Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Location for tonight's Class

Last minute change in venue...

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

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

Address: 101 Soquel Avenue, Apt. 418.


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

Share the wealth. Bring a Jewish friend!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Shabbaton in S.C. Feb. 23-24

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

Friday, Feb 23

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

Shabbat Day

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

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

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

Motzaei Shabbat (Saturday night)

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Honor Your Parents" with Rabbi Manis Friedman

"Honor Your Parents"
With Rabbi Manis Friedman

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

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

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

$15 suggested donation

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

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

Sunday, February 18, 2007

S.C. Lecture: Torah & the Environment

Torah ‎and the Environment

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

Learn about Judaism’s outlook on:‎

Global warming
Zoning laws
Preserving ecosystems
City planning
Green belt

What does the Talmud say about development vs. preservation?‎

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

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

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

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

A special thank you to the Hillel for hosting!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Update on the New Chabad House

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

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

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

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


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mark Your Calendars!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stevenson Event Center

Y-Love Coming to the Bay Area!

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 12, 2007

Soul Structure in Santa Cruz


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

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

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

Bring a friend with a soul!

Rabbi Gordon

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hebrew Reading Crash Course

Level II Hebrew Reading Crash Course

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

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

RSVP Required: 457-0264 or email Tammi:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Israeli Jewelry and Gift Show in SC!

Israeli Jewelry and Gift Show

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


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


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

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

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

Jewlicious 3.0 is coming... are you ready?

Labels: ,

Monday, February 05, 2007

Class tonight: The Neshama

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

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

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

Rabbi Gordon

Friday, February 02, 2007

Insights from Rabbi Gordon

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 01, 2007


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

February 20-22nd, 2007!

Jack Baskin Engineering


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

Tu B'Shvat Videos

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

Tu B'Shv-izzle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yalah Yalah Ahmedinejad

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

I just signed the petition at:

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

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

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

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


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