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May 2024

Spring has Sprung…and seeing the super blooms all over Ojai is breathtaking, isn’t it?

I remember in my youth having favorite comic strips.  Most of the ones that became my favorites were backed by seeing them on a screen, whether that be a television set or in the movies.  I learned from these G-rated programs.  I learned that not all ghosts were scary and some were actually cute, like Casper, who was friendly.  I learned a bit of foreign language and etiquette, like what Li’l Abner taught me:  Roast Skunk Very Possible.  To this day, when I need to ask someone to let me know in advance on a personal invite I send to them, I repeat in my mind: Roast Skunk Very Possible as I write out RSVP (répondez s'il vous plait) French for ‘Please respond’, after all, it’s the polite thing to do when invited somewhere.  That allows for preparations to be made in advance for the right amount of people showing to an event.  That’s why you’ve probably noticed that at most all of our events that we are offering at JCO, we are asking for RSVP/pre-registrations, in advance of our activity.  The members who are working on each event need to know in advance how many to plan for.  This is my shameless plea to sign up for our events in advance so we can make them wonderful for you!!  After all, we bring these events to JCO for you!

I’ve heard from a few that we are doing ‘too much’ at JCO.  On the other hand, I have heard from a great majority how excited they are that we have so much to offer now in terms of programming.  We do do this for you; we create different programs for each of you to perhaps learn something new; meet new people; get new perspectives, etc.  Soon, a survey is going to be sent to you to see what you may be interested in so we can bring that program to you and others.  Please be on the lookout for it.

Our 2nd night of Passover was amazing!  Kudos to Rabbi Lisa and Cantor Mitzi for bringing the Pesach story to us and for Elijah coming to visit.  Our evening was enlightened with the music of Bob Birk and his traditional “Let My People Go” and Miles Lang’s and Jill Singer’s music throughout the evening.  We are so blessed to have wonderful people at JCO that believe in our community.  There were soo many to thank for helping put this holiday event together—it just couldn’t happen without you.  Toda to you all.

The inaugural annual Men’s Group Matzo Brei Brunch was so much fun!  The men did an amazing job at feeding the mob that attended.  Besides Matzo Brei (2 varieties) and all the fixin’s, we had fresh fruit, juices of all kinds, macaroons and of course coffee and tea were available.  And OY!  The Aprons that were part of the Apron Contest….What a hoot!! 

I know that our April was packed with a lot of activities, mostly because of the Passover holiday.  May, however, will be a tad bit less active.  We will have our Speakers Series guest the evening of May 1st.  World renown Southwestern artist Logan Hagege will be sharing his life’s road on how he became interested in his art style and will answer any questions.  Logan was the cover story in the Ojai magazine last summer and I’m honored that he will be with us tonight---Logan, his wife Misty and their two children live in Meiners Oaks; they are members of JCO and I’ve known Logan since he was a kid…Yes: I’m oozing with pride!  I hope you’ll be with us!!

On the 18th of May our synagogue is going to welcome Sandy Hackett (son of the infamous Buddy Hackett) and Lisa Dawn Miller (daughter of composer Ron Miller who wrote well-known Motown selections that we all know well:  Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday: For Once in My Life: Heaven Help Us All, just to name a small handful).  This will be a night of comedy and music and I know first hand how entertaining this will be!  Tickets are on sale now and are open to the public so I really encourage you to not dawdle and get yours today.  You also have a chance to get in on the limited attendance for the VIP lounge after the performance to meet one-on-one with the artists.

Our family service is scheduled for May 24th.  I missed it in April, but it fell during the week of Passover and we felt that many would be ‘sedered out’.  Please join us on the evening of the 24th and see how joy and happiness is captured within the walls of our shul with the young families that attend.  And sign up for the community dinner to meet these young families.  Watch for information in our weekend eNewsletter.


I’m personally excited to let you know that on May 26th, a Sunday, we will be having our June Speaker Series presented to us via zoom at JCO.  Bradley Burston, a resident of Israel but who was born and raised in Studio City, will be coming to us over the airwaves.  Brad has been living in Israel since 1976 with a vast history there, including being the Haaretz editor for years.  He is also the author of the recently released book “The End of Israel” and will be sharing his thoughts on the Israel-Hamas war and will open the mic up for Q&A.  This is bound to be one amazing morning---and not just because there will be fresh bagels and coffee!

The end of May, on the 29th, brings us to our Annual Meeting.  Here we will vote on the slate of Board members who have decided to generously give of their time to make sure our Jewish Community of Ojai thrives and continues to provide the spiritual and camaraderie needs of our community.  We will be mailing out ballots in the first couple weeks of May and encourage you to bring the completed ballot with you to the meeting on the 29th.  It will also be a time to hear how JCO has grown over the past year and where we envision JCO in the upcoming year.  Your ballot is confidential and we ask that you do not write your name on it.

Something we need for our files is a data sheet.  We need to verify your address, your email address, your emergency contact.  We’d love to have your date of birth (no year); your anniversary date & spouse’s name and things like that.  So, included in the ballot envelope you’ll find another page that we are asking you to complete and return to us as soon as possible.  You can do that by return mail, by dropping it off in the specifically marked box in the sanctuary lobby for the data sheet or by scanning and emailing to  

We hope to see you during the month of May and certainly at the Annual Meeting to support the Board of Directors.

As ever,


Debe signature_edited.png
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