Happy Secular New Year! One of the great things about being Jewish is that we have two opportunities per year to make resolutions, vow to make ourselves and our surroundings better and take stock of our secular and spiritual selves. While the spiritual side gets the attention in the fall, the current type of New Year’s resolution can be about anything from knocking off a few pounds to righting a few wrongs.
Unlike the High Holy Days, the secular New Year gives us little “down time” to sit in the synagogue and reflect on the past year. In a day, a few days or a few weeks, life happens, and we usually go back to the same behaviors as we engaged in last year. Still, we remain optimistic that we can change our attitude or our fortune.
What we can do is anticipate a lot of fun times and a lot of situations where our participation in Jewish life in Orange County is needed. We can help and we can enjoy 2013. Here is the list of Orange County Jewish Life’s top ten monumental moments of the year:
1) Beyond the Fiscal Cliff, Duration Unknown: Now turning sane people’s hair gray, the fiscal cliff crisis is keeping some of our leaders up into the middle of the night while the more jaded among us consider the mess a ploy to dangle tax increases, spending cuts for our favorite programs and other issues in front of an unwary voting public. Congress will get it done somehow, but we may have to think about more volunteer hours and more donations to keep certain programs afloat. Tune in next month.
2) Community Scholar Program, January 2 to 28: Now happening at a synagogue or agency near you, Marc Michael Epstein, professor of religion at Vassar College, where he has been teaching since 1992 and was the first director of Jewish studies, will be the one-month community scholar in the 12th Annual Community Scholar Program. He will speak on “People of the Image: Jewish Identities, Politics & Theology via the Arts” at various venues around Orange County. Contact CSP at (949) 682-4040 or www.occsp.org.
3) Bureau of Jewish Education Dinner with a Scholar Program, January 26 and February 2. Dinner with a Scholar has ten choices of presentations, five on January 26 and five on February 2. All proceeds from Dinner with a Scholar benefit the Bureau’s Jewish youth education programs. Contact the BJE at (949) 435-3450 or email@example.com.
4) Women’s Voices, March 18: Women’s Philanthropy of Jewish Federation & Family Services brings together the largest gathering of women in Orange County for an exciting luncheon presenting Laurie Ann Goldman, CEO, of Spanx, as the keynote speaker, and honoring Cindy Fuerst as the Anne Entin Woman of the Year. Contact JFFS at (949) 435-3484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
5) Heritage Pointe Luncheon, April 22: Pamper yourself at a luncheon and boutique that supports a great cause, helping seniors live in the Jewish tradition, wherever they are. Contact Heritage Pointe at (949) 364.9685 or www.heritagepointe.org.
6) Israel Expo, April 28: Join with more than 50 Jewish organizations and nearly 10,000 people at Orange County’s annual celebration of Israel. It’s a day of vendors, entertainment, food, community and just plain fun. Contact JFFS at (949) 435-3484 or IsraelExpo@jffs.org.
7) JCC Celebration Ball, May 5: Join the JCC in honoring pillars of the community. Contact the JCC at (949) 435-3400 or www.jccoc.org.
8) JCC Maccabi, August 4 to 9: Orange County proudly hosts the games and arts fest, which will bring 2,000 teens to Orange County. We need 800 host families and 1,000 volunteers. Everybody can get involved and be proud of our community. Contact the JCC at (949) 435-3400 or www.jccoc.org.
9) The High Holy Days, 5774, September 4 to September 27: They may seem early, but they’re right on time on the Jewish calendar. Celebrate them at a synagogue near you – or where you feel at home – and make some more resolutions.
10) JCC Arts Festival, November 2013: Catch some great movies and hear some great speakers. Contact the JCC at (949) 435-3400 or www.jccoc.org.