Shalom, I just wanted to reach out to you to ask if you are a potential supporter. It's not too late. Make a gift. 4 days left before year's end! There's still time to support Jewish education in 2012! A year end gift for you. Last chance. Last chance to make a difference this year.
A gentle nudge. After Monday will be too late! The year's end: we can really use your help.
We need your help immediately. For the next two days...our organization needs your support.We depend on you. What your support means to us.Help Angelenos in need. Stand up!. Help us support more local events in 2013. Support us today!
From all of us here, we wish you a happy New Year! If you haven’t made your year-end donation yet, the time is now. The progress we can make next year will be determined by the gift you can make today. Last chance to donate and get a tax deduction.
One day left! Last chance to make your 2012 gift. Last day to donate! A final reminder. Immediately. The finish line. Help us meet our goal TODAY! Thanks for a great 2012.
All the organizations that have sent me solicitations in the last two weeks
To mark the first anniversary (yahrzeit) of my mother’s passing, and
the conclusion of the Jewish-tradition-mandated year of mourning, my friend Becca
gave me a small piece of jewelry – it was a blue hamsa, an open and outstretched hand
common in middle eastern cultures, and it seemed to sparkle, even though it
contained no gems.
As time passed, I wore the hamsa more and more,
and without fail, every time I wore it, someone made a comment – asking me
about the stone, or where I got it, or what it meant. I learned that it was an
opal (mine was blue, like the one in the photo at left), I discovered more about the person from whom my friend had bought this
gift (her name was Rachelle Tratt and she was a Venice-based yoga instructor). I learned that the jewelry business was called The Neshama Project (in memory of Rachelle’s mother, Nicole),
and that it also generated donations for charitable
causes (Innovation Africa, Friends of Ofanim and Zeno Mountain Farm).
But the fact that people kept commenting on
this little piece of jewelry, literally every time I wore it, had to mean
something about the piece itself, and also about human connection in general. Also,
I didn’t think it was an accident that every time someone commented, my hand
flew to my neckline, hand touching stone and chain, and actively, physically
remembering the piece, its fire, its point and person of origin, and that it had become literal touchstone, a
physical anchor in my process of assimilating loss into – instead of
permitting it to overpower - daily life.
represents a universal connection, that even though we may come from different
paths, backgrounds and faiths, we are all inter-connected. We are all
One,” Rachelle affirmed in an email interview conducted last week in
advance of Hanukkah. (Necklaces from The Neshama Project make excellent
Hanukkah presents, by the way - and you can get 10% off by using the code "holidaysoul.")
Rachelle’s bigger visions for The Neshama Project include
spreading the messages of people and organizations “who are making this world a
healthier, brighter, and more soulful place,” and she envisions leading
spiritual /yoga minded retreats to Israel for those of all faiths, in order to
bridge the gap and help educate those about life in the Middle East.
“I used to
dream of a way to help others shine and heal,” she reflected. “I used to dream of a way to allow my
personal story to inspire others. I
used to dream of a way to have my mother's spirit live on through me. But never in my wildest dreams, did
I imagine that The Neshama Project would connect me with people in such
"He's a bad mother...sheket b'vakashah..." - The Hebrew Hammer theme song
Several years ago I was at a Jewish arts and culture conference in NYC, and happened to meet writer Jon Kesselman. After a few minutes of conversation, wherein I expressed some delight for his 2003 film, The Hebrew Hammer, and its script, which was jampacked with absurdist Jewish references, he made the pitch.
"Glad you liked it. Got $2 million dollars? I want to make a sequel."
At some point after that, word (and a few pages) leaked out that the sequel, "The Hebrew Hammer Vs. Hitler," was floating around Hollywood somewhere, and that it featured an obliteration of then-famously-anti-Semitic-and-drunk-misogynist Mel Gibson. (Some people reported on that somewhere.)
If you're a fan of The Hebrew Hammer, the cult film featuring Mordechai Jefferson Carver as the world's first Jewxplotation hero to save both Christmas and Kwanzaa, you already know that earlier this week creator, writer, producer, gaffer, best boy, set tutor and crafts services menu coordinator (I don't know, I'm just making those titles up) Jon Kesselman has launched a Jewcer campaign to fund the sequel, with the confirmed title of "The Hebrew Hammer Vs. Hitler." Kesselman, with apparently minimal success at pitching bloggers for two-million-dollar investments, has decided to take it to the fans to drum up initial support (the goal is $200,000, but the minimal pledge for Kesselman to receive funding is $50,000) for the film.
In addition to cash donations, Kesselman is looking for his Hitler. (Hopefully this will not be the result of an old-style casting couch scenario.) The promotional pitch video below suggests actors as varied as Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and Paul Rudd...but I want to make a bold suggestion: John Hamm. Hamm is cool for the men, compelling for the ladies, but isn't afraid to deglam the Hamm in favor of the funny. Plus, putting "ham(m)" in a Jewish film has a rebellious aspect to it, and you get to use the tagline: "Hamm IS Hitler."
So who's your Hitler? And what would Kesselman do? Support the campaign (and follow their filmmaking adventures on @HammerVsHitler), and maybe we'll all have a chance to find out. And happy Hanukkah, motherf*&%ers.
On December 2nd, 2012, sixteen Muslim and Jewish organizations across Los Angeles joined to create "Home: True Stories of L.A.'s Muslims and Jews" - a unique cultural event centered around the theme of "home" with music, stories and interactive art installations. The evening was co-hosted by New Ground Executive Director Sarah Bassin, and Edina Lekovic, Director of Policy and Programming, Muslim Public Affairs Council in L.A.
Inspired by the wildly popular Moth Story Slams, six Muslims and Jews shared their true tales (see links and embed below) about what "home" means to them as audience members had the opportunity to explore the concept for themselves. More than 200 people came to hear tales that covered everything:
how religion and medicine link an orphaned doctor to his family history
the role of guava jam in linking to family heritage, tradition and identity
finding the courage to escape from Torah camp
the evolving definition of home, involving blackouts and the Wizard of Oz
how grandparents' post-war visit to their towns in Eastern Europe redefines home
a boy's inspired connection with his grandmother that continues to motivate his drive for success