The Dayton Jewish Observer, March 2021

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Congregations plan After for another Covid Pesach p. 3 p. 22 David Moss designs Grace Meals in comic book form

THE DAYTON Published by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton

March 2021 Adar/Nisan 5781 Vol. 25, No. 7



25 Years

The Miami Valley’s Jewish Monthly • Alona Stanova

Asian American Jews explore their identity




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As part of its virtual Community Conversations series, Dayton’s Jewish Community Relations Council will host University of Dayton Human Rights Fellow Paul Morrow, who will present Meaningful Dialogue: Having Conversations on Critical Issues, 7-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 3. Morrow received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Paul Morrow Vanderbilt University in 2014. The author of Unconscionable Crimes: How Norms Explain and Constrain Mass Atrocities, he has previously held fellowships at the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. JCRC Director Marcy Paul describes this session on dialogue principles and practices as ideal for those interested in taking part in a dialogue with the JCRC or for those who want to learn how dialogue “can be used to strengthen communities.” The program is presented in partnership with the University of Dayton Human Rights Center. To register, go to

At Passover, Remember the Past, Share Joy in the Present.

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herent dissatisfaction with our In an email Feb. 16, Beth existing relationship,” the email Abraham Synagogue Presicontinued. “We were just undent Michael Freed and Rabbi able to settle on a contract term Joshua Ginsberg informed the that aligned with congregation that the Rabbi Ginsberg’s rabbi’s employment desire for long-term with the synagogue stability for himself will conclude with and his family with the end of his conBeth Abraham’s tract, June 30. need to be prudent “It is with great and deliberate as we regret that we write look to the future today to inform the given the uncertainty congregation that created by the Covid we have been unable pandemic.” to reach an agreeRabbi Joshua Ginsberg Ginsberg arrived ment on the term in Dayton in 2013 to serve as of a contract renewal,” their Beth Abraham’s rabbi. The email noted. They added that synagogue is the only Conserthe rabbi’s departure was by vative Jewish congregation in mutual agreement. the Dayton area. “Please know that this deci— Marshall Weiss sion is not the result of any in-

Virtual Women’s Seder March 4 Lilly Rivlin With the theme Celebrating our Beginnings, Dayton’s Seventh Women’s Seder will be held virtually, 6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, March 4. Participants will watch the 2013 documentary, Esther Broner: A Weave of Women — about the evoluEsther Broner: A Weave of Women tion of Jewish feminism from the first Women’s Haggadah — which inspired Dayton’s first Women’s Seder, in 2015. Along with the film will be readings and a song featuring Courtney Cummings, Cantor Jenna Greenberg, and Cantor Andrea Raizen. The Women’s Seder is a collaboration of women from Beth Abraham Synagogue, Beth Jacob Synagogue, Dayton Hadassah, Temple Beth Or, Temple Israel, and the JCC. Register at Those joining the virtual event are encouraged to donate to the Dayton Foodbank at in honor of the Women’s Seder.

Hadassah to mention unmentionables

Passover is observed from March 27 at sundown through April 4.

Vandalia 674 W. National Rd. 937-890-6842

Beth Abraham’s rabbi to depart end of June

2517 Patterson Rd. 937-253-6464

Kim Kenney, executive director of the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton, will present the virtual talk Mentioning the Unmentionables for Dayton Hadassah at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 9. The author of eight books, Kenney will talk about the history of undergarments, from corsets to bustles to Spanx. Register by March 7 to hadassahmidwest. Kim Kenney org/DaytonUnmentionables. A donation of $18 to Hadassah is requested but not required. In conjunction with Kenney’s talk, Dayton Hadassah is collecting new bras and underwear in all sizes to be donated to the Dayton YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter. For drop-off information, email or call 937-275-0227.

Calendar.............................19 Family Education........................27

Fo o d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Obituaries.......................31

Happy Passover Bubbles N Bows Pet Grooming

O p i n i o n . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 4 Religion..........................20



Congregations plan for another Covid Passover Passover begins at sunset, Saturday, March 27 — one year and two weeks after Covid cases began to take hold in the United States. At the time, area Jewish congregations scrambled to provide virtual Passover programming, Seders, and to-go Seder meals. This year’s offerings come with the hope for Covid-free holiday celebrations speedily and in our days. Chabad will again offer its Seder in a Box Here, we list local congre- and to-go meals for Passover Seders gations’ Passover programming over the next several weeks. — Marshall Weiss Agar, 7-9 p.m. March 4: How Passover Has Been Celebrated Beth Abraham Synagogue Throughout Jewish History. March 11: Laws of Matzah and 937-293-9520 Chametz, including a live How Zing Up Your Zoom PassTo Make Matzah demonstraover Zeder: Learn about tion. March 18: Passover Prep resources you can use on screen Made Easy, including live demo to add fun to your Seder and of cleaning and kashering. engage your guests. WednesMarch 25: Insights and Ideas to day, March 10 at noon with Share at the Seder Table. Cantor Andrea Raizen. Sunday virtual classes with Rabbi Agar, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Beth Jacob Synagogue March 7: Laws of Matzah and Chametz. March 14: Passover 937-274-2149 Prep Made Easy. Thursday virtual classes with Rabbi Leibel

Bark Mitzvah Boy

Sunday, March 21.

Temple Anshe Emeth Piqua’s temple will host a Second Night Seder, Virtual Passover Seder 2.0, via Zoom on Sunday evening, March 28, led by rabbinic student Tzvia Rubens. Participants are asked to “BYOS,” bring your own Seder plate. Email Anshe Emeth for details and the Zoom link.

by Bernstein’s Fine Catering are available for purchase, including vegetarian meals. Meals will be available for drive-through pick-up at Temple Beth Or, March 28, noon-2 p.m. The price is $25 per meal. Go to Temple Beth Or’s website or call the office to reserve dinners.

Temple Israel 937-496-0050 Virtual Second Seder led by Last year, Adam Baumgarten Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz at and his team at Bernstein’s Fine 6 p.m., Sunday, March 28. The Temple Beth Or Catering prepared more than temple encourages those who 1,000 meals for Passover have room at their virtual Seder 937-435-3400 Streaming Second Seder, Sun- tables the let the office know. Chabad of Greater Dayton Temple Israel will match them day, March 28, 6:30 p.m. with someone looking for a cast Seder available to all. 937-643-0770, ext. 1 virtual seat. Seder meal boxes prepared Chabad will offer a First Seder with limited seating, each household at its own table, Saturday evening, March 27. The cost is $36 per person. Reservations will be accepted by phone only. Seder To Go kits and full Premier Retirement Living Seder meals to go will also be available for purchase. Seder To Go Kits are $15 each and include all Seder plate items, a Haggadah, and guide. Seder meals to go are $35 each. Additional items for purchase are three handmade shmurah matzahs for $7, and a bottle of kosher-for-Passover wine, $10-15. Ordering for to-go-items is available at chabaddayton. com/sedertogo or by phone. Reservations for in-person Seder and Seder To Go kits and to go meals must be received by

From the editor’s desk c O Menachem

How you can tell your dog knows it’s Passover . . . #56: You offer him matzah, he plays dead.


Bernstein’s Fine Catering


What’s even better than four cups of wine at Passover? Two shots! We have so many options to choose from if we focus on the horrible toll the Covid pandemic has taken as we arrive Marshall at the one-year point. And we have Weiss good reason to look back with despair. But we must acknowledge and ultimately celebrate the miracle of two vaccines developed within nine months of the beginning of the pandemic, each of which demonstrates 94-percentplus efficacy after the second dose. There are miracles in these days and at our times. I suspect that at least for a while, once we can gather for the holidays, we’ll have an attitude of gratitude that will diminish the regular stressors of cooking and cleaning and hosting big gatherings. The challenge over time will be to hold on to the precious perspective we’ve gained. Please have a safe, happy, meaningful Passover.


All of us at the Lincoln Park Communities wish you well as you commemorate this season of freedom.

We Wish You and Your Families A Happy, Healthy Passover. For Information About Retirement Living

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Story of DP camp children’s reunions covered on Today


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in Montgomery County by the Ohio Department Independent Living • Assisted Living • Rehabilitation of Aging for Family Satisfaction

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Dayton’s Ira Segalewitz was featured on a Jan. 27 Today segment

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As part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jan. 27, Today’s Al Roker presented a segment with Holocaust survivors Ira Segalewitz, Ruth Brandspiegel, and Israel Eisenberg — who lived in the same DP camp in Hallein, Austria after World War II. Observer readers first read about their remarkable reunion in the December issue. Segalewitz is a resident of Dayton. Brandspiegel lives in Phila-

delphia, and Eisenberg in New Jersey. The celebration of their reunion continues at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 16 with a Zoom conversation featuring Segalewitz and Brandspiegel presented by Dayton’s Jewish Community Relations Council in partnership with Dayton’s JCC, Temple Beth Or Adult Education Committee, and Philadelphia’s JCRC. Register at

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The Dayton Jewish Observer, Vol. 25, No. 7. The Dayton Jewish Observer is published monthly by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton, a nonprofit corporation, 525 Versailles Dr., Dayton, OH 45459.

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.

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Published by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton Dr. Heath Gilbert President Bruce Feldman Immediate Past Pres. Mary Rita Weissman Pres. Elect/VP, Personnel/Foundation Chair Beverly Louis Secretary Neil Friedman Treasurer Dan Sweeny VP, Resource Development Cathy Gardner CEO

Holocaust survivor Aliza Bunchel of Holon, Israel, interviewed by Racheli Har Dagan

Representatives of Dayton, Montgomery County, and the Dayton Region-Israel Trade Alliance joined Holon, Israel’s virtual ceremony for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jan 27. Dayton and Holon are Sister Cities. Also joining the program were representatives of Holon’s other Sister Cities: Hann Münden, Germany; Mitte, Berlin, Germany; Suresnes, France; Dongguan, China; and An-

dong, South Korea. A choir of Holocaust survivors with Bet Lyhiot in Holon sang, and Auschwitz survivor Aliza Bunchel shared her testimony. “Never again, despite the growing hatred and extremism around the world,” Holon Mayor Moti Sasson told participants. “Never again, despite the antisemitism that tries to raise its head again and again. Never again!”

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Ohio treasurer buys $10 million in Israel Bonds By Jane Kaufman Columbus Jewish News Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague has purchased $10 million in five-year, fixed-rate Israel Bonds. “We’re proud to kick off the new year with this purchase,” Sprague said in a Feb. 1 news release. “With Israel Bonds’ continuously competitive interest rates and reliable payments, they remain a strong investment for Ohio’s taxpayers. We’re proud to continue Ohio’s long history of purchasing Israel bonds.” The bonds will mature in 2026 and yield 1.2 percent and 1.35 percent. Since 1993, every Ohio treasurer has invested in Israel Bonds, joining more than 95 other state and municipal public employee pension and treasury funds. After the purchase, the Ohio Treasury will hold a total of $215 million in Israel bonds, according to the release. This is Sprague’s first purchase in 2021, according to Thomas Lockshin, executive director of Israel Bonds of Ohio and Kentucky. On Feb. 1, two other public entities in Ohio also purchased Israel bonds. Franklin County Treasurer Cheryl Brooks Sullivan purchased $3.5 million in Israel Bonds, and the fiscal office of Summit County purchased $1.5 million in Israel Bonds. Jay Schottenstein, general chairman, Israel Bonds Central Ohio Advisory Council, expressed his gratitude for the investments in Israel. “We are grateful to Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague for his continued trust and support of Israel through the Israel Bonds organization,” Schottenstein said in an email. “This is the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel Bonds, and Israel has never missed a payment on Israel Bonds. This is an indicator of Israel’s vibrant economy and proven track record.” Development Corporation for Israel, commonly known as Israel Bonds, is a broker-dealer that underwrites securities issued by the state of Israel in the U.S. Since Israel Bonds was established in 1951, Israel has maintained a perfect record of interest and principal payments.

We Wish The Dayton Jewish Community A Very Happy Passover.



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‘It’s our responsibility to protect and preserve the cemetery.’ — Terry & Marlene Pinsky with Ida Mendelson (L), Ida & Don Pinsky (R)


ore than 125 years ago, Terry Pinsky’s greatgrandfather signed the original charter establishing the K.K. House of Abraham. Almost 55 years ago, Terry married Marlene at Beth Abraham’s Salem Avenue building. For decades, the Pinskys’ commitment to the congregation has been deep and everlasting. As Beth Abraham board members, they heard the presentation about the need to create and fund Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Dayton. For both of them, they knew it would be important to help maintain the cemetery for future generations. “Our forefathers established the synagogue, the cemetery, and saw the need for a Jewish community in Dayton,” said Terry. “Our family history is now in this cemetery. We’re native Daytonians. It’s where we’ve chosen to be buried.” Thinking of the generations of relatives from both their families who found their eternal home at Beth Abraham’s cemetery, Marlene added, “we joke that we need to pack a picnic lunch when we are visiting everyone.” With a family plot near the road, Terry chuckled, “every time we drive by, we wave and say hi.” Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Dayton is an endowment organization created to maintain our three Jewish cemeteries in perpetuity. Please join us as we strive to maintain the sanctity, care and integrity of these sacred burial grounds.

Preserving our Past Ensuring Our Future 525 Versailles Drive • Centerville, OH 45459 PAGE 6



Israel policy set to play a role in Ohio special congressional race

Fauci wins Israeli prize for ‘courageously defending science’ during pandemic

By Ron Kampeas, JTA The Democratic Majority for Israel political action committee has made an endorsement in a special congressional election in Ohio, a sign of how Israel tensions within the Democratic Party have not abated since the party’s sweeping wins in November. The PAC affiliated with the pro-Israel group announced Feb. 16 that it is endorsing Shontel Brown, a Cuyahoga County councilwoman who has the backing of the party’s establishment and who has cultivated the mainstream pro-Israel community. The field ahead of the May primary for the special election is crowded, but the candidates attracting the most attention are Brown, who chairs the county’s Democratic Party, and Nina Turner, a former state senator who was prominent in the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the flagbearer for the party’s progressive left. Battles between Israel-critical progressives and mainstream proIsrael Democrats played out ahead of Shontel Brown last November’s election in the presidential primaries, congressional primaries — in New York, Missouri and Minnesota, among other states — and in negotiating the Israel-related language of the party platform. Progressives scored wins in several congressional primaries, but mainstream pro-Israel groups were heartened by Joe Biden’s nomination and election, citing his long friendship with the pro-Israel community. Biden personally intervened to keep Israel-critical language out of the party platform. In addition to Biden’s election to the presidency, Democrats flipped the Senate and maintained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, granting the party all levers of government for the first time since 2010. The Ohio race, to replace Marcia Fudge, whom Biden has tapped to be Housing Secretary, is the first 2021 stage for the Israel-related battle. The 11th District, straddling Cleveland and Akron, has a substantial Jewish population which, together with Turner’s association with outspoken critics of Israel, has made the race a magnet for pro-Israel interest. Jewish Insider has reported that another pro-Israel PAC, Pro-Israel America, is also planning to endorse Brown. Mark Mellman, DMFI PAC president, said Brown, who has visited Israel, has the qualifications to merit the PAC’s endorsement, but acknowledged that Turner’s candidacy was also a factor in the endorsement. “There’s no question that (Brown) is going to be a strong advocate for the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Mellman said, noting her stated opposition to the boycott Israel movement and her unequivocal support for defense assistance to Israel. Turner, he noted “is in favor of placing additional conditions on aid” to Israel. “Unlike 95 percent of House Democrats, she refused to condemn BDS,” the boycott, sanctions and divestment movement targeting Israel. Turner has said she will not reveal her position on BDS except to say she opposes legislative efforts targeting the movement. The general election is in August and whoever wins the Democratic primary is heavily favored to win.

By Gabe Friedman, JTA Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease specialist, was awarded a $1 million prize from an Israeli foundation for “courageously defending science in the face of uninformed opposition during the challenging Covid crisis.” The Dan David Prize’s award announcement statement on Feb. 15 did not mention former President Donald Trump, who sought to downplay the effects of the coronavirus during his time in office, but it credited Fauci for “speaking truth to power in a highly charged political environment.” The prize is awarded by the Dr. Anthony Fauci Dan David Foundation, which was founded by the late Romanian-Israeli philanthropist of the same name. The award, split into three categories — past, present and future — honors scientists, researchers and cultural figures for achievement in their fields. Past winners range from former Vice President Al Gore to cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The foundation also noted Fauci’s work during the AIDS crisis, commending, “his exceptional contribution to HIV research” in the 1980s and his time as the “architect of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.”

After spat over support of Trump, Young Israel council replaces entire board By Ben Sales, JTA The National Council of Young Israel has replaced its entire executive board, a stark move away from its vocally pro-Donald Trump leadership, whose statements had led to controversy in the Orthodox synagogue association. The council represents more than 100 Orthodox synagogues across the country. It is more than a Ben Sales century old, and in recent years its national officers had sparked backlash from some member synagogues over their embrace of right-wing politics in the United States and Israel. In 2019, 23 member synagogues objected when the movement was the first JewishAmerican organization to Each table at Young Israel's 2019 gala was defend Israeli Prime Minister decorated with MAGA- Benjamin Netanyahu working style hats reading ‘Build with a far-right political party. Israel Great Again.’ One of those synagogues, in Atlanta, ended up leaving the movement. Later that year, the national Young Israel gala had the feel of a Jewish Trump rally, with a lineup of Republican officials speaking and red MAGA-style hats on the tables. Member synagogues elected the new board as a slate in February. The new council president, Rabbi David Warshaw, is a synagogue executive in New York. He said the group will place less of an emphasis on political advocacy. “We will continue to speak out on Israel,” Warshaw told Jewish Insider, “but the purpose of NCYI is not to be an advocacy organization.”



Israeli Health Ministry: Pfizer vaccine close to 99 percent effective

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The Pfizer-BioNTech As the number of vacCovid-19 vaccine is close cinations administered to 99 percent effective in in the country surpassed preventing death, hospi4,250,653 Feb. 19 (with the talization and severe cases number of those receivof the disease, according to ing both vaccines hitting data released Feb. 20 by the 2,881,825), Netanyahu Israeli Health Ministry. called on everyone who The study compared had not yet received the those for whom 14 days vaccine to do so, not only had passed since receiving to receive a Green Pass the second dose of vaccine Israeli Health Ministry Yuli Edelstein (L) and but as a “responsibility” to to those who had not been Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Petah others. Tikva gym Feb. 20, ahead of the opening of vaccinated. The findings “We are currently gyms and other venues for Green Pass holders administering vaccines at show that the vaccine is 98.9 percent effective in a pace of around 30,000 a tion would need to be vaccinatpreventing death, 99.2 percent day for people over 50, where ed, including, “in time,” those effective at preventing serious under 16 before the country can most of the morbidity and morcases of the illness, 98.9 percent “return to the routine of life we tality are,” the prime minister effective in preventing hospisaid. “In the coming two weeks, all long for.” talizations due to the illness, 98 we intend to vaccinate over Israeli Prime Minister Benpercent effective in preventing 95 percent of those in this age jamin Netanyahu and Health fever and/or respiratory symp- Minister Yuli Edelstein echoed group. I ask you, go be vaccinattoms in those who do get the ed. Accept the Green Pass and Levi’s statement during a visit illness and 95.8 percent effective to a gym in Petah Tikva Feb. 20 start getting back to life.” in preventing the illness. Netanyahu also explained ahead of the opening the next “The vaccine significantly re- day of gyms, malls, outdoor why gyms were opening ahead duces morbidity and mortality, of classrooms in some areas. shopping centers and markets, and this effect can be seen in the street stores, museums and “We are opening education, morbidity data in the country,” but it is important to underlibraries, among other venues, said Health Ministry Director stand — there is an epidemic. including some classrooms. General Hezi Levi. The British mutation (of the Some of those venues will Levi attributed this result to only be available to those with a Covid-19 virus) is (infectIsrael’s “strong health system,” Green Pass, a certificate issued ing) children. We still do not which had made possible the know its effect,” he said. “Even by the government to those for country’s “unparalleled” vacwhom seven days have elapsed though very many children will cination drive. However, Levi go to class, we are doing this since receiving their second stressed that the entire populagradually.” — JNS dose of the vaccine.

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Happy Passover. Jeff Noble MRINetwork Management Recruiters of Dayton Noble Staffing Solutions 937-228-8271 • Jewish Response and Action Network in Houston distributed thousands of water bottles Feb. 18 in response to a boil-water advisory affecting most of the area after winter storms decimated the state’s water service

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By Andrew Lapin, JTA One year ago, Dallas’s Jewish community convened a health crisis management team to coordinate the local response to the brand-new Covid-19 pandemic. Now the community has repurposed the team, consisting of rabbis from each denomination and the CEOs of local Jewish agencies, to take on a very different kind of crisis: the unfolding effects of an unusual winter storm named Uri that has crippled large swaths of Texas and left millions of people without reliable access to heat, electricity, or clean water. So far, the group has provided aid to seniors and people without electricity. Synagogues and their congregants are offering shelter to those without power. And the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas partnered with Kosher Palate, a local kosher restaurant, to deliver thousands of meals to Jews without power — a project the restaurant began on its own and accelerated with the federation’s aid. “I keep saying this is what Federation was built for,” said Mariam Shpeen Feist, the group’s president and CEO. “We were built to respond to crisis.”

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Texas is home to around planned vacation in the Mexi130,000 Jews, the majority locan resort city. cated in the Dallas and Houston Jewish communities, like areas. The state, and its Jewish others across the state, are takpopulation, has experienced ing steps to address their own no shortage of recent crises. In needs. In Dallas, one of the 2017, Hurricane Harvey devasregion’s two Jewish senior livtated the Houston area, flooding ing centers lost its main power thousands of Jewish homes and and backup generator, forcing causing millions of dollars in the staff to quickly relocate catastrophic damage to several residents to the area’s other synagogues and other Jewish in- senior center. Fortunately it had stitutions. In 2019, a Category 3 spare room, having just recently tornado struck Dallas, bringing opened. more property damage to Jewish communities. And of course the pandemic has challenged every aspect of Jewish and communal life. The toll of the latest disaster — rare in a state with a generally temperate winter climate — is still taking shape. At least 30 deaths linked to the storm have been The Wallach-Roffman family of Dallas uses reported. And residents Shabbat and yahrzeit candles for light have been burning furniture to stay warm, according to Two Orthodox Jewish-run reports. emergency response units, Hat“It’s pretty dire in the city zalah of Dallas and the newly right now,” Steve Adler, the formed Texas Chaverim, both Jewish mayor of Austin, the founded by a local resident, state capital, told a local televiBaruch Shawel, sent out patrols sion station as he joined many to assist residents with dead car Texans in asking why the state’s batteries, medical emergencies, energy grid was not prepared and other issues. for sub-zero temperatures. “It’s “It’s been pretty wild out too much to ask of anybody. here,” Hannah Lebovits, a People are angry and confused professor at the University of and frustrated, and I am, too.” Texas-Arlington who lives in For many, the anger is driven an Orthodox community in by what they perceive as a lack- north Dallas, said of the rolling luster response by state leaders. blackouts, which accompany Former governor Rick Perry other problems like loss of heat suggested that Texans would and water pressure. “Thankfully prefer a few days without in the Jewish community, very heat to federal intervention in often we quickly create our own their power system, and Sen. mutual aid systems.” Ted Cruz flew to Cancún for a Still, Lebovits said, “It


THE WORLD shouldn’t be Chaverim doing that. It son became a Bar Mitzvah. should be the city of Dallas knocking on The family had already made plans my door and checking on me.” to conduct the service over Zoom due to In Houston, too, Jewish leaders are Covid, but found they still had to scramleaning on coordination groundwork ble at the last minute to meet the challaid long before the unusual cold snap lenges of the moment when their synaset in. Traumatized by the patchwork gogue, Congregation Agudas Achim, Jewish response to Hurricane Harvey’s lost power and had to contend with an devastating floods, the Jewish Federaiced-over parking lot that prevented tion of Greater Houston had convened them from even getting close enough to the Jewish Response and Action Netthe building to handle the Torahs. work in early 2020, even before the Instead of reading from three of the pandemic. congregation’s Torahs in the sanctu“After Harvey, each shul made its ary as he had been planning to do to own response. They made their own correspond with Rosh Chodesh and food. It wasn’t coordinated,” said Jackie Shabbat Shekalim, Sam had to perform Fisherman, the network’s director and the service from his house, reading from the Houston federation’s director of photos of the Torah portions his father government affairs. “We thought there had taken on his phone. must be a better way.” “All our plans, we basically had to The Houston federation has taken scrap them and frantically get the house steps to mitigate the impact of the winready,” Sam said. “We did it on the dinter storm on greater Houston’s Jewish ing room table. We just shoved everycommunity, which numbers around thing off it.” 55,000 and skews older. The group has Less than 24 hours after Sam’s Bar helped procure fuel for Mitzvah, the Robinson a backup generator at an household lost power, assisted living facility, too. With the sudden distributed 10,000 water drop in temperature, bottles to the commuSam’s mother, Rachel, nity, and assisted a few also found a use for the individuals in need of many hats, scarves and electricity to secure genblankets she had taken to erators from the city — knitting in her spare time while continuing to work since the start of Covid. with local Jewish leaders “It certainly kept us on an ongoing Covid on our toes, tested our response plan. resiliency,” Sam’s father, Some on the ground in Alex, said. He thanked Houston, including rephis congregation for its resentatives of the federaflexibility in putting on tion, say many Houston the event. Jews live in areas that “While this crisis have avoided the worst will eventually pass, of the outages, although we will not forget the Austin resident Sam Robinson the lack of reliable cellmisery of these past few phone service and other became a Bar Mitzvah in his days — how some in backyard after a power outage communication issues our community are fully has prevented response teams from possessed by chesed and how others lead drawing a clear picture. But challenges with indifference and callow self-interstill lie ahead, as the Houston area, like est,” Agudas Achim’s leader, Rabbi Neil much of Texas, has fallen under a boilBlumofe, posted on Facebook, using the water advisory. Many frozen pipes are Hebrew word for kindness. expected to burst when they thaw. In Dallas, Rabbi Shira Wallach of Con“Training makes you better, and gregation Shearith Israel, dug into her there’s really no way to train through supply of Shabbat and yahrzeit candles a disaster until you’ve lived through to keep her family’s household lit when it,” Fisherman said. Nevertheless, she their power went out. She said the added, “I’m looking forward to a really couple’s two daughters, ages 1 and 5, boring job in the future.” instinctively covered their faces, thinkHouston’s Jewish community has also ing it was time to recite the blessings. helped the city’s broader response when That moment provided levity at it comes to the Covid vaccine. Power a challenging time — one that Waloutages have affected statewide distrilach’s husband and fellow rabbi, Adam bution of the vaccine, which needs to be Roffman, said was appropriate for this kept at freezing temperatures until it’s moment on the Jewish calendar. Purim, ready to be used. a festive holiday in which celebrations In response to the sudden urgent are supposed to give a sense of topsyneed to distribute doses of the vaccine, turviness, was on the way, and the United Orthodox Synagogues in Houstemperature was expected to climb to a ton quickly offered its building as a vacmore typical 70 degrees. cination center, and successfully made “Here we are in Dallas, Texas,” Roffavailable 350 doses to the community in man said. “The rest of the country’s a matter of hours. laughing at us because we’re the energy Amid the challenges of the moment, producer capital of the country and we Jewish life for some Texans has found a have no heat or power. That’s a pretty way to continue. In Austin, Sam RobinPurim-type situation.”

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ADL singles out Poland, Hungary, Russia, and British Labour Party in Europe antisemitism report By Cnaan Lipshiz, JTA Authorities in Poland, Russia, Hungary and some lawmakers in Britain’s Labour Party used antisemitism for political means, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s antisemitism report on Europe published Feb. 18. In Poland, presidential candidate Rafal Trzaskowski was the target of “antisemitic rhetoric” last summer during an election in which he lost to the incumbent Andrzej Duda of the right-wing Law and Justice party, ADL wrote in the report titled Choosing Antisemitism: Instrumentalization and Tolerance of Antisemitism in Contemporary European Politics. The report noted that Law and Justice’s leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said in a television interview that Trzaskowski is “without a Polish soul, a Polish heart, and a Polish mind” for allegedly agreeing to review restitution claims for Jewish property lost during or after the Holocaust. Trzaskowski is not Jewish. The report did not call the remark specifically antisemitic. Asked whether ADL considers Kaczynski’s statement antisemitic, an ADL spokesperson said: “His remarks certainly play into longstanding antisemitic tropes. Juxtaposing ‘Pol-

Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images

This 2017 billboard in Budapest was part of a Hungarian government campaign to demonize George Soros, the ADL report said

ish’ and ‘Jewish’ in this manner sends a signal that Jews in Poland are somehow not real Poles. Mr. Kaczynski’s statement implies that being a true Pole — as an identity — means not accepting Jewish restitution claims. And, by extension, that being Polish means opposing those Jewish claims.” The ADL report did say that Kaczynski’s remarks and others “proved a source of concern for many” both in Poland and abroad. In Hungary, the report noted what it called the government campaign to demonize George Soros, a liberal Jewish billionaire who was born in Hungary

and is funding causes that run contrary to the policies of the right-wing prime minister, Viktor Orban. One of those causes concerns the arrival of immigrants from the Middle East and Africa to Europe, which Orban opposes and Soros actively supports. In 2017, the Hungarian government launched a billboard campaign against Soros featuring pictures of the businessman and philanthropist smiling, titled “Don’t let him have the last laugh.” The Mazsihisz federation of Jewish communities warned that the campaign risks emboldening antisemites, adding

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THE WORLD that Orban is “not an antisemite.” The EMIH federation of Jewish communities in Hungary disputed Mazsihisz’s warning, describing criticism of Soros as policy-based and legitimate. But “Orban’s decision to target an American Jew rather than European Union officials with authority over EU immigration policy raises questions,” ADL wrote in the report, adding, “The most convincing answer is that the campaign was premised on the receptiveness to antisemitic stereotypes in the Hungarian public.” On Russia, the report states that the country under President Vladimir Putin weaponized antisemitism by exaggerating its prevalence in Ukraine, with which Russia has had a territorial dispute since 2014. Some Jewish groups in Ukraine, including the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, say that antisemitism there has exploded following the 2014 conflict, along with the phenomenon of honoring Nazi collaborators, including in parades featuring SS uniforms. But “Russian accusations that Ukraine is an antisemitic country have also led to the politicization of the debate about antisemitism within the Ukrainian Jewish community,” ADL wrote. “Some leaders have claimed that raising concerns about antisemitism in Ukraine is an act of support for the Russian disinformation campaign.” On Labour, ADL wrote that its leadership by Jeremy Corbyn, a farleft politician whose four-year stint as head of the opposition ended last year, “provides the clearest example of how antisemitic rhetoric surrounding Israel and Zionism and other forms of antisemitism were tolerated within a major political party to accommodate a radical component of the party.” As the party’s ranks swelled, “incidents of antisemitic rhetoric and harassment by these new members steadily rose,” with Corbyn doing little to stop it, ADL wrote. Corbyn had denied allegations of antisemitism and the perceived failures to punish those for what appeared to critics as antisemitic hate speech, defending the work of his party’s ethics panel as impartial and holding to the highest standards. His successor, Keir Starmer, a centrist, has condemned Corbyn and briefly suspended the former party leader, allegedly for downplaying the party’s antisemitism problem. The United Kingdom “provides the best example of the risk and potential severe consequences of antisemitism in politics, even in democratic regimes,” ADL wrote. “An antisemite became the leader of a major party and created a welcome space for antisemitism. Had he become Prime Minister, the British Jewish community would have been suffered a major blow with unprecedented emigration linked to that event.”

Is Bonne Maman an anti-Nazi jam? By Gabe Friedman & Philissa Cramer, JTA The heartwarming story has been hard to miss: A law professor is shopping at his local grocery store when sees an elderly woman struggling to get her favorite jam from a high shelf. Why is it her favorite? “I am a Holocaust survivor,” she says. “During the war, the family that owns the company hid my family in Paris.” Tens of thousands of people have shared the story since it began circulating on social media mid-February. It has prompted countless people to vow to buy only Bonne Maman jam, with 26 varieties, nearly all kosher. But is Bonne Maman really an antiNazi jam? The company, whose founding families are famously secretive, isn’t taking credit for the activity of its founders’ families during World War II. “The family prefers to maintain privacy and does not comment on inquiries about personal matters,” Bonne Maman said in a statement. Michael Perino, the St. John’s University professor who originally posted the story on Twitter, said the incident happened the morning of Feb. 14 in his a New Jersey grocery store. He said he was surprised by the woman’s composure and ability to shop alone at her age, which he estimated to be late 80s or early 90s. He didn’t ask for her name, not wanting to pry. “It was a beautiful moment,” Perino said. “When she gave the explanation, you know, it’s one of these things where your kind of your heart stops for a moment, because it’s totally unexpected.” Bonne Maman, founded in 1971 by members of the Gervoson family, is based in Biars-sur-Cère, a town in southern France. Neither the town nor any of its inhabitants are listed on the registry of “righteous gentiles” — non-Jews who rescued Jews from the Holocaust — that is maintained by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum. Nor is anyone with the name of the company’s founding families in the database, which is comprehensive and thoroughly researched but does not necessarily include every possible person who might be eligible for it. At least one person has publicly described his family’s experience being sheltered in Biars-sur-Cère: A New Jersey man named Eric Mayer told the Jewish Standard in 2016 that he and his siblings had hidden there after leaving their parents behind in Germany. He even noted that the town, which he said had 800 people at the time he lived there, later became the home of Bonne Maman. But for some who appreciated the story, the facts may not matter. “Please don’t make me fact check the Bonne Maman story,” Jennifer Mendelsohn, a journalist widely known for her genealogy sleuthing online, tweeted. “Can’t it be like Santa Claus?”











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Asian American Jews explore their identities in video project Lunar

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The Lunar project brought more than 20 Asian American Jews together in conversation

By Gabe Friedman, JTA When Maya Katz-Ali saw the ad on Facebook recruiting Asian Jews to participate in a new video project about identity, she scrolled through her list of friends to figure out who might be a good fit. The daughter of a Jewish mother from New York and a Muslim father from India, it didn’t occur to Katz-Ali that she fit the bill herself. Though she grew up connected to both parents’ cultures — especially the food — she always saw them as distinct. When her mother wanted to hire Indian dancers for her Bat Mitzvah, she shot the idea down. “I remember specifically saying, ‘Mom, no, that’s Indian. That’s not Jewish,’” said Katz-Ali, who now works for the Shabbat programming organization OneTable. “So obviously, in my head, I had this big kind of divorce of these two identities.” After her epiphany that she would be a good candidate for the video initiative she saw advertised on Facebook, KatzAli reached out to its founders. That’s how she ended up on Taste of Connection, the food-focused first

episode of Lunar: The Jewish-Asian Film Project, a series of videos of young Asian American Jews in conversation with each other that launched mid-February, to coincide with the lunar new year, a holiday celebrated in multiple Asian cultures. The series — which is on YouTube and also lives on the website of Be’chol Lashon, a group promoting Jews of color that helped support the project — will tackle a new theme in each episode. “(It’s) really fun to break the stereotype of ‘You want Jewish food? OK, it’s a bagel,’” Katz-Ali says in the video, after describing how she blends Indian cuisine with Jewish tradition. The series is the brainchild of two recent college students who found themselves craving a way to get to know other people whose identities overlapped with their own. One of them is founder Gen Slosberg, who was raised without religion in China and moved with her Ashkenazi father and Chinese mother to the United States as a teenager. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, she

‘What if we were in a space and we could all understand what it’s like to have an Asian grandma?’



research done on Asian joined multiple groups American Jews in parfor students of color — ticular. Sociologists Helen where to her surprise she Kim and Noah Leavitt discovered Jews of color — who are also a married like herself. couple — have published “Everybody I knew two landmark research who was Jewish was papers on Asian Jewish White,” said Slosberg. families, one in 2012 and But even after learnanother in 2015. Besides ing from those student that, Slosberg and Rugroups, she had never dolph did not have previbeen in or heard of a ous projects like theirs to space for Asian American turn to for inspiration. Jews in particular. “We saw a gap in “I would for example the media that could be hear one of the people filled,” Rudolph said. at one of my JOC (Jews She and Slosberg reof Color) Shabbats go mained mindful through‘Oh yeah, my Chinese out their project of how grandmother, this, this broad the term “Asian and this,’” Slosberg said. Gen Slosberg (L) and Jenni Rudolph are Lunar’s American” can be a flat“And I’m like, what if founders tening term. we were in a space and to be these things?” “The Asian diaspora we could all understand Slosberg and Rudolph is just so huge and diverse what it’s like to have an Asian decided to take the concept — that it feels weird to kind of grandma. Wouldn’t that be bringing Asian American Jews lump ourselves in, but also — cool?” together to talk openly and White America lumps us all in So last spring Slosberg casually about their identities together anyways,” Rudolph reached out to a few other and experiences — and branch said. “So that’s kind of a comChinese Jews through connecout with it. mon thread that we’re all relattions and social media, hoping Beyond just Chinese Ameriing on. We have a lot of very to create that space for herself. cans, they found Jewish people common experiences.” She found Jenni Rudolph, with what was for them an For participant Jacob Sujin a Berklee College of Music Kuppermann, born to a Brazilgraduate who was featured in a unexpectedly diverse array of different Asian backgrounds, ian Ashkenazi father and Thai widely viewed YouTube video from Indian to mother, the project’s diversity about interracial Thai to Filipino was an important selling point. identity. and more. “That’s kind of what made Rudolph One thing me excited about this project — had grown up they quickly that there was a very diverse in Huntington realized was range of different Asian experiBeach, a prethat all of them ences,” Kuppermann said. dominantly felt that they White city in had not seen southern Calitheir identity fornia’s Orange represented in County, where American Jewshe struggled to ish spaces. feel at home in The AmeriWhite, Asian or can Jewish community has Jewish spaces. begun to pay more attention to She had attended a Jewish the experience of Jews of color preschool, but after it closed, in recent years, as highlighted her two younger sisters didn’t by the rise and expanded proget the same Jewish foundafile of groups such as Be’chol tion, and her family wasn’t Lashon and the Jews of Color very religious. Initiative, and the increasing “That was just a really excitnumber of Jews of color in oring moment for me,” Rudolph ganizational leadership roles. said of her initial virtual meetAn analysis by researchers up with Slosberg’s group, “of from 2019 found that Jews of meeting others and being able color have been slightly underto talk in a group and decide — so this is a community, what counted in broad surveys on American Jews. do we stand for? Who are we? But there has not been much And what does it really mean

All of them felt that they had not seen their identity represented in American Jewish spaces.

Maya Katz-Ali (L) and Jacob Sujin Kuppermann learned about Asian American Jewish diversity through Lunar

“Obviously there’s not a huge amount of discussion about mixed-race Jews (in American society). But usually when it comes up, it’s tiny. It’s Chinese American.” In the inaugural video, participants talk about how their knowledge of both Jewish and Asian foods helps them feel like they “have stake in” each broader cultural community, in the words of one person. Another said that that knowledge helps her “prove” her Jewishness in Jewish spaces that are predominantly White. Some pointed out the ways in which Asian and Jewish flavors go well together, while others talked about the difficulty of eating Asian dishes while trying to keep kosher — stemming from the fact that multiple Asian staples, such as shellfish and pork, are not al-

lowed in Jewish dietary law. Katz-Ali shares in a clip that Ashkenazi Jewish food doesn’t always “feel like home” for her, but she’s always excited when finding Indian restaurants that are kosher. After participating in the project, in December she inaugurated “pakoras and menorahs,” her name for a new Chanukah tradition that incorporates a traditional Indian fried food into the Jewish holiday that celebrates oil. Now she’s trying to keep the Lunar group together, in part by planning OneTable Shabbat events for them. “I’m so excited that this is taking off,” she said. “I think this is also going to give more permission to people to create and find that place of belonging and community that they can gather within.”

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Government can’t require us to take Covid vaccine. Our morals should.

Can Biden’s zeal to deal work better than ‘maximum pressure’?

By Jonathan S. Tobin If, as a New York Times headline noted, Israel’s reaction to the news that the United States is ready to start talking with Iran was “muted,” there was good By Rabbi Yosie Levine reason for the low-key reaction. U.S. Secretary of State A poll released in February by Monmouth UniverAnthony Blinken’s announcement that the administrasity showed that 24 percent of Americans likely will tion would work with its European allies to restore the never get the Covid vaccine. One hopes that as people 2015 Iran nuclear deal was a fulfillment of President have more information and know others who have Joe Biden’s campaign promises. Israeli Prime Minister been vaccinated without ill effects, they will change Benjamin Netanyahu’s response was to merely restate their minds. his stand opposing Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons Education and encouragement are the most reliable and a Western return to the flawed agreement. tools in our increasingly libertarian democracy. In the But underneath the calm surface of relations beabsence of a government mandate, we would do well tween the two countries is genuine anxiety. Blinken’s to consider our moral obligations. The Torah insists we take an active role in the rescue signal to Iran, preceded as it was by a declaration that the United States was formally withdrawing the deof those in danger. “Do not stand by the blood of your fellow (Lev. 19:16)” means that should a passerby spot mand made by the Trump administration that the U.N. snapback sanctions on Iran due to the violation of its someone in trouble, they are obligated to try and help commitments, made clear the style of bargaining with them. Passivity in the face of danger is not an option. Intervening will always entail some degree of risk, but Tehran that was followed by the Obama administration — in which virtually all major and minor figures that doesn’t lessen the obligation to act. in Biden’s foreign-policy team served — is now back Many countries in Europe and Latin America insist in style. With Biden and Blinken dealing with Iran, the on a similar duty to rescue. In Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the obligation is explicit: flow of concessions is going in only one direction. On its face, the prospect of America talking with Iran “Every human being whose life is in peril has a right isn’t a problem. The Trump administration spent four to assistance. Every person must come to the aid of years trying to persuade and then pressure Iran into anyone whose life is in peril, either personally or calling for aid, by giving him the necessary and immediate new talks about the nuclear issue, as well as Tehran’s illegal missile production, support of terrorism, and physical assistance…” regional adventurism. Contrary to the inclinations of In the United States, however, there generally is no some of the most hawkish voices on the issue in both such duty. Even if a state has a Good Samaritan law, it countries, the aim of their “maximum pressure” camtypically serves as an incentive rather than an oblipaign wasn’t regime change. It was to put the screws gation. Protecting a bystander who intervenes from potential legal action, the law encourages intervention to Iran’s economy in the hope that the Islamist regime in cases where a person’s life may be in danger. But the would realize it was in its best interests to negotiate a new deal that would fix the problems with the one failure to intervene is by no means criminal. Obama negotiated. Americans have been conditioned to think of our But the Iranians, heeding the advice they got from own liberties and well-being. We have a patient’s bill former Secretary of State John Kerry, chose not to talk of rights at the doctor’s office and a passenger’s bill of with the Americans in the hope that Trump would be rights in the car that takes us there. Ours is a world of defeated for re-election and replaced with a Democrat entitlement rather than a world of duty. The notion of pledged to return the United States to the nuclear pact. an obligation to come to the aid of our fellow citizens That bet paid off. But rather than meekly falling into sounds like a foreign concept. line with their previous commitments, Tehran is coolly Whether and to what extent individuals might refuse treatments that protect their own wellness might observing the new administration’s behavior and hoping to score yet more diplomatic victories now that be open to some debate. And while the law might not their preferred negotiating partners are back in power. require intervention, there is no moral justification to They have good reasons to be optimistic. While neglect the affirmative obligation each of us has to help the Biden administration has at times sounded much others when they face mortal danger. tougher-minded about its goals with respect to Iran, it The Covid threat is real. Millions now stand in has already demonstrated it’s not likely to walk away harm’s way. When lives are on the line, the Torah’s from negotiations if it doesn’t get what it wants. Biden ethics do not countenance nonfeasance. Refusing to and Blinken know the real long-term problem isn’t receive the vaccine is tantamount to standing idly by restoring the nuclear agreement; it’s to forge a new one, while another person is being assaulted. If achieving herd immunity will save lives — and there is no doubt just as Trump was trying to do. While they continue to insist the pact Obama concluded was the best possible that it will — each of us is responsible to help our naone that could have been made at the time, they realize tion achieve that goal. the sunset clauses Iran had insisted upon mean they But what of the risks? None of us can lay claim will expire by the end of this decade. to prophecy. But we can lay claim to scientific data. Six years ago, the moment when the already weak Among the vaccines now being distributed in the deal would expire seemed very far away. When Obama United States, tens of millions of doses have been managed to evade the constitutional requirement administered. The number of adverse reactions is so infinitesimally small that speaking of risk with respect that the deal be approved by two-thirds of the Senate — and got the pact confirmed by a backhand alternato the vaccine is a misnomer. On questions of science, tive method in which all it took was one-third pulse we rely on our medical experts — and those experts of either house of Congress — critics tried in vain to have spoken with one voice. point out the folly of leaving the job of dealing with the threat to future administrations. Instead, Obama’s false Rabbi Yosie Levine is the rabbi of The Jewish Center on narrative, in which the only choices available to the Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

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United States were to embrace the deal or go to war, prevailed. That’s why Biden and Blinken’s obsession with restoring the old deal rather than pushing ahead with one that would actually fix the problems Obama did not is so misguided. That mistake is only compounded by Biden already making concessions. The White House took only 24 hours to back off the president’s pledge — made on television during the Super Bowl pre-game programming — in which he said sanctions wouldn’t be lifted until the Iranians came back into compliance with the old deal. Now with Blinken declaring in advance of any talks that Washington is abandoning efforts to snap back the sanctions that, by rights, should already be in place due to the Iranians’ illegal nuclear activity, the pattern of negotiations that took place between 2013 and 2015 is returning. In 2013, Iran was in a position similar to now. Sanctions had brought its economy to its knees, and it was forced to negotiate its nuclear future. Rather than pressing the advantage the West had achieved, Obama and Kerry began to concede every point of their demands that sought to end Iran’s nuclear program. By the time the deal was concluded, they had given up on virtually every key point — allowing Tehran to keep its nuclear program, advanced research and, most astonishingly, agreed the deal would completely expire in 15 years, at which point the ayatollahs could have their bomb with Western acquiescence. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hopes for the same sort of results. Given most of the personnel behind that disgraceful Western surrender — Blinken, Wendy Sherman, and Robert Malley see diplomacy as an end in of itself rather than a means to a desired goal — are to be their counterparts in any future talks, who can blame them for thinking the sky’s the limit when it comes to what they can get out of this? They are not only going to demand an end to sanctions to return to Obama’s terms, but will insist on avoiding future demands about a new deal with sunset clauses or anything about terror or missiles. If so, does anyone believe Biden would be willing to forgo a pyrrhic victory in the form of compliance with the old deal in order to accomplish something that would actually avert the real danger in the now not-so-distant future? Israel and its Arab allies, who are also fearful of what more U.S. empowerment and enrichment of Iran might mean for them, must wait to see if somehow the Biden team can grow a spine as opposed to fulfilling all of Tehran’s wishes again. In the meantime, Iranian allies and auxiliaries in Gaza and Lebanon continue to pose a real threat of conflict in order to stop Israel from taking action against Iran or its proxies on its own. Hamas and Hezbollah also know the Biden administration will, as Obama did, seek to restrain Israel rather than back it up in such confrontations, as Trump did. Neither Congress, which is in the hands of Democratic majorities, nor the mainstream media, which remains dedicated to defending Biden, will seek to hold the president accountable if, like Obama, he sees accepting a deal at any price to be more expedient than actually defending American interests. In 2021, kicking the can down the road on the nuclear issue is even a more dangerous policy than it was in 2015. Zarif is counting on Biden to hand him another easy triumph. While the die is not yet cast, there is little reason to believe he will be disappointed. Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of Jewish News Syndicate.

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.

















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Monday, March 1 @ 6PM — CABS: The Book of V. with Author Anna Solomon Partnering with Hadassah Dayton Chapter Wednesday, March 3 @ 7PM — A JCRC Community Conversation - Meaningful Dialogue: Having Conversations on Critical Issues Partnering with the University of Dayton Human Rights Center Thursday, March 4 @ 6:30PM — JCC Virtual Women's Seder Saturday, March 6 @ 8PM — JYG Jerusalem Quest Game Night Sunday, March 7 @ 10AM — YAD (ages 21-35) Yoga Monday, March 8 @ 5PM — International Women's Day Toast Honoring Influential Jewish Women Thursday, March 11 @ 7PM — The Food They Brought with Them: Jewish Immigration and the Culinary Experience with Dr. Judy Chesen Tuesday, March 16 @ 7PM — A JCRC Community Conversation - From Hallein, Austria to Philadelphia and Dayton: The story of two Jewish refugees reunited after 69 years Partnering with JCC, TBO Adult Education Committee, and the JCRC of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia Tuesday, March 23 @ NOON — Planning Your Future, Part 2 Upcoming Reoccurring Events Monday, March 1, 8 & 15 @ 7PM — Intro to Judaism Virtual Class Tuesday, March 2, 16 & 30 @ 1PM — JFS Connects 2.0


April 18 @ 1-3PM Join us for a Community Celebration for Israel’s 73rd birthday! More details to come, visit for more information!

Join Jewish Family Services and Brittany O’Diam, CELA, from O’Diam & Estess Law Group, Inc. for the final session on proactively planning for your future. At this session, we will cover the complicated topics and issues associated with long-term care insurance and Medicaid. Registration required, RSVP online at About the speaker Brittany O’Diam, CELA, Attorney at Law, O’Diam & Estess Law Group, Inc. She is a dually certified specialist in elder law by the National Elder Law Foundation and the Ohio State Bar Association as well as a certified specialist in estate planning, trust & probate law by the Ohio State Bar Association. She is Licensed in Ohio and Florida.

Partnering with Beth Abraham Synagogue, Beth Jacob Congregation, Hadassah, Hillel Academy, JCRC, PJ Library, Temple Beth Or, & Temple Israel THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • MARCH 2021

Register online at



A Biss'l Mamaloshen Purim (Holiday) Expression with Purim: 1 A ganz yahr shikker, Purim nichter. All year drunk, Purim sober. 2 Purim is nisht keyn yontef, vi Kadokhes is nisht krenk. Purim is not a holiday, like ague (malaria) is not a disease.


3 Nisht alle Purim is doh a nes. Not every Purim is there a miracle.

Through the generosity of our wonderful donors, JFS provided Passover meals along with seders in a box and Rosh Hashanah meals to our clients who are Holocaust survivors and those in need last year. Thanks to a generous donation to JFS from community member Amy Munich, we are excited to announce we will be able to offer these meals again in 2021 AND 2022! JFS is grateful for this opportunity to enhance its holiday outreach and bring the celebration to those who may be isolated and might not otherwise have meals for these special occasions.

Legacies, Tributes, & Memorials JFS


Jewish Family Services

DOROTHY B. MOYER FUND IN YAHRZEIT MEMORY OF › Elmer Moyer & Sheila Moyer Mr. & Mrs. Richard Moyer & family


LINDA RUCHMAN MEMORIAL FUND IN MEMORY OF › Harley Ellman Judy & Marshall Ruchman DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER IN MEMORY OF › Harley Ellman Harriet & Don Klass JCC

CAROLE RABINOWITZ CAMP FUND IN MEMORY OF › Ed Hattenbach, Meryl Hattenbach’s father Julie Liss-Katz & Marc Katz Jodi Phares





JOAN & PETER WELLS CHILDREN & YOUTH FUND IN HONOR OF › A speedy recovery for Avi Gilbert Joan & Peter Wells



JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES IN MEMORY OF › Harley Ellmam › Audrey Margolis Beverly & Jeff Kantor › Steve Jacobs Margy & Otis Hurst › Dick Shuman Elaine & Joe Bettman › Shep Rosen Amy & Ed Boyle › Hyla Weiskind Joyce & Jim Anderson IN HONOR OF › A speedy recovery for Avi Gilbert Susan & Joe Gruenberg FOUNDATION





GET TO KNOW YOUR PJ NEIGHBORS! Meet The Wharton Muntzinger Family

EDUCATE-ADVOCATE-ACT JCRC Community Conversations

How many kids are in your family? 2 Wednesday, March 3 @ 7PM via Zoom A JCRC Community Conversation Meaningful Dialogue: Having Conversations on Critical Issues Presented by Paul Morrow, PhD No charge

What are their ages? 10 and 12 How did you get involved in PJ Library? I found out about it through the local Jewish Moms Facebook group. Do you have a funny or meaningful story about reading PJ Library books in your family? I love the discussions that come from my kids reading about things and perspectives they don't necessarily get from school. We requested the Ruth Bader Ginsburg book before she passed, and when it arrived (after she had passed) it gave us a great opportunity to discuss not just her life, but what it meant to so many groups, and this country. What brought you to Dayton? How long have you lived here? I moved here as a child, so I've lived in and around Dayton for about 30 years. My kids were both born here.

Monday, March 8 @ 5PM via Zoom International Women’s Day Toast Honoring Influential Jewish Women No charge Two ways to toast with us! Present an influential Jewish woman of your choice, or join us to toast – no presentation required to attend!

Who will YOU honor?

Jewish Federation



What do you love about Dayton? There really is a great sense of community here — once you find your people, you can count on them for just about anything.

Tuesday, March 16 @ 7PM via Zoom A JCRC Community Conversation From Hallein, Austria to Philadelphia and Dayton: The story of two Jewish Refugees Reunited after 69 years No charge

What are you looking forward to this season? Being able to go outside a bit more often, and hopefully some sense of normalcy returning as the Covid vaccine reaches more and more people.

This is a partnership with JCC, TBO Adult Education Committee, and the JCRC of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

We want to learn about YOUR family! Our families are what makes the PJ Library program in Dayton so vibrant, and we want to showcase them! To participate, please contact Kate Elder, PJ Library Coordinator at

Visit /events for more information and to register for JCRC events! THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • MARCH 2021


JCRC Jewish Community Relations Council



A Women’s Seder



Thursday, March 4, 2021 6:30 – 8PM via Zoom

Monday, March 1 @ 6PM via Zoom Anna Solomon, The Book of V. The story of Esther is often told as the triumph of a Jewish minority over one man’s blinding hatred, through the courage and selfessness of one woman. Anna Solomon’s The Book of V. alternates between the historical Esther’s perspective, Vivian, known as Vee, a 1970s wife of a senator, and Lily, a modern-day Brooklynite, second wife, and mother of two. Each of these women’s lives is constrained by the expec­ tations of a patriarchal society.

Join us as we celebrate the 7th Dayton Women’s Seder Celebrating our Beginnings

Partnering with Hadassah, Dayton Chapter 2 0 2 0 -

2 0 2 1



Please join us for the 7th annual Dayton Women’s Seder: Celebrating our Beginnings on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Together on Zoom, we will watch the film Esther Broner: A Weave of Women. This film was the inspiration for our first Women’s Seder in 2015. In addition to the movie, we will be sharing a couple of readings and a song featuring Courtney Cummings, Cantor Jenna Greenberg, and Cantor Andrea Raizen. Please RSVP by March 3, 2021 online at Due to COVID, we will not be accepting food/item donations at the CJCE. If you would like, please consider making a donation to the Dayton Foodbank at in honor of JCC Women’s Seder.

You can purchase books through online retailers Or in person at Barnes and Noble on 725, across from the Dayton Mall (curbside pickup is available).

This program is a collaboration of women from Beth Abraham Synagogue, Beth Jacob Congregation, Hadassah, Temple Beth Or, Temple Israel and The Jewish Community Center of Greater Dayton.

For our full Cultural Arts & Book Series lineup and more, go to

Jewish Community Center

For questions or more information, contact Amy Dolph at or by calling (937) 610-1555



This spring, It Starts With Shabbat aims to empower and educate interfaith and intermarriage families to begin their own Jewish story, starting with Shabbat! Our Shabbat kits will include everything you need to welcome Shabbat into your home and begin building your own traditions. • • • • • •


Candle Holders & Candles Challah Cover Kiddush Cup Modern Jewish Cooking Cookbook Mosaic Kit & Additional Activities Blessings Book

Kits are available to intermarriage and interfaith families and couples of all ages. Quantities are limited – RSVP by Wednesday March 31 to schedule your April pickup at the Boonshoft CJCE in Centerville. RSVP online at Questions? Contact Kate Elder at This program is made possible by a grant from the National Center to Encourage Judaism through the Jewish Federations of North America.

Jewish Federation





Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, all programs below are presented virtually unless listed otherwise. For the latest information, check with the organizations via their websites, Facebook pages, and by calling them directly.


Beth Jacob Virtual Classes: Sundays, 2 p.m.: Conversations w. Rabbi Agar. Tuesdays, 7 p.m.: Weekly Parsha w. Rabbi Agar. Thursdays, 7 p.m.: Jewish Law w. Rabbi Agar. Email Tammy at Temple Israel Virtual Classes: Mondays, noon: Coffee w. the Clergy. Saturdays, 9:15 a.m.: Torah Study. For details, call 937-496-0050.

Children & Youths

JYG Jerusalem Quest Game Night: Sat., March 6, 8 p.m. Register at events.

Young Adults

7, 10 a.m. Ages 21-35. Register at

Community Events

JCRC Virtual Community Conversations: Wed., March 3, 7 p.m.: Paul Morrow, Women UD Human Rights Center, Dayton Virtual Women’s Meaningful Dialogue: Having Seder: Thurs., March 4, 6:30 Conversations on Critical p.m. Register by March 3 at Issues. Tues., March 16, 7 p.m.: Ruth Brandspiegel & Ira Segalewitz, From Hallein, Seniors Austria to Philadelphia & JFS Connects 2.0: Dayton: The story of two Socialization & fellowship with JFS Social Worker Aleka Smith Jewish refugees reunited after via Zoom. Tues., March 2, 16 & 69 years. Free. Register at 30, 1 p.m. Contact Aleka Smith, or 937-610JCRC’s International 1775. Women’s Day Toast: Mon., March 8, 5 p.m. Register at JFS Presents Planning Your Future, Part 2: W. attorney Brittany O’Diam. Tues., March Temple Israel’s Virtual Tour 23, noon. Free. Register at Of Israel: Mon.-Thurs., March 8-11, 5-6 p.m. W. Israeli tour guide Muki Jankelowitz. JCC Virtual Cultural The desert, Galilee, Tel Aviv, Arts & Book Series Jerusalem. $36 donation to Anna Solomon, The Book of benefit Temple Israel’s summer V.: Mon., March 1, 6 p.m. In partnership w. Hadassah. Free. camp scholarships. Register at or call 937-496Register at program/cultural-arts-and-book- 0050. series.

Dayton Hadassah, Mentioning the Unmentionables: W. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum Exec. Dir. Kim Kenney. Tues., March 9, 7 p.m. $18 donation. Register by March 7 to DaytonUnmentionables.

JCC’s Jewish Immigration & the Culinary Experience: W. Judy Chesen. Thurs., March 11, 7 p.m. Register at


See listings on Page Three

Happy Passover DAYTON CHAPTER OF HADASSAH 937-275-0227 • P.O.Box 292815 Dayton, OH 45429

YAD Virtual Yoga: Sun., March

A Safe,Happy

Pesach 937.277.8966



Happy Passover

Bonnie & Sandy Mendelson & Family Happy Passover Susan & Gerson Silver Cincinnati, Ohio A sweet and joyous Passover Beverly A. Saeks We wish the Dayton Jewish community a very happy Passover Cherie Rosenstein & Family Wishing all of Dayton Happy Passover Cantor Andrea Raizen Wishing all of Dayton Happy Passover Ann Paddock A sweet & joyous Passover Linda Novak Our warmest wishes for a joyous Passover Bill & Joshua Marwil We wish the Dayton Jewish community a very happy Passover


Free(dom) during Covid jail that chains us to physical toward receiving the Torah. needs and doesn’t allow our Why would a nation, just identity to be free. The Torah, freed from the bondage of then, is a navigation system on Egypt, immediately accept a Torah filled with rules and regu- how to go free. It tells us how to lations, obligations and prohibi- use the body so it becomes the channel for goodness that our tions? What type of freedom is that? Why trade in one ruler for souls need to express themselves. another? The Torah anchors our lives If you ask a teenager what so we don’t get carried away by freedom is, they might say the various storms of hardship something like, “Doing whatever I want without my parents and confusion that the world usually deals us. It guides us telling me what to do.” As an too, for every mitzvah brings us adult, that sounds rather childone step closer to inner freedom ish (after all, it is something and every prohibition makes children say). The things our sure we don’t go off parents told us as the wrong way and children were to further our journey steer us in the right how our lives and the world of personal entrapdirection and help would change. ment. us grow to be funcSo much has changed and is Over this past tional and producstill changing. Nothing seems year, many have tive members of certain anymore. Our positive felt trapped inside society. outlook always seems to feel their homes. Their So here is my that we are almost over the talents were stifled explanation of freebump. The negative outlook and they are looking tries to convince us that life will dom. I love watchfor ways to express never be as good as it once was. ing “how-to” videos their true identity. and manuals. Trying We are constantly struggling Torah and mitzvah to find a sense of stability in our to figure out how to build something Rabbi Elchonon Chaikin is the best way to do current situation and yearn for so. It is timeless and something that will free us from or to do something its path does not get detoured without solid practical knowlour misery and despair. “I’ll be by a pandemic. edge or a good set of instrufine once my gym opens up.” I have seen this in my profesments is extremely frustrating. “We miss the extended family sional life as I have started more Watching those videos gives dinners.” “I need to get back Torah classes than ever before me a high. They give me the into a routine of going to work instead of working from home.” tools to accomplish what I need with those searching for meaning and direction. It has opened to. I can build stuff from Ikea, Do any of these phrases sound change my own tire, do my own my eyes to this immutable truth: familiar? taxes, trade my own stocks, and Torah is the true safe space The Jewish people are away from this pandemic, and even grow my own tomatoes. resilient. We have suffered All the things that I have always really, anything. before and triumphed in every I urge you to do the same. wanted to but didn’t know how, struggle. Our birth as a people Torah study is available in so I learned how to do them from begins as a story of resilience many ways. You can now tap a manual (of sorts). Does that and overcoming struggle: the sound counterintuitive? No. It’s into so many online resources Exodus from Egypt. In Egypt or virtual classes. If that doesn’t logical. We all do that. we were slaves, and Pesach do it for you, reach out and we The Torah is actually a man(Passover) celebrates our freecan help you find a tailored and ual. It’s not a book of restricdom. No longer subservient to Pharaoh in Egypt, we were now tions and commandments. It’s a personal study path. This Pesach, celebrate your how-to guide that navigates us a free nation. freedom by tapping into the to where we want to go. What was the first thing the Our souls feel trapped in our user manual God gave us when newly-minted Jewish nation did we became free as a nation 3,333 body because our souls are our after leaving Egypt? years ago. identity and the body is like a They began a 50-day count By Rabbi Elchonon Chaikin Chabad of Greater Dayton It was one year ago, on March 1, 2020, that my wife, Mussie, and I landed back in Dayton with a group of nine Jewish teens from the annual International CTeen Shabbaton. It was an incredible weekend, full of Jewish pride, learning and socializing. As I got off the plane and turned on my phone, a notice came in: the first positive case of Covid-19 had been detected in New York state. Little could we imagine then


Arlene & David Stine

Our warmest wishes for a joyous Passover

March • Adar/Nisan Candle Lightings Shabbat, March 5: 6:15 p.m. Shabbat, March 12: 6:23 p.m. Shabbat, March 19: 7:30 p.m. Shabbat, March 26: 7:37 p.m.

Cindy Pretekin & Jeff Froelich PAGE 20


Erev Pesach, March 27: 8:36 p.m. 1st Eve Pesach, March 28: 8:37 p.m.

Torah Portions March 6: Ki Tissa (Ex. 30:11-34:35; Num. 19:1-22)


Passover March 28-April 4 • 15-22 Nisan Eight-day festival celebrating the Exodus of the Israelites March 20: Vayikra (Lev. 1:1-5:26) from Egypt. Leavened bread March 27: Tzav (Lev. 6:1-8:36) products are not eaten. March 13: Vayakhel-Pekudei (Ex. 35:1-40:38; Ex. 12:1-20)

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, worship schedules have been adjusted and some services are offered virtually instead. For the latest information, check with the organizations below via their websites, Facebook pages, and by calling them directly.

CONGREGATIONS Beth Abraham Synagogue Conservative Rabbi Joshua Ginsberg Cantor/Dir. of Ed. & Programming Andrea Raizen 305 Sugar Camp Circle, Oakwood. 937-293-9520. Beth Jacob Congregation Traditional Rabbi Leibel Agar Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. 7020 N. Main St., Dayton. 937-274-2149. Temple Anshe Emeth Reform Rabbinic Intern Tzvia Rubens 320 Caldwell St., Piqua. Contact Steve Shuchat, 937-7262116, Temple Beth Or Reform Rabbi Judy Chessin Asst. Rabbi/Educator Ben Azriel 5275 Marshall Rd., Wash. Twp. 937-435-3400. Temple Beth Sholom Reform Rabbi Haviva Horvitz 610 Gladys Dr., Middletown. 513-422-8313. Temple Israel Reform Senior Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz Rabbi/Educator Tina Sobo 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton. 937-496-0050. Temple Sholom Reform Rabbi Cary Kozberg 2424 N. Limestone St., Springfield. 937-399-1231.

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 9:30 a.m. 2001 Far Hills Ave. 937-643-0770. Yellow Springs Havurah Independent Antioch College Rockford Chapel. Contact Len Kramer, 937-572-4840 or



New children’s books this Pesach

against injustice. Questions at the end encourage discussion.

By Penny Schwartz, JTA This spring brings a crop of eight new engaging children’s books for Passover, the eightday Festival of Freedom that begins this year on the evening of March 27. One interactive family Haggadah even includes tips for this Covid era, when many Seder guests may be joining remotely.

The Four Questions

during Passover, when Noa has an unusual looking cracker — her matzah — she explains to her friends that she can’t swap. In Kiffel-Alcheh’s delightful rhyming story, the spunky Noa, with copper-toned skin and frizzy red hair, figures out how to share her favorite ways to eat matzah.

The Great Passover Escape

Baby Moses in a Basket

Caryn Yacowitz, illustrated by Julie Downing, Candlewick, ages 3 to 7 In simple rhyming verse, Yacowitz re-imagines the biblical story of baby Moses as his mother sets him adrift in a

types of breads. Alfie Koman, a shy matzah, tries to retell the story of Passover, but the school sourdough, Loaf, takes over and stirs trouble. Alfie must decide whether to leave his hiding place to confront the mean-spirited Loaf. Expect lots of laughs from Loaf’s madeup version of the Ten Plagues (among them no WiFi and broccoli for dessert).

Pamela Moritz, illustrated by Florence Weiser, Kar-Ben, ages 4-9 It’s the eve of Passover at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, and Elle the elephant and Kang the kangaroo are eager to find a way to escape and find a Seder.

Matzah Craze

basket on the Nile to save him from harm from the Egyptian Pharaoh. The river’s creatures protect baby Moses until he is discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter. Downing’s beautifully colored double-page illustrations of a wide-winged ibis, a hippo, crocodile, and an escort of butterflies bring the story to life.

Seder in Motion: A Haggadah to Move Body and Soul

Rabbi Ron Isaacs and Dr. Leora Isaacs, illustrated by Martin Wickstrom, Behrman House, all ages Here’s a lively family Haggadah that encourages Seder participants of any age to feel a personal connection to the Passover story. The engaging style follows the traditional order of the Seder and features Jewish customs from around the world along with thought-provoking questions. There are plenty of tips for remote guests.

Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh, illustrated by Lauren Gallegos, Kar-Ben, ages 4-9 At Noa’s multicultural school, the kids like to swap what’s in their lunch boxes. But

Their friend Chimp answers their Passover questions and joins the adventure. Will the trio get past the locked zoo gate and find a ritual meal? Pamela Moritz’s humor-filled story is embellished with Florence Weiser’s brightly colored illustrations.

The Passover Guest

Susan Kusel, illustrated by Sean Rubin, Neal Porter Books/ Holiday House, ages 4 to 8 Set in Washington, D.C., in 1933, during the Depression,

Kusel’s warmhearted story takes its inspiration from Uri Shulevitz’s version of Peretz’s Yiddish tale The Magician, which she loved as a child. On the eve of Passover, a young girl named Muriel wanders around her favorite sites in the nation’s capital. She’s in no hurry to go home because her family does not have enough money for a Seder. At the Lincoln Memorial, Muriel is enchanted by a juggling magician dressed in rags. When the stranger turns up at her family’s door and is invited in for Passover, their bare table miraculously fills with an abundance of food for the Seder. Could the mysterious guest have been Elijah? Sean Rubin’s vibrant, expressive illustrations pay tribute to Marc Chagall, Rubin writes in an artist’s note.

Illustrated by Ori Sherman, text by Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Levine Querido, ages 8 and up In this exquisite pairing of text and art, Sherman and Schwartz captivate readers — kids and adults — with the Four Questions traditionally recited by the youngest child at the beginning of the Seder. The lavishly illustrated book is a new printing of the original, first published in 1989. Like the Seder itself, the book has the air of mystery and intrigue. Schwartz answers the Four Questions with a lyrical narrative of the Passover story and its rituals. Sherman fills the bordered pages with gloriously colored illustrations of whimsical elephants, monkeys, fish, goats and birds. Turn the book upside down for a view of the Four Questions written in Hebrew calligraphy and other illustrations. A back page note by Ori Z. Soltes, a scholar of Jewish art, explains that Sherman’s dazzling art carries forth traditions from hieroglyphics to illuminated Jewish manuscripts and the centuries-old painted murals of Eastern Europe’s wooden synagogues.

Moses Could Have Been Selfish

MJ Wexler, MJ Wexler Books, ages 3 to 7 In this rhyming story, Wexler retells the story of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt in an accessible style for young kids, emphasizing standing up

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton is proud to be accredited by the National Institute for Jewish Hospice

Meet the Matzah: A Passover Story

Alan Silberberg, Viking, ages 3 to 5 In this playful and zany story, the award-winning cartoonist Silberberg sets the humorous action in an imaginary classroom where the “students” are


324 Wilmington Ave. Dayton 937.256.4490 1.800.653.4490


A sweet and joyous Passover

RELIGION Wishing all of Dayton Happy Passover

Judith & Fred Weber

Brenda Rinzler

Our warmest wishes for a joyous Passover

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Suzi, Jeff, Amanda, Anna & Joshua Mikutis

Judy Lipton

Wishing all of Dayton Happy Passover

A sweet and joyous Pesach

Steve, Shara, Rachel & Natalie Taylor Judy Woll & Ron Bernard

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Carole & Donald Marger PAGE 22

We wish the Dayton Jewish community a very happy Passover

Joseph & Marsha Johnston

We can still celebrate our freedom this Passover. Here’s how. By Amy Grossblatt Pessah Kveller How can we begin to think about preparing for Passover when we still live in a pandemic? As we live in the uncertainty of these times and are mostly stuck at home, as the line between work and family is blurred and responsibilities are on overload, just getting through each day feels like a huge success. The thought of having to clean my house with my entire family present 24/7 seems overwhelming — insurmountable even. Whether your kids are younger or older, chances are they expect some kind of Passover celebration. No matter how your family celebrates — whether it includes one Seder or two, complete elimination of bread products or just reduced consumption of them — no other holiday shouts family time louder than Passover. In some ways, here in 2021, the Passover story feels more alive and relevant than ever, as so much of it mirrors our current reality. And yet, given the coronavirus, Passover this year again presents several questions: Just how, exactly, will we take this metaphorical journey from a sense of slavery to freedom? How can we be free when we are not free to move about in the world? How do we remain present and focused on the holiday and its message in the midst of the pandemic? After all, the traditional understanding of being freed from bondage might not feel accurate this year. In fact, we might feel a celebration of freedom to be incongruous, trapped in our homes and isolated from those we love. However, I believe that if we expand our understanding of freedom, we can celebrate Passover meaningfully and retain its profound message. True freedom can be found in a two-pronged approach: by connecting to the “big picture” and by taking control of our own minds. When I say connecting to the big picture, here’s what I mean:

Our warmest wishes for a joyous Passover The Zappin Family

If we are able to move from the micro of our individual lives and shift to a wider perspective, it helps us see things from a different vantage point. By celebrating Passover — even if it’s just a pared-down version with our immediate families at home again this year — we connect ourselves with our ancestors, who have also experienced significant challenges and traumas over the millennia. The Seder helps us link ourselves to the chain of our people, a chain that has survived for thousands of years. Reframing the situation this way can help us find strength and hope. Might we be able to feel the tenacity of our ancestors supporting us, even as we fear that we will fumble? Can you imagine our ancestors cheering us on from the sidelines, “You got this! You can do it! You are part of a strong, stiffnecked, stubborn people. Be strong and resolute!” By linking ourselves to the larger story of our people, we gain a more expansive perspective. Panning out to see the big picture enables us to realize that, despite the immense challenges of the moment, this, too, shall pass. Most certainly, our lives will be forever changed by this pandemic, but I believe that ultimately we will be stronger, wiser, and more resilient. Now, about taking control of our minds. Every day, each of us has thousands of thoughts; no wonder why so many of us are exhausted. Yet how often do we take the time to reflect on the content of our thoughts? So much of what we say to ourselves is negative — “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t do this,” “Nobody cares about me,” — a situation that is only magnified in times of stress and duress, like now. While Passover is the time to get rid of our chametz (bread products), perhaps it can also serve as the time to get rid of our unhelpful, negative thoughts. By cleaning our minds, we can move into a new

kind of freedom. After all, true freedom rests in our internal life, regardless of our external circumstances. That’s true for our ancestors who were slaves in Egypt; that’s also true for parents who feel enslaved to the never-ending responsibilities of child rearing, as well as for each of us who now feels enslaved to the vigilance needed to combat Covid. Ultimately we become free when we are able to become the master of our minds. As Victor Frankl, psychologist, Holocaust survivor, and author of the book Man’s Search for Meaning taught, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” We are living through some dark times, and there is much uncertainty. How we navigate this experience is up to each of us. How we think about our current reality is our decision. Despite the unknowns, we can choose to fill our minds with hopeful thoughts, or we can choose to fill our minds with negativity and fear. We can choose to focus on what we do have, or we can choose to give attention to what we do not have. We can wake each morning and count our blessings, or we can begin our days in angst and anxiety. We are not able to change the fact that we are living in a pandemic, but we can change how we relate to it, how we experience it, and what we feed our minds. On March 27, our family and friends may not be joining us, but we each have the freedom to link ourselves to the millenniaold chain of our ancestors, reminding ourselves that we have survived and will continue to survive. We each have the freedom to be the master of our own minds, creating our inner dialogues. These times are exceptionally challenging. But know that it is ultimately up to us how we experience Passover and parenting in a pandemic. May we choose to paint our inner landscapes with beauty, blessings, and gratitude.


Happy Passover

A sweet and joyous Passover Helene Gordon

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Warm Passover Greetings from Joel & Judi Guggenheimer

Julie & Adam Waldman, Noah, Zoe & Oscar

Our warmest wishes for a joyous Passover

Wishing you a sweet Zoom connection and an even

We wish the Dayton Jewish community a very happy Passover

sweeter Pesach!

A sweet and joyous Passover

Steve & Sandy Forsythe

Sylvia Blum & Family

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

A sweet and joyous Passover

Dottie Engelhardt

Cory & Sharon Lemmon

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Susan & David Joffe

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Howard & Judy Abromowitz & Family

The Gaglione Family

Linda & Steve Horenstein

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Our warmest wishes for a joyous Passover

Warm Passover greetings from

Susan & Joe Gruenberg & Family Our warmest wishes for a joyous Passover Matt & Elaine Arnovitz

K.W. Baker & Associates

Frieda Blum

A sweet and joyous Passover

A sweet and joyous Passover

Alan & Becky Elovitz

Sondra Kulback

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Jeff & Nancy Gordon

Martin & Joan Holzinger

Esther & DeNeal Feldman

Judi & George Grampp

Our warmest wishes for a joyous Passover

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover

Our warmest wishes for a joyous Passover

Tara & Adam Feiner

Lynn Foster

Ron & Shirlee Gilbert

A sweet and joyous Passover

Best wishes to all for a Happy Passover Dena Briskin

A sweet and joyous Passover Celia B. Diamond

Helen Ross



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Paula Shoyer’s gift this Passover: Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook Just in time for Passover, kosher cooking maven/author Paula Shoyer’s Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook is now in print from Sterling Epicure. With 46 kosher-for-Passover recipes alone, from soups and salads to appetizers, sides to main courses and desserts — a number of which are vegetarian, vegan and gluten free — this is the time to pull out that Instant Pot you received as a gift and were afraid to use. A pastry chef who trained in France, Shoyer is the author of The Kosher Baker, The Holiday Kosher Baker, The Healthy Jewish Kitchen, and The New Passover Menu. She calls the Instant Pot revolutionary, “ideal for any-

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one who wants food fast with less cleanup.” Shoyer adds it’s especially helpful “when you already have every burner going and three more pots waiting to take their turn. Now I can check off items on my cooking to-do list much faster, with equally fast cleanup in between.” Recipes that used to take hours, Shoyer notes, now take a fraction of the time. In The Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook, Shoyer provides detailed directions for how to cook Paula Shoyer with your Instant Pot, safety rules, and insider tricks. Georgian Quinoa with Beets Each recipe indicates Instant and Walnuts Pot pressure time, which butIn the summer of 2018, food tons to use, and release type. writer Jessica Halfin took me For those who keep kosher, on a kosher street food tour Shoyer says you’ll need at least of Haifa, Israel and we shot a one Instant Pot just for Passvideo of the tour. She took me over. to bakeries, a boureka place, For year-round use, opinand a fruit shop. My favorite ions vary among rabbis about savory stop was Baribcek, a whether an Instant Pot may be small restaurant where I tasted used for both dairy and meat. this salad. They also serve a Though she has Instant Pots sabich bowl of warm hummus, for dairy and meat year-round fried eggplant, chickpeas, and in her kitchen, she emphasizes tahini that rocked my world. “you should always consult your own rabbinic authority on Gluten-Free, Pareve, Vegan matters of kashrut.” Hands-on time: five minutes, Here is a full kosher-forquinoa and beets need 10 Passover menu from The minutes to cool Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook by Time to pressure: eight to nine Paula Shoyer. minutes — Marshall Weiss Cooking time: 0 minutes Bill Milne

Beth Abraham Synagogue Original configuration of Beth Abraham’s Passover window by A. Raymond Katz. Photo: Dr. Mike Jaffe.


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Georgian Quinoa with Beets and Walnuts


FOOD Button to use: Pressure Cook Release type: Natural Release for 10 minutes Advance prep: May be made two days in advance Serves six to eight

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1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained 11/2 cups water 1 medium beet, peeled and cut into 1/4- to 1/3inch pieces (wear gloves!) 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 stalk celery, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces 4 green onions, sliced thinly on an angle 2/3 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley Whole Peruvian Spiced Chicken 1 Tbsp. lemon Release type: Natural Release juice, from half of 1 lemon for 15 Minutes 1/2 tsp. cumin Buttons to use: Sauté and 1/4 tsp. salt Pressure Cook 1/4 tsp. black pepper Advance prep: May be made 11/2 cups walnut halves, two days in advance chopped roughly Serves four to six Place the quinoa, water, and 4 tsp. cumin beets into the inner pot and stir. 1 Tbsp. paprika Secure the lid, ensuring that 2 tsp. garlic powder the steam release handle is in 1/4 tsp. salt the Sealing position. Press the 1/4 tsp. black pepper Pressure Cook button and set 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive the cooking time for 0 minutes. oil, divided When the cooking time is com1 whole chicken, about 3-4 plete, let sit for 10 minutes to lbs. naturally release the pressure. 1 cup boiling water Turn the steam release handle 1 Tbsp. potato starch to the Venting position to release any remaining pressure. In a small bowl, combine the Press Cancel and remove cumin, paprika, garlic powder, the lid. Stir and then place the salt, and pepper. Drizzle one quinoa and beets into a large tablespoon of the oil over the bowl and let cool for at least chicken and rub to coat. Shake 10 minutes. Add the oil, celery, the spice mixture onto the green onions, parsley, lemon chicken and rub all over. juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and Press Sauté and when the walnuts. Mix well. Serve at display reads “Hot,” add the room temperature. remaining oil. Place the chicken into the inner pot, breast-side Whole Peruvian down, and cook for four minSpiced Chicken utes, or until browned. Turn This super-easy spice comover and brown for another bination is easy to double or four minutes. Remove the triple and have on hand for chicken to a plate. chicken, steak, or fish. The Add the boiling water to the mix of spices comes from our pot and use a wooden spoon wonderful nanny, Betty Supo. to scrape the bottom of the pot She is from Arequipa, Peru, clean. Place the steam rack into and has nourished our family the pot, and place the chicken for many years. on the rack, breast-side up. Secure the lid, ensuring that Gluten-Free, Meat the steam release handle is in Hands-on time: 17 minutes the Sealing position. Press the Time to pressure: 10 minutes Pressure Cook button and set Cooking time: 25 minutes

the cooking time for 25 minutes. When the cooking time is complete, let the pot sit for another 15 minutes to naturally release the pressure. Turn the steam release handle to the Venting position to release any remaining pressure. Press Cancel. Remove the lid, take out the chicken, and place onto a serving platter. Press Sauté and cook the drippings for four minutes or more, to reduce the sauce. To thicken the sauce further, you can scoop up about a quarter cup of the drippings into a small bowl, add the potato starch, mix, and return to the pot and stir. Cut the chicken into serving pieces. Pour some sauce over the chicken and serve the remaining sauce in a bowl alongside. If you make this the day before you are serving it, you can remove the fat from the reserved sauce before reheating.




Happy Passover

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Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce I try very hard not to waste produce. This recipe was created when I had dying cherry tomatoes in my fridge that needed to be used up. Try to find ways to cook ingredients you already have before going out to buy more. I realize that this recipe has a step outside of the Instant Pot, but my goal was to have the sauce ready by the time the squash was cooked.



Gluten-free, pareve, vegan Hands-on time: 15 minutes Time to pressure: six minutes Cooking time: nine minutes Button to use: Pressure Cook Release type: Quick Release Advance prep: May be made two days in advance Serves six to eight 1 cup water 1 spaghetti squash, about 2½ lbs., cut in half horizontally and seeds scooped out 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 3 large cloves garlic, finely minced 2 lbs. cherry tomatoes, different colors preferably, Continued on next page


Happy Passover from The Dayton Jewish Observer



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halved the long way 1/4 tsp. kosher salt generous pinch Aleppo pepper or freshly ground black pepper

Mocha Lava Cakes Lava cakes are probably one of the most popular desserts served at events I attend. Everyone loves the cake outside and gooey inside. Because most recipes are designed for the cakes to be eaten very soon after they come out of the oven, lava cakes aren’t Shabbatfriendly. Purely by accident I created these. I unmolded one and found it much too gooey, which meant I had to test it again. I left the others on my counter and unmolded them after dinner, many hours later, and found the texture perfect. You can make these before Shabbat and enjoy them for dessert or make in advance of any dinner party or event. Pareve or Dairy, Gluten-Free Hands-on time: 12 Minutes to cook in batches, plus 30 Minutes to cool Time to pressure: seven minutes Cooking time: seven minutes Button to use: Pressure Cook Release type: Quick Release Advance prep: May be made four hours in advance Serves six

Place the water into the inner pot and insert the steam rack. Place the squash halves on top of the rack. Secure the lid, ensuring that the steam release handle is in the Sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook button and 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, set the cooking time for nine chopped minutes. 1⁄2 cup coconut oil, Meanwhile, in large frying margarine, or butter pan, heat the oil over medium 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. instant heat. Add the garlic and cook coffee granules for one minute, or until a few 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract pieces start to color. Add the 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa tomatoes and continue cook2 large eggs plus 2 yolks ing for seven to nine minutes, 1⁄2 cup sugar or until most of the tomatoes 1⁄3 cup potato starch break down and you have a spray oil sauce. 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. water, Stir occasionally. The mixdivided ture should bubble the entire time. Add the salt and pepper You will need six 6-ounce and turn off the heat. ramekins. Place the chocolate When the squash cookand coconut oil into a heating time is complete, turn the proof bowl and microwave for steam release handle to the one minute, stir, and then melt Venting position to quickly refor another 45 seconds, stir, and lease the pressure. Press Cancel then for 30 seconds if needed, and remove the lid. until melted. Add the instant Use a large fork to lift up coffee, vanilla, and cocoa and the squash halves into a colander and let cool for two minutes, or until you can handle them; I lift them with a dish towel. Use the fork to scrape the threads of the squash into the frying pan. Turn the sauce back on to medium heat. Use a fork to mix the squash into the sauce. When it is all mixed in, cook for two minutes. Taste and add Mocha Lava Cake more salt if needed.

whisk in. Place the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix at low speed to combine and then turn the speed up to high and beat for three minutes. Add the potato starch and beat at low speed to just combine. Add the melted chocolate mixture and whisk gently until combined. Spray the ramekins with spray oil. Divide the batter among the prepared ramekins, a heaping half cup for each mold. Place the water into the inner pot and insert the steam rack. Place three of the ramekins in a circle around the rack. Secure the lid, ensuring that the steam release handle is in the Sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook button and set the cooking time for seven minutes. When the cooking time is complete, press Cancel. Turn the steam release handle to the Venting position to quickly release the pressure. Carefully remove the ramekins from the pot. Add another two tablespoons of water to the pot and cook the remaining three cakes as you did the first batch. It will take about two minutes for the Instant Pot to return to pressure. Let the cakes cool for at least 30 minutes before unmolding. To unmold, run a thin knife or small metal spatula around the edge of the cake, place a plate on top, and turn the cake onto the plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired and serve with fruit. Melting chocolate Place chocolate chopped into half-inch pieces into a microwave-safe bowl, such as a large glass bowl. Make sure you have discarded every tiny piece of foil that wrapped the chocolate. Heat for one minute at high power, or 45 seconds to start if you have less than 10 ounces of chocolate. Remove the bowl from the microwave Bill Milne and stir well, mixing the melted pieces into the unmelted ones for about 30 seconds. Heat for another 45 or 30 seconds and stir again for about one minute. If the chocolate is not fully melted, heat for another 30 seconds and stir. Repeat for 15 seconds if necessary. Be sure to have oven mitts on hand to hold the bowl when you stir it.



Seas and skies

scientists estimate nearly their ancient mythological 90 percent of ocean species divinity, according to some aren’t yet classified. commentators. Winged insects are a bit However, tannin better off, with 20 percent also has the meaning documented to date, and of “stretched” or “eloncreep, with which the waters birds are nearly complete. gated” which, together swarmed, and all winged fowl But that doesn’t mean with notions of creeping after their kind. And God saw there’s nothing left to wonthat this was good. God blessed and swarming, embraces der. Some birds navigate aquatic creatures such them, saying, “Be fertile and by the stars when migratas crocodiles, sea turtles, increase, fill the waters in the ing. In fact, birds raised frogs and salamanders. seas, and let the fowl increase from eggs inside a buildThus, the biblical naron the earth! And there was ing where they have never rative begins to look less evening, and there was mornseen the sky can orient disjointed and much more ing, a fifth day (Gen. 1:20-23 themselves toward home like the familiar evolutionJPS, with modifications from when shown an image of ary story. Everett Fox’s translation). any part of the nighttime Painted with very broad Creation makes a quansky, and arrive right where brushstrokes, the sequence tum leap on the fifth day. It and when expected. How of animal development introduces living creatures to do they do that? continues with the oph, the waters below and above, How do we navigate? reprises the Hebrew word bara, awkwardly translated as The Creation of Fish and Birds, Gustave Doré, What is our north star? fowl. In biblical Hebrew, create, and adds a blessing. circa 1868 How can we treat every oph denotes all flying At the same time it hints at creature as a nefesh chayah, a creatures, not just birds, future discoveries in science animal kingdoms, notes Rabbi living soul? and reduces the great ruling sea and includes aquatic flying Menachem Leibtag. Do we recognize a transcenserpents of ancient mythologies insects such as mosquitoes and “Whereas self-produced to ordinary animals of the deep. dragonflies, again paralleling seeds allow vegetation to repro- dent Creator, or make gods out Day five opens with a majes- the scientific record. duce itself, the animal kingdom of creation? When do we recognize and God sees Creation becoming requires mating for reproductic overview of Earth’s waters bless the diversity of life in our more orderly and diverse, wafilled with remarkable animate tion, and thus the need for world? ters swarming with an immense God’s blessing of pru u’rvu (be beings that, unlike the earlier What do we believe reprevariety of living creatures, and vegetation, contain a living fertile and increase).” sents God’s creativity in the soul, a nefesh chayah. Wholly un- the toppling of ancient mythoIt’s a double blessing: the world? Where do we look for precedented, these living beings logical divinities, and problessing of reproducing and represent a radically new stage nounces it all good. carrying on the species, and the goodness in our world? What can we learn about Then, for the first time ever, of Creation. blessing of carrying forward navigating from Bereshit, GenGod blesses Creation, so the This novelty is captured by God’s creative power. esis? living creatures will be fruitful the Hebrew word bara, as in The diversity and complexThe fifth day of Creation is and multiply and fill the seas “God created” or “God inity of living creatures just in the and skies. troduced an absolutely new waters of earth is breathtaking. a quantum leap. Perhaps we could consider taking a single Here we see a stark differthing,” dormant since the first Untold numbers of aquatic step. ence between the plant and verse of Genesis. animals are yet undiscovered; All these living creatures, according to the text, are the result of God’s creative command, not spontaneous generation from the divine waters as in ancient Near Eastern mythologies. Explicitly singled out in the text as God’s creations are the sea serpents — in Hebrew, tannin — expressly for the purpose of stripping them of

Considering Creation

Nothing can convey the rich diversity of creatures in the seas and skies quite like swimming in the Gulf of Mexico alongside a languorous whale shark the length of a standard school bus. And then glimpsing a thumb-sized ruby-throated hummingbird with its frenzied wings ablur as it flits through the garden.

Candace R. Kwiatek Or consider the sponge, a sea animal that has no head, mouth, eyes, feelers, bones, heart, lungs or brain. Or the female codfish, which can lay nine million eggs in a year. Or the arctic tern that annually migrates from pole to pole, a 56,000 mile round trip. Or the vulture, whose stomach acid is so corrosive it can digest carcasses infected with anthrax. As Creation progresses from flora to fauna, the world becomes infinitely more complex. By the fifth day, Earth’s infrastructure is complete and its biosphere is in place: solar bodies for light, heat, and energy; an oxygen-rich atmosphere; a self-sustaining water cycle; three major habitats; and vegetation ready to support more advanced life. God said, “Let the waters swarm with a swarm of living creatures, and let fowl fly above the earth, across the expanse of the sky!” God created the great sea serpents and all the living creatures of every kind that

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Literature to share Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America by Debbie Cenziper. Is he just a retired potato chip salesman or a former Nazi? Citizen 865 follows the investigation of Nazi hunters in America’s cities and suburbs seeking to unmask the men of Trawniki, the most lethal operation in the Holocaust during which 1.7 million Jews were murdered in just two summers. Chapters on Poland’s history and the U.S. Nazi investigations alternate, narrated like a novel through key characters in their stories. The storyline is gripping, as are the center photos of key figures and moments in this story. Such a Library! A Yiddish Folktale Re-Imagined by Jill Ross Nadler. Stevie’s favorite part of the library was the quiet. But soon the page-turning, storytelling, and computer clacking seemed as noisy as a party, so he went to complain. “A party?” said the librarian. “Wonderful idea.” She opened a book and out popped balloons and hats and horns...This cumulative tale, a modern version of the man in his crowded house, is an absolute delight. A wonderful tale for the preschool set.

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Happy Passover PAGE 27


Finding religion in delis, museums

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March 8 -11 5:00 p.m - 6:00 p.m. Join us on a virtual tour of Israel! We will spend four evenings exploring the Desert, Galilee, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. During the tour, you’ll be able to ask questions and comment with Muki Jankelowitz, one of Israel’s best tour guides. Muki was Temple Israel’s guide when we visited two years ago. Even if you’ve visited Israel before, there will be something new to see and learn. Register at or call the Temple office. Suggested donation of $36 per person will go towards Temple’s summer camp scholarship fund. Temple Israel • • 937.496.0050 130 Riverside Drive, Dayton, OH 45405 A Reform Synagogue open to all who are interested in Judaism. All services and events are virtual until further notice. PAGE 28

By Alix Wall, j. The Jewish News of Northern California Rachel B. Gross can pinpoint the exact moment the idea for her book was planted. It was when one of her undergrad professors introduced herself as “an anthropologist of Jews.” “I just thought that was the coolest thing possible, that you could study contemporary Jews for a living,” Gross said. “I wanted to grow up to be that, to study living people and the ordinary things they did.” It was the genesis for what started as a master’s thesis, developed into her doctoral dissertation and then, after many revisions, into a book, just published by NYU Press. Beyond the Synagogue: Jewish Nostalgia as Religious Practice grew out of Gross’ interest in historic synagogues that now function as museums Rachel B. Gross and what people feel while in those spaces, especially about community and family. That interest expanded to include “material culture” — the study of people and their stuff, how they use it to tell stories, what meaning it holds for them, and how they buy, sell, and create it. In other words, nostalgia. “I think nostalgia is a really useful word that gets at our longing for the past,” said Gross. “It connects us to our families and bigger histories.” Gross, 35, who came to the Bay Area in 2016, is an assistant professor and the John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University, where her course topics range from U.S. Jewish history to Jewish food and Jews in popular culture. For her book, Gross wanted to look at the Jews today who are connecting deeply to their Judaism but in nontraditional ways. They may not attend synagogue, but they have a religious experience nonetheless through other vehicles. In addition to synagoguesturned-museums, she focused on how Jews learn about their ancestors through genealogy, the study of Jewish foodways, and how children learn about Jewish nostalgia through books and toys. You can absolutely go to synagogue regularly, and (also) find meaning in a deli. In one example, the immensely popular American Girl company created a

Russian Jewish immigrant doll from the Lower East Side as part of its historical series, which had enormous power in shaping a narrative familiar to many Jewish families while introducing it to non-Jewish consumers, too. “These kinds of institutions are not ones we normally think about when we think about the institutions that shape Jewish lives,” she said. “But what happens when we do take them seriously as public institutions?” The food section Gary Sexton opens with an anecdote from Saul’s Delicatessen & Restaurant. It’s coincidental, since Gross had never been to the Berkeley food institution and did her initial research by phone before she knew she’d be moving to the Bay Area. Boichik Bagels in Berkeley is also mentioned, as is Wise Sons Deli. Gross writes about the new Jewish food movement, explaining for example how Jewish delis straddle the line between wanting to replicate dishes customers crave as they remember them versus adapting tastes to new, healthier versions. One of Gross’ favorite anecdotes is about the dilemma Saul’s owners Peter Levitt and Karen Adelman faced over their pickles. They were committed to making their own full-sour and half-sour pickles in-house, with locally grown produce, which meant sticking to the cucumber growing season — even though they knew not every customer would understand the farm-to-table thinking behind why they couldn’t always have a pickle with their pastrami. Gross has given numerous public lectures in the Bay Area, with Jewish food as a regular topic, and she teaches a class at S.F. State called Food Fights: The Politics of U.S. Jewish Consumption. But she said food represents only a quarter of her research in the book. And, in fact, food is only one of the ways people are finding Jewish meaning outside of synagogues or institutional life. Gross found that level of observance does not necessarily dictate their choices as they embrace different paths to Jewish practice. “I think of religion in terms of the ways we create meaning that connects us to our families, communities, and the larger narratives in history, particularly those that connect us to these big stories,” she said. “You can absolutely go to synagogue regularly, and (also) find meaning in a deli. People can find great meaning in performing everyday activities.”



What became of Queen Vashti? By Laura Paull, j. The Jewish News of Northern California Anna Solomon’s third novel, The Book of V., follows several women in different time periods whose lives offer interpretive windows into the biblical stories of Esther and Vashti. One character is Lily Rubenstein, a young wife and mother in contemporary Brooklyn, who struggles internally with her chosen status as a stay-athome parent and as her husband’s second wife. Their two daughters’ repeated requests for her to read aloud a picture book about Esther, and the need to make their costumes for a Purim celebration, kick off the novel’s central inquiry in Chapter 1: How are we to understand the complicated story of Esther today? And how are women’s lives like, or unlike, that of the Jewish teenager who became a queen against her will? Another character, the young wife of an ambitious, young U.S. senator in the early 1970s, wonders if she really chose her own marriage. Vivian (“Vee”) Barr was born into WASP privilege, mak-

ing her selection of a mate obvious and automatic. But Vee’s identity in relation to her husband is thrown into question when he asks her to do something in the interests of his career that is every bit as outrageous as King Ahashverus’ demand of Vashti. Additionally, Vee’s civic complacency is disturbed when a cross is burned on the lawn of her best friend, who has married a Jew. With the burgeoning women’s movement swirling around her, Vee wades deep into a process of self-definition that asks, radically, what she needs to feel whole, and whether she can stand on her own. The narratives of Lily and Vee are interspersed with an imaginative interpretation of the story of Vashti and Esther, anchoring the novel. Esther’s predecessor, Queen Vashti, is shrouded in mystery. “I don’t know what happened to Vashti. The book doesn’t say. Nobody knows,” Lily explains lamely to her little daughters in the contemporary segment. The JCC Cultural Arts & Book Series partnering with Hadassah presents Anna Solomon via Zoom, 6 p.m., Monday, March 1. Free. Register at jewishdayton. org/program/cultural-arts-and-bookseries.

But when Solomon recreates the ancient world at the height of Persian power — when Esther’s people were a hardscrabble, migratory lot, and when Esther finds herself sequestered in the royal palace — it becomes pretty clear what happens to Anna Solomon, author of The Book of V. women who disobey. Esther’s extraorThe Book of V. brings a fresh eye to the dinary efforts to warn her Jewish tribe Book of Esther. In a piece in Tablet, the about their imminent destruction is author noted that “what seems a clearheartrending because she wins back cut tale of good and evil is not so clear her stolen integrity at the cost of selfwhen you look a little closer…All the sacrifice. categories that seemed so fixed when I The book “gives voice to generawas a kid turn out to be far more fluid, tions of women bookending at least 2½ as most of us — if we’re honest — know millennia,” said Noa Albaum, program them in fact to be.” coordinator for San Franicsco’s Jewish Solomon pays particular attention Community Library. “These voices call to the enigmatic figure of Vashti, who attention to, and speak out against, sowas banished — possibly killed — by cietal structures of power, domination, Ahashverus after she refused to appear and oppression. The characters who without clothes before the king and his hope for and champion the desire for drunken companions. Commentators partnership-based societies, despite the have long sought to fill in the details, obstacles they face, provide hope and and Solomon offers her own complex inspiration for Lily and for the reader. and sympathetic take on this and the And they remind us that as far as we’ve intertwining of Vashti and Esther’s come, we still have a lot of work to do.” experiences.



George Shultz, secretary Shlomo Hillel, who spearheaded of state who pressed for mass aliyah of Iraqi Jews, dies at 97 freedom for refuseniks, dies that killed 241 U.S. military By Ron Kampeas, JTA personnel. Shultz had served in George Shultz, the Reagan administration secretary of state the Pacific as a Marine in World War II. who made it his mission to Shultz strongly advocated bring about freedom for Soviet preventive measures to stop Jewry, died Feb. 6 at 100. terrorism, quoting among others Shultz was a moderate a rising young Israeli political Republican who in a number star, Benjamin Netanyahu. of economic Cabinet positions Shultz’s diplomacy led to during the Nixon presidency Yasser Arafat’s recognition of Isadvanced affirmative action as rael in 1988, although it did not redress for discrimination. lead to talks for at least another He was the rare instance three years. of a Nixon Cabinet secretary Shultz’s passion was his who emerged from that administration squeaky clean: As advocacy for Soviet Jews. He was among the doves Treasury secretary, in the Reagan adminShultz stood beistration who sided tween Nixon and the with the president in president’s desire to nuclear disarmament harass his opponents talks with the USSR, with the Internal but he leveraged that Revenue Service. influence on behalf of Shultz left the Soviet Jews. Nixon Cabinet in Shultz said a high1974 and joined the light of his career was oil industry serthe surprise Passover vices giant Bechtel, Seder he convened eventually becoming George Shultz in 1987 at the U.S. president. Embassy in Moscow, to which Reagan tapped Shultz to he invited refuseniks, or Jewish be secretary of state in 1982 dissidents seeking permission to after Alexander Haig’s career emigrate to Israel. imploded over his incautious In 1988, shortly before battles with colleagues. completing his turn in the job, One of Haig’s perceived indiscretions was to defend Israel he said that when Ida Nudel, too fiercely, including in the war who attended the Seder, called that Israel launched in Lebanon six months later from Israel, he teared up. that year. “Mr. Secretary, this is Ida Shultz’s blank slate on Israel and his dealings as an executive Nudel, I’m home,” he recalled with Saudi Arabia immediately her saying. Abraham Foxman, the retired sparked wariness among the director of the Anti-Defamation pro-Israel community. League, called Shultz a “great He soon calmed the waters. statesman.” Shultz was an enthusiastic “His alarm about terrorism’s proponent of Reagan’s deterthreat to democracy alerted the mination to calm tensions in world,” Foxman said on Twitter. Lebanon, but he also stood firm against terrorism, and was “His hosting a Passover Seder for refuseniks in Moscow was rattled by the 1983 bombing of historic.” the Marine barracks in Beirut

By Ron Kampeas, JTA Shlomo Hillel’s life spanned the length and breadth of Israel’s immigrant story and he played a critical role in many of its chapters. Hillel, who died Feb. 8 at 97, helped smuggle Iraqi Jewish immigrants into prestate British Mandate Palestine and then brought more in, in the state’s first years. His family fled Iraq’s horrors and he married a woman fleeing Europe’s horrors. His son married an Ethiopian Israeli, whose aliyah Hillel, as a minister in the government, greenlighted. A New York Times obituary detailed how Hillel, who was born in Baghdad, executed at least four undercover operations in the pre-and post-state years in various guises — including as a British businessman — to spirit out Iraqi Jews. In one instance, negotiating with the then-Iraqi prime minister, Tawfiq al-Suwaidi, a cousin of Hillel’s joined the meeting. The cousin did not recognize Hillel. Altogether, Hillel was responsible for the aliyah of at least 120,000 Iraqi Jews, saving an ancient community from predations that would follow when Saddam Hussein became dictator in the late 1960s and targeted the tiny remnant with persecution and executions. There are fewer than 100 Jews left in Iraq. “He came from a great generation, a generation that fought with its hands for Israel’s independence and its existence as a safe haven for the Jewish people,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, as saying. “He worked to bring immigrants to Israel from the Middle East in varying and many ways, both openly and in secret, and many owe them their

immigration and ensuing lives in this country.” In the first few decades of Israel’s existence, Hillel was one of the few Mizrahi Jews who climbed the ranks of Israel’s ruling party and become a cabinet member. In Golda Meir’s government, he served as minister of police, the one portfolio informally reserved for Mizrahi politicians in those days. Because the bulk of Israel’s Jewish citizens were Mizrahi at this point, Hillel appeared to critics as an ethnic token that belied the lack of proportionate representation in government. As the country’s minister of police through the early 1970s, Hillel happened to be serving when Israel’s Black Shlomo Hillel Panther movement emerged to challenge the hegemony of Ashkenazi Israelis. He presided over the police’s repression of the movement. The Black Panthers repeatedly attacked Hillel in the press, including through an open letter that called him the government’s “black collaborator.” Hillel moved to prestate Palestine in the 1930s after his father witnessed troops celebrating the massacre of hundreds of Assyrian Christians and wondered whether Jews would be next. They soon were: A Naziinspired pogrom in 1941 murdered hundreds of Jews. Hillel married Temima Rosner, a refugee from Vienna. His son, Ari, married an Ethiopian immigrant, Enatmar Salam, whom he met in college. They eventually realized that Ari’s father had greenlighted Salam’s

aliyah when he was interior minister in 1977. Ari Hillel, delivering a eulogy for his father, called that a miracle. “How many times has a person been rewarded for his actions already in this world?” he said. Hillel is survived by his son and three granddaughters. His wife died in 2011 and his daughter Hagar, a noted researcher into the Arab Jewish press, died in 2005. Even not taking into account his critical role in bringing Iraqi Jews to Israel, Hillel’s career placed him at every juncture of Israel’s birth and growth. He was at various times a spy for the Mossad, a founder of a kibbutz, a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party, the Knesset’s speaker, the chairman of United Israel Appeal, a member of the pre-state Haganah militia, and an ambassador to a number of African countries. His thirst for public service was never quenched. Merav Michaeli, the recently elected head of the Labor Party, asked him not long ago to take an honorary slot on its list ahead of the March elections — parties traditionally reserve unrealistic spots for elder statesmen. Hillel accepted on Feb. 4. “Last Thursday, Shlomo Hillel joined the party list to close it out ahead of the next Knesset election, and tonight he is gone,” Michaeli wrote on Twitter on Feb. 8. Asaf Shalev contributed to this report.

Hershel Shanks, popularizer of biblical archaeology, dies at 90 By Andrew Silow-Carroll, JTA Hershel Shanks, the one-time publisher and editor of Moment magazine and a powerhouse in the popularization of biblical archaeology, has died at 90. He died Feb. 5 at his home in Washington, D.C., from Covid-19, his daughter told The Washington Post. An attorney by training, in 1975 he started Biblical Archaeology Review, a Washington-based magazine that reached more than 250,000 subscribers at its peak in the early 2000s. The magazine took scholarly works on Middle East history and archaeology and adapted them for a popular audience with titles like Did a Rolling Stone Close Jesus’ Tomb? and What We Don’t Know About Moses and the Exodus. Readers ranged from devout Jews to evan-


gelical Christians. en books on biblical archaeology and other Shanks and the magazine’s affiliated topics, and also founded two other magaBiblical Archaeology Society also played zines, Bible Review and Archaeology Odyssey. an advocacy role in the field itself, espeIn a 2015 essay he reflected on the sabbaticially in leading a successful campaign to cal year he took in Israel in 1972 that inspired “free the Dead Sea Scrolls” from a small him to launch Biblical Archaeology Review. circle of scholars who had exclusive ac“When our extraordinary year in Jerusacess to the ancient Jewish religious manulem was over, we came back to the States, scripts found in the Judean Desert. and I returned to practicing law. But I wantIn 1987 Shanks bought Moment, a ed to maintain some connection with Israel. bimonthly magazine of Jewish ideas and Hershel Shanks We felt part of the community,” he wrote. “I opinions that had been founded 11 years before by Elie didn’t want to go back now simply as a tourist, with Wiesel and the writer Leonard Fein. He ran the maga- nothing to do but see sights we had seen before and zine until 2004. say hello to old friends. I wanted some business in Shanks was the author or editor of more than a doz- Israel.”


OBITUARIES Morton L. Epstein, age 80 of Dayton, passed away peacefully Feb. 2 at Hospice of Dayton. Mr. Epstein joined the Air Force after high school to pursue his passion for meteorology. He spent most of his working years as the building manager at Front Street. He was a lifelong fan of baseball and enjoyed working on his stamp collection. Mr. Epstein was preceded in death by his loving wife, Patricia; parents, Joseph and Sarah; and brother, Larry. He is survived by his daughter, Amy; son, Joseph; grandchildren, Sarah and James; great-grandchildren, Abel and Wyatt; and many nieces and nephews. Interment was in Cincinnati. Memorial contributions may be made to your favorite charity in his memory.

his loving and devoted wife of 39 years, Roberta S. (Bobbi) Mugford of Fairborn; sisters, Louise (Ted) Hager of Dallas; Myrna (Charles) Baldwin of Lubbock, Texas; children, Murray F. (Darlene) Mugford of Spring, Texas; Samuel A. Mugford of EI Paso; Andrea B. (Craig) Self of Johns Island, Charleston, S.C., Jeffrey L. (Diana) Robins of Springfield, Ohio; and Col. Benjamin S. (Jennifer) Robins, MacDill AFB, Tampa; mother of his sons, Lucy S. Mugford, Waco; grandchildren, Tara (Bobby) Moretine of Tonganoxie, Kan., Skye and Angus Mugford of Lakeway, Texas, Danielle (Ian) Nelsen, of Spring, Texas, Nicole (Jason) Stoner, Pine Hurst, Texas, Joshua A. Self and Anna Kate Self, Centerville, Ohio, Kristin A. Robins, Shannon (Shane) Shafer and Florence Heller (nee Rickey Fuller all of Springfield, Maybruck), age 98 (born Ohio, Noah, Sadie and Stella March 16, 1922), of Beachwood Robins, MacDill AFB,Tampa; (formerly of Dayton), passed 11 great-grandchildren; many away Jan. 29 at Maltz Hospice. nieces, nephews, cousins, Mrs. Heller was a longtime brothers and sisters in-law. resident of Dayton and a Col. Mugford graduated from member of Beth Abraham Schreiner Military Institute, Synagogue. She was preceded Kerrville, Texas in 1951 and in death by her beloved was an ROTC graduate of husband of 66 years, Larry, in Baylor University enlisting in 2010 and son Elliott in 2014. the USAF in 1955 where he Mrs. Heller is survived by her spent 30 years active duty in son, Mark Heller of St. Louis; the Medical Service Corp as a son and daughter-in-law Brian hospital administrator. He also and Renee Heller of Pepper held a master’s degree from Ball Pike; grandchildren Michelle State University. Tours of duty (Mark) Rothbaum of Shaker were in Okinawa, Vietnam, Heights, Scott (Jaclyn) Heller Europe, and the U.S. He retired and Jeffrey (Rachel) Heller, both in 1985 from Warner Robins of Solon; great-grandchildren, AFB, Ga. and was instrumental Esther and Oliver Rothbaum, in developing the Houston Aiden, Danielle, and Sloane County Hospice in Warner Heller, and Jacob and Ryan Heller; other relatives and friends. Interment was at Beth Abraham Cemetery. Contributions in Mrs. Heller’s memory may be made to B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue, 27501 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44124 or the charity of your choice.

Robins. He also volunteered at Hunt Elementary School in Macon, Ga. and gave many hours to Boy Scouting there. Returning to Fairborn he was again pulled by his desire to give back to the community and became a volunteer for the internal medicine clinics of the 88th Medical Group; the Retiree Activities Office; active board member of Dayton Chapter of MOAA; leadership roles in Boy Scout Troop 72 of Fairborn and the Tecumseh Council. Col. Mugford was a life member of the Medical Service Corps Association of the Air Force, life member of National MOAA, life member of the American Legion, VFW, Medical Service Corps Association of the Air Force, Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, 65-year member of the George M. Denton #24 Blue Lodge, Waco. He was a member of Jewish War Veterans Post 587, Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton, and an active member of Temple Sholom, Springfield, Ohio. Col. Mugford spent his Air Force career in health care and chose to donate his body to the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine Anatomical Gift Program. Internment will be at the Dayton VA cemetery with full military honors.

Irving. Mrs. Serelson is survived by her daughters and sonsin-law, Linda Weisenberg and Bobby Goldberg of Cleveland, Judith and Charles Miller of Israel, and Joni and Ed McDonald of Florida; sons and daughters-in-law, Gary and Amy of Florida, and David and Ruth of Wyoming; sister, Sylvia Lewis of Akron; brother, Don Davidson of Las Vegas; 13 grandchildren; 11 greatgrandchildren; and many other relatives and friends. Mrs. Serelson devoted her life to her family, friends, and community. She never missed a single grandchild’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah, always the belle of the ball at every family event. Mrs. Serelson was a giving and caring member of the Jewish community. She gave her time

and her faith to those who needed it. The family traditions she valued so highly and never once missed out on were always full of love, light, and laughter and will continue to live on for generations to come. Interment was at Beth Abraham Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Chabad of West Boynton Beach in Mrs. Serelson’s memory.

Happy Passover

Marilyn E. Serelson, age 91 of Lake Worth, Fla., formerly of Dayton, passed away Feb. 4. Mrs. Serelson was the membership director for the Jewish Community Center in Dayton. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband,

Wishing You Happy Passover.

Col. Frank M. Mugford USAF Ret. 1930 - 2020. Col. Frank M. Mugford (USAF Ret.) passed away Dec. 7 at Traditions of Beavercreek. He was born Dec. 14, 1930 in Houston to Jeannie L. and Frank M. Mugford, who preceded him in death. Col. Mugford is survived by


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