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

March 2016
Purim and the Presidential Election
March is the month of Adar II (we are in a Jewish Leap Year!) and the holiday of Purim.  As Rabbi August tells us in her column, there are some uncanny resemblances between the holiday of Purim and t he 2016 presidential election season.
Sometimes events around us seem to spin out of control. We cannot predict what will be. Everything we thought would happen does not happen.  In the Purim story, the Jewish people end up the victors. Their lives are saved and order is restored.  What can be the outcome of our 2016 election season?  The future is unknown and all bets are off!
What to do?  Join us at Lev Eisha!  Our services are predictable, hopeful, comforting and full of joy - the perfect antidote to andy doubt and despair.

Let's laugh and dance, learn and sing and pray together on Saturday, March 5 at our Lev Eisha Services.   We will start with a breakfast teaching at 8:15 am, followed b y s ervices beginning 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 the article, "Seriously Laughing Yourself to Death: Couples Games and Masks in the Book of Esther," by Dr. Michal Govrin, award-winning novelist, poet and theatre director.

Be sure to stay for a delicious kiddush luncheon, sponsored by Rabbi August in honor of her daughter Lena's birthday, and by Nancy Federman and Judy Maller in honor of their birthdays.
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LEV EISHA Winter Retreat
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 joined or renewed for another wonderful year of Lev:

Carolyn Burns
Hannah Ganezer
Jackie Goldfield
Doreen Klee
Irene Perer

Thank you to the following generous donors:
  • Helene Fischer
  • Shirley Hirschberg made a donation in honor of Barbara Axelband's 80 th birthday
  • Eli and Arlene Chernow made a donation in honor of Gail Heim
  • Lillian Laskin donated a prayerbook in honor of Arlyne Gruesner
  • Andrea Nitz donated three prayerbooks in honor of each of her granddaughters - Ariel Noa, Maya Isabelle, and Morgan Hannah 
  • Joann Blumenfeld donated a prayerbook in honor of Barbara Axelband - Happy 80 th birthday
  • Joann Blumenfeld donated a prayerbook in honor of Myrna Kayton - Happy 80th birthday
The Magic of Lev
THE MAGIC OF LEV was just that...MAGICAL!!  And so many of our Lev members were there with their families and friends to take it all in. The gym at Vista del Mar was transformed with wonderfully creative decorations, delicious food, and enthusiastically received silent auction items. This year we added a "balloon pop" which was so well received that it will likely be a standard in the future. Strolling magicians from The Magic Castle entertained as we noshed and bid and kibitzed. The grand finale of the day was a sensational Magic Show from the stage, the awarding of the raffle prizes and heartfelt thanks expressed to the awesome committee and volunteers who worked so hard to produce THE MAGIC OF LEV. Most notable was that undefinable Lev energy which permeated every moment of a most memorable day.
If you weren't able to attend, here's what you missed.  For those of you who were there, you might enjoy these pics from a wonderful day.







Lev Eisha Annual Winter Retreat - Don't Miss It!
Registration for the Lev Eisha 2016 Winter Retreat still open!

March 25-27: Friday 3pm - Sunday noon
Brandeis-Bardin AJU Campus, 
   1101 Peppertree Lane, Simi Valley

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

Click HERE to enjoy a look at our 2015 Retreat Video
Print out the Retreat Registration Form HERE
Our Resident Poet
A warm welcome back to Sarah Barash, our resident poet.  Here is the poem she shared with us last month at the February service.

today I saw the infinite
I looked into a mirror and saw an echo of myself
saw through a window to my soul
 worlds I could have known
trembling I turned away from what might have been
but a child-like faith pulled me back to face the silvered glass where
fully revealed was all I had dreamt of yearned for or imagined
all the hungers of the heart all the flights of fancy
all aspirations and intentions noble or profane danced before me
trailing clouds of lavender and mauve
the memories that bound me to myself withdraw
taking with them my regrets of what could have been
allowing untold space for what still might be until at last
the reflection and I become as one
transported I saw without remorse
that I am who I have always been
and unencumbered possess the will
a soul filled promise of endless possibility
 to be all that I am
* * * * *
Los Angeles, September, 2008- 2011

Revealing What Is Hidden
by Rabbi August

Our 2016 election season feels a lot like the upside down world of the Purim story, where nothing is like what it is supposed to be. Those who are supposed to be the winners end up the losers; irony and disbelief is always present and everything seems to be unpredictable and left to chance!  This ancient Biblical tale sounds too familiar, doesn't it!
Let's see how the upcoming holiday of Purim can be instructive to us during this irregular election season. We usually think Purim is a fun-filled filled time of carnivals, costumes, masks, hamentaschen and groggers. This is our usual experience of this Jewish holiday.
In truth, it is so much more.  Sharing insights from Avivah Zornberg's article on Purim, notice that the Megillah, or scroll of Esther, presents a paradox. The literal meaning of megillah is "to reveal" and the meaning of Esther is that which is hidden. Right away we sense that by reading the Megillah on Purim we are revealing a hidden message - the secret of the holiday.
Queen Esther enters the world of a pompous, volatile and ineffectual king who drunkenly rules and is easily influenced by those around him. When the anti-Semitic Haman uses inflated rhetoric, and wants to kill all the Jews because Mordecai, one Jewish man, refuses to bow down, the king allows this evil to proceed.
Like the rhetoric of some of the 2016 political candidates, Zornberg explains that "...overblown language reflects chaos and insecurity....in contrast to effective, measured and controlled language which reflects a just and ordered world."  The first reason to read the Megillah is to remind ourselves to bring back order into a chaotic world.
The second lesson we learn is through the character of Esther. First she is told by Mordecai to be silent and not reveal her identity. But after the genocidal degree, she is told to do something and act!  Esther is afraid. If she goes to the King without being summoned, she will be killed. Yet somehow, this young woman figures it out. She fasts, prays, finds a spark of courage and ingenuity. Esther, instead of facing the dismal reality, says YES to the world of possibilities, and is called "...the center of surprise in the universe."
The concluding message for us during this tumultuous time is to glimpse the unknown future of possibilities in spite of our fears.  May we all be influenced by the miracle of Purim, and like Queen Esther find hope and unknown possibilities during these erratic times.

Purim Baskets by Susie & Judy
On Purim, we emphasize the importance of friendship and community by sending gifts of food to family, friends and strangers.  This mitzvah is called Mishloach Manot (literally, "the sending of portions").

Surprise someone you love or don't know with a Purim Basket to benefit Lev Eisha, lovingly prepared and baked by Judy Fishman and Susie Yur√©. 

Order one or more today at $25 each. Your basket will be ready for pick-up on March 20th at a home on the Westside.  Valley delivery to be arranged.

 Your basket will contain an assortment of homemade goodies, including:
  • Hamentachen 
  • Mandelbread
  • Muffins
  • Roasted Almonds
  • Fruit
Contact Judy Fishman at  judy.s.fishman@gmail.com to make arrangements to pick-up your basket or to answer questions.
New Membership Contest

Lev Eisha is proud to announce that we now have 111 members - going strong. Let's see how high we can take it before the year is over.  The 120th member will receive an honor at a Lev service.  Come on, ladies, help us get there!

Lev Eisha
2015-16 Calendar
Breakfast & Study at 8:15am - 9:25am
Services: 9:30am-12:00pm 
Kiddush immediately following services  
March 5*
March 25-27 Lev Eisha Women's Retreat, Brandeis-Bardin
April 2 
May 7* 
June 4 - last service until September

 *Breakfast before services

MAZEL TOV to Joy Krauthammer, whose photos were selected by the United Nations to use for World Water Day, March 22.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the following March birthdays: Lena August, Myrna Barth, Eileen Ettinger, Nancy Federman, Leslie Geffen, Judy Kollack, Judy Maller,  Arielle Singer, Ellen Sternfeld, & Rose Ziff.

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.