Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bye and thanks for all the Gefiltefish!

Dear Readers,

I have decided to take a bow and say goodbye as one of the "staff" contributors of JewniProj. I have enjoyed my time blogging on the SC scene and would like to thank G-Squad for the opportunity to be a founding member of his team.

It is clear that the blog is changing (no new posts in over a month). As I move farther and further away geographically and chronologically, and even spiritually, from UCSC and S. Cruz, I feel that I have less to contribute that may be relevant for this blog's intended audience, and also wish to explore other themes and topics for which this blog is less suited.

So goodnight SC, we love you!

Fedora Black

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Emergency Campaign for Burned Child in Tzefas

I recieved the following email from the Nechal Novea Tsfat Fund:

Rabbi Binyamin Rosenberg, director of Eizer L'Shabbos, has called out to all "rachamonim bnei rachamonim" to come to the aid of an American family now living in Tzefas, whose ten year old son Akiva Shimon ben Doba was severely burned during bi'ur chometz near his home in the Ma'or Chaim apartment complex, when a youth with behavioral issues threw a can of turpentine into the fire.

Akiva Shimon – who was standing farthest away from the bonfire – was hit directly by the explosion, and received third degree burns to his face, hands, and stomach. A Chassid from Borough Park visiting relatives in Tzefas was on the scene, and saved the boy's life by tackling him and extinguishing his burning clothing. The family spent Yom Tov in the Intensive Care Unit and subsequently stayed with a burn specialist in Bnei Brak. It is estimated that the father will have to bring his son for treatments three times a week for the next month, and then at least once a week until it is determined if he can treat his son at home. In addition to medical expenses, the father (who works in a local seforim store) will lose much work time and income.

Please send your tax-deductible contribution to:

Eizer L'Shabbos c/o Rabbi Zvi Davis 1161 East 9th St., Brooklyn, NY 11230

Checks should be earmarked "Akiva Shimon Fund" at bottom.


Also: please daven for Akiva Shimon ben Doba – whose emunah and savlonus are an example to all. May he have a speedy refu'ah sheleimah without ANY scars, physical or emotional, im yirtza Hashem!

The Nechal Novea Tsfat Fund and Eizer L'Shabbos are both legit funds that due amazing work, and I suggest that you consider sending a donation to this cause.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

No Pot for Pesach....if you're Ashkenazi!

Reuters reports that the Israeli Green Leaf Party has announced that rabbis consider cannibis to be kitniyos, and as such is off-limits to Ashkenazi Jews during Peasch. Kitniyos are foods such as rice, beans, and kasha that are banned rabbinically during Pesach as they are similar to grain products (wheat, spelt, oats, barley, and rye) which are forbidden by the Torah during Pesach, and may be confused with them. Sefardim never accepted the ban on kitniyos, so it would seem that if you are sefardi, you don't need to worry.

Isreali politics...oy vey!

On a related note, Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkratz, z'l, writes in his "The Laws of Pesach" that cigarettes contain many chometz, kitniyos, and even treif ingredients, that make them forbidden for Pesach and it seems questionable for year round use as well. So perhaps smokers of all kinds should consider making this Pesach a true season of freedom.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The End of an Era

Big things are happening in Santa Cruz. Passover is coming up in a couple weeks, which is the celebration of our liberation from bondage in Egypt and our formation as G-d's People; that, everyone most likely knows. But in case you haven't yet heard, it is the end of an era for the Chabad Student Center as well, which is moving from its location of three years at 136 Iowa Drive to a new location on King Street. Here is an excerpt from Rabbi Chein's most recent email, in case you're not pvrivy:
There are some things you always wanted to try out. Life can be busy and those things can be tried out next week. So you wait for next week, and the week after that, and then the week after that…

There is no next week. Following are events that will take place for the LAST TIME EVER at the Iowa Drive Chabad House!

Café Soul – Wednesday 3/14 7:00-8:30

Friday Night Live – Finale 3/16 7:00 – say goodbye to winter quarter, say goodbye to the Iowa Drive Chabad House, say goodbye to a chapter of Jewish history…

…and be there for the opening of a new, bigger and better, chapter of Jewish history: The opening of the new Chabad House on King Street (Chabad Rules – get it?!)

For the first time ever a
Five Star Passover Seder at 1142 King Street – feel the liberation in this regal new location. RSVP now!!!
Crazy. Mazal tov, mazal tov! Continued and increased success.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"The Producers" in Hebrew

I just got back from seeing "The Producers" musical in Hebrew over in Tel Aviv. I have to say that overall I was impressed with the translation but a little disappointed with the production since I had seen a more exciting one back in San Francisco... :)

The interesting part was seeing the level of sensitivity to all Holocaust related material that was quite uncensored in the original movie/musical. Most of the jokes were the same and obviously they still had the big "Springtime for Hitler" dance but at certain points in the play there was no doubt that this was a performance for Israeli Jews.

In some ways it ended up being funnier. While Bialystock and Bloom are pretending to swear a blood oath to protect Hitler's name they spit and mutter "imach shmo" [may his name be erased] under their breath (but loud enough for the audience to hear and appreciate.) At other points the sensitivity proved to be disappointing, since the spinning and dancing in the shape of a swastika was probably my favorite part of the original movie/musical, and it was cut from the Israeli production. Overall the conscientious visuals and dialogues helped add another level of humor and intelligence to an already complex storyline.

If the Jewish people are ready to sit and watch men in tight leather pants with swastikas on their arms dancing on a stage then I think we have reached a very good place in our growth as a people. Tomorrow night my grandparents, both of whom lived through the Holocaust, will be going to see the show. I can't wait to hear what they'll think of it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I'm so excited! I hope everyone is stocking up on alcohol, planning their costumes, and brushing up on hilchos Purim!

Just keep in mind that the mitzvah to get drunk "until you don't know the difference between 'Cursed is Haman and Blessed is Mordechai'" only applies on Purim day, which this year is Sunday, March 4th. Which isn't to say that you can't get drunk on Saturday night; it just won't be a mitzvah.

There are a number of other mitzvahs associated with Purim day. In short they are: "Hear the Megillah (scroll of Esther). Give charity to at least two people. Give a gift basket of food to at least one friend. Feast and Party!" Click here for more information.

Here's the breakdown of Purim events for UCSC students:

Thursday, March 1
Purim Costume Party
10:00 pm - 1:00 am
@ E3 PlayHouse, 435 Front Street
w/ DJ Boaz from Israel, The Sababa Belly Dancers, Food, Drink and Dancing
$3 in advance, $4 at door with costume, $5 at door w/o costume
(sponsored by Hillel, Israel Action Committee, and the Jewish Student Union)

Saturday Night, March 3
Israeli-themed Purim Bash
8:00 pm - 11:30 pm
@ Chabad Student Center, 136 Iowa Drive
Israeli cuisine, hookahs, Israeli music, costume-clad party-goers, and 18 minute Megillah readings every hour on the hour.

Purim Celebration
7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
@ 407 Broadway
w/ Traditional Scroll of Esther Reading, potluck desserts and drinks,
live music with The New Holy Shickers
(sponsored by Congregation Kol Tefillah)

Sunday, March 4
Queen Esther’s Brunch
1:00 - 3:30 pm
@ Hillel, 222 Cardiff Place
w/ Esther Reading, Brunch, Drinks, live music with The New Holy Shickers
(sponsored by Hillel, Chabad Student Center, and the Jewish Student Union)

Be happy and be safe!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Location for tonight's Class

Last minute change in venue...

Tonight's Nefesh HaChaim class will be at Sam's place.

7:30 as usual. (We'll probably be talking more about Shabbat Zachor & Purim than the Nefesh HaChaim tonight.)

Address: 101 Soquel Avenue, Apt. 418.


This is in the "Border's" bookstore building at the corner of Pacific and Soquel Ave. You will find the entrance towards the back of the building on the Soquel Avenue side. There is an electronic directory; scroll through the names until you find "Sam Koplowicz" and the numeric code, punch it on the keypad which will ring my apartment.
After entering the lobby, proceed to the elevator and go to the 4th floor (the only option). Upon entering the roof-top garden, turn right and right again to find Apt. 418. In case of difficulty please call 426-7566.
Parking is plentiful within one or two blocks of this location. There is the Front Street/Soquel garage right next door. There are meters all around (free after 8:00 p.m.), including on Front Street, onSoquel Ave., also one block away on River St., etc., and a free surface lot off Front St. at the corner of Cathcart (behind the Del Mar Theatre).

Share the wealth. Bring a Jewish friend!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Shabbaton in S.C. Feb. 23-24

Shabbat at the little purple house
-120 West Cliff-
Rabbis & Rebbitzens
Grossman, Gordon & Braun

Friday, Feb 23

* 5:38pm: Candle Lighting
* 5:40pm: Mincha, followed by Kabbalat Shabbat & Dinner
Zemirot and Ruach led by R. Braun

Shabbat Day

* Davening at Chabad
* 1:00pm: Lunch (time is approximate)
* 2:30pm: Parsha class with R. Gordon:

To build a Mishkan: Fundraising, Design and Construction
- refreshments will be served -

* 4:45pm: Mincha followed by Seudat Shelishit (the third Shabbat meal)
* 6:20pm: Ma'ariv followed by Havdalah
* 6:40pm: Shabbat ends

Motzaei Shabbat (Saturday night)

* 7:45pm: Rabbi Grossman's lecture on the Torah and the environment at the Hillel

If you plan to join us for Shabbat meals, please RSVP to

Another amazing Shabbat in Santa Cruz made possible by the
Jewish Study Network
Raising the level of Jewish literacy in the Bay Area

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Honor Your Parents" with Rabbi Manis Friedman

"Honor Your Parents"
With Rabbi Manis Friedman

World renowned author, counselor, lecturer and philosopher.
Author of the best-selling book DOESN'T ANYONE BLUSH ANYMORE?

Parents - Living with the People You Can't Live Without
Is Mitzvah number five the most difficult? Is it a two way street?
How to walk through it.

Thursday, February 22
7:00 PM
Bais Menachem Shul
834 28th Ave

$15 suggested donation

Sponsored in Memory of Kayli Bas Moshe Zweig
By her daughter Hida Langer

And Esther bas Herschel Siganur
by her grandchildren The Kushnirs and Zilberfayn Famalies

Sunday, February 18, 2007

S.C. Lecture: Torah & the Environment

Torah ‎and the Environment

Rabbi Yaakov Grossman presents the Jewish ethos on Man’s role in Nature.‎

Learn about Judaism’s outlook on:‎

Global warming
Zoning laws
Preserving ecosystems
City planning
Green belt

What does the Talmud say about development vs. preservation?‎

• balancing the need for parkland against expanding cities
• eminent domain
• grandfather clauses
• compensation
• the individual vs. the community

All these critical issues will be addressed in a talk by Rabbi Yaakov Grossman, a lecturer in ‎Talmud at Yeshivas Sha’ar HaTorah in Queens, New York. Rabbi Grossman has blessed the ‎Santa Cruz community with his teachings with visits dating back to 2004.‎

February 24, Saturday Night at 7:45‎
Santa Cruz Hillel House
, 222 Cardiff Place

This lecture was made possible by the Jewish Study Network
Raising the level of Jewish literacy in the Bay Area.

A special thank you to the Hillel for hosting!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Update on the New Chabad House

I came across a nice write-up about the new Chabad House on Here is an excerpt:
Challenging the generational assumption that in America, being Jewish isn’t really that important, for decades Chabad families have been giving Jewish college students opportunities to grow through education, self-fulfillment and Torah – and to have fun doing so.

A case in point is the established and new-in-the-making Chabad Student Center at the University of California at S. Cruz. Perhaps the most beautiful college campus in the nation – planners nestled buildings among redwood forests and bucolic landscaping not far from the ocean – the school reportedly boasts the highest percentage of Jewish students amongst all universities on the West Coast.

With the purchase of the new Chabad House, the more than 2,800 Jewish students and faculty at UCSC can look forward to a larger place of their own in the near future. The building is being dedicated by philanthropists George and Pamela Rohr. Plans call for a kosher kitchen, grand dining hall, lounge, sanctuary, event garden, guest rooms and a residence for
Rabbi Shlomie and Devorah Leah Chein.

Click here for full article.
Where did they get such incorrect information? UCSC is definitely the most beautiful campus in the nation. Jay kay. But for real, it all sounds very exciting. Much success.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mark Your Calendars!

So this is the guy who Abdul Malik lambasted. Malik is a Muslem cleric who spoke at UCSC last year.

In any case, we have here a top notched speaker. He should be really good.

Here's the event description (courtesy of SC Hillel)...

Feb 26 2007 - 7:30pm
Feb 26 2007 - 9:30pm
Tammi Benjamin

Dr. Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum, a prize-winning columnist and author and co-author of 25 books on Islam and the Middle East. He sits on five editorial boards and has testifed before many congressional committees.

Sponsored by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, American Jewish Congress, and Middle East Forum

Stevenson Event Center

Y-Love Coming to the Bay Area!

Y-Love is one of the greatest and least well-known of chassidic hip-hop/rap artists. He is based on the East Coast, but is making an appearance soon in the Bay Area! This is definitely an opportunity not to be missed. For more info on Y-Love, check out his blog at
Conscious Hip Hop: Live Show and Discussion with Artists Felonious and Y-Love

What happens when a rapper chooses to speak the truth instead of reinforcing negative stereotypes?
Can an MC be political and still "move the crowd"?
What makes music "conscious" and how can it be used as a force for social change?

Join Oakland's MC Crew Felonious and Brooklyn's innovative Hasidic MC Y-Love for a night of music and inspiration. We are proud to bring you this unique opportunity to hear from Hip Hop artists about the power of art and activism followed by a bumpin' live performance. Discussion will be moderated by Singer/Songwriter Amy Tobin.

Felonious and Y-Love, Live at Bruno's
2389 Mission St, SF
Saturday, Feb. 24
Discussion at 8pm
Live Show begins at 9pm
21+. Tickets $10.

RSVP for the discussion to
Co-sponsored by the Hub of SF Jewish Community Center, American Jewish World Service and AVODAH alumni partnership, and Progressive Jewish Alliance

Monday, February 12, 2007

Soul Structure in Santa Cruz


The Nefesh HaChaim class continues tonight (2/12)
at Sharon's place at 7:30.

More on the astronomical enormity of the Neshama, the interconnectedness of its components and the benefits of this design for man.

It's more than a class, it's a weekly reminder of who we are...

Bring a friend with a soul!

Rabbi Gordon

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hebrew Reading Crash Course

Level II Hebrew Reading Crash Course

Enhance your Hebrew reading skills by reading traditional Jewish texts!
Congregation Kol Tefillah will again be teaming up with the National Jewish Outreach Program to bring to our community this 5-class sequel to the popular "Read Hebrew America" class.

When: Sundays, beginning February 18th, 10:30 am to 12pm
Where: Santa Cruz Hillel (222 Cardiff Pl., next to the 7/11)

RSVP Required: 457-0264 or email Tammi:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Israeli Jewelry and Gift Show in SC!

Israeli Jewelry and Gift Show

Come to a sale of original and exquisite jewelry and
Judaica from Israel and take care of all your gift needs.


Date: Feb 11 2006
Time: 10:00 – 1:00
Place: Temple Beth El
3055 Porter Gulch Road, Aptos


7:00 to 9:00 PM
671 Worth Lane, Scotts Valley

Featured artists:
Mira Doek, Ruth Doron, Shulamit Kanter.

For more information, contact Miriam Fishman, Tel.: 426-3433
Show presented by Brenda Ganot, Dr. and Mrs. Fishman’s daughter.

Jewlicious 3.0 is coming... are you ready?

Labels: ,

Monday, February 05, 2007

Class tonight: The Neshama

The Nefesh HaChaim class continues tonight with chap.15,
a revolutionary understanding of the neshama, the Jewish soul.

Monday night (2/5) at Sharon's place at 7:30pm

Even if you've missed some classes, don't miss this!

Rabbi Gordon

Friday, February 02, 2007

Insights from Rabbi Gordon

So these are still some notes from past lessons, as I now happen to have a communist literature class that conflicts with my old schedule of Mon. nights at the Rabbi’s shiur. (In the future I’ll be doing write-ups from the recordings of Rabbi Gordon’s class thanks to asserted efforts by Hebrew lecturer, Tammi Benjamin.)

Somehow our class had lent itself to the subject of Tshuvah or repentance. (Get it lent itself--repentance, a Catholic thing, whatever--okay that was a pretty lame joke anyway and this is supposed to be a serious class I’m reviewing…) When person does complete Tshuvah, the Tshuvah is so powerful that the person’s particular sin from past is transcended into a merit on the individual’s part. “It’s like Hashem goes back in time and tinkers with the existence of the aveirah (sin) and now somehow it works out to be a merit on the individual’s record,” the rabbi explained.

The Talmud brings in Yecheskil: “when a rasha (a wicked person) departs from his evil behavior and does justice and righteousness, then by them he will live” (I hope I quoted this right.) This is what it means when we say in our blessings: ‘asher kidshanu b’mitzvosav…’ ‘who has sustained us in His Mitzvos…’ The implication of this and the word in for ‘in His Mitzvos’ is that people need to live for the Mitzvos and not die by them. (The only exception to this is when there’s an instance which involves what Judaism views as the 3 cardinal sins: murder, rape and idolatry: for each of these, death takes precedence over the act—for example if someone stuck a gun to you and said either you do one of these 3 things or I kill you, Halakhicly it is best to be killed).

Furthermore, the exhortation is to live within your Mitzvos. R. Chayim Vilozner asks, what does Yecheskil mean? Somehow the debate led to: ‘by’ them (as opposed to ‘in them’) would be referring to the aveirot (the restraints) rather than the positive Mitvos. So why does it say “in them?” This was followed by a deep discussion on the Hebrew ‘aleichem’ and ‘Bahem’ and questions about Yecheskil. As you can see I do not recall all of the details, but I remember it was resolved with: only Tshuvah can reverse the aveirahs (and not the tons of positive mitzvahs that went unperformed). But when a person does all the Mitvahs to the full extent (shleima), perfectly, then (if I’m not mistaken) the unperformed positive Mitzvahs can also be amended for.

The Rabbi later delved into the Kabbalistic Zohar and somehow tied in an analogy to the chariot of the patriarchs as a vehicle for Hashem’s presence, but I think this is enough for now.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Stay tuned for the upcoming Israeli Film Festival: Through the Lens of Israeli Culture!

February 20-22nd, 2007!

Jack Baskin Engineering


This film festival looks at the multifaceted dynamics that make up Israeli Culture. We will feature movies that reflect Israel's multiculturalism and relevant themes to Israelis today. Mark your calenders!

Tu B'Shvat Videos

Learn more about Tu B'Shvat with a great video lecture by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum of the Azamra Institute, and get a first hand view of a Tu B'shvat Seder with this video from the Shema Yisrael Torah Network. The complete order of the seder is available here from Aish HaTorah.

Tu B'Shv-izzle

So it's the holiday of Tu B'Shvat again this Shabbat, the well-known but oft misunderstood "birthday of the trees." According to, "On this day we remember that 'Man is a tree of the field' (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue." Some mark the day by eating fruits native to the land of Israel, while others host a whole "mystical Tu B'Shvat seder" somewhat analogous to the Passover seder. And some people just hug a tree ;)

Today the Jerusalem shuk was filled with music and costumed entertainers putting passers-by in the holiday spirit. I was surprised to see that such a big deal was being made for what I had thought was a slightly obscure holiday. It was all very nice, but probably a climb up Tree 9 would have been a more moving experience.

In any case, I have translated a short digest of a sicha of the Lubavitcher Rebbe regarding Tu B'Shvat. For further learning, please see or Please enjoy.
On this Shabbat falls Tu B'Shvat (the 15th of the month of Shvat), the "Rosh Hashana of the trees." Similar to the way that the first of the month of Tishrei (Rosh Hashana) is the Day of Judgment for each individual, likewise Tu B'Shvat is the Day of Judgment for trees.

There is a well-known statement in the Torah (Deuteronomy 20:19) that "Man is a tree of the field," and it is learned from this that there are parallels between a person and a tree, in the manner of the growth of the tree.

The tree is called in Hebrew tzomeach (lit. "growing") since it is always growing--starting from a small seedling in the earth, then becoming a small sapling, then a great tree, a fruit-producing tree.

And this is what a person can learn from a tree--to always be in a state of growth. It is not enough that today one learned Torah and fulfilled mitzvahs; tomorrow, you need to reach new heights, to learn more Torah and to fulfill mitzvahs even more beautifully, always striving to reach higher, and not to become content with what one is currently doing. And when a Jew strives to reach new heights, he or she is ensured the aid of G-d in those efforts.
(originally summarized in Hebrew from Likuttei Sichos, Section 2, Pp. 518-9)
I hope you guys gained some lessons from that botanical analogue.

In honor of this special holiday, the Chabad Student Center and Hillel will both be hosting special fruit-themed Shabbat dinners.

Chabad Student Center
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Taste of the Tropics Shabbat
Fruit themed Shabbat Dinner: full dinner with a fruity twist and a fruit assortment for dessert. On this night Judaism celebrates the New Year for the trees. Why hug a tree when you can kiss a fruit?
Location: Chabad Student Center, 136 Iowa Drive, Santa Cruz

7:30pm - 10:00pm
Shabbat dinner this week will feature the fruits of Israel. After the four course meal (kosher meat with vegetarian options) we will enjoy the kabbalistic experience of a Tu B'Shevat Seder: four glasses of wine, symbolic fruits and nuts, and a chance to explore the 4 worlds: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Spiritual. No background experience required. If you are an environmentalist, or Jewish, someone who likes trees, or just someone who likes wine, this event is for you. Spread the word!
Location: Santa Cruz Hillel, 222 Cardiff Place, Santa Cruz

Yalah Yalah Ahmedinejad

Okay fine, the song flows better with Nasrallah, but anyway check this out. Here's an email that's been going around (in case you haven't already recieved it) encouraging people to sign a petition regarding the Iranian leader which will be presented to the International Court of Justice at The Hague:

I just signed the petition at:

It calls on the international community to indict Iran�s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for incitement to commit genocide.

This has a strong legal basis, as the 1948 UN Genocide Convention classifies �incitement to commit genocide� as a crime against humanity. The purpose is to eliminate the genocidal murderers before they take action.

This petition that will be presented to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

It takes less than 10 seconds to sign the petition.
Public outcry by a critical mass will force world leaders to take action.


Okay, this post was short and simple but I thought it was Jewniproj worthy.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Free Showing of "An Inconvenient Truth"

This just in from COEJL Santa Cruz:
Sat. Feb.3, 7-9 P.M. FREE FILM: "An Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore. Rabbi Paula Marcus will lead a discussion following the film.

at: Temple Beth El
3055 Porter Gulch Rd., Aptos

If you haven't seen this film or want to see it again, don't miss it! I suggest you read the credits out loud at the end of the film, for very important messages to read together and discuss.

Remember to plant trees and use compact flourescent bulbs. We can all choose a career or lifestyle to help our planet. "Tikkun Olam" = Repair The World.

For more information, please contact Roberta: 462-2594 or e-mail:

*Temple Beth El wishes to make this event accessible to people with disabilities. If you have disability related needs, contact the Facility Services Coordinator: 479-3444 X 203.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

New location for SCIAC!!!

Dear Friends,

SCIAC (the Santa Cruz Israel Action Committee) has a new location that is convenient for these cold, winter nights. We will now be meeting at Cowell College Room 222 (upstairs from the Academic Advising Office). Hope to see you all there.
We will be discussing our upcoming film festival and guest speaker Aryeh Green.

7:30pm monday night
Cowell College Room 222

Thursday, January 25, 2007

New Chabad House--watch out!

So it seems to be confirmed, the Chabad Student Center of Rabbi Shlomie and Devorah Leah Chein will be moving to a new location! R. Chein miraculously brokered a deal to get a snazzy new place on King St. (near Laurel St.) and it looks like there will be much more space for Friday Night Live, holiday services and meals, Jewish learning programs, kicking it with Mendel and David... you know, all the great things that Chabad already does for students at UCSC.

Yes it will be at the former Frisbee Club house, for everyone who knows of it, or remembers those... interesting (well somewhat trashed) freshman nights. Okay that wasn't all of us, but for those who can recount a vague image of what I'm talking about, I'm sure it won't be very hard to adjust. I mean a completely new atmosphere: new kind of cheers-a L'chaim!, a slightly different form of comraderie-'you're also taking physics?' 'Yea, I was in Israel last summer too.' It almost reminds me of a Hassidic story I heard about a Yid in a tavern saying L'chaim and having the right intent in order to revitalize himself in a spiritual sense and drive the angel of death further away with each gulp and... ah whatever, I forget it. But anyway, I'm digressing.

But really, this is a serious endeavour which will hopefully have a huge impact on Jewish students at UCSC and provide them with many meaningful Jewish experiences to come. Quite a few of us have already become well accustomed to cramping 40-70 students into an all too modest living room for Shabbos dinners, and it's about time we found a solution. Also for the Cheins' sake, with two kids and a third on the way, this house will surely enable them to have more space for their family as well as for a growing multitude of starving slugs.

Here is an official email message that CSC is put out:
Some time this quarter, Chabad House - YOUR Jewish HOME on campus - will be getting a new address. To help make this happen we need your home address.

Your parents might want to support this tremendous endeavor, and we must give them the opportunity to do so. A beautiful brochure has been printed and we would be more than happy to send it to them.

Additionally, if you have any friends or relatives they may also be interested in supporting this amazing cause, so email me their address and we will send them a brochure as well.

Alternatively, I can give you the brochure and you can send it to them with your own letter, or a customized template we created for students who want to request the help of family and friends.

Mi casa, Su casa – let’s do it together!

Chabad Student Center
So Hatzlacha Raba to the Cheins that everything goes through with this. Also anyone who wants to donate or persuade friends and family to donate-that would be terrific. You can also check out this link to give donations.

I personally can attest that efforts from the Cheins have really enhanced my Jewish life in college and it's impossible to put into words all that Chabad does for Jewish students at UCSC and for the entire community. (Though if you want a great video on it check out G-D SQUAD's post, 'HighLIGHTS - Shabbat at Chabad' from a couple weeks ago.)

Short Notice: Brilliant Rabbi Spending Shabbos in SC

I just recieved this in an email:

Rabbi David Fohrman is coming to Santa Cruz this Shabbat - 1/27/07
For those of us who have been honored to learn Torah with Rabbi Fohrman
we can attest to his fabulous teaching – do not miss the opportunity.

Dear Friends,

Rabbi David Fohrman is one of the most brilliant and engaging teachers
of Jewish texts that it is my good fortune to know. Based on a unique
methodological approach to Torah that he has developed, Rabbi Fohrman
manages to plumb the depths of the text in an extraordinary way. Rabbi
Fohrman is coming to Santa Cruz this Shabbat and will be giving two
classes on the theme "Whispers of Slavery in the Book of Genesis" (see
below). These talks are not to be missed.


Series Title: Whispers of Slavery in the Book of Genesis
Two talks that will explore the background to the parshiyot we are now
reading in the Torah - the Story behind the story of the Jews' sojourn
in Egypt.

Schedual is as follows:
Part one: The Birth of Ishmael - Saturday afternoon at 2pm
Part two: What Does it Mean to Forgive? A Closer Look at Joseph and his
Brothers - Saturday evening at 7pm (with ice cream)

Location: 144 Jenne St, Santa Cruz. This is off Laurel and Chestnut

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SHABBAT 200 At College 9 & 10

Shabbat 200 Services: Reform, Conservative, Chabad

Jan 26 2007 - 6:30pm
Jan 26 2007 - 7:20pm
Shalom Bochner

It's Shabbat 200 where we try to get 200 Jewish students in the same place at the same time. To kickit off right there will be three different Shabbat Services to choose from. Or you can "hop" between them and sample them all:

Reform / Camp-Style Services led by students
Conservative / Egalitarian Carlebach-style led by students and staff
Chabad / Chassidic-style led by staff

locations at or near Colleges Nine and Ten TBA

Want to be a service leader? contact Shalom.

TBA contact Shalom for more info

(This 'event description' courtesy of SC Hillel)

Donate Blood-It's a Mitzvah!

So there was a blood drive at our very own Santa Cruz Hillel (located next to the 7-11 at the base of campus) and it was pretty successful. Since one person who donates the standard amount of blood can save, on average, 3 people's lives, and judging by the turn out, I'd say it was really amazing. Big Yasher Koach to Monica and Ayla and everyone else from Hillel who helped organize it! It was put on by Stanford Medical Center (check for more info.)

Anyway, I looked up some of the Jewish aspects to this and it turned out there is a great deal of encouragement from leading Rabbis to donate blood if one is able to. This is primarily because it is seen as
Pikkuach Nefesh (saving of life) and, for the most part, healthy people who are capable face no risk that the operation will have any serious after effects. (One may be a little weary for the next few hours and a donor should not do anything too physically exerting at least for the rest of the day--also one should drink plenty of water and take in plenty of nutrients before the operation.)

Quite a bit more time has been spent ascertaining the Jewish values in donating an organ which is obviously a much larger commitment.
you can see that organ donations too have been up for serious debate among Torah scholars.

For a Halachic analysis of donating a kidney and many of the leading opinions involved see:

In general, there are four fundamental issues concerning transplantation from living donors.

A. The danger to the donor.
B. Donation under coercion.
C. Sale of organs and tissues.
D. The legally incompetent donor.

All halachic authorities agree that where a procedure is not a life saving measure, one may not significantly endanger the life of a donor, nor may one coerce a potential donor to donate.

For more of a basic summary on Jewish medical ethics check:

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monday Night Torah in Santa Cruz

Torah learning continues tonight (Monday night) at 7:30pm, at Sharon's place, 132 Castillion Terrace, Santa Cruz 9506.

Even if you missed earlier classes, come tonight and discover the mystical definition of Teshuvah and the profound spiritual impact of human speech.

--Rabbi Gordon