October 18, 2018

Trick Or Treat. Or Sukkah.

Photo by PxHere

In November 2014, I moderated a panel on the future of American Jewry at 30 Years After’s fourth biennial Civic Action conference at the Skirball Cultural Center. Only this time, the topic was the future of Iranian-American Jews, and a heated conversation began that, for me, actually foretold the future of our community with tangible clarity.

Simon Etehad, former president of Nessah synagogue, passionately argued that Iranian-American Jews ought to focus more on their Jewish identities than their Persian or American ones. Writer and Jewish Journal contributor Gina Nahai said she saw nothing wrong with our community practicing Persian and American customs.

At one point, Etehad said something I’ll never forget. His voice resonating with frustration, he demanded to know why, at that time of the year, there were so many Halloween decorations on the front lawns of local Iranian Jews and so few sukkahs. 

His question was met with thunderous applause from half of the audience. Nahai then reminded everyone that our community was Persian, so why would we want to shed the proud, millennia-old heritage that made us so distinct? Besides, we were in America now. 

Her response, too, was met with wild applause from half of the room, which consisted of roughly 800 Persian Jews between the ages of 21 and 60.

There you had it. Two Persian Jews, both immersed in their local community in Los Angeles, albeit in different ways, literally arguing over whether Persian Jews had any business putting up fake skeletons on their front lawns when they should have erected sukkahs.

I was enthralled by both the audience’s embrace or rejection of their assertions. Half of the Persians in the room wanted something like Halloween because they believed they could compartmentalize their identities —Iranian, American and Jewish — while still not losing anything. The other half was clearly concerned that such an ancient Jewish community was at risk of losing itself by embracing very non-Jewish practices. 

“Iranian-American Jewish families who enthusiastically embrace very non-Jewish, but very American, traditions like Halloween should ask themselves whether their kids exude as much excitement over Jewish traditions.”

I had to admit that I never once heard of my ancestors dressing up like vampires. My paternal grandfather was famous for the joy he derived from setting up his sukkah in Tehran each fall, and my great-grandparents were too busy suffering in Iran’s Jewish ghettos to pass out candy to children in costumes. 

Before I began to observe Shabbat roughly six years ago, I attended a Halloween party on a Friday night, hosted by one of my young Persian Jewish friends. It was October 2008, and I came dressed as Sarah Palin. Since I would always be home with family on Friday nights, I felt a little strange to be pushing my way through hundreds of other young Persian Jews who, like me, had clearly chosen Halloween over Shabbat. I knew that their butts also should have been back home, fighting over rice. 

And then I realized that the young party guests had enjoyed Shabbat dinner with their families and then left for the party. They, like me, had tried to dip a toe into both worlds. 

But at the end of the day, we don’t pass down costumes, but customs. 

Our children learn by watching our values in action. They can either see us sweating over getting the sukkah just right (or lamenting that we don’t have room for one) or watch us struggle to put fake witches on the front lawn. 

For Iranian-American Jewish families who enthusiastically embrace very non-Jewish, but very American, traditions like Halloween (which I used to love as a kid), I implore that they ask themselves whether their kids exude as much excitement over Jewish traditions. 

I don’t know if it’s too late. Perhaps more than a toe has been dipped; perhaps the entire foot is now in the cauldron.  


Tabby Refael is a Los Angeles-based writer.

Volunteer Opportunities for Students in Los Angeles

Photo provided by Big Sunday.

The concept of helping others — the widow, the poor, the orphan — is ingrained in the Jewish faith. When children learn the value of service to others from a young age, it becomes part of who they are. There are plenty of places where they can make a difference in Los Angeles.

Family Volunteering

Westside Food Bank provides food to social service agencies on the Westside of Los Angeles. It needs volunteers to organize and box food received during food drives. It’s a great family-friendly opportunity for all ages.
Location: Santa Monica

Heal the Bay is an environmental nonprofit dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds of greater Los Angeles safe, healthy and clean. On the third Saturday of the month (except December) it holds a beach cleanup bonanza from 10 a.m. to noon at various L.A. County beaches. All ages are welcome.
Location: Santa Monica

Big Sunday offers more than 2,000 ways for people to help others through a variety of opportunities and projects. Participants of all ages, backgrounds and abilities come together to improve lives, build community at weekly and monthly programs, and at special events. Big Sunday is located on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, where it holds its Monthly on Melrose workshops, collections, performances, parties, meals and special events to benefit its nonprofit partners. It also has the End of the Month Club food drive, and service project meetings at 10 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. Explore its website and check out the Big Calendar for a comprehensive list of volunteer opportunities.
Location: Hollywood

Other Opportunities 

The My Stuff Bags Foundation addresses the needs of children entering foster care who must leave everything behind when they are rescued from abuse, neglect or abandonment, or who must flee with their mothers to the safety of a battered women’s home. These children enter shelters with little more than the clothes on their backs.

My Stuff Bags are bright blue individual duffels filled with much-needed items (brand new, age- and gender-appropriate toys; books; a stuffed animal; school supplies; clothing; personal toiletries and a security blanket) to help the children adjust to their new surroundings.  

The foundation needs volunteers to help stuff bags, make blankets and help with other needs. Volunteer hours are available most weeks, Mondays through Thursdays from  10 a.m. to noon. The organization also accommodates student schedules with a volunteer hour at 3:30 p.m. and occasionally makes other times available. For more information, call ahead: (818) 865-3860. 

Ages: The organization welcomes volunteers ages 10 and older (check website for guidelines) and provides ideas for activities that younger children can do at home.
Location: Westlake Village

Best Friends Animal Society brings together animal rescue groups, city shelters and passionate individuals dedicated to making Los Angeles a no-kill city. Best Friends hosts adoption and fundraising events and runs two pet adoption centers in L.A. The Mission Hills location includes a newborn kitten nursery, a pet adoption center and a spay/neuter clinic, while the West L.A. location features a boutique-style pet adoption experience with dogs, cats, puppies and kittens from the No-Kill LA Coalition. Volunteers can help with a variety of tasks, ranging from animal care to cleaning at the centers or at events. Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of five hours a month for at least six months.

Ages: Volunteers must be at least 12 years old. Those of ages 12 to 15 need to be with a parent or guardian (who must also be a volunteer). Those older than 16 can volunteer on their own. Minimum age may vary, depending on the opportunity.
Location: Mission Hills, West Los Angeles

Ride On teaches adaptive horseback riding to children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities. It also provides physical, occupational and speech therapy, using the movement of the horse to improve specific medical conditions. Ride On has given more than 100,000 safe, effective and individualized lessons and therapy treatments, and serves 200 individuals each week. 

Ride On needs volunteers to groom and tack horses, and to lead and walk beside horses with disabled riders with poor balance. No previous experience with horses or disabilities is required. Ride On provides all volunteers with a basic training session to learn horse care, safety procedures and disability awareness. The volunteer training is normally scheduled once a month and lasts about three hours.

Ages: The minimum age for volunteering in the arena is 14. Prospective volunteers ages 12 to 14 are eligible to volunteer in the barn.
Locations: Chatsworth, Newbury Park


This story appeared in the 2018 Education Guide edition of the paper. 

Milken’s Middle School Builds on Future of Education

A teacher and students in an X-Learning class at Milken Middle School. Photo by Andrea Smith

How should students in the 21st century be educated? It’s a question that Milken Community Schools educators are taking seriously, particularly in their Middle School curricula.  

“Traditional education worked for hundreds of years. It doesn’t anymore,” Milken’s middle school Principal Limor Dankner told the Journal. “We’re preparing students for jobs that haven’t been imagined yet. Studies have shown that everything we’re doing now will be obsolete by the time these [middle-school] children [graduate] from university,” she said. “So the only thing we can give them are those life tools that they can then adapt to whatever situation they’re in.”

For Dankner, that meant creating the school’s X-Learning program. Now in its sixth year, X-Learning is a blend of traditional and progressive teaching practices that allows students to connect what they learn to their interests, address real-world problems, engage in action and cultivate their problem-solving skills.

“We are anchored in those core tenets,” Dankner said, “but we keep tweaking [the approach], based on feedback [and] the shifts in the needs of students.”

At the heart of the X-Learning philosophy is that creativity is learned, immersive learning is key, curiosity must be reignited, innovation requires risk-taking and rigor, and design is at the center of it all.

When kids are very young, they often don’t hesitate to ask questions, Dankner said. However, she added: “As they get older, schools teach children to stop asking questions and to start answering them. They are so accustomed to giving the right answer, they are stumped when you ask them a question and say, ‘There isn’t an answer. You have to be a divergent thinker, you have to think out of the box, you have to work with other people, you have to keep iterating, you have to persevere if you’re ever going to come up with an answer to this question.’ ”

An example of Milken’s X-Learning approach can be seen in how it goes beyond traditional geometry classes. Geometry students are put into teams to build and test bridges, because that’s one of the real-world application of geometry. “They are immersed, creative, engaged,” Dankner said. “They’re owning their learning.”

There are four components of the X-Learning process:

Identification: Allowing students to pursue curiosities they have about their world.

Exploration: Interviews, research, collaboration, team-building, articulation, writing and speaking.

Purposeful Play: For students to be successful, they have to experiment in a space that is low-stakes/no grades

Connection: Learning to connect with content, areas of study, peers and adults.

“Ultimately, middle-schoolers are defined by the connections that they make or fail to make,” Dankner said. “Those are so important to shaping their identity. We want them to find like-minded people their age and older in the community. We want them to find areas of study or things in the world that are meaningful to them, because that’s what’s going to motivate them to do something.”

Every year, Milken participates in The X Project. The first semester is skill-building and the second semester is spent in exploration and research. Every middle-schooler identifies something they want to know more about or a problem that they want to solve. In March, they turn the entire campus into a conference center to showcase their work. Students have started businesses, developed apps and created gadgets, Dankner said. 

 “Not only are we fulfilling the curricula, but we’re

 going over and above the requirements.”

 — Limor Dankner

However, although innovation is key, Milken still teaches the basics.

“It’s not that we’re not teaching geometry, algebra or U.S. history,” Dankner said. “Not only are we fulfilling the curricula, but we’re going over and above the requirements. It’s the way in which we are reaching [and engaging] students that makes the material relevant, that gives them choice, that puts them in the driver’s seat and equips them with those skills that they will need to then utilize in future years.”

The students’ high standardized test scores and assessments indicate the school’s methods are working. “We keep raising the bar [in terms of academic rigor], and they keep rising to the occasion,” Dankner said. “And the test results are blowing us away. The more these kids are engaged in what feels like [and is] playful learning, the better they are doing academically.”

X-Learning also applies to Milken’s Jewish Studies department, too. 

“Our whole spiritual practice and our holiday programming is designed with X-Learning in mind. So, it’s student-driven. It’s student-generated and there’s ample choice,” Dankner said. “We don’t herd all 200 students for a Friday morning Kabbalat Shabbat or prayer. We have multiple minyanim and multiple choices for students, which they have self-identified as relevant and inspirational.”

Milken also has developed an entire course on Israel, called Innovation Nation.

“The course tracks the history of Israel, but looks at it from the perspective of Israelis as innovators,” Dankner said. “The students are not only learning about Israel’s history, culture and philosophy, but they’re understanding it in a very relevant way. They are looking at California innovations and where those innovations are aligned with Israeli innovations.”

Dankner said she gets requests from other schools in Los Angeles to share Milken’s X-Learning information. “They want to send their teams here, they want to learn more about it,” she said. “We’re definitely making a name for ourselves. People are recognizing the value in this.”

However, if other schools look at this type of teaching as an adjunct or extracurricular process, it’s never going to work, Dankner said: “We don’t teach anything here in addition to, we just teach students, and this is how we teach them,” she said.

 “You won’t find the Jewish Studies teachers doing their own shtick while the humanities teachers are doing theirs,” Dankner said. “Everyone is talking about how to integrate, how to present situations where students see the world as interrelated and not as separate compartments. It’s been an incredible ride.”


This story appeared in the 2018 Education Guide of the paper. 

AJU Halts Incoming Undergraduate Admissions

American Jewish University (AJU) announced Friday afternoon its decision to pause undergraduate admissions as they are changing how they look at the current undergraduate curriculum.

AJU will also establish a working group to explore and design upcoming academic initiatives that will fit the diversity of the Los Angeles location and the university’s ethical and moral foundations.

The decision means the university will no longer recruit for the upcoming school year and is not accepting applications at this time. There is no timeline set for when enrollment will start back up.

“Our students come first, and we have notified them of these plans,” Jeffrey Herbst, president of AJU since summer 2018, said. “Over the next few days we will be holding open forums to address the questions they have and have appointed an academic affairs liaison to provide ongoing support for these students.”

The university, which opened in 1947, also plans to cease recruiting for its undergraduate program effective immediately, but assures the current undergraduate enrolled classes, roughly 70 students, that will continue to be able to complete their education.

AJU’s board of trustees met earlier this week to review and approve the plan. There will be no faculty layoffs associated with this action.

The university also wants the community to know that no other divisions within the school will be affected by this change. Those departments include the Ziegler School for Rabbinic Studies, Graduate Center for Jewish Education and the Graduate School of Nonprofit Management.

“A vibrant 21st-century university is an entity that provides educational and cultural resources to a wide range of individuals in the communities it serves on a year-round basis,” Herbst said. “While undergraduate education is a core element for most universities, it is not the only element.”

Herbst said he hopes the new changes provide “unique academic and cultural” experiences to its young-adult demographic.

“As an educator, the chance to devise a new undergraduate program from a blank page is a once-in-a-career opportunity,” Herbst said. “My colleagues and I are excited about the prospect of developing a cutting-edge program … and we view this opportunity as a unique chance for a university to fully engage in fresh thinking regarding undergraduate education.”

The Jewish Journal will provide updates as we get them.

A Prayer for Geshem is More Than Just Asking for Rain

Photo provided by National Park Service

On Shemini Atzeret, we not only celebrate the eighth day following Sukkot, and remember our loved ones during yahrzeit, we also pray for rain. Rain— for those who have not seen it in months or even years— is water that falls from the sky in copious amounts. It quenches our thirst, hydrates our agriculture and cools us off on sweltering hot days

Los Angeles and its residents might not be as familiar with the concept of rain, but we are no strangers to the heatwaves that hit us daily. After experiencing (and surviving) my first summer living in the valley, I wondered how anyone could bear to live like this. I’d like to thank my A/C for being there in my time of need.

The dry, intense heat was nice to my frizzy curls, but not kind to my demeanor. I found myself more agitated by my friends; short-tempered to random strangers and even snapped at those I loved. I wondered where my bubbly midwestern personality went. Then it dawned on me: I was angry because I was hot and hadn’t seen or felt a cool rain in months.

Brian Lickel, a social psychologist at the University of Massachusetts, once said that when people are hot they tend to get cranky.

“It makes people more prone to anger,” he said. “It makes people more frustrated, and it makes decision making more impulsive. And that can lead to altercations that escalate to more extreme levels of aggression.”

Though it seems obvious, when temperatures climb, and rain is nowhere in sight, we tend to become “hot-headed.” Rain, or lack of it, has an impact on us.

My heat-driven anger made me think of Spike Lee’s 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing.” It’s set during one of the hottest days of the year where heat is used to turn the anger up to an ultimate high. Fights break out, gunshots are fired and chaos fills the screen, all because social tensions were met with rising temperatures. Lee isn’t the first person to use this cinematic trope but he did make a lasting impression with it.

Heated arguments can not only turn ugly faster but stay with a person forever.

It’s why this holiday aligns so nicely with the High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur allow us to start fresh with a clean slate, help us forgive and ask for forgiveness. Sukkot lets us enjoy the harvest and the outdoors by gathering with family and friends.

Shemini Atzeret lets us pray for the rain that will tend to the earth and help us when we will need the most: spiritually and literally.

Growing up, my Bubbie always told me that we needed the rain whenever we got it.

“Look, it’s feeding the plants, it makes them feel good,” she would say while offering me another piece of Mandel bread.

She loves the rain because it floods (no pun intended) her home with color. I think she liked the rain because it gave her a break from watering her large and beautiful backyard garden.  

Rain is able to cool us off so we can think more clearly.  It’s a wet, heavy blanket that falls and hits us right on the head to make us work through our current emotions.

It can nourish us while lending the strength to move forward in the new year.

We ask God for rain where rain is not seen. Rain isn’t seen where there is tension. Rain is not always seen on the days we forget our 5779 resolutions.

This year we will be angry, hurt and want to hold a grudge. It’s unavoidable because we’re imperfect human beings.

It’s why we need to listen to my Bubbie and enjoy the rain when it comes — and pray for more of it everywhere.

Of course, here in Los Angeles, we might only get an inch of rain while many around the world will get hit with disastrous amounts. This year while asking for raindrops, we should let Shemini Atzeret remind us to cool off when we get too hot.

When we feel like yelling, causing a scene, or about to do things we will regret, take a deep breath. Stay present. Imagine a cold front with rain clouds sweeping in to bring our inner temperature down, granting us to resolve the conflict.   

On Monday when many go to shul they will say or hear a prayer for geshem (rain in Hebrew). The importance of this prayer is not just to rejuvenate the world, it’s to symbolically rejuvenate us.


Erin Ben-Moche is a Los Angeles journalist and the digital content manager at The Jewish Journal.

 

The Wit and Wisdom of Fran Lebowitz

Photo from Facebook

The 1970s were a grim decade in New York: the city teetering near bankruptcy, the Son of Sam murders, Studio 54. 

If there was a bright spot, it was author, public speaker and occasional actor Fran Lebowitz’s monthly column, “I Cover the Waterfront,” on the last page of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. Her columns were tart, finely observed and urbane, filled with word play and aphoristic pronouncements that earned her comparisons to Dorothy Parker. 

Collected in two books, “Metropolitan Life” and “Social Studies,” now compiled in “The Fran Lebowitz Reader,” they still bristle with a keen intelligence and can still make you laugh, even if some of the subjects have long since faded into the past.  

Lebowitz, 67, had a recurring role as a judge on “Law and Order” from 2000-07 and was the subject of Martin Scorsese’s 2010 HBO documentary “Public Speaking.” But she hasn’t published another book since 1981. Her distinctive, world-weary voice occasionally pops up in Vanity Fair, a bracing shot of bitters against the cotton candy of lifestyle journalism. There were rumors of two novels, “Progress” and “Exterior Signs of Wealth,” but the promised publication dates passed without issue. 

Speaking with the Journal by telephone from her home in New York recently, she said she was about halfway through both books and had proposed publishing them together — “Two halves make a whole, right?” — but for some reason her publisher was less than enthusiastic. The problem with publishing, she said, is that no one has any sense of fun.

Lebowitz indulged in a free-ranging conversation, chatting about everything from the Donald Trump administration and what really bothers her, to ruminating about Jewish comedians and the disparate quality of bagels in New York and Los Angeles.

Jewish Journal: As a funny person and a Jew, why do you think Jews are so associated with comedy?

Fran Lebowtiz: I’m not sure that’s true any more. There are still funny Jews and Jewish comics, but Jewish comedians, as a group, they’re no longer prominent. Their place has been taken by Black comedians. I don’t watch much TV, but whenever I see a comedian and think they’re funny — they’re Black. And it’s happened for the same reason. It’s immigrant humor; it’s the point of view of the outsider looking in. Jews are still thought of as comic. A friend of mine was looking to cast a comedian and there was one person she liked, but didn’t cast. He wasn’t Jewish, she said. Neither was she, I told her. “But I’m from New York,” she said. As if it’s the same thing.

But funny is funny. Look at Leo Rosten. He’s the Jewish James Thurber. The kind of writer who makes you laugh out loud. I made a friend of mine read “The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N” — she’s Boston Italian — and she agreed. But the world of that generation is disappearing. The same with Thurber.  That small-town Ohio life: That world is gone. But you can still discover it in a book. That’s why people should read.

JJ: So what do you think caused this change? Assimilation?

FL: The worst thing that happened to the Jews is that so many of them became Republicans … or, even worse, neo-cons.  

JJ: Did this change help give us Donald Trump?

FL: [Trump voters] are reactionaries. Look, Donald Trump’s family were German immigrants, and his father, Fred, was a KKK member who probably wished they never left Germany. Many others wish that as well. 

A friend is very upset that [people like] Michael Cohen and Stephen Miller work with Trump. But it didn’t start with Trump. Many of the people who advised George W. Bush about Iraq — John Podhoretz, William Kristol — they were Jewish. My mother used to watch the Army/McCarthy hearings in the ’50s, and what drove her crazy was seeing Roy Cohn. That was a name everyone knew was Jewish.

JJ: What bothers you the most?

FL: Telling kids they have self-esteem. When I was young, you were taught not to talk about yourself. But today, not only do kids talk about themselves, they talk about themselves first. Why do kids even need self-esteem? They haven’t done anything yet.

JJ: You once advised chefs that if no one has thought of putting grapes in a chicken dish before, there’s a good reason for it. 

FL: I wrote that 40 years ago! 

JJ: Speaking of food, what did you think of people complaining about [“Sex and the City” star/New York gubernatorial candidate] Cynthia Nixon ordering a cinnamon-raisin bagel with lox and cream cheese at Zabar’s?

FL: Goyim! What are you going to do with them? Years ago, I took a friend from the Midwest to Lindy’s. She ordered a pastrami on white with mayo. The waiter looked at her and said, “No.” She started arguing with him, and I told him to just bring her a regular sandwich: on rye with mustard. 

JJ: Do you notice a difference in audiences when you’re in L.A. from New York?

FL: New Yorkers are quicker. And more aggressive. I take questions from the audience. If you don’t call on a New Yorker, they’ll shout out their question anyway.

JJ: And Los Angeles?

FL: It’s not really a city. It’s gotten better. But those things they call bagels? New Yorkers know they’re just doughnuts. I still can’t take spending hours either driving a car or being driven. 

Lebowitz is currently on a speaking tour. She will be appearing at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Sept. 30, as part of the 2018-19 CAP UCLA season. She’ll be interviewed by KCRW’s Matt Holzman, followed by an audience Q-and-A session.


Steven Mirkin is a freelance writer and a copy editor at the Jewish Journal. 

Happy New Year from We Said GO Travel

Sept News 2018 with We Said Go Travel:

Thank you to everyone who participated in my We Said Go Travel Photo Award!
AND THE WINNERS ARE:

FIRST PLACE: Azim Khan Ronnie, Red Chilies Pickers in Bangladesh
SECOND PLACE: Jan SkwaraThe Space in Norway
THIRD PLACE: Piers van der Merwe, Majestic Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi
Honorable Mention:

Nafis AmeenBangladesh Through My Eye

Adonis Villanueva, The Horse in the Carpathians

Dipesh Bhatt, Cormorant Fisherman in China

2017 Photo Award FinalistsPart 1 and Part 2

Our 2018 photo award is open! Our four judges look forward to seeing your best shots! Learn more here!

We Said Go Travel Photo Award 2018

Thank you to Nora Roberts for including me in her Creditwalk article: “30 of the Smartest Travel Moves Ever Made”

Lisa Niver as a Club Med GO Marge

Lisa Niver as Marge for The Dating Game at Club Med Copper Mountain

Here was my “Smartest Travel” answer:

FUNDING TRAVEL (EARNING MONEY)

Work for Resorts/Cruise Ships

Lisa Ellen Niver of We Said Go Travel loved scuba diving, but she couldn’t afford to dive on her salary at the time. So on a friend’s suggestion, she applied to work at Club Med as a G.O. (an activity organizer).

“I had never heard of it before but sent in a resume and paid to fly to Florida for a group interview. They offered me the job but in Colorado. I wanted to go scuba diving but they needed a person in the kids club who could ski. She promised that if I went to the snow, next I would get underwater. I decided to go for it. I ended up at Club Med for a year and on ships for nearly seven! It was the most amazing way to travel, see the world and save money. I absolutely loved it.”

This smart travel move launched Lisa’s ongoing career as an award-winning travel expert who is featured around the world. To this day, she’s glad she took a chance and went to Club Med to ski when she wanted to go scuba diving. “You never know what can happen if you just begin.”

More interviews with Lisa Niver from Business Insider, The Penny Hoarder and more on One Page

Lisa Niver Live on KTLA News

Thank you for all of your support for my

We Said Go Travel website, videos, travels,

social media and me!

I was LIVE on the 1pm KTLA NEWS!

Did you see me? Click here to see it AGAIN! 

Lisa Niver Live on KTLA with Lu Parker Mark Mester

Lisa Niver Live on KTLA with Lu Parker, Mark Mester, Kaj Goldberg.

I really believe what Lindsey Vonn said: “Follow your dreams. If you have a goal, and you want to achieve it, then work hard and do everything you can to get there, and one day it will come true.” 

Lisa Niver is a Travel Expert on KTLA TV in Los Angeles

WHERE CAN YOU FIND MY TRAVEL VIDEOS?

Here are links to my video channels on YouTubeAmazon Fire Tv, and Roku Player. My views on Roku are now over 1.2 million and I have over 800,000 views on YouTube! My total video views across all platforms is now over two million! Thank you for your support!

Recent videos from walking with Polar Bears in Canada with Churchill Wild:

 

I am now planning and booking travel! Where do you want to wander? Find more information about me and my luxury travel advising as an independent affiliate of CRUISE and RESORT, Inc with Virtuoso Luxury Travel Network on my new microsite!

My fortune cookies said:  “A day without smiling is a day wasted.” and “It is not only important to add years to your life but to add life to your years.”

Shana Tova! I hope as the new year of 5779 begins you are filling your life with what is most important to you. I read this quote in the Stephen Wise Temple Yom Kippur Prayerbook:

“As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. Mankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation. The beginning of our happiness lies in the understanding that life without wonder is not worth living. What we lack is not a will to believe but a will to wonder.”

by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel from “As Civilization Advances” in “God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism”

I hope your new year will be filled with wonder and wander!
Thank you for your all of your support. Lisa

Discover more on my social media accounts:  InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestYouTube, and at LisaNiver.com. My social media following is now over 130,000 and I am verified on both Twitter and Facebook.

Happy New Year 5779/2018 Shana Tova

Happy New Year 5779/2018 Shana Tova! Photo by Lisa Niver on Yom Kippur at Skirball Center Los Angeles

Bullied Boy Fights Back in ‘UK Underdog’

Steve Spiro (Photo by Natalie Ford)

As a skinny teenager growing up in a working-class neighborhood southeast of London where Jews were the minority, Steve Spiro was beaten and bullied on a regular basis. His autobiographical solo play, “UK Underdog,” dramatizes how he gained confidence and self-esteem through martial arts, boxing and acting, and fought back against his tormentors and his own inner demons.

In constant motion, Spiro plays multiple roles, among them his teachers, his cabdriver father, his bullying nemeses and most amusingly, his American TV show-obsessed grandmother and how he ended up in Los Angeles.

His show’s message is simple: “You get knocked down. You keep getting up. You keep going,” Spiro told the Journal explaining that the work originated as a short piece he wrote for acting class 20 years ago. “I’d put it away and come back to it, working on various versions over the years,” he said. He performed it in a workshop at the Pacific Resident Theatre late last year “to see what worked and what didn’t.”

A large portion of the show concerns Spiro and his tormentors, and although he doesn’t reveal it on stage, he said that the bullying he encountered in school and later on was partly motivated by anti-Semitism. He dreaded taking communal showers after gym because he felt inadequate and different, teased by the uncircumcised majority.

When he became a boxer, he wore the Star of David on his shorts and “got a lot of anti-Semitism for it. I got cigarettes thrown at me, beer thrown on me. They’d scream ‘Yid!’ and things like that,” he said. 

Spiro’s forebears were forced to wear that star. “Most of my mother’s side of the family was killed in the Holocaust,” he said. “Her mother was Dutch and her father’s family was from Belgium. He was born in England and moved to Belgium as a baby, so he had a British passport. He got family members out on three boats. One made it to England. One sank. One was turned around. The people that didn’t get out died in Auschwitz.”

Spiro, who has several uncles on his father’s side who were rabbis, and celebrated major Jewish holidays while growing up, is not observant now and he’s married to a non-Jew. “But my Jewish identity is very important to me. It’s who I am,” he said. At 18, he thought about joining the Israeli military, like a friend had, “but I ended up boxing instead. I’m going to take my wife to Israel,” he vowed, adding they belong to an email recipe exchange for Jewish vegans. “There’s a vegan challah recipe we’re going to try,” he said.

“[As a] boxer, I wore the Star of David on my shorts. I got cigarettes and beer thrown on me. They’d scream

 ‘Yid!’ ” — Steve Spiro

These days, Spiro is writing screenplays, including one about early 20th-century boxer Sam Langford that has generated some interest from producers. He teaches boxing part time and runs an animal rescue group called START — Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team — which inspired a TV script he wrote called “Unleashed.” Actress Allison Eastwood is on board to direct it.

“I never grew up with animals but my wife had two dogs when I met her and they were so happy to see me in the morning,” he said. “I saw the joy that animals brought to people, but I also saw how animals were being abused and killed at shelters. We’ve saved over 10,000 dogs and cats now, and fund spaying and neutering for people who can’t afford it.”

Seventy-five percent of every “UK Underdog” ticket sold will benefit START and other pet and wildlife charities.


“UK Underdog” runs Sept. 20-Oct. 28 at the Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (661) 670-8328.

BREAKING: Shooting in Van Nuys Injures Two, Puts School on Lockdown

Early Thursday afternoon shots were heard across from CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts Multimedia & Performing, on Van Nuys Boulevard leading the school to go into lockdown.

According to LAPD’s Twitter, officers responded to the area of Vanowen Street and Van Nuys Boulevard around 12:10 p.m.:

LAPD told FOX11 that two people have been injured. They also said they were not the intended targets. The shots came from the Jack in the Box across from the school.

Both Starbucks and Jack in the Box have been evacuated and taped off.

The two suspects fled from where the shooting occurred. One has been arrested while police search for the second suspect.

Van Nuys Boulevard is closed in both directions and traffic is being diverted to Vanowen Street.

This story is ongoing and we will continue to update when more information has been released.

High Holy Days Services Calendar 5779

Photo courtesy of Nessah

Sept. 9 Erev Rosh Hashanah
Sept. 10 Rosh Hashanah
Sept. 11 Second Day Rosh Hashanah
Sept. 18 Kol Nidre
Sept. 19 Yom Kippur

Debating where to go for the High Holy Days? We got you covered. Here’s a list of services happening at more than 60 synagogues across L.A. and Ventura Counties. By no means complete, but hey, we tried.

Whether you go traditional or alternative, we hope to see you in the pews. L’Shanah tovah!

SAN FERNANDO AND CONEJO VALLEYS

ADAT ARI EL
The Conservative congregation holds Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at various times and at various locations at Adat Ari El, 12020 Burbank Blvd., Valley Village. General public purchase tickets by calling (818) 766-9426.

BEIT HAMIDRASH OF WOODLAND HILLS
Ashkenazic, Sephardic and Yemenite services feature guest Rabbi Shalom Hammer from Israel and Rabbi Shmuel Kessin. Erev Rosh Hashanah 6:30 p.m., Rosh Hashanah Day and
Second Day 8 a.m., Mincha 6:30 p.m. Kol Nidre 6:15 p.m., Yom Kippur 8:30 a.m. 5850 Fallbrook Ave., Woodland Hills. Call ahead for reservations. Ashkenazi: (818) 999-2059, Sephardic: (818) 610-7683, Yemenite: (818) 601-7100.

CONGREGATION BETH OHR
Independent spiritual and cultural community combines tradition, spirit, new thought and music. Erev Rosh Hashanah 8 p.m., Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m., Kol Nidre 8 p.m., Yom Kippur 10 a.m., Yizkor 12:30 p.m., community discussion follows afternoon break. Closing service 4 p.m. Light break-fast follows. 12355 Moorpark St., Studio City. (818) 773-3663.

CONGREGATION OR AMI
Musical services led by Rabbis Paul Kipnes and Julia Weisz and Cantor Doug Cotler. Various times. Evening and morning services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur require tickets for each worshipper. Family services in the afternoon, Tashlich and Neilah services don’t require tickets. $290 seniors 63 and older; $280 grades 4-12; $20 grades pre-K-third grade. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Yom Kippur Family Service and Neilah at Congregation Or Ami, 26115 Mureau Road, Ste. B, Calabasas. (818) 880-4880.

KOL TIKVAH
Erev Rosh Hashanah youth and family service 5 p.m. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah day 9:30 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Tot service 1:30 p.m.; Rosh Hashanah second-day outdoor hike 10 a.m. Yom Kippur youth and family service 4:30 p.m.; Kol Nidre 7 p.m.; Yom Kippur morning service 9 a.m. Yom Kippur Tot service 1:30 p.m. Yizkor/Neilah 5:15 p.m. $325 ages 23-69. $200 for all others. All services held at Kol Tikvah except outdoor hike. Kol Tikvah, 20400 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. (818) 348-0670.

LEO BAECK TEMPLE
Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day service and Yom Kippur service tailored to families with elementary school children 9:30 a.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur service for the entire community 2 p.m. $250 children of current members ages 26-29, $300 general guests. Leo Baeck Temple, 1300 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 476-2861.

MALIBU JEWISH CENTER AND SYNAGOGUE
The Reconstructionist synagogue holds services led by Rabbi Michael Schwartz and Cantor Marcelo Gindlin. Featuring the MJCS Choir and chamber orchestra. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Kol Nidre 7 p.m. Yom Kippur 9:30 a.m-7:15 p.m. General public purchase tickets by calling (310) 456-2178. Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue, 24855 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu.

SHAAREY ZEDEK
The Orthodox congregation holds three simultaneous minyans for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Various times. $385 includes all services. Shaarey Zedek, 12800 Chandler Blvd., Valley Village. (818) 763-0560.

SHOMREI TORAH SYNAGOGUE
Erev Rosh Hashanah Apples and Honey Service for preschool through second-grade families 5-5:45 p.m. Shira service for adults and children elementary age and older 6-7 p.m. Traditional ma’ariv 8-8:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day service 8:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Children’s Rosh Hashanah 9 a.m.-1:15 p.m. USY-led service for teens and tweens 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Kol Nidre, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Children’s Kol Nidre Experience 6:30-8:30 p.m. Yom Kippur 8:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Children’s Yom Kippur 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Teens and Tweens 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Neilah 5:45-7:30 p.m. $250 for general public. Shomrei Torah Synagogue, 7353 Valley Circle Blvd., West Hills. (818) 854-7650.

STEPHEN WISE TEMPLE
The Reform congregation’s Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur services are held at Stephen Wise Temple, Skirball Cultural Center and the Bel Air Church and include an all-community erev Rosh Hashanah service in the Stephen Wise Temple sanctuary. 8 p.m. Check Stephen Wise Temple website for information on other services. All-service passes $390 adult, $240 senior 65 and older, $160 youth (ages 10-26). No ticket required for Rosh Hashanah Second Day service. Stephen Wise Temple, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 476-8561, highholydays@wisela.org.

SYNAGOGUE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
The city’s original entertainment industry synagogue holds High Holy Days conducted by Joseph Telushkin and Cantor Judy Fox. Individual service tickets $125 each. Full set of tickets to all services $500 each. Second Day Rosh Hashanah free. Sportsmen’s Lodge, 12833 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. (310) 472-3500.

TEMPLE AHAVAT SHALOM
The Northridge Reform community’s main service features contemporary readings, music and reflections, its family service is geared toward families with children in grades 3-7 and its Bim Bam services are for infants and children up to 7. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:45 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 8:45 a.m. family service, 10:30 a.m. main service, Bim Bam Service 11 a.m. Kol Nidre 7:45 p.m. Yom Kippur 8:45 a.m. family service, 10:30 a.m. main service, 11 a.m. Bim Bam Service. Yom Kippur Afternoon 3:15 p.m. Yizkor 4:30 p.m. Neilah 5:15 p.m. General $300; Seniors 67 and older, students $160. Temple Ahavat Shalom, 18200 Rinaldi Place Spirit, Northridge. (818) 360-2258.

TEMPLE B’NAI HAYIM
Erev Rosh Hashanah with the Conservative congregation in Sherman Oaks begins at 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 9 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9 a.m. Kol Nidre 6:15 p.m. Yom Kippur Day 9 a.m. Neilah 6:15 p.m. $300 for general. Temple B’nai Hayim, 4302 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (818) 788-4664.

TEMPLE ETZ CHAIM
The Conservative congregation in Thousand Oaks holds services and educational children’s programming. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day, Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9 a.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m. Yom Kippur morning service 9 a.m. Yizkor 4:15 p.m. Mincha 5 p.m. Neilah 7 p.m. Children participate in Neilah carrying light sticks into the main sanctuary. Guest admission $250. Temple Etz Chaim, 1080 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. (805) 497-6891.

TEMPLE NER SIMCHA
Free High Holy Day services with the Agoura-based community, which blends Reform and Conservative Judaism. Reserve tickets early. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 9 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9 a.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m. Yom Kippur 9 a.m. All services held at Canyon Club, with the exception of tashlich, which is held at the Westlake Village Inn. Canyon Club, 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills. (818) 851-0030.

TEMPLE JUDEA
The Tarzana synagogue’s services for families with children of all ages are open to the general public. Traditional machzor, song-leader and guitar for high-energy experience. Rosh Hashanah Day 9 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day, open to the entire community, 10 a.m. Kol Nidre 7 p.m. Yom Kippur Day 9 a.m., 12:15 p.m. $300. Temple Judea, 5429 Lindley Ave., Tarzana. (818) 758-3800.

TEMPLE SINAI OF GLENDALE
Led by Rabbi Rick Schechter and Cantor Steven Hummel, Temple Sinai of Glendale services are for adults, teens, children and families. Erev Rosh Hashanah 8 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m., family service 3 p.m. Kol Nidre 8 p.m., Yom Kippur morning service 10 a.m., afternoon service 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. Yizkor, 6 p.m. Neilah. $300 for all services. Free tickets available for active military, college students and visiting members of other congregations. Temple Sinai of Glendale, 1212 N. Pacific Ave., Glendale. (818) 246-8101.

VALLEY BETH SHALOM
Main services feature traditional and contemporary prayers and melodies led by VBS clergy, accompanied by piano and members of the VBS congregational choir. Sephardic service features traditional Sephardic melodies led by Sephardic cantors. Erev Rosh Hashanah first service 6 p.m., second service 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day main services 7:45 a.m., 1:15 p.m. Sephardic service 8:30 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day main service 7:45 a.m., Sephardic service 8:30 a.m. Kol Nidre Main service 6 p.m., 8:45 p.m. Sephardic service 6:30 p.m. Yom Kippur Main service 7:45 a.m., 1:45 p.m. Sephardic service 8:30 a.m. Yom Kippur evening service free and open to the community. Bring your own shofar and participate in the final T’kiyah G’dolah. 5 p.m. Mincha. 6:15 p.m. Neilah 7:30 p.m. final sounding of the shofar. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. For ticket information, call (818) 788-6000.

VALLEY OUTREACH SYNAGOGUE
The interdenominational congregation holds musical High Holy Days services led by Rabbi Ron Li-Paz and chaplain Jennifer Nye. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m., Rosh Hashanah Day 10 p.m., children’s programs 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Teen Lounge 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m., Yom Kippur morning service 10 a.m., Children’s programs 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Teen Lounge 1 p.m. $225. The Shepherd Church, 19700 Rinaldi St., Porter Ranch. Yom Kippur afternoon services at 3:30 p.m., Valley Outreach Synagogue, 26668 Agoura Road, Calabasas. Yizkor 5 p.m. Free. (818) 882-4867.


WEST HOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD AND EASTSIDE

BAIS NAFTOLI
The Orthodox congregation on La Brea holds free High Holy Days services for the community. Rosh Hashanah both days 8:30 a.m. Kol Nidre 6:30 p.m. Yom Kippur morning service 8:30 a.m. Neilah 6:00 p.m. Bais Naftoli, 221 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 931-2476.

BETH SHIRAH CONGREGATION
Led by Cantor Estherleon Schwartz. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m., Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m., Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m., Yom Kippur 10:30 a.m. Free. Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., Hollywood. (323) 653-7420.

CONGREGATION KOL AMI
Rabbis Denise Eger and Max Chaiken and Cantor Patti Linsky conduct services for the West Hollywood LGBT community. Erev Rosh Hashanah 8 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m., children’s service 10:30 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 10 a.m. Kol Nidre 8 p.m. Yom Kippur morning service 10 a.m. Afternoon healing/Neilah 3:30 p.m. $200 includes all services. Single-service tickets available. All services held at Harmony Gold Theater, 7655 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, except for Rosh Hashanah Second Day held at Congregation Kol Ami, 1200 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 606-0997.

HOLLYWOOD TEMPLE BETH EL
Hollywood Temple Beth El invites all who are hungry for spirituality and community to attend participatory services led by Rabbi Dr. Norbert Weinberg, Rabbi Steven Rosenberg and Hazzan Stacey Morse. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 9 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9 a.m. Kol Nidre 7 p.m. Yom Kippur 9 a.m. $100 general admission. Free for active military, first responders. Hollywood Temple Beth El, 1317 N. Crescent Blvd., West Hollywood. Reserve your seat by calling (323) 656-3150, emailing temple@htbel.org

MOVABLE MINYAN
Movable Minyan’s congregant-led High Holy Days services integrate interpretative, spiritual and educational ideas. Highlights include song and study sessions for children and adults. Erev Rosh Hashanah 8-9:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day and Second Day 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. Kol Nidre 6:15-8:15 p.m. Yom Kippur 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. All services $200 for an adult, $60 for one day. Institute of Jewish Education, 8339 W. Third St., Los Angeles. (310) 285-3317.

NASHUVA
Led by Rabbi Naomi Levy. Erev Rosh Hashanah 6:45 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 9:30 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 8:30 a.m. Kol Nidre 6:30 p.m. Yom Kippur 9:30 a.m. $350 suggested donation. All services held at Founder’s Church of Religious Science, 3281 W. Sixth St., Los Angeles, except for tashlich on Monday at 6 p.m. at Venice Beach, Rosh Hashanah Second Day at Temescal Canyon and Neilah at Brentwood Presbyterian Church, 12000 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles. Kol Nidre Live, presented by Nashuva and the Jewish Journal, streams free at 6:30 p.m.

SANCTUARY@PICO UNION
Artists, musicians and teachers Craig Taubman, Rabbi Tova Leibovic-Douglas, Stuart Robinson and Shany Zamir lead the alternative community’s fourth annual deep dive into the High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah Day 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Lunch follows. Kol Nidre 8-9:30 p.m. Yom Kippur Day 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Neila 6 p.m. at the Open Temple, Venice Beach. $275, all-service pass; $125, good for one High Holy Day experience; $200, good for two services. Pico Union Project, 1153 Valencia St., Los Angeles. (213) 915-0084.

TEMPLE BETH ISRAEL
The Highland Park and Eagle Rock congregation holds services at its historic synagogue. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7 p.m., Rosh Hashanah Day 9 a.m., Rosh Hashanah family service 2-3 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9 a.m. Kol Nidre 7 p.m. Yom Kippur morning 9 a.m. Yizkor noon. Yom Kippur family service 2-3 p.m. Mincha and Neilah 5:30 p.m. Break-the-fast potluck 7:30 p.m. $250 per adult gets entry to all services. Family services: $36 per family per service. No one will be turned away. Email shul President Josh Kaufman at joshtbila@gmail.com to discuss payment. 5711 Monte Vista St., Los Angeles. (323) 745-2472.

TEMPLE ISRAEL OF HOLLYWOOD
Erev Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidre services led by Rabbis John Rosove, Michelle Missaghieh and Jocee Hudson and Cantorial Soloist and Music Director Shelly Fox, a 12-voice choir and pianist Michael Alfera. K-6th grade family Kol Nidre Service led by Rabbi Jocee Hudson. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur morning services in the sanctuary. For times, visit the Temple Israel of Hollywood website. $350. Temple Israel of Hollywood, 7300 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 876-8330.


WESTSIDE

ADAT SHALOM
The Conservative congregation holds erev Rosh Hashanah services at 7 p.m., Rosh Hashanah Day 9 a.m., Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9 a.m., Kol Nidre 6:30 p.m., Yom Kippur 9 a.m. $400 for adults, includes all services. Full-time students free. Adat Shalom, 3030 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 475-4985.

AISH HATORAH
For information on user-friendly beginner services for Erev Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur call (310) 278-8672. 9100 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.

COMMUNITY SHUL
For information on traditional Ashkenazi services for Erev Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur call (424) 354-4130. 9100 W. Pico Blvd.

BEVERLY HILLS JEWISH COMMUNITY
Traditional choral services, led by Rabbi Yossi Cunin and Cantor Levi Coleman. $900 for adults, $75 for children ages 3-13. Sephardic/Moroccan services led by Rabbi Avshalom Even-Haim and Cantor Yossi Avitbol.  $150 for adults, $100 for Young Professionals 18-31 and $75 for children 3-17. Call (310) 276-4246 for times. The Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills.

BEIT T’SHUVAH
At the Venice Boulevard synagogue, the message is “Leave behind your old notions of High Holidays as mandatory and monotonous. At Congregation Beit T’Shuvah, the No. 1 concern is uplifting your soul.” Erev Rosh Hashanah 7 p.m., Rosh Hashanah Day 9 a.m., Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9 a.m., Kol Nidre 7 p.m., Yom Kippur 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Individual tickets $75 per service. $375 for all services. Tashlich at Venice Pier free. Beit T’Shuvah, 8831 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles. No parking at Beit T’Shuvah. Uber and Lyft suggested. Shuttle from Shenandoah Street Elementary. (310) 204-5200, ext. 255.

BETH JACOB CONGREGATION
Rabbi Kalman Topp, Chazzan Arik Wollheim and the Maccabeats lead services in Beth Jacob’s Shapell Sanctuary. Erev Rosh Hashanah Services 6:45 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day Services 7:45 a.m., 6:45 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 7:45 a.m. Kol Nidre 6:30 p.m. Yom Kippur 8:30 a.m., 4:45 p.m. $650. Explanatory Minyan promises to be a great start to a new year. No Hebrew skills necessary, Rosh Hashanah Day and Second Day, 9 a.m. 11 a.m. Pomtinis, fresh fruit bar and shofar. Kol Nidre 6:45 p.m. Yom Kippur 9 a.m., Yizkor 11 a.m. $150. 9030 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills. For additional services contact the synagogue at (310) 278-1911.

BETH CHAYIM CHADASHIM
Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:15 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 9:30 a.m. Catered luncheon, 12:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 10 a.m. Kol Nidre 7:15 p.m. Yom Kippur 9:30 a.m. Yizkor 5:30 p.m. Neilah 6:20 p.m. Community break-fast 7:30 p.m. Guest tickets $310 for all services, $250 for full-time students (includes one-year membership), single services, $140. The second day of Rosh Hashanah is free. Services held at Temple Isaiah, 10345 W. Pico Blvd., except for Rosh Hashanah Second Day, held at BCC. 6090 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 931-7023, ext. 205.

B’NAI DAVID-JUDEA
The modern Orthodox congregation holds Erev Rosh Hashanah at 6:50 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 6:45 a.m., 6:50 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 7 a.m., 6:50 p.m. Kol Nidre 6:40 p.m. Yom Kippur 7 a.m., 6:40 p.m. For general public, 18 and older $180; for sixth-12th-graders $100; for 6-month-olds to fifth-graders $100. No one will be turned away. 8906 W. Pico Blvd. (310) 276-9269.

COOL SHUL
Erev Rosh Hashanah 7 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m. Kol Nidre 7 p.m. Yom Kippur 10 a.m., Yizkor, Neilah and break-fast 3 p.m. General adult tickets $180 and children $80. Single-service adult tickets $80, child tickets $20. Cheadle Hall, Temescal Canyon Park, 15900 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades. (310) 745-4578.

CREATIVE ARTS TEMPLE
Led by Rabbi Jerry Cuter, Rabbi Herb Freed and Cantor Paul Dorman. Featuring full choir conducted by Gary Nesteruk, Elizabeth Cohn and Chelsea Cutler. Erev Rosh Hashanah 8 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 10 a.m. Kol Nidre 8 p.m. Yom Kippur 10 a.m. Westwood United Methodist Church, 10497 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood. Tickets $250. (818) 855-1301.

HAPPY MINYAN
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach-style shul holds erev Rosh Hashanah at 6:50 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 8 a.m., 6:45 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 8 a.m., 6:45 p.m. Pre-Kol Nidre Mincha 6:15 p.m., Kol Nidre 6:45 p.m. Yom Kippur 8 a.m., Neilah 6 p.m. All tickets $180. No one will be turned away. 9218 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.

IKAR
Join the progressive egalitarian congregation for High Holy Day services. Erev Rosh Hashanah 6:15 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 8:30 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 8:30 a.m. Kol Nidre 6 p.m. Yom Kippur 9 a.m. Yizkor 2 p.m. Neilah 5:45 p.m. Adults and children required to have IKARds for services and programs. All services $400, Rosh Hashanah only $280, Yom Kippur only $280. Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah Second Day and Yom Kippur after 2 p.m. free, not including $10 fee for registration. Shalhevet High School, 910 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 634-1870.

KAHAL JOSEPH CONGREGATION
Modern Sephardic services. Erev Rosh Hashanah 6:15 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day and Second Day 8 a.m., 6:15 p.m. Kol Nidre 6:15 p.m. Yom Kippur 7 a.m., Mincha 3:45 p.m., Neilah 5:45 p.m. Havdalah and fast ends at 7:39 p.m. $300 adults, $150 teenagers post-bar and bat mitzvah through high school, $150 undergraduate and graduate students. Kahal Joseph, 10505 Santa Monica Blvd., Westwood. (310) 474-0559.

KEHILLAT ISRAEL
Join the Reconstructionist synagogue for erev Rosh Hashanah family services 5:30 p.m., evening service 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah morning service 10 a.m. Alternative Multi-Generational Service 10:30 a.m., Kol Nidre family service 5:30 p.m. Evening service 7:30 p.m. Yom Kippur morning service 10 a.m. Alternative Multi-Generational Service 10:30 a.m. Tickets $400. Rosh Hashanah Tot Service 4:30 p.m., Second Day early service 11 a.m. Mincha 4 p.m. and Yizkor 5:00 pm., free. Services held at Kehillat Israel, 6019 W. Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades, and at Westwood Village Theatre, 961 Broxton Ave., Westwood Village. (310) 459-2328.

KEHILLAT MA’ARAV
Erev Rosh Hashanah 7 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 9 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9 a.m., Kol Nidre 6:30 p.m. Yom Kippur 9 a.m. $250, $100 per service. Olympic Collection Grand Ballroom, 11301 Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 829-0566.

MISHKON TEPHILO
Erev Rosh Hashanah 6:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day and Second Day 9:45 a.m. Kol Nidre 6:15 p.m. Yom Kippur 10:15 a.m. Tickets for guests of members of any age $165. Nonmember adult seats 13 and older $325 for reserved seats, $255 for general admission. Nonmember child seats 12 and younger $200 for reserved seats, $165 for general admission. 206 Main St., Venice. (310) 392-3029.

NESSAH SYNAGOGUE
Rabbi Shmuly Boteach is the Yom Kippur special guest speaker at the Iranian congregation. Erev Rosh Hashanah 6:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 9 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9 a.m., 6:30 p.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m. Yom Kippur 8 a.m., 3 p.m. Neilah 6:15 p.m. $100 for ages 6-17, $150 for ages 18-24 and $275 for 25 and older. Nessah Congregation, 142 S. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 273-2400.

OHR HATORAH
Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 8:30 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 10 a.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m., Yom Kippur 8:30 a.m. Tickets $200; children age 3-17, $100; college students (with ID), $50. With the exception of Rosh Hashanah second day, the non-affiliated synagogue’s services held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 4401 W. Eighth St., Los Angeles.  No ticket required for the second day service at Ohr HaTorah, 11827 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista. (310) 915-5200.

OPEN TEMPLE
Featuring Kabbalistic kirtan, sound bath, rock band, goat yoga, Mincha meditation and more. Erev Rosh Hashanah family service 4 p.m. Erev Rosh Hashanah Kirtan Chant Service 6:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m. Family Service 4 p.m. Kol Nidre 7 p.m. Yom Kippur 10 a.m. Yom Kippur Family Service 4 p.m. Goat Yoga 5 p.m. Erev Rosh Hashanah family service and Rosh Hashanah Day family service $50. Erev Kabbalistic Kirtan $36. $180 Rosh Hashanah Day. Kol Nidre $180. Yom Kippur $180.  $360 admits to Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur services. Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. (310) 821-1414.

PICO SHUL
Orthodox user-friendly Days of Awesome services handcrafted for the young and young at heart. Featuring a Kabbalistic kiddush, breakout sessions and an interactive atmosphere. Erev Rosh Hashanah 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rosh Hashanah Day and Second Day 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Kol Nidre 6 p.m. Yom Kippur 9 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by afternoon discussions, Mincha and Neilah. All services, $500. Rosh Hashanah:  $89 general, $136 reserved, $49 for young professionals younger than 36. Same prices for Yom Kippur. Pico Shul, 9116 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.

PACIFIC JEWISH CENTER
Orthodox congregation a.k.a. Shul on the Beach holds services on the Venice boardwalk. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 9:30 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9:30 a.m. Kol Nidre 7 p.m. Yom Kippur 9:30 a.m. Neilah 5 p.m. Tickets are priced on a sliding scale; contact the office for more information. Pacific Jewish Center, 505 Ocean Front Walk, Venice. (310) 392-8749.

SANTA MONICA SYNAGOGUE
Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m. Yom Kippur 10 a.m., film and discussion 1 p.m. Family Service 3 p.m. Afternoon service 4 p.m. Yizkor 5 p.m. $225 for adults 18 and older. Free for those under 18. United Methodist Church, 1008 11th St., Santa Monica. (310) 453-4276.

SINAI TEMPLE
5,000 people are expected at the Conservative synagogue. Erev Rosh Hashanah 5:45 p.m., 8 p.m.  Rosh Hashanah 8 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day 8 a.m. Kol Nidre 6 p.m. Yom Kippur 9 a.m. Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd. For ticket prices, call (310) 474-1518 or visit sinaitemple.org. Atid alternative services with Sinai Temple young professionals, ages 21-39. Rosh Hashanah Day 4-6 p.m. Kol Nidre 9-10:30 p.m. Yom Kippur Neilah 5-8 p.m. Break-fast follows. Tickets $100 for an individual, $150 for couples. Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood. (310) 481-3244.

TEMPLE AKIBA
Erev Rosh Hashanah family service 5 p.m., erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m. Children’s Service (at Temple Akiba) 3 p.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m.   Yom Kippur 10 a.m. Yizkor 3:30 p.m. $75-$230. College students free. Veterans Auditorium, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City (310) 398-5783.

TEMPLE BETH AM
Erev Rosh Hashanah led by Temple Beth Am clergy and featuring song, spirit and community. 6:15 pm. Open to the community at no charge. Registration required. Kol Nidre Under the Stars, a spiritual, musical, in-the-round prayer service on outdoor lawn, 6 p.m. Space limited. $100 per seat, $50 under 26 and seniors 65 and oolder. 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 652-7354, ext. 211.

TEMPLE EMANUEL OF BEVERLY HILLS
Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 8:45 a.m., Tot Service 11 a.m., second adult Service noon. Rosh Hashanah second day adult service 9 a.m. Kol Nidre 6:15 p.m. Yom Kippur adult service with Yizkor 8:45 a.m., family service 8:45 a.m., adult service with Yizkor, noon. Contemporary Issues Forum on the #MeToo movement with Good Men Project experts 2:45 p.m. “Music, Mediation and Jonah” 4:30 p.m. Adult Neilah/Havdalah 5:20 p.m. Children 12 and younger are free. For nonmembers 13 and older, tickets are $175 for each of the six services or $550 for the package. Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills. (310) 288-3737.

TEMPLE ISAIAH
Reform congregation holds Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day Family Service 8:30 a.m. Morning service 11:15 a.m. Teen Service 11:30 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Second Day Tot Service 9:30 a.m. Morning service 10:30 a.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m. Yom Kippur Family Service 8:30 a.m. Morning service 11:15 a.m. Teen Service 11:30 a.m. Speaker at 2 p.m. Healing Yoga and Meditation 3:30 p.m. Afternoon Service 3:30 p.m. Yizkor and Neilah 4:15 p.m. Except for second day of Rosh Hashanah, all services held at Royce Hall at UCLA, 10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles. All-service adult tickets $575, youths younger than 25 and seniors, $280. Individual services, $165 adults, children and seniors, $80. Rosh Hashanah second day services at Temple Isaiah. (310) 277-2772.

BEVERLY HILLS TEMPLE OF THE ARTS
Experience the High Holidays through music, art, drama and film and with speakers from around the world. Erev Rosh Hashanah 8 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m. Kol Nidre 8 p.m. Yom Kippur 10 a.m. Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. $150 for young adults ages 18-35, $400 for nonmember adults. (323) 658-9100.

UNIVERSITY SYNAGOGUE
Reform services include Erev Rosh Hashanah Brentwood Havurah service 7:30 p.m., regular service 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day tot service 8:30 a.m. Morning service 10:30 a.m. Kol Nidre Brentwood Havurah service 7:30 p.m., regular service, 7:30 p.m. Yom Kippur tot service 8:30 a.m., regular service 10:30 a.m. Afternoon service, Yizkor and Neilah 2:30 p.m. Nonmembers adult tickets $425, $210 for children under 26, no charge for college students or for children under 3. $118 for Brentwood Havurah Services (for 20s and 30s). University Synagogue, 11960 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 472-1255.

WILSHIRE BOULEVARD TEMPLE
Adult open seating services, family services and musical services on both days of Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. Various times. Mincha, Yizkor, Neilah in the sanctuary 4 p.m. Nefesh Neilah 5:30 p.m. Various prices. Wilshire Boulevard Temple Glazer Campus, 3663 Wilshire Blvd. (213) 388-2401.

VITAL TRANSFORMATION
Free erev Rosh Hashanah and Rosh Hashanah services with Rabbi and Kabbalist Eliyahu Jian. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:15 p.m., Rosh Hashana Day and Second Day morning service 9 a.m., Torah and lecture 9:45 a.m., shofar 10:45 a.m. Free lunch provided after Rosh Hashanah day and second-day services. RSVP mandatory at debbiejian@gmail.com or (561) 400-7796. Private home, 1471 S. Crest Drive, Los Angeles.


SOUTH BAY

CONGREGATION NER TAMID
South Bay Jewry comes together at the Conservative synagogue in Palos Verdes. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day and Second Day 8:15 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Day Two Family Picnic 5:30 p.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m. Yom Kippur 8:15 a.m. Yizkor 10:15 a.m. Mincha and Neilah 5 p.m. Nonmembers 26 and older $250 per adult. Members’ relatives 26 and older $125 per adult. College and graduate students, first responders and military admitted free. Congregation Ner Tamid, 5721 Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes. (310) 377-6986.

TEMPLE EMET
Musical, spiritual and inclusive services led by Rabbi-Cantor Didi Thomas. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m., Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m., Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m., Yom Kippur 10 a.m. Adult ticket $180, students 18-25 and active military free with valid ID. Temple Emet, 2051 W. 236th St., Torrance. (310) 316-3322.

TEMPLE MENORAH
Led by Rabbi Leah Lewis and student cantor Kelly Cooper. Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 pm. Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m. Mishpachah Minyan 10:15 a.m. Children’s Programming follows. Rosh Hashanah Second Day Tot Service 9 a.m. Morning service 10:15 a.m. Kol Nidre 7:30 p.m. Yom Kippur Tot Service 10 a.m. Morning service 11 a.m. Mishpachah Minyan 11:15 a.m. Yizkor 5:30 p.m. Neilah 6:30 p.m. Havdalah, shofar, break-fast. Nonmembers, $360. Second day Rosh Hashanah service is free. Free for active military personnel and their dependents, dependent children and full-time students. Temple Menorah, 1101 Camino Real, Redondo Beach.  (310) 316-8444.

TEMPLE SHALOM
Erev Rosh Hashanah 7 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Day 10 a.m. Children’s Service 10 a.m. Kol Nidre 7 p.m. Yom Kippur 10 a.m. Children’s Service 10 a.m. Neilah 4:30 p.m. Nonmembers tickets $180 per service. Children services free for K-fifth-graders with adult paid ticket. Neilah and Break-the-Fast open to all ticketholders, RSVP required. Temple Shalom, 1818 Monterey Blvd., Hermosa Beach.  (310) 613-3855.


PASADENA

PASADENA JEWISH TEMPLE AND CENTER
Erev Rosh Hashanah with the Conservative congregation begins at 7:30 p.m., Rosh Hashanah Day 9 a.m., Rosh Hashanah Second Day 9 a.m., Kol Nidre 8 p.m., Yom Kippur morning service 9 a.m., Neilah 6 p.m. $350. No ticket required for Rosh Hashanah Second Day. Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, 1434 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena. (626) 798-1161.

Azerbaijan’s model of interreligious harmony and multiculturalism showcased in a historic visit to California

Multifaith delegation from Azerbaijan together with Azerbaijan's Consul General Nasimi Aghayev, AJC-San Francisco regional director Matt Kahn and Rev. Will McGarvey at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco

Multifaith delegation from Azerbaijan together with Azerbaijan’s Consul General Nasimi Aghayev, AJC-San Francisco regional director Matt Kahn and Rev. Will McGarvey at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco

 

I have visited California several times. I always remember my visits with great joy, especially the one in 2015, when we received and celebrated the gift of a beautiful new Sefer Torah from the Sinai Temple of Los Angeles for our Mountain Jewish Synagogue in Baku. In my recent visit to Los Angeles and San Francisco, in May 2018, I was part of a multifaith delegation from Azerbaijan. The delegation was led by Mr. Mubariz Gurbanli, the Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations (SCWRO) of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and included also the leaders of Muslim, European Jewish, Christian Orthodox, and Albanian-Udi Christian communities of Azerbaijan. Our purpose was to share Azerbaijan’s unique model of multiculturalism and interreligious harmony and tolerance, and talk about the possibility of lasting peace and understanding among religions.

Our visit was organized jointly by the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Los Angeles and San Francisco regional offices in strong cooperation with Azerbaijan’s Los Angeles Consul General Nasimi Aghayev. AJC and Azerbaijan have been enjoying a very special relationship since almost two decades. AJC national delegations, led by its CEO David Harris, have been visiting Azerbaijan annually for the past eleven years, and actually Azerbaijan is one of the few countries on AJC’s annual visit calendar. During this year’s visit Mr. Harris said the following: “Azerbaijan continues to be a very significant partner for both the U.S. and Israel. Baku’s contributions in many spheres are increasingly vital in today’s turbulent world, although, frankly speaking, not as well-known and recognized as they should be. In a key region of the world, where the United States has few reliable friends, Azerbaijan, a secular, Shiite-majority country, stands out. And for Israel, believe me, the bilateral relationship is no less important. Moreover, it is inspiring to see the record of respect for the Jewish community – and the striking absence of anti-Semitism – in a land Jews have called home for over 2,000 years.” As an Azerbaijani Jew, I couldn’t agree more. We are much appreciative of AJC’s friendship, and of the efforts by its California regional offices in organizing this historic visit. I would like to specially thank Roslyn Warren, Saba Soomekh and Siamak Kordestani of AJC-Los Angeles, and Matt Kahn, Serena Eisenberg and Eran Hazary of AJC-San Francisco.

During the visit we were honored to meet the Archbishop of Los Angeles and Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops José H. Gomez, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Sheila Kuehl, Jewish Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David Suissa, Los Angeles leaders of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Dean of the world-famous Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Marvin Hier, Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Norman Yee and California State Senator Jerry Hill. We also visited several synagogues and churches, including Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and Presidio Chapel, Grace Cathedral and Sherith Israel Synagogue in San Francisco, as well as the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Moreover, two well-attended public events dedicated to Azerbaijan’s multifaith harmony were held – one at the Sinai Temple of Los Angeles (ably moderated by Rabbi Erez Sherman) and the other at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

At these meetings and events we highlighted the ancient traditions of tolerance and multiculturalism in Azerbaijan. We informed the audiences about how people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and representatives of other faiths, such as Zoroastrians, Baha’is, Hare Krishnas and others, have been living together in peace, brotherhood and mutual respect for many centuries in Azerbaijan, a predominantly Shiite Muslim country. There has always been a strong relationship between ethnic and religious communities in the country and ethnic, religious or racial discrimination has never existed in Azerbaijan. I often was asked: “What is the essence, the core of Azerbaijan’s model of tolerance and how Azerbaijan has achieved it?” There is only one answer to it: Tolerance and multiculturalism has been the lifestyle of the people of Azerbaijan for many centuries. It has very solid foundations, rich traditions and deep historical and cultural roots.

Today there are 31 non-Muslim religious communities officially registered in Azerbaijan. Moreover, seven synagogues, one museum-synagogue that is under construction, two Jewish elementary schools, three kindergartens, one Yeshiva and fourteen churches are operating in my country. Azerbaijan may be a small country but it has made enormous effort towards maintaining and strengthening the harmony, mutual understanding and peace among religions, making the world a better place. I hope many other countries in the wider region will follow Azerbaijan’s suit.

I live in a country where the government of a majority-Muslim nation builds and rebuilds synagogues, renovates churches, and annually allocates financial support to different religious communities. I live in a country where a Muslim philanthropist funds the construction and renovation of churches. This country is the majority-Muslim Azerbaijan, and I am proud to be its citizen.

Thank you, California, for warmly welcoming and embracing us. See you next time!

Leo Baeck Temple Files Lawsuit Against L.A. Over Skirball Fire [UPDATED]

Screenshot from Twitter.

UPDATE: Leo Baeck Temple’s attorney, Josh Haffner, told the Journal in a phone interview that the Los Angeles city and county faces allegations “associated with negligence.”

“They were aware of a dangerous condition – in this case the fire hazard – and they failed to do anything to remedy it,” Haffner said. “They let it exist until it actually caused this massive wildfire and a lot of damage.”

Haffner added that Leo Baeck suffered “extensive” damage, although the temple is currently functioning.

“Leo Baeck Temple has always supported and done a great deal to combat homelessness and eradicate it,” Haffner said. “This case is about a government allowing a dangerous condition and neglect of a dangerous condition, and it’s fully consistent with that deep commitment the temple has to assisting the cause of homelessness by shining a further light on it and the need to do something about the homeless and their plight.”

“This is a danger not just for the community, but for the homeless themselves.”

ORIGINAL:

Bel Air synagogue Leo Baeck Temple filed a lawsuit against the city and county of Los Angeles on August 23, alleging that the city and county could have helped prevent the fire had they not ignored the complaints of residents.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the court documents state that residents frequently complained about a homeless encampment located in a canyon around Sepulveda Boulevard and the 405 Freeway. The encampment was located in an area that was already “prone to wildfires because of the trees, bushes and other vegetation and foliage,” so the synagogue argues that the city and county should have surveyed the area and removed the encampment, or at least provided the public with a warning about it.

The Skirball Fire was ignited by a cooking fire at the encampment, destroying six homes and damaging several others in its wake; Leo Baeck stated in the lawsuit that the temple suffered damage from the fire as well.

Nickie Miner, vice president of the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council, told The Los Angeles Times at the time of the fire, “We knew it was only going to be a matter of time before something horrible happened.” Miner called for regulatory reform that featured the elimination of homeless encampments along the hillsides.

Richard Greene: How One or Two Words Can Change Your Life

One of the world’s leading experts on public speaking, Richard Greene, explains why people fear public speaking more than death, and discusses the abuse of language in the era of Trump. Visit his website.

Follow David Suissa on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Check out this episode!

Howard Rosenman: Award-Winning Producer Opens Up

What’s it like to be a gay Israel lover in Hollywood? To act with Sean Penn? To be on top of your game at 74? Hollywood wunderkind Howard Rosenman shares his life’s scoops.

Follow David Suissa on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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What is the Marvelous May 2018 We Said Go Travel News?

Marvelous May News 2018 with We Said Go Travel:

Thank you for all of your support for We Said Go Travel and me.

Lisa Niver Top 5 Travel BLoggers May 30 2018I am so honored to share that I am a 3x finalist for the Los Angeles Press Club Awards and also the Top Female Travel blogger on the Top 1000 Travel Blog list!

“The 60th SoCal Journalism Awards Contest is the largest and most impressive in our Los Angeles Press Club’s recent history. Our judges sorted through nearly 1,400 entries. Our finalists represent the most talented and hardworking journalists in Southern California! Winners announced on June 24, 2018.”

I will let you know in June what happens with the LA Press Club awards dinner. Here is more information from last year’s event.

Lisa Niver is a catalyst at MAVERICKI am a catalyst for MAVERICK. Click here to see my challenge! And this link will take you to download the app which is a creator network that connects and inspires Gen-Z girls and young women and engages them through a blend of digital and live experiences. Founded on the belief that they not only can but will rule the world, Maverick’s mission is to help build the next generation of creators, innovators and changemakers. #DoYourThing

May was a very exciting month! Besides being a 3x finalist, a catalyst and the top female travel blogger, I spent nearly three weeks in Canada and was on TV in NYC! I am working on the videos from my adventures which I plan to share with you very soon. You can follow along on my social media to see the photos now.

Here are some of the TV links about Monterey County:

Lisa Niver on TV in NYC May 2018

 

WHERE CAN YOU FIND MY TRAVEL VIDEOS?

Here are links to my video channels on YouTubeAmazon Fire Tv, and Roku Player. My views on Roku alone are now over one million! My total video views across all platforms is now over 1,860,200 (nearly 1.9M)! ! Thank you for your support! What should I do to celebrate when I get to 2 MILLION views?

Recent videos:

Video #755: Sky Diving for my birthday with GoJump Oceanside!

Video #767: Scuba Diving with Scuba Diving with Bull Sharks

Coming soon: Adventures Across Canada: Click here to see the 15 draft videos! I have more to add.

Lisa Niver on TV In NYC May 10 2018

I loved filming for TV in NYC!

I am now planning and booking travel! Where do you want to wander? Find more information about me and my luxury travel advising as an independent affiliate of CRUISE and RESORT, Inc with Virtuoso Luxury Travel Network on my new microsite!

My fortune cookie said “The Smart Thing is to Prepare for the Unexpected.”

Thank you for your support. Lisa

Discover more on my social media accounts:  InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestYouTube, and at LisaNiver.com. My social media following is now over 100,000 and I am verified on both Twitter and Facebook.

TRAVEL PHOTO AWARD:

All of the entries from our first Travel Photo award have now been scheduled. After July, when all the entries are published, we will announce the winners.  Thank you to everyone who participated and to our judges, Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere and Jeana from Surf and Sunshine. We hope you will submit a photo in our next award starting SOON!

TRAVEL WRITING AWARDS: 

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our 13 We Said Go Travel Competitions! Find the winners for all of them here.

The sunny view at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in May 2018 by Lisa Niver

The sunny view at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in May 2018

First published on We Said Go Travel.

Who is the Top Female Travel Blogger? #Travel1k May 30, 2018

Thank you #travel1k Top 1000+ Travel Blogs for your list! I am so excited and honored to be #5 of the top 1000+ Travel blogs and the TOP FEMALE TRAVEL BLOGGER!

 

Lisa Niver Top Female Travel Blogger May 30 2018 #Travel1k

Rank Travel Blogger #travel1k score
1.   Profile Image Matt Matt 96.84
2.   Profile Image Charles McCool (McCool Travel) 93.82
3.   Profile Image Rick Griffin 90.62
4.   Profile Image Andrea Pizzato 87.31
5.   Profile Image Lisa Ellen Niver 83.72

Click here to see the full list May 30, 2018

 

#Travel1k We Said Go Travel #5 Top Travel Blog May 30 2018

More about Lisa:

After exploring 99 countries and sailing for seven years on the high seas, Lisa Niver is ready for more unique active adventures! Find her talking travel on KTLA TV and her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.8 million views on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and YouTube. Her stories include Dutch designer villas for Luxury Magazine, interviewing Fabien Cousteau for Delta Sky, skiing with the blind for Sierra Magazine and writing about WWII for Smithsonian and Saturday Evening Post. Her 2018 publications include American Way (American Airlines), Robb Report and Wharton Magazine.
Her latest projects are a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 New Adventures Before 50,” and Facebook Live for USA Today 10best. She has run 13 Travel Writing Awards publishing nearly 2000 writers from 75 countries and the first We Said Go Travel Photo Competition received over 500 entries in summer 2017! She has over 90,000 followers on social media and is verified on both Twitter and Facebook. We Said Go Travel was read in 222 countries in 2017 and listed as #9 on the top 1000+ travel blog list on Valentine’s Day 2018.
Lisa Niver is part of the Bixel Exchange Startup LAunch with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce for her website and tech media innovation with We Said Go Travel. Niver was recently invited to apply for the inaugural class of Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars for Fall 2018.
She was a finalist in two categories in 2017 for the 59th Southern California Journalism Awards and received 2nd place for her Jewish Journal story: “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers.”
Lisa Niver is #5 on top 1000 Travel blog List

Recycling & Spaceships

Yesterday morning as I headed out to the farmer’s market, I came across a man rummaging through my garbage. He looked up as I approached, made direct eye contact, and said good morning. I said good morning in return, and kept walking. It was a little awkward and I wasn’t sure what to do, so I carried on. When I got in my car I noticed a water bottle in my cup holder, so I grabbed it and went back to the trash. I approached the man and gave him the bottle for his recycling.

He thanked me for the bottle, told me I was a nice lady, and said he hoped I had a good day. I felt an odd need to speak with him, so I asked if he was having a profitable morning. He explained he had been out collecting for a couple hours and was doing fine. He said he believed in recycling, but appreciated when people forgot to recycle and he came across a lot of bottles. He said he was surprised people don’t recycle better, seeing as we were in the state of California.

We ended up speaking for about ten minutes and it was really interesting. We talked about the weather, the president, cruelty to animals, and how important a good pillow is for your neck. It was a little strange, but also lovely. At the end of the day we were the same. Two people who work hard, have opinions, and have value. It was enlightening and I felt connected to a stranger, which doesn’t happen often, but is always a possibility. Our time together somehow felt important.

I told him it was nice speaking with him and asked if I could give him some money to get something to eat. The question immediately changed his demeanor and I felt that he was now irritated. I panicked a bit and told him I didn’t mean to offend him in any way, and was sorry. He looked confused and closed his eyes. I was now a little frightened and told him it was okay and de didn’t need to take the money. He then thanked me for the offer and asked if he could save the money.

I told him he could do whatever he wanted with it. I explained it was a gift and he could spend it, save it, or give it away, because it was his money. I reached out and passed him $10.00. He thanked me with sincerity, smiled, and was relaxed again. He then told me he would save it and eat on his next visit because he didn’t have time to eat as he was worried he would miss the spaceship that was coming to pick him up. I smiled in return and wished him well with his work and his travels.

I haven’t stopped thinking about him since we met. I’m glad we spoke and even though in retrospect it was perhaps dangerous to have engaged, if I’m scared to talk to strangers, my life would be very different. I like people. I particularly like people with stories, so I will always talk to strangers and always try to help those less fortunate. It is who I am, and who I have always been. We are all just one space ship ride away from crazy, so we should just be kind and keep the faith.

L.A. Community Walks to End Genocide

From left: Rohingya Muslims Mohammed Asahab Dean and Koko Naing participate in Jewish World Watch’s Walk to End Genocide on April 22 at Pan Pacific Park in Los Angeles. Photo byRyan Torok.

Twelve-year-old Sidney Stern donates all of the proceeds from her handcrafted jewelry company, Jewels 4 Justice, to Jewish World Watch (JWW), an Encino-based organization that fights genocide worldwide.

Stern, together with her mother Tammy Ross-Stern, and her grandmother Betty Ross, were among the more than 900 people who took part in JWW’s 12th Annual Los Angeles Walk to End Genocide at Pan Pacific Park on April 22.

Walkers traveled a two-mile course, heading south through Pan Pacific Park, east on Third Street, north on La Brea Avenue and west on Beverly Boulevard before returning to the park.

Stern was among those chanting, “No more violence, no more war.” Tammy trailed behind, videoing her daughter.

“It was fun leading the chants,” Stern told the Journal after the walk. “I just love what [JWW] does. I feel like it is really important.”

That sentiment was echoed not only in the number of people who  turned out, but in the more than $90,000 raised for JWW programs and advocacy efforts. The walk highlighted the fact that, at a time when mass atrocities are occurring in Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Myanmar and Iraq, members of the Los Angeles Jewish community refuse to stand idly by.

JWW was created in 2004 after a groundbreaking sermon delivered by the late Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) Rabbi Harold Schulweis, who said that the mandate of “Never again,” developed after the Holocaust, obligated the Jewish community to stand up for all communities facing genocide.

Schulweis co-founded the organization with community leader Janice Kamenir-Reznik, who was among the speakers on April 22, along with L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin and VBS Rabbi Noah Farkas.

Farkas led attendees in reciting the Shehecheyanu prayer, which he said was a “call to action”

Also attending the event was Koko Naing, 32, a Rohingya Muslim, whose current home in Culver City is a long way from his native home of Myanmar. His family managed to flee Myanmar when he was 3 years old, and went to Singapore.

In 2005, Naing came to the United States. He was granted political asylum, and in 2010 became a U.S. citizen.

Naing, who took part in the walk with several other Rohingya Muslims, told the Journal he feels a responsibility to advocate for his fellow Rohingya.

“The same thing happened to the Jews in Europe,” he said. “They [the government militias and the Buddhist majority] want to erase our identity.”

The fact that it wasn’t just the Jewish community that turned out for the walk “is part of what’s great about it,” JWW Executive Director Susan Freudenheim told the Journal. “It’s a mix of people. To see people come, it warms your heart. They feel like they want to do something and this gives them a chance to speak out.”

Agunot Share Their Stories of Pain, Freedom and Redemption

For three years, Los Angeles resident Patricia Sultan, waited to receive a Jewish divorce from her husband, known as a get. Since obtaining a civil divorce from her home in Belgium, the rabbinical court (beit din), which is responsible for dissolving Jewish marriages, told Sultan that it would need her divorce papers to be translated from French to English, that it would be a complicated process, and she would have to wait until she heard back from the court for her divorce to be finalized.

“They never called back,” Sultan said in a phone interview with the Journal. “I had very confusing information and I didn’t understand how it would work.”

Without a get, women married in Orthodox Jewish ceremonies are unable to remarry within the Jewish faith. They become known as agunot — literally  “chained” women, tied to their husbands who refuse to sign the get.

Husbands may refuse to give their wives gets for many reasons, including extorting them for money, or as a way to exercise control over them. It is an issue that has plagued rabbinical courts for centuries.

Sultan kept calling rabbis and synagogues, hoping for answers. But none came. Then, just before Passover this year, Sultan found Esther Macner and her nonprofit organization Get Jewish Divorce Justice, based in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. She called Macner on a Friday, and by the following Tuesday her ex-husband had signed the get and paid half the fees. Sultan didn’t even have to see her husband in person.

Macner told the Journal that Sultan and her ex-husband thought they needed to resolve financial matters before she could receive her get, which was not true. They also were misinformed that they needed their civil divorce decree translated from French to English.

“I feel like I’m getting myself back together,” Sultan said. “I’m not tied to this man anymore. It’s a relief.”

Sultan is one of five women who shared their agunot stories at an event organized by Macner on April 15 in Pico-Robertson. The event, which has been running for four years, aims to celebrate the women who have received their gets and support those who are still waiting.

“Getting the get is an earth-shattering experience for any agunah,” Macner said. “It is a rebirth of her life, and many of the women are isolated. It deserves a communal celebration.”

At the event, several of the women spoke of how their husbands were mentally ill or abusive. They spoke in front of other women who are trying to get a get or were “freed” with the help of Macner. Some waited nearly 15 years, while for others it took around five. The women ranged in age, said Tehillim (Psalms) for those still waiting, and talked about their particular circumstances, as well as how they survived their ordeals.

One woman, who chose to remain anonymous, said she was married to a domestic abuser for more than a decade. From the outside, she lived the perfect life, but inside her home, she was in turmoil. When she asked for a divorce, her husband and his wealthy family came at her with lawyers, and said they would bribe a beit din for a heter meah rabbanim (permission from 100 rabbis) to say she was crazy.

“I’m a child of Holocaust survivors and I thought it was my mission to protect the oppressed from the oppressive.” — Esther Macner

For three years, she fought him in court. In the spring of 2017, she attended Macner’s annual agunot event and finally received her get at the end of 2017, after putting legal pressure on her husband and winning one court case after another against him.

“You have to believe in HaShem [God], because there is nothing else that will get you through it,” she said. “[When I got my get], I had this chill throughout my body.”

Macner, an Orthodox Jew, started Get Jewish Divorce Justice six years ago. Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., she is a former assistant district attorney in New York City. There, she specialized in domestic violence and family law.

Macner said she started her organization because she is passionate about helping agunot. “I’m a child of Holocaust survivors and I thought it was my mission to protect the oppressed from the oppressive. It’s painful to me, because I love Orthodox Judaism. It’s my identity. And this is a blemish.”

When agunot call Macner, she gets in touch with the rabbinic court she works with to see if there are solutions or legal loopholes. She calls the husbands to pressure them to provide gets, and she also counsels the agunot and writes affidavits to be used in court.

In some cases, the marriages weren’t valid to begin with. There may not have been two kosher witnesses, which covers everything from not Sabbath or kashrut observant, to not being close family members or having fraudulent activity in their backgrounds. In addition, the husband may have had a psychiatric disorder that he didn’t reveal prior to the wedding, which would render the marriage contract invalid.

Another woman who spoke at the event discovered her ex-husband’s mother had lied about her conversion, and he wasn’t Jewish, thereby invalidating the marriage. She said that before she discovered this information, the process of trying to receive the get was tearing her up.

Macner said get issues can be resolved if couples sign Jewish prenuptial agreements. These agreements state that if the couple is no longer living together as husband and wife and one of them calls the beit din to receive a get, the spouse who is not cooperating would have to pay a daily sum of money. He or she would be responsible for support, irrespective of state legal requirements.

Another way to obtain a get, Macner said, is to find legal loopholes and not give up if the husband isn’t cooperating. “Rabbinic courts should send out a summons and be much more aggressive in pressuring a guy to give a get,” she said. “They should not simply be closing the doors and saying, ‘Well, if he won’t cooperate, what can we do?’ ”

“I only got my get because my husband knew he would end up in jail if he didn’t give it to me,” one woman said. “The fact that in our religion it needs to come to this, it makes it feel so archaic. The rabbis need to get together, and this has to stop.”

Saluting a Lonely Tree: A Story of Renewal

It’s impossible for anyone living in the Greater Los Angeles area to forget the terrible fires of a few months ago. December’s fires ravaged Bel Air and land off the 405 Freeway but extended far beyond. Throughout the the Central Coast and Southern California, stretching as far north as Ventura and Ojai, and south to Orange County and San Diego, ruthless flames, fanned by seasonal winds and chronic shortfalls of rain that have become a new normal, combined to produce levels of devastation that seized the attention of the entire nation and dominated the news and conversations of everyone in the region. Those fires threatened cultural treasures of the region, among them the Getty Center, UCLA, American Jewish University and others.

One famous video gained particular notoriety, showing the flames descending the mountains of Bel Air and Westwood, impeded only by the 405 Freeway. Those of us whose commute takes us along that route were terrified by the size, speed and proximity of those flames. In the days and weeks that followed, we observed a mute tribute to the powers of destruction as we drove next to the charred and denuded hills, which until then had been bountiful in shrubs, grass, trees and life.

There was one hill, east of the freeway, whose flora had been completely burned to ground level. Nothing living remained on its barren, blacked landscape except at the very peak. One lone tree had survived, and I would salute it every morning as I drove to work, honoring its tenacity and resilience. Life doesn’t give up without a fight.

Four months later, we recently finished celebrating two ancient festivals of spring, Passover and Easter, both of which celebrate forms of rebirth. Judaism’s Passover celebrates the liberation of ancient Israel from Pharaoh’s slavery, the rebirth of a people into freedom and self-determination. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christianity’s messiah and the possibility for rebirth for its adherents.

As I drive toward Mulholland on the 405, I see those same hills, so recently denuded and bleak, now covered again with patches of bright green grasses.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that both of these festivals of resurgence, renewal and hope take place in the springtime. As I drive toward Mulholland on the 405, I see those same hills, so recently denuded and bleak, now covered again with patches of bright green grasses. Even some of the scorched trees show fuzzy green buds, gearing up to bloom where there was only death and destruction a few months ago. The hills themselves trumpet an ancient spiritual truth: Life carries with it the determination for self-renewal. What was once destroyed can thrive again. As the psalmist promised millenniums ago: “Weeping may tarry in the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

We need that reminder now. In the bleak wreckage of today’s partisan battles, as human greed and venality looms across lines of race, gender, ability, religion, orientation (and so many others), small wonder that the world’s wisdom traditions join with the season itself to remind us of a timely truth: We can turn this around, we can thrive again, all of us. If we dare hold onto hope, if we are willing to trust in the promise, we, too, can be vessels of a springtime rebirth.


Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson holds the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean’s Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and is vice president of American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

Rainy Los Angeles is a Nightmare

It has been raining in Los Angeles and the simple fact is that when rains in LA, the city falls apart. Nobody knows how to drive to begin with, so a small amount of rain causes bad drivers to lose their minds. One would think it was acid falling from the sky and we were all about to die, but alas, it is just water. When it is raining in LA you can immediately tell who is from here, and who came from a place with real weather. Southern Californian natives stick out like a sore thumb. They don’t know how to handle their vehicles in even the lightest sprinkle of water. It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

Personally, I could be a NYC cab driver. I grew up in Canada and learned to drive in the rain and snow. I am fearless and able to handle all kinds of weather. Driving is a privilege and if you suck at it, you shouldn’t be given a driver’s license. At the very least there should be restrictions on driving when it is raining. I propose two types of driver’s licenses. One to drive in dry weather, and one for the rain. Everyone takes two tests. Pass one and you can only drive in good weather, pass both, and you also get driving privileges in the rain. Brilliant plan.

I started a new job recently and my commute went from 20 minutes to over an hour. It is a nightmare for a great driver to be stuck on two different freeways and Sunset Boulevard with thousands of people who don’t know how to drive. I do a great deal of praying while I’m driving. Mostly I pray I will not become engulfed with road rage and lay on the horn or flip the bird to a perfect stranger. My son bought me a stuffed Buddha that plays meditation music when you squeeze him. I’ve had it for about 5 months and have replaced the battery twice, which gives you an idea of how often I use him to get some peace.

I often look at the people driving around me and wonder where they’re going. I think about whether they’re driving without prescription contact lenses or glasses. If they bought their driver’s licenses on a black market for people with no depth perception. I wonder how many of the people driving taught their kids how to be bad drivers. Mostly I wonder about how good it would feel to drive to work one day with only good drivers. Even if just for one day I’d love that experience, but it will never happen. Sadly, I fear I may be the only one of my kind. I have yet to meet another good driver in Los Angeles. We really should have a club.

I am at work looking out my window, watching the rain, trying to decide how long it will take me to get home. I figure about two days. We need the rain, and I am grateful we are getting some, but a couple days into the first weather of the season and I am about done. Watching the news of the weather back east, and speaking to my family about all the snow in Canada, watching my local TV weatherman speak of the “storm watch” for Los Angeles is hilarious. By hilarious of course I mean I really need him to stop talking. I’d be willing to bet he is a bad driver, always looking in the mirror to check his hair.

It never rains in California, until it does, and then all hell breaks loose. To my fellow Angelino’s, do us all a favor and just stay home. Call in sick if you need to, but for the love of God, do not get in the car if you are a bad driver. Not sure if you are a good driver? You’re not. Now you know. To those currently dealing with REAL weather, I am sorry. This too shall pass, for us and you. Be safe out there. Don’t drink and drive, text and drive, or talk on the phone and drive. Pay attention and when some cute lady gets annoyed and flips you the bird, just smile, knowing I mean no harm. I’m heading home and keeping the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun in February with We Said Go Travel: 2018 News

 Happy February with We Said Go Travel 2018 NEWS:

I hope that your Valentine’s wishes came true!
I spent the week in Utah with some of my favorite people.

We skied, we dined and we laughed! Photos and restaurant suggestions coming soon!

On Valentine’s Day, I received the gift that We Said Go Travel was listed as #9 in the  top 1000+ Travel blog list!

I have been telling you about Daymond John‘s new book and the need to Rise and GRIND! I am thrilled to report that my hard work is paying off and people are noticing We Said Go Travel!

I was on The Good Life radio show talking about travel with Mike Wreyford. I also went to the Travel and Adventure Show. See below for my one minute video of where to go next!

See Lisa Niver on KTLA TV

Did you see me on TV? I did a travel segment about Ogden, Utah. I hope you entered the Valentine’s Getaway Giveaway! CLICK HERE to see me on KTLA!

 I was on stage at the Hollywood Improv for the Los Angeles Freshbooks event called “I Make A Living!” 

Lisa Niver at the Hollywood Improv Feb 2018

New Articles:

Wharton Magazine: Shark Tank Star’s Secrets to Business Success

Robb Report:  5 Sky-High Heli-Skiing Adventures

Find all my article links on my LisaNiver website.

WHERE CAN YOU FIND MY TRAVEL VIDEOS?

Here are links to my video channels on YouTubeAmazon Fire Tv, and Roku Player. My total video views across all platforms is now over 1,676,919 (1.6M)! ! Thank you for your support! What should I do to celebrate when I get to 2MILLION views?

Recent videos:

Lisa Niver at Travel Adventure Show 2018Video #755: Sky Diving for my birthday with GoJump Oceanside!

Video #762: How Do You Create Freedom On The Mountain?

Video #763: Five Star Luxury Dreams Come True in Vegas!

Video# 764:  From City Slicker to Cow Girl at Tanque Verde Dude Ranch

Video #765: What will you see at the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show?

 

My fortune cookies said “Success will come with patience!”  and Start believing in your dreams and others will catch the fever.”

Thank you for your support. Lisa

Discover more on my social media accounts:  InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestYouTube, and at LisaNiver.com. My social media following is now over 90,000 and I am verified on both Twitter and Facebook.

Who is #9 on the TOP 1000 Travel Blogs? We Said GO Travel

TRAVEL PHOTO AWARD:

We are now publishing the entries from our Travel Photo award! After all the entries are published, we will announce the winners. This will take several months. Thank you to everyone who participated and to our judges, Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere and Jeana from Surf and Sunshine. We hope you will submit a photo in our next award.

Want to make your own video? Use code WESAIDGO10 for 10% on your project. Lisa loves working with EpicMakers and they were a sponsor for our first Travel Photo Award.

TRAVEL WRITING AWARD: 

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our 13 We Said Go Travel Competitions! Find the winners for all of them here. We hope you will participate in our 2018 Awards.

 

Lisa Niver at Hollywood Improv with Freshbooks #IMakeALiving

First seen on We Said Go Travel

Seduced by the Light of Los Angeles

Photo from Pexels

In a magnificent, glassed corner office I visited on my trip to L.A. last week, I watched the setting sun create layers of golden, coral and magenta light. The delicate, ethereal light felt close and intimate, as if I was surrounded by thousands of radiant Shabbat candles.

In New York City, my home, one is lucky to catch a glimpse of sunlight in winter. Indeed, long stretches of Manhattan streets often are devoid of light and cellphone service. The quiet beauty of the elegant townhouses can compensate for the lack of natural light during the winter months — but only for so long.

It traditionally has been believed that greatness comes from struggle, that pushing against challenges and restraints helps an artist or thinker to master their craft. The Torah defines a righteous person not as someone who has succeeded but as someone who has persevered. “A righteous man falls down seven times and gets up,” wrote King Solomon in Proverbs. L’fum tzara agra — according to the effort is the reward, says Rabbi Ben Hei Hei in “Ethics of the Fathers.”

The same has been said about the weather — that parts of the world where sun and warmth reign year-round tend to be less creative than those that wind through the seasons.

There is logic to this theory. Both truth and beauty wrestle with darkness and light — one needs to be able to feel the darkness to create the light.

But my trip to Los Angeles made me less sure whether that perspective should be interpreted so literally.

The light of L.A. is layered and imperfect, just as we are. Let it seduce you and inspire you.

Each morning the brilliant sunshine nearly burst into my hotel room, intent on energizing whatever it touched with its rays. No doubt the seduction of sunlight induces some people to create nothing more than cozy settings on the beach, or to run and rollerblade in pursuit of physical perfection.

But L.A.’s light isn’t vacuous. It’s steeped with all the essential attributes of the universe. Or at least that’s how it felt to me.

I left New York City on a snowy, dark morning and returned on a rainy, dark night. Yes, living through winters here is a rather immersive, dark experience — one that has spawned thousands of richly drawn poems and paintings.

But if one doesn’t have the luxury of hibernating in a candlelit room for five months, the cold, the wind, the harshness all become stressors, deflators. Sure, one can use the opportunity to rummage through one’s soul, to peel away layers of inauthenticity and find the melancholy of a world that often appears insane.

But that is not the whole truth. Darkness needs to be entwined with light, with hope.

The distinctive, dreamy haze of Los Angeles’ light gave life to the movie industry and continues to define the city in art and literature. And yes, ironically, the air pollution lends the light a particular shimmer.

And so I say to you lucky residents of Los Angeles: Engage with this multifaceted, often mysterious light in ways that resonate emotionally and spiritually. Let it take you to a place where you can see and feel the complexity of the world, the controlled chaos, the particular dance of darkness and light that leads to curiosity and self-reflection.

The light of L.A. is layered and imperfect, just as we are. Let it seduce you, inspire you, infuse your world with poetry and passion, but also with the dignity of restraint. Let it lead you to the shadow of darkness, but come away with the light of wisdom.

When I returned to New York City, I brought with me a gift from the Women’s Guild of Cedars-Sinai — a blue crystal butterfly. It now sits enchantingly on my desk, attempting to impart L.A.’s scintillating light into the complicated, animated, yet ultimately gloomy NYC winter.

Every time I look at it, I think of the lyrics of my son’s favorite song: “I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky. …”

It is the light in our hearts, I will teach him, that will retain that spirit through many winters to come. Or, we can just move to L.A.


Karen Lehrman Bloch is a cultural critic and author of “The Lipstick Proviso: Women, Sex & Power in the Real World” (Doubleday).

Everyone Counts

Photo from Public Domain Pictures

Flashlight — check. Map — check. Safety rules — check. Police phone numbers — check.

Our four-person team jumped into the SUV and took off. No, we weren’t going on a wilderness trek. Our mission was to count the homeless — in Beverly Hills.

My journey through dark alleys that I didn’t know existed began when I received an email in early January from The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles asking for volunteers to join the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA), which each year conducts a three-day mission to count our homeless neighbors across Los Angeles. Knowing how many homeless people live throughout the county factors into how much funding is needed for community services. An important and sensible reason, but I was just curious — who are the homeless? Where do they sleep? Are there many children living on the streets?

As the lead agency for the regional planning body that coordinates housing and services for homeless families and individuals in Los Angeles County, LAHSA manages more than $243 million annually for programs that provide shelter, housing and services to homeless people in Los Angeles city and county.

The count has four components: a street count; a shelter/institutional count of those who are in shelters, transitional housing, hospitals and correctional facilities; a demographic survey; and a youth count of unaccompanied and unsheltered youth and young families younger than 24 years who are experiencing homelessness.

The project resonated with me as a Jew and as a retired clinical social worker who believes that each person has merit and that we are obligated to help those in need. LAHSA believes that “everyone counts.” In Judaism, we believe the same.

I signed up for the street count along with my daughter Elana and our friend Maor with no idea what to expect or where we would be assigned. I had visions — and I think hopes — of walking streets and freeway underpasses looking for and communicating with individuals and families. Instead, our team of four was assigned to — OMG — my neighborhood. My desire for adventure was unfulfilled but the anxiety that accompanied that desire diminished.

The project resonated with me as a Jew and as a retired clinical social worker.

The night began with a training session in City Hall. Looking around the room of volunteers, I was the oldest at age 73. The professional task force in front of us was impressive. Two licensed clinical social workers, police officers and para-professionals. I felt pride that our affluent community cared about the homeless. The presentation displayed great respect for the homeless — for instance, they never force or put demands on anyone to go to a shelter. They are ready to assist any person or family who is ready to accept help. We were told more than once that we shouldn’t intrude if we encounter a homeless individual or enclave. Remember, whatever it looks like, it is still their home. Respect. Human dignity. These words spoke to my humanity, my Jewish values.

And so we set out with flashlights, a map, paper and pen, and tags to wear with emergency phone numbers. Combing a 2-mile radius up and down 10 streets, 30 blocks, and 15 dark alleys; canvassing construction sites and empty lots; we were looking for the telltale signs of the homeless. We were to scrutinize collections of stuff, very large cartons, vans or cars with blankets covering the windows, shopping carts and waste materials.

Maor drove his SUV, I navigated and Elana and a young man sat in the back seat peering out the windows using their flashlights. After several hours of driving the dark alleys and streets, we spotted just one van — an old black-and-white VW van near a construction site. The windows were partially covered, stuff was inside — possibly somebody lived there. We noted this finding.

That such an organized effort took place in an upscale neighborhood impressed me. Over three nights, the 2018 greater Los Angeles homeless count drew 8,608 volunteers to 166 deployment sites, the full findings of which are yet to be tallied. The Beverly Hills effort found 15 homeless individuals, one makeshift shelter and one van.

Los Angeles is sending a message to the homeless, wherever they may live, that they all count.


Ada Horwich is active in The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and serves as a founding board member of the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

See Lisa on KTLA and at the Hollywood IMPROV

See Lisa on KTLA and at the Hollywood IMPROV

We Said Go Travel Jan 2018 NEWS:

I was thrilled to tell you in December that We Said Go Travel was read in 222 countries in 2017 and even more excited for my January NEWS!
See Lisa on KTLA and at the Hollywood IMPROV
Watch me on KTLA 11pm news TOMORROW Friday night! I will also be talking about Ogden, Utah on the news on Saturday and Monday afternoon. Check the We Said Go Travel website and social media on Monday for a link to the segment and how to enter the “Giveaway Getaway!” I loved my visit to Ogden and hope you will be the one to win the prize! Here is a link to my Napa KTLA TV segment from November.

Please come see me LIVE at the HOLLYWOOD IMPROV on Feb 21 at IMakeALiving by Freshbooks. Tickets are free but going quickly so RSVP today on eventbrite.

Lisa Niver on Feb 21 at the Hollywood Improv IMakeALiving

Find all my article links on my LisaNiver website.

Find me in these new articles:

WHERE CAN YOU FIND MY TRAVEL VIDEOS?

In January 2018, my videos were watched over 76,000 times!

Here are links to my video channels on YouTubeAmazon Fire Tv, and Roku Player. My total video views across all platforms is now over 1,600,000 (1.6M)! ! Thank you for your support! What should I do to celebrate when I get to 2MILLION views?

Recent videos:

Sunset at Tanque Verde Dude Ranch

Sunset at Tanque Verde Dude Ranch

Video #755: Sky Diving for my birthday with GoJump Oceanside!

Video #762: How Do You Create Freedom On The Mountain?

Video #763: Five Star Luxury Dreams Come True in Vegas!

Video# 764:  From City Slicker to Cow Girl at Tanque Verde Dude Ranch

 

TRAVEL PHOTO AWARD:

We are now publishing the entries from our Travel Photo award! After all the entries are published, we will announce the winners. This will take several months. Thank you to everyone who participated and to our judges, Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere and Jeana from Surf and Sunshine. We hope you will submit a photo in our next award.

Want to make your own video? Use code WESAIDGO10 for 10% on your project. Lisa loves working with EpicMakers and they were a sponsor for our first Travel Photo Award.

TRAVEL WRITING AWARD: 

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our 13 We Said Go Travel Competitions! Find the winners for all of them here. We hope you will participate in our 2018 Awards.

 I was lucky to meet Daymond John in person at his book talk at Live Talks Los Angeles and learn about his new book, Rise and Grind. Remember to make goals and take the steps to make your dreams come TRUE!

Lisa Niver and Daymond John

Lisa Niver and Daymond John

My fortune cookies said “Nothing in the world is accomplished without passion!”  and “Good Opportunities ahead— set your mind to grasp the next.”

Thank you for your support. Lisa

Discover more on my social media accounts:  InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestYouTube, and at LisaNiver.com. My social media following is now over 85,000 and I am verified on both Twitter and Facebook.

Watch Lisa on KTLA TV about Ogden!

Key Facts About the Salvador Castro Shooting

Screenshot from Twitter

Two students at Salvador Castro Middle School in the Westlake area were shot at around 8:53 a.m. on Thursday while in a classroom, according to various news reports.

Neither student has been publicly identified, but they’re both 15 years old; one is a boy and the other is girl. The girl is in fair condition after being shot in the wrist while the boy is in serious condition after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. Three others, a woman, boy and girl, were also hospitalized for minor injuries, although none of them suffered from gunshot wounds.

A 12-year-old girl, also a student at the school, has been taken into custody as a suspect and a gun was found at the scene of the crime. No motive has yet been determined.

An image was taken of a girl being escorted from the campus in handcuffs, but it is not known if this is the same girl who was taken into custody.

The school was put into lockdown following the shooting but it has since been declared safe and classes will be still be held for the rest of the day.

“Our campus, while it’s on lockdown, is safe,” Los Angeles School Police Department Chief Steven Zipperman told CNN. “There is no more safety threat to the students of this school.”

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Vivian Ekchian told reporters she was “incredibly saddened by the fact that it happened.”

“We remain committed to our students and communities,” said Ekchian. “We will address this issue both in terms of real time mental health support and any other type of support that is necessary for our students to be back and learning.”

In the same press conference, LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia thanked the first responders and said that everyone was “troubled” by the shooting.

“We must remember that healing is possible and there are many resources here across the district and the city to help our young people and their families,” said Garcia.

IMAGE OF THE WEEK: Natalie Portman Speaks Out at the Women’s March

Natalie Portman speaks at The Women's March Photo courtesy of WENN.com

Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman speaks at the Women’s March in Los Angeles on Jan. 20. It’s estimated that more than 1 million women and men took to the streets in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and other cities. The marches — which followed the recent groundswell of allegations of sexual harassment by men in prominent entertainment, business and political positions that spawned the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements — were held a year after the first Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Actresses Eva Longoria (far left), Viola Davis, Alfre Woodard, Scarlett Johansson and Constance Wu also spoke at the Los Angeles rally.

Empowering Student Activism

Sharren Haskel. Photo by Christina Mia Morales

Empowering high school and college students to fight anti-Semitism, combat the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and be pro-Israel activists is part of the lifeblood that is StandWithUS (SWU), the pro-Israel advocacy group.

It was also the main thrust of SWU’s Israel in Focus International Conference on Jan. 20-22 at the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport, which drew 550 attendees.

“You are part of a big experiment,” SWU co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein told the 350 students who attended, noting that this was the first year the organization had decided to combine its high school, college and BDS conferences under one roof.

Multiple sessions were held over the three-day conference, but journalists were barred from the strategy sessions. An SWU representative said this was done to allow attendees to speak freely and exchange ideas without the fear of their conversations appearing in the media.

While there were sessions geared specifically to students, there were plenty of opportunities for young people to mingle with other attendees. Harnessing that youthful energy has been a key to SWU’s growth since its inception in 2001. The organization has opened 18 offices worldwide and Rothstein has twice been named by The Jerusalem Post as one of the most influential Jews in the world.

“This is all of you, experiencing Israel, knowing the facts, knowing the truth and bringing them to your communities.” — Sharren Haskel

Many of the speakers at the conference were young and dynamic. The opening night plenary guest was Sharren Haskel, the 33-year old Likud Knesset member who sits on Israel’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Haskel brought the room to its feet with her impassioned, nearly 30-minute speech in which she claimed that attacks on Israel are “really about anti-Semitism. Israel is just the excuse.”

Haskel spoke of how the Palestinians and their anti-Israel supporters are using a three-pronged plan to delegitimize Israel by attacking the country’s economy, history and reputation. She decried people who call Israel an apartheid and racist state, saying many are “uneducated people who have never been to the Middle East. The only way we can survive in this difficult region is by having strong allies, having communities standing together.”

Haskel said that while Israel sends its most “important and influential delegations to travel the world,” they are often seen as government agents spreading propaganda. “That’s why organizations like StandWithUs are so important,” she said. “This is all of you, experiencing Israel, knowing the facts, knowing the truth and bringing them to your communities, to your neighbors, to your school buddies. This is how you really fight this war. You [students] are holding this front.”

While asking students to stand on the front lines for Israel on campuses may seem a daunting task, SWU has programs for high school and college interns that help prepare them. A panel featuring a few of those interns highlighted just how powerful their voices can be.

Noga Even of Yavneh Academy in Dallas said that, after speaking on a panel about the Israeli army, she was approached by a woman who admitted knowing nothing about the army but who had a daughter Even’s age. “I told her, ‘Imagine if you lived in Israel now, your daughter would be drafted into the Israeli Defense forces,” Even said. “They defend a land about the size of New Jersey with boys and girls our age.” Even said the woman’s jaw dropped and she wanted to know how she could learn more about Israel and get involved in speaking up on its behalf.

Zoe Kurtz of Forsyth Country Day School in North Carolina said the most meaningful program she worked on was organizing a speaking date at her school for a young Arab-Israeli man. “He spoke about how he was taught to hate Israelis, but when he got a job in Tel Aviv and worked with Israelis, he realized what he had been taught was propaganda,” Kurtz said. Today, she said, he travels the world talking about what Israel is really like, “and how education is the pathway to peace between Arabs and Jews.”

The keynote speaker at the closing night ceremony was Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the president of Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center who has been at the forefront of the legal fight against terrorism in Israel. She spoke about how social media — and Facebook in particular — is now being used as a weapon to incite Palestinian teenagers to stab Jews.

“The Israeli government tried to convince Facebook to tone down the rhetoric but they didn’t respond, so we decided to sue Facebook,” Darshan-Leitner said. Within 72 hours, 20,000 Israelis had joined the lawsuit. (“We ran the campaign on Facebook,” she quipped.) In addition to the injunction, Shurat HaDin filed a damages lawsuit against Facebook for $1 billion.

“We will not let Facebook sit in their ivory towers in Palo Alto when the blood is spilled on the streets of Jerusalem,” Darshan-Leitner said. “We get calls from terror victims on a daily basis who want to fight back, and we are dedicated to helping them. We have to fight terrorism the same way StandWithUs is fighting for the Jewish people of the State of Israel, because we don’t have any other choice.”

They’re Here, They’re Queer and the Persian Pride Fellows Want L.A. to Get Used to It

Left to right: Arya Marvazy, assistant director of JQ International; Mastaneh Moghadam, a longtime social worker for LGBTQ Persians and their family members; Joseph Harounian, an activist and founder of a West L.A. wellness center; and Orange County-based therapist Vennus Zand speak at a Dec. 17 meeting of the Persian Pride Fellows. Photo by Eitan Arom

On a bright, clear December morning, about a dozen individuals, most of them Persian Jews, gathered on plush sofas in the wood-paneled den of a large home in north Beverly Hills, hoping to start a movement.

Arya Marvazy, one of the gathering’s organizers, sat on a high stool facing the semicircle of attentive faces and introduced the event, a monthly meeting of the inaugural cohort of the JQ Persian Pride Fellowship, “a nine-month leadership, activism and training program for Iranian LGBTQ individuals and allies,” he said.

About two years after Marvazy came out as a gay man in a Facebook video that quickly went viral in his Persian-Jewish community, the 31-year-old is leading a cohort of 12 fellows, including himself and fellow organizer Amanda Maddahi. The group, whose members range in age from 20s to early 40s, includes Muslims and Jews, as well as two fellows who identify as allies rather than LGBTQ.

Marvazy said in an interview that the fellowship’s aims lie in “moving our community forward and getting the good message of queer equality out to the Persian masses,” thereby opening a conversation that the largely conservative community often prefers to leave closed.

The main components of the fellowship, according to Marvazy, an assistant director for the West Hollywood-based Jewish LGBTQ organization JQ International, include leadership and activism training sessions, panel discussions such as the Dec. 17 parlor meeting and, eventually, programs organized by fellows.

While guests picked at a bagel breakfast set out on a bar in the back of the room, Marvazy introduced the morning’s speakers: Joseph Harounian, an openly gay Persian man and founder of a West Los Angeles wellness center; Mastaneh Moghadam, a social worker who has worked with the Iranian LGBTQ community for more than a decade; and Vennus Zand, an Orange County-based therapist who discussed a qualitative study of the coming-out process for gay Persian men that she conducted after her brother came out to her.

Moghadam started the discussion, recounting the atmosphere when she first started to talk to people about LGBTQ issues in the local Persian community 15 years ago. “It was so dark and not talked about, and ‘nobody can know about it,’ ” she said. “It was such a closed conversation.”

She described how she struggled to book family members of gay and lesbian Persian youth to speak on KIRN, a local Persian-language radio station. “Everybody’s feedback to me was ‘Mastaneh, nobody will come. Mastaneh, the community isn’t ready.’ ”

Nonetheless, she persisted, and the feedback was encouraging.

“One mother who appeared on the KIRN show said to me, ‘This was so therapeutic. I wish we could do this every week.’ And I said, ‘We can,’ ”  Moghadam said.

“The idea that I can perhaps inspire someone else to see that it’s OK to be yourself and to be open makes me want
to keep going.” — Matthew Nouriel

That conversation was the seed of a long-running support group for Persian people struggling to understand a family member’s LGBTQ identity. Often, when members were reticent to return to the group, Moghadam said she reminded them, “This is more than a support group. This is a movement.”

Harounian spoke about his coming-out experience when he was in his early 30s. For years he struggled while hiding his identity from his family, frequently making excuses for why he wouldn’t date the women they set him up with. Finally, in 2000, he couldn’t do it any longer.

“I woke up one day and said, ‘Enough is enough,’” he said. “‘Life is too short. I need to start living.’”

Others in the room shared similar stories of struggling with their families’ lack of knowledge and acceptance.

Shirin Golshani, a 30-year-old occupational therapist, joined the fellowship after watching her friend, organizer Maddahi, struggle to obtain the acceptance of her family and community after coming out.

“I felt so bad that there was nothing I could do but just be there for her,” Golshani said in an interview. “And I think that this fellowship is such an amazing way of getting educated.”

Growing up in the Beverly Hills Persian community, Golshani maintained a neutral attitude on LGBTQ topics but heard people close to her express opinions ranging from indifference to distaste. While her parents remain positive about her decision to join the fellowship as an ally, she said she senses their wariness.

“I think they’re even still trying to warm up to the idea that their Persian Jewish daughter is so closely tied to this community,” she said. “And I know that in a sense they’re wondering, ‘Are people going to think she identifies as LGBTQ?’ Even though I don’t.”

Marvazy said he hopes the fellowship, which began in November, will be the template for many more cohorts to come. He said in March, which JQ International has declared its third annual Persian Pride Month, fellows will be responsible for organizing their own projects in the community.

For some, the fellowship reinforces their informal roles as mentors for younger people with similar difficulties.

Matthew Nouriel, who came out as gay at 15 after moving to L.A. from London and now performs as a drag queen, said he sometimes receives messages online from other LGBTQ Persian people seeking advice and encouragement.

Matthew Nouriel, also known as “The Empress,” dressed in drag for a JQ International event. Photo courtesy of Matthew Nouriel.

Recently, for instance, he began counseling an 18-year-old gay man in Iran who found Nouriel on Instragram, sharing tips on how to navigate coming out or staying closeted, as well as offering makeup pointers. Nouriel said he encouraged the young man to put his safety first when deciding whether to come out. He believes his mentee benefits from their talks.

“The more I put myself out there, the more I feel like those walls are being broken down, even if only a little,” Nouriel wrote in an email to the Journal. “The idea that I can perhaps inspire someone else to see that it’s OK to be yourself and to be open makes me want to keep going.”

In a way, the fellowship reverses the isolation he felt growing up gay and Persian, he wrote.

“I felt the need to retract myself from the community when I was growing up. Having this fellowship has introduced me to a whole group of people I otherwise may have never met,” he wrote, adding, “Strength in numbers!”

Who is read in 222 countries? We Said Go Travel! Dec 2017 News

December 2017 NEWS: WSGT is GLOBAL!

We Said GO Travel is read in 222 countries

 

 

We Said Go Travel has been read in 222 countries this year since January 1, 2017 as reported by Google Analytics. Please see the full list of locations at the bottom.

Lisa Niver is a Travel ExpertThank you for all of your support! It has been an exciting year with my first travel segment on KTLA TV and being the Adventure Correspondent for The Jet Set TV. I have published many articles on fantastic publications like Smithsonian, Saturday Evening Post, Delta Sky Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Sierra Club Magazine, POPSUGAR, Trivago, Ski Utah and I am in progress on two exciting articles for two major publications I have not written for before! Find all the article links on my LisaNiver website!

My social media following is now over 80,000 and I am verified on both Twitter and Facebook. My travel videos have been viewed over 1.5 million times!

In 2017, I was accepted to be part of Bixel Exchange Startup LAunch. I am learning from my new mentors and advisors as well as all the other tech entrepreneurs. Thank you to Travel Massive and Digital Nomad Mastery for the recent interviews.

I completed my project of doing 50 new and adventurous things before I turned 50. Thank you for all of your great ideas and suggestions. See my videos below for many of the challenges I undertook!

Lisa Niver is an artistThank you for your interest in my art! I was part of the Holiday Show at the Clayhouse in Santa Monica. My ceramics has its own Instagram and Facebook page.

My recently published video about the National Ability Center is one of my favorite projects. I was able to write about the ski lessons for Ski Utah, Sierra Magazine and USA Today 10best.

WHERE CAN YOU FIND MY 762 TRAVEL VIDEOS?

Here are links to my video channels on YouTubeAmazon Fire Tv, and Roku Player. I hope you enjoy my “This is What it is Like” Episodes! I now have 762 videos, 671,516 views, 1526 subscribers on YouTube AND my total video views across all platforms is now over 1,527,028+ (1.5M)! ! Thank you for your support!

Recent videos:

Ski Utah Making Magic On The MountainVideo #755: Sky Diving for my birthday with GoJump Oceanside!

Video #759: Will You Love the Kia Stinger?

Watch me in SPANISH! Kia Stinger 2018 – los periodistas opinan

Video #762: How Do You Create Freedom On The Mountain?

TRAVEL WRITING AWARD: 

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our We Said Go Travel Competitions! Find the winners for the 2017 Inspiration Award here. The entries from the 2017 Summer Independence Award have been published and the winners have been announced.  We hope you will participate in our 2018 Writing Awards.

TRAVEL PHOTO AWARD:

Our first ever Travel Photo Award is now closed! Thank you to our judges, Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere and Jeana from Surf and Sunshine. We hope you will submit a photo in our next award. We will begin sharing the entries in 2018.

Want to make your own video? Use code WESAIDGO10 for 10% on your project. Lisa loves working with EpicMakers and they were a sponsor for our first Travel Photo Award.

My fortune cookies said “Make Happiness Happen.” and “A bold and dashing adventure is in your future.  I hope that your Holiday celebrations brought you gratitude and gifts that help you make your dreams come true!

Thank you for your support. Lisa

Thank you for your ongoing support of both We Said Go Travel and me! I was so honored to share about Napa Valley for KTLA TV in Los Angeles. Did you see my segment? CLICK HERE to watch it now!

Discover more on my social media accounts:  InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestYouTube, and at LisaNiver.com

 

Where is We Said Go Travel read? Since January 1, 2017, in these 222 countries as reported by Google Analytics:

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Andorra
Angola
Anguilla
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bermuda
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Caribbean Netherlands
Cayman Islands
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Colombia
Congo – Brazzaville
Congo – Kinshasa
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Côte d’Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Curaçao
Curaçao
Cyprus
Czechia
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Gibraltar
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guam
Guatemala
Guernsey
Guinea
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jersey
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kiribati
Kosovo
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macau
Macedonia (FYROM)
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Micronesia
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar (Burma)
Namibia
Nepal
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Norfolk Island
Northern Mariana Islands
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Palau
Palestine
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Réunion
Romania
Russia
Rwanda
Samoa
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Sint Maarten
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Korea
South Sudan
Spain
Sri Lanka
St. Barthélemy
St. Helena
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Martin
St. Vincent & Grenadines
Sudan
Suriname
Svalbard & Jan Mayen
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria
Taiwan
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Timor-Leste
Togo
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Turks & Caicos Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Where to Wander? Watch Lisa Niver on KTLA 5

Find out more about Lisa Niver at We Said Go Travel!