Friday, March 31, 2006

Guest Posting from Frum Mommy: Pesach from the Trenches.

Every year after Purim I start thinking about Pesach. In fact, I really start thinking about it way before that. For the first couple of days I run through a list of things to do and then it becomes more serious where I actually write the list, getting down to business. This year is the first year where the family will be having Passover in a place with no shul to daven in and no real community. It will really just be us and maybe a few guests from my husband's job. Had this been the first years when my husband and I started to become more observant, I don't know if I could handle such isolation. However, living in S. Cruz was good practice. How was it good practice? Well, I think that having a Passover in S. Cruz set the groundwork for much of what our family does for the week of Passover.

We have gone to all kinds of seders. I remember one in particular at Hillel where everyone started hitting each other with green onions in the Sephardic tradition of singing Dayenu. I remember the bonding of being whacked a few times in the face, having onion juice all over my glasses. Also, there were some great times eating Passover meals at different peoples' houses. I even got the opportunity to help make banana ice cream. The idea sounded good in the cookbook, but was a different story in reality. Although, I remember that someone we knew really enjoyed it (You know who you are).

During one of the last Passovers spent in S. Cruz, we invited students over for lunch, knowing that our Family Student Housing location was the perfect pit stop for a hungry Passover stomach. I liked making all that food. At this point I was VERY pregnant with Frum Baby and had to sit down to do much of the grunt work, but I enjoyed it, even after peeling about a zillion potatoes.

So, if you are literally "stuck" in S. Cruz for Passover don't despair, there are some great resources for Passover 5766. Now, I have to say that Pesach is the worst time to decide that you are going to become strictly observant and follow all the halachas. Every year I learn something new, so I don't freak out when I find out I did something wrong in the past.
Before I give my little tidbits of knowledge please note that if I recommend something it is not to force any religious organization on you. Always check all the details with your Rabbi first. I just find that some sites make life much easier. I also tried to give a variety of different sites so that you can do a little exploring for yourself.

So with that, let me give you my 2 cents of advice for surviving Pesach on the Hill:

1). Clean up your room/apartment/dwelling for Passover. Ok, I am not going to go into how stringent your cleaning has to be. At least dust off that bookshelf, look under the bed and put some toilet bowl cleaner in your toilet. You will not only find that it is very satisfying to look at a shiny, clean toilet, but you might even find some new surprises under your bed. Also, don't forget to sell your chometz. You can sell your chometz easily on the web site.

2.) Get some Kosher for Passover food for the week. Stock up! I never really ate in the University dining hall, so I can't say if they even had matzah, but I wouldn't recommend it. Why starve yourself, when you can eat well for a week? Here are some options. One, you can really stock up by taking a group trip top the Los Altos Albertsons to get Kosher for Passover products. I know, I know, this is just too far away, but this store has one of the larger selections of kosher products outside of Los Angeles. The other option is offered by Chabad Student Center. They have a dining plan that allows you to participate in not only eating some food, but making it too. In addition, ask at Hillel about any dining options they may be offering.

3). Go to a seder. Ok, duh! Don't just think about being at the seder, really take yourself to the seder, body, mind and soul. Hillel and the Chabad Student Center offer seders for both nights, for students. You can even do something different, like go to one of the other seders in town or even hold your own with a group of friends.

4). Just don't go to a seder. Well, what do I mean? Passover isn't just about the seder. Help someone or even one of the student organizations: Chabad Student Center or Hillel both could use help with preparation for the seder. Hillel even gives incentives for helping. You will find that it can be very rewarding to help with the preparations. I had the pleasure of helping to prepare foods for other people's seders and found that it put me in the right mood for the rest of the holiday. Plus, I also learned a thing or two that I might have missed when reading about Passover.

5.) Read up on Passover. I particularly like Aish HaTorah's web site. I find the articles and information there easy to read, and at the same time, not dumbed-down. While it's good to give general information about the mitzvahs, it's also good to give source background for them, and this is definitely the place to go for that.

So, here are my list of resources:

The Laws of Pesach: A digest, by Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkrantz 5766-2006: This is a mind-blowing book. I would offer a warning about it. If you are not observant, don't get bent up about all the halachas, it is a lot to digest for one sitting. The best part of the book is the information about kosher products for Passover. You will find a detailed list with everything you could possibly need for Passover. You don't have to buy this book, instead ask one of the Rabbis in town if they have a copy and I'm sure they'll let you take a look. This is great for anyone who is worried about the kinds of toothpaste and soaps, ect. that are Kosher for Passover. This site is run by a very reputable rabbi, Rabbi Eliezer Eidlitz. He has list and information for the holiday. Plus, if you happen to be in Southern California he mentions places you can go to do your Passover shopping.

Albertsons in Los Altos: I know this is FAR away, but Passover is only once a year. After having matzah for a couple of days it's pretty nice to have a pre-made nosh on hand. Remember, you are not the only Jew celebrating Passover! Someone from S. Cruz is bound to drive up before Passover to get food for the holiday. The Passover selection is incredible!

Mollie Stones in Palo Alto: This is a little farther than Los Altos. The selection is fair and the prices seem to be a little bit more than Albertsons.

New Leaf, Ralph's, and Safeway in S. Cruz have a variety of Kosher for Passover products. If you really just can't make it out to Los Altos then this is an alternative. It's not much, but it is something. The ads for the different stores feature some of the products.

So with that, have a kosher and healthy Passover! If you have questions about my resources feel free to e-mail me at

Thursday, March 30, 2006

American Comedy Network Presents: Matzo Man

I dont know how many people have email whoring grandparents like I do. I love my Bubbe, no doubt. I love her so much I eat her cooking... even when I'm not hungry. But my Bubbe has this weird obsession where she feels legally obligated as a Jewish Bubbe to send out silly cartoons, bad Rabbi/Preacher/Priest jokes, Blue Mountain event cards, and top ten lists from the guys at the JCC in Newark, to EVERYONE she's met in her very short lifetime.

So without further ado,
I love you Bubbe. This one is from/for you :)

Click here to watch Matzo Man.

Israel Action Committee Launches New Website

The UCSC Jewish community continues to expand its presence online with the recent launch of the Israel Action Committee website!

SCIAC, as it is more commonly known, defines itself as UCSC's "Pro-Israel, Pro-Awareness, Pro-Peace" group. So far, the splash page includes times and locations of their weekly meetings and links to related web content. The website will continue grow and expand in the coming months.

The JewniProj wishes you success in all of your future endeavors, that we should soon see peace in Israel as the outcome of all of our struggles.

Until further notice, SCIAC meetings take place Tuesday evenings 8:30pm at Hillel (222 Cardiff St) at the base of campus and right next to 7-11 and Slug Books. Check out the website at for more info.

Rebbe Nachman of Beslov

The whole world is a very narrow bridge; The main thing is to not be afraid...

---- Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Rosh Chodesh Nissan marks the birthday of one of the most famous Chassidic masters: Nachman of Breslov. Rebbe Nachman was born in 5532 (1772 C.E) in Medzeboz, Ukraine. He was the great-grandson of the legendary Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement, and his uncles were the famous rebbes Rebbe Baruch of Medzeboz and Rebbe Ephraim of Sudlikov, both great Chassidic masters in their own right.

Despite being born into such an illustrious family, Rebbe Nachman stressed that anyone, regardless of their lineage, could reach the highest levels of Holiness.

The lyrics of the famous Carlebach song "Kol HaOlam Kulo" are taken directly from Rebbe Nachman's teachings, and are an excellent example of the emphasis the Rebbe placed on faith, hope, and the dispelling of depression and despair. He placed a special emphasis on Hisbodedut, the simple practice of talking to G-d in seclusion, in ones own language, as if one were talking to a beloved friend or relative.

To learn more about Rebbe Nachman's teachings or Breslov Chassidus, check out the Breslov Center or the blog of Rabbi Lazer Brody.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tropical Source Chocolate: I Can't Believe It's Not Treifa

It's been quite a while since we had an I Can't Believe It's Not Treifa feature on here. Well, recently a handful of fine kosher products have come to my attention, and here's the first one: Tropical Source Chocolate.

They come in a number of flavors, but when I was at the New Leaf on Pacific the other day, they had Toasted Almond, Rich Dark, and Rice Crisp. The chocolate bars are certified vegan and more importantly, kosher-pareve. The label reads, "Our bars are made in one of the only chocolate factories in the world that dedicates equipment to producing gluten free and 100% dairy free chocolate. We're also dedicated to improving the lives of farmers by using only highest quality fair trade cocoa."

Of course, all that natural goodness doesn't come cheap; they're about $3 a bar. They're available in New Leaf, and most likely also in Staff of Life and the Food Bin, but don't quote me.

So, for all you fair-trade-minded folks, or vegans, or dairy-sensitive folks, or Yidden who hold by cholov yisroel, you can thank G-d, and enjoy!

Check out their website by clicking here.

Rosh Chodesh Nissan

Rosh Chodesh Nissan marks the beginning of the first month of the Jewish year. While we tend to think of Tishrei as being the first month of the year, the Torah actually gives this honor to Nissan. Thus Rosh Chodesh Nissan is actually a Rosh Hashanah. According to the Mishna, it is the day on which the reign of a Jewish king officially begins.

It also marks the final countdown to Pesach. We recite the daily Parshat ha-Nasi, a section of the Torah which mentions the gifts each tribal leader brought to inaugurate the Mishkan, an event that took place during this time. One tribe is the focus of each day's reading, ending in the lighting of the Manorah by Aaron on the 13th of Nissan In some communities the daily reading is done publicly from a Torah-scroll.

We also refrain from saying Tachenun, a daily series of supplicational prayers, during the whole month of Nissan.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Israeli Elections

Today, well (last night) marked the end of what was a turning point in Israeli history. Israeli elections came to a close and interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (who took office after former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was incapacitated by a massive stroke that took place late January) won the election with a total of 29-31 (polls offer different numbers) seats in the 17th Knesset, or parliament. The other major parties with seats are:

Labor party (left wing) - 20 seats
Shaas- 13 seats (religious party)
Likud- 11 seats (right wing)
Pensioners- 7 seats (senior citizens party)

the green leaf party (those in favor of legalizing marijuana) did not get any seats in Knesset. For more info, please check: here or here.

Watch "The Tribe"

If you haven't seen the documentary called "The Tribe," here's your chance. It's like a documentary that asks the question, "What defines Jews in the US today?" Well, obviously it's impossible to pin down, but the film is pretty interesting. Esther over at Jewlicious discussed it here. Did you know Barbie was invented by a Jew?

(I especially recommend you watch it online, because it is not shown often in public, and I believe it costs about $40 for the DVD)

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Taste of Matisyahu

I'm working on a semi-comprehensive post about Matisyahu. For now, here's a bit of video I recorded of a special appearance of Matisyahu with Michael Franti from Spearhead at Chabad of San Francisco's Purimpalooza celebration at Ruby Skye on March 13th. More to come.

UCSC Religious Leaders Fed Up With Vandalism

The University Religious Council, a non-university sponsored group representing some of the religious movements serving UCSC students, is speaking out about the rise in hate crimes at UCSC.

Read the story here.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The (Spring Break) Shabbat Report: Meet Yuval Lavi (the Bochner's baby)

Spring break started this past Thursday at UCSC. So while many students were already in far-flung corners of the earth, a few of us stayed in town, and some of us even got a bris-milah (read on). Since the official campus orgs were also on their much-needed and well-deserved spring break, the Bochur Pad stepped up to host Friday night dinner.

For people that complain about services that are boring and uninspiring, they should have been at the BP Friday night. Led by fourth-year student Yonah Feinstein, I think our davening rocked the heavens and the earth. Afterwards, we partook of a complete four-course, home-cooked, mostly-organic, bochur-style dinner, including homemade hummus and babaganoush, organic-chicken matzo-ball soup, baked rosemary garlic chicken, and pumpkin pie. And plenty of l'chaims.

Saturday, as Rabbi Friedman was also out of town, Rabbi Chanan Feld of the Beit Midrash in Berkeley chazzaned at Chabad by the Sea (he was in town as the mohel for the Bochners). He gave an excellent d'var Torah. I missed part of it because I was still davening, but I caught a few points. One, he told a parable about a guy who didn't grow up observant. He starts coming to the shul on Shabbos, and argues with the rabbi a lot about Torah and halacha and everything. Eventually, over a number of years, the guy becomes more and more observant until he's all shomer mitzvos and a very knowledgeable Jew. So the rabbi asks him, "What was it that I said that changed your mind?" The guy replies, "'Said'? It wasn't anything you said. I just used to come for the cholent." lol.

But Rabbi Feld also spoke about the beauty of the mitzvah of brit-milah, and gave a few analogies. He said he speaks to different groups of Jews about bris, and sometimes people challenge him and just yell out "Rabbi, it's mutilation!" So first he explained it's a subjective matter. What to one person is mutilation, to another person is a beautification.

For example, he gave over this analogy: For the holiday of Sukkot, you can't use an etrog that has black spots on it. You're supposed to use a "pri etz hadar" ("fruit from a beautiful tree" or "most majestic fruit"), so an etrog with black spots won't cut it. So the Lubavitcher Rebbe used to start out Sukkot with a very beautiful etrog. But many, many people would come to bench (bless) on his etrog, i.e. they would hold his etrog and say the blessings on it. So after so many people held it, the etrog that started out as beautiful and unblemished developed black spots. So is it considered not-kosher at that point? No. In fact, in that case, the black spots are considered a beautification because of the way they were developed. The same with the brit-milah. It's considered a beautification of the body because of the mitzvah involved.

And he connected all this to the parsha too. So last week's parsha talked mostly about the making of the utensils and stuff in the Mishkan. The fabrics were very colorful and beautiful. And while not everyone agreed on which aspect of the utensils and the Mishkan was beautiful, they all agreed that it was very beautiful. Because when Betzalel designed everything, he was divinely inspired, and there was an eternal quality to everything he made, so that it was actually physically beautiful to everyone. Even non-Jews were attracted to the beauty of the Beis HaMikdash.

So at 4pm, me and Alex arrived at the Bochner's house for the bris. We literally got there about two minutes before it started. It was the first bris I have ever attended.

I almost broke down in tears of emotion. It was one of the most beautiful Jewish experiences I've had in quite a while, maybe ever. To walk into a room filled with Jewish community members from the entire community, Reform, Renewal, Chassidic, Conservative, Neo-Chassidic, and then to see this tiny baby being ushered into his 3,000+ year old heritage, his pact with G-d, was awesome. Howie was the sandek and Rabbi Feld was the mohel. So the baby was named Yuval Lavi, which translates directly into "Stream Lion." Shalom read the following pasuk from Jeremiah 17:8 relating to the name Yuval (stream): "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out its roots by the stream, and shall not see when heat cometh, but its foliage shall be luxuriant; and shall not be anxious in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." Shalom also read a letter that he wrote to Yuval before he was supposed to be born. It was all very emotional and beautiful.

Well, after the bris we were treated to a lavish seudas mitzvah/Third Meal, during which many a "Mazal tov's" and "L'chaim's" were said. Afterwards we said the special bris-version Birkat HaMazon. Then we had a spirited song sesh that brought back memories of my Kol Tefillah days. Then we davened ma'ariv and had havdallah.

Well, I've said it before and this was just more proof to me. We may be a small Jewish community, but we're a mighty community. And when we come together, it's so beautiful. Gut voch (shavua tov)! And Rosh Chodesh is this week! And Pesach is coming up! Too much excitement!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Coop Throws a Rager

This past Saturday night, March 18th, the Twelve Tribes Co-op threw a post-Purim party. The invite I received said something like, "No entrance without a costume." So I dressed up as a Jewish hipster. Well, there are parties and there are ragers, and I'm pretty sure this was rager class.

So why is a Saturday night party worth reporting on the JewniProj? I wondered that question myself over the past week. And before I continue, I want to say that this post is dedicated to Jacob Donnelly and any other members of the JSU that I've offended. So we're all concerned with these issues, how to get those unaffiliated Yidden involved, how to stop intermarriage, how to get Jews doing Jewish with other Jews in general. And this past Saturday night, those very Jews did show up en masse to the Jewish Co-op, in the name of a post-Purim party. And they dressed up! Oh, did they dress up! As slutty firemen, as Mario, as paper plates, as Wonder Woman, as stoned Jamaican reggae dude (yeah right, that was no costume!), and as hideous drag queens. They filled the makeshift dancefloor in the living room, they were lined up at the bathroom, they were packed in the kitchen, they were even flooding out onto the back porch and the driveway.

There was no specific Jewish content per se, but the context was quite Jewish. Of course, I had no exact gauge of how many of the attendees were Jewish. But my Jew-dar is pretty accurate, and I would say a strong majority of them were Yidden. As I was waiting in line for the bathroom, I turned to the guy behind me and started up a conversation. He had been looking at a map of Israel on the wall. What a perfect conversation-starter, I thought.

Me: "Are you Jewish?"

Jewboy: "Yeah."

Me: "Have you been to Israel before?"

Jewboy: "Me, no."

Me: "Have you heard of Birthright? You know you can go to Israel for free for ten days. Free roundtrip flight, nice hotels, good food."

Jewboy: "WHAT?! Just because I'm Jewish?!"

Me: "Yep."

Jewboy: "But I'm only a quarter Jewish. My grandma is Jewish."

Me: "Your mother's mother?"

Jewboy: "Yeah. Can I still go?"

Me: "Yeah, totally. When you get home, go look up "Birthright" on Google, and sign up for that ish."

So, of course I thought to myself, "Dang it all, why didn't I bring some Birthright quartersheets with me?" It's not like I ever carry around Birthright quartersheets, but it would have been a good time to start. But the whole point is, if throwing a quasi-Jewish-themed party on a Saturday night at the Co-op really makes Jews show up, I'm down to sponsor that ish in the future. Although, in principle it's not about the party itself, but about the potential of giving those unaffiliated Jews important Jewish experiences in the future. So next time, I'm bringing Birthright quartersheets.

Click here for more pictures.

Ecosher for Passover

I don't know if COEJL will be doing anything like this, but just in case:

Passover is coming right up. I encourage all of you to support Torah, the environment, and the Beit Midrash in Berkeley by purchasing kosher for Passover/organic:

shmurah matzah, Four Gates wine (made in Santa Cruz, woot woot), cholov yisroel cheese, salt, chocolate, meat, chicken.
The order form is available

Place your orders before March 27th.

Contact Batia Nelken at cnelken AT gmail DOT com for more info.

All proceeds to benefit Beit Midrash Ohr HaChaim, an independent, unaffiliated center for Torah learning in Berkeley.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Brit Milah Called for this Shabbos

As was announced previously, R' Shalom and Orly Bochner just had a healthy baby boy B"H, their second. Shalom announced, "The birth took place last Friday night March 17th at 10:53pm. He weighed 4 pounds and 9 ounces and was 18 inches long at birth. B"H, the mother, newborn, father and brother are all doing very well and resting at home.

Please join the family and community for the Brit Milah (circumcision celebration) and Baby Naming which will be this Shabbat, March 25th at the Bochner's house, 106 West Avenue in Santa Cruz.

3:15 pm traditional/egalitarian Mincha (Afternoon Prayers)

4:00 pm Brit Milah and Baby Naming Ceremony

4:30 pm Seudat Mitzvah and Seudah Shlishit (Celebration Meal)

Artscroll Sale extended; Feldheim holds pre-Pesach Sale

For those of you have haven't heard, Artscroll has extended its 30%-off sale, ending it tonight, Wednesday the 22nd of March.

Feldheim Publishers is having 20%-off selected Pesach books, 10%-off regular books, and free shipping if you buy more than $50 of books.

Get them while you can!

Ukranian Violins and Israeli Taxis.

Get some inspiration by reading about the great spiritual journey of Simply Tsfat's violin virtuoso Yoni Lipshutz, and read the tale of how an Israeli cab driver learned about the power of the day of rest.

Remember: Only three more days till Shabbos!! Yeah!

The Conservative Movement and the Homosexuality Question

During the week of March 8th, leaders from the Conservative movement from around the country met to discuss the future of the movement. During this summit, the Committee for Laws and Standards was put to the test with a platform raised by Rabbi Bradley Artson, the dean for the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism, and Elliot Dorff, vice-chair of the Committee of Laws and Standards. This platform, if passed, would allow openly gay individuals to enroll to Rabbinic Seminaries, essentially giving them the opportunity to be ordained as rabbis within the Conservative movement. Many voices were heard on this topic. Here is the voice of a student leader within the Conservative movement... Me.

First off, here are my credentials:
1. Chapter board, Regional board, and International general board of United Synagogue Youth (USY), the Conservative movement high school youth program.
2. Teacher at Ramah camps - Conservative camping system
3. Two parents as rabbis. My father is a figurehead within the movement, senior rabbi of the largest congregation west of the Mississippi. My mother is the SECOND woman rabbi ordained by the Conservative Movement at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York.
4. One of two KOACH Bay Area student chairs - Conservative Movement college outreach program

Ok--now that my background is clear--this is what I think, probably not in any logical order, nor fluid argument, just ideas :)

The Torah prohibits a man from lying with a man like he does a woman, but does it prohibit a man from loving a man like he does a woman? The Hebrew language has two words to express intense loving emotion: AHAVAH and ACHAVAH. Ahavah is more about love between intimate people, while Achavah is brotherly (no gender bias, just word choice) love, like between soldiers in a platoon. So why do we encourage AHAVAT Chinam, Free Love, Selfless Love, Ever Enduring Love? Why not ACHAVAT Chinam? Maybe it's because intimate love should have no barriers?

As we learn in the Talmudic story of TANUR SHEL AKNAI, the right to legislate law is "LO BASHAMAYIM HI", it does not dwell in heaven. In this story, Hashem gives the right to make law to the Sanhedrin, the Rabbis. In another place in the Talmud, it says that the rabbis of the day set the law (if you remember the phrase, which i can't at this late hour between studying, insert here ______). The rabbis of the day have the right to make legislation. Which means, if you are not a Conservative Jew, you have no need to fear, this ruling will not affect you.

In every generation, we have to make changes so that the law we use reflects the situations of the present. When I was 2 years old, I attended my mother's ordination as a rabbi. She fought to tear down the gender barriers within the Conservative movement, and as a result, has paved the way for many women to add their spark to the world of Conservative pulpit leadership. When the board of directors of JTS put the right for womens' ordination to a vote, a strong few chanted "Testicals Don't Give You Gushbanka" "Testicals dont give you divine right". Why is it that we bar committed and passionate people from Jewish pulpit leadership solely on the basis of who they LOVE? Shouldn't we bar people on why they have HATE and BIAS?? Does who you love really affect the way you lead a community? The world (and also, sadly, the rabbinate) has been touched by people who have struggled with alcoholism, divorce, gambling addiction, drug addiction, and many other things we consider problems within our society. Why should LOVE be considered another problem?

Can converts be rabbis?
Can women be rabbis?
Can ex-convicts be rabbis?
Can communitsts be rabbis?
Why not homosexuals?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Shabbat at the Bochur Pad

The Jewnification Project is proud to announce
a Shabbat experience this Friday, March 24th and Saturday March 25th.

The Bochur Pad Minyan*

Friday night will feature spirited Carlebach-style davening at 6:45 and a home-cooked meal (Bochur Pad style) at 7:30! Saturday there will be a Kiddush and Shabbat lunch at 12:30PM, followed by a mystical Third Meal at 5:30PM.

If you're interested, you MUST rsvp to or call Uri at (562) 234-2666 by Thursday night, March 23rd. We even have sleeping arrangements available if you need them.

Otherwise, good luck with finals and have an excellent spring break!
*There are no Shabbat events planned at Hillel or Chabad this Friday night, so for anyone who's still going to be in town, come spend Shabbat with us!

Monday, March 20, 2006

News Briefs

Things have slowed down and backed up around here because of finals, but here's a brief review of recent news:
Good luck with finals. And werd up to Jewschool and Jewlicious.

Enviropolitics and the LRDP

Despite the dearth of scientific studies, the probability that students who venture into the wilderness of UC Santa Cruz will try marijuana, witness or participate in First Rain, and support a number of “token” liberal causes – especially the environmental ones – is extremely high. No university is greener than Santa Cruz, and students take pride in the fact that walking through redwoods en route to the library is a mundane occurrence. It comes as no surprise then when local politicians and community groups infiltrate the campus to push students into accepting the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), which provides a rough blueprint for campus growth until 2020, as something calamitous that must be combated. When presented with a bulldozer or a redwood tree, students will choose the redwood tree. Reducing the complexities to just this and opposing the LRDP on the basis that it sanctions environmental degradation, however, is yet another example of misguided liberalism.

On Sunday, March 12, a few students met with the intention of hiking through upper campus to learn about how the LRDP would affect the area. Organized by the author of this piece, former Social Action Intern of Santa Cruz Hillel, the hike was cancelled due to rain and thunderstorms and the sparse attendance that was the inevitable result; a discussion, however, ensued.

Led by Matt Waxman, an architecture major so knowledgeable in the plan that he taught a course on it during the 2004-2005 school year, the information session was extremely enlightening, eliciting “oh”s and “really?”s from the students present as common myths were debunked. Many students, formerly including the author of this piece, in their efforts to express their pro-environmental sentiments, align themselves with the “pro-pristine forest” group that is entirely anti-growth. Most know very little, and fall ideological prey to the likes of the Coalition for Limiting University Expansion (CLUE). Headed by former banana slug Don Stevens, CLUE has considerable clout in this town, convincing the City Council to reject the 2005-2020 LRDP. What are the counts of indictment?

Some have argued that increasing student enrollment from the current 14,500 to 21,000 would dramatically change the nature of the community by hauling in more wanton drunkenness, shooting already-high housing prices through the roof and past the sky, chopping down redwoods, congesting traffic with 10,500 more vehicular trips daily, and draining limited water supplies. Some argue that this violates the university’s own plan.

The LRDP for 1963, however, projected a university population of 27,500 by 1990, and planned for it accordingly. Upper-campus development was part of the original plan.
While the LRDP is “not a mandate for growth,” according to Waxman, it is a “point of departure” instead. The environmental impact report (EIR) assesses potential effects of the LRDP, to be voted on by the UC Regents in summer 2006. If approved, the 2005 LRDP will supercede the 1988 plan. A commission will examine the draft of the EIR and the public comments to revise the LRDP, which “needs a lot of revision,” says Waxman. But Waxman is hopeful that the final result will be environment-friendly.

Some wince at the thought that upper campus, with its extensive hiking and biking trails network, would become home to several new department buildings and student residential spaces. Why not just build on the hills where the cows roam on lower campus, some wonder? Why deplete the area of redwoods?

Much of the area “where the cows roam” is home to a federally-listed endangered specie – the Ohlone tiger beetle. This tiny emerald green predator is protected in areas around campus and would remain protected from future development, but currently the greatest threat to the species is mountain bikers, according to biologist Mark Oatney. Also, much of the land near the base of campus is off-limits to development because it is under the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission Authority and not UC.

Waxman believes that building in upper campus will continue UCSC’s tradition of stewardship and sustainability. “[We] want to create places, not voids,” Waxman said. If we clutter the campus with more department buildings and campus housing where it currently exists, we will compromise the environmental aesthetic design of UCSC, getting rid of the “open spaces in between.”

Although the small liberal arts atmosphere of UCSC initially attracted me and the LRDP would obscure this vision, as long as people continue to live and populate the earth (how dare they!) the university must continue to grow. LRDP is not something we can prevent; it is only something we can amend. True environmentalists would join a committee to ensure that the LRDP is following a green path – complete with solar energy and recycled building materials – rather than spend money and energy on frivolous lawsuits.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Mazal Tov to the Bochners!

Mazal tov to Shalom and Orly Bochner on the birth of their new son! He should give you much nachas and grow to Torah, chuppah and ma'asim tovim!

Purim in the Jungle

This is how we do at the Chabad Student Center at UC Santa Cruz. Uh!

If you attended Purim in the Jungle, please do a favor and leave a comment. Huge 'thank you' and yasher koach to Shlomie and Devorah Leah, and everyone else who helped out! It was one of the best Purims in Santa Cruz, ever!

Friday, March 17, 2006


Last Monday night, the 14th of Adar, we went to San Francisco for Purimpalooza. Happy birthday Rabbi Langer!

This is during the first reading of the megillah. Mayor was reading, and that's Rabbi Langer on the left and Rabbi Langer's son-in-law Peretz in the middle. We missed the beginning of this reading, so we had to hear it again.

Yonah, Phil, and Danny.

This is during the second reading.

Avi and Sarah.

Ze'ev Padway, from the Beis Midrash in Berkeley.

That's Sarah, Arezou, and Matisyahu.

Hannah and Shmuel.

Yonah and Phil. Shkoiach Yonah for rockin' the "G-O-D."

Levi Welton, dressed to impress.

Cookie and Talia. Talia is engaged! Mazal tov!

For more pictures from Purimpalooza, click here.

The doors opened at 6:30 and the megillah reading started at 7:00. We waited in line about an hour and didn't get in until about 7:30, so we missed the first half of the megillah reading. Luckily, we caught a second megillah reading (there ended up being four the whole evening).

So I missed most of Moshav Band. A piece of advice to Rabbi Langer for next year: give more time between when the doors open to when the megillah reading starts, and make an announcement for the other megillah readings.

Anyway, from what I saw, Moshav Band rocked the house (and I heard they got signed on by Sony recently?). So from when I heard the kriyah and broke the fast and started my drinking, things get a little hazy.

I remember I saw a bunch of the Berkeley chevre. I even saw Avi and Rachel! I went to the Hebrew U. with Avi last year, and he brought me to Bat Ayin for Shabbos one time. Him and Rachel have since moved back to the U.S. and had a baby! I also saw Nechama Marcus, sister of Shmueli Marcus from 8th Day.

Yeah, so Peter Himmelman, Chutzpah, and DJ Peretz (Perry Farrell) all performed. There wasn't anything too memorable from the end of Moshav Band until DJ Peretz. I was really diggin' his electronica though, although not everyone was so into it. Finally Matisyahu came on.

People can criticize Matis' new CD all they want, but his live performances are consistently amazing. I pushed my way to the front in order to get some sweet shots for the JewniProj. I also got a bunch of video that hopefully I'll be able to upload soon. Also, Michael Franti of Spearhead did a surprise performance with Matisyahu. After Matis, DJ Alex Graham spun some more electronica, and the mechitza finally got some use.

So we got back to the parking garage on O'Farrell and Ellis at 1:15am, only to find out that it closes at 1am. It was raining and freezing. So we hurried back to Ruby Skyye to find someone to help us. I started yelling, "who wants to take four Yidden home for five hours?" but no one helped. At that point I was drunk enough and tired enough that I had resolved to sleep on the sidewalk. But finally, we were saved by an angel.

Chani Cominker, of Chabad of San Francisco, drove us at 2am to the Chabad school, gave us pillows and blankets, and then drove us back to our car at 8am. No one else even tried to help. It's the kindness of people like her that make this world a better place. Thank you Chani.

In the end, thank G-d, everything worked out the way it was supposed to.