On Saturday, Dec. 7, the secular Jewish Sholem Community will host “MAGIC, MUSIC & MENTSHN: A Birthday Celebration & Fundraiser. Three leaders of the community — Hershl Hartman (turning 90), Sheila McCoy (turning 90) and Jan Goodman (turning 70) — will be honored for their decades of service to progressive organizations and causes.

This special event will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. at a historic private residence in Santa Monica. Featured entertainment will include Magic Castle magician Brandon Scott as well as live jazz, klezmer, and folk music performances. Tributes will be offered by investigative journalist Greg Palast and Dr. Caroline Luce of the UCLA Leve Center for Jewish Studies, among others. To purchase tickets, visit www.sholem.org.

Proceeds from this fundraiser benefit the secular and progressive Sholem Community, a 501(C)(3) non-profit cooperative organization that was founded in the 1950s. Sholem’s Sunday school teaches children about the historic, cultural and ethical aspects of Jewishness. Sholem also offer a non-religious bar/bas mitsve program, humanistic observances of Jewish holidays, and a wide variety of informative and engaging programs for all ages. Sholem meets most Sundays, September through May, at Short Avenue Elementary School in the Del Rey neighborhood of Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.sholem.org.

Jan Goodman, a native Angeleno and lifelong activist, is a member of the KPFK (90.7 FM) and Pacifica National Boards. She has been chair or president of the Southern California chapter of Americans for Democratic Action, The Paul Robeson Community Wellness Center, Sunset Hall retirement home, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Sholem Community. Goodman and her husband Jerry Manpearl support local and national organizations, candidates and causes by regularly hosting salons, political and cultural events in their home. Guests have included Con-gressmembers Barbara Lee, Alan Grayson and Dennis Kucinich; Cuban Grammy winner Chucho Valdés; writer Gore Vidal; activist & author Tom Hayden; historian Gerald Horne; radio hosts Lila Garrett and Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

Hershl Hartman, originally from New York, holds degrees in Jewish Education and Yiddish Journalism. He was the first native-born Yiddish reporter in the United States, for Morgn Frayhayt (Morning Freedom) from 1947-1951. Hartman has been involved with Sholem for more than fifty years, first as the school’s Principal and then as Education Director. His classes examining the Bible from a secular (non-religious) viewpoint often reveal conflicting passages and little known facts. A renown Yiddish scholar, Hartman’s Yiddish/English translations range from published books, essays and poems to handwritten letters and manuscripts. Hartman is the Convenor of the L.A. Secular Yeshiva which trains vegvayzer (leaders) as officiants for holiday observances and life-cycle events. His booklets about and texts for Jewish holidays are widely used for the secular observance of these holidays.

Sheila McCoy, who was born in Los Angeles but grew up partly in Canada, attended UCLA, where she received her B.A., M.A., and later a PH. D (in U.S. History) while teaching. She spent twenty years at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she served as chair of Liberal Studies, a major designed at the time for future elementary school teachers. She helped found the College of Education and Integrative Studies and served as Interim Dean. McCoy was one of the first ACLU Chapter leaders to become a member of the ACLU Southern California Board of Directors and served two terms on the ACLU Foundation Board. She has served in various capacities at Sholem, including as Co-Chair. McCoy studied in the Secular Yeshiva to become a vegvayzer (leader) and has mentored candidates in Sholem’s alternative bnai mitsve program. She is an active member of the Plato Society of Los Angeles, for which she coordinates a study and discussion group on the History of Antisemitism.

Submitted by Regan Kibbee

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