Last Wednesday's Sisterhood seder was another impressive seder in a long string of wonderful Sisterhood seders. Led by Rabbi Kalfus, Rabbi Samansky, Cantor Ken, and our amazing Jennifer Bennett to a sold out crowd, it featured stories, songs, and Jewish history from Mexico, Central and South America. You can find pictures on our Sisterhood website (www.tassisterhood.org). The Haggadah (with the sephardic charoset recipe on the last page) is on our website too. Click on "Events & Programs", then "Past meetings and Events", and then click on the seder flyer. Or go to our Facebook page, where a direct link to the Haggadah is posted.
Mucho thanks to the seder committee (Committee Chair Arlene Stone, Mel Birken, Becky Breuer, Sue Issler, Diane Levine, Sherry Lucks, Rhonda Mayer, Laraine Miller, Alyce Schultz-Rozsa, Laurie Scher, Sonia Smith, Judy Stehr, Tammy Singer) for all their excellent work making it happen. And thanks also to Rabbi Kalfus, Rabbi Samansky, Cantor Ken, and Jennifer Bennett for leading the service. A special shout out to Jennifer and Cantor Ken for their humorous rewriting of "What's New Buenos Aires" and "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina". Jennifer's a capella rendition of these songs was just perfect!
On an unrelated note, on April 5, the Google graphic celebrated Hedwig Kohn's 132nd birthday. Despite being born in an era when being a woman and being Jewish made accomplishing anything extremely problematic, Kohn perserved, educated herself and made significant contributions in the fields of flame spectroscopy and radiometry. Time.com has the following description of her accomplishments along with Google's interesting graphic at http://time.com/5564908/google-doodle-hedwig-kohn/.
Born in Breslau Poland on April 5, 1887, Kohn became one of only three women certified to teach physics at a German university before World War II. As a Jewish woman, Kohn was barred from her teaching position in 1933 when Germany’s Nazi regime started to remove Jews from government positions. But she did not give up. She continued her work by taking up research contracts in industrial physics.
In 1940, when it was clear she could no longer safely stay in Germany, she fled to the United States, where she was able to pursue her dream of teaching at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina and Wellesley College in Massachusetts. In her basement lab, she mentored Ph.D. students in their research and developed her work in flame spectroscopy, a project she had started in 1912, a year before she received her doctorate.
After retiring from teaching in 1952, Kohn took on a research associate position at Duke University in North Carolina. Kohn’s work was published in 20 journals and a textbook that was used to introduce students to radiometry (the science of measuring electromagnetic radiation, including light) well into the 1960s.
She died in 1964 at the age of 77. Her work continues to be cited and her legacy as a resilient pioneer, who found opportunities at a time when they were scarce, will surely be remembered.
What a great turnout for last Thursday's meeting on Marijuana, and the speaker did not disappoint - she was excellent! Photos are up on the Sisterhood website (tassisterhood.org - click on "Photos" on the menu). Check out all the smiling faces! Note that if you are unhappy with any picture on our website, just let us know and we will remove it.
One of the reasons we brought in a speaker on Marijuana is that politicians have changed the legal status of Marijuana recently. This made us think of Jewish women in politics. In 2018, women in high political leadership positions is thankfully nothing new. But in 1947, they were a rarity.
In 1947, Ana Pauker became the first ever female foreign minister when she was appointed to the job in Romania. Pauker was born in 1893 into a poor Orthodox family in Bucharest. She became a teacher in a Jewish school and active in the country’s socialist movement. She and her husband were repeatedly arrested for their activities and spent years in exile in the 1920s.
In 1934, she was arrested in Romania and imprisoned for seven years, until she was sent to the Soviet Union in a prisoner swap deal in 1941. There she became an unofficial leader in the Communist Party and volunteered with the Red Army. In 1944, she returned to Romania and in 1947 she was appointed foreign minister, a position she held for five years. But Pauker was then criticized – and some say scapegoated – for the party’s harsh activities and subservience to Moscow.
But later discoveries revealed that she tried to be a moderating force within the government, not always successfully. Pauker also worked to facilitate Romanian Jewish immigration to Israel. In 1952, she was forced out of the party, and in 1953, was arrested on charges of “international Zionism.” She was later released and died of cancer in 1960. To this day, she is considered a controversial figure in Romanian history.
Mark your calendars - here are the upcoming Sisterhood events through the end of June:
Thursday, March 21, 7pm - Holistic Health: Medical and Recreational Marijuana
Wednesday, April 3, 6pm - Sisterhood Seder
Sunday, April 28 - Pala Casino Trip (SOLD OUT!)
Friday, May 10, 7:30 pm - Sisterhood Shabbat
Thursday, May 16, 7pm - Israel Celebration
Sunday, June 9, - LOVE Luncheon honoring our volunteers
Sunday, June 23, 8:30am - MahJongg Tournament
Because the guest speaker at Thursday’s “Holistic Health: Medical and Recreational Marijuana” event is the Director of Addiction and Prevention Services at the Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Los Angeles, we bring you a brief history of JFS, Los Angeles’ oldest and most active charitable organization.
In 1854, when the entire population of Los Angeles was a whopping 1,610, the tiny Jewish community here established the Hebrew Benevolent Society which would become what it is today, the Jewish Family Service, the largest social service agency in Los Angeles.
In its inception, the volunteer group’s purpose was to collect funds from “those who have” and distribute them to “those who have not”. It’s first project was to purchase land for a cemetery to fulfill the commandment of burying the dead.
As the population of Los Angeles grew and the needs of the residents changed, the agency responded to the challenges by expanding the geographical area served and the range of services offered. Each different era brought with it its own needs and the agency responded to meet those needs. During the 1900s the agency experienced a great expansion of its services from the basic needs of food and shelter to specialized services such as immigration and resettlement, support services to survivors of the Holocaust and medical and child care. In 1946 the Hebrew Benevolent Society changed its name to Jewish Family Service to reflect its broadened array of programs.
Today, JFS has a reputation that stretches far beyond the Los Angeles area. It is known nationally and internationally for its excellence in services for children, families, individuals with disablities, survivors of violence, and older adults.
Two great programs are coming our way within the next three weeks.
Fenia co-founded the Socialist Women's Center in 1920, and the Trade Union of Women, with her sisters and Gabriela Laperriere and Rachel Messina. She participated in the first strikes of the workers and the trade union organization of workers in different industries, such as telephone, textiles, trade, and factories, contributing to enact laws for making Sunday a day of rest. She also denounced labor exploitation of minors, poor sanitary conditions in factories, and long working hours.
Just one of many examples of Jewish Latin women making a difference!
And now a message from
Your Temple Judaica Shop
Please pass the matzah!
Stop by the TAS Judaica shop and view our latest treasures for Passover!
A nice selection of toys and games, seder plates, matzah holders
and hostess gifts.
All proceeds benefit the projects and services provided by Sisterhood to TAS
and Women of Reform Judaism.
We are open during Friday Onegs and Sundays from 9 am to 11:30
(when school is in session)
Special appointments? Please call Laraine
Miller at 818-993-0796 or Linda Sculler at 818-701-7117.
Credit cards, checks and cash accepted!
First a word from our sponsor: Our next meeting is Thursday, March, 21, 7pm. The topic is Holistic Health: Medical and Recreational Marijuana. Details about the speaker can be found on our website, tassisterhood.org.
Sisterhood raises money through raffles at our monthly meetings and other fundraisers to offer camperships which help families afford to send their kids to Jewish camps. In this endeavor, we team up with MoTAS. We ask the kids to give back to Sisterhood and MoTAS in two ways: by volunteering a little bit of time and by writing a Thank You note.
The campership program gives kids the opportunity to actively contribute to the cost of attending camp. Having worked to earn a campership makes them value their time at camp more. And we have observed that the kids learn concrete skills when they volunteer. Once, when they were helping us with apples and honey, we had them gift wrap the honey jars for the clergy. We learned that none of them knew how to wrap a present, so we taught them how. Another time, a youth was helping make punch, which requires opening a can of pineapple juice with a church key. We instructed him on how to use a church key to open a can.
Camperships are just one of the ways that Sisterhood supports our youth. You can read about some of the other things we do on our website, tassisterhood.org, under "Mitzvot". We hope you will help us support our youth by participating in our fundraisers, or by donating directly to Sisterhood.
Speaking of attending camp, we tell of Elsie Reich. In the winter of 1945, Elsie Reich and her husband Harry bought seven acres of land in Salisbury, Connecticut. Harry was listed as the owner, but Elsie managed the property. She employed homeless people recommended to her by a New York City clergyman. In the summer of 1946, she opened Berkshire Hills Camp. It provided Jewish children with “amusement, recreation, entertainment and instruction.” Elsie Reich was only one of the many Jewish women who became involved with summer camping in the first half of the twentieth century.
Summer camps fostered the development of ethnic pride that helped children cope with the antisemitism that defined their young American lives. Summer camps also strengthened the Jewish child’s sense of self by providing an ethnic interpretation of American life. Jewishness was woven into the fabric of daily life. Hebrew place names, symbols, stories and plays textured the camp’s physical and cultural landscapes.
When Elsie Reich opened Berkshire Hills Camp in 1946, she was perpetuating a female tradition that had existed for thirty years. What was true then is still true today. Every summer, thousands of Jewish children have their Jewish identities forged and deepened through summer camp experiences. Sisterhood is proud to do their part in sustaining the Jewish camp experience for our kids.
Wow! What a great week this was! Our appraiser at our February meeting was able to tell us so much about the antiques we brought - we were very impressed by her knowledge. And Bingotini, as always, was a blast! Pictures from Bingotini are already up on our website (check out all the smiling faces), and pictures from the antiques meeting will be up shortly. To see the pictures, go to tassisterhood.org and click on "Photos" on the menu. If you can't find the photos, give Jackie Zev (our technology chair) a call (818-832-9099) and she's sure to be able to figure out what the problem is.
Mark Thursday, March 21 on your calendar for our meeting on Holistic Health: Medical and Recreational Marijuana. And have you RSVP'ed for our Sisterhood Seder on Wednesday, April 3 yet? I hope so, because this event is very popular, and space is limited. Flyers for both events are available on our website on the upcoming events page. Here's a direct link to upcoming events for your convenience: https://www.tassisterhood.org/upcoming-events.html.
Did you know that the theme of the Sisterhood Seder this year is "Viva Pesach! Celebrating Latin American Jews"? Along those lines, we tell you about Muriel Eva Verbitsky de Hunt (1934–1980), a Jewish Argentine cultural anthropologist, academic and writer. In 1953, after graduating in anthropology from the Universidad Femenina de México, she became a researcher at the Escuela Nacional de Antropología. In the 1950s and 1960s, she undertook fieldwork in Oaxaca, first studying the Cuicatec Indians and later conducting research in the Mixtec region under Kimball Romney. She earned an M.A. in 1959 and a Ph.D. in 1962 with her thesis "The Dynamics of the Domestic Group in Two Tzeltal Villages." She moved to the US in the late 1950s, but still spent significant time doing research in Mexico. In the mid-1970s, Hunt stressed the importance of kinship in investigating the anthropology of Mesoamerica, increasingly focusing on regional analysis and publishing "The Transformation of the Hummingbird: Cultural Roots of a Zinacantecan Mythical Poem" (1977). Hunt became a professor at Boston University in 1978. Tragically, her life was cut short by cancer at the age of 45.
This will be a fun week, with our February meeting on Thursday and Bingotini on Saturday. The pair of events will be a contrast between the old and the new. For our February event, we are trying something new - you can bring an antique and have our expert give you an estimate of what it is worth. It will be a blast to see what special objects we all have hidden in our households. And Bingotini is a tried and true favorite. If you haven't RSVPed for Bingotini yet, you can still come, but please let us know - we want to be sure to set up enough tables. The February meeting is $5 (waived for Sisterhood members and Friends of Sisterhood) and Bingotini is $36 at the door.
Speaking of upcoming events, RSVPs for the ever popular Sisterhood seder are now open! Get your RSVP in early, because this event sells out! This year, our seder is on a WEDNESDAY - Wednesday, April 3. The theme this year is "Viva Pesach! Celebrating Latin American Jews."
For more information about any of these events, check out our website (tassisterhood.org) - The scrolling box has flyers for all three events. And after each event, be sure to go back to our website to check out the pictures we took!
Hopefully, you can make at least one of the events, because it won't be the same without you!
On the theme of "antiques" this week, we mention the Biblical story of Ruth. What is more antique than the Bible?! Everyone knows that Ruth was the Moabite daughter-in-law of Naomi, and that when Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem after the deaths of her husband and both her sons, Ruth went with her, saying, "For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God."
But consider yourself a biblical scholar if you also knew that Ruth is the great-grandmother of King David. In biblical times, lineage was traced through the paternal line, and Ruth marries Naomi's cousin Boaz and has a son, Obed, who has a son, Jesse, who is David's father.
Here are more interesting facts about Ruth's story that are typically not taught in religious school. Before Boaz could be allowed to marry Ruth, another closer relative to Naomi (who is unnamed) had to reliquish his right/obligation to marry Ruth. Fortunately for Ruth and Boaz, the relative does do this and he ratifies his choice by taking off his shoe and handing it over to Boaz. An interesting way of "sealing the deal"! Can you imagine if that is how we certified deals nowadays?
Stay tuned for future interesting facts about Biblical stories that are typically not taught in religious school!
First a quick reminder about our meeting on Feb 21 where you can bring one Antique item and get an estimate of its value, and Bingotini on Feb 23. Hopefully you have already RSVPed for Bingotini if you can come. Go to our website (tassisterhood.org) for more information about either event.
Did you know that, of your membership dues, $18 goes to the our umbrella organization, the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) and $2 goes to WRJ Pacific District? Why is our Sisterhood part of WRJ? Because of everything WRJ does to support Judaism, Jewish women and Jewish youth.
You could spend hours wandering around the WRJ website (www.wrj.org) learning about the multiple leadership and spiritual development programs, the upcoming conferences, conventions and trips, the funds WRJ provides to support rabbinic students, kids programs, Jewish camps, and other special projects, the work they do to promote social justice and their support of political activism to make the world a more equitable place.
Not only does WRJ make a difference at the National level, but our Sisterhood benefits from their programs as well. One example is WRJ's Chai Mitzvah program. Chai Mitzvah is a program to enhance Jewish engagement and deepen one's spiritual connection to Judaism. Like a book group, Chai Mitzvah network groups meet monthly with text-based source books on Jewish topics.
At our Sisterhood we have one Chai Mitzvah group. If there was enough interest, we would start a second group. Check out the Chai Mitzvah website (www.chaimitzvah.org) and if you are interested, let us know!
On the subject of spiritual leadership, have you heard of Sarah Schenirer? She was born in 1883 into a prominent rabbinic family in Cracow, Poland. Schenirer, who attended a Polish elementary school for eight years, envied her brothers the opportunities they had to learn Torah. In 1917 Schenirer decided to initiate some type of educational activity for the women of her community. First she organized a lecture series for adult women. Then she set up a kindergarten for girls. The school, called “Bais Ya’akov”, grew and grew. It is now a worldwide movement with tens of thousands of pupils in hundreds of institutions.
Have you sent in your check for Bingotini yet? It's Saturday, Feb 23 (7:30) - two days after Sisterhood's antique items meeting on Feb 21. Bingotini is always a fabulous event! Why don't you call some friends and fill a table? If you do, let us know and we will reserve seats for your group so you can all sit together.
RSVP by Feb 17 to get the $30 price. RSVP by sending a check payable to TAS Sisterhood to Sue Cohen, 22349 James Alan Circle, Chatsworth, CA, 91311 - or you can leave it at the Temple. You can even pay online using paypal or a credit card by using the donate button on the Sisterhood website (www.tassisterhood.org). If you pay online, please add a dollar per person to cover the paypal or credit card fees.
One of the reasons we work so hard to fundraise is to support our youth, who represent the future of Judaism. This has long been a priority of the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), the umbrella organization for our Sisterhood. Here is one paragraph from an article by Paul Reichenbach, Director of Camping and Israel Programs, Union for Reform Judaism, speaking about how WRJ's priorities and commitments changed his life*1.
"There is an extraordinary story to tell in celebrating the leadership role of the NFTS*2 calling for the establishment of our Union camps. Just as NFTS led the way to inspire the establishment of NFTY*3 in 1939, in 1950 a Sisterhood resolution was passed calling for the creation of residential camps for Reform Jewish youth. That audacious dream was fulfilled in 1952 with the founding of the Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute followed by Camp Saratoga (Swig) in 1953. By 1958 the UAHC*4 was operating five camps with the establishment of Union Camp Institute (Goldman), Harlam, and Eisner. By July 1, 2014, the URJ will operate 14 camps in the USA and Canada. This commitment to powerful immersive Jewish experiences for our young people has been sustained by the allocation of scholarship dollars by local sisterhoods making the dream of camp a reality for so many deserving children. It is estimated that the typical WRJ chapter allocates at least $2,000 a year for camp financial assistance.*5"
1) You can find the entire article at https://nfty.org/2013/12/03/it-takes-a-sisterhood-wrj-and-youth/
2) NFTS is the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, which was WRJ's name until 1993.
3) NFTY is the National Federation of Temple Youth, the umbrella organization for our youth group.
4) UAHC is the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, which was the URJ's name until 2003. The URJ is the umbrella organization for our Temple.
5) We are a "typical WRJ chapter"
So, come have a great time at Bingotini, and help us raise the money that we budget for camp financial assistance!
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."
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