Community Briefs

Meditation practices, kabbalistic wisdom, the spiritualapplications of music and other elements of what is often called theJewish Renewal Movement will be taught and discussed at a localconference Dec. 13-14. Convened by Metivta, a center forcontemplative Judaism headed by Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man, the two-dayevent will be held at Adat Ari El synagogue in North Hollywood.

RabbiJonathan Omer-Man
Panel discussions and community workshops constitute the program,which includes an interesting array of speakers: David Cooper, arabbi, author and teacher of contemplative Judaism will lead a panel,as will Rabbi Omer-Man. Jewish chant and spirituality through musicwill be addressed by Rabbi Shefa Gold. “The Roots of Compassion,” asthey relate to meditation, will be addressed by panelist Rabbi DavidZeller, who directs a study center in Jerusalem.

Among the workshops being offered are Rabbi Judith HaLevy’s “WhyCan’t I Meditate: 10 Reasons,” and Judy Greenfield and TamarFrankiel’s “Minding the Temple of the Soul,” which explorestechniques for balancing body, mind and spirit through traditionalJewish prayer, physical movement and the meditation technique ofvisualization. Greenfield is a fitness trainer, and Frankiel is aprofessor of history of religion at the Claremont School of Theologyand UC Riverside. A host of organizations are supporting the Metivtaevent, including the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, Temple Isaiah, OhrHatorah, Valley Beth Shalom and Jewish Lights Publishing.

Space is limited and preregistration is strongly recommended;Metivta organizers are expecting a large crowd. Preregistrationincludes a vegetarian lunch on Sunday. (No outside food is permittedin the synagogue facility.) For conference information, call Metivtaat (310) 477-7143. Adat Ari El is located at 12020 Burbank Blvd. atLaurel Canyon. Handicapped parking available. — Diane Arieff Zaga,Arts Editor

An Intergenerational Thanksgiving

Adat Ari El students Elana, left, and Lauren Kinrich talk withMartha Goldberg

It’s true that Thanksgiving is partly about feasting and football,but for sixth-graders at Adat Ari El Day School, this pastThanksgiving also provided an important chance to reach across thegenerational divide for a special celebration.

Prior to the holiday, students from the Conservative NorthHollywood school began exchanging letters with residents of theJewish Home for the Aging. Then, they invited the seniors to theirschool to share in a pre-Thanksgiving feast that included aschool-wide sing-along and student performances.

There were smiles all around on Wednesday, Nov. 26, when theseniors arrived. They were greeted by a group of cheerfulsixth-graders, who handed their guests pink bouquets of flowersbefore ushering them into the auditorium. There, young and old sattogether at round tables. Students struck up conversations with theirnew friends. Their guests grinned and clapped gamely during thesecond-graders’ performance of “Turkeys on Strike,” an original playcomplete with 7-year-olds dressed as cranberries and pint-sizedPilgrims.

Dina Stuhl, a sixth-grade teacher at Adat Ari El and one of theplanners of the intergenerational event, said that Thanksgiving wouldbe just one in a series of holidays she hopes the two groups willspend together throughout the school year. Plans are already underwayfor the sixth grade to visit the Jewish Home during Chanukah. “Thisis a really important and special part of their education,” she said.

For the seniors, the visit was clearly a holiday highlight. “Ienjoyed this so much,” said one woman as she headed for the group’sbus. “You know, I used to belong here, but I haven’t been back in along time. It feels like coming home.” — Diane Arieff Zaga, ArtsEditor

Hand in Hand

The prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, and Yad B’Yad worktogether on the behalf of those in need of medical care

SaraNetanyahu, Yad B’Yad’s honorary president. Photo by PeterHalmagyi

Amid a phalanx of American and Israeli security agents, SaraNetanyahu, wife of the Israeli prime minister, met with the localboard members of one of her favorite charities, Yad B’Yad (Hand inHand). The Nov. 17 meeting took place amid extremely heavy securityat the Four Seasons Hotel, where the Netanyahus were staying.

Sara Netanyahu, Yad B’Yad’s honorary president, hurried in and outof the gathering, having completed a series of morning meetings andrushing off to afternoon appointments. She told the group that sheand her husband had arrived at 3 a.m. and had a pre-dawn meeting,allowing her scarcely an hour’s rest. Her appearance — elegant andgracious — belied her fatigue.

Yad B’Yad provides financial, physical and logistical support toIsraelis in need of medical care unavailable in Israel. In the 10years since its founding, the group has raised more than $1 millionand helped 40 patients — including a year-old infant — receivelifesaving medical surgeries and treatments at leading medicalcenters throughout the United States. The group also helps arrangefor temporary housing, chauffeurs the patients and their families tomedical appointments, and becomes a surrogate family until thepatients