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

February 2016
After the Drama of January Comes February...
February is a month with no Jewish holidays, but using our Torah readings as a guide, there is a great lesson here.
We are in Exodus and begin our month with Mishpatim, a portion of laws and ordinances.  Just last week was the "WOW" of receiving the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. So much drama. Yet immediately afterwards are the details of how to implement and enforce the daily realities of the Commandments.  The one-time spectacular event is followed by every day obligations to build a decent and just society.
February is like the every day laws of Mishpatim, following the WOW of January's New Year's celebrations and holiday events.  After all the drama, we settle in and reflect on resolutions, relationships, work and our responsibilities to ourselves and others.  February is the hard part, the implementation that comes after all the drama and excitement of holidays and vacation time.
Join us this Saturday, Feb. 6, for time to reflect and settle in to what truly matters!  Reconnect with friends and with yourself as we sing and learn, pray and dance, laugh and cry together.  We will be starting with a breakfast teaching at 8:15 am, followed b y s ervices begin at 9:30 am, led by Rabbi August and Cantorial Soloist Cindy Paley.  Readings are from the book of Exodus.

Our breakfast teaching this month is on 
Saying No and Letting Go - Jewish Wisdom of Making Room for What Matters Most,

by Rabbi Edwin Goldberg, DHL.  Using excerpts from this new book, we will share how to let go of demands, worries and activities that do not matter or serve us.  We will practice how to make our new behavior stick.  Whether it is letting go of resentment, saying "no" to loved ones, or downsizing your home, using ancient and contemporary Jewish wisdom, we will help reduce  each other's burdens. 

Be sure to stay for a delicious kiddush luncheon, sponsored by Barbara Axelband and Myrna Kayton in honor of their 80th birthdays;  by Suzanne Buckholtz in honor of Levi on his 6th birthday; by Pearl Councelbaum in honor of the birthday of her daughter, Holly Zucker; by Robin Winston in honor of her mother's birthday, and by Irene Perer in honor of the marriage of Elyce Chalme to Charlie Perer, and in memory of Bessie Waldman.
In This Issue
Quick Links
Join Our List
Contact Us!
New Members and Donors 

We welcome the new and renewing members this month. 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.

We welcome the following members who renewed for another wonderful year of Lev:

Anna Alexis, Judy Rosenzweig, Ronda Kiff 

Thank you to the following generous donors:
  • Tonia Agron, in memory of Marla Osband
  • Sara Fields, "in loving memory of my friend, Marla Osband
  • Beverly Freeman "in honor of Pearl Councelbaum for our very dear friendship"
  • Arlyne Gruesner in memory of Marla Osband and in honor of Pam Neshkes' new grandchild
  • Nancy Federman in memory of Marla Osband
  • Jacqueline Manheim, in memory of Marla Osband
  • Suzanne Schweitzer
  • Arlene Vine
  • Amy Warner "in memory of Marla Osband.  She was a wonderful friend and an active member of many worthwhile organizations.  She is missed by many!"
Janice Friedland donated 4 prayerbooks "For my good friends: Myrna Kayton & Barbara Axelband, the youngest octogenarians I have ever known."

Don't Miss The Magic of Lev!

Are your calendars marked for Lev Magic?   There is still time to join us for the MAGIC OF LEV  on February 21.  We will have the perfect  afternoon to share with friends and family.  Make a reservation, have fun, and support Lev. Visit leveisha.org to buy your tickets.  Questions?  Call our Board Member Lydia Friedlich at 818-457-4935.

See the flyer below for details. 

What's an Auction Without Auction Items?
We need YOUR help!  Work with a few friends or on your own and create a "themed basket" (minimum value of $50) that we can auction at our fundraiser. 

You can solicit gift cards or certificates for products or services from businesses that you support, such as your favorite restaurant or yoga studio. Contact Janis Cohen or any Board Member with questions. 

Bring your basket to services on Feb. 6. Thanks for your participation!

For You Were Strangers in the Land of Egypt
by Rabbi August

The refugee and migrant catastrophe continues with over one million two hundred thousand individuals seeking asylum in Europe. The situation is complex and challenging in spite of our straightforward Torah teaching in our title above.  How can this week's Torah portion, Mishpatim, with its commandment to take care of the strangers among us, help us with our current crisis?

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of Great Britain, speaks powerfully on this subject, and in this month's column I will share his words:

The influx of refugees overwhelming parts of Europe is a massive crisis, but it is at just such times that it is worth remembering that the Chinese ideogram for "crisis" also means "opportunity." Now is a unique opportunity to show that the ideals for which the European Union and other international bodies such as the United Nations were formed are still compelling, compassionate and humane.

Many of the conventions and protocols establishing legal rights for refugees emerged in the aftermath of the second world war, as did the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One of the dark moments in that history occurred in July 1938, when representatives of 32 countries gathered in the French spa town of Evian to discuss the humanitarian disaster that everyone knew was about to overtake the Jews of Europe wherever Hitler's Germany held sway. Jews were desperate to leave. They knew their lives were at risk and so did the politicians and aid agencies at the conference. Yet country after country shut its doors. Nation after nation in effect said it wasn't their problem.

Additionally, touched by the outpouring of welcoming from Germany, Sacks continued:

A strong humanitarian response on the part of Europe and the international community could achieve what military intervention and political negotiation have failed to achieve. This would constitute the clearest evidence that the European experience of two world wars and the Holocaust have taught that free societies, where people of all faiths and ethnicities make space for one another, are the only way to honor our shared humanity, whether we conceive that humanity in secular or religious terms. Fail this and we will have failed one of the fundamental tests of humanity.

I used to think that the most important line in the Bible was "Love your neighbor as yourself."  Then I realized that it is easy to love your neighbor because he or she is usually quite like yourself. What is hard is to love the stranger, one whose color, culture or creed is different from yours. That is why the command, "Love the stranger because you were once strangers," resonates so often throughout the Bible. It is summoning us now.  A bold act of collective generosity will show that the world, particularly Europe, has learned the lesson of its own dark past and is willing to take a global lead in building a more hopeful future. Wars that cannot be won by weapons can sometimes be won by the sheer power of acts of humanitarian generosity to inspire the young to choose the way of peace instead of holy war.

I have quoted this powerful piece because it encourages us to think: if only we could hear words like this on our news shows. If only we could read these words in our editorials. If only we could hear our presidential candidates speak these words and inspire us with hope for a better, more humane and civilized future. If only!  Our Torah reading proclaims: You Shall Not Wrong a Stranger or Oppress Him, for You Were Strangers in the Land of Egypt." (Exodus 22:20). If only we could find it in our hearts to make it so!

Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi August
Lev Eisha Annual Winter Retreat 
Registration for the Lev Eisha 2016 Winter Retreat is now open!

Invite your favorite women friends and family to share this incredible weekend of Lev! Reconnect during our happy, spiritual and mindful weekend that promises to reboot your spirit, energy and intellectual curiosity.  Led by our very own Rabbi Toba August & Cindy Paley, and featuring inspirational workshops and programs - you'll feel energized, relaxed and renewed! See our flyer below for details.

Flyers and registration forms are available at the February 6 & March 5 Lev Eisha services, and on our web site,  www.leveisha.org.  

The 2016 Lev Eisha
Wom en' s Winter Retreat

A weekend retreat for women to reconnect through Shabbat, mind & body exploration, prayer, dance, song, discussions,
nature, photography walks, drum circle, camarade rie & more! 

Enjoy a musical Shabbat, new workshops and entertaining programs
with Rabbi Toba August & Cantorial Soloist Cindy Paley 
and featuring inspirational workshop leaders. 

WHEN:   March 25 - 27, 2016 ~ Friday 3pm - Sunday noon
WHERE: Brandeis-Bardin AJU Campus
 1101 Peppertree Lane, Simi Valley, CA  93063

FEE:     $325 per person, double occupancy
            $450 per person, single occupancy 

Silent Partner: 
Please consider donating a full or partial scholarship for a woman who could not otherwise afford to attend. Silent Partners will be honored during the weekend, if they so choose.  Thank you.
Click HERE to enjoy a look at our 2015 Retreat Video

Print out the Retreat Registration Form HERE
Lev Eisha
2015-16 Calendar
Breakfast & Study at 8:15am - 9:25am
Services: 9:30am-12:00pm 
Kiddush immediately following services  

February 6* 
February 21 - Lev Eisha Fundraiser, Vista Del Mar
March 5*
March 25-27 Lev Eisha Women's Retreat, Brandeis Bardin
April 2 
May 7* 
June 4

 *Breakfast before services

Come to the Magic of Lev to find out.  It's a lot of fun and everyone is a winner!  
R efu'a Shlema - speedy recovery to Marv Brown, (Barbara's husband) who had surgery last month and  get well wishes to Marc Yur√© (Susie's husband).

Happy Birthday to the following February birthdays:  Barbara Axelband, Sarah Barash, Suzanne Buckholtz, Linda Fleischman, Sharon Mercado, 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 Vista Del Mar  
3200 Motor Ave., Los Angeles 90034

Click on the map for directions.

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.