The Week That Was At YICC


This past weekend at YICC is already being referred to as one of the year’s highlights by those who had the privilege of being in attendance. Our guest on Shabbat was Rabbi Marc Penner, the Rabbi of Young Israel of Holliswood Queens, and director of professional education and advisement at the Center for the Jewish Future of Yeshiva University. Rabbi Penner gave a powerfully moving drasha Shabbat morning on the importance of true kindness. Rabbi Penner’s stimulating afternoon shiur entitled, “Gedolim: wanted dead… or alive?” left the entire crowd buzzing. Rabbi Penner discussed with great passion the threats of misusing our great rabbis and the importance of relating to them, and God, correctly.
Sunday Morning Rabbi Penner returned to kickoff a most fascinating Yom Iyun entitled, “Leading the Jewish Future.” Rabbi Penner discussed the challenges facing contemporary Jewish leaders, some of his ideas for producing male and female Jewish leaders, and the innovative improvements being made in Yeshiva University’s rabbinical school’s professional development program. We then heard a fascinating, and entertaining, presentation by Dr. Bruce Powell, the head of school at the New Community Jewish High School. Dr. Powell explained how to raise our children to become future Jewish leaders. This was followed by a wonderful panel discussion titled, “Charting the Jewish Future” in which we were treated to a very wide variety of speakers and issues. Rosalie Zalis, Senior Vice President of Pacific Capitol Group, passionately explained the importance of making sure that Jewish Education is the highest priority of the community. David Suissa, of the Jewish Journal and then made a powerful presentation on the importance of curiosity, both for Jews who are “connected” and those who are not, to search for meaning and excitement in the vast smorgasbord of Jewish life. Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug, the executive director of Jewish World Watch then gave us an intense and unforgettable first hand account of the horrors of contemporary genocide, and explained the importance of the Jewish community playing a leading role in fighting such evils around the world. Seth Berkowitz, our Shul’s President and Vice President of concluded the morning with a brilliant discussion of specific Jewish values that can lead the way to a positive Jewish future, despite the grim realities facing much of our contemporary world and community.
The entire morning’s program will be available on our website, under the “Torah on the Web” link by the end of the week, along with many of our other fascinating lectures and programs.

About Luke Ford

Raised a Seventh-Day Adventist at Avondale College in Australia, Luke Ford moved to California in 1977. He graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA, was largely bedridden by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six years, and converted to Judaism in 1993. From 1997-2007, Luke made his living from blogging. Living by Beverly Hills (, he now teaches the Alexander Technique (moving the way the body likes to move). Lessons cost $100 each and last about 45 minutes. In 2011, Luke completed a three-year teaching course at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles. His personal Alexander Technique website is Luke is the author of five books, including: » The Producers: Profiles in Frustration » Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism
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