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Six weeks ago, two well-known journalists, David Horsey and Nancy LeVine popped into the Shul on the Beach. It was Purim and they wanted to take pictures, talk with me and some of our Shul members and join in our Purim Celebration.

Never ones to turn down inviting strangers into the Shul, we welcomed them.

As I wrote at the time, our Purim Celebration was really special as we welcomed anyone and everyone off the boardwalk into our Shul. Read more here: Pacific Jewish Center Purim Celebration Recap February 28, 2010

Nancy took beautiful candid photos and David kind of blended in with the rest of us talking to us and learning about the Pacific Jewish Center and the festival of Purim.

Purim is a funny time to be introduced to new people. Things are a little different on Purim. But David managed to get to know us in a way that I never thought an outsider could.

Nancy and David produced a wonderful photo-film of their visit. It is part of their Escape Into America Series. The series is incredible. They have managed to find a lot of soul throughout their travels and it really comes through in their work.

In the photo-film about us, they did a really super job cutting through it all and finding the soul of our shul.

There are a couple things in the photo-film that are not perfectly precise, but that’s okay. (2 minor corrections: 1- I did mention to David that Purim costumes were likely borrowed for the Venice Carnival in the 15th Century and yet costumes fit in well with the themes of the day, 2- I am not sure I actually said that the Shul was in danger of disappearing – it wasn’t, rather, it could have been on that path).

Other than a couple minor mistakes the photo-film really captures the essence of Purim in our Shul as well as much of the essence of who we are at Pacific Jewish Center.

The video stars everyone, but Yosef Beithalachmi (aka Mr. Pickles) and Ashi Bersin are featured in the voice-over. Great job!

Tune in to the video below:

Visit Escape into America on to see the other films and support this wonderful venture: The Story of Ester

Visit Nancy LeVine’s website to see a higher resolution video and other videos and photos from her portfolio:

Visit to see more comments from viewers: Look who’s famous now!

Thank you David and Nancy for visiting with us and sharing our experience with the world.

Also thank you to the entire Pacific Jewish Center community for welcoming David and Nancy and cooperating with them.

Finally, thank you to Leslie Friedman for organizing their visit.

  • Very nice!

    (other minor corrections – 3. Haman&Co. likely didn’t use a swastika symbol, though it is appropriate under the circumstances. 4. Haman was hanged, not beheaded)

    (LOL moment – the “I love NY” T-shirt on Esther)

  • I really enjoyed watching this – as you wrote, it really does capture the essence of your shul. I haven’t been there – but I got a real feel for what it would be like.

    Truly well done. Yasher Koach Rabbi Fink – total kiddush Hashem!!

    • Thank you so much for your support.

  • I also LOLed at that!


  • Thank you so much for your support.

  • I enjoyed watching the video and learning more about the shul. Have you seen the last 20 seconds of the video, though? (“Next, where Hollywood cowboys once roamed . . . .). Ironic, no?

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