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

February 2017
Thoughts on Tu B'Shevat
February is the Jewish month of Shevat, and on the 15th, we observe the holiday of "Tu B'Shevat" -  the Arbor Day or Birthday of the Trees.

In the Torah it states, "A person is a tree of the field."  (Deut 20:19)   Lev Eisha is like a tree: a  tree needs its roots, which anchor it to the ground and supply it with water and nutrients.   Lev Eisha is also our roots which anchor us, while our songs, prayers and community supply us with nutrients.  

A tree provides shade and a respite from the elements.   Lev Eisha is our shade; it gives us time for respite from the routines of daily life -  a  place to re-charge our soul's battery and find the strength, vision and courage to carry on.
Join us this month at Lev Eisha - renew and replenish your heart and soul.  We will begin at 8:15 am with a light breakfast and a teaching by Rabbi August on "A Mystical Tu B'shevat Seder."   We will be eating fruits and nuts while learning esoteric and inspiring thoughts regarding who we are and  our connection to this beautiful planet called earth.
Our breakfast is sponsored by Barbara Brown in honor of the 40th birthday of her daughter, Sarah Knopf, and in memory of her parents, Hilda and Bob Michaels, on the 100th anniversary of their births.

Services follow at 9:30 am, led by Rabbi August and Cantorial Soloist Cindy Paley. The theme for our service is  "
Awaken your Soul With Song," in anticipation of Shabbat Shirah, which takes place in February.   Readings are from the book of Exodus. Be sure to stay for a delicious kiddush luncheon after services,  sponsored by Suzanne Buckholtz in honor of her son, Levi's 7th birthday and her 40th birthday.   Additional funds were donated by Beth Koonan in memory of her husband, Jack.  
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Lev Board of Directors

President-Janis Cohen
Treasurer-Ruth Grossman
Secretary-Wendy Aleman
Membership-Robin Winston
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
Welcome Back!

A warm welcome to renewing members this month:

Irene Perer
Maxine Silverberg.

If you have been enjoying our monthly services and Rabbi's teachings, please support us by becoming a member. It's never too late!! You can renew your Lev membership online - click  HERE .  Or pick up a paper membership packet after services on Saturday.
I Am Thankful
by Holly Zucker

I have been attending the Women's Retreat for many years but this one was truly something special. If I could choose one word to describe how I felt about the weekend, my word would be "thankful".

I am thankful that I was able to attend with my mother and my sister, creating one more memory.

I am thankful that I was able to spend time with friends I have known for years and time with new friends that hopefully will become lifelong friends.

I am thankful that I was able to release my worry, stress, responsibilities, and more when I walked into that beautiful Friday night candle lighting and heard the Rabbi's words to "be present" and I felt the music and voices of Cindy, Robin, Sharon, and Ruth move me to a peaceful place.

I am thankful that I was able to watch the amazing sisterhood of the Lev Eisha women. The groups of mothers and daughters, sisters, friends, and watching Janis and her sister in law, JoBeth, hugging each other brought me a tearful smile.

I am thankful for Linda and Barbara and all the other women who made this Retreat possible as I look at it as a gift I give myself.

I am thankful that I was able to have deep and loving conversations with women I would never have had an opportunity to meet, that I was able to get some "life lessons" from those that offered advice and most of all that I was able to give love and support to those that were in need.

I am thankful for the women of Lev Eisha.
Thank You!

We all know that events like our Women's Weekend Retreat do not mysteriously put themselves together.  So it is important to say Todah Rabah (thank you).  We are all amazing women.

Rabbi Toba August 
Barbara Brown and Linda Zweig, Retreat Co-Chairs

The Sounds and Voices of our Music
       Cindy Paley, Cantorial Soloist
        Ruth Belonsky, Violinist
       Joy Krauthammer, Percussionist and Tibetan Singing
Bowl Player
Sharon Alexander, Vocalist 
       Robin Winston, Vocalist and Israeli Dance Leader
To all our workshop leaders.

To the Silent Partners who graciously donated to our scholarships program.  
The Gift Givers
       Holly Zucker, Registration Gift
       Cinda Roffman, Schedule Poster
The Time Givers
         Nancy Federman, Rooming Coordinator
          Holly Zucker and Nancy Weiss Registration
         Ruth Grossman, Treasurer
The Leadership
          Janis Cohen, President of Lev Eisha    
          Lev Board of Directors
The Participants
All of you you who have chosen to take this weekend journey with us.
Our Women's Retreat

Would you like to discover your most soulful self?
Give yourself this day as a gift and invite your friends to join you.

Sunday, April 2, 2017
8:30 - 4:30
The Holy Spirit Retreat Center
4316 Lanai Rd, Encino, CA 91436 

Three fabulous rabbis:
Rabbi Toba August - Rabbi Janet Madden  - Rabbi Jill Zimmerman
$60 for the day (includes continental breakfast and full lunch)

To register or for more information: www.leveisha.org or contact
Linda at: lindaleezweig@gmail.com/
(760) 861-4791
The Tree of Life 
by Rabbi August
Anticipating the holiday of Tu
B'shevat, I asked some 5 th grade students to think about the roots of a tree. The roots  are our foundation and they anchor us, I explained. With roots we feel more like ourselves and we can find confidence and wisdom.
We sang the song, "It's a Tree of Life For Those Who Hold Fast," and I shared that the Torah is our Tree of Life because  its teachings help us live a life worth living.

I then asked each student to share what their roots looked like. What held them up and made them feel strong?  Where do they feel most secure and balanced in their lives?

As you can imagine, a few children said their roots were their family, school and learning, and their friends. But one answer stood out. One boy said 'tennis' was his roots.   I remembered how this boy's father had told me how shy and introverted this boy was and through tennis he  did find himself.
What a wonderful response from this young man who recognized a sport which made him feel "rooted" - confident and proud!

The roots of trees can represent our beliefs and our faith. What words of wisdom, prayers and other sources sustain and nourish our souls? Consider what your roots might be.

The trunk of the tree represents our physical body and the "body" of our spiritual lives. According to Rabbi Simon Jacobson, the trunk is symbolic of our "intellectual, emotional and practical achievements." Remember always what you have achieved and what projects are yet to be explored.

Other component of a tree are its leaves and fruits. The fruit represent the "seeds" we plant in ourselves and others; how we influence others, how our ideas can grow and bear fruit!  Each one of us has influence on others as we comfort and care for other people.
In our 2 nd century text, Pirkei Avot: Wisdom of our Ancestors, each one of us is compared to a tree.
"A person whose wisdom exceeds her good deeds is likened to a tree whose  branches are numerous but whose roots are few.  The wind comes and uproots it and turns it upside down.  But a person whose good deeds exceed her wisdom is likened to a tree  who branches are few but whose roots are numerous.  Even if all the winds of the world were to come and blow against it, t hey could not budge it from its place." (Avot 3:22)
I invite each of us to consider the analogy of being like a tree. Where do you get your water, air and sunlight?  Consider the sources of your nourishment. Our tradition says, Water to a tree is like Torah wisdom for people, as Moses proclaimed: "May my teaching drop like the rain." (Deut. 32:2)
Torah study is a tremendous source of replenishment for me. I am filled up, alive, curious and excited by Torah! I have such gratitude to have it in my life. Sunlight can be seen as the warmth of friendship and just as a tree needs the sun, we too need this life in our lives.
May Lev Eisha continue to provide us with roots, shade, sunlight and nourishment. Since we are trees, we are grateful t o have a place to grow and stay alive!

HELP WANTED: Please honor us with your assistance

The Lev Eisha Catering Team is looking for help t o shop and prepare delicious foods for our members on the Fridays before our Saturday services. This wonderful group of Lev women is in need of 2 or 3 additional members to help with grocery shopping, cutting fruit, vegetables and pastries, preparing salads, kibbitzing and displaying desserts on trays, one Friday per month.  We meet at the home of Lynn Beliak in the Pico/Robertson area.  We also need volunteers to help for a few minutes on Saturday mornings putting out table cloths prior to the services. 

Feel good about your contribution to Lev Eisha by adding your touch to our truly nourishing meals!

Contact our Catering Chair, Lynn Beliak, by email catering@leveisha.org and/or text Lynn at (310) 991-2831 today.

"If I am not for me, who is for me; and if I am (only) for myself, what am I. And if not now, when?" - Hillel, Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14


HAPPY BIRTHDAY  to the following February birthdays:  Barbara Axelband, Sarah Barash, Levi Buckholtz, Suzanne Buckholtz, Linda Fleischman, Arlene Milrad, Shirley Munch, Cathy Novak, Kim Selfon, Holly Zucker.

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.