NOVEMBER 2016 l TISHREI â€¢ CHESHVAN 5777
Why Judaism at Jewish camp?
COMING TO THE OLD GLOBE IN 2017 The Hilarious Comedy by Steve Martin
A Moving World Premiere Drama
London’s Hit Drama Brings Theatre History to Life
By Steve Martin Directed by Barry Edelstein
By Nick Gandiello Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
By Lolita Chakrabarti Directed by Stafford Arima
February 4 – March 12
February 23 – March 26
March 25 – April 30
The Riveting Off Broadway Hit
Theatre of the Imagination
Fiasco Theater Adapts a Classic Comedy
By Dominique Morisseau Directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg
By Molière Adapted by Fiasco Theater
In Association with Moxie Theatre
By PigPen Theatre Co. Co-directed by Stuart Carden and PigPen Theatre Co.
April 8 – May 7
May 13 – June 18
May 27 – June 25
(619) 23-GLOBE (234-5623) www.TheOldGlobe.org 2 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE at North Coast Rep
OCT 19 – NOV 20 “…a battery of yuks that barely lets up” — VARIETY
“…pulverizingly funny” — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Directed by Tom Markus
From the gifted pen of America’s favorite playwright, Neil Simon, comes one of his funniest plays. As you clutch your sides in laughter, you’ll see why The New York Times hailed LAUGHTER as “one of Simon’s best, most enduring and endearing plays.”
“Powerful… distinctive style” — VARIETY
DECEMBER 6 – 24 The Girl Singers bring to life popular holiday songs of the 50’s including “Winter Wonderland,” “Silver Bells” and more. Also celebrating music of Hanukkah and for the younger a “Frozen” Medley.
(858) 481-1055 | NorthCoastRep.org Group Sales: (858) 481-2155, ext. 202 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach
Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 3
underwritten by the mizel family foundation 10-12 NOVEMBER 2016
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Run For a hungeR-fRee San Diego on ThankSgiving! Thanksgiving Morning • 5K & 10K November 24, 2016 • Downtown San Diego Run through the Historic Gaslamp! Register Your Team • Bring Your Dog • Wear a Costume! Benefiting
Thousands of San Diegans who turn to the hunger relief programs of
www.SDRunForTheHungry.org 6 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
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Tishrei â€¢ Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 7
Rich Cohen chronicles his years covering the Rolling Stones and how rock 'n roll never really changes in his new book "The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones."
30 BOOK FAIR:
Local economist Todd Buchholz, who boasts an impressive resume, attempts to answer big questions in his turbulent new book "The Price of Prosperity."
A perspective on Shabbat at summer camp and why Judaism matters, from Camp Mountain Chai's Dan Baer.
Pat Launer explores Todd Salovey's modern interpretation of "The Dybbuk," the most important, and most Jewish play of his theater life.
David Ellenstein in the North Coast Rep's staging of Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" may just knock your pants off.
8 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
Chabad Hebrew Academy
50 MONTHLY COLUMNS 12 The Starting Line 22 Parenting 24 Israeli Lifestyle 26 Aging 28 Torah 66 Advice
36 BOOK FAIR:
AROUND TOWN 18 Our Town 20 The Scene 58 What's Goin' On 65 Synagogue Life
40 BOOK FAIR:
IN EVERY ISSUE 14 Mailbag 16 What’s Up Online 60 Diversions 62 News 64 Shabbat Sheet ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: 32 BOOK FAIR:
British scholar Dov Waxman explores the "Trouble" in the American Jewish tribe.
Mommy & Me
11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 11/29 & 12/6 @ 9:15 a.m.
Everyone loves a secret, especially a government one. Fred Kaplan explores the secret history of cyber war in "Dark Territory."
39 BOOK FAIR:
"Treyf" is not afraid to make you feel something terrible. RBG and other notable females offer advice on raising a new generation of lady leaders.
42 BOOK FAIR:
A thoroughly relatable tale of "Modern Girls."
Reconstructionists scout SoCal locations for second summer camp.
When Bob Dylan was Bobby Zimmerman and a look back at midwest Jewish summer in the mid-1950s.
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Infants - 8th Grade www.chasd.org • 858-566-1996 ext. 1204 Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 9
You are going to have to make some choices, but you don’t have tomake make them alone. Youare aregoing going have make some choices, You toto have to to some choices,
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www.sdjewishjournal.com November 2016 • Tishrei/Cheshvan 5777
• Life/Disability Insurance Changing jobs can be difficult but we are with you every step of the way. • Investment Strategies Retirement Plans Life/Disability Insurance Investment Strategies
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 • Ronnie Weisberg CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
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SDJJ is published monthly by San Diego Jewish Journal, LLC. Subscription rate is $24 for one year (12 issues). Send subscription requests to SDJJ, 5665 Oberlin Drive, Suite 204, San Diego, CA 92121. The San Diego Jewish Journal is a free and open forum for the expression of opinions. The opinions expressed herein are solely the opinion of the author and in no way reflect the opinions of the publishers, staff or advertisers. The San Diego Jewish Journal is not responsible for the accuracy of any and all information within advertisements. The San Diego Jewish Journal reserves the right to edit all submitted materials, including press releases, letters to the editor, articles and calendar listings for brevity and clarity. The Journal is not legally responsible for the accuracy of calendar or directory listings, nor is it responsible for possible postponements, cancellations or changes in venue. Manuscripts, letters, documents and photographs sent to the Journal become the physical property of the publication, which is not responsible for the return or loss of such material. All contents ©2016 by San Diego Jewish Journal. The San Diego Jewish Journal is a member of the American Jewish Press Association and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
10 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
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www.metroflooring.com Tishrei â€˘ Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 11
THE STARTING LINE by Natalie Jacobs
EDITOR’S LETTER email@example.com
arrived early to Linda Vista for a workshop. It was just before 6 p.m. and dusk had begun to fall on the strip mall parking lot. A multicultural group of young boys were skateboarding near where I parked. The small businesses on the other side of the lot sported big, well-lit signs written in Vietnamese. I noticed an herbalist and a pho restaurant and wondered if I should have given myself time to get a bowl of soup or some tea. Instead, I followed a large man wearing a black collared shirt, jeans and steel-toed boots into the building where the meeting was to be held. The stranger had greasy, shoulder length hair and the hunch of a man on a mission. I didn’t feel entirely comfortable walking behind him, but the short entryway didn’t allow time to slow my pace before I caught up with him just inside the door. He looked lost, so I asked if he was going where I was going. He said yes with a bit of anxiety in his voice. Then, darting his eyes around the public library, he leaned down as if to whisper in my ear. “Man am I glad I brought my gun,” he said, not quietly, with an uncomfortable laugh and a slight snarl to his lip. I noticed his face was red and pock-marked, his gray hair receding. He bore striking resemblance to Dog the Bounty Hunter. I wonder what my face looked like. I had so many questions. And I was so mad. Was this white man, towering at well over six feet with shoulders like a linebacker, really scared of the skateboarders in the parking lot or the signs written in a foreign language? Did the old cars and chipped paint truly make him fear for his safety? We were less than two miles up the road from Fashion Valley mall, where Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, Henri Bendel and tons more of the world’s most exclusive luxury brands have retail stores. Did he really have a gun? Is that allowed? I think I managed to snort. We were still standing in the doorway. I couldn’t move. “I’m from Carson, so it’s not like I’m not used to it,” he said by way of explanation, which did nothing to explain anything to me. The man went on to explain why he had permission to carry a gun,
12 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
While some people benefit from gross mischaracterizations, many more are destroyed. which solidified the fact that yes, he did have a gun. It was still unclear what he was afraid of or why he might have occasion to use the firearm though. Where is my protection from people like him? People who hide their small minds behind corpulence or uniforms, who choose weapons over wisdom, whose actions fulfill their own unfounded prophesies – those are the people who scare me. But that doesn’t give me the right to shoot them, just because I’m frightened by their worldview. In a late-September issue of Time, there’s a small blurb on a book called “When Strangers Meet.” The central thesis seems obvious enough: casual encounters with different kinds of people who don’t normally run in our daily circles make us more open, accepting and understanding of others. Even a small collection of random conversations with people who are outside our usual in-group can reduce the fear that comes from an oversaturation of negative perceptions about “the other,” whomever that may be. This idea of meeting strangers who live differently than us seems more important than ever. As the wannabe vigilante at the public library demonstrated to me, the economy of fear is booming. While some people benefit from gross mischaracterizations, many more are destroyed. In the Mailbag section of this magazine, you will find an emotional letter written by the father of the Berkeley student who was killed in the terrorist attack in Nice, France. Amidst unimaginable grief, Conrad Leslie manages to declare “we cannot be afraid.” If he can live by those words, then I can too. A
Claire Ellman, noted local philanthropist and Lion of Judah, was honored by the Jewish Federations of North America’s National Women’s Philanthropy with the prestigious Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award.
ORT America has announced Mike Amerikaner is the new director for the Southern California region, which spans from San Diego to Santa Barbara.
James Kimmey has started as San Diego Director for the Jewish National Fund, while the national organization is underway with its “One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade” campaign.
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Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 13
we’re listening let us know what’s on your mind SORROW BUT NOT FEAR
Send us your comments: firstname.lastname@example.org 5665 Oberlin Dr., Ste 204, San Diego, CA 92121
In the October, 2016 News section, the San Diego Jewish Academy’s open house was incorrectly noted as preschool only. The SDJA open house is for preschool through high school and takes place on Nov. 15 from 9:30-11 a.m. at the Carmel Valley school. The SDJJ regrets this error.
14 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
sometimes. I somehow found the strength to write this mesDear Editor: Thank you much to Sharon sage because I was touched by Rosen Leib for sending me [the article] and I agree with the beautiful article that she everything that was written. Nick was a young, idealistic wrote [“Sending Kids Abroad” man with dreams of touching Sept. 2016]. She captured so the world and creating a better eloquently how I feel about place. As was written, his dreams our son Nick and the need to and everything he stood for was remember what he stood for. martyred that day, but we canNick was just like she denot be afraid and will not allow scribed. He had a passion for these monsters to stop our chillife and really believed in a dren from dreaming of a better peaceful world. It’s a very, very world. We cannot let them win. dark time for us right now (it’s UC Berkeley has set up a only been nine weekends since foundation for Nick. I did not Nick was killed). Every day we wake up to the same nightmare, know but the meaning of the that we will never see his smile name Nicolas means “victoagain, give him a hug, or talk ry of the people,” or “people’s to him. The pain is unbearable victory.” The Victory of the
People scholarship provides Cal undergrads with financial need with study abroad tuition and spending money. They launched the website on 9/11. People who are interested can go to give.berkeley.edu/ victory for more information. Thank you again. Conrad Leslie San Diego
Dear Editor: The article “Three Generations of Holocaust History” [Oct. 2016] is beautifully crafted and succinctly worded. A friend who read it said she cried! Thank you so much for covering our story. Leo Jassy San Diego
JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE
“I can not begin to express our gratitude for what was given to my family. Your kindness will never be forgotten.” – Embrace-a-Family recipient BECOME AN EMBRACER OR DONATE ONLINE AT
Many San Diegans are struggling with their day‑to‑day expenses. The holidays bring additional hardships – like wondering if a Thanksgiving meal or holiday gifts are even possible. Together, we can help ensure that more than 500 families in our community are able to enjoy the holidays. Let’s do our best to make the season a little brighter for those in need in our community.
WWW.JFSSD.ORG/EMBRACE FOR MORE INFORMATION: Vanessa Sher, Embrace-A-Family Coordinator (858) 637-3335 • email@example.com
Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 15
whatâ€™s up on sdjewishjournal.com FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS TERRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD ELECTION YEAR
The election is early this month, and my oh my has it taken us a long time to get here. On our website, we've been keeping up with some down-ballot races where the Iran Nuclear Deal has loomed large. If you're reading this before Nov. 8, click to sdjewishjournal.com to get your last minute dose of political analysis before you go to the polls or mail in your ballots. If it's already after Nov. 8, then check back on the website for the Jewish highlights from election night, and some thoughts on where we all go from here.
JUST KIDDING, ONE MORE THING ABOUT THE ELECTIONS
Heading into Nov. 8, California experienced a huge surge in voter registration. The Secretary of State attributed this to a variety of factors, including a highly successful social media campaign coordinated across Facebook, Twitter and Google. We got in touch with a local political strategist to go over the details of the staggering number of newly registered voters - why now? Are they all likely to vote? Could this change the color of California? Read and discuss online.
16 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
GLUTEN FREE DONUTS, DON'TCHYA WANT SOME?
There's a new food truck in town and its full of gluten free and also regular donuts with accoutrements galore (including burgers, eggs and sausages). When we heard that Herb'n Donuts, the latest venture from longtime kosher caterer Edwin Blumberg, was going to be in our neck of the woods, we scurried one stop down the freeway and gave the goods a try. We sampled two flavors, and our review is up on the website now. Warning, drooling may result from reading this post.
the development team at Rafael are nearly all Technion graduates
researchers and students
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the
innovation and brainpower that drives
the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s
preserving dopamine to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.”
bringing the opportunity to walk to the paralyzed
Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to Israel’s economy and security.
treating multiple myeloma
DRIP IRRIGATION improving crop yields in drought conditions
a miniature disposable capsule to non-invasively map your colon
To find out more about programs in the community, contact: MARK GREENBERG, San Diego Chapter Director firstname.lastname@example.org
du r O lts lde 60 r +
College Avenue Center
Friday, November 4 | 9:30 − 11:30am Stay for lunch and music at noon Join us at our annual health and wellness event! Local health care service
providers, vendors, and agencies will help guide you on the path to a healthier lifestyle. Seasonal flu shots will be provided by Sharp Grossmont Senior Resource Center. College Avenue Center: 6299 Capri Drive, San Diego 92120 (Inside Temple Emanu-El) For more information (858) 637-3270 | www.jfssd.org/cac Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 17
Scripps Golf Tourney
BY NATALIE JACOBS, LINDA BENNETT AND BETSY BARANOV. PHOTOS BY BOB ROSS/SCRIPPS HEALTH
The 48th annual Scripps Clinic golf invitational and special celebration honoring local philanthropists Eileen and John “Jack” Anderson IV raised more than $1.2 million when it was held in early September. The special celebration also marked the opening of the new John R. Anderson Medical Pavilion on the campus of Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. More than 100 golfers participated in the Scripps Clinic Invitational at the Torrey Pines South Golf Course. The festive outdoor tribute drew 325 guests and was held near the John R. Anderson Medical Pavilion, which is named in honor of the Anderson’s late son.
Happy 69th anniversary to Ed and Elfriede Schloss! Happy 50th anniversary to Hersch and Ellen Kagan! Happy 50th anniversary to Yvonne and Alan Williams!
Birthdays and Bar Mitzvahs…
Happy 80th birthday to Marsha Stein Hicks! Congratulations to Joseph Graham on his Bar Mitzvah on Sept. 17 at Temple Emanu-El. He is the son of David and Barbie Graham. Also around Our Town lately, Linda Bennet traveled with American Friends of Hebrew University to Washington D.C. where she heard an historic conversation between President Dorit Beinisch and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court. These two judicial leaders discussed the role of the courts in the fight against terrorism. The discourse was moderated by Professor Yuval Shany, dean of the Hebrew University Faculty of Law.
18 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: Front row: Michael Elbaz, Laura Elbaz, Cyndi Bugbee. Back row: Louise Sherman, Terry Weinberger, William Bugbee, MD, and Ivor Davis • John Engle, Alicia Benjamin, MD, and Scott Benjamin • Gary Williams, MD, Pam Blakely, and Chris Van Gorder • Eileen and Jack Anderson.
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10/18/16 2:48 PM
BY EILEEN SONDAK, PHOTOS BY BOB ROSS AND DOUG GATES OF GATES PHOTOGRAPHY
Opus Gala The San Diego Symphony ushered in its new season with the annual Opus Gala recently. The event was a spectacular black-tie affair that began early with a reception in the lobby of the Jacobs Music Center, where guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Then, the party moved upstairs to the University Club, where a sit-down dinner was served. The centerpiece of the evening was a stellar performance in Symphony Hall that featured Michael Feinstein and Patti Austin delivering their interpretations of “The Great American Songbook.” The orchestra accompanied them as they performed classic American songs (individually, and in delightful duets that brought down the house).
Globa Gala The Old Globe held its annual Gala – “A Night of Revels” – recently. The black-tie event lived up to its name by featuring a onenight-only performance by Leslie Odom, Jr., the Tony Award-winning star of Broadway’s smash hit “Hamilton.” True to form, the superstar brought down the house with his dazzling vocal prowess and powerful stage presence on the Globe’s Main Stage. Following the performance, supporters returned to the outdoor plaza for an elegant sit-down dinner and dancing. Karen Cohn, Nina Doede, Laurie Mitchell, and Sheryl White co-chaired the successful evening, with Darlene Marcos Shiley as honorary chair.
20 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: Frank and Lee Goldberg (Doug Gates Photography) • Sue and Bill Weber(Doug Gates Photography) • Iris Strauss and Colette Royston (Doug Gates Photography) • Harvey and Sheryl White (Doug Gates Photography) • Mao and Dr. Bob Shillman (Doug Gates Photography) • Joan and Irwin Jacobs (Bob Ross Photography).
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MUSINGS FROM MAMA
by Sharon Rosen Leib
The Little Pink Suitcase
ee that suitcase. It’s been unattended for at least eight minutes,” the man in line behind me at Frankfurt airport’s crowded security checkpoint told the guard. I swiveled and saw a child-sized, wheeled pink suitcase like those I bought my daughters years ago. Preoccupied people swirled around it while shoving their jackets and watches into gray bins. The security guard looked unfazed. He pointed at the pink suitcase and asked in German and English, “Does that belong to anyone?” A couple minutes ticked past and no one claimed it. My thoughts went code red. Why aren’t they taking this more seriously? In Israel that suitcase would be gone in 30 seconds or less. I wanted to tell the security guard to get it the hell out. It seemed just the type of innocuous object a terrorist might use to plant a bomb. Instead, I went into self-preservation mode and got through that security line and as far away from that suitcase as possible without saying a word. Forty minutes later, I was buckled into my seat awaiting takeoff when the pilot made an announcement, “There has been a security breach at the airport. Everyone must deplane immediately.” All 500 passengers aboard the Lufthansa Airbus unbuckled and filed off into a terminal crowded with several thousand people whose flights had also been cancelled, including scores of Syrian refugee women with young children. Airport security guards and armed police marched around shouting directives in German. No one seemed to know what was going on. The terminal air grew thick and hot with the clamor and congestion. I looked around and saw the suffering of the refugee women traveling alone with their children. Babies with full diapers began to cry. The five to seven-year-olds looked wide-eyed and traumatized. Mercifully, after a couple of hours, the guards ushered the women and children into a 22 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
less crowded terminal with more services. Those of us left behind remained calm but had no idea why we were still being detained. I checked Twitter. Reliable news sources reported that a woman with two young children had passed through a security checkpoint without being properly screened. I hypothesized the woman was a refugee unfamiliar with airport security practices. In the commotion, perhaps one of her children left the pink suitcase behind. We’ll never know because the German federal police released few details and minimized the extent of the chaos in media reports – failing to mention that non-European Union citizens like me were detained for over 11 hours. My takeaways from this experience: 1) I feel more compassion for Syrian refugees and believe it’s our mandate as Jews “to love the stranger, for we were once strangers in Egypt”; 2) Chancellor Angela Merkel’s laudable decision to open Germany’s doors to over one million refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war (with a civilian death toll at 400,000 and rising due to recent brutal bombings in Aleppo) has saved thousands of women and children’s lives; 3) Benjamin Franklin’s proverb “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” remains ever relevant. German police and airport personnel lacked the resources to deal with this security breach. The ensuing chaos created a major transit shutdown; 4) I believe ever more resolutely in Anne Frank’s quote, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart,” because the vast majority of global travelers at Frankfurt airport on August 31 treated each other with kindness. That cute little pink suitcase represents both global innocence lost and the increased need for smart compassion. The traumatized, peace-seeking refugees deserve welcome. How to distinguish between them and radicalized terrorists remains the most gut-wrenching problem of our time. A
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Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 23
LIVING ON THE FRONT PAGE by Andrea Simantov
ISRAELI LIFESTYLE firstname.lastname@example.org
Pulling the Lever
t might feel liberating to say that Israelis do not care about the American elections because it has nothing to do with us. But the number of Israelis who actually subscribe to this logic is quite small. The accepted understanding is that we need American support like the body needs oxygen and that, consequently, entitles us to a voice in your politics. It’s true, there are some Israelis who believe that, if left to our own devices, our small nation could emerge as a world power beholden to no nation on the green earth. My late father was such a Jew; he believed with all of his raging heart that Israeli ingenuity and raw nerve could meet our security-challenges head on. To him and those small numbers who still subscribe to this philosophy today, outside assistance has rendered us Israelis lazy. This, like I said, is not a majority view. In fact, the American elections matter to Israel because, although Daddy didn’t like it, our military edge and relationship with the nations of the world rely heavily on American generosity. Even when the 24 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
outstretched Western hand comes with difficult conditions, Zion must appear grateful. As a frequent reader of op-ed pages in both the Israeli and international press, it remains abundantly clear that we are better liked when we behave subserviently. Good Jews might be dead Jews, Daddy, but today’s defiant Jew often finds himself isolated. Many American Jews, along with plenty of Israelis, seem convinced that one candidate might be better for Israel than the other. If my Facebook page accurately registers the passions of the well-versed common man, electing the “wrong” candidate will spell the end of the Jewish state. Years ago, as I was becoming more deeply connected to Jewish observance, I learned the word hishtadlut, best translated as “effort.” Lectures on hishtadlut include distinctions between bitachon/trust and emunah/faith. Hishtadlut is not a suggestion in Judaism. It is a commandment. But raw persistence can morph into ugly nagging if we believe that the outcomes which affect our lives depend solely on “ef-
fort.” There is no place for such egocentricity in a healthy society, even when pundits and celebrities claim otherwise. Threats to leave America or stage mass protests because the democratic process may leave one wanting is childish and arrogant. Democracy demands bitachon, a fallible-trust that may be imperfect but respects the fickle ebband-flow of human existence. Celebrating kindness and acceptance, Judaism teaches that minor or majorly distasteful differences should be tempered with a mutual desire to make our shared existence harmonious. One might be terribly repelled by the candidates for the presidency. Those who live according to the respective tenets of histadlut, bitachon and emunah – Jewish or non-Jew – are better aware of the role they play on the stage of history. It is the experience of acquired faith that allows us to sleep at night, safe in the knowledge that after doing one’s part with a full heart and possession of a few available facts, each man, woman, village and nation will rise to the challenge of the morning after. A
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OLDER, WISER, BETTER by Jon Schwartz AGING
Make Just One Someone Happy
s I was about to leave Seacrest for the day, I passed through the dining room during dinner and noticed from a distance a table of about eight residents in a complete uproar of laughter. Seeing their jubilation made me smile and laugh. I was late for dinner plans with friends, so unfortunately did not get the chance to stop by and find out what was so funny. During my drive, I wondered if my group of friends in our late 20s and early 30s could laugh as much or as hard as the octogenarians I had just witnessed. I tried to think of a few funny stories on the way. I came up with two ideas that seemed funny to me, but when I tried them out at dinner, the only person who laughed was my wife (and I’m certain that was only out of pity). Despite my best efforts, the night did still consist of laughter, no thanks to me, and nothing quite like what I saw in the dining room at Seacrest that night. Sometime later, I watched a recorded lecutre from the Stein Institute for Research and Aging on the health benefits of laughter and chocolate. Dr. Lee Berk of Loma Linda University discussed his nearly three decades of research on laughter. By the end of the lecture, Dr. Berk challenges audiences to “be the reason someone smiles today.” I think this is perhaps the most kind thing one person can do for another, because science has proven that laughter produces incredible health benefits. “We now have the evidence laughter not only decreases the detrimental stress hormones, in particular cortisol, but increases the good neuropeptides called endorphins,” Dr. Berk said in the Stein lecture. From a physical standpoint, frequent laughter boosts immunity, decreases pain, lowers blood pressure and prevents heart disease. From an emotional standpoint, 26 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
frequent laughter has been shown to enhance resilience, ease anxiety and fear, and improve overall mood. From a social point of view, frequent laughter strengthens relationships, attracts others to us and enhances teamwork. Laughter and humor also have positive effects on the brain. Laughter has been shown to enhance memory and recall. Laughter enhances sensory awareness, lowers the occurance of depression and increases cognitive processing. Laughter simply makes one’s brain work better, at any age. Interestingly, Dr. Lee also discussed dark chocolate and the similar health benefits it has to laughter. A study published in Nature Neuroscience in 2014 showed that the flavonoids in dark chocolate increased blood flow to the hippocampus, the memory area of the brain. The participants in the study (all between the ages of 50-69) showed a stronger memory and ability to differentiate visual patterns than those in the non-chocolate eating group. The study also found that only 900 milligrams, less than a little square from a bar, will provide all the benefits you need, but the chocolate must contain more than 65 percent cacao. Consuming this type of chocolate can also reduce the bad LDL cholesterol and the risk of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate has also been shown to improve serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain (which puts us in a better mood), reduce heart attack, stroke and can also have positive impacts on insulin control. Often, healthy habits seem to come at a high cost. The choice between eating a salad vs. snacking on potato chips. The choice between going for exercise vs. lounging on your favorite couch. But chocolate and laughter? It’s hard to imagine that the costs could ever outway the rewards when it comes to these two supplements. A
Meetings and Events Jewish War Vets Post-185 Contact Jerome Klein at (858) 521-8694 Nov. 13, 10 a.m. Jewish Seniors Club @ Oceanside Senior Center Contact Josephine at (760) 295-2564 Nov. 17, 12:30 p.m. Veterans Assc. Post-385 Contact Marc Poland (858) 232-1645 Jewish War Veterans meetings Nov. 13, noon Lawrence Family JCC Contact Melanie Rubin (858) 362-1141 Nov. 11, 4 p.m., Early Bird Shabbat Dinner for Shabbat San Diego JFS Balboa Ave. Older Adult Center Contact Aviva Saad (858) 550-5998 Nov. 17, 10 a.m. Thanksgiving celebration On the Go Excursions Contact Jo Kessler (858) 637-7320 Nov. 20, 11 a.m., Jacquelyne Silver performance at CAC JFS No. County Inland Center @ Adat Shalom Contact (858) 674-1123 Nov. 30, 11 a.m. Fundamentals of estate planning JFS Coastal Club @ Temple Solel Contact (858) 674-1123 Nov. 29, 10 a.m. Monthly celebration with The High Society Jazz Band JFS CAC @ Temple Emanu-El Contact Sara Diaz (858) 637-3270 Nov. 17, 10:30 a.m. Fall art show with dessert and entertainment
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Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 27
TORAH By Rabbi Devorah Marcus, Temple Emanu-El San Diego
Mental Illness in the Torah and Today
t’s difficult to imagine what life was like for Noah and his family after the flood. Everybody and everything they have known is gone. It’s perhaps not surprising then that the first thing Noah does is plant a vineyard. He plants his vineyard and sets to work making wine. Chapter 9:20-21 tells us that Noah drank from his wine, became drunk, and uncovered himself in his tent. His son Ham discovers him and goes to tell his brothers. It’s not difficult to imagine that after witnessing the destruction of the world and everybody he knows save his family, that Noah may have wanted to lose himself in wine. The story provides a powerful demonstration of challenges we continue to face in the world today. Either through his biology or through the suffering he has witnessed, we can offer an interpretation that Noah is overcome by despair and depression. In his depression he turns to alcohol as a way to dull his pain. His son, witnessing his father’s troubling behavior, chooses to break the silence and secrecy and goes to discuss the matter with loved ones. His brothers, demonstrating co-dependent behavior, cover their father’s nakedness, tell him of Ham’s “betrayal,” and then together, Noah and his two “loyal” sons shame and outcast Ham. Noah’s story is tragic. It highlights the challenges of mental health when problems are left unaddressed. It also exhibits a not-uncommon link between substance abuse and depression. This is not to say that all who have depression abuse drugs or alcohol. But of those who do deal with addiction, depression and other looming mental illness, substance abuse often follows as a way to self-medicate and find relief for their pain. Also evidenced in Noah’s story is the shame and secrecy that surround mental illness within societies, communities, and families. Ham is ultimately ostracized, outcasted, and cursed. Now here we are, at the beginning of 28 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
5777 and through Noah’s story, we are offered an invitation to consider whether or not our own attitudes towards mental health are much evolved from Noah’s day. Unfortunately, they are not evolved enough. Even in our modern world, we still witnesses a gross disparity between funding, research and support for mental illness verses physical illness. We treat the brain and its health as though it is not a part of our physical self. Our world acts as though mental health is some amorphous aura that surrounds us that we have to contain and control through self-discipline. We tell people who are dealing with depression and other mental illness to get outside more, to exercise more, to put on a smile, to think happy thoughts as though any of that can address a chemical imbalance. We don’t tell people with allergies to smile their way through an asthma attack. We don’t tell people with cancer that it’ll go away if they just think happy thoughts. So why do we expect people with mental illness to act as if their brains are not organs that need medical attention? The CDC reports one in five adolescents and adults suffer from some type of mental illness. That means mental illness and the challenges that come with it affects at least 20 percent of our Jewish community. The CDC also reports that suicide is up 200 percent over the last few decades among adolescent girls ages 10 to 14. We cannot allow the silence, stigma and embarrassment to continue a day longer. As we read Noah’s story this year, let us find inspiration in Ham’s courage. May we begin speaking up about mental illness, mental health and addiction in our lives and in our communities so that we can actually save lives and support those who are suffering in silence. If you or a loved one is dealing with mental illness or addiction, please contact Jewish Family Services, your rabbi, or call 211 to be connected to services from San Diego Coun-
ty. Mental illness is not a shanda. Staying silent in the face of someone else’s suffering is the shanda. Let us end the silence together. A Temple Emanu-El is making it an initiative this year to address mental illness, to end the silence and stigma and shame around it, and to help connect people to information and resources. A longer version of this story, with another example of mental illness in the Torah is available at sdjewishjournal.com.
month’s Torah portions Nov. 5: Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32) Nov. 12: Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27) Nov. 19: Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24) Nov. 26: Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)
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Rich Cohen writes an irresistable tome on the worldâ€™s most influential rock band INTRO BY NATALIE JACOBS, EXCERPT BY RICH COHEN
Author Rich Cohen 30 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
“I HAD TWO REASONS FOR SAYING NO, THE MAIN REASON BEING THAT I THOUGHT IT RIDICULOUSLY OPTIMISTIC TO THINK WE COULD MAKE A LIVING PLAYING BLUES. THE OTHER IS THAT I HAD A GOOD JOB WITH A DANCE BAND, SINGING THE HITS OF THE DAY. IT WAS A MISTAKE, BUT LIFE IS NOTHING BUT A SERIES OF MISTAKES. AT LEAST MINE HAVE BEEN COLORFUL.”
Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 31
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s its name suggests, “Trouble in the Tribe” is about the growing division within America’s Jewish population around the past, present and future of the Jewish State. Author Dov Waxman attempts to not only identify the problem but find its root. At the crux is, of course, the Israeli Palestinian conflict, but the book focuses in great detail on the history of American Jewish support and the sometimes alarming discourse that arises between well-meaning individuals that, if nothing else, can all agree that they’re inextricably attached to Israel. At various points in the book, Waxman outlines the Left’s arguments for supporting BDS and the Right’s reasoning for its refusal to publicly criticize Israel. Predictably, each argument is as despicable to one side as it is to the other. Thus, trouble. The author is a professor of political science in international affairs and Israel studies at Northeastern University. He is also a selfproclaimed loyal critic of Israel. Where once Waxman and others like him were staunch supporters and even defenders of Israel, developments of recent years have drastically changed his perspective. With this book, perhaps Waxman is hoping to explain himself to his fellow tribesmen. While he painstakingly outlines a vast panorama of American Jewish perspectives, it is clear where his sentiments lie. He is candid and even humble in his introduction to the book about his personal journey and what led him to this writing. Citing a variety of motivations, one in particular emerged from 32 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
his work related to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. It was 2009 and Waxman was on sabbatical. The controversial J Street group had just been formed and with it came a new kind of conversation about Israel. The hope was that they would be able to break the stalemate by supporting a two-state solution that everyone could live with. Their big idea was that you could be pro-Israel and pro-peace at the same time. Waxman wanted to see if it would work, if things would actually change. “That was my main interest,” he said in an interview. Waxman is British, so his interest in the riff between American Jews and their relationship to Israel takes on a more sociological essence. And he approaches his study from the
perspective of an outsider. He breaks the Jewish opinion into four parts and lays out the different perspectives that he believes define each sub-set of ideologies. He says “the most conventional distinction made is between right versus left, or hawks versus doves. But neither of these divisions adequately captures the different positions in the debate.” In a graph, he offers expanded definitions of these differences: The Left, whose position on Zionism is that “it’s outdated, hijacked and bad.” This group believes Israel is at fault for the conflict and there should be “external pressure on Israel, including BDS.” This group believes a two-state solution is “acceptable, but not realistic and/or preferable.” Waxman’s Center Left still believes Zionism is “good, as long as it’s liberal,” that both Israel and the Palestinians are at fault, that a two-state solution is “essential and urgently needed,” that there should be public Jewish criticism of Israel, and “support external pressure, but only diplomatic.” For the Center Right and the Right, Waxman outlines them as believing Zionism is good, that the fault of the conflict lies with the Palestinians, and there should be no external pressure on Israel. From those similarities, the Center Right departs with a belief that the twostate solution is “desirable, but not right now,” and there should be no public Jewish criticism of Israel. Finally, Waxman’s Right believes the two-state solution is “dangerous and or/ wrong” and the there should be public Jewish criticism, “but only right-wing criticism.” With the outlining of all these varying
This group believes Israel is at fault for the conflict and there should be “external pressure on Israel, including BDS.” opinions, “Trouble in the Tribe” illuminates how the highly critical, often vitriolic conversation amongst Jews of all sides in the U.S. is beginning to mirror the arguments offered in Israel itself. Waxman points to the ease of access to global media for this blending of cross-border opinions. “It’s impossible to keep things behind closed doors,” he says. The main point of “Trouble” is to show that this discourse is in danger of poisoning American Jewish communal relations. “By understanding this development and trying to explain the positions of all the
sides, my hope is we can understand why it’s happening. My more normative goal is to encourage a more open and civil dialogue.” “Trouble in the Tribe” is Waxman’s attempt to explain the times we are living in: the increasing dissent between American Jews, the evolution of both the relationships with Israel, and with fellow American Jews, and most of all, why these things are changing in the ways that they are. Like many scholars before him, Waxman thinks an understanding of how we got here can help us figure out where we’re going. A
Dov Waxman will speak about his new book “Trouble in the Tribe” on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. as part of the San Diego Jewish Book Fair. Visit sdcjc.com/ sdjbf for more information and tickets.
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hat makes a country prosperous? How does increasing wealth create inequality? In what way does globalization affect local communities? Economists, political theorists, and sociologists alike have been asking these “big think” questions for quite a while, and recently, a series of popular books have been published by leading scholars in attempts to address them. For his part, author Todd Buchholz adds another big question to the cannon with his latest book, “The Price of Prosperity: Why Rich Nations Fail and How to Renew Them.” While he sets out to persuasively answer it, despite his earnest political beliefs and narrative talents, Buchholz’s efforts are not up to the task. “The Price of Prosperity” quickly reveals itself to be a cultural conservatism manifesto full of anecdotes, pop-history and appeals to nostalgia that he fails to connect to the herculean task with which he presents himself. With the global financial crisis and subsequent great recession not too far in the rearview mirror, Buchholz argues that America’s economic, political and cultural decline may be closer than they appear. He sets out to understand what great nations must do to stay on top, which is an incredibly wellposed and ambitious question for any author. A former White House economic advisor, inventor and successful popular economics author, Buchholz certainly has the credentials of a legitimate big thinker, and his ambition to be one is evident throughout “The 34 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
Price of Prosperity.” Indeed, with his new book, it’s clear that Buchholz’s aim is to join the ranks of Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson, Thomas Piketty and Robert Putnam, all top academics in various social science fields whose respective careers have all been recently crystalized into incredibly popular, persuasive and prize-winning books. But where those books are the result of decades of scientific research, Buchholz’s efforts in “The Price of Prosperity” are much more personal and less rooted in generalizable analysis. The book begins with a story about Buchholz’s upbringing. Each presidential elec-
tion, he writes, his neighbors would threaten (a total bluff, he admits) to leave the country if a certain candidate wins (his examples are Nixon, Carter, then Reagan), a theme that continues to this day. The story is humorous, relatable and timeless. Buchholz then asserts, “I have written this book because for the first time in my life, I’m not sure it’s a bluff,” after which he cites a statistic demonstrating that the number of people renouncing their U.S. citizenship has quadrupled over the past few years. Where other scholars would endeavor to provide an intricate, compelling and rigorous argument for this claim, Buchholz ends his inquiry there, on one statistic that he himself has qualified by explaining that those citizenship renouncements have not been made in political protest but rather for shrewd economic reasons (like tax evasion). Thus the rigor of “The Price of Prosperity” is set – conclusions are drawn from superficial, tenuous relationships wielded at the author’s convenience. Buchholz repeats this pattern while dipping his toes into a hot pot of political tension from this election season – international trade. The chapter centers around two ideas; “Nations cannot grow and stay rich without trading with others, but trading with others eventually shakes the customs and character of the nation,” one example of the many “paradoxes,” as the author calls them, that threaten prosperous nations. A winner of the Harvard Teaching prize in economics, Buchholz clearly has a talent for elucidating economic concepts, and he truly shines in
his defense of the international trade (his use of Milton Friedman’s classic example of how a pencil is assembled is about as effective as it gets). The effect of that trade, the more controversial assertion, however, is left almost completely undefended, as Buchholz replaces cogent analysis with hand-picked pop-history lessons from 16th century Venice, 18th century Hungary and 19th century Japan. While these historical detours are engaging, well-researched and never overstay their welcome (to the author’s credit, “The Price of Prosperity” is never boring), they are only superficially related to the economic and political circumstances of the present day United States. More likely, these detours leave the average reader with more questions than convincing answers. In one such story, Buchholz attributes the decline of Venice to the outsourcing of its defense to foreign armies. While this is clearly a good example of the potential perils of paying foreigners to fight your wars, it has absolutely no relevance to the present day issue of the United States outsourcing jobs. In fact, Buchholz himself admits near the end of the chapter that, “In the long run, outsourcing likely helps the U.S. economy by boosting productivity and increasing the available sources of intellectual and physical capita.” His argument quickly deteriorates into an outright rant against a purportedly low work ethic among present day youth. In his chapter on trade, Buchholz writes: “For every Mark Zuckerberg in his dorm room, thousands of young men in hoodies are sitting on a sofa in their mom’s basement, bravely chasing avatars in World of Warcraft, but not gritty enough to climb the steps out of the basement to sign up for a training session to get a machinist license in the world of reality.” This loosely flung assesment is taken further in chapter four, “The Problem with Work” where the author almost completely abandons his original topic, as well as any attempt at legitimizing any of his assertions, and simply begins to beat the drum of the generation wars (which continues into chapter five with “Patriotism, Immigration,
Author Todd Buchholz
Thus the rigor of “The Price of Prosperity” is set – conclusions are drawn from superficial, tenuous relationships wielded at the author’s convenience. and Grit in the Era of the Selfie”). His baseless critique begins in a section titled “The Go-Nowhere Generation” with the following: “In recent decades, amid the shattering of nations, we are seeing a new phenomenon: young and middle-aged people acting more like retirees and avoiding work.” How does the author defend such a bold assertion? He cites a statistic showing that “young people today are 25 percent less likely to get a driver’s license than their parents or grandparents.” How does this prove that people in this age group are working less? That question remains unanswered.
Buchholz does demonstrate a deep understanding of economics and finance and truly shines when he decides to focus on these topics. The book begins strong with a discussion on the increasingly relevant if not already well-trodden topic of declining birth rates among developed countries. Here, rising to the challenge of such a big think topic, Buchholz cogently synthesizes disparate ideas and provides a compelling overview of the issues surrounding America’s aging population, the potential problems that come with it and ideas on how to address them. It’s this strong beginning that makes the meandering of later chapters both perplexing and disappointing. The entire second half of the book is dedicated to snapshot biographies of a handful of prominent historical figures, each meant to represent a set of characteristics that contribute to the strength of a nation. The stylistic shift makes this part of the book almost completely irrelevant to its original question. Part II of the book contains 133 of the book’s 322 pages, with very little connection to the thesis of Part I, however the well-researched and engaging nature of these biographies makes it easy forgive or forget this point. As such, the second half of “The Price of Prosperity” may be what makes it worth the price of purchase. While comparing Buchholz’s efforts with those of heavyweight scientists like Acemoglu, Piketty, and Putnam may be unfair, “The Price of Prosperity” is mainly a watered-down offering of what could have been a more compelling discussion of a very interesting question. In the end, the author’s blatant political views dominate stories which are told in an entertaining if slightly inconsequential manner. The uneven analysis makes the book read like a roller coaster, resulting in alternating feelings of sickness and glee. A Todd Buchholz will discuss “The Price of Prosperity” on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. as part of the San Diego Jewish Book Fair. Find details and purchase tickets at sdcjc.org/sdjbf.
Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 35
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n 2016, it’s all cyber all the time. Our lives are connected to a small number of vast databases in ways we no longer bother to notice. With that, a lot of things are easier, like keeping tabs on funds in a savings account, the delivery of electricity, hitching a ride to the airport, monitoring and controlling hydroelectric dams. War and espionage are also easier in many ways, thanks to the growing interconnectivity of things and the very small number of computers that route troves of information to destinations around the world. Not that long ago, the word “cyber” didn’t even exist. If you’re curious about when that word was first used, and when it became attached to the word “war,” then Fred Kaplan’s “Dark Territory the Secret History of Cyber War” is worth a couple weeks of your life. Where the film “Snowden” portrays the government, specifically the NSA, as an all-seeing, all-knowing, cocky frat boy, Fred Kaplan’s meticulously researched book “Dark Territory” chronicles decades of starts, stops and roadblocks on the government’s way to understanding and harnessing the power of cyber warfare. For much of the time that this book covers – from the mid-80s to April 2015, through four presidents and a handful of high-ranking military personnel – the government seems alternately concerned and distracted, bogged down and energized, intrigued and just plain uninterested in cyber anything. It’s the difference between journalism 36 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
Rather surprisingly, it starts with a movie, in a scene from Reagan’s presidency. and movie making. Oliver Stone seeks to entertain by dramatizing the real events leading up to and directly after the biggest
document leak in the history of American national security. Conversely, Kaplan works to outline the bloated personalities and mundane bureaucratic forces that have shaped American military and spy policy in the last 30 years. Information tastes best when it is equal parts historical context and heart-pumping action and Kaplan mostly succeeds at finding that balance. Although the timing of “Snowden” and “Dark Territory” is purely coincidental – the movie is out now, while Kaplan is on book tour with a stop in San Diego – the two would do well to piggyback off each other. From the beginning, “Dark Territory” is sprinkled with tantalizing tidbits about the inner workings of American government. Rather surprisingly, it starts with a movie, in a scene from Reagan’s presidency. One summer night at Camp David in 1983, the former actor sits down for an evening of R&R to watch “War Games.” By the end, he’s terrified. The next day, at a prescheduled meeting with a bunch of top government people, Reagan brings up the film and asks the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General John Vessey, if something like the hacking of U.S. defense command control centers could actually happen. A week later, Vessey returns to Reagan with a stark response. “Mr. President, the problem is much worse than you think.” It’s these kinds of details that make “Dark Territory” irresistible. Like in 1990 when the U.S. bombed Saddam Hussein’s
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fiber-optic cables forcing Iraqi commanders to communicate through a backup network built on microwave signals, which the NSA then easily tapped into through strategic satellite positioning during Operation Desert Storm. Or when a team of 25 top coders from the NSA were assigned a test hack of U.S. defense systems. They were given two weeks to successfully disrupt or dismantle communications across military networks. The team completed the mission and hacked the system in four days. The conflicts associated with cyber warfare become more ethically vexing as time goes on, especially as it relates to private industry and individual citizens. Kaplan repeats the idea “Whatever we can do to them, they can do to us,” like a mantra throughout the book, along with questions about the changing definition of war. By way of contextualizing the new world order that the U.S. was simultaneously attempting to squelch and accelerate, Kaplan turns often to helpful comparison between the nuclear arms race and the growth in cyber warfare. With nuclear, there is an accepted level of transparency between countries, and as illustrated by the end of the Cold War, a mutually agreed-upon line that to-date, no one has been willing to cross. With cyber, though, the attacks are massively secret, and for now, there isn’t any established no-go territory. Even without Hollywood, Edward Snowden irrevocably connected the United States to cyber espionage and no “secret history” of cyber war would be complete without some exploration of the leak, how it was felt inside the watchful eyes of the NSA and the fallout. And as it turns out, no true understanding of Snowden’s actions can come without the historical context that Kaplan provides. The problem is, history stops at the present and by the end of the book, Kaplan has driven readers up a winding mountain, kicked them out of the car and driven off. Those interested in more of the story can see Fred Kaplan close out this year’s San Diego Jewish Book Fair on Sunday, Nov. 6. Kaplan will be interviewed by his wife, Brooke Gladstone, host of the NPR show “On the Media” at 7 p.m. at the JCC. A
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Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 37
Soille Hebrew Day School Embarks Upon a Capitol Campaign to Renovate Campus:
Ideal Setting for 21st Century Learning! Plans have been unveiled to completely renovate the Soille Hebrew Day School Campus in Kearny Mesa. Once completed, the campus will be transformed into the perfect setting to showcase Hebrew Day School’s award winning, 21st Century skill based program. What is so uplifting for the San Diego Jewish community is the realization that this program of excellence is offered in conjunction with inspiring Judaic and Torah study programs which enable Hebrew Day graduates to live fulfilling, meaningful and successful lives. “For 53 years Hebrew Day has been the San Diego leader in Jewish education. Our efforts today are meant to guarantee that the school continues to fulfill its mission for generations to come,” noted Geoffrey Berg, Board of Directors President. The school selected architects Doug Austin and Randy Robbins of AVRP Studios, the same creative team which designed Beth Israel and more recently, the Urban Discovery Academy in downtown. Hebrew Day School’s interior and play space environment will conform to its already revitalized curriculum with its emphasis on the 4 C’s of 21st Century education – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Hebrew Day continuously pursues excellence. This year science teacher Matt Bessler was named San Diego Science Teacher of the Shown Left to Right: Rabbi Meir Cohen, Assistant Head of School; Rabbi Simcha Weiser, Head of School; Year. Hebrew Day remains the only U.S. Jason Cury, CIJE President; Dr. Jane Willoughby, CIJE Director of Research; Geoff Berg, Hebrew Day Board President; Marilyn Williams, Hebrew Day Immediate Past President; Rachel Hudlow, Math teacher; Dept. of Education Blue Ribbon School Matt Bessler, San Diego Science Teacher of the Year, 2016; Julie Rivard, San Diego Science Teacher of among California Jewish day schools, the Year, 2004 and enjoys Highest Accreditation from both C.A.I.S. and W.A.S.C. “Our students are distinguished by their respect for others, their kindness and good character. Our science and math programs routinely win awards, and graduates routinely enter the finest universities,” noted Rabbi Simcha Weiser, Head of School. “As more families understand how welcoming a school community we are, and that the majority of families who choose Hebrew Day are not Orthodox affiliated, we foresee sustaining enrollment growth for many years to come.” The plans and vision were presented publicly for the first time at Hebrew Day School’s Gala on June 5. That evening’s honoree, Mr. Selwyn Isakow, noted in his remarks “Soille Hebrew Day School is not about denominations and divisions, it is about excellence, caring, collaboration, diversity and community. The school provides an ideal framework for leadership and personal, moral and communal responsibility.” The design plans include input from security experts aimed at insuring a safe campus within which children can stay focused on learning, on deepening their Jewish identities, learning leadership skills and experiencing the joy and empowerment of doing community service for others. The quiet phase of fund raising is now being completed, and the school’s Capital Campaign Committee is beginning to reach out to the community at large. “It gives every family in San Diego encouragement and confidence in the future of San Diego’s Jewish community knowing that this project is moving ahead,” commented Philip Silverman, past Board President and current Finance Chair. For additional information about the Capital Campaign, please contact Rabbi Weiser, Head of School, at 858-279-3300. For enrollment information, contact Beth Licha, Director of Admissions, at 858-279-3300 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 38 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
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here can be no such thing as a bad Jew, if Elissa Altman has anything to do with it. In her new memoir “Treyf,” Altman outlines all of her Jewish transgressions – she doesn’t keep kosher, rarely attends shul, is married to a Catholic woman, and shamelessly enjoys the Bing Crosby and David Bowie rendition of “Little Drummer Boy” (a Christmas song, for those who aren’t familiar). But then, the real story begins. Tragic and at times disgusting in its detail, “Treyf ” takes the reader from one quiet familial tragedy to the next, occasionally landing on a rare fond memory. The cover of the book shows Altman at a tender age sitting on a mall Santa’s lap with a seemingly genuine smile. She looks off into the distance – something Altman says was a family trait in photos – like she’s looking at something just out of reach. The story, though at times terribly depressing, is relatable to anyone who has struggled with their faith, loneliness, family strife or even the desperate desire for a Christmas tree. Beyond the family dramas, Altman also chronicles her realization that she is a lesbian, and her navigation through yet another layer of her treyf. She struggles with a distant mother who is consumed by her own vanity, and a father whom she idolizes – but who, on at least one occasion, dramatically abandons the family for a couple of days over a thrown-out shirt. The chapters are organized with titles like “The Kitchen,” “Christmas” and
“Prayer” – all evidence of Altman’s various transgressions. The book is alternately heartbreaking and exhausting, with an endless array of family disaffection and dysfunction. The reader can’t help but wonder if Altman’s stories of unfeeling family members are embellished and unfair or sadly accurate while the author keeps the pace like a whitewater raft ride of grief. As a young woman, Altman moves into an apartment her family simply calls 602, rented by multiple generations of her family, practically an heirloom. Pressured by the manager to give up the apartment (which she only moves into after a bad breakup because of the cheap rent) her father reminds her of her “responsibility” to the apartment. “There has been an Altman here since 1933,” he says. “You are the last one. This is our family home, our connection to the past, to who we once were. It is your responsibility to maintain that connection.” The book doesn’t search for conclusiveness or clarity, but seeks to relate to others who understand the author when she refers to herself as treyf. The story moves back and forth in time like a fever dream, from unhappy childhood memories to present day, then back to awkward teenage moments. Though it often feels like an ad for Kleenex, “Treyf ” is beautifully written, stroked deftly like a Dali or Modigliani painting – distorted and strange yet haunting and mesmerizing. The book is a mess, which isn’t a reflection on the writing, but rather an insight into
the random untidiness of life. Altman has moments of Zen that she holds close her entire life – going to sleep away camp as a preteen and having secret lunches with her father where kosher food is not on the menu – but for the most part the happy moments are drowned out by ones that leave the reader feeling numb. While “Treyf ” is not an easy read, it is a stunning depiction of a person viewing herself as an “outsider” in her own family, faith, and, sometimes, life. A Elissa Altman will be in San Diego for a Sunday brunch and talk at the JCC on Oct. 30. Details and tickets at sdcjc.org/sdjbf.
Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 39
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rom high-gloss pearls of wisdom penned by power moms to the raucous humor of one Jewish mother/daughter pair’s outlandish escapades, two new books capture the tangled web of mother-daughter relationships. Nina Tassler’s “What I Told My Daughter: Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women” is a collection of 54 essays written by a bevy of accomplished mothers spanning a great many professions – from the United States Supreme Court (the Notorious RBG – Ruth Bader Ginsburg) to reality television pioneer (rock-and-roll mom Sharon Osbourne). Then there’s Kate Siegel’s “Mother, Can You Not?” bearing the tagline (“And you thought your mom was nuts . . .”), a slim volume of hilarious personal essays Kate wrote after the viral success of her Instagram account @CrazyJewishMom. These books have a striking commonality; both Nina Tassler and Kate Siegel’s mother, Kim Friedman, worked in the television biz – Tassler as chair of CBS Entertainment and Friedman as the director of multiple TV shows dating back to the 1970s. Yet the books couldn’t be more different. Tassler has pieced together earnest words from ambitious, loving mothers seeking to inspire all of our daughters to live successful, happy lives. On the other side of the coin, Siegel uses the power of humor to chronicle the exasperating trials of being the daughter 40 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
of a lovingly overbearing mom. Reading these books in tandem provides a seeingthe-world-from-both-sides experience that I highly recommend. Tassler’s preface resonated like a gong. She solicited these essays after contemplating how to empower her own preteen daughter amidst a media landscape where “we are buffeted by an endless stream of messages to be prettier, thinner, sexier, lustier, happier, smarter but not too threatening.” Amen to
that, sister Tassler – Facebook, Instagram and the latest social media apps lurking beneath our beleaguered radar make the proliferation of toucous-baring bikini photos ever more alarming! Our daughters need to know that a bedrock sense of self matters more than whether they can confidently rock a string bikini. I also liked Tassler’s call to end the gratuitous, media-fueled mommy warfare that makes both women and men more judgmental of others’ parenting and lifestyle choices. “Underneath the divisive labels . . . we are all women trying to do our best to raise the next generation of empowered leaders.” Her handpicked essays go a long way towards compiling one’s own list of best practices for achieving that goal. My favorite words of wisdom in this collection came from the least expected source – singer Marie Osmond. In her essay “Nineteen,” she writes about how her mother supported her decision to cancel her wedding. “The wisdom my mother gave to me that I want to pass on to my four daughters is to know that they always have the right to change their minds . . . I don’t want my daughters to feel they must strive to break the glass ceiling in business, when perhaps their true hearts call to them to stay home to nurture children. In the same realm, they shouldn’t leave a career they love unless it’s
their own decision.” Osmond’s advice choked me up – calling to mind the empowering words that my beloved, late grandmother often uttered to me, “To thine own self be true.” My only quibble with Tassler’s collection is the over-inclusion of essays by privileged Hollywood entertainment industry types. But I can give her a small pass on that, since I imagine it was difficult for her to say no to friends who heard she was collecting essays and asked to contribute. Nonetheless, Tassler’s book makes an excellent gift for any mother of daughters on your list. Likewise, Siegel’s book makes an excellent Hanukkah gift for late teens and early 20-somethings – so long as their mothers have good senses of humor and tolerance for graphic sex talk (think a younger, less cynical Sarah Silverman). A few years ago, Siegel approached her mom with the idea of posting their very personal (and funny) exchanges on the Internet. Friedman, who wrote porn scripts early
in her career to pay the rent, encouraged her to go for it!! Thus @CrazyJewishMom was born. I always believed my own, dear late mother ranked pretty high on the wacky Jewish mother scale. But Siegel’s mom puts Debbie
Rosen to shame. My mother never went so far as to drag me to the dregs of downtown Los Angeles to get a fake ID so I could pass for a 14-year-old and thus get into a rowing camp that would pad my resume for admission to an Ivy League school. But guess what? Siegel did attend her Ivy League dreamboat school and become an accomplished writer (as this frank essay collection demonstrates). And she recognizes that her over-the-top mother encouraged and supported her every step of the way. She writes, “[Our] level of innate understanding cannot exist without a mutual, unconditional love. That said, I still sometimes want to punch her in the ovary.” And that, folks, pretty much sums up the very complicated mother/daughter relationship. A Nina Tassler and Kate Siegel with her crazy Jewish mom Kim Friedman will be in San Diego to discuss their new books. Find details on their talks at sdcjc.org/sdjbf.
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End of Year Charitable Planning Questions for You and Your Professional Advisor Brought to you by:
Think about how you have served the community with time, treasure and talent and be proud of your contribution. Here are some things to consider during your end of year planning and an opportunity to obtain maximum tax benefits. 2016 or 2017? Consider your expected marginal tax rate for this year and next to help decide when to time the gift. For example, if you have a pledge that must be satisfied by 2017, consider making the contribution now to speed up the deduction if you anticipate a drop in income and a lower tax rate in 2017. Conversely, it may make sense to delay a planned 2016 contribution to January 2017 if you have relative certainty that your tax rate next year will be higher. Cash or Securities? When making charitable contributions, consider making the donation using appreciated capital gain property, such as marketable securities, rather than cash. If the property has been held for more than one year, you will obtain a deduction for the full market value of the security while any income tax on the gain will be avoided. One caution: deductions for gifts of appreciated property are limited to 30% of adjusted gross income (AGI) rather than the 50% limit for other charitable contributions. Now or Later? A contribution in the year you need a tax benefit may be made in to your personal philanthropic fund (Donor Advised Fund), for you to distribute at any time in the future to eligible organizations. IRA Distributions? Taxpayers over the age of 70 ½ have an opportunity to use IRA distributions to make direct charitable contributions or contributions to an endowment fund. Contact Jewish Community Foundation for more information. Documentation? A final reminder is that all charitable contributions must be supported by evidence the gift was made and gifts over $250 must be supported by a receipt from the charity that received the gift. A thank you letter is not enough. The receipt must specifically state no goods or services were received in exchange for the gift. Absent this crucial language no income tax deduction is allowed. You also must have obtained the required documentation by the time you file your tax return for the year of the gift. Waiting until the IRS audit letter comes in the mail is too late. Volunteer Work? No tax deduction is allowed for your time or the services you perform for charity, but you may still be entitled to some breaks. You can deduct the expense of using of your automobile while performing services for a charity. If you incur other out of pocket costs make sure you maintain detailed records, if the total exceeds $250 you’ll need to submit a statement of expenses and receive an acknowledgment of the total in writing from the charity. Summary Your generosity in gifting time and money to worthwhile causes can have a significant impact on your tax liability. While tax considerations should never drive your charitable giving, it certainly doesn’t hurt to structure your gifting to maximize the tax benefits.
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Tishrei â€¢ Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 45
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ince 2001, Camp JRF, the Reconstructionist summer camp, has been tucked away in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, out of reach for many Californians who consider themselves part of Judaism’s fourth movement. With help in the form of a $1.4 million grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation for Jewish Camp, Camp JRF will open its first West Coast location in the summer of 2018. A group from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, which manages Camp JRF, 858-578-8891 is currently scouting locations within a two-hour drive from Los 7313 Carroll Road • 92121 Minimum 50 people. Food only 03/31/2016 Exp. 11/30/2016 www.rotisserieaffair.com Angeles, including boarding schools, colleges and other locations. The Southern California camp will focus on the arts and film, to increase its connection to Los Angeles. Sessions will also be shorter, “in keeping with West Coast ethos,” says Isaac Saposnik, the camp’s executive director. “Being in Southern California,” he continues, “gives us unique and unparalleled access to first-rate artists in the film, television, and music industries, allowing campers to learn from seasoned professionals. Doing this in the progressive, values-based setting of Camp JRF will be an experience like no other.” The camp is aiming to enroll 135 campers over the course of their Serving Southern California first summer, with a goal of increasing capacity to 450 by the fifth At Pacific Bay Recovery, we specialize in compassionate year of operation. treatment and personalized rehabilitation for individuals The Jewish Reconstructionist movement, noted as the first movestruggling from substance abuse disorders and/or chronic ment to have its origins in the United States, was developed by Rabbi pain. With our assistance, you can take back your life! Mordecai Kaplan and his son-in-law Rabbi Ira Eisenstein in the mid20th century. Its rabbinical college opened in 1968. According to its Michael S. Duffy, D.O.-Medical Director website, “Reconstructionists define Judaism as the evolving religious 858-263-9700 Advertiser responsible for theCongregation accuracy of advertising copy. Please proofread carefully and note any corrections. civilization of the isJewish people.” Dor Hadash is San Diego’s only Reconstructionist congregation. A CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE WITH APPROVAL OR CHANGES. www.pacificbayrecovery.com
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urning back the pages of Herzl Camp, a popular Zionist enclave in Webster, Wis., reveals a chapter in Bob Dylan’s history that predates his reign as the most poetic voice in rock ‘n roll. The youth camp, located 100 miles from the Twin Cities, was founded in 1946 by a group of ardent Zionists from St. Paul, Minn., who saw potential for Jewish kids to explore the great outdoors in a town with a population of 502. This founding of Herzl Camp made an inimitable impact on Midwestern Jewish culture, and the story has found its way into a book-in-progress, to be published by Random House, called “The Boys from the North Country.” The author is former Herzl camper Louie Kemp. In the forthcoming memoir, it is revealed that Bobby Zimmerman – a.k.a. Bob Dylan, from Hibbing, Minn. – registered at Herzl Camp in 1954, the year he met Kemp, who hailed from Duluth. As these two small town Jewish boys shared the same rustic cabin for three weeks in the Wisconsin woods (which cost just $165 for the whole session!), a long friendship blossomed. That connection, rooted in those carefree days, endures like the memories of so many Jewish summer-campers throughout the U.S. Bob and Louie continued to meet up at summer camp for a few years, and I was there too eventually, in a different dorm of course, but always wanting to be involved in the action. It was the summer of 1957 that stands out as the most raucous of all the years. “Herzl was a Zionist-inspired camp and Israeli songs were part of the program,” Kemp recalls. But by that summer of ’57, Bob Zimmerman was playing a different tune. His guitar was his constant companion, and it was clear Zionist songs were not to be his calling. After camp that year, Bob and a group 48 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
of us from Herzl spent the remaining long summer days in Highland Park, the Twin Cities’ Jewish neighborhood, mostly watching Bob jam on any available piano or guitar he could get his hands on. October 13 is a date I’ll always remember. There was an impromptu basement party at a friend’s house that quickly expanded to my cousin’s living room – there was a Baldwin piano there and Bob was in the mood to sing. Bob Dylan was already making people
L-R: Larry Kegan, Jerry Waldman, Bob Dylan, Louie Kemp, David Unowsky
uncomfortable with his new rockin’ brand of rhythm and blues. Aunt Bess and Uncle Teddy were quite traditional and the verses that came out of Bobby that day are still unfit to mention in a story such as this. An excerpt from my diary dated Oct. 13, 1957 reads “Zimmerman was looking at Judith [my cousin] while he was singing one of his songs. … So, he likes her!” My instincts were proven right when Bob accepted her invitation to the B’nai B’rith Girls dance that November. I still remember the “Milton J. Blumenfeld” color photo that sat on her dresser for ages – it showed Bob Dylan in a solid black suit and pink ruffled shirt, the only one with such a bold style which would come to define his career not too long after that photo was taken.
It’s memories like these that keep camp and the excitement of adolescence alive for years long after they’re both gone. When Bob Zimmerman left the Twin Cities for New York in 1961, Louie Kemp eventually caught up with him and in 197576 managed Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Review” tour. Kemp’s family, established in Duluth’s fishing industry, conveniently “provided the smoked salmon” for the Review’s Thanksgiving dinner. Later, in the 1980s, Kemp lived with Bob for three years, as chronicled in Seth Rogovoy’s “The Rogovoy Report.” Kemp eventually sired six children producing four grandchildren. He remains an advocate of Jewish summer camp. In retrospect he says, “This is where children realize opportunities and life experiences away from home, in a Jewish environment.” Reflecting on his Jewish camp experience of more than 60 years ago, Kemp reaffirms that “children will find fundamental opportunities to grow in mind and soul while being exposed to Jewish experiences away from home.” The bottom line, he says, with a wise smile, is that “the skills kids might otherwise not experience from camp can impact their life and friendships in ways they could never imagine.” In his case, it was a Jewish camp deep in the Wisconsin woods that established a deep friendship and the stories of a lifetime. A Pam Price, from St. Paul, Minn., is a contributor to the San Diego Jewish Journal.
Tishrei â€¢ Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 49
||| FOOD |||
Tori Avey is an award-winning food writer, recipe developer, and the creator of the popular cooking website toriavey.com. She writes about food history for PBS Food and Parade.com. Follow Tori on Facebook by searching for “Tori Avey” and on Twitter: @toriavey.
in the kitchen WITH
TORI AVEY IKWTA
PUMPKIN CRANBERRY CUPCAKES
he pumpkin may very well be the most iconic fruit in America – and yes, it is a fruit. This cheerful orange squash is the belle of the ball come fall, with seasonal pumpkinflavored treats nearly everywhere you look. From pumpkin lattes to pumpkin cereal to pumpkin spice Oreos (yes, those are a thing!), there seems to be no end to the pumpkin-ization of autumn. Indeed, seasonal pumpkin products have become so prevalent that some Americans experience “pumpkin burnout,” and have no trouble expressing their distaste for all things pumpkin on social media. That said, pumpkin endures as a beloved symbol of the autumn season and a beloved flavor on the American holiday table. The earliest versions of sweetened pumpkin dishes were actually pumpkin shells that had been cleaned out and filled with ginger-spiced milk, then roasted by the fire. One of the first pumpkin recipes to come out of the United States appeared in 1672. John Josselyn included a pumpkin recipe in his book, “New-England Rarities Discovered.” The side dish recipe was made of diced ripe pumpkin that was cooked in a pot slowly over the course of a day. 50 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
Once finished, butter and spices were added, similar to our modern day mashed sweet potatoes. Pumpkin pie, that most iconic of pumpkin-flavored desserts, started to become associated with the Thanksgiving holiday in the 1800s. Throughout the years, our love for pumpkin desserts has continued to grow. Today more than 50 million pumpkin pies are baked annually. Pumpkin pie will always be a classic, but now we can choose from an array of pumpkin-flavored treats that fill grocery store shelves and bakery displays in autumn. I developed the following recipe for Thanksgiving, using my Pumpkin Spice Cake (a favorite on my website) as a base. I swapped out raisins for sweetened dried cranberries – aka “craisins” – and walnuts. I used the resulting batter for cupcakes, then topped them with homemade cinnamon cream cheese frosting. This recipe would make a terrific Thanksgiving option for folks who want something pumpkin-y, but aren’t into the whole gooshy pie thing. Feel free to substitute a simple powdered sugar drip-glaze, or forgo the frosting entirely, to make this recipe dairy-free.
PUMPKIN CRANBERRY CUPCAKES INGREDIENTS: ¾ cup sugar ¼ cup brown sugar ½ cup vegetable oil 2 eggs 1 cup pumpkin puree 1 tsp vanilla 1 cup flour 2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp allspice ¼ tsp nutmeg ¼ tsp ginger Pinch of ground cloves ½ cup dried sweetened cranberries (craisins) ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS: ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature 1 lb. (about 4 cups) confectioner's sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1 ¼ tsp cinnamon 1-2 tsp milk, or as needed
You will also need: Cupcake tin, cupcake liners, electric mixer Yield: 12 cupcakes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk together sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, pumpkin puree and vanilla until well blended. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves with a fork until well blended. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix together until blended. Do not overmix. Fold the dried sweetened cranberries and chopped walnuts into the batter. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Distribute the batter in equal amounts between the 12 cupcake liners, filling each one about 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes at 325 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the thickest cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan to room temperature before frosting.
Kosher Key: Dairy
Make the frosting while the cupcakes are cooling. Cut the butter and cream cheese into chunks and place in a bowl. Make sure they are as close to room temperature as possible. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and 1 tsp milk. Use electric mixer to beat together the ingredients until well combined and fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar a cupful at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl periodically, until the mixture forms a thick frosting. If the consistency is too thick, add milk ½ tsp at a time and beat until soft and spreadable. Frost the cupcakes. Make sure the cakes are room temperature before frosting. I use a piping bag and cupcake frosting tip to make them look pretty. If you are not serving frosted cupcakes the same day, store them in the refrigerator to keep fresh. If you don’t use frosting, they will keep at room temperature for a couple of days. A
Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 51
||| THEATER |||
r Hanna o f k u b b y D “The
h and Sam
at the San ’s Wedding”
BY PAT LAUNER
t’s my favorite play,” says Todd Salovey of S. Ansky’s 1914 masterwork, “The Dybbuk.” “It captures everything I love about theater. I think it’s unabashedly spiritual, and the logic of the play is spiritual logic. It’s the idea that a promise made between two friends that’s broken can have a devastating effect on their children’s lives. It’s about a wrong that has to be righted.” “The Dybbuk” was also the first play Todd ever directed at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, where he’s now the associate artistic director and artistic director of the Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival. Based on the story of Ansky’s timeless tale, Todd has written his own play, which he’ll direct starting this month, called “The Dybbuk for Hannah and Sam’s Wedding” (San Diego Rep, 11/23-12/18). Ansky: activist and ethnographer S. Ansky is the pseudonym of Solomon Zanvel Rappoport (1863-1920), a Russian Jewish author, playwright, ethnographer and political/social activist. In 1911, Ansky organized a large-scale ethnographic expedition to gather Jewish folklore, songs, melodies, manuscripts and books. His fieldwork was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I, but he took that time to write about the destruction of the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. Also during this period, in 1914, he wrote his most famous work, the classic Yiddish 52 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
drama, “Der Dibek,” “The Dybbuk,” which drew on Jewish mystical folklore. He didn’t live to see it staged. The first production, in Warsaw, took place two months after the writer’s death; it was published the next year. “The Dybbuk” has been translated into many languages, and is still being produced around the world, having been adapted many times, as plays, operas, ballets and symphonic suites. And now, a new work by Todd Salovey. The original play was an expressionistic drama in four acts. Originally titled “Tsvishn Tsvey Veltn” (“Between Two Worlds”), which became the subtitle when it was published, the drama was based on the mystical concept, from Hasidic folklore, of a disembodied human spirit that, because of former sins, wanders restlessly until it finds a haven in the body of a living person. The plot centers on a young woman, Leah, who on the day of her wedding is possessed by a dybbuk. This proves to be the spirit of Khannon, a young hasidic scholar, her first love, who died upon learning of her betrothal to another man. Their fathers had promised them to each other when they were children. But then, Leah’s father decided she should be married to a wealthier man. The dybbuk, which can only be expelled by exorcism, at first refuses to leave Leah’s body. Eventually, during an exorcism, he’s persuaded to go. In the end, Leah dies, and her soul and Khannon’s rise and are united
forever. “It’s a beautifully romantic story,” says Todd, “about a pure and passionate love between two young people who are only able to come together after life. “It’s also about social justice. A promise is broken because a father wants his daughter to marry someone from the right social class. It’s woven from folktales, from mystical stories, from a supernatural story about possession. It’s one of the most influential stories. Every story of possession since it was written pays a debt to ‘The Dybbuk.’” When he directed a large, full-scale production of the play in 1993 (after having served as the Rep’s casting director and literary manager for three years), Todd “tried
to capture the beauty and the spirit. You walked into the theater and immediately felt that you were in a different world.” He thoroughly succeeded. It was a stunning production, in every sense of the word. “Since grad school [at UC San Diego], it had always been my dream play,” says Todd. “And my first production of it gave birth to the Rep’s relationship with the San Diego Jewish community. The very next year, the Jewish Arts Festival was started. “It’s the root of my work as an artist.” He doesn’t direct often, but asserts that “every play I direct is a play I love, something that touches me inside. I direct because I become possessed with a story. It’s a communion of story, my gut response, and sharing that response with a roomful of people.” There was another impetus for his newest work. “Back in the 1980s when my brother, and then a cousin, got married, a family member popped out of the crowd, got onstage and started to do a long, rambling toast, somehow trying to make the event his own.” In Todd’s adaptation, which he describes as “a romance, a comedy, a drama and a Hasidic story,” the setting is a wedding, and the audience serves as guests. “And I thought, ‘What if that Jewish uncle is really impressed that these young Millennials bucked the trend of their time and want to make a long-term commitment?’ He wants to tell the story of what happens when a promise is broken, and he gets possessed by that idea.” One more element drove this adaptation: Todd wanted to create a solo piece for the mega-talented chameleon Ron Campbell, who has “an amazing ability to create and transform himself into various characters, with just a look, a gesture, an attitude, to tell a complicated, multi-character story.” Ron, a master comic, actor and clown (he spent more than six years traveling the world with Cirque du Soleil’s “Kooza” show), had done this unique multi-character balancing act in his one-man performances of “A Tale
of Two Cities” (at the SD Rep, 1991) and “The 1000th Night” (at North Coast Rep, 1999), a Holocaust-era riff on “The Arabian Nights.” There was yet one more impulse and inspiration for Todd in creating this piece. He had worked closely with Yale Strom in the past. The gifted violinist, composer, filmmaker and writer “captures the Jewish yearning and history in his violin,” according to Todd. “He’s an ethnologist, just like Ansky.” Since 1981, Yale has conducted extensive
Todd’s adaptation, which he describes as “a romance, a comedy, a drama and a Hasidic story,” the setting is a wedding, and the audience serves as guests. field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, exploring the music and culture of the Jewish and Roma communities. He’s now one of the world’s leading scholar-ethnographer-artists of klezmer music and history. “Yale had the chutzpah and moxie and drive to go into these communities, and then to start a band that played Eastern European music,” says Todd. “I’m so glad that he’s not only composing for this new work, but he’ll also be playing in it. And I’m thrilled that many people will discover Yale for the first time through this piece.” A consummate storyteller, and a story within a story In his play, Todd explains, the evening “starts out as a toast from Uncle Jerry to the bride
and groom, Hannah and Sam. He gets up while one of those wedding videos is playing, with some soppy background music like ‘You Are the Wind Beneath My Wings.’ Jerry interrupts it and calls the band up. ‘Would it kill you to play something Jewish?,’ he asks. And they launch into Hava Nagila. ‘That’s not Jewish,’ says Jerry, ‘it’s cliché.’ So they play ‘L’Chaim’ from ‘Fiddler,’ and then ‘The Way We Were.’ Finally, they play something from the depths of the Jewish soul.’ “The conceit is that Jerry doesn’t know he’s going to tell this story,” says Todd. “He gets swept away by the spirit of the moment, and he begins to tell the story of ‘The Dybbuk.’ He also has something he’s looking for in the telling of it. He’s also haunted.” As Northern California-based performer Ron Campbell (né Rosen; his father was Jewish) sees it, “everyone’s got that crazy uncle. Maybe he doesn’t have kids, or he’s just quirky. When we first started working on developing the play, it started out that Jerry was just telling the story to the newlyweds to illustrate the importance of keeping to your vows. Then we find that Jerry has a dybbuk of his own – or maybe he was a dybbuk. It’s a real mind-bender! “This is as close to an immersive theater experience as you can get,” says Ron. “The audience is thrust into the role of wedding guests, the band is still there, people are tipsy, Jerry gets a bit drunk, and he realizes, in a clever way, that he has to tell this story – not only for them, but for himself. The original story was about redemption, and that’s what Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 53
he’s seeking.” To Ron, “there is no bad guy, no mustache-twirling here. Khannon has been promised to Leah; he has every right to be there. The exorcism rebbe is not as strong as he used to be. Leah’s father broke the oath, but he only wanted what he thought was best for his daughter. “The 70-year-old rebbe calls upon a dead man as a witness in the trial he stages. The rebbe is translating from the ‘real world.’ As the saying goes, ‘The dead are living in the real world. Our world is an illusion.’ I’ve found that non-Jews are really touched by that. “There’s a series of smaller broken vows, in addition to the big one,” Ron continues. “All the big explosions happen right onstage – and the exorcism. There’s a metaphorical exorcism and a real one. It’s very exciting.
“It’s woven from folktales, from mystical stories, from a supernatural story about possession. It’s one of the most influential stories.” “At the center of all this, there’s Jerry – a modern guy, my age. He’s me, basically. He escapes into the story but has to pop back into his own life and face his own demons.” To make all this happen, Ron has to switch back and forth among 18 characters. “It’s a rubbing-your-stomach and scratching-your-head kind of thing,” he chuckles. “But we wanted it to be true to ‘The Dybbuk.’ We didn’t want it to be some kind of showoff thing, where I play a bunch of characters. I’ve done that. I want this to be something more meaningful. “Jerry has some strong issues about his deceased brother that I relate to,” Ron admits. “I have two brothers – one close, one estranged. I see both sides – what it’s like to have, and not to have, a brother. I’m just there in front of all my relatives, telling my truth. It has a confessional quality. I have to make it colloquial in a way that fits my mouth. Todd is so good at keeping the truth of the source. “We have a really nice working relationship,” Ron says of his collaborations with Todd. What I prize in a director is courage. It took guts to take on ‘The Dybbuk.’ He’s very trustable, and he trusts me.” One thing Ron has learned from his experiences with multi-character shows is that, when the director gives him notes on all the characters at once, he gets “overwhelmed. So we’ve learned to give notes to each of the characters. It’s a schizophrenic process, but it works.” According to Ron, playing many characters “is really a fugue. I’m inside it. I know just how many words or syllables a character can say before I can switch to another character.” But outside of technique, there’s this story. “It gets to me every time,” says Ron. “It’s not something I have to act or summon. There’s something about this piece. It’s stories within stories. Ancient and modern. And timeless.” A “The Dybbuk for Hannah and Sam's Wedding” runs at the San Diego Repertory Theatre from Nov. 23-Dec. 18. Tickets and information: (619) 544-1000; sdrep.org.
54 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
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David Ellenstein on Neil Simon, “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” and playing Max Prince BY NATALIE JACOBS
he North Coast Repertory Theatre continues this month with what many consider to be Neil Simon’s funniest play ever. In the Solana Beach theater’s production of “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” its own artistic director David Ellenstein plays Max Prince, Simon’s creative depiction of his former boss Sid Caesar. Ellenstein is joined on stage by an ensemble cast of eight other characters who also represent some of the biggest (and Jewiest) names in the early days of comedy. I spoke with Ellenstein when he was just one week into rehearsals for “Laughter on the 23rd Floor.” Here he shares stories of childhood memories watching “Your Show of Shows” with his dad, his personal history with Neil Simon plays, and how he knew he’d be perfect for the role of Max Prince.
San Diego Jewish Journal: How are you preparing for the role of Max Prince? David Ellenstein: Max Prince is based on Sid Caesar and I grew up a huge Sid Caesar fan having had my dad introduce me to “Your Show of Shows,” which was Sid Caesar’s show, when I was probably 8 or 9 years old. They had released something called “10 from Your Show of Shows” which was 10 of the funniest episodes, as a feature film, and my dad took my sister and me and my brother to see it when we were kids and I’ve loved it from them on. So I’ve known Sid Caesar forever. I’ve also done a lot of Neil Simon plays so this is a combination of both. Because Neil Simon, his first big job was as a writer for “Your Show of Shows,” the play is based on his experience as a writer, writing in this room with all these insane crazy people who turned out to be some of the greatest comedy writers we’ve ever had in America. SDJJ: When you were watching “Your Show of Shows” as a kid, were you aware of Neil Simon as a writer? DE: I might have been aware of The Odd Couple because I saw the movie when it came out. I was probably, gosh, 10 or 11. Until Simon’s play “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” came out, I didn’t know that Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, later Woody Allen, were all writers for Sid Caesar. I had no idea about that until probably about ’88 when “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” came out, I never even thought about it.
David Ellenstein plays Max Prince in the North Coast Rep production of Neil Simon's funniest play ever, "Laughter on the 23rd Floor."
SDJJ: By that time had you already had experience with Neil Simon plays? DE: Yeah, I had. I had seen lots of them. I had acted in a couple of them. I acted in the play “Broadway Bound” when it was a new play. I played the brother who’s really Danny Simon, Neil’s brother. “Broadway Bound,” “Brighton Beach Memoir” and “Biloxi Blues” are all kind of auTishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 55
Omri Schein (on the couch), David Ellenstein (in skivvies) Christopher M. Williams (with cigarette), Amanda Sitton, and Phil Johnson (orange tie). The show's run has been extended through Nov. 20.
tobiographical plays about his family and his experiences growing up. In fact, at the end of “Broadway Bound,” him and his brother had just gotten their first big job to go off and write for what is essentially “Your Show of Shows” because both Danny and Neil were writers on it, that was their first big job. So it’s funny how he wrote right up to that, “Broadway Bound,” and then a few years later he jumped ahead and wrote about what happened in that room. I like to say “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” is kind of a valentine written to that amazing group of people, the likes of which wouldn’t be seen again in one room. There were so many amazing dynamos who just went off and did so many amazing things. I mean Larry Gelbart went off and he created “M*A*S*H” and he wrote “Tootsie,” I mean tons and tons of stuff. Of course Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner did so many things. It’s kind of astounding to think that they were all throwing things in the pot together for several years. SDJJ: Once you saw “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” and it pulled back the curtain on how the show was getting made, did that change your appreciation for the show itself? DE: It just made me understand why I liked it so much, why it was so funny. I just knew that the cast was funny – Imogene Coca, Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner were all really funny people, and I knew the sketches were really funny but it made me understand why they were so funny. They didn’t just come out of people improvising, they came out of this amazing group of writers writing for these actors. SDJJ: When you were putting this season together for the North Coast Rep, did you know you wanted to play this role of Max Prince? DE: Yes, I picked the play with me in mind to act in it. I hadn’t been 56 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
on stage in two and a half years. I like to get back on stage every two to three years so it was time and I needed to find something that one, I was right for, and two, I would enjoy doing. This one just seemed like a natural, and then the trick was to surround myself with great people. Each of these roles is really a little gem in its own. I wanted to just have an amazing cast and I think we’ve got it. I think we’ve got some of the very funniest people in San Diego with the addition of some people from out of San Diego just to spice it up. SDJJ: Do you prefer to do comedy if you’re going to act? DE: No, I wouldn’t say that. I like both. I’d say probably if I’ve done a comedy last I, I probably want to do a drama next. I did “Chapter Two” last so in a funny kind of way my last role was in Neil Simon, it was the lead in “Chapter Two.” It’s a very different kind of role. I was playing a man who is in mourning for the death of his wife who encounters a new woman and it opens a different chapter in his life. So it’s a different kind of humor. Now I’m playing a very over-the-top, driven, neurotic, crazy man who just comes from a different place. So it’s a different approach. Next time I act I’m probably going to do a drama. I like both. And I like contemporary plays and I like classical plays. I’d love to do a dramatic classical play next time, that would probably be the biggest change for me. SDJJ: Why did you think you were great for this role? DE: Because I’m steeped in what it comes from, because I grew up steeped in this kind of comedy. My father knew some of these people. He and some of his friends – because I grew up in show business, my dad was in the business – so there were people in the business around our house, always telling jokes, always wise-cracking. It’s just part of the culture I grew up in. I know it so well. ... Also because I can be demon-
strative, and you need somebody that can be demonstrative to play this part. And I’m about the same size as Sid Caesar, and not too dissimilar. SDJJ: Do you see any parallels between how you run the North Coast Rep and how Max Prince runs his show? DE: I hope not. Max Prince is a wild card. Max Prince relies on the writers in the room that he trusts. Two of them in particular are sort of the wranglers that keep everybody in line so they don’t spin completely out of control. These people bounced off the walls, they threw things out the windows, they set things on fire, anything in the name of trying to come up with humor. Max was not the one who was going to stop them, he was joining in. Whereas I think at North Coast Rep my style is a little more gentle and a little more thoughtful. I hope so anyway. Max’s writing room in “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” is absolute chaos and out of the chaos they create this really funny stuff. And North Coast Rep actually runs really smoothly. We’ve figured out how to do things in an efficient way, where people don’t get to maxed out. SDJJ: When you’re acting in a show that’s directed by someone else, is it hard for you to let go of control and take suggestions? DE: Yes, I would say yes. I think I straddle that challenge pretty well. But I still do need to put my artistic director hat on when we’re finished with rehearsal and talk about the designs with the director and the designers, and talk about the practicality of doing things. So I do wear multiple hats. It’s also very hard for me, you know, as an actor, you take a break, you go outside, you grab something to eat, you have a cup of coffee, you chat with your colleagues. I tend to be up in my office checking emails because I’m running a theater. So it’s challenging that way, to put the focus where it needs to be as an actor. It’s a very specific kind of focus as an actor, and different from that of a director or an artistic director. I can come to work as an artistic director, and even as a director sometimes, grumpy, tired, somewhat disheveled and walk in and still do a good job. As an actor, I can’t do that. I have to be focused and clear and really pinpoint where my energy goes, otherwise I’m not going to do my best job as an actor. It’s a different skill, so that is tricky. SDJJ: How do you keep it sharp in between? I imagine that’s part of the reason you do it every couple of years. DE: That’s exactly why. Well, I’ve done it enough in my life. I was an actor primarily for 30 years. I did 150 plays as an actor. It’s not something you forget how to do. It only takes me the first week or two to get all the way on the bike. It’s something that I’ve done since I was young and something that I’ll do hopefully until I die. So I know how to do it. SDJJ: Do you agree that “Laughter” is Simon’s funniest? DE: It’s a wonderful play. It’s one of Neil Simon’s plays that gets done a lot and I would say that’s because it’s possibly the funniest play he ever wrote. It may not be – and I put a caveat on this, because almost all of his plays are really good because he’s a great craftsman – but some people say this may not be his absolute best play but a lot of them will say it may be his funniest play. I do [agree with that] because it completely works. It’s really funny. It may not have the heart...it’s not that it doesn’t have heart, it may not have as much heart as some of what I consider to be his masterpieces. Like I love the play “Broadway Bound” because it’s about him leaving home to go out into the world and about his parents’ break-up. That one may have more heart. It’s not as consistently funny as “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” but it may have a deeper resonance. I’m saying this as a caveat that I still think “Laughter” is a marvelous play, it’s got so many merits to it, but if I listed all my favorite Neil Simon plays it might come in third. I just think of “Broadway Bound” because I was in it twice and I directed it once and I know how deep it goes. This is a different play, it’s a more farcical play than that. A
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'? WHAT S GOIN '? ON ?? San Diego Symphony
The San Diego Symphony will continue its fall season Nov. 1113 with conductor Johannes Debus leading the orchestra for a concert dubbed “Rachmaninoff and Mozart.” Pianist Joyce Yang will perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2. The program will include a Mozart Symphony and a work by Charles Griffes. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9 from the New World” on Nov. 18, led by Maestro Cristian Macelaru. “Diego el Cigala, Master of Flamenco,” is headed to Symphony Hall on Nov. 19. The man known as the “Sinatra of Flamenco” will show off the Argentine tango tradition. Jazz afiPHOTO BY JIM COX cionados will want to catch “Count Basie Orchestra: Sinatra’s Jazz” at Symphony Hall on Nov. 26.
San Diego Opera
PHOTO COURTESY BROADWAYSD
BY EILEEN SONDAK
Catch "The Sound of Music" at the Civic Theatre Nov. 15-20.
The San Diego Opera Company will put on “Soldier Songs,” a gripping and realistic multi-media work that follows the perception of war from childhood to senior citizenship. “Soldier Songs,” adapted from interviews with veterans of five wars, will be performed at the Balboa Theater Nov. 11-13. Steven Schick will conduct this West Coast premiere, starring David Adam Moore. The production is the first in the company’s Detour Series, exploring smaller-scaled and lesser-known operas.
The Old Globe
San Diego Musical Theatre
The Old Globe’s regular season is over, but it’s time for Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to return to the Main Stage for its 19th year. The musical will run from Nov. 5 through Dec. 26 and it’s always a hit with the families from across the county.
La Jolla Playhouse
The La Jolla Playhouse’s highly anticipated world premiere of “Miss You Like Hell,” an effervescent new musical, runs at the Weiss Theatre until Dec. 4. The story takes audiences along on a road trip with a free-spirited Latina mother and daughter.
Cygnet’s pair of San Diego premieres by August Wilson – performed in rotating repertory – will end their run at the Old Town Theatre on Nov. 6. “Seven Guitars” takes place in 1948 in the backyard of a Pittsburgh tenement. “King Hedley II” – another important play by this acclaimed African-American writer – is a dramatic piece set in a world of gangs and broken families. Cygnet will continue its annual holiday tradition with a production of “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 22-Dec. 24. Sean Murray adapted and directs this Dickens classic.
58 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
Broadway-San Diego is bringing Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” to the Civic Theatre Nov. 15-20. San Diego favorite Jack O’Brien directs this touring production of the classic musical for its 40th anniversary run. Following on Nov. 29, is “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” a landmark American musical that was described as “groundbreaking and ahead of its time.” The popular rock musical will continue on the Civic Theatre stage through Dec. 4 San Diego Musical Theatre’s annual production of “White Christmas” will make its welcome return – this time on the stage of the Spreckels Theatre. You can enjoy the holiday bonbon Nov. 25-Dec. 4.
San Diego Repertory Theatre
San Diego Repertory Theatre will continue its run of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Disgraced,” through Nov. 13. “Disgraced” is about a Muslim who abandons his heritage in a quest for the American dream. Following on its heels, is a world premiere written and directed by the San Diego Rep’s own Todd Salovey – with original music by Yale Strom. “The Dybbuk for Hannah and Sam’s Wedding.” This tour de force, one-man show is based on the most celebrated play in Yiddish literature, S. Ansky’s “The Dybbuk” and will inhabit the Rep’s Lyceum home Nov. 23-Dec. 18. Ron Campbell stars in this new show (described as “mystically romantic”), and it sounds like a must-see. Read Pat Launers theater feature on “The Dybbuk for Hannah and Sam’s Wedding” on pg. 52 of this magazine.
North Coast Repertory Theatre
North Coast Repertory Theatre’s staging of Neil Simon’s “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” will continue to make audiences laugh in Solana Beach through Nov. 20. This delightful comedy, from one of America’s most
gifted playwrights, is a love letter to Simon’s early days as a writer for the Sid Caesar tv megahit, “Your Show of Shows,” and it abounds with the funny man’s side-splitting humor. Read an interview with David Ellenstein, the Rep’s artistic director who stars in the production, on pg. 55 of this magazine.
PHOTO COURTESY MALASHOCK DANCE
Lamb’s Players Theatre
City Ballet will unveil two world premieres during its upcoming concert at the Spreckels Theatre Nov. 4-6. “Bowed Piano” is a contemporary piece by Elizabeth Wistrich, and “Treatment” is an intimate examination of troubled minds. They will join “Esmeralda and the Hunchback” (choreographed by Mark Schneider and inspired by the Victor Hugo novel) and “Raymonda Variations,” a classical ballet that showcases the artistry of the ensemble.
The Lamb's concludes its season with a production of “Equivocation.” The show – described as funny, moving, and highly theatrical – will remain at the Lamb’s Coronado home through Nov. 20. Robert Smyth San Diego Ballet is part of the crackerjack ensemble cast. San Diego Ballet will perform “Joplin and Firebird” at the Lyceum Theater Nov. 18-20. “Firebird” is an ancient tale of a magical bird, but Moxie Theatre it has a contemporary twist in this dance, and “Joplinesque” features Moxie Theatre is ready to open “The Kid Thing,” by Sarah Gubins. the syncopated sounds of hip-hop. The show – which revolves around two lesbian couples at a dinner party – is funny and clever. It will be performed at Moxie’s El Cajon San Diego Museum of Art Blvd. home Nov. 13-19. The San Diego Museum of Art is highlighting two interesting exhibitions through Dec. 31. “German Expressionism” – featuring paintings, Malashock premieres new choreography Nov. 3-13. drawings, and prints by leading 20th century avant-garde artists (including Max Pechstein), is on view along with “Art of the 20th Century” – showcasing works from the museum collection.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art features “Papel ‘Chicano Dos Works on Paper from the Collection of Cheech Marin” at the downtown facility through Nov. 27, along with “For DeLIMITations: A Survey of the 1821 U.S.-Mexico Border,” Ruben Ochoa: Watching, Waiting, Commiserating,” and “Moris: Beautiful Landscape 7.”
Fleet Science Center
The Fleet is showcasing “The Art of the Brick.” This popular exhibition just opened in San Diego and features artistic creations made of LEGO pieces, and will stay put until Jan. 30, 2017. The Fleet Science Center will add "Extreme Weather" to is IMAX film roster, showing in rotation among existing favorites “A Beautiful Planet," “National Parks Adventure,” and “Jerusalem” which explores one of the world’s oldest and most beloved cities – and it should be a must see. Benedict Cumberbatch narrates. Malashock Dance Company Malashock Dance will perform “Signatures II” Nov. 3-13 at the company’s studio. The program will feature the world premiere of Timken Museum of Art Malashock’s “yKnot” – a twisting journey through a wide-ranging The Timken Museum of Art will celebrate the San Diego Zoo’s Cenmusical and emotional landscape. Also on the program is a trademark tennial Anniversary with an animal-themed exhibition. “Blessed Beasts favorite, “Shadow of Mercy,” with choreography by Malashock and and Curious Creatures” will be on view through Dec. 11. lyrical imagery by Leonard Cohen. Modern dance buffs will not want to miss this thrilling concert!
Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 59
By Natalie Jacobs
“Allied” Brad Pitt may be embroiled in a bitter divorce and custody battle with longtime partner Angelina Jolie, but starting this month he couldn’t be more in love with Marion Cotillard. The two star in “Allied” which could be considered the World War II version of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” – the film where Pitt and Jolie were rumored to have started their love affair (while Pitt was still with actress Jennifer Aniston). I’m not saying that’s what happened this time around for Pitt, just that this is an incredible case of cosmic timing that I couldn’t help but point out. In “Allied,” Pitt plays Max Vatan, an intelligence officer who meets French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard) in North Africa in 1942 on a deadly mission. Their passionate love affair is threatened when the mind games of war make them each unsure of whom to trust. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, “Allied” is out Nov. 23.
“Sand Storm” The Academy Awards are still a few months away (February 26, 2017) but submissions from studios and countries have already been made. Israel’s entry is called “Sand Storm.” Writing for JTA, Tom Tugend explains that the film tilts on the relationship and tension between a mother and daughter. “The mother, Jalila,” writes Tugend, “is preparing for the arrival of the much younger woman who will be her husband’s second wife. The daughter, Layla, is studying Hebrew literature at nearby Ben-Gurion University and secretly meeting privately with a boy and fellow student who is adding to the taboo, from a different Bedouin tribe.” The Bedouins make up a very small sub-section of Israeli Arab society. Tugend notes there are only about 200,000 in the country. Though their struggles stem from unique circumstances of time, place and cultural beliefs, the film shows that at their heart, the problems are universal. “Wherever we have screened the film,” writer and director Elite Zexer told Tugend, “from Sundance to Korea, women have come to me afterwards to tell me ‘that’s me, that’s the way it was between my mother and me.’” Potential Academy Award recognition aside, this film has already received many honors at international film festivals. Including the 2016 World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. “My hope was just to make an honest picture about a little-known segment of Israeli society,” Zexer said to Tugend. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be so well received and move so many people.” The film is expected to show nationally this winter.
60 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
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Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 61
Chapman University’s Leatherby Libraries has purchased a perpetual access license to stream more than 53,000 hours of videotape testimonies of survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides. The archive, in a partnership with ProQuest and the Visual History Archive (VHA) of the USC Shoah Foundation, marks the first time these testimonies have been made available beyond the University of Southern California. The digital archive includes testimony from the Holocaust, Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, Nanjing massacre, Armenian genocide and Guatemalan genocide. Access to the digital archive and its searchable database is available through 24/7 live-stream to all Chapman University students, faculty, staff and researchers. The license subscription was substantially supported by Chapman’s Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education.
Diller Teen Awards Open for Applications The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards is now accepting applications for the 2017 grant. The program recognizes up to 15 Jewish teens each year, awarding $36,000 each for contributions in volunteer work and exhibiting exceptional leadership.
Attendees at this year's Jewish Federation Men's event, held on the greens at San Diego Jewish Academy.
Jewish Federation Celebrates Successful Men’s Event, Receives High Rating More than 1,000 men gathered on the field of the San Diego Jewish Academy in September for the annual Jewish Federation Men’s Event. More casual than in previous years, the focus was on beers, barbeque and Federation’s support of Israel and related programs around the world. Federation Board Chair Brian Tauber spoke about the sense of community that Federation creates for those looking to give back, and about the Federation’s connection to Israel and Jews worldwide. Noted journalist Bret Stephens, known for his nuanced writing about Middle East politics, was the event’s keynote speaker. Just following the Men’s Event, Federation received a prestigious four-star rating from the nonprofit watchdog site Charity Navigator for strong financial health, transparency and accountability.
Soille Hebrew Day Opens STEM Lab
Since 2007, the program has awarded more than $3 million to teens undertaking homelessness, bullying, poverty, hunger, health disparities and education among others important issues. Along with the awards, the Diller Family Foundation also runs the Diller Teens Fellows Program, an international leadership program for Jewish teens. To apply, visit dillerteenawards.org.
STEM students at Soille Hebrew Day.
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School is introducing a new groundbreaking science program in conjunction with a newly built, fully equipped STEM lab provided by funding and curriculum support from the Center for Initiatives for Jewish Education (CIJE). The lab’s flexible design can be adjusted both for small group discussion and large lab experiments.
“America needs scientists and engineers, just as it needs young men and women inspired by Jewish values and ideals,” said Head of School Rabbi Simcha Weiser. “Our new CIJE STEM lab and CIJE-Tech Middle School Program attracts new students to Hebrew day school, connecting them and their families to our San Diego Jewish community.” The CIJE-Tech Middle School program was started in 2015 to get students more interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It has been implemented in Jewish day schools across the country.
62 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
PHOTO BYLEETAL PHOTO
Chapman University Opens Stream of Holocaust Testimonial Archive
JFS Receives $35,000 Grant for Girls’ Program Jewish
Family Services of San Diego has been awarded a $35,000 grant by the Hadassah Foundation to support their Girls Give Back leadership program, in which San Diego teens learn leadership skills through volunteer work and service learning projects.
Aaron Lotzof and Yaniv Peretz visiting from Israel as part of the Adopt a Family soccer delegation.
Israeli Victims of Terror Find Respite on Soccer Trip to San Diego Six Israeli teenagers who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of terror attacks, recently visited San Diego with their soccer coach through the efforts of the Adopt a Family Foundation. The teens, from Sderot, in the western Negev, were able to tour the city and connect with local kids their own age. “Here they feel safe, although it sounds simple and obvious. For them to walk the streets without fear from missile is a lot,” their coach Yaniv Peretz said. “The boys got to experience and see places that they will never forget. This was truly a [once in a] lifetime chance and experience!” Adopt a Family will host its annual Holiday Boutique fundraiser on Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Morgan Run Restort Club. Proceeds from the event go to benefit further programming to support victims of terror in Israel.
“It is a tremendous honor for Jewish Family Service’s impactful Girls Give Back program to be recognized as a national leader in the development of young Jewish women,” said Shana Hazan, senior director at JFS. The yearlong program teaches girls about gender inequality while helping them build confidence and make friends with other Jewish girls. JFS also recently announced a new coordinator for the Girls Give Back program. Krizia Puig will focus this year’s program on using the visiual and performing arts to explore topics of privilege and oppression, beauty as a social construct, body politics, sexuality, reproductive justice, violence against women and technology.
Applications Now Open for Israel Teaching Fellowship The Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program is inviting Jewish college graduates between the ages of 21 and 30 to teach English in Israel next year. The 10-month program, a partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Education, Masa Israel Journey and the Jewish Agency for Israel, is subsidized by the Israeli government and includes training so no prior teaching experience is required.
"Too Big to Fail" by Art San Diego "Emerging Artist" William Feeney.
Art San Diego Returns to Balboa Park Art San Diego, held this year form Nov. 3-6, is a contemporary art show featuring more than 500 contemporary artists, exhibits, art labs, events and talks focused on art collecting. In its seventh year, the 2016 theme is [THRESHOLD] – standing at the precipice of what’s yet to come; perched on the brink of something extraordinary, expansive and ever evolving. Hosted at the Balboa Park Activity Center, the event is expected to attract more than 15,000 collectors.
The fellowship, which runs from August to June, aims to close the education achievement gap at schools that need special assistance through small group instruction and tutoring. The 20172018 fellowship class will be assigned to elementary and middle schools in various locations throughout the country. For more information and to apply, visit israelteachingfellows.org.
Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 63
torah Fun LECH LECHA 5777 HaShem commands Avram “go” from his land, relatives and father’s house to the land that He will show him. HaShem said He will bless Avram in many ways. Avram left with his wife Sarai, and nephew, Lot, and went to Canaan and then Eqypt. It became hard for Lot and Avram to travel together, so they went different ways: Lot to Sodom and Avram back to Canaan. HaShem promises the land of Cannan will be given to Avram’s descendants, who will be plentiful. Lot was taken captive and Avram went to battle and saved him. HaShem tells Avram that his descendants will be in a foreign land for 400 years. When Avram was 99 years old, HaShem appeared to him and made a covenant with him. As a sign of the covenant Avram had a circumcision and all the males in his house and future generations would have a circumcision on the 8th day. HaShem changed Avram’s name to Avraham and his wife’s name to Sarah.
spot the difference Which one is different? Hint: Avraham’s Offspring
CROSSWORD Complete the crossword by translating each Hebrew
word into English. Use the parsha reference for help. 1
2. ( נפל17:17) 4. ( נא12:13) 5. ( ּכוכבים15:5) 7. ( מאה15:13)
2 3 4
1. ( ברך12:2) 3. ( מזּבח12:7) 5. ( ּבן17:26) 6. ( זרע13:15)
Can you discover the Secret Message? Find and circle the bold, italicized words from the Torah summary in the Word Find. Write the unused Word Find letters in the spaces below to spell the Secret Message. Have Fun!
A H O U S R W O Y
S H B M A
E D N A
S M A
A M H S
A E W R
E N R V
S O D O M E
A S N W S A R A H A T
E R E
A M V N
A E O F
D A A T
H R E D
E G Y
T M Y
A N G
________ ___ ________ _____ ___ __ ___ ____
Hint: The second person in the Torah to have a milah
רע ÷ ט
ב - א
לה x ב
פ - מ
רה + צה
ת ÷ מ י
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת 400 300 200 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10
SELHYIMA ________ VAES ____
AITKZHCY ________ OEFYS _____
AVACYO _____ NVLUUEZ _______
Hint: Avraham’s descendants
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SYNAGOGUE LIFE Rosh Chodesh Gathering at Beth El Nov. 1, 6:30 p.m. 8660 Gilman Drive, La Jolla CA, 92037 Celebrate the New Moon, new friends and new spiritual connections. Details at cbe.org. Empty Nester Potluck at Ner Tamid Synagogue Nov. 4, 6 p.m. 15318 Pomerado Road, Poway CA, 92064 Hosted at Chuck and Debbi Gourley’s home. For details go to facebook. com/nertamidemptynesters. Mega Challah Bake at Tifereth Israel Synagogue Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m. 6660 Cowles Mountain Blvd., San Diego CA, 92119 Part of this year’s Shabbat San Diego, come join an unforgettable, spiritually uplifting evening where you will learn the art of making challah, the religious significance and beauty of the experience. To register go to shabbatsandiego.org. Left vs. Right: The Battle for Israel’s Soul at Congregation Beth Am Nov. 14, 6:30 p.m. 5050 Del Mar Heights Rd., San Diego, CA 92130 Jonathan S. Tobin, senior online editor and chief political blogger of Commentary Magazine, and J.J. Goldberg, editor-at-large of the Forward will debate critical issues concerning the State of Israel. Movie Night at Ohr Shalom Nov. 20, 6:45 p.m. 2512 Third Ave. San Diego CA, 92103
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WEEKLY CLASSES Adult Hebrew Classes at B’Nai Chaim Sundays, 9:45 a.m. 29500 Via Princesa, Murietta, CA 92563 Beginner and One Level Up from Aleph Bet. Details at bnaichaim.com. Mommy and Me at the Chabad Alef Center Mondays 10:30 a.m. 649 Sandy Ln., San Marcos, 92078 A great opportunity to meet other moms, share experiences and learn Jewish culture through music, dance, arts and crafts, etc. Each class costs $10. Go to alefcenter.com/mommy-me to register. *Interested in having your event featured? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are due by 15th of the month for the next issue.
Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 65
by Marnie Macauley
Plastic Surgery – yay or nay? As vanity is a concern among Jewish scholars, the issue of plastic surgery has undergone much “examination.” Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach’s (1920-1995) opinion sums up the consensus of most legal experts: surgery to allow someone to appear normal, and more importantly to view themselves as appearing normal is permitted. Even surgery for an appearance that makes one feel embarrassed is not an issue of vanity. The powerful message is the importance of relieving human suffering, physically and psychologically. But in a world where the norm is youth and beauty, are all of these renovations really kosher? my curls. I now adore my “quirk.” The Big THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER FACING UP Dear Marnie: I’m a 35-year-old female DEAR MARNIE: I just want your opin- Question here is “Does ‘Donna?’” This isn’t with a career I love in film production. I’ve always been fairly content with my looks, but lately I’ve noticed some sagging. I admit, I’ve thought of “doing some work.” When I told my mother, she threw a fit and basically called me “crazy!” Is she right? -Confused in California
MARNIE SAYS: Aw you sweet thing you. When do we cross the line between loving ourselves as G-d made us, and buying into the trendy idiocrasy of “love me, love my implants” you ask? I’ll make it simple: Ask yourself the following to find out if it’s the healthy voice that’s nudging you on, or dark demons that can’t be exorcised with a little lop. Are these “hanging things” hurting your chances to move forward in life? Be honest, are you saying you want to look your personal best, or someone else’s? Whether your “ideal” comes from mags with air-brushed size 2 cover nymphets or you see Cruella de Ville in the mirror (body dysmorphic disorder), you could change every strand of your physical DNA and you’ll still “see” Cruella. Ask yourself, is the issue real or demon-driven? It could be that your esteem was the Original soul-sucker. Before you start fooling with knives, know what’s stabbing through your precious self-esteem. And the demon is deeper than a frown line. Like most things in life, the difference between affirmative “makeovers” and makeover madness is balance, harmony and heavy-duty reality. 66 SDJewishJournal.com l November 2016
ion, even though I know there’s nothing I can do. My niece was born with a severe facial disfigurement. It causes other kids and strangers to stare. She’s 13 years old now. My sister (her mother) is very testy about it. Only once did I open up the subject. When I mentioned surgery, she said, very strongly, “I want ‘Donna’ to know that appearance doesn’t matter. She should be loved for who she is, not what she looks like!” My sister has always been a “free spirit.” Now that “Donna” is getting older, I’m sure this must be causing her pain. Am I being superficial about this? – Seeking Second Opinion
MARNIE SAYS: No. Now, before all my readers get on me for being shallower than an omelet pan, of course children should be loved whether they’re sporting tiaras (OY) or resemble Cyrano. But, I’m ticked. Since you asked, I’ll let it fly. Buckle up. Or maybe I should. The whole “we love her for what’s inside” to build values is commendable – unless the impairment is so severe the costs are: - soul scars from feeling unwanted, shunned, bullied, teased, or tormented by others in the universe. - way fewer life ops. Yet another value is giving our child a fair shot at options – in careers, relationships, and in life. - missing other medical issues that may accompany her odd appearance. If “normal” (in dress, hair, and the like) were the goal, I’d be so bored I’d hot-wire
about a Mama who wore love beads and tiedied the word “Peace” on her bell-bottoms. It’s about a child who is being stared at, and perhaps bullied or shunned. How does “Donna” feel and deal with her difference? Assuming she cares, mommy should get off her flower pot and get with the experts so her daughter doesn’t include “monstrous” in her self-description. If I sound ticked, I am! I’m deaf. While the pro deaf advocates have a right to sign their message, I would walk from Nevada to Newark to hear Prokofiev once again, to say something other than “Wha …? Wha …? at a party, and to notice an intruder just walked away with my precious Pez collection. My friend, we’re not talking about a 16-year-old who wants to take a half inch off of her thighs. Yes, it’s a long process. Yes, it’s painful. Yes, there’s some risk. These need to be weighed against the risks of a lifetime of torment. When a child’s hurting as a result of a severe, but possibly correctable problem, I say evaluate and do all you can to FIX IT. EARLY. While living with disfigurement may foster strength, in this daunting journey called life, aren’t there enough challenges without adding the potential for instant fear and longterm loneliness? A
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Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 67
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619.600.2531 | SOLANA BEACH, CA
© 2015 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.
email@example.com | www.drwarter.com
KORNFELD AND LEVY Certified Public Accountants 2067 First Ave., San Diego, CA 92101 Bankers Hill
p: 619.563.8000 f: 619.704.0206 firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Kornfeld Certified Public Accountant
Welcoming babies and families to San Diego’s Jewish Community ARE YOU EXPECTING A BABY OR DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS? Shalom Baby is an innovative program designed for San Diego families to celebrate the arrival of their Jewish newborns to affiliated, non-affiliated and inter-married families as a welcome to the San Diego Jewish Community.
To receive your Shalom BaBy BaSkeT and for informaTion conTacT: San Diego .............. Judy Nemzer • 858.362.1352 • email@example.com North County......... Vivien Dean • 858.357.7863 • firstname.lastname@example.org www.lfjcc.org/shalombaby • www.facebook.com/shalombabypjlibrarysandiego Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS, Mandell Weiss Eastgate City Park, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037-1348
Serving Cuban-American Food Est. 1976
NOW SERVING LUNCH AND DINNER Open Daily: 11am - 10pm
PALM SPRINGS (760) 325-2127 1596 N. Palm Canyon Drive • Palm Springs, CA 92262
JUDY NEMZER Shalom Baby/PJ Library Coordinator l
Direct Line: (858) 362-1352 E-mail: email@example.com www.lfjcc.org/shalombaby/littlemensches l
Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS 4126 Executive Drive • La Jolla, CA 92037-1348
Fabrics for Fashion and Home
Visit our Giant Store & Warehouse 907 Plaza Blvd. • National City
619- 477- 3749
9 locations in SD County Family Owned and Operated since 1953
Tishrei • Cheshvan 5777 | SDJewishJournal.com 69
Seacrest Foundation presents
Vintage2 017 39th Annual Women’s Auxiliary Gala
FEBRUARY 25, 2017
Hyatt Regency La Jolla
Join Gala Chairs Cindy & Larry Bloch for a magical evening “in the vineyard” to benefit the residents of Seacrest Village Retirement Communities Advance ticket pricing available before December 31, 2016 Tickets and sponsorship information at seacrestfoundation.org or call 760.516.2003
YOU’RE THE GUEST AT A WEDDING WHERE SPIRITS ARE CONSUMED… AND INVITED! Written & Directed by
Based on the play by S. Ansky Original Music Written & Performed by
YALE STROM Starring
RON CA MPBELL
NOVEMBER 23 - DECEMBER 18 IN THE LYCEUM SPACE
WINNER OF THE 2013 PULITZER PRIZE FOR DRAMA “SMART…SURPRISING…SHOCKING” New York Times
OCTOBER 20 - NOVEMBER 13 | ON THE LYCEUM STAGE BOOK TICKETS NOW! FREE PARKING WITH TICKET PURCHASE!
JANURARY 12 - FEBRUARY 12 | ON THE LYCEUM STAGE
619.544.1000 | SDREP.ORG | Lyceum Theatre | Horton Plaza
San Diego's Jewish book fair, Bob Dylan's Jewish summer camp, and Todd Salovey's Jewish production at SD Rep. Plus much more.