Report: Increased activity at suspected Iranian nuke site

Satellite pictures reportedly are showing increased activity at an Iranian site suspected of housing secret work on the country’s nuclear weapons program.

The disclosure was made Monday by The Associated Press, which cited officials from member countries of the United Nations nuclear watchdog organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran is trying to hide its actions, the report said, by removing evidence of nuclear research and development.

The increased activity includes many vehicles coming and going, according to the AP, which is viewed as evidence that Iran is trying to sanitize the area.

Iran has said it is only producing nuclear power but has not allowed representatives of the IAEA in the country for the past three years.

Earlier this month, the IAEA issued a report saying there was “credible” evidence that Iran was working on a nuclear weapon.

Class Notes

Deep Thoughts for Teens
Teens searching for meaning and direction — and what teen isn’t? — can find some Jewish guidance at Nativ-Jewish Teen Seminars, a new nondenominational weekend workshop program affiliated with the West Valley’s JCC at Milken with the goal of helping teens navigate big decisions and difficult issues in a Jewish context.

The two-and-half-day or four-day seminars are facilitated by Jackie Redner, rabbi of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services and former campus rabbi at Kadima Hebrew Academy, and by Beth Freishtat, who developed the program and who has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and adolescent and family therapy.

Through discussions and activities, the groups will explore themes such as peer relationships, family conflict, spirituality, self-image, sex, love, individuality and belonging, anger, discrimination, drugs and alcohol, and hopes and dreams. The semiars take place at the Westside JCC and at the JCC at Milken. Upcoming Nativ dates are April 13-15, May 18-20, June 22-24 and July 6-8.

For more information, visit

Preschool Teachers Get Basic Training
Close to 1,000 preschool directors and teachers attended a day of Judaic, pedagogic, and child development workshops at the Bureau of Jewish Education’s annual Bebe Feuerstein Simon Early Childhood Spring Institute last month.

Nationally renowned early Jewish educator and author Bev Bos led sessions in her field of expertise — “Memories and Traditions,” “How Children Grow” and “Creative Art, Music and Language.” Forty other presenters led sessions on a range of topics.

The day also featured awards presentations. The Lainer Distinguished Educator Awards for Early Childhood Educators, which include a cash gift of $2,500, were presented to Jeri Dubin, a preschool teacher at the Adat Ari El Rose Engel Early Childhood Center; Miri Hever, a Gesher teacher at University Synagogue; and Hilary Steinberg, a 20-year veteran educator at Valley Beth Shalom Nursery School. Some 15 teachers also received The Smotrich Family Educator Awards, which recognize innovative Judaica curriculum projects.

For more information, visit

YULA Scores Diplomatic Coup
For the sixth time in the last eight years, Los Angeles’ YULA yeshiva high school was named best delegation at the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations. Students from more than 40 Jewish day schools from across the United States and Canada participated in the conference, representing 46 countries and international agencies. They spent three days analyzing and developing solutions to such problems as global warming, the distribution of power within the United Nations, gender discrimination in the world community, and the international response to natural disasters.

YULA’s 18-member delegation, led by senior co-captains Ari Platt and Adina Wolkenfeld, represented India, Belarus and Uruguay. The team brought home four best delegate and six honorable mention awards.

For information visit or

New Educational Leadership at HUC-JIR
Michael Zeldin, professor of Jewish Education a the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles, will succeed professor Sara S. Lee, who will retire after 27 years as director of HUC-JIR’s Rhea Hirsch School of Education (RHSOE) on June 30. Lee and Zeldin have worked together as colleagues for the past 25 years.

“The appointment of Dr. Zeldin signals that the distinguished legacy of professor Lee will be carried forward,” HUC-JIR President David Ellenson said. “As a renowned scholar, gifted teacher, and passionate advocate for Jewish education, Dr. Zeldin will sustain the RHSOE as a model of integrated learning and excellence that has inspired others in the field of Jewish education.”

Lee will continue to teach and guide special projects part-time as a professor emeritus. More than 275 graduates of the RHSOE lead Jewish educational programs in Reform congregations and day schools throughout North America.

For more information, visit

Hi-Tech Jetsetters
Two students and a professor from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology visited the Western states last month as guests of the American Technion Society.

Anat-Anna Gileles a third-year student, who studies molecular biochemistry, and Reuven Nir, who is pursuing a doctorate in medicine and conducting research on the neurological mechanism underlying pain and the processing of pain itself, toured with professor Shimon Haber, the Technion dean of students, and a member of the faculty of mechanical engineering. The students met with supporters not only to share their research, but to add a personal element to the connection between Technion and the United States.

For more information, call (323) 857-5575 or visit

Free Holocaust Workshop for Teachers
Educators are invited to a free workshop that will present “Echoes and Reflections: A Multimedia Curriculum on the Holocaust,” developed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Yad Vashem and USC Shoah Visual History Foundation.

The workshop, sponsored by the ADL in partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, will take place at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, 6435 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 303, May 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. R.S.V.P. required by April 20, at (310) 446-8000 ext. 241 or

Holocaust Workshop
Last month, 30 educators from across Los Angeles participated in a five-week workshop, “The Relevance of Teaching the Holocaust in the 21st Century,” co-sponsored by the ADL, the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance and the Center for Excellence on the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights and Tolerance. Teachers from public, private and religious schools learned the historical background of the Holocaust, as well as practical ways to introduce their students to this material.

For further information visit or

College Shabbaton
EdJewCate, a new organization bringing Torah-observant teachers, information and programming to college students and young adults, is holding its kickoff Shabbaton weekend retreat in Los Angeles April 20-22 at the Westin LAX Hotel. Featured speakers include rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, author of “The Committed Life” and “Life is a Test”; Rabbi Yaakov Yisroel Wenglin, author and presenter of “Full Contact Judaism” and Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld, author of “The Art of Amazement.”

For more information visit

Preteens Get a Taste of the Future
Middle schoolers at Pressman Academy took part in the daylong Total Teen Expo last month. Rabbi Shawn Fields-Meyer was the keynote speaker, and she used a personal story, a Chasidic tale and popular music to help students understand their power to improve the world. The day’s sessions included a police detective, author Dana Reinhardt, screenwriter Ed Solomon and L.A. City Council Chief of Staff David Gershwin, leading sessions on Internet safety, fitness, etiquette, nutrition and budgeting. The day ended with a poetry slam led by Eitan Kadosh and a drumming circle.

I’ll try it!

If you tell anyone I know that I was awake at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning, on purpose, they wouldn’t believe you. If you added that I didn’t immediately turn over
and go back to sleep, they would start laughing. If you told them that the reason I was awake at the crack of dawn on a weekend was to go camping, they might actually bust a gut.
Although this statement may seem more the result of a chocolate-induced hallucination, or simply a trip out of reality, the bottom line is that it’s all true.
I, Caroline, the lover of sleeping in, the guru of late nights, the “midnight is early” girl, saw Saturday before noon came around. How did I get into this predicament, one might ask? Was I possessed by an evil spirit? No. Was I pulling an all-nighter and just never went to bed? Not quite. The answer is that I was awake that early on a weekend because I had a boyfriend.
So now you’re wondering how those two things go hand in hand? Well, we had reached “that place,” the place all new relationships reach at one point or another, that spot where your mutual likes have reached an end, and you start hearing yourself say, “I’ll try that” to your significant other’s idea of fun.
We all know and have been at “that place,” where a die-hard sports fan might find himself or herself taping a game or favorite TV show so they can go to their significant other’s family gathering. A person who isn’t overly fond of the beach might start trudging through the sand because it’s their honey’s favorite place in the whole wide world. A picky eater might take small bites of unappealing foods without admitting their distaste.
This is when we are testing our own comfort zones. When the person we’re dating mentions the word “hiking” or “musical,” do we shudder, scream and run in the opposite direction? Or do we slowly push ourselves and try that something new.
When my boyfriend first mentioned camping, I won’t lie: I definitely hesitated. At first I found the suggestion more comical than anything else.
Me, camping? Are you serious?
Now I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I happen to love nature. But I tend to enjoy taking pictures of nature more than, say, living in nature. I’d rather watch the National Geographic channel on the couch than sleep on the ground in the woods.
But after “I’ll try it” slipped out of my mouth, I soon found myself experiencing my first “true to life; sleep in a tent; live with nature; no hot water; cook your food; granola bar for breakfast; what’s that noise in the bushes … did you hear that, too?” camping trip.
The good news was that my boyfriend had picked a spot that was simply stunning. Our campsite was steps from the ocean, with a backdrop of bright green hills covered with yellow wildflowers. As we took in the sunset barefoot on the beach, I remember thinking, “If this is camping, I can deal with it.”
As the night went on, it seemed that I was not only tolerating camping, but, dare I say, actually enjoying it. The night sky was just amazing. I saw a sea of stars, and could even see them twinkling in different colors.
Although I was slightly sleep deprived by the end of the weekend, I had to agree with my boyfriend that camping can be a very relaxing experience. I had pushed outside of my comfort zone, falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean, the wind and the gazillion or so frogs living in the stream right behind the campsite. I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed myself.
The thing about reaching “I’ll try it” is that you are daring to imagine that things can work out for the best, and that you can add another activity to the list of common likes.
So will I go camping again? Sure. But if he thinks he’s ever going to get me to try and actually like hiking, he’s got another think coming.

Kids Page

The Summer Fast

In the middle of summer, when it is the hottest, we are told that we cannot eat or drink for one whole day. It was on the ninth of Av that the Romans burned Jerusalem and destroyed our Temple. Tisha B’Av (the ninth of Av) falls this year on Sunday, Aug. 14. The fast begins the night before at sunset.

The rabbis say that the Temple fell because of “senseless hatred” among fellow Jews. Solve the word search and discover the hidden message. It will tell you what senseless hatred is. Put the words you need to find together in the right order so that you will know what not to do.

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Cool Collages

What you need:

1. Photo of someone or something dear to you: a family member, a pet, a friend, a teacher, a place, a favorite activity.

2. Magazines

3. Scissors

4. Construction paper

“Love Me Later” is a storybook about a Jewish boy named Abe. He spends an afternoon discovering life — exploring his backyard. The author, Julie Baer, has illustrated her book by creating intricate collages. You, too, should spend an afternoon exploring this book and then doing the collage activity that Julie has created just for you.