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Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

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Temple Emanuel Academy Day School is partnering with the Temple’s Early Childhood Center and Religious School to celebrate Jewish education at Temple Emanuel and raise scholarship funds for students with a demonstrated financial need. More than 1,200 students have benefited from contributions secured through Aishet Chayil. Now in its twenty-ninth year, Aishet Chayil honors those whose contributions to our community stand in a class of their own.

Generously sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Beverly Hills, Law Office of Karl S. Thurmond, Brooks Brothers, FantaSea Yachts and Yacht Club, and Picore International Security.

For more information or to purchase tickets, go to

#Templeemanuelofbeverlyhills     #womenofvalor  

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Rabbi Aaron and Cantor Kliger shave their heads in support of the “Shave for the Brave” campaign. #shaveforthebrave


The Choice is Ours

By Rabbi Jonathan Aaron

Next week at Seders all over the world, the same story will be told using the same words and customs. In most cases, a Hagaddah will be used to guide us through what is basically the same order (seder), and will contain the same text brought together by the sages. But is that really true? Think about the Ethiopian Jews who never had the Hagaddah. At their Seder, they read about the Exodus directly from the Bible. 
When it comes to customs, the style of the Hagaddah can differ from family to family. I know one person who stands up at the Seder and tells his own version of the Exodus story in his own words. He began doing it in 40 years ago in pre-school, and the tradition stuck.

Hungarian Jews have a tradition of putting all of their gold and silver jewelry on the Seder plate. They base this custom upon the verse from Exodus (12:35), "The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing." 
In a custom that goes back to fourteenth century Spain, later adopted by Turkish and Tunisian Jews, the Seder leader walks around the table three times, tapping the Seder plate on the head of each guest to bless those whose heads are tapped. When Moroccan Jews perform this ritual, all the guests recite in Arabic, "Just as God took us out of Egypt and split the sea for us, so may he save us today."
Of course, the foods eaten during the Seder are certainly not the same in every home. Imagine that on a peninsula off Spain-Gibraltar, where Jews have lived for hundreds of years, they mix the dust of real bricks into the Charoset. And in Marrakesh, the dishes served for the meal are prepared using the wine from Elijah's cup.
The custom of performing a ceremony to remember the Exodus from Egypt goes back to the biblical times. The version most commonly used today, the Seder that we know, has a set order and set texts that are found in our Hagaddah. But what we do with it makes all the difference. It is the values, customs, and traditions we bring that give flavor to each and every Seder to make it a memorable experience.
My brother David wrote this parable about the way one must approach the "material" that we are given in the Hagaddah:

"In ancient times, there was once a king with two children. He gave each of them a bucket of raw grain and coarse flax, but said nothing except, "This is now yours." One child took the grain and straw away and with disappointment thought: "This is what my father the King gives me? He is Lord of the entire land, able to provide me with anything his or my heart might desire, and all I get is this bucket of grain and flax?" This child deposited the grain and flax in a closet and went out to play. The second child looked at the gift and wondered for a short while. Then, taking the grain to the kitchen, with the help of a baker, this child learned to grind the grain into pure flour. To the flour they added some water and eggs and other sweet ingredients to produce a magnificent cake. The same child then took the coarse flax to a papermaker who submerged the material in water. The papermaker then taught the child to beat it with a mallet until it was malleable and smooth. And with this flax, the child made paper. After a couple of days, the king asked that his two children be brought to him with the gifts he had given them. The first child entered the room carrying the bucket of grain and the raw flax still stiff and useless. The king looked and said nothing. The second child showed the king the beautiful cake that had been made from the grain and the magnificent, colorful picture, which was now drawn on the flax that had been made into paper. The king expressed his pride and pleasure. And the three of them sat and ate the cake and looked at the painting."

We can take the materials that have been given to us and use them to make something beautiful to enjoy. We can take what could be formless, or boring, or repetitive, and give it some form and meaning, and then find joy. The choice is always ours.

Hag Samayach, 

Rabbi Jonathan Aaron

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If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind rock n' roll Shabbat experience in the west Los Angeles area, look no further than SHABBAT B'YACHAD.

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Every week, we distribute insightful words from one of our clergy members. We call this delightful series, "Message from the Clergy."
This week's message comes from our very own Cantor Yonah Kliger.

Don't Worry, Be Happy!
Cantor Yonah Kliger

What do a rubber chicken, a Jewish paperback novel, a showcase of Michael Jackson songs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cotton candy, and the Beverly Hills Hotel all have in common? Answer: They all contributed to the many different ways our congregation celebrated Purim over the last few weeks.

In case you haven't noticed, Purim, which a relatively minor festival (religiously speaking), has taken on an epic roll at Temple Emanuel over the last few years. From the Carnival, where we play games, and simply have a great time; to Mishloach Manot, where we send small "care packages" to our friends and neighbors; to the Megillah reading and Purim Shpiel, where we actually hear the story chanted from an ancient scroll and retell it through song parodies; to Operation PB and J, where we prepared sandwiches and other essential items to give to those less fortunate than ourselves. And finally, our annual Purim Ball gala fundraiser, where we honored Lisa and Mark Schwartz as well as John Bendheim.

Purim at Temple Emanuel has evolved into a quintessential celebration, almost rivaling the High Holy Days. It's a time for us to celebrate who we are. A time to let loose, enjoy, and be grateful that we are alive. How fitting then that the morning after the Purim Ball, I awoke to learn that March 20 has been declared as International Happiness day:

"The General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 66/281PDF document of 12 July 2012 proclaimed 20 March the International Day of Happiness recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives."

The website states: 


Advertisers tell us that happiness comes from buying and consuming their products. Celebrities and the media pretend it comes with beauty & fame. And politicians claim that nothing matters more than growing the economy.

We could point to many studies showing how wrong this all is: lasting happiness does not come from what we consume, how we look or how much we earn. But, let's be honest, you probably knew that already!

Have you had enough of being made to feel poor in a world that is rich with opportunities to be happy? Or do you think we should just stay focused on money and material things?

The truth is that it's nice to have a specific day of happiness to help us remember what's important in life. But what if you treated everyday as you own personal Day of Happiness? We all have the power to choose our attitude-to focus on the aspects of our lives that are truly important, and the things that truly make us feel happy.

Towards the end of the Megillah, after Esther and Mordechai have saved the day, it says, "The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy..."

Let's bring light, joy, and happiness with us into each and every day.

Cantor Yonah Kliger

Follow Cantor Kliger on Twitter @CantorYonah

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Temple Emanuel's MATCH Teen Philanthropy Board (Money And Teens Creating Hope) spend the first half of the year learning about smart philanthropy, non-profit organizations, and grant writing. They chose the theme "Access to Basic Human Needs in LA" and visited organizations around Los Angeles before voting on which organization to support. 

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Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills has partnered with the Ezra Network to provide enhanced services to the community. Meet with a Social worker, Career Development Specialist, or Lawyer in Residence - at no cost to you. #theezranetwork

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Happy Purim from your friends at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills! #Templeemanuelofbeverlyhills   #Synagoguelosangeles  

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Visit the Official Blog of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills for up-to-date news on the most progressive synagogue in Los Angeles!  #Templeemanuelfbeverlyhillsblog

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Beverly Hills Weekly: Lisa and Mark Schwartz to be Honored by Temple Emanuel 

Read the interview:

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