Posted by Dikla Kadosh
My husband is pretty good natured. When I tell him we’re going to a community event that I’ve been invited to as a writer, and now as the editor of TRIBE magazine, David doesn’t ask too many questions. I give him a one-sentence summary of what the event is and he goes with it. Usually it turns out well.
Last month, I took him to the Matisyahu concert in Thousand Oaks, and although he was only vaguely aware of who the Chasidic reggae star was, he was happy enough to have a night out with his wife—a rarity since Matan was born 10 months ago. Matisyahu gave a stellar performance and David was blown away by his talent. Good night all around.
After this past Sunday, I think my husband will be more discerning about the events to which he allows me to drag him.
I was invited to see a Purim play, “Esther,” produced by a young local Israeli, Ellie Nahmani. I agreed to check it out and blog about it, and naturally, I figured my husband would accompany me as my date. (Who goes to a play alone? Maybe the same people who go to movies alone…not me.)
Ellie, a very sweet and eager young woman with a passion for theater, informed me that her debut production was for the whole family. I expected a kid-friendly performance, but, admittedly, I kind of glossed over that part when I informed David matter of factly that we were going to a play on Sunday morning. In my defense, the morning showtime should have tipped him off to the kind of show we were attending. But, my darling tends to be as trusting and unassuming as he is easy going. And Matan is our first child, so he isn’t quite hip to the parenting schedule yet.
We arrived at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks 5 minutes before showtime, which in my book is late. But as it turned out, and as I should have anticipated from an Israeli production, the tiny theater was still mostly empty and the show didn’t start for quite some time. We looked around. Nearly every adult in the theater had a toddler in tow, decked out in colorful Purim costumes.
David shot me a look that said, “What are we doing here?”
And then he said, “We should have brought Matan.”
I replied, “He’s too young. There’s no way he would have sat through an entire play quietly.”
David: “Yeah, but then I wouldn’t feel so dumb sitting here without a kid.”
Then came Tamar, a woman dressed in what I think was a Cinderalla costume gown, with a blond wig and an Israeli accent. She waved a sparkly wand and sang songs and pranced around the stage with the costumed kids. My husband slouched down in his seat, groaning.
I was anxious for the show to begin. The theater was freezing and we had rushed out of the house without coffee or breakfast and my stomach was grumbling almost as loudly as David was.
Finally, Tamar and her bubble machine exited the stage, and the play commenced. And to my relief, it was a rather cute show.
Ellie, who wrote and produced the modern-day interpretation of the Purim story, starred as Queen Esther—a humble, kind plain Jane type who wins the heart of the playful and arrogant King Ahashverosh and saves the Jews from Haman’s evil plotting.
Actor Michael Naishtut stood out as a surprisingly clever and nuanced Haman and Sheila R. Rose was hilarious as Sheshe, the king’s wise-cracking servant. With her endearing smile and just-barely-there Israeli accent, Ellie was absolutely adorable as Esther.
Clearly catering to the sippy cup set, the play was light and fluffy – silly and intentionally overdramatic at times – but with pop culture references to “Glee,” Lady Gaga and texting that were aimed at the accompanying adults. And a certain un-accompanying adult.
At one point during the show, David leaned over and whispered in my ear, “How long is the play?”
“I don’t know,” I replied impatiently. “I’m sure it’ll be over soon. Why?”
“Because for every minute of the play, I expect one minute of massage as compensation.”
Now, let me just say that David and I love those children’s animated movies and went to see “Despicable Me” and “Megamind” at the theater. He wasn’t embarrassed then to be seen without children. That’s because those movies are so clever and entertaining that they appeal to kids on one level and adults on a whole other level.
“Esther” didn’t quite succeed at that formidable task, but I have no doubt that the Spiderman in front of us and the Tinker Bell in the first row thoroughly enjoyed the play with its dancing girls, colorful costumes and happy ending.
And, quite honestly, with all the heartache and tragedies in the news of late, I too appreciated the happy ending.
“Esther” plays at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks through April 10; tickets are $18 presale, $23 at the door. For tickets, go to www.esthertheplay.com.
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March 2, 2011 | 11:50 am
Posted by Dikla Kadosh
When I read about the Mom’s Retreat at Camp JCA Shalom in TRIBE’s March Calendar, I thought, “Sign me up!” A weekend—kidfree—with all the fun activities of camp: hiking, swimming, games, arts and crafts ... but even better. The weekend includes activities only a grown-up can truly appreciate: manicures, pedicures, massages, tai-chi, speakers and discussions.
It sounded like exactly the kind of getaway a first-time mom like me needs after 9 months of intensive infant caring round the clock. But, alas, reality set in and I realized that I couldn’t possibly go on the retreat. My son and I are still attached at the boob. So, I’ll have to wait until next year to join the other moms who rightfully treat themselves to a pampering weekend.
Here is a testimonial from one of those lucky moms, Wendy Guttler Cohen, who has been retreating to the beauty of the Malibu mountains for over five years.
As March approaches, I get winsome and excited at the thought of this special weekend that is all about “ME!”
My children have been JCA campers for years and I am always a bit envious as I send them off every summer. Somehow Camp JCA figured this out and developed the Mom’s Retreat. I live in Murrieta, California, where I am not involved with Jewish experiences outside of my home. This is my one weekend away where I get to enjoy a Jewish experience from Shabbat services to havdalah (my favorite), with other moms who like me, look forward to this experience every year.
I have been coming to the Mom’s Retreat for years now. Here is the attraction: No kids wanting something; no husbands (partners) wanting something; no planning meals, preparing meals or cleaning up from meals; no agendas, plans, after-school activities, obligations. Just me and a group of warm and welcoming women doing everything camp offers or nothing at all.
Some of the optional activities that may be offered during the weekend include hiking, Zip-line, havdalah service, yoga, Zumba, morning services, camp fire, singing, swimming, arts and crafts, educational/therapeutic workshops, manicures, pedicures, facials and massages.
On Saturday evenings, the staff spoils us with a martini party.
It is a treasured gift I give to myself once a year. As I drive away from camp, enjoying the beautiful Malibu mountains, I am filled with appreciation for camp, my husband, my kids ... my life.
Mom’s Retreat: Fri., March 11 - Sun., March 13. $295 (all inclusive). Shalom Institute, 34342 Mulholland Highway, Malibu. (818) 889-5500. campjcashalom.com/momapply.
February 16, 2011 | 11:48 pm
Posted by Dikla Kadosh
Matisyahu wore a faded camp staff t-shirt on stage and bantered with the spunky audience in a charming performance at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Tuesday night. An immensely talented performer and a witty, self-effacing Orthodox Jew, Matisyahu drew a wildly diverse crowd to the acoustic show, sponsored by the Chabad of the Conejo. Here’s a recap of the night’s most memorable moments:
1) Matisyahu sipping beer between songs, and running off stage midway through the concert to “take care of something”
2) Matisyahu giving guest performer and collaborator Trevor Hall a very endearing kiss on the cheek
3) Three giggly girls sneaking into our row close to the stage, and squeezing into two seats
4) During the Q-and-A session, Matisyahu admitting that he’s never heard a Justin Bieber song
5) One of those giggly girls standing up and shouting, “Mr. Matisyahu, I converted to Judaism because of you.” Matisyahu’s hesitant response: “Uh, I hope that goes well for you.”
6) The same pertinacious girl getting Matisyahu to invite her up on stage with him, then sitting perched on the stool next to him, looking flushed and about to faint
7) Matisyahu’s beatboxing…every time
8) A blonde girl with ample cleavage sitting next to an Orthodox man with a long beard, black suit and a gaggle of young children scampering up and down the aisle
9) Matisyahu, answering a question, saying that he doesn’t own a television, or have a “prescription” to any newspaper. And don’t think that the crowd didn’t pick up on the blunder…I overheard some snickering.
10) Matisyahu poking fun at concert emcee and Orthodox comedian Mendy Pellin: discretely placing a dirty sock on his shoulder, smelling Mendy’s microphone and making a face, reading the comedian’s stage notes out loud, then shaking his head “not very interesting stuff Mendy”
January 31, 2011 | 2:55 pm
Posted Lior Haykeen, TRIBE intern
In the spirit of Tu B’shvat, the Jewish celebration of nature and abundance, the students of Conejo Hebrew High School in Agoura Hills invited their families and other community members to a one-night dining experience Jan. 19 at their own makeshift Israeli restaurant, which they named “Jew’d Ranch.” After a semester of studying conversational Hebrew and Israeli modern culture, the students, who took orders in Hebrew only, used this project to apply their skills to real life. The profits from the evening were donated to their school.
“We thought it would be great to apply the language and the culture they learn about in school to practice, outside of the classroom setting,” explained Rabbi Sapochkinsky, director of the school, otherwise known as Rabbi Sapo amongst the students. “Judaism teaches us that in order to appreciate something, we must make it a part of ourselves,” he said, “and there’s no better way to make something a part of ourselves than to eat it.”
The high school students created a Jew’d Ranch menu inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, with a gentle hint for customers: “How can you not tip your waiter? He’s so cute!”
They arrived early to decorate the room with colorful nature-related accessories, and the tables with festive tablecloths and branches of almond trees, as well as to prepare the food for the evening.
The tables quickly filled up with family members showing their support. The customers were encouraged to use only Hebrew in their conversations with the waiters, and they did so enthusiastically. Cheat sheets on the back of the menus – for those whose Hebrew was rusty— included the translation of many terms and phrases needed to communicate with the waiter. Before long, the students had to set up extra tables for the overflow of customers.
“This night has been lots of fun!” said Ari Gootnick, a 16-year-old student who was running between the kitchen and the tables all night long.
As the night came to an end, guests and students were invited to enjoy an all you can eat buffet of fruit desserts made by the high school girls.
The evening was a delightful lesson for everyone involved.
January 11, 2011 | 4:30 pm
Posted by Dikla Kadosh
It’s ironic. The easier it becomes to communicate with people around the world, via Facebook, Skype and email, the more accessible foreign products become through online retailers and a fluid global economy, and the faster information is available about events happening across the globe, the more it seems people crave a connection to their immediate surroundings. In a time where the whole world is literally at your fingertips, there is nothing we value more than community – a sense of belonging, a sense of place, of shared values and interests, and beliefs.
TRIBE magazine is your community hub. In our physical as well as web pages, you will discover a delicious Israeli bakery 10 minutes from your house; you’ll learn about the mensches in your neighborhood who are doing incredible and inspiring things to better our world; you’ll accumulate fabulous recipes to wow your guests on special occasions; you’ll even gain some insight into your teen’s peculiar behavior or your toddler’s development.
This blog is an extension of TRIBE, and more: it’s a communal discussion board, an ongoing conversation, a place to share news, upcoming events, cool discoveries around town and thoughts about what it means to be Jewish on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
I welcome your input, thoughts, community news and suggestions on articles for TRIBE magazine. And if you really have a lot to say and would like to share it with everyone on your very own blog, please email me!
Welcome to the community. Welcome to the TRIBE.