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

November 2016
We Are Grateful...
Our fall Jewish Holidays are behind us and we look forward to Thanksgiving, our secular Sukkot. Both holy days are about gratitude.

On Sukkot we were grateful for the bountiful harvest, our friends, and family. Also, after sitting and eating in the fragile Sukkah,  we acknowledge our gratitude for having stable homes and remember to help those who are homeless and less fortunate than we are.
Thanksgiving, too, is the time for gratitude. Alt hough not 100% accurate, the narrative we tell is how the native Americans aided the initial European settlers and shared their food in a time of struggle.  We are so fortunate to have Thanksgiving. It is a time to celebrate all that we are blessed with and say thank you, it is good!

Lev Eisha is fortunate to have 18 members who were able to support Lev Eisha and give generously to provide for our f uture needs by participating in our Pillar program.
November is the time to see all the goodness around us and be filled up with joy, life, and gratitude.  AMEN!

Join us at Lev Eisha on Saturday, November 5.   Services begin 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.  Our primary sponsor is Sharon Alexander, in honor of the 21st birthday of her daughter, Eliana.  Contributing sponsors include: Leslie Geffen in honor of the first birthday of her grandson, Ilan Geffen, and in memory of her mother, Beverly Mirman;  Deena Gordon, in honor of her birthday; and Jackie Goldfield in honor of her 63rd birthday, her mother Jean's 94th birthday and in memory of father Henry's 97th birthday.

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

click HERE for more info

Pick up a flyer 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
We Are Thankful For Our Members

Toni Agron, Rabbi Toba August, Edith Ballonoff, Debbie Bear, Chaplain  Ruth Belonsky, Janis Biederman, Carol Wispe Burns, Lottie Cohen, Sivan Cohen, Pearl Councelbaum, Linda Fleischman, Karen Golden, Dawn Horwitz-Person, Judy Kollack, Joy Krauthammer, Nancy Weiss, Holly Zucker

Feeling lucky?  If you haven't joined/renewed your Lev membership, now is a good time.  We are looking for our 100th member and we are so close! Win an honor from Rabbi August and a special gift.  Sign up now!

Food, Faith and Friendship
by Lynn Beliak
Dear Lev Sisters,

Sharing a meal together encourages and facilitates friendships within our Lev Eisha community. This can happen only if we have sponsors donating towards the costs of our monthly kiddush.

Please consider becoming a primary or contributing sponsor.  Our kiddush or breakfast supporters can celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, births, graduations, new jobs, return to good health, or any other simcha. Sponsors can also commemorate the yahrzeit of a loved one.

Sponsorship donations range from $275 for an extended kiddush; $160 for a basic kiddush; or $180 for a breakfast.  Contributing sponsors for a kiddush donate $150, $125, $100 or $75. These donors are given an honor at a Lev Eisha service and are acknowledged in both the Lev Newsletter and the seat flyer.  A smaller donation of $36 for a Nosh is also available.  

To sponsor either a kiddush or breakfast, email catering@leveisha.org stating the month, kiddush or breakfast, the amount you are donating, and the occasion of your sponsorship.  Payment must be received no later than the 20th of the month prior to the sponsorship or we will not be able to recognize your sponsorship. Go online to the Lev Eisha website (www.leveisha.org)  and click on "donation" to find the details and to pay online.

You can also mail a check to:
Lev Eisha, 10736 Jefferson Blvd.#706, Culver City, CA 90230.

If paying by check, please be sure to include all the details of your sponsorship.

We suggest you book early, as our months are filling up! Thank you for your support.

Lynn Beliak, Catering Chair
Thank You to Our Donors 

We thank  Linda Fleischman and Sue Urfrig for their donations.
Lev Goes to Norway
Janis Cohen and Barbara Brown took Lev with them on their vacation in Norway. And it looks like they recruited a new Lev Eisha member during their travels!

On their way to Oslo; the last stop on a fabulous Scandinavian trip.

A Warm Welcome to New Board Member
 The Lev Eisha Board of Directors welcomes our new member, Wendy Aleman, who has filled the position of Secretary. We look forward to working together and getting to know her.

The Answer Is In Our Hands
by Rabbi August
My husband relaxes with Seinfeld TV re-runs after a busy day.  I never watched Seinfeld, but began to see a few episodes years ago after we were married.  I was turned off by the mean-spirited behavior and frankly did not find the characters funny. I did not like the way they treated one another or other people.  After a while, however, late at night before going to sleep, I did laugh a little, then a little more, and finally thought this show was ok.

Then, just on this past week, I saw the final two episodes.  Oy Vey, I could not believe the miserable portrayal of the four main characters, and I understood why they were put in jail. I had come full circle and once again found no humor or redeeming value in this show.
Why am I sharing these views on Seinfeld?

Well, we begin reading the Torah during this season, and frankly, some of our early biblical characters are as mean-spirited and indifferent as the Seinfeld four!

Take the Garden of Eden narrative.  Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge and said, "Eve made me do it!" Eve ate the apple and asserted it was the snake's fault. No one took any responsibility, just like the characters in the TV show.

Then there is the murder of Abel by his brother Cain. "It's your fault, God," Cain complains, "you made me this way. Why didn't you accept my sacrifice?"  Cain experienced feelings of jealousy and in anger hit and killed his brother.  Similarly, the Seinfeld characters hurt others while they only think about themselves and their needs.

The Genesis narratives continue with sibling rivalry, sisters fighting for the love of their one husband, and one person claiming his wife is his sister - blatant disregard for the other's welfare and well-being!
What do we learn from these comparisons?

My dearest women of Lev, our Torah got it right two thousand years ago, and frankly, human behavior has not changed much over the millennium. The Torah reflects reality and challenges us not to make the same mistakes of our ancestors.  Seinfeld too, with its exaggerated narcissistic and unsympathetic characters also holds up a mirror and reflects the worst sides of all our behaviors.

What can we do?  We remember the Talmudic story, retold below from an Indian folk tale, which holds the answer for how we can learn from Seinfeld and the Torah.

There was once a wise woman who lived by herself near a small village. Rumor had it that she could always accurately predict when the rains would come, or help heal a sick child with herbs, or calm angry neighbors and help them to resolve their fights and arguments. People came from all over the land to meet with her and seek her advice on matters both small and great. Her reputation was such that it was said she was never wrong - not ever.

Some of the children of the village didn't believe that it was possible to always be right. Surely she could not know everything! They decided to test her knowledge. First they asked her to answer questions about the planets, the animals, and the world. No matter how hard the questions, she always answered correctly.

The children were amazed at her knowledge and learning and most were ready to stop testing the wise woman. However, one boy was determined to prove that the old woman couldn't know everything. Hatching a devious scheme, he told his friends to meet him at the woman's home the following afternoon so he could prove she was a faker.

The next day the boy caught a small songbird in a net. Holding it behind his back so no one could see what was in his hands, he walked triumphantly to the wise woman's home.

"Old woman!" he called. "Come and show us how wise you are!" The woman walked calmly to the door. "May I help you?" she asked simply.
"You say you know everything.  Prove it!  What am I holding behind my back?" the young boy demanded.

The old woman thought for a moment. She could make out the faint sounds of a bird's wings rustling. "I do not say I know everything - for that would be impossible," she replied. "However, I do believe you are holding a bird in your hands."

The boy was furious. How could the woman have possibly known he had a bird? Thinking quickly, he came up with a new scheme. He would ask the woman whether the bird was alive or dead. If the woman replied, "alive," he would crush it with his hands and prove her wrong. If she answered, "dead," on the other hand, he would pull the living bird from behind his back and allow it to fly away. Either way he would prove his point and the wise woman would be discredited.

"Very good," he called. "It is a bird. But tell me, is the bird I am holding alive or dead?"

The wise woman paused for a long moment while the boy waited with anticipation for his opportunity to prove her wrong.  Again, the woman spoke calmly.  "The answer, my young friend, is in your hands. The answer is in your hands."

The answer is in our hands, and in our hearts! This presidential season has been alarming and frightening for its lack of civil discourse and behavior.  We seem to have entered a time where so many mean-spirited and ugly behaviors are practiced and tolerated. The response is "In Our Hands."  How we behave and react matters. We can be the agents for change and model tolerance, kindness, forgiveness and caring.

Lev Eisha - let's open our hands and our hearts to one another in friendship and healing as an antidote to this political season and be present as "menches" in our complicated world.

Shabbat Shalom
Honoring Our Sustaining Pillars
The Lev Eisha community will honor our eighteen Sustaining Pillars at our November 5th Shabbat service. These women, and in some cases their husbands as well, have given to Lev above the annual dues, to help ensure the financial health and well being of Lev Eisha. It is our privilege to recognize them publicly both here and at services. We thank them for their generosity in helping to support our community.

    • Barbara Axelband
    • Edith Ballonoff
    • Lynn Beliak
    • Barbara Brown
    • Barbara & Mel Cohen
    • Janis Cohen & Ken Morris
    • Lorraine & Jerry Factor
    • Evelyn Feintech
    • Vivian Feintech
    • Lydia Friedlich
    • Olivia Goodkin
    • Gail Heim
    • Marla Osband z'l
    • Linda & Gerry Owen
    • Kate Rosloff, Craig Singer & Arielle
    • Suzanne Schweitzer 
    • Robin Winston 
    • Rose Ziff
Our Young Lev Members
MAZEL TOV To Suzanne and David Buckholtz on the birth of their son, Franklin.

Big brother Levi looks on

And Lyanna celebrates her first birthday! MAZEL TOV to
Rachelle Neshkes and Aaron Rosenfield.


MAZEL TOV! To Cathy Novack on the publication of her new novel, Size Matters.  This is a  story of how people interact with each other and with the world, and what happens when the structure of a person's life, their self-image, and all their familiar coping mechanisms are shattered.  Available on Amazon Nov. 22.
To Judy Fishman, on the engagement of her son, Daniel, to Alix Leeser from Newton, MA.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY  to the following November birthdays: 
Carole Easton, Hannah Ganezer, Jackie Goldfield, Deena Gordon, Sherrill Kushner, Debra Michels.

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.