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Jlife Extra November 2020- Into the Fall: Make it a great Mar Cheshvan

This Hebrew month, between the High Holy Days and Chanukah, is typically a quiet period in the Jewish calendar. With the pandemic still looming, fires threatening many of our homes and an election campaign winding down, life may be less than quiet. Turn to the Jewish community for fun and solace. 

Thursday, November 5

7 PM

OC Mega Challah Bake

Be a part of the Worldwide Shabbat Project & Challah Bakes around the world. With all the uncertainty in the world right now, one thing we know for certain is – TOGETHER WE RISE

Join together for a virtual evening of friendship, laughter and Yiddishkeit. Visit:  www.ocmegachallahbake.com for registration and challah baking kit. Covid Safe pick-up and shipping options are available. All donations are tax deductible.

Tuesdays, November 3, 10, 17, 24; December 1

12:30 PM

Community Scholar Program

Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Series II

The first part of this course in September explored the world of Torah, Ancient Midrash, and Halakha, we now turn to the world of Mussar, Theology and Modern Interpretation. In the course of our study together, we will learn not only what these texts are and how they work but we’ll use them as an entryway into conversations about God, revelation, and the cultivation of personal holiness.

In our first session, we’ll get to know some of the major thinkers and works of the Mussar movement, focusing on Jewish ethics and wisdom on how to attain personal holiness. Through key Mussar texts, we’ll explore the fine balance between humility and arrogance, as we attempt to apply these teachings to our own lives. For the remaining sessions, we’ll explore questions of revelation through a number of Jewish sources.

We’ll ask: what is revelation, what was revealed at Sinai and what continues to be revealed, and what is our role in manifesting God’s Torah? Whether you’re new to Jewish learning or you come with more background, this course will offer you a deep dive into questions of revelation from a diverse sampling of different major Jewish thinkers.

For more information, please call (949) 682-4040 or visit www.occsp.org.

Friday, November 6

7 PM

University Synagogue Shabbat service

Rabbi Arnold Rachlis will interview Former Director of Israel’s Security Service, Shin Bet, Admiral Ami Ayalon on “Peace In The Middle East.” Admiral Ayalon is a former Flotilla 24 (Israel’s Navy Seals) commando, Commander of the Navy, Director of the Shin Bet security agency, Cabinet minister, Knesset member and a recipient of the Medal of Valor, Israel’s highest military decoration.

Saturday, November 7

6:30 PM

CBI USY Presents: Family Drive-In Movie Night

Join us for a fun family night at a drive-in movie theatre at CBI. Friends, family, food, fun! (The movie is a Disney animated film rated G, soon to be announced.) Have delicious Middle Eastern food from Falafa, or bring your own Pareve or Dairy eats.

Contact Emily at (818) 922-5218 or youth@cbi18.com for questions, comments, or concerns.

Sunday, November 8

10 AM

JCC Arts Festival: Natan Sharansky & Gil Troy Never Alone

Zoom Webinar Author Talk + Q & A

Presented in partnership with the JCC Literary Consortium

In 1977, Natan Sharansky, a leading activist for the democratic dissident movement in the Soviet Union and the movement for free Jewish emigration, was arrested. He spent nine years as a political prisoner, convicted of treason against the state. In Never Alone, Natan Sharansky and historian Gil Troy show how Sharansky’s years in prison, many spent in harsh solitary confinement, prepared him for his public life, bringing extraordinary moral clarity and uncompromising honesty to his work as an Israeli politician and the head of the Jewish Agency. Never Alone is suffused with reflections from his time as a political prisoner, from his seat at the table as history unfolded in Israel and the Middle East, and his passionate efforts to unite the Jewish people.

Written with frankness, affection, and humor, the book offers us profound insights from a man whose fight for individual freedom in the face of overt tyranny would come to define the rest of his life.

Natan Sharansky is an Israeli politician, human rights activist and author. He served as Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency from June 2009 to August 2018.

Gil Troy is the award-winning author of “The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s” which will be published this October by Thomas Dunne Books of St. Martin׳s Press. A Professor of History at McGill University since 1990, he is a leading presidential historian, writing about the history of American presidential elections, the importance of moderation in American democracy, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s fight as US Ambassador to the UN against the infamous Zionism is Racism resolution.

Tickets: $6 for one virtual ticket or $36 for one virtual ticket and copy of book (includes shipping)

Contact: Nicole Rosenson at (949) 435-3400 ext. 161 or email nicoler@jccoc.org.

Tuesday, November 17

7 PM

University Synagogue Women’s Connection Analysis of the 2020 Election

The presidential election is here. Join Women’s Connection for Analysis of the 2020 Election. Need some excitement? Join Political Scientist Dr. Nadine Koch Steinberg, a member of University Synagogue, for a discussion of the 2020 election.

RSVP to Dina Connor by Friday, November 13, and a Zoom link will be provided. This event is open to members of Women’s Connection and the community at large. There will be no charge.

For details, call University Synagogue at (949) 553-3535.


Jlife extends condolences to the family and friends of two pillars of the Jewish community who are no longer with us.

Rabbi Mordecai Kieffer

Rabbi Mordecai Kieffer, age 76, died surrounded by family on October 12, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Penelope, his children Efraim, Issar, Shulameet, Elisabeth and Eliot, eight granddaughters, his brothers Rabbi Bert (Dianne) Kieffer, Rabbi Sam (Melinda) Kieffer, Aunt Dvorah and Uncle Stanley/Shlaime Kieffer (Jerusalem) and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Rabbi Kieffer was born in Newark, NJ to the late Rabbi Melvin and the late Eileen Gelfman Kieffer. After spending his early years during World War 2 at Camp Tyler, Texas, where his father was an US Army Chaplain, the family returned to Millburn, NJ, later moving to Niagara Falls, NY. He spent his teenage and college years in Old Westbury, NY, moving each time when his father was appointed to a new synagogue.

Rabbi Kieffer was very involved with United Synagogue Youth on a regional and national level, as well as Camp Ramah in Connecticut and Palmer, MA. He graduated from Queens College and the Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary.  He served congregations in Erie, PA, Troy, NY, Pomona NY, Wayne, NJ, and Lake Hiawatha, NJ. After serving at Temple Beth Emet in Anaheim, he became Rabbi Emeritus there.

Rabbi Kieffer was a brilliant Talmud scholar, attracting many adult students over the years, as well as a pastoral counselor to many individuals throughout the decades. He loved summer road trips throughout North America as well as visiting Israel. Wherever he went, he made new friends.  He will be missed for his humor, his wisdom but most of all love. 

Marlisse Marcus

Marlisse Marcus, age 62, died from the complications of uterus cancer and kidney failure on October 24. She was born in Bucharest, Romania, and emigrated to the United States as a teenager with her parents, the late David and Benedetta. She completed high school in the Milwaukee area, and attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison where she received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.

In the 1980s her family relocated to Orange County, California. Marlisse worked as a Systems Analyst for many years, and then became a full-time caregiver to her mother in the early 2000s.

Around ten years ago, Marlisse began dating Peter Small, a Historical Impressionist and educator. They became life partners and travel companions and were well known for bringing friends together. Events they hosted included hikes, picnics, concerts and many parties.

After Benedetta’s passing, Marlisse sought out a new career opportunity, and became an entrepreneur, hosting chocolate parties and selling products from the Dove chocolate company.

Always community minded, Marlisse volunteered with the Relay for Life, the Jewish Community Center and other organizations over the years, making many friends along the way. She never hesitated to take on leadership roles. She was an active member of Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America, and even served as its President for several years.

Marlisse was intelligent, outgoing and always willing to help. She was passionate about many things, including Judaism, democracy, hiking, board games and being a good friend. She was a courageous cancer survivor and died after complications from a second battle with cancer only a year after being declared in remission.

Marlisse is survived by her cousin, Luiza Iancu, and family, her aunt Teresa, boyfriend Peter and many friends of long standing. She will be greatly missed by many who deeply appreciated her warm hugs, her kind heart, and her often sarcastic sense of humor.


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