Sukkot Activities with Beach Hillel

With students at CSULB upon putting up the sukkah
With students at CSULB upon putting up the sukkah

Last month, in addition to leading a discussion for young adults in Orange County, I was involved in several of Beach Hillel‘s activities for Sukkot.

For starters, I worked with students and staff to put up the on-campus sukkah at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), as well as to take it down.  Although we made this sukkah available for use by students, faculty, and staff on-campus, we also used it for a “Pizza in the Hut” lunchtime get-together during the holiday.  We also had a staff meeting in the sukkah, as well.

Pizza in the Hut at CSULB
Pizza in the Hut at CSULB

I also helped put up the off-campus sukkah, as well as taking it down,  where we held Shabbat dinner during the holiday, which had a nice feeling to it, being outside in the nice weather.

Finally, we had the annual Sukkah Hop, which, for the third year in a row, was held in Irvine.  Beach Hillel partnered again with Chabad at University of California, Irvine (UCI) for a great time with students from UCI, CSULB, and other schools, to visit multiple sukkot, ending up in a dinner at a big sukkah with music and dancing.

ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF RABBIS STATEMENT ON THE VICIOUS TERROR ATTACK PERPETRATED IN JERUSALEM, ISRAEL ON TUESDAY NOVEMBER 18

The Orange County Board of Rabbis stands with the people of Jerusalem and the State of Israel at this tragic moment of sadness. The inhuman murder of innocent worshippers in a sacred place of prayer and study is an affront to all humankind. Our hearts are joined with all who are mourning and with all who pray and work for peace.

We pray for the recovery of those injured, and we feel a deep bond with those who were murdered. We remember, along with all who mourn them around the world, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Rabbi Aryeh Kopinsky, Rabbi Caiman Levine, and Rabbi Moshe Twersky. We recognize the heroism of SgtMajor Zidan Seif, the Israeli Druze policeman who gave his life preventing the terrorists from causing further harm. May all of their memories be a blessing, and may their families somehow find solace in this senseless moment of pain and grief.

We call upon all people of good will in Orange County to recommit themselves to the safety and security of Israel and of places of worship everywhere. May our actions lead to a more peaceful society in the United States and abroad.

Discussion at CSULB Focussed on Conduct of War in the Torah

On Monday, I spoke with students about conducting war in the Torah at CSULB for Beach Hillel
On Monday, I spoke with students about conducting war in the Torah at CSULB for Beach Hillel

On Monday, I led a text-based conversation for Long Beach Hillel at California State University, Long Beach on what the Torah says about conducting war. We focussed on several passages from the book of Deuteronomy, in which we see the most about this topic. The topic was chosen for the monthly “Torah on Tap” since it was the day before Veteran’s Day, which had us thinking about those serving in battle.

Discussion of Sexual Positions in Judaism

Discussion on Sex Positions in Talmud - November 2014 - CopyLast night, I led a discussion for young adults on sexual positions in Judaism, which was a lively conversation.  As part of my work enriching the lives of young adults, sex comes up not infrequently.  So, in a Long Beach version of a discussion I led over a year-and-a-half ago in Orange County, I invited young adults to share some beer and discuss this topic at an apartment of a couple of young adults (who had just moved in), utilizing Talmudic sources in this conversation.  It was a great atmosphere to have the conversation and I am glad we were able to have it!

Speaking with Redlands Hillel

Speaking with students at University of Redlands
Speaking with students at University of Redlands

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with dozens of students at University of Redlands in collaboration with their Hillel, followed up with a visit to continue the conversations at a local brewery.

On Thursday evening, I went to University of Redlands to speak with students to discuss Jewish topics of interest to them, in collaboration with its Hillel. A Question-And-Answer session ensued, with a bunch of questions thrown at me about me and my being a rabbi (it kind of felt like “Inside the Rabbi’s Studio”), followed by numerous questions about Jewish life and more.

Speaking with young adults and students at Hangar 24
Speaking with young adults and students at Hangar 24

From there, I went with about a dozen students came for a follow-up discussion about sex at Hangar 24. Despite the crowds, the noise, and our not having seats due to a busy night, we were able to have a fruitful conversation about sex in Judaism.

Speaking with students at University of Redlands
Speaking with students at University of Redlands

It was nice to be back speaking with the Hillel at Redlands, since it has been several years since I had been there and it’s a great campus and the students are very enthusiastic.

Speaking on Interfaith Panel at CSULB on Climate Change

Speaking on an interfaith panel at CSULB last night on climate change
Speaking on an interfaith panel at CSULB last night on climate change

Last night, I spoke on an interfaith panel on the topic of climate change and environmental stewardship, representing the Jewish perspective.

Taking place at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), the panel discussion was put together by the nascent Interfaith Project at CSULB.  Questions under consideration for the panel were such as “What attitudes toward climate change do you encounter in your religious context or in the religious tradition you study – skepticism, apathy, concern, activism?” and “What responsibility do humans have, according to your religious tradition, for the care of the environment/[creation]?”

Having been involved with Jewish environmental groups, it was a great opportunity for me to share some of our tradition on this matter.