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wise @ May/Iyar-Sivan 2014/5774

An Invitation … from Rabbi Eli Herscher HOW DID WE ALL GET HERE? WHERE DID WE ALL COME FROM … for our Jubilee Celebration on June 1 at the Orpheum?


e was born and raised Jewish. And he’s African-American. He spent two years on a college and Kibbutz program in Israel. He’s a celebrated gospel singer, who combines that genre with Jewish lyrics, creating a new musical form called kosher gospel. That’s Joshua Nelson and he’ll be performing for our Jubilee celebration on June 1.

Her family’s roots are in Romania. She was born in Israel and served in the Israeli Army. But she still speaks Romanian with her husband and family. Today, Magda Fishman is an American Cantor. But she sings in a multiplicity of languages. And when she plays her trumpet, she transcends language. That’s Magda Fishman and she’ll also be with us at the Orpheum to help us celebrate our Jubilee on June 1. Continued on page 3

Inside: 2

President’s Message


Learn About FDR and the Jews


Celebrate Shavuot with Us

@Noteworthy A Message from Our President By Glenn Sonnenberg I have seen Fiddler on the Roof more times than I can remember. I’ve seen Zero Mostel as Tevye. I’ve seen Bernardi, Bikel, Topol, and Adler all do turns as Tevye. I’ve even seen my son as Tevye, alongside my niece as Hodol. It never gets old. And it never gets any better than it did last month at Stephen S. Wise.   In April, our Temple Executive Committee sped through our meeting, so that we could share in the joy of the final performance of our Wise School students performing Fiddler. The production was top-notch -- the kids were belting out the songs and acting their hearts out -- it was hard to believe these were elementary school students. Parents were beaming. Rabbis Herscher and Zweiback were kvelling. It was a night to remember.   It is times like these that remind us of the profound importance of community. For all the lamenting and studies about the future of the Jewish people, I can see that our next generation is in the good hands of our Wise School teachers and administrators. This magical evening comes on the heels of over 200 people celebrating Purim Saturday Night and over 1,000 attendees at our Purim Carnival at the Pier. I can’t help but think “only at Stephen S. Wise” can these sorts of events happen.     Then I think of what is “on deck” for us -- the Temple Jubilee Gala Concert at the iconic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, Havdalah in Your Neighborhood, opportunities to learn at the Temple and around the community, the sustainability conversation at the Pakravans’ home. The list goes on. Early April also saw the Freedom School enrollment process begin at two elementary schools in the valley. The kids and their families were clamoring for spots at the two Freedom School campuses this summer --one at Temple and the other at Milken Community Schools. Later in the month, dozens of 2 @wise

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high school students from Milken, but also Jewish kids from other schools around the city, will be interviewing to work at these Freedom Schools, putting their Jewish values to work to make our community a better place. Our Temple -- our community -- is special. We have been guided by wonderful clergy, administrators, and educators for the past 50 years. Filling the shoes of Senior Rabbi -- a position held by Rabbis Zeldin and Herscher since the inception of our Temple -- is a tall order. The job is complex, the responsibilities extensive, and the burden great. But opportunities abound in this special place, which serves as an example to other temples around the country. As we celebrate all these wonderful events, a dedicated team has been thinking about the future and working on the transition to a new senior rabbi.     After having interviewed representatives from a variety of constituencies of our Temple, the committee has formulated a job description, and the Board has restructured the Temple’s organizational structure. Interviews have been held with both internal and external candidates. We have sought out, and have received, the guidance of leaders in our local Jewish community and leaders throughout the Reform movement, all of whom have been generous with their time and thoughts. We have also sought and received the insights of many of you, our clergy, and our educators. We are making progress towards our goal, ever mindful of the importance of this work. We have received many expressions of love and admiration for our Temple and for our clergy. Everyone has an opinion and, frankly, all of these opinions are right. We are working hard to make the right choice. Let us all put faith that the Transition Committee and our Board have the wisdom to choose well a leader who can lead us all -- clergy, staff, and lay members of our community -- toward even greater heights.   As we celebrate all of the great events, and as we celebrate our Temple and our heritage, we will look forward to celebrating our first fifty years, the legacy of Rabbis Herscher and Zeldin, and the transition to a new senior rabbi, who will bring his or her own special mark to our Temple’s remarkable legacy.  

Serving as a lay leader in this Temple is both fulfilling and humbling. I am moved daily by the dedication of our administrative team, teachers, clergy, and lay leaders. They are heroes who work every day to secure our future, educate our children, and serve as the sustainers of our Stephen S. Wise community.   Thank you for your continuing support of our Temple. I look forward to seeing you at one of the many exciting events happening every day at this special place.   Warm regards,   Glenn

Wise 20s & 30s Travel to Baja on a Mission

By Bethany Spielberg, Wise School 2nd Grade Associate Teacher I have spent the past few days trying to put down words to describe the people I met, children I spent time with, and memories that will impact me forever, following my recent trip to Mexico with a group of 20s and 30s from our Stephen S. Wise Temple community. The trip was inspired by fellow Temple member Kimberly Kantor Pitson, orchestrated by Rabbi Ron Stern, and spearheaded by ChangeFire, a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of the estimated 76,000 orphans in Mexico through the development of sustainable and locally-led volunteer projects. Over the course of our two-day trip, we visited three different orphanages, where we learned so much – from how orphaned children are delivered to these homes to the incredible story of an American businessman who moved to Baja Mexico to create the

“Disneyland” of all orphanages – all the while connecting with some of the most beautiful children. It was incredibly moving to spend our weekend playing and laughing with children, who, months ago, joined the orphanages – abused, angry, and otherwise alone in this world. These resilient children now feel loved and safe due to the love and compassion of the families who welcomed them with open arms and open hearts. In an e-mail Rabbi Stern sent to all of us prior to leaving, he wrote: “this program came about because of the commitment of a number of people who are passionate about this kind of service to humanity…[I] invite you

to see Stephen S. Wise as a conduit for you to explore your own passions for community service. If you have a project that is particularly close to your heart, and you would like us to work with you to reach out to our community (and beyond) to increase the impact of your cause, please let us know.  This is the entire function of the Center for Social Justice Engagement (CSJE) – to use our collective talents, resources, and ingenuity to work for change in our world.” I’m grateful to the Temple for supporting this initiative, and hope that my story will inspire you to join us on a future trip to Baja or, like Rabbi Stern said, to take action on a project close to your heart.

Center for Jewish Life Presents the 3rd Graduating Class of the Melton School for Adult Jewish Learning On Tuesday, May 27 at 7 p.m., we will proudly host our third annual Melton Graduation service followed by a dessert reception. This special commemoration in the life of our community demonstrates our strong commitment to lifelong learning and to providing opportunities for Jewish growth. Our graduates (listed below) committed to a weekly, two-year program of Jewish study through our Melton School – one of the most comprehensive Jewish adult education programs offered in the United States and the world. Stephen S. Wise Temple is one of the largest and most successful Melton Schools in the country, and is due in large part to our community’s dedication and enthusiasm for Judaism. Mazal tov on this accomplishment! Marilyn Alper Linda Baum Jaye Eigler Louis Friedman Naomi Friedman Ges-Mari Gerber Bernie Goler Bonnie Goler Laurie Harbert Robin Kugler Mary Meadow Edward Meltzer

Susan Meltzer Bree Pessin Sheila Rosenberg Joel Saltzburg Lorraine Schrag Ronit Wertheim Penny Berns Cheryl Cohen Emily Corleto Carin Freeman Marci Glousman Debi Graboff Linda Greller

Corie Koss Eve Kurtin-Steinberg Carole Lazar Marjorie Markus Frank Ponder Debbie Priel Jose Reines Audrey Rosen Nancy Satenberg Irene Smith Felice Williams Sue Woznica

Rabbi Herscher’s Clergy Message – continued from cover They are children and teenagers ages 6-18. They’re choristers who sing a challenging, multi-lingual repertoire of amazing choral music. Their parents and grandparents came here from all over the planet. And they’ve performed all over the world, from Africa to Estonia, from China to Poland. But L.A. is their home. They’re the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. And they’ll be jubilating with us too. And then there’s our Wise School kids. Their families come from everywhere we Jews have lived on this earth, with roots in Central and Eastern Europe, and Iran, and Russia, and China, and Morocco, and Yemen, and Israel, and multitudes of other places. But they all ended up on our wondrous Stephen S. Wise Temple mountaintop. Our Jubilee would not be complete without their voices at the Orpheum on June 1. There’s also this young fellow who was born in Boyle Heights, whose grandparents arrived there from Bessarabia and Poland. He finally sang his way up to the mountains of Bel Air. He’s Cantor Nathan Lam, who will bring it all together on June 1. Mah Tovu! Those are the opening words of joyful song with which Jews greet every morning. How good!, we sing out. How good are your tents! Our Stephen Wise Temple is a very good, and very open and inclusive tent. It makes room for all of the places we’ve come from, with all of the varieties of unique music we bring with us and love to sing. The Stephen Wise open tent has welcomed everyone, and in so doing, we’ve nurtured an unparalleled creativity for these past 50 years, accomplishments in Jewish education, a strengthening of Jewish values, Jewish community and worship, aspirations and actions toward a just world, and always with a deep love and commitment to Israel. Mah tovu! How good is our open tent. We’re only 50! And there’s so much more to come! Our tent will be wide open on June 1 at the Orpheum Theatre. And it will be rocking. Enter the tent with us, so that you’ll really know what it feels like to be grateful, and hopeful, and blessed. 3

@Programs and Events


Celebrate and Learn with Wise Temple and School Leadership Tuesday, June 3 7 p.m. Shavuot recalls the giving of Torah – this year we’ll have a chance to touch the Ten Commandments through close-up, interactive learning, engagement with our Temple’s best adult teachers and intimate conversations about our traditions core ideas and ideals. Study with Rabbis Herscher, Woznica, Stern, Anderson, and Zweiback, Cantor Lam, our educators Tami Weiser, Andrea Gardenhour, Malka Clement, and Rabbi Karen Strok around tables for an authentic, deep, and invigorating Shavuot celebration.

End the evening with a traditional cheesecake dessert!


The Wise Years Adventure Continues


Torah Study with Rabbi Yoshi

Every Wednesday | 8:15 a.m.-9:15 a.m.

. Come whenever you are able to join us and be part of a conversation that Jews have engaged in midor l’dor - from generation to generation. We’ll take care of the coffee, just bring a heart thirsty for Torah.

Thu Fri

Morning Minyan

Every Thursday | 7:45 a.m. (when School is in session)


Kabbalat Shabbat Nosh

Thursday, May 15 Beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Every Friday | 5:30 p.m. Erev Shabbat Service Every Friday | 6:15 p.m.

Shabbat Morning Minyan Every Saturday | 10 a.m. Shavuot Yizkor Service

Wednesday, June 4 | 10 a.m. Plotkin Chapel

Join others, 60 years and better, at Stephen S. Wise Temple for a day of learning, lunch, and leisure each month from now through May. Mornings feature speakers on a wide range of timely and timeless topics. Following lunch together, afternoons offer a choice of discussions, classes, and games.

For more information and to register, visit

NFTY Spring Kallah May 16-18 | Camp Hess Kramer We are so excited to announce that our Temple will be hosting this year’s NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) Spring Kallah. Our Wise Temple Youth (WTY) will have an important role in home-hosting over 300 Jewish teens from all over Southern California for a weekend of Shabbat celebrations, Jewish learning, and community building. If you’re teen is interested in participating, register at

You’re Invited: Annual Congregational Board Meeting Tuesday, June 10 | 6 p.m. Taub Annex You’re invited to join the Board of Directors in reviewing the budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year at the annual Congregational Board Meeting. We hope to see you there!

FDR and the Jews Dr. Allan J. Lichtman Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Nearly seventy years after World War II, a debate lingers over the actions taken on behalf of the Jews of Europe by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In a new book, co-authored by Dr. Allan Lichtman, FDR and the Jews, the authors set out to define what FDR did and did not do in humanitarian efforts to rescue Jews facing Nazi persecution.

$15 4 @wise

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To register: or 888.380.WISE (9473)

@Noteworthy continued Cantor Lam to be Honored This Month Our very own Cantor Nathan Lam will be honored at the 67th Annual International Cantors Convention in Florida this month. He will be presented with one of the most prestigious awards given by the Cantors Assembly – The Gregor Shelkan Award for Mentoring and Education. Many in our congregation have benefitted first-hand from Cantor Lam’s mentoring and tutelage, which now our congregation and our people can enjoy. We are so proud that he will receive this honor for work that he does so effortlessly with such heart and soul. Please join us in wishing a hearty mazal tov to Cantor Lam on this wonderful accomplishment.

Help Children Reach Their Fullest Potential Through the Wise/ Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Partnership By Dan Rosenson, Temple Member and JBBBSLA Board Chairman The smiles on the children’s faces are priceless. Witnessing the positive impact our mentors make in the lives of Jewish children is what moves me to do what I do. I am privileged to be the Chairman of the Board of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA), an organization that matches Jewish children with caring adult Jewish mentors. For almost 100 years, JBBBSLA has provided free, professionally-supported, one-to-one mentoring to Jewish boys and girls who need a role model in their life. These relationships provide children with support and guidance, enabling them to explore their needs and interests through consistent outings with a dedicated, adult friend. As a longtime member of Stephen S. Wise Temple, I am so excited that we have joined forces with JBBBSLA to care for children in our community. This partnership began last year, when my wife, Linda, and I, hosted a cocktail party at our home for Wise

congregants interested in volunteering for JBBBSLA. Members of our Temple community joined us, and Temple member and Past President Ken Gross has stepped forward to work with Rabbi Stern, Rabbinic Intern Beni Wajnberg, and the Wise Center for Social Justice Engagement to engage more of our members as “bigs”. I am passionate about mentoring because of the long-term impact these relationships have on a child’s life. Please join me, Ken Gross, and the CSJE on our mission to find mentors to help Jewish children reach their fullest potential. If you would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer or getting a mentor for your child, please call 310.889.2269, e-mail wisejbbbs@wisela. org, or check out the JBBBS website at You can also contact Ken Gross directly at 310.458.1098 or

Jubilee Gala Concert Performer Spotlight – Joshua Nelson Next month, on June 1, we will culminate our Jubilee year with a Gala Concert at the Orpheum Theatre featuring some of the Jewish world’s top performers, including our very own Cantor Nathan Lam. In the April @wise, we shared Magda Fishman’s story, and now, we want to introduce you to another extraordinary musician and performer with an incredibly story – Joshua Nelson: When he was eight, Joshua Nelson discovered an album by Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel, in his grandparents’ record collection, and he fell in love with her singing. During his teens and early twenties, he became widely celebrated as a gospel singer continuing the Jackson legacy. Born and raised Jewish, he continued

studies of Judaism, including two years on a college and kibbutz program in Israel, clarified his understanding that throughout history, Jews had always integrated Jewish law and religious practices with the cultural context in which they lived; for example, as Nelson points out, any ethnic style of cuisine can be Jewish if it is kosher. Upon his return from Israel, Nelson began to apply this understanding to music, beginning what has been called “a revolution in Jewish music” by combining Jewish liturgical lyrics with one of America’s best-known indigenous musical forms; thus kosher gospel music was born. For Joshua Nelson, kosher gospel is a way to claim both parts of his identity as a Black Jew. For his audiences, whatever their faith or heritage, kosher gospel has been a revelation. Now in his early thirties, Nelson has performed around the world, for Presidents, congregations, major music festivals – and for Oprah, who named him a “Next Big Thing.” He was also named by Time Magazine as one of the Top Stars of New Jewish Music. Whatever the venue, Joshua Nelson, the Prince of Kosher Gospel, brings people – and cultures – together in joyous song.

Welcoming Our New Members What does it mean to be “an open tent”? How do we welcome our new members? For the past two years, Silvia Benun and her team of volunteers has called, met with, and hosted our new members. The “New Member” committee is an important group of volunteers who have introduced opportunities to get to know our new members, familiarize them with the Temple staff, and connect them with our Clergy. We thank Silvia for her leadership, and welcome Alison Kronenberg who will carry this work forward. If you would like to be a part of this important effort please contact Alison at


The congregation extends its sincere appreciation for these generous contributions

MAZAL TOV Sheryl and Jerry and Janet and Jonathan and family on the birth of their grandson, Jennifer on the birth of her nephew, Avery, Harper, and Gavin on the birth of their cousin, Rose and Jack on the birth of their brother, and to Kendra and Jason on the birth of their son, Max Jedi Marcylee and Earl and family on the birth of their grandsons, Michael Jeffrey and Jayden Steven

CONDOLENCES the family of Sol Goldstein Janet and Jonathan Bernstein and family on the loss of his mother, Jennifer Smith on the loss of her grandmother, and to Avery, Harper and Gavin on the loss of their greatgrandmother, Toni (Hortense) Bernstein Susan and Jonathan Dolgen and family on the loss of his mother, Tamar Dolgen and Sergio Bicas on the loss of her grandmother, and to Moises and Lilah on the loss of their greatgrandmother, Selma Dolgen Rabbi Lydia and Rabbi Dan Medwin and family on the loss of his grandfather, and to Zimra and Gavriel on the loss of their greatgrandfather, David Brand Ruth Pelter on the loss of her brother-in-law, Sam Pelter Nancy Norris and family on the loss of her husband, Ira Rhonda and Loren Sokolow and Debra Sokolow on the loss of their mother, and to Zachary, Alexa, and Tyler on the loss of their grandmother, Marge Sokolow The sympathy of the congregation is extended to the families of Sol Goldstein Ira Norris May God grant peace to all who mourn and comfort the bereaved families


SOCIAL JUSTICE FUND IN MEMORY OF: Stanley Grinstein, by Lori and Rob Goodman and family

LESLIE SHELDON ZOLA SCIENCE SCHOLARSHIP FUND IN HONOR OF: the marriage Joey and Tom Zameck, by Sheila Burman and Dick Laurence

IN MEMORY OF: Milt Burman, by Sheila Burman


LIFELONG LEARNING ENDOWNMENT IN MEMORY OF: Minoo Khalili, by all family and friends



YAHRZEIT FUND: IN MEMORY OF: Pearl Winard, by Bobbi and Joel Scherr Mustapha Isrissi, by Yasmina, Alan, Rachel and William Joelson and Suzanne Chassaigne Ruth Kaplan, by Jill Winner and family

Robert Linden, by Linda and Jeff Linden

Sam Faber, by Marilyn and Ron Spencer and family

Benjamin Krasnow, by Joyce and Paul Krasnow Family

Anne Ackerman, by Barbara and Richard Ackerman

Sam Faber, by Loretta and Warren Appel

Martin Otelsberg, by Wendy Jerry, Michelle, Scott, Emily and Charlotte Otelsberg

Bernard Schainsinger, by Gloria and Ron Gurvitz and family

SUMMER CAMP SCHOLARSHIP FUND IN MEMORY OF: Jacob Machlin, by Ada and Ray Pivo Our Clergy want to assure their availability to our member families during times of loss. Please contact the Temple first before setting a funeral time. 6 @wise

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Send details of your simchas to: to be included in our Mazal Tov list by the 15th of each month, six weeks prior to publication. To send a tribute: Call Bea Dubman at 818.342.3497 or you may give online at

@B’nai Mitzvah Mazal tov to our B’nai Mitzvah and their families celebrating their simhas in May. May 3 – Emor

May 24 – Bamidbar

11:30 a.m. – Alexis, daughter of Azita and Jack

9:30 a.m. – Isadora, daughter of Katie and Bill

3:45 p.m. – Brent, son of Deanna and Darryl

11:30 a.m. – Chad, son of Silvia and Brant

May 10 – Behar

3:45 p.m. – Gabriel, son of David and Sam

11:30 a.m. – Tara, daughter of Elana and Raymond

May 31 – Naso

5 p.m. - Allison, daughter of Suzanne and Dean

11:30 a.m. – Ethan, son of Sabrina and Kamran

May 17 – Bechukotai

3:45 p.m. - Darielle, daughter of Rachel and Robert

11:30 a.m. – Daniella, daughter of Nadia and Hercel 3:45 p.m. – Gregory, son of Kathy and Leonid









Picture Not Available Gabriel



Casiano Catering & Events Say, “I do” with Casiano Catering 310.476.7394 CasianoCatering CasianoCatering 7

feel the energy feel the rhythm Join us as we bid farewell to Rabbi Lydia Medwin at a very special

and Dinner in her honor Friday, May 16 6:30 p.m. Shabbat Dinner 8 p.m. Service Immediately followed by our signature Dessert Oneg

To register for the dinner, visit

15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive Los Angeles, CA 90077-1520 310.476.8561 |


May 2014 @wise  
May 2014 @wise  

Stephen Wise Temple's monthly publication