April 21, 2005
Party Hearty I
More than 900 young professionals attended the third annual ATID Purim Party at the Peterson Automotive Museum on March 19.
It was drinking and dancing the night away to the sounds of DJ Bakdraft, and prizes for the best costumes, including casino resort weekends, LA Fitness memberships, massages and more. Winners included a praying mantis, a Freudian slip, Purim Avenue stoplight and traffic cop and a house and garden.
A special Purimspiel short movie, "Save the Parents," comedically depicted what happened after the story of Purim, when Queen Esther brought her (non-Jewish) king home to meet the parents, with a special guest appearance by 2005 Oscar winner Morgan Freeman.
A Fine Life
Susie Romano knows how to live life to the fullest, not only in her position as the co-chair for the Women's Sephardic Division for The Jewish Federation, but also in her newly appointed position as vice president of marketing at Fine Living TV.
Promoted last month, Romano is now responsible for developing and executing strategic marketing and branding initiatives.
Before joining Fine Living in 2001, Romano spent three years as a brand manager in the licensing and merchandising division of Fox Filmed Entertainment, creating and implementing strategies for such properties as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Ally McBeal" and "King of the Hill."
Hands On Healing
More than 100 members of Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC) attended a unique ceremony allowing them to participate in the repair of a Holocaust-era Torah scroll on March 20 with sofer Neil Yerman.
"We are especially excited about this unique opportunity to extend 'new life' to our Torah scroll, as a way to honor and help preserve the memory of those who perished," Rabbi Lisa Edwards told those assembled.
The congregation received the scroll in early 1973, and it is on permanent loan from the Westminster Synagogue Torah Project in England.
BCC is one of only five American congregations (and the only one on the West Coast) to receive a Torah scroll from Chotebor; a sixth Chotebor scroll resides in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Debra Orenstein has many strings to her bow. A seventh-generation rabbi, she is also an alumna of the first rabbinical class at the Jewish Theological Seminary to include women. A teacher at the University of Judaism, Orenstein also edited the award-winning "Lifecycles" series of books on Judaism from a woman's perspective.
So it was no surprise to those who know her that her synagogue's congregants at Makor Ohr Shalom decided to hold a dinner dance in her honor on March 5.
At the event, Orenstein was presented with an official proclamation from the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in honor of her service to the community.
Popular singer-songwriter-comedienne Shelly Goldstein and legendary performer Theodore Bikel performed at the event, while Rabbi Zalman Shlomi-Schecter, considered the father of Jewish Renewal, sent a congratulatory taped message to Orenstein and the congregation.
Hail to the Chief
Rabbi Robert Gan, senior rabbi of Temple Isaiah, was recently installed as the regional president of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) and World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) in the Pacific Southwest.
Gan, a longtime friend to the international Reform movement, leads a board of 36 people in activities to support and raise funds for Reform movement programs in Israel, the former Soviet Union, Argentina and around the world.
ARZA is the Zionist arm of the Reform movement and an affiliate of the Union of Reform Judaism, representing 1.5 million Reform and Progressive Jews.
Party Hearty II
The National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) sent 46 of its San Fernando Valley members to the East Coast for a special alcohol-free Purim party in the Chasidic community of New Square, some 75 miles from New York City.
Accompanying the teenagers were Yanky and Devorah Lunger of Valley Village and their five children. Devorah Lunger is a full-time NCSY leader.
"The teens live a Jewish life in Los Angeles, but they wanted to witness it in New York, and rejoice at Purim in Chasidic style," she said.