The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Ukrainian Adoption SUCCESS!

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on October 27, 2010

They made it!!!



Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on October 20, 2010

It’s back! Fundraising is in full swing not only at regular school, but at Hebrew school, sports, Girl Scouts, and other activities.

Longtime readers may remember my frustration with “Makes a Great Gift!” fundraising catalogues stuffed with cookie dough and costume jewelry.

This year, Eva’s elementary school switched to a different catalogue. They also added something new, which I love: cash donations count as one item per $10 given. I’d rather write a check, get an income tax deduction, and know that the school gets 100% of the donation.

This new catalogue doesn’t have “the black page” but they do have “the latino page”:

The “Jewish page” is actually a half-page and is adjacent to the madrecita zone.

The choices are either Chanukkah wrapping paper or a decorative tin (dreidels) with sugar cookie mix. I decided to play ball this year and ordered the tin.

How are the cookies? I’ll let you know in 6-8 weeks.


Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on October 19, 2010

I sit on our synagogue board, and one of my current projects is writing the perfect liability waiver.

I find myself drafting sentences like:  “I understand that attending Hebrew school is a dangerous activity that may cause serious bodily harm, including death.”

(Now that is a ga-ga game I want to see.)

I trekked over to our county’s law library in downtown Riverside and did some legal research.  The seminal case in premises liability waivers is called Benedek.  As I read through it, I was struck by something:  the shame of being Benedek.

This is his legacy.  Mr Benedek joined a gym:  the Pritikin Longevity Center at Shutters Hotel in Santa Monica.  While riding the exercise bike, he tried to change the TV station by stacking a stool on top of a box, and he fell and hurt himself.

So Mr Benedek is memorialized in the law as a klutz (and a litigious one at that.)

He lost, because the gym had him sign a waiver.  (Hallelujah!  Do you hear the chorus of angels singing?  How I love liability waivers.)

And how odd it must be, to be Mr Benedek, forever remembered for stacking a stool on top of a box to change the channel.  It reminds me of a story a bar review instructor told me, about receiving a Times Picayune clipping from his elderly mother about the death of Miranda, for whom Miranda rights are named.  “He did so much for us all,” his mother had written.

Actually, Miranda is remembered as a guy who got in a bar fight, which, coincidentally, is how he ended up dying.

So sue at your own risk.  You could wind up being the McDonald’s coffee lady, or the reason hair dryers say “do not insert in mouth.”

Party Planning

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on October 18, 2010

I am ping-ponging between cramming Hebrew and throwing a party. Frankly the constant shifting gears is making me a little schizophrenic.

One big help is the fact that I chose a very all-inclusive venue, Gershon Bachus on Temecula’s De Portola Wine Trail.

GBV produces terrific wines. I tasted them a couple of months ago and am looking forward to doing some wine tasting their later this fall.

And their chef, Adrian, just opened his own restaurant, Sorrel, here in town.

That leaves: music; flowers; cake; guests (guest list, invitations, seating); and what to wear. I’m sure I’m forgetting something major.

“Guests” is in progress, thanks to a local friend who is making invitations for me. I have a lead on someone to call for flowers. I’ll probably bring music to plug into an ipod. I don’t think we’re having dancing, but I want something on in the background. And maybe I should have dancing after all. Glee? Hava Nagila?

I also have a lead on cake. My preferred bakery does pastries too so I might get creative…and if dessert is good, and the wine is pouring nicely, everyone is going to have a terrific time.

Something missing

Posted in learning hebrew by Juliet on October 16, 2010

I have a packet of Hebrew prayers. I have a binder with the prayers and English text in order that it will appear during the service. And then there is what you see above.

That’s my Torah portion. Four of us are dividing a portion of a portion. It’s really only a few lines, when you come down to it. If you say it flawlessly and fluently, it takes maybe a minute or so per person.

The right hand side has the Hebrew with vowels and punctuation.

The left hand side is the exact same text, but as it appears in the Torah scroll we’ll be reading from on December 18.

Something is missing: vowels and punctuation!

Cantor Frank says that if you practice it enough, your brain automatically fills in the blank spaces where the vowels ought to be, so you almost “see” them as you read.

I have yet to experience that kind of helpful hallucination.

I’m trying NOT to memorize it. Everyone tells me it’s better to actually read it, so if I get lost, or lose my place, I can pick up again. Also, if I do the actual hard work of learning to read Hebrew, I’ll be able to read anything I want in the future.

For now, I’m carrying notes like these around and practicing while waiting for the toast to pop (see “Sybil’s Way”) or, as in the photo above, on the sidelines of a soccer game. Today I practiced while sitting on a bench outside the dressing room of Justice. Opportunity marries creativity!