As the nation heads into the second Jewish High Holiday season during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cedars-Sinai Senior Rabbi and Director of Spiritual Care Jason Weiner, PhD, is thinking about renewal, a common theme during the holidays that call for repentance and atonement before the Jewish new year.

But new beginnings aren't without restrictions. This year, in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Cedars-Sinai will once again forgo in-person Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. Instead, virtual religious services will be available through the Spiritual Care Department's website.

Read more about the services, which will be widely available to the community, in the story below

As the nation heads into the second Jewish High Holiday season during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cedars-Sinai Senior Rabbi and Director of Spiritual Care Jason Weiner, PhD, is thinking about renewal, a common theme during the holidays that call for repentance and atonement before the Jewish new year.

"The difference between the high holidays last year and this year has really been the development of the COVID-19 vaccines," he said. "It was a major turning point, and I think this year we can truly look forward to a new beginning."

A new beginning, he said, but one that isn't without restrictions. This year, in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Cedars-Sinai will once again forgo the in-person Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services that, pre-pandemic, had become a standby of comfort for patients, staff and community.

Instead, Cedars-Sinai is making online services widely available through the Spiritual Care Department's website at the following dates and times: 

Rosh Hashanah: Tuesday, Sept. 7, available for 24 hours starting at 7 a.m.
Kol Nidre: Wednesday, Sept. 15, 4 p.m.-6 a.m.
Yom Kippur: Thursday, Sept. 16, available for 24 hours starting at 7 a.m.
Participants can follow along with the service via a downloadable PDF high holidays Machzor (prayer book).

Patients will be able to tune in to the service from their rooms, and Weiner will once again be blowing a traditional ram's horn "shofar" outfitted with a mask in patient rooms for those who request it. 

The decision to hold virtual services again this year was not an easy one, Weiner said. But it was something that reminded him of another important theme of the holiday–"Cheshbon HaNefesh"–usually translated as "an accounting of the soul," or, in Weiner's words, "a personal accounting of your past year." 

"We want to reflect on whether we've done as much as we can to protect our community, and what we can do better," Weiner said. "Recognizing the importance of community and why we don't gather in large groups, as much as we've missed it, is a way of expressing our values."



LOS ANGELES -- Simon Wiesenthal Center Founder and CEO, Rabbi Marvin Hier was recently honored by The Jacob Gitlin Library in Cape Town, South Africa, during its annual memorial lecture on Wednesday, August 25, 2021.

The event was hosted via Zoom where Rabbi Hier, a two-time Academy Award®-winner, discussed his life, the founding of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the hunt for Nazi war criminals, and his relationships with presidents, popes, and the Hollywood elite.

Congratulations Rabbi Hier.



As we approach Rosh Hashanah we are sharing two unique postcards chosen from the SWC archives that represent the observation of this High Holiday during the first half of the 20th Century.

The first postcard depicts Jewish soldiers celebrating Rosh Hashanah while serving in the Russian army during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905. The postcard is postmarked October 29, 1906, and bears handwritten greetings for the new year from the Hirschberg family to Jacob Halpern.

The second postcard shows a photograph of a family, with a reproduction of a Rosh Hashanah greeting card depicting a steamship below, with the Hebrew words "May you be inscribed for a good year." The postcard, dated October 2, 1929, was sent by the woman in the photograph to her sister. The Yiddish message on the back of the postcard reads, "For my beloved sister ... I wish you, your husband and your children a good, happy year, good health and financial means. A long year and all that you request from The Almighty. From your sister. My husband and my children wish you the same as I do."

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Rosh Hashanah is a special festival which celebrates Jewish New Year. It literally means 'head of the year'. The festival lasts for two days and this year it starts on Monday 6 September.  This is because the dates of Jewish festivals come from the Hebrew Calendar, so the Jewish New Year begins in autumn, as opposed to on 1 January.  Find out more about what Rosh Hashanah means and how it is traditionally celebrated below.

What does it symbolize?

Rosh Hashanah is a celebration of the creation of the world and marks making a fresh start.
It is a time for people to reflect on the past year and to ask for forgiveness for anything wrong they feel they have done.  They can also think about their priorities in life and what it important to them.

The festival also marks a time of judgment, when Jews believe that G[-]d balances a person's good acts over the last year with their bad acts, and decides what the coming 12 months will be like for them.

The festival also marks a time of judgment, when Jewish people believe that G[-]d balances a person's good acts over the last year with their bad acts, and decides what the coming 12 months will be like for them.

During Rosh Hashanah, people will ask themselves questions like:  During Rosh Hashanah, Jewish people will traditionally greet each other with L'shanah tovah, which means "for a good New Year".

Many Jewish families will spend some of Rosh Hashanah at a Synagogue. This is the name given to the building where Jewish people go to worship.

One of the traditions of Rosh Hashanah is to blow a big horn called a Shofar. One hundred notes are blown on the horn to create a special rhythm.

The Shofar is one of the world's oldest known wind instruments.


BEVERLY HILLS, CA - - More than 100 Friends of the IDF (FIDF) supporters gathered at a private home in Beverly Hills Tuesday evening to celebrate and honor soldiers of the Nahal Haredi Battalion of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  The event raised over $2 million in support of the soldiers of Nahal Haredi.
Led by Rabbi Pini Dunner, the event was attended by prominent members of the FIDF Los Angeles Chapter and special guests including Former IDF Deputy Chief of the General Staff Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, FIDF CEO Steven Weil, and FIDF National Chairman, Peter Weintraub. Also in attendance was Cpl. Meir - a Lone Soldier from Los Angeles, currently serving in Combat Battalion Unit 202 of the Nahal Haredi Unit.
The event was chaired by Judy and David Hager and Lee Samson. The evening’s celebrated honoree was Leo David, founder of FIDF’s Los Angeles Chapter.  

“Military service for ultra-Orthodox young men is critical to Israel’s defense. This service comes with unique challenges and for many of these young men they serve without the support of their families,” said FIDF National and Western Region Board Member and Event Chair, David Hager. “I am grateful for the incredible generosity of our Los Angeles community, and I’m deeply honored by this year’s record-breaking donations.”
The Nahal Haredi Unit of the IDF caters to the needs of some 2,400 ultra-Orthodox soldiers and 14,000 veterans who electively choose to serve in the IDF despite the challenges of adhering to their religious background. According to Israeli law, Haredi men and women enrolled in Israel’s religious seminaries are legally exempt from obligatory military service.  It has a professional team that works in cooperation with the IDF and Israel’s Defense Ministry to create a customized program based on the unique needs of Haredi soldiers which includes spiritual and religious guidance, Torah study, lectures, dietary needs, and more.  The religious leadership affiliated with Nahal Haredi also serves as a conduit between the IDF and the ultra-Orthodox community at large.  

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a 501(C) (3) not-for-profit organization with the mission of offering educational, cultural, recreational, and social programs and facilities that provide hope, purpose, and life-changing support for the soldiers who protect Israel and Jews worldwide. Today, FIDF has 24 chapters throughout the United States. FIDF proudly supports IDF soldiers, families of fallen soldiers, and wounded veterans through a variety of innovative programs that reinforce the vital bond between the communities in the United States, the soldiers of the IDF, and the state of Israel. For more information.

                               BLUMENFIELD ON RENTAL ASSISTANCE

Since the onset of this pandemic over a year ago, I’ve worked to provide protections that will help those impacted by COVID-19 receive the security and peace of mind necessary to avoid the worst possible outcomes -- health and financial. A top priority has been ensuring that renters are protected from evictions due to COVID related loss of income. Such evictions would not only be untimely and cruel, but they could make it impossible for folks to shelter-in-place and therefore worsen the health crisis. As you may know, with my strong support, the City implemented one of the strongest eviction moratoriums in the country, implemented new laws to prevent tenant harassment, and paid more than 100 million dollars of rent for struggling Angelenos.  Before State and Federal funds were even available, I got the program started for my constituents by using money from my office’s discretionary funds.

The latest good news on this front is that with the funds provided by the American Rescue Plan, the City and State are combining efforts to streamline rental assistance for a new Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Angelenos will soon have access to a much larger pool of resources to ensure that qualified demand for assistance is met. “Housing is Key” is the central location for renters to apply for funds. Eligible households can get 100% of their rental debt paid. If there is insufficient funding for rental assistance from the City of Los Angeles to cover everyone, applicants will be notified that their application has been referred to the State program.

Applications are now being accepted and City of Los Angeles renters and landlords will be able to apply online via HousingIsKey.com. Residents can also call the appointment call center at 833-687-0967 if they need help filling out an application. To get past COVID’s devastating economic toll, we need to do everything we can to make renters and their housing providers whole. Please share the informational flyer at the end of this newsletter.

Please know that if you are a renter or property owner who previously applied for the City’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, you can check your application status online at hcidla.lacity.org. If you are on the waitlist for the City’s program, your application will be prioritized under Housing is Key. If you already received funds from the City’s program but need additional months of rent covered, you can apply to the new Housing is Key program as well. Again, I encourage you to visit housingiskey.com to apply for rent relief as soon as possible. You can also see your rights and other important resources for yourself. Knowing your rights is important and you can find yours at stayhousedla.org.  

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