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Moshav, Rav Shmuel, Dov Rosenblatt @ LoveFest, Aug. 5, in LA

love fest poster 500

Tu B’Av is an ancient day of Jewish romance and celebrating the love in our lives on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Av. It’s older than St. Valentine’s Day and Sadie Hawkins Day by a few thousand years. We dusted off this gem of a Holyday which had seen little activity here in LA, and together with JconnectLA created LoveFest last. Over 300 people jammed into the event last year, so we realized that we were intoan annual event, and we had to take this one higher than ever before.

Enter the totally cool and hip vibe at Bungalow Club, on Melrose, Los Angeles’s hipster road. Add some of the best Jewish music in the country: Moshav, Rav Shmuel, Dov Rosenblatt (Blue Fr

inge), DJ Eric Rosen, DJ Cajami. We have a vendor fair with interesting swag, delicious ala carte dining, special Love Fest drinks at recession prices, and HurryDate®. HurryDate® speed dating is a great way to meet lots of new people in a quick, fun, no-pressure environment. They hold speed dating parties for Jewish singles in cities all across the US each week.

JconnectLA presents a LoveFest of cosmic proportions this year on WED. AUG 5, 8PM. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Hosted by The Bungalow Club, and sponsors Jdate and HurryDate®, LeDoVaDor, JewC, Modern Tribe and Cool Jew.
Make sure to buy your tickets soon for LoveFest – it’ a mini-Jewlicious Festival in the middle of LA, with a full bar.

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This holiday of redemption

Last days of Pesach. Focusing on the redemption, the crossing of the sea, Miriam and dancing, the Ball Shem Tov meal at the end of this holiday. This holiday where matzah shortages in chain supermarkets in California made the news. This holiday where Obama and Clinton duked it out, with Basketball and Hockey playoffs, and hundreds of religious Jews praying mincha at Disneyland together. This holiday that people speak of in the past tense while it is still going on. As in, “my Passover was great” when they mean the seder, and not the holiday. Or do they mean the holiday. This holiday that converged with Earth Day, meaning you could eat your matzah and represent for the earth – it was the convergence of all things crunchy. This holiday where I explained that the cup of Eliyahu is not really for Eliyahu, but that it represents the fifth cup – not four – that some rabbis in the Talmud believed needed to be included in the seder. The argument was solved by the compromise of the fifth cup. And they wrote that when Eliyahu comes to herald the Messiah and this and other questions will be answered, we will know how many cups we were to drink at the seder. Hence it became Eliyahu’s cup. Not Eliyahu in the some Santa Clause kind of way, swooping down on the Jewish homes to swig some bad kiddush wine. I mean what kind of junk did we teach our kids, and what did they feed us? And this holiday where the Muslim Student Union at UCI unveils another outrageous campaign against Jewish students by proclaiming that there is a Holocaust in Palestine and how can Jewish organizations think this meshugass is going to go away by playing patty-cake with the chancellor – it won’t – its gonna get a whole lot worse before you kick these shmucks off campus. And this Holiday where the Hebrew Hammers powered only by sheer will won 14-6, by not swinging the bat. Where they partied on Matzah Pizzas much like the one pictured here. This holiday where all kinds of clever marketing gimmicks were in the works, but the Matzah Song hit a chord. This holiday where we came to the realization that we are all slaves to high oil prices. This holiday where Amy Winehouse is sitting in jail again. This holiday where the weather is wacky and and the stars of aligned, and the Tigers win four straight games. This holiday where you cling to the hope that you can change the world in some significant way by speaking about it at the Seder Table, but you know, deep down, that talk is cheap, and words cheaper, and that the only thing to do is act. Mitzvah. This holiday is about the act. The act of redemption. This holiday where you come up with wonderful ideas because you are elated and high on life, and that you realize that you’ll never get everything done in your life that you hope to. Happy Passover. Happy Redemption Days. and Shabbat Shalom.
Matzah Pizza courtesy of Ben Perelstein


Go Kosher For Passover

passover-guide-2009-picKOSHER FOR PASSOVER


This is according to Ashkenazi custom. Sephardic customs do vary.
Please distribute. ©2004-2009 by Rabbi Yonah Bookstein | A service of Alevy Jewish Student Services


“Let Don Siegleman be with us for Next Shabbos”

don_happy.jpgLast Friday night, at a massive Hillel Purim/Shabbat table at Congregation Lubavitch-Long Beach the Purim spirit was intense. We had been singing since 5 o’clock, and after many hours, the room was ringing with our joyous songs. We were pounding the tables and the floors were getting treacherous. Delicious shnitzels, BBQ chicken wings, and other dishes were piled on huge platters, and kept coming out of the kitchen. Ice-cold pitchers of Heineken and many other drinks, going fast and furiously. The party was so holy and so beautiful. I got up to make toasts and L’Chaims. I had been in the same place for several hours.

I gave a roaring toast to the assembled students, alumni, members of the community starting with LChaim, tovim, u’sholom, she yibane beis ha mikdash bimheira v’yameinu, u sen chelkeinu v’torasecha…. and so on for several minutes. Then my wife Rachel yelled in my ear “Don.”

I yelled out “And Let Don Seigleman be with us for Next Shabbos!” Only some in the room understood what I was talking about—former Alabama Govenor Don Siegleman has been unjustly imprisoned for nine months in a work camp, denied being free on bail during his appeal, and featured recently on 60-minutes, MSNBC, and in congressional hearings—but it didn’t because it was Purim and everyone gave a resounding, a gigantic “L’Chaim,” and the singing commensed again. At the table was Dana, Don’s only daughter, who works with us at Beach Hillel. Dana, Rachel and I prayed that Purim would be a yeshua, a redemption for Dana’s dad.

The phone rang this morning and Dana told us the amazing news. Her father was set free just moments before, and she reminded us of the story at Purim, and how she remembered what I had said about “next Shabbos” and how impossible that felt. Thousands of his supporters have been fighting for his release from day one, and it was improbable that anything would change too fast. Then yesterday, the news came that he was wanted for testimony on his case on Capital Hill, and the entire wheel started turning:

OAKDALE, La. — Former Gov. Don Siegelman rolled through the gates of the Oakdale Federal Detention Center at 11:10 a.m. [Friday], released pending an appeal after eight months behind bars.

“I may have lost my freedom for a while,” Siegelman said. “But I never lost faith.”

Siegelman stepped out of a black Chevrolet SUV to speak to reporters. He was wearing a torn gray sweatshirt over a T-shirt.

He said he would have more to say tonight in Birmingham.

“Now, I’m sure you understand this, I want to be with my family for a few days,” he said.

At his house in Birmingham, a red, white and blue balloon floated above the mail box this afternoon and more yellow and silver ones were attached near the front door to welcome the former governor home.

That is Purim – everything can and does change in the blink of an eye. Mazel Tov to all the Siegelman’s and their supporters, Baruch Hashem and Shabbat Shalom!