Shabbat babies illuminate value of pikuach nefesh p. 21 November 2014 Cheshvan/Kislev 5775 Vol. 19, No. 3
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Consul General to visit
In the world, out of the world,
in mystical Jerusalem
Israeli Mid-Atlantic Region Consul General Yaron Sideman
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Economic development at top of consul’s agenda for Dayton trip
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Join our Diabetic Support Group Tuesday, Nov. 11, 10:30 a.m. & 6 p.m. (2nd Tuesday each mo.) with Gem City Home Care Certified Diabetes Educator Mara Lamb. Friendship Village For more information call Pam Hall, 837-5581 ext. 1269. 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Located directly inside the Atrium entrance. Stop in & join us for a cup of coffee & Friendship Village Hospitality.
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both states to collaborate on technology development, while receiving funding from both Ohio and Israel. The consulate is working with several other agencies in Ohio and in Israel including the Ohio Development Services Agency Office of Technology Investments, the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist, MATIMOP (Israeli Industry Center for R&D), and the Government of Israel Economic Mission to the Midwest to implement a mechanism that will finance the R&D and arrange meaningful business collaborations (for) Israeli and Ohio companies to commercialize innovative new products. The consulate’s specific role in this collaboration is to help identify or match-make between Ohio and Israeli companies and to bring those companies to the table together.
What tangible ways can the consulate office facilitate high-tech partnerships among Dayton and Israeli firms? A significant part of what the economic affairs department at the consulate does is to help identify opportunities for partnerships between U.S. and Israeli companies, facilitate business connections and provide information on how bilateral trade, business and investment in Israel works. The How involved is the consulate consulate sometimes makes with anti-Israel incidents on high-level introductions when college campuses? Have you we are asked to facilitate by been involved with the recent members of the U.S. and Israeli incidents at Ohio University business community and when and Kent State? Israeli Mid-Atlantic we see a potential synergy We monitor the events that Reg. Consul Gen. are going on (at) college cambetween organizations that Yaron Sideman could work well together. You puses closely. Unfortunately may think of our offices here (based in many of these incidents come from stuPhiladelphia) as both libraries and as dents that are not familiar with the facts matchmakers. and don’t understand the complexity We are engaged in a wide area of of the situation, so we strive to educate activities that open business and invest- students about the issues. Deputy Conment doors to Israel: One option that sul General Elad Strohmayer just visited we will facilitate in partnership with the two campuses at the beginning of OctoDayton Regional Israeli Trade Alliance ber: he met with Hillel students at Kent will be to bring Israeli companies to the State and spoke for the LGBT group at region for ‘road shows.’ Oberlin. We work closely with Jewish Another option the consulate could organizations and pro-Israel organizawork with the Israeli Trade Alliance tions on campus like Hillel, The David (might be) to co-organize business delProject, Israel on Campus Coalition and egations of companies in greater Dayton of course the Jewish Federations to prothat are looking to do business in Israel. mote pro-Israeli activities and speakers We then tailor programs to the specific on campus, and the academic departrequirements of the companies particiment at the consulate has a monthly pating. talk with the Israeli Fellows on Campus (the Jewish Agency shlichim) to get an What’s your role in the new Ohio-Israel update about the events and share ideas trade agreement? and advice to deal with the challenges. We are truly excited to be involved The Jewish Community Relations with the implementation of the new Council presents Israeli Mid-Atlantic Ohio-Israel trade agreement or memoRegion Consul General Yaron Sideman randum of understanding (MOU). The on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m. at Beth agreement is designed to promote joint Abraham Synagogue, 305 Sugar Camp industrial R&D between Ohio and Cir., Oakwood. For more information Israel. Its mechanism is truly one ‘with contact Cheryl Carne, 610-1555. teeth’ as it will allow companies in
IN THIS ISSUE
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By Marshall Weiss, The Observer Yaron Sideman, Israel’s consul general to the Mid-Atlantic Region (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware, West Virginia, Kentucky, and southern New Jersey), will visit Dayton Nov. 18 and 19. In addition to a public speech he’ll deliver, Sideman will meet with regional leaders of high-tech economic development projects connected to Israel. Here are excerpts of The Observer’s interview with Sideman.
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
No one does fall better.
Jew in the Lotus author at Wright State
The 36th Ryterband Symposium presents Rodger Kamenetz Monday, Nov. 17 at Wright State Univ., E156 Student Union. 3:30 p.m.: The Soul of a Jewish Poet. 7:30 p.m.: The Jew in the Lotus Retrospective. Free and open to the community. For more information, contact Dr. Mark Verman, 775-2461.
well as To Die Next to You (2013). native Tibet in 1959; they’ve All this from a scholar who lived in India ever since. left high school before graduaOriginally, he was invited to sit in on the discussions almost tion to enter Yale at 16: not only did he earn a degree from that as an afterthought, when the Ivy League school, but Stanford organizer of the trip, a friend, had another writer cancel at the and Johns Hopkins as well. Kamenetz said he was deslast moment. perate to get out of high school, “I was a nobody,” Kamealthough he didn’t exactly say netz said. “I had no part in the why. He began to dialog. I was just write poetry when an observer. I think he was 14 to 15, some of the people in but said, “everyone the dialog who were writes poetry when ‘somebody’ were they’re young.” surprised when the He keeps up the book came out. They self deprecation, didn’t realize how saying he was going powerful it would be. to major in English “I was just writand math, but math ing what happened. classes were in the The book isn’t a morning, and he transcript. It’s a Rodger Kamenetz wanted to sleep later. re-creation of what His first book, The Missing happened.” Jew, a compilation of his poetry, Kamenetz not only had his was influenced by a grandfather notes and recordings, he was who had died, and a Talmud able to look at video of the translation given to him by a conference, which lasted about friend. He said poet Charles 10 days. Reznikoff influenced his work. A poet, writer, teacher and Now a retired professor with practitioner of archetypal Louisiana State, Kamenetz is dreamwork, Kamenetz is nowriting more books, poetry, table for several facets of his and some songs. He works in professional life, but The Jew groups or privately with people in the Lotus remains his most to help them understand their popular work. dreams, and searches for things His sequel, Stalking Elijah, Jewish. won a National Jewish Book “I guess I could have spent Award for Jewish thought. He the rest of my life talking about has also written The Lowercase The Jew in the Lotus,” Kamenetz Jew (2003), The History of Last said. “But I didn’t want to do Night’s Dream (2007), Burnt that. I’m a Jewish scout. I’m alBooks (2010) — a dual biograways on the borders looking for phy of Franz Kafka and Rabbi new things. We’re all Orthodox Nachman of Breslov, in which Jews; some of us (just) do more each asks a best friend to burn mitzvahs.” his books when they die — as
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One of my favorite quotes comes from Eleanor Roosevelt, who once remarked, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” Mrs. Marshall Roosevelt’s wisdom rings true, Weiss though it can be difficult to discuss one without filtering out the other two. When it comes to programs that focus on ideas, events, and people, November is one of the busiest months on the Jewish calendar. The fall holidays are over, and talks and classes across the Jewish community blossom. The weeks leading up to Chanukah mark Jewish Book Month across America, and Dayton’s contribution, the JCC Cultural Arts & Book Fest, is in full swing. As you’ll see in this issue of The Observer, the opportunities to take in programs with local Jewish organizations and to hear national-level speakers are plentiful. Take a look and take advantage.
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By Marc Katz Special To The Observer Twenty years since its publication, Rodger Kamenetz’s The Jew in the Lotus has had more than 35 printings, was the subject of a movie, and is a staple on college religion department book lists. Yet after it was written, the book sat for almost a year as its West Coast publisher wondered if it would be accepted or rejected by Jews, Buddhists or anyone else. “It’s become an honored text, even if not everyone has read its messages,” Kamenetz said. “Some people have read about it and know about it,” he said in a phone interview from his New Orleans home. “To some, it’s news. It’s (about) the ways in which two traditions can learn from each other.” Kamenetz will talk about The Jew in the Lotus in one of two lectures he’ll give at Wright State as part of the Ryterband Symposium on Nov. 17. The Dalai Lama invited a wide range of rabbis to Dharamsala, India in October 1990 to discuss Jewish survival in the Diaspora. The Chinese exiled the Dalai Lama and his Buddhist followers from their
UD, Wright State observe Kristallnacht The University of Dayton and Wright State University will host commemorations for Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass, which marked the beginning of the Holocaust, in November 1938. Both events are free and open to the public. Wright State will present its commemoration on Monday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Room E163 of the Student Union. Dr. Ashley Fernandes, associate di-
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rector of bioethics and medical humanities with The Ohio State University College of Medicine, will present the lecture Medicine, the Holocaust, and Religious Ethics. Wright State’s program is cosponsored by the Zusman Chair of Judaic Studies, The Frydman Education Resource Center, and the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center. For more information, call Zusman Prof. Dr. Mark Verman at 775-2461.
University of Dayton’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work will host its observance ceremony on Monday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. in the Chaminade Chapel on the lower level of Chaminade Hall. The ceremony will include a family’s testimony and a musical remembrance by UD’s World Music Choir. For more information about the UD observance, call Laura Leming at 229-4093.
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Temple Beth Or will host a women’s trip to Israel Oct. 1021, 2015, with an optional twoday extension to Petra, Jordan. The trip is open to women from the entire community. For details and to attend an informational meeting about the trip on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 12:30 p.m., call the temple at 435-3400.
Happiness topic of Chabad adult ed
Chabad of Greater Dayton’s Jewish Learning Institute will present the six-week course How Happiness Thinks on Mondays from 7:30-9:30 p.m. beginning Nov. 3. Topics the course will cover include how to remain happy through times of stress and why spirituality makes us happy. Classes are at Chabad, 2001 Far Hills Ave. in Oakwood. The cost is $69, with CE credit available. Scholarships are also available. To register, call Chabad at 643-0770.
Orchestra of Exiles screening in Middletown
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Temple Beth Or to lead women’s trip to Israel
Temple Beth Sholom in Middletown will show the documentary Orchestra of Exiles on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. The film illustrates how violinist Bronislaw Huberman saved European Jewish musicians during World War II and brought them to Palestine where they would form what would become the Israel Philharmonic. Temple Beth Sholom is located at 610 Gladys Dr. in Middletown. For more information, call the temple at 513-422-8313.
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Contributors Dr. Rachel Zohar Dulin Rachel Haug Gilbert Marc Katz Candace R. Kwiatek Mark Mietkiewicz Masada Siegel Rochel Simon Advertising Sales Executive Patty Caruso, email@example.com Proofreaders Karen Bressler, Rachel Haug Gilbert, Joan Knoll, Pamela Schwartz Billing Jeri Kay Eldeen, JEldeen@jfgd.net 937-853-0372 Observer Advisor Martin Gottlieb Published by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton Judy Abromowitz President David Pierce President Elect Melinda Doner Vice Pres. Mary Rita Weissman Vice Pres. Bruce Feldman Vice Pres. Cathy Gardner CEO The Dayton Jewish Observer, Vol. 19, No. 3. 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 guest columnists, in readers’ letters and in reprinted opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dayton Jewish Observer, The Dayton Jewish Observer Policy Committee, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton or the underwriters of any columns. 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.
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
Chanukah Greetings Native Daytonian Joshua Bernstein, author of The Complete Beer Course, talks about his writing career during the Beer and Brats event to kickoff the JCC’s Cultural Arts and Book Fest on Oct. 20 at Warped Wing Brewing Company. CABF events continue through Nov. 19.
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Hillel Academy 5th and 6th grade teacher Rebecca Nienaber prepares students (L to R): Eliana Bloom, Lily Fullenhull, and Samantha Jacobs for A World of Hope: An Evening of Jewish Lessons, on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. During the program, students from kindergarten through 6th grade will present stories about Jewish values, with music and vignettes.
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The Simcha Family Temple Israel members Ric and Cathy Lieberman (L) were among five couples to host celebrations in their sukkahs as part of Temple Israel’s Sukkahs In The City program during the harvest festival of Sukkot. Shown here with the Liebermans (L to R): Heather Gorby, Rob Brenner, and Julie Nichols. Friendship Village Retirement Community also hosted a celebration in its sukkah as part of the program.
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Brianna, Alexis & Caitlyn Becker are all smiles piled into a hay wagon during the JCC Family Fun Hayride Program at Windmill Farm Market on Oct. 12.
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Open Hillel holds first conference By Batya Ungar-Sargon, JTA CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Harvard senior Rachel SandalowAsh scanned the exuberant crowd that packed a campus auditorium on Saturday night, Oct. 11. “Wow,” she said, speaking to an audience of some 350 composed primarily of American college students. “This is amazing. This is really cool.” Sandalow-Ash, 21, went on to discuss the importance of nurturing a pluralistic and intellectually diverse Jewish community. “We believe that no one should be excluded because of their views on Israel-Palestine, or really for any reason at all. And we believe that real discussions of Israel-Palestine have to include Palestinian voices as well,” she said to raucous applause. The crowd had gathered at
36th Annual Ryterband Symposium Author of “The Jew in the Lotus,” an account of Rabbis traveling to India to meet the Dalai Lama.
Rodger Kamenetz Monday, November 17, 2014 Wright State University E156 Student Union, Endeavor Room
Award-winning poet, author, and Professor Emeritus of English and Religious Studies at Louisiana State University
3:30 pm “The Soul of a Jewish Poet: Why Poetry Still Matters” 7:30 pm “The Jew in the Lotus: Spiritual Encounters with the Dalai Lama, a Retrospective” The Ryterband Symposium is a collaboration involving The University of Dayton, United Theological Seminary, and Wright State University.
All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information contact Mark Verman Zusman Professor of Judaic Studies, 937-775-2461 PAGE 6
Harvard for If Not Now When, the inaugural conference of Open Hillel — a 2-year-old student group that seeks to abolish Hillel International Standards of Partnership rules that prevent campus Hillels from collaborating with people or groups that “delegitimize” the Jewish state, or support efforts of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeted at Israel. Since Hillel adopted the Standards for Partnership guidelines, the Henry Rosen, a student organizer for the Open Hillel conference at Harvard, handing Hillels at Swarthmore out material at a plenary session, Oct. 12 College, Vassar College Israel Fellows program, bringand Wesleyan Univering to U.S. college campuses sity have declared themselves individuals who have served “Open Hillels” and said they in the Israeli military and, in would not conform to them. The two-day Open Hillel con- 2010, installing the Standards ference included lectures, panels of Partnership. The guidelines preclude campus Hillels from and workshops on topics such partnering with or hosting as Israel/Palestine Politics of groups or speakers deemed College Campuses, Race in the hostile to Israel. American Jewish Community, The organization, whose Intermarriage: Good, Bad, or network serves some 550 college Neutral for the Jewish People? campuses around the world, and Philanthropy and Power: “views Israel as a core element How Big Donors Shape the of Jewish life and a gateway to Agenda in the Jewish World. Speakers at the event includ- Jewish identification for students,” according to its website. ed Rashid Khalidi, a controAnd while it won’t partner versial Columbia professor of with organizations that fall Arab studies who was recently beyond the ideological boundbarred from speaking at Ramaz aries set forth, such as pro-BDS High School; gender theorist groups like Students for Justice Judith Butler, a professor at the University of California, Berke- in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, its leaders have said that ley, who has made provocative all students are welcome at its statements about Israel and its campus centers and events. enemies; Steven M. Cohen, a Hillel International is not the sociologist at the Hebrew Union only organization determined to College-Jewish Institute of Relipersuade college students of the gion who identifies as a “progressive Zionist”; and journalist importance of being pro-Israel. In 2002, Hillel coordinated Peter Beinart, the author of the with the Charles & Lynn Schus2012 book Crisis of Zionism. terman Family Foundation to A host of students and comestablish the Israel on Campus munity organizers also spoke Coalition, whose mission is “to and led workshops. In recent years, Hillel Interna- evaluate the worrisome rise in tional has made Israel advocacy anti-Israel activities on college campuses across North Amerimore central to its mission, ca” and serve as a coordinating launching and growing its
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
THE WORLD body for a host of pro-Israel campus groups. The following year saw the beginning of The David Project, which has a stated aim “to positively shape campus opinion on Israel by educating, training, and empowering student leaders to be thoughtful, strategic and persuasive advocates.” The David Project was started by philanthropist Charles Jacobs, who heads up Americans for Peace and Tolerance, which is dedicated to exposing Islamic extremism. This year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself pledged millions in Israeli taxpayer dollars to the Diaspora, a portion of which is being allocated to American college campuses and to Birthright Israel, though the specifics remain unclear as to how that money will be spent. The fears that drive these efforts are not unfounded. Research suggests that young Jews are moving away from the idea that being Jewish and supporting Israel are inextricably linked. The recent Pew study on the American Jewish community found that 92 percent of American Jews aged 18 to 29 believe that people can be Jewish “if they are strongly critical of Israel.” It remains to be seen just how reflective Open Hillel is of American Jewish college students. Does the movement represent a mainstream effort to break free from strictures imposed by Hillel International? Or is Open Hillel a niche group of activists representing only a small fraction of Jewish college students on the far-left fringe? Noam Neusner, a spokesman for Hillel International, said that “the vast majority of Jewish students are in support of the guidelines.” He also said that the organizers of Open Hillel are “still part of the Hillel family,” but said he found their complaints perplexing. “What’s the issue here?” Neusner said. “What are they complaining about? Do they want Hillel to become a proBDS organization?” He did not directly address the issue of whether Hillel International would withdraw funding from campus Hillels that violate the partnership agreement. “We’ll deal with those situations if and when they occur,” he said. In contrast to Hillel International, conference organizers said Open Hillel represents a significant portion of the Jewish
student population. “There are definitely some students who would be uncomfortable if Hillel’s partnership standards were done away with, but there are also many students who are uncomfortable with the status quo,” said Sandra Korn, a recent Harvard alumna and conference organizer. About 25 Harvard students from an estimated undergraduate Jewish student population of 1,675 attended the conference. Students from dozens of colleges and universities across the country made up the majority of the 368 registered attendees. Most were Jewish college students, though a group of Muslim students from Princeton University and Rabbi Joseph Kolakowski of Bethel, N.Y., who is anti-Zionist, also were among the attendees. “I was struck by how much at the conference could easily have happened at Harvard Hillel with no resistance whatsoever,” Jonah Steinberg, Harvard Hillel’s rabbi and director, told JTA via email. “We only refuse to host programs, events, and speakers whose aim is to promote the severing of our Gili Getz
A representative of Jewish Voice for Peace speaking with a student at the Open Hillel conference at Harvard University, Oct. 12
essential connection with Israel, which is the destructive goal of the BDS movement.” Steinberg attended portions of the conference, as did Getzel Davis, the associate rabbi at Harvard Hillel, which adheres to the partnership rules. “Some really like them; some really don’t,” Davis said of the guidelines. “Where we are is where our consensus led us.” The conference was entirely student-run and, aside from two small grants from Harvard, was funded through grassroots efforts. Of the more than $36,000 collected, the median donation was $35, organizers said. An array of organizations had tables at the event, such as the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, dovish advocacy groups J Street U and the New Israel Fund, and groups more sharply critical of Israel, such as Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. Students and activists affiliated with Jewish Voice for Peace had a strong showing as did students who are explicitly Zionist and personally oppose BDS efforts, but disagree with Hillel’s partnership rules. Among them was Josh Wolfsun, a Swathmore junior, who helped draft and promote the declaration that his campus would house the first Open Hillel. “I don’t violate any of the Standards of Partnership,” Wolfsun told JTA. “A lot of it was Jewish friends of mine who weren’t part of Swarthmore Hillel because they felt that the views that Hillel was drawing a line around and saying ‘these are OK’ didn’t include their views.”
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
Rabbi’s coming-out Converts say Freundel’s abuse extended beyond mikvah peeping highlights dramatic shift in Conservative Judaism
By Uriel Heilman, JTA Freundel has been charged When Rabbi Barry Freundel with six counts of misdemeanor asked Bethany Mandel to take voyeurism and suspended a “really long shower” before a without pay from his job. “practice dunk” in the mikvah Looking back, Mandel says, prior to her formal conversion elements of the experience were to Judaism, the whole request deeply suspect. seemed a bit odd, she says. “At first I was like, this For one thing, Freundel was weird, but when he was instructed her to skip the waiting in the waiting room I pre-mikvah checklist, which thought this is just me being includes things like cleaning paranoid,” Mandel said. Now, out one’s navel, trimming nails, she says, “It makes me ill.” and getting rid of excess hair Peeping was not the only and skin. For another, form of abuse that she had never heard converts said they of practice dunking. experienced at FreunBut Mandel eventudel’s hands. The rabbi ally bought the rabbi’s also demanded that explanation: that conversion candiwomen performing dates perform clerical the ritual for the first duties on his behalf time at their actual and donate money to conversions might the Washington Beit in their nervousDin, or rabbinical ness and confusion court. These canturn around and Rabbi Barry Freundel didates, practically mistakenly expose all of them women, themselves to the three rabbis would organize his files, open present. Mandel said she, like his mail, pay his bills, take other women who took practice dictation and respond to emails dunks, actually found the trial on his behalf. run helpful. Many felt they had no But that was before Freundel, recourse but to comply with a prominent Orthodox leader Freundel’s requests. and rabbi at Washington’s “My entire conversion was Kesher Israel synagogue, was doing office work for him and arrested Oct. 14 for allegedly teaching myself,” said a Maryinstalling a clock radio with a land resident who converted in hidden camera in the mikvah’s 2012 after two years of working shower room. He is believed to with Freundel and spoke with have clandestinely filmed wom- JTA on the condition of anoen showering and undressing nymity. “I was so desperate to before their practice dunks and convert and move on with my the monthly immersions that life that I was willing to play married Orthodox women peralong.” form following menstruation. Mandel, too, had no idea
when her conversion would be complete. After her practice dunk in October 2010, it took another eight months for Freundel to green-light her actual conversion. “You’d meet with him and he’d at some point arbitrarily decide that you were ready to go to the beit din,” Mandel said. “There was no clear outline or timeline or requirements. I didn’t go to classes or study.” The peeping Tom revelations, while the most extraordinary of the allegations against Freundel, have helped pull back the curtain on what may be a far more common problem in the Orthodox world: the abuse of prospective converts by the rabbis who convert them. In Freundel’s case, the rabbi allegedly abused his power both for sexual and nonsexual purposes. The Rabbinical Council of America, which rebuked Freundel two years ago for misusing conversion candidates for clerical work, says it is reviewing its procedures to better safeguard against such exploitation. For the women whose privacy was violated by Freundel’s alleged actions, the revelations have been shocking — but in retrospect, they said, not out of character with a man many deemed “creepy.” One female candidate for conversion who declined to be identified for fear that her 2012 conversion could be challenged said Freundel made her ride Continued on Page 27
servative Judaism, the moveBy Anthony Weiss, JTA ment’s congregational arm. Gil Steinlauf, a nation“On behalf of all of us, thank ally prominent Conservayou for your courage and your tive rabbi, made headlines in leadership.” October when he announced Steinlauf’s proclamation to his large Washington, D.C., marked the culmination of a synagogue that he is gay, and that he and his wife of 20 years long, painful personal journey that included being bullied as a would divorce. child, years denying his sexualAs surprised as his congreity and a struggle to maintain a gants at Adas Israel may have loving but ultimately been by the news, it was unsustainable marSteinlauf, the congregariage. tion’s senior rabbi, who The reaction to his found himself stunned announcement is a by the response to it. culmination for the “There’s been so Conservative movemuch positive energy ment itself. from the congregaFewer than eight tion, and I’m getting a constant flood of emails, Rabbi Gil Steinlauf years ago, Conservative doctrine stated calls, texts and Facethat homosexual behavior was book expressing every positive antithetical to Jewish law, that sentiment you could imagine,” gays could not marry or serve Steinlauf told JTA. as clergy and that a rabbi could In fact, Steinlauf and some be forced from the pulpit for of his congregants said the response within the congregation coming out as gay. At Conservative congregations, gays has been exclusively positive, and lesbians were welcome “as including a supportive letter individual members.” from the synagogue’s presiThen came the movement’s dent, Arnie Podgorsky. controversial December 2006 Posts on Steinlauf’s Faceadoption of a responsum debook page have come from as claring that homosexuality was far as Israel and South Africa, permissible under its interpreand have included posts from tation of halachah, or traditional Conservative movement ofJewish law. ficials. The ruling paved the way “(O)vernight you have also for the ordination of openly become a role model to LGBT gay rabbis at American semiJews everywhere, in particular within the Conservative Move- naries and for Conservative rabbis to officiate at same-sex ment,” wrote Aimee Close, the weddings. transformation specialist for These changes in the Conserthe United Synagogue of Convative movement also opened the door for widespread and open acceptance of gays and lesbians within the movement. Coupled with a sea change in American attitudes toward vastly greater support for gay and lesbians, such shifts transformed Conservative Judaism from a realm in which homosexuality was ignored or denounced to one in which, for many younger Conservative Jews, being gay is utterly unremarkable. Steinlauf bridged the two generations, coming of age when awareness of gays and gay issues was changing, but acceptance had not yet come in the Conservative movement. “When I was at the Jewish Theological Seminary — I graduated in 1998 — there THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
THE WORLD were plenty of gay people there, but they were all closeted because it was not a safe environment to be gay,” Steinlauf recalled, noting that at the time he did not think of himself as gay. Some movement leaders, too, were aware that there were closeted students in their ranks. “What we were saying, as the deans of rabbinical schools, was that they had to lie about themselves,” said Rabbi Elliott Dorff, a former dean of the movement’s Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies at what is now known as American Jewish University in Los Angeles, and now serves at the university as rector and a philosophy professor. “I thought that was just immoral.” However, the conversation over gay inclusion was starting to shift, particularly at progressive congregations like Adas Israel. Members said that efforts to accommodate gay and lesbian members starting in the 1990s were quiet at first — aliyot for gay couples, changes to membership structure to accommodate gay families. “It wasn’t as public as it is today, and it wasn’t as talked about,” recalled Toni Bickart, a former president of Adas Israel. But the momentum was growing, and in 2003, members of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Law and Standards asked that the issue be brought up again. Following three years of discussions, drafts of opinions and political maneuvering, in December 2006 a majority of the 25-member committee voted in favor of two legal responsa — one stated that homosexuality was halachically acceptable and one said it was not, with each receiving 13 votes. One rabbi voted for both, in the name of pluralism, and an additional responsum advocating for gay conversion therapy passed as a minority opinion with six votes. By the unique rules of the law committee, where any ruling that garners six or more votes is considered valid, it meant that the fight for full gay rights in the movement had ended in triumph. Proof of the victory came quickly. Most of the members opposed to halachic acceptance of homosexuality resigned from the law committee. The Ziegler School (now led by Rabbi Bradley Artson, whose pro-gay legal opinion had been rejected by the movement back in 1992) promptly announced that gay applicants were welcome; the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York followed suit several months later. In the meantime, voices of opposition have faded or shifted. Rabbi Danny Nevins, who co-authored the 2006 gay rights opinion alongside Dorff and Rabbi Avraham Reisner, and who now leads the rabbinical school at JTS, said that while a few opponents retired from Conservative institutions like JTS, most reconciled themselves to the change and continued to support their students, including gay and newly out students.
The return of Palestinian unilateralism
UN Photo/Amanda Voisard
comes to political strategy. By Ben Cohen The PA is now dusting off its uniIt sometimes seems as if the seelateralist playbook, which means that saw debate about the true intentions it seeks to impose recognition of a of Mahmoud Abbas and his PalestinPalestinian state upon Israel through ian Authority has been with us for an international pressure. It’s a method eternity. that has won only symbolic victories so One day, we’ll be saying that Abbas far: “Palestine” became a non-member is genuinely a moderate, that he really observer state at the U.N. in 2012, and is committed to a two-state solution, more countries (134 at the last count) that perhaps he’s the guy upon whom recognize the statehood of the Palestinthe cautious, unsentimental Israeli ians than they do Kosovo (a country Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu liberated from Serb ethnic cleansing by should risk a bet. a NATO coalition in 1999) or the ReThe next day, we’ll encounter yet another inciting, spiteful Abbas soundbite public of Taiwan (which has the enormous footprint of communist China to and it’s back to the drawing board. contend with). I don’t think that Abbas is the MaBut as wealthier, more influential chiavellian demon some believe him to be. Equally, the idea that the Palestinian countries join the Palestinian recognileader is a transparently uncomplicated tion bandwagon, that could change in the coming months. moderate is absurd. One of the very first acts of Sweden’s David Pollock of the Washington newly elected leftist government was to Institute for Near East Policy summarecognize Palestinian statehood. A few rized the Abbas dilemma elegantly in days later, the British parliament voted a interview I conducted with him for to do the same. And the Irish Senate has the latest issue of Fathom, a magazine passed a motion calling on the Dublin covering Middle East affairs. government to recognize the State of “Shortly after the kidnapping of Palestine. the three Israeli teenagers who were As the motion’s sponsor, Senator later murdered in the West Bank, at Averil Power, put it, “The more couna meeting of the Organization of the tries that recognize the state of PalesIslamic Conference, Abbas made quite tine, the greater the pressure on Israel a conciliatory speech, defending the to end its illegal occupation and agree need to cooperate with Israel against to a long-term peace agreement in the terrorism,” Pollock told me. “But then region.” at other times Abbas What if other Europedoes or says things that Any attempt an states —like France, point in the opposite to force Israel which is rumored to be direction. He meets considering a similar with terrorists whom to recognize a move — follow suit? In he released from prison Palestinian state that case, there could and praises them. He well be direct policy imallows his spokesmen to without having plications for what the continue to glorify terits own security Europeans will doubtrorism in official media. less portray as Israeli It’s equivocal, it can be needs respected non-compliance with seen as hypocritical, is verging upon a the will of the internaand it’s just not particudeclaration of war. tional community. larly credible, because We’ve already seen it’s not consistent.” the European Union (EU) introduce laStill, for all of Abbas’s failures, you beling for Israeli products produced by have to credit him with shrewdness on Jewish communities in the West Bank. this front: he’s persuaded most of the It’s not beyond the bounds of possiworld that there’s a deal to be made if bility that further measures could be only Netanyahu would abandon his introduced to limit the trading relation“Greater Israel” doctrine. He therefore gets away with the kind ship between Israel and the EU, worth around $40 billion per year, as well as of incendiary rhetoric that, over the last academic, defense and other vital forms few months, has involved comparisons of cooperation. between Israel and Nazi Germany, Think of it, if you like, as Boycott, accusations of Israeli “genocide,” and Divestment and Sanctions by the back a bloodcurdling appeal to stop Jews door, the respectable government ver(whom he described as a “herd of cattle”) from praying at the Temple Mount sion of a campaign whose founders aim is to eliminate the very existence of the in Jerusalem “by any means.” Jewish state. So, if Abbas is being indulged on As long as such governments remain the rhetorical front — even when that in thrall to the unshakable belief that rhetoric contributes dramatically to Abbas is the only man who can deliver Palestinian violence that has raged in peace, and that consequently anything Jerusalem during the last few weeks, he does that might undermine the peace claiming the life of a three month-old process (like encouraging terrorism) can Jewish infant — you can hardly blame be written off as just so much underhim for seeking to up the ante when it
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 26
standable frustration, there is little that can be done to counter the Palestinian diplomatic offensive. And in such an environment, can we be sure that the Obama administration won’t underhandedly explore the implications of cooperating with Abbas and co. in the quest for recognition? I don’t think so, which is why we will have to be eagle-eyed in watching U.S. actions at the U.N., given that the Palestinians are now considering applying for membership in 522 organizations, protocols, and treaties as the next step in their unilateralist strategy. In the same vein, we should be clear that any attempt to force Israel to recognize a Palestinian state without having its own security needs respected is verging upon a declaration of war. The Israelis have themselves said that they do not reject the idea of a Palestinian state — many of them would happily accept one under the right conditions, since it would liberate their country from the burden of controlling the West Bank — but that it must be achieved by negotiation. It’s increasingly clear, however, that the mood in the world’s democracies is shifting. The view that Israel must be cajoled and bullied into giving Abbas what he wants is spreading. And that could turn out to be just as dangerous as a Hamas missile campaign from the Gaza Strip. Ben Cohen is an analyst for JNS.org and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Haaretz, and other publications. He is the author of Some Of My Best Friends: A Journey Through Twenty-First Century Antisemitism.
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Natalie Rose Taylor It is with much pride that Shara and Steve Taylor announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Natalie Rose, on Nov. 8 at Temple Beth Or. Natalie is in the seventh grade at Watts Middle School in Centerville. Natalie has competed on Destination Imagination teams since third grade; her DI team has won a Renaissance Award and competed in the DI Global competition. She is an avid soccer player and a member of ISC Storm soccer team. She is also a cellist with the Watts Middle School Orchestra. Natalie has been a Girl Scout for six years and is working toward her Silver Award. Natalie is the sister of Rachel, and the granddaughter of Frances and the late Stanley Levine of West Newton, Mass., and Gary and Sue Taylor of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Anna Kate Self Annie and Craig Self are proud to announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Anna Kate, when she was called to the Torah on Aug. 30 at Temple Beth Or. Anna is the granddaughter of Martin Robins of Columbus, Ret. Col. Frank and Bobbi Mugford of Fairborn, and John Self of Tennessee. Anna is an eighth grader at Tower Heights Middle School and enjoys being a part of the Centerville Middle School Girls Lacrosse Team. She also enjoys playing volleyball, riding her horse and is an active member of her Girl Scout troop, where she is currently working on her Silver Award. Anna Kate is currently working on her mitzvah project, involving Friends of Ferdinand Inc., which specializes in transitioning exracehorses into second careers (pleasure horse, eventing, show jumping, to name a few). Anna has collected monetary donations and will donate part of her monetary Bat Mitzvah gifts toward the program. She is also currently collecting new or gently used horse-related equipment for the program.
Averbach-Weprin Michael and Karen Weprin are thrilled to announce the engagement of their son, Joshua Howard Weprin, to Elyse Beth Averbach. Josh is also the son of the late Jamie Weprin. Elyse is the daughter of Stuart and Pearl Averbach of Pittsburgh. Elyse holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Chatham University and currently works in child care. Josh graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor of arts degree in consumer sciences. He is the owner and co-founder of Fusian Inc. Sharing in the couple’s happiness are their grandparents Ferne Meadowcroft and the late Wayne Meadowcroft of Pittsburgh, Rosa Averbach and the late Edward Averbach of Pittsburgh, the late Wolf and Lenke Glodowski of Pittsburgh, the late Pookie and Chuck Weprin of Jupiter, Fla., Edith Kane and the late Sam Kane of Franklin, Mich., Zerla Stayman of Dayton, and Seymour Stayman of Dayton. A May wedding is planned.
Temple Israel Adult B’nai Mitzvah: on Nov. 1, Temple Israel will celebrate the adult B’nai Mitzvah of (L to R): Fran Rickenbach, Victoria Kisel Carmen, Carol Finley, Vicki Kemmerer, Linda Novak, and Lisa Pierce during 10:30 a.m. Shabbat services. PAGE 10
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Beth Abraham Synagogue Men’s Club Brunches: Sundays, 10 a.m. $5. Nov. 2: Neal Gittleman, Dayton Philharmonic, Musical Musings. Nov. 23: Dr. David Shuster, Adventures with Albert. 305 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood. 293-9520. Temple Israel Ryterband Lecture & Brunch Series: Sundays, 9:45-11:45 p.m. $5 each. Nov. 2: Dr. Fred Krome, UC Clermont, American Jews & Science Fiction. Nov. 9: Rabbi David Sofian, Israel Today. Nov. 16: Dr. David Barr, Wright State, Understanding the End Times. Nov. 23: Dr. Mark Verman, Wright State, Heavenly Journeys of the Baal Shem Tov. 130 Riverside Dr. 496-0050. JCC Speaker Series: Mon., Nov. 24, 10:30 a.m. Ehud Borovoy. An Israeli’s Story: Insights Into the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Beth Jacob Congregation, 7020 N. Main St., Harrison Twp. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555.
Beth Jacob Sisterhood: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. Let’s Walk Group. Tues., Nov. 18, 10 a.m.: Brunch w. Program. 7020 N. Main St., Harrison Twp. 274-2149. Chabad Women’s Circle: Sundays, 9 a.m. Nov. 9: Painting w. Miriam Karp. Nov. 23: Torah & Tea Class. 2001 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. For more info., call 643-0770.
Chabad’s Kids in the Kosher Kitchen: Sun., Nov. 16, 12:15-2 p.m. Monthly for ages 7-11. Eat lunch, then learn to prepare entrée. Free with CKids annual membership of $75. 2001 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. R.S.V.P. to 643-0770.
BBYO Teen Nights: Wed., 7 p.m. Nov. 5, 12 & 19. 105 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood. For more info. call Yale Glinter, 610-1555.
Tai Chi @ the CJCE: Tuesdays. Beginners 3:30-4:30 p.m. Advanced 4:45-5:45 p.m. $5. 525 Versailles Dr., Centerville. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555. Temple Israel’s Shabbat Shalommm Yoga:
JCC Active Adults Dine Around: Wed., Nov. 5, 5 p.m. MCL, 4485 Far Hills Ave., Kettering. R.S.V.P. to Karen Steiger, 610-1555.
JCC Cultural Arts & Book Fest R.S.V.P. to 610-1555 or jewishdayton.org.
Ruchama King Feuerman, Courtyard of the Kabbalist: Wed., Nov. 5, 7 p.m. Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Dr., Centerville. $5 in advance, $8 at the door. Everything You Wanted To Know About The Food Network: w. Allen Salkin. Mon., Nov. 10, 6:45 p.m. El Meson, 903 E. Dixie Dr., W. Carrollton. $25 incl. dinner, gratuity, non-alcoholic beverages.
Ari Goldman, Late Starters Orchestra: Thurs., Nov. 13, 7 p.m. Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Dr., Centerville. $5 in advance, $8 at the door. Hank Phillippi Ryan, Truth Be Told: Tues., Nov. 18. 7 p.m. Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Dr., Centerville. $5 in advance, $8 at the door. Wed., Nov. 19, noon. Washington Centerville Public Library, 111 W. Spring Valley Rd., Centerville. Bring lunch. R.S.V.P. to library at 433-8091 or wclibrary. info.
Wright State Univ. Kristallnacht Commemoration: Mon., Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m. Dr. Ashley Fernandes, Medicine, the Holocaust and Religious Ethics. Student Union, Room E163. Contact Dr. Mark Verman, 775-2461.
Hillel Academy World of Hope: Jewish lessons presented by students at Hillel. Thurs., Nov. 6, 6:30 p.m. 305 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood. For info, call Hillel, 277-8966. Temple Beth Sholom Screening of Orchestra of Exiles: Fri., Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m. Free & open to public. 610 Gladys Dr., Middletown. 513-422-8313. Univ. of Dayton Kristallnacht Observance: Mon., Nov. 10, 5 p.m. Chaminade Chapel. Lower Level, Chaminade Hall. Contact Laura Leming, 229-4093. Beth Abraham Synagogue Salute To Veterans Brunch: Sun., Nov. 16, 10 a.m. Free for veterans. $5 all others. 305 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood. R.S.V.P. to 293-9520. The 36th Ryterband Symposium: Jew In The Lotus author Rodger Kamenetz. Mon., Nov. 17. Wright State Univ., E156 Student Union. 3:30 p.m.: The Soul of a Jewish Poet. 7:30 p.m.: The Jew in the Lotus Retrospective. Free & open to the community. Call Dr. Mark Verman, 775-2461.
Jewish Family Services Events: See Federation newsletter in center spread.
Temple Israel Classes: Mondays, noon: Advanced Hebrew w. Rabbi BodneyHalasz. $50 members, $55 nonmembers. Mondays, 1:15 p.m.: Knitting & Crocheting. Wednesdays, 10 a.m.: Lattes & Legends, Dorothy Lane Mkt., 6177 Far Hills Ave. Wednesdays, noon: Talmud study. Saturdays, 9:30 a.m.: Torah study. 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton. 496-0050.
Temple Beth Or Classes: Sundays, 10 a.m., Nov. 9 & 23: Tanach Study w. Rabbi Chessin. Sundays, 1 p.m.: Adult Hebrew w. Rabbi Chessin. Wednesdays, 6-9 p.m.: Israeli Folk Dancing w. Janifer Tsou. Wednesdays, 7 p.m.: Adult Modern Intermediate Hebrew w. Ehud Borovoy. Wed., Nov. 5, 7 p.m.: Men’s Circle w. Rabbi Burstein. Thursdays, 7 p.m.: Beginners Adult Modern Hebrew w. Ehud Borovoy. Thurs., Nov. 13, 1 p.m. Socrates Café. 5275 Marshall Rd., Wash. Twp. 435-3400.
Insanity Workout: w. Lauren Baumgarten. Mondays & Wednesdays, 4 p.m. $5. Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Dr., Centerville. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555.
Chabad Jewish Learning Institute: How Happiness Thinks. Six Mondays, 7:30-9:30 p.m. beginning Nov. 3. $69 (scholarships available). 2001 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. Register at 643-0770.
Fri., Nov., 21, 6 p.m. w. Cathy Hackett & Courtney Cummings. Bring yoga/exercise mat. $5. 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton. 496-0050.
JCRC Presents Israeli Consul General Yaron Sideman: Wed., Nov. 19, 7 p.m. Beth Abraham Synagogue, 305 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood. Contact Cheryl Carne, 610-1555.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
KVELLING CORNER On Aug. 28, Walter H. Rice, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, was honored by the Ohio State Bar Association with the 2014 Thomas J. Moyer Award for Judicial Excellence. The award, established in 2010 in memory of the late Ohio chief justice, is given to judges
who display outstanding integrity, fairness, openmindedness, knowledge of the law, professionalism, ethics, creativity, sound judgment and courage. Judge Rice has served on the Steering Committee of Dayton’s Dialogue on Race Relations, the policy board for the Montgomery County
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frequent contributor to this paper, has started a new blog, katzcopsnsports.com. Marc writes about sports, and unusual but true stories pulled from police blotters.
Ex-Offender Reentry program, the Building Bridges Board of Directors, and as a founding member of the Montgomery County Volunteer Lawyers Project and the Aviation Heritage Foundation.
Rachel Haug Gilbert Dr. David Shuster and Rhoda Z. Mahran, who coteach Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine’s Medicine and the Holocaust class, facilitated the program We Were There: Concentration Camp Liberators Speak, on Oct. 18 at the Veteran’s Memorial Museum in Germantown. The Wright State medical school course provides students with an in-depth study of the active participation of physicians in the Holocaust, those physicians who defied the Nazis, and how these lessons apply to modern bioethics. Retired Dayton Daily News reporter Marc Katz, now a
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In August, AJC Cincinnati named Cathy F. Heldman as its regional director. Cathy succeeded Barbara Glueck, who retired after 22 years as the head of the advocacy organization’s Cincinnati region office. AJC honored Barbara with its AJC Cincinnati Community Service Award at its Appeal for Human Relations Reception on Oct. 21. On Sept. 30, Lauren Sobol, daughter of Jody and Dr. Todd Sobol, received the inaugural Young Professional Volunteer of the Year Award from Columbus Jewish Family Services at its annual meeting. Lauren is a second-year graduate student at The Ohio State University and is majoring in public health. Lauren was also recognized for her volunteer work in May by OSU at the Second Annual Outreach and Engagement Recognition Awards Ceremony. Lauren was one of five to
receive an Excellence in Volunteer Services Award. Andrew Diamond, in his junior year at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, is the lighting designer for Driving Miss Daisy at The Carnegie Theatre in Covington, Ky. running Nov. 1 to 16. Andrew, the son of Susan and Rob Diamond, is studying theatre design and production, concentrating on lighting. Addison Caruso has been selected for the Miami University Mock Trial Team. Miami is recognized nationally for its high ranking mock trial team. Addison is a Freshman University Scholar in the prelaw/public policy program. He’s the son of Patty and Michael Caruso and the grandson of Donna and Yale Holt, Joan and Jim Stark, and Sandy and Jerry Caruso. Send your Kvelling items to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Rachel Haug Gilbert, The Dayton Jewish Observer, 525 Versailles Drive, Centerville, OH 45459.
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
A N N U A L C A M PA I G N
Jewish Federation of GREATER DAYTON Wednesday, November 19 Israel: Diversity & Democracy in the Middle East JCRC 7PM @ Beth Abraham Synagogue (305 Sugar Camp Circle, Oakwood OH) Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region Yaron Sideman joins us for an indepth discussion about Israel, diversity and democracy.
SAVE THE DATE Yom Hashoah Sunday, April 12 4PM @ Beth Abraham Synagogue Yom Ha’Atzmaut Thursday, April 23 5:30PM @ the Boonshoft CJCE President’s Dinner Sunday, May 3 Look for more details in the December issue!
Jewish Federation Reinvents Annual Campaign Structure Starting in 2015
‘100 Days of Tikkun Olam’ will live at the heart of the new Annual Campaign cycle Starting January 1, 2015 the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton will be reinventing its Annual Campaign structure and breathing new life into its traditional fund-raising goals. This new Campaign structure fits in with the Federation’s re-branding initiative, which was launched January 1, 2014. The Federation acts as the parent agency to the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Services, and the Jewish Foundation of Greater Dayton. Each agency has been rebranded to mesh with the Federation’s alignment with the National Federation brand. A key factor to the new campaign launch will also be an unveiling of a new website and a new social media presence. “Previously, our campaign had been starting in the Fall, and ending in the Spring, making for a 15-month fund-raising push. After doing research, and talking with Federation CEOs from other communities, we realized that a change could really revitalize
RSVPs are due at least 1 week before event. Events with no price listed are free. PLEASE CONTACT KAREN STEIGER REGARDING ALL EVENTS UNLESS NOTED OTHERWISE: 610-1555, email@example.com
how we do things here in Dayton”, stated Judy Abromowitz, Federation Board President. “The 2015 Campaign will run for 12 months, starting January 1 and ending December 31, allowing our campaign fund-raising to begin and end within the same calendar year”. Pledge payments can continue to be made according to each individual’s tax schedules. At the very heart of the Federation’s new Campaign is 100 Days of Tikkun Olam. Tikkun Olam is a hebrew phrase and key Jewish belief, which references the shared responsibility to heal, repair, and transform the world. 100 Days of Tikkun Olam will kick off on May 3 with a President’s Dinner, followed by a thank you event in August. “By really focusing our fundraising efforts during these 100 days, our goal is to make a statement about Jewish values in Dayton. That we as a people and as a community want to help make Dayton and the world a better place”, commented Abromowitz.
The Federation’s Annual Campaign helps raise funds locally, in Israel and around the world. The Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Services, and the Jewish Foundation all benefit from the Federation’s Annual Campaign. Preparing to undertake the strategic change, the Jewish Federation has NEW CAMPAIGN EVENTS hired Caryl Segalewitz MANAGER CARYL SEGALEWITZ as their new Campaign Events Manager. Caryl Caryl arrived in comes to the FederaDayton almost 15 years tion with many years of ago, from Pittsburgh, professional experience in event planning, marwith her husband Scott keting, communications and two children, and community service Pamela and Joshua. work with the Dayton Philharmonic, the JewHer in-laws, Zelda (of ish Federation of Greater blessed memory) and Dayton, Temple Beth Or and Lifestages-Samaritan Ira Segalewitz, Centers For Women. “I’ve followed one month been an active member in later. Together they our Jewish community for many years and I believe have all been heavily we have a lot to be proud involved in our of”, said Caryl. “I’m very community with many excited to be working to projects and programs. help lead our fund-raising Caryl is an avid glass efforts in order to maintain the critical services worker, mostly with our Federation offers”.
Look for our President’s Dinner Speaker announcement in the December issue of the Observer Agency Newsletter!
fused and slumped glass, loves taking long walks, listening to great music, appreciates great food and thoroughly enjoys a good game of mahjonng.
JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON AGENCY NEWSLETTER | NOVEMBER 2014
A little bit of Yiddish to share with friends, courtesy of the JCC Yiddish Club, in memory of Lynda A. Cohen.
Shafn: \SHAF-en\ Verb To create, procure, command, order to be brought. Expressions with Shafn:
Jewish Community Center of GREATER DAYTON Tai Chi at the CJCE Every Tuesday through December 23 Beginner: 3:30 - 4:30PM Advanced: 4:45 - 5:45PM @ Boonshoft CJCE INSANITY Workout w/ Lauren Baumgarten Mondays & Wednesdays through December 17 4PM @ Boonshoft CJCE
1. Der vos lernt a kind iz azoy vi er hot im bashafn - He who teaches a child is as if he had created him.
EARLY CHILDHOOD Ringing in the New Year with chutzpah!
2. Di velt iz oykh nisht bashafn gevorn in eyn tog - The world, too, was not created in one day (so don’t worry if it takes you longer than expected).
Sydney LaBreck, Madoc LaBreck and Cadence
3. Es iz gringer oyftsuheybn a shiker fun
Liberty prepare for Rosh Hashanah by practicing blowing the Shofar in the Chaverim Cheder. PHOTO CREDIT: Pat Jones.
der erd eyder a gesheft - It is easier to lift a drunkard up from the ground than a business.
Wednesday, November 5 Active Adults Dine Around 5PM @ MCL Cafeteria Come out and nosh before our CABF author event at the MCL Cafeteria with friends! $5 in advance, $8 at the door. BBYO Wednesdays November 5, 12, & 19 BBYO Teen Night 6:30PM @ 105 Sugar Camp Circle, Oakwood Ohio Wednesday, November 5 CABF Event Wisdom, Mystery, Suspense, & Kabbalah 7PM @ the Boonshoft CJCE $5 in advance/$8 at the door. In partnership with Chabad of Greater Dayton.
FOR A FULL LISTING OF NOVEMBER CABF EVENTS, SEE PAGE 26. Monday, November 24 JCC Speaker Series: Ehud Borovoy 10:30AM @ Beth Jacob Synagogue (7020 N. Main Street, Dayton) An Israeli's life story and insights to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in current times.
NEW YEAR, NEW DIRECTOR CHRIS HARMON DIRECTS 2015’s INTO THE WOODS JR. Chris first started his work in the Dayton theatre community as a teenager at Beavercreek High School, and for the past 21 years he has lived Dayton theatre. He has been involved in some way with almost every community theatre in the area, several high schools, as well as Sinclair Community College, Wright State University, Springfield
Arts Council, and Town Hall Theatre. Besides his directing and designing credits, Chris has performed on stage in numerous productions in the community. Chris has been honored with 32 personal DayTony Awards as well as numerous ensemble and show awards. In addition to his production credits, Chris currently serves on the board of
Save The Date A NIGHT IN VEGAS! SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28 2015 JCC Fundraiser
RSVPs are due at least 1 week before event. Events with no price listed are free. PLEASE CONTACT KAREN STEIGER REGARDING ALL EVENTS UNLESS NOTED OTHERWISE: 610-1555, firstname.lastname@example.org
directors for Beavercreek Community Theatre, and is a past board member at The Dayton Playhouse. Chris has taught children’s acting classes and workshops, and is the scenic charge artist, props master, and resident director at Town Hall Theatre. Chris was inducted into The Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame August 3, 2013.
@ THE BOONSHOFT CJCE » CHECK OUT PAGE 26 FOR FULL CABF EVENT INFORMATION!
JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON AGENCY NEWSLETTER | NOVEMBER 2014
Jewish Family Services brings
holiday cheer & comfort
to community members
Three times a year, for the Jewish holidays of Purim, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah, Jewish Family Services assembles and delivers holiday gift bags to many Jewish seniors in the community. The project is also funded by all of the Dayton area synagogues. The process begins months before the holiday, deciding on a theme and the contents of the gift bags. The BBYO teens or Hillel Academy students always make bright and colorful greeting cards. The gift bags are lovingly assembled
(L-R) Maryann Bernstein, Linda Novak, Pat Saphire (seated) Helen Abramovitz with the specially designed fleece pillows for gift bags. PHOTO CREDIT: Janice Kohn.
and delivered by a corps of very dedicated volunteers, all of whom visit with the recipient when delivering the gifts. These short visits are also a way of bringing the community in to that person and letting them know they are thought about. As numbers have increased over the years, so has the creativity of the contents in the special bags! This year for people that were unable to have food items because of a special diet, a committee of five got together to make fleece comfort pillows. Other people received the traditional apple and honey. The gift bags are always very well received. The committee, chaired by Wendi Pavlofsky comes up with new ideas for each holiday. If you know of a senior in the community that would appreciate getting a holiday bag, please call Janice Kohn, Program Director at 937-6101772 or email@example.com.
Coping with GRIEF and the HOLIDAYS Beginning Thursday, October 23, 3:30–4:30 PM Presented by Mary Ann Hemmert, JFS Director and Rabbi Barsky Experiencing the holidays and special occasions without your loved one can make you feel sad, lonely and depressed. One of the best things that you can do to help yourself in time of grief is to talk about your experiences and feelings in a safe, confidential, non-judgmental environment. This program is an educational seminar is designed to offer guidance and emotional support. The session will have structured time as well as time for open sharing by each participant. The group will continue for six weeks and is scheduled to begin on Thursday, October 23 starting at 3:30 pm for one hour. The meeting will be held in a private room at Starbucks in Oakwood. The group is free, however space is limited, so register early by calling Joyce at 853-0377 to reserve your place.
ANNUAL MEDICARE ENROLLMENT OPEN Montgomery THROUGH DEC. 7 Medicare’s Annual Enrollment time is when people on Medicare can review their current prescription drug and/ or Medicare Advantage Plans and decide whether to retain them or select different ones that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015. The review process takes place between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7 and is encouraged because plans can and will change, as will people’s medical and prescription drug needs. Three “Medicare Check Up” days will be offered here in Montgomery County to help with this plan review and selection. Medicare counselors from the Ohio Dept. of Insurance will be on hand to sit down individually with people and help them review their needs and decide on a plan. This is a free service
offered by Medicare and OSHIIP, the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program. Other than Check-Up Days, anyone seeking additional Medicare information or help with plan selection can contact Connie Blum, OSHIIP’s County Coordinator, at 274-4717, firstname.lastname@example.org. Besides Vandalia, Hithergreen and Heck Center, people can be seen by appointment at Covenant Manor Apartments, Kettering Connection at Town and Country Shopping Center, and at locations in Huber Heights and Beavercreek. Connie Blum OSHIIP Certified Medicare Counselor
County MEDICARE Check Up Days & Locations: NORTH FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7 10AM - 3PM Earl Heck Center 201 N. MAIN ST. (Englewood) CALL 836-5929 for appt
Jewish Family Services Jewish Foundation ofof GREATER DAYTON GREATER DAYTON Tuesday, November 4 12:30PM @ Covenant Manor Afternoon at the Movies featuring The Jersey Boys Friday, November 7 NOON @ Covenant Manor Fresh Friday delicious home cooked meal. Prepared by Bernstein’s Fine Catering. Tuesday, November 11 12:30 @ Covenant Manor Veteran’s Day Memories presented by Lou James, Jazz Pianist. Tuesday, November 18 12:30 @ Covenant Manor Celtic and Folk music featuring Bettina Solas on the autoharp. Friday, November 21 NOON @ Covenant Manor Fresh Friday delicious home cooked meal. Prepared by Bernstein’s Fine Catering. 12:30PM Bingo Tuesday, November 28 12:30 @ Covenant Manor Ice Breakers
The JFS Bereavement Group meets at Starbucks (private room) in Oakwood. If interested in attending please contact Joyce at (937) 853-0377.
SOUTH THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20 10AM - 3PM Hithergreen Senior Center 5900 HITHERGREEN DR. (off Brookmont, which is off Far Hills, between Rahn and Whipp) CALL 435-2415 for appt
» Bring a list of current prescription drugs.
PLEASE CONTACT CHERYL BENSON REGARDING ALL COVENANT MANOR EVENTS : 854-6319
JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON AGENCY NEWSLETTER | NOVEMBER 2014
Endowment Funds Put On A Show The JCC Children’s Theatre will proudly present Into the Woods, Jr. on February 21 and 22, 2015. Famous characters such as Jack and his bean stalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella meet and interact in this whimsical original story. The musical centers on a baker and his wife who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the king’s festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse and wind up changed forever.
Endowment Fund: Did You Know? Through a Jewish Foundation of Greater Dayton Endowment Fund, you can create an everlasting gift and leave a permanent mark that
The JCC Children’s Theatre is open to children in grades 3-8. Auditions are held in October, with rehearsals beginning in November. The program aims to enhance team work and build self-confidence, all while having lots of fun in a supportive and nurturing environment. Past productions have included Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte’s Web, and School House
will help provide funding for what you love in perpetuity. Since only the interest generated from an endowment fund is used, you can feel good knowing that even after
Rock Live Jr. The theatre program is funded in part by the Harris Abrahams JCC Children’s Theatre Fund, which was established in 2008 in memory of Harris Abrahams. Mr. Abrahams retired from the Jewish Federation after 26 years of service in 1997 at the age of 78. He served on numerous boards and committees, including the board of the Dayton Playhouse where he served as chairman. The Harris Abrahams JCC Children’s Theatre Fund will support the theatre program in perpetuity, impacting the lives of youth in the Dayton Jewish community for many generations.
you are gone, your legacy
Into the Woods Jr.
will continue to impact the
>> When: Saturday, February 21st at 8pm and Sunday, February 22nd at 3pm
>> Where: location to be announced
Contact Cathy Gardner, CEO, at 937-610-1555 for more information.
>> Cost: Adults ~ $10.00 in advance, $12.00 at the door. Children ~ $5.00 For more information contact Yale Glinter at 937-610-1555 or email@example.com.
Legacies, Tributes, & Memorials FEDERATION CAMPAIGN IN HONOR OF › Birth of granddaughters to Mary and Dr. Gary Youra Renee and Dr. Frank Handel & Family CAROL J. PAVLOFSKY LEADERSHIP FUND IN HONOR OF › Birthday of Sarah Pavlofsky › Birthday of Dorothy Engelhardt › 90th birthday of Clara Hochstein Marlene Miller › 90th birthday of Clara Hochstein Myrna Miller › 80th birthday of Myrna Miller Dorothy Engelhardt Cissy Ellison IN MEMORY OF › Gilbert Unger Marlene Miller Cathy Gardner
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL FUND IN MEMORY OF › Bernice Mueller Helene Gordon JCC JOAN AND PETER WELLS FAMILY, CHILDREN AND YOUTH FUND IN HONOR OF › Bar Mitzvah of Samuel Caruso › Birth of daughter, Ilana to Emily and Ryan Snyder Cathy Gardner › Complete recovery of Rebecca Linville, daughter of Joan and Peter Wells Judy and Dr. Mel Lipton IN MEMORY OF › Joshua Levine, grandson of Lois Harris Judy and Dr. Mel Lipton ACTIVE ADULTS FUND IN HONOR OF › Birth of Gabriel Isaac, grandson of Jane and Dr. Gary Hochstein Shirlee and Dr. Ron Gilbert
JEWISH FEDERATION of GREATER DAYTON AGENCY NEWSLETTER | NOVEMBER 2014
HERTA G. & EGON F. WELLS AND MARGE ARNOLD CHILDREN’S FUND IN HONOR OF › Special anniversary of Marla and Dr. Stephen Harlan Joan and Peter Wells IN MEMORY OF › Rick Brown Joan and Peter Wells FAMILY SERVICES SENIOR SERVICES IN HONOR OF › Full recovery of Sarah Weiskind, granddaughter of Hyla and Dr. Raymond Weiskind › Birth of a granddaughter to Debbie and Gary Froelich › New home of Charles Fox › New grandson to Mr. and Mrs. Jim Office Beverly and Jeffrey Kantor IN MEMORY OF › Leonard Solganik › Jeanette Handler Rosalyn Mosrow
› Gilbert Unger › Jeanette Handler › Ralph Weingarden Beverly and Jeffrey Kantor SPECIFIC ASSISTANCE IN HONOR OF › Full recovery of Sarah Weiskind, granddaughter of Hyla and Dr. Raymond Weiskind Cathy Gardner IN MEMORY OF › Bernice Mueller Hyla and Dr. Raymond Weiskind SOCIAL SERVICES IN HONOR OF › Marriage of Julie and Marc Katz daughter › Birth of a granddaughter to Julie and Marc Katz › New grandchild of Debbie and Gary Froelich Susan and Jonas Gruenberg IN MEMORY OF › Gilbert Unger Jane and Dr. Gary Hochstein
In the world, out of the world, in Jerusalem
. $35 per person (includes nd food).
October 20 ENING AUTHOR ernstein, Beer & Brats Warped Wing Brewing Author Sponsor: Jessup nagement.
October 23 ENT s, and Complicated M at the Boonshoft
ctober 24 - 26 O Spirit Convention Campbell Gard purger Rd., Hamilton) ellow teens for a of Jewish networking, and fun. Contact Yale pricing and more on at (937) 401-1550 or fgd.net
ay, October 29 ent he Moment @ 7PM nshoft CJCE. Author Hospice of Dayton.
By Masada Siegel Special To The Observer At 17, Ruchama King Feuerman bought a one-way ticket to Israel to seek what she describes as her spiritual fortune. Feuerman, a native of Nashville who grew up in Virginia and Maryland, spent 10 years in Israel, where she taught Torah, and also learned from every situation that presented itself to her. “Israel had a big effect on me, too,” she says from her home in New Jersey. “It’s the kind of place where outrageous stories are handed to you on a platter, and then you have to tone them down to make them believable. Sometimes I’ll try to write a story with a setting outside of Israel, but then after a few pages I’ll find myself drifting back to Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is the setting for her myster novel, In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, a 2013 National Jewish Book Award Finalist. Feuerman comes to Dayton on Nov. 5 as part of the JCC’s Cultural Arts & Book Fest. Kabbalah is the ancient Jewish mystical tradition. Feuerman attributes the inspiration for her latest novel to her encounter with a rabbi steeped in Kabbalah in Jerusalem. “In Israel, everyone visits Kabbalists: people from all walks of life, heads of parliament, people seeking advice before operations, soccer players to improve their games and soap opera stars, in addition to the black hats,” Feuerman explains. “Years ago, when I lived in Jerusalem, I met a Kabbalist. We actually laughed together. It may sound odd but it was the best moment of my life. For years afterward, whenever I needed a lift, I would remember the rebbe’s laughter — our co-mingled laughter — and it sustained me. Sometimes I think I wrote In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist in order to relive that laughter, to re-experience the courtyard and the seekers I met there, and the The JCC Cultural Arts & Book Fest presents novelist Ruchama King Feuerman on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 7 p.m. at the Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Dr., Centerville. The cost is $5 in advance, $8 at the door and includes a dessert reception sponsored by Chabad Women’s Circle following Feuerman’s talk. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555 or at jewishdayton.org.
Novelist Ruchama King Feuerman
seeker I was then.” Set in the late 1990s, the novel revolves around a 40-year-old New Yorker who sells his haberdashery on the Lower East Side a month after his mother’s death, and then makes aliyah (immigrates to Israel). There, he becomes the assistant to a revered rabbi. His life intertwines with a newly religious young woman, also from America, and a Muslim janitor who works on the Temple Mount. A piece of ancient pottery the janitor finds hurls the plot in motion and binds the characters together. Feuerman says her passion for writing comes from a psychological need to be at a safe distance from people, and at the same time to be in the “pulse of life” with everyone’s problems. “There’s a Chasidic concept, being in velt, oist velt, a quality of being in the world and out of the world at the same time,” she explains. “I think the concept was meant to apply to praying but could apply to the writing process, too. Human beings tell stories in order to get themselves out of impossible predicaments. And the impossible predicament is life.” In life, she says, we don’t always have the chance to fix our mistakes. That’s what she loves about the writing process: “You get that second chance to get it right.” The author says her father had a big effect on her life. “He had turned his life around and become interested in Torah-observant Judaism in his mid-30s,” she says. “He was full of sincerity and religious enthusiasm, akin to someone who’d seen the light, and yet, despite himself, his natural skepticism and irreverence kept rising to the surface. Something in that blend — sincerity and irreverence — has always appealed to me and influences the way I like to write.”
Filling a bowl, Warming the heart Share with us: Serving at St.Vincent de Paul - Nov. 2 at 4:30pm Share Shabbat and Potluck Dinner - Nov. 7 at 6:00pm Ryterband Brunch Series - Nov. 2, 9, 16 and 23 at 9:45am
Temple Israel • www.tidayton.org • 937-496-0050 130 Riverside Drive, Dayton, OH 45405 A Reform Synagogue open to all who are interested in Judaism. Childcare provided during Friday services and Sunday school.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
Food Network dish
2014 Susan & David Joffe
Scholar in Residence Weekend
George Washington Univ. Prof. of Judaic Studies
By Marc Katz Special To The Observer The Internet blog Gawker used to call Allen Salkin the Seymour Hersh of The New York Times Style section. That was when Hersh was an acclaimed investigative reporter for the Times and other publications, known for his work on Vietnam, among other topics. Salkin focuses on less dangerous topics, but, “I would bring this investigative reporter sensibility and training to covering the frivolous, or seemingly frivolous.” At various times, Salkin wrote about one of Madonna’s boyfriends, acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz’s finances, Festivus (The Holiday for the Rest of Us) and, of course, The Food Network. He’ll talk about his book From Scratch: The Uncensored History Of The Food Network during a type of “dinner-and-show” outing on Nov. 10 at El Meson as part of the JCC’s Cultural Arts & Book Fest. Salkin suggested the topics he’s written about are closer in theme than you might think. “Annie Leibovitz and the Food channel are both about pop culture and money and media” said Salkin, whose journalistic career began at the New York Post before he moved to the Times and drifted toward freelancing, looking for stories in several directions. He is co-writing a pilot for a network television show. He loves the Olympics, attending several as a hobby, and some day, may consider a book about his adventures. “I’m not used to talking about myself much, but now I do,” Salkin said. “I’ll talk about who I am and how I came about writing this book (From Scratch). Allen Salkin I have funny stories about Julia Child and Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa).” Professionally, Salkin said he has earned his living mostly from being a print journalist, but has now worked in so many different forms of journalism, “it sounds weird, but I consider myself an artist. I work with video. Nowadays, you have to do everything. And it’s fun to do everything.” For From Scratch, Salkin interviewed more than 200 people who have been involved with the Food Network over its 20-year history. Even though his local appearance will be at a restaurant and the book is about television chefs, there are no recipes involved. “I’m writing about cookbooks on
grades 2-5. $35 per person (includes activities and food). Monday, October 20 CABF OPENING AUTHOR Joshua Bernstein, Beer & Brats @ 7PM at Warped Wing Brewing Company. Author Sponsor: Jessup Wealth Management.
Jenna Weissman Joselit
Thursday, October 23 CABF EVENT Spies, Lies, and Complicated Ties @ 7PM at the Boonshoft CJCE. Friday, October 24 - 26 BBYO KIO Spirit Convention @ Camp Campbell Gard (4803 Augspurger Rd., Hamilton) Join your fellow teens for a weekend of Jewish networking, activities and fun. Contact Yale Glinter for pricing and more information at (937) 401-1550 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Americanization of the Jews
Wednesday, October 29 CABF Event Cherish the Moment @ 7PM at the Boonshoft CJCE. Author Sponsor: Hospice of Dayton.
Friday, Dec. 5, 6:15 p.m.: Kabbalat Shabbat 7 p.m.: Shabbat Dinner $22 – adults; $7.50 children. R.S.V.P. Followed by discussion Taking Stock: An Inventory of the American Jewish Experience. Saturday, Dec. 6, noon: Kiddush lunch followed by discussion Rock Solid: America’s Embrace of the Ten Commandments. Sunday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m.: Men’s Club Brunch. $5 per person. R.S.V.P. Merry Chanukah: The Americanization of Tradition.
Beth Abraham is Dayton’s only Conservative synagogue, affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Salute to Veterans Program & Brunch
We are an enthusiastically egalitarian synagogue. Beth Abraham is Dayton’s We also have an eneronly Conservative getic Keruv program that synagogue, affiliated with reaches out to intermarried the United Synagogue of couples and families in our Conservative Judaism. synagogue and in the Dayton Jewish We arecommunity. an enthusiastically
aham is Dayton’s servative ue, affiliated with ed Synagogue of ative Judaism.
n enthusiastically an synagogue.
have an eneruv program that out to intermarried and families in our ue and in the Dayton ommunity.
Sunday, Nov. 16, 10 a.m. Free for veterans $5 all others. R.S.V.P.
Men’s Club Brunches
egalitarian synagogue. For a complete schedule of Forevents, a complete our go toschedule of our events, go to bethabrahamdayton.org. bethabrahamdayton.org.
mplete schedule of ts, go to ahamdayton.org.
David Shuster, MD
Sunday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m.: Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Neal Gittleman, Musical Musings Sunday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m.: David Shuster, MD, Adventures with Albert $5 per brunch. Breakfast buffet includes lox, bagels, eggs, pastries, juice and more. R.S.V.P.
about.com,” Salkin said. “That said, I’m not a food writer, really. It’s really a media story, a culture story. It’s not a food story. “There are no recipes in my book. I guarantee you when I come in, there will be ladies asking me what recipes are in it.” In case someone does, Salkin might be able to help, anyway. When he was growing up, his mother hated cooking. “My brother and I hated doing dishes. We made a deal: if we cooked once a week, we didn’t have to clean up.” Even without the recipes, Salkin is entertaining. “It’s too much fun to write about food to not continue doing it,” Salkin said. “Almost no one who writes about food leaves completely. I love going around the world and being wined and dined.” As for his dinner dates, he calls them, “basically like dinner theatre. You get to shovel in some delicious food and be entertained by me. I’m pretty funny. I tell these funny stories about the Food Network. I’ve done these types of things in Palm Springs, Boise (Idaho) and Tampa.” The JCC Cultural Arts & Book Fest presents Everything You Wanted To Know About The Food Network with Allen Salkin on Monday, Nov. 10 at 6:45 p.m. at El Meson, 903 E. Dixie Dr., West Carrollton. $25 includes dinner, gratuity and non-alcoholic beverages. Dinner will be gluten free and vegetarian. Kosher meals available upon advance request. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555 or at jewishdayton.org.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
Rediscovering musical Ryan draws on passions later in life reporting career By Marshall Weiss, The Observer Twenty-five years after he put down the cello, Ari L. Goldman decided to pick it up again. The Columbia University professor of journalism returned to the instrument in his 50s, when his son began playing the cello. “And as I was approaching my 60th birthday,” Goldman says, “I figured I’m going to give it one last shot, to see if I could learn to play well enough for this milestone event.” That’s when Goldman knew he had the topic for his next book. In The Late Starters Orchestra, Goldman tells how he managed to reach his goal, to be good enough to play in public. Goldman will talk about his musical adventures on Nov. 13 as part of the JCC’s Cultural Arts & Book Fest. At first, Late Starters appears to be a departure from his three previous religion-related books: Living a Year of Kaddish, The Search for God At Harvard, and Being Jewish: The Spiritual and Cultural Practice of Judaism Today. For 20 years, Goldman wrote mainly about religion for The New York Times. At Columbia he directs the Scripps Howard Program in Religion, Journalism and Spiritual Life. On his path toward cello proficiency, Goldman joined the Late Starters Orchestra, which rehearsed in an abandoned coat factory in lower Manhattan. Goldman’s spiritual approach to his musical journey imbues Late Starters. “For me, the two are very intertwined, religion and music,” he says. “I think some people go about this as if it’s a religion that demands Ari L. Goldman devotion and practice and structure, like you might have in a religious context.” In Late Starters, he writes that playing the cello is his way to connect with the cantors of his youth. To Goldman, the sound of the cello recalls his memories of cantors’ voices in the synagogue. The JCC Cultural Arts & Book Fest, and Economy Linen present writer Ari L. Goldman on Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Dr., Centerville. The cost is $5 in advance, $8 at the door and includes a dessert reception following Goldman’s talk, along with a recital featuring local musician Linda Katz and adult Suzuki students. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555 or at jewishdayton.org.
“I don’t have the voice, but I have the ability to evoke that sound through my cello.” A significant influence on his life as a boy was rabbi/folksinger Shlomo Carlebach. Goldman was even his roadie for a while. “And his great cantorial piece, Mimkomcha, is my favorite piece on the cello. So I try to keep his spirit alive through that.” One of the pleasures of putting this book out there, Goldman says, is hearing from others who have had similar journeys. At every book reading and constantly via email he hears from readers who want to get back to the clarinet they played in high school or the violin they played in third grade. “And they didn’t think it would be possible, that they couldn’t find a community of musicians who would accept them at a place where they could start playing again.” They ask him how to connect with other musicians. He tells them the first step is to find a teacher, who will connect them with other students at their level. “I tell them to go to a music store in your community, just ask around. And increasingly, the Internet is becoming a forum for that. People put the word out that they’re looking to form a trio or a quartet.” He’s put together a trio of late-starting musicians that has played at several book stores in New York when he does readings. In Dayton, a group of latestarter adult string students will play after his talk. “It’s a book about rediscovering your passions, and it’s not only about music,” Goldman adds. “For me, it was getting back to the cello; for someone else it might be learning a language, learning to garden or learning to build model airplanes — or fly an airplane.” It’s a story, he thinks, a lot of parents can tell: about their kids bringing them back to a love from their youth. When asked if there are any other projects he put down when he was young that he’d like to take up again, Goldman says he would love to learn Daf Yomi, the study of a page of Talmud every day over a seven-and-a-half year cycle. “But I don’t have the discipline or the time right now. But maybe someday I’ll be in a Daf Yomi orchestra.”
for crime fiction
By Masada Siegel case murder and a reporter who fabriSpecial To The Observer cates stories. Ryan infuses her stories If Hank Phillippi Ryan could talk to with her experience as an investigative her 8-year-old shy, bookish self — one reporter. of the only Jewish kids growing up in “I have wired myself with hidrural Indiana — she’d have reassurden cameras, gone undercover and in ing words. They might include, “Don’t disguise, chased down criminals, and worry, everything in your life is going confronted corrupt politicians,” she to be great.” explains. “I’ve covered Ryan has dedicated fires and hostage situaher life to solving mystions and disasters, and teries, both in reality I know how the system and in her imagination. works. I’ve had people Ryan, an on-air inconfess to murder. And vestigative reporter for convicted killers insist Boston’s NBC affiliate, they were innocent. has won 32 Emmys and So when I get to take 12 Edward R. Murrow this real world — how awards for her work. it sounds and how it “Every one of my feels and how people journalism awards behave — and inject it represents a secret,” with imagination and she says. “A secret that adrenaline and excitesomeone didn’t want ment, that makes teryou to know. A secret rific crime fiction.” the bad guys would Ryan brings the pashave preferred to keep Hank Phillippi Ryan sion for her day job to hidden. A secret that her evenings filled with we had to dig up and research, and sleuthing of a different kind, creating evaluate and prove and present, no compelling stories. Ryan sets the stage, matter what was in the way. Will we although she has learned that somediscover the truth? That’s suspense.” times her characters have minds of their Ryan tracks down clues and follows own. leads, relying on a mix of knowledge, “Somehow, my brain will not allow instinct and curiosity. “And always me to have a character do something with a search for justice, a hope to see that would be inappropriate for their the good guys win and the bad guys get personality,” she explains. “I once tried what’s coming to them,” she says, “and to make my main character, reporter in the end, a goal of making a differJane Ryland, shoot someone. I had set it ence, changing the world, and bringing up so cleverly, I thought, so it was excitjustice.” ing and made motivational sense. But Writing crime novels, she says, is when the time came, I couldn’t write much like her career in television jourthe same. I saw Jane in my head, clear nalism. as day, and she said to me ‘I think for “In doing an investigative story for a living. I don’t shoot people. And I’m TV, I have no idea what the ending will not going to do that.’ I burst out laughbe. I’m following leads and doing the ing…That was the first time a character research to find out. It’s the same with talked back to me!” writing fiction. I write my books so I She starts her day at the television can know what happens in the end and station early and ends it late after hours discover how the story turns out.” of working on her book. Her husband, Set in Boston, her new mystery novel, a criminal defense attorney, or her “inTruth Be Told, is about a diabolical mort- house counsel” as she jokes, shares her gage fraud scheme, a notorious cold passion for mysteries and storytelling. Ryan graduated from Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio — now The JCC Cultural Arts & Book Fest part of Miami University — where she and Washington Centerville Public majored in Shakespeare. She began her Library present two events with television news career in 1975. mystery writer Hank Phillippi Ryan: “I am the poster child for following Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at the your dreams at mid-life,” Ryan says. “I Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Dr., didn’t start writing fiction until I was Centerville. The cost is $5 in advance, 55. It’s so rewarding and so reassuring $8 at the door. R.S.V.P. to 610-1555 or to know that my long, successful and at jewishdayton.org. happy career as an investigative reportWednesday, Nov. 19, noon at er was only the beginning. People say, Washington Centerville Public Library, ‘Do you do research for your novels?’ 111 W. Spring Valley Rd., Centerville. And I say, ‘Well, sure, I’ve been doing Bring your lunch. R.S.V.P. to 433-8091 research for 40 years. I simply didn’t or at wclibrary.info. know it at the time.’”
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
CONGREGATIONS Beth Abraham Synagogue Conservative Rabbi Joshua Ginsberg Cantor/Dir. of Ed. & Programming Andrea Raizen Monday through Friday 6:50 a.m. & 5:30 p.m. Fri., 5:30 p.m. Sat. 9 a.m. Sundays at 8:30 a.m. 305 Sugar Camp Circle, Oakwood. 293-9520. BethAbrahamDayton.org Beth Jacob Congregation Traditional Mornings: Sun., Mon., Thurs., 7 a.m. Sat. 9:30 a.m. Evenings: Sun. through Fri. 7 p.m. 7020 N. Main St., Dayton. 274-2149. BethJacobCong.org Temple Anshe Emeth Reform Fri., Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m. led by Rabbinic Intern Tina Sobo. 320 Caldwell St., Piqua. Call Eileen Litchfield, 937-5470092, email@example.com. Correspondence address: 3808 Beanblossom Rd., Greenville, OH 45331. ansheemeth.org Temple Beth Or Reform Rabbi Judy Chessin Asst. Rabbi/Educator David Burstein Fridays 7:30 p.m. Tot Shabbat 4th Friday, 5:30 p.m. Saturdays 10 a.m. 5275 Marshall Rd., Wash. Twp. 435-3400. templebethor.com Temple Beth Sholom Reform Rabbi Haviva Horvitz See Web site for schedule. 610 Gladys Dr., Middletown. 513-422-8313. thetemplebethsholom.com Temple Israel Reform Rabbi David M. Sofian Rabbi/Educator Karen Bodney-Halasz 1st & 2nd Fri., 6 p.m. Other Fri., 7:30 p.m. Tot Shabbat 4th Fri., 6 p.m. Sat., 10:30 a.m. 130 Riverside Dr., Dayton. 496-0050. tidayton.org Temple Sholom Reform Fridays 6 p.m. 2424 N. Limestone St., Springfield. 399-1231. templesholomoh.com
Israel’s year without farming the land By Ben Sales, JTA TEL AVIV — With the new Jewish year, Israel’s Jewish farmers are prohibited from doing their jobs. Called Shmita, the Torahmandated, yearlong farming hiatus is felt across Israel, affecting its fields, supermarkets and, of course, its politics. The genesis of Shmita is Exodus, which commands the Israelites, “Plant your land and gather its produce for six years. But on the seventh let it lie fallow and it will rest...” Other biblical mandates prohibit planting, trimming or
Perspectives harvesting crops during Shmita, amounting to a total prohibition on farming. In honor of Shmita, which takes place every seventh year, here are seven things you should know about Israel’s sabbatical year. What is Shmita? According to the Torah mandates, the Shmita year is something like an agricultural Shabbat. Just like everyone is commanded to rest for a day at the end of every week, Shmita is a chance to let the land rest for a year after six years of work. The concept of the sabbatical year has spread to academics and clergy, many of whom receive sabbaticals to travel and study. And the root of the word shmita has found contemporary usage in Hebrew. Israelis use the word mishtamet to refer to someone who dodged mandatory military conscription. How was Shmita observed in the past? Because the commandment applies only in the biblical land of Israel, it became largely theoretical once the Jews were exiled by the Roman
Empire after the Bar Kochba revolt in 136 C.E. Generations of Jewish farmers in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere had no religious imperative to let the land rest. But once Jews started returning to Palestine in the 1880s and founding kibbutzim, Shmita again became relevant — and problematic. At a time when Jewish farmers were struggling just to keep their farms viable, a year of no production would have been a deathblow. To skirt that problem, rabbis in Israel created something called the heter mechirah, or sale permit — similar to the sale of leavened food before Passover. The permit allowed Jewish farmers to “sell” their land to local non-Jews for a token amount, then hire non-Jews to do the forbidden labor. That way, because it wasn’t “their” land, Jews could keep their farms going without sin. How is Shmita observed in contemporary Israel? As Israel’s population and agricultural sector expanded, so too has the hand-wringing over Shmita. Here are some of the Jewish legal mechanisms they use to get around it. The sale permit: Israel’s Chief Rabbinate allows every farm to register for a sale permit like those allowed in the 1880s, and the Rabbinate “sells” all the land to a non-Jew for about $5,000 total, according to Rabbi Haggai Bar Giora, who oversaw Shmita for Israel’s Chief Rabbinate seven years ago. At the end of the year, the Rabbinate buys back the land on the farmers’ behalf for a similar amount. Bar Giora chose a non-Jewish buyer who observes the seven Noahide laws — the Torah’s commandments for non-Jews. Greenhouses: Shmita only
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 Hershel Spalter. Beginner educational service Saturdays 9 a.m. adults, 10 a.m children. Sundays 9 a.m. Tuesdays & Wednesdays. 6:45 a.m. 2001 Far Hills Ave. 643-0770. www.chabaddayton.com Yellow Springs Havurah Independent Services 1st & 3rd Saturdays, 10-noon. Antioch College Rockford Chapel. Contact Cheryl Levine, 937-767-9293. PAGE 20
November • Cheshvan/Kislev Shabbat Candle Lightings
Torah Portions November 1/8 Cheshvan Lech Lecha (Gen. 12:1-17:27)
November 7 5:10 p.m.
November 8/15 Cheshvan Vayera (Gen. 18:1-22:24)
November 14 5:04 p.m.
November 15/22 Cheshvan Chayei Sarah (Gen. 23:1-25:18)
November 21 4:59 p.m.
November 22/29 Cheshvan Toledot (Gen. 25:19-28:9)
November 28 4:56 p.m.
November 29/7 Kislev Vayetze (Gen. 28:10-32:3)
applies if the crops are grown in ing farmers who use religious the land itself. Therefore, grow- courts and the greenhouse method to sell to supermarkets ing vegetables disconnected in Israel. Customers who wish from the land steers clear of to buy from Otzar Haaretz can violating the commandment. pay a monthly fee to get a disReligious courts: Farmers aren’t allowed to sell their crops, count on its produce. Shmita has an impact beyond but if crops began growing bethe produce stands, too. Mickey fore Shmita started, people are allowed to take them for free. So Gitzin, founder of the religious pluralism organization Be Free through another legal mechaIsrael, says that while “the idea nism, a Jewish religious court that the land should rest” is a will hire farmers to harvest positive one, Shmita can have a the produce and the religious negative effect on public parks. court will sell it. But you won’t As public property, the parks be paying for the produce cannot be sold to a non-Jew. itself; you’re only paying for And because they remain under the farmer’s labor. You get the Jewish ownership, some public produce for “free.” community gardens don’t reNot observing Shmita: Most ceive care during Shmita. large-scale Israeli farmers use What does this mean for a sale permit in order to obtain Jews outside of Israel? Alrabbinic certification for their crops, Bar Giora says. But some though they’re not obligated to small, nonreligious farmers who observe Shmita, Jews outside of Israel have found sell their produce ways of comindependently memorating the ignore the sabbatiyear. At Hazon, a cal year completely Shmita is a Jewish sustainabiland do not receive chance to ity organization, kosher certificalet the land the Shmita Project tion. aims to engage What happens rest for a in a study of the to fruits, vegyear after textual sources etables and other of Shmita and plants that grow six years develop programs on their own durof work. to mark the year ing Shmita? without letting the Just like Jewish land lie completely fallow. environmentalists can conAnother group, the Shmita nect to the idea of letting the Association, has purchased a land rest, social justice-minded grid of 4-square-foot plots of Jews can appreciate that whatland in Israel that Jews abroad ever grows on the land during can purchase for $180 and then Shmita is, in theory, supposed to be free for anyone, especially let lie idle, enabling them to observe Shmita without being the poor. an Israeli or a farmer. When Shmita is first menWhat does this have to do tioned in Exodus, the Torah with the Israeli-Palestinian says the crops should be for conflict? Because they don’t “the poor of your nation, and want to buy from Jewish the rest for wild animals.” But farmers during Shmita, some given that almost all farmers in Israel get around Shmita in one Haredi Orthodox Jews buy from Palestinian West Bank farms. way or another, walking onto a But during the past couple of farm looking for a free lunch is Shmita cycles, there has been ill advised. How does Shmita affect you backlash against buying Palesif you’re not a farmer? Because tinian-grown produce. Jerusalem Post columnist all kosher-certified produce David Weinberg urged Israelis cannot violate Shmita, Israeto avoid supporting Palestinian lis shopping in major grocery farms. stores and outdoor markets “Primary reliance on Arab don’t have to worry about produce is neither realistic nor Shmita. acceptable for health, nationalBut religious Jews and busiistic and religious reasons,” he nesses that don’t trust the legal loopholes just buy their produce wrote. During the Shmita year that from non-Jewish farmers in began in 2007, Israel’s health Israel. An organization called Otzar and agriculture ministries said there was no elevated risk to Haaretz, or Fruit of the Land, eating produce grown in the seeks to support Jewish farmPalestinian territories. ers specifically and is organizTHE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
RELIGION By Rochel Simon Special To The Observer
Shabbat babies illuminate value of pikuach nefesh
grew up in a religious, Orthodox home. We followed strict Kosher laws and kept all Jewish holidays. I have wonderful memories growing up with my six siblings in Ann Arbor, Mich., where my parents are the Chabad rabbi and rebbetzin. My favorite memories are of Shabbat in our home. My three sisters and I would join my mother every Friday night as we lit the Shabbat candles. It was a beautiful, peaceful moment. From a very young age we knew that when Shabbat began it was a time when we unplugged all electronics, did not answer the phone or drive. We enjoyed each others’ company and all that Shabbat brought: the beautifully set table with my father leading the Kiddush, the delicious challah and Shabbat meal my mother prepared for every Friday night. We had many guests, which made our Shabbats even more beautiful. I feel so privileged to have these wonderful memories and even more so now, as I pass them on in my own home with five children, thank God. Even my 2-year-old runs to the couch with a book in hand, ready for a snuggle with Mommy as soon as the candles are lit. My older ones set the table with the china and cutlery we use just for Shabbat. It brings me such joy thinking that one day, my kids will grow up to have those same wonderful memories of Shabbat that I’m experiencing now. The birth of my fifth child gave me even more of an appreciation and love for Shabbat.
or every pregnant woman, the due date stays in her mind throughout the entire pregnancy. But as every pregnant woman knows, the baby can come days before or after. God is the only one who knows the special designated day when a baby is to be born. My due date came and went on a Thursday, and as any pregnant woman, I began to get a little anxious. As Shabbat came closer, I began to think maybe this will be a “Shabbat birth.” Would labor begin in the middle of our Shabbat meal? Would it possibly be during services Shabbat morning? Or maybe it would wait until we are relaxing Shabbat afternoon? Friday came and I was cooking away as usual. I lit the candles, and like every other week, Shabbat began with a special peacefulness and tranquility. It also began with the onset of labor. My guests would soon arrive. I knew we could make it through the meal before we would have to run off. We did a little quicker version of the meal this week, just two courses without dessert. We said goodbye to our guests, put the food away and off we went, Levi, my mother, and me, to Miami Valley Hospital. We were very grateful to our gentile neighbors. Even though the hour was
to be sure. He answered my concerns saying that if I do need to go to the hospital on Shabbat I am allowed to be driven, and anyone I feel I will need during birth is also allowed to come along. And, if I would like to bring along some personal belongings, that was fine too. If for some reason it was a false alarm, the rabbi said I would be allowed to drive back home but my mother and husband, who would join me, would need to walk back. We arrived at the hospital and, thank God, a little less than three hours later, at 12:48 a.m., a beautiful, healthy baby boy entered this world, an amazing blessing and miracle. At any time we have that smartphone in our pocket in case we need to quickly snap a photo to catch the moment. We would never forget our phone or camera when we know we will experience a milestone, whether it’s a wedding, Bar Mitzvah, graduation, or, most importantly, the birth of a baby. But since it was Shabbat, none of us had our phones, cameras or video cameras with us. This may be hard to believe and something I thought I could probably never do, but we actually just enjoyed living in the moment. Not one text, email or photo was snapped of this amazing moment that was happening. It was so peaceful, so amazing and I’m just so grateful I was given the opportunity to enjoy it. Every Shabbat, no matter what goes on in the world or what goes on with my family and friends, the minute I light those candles everything stops. Everything gets unplugged and switched off. We enjoy those 25 hours together with our family at home, really focusing on this special gift that God has given us, this special day of Shabbat and God’s beautiful creation that it celebrates. True, we don’t have photos of our little baby Moshe’s first 24 hours and yes, all our family and friends waited to hear the good news until Shabbat ended. But what we do have is the peacefulness of that special memory of the miraculous moment when our baby entered the world. I was almost forced to enjoy it — and I am so glad it happened just as it did. These days, an hour does not go by without a text, a call, a photo snapped. When do we ever just enjoy the moment? Are we too busy recording milestones for the future to be present when they are happening? This experience taught me something so important. I think of how all things are led by God. For six days, we are ruled by our phones, computers and other gadgets. How magical it is to have one day we just shut it all off and enjoy each other and really cherish the unique moments we won’t have ever again.
When treating a patient who is critically ill on Shabbat or when dealing with an individual whose life is in danger, Jews are commanded to violate Shabbat. This mandate of pikuach nefesh (saving a life) applies even if there’s a doubt whether it is — or could evolve into — a life-threatening situation. Even if afterward it becomes clear he Shabbat laws are complex, that the act wasn’t necessary or didn’t requiring careful study and a accomplish its goal, it is not considered qualified teacher. At first, it’s often a desecration of Shabbat, and the indioverwhelming and seems like an vidual who acted receives reward for impossible number of restrictions. attempting to save a life. Some basic activities from which we One who is faced with a situation refrain on Shabbat: that might be construed as a matter • writing, erasing, and tearing; of pikuach nefesh but • business transacMendy Fedotowsky consults with a rabbi tions; about the situation is • driving or riding in considered a murderer, cars or other vehicles; because of his excessive • shopping; “piety.” The resulting de• using the telephone; lay in implementing the • turning on or off proper measures might anything that uses elecendanger a life. And the tricity, including lights, rabbi who is consulted radios, television, comis considered disgraceful puter, air-conditioners because he should have and alarm clocks; taught his community • cooking, baking or the proper manner of ackindling a fire; tion when dealing with • gardening and pikuach nefesh, to act mowing; without delay. • doing laundry. When it is necessary Does all this mean for the sake of pikuach Shabbat is a miserable nefesh to disregard the affair, where we sit hunShabbat laws, it does gry in the dark? Rochel and Moshe Yehuda Simon not matter who violates Not at all. We prepare Shabbat; the one who is for Shabbat in advance, able to perform the task most quickly so that — on the contrary — we celshould do so, and whoever does so is ebrate in luxury, without doing any of praiseworthy. the actual work on Shabbat. If several people can attend to the For example: Lights that will be endangered individual, it is preferable needed on Shabbat are turned on before that the Shabbat “desecration” be done Shabbat. Automatic timers may be used by the greatest Torah scholar and the for lights and some appliances, as long most pious person present. When a sage as they have been set before Shabbat. attends to pikuach nefesh it serves as a The refrigerator may be used, but the lesson as to the immense privilege it is fridge bulb should be unscrewed before to save a life. Shabbat; a freezer with a fan that is activated when the door is opened may not be used. have friends and relatives who are Another example: We may not cook religious who have given birth on or light a fire, so we cook before Shabbat Shabbat, so I talked with them before and keep the food warm through special that Shabbat with some of my concerns. methods that do not violate any Shabbat Still not completely clear about what prohibitions. is and isn’t allowed, I called a rabbi just late, they were so happy to drive us all to the hospital. Even without an arranged driver, one must not hesitate to go to a hospital on Shabbat if it is medically called for. Taking care of life takes precedence over Shabbat rules.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
Rochel Simon is youth and program codirector of Chabad of Greater Dayton.
FOOD THE JEWISH INTERNET
Adult B’nai Mitzvahs Forget the DJs and those outlandish theme parties. These people mean business. And they’ve waited a lifetime to prove it. Whether he just wasn’t interested when he was 13 or she wasn’t allowed at the age of 12, there are incredible stories of people who decided it’s never too late to celebrate
Mark Mietkiewicz their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. First, Stuart Schoenfeld clears up an important misconception. You don’t need to have the party or to read from the Torah to be a Bar Mitzvah. “A youth becomes Bar Mitzvah at age 13 with or without a ceremony. Yet rabbis welcomed men who came in search of a ritual confirmation of their Jewish identities. They created opportunities for these men to study and applied the name Bar Mitzvah metaphorically to the adult ritual.” Schoenfeld mentions that one of the pioneers in this area was Rabbi Albert Axelrad at Brandeis University, who held “belated” Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies in the early 1970s (http:// bit.ly/adultbar1). Hadassah Blocker was another pioneer when she developed the adult Bar and Bat Mitzvah program in 1976 at Temple Emanuel in Newton Centre, Mass. Visit her temple’s website to read the touching thank-you notes that
graduates have sent to Blocker over the decades. “Words alone cannot express the feelings of and gratitude that I have for you for giving me the chance to learn about my heritage and to become a Bat Mitzvah…I always envied my husband and sons for having such a love and understanding for Torah and Judaism, and always felt ashamed that I didn’t have the same feelings, and wondered if the feelings would ever come to me. You taught me how to find that love and to express those hidden feelings (bit.ly/ adultbar2).” The commitment to have the ceremony usually means attending a synagogue-based class or one-on-one study with a rabbi for a year or more, as well as learning Hebrew skills to chant from the Torah, the Haftorah (Prophets) or conduct part of the service. Adult B’nai Mitzvah tend to fall into two categories: as children, they couldn’t or they just didn’t want to (bit.ly/ adultbar3). People like: • Jane, who at 13, felt spiritually alienated; • Joe, who converted to Judaism after he was 13; and • David whose parents were “left-wing educators” and not at all religious. David chose to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah almost three decades later. “As much as I will deny having any type of spiritual connection, I have to say that reading from the Torah was a magical experience.” Dan Pine explains that he decided to have a Bar Mitzvah to give him an idea of what
his 12-year old son was about to go through — and fighting against. But “by the time of the ceremony, I had done a 180. I was no longer doing this for Aaron; I was doing it strictly for myself. When I stood before the Torah in the sanctuary that night, the Hebrew letters seemed ablaze. The sound of my own chanting voice resonated deep inside me (bit.ly/adultbar4).” Did Pine’s Bar Mitzvah have a profound impact on his son? It didn’t seem so at the time. But “perhaps I planted a seed when Aaron saw me up on the bima (stage) that night, a seed that may sprout someday. There’s no way to know yet, but I hope he will reconnect with Judaism, maybe when he has children of his own, as I did.” Not everyone having a Bar Mitzvah as an adult missed out on the ceremony as a child. Several people choose their 83rd birthday as the appropriate time to have a second Bar Mitzvah. Why 83? In Pirkei Avot, the Teachings of our Fathers (5:24), Judah ben Teima relates the significance of the various milestones in our lives. He suggests that at age 70 we have reached “fullness of years (bit.ly/adultbar5).” In other words, the age of 70 should be considered a full life and anything above that is a bonus. That’s why, when he turned 70 + 13, David Schneider, a retired violinist with the San Francisco Symphony, decided it was time to face the music — and his congregation — to read the Haftorah and deliver a speech (bit.ly/adultbar6). When Todd was coming of age, he was told that he would
Wright State University’s
Annual Kristallnacht Commemoration Monday, November 3, 2014
7:30 pm, E163 Student Union, Discovery Room, Wright State University
Ashley Fernandes, MD, PhD
Associate Director, Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities The Ohio State University College of Medicine
“Medicine, the Holocaust, and Religious Ethics” The lecture is free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by the Zusman Chair in Judaic Studies, The Frydman Education Resource Center and the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center.
For more information contact Prof. Mark Verman, 937-775-2461. PAGE 22
not have a Bar Mitzvah because he was dyslexic. Years later, on a group tour of Israel, he mentioned this in passing. A few days later, 86 guys marched up Masada to right the wrong done to Todd decades earlier. As Lori Palatnik tells the story, “There was not a dry eye in the house. As Todd explained to them and shared with them, that if he would have known 28 years before that in 28 years, he was going to celebrate his Bar
Mitzvah with 86 new brothers, he said he could have waited. It would have been fine (bit.ly/ adultbar7). “Every guy there who had had a Bar Mitzvah knew that this one was head and shoulders above. It was so meaningful. It wasn’t for the party, and it wasn’t for the parents. It was the real thing.” Mark Mietkiewicz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LESHON IMA - MOTHER TONGUE
By the book As we mark Jewish Book Month, let’s explore the word sefer, the Hebrew word for book. Sefer is mentioned often in Jewish manuscripts and documents, and it has received a variety of meanings over time.
Dr. Rachel Zohar Dulin Sefer is mentioned in the Bible more than 185 times with numerous meanings. At times sefer meant a letter (II Kings 5:5) and at times a legal document (Deut. 24:1), a purchase receipt (Jer. 32:11) or a recorded document of family history (Neh. 7:5). Sefer HaTorah, the Pentateuch, is also the Scroll of Law (Josh. 1:7-8) and Sefer Divray Hayamim Lemalkhay Yehudah veIsrael, the Annals of the Kings of Judah and Israel, was a historical document recording the life and deeds of the kings (I Kings 14:29). The word sefer is probably derived from the Akkadian verb shaparu meaning send and the noun shipru meaning letter. The related Hebrew verb saper has multiple meanings: count, recount, number, tell, and narrate. Other words derived from the same root are sipur (story), sifriyah (library), sefirah (counting), and sofer (scribe). We should mention that in antiquity most documents were written on clay tablets or papyri and most historical compositions were written on parchment in the form of a scroll. Sefer, therefore indicated both the composition and the
material upon which it was written. So we find that prophetic words were recorded in a sefer (Jer. 36:2), curses were documented in a sefer (Num. 5:23), and words of instructions were also written in a sefer (Dan. 1:4). Sefer is at the center of many Hebraic concepts. For example, Sifray Hakodesh (the Holy Scriptures) and Sefer Hasefarim (The Book of Books) are two Hebrew names for the Hebrew Bible. On the other hand, Sefarim Chitzoniyim (The Outside Books) is the Hebrew name for the Apocrypha, the books known at the time the Bible was canonized, that were considered irreligious and therefore excluded. We should also mention the Book of Life, Sefer Hachayim, traditionally considered the book in which God records the fate of each person (Ps. 69:29) and we should not forget Sefer HaChinuch (The Book of Education), a medieval classical book of Jewish ethical principles written by an anonymous author from Barcelona, Spain. From all that was said, it is not surprising that in Hebrew bait sefer, means school, a house of learning where the sefer is at the center. The centrality of the sefer in the Jewish tradition is unparalleled. From the early sefer, the scroll, to the bound sefer and on to the electronic sefer of today, the importance of reading a sefer has never diminished. As a people we always celebrated the beauty of the written word and its impact. May we continue to be enlightened by the writings of the sofrim of old and the many sefarim that are yet to be written. Dr. Rachel Zohar Dulin is a professor of biblical literature at Spertus College in Chicago and an adjunct professor of Bible and Hebrew at New College of Florida.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
JEWISH FAMILY EDUCATION
Mishpacha & Menschlichkeit The Jewish Family Identity Forum
Zucchini for Israel Myths and Misconceptions series I never liked zucchini until I tasted my mother-in-law’s version combining summer squash with sautéed onions, tomato paste, a bit of salt, and a pinch of sugar. The recipe sounds simple, but it took me quite a number of tries to get the proportions
qualities defining kosher fish, or raise the minimum tzedakah obligation above 10 percent. That seems relatively straightforward until we try to account for laws such as separating meat and milk dishes, obligations like lighting Chanukah candles, and traditions that include the Diaspora’s second, extra day of the holidays. While most traditional Jews Candace R. consider these and other similar rabbinic laws obligatory, they Kwiatek aren’t the main ingredients; they are always subservient to Torah law. right. I had a tendency to add Instead, consider them to be too much tomato paste, figurspices, to be added necessarily ing if a little is good then more but sparingly for flavor. is better. It’s not: the result is Don’t substitute. The classic sour and heavy. Or I’d substiexample is shopping or golfing tute tomato sauce for the paste, on Shabbat in place of more resulting in a thin, wishy-washy traditional pursuits, justified concoction. Or I’d omit the salt by claiming these behaviors are or sugar altogether, leaving the restful and thus in keeping with flavor flat and unsatisfying. the idea of remembering and Who knew that my recipe tri- keeping Shabbat. als echoed a biblical message? Let’s be honest, though. In Deuteronomy we read: What we are really doing is “You shall not add anything to watering down Shabbat to rest, what I command you or take relaxation, and recreation. anything away from it, but keep Leaving aside all the rabbinic the commandments of the Lord rules about the seventh day, the your God that I enjoin upon Bible’s Shabbat really means you.” “desisting from creating” or Commentators offer a num“reflecting,” as in musing. ber of scholarly interpretations At Sinai we are commanded of this passage, but I think it to make the Sabbath day holy means exactly what it says, and — separate from the everyday it’s the same overall recipe as and the earthly — holiness bethat for making perfect stewed ing the authentic ingredient. zucchini: don’t add more, don’t In Deuteronomy we are told substitute, and don’t leave any- it is to be a “Sabbath for God,” thing out. in cooking terms a “meal fit for Don’t add more. We cannot a King.” increase the number of festivals We can, of course, choose to on the calendar, add an 11th make substitutions for these commandment, expand the ingredients — but let’s not fool
Literature to share The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert: Winner of the National Jewish Book Award, this lengthy saga about a Jewish refugee family in South Africa in the 1930s is not for the faint of heart. Apartheid South Africa comes alive with all its prejudices and violence and cultural clashes, forming the backdrop for Lithuanian pogroms, immigrant struggles, upward mobility, and strife in the Helger family. In a class of its own in both topic and structure, this novel is gripping, intelligent, and true to the Jewish South African experience. Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah by Susan L. Roth: Delightfully illustrated by colorful torn-paper collages, this familiar song is acted out by a family of mice. Suitable for preschool and primary ages, the words are few and the pictures encourage discussion. The musical score appears at the back of the book.
ourselves into thinking we will end up with the authentic recipe. Don’t subtract. The 1885 Pittsburgh Platform, the document of Classical Reform Judaism, called for the rejection of Jewish ritual laws and concepts — such as kashrut, Zionism, and chosenness — while maintaining its ethical and moral laws. Just more than 100 years later, Reform Judaism was calling for renewed attention to “sacred obligations,” recognition of “Jewish peoplehood,” and endorsement of aliyah, immigration to Israel. While liberal and traditional perspectives on the details of these issues differ markedly, the lesson is clear: as the song says, “The world stands on three things: Torah, avodah (ritual and prayer), and gemilut hasadim (ethical behavior).” It’s a recipe that works when all the ingredients are in place: for the world, for Judaism, and for the individual. How can we apply Moses’ caution in our own lives? Commentator Dennis Prager explains, “Don’t be an extremist.” It’s tempting to add or subtract from God’s laws, and it’s done in every faith, he notes. Traditionalists are tempted to expand laws, such as the move to no mixed dancing or more
stringent kashrut standards. Liberals are tempted to drop the ritual laws, claiming they are outdated and cumbersome, in favor of ethical obligations alone. Our challenge is to find the path of moderation. Certainly, we’ve seen the consequences of extremism, how it can actually desecrate God’s image — by claiming the right to murder non-believers, as some fundamentalists claim today; or by encouraging peace at any cost, as pacifists promote, both of which are complicit in the furtherance of evil. It’s easy to be extreme – everything is either black or white, and the decisions are clear. What isn’t easy is being moderate, a challenge captured in the name Israel meaning “struggle with God.” Built upon the theme of mod-
The Torah is the Jewish recipe for making good individuals and good societies.
eration, the Torah is a guide: kings do not have absolute power. Divorce is allowed. Kashrut allows some creatures as food and not others. An indentured servant has to be treated humanely. Land is returned to its original owner in the Jubilee (50th) year. The sacrifices for festivals or sins were limited and clearly defined. A prospective convert needs to be taught only a few of the key laws before being accepted. Tzedakah is generally limited to 10 percent. The Torah is the Jewish recipe for making good individuals and good societies. It’s like zucchini for Israel. Just as Moses cautions, don’t add more ingredients. Don’t substitute if you want the full flavor. And don’t leave anything out if you want a successful end result. Family Discussion: In what arena is moderation a big struggle for you? What recipe could you imagine as an analogy for guiding your pursuit of moderation in your own life?
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
OBITUARIES Rabbi Judith Bluestein, age 66, passed away May 29. She was the beloved daughter of the late Paul and Joan Bluestein, sister of Alice (Larry) Greenbaum, dear aunt of Amy (Jason) Shaiman and Emily Greenbaum, greataunt of Theodore Shaiman. Rabbi Bluestein attended the University of Pennsylvania receiving a degree in classics. She continued her education with graduate work
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at Case Western where she was awarded an M.A. in religion (New Testament and Christian Origins) and an M.A. in Latin. She also received an M. Ed. from Xavier University. Rabbi Bluestein received her rabbinic ordination at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she also received a master’s of Hebrew literature and an M.Phil. in Hebraic and cognate studies. She served as a rabbi to Jewish communities throughout the South and Midwest, including: Marion, Ohio; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Ames, Iowa; and this past year, Joplin, Mo.; as well as teaching Judaic studies and Holocaust studies at Northern Kentucky University and the University of Dayton. The family requests that contributions in her memory be made to Plum Street Temple Preservation Fund and/or Isaac M. Wise Temple. Phyllis Ross, 86, passed away Sept. 20. Mrs. Ross was a member of Beth Abraham Synagogue and lived in Dayton for 62 years. She was the beloved wife of the late Jack Ross; loving mother of Michele (Tom) Sudow, Helaine Razovsky, Jay (Susan Warshay), and Ronald Razovsky (deceased); proud grandmother of Erin (Ben) Willcher, Noah (Avery)
Sudow, Nate Sudow, Ari, Elana, and Jonah Ross; adoring greatgrandmother of Emma Jordy Willcher. Interment was at Beth Abraham Cemetery. The family wishes to thank Friendship Village of Dayton, Stone Gardens Assisted Living Facility, and Menorah Park for their wonderful care. Donations can be made to Beth Abraham Synagogue or to the charity of your choice. Dorothy (Cherny) Shane, age 88, of Dayton, passed away Oct. 8. Mrs. Shane was a member of Beth Abraham Synagogue and Temple Beth Or; a member of Sisterhood and Hadassah; and for many years served on the board of the JCC. She was preceded in death by her husbands, Morris Cherny in 1969 and Harold Shane in 2003; and brothers Arthur Cohen and Simon Cohen. Mrs. Shane is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Helene and Jose Perez of Georgia; sons and daughters-in-law William and Pat Cherny of Illinois, Stanley and Dahlia Cherny of Connecticut; 10 beloved grandchildren; numerous other relatives and friends. Interment was at Beth Abraham Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to The Dayton Jewish Observer, Chabad of Greater Dayton or The Hospice
of Dayton in her memory. Gilbert S. Unger passed away peacefully at home, short of his 90th birthday, on Sept. 19. He was surrounded by his wife and children. Mr. Unger was born in Dayton to Abraham and Gussie Unger. He was preceded in death by his siblings, Monroe, Leon (Iris), his brother-in-law, Dr. Joseph Klausner, his beloved daughter, Dr. Rachelle Sherman, and his infant great-grandsons, Shiloh and Eli Jacobson. Mr. Unger attended the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Hebrew Union College, receiving both his M.Ed. and M.M. Mr. Unger taught in the Dayton Public School system for 35 years as an instrumental music teacher and band leader and inspired many devoted and accomplished students over the years. He was also the leader of the Gilbert Unger Orchestra and played clarinet in many other professional bands and orchestras in the Dayton area. Mr. Unger served as a gunner on a halftrack in the 537th Antiaircraft Artillery of the 90th Division during World War II under Gen. Patton. He landed on Normandy Beach and campaigned through Europe into Czechoslovakia. He stayed after
the war in Weiden, Germany to help settle displaced persons and Holocaust survivors. He played in the military band during that time. For his military service, among many commendations, he received both the Purple Heart and the French Legion of Honor. In later life he became president of the 90th Division and traveled with them to Europe many times for the anniversary celebrations of the Moselle River Crossing. He was married to the love of his life, Lois Brook Unger, for 65 years. Together they raised four devoted children. Mr. Unger was adored by his children’s spouses, his six wonderful grandchildren and their spouses, and eight cherished great-grandchildren as well as his many nieces and nephews. Mr. and Mrs. Unger enjoyed many years of domestic and international travel. Together they pursued a shared interest in lifelong learning. Mr. Unger saw himself as a simple man but, in fact, he had a profound and extraordinary impact on everyone he touched. He truly accomplished the Jewish goal of tikun olam: he left the world a better place than he found it. Contributions in Mr. Unger’s memory may be made to Beth Abraham Synagogue or the charity of your choice.
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
The Death of Klinghoffer fails to live up to the controversy Raffi Wineburg
By Ami Eden, JTA NEW YORK — “See it. You Decide,” the Metropolitan Opera of New York exhorts in a promotional push capitalizing on the controversy over its new production of The Death of Klinghoffer. Well, I saw it. And I’m not sure which was more of a letdown, the hubbub over the show or the show itself. Let’s start with the critics and protesters, since they are responsible ultimately for turning the Protesters demonstrating against The Death of Klinghoffer show into the most buzzed outside the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, Oct. 20 about cultural happening in New York (at least since the close of violence at a time when Jewish comthe Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whit- munities around the world are increasney Museum). ingly forced to look over their collective By the time I settled into my seat on shoulder. the night of Oct. 20 — after months of It’s just that in the end, this produccries of “antisemitism” and “glorification’s moral equivalence of Palestinian tion/humanization of terrorists” filling and Jewish suffering does not translate my email box — I was expecting Shyinto sympathy for or understanding of lock meets Natural Born Killers. the killers. Not even close. Whatever the origiYes, the show’s title is offensive and nal intentions of composer John Adams morally obtuse (it was a murder, after and librettist Alice Goodman when they all), but this production does not sugarcreated the opera about 25 years ago, coat what happened on the deck of the the latest production casts the killers as Achille Lauro in 1985. not particularly likable, violent thugs In fact, it doesn’t do much of anyand puts Leon Klinghoffer at the moral thing — at least on the political level. center. I’ll leave the musical So much so that the criticism to people who show’s effort to provide a actually frequent the measure of absolution for opera. the terrorists near the end Maybe when The Death comes off as contrived of Klinghoffer first hit the and heavy handed, and stage in 1991, it put forth is immediately trumped some uncomfortable, by the final monologue rarely heard perspecfrom Klinghoffer’s wife, tives about root causes Marilyn. of the Israeli-Palestinian Back in June, the Anticonflict. But in 2014, as Defamation League, with an act of political subverthe support of Klinghoffer’s daughters, sion, the opera feels dated. convinced the Met to drop its planned These days, New Yorkers can walk simulcast of the show on the grounds just a few blocks from where the opera that it might feed anti-Jewish violence is being staged to Lincoln Plaza Cinin other parts of the globe. emas, where they can probably catch an But after actually seeing the producIsraeli-made film taking a much deeper tion, this seems wrong-headed: Comlook and asking much harder questions pared to the antisemitic fare widely about Palestinian suffering and the imavailable on the Internet and Arabic pact of Israel’s policies in the territories. television, this show could pass as an Even some mainstream Israeli politianti-terrorism public service announcecians have more challenging things ment. to say than this show does about the None of this is to discount the objecconflict and a possible resolution. tions of Klinghoffer’s daughters to the Forget Merchant of Venice. This show use of their father’s cold-blooded murand the controversy surrounding it are der as a dramatic or political device. much ado about nothing. Or the concerns that ADL officials and other people of good will have over Ami Eden is CEO and editor in chief of anything that might fuel antisemitic JTA.
This show could pass as an antiterrorism public service announcement.
A L A r g e r -t h A n - L i f e L A u g h r i o t
book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee music and lyrics by Jerry Herman based on the novel by Patrick Dennis, and the play Auntie Mame by Lawrence and Lee directed by Kevin Moore music direction by John Faas
About the Show Mame Dennis is a free-wheeling eccentric without a care until she becomes the guardian of her ten-year-old nephew, Patrick. Now it’s up to her to open new windows and show the boy worlds he never knew existed. Through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, Mame teaches Patrick how to “live, live, live”—whether he’s willing or not. It’s the dazzling Broadway musical that proves life’s a banquet, featuring the classic songs “We Need a Little Christmas,” “It’s Today,” “Bosom Buddies” and, of course, “Mame.”
October 30 – November 23, 2014 Performed live at The Loft Theatre in Downtown Dayton • 126 N. Main Street Join Us Online
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WISDOM, MYSTERY, AND KABBALAH WEDNESDAY, November 5 @ 7PM @ the Boonshoft CJCE
Come ready for a night of mystery entwined with kabbalism in modern-day Israel with Ruchama King Feuerman, author of In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist. Kosher dessert reception to follow, sponsored by Chabad Women’s Circle.
HOW TO ORDER: BY PHONE: Karen at (937) 610-1555 ONLINE: Credit Card Orders Only jewishdayton.org IN PERSON: Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Drive, Centerville
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT jewishdayton.org or LIKE US ON FACEBOOK @ facebook.com/ culturalartsandbookfestival JCC CULTURAL ARTS PROGRAMMING IS MADE POSSIBLE BY A GRANT FROM THE OHIO ARTS COUNCIL AND IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE JEWISH BOOK COUNCIL.
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AT EVENT: Evening of Event
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THURSDAY, November 13 @ 7PM
TUESDAY, November 18 @ 7PM
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Did Julia Child really love McDonald’s French Fries? What is Paula Deen really like? Bring your questions and former New York Times reporter Allen Salkin will deliver the answers as he dishes the dirt on all things Food Network while we dine on a fantastic feast prepared by El Meson. $25/person includes dinner, gratuity & non-alcoholic beverages. Allen’s book will be available for purchase at the event for $5.
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reservation required. Reservations not accepted after November 3; payment required to confirm your reservation. Dinner will be vegetarian & gluten free. Strictly kosher meal available upon advance request.
2 0 1 4
A U T H O R
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AN EVENING WITH AUTHOR HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN, WINNER OF THE MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
@ the Boonshoft CJCE
@ the Boonshoft CJCE
Age is only a number, but frequently it holds us back from following our true passions. If you feel you’re too old to compete with the latest 8 year old musical prodigy, let author Ari Goldman inspire you to give yourself another chance, with his book The Late Starters Orchestra.
Award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan joins us to delve into her newest captivating mystery, Truth Be Told, weaving a spindly web of suburban tragedy, a gripping murder case, and financial manipulation. Ryan has won multiple awards including the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award and 32 EMMYs for her groundbreaking journalism as an on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate.
AUTHOR SPONSOR: ECONOMY LINEN & TOWEL SERVICE, INC.
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AUTHOR SPONSOR: THE WASHINGTON CENTERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
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WEDNESDAY, November 19 @ NOON Washington Centerville Public Library 111 W. Spring Valley Rd., Centerville Hankerin’ for more Hank? Pack your lunch and come ready for an extra dose of Hank Phillippi Ryan as she joins us for a special interview. » DUE TO LIMITED SPACE, REGISTRATION REQUIRED. RSVP ONLINE AT WCLIBRARY.INFO OR BY CALLING (937) 433-8091
THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
Freundel Continued from Page 8 with him to Towson University near Baltimore, where Freundel taught in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, to do secretarial work. The woman, who was single at the time, said the rides were uncomfortable and the work was onerous, particularly because she worked nights and needed her days free to catch up on sleep. But she didn’t dare say no to Freundel because he held the prerogative to declare her ready for conversion. “When you’re going through conversion, you don’t know the timeline of when you’re going to finish — there’s so much power being wielded over you, and in the interim you’re in limbo,” she said. “You can’t move, you can’t switch jobs to another location, because you have to live in the community where you’re converting. I felt a great sense of desperation to get the process over as fast as possible.” She said Freundel made comments that struck her as strange and inappropriate. “He made a lot of comments that didn’t sit right for me about my appearance, about how attractive he thought I was, about whether guys were pursuing me, about my clothing,” she recalled. “I found it quite uncomfortable to be around him for long periods of time alone.” Mandel said her own conversion pro-
cess was terribly disjointed even though Freundel was part of the committee that established conversion policies and standards for the Rabbinical Council of America. Freundel was also known for being an advocate of opening up certain leadership roles in Orthodoxy to women, such as synagogue presidencies. The RCA, which suspended Freundel’s membership following his Oct. 14 arrest, says it has appointed a committee to review its entire conversion system to determine if and where changes are needed to prevent rabbinic abuse. The organization, which serves as the main rabbinical association for centrist Orthodox rabbis in the United States, also said it would appoint women to serve as ombudsmen for every rabbinical conversion court in the country to “receive any concerns of female candidates to conversion.” Rabbi Mark Dratch, the RCA’s executive vice president, said in an interview that it’s difficult for the RCA to police its members closely. “Because they are scattered throughout the country, we don’t have a lot of hands-on oversight,” he said. The appointment of female ombudsmen, Dratch said, is meant to address this problem. “We wanted to create all kinds of opportunities for potential converts to feel safe to share their discomforts and concerns,” he said. “We want to support a healthy conversion process.” Critics say the RCA is not up to the
UJA-Federation of New York. Goldstein declined to comment to JTA; a representative for Fagin said he was unavailable for comment. A rabbinic critic interviewed by JTA said the RCA’s approach to Freundel was “totally incompetent.” “The organization should have seen a red flag and they didn’t,” said the critic, who declined to be named because he said he did not want to be a distraction. “This is a story of a Jewish institution missing the warning signs because they answer to nobody.” The critic compared the RCA’s handling of the Freundel allegations to the failure by Yeshiva University to reign in the inappropriate behavior of Rabbi George Finkelstein, a teacher and administrator at Y.U.’s high school for boys who over the course of three decades allegedly wrestled and hugged boys inappropriately, and the failure of the Orthodox Union to put a stop to the abuse of minors by Rabbi Baruch Lanner, who was exposed by reports in The New York Jewish Week and eventually was convicted in 2002 of two counts of child sexual abuse. Freundel, 62, has pleaded not guilty to the six charges of misdemeanor voyeurism. His attorney, Jeffrey Harris of the Washington firm Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke L.L.P., did not return a call seeking comment. The RCA and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel have affirmed that all the conversions Freundel oversaw prior to his arrest remain valid.
task, as demonstrated by its failure to identify Freundel’s alleged misdeeds despite at least two prior complaints against him. One was about using prospective converts for clerical tasks and soliciting the beit din donations, as well as maintaining a joint bank account with a conversion candidate. In the other, Freundel was accused of sharing a sleeper compartment on an overnight train with a woman who was not his wife. The RCA says it appointed a committee to investigate the first complaint and concluded that while the behavior was inappropriate, there was no malicious intent. Dratch says Freundel asked many congregants, not just converts, for clerical help and donations, and the joint checking account was intended to help a prospective convert. Freundel was reprimanded and agreed to stop. As to the train incident, the RCA says Freundel was confronted and provided a “reasonable explanation,” and there was no evidence of inappropriate behavior, but did not elaborate. “A delegation was sent to Washington to speak with Freundel,” Dratch recalled. “They came back with a recommendation that didn’t rise to a level where he had to be dismissed.” Among those tasked by the RCA and its affiliated Beth Din of America with investigating Freundel were two attorneys who now lead major Jewish organizations: Allen Fagin, now the chief professional at the Orthodox Union, and Eric Goldstein, now CEO of the
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014
August 20 – School Begins
“Call them not your children, Call them your builders” -Talmud
Educating our builders for today and tomorrow Hillel Academy helps develop our “builders” with a foundation of Tikkun Olam . . . “repairing the world one block at a time”. When our “builders” leave Hillel, they are prepared to make a positive impact individually, in the community and globally.
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THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER • NOVEMBER 2014