April 19, 2007
Hillcrest Honors ProS; Ancient Digs; Feinstein’s Fanfare
Hillcrest Honors ProS|
Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California (JCPSC) recently met at Hillcrest Country Club to discuss their upcoming June 5 Annual Awards Banquet. The event will honor professionals in numerous categories for outstanding achievements.
More than 50 professionals from Los Angeles Jewish community organizations participated in the evening's activities, including JCPSC's discussion "Straight Talk -- A Donor's Perspective."
For more information, contact JCPSC at JCPSCLA@Yahoo.com .
It was an exciting hour recently when a group of local residents were treated to a presentation by Doron Spielman, head of the Ir David Foundation, creators of the City of David project. Spielman, a young Israeli originally from the United States and a captain in the Israel Defense Forces reserves, has devoted his energy to pursuing the archeological legacy located in the City of David.
The effort first began 130 years ago as an attempt to reveal the secrets of King David's city and contains the first Temple, administrative center and royal archives.
Among the relics uncovered have been the royal seal and recent discoveries about the Warren Shaft System that furnished the city with water. Because of this new information and the discovery of the wells, intriguing questions have arisen about how Joab ben Zuriah may have used the underground water system in King David's capture of the city 3,000 years ago.
Also uncovered were Hezekiah's tunnel and the Gihon Spring, a still-flowing spring.
Spielman says the initial efforts of the foundation included redeeming the land bought by Baron Edmund de Rothchild in the early 1900s.
The foundation's work has helped create a thriving Jewish community with a synagogue, nursery and archeological area. A business center has been built on a site where many believe King David's palace once stood.
The project is designed to strengthen the connection between today's Israeli youth and their heritage.
"It helps our young soldiers understand what they are fighting for," said Spielman, who during the event passed around a 2,000 year-old coin discovered in the ruins that depicts a lulav and etrog.
It was an emotional experience for everyone, holding something our ancestors had created when trying to exist surrounded, and ultimately killed, by their enemies.
The ancient sites Doran displayed painted a moving portrait of the Jewish people's will to survive even under siege from the Romans. They were forced to hide in caverns a mere 3 feet high to escape murder by Roman soldiers.
Doron says Ir David's purpose is to teach the next generation to embrace Israel and forge a strong connection to the land. Part of this is accomplished by bringing over 50,000 high school students to the City of David. This is followed by a second such mandatory experience when they begin their military service.
The presentation was catnip to archeology and history buffs and to all who enjoy physical links to their heritage.
For more information about the project and tours, contact Friends of David at email@example.com or visit www.cityofdavid.org.il.
University Synagogue's Rabbi Morley T. Feinstein was honored as a Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem. The Hartman Institute endeavors to stimulate Jewish renewal by providing American rabbis with the knowledge, tools and vision to redefine the modern Jewish agenda and function as leading educators in the Jewish community. Only 50 participants in North America have been so honored, representing Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist streams within Judaism.
The Hartman Institute program has two central components. The first, an in- depth study program -- in Jerusalem and through live video classes in Los Angeles -- maps out the central ideas of the Jewish tradition in the fields of ethics, faith, spirituality and politics. It provides a serious exploration of Judaism's rich intellectual and spiritual mosaic and of the complexity and diversity inherent in Judaism.
The second component focuses on developing curricula, methodologies and priorities to help define and shape both formal and informal educational endeavors in the synagogue, in order to enrich and expand the congregation's spiritual life.
Hey There, Partner!
Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health, a department of Hebrew University College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), held its fourth biennial Partner Gathering at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute. More than 100 rabbis, physicians, social workers and others from the United States, Israel and Brazil, whose work or interest involves Judaism's role in healing, participated in the event.
The gathering allowed participants to "learn, network and recharge," said Associate Director Michele Prince.
"Themes of memory and aging were explored during this retreat, and will influence the ways the Kalsman Partners work with one another, their patients, congregants and students."
"A special element of the Kalsman Gatherings," she added, "is that we, as a department of the Reform movement seminary, are able to bring together leaders from across the spectrum of Jewish life -- from secular Israeli to Modern Orthodox. This transdenominational effort is more than symbolic, and it gave us great pleasure as we davened, learned, networked and recharged together."
At an evening reception, Rabbi Richard Address, director of the Union for Reform Judaism's Department of Jewish Family Concerns, was honored with the HUC-JIR's Sherut L'Am Award for "revolutionary work in Jewish congregational life." Address has been instrumental in creating congregational programs dealing with such issues as the changing nature of the Jewish family, bioethics, aging and illness.
-- Nancy Sokoler Steiner, Contributing Writer