their family. This opened Sherwin’s eyes to the prevalence of interfaith relationships in the Jewish community, a phenomenon that stayed in the forefront of his mind over the decade. “I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing for a number of years. I was thinking there may be some unmet needs, ranging from a full spectrum of young people who are Jewish but dating non-Jewish partners, to young married couples without kids and then all of a sudden with kids and parents and grandparents dealing with their children and grandchildren,” Sherwin explained. Sherwin is one of the founding members of the Jewish Collaborative of San Diego, a progressive Jewish community that teaches acceptance and non-judgment, so the majority of their interfaith congregation members did not feel like they were personally struggling. “For Sherwin it was like, ‘how great is it that the people who are already a part of JCo feel good, I want people that aren’t a part of this congregation to feel like they have a place, too,” said Rabbi Gabi Arad of JCo. So, Sherwin introduced the idea of collaborating with 18Doors, an East coast organization that specializes in interfaith families. “We welcome anyone in an interfaith relationship. We want to help literally open the doors to Judaism for them and make them feel comfortable. We’re totally about not judging people; we want to accept them
where they are and help them find a way that works best for them to access Judaism,” said Rabbi Robyn Frisch of 18Doors. With that intention, Rabbi Robyn created a program to connect other interfaith families and to address some of the challenges that they may or may not be facing. “We’re very careful in the language that we use to talk about both the challenges and the blessings, that it’s not just the challenges, there are many wonderful things as well,” Rabbi Robyn explained, “But certainly one of the challenges people have faced is finding clergy who accept them or finding welcoming Jewish communities. The possible barriers facing interfaith families is a challenge that Rabbi Gabi also described. “In a lot of synagogues there’s this notion of like, ‘everyone’s welcome, we accept everyone.’ But then when it comes to family rituals, there’s a wall that’s put up,” Gabi said, citing B’nai mitzvahs and weddings as examples. Gabi said that she makes a point not to ask if the family is interfaith when she plans for bar and bat mitzvahs at JCo. “If a family chooses to walk the Jewish path, great, you’re here, let’s do it, let’s walk the Jewish path,” Gabi continued, “A lot of people feel insecure about their Jewish identity and they feel like they have to be a certain way to be a good Jew, so at JCo what I try to instill in everyone is that there’s no wrong way to be Jewish. Come in, explore, we’re all building our Jewish identities as we go.” The upcoming webinar plans to facilitate
a discussion between interfaith families and couples, particularly focusing on the idea of what makes a home Jewish. However, since each interfaith family is distinct, this requires personalized solutions. “Each of us has a unique Jewish identity, and each of us have different components of our Jewish identity,” Gabi explained, “For a family, it’s about each of them figuring out what’s important to them and coming up with traditions as a family… There has to be meaning behind it and there’s no wrong or Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 31
right way.” Rabbi Robyn agrees, “we can’t give you a sheet with 10 things saying, ‘these are the best practices for being an interfaith family’ because for every couple it’s going to be different. What we want to do with this program is help navigate that discussion for people.” Rabbi Gabi emphasized the importance of finding the right balance for your family and the program is designed to help with that. She also hopes that participants use it as an access point for further discussions. “It’s just finding the balance; it’s going to be a unique journey for each family,” Gabi continued, “The webinar is an access point, not only to the discussions, but an access point for our community too. Start the journey and you’re going to figure out as a family how you want to continue and what path you want to create.” “It’s really a chance for them all to explore who they are, what they’re bringing to a home, how to make that home feel sacred,” Robyn explained, “The idea of the program is to facilitate a discussion of what creates a holy space in a home for each of the partners and to share that with each other.” “Let’s talk about what a Jewish home is, what a Jewish home looks like, let’s talk about what it means to be part of an interfaith fam32 SDJewishJournal.com | January 2021
ily. Let’s start having those conversations so that those barriers can be down simply by accepting where we are and moving from there,” Gabi said. Gabi describes home as being an atmosphere, creating certain traditions and marking those important family moments. She believes that Judaism provides a way to bring meaning, compassion, love and spirituality into your home. “It’s a matter of knowing that they have the power to create the space they want for their family and that each home is going to look different.” Gabi explained, “It’s about finding their home and creating the home that they want and to have some knowledge about how to do that, about what steps to take.” Rabbi Robyn shared a success story about a young, interfaith couple whom the program helped. She said that, at first, she didn’t think they would make it. It was clear they loved each other deeply, but they had a very hard time overcoming their differences. Their biggest dispute centered around Christmas trees and what they represent in an interfaith home. Robyn facilitated many discussions for them and, eventually, they were able to come to a compromise. Robyn shared her surprise upon hearing that the Jewish partner found
herself unexpectedly saying the Shehecheyanu when she hung the first Christmas tree ornament. “I realized what it meant to this couple; this is her way of embracing and appreciating something for him. This is something she’s doing that’s making her commitment to her relationship stronger,” Robyn continued, “She is still just as fully a Jewish person, but she made this compromise for someone she loved.” Robyn said that the program brought this woman to a place where she can respect her partner and still not lose herself. Both Rabbi Gabi and Rabbi Robyn agree that the key to a healthy interfaith partnership is open communication, this is why it is vital for the program to be discussion-based. “It’s very much talking to your partner, being open. Very key is understanding each others’ values because I think that’s what underlies everything,” Robyn explained, “Understanding where they’re coming from, why they want to do things, why it’s important to them, what it symbolizes to them, respecting them, and again, even when you disagree, just being able to listen and to hear.” For more information on the event on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m., email Sherwin Chasen at email@example.com. A
Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 33
34 SDJewishJournal.com | January 2021
Seven Species Barley Porridge with Date Caramel BY MICAH SIVA | nutritionxkitchen.com
Serves: 2 Falling in January, Tu BiShvat is a reminder to pause and think about the health of our planet. It is also the ultimate underrated foodie celebration. Traditionally, we eat the “Seven Species” of Israel, including: dates, figs, olives, grapes, barley, wheat and pomegranates. This Barley Porridge with Date Caramel celebrates these foods, but can be topped with your favorite, seasonal fruits no matter the season. Hearty barley takes some time to cook, so feel free to double, or triple the recipe and eat it throughout the week! INGREDIENTS: Porridge: 1 ½ cups water
½ cup pearl barley, rinsed 1 cinnamon stick Pinch sea salt 1 tsp. vanilla extract Date Caramel: ½ cup medjool dates, pitted ½ cup water 1 tbsp. melted coconut oil 1 ½ tbsp. almond butter 1 tsp. vanilla extract ¼ tsp. sea salt
PREPARATION: Combine water, milk, barley, cinnamon and sea salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly and let cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until the barley has softened and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Remove the cinnamon stick and stir in vanilla. While the barley is cooking, combine the dates, water, coconut oil, almond butter, vanilla and sea salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
TOPPINGS: Fresh or dried figs
Serve with figs, almonds and pomegranate, or other seasonal fruits.
1 cup milk or plant-based alternative Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 35
| FEATURE |
Online Offerings BY JACQUELINE BULL Photo by Beto Soto
Extended through Mar. 7: “Necessary Sacrifices” This play is based on the documented meetings between Abraham Lincoln and Frederic Douglas during the Civil War. After buying a ticket, you can watch the stream anytime during the show’s run.
Photo by Aaron Rumley
Jan. 1-Jan. 21: An Iliad Adapted from Homer’s classic poem about the Trojan War, this one-man show explores the human costs of war through the ages. Hannah Pritchett and Mario Jaimes in “Towards Belonging.”
La Jolla Playhouse
All content is available on lajollaplayhouse.org Jan. 21: A Thousand Ways 24 hours before the scheduled performance time, you will be sent a phone number to call. This is just the first part of three of a truly ambitious and innovative theater experience. January 2021, specific date TBA: Towards Belonging This project is a dance film with original spoken-word poetry and was filmed at and celebrates the Arts Park in Chollas Creek. Ongoing: The Totally Fake Latino News from Culture Clash Richard Montoya, Ricardo Salinas and Herbert Siguenza offer 10-minute doses of levity, poetics and payasadas (clowning).
San Diego Symphony
All content is available on sandiegosymphony.org. Tuesdays: Lunch & Listen Q&As with CEO Martha Gilmer and San Diego Symphony musicians. Wednesday Evenings: LISTEN // HEAR Music Director Rafael Payare and colleagues discuss all things symphony on YouTube and Facebook live streams and are later archived. Ongoing: Symphony Stream Listen to past audio broadcasts, podcasts discussing classical works and videos with interviews and performances.
North Coast Repertory Theatre
All content is available on northcoastrep.org. 36 SDJewishJournal.com | January 2021
Richard Baird in “An Illiad.”
San Diego Repertory Theatre All content is available on sdrep.org.
Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. Hershey Felder in Before Fiddler Before “Fiddler on the Roof,” there was Sholem Aleichem and Klezmer. Hershey Felder plays as storyteller and performer to inhabit the old world.
All content is available on facebook.com/LambsPlayers Ongoing: Lamb’s Cabaret Affiliated artists with the Players upload covers of popular songs and songs from past productions.
Photo by Gary Payne.
All content is on aquarium.ucsd.edu and youtube.com/user/ BirchAquarium Tuesdays at 10 a.m.: Kelp Cam Live Visit the serene live footage of the Kelp Cam and learn about the different species from Scripps scientists. Ongoing Through Jan. 11: Artist-in-Residence Siena McKim Siena McKim is an ecological artist, scientist and SCUBA diver. She studies small marine animals in her research and artwork. Kate Hatmaker, Art of Elan Executive and Artistic Director, performing on violin.
San Diego Museum of Art
All content is available on sdmart.org Ongoing: The San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild’s 2020 Online International Winter Exhibition This exhibition features more than a hundred works from artists all over the globe. A portion of the sales supports the museum. Jan. 15 at 10 a.m.: Italian Renaissance Naturalism: What it Was and Wasn’t This guest lecture shares the history of naturalism and how the Renaissance painters saw the world differently than we do now. Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.: Virtual SDMA + Art of Elan: Identities This performance brings together artist Ana de Alvear’s work and Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir. Fridays at 10 a.m.: Masterpiece Minute Podcast This is a 60-second podcast series that looks at the stories and historical contexts of important works in the SDMA collection. Ongoing: Virtual SDMA Explore the galleries in 360, access insider stories and listen or read about works in the collection via the SDMA App on the App Store or Google Play. Ongoing: SDMA at Play The museum is offering a variety of at-home art activities with detailed instructions (and in some cases accompanying video explanations) such as making your own shadow puppets and ekphrastic poetry.
The Reuben Fleet Science Center
All content is on rhfleet.org. Events marked with a (*) require registration. Ongoing: Virtual Classes The Fleet is offering live lessons, science clubs and camps for toddlers, kids and teens. Jan. 6, 5:30 p.m.: Exploring Ethics* This talk explores the ethics of treating bacterial infections with viruses where the drug is ‘alive.’ Jan. 6, 7 p.m.: The Sky Tonight* Explore one of the most recognizable constellations: Orion. Jan. 11, 6:30 p.m. Suds & Science* Stacey Brydges, UC San Diego Professor, discusses bringing diversity and inclusion to chemistry.
San Diego Natural History Museum All content is on sdnhm.org.
Ongoing: At-Home Activities Check out diy crafts, nature bingo, scavenger hunts, storytimes and printable coloring pages for family-friendly activities.
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38 SDJewishJournal.com | January 2021
| OP-ED |
Tikkun Olam — On Repairing the World Part 10: Muddling Through the Pandemic with Jewish Tradition BY BETH SIRULL
t various moments over the past ten months, as I have muddled through the COVID-19 pandemic, I have thought about several famous stories and quotes from Jewish tradition. Three in particular have brought a measure of comfort, or at least a fresh perspective, a new, more helpful frame through which to view this unprecedented situation. First, each year I am struck anew by the diametrically opposed emotions that Moses holds as he delivers the Israelites to the Promised Land–joy at having successfully led the Jewish people to their destination and utter disappointment at G-d’s announcement that he would not be allowed to enter the land. Moses could have given in to the disappointment, but instead he acknowledges his anger and moves forward effectively to complete his task and prepare for a leadership transition. He could also have ignored his anger and attempted to focus exclusively on his accomplishments, but resentment would likely have caught up with him. The isolation and mental strain of the pandemic has me–and I know I am not alone– holding similarly conflicting emotions. On the one hand, I am enormously grateful for all that I have during this time, a nice place to live, a job, a family, my health. At the same time, I am exhausted and frustrated at being stuck at home, isolated, unable to hug family and friends. In my worst moments, I might even feel a twinge of self-pity. And yet, seemingly like Moses, the energy
to move through this time and help others to do the same emerges from this duality. I write about tikkun olam, repairing the world. To work effectively to improve our communities, sometimes we must stop and repair ourselvezs. To focus on the gratitude but completely ignore the despair would be a lie that would ultimately catch up with me. But to wallow in self-pity and overlook all that is good would leave me paralyzed. To hold both simultaneously is empowering– and empowered is one thing that few of us are feeling amid the pandemic. Second, the Torah reminds us “Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:9). As tough as this time is, it is also a privilege to witness history. It is easy to drown myself in the latest from Netflix or Amazon Prime. And yes, sometimes I indulge. But it is imperative that we pay attention to this moment in history. And that we recount it–and we learn from it–to the next generation. When you next get the urge to channel surf, take out a journal and record your feelings and experiences instead. Your children and grandchildren will be glad you did. Finally, the famous saying by Rabbi Tarfon in Pirke Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers) resonates with me almost daily: Yours is not to complete the task (of perfecting the world),
but neither are you free to desist from it. None of us will solve the health, economic and social crises our community faces on our own. But it goes without saying that we must each do our part. For those of you who work in the health professions or are essential workers, doing “your part” dominates your everyday life. But there is much that all of us can do. On a basic level, doing our part means wearing a mask and staying physically distant from others. If you can, donate blood. Support a local small business to help keep it open and its workers employed. Donate to charities that are helping those in need. Smile and offer encouragement, albeit virtually, to friends and family that are struggling. Unbeknownst to you, a seemingly minor gesture may make a huge impact on a loved one having a bad day. Now is the time to remember that every little bit helps. With the introduction of a vaccine, we hope that “the light is at the end of the tunnel” for the pandemic and its attendant restrictions. But we know that it will still be awhile before we return to “normal.” Let our tradition guide you. Hold the duality of conflicting emotions. Pay attention to this moment in history and record your experience and learnings for the future. And do your part, every way you can. A Beth Sirull is President and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 39
San Diego Public Libraries Expand Resources to Serve Community During Pandemic The pandemic has tested the public library system and shown they serve a key function in the city system. The use of their resources has greatly increased: usage of small business resources is up 70%, resources for educators is up 58%, circulation of eBooks is up 133% and logins for Gale Courses (interactive, instructor-led courses for work skills like finance, business, computer applications, etc.) is up nearly 300%. The San Diego Public Library Foundation, which supports the libraries programs and services, has increased their support to expand services like extending WiFi into library parking lots and more laptops to be used in the outside courtyards.
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DACA Restored, JFS Currently Offering Assistance to Dreamers A federal judge officially mandated to restore the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program in full; a decision that Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) wholeheartedly supports and applauds. The reinstatement of DACA allows the program to accept new DACA applications for the first time in three years, signifying a huge victory for more than 640,000 current DACA recipients and an estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrant young adults who could be elilgible to apply for the program now, according to CBS News. “This is a great positive step for the many people who have been waiting to apply for DACA for the first time. Our country’s foundation and great history is built by immigrants and we are encouraged that this decision marks the end of the anti-immigrant policies that have denied justice, safety, opportunity and hope for so many DACA recipients and undocumented youth across our nation,” said Senior Director of Immigration at JFS, Kate Clark. JFS assisted over 700 individuals with more than 1,000 DACA applications and renewals since its inception in 2012. They also provide local colleges with pro bono immigation legal services through their Higher Education Legal Services. “The Jewish Family Service legal team is honored to help Dreamers access the benefits DACA provides, many now for the first time. We are working fervently to file as many initial DACA applications at this time, knowing the window to file may be short given this administration’s continued attack on this vital program. Since the inception of DACA, JFS has stood by Dreamers and offered legal assistance,” said JFS Director of Immigration Services Leah L. Chavarria, Esq.
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The winning artwork will be installed in Annette’s Village Square on the Seacrest Village campus. The Foundation is seeking out artwork that embodies the qualities of love, courage, strength and compassion. The deadline to apply is Jan. 20, 2021; interested artists in the San Diego community can learn more at seacrestfoundation.org/CallforArtists. The upcoming gala is dedicated to honoring “Seacrest Heroes,” who have “Hearts of Gold” by ensuring the safety of the elderly residents of Seacrest Village while also providing a source of love and compassion.
The San Diego Jewish Journal Wishes Everyone A Happy New Year!
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“Mots” Or Resolutions For The Quirky Mind
y dear San Diegans: When the ball comes down in Times Square this year, instead of riotous crowds kissing, screaming, hugging, we might Zoom in on a few pigeons pecking. The rest of the world, gowned and masked will, at midnight wherever, be mumbling: “Thank G-d and Good Riddance” to the year of “Can’t we just edit it out? How about a do-over?” On a brighter note, hope is alive and “feeling better.” Time to plan. And so, in the spirit of fireworks and pointy hats, I give you more of my Quirky New Year’s RESOLUTIONS that I call Marnie’s Mots. These are the (forgive me) “life lessons” I’ve amassed after what seems like almost a century of living and working with other humans. Chances are, you won’t find them in 3x5 cutesy little books with posies on the cover. Never a posy person (and yes) with Jewish DNA coursing through my fingers, here are my “resolutions”–for the quirky. You may need to sit. (All of them will be available in an E–book, once the stimulus sets in.) Getting It! Personal Resolutions for Living MARNIE’S MOTS 1: Believe fact. Believe action. Believe the simplest explanation, in the absence of other compelling evidence. If he’s promised a little something for your finger–and he gives you a parrot–you’re getting bird feed. Marnie Says: We all do it. Deny, wish, expect. When we spend our lives steeped in the Disney version, we remain stuck, power-
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less and devour far too much Ben & Jerry’s. 2. Truth is not Reality. Reality demands proof. All truth demands is your point of view. Marnie Says: The truth has many faces. Each of us see it through our own lens. Far better to believe what is and what is truly possible, than what we believe should or must be. 3. Good people have bad moments. Smart people have stupid ones. But unless they’re calculated or continuous, they must be measured against a lifetime of moments. Marnie Says: Human nature is thankfully imperfect and yes even serious mistakes may be deserving of a second chance–unless it involves serial killing or stealing your identity. (Unless theirs is better.) 4. Between mates and friends, it’s unconditional love we’re going for, not unconditional surrender. Marnie Says: The words “win” and “lose” are for rivals, not for those we love. For the winner there is no trophy, except for the soul of a “beloved” loser. 5. When your needs and your “intuition” are at odds, lead with your intuition. Sometimes it’s the only thing we humans have on our side. Marnie Says: How many of us have backburned our strongest intuition to service our needs, our fears, our “but buts?” Many of us have listened to them in service of the weakest part of ourselves: “He/she may have some
huge issues, but so do I.” “But I’ll wind up knitting cat cozies.” “Maybe it’s me.” How many of us have sent our intuitive quakes to the basement to be burned? Always trust the deepest, truest, part of you and heed it as you would a siren’s wail. 6. A wise human refuses to fix the contented “un-fixables” and instead kills the delusion that we can. Marnie Says: Those who’ve taken on the task of “fixing” the unwilling, will, however, accomplish one thing: a bed for themselves in the nearest E.R. 7. Texting someone you love anything but “Pick me up at 2 p.m.” is prey to more misunderstandings than listening to cable news. Marnie Says: If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a counselor, it’s this: If we want a major upturn in communication, toss the texting when messaging feelings. Half the time, we’re clueless about what we’re writing and reading. What a waste of money to find out in therapy: “Oh that? IT WAS A JOKE!” 8. If you choose to stand in the shadow of someone else’s caviar cover-shots, be prepared to suck the fish eggs of destiny. Marnie Says: “Let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the tem-
ple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” Khalil Gibran, The Prophet 9. A truly superior woman never engages in foolish competition– unless we’re talking about a Saturday sale at Macy’s. Marnie Says: How can there be competition, or even a correct notion of “success” when each of us are a custom job, as unique as corn flakes? 10. Either take action or be doomed to let the odious “what if ” sour your soul. Marnie Says: It is only through good risks, we can grow. Mistakes are our best teachers. 11. Cardiac arrest: A condition that occurs when an open heart remains prisoner of a closed one. Marnie Says: In the matter of a partner, an open heart is more enduring than an open wallet. 12. Absolute thinking is the tyranny of accurate thought. Marnie Says: Life is rarely black or white, but textured hues of gray. An open mind sees all colors; all textures and has the gift to consider all options. Chances are at least one will be correct. 13. One of humankind’s most underused powers is the ability to control our reactions–in hate, in love and even in chaos. Choose life! Choose positivity! For this too shall pass. Shalom with Love–Marnie A
SYNAGOGUE LIFE VIRTUAL EVENTS: Regenerative Organic Farming with Temple Solel
Jan. 11, 12 p.m. online Sharone Oren, Coastal Roots Farm Education Director, will discuss how farming can be regenerative and how it combates climate change. Visit templesolel.net for more information.
13th Annual San Diego MLK Jr. Day of Interfaith Community at Congregation Beth Israel
Jan. 18, 10 a.m. on Zoom This event will bring together people of different faiths and cultural backgrounds for community-building. The featured speaker is John Brooks, member of the Environmental and Climate Justice Committee, NAACP, San Diego. Visit cbisd.org for more information.
Unlocking the Jewish Interfaith Home & Creating Holy Space on Zoom at Jewish Collaborative of San Diego Jan. 18, 7 p.m. on Zoom Explore how you and your partner can make a holy space in your home that feels right for both of you. The event is free, registration is requested. Visit jcosd.com for more information.
Young Families Tu Be’Shevat Scavenger Hunt with Congregation Beth El Jan. 24, 11 a.m. on Zoom Celebrate the holiday of the New Year of Trees with a seder and scavenger hunt list to do in your own neighborhood. Visit cbe.org for more information.
Men’s Club Zoom Forum at Congregation Beth Israel
Jan. 20, 6:30 p.m. on Zoom Featured guest for this forum is artist, author, lecturer Guri Stark who presents multi-media art lectures combining the artists’ biographies and world events. The program is open to all. RSVP is needed for Zoom details. Visit cbisd.org for more information.
Tevet | Shevat | 5781 | SDJewishJournal.com 43
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JEWISH COMMUNITY Welcoming babies and families to San Diego’s Jewish Community ARE YOU EXPECTING A BABY OR DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS? Shalom Baby is an innovative program designed for San Diego families to celebrate the arrival of their Jewish newborns to affiliated, non-affiliated and inter-married families as a welcome to the San Diego Jewish Community.
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KORNFELD AND LEVY Support our dog’s Hebrew education! Students Give the Gift of Sight to Israeli Blind Students are urged to help sponsor a puppy, either as a class Tzedakah Project, or as a Mitzvah Project for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, to assist blind Israeli veterans and civilians in regaining their lives.
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46 SDJewishJournal.com | January 2021
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