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August 2017 Av • Elul 5777


ISRAEL from contemporary ART IN JERUSALEM

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Av • Elul 5777 | 7

August 2017

Av/Elul 5777



How the Jerusalem Biennale has created a space for contemporary art and Judaism to coexist and why a group of San Diegans are going to experience the sprawling show in October.



While the U.S. continues the struggle to reform health care, a look at how the system works in Israel.


Despite their geographically "out there" locations, Tifereth Israel and Temple Emanu-El experience growth in education programs. 8 l August 2017




Seven reasons to send your child to Jewish day school.

MONTHLY COLUMNS 12 Editor's Letter 22 Parenting 24 Israeli Lifestyle 26 Examined Life 28 Religion 74 Advice Around Town 18 Our Town 20 The Scene 66 What's Goin On 70 Synagogue Life In Every Issue 14 Mailbag 16 What’s Up Online 68 News 72 Diversions ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: 30 EDUCATION:

On the preschool/parent relationship from Soille's preschool director.


Rabbi Graubart takes over the nascent Advanced Institute for Judaic Studies at the Jewish Academy.



A day of life at coding camp.


A child of Holocaust survivors recounts her family's tragic history.


Irwin Jacobs talks Israel, tech, and the new Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute opening on Roosevelt Island.


Why guide dogs are so necessary in Israel.


The NILI spy ring on stage in Israel – a review.

58 FOOD:

Panko corn and pepper schnitzel.


Danny Burstein brings "Fiddler on the Roof" classics to the Embarcadero for Summer Nights.

64 ART:

Hyper-realistic sculptures at Madison Gallery, and Carole Feuerman, the Jewish artist who makes them.

Av • Elul 5777 | 9 August 2017 • Av/Elul 5777 PUBLISHERS • Mark Edelstein and Dr. Mark Moss EDITOR-IN-CHIEF • Natalie Jacobs CREATIVE DIRECTOR • Derek Berghaus ASSISTANT EDITOR • Brie Stimson ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR • Eileen Sondak OFFICE MANAGER • Jonathan Ableson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tori Avey, Betsy Baranov, Linda Bennett, Eva Beim, Judith Fein (Senior Travel Correspondent), Patricia Goldblatt, Pat Launer, Sharon Rosen Leib, Andrea Simantov, Marnie Macauley, Rabbi Jacob Rupp, Saul Levine ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Ronnie Weisberg – Senior Account Executive Jonathan Ableson – Account Executive Alan Moss – Palm Springs SAN DIEGO JEWISH JOURNAL (858) 638-9818 • fax: (858) 638-9801 5665 Oberlin Drive, Suite 204 • San Diego, CA 92121 EDITORIAL: ADVERTISING: CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS: ART DEPARTMENT: LISTINGS & CALENDAR: SDJJ is published monthly by San Diego Jewish Journal, LLC. Subscription rate is $24 for one year (12 issues). Send subscription requests to SDJJ, 5665 Oberlin Drive, Suite 204, San Diego, CA 92121. The San Diego Jewish Journal is a free and open forum for the expression of opinions. The opinions expressed herein are solely the opinion of the author and in no way reflect the opinions of the publishers, staff or advertisers. The San Diego Jewish Journal is not responsible for the accuracy of any and all information within advertisements. The San Diego Jewish Journal reserves the right to edit all submitted materials, including press releases, letters to the editor, articles and calendar listings for brevity and clarity. The Journal is not legally responsible for the accuracy of calendar or directory listings, nor is it responsible for possible postponements, cancellations or changes in venue. Manuscripts, letters, documents and photographs sent to the Journal become the physical property of the publication, which is not responsible for the return or loss of such material. All contents ©2017 by San Diego Jewish Journal. The San Diego Jewish Journal is a member of the American Jewish Press Association and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


10 l August 2017




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THE STARTING LINE by Natalie Jacobs


A World Away


ust as we were putting the finishing touches on this issue of the magazine, I received an email pitch from a man in Tel Aviv. He was sharing photos and details on a photography exhibition finishing up its run at the Jerusalem Theatre. Based on a photo book “Passages to Israel,” the exhibition expanded on the themes presented in the book project, created by Karen Lerhman Bloch and Kara Meyer to “depict the unexpected sites, sounds and colorful humans” found within Israel. The photos are stunning and surprising and I hope to share them with you soon. They would have been perfect for this second annual Israel Issue, if only they had arrived in time. The problem is, there is so much to know about the tiny Middle Eastern democracy and from here in San Diego – the whole other side of the world – it’s quite difficult to keep tabs on all of the things that Israel is and does. The purpose of our yearly foray into Israel is to examine the gradients and textures of the country that this community is so connected to in so many ways, and yet so far away from in many others.  Where one story misses a deadline, another arrives at the perfect time. Such was the case with the story of the Jerusalem Biennale and the San Diego delegation that will attend this year’s show. Susan Lapidus of the Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative called at the perfect moment to share details about the trip she’s planning for some of San Diego’s prominent art leaders and lovers to go to this third Jerusalem Biennale to see a side of Israel that is only just beginning to open its doors to public consumption. 12 l August 2017

In the story, you’ll meet the Biennale’s founder Rami Ozeri, who is on a mission to provide a platform for contemporary artists to explore Jewish themes, while also establishing Jerusalem as a hotbed of modern thinkers and cultural pushers of boundaries. It’s the classic story of old meets new and it was a pleasure to explore. On the other side of the life-in-Israel spectrum, we have a deep dive into the country’s universal health care system. Brie Stimson began researching this story just as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was finishing up his behind-closed-doors drafting of the Better Care Reconciliation Act in Washington, D.C. As we entered the editing phase of our production, the Senate Republican health care bill was pronounced dead on arrival. Just as we were sending the files to the printer, Republicans achieved a procedural victory with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, allowing debate on an unreleased version of the health care bill to commence. While we don’t get into the political details of how Israel’s government achieved the passage of its National Health Insurance law in 1995, Brie does offer a compelling glimpse into what it’s like to have health care in Israel. All of the people she interviewed kindly expressed their condolences to the people of the United States for the health care system we endure here.  August is also our education issue. Even though San Diego’s Jewish day schools are experiencing a severe tightening of belts after some funding changes in the coming school year, we’ve got seven reasons that one parent of San Diego Jewish day school

“On a mission to provide a platform for contemporary artists to explore Jewish themes, while also establishing Jerusalem as a hotbed of modern thinkers and cultural pushers of boundaries.” alum thinks it’s still a good idea to fit a day school education into family budgets. Plus, an inside look at how one preschool director works personally with parents to insure the success of their students. One more thing – we’re putting together a special feature for the September High Holidays issue about traditions and memories and wisdom, but we need your help. Find details on the project and how you can submit on page 14. A



November 2, 2017

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Av • Elul 5777 | 13

we’re listening let us know what’s on your mind THOUGHTS ON MILLENNIALS

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

Please consider our guidelines for Letters to the Editor prior to submitting your comments: The San Diego Jewish Journal welcomes reader responses to articles. Due to space limitations, responses to articles cannot exceed 200 words and will be edited in coordination with the letter’s author and at the discretion of the editor and publishers. For readers who wish to submit multiple letters, we require three issue months to pass between published letters so as to make space for more reader responses. All readers can comment as often as they’d like in the comments section of our website, found at the bottom of every articleon Magazine articles are republished on the website at the beginning of each issue month.

14 l August 2017

Dear Editor: What is the goal of “The Jewish Millennial Project” [July, 2017 cover story]? To propose solutions to the dilemma of millennials wanting to have a Jewish identity, but avoid the “Edifice Complex,” or joining a synagogue community? Or is the goal something I missed in your introduction? Your comment that synagogues are in freefall these days because of falling membership hit the mark for me. The nine millennials’ comments offer few clues –some are affiliated, some not, some believe in a Jewish G-d, others are agnostic. One thread I detected was a desire to be part of a Jewish community. Over the years I’ve been involved with San Diego synagogue life, here are some

hooks I’ve discovered. • Millennials who crave a Jewish identity are often attracted to elements of the Jewish Renewal movement. • Millennials avoid synagogue affiliations but connect through social networking, celebrating Shabbat and holidays ex cathedra, so to speak, gatherings that don’t involve the shul. • At least some millennials will eventually affiliate when they become parents, and realize that, to create Jewish identities for their children, they bring their kids into the synagogue for Jewish socialization/acculturation in Torah school and bar mitzvah training. Dave Wertlieb San Diego

ON THE COVER In this month's cover photo, the Tower of David Jerusalem museum holds up a white dress by suspension wire. The art installation, called "Betrothal," was by Motti Mizrachi for the Jerusalem Biennale of 2015. The image is a picture-perfect representation of how the Biennale integrates contemporary Jewish art into the Old City in new and surprising ways. The photo was taken by Ricky Rachman of the Museum.

GOT STORIES? The San Diego Jewish Journal is always looking for new story ideas and angles. Keep in touch on people we should meet, events we should cover and news we should break. Our editorial calendar is posted on our website for a glimpse at what topics we're covering during which issue months. September will feature our annual High Holidays coverage – if you have any special traditions or insights toshare we'd love to hear about them.

What's your favorite High Holiday tradition? Share memories of your favorite High Holiday traditions for our September issue. Send heartfelt, quirky, sentimental or even wacky memories to editor@ to be featured in the story.

See you in September!

Av • Elul 5777 | 15

what’s up on

SAN DIEGO’S JEWISH MOTORCYCLE CLUB ENJOYS ITS FIRST RIDE Back in the May issue we told you about Steve Marion-Walker who was looking for fellow Jewish motorcycle enthusiasts to start a local chapter of the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance. Shortly after that news story ran, Steve got back in touch to say they’d reached and exceeded their goal of at least five members and were able to start the group, which they’ve named “Shalom & Chrome.” Watch video of their first ride on our website.

SHALVA CENTER THANKS SAN DIEGAN FOR HER GAP YEAR SERVICE IN ISRAEL Israel's Shalva Center for children with disabilities wrote in to thank Leetal Winnick for her weekly service at the Center during her gap year in Israel. "From all of us here at the Shalva center, thank you, Leetal for representing our community with such honor." 16 l August 2017

HIGH DEATH TOLL, HEARTY LAUGHS We previewed "Withering Heights" in our June issue, then Brie Stimson went to check it out. "It’s clear to anyone in the audience the show is not pulled off without a generous amount of work and talent," she writes.

SYRIAN NGOS BEGIN DELIVERING FOOD, MEDICAL AND SOON OTHER HUMANITARIAN AID TO SOUTHERN SYRIA VIA ISRAELI PORTS On July 19, the Israeli Defense Forces announced the scope of its aid to Syrians affected by the civil war in Israel's neighboring country. For the first time, Syrian NGOs are shipping humanitarian aid from the U.S. to Israeli ports, where the IDF has facilitated deliveries into previously inaccessible areas in southern Syria. The New York-based nonprofit Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees played a large role in organizing the cooperative effort.


High Holy Days services will be held on our own beautiful campus again this year. You’re invited to join us!


Whether you’re looking for a Jewish education, inspirational worship and study, a community that will be there for you in good and bad times, life -long friendships or all of the above, you’ll find a home at Beth Israel. Visit us online or in person. We can’t wait to meet you!

A Beth Israel Education Nationally recognized for the very best early childhood education programs, rich in Jewish culture, tradition and values. Bill & Sid Rubin Preschool Infant & Toddler Programs Holiday Family Programming Summer Camp Tot Shabbat Family Activities

Inspires Lifelong Commitment to Jewish Values

Academic and experiential learning opportunities 12th Grade AIPAC Policy Conference Trip Linda & Shearn Platt Teen Trip to Israel Madrichim teen leadership program Exceptional preparation for bar and bat mitzvah Jewish values and identity programs for boys and girls Grade-level camp weekends Fun youth groups for grades 4-12 that builds lifelong Jewish friends Highly experienced, devoted teachers

9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego, CA 92122 Ι (858) 535-1111 Ι Av • Elul 5777 | 17


211 Club Party

The Seacrest Foundation held its 18th annual 211 Club party at the beautiful residence of Lisa and Gary Levine in Fairbanks Ranch. Catered by Jeffrey Strauss of Pamplemousse Grille, the evening was delicious, friendly, and fun. Among the 100+ guests were Jane Ottenstein, Zita and Morris Liebermensch, Marcia and Len Fram, Joyce and David Abrams, Teddie Lewis Pincus, Suzanne Cohen, Frank and Lee Goldberg, and Sheldon and Sandy Weinstein.

CMC Gala

Before campers headed up to the Big Bear area for another year of Jewish summer camp, Camp Mountain Chai supporters gathered for a fun-filled gala. The event raised more than $60,000 to support CMC families in need of financial assistance.

Birthdays and Births... Happy 80th birthday to Gary Cantor!

Happy 90th birthday to Danny Orlansky! Olivia Gustaveson was born on June 13 to Hillary Lachman and Cody Gustaveson. Olivia has one sister, Lilly, who is eight years old. Benjamin Joseph was born on May 2 to Alex and Nhu Sarkisian of New Orleans. On May 17 Mya Aviva Parselany was born to Stacy and Guy. She joins brother Dylan, 3 and the grandparents are Helene and Allan Ziman.

Mazel Tovs...

We attended the annual meeting of the JCC and met the incoming CEO, Betzy Weinblatt-Lynch and the new president of the JCC, Phil Ginsburg. We attended the 79th anniversary of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Twenty-three countries were represented and 450 people attended the annual Board of Governors meeting. It was a very interesting and factfilled meeting. Additional congrats to Professor Asher Cohen who has been elected as new president of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. TOP L-R: Mitch and Lindsey Surowitz, Lisa and Gary Levine (photo by Bob Ross); MIDDLE L-R: Esther Fischer, Robin Israel; Devin and Jessica Chodorow (photo by Bob Ross); BOTTOM L-R: Attendees at Camp Mountain Chai's gala having a rockin' good time (photo by PPI).

18 l August 2017

SI G N N O U W P !

Hand Up


10 spots

Teen Leadership Program


Ready to step up and give back? We’re looking for the next generation of teen leaders to help lead the fight against hunger in San Diego.

Our Priorities

We learn about the complex causes of hunger and participate in leadership training to help drive creative solutions We serve our community by organizing food drives, distributions, and fundraisers in partnership with the Hand Up Food Pantry at JFS We advocate for stronger legislative solutions at Hunger Action Day in Sacramento and raise awareness right here in our community

Our Impact


lbs of food collected

$6,700 dollars raised


service hours completed

Join Us for the Upcoming School Year

Sign Up by August 31:

“Hand Up gave me the confidence that I can make a difference in my community. I have made lifelong friends who have empowered me to grow as a person and a leader.”

Questions? Andrew Hoffman (858) 637-3020

Av • Elul 5777 | 19


Rendezvous at the Zoo

The San Diego Zoo held its 34th annual “Rendezvous in the Zoo” gala recently. This year’s bash, dubbed “ZOOMIN’ON,” featured food stations doling out delicious appetizers, captivating animals entertaining supporters during the cocktail reception, and a lavish sit-down dinner in the outdoor ballroom. Live entertainment continued throughout the evening. Proceeds from this year’s fundraiser were earmarked for the new Walkabout Australia exhibit at the Zoo’s Safari Park, where visitors will be immersed in an authentic Aussie bush experience – complete with up-close encounters with Australian wildlife. Not surprisingly, many of the guests turned up in exotic animal attire. The large guest list included Reid Abrams, Doris and Jim Besikof, Pam Fein, Diane and Elliot Feuerstein, Hanna and Mark Gleiberman, Linda and Harris Goldman, Jeri and Elliot Hirshman, Linda and Mel Katz, Viviana and Charles Polinsky, Hermeen Scharaga, and Emma and Leo Zuckerman.

The View from Here

City Ballet hosted its annual gala event earlier this summer at the penthouse suite of Penny Wing and Victor Nacif. Dubbed “The View from Here,” the company marked its 25th anniversary season with remarks from Artistic Director Steven Wistrich who announced their agenda for the upcoming winter and spring series. The company will bring back fan favorites like “The Firebird,” and “Serenade” along with their annual performance of “The Nutcracker,” “Giselle” and “Carmina Burana.” They’ll celebrate the next season with a kick-off “Silver Jubilee Gala” in October.

TOP L-R: Lion puppet (photo by Melissa Jacobs); MIDDLE L-R: The Gulleys (middle) with Joan Embery (right) and Duane Pillsbury (left) (photo by Melissa Jacobs); BOTTOM L-R: Brook Ogle, Lauren Steel, Rick Scatena (photo courtesy City Ballet); Rita Steel, Kimberly Green, Greg Kozera (photo courtesy City Ballet).

20 l August 2017

Scripps Welcomes Welcomes Scripps Welcomes DINA FAINMAN, MD D I NFA A FA IM NM ANN,, M M DD D I N A I N A D I N A FA I N M A N , M D and gynecology, birth Dr. Fainman specializes in general obstetrics Dr. Fainman specializes in general obstetrics control options, pregnancy care childbirth, minimally care invasive Dr. specializes ininand general obstetrics and gynecology, birth control options, pregnancy Dr. Fainman Fainman specializes general obstetrics gynecologic surgery, and hormone replacement therapy and care and childbirth, minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, and birth control options, pregnancy and gynecology, gynecology, birth control options, pregnancy care and hormone replacement therapy and menopause. menopause. She speaks English, Spanish and Hebrew. and childbirth, minimally invasive gynecologic surgery,

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Girls Give Back

Leadership, empowerment, service learning

“Girls Give Back has grown my confidence and has given me a voice.” Olivia, GGB member

Get Informed. Speak out. Create change.

Apply by 8/31 @

Questions? Contact Daria Tomsky, Girls Give Back Coordinator (858) 637-3042 | Girls Give Back is a place to find your voice – and be a voice for others.

Want to learn more?


A unique teen leadership program for girls grades 9-12, Girls Give Back provides participants with opportunities to meet local female leaders, learn about issues of gender equity, sharpen leadership skills, run an advocacy blog, and design and implement projects to improve the community!

Info Session

Bring a friend. Get inspired. Tuesday | 8/22 4-5pm @ JFS RSVP ggbinfosession

Av • Elul 5777 | 21

MUSINGS FROM MAMA by Sharon Rosen Leib


The High School Bubble


eople consider us the rich kids’ school. And yes, we drive Land Rovers and wear Rolex watches – but we’re still really genuine,” Ms. Senior Class President said during her commencement address at Youngest Daughter’s high school graduation. My husband and I exchanged horrified glances. How did that tone-deaf remark make it past the powers that be? Do I fault Ms. Class President? Not so much. She inhabits the upper-middle-class bubble of pretty, popular and well-heeled (think lots of pricey designer platform shoes) high school kids. Her remarks reflected her experience. She seemed unaware that some of her classmates don’t share her family’s economic bounty. Yet a wealth divide exists in this school where privileged 16 to 18-year-olds drive $42,000 Land Rovers and wear $2,000 Rolexes. The school also has an academic support program (called AVID) that attempts to level the playing field for minority and low-income students who will be the first in their families to attend college. I would’ve preferred Ms. President to boast about this rather than vehicles and timepieces. However, she may never have socialized with any AVID students or have even heard of the program. After the ceremony, we walked across the school football field through a sea of remarkably beautiful people. The girls looked tall and willowy (those platform shoes at work), impeccably made up and stunning with their long, straight (mostly blonde) hair and tastefully sexy sun dresses (just enough skin revealed). They could’ve been heading to a cattle-call audition for “America’s Next Top Model.” Many of the guys matched the Gentlemens’ Quarterly ideal of the preppy jock – clean cut, tall, lean and handsome. These students wore the easy, confident, sparkling-white smiles born of privilege and first-class orthodontia. But how do they feel on the inside? I wondered. Does the bubble’s rarified air pressur-

22 l August 2017

ize them into feeling they must constantly strive to be popular, pretty, smart, athletic and academically successful enough to make it into “good” colleges? Probably yes. But somehow these kids survived the impossible quest for perfection and are heading out of the Land of the Beautiful into a more diverse reality. With these thoughts and impressions in mind, I wrote Youngest Daughter some post-high school advice. Who knows if she’ll pay any mind to it but perhaps, dear readers, your offspring will. Here’s my ten-point manifesto for succeeding in college: 1. Ask for help when you need it – from friends, professors, your parents and mental health professionals; 2. Stay curious and keep asking questions; 3. Speak up when you feel wronged. Challenge authority as needed (especially necessary for young women on campuses with rampant sexual harassment); 4. Remember with great privilege comes great responsibility. You’ve been endowed with many privileges: brains, beauty, wealth and educational opportunities most people only dream of. We hope you harness your gifts to bring more peace, harmony and compassion into the world; 5. Judge less, love more and strive to be kind; 6. If you play hard, study harder; 7. Respect your parents and honor all that we’ve done to help get you to this place; 8. Try to eat healthy. Your body is sacred. Avoid excessive drinking and drug use; 9. You will make mistakes. Learn from them; 10. Remember there is no such thing as personal perfection. We are all flawed works in progress until we breathe our last breaths. Congratulations, graduates! May you live long, prosper and save the world! P.S. You don’t need Land Rovers or Rolex watches to accomplish any of this. A

New Releases

“After Anatevka”

Since we’re sort of revisiting the story of “Fiddler on the Roof” later in this issue, now seemed like a good time to also take a look at what happens after Hodel, Tevye’s second-oldest daughter, leaves the stage. Written by Broadway star Alexandra Silber, who has played two of Tevye’s daughters, this sweeping historical novel continues the story that has captivated fans for decades.


Now for genre fiction of a different sort. Apparently Rabbi Herb Freed has been making waves in the romance category with his latest creative effort. The novel explores the quest to find a soulmate, focusing on an older protagonist, a rarity amongst the genre (which is also dominated by female, secular authors).

Be Part of Our Next Chapter Sunday, August 27th, 1:00 p.m.

This coming year will be filled with excitement as we experiences a pivotal moment in our congregation’s history. Join us for an afternoon of fun and the opportunity to get to know us.

Along with the rest of our professional team, meet our newest members: • Rabbi Joshua Dorsch, his wife Stephanie, and their son, Nadav • Katey Lindley, Director of Jewish Education and Youth Engagement

Enjoy: • • • •

Flip Books & Face Painting Food & Music Meeting our terrific members Touring our facilities and schools

Learn about our: • Ginsburg Infant Center & Silverman Preschool – Join our “wait list” • Ratner Torah School – Featuring new creative, hands-on, experiential learning in a loving and nurturing environment • Youth Groups – Including engaging programs highlighting a socialservice focus • Programs and Celebrations for all ages and stages • T’rumah – Our membership model

See You There! 6660 Cowles Mountain Boulevard San Diego, California 92119

619 697-6001

This is going to be a fun-filled afternoon for everyone and your RSVP will assist us in planning. Please visit our website or call 619 697-6001. More details are on our website at Av • Elul 5777 | 23



Bicycles Built for Two


any years ago, browsing the shelves of an obscure, counter-culture bookstore in midtown New York, I purchased a t-shirt that would ultimately morph into a life-mantra. It read, “So Many Books, So Little Time.” I frequented this shop with hopes of meeting long-haired, pretentiously arty men who practiced reasonable standards of bodily hygiene. Being Jewish was optional. Instead of meeting a mangy intellectual, however, I chanced upon a short-haired, religiously observant, first-generation Afghan-Israeli who, lost in Manhattan, stumbled into the bookstore to use the pay phone. Fast forward to lunch, some dates, marriage, six children, aliyah to Israel and a subsequent divorce. Short on details perhaps but, for the purpose of this essay, nothing has been omitted. This summer marks 22 years since I stepped off of the plane and made Israel my home. There was no Nefesh B’Nefesh in those days and an animal called the internet was still hatching. Finding schools that reflected our hashkafah, outlook, was a hit-or-miss exercise and we failed in that regard several times over. Vacillating between two synagogues, I spent many Sabbath afternoons blinking back tears 24 l August 2017

because I could not understand the posted ads announcing upcoming aerobics classes or food-and-clothing drives for the needy. There was no Google translate for the times a child might hand me a note from the school nurse. I’d painstakingly pour over a ratty Hebrew-English dictionary for hours just to discover that my daughter had head lice. Twenty-plus years ago, I tackled grocery shopping by requesting tooth-towels instead of toothpaste and asking where they kept containers of tomato wars, when, in fact, I needed tomato sauce. I was charged thousands of shekels that I hadn’t the linguistic skills to challenge when I took a badly-bleeding child to the hospital emergency room instead of the HMO-assigned crisis-care center. Driving the roads in the Galilee in the years before GPS meant arriving at the barbed-wired Syrian border because I’d couldn’t understand the Hebrew on the exit for the Blueberry Picking Farm. Ignorance based on illiteracy was deemed indefensible both then and now. Twenty-two years ago we gently unpacked a fax machine that would offer the highest level of technological communication between my new home and the life I’d left behind. Exhausting roll-after-roll of thermal paper, I’d send my mother and father detailed

accounts of what the children had eaten for breakfast, upbeat lies about how many friends we’d made, delicately taped articles from the Jerusalem post written by witty pundits and heartfelt inquiries about family and friends. Only after I’d pressed a rubbery green button marked “Send” would I fall face-down onto the bed in tears. The 56th charter flight from Nefesh B’Nefesh arrived this week and every news outlet covered the human drama in technicolor splendor. My Facebook wall was flooded with videos that recorded emotional departures and arrivals and I had a hard time channeling my feelings. So much hope. So much pride. How could one remain unmoved in the face of such life-altering images? Still, I experienced a twinge of jealousy.  Like a weathered veteran of an almost-forgotten war, I ached for someone to film my story and passionately document the isolation/determination that formed my immigration narrative. Clairvoyants don’t make aliyah.  How could they? The journey is rife with battles and bruising. But at the end of the day, unforeseen outcomes – both bitter and sweet – all retain clear markings of having been Heaven-sent. A

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Av • Elul 5777 | 25



Where Have All Our Values Gone?


t used to be that this country was a beacon of idealism to people all over the world. Its foundational credos, the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, were revered at home and emulated abroad. American children were taught their significance, and education and knowledge were the cornerstones to American achievement.   The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island symbolized lofty ideals and welcomed millions of immigrants to these shores. The newcomers worked hard, contributed to this country, and they and their children shared and shaped the American Dream. But that was then, and This is Now… when “alt-values” prevail. These words and actions convey anger, rudeness, hate, greed, lying, selfishness, intolerance and callousness. These questionable codes of conduct have become commonplace on television, in social media and in everyday life, rapidly solidifying as standards for our impressionable children and young people. There is no doubt that we live in a dangerous world, both at home and abroad, and we must certainly be vigilant and protect ourselves. But in the all-encompassing service of strengthening our forces and intelligence agencies, we could lose sight of some of our basic human values and diminish the essences of what made this country so exceptional in the first place. Citizens in a democracy are encouraged to criticize and support the politicians and parties that best align with their own values. But today it seems that duty is dulled at the edges. The discordant words and behavior of political leaders can be toxic to the core values

26 l August 2017

we once cherished. If the new norm consists of demeaning and disrespectful utterances, or bullying and belligerent behaviors, we invite the decline and degradation of our nation’s better values. Demagoguery engenders anger, hatred and fear and these “emotional viruses” can easily spread among a vulnerable population through a process known as “social contagion.” These negative emotions insinuate themselves into the social atmosphere, wreaking havoc with people’s thoughts, emotions and behavior. When we demonstrate respect, tolerance and caring, we encourage the same benevolent behaviors in return. By the same token, when we convey incivility and brutishness, we provoke antagonistic responses in others. If we continue our descent into callousness, selfishness and hostility, we negatively impact and harm the quality of our lives. Words of rage and hate can easily be forerunners of violence. We have crucial decisions to make about our core values, manifested by our attitudes and behaviors. Our future as a civil and democratic republic and progressive society is at stake. Just as we are using our formidable intellect and creativity to reduce our carbon footprint, we can similarly mobilize our resources to improve our emotional footprint, or how we treat and affect each other. When we express the values most true to our best human instincts, we create a positive emotional footprint, and we improve the quality of life for all of us. We do have a choice. A

Mazel Tov to Diller Teen Winners, including one from San Diego

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Av • Elul 5777 | 27

POST-POLITICAL by Rabbi Jacob Rupp


Can Education Save Us?


orah says that the Jewish nation has a sacred mission to be the “Light Amongst the Nations,” teaching (by example) the moral code by which humanity should be inspired. When we don’t do this, we encounter anti-Semitism which separates us and causes us to reexamine our cause, the reason we are here, and what message we need to be sending. Now I understand how crazy this sounds. Yes, the anti-Semites are still morally responsible for the suffering this causes. But crazy is our middle name. We’re less than 16 million people, at the crosshairs of every major world empire (Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Byzantine, Catholic Europe, modern European states, radical Islam…), exiled, separated from each other, speaking different languages, and not possessing a strong military (which only actively protects those of us living in Israel, and there one could argue Jews face greater threat than anywhere else) – yet we keep surviving, and not only surviving, thriving! Consider for a moment that Jews and Jewish people are literally founders or at the helm of the most powerful companies and industries in the world (Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Oracle, Qualcomm). Defense, tech. We run the major media conglomerates and houses of finance. I mean, it’s almost a bad joke, until you see that its all true. And despite the horrors of the Holocaust, intifadas, and all the suffering of the past (100, 1000) years, we are blossoming! Ok, so why the fear of us not surviving? Is it unfounded? Well, no. If you look at the majority of Jews, we are becoming increas28 l August 2017

ingly detached from our heritage. Having worked in Jewish education and outreach for more than a decade now I can tell you that the old things that Jews used to care about, they don’t anymore. Israel isn’t the rallying point for American Jews it used to be. No one feels that bad about the Holocaust anymore. Synagogue attendance is way down, and fewer people are joining. Whereas Jewish guilt may have kept Jews Jewish in the past...well, they just don’t feel so guilty anymore. The “culturally Jewish” are taking over. There is a massive switch to lay leadership throughout the community. And along the way, the connection to Judaism is becoming more spotty. Can you hear me now? The challenge to Jewish survival today has gone underground. It’s not some big force like Nazism or Communism. I’d argue it’s not even the indifference and distraction that plagues us. Today, we face Jews who are comfortably numb, not aware of what they are missing. To combat this, we need special operators. Educators. People trained in how to make Judaism relatable, interesting, and important. It won’t come from political platforms, guilt, or service projects. We can get all of those without the Judaism. What we need is the Judaism. The relevance. What does it mean that the Torah has mapped out how to live the most fulfilling life we can live? That man was built in the image of G-d, and as such is capable of reaching the greatest heights of human potential? How does one even accomplish that? What does it mean that our marriages are supposed to me micro

The challenge to Jewish survival today has gone underground. It’s not some big force like Nazism or Communism. versions of the tabernacle, the place where G-d’s presence could be most tangibly felt? How does that make sense in a world where one spouse is binge-watching Netflix while the other posts about her day on Facebook? At the end of the day, we are survivors. I am very optimistic about the Jewish future. Because we don’t need huge numbers, only smarter numbers. We need ordinances that can be strategically targeted. Messages that are true and that matter. In the crowded world of mass media, we need something real that can change us and cut deep. And when we hear truth, when we hear something profound and life changing, we remember who we are. We are the children of Abraham, who when he heard G-d, dropped his life, and took his family and went out in search of the promised land and his destiny. That’s in our DNA and who we are. We just need to develop ourselves to be the messengers of that kernel of truth that will inspire our people. A

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From the Desk of a

SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR On the parent/school relationship BY RACHEL EDEN


luorescent light streamed down on the man talking. The listener appeared captivated but it just wasn’t that interesting. Did he really care? I was 21 years old and elated to aid in a documentary’s production. The interviewer was also the director, executive producer and essentially the film’s crew. I asked if he enjoyed listening to people talk incessantly about their backgrounds and perspectives, or if he was just a talented actor. He smiled and answered, “I sure hope I love listening to people or I wouldn’t like my job.” His response flipped my opinion immediately and has forever changed my attitude about relating to others. That exchange is one I have revisited repeatedly in the past 13 years. He really did like his job and his enthusiasm for connecting with people was contagious. I was left with a newfound appreciation for people – how they look, how they sound. I grew curious about each one’s story and struggle. Now, here I am, sitting in my office for the sixth consecutive hour-long meeting with parents. My inbox has yet to be checked, progress reports are waiting to be mailed and my to-do list is growing rapidly. As a school administrator, I have the good fortune of working closely with parents. I thoroughly enjoy these chats and while they require a commitment of time, attention, and effort, I prioritize them. We discuss the significance of teacher-to-parent communication often in staff meetings, and point out that most parents 30 l August 2017

are happy with their experience in our school. But every teacher has a weakest link and that weak link is a platform to build a better relationship. Meetings with parents construct a foundation by providing a listening, sympathetic ear and following up with an action plan. While we speak, I think about who I’m listening to and what experiences brought them to me. If I do it correctly, I can figure out what the parent means but is not saying and, on a really good day, formulate a meaningful response. The parent-school relationship is much like a marriage – two separate and different entities connecting to raise a child. It can be magical and stressful for both parties. Some marriages develop into long-lasting, strong partnerships while others break apart. When differences emerge, and they always do, the parties must work together to resolve them by communicating effectively, investing in one another, and sometimes compromising. So too, in an education environment there may be times when a parent doesn’t share the same perspective as the school. During these times, I wonder if I am in the customer service business. I want to surpass my parents’ expectations. I want parents discussing how their children are being challenged cognitively, growing socially and emotionally, and are inspired creatively in the classroom and outdoors. I want parents happy with their child’s playmates in school and pleased with the teachers. But my true customers are the children, and I never want to lose that focus.

Parents see but a small window of time in the beginning of the day when arriving and at the end of the day when departing. They see the morning tabletop activities in the classroom, the teacher’s face when offering a morning greeting, and the way other kids wave to their child. This is often not an accurate indicator of a child’s full day. When parents are worried about their child, we meet to dissect the matter. But we don’t always see eye to eye. Sometimes we differ in our perception of the child’s experience in school. If we diverge on how to best address a child’s needs, I listen, seek advice from other experienced staff, research, and return to the parents with my findings. We talk for hours over several days, or weeks, to hash out our differing views. Ultimately, it’s up to me to determine the best course of action and up to the parents to decide if they accept it. My hope is that the teachers and I can build our parents’ trust consistently and deeply. That way, if we reach an impasse, parents are reassured that our recommendations for their children are made lovingly and competently. Even when parents struggle with a school’s decision, the goal is for everyone to keep communicating positively, with warmth and respect. This union is for the good of our children and therefore worth every effort. A Rachel Eden is Preschool Director for Soille Hebrew Day.

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Av • Elul 5777 | 31

7/10/17 11:47 AM


Rabbi Philip Graubart Signs on as SDJA’s First-Ever Chief Jewish Officer BY HARRY KATCHER


abbi Philip Graubart, former Senior Rabbi of La Jolla’s Congregation Beth El, was recently named as San Diego Jewish Academy’s (SDJA) first-ever “Chief Jewish Officer” where he will direct overall Jewish learning at the school. Rabbi Graubart was also named as the Director of the school’s Advanced Institute for Judaic Studies (AIJS). At the end of the 20162017 school year, having built a strong foundation for the Institute, Rabbi Nathan Laufer and his wife Sharon decided to return to Israel to be with their burgeoning family. To build upon the excellent work of Rabbi Laufer, SDJA searched for someone who could continue the AIJS and were pleased to bring Rabbi Graubart on board. “Rabbi Graubart has had a stellar career as a congregational rabbi for Congregation Beth El in La Jolla,” said Chaim Heller, SDJA’s Head of School. “He has also served in leadership positions throughout San Diego and North America.” Rabbi Graubart was on the executive committee of the United Synagogue, served as president of the San Diego Rabbinic Association, sat on the board of San Diego Hillel, and contributed teaching and strategic advice to many other Jewish organizations, including the Federation, Jewish Family Service, the Leichtag Foundation, and San Diego Jewish Academy. Rabbi Graubart has also been a teacher and consultant at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and has been a frequent lecturer and teacher at SDJA over the past few years. He is also an accomplished author. He’s published six books and his writ32 l August 2017

ings on Jewish life, politics, and culture have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and newspapers, including Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Post, and the Jerusalem Report.

Rabbi Philip Graubart

“Our students will benefit from Rabbi Graubart’s excellent teaching, warm and compassionate soul, and keen sense of humor,” said Heller. “He will be engaging with students in a variety of ways, including direct teaching, weekly sessions of ‘Ask the Rabbi,’ teaching our faculty, leading drop-in Torah study for parents, and more.” The primary purpose of the Academy’s Advanced Institute for Judaic Studies is to provide top-tier Judaic education for their students. SDJA is also looking to build a school-community connection over Jewish learning.

“I’m honored and thrilled to be joining the SDJA team beginning this fall,” said Graubart. “SDJA is the institution that gave my children their essential Jewish identities. The Academy’s faculty, students and staff taught them to appreciate and respect different approaches to Judaism, to value ethical Jewish living, to place Israel at the center of their Jewish identities, to love learning in all its forms, and to see life as a constant journey toward the sacred. I’m so grateful to be given the opportunity to help impart these great lessons to a new generation of students.” “SDJA students will have the opportunity for Judaic learning that goes beyond what is typically offered in a pluralistic school,” said Heller, “and they will experience the integration of Judaic Studies and Israel in the general studies curriculum.” “I recognized what a great asset SDJA was to Jewish life in San Diego,” said Graubart. “Besides offering a high quality Jewish education to hundreds of Jewish students every year, the Academy created and nurtured the families who became the backbone of our Jewish community. SDJA families lead our efforts in support of Israel, built our tikkun olam structure, volunteered in every dimension of Jewish life, and, most importantly, honored the essentially pluralistic nature of our San Diego Jewish community.” “It will be my great pleasure and privilege at this point in my career,” added Graubart, “to work directly with these families, along with an outstanding and dedicated team of teachers, administrators, staff, and community supporters.” A



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Helping Jewish Education Reach a New Plateau Divine timing shows increased commitment in congregational schools at neighboring synagogues BY NATALIE JACOBS


efore we begin, let me lay out some guidelines. This story focuses on the congregational schools at Tifereth Israel in San Carlos and Temple Emanu-El in Del Cerro. The two synagogues are somewhat around the corner from each other and they’ve been offering a joint Community Jewish High program for years. Now, each is focusing independently on growing its congregational schools for students in kindergarten through 7th grade. The guidelines for the story are this: It is true that San Carlos and Del Cerro are situated east of the 5, 805 and even the 15 freeways. But it is not true that San Carlos and Del Cerro are in East County. In this way, these communities exist in a directional no-man’s-land similar to Carmel Valley, University City, Mira Mesa. You would never say Congregation Beth Israel is in North County or mid-city, though the population is moving true north at increasing rates. And since West County isn’t 34 l August 2017

Tifereth Israel's clergy and education team, including Rabbi Joshua Dorsch, Amy Stanley, Katey Lindley, Beth Klareich and Lori Kurtz.

a thing, there are no San Diego-isms to help explain where to find that area on a map. So, in this story I won’t be referring to the East County revival of the San Diego Jewish community, or the East County expansion of Jewish education opportunities for formerly disengaged youth. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with East County, it’s just not what we’re talking about here. “I think there’s a stigma with congregational education,” says Katey Lindley, Tifereth Israel’s newly minted director of education and youth engagement. “[There’s this idea] that it’s not fun, that it’s boring, that it’s something kids have to do in order to maintain Jewish identity and it’s a drag.” In Katey’s world, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sitting with me in her office about a week before her official start date of July 5, Katey says her vision for the congregational school at Tifereth Israel is to make it engaging, exciting and inspiring.

“It’s camaraderie,” she says. “The support of your community that you don’t have anywhere else. This is your home.” Learning, for her, can be found in small moments that are filled with joy. To accomplish that, she’s hiring new teachers, bringing in a song leader for the first time and expanding the curriculum to include games. For instance Twister, she explains. Part of the elective rotation on Wednesdays will include games for learning Hebrew. The kids will play Twister and call out the colors by their Hebrew words. There will also be a theater elective and an art one. The school is on a trimester system, so they’ll mark the end of each block with an assembly where parents will be invited to watch each class perform their elective of choice, including the games. On Sundays, one new edition will be Hebrew through movement, where 20 minutes of the class is dedicated to kinetic language learning.

“Just like Judaism, Jewish education morphs,” Katey says. “Hebrew is a living language. It’s a modern language, it’s not just our ancient powerful spiritual language from Torah. There’s no reason why all the years [kids] are spending here that they shouldn’t have [a strong grasp on the language] at the end. They may not be fluent but they should walk away being very comfortable hearing the language, being able to read a story in a book, and let that just be part of who they are.” Katey started as Tifereth’s education director on the same day as the congregation’s new rabbi, Rabbi Joshua Dorsch. He and his wife and their month-old baby moved out from New Rochelle, New York, just about a week before the start-date. Education for Rabbi Dorsch is a major focus of his work. “I never really thought I would be a pulpit rabbi,” he admits from his new office. “I was always education-minded and focused, mostly informal Jewish education. I grew up going to Jewish summer camps and youth groups and I found that to be the most impactful and moving in my Jewish educational development.” With that in mind, Rabbi Dorsch pursued a master’s in Jewish education while attending rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He says now he sees every part of being a head rabbi as based in education. “I’m always educating, whether it’s from a sermon I give in the pulpit or from running family services on a Saturday morning, teaching classes in the high school, sitting on the floor with the kids in the nursery school, even bouncing around the new swimming pool with the kids in the summer.” A swimming pool was a requirement for the rabbi’s new house in San Carlos. It also had to be within walking distance of the synagogue. “That’s really my vision – experiential education, learning Jewish by living Jewish. It’s

helping people embrace their Jewish identity and their Jewish commitment through engagement with our community.” Temple Emanu-El also has a new rabbi in Benj Fried, who takes the number two spot behind Rabbi Devorah Marcus. Rabbi Fried too pursued a master’s in Jewish education while in rabbinical school (he attended Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles after also earning a master’s from Harvard Divinity School). In addition to taking on rabbinical duties, his title is Rabbi Educator and he’s tasked with expanding the breadth and depth of Emanu-El’s congregational school. “Really what I want to do in this first year is to impress on my teachers and the synagogue that I really care about their teaching, I really want to take seriously their development as people,” Rabbi Fried says a couple weeks into his new position, his first since being ordained this year. He’s looking to increase professional development opportunities for the teachers – about 20 in total. He says he wants to help them “explore their teaching self and to think about what are my strengths as a teacher and how can I really build on those and really think about my teaching self?” Like Rabbi Dorsch, Rabbi Fried will teach occasional adult education classes, his first begins this month called “Wake Up!” about spiritual preparation for the High Holidays. Tifereth’s Katey Lindley also teaches. She taught for several years at Congregation Beth Israel, where her children grew up and continue to be involved. This year, she’s bringing her beloved relationships course to the joint Tifereth, Emanuel-El Community Jewish High. It wasn’t so long ago that the San Diego Jewish community was centered around the Del Cerro and San Carlos neighborhoods. While the migration has been gradual for years, the leadership at these two synagogues say they’re experiencing a reinvigoration of Jewish life here. The preschool at Tifereth

“It’s camaraderie. The support of your community that you don’t have anywhere else.This is your home.” Israel has grown by 300 percent in the last three years under the leadership of its director Amy Stanley. Inspired by those numbers, Katey Lindley hopes to bring the same kind of growth to the k-7 program. She’s hired four new teachers and when we spoke was still actively looking for that song leader. For his part, Rabbi Fried says there are about 130 students in the Temple Emanu-El school, and his position is in itself an expansion for the synagogue. Katey admits than when she prepared for her interview at Tifereth Israel, she packed for a road trip after everyone she mentioned it to said something to the effect of “You want to work all the way out there?” She says it took 15-20 minutes from where she lives in Carmel Valley and the drive was beautiful. “This is like heaven,” she says. “This is not ‘way out there,’ this is so close people just don’t realize it. I think you’re going to see a lot of changes in the next five years in terms of growth and involvement of the Jewish community [in this area],” she says. “Not just in education. I think it has to do with the desire of the community that’s already here.” A

Av • Elul 5777 | 35


Seven Reasons to Send Your Kid to

y a D h s i w Je l o o h c S “ SKY



et’s send the kids to the public school,” my husband said when our children were little. For a young couple like us just starting out, the idea of getting our children a quality, free education in a public school was incredibly appealing. A private school would require us to severely tighten our belts. But on the other hand, I wanted our kids to develop a Jewish identity. My husband and I came from a secular background; we went to the synagogue only on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, didn’t keep Shabbat and we were unaware of how little we knew and understood about Judaism. It was clear that we could not achieve that goal at home. And yet, while concerned about instilling a Jewish identity, I also wanted my children  to have the best education possible. So I embarked in a conscious and thorough evaluation of our options. As a result, I decided to send our children to a Jewish day school. These were the reasons: 1. Values. Jewish day schools actively teach Torah values such as kindness, respect, moral choices and ethical behavior. The school became my partner in instilling values that I believe in and I sincerely believe 36 l August 2017

it made raising my children much easier. I also learned to appreciate the advantages of prayer. My kids found comfort, strength, and hope through the practice of praying. This was recently corroborated by a Harvard University study showing that prayer helps develop a more optimistic outlook on life. 2. Community. I found that the Jewish day schools in San Diego  seek to develop a strong sense of community among their students, parents and teachers. My children have built long-lasting friendships; bonds have been formed between us and other parents. The teachers at the school have hosted our children, their kids have befriended ours. 3. Excellent education. There is the misconception that by dividing the day between secular and Jewish studies, secular education suffers. Far from being a hindrance, the double curriculum enhances students’ skills and academic confidence. A recent meta-analysis of 90 studies on the effects of different types of schools concluded that “students in religious schools enjoy a significant academic advantage over their counterparts in traditional public schools and

charter schools.” Even when controlling for socioeconomic status, private religious schools were associated with the highest levels of academic achievement. Every Jewish day school in San Diego has a proven track record of success. Students make it into the most prestigious universities including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, and Berkeley, to name just a few. 4. Individualized attention. Jewish day schools offer the opportunity to cater to

the individual needs of the students and develop personal relationships between the children and school staff. The small student-to-teacher ratio allows the teachers to get to know each child, understand their needs and motivation. This helps the child acquire a strong academic foundation and a positive attitude toward learning. 5. A love for Israel. In June of this year, the Times of Israel published an ominous article with the headline: “Devastating survey shows huge loss of Israel support among

Jewish college students.” Comparing surveys taken in 2016 with surveys in 2010, it was found that Jewish college students stating that they lean toward supporting Israel has dropped by 27 percentage points. Jewish day schools do a great job of fostering love and support for Israel. Children in Jewish day schools learn modern Hebrew, the history and contemporary issues in Israel, and they engage in experiential activities that help them learn and appreciate Israel’s rich culture. 6. Jewish continuity. According to the recent Pew report, the rate of intermarriage among Jewish people (excluding Orthodox Jews) is a disheartening 71 percent. For me, having Jewish grandchildren has always been an important value. Jewish day schools engage the children in a comprehensive Jewish education. They do not simply learn about Judaism, but they also actively experience it. As a result, Jewish day school students tend to stay involved and marry Jewish spouses. Moises Eilemberg, a board member of a San Diego Jewish day school, wrote that “the sustained immersion, roots, identity and social bonds created by a full, multi-year Jewish day school experience are far and away the most powerful determinant of  how Jewishly involved kids stay through their teens and in college,  whether they date and marry Jewish, whether they become members of a synagogue, and  the strength of their attachment to Israel.” He cites several studies to

support this assertion. 7. Well rounded students. Jewish day schools do a good job of educating well rounded students who have a love of learning, who are connected, who take responsibility in their communities and support Jewish institutions, who have experienced spiritual growth and who are ready for the challenges posed by the world. The focus is on the whole child; his or her intellectual abilities, potential, emotional well-being, family and environment. There’s a study from Brandeis University about what happens to children from Jewish day schools once they get to college. “The sense of community or belonging that students experience in the school setting has been shown to contribute to greater social and coping skills, academic self-confidence, altruistic or pro-social behavior, and academic performance.” And it also shows these children are perfectly able to socialize with people of diverse backgrounds. I can happily report that 20 years after we made the decision to send our kids to a Jewish day school, they grew up to become well-rounded, successful, and compassionate individuals who can comfortably answer the question “Why am I Jewish?” and who are committed to pass that legacy on to the next generation: our Jewish grandchildren. Perhaps it’s time for more of us to seriously consider the gift of sending our children to a Jewish day school. A Av • Elul 5777 | 37


Coding Camp Makes Summer Learning Fun Continuing its Southern California expansion, CodeREV hosts another excited group of budding engineers at Torrey Pines High School BY BRIE STIMSON


dam, who’s 6, says he wants to be a computer engineer when he grows up. He and his friends are at Camp CodeREV at Torrey Pines High School where they’re learning coding, robotics, modding and game design. “I like building the houses in Minecraft!” he tells me. Minecraft, for the uninitiated, is a video game that allows people to build structures inside a computerized world. On the day I was there they were learning to build a large clock. Many of the instructors come from prestigious backgrounds with companies like Google, Microsoft and Sony. Instructor Miss Molly says she learned robotics from five years at Legoland. “She knows everything,” 11-year-old Cooper attests. Although Cooper wants to be a football player when he grows up, he says camp, for him, isn’t a waste of time. “I come here because I enjoy doing this” he tells me. A typical day at camp starts around 9 a.m. and each camp lasts a week. Kids can choose to focus on several areas, including Minecraft Level Design and Engineering, Adventures in Programming, REV Robotics, MathCraft and Game Design. EdTech entrepreneur Evan Boorman, who lives in Los Angeles, started CodeREV three years ago. The camp opened with one location, but has expanded to more than a dozen camps in California (including two in San Diego) and one as far away as Nantucket, Mass. Before he opened the camps, Boorman was a teacher. He says he wanted to start an education company, “that focused on helping kids get into great schools.” “I learned programming in college … and I just thought what a great thing to teach kids. It teaches the same sort of logic and problem-solving that math is supposed to teach, 38 l August 2017

but it answers the question of ‘why’ automatically. It says you can do really interesting and fun things ... and while doing so you can also learn really practical skills.” Meanwhile, at the camp, 7-and-a-halfyear-old Eli tells me, “I like building robots [because] you can like make cool stuff with them.” Boorman says during the year they’re also in nine schools doing after-school programs. “We come in as an elective and teach coding for an hour a week to students. But we’re doing several different models, several different ways of getting it out to kids. Summer camp, I believe, provides the best of those models.” Boorman’s programs focus on teaching STEAM skills – science, technology, engineering, art and math. “Innovation is a direct result of STEAM,” Boorman explains. The art component of STEAM, which was added to the previously artless STEM model, is an important factor to Boorman. He says art is also a great way to get girls interested in science and technology. He says his camps tend to have a higher percentage of girls than other coding camps, and they are working hard to appeal to more all the time. The Torrey Pines camp still only had about one girl for every four boys. Cora, who was learning to make a clock in Minecraft when I asked her what she thinks of being one of few girls at the camp, shrugged and said, “I just go with it.” It probably doesn’t hurt to have female role models like Miss Molly to look up to. Boorman, who is the father of two young daughters, hopes more women become interested in tech jobs – and his mother is one of his role models. “My mom was a computer consultant and software engineer. My mom’s 72 years old so before there were any women,

like any women, in that field she was working on massive computers that were the size of a room when she first started,” he tells me. “She faced more than her fair share of, I think, somewhat unfriendly workplaces.” His mother received her Ph.D. in math from Columbia and was the first woman to be tenured as a math professor at the University of Michigan. His father is a doctor who received his master’s in math. “So math and science and computers, software, it’s been in my family and it’s in my blood, so to speak.” His four and five-year-old daughters are a little too young for the camps this summer, but he says they’ll be starting in about a year. At Torrey Pines, 9-year-old camper Srijan says the teachers are excellent. “They don’t really push you so hard – they teach you slowly and if you’re too fast they take you at that pace, if you’re too slow they teach you at that pace, but they don’t push you so hard that you like start crying or something.” He says he plans to come back next summer. A For more information on CodeREV coding camps, visit

Nominate Teen Leaders Repairing the World

Recognizing up to five Jewish teens from California and ten from across the United States. Each teen will receive $36,000 for exceptional community service and leadership repairing the world.

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards are funded by the Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of San Francisco.

Help identify and celebrate great Jewish teen leaders.

Nominations are now open.

Av • Elul 5777 | 39


AWAKENING WITH A SCREAM Child of Holocaust survivors recounts her family’s experience from Hungary to Auschwitz to Prague and ultimately the United States BY SYLVIA SELVERSTON


The author as a child with her parents.

40 l August 2017

he train tracks. The sound of the wheels pounding. Train cars filled to the brim with humans being driven to hell. And not back. The scraping of tears running down the faces of children, and their parents and grandparents. The visuals and sounds of my family being hauled to Auschwitz haunt me incessantly. I was born a miracle since the Nazis fed my mom sterilization chemicals to be sure there would be no more Jews, should any survive the camps. I awake with a scream that reaches from my gut to the top of my head but doesn’t exit my mouth. It reverberates in my chest. And I double over in the pain that was inherited through the bloodstream. This is my heritage. This is my history. This is my story. All my grandparents were murdered, as were aunts and uncles, along with other millions of grandparents, aunts and uncles, plus brothers and sisters and parents. Annihilation was pursued. And, for the most part, achieved. Those who survived were then abused by the Russians who supposedly came to rescue them. I am astounded by the resilience of many of the survivors and appalled by the lack of support for those who quite understandably fell apart. But that’s another piece of history. Then there were the U.S. decisions to not only not provide assistance to those slated for murder but to also turn away those who made it out and to the U.S. only to be forced to return to Germany and their deaths. So, yes, I harbor some anger. It’s the only way I seem able to deal with the deadly past. There is no way to undo the horrors of the reality that underpins my family’s history. I grew up among survivors, so grandparents didn’t really exist in our world.

What did exist were memories of a distinct my aunt survived this additional disaster. vakia, where we were living in 1946 when I before and after, and of course memories of After months of continual suffering, some- was born, my parents were awaiting visas to Nazis and their supporters. thing seemed to change. Some of the brutal travel to the U.S. The wait would take two And the trains. My mother’s family was sit- guards started pretending that they were not years, since the U.S. was both limiting imting down to a holiday dinner when there was so bad and, in fact, began to ask the prison- migration and demanding assurances from knocking at the door. The family was told to ers for support. And others committed sui- family “sponsors” that the immigrants would pack and head out. My mother hid some sug- cide. The Allies were finally closing in. be cared for by relatives rather than by the ar under her mattress to provide some sweetAuschwitz was liberated. The armies that U.S. government. During the wait, my dad ness upon their return, a return that worked at a lumber yard and sold never happened. It would be many cigarettes sent from U.S. relatives years before my mother would again to make extra money for a new The author with her mother approximately 40 years ago. experience any sweetness. life in a new country. From the raid, my family began their Another story would soon betrek to a ghetto, then to trains, and on gin. to either labor camps and/or extincBut first an added note attached tion. After surviving the train voyage, to the murder of so many by the the family was separated into groups. Nazis.  Some were able to elude The pregnant mother and youngest the death mongers, to grapple child were immediately sent to the their way to what would become gas chambers. They were deemed disIsrael and were incarcerated in posable since they would be unable to Cyprus on their voyage to a new help in the munitions factories or in land. One of my dad’s brothers any other capacity. was among those who escaped, The father and brother were sent climbed the mountains heading to some unknown location and assumed murdered. My mother and her sister, ages 20 and 17 went to the area of the camp where they would be “reviewed,” after their heads were shaved, by marching naked, with one arm stretched upward, to be assessed by Nazi guards for assignments.  marched in were stopped short by what they My mother and her sister were deemed witnessed. The piles of starved corpses.  The healthy and marched to a munitions facto- emaciated, barely living prisoners. The gas ry, where they would be fed a slice of bread chambers. The crematoria. Unfathomable for their one meal. A small ray of goodness horrors. The few surviving prisoners were appeared when one day a guard slipped my freed. mom an apple. Parenthetically, he was one Not knowing who was still alive, the surviof the guards who committed suicide as the vors roamed from one town and train station Nazis were overrun. to the next, placing their names at each stop, Each night the munitions “workers” with a note as to where they were headed, were marched back to the camp “dormito- in the hope that a surviving family member ry” where they slept so many to a slab bed. would find them. At one stop, my mom and When one person turned in her sleep, they all her sister found a note from the cousin who had to turn to keep from falling to the floor would become my father. He had secured a among the rats. In the morning, so early in home and welcomed any and all relatives to the mornings, they were marched back to the join him. south, and spent time in Cyprus jails. He was factory. Molten steel burned several scars into And so began another stage of history. One able to get to his destination and settled with my mom’s body, but that was far from the in which survivors could only go forward, other escapees in the swamps that would be worst she would endure. since their homes and businesses and farms drained to create farmland. And about 10 At one point her sister Sari contracted diph- had been stolen by either the Russians or years later, my mother got a call telling her theria, a common occurrence in the camps non-Jewish former neighbors. that her brother had been spotted in the given the highly unsanitary conditions. Since I’ve always wondered if the sugar under southern Israeli city of Beersheba. My moththose who were ill were immediately disposed the mattress was found in my mother’s child- er’s excitement was infectious and all possible of, my mom and a couple of other women hood home, hoping it attracted vermin to contacts were called into play to locate her took it upon themselves to help Sari line up haunt the new occupants. My mother never long-lost brother. Could you imagine the each day and walk to the factory, as if she returned there, even when she and I went for glee! A month-long search, however, deterwere not ill. They stood close to her to pre- a visit to Prague and Budapest. She refused mined that the person was misidentified, and vent her from falling over, and they shared to go back. the crush of the Holocaust was again upon their limited bread and water. Miraculously, As the Russians moved into Czechoslo- our home. A

The wait would take two years, since the U.S. was both limiting immigration and demanding assurances from family “sponsors.”

Av • Elul 5777 | 41


Irwin Jacobs Talks Technology, Israel and a New Campus for Fostering Innovative Entrepreneurship

Rendering of Cornell Tech, home of the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute on New York's Roosevelt Island. 42 l August 2017




n 2010, New York’s then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a competition to create an applied sciences graduate school within New York city limits. Many of the top American universities competed for the roughly $100 million in city funding plus land dedicated to the school. In 2011, Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology won that competition, with help from San Diego-based tech innovator and Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs. In 2013, Irwin and wife Joan announced a $133 million gift to the project, securing the name of The Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, the academic partnership between Cornell University and the Technion that is tasked with pushing the boundaries of academia at Cornell Tech. Today, the Institute offers two master’s degrees, in Health Technology and Connective Media. This September, Cornell Tech, home of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute will celebrate the opening of its new campus on New York’s Roosevelt Island. Leading up to the opening, I spoke with Irwin Jacobs about why he was interested in supporting this project, how Qualcomm’s history keeps him connected to Israel, and what technological advancements he’s most excited about today. San Diego Jewish Journal: How did you initially come to support Cornell, the Technion and technology in Israel? IRWIN JACOBS: It goes back, if you include Israel, quite a ways. My first company was called Linkabit and over time a number of both faculty and people in the defense industry in Israel came and spent some time at Linkabit to get a feel for what commercial activities were like here in the U.S. We then built up an R&D center in Haifa. After I left Linkabit and started Qualcomm we again set up an R&D center in Haifa. Most of the workers who came there were trained at the Technion. We had this long relationship both in Israel and with Technion for a variety of R&D and educational activities. Both Joan and I went to Cornell, so we had that connection. When the contest was announced by Mayor Bloomberg it was an area that interested us. In thinking about it, we felt that it would be advantageous both for Cornell to have a stronger New York City presence but also for Technion to have that presence given that many of its supporters

and graduates were in the area. So we helped with some of the planning and encouraged strong entries in that competition. Of course, the Cornell-Technion team did win and we then felt it was important to continue to support that. Then Joan and I decided to help with what’s now called the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute. SDJJ: What is it about technology in Israel that has kept your interest as a philanthropic investor for all these years? IJ: First of all, the whole area of education I think is absolutely crucial to our wellbeing. On the philanthropic side, both my wife and I benefitted in some sense from government support and a number of college scholarships both going through undergraduate and myself in graduate school. We feel that now that we’ve reached a position where we can do so that we should be providing support for others to accomplish their goals. So education has always been a big item. The support for schools being able to take research that’s accomplished within academia and then apply it to developing businesses is one that I’ve always thought was a very important role of the university. That’s become increasingly recognized that we encourage that and provide support both at the university level, even at the k-12 level but particularly at the university level and then I have helped small businesses providing guidance. SDJJ: When you look at all the research and innovation across industries and geographical regions, what new technology has you most excited today? IJ: Most of the focus that I’ve had since early in Qualcomm’s history has been on mobile communications. Given that focus and the fact that you can use mobile devices just about everywhere in the world at this point, a great interest of mine is on [that area of technology]. We believe that they can make a strong difference and already that’s starting in education, medicine and many different ways in which people earn their income – fishing, agriculture. Above and beyond that, I think we’re all aware of the problems with crypto-warfare or whatever you wish to call that but the need for both greater privacy but also protection against various types of intrusion. The cryp-

Irwin Jacobs

tography areas are going to be a continuing issue. Finally, I think there is a lot of attention being given to robotics and artificial intelligence right now. Many consider the fact that that can replace many existing jobs as a negative and indeed it is a problem that we need to pay attention to. On the other hand, it probably implies that we’re going to be able to produce all of the goods and services that we need with a smaller number of work hours total. We therefore need to think through better ways of distribution – how do we make sure that people can acquire goods, services and products that they wish, including healthcare, given that we’re able to produce them with a lot fewer hours of work? SDJJ: Do you have one big vision for the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute? IJ: The intent of the Institute is to be able to attract first very good students, give them a very good education and have them better understand a number of the real-world problems which will encourage them either to follow that interest and design their own company or work within larger companies. But having it provide the basis for students to both become excited about applying the technology and give them the capability of doing so. We’re very excited about the opening of the new campus. I think a lot of thoughts have gone into the building both from an architectural and environmental point of view but also to encourage students, faculty and business to come together and be able to interact well with one another. A For more info, contact ATS San Diego Chapter Director Mark Greenberg at (858) 750-2135 or Av • Elul 5777 | 43



How it Works in Israel

While the United States continues to struggle with reforming health care reform, a look inside Israel’s universal health care system BY BRIE STIMSON


ith the future of American health care up in the air, a look at the structure of Israel’s health care system is worth a glance. Israel, like many other industrialized nations, has universal coverage, something the U.S. does not. “Most everyone is covered for most things; common prescription medicines are inexpensive, and some alternative treatments such as reflexology are covered,” says Alan Abbey, Director of Internet and Media at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. “Overall, quality of care is good. We have many terrifically competent doctors and health-care technicians. As I see and hear from family and friends about the challenges of health care in the U.S., I am glad to be under the Israeli medical system.” However, Abbey says that doctors are often overworked, appointments with specialists can take a long time, and the bureaucracy can be befuddling for users. “Computers have improved bureaucratic systems, but we still often have to get numerous pieces of paper shuffled between doctors, hospitals, clinics, and pharmacists to get services,” he adds. Israel passed its national health insurance law in 1995 to provide universal coverage. Since the passage, health care costs have remained steady around 7.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), with 62 percent of expenditures publicly financed – primarily funded through income-related health taxes. Before the law, the majority of citizens had insurance, but the 44 l August 2017

law stipulated that everyone must sign up for a plan and no one can be turned away, regardless of age or medical history. If an Israeli citizen does not pay the required insurance contributions, the National Insurance Institute charges fines with interest. Also under the law, new immigrants must register when they arrive in the country and are exempt from payment during their first year in Israel. Israel now has both a life expectancy that is higher and an infant mortality rate that is lower than the United States. Residents can choose between four health plans, which are all similar HMOs. They vary slightly in which doctors accept each plan. Maayan Jaffe made aliyah to Israel in 2000. She lived there for five years, returned to the states, and then moved back to Israel two years ago. She has had children in both countries. “I really like the health care system there,” she says from the states on a visit to her mother’s. “I think it’s been actually quite good ... pretty efficient in most cases.” But she says the system can be challenging if you need to see a specialist, especially for people who are not fluent in Hebrew. “Because of time and there’s not as many [specialists]… and to navigate [the system] is sometimes

difficult,” she says. All paperwork is in Hebrew, and although it’s usually translated into Russian and Arabic, Jaffe says English is often forgotten, which can be frustrating for new olim from the U.S. Gabe Pransky, who emigrated from the U.S. a decade ago, runs a health care nonprofit in Jerusalem. “We help English speakers navigate the Israeli health care system,” he explains. Pransky lost his wife Shira to Hodgkin’s lymphoma eight years ago. He believes as immigrants they didn’t understand the system well enough to make use of all the resources that were available to them. “Sometime after my wife passed away, reflecting on the kind of support that we needed at the time when we were going through that personal health crisis, and finding more out about the kinds

By the Numbers


Israel vs. the U.S. of rights and support that were available that we didn’t know about at the time … it was easy for me to recognize that gap in awareness was sort of a tragic missed opportunity,” he tells me. Shira Pransky made aliyah with her family from the United States when she was 12. She was first diagnosed with cancer when she was 16. She eventually went into remission, but the cancer came back when she was 20. In remission again, she married Gabe but it soon came back a third time. She passed away when their son was 2-and-a-half years old. Afterward, Gabe started the Shira Pransky Project, in his wife’s memory, to make sure olim don’t struggle in the system like she did. “I think language is definitely an issue, but it’s not the only issue,” he says. “The other big

management organizations on top of their basic coverage. Private funding for care is at 38 percent, which is the second highest next to the United States among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Israeli government is working to increase coverage under the HMOs to lessen the amount of private insurance people buy. Jaffe says there are many good doctors in Israel, but getting the right one at the right time can be difficult. “I don’t think the doctors are better in the U.S.,” she begins. “I feel like if you can get the right specialist in Israel they’re awesome … but if you want to get into something quicker, if it really is pressing, I think it’s … harder to get an appointment.” She says a

Since the passage, health care costs have remained steady around 7.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product

Infant mortality per 1,000 births Israel: 3.1 U.S.: 5.8 (2016)

Maternal mortality per 100,000 live births Israel: 5 U.S.: 14

(2015, Israel; 2015, U.S.)

Life expectancy

Israel: 80.3 for men; 84.1 for women U.S.: 77.5 for men; 82.1 for women (2016)

Birth rate

Israel: 3.13 U.S.: 1.87 (2016)

thing actually, and this is more of a cultural issue than a language issue, that comes up over and over again is the concept of bedside manner and the way that doctor and patient interaction unfolds.” Pransky says people who come to Israel for the first time are often confused by cultural differences while interacting with people. “[Immigrants sometimes] interpret native Israelis as yelling at [them] or some sort of adversarial relationship there,” when it’s simply not the case. Medical tourism and the ensuing struggle for resources is also becoming a problem – and a topic of discussion in the country – because of Israel’s high quality of health care, Pransky says. However, medical tourists also bring money into the system, which then benefits residents. The Health Ministry estimates these tourists bring in NIS 200 million each year, which is around $5.5 million. Private money in the system is increasing too, as residents purchase second and third layers of private medical care from the health

person can sometimes wait months to see a specialist. According to the Taub Center’s State of The Nation 2016 report, Israeli hospital staff are constantly overworked, and there aren’t enough doctors or nurses or even essentials like hospital beds to go around. Jaffe says she experienced that when she gave birth to her youngest son. “I was in … an entryway … where they had people behind different curtains and I was like ‘I’m going to have him really fast,’ and they didn’t really believe me,” she describes. She says she eventually gave birth to her son in a joint room “because they had too many births going on” to put her in a private room. “You share a room with like three people to give birth. You don’t have your own room.” However, she says the lack of privacy didn’t bother her. The system is highly regulated and, compared with the U.S., Israel puts a high priority on preventative care.

Health care costs

Israel: 7.5% GDP U.S.: 17.1% GDP


Physicians per 1,000 people Israel: 3.6 U.S.: 2.55

(2014, Israel; 2013, U.S.)

Hospital beds per 1,000 people Israel: 3.3 U.S.: 2.9

(2012, Israel; 2011, U.S.)

Av • Elul 5777 | 45

The system is highly regulated and, compared with the U.S., Israel puts a high priority on preventative care.

The country has some of the highest taxes in the world, which are used to pay for health care costs. Taxes are levied on a sliding scale, with higher income earners paying more, while low income earners pay less. Residents also pay a small amount of money each month to their health management organization, and the four insurers receive money from the government, which they in turn pay to the hospitals. Per capita, Israel has the highest birth rate of any nation. “They want you to have kids!” Jaffe exclaims. Two of her children were born in Israel (her other three biological kids were born in the U.S.), and she says giving birth in Israel is vastly superior – as long as there are no complications. “It’s very natural [at Israeli hospitals],” she 46 l August 2017

explains. “I never take anything [an epidural] and they’re really supportive of that. It was just very flexible and what I wanted to do. She [Jaffe’s eight-month-old daughter] was born there and it was just really easy.” She refers to giving birth at an Israeli hospital as a warm, family-like experience and says when she gave birth to her 14-year-old son in Israel, “They actually gave me a check when I left the hospital for having him.” Everything from the ultrasound to the delivery room is covered, Jaffe says. When she had her daughter in the states her pregnancy cost her around $8,000. “They [the Israeli government] encourage you to have kids, they want you to have kids. That’s probably one of the reasons the birthrate is so much higher also there,” she explains. Because of its high life expectancy, Israel

also has a small but growing elderly population, which is putting strain on the system as aging people generally have more health problems. According to Taub’s data the elderly’s contribution to the disabled population is expected to increase by seven percent over the next 20 years. Despite its problems, both Jaffe and Pransky say they prefer the Israeli system. “Oh yeah, thank G-d,” Pransky exclaims without thinking. He says his heart goes out to Americans struggling with the system. “I would have to navigate [the American] system and worry about what’s covered and what’s not and how to access proper medical care … Here it’s a given. It’s a given that it’s your right and you still need to know how to access it, but it’s understood that you have a right to proper medical care for any medical situation that you encounter.” A

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48 l August 2017


For Blind Israelis, Every Guide Dog Has its Day Use of the animals is growing in Israel, although the lone accredited school training them in Hebrew struggles with lack of funding and awareness BY LUKE TRESS FOR TIMES OF ISRAEL, REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION


ix juvenile Labradors and Golden Retrievers surround Yariv Melamed, intently watching the piece of bread the dog trainer held in his hand. Several others wrestle with each other under a bright blue tarp nearby. They may have English names, but if they pass their training, they will become part of a small group of guide dogs that understand Hebrew commands and become guide dogs for blind people in Israel. Roughly half of the dogs will go on to pass exams in upcoming months. And the work they do is crucial. “You really encounter people who are at the bottom of their lives here. They can’t get out of bed,” Melamed says of the center’s work. “We’re part of the rehab.” The Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, located near Moshav Beit Oved in central Israel, is the country’s only accredited guide dog training school. The center trains the dogs for service, including for challenges particular to Israel, but struggles with a lack of awareness for the need in the country and a shortage of funding for the expensive facilities and training. Founder Noach Braun established the center in 1991. Prior to the school’s establishment, Israel did not have a guide dog

center, and blind Israelis needed to pass an English exam, then travel to the U.S. to partner with a dog. The dogs learned their commands in English, and there were no facilities to support them in Israel. Braun, who did not have a background working with blind people but worked with dogs during his military service in the paratroopers, wanted to continue working

Instructors examine them by introducing them to stimuli, such as sounds, smells and other animals, and gauge their reaction by watching their body language.


with animals after his release from the army. When he learned that Israel lacked a guide dog center, he moved to the U.S. at the age of 26 to learn to train the dogs. After several years, he returned to Israel to open the center. Today, about 250 of Israel’s 27,000 registered blind people have a guide dog, or around 1 percent. In most countries, the rate is about 1 to 4 percent, Braun says. The center aims to double the number of active guide dogs in Israel in the next few years.

The center breeds their own Labradors, Golden Retrievers and mixes of the two breeds. Volunteers, mostly university students, adopt the puppies after a few months and foster them for about a year to socialize them and teach them basic obedience. The dogs are given English names, so they will be Av • Elul 5777 | 49

less likely to mistakenly hear their name on the street. Cats, ubiquitous in Israeli cities, roam around the facility and are cared for by staff to get the dogs used to their presence. The dogs return to the center when they are about 16-months-old to go through a four-month training course to become guide dogs. Roughly half of the dogs successfully complete the course. Instructors examine them by introducing them to stimuli, such as sounds, smells and other animals, and gauge their reaction by watching their body language. If a dog is easily distracted, fearful or aggressive, they will be donated to special needs programs, mostly as companion dogs for autistic children, says Melamed, who learned to train dogs in Australia, in order to work at the center. Last year, the center donated about 40 dogs to special needs programs. Blind people who are interested in partnering with a dog come to the center for three weeks to also go through training. It takes about six months for a pair to become a fully functioning team. The time and energy invested is worth it, says Herzl Cohen, who received Todd, his Labrador-Retriever mix, from the center several years ago. Cohen lost his vision completely about 14 years ago, he says. “If you are blind you are afraid to move your hand because if you move your hand, maybe you will knock over a bottle. You’re afraid to move your leg because maybe you’ll hit something. Slowly, slowly, the blindness paralyzes you,” says Cohen, who is a novelist, musician and retired lawyer. Now, he travels easily around his Ramat Gan neighborhood, and other areas of Israel, with the help of Todd, he says. “I get up, put on sandals, wash my face, and come to the door, and Todd comes to 50 l August 2017

About 10 percent of taxi drivers illegally refuse him service, though, usually because they do not want hair left in their vehicle. the door also. I put on his harness, and I don’t think about it at all. My awareness is not like a person who needs to organize and everything because he’s blind,” Cohen says. The dogs are expensive to raise and train, though, with each costing over $25,000, says Braun. The center is also building two kennels to raise and train more dogs and shorten waiting times. About 5 percent of its budget comes from the government. Much of the labor is done by volunteers, and about 20 percent of the funding comes from Israeli donors, with the rest coming mostly from the United States. Besides the challenges of raising the dogs, active guide dogs in Israel face particular difficulties in Israel’s hot climate and crowded streets. Sidewalks are narrow and people park their cars and motorcycles on them, and dogs’ feet need to be protected from the hot asphalt during the summer. “If you compare the Israeli guide dog to the American one, the Israeli one has so much more work,” Melamed says. Many Israelis are also unaware of the role

of guide dogs and needs of blind people, Melamed says. People often approach the dogs and pet them, which can be distracting. “Maybe it will take more of my energy, and maybe he will more easily turn to someone nice on the street who is excited to see him, but I’m ready to deal with that,” Cohen says. Overall, people are understanding and warm towards Todd, Cohen says, and strangers constantly offer him help on the street. About 10 percent of taxi drivers illegally refuse him service, though, usually because they do not want hair left in their vehicle. He also recognizes that large dogs can be alarming to some people. There is also a lack of understanding in the blind community, Cohen says. Many blind people feel they don’t have room in their life to take care of a dog, or feel that they lack the patience to raise one or just do not like animals, Cohen says, but he believes after a trial with a trained dog, most would be convinced. He received his previous dog about two years after losing his sight completely. After a trip to the center at Beit Oved, he quickly understood that partnering with a guide dog was about much more than navigating obstacles on the sidewalk. “This period of time, these two years where I didn’t have a solution to walk, were very hard. What the dog does for you, he returns to you the experience of movement, in an autonomous way,” Cohen says. “He allows you even to imagine again that the car that travels on the side of the road, you can image it moving, even though you don’t see it. You can return yourself to the experience of movement.” A This article was originally published in Times of Israel. It is reprinted with permission.

The Jewish Collaborative of San Diego (JCO) is pleased to announce the grand opening of our new facility in Carlsbad this September. JCO is a home for all Jews to discover, learn and practice Judaism in worship and everyday life. We encourage our members to set their own course within the Jewish community and its traditions. After recently celebrating 3 years of building community based on collaboration and volunteerism, we are excited to begin expanding our ability to better serve the Jewish Community of North County San Diego.

JCO is a home for all Jews to discover, learn and practice Judaism in worship and everyday life. We believe and encourage our members to set their own course within the Jewish community and foster the practice of both culture and biblical traditions of Judaism. The new facility allows us to continue our focus on creating and improving upon our innovative approach to Judaic education for kids, teens and adults. At JCo, our philosophy for Jewish education is that every child and their family is on their own unique journey through Judaism. We believe that every individual connects to our tradition in different ways. That is why our programs are flexible, creative, and individualized. We offer a Hebrew Lab for all ages, open six hours a week. There are no requirements as to how much or how little each participant shows up. The goal is learning. In our Hebrew lab, participants learn to read Hebrew and then delve into a variety of prayers, learning to chant them and connecting with their meanings on their level. Our LOMED program offers education on our tradition, history, rituals and beyond and is geared towards grades K-5. LOMED is offered twice a week with the same "stand alone" lesson being taught twice. Participants can choose which class they attend each

week. In addition, other classes will be offered this year such as Modern Hebrew, Yoga and meditation, and more. These classes are offered throughout the week and participants can sign up on a semester basis (Sept.Dec., Jan.-May). Our top priorities for all of our classes are Connection, Community, and a Love for Judaism. For more information, please contact Rabbi Gabi at

Av • Elul 5777 | 51


Jerusalem and its Latest Watershed Moment The Jerusalem Biennale brings international contemporary artists together for the third time this year and a San Diego delegation will be there to experience it all. BY NATALIE JACOBS


erusalem is situated on a watershed, or geographical drainage divide. Water that falls in West Jerusalem drains into the Mediterranean Sea. Rains in East Jerusalem make their way down the Jordan Valley and into the Dead Sea. Taken metaphorically, the concept of a watershed, and of Jerusalem, invites examination of the points in which people are split into different streams. “Let’s say we all come from the same soul,” says Rami Ozeri, “but from many points we split – to men and women, Israelis and non-Israelis, old and young, Jewish and non-Jewish, Sephardi and Ashkenazi, Conservative, Reform and Orthodox.” The points of departure go on and on. Ozeri is interested in both of these definitions of watershed plus one more – “a watershed moment” as a turn of phrase. “This works both in Hebrew and English beautifully,” he explains. “In Hebrew when you say kav parashat hamayim about something it means a point in history that things have changed.” Same with English – “a watershed moment” is the point at which an important change has occurred, a diversion from the previously charted course. About 14 months ago, Rami Ozeri and his team at the Jerusalem Biennale put out their bi-annual international call for artists to submit proposals for temporary art installations that grapple with the concept of watershed, through any of its three definitions. “As we expected,” Ozeri says via Skype in early July, “we got a few 52 l August 2017

proposals that are dealing with the actual geographical meaning of [watershed] and take it very strongly to the water component.” He says what they didn’t expect was the number of proposals they’d receive for art that explores identity and the “watershed moments” that define who people become. Specifically, many of this year’s proposals related to what the committee termed “people on the move.” Because of this, for the third Jerusalem Biennale, which will showcase contemporary Jewish art at five venues across Jerusalem this fall, Ozeri and his team have put together one section that explores a moment when the act of moving – whether as a refugee, an immigrant, by choice or by force – and how it came to be a watershed moment that shaped life and identity. Venice was home to the world’s first biennale (“biennial” in English incarnations) in 1903 and has established itself as a premiere venue for contemporary art exhibitions. Other cities like Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Berlin, the Whitney Museum in New York City, have since taken up the tradition. “Every city that sees itself as a cultural center holds a biennale,” Ozeri says. It took a few years for Jerusalem’s to get off the ground once Ozeri arrived back in town from the 2010 Berlin Biennale with the idea. The organizer has a background in philosophy and a master’s in economics. He went to art school in his 30s and started melding his love

All photos are of work that is to be shown in this year's Jerusalem Biennale, shared courtesy the organizers. LEFT PAGE: Scultpure by Mira Maylor. RIGHT PAGE, LEFT SIDE: Sculpture by Andi Arnovitz. RIGHT PAGE, RIGHT SIDE: "Drawing Room" by Lili Almog.

of Plato, Nietzsche and Maimonides with his art practice. It was there that he confronted the difficulties of incorporating Jewish themes into his work. “Basically the message that I got was contemporary art and Judaism cannot go together,” he explains of his time at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. “Whatever your tradition is, just leave it aside and let’s talk about contemporary art which is supposed to be secular, western, not related to any specific identity. And not related, for sure, with any religious identity.”

she was finally pitched the concept by Rami Ozeri in early 2013, the opportunity to “merge contemporary art with Jewish art and to showcase the two coexisting in full, vivid, living color,” she writes in an email. “What better place than Jerusalem to explore Jewish identity of all kinds and to celebrate the strength, diversity and even challenges of our people?” San Diego’s Leichtag Foundation, which has a significant presence in Jerusalem, was the first organization to fund Ozeri’s biennale that year and continues to be a supporter. This year, Leichtag is bringing a delegation of San Diego contemporary art appreciators to experience the biennale for themselves, through their Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative. “Many people talk of Jerusalem as a place of tension,” writes Susan Lapidus, director of the San Diego-Israel Initiative, also in an email. “We see it as a place of so much opportunity, a place of excitement and dialogue. Art is the perfect medium to bring it all together.” She says the San Diego delegation will be introduced to “such diverse groups of extremely different people.” Some notable San Diegans who have already committed to the October trip are modern architect Jonathan Segal; Emily Einhorn, whose resume includes former Board Chair positions with Jewish Community Foundation and Leichtag; Professor Allan Havis of the UC San Diego theatre and dance division of arts and humanities; Joyce Axelrod, founder of the Jewish Film Festival; artist Debbie Carnick; and Museum of Contemporary Art Board members Suzan and Gad Shannon. “The art and depth of expression [on display at the Jerusalem Biennale] is unique,” says Leichtag’s Seidle, “and settings like the Tower of David Museum (among others) combine the ancient and modern in ways that are simply transformative. I’ve been to both Biennales and am really excited to share the experience with fellow San Diegans.” Seidle notes she’s most looking forward to “Popthodox,” an Ultra

“Basically the message that I got was contemporary art and Judaism cannot go together.” He explains an art museum in Jerusalem: “You can choose the Jewish department of Jewish art and life. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing treasures of the Jewish people. But it’s always about Judaica – menorahs and scrolls and objects that were used to practice a religious ceremony and it’s always from many years ago, many centuries ago. ... [Or] you can go to another department in the museum [for] contemporary art and then again you see amazing, beautiful stuff. Very updated, cutting-edge contemporary art work but in this part it’s very rare that you’ll find any relation or reference to Jewish life, to the question what does it mean to be Jewish today?” Ozeri says he grew to feel very strongly that there should be a third option in Israeli museums and Jerusalem culture, a place where art can be both contemporary and Jewish. He says he couldn’t shake the feeling that it’s important for art to stylistically cutting-edge and offer insight into what is happening today with Jewish values, Jewish phenomena and Jewish experiences. In the idea, Charlene Seidle of the Leichtag Foundation saw, when

Av • Elul 5777 | 53

“Whatever your tradition is, just leave it aside and let’s talk about contemporary art which is supposed to be secular, western.” Orthodox pop-art exhibit for the rare glimpses it will provide into “the daily struggle of balancing strong commitment to (and love of) thousands-year-old rituals with the realities of modern life.” Not all artists in the Jerusalem Biennale are Jewish. Ozeri says it’s not a question that people are ever asked to answer. He only knows if an artist is Jewish if they say so in their project proposal. One piece in this year’s show in particular he recalls during our talk – an exhibition coming from India. “The connection is they wanted to do something that compares the establishing of the independent India and the establishing of the independent Israel in ’48, which is a watershed moment for both nationalities,” he explains. Ozeri says the Jewish discourse is very vibrant and getting “more awake” all the time. “But if you think about it,” he continues, “the discourse is taking place in the academia, the media, politics. One thing that the Biennale is doing is to invite artists to take part in this discourse and help shape the present and future of the Jewish people.” This year, as in 2015, there will be about 200 participating artists for approximately 20 exhibitions spread across the five different venues. Ozeri and his committee select proposals partially based on how much they’ll cost to produce. Artists are not paid to show in the Biennale, but the organization, which until only this year was operating remotely in cafes and Ozeri’s apartment, is able to cover some of the costs associated with producing and transporting the art. “Of course we couldn’t afford all the exhibitions that we wanted,” he explains. “In some cases we had to give up some that we really loved but were just too expensive for us.” While the Jerusalem Biennale is the focal point of the San Diego-Israel Initiative trip, organizers are taking the chance to explore additional, exclusive and less-trodden paths like a private tour of Jerusalem’s light rail system, a trip to East Jerusalem and Ramallah and into the artist Banksy’s “The Walled Off Hotel” in Bethlehem. At press time, some spaces were still available. Visit or contact Mitchell Price, for more information. A

54 l August 2017

BELOW: Fragments from Lili Almog's photo installation.

Av • Elul 5777 | 55


A Little-Known History Comes to Life on Stage in Israel The saga of the Nili spy ring becomes an operatic musical




Michael Sacofsky, Aviella Trapido and Rafael Apfel from in Encore Educational Theatre Company’s recreation of the NILI story in Intrepid at the Hirsch Theatre, June 7-8


or three nights in Israel this spring, a gripping chapter of history played out on stage at the Hirsch Theatre in Beit Shmuel. Slides projected on the back wall of the stage replaced actual scenery. The story began in the Sinai desert after the Six-Day War of 1967 with Arabs telling soldiers there is a palm tree marking the area they called “the Jew’s grave.” Dates from Avshalom Feinbeg’s pocket had produced the tree, and his bones were found underneath. In the Encore Theatre production of “Intrepid: The Saga of the Nili Spy Ring,” the story of Aaron Aaronsohn and the Israeli spy group NILI (acronym for Netzach Yisrael Lo Yishaker – “The Eternal One of Israel will not be false”), this is where the story flashes back to 1915, long before Avshalom is buried under a tree. Avshalom is informed by his friend Aaronsohn of his plan to set up a

56 l August 2017

Jewish spy ring to assist the British in conquering Palestine from the Ottoman Turks. From there, the story unfolds chronologically, following Sarah, Aaronsohn’s sister, as she becomes involved while the spy headquarters at the Agricultural Experimental Station in Atlit grows and the group awaits British ships carrying supplies. Later, they begin to use carrier pigeons to send messages. It works for a very short time, until one messenger lands near a Turkish officer, exposing the spy ring. Spy members are revealed, two are hanged; Avshalom is killed while trying to reach Egypt via the Sinai, to deliver information to the British; Sarah is arrested but will not give the Turks any information; before being sent to Damascus prison, she is allowed to go home to change clothes. While there, she chooses to commit suicide rather than be taken to prison. Aar-

house. I was very much taken with the story of Sarah Aaronsohn and especially that of Avshalom Feinberg buried in the desert ... “We met with a patron of ours, the late Sam Sylvester, who told us that he too was intrigued by the story and had one time written a film script that he was unable to sell. But we both had the same idea of starting the story with the discovery of the palm tree in the desert. That led us to do some more research and writing on the project, and after Sam passed away a couple of years ago, we spoke to his family about creating a living memorial to him by writing this story as a serious musical.” The Sylvester family commissioned “Intrepid” in Sam’s honor. While it only played for a short run in Jerusalem, a country-wide tour of the production would help those who don’t know this significant history to become acquainted with it in a vibrant and thrilling way. A Actor Rafael Apfel played Avshalom Feinberg, with Hanan Leberman as Yosef Lishansky.

onsohn survives but dies in a plane crash in 1919. The operatic presentation of Encore’s production is dramatic and meaningful and the lyrics and songs are respectful to the seriousness of the plot. A goal of all Encore productions is to present original musical works based on Jewish and Israeli themes. Since this was the centenary of the NILI spy ring, the group decided to present this saga which is so significant in early Zionist history. I have been familiar with the Aaronsohn story for many years, as part of my own knowledge of Israel and its history. Sarah Aaronsohn is such a special heroine, when last chol hamoed Pesach, we took a trip up north and stopped in Zichron Yaacov. On previous trips we had been unable to go through the Aaronsohn homes. This time, we took the tour. Upon returning, I read the book about the Aaronsohn family and the spy ring, Nili, and created a lecture to present at the senior citizen residences where I teach. It was there that I saw the notices for the English-language theatre company, Encore, and their presentation of “Intrepid.” Robert Binder wrote and directed this production; Paul Salter composed the music. Binder has been involved in the creation of educational media for Israel television, the JNF, and other places. As artistic director of Bimadaf (“Page on the Stage”), he produced and toured in puppet-and-people performances of Jewish tales throughout Israel and in North America and Great Britain. He is a founder of Encore Educational Theatre Company, for whom he wrote and directed countless plays with an educational focus. Musical Director Paul Salter is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, where he won several prizes and scholarships in piano accompaniment. Salter has performed widely, with concerts in Manchester, London, Antwerp, and Strasbourg. For several years, Paul was musical director of Manchester's Jewish Theatre Group, for whom he conducted eleven shows. Speaking with the Times of Israel, Binder explains why they created the play: “A number of years ago, I made several visits to Zichron Yaakov for a project I was doing at the time, and I visited the Aaronsohn

Aviella Trapido played Sarah Aaronsohn.

Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, lecturer, book reviewer, author and food writer. She is the creator of Shuk Walks in the Jewish produce market, Machaneh Yehudah, and leads weekly walks. She syndicates features to North American Jewish newspapers. She lives in Jerusalem.

Av • Elul 5777 | 57

FOOD Tori Avey is an award-winning food writer, recipe developer, and the creator of the popular cooking website She writes about food history for PBS Food and Follow Tori on Facebook by searching for “Tori Avey” and on Twitter: @toriavey.

in the kitchen WITH


Panko Corn and Pepper Schnitzel

58 l August 2017

This recipe makes 8 corn schnitzels. They are about the size of thick silver dollar pancakes or large latkes. If we are eating this as an entree, we usually serve 2 per person alongside lots of relish and some side salads. Bigger appetites may want 3 or even 4 per serving, so feel free to double the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd. I prefer to serve them as an appetizer. They are wonderful topped with a dollop or sour cream or Greek yogurt and a scoop of fresh heirloom tomato relish. This is a terrific vegetarian alternative to traditional meat schnitzel, with so much flavor that nobody will feel deprived. Enjoy!



uring the summer months, two ingredients jump to the top of my “must cook with” list – corn and tomatoes. When I was a little girl, my Grandpa Avey had a vegetable garden where he grew rows of corn and big, beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes. During the summer I would help him harvest, pulling the tomatoes from the vine and smelling the wonderful aroma from the stem that lingered on my fingers. We would pull the ears of corn from the stocks, then I would help my grandma shuck them in the kitchen, peeling the whisper-soft silks from the cob. Corn and tomatoes became forever associated with summer, sunshine, gardening and family. Now, it is almost obligatory that I cook with corn and tomatoes during the summer. A few years ago I combined three of my favorite foods – schnitzel, corn and heirloom tomatoes – into one delicious dish, Panko Corn and Pepper Schnitzel. I spiced up a corn batter and added a roasted pepper for sweetness and depth. Grilling the corn and pepper added even more summery flavor to the mix. The result was divine – crispy, sweet, salty, delicious! Because of concerns over pesticides and GMOs, I try to find organic corn whenever possible. It can be somewhat tough to track down; I tend to have more luck at our local farmer’s markets than at the grocery store. Heirloom tomatoes can also be difficult to locate depending on where you live. If you don’t have heirlooms on hand for the relish, vine-ripened red tomatoes will work great too. Just make sure they are ripe and sweet. This recipe is very easy to whip up, and can easily be adjusted based on your time frame. I prefer grilling the corn and pepper prior to making the schnitzel; it adds an extra step but also kicks up the flavor substantially. If you’re in a hurry, no worries, just skip the grilling and use a pre-roasted, peeled pepper (you can substitute a small roasted bell pepper from a jar in a pinch). To save even more time, make the corn batter, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to overnight. The refrigeration makes the batter easier to handle, and will save on your prep time right before dinner.


INGREDIENTS: 2 ears corn, shucked or 1 ¼ cups corn, canned or frozen (you will need 1 ¼ cups corn total) 1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled and diced (about 1/3 cup) ½ cup flour 1 ¾ cup panko style breadcrumbs, divided 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt 1 tsp smoked paprika ½ tsp cumin ½ tsp sugar ¼ tsp cayenne 2 eggs, beaten 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 scallion, chopped

DIRECTIONS TO MAKE TOMATO RELISH A few minutes before cooking the schnitzel, place all tomato relish ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set aside at room temperature to allow flavors time to marinate. Serve with schnitzel. Use a slotted spoon for serving so that the juices from the tomatoes don't make the schnitzel soggy.

TO MAKE CORN SCHNITZEL If you’d like to grill the vegetables (I love doing this as it adds a lot of flavor), shuck and clean the corn cob of its silks. Brush corn and pepper with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill both corn and pepper for 10 minutes on high heat, turning every 2-3 minutes, till corn is tender and blackened in places and pepper is softened, blackened and collapsing. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Remove corn from cob. I prefer to use a bundt pan, placing one end of the cob in the center and slicing the kernels off with a sharp knife so that they fall neatly into the pan. Measure out 1 ¼ cups corn and reserve. Save any additional corn to add to a salad, or you can add it to the tomato relish if you prefer. If you’re not grilling the corn, steam it till tender, then allow to cool to room temperature before removing the kernels from the cob. If using frozen corn, run under warm water till it is thawed, then drain and pat dry. If using canned corn, drain and pat dry. If you’re not

Extra virgin olive oil for frying (¼ inch in medium skillet) Sour cream or Greek yogurt for topping (optional- use non-dairy sour cream for pareve) HEIRLOOM TOMATO RELISH INGREDIENTS: 2 cups heirloom tomatoes, diced (or sub red vine-ripened tomatoes) 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 ½ tsp honey or agave ½ tsp salt ½ tsp pepper You will also need: medium skillet, mixing bowls, grill (optional) Total Time: 25 min Servings: 8 silver dollar-sized schnitzels Kosher Key: Pareve or Dairy depending on garnish

grilling the pepper, then roast it, peel, and let cool, or use a pre-roasted peeled pepper. Dice the peeled cooked pepper into small pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs, salt, smoked paprika, cumin, sugar and cayenne. In a separate mixing bowl, combine beaten eggs, lemon juice and scallions. Combine the egg mixture with the dry ingredients. Mix well. Mix corn kernels and diced peppers into batter. At this point, you can cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to overnight (which will make it easier to handle and make into breaded patties), or you can proceed immediately with the recipe. To bread the schnitzel, fill the bottom of a shallow baking dish with 1 cup panko breadcrumbs. Drop ¼ cupfuls of batter into breadcrumbs using an ice cream scoop or measuring cup (I like using an ice cream scoop). Gently flatten the batter into a patty, shaping it as you go, and coat the opposite side with crumbs. The patties will be delicate and somewhat prone to crumbling, but they will hold together much better after being fried in hot oil. Remove from panko with a spatula. Heat ¼ inch of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat till hot enough for frying. Add breaded schnitzels gently to the hot oil. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Serve schnitzel warm topped with heirloom tomato relish and optional sour cream or Greek yogurt. A Av • Elul 5777 | 59



60 l August 2017




Kavod Charter School is flourishing as it continues to make an impact in the San Diego community. Kavod offers a phenomenal educational program that has absolutely no tuition cost. With an academically-rigorous and robust curriculum, enriched with Hebrew, Spanish and Physical Education, and a diverse, close-knit community, it is clear why parents are choosing to send their children to Kavod: “We love Kavod so much we commute nearly 20-miles each way for our child to be able to attend. We appreciate the high levels of staff interaction with the students and that the character values we strive to teach at home are reinforced with creativity at school. I value the community feel of the school. Our son loves the energetic teachers, the service learning projects, and, of course, learning (and teaching me) Hebrew! We are proud members of the Kavod community!” –The Robinson’s “We love Kavod Elementary for the personal attention given to each student and for the high quality of the faculty. Most of all, we appreciate it for broadening our children’s perception and outlook of the world, through the multi-cultural environment and education that it offers.” – The Gurwitz’s “When we moved to San Diego and enrolled our child at Kavod, we were instantly welcomed to an extended family and new network of friends. Kavod is not just a school, it’s our second family!” -The Dajman’s Limited spaces remain for the 2017-2018 school year, contact Kavod today for more information at or by calling 858.386.0887.







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Danny Burstein Steps into

TEVYE’S SHOES AGAIN Tony-nominated performer will join the San Diego Symphony on the Bayside Summer Nights stage this month BY PAT LAUNER


f you’re going to feature songs from “Fiddler on the Roof,” why not go for the gold and get the guy who wowed Broadway audiences last year in his Tony-nominated performance as Tevye? For a very quick run this Bayside Summer Nights series, that’s exactly what the Symphony did. They brought in Danny Burstein. (He also won the Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award for his acclaimed performance in the latest Broadway re-boot of “Fiddler.”) Burstein is an enormous talent who’s made his mark as a singer, comic and dramatic actor in 16 Broadway shows (garnering six Tony Award noms), multiple films and tv performances, lending his voice to a number of video games, and even making his opera debut (in a non-singing role in “Die Fledermaus”) at the Metropolitan Opera. But at heart, he admits, he’s “a Broadway baby. “It’s home for me,” he says from New York, where he’s playing the hilarious role of Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Public Theatre. He’ll finish that run on August 13, just in time to jet out West to star in the San Diego Symphony’s Salute to Broadway, “To Life: Bock and Harnick on Broadway,” featuring songs from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’” (August 18-19). Surprisingly, given all the extroverted, comical characters he’s played, he was, he says, “pretty quiet” as a child. He grew up in New York City. His parents were separated when he was two months old. He was raised by his mother, a Costa Rican painter (Catholic, of Spanish descent), and his stepfather, Henry Burstein (Jewish), a professor of Greek philosophy. He had no formal religious training, but he identifies

with his Jewishness. His mother’s family, it turns out, “two generations back, were Sephardic Jews, so it’s definitely in my blood.” He certainly exudes a Jewish demeanor, and he’s unequivocally a mensch: warm, gracious, charming and humble. [Fun trivia fact: Danny and I have a personal connection, of sorts. My maiden name is Burstein, but alas, we have no shared relatives.] “I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid,” Danny confesses, “but my father would give me plays to read. I immediately understood the philosophy and the ideas. From the time I was 10 years old, I loved plays. I loved the dialogue and the family dynamics. That was more exciting to me than anything else. “When I was 13,” he continues, “I was doing a play in junior high school, and my English teacher suggested that I go to the High School of Performing Arts, whose alumni were superstars like Ben Vereen and Liza Minelli. The year I auditioned, there were more than 4,000 students trying to get in. I was one of only 127 who made the cut. That

school experience changed my life.” Enrolling at age 14, he spent “four amazing years” there, and by 19, he had his Equity card. “I always had a quick sense of humor,” he says, “but I was very shy. I didn’t blossom till the last six months of high school. It’s funny, because, when I go to reunions, people say, ‘I barely remember you.’ I really enjoyed just being a fly on the wall, learning as much as I could. I definitely wasn’t one of the loud, clique-y, extroverted kids. You know, quiet fire, still waters. I was always the only kid in the room I’d never heard of. But I knew this theater thing was for me.” When he attended Queens College in New York, he met his mentor, Edward M. Greenberg, who taught musical theater, and was also the executive producer of the MUNY in St. Louis, the largest outdoor musical theater in the country. “He recognized my talents in freshman year, and invited me to the MUNY, which was an incredibly heady experience.” Danny spent several summers at the MUNY, and appeared in shows with, among many other big names of the time, John Cullum and Jim Dale. “The coolest part is that now Jim and John are friends and colleagues. It’s a beautiful thing. I get to work with my heroes. And they’re an inspiration, still trying to make art that matters.” When it came time for graduate school, Danny chose UC San Diego, “because it was one of the top-rated schools in the country. It was a fantastic experience.” Ironically, though he didn’t get accepted into the grad programs at NYU Danny Burstein or Yale, both schools have since invited Av • Elul 5777 | 61


him to come back and teach. He’s also taught master classes at UCSD. “I love San Diego,” he says. “Part of my heart will always be there. It’s a wonderful artistic home. I’m still in touch with people I knew there. Todd Salovey was in my year. I love Todd. I just spoke to him a few months ago.” Todd remembers Danny as “extremely funny and talented.” Another reason San Diego is near and dear to him is this is where he met his wife: the beautiful, golden-voiced Rebecca Luker. They first performed together in “Time and Again” at The Old Globe (1996) and started dating when they both appeared in the Barry Manilow musical, “Harmony,” at the La Jolla Playhouse (1997). They have two sons: one produces short films and the other is a musician. Danny’s father, now 80, is still teaching. His mother, 75, is still painting and teaching. “We’re relentless,” he quips. Between them, Danny and Rebecca have nine Tony nominations (no wins yet). After his six noms, Danny is neither frustrated nor resentful. “Just to be invited to the party is an incredible honor. Winning doesn’t change anything. Whether I have the hardware at the end of the night is not what’s important. I just keep working and trying to get better.” He especially loves the variety of roles he’s gotten to play. “I’m an actor, and a character actor. A musical actor and a dramatic actor. I just don’t want to be pigeon-holed.” He’s probably best known as a musical theater whiz. All his Tony nominations have been for musicals: “The Drowsy Chaperone” 62 l August 2017

(2006), “South Pacific” (2008), “Follies” (2012), “Golden Boy” (2013), “Cabaret” (2014) and of course, “Fiddler on the Roof ” (2016). Which brings us back to San Diego. He’s looking forward to stepping into Tevye’s dusty boots again. “‘Fiddler’ is one of the great shows and scores. A musical theater masterpiece that spans cultures and generations. And it’s really funny. Playing Tevye was one of the highlights of my career.” When it first opened in 1964, “Fiddler on the Roof” was the first musical in Broadway history to surpass 3,000 performances. It won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned five Broadway revivals and a successful film adaptation (1971). The story (libretto by Joseph Stein) is based on “Tevye and his Daughters” (or “Tevye the Dairyman”), a series of Yiddish tales by Sholem Aleichem, written between 1894 and 1914, about life in a Russian shtetl at the turn of the 20th century. The title was inspired by various paintings by Marc Chagall. For the Symphony Summer Nights program, which pays tribute to the brilliant writers of “Fiddler,” composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick, Danny will sing excerpts from the show, with a narrative accompaniment that will give an intimate look at how the story was enhanced by the music. He’ll be joined by Broadway musical veteran Leah Horowitz and Tony-nominated actor/singer/dancer/comedian Susan Egan (the original Belle in Broadways’ “Beauty and the Beast”). Handling the chorus will be local and glorious Sacra/Profana.

The evening’s events are produced, directed and conducted by Rob Fisher, a close friend of Sheldon Harnick who, at age 93, is still actively writing. Harnick was in San Diego three years ago to oversee a staged reading of his newly revised musical, “Rothschild & Sons,” which debuted on Broadway in 1970 as “The Rothschilds.” The special Symphony Summer Nights program was put together with Sheldon Harnick’s blessing. He’s reportedly thrilled about having an entire night dedicated to his work with Jerry Bock, who died in 2010. It’s the first such tribute to the writing team, which was arguably the most important musical partnership of the 1960s. Their collaborations include “Fiorello!” (1959), “Tenderloin” (1960), “She Loves Me” (1963) and “The Apple Tree” (1966). “When Rob first called to invite me,” Danny says, “I leaped at the offer. I’d do absolutely anything for Rob. We’ve worked together many times. He’s one of the greatest conductors in the world. He has the energy of a 25 year-old kid; he’s always involved in so many different projects, and he’s so meticulous about every one.” Rob Fisher is meticulously putting together a rousing evening for San Diego, including singers from the MFA musical theater program at SDSU, a local chorus, and of course, the San Diego Symphony, to highlight the evolution of Bock and Harnick’s work, building up to a crescendo with “Fiddler,” one of the most cherished of all Broadway musicals. The second act will feature Danny Burstein, a beloved performer in his own right, whose portrayal of Tevye was hailed by The New York Times: “Mr. Burstein unleashes his rich baritone with roof-raising force when Tevye’s emotion is at its height,” wrote Charles Isherwood, “bringing home the character’s indomitable will, often hidden beneath his self-deprecating humor ... Mr. Burstein’s way with a classic Jewish joke is assured but unforced, his performance affecting but not overscaled, in keeping with the production’s emphasis on the musical’s emotional underpinnings.” That voice and emotionality return to San Diego for just two nights this month. Maybe it’ll start a “Tradition.” A “To Life: Bock & Harnick on Broadway,” featuring songs from “Fiddler on the Roof ” sung by Danny Burstein, is part of the San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights – their annual Salute to Broadway – August 18 and 19, at the Marina Park South. Tickets ($26-$98) are available at 619-235-0804;

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Av • Elul 5777 | 63


Summertime Serenity Carole Feuerman’s swimmers show at Madison Gallery BY NATALIE JACOBS


ummer is the perfect time to bask in the serene lifelike sculptures of Carole Feuerman’s swimmers. That’s what Madison Gallery in downtown La Jolla was thinking when they arranged for a twomonth showing of the hyper-realistic sculptor’s notable works. On display in the entry gallery, Feuerman’s monumental “Durga Ma,” debuted at the 2015 Venice Biennale, sets the tone of the show. That piece is flanked by silkscreen prints of the swimmers splashed with diamond dust and smaller tabletop and wall-hanging sculptures in variances of others that have shown throughout the world. Feuerman’s work has focused on swimmers for more than 30 years. She was contemplating divorce while she had three young children when she saw a woman emerging from the water. “I decided I was that woman, I was going to be very strong,” she says. Her first swimmer was a fragmented wall hanging with water streaming down the face and it sold to Malcolm Forbes along with the rest of the collection in her first solo exhibition those many years ago. After visiting Madison Gallery, I spoke with Carole Feuerman from her studio in Manhattan. She gave an overview of her work, shared thoughts on the differences between selling art here and abroad, and talked about the new body of work she has just started. 64 l August 2017

San Diego Jewish Journal: Can you talk about the significance of your sculptures’ eyes being closed? Carole Feuerman: I think it lends to the piece, it heightens the realism for me because you think that the sculpture is about to open her eyes. Plus, if you’re going to stare at a sculpture and look at it as a viewer, if the eyes are open and looking back at you, to me it’s spooky. SDJJ: How is your work received abroad? CF: My work is definitely well received, I’d say better than here. I’m extremely well known in Italy and in China. It’s been great. It’s really helped. In this country, it was very hard to get the sculptures of swimmers, the monumental ones, placed in cities. Most of the cities didn’t see a female or male swimmer as something they could visualize in public. And yet in Europe it was very simple to do that.

new body of work. My work has messages of strength and serenity, trust, balance, perseverance. So I’m doing a piece that will be a girl with, I think it’s going to have a dove on her shoulder for world peace because that’s an issue that I worry about. And I’m also going to be doing a piece on gay and lesbian themes. I’ve been interviewing models and I’m trying to conceptualize what I want to say with the sculpture. Before I begin I have to have a message that I’m interested in and then I find the models who act out the story I want to tell.

SDJJ: Are your pieces cast from models? CF: Most of them aren’t. Some are sculpted out of clay. Some, there’s various things that are cast like maybe the hands and face. Many of the pieces that I do are more than one model – most are two or three models.

SDJJ: Anything else? CF: I have a message for young artists. I have a foundation that supports artists that I feel need to be known. It’s very hard to get in a gallery especially for a young artist because they don’t have a track record of sales. So I have this foundation and if anybody wants to support the foundation they can support the boutique items I have made. It’s something new I just started. People should be encouraged to work even if they can’t be in a gallery or they get rejected. They should spend part of their time chasing their dreams and not giving up.A

SDJJ: What are you working on now? CF: Usually I do a body of work and then I work on making an enlargement or a [variation], but right now I’m doing a completely

Read more about Carole Feuerman and her work at Details on the show in La Jolla, up through mid-September, can be found at

GLICKMAN HILLEL CENTER - A new era for UC San Diego Hillel Center is nearing final approval UC San Diego Hillel is finally close to realizing its dream of building a permanent home at the gateway to La Jolla. After nearly 20 years of planning and review, the Beverly and Joseph Glickman Hillel Center is scheduled for a final vote by the San Diego City Council on October 2, 2017. The Glickman Hillel Center will serve as the base for Hillel’s educational programs, leadership development, and religious services for university students. UC San Diego Hillel has relied on rented space on campus to accommodate its programs since 1992. Once approved, the new Glickman Hillel Center will be constructed on a parcel of land owned by Hillel since 2006, located directly across the street from the La Jolla Playhouse, at the intersection of La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road. Hillel’s legal battle to gain building approvals has been a cause of deep concern to the Jewish community for many years. “Realizing this dream of a new, permanent

home for UC San Diego Hillel is a meaningful step forward for us,” said Emily Jennewein, Hillel of San Diego Board President. “We have spent years designing this new center both to meet Hillel’s needs and benefit the community, and we are confident that the Glickman Hillel Center will make everyone proud.” UC San Diego Hillel continued its forward march this year, marking a renaissance in Jewish life on campus. Hillel has consistently grown the number of students it serves year, inspiring them to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Eighty percent of undergraduate Jewish students at UC San Diego participate in Hillel programs during their time on campus. The Glickman Hillel Center will help UC San Diego Hillel continue on this forward path. Its permanent location next to campus will increase the organization’s visibility and provide a home for the students it serves to gather, meet with Hillel professionals, and

learn. “The Glickman Hillel Center is critical to helping us fulfill our mission to be a vibrant Jewish presence at the university and empower tomorrow’s leaders to realize their potential today,” said Rabbi David Singer, Executive Director of UC San Diego and Acting Executive Director of Hillel of San Diego. A year ago, at age 101, La Jolla resident and philanthropist Joseph “Chickie” Glickman donated the lead $5 million gift for the Beverly and Joseph Glickman Hillel Center. “I believe strongly in Hillel,” said Mr. Glickman. “The guidance Hillel offers our young people is crucial to inspiring them to connect with their Jewish heritage and build community at this formative time in their lives.” For more information: please visit or contact Rabbi David Singer at or (858) 550-1792.

Av • Elul 5777 | 65

? GOIN '?ON ?? WHAT'S Cygnet Theatre

Cygnet Theatre has a rare treat in store for local theater-goers of all ages. “Animal Crackers,” a show adapted from the Marx Brothers’ classic hit, is shaking things up at Cygnet’s Old Town Theatre through Aug. 13. The madcap musical comedy is a barrel of fun – with puns, physical comedy, and non-stop hilarity. In case you missed it, we previewed the performance with a feature story in our July issue. Search “Animal Crackers” on our website to read it. Following the Marx brothers, on Aug. 30 at Cygnet is “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the Moon Marigolds,” by Paul Zindel. Rob Lutfy directs this Pulitzer Prize-winning “lyrical family drama” about a wounded family coming apart in the 1960s. The show will stay TOP TO BOTTOM: Spencer Rowe, Samantha Wynn Greenstone, Josh on at the Old Town Theatre Odsess-Rubin, Bryan Banville. through Sept. 24. 

La Jolla Playhouse

The La Jolla Playhouse is ready to unwrap “Kill Local,” a decidedly black comedy about blood ties and revenge. The play will inhabit the Playhouse Aug. 1-27.

Old Globe Theatre

San Diego Repertory Theatre

San Diego Repertory Theatre will perform “Evita” Aug. 3-27 on the Lyceum Stage.  Sam Woodhouse is directing this classic by the great Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. The story revolves around the late first lady of Argentina, Eva Peron. The ensemble cast includes student actors from the San Diego School of the Creative and Performing Arts, with an accompanying art show by that magnet school’s visual art students in the theater’s freshly remodeled gallery space.

Lamb’s Players Theatre

The Lamb’s Players will unveil “The Explorer’s Club” on Aug. 11. This hilarious send-up of a Victorian men’s club under siege from every corner will remain at the Lamb’s Coronado home through Sept. 24. Nell Benjamin wrote the comedy, which will be directed by Robert Smyth. PHOTO BY AARON RUMLEY



FRONT: Sierra Jolene, Bruce Turk; BACK: Paul Turbiak, Katie MacNichol, Richard Baird, John Nutten, Kyle Coleridge-Krugh.

North Coast Repertory Theatre

North Coast Repertory Theatre is presenting the San Diego premiere of “At This Evening’s Performance,” a farce about a Bohemian theater troupe performing in an Eastern European police state. With romantic entanglements, political intrigue, and plenty of laughs, the show has all the ingredients for an entertaining evening of theater. The show is slated to close on Aug. 6. On Aug. 7 at 7:30 Artistic Director David Ellenstein will do a special fundraiser reading of “Love Letters” with Denise Young, with a champagne reception to follow. Tickets are $50 and available on the theater’s website. NCR continues its season Aug. 17 with “Tomfoolery,” a musical revue of the wickedly funny, satirical world of Tom Lehrer. You can laugh along with the four actors in this clever piece through Aug. 27.

The Old Globe’s summer season on the outdoor Festival Stage continues with Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy, “Hamlet.” The play – which has all the elements of a good psychological drama – will run Aug. 6 through Sept. 10, under the astute direction of Barry Edelstein.  The Globe’s Main Stage production of “Guys and Dolls” will continue to delight audiences through Aug. 13. This masterpiece of Americana (based on the tales of Damon Runyon and propelled by Frank Loesser’s marvelous music) is chock full of memorable songs and nimble dance numbers. The Globe’s White Theatre is tickling funny-bones with the world premiere of a farcical bauble, “Robin Hood.” Penned by the ev- San Diego Musical Theatre er-amusing Ken Ludwig, the comic swashbuckler will remain at the San Diego Musical Theatre’s Off-Broadway Series at the Horton White Theatre through Aug. 27. If you enjoyed last year’s “Basker- Grand continues with “Pump Up the Volume.” The musical (deville” (also by Ludwig), you won’t want to miss this clever comedy. scribed as a “’90s palooza”) will stay put through Sept. 11.

66 l August 2017

San Diego Junior Theatre

San Diego Junior Theatre is staging “Pippin,” a vintage musical. This show will remain at the Casa del Prado through Aug. 13.

San Diego Symphony

The San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights series continues with a full schedule in August. On Aug. 6, Bossa-nova master Sergio Mendes shows off his sexy, sophisticated artistry at the Bayside concerts. Latin Jazz Masters will bring several talented Latin Jazz musicians to the Embarcadero on Aug. 10, followed on Aug. 11 by “ET – The Extra Terrestrial.” The classic Steven Spielberg film will be accompanied by the symphony orchestra. “La La Land” will be shown on the big screen, while the symphony performs with guest jazz artists on Aug. 12. Angelique Kidjo, Africa’s premiere diva, performs on Aug. 13, followed on Aug. 14-15 by Boz Scaggs. The singer-songwriter will perform some of his biggest hits. Tony Bennett will take the stage on Aug. 15 for this rescheduled performance (it was originally slated for July 12, the Symphony did not offer reasons for the re-scheduling). The organization’s annual salute to Broadway will focus on “Fiddler on the Roof” Aug. 18-19. Of course don’t miss Pat Launer’s profile on special guest Danny Burstein on pg. 61 of this magazine. And on Aug. 20 gear up for “Bolero by the Bay” featuring Ravel’s seductive Bolero, performed by the San Diego Symphony. John Beasley presents Monk’Estra, a contemporary big band paying tribute to the music of Thilonious Monk. That one-night stand is slated for Aug. 24, followed on the 25 by Amos Lill, a singer-songwriter touring with his latest album, “Spirit.” The Commoderes, a ’70s and ’80s funk machine that’s still grooving, is coming our way on Aug. 26, followed on the 27th by Ozomatli, one of the most popular party bands in the history of Bayside Summer nights. The symphony caps off the month with its annual free Military Salute on Aug. 31.

San Diego Museum of Art

The San Diego Museum of Art is opening its vaults to show off a treasure trove of artwork usually kept under lock and key. “Visible Vaults,” a collection of 300 pieces, including works by Andy Warhol, Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec and other great artists, will be on view through Nov. 12 of next year. Also on display at the Art Museum is “Modern Japan: Prints from the Taisho Era (ensconced through Aug. 13). The Japanese exhibit encompasses pieces from 1912-26 and includes some very rare prints. The newest exhibition at the museum, titled “Brenda Biondo: Play,” will run through Jan. 10 of next year. It features 25 photographs (circa 1920-70) of children’s playgrounds. The museum is featuring “Reflections on Monet,” a small-scale exhibition that includes the famous Water Lily painting and one piece on loan from the John and Toni Bloomberg Collection. You have until Jan. 21, 2018 to see them.

Museum of Contemporary Art Downtown

MCA downtown is continuing to show off “Jennifer Steinkamp: Madame Curie” – a digital video animation inspired by   the artist’s research into atomic energy – through Aug. 27. “Dimensions of Black: A Collaboration with the San Diego African American Museum of Art” is on view downtown through next January. “Andrea Chung: You broke the ocean in half” (an immersive installation on colonialism and migration) is on tap through Aug. 20, as are some selections from the museum’s collection.

Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium is featuring a new exhibit, “Hall of Fishes,” which is unlike any other in the history of the aquarium. It also serves as a working laboratory. Birch also has an installation on light by scientist Michael Latz, and an exhibition that helps you understand Scripps’ expeditions to discover and protect the planet. “Expedition at Sea” immerses you in the experience by highlighting the sights and sounds of life and work aboard the Sally Ride research vessel. It includes a 33-foot long projected triptych and hands-on learning opportunities.

Mingei International Museum

Mingei International Museum is showcasing “Kanban: Traditional Shop Signs of Japan,” an exhibition that features a variety of forms and mediums, through Oct. 8. Joining that show is “Homage to the Horse and Other Steeds,” an exhibition of objects celebrating the nobility and power of horses from all over the world. This exhibition is slated to stay on through Nov. 12. Mingei’s newest exhibition, “Arline Fisch: One of a Kind,” a retrospective view of jewelry and other artforms designed by this San Diego resident, will be on display through Jan. 7, 2018.

Timken Museum

The Timken Museum has two new exhibitions. “Private Devotions: Italian Paintings and Sculptures from San Diego Collections” features more than a dozen masterpieces. It will be on exhibit through Aug. 20. “The Modernist Presents Bianca Luini: Meeting of the Arts,” is an installation that includes fashion images and permanent artworks. That exhibition is slated to remain through Aug. 27. Also featured is an exhibition of notable Russian Icons. Among them are 12 never before exhibited.

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news Summer Fun Richard Lederer at Men’s Club Dinner Forum

Aug. 16, 6:30 p.m. Join the Congregation Beth Israel Men’s Club Dinner Forum for an evening of laughs with language lover Richard Lederer. All are welcome. Tickets, $15 in advance and $18 at the door, are available at

Little Italy’s Ferragosto Neighborhood Party

Aug. 19, 5 p.m. Rep the Wild West in your best denim for this lively neighborhood block party at Amici Park in Little Italy featuring cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a Western-style BBQ, casino, rodeo, live entertainment and a “boot-scoot’n” live band.

Jewish Community Day at Petco Park

Aug. 20, 1:40 p.m. first pitch. Watch the Padres take on the Nationals from the Field Pavilion surrounded by your San Diego Jewish community. Discounted tickets start at $29 and include a Jewish community day Padres hat, kosher hot dog and a soda from The Place in the Park during the pre-game. Find tickets at

22nd Annual JCC Golf Classic and Rancho Valencia Spa Day

Aug. 28, 11 a.m. at the Del Mar Country Club and The Spa at Rancho Valencia. The event includes lunch, cocktail reception, awards ceremony and gourmet dinner. Tickets and package options at

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Appoints New CEO The president and CEO of JEWISHcolorado, the Jewish Federation in Denver, will take over as CEO of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) in New York this October. Winner of the 2017 Gold Stevie Nonprofit Executive of the Year award, Doug Seserman will replace Doron Krakow, who left to become president and CEO of the JCC Association of North America earlier this year. “I’m honored by the opportunity to become the professional leader of AABGU. I’m also humbled by the responsibility to sustain David Ben-Gurion’s dream to develop the Negev. In my opinion, Ben-Gurion University is one of the most vital institutions to Israel’s future,” Seserman said in a statement. He worked with JEWISHcolorado for 15 years.

Doug Seserman

San Dieguito Chapter of Brandeis National Committee Holds Opening Meeting This Month The San Dieguito Chapter of the Brandeis National Committee will hold its first event of the year, the Opening Meeting/Study Group Showcase luncheon, on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 10:30 a.m. at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club. Brandeis study groups are informal learning sessions dedicated to raising funds for Brandeis University. This year’s study groups will be described, and Shelly Moses, a teacher at the San Diego Jewish Academy who recently took special courses at Brandeis, will speak about her experiences there. The chapter offers book and movie discussions, and topics ranging from current events to music, art, and history. Favorite groups include “Deis Flicks,” which utilizes the Brandeis University-based National Center for Jewish Film, and Legal Puzzlers, developed by a Brandeis professor. Dr. David Barzalai, UC San Diego, will teach Jewish Literature through the Ages in his Israel Today class. A few courses are based on DVD lectures, while others are led by BNC members or professional educators such as musician David Lewis, professor and author Stan Schatt, and Dr. Barzalai. Most meet at Seacrest Village, Encinitas, whose residents are invited to attend. All are welcome. For more information or to reserve ($35, by Aug. 23) contact Lenore at (858) 792-6954.

JFS Launches Senior Transportation Assistance Service Jewish Family Service just launched On the Go: Navigator, a transportation service that allows seniors without a smart phone to order ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. The user can call the service and a receptionist will arrange door-to-door assistance. The receptionist also monitors the ride in real-time to ensure safety. “The Navigator program helps bridge the gap between technology and the older adults in our community who do not have the ability to access ride-sharing services themselves,” said JFS CEO Michael Hopkins in a statement. “These rides are also a more affordable alternative to taxis, and can help provide peace of mind to caregivers, ensuring that their loved ones arrive safely to their desired destination.” Services are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday for people 60 and older who are registered with JFS’s On the Go network. Rides must be arranged an hour in advance. 68 l August 2017

T.E.A.M. Hosts “Responding to Critics of Israel” Talk T.E.A.M. (Training and Education About the Middle East) will sponsor a talk, “Responding to Critics of Israel,” Sunday, Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. in the library of the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center. The featured speaker, David Bramzon, has been active in numerous Jewish organizations in San Diego. Now in his fourth year as a member of the Jewish David Bramzon Federations of North America National Young Leadership Cabinet, he has been named the 2017-18 National Vice Chair of Campaign. In this role, he will lead their philanthropic efforts.

JCF Seeks Young Director Nominations for Newly Created Board Position Jewish Community Foundation and its Board Advancement Committee recently decided to reserve a board position for someone 36 or younger who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the community. This unique board position will initially be offered as a one-year appointment. At the end of that year, the Director may assume a standard three-year Board term. JCF notes that its Board members are individuals who who represent the San Diego Jewish community’s most distinguished and experienced civic and business leaders. People interested in the new Board position can nominate themselves or someone else on the JCF website. The deadline for submission is Sept. 15. Details at And save the date for JCF’s 50th anniversary celebration brunch on Nov. 12.

Tarbuton Announces San Diego Jewish Educator Awards Three local educators have been recognized for their contributions by the newly conceived Jewish Educator Awards, developed in collaboration between the local Israeli cultural group Tarbuton/Startup 18 and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. The first awardees are Craig Parks of Carlsbad, Lillian Elbaz of Serra Mesa and Arielle Gereboff of La Jolla, who all received cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000. Eligibility was based on the number of children and institutions impacted and the impact on the target segment of the Jewish population. “Tarbuton established the Jewish Educator Awards to celebrate the exciting work being done by local Jewish educators who go above and beyond,” said Tarbuton founder Jennie Starr in a press release, “innovating and successfully appealing to many who otherwise might not engage in organized Jewish programs.”

Meetings and Events for Jewish Seniors Jewish War Veterans of San Diego, Post-185 Contact Jerome Klein at (858) 521-8694 Aug. 13, 10 a.m. North County Jewish Seniors Club at the Oceanside Senior Center Contact Josephine at (760) 295-2564 Aug. 17, 12:30 p.m. Veterans Association of North County, Post-385 Contact Marsha Schjolberg (760) 4927443 Jewish War Veterans meetings Aug. 13, 11 a.m. Lawrence Family JCC Contact Melanie Rubin (858) 362-1141 Aug. 31, 7:30 a.m. Day trip to Chagall exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) On the Go Excursions Contact Jo Kessler (858) 637-7320 Aug. 31, noon. Tall Ships Spectator Cruise around the Embarcadero. Experience the 2017 Festival of Sail kick-off with the grand spectacle of the Tall Ship Parade. The cruise will also explore 50 San Diego landmarks and offers a picnic-style lunch aboard. JFS College Avenue Center at Temple Emanu-El Contact Elissa Landsman (858) 637-3273 Aug. 29, 12:45 p.m. Teresa Heflin, a docent for the San Diego Museum of Art, will present a slide show of the current exhibition on display at the Museum. Hot kosher lunch at noon, suggested donation is $4.

Tarbuton, a Jewish nonprofit, was founded in 2006 to offer Israeli cultural and educational experiences in San Diego. Av • Elul 5777 | 69

SYNAGOGUE LIFE BENEFITS Chabad of Coronado Summer Connections Bash Aug. 6, 7 p.m. Hotel Del, Crown Room 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado 92118 Chabad of Coronado will gather to celebrate their community at the beautiful Hotel Del. Call (619) 365-4728 for more information. Temple Solel Sisterhood Annual Fundraiser to Benefit Planned Parenthood Aug. 13, 5 p.m. The Hirsch Home, Carlsbad, CA Bring your girlfriends, daughters, sisters and mothers for an evening fundraiser to benefit Planned Parenthood including heavy appetizers and beverages. Go to for more information.

EDUCATION Adult Education Class: Wake Up! Spiritual Preparation for the Holidays at Temple Emanu El Aug. 1, 15, 29; 6299 Capri Dr, San Diego, CA 92120 Rabbi Benj will lead an exploration of repentance, brokenness, and wholeness through the various markers on the Jewish calendar from Tish B’Av leading to the High Holy Days. The class is free. Call (619) 286-2555 to register. Deeper Dive into Defining Stories With Rabbi Lenore Bohm at Beth Israel Aug. 7, 10 a.m. 9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego, CA 92122 Come and learn: add your voice to the on-going conversation between Jews and our beloved texts. Call (858) 535-1111 for more information. Lunch, Panel Discussion and Special Screening of “Gender Revolution” at Adat Shalom Aug. 13, 12:30 p.m. 15905 Pomerado Road, Poway, CA 92064 Watch Katie Couric travels across the U.S. to talk with scientists, psychologists, activists, authors and families about the complex issue of gender. Go to for more information. 70 l August 2017

“In Our Midst” Judaism Class at B’nai Tikvah Saturdays, 12:30 p.m. starting Sept. 9 2510 Gateway Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92009 Learn more about Judaism. Pursue your interest in conversion. Open to the community. Class taught by an ordained rabbi at our convenient North County Coastal location. Contact Rabbi Ben Leinow at (760) 727-5333 for details.

SPECIAL EVENTS Shabbat Dinner Temple at Beth Shalom of Chula Vista Aug. 25, 6 pm 208 Madrona St, Chula Vista, CA 91910 Reserve and your dinner is free. Go to Temple Etz Rimon Annual Open House Aug. 27, 3 p.m. 2020 Chestnut Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92008 Annual Open House event and meet-up with Rabbi Karen Sherman and many synagogue members. Enjoy the food, music, festivities and fun. Go to for details. *Interested in having your event featured? Contact Submissions are due by 15th of the month for the next issue.

Technion alumna Kira Radinsky, named in Forbes’ 2015 “30 Under 30 in Enterprise Technology,” created an algorithm to predict everything from natural disasters to corporate sales.

In the early days, the Technion was dedicated to building the State of Israel. Today it is impacting the world. The achievements of Technion alumni like Kira are enhancing life for people worldwide in the areas of medical devices, water conservation, protective technologies and more. The American Technion Society has been a proud partner in these efforts. Help us ensure that the Technion continues to make a difference.

Contact: Mark Greenberg, Chapter Director, San Diego, 858.750.2135 or

Your Ride to High Holy Days Services is a Phone Call Away Free door-to-door transportation for older adults 60+ from your home to your synagogue and back! Participating Synagogues Congregation Beth Am Ohr Shalom Congregation Beth El Temple Adad Shalom Congregation Beth Israel

Temple Emanu-El Congregation Dor Hadash Tifereth Israel Ner Tamid Temple Solel

Make your reservation today! RSVP by September 14, 2017. Serving 30 zip codes. New Riders: (858) 637-3210 Current Riders: (858) 637-7320

On the Go is a program of Charitable Adult Rides and Services (CARS) and is operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

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t starts a lot like “Friends,” and there are a handful of shots on a sprawling New York City terrace reminiscent of the ones on Monica and Rachel’s fire escape that overlooked Ross’s apartment across the alley. But the title “Family” would be more appropriate for CBS’s new fall comedy “9JKL,” created by Mark Feuerstein and his wife Dana Klein, who was a writer on “Friends.” “9JKL” is based on Mark’s real life, when he moved back to New York and into the apartment his parents kept next door to theirs. In the show, the mother character, played by Linda Lavin, says they kept the apartment “because we knew you’d get divorced from that cold woman who didn’t know a good thing.” It is unclear if this was also true in Feuerstein’s real life. “I just went through a break-up and my show got cancelled,” Feuerstein’s character tells a college flame he runs into in Central Park also in the pilot episode, “two things that sound really bad but could be really good.” Thus establishes the up-beat nature of this new comedy. Things that are irritating in real life are endearing in the show, situations that would normally be depressing are looked at with positivity and encouragement. Elliott Gould, who plays Feuerstein’s father in “9JKL,” also played

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the role of quirky father to Ross and Monica in “Friends.” This time, his wife Lavin is stern and overbearing where Christina Pickles was flighty and neurotic as Judy Geller. The “9JKL” family is rounded out by a brother who lives in another of the parents’ apartments, opposite the main character Josh Roberts (a markedly less Jewish name than Feuerstein, though the character and his family are Jewish in that “cultural” kind of way on the show). In this setting, boundaries are crossed, guilt is thrown down like currency, and privacy is a four-letter word. “Don’t tell mom and dad, they’ll want to meet her and feed her and ask her about her ability to have children,” Josh pleads with his brother about the date he got with the college crush from the park. From the pilot, the show doesn’t seem to be breaking any new ground – similar story lines are playing out elsewhere on cable, like with “Life in Pieces,” though the execution is much different. But the writing on “9JKL” is solid and while the pacing is a little highstrung, there are likely to be a few good laughs per episode. “9JKL” premieres on CBS Oct. 2 and is one of eight new shows to launch on the network this fall. The show airs directly after “The Big Bang Theory” which is likely to give it a boost in views to start. A

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Margarita Strelec - San Diego, CA 05/18/1934 - 05/24/2017 Survivors: Daughters - Diana Edery, Bertica Edery, Vivian Bibiowitz & Dalia Edery, Sons - Jacob & Natan Bibliowitz, 15 Grandchildren & 22 GreatGrandchildren Robert Epstein Sr. - La Jolla, CA 01/13/1924 - 05/25/2017 Survivors: Wife - Beatrice Epstein, Daughter - Andrea Kaplan , Sons - Jon & Robert Epstein, 5 Grandchildren & 1 GreatGrandchild

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by Marnie Macauley


The Bet Stops Here As school starts, I find it my duty to warn parents about a disturbing and often hidden issue. It affects many students, including Jews, so this month’s column is devoted to: youth gambling.


e Jews have been known to play a game or two, both for fun, and, in older times, to deflect spies. Times have changed. I now have teen clients who are not only gamblers, but problem gamblers, a serious and often hidden issue. Unlike booze or drugs, you can’t see it. You can’t smell it. According to the National Institutes of Health, in the U.S. the median rate of reported past-year gambling was 65 percent. Dr. Howard Shaffer of Harvard Medical School reports that the rate of problem gambling for youths ranged between 9.9 percent and 14.2 percent, while an additional 4.4 percent to 7.4 percent were in the red zone of problem gambling. They start as early as middle school. And given their neurological impulsivity, the younger the kids start, the more likely they are to become problem gamblers – three to four times more likely than adults. “But underage gambling is illegal,” parents say. Internet gambling takes little more than “acquiring” or “borrowing” a credit card. In 2010 the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that monthly use of internet gambling sites among college-age males were 16 percent with a whopping 20 percent playing online poker at least monthly (1.7 million kids). Sports betting is especially popular among young gamblers.

easy “fix” for developing egos. Those who struggle with depression and boredom seek ways to numb pain or make them feel – something. Children whose parents gamble, or say “encourage” gambling by buying lottery tickets for their children are offering tacit approval. Even some organizations and schools don’t get it. Casino nights, even for charity, set the Wheel of Disfortune in motion.

Why Young People Gamble Millennials are inundated with “acceptable” legal gaming ops that are heavily promoted in the U.S. Between the prevalence of gambling on tv, radio, billboards, and online, and the associated excitement of the fast “win” makes for “hot ticket” reality tv. Teens are attracted to the thrill and hope of fast money, fulfilling their desire for instant gratification. Plus the fun of “beating the system” and socializing is a thrill in itself. Along with other values, teens are acquisitive. Rather than building internal values, many find $350 dollar designer sneakers an

Warning Signs Here are some red flags: • The sudden need for money. • Things of value missing from home. • Strange charges on credit cards or online activity. • Indications of consistent “borrowing.” • Withdrawal from friends, family, outside activities and interests. • Sudden interest in sports teams with excessive watching of outcomes, along with great joy or upset. • Missing school or classes with a sudden downturn in grades.

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Higher Risk Columbia University Medical Center’s research indicates that teenagers comprise half of the 16 million people in the United States with gambling addictions. The “job” of the teenager is to struggle and find their identity. This, at a time when their brain is not yet completely hard-wired for impulse control. When the “roll of the dice” factors into their self-image, it’s a dicey deal and can turn a teen swiftly from feeling like a “winner” to a “loser” – with dramatic consequences that include financial fear, stealing, chasing to win back all that is lost and depression. As losses grow, esteem declines and problems multiply. When gambling becomes a lifestyle, grades and relationships slip, as life becomes about the action – action that’s a tragic roller coaster of highs and lows.

• Secrecy, more computer time, late night calls. • Sudden wealth. • Lies or cover-up stories that don’t make sense to account for the above. Strategies The most important thing parents can do is notice. Oddly, I’ve found among parents and even peers that youth gambling is not always suspected. The signs, taken several at a time, should sound the “gambling problem” alarm. Do not, even innocently, model gambling behavior or consider it “no big deal.” TALK. Share what you know about “quick fixes,” “gambling failures,” “consequences,” and the danger of online gambling. Show them how the world has encouraged false values, and hyped “luck” and “winning” at all costs. Set limits and boundaries on computer access, and borrowing. Encourage internal growth and concern for others and the world around them. Step in early if you suspect a problem. Impart your Jewish values. According to Rabbi Eliezer Danzinger, “In the Talmud, the rabbis take a dim view about gambling. Besides being a risky enterprise financially, and addictive, the rabbis say that the winner is really a loser. Morally speaking that is. How so? Because the fellow with the inferior hand wasn’t expecting to lose. Therefore, the loser relinquishes his money reluctantly – it’s being taken from him willy-nilly, and he is getting nothing tangible in return. In simple English, it’s a bit like stealing.” Get help EARLY! States and organizations offer help and provide referrals. Ask your rabbi, physician. You can also call Gamblers Anonymous International Service (626) 9603500. If we fail to take action now during the “fun” stage, parents and children may have to deal with horrific consequences when the fun stops. A

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Production Sponsors Karen and Donald Cohn Ann Davies Pam Farr and Buford Alexander Joan and Irwin Jacobs

Qualcomm Jean and Gary Shekhter Gillian and Tony Thornley Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Fund Vicki and Carl Zeiger

HAMLET By William Shakespeare Directed by Barry Edelstein

August 6 – September 10

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NEIL SIMON’S Last of the Red Hot Lovers

APRIL 11 – MAY 6, 2018 By Sir Alan Ayckbourn Directed by Geoffrey Sherman Britain’s brilliant comic genius, Sir Alan Ayckbourn penned a fast‑paced and hilariously theatrical meal. A portrait of three very different marriages turns into a spirited game of mixed doubles involving sex, jealousy and ingenious stagecraft. Full of clever, razor‑sharp dialogue and impeccable split‑second timing and twists, HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES promises to leave you in stitches.

SEPTEMBER 6 – OCTOBER 1, 2017 Directed by Christopher Williams Nobody does Neil Simon like North Coast Rep! Barney Cashman, middle aged, overworked, and with no experience in covert maneuvers, is bored with his bland “nice” life. He is anxiously trying to join the sexual revolution before it’s too late, and his attempts at seduction will leave you howling with laughter.



The Father MAY 30 – JUNE 24, 2018

Directed by Richard Baird John Steinbeck’s classic drama novella‑turned play OF MICE AND MEN electrified audiences in 1937. The story of George and Lenny remains just as relevant and continues to be part of our country’s collective imagination — a tale of friendship that is sustained by illusory dreams. This is must‑see theatre you cannot afford to miss.

By Florian Zeller Translated by Christopher Hampton Directed by David Ellenstein A sensation, honored with numerous awards, including a Tony nomination for Best Play. André, now 80, was once a tap dancer who lives with his daughter Anne and her husband Antoine. Or was he an engineer whose daughter lives in London with her new lover? He is starting to wonder if he’s losing control. THE FATHER promises to be a profoundly moving and memorable evening in the theatre.

Around The World In Eighty Days JANUARY 10 – FEBRUARY 4, 2018 Adapted by Mark Brown From the novel by Jules Verne Directed by Allison Bibicoff Stampeding elephants! Runaway trains! Join Phileas Fogg in the original “Great Race,” circling the globe alive with danger, romance, and comic surprises. In the hilariously theatrical style of The 39 Steps, 5 actors portray 42 characters in a thrilling race against time. Grab your family, your passport and book passage now for this outrageously funny adventure.



OCTOBER 18 – NOVEMBER 12, 2017

This Random World FEBRUARY 21 – MARCH 18, 2018 By Steven Dietz Directed by David Ellenstein Through a swirl of nearly missed connections, THIS RANDOM WORLD follows a series of intersecting lives: A mother determined to maintain her independence, a daughter longing for adventure, and an internet prank gone awry. Warmly humorous and lyrically bittersweet, this play investigates what it is to love, to lose, and to be touched by the serendipity of life.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum JULY 11 ‑ AUGUST 12, 2018

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Book by Burt Shevelove & Larry Gelbart A funny thing happened on the way to North Coast Rep. They had to replace the Soul of Gershwin due to a rights issue and stumbled on a little musical comedy by Sondheim. For whatever reasons, the time seems ripe for a smart, hysterically comical revival of a hit Broadway laugh‑ a‑minute show called A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM. This timeless musical will bring sheer joy and infectious high spirits with classic songs like “Comedy Tonight,” “Lovely,” and “Everybody Ought to Have A Maid.”

Call the Box Office to order your subscription today (858) 481-1055 North Coast Repertory Theatre | Solana Beach Group Sales: (858) 481-2155, x202

Profile for San Diego Jewish Journal

San Diego Jewish Journal August 2017  

Exploring Israel from contemporary art in Jerusalem to health care in Haifa. Plus, seven reasons to send your kids to Jewish day school.

San Diego Jewish Journal August 2017  

Exploring Israel from contemporary art in Jerusalem to health care in Haifa. Plus, seven reasons to send your kids to Jewish day school.