The Zodiac and the truth behind astrology


“Astrology is one of the most ancient sciences, held in high esteem of old, by the wise and the great. Formerly, no prince would make war or peace, nor any general fight in battle, in short, no important affair was undertaken without first consulting an astrologer.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Ever so often Astrology is presented with an opportunity to explain herself and thus improve on her wisdom and service to humankind. Such occasions, alas, usually happen when her system of symbolism is under attack, usually from people who have no knowledge of Astrology and who base their dismissive notions on popular culture and misunderstandings instead of serious consideration. 

In the last few days, I received many alarmed emails asking me about the recent internet craze concerning the shattering “new discoveries” that the signs have shifted due to a “wobble” in the Earth’s axis and that there is a new 13th sign called Ophiuchus.

Let me address some of these concerns and assure you that whatever your sign was before 2011 is still the same and if you thought you could get an upgrade to a “nicer” sign, you are out of luck 🙁 

1 – Astrology is based on the seasons and the relationships between the planets (called aspects) and NOT what sign is located behind the Sun when you were born.

The signs of the Zodiac are merely symbols and metaphors that divide the year into 12 different and equal “seasons”. This partition is based on the proportions of day and night or light and darkness experienced throughout the year. Aries always begins on the first day of spring (aka the Spring Equinox), when the day and night are equal and the amount of light is growing. Libra, on the other hand, always begins on the Fall Equinox, when the day and night are also equal, but the amount of light is receding.

Astrology postulates, regardless of what constellation occupies the Equinox, that people born in the spring will exhibit characteristics such as high energy and optimism. They will be the kind of people who spring into action, the same way that nature buds into life after its long winter slumber.

A new study, published by the Nature Neuroscience Journal, found links between the season of birth and personality. It is proven that people born in the winter, i.e. Capricorns, are more at risk to suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), schizophrenia and depression. In Astrology, Capricorn, beginning on the longest night of the year, is associated with suffering, difficulties and pessimism. To quote the author of the paper, Professor Douglas McMahon, “Our biological clocks measure the day’s length and change our behavior according to the seasons.” 

2 – When Astrology was developed by the Babylonians, the constellation of Aries happened to be located right behind the sign Aries during the Spring Equinox.

Astrology was developed in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, as a cosmic clock, most likely to help early farmers trace the seasons. In fact, the reason why we have seasons to begin with is because of the Earth’s 23 degree tilt, which is also connected to its wobble. The idea is simple: one should plant in Spring, party in Summer, harvest in Fall, and be careful with provisions in Winter.

The first zodiac sign, Aries, begins on March 21st, the Spring Equinox.  Of course there is no real Ram out there in the skies. The ancient wise women and men of the time chose a Ram to symbolize Aries because it is a great metaphor for the initiation of spring, the leader of the flock. When the refuters of Astrology claim that people born in Aries should be called Pisces, they are misunderstanding the symbolism of Astrology. It’s like saying New York City should be called “York” because by now it is hundreds of years old. However, when it was founded it was new, and it symbolized a modern place full of possibilities. Aries was located behind the Equinox, on March 21st 2000-4000 years ago, when Astrology was “founded”. That is why we still call this period of time Aries.   

3 – Astrologers and Astronomers have known about the issues presented in the “Astrology refuting hoax” for thousands of years and CHOSE NOT to include a 13th constellation.

There is nothing new about the 13th constellation or the shift in the signs. The ancient Greeks, who were the first to cast astrological “Natal Charts,” were quite aware of these two issues. In fact, Claudius Ptolemy wrote extensively about the 13th sign and the procession of the equinox in the 2nd century AD. As you can see, there is nothing new under the Sun.

Ophiuchus, the so called 13th sign, was not adopted into Astrology because the Sun barely touches the constellation during its path through the Zodiac. It also doesn’t fit into the Babylonians’ sexagesimal system that is based on 60 and 12. That is why we have 60 minutes in an hour and two sets of 12 hours in a day. That is also the reason behind the decision to have 12 signs in the Zodiac and not 13.

With all due respect, most of the people who rebuke Astrology have little knowledge about the ancient art. Intellectual giants the like of Johannes Kepler (considered by many the father of modern astronomy), Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Carl Jung, Benjamin Franklin and Sir Isaac Newton all knew about these two anomalies in Astrology. However, they continued to practice, study and develop astrological theories that resulted in amazing predictions and insights. (http://cosmicnavigator.com/blog/gahl-sasson/Astrology/Astrology-rocks-some-historical-magic)

Astrologers for centuries have incorporated the earth wobble in their understanding of the connection between the heavenly bodies and life on earth. Ever heard about “The Age of Aquarius?” The reason why we have these ages and why they move backward (Age of Aquarius follows the Age of Pisces) is because of the wobble of the earth.  So to claim astrologers had not known about this phenomenon or chose to ignore it is simply ridiculous.

4 – Astrology is a system of symbols and metaphors designed to help us connect to the universe, just like the words and metaphors found in the various spiritual texts from around the world.

Many people claim that Astrology has no scientific backing and therefore cannot provide “real” help to humanity. I was stunned to see that this assertion regarding Astrology, came from the Christian Science Monitor, a news organization owned by a church.

But wait, there is no scientific proof of the resurrection of Christ, and yet the teaching of Jesus can still inspire love and compassion. There is no archeological proof of the Exodus and yet millions live and die by the teaching of Moses. There is no evidence to support Muhammad’s nightly flight on a winged horse from Mecca to Jerusalem. However, the holiest shrine for Islam, the Dome of the Rock, was built to commemorate that event on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Help and healing can be provided by systems that have no scientific proof, and have been for hundreds of years. I am not saying that these events did not happen. I am just noting that there is NO scientific proof that they did. However, the power of these systems of belief is undeniable.
Handled in the right way, Astrology can help guide us to a better future. Over the last 15 years I have personally experienced Astrology prove herself again and again in remarkable ways with clients of all ages, races, nationalities, and genders. I can only hope that she will do for you, what she has done for me and thousands of my clients. 

“Obviously Astrology has much to offer psychology, but what the latter can offer its elder sister is less evident.”
  —C.G Jung

Gahl E. Sasson teaches Astrology, Mythology and Kabbalah worldwide. His books A Wish Can Change Your Life (endorsed by HH the 14th Dalai Lama) and Cosmic Navigator, have been translated worldwide.  www.CosmicNavigator.com

Stars expected to shine at Israel Film Festival


Adam Sandler and Borat (a.k.a. Sacha Baron Cohen) turned out to fete the Israel Film Festival last year, and more celebrity surprise guests are expected to speak at the gala dinner kicking off the 2008 festival June 12-26 (honorees include ICM’s Jeffrey Berg).

It’s a sign of just how far the event has come in the last two decades, mirroring the increased profile of Israeli cinema on the international scene (Ari Folman’s “Waltz With Bashir” competed for the top prize at Cannes this month).

But “Waltz With Bashir” won’t be on the program this year; Israeli films in competition at Cannes often make their North American debut at major international festivals (think Toronto or Telluride).

“That can be frustrating, but there are more important things than competing with other festivals,” said Meir Fenigstein, founder and director of the Israel Film Festival.

“Because of the two intifadas, there has been almost no American productions in Israel over the last 20 years,” he continued.

At the gala dinner, he might get to unveil a possible government incentive to lure Hollywood directors back to Israel. “I’m hoping to announce something very big,” he said.

God Was With Us That Night in the Negev


Our bus driver Boris had been navigating the roads of the Negev for at least an hour when the whole bus suddenly shook, rattled and rolled. As we gazed out the window, we saw that Boris had left the road. All we saw was rock, dust and a little more rock. It took about two more hours of off-road driving for us to reach our destination for the night.

I stepped off the bus and asked our counselor, “Where is the bathroom?”
“Follow me and I will demonstrate,” she said. “Girls to those rocks on the left, boys to the right.” Enough said.

I had just arrived in Israel that week for a four-week tour with 34 other California teens in Group Three of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) summer Israel program. And we were about to spend three nights in the middle of the Negev Desert with nothing but food and sleeping bags — definitely a sight to see.

Not only did we do it, but so did 12 other NFTY groups in Israel this summer, and we would soon find out that the experience of sleeping on our ancestors’ land would set the tone for our whole trip.

We unloaded the materials from the bus including dishes, food supplies, sleeping bags and our own personal bags. Once dinner was made and served, our group began to gather for Maariv, the evening prayer service.

This was by far the most spiritual moment in my life. I gazed up at the stars as I chanted the V’Ahavta prayer with amazing new friends, standing around the same rocks that our people had wandered past thousands of years before. My eyes couldn’t help but tear up as we moved on to the Mi Chamocha, the song of freedom. At that moment I felt as though God truly was with us.

We ended the night with our usual closing circle, where we sang Hashkiveinu and the Shema, with the words: “Keep us safe throughout the night, until we wake with morning’s light.” But that night, I felt as though we didn’t even need to ask for safety, that this ground and these mountains would keep us safe.

As morning woke us with its light, we found ourselves at the beginning of a long day of hiking in the Negev and then swimming in Eilat.

On our last day camping out, Boris took us to a Bedouin tent. We were warmly welcomed and introduced to the interesting Bedouin culture. We experienced their music, cultural food and hospitality — especially when they invited us to use the tent’s bathrooms, equipped with actual showers. I would have to say that the next task might have been even harder then the previous day’s four-hour hike. This was the situation: four showers, 20 girls, 30 minutes.

That night I was in a Bedouin tent celebrating Shabbat like I never had done before. This was our third and final night sleeping on the ground of the Negev, so we were both excited and upset.

The next day we arrived at Kibbutz Yahel near Eilat. Our tour guide, Sivan, took us on a very short hike on the outskirts of the Kibbutz. As we all sat in a circle in the middle of two mountains — a lot like our accommodations for the past three nights — Ellie Klein, our madrich, shared some words that I will never forget. She told us that by successfully making it through this Negev experience, whether we knew it our not, we had already changed and grown.

This campout was our chance to be with the land of Israel, nothing else. Just the land with all of its components. Through the tasks that we had completed and the experiences we had, we had assured ourselves that we could do it again.

Ellie asked us to grab a rock and gather them all in a pile in the center of our circle. I found a rock and felt the firmness of it and dropped it in the center, feeling as though I had just left a piece of myself in the desert. Not only a piece of myself, but a newly grown, solid and firm me. The words she said about us and the natural land still echoes in my mind because I really felt that for those few days, I was at my true quintessential state — and so was the Land of Israel.

We left the rocks in a clump on the ground as we made our way back to Kibbutz Yahel. This experience was the start of a treasured summer traveling with the most incredible people. I was finding my true Jewish identity not only among the historical sights, but among the millions of rocks that make up Eretz Yisrael.

Daniella Kaufman is an 11th grader at New Community Jewish High School.

Tinseltown Backs Terror Fight — Thanks to Israel Consul General Danoch


Any Hollywood producer would give his right arm for the stars listed last week in a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times.

Nicole Kidman, Bruce Willis, Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Danny De Vito, William Hurt, James Woods, Gary Sinise, Millie Perkins and others.

But the list wasn’t the cast of an upcoming blockbuster, but a plea by much of the Hollywood and media elite to back the fight against Hezbollah, Hamas and worldwide terrorism.

The ad, which resonated in the global entertainment industry through additional placements in the trade publications Variety and Hollywood Reporter, read:”We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah and Hamas. If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die. We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs.”

The wording would not have appeared particularly militant and pro-Israel had it been issued by heads of Jewish defense organizations, but for Hollywood, often markedly silent in the face of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attacks, the statement was a bit of a bombshell.

“We wanted to get Hollywood off the fence,” as one signer put it.

Producer-writer Lionel Chetwynd noted that “I’ve been around here for a long time, and I can’t remember a time when so many people in the industry stood up for Israel. I tried something similar in 1982, when Israel was fighting in Lebanon, but I couldn’t get it off the ground.”

The names of the stars who signed the ad caught the attention of readers and listeners around the world — the Australian media ballyhooed Kidman’s participation — but to Hollywood insiders the most impressive among the 84 signatories were the men and women who wield the real power and influence in Tinseltown.

Mega-media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Sumner Redstone and Haim Saban signed on, as did studio heads Amy Pascal, Ron Meyer, Meyer Gottlieb and recently retired Sherry Lansing, as well as dozens of prominent producers, directors and writers.In a professional category by herself was tennis star Serena Williams.

The man who initiated the project was Ehud Danoch, Israel’s consul general in Los Angeles, whose territory extends over seven southwestern states and Hawaii.When the slim, curly haired Danoch arrived in Los Angeles in October 2004, as a 34-year-old on his first diplomatic assignment, he was preceded by a reputation for being very smart, very young, and having a knack for knowing the right people.

His grandparents had come to Israel in 1950 on Operation Magic Carpet, the mass airlift of Jews from Yemen, with their 3-year-old son, the diplomat’s future father.

Both of Danoch’s parents were tapped by Israel’s Ministry of Education to serve as overseas envoys, and young Ehud spent three years in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital, and the same span of time in French-speaking Montreal.

After his army service, Danoch earned his law and MBA degrees from the Israeli campus of Britain’s Manchester University.

The young lawyer became a protégé of Israel’s then finance minister, Silvan Shalom. When Shalom was named foreign minister, he appointed Danoch as his chief of staff, and later to the consul general’s post.

In his first interview after arriving in Los Angeles, Danoch identified the entertainment industry as one of his special concerns, while noting the important groundwork laid by his predecessor, Yuval Rotem.

“Everybody knows that Hollywood is important,” he told The Jewish Journal. “But before I jump in, I want to talk to people and find out how Hollywood works.”Now there’s evidence he’s a quick study, too.

“I started meeting with studio heads and executives, producers, directors and actors,” Danoch said Monday during an interview in his high-rise office, overlooking central Los Angeles to the Hollywood Hills beyond. Even on a hot day and during an informal discussion, Danoch was dressed as the complete diplomat in suit and tie.

His first emphasis was on the economic side, pitching Israel as a great location for film shoots. It’s been a tough sell, not primarily due to the volatile situation in Israel, but because of the generous incentives offered by some 25 other countries, with Morocco trying to corner the market on desert shoots.

Danoch is now in discussions with Israel’s finance ministry as to what packages it can offer American filmmakers, in addition to the wide-open spaces of the Negev.

Currently, one studio is scouting Israeli locations for a series of seven TV movies, with an investment of $60 million.

After he got his feet wet in the often-tricky Hollywood tides, and learning that personal relationships are everything, Danoch started meeting with actors and inviting them to visit Israel.

“I don’t ask them for anything, I don’t ask them to take a political stand, only to come and see Israel for themselves,” he said.

His modus operandi is simple.

“I was at a reception and saw Morgan Freeman,” Danoch recalled. “I introduced myself and asked him to come to Israel. He was ready to go immediately.”

The approach is labor intensive, but it has paid off. Among the more high-profile visitors have been actress Sharon Stone, who has become so interested in Israel that she receives regular briefings on the Middle East situation from Danoch.

There’s nothing like star power to give millions of movie and TV fans a different view of a country usually defined in crisis bulletins.

“We invited Will Smith to come to Israel, and when he inadvertently crashed a bar mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall, it seemed like every radio and TV channel in the world reported on it,” Danoch said.

Danoch is particularly pleased that there is now enough momentum that some in the movie colony are planning to organize tours on their own initiative, such as a prominent talent agent who want to take a group of directors to Israel.

When the fighting in Lebanon started, Danoch decided that it was time for the generally silent movie colony to make its voice heard.

He first tapped the growing colony of Israelis in Hollywood, including producers of such standing as Arnon Milchan, Danny Dimbort, Avi Lerner, Avi Arad and David Matalon.

The task force also included such veteran Israel supporters as Chetwynd, entertainment attorney Bruce Ramer, producer Branko Lustig and actor Gary Sinise.

The core group approved the wording of the ad, drafted by Danoch, with the emphasis on humanitarian concern and the common fight against terrorism, rather than a down-the-line pro-Israel statement.

From that point on, in a kind of electronic daisy chain, members of the initial group e-mailed their friends, who in turn e-mailed other friends, and so on.

Given time constraints and publication deadlines, it was assumed that the ad would carry no more than 50 to 60 signatures. But the names kept coming in, until the organizers had to close the list at 84 names, said Gilad Millo, Israel consul for communications and public affairs.

Dimbort, co-chairman of the Nu Image production company, contacted 28 people. Most signed on, although “some were scared to do so,” he said.

His company also paid for the full-page ad in the national and international news section of the Times, which costs $117,132, according to the paper’s advertising department.

Since Nu Image’s phone number appeared at the bottom of the ad, Dimbort fielded most of the compliments and complaints in the days after the publication.”We got hundreds of phone calls, most very enthusiastic, but about 20 to 30 percent of the callers screamed and yelled at us,” he said.

Meyer Gottlieb, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films, received only positive feedback, with friends reporting that they were emotionally moved by the message conveyed by the ad. Others called to chide him for not having been asked to sign the statement.

Chetwynd called more than a dozen people to participate, of whom four or five declined or didn’t respond. After the ad appeared, “More than 50 people called me, and I was just amazed by the response,” he said.

Cable television host Phil Blazer said that given the overwhelming demand on Hollywood talent for support of innumerable petitions and causes, he was “shell-shocked” by the number and standing of the ad’s signatories.

As for Danoch, he’s staying busy. One meeting last week with Adam Sandler and his family yielded support of another kind, when the star of “Click” and “50 First Dates” announced he would donate 400 Sony PlayStations to Israelis whose homes were damaged by Hezbollah rocket attacks.

What is the payoff for Israel? “For one, stars shape public opinions and fashions,” Danoch said. And their visibility may be the biggest boon of all. “By their very presence, the celebrities show that Israel is a safe place to visit. This helps tourism and the economy, and besides, the Israeli public likes to see them.”

7 Days in the Arts


Saturday, July 8
The Hollywood Palladium’s got the beat tonight. Head there for ’80s retro fun wrapped up in a good cause. Bet Tzedek — The House of Justice presents its annual Justice Ball benefit with headliners The Go-Go’s.

8:30 p.m. $75-$150. Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd. (323) 656-9069. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

 

Sunday, July 9
A midsummer night’s edutainment comes courtesy of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. Tonight, they perform “Ahava: From Israel with Love” at the Ford Amphitheatre, with Chen Zimbalista on marimba and Alon Reuven on French horn. Explanatory introductions of each piece will be given by conductor Noreen Green.

7:30 p.m. $12-$36. 2850 Cahuenga Blvd., East, Hollywood. (323) 461-3673.

Monday, July 10
TV gets some artistic recognition, thanks to Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). Today FIDM opens its new exhibition, “The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design,” which continues through Sept. 9. On display are highlights from 40 years of television costuming, including clothes worn by Sonny and Cher, Barry Manilow and Carol Burnett, on their shows and specials.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. (daily, except Sundays). Free. FIDM Museum and Galleries on the Park, 919 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 624-1200, ext. 2224.

 

Tuesday, July 11
The sound of music drifts through the air, mixing with that signature zoo scent, this evening. The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association kicks off the first of two “Music in the Zoo” nights. Tonight, hear the Masanga Marimba Ensemble of Zimbabwe, the Scottish Wicked Tinkers, the Mediterranean music of Shaya and Rafi and the Irish Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder. Plus, the animals get a later bedtime of 8 p.m. and “Club Med Circus Performers” monkey around.

Tues., July 11 and 25, 6-9 p.m. Free (children 5 and under), $7-$16. Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park. (323) 644-6042. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Wednesday, July 12
Invisible friends get revenge in “Bunbury: A Serious Play for Trivial People.” The play by Tom Jacobson features the never-seen characters of Bunbury (of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”) and Rosaline (of “Romeo and Juliet”), teaming up to sabotage classic literary works. It is performed at the Skirball Cultural Center, and recorded to air on L.A. Theatre Works’ radio theater series, The Play’s the Thing, which broadcasts weekly on public and satellite radio, including 89.3 KPCC.

8 p.m. (July 12-14), 3 pm. (July 15), 4 p.m. (July 16). $25-$45. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P.,
(310) 827-0889.

Thursday, July 13
July gets a little hotter with Stephen Cohen Gallery’s “Summer Skin” exhibition. The group show features nude works, some naughty, some nice, by artists like Diane Arbus, Anthony Friedkin and Horace Bristo. The raciest stuff, by guys like David Levinthal, Larry Clark and Robert Mapplethorpe, can be seen in a separate viewing room.

July 7-Aug. 26. Free. 7358 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 937-5525.

 

Friday, July 14
Literature takes center stage with The New Short Fiction Series, a host of evenings in which actors read from a published work of fiction. This year’s first featured writer is author and poet Carol Schwalberg, whose “The Midnight Lover and Other Stories” will be performed, tonight.

8 p.m. $10. Beverly Hills Public Library Auditorium, 444 N. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 288-2220.

The Hebrascope: Signs of the Jewdiac


(April 21-May 20)
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Barbra Streisand

During this birthday period, it makes sense to expect things to be all about you. Sadly, friends and family aren’t so sensitive to your needs. The trick is to divide your expectations in half and you’ll enjoy yourself twice as much. Family and friends aren’t trying to steal your thunder; they’re only human and thus likely to want some attention for themselves. Generally, the stars wouldn’t suggest tucking yourself into a protective cocoon for a little healing and rejuvenating. This week is different. Spend an afternoon in your own world, watching your own lame TV shows, reading magazines, eating popcorn in bed and generally isolating yourself from other people. You will emerge anew, with perhaps a few popcorn kernels in your hair, but otherwise refreshed.

(May 21 — June 20)
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Barry Levinson

Gemini loves to socialize on the job, especially now. The math goes something like this: One hour on a work project, 20 minutes discussing last night’s game in the break room, two hours in a meeting, half an hour debating whether or not the temp has been surgically enhanced. Here’s the thing, in order to ever make headway in terms of your career, you may have to keep your nose to the grindstone for awhile instead of in other people’s business or a particularly fascinating salon.com article. Self-employed Geminis should consider holding a social gathering, attending a trade show or throwing a gallery exhibit to expose your work to a wider audience.

(June 21-July 20)
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Sydney Pollack

All those big ideas floating around in your keppe just need a little faith, hope and cash. That’s easy for your horoscope to say, but perhaps hard to muster. The stars say otherwise, but advise you to think things through carefully before investing time and money. A burst of confidence and luck will galvanize your efforts, just be careful to ponder every possible outcome before taking any leaps. It may be tedious, but will certainly be useful. Saturday, a casual lunch with friends or family may reach “My Dinner With Andre” proportions. Expect stimulating conversations and don’t cram too many plans into your day so that you can fully enjoy the interaction without having to check your watch.

(July 21 — August 21)

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Monica Lewinsky

If there’s a burst in the real estate bubble, that doesn’t matter much to Leo right now. An investment in a first home or condo is advised, according to celestial influences. Leos who already own property might think about doing some improvements this week. As for long time homeowners, it’s been years of looking at that monthly mortgage like it’s the boogeyman, scrimping and saving and being conscientious of every little splurge. Finally, the end is in sight as that home may be almost paid off. Look for socializing to ramp up from May 3-29, when Venus (the planet of love) visits impulsive Aries in your ninth house of ideas. You will not only be attracted to new people, but to new ideas.

(August 22-September 22)
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Adam Sandler

Traveling, or even just a rough daily commute, is beginning to wear on you, grinding you down both spiritually and physically. This is a good time to find a workout buddy. You are far less likely to miss that personal training session if it’s also a fun hour of chatting and even good-natured whining about your evil trainer and her evil squats. What’s more, if you’ve pre-paid, the guilt factor will also provide an incentive to get you to the gym, yoga studio or duo Pilates session. Think about it. What better way to counteract the stress of being trapped on planes or in automobiles than by simply moving your body? Strengthen a friendship while you strengthen your muscles and make even better use of your time.

(September 23-October 22)
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Michael Douglas

Partnerships are big for Libra this week. Whether it’s a professional partnership that’s moving ahead, or the announcement of an engagement or even an impending cohabitation, the stars have your back if you are teaming up in any significant way. Collaboration is favored up until May 29. Tuesday, some confusion could arise involving a love affair. It may feel lasting and permanent, but your horoscope says this small romantic blip will be all cleared up by Wednesday.

(October 23-November 22)
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Jonas Salk

People like people who like them. It’s such a simple concept that Dale Carnegie would be rolling his eyes. Still, it’s something we often forget. This week, folks will be looking to you for validation and approval. It doesn’t take much, like the old saying goes, a handful of peanuts and a pat on the back. It costs you nothing to shell out a few compliments to those around you who look up to you, and in the end it creates much good will. A meaningful conversation could mark the end of this week, as could especially poignant interactions with those in your circle who are younger than you are.

(November 23-December 20)
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Harpo Marx

Heads up to the Sagittarius worker: you will be walking into what feels like an ambush at work. Be armed with patience and flexibility. Check all your facts and figures when it comes to paperwork. Employ all of your teamwork skills and be ready to tackle tasks using creativity. By midweek, things will cool off at work just in time for a romantic slump to come to an end, as Venus moves into Aries on Wednesday. Pay special attention to your hygiene, floss, wax, get those roots done, bleach the moustache, trim the bangs and don’t be afraid to splurge on at least one big luxury item. Don’t feel guilty about buying yourself something you’ve been wanting. Your horoscope says it’s OK.

(December 21-January 19)
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Dave Attell

Envy and irritability — they aren’t your friends but they seem to be tagging along everywhere you go this week, leading to feelings of frustration. Instead of plotting your revenge on the people who are annoying you the most, dig down deep for some compassion. At the very least, lay low and avoid any altercations you may regret later. A partner or family member may seem indifferent to practical matters that concern you. Instead of presenting a lecture complete with PowerPoint presentation on all of the flaws in their thinking (or lack thereof), remember that the quality of this relationship is more important to you than being right.

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

It may be tempting to jump into a new relationship, as passion intensifies this week. Try to slow your pace and protect any financial assets. You may not be Trump with a pre-nuptial agreement the size of “War and Peace,” but we can all be taken advantage of when our heart is in charge. Look forward to community celebration midweek. Also, you may feel overwhelmed now just thinking of all your friends and family scattered throughout the world. How do you keep in touch? Dedicate at least an hour this week and roll some calls. Once you get in the habit of keeping in touch, it will seem less daunting and ultimately rewarding.

(February 19-March 20)
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Josh Groban

This week opens like a scene from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” There may be lots of shouting and betrayal. The whole situations will be high drama with plenty of unnerving interactions. The resolution of this drama could be ruthless, but it will at least be swift, coming to a resolution by midweek, when uplifting astrological patterns are in your favor. Relatives and friends support you, spontaneous outbursts of fun attract you, and you may even be in for a streak of luck. Curious Pisces may wish to dabble in gossip, but you would do better to plan for an overseas trip that will satisfy your curiosity more deeply and with less trash talking.

(March 21-April 20)
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Matthew Broderick

It sounds like a conundrum, but it’s just crazy enough to work. Cooperate with others this week and you will stand out as an individual. Your ability to facilitate teamwork and put your own ego aside will be noticed and appreciated. The only bitter taste in your otherwise sweet week is an outstanding debt — either a credit card or mortgage payment that’s overdue and may cause stress with a partner or family member. Take care of the debt so that extra charges don’t start piling up — and know that financial freedom is on the horizon as an unexpected check is likely to come in just when you need it.

Written in the Jewish Stars


We’re not saying we believe any of this, mind you, but, yes, Jews, too, like to peek at horoscopes. But up until now, something’s been missing — that Jewish touch. Sure, you could count on Bubbe and Zayde to dispense career advice and to forecast general doom, but that hardly suffices. And, yes, there are always those well-meaning, pushy relatives to talk up eligible singles as the man or woman of your future.

But it’s time for some counsel that’s neutral, detached, learned, authoritative — and perhaps as equally useless but infinitely more entertaining. So, starting Jan. 1, we present for your weekly consideration: Jewish Horoscopes.

They are a Web-only exclusive feature of The Jewish Journal at jewishjournal.com/horoscopes.php — authored by the soon-to-be-famous Minnie Mankowitz.

You’ll have to log on to find out how Karl Marx, Erica Jong and Bob Dylan fit into the picture. Or what to buy or not at Trader Joe’s and IKEA. Or the role of chocolate and romance in the week to come. Should you buy a bra? Whiten your teeth? Go into seclusion?

Log on and start planning your future — before someone else does.

Class Notes – A Ramah Reunion


A group of 25 campers from Ramah of California’s pilot summer in 1955 returned to camp this summer to kick off a yearlong celebration of Ramah’s 50 years on the West Coast. The camp officially opened in 1956.

Back then, there were 62 campers and 24 staff members. Tuition for the 10 days was set at $56.16 — with scholarships available. Today, there are 1,275 campers at the Ojai location, just down the road from the original campsite and a four-week session costs $3,120.

Rabbi Jacob Pressman, director of the camp that first summer, and assistant director Miriam Wise were among the delegates this summer. Rabbi Daniel Greyber, current director, presented the two with an award of recognition for their service.

The alumni toured the camp and then spent the evening in a singalong with current campers. Young campers and alumni alike were touched and amazed to hear that they knew the same camp songs, some of them authored by the adult guests.

Among the participants were Rabbi Danny Pressman, Daniel Farkas, David Farkas, Pam Suplin Farkas, Mark Lainer, Nahum Lainer, Rabbi Ron Levine, Alicia Susman Lewis, Rabbi Joel Rembaum, Ken Rowen, and Michelle Bledstein Susman, and their spouses. Also present was Liat Yardeni-Funk, daughter of 1955 camper Tzvili Yardeni and current Ramah staffer.

For more information, visit www.ramah.org or call (310) 476-8571.

Snowboarding for Chabad

Spiritual snowboarders, get ready for winter.

West-Coast Chabad Lubavitch has purchased a 70-acre campus on a San Bernadino National Forest mountaintop for educational programs, retreats, and summer camps — and coming soon: snowboard and ski camps for Chabad.

The wooded campus, in the mountain community of Running Springs, was previously owned by CEDU Mountain Schools, a boarding school for at-risk youths, which filed for bankruptcy in March. The site is about 14 miles from Big Bear, and 87 miles east of Los Angeles.

The campus, which Chabad purchased this month for $4.3 million, will be ready to open in three months, said Don Braham, the newly appointed director and controller of the campus who is supervising renovations. This will be just in time for winter sports camps for skiing and snowboarding.

But the primary purpose of Chabad at River Springs will be educational. The campus of 18 buildings — a “chai” coincidence? — includes dormitories, administrative buildings, classrooms, science laboratories, a computer room, a library and an “art barn,” with a darkroom and audiovisual studio. The central lodge contains a commercial kitchen and dining hall. Outside, there is an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a tennis court, a hardtop basketball court, a soccer field, a volleyball pit and squash courts.

West-Coast Chabad intends to host conferences, seminars, retreats, summer camps, and programs for children with special needs. Chabad is discussing the possibility of opening a full-time school there; it has retained the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation that the CEDU schools had acquired.

Three Chabad schools in Los Angeles have recently received accreditation from WASC: the Bais Chaya Mushka Elementary School, Bais Rebbe Junior High, and Bais Chana High School.

Since it arrived in California 40 years ago, West-Coast Chabad has opened myriad religious centers in Southern California, more than 25 schools and 30 summer camps, and various social-service programs for drug rehabilitation, the homeless and senior programs. Its main fundraising program, the nationally televised Chabad Telethon, will be held on Sept. 25. — Amy Klein, Religion Editor

Temple Israel’s Two Stars

Temple Israel of Hollywood dedicated its major annual fundraiser last year to honoring two early childhood educators: Jane Zuckerman, who previously directed the temple’s nursery school and is now executive director, and Sherry Fredman, who taught at the temple’s day school before she became principal of the nursery school in 2001.

“For a congregation to honor two staff members who both have served as nursery school principals over a period of 18 years is testimony not only to the love and esteem in which they are held by our community … but also is demonstrative of how much our congregation appreciates the critical role they have played in nurturing our youngest members and families,” said Temple Israel’s Rabbi John Rosove.

And, as it turns out, going back to nursery is good for fundraising, too.

The dinner sold out at 400 people — the temple’s largest ever — and raised $130,000.

For information on Temple Israel of Hollywood, visit www.tioh.org or call (323) 876-8330.

Restoring Memories

In the fall of 2001, Yehudi Gaffen, CEO of a San Diego construction company, traveled to Skapiskis, Lithuania to visit the small shtetl where his father once lived. There he found the one remaining Jewish relic — a cemetery, ignored for more than 60 years, overrun with vegetation, headstones in disrepair.

This past year, Gaffen and a committee of several like-minded descendants of the shtetl of Skapiskis, began restoring the cemetery — and he enlisted the local Lithuanian community for help.

The Cemetery Restoration Project has been incorporated into the local high school curriculum, where the students will, help with the restoration and immerse themselves in learning about the life of the pre-war Skapiskis Jewish community and the Holocaust that destroyed it. The program will culminate in an annual award ceremony honoring a local high school student who produces the best essay touching on some aspect of the Skapiskis Jewish Community.

“The Skapiskis Jewish Cemetery Restoration Project is about remembering and honoring the dead. It is also about life and the living — reconciliation, teaching the younger generation and preserving Lithuanian Jewish heritage,” Gaffen said.

For information, contact project coordinator Sol Kempinski at skempinski@gafcon.com or visit skapiskis.blogspot.com.

Genesis Generation

Four L.A.-area students were among 69 participants this summer in Genesis, a program that integrates Jewish studies, the arts, community building and leadership skills at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.

The students are Benjamin Steiner, an 11th-grader at Shalhevet; Nikki Wallen, a 12th-grader at Oak Park High School; Jenna Barocas, a 12th-grader at Cleveland Humanities Magnet; and Franci Blattner, a 12th-grader at Milken Community High School.

They spent four weeks at Brandeis with Jewish students from diverse religious and socio-economic backgrounds participating in arts workshops, academic courses, and a hands-on social action projects. They also planed their own Shabbat programs.

For more information, visit www.brandeis.edu/genesis.

Pole Positions

On Sept. 21, millions of Christian students are expected to participate in See You at the Pole, a worldwide event where students meet to pray at school flagpoles before school hours. Last year 2 million American students participated in the student-led and organized initiative, which is supported by about 100 diverse Christian organizations.

The event is legal — a 1990 Supreme Court decision affirmed the rights of religious groups to hold events at schools not during school hours. But teachers and administration are not permitted to either encourage or discourage students from attending. In a letter to school superintendents, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recommended that teachers themselves do not attend.

“Students are impressionable and easily susceptible to coercion, conformity and peer pressure, especially when they see their teachers standing with other students and participating,” wrote Amanda Susskind, regional director for the Pacific Southwest Region of the ADL.

Susskind also gave the superintendents a heads-up about mid-week Jewish holidays that might interrupt schedules for students as well as teachers and staff.

Susskind’s letter specified the dates for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur this year, and quoted the section of California code that requires schools to accommodate students’ religious observances.

For ADL guides to religion in public schools visit www.adl.org/religious_freedom.

Teen Talk

Need some help having that talk with your teen? You know, the one that starts out, “Now that you’re a grown-up you’d better start acting like one….”

The latest edition of “When You Become 18: A Survival Guide for Teenagers,” published by the California State Bar Association, is a no-nonsense booklet that outlines for young adults their rights and responsibilities.

It addresses everything from paying taxes, voter registration, military service, jury duty, marriage and identity theft to contracts, rental agreements, statutory rape laws, domestic violence, and crimes and consequences.

The publication, and another on “Kids and the Law: An A-to-Z Guide for Parents,” is available free of charge.

For information, visit www.calbar.ca.gov or call (888) 875-5297. — Julie M. Brown, Contributing Writer

You can reach Julie Gruenbaum Fax at julief@jewishjournal.com or (213) 368-1661, ext. 206.

 

So Uncool, It’s Cool


 

I favor the type of acrylic French tip nails that are considered fashionable only by midlevel porn stars. I still wear Uggs. Pink is my favorite color. I’ve seen the movie “G.I Jane” twice, and not for camp value. I thought it was good.

Today, I embrace my uncool preferences.

I used to have to fake liking Raymond Carver novels and understanding Neil LaBute movies, but now I’m free.

This is a profound change. And I understand that seismic personal shifts are rarely associated with Demi Moore movies, but hear me out. The things that truly appeal to us are a reflection of our genuine personalities. Like it or not, the real me has some really cheesy taste. The more I’ve come to celebrate the tacky things I love, the more comfortable I’ve become with myself.

Seeing a movie in Silver Lake makes me feel like the rest of the world is Beck and I’m Josh Groban. I like the Valley, the blown-out look of the flora off the side of the 101. I relish Studio City with its strip malls and Mystic Tanning salons and La Salsas. When I visit my aunt in Northridge, I savor the cul-de-sacs and minivans as much as the Santa Ana winds.

Speaking of which, last time I was visiting my aunt in the 818, I said to my college-age cousins as they stepped out to go dancing, “Are you going to get your groove on?”

I was sort of being ironic, but mostly, I was just being earnest. And earnest is the most uncool thing you can be.

“Teresa,” my cousin Josh said. “You can’t say that anymore. In fact, could you not say that again, ever? Why don’t you just ask us if we plan to ‘bust a move?'”

Even my lingo is lame.

I can’t play pool or play poker. If it’s time for a leisure activity that reeks of wealth or coordination, I’m out. I’ve never skied, been within a gurney’s distance of a snowboard, played soccer, played blackjack or gone surfing. There are two “sports” at which I’ve excelled: ballet and Ping-Pong. While I truly can play a mean game of table tennis, I notice there haven’t been many movies celebrating the dark, defiant world of the pong hustler. Daredevil ballerinas? Those are just the girls who don’t throw up lunch.

If there is any occasion for nonchoreographed “freestyle” social dancing, I will “bust a move” on out of there. Social dancing is for the uninhibited. I am uptight. Today, I don’t fight that. I gladly sit out this dance and every other, no matter who grabs me by the arm and squeals, “C’mon, it’ll be fun. This is my song!”

Sometimes, my true tastes happen to intersect with something that actually is hip; as they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

I’ve always enjoyed single malt Scotch, for example. I drink it straight up, which seems to impress people. This isn’t because I’m too fashionable to imbibe Chablis or a “so two years ago” apple martini; I just like the taste of top-shelf booze and I don’t like ice melting into my good liquor. I also happen to live in Koreatown, which if I’m not mistaken, falls into the category of being so uncool it’s cool. I’m just here for the cheap housing and decorative gang tags, but folks seem to find this aspect of my lifestyle surprising, in a good way, like I’m gritty and urbane.

What’s more, Judaism seems to be in a chic phase. Is Teri Hatcher not the hottest of the “Desperate Housewives”? This year, everyone wanted to “Meet the Fockers,” making it one of the highest-grossing comedies of all time. The Fockers were cool.

I notice when people ask where my column appears, I no longer say “in a local weekly newspaper,” thus avoiding the J word, like I did for years.

But this isn’t just because hipsters throw out Yiddish words now and Ben Stiller and Barbra are machers. It all goes back to Demi, and to deciding to figure out what I truly like, not what I should, and to accepting all of it. I’m not talking about meeting strangers and bragging about the pink and the Ping-Pong and suggesting we sit down for a screening of “Striptease: the Director’s Cut.” There are some things you can keep to yourself, or let out in time. What I’m describing is an inner comfort with the totality of what makes you, from the accidentally cool to the supremely kitschy.

When you stop wasting time trying to figure out what’s cool so you can convince yourself to like it, you can begin what is, in a way, a spiritual practice. You can know that if last year’s Ugg fits, wear it.

Teresa Strasser is an Emmy Award-winning writer. She’s on the Web at www.teresastrasser.com.

 

Kids Page


The Red Valley

Have you seen the Red Planet lately? A few weeks ago, Mars came closer to Earth than it has in thousands of years. Usually, Mars is 50 million miles away. Although it is now receding, it is still about 34 million away. That means that it’s 16 million miles closer than it has been in thousands of years!

On Mars, there is a valley called Ma’adim Vallis. Scientists think it was created by water that gouged out a lake. The name for the valley was taken from the Hebrew word for Mars: Ma’adim, which comes from another Hebrew word, adom (red).

Mitzvah Makers

Please tell us, in no more than 50 words, about a mitzvah that you or someone else did that you think would make a great story and be a great example to others.

Send your essay, including a photo of the mitzvah-doer,
to The Jewish Journal, 3580 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1510, Los Angeles, CA 90010.
If you do not have a photo, you can e-mail the essay to kids@jewishjournal.com . Deadline is Monday, Oct. 20, 2003.

You could win a $10 gift certificate.

Seeing Stars

F.W. Herschel, a Jewish astronomer who lived from 1738 to 1822 is one of the six astronomers represented on the Astronomers Monument at The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Herschel discovered the planet Uranus.

A Cannes Boycott?


Jewish ire over a recent spate of anti-Semitic attacks in France may spread to a new battleground — the film industry.

Concerned by the attacks, the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) is urging Hollywood stars and studios to consider France’s current and past anti-Semitism before attending the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, scheduled to run May 15-26.

The full-page ads, placed in Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and this newspaper, draw parallels between the collaborationist Vichy regime of 1942 and the France of 2002. The ad states, both in 1942 and 2002, "Synagogues and Schools [are] Firebombed" and "Jews [are] Attacked on the Streets," while 1942’s "Chants of ‘Heil Hitler’ and ‘Death to the Jews’ heard on the streets" are replaced in 2002 with "Chants of ‘Vive Bin Laden’ and ‘Death to the Jews’ heard on the streets."

Gary Ratner, executive director of the Pacific Southwest Region of the AJCongress, who placed the ads, told The Journal that he wants Hollywood figures to rethink their plans to go to Cannes or, if they go, to raise the issue of French anti-Semitism with their hosts. Ratner said that since the ads appeared, he has received some 50 supportive phone calls and e-mails, and two or three negative responses.

He also heard reports that some personalities in the entertainment industry were indeed reconsidering plans to go to Cannes. Though he did not mean to equate the Nazi-friendly Vichy regime with today’s France, Ratner noted that anti-Semitic incidents have risen sharply this year.

He also emphasized that he did not call for a boycott of the Cannes festival or tourism to France, although the ad refers readers to the AJCongress’ Web site, www.boycottfrance.com.

An indignant Jean-Luc Sibiude, the recently arrived French consul general in Los Angeles, said he was shocked and outraged by the "sick analogy" between wartime Vichy France and his country today. While he did not contest the sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents, Sibiude argued that "99 percent" were perpetrated by Arab immigrants from the former French colonies in North Africa, or their descendants, who number around 4 million.

"The anti-Semitic incidents represent almost entirely a spillover from what is happening between the Israelis and the Palestinians," he said.

If there is prejudice in France, it is directed more against Muslim immigrants than Jews, Sibiude maintained, and he urged American Jews to listen to the leaders of French Jewry, who have opposed any economic or tourism boycott of France.

Woody Allen also rejected the ad, telling a press conference in Cannes, "I think any boycott is wrong. Boycotts were exactly what ther Germans were doing against the Jews."

The AJCongress has traditionally been a liberal organization, with emphasis on such issues as civil rights and separation of church and state. However, in recent years, some say the AJCongress leadership has moved to the right, and in 1999, the Los Angeles-based regional chapter split from the national organization, claiming that it had forsaken its founders’ liberalism. Since then, a new regional chapter representing the AJCongress was established — and it was this new chapter that placed the controversial ad.

In another development, the Cannes Film Festival committee chose "Kedema," by Israeli director Amos Gitai, as one of 21 features in competition for top honors.

Aromatherapy Miracles


“American Pie” star Shannon Elizabeth may appear to have perfect skin. But Michelle Ornstein knows that everyone, even stars, have bad skin days. And when they do, they turn to this Israeli-born spa owner for help.

“Everyone breaks out. Teens, movie stars, homemakers. People who break out from everything come here,” said Ornstein, running her fingers through her thick brown curls.

Nestled between Crescent Heights and Fairfax on the oh-so-hip Melrose Avenue, Enessa derives its name from the Hebrew word nes (miracle). “To me, aromatherapy is the miracle of the essence,” Ornstein said.

To walk into Enessa is to relax. The stone mezuzah in the doorway welcomes you to serenity. Freeway road rage and smog-related stress give way to calming water fountains and copper leaf inlays in the cool cement floor. The spa’s clean lines and open spaces reflect Ornstein’s skin-care philosophy. “Cleanse, hydrate and moisturize,” said Ornstein, who returns to Israel every few years. “Keep it simple.”

Simple and natural. Aromatherapy, originally practiced by ancient Egyptians and Greeks, is the art of using essential oils (concentrated plant, flower and herb extracts) to enhance well-being. The oils, absorbed into the bloodstream, help the body release toxins and impurities. Based in this practice, all of Enessa’s treatments and products are 100-percent natural. “Synthetic oils and chemicals clog pores and stay in your body. Essential oils are released in six hours,” said Ornstein, who herself has sensitive skin and is allergic to most commercial cosmetics. “Imitation products may smell like aromatherapy, but they lack the actual healing properties,” she said.

Ornstein found topical antibiotics and Retin-A too harsh, so she created her own line of organic products. She now sells over 30 different skin-care secrets. The “Friends” make-up artist hooked Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox and Brad Pitt on Enessa products and all three male “Friends” stars use the aftershave moisturizer.

My luxurious hydrating facial ($70 for 45 minutes) started with the lavender cleanser, followed by a bio-exfoliant scrub, a generous application of cypress oil facial nourishment and a delightful calming mineral mask. She also applied clove oil for microcysts (I now swear by this miracle zit zapper), rose oil eye treatment (great for moisturizing lips, too) and the indulgently moisturizing rose geranium hydrosol.

Many of the products that Ornstein sells at the spa are Israeli influenced. “I import a lot from Israel, like the Dead Sea salts I use in my body polish and mineral mask,” she said.

During facials, she employs a softening gel and nylon strips to open pores. Though most American spas use steam for this procedure, Ornstein finds the Israeli gel method more effective. “With steam, pores go from one extreme to the other, shutting immediately after the steam is turned off. With the gel, the pores remain open, so I can concentrate on one area of the face at a time,” she said.

Ornstein, of Yemenite descent, imported another Middle Eastern beauty secret to Los Angeles: threading. Enessa is one of the few spas nationwide to provide this ancient hair removal treatment. Knotted threads are used to remove facial hair by the root, without disturbing the skin. “Waxing can remove a layer of skin, causing irritation and sun exposure. Threading ($15-$65) is less invasive and the hair grows back thinner,” she said. Salma Hayek is not Ornstein’s only threading fan. Thanks to Ornstein, my eyebrows look fantastic.

Ornstein’s heritage plays a large role in and out of the spa. “Celebrating the holidays, having a Jewish home, it’s really important to me,” said Ornstein, who attends services at Baba Sale in the Fairfax area, keeps a kosher home and is hosting a large family seder this Passover.

It is difficult to balance business and family, the successful businesswoman admits. Married in 1996 by Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz of Chabad of the Marina, Ornstein and her husband, Steve, an auditor, now reside in the Miracle Mile with their 18-month-old son, Daniel. “I’ve cut down on my time in the spa. I don’t want to miss out on the most beautiful thing in the world,” said the proud mother, who pulls out an album overflowing with family photos.

Now in its fifth year, the spa has become a haven to celebs and Chasidim alike. Enessa’s full line of treatments includes facials, body polishing, waxing, threading, massage and acupuncture. Although Ornstein downplays her celebrity clientele, this Hollywood hot spot is a long way from her humble beginnings.

Eighteen years ago, she worked out of her tiny Los Angeles apartment. “I’d advertise in the local Israeli newspapers, and women would climb the stairs to my place to get their legs waxed,” she said.

“In Israel, skin care is number one. Everyone gets a monthly facial; here it is treated more like a luxury than a necessity,” said Ornstein, who moved from the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan at age 13.

Ornstein discovered her skin-care passion while attending Beverly Hills High. “I broke out horribly at 16. I tried everything, nothing worked. And my first facial was traumatic,” said Ornstein, who then took to wandering aisles at the health food store. “I read the labels on all the jars to figure out what might help. I’d go home and make my own masks,” Ornstein said.

She enrolled in a local beauty school after graduation, but trained in aromatherapy in a Tel Aviv academy. “In Israel, I learned natural solutions for problem skin, how each plant and herb possess their own unique power,” Ornstein said. “I also learned that everything affects your skin. Your lifestyle, your diet, acupuncture, exercise.” She looks to Israeli folk dancing, salsa dancing and yoga for release.

With Ornstein’s help, I leave Enessa feeling pampered, relaxed and complexion glowing. And like so many of her celebrity clients, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

For more information on the spa and its products, visit