OC Jewish Experience

The official blog of Jewish Orange County

Rose Report in Digital Format

Jewish Federation & Family Services Orange County today published the 2011 Winter Rose Report in a digital format.  This 24-page full-color report details the results of what the Rose Council has achieved.  This includes:

* 174 program grants and student scholarships.

* 363 student opportunities in Israel education, leadership and advocacy programs.

* 16 campus and community bridge building programs

* 160 additional Tagalit-Birthright Israel participants from OC Universities and colleges.

As you can see from above, the report provides a timeline of events, both in Orange County and Israel dating back to 2002. Readers can find additional details on the Rose Project’s support and advancing the Jewish experience on campus, investment in leadership development as well as Israel education, community relations and media advocacy.

In addition, the report also provides a venue for two Orange County leaders to share their viewpoints. Kevin O’Grady, the regional director of Orange County/Long Beach Anti-Defamation League and Jordan Fruchtman, the executive director of Hillel Foundation of Orange County, also weigh in with full-page stories related to “free speech issues on campus campuses.” Additional viewpoints within the report are provided by Elliott Mathias, founder and executive director of Hasbara Fellowships as well as Beth Krom, an Irvine City Council Member.

Shalom Elcott, the President and CEO of Jewish Federation & Family Services Orange County, also sent out a letter to the community, informing them of the publication.

Here is what the letter said:

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to present you with the Winter 2011 digital edition of the Rose Report. Jewish Federation & Family Services launched the Rose Project in 2008 as a community initiative to combat anti-Israel rhetoric on our local university campuses, and to educate and empower our students to become advocates for Israel and the Jewish people.

We are often asked to explain our work in this area and what has been accomplished, and I believe this report will provide you with a clear picture of theprogress made on the ground .

This 24-page report provides an overview of the Rose Project’s strategic objectives and our results to date .  Additionally, the report includes a comprehensive timeline and several articles from our partners in the community and on campus.

Our early success, as a locally-coordinated effort, has implications for communities across the country, wherever anti-Israel activity has emerged or grown, on campus or in the community. We will always stand up to fight anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and any effort to harm Israel, including the reprehensible BDS (Boycott/Divestment/ Sanction) movement.  At the same time, we will always stand up for civil discourse as we foster greater awareness, and allow for difficult conversations to take place in an environment of mutual respect. By working collectively with many key partners in the local and national conversation, we will continue to inspire and empower the next generation of Jewish leadership.

We are most grateful to the investors and leadership of the Rose Project, to the board of directors of Jewish Federation & Family Services, and to our colleagues at Hillel, ADL and AJC. All of these individuals have immersed themselves in countless challenges in our community, investing tremendous time and talent. We all owe them a heartfelt ‘Todah Rabah’ for improving the quality of Jewish student life on our Orange County campuses, and in our community!


March 29, 2011 Posted by | Rose Project, UC Irvine | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel Stops Iran-Based Ship Meant to Aid Terrorists

Screen shot from the Israel Defense Forces Video

Last week, the Israeli Navy uncovered weaponry onboard a cargo vessel intended for terror organizations in the Gaza Strip.  The following video, which was published on YouTube by the Israel Defense Forces on its YouTube Channel, details what the vessel was doing, its path and what was found on the ship.

Here are just some of the items shown on the video from the Israeli port in Ashdod: thousands of mortar shells, ammunition. and six anti-ship missiles.  According to IDF forces the anti-ship missiles found may have significantly shifted the regional balance of power in favor of the terror organizations. These missiles could have been used to threaten Israeli Navy ships, civilian ships, and gas reserves off the coast of Israel.

In addition, Iranian documents found along with the weaponry including a missile identification manual written in Persian containing emblems of the Iranian government, point to the involvement and cooperation between Iran and Syria to further arm terrorist organizations.

The video includes interviews with Rami Ben Yehuda, the deputy commander of the israeli Navy, Lt. General Benjamin Gantz, Chief of the General Staff, Admiral Eliezer Marom, the commander of the Israeli Navy as well as the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Natanyayu.

March 20, 2011 Posted by | Israel, Israel Defense Forces | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Purim Party for Young Professionals

Now where were events like this for me when I was a bit younger?  This looks like a great time and something that was just sent to me on email over the weekend.  Since Jews in Orange County and the surrounding areas are always looking for fun things to do, I thought I was post this and pass it along.

YDL or the Young Leadership Division of Orange County’s growing Jewish community will be holding a unique Purim party on Saturday, March 19th at Andrei’s, located at 2607 Main St. in Irvine.  The event will kick off with a megillah rap reading with Distract-ION followed by dancing and entertainment.

The OC Purim party is open to young adults, 21+, and will also feature a Hookah Lounge and of course lots of Hamentaschen.

Tickets to this event are available for $25 if you are buying them online or $35 at the door.

If you click on the photo to the right, you will be taken to a webpage that will play you a preview video.

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Community Events | , , | Leave a comment

Irvine 11 In the News Last Week

As we start a new week, I thought it was appropriate to take a look back at how we ended the last week.  On Friday, the “Irvine 11” had an appointment in Orange County court.  The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles reported that the former UC Irvine and UC Riverside students want the Orange County district Attorney removed form the case.  The Orange County Register story generated more than 50 comments while the Reuters story says the 11 could face up to six months in jail.  A brief recap and links are provided below.

There was no significant judgement made yesterday.  The groups will reconvene on the busiest day of the year for many Americans, tax day.  The judge in this case, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson,  set a new date of April 15 date for the next hearing.

Here are links to stories filed int he last few days relating to the case.  You can clock on the red-face type to read the entire story.

From the Jewish Journal

Attorneys representing the Irvine 11 – Muslim college students who face misdemeanor criminal charges over the disruption of a 2010 speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UCI – asked a judge to remove the O.C. District Attorney’s office from the case during an arraignment in Santa Ana Superior Court on Friday.

From the Orange County Register

Attorneys for 11 Muslim students facing misdemeanor charges for disrupting the speech of an Israeli diplomat at UCI last year asked a judge Friday to remove the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from the case claiming that prosecutors illegally issued subpoenas and referred to the case internally as the “UCI Muslim Case.”

From an editorial that appeared in the Jerusalem Post on March 10 and tackles the broad picture of free speech.  A UCI recap plays prominently in the story.

The adage “time flies when you’re having fun” might explain why the two full weeks devoted to bashing Israel on college campuses around the world is known as Israeli Apartheid Week as opposed to say Israeli Apartheid Fortnight. And more people than ever are clamoring to join in the festivities.

From the Daily Pilot, who’s headline said:

Protest follows postponement of ‘Irvine 11’ arraignment with a sub-head that proclaimed:  Defense attorneys claim the D.A. is trying the group in the media and illegally obtained evidence.

According to this Reuters story….

The Irvine 11 face up to six months in jail if convicted of criminal misdemeanor charges of disturbing a meeting and conspiring to do so in connection with their February 2010 demonstration.

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Media, Muslim Student Union, UC Irvine | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jewish Community Helping Tsunami Victims in Japan

As if last week’s Tsunami was not enough, Japanese authorities, according to CNN, presume that multiple nuclear meltdowns are under way.  The government, trying desperately trying to cool down the reactors, have been trying to pump water in the coolant system without success.  Japanese government officials, so far, indicate there have been no public statements yet of hazardous or radioactive material released into the air.

The Jewish Community is taking action and appealing to people to help those affected by this horrific natural disaster.  In an email that was sent out to community members Saturday night, Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County, has begun a campaign to accept donations to help the victims and their families.

Our international partners have already begun deploying rescue personnel and emergency medical officers and are assessing the immediate needs in the hardest-hit areas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged Israel’s assistance in the wake of this natural disaster.

Please join us in this critical relief effort.  100% of your donation will be distributed to our network of partners and JFFS will absorb all administrative costs.

Click here to donate to the JFFS Japan Relief Fund.

You can also donate by calling 949-435-3484.  To donate by mail, please make your check payable to JFFS, write Japan in the check memo, and mail to:

Japan Relief Fund
Jewish Federation & Family Services
1 Federation Way, Suite 210
Irvine, CA 92603-0174

The devastation is heartbreaking.  We mourn for the people who have lost their lives.  We pray for the recovery of the injured, and for the safety of everyone in harm’s way, in the hours and days ahead.

Please know: when a crisis arises – in Japan, Haiti, Israel, New Orleans or anywhere in the world – JFFS is here to act on our community’s behalf, and ensure that people in need get immediate help.

Please donate now.

With sincere thanks,

Shalom C. Elcott
President and CEO
Jewish Federation & Family Services

March 12, 2011 Posted by | Community Events | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2011 Israel Expo: A preview

The 2011 Israel Expo, the largest Jewish Community event held in Orange County each year, is in the advanced planning stages. The Expo committee for this year’s event created a unique save the date video and released it on YouTube this week. I have linked the video to the OC Jewish Community blog for your review.  You can file the video under things to do in Orange County for sure.

The Video was produced by Jewish Federation and Family Services, Orange County. You certainly do not have to be Jewish to attend this event, but it doesn’t hurt if you like falafel and other middle eastern food. There is always great music, booths, art Israeli dancing and camel rides for the kids.
Stay tuned — this year’s event is on Sunday, May 22nd.

For now however, enjoy the previews, playing on computer screens everywhere.


More about this year’s event

The Israel Expo is an exciting opportunity to explore and experience the diverse culture of Israel in the largest and most visible event of its kind in Orange County, drawing more than 6,000 attendees of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds, from all over southern California, every year. Participants will experience an afternoon of family-oriented music and great food; exquisite Israeli fine art and Judaica; extraordinary children’s activities and rides, and much more.

March 4, 2011 Posted by | Community Events, Israel, Jewish Federation Orange County | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment