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

May 2016
Looking Ahead to More Holidays...
May is a busy month Jewishly. We have just finished a week of Passover and already are anticipating more observances and celebrations.  First is Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) on Thursday May 5 . This is followed the next week by  Israel's Memorial Day (Yom Hazikkaron) and Israel's Independence Day (Yom Ha'atzmaut) on May 11  and 12 .
This is how it sometimes is in life. Tragedy followed by celebration.  Holocaust remembrance immediately followed by celebrating the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people, a haven from the horrors of WWII and an opportunity to build new lives for the refugees of this war. We all celebrate together at Lev Eisha, singing Israeli songs and having joy and gratitude for the moments of holiness in our lives.
In addition to the commemorations above, we are counting the daily Omer, (see rabbi's column) and anticipating the holiday of Shavuot!

Join us at Lev Eisha on Saturday, May 7 for Rabbi's breakfast teaching and services. She  will teach an original and provocative way of counting the Omer. Join us to begin the third week of the spiritual principle of: "CHOOSE! Choice is empowerment and can defy inertia and expand our sense of possibility!"  A light breakfast is offered at 8:15 am, sponsored by Lynn Beliak in honor of the 94th birthday of her mother, Edith Ballonoff.    Choose to be a part of our meaningful and joyous conversation.
Services begin at 9:30 am, led by Rabbi August and Cantorial Soloist Cindy Paley.  Readings are from the book of Leviticus.

Be sure to stay for a delicious kiddush luncheon, sponsored by Debbie Bear in honor of her birthday and the birthday of Ruth Grossman and in memory of Marv Grossman, her "birthday buddy," and by Leslie Geffen in honor of the 6 month birthday of her grandson, 
Ilan Ner Geffen Arnold (son of her daughter, Talia Geffen, and husband Matthew Arnold).
In This Issue
Quick Links
Join Our List
Contact Us!
A Warm Welcome

We are so pleased to welcome the following members to our community:

Gladys Diener
Geraldine Mund

Donors Make It Happen

Thank you to the following generous donors:
  • Sandy Terranova made a donation for Mothers' Day in honor of all mothers
  • Arlyne Gruesner made a donation in memory of Sandy Terranova's mother
  • Marganit Lish made a donation to Lev Eisha
  • Fran Bogotch donated 3 prayerbooks in honor of the 80th birthday of Barbara Axelband.

Sarah Barash, Our Resident Poet
Sarah Alonim Barash
June 4 / January 2, 2012 
To fly untethered is to have wings.
To take wing is to leave the ground behind.
To take flight is to soar unburdened.
To soar above the fray is to create a life of distinction.
To fly in the face of adversity...is courage itself.
Does to be airborne, then, reflect in us a state of grace?
HaShem, with nary a feather of my own to preen or ruffle,
No wing to stretch or unfold,
I begin to comprehend Your Grand Design.
As I knowingly fulfill my covenant with You,
You loosen the bonds that weight me down,
As I act to alter my stormy thoughts I create currents to uplift,
And winds to keep me aloft.
But I have a fear of heights, HaShem, and yet I would fly.
Teach me despite the brooding that works to wrench my faith from me.
Teach me to focus my mind to release fear's capricious embrace.
While still tethered to this earth, HaShem, teach me to fly.

Lev Goes to Cambodia
Anna Alexis visits the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia.

Counting Each Day and Making Each Day Count
 - by Rabbi August
When I returned to Los Angeles after spending Passover with my Tanta Esther in Pennsylvania, the jacaranda trees were in full bloom.  Those purple flowers were not there when I left. A lot can happen in less than a week!
Additionally, since coming home, I have especially enjoyed picking up my newspaper from the driveway.  Why? The reason is the blooming Jasmine bush. Each morning I stop, close my eyes and breathe in the intense sweet perfume-like fragrance. For an instant I am smiling, content, filled-up with gratitude for the small miracles of beauty and aroma of nature. This moment is enough. What a great way to start my day!
Our lives are sustained by moments of joy, sorrow, love, resentment, hope and despair. Moments come and go and the secret is to savor and be present in each particular moment.
The Jewish tradition has a ritual called "Counting the Omer'" (Sefirat Ha'Omer) which encourages and aids us to pay attention to the sacred moments. It is seven weeks (49 days) of counting each day beginning on the second day of Passover and ending by Shavuot.
Every Jewish holiday has at least three levels of meaning: historical, agricultural, and spiritual. Agriculturally, the counting of the Omer is in the Torah and was the time the farmers in ancient Israel brought an "Omer," a specifically designated amount of their first crop of barley, to the Temple.

Historically it reminded the ancient Israelites of the freedom from slavery (Passover) and the connection to receiving the Torah (Shavuot). We were not freed to do whatever we chose, but rather to follow Mitzvot (commandments) and live a civilized life in a community with an awareness of God. Bringing the Omer also reflected their gratitude for having food and to pray that their next harvest of wheat would also be abundant.
In contemporary traditions, our focus in on the third level, the spiritual one. Like the month of reflection before Rosh Hashanah, we use these seven weeks to appreciate the significance of a moment. There are many teachings in Hasidic traditions which help us focus on strengthening our good character traits, realigning our priorities and improving how we react daily to our work, family and friends.
This Shabbat, May 7, is the 14th day, the end of the second week of the Omer . It is the week of Gevurah: strength.  Gevurah is the type of strength that shows discernment - the ability to assess a situation and respond appropriately. It is the strength we need to face life's changes and challenges, and helps us improve ourselves without being overly judgmental.
We reflect on "Malchut B'Gevurah": God's Indwelling Presence within Gevurah. At Lev on Shabbat we will ask ourselves,  "Who is in charge? Are we making good decisions? Are we following through? Do we have the strength to rule over our emotions and desires?"  We will look inwards and find the holy, divine spark within ourselves and remember that Shekinah, God's indwelling presence, is always available to help us discern the best paths towards clarity and growth.

Book Review - by Lillian Laskin
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Garielle Zevin

This i s very dear and sweet book for lovers of books.  A.J. Fikry is the quirky owner of a small, indep e ndent bookstore on the fictional Alice Island in New England. He is cynical, cranky, and depressed...a nd not without reason. The recent death of his beloved wife has torn his life apart. As the story develops, Fikry finds love and fatherhood gratifying. His choices in fiction change at the opening of each chapter where he quotes and comments on books he has read. The opening to each chapter becomes softer and less tutorial.
A.J.'s crankiness is balanced by Maya's youthful intelligence and Amy's light-hearted charm. The book contains a good cast of eccentric townsfolk in a small community. The various characters are well developed, and we come to love all of them. The young child named Maya is especially precious in her sense of awe and wonder. She grows up in the bookstore. It is a true delight to see the world from her point of view. Amelia is a very independent and devoted bookseller whose life is filled with kindness and eclecticism. The book has a couple of mysteries related to a book that is stolen from Fikry, and the parentage of the little child left in Fikry's unlocked bookstore. The mixed race element is also present in this book. The child is born of a black mother and a white father. A.J. also has a white mother and an southeast Asian father (Indian).  The story speaks to embracing people of all backgrounds. Through the love of books, the community of Alice Island comes together. This is a very readable and a very endearing book. It also inspires us to want to see and support the return of our neighborhood bookstores.

This book was read and enjoyed by the Lev Eisha Book Club.

Lev Eisha - by Fran Bogotch
I'm tired.
My back hurts.
I'm at Lev Eisha.
Women smile at me.
"Good Shabbos, Fran."
"How are you, Fran?"
Barbara and I hug.
Rabbi August greets me.
Today's teaching is great.
My tension dissolves.
I'm at Lev Eisha.
I'm home.

February 2016
Lev Eisha
2015-16 Calendar
Breakfast & Study at 8:15am - 9:25am
Services: 9:30am-12:00pm 
Kiddush immediately following services  
Only 2 more opportunities to experience Lev this year - don't miss out!

May 7 (Breakfast before services) 
June 4 - last service until September

Oh, oh, the year is almost over!  If you have enjoyed our joyous Shabbat celebration every month, but haven't joined, please become a member.  Join online at www.leveisha.org or pick up a paper membership packet in the foyer after services.

MAZEL TOV to the Neshkes Family on Elana's graduation from medical school.

RE'FU'A SH'LEMA -GET WELL WISHES to Andrea Nitz, who is recovering from surgery.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY  to the following May birthdays: 
Debbie Bear, Lydia Friedlich, Ruth Grossman, Phyllis Henkin, Julie Klee, Marilyn Minkle, Irene Perer, Marcy Perlmutter, Kate Rosloff, Suzanne Schweitzer, Stacey Serber, Mady Steinberg, Sandy Terranova.

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.