Local Events

JWW Co-Founders Rabbi Harold Schulweis and Janice Kamenir-Reznik pose in front of new 10-year retrospective exhibit “One Life At a Time” alongside Valley Beth Shalom Rabbi Noah Farkas.

Fighting Genocide, One Life at a Time

(Encino) – On January 22, Jewish World Watch (JWW) hosted the opening of One Life at a Time, a photography and multimedia exhibit that displays the organization’s decade of advocacy efforts and on-the-ground projects to fight genocide and aid survivors in Darfur and the Congo.

The exhibition – open to the public through April 30 – is the first in a series of events to celebrate JWW’s ten-year anniversary. It depicts the Darfur and Congo conflicts through the lens of an advocacy organization in search of solutions. The exhibit draws on photographs, personal narratives, informational displays and a special interactive project led by Southern California artist Doni Silver Simons to offer a glimpse into survivors’ stories, while inspiring Los Angeles audiences to understand their unique potential to change lives around the world.

The exhibit is hosted by Temple Valley Beth Shalom, where JWW was founded in 2004 as a result of a High Holiday sermon by the congregation’s Senior Rabbi Harold Schulweis, who was among the speakers featured at the exhibit opening.

“This exhibit brings to life Rabbi Schulweis’ powerful message that each of us has vast potential to advance the principles of ‘never again’ by standing up and speaking out,” said Janice Kamenir-Reznik, JWW co-founder and president, whose photographs from missions to Congo and Chad are an integral part of the exhibit. “One Life at a Time is a photographic journey into the individual lives that define the mission of Jewish World Watch. It illustrates vividly how our common humanity binds us to the people of Congo and Darfur, helping audiences to recognize that these stories are just as unique and precious as our own.”

The bold idea in the rabbi’s sermon inspired the formation of Jewish World Watch, which has grown from a collection of Southern California synagogues into a global coalition that includes schools, churches, individuals, communities and partner organizations that share a vision of a world without genocide. Now a leading organization in the fight against genocide, JWW has raised more than twelve million dollars to improve the lives of survivors, support on-the ground projects and inspire local communities to advocate for political change. Its 6th Annual Walk to End Genocide in Orange County will take place on Sunday, April 6, at the Fountain Valley Sports Park in Fountain Valley.

To learn more about the work of Jewish World Watch or to visit the exhibit, please go to www.jww.org.

Chabad of Laguna Niguel Programs

Babyccino invites moms and tots to trek around the world to explore different countries, discover different cultures and develop a taste for diversity. Along the way participants will jam to Jewish tunes, dabble in the Hebrew lyrics and play through a world of tradition!  The classes will take place, beginning February 4, on Tuesdays from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. at Chabad, 27631 La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel.  The class, which involves tots from ages 0 to 3, is $12 per class or $80 for the complete 8-week series.

An upcoming course at Chabad of Laguna Niguel, Soul Maps, introduces participants to the Tanya, a 200-year-old text with a revolutionary new look at human psychology. It provides Kabbalah-based tools to help people to understand themselves.

Until the publication of Tanya, the Kabbalah was an esoteric discipline that was studied and understood by only a select few. Tanya, however, sought to make the teachings of Kabbalah practical, relevant and accessible. Its numerous reprints attest to its success in achieving this goal.

A precursor of the modern self-help genre, Rabbi Shneur Zalman authored Tanya as a substitute for his personal mentorship. People who attend this course will experience six virtual sessions of spiritual counseling from a master of Kabbalah and the nature of the soul. They will come to understand the source of guilt, conflict and confusion and find useful strategies for developing joy, purpose and direction in everyday life.

All classes are held on Tuesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. beginning February 4.  Class titles are:

2/4 Lesson One: Soul Words

2/11 Lesson Two: Getting A Grip on Yourself

2/18 Lesson Three: Sync or Sink

2/25 Lesson Four: The Joyride

3/4 Lesson Five: The Big Picture

3/11 Lesson Six: Have a Heart

For more information, contact Chabad of Laguna Niguel, 27631 La Paz Rd #D, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677 or visit www.chabadlagunaniguel.com.

Musicians Collaborate on Philanthropic Musical

Across the United States, Pacha’s Pajamas is the first and only full-length children’s pop musical making a philanthropic footprint along the way. The story is centered on the child character Pacha, a little girl whose magical pajamas whisk her away to imaginary worlds where she has wild and comedic adventures with the characters on her pajamas. It is about using one’s gifts and imagination to create the world children want to live in and uses imagination-based activities including visualization, mindfulness, song and dance.

“The goal behind Pacha’s Pajamas is to leverage entertainment, music and humor to cultivate social conscience in a playful and inspiring manner. The story is not only fun, but also addresses important topics and teaches kids to dream big and discover their own creative talents,” said the author of Pacha’s Pajamas, Aaron Ableman, based in Oakland. “There’s no doubt about it; Pacha’s Pajamas will open the minds and hearts of countless children. This project is a blessing and a gift to the world. It’s been an immense pleasure to be a part of this inspiring project,” said Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith.

Pacha’s Pajamas is also a part of Imagination Heals, a new program that brings award-winning inspirational music to hospitalized children across the United States and soon in Canada. As part of the initiative, participating hospitals receive donated Pacha’s Pajamas albums, books and musical performances for patients. The program recently received its pilot sponsorship through a generous donation from A Forever Recovery and Best Drug Rehabilitation.

“We are very excited about the Imagination Heals program. It’s great to give back to children across the nation and spread the fun story and message of Pacha’s Pajamas,” continued Ableman. “A lot of these children are very sick, and it’s nice to be able to give them even a few hours away from the reality of being in the hospital, transporting them to a place of imagination and fun.”

Beyond the musical, Pacha’s Pajamas is also available in book form and a full-length album showcasing 70 artists spanning four generations. The first album, which featured songs from the musical, recently won Best Children’s Album (People’s Choice) from the Independent Music Awards, along with the Parent’s Choice Recommended Award.

The Pacha’s Pajamas double-album is for sale on the company’s web site pachaspajamas.com, Amazon.com, and CDBabynow.com, as well as all online music sites (iTunes and Pandora). Now available, digital downloads of the new Pacha’s Pajamas chapter book will be available on the company’s website, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.  The physical book is also available.

Aaron Ableman is a widely celebrated entertainer, author, and ecologist. He grew up under the guidance of an award-¬winning author (father) and celebrated public-health nurse (mother). Studying with Hopi elders, Oxford Rhodes scholars and world leaders has thrust Ableman into leadership roles since a young age. He has worked with Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Cypress Hill, Raffi, K’NAAN, Joan Baez, Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith, Vandana Shiva and many others. From India to Haiti, he has produced award winning education and entertainment programs for children and youth.

Winter Open House

The College Blueprint, LLC, invites people to attend a winter open house on Tuesday, February 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. to meet the counseling staff and learn about the organization’s services. The founder of the company, Jan Kerchner, will speak about “10 Tips for College Planning.”

The College Blueprint is located at 137 Barranca Parkway, Suite A-215, Irvine, CA 92618. RSVP to (949) 856-1221.

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