World Jewish music program Dayton Jewish Chorale David Moss designs Grace Afterfor Meals in comic book form p. p. 222
THE DAYTON Published by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton
February 2020 Shevat/Adar 5780 Vol. 24, No. 6
The Miami Valley’s Jewish Monthly • Online at daytonjewishobserver.org Ben Sales
‘ The world is a narrow bridge . . . don’t surrender to fear’
Longtime area Judaic studies professor dies
— Reb Nachman of Bratslav Dr. Eric L. Friedland
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Interview with Mrs. Maisel’s creators
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22 An estimated 25,000 people converged on Manhattan’s Foley Square, crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, and made their way to Cadman Plaza as part of the No Hate. No Fear. rally Jan. 5
DAYTON Peter Wine
World Jewish music program for Chorale’s Feb. 9 fundraiser The Dayton Jewish Chorale, led by Cantor Jenna Greenberg (L), celebrates its fifth anniversary this year
Leap Year Special Move into our independent or assisted living apartments and receive $500.00 off for the first three months! January 13 to February 29, 2020 Please contact Robin Sisk at 937-529-2922 to set up your tour!
With a focus on the Jewish people’s diversity, the Dayton Jewish Chorale’s Feb. 9 concert at PNC Arts Annex will feature Jewish music spanning five continents. A World of Jewish Music also marks the five-year-old ensemble’s first full choral concert program, according to its director, Cantor Jenna Greenberg. “They have worked very hard on some challenging pieces, both in terms of the music and the languages in which they are singing as well,” Greenberg says. “For the first time ever, we will be singing in Luganda, the language of the Abayudaya, the Jewish community in Uganda. I am very proud of what this talented group of singers from across the Miami Valley is able to accomplish over a three-month period of rehearsals.” The concert will also include selections from Israel and Italy, and Yiddish, Hebrew, Yemenite, and Sephardic folk songs. With support from a Jewish Federation Innovation Grant in 2015, Greenberg co-founded the Dayton Jewish Chorale with Beth Abraham Synagogue The Dayton Jewish Chorale presents A World of Jewish Music, 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9 at PNC Arts Annex, 46 W. 2nd St., Dayton. Tickets are $18, $50, and $75 and are available at ticketcenterstage.com or 937-228-3630.
Cantor Andrea Raizen and Temple Israel Music and Program Director Courtney Cummings. Its members, some as young as high school age, come from across the Dayton area Jewish community. “Each time we perform a concert or sing in a special Shabbat service, we have always scheduled these programs during the weekend of Shabbat Shira, the Sabbath of Song, which nearly coincides with Tu B’Shevat, the holiday celebrating the birthday of the trees,” Greenberg says. This concert, she says, will celebrate “the many branches of the Jewish people, all rooted in the same family tree.” Soloists will include Greenberg, Raizen, and Cummings, and Shana Fishbein. Instrumentalists backing up the Chorale will be pianist Bernadette O’Connor — accompanist for the ensemble since its first season — and guitarist Ken Krochmal, Irwin Dumtschin on drums, and violinist Goldye Kopmar. “We are thrilled to share our music with not only the Jewish community but with the general public as well,” Greenberg says, noting the secular venue sponsoring the program, and having ticket sales go through ticketcenterstage. com. “By sharing our musical traditions with the wider community, we hope to alleviate some of the hatred, bigotry, and specifically antisemitism in today’s world.” — Marshall Weiss
Miamisburg vegetarian Indian restaurant no longer under kosher supervision Heavenly vegetarian Indian restaurant at 9486 N. Springboro Pike in Miamisburg is no longer under kosher supervision. Priya and Napoleon Rajavelu opened the restaurant in July 2019 under the kosher supervision and certification of Rabbi Shmuel Klatzkin,
associate rabbi with Chabad of Greater Dayton. “Having to minimize their staff, with all the many tasks of the restaurant on their shoulders, they have felt a need to use some vegetarian food prepared in Indian factories without kosher supervision,” Klatzkin said.
IN THIS ISSUE
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
DAYTON Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images
An estimated 25,000 people converged on Manhattan’s Foley Square, crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, and made their way to Cadman Plaza as part of the No Hate. No Fear. rally Jan. 5
Miami Valley rabbis share thoughts on unprecedented U.S. antisemitism Charlottesville. Pittsburgh. Poway. Jersey City. Monsey. A 50-percent spike in antisemitic incidents in New York last year. Reports of antisemitic attacks on people and Jewish venues come in from across the United States every day.
Strengthening our Jewish identity: our most potent weapon
Why is this happening and how best should Jews and non-Jews respond? In this issue of The Observer, rabbis from across the Miami Valley share their thoughts on the new violent surge of antisemitism in the United States and how we should move forward.
Rabbi Judy Chessin
Bark Mitzvah Boy None will make them afraid, Micah, Washington bade. Stand up and be proud, ‘Haters down!’ yes, aloud! Before we can sit in that shade.
c O Menachem
By Rabbi Judy Chessin, Temple Beth Or There is no doubt that the steady increase of antisemitic attacks in our nation is frightening. Of course, antisemitism is nothing new for Jews. Those of us in our advanced years remember Nazi Germany’s near genocide of our people in Europe in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s. Baby Boomers recall the ‘60s and ‘70s when surrounding enemy nations sought to wipe the fledgling Jewish state off the map. Gen Xers may remember the flight of Jews from the former Soviet Union and Africa to find refuge on Continued on Page Four
From the editor’s desk
Some readers might question the main headline above, which refers to “unprecedented U.S. antisemitism.” Is the level of Jew-hatred in the United States truly unprecedented? In what ways? Right now, the mass murders of Jews because they are Marshall Jewish, and the attempted mass murders of Jews because they are Jewish — or in Weiss these cases are perceived as Jewish — bring us to an unprecedented situation in the history of U.S. antisemitism. After Jersey City and Monsey, two rabbis in our community submitted essays to The Observer as a response to those recent bloody acts of domestic terror. I then invited senior rabbis from all of our area Jewish congregations to share their thoughts in these pages. We’ve pushed the regular format of The Observer aside this month. It’s that important. And no region is immune. Four years ago, Mohamed Barry slashed customers with a machete at a Columbus Middle Eastern Restaurant owned by Hany Baransi, an Arab Israeli who had proudly displayed a small Israeli flag near the entrance. And three years ago, Izmir Koch of Huber Heights brutally beat a man he thought was Jewish outside of a Cincinnati restaurant after Koch yelled that he hated Jews, “wanted slaughter them,” and asked people, “Who is a Jew?”
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TECHNOLOGY AND THE INDEPENDENT YOU Jump into the digital age with Jewish Family Services! Our year-long theme for 2020 focuses around technology, and how you can use it to improve quality of life and maintain independence. Lunch provided, no cost. RSVP at jewishdayton.org or by calling (937) 610 - 1555. Wednesday, February 5, 2020 Devices, What Do You Really Need? Noon - 1PM @ Beth Abraham Synagogue (305 Sugar Camp Circle, Dayton, 45409)
Do you really need an iPad if you have a laptop or desktop? What’s the difference between a Kindle and a tablet? With all the gizmos and gadgets available today, it can be a maze to figure out what works best for you. Speaker Marianne Bailey helps us navigate what these devices can do to in order to help you make the best decision for your digital life. Wednesday, April 22, 2020 What Devices Like “Alexa” Can Do For You Noon - 1PM @ Temple Israel (130 Riverside Drive, Dayton, 45405)
With the availability of voice-activated technology, just what exactly, can you accomplish with voice commands? Whether you’re asking “Alexa…” to do something on your Amazon Echo or asking your cell phone “Okay Google…” or “Siri…”, speaker Marianne Bailey will walk us through the basics of what these amazing inventions can help us with in our everyday lives. Wednesday, June 3, 2020 What Is Social Media? Do You Really Need It? Noon - 1PM @ Temple Beth Or (5275 Marshall Road, Dayton, 45429)
A new social media outlet seems to pop up every day, and they all serve different purposes. Do any of them matter? Are you really missing out not joining in on Facebook? No need to get all “a-twitter”, speaker Marianne Bailey will lead a discussion on popular social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more. SPECIAL PRIZE DRAWING! Attend ALL three events and you will be entered into a drawing to win an Amazon Echo and a special session with speaker Marianne Bailey to help set it up in your home!
JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES of GREATER DAYTON PAGE 4
Continued from Page Three these shores and in Israel. But few of us ever thought it would happen here. We believed that America was different; it could never happen here. But we were wrong. Antisemitism is a virus that mutates and spreads, an infection which, while sometimes dormant, is always beneath the surface of society. The proper conditions and the failure of a society’s immune system enable it to flare up, precisely as we see today. In a frightfully divided nation, Jew-hatred has awakened on both the far right and the far left sectors of our society. On the far right, white supremacists seek to rid the country of all those who go against their definition of white America — which includes the Jews. On the far left, Jews are too white, gentrified oppressors, colonialists who oppress Palestinians abroad and manipulate politics, media, and the economy here. Even as antisemitism is nothing new for our people, so also is fear. An adage from Reb Nachman of Bratslav is a familiar Jewish summer camp folk song: “Kol Haolam Kulo, Gesher Tzar M’eod. The entire world is a very narrow bridge.” It is somewhat ironic to hear our teens sing this song at camp, for they have not had to confront the fear of previous generations of Jews. They have only known relative tolerance and acceptance as American Jews. They have always lived with a secure and well-defended Israel. Perhaps that is why we’ve been singing this song incorrectly all these past decades. We sing, “V’haikkar lo l’fached clal. The world is a narrow bridge, and the essence of the matter is do not be afraid.” Reb Nachman lived in tumultuous times and was no stranger to fear. As such, he didn’t actually instruct, “lo
l’fached – don’t be afraid,” but rather “lo yitpacheid” — the reflexive form of the verb which means, “don’t surrender to fear, don’t freeze up or become immobilized because of terror.” The essence of the matter, to Reb Nachman, is not to surrender to our fear of the hatred. As such, the most critical way to fight hatred of the Jews is to fill the world with love of Judaism. Last month’s No Hate. No Fear. solidarity march in Brooklyn featured countless inspiring speeches encouraging us to embrace our Jewish identity as an antidote to antisemitism, to drop the oy and embrace the joy of being a Jew. As Bari Weiss, author of How to Fight Anti-Semitism, framed it: “I am not a Jew because people hate my religion, my people, my civilization. Nor for a single moment does Jewhatred…make me a Jew.” Instead, she models her Jewish identity on the audacity of Abraham, the loyalty of Ruth, the grit of Esther, the resistance of the Maccabees. Her Judaism is inspired by the commitment to justice ingrained in a people who have been exiled, enslaved, and persecuted, and in the reality that “evil hates my people.” Weiss concludes, “The Jewish people were not put on earth to be anti-anti-Semites. We were put on earth to be Jews…We are the ever-dying people that refuse to die. The people of Israel lives now and forever.” And so while cultivating and strengthening our Jewish identity may not seem like the obvious way to defeat antisemitism, it is actually our most potent weapon to combat the fear which impairs our ability to raise educated, proud and joyful Jews in the next generation. May our children live to see the prophetic day when they “...sit under the vine and fig tree, and none will make them afraid (Micah 4:4).”
By Rabbi Nochum Mangel, Director, Chabad of Greater Dayton Sunday evening, Dec. 29 — the last night of Chanukah — after the attack in Monsey, N.Y., when a terrorist with a machete attacked Jews celebrating Chanukah, I lit my own menorah, and as I sat and watched the candles burning, I read two articles on this ugly current wave of antisemitism. The first was by Prof. Deborah Lipstadt in The Atlantic. Her main concern was not so much what the attackers were doing but what Jews are doing in response to them — going underground. In Europe and other places abroad, and now on our college campuses here in the United States, Jews are concealing their identity so that they do not have to face the antisemitism that has become so bold and prominent on the campuses and on the European street. The second article was about the response of the Jews of Monsey to the terror they had just experienced. They may feel frightened and shaken, yet they are defiant. Just after the attack, the community came together in the street to celebrate the completion of a new Torah scroll. And now I sit and wonder: which of these responses will serve best in the long-run to protect and save Judaism? Is it the reaction that if I conceal my Judaism I will be protected and safe? Or is that while aware of the dangers, I resolve nonetheless to brave them and proudly proclaim and celebrate my Jewishness and Judaism before all? I understand and appreciate the need to protect oneself and so to hide from the danger. Self-preservation is one of the most powerful instincts of humanity, as well as being almost the highest priority in Jewish law. However, we must Continued on Page Five
OBSERVER Editor and Publisher Marshall Weiss MWeiss@jfgd.net 937-610-1555 Contributors Scott Halasz, Masha Kisel Candace R. Kwiatek, Rabbis Leibel Agar, Karen BodneyHalasz, Judy Chessin, Haviva Horvitz, Cary Kozberg, Nochum Mangel Advertising Sales Executive Patty Caruso, firstname.lastname@example.org Proofreader Rachel Haug Gilbert Billing Sheila Myers, SMyers@jfgd.net 937-610-1555 Observer Advisor Martin Gottlieb Published by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton Bruce Feldman President David Pierce Immediate Past Pres. Dr. Heath Gilbert Pres. Elect/Treas. Beverly Louis Secretary Dan Sweeny VP, Resource Dev. Mary Rita Weissman VP, Personnel/ Foundation Chair Cathy Gardner CEO The Dayton Jewish Observer, Vol. 24, No. 6. The Dayton Jewish Observer is published monthly by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton, a nonprofit corporation, 525 Versailles Dr., Dayton, OH 45459. Views expressed by columnists, in readers’ letters, and in opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinion of staff or layleaders of The Dayton Jewish Observer or the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton. Acceptance of advertising neither endorses advertisers nor guarantees kashrut. The Dayton Jewish Observer Mission Statement To support, strengthen and champion the Dayton Jewish community by providing a forum and resource for Jewish community interests. Goals • To encourage affiliation, involvement and communication. • To provide announcements, news, opinions and analysis of local, national and international activities and issues affecting Jews and the Jewish community. • To build community across institutional, organizational and denominational lines. • To advance causes important to the strength of our Jewish community including support of Federation agencies, its annual campaign, synagogue affiliation, Jewish education and participation in Jewish and general community affairs. • To provide an historic record of Dayton Jewish life.
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tated the downfall of the murderous antisemite Haman and all who had joined with him. We can skip a few centuries to the story of ChanuContinued from Page Four ask ourselves if it will best protect Judaism and the kah, which we just celebrated. Many Jews at that time Jewish community in the long-run. felt that if they acted like the Greeks, they would be We are fortunate to have the counsel of a long hissafe. It was only a small group of dedicated Jews who tory. We have experienced many trials and tribulations thought otherwise, refused to hide or assimilate, and at the hands of antisemites of all sorts over persevered, eventually winning the great victhat long history. We have the luxury of tory that we celebrate to this day. looking back to see what has worked and Almost two millennia later, at the time of what hasn’t over the long haul. the Spanish Inquisition, the same argument Our first oppressors were the Egyptians. resurfaced. Many Jews in Spain thought the Despite the harsh enslavement, the Mibest course of action was to accept Christiandrash tells us that our ancestors continued ity publicly and to keep their Jewish committo dress in their distinctive way, to speak ment a secret. Where are the descendants of Hebrew, and to use their Hebrew names. those conversos today? Most of the Spanish Perhaps changing wouldn’t have helped, Jews of today came from those who were but this does not take away from their willing to stay true to their Judaism. Rabbi bold courage, which showed that we were Don Yitschak Abravanel could have stayed capable of carrying God’s torch and quali- Rabbi Nochum Mangel on in his post as the king’s treasurer if only fied for our historical role. he converted. Instead, he chose to leave Our next major holiday is Purim, which we celebrate his wealth and fame and took to the road, along with in a couple of weeks. Its story also shows there were the other thousands of faithful Jews, the ancestors of proponents of both these ways back then. One group today’s Sephardim. felt that we should go to the party made by the Persian In modern times, in the 20th century, many taught king celebrating the downfall of Israel and show our that the safety of Jews lay in merging invisibly into the subservience and loyalty. They were even willing to fabric of their host country, to become indistinguishbow down to the king’s hateful minister Haman, hopable from the non-Jews in every way. It did not stop ing that would gain them acceptance. the persecution of Dreyfus in France; it did not save the But it was Mordechai who led the Jews to a miracuJewish Communists in Russia; and it did not save any lous deliverance, inspiring them to follow his example Jew in any of the lands to which the Nazis came with of testifying to God with every act. He recognized that their horrors. acquiescing and bowing would mean spiritual death. In the midst of the grim terror of Stalin’s Russia, He persuaded Esther not to duck her responsibility and the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitschak to seize the moment to set an everlasting example. She Schneersohn, led his followers in standing up publicly affirmed her Jewishness before the king and precipifor Judaism. He taught that we must accept the risks
bravely, and by our lives, testify to the supreme value of the holiness of Jewish life. Our children will know our sacrifice and know how vital Judaism really is and they will wish to continue it. When Jews came to America, the first reaction of many was that our safety lay in our assimilation. A modest private allegiance that would in no way make waves would preserve us best as a tiny minority in a vast new land. When Rabbi Schneersohn came to America, fleeing the Nazi onslaught, he rallied Jews to once again stand up publicly for God and the Jewish people and to lead once again a life that testifies to the glory of the Creator of the World, its rightful ruler. He and his successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, taught that we have nothing to be ashamed of in being proud of our role, and that if we stand up and accept its challenges courageously, we will inspire others. Most importantly, we will inspire our own children to take it up as well, when they see by our example how supremely important it is. That is why the Rebbe initiated his many public mitzvah campaigns, such as public menorah lightings, as we just experienced at Chanukah time. Courage always, and when facing persecution and hatred — defiance. This is what has preserved our people. I share Prof. Lipstadt’s concern. She, after all, is someone who courageously faced down a Holocaust denier in open court and won a landmark victory, and she is justly concerned that we do go into hiding. We must not go underground. We must not go along on our own with the program of the antisemites, who ardently wish for our disappearance. We must take Continued on Page Six
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
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Continued from Page Five a courageous stand and publicly defy this hatred. It is by identifying as Jews and fighting openly and proudly for our Judaism that we can best guarantee our survival and even our flourishing. Over history, we have been murdered, maimed, tortured, and harassed, but we are still here. Let all the world see, and let our children see, that we do not back
down before hatred, that we have a message worth standing up for and fighting for. Making that powerful statement and backing it up constantly with action is our best strategy. May it be, with God’s blessing, that a united, public commitment will deter and demoralize the haters, and we see a victory over antisemitism that results at last in a peaceful world in which God’s values are appreciated by all. May this be speedily in our days!
Remain authentic, engage with others
A FUNDRAISING CONCERT with Global Appeal SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9 4PM @ the PNC Arts Annex (46 W 2nd St., Dayton, 45402) Enjoy an afternoon of diverse Jewish music from across the world. Light Reception following the performance (Kosher under the supervision of Beth Abraham). General Admission $18 Patron $50 (includes priority seating) VIP Patron $75 (includes priority seating and name in concert program) Tickets available through www.ticketcenterstage.com or (937) 228-3630
suspicious right now. But those feelings By Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz will only feed the cycle of hate. It would Temple Israel be far better for us to focus on who we Less than 10 years ago, I heard sociologist Robert Putnam share his findings are, what we stand for, and to have faith that, like the generations before us, we about the American religious experiare resilient. Yes, we must be ence from his book, American cautious, but we must not Grace. He pointed to a notable hide who we are or, turning decline in antisemitism since inward, lock out the world 1946 and, more interestingly, around us. that Americans felt more When I listened to Putnam warmly toward Jews than that night, I internalized his any other major religious message to increase interrelidenomination. gious connections. His work Even though Americans showed what many of us were becoming increasingly already knew — that under polarized in politics and the right conditions, greater religious observance at that time, Putnam found surpris- Rabbi Karen Bodney- contact between people from different backgrounds diing open-mindedness toward Halasz minishes prejudice. When an religious diversity. Only the individual really gets to know someone United States had been able to sustain these levels of religious devotion, diver- of a previously unfamiliar religion, that positive interaction extends to members sity, and tolerance. of that group in general. As Brené Brown Recently it has been hard for us to feel that warmth. Since 2015, antisemitic puts it, “people are hard to hate close up.” incidents have been on the rise. The It is this lesson we need to lift up at Anti-Defamation League documented a this time. We need to embrace our heri57-percent increase in antisemitic incitage, engage with people of other backdents from 2016 to 2017, FBI hate crime grounds, and forge positive relationships statistics from 2016 showed that more with those outside the Jewish communithan half of faith-based crimes were ty. To borrow a term from Bryan Stevenagainst Jews, and the ADL found that son, we need to “get proximate” with the number of physical assaults against people who are different than ourselves. Jews doubled in 2018. The most powerful example of this These statistics, together with hateis the transformation of Derek Black, ful rhetoric and violence are beginning a story of hope I often share with our to lead us to question Jewish security youths. Once seen as the rising star of and the wide acceptance that Putnam the white nationalist movement, Black described. Continued on Page Seven It is natural to become scared and
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Continued from Page Six found himself on a college campus with zero tolerance for his hate speech. Yet, when he was rejected by the rest of the student body, Matthew Stevenson, an Orthodox Jewish student, invited him to his weekly Shabbat dinner gatherings. Attending these dinners and becoming personally engaged with Jewish students changed Black’s life. His interreligious relationships eventually led him to reject the white nationalist identity that had been foisted upon him since his birth. I recognize this is an extreme example. Not everyone will change their opinions about one another so easily. But positive interaction certainly increases the likelihood. It is much harder to hold prejudice and hate when you find “other people” have similar interests, values, and dreams. We should learn from Black’s experience that when we get proximate, great things can happen. We cannot give in to fear and lower our profile in our community. Instead, we must remain authentic and engage with others as our full Jewish selves. That way we can feel supported, build powerful allyships, and sometimes, even create small miracles.
Education is still the best way to combat antisemitism Then, the other day, while in By Rabbi Haviva Horvitz the privacy of a store’s restTemple Beth Sholom, room, someone entered after Middletown me, humming and singing On Oct. 1, 2019, Lawrence softly. Suddenly, the words beP. Mulligan, Middletown’s came clear and she was singing, mayor, presented me with a “I know you; you are a Jew; so I proclamation that recognized won’t talk to you.” Middletown’s support of the Initially, I hoped those state of Israel and declared that weren’t the original words day “Stand with Israel Day.” of that song; afShortly thereafter, ter thinking more I met with Robbie clearly for a moChilders, Middlement, I decided to town’s Christians bring this experience United For Israel city to the attention of director, who did someone in manall the behind-theagement. I told the scenes work to make assistant manager this proclamation that, especially in happen. It seemed light of the recent to me that it was Rabbi Haviva Horvitz attack in Monsey, necessary not only N.Y., I felt I needed to thank him for to make someone aware. He helping those in Middletown appreciate the state of Israel, but hadn’t heard about the attack in Monsey; I don’t know why to also stress the difference between Israel and Judaism. There I was surprised. Antisemitism has become so commonplace it’s are those who don’t even think about Israel, but are antisemitic; not even widely reported. When I told my daughter what had those who don’t even know happened to me, she showed why, but are anti-Jew. There me a video of African American were those who were antiseindividuals in Brooklyn, N.Y. mitic before 1948 and the state upset that the Jews “own everyof Israel, as we know it today. There are even some who would thing” and suggesting “they go argue that Israel was established back where they came from.” I don’t know about all Jews, out of a sense of guilt, if not but I was born in Baltimore, my at least a need to escape antisemitism and the horrors of the father was born in Brooklyn, and my mother was born in Holocaust.
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Chicago. How far back are we supposed to go? Abraham, the first Hebrew, moved to what is now Israel; is that where they believe we are all supposed to go? I am sure that all the Native Americans would appreciate it if we all “went back to our ancestral homes.” Education has always been my answer. Education is the best way to combat antisemitism. The more people I can reach — connecting and teach-
ing, introducing and answering — the more I can prevent xenophobia. If you know what Judaism is all about, and learn that we are each individuals, then there is nothing to fear. We can respect one another, and maybe even get along. However, these days, it all feels so overwhelming and frightening. It seems that people don’t want to learn. Fear, anger, hatred —and therefore misunderstanding — seem easier. And maybe they are. But that doesn’t make it right.
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kah — commemorating an armed rebellion that insured the survival of Judaism — have attitudes about the use of force so at odds with those of the Chanukah story’s hero, the priest Mattathias, who chided his fellow Jews that they must fight to defend themselves, even on the By Rabbi Cary Kozberg, Temple Sholom, Springfield Sabbath? How is it that Jews who annually read the Book of In the Talmud, Tractate Kiddushin (29a), we learn: Esther on Purim ignore the verses recounting how Jews “The father is bound in respect of his son to circumcise, redeem (if the son is a firstborn), teach him Torah, did defend themselves against their enemies in Persia? How is it that we reverently recall the heroism of the marry him off, and teach him a craft. There are those Warsaw Ghetto defenders on Holocaust Remembrance who say: to also teach him to swim.” Day, yet are prepared to dismiss today’s Nazi-imitating Why teach him to swim? The commentator Rashi attackers as not really evil, but merely maladjusted, explains that should he be on a ship that is sinking, he ignorant, or tragic victims of their socioeconomic situwill be in less danger of drowning. ations? As a parent and grandparent, I’m certainly in the And how is it that we continue to believe that heartcompany of “those who say...” But in light of the recent felt and noble pronouncements of “stand together” and violence targeting Jews both in this country and in “love trumps hate”— expressed in the aftermath of Europe, as well as the continuing tirades against Jews Pittsburgh, Poway, and most recently Jersey City and spewed by religious and political radicals, I am also Monsey — will somehow be enough to protect us from in the company of those who say the scope of survival further violence? skills taught to our children should be expanded. This last question focuses on a belief that is part of I would amend the Talmudic text to read: “And some say to also teach a child armed and unarmed self- the problem. It was once said that the Holocaust was supposed to end Jew hatred. Seven decades later, it has defense skills.” not disappeared, but instead has morphed into new The accompanying commentary would read: “to virulent forms. Public statements, op-ed also teach a child armed and unarmed selfpieces, and interfaith vigils and demonstradefense skills. Lest he/she be in a situation tions are all well-meaning and necessary. in which his/her life is suddenly in mortal But they are clearly not enough to ensure danger from a violent person. Our sages the safety of our community. have taught: if someone comes to kill you, One reason for this disconnect is the kill him first (Sanhedrin 72a).” prevalent view among American Jews that Over 28,000 deaths and myriad wounded guns are an a priori evil. Even in the afterdue to wars and ongoing terrorist attacks math of Pittsburgh, Poway and Monsey, have taught the citizens of Israel the tragic and despite the opinion of experts that truth of this lesson. Decades before the state signs prohibiting guns invite shooters who was founded, Jews living in Eretz Yisrael reseek soft targets, many Jews still believe alized that self-defense was a sine qua non Rabbi Cary Kozberg that signs prohibiting guns will help make to their existence. After Israel was created, their religious and community venues safe. this affirmation was fueled by the memory Even among those who may not view guns as evil of the ashes of Auschwitz, which were still warm in per se, there is still the notion that they are an example 1948. Through the years, Holocaust awareness created of what was once called goyishe naches, things that only the slogan Never Again — now part of contemporary Jewish jargon. But for Israeli Jews, it’s not just a slogan. gentiles enjoy. Moreover, for Jews who lean left politically (as so many do), such attitudes are strengthened Rather, it is the existential equal sign in the equation when guns are associated with political attitudes that self-defense = existence. Without ambivalence, they they hold as anathema. know: if we don’t fight back, we die. Consequently, when Jewish communities do need But despite the lessons Israel’s experience should the protection of armed security, the conventional have taught us in the Diaspora, ambivalence aptly dewisdom is that it is better to leave it exclusively to “the scribes how much of the American Jewish community professionals,” who are usually non-Jews. Rather than still feels about Jews fighting back against those who promote self-defense in our own ranks like our Israeli wish to harm us. As we have recently witnessed, viobrethren, better to leave it to others so that we don’t get lent acts of antisemitism in this country and in Europe our own hands shmutzik (dirty). How else to explain have been occurring at a rate reminiscent of the 1930s. the insistence that our well-being depends only on law As of this writing (early January 2020), there have enforcement officers? How else to explain the enthubeen over a dozen attacks on Jews within a month just siastic welcoming of the Guardian Angels, made up in the New York City area. These have resulted in the mostly of non-Jews, to help protect Jews living in those deaths and serious injury of several Jews and at least one non-Jew. In this country we are taught: “when you New York City neighborhoods that have been targeted? Invoking again the phrase “there are others who see something, say something.” Israelis are taught: say,” there are several reasons to advocate for a more “when you see something, do something.” robust approach to self-protection, which would inAmerican Jews are united in saying Never Again. However, we are certainly not united about what to do clude the proficient and responsible use of firearms: 1. Without such an approach, sentiments and proto ensure that this phrase remains more than a mere nouncements of goodwill toward others ultimately will slogan — especially when one response involves the be little more than bromides. use of firearms. This ambivalence is starkly apparent 2. Think of fire safety. No one disagrees that knowlwhen the same American Jews who nod in approving edge of fire safety and fire prevention are a necessity pride at the sight of young Israelis (even dressed in even though statistically, fires rarely occur. But should evening clothes) shlepping rifles around the streets of Jerusalem are often the very same Jews who recoil from a fire suddenly break out, knowledge of prevention is no longer the point: it won’t prevent the fire itself the very idea of Jews in this country “packing heat,” from spreading. Between the time the fire department especially in synagogue. is called and the time it arrives, the fire will need to be What accounts for this disconnect? contained by “non-professionals” in whatever ways Why does learning how to protect ourselves from available. In such emergencies, the persons who face our enemies cause such an enigmatic unease in a coma “clear and present danger” need to know how to munity that honors the warrior King David and prays effectively respond to that danger. It is not wise to rely for the coming of his messianic descendant? only on first responders for this simple reason: they How is it that Jews who annually celebrate Chanu-
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
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may be minutes away, but Fortunately, other Jews in the moment of an attack, around the country are it’s the seconds that count. also realizing what’s needThe truth of this adage was ed. In areas where it is demonstrated recently in legal and easily accessible, the quick response of the they are getting respontrained congregant who sible and proper training stopped the shooter at the in defensive firearm use. West Freeway Church of Groups such as Guns Christ in Texas. Without n’Moses, Glocks and someone like him on the Bagels, and Jews for the scene in real time, many Preservation of Firearm more lives probably would A Ramapo police officer guards the house of Rabbi Chaim Ownership are followed have been lost — even with Rottenberg, Dec. 29, 2019 in Monsey, N.Y. Five people on social media. Resothe police on their way. nating with the biblical were injured in a knife attack during a Chanukah party. 3. Those who advocate teaching “a living dog is that synagogue security be left exclusively to “the better than a dead lion (Ecc. 9:4),” these Jews believe professionals” forget that the professionals themselves that knowing how to defend their lives is better than are not superheroes; they are merely humans like the having eulogies given about their lives. rest of us. Every law enforcement officer who carries In the Book of Exodus, we learn how the Israelites a firearm had to be trained and is required to mainfound themselves between Pharaoh’s chariots and the tain competence with that firearm. It is part of their sea. They cried to Moses that it would have been better continuing education. Why should competence with to remain slaves than to die as they believed they were firearms not be part of our Jewish continuing educaabout to. Moses responded by telling them to stand by tion, if only because it is immoral to expect others to and watch God’s deliverance. But God responded by risk their lives for our safety when we are not prepared saying to Moses: “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the to take any risk at all? Israelites to go forward!” 4. A fourth and arguably more compelling reason It is a good bet that we will not experience the sort why Jews should learn to use firearms responsibly of dramatic rescue our ancestors experienced. Neverand proficiently is the axiomatic Jewish teaching that theless, a similar question and a similar risk confront human life is sacred. The Talmud teaches, “if someone us: will we Jews in the Diaspora stand by and wait, comes to kill you, kill him first,” because our lives are or will we take the risk and jump in? Will we avoid given to us in stewardship, and thus we have a respon- the water and possibly let others drown us, or will we sibility to their Owner to protect them. The commandmove forward? ment heeshamair l’kha u’shmor et nafsh’kha, take utmost In one of his songs, the iconic Jewish songwriter care and guard yourselves (Deut. 4:9) is an apt proof Kinky Friedman sings: Now it’s time for the chosen text in viewing the responsible use of firearms in selfones to choose, Before all hell breaks loose.” defense or in defense of others to be a sacred skill. Our Israeli brothers and sisters made their choice a Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein in Poway understood this long time ago. It appears that for us in the Diaspora, — which is why he made sure a gun and a responour time has now come. sible person were ready. Again, how many more lives How will we choose...before all hell breaks loose? would have been lost had that not been the case? In the aftermath of what happened in Monsey, members Prior to the attacks in the New York City area, a version of of that community are realizing the gravitas of what is this essay appeared last year as a blog post for The Times of now needed. They are beginning to arm themselves. Israel.
Turn Oy Vey Into Mazel Tov.
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CONGREGATIONS Beth Abraham Synagogue Conservative Rabbi Joshua Ginsberg Cantor/Dir. of Ed. & Programming Andrea Raizen Mornings, Mon. & Thurs., 7 a.m.; Tues., Wed., Fri., 7:15 a.m. Sundays, 8:30 a.m. Evenings, Mon.-Fri., 5:30 p.m. Sat. 9 a.m. w. Youth Service 10:30 a.m. 305 Sugar Camp Circle, Oakwood. 2939520. BethAbrahamDayton.org Beth Jacob Congregation Traditional Rabbi Leibel Agar Saturdays 9:30 a.m. Yahrzeit minyans available upon advance request. 7020 N. Main St., Dayton. 274-2149. BethJacobCong.org Temple Anshe Emeth Reform Rabbinic Intern Caroline Sim Saturday, Feb. 8, 10 a.m. 320 Caldwell St., Piqua. Contact Steve Shuchat, 937-7262116, AnsheEmeth@gmail.com. ansheemeth.org Temple Beth Or Reform Rabbi Judy Chessin Educator/Rabbi Ari Ballaban Fridays 7 p.m. (2nd Fri. ea. month 6:15 p.m.), Saturdays 10 a.m. 5275 Marshall Rd., Wash. Twp. 435-3400. templebethor.com Temple Beth Sholom Reform Rabbi Haviva Horvitz See Web site for schedule. 610 Gladys Dr., Middletown. 513-422-8313. thetemplebethsholom.com Temple Israel Reform Senior Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz Rabbi/Educator Tina Sobo First Friday each month 6 p.m. All other Fridays 6:30 p.m. Saturdays 10:30 a.m. 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton. 496-0050. tidayton.org Temple Sholom Reform Rabbi Cary Kozberg Fridays 6 p.m. 2424 N. Limestone St., Springfield. 399-1231. templesholomoh.com
ADDITIONAL SERVICES Chabad of Greater Dayton Rabbi Nochum Mangel Associate Rabbi Shmuel Klatzkin Youth & Prog. Dir. Rabbi Levi Simon, Teen & Young Adult Prog. Dir. Rabbi Elchonon Chaikin. Beginner educational service Saturdays 9 a.m. adults, 10 a.m children. Sundays 9 a.m. 2001 Far Hills Ave. 643-0770. www.chabaddayton.com Yellow Springs Havurah Independent Services 1st & 3rd Saturdays, 10-noon. Antioch College Rockford Chapel. Contact Len Kramer, 937572-4840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It isn’t always antisemitism
However, we often forget there is more to this than meets the eye. There is a far greater danger to the world than antisemitism — the By Rabbi Leibel Agar danger called ignorance. Beth Jacob Congregation When we do not know anything “Times, they are a-changin.” about people from other backWhile some of us are not old grounds or cultures, it becomes enough to remember the aceasier to believe the stereotypes tual release of that famous Bob about them. In my lifetime, I have Dylan song, I would venture seen this danger firsthand. I canmost of us have heard it at one not tell you the number of times I time or another. Perhaps the lyr- have been asked if I wear a hat on ics were given to us by a teacher my head to cover up my horns. during a history class about Most of the people who ask are post-World War II America or not trying to be mean; rather, they as a poem in an English class. have just never seen a Jew before. Maybe part of the song was I remember riding the Number played on a televi4 subway line on my sion show or movie way home from work we have seen. one day when a young I remember first child (maybe 6 or 7) hearing the song as walked up to me and a young child wheninnocently asked if I ever we were in knew why my people the car; my mother killed Jesus. When I liked to listen to the asked the child why she oldies station on the thought the Jews had radio. killed Jesus, she exHowever, regardplained that she learned Rabbi Leibel Agar less of where we about it “from the Sister heard it, the lyrics of Dylan at Sunday School…she told us seem to be just as relevant that the Jews hung him up on the today as they were in those tur- cross.” It is this kind of ignorance bulent days of the 1960s when which often breeds intolerance they were written. and hatred. When we do not know As I look around at the world anything about people from other today, I often see things which backgrounds or cultures, it beworry me greatly. The internet, comes easier to believe the stereowith all the wonderful things types about them. we can do with it, seems to also Unfortunately, identifying the cause an increase in hatred. issue is only half the battle. The Not a day goes by that next step is to come up with ideas someone doesn’t tell me about of how to fix the issue. I believe a racist post that they saw on the solution is obvious: we need Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat. to get to know one another. Rather It seems the surge of hatred is than focus on our differences, we on the upswing, and there is no should be focusing on the things end in sight. we have in common. Programs Just last week, I read about that bring people of different a shul in Brooklyn, N.Y. — the backgrounds together help foster shul where my brother-in-law feelings of understanding and Charley and his family pray — mutual respect. which had a woman taking picThough there may always be tures of the building from her people who are haters, bringing car. When several congregants everyone else together creates a approached her, she made the strong defense against the sort of Nazi salute and began spewing violence which has been plaguing all sorts of antisemitic slurs. our country for far too long.
Shevat/Adar Shabbat Candle Lightings February 7, 5:45 p.m. February 14, 5:53 p.m. February 21, 6:01 p.m. February 28, 6:09 p.m.
Torah Portions February 1 Bo (Ex. 10:1-13:16) February 8 Beshalach (Ex. 13:17-17:16) February 15 Yitro (Ex. 18:1-20:23) February 22 Mishpatim (Ex. 21:1-24:18;30:11-16) February 29 Terumah (Ex. 25:1-27:19)
Longtime area Judaic studies professor Eric Friedland dies By Marshall Weiss Judaic studies position, his The Observer professorship was developed Dr. Eric L. Friedland, for several schools. The Sanders who for 30 years served as Trust funded the program for its Sanders Professor of Judaic first 10 years; the schools then Studies for United Theologi- took over the funding. cal Seminary, University of At UD, Friedland taught Dayton, and Wright State courses on basic Judaism and University, died Jan. the Holocaust, 16 at age 79. in line with the Born in New university’s York and raised in adherence to Boston, Friedland Vatican II, which arrived in Dayton in he described as 1968 with a doctoracknowledging ate in Judaic studies “the special role from Brandeis Uniaccorded Judaversity; he moved ism in the work of here to fill the new God.” Sanders profesAt UTS, his sorship, conceived teaching helped by Rabbi Selwyn seminarians know Dr. Eric L. Friedland Ruslander of Temple Judaism on its Israel and funded through own terms, to help them arrive the Harriet Sanders Trust at at an understanding of how and the temple. Friedland taught why Christianity came to be. two courses a year at UTS, His focus at Wright State UD, and Wright State until was for students to recognize his retirement in 1998, and at Judaism as vital to a diverse, Antioch College until 1982. pluralistic society. Because of a In an interview with The requirement in the Wright State Observer when he retired, Religion Department, Friedland Friedland recalled there was also taught the New Testament an air of excitement about course there. teaching Judaism on the col“I’d give something of a lege level after the Vatican II Jewish stance, presenting a Council in the ‘60s. scholarly view without any “It was beginning to catch doctrinal suppositions,” he told on. It was something of a The Observer. novelty,” he said. Even so, Friedland was a noted scholar the Sanders program was a of liberal Jewish liturgy, beginrarity in the academic world: ning with his Ph.D. dissertation, Friedland had to meet the The Historical and Theological needs of a Protestant semiDevelopment of the Non-Orthodox nary, a Catholic university, a Jewish Prayer Books in the United state university, and a private States, and culminating with liberal arts college — under his 1997 book, Were Our Mouths the aegis of a single profesFilled With Song: Studies in Libsorship. eral Jewish Liturgy, published by Because none of Dayton’s Hebrew Union College Press. institutions of higher learnFilled with a passion for ing could fully support a interfaith dialogue, Friedland initiated an annual scholarly symposium in 1978, which continues as the Ryterband Symposium, sponsored by and rotating among UTS, UD, and Wright State. He was also a participant in the first National Workshop on Catholic-Jewish Relations, held at Dayton’s Bergamo Center in 1973. Tu B’Shevat “He was like a brother to me. New Year for Trees Our relationship goes back 47 February 10/15 Shevat years,” said Peter Wells, retired Marks springtime in Israel. executive director of the Jewish Celebrated with picnics, Federation of Greater Dayton. fruit and planting trees. “He’s been a good friend, teachContinued on Page 26
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
The Chasidic Jews of Monsey must ignore the outsiders who want us to take up arms and politicize our tragedy By Shimon Rolnitzky MONSEY, N.Y. — A short while after the worst antisemitic attack ever carried out against haredi Orthodox Jews in New York, those present in the Forshay Road neighborhood of Monsey witnessed an unbelievable scene. At Congregation Netzach Yisroel, the synagogue attached to the rabbi’s house in which the horrific attack took place, the Rebbe of Koson, Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, sat down to celebrate a Chanukah and Melave Malkah tish (post-Shabbat meal). Together with his Chasidim, ignoring all of the chaos and panic outside, he sang songs and praises to the Almighty for all of the Jews who miraculously survived the attack. The rebbe spoke with the community, quivering while reciting the words from Song of Songs 4:8 — “you shall look from the peak of Amanah” — emphasizing that according to the Jewish tradition, we are to sing to the Lord and have faith in his salvation, even before he delivers it. The wounded and badly injured Jews, including at least one of his sons, were being brought to the operating room — but he implored us to “thank the Almighty for the generosity that he will certainly show with their ultimate complete recovery.” How many times throughout history has the strength of the Jewish faith been demonstrated before the eyes of the whole world? The same strength played out at a Torah dedication ceremony the next morning. The community had just come away from a terrifying tragedy and the rebbe’s house was still a crime scene with blood everywhere. But we Jews do not raise our hands in resignation. No! We did not give up in the concentration camps — when Jews were set on fulfilling commandments — despite life ostensibly having no more meaning, and we will continue not giving up. We will just go on with our lives. We will not let the horror of Jew-hatred gain dominion over our lives. We will remain subjects of the King of Kings. Vile attacks and murders bring out the horror in a small
amount of people, but they much more bring out the beauty and nobility of the great majority of God’s creatures. The hero of the Monsey story, Yosef Elyah Glick, talks down his role (throwing a table at the attacker) with humility, saying that God gave him the strength and will to do what he did. But in his interview with CNN, his message to the political leaders was that they must do their duty to condemn antisemitism and violence in all circumstances, and not use their positions to incite negative emotions among races and communities. That is, in my opinion, the strongest message that can be taken from the attack. The natural friends of Orthodox Jews are other minority communities next to whom we live. A large part of the black, Latino, and Muslim communities — our neighbors — look at us religious Jews as their natural allies against a world of enmity and hate. Regrettably, some hotheads and pundits try to fuel hatred among the various communities for their own political interests. But I cannot count how many times I personally have received favors from members of minority communities. Take away the self-serving political officials who pit one community against another due to vile political interests, take away the demagogues, and you have terrific communities who live side by side in harmony and happiness. When I stopped at a gas station on Skyline Drive in Ringwood, N.J. several weeks ago, the gas station attendant dropped everything and volunteered to show me which products were kosher. He himself uses kosher symbols, he explained to me, because he eats halal. My twin boys were raised with the help of a black woman who developed a taste for cholent and gefilte fish and was extraordinarily loyal to my children. After the attack in Monsey, she called to express worry and sympathy about
So, what do you think?
what happened. On a recent trip, I stopped to visit the Ghostly Manor Haunted House in Sandusky, Ohio, noted as one of the top-rated haunts in the United States. Waiting to go in, an African American family came up to me and asked me to go in front of them — the place is so scary and they were afraid to go in alone. I wondered to myself if a white American family would have similarly trusted a haredi Jew with beard and sidelocks. After the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder arranged a massive campaign to procure hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from the haredi community of Rockland to send to those suffering in Haiti as a friendly gesture to the Haitian community of Ramapo. When the community heard in 2014 that a lowlife had stolen money collected for the burial costs of a Latino child who died in a tragic accident, haredi Jews quickly came up with the money to cover the damages. After the attack in Jersey City, while mourning our own victims, haredi Jews secured tens of thousands of dollars for the family of Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, the immigrant from Ecuador who was a good friend to the city’s small haredi community. Haredi leaders like Yosef Rapaport, Alex Rapaport and Chesky Deutsch have used the terrifying tragedy to heal wounds and improve relations between the Chasidic and African American communities of Jersey City — by organizing, among other things, a large venture to help the local black and Chasidic communities. The haredi community is also blessed with having outstanding relations with minority politicians who are fighting for our rights and of late have been the right messengers to fight antisemitism. The attorneys general of New York and New Jersey have positioned themselves against Jew haters
We will not let the horror of Jew hatred gain dominion over our lives.
with a strong hand because as minorities themselves, they are sensitive to our pains. Unfortunately, there are also hotheads who position themselves as friends of the community only after we come under attack: people who stoke emotions against haredi Jews and call them all sorts of names, and then when something happens, come into haredi neighborhoods with a group of people and declare that only they can protect us from our enemies. About these people we say the known proverb from Rashi: “Don’t give me the honey and spare me the sting.” Thanks but no thanks. We also do not need any help from demagogues who are busy after every attack with ridiculous finger-pointing, whether there is more white antisemitism or more black antisemitism, if the Jew haters are more likely to be found in the right camp or more on the left, and which parties are taking the danger to Jews more seriously. Jewish blood is flowing like water and these people are busy with political accounting. The haredi community also must be wary of the hotheads and demagogues who incite them to throw under the bus those officials like Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, who has paid a heavy political price for the sin of treating all the communities in New York fairly. And we must be wary of those who say that guns are the answer. From the time that haredi children are very small, we learn to despise weapons. The words of my teacher ring in my ears: “Our strength is only with our mouth (praying to the Almighty).” When we learned the Talmud tractate of Shabbat, the teacher pointed out that the sages say (63a) that a person is not allowed to go around with a weapon on the Sabbath because their purpose is “shameful,” they are a disgusting item. We always heard from our religious leaders that the weapon of a Jew is the voice of Jacob (Gen. 27:22). They educated us to be pacifists and talked to us about how nice it will be when the Messiah comes, when “nation shall not lift the sword against nation,
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neither shall they learn war anymore (Isaiah 2:4).” The great majority of haredi Jews do not want to take up weapons. Jews who came to the Chanukah lighting of their rebbe, like those who had to struggle against a murderer with a big machete on that Saturday night, are generally the type of people not to kill a fly. I still remember when I brought home a toy gun for Purim and my mother took it, saying that “Jews don’t have a use for guns.” How is it that certain haredi Jews can be heard expressing support for the gun policies of the NRA for the safety of a community that despises “you shall live by the sword (Gen. 27:40)?” It is critical that there should be stricter laws to ensure that no harmful guns and deadly weapons come into the hands of criminals, antisemites, and terrorists who will use them to hurt innocent people. This is just a direct result of propaganda from pundits and media figures who use their positions to incite hate, panic, chaos and hatred, and convince Americans to support issues directly antithetical to their interests. In their warped minds, we Orthodox Jews are not good Jews unless we condemn political officials they consider insufficiently pro-Jewish. They will not rest until they create a gigantic division between us and the nearby communities, and between us and our responsible political leaders. The good news is that our communities are gifted with responsible leaders who shake off the politics of enmity and hate — and who do not allow for outsiders with blind intentions to overcome us and ruin our friendly relationships. So much progress has been made in recent years in Ramapo to smooth out the relationships among the communities. There is still much work to be done, but we will stubbornly continue to extend an olive branch to our neighbors and live with them in peace and harmony. This article, originally written in Yiddish, was translated by Prof. Nick Block.
Views expressed by columnists, in readers’ letters, and in opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinion of staff or layleaders of The Dayton Jewish Observer or the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
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Beth Abraham Synagogue Brunch Speaker Series: Sundays, 10 a.m. $7. Feb. 9, Joel Shapiro, From Carpenter to God: How did he manage it? Feb. 16, Martha Moody Jacobs & Alan & Judy Chesen, Headscarves & Hope. Feb. 23, Jim Nathanson, The 2020 Nominating Battle. 305 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood. R.S.V.P. to 293-9520. Temple Beth Or Adult Education: Origins of Dayton’s Jewish Community, with Marshall Weiss. Sun., Feb. 23, 10 a.m. 5275 Marshall Rd., Wash. Twp. 435-3400. Temple Israel Ryterband Brunch Series: Sundays, 9:45 a.m. $7. Feb. 2, WSU Prof. Dr. Mark Verman, The Promised Land in the Torah and Koran. Feb. 23, Kateri Dillon & Bonnie Beaman Rice, Brunner Literary Center, Key to Success in NonTraditional Adult Education. 130
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Chabad Rosh Chodesh Society Class: Sun., Feb. 2, 9:45 a.m. When Failure Inspires Fruition. $10. 2001 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. 643-0770 or chabaddayton.com.
PJ Library & Hillel Academy Snow Day: Tues., Feb. 4, 5:30-7 p.m. For children 4-8. Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. At Hillel Academy, 305 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555. Beth Abraham Friday Nite Kids Shabbat: Fri., Feb. 28, 5 p.m. Dinner, service, craft & dessert. 305 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood. R.S.V.P. to 293-9520. Temple Israel Prayer & Play: Sat., Feb. 29, 4-6 p.m. At home of Rabbi Sobo. Families and their children 6 and under. R.S.V.P. to Temple Israel, 4960050.
Children & Youths
JCC Winter Camp Shalom: Mon., Feb. 17, 8:45 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Dr., Centerville. Field trip to Bethany Village with JFS. Before & after sessions available. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555.
Chabad Shabbat Dinner for Young Adults: Fri., Feb. 7, 7:15 p.m. At the home of Rabbi Elchonon & Mussie Chaikin. R.S.V.P. to 643-0770. Chabad Young Adult Girls Night Out: Mon., Feb. 10, 7 p.m. Picture Perfect Paint Parties, 123 S. Ludlow St., Dayton. Sips, soups, salads, painting. R.S.V.P. to Mussie@ chabaddayton.com. YAD Murder Mystery Dinner: at Spaghetti Warehouse, 36 W. 5th St., Dayton. Mon., Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m. R.S.V.P. to Cheryl
Chabad Women’s Circle: Wed., Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m. U.S. Navy Res. Lt. Cmdr. Laurie Lans. 2001 Far Hills Ave., 643-0770.
Chabad’s Bagels, Lox & Tefillin: Sun., Feb. 2, 9:30 a.m. 2001 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. 643-0770.
JFS Technology & You: Wed., Feb. 5, noon. With Lunch. Free. Beth Abraham Synagogue, 305 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555.
Temple Anshe Emeth Tu B’Shevat Seder: Sat., Feb. 8, following 10 a.m. Shabbat Service. 320 Caldwell St., Piqua. Chabad Kids Tu B’Shevat Health Bar Factory: Sun., Feb. 9, 5 p.m. 2001 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. 643-0770.
Chabad Community Shabbat Dinner: Fri., Feb. 7, 5:45 p.m. $25 adults, $7 children 3-12. 2001 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. R.S.V.P. to 643-0770. Dayton Jewish Chorale, A World of Jewish Music: Sun., Feb. 9, 4 p.m. PNC Arts Annex, 46 W. 2nd. St., Dayton. $18/$50/$75. Ticketcenterstage. com or 937-228-3630. Temple Israel’s Cappuccino with the Clergy: Wed., Feb. 12, 11 a.m. Epic Coffee, 22 W. Stroop Rd., Kettering. JCC Youth Theatre’s Peter Pan Jr.: Sat., Feb. 15, 8 p.m. & Sun., Feb. 16, 2 & 6 p.m. Dayton Playhouse, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton. In advance, $10 adult, $5 ages 4-11. At door, $15 adult, $10 ages 4-11. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555. JCC Screening of documentary Blacks & Jews: Thurs., Feb. 20, 1 p.m. Washington-Centerville Woodbourne Library, 6060 Far Hills Ave., Centerville. Followed by discussion w. Neil Friedman. JCC’s Night In Vegas: Sat., Feb. 29, 7:30 p.m. Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Dr., Centerville. R.S.V.P. to jewishdayton.org or 610-1555.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
Highlights JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The December 25 Mitzvah Mission was a success! Almost 50 people came together for fun, food and community. Together we made over 170 sack lunches, over 100 scarves, and 35 ragdolls for St. Vincent de Paul. PHOTO CREDIT: Tara Feiner. On January 15, JFS and the Early Childhood Program’s Mishpacha Class traveled to Bethany Village for a Mitzvah Mission. The children and residents in the memory care unit enjoyed songs and crafts together. PHOTO CREDIT: Tara Feiner. JCC CABS Cookbook Author Naomi Nachman demonstrating recipes from her cookbook, Perfect Flavors, during a dinner featuring her recipes prepared by Rochel Simon. PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Wine. Children and adults enjoy decorating sufganiyot at the JCC’s Community Chanukah party. PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Wine. Camp Shalom campers take a break from ice skating at Riverscape MetroPark. PHOTO CREDIT: Meryl Hattenbach
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
February events JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES Have an idea for an innovative and collaborative Jewish event or program? Apply for an Innovation Grant! Applications are accepted starting February 3, 2020 until March 27, 2020 and the winner/s will be announced in May. Download the application at jewishdayton.org/program/ innovation-grants/
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TUESDAY 4 PJ LIBRARY PJ Library & Hillel Academy Snow Day 5:30PM - 7PM @ Hillel Academy of Dayton (305 Sugar Camp Circle, Dayton 45409). The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati comes to Dayton to lead Pre-K through 2nd graders (ages 4-8) on a journey through a magical forest to discover enchanting creatures and exciting new lands. Using puppetry and imagination, this interactive fun adventure will help us learn about diversity and kindness while developing social skills. Vegetarian dinner provided. RSVPs requested by January 28th.
WEDNESDAY 5 JFS Technology & the Independent You - Devices, What Do You Really Need? 12-1PM @ Beth Abraham Synagogue (305 Sugar Camp Circle, Dayton, 45409). Do you really need an iPad if you have
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a laptop or desktop? What’s the difference between a Kindle and a tablet? With all the gizmos and gadgets available today, it can be a maze to figure out what works best for you. Speaker Marianne Bailey helps us navigate what these devices can do to in order to help you make the best decision for your digital life. Lunch provided. No cost.
SATURDAY 15 JCC JCC Youth Theatre Presents Peter Pan Jr.
8PM @ Dayton Playhouse (1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton 45414) Get swept away to Neverland with the cast of JCC Youth Theatre! Advance tickets: $10 adult, $5 child (4-11), 3 and under free. At the Door tickets: $15 adult, $10 child (4-11), 3 and under free.
MONDAY 17 JCC & JFS JCC Winter Camp Shalom 8:45AM - 3:45PM @ the Boonshoft CJCE. Enjoy fun, friends, and a field trip to Bethany Village with JFS for an intergenerational program. Rise and Shine (7:30AM -8:45AM) and Stay and Play (3:45PM 6PM) options are available. Register online at jewishdayton.org.
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SUNDAY 16 JCC JCC Youth Theatre Presents Peter Pan Jr. 2PM & 6PM Showings @ Dayton Playhouse (1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton 45414)
MONDAY 17 YAD (AGES 21-35) Dinner & Interactive Mystery Show Gams, Gangsters & Gigglewater 6:30 - 9PM @ the Spaghetti Warehouse (36 West 5th St., Dayton 45402). Join YAD for a crazy night of dinner and participate in an interactive show.
THURSDAY 20 JCC Keeping it Reel: Blacks and Jews 1PM - 3:30PM @ Washington Centerville Public Library (6060 Far Hills Ave., Centerville 45459). Confronting Black and Jewish relations headon, the documentary film Blacks and Jews explores the shared history and the roots of conflict between the two communities. Discussion after the film will be led by Neil Friedman. Keeping it Reel is a collaboration with POV, PBS' award-winning nonfiction film series. www.pbs.org/pov/
FRI SAT SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SATURDAY 29 JCC 25 26 28 JCC's A Night in Vegas 21 22 23 24 27
7:30PM @ the Boonshoft CJCE Wear your best Vegas attire to the JCC’s Annual Fundraiser! Enjoy music, dancing & karaoke, Texas Hold'em & Euchre, with a special appearance by the Rubi Girls! For ticketing information see back cover.
RSVPs due at least 1 week before event. Events with no price listed are free. FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO RSVP (unless noted): 937-610-1555 www.jewishdayton.org
BEAT The JCC is excited to host the second season of “The Beat,” welcoming all to an informal setting where we will play, sing, clap, or dance along with a variety of music that has Jewish connections. Musicians and vocalists of all abilities are welcome! Listeners are also enthusiastically welcome to join! We even have a few instruments available for those who might not have their own. Contact us for more information. March 4 Rock n' Roll with Irv Moscowitz Send any song requests you might have and we will try to have the sheet music available!
SEE YOU IN MARCH!
Reminder! The scholarships (Residential Camp Scholarship, Travel to Israel Scholarship, Heuman Scholarship) and interest-free student loan application window is January 6 – March 20, 2020. If you have any questions, or would like an application, please contact Alisa Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 610-1796.
TO REGISTER go to jewishdayton.org or call (937) 610-1555. PAGE 14
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
Announcements JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES Jewish Book Council
The JCC Cultural Arts & Book Series sincerely thanks the following for their support PUBLISHER ($1000 - $2499) Bernard & Carole Rabinowitz Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Dayton PERFORMER ($500 - $999) Rochelle & Michael Goldstein Cultural Arts Fund of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Dayton Bonnie & Sandy Mendelson Gayle & Irvin Moscowitz Alice & Burt Saidel POET ($250 - $499) Andrea Klein Ed & Marcia Kress Todd & Gabriele Leventhal David London Norman & Mary Rita Weissman PIANIST ($100 - $249) Niraj Antani Lori Appel Jack & Maryann Bernstein Julie & Robert Bloom Tara & Adam Feiner Marni Flagel Neil Friedman Felix & Erika Garfunkel Dr. Ron & Shirlee Gilbert Kim & Shelley Goldenberg Lynn & David Goldenberg Art & Joan Greenfield Jane & Gary Hochstein Linda & Steve Horenstein Martin Jacobs & Marty Moody Jacobs Don & Harriet Klass
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Beverly Louis Jim & Carol Nathanson Marci & Joel Vandersluis Donald & Caryl Weckstein PATRON ($18 - $99) Frieda Blum Dena Briskin Judy & Alan Chesen Marcia Cox Lynn Foster Bella Freeman Chuck & Dee Fried Deborah & Gary Froelich Harry & Barbara Gerla Helene Gordon Arlene Graham Henry Guggenheimer Joel & Judi Guggenheimer Meryl Hattenbach Clara Hochstein Karen Jaffe & Skip Gridley Janice Kohn Kim & Candy Kwiatek Meredith & Jim Levinson Janice Maharam Ruthe Meadow Edie Pequinot Cantor Andrea Raizen Cherie Rosenstein David Rothschild Ruth Schumacher Judy Schwartzman Dan & Kim Shaffer The Wagenfeld Family
S P O N S O R S
Legacies, Tributes, & Memorials FEDERATION
HOLOCAUST PROGRAMMING FUND IN MEMORY OF › Sam Heider Cherie Rosenstein Esther and DeNeal Feldman Ted Wendeln Susan and Dr. David Joffe Stephen Fout and The Miami Valley School Audrey Toohey Beverly Farnbacher Nancy and Jeff Gordon Judith and Fred Weber Henry Guggenheimer DOROTHY B. MOYER YOUNG LEADERSHIP FUND IN MEMORY OF › In Yahrzeit memory of Elmer L. Moyer › In Yahrzeit memory of Sheila D. Moyer Marcia and Richard Moyer ROBERT AND MOLLIE FITTERMAN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND IN HONOR OF › Special birthday of Peter Wells Susan and Alan Witte IN MEMORY OF › Robert and Mollie Fitterman Susan and Alan Witte THE RESILIENCE SCHOLARSHIP FUND IN MEMORY OF › Dan Weckstein Mary Bellinger Lauren Hemm Melissa and Harold Guadalupe CAROL J. PAVLOFSKY LEADERSHIP FUND IN MEMORY OF › Bobbie Kantor Cissy Ellison JCC
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P A R T N E R S
Jewish Family Services
JOAN AND PETER WELLS AND REBECCA LINVILLE FAMILY, CHILDREN AND YOUTH FUND IN HONOR OF › Cathy Gardner’s graduation Joan and Peter Wells
CAROLE RABINOWITZ YOUTH JEWISH EXPERIENCE FUND IN HONOR OF › Wedding of Michael Arnovitz Bernie Rabinowitz IN MEMORY OF › Sam Heider › Bobbie Kantor › Judy Vigder Bernie Rabinowitz JFS
JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES IN HONOR OF › Special birthday of Sheryl Mattis Beverly and Jeffrey Kantor IN MEMORY OF › Bobbie Kantor Esther and DeNeal Feldman Victory Wholesale Grocers Judith and Fred Weber Joan and Steve Rosenthal › Sam Heider Gertrude and Bob Kahn ROBERT L. AND RITA Z. CLINE BIKUR HAVERIM ENDOWMENT FUND IN MEMORY OF › Bobbie Kantor Meredith A. Cline JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE ENDOWMENT FUND IN HONOR OF › Cathy Gardner’s graduation Lynn and David Goldenberg FOUNDATION
JEREMY BETTMAN B’NAI TZEDEK FUND IN MEMORY OF › Sharyn Fox, sister of Alan Gabel Jean and Todd Bettman ADDISON CARUSO B’NAI TZEDEK FUND IN HONOR OF › Gary Youra’s retirement Patty and Michael Caruso & Family
OF GREATER DAYTON
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
Upcoming events JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES
SAVE the DATE!
PJ Library & Hillel Academy Snow Day! Tuesday, February 4 5:30 - 7PM @ Hillel Academy of Dayton (305 Sugar Camp Circle, Dayton, 45409) Please enter through the lower level Hillel entrance
Monday, March 16 The Men's Seder: Four Glasses of Wine and Four Questions 6 - 8PM @ the Boonshoft CJCE
The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati comes to Dayton to lead Pre-K through 2nd graders (ages 4-8) on a journey through a magical forest to discover enchanting creatures and exciting new lands. Using puppetry and imagination, this interactive fun adventure will help us learn about diversity and kindness while developing social skills.
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RSVP at jewishdayton.org. Questions? Contact Kate Elder at email@example.com or (614) 795-7343.
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Vegetarian dinner provided. RSVPs requested by January 28th.
Engage in a non-traditional Seder with friends and community members as we explore questions of freedom and social justice. A kosher dinner and kosher beverages will be served. Tickets available online at jewishdayton.org.
A Women’s Freedom Seder PR E SIDE NTS
HEALING OUR BODIES, HEALING OUR SOULS
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S AV E t h e D AT E S U N D AY, M AY 1 7 5PM @ CARILLON HISTORICAL PARK'S NEW LEARNING CENTER (1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton 45409)
Thursday, March 26 6–9PM @ the Boonshoft CJCE This program is a collaboration with the women from Beth Abraham Synagogue, Beth Jacob Synagogue, Hadassah, Temple Beth Or, Temple Israel, and The Jewish Community Center of Greater Dayton.
“As my ancestors planted for me before I was born, so do I plant for those who will come after me.” ~ Ta’anit 23a If you have questions about the LIFE & LEGACY program, contact Janese R. Sweeny at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-401-1542.
THE JEWISH FOUNDATION of GREATER DAYTON
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
A BISEL KISEL Amazon Studios
Acting Jewish As we begin a new decade, I’m seeing many “best of arts and culture” lists pop up on my social media feed. Paradoxically, in the last 10 years we have witnessed a rise in antisemitism along with a renaissance of nuanced portrayals of Jews on television.
speak English, cupidity, stupidity and overall bad manners.” Merwin notes that today, “lines between Jews and nonJews (are) becoming increasingly blurred.” The entertainment industry no longer expects that Jews should look or act a particular way. But is that really true? Last year, the Forward published a list of “All the Celebrities you Really Thought Were Jewish-But Aren’t.” Included were Rachel Brosnahan of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and many of the characters on Transparent, including Kathryn Hahn, who played Rabbi Raquel. If, as Merwin insists, we can no longer tell who is Jewish just by looking or listening, then why are some gentile actors mistaken for Jews? The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, inspired in part by Joan Rivers’ rise to stardom, has been praised for avoiding stereotypes in its depiction of a seamlessly acculturated Jewish family in the 1950s. The eponymous Miriam Maisel, played by Brosnahan unlike many Jewish American Princesses who have come before, doesn’t whine or yell to get her way. She works hard for her success, stoically enduring marital disappointment and the indignities of show business.
Shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Broad City, Difficult People, Transparent, Big Mouth, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel offer viewers new perspectives on the nebulous “Jewish identity” in 21st-century America. That many of the leading roles are played by non-Jewish actors, however, makes me wonder what it meant to “act Jewish” in the 2010s, and what might it look like in the 2020s. In his article Jew-Face: NonJews Playing Jews on the American Stage, Prof. Ted Merwin writes of gentile comics playing to the most offensive Jewish stereotypes in 1920s American theatre: “Most were non-Jews who dressed in poor-fitting clothes, plug hats, long beards and exaggerated putty noses. They spoke with mock Yiddish accents and gestured wildly with their hands as they heaped scorn and ridicule upon the Eastern How Mrs. Maisel’s creators European Jewish immigrants aim to represent for their supposed dishonesty, penny pinching, inability to Jews on screen.........Page
Midge Maisel, played by Rachel Brosnahan, with her father Abe Weissman, played by Tony Shalhoub, in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Brosnahan plays Miriam as a charismatic fast talker, often an unstoppable stream of cringyover-sharing onstage and off (she nervously prattles on about her father’s penis after she unexpectedly glimpses him in the audience). Having watched Brosnahan in other roles, I see the wild kineticism of her gestures and the chattiness as new qualities, specifically cultivated to play Miriam. Of course, we could chalk this up to her being a comedian. Tony Shaloub’s performance as Miriam’s father, Abe Weissman, who plays an absent-minded math professor, barely capable of survival outside his ivory tower, struck me as a caricatured portrayal of a “Jewish intellectual.” But then again, maybe it’s a pastiche of a math professor. Transparent, dubbed the “most Jewish show in the history of television” by Slate and Esquire, tells the story of a
Maisel, it’s difficult to separate the writing from the acting, but what strikes me as “Jewish” about these roles is not the religious practices of the actors playing them but rather the naked emotional intensity. In each storyline, the character reaches a climax of vulnerability, their inner world turned inside out for everyone to see. This moment of crisis and potential healing is told through the body: Transparent relies on close-up of facial expressions more than any other narrative tool. As a Jew who thinks and writes a lot about being Jewish, I wonder: am I seeing what’s really there, or am I simply projecting my own assumptions born in part from earlier iterations of fictional Jewishness in books, film, and television? I struggle with internalized essentialization; self-conscious of seeming neurotic, domineering, shrill, cerebral. I don’t yet have a definitive answer, but I can say with confidence that these actors are not reproducing two-dimensional nebbishes, misers, yiddishe mamas, and Jewish American Princesses. On the contrary, “acting Jewish” on the small screen signifies delving deep into the gore and glory of the human experience. Whether played by Jews or gentiles, it is my hope that these complex characters will resonate with audiences, that art will be a subtle weapon against antisemitic dehumanization in the 2020s.
complicated Jewish family in which Morty Pferfferman (Jeffrey Tambor), divorced father of three in his 60s, begins a gender transition process into Maura. As we get to know the Pfeffermans, we come to understand the double meaning of the show’s title. It’s not only about a “trans parent,” but alludes to personal and intergenerational secrets coming to light, including events dating back to 1930s Germany. Many friends have remarked that the Pfeffermans are too self-absorbed. But I find their passionate quests for meaning deeply relatable. Ali, Sarah and Joshie (all played by non-Jewish actors) seek fulfillment in the sacred and the profane; in meaningful religious practice and in sexual experimentation. Transparent creator Jill Solloway’s thoughtful treatment of human sexuality would do both Sigmund Freud and Dr. Ruth Dr. Masha Kisel is a lecturer proud. in English at the University of As with The Marvelous Mrs. Dayton.
The Dayton Jewish Observer New & Renewing Voluntary Subscribers • Dec. 11 - Jan. 9 Renewing Guardian Angels Howard & Judy Abromowitz Renewing Angels Betty Crouse Stephen & Marla Harlan Todd & Gabriele Leventhal Beverly A. Louis Donald & Carole Marger Suzi & Jeff Mikutis Steven Rothstein Dr. & Mrs. Gerald Rubin The Waldman family Donald & Caryl Weckstein New Angels Frieda Blum Sam Dorf & Masha Kisel Linda & Steve Horenstein Alan & Marilyn Moscowitz Double Chai Elyse & Alan Berg Bernice Bomstein Gary & Deborah Froelich Alan D. Gabel Heath & Rachel Gilbert
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Current Angels Ken Baker, K.W. Baker & Assoc. Skip & Ann Becker Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Bettman Amy & Michael Bloom Ken & Lisa Blum Sylvia Blum Betty Bremen Buck Run Doors & Hardware Inc. Roger Chudde Dr. Scot Denmark Esther & DeNeal Feldman Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Feldman Marni Flagel Lynn Foster Felix & Erika Garfunkel Kim & Shelley Goldenberg Debby & Bob Goldenberg Judi & George Grampp Dr. Arthur & Mrs. Joan Greenfield Barb Gronefeld Susan & Jonas Gruenberg Harold & Melissa Guadalupe Ralph Heyman Steve & Rachel Jacobs Michael Jaffe David & Susan Joffe
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
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THE MARVELOUS MR. MAZEL Jane Novick, now president of the board of the Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyers Project, was named Barrister of the Month in January by the Dayton Bar Association. The Volunteer Lawyers Project provides opportunities for attorneys to
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The Barrister of the Month is Dr. Gary Fishbein became selected based on distinguished the first physician in Ohio to legal work and community use new technology offering a involvement. “When better view and easier I entered law school access to smaller in my 50s, my goal vessels in the legs was to provide legal for patients with help to individuals peripheral artery that could not afford disease. The Pantheris an attorney,” Jane small vessel procedure said. “In particular I for an atherectomy, a wanted to help famiminimally invasive lies of children with treatment for PAD, special needs. As a uses a catheterparent of an adult based device to Jane Novick child with special remove plaque from needs, I experienced the imblood vessels. Gary used the portance of understanding my technology at Miami Valley daughter's legal rights while Hospital in September on a she was in the school system. I patient with diabetes who was fortunate to have the abilhad previously had multiple ity and resources to understand procedures on leg arteries. her rights and to fight to ensure her rights were protected while Steve and Sandy Forsythe she was in school. As an attorplaced 24th out of 145 pairs in ney, I now try and do the same the American Contract Bridge for other children. I feel very League International Bridge proud to be able to help my Tournament held recently in community.” San Francisco. Jane also heads the Montgomery County Juvenile Send your announcements to Court’s Court Appointed Spescotthalasz1@gmail.com. cial Advocates Program. “As the director of the Court Appointed Special Advocates Program in the Montgomery County Juvenile Court, I supervise the training of volunteers that act as guardian ad litem (court-appointed) for abused and neglected children. My volunteers act as advocates for these children to ensure they are protected and that they receive the necessary help to find their forever home, if they are unable to reunite with their parent(s).” Shively-Caden Janice Shively and Curtis Caden announce their engagement to be married on March 14 (pi day). Janice retired from Myers & Frayne Co., LPA while Curtis retired from his plumbing business. They plan on residing north of Dayton in Union.
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
JEWISH FAMILY EDUCATION
A heritage of common sense Our Dual Heritage
As a kid, my peers and I could read a tape measure. It was just common sense. Yet a recent radio report confirmed by an online contractors’ blog, noted that construction managers are regularly faced with potential hires that have no idea
Candace R. Kwiatek how to read a tape measure. That’s not just a professional shortcoming. According to a recent survey, nearly two out of five American adults (and half of the college-age crowd) can’t make any common repairs without using the internet. Unclogging a drain, installing a drywall anchor, replacing a leaky faucet washer, even patching drywall necessitates turning to Google for help. The lack of common sense — practical skills, basic knowledge of how the world works, seeing the obvious, thinking clearly, and doing the right thing — seems to be pervasive. Hairdryers warn “Do not use in bathtub” and “Do not use while sleeping.” A microwave oven manual is labeled “Do not use for drying pets.” Styrofoam packaging warns “Do not eat.”
An iron is labeled, “Do not iron clothes on body.” Spectacular examples of a lack of common sense are recorded in the annals of the Darwin Awards, which “commemorate those who improve the gene pool by removing themselves from it in a spectacular manner.” Consider the young man who piloted a golf cart towed by a garden hose behind a vehicle on a California state highway. Or the two Louisiana drivers who decided to “shoot the gap” of an open drawbridge. Or the lawyer who decided to demonstrate the boardroom’s “unbreakable windows” by throwing himself against them. It’s common sense to pay your bills on time, not spend what you don’t have, and start saving when you begin working. To work hard and keep your promises. To first do what you have to do, and only then do what you want to do. And to follow the old-fashioned common sense of “graduate, find a job, get married, and have kids in that order,” newly coined as the “success sequence” because of its proven modern-day relevance across widely divergent socioeconomic groups. And yet, to echo the words of Mark Twain, “I’ve found that common sense ain’t so common.”
It’s therefore surprising that “Common sense…is one of the most revered qualities in America,” according to writer and professor Dr. Jim Taylor. “It evokes images of early and simpler times in which industrious men and women built our country into what it is today.” Certainly, in the 16th and 17th centuries, America’s settlers and adventurers relied on common sense — at that time understood as “the plain wisdom that everyone possesses,” to survive and flourish. When Thomas Paine wrote the revolutionary pamphlet Common Sense in the 1770s, linguistics scholar Gary Martin notes, “the term was widely used to mean ‘primary truth,’ that is, the unquestionable beliefs (or self-evident truths) gleaned through life experience.” A colonial bestseller and “the match that lighted the fuse of independence,” Common Sense was deliberately written in the vernacular, in a common sense, democratic style, writes former LA Times columnist and book critic David Ulin. He goes on to note “this cut both ways, galvanizing the public even as it frightened many of the gentry.” Inspired by Paine’s insights, the authors of the Declaration of Independence began their case for separation from England with, “We hold these truths to be self-evident...”
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Thomas Paine by John Wesley Jarvis, c. 1806-07
Their meaning was, “‘we believe this declaration to be common sense,’” Martin writes, highlighting the connection to Paine’s literary blockbuster. And the Declaration’s common-sense truths had their roots in the Hebrew Bible. Equality. Life. Liberty. Pursuit of Happiness. It’s impossible to miss the Declaration’s biblical connections. In Genesis 1, all humans are created equal in the Divine image. The Declaration goes on to say all humans are endowed “by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,”divinely given rights that cannot be taken away or denied by worldly rulers. They are repeatedly identified throughout the Bible. In Genesis 1 and again in Psalm 139:17, that life is divinely given. In Exodus 12:18, that liberty is divinely won. In Deuteronomy 28:19, that happiness is divinely commanded. Beyond the self-evident
Literature to share The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. “What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker. Always trust your feelings. Life is a battle between good people and evil people.” These provocative statements form the thesis of Coddling, an expansion of a 2015 Atlantic cover story about the widespread influence of “safetyism.” Lukianoff and Haidt explore its connection to skyrocketing problems in higher education, mental health, moral and intellectual development, and life success among today’s youths. Informed by their backgrounds in law, education, business, and psychology, the authors’ analysis offers common-sense advice that crosses political and cultural divides. Picture Girl by Marlene Targ Brill. The tale of young Luba and her Jewish family, who escape the Cossacks and travel across stormy seas to Ellis Island. There the family’s twins become ill, and they face deportation when the Ukrainian immigration quota is filled while the family’s twins recover. But Luba’s spunky demeanor and artistic hobby save the day. Loosely based on the life of artist Louise (Luba) Dunn, this chapter book for elementary readers is an engaging read and an excellent introduction to Jewish history between the world wars. Great for home and classroom settings.
common-sense truths rooted in the Bible, argued in Paine’s Common Sense, and proclaimed in the Declaration, Judaism also embraces an everyday application of common sense. Appearing in various forms in the Bible more than a hundred times, it’s known in both Hebrew and Yiddish as seichel, meaning good sense, reason, intelligence, smarts, cleverness, or even wisdom, according to Moment Magazine senior editor George Johnson. Rabbi Julian Sinclair adds, “Seichel is derived from the word meaning to be bright or see clearly.” Thus, when we use our seichel, our common sense, we bring a bit of the Divine light into our everyday world. One of the greatest Jewish leaders in America, the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, understood common sense stands side by side with the spiritual. As the story is told, the Rebbe received a letter from a Chasid concerned about a series of thefts from his Crown Heights home. “Perhaps I should have my mezuzos checked?” the man suggested. The Rebbe replied, “Perhaps you should check the security of your windows.” If common sense really is one of the most revered qualities in America, part of our essence as Jews and as Americans, perhaps we ought to start using it a bit more often.
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The minds behind Mrs. Maisel on how they aim to represent Jews on screen By Emily Burack, JTA The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel didn’t add to its large collection of awards at the Golden Globes this year. But the third season of the celebrated series, now streaming on Amazon Prime, is keeping audiences hooked as it expands the world of Midge Maisel. It also comes at a time of increasing awareness and discussion about how minorities — especially Jews, during this period of rising antisemitism across the U.S. — are portrayed on screen. As one of the most Jewish series currently on television, Mrs. Maisel is involved in a lot of these discussions. “I think what Mrs. Maisel does is to draw on the stereotypes while constantly undermining them (by) showing you the complexity of her character,” a professor told the Los Angeles Times recently. Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, the married couple behind the show — Sherman-Palladino the creator (who alone has won four Emmys for the series) and her husband, a co-producer and co-writer — spoke on the topic with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency recently. How do you go about making sure the Jewish community feels represented authentically on Maisel? Sherman-Palladino: I’ve always viewed comedy, especially at this time, as a Jewish creation — like the
rhythm, the cadence. As a kid, I had the 2,000-year-old man and Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner on a loop. That’s my rhythms and my father’s rhythms. And so, it didn’t even occur to me to make (Midge) anything other than a Jewish girl from the Upper West Side. It Dan Palladino and Amy Sherman-Palladino are the husband and wife team behind The didn’t even occur to me Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to make her anything Did you have a plan that she’s going to go on tour, other than that. (The Maisels and the Weissmans) are two Jewish success stories in New York at a time when and all that? Sherman-Palladino: We had the touchstones for the the world was wide open for them…We just leaned first three seasons. right into it. It’s such a fundamentally New York Jewish story, but in season three, her world really expands. Sherman-Palladino: We always have a foot in New York. We will never be a show that will be gone from New York. It’s a New York show, first and foremost. Wherever she goes and travels, her home is New York. It’s just something that now, hopefully, is ingrained in the show; you can’t separate (New York) from what the show is. When you started, when you pitched the show, did you know it was going to end up where it is now?
Dan Palladino: She’s following a certain path. While she’s had a setback or two of different sizes, she still is going forward — even when she goes backwards. She’s going to brush herself off and figure out a way to move forward again. So it’s a little bit two steps forward, a step back — Sherman-Palladino: Like any career in show business. Palladino: We try not to set things in stone too much because we have to be open to how the actors are working together and what the dynamics are. When
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
we first started, I don’t know if we really knew how much we were going to spend with Susie and Midge, just the two of them. But, from the very beginning, these two actresses (Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan) — with their very different backgrounds and acting styles — came together and just really gelled together. So, you pick up that we should write more scenes for them. Some of the discussion around the show now centers on the depiction of Jewish stereotypes. How do you deal with that issue in our hyperaware culture? Palladino: We knew that if we show a Jewish family at temple — if we show them and talk about Yom Kippur and all those kinds of things — there are going to be people who are going to nitpick at specifics that maybe we didn’t get exactly right. But we do it all lovingly. A lot of television shows will say “here’s a Jewish family” and you’ll never see them doing anything specifically Jewish. ShermanPalladino: They talk about Chanukah once in a while.
have an educated Jew, we have a woman who was happy to be a mother, we have another woman striking out as a standup comic, and, you know, Susie Myerson’s a Jew! We’ve got a broad range of Jews in there. Like I said, a lot of this is based on my family, or people that I know. I think that anytime you lean into anything, somebody is going to say, “Oh, you’re leaning into the Jewish stereotype.” Or if (we showed) a Chinese family, it’d be like, “Oh, you’re leaning into the Chinese stereotype.” I don’t think you can avoid that — except for doing what a lot of shows did for many years, which is like, “We’re Jewish, but we won’t talk about it, or you won’t see anything about it,” just one girl will have dark curly hair. Again, it’s a comedy. Jews own this cadence. They made it…Listen to Lenny Bruce, what he talks about. In between all this other stuff, he talks about his mother; he has a whole bit about his mother and he had a tattoo and she says, “you can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery.” And you could say, well, that’s all stereotypical Jews, but no, that’s Jews. Those are Jewish mothers. That’s how they are. You can’t please everybody. You just can’t. We try to please most of the people, if possible. (The Jews have) such an amazing story. It’s the story of people who have been ostracized and kicked out and chased from country to country to country and have lived through one of the most horrific, devastating tragedies of all time, and yet, they’re the ones with the jokes. They are the ones who come through with the humor. We should just own that because it’s survival. Comedy and humor and jokes are survival. And if anything, the Jews know how to survive.
‘Comedy and humor and jokes are survival. And if anything, the Jews know how to survive.’
Palladino: Yeah, every once in a while, there will be a mention of Chanukah or a Yiddish word spoken. And other than that, they’re Episcopalian! So we’re trying to lean heavily into Jewish practices. We just want to show it, celebrate it, and sometimes laugh about it. I’m not Jewish, but I married a Jewish woman and I’ve been working with — and have been friends with — Jews all my adult life. I have learned to love the laughter and the joy surrounding the traditions. We don’t hang on the internet a lot because it’s — Sherman-Palladino: No, we are not on any social media, because we will die. Palladino: But a lot of the feedback that we’ve gotten, has been “Thank you. Thank you for leaning into it and showing Jews being Jewish, as opposed to just name checking them as Jewish.” Sherman-Palladino: And there are many different kinds of Jews! To say, “oh, Jewish stereotypes,” well, what are you talking about? Because we
How do you decide what Jewish places and moments to include in the show? Sherman-Palladino: We don’t set out going, “OK, this year, we’re going to show a Bar Mitzvah.” But you know, they’ve got children, things come along with that, and you have to follow the traditions and family. It’s all based on life. The reason we (went) to the Catskills is because bringing back parts of vanishing New
York is part of our fun. It felt like a cultural moment in time that’s gone. That’s what we wanted to bring back. That’s why the garment district was so important to show because it was a thriving, bustling (part of Jewish life). And it was a way for someone like Moishe, who probably didn’t have a lot of education, (and) was just a tough, self-made guy, to build a whole company for himself. It was a place where that was possible. While Midge’s story is fictional, it’s set in a very real world. And of course, Lenny Bruce is a very real person — Palladino: He’s based on Lenny Bruce! Why did you decide to include Lenny as the reality anchor? Palladino: Talk to any comic today, and everyone will acknowledge that he’s the godfather of today’s comedy. He died for other people’s sins. Not that he didn’t sin but he was —
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Sherman-Palladino: Not that he didn’t have a little hand in it. Palladino: He was a guy trying to point the way to a new way to communicate with an audience. He wasn’t a guy just desperately trying to shock people. He was trying to start a conversation and trying to deal with topics that were, at the time very, very taboo. There’s some of them that are still a little taboo. But he certainly changed the way that a lot of the comedians that everybody loves today are able to speak. And, quite frankly, the language we use on the show may have been generated from Lenny Bruce trying to open doors. If he overstepped the bounds, then that’s what a maverick does: they overstep the bounds and then they often pay the price. He wasn’t intended to be a big part of the show. He was maybe just going to be in the pilot, if the character didn’t work. But Luke Kirby came in — he’s tall, he’s handsome, all you girls love him. We guys like him too, he’s a cool guy. I feel like his death is in the back of my mind as I watch, but I don’t know if that’s intentional or not. Sherman-Palladino: It always will be. I mean, the minute you put Lenny Bruce, you can’t (not think of his death). And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Especially not for her, who’s trying to navigate which way is right.
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
Wedding planning without Mom By David Levy InterfaithFamily.com Weddings are supposed to be days full of joy overflowing. Sure, we know that any big event involving multiple families (and multiple contractors) is going to carry with it a base level of stress, but we’ve been prepared (by pop culture, guidebooks, and the wisdom of friends who’ve been there) to deal with minor setbacks and roll with the punches. What David (L) and Keith none of that prepared me for, though, was the prospect to spend time with the friends of getting married without my who made up my communities. mother. The one person in my life she My mom and I were as never got to know is the man close as a mother and son can who will soon be my husband. get. While others may drift My mother died two years beapart during the awkward or fore we met each other; in some combative teenage years, we ways, meeting Keith was the spent most weekends together event that enabled me to end because she was (with my the extended period of grief I blessing) the youth director for felt and start looking ahead to a my synagogue. I was happy to future of possibilities. share my formative USY experiI’m sure my mother never ences with her, and I loved pictured that I would be planthat she knew so many of my ning an interfaith wedding, friends — who also called her despite the fact that every marmom. As I got older, although ried person of my generation we may have seen each other on both sides of my extended less consistently, she remained a family is married to someone constant presence in my life and of another (or no) religion. But relished any chance she had I’ve continued to grow and
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change since she’s been gone, which is what I know she would want for me. She would understand that even someone like me — who spent 15 years working in the Jewish community and earned advanced degrees from Hebrew College — can fall in love with someone for whom religion just isn’t a meaningful part of his life. Ultimately, I know that my mother would love Keith as much as she loved all of the other wonderful people who have married into our family. When Keith and I first started to talk about getting married, I knew that it was important to me to have a big enough reception to accommodate as much of my large, extended family as I could. This is a value I inherited from my mother, who embraced every opportunity to get the whole group together, especially for simchas, happy occasions. As we’ve begun to put together our plans, I find myself taking pride in our decisions that I think she would have appreciated. While I wouldn’t say we are trying to plan a ceremony and reception that would be to her particular tastes, I do feel we are honoring her spirit as we focus on making choices that emphasize joy and togetherness over extravagance. One of the most heated arguments I had with my mother around my Bar Mitzvah centered on my disappointment that she wouldn’t shell out for a balloon arch, insisting that flowers were decoration enough. On the one hand, here I am nearly 30 years later still thinking about the balloon arch that
me to watch them knowing I never was; on the other hand, can’t have a similar moment. she was right — the night was I started to think about how beautiful and the absence of balloons didn’t make a damn bit of I wanted to make space in our difference. That is the spirit I’m wedding ceremony to remember my mother. This feels so trying to channel. But planning is hard without huge to me, representing a void so utterly unfillable, it took her! And it’s not just emotionme months to be calm enough ally hard. She is the person when approaching the question I would most want opinions from when it comes to ordering to even begin considering opinvitations and choosing linens. tions. On the one hand, I worry And as Keith and I put together that any moment set aside to remember her will be so sharp, our interfaith ceremony, my so sad, so painful that it will mother is the person I most wish I could bounce ideas off of, mar my experience of the day in such a profound way, I may not and get her take on which Jewish rituals feel most meaningful recover. But the only thing that feels worse than facor what other ining that grief on my novations might feel day of happiness too “out there.” Alwould be to let it though I’m sure we pass by unmarked. would butt heads I’ve been to over certain choices, plenty of weddings I would give anywhere those who thing to have her were no longer livaggravating me ing were acknowlwith accusations edged by name, but that I’m behind it just doesn’t seem schedule on mailright to include my ing save-the-dates mother alongside or second-guessing David with his mom the names of aunts my decisions about and uncles and grandparents venue and catering. we miss, for although we feel All that is hard, but it pales those losses sincerely, none are in comparison to the grief that as acute. So I asked around, surfaces whenever I start to imagine the specifics of the day. including in InterfaithFamily’s Planning Your Jewish Interfaith I face a wall of pain thinking Wedding Facebook group, to see about marking this moment in how others had acknowledged my life without her. In some their missing parents. Some ways, planning a gay wedding shared stories of creating their makes it even harder, because chupah (wedding canopy) from there will be another mothera parent’s tallis (prayer shawl) son relationship staring me in or favorite tablecloth. the face. While I would never Others incorporated an inherwant to deny my husband the ited necktie or jewelry into their opportunity to have a motherwedding-day attire or made son dance, for example, I can’t new items from the fabric of a imagine how hard it will be for mother’s dress or veil. Some lit candles by framed photographs, and at least one person visited the cemetery the day after the wedding to leave flowers from the bridal bouquet. I hoped that in asking around, I’d stumble on an “aha!” answer for myself that felt right. And perhaps I will. But in these conversations, I’ve been reminded there is something distinctly Jewish about tempering even our happiest moments with an This two-story grand ballroom acknowledgement of loss. with historically inspired design Some say this is what the ceremonial breaking of the features is a truly unique space perfect glass at the end of the wedding for receptions of 250-300 guests, ceremony represents. I suspect that whatever we decide will be but can accommodate 700 or more! somehow tied into that ritual.
Weddings & Events
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David Levy lives in Brooklyn with his fiancé, Keith. Their wedding is scheduled for May 2020.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
Joys & struggles of interfaith weddings By Samantha Cooper Washington Jewish Week These days, when a Jew gets married, it’s likely to be to a non-Jewish partner. The famous Pew study of 2013 found that in the years since 2000, the majority of non-Orthodox Jews — 72 percent — married someone who follows another religious tradition — or none at all. When a Jew marries a Christian — or a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Zoroastrian — there’s no guide to follow. And many of the necessary rituals may be unfamiliar to the other partner. Such weddings aren’t about trying to do the traditions “right,” says Rabbi Deborah Reichmann, of Potomac, Md., who officiates interfaith weddings. “Weddings are all metaphor anyway,” Reichmann says. “The couple is basically professing their love and fidelity, and there are different ways of doing that.” “For a lot of people who are really in love, their love upends religion,” says Rabbi Annie Bornstein, another Washingtonarea interfaith officiant. “For others, religion is not a major issue in their love.” Trevor Smith, 28, and his fiancée, Shir Kaplan, 25, are planning a wedding for May 2020. Smith is Christian, Kaplan is Jewish. They’re just beginning to plan. “The interesting part about being an interfaith couple is what our faiths mean to us,” Smith says. “Both of our faiths are very important to us. We’ve had a very open conversation about what important traditions we want. We see our wedding as an opportunity to experience this other faith (and) do it right.” (Kaplan was studying for the MCATs at the time of the interview and unavailable to talk.) They’re firm on a few things, Smith says. They want two officiants, a Jew and a Christian. They want a ketubah (a Jewish marriage agreement), a chupah (Jewish marriage canopy), and a glass to break at the end of the ceremony. They also want to perform the Christian custom of washing each other’s feet. According Smith, Kaplan’s family is from Israel and their diet is “kosher style.” He says he’s learned a lot from his relationship with the Kaplans.
Michael Tuteur and Maryam Nezamzadeh sit at the sofreh at their wedding
“The Jewish identity is much more complex than I originally thought,” he says. “It’s not just a faith matter. It’s a cultural matter, an ancestry matter, and very ingrained in multiple aspects of her life. But in terms of wedding planning, it’s been eye opening.” It becomes more complicated if a Jew is engaged to someone who isn’t Christian. They
might struggle to find officiants or turn up a search of other couples who have led the way. “We couldn’t find anything like our wedding,” says Jonathan Tahan, a Jew, whose wife, Ashwinnie, is Hindu. “We had no starting point.” Tahan says while they had no trouble finding a Hindu priest willing to co-officiate Continued on Page 24
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Continued from Page 23 ing. It requires constant thought. And the wedding (the priest was a relative that will be true for the rest of our lives.” of Ashwinnie), they did have trouble Bringing their traditions together finding a Jewish officiant. Then they was about honoring their respective struggled to figure out how to combine heritages as well as their families. And the traditions in a way that was satisfac- this wasn’t a simple task, Tuteur says. tory to both officiants and families. They struggled to find officiants who “After that, we got a plan of how wouldn’t put strict conditions on their we were going to mix our traditions,” wedding. Tahan says. “We wanted (the officiants) In the end, they worked with Bornto legitimize (what we wanted to do). It stein and a Muslim friend of a friend was a new endeavor for all four of us.” who was willing to perform the ceremoThey ended up switching back and ny. They had two weddings that day. forth between the Hindu ceremony First came a full Persian-Muslim cerand the Jewish one. It lasted about 90 emony, which included a sofreh, a table minutes. laid with multiple objects each with its “There’s a lot in a Hindu wedding, own meaning. we had to cut some out to make it Once the wedding was finished, the shorter,” Tahan says. “(The officiants) couple turned in the opposite direction, knew that this would be a little risky stepped under a chupah, and underand we got confirmation and acceptance went a full Jewish wedding. from them.” Tuteur says the importance to them The hardest part was breaking the was performing each ceremony in full glass. The couple in Hindu weddings and recognizing the importance of each goes shoeless. To protect Tahan’s bare foot, the glass was wrapped in extra layers of napkins. Tahan was still nervous about cutting his foot, though it worked out in the end. Another Jewish-Hindu couple, Alyson Kelly and Rahul Srivastava, found a different solution to breaking the glass. At that point in the ceremony, they left the platform and put on their shoes. After Srivastava broke the Jonathan and Ashwinnie Tahan’s Jewish-Hindu wedding glass, the bridesmaids acted out a Hindu tradition of stealing his ritual and object. shoes. “Ultimately, the last step was breakKelly said they benefitted from ing the glass, which to me is a reminder working with a Hindu priest who had that support is fragile,” Tuteur says. performed an interfaith wedding with “Extra weight can crush the glass’ state a rabbi. of support. Just like the glass, the mar“We had a script that we were basing riage is fragile. Extra weight will break a it on, and we went from there. (There marriage, too.” was) some kind of jumping in between,” And though they tried to honor their Kelly said, adding she was happy to Jewish and Muslim heritages at their have somebody who knew what he was wedding, the couple says they are more doing. interested in creating their own tradiTheir chupah doubled as a Hindu tions and holidays, rather than figurwedding canopy, or mandap; they ing out how to combine two different danced the hora and were lifted on traditions. chairs. But they decided not to have a “For us, there might be holidays, but ketubah because Kelly’s parents didn’t we (also) celebrate our own holidays by, have one at their wedding. for example, going back to a restaurant During the Hindu ceremony, Srivaswhere something important happened,” tava danced his way to Kelly. There was Tuteur says. a fire ceremony where offerings were Tuteur and Nezamzadeh particimade and where the couple danced pated in two complete weddings; other around the blaze. And Srivastava apcouples would have been considered plied red powder to Kelly’s hair to married at the end of either of them. symbolize her new status as a married When did Tuteur and Nezamzadeh woman. consider themselves married? Kelly says it was important to have “Love to us is short for ‘all-of’ the both religions represented at their wedsupport, Tuteur says. “So, we considding. ered ourselves married only after both Michael Tuteur and Maryam Nezacertificates (the ketubah and nikaah mzadeh wanted their Jewish-Muslim were signed) and both ceremonies were wedding to balance the two religions as complete. All of the steps had to be perfectly as possible. Tuteur, who is Jew- completed.” ish, says that Nezamzadeh had planned Religion was important to these the entire wedding so that nothing couples planning their ceremonies, but would be left out. second in consideration to their love. “We were deliberate. We had to be,” “There’s no stopping them anyway,” he says. “We didn’t want people to Bornstein said. “These couples are going think we were lopsided or imbalanced. to bring the best of what each has to I think that just starts with understandoffer.”
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
A Bergen-Belsen prenup and Jewish resilience
Beth Abraham, Dayton’s only Conservative synagogue, is enthusiastically egalitarian and is affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
By Henry Abramson, JTA It is jarring to see a Star of David placed between the Hebrew transliteration of the words Bergen-Belsen — the notorious Nazi concentration camp where 37,000 Jews, including Anne Frank, were murdered — and on a marriage contract, no less. But there it was, a small bureaucratic form, typed in rabbinic Hebrew, meant to A post-Holocaust marriage contract features a Jewish star between the words Bergen-Belsen, a notorious address the heartbreaking implications of marrying in concentration camp used as a DP camp after the war the aftermath of genocide. I was asked to present the story of When British troops liberated Bergen- resurgent Jewish life in the DP camps to Belsen in April 1945, they found 10,000 the Project Witness Educators’ Conferemaciated corpses scattered about the ence on Women in the Holocaust, a prison grounds, a horrific vision of remarkable annual gathering of teachapocalyptic proportion that has been ers in Jewish schools to share ideas and memorialized in photographs and news- network with other educators, many of reels from the period. Many of the some whom struggle to teach the Holocaust 60,000 inmates still alive were seriously in haredi Orthodox institutions that ban ill — about 13,000 died post-liberation, the use of internet-based resources. according to the U.S. Holocaust MemoThe YIVO Archives preserves an rial Museum. impressive collection of DP-related artiYet within months, the site became facts, and I spent several hours looking the epicenter of a furious revival of the for documents to assist the educators’ Jewish population, as survivors engaged classroom work: The microfilmed imin what historian Atina Grossman called ages generally were poorly typed work “biological revenge” — Jews affirming authorization letters, printed notices for life in the most elemental manner by public lectures, and handwritten letters marrying and bearing children. in Yiddish, Polish, and German. By 1948, according to Grossman, the But when I came across a terse predisplaced persons camps (of which Bernuptial agreement, my blood ran cold. gen-Belsen was the largest) witnessed a The DP camps in Germany and Italy birth rate of 36 children per 1,000 Jewish contained 300,000 Jews, most of whom women, approximately seven times the emerged from the death camps before rate for German women. The children the Nazis could complete their Final were called moshiachskinder, meaning Solution. children born as part of the messianic Many who married before the war redemption of the world. could not determine whether or not The Star of David found on a Bergentheir spouses were still among the livBelsen ketubah is an expression of that ing. Neither divorced nor widowed, the life-affirming impetus. Like the famous survivors remained “chained” to their Survivor’s Talmud, a full edition of the former husbands and wives, unable to Widow and Brothers Romm Talmud remarry under Jewish law until the fate published in 1948 in Heidelberg on the of their spouses could be ascertained. very same presses that once produced The situation for such women, known Nazi propaganda, Jewish Holocaust as agunot, was more dire than that for survivors refused to grant Hitler a postmen, as women are prohibited from humous victory: In a place of terrible remarrying if their husband has not death, they would create life. agreed to a divorce or if there is no proof USHMM, courtesy of Aaron Rosengarten that he has died. So the rabbis of the DP camps employed the full arsenal of Talmudic logic to declare missing husbands dead and allow their widows to remarry. The document I found, however, was not for women. It was something I had never seen before: a sobering prenuptial agreement for a prospective groom who wished to remarry after his wife disappeared in the maelstrom of the Holocaust. Addressed to the “Honorable Court of Justice Established to Address Agunot in the Central Office of the British Zone (in Germany),” the form has the groom agree to abide by the dictates Men and women walk through the central plaza of the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons of the rabbinic court (Bet Din) should camp pushing baby carriages Continued on Page 26
For a complete schedule of our events and times, go to bethabrahamdayton.org. Beth Abraham is Dayton’s only Conservative synagogue, affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Mazel Tov to our Adult B’nai Mitzvah Class We are an enthusiastically egalitarian synagogue.
We also have an energetic Keruv program that reaches out to intermarried couples and families in our synagogue and in the Dayton Jewish community.
For a complete schedule of our events, go to bethabrahamdayton.org.
Join us at 9 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 29 when Beth Adelman, Janine Thomas, Patty and Steve Wyke, Marlene Pinsky, and Bonnie Deutsch are called to the Torah as B’nai Mitzvah. Shown here with Rabbi Joshua Ginsberg, L, and Cantor Andrea Raizen, R s t
Family-Style Buffet Shabbat Dinner: 5 p.m. Kids’ Services: 5:45 p.m. • Craft & Dessert: 6:15 p.m. Join us for singing, services, dinner & fun! R.S.V.P. Save the date for Friday Nite Kids Shabbat, March 27
Sunday Brunch Speaker Series $7 • 10 a.m. • R.S.V.P. to 293-9520 Feb. 9: Joel Shapiro, From Carpenter to God: How did he manage it? Feb. 16: Martha Moody Jacobs & Alan & Judy Chesen, Headscarves & Hope: Educating a Village While Educating Ourselves Feb. 23: Jim Nathanson, Passion vs. Reason: The 2020 Nominating Battle Service Schedule: Mornings, Mon. & Thurs., 7 a.m.; Tues., Wed., Fri., 7:15 a.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m. Evenings, Mon.-Fri., 5:30 p.m. Sat. Morning Service, 9 a.m.; Youth Service, 10:30 a.m.; Kiddush lunch following.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
OBITUARIES Hyman F. “Hy” Blum, age 90 of Dayton, passed away Jan. 1 at Miami Valley Hospital. Mr. Blum was the president of Ohio Loan Company, which he founded 62 years ago. He was a member and past president of Beth Jacob Congregation, a member of Beth Abraham Synagogue, Temple Israel, St. Thomas Synagogue, and B’nai B’rith. He was also a member of Dayton Lodge F&AM and the Scottish Rite Valley of Dayton. Mr. Blum was preceded in death by his parents, Rubin and Bessie Blum and sisters, Sophie Brenner and Sarah Itzkowitz. He is survived by his beloved wife of 71 years, Sylvia; sons and daughters-in-law, Richard and Linda Blum, Kenneth and Lisa Blum; grandchildren, Stephanie Henning, Michael (Kristin) Blum, Philip (Rabbi Cantor Lily) Blum, Amy (Noam) Siegel and Emily Blum; great-grandchildren, Joel Henning, Gabriella and Charles Blum, Isla Siegel, Alex and Brandon Henning; many nieces and nephews and friends. Interment was at Beth Jacob Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Beth Jacob Congregation or the charity of your choice in Mr. Blum’s memory. Jeri Blair Cutler passed away Jan. 6 at Friendship Village in Trotwood. Interment was at Temple Israel’s Riverview Cemetery. Mrs. Cutler celebrated 85 years (1934-2020) and was preceded in death by her parents (Norma and Carl Lipton), her husband of 46 years (Marvin, 2004), and her brother Melvin (Lipton, 2018). She is survived by her sister Kay (Weprin) and her brother Stephen (Lipton). Mrs. Cutler was loved by many including five grandchildren from daughter Diane and son-in-law Mike Charme (Jason, Britney, Cameron, Zachary, and Roni), and two grandchildren from her son Mitch and daughter-in-law Orie Cutler (Hana and Mika).
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In addition, Mrs. Cutler will be missed by five nieces and nephews as well as many cousins and dear friends. Mrs. Cutler was an involved member of the Dayton Jewish community for over 50 years. She brought meaning and joy to her life; along the way, she was an inspiration to many in the way she met joy and challenges equally throughout her rich life. She touched many, and her lifelong quests for education, compassion, and understanding will endure. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America or charity of your choice.
She was born in Youngstown to Eugene and Molly Unger. Mrs. Leventhal graduated from Mather College at Case Western Reserve as a dietician. She was known for her great meals and superb baking. Mrs. Leventhal was a member of Temple Sholom in Springfield, Temple Israel in Dayton, and Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto. She was active in Planned Parenthood and was an advocate for women’s reproductive rights and family services. Mrs. Leventhal was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Harry Leventhal; a brother, Bertram Unger; sister, Dorothy Harlan; and her daughter, Dr. Eric Friedland, beloved Barbara Leventhal-Stern. She colleague, teacher and friend, died is survived by her daughter, Dr. Jan. 16 at age 79. Born in New Laurie Leventhal-Belfer and sonYork City, Dr. Friedland was raised in-law Dr. Howard Belfer; son, in Boston. He is proceeded in Robert Leventhal and daughterdeath by his beloved mother, Celia in-law Carolyn Reinach Wolf; Zoken Friedland. He was also a son-in-law Michael Stern; sister, beloved member of the “Zoken Janet Udell; grandchildren, Jessie Clan” and remained close to all of and Isaac Belfer, Daniel, Micah his many cousins, although time and Eli Leventhal. Interment was and distance made things more at Ferncliff Cemetery, Springfield. challenging. He was the instigator Memorial contributions may be and motivator behind his family’s made to Planned Parenthood or Thanksgivukkah reunion in The Leukemia And Lymphoma December 2013. Interment was at Society. Beth Jacob Cemetery. Shirley R. Mazer, age 95 Maxine Margolis Leventhal, 97 of Boca Raton, formerly of passed away Jan. 4. The daughter Dayton, passed away Dec. 31 at of Abe and Anna Margolis, Mrs. Trustbridge Hospice. Mrs. Mazer Leventhal was born and raised was a longtime member of Beth in Dayton. She had one brother, Jacob Congregation, president Sterling. Mrs. Leventhal met her of the Beth Jacob Sisterhood, husband, Fred, at an outing in and a significant philanthropic Springfield where she experienced supporter of causes in Dayton, the love at first sight. The forever United States, and Israel. She was elegant Mrs. Leventhal and her preceded in death by her beloved streetwise Cleveland boy were a husband, Marshall, and parents, perfect match. Their marriage in Sol and Lillie Shapiro. Mrs. Mazer 1947 lasted 69 wonderful years. is survived by her daughter and They had two children, Fern, who son-in-law, Andrea and William presently lives in New York City, Franklin of Wyomissing, Pa., and Todd, who lives in Yellow Bonnie Mashiach of Boca Raton, Springs. A memorial service and Marcie Mazer of Dayton; son for Mrs. Leventhal at Temple and daughter-in-law, Dr. David Sholom in Springfield, Feb. 21, is and Cherie Mazer of Orlando; tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. 12 grandchildren; 28 greatgrandchildren; and many relatives Shirley Unger Leventhal, age and friends. Interment was at 94 formerly of Springfield and Beth Jacob Cemetery. Memorial Dayton, passed away Dec. 30 contributions may be made to a in Palo Alto, Calif. where she charity of your choice in Mrs. had lived for the last five years. Mazer’s memory.
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Continued from Page 10 er, and adviser to me. Being in Eric’s presence was a spiritual and learning experience.” Friedland continued to live in the Dayton area after his retirement and taught Jewish adult education courses for a few years with the Jewish Federation. “He wasn’t interested in just any one Jewish denomination: it was all of the liturgy,” said Dr. Michael Meyer, professor emeritus of Jewish history at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, at the gathering following Friedland’s funeral. “He was someone who was interested in the totality of the Jewish people.” Born with a hearing impairment, Friedland learned to speak as a youth and communicated through a combination of lip reading and hearing aid amplified sound. “We have lost an extraordinary colleague, a precious friend, and an incredible mensch,” wrote Dr. Nick Piediscalzi, a Wright State professor emeritus of religion, in an email to other retired Wright State faculty. “When we invited Eric to join our faculty in 1968, our acting dean criticized us for hiring a deaf person who would not be able to communicate with students and colleagues. Little did any of us realize that we had added a giant to our ranks. His courage, creativity, healing sense of humor, infec-
Continued from Page 25 his first wife somehow emerge from the Holocaust’s ashes. The text reads in part: “I, the undersigned, accept upon myself without any duplicity and with good will, without being coerced in any way, that if my first wife returns home …” A blank space is reserved for the groom to enter the name of the missing woman. “I, and the woman that I will marry, will abide by the ruling of the Bet Din, whether it requires divorce and the division of assets, or any other matter,” the document says. This post-Holocaust prenuptial agreement, which involved obligation to the presumed dead as well as the living, required the groom “to inform my (subsequent) wife of this obligation prior to the chupah.” Finally, the groom affirms that “if I fail to obey the dictates of the Bet Din, behold I accept
tious smile, brilliance, and compassionate spirit raised us all to new heights and took us to new depths. Eric taught us not to curse the darkness but, rather, to light candles. His presence will be greatly missed.” “When I look at Eric, I’ve seen how strong a human being can be. How somebody can transcend the physical disability and when they are sitting with you, you are sitting with a giant — a spiritual giant,” said longtime friend, physician Wayel Azmeh. He and his wife, Ramzieh — also a physician — studied Islamic and Jewish sacred texts with Friedland for years. The Azmehs are Muslims from Syria. “We felt he was part of our family,” Ramzieh Azmeh said. “He came every Ramadan to our mosque. Everybody in the Muslim community knew about him. We never felt difficulty sitting together (in study). We were each one of us secure in our own religion. We always compared notes because it complemented the picture of what God wants us to do.” In 2016, UD and HUC-JIR established the Selwyn Ruslander/Eric Friedland Fellowship to honor Friedland and the late Temple Israel rabbi — who conceived Friedland’s professorship — for their legacy of bridge-building in Dayton Jewish-Christian relations. The fellowship funds an HUC-JIR doctoral or post-doctoral student to teach Judaics courses at UD each semester. that the Bet Din may nullify my (subsequent) marriage, as the court sees fit.” One can only imagine the tearful conversations between groom and bride, poised on the cusp of their blissful future together, as they reviewed the implications of this painful document. Hope inescapably mixed with tragedy, rebirth entwined with death. The emotional heroism of these survivors must have been overwhelming. This artifact is not a personalized, handwritten document that reflects the misfortune of a single family. It is a form letter, composed and reproduced for repeated use. It is the blank spaces, left unmarked, that provide silent witness to the thousands upon thousands of unspoken tragedies extending well beyond the war’s end. Henry Abramson is a dean of Touro College in Brooklyn.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • FEBRUARY 2020
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