October and November were exciting months for Orange County Jewry. As the year began to wind down, the activity level was at a crescendo. There were numerous events on the communal and personal level, and some events combined the two.
Temple Beth Tikvah in Fullerton dedicated the Asa Center for Lifelong Jewish Education, with many people paying tribute to Rabbi Haim and Elaine Asa. On the same day the American Jewish Committee honored Nevona Shabtai with enthusiastic family and friends in attendance in Newport Beach.
Two remarkable men turned 100 – longtime community leader Harry Altschule, who was honored at a lunch in Laguna Woods hosted by American Friends of Mogen David Adam, and Holocaust survivor and Bubbe & Zayde’s resident Eli Litsky, who was feted at an event hosted by Chabad of Irvine. Chabad of Mission Viejo held its Eight Points of Light Gala Celebration at the Crevier Classic Car Museum in Costa Mesa.
The 43rd Jewish Reconstructionist Federation Biennial Convention was in Irvine. At the same time as Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean and distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, was addressing that group at University Synagogue, the renowned singer and songwriter Debbie Friedman was captivating several generations with old and new liturgical favorites across the street at Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’a lot. Two days later, Rabbi Dr. Nathan T. Lopes Cardozo, dean of the David Cardozo Academy for Jewish Studies and Human Dignity and associate dean of the Isralight Institute in Jerusalem, enlightened a scholarly crowd at Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine, on the same block.
The Merage Jewish Community Center hosted a film festival in October and a book festival in November. By the third week in November, it was beginning to look a lot like Chanukah as boutiques and study sessions seemed to be cropping up everywhere.
Mark Yudof, 19th president of the University of California, spoke at Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach in early November. While some members of the Jewish community took issue with the pre-submitted questions and well-controlled environment, it is apparent that President Yudof takes UCI’s concerns seriously.
Orange County is on the map as a Jewish community with competing events and sometimes competing concerns. In the process of deciding where to go, what to do, and what to support with energy and dollars, individuals have made the collective stronger.
It is on that happy note that we thank the Orange County Jewish community for its incredible support as we at Orange County Jewish Life celebrate our sixth anniversary. While we sometimes wonder how to clone ourselves to be at two – or three or four – Jewish community events at the same time, we take great pride and pleasure in the fact that there is so much to do. The community is vibrant, and it is growing each day.
We look forward to serving the Jewish community of Orange County in 2011 with an expanded J List calendar, an in-depth look at the people and organizations in our midst, and a fresh perspective on the entire Jewish world. We also look forward to comments and suggestions from readers. In seeking to be a voice for Jewish Orange County, we also seek to give voice to our readers’ ideas and concerns.
Here is our 2011 editorial calendar:
January – Weddings/Education
February – Culture/Camps
March – Simchot (Bar/Bat Mitzvahs)
April – Planned Giving/Passover
May – Seniors/Israel
June – Health/Shavuot
July – Food & Wine/Arts & Entertainment
August – Education/Synagogue Membership
September – High Holy Days
October – Seniors/Planned Giving
November – Camps/Book Festival/Health
December – Chanukah/Travel
Happy Chanukah to the Orange County Jewish community, in its many flavors, streams, and opinions. May we go forward to 2011 from strength to strength.