Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mission Minyan in SF this Shabbos!

I still haven't attended, but it always sounds so cool! Here's the info for the Mission Minyan for this coming Shabbos:
Kabbalat Shabbat: Friday, March 3
6:30 PM at the Women's Building
3543 18th St. between Guerrero and Valencia.
Kabbalat Shabbat this month is being sponsored by Sherrie Morr.
(Thank you!)
We'll be in the Audre Lorde Room on the second floor. If having a seat is
very important to you, we urge you
to arrive early as the space gets crowded.

We start Kabbalat Shabbat at 6:30 sharp, and we'll get to ma'ariv by 7:00.
A kiddush will follow around 7:30, and then we are pleased to make as many
matches as possible for those of you hosting and seeking Shabbat dinner
arrangements. See below for more details.

Shabbat morning: Saturday, March 4
9:30 AM at the home of Andy and Emily Shapiro Katz
675 Guerrero, between 18th and 19th

Join us for Shabbat featuring Parshat Terumah. If you are interested in
participating in the service by leyning, leading part of the service,
hagba, etc, let David know ASAP at marhevka AT calmail DOT berkeley.edu.

A kiddush and lunch will follow, and your contributions are welcome if
they are hechsher kosher and you can deliver them before Shabbat. If you
have questions about that, direct them to Emily at
emilyshapirokatz AT gmail DOT com.

***IMPORTANT NOTE: We need a minyan by 10 AM at the latest. In our
community, a minyan is 10 men and 10 women. Please do try to come early as
folks showing up on time really does make a difference. ***
Click here for more details.

Bay Area Jewish Music Festival

March 4-26, 2006
The Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center presents
the 21st Jewish Music Festival

The Jewish Music Festival is the largest festival of Jewish music in the West. This year’s festival includes 12 events throughout the Bay Area and 10 related events.

The mission of the Jewish Music Festival is to present music that celebrates the Jewish experience and explores what it means to be Jewish in a multicultural world. The Festival produces creative and entertaining programs, challenges stereotypes, and fosters engagement with the broader community.

Click here to visit the official website.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Getting Jewlicious With Rav Shmuel

A few impressions of the recent Jewlicious @ the Beach convention in Long Beach have already been posted on the JewniProj, but I thought I would share my thoughts on the particularly enlightening experience that I had with the intriguing Rav Shmuel, a self-proclaimed "beer drinking songwriting Rabbi."

Looks can often be very deceiving, and Rav Shmuel is someone who helps prove that maxim. Often when someone meets an Hasidic Rabbi, assumptions are made about them based on some preconceptions that one might have about Orthodox Judaism. This goes for most first encounters between two people, but the outward appearance of an Hasidic Jew easily leads to false impressions about that person's character. Rav Shmuel, I think, shatters those assumptions. His songwriting is decidedly "unorthodox" and his approach to Torah learning is invigoratingly intellectual and dynamic.

My first encounter with the Rav was during a Torah study class that he held
at 1:30 a.m. to the accompaniment of much l'chaim, which he said was necessary if we were going to continue with our learning at such a late hour. Fortunately there were no protests, because the session lasted until after 4:00 a.m. Rav Shmuel's stories and insight really made the portion (which netmessiah spoke about below) seem brand new to me and his ability to explain Rashi's commentary in a way that I could easily understand made me want to delve into areas of the Torah that I have yet to study.

Rav Shmuel is someone that I will never forget for one additional reason: his music. He performed just before SoCalled and Beyond the Pale (who were also amazingly unique) at the Jewbilation concert, which featured some of the best musicians in Jewish music. Rav Shmuel put on a great set, longer than anyone else, and his songs were filled with wit and were an indication of his spiritual worldliness. His musicianship is of the highest caliber, especially when he jams on his ukelele that he bought in Santa Cruz. One of those songs, which I believe is titled "Melancholy Love Song", was beautiful; it had layers of meaning and the lyrics were just what I needed to hear at the time.

After Jewlicious, I had to wind down from all of the intense experiences that I shared with everyone else there. It is a conference that seems poised to take the Jewish world by storm in the coming years and I plan on making a return trip to volume 3. I just hope Rav Shmuel is going to be there. I came away from his class and performance feeling holy and spiritually uplifted, determined to continue the process on my own.

Get Happy!

When Adar arrives, we increase our joy.

---- Talmud, Taanis 29a

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Women, Connect with your Jewish Roots!

This Tuesday night at 8pm, there will be a Rosh Chodesh women's gathering at the Maidel Place (near the base of campus), which will include a discussion on the importance of celebrating Rosh Chodesh. Various activities are planned, including a mini drum circle and learning a niggun together.

All women interested in Rosh Chodesh are invited. For more information or directions, contact tziporah.hoffman AT gmail DOT com.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Shabbat Report (Jewlicious v2.1)

This past Shabbos was the most high. This past Friday night, Hillel convened at the Namaste Lounge at College 9 on campus for services and dinner, sponsored by Soy Vay (a company that started in Humbolt). According to Hillel member Corinne Strasser, there were about 40 people present. Everyone enjoyed the "really good chicken and potatoes, rice, salad with Soy Vay dressing... It was a really nice shabbat, low key, relaxed and nice. The dinner was great, there were some new faces, and some of the old ones too." The Soy Vay guy and his wife were both there, and Corinne said they were really nice. Shkoiach Hillel!

It was off the hook at the Chabad House Friday night. According to an estimate by third year student Ze'ev Hoffman, it was a packed house with between 50-70 students. "Shlomie gave a really lively recap of the last few parshas, in particular hearing the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai." He said Shlomie also delved into the midrash about how G-d first looked to the children of Eisav and Ishmael to see if they could receive the Torah, but they couldn't accept it, but not only did the Jews accept, they said, "We will do and we will listen," and here we are today. Ze'ev also noted, almost matter-of-factly, that the "food was superb, as always." Also, there was some celebration on the news of Ronit and her fiance's engagement. Mazal tov from the JewniProj!

Me and three other Jewish slugs (who had been at Jewlicious at the Beach v2.0 a week ago) spent this past Shabbos in Berkeley, again with famed Chassidic reggae superstar Matisyahu and his mishpocho. Friday night we were at Rabbi and Rebbetzin Ferris' (of Chabad of Berkeley) house for Shabbat dinner. It was a packed house over there too. Jonah David, the drummer from Matisyahu's band, gave a d'var Torah on connectedness with G-d, and emphasized that it's important to know that G-d is with you all the time, no matter how lost you feel or far you feel from holiness or spirituality, and G-d is always ready to embrace you with open arms. Rabbi Ferris also spoke at length over dinner, making l'chaims and relating Torah and Chassidic stories. One thing really stuck with me. There is a line in this past week's parsha that goes "If you see your enemy's donkey crouching under its burden... You will surely help it." [My own commentary: On a literal level, we can say that this means don't let animals suffer, even your enemy's animals.] Rabbi Ferris related the following story (copied here from SichosInEnglish) in relation to the above mentioned quote:

In the days when the Maggid of Mezritch was still alive, the Alter Rebbe was once about to leave Mezritch for home. As the Maggid's son R. Avraham the Malach ("The Angel") was seeing him off, he said to the wagon driver: "One has to whip the horses until they stop being horses." (Or, according to another version, "...until they know that they are horses.")

Hearing this the Alter Rebbe reacted by saying that he had now learned a new path in Divine service. He therefore deferred his departure and stayed on for some time in Mezritch. (Likkutei Dibburim I, ch. 2 sec. 25)

"Horses" alludes to the animal soul which must be refined and purified by "whipping." The goal is (a) to nullify the "horses" and change them into non-equine beings; and (b) refine and influence the "horse" so that it knows that it is a horse and that it should fulfill its purpose to travel to a certain place following the desire and will of the driver.
Full story available here.

How does it relate to the donkey of your enemy? The donkey represents one's own body which houses a divine soul. The physicality of the body creates a perceived disconnectedness from G-d, and it is called "your enemy's" because it actually hates G-dliness. It is crouching under it's burden, because it doesn't want to become refined, so you must surely help it to be refined and to connect physicality with spirituality as best you can. The story about whipping the horses is the exact same concept. Shkoiach Rabbi Ferris. So, we had great Torah and excellent food.

Rebbetzin Miller held an engaging group question-and-answer session after dinner on the theme of "Intimacy from a Jewish Perspective," with about 15 students staying until 12:30am.

Saturday there was quite a lavish Kiddush. Rabbi Ferris related a handful of stories there as well, but this one really stood out to me:

It was a number of years ago, early in Rabbi Ferris' career, and he was going to visit a Jewish man who was dying of AIDS, to talk with him and comfort him. As he was leaving his house and about to pull out of the driveway, his wife ran out and said, "Here, take this, it might help you" and tossed a tape into the car. R' Ferris popped it in, and it was a Torah-talk about dinosaurs, the age of the universe, fossils and related scientific topics from a Torah perspective. While Rabbi Ferris found it all very interesting, he had no idea how it would help him comfort a terminally-ill AIDS patient.

So he showed up to the house with a bag of bagels and a pair of tefillin. The man's partner opened the door, and let the Rabbi in. He walked to the sick man's bed. The man looked at him and said, "Thanks, I'll take the bagels, but you can leave the tefillin in the car." When Rabbi Ferris asked why he was so opposed to putting on tefillin, the man said when he was a kid, he had once asked his rabbi a question, and the rabbi had brushed him off and not even considered the question legitimate. This had frustrated the boy so much that he swore that he would never put on tefillin or do any other Jewish stuff again until someone answered his question, and that was 35 years ago. So, if Rabbi Ferris wanted to answer the question, he would put on tefillin. Rabbi Ferris uttered a silent prayer that he should have the knowledge to answer the question and said, "Sure, let's hear it."

"Ok," the man began. "It has to do with dinosaurs." At that moment, all the pieces came together. So this amazing story shows that sometimes G-d's plan is extremely revealed, although most times it is not. Another theme is the wisdom of Jewish women. Another theme is how we have to value the education of the youth, and take their questions seriously.

Speaking of the youth, if you haven't seen Matisyahu's new video for "Youth" yet, here it is. It's really well produced, and I love the scene with the tefillin at the beginning of the video. I also like the fist-in-the-air theme, but, well, I always associated it with the Black Panthers and other revolutionary movements (like the JewniProj lol). So I asked Matis what he meant by it, and he said it just goes with the lyrics, namely "Young man/ control's in your hand/ slam your fist on the table and make your demand/ take a stand, fan the fire for the flame of the youth/ you got the freedom to choose/ better make the right move." So it is revolutionary, but more like the Revolutionary Army of Hashem.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Week in Preview

Sorry gang, I don't have time to write a whole Week in Preview like usual, so just check out Chabad's JewCSC.com and Hillel's website for listings of most of the classes and events taking place this week. Of course, Shabbat (Friday night) is always off tha hook, so be sure to check that out.

I leave you with a Jewish Impact Films video (I know it's cheezy, but they try), as a reminder that if you haven't signed up for your free trip to Israel with Chabad or Hillel yet, you better get crackin'. Shabbat shalom!

He Came, He Sang, He Conquered

Sometimes you just gotta let the pictures do the talking. Special thanks to gogalucky, without whose skills we would have no pictures at all to post.

From left to right: Laura, Anita, Tziporah, Devorah Leah and Shlomie, Phil, Ari, Ze'ev, and Me.
Some of the AEPi guys: Sam, Ari, and Aaron.
That's Shiranne flashing the JEW-sign, Laura, Ari, and Ze'ev.
Classic: Me, Eitan from Students for Peace in the Middle East, and Shalom Bochner from Hillel.
Phil, Laura, and Ze'ev.

Everyone got their money's worth, I can say that for sure. For more photos, and bigger photos, check out the Jewni Flickr account.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Matisyahu is Coming to Town -- I Just Can't Get Enough!

So I think everyone knows how much I look up to Matisyahu (almost as much as I look up to Shlomie Chein, I'll put it that way). I'm pretty sure I've been his biggest fan at various times, as this past summer when I was the only person who followed bumped into him from California to Kansas to 770 in New York. And that was before he really blew up on KROQ and MTV. So, finally, Matisyahu is coming to my little corner of galus: smoky Santa Cruz! He's performing this Thursday night, February 23rd, at the Civic Auditorium. By the way, I happen to know of two people who still have tickets to sell, if anyone needs.

Of course, me and six of my dear Jewish-slug friends just spent this past Shabbos at Jewlicious at the Beach v2.0 in tha LBC, which Matisyahu and his mishpocho also attended. This past summer, back in Overland Park, Kansas, Matis gave a little beat-box performance Friday night for the NCSY kids, but these days he's a busy man, B"H, and saves his voice for when it counts. Although he did give over a d'var Torah, which started with a question that Matis had asked to a certain Breslov chassid who was present.

The question was, "Why was Rabbi Nachman acting so strangely on his journey to Israel?" Essentially, the answer was this: "It is a well known fact that one must lower himself in order to proceed from one step to a higher one. At this time, one must make use of childishness and absolute simplicity…". The Rebbe never remained on one level, but constantly raised himself step by step. His understanding of these concepts was therefore very profound "deep, deep, who can discern it?" In other words, going to Israel is literally considered "going up" for many reasons. To take full advantage of the spiritual potential in Israel, one must be prepared spiritually (but hopefully FedoraBlack can explain a bit better).

This is my little brother Dylan and Matis. They played basketball, and I hear Matis dominated. So, during Jewlicious, the last panel on Shabbos was "Jews Who Rock on Jewish Music in the age of Matisyahu." Matisyahu, So Called, Rav Shmuel, and Rabbi Yonah all sat on the panel. It was a little awkward, I felt, because most of the questions were directed toward Matis. And one thing I found profoundly interesting is that Matis and Rav Shmuel both didn't think of their music as "Jewish music," but rather just the music that they, as Jews, make. So Called, on the other hand, felt his music to be very Jewish. So what's the point of this post? In less than 24 hours, I'm going to be standing in one very smoky Civic Auditorium looking up at Matis. Which is always something to be excited about.

And, just because the JewniProj hooks you up like that, here's a reminder that Matisyahu will be performing again in the Bay area for Purim at Purimpalooza (what looks to be the biggest Purim celebration on the West Coast--tell me if I'm wrong). And lastly, the new youth video is available on Matisyahu's myspace here. And, Jewschool has an exclusive hour-long video of the performance at Red Rocks 8/20/05.

No More Socks, Rocked Off At Jewlicious At The Beach v2.0

On the evening of Sunday the 19th, the Long Beach Alpert JCC played host to a fabulous lineup of Jewish musical artists. The event was terrifically MC'd by our homegirl Esther from Jewlicious.com and MyUrbanKvetch - let's all give her a super duper SHKOYECH for playing babysitter to a shmillion cranky college students.

First on stage were the Makkabees, a heavy metal band. They featured a selection of camp-style traditional songs with their own creative take on the music. Consider crossing famed metal band Metalica with Hassidic standards of Shlomo Carlebach. They re-envisioned such classic tunes as "Ani Ma'amin" and "Hinei Ma Tov." Their set would have only been more complete if they finished by shouting "Next year in Jerusalem..AHHHHHHHHHH..oy!!!!"

Next, Rabbi Yonah brought in sweet sounds with his jam band Shankbone. They sang a fulfilling set of hassidic songs, including "Eliyahu Hanavi."

Next up was Rav Shmuel, who presented his own songs about actors and tractors. He shocked the crowd with a song about Indians, but finished off his set with his one hit wonder, "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", prefacing the song with "if you believe this song, you are an anti-semite."

Last, DJ SoCalled (aka Josh Dolgin), accompanied by Beyond the Pale, rocked the house with their mix of Hip Hop and Klezmer. Shout out to D, who truly shone with her adaptation of the Cowboy song. Major props to Socalled for his rendition of Ballabusta (not ball buster!).

There was even a fashion show by Evey Rothstein and her label Glamorous Rebel. Backing up the entire production was my man Eric and the Couch DJs. Overall, one awesome night. Cant wait to see you all next year guys!

Resource Center for No Israel

In this week's issue of Metro Santa Cruz:

If you want, check out the Resource Center for Nonviolence. My only comments: whoever made this obviously lives in Santa Cruz and should at least know how to draw a peace sign (not to be confused with the Mercedes Benz star), and I love how stereotypical the Jew in the car looks.

Former PLO Mouthpiece Spills the Beans

On Thursday evening, February 16, Khalid Abu Toameh spoke at the Merrill Cultural Center at UCSC. Toameh, an Israeli Arab, is the West Bank and Gaza correspondent for the Jerusalem Post and U.S. News and World Report. He came to speak about Hamas' sweeping success in the recent Palestinian elections and its implications in the region.

He began by speaking critically about his time working for the Al Fajr, a PLO-sponsored newspaper, which he considered to be false journalism since the paper was basically just a mouthpiece for Yasser Arafat's corrupt government. While Toameh himself says he has no agenda, he mentioned how journalists have been targeted by PLO security forces for their independence and have been attacked and had their offices torched. He said some of his colleagues who still work for Palestinian media sources can't believe the intellectual freedom he now enjoys.

As far as the Hamas victory, Toameh asserted that it has more to do with the people's discontent with the PLO than with their support of terrorism. After all, Hamas' platform was not one which was rooted in suicide bombings, but rather on bringing benefits to the suffering masses (suffering largely at the hands of the corrupt PLO). Frustration caused by suppressed liberalism and dissent caused Palestinians to turn to the mosques, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad welcomed them with open arms.

At the same time, Toameh asserted that Fatah has no intention of ceding control to Hamas, and supposed that anarchy may ensue. Although, even if Fatah doesn't challenge Hamas, he said they almost don't have the option to be corrupt because there's "nothing left to steal." So far, Hamas has built hospitals and schools while the PA built casinos and villas and set up private bank accounts in Paris and Switzerland.

Toameh also criticized Sharon for the way he pulled out of Gaza because he made it look like it was a reward for terrorism. If he had just held negotiations before the decision to pull out, it would have made it look like an agreement, but instead it looked like Hamas was rewarded for the intifada.

During the Q&A time, someone asked about the recent cartoon uproar in the Muslim world. Toameh agreed with the Muslim world's expression of frustration with disrespect for Muhammed, but thought that the violence was despicable. He said that the corrupt leaders of the Palestinians encourage hatred of the West and Jews to deflect their own problems.

Someone also asked about the "apartheid/security fence," to which Toameh responded that it is "a symptom of Oslo," since Arafat didn't work to stop terror, so Israel had to protect itself (or, as they would say in Israel, "protect herself"). Toameh said if he could graffiti the security wall, he would spray paint the words, "MADE BY ARAFAT" on there. Now that's pretty hardcore. The Israelis didn't wake up one day say, "Let's build a wall." It is the product of years of dangerous infiltration by terrorists.

And as far as the settlements, Toameh just commented on how small the land is, and that there is not so much that it can be divided. "I see changes on the Jewish side, but no changes on the Arab side."

In my opinion, Abu Toameh offered one of the most balanced and down-to-earth assessments of the Israel/Palestine conflict that I've ever heard on campus. As usual, I wish there would have been more CJP and MSA folks, but alas, they were watching movies. Movies glorifying the PLO and demonizing Israel, most likely.

For more info, do a google search. I found one great article about Toameh's views here.

Special thanks to Rakdannit for letting me use her (hecka in-depth) notes to write this post. And sorry, all my hecka good pictures mysteriously disappeared. So.

Scotch and the Angel of Death

On Friday evening, February the 17th, after a long and filling Shabbat dinner, several dozen students clamored up the stairway in the Long Beach JCC to hear words of wisdom from the great Rav Shmuel. With a bottle of scotch, a beer, and a smile, Rav Shmuel began to teach about the Parashah from a few weeks ago. The sages teach "Ein kemach, ein Torah" -- "Without flour there is no Torah, no learning", and I'm sure that Sierra Nevada suffices for flour, right? We passed around copies of the Torah reading and commentary and followed along as the Rabbi slowly annunciated each sentence. Often, he would stop and discuss Rashy's (Rabbi Shlomo bar Yitzchak) commentary of the nuances of the text. Rashy is quite a bad ass when it comes to clarifying ambiguity and finding middleground between aparent contradiction.

The highlight of the learning is a contradiction that revolves around how the 10th plague will come about. G!d tells Moses that G!d G!d'self will bring death upon all the first-born Egyptian males, and Rashy acknowleges this. Later, Moses tells the Israelites that G!d's agent, the Angel of Death (Malach Ha'mavet/s) will bring death upon the first-born sons of Egypt, which Rashy also acknowledges. So the question is raised, how can Rashy believe that it is G!d and the Angel of Death at the SAME DAMN TIME??? Quite a puzzler indeed *raises eyebrow and cleans out pipe in leather chair with smoking jacket*

Sighting Hassidic commentary, Rav Shmuel explained the contradiction, which made excellent sense in the moment. But then again, that moment was 12:30am, and several students were dozing in the leather reclining conference room chairs. And then it happened ... my stomach was grumbling, a good sign of being a growing Jewish boy, err, man. Apparently, that filling Shabbat dinner had not held me deep into the night. Luckily to my rescue, some of the staff students brought in trays of egg rolls and other oriental things to nosh. It's funny how when you least expect it, Chinese food sneaks up on you. Traditional Jewish food rides again!!!

Anyway, Rav Shmuel then went on to discuss why the Israelites were commanded to eat MATZAH, yes, that flatbread of oppression, the contributor of constipation. It was extremely curious becuase they were supposed to eat it on the NIGHT BEFORE they left Egypt and they were especially supposed to eat it fast. All of this is gone from my memory, because by the time Rav Shmuel had finished the explanation, the scotch was gone.

Rav Shmuel concluded the lesson, and most of the students left. But a few students remained to talk to the Rabbi. We implored him to continue teaching us from his vast and ever wonderous wisdom, but he insisted that he couldn't teach without more scotch. And then the miraculous happened, more scotch arrived. So Rav Shmuel taught deep into the night, till at least 3 or 4. But around 2:30am I was exhausted and decided that I could learn more if I was awake the next day, so off to bed I went.

Thank you Rav Shmuel for a great shiur. If anyone remembers what the answers were, please remind me.

Note to Self: Less Kemach, more Torah, 'cause the more Kemach, the more Asprin :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Wisdom on Blogging from Jewlicious

Esther from Jewlicious.com
Among the many and varied workshops and panels that were to take place at Jewlicious at the Beach v2.0, I was most looking forward to the blogging workshop, led by Jewlicious.com contributors David and Laya (and Esther was present, but not actually sitting on the panel). Pictured on the right is Esther and me, and that laptop is where the magic happens.

Now, I have to admit something before I continue. I don't own a television, I don't watch television, and I don't see very many movies except at Jewish film festivals. So the time I would normally waste on TV and movies, I waste online. And reading blogs takes up a goodly portion of that time. So in my world, David, Esther, and Laya are kind of like the Brad, Mariah, and Madonna of the normal entertainment world (well, not a perfect analogy, but you get the idea). So that's why I was excited to meet them and hear their views on Jewish blogging.

I got the impression that Jewlicious started without much fanfare, and yet today (only one-and-a-half years later) it is a household name. The Jewlicious bloggers themselves seemed surprised as to how Jewlicious has become the powerhouse it is today. They are one of the sponsors (and namesake) of Jewlicious at the Beach, the Jewlicious.com Birthright trip is full to capacity already, and people around the world log in daily (and sometimes multiple times per day, a phenomenon I can attest to myself) to get their Jewish world delivered to them through the lens of wit and sarcasm. And who are they that people should flock to hear their opinions? "We're nobody," David admitted, by which he means, they're not politicians, they're not millionaires, they're not celebrities (well... that's debatable). So why are people attracted? Good question.

David commented that blogging "brought the promise of the internet to fruition," by giving individuals the ability to publish their opinions on the internet and reach a wide audience with little or no technical knowledge. And Laya opined that the blog community "is very much a community. A lot of Jews don't have a physical community" to feel a part of, but online, "all you need is a computer and you have a community." Jewlicious.com was one of the blogs that inspired me to launch the JewniProj because I saw how many people could be reached with such little effort (compared to getting people to show up to campus org events, flyering, etc). During the workshop, the Jewlicious crew offered up tips on how to start a blog, how to get traffic to a blog, and various other blog-related advice. I think the best piece of advice was that we live in a visual world and people love pictures, so post lots of them. And that's one of my favorite parts of blogging! So, big thanks to David, Esther, and Laya. You're an inspiration. To see what Jewlicious has been blogging about J@TBv2.0, check it out: on blogging, on Henna, on Jewish activism, on the Jewbilation concert, and on cute Jewish babies.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Create and Learn Series for Women

The Jewish Women’s Outreach Circle
presents our second
Create and Learn Series
Rebbetzin Rena Schochet will be speaking on:
The Politics of Purim:
The story of Purim seen through the filter of Persian politics. This is the amazing story of Purim as interpreted by one of the foremost comentators; the Malbim.
It must be heard to be believed!
The lecture will be followed by surprise entertainment.....then, feel like Queen Esther after you design and create your own beautifully beaded bracelet.
To participate in the craft please R.S.V.P. Rivkah (408) 445 1770 by February 23
To be held in the Multi Purpose Room at the
Chai House - S. Jose
814 St. Elizabeth Drive
off Fruitdale between Meridian Avenue and Southwest Expressway
(Please park on St. Elizabeth Drive)
Tuesday February 28, 2006
at 7:30p.m.
Fee: $15.00 - Chai House residents suggested donation - $7.00

Special raffle will be held
Sponsorships are always welcome
Sponsored by the new Jewish Women*s Outreach Circle
dedicated to outreach and unity in the community
All Jewish women are always welcome regardless of affiliation, level of knowledge
or observance. For more information please call Rivkah Vogel at 408 445 1770.

*Rena Schochet has been speaking and lecturing for many years. She has been the Director of Women's Studies in Toronto, Canada, and has spoken on four continents worldwide. Today, Rena is active on many Boards in the Silicon Valley area, and is particularly active in Women's Philanthropy of Silicon Valley.

Shabbat Parshat Yitro @ Pearl Street in SC

Guest posting by Frum Mommy.

This past Shabbat, Jewish Study Network team members Rabbi Yisroel and Sandy Gordon, held the monthly S. Cruz Shabbaton at 116 Pearl St., with special guests Rabbi Yakov Grossman and his wife Rashi (her real name, believe it or not) of Queens, New York. The shabbaton was sponsored by the Shiff family and Richard Becker.

Friday evening began with mincha services, led by Ted Shiff, followed by a beautiful Kabballat Shabbat and maariv service, led by Rabbi Yisroel Gordon. Before barchu, Rabbi Gordon gave an interesting drash about the week's parsha, tying in the the commandment to keep Shabbat with events surrounding the shabbaton itself. He revealed that the shabbaton was almost cancelled a few short hours before it even started, as the house rented for the shabbaton had been booked for the wrong days! But as usual, Hashem makes things work out, and they were able to get the house at the very last minute.

Following services, everyone moved to the dining room to enjoy a delicious meal made by Rebbitzen Gordon, Rebbitzen Benzaquen of the JSN, and Ben Rubin. The room was filled with about 45 people ready to eat and learn together. The food was so delicious, that my daughter turned to me in the middle of the meal and said, "The food good". Don't worry, my daughter is not a caveman, but only 21 months old. So, let me give you the low-down on the chow. We ate challah rolls with hummus, gefilte fish, red pepper salad, saffron rice, chicken, kugel and salad. During the dinner we had the honor of sitting with one time Uncle Moishey Mitzvah Man, Rabbi Shmuel Braun. Rabbi Braun kept us entertained his good sense of humor. He also happened to lead the zmirot throughout the night. After some great chocolate mousse, everyone enjoyed more singing and shmoozing.

Shacherit services began at 9:30am, led first by Daniel Libicki and later by Rabbi Braun. Daniel Libicki read the Torah portion, which this week included the Ten Commandments. The Torah reading was followed by mussaf, led by Rabbi Gordon. Lunch was equally as delicious and full of singing as dinner, except that we now had an amazing choice of vegetarian and VERY yummy meat cholent.

After lunch Rabbi Grossman gave a shiur about competing in Jewish law, going from what the Gammora has to say on the issue, down through the commentaries and the Shulchan Auruch, to what modern authorities have ruled. The shiur really grabbed my attention because not only did we look at an issue such as finding a donut on the street, but also more complicated and modern matters, like copyright of books and music. Rabbi Grossman mentioned many personal events that had happened to him, in which a question of competition came up, and where he had to look to traditional sources to find a solution. In the end, we see that the halacha is not just for our own personal good, but that everything works out for the best. Gam zu le tova, right? The learning was made extra sweet by the various kinds of cake served, ensuring that we had apple energy to keep up with the intense pace of Talmud learning.

Mincha was lead by Rabbi Braun, with Torah reading by Daniel Libicki, and was followed by a wonderful buffet with bagels, white fish salad, hummus, baba ganush, fruit, and other goodies. We ate our third meal with great joy, resuming the shmoozing and singing that had been an on-going part of the shabbaton. Maariv was led by Ted Shiff, and Rabbi Gordon did havdalah, helping us bid farewell to Shabbat with the proper kavanah.

I have to say that this Shabbat was very thought provoking. In any case, the learning was great! I was not able to take some pictures until later, so here you see a group of satisfied participants. Don't ask me why Adam Savel is so happy. He gets like this every time he goes to a JSN event. The next picture is of the Gordon children. Special thanks to them for keeping my daughter laughing and entertained. You can see her all the way to the left hiding by Rabbi Gordon.

Keep your calendar reserved for the next JSN Shabbaton the weekend of March 10th. If you aren't able to attend, check one of Rabbi Gordon's classes held weekly in S. Cruz or keep a look out for the big JSN Shabbatons!

Special thanks to the Shiff family and Richard Becker for sponsoring this great event, and special thanks to Daniel Libicki for coming all the way to S. Cruz with his family just to grace us with his wonderful torah reading.

Talk About an Ingathering of the Tribe!

Quick summary of events thus far (more in-depth coverage to come): Shabbat was amazing! Talk about an ingathering of the tribe! Imagine, for a moment, you're in shul Friday night, looking around and seeing the likes of Chassidic reggae superstar Matisyahu and his wife, Rav Shmuel, Yonah and Rachel Bookstien, dj So Called. And yes, Reb Leibish of the Ghetto Shul in Montreal is chazzaning. Then you realize it's not your imagination, this is Jewlicious at the Beach v2.0!

Two of us from the purple haze contingent of the Jewlicious slugs went to Mikvah Chaya V'Sarah Leah on Atlantic Ave. in Long Beach Friday afternoon, then just had time to check in and get settled before Shabbos. Spirited Carlebach davening was followed by a crazy Shabbos feast (it surpassed Shabbat 200 in attendance and ruach, but we're getting there), followed by wine tasting (during which I had the honor of meeting Esther and Laya from Jewlicious.com), followed by a deep discussion with Rav Shmuel on the parsha which went till like 4am (but I was tired and left early, at like 2am). Saturday morning, we had some major sluggy involvement during davening, with Yonah Feintstein leading part of the davening, while I participated in a skit about the parsha (I played Moshe--that's a good one), and Phillip Nilsson got to dress the Torah. Afterwards, we had an amazing lunch--more than enough food.

In the afternoon, there was a panel discussion on the movie Munich with one of the actors from the movie, an Israel activist, and David from Jewlicious.com. I left the panel early for some afternoon Shabbos singing... so high, so high. We davened mincha, then went straight into the Big Fish Third Meal. During the third meal there was a panel with Rav Shmuel, Matis, So Called, and Rabbi Yonah on the current state of Jewish music in the "Age of Matisyhau."

Then it was time for havdala, and I must say, I haven't had a havdala experience like that since the last time I was on the Carlebach moshav in Israel. After Shabbos, they showed a movie called The Tribe (which I missed). I also had the honor of meeting Sue Fishkoff (of 'The Rebbe's Army') who interviewed me for the JTA about the JewniProj, David from Jewlicious.com, and Stephanie Pressman. And the homies played bball with Matis. It's 4:22 am right now, I'm fading fast. Only one and a half days left! More updates to come. Shavua tov!!!!!!

Jam, Not Just For Toast Anymore - JTB2.0 ~ 2:00am

I just had the most awesomest (is that a word??) jam session at Jewlicious @ the Beach v2.0. At least 4 guitars, a saxaphone, piano, bass, violin, and a trumpet all rocking out to some of the chosenest folk tunes, plus a couple from some other brothers. You could feel the energy in the room rising, people dancing, spinning, clapping with the rhythm to rejoice in the spirit of the moment. My socks have been rocked by Jewlicious :)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Shout Out From Jewlicious @ The Beach v2.0

So it's about 9:00pm and I'm at the Jewlicious @ The Beach conference and having a blast. I had a super big lunch today, and had to loosen my belt...quite a feat for this skinny yid...
Let me lay out the menu:
traditional salad
corn salad
challah (of course :) )
mixed deli meat
potato salad
and much, much more!!!
Adios from this full Jew....
First the bounce house...then the world!!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Jewish Women's Voices Unbound In The Bay Area

From February 26 through May 2006, Mills College, The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union, and the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center will be hosting a series of events titled Kol Isha – Jewish Women’s Voices Unbound: Creativity, Scholarship and Performance.

Find out more.

Extraordinary Women

Extraordinary Women Are Cordially
Invited To Meet An Extraordinary Woman:

Mrs. Rachel Chalkovsky


Director of
Matan B’Seter,
An organization that helps needy families
of Jerusalem

At the home of:

Jenice Cayne
1040 Fulton Street
Palo Alto

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 7:30 p.m.

RSVP : regrets only, sarah@jsn.info

We hope to see you!!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Week in Preview

Tonight, seven students from UCSC are heading down to the LBC (Long Beach) to attend the three-day Jewish mega-event of the season: Jewlicious at the Beach v2.0. That's right. Two-thirds of the JewniProj staff are coming. Altogether, that means a whopping 0.26% to 0.4% of the entire campus Jewish population! Compared to 0.0% last year! So things are definitely on the upswing. Yasher koach to Santa Cruz Hillel for sponsoring a portion of our traveling expenses! To get an idea of who's going on the weekend, check out the registration stats here. Also, it's already being covered in local news here.

So, if you're part of the 99.6% to 99.74% of Jewish students not going to Jewlicious, you'll probably want to check out the JSN Shabbaton taking place over by Ocean and Broadway. It's all free and includes fantastic meals (including challah competing for 'best challah west of New York'), insightful and thought-provoking speakers, and mad praises to the Most High. Or if you're into the status quo (which is always excellent in this town), you can always hit up Friday Night Live at the Chabad House, or services and Shabbat dinner at Hillel.

Monday evening, dig a little deeper into the Torah with Rabbi Yisroel Gordon at Exploring Judaism.

Tuesday, free barbeque and speaker from the HUC at Hillel, 7pm. Jewish Student Union meeting at Hillel at 9pm (everyone is welcome).

Wednesday, free Bagels, Lox, and Torah at Stevenson with Shalom Bochner. Later, at 7pm, hit up some free tacos and bust some Talmud with Shlomie Chein at Tacos and Talmud.

Thursday, Matisyahu and a bunch of other reggae allstars at the Civic. And word on the street is, Matis might be chilling at the Chabad House after the show. Check back for details.

Friday, services and free Shabbat dinner again at Hillel and Friday Night Live at the Chabad House, featuring community member Leon Kaplan (originally from Namibia).

Other Things To Be Aware Of: You still have the chance to win a free iPod from the Chabad Student Center. If you haven't signed up for Sushi Mania/Kosher Trivia yet, there is still space. And the Cabrillo College Jewish Film Festival is coming up in a week and a half. Shabbat Shalom (I miss Israel where people would start saying "Shabbat Shalom" on Wednesday and carry it through until Shabbat)!!!!

This week's video is a classic commercial from last year when I was in Israel. If you don't get it, don't worry, it just means either you never saw Pulp Fiction, or you need to spend more time in Israel (or both). Which, if it be the latter, luckily, Chabad and Hillel are both running Birthright trips to Israel. Which means 10 days, including round-trip airfare, free. No strings attached. So sign up today!

More Offensive Comics - Thanks Jewschool.com

posted on Jewschool.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

JewBlog Update

Matisyahu is coming to town next week, and if you haven't purchased a ticket yet, Caitlin Lindsey found out she can't go and is selling hers. Hit it up at pinki707 at hotmail dot com.

Also, you still have time to stop by Hillel and enter yourself into a free raffle to win a ticket to the show. Now, on with the JewBlog update:

Reminder: Santa Cruz Shabbaton this week!

JSN Shabbaton in SC

It's not too late to join us for Shabbos!

Just RSVP to sandy@jsn.info and let us know which meals you'll be joining us for. Accomodations are available just a few blocks from the house; two recommended motels are:

Motel Santa Cruz
870 Ocean St.

A little nicer:
Guest House Pacific Inn
330 Ocean St.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Challah Baking Class in Palo Alto

Starting March 2006, the JSN will be launching a series of classes for women. Stay tuned for the announcements.

The first class is:

Challah Baking

with Fia Lebowitz & Batsheva Jacobs

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, 8:30pm

Palo Alto (private home)

In this hands-on class, you'll learn the halacha's and how-to's of Challah baking. Taught by ladies who make the best Challa this side of New York, you'll get to take home the Challah that you bake. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to bake Challah from scratch!

RSVP here, or call (650) 961-4572

Cost is $15 payable by cash or check at the door.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Happy Goyisha Hallmark Materialistic Shtupfest

Just wanted to wish everyone a very happy valentines day. May your loved ones love you more, and the ones that don't love you as much increase in their lovingness. As the great sages say, love the one you're with. The commentators refer to "the one you're with" as whomever you sit next to on the 19 metro bus, and in chemistry 80a. But they say that every day is a time to love Hashem. Anyway, go buy some chocolates and roses and have a happy valentines day!
Kol Tuv - The Netmessiah

(Ever wonder if the Hallmark people are Jewish?)

Teaching your children to be good anarchists

Feb. 2, 2006

The modern Jewish state has so far avoided what brought down its biblical forbears: civil war.Yes, there was the sinking of the Altalena in 1948 and an attempt to storm the Knesset in 1952 after the passage of the Reparations Agreement with West Germany. There were some violent rallies in the wake of the Lebanon war, and there were the murders of peace activist Emil Grunzweig and prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Still, modern Israel saw nothing like the war in which the entire tribe of Benjamin was nearly wiped out by the rest of the Israelites, or the bloodbath between the warriors of David and Abner, or the violence between the Hasmoneans and the Hellenizers, or the clashes between the Zealots and their opponents while the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem.

In terms of its scope and damage, Wednesday's clash heralds no civil war. In terms of its instigators, however, the war is already afoot, and in terms of their prospects, they already have lost.

Full article here

Yo Yo Yo Yisrael

Whats up guys

This is my first blog, and I have to say, it's quite exciting.

This Thursday night

An Insider's View - Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh speaks about the recent Palestinian elections and it's implications at MERRILL COLLEGE CULTURAL CENTER at 7:30PM

It is going to be really cool – I hope a lot of people show up who don't know much about Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If everyone could announce it or write it up on the board before their classes, I think a lot of unreached people will hear about it.

Thanks guys and happy blogging! You'll hear from me again soon...

Teach Your Children How Evil They Are

Arutz Sheva reports:

Education and Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima, formerly of Likud), told students on a visit to a school in Beit El yesterday that the residents of Amona and their supporters were evil.

Sheetrit responded to a girl who read him a letter relating to the events at Amona. The girl asserted that “G-d punishes evil doers.”

Sheetrit interrupted the girl and exclaimed angrily, “To whom exactly are you referring to by the word ‘evil’?”

“Who settled illegally in Amona? Who’s evil?” continued Shitrit. “In other words, you’re the evil one,” Israel’s Education Minister proclaimed to the young girl.
Permalink here.

Now that's how to educate the youth.

Israeli Jewelry and Judaica Show

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

Silver, Beaded and Ethnic Jewelry ** Emanuel Judaica ** Mezzuzot and more!


Date: Tuesday, February 14
Time: 3:00 to 9:00
Place: The Fishmans
108 Lisa Court,
Santa Cruz
(831) 426-3433

Ruth Doron, Noa Liran, Edita, Zeesi, Yair Emanuel and more!

Exploring Judaism with Rabbi Yisroel Gordon - The Talmudic Parsha: Yitro

This Monday, February 13th at 7:30pm, we will continue our series of classes devoted to mining the weekly Torah portion for its mitzvot with Rabbi Yisroel Gordon. In each class, a new mitzva will be analyzed form Talmudic, Halachic and Midrashic perspectives, in an attempt to glean legal definitions and relevant lessons. Join us as we learn, discuss and experience the extraordinary depth of Torah!

Call (650) 796-6752 or e-mail yisroel@jsn.info for location and more information.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Plant a Seed for Tu B'Shvat

Attention Jewish sluggies and tree-huggers! Tonight at sundown on Sunday, February 12, starts the New Year for the Trees on the Jewish calendar, known popularly as ט"ו שבט (Tu B'Shvat, literally "the 15th of the month of Shvat"). It's traditional to taste a new fruit that you haven't had yet this year, especially if you can get one of the seven special kinds that grow in Israel, and especially if you can get ones actually grown in Israel. Today, people also have a custom to plant a tree, or at least some kind of plant, on Tu B'Shvat. So, if not for Bob Marley, or for Tradition, or for me, then at least do it for the sake of your children and grandchildren, and please, plant a seed. For more info on what Tu B'Shvat is all about and what you can do for it, check out Chabad.org, Jewschool.com, or JNF.org.

In related news, the determined people behind katif.net have come up with a special Tu B'Shvat offer: Buy and plant testimonial trees, and help finance the commemoration of Gush Katif. Click here for virtual planting.

Friday, February 10, 2006

5 easy ways to do Shabbos!

Rabbi Ozer Bergman of Yeshivat Bat Ayin suggests five great and easy ways to get more out of Shabbos. Check it out on A Simple Jew, one of the classiest and nicest Jewish blogs on the net!

A Simple Jew: Question & Answer With Rabbi Ozer Bergman - Shabbos

A Gut Shabbos!!

Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat Shalom, homies! I hope mid-terms are going well for everyone. If you want a much-needed break from all your studying, come relax, meet with old friends and make new ones and get an amazing FREE kosher meal at Hillel or Chabad.Jewish stuff at ChaiSpace!

This coming week is packed with activity! Saturday night is the Hillel student retreat.

Do you ever feel frustrated with all the anti-Israel sentiment on campus, and wish you could do something about it? Well, Sunday there is
Israel activism training with Hasbara Fellowship's Rachel Svinkelstin, where you can gain the skills you need.

Monday is
Tu B'Shvat, the New Year for the Trees!! Unrelated, Monday night, Hillel is having Israeli folk dancing followed by a Valentine's Day event. (Fun fact: did you know that, similar to some other Christian holidays, St. Valentine's Day seems to have been created to push the popularity of a pagan holiday out of vogue! Who'd a' thunk it?!) And if pagan-turned-Christian-turned-secular-turned-Jewish events aren't your thing for some reason, check out the JSN's Exploring Judaism with Rabbi Yisroel Gordon.

Tuesday, Hillel has its weekly
free Barbeque.

Wednesday, get some free bagels and lox and learn some Torah with
Hillel's BLT. Later in the day, munch on some free tacos and delve into the Talmud at the CSC's Tacos and Talmud. Also, don't forget to get your free round-trip ticket to Israel. Also, women, don't forget, Wednesday is the last scheduled Talmud class for WOMEN ONLY, 7:30pm at Chabad by the Sea.

Thursday at Bookshop Santa Cruz, Rabbi Michael Lerner will be having a
reading/book-signing of his book 'The Left Hand of G-d'. Also, award-winning Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh will be speaking about the recent Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections and what it means for Palestinians, Israelis and the future of the region (7:30 pm in the Merrill College Cultural Center).

And next Friday, well, is Beach Hillel's
Jewlicious at the Beach v2.0 of course!!!!!!!! We'll all be chilling in the LBC with Matisyahu, sippin' Mani', meeting Jewish leaders from all over Cali. It will be a grand old time! If you haven't signed up yet, there is still time! Go to JTB2.com and sign up today! And if for some reason you're not going to Jewlicious, the JSN is also hosting a free Shabbaton right here in Santa Cruz! Their events are known to be welcoming and meaningful to every type of person in the community.

I almost forgot, I saw my main-man Mendel Chein watching this video last week. It should bring you into Shabbat with a confused grin. And keep in mind that this video has a context, believe it or not. See this and this.

Time To Help our Brothers and Sisters To The North

From CampusJ.com:

"Israel Must Be Dissolved" At San Jose State U.
Over at our Silicon Valley blog, Laura Rheinheimer reports on a meeting of Concerned Students, a new student group whose leader, Suleiman Hyatt, wants it to tout dissolution of Israel as "the only way to deal with this issue" of Zionism.

What can we do to show our support of our Zionist Brothers and Sisters at San (Simcha) Jose State U?

IZABO - Rockin up the Holy Land

IZABO, originally hailing from London and now residing in Jerusalem, is the newest sound to hit the radio waves. They are topping the chart with their single Morning Hero. Check them out at Israel-Music.com

Thank you to Daily Jews

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cabrillo College Jewish Film Festival

Temple Beth El will be hosting a Jewish film festival at Cabrillo College starting on February 26th. Five films will be shown that day, including two of the best films I saw in 2005, Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi and Ushpizin. Then, on March 5, another five films will be shown. Seriously, this is not an event to be missed, so mark your calendars. For info on ticket pricing etc, check out the film fest website here.

The Bay Area keeps surprising me with its efforts to further the art of Jewish film. For example, in October we had an array of films at the San Jose Jewish Film Festival (which included excellent documentaries like 'Forgotten Refugees'), and then there was Spukk'ot (Spooky Sukkot) in Dolores Park in San Francisco on October 23rd where they had a free public showing of 'Ushpizin,' preceded by a free concert and free food. But the JewniProj wasn't really around at that time to inform people :*(
Also here in the Cruz we had a showing of 'Forgotten Refugees' recently.

It's very beautiful. Or as they would say in NorCal, it's hecka beautiful. Or as they would say in yeshiva, it's mamish beautiful.

Challah Back!!! (mmm...mmm...)


The best challah baker in the city of Santa Cruz (also known as D'voreh Leah) and myself worked together to enlighten Stevenson Santa Cruz students about the tradition and how to bake challah. D'voreh Leah was willing to give out her famous Friday night recipe and many were ready to eat it up!

The event was on SuperBowl Sunday, which, for you Santa Cruzians, that was February 5, 2006. It started at 7:30 p.m. and ran until 10:00 p.m. We bought all the ingredients at Safeway, which to my surprise has a lot of KOSHER items!!! The event was held at Stevenson in House three's lounge. Initially about 13-15 residents of the house showed up and a few people from surrounding buildings showed as well. However, more joined as they could not resist their own curiosity of seeing a whole bunch of women having fun and cooking in a lounge. D'voreh Leah gave a little background of what challah bread is and where it came from.

There were two tables set up and each table worked together as a group to make the dough just right. People were struggling a bit when it came to stirring all the ingredients together, but D'voreh Leah was a good coach and helped many push through this struggle with her words of encouragement. Then came the braiding of the bread, this happens to be my favorite part and I was looking forward to it all night. This was the part where people could get creative as it was an individual task. And some people did get creative and into it. Finn, one of the only guys who stayed to bake made the challah that looked like a slug. Now, if we were to ever have a mascot, the challah slug would have to be it. Jewish Slugs (hand motion for all those who know it)!!!

While waiting for the challah to rise we had our own half-time show of people schmoozing and our own personal guitarist, Ann. Everyone was so anxious to try out the finished product. As the challah was baking the whole building filled with one of the most delicious smells that it has ever had. This ended up luring more people into the lounge. We all were so surprised in finding actual loaves as our products, each one of us had a loaf of challah! Even though we each had a loaf it did not last longer than an hour. Some girls went to get cream cheese and jelly from the coffee shop to show that they meant business. The whole building got to taste some of the challah that night and a piece of the Jewish religion.

For larger pictures, click here.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bet Mine's Bigger!!!

Avraham Hersh-Borshevsky, sofer (scribe) of Jerusalem creates worlds largest Mezuzah - 43.3 inches long X 30 inches wide. Borshevsky has made his niche in the Guinness World Records.

Thank you DailyJews.

Today is the 10th of Shvat

He has affected world Jewry. If you've ever tasted Devorah Leah's amazing cooking at the Chabad House or said l'chaim with Shlomie Friday night, he has affected you. If you have ever visited a Chabad House in another city, (for instance, the Congo, Chiang Mai, Paris, or Santa Rosa) he has affected you. If you ever saw a public menorah lighting (especially one with a straight-branch menorah), he's affected you. If you ever saw some crazy-looking, black-suited, long-bearded, black-hat wearing Jews in places that you might not expect (like the Blue Lagoon on Pacific), he has affected you. He has completely changed my life. I believe it was once said, "...sometimes there's a man... I won't say a hero, 'cause, what's a hero? Sometimes, there's a man. And I'm talkin' about the Dude here... Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place." Who was this man?

Shlomie will be farbrenging tonight at the Chabad House, starting around 7 or 8pm.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

From a feministlesbianMuslimZionist... on cartoons

From haaretz.com
Last update - 08:08 08/02/2006
Impure Islam
By Irshad Manji

At the World Economic Forum in January, I observed something revealing. In a session about the U.S. religious right, a cartoonist satirized one of America's most influential Christian ministers, Pat Robertson. In the audience, chuckling with the rest of us, was a prominent British Muslim. But his smile disappeared the moment we were shown a cartoon that made fun of Muslim clerics.

Since then, a fierce fight has erupted between the European Union and the Muslim world over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Months ago, the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, published cartoons that showed Islam's messenger wearing, among other things, a turban-turned-time bomb. Although the paper has apologized, the controversy has metastasized: A Norwegian magazine and French paper recently re-printed the drawings, as have other broadcasters and publications while covering this story.
Full article here.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Tu Bshvat Tiyul (hike) and Seder in Berkeley

Hi folks and shavua tov!

In addition to all the other fruity goings-on of the
Minyan, next Sunday we will be taking a hike in honor of the Tu B'shvat holiday. Here's the info - please come and bring a friend, water and good walking shoes.

The First Mission Minyan Tu Bshvat Tiyul (hike) and Seder under the redwoods in Tilden Park, Berkeley, Sunday, February 12th at 1:30 pm

We will be meeting at Andrea's home in Berkeley. Details will be included in an email after you RSVP, so do that now if you think you'll be joining us.

RSVP by Wednesday to either
Andrea jadebread@yahoo.com or
Emily emilyshapirokatz@gmail.com

And as always, join us for Kabbalat Shabbat Friday night at the women's
building. Details are on the

Khaled Abu Toameh talk at UCSC Feb. 16th

The next talk in the Israel Speaker Series at UCSC will be by award winning Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh on Thursday, February 16th at 7:30 pm in the Merrill College Cultural Center.

Toameh, who is senior editor for Palestinian affairs at the Jerusalem Post, NBC News and US News and World Report, will speak about the recent Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections and what it means for Palestinians, Israelis and the future of the region. Toameh was born in the West Bank and began his career writing for al-Fajr, the PLO's official publication. Frustrated by the lack of journalistic freedom under the Palestinian Authority, Toameh went to work for Israeli and foreign news outlets. His articles are often reprinted in dozens of newspapers around the world, and they provide unique, authentic, credible and critical insight into Palestinian affairs.

There will be a dessert reception in the Merrill College Cultural Center immediately following the talk.

This promises to be a timely and important event. Please try to encourage as many people as you can to attend.

JSN Shabbaton in SC!!

JSN Shabbaton in Santa Cruz

With Special Guests Rabbi Yaakov & Rashi Grossman

Febuary 17-18 116 Pearl St.

The Jewish community is invited to join Rabbi Yisroel & Sandy Gordon of the Jewish Study Network for a beautiful Shabbat right here in Santa Cruz.

Special thanks to Dr. Ted & Gloria Shiff and Richard Becker for sponsoring this event and bringing more Shabbat to our community.

Febuary 17:

  • Minchah, followed by Kabbalat Shabbat: 5:35pm (Candle lighting 5:32).
  • After davening, a traditional Friday night dinner will be served.

Febuary 18:

  • Shabbat Morning Service: 9:30.
  • Shabbat Lunch: 12:00pm.
  • Talmud study with Rabbi Grossman: 2:15 .
  • Minchah: 4:15 .
  • Seudat Shelishit, the third Shabbat meal.
  • Havdalah: 6:35 .

All Shabbat meals, davening and Torah study will take place at 116 Pearl St. We look forward to creating together another unforgettable Shabbat of Torah learning, spirit and song.

RSVP to sandy@jsn.info.

This is a free community event brought to you by the Jewish Study Network. Feel free to join us for the entire Shabbat, or any part that works for you. Bring a friend!

To find out more about JSN classes and events click here: www.jsn.info.

The Latest From Ben Baruch

If you don't get the reference, check out HonestReporting. Also see the ADL's collection of anti-Israel/Jewish cartoons put out by the Arab world, and read more at Jewschool.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

They're Calling It 'Civil War' And 'The End of Religious Zionism'

Haaretz reported on Thursday, February 2nd:
Hundreds of young people gathered around the nine stone houses, built barricades from interlocking bricks, used crowbars to dig out rocks from the hilly ground and arranged them in piles. One youth walked by us with a tire around his neck, on his way to one of the buildings. His friends helped him lift it onto the roof. Three more young people came by, carrying heavy coils of barbed wire, on their way to setting them up on one of the rooftops. From one roof, protesters lowered ropes that were then tied to cinder blocks; they brought the cinder blocks up and stacked them on the roof's edge, near the tires. It was clear that the blocks would ultimately be thrown at the heads of police officers who would come to evacuate them. And that indeed happened.
Full article here.

On the same day, the Jerusalem Post reported:
The National Union said Wednesday that the cops' beatings of its MKs marks the beginning of our democracy's end. Did they suggest this rationale when Arab MKs were attacked by border policemen while obstructing the construction of the anti-terror fence? They didn't, and rightly they didn't, because demonstrating against the elected government's policies is one thing, and physically undoing them is another. Mounting the bulldozers at Amona, as Elon did, was just that kind of affront, and as such embodied not the heroism Elon would like us to see in it, but the anarchism that his archenemies who occasionally attack the fence espouse.
Full article here.

Haaretz reported on Friday, February 3rd:
The pictures from Amona were difficult. The violence carried out by the rioters, deliberately and intentionally, even crossed the blurred and dangerous borders the settlers have established in previous clashes with the police and the army. The police officers who came to implement the evacuation order were received with insults, and were hit and attacked by a barrage of rocks and pieces of metal. Many were wounded. All endangered their lives in carrying out the assignment.
Full article here.

Read more: JPost Haaretz Ynet
Reported in the Jewish blogosphere: CrossCurrents JudeoPundit FailedMessiah

Definitely not good for the Jews.

Looking for Housing Near the Base of Campus?


Anyone out there looking for housing? You could have your very own room in a nice 3 bedroom house with a hot tub, super close to campus for only $700 per month. Only thing is we gotta know ASAP. Shoot me an email if you're interested. pinki707 at hotmail.com

Saturday, February 04, 2006

'Committee for Justice In Palestine' ('CJP') Gets Artsy

February 14-16
Classroom Unit One
The Palestine Film Festival is three nights of films by various directors depicting the Palestinian struggle.

NOTE: Doors open for Films at 7:00PM. There will be free snacks and refreshments.

T u e s d a y , F e b r u a r y 1 4 , 2 0 0 6
C l a s s r o o m U n i t O n e 7 : 3 0 P M
Directed by Benny Brunner

W e d n e s d a y , F e b r u a r y 1 5 , 2 0 0 6
C l a s s r o o m U n i t O n e 7 : 3 0 P M
Directed by Chaim Yavin

T h u r s d a y , F e b r u a r y 1 6 , 2 0 0 6
C l a s s r o o m U n i t O n e 7 : 3 0 P M
Directed by The Media Education Foundation

Visit the website

UPDATE: I think there was some confusion about this post. I didn't post it because I support the CJP, but rather because it's an event that affects Jews. CJP has been known in the past to host anti-Semitic, anti-zionist, and anti-American speakers, and Jewish students and community members have been known to lead protests against such speakers. Also, Jewschool recently had a post on the thriving status of anti-Semitism in America.

Shabbat Report

This past Friday night, Hillel put on Conservative and Reform services, followed by a Sephardic-style dinner. According to fourth-year student Eli Shirayanagi, the "Moroccan food was very good. There was baklava for dessert; I had the chocolaty-nutty baklava and it was tasty. There were chicken kababs, Moroccan rice, good food! There were good people to talk to, it was fun." According to Eli's estimate, between 40-45 people came by throughout the evening.

Friday night saw 55-60 students at the Chabad Student Center, and the opening of a new "VIP lounge". Shlomie Chein gave an amazing rendition of recent events in the Torah (which I wish I could record as an MP3 and post on here, but alas, SHOMER SHABBOS!). Students were so satisfied from Devorah Leah's delicious food that after the challah, dips, salads, soup, chicken, asparagus, and kugels, people barely had room left for dessert.

A number of students stayed late into the evening for a continuation of January 26's Marijuana discussion. Shlomie definitely took a different perspective than any of the panelists, focusing more on getting high from a Chassidic perspective, questioning people's motives for smoking pot, and questioning why someone should need any influence from a substance to bring them closer to G-d. It's a valid argument, and I think Mark Ingel touched on it briefly when he mentioned that he thinks by smoking pot, people are trying to experience a closeness to G-d/spirituality/Oneness that they don't easily experience when sober. And I thought, W.W.M.D. (What Would Matisyahu Do?). Like my homeboy Matis said, "you' trying to stay high, but you' bound to stay low/you want G-d but you can't deflate your ego." Thanks Matis, I'll take that into consideration. Needless to say, after the discussion (when I got home) I felt a little sheepish to ask if anyone wanted a beer while we hung out.

Anyway, I had the pleasure once again of having a meal at the girls' house in the Rosewood Village. About fifteen people were there, including two guests from Berkeley, Levi Welton (son of Rabbi Ben-Tzion Welton, Supervision Coordinator of Vaad HaKashrus of Northern California) and his friend Shlomo. It's so beautiful to see a gathering of the Tribe initiated by students to celebrate Shabbat. Yasher koach girls.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bulletin Board

Upcoming events:

February 23rd, Chassidic Reggae superstar Matisyahu is performing in Santa Cruz