The Dayton Jewish Observer, May 2021

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Virtual exhibit, Americans and the Holocaust p. 2 p. 22 David Moss designs Grace After Meals in comic book form

THE DAYTON Published by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton

May 2021 Iyar/Sivan 5781 Vol. 25, No. 9


The Miami Valley’s Jewish Monthly •

Remembering Rabbi Michael Cook


25 Years


Rabbi Michael Cook

Meyers Leonard’s teshuvah


Keeping our community connected

Chabad of Southwest Broward


Meyers Leonard with Rabbi Pinny Andrusier

Instant Pot cheesecake for Shavuot

Address Service Requested

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



Virtual tour, discussion of Americans and the Holocaust exhibit, May 16 Dayton Daily News

Mazel tov to The Observer on 25 years! 937-836-1206

Thank you, Dayton Jewish Observer readers, for 25 years of support!

In November 1938, following Nazi Germany’s Kristallnacht attacks on Jews, their property, businesses, and synagogues, a Gallup poll asked Americans if they approved or disapproved of the Nazi treatment of Jews in Germany. Ninety-four percent disapproved, six percent approved. When asked, “Should we allow a larger number of Jewish exiles from Germany to come to the United States to live,” 71 percent said no, 21 percent said yes, and 8 percent had no opinion. What did Americans know and what more could have been done are the overarching questions explored in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Americans and the Holocaust exhibit, which opened in 2018 to mark the museum’s 25th anniversary. Beth Abraham Synagogue’s Ruth and Fred Scheuer Life Enrichment Series will sponsor a free virtual tour and discussion of the exhibit via Zoom at 10:30 a.m., Sunday, May 16. The 40-minute video tour of the exhibit came about less than a year before the Covid pandemic hit, says Rebecca Erbelding, lead historian for the exhibit.


Dayton Daily News front page, Nov. 10, 1938, with Associated Press coverage of Kristallnacht. The Dayton Herald ran United Press coverage of Kristallnacht on its Nov. 10, 1938 front page.

“We got really lucky in that leave. If you think the United C-SPAN had filmed the tour States could not have done with Danny Greene, (curator) of anything, you’re going to be the exhibition, talking through challenged as well.” the history.” The Scheuer Series will also Erbelding specializes in the provide complimentary kosher history of American responses box brunches for the event. to the Holocaust. She is the auReservations for box brunches thor of Rescue Board: The Untold are due by Wednesday, May Story of America’s Efforts to Save 5, with pickup on Friday, May the Jews of Europe, winner of 14 at Beth Abraham between 1 the 2018 National Jewish Book and 4 p.m. Registration for the Award for Writing program and optional Based on Archival brunch are available Material. at bethabrahamdayAfter the May 16 virtual tour, she’ll be Erbelding says a interviewed by New traveling version of York-based journalist the Americans and the Ruthie Fierberg, folHolocaust exhibit will lowed by a Q&A. be on display at the Erbelding will also Dayton Metro Library Rebecca Erbelding present specifics of in May and June 2023. what Daytonians knew about She adds that documentary the Holocaust in the 1930s and producer/director Ken Burns ‘40s, and how they responded. is working on a film on the “The exhibit challenges you subject of Americans and the no matter what preconceived Holocaust, and that his pronotions you come into it with,” duction company “has been Erbelding says. “If you come in doing extensive research in the thinking the United States did museum’s collections including everything it could to stop the materials collected for the museHolocaust, you’re going to get um’s Americans and the Holocaust challenged. That preconception educational initiative.” will not be with you when you — Marshall Weiss

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum virtual Ohio event, May 11 What You Do Matters, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s 2021 event for its supporters across Ohio, will be held virtually at noon, Tuesday, May 11 featuring the museum’s director and Cleveland native Sara J. Bloomfield and Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic. They’ll discuss the rise of antisemitism and what can be done to combat it. Registration for the event, open to all Ohioans, is at The event is free; a donation of $72 per household is suggested.

James Rosenquist (American, 1933–2017), F-111 (Castelli Gallery poster), 1965, offset lithograph. Gift of Mr. S. Bradley Gillaugh, 2019.20 PAGE 2

Arts & Culture.............................28 Calendar.............................24 Family Education......................25

Obituaries.........................30 O p i n i o n . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 9 Religion..........................22


DAYTON 2 5 1 2 FA R H I L L S AV E

Scholar Rabbi Michael Cook, husband of Temple Beth Or’s rabbi, dies at 79 Caryl and Don Weckstein, among the foundRabbi Michael Cook, the only American rabbi ers of Temple Beth Or in Washington Township, to serve as a full professional chair in New recalled Cook as part of the congregation “since Testament, with Hebrew Union College-Jewish day one.” Institute of Religion, died March 30 at 79 in “It was Rabbi Cook that suggested to Alan Cincinnati. Steinharter that we interview Rabbi Judy Chessin Over 45 years, Cook taught thousands of for the position of rabbi at Temple Beth Or,” Don HUC-JIR students — many of whom became Weckstein told The Observer. rabbis — empowering them, in his words, Chessin received her rabbinic ordination from “to guide their constituents to live as Jews in a Christian environment, navigatJanine Spang HUC-JIR in Cincinnati in June 1984. She and Cook were maring through challenging issues ried that November, and Temple such as intermarriage, blended Beth Or held its first Shabbat families, Jews-by-choice, minservice, with Chessin leading, isterial associations, interfaith Jan. 25, 1985. Seders, pulpit exchanges, adDon Weckstein said Cook was junct professorships at Christian an integral part of the congregacolleges and seminaries, Jewish tion. college-student identity, Hillel “He really attended every directorships, military and hosservice and congregational event pital chaplaincies, antisemitism, except those very few times missionizing, millennialism, that he had a commitment of Christian Zionism, interfaith dehis own,” he said. “He visibly bates over Israel advocacy, etc.” enjoyed Rabbi Chessin’s serCook was the author of the mons. He would smile, and you 2008 book Modern Jews Engage could see that he was really a the New Testament: Enhancing Rabbi Michael Cook part of what she was saying, and Jewish Well-Being in a Christian that was very evident when she would have a Environment. He retired from HUC-JIR in July humorous story. For years, Michael was an im2019. portant participant in our Yom Kippur afternoon “Assiduous scholarship and painstaking (programming) aspects. He always had a presenpedagogy transformed Michael into a master tation. Many people thoroughly enjoyed it.” scholar of the intertestamental period during “Michael could be a demanding and exacting which we study Judaism’s and Christianity’s beginnings,” said Rabbi Gary P. Zola on the virtual teacher and colleague,” Chessin said of her late husband during the virtual shiva service. “He memorial shiva service held in Cook’s memory, April 5. Zola is the executive director of the Mar- stubbornly extracted excellence from his famcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and ily, from his students, from his colleagues, and professor of the American Jewish experience and from each institution of which he was a member. Reform Jewish history at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati. Sometimes that was not always welcome. But his way only came from his desire to pass on the “Michael became a pioneering academic wisdom which he had developed and the truths ambassador from the Jewish world to the world that he had conveyed. And he wanted to do so of Christian scholars. Or, as one colleague with humor and accessibility. And that was his observed, ‘Michael Cook opened Christian Torah.” scholars’ eyes to a new way of looking at the Cook is also survived by five children and five intertestamental period and to Jewish-Christian grandchildren. — Marshall Weiss relations.’”



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This is a Shehecheyanu moment. The Shehecheyanu refers to the prayer of thanks to the Almighty, “who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.” This month, we look back at The Dayton Jewish Observer’s 25 years Marshall of service to our Jewish and general Weiss communities. My special appreciation goes to our ad sales guru, Patty Caruso, the matchmaker who connects businesses and our readers through The Observer’s pages each month. Thanks also to longtime Jewish Federation staffers Sheila Myers, who handles our billing, and Karen Steiger, who takes care of our administrative needs. For several years, Rachel Haug Gilbert has volunteered to proofread The Observer, and her eyes make a big difference. Thank you to the hundreds who provide voluntary subscriptions to The Observer at a grassroots level of support, to the Jewish Federation and CEO Cathy Gardner for always championing our efforts, and most importantly, to you — our readers — for entrusting this Jewish newspaper to our care.

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more info or to schedule your tour! 590 Isaac Prugh Way — Kettering

Are you reading this? So is the entire Jewish community. Contact Patty Caruso at to advertise in The Observer.



DAYTON Rochel Simon


OBSERVER Editor and Publisher Marshall Weiss 937-610-1555 Contributors Rabbi Leibel Agar, Scott Halasz, Candace R. Kwiatek Advertising Sales Executive Patty Caruso,

Hillel Academy kindergartner Sophie Schubert keeps daily track of the counting of the Omer on her Omer chart. The counting of the Omer marks the 49-day period between the second night of Passover and the holiday of Shavuot.

Intro to DNA Testing Part 2

Local genealogist Diana Nelson will present part two of Introduction to DNA Testing, 10 a.m., Sunday, May 2 via Zoom for Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History. Nelson is the education chair of the Greene County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society and a member of the Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History Advisory Committee. For this session, she’ll discuss changes in the Ancestry Diana Nelson match list, chromosome browsers and matrix tools at FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe, and MyHeritage, and some of the third-party tools such as GEDmatch, DNA Painter, and Genetic Affairs. Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History is a project of the Jewish Federation. This free program is presented in memory of Sandy Schoemann. Register at

JWV to place flags at graves for Memorial Day

Join us for our second of three drive-thru events to celebrate Jewish culture and traditions! Pre-order our famous rugelach and delicious challah online, and get more info at Temple Israel • 937.496.0050 130 Riverside Drive • Dayton, OH 45405 PAGE 4

Jewish War Veterans Post 587 invites volunteers to help place American flags at the graves of Jewish veterans for Memorial Day weekend. JWV will place flags at Beth Jacob Cemetery at 10 a.m., Friday, May 28, and at the Temple Beth Or section of David’s Cemetery, Beth Abraham Cemetery, and Temple Israel’s Riverview Cemetery at 10 a.m., Sunday, May 30. Post 587’s bugler will play Taps at all the cemeteries where it will place flags. Other veteran and civic groups will place flags at other cemeteries. JWV places a metal flag holder beside each Jewish veteran’s grave. The holders help JWV to quickly find veterans’ graves. To have a flag holder placed at the grave of a Jewish veteran in time for Memorial Day, call Post Commander Steve Markman at 886-9566.

Chabad Lag B’Omer BBQ

Chabad of Greater Dayton will host a kosher barbecue dinner to celebrate Lag B’Omer at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 29 at Shelter 3, Delco Park, accessible via 1700 Delco Park Dr., Kettering. Participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and kites. For prices and to register, go to

Proofreader Rachel Haug Gilbert Billing Sheila Myers, 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. 9. 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 a historic record of Dayton Jewish life.

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2021 Max May Memorial Holocaust Art Contest Winners




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Division I, Art Best In Show: Isaac Guest, Home School First Place: Emma Bremer, Ascension Middle School First Place: Lydia Sassenberg, Ascension Middle School Second Place: Tatum McMullen, Ascension Middle School Second Place: Rhiannon Leopold, Ascension Middle School Third Place: Clair Rose, Ascension Middle School Third Place: Hunter Duncin, Ascension Middle School Hon. Men.: Shoshana Krummel-Adkins, Hillel Academy

Division II, Art First Place: Rebecca Blumer, Oakwood High School Second Place: Abbey Miller, Stivers School for the Arts Third Place: McKenzie Martin, Stivers School for the Arts Third Place: Paulina Ambrosio, Stivers School for the Arts Hon. Men.: Laila Blumer, Oakwood High School Hon. Men.: Casuna Lawrence, Stivers School for the Arts

2021 Lydia May Memorial Holocaust Writing Contest Winners Division I Writing First Place: Brihanna Howell, Hillel Academy Second Place: Jack Clark Boyer, Eagleview Middle School Third Place: Dhwani Sunil, CVS Online Middle School Hon. Men.: Maddie Hager, Northmont Middle School Division II Writing First Place: Kennedee Woodson, Stivers School for the Arts Second Place: Kayleigh Hayward, Stivers School for the Arts Third Place: Heidi Allan, Miami Valley Career Technology Center Hon. Men.: Annette Castro, Stivers School for the Arts


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The Violin, by Oakwood High School 11th grader Rebecca Blumer, first-place winner in the high school category of the 2021 Max May Memorial Holocaust Art Contest

Winners of the 2021 Max May and Lydia May Memorial Holocaust Art and Writing Contest were announced during the virtual Greater Dayton Yom Hashoah Remembrance, April 11. Through May 16, contest art entries are on display at K12 Gallery & Tejas, 341 S. Jefferson St., Dayton.

Congratulations, Marshall, on 25 years of The Observer. Thank you for all that you have done for me. — Beverly Farnbacher

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Does your son or daughter graduate high school this year? The Observer is happy to offer you a FREE announcement, including a photo, in our June graduation issue. To receive a form for this free announcement, contact Marshall Weiss at Forms received after May 10 will be held for the July issue of The Observer.



Columbus man charged with hate crime for antisemitic threats

By Amanda Koehn Columbus Jewish News A Columbus man has been charged with a federal hate crime for allegedly making antisemitic threats to his neighbors and breaking their window in November. Douglas G. Schifer, 65, is accused of using force and threatening his neighbors, Tiffany and Nick Kinney of the Olde Towne East neighborhood, because of their Jewish religion, according to a March 18 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio. The alleged incident took place Nov. 7. Schifer is charged with interfering with his neighbors’ right to fair housing. Schifer allegedly shouted antisemitic slurs, obscenities, and other derogatory language about their religion at his neighbors. Court documents state he also spat on one of them. He allegedly said he would shoot the neighbors, poison their dog, and burn down a garage they were remodeling into an apartment. He allegedly made reference to gassing Jewish people and burning them in ovens. Schifer was arrested March 18. If convicted, he could face up to one year in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000. Schifer’s lawyer, Samuel H. Shamansky of Columbus, said March 22 he and his client take the charge “very seriously.” In addition to the criminal case against Schifer, regarding civil litigation, the Kinneys were offered pro bono legal counsel through the Anti-Defamation League’s Ohio Antisemitic Hate Crime & Extremism Legal Assistance Project. The legal assistance project was launched as a collaboration between the ADL’s regional and national offices in July 2020. In her affidavit, FBI task officer Julie A. Becker said the FBI and Columbus police began coordinating the investigation in December. Schifer was released from custody the same day he was arrested, Shamansky said. On March 30, he waived his right to a preliminary hearing, according to a court document. “He and I are evaluating all options and opportunities and avenues for resolution,” Shamansky said.



Congratulations to The Dayton Jewish Observer on 25 years of service to our community.

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s a child of a Holocaust survivor, Helen Ostreicher Halcomb always thought about the millions of European Jews who weren’t afforded a proper funeral or burial. It compelled her to dedicate her life to preparing people for their eternal rest and protecting our cemeteries for generations to come. Even without having anyone buried in one of our local Jewish cemeteries, Helen got involved with the Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Dayton campaign because she believed we needed to take care of our own. “I saw the need, not only in Dayton, but throughout the country in other small Jewish communities. It’s wonderful that Dayton is being proactive and preparing for our future,” said Helen. “The thought that our cemeteries would go unattended was frightening,” continued Helen. “I wanted to guarantee that I’ve done all that I could to help people find their perfect peace.” Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Dayton is an endowment organization created to maintain our three Jewish cemeteries in perpetuity. Please join us as we strive to maintain the sanctity, care and integrity of these sacred burial grounds.

Preserving our Past Ensuring Our Future 937-496-2311 • 525 Versailles Drive • Centerville, OH 45459 PAGE 8



‘I don’t want our cemeteries to be like the cemeteries of Europe.’ — Helen Ostreicher Halcomb

By Marshall Weiss, The Observer When the Jewish Federation hired me in January 1996 to start a Jewish newspaper for the Dayton area — with the first issue out in time for Passover — two widely-cited industry figures weighed heavily on me: nine out of 10 new print publications fail within their first year, and for every 10 advertising prospects you call on, you’ll be lucky to get one sale, and even that will take several months. And those were the good old days. Through its Jewish Community Relations Council, the federation had established a Jewish newspaper committee in May 1994. The privately-owned Dayton Jewish Chronicle, which began publishing in 1958, had gone through a succession of ownerships, its advertising and circulation dwindled, and the publication was seen as not fully covering the happenings of the local Jewish community. In fall 1995, when the federation announced it would establish a Jewish community newspaper in spring 1996, the Chronicle announced it was closing down. That a privately-published newspaper in a Jewish community of approximately 5,500 was able to put out a weekly through 1995 was the exception, not the rule. In the mid-1990s, about three-quarters of the Jewish newspapers across the United States were either owned by or operated in some form of partnership with their local Jewish Federations. Outside of maybe the largest dozen Jewish communities in the United States, publishing a Jewish newspaper was not a money-making venture. The concern Jews in the Miami Valley had, and rightly The first issue, April 1996 so, was that a federationpublished newspaper would be more of a federation newsletter than an instrument of journalism that would reflect the real goings on and aspirations of the community. More and more federations that controlled their local Jewish newspapers did transition them into house organs as challenges to their annual campaigns increased in the 1990s. I was glad to learn that’s not what the leadership of Dayton’s federation wanted. Starting with then-federation President Ralph E. Heyman, going through the Jewish Community Relations Council and its Dayton Jewish newspaper committee chaired by Ellen Faust, the federation understood the value of a real Jewish community newspaper. A newsletter function in our pages would always have a secondary role. They meant it and have stood by this principal for 25 years.

Keeping our community connected for a quarter century

What’s in a name?

I was told Dayton’s Jewish newspaper would be a monthly, which made sense given the size of our Jewish community, and that its name would be The Dayton Jewish Advocate. In 1995, the federation held a name-the-Jewish-newspaper contest. The winner was a Jewish Daytonian who was then retired in Florida. The only other Jewish Advocate out there that I knew of was Boston’s Jewish paper. It turned out there was a reason for that. Several months after we launched The Dayton Jewish Advocate, we were contacted by the publisher of The Jewish Advocate in Boston. He explained to us that he had trademarked the name Jewish Advocate and that we had to change our name. Or he’d sue us. So we did. We weren’t alone. The same year, the Dayton Voice, Dayton’s alternative weekly, received a cease-anddesist notice to remove the word voice from its name. The Village Voice had trademarked Voice as a publication name. So much has changed in the publishing world since then. Boston’s Jewish Advocate, the Village Voice, and Dayton’s alternative weekly, most recently called the Dayton City Paper, are all gone. Our newspaper committee decided to change our name to The Dayton Jewish Observer. Before we flipped the switch, I checked with every publication titled Jewish Observer. They all said it was OK.

Keeping it local

From the beginning, we wanted to keep our coverage as local as possible. And with limited resources in a small Jewish community, we didn’t have the luxury of dedicating space to coverage of local news that might be of interest to Jewish readers but wasn’t inherently Jewish. This also meant as much as possible, we would secure columnists from within our own Jewish community. For this, I turned to the late Carol Pavlofsky, then director of federation’s fundraising, for advice. She suggested I invite educator Candace R. Kwiatek to take on a monthly family column. Candy’s been in our pages every month since that first issue, winning first-place awards from the American Jewish Press Association and Ohio Society of Professional Journalists. I can’t tell you how much I have learned from Candy, month in and month out. Carol’s other suggestion was Charlotte Golden, who wrote our Can We Schmooze! column for several years. This was followed by Rachel Haug Gilbert’s Kvelling Corner and now Scott Halasz’s Mr. Mazel column. I still hear from readers who tell me that’s the first page they go to when The Observer hits their mailboxes. The late Shirley Schatz charmed readers with


her columns for years in The Observer, which focused on memories of her childhood and especially of her bubbie’s wisdom.


What was going on

We published our first issue at a heartbreaking time for the Jewish world and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had been assassinated by extremist Yigal Amir four months before. The Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians had now devolved into a barrage of Palestinian terrorist suicide bombings targeted at civilians on buses and in crowded areas in Israel. Dayton, celebrating its bicentennial, was also processing its role in the Dayton Peace Accords — the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina — reached at A clean 2003, Observer writers (L to R) Martha Moody Jacobs, Renate Frydman, and Candace R. Kwiatek received Ohio Wright-Patterson Air Force Base a few weeks Society of Professional Journalists first-place awards for Best after Rabin’s murder. Religion/Values Coverage for their body of work. They’re shown here Our local Jewish community was still enerwith Observer Editor and Publisher Marshall Weiss gized from the arrival of nearly 200 Jews from Idaho to Miamisburg. Thankfully, this didn’t come to the former Soviet Union, which the federation had pass. At the time, the active local hate group included resettled here between 1989 and 1993 as part of United violent, dangerous members. Ultimately, one local Jewish Appeal’s Passage to Freedom and Operation member was arrested, tried, convicted, and incarceratExodus campaigns during the collapse of the Soviet ed for attempting to assassinate Southern Poverty Law Union. Center founder and Chief Trial Counsel Morris Dees. The massive project empowered volunteers across One of our first stories to receive national distribuour community with a singular purpose through an expanded Jewish Family Services: to build connections tion across Jewish media was about a little girl, Brookwith these Jews and provide them with all they needed lyn VanSkoyck, born with Canavan disease, a fatal degenerative disease most common among Ashkenazi to set up their new lives here. Volunteers collected Jews. Her maternal grandfather was Jewish. Brookfurniture, set up apartments, found them jobs, prolyn’s father had no known Jewish lineage. vided transportation, and helped newcomers become Through Brooklyn’s story, we acquainted with Judaism. Chilwere among the first to report dren of the former Soviet Jews Middfest’s Anne Frank at Boonshoft CJCE p. 26 that even if one member of a enrolled at Hillel Academy Jewcouple has some Jewish lineage, ish day school on scholarships. he or she should get tested for Families received memberships Jewish genetic diseases. If that at the JCC. person is found to be a carrier, Leaders at all levels across A nuclear the partner should also get Syria? the American Jewish commu8 tested. Because of her parents’ nity grappled with the results of loving care, Brooklyn lived the National Jewish Population much longer than anticipated, Survey of 1990, which estimated A sanctuary until she was 11. the intermarriage rate for Jews in time at DAI 24 Not that it was related to as 52 percent. ‘Sensitize to the Dayton, but as the centennial of Their concern: how do we indanger of the Titanic sinking approached, spire those in interfaith families fanaticism’ I wondered if kosher food was to become involved in Jewish available on the liner, particuCenter stage  life, and how much of a priority An interview with Stephen with Elie Schwartz Wiesel larly because of all the immiis doing so? Jewish community 23 grant steerage trade. organizations at the national The answer turned out to be and local levels debated about yes. Just as the world compriorities of “inreach versus outmemorated the centennial of reach,” whether to concentrate the sinking, our package on on the active core or attempt The October 2007 issue featured interviews with Jewish connections to the Titanic to attract those with few or no Elie Wiesel and Stephen Schwartz was picked up by Jewish news connections. outlets across the world, including the then-new Times The Reform and Conservative movements champiof Israel. We shed light on how Eastern European Jews oned “Jewish pluralism” here and in Israel, while the would often stop over in England before continuing Orthodox movements emphasized the value of “Jewon to America because they couldn’t afford the full ish unity.” Atlantic crossing. Participation in local Jewish organizations, congregations, federation, and the JCC were on the decline. Dayton’s Jewish community had always been an ambi- Rediscovering treasures of local history It’s difficult to understand any current news situatious one: it had steadily built the amenities one would tion without knowing how we got to this point. I love expect in a much larger Jewish community. With the introducing our readers to forgotten episodes of local local Jewish population on the decline and shifting Jewish history. We published one of the first of these from the suburbs northwest of Dayton to Dayton’s pieces in 2003 for the centennial of powered flight, south suburbs, Jewish entities attempted to figure out when Bob Thum wrote about the first known Jewish how to remain relevant and vibrant with fewer people airplane pilot, Arthur Welsh. An ardent Zionist, Welsh and funds, and in different locations. learned to fly from Orville Wright himself and became a flight instructor for the Wrights and a member of Little community, big stories their exhibition team. It’s exciting to break important stories before other From there, we’ve also looked at African Americannews outlets, but it’s most important to get each story Jewish relations in Dayton, Jewish leaders of a cenright. One of the first breaking news stories we reported was when the Aryan Nations hate group considered tury ago, and most recently, John H. Patterson, NCR, moving its national headquarters from Hayden Lake, Continued on next page October 2007 Tishri/Cheshvan 5768 Vol. 12, No. 2



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The Observer’s first-place awards

Advertisers since our 1st issue

2020 First Place for Best Religion Reporting, Marshall Weiss 2017 First Place for Best Religion Reporting, Marshall Weiss 2017 First Place for Best Medical/Science Reporting, Michelle Tedford 2014 First Place for Best Religion Reporting, Marshall Weiss 2013 First Place for Best Religion Reporting, Marshall Weiss 2012 First Place for Best Religion Reporting, Rabbi Bernard Barsky 2009 First Place for Best Religion Reporting, Rabbi Bernard Barsky 2007 First Place for Best Religion/Values Coverage, Martha Moody Jacobs, Michelle Tedford, Vickie Bernie, Marshall Weiss · 2003 First Place for Best Religion/Values Coverage, Martha Moody Jacobs, Candace R. Kwiatek, Renate Frydman · 2002 First Place for Best Social Justice Reporting, Michelle Tedford

Bernstein’s Fine Catering

Ohio Society of Professional Journalists · · · · · · · ·

Beth Abraham Synagogue Chabad of Greater Dayton The Dayton Art Institute Dayton Hadassah Dinsmore Dorothy Lane Markets

American Jewish Press Association Rockower Awards · · · · · · · · · ·

2019 First Place for Journalistic Excellence, Social Justice, Marshall Weiss 2018 First Place for Journalistic Excellence, American Jewish History, Marshall Weiss 2017 First Place for Journalistic Excellence, American Jewish History, Marshall Weiss 2017 First Place for Excellence, Feature Writing, Marshall Weiss 2013 First Place for Journalistic Excellence, American Jewish History, Marshall Weiss 2013 First Place for Excellence, Photography, Marshall Weiss 2010 First Place for Excellence, Feature Writing, Marshall Weiss 2008 First Place for Excellence, Personality Profiles, Marshall Weiss 2000 First Place for Excellence, Commentary, Candace R. Kwiatek 1999 First Place for Excellence, Illustrating, Shari Swartz

· 2017 First Place for Excellence in Religion Reporting, Marshall Weiss

Original Observer leadership/staff

Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton President Ralph E. Heyman, Exec. V.P. Peter H. Wells, COO Melvin Caplan, JCRC Chair Dr. Ron Gilbert, JCRC Director Donald H. Cohen

Newspaper Policy Committee Chair Ellen Faust, Keri Guten Cohen, Chuck Kardon, Larry Klaben, Meredith Moss Levinson, Ann Slakter, Allan Spetter, Dr. Marc Sternberg Editor Marshall Weiss Business Manager Natasha Davidson Project Coordinator Donald H. Cohen Volunteer Proofreaders Ronnie Harlan, Sam Rubin Observer Chairs Ellen Faust, Dr. Marc Sternberg, Larry Klaben, Joan Knoll, Martin Gottlieb

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The Dayton Jewish Observer Mission

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 a historic record of Dayton Jewish life.


Continued from previous page Oakwood, and our Jewish community. There’s always something new to discover. Or rediscover.

Interviews to remember

“Marshall, you’re blushing!” Dr. Ruth told the packed crowd at the federation’s 2019 Presidents Dinner when I interviewed her. She was detailing the mechanics of a subject within her realm of expertise. If I wasn’t blushing before, I was then! In the same room at the Boonshoft CJCE 13 years before, I interviewed Sheldon Harnick, lyricist of Fiddler on the Roof and so many other classic Broadway shows. That was a favorite of mine. Interspersed over our conversation were performances of Harnick’s songs sung by Renée Franck-Reed and Kevin Moore, accompanied by pianist Raymonde Rougier. This was for The Observer’s 10th anniversary gala, chaired by Marilyn and Larry Klaben, which established our endowment fund. We learned about how Harnick and the Fiddler creative team gave birth to a masterpiece. When composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz was in town working on a musical with the Human Race, we talked about his penchant toward creative works with spiritual themes. In advance of her opening event for the federation’s annual campaign, Joan Rivers told me on a phone interview that she went out of her way to ratchet up her use of foul language in front of Jewish groups. She would live up to her word. The most profound interviews I’ve been part of were with Elie Wiesel. I had the opportunity to interview him three times. Every word that came out of his mouth was intentional, thoughtful, prophetic. Our first interview came in advance of his visit to Dayton to accept the Dayton Literary Peace Price Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. As a monthly publication, our deadlines are weeks before each issue comes out. Joan Knoll, a member of The Observer advisory committee, was also active with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She made sure DLPP put my interview request in to Wiesel’s office. Before he approved an interview request, Wiesel — himself a former journalist — wanted to see the kinds

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of questions an interviewer would ask. I sent in my questions and was told to give him a call. His words from that first interview stay with me with each issue I put together: “Sensitize to the danger of fanaticism, the ugliness of fanaticism. And then, with some luck, some people will hear.” A few weeks later, still before the event in Dayton, Wiesel’s office told the Dayton Daily News he had already done his advance interview for Dayton. The night of the gala, I was seated at the Dayton Daily News table. Martin Gottlieb, a longtime writer for the Daily News editorial page, shook his head back and forth in disbelief. “We should have had that interview,” he said cordially. After Martin retired from the Daily News in 2011, he became the mentor I had always hoped for in my career, in the formal role as advisor to The Observer. He serves as my advisor still: patient, clear, and kind in his critiques and suggestions when I come to him for advice. Martin is an editor’s editor.

Why are we here?

A few weeks ago, I received a call from a reader upset that we published a story that was negative about a Jewish organization here in Ohio. “What’s the point of publishing something like that?” the reader asked me. Stories that report bad news are uncomfortable. They’re uncomfortable

for me. As a Jewish journalist, I must be apart from the community I cover, but also a part of the community. I love our Jewish community. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be in this business. Some local stories we’ve reported on over the years have made me physically sick, have weighed heavily on my heart. But I am obligated to cover such stories when they come up. Why do we publish stories that sometimes may reflect negatively on people and organizations? Because journalism empowers our readers with the information they need to repair a broken world. It holds a mirror up to our community so it can see itself as it is. Journalism also provides a forum to discuss what a better community might look like and how to bring it about. Jewish journalism is tasked with balancing the tension we find between the two commandments in Leviticus 19:16: “You shall not be a gossip monger among your people; you shall not stand aside while your fellow’s blood is shed; I am the Lord.” That is, we strive to balance the conflicting values of privacy and the need to know with care and sensitivity when we decide if and how to cover news. If we don’t let our readers know what is broken, how it affects them, and offer the most honest and fair interpretation of the facts, we do the Jewish people of our community a disservice. It’s an honor to bring you the best obtainable version of the truth with every story we publish.

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THE WORLD Chabad of Southwest Broward

Teshuvah for Meyers Leonard Meyers Leonard listens to Holocaust survivor Rose Marmor

Miami’s Jewish community embraces NBA player after he apologizes for antisemitic slur

Special thanks to our Makor and Hebrew School teachers who have worked tirelessly and creatively to keep our students engaged and learning through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our young people and all the people of our Temple community are lucky to have you to pass on the traditions of the Torah!

and fined $50,000 by the NBA. Nine days later, the team traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who then waived him after the league’s trade deadline, making his future in the NBA uncertain. FaZe Clan, an esports compaBy Caleb A. Guedes-Reed ny Leonard had invested in, also said it MIAMI — A recent Shabbat dinner at would “cut ties” with him over the slur. Rabbi Pinny Andrusier’s home in HalIt was time to repair the damage. landale, Fla. was memorable for many After posting a public apology on Instareasons. gram, Leonard and his representatives One was that the featured guest was contacted multiple Jewish organizations 7 feet tall, towering over the dozens of to begin his healing process. kids in attendance — the adults, too. Two days after using the slur, LeonAnother was that he ard met with Andrusier, was a player for South the rabbi at the Chabad Florida’s favorite NBA of Southwest Broward in team, the Miami Heat. Hallandale, 18 miles from The guest was Meyers American Airlines Arena Leonard, who only a few where the Heat play. days prior to the FridayAndrusier was an obvinight meal on March 12 ous first stop on Leonhad sparked controversy ard’s rehabilitation efforts for using an antisemitic due to his long involveslur while livestreaming ment with the Heat. His a video game on Twitch. connections to the team Leonard, a center who date back to 1987, when was traded to the Heat in 2019 following he lit a Chanukah candle at a game. seven seasons with the Portland Trail “The Heat and the Jewish community Blazers, was playing the first-person have a very strong bond,” Andrusier shooter Call of Duty: Warzone on March said. 8 in front of an audience of thousands Each Chanukah, together with Rabbi when he said “F***ing cowards. Don’t Chaim Lipskar, the director of Miami’s f**king snipe at me. You kike bitch.” downtown Chabad house, he organizes The fallout was swift. Leonard was the Miami Heat Jewish Heritage Night. suspended from the Heat indefinitely Micky Arison, the owner of the Miami

Leonard found himself seated with 30 people from the surrounding Jewish community.

Chabad of Southwest Broward

Temple Beth Or 5275 Marshall Road Dayton, Ohio 45429 937-435-3400

Today...and for Generations PAGE 12

Leonard, at one end of the table, meets with Rabbi Andrusier at his home with Leonard’s wife, Elle, and brother Bailey


THE WORLD Josh Sayles, the federation’s director Heat, is Jewish. of Jewish Community and Government After hours of speaking with LeonRelations, said the goal was to connect ard on the phone and meeting at his Leonard with members of the local JewChabad, Andrusier had an idea — he ish community as an opportunity for would invite him to Shabbat. education. “My thinking was that it would be a “Meyers is really interested in putting good idea for him to come and eat and in the hard work and learning about the meet Holocaust survivors and to meet Jewish community,” Sayles said. children who idolize him,” the rabbi Though Sayles and his team received said. many calls in the days immediately That Friday night, Leonard found following the incident, he said the calls himself seated with 30 people from the have started to taper off. surrounding Jewish community. Leon“People aren’t talking ard listened to people’s about it as much anystories, spoke about The goal was to more,” Sayles said. the incident, and took Now the federation is pictures with dozens of connect Leonard the process of schedkids. with members of in uling a tour for Leonard Andrusier was exof the Holocaust memocited for Leonard to meet the local Jewish Michael Kaufman, who community as an rial on Miami Beach and getting him an audience was born in a German with Jewish students. displaced persons camp opportunity for Leonard participated after both his parents education. in a Zoom discussion managed to survive organized by the UniAuschwitz. versity of Miami Hillel titled From Heat “As he told his story, the place was to Healing, with Matthew Hiltzik, a so quiet you could hear a pin drop,” producer of the Holocaust documentary Andrusier said. “Everyone, including film Paper Clips. Leonard, was crying.” “We are encouraged by his efforts to Beyond the Chabad of Southwest Broward, Leonard met on a Zoom call with educate himself about the Jewish community, antisemitism, and the impact of representatives of the Anti-Defamation his words, and that he has matched his League and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, which had made a statement apology with concrete actions,” ADL Continued on next page condemning his slur.



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Meyers Leonard’s teshuvah

Chabad of Southwest Broward

approach, she said, is the repetition of offenses and the nature of the incident. “I think the fact that he reached out to a rabbi, went to Shabbat dinner, and didn’t immediately alert the press says a lot,” said Lipstadt, an eminent professor of Jewish history and a Holocaust scholar at Emory University. “If he is really trying to figure out what he did wrong, then that is commendable.” Continued from previous page Like Andrusier and Sayles, Lipstadt Florida wrote in a statement. “We do not views Leonard’s openness and dedicaview this as a one-time effort but an ongotion as an opportunity. ing learning process, and urge Leonard to “I would rather see instances, such as continue this process after his departure these, result in someone learning about from the Miami Heat.” why what they did is so hurtful and ofADL Florida also called on the video fensive and disturbing than just saying game industry to “improve their content ‘OK, he’s gone,’” she said. moderation tools and create robust and In the weeks following Leonard’s inclusive policies to address hate on their video game slur, he has spent over 30 platforms.” Even after Leonard was traded, two Meyers Leonard (Center) distributes Passover dinners to Holocaust survivors and Jewish hours learning with Andrusier and working with organizations in the compro-Israel groups took the opportunity to seniors in the Miami area with the help of Rabbi Pinny Andrusier (2nd from R) munity. express support for his apology and the During Passover, Leonard teamed with Andrusier Leonard is among a number of public figures to Heat in Miami. StandWithUs, a pro-Israel advocacy to deliver over 500 packages of matzah, wine, and use antisemitic language recently and, like the NBA group, contracted with its partner organization Artistfood to Holocaust survivors, older adults and families player, they have undertaken rehabilitation efforts s4Israel to create a local mural with the Heat’s logo on quarantined at home. with the Jewish community. it. The 28- by 20-foot mural reads “We Love The Heat: One woman was thrilled when Leonard delivered Ice Cube and Nick Cannon followed their anti-SeUnited Against Antisemitism, Racism & All Hate” the package to her door. She’s a huge Heat fan. mitic statements by meeting with members of Jewish underneath the groups’ names. “He realizes that he offended and he really wants to organizations; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene visited Or“Local teens and college students contacted us sayshow the Jewish community that he never meant them thodox communities in Brooklyn after public fallout ing they wanted to do something,” said Roz Rothharm and that he’s in solidarity with us, in support stemming from her embrace of antisemitic conspiracy stein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs. “They and apologetic,” Andrusier said. theories. were asking what they could do to show that they “I told Meyers that one beautiful thing about the For Deborah Lipstadt, the author of Antisemitism: still love the Miami Heat and that they love Meyers Jewish people is that we suffered so much, but if Leonard for his apology. They wanted to give him that Here and Now, the solutions vary for the different instances of antisemitism. What distinguishes the best someone is truly sincere, we are very forgiving.” opportunity to do teshuvah.”

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UPCOMING EVENTS Connect with us! Check out our events. For more information, check out our calendar at Sunday, May 2 @ 10AM — Introduction to DNA Testing Part 2 with Diana Nelson Sunday, May 2 @ 1PM — P2G Book Club








Sunday, May 2 @ 3PM — Dayton Junior Youth Group (JYG) Campfire Tuesday, May 4 @ 7PM — Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes with CABS author Jeremy Benstein Thursday, May 6 @ 7PM — The Food They Brought with Them: Jewish Immigration and the Culinary Experience








Wednesday, May 12 @ NOON — Is the Vaccine a Panacea? What Should We Expect? Thursday, May 13 @ 6:30PM — JCC Nature Hike at Sweet Arrow Reserve








Thursday, May 20 @ 6:30PM — Camp Shalom Information Session Friday, May 21 @ 10:30AM — JCC Book Club Thursday, May 27 @ NOON — Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes – Skin Care Matters! Thursday, May 27 @ 5:40PM — JCRC Volunteer Night








Upcoming Reoccurring Event Tuesday, May 11 & 25 @ 1PM — JFS Connects 2.0

INFORMATION SESSION Thursday, May 20 @ 6:30PM

We are very excited to see your children at Camp Shalom this summer! We are committed to making this a safe and healthy summer, as well as a fun and memorable one too! At our Town Hall meeting via Zoom on May 20, we will share with you the information we currently have about camp this summer. Camp Director, Meryl Hattenbach, and JCC Director, Jane Hochstein, will be available to answer your questions. Registration Required. Register online at

JCC Nature Hike • Thursday, May 13 6:30 - 7:30PM @ Sweet Arrow Reserve (789 Little Sugarcreek Rd, Sugarcreek Township, 45440 ) Register online at


We will be loading groceries into cars for the BOGG Ministries “Mobile Meals” program. Five spots reserved for each date. Contact Megan at to reserve your spot.

MORAINE LOCATION Tuesday, June 1st Tuesday, July 6th Tuesday, August 3rd

DAYTON LOCATION Thursday, May 27 Thursday, June 24 Thursday, July 22 Thursday, August 26




Introduction to DNA Testing Part 2 with Diana Nelson Sunday, May 2 @ 10 - 11AM via Zoom, No Cost RSVP online at


Back by popular demand, Diana Nelson will present part two of her program for those who are new to DNA testing. She’ll discuss changes in the Ancestry match list, chromosome browsers and matrix tools at FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe, and MyHeritage, and some of the third-party tools such as GEDmatch, DNA Painter, and Genetic Affairs. Diana is education chair of the Greene County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society and a member of the Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History Advisory Committee.

A Biss'l Mamaloshen Orem | Oh'rem | Adjective Oremeh | Oh' remeh | Adjective Oremkayt | Oh'remkyt | Noun Poor/a poor man/poverty - much less emotionally loaded than Dolles Expression with Orem: 1 As an oremeh macht Chaseneh, loyfen di hunt. When a poor man makes a

wedding, the dogs run away (there are no scraps left). 2 An oremeh vi Shabbos Ha Gadol. Poor like Shabbat Ha Gaol. His poverty is to all other paupers as Shabbos Ha Gadol (the Great Shabbat, the Shabbbos before Pesach - when the Rabbi traditionally gave a sermon) is to other Shaboyssim.

This program is presented in memory of Sandy Schoemann.

JG&H Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History

Legacies, Tributes, & Memorials FEDERATION

SAVE THE DATE! Caste Reading & Discussion Sunday, June 13 @ 4 - 5:30PM Beyond factors such as race and class, 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. Panelists: Honorable Gerald Parker Honorable Walter H. Rice Moderator: Joseph D. Saks, Esq. Art, Government, Hope: Jewish Artists Contribute to WPA’s Federal Art Program Thursday, June 10 @ 7 - 8PM Join JCRC as the Dayton Art Institute highlights select works of artists in the DAI’s collection who participated in the Federal Art Program (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 Dayton Art Institute, will examine how art intersected with the social, cultural, and political milieu of the time. DAY TO N

JCRC Jewish Community Relations Council


Visit /events for more information and to register!



CAROLE RABINOWITZ CAMP FUND IN MEMORY OF › The parents of Jodi Phares Beverly Louis › Ed Hattenbach Donna and Marshall Weiss › Audrey Margolis Bernard Rabinowitz JOAN & PETER WELLS CHILDREN & YOUTH FUND IN HONOR OF › A speedy recovery for Peter Wells Lynn Goldman Levin Marla and Stephen Harlan › The birthday of Ralph Heyman Joan and Peter Wells › The anniversary of Joan and Charlie Knoll Joan and Peter Wells

JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES FRIENDS DRIVE IN MEMORY OF › Jean and Hal Kamin Robin and Tim Moore JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES IN MEMORY OF › Audrey Margolis Susan and Joe Gruenberg IN HONOR OF › The special birthday of DeNeal Feldman Renee and Frank Handel FOUNDATION

JEREMY BETTMAN B’NAI TZEDEK YOUTH PHILANTHROPY FUND IN MEMORY OF › Mitchell Joseph Biondi Jean and Todd Bettman ADDISON CARUSO B’NAI TZEDEK YOUTH PHILANTHROPY FUND IN MEMORY OF › Chuck Helburn › In Yahrzeit memory of Samuel G. Cohen Donna Holt and family › Mary Holt › Chuck Helburn Patricia and Michael Caruso




IS THE VACCINE A PANACEA? WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT? with Dr. Jack Bernstein Wednesday, May 12 at NOON via Zoom Dr. Jack Bernstein is an infectious disease physician. He was formerly the Chief of Infectious Disease and Head of Research at the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He is also an emeritus professor at Wright State University's Boonshoft School of Medicine.

How many kids are in your family? 3 What are their ages? 6, 4, and 4 How did you get involved in PJ Library? We started receiving the PJ Library books when our oldest son Leyton was a baby- we still have all of them!

No cost. RSVP at

Do you have a funny or meaningful story about reading PJ Library books in your family? When Leyton was a baby we would read My Face Book several times a day. It was special because he was learning the words and expressions and I (Janese) was learning the Hebrew along with him. It made it very accessible and fun. What brought you to Dayton? How long have you lived here? Dan grew up here and has lived here his whole life (other than his four years in Columbus at OSU). I (Janese) moved here in 2011 when I accepted a job at a law firm. I didn't think I would be here for this long, but Dan and I met shortly after and I can't imagine living anywhere else. What do you love about Dayton? We love the sense of family and community. It is just a wonderful place to raise your kids and enjoy a small town, with a lot to offer. What are you looking forward to this season? Swimming! The kids love to swim and we look forward to a summer by the pool. We want to learn about YOUR family! Our families are what makes the PJ Library program in Dayton so vibrant, and we want to showcase them! To participate, please contact Kate Elder, PJ Library Coordinator at

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes Skin Care Matters! with Julian J. Trevino, M.D. Thursday, May 27 at NOON via Zoom Join Jewish Family Services for the second event in its annual Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes series. Julian J. Trevino, M.D., Professor and Chair of Dermatology with Wright State Physicians will talk to us about skincare and what to expect as we age. No cost. RSVP at

Jewish Family Services OF GREATER DAYTON






Tuesday, May 4 @ 7PM via Zoom Jeremy Benstein, Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes In an eloquent and charming answer to this question, Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes addresses the many ways engagement with Hebrew enriches Jewishness – culturally, religiously, ethnically. Whether you know Hebrew or not, linguist and cultural anthropologist Jeremy Benstein takes us on a journey into the deeper significance of Hebrew in the life of Jews and Judaism. Since fluency is such a distant goal for so many, Benstein shows us another approach: engaging with Hebrew by focusing on the three-letter Hebrew roots that are the building blocks of the language, seeing these “nuggets of knowledge” as a vehicle to enriching our connection to Judaism and its values.

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Tuesday, June 8

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You can purchase books through online retailers

OPENING NIGHT Tuesday, June 8 • 7PM - DJ Butch Brown • 9PM - Film Starts @ The Dixie Twin Drive-In (6201 N Dixie Dr, Dayton, 45414)

Or in person at Barnes and Noble on 725, across from the Dayton Mall (curbside pickup is available).

The Graeter’s Ice Cream truck will be available to purchase sweet treats! The concession stand will also be open for your convenience.

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

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.

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

The Food They Brought with Them: Jewish Immigration and the Culinary Experience THURSDAY, MAY 6 @ 7PM Starting with the Jewish Shtetl, and what began the Jewish immigration to America, Dr. Judy Chesen maps out the Jewish immigration story and the kinds of experiences they had in America and the cuisine that followed. Register at


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 For more information or to purchase tickets visit us online at Interactive Zoom film discussion session with the directors for these films. June 14 @ 7PM • Dani Menkin | June 20 @ 7PM • Tzipi Trope July 11 @ 11:30AM • Udi Nir 2 0 2 1






Calling any Jewish woman a ‘JAP’ is offensive — but not only for the reason you think

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evokes. By Ivy Humbarger My grandfather The term “Jewish American Princess” has been dewas born in Okinawa, bated within Jewish communities for as long as it has Japan, sometime in existed. Many bemoan it for perpetuating sexism and January 1953, with the negative stereotypes of Jewish women, while others have argued that despite these origins, there’s a power name Susumi Kise. As a baby he was put in embracing the moniker. But as a Jew of Japanese descent, I’m here to say the up for adoption at the Yonabaru orphanage in much larger problem comes from the acronym used Naha, Okinawa. There in its place: “JAP”. There needs to be a conversation is no documentation about the dangerous and violent history of the racist slur “jap,” and why Jewish people should not want to of his parents, whether they were alive or dead co-opt this word. For those unaware, “jap” is a racial slur used against when he was brought Japanese people. World War II-era America best show- to the orphanage. He was adopted cases the dangers of this hateful word. as a young child by As we all know, the war brought much suffering to an American family many groups of people. And while America claims to stationed on the island be the hero that saved the world, the assertion often and spent three years ignores or justifies its treatment of the Japanese. waiting to immigrate to In Japan, America dropped devastating bombs on the United States under civilian cities that resulted in 225,000 deaths, which is the Refugee Relief Act. likely an underestimated count, according to UCLA. Upon his arrival in the Stateside, the U.S. government deported Japanese Americans — fellow citizens — to Japan, as bargaining U.S., he became the chips to trade for American prisoners. In 1942, the U.S. youngest-ever naturalized citizen in Detroit government forcibly relocated and incarcerated some 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were and the first person for A barber points proudly to his bigoted sign whom the Michigan natural-born citizens. city ever waived the oral oath. These people were ripped from their homes by I have desperately tried to gain the attention of Jews Despite how incredible of a headline this situation the government and placed in makeshift internment online to warn them of this slur, and to beg them to provided — a poor abandoned Okinawan orphan res- stop using it, but it has always been to no avail. camps in the desert on the West Coast. They had no cued by an American soldier from a war-ridden, desotrials and nobody to save them. While many Jewish people see using this acronym In 1942, Gen. John DeWitt, commander of the West- late island — the novelty of the story quickly wore off. as a lighthearted substitute for a long-winded phrase, My grandfather was brought overseas to a ern Defense Command, said, “A those unaware of the Jewish meaning may look at this racist America that hated him and saw him Jap’s a Jap. It makes no difference and see a racial slur, as I and many fellow Japanese as a traitor while still seeing themselves as whether the Jap is a citizen or not.” people do. his savior. He was brought to an America that That same year, Col. Karl BendetNo matter how many times I see it used as Jewish less than 10 years before bombed his country American Princess, I cannot separate it from the hate sen of the Wartime Civil Control and locked up his people in the desert. Administration said, “I am deterword that was used to vandalize Japanese-American He faced endless racism throughout mined that if they have one drop of homes. his life — was bullied as a child in school, Japanese blood in them, they must Even if we as Jewish people have an alternative experienced discrimination from employers, go to camp.” meaning, or think, “Well, that’s not what I mean,” endured harsh xenophobia from my White The homes and businesses of remember, it doesn’t matter whether you mean to grandmother’s family when they announced use a slur or not. It matters that you’re using it, and it Japanese Americans were detheir relationship and intention stroyed, looted and vandalized. matters to the people who are harmed to have children, or as they said, The word “japs” was everywhere. by it. “interbreed.” Spray-painted on homes, on the Jewish people understand all too The author’s grandfather When people use the slur front page of newspapers, on signs well pain and suffering, being othered and posters. People protested the presence of Japanese jap, they’re using it against my grandpa, and singled out, and we should never against his people and against everything people in America in the streets and from the comsubject others to that feeling. they have ever been through. And that fort of their homes. Businesses put up signs banning It is especially important as a diverse causes me immense pain. Japanese from entering the premises, saying “No japs people who span the world that we as The first time I ever saw the term JAP allowed.” Jews work hard to be as inclusive as used to signify Jewish American Princess These were innocent citizens, many of whom came possible. was from a Jewish person on Twitter. here for the “American dream.” Like many Jewish A good start is to analyze our actions Initially I thought I had stumbled across another Jew immigrants who came to the U.S. at the turn of the as Jews and see how language such as JAP is divisive of Japanese descent. I mean, who else would use this century, the Japanese came for opportunity, for the and especially harmful to Jews who are Japanese or of slur so lightly? chance at greatness, yet America did what America Japanese descent. Upon reading their profile I realized they weren’t always does. Jewish women want to reclaim Jewish American Japanese at all, and I became very concerned and This history is America, and it is the history of my Princess? I support that. But please, for the love of confused. I had to resort to googling “Jewish JAP” to heritage in this country. This is not a history that you God, take the extra five seconds and spell out the find the meaning. I was shocked and disappointed can ask Japanese people to forget. Jap is not just a phrase. As Jews, it’s the least we can do. to see that Jews online were lightly using a slur as an word; it’s a searing symbol of hate. acronym. Growing up with a Japanese relative in metro Ivy Humbarger is a Jewish food worker of Ashkenazi This experience was so isolating and hurtful as I Detroit, I was very familiar with the use of jap. It’s and Japanese descent. She is currently studying forensic began to feel unsafe in the online Jewish community. been hurled at me, and I’ve felt the pain that the term pathology in Detroit.

Jap is not just a word; it’s a searing symbol of hate.

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Avi Ross Gilbert Avi Ross Gilbert will be called to the Torah at Temple Beth Or on May 29. Avi is the son of Dr. Heath and Rachel Gilbert; big brother to Chava, Zeke, and Livy; and grandson of Sue and Ron Nelson, Dr. Ron and Shirlee Gilbert, and Gary Haug and Vera Warner, all of Dayton. After completing his primary school education at Hillel Academy, Avi is now in the seventh grade at Watts Middle School in Centerville. His hobbies include all things basketball and football, as well as appearing in many local

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When Dayton native Jeany Nisenholz-Wolf and her husband, Jeffrey Wolf, first saw artwork by former slave Bill Traylor, they knew there was more to the story than what they were viewing.

Scott Halasz “There was such a mystery there to unravel and the desire to go beyond the two-line description about a man born enslaved who worked the land his entire life until physically

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theatre productions. Avi loves all types of athletic shoes, so raising donations for Shoes 4 the Shoeless Inc. for his mitzvah project was a “perfect fit.” Shoes 4 the Shoeless is a local non-profit that provides new, correctly-fitting gym shoes and socks to Dayton-area children in desperate need. In February, Avi also learned how to wrap tefillin and had the privilege of an aliyah at Chabad of Greater Dayton in honor of his Hebrew birthday.

impossible,” Jeany told me in an email. “Then he moved to Montgomery (Ala.), doing odd jobs and eventually became homeless in his 80s, and began drawing and painting, sitting next to storefronts, where he was discovered by a local White Jeany Nisenholz-Wolf Jeffrey Wolf Montgomery artist.” Almost 10 years after that Jeffrey is a producer and its first encounter, Jeany and Jefdirector and editor. frey, longtime New Yorkers, “Making this documentary felt the time was right to begin within the fuller historical and exploring Bill’s life and his work cultural contexts of Traylor’s life in depth. Writer and producer became the driving force,” Jeany Fred Barron visited Montgomsaid. “It remained amazing how ery to talk with locals and put he transcended the harshness his eyes on the places Bill lived and inequities of his life — and throughout his life. created a visual language to The research culminated in document the past and presthe documentary Bill Traylor: ent narrative of his life. Over a Chasing Ghosts, which has been three-year period, he drew and available in virtual cinema via painted images and scenes from The Neon since mid-April. his memories and observations Jeany is a producer of the film, that still resonate today and are relevant to our times.” Bill was born around 1853 on an Alabama cotton plantation owned by John Traylor, in Dallas County, Ala., close to the Lowndes County line. Born into slavery, Bill was about 12 when the Civil War ended, and he spent most of his life as a farm laborer, continuing to work and live near his birthplace for another six decades. Like many in the first generation of freed African American citizens, Bill was expected to farm the land without owning it, “know his place,” and disapMazel Tov pear without leaving footprints. to The Jewish But Bill did leave footprints. “We’re extremely pleased Observer @ 25! with the finished film — the way the performers add a lyrical quality and the music evokes the time period, in order to feel 2517 Patterson Rd. the presence of the man and 937-253-6464

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The Jewish people must have unity By Rabbi Leibel Agar Beth Jacob Congregation Spring has always been my favorite time of the year, even when I was a young child. I grew up in upstate New York and the winters were always pretty nasty-biting cold, with ice and snow more often than not.

Yes, this year, ory explain that things are definitethe word vayly looking better ichan (singular) is and brighter. used because the Spring is also Children of Israel a time of great encamped at Mt. celebration for Sinai as one: withthe Jewish nation: out any bickering two of our major or grumbling. holidays, Pesach Unfortunately, and Shavuot, occur there was a lack Bill Traylor in the spring. Add of unity all of the artist Bill Traylor,” Jeany said. in the festivities other times they Rabbi Leibel Agar “The reactions have been quite Even after moving down for Israeli Indeencamped, so the gratifying.” to New York City, winters did pendence and Lag word vayachanu Critics are pleased too. The not improve much. Spring B’Omer, and you get a really (plural) is used. New York Times said it was a always brought with it a sense wonderful celebratory season. So why is this so important? “sincere, nourishing account of of excitement and freshness: Though all of these holidays I mean, it’s nice to see that Jews the artist...(it) remains powerful not to mention hope that my are important, it is the holiday can get along, but why is that medicine today.” beloved New York Mets might of Shavuot I explore with you more significant than the GivAccording to the San Franwin a pennant, get a wild-card here. ing of the Torah? cisco Chronicle, “Jeffrey Wolf’s spot, or, at the very least, beat As the Children of Israel left In the grand scheme of exceptional documentary Bill the New York Yankees during Egypt, the Torah tells us about things, getting along once out of Traylor: Chasing Ghosts seeks to the regular season’s interleague the travails which they encoun- all the times that they encamptell its subject’s story in a deeply games. tered: an attack from Egyptians, ed during the 40 years in the personal way, while also pulling Looking back, I can distinctly not having enough water, a war desert does not seem to be such back when needed to contextu- remember the feelings I had with Amalek, and so on. Finally, a big deal. alize his work.” when spring came last year, after over a month of traveling The significance is this: The Neon will present a free which was my first spring as a through the wilderness, they The Jewish people must have virtual roundtable discussion resident of Dayton. However, it arrived at the Sinai desert. unity. Without unity, there is with Jeany, Jeffrey, celebrated was not the joyous spring of reThe Children of Israel all no nation. Our sages of blessed local artist Bing Davis, and birth after a cold camped around memory say that when the Jews Distinguished Research Prof. winter. Rather, said na’asseh (we will do) before We will be able Mt. Sinai and Flavia Bastos from School of it was a spring prepared themnishmah (we will listen) at Sinai, Art, University of Cincinnati, full of lockdowns to vanquish all selves to receive we became the bride of God. at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April and stay-at-home enemies except the Torah. He will always protect us 28. Details are available at The orders, a spring However from the enemies around us; ourselves. Neon’s Facebook page. of isolation and when the Torah this means we will be able to fear. The Covid-19 describes makvanquish all enemies except Mazel tov to Steve and pandemic reared its ugly head ing camp at Mount Sinai, a ourselves. There is a saying Sandy Forsythe, who and the world was turned upstrange phraseology appears. about America that united we recently competed in the side down. The Torah says, “Vayichan sham stand, divided we fall. Well, North American Pairs Bridge This year, there is hope once Yisrael neged hahar, And he, brother, this is not only true for Tournament. Steve and Sandy again. The vaccines which have Israel, encamped there, next to our country, it’s true for our are regulars in local and been developed by Moderna, the mountain.” people, too. national tournaments. Pfizer, and others have given us The word vayichan (he May it be God’s will that as a brighter outlook. As I stand camped) differs from the dewe celebrate the upcoming holiNow to brag just a tad. I am next to my open window, I can scription of all the other times day of Shavuot, we internalize one of three finalists for best see a bright, yellow sun as it they set up camp. In those the lesson of “and he encamped sports writer in the Ohio shines down upon the earth instances, the Torah uses the there, next to the mountain” Associated Press Managing and feel a warm breeze as it word vayachanu (they camped). and, more importantly, put it Editors annual writing contest. wafts gently across my face. Our rabbis of blessed meminto practice in our daily lives. The newspapers I write for, the Xenia Daily Gazette and Fairborn Daily Herald, are in Division I, which is for papers up to 7,999 in circulation and contains the most newspapers of any division, around 40. The winners, along with secondTorah Shavuot and third-place finishers in all Portions Festival of Weeks, divisions and categories, will Candle Giving of the Torah be announced during a yet-toLightings May 1: Emor May 17-18/6-7 Sivan be scheduled virtual awards (Lev. 21:1-24:23) Shabbat, May 7: 8:19 p.m. Marks the end of the counting ceremony.


May • Iyar/Sivan

Be sure to send me your college and graduate school graduation announcements and we’ll include them here over the summer. Send your announcements to

Shabbat, May 14: 8:26 p.m. Erev Shavuot, May 16: 8:28 p.m. First Eve Shavuot May 17: 9:33 p.m. Shabbat, May 21: 8:32 p.m. Shabbat, May 28: 8:38 p.m.

May 8: Behar-Bechukotai (Lev. 25:1-27:34) May 15: Bamidbar (Num 1:1-4:20)

May 22: Naso (Num. 4:21-7:89) May 29: Behalotecha (Num. 8:1-12:16)

of the Omer, a 49-day period that begins on the second night of Passover, and recalls the giving of the Torah at Sinai. In Israel, it falls at the end of the spring harvest. An all-night study session called a tikun, originally a mystical practice, is held at some synagogues.


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

CONGREGATIONS Beth Abraham Synagogue Conservative Rabbi Joshua Ginsberg Cantor/Dir. of Ed. & Programming Andrea Raizen 305 Sugar Camp Circle, Oakwood. 937-293-9520. Beth Jacob Congregation Traditional Rabbi Leibel Agar Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. 7020 N. Main St., Dayton. 937-274-2149. Temple Anshe Emeth Reform Rabbinic Intern Tzvia Rubens Friday, May 7, 7:30 via Zoom. 320 Caldwell St., Piqua. Contact Steve Shuchat, 937-7262116, Temple Beth Or Reform Rabbi Judy Chessin Asst. Rabbi/Educator Ben Azriel 5275 Marshall Rd., Wash. Twp. 937-435-3400. Temple Beth Sholom Reform Rabbi Haviva Horvitz 610 Gladys Dr., Middletown. 513-422-8313. Temple Israel Reform Senior Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz Rabbi/Educator Tina Sobo 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton. 937-496-0050. Temple Sholom Reform Rabbi Cary Kozberg 2424 N. Limestone St., Springfield. 937-399-1231.

ADDITIONAL SERVICES Chabad of Greater Dayton Rabbi Nochum Mangel Associate Rabbi Shmuel Klatzkin Youth & Prog. Dir. Rabbi Levi Simon, Teen & Young Adult Prog. Dir. Rabbi Elchonon Chaikin. Beginner educational service Saturdays 9:30 a.m. 2001 Far Hills Ave. 937-643-0770. Yellow Springs Havurah Independent Antioch College Rockford Chapel. Contact Len Kramer, 937-572-4840 or



A year into Covid, Conservative Jews consider whether to make Zoom prayer permanent By Ben Harris, JTA On the first weekend of the coronavirus lockdowns in New York City in March 2020, Rabbi Rachel Ain decided that her Conservative synagogue would conduct Shabbat services online over Zoom, the videoconferencing platform then still largely confined to the business world but soon to become a household word. Doing so technically violated a 2001 decision by the Conservative movement’s Jewish law authority, which had voted by overwhelming majority to bar the convening of an online prayer quorum, or minyan. But Ain didn’t see an alternative. “I was ahead of them,” said Ain, who leads the Sutton Place Synagogue in New York City. “I Rabbi Rachel Ain (Center) leads the New York-based Sutton Place Synagogue congregation in a Zoom service made the decision for my community based on how I understood what my community needed at that permits a certain relaxation of customary rules in times moment.” of emergency. Now the law committee is preparing to Days later, the heads of the Conservative moveformally consider whether the allowance for a Zoom ment’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards minyan should outlive the pandemic. would officially sanction Ain’s choice, allowing rabbis At the Conservative movement’s rabbinical associato temporarily ignore the 2001 ruling for the duration tion conference in February, dozens of rabbis parof the pandemic. Separately they issued an opinion, or ticipated in a study group intended to guide the law teshuvah, permitting the limited use of Zoom on Shabcommittee in its consideration of the Zoom question. bat, when use of electronic devices is severely circumLooming over the deliberations was the legacy of anscribed. other decision made by the Conservative movement in Those rulings, like many others issued across the response to what once was perceived as an inexorable Jewish world during the frightening early days of the shift in Jewish communal life that had to be accompandemic, explicitly invoked sha’at had’chak — litermodated or risk the movement’s irrelevance: the great ally a time of pressure, a principle in Jewish law that Jewish exodus to the suburbs.

Recognizing that large numbers of Jews who had left the city in the postwar period no longer lived within walking distance of a synagogue, the movement in the 1950s made a landmark decision to permit congregants to drive to synagogue on Shabbat — but nowhere else. The change led to the thriving of large suburban Conservative congregations in the middle decades of the 20th century, but it continues to be rued in some circles for having undermined the commitment to strict Shabbat observance. “We are writing a new driving teshuvah,” said Rabbi Avram Reisner, a longtime law committee member widely seen as the body’s foremost traditionalist, referring to the choice to permit Zoom streaming on Shabbat. Reisner loathes the driving decision for the same reasons he fears where the committee is moving on the Zoom question. In the view of many traditionalists in the movement, what was supposed to be a limited decision to accommodate families unable to walk to synagogue on Shabbat came to be seen as a broader license to drive, effectively eroding broad respect for Shabbat observance. Reisner thinks the movement is about to make the same mistake again. “Sociologically, as soon as you permit television and computers into your Shabbat, Shabbat is gone. It’s out the window. You’ve changed the tenor of observing Shabbat,” said Reisner, who retired from his Baltimore

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RELIGION pulpit in 2015. the consequences of that choice. Like the driving decision, New Rochelle was at the streaming has opened religious epicenter of one of the earliest participation to those for whom coronavirus outbreaks in the it would otherwise have been United States, and his synaimpossible. gogue was inside the containSome synagogues have addment zone established by state ed daily prayer services during authorities in March 2020 in an the pandemic, since the stream- effort to stem the spread of the ing technology has enabled virus. Many members died in greater participation. Many those first weeks. report that more people are log“I think we had way over 20 ging in for services online than funerals,” Schuck said. “And I ever showed up in person. was doing funerals of couples, That has been the case at like one person and then a Beth El Synagogue Center in week later their spouse. I mean, New Rochelle, N.Y., where it was traumatic.” Friday night services via Zoom The rabbi was under sig— streamed prior to the onset nificant pressure to enable of Shabbat — attracts 100 worhis congregants to recite the shippers every week. Before the Mourner’s Kaddish, one of pandemic, 15 would typically Judaism’s most emotionally show up in person. resonant prayers, over Zoom. Yet Rabbi David Schuck has He also had a personal stake in refrained from perthe issue: His own mitting interactive father had died the services on Shabbat previous November, or counting a prayer and he was reciting quorum for mournthe prayer for him ers online on other daily when the pandays, though the demic struck. synagogue has been But wary of the holding in-person long-term effects of services three times an emergency rula day since July. In ing, Schuck instead fact, he wrote a discrafted an alternate Rabbi Rachel Ain sent in March 2020 ritual. He began to the Conservative teaching online each movement’s emergency ruling day a short passage from the allowing those practices. Mishnah, the second-century Allowing online services code of Jewish law that, beon Shabbat “will create a new cause its Hebrew letters are the norm in communal prayer same as the Hebrew for soul, is which will, in the long run, traditionally also understood weaken communal bonds, as a way to elevate the spirit lower the commitments that we of the departed. He also began can expect from people to show reciting a prayer composed by up for one another, and diminan Israeli rabbi as an alternative ish the sanctity of Shabbat,” to the Mourner’s Kaddish. Schuck wrote. Not everyone in his synaSchuck acutely understood gogue was pleased with the

Relieved of the choice, he recalled. pressure to make a “I understood their quick choice about disappointment in how to respond to my decision,” Schuck a rapidly unfolding said. “But largely public health crisis, there wasn’t a rebelAin is moving more lion here. And I would deliberately in say we were very considering how to effective, if not more structure services effective than ever in a post-pandemic before, in meeting the world and says religious and emoRabbi Josh Heller she will take into tional needs of people account whatever guidance who had to say Kaddish.” the law committee ultimately Ain, too, adapted in-person provides. But her synagogue practices for the pandemic era expects to continue the use of — but reached a different conclusion about whether to permit Zoom in some capacity, including possibly offering participaa prayer quorum. tion in the service to those who “What we did on daily minyan and Shabbat for months are physically remote. “What we’ve learned is that was not a carbon copy of what if people are home and watchwould have been experienced ing and trying to engage, they live in person altogether bewant to have a meaningful cause I wanted to make that emotional, pastoral, religious distinction between what was and what wasn’t,” she said. th, “But we did count a minyan, no matter what.” As the law committee prepares to consider the Zoom question, the potential consequences of a long-term allowance for Zoom services is weighing heavily even on those who have championed the technology. Rabbi Josh Heller, who wrote the paper permitting Zoom use on Shabbat, and even negotiated with the company to implement changes to the software that would mitigate the potential for violating Jewish law, said both the suburban exodus and the long-term impact of the pandemic represent epochal shifts in Jewish life. How the Conservative movement responds, he said, will echo for decades to come.

experience as well,” Ain said. “And they are not not coming because they don’t like shul, they’re not not coming because something’s holding them back. And so we want to give them a meaningful experience at home. And so we’re exploring what technologies we need for that.” Ain said three times as many people are attending services now than before the pandemic. Attendance on Friday night has jumped from about 35 to 70 each week, she said, and as many as four times as many people attend weekday services. “It has not given them an excuse out, it has given them a way to opt into religious life,” Ain said. “And that has been a profound change, that we have reached people that we didn’t even know we could reach.”

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


Beth Jacob Virtual Classes: Sundays, 2 p.m.: 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

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net. Register at events. JCC Camp Shalom Virtual Information Session: Thurs., May 20, 6:30 p.m. W. Meryl Hattenbach & Jane Hochstein. Register at events.


for 25 years of service to our community. Montgomery County Commissioners Judy Dodge, Debbie Lieberman, Carolyn Rice

JCC’s Jewish Immigration & the Culinary Experience: W. Judy Chesen. Thurs., May 6, 7 p.m. Register at jewishdayton. org/events.

Chabad’s Bagels, Lox & Tefillin: Sun., May 9, 9:30 a.m. 2001 Far JCC Nature Hike @ Sweet Arrow Reserve: Thurs., May 13, Hills Ave., Oakwood. R.S.V.P. at 6:30 p.m. 789 Little Sugarcreek Rd., Sugarcreek Twp. Register at Seniors JFS Connects 2.0: Socialization Temple Israel’s Drive-Thru & fellowship with JFS Social Taste of the Jewish Cultural Worker Aleka Smith via Zoom. Festival: Fri., May 14, 4-7 p.m. Tues., May 11 & 25, 1 p.m. 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton. Info. Contact Aleka Smith, asmith@ at or 937-610-1775.

Partnership2Gether Book Club: JFS Discussion, Is the Vaccine a Panacea? What Should Sun., May 2, 1 p.m. Register at We Expect? Wed., May 12, noon. R.S.V.P. to Mindy Adams, Temple Beth Or Adult Ed. Committee, Exploration of JFS Head, Shoulders, Knees the Jewish Short Story: Wed., & Toes, Skin Care Matters: May 12, 6:30 p.m. Register at Thurs., May 27, noon. Free. at adult-education-events. events. JCC Book Club: Fri., May JCC Virtual Cultural 21, 10:30 a.m. Register at Arts & Book Series Jeremy Benstein, Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes: Tues., Children & Youths May 4, 7 p.m. Free. Register at JYG Campfire: Sun., May 2, 3 p.m. For info., contact Meryl Hattenbach, mhattenbach@jfgd.

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Beth Abraham Synagogue Women Of Valor Virtual Ceremony: Wed., May 5, noon. To access StreamSpot, go to

Community Events

Intro. to DNA Testing Part 2: Sun., May 2, 10 a.m. W. Diana Nelson. Presented by Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History. Register at jewishdayton. org/events.

Americans & The Holocaust Virtual Exhibit Tour & Discussion: Sun., May 16, 10:30 a.m. Presented by Beth Abraham Synagogue’s Ruth & Fred Scheuer Life Enrichment Series. Free, including optional kosher box brunch. Reservations for box brunches due Wed., May 5, pickup Fri., May 14 at Beth Abraham Synagogue, 305 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood. Register at or 937-2939520. Temple Beth Or & Temple Israel Adult Ed.: Part Two of virtual series on human trafficking, frontline workers fight to eradicate the problem in the Miami Valley. Thurs., May 20, 7 p.m. Free. Register at JCRC Volunteer Night: Thurs., May 27, 5:40 p.m. For details, contact Megan Ullom, mullom@

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Stories within stories Considering Creation

The legendary secondcentury sage Rabbi Akiva grew up in the land of Israel poor, ignorant, and illiterate, eventually becoming a shepherd for a wealthy Jerusalemite. Despite his circumstances, Akiva eventually mastered the Torah, oral tradition, and mysticism.

Candace R. Kwiatek He became the most famous scholar and sage of his era: a teacher to tens of thousands, a judge, and a significant contributor to the Mishnah and Jewish law. But there’s another story nested within the Akiva narrative. While still a shepherd, Akiva married Rachel, who recognized his potential as a scholar. Rachel urged the 45-year-old Akiva to master the Hebrew Alphabet and boosted his self-confidence as he learned to read. She then encouraged her skeptical husband to leave home to study with scholars at the academy. When Akiva returned 24 years later, he acknowledged, “If not for this woman, I would still be an ignorant shepherd.

Whatever I know, I owe to her.” The overlapping stories of Rachel and Akiva offer an intriguing model for understanding the two narratives of human creation. Genesis 1: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness’… And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.* God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fertile and increase…(1:2628).’” Genesis 2: “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth, and He blew into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being… The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him.’ And the Lord God formed out of the earth (all the animals). And the man gave names to all…but for Adam no fitting helper was found. “So the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon the man and he slept; He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that spot. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib that He had taken from the man, and He brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This one at last is bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called Woman, for from man she was taken.’ Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh (2:7; 18-24).” Bible readers and Detail of lithograph, Adam and Eve, by Marc scholars alike have Chagall, 1960 puzzled over these differing narratives. The most 2) as a ‘second creation story,’ well-known response is the rather than as something else Documentary Hypothesis, entirely…a much more detailed which asserts the Pentateuch is description of the creation of a composite of several earlier the human being.” documents, each with its own Try reading the opening texts author, style, and viewpoint. together, by inserting Genesis But this theory fails to ac2 into Genesis 1 at the asterisk, count for the oral storytelling just prior to the final sentence quality of all anof the Genesis 1 cient Near East- Nested within passage. Multiple ern narratives in nested stories are the framing which repetirevealed that tion, changes in narrative are explain and enrich perspective, and the overarching one or more even differing Creation narrative. details are essen- stories that “Let us make tial features. man in our It often mani- explain or add image...” God fests as stories accomplishes detail to the within stories, this by forming recognizable overall picture. man’s body, like even in modern a potter, from the tales such as The Neverenddust of the earth and animating Story and Groundhog Day. ing it with a divine soul from Nested within the framing nar- God’s breath. By setting man’s rative are one or more stories specialized creation apart from that explain or add detail to the that of all other animals, and overall picture. In the words of forming the human not as just biblical commentator Dennis a living being but one powered Prager, “(T)here are contradicby a divine soul, God begins tions only if one views (Genesis differentiating between humans

and animals. “It is not good for man to be alone...” God points out that humans are designed to be in relationships. And yet, even though “God created man in His image,” a relationship with God doesn’t fully banish loneliness. So God invites Adam to join the search for a fitting companion, but no animal can fulfill the need for connection either. The human is designed to thrive in relationships with other humans, the only cure for loneliness. “Male and female He created them...” God designs a “fitting helper” for Adam as a female counterpart, companion, and challenger, equal but different. The best fit would incorporate part of Adam himself, so woman is fashioned from his rib or, in more modern translations, from his side. According to Nachmanides, the resultant pair of a single male and a single female differentiates men from males in the animal world, who mate with multiple partners. And this pair, in turn, creates a family, the basic building block of society. By reading Genesis not as competing accounts but as stories within stories, we can unearth a far richer understanding of God, of Creation, and of the meaning of being human.

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Literature to share Bitter and Sweet by Sandra Feder. Echoing the theme of Naomi Shemer’s timeless song is this lovely story about a young girl, Hannah, who is unhappy about moving to a new city. To comfort her, Hannah’s grandmother shares a bit of Jewish wisdom, that life is filled with both the bitter and the sweet. At first, Hannah can only see the bitter, but she soon discovers that not only can you find sweetness where least expected, but you can actually make it yourself. Delightfully illustrated with inviting scenes and expressive faces, this book is an excellent preschool-to-primary selection to read and discuss. See also the 70th anniversary recording of 12,000 Israelis singing Naomi Shemer’s song about the bitter and the sweet, Al Kol Ayleh, at Good Heart by Alan Newman. This unusual, fast-paced novel follows the interwoven multi-generational life stories of an evangelical Christian family and a Jewish family living in a small Indiana town. Their paths intersect not only in the Holocaust and Zionism, but also in friendships and celebrations, the experiences of small-town American life, and their values that lead them all to Israel. A highly-rated page-turner, Good Heart is an uplifting saga about ordinary Christians and Jews working together to repair the world.

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How to make cheesecake in your Instant Pot

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Recipes and Photos By Sheri Silver, The Nosher A quick search for Instant Pot recipes yields hundreds of ideas for savory dishes — everything from chilis, pasta, soups, casseroles, and more. But did you know that you can also use your Instant Pot to make dessert? And that your Instant Pot just happens to make the very best cheesecake? While cheesecake is not time-consuming or difficult to prepare, there are a few tips to ensure a smooth, creamy filling with no cracking. You want to make sure all your ingredients are completely at room temperature — especially the cream cheese. If it’s even a bit chilled, it will not incorporate evenly into your other ingredients, leaving you with bits of the cream cheese throughout the filling. You also want to thoroughly scrape down the sides of the mixer after each ingredient addition. You’ll get any thicker parts of the batter that typically collect around the sides of the bowl down into the center so that they get mixed in completely with the rest of the batter. Finally, you want to bake the cheesecake in a “bain-marie” — or water bath. By placing the springform pan into a larger pan filled partly with water, you insulate the filling and at the same time create steam as the water heats up. Both of these factors are key to achieving a smooth cheesecake with no cracks. Filling your

Instant Pot with a bit of water and placing the cheesecake on a trivet inside creates an ideal cooking environment and results in perfect cheesecake in about 30 minutes. I paired this creamy cheesecake with an easy fudge sauce, making this an ideal dessert for Shavuot — or any time you crave some indulgence. For the fudge sauce: 1/3 cup chocolate chips 2 Tbsp. butter 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided 1/4 cup water 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup 11/2 tsp. vanilla, divided For the cheesecake: 1 cup graham cracker (or other cookie) crumbs 4 Tbsp. butter (2) 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature 11/4 cups sugar 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1/4 cup sour cream 1/4 cup flour 1. To make the fudge sauce: Combine chocolate chips, two tablespoons butter, 3/4 cup sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to

a boil, stirring continuously. Simmer for five minutes, remove from heat and stir in a half teaspoon vanilla. Let cool completely and store covered, in the fridge (bring to room temperature before using). 2. Place one and a half cups water into the stainless steel insert; put the trivet in. 3. Melt the remaining four tablespoons butter in a medium bowl and add one tablespoon sugar and the graham cracker crumbs — stir to combine. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 7-inch springform pan; place in the freezer. 4. Beat the cream cheese and remaining half cup sugar for two minutes; scrape down the sides. Add the eggs, sour cream, and remaining one teaspoon vanilla and beat until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides. Add the flour and beat once more. 5. Scrape the batter over your prepared crust and place on the trivet. Place the lid on top, close, and seal. Set to cook on “high” pressure and set the timer for 30 minutes. 6. When the time is up, carefully remove the lid according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Blot any moisture that is on the cheesecake and let cool for five minutes. Carefully remove from the Instant Pot and let cool completely. Chill in the fridge overnight. 7. To serve, either pour the fudge sauce over and cut into slices or pass the sauce separately. Serves eight to 10.


For lactose intolerant Jews, Shavuot’s dairy diet is a true test of intestinal fortitude By Sarah Gold, JTA Many modern-day Jews aren’t all that familiar with Shavuot, which celebrates the day when the Israelites first received the Torah from God and falls seven weeks after Passover marked their Exodus from Egypt. Jews with some familiarity of Shavuot probably know the holiday as a day for eating cheesecake — along with other creamy, dairy-rich dishes, like cheese blintzes and kugel for Ashkenazim. There are varying theories about the significance of dairy in Shavuot celebrations. Some invoke the idea that since the Torah laid out the dietary prohibitions on non-kosher meat for the first time, the Israelites celebrated with the only foods that conformed to the new laws of kashrut. Others involve mystical numerology, in particular, the kabalistic interpretation of the Hebrew letters spelling milk, or scriptural passages in which God promises the Israelites a “land of milk and honey.” Still other theories offer a more practical explanation: The holiday falls during the spring, when calves are weaned and cows produce a surfeit of milk. Whatever the reason, dairy dishes have become part of Shavuot celebrations across nearly all parts of the Jewish Diaspora. According to New York-based culinary authors and Jewish food historians Jayne Cohen and Jennifer Abadi, while cheesecake, blintzes, and kugel are traditional Ashkenazi preparations, Sephardim and Mizrahim mark the holiday with similarly creamy dishes. These include bourekas (flaky, originally Turkish pastries filled with sweet and savory cheeses), Syrian calsones (ravioli-like, cheese-filled pasta dumplings), buttery North African couscous and Levantine mujaderrah: a sort of pilaf made with rice, lentils or fava beans, generously slathered with labneh. Soutlach is a Turkish rice pudding and boyikos de keso are cheese biscuits. What’s ironic about the apparently univer-

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Mazel Tov to The Dayton Jewish Observer on 25 years. Many traditional Shavuot foods, like cheesecake, are hard for lactose-intolerant Jews to digest

sal love among Jews for dairy-rich dishes is, of course, that we Jews are largely predisposed to lactose intolerance. Several studies suggest that 60 to 80 percent of Ashkenazim are lactose-deficient (lacking the enzyme that allows for easy digestion of the lactase sugar in milk products). Though less studied, the condition is also considered prevalent among Sephardic and Mediterranean Jews. Explanations for this genetic tendency abound, but many seem to indicate that pastoral peoples, who stayed rooted in place long enough to cultivate and graze livestock, more easily developed dairy tolerance, while more nomadic subcultures — whose members may have relied more on sheep and goats than cows, and who may have preferred fermented dairy products for portability purposes — did not. According to Jeffrey Yoskowitz, a Brooklynbased author specializing in Jewish foodways, that particular clue — about how our ancestors likely enjoyed dairy foods that were fermented or cultured — may actually hold the key to how Jews developed our paradoxical affinity for and Continued on next page

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Dairy Continued from previous page intolerance of the dairy-rich dishes enjoyed on Shavuot. “The issue isn’t that we’re somehow destined to have bad digestion,” Yoskowitz says, or that we’re doomed to have a tortured relationship with the dairy dishes we love. “It’s how bastardized Jewish food — especially Ashkenazi food — is today in this country,” he says. Centuries ago, Yoskowitz says, Jews had a lot of gustatory wisdom about how to produce and pair foods for optimal digestion: making cultured dairy products like sour cream and fermented foods like pickles and horseradish at home. But mass-produced versions of these items, especially pasteurized dairy products, are a far cry from those our ancestors likely consumed. Little wonder we’ve inherited the love but not the same

tolerance for dairy. As a way to savor the original traditions of Shavuot, Yoskowitz recommends that modern-day Jews try making some of these preparations from scratch. “Making your own farmer’s cheese, or cream cheese, or even your own butter, and using them to make hamantashen or pierogi is a great way to see how different these dishes can taste from what we’re used to,” he says. Such treats may also go down a bit easier than their more convenient counterparts. Studies have shown that fermented or cultured products, like kefir, sour cream, and labneh, tend to have less lactose and more lactase than the noncultured varieties. Of course, for those who aren’t keen to get creative in the kitchen, there’s also always the fallback option plenty of us already use: popping a dietary aid along with our cheesecake.


Dayton Jewish Observer


A magnum opus on the Hebrew language By Alon Tal Times of Israel For those of us who have been fluent for some time, it is easy to become complacent about how remarkable Hebrew is. For those who do not know the language, it is difficult to fully grasp Hebrew’s intriguing linguistic and profound spiritual dimensions. Jeremy Benstein has written a book that highlights Israel’s extraordinary semantic heritage for both cohorts. Now it would normally be a fair assumption that an entire book about Hebrew linguistics would be a dull and dreary experience. In fact, Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes — a Tribal Language in a Global World is anything but. It is fun to read; it is profound. It is edifying. Benstein has written something of a magnum opus. Benstein is one of Israel’s most beloved and widely admired environmental intellectuals and educators, who helped establish the Heschel Center for Sustainability. His first book, The Way into Judaism and the Environment, is arguably the most thoughtful, insightful, and accessible tome in the growing literature about the topic. There, Benstein man-

aged to elegantly bring together the science of sustainability and the wisdom of Judaism for the benefit of both experts and novices in the field. In his most recent, he again brings his formidable scholarship, wit, and personal passion for languages to a book which can already be recognized as an unparalleled introduction to the Hebrew language. It’s an absolutely fascinating 193-page ride. Benstein studied linguistics at Harvard before taking a masters’ degree in Judaic studies and a doctorate in anthropology. Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes not only reflects the interdisciplinary richness of his formal academic training, it also sparkles with his intelligence and uncanny ability to synthesize. In a world which rewards academics for narrow, esoteric expertise — where scholars increasingly know “more and more about less and less” — this rare display of erudition is positively refreshing. Indeed, there is probably no one else on the planet who could have written a book that entertains while so effectively conveying the sensational components of the Hebrew tongue. Benstein’s motivation in

writing the book is stated up front: he is troubled by the steady loss of Hebrew literacy, even among committed and knowledgeable Jews, and believes that a heavy price is paid. Benstein argues quite convincingly that without a connection to Hebrew, one can be Jewish, but that it’s much harder to “do” Judaism. Paraphrasing Coleridge, he explains that studying translated, traditional Jewish sources is analogous to “kissing one’s lover through a veil.” He explains: “living your cultural or spiritual life as a tourist, a foreigner, always in perpetual translation makes it difficult to get beyond superficiality.” The book then moves

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on to uncover several of “the deeper reservoirs of come from the Hebrew word amana or covenant. ers learn how the three letters that make up the word meaning” in the language, from the Bible to modern It seems a group of German Lutherans established parash (distinguish) in modern Hebrew morphed into Hebrew slang. communal settlements in the United States under the a parsha (scandal) or became the Prushim (Pharisees) Hebrew has evolved dramatically during the past Hebrew term Amana, and then created a brand of of days gone by. These one-to-two page parenthetical 120 years. For much of one chapter, Benstein explores sections work well, allowing Benstein to move beyond appliance under the same name which was eventually the differences between what might be considered essold to Whirlpool. Or it seems that the 5-year-old son generalizations and cleverly show how the language sentially two different languages. One he calls Histori- operates. of Eliezer Ben Yehudah, the father of modcal Religious Hebrew and the other Contemporary ern Hebrew, invented the word sivivon as One interesting chapter explains the Vernacular Israeli. He points out that of the 34,000 the Hebrew word for dreidel. Such colorful secret of how Hebrew survived for so entries in the definitive “Even-Shoshan modern Hestories go on and on. long in exile. Here, the anthropologist brew dictionary, only 21 percent (7,238 words) are of Hebrew Roots and Jewish Routes is not enin Benstein slips out. He explains that biblical origin. Moreover, many of the ancient words tirely perfect. The index is less detailed than Jewish communities over the ages were have developed to have entirely different meanings. it should be. A few of the double entendres diglossia in nature. Not to be confused Hence a modern Hebrew speaker sees meshulash and might have been left on the cutting floor (alwith bilingual, diglogssia refers to thinks triangle. For those only familiar with the Bible, though some are simply hilarious.) And nitnational groups that regularly use more it means a 3-year old calf. The word tarbut, culture, picking linguistic scholars might find a flaw than one language: one is considered holds a highly positive connotation today. Yet, origihere and there. But this lay reader found the to be the high or formal language for nally it was a pejorative term representing cultures of writing to be extremely well documented, writing or religion; the other is vernacusinfulness. radiating academic authority. lar for speaking. It turns out that for Hebrew Roots, Jewish Ultimately Benstein joins the scholars and linguists While the book is quite enriching for Hemany centuries after the Roman exile, Routes author Jeremy that reckon that biblical protagonists would probbrew mavens, its larger contribution is for many Jewish communities around the Benstein ably be able to understand the Hebrew spoken on the those who are not yet Hebrew literate. world were triglossia: Hebrew was the streets of Jerusalem today. But he does not minimize Benstein pragmatically argues that their initial goal high language of their faith, Yiddish (or Ladino) the the gaps in present Israeli understanding of classical vernacular of their community, and then there was the should be engagement and connection, not fluency. biblical Hebrew. This is epitomized by a few lines of “Engaging with Hebrew isn’t a consolation prize, a lingua franca, the spoken language in the general nonthe classic 13th-century Chanukah song, Maoz Tsur poor substitute or proficiency unattained. It focuses on Jewish world of which they were part. The phenom(Rock of Ages), which for most Israelis today are simunderstanding the inner works, the roots and patterns enon is as old as Joseph in the book of Genesis and ply indecipherable. presented ...And their significance for Jewish life.” Benstein describes its many implications. Much of the book is based around presentation Hebrew Roots and Jewish Routes is ultimately a gift A final chapter called Creeds and Deeds focuses of shoreshim, the three-letter roots that provide the to motivate those who seek this sort of engagement: a on words that have particular importance in Jewish core for so many Hebrew words. These roots can be primer and a road map to understanding the language religious tradition. From mitzvah (commandment) to manipulated to become verbs, nouns, that so informs Jewish heritage, as well as the presentShabbat (Sabbath) to the ever popular adjectives or adverbs by merely addday discourse in the state of Israel. tikun (repair), Hebrew words are esThe JCC Cultural Arts & ing a few letters or shifting the way Indeed, Benstein makes a strong case that Hebrew sential to basic Jewish literacy, critical Book Series presents Jeremy the vowels are placed. Hence the may actually hold the key to ensuring a unified, eduto fully understanding the nuances of Benstein via Zoom, 7 p.m., book’s title, Hebrew Roots is a pun, one cated, creative, Jewish future. core Jewish concepts and theology. Tuesday, May 4. Free. Register of many. Benstein focuses on myriad The book is just packed with astonat three-letter examples in what he calls Alon Tal is a professor at the Tel Aviv University ishing fun facts about the language. cultural-arts-and-book-series. “wordshops.” Here for instance, readDepartment of Public Policy. Who knew that Amana refrigerators

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Rochelle “Shelly” Charles, of Kettering. On March 28, Mrs. Charles, loving wife and mother of two boys, passed away peacefully in her home at the age of 96, with her loving children by her side. Mrs. Charles was born on April 14, 1924 in Dayton to Philip and Thelma Sokol. She received a political science degree from Smith College in 1946, where she began a life continuously expanding her knowledge and interests in the arts, history, literature, and theatre. On June 10, 1945, she married Leland Charles, a native of New York City. Eventually settling in Dayton, they raised two beloved sons, Kenneth and Donald. To know Mrs. Charles was to know she was passionate about many things; however, lifelong learning, volunteering, philanthropy, and family topped her list. In addition to being a voracious reader, she satisfied her thirst for knowledge by taking art history classes at Wright State University and by attending hundreds of plays and performances by the Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Art Institute, the Loft Theatre, and the Dayton Ballet. She also enjoyed her lifelong membership in the Woman’s Literary Club of Dayton. Selflessly volunteering her time to several meaningful organizations brought Mrs. Charles immense pleasure and joy. She cherished being a docent at the Dayton Art Institute and enjoyed her time volunteering at the Book Loft, a benefactor of Planned Parenthood. She also made the time to write children’s plays for the Dayton Philharmonic, to work with

Congratulations to The Dayton Jewish Observer on your 25th year.

children’s remedial reading programs, and to sponsor other local organizations needing assistance. She was a lifetime member of Beth Abraham, of which her father was a founding member, and Temple Israel of Dayton. For Mrs. Charles, time spent with family was paramount. She was a dedicated, loving daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother, who loved openly and with her whole heart. With her innate giving nature, she taught us the importance of taking care of family with unconditional love. She was incredibly kind, spirited, and intelligent, with a wonderful sense of humor that put one at ease in her presence. She smiled easily and taught family members they were never too old to learn something new, the thrill and excitement that traveling the world could bring, and even (to a few) how to whistle. To many she loved, Mrs. Charles clipped and mailed newspaper articles related to topics impacting their lives. Opening a letter to find another clipping made family members smile, happy in the knowledge that regardless of the path they chose, she always was interested in them, wanted the best for them, and simply loved them. She instilled a love of the arts in her children and grandchildren, and if they wanted to discuss the theatre, the ballet, museums, art or literature, Mrs. Charles was the one to call — but never during Jeopardy! Mrs. Charles was preceded in death by the love of her life, Leland, her husband of 52 years, as well as her beloved parents, Philip and Thelma

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Rabbi Michael J. Cook, Ph.D., age 79 of Cincinnati, passed away on March 30. He was the beloved husband of Rabbi Judy Chessin; devoted father of David (Helen) Cook, Ben (Iris Rosenstein) Cook, Maia Cook (Ted Crosson), Brett (Liora) Chessin and Chad Chessin; dear brother of Joel (Chris) Cook; loving grandfather of Sage, Isaac, Clara, and Jesse Cook, and Parker Chessin. Rabbi Cook was the Sol and Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Cincinnati) and the only rabbi in North America with a full professorial chair in New Testament. He authored Modern Jews Engage the New Testament, a book intended to help Jews navigate a predominantly Christian culture and contribute to enhanced Judeo-Christian understanding. His legacy will endure through the countless rabbinical and lay students he taught in his 45 years of instruction. Memorial contributions may be made to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Cincinnati) or Temple Beth Or (Dayton).

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Sokol, and her brother and his wife, Boris and Kay Sokol. She is survived by her sons, Donald and Kenneth (Sheila) Charles, her grandchildren Philip (Erika) Charles, Marc (Jana) Charles and Heather (Dan) Basta, and her great-grandsons Edward Charles and Bennett Basta, as well as her nephews and nieces Larry (Martha) Sokol, Nora (Bob) Newsock, and Amy (Adam) Oakley. Interment was at Beth Abraham Cemetery. Donations may be made in her memory to Dayton Children’s Hospital, One Children’s Plaza, Dayton, OH 45404-1815,

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OBITUARIES Ellen A. Elovitz, 68, died March 30 in Columbus. Mrs. Elovitz is survived by her children, son Lawrence Elovitz, daughter Abbie (Jerry) Ames, and grandson Max Israel Ames, all of Columbus; sisters Marilyn (Alan) Moscowitz of Dayton and Phyllis Michelson of Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; loving nieces, nephews, and dear friends. Her parents and son, Mark Elovitz, preceded her in death. Mrs. Elovitz was born in Pittsburgh on Aug. 5, 1952 to Joan (Youngheart) and Howard Azen. She moved to Dayton in 1979 when her former husband, Alan Elovitz, became president of Dayton Mattress, the Youngheart family business. Mrs. Elovitz quickly became known as the ultimate hostess. She had a unique talent for cooking, baking, entertaining, and hosting holiday meals and gatherings. Mrs. Elovitz left her job as a dental assistant to focus on raising her three children. An approachable and enormously caring mother with a never-ending sense of humor, the Elovitz home became the gathering place for her children’s friends. Her creativity and crafting skills were known to friends and acquaintances who turned to Mrs. Elovitz for advice on decorating and event planning. She generously created elaborate welcome baskets for special occasions like weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Mrs. Elovitz took great pleasure in making people’s events special. Mrs. Elovitz adored her baby grandson, Max, and showered him with clothes and gifts. Max’s parents, aunts, and uncles will make sure he knows how much his Mimi loved him. Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society,

the V Foundation for Cancer Research, or the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton. Beatrice Harris, 94, of Augusta, Ga. and formerly of Dayton, died peacefully on March 27. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Mrs. Harris was preceded in death by her parents, Anna and Solomon Eisner of Brooklyn; her husband, Aaron M. (Rick) Harris of Dayton; her son, Stephen Harris of Dayton; and her sister, Marilyn Pell of Los Angeles. Mrs. Harris was born in Brooklyn to immigrant parents. She excelled in school and completed high school at age 16. Although she would have liked to further her education, she had to go to work to support her mother when her father passed away at an early age. Mrs. Harris took a job in New York City in the furrier business and soon was promoted to a managerial position. She enjoyed working but soon met a tall, handsome young man who had just returned from World War II. They were married in 1950 and continued living in Brooklyn. They started a family and in 1956 had an opportunity to move to the Midwest. Mr. Harris’ job was to last four years, but they fell in love with Dayton and made it their permanent home. In 1962, Mr. Harris founded Rixan Associates and Mrs. Harris became the chief financial officer. Mrs. Harris never met a stranger. She took a genuine interest in others. She not only loved her family, but she also loved her many, many friends who became her Dayton family. She enjoyed golf, tennis, bridge, mah jongg, movies, live theatre, and she was an excellent cook. She was extremely

generous. It was not uncommon for her to perform random acts of kindness. She was a member of Temple Israel and Meadowbrook County Club. Mrs. Harris is survived by her daughter, Joan H. Steinberg (Stephen) of Augusta, Ga.; her daughter-in-law, Deborah Harris of Dayton; her grandson, Andrew D. Steinberg (Ann) of San Francisco; her granddaughter, Amanda Harris Cole (David) of Moreland Hills, Ohio; her grandson, Alexander A. Harris (Alexandra) of Lakewood, Ohio; and her great-grandchildren, Charlie Cole, Emmitt Lee Steinberg, and Senna Cole. Donations may be made to Temple Israel, 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton, OH 45405, or a charity of your choice. Robbin M. Rittner-Heir, age 67 of Dayton, passed away April 16. Mrs. Rittner-Heir was preceded in death by her parents, Conrad and Jeanne Rittner, and brother, Alan Rittner. She is survived by

her husband, Stewart Heir, daughter Kelly Heir, and brother, David Rittner. Mrs. Rittner-Heir spent most of her life in Dayton and attended Beth Jacob Congregation. She graduated from Ohio University in Athens, which is where she met her husband, Stewart, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. Interment was at Beth Jacob Cemetery. Donations in Mrs. Rittner-Heir’s memory may be made to The Foodbank Inc., 56 Armor Place, Dayton, OH 45417, online at, or to The Tenth Life Cat Rescue, P.O. Box 178 Alpha, OH 45301, online at

her sister, Harriet (Michael) Massimini of Cincinnati; along with nephews, nieces, and many cousins. Born on Jan. 2, 1951 to Lena (Dworkin) and Max Gaffin in Dayton, Mrs. Ryan grew up in the Dayton area and attended Trotwood Madison High School. She went on to attend The Ohio State University, where she earned a B.S. in home economics. Mrs. Ryan taught for over 30 years with the Franklin County Board of DD as an early childhood educator at the Johnstown Road ECE. She found great joy being involved in her children’s and grandchildren’s activities. An avid OSU Buckeyes fan, Mr. and Mrs. Ryan spent the last several Rhoda (Gaffin) Ryan of years attending OSU home Gahanna, Ohio passed away on football games and traveling April 8 from complications due to bowl games. Interment was to cancer. She is survived by her at Beth Abraham Cemetery. husband of 46 years, Terry Ryan; The family asks that donations children, Melanie Ryan (Tony be made in her memory to the Sherer) and Sara (Robert) Ryan American Cancer Society. Lawrence; and grandchildren, Jackson and Marc Lawrence. Mrs. Ryan is also survived by Our

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October 2020 Tishri/Cheshvan 5781 Vol. 25, No. 2


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A new era of peace

Signing of the Abraham Accords, Sept. 15 at the White House

Remembering Hyla

2 of Greater On behalf of the Jewish Federation Dayton and its Agencies, congratulations on the 25th Anniversary of The Dayton Jewish Observer. Thank you, Marshall, for creating such an amazing, award-winning publication. We look forward to many more years of your Hyla N. Weiskind, June 1, outstanding journalism! 1948-Aug. 21, 2020 Kosovo’s deal with Israel


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