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Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, PhD, Speaks at Cedars-Sinai Talmud Dedication

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LOS ANGELES — Prominent Orthodox rabbi, Meir Soloveichik, PhD, made a pilgrimage of sorts Tuesday, when he visited Cedars-Sinai for the dedication of a complete set of the Talmud, the Jewish books of law and commentary. “They told me that if I came, I could hold the tablets,” he said. 

In a city known more for its movie-making magic than for its holy sites, the tablets, Soloveichik is referring to are, of course, movie props. They’re the tablets used in Cecil B. DeMille’s classic 1956 film, “The Ten Commandments,” starring Charlton Heston. 

Donated to Cedars-Sinai’s predecessor, Mount Sinai Hospital, by DeMille’s wife, Constance Adams DeMille, the tablets were on display alongside the colorful new English translation Noé Edition Talmud Bavli, a gift to Cedars-Sinai from Koren Publishers of Jerusalem. 

“We’re very grateful to Koren Publishers for this gift,” said Rabbi Jason Weiner, director of the Spiritual Care department at Cedars-Sinai, “It’s an incredible feat to translate the entire Talmud, and this is not just any translation,” Weiner said. 

The translation uses modern language, along with charts, color photos, historical background information and archeological diagrams to give perspective on the text. The gift coincides with the Jan. 4 completion of a 7.5-year cycle of daily Talmud study, known as Daf Yomi.

During this cycle, scholars study one page a day of the Talmud, in sequence. The completion of one cycle and the beginning of another is cause for celebration around the world. Cedars-Sinai patients and their family members, as well as employees who are participating in Daf Yomi, will have access to the books to continue their studies while at the hospital. 

For Soloveichik, a movie buff, there is a connection between movie-making, art, Jewish life and the study of Jewish law. “I am obsessed with the Ten Commandments. Not the actual commandments, mostly the movie,” Soloveichik joked. “So I was very intrigued at the prospect of coming to Los Angeles to see so sacred an object.” 

The Cedars-Sinai tablets, and the meticulous research by DeMille’s team in recreating them, he said, remind him of a 1658 painting by Dutch artist Rembrandt. The painting, like DeMille’s tablets, shows a level of detailed research and understanding of Judaism unique for its time, according to Soloveichik. 

In the biblical story, Moses receives the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai. While Moses is away, some of the people believe that he is dead and begin worshipping a statue of a golden calf, an act explicitly forbidden by the law of the time.

When Moses returns and finds them doing this, he throws the tablets angrily to the ground, breaking them. According to the story, he later hand-carves a second set of commandments. 

While the Rembrandt painting is often called Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law, Soloveichik believes that the tablets depicted are in fact these second tablets, and that the depiction of them as a work of people, rather than the divine, is symbolic. “Moses himself refashioned the tablets from the stone, and in the process, he refashioned himself, restoring the covenant,” Soloveichik said. 

This theme of restoring that which has been broken, Soloveichik says, is repeated throughout Jewish Scripture and history. And it’s a theme that is sure to resonate with Cedars-Sinai patients, family members and health care professionals. “These second set of tablets embody something central to our history – the Jewish ability to come back after disaster – to not lose hope after all we had was shattered, to recreate anew what had been destroyed,” said Soloveichik.

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WeHo Calendar: Changes to City’s Upcoming Scheduled Events

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photo by Kimberly Farmer

WEST HOLLYWOOD– The city has announced that due to safety concerns, a number of events sponsored by WeHo will be cancelled until further notice. The City urges people to practice social distancing as much as possible, keeping exposure to crowds to a minimum.

Sunday, March 15

2:00 PM (Cancelled) NOW- Hollywood Chapter presents ‘The TransVagina Diaries’ by Lindsey Deaton

2:00 PM (Cancelled) REVIVING THE REVOLUTION: Empowered Lesbians and Queer Women of Color Read and Discuss Their Written Works

Monday, March 16

9:00 AM (Cancelled) Helen Albert Certified Farmers’ Market

6:30 PM City Council Meeting

Tuesday, March 17

6:30 PM (Cancelled) 5th Annual Hollywood NOW Herstory Awards & Reception

7:00 PM (Cancelled) Russian Advisory Board

Wednesday, March 18

6:00 PM (Cancelled) Wednesday Night Social Club

6:30 PM (Cancelled) Transportation Commission

Thursday, March 19

2:00 PM (Cancelled) beWellWeHo: UCLA Memory Training

5:00 PM (Cancelled) Urban Art Subcommittee Meeting

5:30 PM (Cancelled) Long Range Planning Projects Subcommittee – Special Meeting

6:30 PM Planning Commission – Special Meeting

Friday, March 20

No events scheduled

Saturday, March 21

9:00 AM (Cancelled) Annual Arbor Day Celebration

11:30 AM (Cancelled) “Play Ball” Skills Clinics and Home Run Derby

For a look at the entire month visit our website calendar.

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WeHo JFS Service Changes For Seniors and Others Due to Virus

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WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City of West Hollywood is taking every precaution to prioritize community health and well being to respond to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The City is getting the word out about updates regarding services for seniors at the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center at Plummer Park and services available from Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS)

  • JFS has immediately cancelled all activities at the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center at Plummer Park until April 10, 2020 as a precaution to safeguard health and safety and JFS will make assessments as the situation evolves;
  • The JFS meal site will provide a frozen meal for each client coming to its meal sites on Monday, March 16, 2020 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and the organization anticipates providing additional meals for clients in order to minimize client contact and support recommendations for social distancing;
  • Additionally, SOVA, the JFS food pantry, located on Pico and Robertson Boulevards, continues to remain open for community members.

The JFS West Hollywood Comprehensive Service Center remains a vital resource for seniors and people with disabilities and it will continue to be operational at this time. Operated by Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS), funded in large part by the City of West Hollywood, and located in the community center at Plummer Park, the Center is a one-stop source of support and assistance.

In response to concerns about coronavirus, JFS requests that community members contact the Center by phone instead of in person. Currently, case managers are reaching out to connect with clients and assess needs. For more information, please call (323) 851-8202.

For additional information about social services in the City of West Hollywood, please call (323) 848-6510.

The City of West Hollywood will post updates on its website at weho.org/coronavirus. The City is updating its calendar and information will be available at weho.org/calendar.

For updates from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health about Coronavirus, please visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus.

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Seniors in Action: Community + Connection + Conversation – Mar 24

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WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City of West Hollywood Seniors in Action: Community + Connection + Conversation is an active on-going program for residents.

It offers activities that provide engaging opportunities for participants to learn something new, contribute their talents and experience, and deepen their connection to the West Hollywood community.

Refreshments will be served. Presented by the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center in collaboration with the City of West Hollywood and its Senior Advisory Board.

Attendance is free and open to the public; RSVPs are not necessary.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

For more information, please contact Corey Roskin at (323) 848-6403 or croskin@weho.org or Valentina Aleksandrova at (323) 876-1717 or aleksandrova@jfsla.org.

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