The Dayton Jewish Observer, July 2022

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Remember thedesigns time capsule? We opened the JCC’s p. 6 David Moss Grace After Mealsitinforcomic bookcentennial form p. 22

THE DAYTON Published by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton

July 2022 Tammuz/Av 5782 Vol. 26, No. 11

OBSERVER

The Miami Valley’s Jewish Monthly • daytonjewishobserver.org Photos: JFGD

Dayton’s JCC at 100

A first: Pope hosts Yad Vashem head at Vatican

8

Yad Vashem

Pope Francis receives Yad Vashem Dir. Dani Dayan at the Vatican, June 9

NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. POSTAGE PAID DAYTON, OHIO PERMIT NO. 59

Israel’s Falash Mura immigration a 30-year saga

10

Cnaan Liphshiz/JTA

Falash Mura in Gondar, Ethiopia seeking to immigrate to Israel

TikTok star’s favorite hummus dinner recipe

Address Service Requested

Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton 525 Versailles Drive Dayton, OH 45459

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Part Two: A place to call home

Eitan Bernath


DAYTON Peter Wine

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Chabad’s Rabbi Levi Simon got into the act when the Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team provided the entertainment at Chabad’s Lag B’Omer BBQ at Indian Riffle Park on May 19 Marshall Weiss

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Participants at Beth Jacob Congregation’s Second Annual Jewish Women Inspiring Jewish Women brunch, held May 22, heard words of wisdom from this year’s honorees. Shown here (L to R), Event Chairperson Helene Gordon, honorees Debra Edelman, Linda Novak, Judy Feinstein, and Alyson Footer. Not pictured: Debbie Lieberman. Arts & Culture....................26 C a l e n d a r. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1 Family Education..................25 Maze l To v! ........................ 2 2 N o s h e r. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 4 Obituaries........................... 27 O p i n i o n . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 9 Religion.......................... 23 Wo r l d. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Are you reading this?

So is our Jewish community. Contact Patty Caruso at plhc69@gmail.com to advertise in The Observer. PAGE 2

JCC day at the Field Day & Dragons, July 24 lunch, July 31 As part of its centennial celebration, the JCC will host a day at the Dragons, Sunday, July 24. The game begins at 1:05 p.m. Stadium-seat tickets are $14 each to have tickets texted, $16 each to have tickets printed and mailed. Proceeds benefit the JCC. Tickets must be purchased by Monday, June 27 and are available via Ticket Representative Carl Hertzberg at 937-228-2287, ext. 160, online at jewishdayton.org, or by calling JCC Program Administrator Helen Jones at 937-610-5513 to request an order form.

With the theme Reignite Your Mind, Body, and Spirit, Beth Abraham Synagogue will host a field day and dairy kosher lunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, July 31 at Indian Riffle Park, 2801 E. Stroop Rd., Kettering. The free program is for all ages and will be held in partnership with Beth Jacob Congregation, Chabad, Hillel Academy, the JCC Early Childhood Program, PJ Library, Temple Beth Or, and Temple Israel through a Jewish Federation Innovation Grant. R.S.V.P. for lunch by July 22 at jewishdayton.org.

THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022


Photos: JFGD

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Community members dance the hora at an Israel Night program at the Jesse Philips Building in Trotwood, late ‘70s

By Marshall Weiss and Marc Katz Ohio Gov. James Rhodes described the site as the “finest community complex that I have seen in the state” when he spoke at the dedication of the Jewish Community Complex on Denlinger Road in Madison Township (now Trotwood), Sept. 10, 1978. More than 500 guests heard the governor’s pronouncement in the gym of the complex’s Jesse Philips Building, the new home of the Dayton Jewish Center. Dayton hadn’t had a dedicated Jewish Community Center site since 1941. And back then, it had been a converted house in the East End Jewish neighborhood, inadequate for the needs of the growing Jewish community, which had moved northwest up Salem Avenue. After decades of delays brought on by the World Wars and then emergency campaigns to support the fledgling Jewish state under attack,

Dayton now had a JCC to rival that of any large city. And the state of Israel was glad to know it. “This dedication is an important occasion for Israel as well as the Dayton Jewish community,” wrote Asher Naim, Israel’s consul general in Philadelphia, whose office served Dayton. “Israel is strengthened whenever a Jewish community is strengthened.” Continued on Page Four

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On the cover

Top: Swimming at the Jewish Center pool, early ‘70s Bottom L: The Jesse Philips Building in Trotwood, home of the JCC from 1978 to 2005. Bottom R: The Boonshoft Center for Jewish Culture and Education, current home of the JCC

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The dedication of the Jesse Philips Building in 1978 was the culmination of the career of Jewish Community Council Exec. V.P. Robert Fitterman (L) shown here with Exec. Asst. Sylvia Siegle and Peter Wells, Fitterman’s successor

From the editor’s desk

One place it’s good to live in the past is at the Growing Up Jewish in Miami Valley, Ohio Facebook group. It’s a project of Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History. I administer Miami Valley JG&H Marshall for the Jewish Federation, and I can’t tell Weiss you how much fun our 1,200-plus Facebook group members have reminiscing, posting and commenting on old photos, and reconnecting. Just go to Facebook, search for Growing Up Jewish in Miami Valley, Ohio, and join our group. In the story above, you may notice what appear to be inconsistencies in the names of local Jewish organizations over the years. That’s because they changed their names now and then. For example, the Jewish Federation became the Jewish Community Council in 1944 and returned to the name Jewish Federation in 1979. Over those years, JCC referred not to the Jewish Community Center, but to the council. And when the community center opened at the Jesse Philips Building in 1978, it was first called the Dayton Jewish Center.

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Are you reading this? So is our Jewish community. Contact Patty Caruso at plhc69@gmail.com to advertise in The Observer. PAGE 3


DAYTON

JCC at 100

SOCIAL JUSTICE

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Continued from Page Three “It had something for everyone,” recalled Bob Bernstein, who was involved with the project from start to completion. “Old, young, Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. It was terrific. It was a game-changer. It was a special place. We had a basketball league for adults. It was a place of involvement. It unified the community.” No one there that day had put more work into bringing about the Jewish Community Complex — one piece at a time over a 30-year career — than Robert Fitterman. The Jewish Federation, then called the Jewish Community Council, hired him in 1948 at age 35 as its executive director and to manage its two dozen employees. With the dedication of the campus — which also comprised Covenant House Jewish nursing home, the largest outdoor pool in the county, a camp lodge and more than 75 acres of grounds — Fitterman retired, turning over the operations and management of its nearly 200 employees to Executive Director Peter H. Wells. “We were able to service every age group,” Wells said, “from early childhood to seniors, from a daily senior luncheon program to recreational programs.” The 65,000-square-foot Philips Building — which would be expanded to 78,000 square feet in the 1980s — was a place to make new friends, too. “I met (my wife) Andi at the swimming pool,” Bill Franklin said. More than 60 years later, he remembered she was wearing a white bathing suit. “I loved that building,” Bill Franklin said. “It was a second home.” On the day of the soft opening in January 1978, a snowstorm closed most of the city. Federation Director of Special Services Harris Abrahams and Fitterman “did everything to clear the grounds so people could join the center,” Wells said. “There were many in our community, sincere people, who as recently as two and three years ago didn’t think that the day was upon us when

JFGD

Appropriate for families and children up to grade 4. Visit DaytonMetroLibrary.org/ SocialJustice or call the Ask Me Line at 937.463.2665. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Dayton Metro Library. PAGE 4

Lead donor and fundraiser Jesse Philips affixes a mezuzah to the main entrance of the Jesse Philips Building, Sept. 10, 1978

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THE DAYTON

OBSERVER daytonjewishobserver.org Editor and Publisher Marshall Weiss MWeiss@jfgd.net 937-610-1555 Contributors Marc Katz, Candace R. Kwiatek Rabbi Nochum Mangel Advertising Sales Executive Patty Caruso, plhc69@gmail.com Proofreader Rachel Haug Gilbert Billing Sheila Myers, SMyers@jfgd.net 937-610-1555

Newly arrived Jewish Center Dir. Mel Caplan (seated, R) with the center staff in 1978 (clockwise from L), Sue Fullenkamp, Steve Margolis, Carol Pavlofsky, Tony Mann, and Lynda A. Cohen

we would see the realization of the Jesse Philips Building and a Jewish Center in it,” Fitterman noted in the site’s dedication book. The drive for this JCC began in 1949, a year after Fitterman arrived in Dayton; the board voted to allocate part of its annual campaign funds each year toward a JCC building. The opportunity to purchase the first 54 acres of land at the Denlinger Road site in Madison Township — then surrounded by farmland — came about in 1956 mainly with a large bequest from Nathan Sanders, along with the JCC building funds. Elmer Moyer selected the land. The Federation opened its outdoor pool there in July 1961 and over the next few years added a camp lodge in the woods, baseball diamonds, and tennis courts. Industrialist Jesse Philips chaired a capital funds drive in 1966 to build a JCC and a Jewish nursing home at the same time on the site. But with emergency funds needed for Israel with the 1967 Six-Day War, Federation leaders decided to build the nursing home first. Covenant House opened in 1973. Later that year, Israel’s Yom Kippur War became a more urgent priority than a center building. Wells said he cultivated young leaders to become involved in the process. In 1975, the Federation launched its campaign to finally fund the JCC building, combined with reserves the Federation had built up. “Jesse Philips had given the lead gift,” Wells said. “And he was also a wonderful, outstanding fundraiser for whatever he put his mind to. In all of this, the key player was Bill Leviton. He was chairman of the building committee and also the builder. He was not only the construction manager, he was the architect.” Abrahams was the Federation’s point person who dealt with Leviton. Mel Caplan, hired as the center’s director in 1977, remembered how the

Observer Advisor Martin Gottlieb 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 The Dayton Jewish Observer, Vol. 26, No. 11. The Dayton Jewish Observer is published monthly by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton, a nonprofit corporation, 525 Versailles Dr., Dayton, OH 45459. Views expressed by columnists, in readers’ letters, and in opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinion of staff or layleaders of The Dayton Jewish Observer or the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton. Acceptance of advertising neither endorses advertisers nor guarantees kashrut. The Dayton Jewish Observer Mission Statement To support, strengthen and champion the Dayton Jewish community by providing a forum and resource for Jewish community interests. Goals • To encourage affiliation, involvement and communication. • To provide announcements, news, opinions and analysis of local, national and international activities and issues affecting Jews and the Jewish community. • To build community across institutional, organizational and denominational lines. • To advance causes important to the strength of our Jewish community including support of Federation agencies, its annual campaign, synagogue affiliation, Jewish education and participation in Jewish and general community affairs. • To provide an historic record of Dayton Jewish life.

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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022


DAYTON Jesse Philips Building created a social environment that built friendships — and connections to the Jewish community. It was a given that children and teenagers would benefit from the center’s amenities, Caplan said, but he noted that senior adults and their adult children benefitted even more. “You’d go to the lobby and people would just hang around after they played or did what they did. They’d sit around and talk,” Caplan said. “People appreciated what was going on, especially senior adults, who all of a sudden had a place to go, had a reason for doing things, for volunteering.” Racquetball and tennis were big draws, and the center kept waiting lists for both, except on Shabbat: the center was opened on Saturday afternoons but didn’t take phone calls for reservations.

Chilling at the pool

When asked to share their JCC memories, members of the Growing Up Jewish in Miami Valley, Ohio Facebook group mentioned the outdoor pool more than anything else. “The high dive, multi-color concrete umbrella structures, pizza bagels, cheap ice cream in mini cartons, the disappointment of the rest period and waiting it out, the entrance where your membership card was being held, the elderly playing cards and dominoes and reading their Yiddish newspapers” are what

Aryeh Dori recalled. “I remember (being) dripping wet, running down the ramp to the snack bar or bathroom, the mushroom-looking shade pillars, the scary diving board section, the tall fences, and the camp up the hill. I remember pizza bagels and purple and red chewy round candies,” Amy Haynes said. “I remember making some of the best friends and memories there, in the section where all the BBYOers and other teens hung out,” Darryl Weiss said. “My Mom used to refer to it as ‘muscle beach.’” And the water was freezing until the end of the summer; the pool was unheated. Melinda Doner recalled the camp song, “Camp Jay See, our hats off to thee,” and that “putting on plays in the lodge was so much fun.” One person remembered pretending to need a swim rescue when he was a boy so he could be saved by a cute lifeguard. Another said she ate lots of ice cream bars as a girl just to catch a glimpse of the handsome boy working at the snack bar. The boy was Alan Brown, son of Louis Brown, who served as Jewish Center director from 1968 to 1977. “He was my first date at 14 and he was 15. We dated 10 years and got married in 1979 and we’re still going strong,” said the girl with the ice cream bars,

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Debby Goldenberg and Oscar Boonshoft affix a mezuzah to the main entrance of the Boonshoft Center for Jewish Culture & Education, 2003

Cathy Brown. When Louis Brown oversaw JCC programming in the years before a building, Marilyn Serelson was membership secretary, Marlene Carne handled the programming, and Lynda A. Cohen ran the preschool. Ben Campbell, a teacher during the school year, oversaw the pool.

Settlement services again

Dayton’s JCC had first opened in 1922 to help Americanize Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Seventy years later, it would return to its roots for a time. Between 1989 and 1993, when the Jewish Federation resettled nearly 200 Jews in Dayton from the former Soviet Union, the JCC provided each with a free membership.

“We would never charge for anyone who couldn’t afford it,” Caplan said. “And we wanted to help integrate them,” though he added that they didn’t use the facilities all that much. “They were older. Some of them used our senior adult services. They basically stuck together in the new apartment building, Covenant Manor, on our campus. The other thing the center did was we had English as a Second Language classes. We did that for maybe four or five years.”

Demographic, geographic shifts

Two decades after the Jesse Philips Building was dedicated, nearly half of the identified Jewish population of the Miami Valley lived in the suburbs south of Dayton. The identified population of the Dayton area’s Jewish community had also dropped from its peak of 7,200 in the early 1970s to about 5,500. As the population shift southward gained momentum, the Federation opened its JCC South site for programming in 1992 at a storefront on Whipp Road in Washington Township. This was the Federation’s first foothold toward opening the Boonshoft Center for Jewish Culture and Education on 14 acres of land at Loop Road and Versailles Drive in Centerville in 2002. Jewish Federation Property Manager Continued on Page Six

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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022

PAGE 5


DAYTON

JCC at 100

‘The cemeteries are the history of my community.’ — Susie Katz with her husband, Eddie

F

or most of her adult life, Susie Katz has been a passionate fundraiser for Jewish organizations in our community. Yet, none of them has seemed as compelling as the current Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Dayton campaign. “We owe this effort to those who are buried in our cemeteries,” said Susie. After learning about all of the research and data that went into creating this independent organization, she soon became one of the campaign’s earliest donors. “I know we were approaching this campaign correctly,” Susie remarked. “There will be a day when our congregations will not be able to support their cemeteries by themselves. We need to be prepared and feel the urgency, even if it’s not today.” Reflecting on her family and friends who are buried in all of Dayton’s Jewish cemeteries, Susie commented that “protecting these beautiful surroundings is important to me. We can’t miss our opportunity to care for them.” 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

daytonjewishcemeteries.org 525 Versailles Drive • Centerville, OH 45459 PAGE 6

Continued from Page Five Roger Apple, who oversaw construction of the 24,312 square-foot building, continues on with the Federation, these days as operations and security director. When the Federation raised JCC Senior Dir. funds for the Boonshoft CJCE, it Marc Jacob also attempted to raise funds for an endowment to maintain its north facility. But with state-of-the-art fitness and recreation centers opening in numerous municipalities across the Miami Valley, JCC memberships dropping precipitously — and members of the Jewish community reluctant to support an endowment fund for the north facility — the Federation sold the Philips Building and much of the campus to United Theological Seminary in 2005. The JCC would then be headquartered at the Boonshoft CJCE and would present programs across the region, the model it follows today. From its opening day nearly 20 years ago, on Sept. 2, 2002, the Boonshoft CJCE’s anchor has been its JCC Early Childhood Program, with Audrey MacKenzie in charge for most of those years. The JCC is also known

for its Film Fest, Cultural Arts & Book Series, and children’s theatre at various venues across the Miami Valley, for Camp Shalom at Temple Beth Or, and for coordinating community Jewish holiday celebrations. “My formative years were at my local JCC, and I love everything we’re doing now and planning for the future,” said Jewish Federation CEO Cathy Gardner. The Federation has operated Dayton’s JCC since it first opened a century ago. With the retirement of JCC Director Jane Hochstein, Marc Jacob returned to the JCC earlier this year to serve as its senior director. “I’ve been doing this since ‘94,” he said of his JCC work. Meryl Hattenbach is the JCC’s program manager and Helen Jones is its program administrator. For the coming year, Marc looks to add niche programming to resonate with area Jews and non-Jews. He’s starting a group for Baby Boomers in August. “We’re looking for pockets of programmatic areas that have fallen through the cracks,” he said. “We’re looking at what role we can play in the general community through partnerships.” The JCC will celebrate its centennial with a day at the Dayton Dragons, Sunday, July 24 at 1:05 p.m. “People are itching to get back with each other and have that place they can call a second home. And that’s what the JCC has always been to me: a second home.”

Who remembers the time capsule? We opened it for the JCC’s 100th Two small boxes of documents tell some of the story of Dayton’s Jewish community on Sept. 10, 1978: dedication day for the Jesse Philips Building and the Jewish Community Complex. They hold the contents of the Jewish community time capsule, which had been sealed into the brick building on Denlinger Road. After United Theological Seminary purchased the building, contractors found the capsule during renovations. The contents are now part of the Jewish Federation’s archival materials at Wright State University Special Collections and Archives. The capsule was to be opened 50 years after the dedication, in September 2028. But with only six years to go, the JCC’s centennial seems a good time to take a peek. “Every Jewish organization put something into the time capsule,” said Peter Wells, the Federation’s executive director at the time. Buried at the bottom of one box is a cassette tape, heavily taped shut, left by Hadassah. There’s a white wrinkled toddler’s T-shirt with a logo for the DJC (Dayton Jewish Center) Happy Hollow Camp, a paper coin roll for dimes — “Save dimes to help Hadassah” — and that day’s edition of the Dayton Daily News (wider and longer than today’s version, with the lead headline “Carter, Brezhnev to talk later in ‘78”).

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There are also a few black-and-white photos, some of them taken during the ceremonies prior to sealing the capsule up. Documents from synagogues still with us (Beth Abraham, Beth Jacob, and Temple Israel) are represented, as well as documents from a synagogue – Shomrei Emunah – that has since disbanded. Temple Beth Or and Chabad had not yet been established in Dayton. A legal pad listing the typed names of what was believed to be the Jewish community at the time reached 80 pages with 30 names per page. The Dayton Jewish community time capsule on the podium with (L to R) U.S. Rep. Charles At first glance, that doesn’t seem to establish the Whalen, Jewish Community Council Past Pres. entire Jewish community of Milton Marks, and Building Committee Chair William Leviton at the dedication of the Jesse the time. On closer inspecPhilips Building, Sept. 10, 1978 tion, only male names were charter certificate. included. Even female names of Eating in 1978 didn’t come at a married couples are not listed. heavy cost, especially if the meal There is a Jerusalem Post and a history of the weekly Dayton Jewish wasn’t kosher. Temple Israel Sisterhood offered a “kosher-style” Chronicle. Temple Israel Men’s Club listed corned beef sandwich with kaiser roll, a half pint of cole slaw, a 207 members, and Weprin AZA pickle, and dessert at $5 a box, youth group listed more than delivered; $9 for two. 100 members. United Synagogue The Sidney Kusworm B’nai Youth at Beth Abraham posted a B’rith Lodge held a spring steak vibrant schedule. dinner with local radio host Lou Leonard Spialter left a trove of documents concerning Beth Abra- Emm at The Tropics, and later a ham’s history, and Hy Blum wrote free steak dinner at the same location to hear an in-depth report on a history of Beth Jacob. the new JCC building. Jewish War Veterans Post 587 — Marc Katz left a copy of its April 11, 1948

THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022


DAYTON

The

JCC Today

Camp Shalom kids master their swimming skills at Five Seasons Family Sports Club in June. The JCC’s summer and winter camps are based at Temple Beth Or.

Opening night of the JCC Film Fest at the Dayton Art Institute, June 2 The JCC Children’s Theatre production of The Wizard of Oz in February at The Dayton Playhouse

Purim at the Early Childhood program, Boonshoft CJCE The Boonshoft Center for Jewish Culture & Education in Centerville has been home to Dayton’s JCC since 2005

THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022

PAGE 7


THE WORLD

In 1st, pope hosts Yad Vashem director at Vatican But didn’t discuss Catholic Church’s Holocaust controversies

Yad Vashem

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Pope Francis receives Yad Vashem Director Dani Dayan at the Vatican, June 9

By Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA Amid controversies concerning the Vatican’s Holocaust-era record, Pope Francis and the head of Israel’s state museum on the Holocaust, Yad Vashem, met for a first-of-its-kind talk. Yad Vashem Director Dani Dayan met with the pope June 9 at his office in the Vatican. During their 30-minute talk, they spoke about ways to “bolster collaborative activities” in areas of “Holocaust remembrance, education and documentation, and to discuss efforts to fight antisemitism and racism worldwide,” Dayan’s office wrote in a statement. Dayan thanked the pope for his 2020 decision to open the Vatican’s archives related to the wartime Pope Pius XII, whose critics say did too little to intervene on behalf of the 6 million Jews that the Nazis murdered in the Holocaust. But they did not discuss the Holocaust-related controversies that for years have been straining Jewish-Catholic relations, Dayan told the JTA. Instead, Dayan focused on areas of consensus and on strengthening ties with the Vatican, he said. One of these controversies is the ongoing beatification of Pius XII. Another concerns other archives that Holocaust researchers say are still inaccessible to them. And another is centered on the debate on whether the Vatican should acknowledge and provide more details about what Pius XII did during the Holocaust. “You don’t sit with the pope on specific files. You sit with the pope on the big issues, on the principles, on the

headlines,” Dayan, a former consul general of the State of Israel in New York who became the head of Yad Vashem last year, said when asked whether he brought up any of these issues during the meeting. Asked whether he had made any requests, Dayan replied: “No need to make requests — for sure, not demands — when all our requests are answered diligently. We are completely satisfied with the attitudes of the pope personally and the Catholic Church, the Vatican.” Not all Holocaust historians share Dayan’s satisfaction. Certainly not David Kertzer, a professor of Italian Studies at Brown University whose 2014 book on the pope’s ties to fascism won a Pulitzer Prize. Kertzer published a new book in June titled The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler based on archives opened in 2020 by the Vatican. He said that he hopes the pope will consider “changing the course of the Vatican with respect to the continual denial of the role Brown Univ. of the church in the demonization of the Jews that helped to make the Holocaust possible. And also to perhaps reconsider whether they really want to make a saint of Pius XII.” A 1998 commission set up by the Vatican concluded that the centuries David Kertzer during which the Catholic Church espoused anti-Jewish sentiments as official policy did not lead Continued on Page 23

Dayan focused on areas of consensus and on strengthening ties with the Vatican.

THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022


THE WORLD

German govt. reports startling 29% increase in antisemitic crimes

Sebastian Gollnow/Getty Images

By Toby Axelrod, JTA He added that a “dark field of antiBERLIN — The German governsemitic incidents” goes unreported in ment’s annual report on developments government statistics. “We have to asin extremism notes a nearly 29 percent sume that… recorded incidents are only increase in antisemitic crimes in 2021 the tip of the iceberg,” he told JTA. over the previous year. The Berlin-based Amadeu Antonio The report, released June 9 by the Foundation released a report of its Federal Office for the Protection of the own June 8, raising the alarm about Constitution, is based on statistics redevelopments in antisemitism related ported in May by the Federal Criminal to the Ukraine war (including comparPolice Office, Germany’s equivalent to ing Putin to Hitler and Ukraine with the FBI. the Palestinian cause); resentment at In all, 3,027 antisemitic incidents the rescue of Holocaust survivors from were registered last year, up from 2,351 Ukraine; and glorification of terror atin 2020. The vast majority were related tacks against Israeli civilians. to right-wing extremism, but Islamic These developments pose “an acute extremist antisemitism is also up, with threat to Jewish life in Germany,” 122 reported incidents compared to 26 according to the foundation, which the year before. focuses on combating xenophobia and Most reported crimes relate to illegal antisemitism. statements and publications — HoloMeanwhile, more than 60 percent of caust denial and other forms of hate respondents to a recent survey agreed speech are outlawed that antisemitism in in Germany — includ- The most worrying Germany has increased ing on the internet. But trends come in the sharply. Released in attacks on people and May by the American form of burgeoning synagogues were also Jewish Committee ofregistered. fice in Berlin, the study conspiracy theories As usual, the num— commissioned to the relating Jews to the ber of incidents rose Allensbach Institute for when tensions between coronavirus pandemic Public Opinion ReIsrael and its Palestinian search — also showed neighbors were highest that Muslims and — in May 2021. supporters of the right-wing populist The most worrying trends come in Alternative for Germany party are most the form of burgeoning conspiracy likely to harbor antisemitic prejudices. theories relating Jews to the coronavirus Right-wing extremist motivation pandemic and measures to curb it, lead- continued to far outstrip any other ers and watchdogs said. categories in the government study. Out “Some protesters against Germany’s of 3,027 cases, 2,552 were attributed to response to the pandemic “are blaming neo-Nazi ideology. Of those, 64 were imaginary Jews for profiting from it and violent crimes, including 51 cases of at the same time attaching Jewish stars” physical injury. to their clothes, as if to say they are the Josef Schuster, head of the Central new Jews, said Benjamin Steinitz, direcCouncil of Jews in Germany, told tor of the Berlin-based Research and ZDFheute TV news that the report Information Center on Anti-Semitism on extremism — from left to right — Berlin, or RIAS. “Both antisemitic con“shows that Jewish life in Germany spiracy myths and Shoah trivialization continues to be under massive threat. have been normalized. This is a worriAnd the greatest danger comes from the some development.” far-right scene.”

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How Israel’s Falash Mura immigration from Ethiopia became a painful 30-year saga, with no end in sight Story and Photos by Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA

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ONDAR, Ethiopia — It was love at first sight for Wesom Mellesse when his wife stepped into his metal shop 17 years ago. “Her dad took her into my shop because he needed me to fix their plow and when I saw her, we understood that we felt something. We fell in love. I asked her father if we could marry,” said Mellese, a 38-yearold father of three who now works as a carpenter in Gondar, a northern city that is Ethiopia’s sixth largest. His choice in marriage was even more fateful than he realized at the time. Because of it, Mellese became ineligible to join his father, sister and brother when they immigrated to Israel in 2007 along with other Falash Mura — Ethiopians whose Jewish ancestors converted to Christianity. Mellese’s story is typical of cases that have turned the Falash Mura immigration into a painful and protracted saga despite multiple Israeli governments’ pledges since 1992 to resolve it. Nearly a dozen times, Israeli governments have committed to admitting groups of Falash Mura, under pressure to allow them to reunite with family members in Israel. And just as often, delays and stringent rules have fueled additional family separations, creating a self-perpetuating cycle. From the start, Israel committed to admitting only Falash Mura whose parents or children live in Israel. Their spouses and children can come along — but only if the children have not married or had children. The rules are meant to prevent large numbers of non-Jews or people not considered Jewish by Israel’s Orthodox Chief Rabbinate to immigrate to Israel. Some Falash Mura have put marriage on hold for years to remain eligible for immigration to Israel. Others, such as Mellese, have gone forward with their own lives, only to be shut out of a dream they had long nurtured. “It’s a sad story,” Mellese, a gangly man with a deep voice, told the JTA in May at a café overlooking

Kefale Tayachew Damtie and his children greet visitors to their home in Gondar, Ethiopia, May 29

Gondar’s many hills and muddy-banked lake. The local Falash Mura community was preparing to send off more than 300 members who had successfully met Israel’s immigration requirements. The separation of Falash Mura families, which is connected to Israel’s desire to limit immigration by non-Jews, has perpetuated the issue, which increasingly is dividing Israeli society and especially the country’s minority of about 160,000 Israelis with Ethiopian roots. To understand how, “one must return only about 2,600 years in time,” according to Micha Feldmann, the first envoy to Ethiopia by the Jewish Agency for Israel, a semi-governmental body that handles immigration to the Jewish state by Jews and their relatives, or aliyah. That is when Ethiopian Jews believe their unique community was established, pursuing its own isolated trajectory. Changes were slow and far between for that community, known as Beta Israel. That is, until the 1800s, when several hundreds of Beta Israel families, primarily in the country’s north, were forcibly converted to Christianity as it took hold as the country’s predominant faith. The converts, known as Falash Mura, kept some Jewish customs. But they also married non-Jews, and many had abandoned the custom of circumcision. In effect, they had largely split off from Beta Israel, where Children of Falash Mura children help with the washing outside their home in Gondar, Ethiopia, May 29 intermarriage was shunned and

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traditions strictly observed. In 1991, almost all Ethiopia’s 14,000-odd remaining Beta Israel Jews were airlifted to Israel. But Jewish presence remained. n Gondar, where most Falash Mura live, members of that minority came together to preserve their heritage, including at what is now known as the Hatikvah Synagogue. Built with money from Jewish-American donors and the Jewish Agency, it’s a large corrugated-metal shed with an elevated watchtower on its southern end. The lyrics of Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, which gave the synagogue its name, are hand-written on the northern wall, the one facing Jerusalem, and the Torah ark. Hatikvah means the hope in Hebrew. Many of the community members know the song by heart. Many members of the community say they eat only kosher food. Local members slaughter chickens for meat in accordance with the principles of halacha, Jewish law, two community members told JTA. Dozens and sometimes hundreds of Falash Mura gather here for morning prayers, which take place according to rituals present in traditional synagogues the world over. The men and women sit in separate sections, with a hanging curtain that is dropped down during some prayers. The women ululate softly when the Torah is carried in front of them. The men kiss the Torah with their prayer shawls. Those who don’t, lift their right-hand pinkies and point them at the scroll. Back in Israel, Beta Israel Jews with Falash Mura relatives in Ethiopia mounted the first campaign in 1992 to let their relatives in. Activists for this cause unfurled a banner reading: “I want my mother, I want my father” at a rally where politicians responsible for the 1991 airlift, known as Operation Solomon, expected to bask in the community’s gratitude, Feldmann, the Jewish Agency envoy, recalled. This protest led to a decision by then-Prime Min-

I

THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022


THE WORLD ister Yitzhak Rabin to allow in Hatikvah. The service was led about 2,000 Falash Mura. This by local young men who have effort was the first major excep- been studying Judaism online tion to Israel’s Law of Return with Menachem Waldman, the for Jews and their relatives, Israeli government’s person under which Beta Israel Jews in charge of issues related to came. Falash Mura do not qual- converting Ethiopians. ify under the law. They arrive Some of the new immigrants, under a government decree on including Kefale Tayachew the condition they undergo an Damtie, a father of six who flew Orthodox conversion to Judato Israel with his entire nuclear ism. family to be reunited with The Falash Mura who came his mother, have been waitin 1992 had left behind firsting for more than 20 years. He degree relatives who they had forbidden his eldest three demanded be let into Israel. children, ages 16 to 23, to marry Separately, more Beta Israel in Ethiopia — where the averimmigrants came forward and age age for marriage is 16 — so asked that their Falash Mura that they remained eligible to relatives also be allowed to im- immigrate. migrate. Others went further to This set the stage for succesensure continued eligibility. sions of rallies over the past 30 Chalachew Teshager Gerem, a years, some of them violent, 35-year-old computer science demanding reunification for lecturer at Gondar University, Falash Mura. chose to remain unmarried The rallies and other efforts even without a parental veto on proved effective: Since 1992, marriage, he told JTA. the Israeli government has Some have lied during their passed at least 11 resolutions immigration process, according permitting entry by Falash to Shay Felber, the head of the Mura. Often delayed in their Jewish Agency’s aliyah departapplication, each new resolument. They omitted wives and tion announced a round of children whom they left behind immigration by a few thousand in the hope of getting them on Falash Mura, but with stipulaa plane to Israel under some tions that ended future government up separating resolution. In the families — thus meantime, they fueling the next send money to feed wave of protests. their families in So far, at least Ethiopia, where the 25,000 Falash average monthly Mura (some wage is $172. Ethiopian Jews The Falash Mura believe the actual put their lives on number is higher) hold in additional have trickled ways in connection into Israel, out of with the awaited 95,000 who have plane ticket to immigrated from Micha Feldmann, the Jewish Israel. Teshager Ethiopia in total. Gerem’s father, Agency for Israel’s first The number of Teshager Gerem representative in Ethiopia Falash Mura who Bogal, moved his meet the government’s current family from their village to requirements is estimated at Gondar nine years ago to pre10,000, but the figure is fluid. In pare for the move to Israel. 2007, the government brought In their native village, the in 7,000 Falash Mura whom it family of nine had a good called the last. income and spacious accommoIn 2020, the government and dations. Gondar was a signifithe Jewish Agency launched cant downgrade: Before they another wave of 3,000 newcom- left for Israel, the family shared ers under an operation codea single dirt-floor room with no named Zur Israel. Delayed by running water. Covid and clashes with rebels Now, all of the immigrants in Ethiopia, the operation has will live for two years at a brought so far about 500 Falash government absorption center Mura to Israel, most recently in in Be’er Sheva where they will two flights last month with 300 be taught Hebrew and undergo immigrants. conversion. Both that family and that of ceremony at Hatikvah Kefale Tayachew Damtie say synagogue to send them they are treated differently in off was attended by 1,000 Ethiopian society because they people dressed mostly in white are considered Jewish. (Damtie and ended with the singing of is sure his landlord had hiked

A

Members of the Falash Mura community celebrate with a festive prayer service the immigration to Israel of 180 people from Gondar, Ethiopia, May 31

the rent for that reason, he said.) With the money from selling their farm, the Gerem family was able to afford to send all their children, ages 17 to 35, to high school and university to prepare them to better integrate into Israel’s modern society, the father of the family said at his home during a visit that the Jewish Agency’s staff of 20 in Ethiopia organized for journalists. The integration of all Ethiopians has been slow, painful but ultimately successful, Feldmann said.

“I was naïve. I thought it would take a generation. Now I think it will take several,” said Feldmann, who first came to Ethiopia almost 40 years ago. “But it’s happening.”

A

s the ranks of the Falash Mura grew, Beta Israel and other Jews began charging that people applying for immigration from Ethiopia have no Jewish heritage. Some of the newcomers were “not Falash Mura at all. They are complete and utter Christians, who are changing the character of our community, and are here just

to get out of Africa,” one critic, Avraham Yerdai, a former vice chair of the Union of Ethiopian Jews, the community’s main umbrella group, told JTA. The group’s current leadership supports immigration by Falash Mura. But Yerdai and other critics of the current wave of immigrants are worried that others are taking advantage of the open door. “The promoters of immigration achieve their goals through allegations of racism. And that’s effective these days. So non-Jews are coming now Continued on Page 12

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Falash Mura

Aliyah officials realize that the Falash Mura immigration is in a self-perpetuating cycle. “It is endless,” Yaakov Hagoel, the acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, told JTA about the way Continued from Page 11 to Israel because they’re Black,” said Ayanau Fareda that Falash Mura immigration has been handled Sanvatu, an Ethiopian-born journalist and writer. Last so far. Israel should “call for applications, set a year he helped Yerdai petition the Israeli Supreme time limit, allow applicants to come forward, apCourt to stop the Falash Mura immigration. The court prove (the eligible), fly them in and when the time dismissed the petition, citing jurisdiction issues. limit expires end the subject and refuse to reopen Some promoters of Falash Mura immigration say it,” he said. that they see racism by White Israelis as a major reaTamano-Shata has other ideas, but she also son for the limitations of immigration from Ethiopia. seeks to “end this painful saga and bring a solu“This is pure racism,” Avraham Negosa, a Likud tion,” she told several dozen representatives of the lawmaker who was born in Ethiopia, said in a 2016 Jewish Federations of North America and other speech about the government’s attitude. “There’s delegates of Jewish-American groups, as well as money to bring Jews from America and Europe. But International Fellowship of Christians and Jews not for Ethiopians.” staff, who came to Ethiopia on the Jewish Agency Even before the Black Lives Matter movement mission. moment of 2020, the racism allegations regarding the Her plan is to issue one final call for applicatreatment of the Falash Mura touched a raw nerve in tions for immigration by Falash Mura and to Israeli society, which has seen several scandals involvinvolve the kesim, the spiritual leaders of the ing the treatment of Ethiopian Jews. Ethiopian-Israeli Jewish community, in vetting the The exclusion of Ethiopian students from stateapplicants, she said. funded haredi and other schools has been a recurrent “Then we declare — not Sofa Landver declares, Wesom Melesse (L) and Yesuf Getahun, two Falash Mura phenomenon. Another has been medical authorities’ Pnina Tamano declares! – that the Falash Mura seeking to immigrate to Israel, Gondar, Ethiopia, May 30 refusal to use blood donations from Ethiopians until aliyah is over, we are returning to aliyah only acthis practice was banned in 2017, following several cording to the Law of Return,” she said. (Sofa Landver, to Addis Ababa in May to oversee the immigration street protests. an Ashkenazi Jew who was born in Russia, is one of flights, Tamano-Shata said she regards all the people The 2019 slaying of Salomon Teka, an 18-year-old waiting to immigrate in Ethiopia as “our brethren and Tamano-Shata’s predecessors as absorption minister.) Ethiopia-born man, by a police officer resulted in the As the plane with the Falash Mura immigrants I have made it my mission to make sure none are left most violent wave of protests by Ethiopians so far. took off from Addis Ababa to Israel, Ainadis Kendi, behind.” To many, he is a symbol of over policing in neighbora mother of two in her 20s, and her 3-year-old, Yarid, hoods with many immigrants from Ethiopia. The took in the view of the slopes of the mountains around ome Falash Mura cite financial reasons as officer, who claims he felt Teka the capital city of their native country. The 180 newtheir main incentive for immigrating. behaved violently, is standing trial Wosem, the Falash Mura 38-year-old who can- comers began clapping with excitement as the plane for manslaughter. took off, and then again as it prepared to land. not immigrate to Israel because he got married, Sanvatu acknowledges that there A graduate of Addis Ababa University’s mathematpointed to the reality of life in Ethiopia, where are expressions of racism against public healthcare is nonexistent and the average ics department, she speaks basic English and is workIsraelis of Ethiopian origin. But, he ing on her Hebrew, she said. Ahead of the flight, she life expectancy is 67. said, “the racism issue is unrelated “To be honest…full of suffering. TIA,” he said, modified a white dress by embroidering large, blue to the Falash Mura one, which is Stars of David on its hem and sleeves. “This is a festive using an acronym for “this is Africa” that locals controversial especially among day,” she explained. say, often to express exasperation. “I mean, Israelis of Ethiopian descent.” But over the course of the flight, she grew more everybody needs a better life, you know. I need Israeli politicians from that to change my life with my kids. Five months ago nervous. community, including Absorption Asked by a journalist about her feelings at that mothere was war. They burned my house. I had Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, “are ment, she was visibly embarrassed. Discussing emostayed with Falasha friends. Moved here to the benefiting from the arrival of people tions is uncustomary in her culture. “I don’t know,” city with my three children. No job opportuniIsraeli Absorption Minister ties. I don’t care about me but want a better life who are grateful and may vote for she replied. “Because I don’t really know the place them,” Sanvatu said. During a visit Pnina Tamano-Shata where we’re going.” for my children.”

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UPCOMING EVENTS Connect with us! Check out our events. For more information, see our calendar at jewishdayton.org. Saturday, July 16, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. — PJ Library Prayer and Play Sunday, July 24, 1:05 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. — JCC Dayton Dragons Community Day

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Save the date: Wednesday, August 17, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. — JFGD Annual Meeting

Join the JCC for a kickoff to our new Boomers Group* for people born between 1946-1964! Meet and mingle with your fellow Boomers as we enjoy some food, drinks, a campfire, and great music! Must bring your own chair and your best singing voice for this night of Boomer fun! *Bell bottoms and Nehru jackets optional.

When: Sunday, August 28, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Where: Possum Creek MetroPark – Prairie Dock Shelter 4730 Frytown Rd., Dayton, Ohio Cost: Free!

Must RSVP By Sunday, August 14.

Kosher cookout with hot dogs and hamburgers; vegetarian option available. Please indicate on registration if you want the vegetarian option.

SAVE THE DATE: ANNUAL MEETING, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17 THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022

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July JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES

D D L A E Y I F MIND SUNDAY JULY 31, 2022 10:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. INDIAN RIFFLE PARK

2801 E. Stroop Road, Kettering, 45420 Meet. Eat. Feel complete. Fun for all ages! Free dairy kosher lunch.

BODY

RSVP required for lunch by Friday, July 22 at jewishdayton.org

SPIRIT

REIGNITE YOUR MIND, MIND BODY, BODY & SPIRIT SPIRIT In partnership with: Beth Jacob Congregation | Chabad | Hillel Academy | JCC Early Childhood Program PJ Library | Temple Beth Or | Temple Israel Funding provided by an Innovation Grant of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton.

SAVE THE DATE: ANNUAL MEETING, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17 PAGE 14

THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022


July JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES

Prayer & Play PJ Library joins Rabbi Sobo of Temple Israel as we celebrate Shabbat with challah, a craft, and more!

Saturday, July 16 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Orchardly Park 343 Wonderly Avenue Oakwood, Ohio 45419 RSVP

kelder@jfgd.net jewishdayton.org/event This program is geared toward ages 8 and under, but all ages and parents are welcome to attend.

JCC DAY AT THE

AYTON DRAGONS Sunday, July 24, game begins at 1:05 p.m. Come have a great time at a Dayton Dragons game! Enjoy an afternoon at the ballpark and celebrate as the JCC of Greater

Dayton turns 100!

What’s included?

Game ticket for a stadium seat Great family entertainment $7 of every ticket purchased is returned to the JCC

How to order:

Call ticket representative Carl Hertzberg at 937-228-2287 ext. 160 Order online at jewishdayton.org Call Helen Jones at 937-610-5513 to request an order form Deadline to order is Monday, June 27

Tickets:

$14.00/person for tickets texted to you $16.00/person for tickets printed and mailed to you

SAVE THE DATE: ANNUAL MEETING, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17 THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022

PAGE 15


July JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES

Legacies, Tributes, & Memorials HOLOCAUST PROGRAMMING FUND

FEDERATION

IN MEMORY OF

IN HONOR OF

› The new grandson of Sheryl and Scott Mattis

Beverly and Jeffrey Kantor

JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER DAYTON ENDOWMENT FUND IN MEMORY OF › Shirlee Gilbert Heath Gilbert’s Card Group Harlan and Kelley Louis Judy Woll Jason Gilbert and Family Jane and Gary Hochstein Clara Hochstein Melinda and Bill Doner Mary and Gary Youra Donna and Marshall Weiss Karen Mellman-Smith Ann and Scott Liberman Michelle and Steve Rothenberg

› Shirlee Gilbert Kathy and Mark Gordon

› Barbara Gerla Cathy Gardner

ADDISON CARUSO B’NAI TZEDEK YOUTH PHILANTHROPY FUND

JOAN AND PETER WELLS AND REBECCA LINVILLE FAMILY, CHILDREN AND YOUTH FUND

› Fred Weber Cathy Gardner PAST PRESIDENTS FUND

› Debra Saidel

› Shirlee Gilbert › Debra Saidel › Rosalyn Moss

IN MEMORY OF

IN MEMORY OF

IN MEMORY OF

› Debra Saidel

› Barbara Gerla

Helen Jones FOUNDATION

THE RESILIENCE SCHOLARSHIP FUND

IN MEMORY OF

› Dan Weckstein

LINDA RUCHMAN MEMORIAL FUND

Cathy Gardner Marilyn and Larry Klaben

› Debra Saidel

JCC

IN MEMORY OF

Judy and Marshall Ruchman

JFS

› Col. Ralph Zimmerman USAF

Sylvia and Ralph Heyman

JOE BETTMAN MEMORIAL TZADIK AWARD

Sam Guggenheimer Iris and David Friedman Jane and Gary Hochstein Donna and Marshall Weiss Cathy Gardner IN MEMORY OF

› Shirlee Gilbert

Milton Nathan

Patty and Michael Caruso and family

IN MEMORY OF

› Fred Weber › Debra Saidel Jean and Todd Bettman

JCRC

IN MEMORY OF

IN MEMORY OF

IN MEMORY OF

JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES DISCRETIONARY FUND

IN MEMORY OF

› Debra Saidel

Rachel and Heath Gilbert Melinda and Bill Doner IN MEMORY OF

IN MEMORY OF

Joan and Peter Wells

CAROLE RABINOWITZ CAMP FUND

IN MEMORY OF

› Barbara Gerla Diane Rubin Williams

› Fred Weber

Melinda and Bill Doner

BURT BACHARACH

Raised as a Jewish kid in Queens, NY, Burt Bacharach gravitated toward music. He became a composer, songwriter, record producer, and pianist who wrote hundreds of pop songs from the late 1950s through the 1980s, including “I Say a Little Prayer,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” and “Do You Know the Way to San José?” Join the JCC and the JCC Alliance for a tribute concert on Wednesday, July 13, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 until July 11, $15.00 July 12 – 13. Contact Helen Jones at hjones@jfgd.net or 937-610-5513 for tickets.

A WARM WELCOME TO OUR NEW JFS SOCIAL WORKER ELLEN SWARTZ Ellen Swartz was born in Akron and has lived in Dayton since she was a teenager. She is a licensed social worker (LSW) with over twenty years of experience in various social work settings, including residential, mental health, and medical. In fact, she worked at Covenant House for five years in the mid-2000s. Ellen currently resides in West Carrollton with her two rescue cats and mini golden doodle. In her spare time, she likes to read, binge-watch TV shows, enjoy the outdoors, swim, go to the movies and spend time with friends and family. Ellen is quite happy to be back working in the Jewish community. Please welcome Ellen to our staff!

SAVE THE DATE: ANNUAL MEETING, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17 PAGE 16

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THE WORLD

A cop displayed Nazi symbols and joked about the Holocaust. A city near Seattle paid him $1.5 million to go away. By Ron Kampeas, JTA Seattle’s Jewish community was outraged that an assistant police chief who displayed Nazi symbology got off with a two-week suspension and sensitivity training. It called on the city of Kent to “treat the offenses with the seriousness and care they deserve.” So the small city near Seattle got serious and paid Assistant Chief Derek Kammerzell $1.52 million to go away. In a statement June 10, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle said that while it was “disturbing” Kammerzell came away with the substantial settlement, it was “grateful” he was gone. In September 2020, a colleague reported that Kammerzell had taped the insignia of an SS officer to his door. Fellow officers said that Kammerzell, who is of German heritage, often joked about the Holocaust, once saying “that his grandfather died in the Holocaust after getting drunk and falling” out of a guard tower, The New York Times reported June 14. In its statement last December, the Seattle JCRC said it was “horrified” to learn of Kammerzell’s actions, which had come to light because of the publication of an internal police department investigation, and the scope of his punishment. “The two-week suspension and sensitivity training given in response are completely inadequate, especially at a time when incidents of hate against the Jewish people are higher than they’ve been in almost 45 years,” it said. It concluded, “We call on the City of Kent to immediately revisit the situation, publicly recognize the harm and hurt caused to our Jewish community, and treat the offenses with the

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seriousness and care they deserve.” City officials said in a release that the city could not negotiate the termination settlement down further from $1.52 million, about half the $3.1 million Kammerzell’s lawyer originally asked for, because Kammerzell’s 27-year record was unblemished by disciplinary action and community complaints and because of “double jeopardy principles,” a reference to the fact that the city had already punished Kamerzell for the same offense with the two-week suspension. The city’s statement noted that it had consulted throughout the process with members of the Jewish community, including the JCRC. “Since January, our professional team has had the opportunity to work closely with the City of Kent on their response,” the JCRC said in its more recent statement. “We are impressed by the seriousness, humility, and sensitivity with which Mayor Dana Ralph and her team are addressing both Kammerzell’s specific actions and tackling antisemitism overall.”

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Jewish Religious Community of Württemberg By Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA Men flying banners with far-right symbols gathered outside a synagogue in Germany on the anniversary of its attempted torching, allegedly by a Turkish citizen. Gathering June 5 in Ulm near Munich, about 10 men displayed one banner reading: “White lives matter, stop the White genocide.” Another banner depicted Men carry a far-right banner at an demonstration outside the black sun symbol, the synagogue of Ulm, Germany, June. 5 which is popular among neo-Nazis. extradite him. T-Deutschland said the Local non-Jews confronted the demdemonstration may have been intended onstrators and made them leave the to celebrate the arson attempt. The local scene, according to T-Deutschland. congregation’s rabbi, Shnuer Trebnik, The date of the event was the onedid not rule out the possibility that the year anniversary of the attempted arson neo-Nazi gathering was to celebrate at the synagogue, which authorities say the actions of the Turkish fugitive. “We was perpetrated by 45-year-old dual experience so many absurdities, it’s citizen of Turkey and Germany. He possible. They might have a common poured gasoline on the facade and set it interest,” he told T-Deutschland. Farablaze. Rapid intervention by neighbors right extremists are generally hostile and firefighters prevented the flames both to Jews and to immigrants from from spreading into the building. Muslim-majority countries. The suspect fled Germany and is Police are investigating the incident hiding in Turkey, which is refusing to outside the synagogue.

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Jan. 6-related filing reveals U.S. Marine was jailed for plot to shoot up synagogue By Ron Kampeas, JTA WASHINGTON — A filing in a case stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection revealed that a U.S. Marine in a relationship with one of the defendants served 19 months for a plot to shoot up a synagogue. The revelation came in a filing by federal prosecutors arguing against a request by an alleged insurgent, Riley Williams, to loosen restrictions pending her trial. Williams, who lives in Harrisburg, Pa., lied about a meeting she had with the former Marine, the prosecutor’s filing said. Williams, who is under house arrest and wears an ankle monitor, is seeking less stringent restrictions, the Patriot-News reported. The June 10 filing by the U.S. Attorney does not name the Marine, who was given a badconduct discharge, or when or where he plotted to attack a synagogue. It says only that he “stole his roommates’ truck and attempted to purchase a firearm with the intent of committing a mass shooting at a synagogue.” The man “was sentenced to 19 months in custody and was given a bad-conduct discharge from the U.S. Marines Corps.” Williams, who is among the more prominent defendants because she allegedly stole U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop, broke conditions of her release by having video meetings with the former Marine, “who is believed to be Williams’ thenboyfriend” and by meeting with him in person in August 2021, the filing said. At that in-person meeting, the former Marine revealed to Williams “the circumstances of his prior arrest, prosecution, incarceration and discharge from the United States Marine Corps.” Bellingcat, an investigative journalism website, was the first to identify Williams shortly after the insurrection.

Am I a Jew?

By Hannah Kasper Levinson I have a question that has guided me and confused me through so much of my life. Am I a Jew? I know that according to Jewish law, I am Jewish, since my mother is Jewish. But am I Jewish enough? I wonder this every Friday night, at holiday gatherings, when I volunteer, at work. Since I married my husband, and even more so since I moved to Dayton, I feel more comfortably part of this extended Jewish family, but that hasn’t stopped me questioning my place in it. Could this questioning be part of what defines my Judaism? Religious traditions were not part of my upbringing. My family didn’t belong to a synagogue. I never had a bat mitzvah, and I don’t understand Hebrew. On the flip side, I was proud to grow up a Jewish New Yorker. Yiddish words were sprinkled in our conversations at home, I loved my mom’s Eastern European-inspired cooking, I watched her with somber curiosity as she lit yahrzeit candles. And I was defensive, ready to fight anyone I felt was uttering an antisemitic sentiment. But it’s more complex than the religious vs. cultural debate. It’s tricky to try to describe the nuances that sculpt a family. It’s much easier to say “I’m Jewish” than to explain my mother is a Jew from the Bronx and my dad was raised Catholic. Should I mention that I observed my grandmother whispering the rosary at night? That my great aunt the nun lived in a convent I loved visiting because they grew their own food and had a tiny museum of Lithuanian amber? I’m often met with blank stares when I share these anecdotes with members of the Jewish community. My imposter syndrome starts to set in. I was named after the German Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt. In the 1930s, Arendt became a political activist, working with the German Federation of Zionists and

So, what do you think?

rescuing Jewish children from the Third Reich. She was arrested in Germany and later interned in France. In 1941 she immigrated to America where she wrote for various Jewish publications, published her influential books, and established herself as an American intellectual. In Arendt’s most controversial book, Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), she originated the idea of “the banality of evil.” The Eastern European Jewish tradition would have you name your child after a deceased relative. My folks decided to have me walk in the footsteps of a woman who theorized that there could have been more done to prevent 6 million deaths had the victims been more politically active and not taken “the banality of evil” for granted. The architect of the Final Solution, Arendt claimed, was a bureaucrat, and not an ideologue. Arendt’s ideas may be uncomfortable, and yet the concept of the banality of evil was eerily prescient when we watch the horrors now unfolding before us, from extremist right-wing groups in the U.S. and Europe, to Putin’s war against Ukraine, to domestic terrorism in our country. It’s only recently that I’ve started thinking about why my parents chose my namesake. I’ve never asked, but I can guess it’s because she was fiercely intellectual and brave, in a way I can only imagine. Her relationship to Judaism, though complex, was unmistakably central to her identity. My parents are pragmatic, critical, and individualist. As children in the 1940s, they both lost their fathers and were raised by single mothers. They pursued their education and moved to Manhattan in the ‘60s. They love to tell me that in the

‘Could this questioning be part of what defines my Judaism?’

’70s, they were both teaching where “the Bronx was burning.” My parents married and had children later than most in their generation. They grew up poor, left home, and married outside their faith, ultimately choosing to reject religion. When they had children, they put their heads together and decided that when it came to religion, it was better not to decide. My brother and I would find our own paths. Their approach to parenting would be laissez faire: letting things take their own course. I can’t help being influenced by them, to admire their individualism, and to carry that into my sense of what it means to be a creative individual. The thing is, no matter how much I respect my parents, I have yearned since childhood for a sense of belonging to a greater community, and it wasn’t until I met my husband that I started to embrace and explore the role of Judaism in my identity. You would think that spending my 20s and 30s in Brooklyn would have made it easy to find a Jewish community with which I could relate. I suppose the closest version was Secular Humanist Judaism. My husband and I tried a popup synagogue that described itself as “an artist-driven, everybody-friendly, God-optional, experimental community for sacred Jewish gatherings.” We went for holidays to a house in South Brooklyn with potluck dinners where it was OK to be “Jew-ish.” We joined The Workers Circle, hoping to get more involved with the social justice aspects of Judaism, but everyone worked too much and no one ever wanted to get together for Shabbat. I kind of loved all those places, but it was all a little vague and noncommittal. I never found my group or an especially firm sense of Jewish acceptance in New York City. Everyone seemed to have it

figured out, because they grew up Conservative, or Reform, or whatever, and they knew exactly what it was they were supposed to embrace or rebel against. Who gets to decide if you’re Jewish enough? Is it a higher being, those who came before you, the community? What if the deciding entity is not there to speak for you? If your definition of being Jewish is holding faith in a certain higher being, I don’t fit your ideal. If it is questioning what defines faith, an inexplicable feeling of connection to the past, and a desire to build community, then I may find my place. Still, is this enough? My husband has listened to me debate myself on this matter so many times throughout our years together. He has gently tried to convince me that I’m my own worst enemy, that no one is judging me, and that there are multiple ways to be Jewish. How is a child molded into who they become when they are raised outside of tradition? My parents chose to walk their own path and I was free to follow or find my own way. Some would argue you will be lost without a set of tenets to live by. I know that’s not true. I live by a strong moral code and am raising my children with intent. Still, there might be a reason why I don’t have the confidence to say out loud, “I belong,” and believe it. We need a larger community outside ourselves, for so many reasons, both practical and existential. So I’m working on it. I’m looking for the balance between individualism and the idea that I’m a puzzle piece in a cultural jigsaw. My husband and I are raising our children with Jewish traditions and holidays, while I teach in a Jewish school. We’ve had some lovely Friday nights with our havurah of new friends. I’m trying to give our kids the sense of belonging that I yearned for, while encouraging them to respectfully question what they are taught, and to make their own decisions as they grow. Am I a Jew? It seems no one can really answer this but me. Hannah Kasper Levinson teaches art at Hillel Academy of Dayton.

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THE WORLD

Lawmakers launch bipartisan push for defense arrangement between Israel and Arab neighbors It’s not clear from the bill how formal the arBy Ron Kampeas, JTA rangement would be. The bill tasks the secretary WASHINGTON — A bipartisan slate of of defense with establishing an “architecture” lawmakers launched a bill that would establish and “acquisition approach” for an “integrated air an “integrated air and missile defense capabiland missile defense system” to counter threats ity” joining the United States, Israel, and Arab countries in a bid to deter Iran. Senate and House from Iran. Israel has traditionally been wary of members of the Abraham Accords Caucus rolled formal defense pacts with even its closest allies, out the bill, called the Office of Sen. Joni Ernst wishing to preserve its right to act unilaterally. However, DEFEND Act, in a press Israeli officials have in recent conference June 9 outyears signaled that less formal side and described it as arrangements that preserve means of advancing the Israel’s agency are acceptable. U.S.-brokered normalizaThe bill also designates as tion agreements between participants in the arrangement Israel and four Arab the four countries signed onto countries that collectively the Abraham Accords — Mobear that name. rocco, Sudan, the United Arab “The full potential of L-R: Rep. Ann Wagner (D-Mo.), Rep. David Emirates and Bahrain — as the Abraham Accords, Trone (D-Md.), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Sen. well as countries that still have economic cooperation, Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) at the Capitol, June 9 no relations with Israel, includeducation exchanges, ing Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Sautrade agreements bedi Arabia looks closer than ever to formalizing tween Israel and our Middle Eastern partners, what has been for years a secret relationship with cannot be achieved without a commitment to Israel, and reportedly are near an agreement that collective security,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa would allow Israeli aircraft to fly through Saudi Republican who is the lead co-sponsor of the bill air space. But Iraq is openly hostile to Israel. with Sen. Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Jewish DemoErnst said the United States should coax those crat. “America’s role in activating and networking countries into participation. She noted the U.S. our allies and partners in the Middle East must consulate in Erbil, Iraq, came under drone attack evolve as violent extremists, like Iran, change their tactics and onboard new systems capable of June 8, an area that has in the past come under fire from Iran and its proxies. catastrophic damage against civilian targets.”

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JCC Camp Shalom: Through July 22. Grades 1-10. At Temple Beth Or, 5275 Marshall Rd., Wash. Twp. Register at jewishdayton.org. Chabad Camp Gan Israel: July 25-Aug. 12. Ages 5-11. 2001 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. Register at cgidayton.com.

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Temple Israel & PJ Library Prayer & Play: Sat., July 16, 10 a.m. W. Rabbi Tina Sobo. Orchardly Park, 343 Wonderly Ave., Oakwood. For children 8 and under and their families.

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JCC Alliance Virtual Tribute to Burt Bacharach: Wed., July 13, 4 p.m. $12.50 until July 11. $15 July 12-13. Register at jewishdayton.org/events or contact Helen Jones at hjones@jfgd.net or 937-610-5513. JCC Day at the Dragons: Sun., July 24, 1:05 p.m. Day Air Ballpark, 220 N. Patterson Blvd., Dayton. $14 for each texted ticket, $16 for each mailed ticket. Purchase deadline June 27 via Ticket Rep. Carl Hertzberg, 937-228-2287, ext. 160; jewishdayton.org or call JCC’s Helen Jones, 937-610-5513, for order form. Beth Abraham Field Day: Sun., July 31, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Includes free kosher dairy lunch with reservation. Indian Riffle Park, 2801 E. Stroop Rd., Kettering. Partnering w. Beth Jacob, Chabad, Hillel Academy, the JCC Early Childhood Program, PJ Library, Temple Beth Or & Temple Israel. R.S.V.P. for lunch by July 22 at jewishdayton.org.

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MAZEL TOV!

U.S. Rep Mike Turner addresses the Jewish American Heritage Month Luncheon on Capitol Hill, co-chaired by Greg Rosenbaum (rear, R), May 17. With them at the dais are, standing (L to R), U.S. Rep. Jim Costa of California and event organizer Ezra Friedlander; seated (L to R) U.S. Antisemitism Amb. Deborah Lipstadt, former ADL National Dir. Abe Foxman, and Bukharian Chief Rabbi Itzhak Yehoshua

Dayton Dragons co-principal owner Greg Rosenbaum cochaired and served as master of ceremonies of the Jewish American Heritage Month Luncheon, held in the Kennedy Caucus Room on Capitol Hill

Marshall Weiss May 17, the first time in three years the luncheon has been held in person. Among the speakers were U.S. Rep. Mike Turner and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. Rosenbaum chairs the Jewish American Heritage Month Advisory Board. Its aim is to highlight the contributions of Jewish Americans to American history, culture, and society, and educate non-Jews about those contributions. The luncheon honored former Anti-Defamation League

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National Director Abe Foxman, philanthropists Tzili Charney and Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, and Bukharian Chief Rabbi Itzhak Yehoshua. “One of the perks of emceeing an event like this is that I get to introduce my senators and representatives,” Rosenbaum said of Turner and Brown. Turner talked about the contributions of Dayton’s Jewish community to the city, such as the Schuster Center. Brown spoke of the contributions American Jews have made in human rights and civil rights.

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Temple Israel’s 2022 Confirmation Class (L to R): Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz, Adam Emoff, Laila Blumer, Rabbi Tina Sobo. Not pictured, Antonio Chaiten.

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RELIGION

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A country of kindness By Rabbi Nochum Mangel Chabad of Greater Dayton In 2000, Friends of Chabad Lubavitch in Washington, D.C. organized an event called Celebration 50, commemorating 50 years of the Rebbe’s leadership. At one of the sessions, 50 Chabad rabbis representing the 50 states signed a citation of gratitude to present to the president of the United States on behalf of the Chabad movement. The citation of gratitude was to pay tribute and give thanks to the United States for having rescued the sixth and seventh Rebbes of Chabad from the

Perspectives Nazi inferno in Europe. Today we know the details of the harrowing story of how high-level American intervention led to an extraordinary episode: the German military intelligence arm, the Abwehr, was tasked with locating and rescuing Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn and his family in the middle of devastated Warsaw and seeing that they would be brought to a safe place. American leadership opened the doors of the U.S. to Rabbi Schneersohn and his family when welcoming Jewish refugees was still highly unpopular here. He settled in Brooklyn and immediately resumed his holy work. America again opened its doors in 1941 to the Rebbe’s son-in-law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. He was sent on the last commercial passenger ship to cross the Atlantic before sea travel became too dangerous. Eventually, he would succeed his father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, and spearhead a worldwide renaissance of Jewish commitment from his Brooklyn headquarters. The Rebbes were both constantly grateful to America for what it had done. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known simply as the Rebbe, would refer to the U.S. as a “country of lovingkindness.” He often pointed out its virtues as historically important, even as he tried to help guide the process of national growth towards a realization of its most profound values. I was honored to represent

Vatican

Continued from Page Eight our state of Ohio. Personally, We did not take land or colo- to the antisemitism that fueled the Holocaust. it was a great privilege for nies as our reward. We sought The commission’s findme, being a child of a Holoonly to restore the conquered ings, which have been Vatican caust survivor who was also peoples and even our one-time policy, is that the church’s welcomed here, who raised a enemies to calm and prospertheology-based “anti-Judaism” beautiful family, and did his ity — acts of kindness on a holy work here as well. It was a massive scale unprecedented in was essentially unconnected to the Nazi “antisemitism based moving moment that I rememhuman history. ber with great fondness. It has been said, “If you want on theories contrary to the constant teaching of the Church.” On the occasion of our nato know how bad the world is, Kertzer is among the many tion’s birthday, read the newspaper, critics of this reading of hisit is worth giving and if you want to tory. Those critics argue that thanks again for know how good it the centuries of persecution the remarkable is, study history.” of Jews led by the Catholic privilege of being a Let’s do both — apcitizen of this land proach the problems Church paved the way in some ways to the Nazi genocide. of lovingkindness. that confront us “Forcing Jews to wear yelThis does not today with the conlow badges and keeping them mean that we prefidence that history locked in ghettoes were not tend for a moment should give us. that we have fully Though this coun- inventions of the Nazis in the 20th century, but a policy that realized the ideals try may be imperthe popes had championed for that call America to fect, it has been and greatness. We have Rabbi Nochum Mangel continues to be kind hundreds of years,” Kertzer noted in a 2001 op-ed in The not yet accomin ways never seen New York Times. plished what all those ideals before in the world. On June 9, Kertzer said the demand of us. Confident that our own JewVatican was worthy of praise We must make a truthful ish experience and teachings for that decision. But, he accounting and, without flinch- are at work in this America, added, “there are limitations” ing, see where more work is let us rededicate ourselves on accessing other archives, needed and what things need towards realizing Judaism’s including the Vatican’s Secto be repaired or reconsidered. grand vision of a time that However, at the same time, there will be neither famine nor retary of State archives and some archives connected to the we look with an equally sharp war, neither envy nor rivalry, Inquisition. gaze at the good that Amerifor good will flow in abunStill, Kertzer said that he is cans have realized, value it dance, and all the delights will “not in a position to say what properly, and gain inspiration be freely available as dust, and Mr. Dayan should or should from every good accomplishtherefore the occupation of the not have said during the meetment. entire world will be solely to ing” with the pope. Ignoring that which needs know God. correcting makes us less than we should be. Missing the good we have accomplished leads to paralysis and depression rather than a deepened commitment and an unstoppable advance. King Solomon tells us that Torah “The wise have eyes in their Portions head.” That curious teaching means that we should look to July 2: Korach the head— meaning, the beginShabbat (Num. 16:1-18:32) nings, where we come from — Candle to evaluate where we are in the July 9: Chukat Lightings present. (Num. 19:1-22:1) Through history, we can July 1: 8:50 p.m. July 16: Balak see a trajectory that moves (Num. 22:2-25:9) July 8: 8:49 p.m. us ever further toward those magnificent ideals upon which July 23: Pinchas July 15: 8:46 p.m. this country was founded. We (Num. 25:10-30:1) July 22: 8:41 p.m. strive toward a more perfect July 30: Matot-Masei Union, meaning that we em(Num. 30:2-36:13) July 29: 8:35 p.m. brace the idea that our national life should always move towards perfection. Fast of the 17th of Tammuz And we have in our own hisPostponed because of Shabbat until July 17, 18 Tammuz tory that which can inspire us Commemorating numerous calamities that fell on the Jewish as well. In a century that saw people on this day, this fast is observed from dawn until dusk. tyrants trying to subjugate the Among the calamities were the breach of the walls of Jerusalem by world to their violent power, the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E. and by the Romans in 70 C.E. Americans in the millions paid Marks the beginning of the Three Weeks, a period of mourning with their blood, treasure, and for the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, culminating on the Ninth of Av. labor to stop them.

July • Tammuz/Av

THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022

Beth Abraham Synagogue

Conservative Cantor/Dir. of Ed. & Programming Andrea Raizen Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. 305 Sugar Camp Circle, Oakwood. 937-293-9520. BethAbrahamDayton.org

Beth Jacob Congregation

Traditional Rabbi Leibel Agar Sundays & Wednesdays, 7:15 p.m. Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. 7020 N. Main St., Dayton. 937-274-2149. BethJacobCong.org

Temple Anshe Emeth

Reform 320 Caldwell St., Piqua. Fri., July 8, 7:30 p.m. lay-led Shabbat Shira service with Steve Wyke & Mahira Rogers Contact Steve Shuchat, 937-7262116, AnsheEmeth@gmail.com. ansheemeth.org

Temple Beth Or

Reform Fridays, 6:30 p.m. Rabbi Judy Chessin Asst. Rabbi/Educator Ben Azriel 5275 Marshall Rd., Wash. Twp. 937-435-3400. templebethor.com

Temple Beth Sholom

Reform Rabbi Haviva Horvitz 610 Gladys Dr., Middletown. 513-422-8313. templebethsholom.net

Temple Israel

Reform Senior Rabbi Karen BodneyHalasz. Rabbi/Educator Tina Sobo Fri., July 1, 6 p.m. Fridays, July 8, 15, 22 & 29 6:30 p.m. Saturdays, July 9 & 23, 10:30 a.m. 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton. 937-496-0050. tidayton.org

Temple Sholom

Reform Rabbi Cary Kozberg 2424 N. Limestone St., Springfield. 937-399-1231. templesholomoh.com

ADDITIONAL SERVICES Chabad of Greater Dayton

Rabbi Nochum Mangel Associate Rabbi Shmuel Klatzkin Youth & Prog. Dir. Rabbi Levi Simon. Beginner educational service Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. 2001 Far Hills Ave. 937-643-0770. chabaddayton.com

Yellow Springs Havurah

Independent Antioch College Rockford Chapel. Contact Len Kramer, 937-5724840 or len2654@gmail.com.

PAGE 23


This TikTok star’s favorite hummus dinner is legit This hearty, meat-topped hummus will be your new go-to dinner.

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Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 medium red onion, sliced (about 2 cups) 8 large garlic cloves, chopped 1⁄4 cup honey 2 Tbsp. tamarind paste 1 Tbsp. tomato paste 2 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. smoked paprika 1⁄2 tsp. cayenne pepper 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1⁄4 cup pine nuts

By Eitan Bernath, The Nosher Hands down, the best way to serve homemade hummus, in my opinion, is Israeli style, with a heaping pile of sizzling spiced beef (basar in Hebrew) on top. The addition of this flavorpacked beef lends rich, savory notes to the hummus and quickly turns — one might say “beefs up” — this snacking dip into a hearty meal for the whole family. For serving: This is already a near-perfect combination toasted warmed pita bread, for serving of taste and texture, but it’s even better when (optional) heaped on warmed pita bread. To flavor the additional fresh parsley (optional) ground beef, I took inspiration from the meat-topped Syrian flatbread For the hummus, place the chickpeas laham bajine, then added tamarind and reserved chickpea liquid, olive oil, for a tangy note to contrast with the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and sweet and spicy flavors from the black pepper to taste in the bowl of a other ingredients. food processor or high-speed blender Note: This recipe will come out and blend until smooth, about five great no matter what, but if you do minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and have a little extra time, I highly recrefrigerate until ready to serve. ommend skinning your chickpeas. To prepare the beef, in a large skillet, Removing the little translucent skin heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over from each bean might not seem like medium-high heat. Add the ground beef it’s worth it, but it’s what makes the and season with salt and black pepper. difference between very good humCook until browned, crumbling the mus and incredibly delicious, ultra- Eitan Bernath meat with the back of a spoon as you go, creamy hummus. And it’s not hard to do: if you six to seven minutes. hold one between your thumb and index finger, Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a it should pop out of the skin pretty easily. bowl. Pour the remaining tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and sauté the onion until it begins This recipe is reprinted with permission from to caramelize, six to seven minutes. Eitan Eats the World. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Return the beef back to the skillet and For the hummus: reduce the heat to medium. 2 cans (15.5 oz.) chickpeas, but reserve 1⁄2 Add one cup of water, the honey, tamarind cup drained chickpea liquid paste, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, cayenne, 1⁄2 cup olive oil and salt and black pepper to taste and stir to 1⁄4 cup well-stirred premium tahini combine. 2 large garlic cloves Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, Juice of 1 lemon six to eight minutes. Add the chopped parsley Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and pine nuts and mix to combine. To serve, spoon the hummus onto a large For the spiced meat: platter or serving bowl, make a well in the 2 Tbsp. olive oil center, and pour the beef mixture into the well. 1 lb. (90/10) ground beef Serve with the pita.

THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022


JEWISH FAMILY EDUCATION

Being truth The Power of Stories Series

“My father was a wandering Aramean. He went down into Egypt where he became a great nation. But the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and oppressed us. And we cried out to the Lord, Who freed us from Egypt by a mighty hand and by signs and wonders.” These verses from Deuteronomy are familiar because

Candace R. Kwiatek they are central to the Jewish story we recount each year at Passover. But more than just an exercise in remembering, “storytelling is the great vehicle of moral education,” writes Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. “It tells us who we are and who our ancestors hoped we would be.” Modern philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre amplifies its significance by highlighting the personal impact of storytelling: “I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’” It turns out truth is at the heart of the best Jewish stories and storytelling. “The value of truth permeates the fabric of Judaism,”

writes Israeli scientist and scholar Rabbi Ari Zivotofsky. Revealed at Sinai, emet (truth) is one of the 13 Divine attributes ascribed to God. While that concept is nearly incomprehensible, we can grasp the talmudic sages’ version: “The signature of God is truth.” In the earthly realm, Torah is truth, according to the psalmist, its transcendent messages woven into the stories that shape our perspective on the world. Linked to both God and Torah, truth should speak with authority, with certainty, and without ambiguity, Rabbi Tzvi Freeman speculates. Yet, truth’s identity is weakly defined by negative commandments: you shall not bear false witness, you shall not deal deceitfully or falsely, keep far from falsehood. Furthermore, truth rarely stands alone, but is paired with other ethical imperatives: lovingkindness, peace, justice. And the nearly endless quest for truth in rabbinic literature is framed as a series of debates that argue opposing views, which a Divine Voice just may proclaim to be equally true. It seems we have to rethink the idea of truth, Freeman concludes. “Maybe truth isn’t a fact at all. Maybe truth is more like a process.” Truth is a complex, messy

process of comprehending different viewpoints, evaluating and prioritizing between competing ideas and values, and identifying solutions for a particular situation. As Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi describes it, truth is being immersed in the experience of “thinking with God’s mind.” “That state of being, that experience, that process, that itself is truth.” How do the following tales illustrate the notion of being truth? The Petitioners. Laying out yet another fresh change of clothes, the new assistant to Reb Shmuel of Lubavitch was puzzled. “I wonder why the rebbe is always dripping with perspiration when he comes out of these private meetings,” he thought to himself. “What can he possibly be doing in that room, crowded with a desk, a dozen bookshelves, and endless visitors?” Just then, the rebbe came out of his study, once again covered with sweat. “You’re probably wondering about my appearance,” he remarked tiredly to his attendant. “Over the past hour I have received 25 petitioners. If I am

to understand each person’s situation, I must remove my clothes and dress in his. If I am to give him good advice, I must remove his clothes and change back into mine, for while in his clothes, I can see only what he sees, and if he saw a way out of his dilemma, he would not have come to me in the first place. So for the past hour I have undressed and dressed myself 50 times. It is very hard work!” The Lecture. Rabbi Yisrael Salanter gave a regular talmudic discourse. One day, a student asked a very sharp question that seemed to undermine the entire argument Salanter was making. As he paused for a moment, at least five acceptable answers came to the rabbi’s mind to refute the question. Even though he could see that they were not ultimately true, he knew it was unlikely that anyone in the audience would see through them as he could. He was tempted. He didn’t want the Torah to lose honor from his failure nor did he himself want to lose face in the classroom. Then he said to himself, “Admit the truth.” And he stepped down.

It turns out truth is at the heart of the best Jewish stories and storytelling.

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The Book. Heading home from school for the first night of Chanukah, Arnold and Beryl stopped by the pretzel lady who, holding a paper-covered basket, wore a heavy sweater against the falling snow. As the brothers walked away, they wondered if she’d made enough money to buy candles for her menorah. While Beryl ran home for an extra box of candles, Arnold followed the woman’s footprints to a basement door in an apartment alley. The boys met up near the school and retraced the route to the apartment. Peering into the side window, they saw their elderly friend on the floor, unresponsive. A passerby helped break down the door and revive the woman. While she delightedly lit the candles, the man contemplated the barren apartment. Examining an old frayed book on a shelf, he mentioned he was a book dealer and asked if the woman would sell it for $200. Shocked, she eventually agreed and, soon after paying, the man hurried off. As the brothers left for home, they saw him in the distance, tossing the book into the trash. Truth is a process of prioritizing conflicting values. Our choices determine both our own morality and the kind of society we create. Be truth.

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PAGE 25


Story and Photos By Andrew Silow-Carroll, JTA JERUSALEM — I was on a short visit to Israel last month, and spent time with a friend with whom I have been engaged in a 30-year argument. Elli Wohlgelernter and I met when he was the managing editor of the JTA and I was a staff reporter. We would argue about the future of Jewish life in the Diaspora, which even then he considered in unstoppable decline. We continued the argument after he moved to Israel not soon after. Over the years we’ve both dug in our heels: I am convinced, even after living for a time in Israel, that aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel) is a happy choice but not the only defensible choice a Jew can make in the 21st century, and that Israel A wall at ANU — Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv honors Jewish literary greats is not the sine qua non of global Jewish creativity — or inevitability — in the decades marketing, acknowledged that criticism when he met since its founding. us in ANU’s lobby. “People from abroad would visit Elli is as convinced that the galut — the Hebrew and say, ‘I don’t see myself here,’” as if their lives term for exile — is doomed, physically and spiritually, outside of Israel weren’t valid or vital. He suggested as Jews assimilate into oblivion or face yet another we start on the third floor, labeled Mosaic, which, he cycle of historical persecution. said, more than acknowledges that 50 percent of the Neither of us, I hope, is as tendentious or as borworld’s Jews don’t live in Israel and insists that there ing as this sounds, at least not Elli, who is passionate is no one right way of being a Jew. about baseball, Jewish comedy, classic Hollywood, And sure enough, the first thing you see are life-size and old-fashioned, ink-stained American tabloid videos of various individuals explaining their distinct journalism. versions of Jewishness. The walls nearby are lined Last month we picked up our old argument where with large-format photographs of various families: we had left off. And thinking to give it a little fresh religious, secular, and somewhere in between. There material, I suggested a visit to ANU — Museum of the is a mixed-race couple, a same-sex Israeli couple, and Jewish People. The museum formerly known as Beit two heavily tattooed hipsters. Hatfutsot opened on the Tel Aviv University campus It certainly represented the in 1978, and recently underwent a major renovation varieties of Jews I encounter and rebranding in order to convey “the fascinating in New York, and some of the narrative of the Jewish people and the essence of the exuberance seen in and around Jewish culture, faith, purpose, and deed.” Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda I remember visiting the museum in my 20s, when market. The experts would call the old Beit Hatfutsot was about a decade old and this pluralism, although it’s still considered state of the art. There were dioramas just the reality of who we are. depicting scenes out of various eras in Jewish history Similarly, the second-floor and an unforgettable display of models of synagogues history section begins with a throughout the ages. I also remember the criticism at wall title proclaiming A People the time: that the museum presented Diaspora Jewish Among Peoples — surely less Zion-centric than A life as a thing of the past. Its exhibit was organized ac- People in Exile or A People Dispersed, two other plaucording to “gates,” the last being the “gate of return,” sible alternatives. with immigration to Israel presented less as a choice That history section was the least engaging to me, than a culmination. giving the vibe of an earnest middle school textbook Amir Maltz, the museum’s vice president for trying a little too hard to make a long, twisting journey from Temple times to the present day palatable. I appreciated the balance the curators appeared to strike between the “lachrymose” school — Jewish history as a series of disasters — and the long periods of creativity, stability, and autonomy enjoyed by Jews from North Africa to Middle Europe. The exhibit also tries hard to restore women to the Jewish story: I counted at least four main displays centering women. But Mosaic, subtitled Identity and Culture in Our Times, was to me the most engaging of the three main permanent exhibits, and the one that succeeds the most in transforming this from Israeli soldiers on an educational visit in the atrium of ANU — Museum of the Jewish a “museum of the Diaspora” to People, which recently underwent a $100 million renovation

Arts&Culture Arts &Culture

a museum of world Jewry. There are crowd-pleasing touches like a wall (and, on the first floor, an entire temporary exhibit) on Jewish humor (trust me, Seinfeld is as big a phenomenon here as it is back home), and the kinds of interactive features that I suspect are more intriguing to kids than adults. There is a wall dedicated to Jewish literature, from Cynthia Ozick to Clarice Lispector to the Israeli novelist and Nobel recipient S.Y. Agnon, and images of Jews in all their variety: Persian, Turkish, Brazilian and Canadian, to name a few. One highly symbolic corner celebrates Yiddish on the one hand, and the revival of Hebrew as a day-to-day language on the other. My arguments with Elli are a recapitulation of the tension these languages represent. Israel’s founding generation was seen to look down on Yiddish, partly out of the expediency of nation-building and partly out of a nonetoo-subtle disdain for the diasporic ways that Yiddish represented. The museum tackles this head on in one kiosk, asking Who Will Reign in Zion — Hebrew or Yiddish? and acknowledging how the debate often turned vicious and even violent. There is also an animated film depicting Jewish literary, artistic, and music greats accompanied by a Hebrew rap song about their accomplishments. I found it a little ironic that they chose a rap song — perhaps the popular art form with the fewest successful Jewish makers (and yes, I am aware of Drake). Then again, it was in Hebrew, and that kind of cultural synthesis — and, OK, flat-out appropriation — is part of the Jewish mosaic as well. Like any effort to cram so many arguments and information in a limited space, the Identity and Culture section could feel a little thin. And yet for this Diaspora Jew, it also felt validating. I didn’t feel chided for living in galut, nor defensive about regarding Israel as just one of many paths in the Jewish journey. In the history section, Israel, like the Holocaust, is treated in just one room, this time with wall-sized videos displaying highlights of the country’s 74-year history. Elli said the museum played fair in its presentation of the global Jewish story. “It didn’t celebrate Zionism nor diss Zionism,” he told me. “It told that story within the context of the history of the Jewish people.” But when I goaded him and asked if that was satisfying, he dropped the gloves: “One can walk away thinking that there are so many more chapters to write about the future glory of Diaspora Jewry, when in fact the story is virtually over. It won’t survive the 21st century.” I left thinking that if the museum has a Zionist agenda, it doesn’t need a wall label or “gate of return” to make its point. You only need to exit the museum and find yourself surrounded by buildings representing the life sciences, engineering, biotech, security studies, and “cereal crops improvement.” To catch the train back to Jerusalem, you walk along a bluff that offers a spectacular view of the high rises of Ramat Gan and downtown Tel Aviv. And as you consider the present-day vitality or the nearly inconceivable accomplishments of the Jewish state, you think, “Touché, Israel. Touché.”

What is a Jew? Israel’s renovated Diaspora museum attempts a 3-story answer.

‘I didn’t feel chided for living in galut, nor defensive about regarding Israel as just one of many paths in the Jewish journey.’

PAGE 26

Andrew Silow-Carroll is editor in chief of The New York Jewish Week and senior editor of JTA.

THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022


OBITUARIES Joell Alter (J.J.), son of Betty Alter and the late Sid Alter, passed away June 3. After graduating The Ohio State University, he began his career in Dayton working for the Dayton Jewish Center. He then moved to Philadelphia, beginning his 20-plus years in the medical industry. He is survived by his sister, Jill; brothers, Mitchell (Linda) and Randall. He was the uncle of Mollie, Allie, Sophie, Max, and Sadie. He loved fashion, Broadway, dogs, and his many friends. And mostly his mother, Betty. A celebration of life will be held Sunday, July 10 from 3 to 5 p.m. at One Lincoln Park. He will live on in our hearts forever. Howard M. Bender, age 64, passed away suddenly at his home in Glendale, Ariz. on May 28. Born in Dayton, he was the son of the late Annalee (nee Block) and Donald H. Bender. He attended Jefferson Elementary School, Colonel White High School, and was graduated from Fairview High School in 1974. He subsequently attended Washington University in St. Louis, and was graduated from University of Iowa in 1978 with a B.A. in political science and history. He earned an MBA from Roosevelt University in 1986. He lived most of his adulthood in Buffalo Grove, Ill., where he built his career at AGIA, and was an active volunteer and marathon runner for several causes. More recently, he and his family moved to Scottsdale. Howard was known for his personal integrity, diligence, willingness to help others, sly sense of humor, and devotion to his wife and children. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Becky (nee Kramer); daughter and son-in-law, Ellen and Anton Akilov; and two grandchildren, Sarah and Michael of Scottsdale; son, Donald Bender of Detroit; and sister, Michelle Bender, of New York City. Interment was at Mt. Sinai Cemetery in Phoenix. Donations in Howard’s memory may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, or to the American Heart Association. Marcia E. Burick of Leeds, Mass. died peacefully in her sleep, June 4, after celebrating her 60th college reunion at Wellesley College surrounded by lifelong friends and classmates. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1962 with a major in political science. She was born in Dayton in 1940 to Simon and Rachel Burick. She graduated

from Fairview High School and was always connected to family and friends in Dayton. Upon graduation from Wellesley, Marcia was the recipient of two Mai Ling Soong prizes, which allowed her to attend a NATO youth conference in the south of France. She then joined the staff of the Press and Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Mission to the U.N., under the leadership of Amb. Adlai E. Stevenson in September 1962, just a few weeks before the Cuban Missile Crisis. She spent much of the next decade raising children, Ken and Dan, and embracing her new home in Northampton, where she moved to in 1968. Marcia became active in politics and community services. During that time, she was also working as a press director and speech writer for such organizations as Planned Parenthood of New York City, the Institute for International Education, The Fund for Peace and, occasionally, for the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. She used to say that she drifted to the job of press officer for the visit of the Chinese Table Tennis Team to the United States in Spring 1972 after the National Committee, a non-governmental organization, asked the U.S. Table Team Association, then in China in Spring 1971 at the invitation of Premier Zhou En-Lai, to invite the Chinese team to make a return visit to the U.S. in 1972, the beginning of U.S.-China Relations. She traveled with the teams throughout the U.S. in April 1972. After moving to Northampton, she earned an M.A. in Urban Studies at Smith College and wrote her thesis on Hong Kong Resettlement Housing, having received the Mary Elvira Stevens Fellowship for Wellesley alumni for travel and research abroad. In 1980 she became chief aide to the mayor of Northampton for a number of interesting years in local government and, during breaks, was able to organize and

conduct several tours of the world. Although she worked and traveled the world extensively, Northampton was her home. She was deeply involved and committed to the community, its people, and its institutions. She was a longtime and active member of Congregation B’nai Israel and was a staple at every political function. Her home in Fairway Village, Leeds was her home base and she entertained friends from all over the world and spent time with her close friends in the neighborhood. She worked for many years, often under USIS or USAID auspices, consulting on social services or teaching government best practices in such places as the Baltics, Poland, Nigeria, Gaza, South Africa, and ran a program over several years for the Institute for Training and Development for government officials in Indonesia. She is survived by her son Ken and daughter-in-law Amanda and her grandchildren Samantha and Nathaniel. She is also survived by hundreds of devoted friends locally and globally. Marcia was known for her incredible warmth and generosity and will be dearly missed by all. Her husband, Edward McColgan, passed away earlier this year. Her memory will be a blessing and her acts of kindness and good deeds will live on in this community and around the world. Contributions may be made to the Northampton Community Foundation. Richard S. Levinson of Chestnut Hill, Mass., died peacefully of natural causes on May 19 at Kimball Farms Nursing Center in Lenox. Born in Dayton on Dec. 16, 1934, Richard (Dick) Levinson was the oldest son of Rose and Jule Levinson. He and his brothers Steve and Jim grew up in a close-knit

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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JULY 2022

community, where his parents welcomed friends, family, and visitors to their home for meals and Jewish holidays. In high school, Richard worked at his family’s poultry business. He graduated as valedictorian of Fairview High School and earned degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Business School. Richard married and raised three children, Jeff, Brian (Tony), and John, with his then wife Ann (now Stern). He worked many years for Binswanger Glass Co., served as president of a wallcovering manufacturer, and moved to Concord, Mass. where he co-owned the local print shop. He was conscientious in applying lessons learned from his early days in the family business about treating customers well — he especially enjoyed meeting new people who came into the shop in Concord. Richard acted in local theatre on the Concord, Arlington, and Maynard stages and was an active member of the Concord Rotary Club. Later in life, he met Phyllis Walt, and for over two decades they shared their love of music, opera, and hosting friends for meals and Scrabble. Richard is remembered lovingly by Phyllis Walt, his brother James (Meredith), his sons Jeff (Lisa Gianelly), Brian/Tony (Rhonda), John (Renana Keynes), and his grandchildren William, Matthew, Joseph, Alexandra, Ayla, and Davi, as well as beloved Dayton family members. He was predeceased by his brother Steve (Rose). The family would like to thank the staff at Kimball Farms for the care they provided. The family will hold a memorial service for family and friends at a future date. A donation in celebration of Richard’s life can be made to a charity of your choice, or consider planting a tree in honor of his life.

Robert S. “Bob” Weinman, age 91, of Dayton, passed away June 8. He was born on Nov. 23, 1930, in Toledo to Harry and Ida Weinman. Bob was a proud graduate of the University of Toledo where he was a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. Bob was a U.S. Army veteran and member of the Jewish War Veterans. Following his service, he pursued a career in education spanning over 30 years, during which he served as assistant superintendent for employee relations with Dayton Public Schools. In his retirement, he worked alongside his wife, the love of his life, in their homebased invitation and stationary business, By Invitation Only. Bob was a longtime member of Beth Abraham Synagogue, where he at one time served as vice president and treasurer. Bob was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 52 years, Retta. He is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law, Barbara (David) Shon of Dayton, Arlene (Herbert) Biel of Bethesda, Md.; grandchildren, Samuel (Sarah) Shon, Rachel Shon, Erin and Andrea Biel; and great-grandchildren, Olivia and Ava; sister, Rochelle Russell of Toledo; and several nieces and nephews. Interment was at Beth Abraham Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to The University of Toledo Foundation, Beth Abraham Synagogue, or the Hospice of Dayton in Bob’s memory. The family would like to thank The Laurels of Kettering and Hospice of Dayton for their care and support of Bob.

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