Events In The West: The Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) at UCLA and Los Angeles Yachad will be hosting a special Purim party, including a PowerPoint Megillah presentation. Yachad provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities with the goal of their members’ inclusion in the total life of the Jewish community…On Friday, March 1, Young Israel of Century City is hosting a Young Professional’s Shabbat dinner… Rabbi Yehudah Silver will be the scholar-in-residence on March 2-3 at Congregation Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath (BCMH) in Seattle…On March 8-9, Professor Smadar Rosensweig will be the scholar-in-residence at Shaarey Zedek in Valley Village.
New York Mayor Looks West: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is looking to export his education philosophies out west. According to the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg has made a million dollar political contribution to help Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign to get his slate of candidates elected to the Los Angeles Board of Education in the upcoming March 5 local elections. According to the newspaper, Bloomberg believes that much of his education agenda is in line with Villaraigosa’s and John Deasy’s, the current superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. The local teachers union, United Teachers of Los Angeles, opposes that agenda.
Kosher Experience: positive or negative: Ralph’s, a California chain of supermarkets whose parent company is Kroger, has opened its first of several L.A.-area “Kosher Experience” sections in the La Brea/Hancock Park area. This new, expanded kosher section includes a kosher deli, bakery, butcher and many take-out foods. This section is under the hashgachah of the OU and the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC). Some consumers were happy with the variety of kosher products, and cooked and baked kosher foods, but others worried that this did not bode well for the L.A. community. The latter voiced concern that this will seriously affect the neighborhood’s kosher markets and bakeries, as well as those on Fairfax Ave. and on Pico Blvd. in West L.A. Some of these stores have been in the area for decades. Even though the local shopkeepers know their shoppers well and help them in numerous ways with the personal touch, they can’t realistically compete with a chain store that’s now become a 24-hour “one-stop shop” with a giant, free parking lot.
Some customers were shocked that instead of showcasing baked goods from local kosher bakeries, a large portion of the baked goods has been outsourced (frozen, ready-to-bake) to a New York plant of a well-known bakery label in Israel. “Why couldn’t they contract with a local provider?” one man asked. Several community rabbis used recent Shabbos sermons to criticize Ralph’s and the kashrus agencies involved, noting that under Jewish law this is considered hasagas g’vul – and thus kosher supervision should not be provided. They pointed out that according to halacha, under these circumstances one must pay as much as one-sixth more in the local, Jewish-owned shop instead of shopping at a store not owned by a Jew. Kosher markets and bakeries in the Pico Robertson, Valley Village and Encino neighborhoods of Los Angeles are now dreading this planned kosher experience incursion by Ralph’s into their backyard.
Mazel Tov – Birth: Daniel and Rachel Shilowitz, a son (Grandparents Jeff and Shelley Cooper).
LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA
Mazel Tov – Birth: Daniel and Stacy Varon, a daughter.
Mazel Tov – Bas Mitzvah: Jaime Zimmerman, daughter of Brian and Celena Zimmerman.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Mazel Tov – Births: Daniel and Chaya Ziesal Serbin, a son (Grandparents Jerry and Fruma Ickovic)… David and Gabriel Johnson, a son (Grandparents Jeff and Fraida Gutovich)… Dovi and Mindi Jacobs, a daughter (Grandparents Heshy and Chani Jacobs)… Danny and Stacy Varon, a daughter (Grandparents Sam and Susan Varon)… Nick and Ilana Jurkowitz, a daughter (Grandparents Drs. Jay and Susan Jurkowitz; Dr. Gerald and Nessa Naftalin)… David and Nourian Bollag, a daughter (Grandparents Reuben and Mona Bollag; Jonathan and Dailia Samouil)… Zachary and Abigail Shrier, a daughter (Grandparents Steve and Debbie Shrier)… Joshua and Ariella Kaufman, a daughter (Grandparents Gabor Frank and Lisa Furman)… Ari and Mushky Muchkin, a son (Grandparents Marty and Hadassah Weiss)… Avy and Sandra Azeroual, a daughter… Daniel and Miriam Fain, a daughter… Shmuel and Devorah Friedman, a son (Grandparents Avrohom and Chani Klafter)… Rabbi Yosef and Rochel Jacobs of Birmingham, England, a son (Grandparents Joel and Vicky Moorvitch)… Yerachmiel and Tzipora Lifchitz of Yerushalayim, a son (Grandparents BenTzion and Yocheved Novack)… Mordy and Pessa Kirschenbaum, a son… Ari and Rivky Markowitz, a son… Avromie and Chana Margolis, a daughter… Rabbi Tzvi and Suzanne Haber, a son (Grandparents Fred Schor; Debby Kaufman)… Tomer and Jamie Kleinman, a son… Meir and Debbie Fried, a daughter… Rabbi Ephraim and Miriam Osgood, a daughter… Akiva and Chana Nourollah, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Moshe and Batya Nourollah).