Jewish Life

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Mayim Mayim Everywhere!

These long, rainy days have us wondering when it will ever stop. And the moment it does, we run outside to enjoy the brief hours of dry weather before the next onslaught. Certainly we’re grateful for the break from California’s long years of drought. But still, some days it feels...

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A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Consciously or unconsciously, visual art influences our perception of God. Classical images shown to us as children, paintings memorized during art history class to fulfill college requirements, and the occasional visit to an art museum increase our exposure to visual depictions of the divine. For the past 2,000 years or...

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Bacon with Bodner?

While we won’t be hosting Bacon with Bodner at the OFJCC any time soon, we did host a successful Bourbon with Bodner this month, bringing together more than fifty people for booze and schmooze. And this week, we are celebrating Hanukkah here at the OFJCC and out in our community as...

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My Jewish Library: Book Ideas for Hanukkah

Raised in a deeply Jewish home, I knew the basics of Jewish practice.  However, as with many boomers, during my college years, my Jewish practice faded to Hanukkah latke parties and not much else. Post college, my observance continued to lapse… until I became pregnant. That life change made me...

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Simchat Torah: A Joyous Celebration

As a child, when the High Holiday season approached, the day I anticipated most was Simchat Torah. What an exciting day! The kids would get flags and dance around the Torahs together with the adults. We would have delicious treats and we even got to watch the adults behave like...

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How a New Ritual Transformed my Rosh Hashanah

I have a favorite ritual at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and it has nothing to do with synagogue, seeing family or even eating special foods. For the last eight years, I’ve participated in Reboot’s 10Q, an online platform for participants to answer one question per day in their...

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Giving Voice to the Female Role

Opera is not kind to its female characters. Most of them suffer until the bitter end. In their suffering, many female roles are decidedly vocal. In Jewish mythology, a dybbuk is a malicious spirit that possesses the body of a living person until it has accomplished its task. Until recently, S. Ansky’s...

Tzachi Flat (left) and other JOFEE Fellows on a nature trip.

Five Steps You Can Take for a Healthier Environment

With reports of this past month being the hottest August since recordings began, it’s important to take a moment to think of how we are treating the environment and the world around us. There is a story that comes from the Mishnah, part of the Hebrew oral Torah. There is a...

OFJCC Board Member Hilary Weisfeld and her family enjoying the outdoors.

Honoring 9/11 through the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam

Pirkei Avot, the traditional compilation of Hebrew ethical teachings, contains a well-known line attributed to Rabbi Tarfon about accomplishment: “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it (2:21).” The meaning of this line is that while it may not be possible...

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Interns Reflect: The Top Five Things We Learned This Summer

Many professionals have had the experience of interning during their college years. Completing an internship can have a formative effect on students and their soft skills. This summer, four college students had the opportunity to intern in a variety of departments at the Oshman Family JCC including Member Services, Camps,...