Bringing Light to Gaza

There has been every opportunity for Gaza to become its own version “Start up Nation” like Israel, with blooming agriculture and beautiful beaches.
When Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, the farmers of the Gush Katif area (approximately 20 communities with almost 10,000 residents) were responsible for 15 percent of Israel’s agricultural exports. With love, they literally made the sand dunes bloom. The opportunity existed to expand upon this richness when Israel left the Region. Instead, the Strip has become a Region of misery, despair and hatred.
Hamas, which has been recognized as a terrorist organization by the US, Canada and the EU has run the Gaza strip for more than a decade, beginning shortly after the disengagement. They have misused donations meant for human aid to enrich their leaders, built terror tunnels to infiltrate Israel, used schools and hospitals as cover to shoot missiles, and have sent explosive balloons across the border to Israel to harm children. Hamas denies their people basic human rights including freedom of speech. Children are taught in schools to hate and to kill.
On an almost weekly basis, Hamas sent rioters including children to the border with Israel, hoping for them to be shot and provide negative media coverage against Israel. The cycle of violence and hatred has basically gone unchecked by the public world. Gaza has almost two million residents who live under this tyrannical existence. And, Israel on the other side is affected constantly from these attacks.
Where is the outrage against Hamas and the other terrorist organizations operating in the region in addition to the funders of this terrorism for over a decade? We continue to hope for real change and a positive outcome for so many.
We can only advocate and bring light to the truth of the horrors of Hamas. And, we can work to make a difference in Israel. We can find ways to help those in harm’s way and say thank you to those who keep us safe.
This January, I had the opportunity to meet again Mayor Alon Davidi of Sderot who lives with his family and a community of over 28,000 literally one mile from the border with Gaza. They have been a target of constant barrage of rockets.
I am so honored to be part of The Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), that provides rocket proof day care centers to children attending school and therapy to those affected by PTSD from the constant attacks in Sderot. Not only is Sderot surviving, under the leadership of Mayor Davidi they are thriving. They continue to build their community despite attacks of Kassam Rockets from the Gaza Strip.
Last month, I also began fulfilling a promise made during the summer of 2019 to an American Soldier serving in the IDF to provide extra assistance to soldiers who face challenges. Unity Warriors founded by Ben Goldstein, distributes supplies not provided by the IDF and items that are often too expensive for the soldiers to provide for themselves.
We decided to bring a gift of a high-powered flashlights to a Battalion of soldiers serving at the Gaza border, a small token to help them see more clearly when they patrol the area at night.
The highlight of my trip was bringing these needed supplies of light and thanking these soldiers who fulfill their duty in keeping Israel safe. Day by day they ensure that those of us Jews that live in Israel and in the diaspora will always have a safe haven in Israel.
These soldiers face a reality every day at the border that is hard to understand. They do this with grace, dignity and honor amid explosive balloons, missiles, terrorist attacks and humans looking to flee the misery of Hamas living in sparse conditions.
I came to thank the soldiers, but they came to thank me. They thanked me for visiting and listening to their stories about their life at the border and their hopes for the future. They inspired me so much as well as giving me a gift of badges of the Israeli flag. Together we got to share our pride of Israel.
It was beyond meaningful to walk the border at Gaza and deliver my own prayer for peace for the future. On the site, I visited “Path to Peace,” a mosaic wall created by thousands who have the same vision. While we stand strong against hatred, we work towards and pray for peace & love. As we literally brought light to the soldiers, we pray for the light of justice to make a difference in Gaza.

ben1

 

To Sir With Love, it begins with Mr. Abbas

February 1, 2020
HRH The Prince of Wales
Clarence House, London
SW1A1BA
United Kingdom

Dear Sir:

Thank you for addressing world leaders on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Israel on January 23rd. I was most moved by your words that “we must be fearless in confronting falsehoods and resolute in resisting words and acts of violence.”

Given this strong and powerful message, I was surprised and disappointed with your words spoken and message conveyed during visit with Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, the very next day in Bethlehem.

The” falsehoods” that you called out the day prior are the ones that emanate from the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Abbas is currently in the 15th year of a 4-year elected term. He serves unchecked as a dictator without any accountability. He terrorizes his own people with limited freedom of speech and arrests those that associate with Jews or sells property to them.

Under his leadership, Christians now make up less than 2 percent of the population in Bethlehem once a dominant Christian community. The Christians are subjected to discrimination and suffer great difficulty in living in Bethlehem.

Mr. Abbas has operated unfettered with mismanagement of monies provided. Billions of dollars in aid from the US, EU and several other donor countries has flowed to Mr. Abbas. A lack of accountability and transparency from the Palestinian Authority has deprived Palestinians of a significant part of the funds while Mr. Abbas lives in a $20MM palace. Money has flowed into the hands of the greedy rather than into infrastructure, business development and welfare.

Beyond corruption, Mr. Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have used these funds to encourage violence. It is estimated in 2019 that $149.7 MM went for annual payments to security prisoners, terrorist “martyrs” and their families, encouraging people to kill Jews.

Instead of visiting with Mr. Abbas, I wished you had visited the sights of those killed by Mr. Abbas’ pay for slay program. I was in the region while you were there and made my commitment to bear witness where Ari Fuld (father of four), Dvir Sorek (an 18-year-old Yeshiva student) and teenagers Naftali, Gilad & Eyal were murdered. I saw young lives taken away simply because they were Jews. Those who murdered them, solely because they were Jews, were paid approximately three times the amount they would have made working a regular job. The ramifications of this pay to slay program are monumental. I can only imagine what you might do if this program were to take hold in Britain.

When you visited Bethlehem, you spoke there that “It breaks my heart… that we should continue to see so much suffering and division. No one arriving in Bethlehem today could miss the signs of continued hardship and the situation you face.” The suffering is due to the choices made by the Palestinian Authority but does not accurately describe the vibrancy that does exist in many areas.

I also saw those who have made great success in their lives. I visited towns with Muslims that had thriving industry, large homes and luxury cars. I saw people that have chosen to focus on success not terror.

I had the honor to hear from Daniel Birnbaum whose company, SodaStream, embodies cooperation across Arabs, Jews & Bedouins to great success. While driven out of this area by those who choose to Boycott, Divest & Sanction Israel, SodaSteam relocated to Rahat and provides a model of coexistence between Jews, Arabs & Bedouins. This is only one example of co-existence.

At a time when anti-Semitic activity is at an all-time high, your failure to call out Mr. Abbas on his dishonesty and incitement of violence ignites the flame that encourages hatred. Your words do not bring peace but dehumanize & minimize the lives of those brutally murdered.

At every opportunity, including the most recent by President Trump, Mr. Abbas has turned down plans to aid his people and create his own “Start Up Nation.” Mr. Abbas does not seek peace; he acts as a despot and seeks the destruction of the State of Israel.

Sir, we praise your family and your grandmother’s commitment to Jewish people at a most difficult time. However, at this juncture we must stand strong against hatred and stand firm on values of inherent democracy and decency.
Regina Raphael
Los Angeles, California

Tosir

To Sir with Love, the suffering begins with Mr. Abbas

Tosir

February 1, 2020
HRH The Prince of Wales
Clarence House, London
SW1A1BA
United Kingdom

Dear Sir:

Thank you for addressing world leaders on the 75thanniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Israel on January 23rd. I was most moved by your words that “we must be fearless in confronting falsehoods and resolute in resisting words and acts of violence.”

Given this strong and powerful message, I was surprised and disappointed with your words spoken and message conveyed during visit with Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, the very next day in Bethlehem.

The” falsehoods” that you called out the day prior are the ones that emanate from the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Abbas is currently in the 15th year of a 4-year elected term. He serves unchecked as a dictator without any accountability. He terrorizes his own people with limited freedom of speech and arrests those that associate with Jews or sells property to them.

Under his leadership, Christians now make up less than 2 percent of the population in Bethlehem once a dominant Christian community. The Christian are subjected to discrimination and suffer great difficulty in living in Bethlehem.

Mr. Abbas has operated unfettered with mismanagement of monies provided. Billions of dollars in aid from the US, EU and several other donor countries has flowed to Mr. Abbas. A lack of accountability and transparency from the Palestinian Authority has deprived Palestinians of a significant part of the funds while Mr. Abbas lives in a $20MM palace. Money has flowed into the hands of the greedy rather than into infrastructure, business development and welfare.

Beyond corruption, Mr. Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have used these funds to encourage violence. It is estimated in 2019 that $149.7 MM went for annual payments to security prisoners, terrorist “martyrs” and their families, encouraging people to kill Jews.

Instead of visiting with Mr. Abbas, I wished you had visited the sights of those killed by Mr. Abbas’ pay for slay program. I was in the region while you were there and made my commitment to bear witness where Ari Fuld (father of four), Dvir Sorek (an 18-year-old Yeshiva student) and teenagers Naftali, Gilad & Eyal were murdered. I saw young lives taken away simply because they were Jews. Those who murdered them, solely because they were Jews, were paid approximately three times the amount they would have made working a regular job. The ramifications of this pay to slay program are monumental. I can only imagine what you might do if this program were to take hold in Britain.

When you visited Bethlehem, you spoke there that “It breaks my heart… that we should continue to see so much suffering and division. No one arriving in Bethlehem today could miss the signs of continued hardship and the situation you face.” The suffering is due to the choices made by the Palestinian Authority but does not accurately describe the vibrancy that does exist in many areas.

I also saw those who have made great success in their lives. I visited towns with Muslims that had thriving industry, large homes and luxury cars. I saw people that have chosen to focus on success not terror.

I had the honor to hear from Daniel Birnbaum whose company, SodaStream, embodies cooperation across Arabs, Jews & Bedouins to great success. While driven out of this area by those who choose to Boycott, Divest & Sanction Israel, SodaSteam relocated to Rahat and provides a model of coexistence between Jews, Arabs & Bedouins. This is only one example of co-existence.

At a time when anti-Semitic activity is at an all-time high, your failure to call out Mr. Abbas on his dishonesty and incitement of violence ignites the flame that encourages hatred. Your words do not bring peace but dehumanize & minimize the lives of those brutally murdered.

At every opportunity, including the most recent by President Trump, Mr. Abbas has turned down plans to aid his people and create his own “Start Up Nation.” Mr. Abbas does not seek peace; he acts as a despot and seeks the destruction of the State of Israel.

Sir, we praise your family and your grandmother’s commitment to Jewish people at a most difficult time. However, at this juncture we must stand strong against hatred and stand firm on values of inherent democracy and decency.
Regina Raphael
Los Angeles, California

 

Beyond Offensive- My Letter to the Manufacturer of “Auschwitz Ash” Offensive Crayons

ASH

December 21, 2019

Ms. Alice Cichon
Offensive Crayons, LLC
1820 Avenue M
Unit #370
Brooklyn, NY 11230
info@offensivecrayons.com

Dear Ms. Cichon,

Congratulations on starting a new Company. As someone who has been in  marketing & merchandising for over 30 years, I know how difficult it is to develop & market new products that break through the clutter in the retail space. I also understand the barriers that can’t be crossed in the process.

I am reaching out to you regarding Offensive Crayons. Your crayon of “Auschwitz Ash” and “Little Dictators” (coloring book featuring Adolf Hitler) are intolerable.

During the Holocaust, 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. At, Auschwitz- Birkenau, Jews were sent to gas chambers and their bodies cremated to ASH following in the ovens. More than one million Jews were murdered at Auschwitz.

Hitler compared Jews to germs. He stated that diseases cannot be controlled unless you destroy their causes. Hitler set out to exterminate the Jews across the world and eliminated 2/3 of the Jews in Europe. Featuring Adolph Hitler in a coloring book trivializes the horrors he committed.

According to Rabbi David Saperstein, “the Holocaust is used as the ultimate benchmark for our generation of the worst atrocity ever committed against one group of people.”

I keep a book in my office to remind me every day of the atrocities committed by the Nazis. The book has the word JEW written on each page with 40 columns per page and 120 lines per page. The word JEW is written 4800 times per page and there are 1250 pages in the book. The book contains the word JEW 6,000,000 times, conveying the magnitude of the tragedy.

At a time when anti-Semitic activity is at an all-time high, your products ignite the flame that encourages hatred by dehumanizing & minimizing the lives of those brutally murdered.

Holocaust distortion is a form of antisemitism, prejudice against or hatred of Jews. Holocaust distorters generally perpetuate long-standing anti-Semitic stereotypes, hateful beliefs that helped lay the groundwork for the Holocaust. Holocaust distortion & misuse undermine the truth and our understanding of history.

While I will not comment on the acceptability or not of your other products, I am reaching out to ask that these products (and those like them) noted be removed immediately and forever from the marketplace.

Thank you so much.

Regina Raphael
Los Angeles, Ca

Letter to the Editor of Elle Magazine Regarding Anti-Semitism

elle1

December 18, 2019

Ms. Nina Garcia
Elle Magazine, Editor in Chief
Hearst Publications
1633 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

Dear Ms. Garcia,
I’m a longtime reader of Elle Magazine as well as a retailer who has been selling Elle in my chain of pharmacies for many years.
I am reaching out to share my disappointment & concern with Aimee Allison’s article “20 Women of Color in Politics to Watch in 2020.”
The decision of Ms. Allison to include both Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Linda Sarsour in the article is shocking given their vocal anti-Semitic positions. The article puts these women on a pedestal to exemplify them as role models when in fact their moral compass is reproachable.
With the significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents in America including the murder of a Jewish woman, a mother of 3, in a shooting last week in New Jersey, an attack on a Jewish woman in the New York Subway this week and death threats to an 89 year old Holocaust survivor in Italy, Elle should be concerned about personal bias of its authors & empowering anti- Semitic endorsers.
Ms. Allison praises Rep. Tlaib for “courage & integrity to speak the truth.” However, Rep. Tlaib is the same woman who refers to the Holocaust using the words that it had “calming effect” in the face of the murder of six million Jews. Rep Tlaib has posted an anti- Semitic cartoon and frequents with known Holocaust deniers.
Linda Sarsour is praised by Ms. Allison for “her radical love for her community,” but associates with the terrorist group Hamas and spews hatred about Jews. Ms. Sarsour is highlighted in the article for her work in The Women’s March but was in fact fired from the organization for her anti-Semitic views, which Ms. Allison simply ignores.
Ms. Sarsour also holds that Zionist women cannot be true feminists.
Ms. Sarsour holds “Ask them this, how can you be against white supremacy in America and the idea of being in a state based on race and class, but then you support a state like Israel that is based on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else,” and that support for Israel as a state is unacceptable in the progressive movement.”
At a time when anti Semitic activity is at an all time high, statements like these do nothing but ignite the flame that encourages hatred. Ms. Sarsour spewing hate gives rise and empowers antisemitic action.
Elle magazine, by giving prominence to both women, legitimized their hate speech and, via proxy, promotes antisemitic action
By sharing falsehoods your publication takes a role in increasing the spread of anti-Semitism & puts women that you seek to empower at risk.
Please help me understand with your blatant disregard for true journalism, why we should continue to support your magazine?
Regina Raphael
Beverly Hills, California

Letter to the Editor of Elle Magazine

December 18, 2019

Ms. Nina Garcia
Elle Magazine, Editor in Chief
Hearst Publications
1633 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

Dear Ms. Garcia,

I’m a longtime reader of Elle Magazine as well as a retailer who has been selling Elle in my chain of pharmacies for many years.

I am reaching out to share my disappointment & concern with Aimee Allison’s article “20 Women of Color in Politics to Watch in 2020.”

The decision of Ms. Allison to include both Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Linda Sarsour in the article is shocking given their vocal anti-Semitic positions. The article puts these women on a pedestal to exemplify them as role models when in fact their moral compass is reproachable.

With the significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents in America including the murder of a Jewish woman, a mother of 3, in a shooting last week in New Jersey, an attack on a Jewish woman in the New York Subway this week and death threats to an 89 year old Holocaust survivor in Italy, Elle should be concerned about personal bias of its authors & empowering anti- Semitic endorsers.

Ms. Allison praises Rep. Tlaib for “courage & integrity to speak the truth.” However, Rep. Tlaib is the same woman who refers to the Holocaust using the words that it had “calming effect” in the face of the murder of six million Jews. Rep Tlaib has posted an anti- Semitic cartoon and frequents with known Holocaust deniers.

Linda Sarsour is praised by Ms. Allison for “her radical love for her community,” but associates with the terrorist group Hamas and spews hatred about Jews. Ms. Sarsour is highlighted in the article for her work in The Women’s March but was in fact fired from the organization for her anti-Semitic views, which Ms. Allison simply ignores.

Ms. Sarsour also holds that Zionist women cannot be true feminists.

Ms. Sarsour holds “Ask them this, how can you be against white supremacy in America and the idea of being in a state based on race and class, but then you support a state like Israel that is based on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else,” and that support for Israel as a state is unacceptable in the progressive movement.”
At a time when anti Semitic activity is at an all time high, statements like these do nothing but ignite the flame that encourages hatred. Ms. Sarsour spewing hate gives rise and empowers antisemitic action.
Elle magazine, by giving prominence to both women, legitimized their hate speech and, via proxy, promotes antisemitic action
By sharing falsehoods your publication takes a role in increasing the spread of anti-Semitism & puts women that you seek to empower at risk.

Please help me understand with your blatant disregard for true journalism, why we should continue to support your magazine?

Regina Raphael
Beverly Hills, Californi

L’Shana Tova With Love Across the Globe

girlsTraveling with my husband on a plane from New York to Los Angeles on a Summer Sunday morning twenty- two years ago, we read a New York Times article by chance that would change our lives. The article shared a story about an Observant Jewish family that adopted a daughter from China. We read the article and literally on that flight knew how our family would come to life.

After three adoptions, a dear friend told me that the souls of my children were with me at Mt. Sinai and we just needed to take this route to come together as a family. I initially told this story to my children as a comforting story & perhaps not believing the reality of it. As time has passed though, I have come to believe this with all my heart as the message that shaped our legacy. While my children are not “of me” they are truly “of me” in every way possible. It just took a different route to bring us together.

Adopting from China has had its challenges with the Jewish Community as we have evolved as a family. Initially, an orthodox synagogue & others didn’t want to assist us as we weren’t religious enough. As we became more observant, we were isolated from reform congregations who thought we were too religious. Wounding comments followed over the years, but through love and commitment, we raised three amazing “Zionistas” and focused our efforts on a creating Jewish home and making sure Jewish homeland was always a paramount in our family. We have made a strong commitment to Israel & the Jewish community at home and have been blessed with support by so many.

As we approach the new year, I hope that we work harder to ensure the doors of Judaism welcome everyone, especially Jews who have chosen to convert. Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, we are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel (Ruth 4:11).”

For the year ahead, my heart is also with the remaining Jewish community in China. The Jewish Community in China flourished for over a millennium before assimilation & intermarriage brought its collective demise in the 19th Century. The Jews of China emerged as a community from travels along the Silk Road after the destruction of the Temple. There is a small community remaining looking to make Aliyah and we hope the opportunity for them to come to Israel and finalize their conversions in Israel.

Thank you Michael Freund, founder of Shavei Israel (shavei.org), whose dedication for bringing home Jews from China and lost Tribes from across the globe is so inspirational. His commitment to ensure Israel is a homeland to all Jews is overwhelming. This year I dedicate to support the work of Shavei Israel in bringing those Chinese Jews home to Israel.

I am overwhelmed by my love for my Dani, Sydney & Mia for the gifts they are to me, and the world. With the new year upon us, we can all work to make difference in the world with love & compassion. Shana Tova Umetukah.

Our Letter to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Join us for a day while we are in Israel together.

Dear Congresswoman Tlaib,
My name is Gina Raphael and I am from Los Angeles, California. Outside of my business and family, my energies are focused on developing the State of Israel as a beacon of light to the world. I’m so glad you’re visiting Israel in August along with Rep. Omar. I, too am traveling to Israel at the same time along with my ten-year-old daughter Mia, who is also an immigrant, adopted from China. Mia has been fortunate to visit Israel many times and has grown to love Israel just as much as her love for America. We would like to invite both of you to spend a day with us in Israel’s north and experience some of the amazing work going on. We’d love to show you what is really happening outside of the media.
For instance, we can visit the future site of a world-class Culinary Institute in the north of Israel that will be the finest in the Middle East. It will bring people of all walks of life and religions together through a love for food. The Institute will help to transform a region that has had a 40 percent decline in population. This region is supposed to be the silicon-valley of food technology. Amazing work is happening in Israel’s north that will benefit all Israeli’s population – Jews, Druze, Arabs, Muslims, and Christians alike As they say there, they don’t coexist… they exist as great neighbors. I would be honored to show you how they ‘exist’!
Close by, we can see the initial plans for a new medical center that will help people of all religions given this lacking resource in the area. On prior visits, we met Syrians who have been helped by Israelis at hospitals. I’m not sure if you realize, but Israel took care of over 4,000 Syrians wounded during the Syrian civil war. The average patient spent over 1 month in the hospital, with a few spending over 18 months. The government hospitals never turned down one patient, regardless of how intensive the wounds or needed surgeries. We’d love to show you the Galilee Medical Center, where 3,000 wounded Syrians were treated. The director of the hospital, Dr. Masad Barhoum, is an Israeli Arab I’m sure you might enjoy a conversation with him to hear what the reality truly is. I would love nothing more than to see kindness like this sprinkled throughout the world.
We can also receive an update on a program funded by amazing donors in the US that provides new career training to women across religions that have been impacted by violence as well as others just searching for new ways to move their lives forward. While women in Israel build bridges together, it’s disheartening to hear that those in your own community attack those individuals that work together with Jews to make positive change together.
If you let me know at your earliest convenience if you can spend time with Mia and me in Israel, we can try and arrange a meeting with the head of Israel’s Bank Leumi and their new Chairman Dr. Samer Haj Yihye. The head of Israel’s leading bank is an Israeli Arab which highlights the pluralistic nature of the country.
We can also ask to meet with Amir Ohana, Israel’s Minister of Justice who is gay. While other countries in the Middle East torture or kill those in the LGBT community the largest city in Israel, Tel Aviv, is known as the most gay friendly city in the world. This is only a sampling of the many things we can do together as we share the beauty of Israel together. As we hope for you to experience the reality of Israel, so you can advocate for the only democracy in the Middle East and America’s closest ally.
This will be Mia’s 8th trip to Israel and she has already become a beacon of change. Mia has raised money to help provide special training to young individuals from all different religious backgrounds with special needs pairing them with canines. I’m sure she would like nothing more than showing you the Israel she knows and loves.
Thank you so much.

-Gina Raphael

Mickey Fine Creates Second Hub with Century City Expansion

 

Mickey Fine’s flagship location has been an important landmark in Beverly Hills since 1962. Located on N Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, the store houses the only original pharmacy with old fashioned counter and soda fountain in Los Angeles. Originally a Schwab’s in the 1950’s, the Roxbury location was a sister store to the famous Sunset Boulevard location. In 1962, Mr. Mickey Fine acquired the location on N Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills. To this day, you are still able to enjoy a malted milkshake at our counter while waiting for your prescription to be filled. The company operates nine stores in total in Southern California.

Mickey Fine has now expanded its portfolio in Century City. The company has created a hub in Century City consisting of five locations, one of which includes a pharmacy that services the area with complimentary prescription delivery with the same copay as chain stores plus the amazing service that defines Mickey Fine.

Mickey Fine has been in Century Plaza Towers and 2000 Avenue of the Stars at Century Park for over a decade. The 2000 Avenue of the Stars location houses a pharmacy that provides service throughout the entire Century City area. The Century Plaza Towers location recently completed a renovation, and both stores serve as the finest office building amenity with a wide selection of snacks, grab & go foods, beverages, gifts, over-the-counter medications, lottery and all other convenience needs.

Mickey Fine has recently expanded its presence in Century City, opening a store at Watt Plaza at 1925 Century Park East, as well as a location at 1999 Avenue of the Stars. The fifth location in the area is in Fox Plaza at 2121 Avenue of the Stars.

Mickey Fine is owned and managed by husband and wife team Jeff Gross and Gina Raphael. Jeff is based in Beverly Hills at Mickey Fine Pharmacy & Grill located at 433 N Roxbury Drive, while Gina is based in Century City. “We are so grateful to our customers for believing in Mickey Fine over the past decade and are thrilled for our expansion in Century City,” said Gina Raphael. “We look forward to continuing to improve our offerings and our presence in Century City, in addition to moving towards expansion throughout Los Angeles.” The company has set its sights on opening a Downtown Los Angeles location as its next endeavor, in addition to expanding future locations in the Century City area.

Please visit us at http://www.MickeyFine.com and contact Gina directly at gina@mickeyfine.com.

Now more than ever

My grandparents came to the United States well before the second world war fighting poverty and anti-Semitism. On my father’s side, my grandmother Regina for whom I am named left Hungary (she said she was from Budapest to be elegant but was from a small town) and traveled here on her own at 11 years old. Her husband, my grandfather Harry, came from Scotland. Ironically now again, many Jews are leaving Scotland. On my mother’s side, my grandfather traveled with his mother from Romania and settled in Egypt for a while before traveling to the United States. Family lore had it that there was extended family in Egypt that included a successful group of belly dancers (clearly not from a Frum crowd there). And, my mothers mother Jenny came from Poland. She always claimed she was from Warsaw to extol the strength & knowledge of her family. I do believe now the original anti-Semitism I encountered was in regards to Polish jokes most likely dating back to those caught during the Holocaust by the Germans and jokes made at their expense which were widely told decades ago in the United States.
My family sought refuge and a new life in New York City. My parents, the first of their families to go to College, sought a new life. We lived in Armonk New York for a while after my parents moved “up in the world from the Bronx to Yonkers.” And while Armonk is very Jewish now, it was very un-Jewish then and quite uncomfortable. My parents quickly moved back farther South to Scarsdale, NY to the Jewish mecca (which became quite famous due to the Scarsdale diet). At the time, there were many Jews attending the local High School.
There were many Aunts, Uncles & cousins lost in the Holocaust but this was something that wasn’t discussed as a child. With the passing of the family, I feel true sadness not being able to honor the memories of those who were not able to escape.
While College and early work life had its moments of brash anti-Semitism, I safely moved to Beverly Hills with my family. In Beverly Hills, currently all the elected officials are Jewish. The City makes a strong effort to partner with Israel and celebrate events together. And, within the City of Los Angeles, officials have been as friendly as well. In truth, we are in a warm blanket of safeness and comfort.
So, as we approach Holocaust Remembrance Day, this year more than any other, I am filled with a longing and a sadness. Our blanket of safety has been taken away. The bubble has burst. The internet & media are filled with incidents of anti-Jewish hatred. While, we could hide before, now we cannot. Most of all,we cannot allow ourselves to hide. The rampant hatred of Jewish people is pervasive.
As Chairperson of Women’s International Zionist Organization in Los Angeles (WIZO), we work incredibly hard to help women & children in Israel thrive. We have made it a priority here in Los Angeles to bring forward a new generation of Jewish girls instilling a love of Israel and training them as leaders. This year and going forward, it is not enough. This year we must take a step to recognize Holocaust Remembrance Day in Los Angeles as a step to ensure our future as a Jewish people. While the official Day that notes the liberation of Auschwitz is January 27th, we will come together as a community on January 30th with a Women’s Learning Session, studying Torah and sharing prayers. We study for those who could not and study because we can.
We invite each of you to learn with us on Wednesday, January 30th at 8:30 am  with Rabbi Pini Dunner. It will take place at Young Israel of North Beverly Hills 9261 Alden Drive. Please email nikki@wizola.org to join us at no cost for this special morning as we pay tribute.