The Hebrascope: Signs of the Jewdiac


(February 19-March 20)
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Josh Groban

There’s a study that shows that lab rats don’t get as stressed from being shocked as they do from not knowing when the shocks will come. Put that rat on a regular shocking schedule, and it doesn’t freak out. How does this apply to the human Pisces? Some of your anxiety right now comes from a simple lack of knowledge. Get more information. The more you know, the less you will suffer from the fear of how and when that shock will arrive. This week, make a special effort to befriend casual business contacts. A stream of new work may be coming your way, and you never know whose friendship will yield rewards.

(March 21-April 20)
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Matthew Broderick

That whole “pay it forward” thing is pretty easy, as far as good deeds go. If someone is prompt, warm or even excellent in a service they provide, it’s all about referrals. Your generosity will come back to you. Aries employees may face a heavy workload this week to due the absence or illness of a co-worker. Still, if you start a project this week, it’s likely to come to fruition. Here’s the bad news: Mercury turns retrograde until March 25. That means details regarding travel, mail and technology may become frustrating. What’s an Aries to do? Back up all computer files and dip into your reserves of patience.



(April 21-May 20)
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Barbra Streisand

Business and pleasure – two great tastes that don’t always taste great together – may combine this week as someone from your social circle introduces a business proposition. The catch is that dastardly “hidden agenda” friends can have. You can’t play “hide and seek” with someone else’s agenda, but you can gently suggest that all parties show their cards and express their real desires. If you have any important messages to send, do so before Thursday. Be certain to be very clear in your communications; that funny, sarcastic e-mail that sounds hilarious in your head may be misunderstood.

(May 21 – June 20)
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Barry Levinson

Information you are getting this week is just a lot of blah blah blah until you confirm and clarify what you are hearing. Someone may be using verbal skills to manipulate your mind. Here’s where you throw down with your research skills and separate fact from fictions. Unattached Gemini may want to attend a social function with work colleagues. While it may not be the best idea for you to “dip your quill in the company ink,” don’t rule out the possibility of a co-worker bringing along a cute and appropriate-to-date friend.

(June 21-July 20)
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Sydney Pollack

Intuition has many faces. Sometimes it’s a gut feeling, or a voice whispering in your head (not the kind that happens when you forget your meds), or a nagging thought. Sometimes, intuition is just a flash. However it shows itself, this is not the week to second-guess it but to act on it. Whatever feels right is right. It’s that simple. In career matters, this is a week to embrace the old cliché about “it’s not what you know but who you know.” Information gathered privately from inside sources will help you make bold moves in your career. Who do you press for information? It’s gut check time.

(July 21 – August 21)
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Monica Lewinsky

Money may not be the root of all evil, but it is certainly the root of many a trivial argument. This week, you may find yourself at odds with a personal or professional partner about just how the cash is getting doled out. Fortunately, when it comes to dealing with banks, creditors or outstanding debts, this is an excellent week for these kinds of financial dealings. Also, this week may find you daydreaming more than usual. One second you’re getting on the freeway, the next, you’re already at your exit and have no idea how you got there. Harness your daydreams; they are filled with creative ideas. And try not to get too lost.

(August 22-September 22)
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Adam Sandler

Any Virgo who is studying, learning or composing simply must have privacy. Annoying roommates? Get away from them, sling the laptop in a bag and get to a coffee shop. If the family is around, hole away in a separate room for a couple of hours and get the alone time you need to focus. As for your emotional life, think of it this way. Why do athletes stretch before a big game or event? So they don’t break. Flexibility is key to your emotional health this week. Bend, stretch and don’t jump into an emotional situation ice cold. You don’t want to pull a mental hamstring and end up on the injured list. 

(September 23-October 22)
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Michael Douglas

Going to the gym and starting a fancy new workout regime in January is for suckers; that’s when everyone is trying to act on their secular New Year’s resolutions and the line for the treadmill is worse than the IKEA checkout line on a Saturday afternoon. Good thing for Libra, now is the time to start a routine with the stars supporting your efforts. Normally indecisive Libra may have a more difficult time making decisions. Should you have the mint chip or the rocky road? It all seems so critical and hard to maneuver. Just remember, all the flavors taste good – not to mention giving you extra encouragement to stick to your new workout plan.

(October 23-November 22)
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Jonas Salk

Welcome to a cosmic carnival of amusements. This week will be a delight for the senses, some cotton candy, a few rides and lots of pinball in your brain. There’s nothing to do but enjoy the frenetic energy and all the bright lights and colors. Oh, there is one thing to do: start up a romantic affair. If you’re in a relationship, this is a good time to win her a stuffed animal or buy him a stupid t-shirt. Basically, anyone you love or would like to love into your world, invite them to your carnival and show them a good time. If it’s unexpected or bizarre, embrace it.

(November 23-December 20)
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Harpo Marx

Watch out for savvy salespeople. You know the type; they tell you to get the timing belt changed when you just needed an oil change. They encourage you to buy the foundation primer when all you needed was the $10 makeup sponge. You may be especially susceptible to buying things you don’t need. Do not be “upsold.” This is also a good time to watch your money in other ways. Keep your purse on your lap instead of on the floor and keep your wallet safe. You may have big, inspiring dreams filled with metaphors and ideas. Keep a journal by the bed and write them down.

(December 21-January 19)
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Dave Attell

Don’t dismiss the oldsters in your world. Someone with far more experience than you do may have wisdom to impart this week. When it comes to work, you may have been coasting and it’s time to roll up your sleeves and dig into it. Are you working as hard as you can, or breezing out at exactly 5 p.m. after a solid half hour of checking e-mails and reshuffling papers? If you leave late and get to work early, your superiors will notice. What’s more, you want get that icky feeling that comes from wasting time on someone else’s dollar.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
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Ted Koppell

Tuesday is the day if you are planning a small celebration for a loved one. I don’t mean a gigantic surprise party with a piñata or girl jumping out of a cake. If it just means ordering a pizza and renting a favorite movie, make it happen. Take care of the little details so a special person in your life can feel valued. As for the rest of week, you will feel more comfortable and aligned if you make sure you household chores are complete. Wash those last couple of dishes, take in the dry cleaning, wash the bath mat and all will be slightly better with the world.

Lotta Y.A.D.A.

Jessica Freedman felt like neither fish nor fowl while pursuing her degree in Jewish studies at UCLA, and her social life was even less uplifting. During Rush Week on campus, Freedman looked into joining a Jewish-founded sorority. To her dismay, she discovered the house was awash in self-loathing — members vigorously suppressed their Jewish identity to the point where wearing a Star of David or a chai was a faux pas. So Freedman joined a different sorority, only to discover later that the social order was insensitive to Jewish concerns, holding meetings on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Freedman never found that group she was looking for, so she decided to start it. Now 22 and an administrative assistant at Bnai Zion, Freedman merged the U.S.-Israel humanitarian group’s thirst for a youth program and her own personal interest to create Y.A.D.A. — an acronym for Young Adults Dedicated to Altruism.

Freedman herself grew up with a strong sense of cultural identity. She was raised in Hollywood (the other Hollywood, in Florida) in a Reform home. Her grandparents were Holocaust survivors, her mother born in a German liberation camp after the war.

Her mandate for Y.A.D.A. is to develop "a social group that will do charity at the same time. It’s a great way to meet people, and it doesn’t feel like a chore." Her idea is to mix tikkun olam and fun in a way that is attractive to postcollegiate young adults who are at a vulnerable time in their lives and careers when "they’re still trying to find themselves. But if you start now to care about your identity, you’ll do it for life."

At their initial get-together, about 25 young professionals met to discuss the direction of the group and to party down at a private reception at Yuu Yuu Karaoke Studio on the Westside. Since that Dec. 15 outing, Y.A.D.A. has received a surge of response from young Jews looking for a fun and constructive way to meet their peers.

The timing of Y.A.D.A. is just about right. According to Freedman’s boss, Bnai Zion’s Western Regional Director Gail Bershon, the 92-year-old organization is ripe to embrace the future through youth participation.

"It has always been my dream and my passion to have a young adult group," said Bershon. "We were blessed to get Jessica and have Y.A.D.A."

Y.A.D.A’s next social gathering will be a trip to an L.A. Kings hockey game on March 26. Y.A.D.A. currently meets the first Tuesday of every month to make sandwiches for the needy. The next sandwich-making effort is April 3. Y.A.D.A. is also looking for people to help plan the upcoming Y.A.D.A. Bowl-A-Thon event in September. For more information, call Jessica Freedman at (323) 655-9128 or

Where Nobody Knows Your Name

It was a Saturday night, and after watching the Lakers defeat the Warriors, I had no plans. I tossed out the encrusted remains of a Lean Cuisine lasagna and sat back in my sweats, surfing the channels in search of some juicy biography I hadn’t seen before.

It wasn’t so much that I was feeling sorry for myself or lonely, but that I couldn’t help but hear the sounds of Saturday night outside my window. Cars honking and heels clacking and my neighbor’s obligatory weekend salsa music blaring created this sort of moody soundtrack music that seemed to say, “Girl, you’ve got to get out more.”

I had nothing to do. Many of my friends are coupled and understandably prefer to spend their weekends with their significant others. But, to be honest, I was so busy working, I hadn’t even bothered trying to muster any weekend plans for myself beyond yoga and laundry.

As I listened to the goings-on outside my window, I remembered something a girlfriend had said earlier that week, “Sometimes, you just have to take yourself out for a drink.”

So I did.

I slapped on some perfume and lip gloss and headed out to a nearby bar. Alone.

On my way to the Formosa, a busy Hollywood bar, I developed a back story to explain, in case the need arose, why I was out by myself. My fictional plan was that I was “waiting for friends.”

Walking toward the bar, I was overcome with nerves. I told myself that I’d just have one vanilla martini and than go home if the experience was miserable. Jostling through the crowd, I had no idea which direction to face or where to sit or stand. I panicked. Then I heard a group of guys discussing the Lakers game, and I insinuated myself into the conversation. I was in.

For the rest of the night, I hung out with this group of strangers, excusing myself every now and again to look for my “friends.” I had a great time, thanked them for letting me into their circle and went home, my thirst for social interaction quenched.

Exhilarated from the success of my first solo bar foray, I did it again the following week. This time, I ventured into Jones, a slightly more upscale bar across the street from the Formosa. It was rocky at first, when I found myself attempting to make conversation with a couple of insipid schoolteachers from Oakland.

Before long, though, I was rescued by a trio of guys. They were smart, funny, good conversationalists. Last call came too soon. One of them offered to walk me to my car and asked for my phone number.

As it turns out, while he was polite, intelligent and charming, he was also “separated” from his wife, moving, “between projects” and generally had too much baggage to fit under the seat in front of him. He wasn’t Mr. Right, but neither was he “Mr. Goodbar,” the fictional bogeyman of the famous 1977 film about a woman’s desperate search for a meaningful relationship in sleazy pick-up joints.

I wasn’t necessarily looking for a meaningful relationship; I just wanted to get out on a Saturday night. If a guy can sit at a bar and drink a beer and just hang out, why can’t I? Because “good girls” don’t venture alone into drinking establishments?

When I told a couple of male friends that I had gone to a bar alone, they looked at me as if all of a sudden I was sucking down seven bourbons with Mickey Rourke and spiraling into the sexually dangerous and depraved lifestyle of a “barfly.” None of this is true. I’ve never had a one-night stand and don’t intend to, and I’m a nurse-one-drink-all-night kind of bar patron.

The fact is, when you’re alone, you’re more likely to interact with people you might never have met, and they are far more likely to talk to you, without a wall of friends to scare them away. Like traveling alone, it’s an adventure.

Is it dangerous? No more so than going to the grocery store, really. Is it scary? A little, just like a party or any other social situation can be nerve-wracking.

My point wasn’t necessarily to meet a man, but to enjoy the simple human pleasure of being among people, of being part of the pack. I wasn’t a woman on the prowl; I was just taking myself out for a drink. And while I wouldn’t make it a career and I know it makes some people uncomfortable, it beats sitting home and only imagining the good times going on outside my window.

Teresa Strasser is a twentysomething contributing writer for The Jewish Journal.