Briefs: Kosher grasshoppers and eco-Torah


Kosher Animal Kingdom

Is giraffe kosher? What about peacock? Or bison? (What is bison anyway?) Find answers to these mysteries of the edible animal kingdom next week at the Orthodox Union’s (OU) “Halachic Adventure” in Los Angeles, which will present the traditional perspective on all different types of species. The first day of the Aug. 5-7 conference is open to the public (the other two days are for rabbis and kashrut professionals).

Sunday, Aug. 5 will begin with an all-day session at the OU (cost $15), with speakers such as Rabbi Steven Weil discussing growing up on a cattle farm and the “two Aris” — Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky and Dr. Ari Greenspan, who have devoted years to investigating which species are kosher. They hope to restore kosher status wherever possible to animals, fish and poultry that at one time might have been acceptable but whose status is now in doubt, or have been considered kosher only in a limited area.

“Kashrut is something that’s very popular,” said Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, director of community and synagogue services for the OU West Coast. “Many people are concerned with what they’re putting on their table and are interested in what animals are kosher.”

The public is also invited to a 15-course meal Sunday night at Prime Grill (cost $175), where plates of quail, red deer, bison, udder, partridge and yak will be served. For more information, call (310) 229-9000, ext. 200 or e-mail westcoast@ou.org.

— Amy Klein, Religion Editor

Torah With a Green Lens Jews have long been involved in saving the world — especially when it comes to the environment — so they should be happy to know that’s what the Torah commands. “Bring Torah Down To Earth,” a three-hour seminar, will explore the Torah-based approach to activism and ecology.

Sponsored by the Happy Minyan, a Shlomo Carlebach-style synagogue, the outdoor workshop will be led by Israeli rabbis from Yeshiva Simchat Shlomo, the Carlebach yeshiva in Jerusalem, which recently began the Eco-Activist Beit Midrash.

“We hope to become a serious center for a deep Torah ecology, connected to our ancestral land and our modern people, cultivating a cadre of rooted, informed and inspired activists to bring lights of tikkun [fixing] into our own communities and the world,” the program introduction reads. Yeshiva Simchat Shlomo (www.shlomoyeshiva.org/eco/) leads Torah ecology seminars in Israel for Birthright.

“A lot of people wouldn’t put Torah and green together in a million years,” said David Sacks, a member of the Happy Minyan. “Most people see it as a good thing to do, rather than as part of the Torah’s vision of the world — not just taking care of people in the world, but the world itself.” The seminar will take place July 29 from noon to 3 p.m. at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills.

— AK

Fight the Minotaur in the Tax Labyrinth


This past September, the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles, the Zimmer Children’s Museum and representatives of more than 70 other organizations attended a seminar for nonprofits that I conducted at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

Like many taxpayers, nonprofit organizations need guidance to comprehend the labyrinth of federal and state tax laws. With the exception of accountants and attorneys, few people absorb the millions of words that make up state and federal tax codes, including rules and regulations. In addition, many nonprofits cannot afford the expense of maintaining counsel to steer them through the thicket of tax laws.

To facilitate seminars that provide vital tax information to nonprofits, I enlist experienced speakers from various federal, state and local agencies to break down our complex tax system into easily understood component parts. At The Federation seminar, experts discussed provisions of the state and federal tax codes that apply to nonprofit organizations, as well as laws that specifically govern their activities.

A rabbi who attended the meeting was unaware that an exemption from sales tax exists for sales of meals and food products furnished or served by any religious organization at a social gathering it hosts. To his delight, the rabbi discovered that the synagogue was eligible for a refund of hundreds of dollars of sales tax reimbursement paid to several restaurants (Revenue & Taxation Code, Section 6363.5).

Marina Arevalo-Martinez, an accountant at the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, took a particular interest in raffles. She heard one presenter say that under Penal Code Section 320.5 “no eligible organization can hold a raffle unless it has registered with the [state] attorney general’s office to hold raffles.” Arevalo-Martinez also learned that an eligible organization must use at least 90 percent of all gross receipts from raffle ticket sales for charitable or beneficial purposes.

The Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic constantly looks for ways to raise money, and Arevalo-Martinez said the information will enable the agency to sponsor raffles while adhering to the letter of the law.

Federation President John Fishel said, “The seminar provided the staff of The Jewish Federation and the staff of our affiliated agencies with vital information on reporting and compliance.”

But the reality is that in today’s fast-paced environment not every nonprofit organization or charitable contributor has the time to attend a seminar. With this in mind, here are some tax tips from the Board of Equalization and the Franchise Tax Board you might find useful.

Franchise and Income Tax Tips for Donors

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• Confirm that the recipient of your gift is a valid charity before you give. You can do so by looking up the charity on the IRS Web site (” target=”_blank”>www.boe.ca.gov, which features sales and tax rates by county, frequently asked questions, a list of publications, and an online tutorial for sales and use tax.

John Chiang is chair of the California State Board of Equalization and member of the Franchise Tax Board.

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Adult Education


 

Upcoming Teachers Seminar Features Top Holocaust Experts

The city’s top names in Holocaust education have teamed up to sponsor a four-part seminar on “The Relevance of Teaching the Holocaust in the 21st Century,” aimed at moving Holocaust education into an era when relying on survivor testimony will no longer be feasible.

Sponsored by The Anti-Defamation League (ADL); The Center for Excellence on the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights and Tolerance; the Museum of Tolerance and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the seminar sis designed for middle and high school teachers but is open to anyone interested in the topic.

The four sessions, held on consecutive Sundays, 4-8 p.m., starting Jan. 27, will trace the path of the Holocaust beginning with forced emigration through to the camps. Session three will focus on resistance and rescue, while session four will deal with “Translation into the Classroom and Contemporary Challenges.”

Professors from local universities, education experts and Holocaust experts will lead the sessions, which will take place at the Museum of Tolerance and ADL headquarters.

The $60 fee ($70 after Jan. 13) covers all sessions, kosher dinner and $20 worth of classroom materials. The seminars qualify for LAUSD salary points and Bureau of Jewish Education credit. For more information, contact Jackie Louk at ADL, (310) 446-8000, ext. 232 or e-mail jlouk@adl.org. Advance registration is required and space is limited.

Learning Group Holds Next Retreat in Maui

Kol Echad calls itself a learning community without borders, and it means it in every sense. The first event for the group based in Charlotte, N.C., was on the topic of comparative Judaism, led via conference call by a post-denominational rabbi in Austin, Texas.

That spirit continues with the second annual Maui retreat, taking place Feb. 21-26.

Topics include Jewish mysticism, women in the Jewish tradition, and an experiential class where Torah and Maui will be fused. Educator Gavriel Meir-Levi will teach the book of Jonah on a private whale-watching excursion, study the Mount Sinai experience atop Mount Haleakala and contemplate a return to Eden in the Iao Valley.

Kosher provisions are available.

For pricing information and for more details, go to www.kolechad.org.

West Valley Synagogues Ready for Winter Kallah

Saturday may come but once a week, but this is the Year of Shabbat for the West Valley. Starting in September, local synagogues of all denominations began to receive a monthly newsletter and take part both in shulwide and communitywide activities centering on a specific theme relating to Shabbat. Coordinated by the Rabbinic Task Force of the Jewish Federation West Valley Alliance, the program has gotten off to a strong start.

January’s theme is holiness, and that will be the focus of the Winter Kallah, or study retreat, held on three consecutive Monday evenings.

Participants will come together to explore the elusive concept of holiness through studying sacred texts, interacting with rabbis and engaging in activities to better understand and live a life of holiness.

The Annual Winter Kallah will take place at Congregation Or Ami, 26115 Mureau Road, Suite B in Calabasas, Mondays, Jan. 10, 17 and 24, 7:30-9:30 p.m. For more information call (818) 880-4880 or visit www.yearofshabbat.org.

Lunch (or Dinner) and Learn

The Jewish Studies Institute offers a range of classes at varying levels for those interested in learning about Judaism.

Tuesdays and Thursdays bring Lunch and Learn, with biblical Hebrew for beginners (11 a.m.) and advanced (12 p.m.) on Tuesdays, and an introduction to kabbalah class taught by Rabbi Ari Hier on Thursdays at noon. Classes are $8 and include a light kosher lunch.

If doing lunch doesn’t work for you, Talmud for Dummies is the fare for Monday evenings at 7 p.m., also taught by Hier. All programs are for men and women.

For more information and class locations, call (310) 772-2467.

 

Students Spread Light in Ukraine


Osik Akselrud got a little help from his friends in staging a recent workshop designed to teach students to teach others about the history and traditions of Chanukah.

That’s because the head of the Hillel office responsible for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova was able to use, as instructors and assistants, students who’d already completed the first two installments of the program.

"We had two instructors from Hillel in Israel, as well as the Hillel students who’d gone through the first and second generations of seminars — and they know everything," he said. "I say, ‘Hey, you guys have become professional Jews.’"

About 140 students took part in the weeklong workshop that wrapped up Nov. 10.

They came by train to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev from cities across the country — Lvov, Odessa, Kharkov, Simferopol and Sevastopol — as well as from Minsk, Belarus, and Kishinev, Moldova. And it’s to those regional Hillel centers they’ll return to pass along what they’ve learned to their fellow Hillel members and then out to Jews in communities across the three countries.

Speaking at Kiev’s Sunflower Community Center after the seminar, Akselrud said such education is sorely needed. He said that despite the efforts of the past decade, following the break up of the Soviet Union, more time is required to make up for the 70 years of suppression that succeeded in alienating most Jews from their culture and religion.

"Only about 15 percent of Jews are involved in Jewish community programs," he said. "Sunflower has about 400 or 500 regular visitors, but there are between 80,000 and 100,000 Jews living in Kiev."

Hillel is banking on a combination of education and outreach to increase those numbers. It is using a hands-on approach to education to get the message across.

The Chanukah seminar opened in a traditional way, with a song performed by instructors from each regional Hillel office. That was followed by presentations by the regional groups — through songs, dances or performances.

First-time participants were taught the Chanukah and Israeli songs that would be sung together throughout the week. The following days followed a similar pattern — a combination of learning and fun.

"Our seminars are not only religious but also holiday-oriented for people who’ve lost their traditions," said Yulia Belilovska, the seminar’s coordinator. "The idea is to provide the education and, after that, if some want to go to synagogue, they can."

In a novel approach to learning about Chanukah, Hillel also arranged public relations and advertising training for the students. Belilovska explained that the idea was to get the students thinking about imaginative ways to present the meaning and traditions of Chanukah and how to attract community members to attend workshops on the topic. Half the group focused on video presentations, and the other half on dramatic presentations.

"One group presented a commercial containing ‘positive and negative PR,’" Belilovska said. "One girl explained that candles should be lit during Chanukah because they’re beautiful, amazing, a miracle and a good tradition, while one boy countered by saying, ‘Yes, but on Chanukah there are a lot of house fires.’" The positive argument won the day.

Dennis Bainkovsky said he felt like a winner, too. The 21-year-old economics student at the International Solomon University in Kiev was attending his third Chanukah seminar but serving as an instructor for the first time. He said he enjoyed the opportunity to teach others who’d taught him previously.

"The most important part of the seminar for me was acting as a madrich. I felt like a leader," he said, using the Hebrew word for guide or counselor. "I was helping teach some students who’d taught me at other seminars in the past — and while that was difficult, I was ready, and it worked out well."

His schoolmate at Solomon University, 19-year-old Yevgenia Soloviyova, was also attending her third Chanukah seminar. But her experience of Chanukah goes well beyond that, since she also grew up as an active Jew in her native city of Khmelnitski.

She said she enjoyed the opportunity to share her knowledge with the approximately 70 percent of the seminar participants who were learning the details of Chanukah for the first time. She said it was interesting to compare and contrast the styles and attitudes of various Hillel members.

"The Hillel organizations are a little different and have different feelings of spirit," she said. "For example, the group from Kishinev seemed to be a little more religious," while in "Kiev, we have our own place and maybe consider ourselves to be a little more independent."

But with completion of the seminar, it will be up to the participants to pass on what they’ve learned. That is done with workshops within their regional Hillel organizations. Then with the start of Chanukah, they fan out to communities in their regions and beyond.

Members of the Kiev Hillel, for instance, will travel to Hesed community centers around the region, including the city of Zhitomir, before heading farther west to major centers like Ivano-Frankivsk.

"It can be challenging when you’ve got a mixed group of older people and children and have to find a way to keep them all interested and entertained," Soloviyova said. "But sometimes, it’s great where there are older people who remember what Chanukah was like during their childhood and want to tell you about it."

Soloviyova said enlightenment can also work both ways — as was the case when Kiev Hillel traveled to the western border city of Uzhgorod last year.

"We met a group of younger people who were telling us that life wasn’t very interesting for them, because they didn’t know what kinds of things they could do together in their community," she said. "So, of course, we told them all about what we do in Hillel and the programs we’re involved in."

It is just such interaction, education and growth that Akselrud said the Chanukah seminar was designed to encourage. He said that makes the efforts and the $20,000 cost of the initiative — funded in part by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee — worth it.

"For me, the most important part of the seminar was that I saw many, many new faces," he said. "And that means more students involved in Jewish life — and more potential."

Emergency Meeting


Experts from Turkey, Uzbekistan and Los Angeles converged in Tel Aviv last month to trade disaster response strategies with Israelis. United by a shared history of disasters — natural and man-made — specialists in the forefront of emergency care attended the week-long International Seminar on Emergency Situations — organized by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The event was held at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.

Indeed, many emergency care workers believe that Los Angeles — perhaps the most accident prone city since Pompeii with fires, floods, riots, shootings and earthquakes — could always use some pointers on disaster preparedness and response.

“The Israelis really know how to get people back on their feet and into society,” said Ellis Stanley, Director of Los Angeles’ Emergency Preparedness Division and conference participant. He added that Angelenos should note the manner in which Israeli civilians become “part of a response” to an emergency, i.e., the way they are trained from childhood to deal with the potential for disaster and identify potential bombs in unattended bags and packages.

City officials from Tel Aviv shared the methods they employed during the 1991 Gulf War when Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles into Tel Aviv.

Israelis expressed interest in adopting a post-disaster trauma program developed by Yanki Yazgan, head of the Psychiatry Department at Turkey’s University of Marmara, to help children cope with catastrophe through artistic expression. At the conference, Yazgan told his fellow specialists that in the wake of the August quake that claimed 17,000 lives in the Izmit region, more than half of the surviving children suffered from some type of trauma.

The conference also included a tour of Ichilov Hospital’s facilities, equipped for gas attacks — an emergency situation in which Israeli expertise is unparalleled.

Said Prof. Natti Laor, director of Tel Aviv Mental Health Center, “In Israel, we are very good at being altruistic and creative. But goodwill is not enough. We must internalize our experiences into the legal system and have standards like we do for chlorine or cholesterol.”

Among the delegates who traveled to Tel Aviv for the conference:

*From Los Angeles — Bil Butler and Constance Perett, Office of Emergency Management, County of Los Angeles; Commander Mark Leap, L.A.P.D.; Deputy Chief John Callahan, L.A.F.D.; and Fredi Rembaum, Overseas Director, Jewish Federation of Los Angeles.

*From Washington, D.C. — Dr. George Buck, consultant to the Federal Government and the City of Los Angeles; and Cindy Larson, Department of Justice, Office of Victim Assistance.

Honor Bestowed


Joel Grishaver, everybody’s favorite hip Jewish uncle, had been up half the night, schmoozing with a rabbi’s son who was visiting from England. So when Grishaver answered the phone at 6:30 a.m., he was hardly prepared for the voice that said, “You and I have a date for lunch in Washington on Sept. 15. You’ve just won the Covenant Award.”

Once the words sank in, Grishaver realized that he’d been given a high honor. The Covenant Foundation, a national group dedicated to the betterment of Jewish education, hands out three awards annually to community leaders, synagogue educators and others who have made a significant impact.

Grishaver thinks he qualified primarily because of the 25 weekends a year he spends on the road, presenting seminars and Shabbatons. In such unlikely outposts as Odessa, Texas, Altoona, Pa., and Fargo, N.D., Grishaver has brought his own puckish slant on Jewish values and the joys of Jewish study to learners of all ages.

The Covenant Award is more than a fancy plaque. Grishaver will receive what he calls “a nice chunk of change”: a $20,000 cash award. In addition, a check for $5,000 goes to the institution with which each winner is affiliated; since Grishaver has long been a freelancer, he plans to combine this sum with $5,000 of his personal award and create a special endowment. He’ll dip into this fund for annual scholarships, enabling the teens who contribute to his weekly electronic newsletters, Bim Bam and C.Ha, to make trips to Israel and spend their summers at Jewish camps.

Grishaver created Bim Bam (for high school students) and C.Ha (geared toward youngsters in grades five through seven) to give young people the opportunity to debate Jewish topics with their peers. Thanks to the Internet, the newsletters allow youngsters from across North America to exchange views with their counterparts elsewhere. (There have been participants from Israel, France, New Zealand and even Cuba.)

Recently, in C.Ha, a battle has raged over a newly issued Superman comic book, which features the Warsaw Ghetto uprising but makes no mention of Jews. Meanwhile, Bim Bam readers have been mulling over a new Midwestern fad: ID bracelets with the initials WWJD, which stand for “What would Jesus do?”

Though both newsletters also feature staff-written essays and a summary of the weekly Torah portion, their focus is always on what Grishaver calls “the kind of things real Jewish kids talk about in real life.”

Teens who want to join the debate are welcome to e-mail Grishaver at gris@torahaura.com.

Yeasty Mix at UJA Conference


It was a moment that almost perfectly defined thisweek’s United Jewish Appeal young leadership conference inWashington. In one section of the vast Washington Hilton ballroom,hundreds of young Jews were intently listening as special U.S. peaceenvoy Dennis Ross and Israeli Ambassador Eliahu Ben-Elissar gavesharply differing views of the current Israeli-Palestinianstalemate.

But just a few feet away, in an equally crowdedarea of the partitioned hall, Rabbi Debra Orenstein, leader of asynagogue on Long Island, exhorted listeners to find “spiritualepiphanies” in the mundane, and Rabbi Lawrence Kushner led the crowdin stretching exercises before exhorting them to work actively tobring more spirituality and meaning into their lives.

“The Kabbalists tell us, if your back hurts, it’sno fun learning anything,” he said.

That mix — everything from sessions on raisingJewish children to a rousing campaign-style speech by Vice PresidentAl Gore — represented the “yin and yang of this conference: Israel,and the connection people feel to the Jewish state on one hand, andthe personal quest for a more Jewish life on the other,” according toone young-leadership veteran.

Longtime observers described a continued shift inemphasis to a range of self-improvement interests, from Jewishspirituality to advice-column pop psychology, and, at the same time,a renewal of interest in Israel, which they say had been dwindling atrecent UJA conventions.

“There is a real interest in making personalconnections to Israel that I think has surprised some people,” saidRabbi Daniel Allen, executive director of the United Israel Appeal.”And the issues of Jewish spirituality and Israel are connected here;people are looking for a way to energize their relationship withIsrael in a very personal way.”

That craving, he said, transcends politics, and itdefies the conventional wisdom that the pluralism controversy isturning Jews away from Israel in droves.

“This conference gives people a chance to focus onanything that may spark their interest in anything Jewish,” said RonKlein, a conference co-chair. “It really gives people a sense of theunparalleled freedom and opportunity we are fortunate to have asAmerican Jews.”

Klein, a veteran of five previous conferences,said this year’s event was different because, “in the past, there wasalways an issue of imminent danger to focus on. This year, we facethe challenge of motivating people and raising their consciousnesswithout overwhelming crisis.”

The result is a shifting focus “to our corevalues, to what makes us different as a people,” he said.

UJA young leadership gatherings are always ayeasty mix — part singles weekend, part spiritual smorgasborddesigned to draw the young and the detached back to a more personalJudaism, part political-action seminar for tomorrow’s leaders.

And the glitzy Washington event, in particular, isdesigned to inculcate the habit of lifelong giving. Participants arestroked and coddled and told how important they are — not aninaccurate assessment in a Jewish world whose philanthropicstructures are threatened by assimilation and epidemic apathy.

“This year, people are talking about money again,”Rabbi Allen said. “For a few years, it was taboo, but now we’re goingback to UJA basics; there are sessions on how to raise money, how tosolicit. Fund raising isn’t a dirty word to this generation. That, inmy view, is very healthy for the Jewish community.”

This year’s conference represented a continuationof the recent trend to more spiritual content.

“People asked for more spirituality and Judaism,”said Baltimoran Howard Friedman, program chair. “Every year, we’veseen a greater interest in these kinds of programs, and we’veresponded.”

At the same time, he said, the conference’sstanding as a premier singles event has grown. “The conference hasbecome more of an attraction for Jewish singles, which is wonderful;it’s the best possible setting for Jewish people to meet.”

UJA officials estimate that a little more thanhalf of the 3,000 participants are single.

In a keynote speech that could serve as a summaryof the convention’s underlying theme, Rabbi Donniel Hartman,associate director of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem,called on delegates to find new ways to identify with Judaism andJewish tradition.

“I am not in love with my Judaism because of thehatred of others; I need to find my own connection, a connection thatgives me meaning,” he said.

He urged the audience to create a “covenant ofmeaning. If you’re looking for God and you’re looking forspirituality and you don’t find it in your synagogue, don’t leave;join your rabbi and your ritual committee and change your shul. It’sin your power to demand something more of Judaism.”

But, in another example of the intriguingjuxtaposition of styles that characterized the conference, he wasfollowed by comedienne Rita Rudner, who described her own Jewish pastin comic terms — including her family’s membership in “the BethIsrael Temple and Yacht Club. It was a very fancy temple; we used toread from the Torah in French.”

The best-attended session on Sunday — as UJAofficials predicted — was a singles event featuring Jeffrey Zaslow,a syndicated advice columnist who offered advice on “the art andscience of ending your status as a Jewish single.”

But there were a host of smaller workshops onmeatier spiritual topics, including an overcrowded session withwriter and talk-show host Dennis Prager, who spoke on finding theholy in the mundane.

UJA officials tried to downplay interest in thepluralism controversy, but sessions on the subject were among thebest-attended at the conference. But unlike other venues, there waslittle rancor.

“The religious pluralism issue in Israel is amajor driving force for many people here,” said Alan Gallatin, a NewYork tax consultant and young leadership veteran. “Many people hereare anxious to learn what is being said about it and what thedifferent viewpoints are. They know it’s a big issue, but they don’tnecessarily understand what the issues are. So they’re here tolearn.”

Film School in Two Days


Film School in Two Days

In one weekend instead of four years, Dov S-S Simensteaches future Hollywood hyphenators how to make their movies anddeals

By William Yelles, Calendar Editor

Dov S-S Simens teaches students the basics offilmmaking and marketing at his weekend seminar, below.

Chances are, like most people, you’ve got an ideafor a blockbuster motion picture playing in your head. The troubleis, you don’t even know how to buy film. That’s where Dov S-S Simenssteps in.

“Ideas are like cancer,” he says during another ofhis sold-out seminars at a Hollywood soundstage. They will keepeating away at you unless you act on them.”Only beginners who nevercome close to beginning keep masturbating on ideas.”

The blunt outlook and in-your-face language isexactly what aspiring film hyphenators have come here for. Simens’film-school crash course crams in everything he thinks his studentswill need to know about movie and deal making, distilling four yearsworth of most training programs into a single weekend.

It is an offering of the Hollywood Film Institute,which Simens founded six years ago, after his no-nonsense approach tohow to make a feature film won him fans at seminars from New York toHawaii. Then, teaching was only a part-time gig, in between lineproducer duties for the master of schlock-on-a-budget, Roger Corman.”I stumbled into it, first as a business,” he says. “Then I realizedhow much I love teaching, and that there was nobody with streetexperience doing it.”

Among Simens’ experiences before moving toHollywood 15 years ago was his service as an officer in the GreenBerets during the height of the Vietnam War. “It prepared me how tobe assertive, aggressive, how to go for it.”

Alumni of his Industry assertiveness traininginclude a who’s who of independent cinema: Quentin Tarantino, SpikeLee, Ed Burns of “Brothers McMullen” fame, Kevin Smith (“Clerks,””Chasing Amy”), Robert Rodriguez, and Mark Archer, producer of lastyear’s indie favorite, “In the Company of Men,” just to name afew.

Day 1 of the seminar consists of how to actuallymake the movie, from buying the film stock through shooting andediting, to a final print. Simens teaches that this can be done in nomore than 38 steps, each stage requiring a check to be written. “I’mtalking to you about making films, but doing it from the Jewish pointof view: writing checks,” he says, tongue firmly in cheek.

But, first, he must teach his students that Mr.Hotshot Executive isn’t waiting for them to rescue his studio. “Weare not a filmmaking industry, but a film-marketing industry,” heinstructs, noting that advertising and promotion usually cost two tofive times as much as a film’s actual production.

Nine hours later, he has taught everything fromdolly manufacturers to the five most important types of productioninsurance. Bright and early the next morning, everyone will