Celebrating our high p. 21 David Moss designs Grace Afterschool Meals graduates in comic book form p. 22
THE DAYTON Published by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton
June 2021 Sivan/Tammuz 5781 Vol. 25, No. 10
The Miami Valley’s Jewish Monthly • daytonjewishobserver.org The Landsman family
The conflict and casualties
Benny Landsman, 4, at Dayton Children’s Hospital April 8 before surgery to receive the first clinical trial of a new gene therapy for Canavan disease
Taking cover in southern Israel from incoming rockets fired from Gaza, May 19
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28 years across the Jewish Bible at Beth Or
Hope in Dayton for children with Canavan
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Grant Halasz (L), who served this year as Temple Israel’s rabbinic intern and youth director, and Marc Rossio, who leads Temple Beth Or’s monthly Rock of Ages Shabbat services and is on the bima for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs there, performed at the Community Yom Ha’atzmaut Drive-In Celebration, April 18 in the parking lot of the Boonshoft CJCE in Centerville. Halasz, who grew up as a member of Temple Beth Or, has accepted the position of director of ruach (spirit) and youth engagement at Temple Ohav Shalom in Pittsburgh.
Beth Jacob DAI’s lead educator to present women’s lunch on collection’s Jewish WPA artists Beth Jacob Congregation will host Jewish Women Inspiring Jewish Women — women sharing uplifting stories of encouragement and positivity they have received from other women — at 11 a.m., Sunday June 27 over lunch in the synagogue’s parking lot, 7020 N. Main St., Harrison Township. Kosher boxed lunch choices for the socially-distanced program are a tuna or egg salad wrap, potato chips, a cookie, and drink. The cost is $5. R.S.V.P. to the synagogue by June 18 to 937-274-2149.
Temple Israel’s Taste of Jewish Cultural Festival Temple Israel will present the third in its series of drivethru events, Taste of the Jewish Cultural Festival, Friday, June 11 from 4 to 7 p.m. The temple is located at 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton. Baked items will be available for purchase. To order in advance and for more information, go to tidayton.org/ festival. Contact Patty Caruso at firstname.lastname@example.org to advertise in The Observer.
Arts & Culture.............................24 Calendar.............................19
Casey Goldman, lead muwhile DAI’s Jewish artists who seum educator with the Dayton participated in the WPA may Art Institute, will present Art, only be but a fraction of our Government, Hope: Jewish Artists overall art by Jewish artists, the Contribute to WPA’s Federal Art program will also look holistiProject via Zoom at cally at the role 7 p.m., Thursday, art plays during June 10, hosted by times of national the Jewish Comcrisis and make munity Relations connections to Council. contemporary artShe’ll provide ists of today.” an overview of Goldman, Jewish artists in who began her the DAI’s collecwork with the tion who worked DAI two years with the Federal ago, received Art Project, an arm her master’s of of the Works art in teaching Progress Adminisand bachelor’s of tration, which was fine arts from the developed as part Corcoran College DAI Lead Museum Educator of the New Deal of Art in WashCasey Goldman in the 1930s to ington, D.C. She support artists during the Great has taught in private and public Depression. schools and worked at Crystal “Part of the reason behind Bridges Museum of American selecting this topic and these Art, The Ringling Museum of artists is to highlight the Art, and The Phillips Collecdiversity of our collection,” tion. Goldman says. “We have nearly Register for this free program 27,000 objects, but the museum at jewishdayton.org/events or is only able to display close to a email Megan Ullom at multhousand at a given time. And email@example.com. Family Education......................22 Obituaries...............................27
O p i n i o n . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 7 Religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
DAYTON The Landsman family
New gene therapy trial in Dayton offers hope for children with Canavan Parents’ tenacity moves mountains to improve children’s quality of life
biology at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. and director of Rowan’s Cell and Gene Therapy Center. Leone and Janson have worked for more than two decades to make this latest trial a possibility. But it is the By Marshall Weiss, The Observer hope and tenacity of Benny’s parIn an operating room at Dayton Children’s Hospital on April 8, 4-year-old Benny Landsman ents — and a generation of parents of children with Canavan — that made it of Brooklyn, N.Y. received the first new clinical trial of an FDA-approved gene therapy for Cana- a reality. A year after Benny was born, Jennie van disease. and Gary Landsman had another son, Neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Lober placed four catheters in holes drilled into Benny’s skull, down Josh, who turns 4 in July. Benny and Josh were both diagnosed with Canaa track to a fluid space in the brain’s ventricles. van when Josh was two weeks old. Lober then manually injected a fluid containing Canavan is a debilitating, fatal 370 billion viral genomes of the new therapy. neurological disorder in which the By his side in the operating room were the Jennie and Gary Landsman with their son Benny before his surgery April 8 at brain deteriorates because of a defec- Dayton Children’s Hospital trial’s clinical leader, Dr. Christopher G. Janson, also with Dayton Children’s and Premier Health’s tive inherited gene. This mutated gene corrupts the body’s ability to produce myelin, Clinical Neuroscience Institute, and longtime Canavan researcher Paola Leone, professor of cell the protective white matter in the brain. Children born with Canavan rarely if ever Rachel Abrams Photography survive beyond their first decade. They become Premier Retirement Living blind, paralyzed, and prone to seizures. There is 590 Isaac Prugh Way – 937.298.0594 no cure. A rare disease, Canavan is more frequently found in people of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish descent. One in 40 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier of Canavan. Neither Benny nor Josh can walk or talk. Josh can still roll over. Benny is on a feeding tube. “They’re sweet kids and they smile, and they have personalities. They’re definitely aware,” Gary said. “But they have virtually no control of their limbs, they have no speech, they can’t sit up or even hold their heads up for more than a few seconds, if that.” Benny and Josh are able to communicate through an eye-tracking device; they look at images on a computer display to let their parents Brothers Josh (L) and Benny Landsman of Brooklyn, THERE’S EXCITEMENT IN THE AIR know what they need. N.Y. have Canavan disease, a rare genetic disorder Jennie Landsman had gone through genetic most often found in Jews of Ashkenazi (Eastern Continued on Page Four European) descent
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Old Kveller, what advice do you have for the Class of 2021?
One word: CYBERSECURITY.
c O Menachem
A frustrating construct in the IsraeliPalestinian conflict is the either/or of pro-Israel/anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian/anti-Palestinian. How dare anyone suggest that if I am pro-Israel, I am anti-Palestinian? Because I am Marshall pro-Israel and because I am pro-PalWeiss estinian, I am anti-terror, anti-Hamas, anti-Hezbollah, and anti those who would deny equal rights to all citizens of the only Jewish state, the state of Israel. Though Israel provides for the rights of its Arab citizens with a record far above the Arab states surrounding it, it would mark the ultimate act of denial to think the system is idyllic. Even so, nothing justifies the missile assault Hamas has waged from Gaza against Israel’s civilian population. This forced Israel into the ghastly situation of defending itself from attack against the Hamas terrorists who intentionally shield themselves among and below Gaza’s civilians, in networks of tunnels. Will peace ever come? I still believe it will. But not today.
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The Landsman family
Benny Landsman with Paola Leone and Dr. Christopher G. Janson at Dayton Children’s Hospital, April 8
donors: not only for Benny and Josh, but for the 24 estimated participants needed to complete the first trial. “Perhaps it was good that we were told six, seven months and a million dollars and I’ll treat your kids,” Gary said. “Had we been told from day one that we would need to raise $5 million, that it’s going to take over three years to get there, those numbers and that time frame may have been a little too daunting to us.” Janson said he and Leone did their best to estimate the trial’s cost. “But I guess we were a bit naive about all the changes in the regulations and requirements now,” Janson said. “There’s a lot of red tape that wasn’t there before.” One factor in 2018 was a change because of a contamination in genetic trial materials unrelated to their proposed clinical trial. Leone submitted two separate grants to the National Institutes of Health twice between 2018 and 2020 but didn’t receive sufficient support from members of the NIH Study Section to receive funding. “The grant application received a low impact score mostly on significance,” said Leone, who holds a doctorate degree in neuroscience from the University of Padua. Janson said the NIH rejections were likely in part because
with so few cases of Canavan, few individual lives would be directly improved from the gene therapy. “Also, a lot of the NIH funding process is about interesting science rather than practical applications,” he added. “It’s ironic but it’s kind of the reality. And the FDA is not really supporting compassionate trials anymore.” Lober said that although the research’s focus is on a very rare disease, this type of gene therapy could be applied to numerous white-matter diseases. “There are lots of other diseases that we could potentially have applications for based on what we’ve learned from this,” Lober said. “And so therefore, it’s not just hope for these folks, but for so many people. That’s what I think is amazing about this.” If Leone and Janson had waited for the next NIH grant cycle, they wouldn’t be able to treat patients until 2023, following the 12-month timeline for drug manufacturing. Benny, who turns 5 at the end of June, would have been too old for this clinical trial after his coming birthday. “The way the trial is designed, there are very specific age groups we can work with,” Lober said. “The maximum age is 5.” If not for the Landsmans, the clinical trial would still be waitContinued on Page Five
If not for the Landsmans, the clinical trial would still be waiting for funding.
Those trials targeted neurons. Although they saw some improvements in patients, such Continued from Page Three as fewer seizures, Leone and testing before she gave birth to Janson discovered they were Michael, her son from her first targeting the wrong cells. marriage. Her doctor told her By 2017, Leone and Janson she carried no markers for gehad developed a new gene netic diseases and had nothing therapy using a “modified reto worry about. With Michael, combinant Adeno-Associated – she didn’t. But with her second Viral Vector.” The lab-produced and third sons, the Landsmans gene targets the cells that are would find out either the test or significant for white-matter the doctor was wrong. development. “When we thought that JenTo bring the gene therapy nie didn’t have any markers, from the lab to clinical trials, we didn’t think it was imporLeone estimated the Dayton Children’s Hospital tant,” Gary said of the couple’s project would cost $1 thoughts on genetic testing. million. “We didn’t think she had to go That Thanksgiving, through additional testing, we the Landsmans opened didn’t think I had to go through a GoFundMe page. In any testing.” a matter of weeks, they At the Landsmans’ first meet- raised $1.5 million. ing with a geneticist to discuss At first, Leone and Benny and Josh’s diagnosis, the Landsmans exthey were told nothing could pected the boys would be done for the boys, to make receive the new clinical them as comfortable as possible trial in April 2018. until they passed. Updated FDA require“It probably took us about ments ultimately raised a month or two before we the cost to more than crawled out of the deep, dark $5 million and, comhole that we were in when we bined with the Covid found out the news,” Gary said. pandemic, would delay Jennie read everything there the procedure another was to read about Canavan, three years. connected with other Canavan With expertise families online, and reached out from a mom who had to Leone in fall 2017. already been there, the Leone had conducted two Landsmans managed previous clinical trials for Cana- to achieve total fundvan, in 1998 and 2001. Janson ing with donations collaborated on the 2001 trial. from more than 18,000 Neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Lober performed the surgery on Benny Landsman
OBSERVER daytonjewishobserver.org Editor and Publisher Marshall Weiss MWeiss@jfgd.net 937-610-1555 Contributors Scott Halasz, Rabbi Shmuel Klatzkin, Candace R. Kwiatek Advertising Sales Executive Patty Caruso, firstname.lastname@example.org Proofreader Rachel Haug Gilbert Billing Sheila Myers, SMyers@jfgd.net 937-610-1555 Observer Advisor Martin Gottlieb Published by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton 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. 25, No. 10. 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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DAYTON Jordana Holovach
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Jordana Holovach with her late son, Jacob, who died of Canavan disease at age 19
Continued from Page Four ing for funding. Eighteen patients are on the waiting list for the clinical trial and 10 doses have been manufactured, with another batch on the way. “We could not have done it without them,” Leone said of the Landsmans. “If everything goes well, we’re going to have one patient every month after we clear the first safety group — which is made of three patients — until we reach February 2022 and then start with a new batch of vector if we have sufficient time to produce it.” Benny’s little brother, Josh, is on the list to receive the second clinical trial, at the beginning of June. Gary said it isn’t official yet, but right now it looks like it’s going to happen. Leone said the therapy’s success will be based on its ability to improve motor function in these children. “We are hoping to complete the trial with benefits, with safety and efficacy on the study in about three years,” she said. The clinical trial continues to recruit children with Canavan ages 3 months to 60 months. All clinical trials for phases one and two will take place at Dayton Children’s. Janson moved to Dayton a year and a half ago from Chicago to join the Clinical Neuroscience Institute, a Premier Physician Network practice. “The hospital where it was going to happen was not ideal
for a lot of reasons,” Janson said. Lober came to Dayton Children’s six years ago. “Rob came into the picture and he’s fantastic,” Janson added. “We didn’t have a pediatric neurosurgeon and now we’ve got a Stanford-trained pediatric neurosurgeon to make this happen. So I think it was fortuitous and came together.” “I have to say that I’ve been to Yale (New Haven Hospital), I’ve been to CHOP PICU (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s pediatric intensive care unit), and Jefferson (University Hospital), and many other hospitals, and I’ve never seen anyone who does it like Dr. Lober and his team, managing before, during, and after,” Leone said. If the trial is beneficial to its patients and it’s sufficiently safe through its third and final phase, Leone said she’ll develop it into an approved product for Canavan disease. “If the product goes to phase three, we could identify other sites and then once it’s approved by the FDA and then by the EU, it could be used by any well-trained surgeon all over the world,” Leone said. Jennie and Gary attribute their success in actualizing the clinical trial to divine intervention. “It kind of snowballed and we really did not have any plan or special abilities,” Jennie said. After their GoFundMe video went viral and with the first
‘I don’t want to be an expert in this, I want cures.’
$1.5 million coming in, Jennie received a call from Jordana Holovach. Two years earlier, Holovach’s 19-year-old son, Jacob, died of Canavan. She had raised money for Leone’s two earlier gene therapy trials, founded a Canavan charity, and consults for rare-disease funding. “She called me out of the blue and just said, ‘I want you to know you’re doing a great job and I’m here for you if you ever need anything,’ Jennie said of Holovach. “And then one day, I needed her.” Holovach helped the Landsmans establish the Cure Canavan Fund 501(c)(3) to get them the rest of the way and to help other families raise money for the clinical trials. She now serves as the clinical trial’s patient advocate. She leveraged the Landsmans’ initial success with GoFundMe into more video content exposure on social media with a targeted focus on Jewish communities around the world. “Little by little, with the Landsmans and other families from Russia, Slovakia, Italy, Poland, we were able to accomplish the task to complete the manufacturing with multiple doses and to have parents start their clinical trials,” Leone said. “I remember being that parent: getting the worst diagnosis of your life, being told there is nothing else out there, there’s nothing you can do,” Holovach said. “I know this journey. Mostly I’m contacted by rareContinued on Page Six
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
DAYTON The Landsman family
Continued from Page Five disease groups because that’s what I lived through with my son. I don’t want to be an expert in this, I want cures.” When the team hit roadblocks that delayed the FDA’s approval, Holovach secured a meeting at FDA headquarters for the Landsmans and their clinical team in April 2019. Jennie and Gary brought sons Benny and Josh with them. “We brought the boys because we wanted them to see that there are two real children waiting, and that they’re not just a case number,” Jennie said. “All projects need a project manager to push all the various players along, and fortunately we were able to be Benny Landsman, 4, is prepped for surgery at Dayton Children’s Hospital, April 8 in touch with them and get a project love and care put into every single one,” Evan and Racheli, the Landsmans conmanager on their end, and both Jennie Jennie said of Dayton’s Chabad. firmed neither had Canavan. and I communicated with the FDA on a Along with visits from Jennie’s Benny’s procedure was scheduled for regular basis to really try to push things sister and parents (Gary’s parents live the intermediate days of Passover. The forward,” Gary said. in Israel), the Landsmans’ rabbi, Etan Landsmans reached out to Chabad of The Landsmans arrived at an Airbnb Greater Dayton; its co-director, Devorah Tokayer with Kingsway Jewish Center 20 minutes from Dayton Children’s for in Brooklyn, flew in for the day of the Leah Mangel, prepared all the dinners their stay during Benny’s April surgery for the family over their two-and-a-half surgery. and recovery. With them were Jennie The Landsmans returned to Dayton weeks in Dayton. and Gary’s other children, Michael (11), “Right away, they said, ‘We’re taking Children’s for a follow-up May 3. The Evan (2), and Racheli (6 months), and couple said Benny has recovered much care of you. We don’t want you to have two home healthcare aids to assist with quicker than they had expected. to think about a thing,’ and they made Benny and Josh. Since Benny is the first person to sure we had beautiful meals with lots of Early in Jennie’s pregnancies with
receive this trial, no one knows when to expect clinical benefits, if any. “It might be three or six or 12 months until any clinical benefit,” Janson said. “We’re not exactly sure.” “It could yield no results, it could potentially be harmful for our kids,” Gary said. “We recognized that, and that was one of the things we talked about with the FDA, that we’re going into this with our eyes wide open. “But if they even have any chance of having an easier time communicating or having an easier time swallowing or have some mobility — if any of those are real possibilities — then we have to try whatever it is we can do. As God-fearing people and God-loving people, we believe that God is capable of anything. So we really have no idea what to expect, but we did know that we couldn’t sit still and do nothing.” On this side of the procedure, the Landsmans have the gift of hope. And gratitude. “We’ve been beyond moved by the generosity of people, and I’m not speaking exclusively to the financial support that we’ve gotten from people, but the chesed,” Gary said, using the Hebrew term for acts of lovingkindness. “We’re not completely sure what our lives’ mission is going to be. But we do know that we have to pay it forward. We absolutely have to. We want to, and it’s changed us.”
They graduated Hillel Academy in 2015. Now, they graduate high school.
Mazel Tov to the Class of 2021!
Attending Boston University with a psychology major on a pre-medical track ‘My time at Hillel was a time where I made some of my lifelong best friends that I know I will have forever. I made memories and friendships that are immensely important to me, and I also learned a lot about my Jewish roots.’
Samantha Jacobs Becca Friedman
Attending Miami University majoring in kinesiology ‘My time at Hillel has given me lifelong friendships and the skills necessary to think outside the box in all my classes and Torah studies.’
Attending the University of Michigan College of Arts and Sciences with a major in cellular and molecular biomedical science ‘My eight years at Hillel provided me with security in my Jewish background, the skills necessary for my curricular middle and high school education, and lasting friendships shaped by the close-knit community sustained by Hillel Academy.’
Attending George Washington University. Intended major, international relations with a focus on Middle Eastern studies ‘My years at Hillel were an amazing time where I was challenged to discover what it means not only to be a student of history, math, and science, but also a student of the Torah, Jewish culture, heritage, and values.’
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
After 28 years, Temple Beth Or class completes entire Jewish Bible By Marshall Weiss, The Observer London says when a new person would It was September 1993 when Rabbi join the class, the rabbi would ask Fortner to Judy Chessin started an adult Torah update the person on what they had already study class at Temple Beth Or in Washcovered. “Lorraine would then provide about ington Township. a one-minute summary of the Bible to where “Although we read the Torah portions we were on that date.” weekly, hardly any of us had looked at it Fortner says the discussion often turned to with adult eyes,” she recalls. grappling with the nature of God. What started out as a class to get “The whole Job thing is so unfair,” she says. through the Torah took all the time its “And yet, it’s part of it. Our whole history is students needed to dig deep into their this story of a family that certainly put the fun questions. It also expanded to encompass in dysfunctional. Most people would have the entire Tanakh, the Jewish Bible. come up with a nice story about people that “Even when you’re in the most remote were nice to each other and loving. No, we’ve Rabbi Judy Chessin parts of difficult verses, you see quesgot everything going wrong. And here we are. tions about God, reward and punishment and afterlife, Whether or not it’s literally true, it says we came from and huge issues would always come up,” Chessin says. an awful lot of people with flaws and foibles. And yet “And so, we took our time. And it took 28 years.” we’re still here. Despite all of that, there’s this common On Saturday, May 1, some class members came thing that keeps us going.” together at the Reform congregation for the first time A key component for the class of 15 to 20 has been in more than a year; others joined virtually as they food. Along with the bagels Fortner provides, and had since Covid hit. They read and discussed the final assorted nosh other members bring, London began verses of 2 Chronicles and celebrated bringing his homemade smoked salmon to class. Over their completion of the Tanakh. the last decade, he estimates he’s brought more than Donning a mortarboard cap, 200 smoked salmons to Tanakh study. Lorraine Fortner delivered the class A relative newcomer, attorney Joel Shapiro joined valedictorian. Fortner has been with the class about five years ago when he saw it listed in the class since it began. The Dayton Jewish Observer’s calendar. “It sounded like an interesting “Since I tend to like to study almost anywhere I can, thing to do, a nice social activity with I thought I would tune in, and I’ve stayed tuned in ever other people from the congregation, since,” says Shapiro, who isn’t a member of Temple and to learn,” says Fortner, who Beth Or. “She (Chessin) strikes a balance between the works in entity management with overall concepts and the details both, that people can Lorraine Fortner LexisNexis. “The composition of relate to. And then she can make some very dull parts the class has changed. It’s entirely different groups of of the Bible kind of interesting.” people who have come and gone throughout.” “Bible is the thing I like best,” Chessin says. “I just She recalls the class was originally aimed at parents love biblical history. I had no idea it would take this bringing their children to religious school on Sunday long. I never dreamed. I got as much out of it as the mornings. It ended up appealing to empty nesters and class did.” those who didn’t have children. Chessin says the class gave her the opportunity to “We always were prone to taking tangents and hav- dig deeper into the text than she was able to when she ing related — or not necessarily related — discussions was in rabbinic school. And participants’ observations along the way.” continually blew her away. Each class member brought his or her ver“There were so many great gems and most sion of the Jewish Bible to class. The various of them came from the people reading the English translations added much to their distexts, bringing their own insight to it.” cussions over the years. What she’s loved most, the rabbi says, was “There were a lot of times where Judy would sharing what she learned from her students be going along either translating or reading with her husband, Rabbi Michael Cook, who from whatever copy she had and we’d all go, taught for many years at Hebrew Union ‘Hang on. Mine calls it a this.’ Sometimes it College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinactually reads very differently when you read nati. Cook died March 30 at age 79. the other translations.” “We would talk about it at great length,” Congregant Dave London joined the Tanakh Dave London she says. “The last time someone blew me class around 2008. “I was just looking for other away was the week he had died and I’m like, who am I opportunities to get involved in Jewish education and going to share this with?” it was a time when I wanted to do more exploring into The class started its next adventure on May 15, beJudaism,” the retired Air Force engineer and longtime ginning to study the books of the Apocrypha — Second government contractor says. Temple-period Jewish writings that the rabbis of the “I had never really studied the Torah and the Holy Talmud didn’t include in the Tanakh. It will be held at Scriptures at that level of detail.” He didn’t expect to 10 a.m. two Saturdays each month, alternating between find what he describes as the amount of uncertainty in virtual and hybrid formats, and is open to the commumuch of the text. nity. The next session will be via Zoom, June 5. “Periodically, we’ll come across a word and the rabbi Chessin is also cycling back through the Bible with will say, ‘Well this word, no one really knows what it her adult Hebrew class, who have learned Hebrew, means because it’s only used here once.’” “but don’t like the grammar books.” They began readHe says the class would often talk about the differing the Bible straight through in Hebrew a year ago ences between history and theology. and are now at Gen. 28. Chessin says that non-Jews “If some of these stories are not based on history at also participate in both classes, “people who have an all, but they’ve been passed on for thousands of years, interest in Jewish studies, in Jewish scripture, in Jewish what makes them important?” interpretation, and really enjoy that.”
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
‘The cemeteries are the history of my community.’ — Susie Katz with her husband, Eddie
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.
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Ohio man pleads guilty to planning Toledo synagogues attack By Jane Kaufman Cleveland Jewish News Damon M. Joseph, whose alias is Abdullah Ali Yusuf, 23, of Holland, Ohio, pleaded guilty May 18 to attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group and attempting to commit a hate crime for planning an attack on two synagogues in the Toledo area. Joseph’s Jan. 29, 2019 indictment was the first across the country alleging both national security violations and hate crime offenses. His plea arrangement was made on the final day pleadings were due in his case, dating to his Dec. 7, 2018 arrest which took place after he accepted firearms from an undercover FBI agent following weeks of contact online and in person. The two targeted Toledo synagogues share a campus with the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo and the merged Jewish Community Center and YMCA. Sentencing is set for Sept. 14 in front of Judge Jack Zouhary in U.S. District Court in Toledo. The maximum sentence is life in prison for the two counts for
to support ISIS through violent in a news release announcing attacks on Jewish congregants the plea arrangement. “He while they worshipped. It is planned to target innocents at a Toledo-area synagogue based difficult to conceive of a more heinous plot, let alone reconcile on their religion and hoping that it would lead to the deaths that this plot involved violating our country’s solemn obligaof many and spread fear. His tion to protect the civil rights actions would have been an of every person as a means of assault on the liberties and resupporting a foreign terrorist spect for humanity we hold so organization. We will continue dear. We will continue to make to root out and bring to justice every effort to prevent such attacks from occurLucas County Sheriff’s Office those who support terrorists and ring. I commend those who seek to the agents, anaviolate the civil lysts and prosecurights of our famitors who identified lies, friends and the threat posed neighbors.” by this defendant Special Agent and took action to in Charge Eric B. protect the public Smith of the FBI’s from his plans.” Cleveland field Acting Assistant office spoke of JoDirector Patrick seph’s radicalizaReddan Jr. of the Damon M. Joseph tion over time. FBI’s counterter“In a matter of months, Darorism division expressed his mon Joseph progressed from a gratitude for “our partnerships self-radicalized, virtual jihadist with faith-based communities to planning an actual attack on and with our law enforcefellow Americans,” Smith said. ment partners on the JTTF for “Mr. Joseph has now accepted their work on this case, which responsibility for his actions. ultimately prevented this plot In the name of ISIS, Joseph from becoming a tragedy.” Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget planned a mass-casualty attack against citizens simply wantM. Brennan for the Northern ing to attend their desired District of Ohio described the houses of worship, which were crime as heinous. two Toledo-area synagogues. “Today, Damon Joseph Joseph’s terroristic actions are pleaded guilty for attempting antithetical to a just and free society, and he will serve a lengthy sentence as a result. The FBI would like to remind the public to remain vigilant so we can continue to thwart these types of threats together.” In 2018, Joseph drew the attention of law enforcement by posting photographs of weapons and various messages in support of the Islamic State group on his social media accounts, and a photograph originally distributed by the media wing of the Islamic State group, according to the release. Beginning in September 2018, Joseph engaged in a series of online conversations with several undercover FBI agents where he repeatedly stated and affirmed his support for the Islamic State group and produced propaganda he believed was to be used for its recruitment efforts, according to the release. Over the next few weeks, James Rosenquist (American, 1933–2017), F-111 (Castelli Gallery poster), Joseph stated to an undercover 1965, offset lithograph. Gift of Mr. S. Bradley Gillaugh, 2019.20 agent he wanted to participate in an attack on behalf of the
which Joseph pleaded guilty. Joseph pleaded not guilty to a third count, possession of firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence. Joseph was represented by lawyers Neil McElroy and Peter G. Rost, both of Toledo. Rost said the plea arrangement discussed in court would sentence Joseph to 20 years in prison. “However, the judge accepted that plea on a contingency, waiting to see what the presentence report reveals about the background of the case. The court reserved the right to, in the end, not accept the plea,” Rost said May 19, adding the case would then proceed to trial. He said a presentence report in federal court is “quite thorough” and takes weeks or months to prepare and includes a detailed investigation, presented to both the prosecution and defense for comment prior to presentation to the judge. “Damon Joseph was inspired by ISIS’ call to violence and hate,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division said
‘It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous plot.’
daytonartinstitute.org/changingtimes PAGE 8
Islamic State group. On Dec. 2, 2018, Joseph forwarded a document to the agent that laid out his plans for such an attack on “Jews who support state of Israel.” Joseph then stated that he did not necessarily see this as “a martyrdom operation” as his plan accounted for an escape and potential combat with law enforcement. On Dec. 4, Joseph met with an undercover FBI agent and discussed conducting a mass shooting at a synagogue. Joseph identified two synagogues in the greater Toledo as potential targets and discussed the types of weapons he believed would inflict mass casualties. Joseph made written notes about the firearms he wanted and provided them to the undercover agent, stating he wanted AR 15s, AK 47s, Glock handguns and ammunition. On Dec. 6, Joseph again met with an undercover agent to discuss his plans. Joseph stated specifically he wanted to kill a rabbi and wrote the name and address of the synagogue where the attack was to occur, and stated he had conducted research to determine when the Jewish sabbath was so more people would be present. Later that day, the undercover agent told Joseph he had purchased rifles for the attack. The two met on Dec. 7 at a predetermined location, where Joseph took possession of a black duffel bag containing two semi-automatic rifles, which had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement officers so that they posed no danger to the public. Joseph was then arrested. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, comprised of over 50 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, are investigating the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Baeppler and Jerome Teresinski of the Northern District of Ohio and Trial Attorneys Alexandra Hughes and Joshua Champagne of the National Security Division’s counterterrorism section, as well as AeJean Cha of the civil rights division, are prosecuting the case. Joseph is being held at the low-security Federal Correctional Institution Milan in York Township, Mich.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
THE WORLD Jamal Awad/Flash90
Arab citizens in a Jewish state
What to know about Arab Israelis as unrest sweeps the country
By Ben Sales, JTA As Israel began a round of fighting with Hamas in Gaza, another conflict, inside the country, caught some by surprise: clashes between Israeli Arabs and Jews. On May 11, in the central Israeli city of Lod, Arab protesters burned synagogues, shops and cars. Photos showed Torah scrolls salvaged from torched interiors, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the early morning hours to declare a state of emergency. Crowds of Arab protesters in other cities also gathered and, in some cases, started fires on the street. The violence did not end there. On May 12, Jewish protesters took to the streets of the coastal city of Bat Yam, chanting “Death to Arabs” and vandalizing a reportedly Arab-owned ice cream shop. A crowd of Jews also protested in the northern city of Tiberias, while clashes resumed in Lod ahead of a curfew. An Arab and a Jew, respectively, were beaten in different cities. And on May 13, in continuing unrest, a police officer in the city of Ramle was shot. The interethnic violence followed weeks of fighting between Arabs and Jews in eastern Jerusalem — clashes that sparked the fatal exchange of bombs. Arab Israelis also protested Israel’s 2014 war in Gaza, but May’s violence, which some have worried augurs a civil war, appears to be the most widespread civil unrest among Israeli Arabs in more than 20 years. The violence comes at a complex time for Israeli Arabs — following years in which they complained of rising discrimination and neglect, but also just as an Israeli Arab political party was about to clinch unprecedented influence in Israel’s government. Here’s a rundown of who Israeli Arabs are and what the ongoing unrest might mean for their place in Israeli society. Arab Israelis make up about 20 percent of Israeli society. There are nearly 2 million Arab citizens of Israel, roughly one-fifth of the country’s population. The vast majority are Muslim, while fewer than 200,000 are Christian. In terms of citizenship and rights, Israeli Arabs are distinct both from West Bank Palestinians and from Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem. Arab Israelis largely descend from Arabs who lived within Israel’s borders before the state’s establishment in
to a 2018 law that declared Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people, and said only Jews had the “right to national self-determination” in the country. Arabs have been integrating into Israeli society and appeared close to a political breakthrough — but now there’s fighting in the street. In recent years, Israeli Arabs have seen gains in employment and higher education. Despite ideological differences, the data suggested that society was slowly integrating. And because of ongoing Israeli political deadlock, it appeared that an Arab Israeli party would act as kingmaker following the country’s most recent election. If an Israeli governing coalition needed to rely on an Arab party to form a government, it would give Israeli Arabs unprecedented power in Israel’s political system. But in the past several days, the situation has changed drastically. Instead of moving into an era in which Jews and Arabs would form a political partnership in an increasingly shared society, Israel’s leaders are pleading for Arabs and Jews not to kill each other. And the violence is happening in Israel’s few Arab-Jewish cities, where the two populations live together. Now, no one can say what the future holds in a society that appears more divided than it’s been in decades.
1948, and did not flee or get expelled. They are full citizens of Israel, and have the right to vote and equality under the law. Israeli Arab parties serve in Israel’s parliament and an Arab judge sits on Israel’s Supreme Court. Israeli Arabs participate in a protest in March Palestinians in the West Bank have none of those rights. They some of whom have complained about live under varying degrees of Israeli discrimination in employment and military control and do not have freeelsewhere. Jewish extremists who view dom of movement, the right to vote in Arabs in Israel as a hostile threat have Israeli elections or access to Israel’s civil- vandalized Arab Israeli schools and ian court system. They cannot obtain mosques as well. Israeli citizenship. “Unquestionably, Israeli Arab society Palestinian residents of Jerusalem in general has made progress,” Abu are counted as residents of the city, Rass told Haaretz. “But there are a not have freedom of movement throughout small number of young people, espeIsrael, and can apply for Israeli citizencially without an education, among ship. But they do not automatically rewhom the anger and frustration is ceive the rights of Israeli citizens despite rising.” living in Israel’s capital. And Israeli Arabs have also protested Most have chosen not to apply for what they see as official discrimination Israeli citizenship because Palestinians from the government. While Arab Israegenerally view eastern Jerusalem as the lis have representation in parliament, an site of their future capital and do not Arab Israeli party has never been part recognize Israel’s claims to the area. of a governing coalition. Though they’re separated by borders, In particular, Arab Israelis objected Arab Israelis and Palestinians often come from the same families and have other social and communal bonds. A segment of Israeli Arabs identifies as ® Palestinian citizens of Israel. Business Advisors of Southwest Ohio “We feel that we are more Israeli and more Palestinian at the same time,” Thabet Abu Rass, the co-director of WHETHER SELLING the Abraham Initiatives, a coexistence YOUR BUSINESS NOW OR organization, told Haaretz. “Personally, we are more Israeli; collectively, more IN THE FUTURE, YOU NEED Palestinian.”
Within Israel, Arabs have protested structural discrimination. Arabs and Jews in Israel largely live in separate societies. Most cities in Israel are either Jewish or Arab, and Arab and Jewish Israelis attend separate schools, save for a small number who go to a handful of joint Jewish-Arab schools. Unlike most Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis are exempt from mandatory military service following high school. The two groups are so separate that there are even programs to take Jewish Israelis on group tours of nearby Arab towns. Several cities in Israel are “mixed,” with large Arab and Jewish populations living side by side. While these cities are sometimes praised as models of coexistence, disparities between their two communities persist, and some of them, like Lod and Ramle, saw harrowing violence in May. Although they have full rights as citizens, Arab Israelis have long protested discrimination in a variety of fields in Israel as well as funding disparities between Jewish and Arab cities. The poverty rate is higher among Arabs,
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
THE WORLD Getty
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has torn apart Chicago’s biggest Facebook moms’ group A 42,000-member Facebook group for Chicago mothers, MamaHive, was torn apart over debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in May
JUNE 11 4-7 PM
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based litmus test for this group.” By Philissa Cramer, JTA Slotnik, who is Jewish, found herself The tens of thousands of Chicago at the center of the conflict in the moms’ mothers in a private Facebook group group, as tensions around the Middle called MamaHive typically post about East conflict ran high in Chicago. Earlier sleepless babies, strollers and playthat day, a major pro-Palestinian march groups. But on May 16, with the latest conflict drew thousands of protesters downtown, and a smaller group gathered in between Israel and Hamas in Gaza enSkokie, a heavily Jewish suburb. There, tering its second week, a post went up two people broke a synagogue window that broke the mold. and affixed a Free Palestine sign to its “We, the admins of MamaHive door in an incident that police have Chicago, take a strong stance against labeled a hate crime. the terroristic acts being committed That night, Dana Hamed, a Palestinagainst the Palestinian people,” the post ian mother and makeup artist from said. “Anyone appearing to justify the suburban Chicago who is one of the occupation, genocide and apartheid moderators of MamaHive, gave a that is taking place will be immediheads-up to the rest of the moderators ately removed. If you feel in any way that she had an idea for a post. She supportive to those committing these shared a post that she had published on heinous acts, please feel free to remove Jan. 7, the day after the Capitol siege, yourself.” declaring MamaHive to be unwelcomWithin minutes, tensions flared in ing to supporters of treason, and wrote, the comments. In one heated exchange, “Hey guys, I would like to make a post after a Jewish mother compared the like this but for the genocide occurring group to Hamas and said she would in Palestine right now. quit, another mother Within hours, two Just giving a heads up called her a “genocide in case it ruffles some lover.” In response, the of the founding Jewish mother wrote mothers, one Jewish, feathers.” Six fellow adminis“go f---k yourself terhad been ousted trators, about half the rorist!” followed by group, soon “liked” an emoji of an obscene and dozens of other her post, and at least gesture. Jewish members one wrote, “I support Within hours, you,” according to two of the founding were kicked out or screenshots from the mothers, one Jewish, group that JTA obhad been ousted and quit in protest. tained from multiple dozens of other Jewish sources. Shortly afterward, the post to members were kicked out or quit in the complete group went live. protest. And within days, the woman Hamed was thinking not just about who posted the comment faced profesthe Jan. 6 insurrection but about another sional consequences, while online, the episode when MamaHive had turned 42,000-member group had effectively imploded, making MamaHive the latest uncharacteristically political: during last year’s racial justice protests. Facebook community to collapse spec“This group stood strong for our tacularly over political issues unrelated black brothers and sisters and we stand to its stated purpose. “This group was about having a safe, strong for our Palestinian brothers and sisters,” she wrote. “We don’t do selecsupportive, resource-rich forum for tive activism here.” parents to talk about their experience The first responses were ones of relief of parenting,” Alina Slotnik, one of the and solidarity. “Thank you for this!” group’s founders, said. “It was meant one woman with a Palestinian flag to be inclusive and always welcoming, overlay on her profile picture wrote. “I and it breaks my heart that somebody was completely shocked at the lack of would create a politically or religiously
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
THE WORLD mention about this topic in this group.” In short order, the post had racked up 350 likes. But Jewish members of the group, sensing that the post contained an implicit invitation for them to leave the group, quickly responded with concern. “This is a diverse group of Chicago mothers,” one wrote. “There are many Jewish mothers, Israelis, and those who support Israel in this group. There are also many who support peace for ALL people. I don’t understand this stance or statement at all.” Multiple mothers endorsed her comments. From there, the conversation intensified. Echoing debates about the conflict that have raged across social media, some mothers pressed the case that Israel is a colonizing nation committing genocide against Palestinians, while others argued that Israel is acting in self-defense when it fires missiles into Gaza. One heated exchange ended with one member writing to a Jewish mother, “Oh shut the heck up with your Hamas excuse bulls---t. Hamas was started looooonnnggggg after Israel started killing Palestinian people. That argument is so old. Find something else.” Slotnik soon weighed in as a founding administrator, saying that Hamed’s post “does not speak for me” and arguing that the topic did not belong in MamaHive. (The group was called MamaTribe originally but changed its name last year in a bid to distance itself from language that could be offensive to Native Americans.) “There are loads of groups for those discussions. This is NOT IT,” she wrote. “I am also deeply against any political litmus test for participation in this group. We are a welcoming community.” Slotnik’s post drew more than 100 likes, but in private, administrators were disparaging her interjection.
“Her fellow Jewish friends got on her case about it and she came out to be the savior,” one moderator wrote in a chat only visible to the group’s administrators. Moderators in Facebook groups have the power to remove and block posts and members, while administrators can also change the group’s rules and remove or add moderators. Both have access to a shared chat for group managers. “Trying to silence me. Typical Zionist move,” Hamed wrote in the administrators’ chat. “Exactly why I posted, so people could know the truth.” The administrators were also busy policing the comments in the group. The chat shows that at least one person posting pro-Palestinian comments was censured for her tone and set to have her future posts require approval before other group members could see them. But more frequently, scrutiny appeared to be aimed at those who challenged the premise of Hamed’s original post. “I’m removing her and everyone that liked this,” one administrator posted about a comment she had deemed in violation of the group’s rules. But it wasn’t clear to which comment she was referring. Another asked for details: “The murder of Jews comment?” The first administrator clarified, saying she was referring to a comment that said, “Please stop supporting terror.” That post also included the words “Free Gaza from Hamas!! Stand with Israel!” At the time, it had been liked nine times. The mothers group was not the first to be wracked with tension over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2017, the Upper East Side Mommas Facebook group, which then had 28,000 members, erupted in fighting after the author of the children’s book “P is for Palestine” posted about her book. The group imploded last year amid accusations of racism by its moderators. Continued on Page 27
‘The intensity of hate is increasing at frankly alarming levels.’
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Call Erica at (937) 433-2110 for questions or to schedule a tour! Demonstrators wave Palestinian flags in downtown Chicago after a march, May 16
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators attack Jews at LA restaurant By Andrew Lapin, JTA Groups of pro-Palestinian protesters attacked Jews in two separate incidents in Los Angeles. Authorities are investigating one of the incidents as a possible hate crime. In an altercation on the night of May 18 recorded on video, a group of men waving Palestinian flags attacked diners at a sushi restaurant in the neighborhood of Beverly Grove, throwing punches, bottles and other objects. The diners included a group of Jewish men. Another man at the scene, who was not Jewish, told the local CBS affiliate that he and his group also were attacked and
that he was pepper-sprayed when he tried to defend the group. He added that the attackers used antisemitic language to determine who at the restaurant was Jewish. In an incident on the night of May 17 recorded by a security camera, an Orthodox Jewish man was chased by a caravan of Palestine supporters. He escaped unharmed. The Los Angeles chapter of the Anti-Defamation League wrote on Twitter that it was “outraged” over reports of the attack. “Criticism of Israeli policy is not always antisemitic. Violent attacks while yelling antisemitic slurs is a hate crime,” the organization wrote. The Israeli-American Council, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that says it aims to “strengthen the bond” between the U.S. and Israel, issued a statement calling the attack a “hate crime” and saying it was “deeply concerned” by the report. Sinai Temple, the city’s largest Conservative congregation, sent an email to its members May 19 acknowledging the attack and calling on law
Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images
Pro-Palestinian protesters march through Stuttgart, Germany, May 15
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators are captured on cellphone video physically attacking Jews and using antisemitic language at a restaurant in Los Angeles, May 18
enforcement “to seek out the perpetrators, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law and make clear that such crimes of hate will not be tolerated in our city or in our country.” “We at Sinai who stand with Israel will not succumb to intimidation,” the temple’s rabbis and cantor wrote in the letter.
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Germany vows to crack down on antisemitism at Israel protests
peaceful, some tried to burn IsBy Toby Axelrod, JTA BERLIN — Following a spate raeli flags, shouted anti-Jewish epithets and cheered the bombof anti-Israel protests across ing of Tel Aviv. Germany tied to the ongoing The Deutsche Welle news Israel-Gaza violence, political agency reported that 180 people leaders here have vowed to marched from the train station crack down on demonstrators in the western city of Gelsenwho have used antisemitic rhetoric and have attacked Jew- kirchen to a synagogue chanting antisemitic slogans. ish institutions. Several individuals were ar“Anyone who spreads rested after rocks were thrown antisemitic hatred will feel the through the windows of mulfull force of the law,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer tiple synagogues in different cities. said in a statement. Last year, Germany made it He added in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag tabloid illegal to publicly destroy or damage the flag on May 16: “We of a foreign state will not tolerate Rocks were with which they the burning of thrown through have diplomatic Israeli flags on relations. German soil and the windows It is also illegal attacks on Jewish of multiple to incite hate or facilities.” call for violence Bundestag Presi- synagogues in a group dent Wolfgang different cities. against or individuals Schäuble called in a manner that for an increase in security for Jewish communities could disturb the peace; the law covers, for example, racism, and institutions on the eve of the Shavuot holiday on May 16. antisemitism and homophobia. Calling the incidents “disDue to measures aimed to stem the coronavirus pandemic, gusting,” Aiman Mazyek, head of the Central Council most synagogues still only of Muslims in Germany, said allow reduced attendance or in a statement to the Frankremote observances. Though most demonstrators furter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper that “Anyone who in recent days reportedly were attacks synagogues and Jews on the pretext of criticizing Israel has forfeited any right to solidarity.” The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs appealed to Muslims to stay away from the demonstrations, Deutsche Welle reported. It remains to be seen whether suspects arrested in recent days 2313 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood will be charged with inciting 937-293-1196 www.oakwoodﬂorist.com antisemitism. family owned and operated military discount
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
June JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES
Connect with us! Check out our events. For more information, check out our calendar at jewishdayton.org.
CAMP GADOL BEGINS MONDAY, JUNE 7 & RUNS THROUGH FRIDAY, JULY 23! CAMP K'TAN BEGINS MONDAY, JUNE 7 & RUNS THROUGH FRIDAY, JULY 30!
Film Festival continues into July! See Page 16 for the full lineup!
We will be loading groceries into cars for the BOGG Ministries “Mobile Meals” program. Five spots reserved for each date. Contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
May 22 through June 7 — PJ Library and Hillel Academy: Community Geocache Scavenger Hunt Tuesday, June 1 @ 5:40PM — JCRC Volunteer Night – Moraine Location Tuesday, June 8 @ 7PM — 2021 Film Fest Opening Night Picture of His Life @ the Dixie Twin Drive-In June 10 through 13 — Virtual Film, Aulcie Thursday, June 10 @ 7PM — Art, Government, Hope: Jewish Artists Contribute to WPA’s Federal Art Project Sunday, June 13 @ 10AM — PJ Library Creek Walk Sunday, June 13 @ 4PM — Caste Reading & Discussion June 14 through 16 — Virtual Film, Here We Are Monday, June 14 @ 7PM — Film Festival Zoom with Director Dani Menkin Wednesday, June 16 @ NOON — Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes: It’s A Matter of Fit June 17 through 20 — Virtual Film, My Dearest Enemy Thursday, June 17 @ 6:30PM — JCC Nature Hike @ Sugarcreek Metropark Friday, June 18 @ 10:30AM — JCC Book Club Sunday, June 20 @ 7PM — Film Festival Zoom with Director Tzipi Trope June 21 through 23 — Virtual Film, My Name Is Sara Wednesday, June 23 @ NOON — Our Pets: What to Expect as We Leave Our Homes and Venture Out June 24 through 27 — Virtual Film, Love It Was Not Thursday, June 24 @ 7PM — JCRC Community Conversation with Michael Masters of Secure Community Network (SCN) Sunday, June 27 @ 10AM — JFS Mitzvah Mission – Hannah’s Treasure Chest & St. Vincent de Paul June 28 through 30 — Virtual Film, Shared Legacies Tuesday, June 29 @ 7PM — Shared Legacies - Viewing and Discussion Upcoming Reoccurring Event Tuesday, June 8 & 22 @ 1PM — JFS Connects 2.0
THANKS FOR BEING A NEIGHBOR! Major kudos to all the families that participated in our Neighbor feature over the past year! We hope getting to know some of the families makes it easier to say “shalom”!
Moraine Location: Tuesday, June 1st • Tuesday, July 6th Tuesday, August 3rd
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES
Mitzvah Mission – Hannah’s Treasure Chest & St. Vincent de Paul Sunday, June 27 @ 10AM - NOON JFS is hosting another Drive Thru Mitzvah Mission! Prepare frozen, unbaked macaroni and cheese casseroles. Drive thru the Boonshoft Center for Jewish Culture and Education (CJCE) with your frozen casseroles and/or donations of high need items for Hannah's Treasure Chest. JFS will provide you with a sweet treat in return. You can find the recipe for the macaroni and cheese and list of high need items at jewishdayton.com/events. If you have any questions, please contact Mindy Adams, 937-610-1555.
Jewish Family Services OF GREATER DAYTON
A Biss'l Mamaloshen Kern
| KER-en | Verb
1. To turn. 2. To sweep.
3. To belong to.
Expression with kern: 1 Er shtelt zich mitn kop arop un di fis farkert.
He stands with his head down and his feet up! 2 Freg baym soyne an eytze un tu farkert. Ask advice of an enemy and then do the opposite. 3 A nayer bezem kert gut. A new broom sweeps clean.
Legacies, Tributes, & Memorials FEDERATION
LINDA RUCHMAN FUND IN MEMORY OF › Bea Harris Julie Ruchman Judy and Marshall Ruchman PJ LIBRARY IN MEMORY OF › Shelly Charles Marcia and Ed Kress
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes: It’s a Matter of Fit Wednesday, June 16 @ NOON via Zoom with Mark Graham & Sherie Ford Join Jewish Family Services for the third event in its annual Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes series. Sherie Ford, a Clinician, and Mark Graham, a Certified Prosthetist, Orthotist, will be discussing with us the importance of proper footwear and fit and its impact on our physical well-being. No cost. RSVP at jewishdayton.org/events
Jewish Family Services OF GREATER DAYTON
DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER IN HONOR OF › The 25th anniversary of The Dayton Jewish Observer Rabbi Sheldon Switkin JCC
CAROLE RABINOWITZ CAMP FUND IN MEMORY OF › Rabbi Michael J. Cook › Shelly Charles Bernie Rabinowitz
JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES IN MEMORY OF › Rhoda Mahran Dr. and Mrs. Alvin Stein › Ellen Elovitz Donna and Stanley Hersh Marilyn and Larry Klaben Beverly and Jeff Kantor › Dr. Jesse P. Kuperman Michelle and Don Kuperman FOUNDATION
JEREMY BETTMAN B’NAI TZEDEK YOUTH PHILANTHROPY FUND IN MEMORY OF › Marilyn Serelson › Rabbi Michael Cook › Ellen Elovitz Jean and Todd Bettman IN HONOR OF › DeNeal Feldman’s birthday Jean and Todd Bettman
JOAN & PETER WELLS CHILDREN & YOUTH FUND IN MEMORY OF › The parents of Jodi Phares › Shelly Charles › Bea Harris › Rabbi Michael Cook › Rebecca Wells Linville Joan and Peter Wells › Ellen Elovitz Lynn Goldman Levin
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
June JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES Thursday, June 10 Art, Government, Hope: Jewish Artists Contribute to WPA’s Federal Art Project 7 – 8PM, via Zoom No cost, RSVP required.
Tuesday, June 29 Shared Legacies - Viewing and Discussion 7 – 9PM, via Zoom Cost is $5, RSVP required. To purchase tickets, go to jewishdayton.org/events
Join JCRC as the Dayton Art Institute (DAI) highlights select work in their collection of artists who participated in the Federal Art Project (FAP). The FAP was the arm of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) that supported artists during the Great Depression. This interactive talk, led by Casey Goldman, Lead Museum Educator at the DAI, will examine how art intersected with the social, cultural, and political milieu of the time.
JCRC’s Racial Justice Alliance invites you to a special screening of Shared Legacies, a documentary highlighting the civil rights movement and the relationship of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Heschel. The screening will be followed with discussion led by Benjamin A. Mazer, Esq. and Brandon McClain Esq., Recorder of Montgomery County.
Benjamin A. Mazer, Esq. (left) & Brandon McClain, Esq. (right)
Sunday, June 13 Caste Reading & Discussion 4 - 5:30PM, via Zoom No cost, RSVP required. Beyond factors such as race and class, a powerful system influences the lives and behaviors of a nations people, there is a powerful system that influences the lives and behaviors of a nations people — the hidden caste system. Written by Isabel Wilkerson, Caste links the similar systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany and offers the audience insight into how the people of these nations have been shaped by a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Jewish Community Center OF GREATER DAYTON
Shared Legacies will also be streamed as part of the Dayton Jewish Film Festival from June 28 - 30. You can purchase tickets to watch at your convenience for $10 or you can get access to the entire 2021 Film Fest lineup with a season pass for $50. Please visit our website for more information at jewishdayton.org.
Throughout her book, Wilkerson explores the hidden eight pillars of caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, and stigma. Providing stories about people — including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others — illustrates ways that the caste system is experienced in everyday life. Join Dayton’s Judge Gerald Parker and Judge Walter H. Rice along with Moderator Joseph Saks, Esq. in a discussion of this groundbreaking book. [L to R]: Panelists Honorable Gerald Parker, & Honorable Walter H. Rice, Moderator Joseph D. Saks, Esq.
Thursday, June 24 A JCRC Community Conversation with Michael Masters of Secure Communities Network (SCN) 7 – 8PM, via Zoom No cost, RSVP required. Join JCRC for a Community Conversation with Michael Masters, National Director & CEO of Secure Communities Network (SCN). Masters will discuss SCN's role to combat and protect against antisemitism and antisemitic threats from a local, regional, U.S., and international magnitude. What is Secure Communities Network? SCN serves as the central organization dedicated exclusively to the safety and security of the American Jewish community. Through its operations center and Duty Desk, SCN provides timely, credible threat and incident information to both local law enforcement and community partners, working across 146 Jewish Federations - including Dayton, 50 partner organizations, over 300 independent communities as well as with other partners in the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors. For more information, visit www.securecommunitynetwork.org DAY TO N
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WE'RE HIRING! Join our fantastic team >> administrative and director positions are open! Visit JewishDayton.org/jobs to check out our current job listings and apply on Indeed!
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
June JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON & ITS AGENCIES
OPENING NIGHT: PICTURE OF HIS LIFE 2019 • 1hr 12min • Documentary • English/Hebrew/Inuktitut
He swam with crocodiles and killer whales, with anacondas and with great white sharks but one major predator has always eluded him, the Polar bear. He tried before and barely escaped, but now, as he nears the end of his career, he is determined to give it one last shot. As the journey unfolds, Amos contemplates the series of unspoken events that drove him here, to the end of the world. It has been a long and painful journey, after serving in an Elite Commando unit and witnessing the horrors of war, but where others find fear, Amos finds redemption. Tuesday, June 8 7PM - DJ Butch Brown 9PM - Film Starts The Dixie Twin Drive-In
(6201 N Dixie Dr, Dayton, 45414) $15 per car At the Drive-in, turn your car radio to station 107.3
WINNER: NOMINEE DOCUMENTARY FEATURE, BEST ISRAELI FILM @ DOCAVIV FILM FESTIVAL 2019; AUDIENCE AWARD @ GOLD COAST INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019; BEST DOCUMENTARY @ ISRAELI CINEMA 2019; AUDIENCE AWARD @ SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL 2019; AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD @ SYRACUSE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019; AUDIENCE AWARD BEST DOCUMENTARY @ LOS ANGELES 2019; AUDIENCE AWARD BEST DOCUMENTARY @ BOSTON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL 2019; AUDIENCE AWARD BEST DOCUMENTARY @ NORTHERN VIRGINIA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL 2019.
Rev up your hotrod and drive over to the Dixie Twin Drive-In for the JCC’s Opening Night of Film Fest! DJ Butch Brown kicks off the celebration at 7PM. The Graeter’s Ice Cream truck will be available to purchase sweet treats! The concession stand will also be open for your convenience. Israeli Box Dinner for Two - $18 by Bernstein’s Fine Catering Falafel , Hummus & Grilled Pita, Israeli Salad, Israeli Couscous Pasta Salad, Marinated Olives All dinner boxes must be ordered in advance by June 3. Dinner Boxes will not be available for purchase at the event. Dinner boxes are Parve; strictly kosher meal available upon advance request.
MY NAME IS SARA
HERE WE ARE
LOVE IT WAS NOT
KISS ME KOSHER
Available Online June 24 - 27
Available Online July 5 - 7
Available Online June 10 - 13
Available Online June 14 - 16
MY DEAREST ENEMY Available Online June 17 - 20
Available Online June 21 - 23
Available Online June 28 - 30
Available Online July 1 - 4
Available Online July 8 - July 11
JOIN US ON ZOOM WITH FILM DIRECTORS June 14 @ 7PM • Dani Menkin | June 20 @ 7PM • Tzipi Trope | July 11 @ 11:30AM Udi Nir
TICKETS & SEASON PASSES Opening Night at the Dixie Twin Drive-In $15 per car Season Pass: $50 (Includes Opening Night and all Virtual Films) • Virtual Screening, per film: $10
Jewish Community Center OF GREATER DAYTON
To purchase tickets or a Season Pass, visit
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
The bipartisan Israel’s mixed Jewish-Arab cities are on fire. Here’s how to put out the flames. consensus on Israel broke, and the GOP can’t be blamed By Nasreen Haddad Haj-Yahya percent of Arabs in Lod and only 43 percent of those The horrific violence that erupted in May between in Akko are employed. To make matters worse, less Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens came as a surprise than 20 percent of Arabs in mixed cities have academto many. After all, haven’t we heard recently that the ic degrees, greatly limiting their ability to improve elected representatives of Arab citizens of Israel in the their lot and gain meaningful employment. Knesset are the new kingmakers? And that in return To complicate matters even more, in many of these for their support, the next government was to have cities there are two kinds of “imported” populations: made a serious effort to close the glaring socioecoThe first are families of “collaborators,” Palestinians nomic gaps and address the significant challenges originally from the West Bank, who have collaborated facing the Arab minority? with Israeli intelligence, have been resettled within IsUnfortunately for those of us who live in mixed rael proper and are shunned by the Arab minority livcommunities where Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel ing in Israel. The second are Garinim Toranim, Jewish, live side by side, and who closely follow the latest ideologically-based groups who seek to strengthen the data, the horrific violence perpetrated by a small local Jewish community, with little focus on truly inteminority in Lod, Akko, and even Jaffa was almost grating into cities such as Lod, where we saw some of inevitable. A perfect storm has long been brewing. the worst violence. Unemployed youths with little prospects on the Against the backdrop of these dismal statistics came horizon add to rising crime in Arab communities. The the events of May 2021: the dispute around the pendgovernment and municipalities lavish money on projing expulsions of Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Sheikh ects and policies that benefit Jewish residents, often Jarrah neighborhoods, the police action at the Aqsa at the expense of long-time Arab residents. All this Mosque and Temple Mount, and then the fierce Israeli created a tinderbox ready to be lit on fire at the end of retaliation in Gaza for the missiles fired by Hamas the Ramadan period. in Gaza. All resonated with the unemployed Arab Lax policing plays a significant role in all this, as youths in the mixed cities, where in a recent survey, 50 well. An unwillingness to commit percent of the residents reported Roni Ofer/Flash90 resources and personnel has created that they believe that their murates of violent crime in these cities nicipalities do not offer the same that are among the highest in Israel. level of services to Jewish and In 2020, 21 Arabs were murdered in Arab residents. mixed cities — 20 percent of all Arabs So, where do we go from here? murdered in Israel in 2020 — double The answer lies in the underlying their share of the population. conditions that contributed to the All this came to a head in 10 days. violence in the first place. While a There can be no excuse for violence, resolution of the Israeli-Palestinbut to better understand the situation ian conflict and the religious and in much of Israel today, it is helpful nationalistic tensions it incites to take a closer look at these mixed is probably years away, Israel’s cities. There is a prevalent myth government can make practical that these communities are beacons decisions that can narrow the of hope. Travel spreads in leading gaps within our society and proMedics evacuate an injured man during international publications feature clashes between Arab and Jews in Akko, vide equal opportunities for all. boutique hotels in Acre and Jaffa and northern Israel, May 12 Government Resolution 922, that project an overly positive image a five-year, $4.6 billion passed of a Middle Eastern success story. in 2015 and extended last year for an additional year, In reality, Arab residents of mixed cities live almost was a giant step forward towards the social and ecocompletely separate lives from the Jewish majornomic advancement of Israel’s Arabs. It will hopefully ity. Neighborhoods, and even city blocks, are clearly narrow the gaps between Arab and Jewish society delineated between Jewish and Arab residents, and it in education, housing, employment and many other goes without saying that almost all schools are comareas. Nevertheless, challenges unique to mixed cities pletely separate. I myself grew up in Ramla, a mixed were excluded from the resolution. What is needed city with Arab and Jewish residents. I had no interacnow is a new plan that will focus on these cities, and tion with Jewish residents and did not speak Hebrew allocate funding aimed at narrowing the gaps within until I turned 18 and got my first job. these municipalities in addition to supporting Arab There are legitimate cultural and national reasons citizens throughout the country. for Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities to seek to The violence within Israel is devastating for those protect their own individual identities, but as is often experiencing it firsthand and disheartening for all of the case, completely separate lives can breed inequalius who hope for the day in which all citizens of Israel ty. On the average, the government invests the equiva- have equal rights and equal opportunities. The imlent of less than $8,000 in an Arab high school student mediate consequence must be fair but harsh policing in the mixed cities, while committing over $13,000 per against anyone who uses violence, coupled with a Jewish student in these same communities. Approxicall by religious and communal leaders to instill calm. mately 30 percent of Arab citizens between the ages of Then, we must all get back to work to develop poli18 and 24 are neither employed nor studying. Among cies that will build a better and more just society, and their Jewish peers, only 13 percent are not working or ensure that our leaders will implement them towards studying. This means, that around 250,000 young Ara more hopeful future for Jews and Arabs alike. abs are either at home or roaming the streets with little to occupy their time. The problem is especially acute Nasreen Haddad Haj-Yahya is the director of the Arab in some of the cities in the headlines recently: Only 33 Society in Israel program at the Israel Democracy Institute.
So, what do you think?
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
By Jonathan Tobin For the past two decades, Jewish Democrats have lamented what they considered an assault on the bipartisan consensus on Israel. According to them, the people trying to destroy it were Republicans. They saw the GOP’s efforts to point out the contrast between the increasing lockstep support for the Jewish state on their side of the aisle with growing divisions among Democrats as inappropriate. Highlighting dissent about Israel among Democrats was labeled as an attempt to use the problem as a “wedge” issue to get more Jews to vote for Republicans. If that was the GOP’s goal, they failed. The overwhelming majority of Jews remain loyal supporters of the Democratic Party. That has remained true regardless of where Democrats stood on Israel because the liberal majority prioritizes social-justice issues over those connected to the Jewish state. But in May, as Hamas launched thousands of missiles at Israel and the Jewish state has decidedly responded, it’s become clear that we are witnessing the end of what is left of that bipartisan consensus. And far from it being engineered by Republicans, the crackup is almost entirely the result of a conflict being waged inside the Democratic Party. Since the election three years ago of the members of “The Squad” to Congress, including open antisemites such as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), centrist Democrats have insisted that they didn’t represent their party’s views. It’s true that most of the Democratic leadership continues to pay lip service to support for Israel. That includes President Joe Biden, who seems to be trying to keep his word about criticism of the Jewish state being uttered in private, rather than in public, as former President Barack Obama did. Indeed, pro-Israel Democrats could point to the administration’s decision to block U.N. Security Council resolutions that treated Hamas terrorist attacks as morally equivalent to Israeli self-defense. It’s also true that nine Democrats spoke up in defense of Israel on the floor of the House of Representatives. But the problem goes beyond the fact that those nine were answered by fiery denunciations of Israel and repetitions of Palestinian calumnies about the Jewish state by 11 leftist House Democrats or the equally bitter criticisms of the Jewish state by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) There was also the fact that 28 Senate Democrats, a majority of their caucus, endorsed a demand for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, even as the latter continued to rain down rockets and missiles on the Jewish state’s people, while Republicans issued statements placing the blame for the fighting squarely where it belongs — on Hamas. Perhaps even more telling was the reaction of Democrats who claim to be among Israel’s greatest defenders. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has spent his career boasting to Jewish audiences that he is a shomer (a play upon a Hebrew word for guardian of Israel that is similar to his name). Yet in a week when 11 Jews were killed by Palestinian terror Continued on next page
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.
Continued from previous page attacks, he had nothing to say about it or those in his party who are echoing some of the most despicable lies about the Jewish state. He only broke his silence with another call for an immediate ceasefire and neutral rhetoric that expressed no solidarity with Israel’s plight. Equally disturbing is the stand of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), a stalwart friend of Israel who defied Obama in opposing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. But the days of Menendez standing with Israel are over. He said he was “deeply troubled” by Israeli attacks on terror targets, including an office building in which Al Jazeera and the Associated Press shared space with Hamas operatives and implied that the Jewish state was violating “the rules of war.” Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of the leftwing lobby J Street, who has worked for more than a decade to undermine the pro-Israel consensus from the left, had reason to boast to The New York Times that most Democrats now see “reflexive support for Israel’s right to defend itself” as the moral equivalent of “saying our thoughts and prayers go the victims of the latest mass shooting.” Like him, they see Israel and its right to prevent terrorists from killing its citizens or the defense of Jewish rights in Jerusalem as the problem. They give the Palestinians — who have repeatedly rejected peace and a two-state solution, and do not recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn — a pass because they are perceived as underdogs. Just as Democrats refused to condemn Omar and Tlaib for their antisemitism in 2019, no one in the Democratic leadership, including “Schumer the shomer,” would criticize the extremist statements of the 11 anti-Israel Democrats that demonized Israel, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who repeated the “apartheid state” libel. To the contrary, after Biden met with Tlaib that week, he praised her as a “fighter” whose “intellect” and “passion” he admired, though in doing so he got her name (he called her “Rashid”) wrong. That made it appear as if it were the pro-Israel members of the House who were isolated, not the ones who expressed their contempt for the Jewish state. The Democratic base has shifted its perspective because of the pervasive influence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and attitudes about critical race theory and intersectionality that falsely classify Jews and Israel as beneficiaries of “White privilege” who are oppressing “people of color”—i.e., Palestinians. The Times summed up the shift succinctly: “As Democratic voters and lib-
So, what do you think? PAGE 18
erals have become more self-consciously organized around concepts like equity and systemic discrimination, their push for more liberal policy positions…at home has reshaped the way many view the conflict in the Middle East and the violence it has produced.” This is how attacks on Israeli selfdefense and even the right of a Jewish state to exist which were outliers during the 2014 Gaza war have become legitimized. They have become mainstream talking points among liberals and are endlessly repeated by the Democrats’ popular-culture influencers like comedians Trevor Noah and John Oliver, who accused Israel of “war crimes,” as well as the editorial pages of the Times. Many Americans who parrot toxic BLM slogans do so because they think they are anodyne expressions of opposition to discrimination, not realizing that these ideas are fundamentally illiberal and reinforce racism. But when applied to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, they are also based on false moral equivalence between the two sides. Do those who treat Hamas as the representatives of an oppressed people realize that the goal of those shooting at Israel is to eliminate the Jewish state and slaughter its people, rather than support for human rights? Some don’t, and others no longer care. Even the liberal Jewish groups who are using the current fighting to try and resurrect interest in a two-state solution seem to miss the fact that if Israel were forced out of the West Bank by American pressure, it would likely soon become a larger and more dangerous version of Hamas’s terrorist base in Gaza. But so deeply ingrained is support for this false narrative of victimization, including the lies about the Jerusalem property dispute that was part of the pretext for the latest flare-up in fighting, that many Democrats accept them without question. Meanwhile, Republicans who continue their lockstep support of Israel look on as the distance between the two parties on Israel continues to grow. If, as seems likely, Biden pivots towards more pressure on Israel to make dangerous concessions to the Palestinians rejected by most Israelis in the aftermath of the current fighting, it will be because he knows that’s what most Democrats now want. Some may pretend that the demise of the pro-Israel consensus is the fault of conservatives who still unreservedly support the Jewish state. The fault for this crackup, however, is solely the fault of liberals who have surrendered to critical race theory myths that give a permission slip to hatred of Israel and the Jews. Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of Jewish News Syndicate.
I grew up in a mixed Jewish-Arab city. Violence there frightens me more than rockets from Gaza. By Tomer Persico When I was growing up in Haifa, the city’s mixed population was a steady background, often overlooked rather than noted with wonder. Jews and Arabs lived, worked and raised children side by side, at times together. As part of a secular family, I remember driving to the Arab neighborhoods to buy pita bread during Passover, when supermarkets in Jewish neighborhoods are forbidden by law to sell it. Winter included heading to the Christian area on Christmas to enjoy the decorations and catch a whiff of cosmopolitanism. As an Israeli, the events of the last few days in Lod, Jaffa, Akko, and other mixed cities are much more worrying than another round against Hamas, however horrendous. Over the last decade, the conflict with Hamas has taken the shape of a clash between two states, however asymmetrical the balance of power is. It is a war of attrition that no Israeli expects to come to an end when this particular round of violence is through. What’s happening in Israel’s cities — the Jewish-Arab clashes within the country — is fundamentally different. Quite beyond the disintegration of public order, with Jewish cars set ablaze by Arab rioters and Arab shops smashed by Jewish extremists, the very fabric of our society is torn. As of now, Lod has borne the brunt of the attacks, with synagogues torched and Jewish families hiding in their own houses for fear of violence from their neighbors. This catastrophic eruption of aggression could have been foreseen, but was by no means inevitable. It has to do with long-term neglect of the Arab citizenry in Israel by the state, but that’s really only the very broad background. The fire was sparked at Jerusalem. On the one hand it was brewed by the incremental seizure, through technically legal but profoundly inequitable means, of Arab houses by Jewish settlers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah; on the other, the Al-Aqsa mosque became a battleground. Palestinians amassed rocks and firecrackers to throw on Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall below it, and the Israeli police raided the compound and dispersed the crowds, leaving 21 police and more than 200 Palestinians injured. These last events brought feelings of resentment and national frustration to their boiling point. Al-Aqsa mosque is not only the third-holiest site for Sunni Islam, but a fundamental element of the Palestinian national identity. After its conquest in the 12th century by Saladin,
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the Arabs in and around Jerusalem were entrusted with the protection of the holy site. Today the Jerusalem Palestinians, and by extension all Palestinians, see themselves as heirs to that trust. A perceived affront or infringement to the site by Israel brings tension that, if not abated, breeds violence. The bloody “Al-Aqsa Intifada” of 2000 to 2005 got its name for a reason. For Palestinians, a struggle around the holy compound is much more than a question of hurt religious feelings or national pride. It is a part of their identity, an abuse of which incites a visceral reaction. The breakdown of coexistence in Israel’s mixed cities, however, pushes similar buttons in the Jewish psyche. When Jewish Israelis hear about Jews locking themselves up in their homes, helpless; about gangs of rioters walking the streets, seeking Jews; about synagogues vandalized and set on fire — layers of centuries-long trauma are exposed. Among the elements constituting the Jewish identity is, tragically, a sense of vulnerability and the acute fear of violence from one’s neighbors. The reasons for this are clear, and the historical response to it was, among other things, Zionism. In May, Israelis found themselves reliving (vicariously, for most) the same reality that they hoped they would “Never Again” encounter. Once more, we have an intrusion into the deepest sediments of identity, an abuse of which, of course, incites a visceral reaction. The results are disastrous: a collapse of the social fabric and indeed of law and order. Lynch mobs from both peoples are pursuing victims in the streets, and families who were only a week ago living peacefully side by side are terrified of each other. Since neither population is going anywhere, Israelis will learn to live together. Life has its ways, and neighbors find theirs to coexist. The collision of identity and historical hurt, however, unavoidably engenders an intense trauma. Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens are pressing each other’s deepest points of suffering, deepening the anguish. The long process of healing requires an honest attempt at a more equitable relationship between the state and its Arab citizens. But each side must learn to recognize and be much more attentive to the others’ identity and sensitivities. Tomer Persico is the Koret Visiting Assistant Professor at the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley, and the Shalom Hartman Institute Bay Area Scholar in Residence.
Views expressed by columnists, in readers’ letters, and in opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinion of staff or layleaders of The Dayton Jewish Observer or the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
Because of Covid-19, all programs below are presented virtually unless listed otherwise. For the latest information, check with the organizations via their websites, Facebook pages, and by calling them directly.
Beth Jacob Virtual Classes: Sundays, 2 p.m.: Conversions w. Rabbi Agar. Tuesdays, 7 p.m.: Weekly Parsha w. Rabbi Agar. Thursdays, 7 p.m.: Jewish Law w. Rabbi Agar. Email Tammy at bethjacob1@ aol.com. Temple Beth Or Apocrypha Class: Via Zoom w. Rabbi Judy Chessin. Sat., June 5, 10 a.m. Call 937-435-3400 for details. Temple Israel Virtual Classes: Mondays, noon: Coffee w. the Clergy. Saturdays, 9:15 a.m.: Torah Study. For details, call 937-496-0050.
Children & Youths
JCC Camp Shalom K’tan (Preschool): Monday, June 7-Fri., July 30. Register at jewishdayton.org. JCC Camp Shalom Gadol: Mon., June 7-Fri., July 23. Register at jewishdayton.org.
JFS Connects 2.0: Socialization & fellowship with JFS Social Worker Aleka Smith via Zoom. Tues., June 8 & 22, 1 p.m. Contact Aleka Smith, email@example.com or 937-6101775. JFS Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes, It’s A Matter of Fit: Wed., June 16, noon. Free. Register at jewishdayton.org/ events. JFS, Our Pets & What to Expect As We Leave Our Homes & Venture Out: Wed., June 23, noon. Free. Register at jewishdayton.org/events.
Chabad Women’s Circle End of Year Event: Mon., June 7, 6 p.m. Guided painting w. Raise Your Brush & wine tasting w. connoisseur Gary Landsman. $35. 2001 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. 937-643-0770.
JCRC Volunteer Night: Tues., June 1, 5:40 p.m. For details, contact Megan Ullom, mullom@ jfgd.net.
JCRC Community Conversation w. Secure Community Network’s Michael Masters: Thurs., June 24, 7 p.m. Free. Register at jewishdayton.org/events.
Beth Jacob Congregation Jewish Women Inspiring Jewish Women: Sun., June 27, 11 a.m. 7020 N. Main St., Harrison Twp. Lunch $5. JCRC, Art, Government, Hope: R.S.V.P. by June 18 to 937-274Temple Beth Or Summer Jewish Artists Contribute to 2149. Kick-Off Celebration Shabbat: WPA’s Federal Art Project: Fri., June 25, 6:30 p.m. 5275 W. DAI Lead Museum Educator JCRC Screening & Marshall Road., Wash. Twp. Casey Goldman. Thurs., June Discussion of Shared Templebethor.com or 937-43510, 7 p.m. Free. Register at Legacies: Tues., June 29, 7 3400. jewishdayton.org/events. p.m. w. Mont. Co. Recorder Brandon McClain & attorney JFS Mitzvah Mission: for Temple Israel’s Drive-Thru Benjamin A. Mazer. Free. Hannah’s Treasure Chest & St. Taste of the Jewish Cultural Vincent de Paul. Sun., June 27, Register at jewishdayton.org/ Festival: Fri., June 11, 4-7 10 a.m. Contact Mindy Adams, events. p.m. 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton. Info. at tidayton.org/festival. JCRC Reading & Discussion of Caste: Sun., June 13, 4 p.m. w. Judge Gerald Parker, Judge Walter H. Rice, moderated by attorney Joseph D. Saks. Free. Register at jewishdayton.org/ events.
JCC Nature Hike@Sugarcreek MetroPark: Thurs., June 17, Men 6:30 p.m. Free. Register at Chabad Bagels, Lox & Tefillin: jewishdayton.org/events. Sunday, June 6, 9:30 a.m. 2001 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. JCC Book Club: Fri., June 18, 937-643-0770. 10:30 a.m. Free. Register at jewishdayton.org/events.
JCC Film Fest
For complete schedule, see Page 16.
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MSG PAGE 19
THE MARVELOUS MR. MAZEL
LIFECYCLE Avigdor Yisrael-Victor Irving, AKA Vigo Zwelling, was born on Jan. 2. Vigo is named after his late paternal greatgrandfathers Rabbi Victor Zwelling and Irwin Schlass, and his late maternal greatgrandfather Irving Green. He is the son of Madison and Jacob Zwelling, grandson of Deva and Josh Zwelling, and greatgrandson of Eleanor Zwelling. Send lifecycles to MWeiss@jfgd.net.
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If you happen to get a delivery from a Kroger grocery store in the near future, you’ll be able to thank a local family. Beth Flippo — who moved to our region in November with her husband, Christopher, and their four kids — is the chief technology officer for Telegrid Technologies Inc., which is responsible for developing the drone system Kroger is testing at its Centerville store. Telegrid was founded in 1984 by Beth’s parents, Igal and Gloria Sharret. Beth joined the company about 14 years ago.
The Flippos moved here from New Jersey so that Beth could help Telegrid’s Drone Express Division, uh, take off. Drone Express is working on FAA certification to allow it to expand and fly longer distances. Beth said her family could have stayed in Livingston, N.J. with its large Jewish community, but moving near the family’s 7,500 square-foot facility in Monroe in Butler County was beneficial. “We’re a small business,” Beth said. “We knew they would appreciate having someone in their backyard.” Christopher is from Akron and the Flippos have always been looking for a reason to move to Ohio. “It was not a hard sell,” Beth said, especially since Christopher, who works in finance, could work from home. After living in an apartment in Liberty Township in Butler County for about three months, the Flippos moved to a house in Bellbrook. They realized the Dayton area was the place to be as all their travels kept leading them here. And it seems perfect for someone who works with things that fly. “Aviation, it’s like in every-
body’s blood,” Beth said. “They walk around looking up. It’s like this incredible thing. I don’t know where else you could find that dynamic.” Beth said the Flippos are here to stay. “We love Dayton. It’s the most wonderful place, coming from New Jersey. People are so pleasant. People drive nice. It’s been very Beth and Christopher Flippo with their children, welcoming.” Connor, Amy, Molly, and Scarlett She added that Bellbrook is a great community anyone who has Medicare questions. for their children: Conner (15), Scarlett (11), Molly (8), and Abigail Zied, daughter of Amy (5). Molly had a fantastic Dena Mason-Zied and Eric experience at her Bellbrook Zied, was selected to receive school. In December, she was the Marion C. and William B. a little surprised at all the Risman Scholarship in Jewish Christmas decorations. So her teacher went and got a bunch of Studies. The scholarship is good Chanukah-related items just for for three years. Abigail minors in Jewish studies at Kent State Molly. University. “They love it here,” Beth said. “It’s very flat here so they can ride their bikes anywhere.” Deborah Liberman graduated from Indiana UniversityBeth is hoping to soon be able to fly her drones anywhere. Bloomington with a Bachelor of Education degree in early childhood education with Tara L. Feiner and Janese R. highest distinction. While at Sweeny graduated from the Indiana, Deborah participated Spertus Institute for Jewish in the Hutton Honors College, Learning and Leadership in was a four-year member and Chicago in a virtual ceremony corporate relations chair for May 2. Tara, executive director Dance Marathon, and was of Dayton’s Jewish Family Services, received her Executive a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Deborah has worked Master of Arts degree in four summers with the Dayton Jewish professional studies. JCC’s Early Childhood program Janese, the Jewish Federation’s financial resource development and hopes to obtain a pre-K to third-grade teaching job. director and Dayton Jewish Deborah is the daughter of Foundation director — who is also an attorney — received her Ann and Scott Liberman of Master of Arts degree in Jewish Washington Township. professional studies. Last month I told you I was a finalist in the Ohio Associated The Ohio Senior Health Press Media Editors 2020 Insurance Information writing contest for best sports Program named Connie Blum writer. The final results were Counseling Coordinator of announced and I finished the Year for the State of Ohio. second in Division I, which Connie has been a Medicare is for newspapers with a Counselor for OSHIIP since circulation up to 7,999. That 1998. Connie is Jewish Family division contains the most Services’ go-to person for newspapers. Mine are the Xenia Daily Gazette and Fairborn Daily Herald. Just being a finalist was an honor. Bring in this ad and receive $10 off your next Don’t forget to send me your in-store purchase college graduation information of $60 or more* for my next column. Expires 7.31.2021. *Some exclusions apply. Not valid on wine, candy, or delivery.
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1306 Troy Street • Dayton, Ohio 45404 937-223-1213 • furstflorist.com THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
The Class of 2021 Celebrating our high school graduates
Parents: David Goorskey, Chaoching Goorskey-Lin Grandparents: Debra Gallagher, Dale Goorskey, Chu-chih Lin, Yuchi Lin Kuo School: Centerville Activities: Science Olympiad, Cross Country, Violin, Business Professionals of America, Composing Electronic Music, Computer Programming, Building Trebuchets, Game Design Volunteering: Crayons to Classrooms, Reading Tutor, Mentor for Middle School Science Olympiad Honors: National Merit Commended Scholar, Wright Scholar, Business Professionals of America 2nd Place State Linux Fundamentals, Science Olympiad State Tournament, 2nd Place Mission Possible, 3rd Wright Stuff, 4th Mousetrap Vehicle Congregation: Beth Abraham After Graduation: The Ohio State University, Computer Science or Computer Engineering
Parents: Esther Green & Jeff Green Grandparents: The late Sylvia and David Singer, the late Glenna and Lowell Green School: Miami Valley Activities: Junior State of America Chapter President, ORV Technology Director, Student Service Board Co-President, French Honors Society President, Varsity Soccer Goalie, Temple Israel Religious School Tikun Olam Director and Teacher, Intern for State Sen. Niraj Antani Campaign, Intern for U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot Reelection Campaign, MVS Jazz Band Lead Alto Sax Volunteering: For Love of Children Educational Center Honors: Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award, Kettering Sports Medicine Sportsmanship Award, 2nd Team Metro Buckeye Conference, MVS Parents’ Association Making an Impact Award Congregation: Temple Israel After Graduation: To be determined
Parents: Dr. Kaili Fan & Dr. Richard Groger Grandparents: Myrna Groger & the late Herbert Groger, Guangqi Zhu & the late Dachun Fan School: Miami Valley Activities: Miami Valley School Quiz Bowl Team Captain, History Bee & Bowl, Math Team, Violinist, Dayton Philharmonic Youth Strings, GrogerRanks.com Co-Founder Volunteering: Giving Strings Honors: National Merit Scholar After Graduation: Columbia University, physics
Parents: Joel & Judi Guggenheimer Grandparents: Paul & Margaret Maranka, Henry & the late Barbara Guggenheimer School: Oakwood Activities: Theatre, Tennis Team, Madrich with Temple Israel Religious School Volunteering: SICSA Congregation: Temple Israel After Graduation: Michigan State University
Parents: Debbie (Norb) Klopsch, Craig Nicholaisen Grandparents: Dr. Edward Kirschman, Pearl Kirschman, Judy & the late Jack Nicholaisen School: Oakwood Activities: Cheerleading, Work at Washington Township Rec Center Volunteering: Carriage Hill Riding Center, SICSA, 4 Paws For Ability Honors: National Honor Society Congregation: Temple Israel After Graduation: Appalachian State University
Isabel Haden Kolodesh
Parents: Alex & Shayna Kolodesh Grandparents: Michael & Irene Kolodesh, the late Harold & Sonia Singer School: Oakwood Activities: Photography, Golf, Tennis, Martial Arts, Travel Honors: High Honors Congregation: Chabad After Graduation: Indiana University
For your Class of 2021 graduates
Joshua Kyle Salomon
Parents: Dr. Anna & Matt Smith Grandparents: Robert & Beverly Stadalsky, Gail Longo, Robert & Claudia Salomon School: Stebbins Activities: Drama Volunteering: Teacher’s assistant at Sunday school After Graduation: Sinclair & University of Dayton, Education
THE SHOPS OF OAKWOOD 2316 FAR HILLS AVE DAYTON OH 45419
Parents: Pam & Andy Schwartz Grandparents: Allan Spetter & Claudia Birch, Syd & Lois Gross, the late Debra & Theodore Schwartz School: Miami Valley Activities: Student Government President, Senior Class President, Varsity Tennis Co-Captain, Varsity Basketball Co-Captain, Varsity Softball Co-Captain Congregation: Beth Abraham After Graduation: George Washington University
Parents: Jessica & Brian Simpson Grandparents: Lillian & Julius Simpson, Sandra & Bill Hershey, Alan & Lori Westcott School: Miami Valley Activities: Ars Nova A Cappella, Gender Sexuality Alliance Club President Volunteering: Montessori Model UN Bureau Member Congregation: Temple Beth Or After Graduation: Oberlin College
Oscar Leo Waldman
Parents: Julie & Adam Waldman Grandparents: Rachel & the late Steve Jacobs, Stephanie Waldman & Ross Carroll, Ann & Barry Waldman School: Miami Valley Activities: Varsity Tennis Captain, Varsity Soccer, Model UN, Investment Club Co-President, CTeen, Sinai Scholar Volunteering: FLOC, Camp Shalom Honors: Governor’s Art Competition Regional Winner, AMP Global Scholar, Spanish Honors Society, International Thespian Society Congregation: Beth Jacob After Graduation: Washington University
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
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JEWISH FAMILY EDUCATION
Time to ‘re-soul’
The Sabbath is a reminder that we are dispensable to work and the world, but not to our families, communities, and God.
On Friday afternoons just before Shabbat, my daughter’s family winds up its grandfather clock. Its chimes can be heard throughout the house. Time to rise. Time to work. Time to carpool. Time to study. Time to cook. There is an unexpected symbolism in the timing of winding up that clock as the creative
Candace R. Kwiatek work week winds down. It’s as if to say time on Shabbat is refreshed, the clock’s hourly chimes awaken only memories of a beloved grandparent’s home, not calls to action. “The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. On the seventh day God finished the work which He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work which He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation which He had done (Gen. 2:1-3).” On this final day of Creation,
God noticeably breaks with the previous pattern. The focus is God, not the cosmos. There are no divine words and no creative works. There is neither evening nor morning, and God doesn’t conclude by declaring it all good. Furthermore, God extends Creation’s distinctive framework of contrasts beyond the physical world into the fourth dimension, separating the time for creativity from the time for completion and fulfillment. This focus on time — God’s time — is further highlighted by a threefold repetition of the refrain, “on the seventh day.” In another unexpected move, God confers divine favor on the seventh day through blessing, then goes one step further and declares it holy: set apart, distinct, and spiritually elevated. That time can be sanctified is a radical notion in the ancient world, where only physical things — places, people, animals, objects — can be made holy. No longer is holiness limited to places or people. “The meaning of the Sabbath,” writes theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel, “is to celebrate time instead of space…The Sabbaths
are our great cathedrals.” Particularly startling is biblical scholar Nachum Sarna’s observation that the Bible’s very first use of the concept of holiness is in reference to time, the seventh day. Setting one day apart out of seven, ceasing creative work, and sanctifying time sounds a lot like Shabbat. In fact, these verses from Genesis are the opening words of the Friday night kiddush. It’s clear this text is foundational to Shabbat, even though it doesn’t appear as a specifically Jewish institution until Moses at Mt. Sinai. What may be less clear is just how much contemporary wisdom for everyone is concealed in this text.
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Creation is both active and reflective. For six days, God engaged in creating the universe. On the seventh, God ceased working, recognizing that the work of Creation was fulfilled. We should also regularly stop work on our creative tasks to reflect on their purpose, direction, and status. Work isn’t everything. Even God ceased creating in order to reflect, refresh, and “resoul.” We can learn from God’s actions that our own creative work isn’t the sole purpose of life. Humans, like God, have value even when not producing. We are not gods. For one day a week, the Sabbath is a reminder that we are dispensable to work and the world, but not to our families, community, and God. We begin to think that we are godlike and must remind ourselves of our true significance. “Shabbat is the antidote to the tendency toward selfidolatry,” writes Dr. Laura Schlessinger. “On this day, we are reminded that God is God.” One in seven. We live in an
action-oriented world. There always seems to be something to do and no time to rest. So God established a built-in time to stop the action, blessed it, designated it as holy, and was the first one to take part. The seventh day is about freedom. We are creative beings. We are not slaves to creating. We are in charge of each moment. We are not slaves to time. The seventh day is about “re-souling.” The popular Friday evening prayer V’shamru (Ex. 31:16-17) ends with the words, “For in six days The Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day God ceased from work and was refreshed/vayinafash”— literally re-souled. There’s a purpose to being human. A day each week with no creative work on the agenda can encourage us to ponder: “What am I alive for? What did I produce all these things for? What am I doing of value in the world?” A traveler making a long trek in the jungles of Africa had engaged some local tribesmen to carry the loads. The first day they marched rapidly and went far, and the traveler anticipated a speedy journey. But the second morning, the tribesmen refused to move, just sat and rested. When asked, the traveler was told they had gone too fast the first day and they were waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies. When God finished Creation, the seventh day was an opportunity to redefine both self and goals. We should see every seventh day, every Shabbat, as such an opportunity: to reflect and redefine as necessary.
Literature to share And a Cat from Carmel Market by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Bubbe goes to Tel Aviv’s outdoor market to shop for Shabbat dinner. But along with the challah, candles, and carrots, she brings home a few extra guests. What to do? This delightful rhyming book offers young children a peek into an Israeli shuk (marketplace), invites them into the rhythmic preparations for Shabbat dinner, and introduces the notion of welcoming guests, no matter who. Delightful illustrations, great content, and a fun read for preschool and primary ages. The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner. It’s 1941 when Roza and her musically gifted 5-year-old daughter flee the German invaders to hide in a neighbor’s barn. Through whispered memories, stories, and music, they pass the time until the invaders come again. This highly-acclaimed debut novel weaves together tales of hidden children and resistance fighters, the power of imagination and memories, and a mother’s love for her child. Both heartbreaking and uplifting.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
Listen to our soul’s deepest voice By Rabbi Shmuel Klatzkin Chabad of Greater Dayton Our holidays each bring out a very particular energy, each one appropriate to the time in which it comes. Yet that energy is meant to infuse us throughout the year. Thus, we do not stop thinking of freedom once Pesach is over, remove teshuvah (repentance) and atonement from
Perspectives our minds after the High Holy Days, or forget about joy when Sukkot and Simchat Torah have passed. We aim to be permeated by those sparks throughout the entire year. The holiday is just the day when that particular energy gets a focused recharge. So it is appropriate now, even after Shavuot, to reflect on that yom tov’s message and to internalize it. Called in the prayers The Time of the Giving of Our Torah, Shavuot speaks to us of the gift that the Torah is. But who thinks of the law as a gift? True enough, there are a lot of other people who need to be controlled, but we ourselves? Why not stop with the message of Pesach, liberty? Observing law is just the price we have to pay to benefit from human society. We generally accept law grudgingly: at least the laws that require us to do things we would rather not, or not to do things we really rather would do. So what’s to celebrate? And what’s to internalize? If we are forced, we are forced. The beginning of the answer has been noted often by the rabbis from two millennia ago in Israel and through these very pages in 21st-century Dayton.
Temple Beth Or Summer Kick-Off Shabbat June 25 Temple Beth Or will hold a Shabbat service in its parking lot at 6:30 p.m., Friday, June 25 to kick off summer. The musical service will include a “To-Goneg,” boxed snacks for all participants. Temple Beth Or is located at 5275 Marshall Road, Washington Township. For more information, go to templebethor.com or call 937435-3400.
guidance and coherence that As the story of the giving of has been put to the test as noththe Torah unfolds, the text in ing else through the millennia Exodus 19:2 says: “They traveled from Refidim of human history. For all of our mistakes and and they came to the wilderness for all of the horrors that the of Sinai and they encamped world has thrown there in the wilderat us, we are ness, and he encamped still here, and in there…” so many ways, As good teachers blessed as never point out, in the Hebrew before. original, the same word, It is not beencamped, appears first cause of a philoin the plural, as did all sophical idea the words in the verse alone, though the to that point, then sudTorah has plenty denly changes to the of those. It is not singular. merely because of Rashi, the great medieval commentator, Rabbi Shmuel Klatzkin spiritual inspiration, though that summarizes the tradiis there to be found by all who tion’s insight into that switch. seek it. Why does it switch to speak What is extraordinary is that of the people as a single identhe Torah also gives us law tity? Because at that point they were: “As one person, with one that is able to guide us in every aspect of life. heart.” Who observes all of it True enough, our holy books are filled with stories of human- perfectly? And knowing the answer to that, why do we not kind’s misbehavior in general resent it or ignore it? and of Israel’s misbehavior in As long as law is conceived particular. But unlike at other of as forced impositions by times and places, other people, the great moment they bind us only of Sinai — the as much as we Giving of the feel vulnerable to Torah — began the enforcers. with the people But the Torah, together, profrom the start, foundly as one. has not relied on That is the external force, foundation and but on it being the underpinning of Torah, and why it has lasted. known to us as springing from the very same place as our own As with any good thing, it can self, and the self of everyone be misappropriated and misused. Anything that has a good else as well. It is what flows out of being use can also be abused. As the rabbis put it, the Torah itself can together, with ourselves and be an elixir of life or an elixir of with our people, as one. Its voice penetrates our isolation the opposite. and speaks to us of a oneness But the Torah has offered
We are still here, and in so many ways, blessed as never before.
June • Sivan/Tammuz Torah Portions Shabbat Candle Lightings June 4: 8:43 p.m. June 11: 8:47 p.m. June 18: 8:49 p.m. June 25: 8:51 p.m.
June 5, Shelach (Num. 13:1-15:41) June 12, Korach (Num. 16:1-18:32) June 19, Chukkat (Num. 19:1-22:1) June 26: Balak (Num. 22:2-25:9)
that brings us together with our own past and future, with all the imperatives that drive our own lives, and with every other person, who like ourselves, wants a wholeness within and without. This quality permeates everything in it. Each mitzvah springs from the same core. Even if one is only connected with one mitzvah, but goes to its heart, one is connected with them all. Without army or police to enforce it, the Torah speaks to us now as always of a law that flows from the source of all being. It unites inner and outer, shows how getting it right and good in our own life is connected with getting it right and good with others. It shows us the way of the flow of life that brought us here and it shows us how we can attain the deepest of all satisfaction in adding to and enhancing the life of which we are a part. “It all turns on affection,” E.M. Forster wrote a century ago in Howard’s End. We can’t do without love. It comes before and after all things. But Orwell showed us the terrifying darkness of a world — our world — where even love would be broken and enslaved to power: “He loved Big Brother.” In an age that has seen Orwellian horror time and again, we can see the immense power and hope of Torah. We are all greater than that which divides us, and love will never remain the slave of tyrants. Our Torah speaks that message again and again and connects us with the power to overcome and thrive. And it requires us only to listen to our own soul’s deepest voice.
Fast of the 17th of Tammuz June 27 Commemorating numerous calamities that fell on the Jewish people on this day, this fast is observed from dawn until dusk. Among the calamities were the breach of the walls of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E. and by the Romans in 70 C.E. Marks the beginning of the Three Weeks, a period of mourning for the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, culminating on the Ninth of Av.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, worship schedules have been adjusted and some services are offered virtually instead. For the latest information, check with the organizations below via their websites, Facebook pages, and by calling them directly.
CONGREGATIONS Beth Abraham Synagogue Conservative Rabbi Joshua Ginsberg Cantor/Dir. of Ed. & Programming Andrea Raizen 305 Sugar Camp Circle, Oakwood. 937-293-9520. BethAbrahamDayton.org Beth Jacob Congregation Traditional Rabbi Leibel Agar Sundays & Wednesdays, 7:09 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. Contact Steve Shuchat, 937-7262116, AnsheEmeth@gmail.com. ansheemeth.org Temple Beth Or Reform Rabbi Judy Chessin Asst. Rabbi/Educator Ben Azriel Fri., June 25, 6:30 p.m. 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 Bodney-Halasz Rabbi/Educator Tina Sobo Saturdays, June 5 & 19, 11 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, Teen & Young Adult Prog. Dir. Rabbi Elchonon Chaikin. 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, 937-572-4840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Michael Fox Special To The Observer The ocean, in its vastness, suits Amos Nachoum perfectly. It’s big enough for him to hide. Not from the great white sharks, orcas, manta rays, and other large sea creatures he has obsessively sought out and photographed for four decades. But from Nachoum’s traumatic memories of the Yom Kippur War, and from his father’s impossible expectations. “Amos has made a decision to put the war behind him, to put violence behind him, and to use the camera to tell a different story, a beautiful story, about men and nature,” Israeli documentary filmmaker Yonatan Nir says in a phone interview. “I think, in a way, he’s reframing his life with his camera.” Nachoum’s complicated saga is rendered with gravity and grace in Nir and Dani Menkin’s Picture of His Life, opens Dayton’s JCC Film Fest June 8. Picture of His Life is structured around Nachoum’s summer 2015 expedition to the Canadian Arctic, more than 3,000 miles from his Pacific Grove, Calif. home, to try and fulfill his ultimate
Israeli underwater photographer seeks Picture of His Life in Arctic Arts& Arts &Culture Amos Nachoum in Picture of His Life opens this year’s JCC Film Fest
dream of photographing polar bears underwater. The epic documentary’s executive producer is Nancy Spielberg, a nice bit of irony given her brother made a flick called Jaws many years ago that spawned a widespread, irrational fear of sharks. Nir and Menkin originally wanted to make a documentary about The JCC Film Fest opens with Picture of His Life, Nachoum diving in Tonga a 9 p.m., Tuesday, June 8 at the Dixie Twin Drivedecade ago, but that underIn, 6201 N. Dixie Drive, Dayton. The opening taking proved too expensive. celebration begins at 7 p.m. with DJ Butch Brown. $15 Instead they made Dolphin Boy, per car. Director Dani Menkin will discuss this film a redemptive portrait of a traualong with Aulcie, virtually, at 7 p.m., Monday, June matized young Arab healed 14. Tickets are available at jewishdayton.org/events. by swimming with dolphins
in the Red Sea that earned worldwide acclaim. As it turned out, the extra years were essential, and not just to raise the funds for four Jews (Nachoum, the directors and veteran underwater cinematographer Adam Ravetch) and six Inuits to trek to, and film at, remote Baker Lake. The filmmakers’ taciturn and enigmatic subject had to reach a point where he was willing to confide his deeply hidden feelings and memories. “He really didn’t talk until we got to the Arctic,” Menkin recalls on the phone from L.A., “and that’s when he started to open up.” Nir adds, “Amos needed time to open up and to be able, finally,
to let us deep into his soul and to tell it for the first time.” After the Arctic trip, Nachoum gave surprisingly candid interviews to the Israeli press about both his postwar trauma and his father, who had fought in the War of Independence. So his way of dealing with his past continued — and continues — to expand. The process of making Picture of His Life contributed to Nachoum’s evolution. Nir and Menkin visited his father in the hospital near the end of his life, capturing a raw, powerful moment. They subsequently showed the footage to Nachoum with the understanding that they would include it in the film only if he gave his consent. Nachoum was touched by the scene, and agreed to its inclusion. He even enacted an onscreen form of reciprocation to complete the circle. “We were able to create this closure, between the father and the son, but only through the film,” Nir says. “It never really happened face to face.” The personal story in Picture of His Life is wrenching, but the environmental component is potent, too. “I see myself as a soldier for Mother Nature,” Nachoum declares in the film, but his desperate, late-career pursuit of the polar bear goes even deeper. “At the end of the day, Amos was looking for his family,” Menkin says. “His family is the universe. It’s Mother Nature. He found his family and lives with it in harmony, and that’s what he wants us to do.”
Summer Kick-Off Celebration! Friday, June 25th at 6:30 p.m.
Temple Beth Or Parking Lot Shabbat Service Join us as we come together and kick off summer!
Music, Fun, and a “To-Goneg”!
Temple Beth Or 5275 Marshall Road Dayton, Ohio 45429 www.templebethor.com 937-435-3400 PAGE 24
Today...and for Generations THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
By Erin Ben-Moche Los Angeles Jewish Journal In 2016, filmmaker and documentarian Dani Menkin (39 Pounds of Love) released On the Map, which chronicled the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team that overcame daunting odds to win six EuroLeague championships. That film won an Ophir, Israel’s Academy Award. Although the Dolphin Boy co-director enjoyed documenting his favorite sport, Menkin sensed the bigger story was Aulcie Perry. After following Perry’s career for more than 20 years, Menkin was driven to tell the story of the 6-foot-10 American Israeli basketball player who helped the Maccabi team win two of its six EuroLeague titles (1976-77, 1980-81). It was Perry’s compelling life story and legacy that inspired Menken’s 2020 documentary, Aulcie, about the roller-coaster life of renowned player No. 8 and how his relationship with Israel and the Jewish people ultimately led to his conversion to Judaism and the adoption of the Hebrew name Elisha ben Avraham. “I grew up with this game. He was my childhood hero,” Menkin said via
his dream to life, he felt like he disappointed everybody, disappointed himself. The thing was that Israel always loved him and embraced him...What happened to him was unbelievable. Where he came from, where he found himself, where he fell, the way he came back. It’s one of those things where life takes you on a journey.” In a time when opinions and actions are highly politicized and divided, Menkin said he thinks it’s the perfect time to remind people of the strong relationship between Black people and Jewish people by sharing Perry’s “wonderful love story with Israel.” Growing up in Israel, Menkin idolized Perry. As a child, Menkin aspired to play basketball professionally. His calling to write and direct came after working as a sports journalist. He said he always was drawn to telling compelling stories about things he was passionate about. Because of this — and a popular Beatles song — he created Hey Jude Productions. “It’s from the line of the Beatles, ‘Take a sad song and make it better.’ That’s what we try to do and that’s what you can see with Aulcie, ” the writer and director said. “The bittersweetness of this film is what we are trying to do.” In order to tell the most authentic version of Perry’s story, the Israeli filmmaker spent hours with Perry although the former athlete wasn’t always eager to talk about Continued on next page
Filmmaker Dani Menkin brings his idol’s story to life in Aulcie Arts& Arts &Culture Hey Jude Productions
American Israeli basketball player Aulcie Perry
Zoom. “There was just one channel and we all watched basketball. We watched Aulcie.” Daytonians will have the opportunity to see the film virtually, courtesy of the Dayton JCC Film Fest. The film, executive produced by Nancy Spielberg, will premiere in Dayton June 10 to 13 in a run-up to a live Zoom discussion of the film with Menkin. Menkin said he’s excited to share this
The JCC Film Fest presents Aulcie virtually, June 10-13. Director Dani Menkin will discuss this film along with Picture of His Life, virtually, at 7 p.m., Monday, June 14. Tickets for both are free and available at jewishdayton.org/events. At the end of Menkin’s discussion, the JCC will auction an official Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball signed by Aulcie Perry and Menkin. Proceeds will benefit the non-profit On The Map Foundation, committed to telling inspirational stories through film.
story with American audiences because Perry’s fame cemented his status as an international phenomenon, yet many don’t know his full story. He noted that to this day, many Israelis don’t know what happened to Perry. In 1987, at the height of Perry’s career, he was convicted of drugsmuggling and was sentenced to 10 years in a U.S. prison. For a decade, Israelis didn’t know where he went after that life-altering moment. “He just disappeared,” Menkin said. “He felt like the country that brought Dani Menkin
Heads will Roll Four beautiful, badass women—an assassin, a playwright, a former queen, and a rebel—lose their heads in this irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Never before seen in Dayton, this grand and zany comedy of liberté, égalité, and sororité examines violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world.
June 23 – July 4, 2021 by Lauren Gunderson
// directed by Margarett Perry
Subscribers will receive an email with the viewing link // This show is rated: PG 15. Parents strongly cautioned.
For tickets & more information HumanRaceTheatre.org // (937) 461-3823
THE HUMAN RACE THEATRE COMPANY // LOFT THEATRE // 126 N. Main Street | Suite 300 | Dayton, Ohio 45402-1766
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
Hey Jude Productions
American Israeli basketball player Aulcie Perry
Continued from previous page the personal and painful details of his life. Yes, Perry was the “It Man” of Israel, dated Israeli model Tami Ben Ami (Menkin referred to the couple as the Israeli “Brangelina”), and fell in love with Israel, but he struggled with turbulent life events that made him who he is today. The film follows how he overcame American racism, language and cultural barriers, heartbreak, and his battle with substance abuse. Another major element was mending relationships with his children. Menkin said Perry called him from the editing room to say the story they thought they had wrapped wasn’t over. Menkin said Perry told him that his daughter, who hadn’t seen him for 20 years, wanted to meet with him and have a relationship. Menkin stopped post-production and continued to film in order to incorporate their relationship into the story. “In many ways, he tells us this story but he wants to tell her the story,” Menkin said. “I don’t want her to look into Google or Wikipedia and get that version of the story. I want her to hear (Perry’s) version of the story so (he) can reach out to her. That really surprised me with that journey.” Menkin, who now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two kids, feels this film is one that will resonate deeply with American audiences because it taps into a shared love of basketball and social change. When the Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th NBA title Oct. 11, it was emotional for many reasons. The pandemic-interrupted season had been reformatted to raise awareness of racial injustice and Covid-19. Los Angeles and the basketball world also were still mourning the loss of Laker legend Kobe Bryant, who died with eight others in a helicopter crash in January, and honoring his legacy after winning the title. Menkin hopes Perry’s life experiences resonate beyond the sports world and help others overcome challenges. “What is nice about the Lakers winning is that the NBA tried to make a statement that was larger than just basketball,” Menkin said. “Aulcie has so much to give, I hope people see the beauty of that in his story. When they see the redemption Aulcie went through, the closure he had in his life, I hope people will be inspired because everyone is facing challenges. That’s why I am trying to bring this good, inspiring story (to them).”
Columnist interviews her dad, screenwriter of My Name Is Sara By Drew Himmelstein, j. I usually write about my kids and my experiences as a parent, but here, I interview my father, David Himmelstein. He’s a screenwriter, and his latest film, My Name Is Sara, is the first one he’s written on a Jewish theme. It tells the true story of a 13-year-old girl who survives the Holocaust by hiding under a secret identity in the Ukrainian countryside for two years, utterly alone in a stark, isolated place. Sara never spoke about her experiences to her children, but late in her life, she gave two interviews to the USC Shoah Foundation; these formed the basis of her story as seen on screen. I talked to my dad about how he brought Sara’s story to life and how he blends the drama of moviemaking with historical events. My Name Is Sara has been screened virtually by the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and as part of the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. Dayton’s audiences will see it virtually, June 21-23, as part of the Dayton JCC Film Fest. Holocaust stories continue to be told and retold, decade after decade. Why does the world need another Holocaust movie, and what does this story bring that is new? What attracted me to this project as a writer was that it immediately struck me that this is the polar opposite of the Anne Frank story. A constant theme of Anne’s diary was her complaints about not having any privacy. You have her family and another family, a total of eight people, who are crammed into a few hundred square feet, whereas Sara, who was almost Anne’s exact age, was on her own. Her family had been murdered; she was the only survivor. She was walking, this young girl, walking by herself, with literally just the dress she had on, down a country road. Beyond that, she was compelled to
From My Name Is Sara, written by David Himmelstein
make incredibly difficult moral decisions that all stemmed from her promise to her mother on the night before she and her older brother escaped from the ghetto just before it was going to be liquidated. Her parents made the decision they would stay with their two younger sons, who were 3 and 5, and the best chance for the family was for Sara and her older brother to escape through the fence. Her mother says to her, “Your survival will be our revenge. Promise me you’ll do whatever it takes to survive.” Everything you see in the movie stems from that. A 13-year-old is supposed to decide, what does whatever it takes really mean? It’s almost overwhelming. You were born shortly after World War II to parents who were both born in the U.S. How central was the Holocaust to your understanding of Jewish identity growing up? My parents didn’t talk a lot about it. One vivid memory stands out. My father’s sisters lived in Brookline, Mass., on Beals Street, in a Jewish neighborhood. My memory is that we would go to this bakery around the corner to get cookies or challah. It was the spring or summer — it was warm outside — and the woman who was behind the counter was very friendly to me. She just exuded warmth. She had an accent. She reached over the counter to hand me the cookies, and I saw numbers tattooed on the inside of her arm. I instantly knew what that was. I just remembered a jolt seeing that. Looking at this smiling, warm, engaging woman and knowing what she must have experienced so far from Brookline, Mass. What had always been an abstraction was so real and vivid.
‘This is the polar opposite of the Anne Frank story.’
The JCC Film Fest presents My Name Is Sara, virtually, June 21-23. Free. Tickets are available at jewishdayton.org/events.
You’re the parent of two girls, but this is the first of your films to focus on a young, female protagonist. How did you humanize Sara as a teenage girl amid the upheaval of her circumstances? The movie had to imagine all the things that weren’t discussed about her as a girl. She left when she was 12 or 13. She ended up under a false identity
staying with a farm family, taking care of two young boys who were ironically about the same age as her younger brothers. In the movie, the boys’ mother, who was only in her 20s, is particularly suspicious of Sara’s identity and her story, and also of her husband’s interest in her. There was a tension between them. And I created this scene where, in the farmhouse, she has her first period, and there’s a moment of warming the ice: a mother to daughter, or older woman to young girl, that we hadn’t seen up until then. She was relating to her not as an object of suspicion but empathy for the first time in the movie. And their relationship warms after that. You’ve written two films about baseball. One of them, Soul of the Game, focuses on the events leading to the integration of the major leagues. How do you approach writing about historical characters and events? You try to get the historic milestones in place and correct. You try to accurately portray the feel and the tensions and the real-life stakes of ordinary people at that time. But also, as a writer, your first obligation is to aim for a compelling universal human story. You hope that above all, that you can deliver the emotional truths of what it was like to have lived that time under those circumstances. Sometimes you have to bend the facts in service of the human drama. When I was writing Soul of the Game, I portrayed Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, and Jackie Robinson as being a lot friendlier than they actually were to each other when they were playing in the Negro Leagues right after World War II. People who were experts immediately pointed that out. But your primary duty is to the story, using it as a springboard to illuminate greater truths. And that same dynamic and push-pull is there whether you’re talking about Jackie Robinson or Sara Goralnik. That’s always the writer’s dilemma.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • JUNE 2021
admins of the MamaHive group reconsider their actions and agree to honor the rules and Continued from Page 11 mission of the group moving Several mothers in Mamaforward.” Hive Chicago reached out to Inside the group, the remainthe local office of the Anti-Defing moderators appeared to be amation League, which monidoubling down. On May 17, one tors antisemitism and extremist posted that Hamed had faced activity. The group isn’t taking fierce criticism over her post, any specific action related to the noting that “her job has been MamaHive saga but is attuned called, her family threatened.” to the ways in which it repreShe and 10 others who signed sents an emerging frontier for the post emphasized that they hate online, according to David stood by it. Goldenberg, the ADL’s Midwest “Let us all be clear we stand regional director. by Dana and every mom and “The intensity of hate is child who is being impacted by increasing at frankly alarming recent events in Palestine,” the levels,” he said. post read. “Speak“And it’s occuring against any ‘The only ring in nontradiviolence and acts litmus test for of harm against tional spaces.” When Hamed children and opbeing a part did not remove pressed people has the original post, of the group been and will conSlotnik did — or to be allowed should be that tinue at least tried to. in this group.” you’re a mom Twice the post The post also returned after included a mesin Chicago.’ briefly disappearsage in capital ing, according letters: “Speaking to multiple people who were out against genocide does not following along. And by the equate being against an entire end of the evening, Slotnik had religion or group of people.” been removed from the group Hamed, too, has emphasized completely. So had Rainbow in her posts that she believes Partridge, another co-founder, criticism of Zionism and Israel even though she had not posted does not constitute antisemiin the group over the course tism. On May 19, she posted an of the evening. Hamed denied Al Jazeera report from a rally removing either of them — who held May 14 in New York City did so is unclear. by Jewish Voice for Peace, an “Sadly, the group has been anti-Zionist Jewish advocacy stolen from us by people who group, following it on May 20 want to misuse a platform we with a quote from Ilana Glazer, have carefully built and nurthe Jewish comedian, saying, tured,” Slotnik and Partridge “I know as a deeply proud Jew wrote May 19 in a public post that my criticism of Israel is acin a different group for Matually really Jewish because it is maHive community members. with truth-seeking intentions.” They added, “Our hope is that Hamed said by email that the remaining moderators and she believes “anti-Zionism is
not antisemitism” and said she had faced fierce blowback over her post. That included losing a freelance makeup styling position with JWC Media, which produces luxury lifestyle magazines focused on Chicago’s upscale suburbs. She said she would write the same post today, even knowing what would lie ahead. “I have received death threats, had my personal information shared without my permission online and strangers have called my clients,” Hamed said. “Despite this, I have no regrets about posting a statement, approved by admins, about our collective support of Palestine. As Americans, we must all speak up when we see injustice, inequality and apartheid.” Goldenberg said Hamed’s experience only heightens his concern about what happened in MamaHive and may be unfolding in other Facebook groups, which are private and operate according to their own rules.
“The idea of death threats or any threats being leveled against anyone on either side is unacceptable and we would support law enforcement being involved,” Goldenberg said. “I’m concerned about continued escalation not only on social media but in real life.” For now, MamaHive has been “archived,” meaning that it doesn’t appear in Facebook searches, existing members cannot add posts and no new members can join. The ousted administrators and mothers say they are holding out hope that their vision for the group can one day be restored. “I was shocked, disheartened and angry to see a moderator of this 42,000-person group use her position to advance her political views. As a Jew, I felt targeted,” said Rebecca Kristall, a group member since 2015 who said she was removed from the group this week. “The only litmus test for being a part of the group should be that you’re a mom in Chicago.”
OBITUARIES Harriet June Blumenthal (nee Briskin), passed away peacefully on April 19 in her home in Cincinnati. She was 97 years old and is survived by three children, Stephany (Aaron) Schechtman, Gary (Helene) and Mark (Susan); seven grandchildren (Alan, Joel, Michelle, Josh, Rachael, Emily and Chelsea); and one great-grandchild (Samara). Mrs. Blumenthal was married to her beloved husband, David, for 71 years, with whom she travelled the world. She was an avid bridge player and a loving friend to all, who loved spending time with her family. Contributions can be made in Mrs. Blumenthal’s name to Hadassah, Congregation Etz Chaim (Cincinnati), Homefull (Dayton) or Hospice of Greater Cincinnati.
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