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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 5, 2009 By Naomi Pfefferman Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles In the March 19 episode of SOAPnet's time-travel fan- tasy, "Being Erica," 30-some- thing Erica Strange (Erin Karpluk) is zapped back to the day of her bat mitzvah, shocked to find her grownup brain inside her 13-year- old body as she recites her haftarah portion, which she barely remembers. With help from the rabbi, she completes her parsha, and at her recep- tion tells off the boy who calls her a "Jew-ser" (that's "Jew" plus "loser"), because he regards her "Dirty Dancing" theme as d~classC Erica is less feisty when her mother gushes about her ex- pectations for Erica's future, which include marrying, having kids and becoming a high-powered attorney by the age of 30, a milestone the adult Erica has already passed. "What if in my 30s I'm still single, living in a one-bed- room apartment and working as someone's assistant?" Erica asks her mother. "Stop thinking such ter- rible thoughts," her mother replies. "Being Erica" is the latest TV series to address the kind of single-gal questions posed by zeitgeist-meters, such as Erin Karpluk, who plays Erica, spent hours interview- ing Jewish subjects to make her role authentic. "Sex and the City"--minus the Manolos and the Cos- mos--in a manner that is part "Bridget Jones," part "Back to the Future." In the series pilot, Erica is dumped by a dentist and fired from her dead-end job on the same day, then meets a mysterious "therapist" who allows her to go back in time to her worst moments to fix her mistakes and thereby alter the course of her life. In what may be the most overtly Jewish show currently on TV, Erica not only revisits her bat mitzvah but also returns to the Yore Kippur when her father, a hippie-turned-rabbi, tries to preempt a scandal at his synagogue. When her boyfriend-du- jour wishes her "Happy New Year" in the Yore Kippur episode, she cheerily informs him: "Wrong holiday." Other disastrous incidents revisited include Erica's vodka-infused high school prom and the day she lost her virginity to a creep. Originally created for Ca- nadian television, the show has mostly gleaned glowing reviews and is the brainchild of writer-producer Jana Sin- yor, who, like Erica, is a highly educated, Jewish, 32-year-old resident of Toronto. Although she is now married with two children, there was a time, af- ter she graduated from McGill University with a degree in Old and New Testament studies, when Sinyor shared Erica's confusion and despondency. "I was in such a bad place, just desperately unhappy," she recalled in a phone interview from Toronto, sounding as whimsical (if like you should be able to The character is, in fact, more ~oft-spoken) than her go backwards and forwards, so organically immersed character, i can't quite accept the fact in her heritage that actress "I had no marketable skills, that I have to live things out Karpluk, who was raised in soItookacall-centerjobatan in one take." a non-Jewish home in rural insurance company, which is "Being Erica" also focuses Alberta, spent hours inter- the position that Erica has at upon more real-world con- viewing Jewish subjects to the beginning of the series. I cerns: "Several years ago, I prepare for the role. would sit at my cubicle desk noticedthatmanyofmybeau-"Iwasterrifiedofappearing and make little hats out of tiful, funny, talented friends inauthentic," she said over cardboard, because I had no were feeling stressed because lunchin LosAngeles recently. creative outlet." they hadn't found 'the guy' or "I share Jana's belief that the After taking a class in 'the career,'" she said. "There more specific a character, the screenwriting, Sinyor dis- was this mass anxiety that if more relatable she is." covered a talent for television you hadn't achieved certain Perhaps there is another work and in 2004 created a thingsbyacertainage, you're reason for Erica's univer- half-hour teen show called, failing.Andthatwasthespark sal appeal, as well. Sinyor "Dark Oracle," which also that generated the character said she studied religion in involved time travel, of Erica." college because "I believe "As a kid, I had been ob- Sinyor made Erica Jewishthese biblical stories are sessedwiththe'Narnia'books because,"it'seasiertowritein the archetypes that have and was devastated to learn a voice that's familiar to me," seeped into every aspect of that you couldn't actually she said. "I don't share Erica's our culture. go through the wardrobe," life at all, but I understand "You could say that Erica she explained of her love for exactly who she is, because I is lost in the wilderness, and the fantasy genre. "I'm also know her world andwhat it is we've all been there at some fascinated by the concept of liketohavethatJewishfamily point in our lives." time and the fact that it is so dynamic--that way of being The show airs Thursdays linear--because it just feels very direct." at 10 p.m. Taxes and laws are ever-changing. 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Inc. *NFP Securities Inc. and Asset Management Partners do r~t provide legalor tax advice. Michael Marcus (1), Leeron Franco, Adam Tow, Abigail Dahan and Jeri Jackson prepare for a seder sponsored by Chabad at UCF. Jewish life at the University MarkFeiman, aUCFgradu- should I say--tables were of Central Florida has been ate, says about the growth floodedwithover150students growing exponentially over of Chabad on campus, "Iat each seder." the past few years. Among remember sitting at the first The Chabad House serv- the activities sponsored rre- two seders in 2007 with only ing UCF is at 600 Oak Circle, cently by Chabad at UCF was 50 other students. Now in Oviedo. For more informa- Passover. 2009 the seder table--or tion:407-949-8838. HDS chorus performs at Horizon Bay Children from the Hebrew Day School chorus delighted the residents of Horizon Bay when they performed with their music teacher, pianist Eric Levine, over Memorial Day weekend. Taking a break from performing are HDS chorus members, from left: Sophia Gordon, Elizabeth Gordon, Andrew Liebman, Erin Yoffee and Lauren Alonso. The residents were also thrilled to receive food from Ellen Zollman, a volunteer caterer, that included kugel, mandelbread, lemon squares and ginger snaps. The program was coordinated by the Jewish Pavilion.