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HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY The Voice of the Lehigh Valley Jewish Community APRIL 2014 | NISAN 5774 Students: Let’s make some noise! Easton’s Danny Cohen to be honored ProJeCt of Easton, Inc. LV SENIORS GET GOING New transportation options available. See pages 16-17. Jewish Day School students don special hats and costumes for the Purim festivities held at the school in March. This was just one of more than a dozen Lehigh Valley Purim services and parties to mark the raucous holiday. See pages 22-23 for more photos of Purim across the Valley. YOM HASHOAH COMMEMORATION: CHILD SURVIVOR Movie narrator to speak at JCC Film Festival. See page 21. Daughter to honor heroic father By Annabel Williams JFLV Marketing Intern PASSOVER SPECIAL SECTION This year, how world news resonates. No. 366 com.UNITY with Mark Goldstein 2 Women’s Division 4 LVJF Tributes 8 Jewish Family Service 16-17 Jewish Day School 18-19 Jewish Community Center Community Calendar 20 30-31 On Sunday, April 27, the Holocaust Resource Center of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley will host “Choosing to Act: Stories of Rescue.” The evening of Holocaust remembrance will particularly commemorate the activities of Colonel José Arturo Castellanos, a Salvadorian diplomat who issued illegal certificates of Salvadorian citizenship, mainly to Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. His efforts saved tens of thousands of lives. Castellanos’ daughter, Frieda Garcia, will be on hand to speak about the bravery and ingenuity of her father during World War II and how he risked everything for Jewish life. A native of El Salvador, Castellanos joined his country’s military and served for 26 years, achieving the rank of second chief of the general staff of the army of Non-Profit Organization 702 North 22nd Street Allentown, PA 18104 U.S. POSTAGE PAID Lehigh Valley, PA Permit No. 64 the Republic of El Salvador. He then went on to serve as Salvadoran Consul General in Liverpool, England; Hamburg, Germany and Geneva, Switzerland. While in Geneva, Castellanos befriended George Mandel, a Hungarian Jewish businessman. Soon after being named consul in that city, Castellanos appointed Mandel to the fictitious position of “the consulate’s first secretary,” and changed Mandel’s last name to the more Spanishsounding Mantello. By 1944, Mandel-Mantello, with the official seal of the consul, was issuing illegal passports and visas for European Jews desperately seeking to escape Nazi rule. This small-scale scheme turned into one of the largest rescue missions in the history of the Holocaust. Castellanos and MendelMantello could not produce passports and visas fast enough, so they began secretly distributing more than 13,000 documents of Salvadorian citizenship. These certificates allowed Central European Jews to seek protection from the International Red Cross and, eventually, from the Swiss Consul in Budapest. Known as “El Salvador Yom Hashoah Continues on page 6 ProJeCt of Easton has evolved over the course of its history, but one thing has remained the same: Danny Cohen got involved just after the agency was incorporated in 1968 and continues to serve on the board of directors and play an active role in ongoing efforts to help people help themselves. For his years of service, he will be honored at an inaugural Daniel E. Cohen Award event, to be held Thursday, April 24, at 5:30 p.m. at the Hampton Inn on Route 248 in Easton. ProJeCt is a community benefit human service agency founded by local clergy and community leaders in the wake of the Martin Luther King, Jr., assassination and in response to the rising tide of poverty and social unrest of 1968. Its purpose was to advocate for action and to provide service to an underserved poor population in Easton. Cohen had just come back from law school at the University of Pennsylvania when his mentor, Norm Seidel, asked him to get involved. The genesis for ProJeCt was to address poverty so Easton would not experience the explosions and riots that places like Newark, Plainfield and Philadelphia were seeing. “We brought together whites, blacks, Christians, Jews, poor, wealthy, doctors, lawyers, barbers, people of every stripe for the purpose of trying to keep the peace and improve the lot of people who were needy and hurting,” Cohen said. At that time, ProJeCt was strictly volunteer. Today, ProJeCt has a combination of part-time, full-time and seasonal employees for a total paid staff of 40. Cohen notes the professionalism of the staff and overall focus of the agency as two things that have changed over the years. “We were doing a lot of different things. We were trying to be all things to all people,” Cohen said. There was a well baby clinic, a dental clinic, some after-school recreational programs and some after-school tutoring programs. Cohen said he’s seen the good and the bad over the years. He’s learned how generous some people can be and how difficult others can be. “It’s the human condition … Donors, clientele, volunteers, staff. We are all unique individuals and need to be treated uniquely.” Cohen is a past president of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley and past chair of the Lehigh Valley Jewish Foundation. He sums up his Danny Cohen Continues on page 5

HAKOL - April 2014

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