Perhaps I’ve been living among the redwoods and Patchouli oil in Santa Cruz for too long, but I’ve discovered an easy way and happy way to help Israel.  I’ve found that where I live, most people have one of three perspectives of Israel – either they 1. Don’t like it, or 2. Don’t really know about it, or 3. Both.

It’s a mystery to me why this incredible “Start-Up Nation,” bursting with vibrant culinary and design creativity and crammed with stunningly beautiful world heritage sites, garners only an endless stream of negativity on social media sites (including some from Jewish organizations). It’s certainly not for lack of good news.

So I’ve created a website called that highlights Israeli innovators in the areas of Fashion, Food, Wine & Design and Tikkun Olam.  There’s a companion social media component on Facebook and Instagram.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and when my (Jewish and non-Jewish) friends ask me what I manage to find to do in Israel “because it’s mostly desert” I invite them to like my Style Mitzvah Facebook page.  It’s tough to not be impressed by Israeli ingenuity and difficult to rage at Israel as an “apartheid state” when you see photos of Muslims and Jews doing pretty much what people here in Santa Cruz do together – working, surfing and living.

Anastasia (Steinberg) Torres-Gil, a Wexner Heritage Alum (SF 3), was an Assistant District Attorney, prosecuting hate crimes and sexual assault cases.  After 24 years as a lawyer plus a brush with cancer, she decided to cut as much negativity from her life as possible.  Today, she is President of the Santa Cruz Chapter of Hadassah and a Hadassah Leadership Fellow alumna as well as a development consultant and award-winning dog couture designer. Anastasia can be reached at