A joyous community of Jewish women e ngaged in
prayer, study and spiritual growth  

December 2016
Bring Light Into Your Heart
Hanukkah f alls  on Christmas Eve this year, close to the winter solstice, which is the shortest da y of the year. In response to prolonged darkness and shorter days, ancient religions cre ated rituals involving light.  Christmas trees are lit up and we light the Menorah. The holiday we celebrate had its beginnings in primitive times but is relevant today . We, too, need to light up our lives when we are in darkness - afraid of the unknown future, dreading an upsetting present and regretting the past.

Join us at Lev Eisha and bring light into your heart...the  light of friendship, prayer, song and learning, hope and love. 

We hope to see you on Saturday, December 3. We will begin at 8:15 am with a light breakfast and teaching by Rabbi August on "Be a Light!"  She will share a mystical text on how each of us is a Hanukkah candle, kindling a flame in our heart and those of others. Our breakfast is sponsored by Edith Ballonoff in honor of the birthday of her daughter, Lynn Beliak. 

Services follow at 9:30 am, led by Rabbi August and Cantorial Soloist Cindy Paley.  Readings are from the book of Genesis.  Be sure to stay for a delicious kiddush luncheon after services, co-sponsored by Wendy Aleman,  Sara Fields, and Donna Malamud in honor of their birthdays.  Additional kiddush sponsors are Linda Zweig and Hilda Mills, in honor of her 82nd birthday and the yahrtzeit of her husband, Sheldon.

In This Issue
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Contact Us!

Lev Women's Winter Retreat
Jan. 20-22, 2017

click HERE for more info

Pick up materials on the table in the lobby.

Lev Board of Directors

President-Janis Cohen
Treasurer-Ruth Grossman
Secretary-Wendy Aleman
Catering: Lynn Beliak
Ritual-Judy Fishman
Hospitality-Joan Spiegel
Marketing-Rose Ziff
Outreach-Holly Zucker & Gail Heim
Past President-Barbara Brown
Women's Retreat-Linda Zweig

Mark Your Calendars!

Lev Eisha Day of Learning

April 2, 2017

Holy Spirit Retreat Center,  Encino
Our Members Light The Way 

A warm welcome to renewing members this month:
Sarah Barash
Cecile Benson
Judith Golden
Doreen Klee
Cindy Paley
Judy Sherman
Sue Urfrig

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 100TH MEMBER - Judy Sherman.  Judy will receive an honor at our December service and a special gift.

Forgot to sign up?  It's not too late!! You can renew your Lev membership online - click  HERE .  Or pick up a paper membership packet after services on Saturday.

Who will be our 120th member??
Prayerbook Dedications

Due to popular demand, we are pleased to announce that our Prayerbook Dedication Program is back for a limited time. We now have additional prayerbooks which are available to be dedicated.  

For only $18, you can buy a bookplate to honor 
friends, family and loved ones.
 Click HERE to make your donation online, and be
 sure to fill out the form with details on the person you are honoring or remembering.  Or send your check, payable to Lev Eisha, to 10736 Jefferson Blvd., Box 706, Culver City CA  90230 and include a note with details.
Kiddush Sponsors

A big thank you to all of our kiddush and breakfast sponsors - past and present.  We so appreciate your generosity and we love sharing simchas with you.

The Board has come up with a few guidelines to help us keep the donation process running smoothly.  First, we have initiated some new categories:

Primary sponsor:  somebody who pays the full amount for a basic ($160) or extended ($275) kiddush.

Co-sponsors:  people who equally share the cost of the basic or extended kiddush.

Additional sponsors: people who give whatever amount they can towards a kiddush.

If you would like to sponsor a kiddush, please make your payment (check or online) no later than the 20th of the month.  If payment is not received by this date, we will request that you sponsor in the following month.

We have provided stamped, addressed envelopes (on the table in the foyer) for your convenience if you are mailing a check.  Please be sure to include a note indicating the occasion, and a phone number where you can be reached if our Catering Committee has any questions.

Lynn is always looking for new recipes, especially for breakfast.  Send your ideas to her at: catering@leveisha.org.
The Lev Eisha Board wishes each of you 
a joyous and bright Hanukkah!
A Light-Filled and Happy Hanukkah For Us All
by Rabbi August
I am writing from a hotel in Easton, Pennsylvania, after enjoying a joyous family wedding.

Blessed with a large extended mishpachah, Alan and I spent almost a week back East celebrating Thanksgiving with 30 immediate famil y members, visiting my Tanta Esther, having Shabbat dinner with 35 other cousins, and culminating with my nephew's wedding. Taking the time to travel for simchas and having the opportunity to  dance and party with grandnephews and grandnieces is an exhilarating experience. 

As I grow older, I am more acutely aware of the uniqueness of each person's life journey. When I asked the young ones about their present life situations, I heard diverse stories. A second cousin who went to school to become a fashion designer is driving a horse-driven carriage in Philadelphia and giving tours for tourists. Another niece has found her true love in Australia, and a nephew is in Israel in the army.   The members of the millennial generation in my family are adventurous, curious about who they are and what they can become, and are not afraid to experiment and live outside of expectations and rules.

This has been the theme all week as I encountered the younger family members from all over the county. I wonder if it is like this in your families?  

This theme of renewal and self discovery is one of the Hanukkah themes.

The ritual of lighting the Hanukkah lights tell us to wait until "all the feet have left the marketplace." It is odd that the rabbis did not simply instruct us to wait until we have three stars in the sky. The wording in Hebrew for feet is  regel.

The Midrash, the classic interpretation, tells us, let's think of the other definition of  regel, which means something we do habitually, automatically and often without too much thought:  regel in Hebrew represents the status quo.

Therefore, literally, we don't light the candles until people have left the marketplace and returned home at night, but figuratively, we don't light the candles until our "regularity" - our everyday attitude - is shifted. We are told to wake up and find the uniqueness every night while l ighting the candles. In what way can we renew and replenish ourselves? How can we appreciate each night of lighting as an evening filled with excitement about our future and its possibilities? 

I have learned from this week and all my conversations with younger family members that there can be great curiosity and excitement about life's challenges. My first cousin had a great shoe store for the past seven years that he had to close because of financial  challenges. Instead of mourning, he is wonderi ng about his next chapter and how he can discover new passions and find different dreams to pursue. 

Let us share this mindset during Hanukkah and let the lights illuminate our hidden desires and explore possibilities of new adventures, greater joy and gratitude for our community of Lev Eisha. Maybe this is th e year to join our January retreat to discover new dreams and possibilities for growth and rejuvenation this year.

Chag Hanukkah Samaech.  Only a light-filled, healthy and happy Hanukkah for us all.  AMEN

Rabbi Toba August


I f you have a milestone to share please send it to Rose Ziff at
editor@leveisha.org.  Birthdays, weddings, graduations, Bat or Bar Mitzvot, births, special awards/honors, and exotic vacations are some of the simchas that are fun to share with our community. 

This is also the place to ask our community to join you in prayers of healing for those who are ill or in memory of those who have passed away. 
Map & Directions
Lev Eisha Shabbat Services are held at Beth Shir Shalom,
1827 California Ave. Santa Monica, 90403


To Beth Shir Shalom
Take the 405 Fwy North or South to the 10 Fwy Westbound.  
Exit the 10 Fwy at Cloverfield/26th Street 
Turn right onto Cloverfield.  
Turn left at Colorado. 
Turn right onto 20th Street.  Continue straight, past Wilshire, one block, to California. 
Turn left onto California Avenue.  Go 1-1/2 blocks. Beth Shir Shalom will be on the right.

To parking lot
Follow above directions to get to 20th Street and turn right.
Turn right at Wilshire. 
Parking lot will be on the right behind the V Lounge.  (See map below)


Welcome to Lev Eisha, a spiritual prayer service by and for women.  B'ruchot Ha'baot - we invite you to join us with great blessing.  We provide a joyous environment with opportunities for soulful prayer, energetic song and dance, deep Jewish study, and meditation.  Each person, in their own way, finds what they need for their personal and spiritual growth at Lev Eisha.


What makes our community so unique? The answer is reflected in our name. "Lev" means heart, and "Eisha" means woman.  When women come together with open hearts, we figuratively hold each others' hearts in profound acceptance, understanding and love.


Join us and support Lev Eisha. By attending you are giving yourself the greatest gift; time for yourself, a "spiritual fix" to keep you balanced and centered for the month. Lev Eisha will transform your Jewish  soul.