Remembering to Be Better
by Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback

Imagine having the most embarrassing, shameful episode of your life broadcast publicly each year.
It’s the stuff of nightmares. 
Yet it’s precisely what our tradition has us do every time this week’s Torah portion is read. We recall once again our people’s most terrible transgression: the building of the golden calf. After witnessing with our own eyes the miracle of our Redemption at the shores of the Red Sea, we turn away from God and regress to idol worship.

Read Rabbi Yoshi’s latest column “Tidying Up” featured in this week’s Jewish Journal


5th Grade Students Conduct Immigration Simulation

This morning our 5th graders conducted our annual immigration simulation to immerse themselves in the experience of coming to America through Ellis Island!


In Memoriam: Al Vorspan, Z”L (1924-2019)

American Jewry lost a true giant this past week when social justice leader Al Vorspan passed away. Vorspan was a key organizer of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and a strong advocate for justice. 
Read more about his incredible life on



This Week’s Torah Portion: Ki Tissa

Friday, February 22
6:15 p.m. | Shabbat Services | Sanctuary

Led by Rabbi Josh Knobel and Cantor Emma Lutz
Watch live on Friday night: Facebook |

Saturday, February 23
9 a.m. | Lay-led Torah Study | Chapel Study
10 a.m. | Shabbat Morning Services | Plotkin Chapel
Led by Rabbi Ron Stern and Cantor Paul Dorman

Next Week

Friday, March 1
6:15 p.m. | Shabbat Services | Plotkin Chapel

Led by Rabbi Sari Laufer and Cantor Nathan Lam

Saturday, March 2
9 a.m. | Lay-led Torah Study | Chapel Study
10 a.m. | Shabbat Morning Services | Plotkin Chapel
Led by Rabbi Ron Stern and Cantor Emma Lutz


Learning Opportunities with Clergy
Talmud Study with Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback: Wednesday, February 27 | 12 p.m. | Udko Annex
Bible Study with Rabbi Ron Stern: Monday, March 4 | 9 a.m. | Temple Conference Room


Wise Bulletin Board

Homes for Heroes

We’re always grateful for your incredible efforts to support our veterans just moving into permanent housing. This month, our partners are helping 8 formerly-homeless women who served in our armed forces move into new apartments: but they’re moving in without basic appliances, furniture, or the everyday items that make a house a home. YOU can help by making a donation to our Homes for Heroes program: all funds go towards helping them with new items for their new homes!


How Do You Want to Change the World?

You have the ability to make a difference! But how do you want to do it? Tell us your preferences and we’ll keep you updated about all of the exciting ways to join with Wise and other partner groups to effect real change in the world. Tell us if you want to support environmental causes; volunteer to house and feed the homeless; support organizations in Israel doing life-changing work; or become a mentor to a young person in need. Select what you want to learn more about: you’ll be the first to know the latest news about tikkun olam causes that inspire you the most.



Upcoming Events

Center for Jewish Life presents
The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World
with Bernard-Henri Lévy

Thursday, February 21 | 7:30 p.m.

Bernard-Henri Lévy asserts that the United States was once the hope of the world. Nations looked to America to stand up for the values that created the Western world, and to oppose autocracy and repression.
This evening, Lévy shares his thesis that America is retreating from its traditional leadership role. In its place come former empires eager to exercise power and influence— Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and the Sunni Arab world—which are taking steps to undermine the liberal values that have been a hallmark of Western civilization.
Lévy reveals the stakes as America retreats, a process that did not begin with Donald Trump’s presidency and is not likely to end with him.
The resolution will require the West to find a new way forward if its principles and values are to survive.
Bernard-Henri Lévy is a philosopher, activist, filmmaker and author of over thirty books including The Genius of Judaism, American Vertigo, Barbarism with a Human Face, and Who Killed Daniel Pearl? Lévy has served on diplomatic missions for the French government.
$15: Stephen Wise Temple Members
$20: General Public


Rock Zen Roll Shabbat
Saturday, February 23 | 10 a.m. | Parenting Center Classroom B

Join us for a special family Shabbat experience at the Wise School Parenting Center. This class incorporates all the joys of our Shabbat class with a unique yoga and movement component geared specifically for our youngest yogis, facilitated by yoga master Cheryl of Rock Zen Roll Yoga. This Saturday Shabbat class also introduces your children to the joys of Shabbat including all your favorite Shabbat songs, the blessings and challah. Come make new friends and watch you child enjoy all the fun the parenting center has to offer!


Special Course Encore for Religious School Parents!
Escaping the Busy Trap:  What Judaism Can Teach Us About How We Spend Our Time
with Rabbi Sari Laufer

Sundays: February 24, March 3, 10 | 10-11:30 a.m.

According to researchers from Columbia University, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago, being busy in America is no longer an excuse or a lament—it’s a sign of status. Committed to what New York Times columnist Tim Krieder calls “The Busy Trap,” many of us careen from commitment to commitment while bemoaning our lack of time and focus. The ancient psalmist, however, teaches us to “number our days wisely, that we may attain a heart of wisdom,” while Shabbat and the holiday calendar teach us how to take a step away from time. Join us to explore ancient texts, Jewish ritual, and modern psychological wisdom on how to make more hours in your day, and—barring that—how to make the moments you do have matter even more.


Wise Women presents
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Tuesday, February 26  | 1:30 p.m. (LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE!)

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the first-ever retrospective about the famed associate justice and American cultural icon. It offers a visually rich, entertaining, yet rigorous look at RBG’s life and work. Woven throughout the exhibition are excerpts of briefs and other writings by RBG, including some of her most famously searing dissents. In addition, the exhibition also brings to light how her childhood, teachers and professors led her to pursue the law and be so committed to the nation’s highest ideals.
Join Wise Women for lunch, followed by a private group tour at the Skirball Cultural Center.
Cost: $36 for Wise Members, includes lunch, admission and group tour. 
This event is for Wise Members only. Unfortunately we cannot offer refunds once registered. 


Wise Guys’ Night Out
Tuesday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. | The Local Peasant, Sherman Oaks

Wise Guys is a community of men that endeavors to make meaning and change the world by sharing moments of fun, camaraderie, learning, spirituality, music, and tikkun olam together. Join Rabbi Josh for an evening on the town complete with great food, great drinks, and even better conversations with fellow Wise Guys. Guys Night Out is open to Wise Guys only.


Wise Jams
Wednesday, February 27 | 8 p.m.
Jam with Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback, the Maestro David Kates, and other musicians and singers in our community! Are you an ace on the bass? Get your kicks on the sticks? Bring your axe, your sax, your vox, and your chops. We’ll supply the mics, amps, sheet music, and a rockin’ good time!


Center for Jewish Life presents
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in Dialogue
with Rabbi David Woznica

Thursday, February 28 | 7:30 p.m.

This evening we probe the mind of one of the most influential authors of Jewish books of our time. We will explore Rabbi Telushkin’s thoughts on a wide range of issue including Israel, God, the role Judaism can play in shaping our interpersonal and familial relationships, Jewish humor and what it teaches about the Jewish People, and the use of words in private and public discourse.
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin was named by Talk Magazine as one of the 50 best speakers in the United States. He has authored 18 books, among them Jewish Literacy and A Code of Jewish Ethics, which won the National Jewish Book Award as the Jewish book of the year. His book Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History, was a New York Times bestseller. His latest book, Words that Hurt, Words that Heal, was published in January 2019.
$15: Stephen Wise Temple Members
$20: General Public


Tot Shabbat and Baby Playdate
Saturday, March 2
9 a.m. | Baby Playdate (12 months and younger)
10 a.m. | Tot Shabbat Service

Gather together with our community for a festive service! Our Clergy and song leaders lead our music- and story-filled service that introduces the youngest members of our community to the joy of Shabbat. Parents and grandparents will love it too!  Special for parents with newborns, we’ll have a baby playdate for an hour leading up to Tot Shabbat.


Melton School presents
Tuning In to the Text: The Story of Purim Retold

Sunday, March 3 | 7 p.m. | Plotkin Chapel

Rabbi Dr. Morey Schwartz, International Director of the Florence Melton School, presents an unforgettable hour of text study and song that will bring new meaning to the celebration of Purim. Politics and Power Struggles make up the drama that unfolds in the pages of Megilat Esther. Bringing with him a blend of fascinating text study and heartfelt song that will both inform and inspire, Rabbi Schwartz will get us in touch with the powerful story behind the story, and another dimension of the miraculous chain of events. Tuning In to the Text is a learning encounter for adults who are looking to find profound meaning in the text and the holiday celebration, to discover concepts buried deep in our ancient texts, and to breathe into them brand new, innovative and contemporary relevance.


Jewish Women’s Theatre presents
Chutzpah & Salsa

Tuesday, March 5
6 p.m. | Pre-show reception 
7 p.m. | Performance

Jewish Women’s Theatre’s Chutzpah & Salsa presents a cultural collage on stage: personal and mostly true stories of Jewish immigration to South and Latin America from Europe, Syria, and other lands that were not “Jewish-friendly.” These stories, written by Latino Jews, reveal funny, poignant, and pivotal moments in their lives as they share what it means to have a Latino heart and a Jewish soul. Powerhouse writers of these stories include Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario, Fulbright Scholar Ivonne Saed, MacArthur Fellow and poet Ruth Behar, and Award-winning author Barbara Mujica.
Our gratitude to Susan and Mel Plutsky for their generous sponsorship of our pre-show reception.


Soulful Shabbat
Friday, March 8 | April 12
Dinner | 6:30 p.m.
Services | 8 p.m.

Soulful Shabbat is a one-of-a-kind musical service, one of Wise’s most popular traditions. Join our clergy and our Soulful Shabbat musicians and singers for a spiritual evening featuring the rhythms and melodies our members have come to love.


Center for Jewish Life presents
Museums with Mario

The Getty

Tuesday March 12 | 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

With a collection this important you start with a single picture in pastel seen through the eyes of a practicing artist. We will focus on Manet and his use of black.
$15: Stephen Wise Temple Members
$20: General Public

Parking $15 per car


Rosh Hodesh Women’s Gathering
Wednesday, April 10 | 8:30 a.m.

Join us to celebrate Rosh Hodesh, a beautiful experience for women by women filled with Torah, poetry, song, love, community, and friendship. Please feel free to bring a friend and include in your RSVP.


Wise Women presents
Mahj and More

Wednesday, March 13 |
Updated time for March!: 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Wise members and guests are invited to join other Wise Women for open play: Mah Jongg, Canasta, Bridge, or any other game you’d like! This month, please join us after the Library Luncheon at our updated time of 2pm. Groups or single players and all levels (beginners to experts) are welcome and encouraged! If you have a Mah Jongg set, please bring it along. Snacks and light refreshments served. This is a free event, kindly RSVP.


Wise Years
Thursday, March 14
10 a.m. | Registrations Begins | Plotkin Foyer
10:30 a.m. | Program Begins | Plotkin Chapel

Dr. Raphael J. Sonenshein (Executive Director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State University Los Angeles) will address the complexities of our rapidly changing political climate. Award-winning documentary filmmaker and screenwriter Paul Boorstin will discuss his biblically-inspired novel David and the Philistine Woman. Film: In Search of Israeli Cuisine, an exploration of the 100+ diverse cultures of Israel through food. 


Center for Jewish Life presents
How to Read the Bible: A Class for the 21st Century
with Rabbi Ron Stern and Rabbi Josh Knobel

Thursdays: March 14, 21, April 4 | 7:30–9 p.m.

We will explore sections of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) through the lens of modern scholarship. Using the latest insights into the origins and historical context of the Bible, we will discover how understanding the texts in their cultural milieu, along with the added perspective of archeological research, allows us to gain even richer appreciation of the motives and wisdom of our ancestors. This unusual and cutting-edge reading of the Bible will lead to a deeper relationship with the texts and an awareness of how these texts speak to us in ways never considered by scholars from our ancient past.
The Bible is our sacred text because our ancestors have handed its wisdom to us through the centuries and because countless interpreters have shepherded it into our hands. This class returns after a successful debut last year with a look at new texts. Join us as we continue this exciting journey into our past that will radiate wisdom into our lives today.


Wise Guys presents…Conversations
.45 Caliber, Why It’s OK for Some Jews to be Armed

Tuesday, March 19 | 7:30 p.m.

Join Rabbi Josh Knobel for this very first in a series of conversations designed for modern Jewish men. Featuring Los Angeles cardiologist Reed Wilson, Executive Director of MVAT James Colbert, and Fred Kogen, the founder of Bullets & Bagels, Southern California’s premier Jewish shooting club, “.45 Caliber” will explore the lives of Jewish gun owners, as well as the principles of ethical, responsible gun ownership in the 21st Century.


Purim for Grown-Ups
Wednesday, March 20 | 7 p.m.

Howdy, pardner! Stroll on up to the saloon, grab some prairie dew to wash down that hot rock, and enjoy great food, great laughs, and even greater company at our annual “Purim for Grown-Ups.” Featuring theatrical performances from the Smith-Drori Stephen Wise Temple Theatre Company and music from the Kates-Sackler Country Jamboree, you’ll be glad you didn’t miss out. Festivities will include music, dancing, food, and plenty of quality schmooze-time. Note: this is strictly a 21+ event.


Wise YAD presents
Saved by the Belle: Esther’s Purim Party

Thursday, March 21 | 7 p.m.

Our 20s and 30s are invited for a totally tubular throwback Purim party for our 20s/30s–food, open bar, dancing, and Purim festivities! 
#ThrowbackThursday 80s/90s costumes encouraged!
21+ ONLY
Tickets $18 in advance/$28 at the door
*First 50 registrants will receive a discounted Lyft code

Feel free to forward this event to your favorite millennial!

Co-hosted by Leo Baeck Temple, Temple Judea, Shomrei Torah, Kol Tikvah, Adat Ariel, VBS NextGen, and Moishe House Sherman Oaks.


Wise Parents Association presents
Go All-In for the 9th Annual Poker Tournament

Thursday, March 26 | 7 p.m.

The 9th Annual “All-In” Poker Tournament is back, but with some new and exciting additions. Bring your best game for a chance to win huge prizes at Wise School.  It will be a memorable night of great food, friends, and friendly gambling WITH AN OPEN BAR! All are welcome!


Center for Jewish Life presents:
The High Holy Days: Exploring the New Stephen Wise Temple Machzor Cantor Nathan Lam

Tuesdays: March 26, April 2, 16 | 7:30–9 p.m.

The prayers, readings, and music of the High Holy Days create an emotional journey that helps to shape the spiritual experience for our most sacred days and set us on the path for a new year. In this course we will explore the new Stephen Wise Temple machzor, lovingly written and edited by your Wise clergy to capture the unique experience of our community’s worship during the Days of Awe. We will listen to the music and discuss its emotional impact as we also analyze readings and texts from the machzor that create and shape our perspectives on prayer.


Wise Guys presents
Men’s Ski Trip to Mammoth
Friday, March 29 – 31 (ONLY THREE SPOTS LEFT!)
Join Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback and Rabbi Ron Stern on the Wise Guys men’s trip to Mammoth Mountain. Winter sports, camaraderie, good food, Shabbat! Cost of the trip includes lodging, two catered dinners, snacks, some wine, and self-prepared breakfasts (lift tickets not included). 


Jewish World Watch presents 
13th Annual Walk to End Genocide

Sunday, March 31 | 10 a.m. | Pan Pacific Park (google map link)

The Walk to End Genocide is a community event that brings together advocates of all ages and backgrounds in one united voice to say: “We will not stand idly by while genocide and mass atrocities occur.”  The Walk helps to raise awareness of ongoing atrocities in Syria, Myanmar, Yemen, Sudan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Funds raised from the Walk allow Jewish World Watch to continue its work to educate, advocate, and support projects in these conflict-affected areas.  
Please join the Wise Walks Team! 
For questions, contact Team Captain Diane Kabat (Email:, phone: 818.501.1836)


Wise Guys presents…Conversations
Man Up, Defining Jewish Masculinity for the 21st Century

Thursday, May 30 | 7:30 p.m.

Join Rabbi Josh Knobel for this pivotal entry in a series of conversations designed for modern Jewish men. “Man Up” will explore how Jewish men can turn the tide against a culture of sexual harassment and assault that has left far too many women in our world at risk of abuse and exploitation. Discover how to acknowledge and combat misogyny without compromising your manhood, how to be woke without mansplaining, and how to raise empowered, feminist, Jewish men for the 21st century.


Wise Melton School presents
Maintaining Balance

Tuesdays: April 2, 9, 30; May 7 | 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

This four-part course takes a look at classic and modern Jewish texts that relate to our contemporary challenge of balancing the needs and demands of family, work, community and self. How can Judaism help us restore balance? This is a great introduction to the Melton School curriculum! New students are encouraged and welcome. No prior Melton School participation is required.


Rosh Hodesh Women’s Gathering
Wednesday, April 10 | 8:30 a.m.

Join us to celebrate Rosh Hodesh, a beautiful experience for women by women filled with Torah, poetry, song, love, community, and friendship. Please feel free to bring a friend and include in your RSVP.



Community Calendar

IsraAID Presents
The Day After The Disaster: The Next Steps of Humanitarian Aid

Thursday, February 21 | 6:30 p.m.
Location in West Los Angeles provided upon RSVP

IHPN is an international program for training professionals in disaster response and deploying them around the world. Members receive expert briefings, emergency-preparedness training, enrichment with field leaders, and priority access to voluntary deployments on IsraAID missions. Right now, the program is actively recruiting for health professionals, mental health experts and engineers.


Los Angeles Jewish Teen Initiative presents
Starting the Conversation: Talking to Your Teens about Vaping and Marijuana Use

Monday, February 25 at 7 p.m. | Westside JCC
Wednesday, February 27 | 7 p.m. | deToledo High School

What do we as parents need to know about smoking, vaping, “juuling,” edibles, and other trending substances? Join LAJTI for a free workshop to learn the basics and walk away with tools to talk about these trends with your teens and help them make healthy decisions. Facilitated by Linda Gingras, LMFT, CADC II, and Director of Addiction and Prevention Services at Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles.
Space is limited, RSVP required.


Nefesh B’Nefesh presents
2019 Los Angeles Aliyah Fair
Tuesday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. | Young Israel of Century City
Wednesday, March 13 at 5:30 p.m. | Sherman Oaks Courtyard Marriott

This is your chance to have ALL your Aliyah questions answered under one roof! Meet with Israeli professionals, and get step-by-step guidance from the experts. Israeli vendors and service providers will be able to provide answers and guidance about the topics most critical to your Aliyah planning, including employment, insurance, taxes, real estate, financial planning, and much more. This is a great opportunity to meet other Aliyah-minded individuals and is open to all, whether you are planning Aliyah in the near future or further down the line. Light refreshments will be available.


Lifecycle • Yahrzeits

We remember with love those who died in recent days and weeks:
Warren Deutsch, David Habif, Henry Siegel, Martin Weil

We observe the yahrzeits of:
Lillian Zacks Abracen*, Dorothy Abrams*, Oscar Ben Boxer*, Isidor Brooks*, Bessie Burman*, Morton Craig, Lester Elisco*, Fannie Feiles*, Gertrude Frankel*, Gertrude Weissman Goldberg*, Pearl Golden*, Shirley Golden, Erwin Goldenberg, Irving Greiff*, Al Gursey*, Murray Harris*, Ruthie B. Kahn*, Louis L. Kaplan*, Bernice Lee, Michael Evan Leffler*, Craig Leigh*, Gerson Levy*, Dr. Raymond F. Lipton*, Mari Lipton*, Louis Nochenson*, Caroline Oster, Helga Ponder*, Todd Ravins*, Joseph Ritter*, Sophie Rose*, Fred Edward Rosenthal*, Harry Rosman*, Esther Rose Smith*, Herman Sobel*, Michael Steinore, Sylvia Williams, Tillie B. Wolin*, Gertrude Yavitch*, Samantha Yuan

*Designated on our memorial walls

Lifecycle • Mazal Tov

Shehechianu Moment
Do you have a milestone birthday or anniversary approaching? We’d like to celebrate your special day on the bima during Friday evening Shabbat Services! Invite your family, join your Wise community, make it a “shehechianu moment” – a time to give thanks for life, health, and the blessings that enable you to reach this great moment in your life. Let us know by emailing Arlene Spiegelman or calling 310.889.2272 and she’ll make sure to schedule a date that works for you. We’d love to share your celebration!

Mazal Tov to:

Nikki and Sean Hashem on their son Aidan Hashem becoming Bar Mitzvah
Director of Development Jessica Lebovits on her marriage to Ryan Mannon
Elana and Benjamin Sulzer on their daughter Sadie Sulzer becoming Bat Mitzvah

Lifecycle • Tributes

We honor our loved ones, our family simchas, and our communal losses through charitable giving. To give in honor or in memory of a cherished family member or dear friend, please visit

Morton Craig, by the Craig Cooper Family


Dana, Scott, and Josh Ehrlich, by Susan Ming


Lisa Klein’s Granddaughter’s Bat Mitzvah, by Dr. Jeffrey and Mrs. Michele Glass


Jessica Lebovits and Ryan Mannon on their marriage, by the Saadat Family


Michael Perla, by the Gordons and the Perlas


Michael Steinore, by Norma A. Cooper


Pearl Golden, by Roger and Patti Golden


Bernice Lee and Caroline Oster, by Andrea and Kenneth Lee


Esther Rose Smith, by Mark and Marcia Smith


Rosita Tyberg’s Birthday, by Victor and Norma Bassuk
Rosita Tyberg’s Birthday, by Sharon and Jaime Bitterman
Rosita Tyberg’s Birthday, by Joe and Carole Hara
Rosita Tyberg’s Birthday, by Yiyi and Bubi Kaplan
Rosita Tyberg’s Birthday, by Karla and Mois Lari
Rosita Tyberg’s Birthday, by Dr. Jonathan Macy and Mrs. Jeannette Macy
Rosita Tyberg’s Birthday, by Silvia and Lito Spector


Jessica Lebovits and Ryan Mannon’s wedding, with love from Dana and Scott Ehrlich


Louis Barron, by Dr. Arnold and Barbara Barron
Shirley Golden, by Sharyn Klein
Erwin Goldenberg, by Carole and Beryl Farfel
Ruth Kahn, by Ellen, Buddy, Adam and Leslie
Todd Ravins, by Dr. Harold and Mrs. Gail Ravins
Sylvia Williams, by Dr. and Mrs. Leon Kosdon


Thank You

We appreciate our wonderful volunteers:

Lunch Bunch:
Thank you Lunch Bunch Volunteers for supporting LA Family Housing on Tuesday, Feb. 19

Janis Berkman
Norma Cooper
Ilene and Harry Jacobs 
Diane Kabat
Candace Konowitch
Sally Levine 
Freda Moscowitz
David, Aaron & Eli Podemski
Heidi Praw
Sheila Rosenberg 
Shirley Sniderman
Lana Sternberg
Gail Woskow

Center for Jewish Life Volunteers:
Susan Firestone
Freda Moscowitz
Barbara Sampson

Tammy Steinman

Nosh Volunteer:
Susan Firestone

Gift Shop Volunteers:
Terrie Baumann
Rochelle Fox
Lori Rubin
Carol Sookman

A Welcoming Community
Have a great idea? Share it with us by submitting it to our online suggestion box.

Do you want to reach us? 

Are you having a lifecycle event? Or would you like to be added to this email list? 

Would you like to get involved? Check out upcoming Temple and School events. 

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Stephen Wise Temple | 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive | Los Angeles, CA 90077
Shabbat Shalom