The TAS Purim Carnival Planning Committee is looking for a few more members. Expectations for committee members include attending four or five planning meetings with other TAS and TRZ committee members between now and March 24th. The Purim Carnival is a joint event by TAS and TRZ and will be held on Sunday, March 24, 2019 at Temple Ramat Zion. If you are interested in helping to plan this fun event please contact Rabbi Dalia Samansky at TAS.
We are so excited about our February meeting! On Feb 21, bring one of your treasures to our meeting, and Lori Tucci, a highly experienced appraiser and owner of Estate Sale Angels, will look at our items and appraise their value. It will be a lot of fun to find out what our special items are worth and tell their stories! As always, the $5 admission is waived for Sisterhood members and Friends of Sisterhood.
Thinking about ancient treasures, here is the story of Jodi Magness, and how good fortune can sometimes have problematic side-effects. Jodi Magness is an archaeology superstar who has published on excavations in Jerusalem, Qumran and Masada. Dr. Magness has participated on 20 different excavations in Israel and Greece. In 2012, Magness’s team on the Huqoq excavation uncovered stunningly preserved mosaics in a fifth-century C.E. (late Roman) synagogue. This one-of-a-kind find has completely changed Magness’s life for better and for worse.
“These discoveries have complicated my life in unexpected ways, some of them good, and some not-so-good,” Dr. Magness reflected in her Archaeological Views column A Lucky Discovery Complicates Life in the March/April 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
“On the good side: The mosaics are truly spectacular and exciting and have attracted much media attention and interest. On the not-so-good side: The excavations have become a much longer-term project than I originally planned, and the cost of uncovering and conserving the mosaics has far exceeded our original budget, so that I must scramble to find new sources of funding each season."
I hope to see you at this Thursday's Sisterhood meeting. Our guest speaker, Rabbi Keara Stein, is fabulous and you will not regret coming to hear her speak on Interfaith families. As usual, the meeting starts at 7pm, and costs $5, although the fee is waived for Sisterhood members and Friends of Sisterhood.
While you are checking your calendar to make sure you are free Thursday, why not mark down our February events? Thursday, February 21 is our antiques show and Saturday, February 23 is the ever popular Bingotini.
To RSVP for Bingotini, send a check payable to Sisterhood care of Sue Cohen, 22349 James Alan Circle, Chatsworth, 91311. Bingotini is $30 for RSVPs before Feb 17 and $36 at the door.
Remember that, if you want to know what Sisterhood events are on our calendar, you can always go to tassisterhood.org. Click on "Events & Programs" on the menu bar or dropdown, and then "Upcoming Events".
Did you know that Bingo was named and popularized by a Jewish immigrant from Poland? When the game reached North America in 1929, it became known as "beano". It was first played at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. New York toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, renamed it "bingo" after he overheard someone accidentally yell "bingo" instead of "beano."
Lowe hired a Columbia University math professor, Carl Leffler, to help him increase the number of combinations in bingo cards. By 1930, Leffler had invented 6,000 different bingo cards. They were developed so there would be fewer non-repeating number groups and conflicts when more than one person got Bingo at the same time.
Not only did Lowe's company produce bingo cards, he also developed and marketed the game Yahtzee, for which he bought the rights from a couple who played it on their yacht. His company was sold to Milton Bradley in 1973 for $26 million.
New Year's celebrations are over and the kids are back to school. Now on to a new year full of great Sisterhood events! Our first event of the year, "An Interfaith Conversation" will be on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 7pm in the Social Hall, and will feature a guest speaker, Rabbi Keara Stein, Director of InterfaithFamily/LA. So mark your calendar - you won't want to miss this. Click here to see the flyer.
In the spirit of the upcoming interfaith event, this week we're featuring Carolivia Herron, an American writer of children's and adult literature, a scholar of African-American Judaica and a convert to Judaism. Carolivia was born Carol Olivia Herron to Oscar Smith Herron and Georgia Carol Johnson, in Washington, D.C. on July 22, 1947. Herron converted to Judaism in adulthood, and later discovered that she had Jewish roots.
Herron has a BA in English from Eastern University in Pennsylvania. She earned an MA in English from Villanova University in 1973, and an MFA in creative writing and a PhD in comparative literature and literary theory from the University of Pennsylvania. Herron spent a year of postdoctoral research at Brandeis University studying African-American Jews. She has taught literature at many institutions, including Harvard University, Mount Holyoke College, Brandeis University, and Marien N'Guabi University in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. Carolivia is a founding member of "Jews of African Descent".
Herron's writings include: her debut novel, Thereafter Johnnie, a semi-autobiographical portrayal of African-American life; her critically acclaimed but controversial picture book Nappy Hair, a call-and-response story based on her own experiences as a child; a children's book, Always an Olivia which recounts the coming of Herron's Jewish ancestors from Tripoli, Libya, to the Georgia Sea Islands in the Americas: and her latest book, Peacesong DC, a fictionalized autobiography.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
Our Sisterhood exists and thrives because of the volunteer spirit of our members. So if you have some time to give, there are a few volunteer opportunities available. Please look them over and respond if you're interested in participating.
The Sisterhood Hanukkah party was a wonderful festive evening. There was plenty of food and conversation, songs led by Cantor Ken, a ḥanukkiyot on each table, poetry readings and a gift exchange. There was something for everyone. It was a memorable holiday evening.
To continue with our theme of Amazing Jewish Women, this week we are featuring all of our own Sisterhood members who thoughtfully brought an original or a favorite Hanukkah-themed poem or reading to Thursday's party. The readings set a beautiful tone for the evening. Four of the women who participated wrote and read their original poems, and here they are. Enjoy!
I Saw the Light
by Sandy Robinson
When I first entered the doors at TAS
I was a practicing Methodist, no less!
I didn't even know I was a Jew!
The revelation was bolt out of the blue!
Now that I'm an official member of the Tribe,
I am so very blessed and I am truly alive!
I saw the light - as they sometimes say
And I enjoy being a Jew ALMOST every day!
Sometimes I find the light and sometimes it finds ME!
Most times, the light fills me with amazing glee!
I love the light of discovery when I'm studying Torah
The light from the sun, moon, stars and a shiny Menorah!
I love to see children's eyes light up in wonder,
Or see a show of lightening with a roar of thunder!
I love Friday night or High Holiday services when the eternal light I see,
MoTAS dinners out and Sisterhood activities make me happy as can be!
I enjoy performing Caring Community or Social Action Mitzvot,
It makes the humble light within me shine with nary a gloat!
In troubling times of worry and woe,
The light of god shows through with a mighty glow!
We need to remember - no matter the season or day or night
If one looks hard enough, one can ALWAYS find light!
Every Year We Celebrate
by Anita Hoch
Every year we celebrate
Latkes fill our pretty plate
The house is filled with friends and kin
Playing dreidel to see who’ll win
Andrew, Lyam, Mason, Judah
Chanukah is a real Hudah!
Again we’ll get together
Happy Chanukah birds of a feather
So shine pretty lights
8 fun filled nights
Lights from the Windows
by Laraine Miller
Lights from the windows
as I walk down the street,
bring warmth to my heart
in hopes that I will meet
family and friends,
from long ago and new,
in peace and freedom, too.
The Festival of Lights
Is joyful and fun
May we be blessed
With good health, love and hope –
She Said a Poem You Should Write
by Jackie Zev
תכתב שיר, היא אמרה
אל אור של חג חנוכה
אז השיר הזה כתבתי
וגם השיר קראתי
!ועכשיו השיר נגמר. אני שמחה
She said a poem you should write
On the Chanuka holiday light
This poem came from my head
And the poem to you I’ve read
And now the poem is over – Alright!
Thanksgiving feasting is done - on to Chanuka! We hope you can make it to our Chanuka celebration on Thursday, December 6 at 7pm! As usual, we will be enjoying home baked latkes, collecting gifts for Matanot Libenu (Fran Rosenfeld's gifts from the Heart), and having our annual gift exchange. To our traditional activities, this year we are adding poetry. Please either compose your own poem on the theme of light or find words written by others to share during our celebration.
Here is a poem to inspire you to write or find something better:
To show off their might
The Assyrians wanted to fight
Judah the Hammer said "NO!"
And defeated the foe
And that's why we kindle eight lights
If you can contribute latkes to our celebration or if you can volunteer to setup or cleanup, please let Karen Pelmont know - 818-635-9996. If you wish to participate in the gift exchange, we suggest you bring a wrapped gift with a value of around $15, but if the gift exchange is not to your liking, please come anyway - there will be other activities to participate in and enjoy.
In honor of great Jewish cooks (there have been so many!) we tell of Evelyn Rose, 1925-2003, who was the first woman commissioner at the British Meat and Livestock Commission, and was made an MBE* in 1989. She was also an honorary life fellow of the Institute of Home Economics, and a former chair of the National Guild of Food Writers. Rose wrote a weekly food column for the Jewish Chronicle from 1963 (never missing an issue) and wrote a food column for the wine magazine Decanter. Her magnum opus on Jewish cuisine, the Complete International Jewish Cookbook, was published in 1976, and has been revised three times since, most recently in 2011.
Her obituary in The Guardian described her singular accomplishment as the melding of "contemporary cooking with Jewish dietary laws, regulations that not only prohibit the use of pig meat and shellfish, but also the mixing of dairy products with meat". Evelyn Rose was also "highly aware of the changes in culinary trends, particularly the move away from the fatty foods so typical of traditional Jewish cooking ... her modern, health-conscious recipes exemplified the changes that had taken place over her long career."
Born in Manchester, Rose lived in the city all her life except for four years that she spent in the United States as an evacuee. During her time in the United States Rose worked as a secretary at the MGM studios in California. She was invited to audition for the lead role in National Velvet, which was won by Elizabeth Taylor.
Rose was an amazing and accomplished woman!
*MBE is The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. It is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organizations, and public service outside the Civil service.
It is with sadness that I write this email to inform you that Marsha Sheff, long-time Temple Ahavat Shalom member and Past President of the TAS Sisterhood (2003-2005) died yesterday, November 22, 2018 after a long illness. Marsha's funeral will be held on Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 10:00am at Mount Sinai, Simi Valley.
If you would like to send a tribute to Marsha's family please contact Mel Birken.
Upcoming Sisterhood events:
Last month, 12 TAS Sisterhood members went to the WRJ-Pacific District convention in San Diego. The weekend was wonderful, filled with excellent speakers, workshops, services and entertainment. Special moments included watching our own Erika Barnathan and Jackie Zev being installed on the WRJ-PD Board, and a gathering of friends of our dear past president, Ellen A. Pollack, to raise a glass in her honor. But best of all was the camaraderie - sharing the weekend with TAS sisters drew us all closer together. WRJ-PD conventions only happen every other year, so you will have to wait until 2020 to go to the next one. It will be in Orange County, practically in our backyard, so it will be very affordable.
Featured Jewish Woman - Penina Moise (1797-1880)
Most synagogue attendees know that Debby Friedman (1951-2011) wrote many of the songs used in modern Jewish services. But long before Debby Friedman there was another Jewish women that made a big difference in Jewish liturgy. Penina Moise (1797-1880) is considered the first Jewish American woman to contribute to the worship service, writing 190 hymns for Congregation Beth Elohim in Charleston, S.C., a synagogue founded in 1749 and considered the birthplace of many ideas that later became important in the founding of the Reform movement. By 1932, the Reform Movement’s Union Hymnal still contained 13 of Moise’s hymns.
Growing up in the presence of a diverse, vital, and well-integrated Jewish community, Moise devoted herself to Jewish issues. Her work appeared in both the Jewish and general press. Her 1833 collection of poems, Fancy's Sketch Book, was the first by a Jewish American woman. Moise also wrote columns for newspapers throughout the United States. Her poetry covered a variety of topics, including current events, politics, local life, Judaism, Jewish rights, and Jewish ritual reform.
Thank you for supporting the TAS Sisterhood.
Here are two dates to remember:
7pm Thursday, November 15
7:30pm Saturday, November 17
Being November, we are thankful that we have the opportunity to attend two great events.
The first is called "Wine and Wisdom: Conversations with God (moderated by Rabbi Kalfus)." Bring your questions and curiosity, and we will see where the discussion leads us. This event is Thursday, Nov 15 (7pm) in the Social Hall. Click here for more information.
The second is Jewish Women's Theater at TAS. Jewish Women's Theater is an *amazing* readers' theater, often held in people's homes. Several TAS members saw JWT and were so impressed by this moving and powerful show, that they were motivated to bring it to TAS and share with the TAS community. It may be called Jewish Women's Theater, but men are welcome and would enjoy the performance. The show is Saturday, Nov 17 (7:30pm) at the Temple. Tickets are only $25, so it is very affordable. Bring your friends! Click here to view the flyer.
Remember that it is easy to find Sisterhood's upcoming events on our website: http://tassisterhood.org/upcoming-events.html (be sure to put ".org" - ".com" will take you to the website for the Temple Ahavat Shalom Sisterhood in Florida!) You can bookmark http://tassisterhood.org/upcoming-events.html for easy access to all our planned events.
We continue our series of incredible (and sometimes little known) Jewish women with the story of Phoebe Yates Pember, who was the first woman appointed as administrative matron (in 1862) to Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. This hospital had remarkable size of nearly 5000 beds during the Civil war and treated 76,000 patients. Pember was the fourth of six daughters born to a prosperous Jewish family of Charleston, South Carolina. Her husband had died of tuberculosis at the age of 36, and as an energetic supporter of the Confederacy, she welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the care of the wounded. Her reception was less than cordial, with one of the ward surgeons complaining to a friend in disgust that “one of them had come.” But with the support of the surgeon-in-chief, James McCaw (who later became Dean of the Medical College of Virginia), she was able to improve the food and care of the patients, ignoring the opposition and prejudice. Her biggest battle was for control over the most popular medication, whiskey. This commodity was costly and at $4 million, was 20% of the Army Medical Department’s appropriation in 1865. It was also a symbol of authority in the hospital and there was constant friction over its control between male and female contingents. To make matters worse, a few of the patients were contemptible malingerers. One day at the end of the war, one of them tried to force her to give him more whiskey. He called her an indecent name and grabbed her shoulder, but then beat a hasty retreat when he heard the click of a pistol she had concealed in her pocket. She was not very happy about having to ration the supply of alcohol, and as she wrote, “there were some doubts afloat as to whether the benefit conferred upon the patients by the use of stimulants counterbalanced the evil effects they produced on the surgeons”; as she described it, “when the patient was being made ready for an amputation, it was customary for the surgeon to match the patient drink for drink.”
We are thankful for powerful women like Phoebe Pember who made a difference!
And we are thankful for your support of the TAS Sisterhood.
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