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Creative Arts Temple
P.O. Box 241831
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Want to Keep Jews Safe?
 Criminalize Marijuana

This article came from The Tablet Magazine

A French court ruled that Sarah Halimi's murderer-who shouted 'Allahu akbar' while holding her captive-can't be held responsible because he smoked pot before killing her

Sarah Halimi's case marks a new milestone for the already embattled French Jewish community. After a drawn out court case, on Wednesday, Nov. 27, a Paris judge dropped the murder charges against Halimi's killer,  Kobili  Traoré, 29, on the grounds that smoking pot had caused him to suffer a massive "psychotic episode."

According to police records,  Traoré beat and tortured Halimi for hours-at one point with French police standing just outside her door as they waited for another unit to arrive, while calls to the police reported hearing a woman's screams and a man shouting " Allahu akbar." The torture ended when  Traoré shoved Halimi, a retired kindergarten teacher, off of her third-floor balcony and she fell to her death.

The London based  Jewish Chronicle  quotes a lawyer representing the Halimi family on the consequences of the decision: "You're saying that people can walk free after carrying out criminal action just because they were allegedly not aware of the effects of drugs or other substances?" asked  Francis Szpiner.  "Will this also apply to drunk drivers who kill children on the road?" 

The verdict comes in the midst of ongoing efforts in France to legalize marijuana, leaving open the possibility that future murderers of Jews will have an even easier time getting away with their crimes.

In Paris, where Kobili Traoré's trial took place last week, anti-Semitism has been dramatically increasing, prompting an exodus of French Jews. Anti-Semitic incidents rose by 74% in one year, reaching 541 crimes in 2018, from 311 in 2017, according to the French Interior Ministry. In July 2018  The New York Times  found that despite Jews making up less than 1% of the French population "nearly 40 percent of violent acts classified as racially or religiously motivated were committed against Jews in 2017." As a consequence, French Jews have been  leaving the country in record numbers.  In 2015 some 8,000 left France for Israel-the largest single-year migration from a Western country to Israel on record.

Thus, France's remaining Jewish community was intensely focused last week on the final critical phase of Traoré's court case, anticipating that after years of contentious deliberations with varying findings, the medical team would make its determination on Traoré's mental state.

Traoré, an immigrant from Mali, was 27 at the time of Halimi's murder. A heavy marijuana smoker, Traoré had also been dealing pot since he was a teenager and had been convicted for a number of previous crimes and served four different prison sentences, including one from which he had only recently been released at the time of the killing.

On the night of the murder, he had first broken into another family's apartment before breaking into Halimi's in Paris' 11th arrondissement-reportedly the only Jewish person in her council estate apartment building. Claiming to not have recognized Halimi,  Traoré told the French court:  "I felt persecuted. When I saw the Torah and a chandelier in her home I felt oppressed. I saw her face transforming." 

In addition to screaming "Allahu akbar"  during his crime,  Traoré  was heard calling Halimi a  Shaitan-Arabic for Satan-before killing her. According to Halimi's daughter, Traoré had called her a "dirty Jewess" two years before murdering her mother. Traoré had also attended the Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud mosque in Paris, a known hangout for Islamist radicals.

Yet, despite all of that evidence and the brutality of Traoré's crime, French authorities and the French media effectively suppressed reports of the crime. As Marc Weitzmann has reported in  Tablet, details of the crime that pointed to its anti-Semitic motive were initially not reported in the French press.

The hearing last week was part of a legal process to decide whether Traoré could benefit from French Criminal Procedure Code 122-1, which stipulates that an individual cannot be charged if he was not fully aware of his acts during a crime. The medical experts disagreed on this point.

Dr. Zagury, the first medical expert in the case, who conducted five studies on Traoré since 2017, concluded that  "there is an alteration of discernment and not an abolition," meaning that while  Traoré's judgment was impaired it was not nullified altogether.

However, two other doctors issued reports concluding that Traoré was too high to be fully aware of what he did and that he could benefit from the "BDA" status-a French acronym that stands for  "delirious hot burst,"  similar to the American concept of "temporary insanity."   

On Dec. 19,  Traoré's  trial will resume and a further decision will be made on his legal culpability. In the meantime, the civil party has already decided to order an appeal.

Rabbi's Message

Jerry Cutler
If you aren't outraged and your insides have not reached the apex of total disgust and fear for our Jewish no further. 

However, if you care about Jewish survival and the safety of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, read what I have to say. "This is the time to become vociferous and raise our voices and, once again, present our unified credentials as a people who feel the anxiety and frustrations of those who seek to destroy everything we have fought for and accomplished since the beginning  of time. 

The shameful anti-Semitic verbal attacks on American college campuses have not lessened but have increased exponentially without, in most cases, a voice of admonishment from collegiate authorities. If spreading hatred and fear leading to the killing of innocent Jews is able to continue, why isn't there an outcry from those who promote civil liberties when our liberties right here in the Unites States are being denied to the Jewish populace?  Why is it against the law to yell "Fire" in a crowded theatre but within the law to incite a person or group of people by marching in the streets sprouting anti-Jewish slogans arousing the festering unrest from idiots and hooligans?

We as a congregation must challenge other houses of worship, people and organizations of good conscience, to speak up and decry the growing climate of hatred against us or any person regardless of their race, color or creed.

I implore you, I beg you to contact the temple office at 310-720-9618 and tell of your concern and availability to meet.  We must arrive at a mutual  time to get together, voice our opinions and do something concrete to stop the madness. We must start somewhere, why not here?  If not now, when?

Rabbi Jerry 

Our Next Shabbat Service

When:  December 6,  2019 


Going west on Wilshire as you approach Warner Blvd., one long block west of Beverly Glen, turn into the driveway that has the sign "Church Parking" and park on levels P2 or P3. Take the elevator up to P1 (which is also the lobby). Services are in the Town Hall room directly across from the elevator.

Arne's Corner

I have finally learned my lesson, from (Your Positive
Oasis.Com) and OH what a relief it is. I LEARNED. "In life, it's  important to know when to stop arguing with people and simply - let them  be wrong." Henceforth, I will refrain from positing my political point  of view.

So in Israel. Benny Gantz concedes, he can't acquire the  seats to form a gov't. So now the Knesset gets 21 days where any MK has  that opportunity. If not, it's election number 3. And to complicate  matters Netanyahu has been indicted for accepting bribes for favors. He  vehemently denies the charges brought forth by the Israeli Left Wing.  What is happening there is so like what is happening here, with the  Democratic Impeachment hearing.

 I'm not taking sides, I'm simply stating - the Israelis are
as divided as we are. The only two freedom loving countries in the
world. The political similarity is unbelievable.

Arnold Charitan

Renew Ralphs Community Contributions Now!

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Please Register today!
For your convenience, step-by-step website registration instructions can be found at, click on Community, click on Community Contributions, click on 'Enroll Now'. 

If you don't have computer access, please call Ralphs at 1-800-443-4438 for assistance.

CAT NPO# 92136
Ralphs Rewards Card
Donate to CAT while you grocery shop

Participants are required to register for the new term online at or by calling Ralphs at 

You will be asked for The Creative Arts Temple NPO number. It is NPO# 92136

Please Note!!
The Scan Bar letters will no longer work at the register.

To verify if Creative Arts Temple is your charity of choice, look at the very bottom of your receipt next time you shop at Ralph's.  It should say "At your request, Ralph's is donating to Creative Arts Temple."  If you do not see that, you will need to register through the Ralph's 

Gelson's Discount Cards

Yes, it is Hanukkah all through the year.  Gelson's has offered to provide the temple with discount coupons.  They are for $5 off your entire order of $25 or more. Pick them up at a Friday night service or call the temple for your coupon(s).  Gelson's will honor any expired coupon.  Take one or a few!

Do you shop on Amazon?
Support CAT when you shop on Amazon!

I f you want Amazon to donate to Creative Arts Temple, you need to start each shopping session at  and they will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases.

Monthly Events
Services, Dinners, High Holidays 
( Dates are subject to change)


Friday - December 6, @ 7:30 pm
Shabbat Services 
Belmont Village - Town Hall
10475 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Parking at Belmont Village starting at P2


Friday - January 3rd 2020, 
There will be no services on January 3rd
Happy New Year!

Friday - February 7, @ 7:30 pm
Shabbat Services 
Belmont Village - Town Hall
10475 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Parking at Belmont Village starting at P2

131 S. Rodeo Drive  Suite 100
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Cell 310-995-0340
Bus 310-248-6440

I will be with you every step of the way. That is my promise, that is my commitment. 

Also, a FREE mezuzah hanging on your new home from our esteemed Rabbi. 


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December Anniversaries
Mazel Tov to our CAT lovebirds!

Etan & Linda Weinberger Markowitz 12/1/2019
Paul & Lee (Lisel) Bernstein 12/18/2019
Martin & Stacey Levine 12/18/2019
Paul W. & Sue Glass 12/19/2019
David & Susan Rothman 12/27/2019

Tribute Cards
A Thoughtful Remembrance 

With a donation of Chai ($18) or above, CAT will mail out a tribute card in your honor for Birthdays, Anniversaries, Get-Well-Soon wishes, Congratulations and In Loving Memory.

We'll post your tribute in our newsletter, no matter what amount you're able to donate.

Happy Birthday Card GEt well Card
Happy Anniversary CArd

Baby Congrats

You now can Order Tribute Cards, Remember A Yarzheit, Make donations to the Oneg Shabbat Table, Order a Plaque t hrough your Temple Talk Email or on our website. 

Just click on the link and choose what kind of donation you would like to make.  
Paypal is secure and safe.  You can choose to use your credit card or through your bank.  Once we receive your information, we will send you a confirmation email to let you know that we are in receipt of your donation.

December  Birthdays
And many happy returns!
bday grumpy cat         

Daniella Zax 12/7/2019
Jeff Cutler 12/19/2019
Ronald Pollak 12/19/2019
Earl Goldberg 12/22/2019
Fran Zigman 12/22/2019
Steven Crestol 12/23/2019
Eva Ellman 12/24/2019
Michael Zaifert 12/24/2019
Rena Barness 12/26/2019
Myron Meisel 12/26/2019
Bernard Shapiro 12/26/2019
Sandy Benson 12/30/2019
Joni Berry 12/30/2019

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November Tributes
Your Thoughtfulness is Truly Appreciated


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November Onegs
Thank you to our sponsors!

Sherwyn & Edythe Horwitz In honor of Edie's birthday

As always, thank you to our annual oneg sponsor:  ARNOLD & GLADYS CHARITAN 

Get Wells
Refuah Shleima

CAT wishes speedy recoveries to

November Yahrzeits 
May you be comforted by the mourners of Zion

Marc & Barbara Barenfeld In memory of Charles Barenfeld
Jerry & Evelyn Baruch In memory of Pearl Shapiro
Arnold & Gladys Charitan In memory of Alexander and Estelle Korn
Ruth DiPietro In memory of Dora Moses
Faye Frankel In memory of Sam Dervin and Sol Platzner
Stuart Freeman In memory of Rachael Wager-LaCross
Godfrey Harris & Barbara Dekovner- Mayer In memory of Edward Davidson
Joe Ingber In memory of Ida Ingber
Gail Rund In memory of Ann Topper and Richard Topper
Barbara Lee Schulz In memory of Annette Gruman Schulz
Steven & Janice Seligman In memory of Bernie Seligman

If you made a donation in memory of your loved one and you don't see it here, it is because it was received after publication deadline and will appear next month
A Big Shout Out to Katy Haber who submitted her pix from our High Holiday Services 2019.  


Why an unknown Israeli filmmaker may just win an Oscar

Dekel Berenson's two acclaimed short films, 'Ashmina' and 'Anna,' depict poignant stories in the lives of women in different countries he's visited.

   NOVEMBER 12, 2019, 7:00 AM

A scene from Dekel Berenson's short award-winning film "Ashmina." Photo: courtesy

After only three months at the London Film Academy, Dekel Berenson closed the classroom door behind him and opened a new door on a filmmaking career.

That decision may have seemed rash or premature to some. But it was a classic example of  Israeli chutzpah.

Despite his lack of credentials, with just three years of experience, Berenson is racking up major awards for two short films depicting the fictionalized lives of women in different countries.

Berenson's  "Ashmina" premiered at the London Film Festival and is qualified to be nominated for a 2019 Academy Award, having won awards at the 57th Krakow Film Festival and the 36th Jerusalem Film Festival this year.

A still from "Anna" by Dekel Berenson. Photo: courtesy

Berenson's second short, " Anna, " was one of 11 films (out of 4,240 entries) selected to compete for the Palme d'Or award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

In a historic first, both of Berenson's films appeared on the long list for the upcoming British Independent Film Awards (BIFA). "Anna" is one of five short films that ultimately received the BIFA nomination.

"Ashmina" also picked up awards at the Slemani International Film Festival in Iraq and at the Richard Harris International Film Festival in Ireland. At the latter festival, "Anna" lead actress Svetlana Alekseevna Barandich won Best Actor in a Female Role.

Produced by Merlin Merton, the two films are traveling companions as they go from festival to festival, Berenson told ISRAEL21c.

The original digital nomad

Israeli filmmaker Dekel Berenson. Photo: courtesy

The 40-year-old Haifa native recalls making movies as a child, using a VHS camcorder for filming and a VCR for editing.

He earned a master's degree in international relations from the Central European University in Budapest in 2006. Then he worked in web and graphic design to finance his extensive travels across the world.

"I became a digital nomad before anyone else was doing it," says Berenson.

"I traveled to 60 or 70 countries. Wherever I went, I took courses. I did a skipper course, mountaineering, a North Pole expedition and other crazy things," he relates.

"When paragliding in Nepal in 2014, I saw children running toward me and I didn't understand what they wanted at first. Eventually, I realized they are there to pack your glider for you for small change. I thought, one day when I become a filmmaker - which was then a distant dream - it would make a great short film."

That later became the basis for "Ashmina," depicting a 13-year-old girl who folds and packs gliders in exchange for coins she is forced to hand over to her parents.

But first, Berenson went to London, where he took an acting class and signed up for a course at the London Film Academy. Itching to get a jumpstart on his new career, he soon set out on his own.
"I wrote 'Ashmina' in two hours, packed my bags and went to Nepal," he tells ISRAEL21c.

Using his own funds, he shot "Ashmina" over the first three months of 2018 in Pokhara, Nepal, in open locations with available light. He hired a mostly local crew and actors ("We just went to all the local schools and talked with people"). Post-production on the 15-minute film was done in Lisbon within one month.

Hard work and luck

Berenson shot "Anna" in Ukraine. It's about an aging single mother lured by a radio advertisement to a party where American men come, supposedly searching for love. At the party, Anna is confronted with the realities of her advancing age, with the American men's real intentions, and by her underaged daughter who also shows up at the party.

"Because of my experience traveling I was able to come up with stories that are quite original," says Berenson.

He attributes his remarkable early success also to "a combination of hard work and luck. It's 80 percent hard work. For the last three years I basically have had no life outside of filmmaking."

He no longer has to bootstrap his films, due to the wide recognition generated by the showings of "Ashmina" and "Anna" at more than 100 film festivals so far.

Berenson next plans on shooting another three films in the same series - in Brazil, New Zealand and Israel - featuring fictional women whose names start with "A."

Though he's based in the UK now, Berenson still considers Israel his home.

"Because I never really settled anywhere else, I don't see myself becoming anything else but Israeli," he explains.

Creative Arts Temple

P.O. Box 241831
Los Angeles, CA 90024

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