features MAGAZINE OF NA’AMAT USA Spring 2014 Vol. XXVIX No. 2
Jewish Weddings..................................................................................... 4 Jewish weddings have been evolving since feminism transformed the landscape of Jewish ritual, and adaptions over the past decade are moving them even further away from standard ceremonies. By Rahel Musleah
Editor Judith A. Sokoloff
In Defense of Israel — On Opposite Sides of the Fence............................. 9
Art Director Marilyn Rose
Two extraordinary lawyers — Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Gaby Lasky — do what they feel they must to help individuals and to defend Israeli society. By Judith Sudilovsky
Editorial Committee Harriet Green Sylvia Lewis Elizabeth Raider Edythe Rosenfield Lynn Wax Marcia J. Weiss
Na’amat News......................................................................................... 14 Vacationing with diapers, life at the Glickman Shelter, the story of preschooler Dan, famous women battle domestic violence — and more.
NA’AMAT USA Officers PRESIDENT Elizabeth Raider
President’s Message By Elizabeth Raider........................................... 3
VICE PRESIDENTS Jan Gurvitch Ivy Liebross Gail Simpson Marcia J. Weiss
Heart to Heart: Passover Reflections
Take Action! Sex Trafficking Must Be Stopped By Marcia J. Weiss.................................................. 26 Around the Country.......................................... 28
NA’AMAT USA Chair Harriet Green National Funds, Gifts, Bequests
Our cover: The contemporary Jewish wedding often blends tradition, innovation and modern sensibility infused with a couple’s distinct personality. See story on page 4.
Na’amat Woman (ISSN 0888-191X) is published quarterly (fall, winter, spring, summer) — three times in both print and on the Internet, and one time online only — by Na’amat USA, 21515 Vanowen Street, Suite 102, Canoga Park, CA 91303.
Illustration by Israeli artist Avi Katz.
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By Judith A. Sokoloff..... 18
Film Review: The Women Pioneers By Amy Stone............................ 22
RECORDING SECRETARY Debby Firestone
Signed articles represent the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of Na’amat USA or its editor.
By Judy Priven....................... 13
Book Reviews: Books for Cooks and Foodies
TREASURER/FINANCIAL SECRETARY Debbie Kohn
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Mission Statement The mission of Na’amat USA is to enhance the status of women and children in Israel and the United States as part of a worldwide progressive Jewish women’s organization. Its purpose is to help Na’amat Israel provide educational and social services, including day care, vocational training, legal aid for women, absorption of new
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elcome to our first Internet-only issue of Na’amat Woman! Editor Judith Sokoloff and I are very excited about this breakthrough, which will give us the opportunity to increase magazine distribution, allow readers an easier way to send articles to family and friends, and generate more news and conversation about issues that Na’amat USA members care about. During 2014, we plan to alternate between our traditional print version (also found on the Internet) and the onlineonly version, as we evaluate the impact and reaction from you, our readers. Your area office will also provide a photocopy version for local mailing, club meetings and for members who do not use computers. The magazine can be found on the organization’s website, www.naamat.org, and on the magazine’s website, www.naamatwoman.com. Even bigger news: The Na’amat USA national office has moved to the San Fernando Valley in California from New York City, its home since the mid-1920s. The new office will allow Na’amat USA to be more cost-efficient as well as benefit from a strong local The Na’amat USA national office has moved to California! Na’amat USA 21515 Vanowen St.,Suite 102 Canoga Park, CA 91303 Phone: 818-431-2200
Na’amat community. Na’amat USA will retain a leadership presence in New York through its Eastern Area office and national officers who will represent us at meetings and events with affiliated organizations. The goals for Na’amat USA remain consistent with the objectives pursued in our early years: supporting Israel through our work for women, children and families — providing social services and multifaceted programs in cooperation with our sister organization Na’amat Israel. Your support of Na’amat USA in your clubs, councils and areas keeps our national presence recognized in your communities. Our national officers and board members will continue to work closely with the new office to offer the assistance necessary for our continued success. Thank you for your patience and support as we transition from the East Coast to the West Coast. In November 2013, Na’amat USA participated in the meetings of the World Movement of Na’amat in Israel. These meetings always provide an opportunity to find out what’s happening in other countries, to share information and materials and, most important, to deepen our personal connections with our Na’amat sisters. If you attended the national convention in
Cleveland last summer, you met two of the presidents who came to the international conference — Orit Tobe from Canada and Ceres Maltz Bin from Brazil. Also attending were several Na’amat representatives from Mexico and a number of Na’amat Israel regional chairs. Participants also had the satisfaction of touring Na’amat facilities. Especially memorable was our visit to the day care center in Kiryat Malachi, which draws from an underprivileged community of immigrants. The children lack language and social skills and have little knowledge of Israeli culture, but thanks to the devoted staff, they are learning to participate, communicate and prepare for success in kindergarten. The Na’amat meetings are timed for participation in the World Zionist Organization conference, which was especially relevant to Na’amat concerns this year. The primary focus dealt with expanding Zionist education for youth around the world to encourage aliya. The Zionist youth organizations, including our movement Habonim/Dror, actively participated in the discussions and voting, which lent an air of excitement, enthusiasm and positive energy. The conference culminated with joint resolutions by all the participating organizations to initiate a comprehensive action program. And still more big news: In March, Na’amat USA is holding a 10-day leadership seminar in Israel. In conjunction with Na’amat Israel, Ivy Liebross, continued on page 29 SPRING 2014
Jewish Weddings Jewish weddings have been evolving since feminism transformed
the landscape of Jewish ritual, and adaptations over the past decade are moving them even further away from standard ceremonies. by RAHEL MUSLEAH
riela Rutkin-Becker cried when she saw her ketubah for the first time, just minutes before her marriage to Harris Goldman. Watercolor depictions of milestones and memories from their relationship surrounded the traditional Aramaic marriage contract and an original English text they had composed of their promises for a life together. Rutkin-Becker’s ketubah mirrors the contemporary Jewish wedding — a blend of tradition, innovation and modern sensibility infused with each couple’s distinct personality. “A friend created the ketubah for us based on emails we had each sent her separately,” says Rutkin-Becker, 26. “It was so powerful to see the images of our relationship — not just the things I had described, but also the things I didn’t know he remembered.” One of the pictures was of a rock they had found hiking on their first date. Someone had written on it in graffiti: “I have searched
my whole life for you.” Jewish weddings have been evolving since feminism transformed the landscape of Jewish ritual — both in terms of egalitarianism and inclusive-
ness — but adaptations over the past decade have moved them even further away from “cookie-cutter ceremonies,” says Gabrielle KaplanMayer, a Philadelphia-based wedding consultant and author of The Creative Jewish Wedding Book. Couples are choosing which rituals are personally meaningful to them and integrating values like eco-consciousness, egalitarianism and community. Because Judaism today spans the spectrum, so do weddings — and no one size fits all. There are secular couples who know little about Judaism and Orthodox couples who would like to include egalitarian practices. There are same-sex marriages — accepted by all denominations except Orthodox — and marriages of Jews by choice from diverse ethnic backgrounds who introduce wedding customs from their cultures during the reception. There are second marriages, Sephardic marriages with their own distinctive rites, and Illustrations by Avi Katz
interfaith weddings that incorporate rated in a myriad of ways. Her Jewish customs. future mother-in-law sewed “Every wedding is a mixed it together. “We were marriage,” says Kaplan-Mayer, stunned and humbled 42, whose own wedding balby the creativity and anced her strong Jewish spirieffort,” says Rutkintual identity with her Jewish Becker, who plans to husband’s Buddhist beliefs. hang the huppah in “Even among ‘inter-Jewish’ the couple’s home. couples, the bride and Daniel and Leah groom may come from Reiser of Brooklyn, different worlds of JewNew York, elevated ish religious and cultural community by pigexperience.” gybacking on the “The guiding prinframework of the ciple for us was that wedding blessings. we wanted to be true They created a “Sheto ourselves and use va Brachot (Seven the planning time Blessings) Project” to learn about Jewish to honor seven incustoms and tradispirational people tions,” says Rutkinin their lives (inBecker, who grew dividuals, couples up in a Conservaand even one tive home in Great group of friends) Neck, New York, and asked each to and is now a firstoffer a blessing — year law student both in written at the University form and as an of California at artifact. “We Irvine. What she chose people learned was that there we trust and are only a few parameters whose wisdom we valthat must be followed acue; people who exemcording to halacha (tradiplify where we want to Couples are choosing which rituals tional Jewish law): most head in our own lives,” prominently, the ketubah says Leah, 28, who works at the are personally meaningful to them and (the central document of global literacy nonprofit organithe marriage), the groom zation Litworld. “It was a way giving the bride a ring, integrating values like eco-consciousness, to be blessed by each other’s and the recitation of the communities and deepen our betrothal and seven wedrelationships with them.” egalitarianism and community. ding blessings. Much of The honorees made their the remaining ceremony presentations at the rehearsal is actually minhag (cusdinner. Daniel, 27, a rabbinitom) — from the becal school student at Hebrew deken (the veiling of the bride by the and spending as much money as pos- Union College-Jewish Institute of Regroom) to the huppah (wedding cano- sible on all of it.” ligion, recalls that his childhood rabbi py) and breaking the glass. At her October wedding, Rutkin- presented a pair of candlesticks he had Lack of knowledge or discomfort Becker highlighted rituals that have received as a gift from his first congrecauses some couples to rush through what she calls the “coolness factor” — gation 40 years earlier. His former camp the “Jewish” part of the ceremony, notes special moments for the couple that counselor (also a close family friend) Kaplan-Mayer. But embracing the chal- also involve family and community. and his wife rewrote the Sheva Brachot lenge allows them to “take a bold stand Months before the wedding, for in- to fit into Shel Silverstein’s classic book against an industry that says the entry stance, she mailed white fabric squares The Giving Tree. In their illustration of to your marriage is about wearing the to friends and family for the huppah, it, they transformed their baby’s handright dress, serving the fanciest food and received back 100 pieces deco- prints into leaves. SPRING 2014
abbis, too, have rethought and developed rituals to meet the needs of contemporary couples. Rabbi Jamie Korngold, who runs the “Adventure Rabbi” base in Boulder, Colorado, and supervises another base in South Lake Tahoe, California, affirms both individual and community by balancing private and public moments. Before the bride and groom sign the ketubah, which is read publicly, Korngold asks them to whisper to each other their own private expressions of love. The parents stand behind their children, and Korngold acknowledges all they have done to help the bride and groom become who they are. The two families then go to separate corners to share some private words; then the parents return to standing with the community, and the witnesses to the ketubah come forward. “Weddings used to be almost a parents’ celebration, a sign of all they had accomplished,” Korngold says. “Many guests were the parents’ friends, and the venue and menu were chosen in accordance with their comfort level. Now I see a movement away from that focus. Couples are paying for their own weddings and they want it to reflect who they are.” Korngold, who is the author of God in the Wilderness, officiates at many weddings in the mountains. The natural surroundings mirror intimate moments the couple has shared hiking or skiing and they want to replicate those experiences at their weddings. Many couples use aspens for huppah poles — both because they grow profusely in the region and because of their symbolism. “Aspens grow in a grove, and though they are different individually, all the trees are connected as one organism,” Korngold explains. “They reflect how we are connected as a community and how our actions affect one another.” At Korngold’s own wedding in 2003, the men and women gathered separately before the ceremony and hiked in different directions in the woods to share blessings and advice. They were to reconvene at a shelter to sign the ketubah. “The women came down singing and the men came up singing. Unplanned, we were all singing the same song — probably ‘Hinei Mah Tov,’ (Behold How Good).” 6
Even if they do not have a regular spiritual practice, couples view their wedding as a microcosm of the home they are creating together, says Rabbi Roni Handler, 34, director of Community Learning at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and editor of Ritualwell.org, an online resource for Jewish rituals of all kinds. Progressive contemporary couples frequently depart from tradition around the language of the ketubah and the exchange of the ring, Handler notes. “Couples aren’t looking at marriage as a business transaction, as it was once understood,” she says. “They want the language to represent their commitment to each other so they personalize their vows or choose poetic Jewish texts as a way to talk about love and relationships.” Some are uncomfortable with the wedding blessings that describe which couples are forbidden and which are permitted to marry. Because the couples themselves might be in the “forbidden” category (same-sex couples, for instance) they change the language to be more affirming of who they are. Ritualwell features reinterpretations like modern betrothal blessings; a contemporary tisch (literally, table, when the bride and groom separately receive blessings from family and friends) that emphasizes gratitude; Brit Ahuvim (Lovers’ Covenant), which rejects the language of acquisition in favor of a mutual covenant; and vows that focus on acceptance. Other sites like www.modernketubah.com offer many alternative ketubah texts. In pre-wedding conversations with their rabbi, Handler and her partner, Rabbi Isabel de Koninck (Hillel director at Drexel University), envisioned a huppah that they could reuse as tallitot (Jewish prayer shawls) and commissioned a cousin to create it. After the wedding, the huppah, which depicted a tree with screened images of pomegranates, birds and flowers, was divided in half. Each tallit has part of the tree. “When I put on the tallit I immediately get transported to that day,” Handler says. The bedeken, an Ashkenazic custom that precedes the ceremony, is based on the biblical story of Rachel
and Leah being switched at marriage, so the groom checks to make sure he has the right bride. Traditionally, the bride and groom did not see each other for seven days prior to the wedding. Handler and de Koninck recrafted it into a kabbalat panim (literally, greeting faces), meant for the couple to “really see each other as if for the first time.” They spent private moments receiving blessings from their respective mothers and bridal parties. When they finally faced each other, they performed a ritual hand washing for each other, a transformative symbol of transition, blessing and purification — and the last time they would be without wedding rings. They repeat a version of the ritual every Shabbat. When Goldman danced in to see Rutkin-Becker at their bedeken, he gave her a blessing and lifted the veil; then she dressed him in a white kittel (robe). “I was such a stubborn feminist in relation to this wedding,” RutkinBecker says. “I couldn’t have him do a single traditional thing without me doing my own version. I had my own tisch and made a speech. Instead of my circling him seven times, I circled him three times; he circled me three times and we circled each other once. I was relentless.” She did make compromises to stay within halacha, especially with the guidelines her rabbi set. Cantor Ramon Tasat, 53, who was born in Buenos Aires to a Sephardic family and is currently cantor of Shirat HaNefesh in Silver Spring, Maryland, posits that there is “wiggle room in Jewish law that many people of Ashkenazic background don’t use.” When Tasat married Roanne Pitluk three years ago — a second marriage for both — they had two ketubot: a traditional version from the synagogue in Florence, Italy, and one with a text they composed that began, “We accept each other as we are on this day.” They integrated Sephardic music throughout the ceremony and, according to Sephardic tradition, were covered with a tallit as the cantor chanted Birkat Kohanim, the priestly blessing. “As we were entering a new path in our lives it was beautiful to find God in our endeavor — and that has remained with us,” says Tasat. “Love is a lot stronger when it’s connected to spirituality and love for God.
Weddings used to be almost a parents’ celebration, a sign of all they had accomplished. Now I see a movement away from that focus. Couples are paying for their own weddings and they want it to reflect who they are. “More important than what we did was to talk about it in advance,” adds Tasat. “The kinds of things you think about in a second marriage are different than in the first,” he adds. “You are more careful, and the things that may not have had value before do now.” In the modern Orthodox commu-
nity, a “small but growing” number of couples are opting for a more egalitarian wedding, says Rabbi Dov Linzer, dean of Hovevei Torah Rabbinical School, which trains and places modern Orthodox rabbis. Linzer wrote an article 10 years ago offering halachically valid recommendations “to achieve an
appropriate balance both between the sexes and between tradition and innovation” (“Towards a More Balanced Wedding Ceremony,” JOFA Journal). Today, he notes, whether the couple ultimately decides on the more “balanced” route partly depends on the officiating rabbi’s responsiveness and the SPRING 2014
potentially negative reaction of friends and family. And some couples want an Orthodox wedding even if they themselves are not halachically observant. (Same-sex marriages are still taboo in Orthodox circles. Rabbi Steve Greenberg, the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi, officiated at a same-sex wedding in 2011 that was roundly rejected by Orthodox rabbis.) Rabbi Shira Stutman, 40, director of Jewish programming at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, a non-denominational synagogue-center in Washington, D.C., says she encourages tradition whenever possible, but that she suggests “revaluing” it by infusing it with contemporary meaning. A double-ring ceremony, for instance, can be viewed as a man and woman acquiring each other. “Marriage is not just romance,” Stutman says, “but also about the business of living together and sharing responsibilities.” Sometimes, 21st-century life forces innovation. “In a traditional bedeken, the father blesses the bride and tells her he hopes she has a lot of babies,” Stutman explains. “Nowadays, a rabbi should always ask a couple if they plan to have children. And a ceremony predicated on the fact that children are leaving their parents’ home can feel irrelevant because 95 percent of the couples I work with are already living together.” Sometimes new rituals emerge organically, like the “subversive tisch” that came about when the groom said he didn’t like to dance and the bride said the custom was sexist. Stutman suggested that the groom sit and the bride dance to him. Stutman says she has noticed anecdotally that more couples are asking friends to officiate — so much so that Sixth and I is considering holding a workshop on how to officiate at a friend’s wedding. But, she points out, it’s important to have a rabbi or someone who knows the traditions and can balance the pageantry and unexpected moments — like the time the bride got in a fight with her future motherin-law as they were about to walk down the aisle, or the time the groom fainted under the huppah. Asking an untrained friend “would almost be like saying to them, ‘You’ve watched a lot of ER on TV. Can you do my surgery?’ ” 8
ne Jewish value that many couples agree on heartily is eco-consciousness — sending digital or recycled paper invitations, ordering locally sourced food, giving plantable favors and much more. According to a 2013 study by David’s Bridal, 78 percent of all weddings today have some eco-conscious element even if they are not green through and through. Couples in their 20s and 30s are raised with an environmental perspective that’s become normative and that fits into the Jewish value of caring for the earth, says Kaplan-Mayer. Rutkin-Becker and Goldman married at the Queens County Farm Museum in New York. She didn’t mind that her chiffon wedding dress trailed gently along the grass and mud. She loved the mooing of the cows near the tents that had been set up and the police siren that wailed during the ceremony. Guests were invited to take a hayride before the ceremony. The tables were decorated with centerpieces made of cornstalk wreaths surrounding bowls with pears, white pumpkins and votive candles. A friend made the bride’s bouquet from flowers grown almost exclusively on the farm. “We want to live on a farm one day,” Rutkin-Becker says. “It’s an old way of living we respect, and we want to emulate it in our future life together.” Even more than eco-consciousness, her wedding reflected a consciousness about consumerism. “It was a green wedding, but that’s so much a part of who we are that we didn’t label it that way. Our rabbi called it agraratarian — agrarian and egalitarian.” The economy has affected wedding spending — and that also leads to more reuse and recycling, says Kate Harrison, 35, a green-living expert in New Haven, Connecticut, author of The Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget and founder of www.greenbrideguide.com. Her suggestions for meshing green values in a Jewish wedding include constructing a huppah out of a tallit and found branches, or crafting a quilted huppah from keepsakes; ordering kippot made of recycled materials (yes, even from soda cans and bottles); renting or buying a used wedding dress from a local Jewish gemach (a free loan society); and choosing a syna-
gogue or venue consistent with earthfriendly values. When Harrison married Barry Muchnick, an environmental historian, they considered their carbon footprint and chose Cat Rock, a historic castle in Garrison, New York, located close to most of their guests. Their rings were made of recycled metal; they converted a wicker canopy into a huppah; used a rug from her mother’s house as an aisle runner, and flowers from her mother’s garden. They made their own ketubah on recycled cotton watercolor paper and drank from the kiddush cup that Harrison’s grandparents and parents used at their weddings; now three sets of names and dates are engraved on it. Muchnick wore a suit that belonged to his uncle by marriage, and Harrison bought a damaged wedding gown that a seamstress repaired. The leftover material was reused for a break-the-glass pillow. “The idea of marriage is to create something for a sustainable future,” Harrison says. Some couples weave a tzedakah or social justice component into their weddings. Harrison donated her gown and shawl to Brides Against Breast Cancer. On her website, she recounts the story of Brenda and David Jaffe who met on JDate and were concerned about the environmental impact of their longdistance courtship: They drove 375 miles weekly to see each other. Using the Jewish National Fund’s “Go Neutral Calculator,” they determined the approximate amount of carbon their cars had emitted during their three-year relationship and made a donation for planting trees in Israel. “A wedding is a series of decisions,” says Harrison, “but at the end of the day my memory is of the whole event. Looking out from under the huppah at all our friends and family was so special. Our wedding wasn’t just about us, but about bringing our families together to form a new unit.” Rahel Musleah is a New York-based writer, singer and educator who presents programs on the Jews of India and Iraq. Visit her website: www.rahelsjewishindia.com. She wrote “Sephardic Voices” in our winter2013/14 issue.
In Defense of Israel
On Opposite Sides of the Fence Two extraordinary lawyers do what they feel they must to help individuals and to defend Israeli society. by JUDITH SUDILOVSKY
ttorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Gaby Lasky are similar in many ways. They are both dedicated working mothers of young children — Lasky has a set of twins and Darshan-Leitner has six children, including triplets. Both are diminutive women around age 40. As young women just out of high school and working, they came to the realization that they wanted to be lawyers so they could
help people in accordance with their own beliefs. Both are now leading figures in the Israeli legal world, defending human rights and helping secure the future of the State of Israel, a place they hold dear to their hearts. But they are spearheading battles from two very different places on the political map — one from the left, one from the right. In 2012, both women received awards for their work, but their professional paths have not crossed. Darshan-Leitner was the 2012 recipient of The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism. Established by Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz, the prize recognizes individuals who are putting Zionism into action in Israeli society, benefiting the common good, and ensuring “the strength and resilience of the national Jewish homeland.”
In its decision, the prize committee noted: “Attorney Darshan-Leitner fights for the interests of victims of terrorism in Israel, filing lawsuits against major terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, while upholding the victims’ dignity.”
That same year, Lasky received the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award, given annually by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel to an individual or organization that has made a “unique and outstanding contribution to the advancement of human rights in Israel.” In awarding the prize to Lasky, a former head of Peace Now, the ACRI said: “Attorney Gaby Lasky has been defending human rights for many years. Lasky is a pillar of strength for activists in Israel and the Occupied Territories, and works tirelessly to defend their rights, often without payment…. In her public activities and impressive performances Lasky sends a clear message to Israeli society: The struggle to ensure civil and human rights in Israel, and in particular to ensure the rights of the weak and disadvantaged in our midst, is not over yet.” These two women, coming from opposite political positions, represent the kind of people Israel needs, says longtime Israeli journalist Ronnie Shaked, who has covered the Palestinian Territories for the daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot for 30 years. Shaked says that the two lawyers do what they feel they must to help people and to defend Israeli society — each in her own SPRING 2014 SPRING
Nitsana Darshan-Leiter fights terrorism with a powerful tool: civil law suits. Aviram Valdman/The Tower
Though self-taught about the world of terrorism and security, Darshan-Leitner has succeeded in reaching the highest echelons of the mostly male world of national security and anti-terrorism in Israel. way. Shaked knows Darshan-Leitner personally and has followed Lasky’s legal cases for many years. “If we did not have people like Gaby and Nitsana, we would lose our direction. It is these people on the edges who give us direction,” observes Shaked. “They do their work, not for the money, but as a mission. We need people on the left [like Gaby] and also people like Nitsana [on the right]. We need the left to protect our human morals as well as our Jewish and Zionist morals. And we need people like Nitsana to fight against terror and for the right of people to live. She is not a fanatic — she has a heart and is a Zionist.” Darshan-Leitner is focused, almost to the point of obsession, on her goal of fighting terrorism, Shaked says. Selftaught about the world of terrorism and security, she has succeeded in reaching the highest echelons of the mostly male world of national security and antiterrorism in Israel. She understands that the way to hit terrorists where it hurts the most is through the wallet — including international bank accounts and foreign funds. “She has put in her stone in the fight against terrorism, and her stone 10
has an important role. She is another heavy stone that sits around the neck of the Palestinian Authority,” notes Shaked, who thinks the National Religious Party should pick Darshan-Leitner as a candidate for the Knesset. Darshan-Leitner, who grew up in a traditional Jewish-Persian home in Petach Tikvah and who originally wanted to become a doctor, is on her cell phone as she hurries apologetically to the tucked away Greenhouse Café near her Modi’in home for an early morning interview. Though she pushes her phone aside and mutes it after ordering coffee, it vibrates several times during the conversation. She takes a call from a radio journalist seeking her comments on the New York State Court of Appeals decision to apply Israeli law in the Bank of China terror financing case. Since 2007, Darshan-Leitner — through her not-for-profit law organization, Shurat HaDin - Israeli Law Center — has been battling to stop the funneling of money to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza through the Bank of China branch in New York. She did this first at the initiative of the Israeli government and then without them after the government preferred to negotiate the case because of political concerns in-
volving visas for the Israeli ambassador to China. The money was wired to the Bank of China from New York so Shurat HaDin filed the case in a New York court, she explains. “China says that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not considered terrorist organizations in China,” notes DarshanLeitner. She adds that she had initially agreed to file the lawsuit as long as the government provided her with the necessary evidence. “The [Israeli] government got cold feet. The government has its political considerations…[but] we filed petitions representing the victims from Sderot who have been killed and injured [by missile attacks from Gaza]. These are human victims. I don’t plan on going to China any time soon.” Since she began her battle against terror organizations some 15 years ago, Darshan-Leitner, through Shurat HaDin, has succeeded in winning rulings in favor of her clients for damages close to $1 billion, and in freezing assets worth about $600 million belonging to terrorist groups and organizations. She has also won more than $120 million in disbursements from Iran, the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Hamas and North Korea for her clients in seven cases. “There is a cost for Jewish blood,
there is a cost to attacking Israel,” she states. “Sixty-five years after the Holocaust there is a cost for Jewish life.” Darshan-Leitner says she is fighting for the human rights of victims of terror by going after known perpetrators of terrorist acts through their assets — a field of law where lawyers had not ventured before. She feels if she weren’t doing it, nobody else would. “First of all, I am fighting terrorists, making sure terrorist organizations have difficulty getting money,” she emhasizes. “I was told that as a result of our cases against the Bank of China, no
banks will agree to open bank accounts for terrorist organizations or their charity funds. There is no international bank in Gaza — they can’t get money in or wire money out. The amount of money being wired into Gaza has been reduced by 60 percent. Now they are trying to smuggle in money through the tunnels.” Darshan-Leitner’s activism for the victims of crimes began in law school, when she represented a belly dancer who was allegedly raped by the then very popular Egyptian ambassador Mohammed Bassiouny. This was a civil suit for violations of the dancer’s human
rights after the criminal charges were dropped for lack of evidence. Though she lost the case, Darshan-Leitner feels she brought the important issue of diplomatic immunity to the forefront of legal and political debate. She also represented the family of a woman killed by her stalker and a woman raped by a fellow patient in a hospital for the mentally ill. Her first case against an organized terrorist group was in the late 1990s when, together with a group of other law students, she litigated a case on behalf of the family of Leon Klinghoffer,
All this is done from a love of this place, from the desire to live in a country that respects people’s rights, that is fair and does not differentiate between rich and poor, or because of sex or ethnicity. Gaby Lasky works to ensure civil and human rights, especially for the weak and disadvantaged. Emily Smith
the handicapped American Jew who was killed during the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985. They filed a legal appeal to prevent one of the convicted masterminds behind the hijacking, Mohammed Abbas, from being allowed to enter Israel. Eventually the Israel Supreme Court dismissed the case, noting that it was a state decision to allow him in. But, says Darshan-Leitner with a smile, they did not charge the young law students with court costs, which they took as a nod in their favor. “When I returned to the university I understood that this is what I wanted to do, represent all kind of victims of all kinds of [terrorist acts], to bring their case before the courts,” DarshanLeitner says. “Of course it has to be for the benefit of the State of Israel, which is fighting for its existence and survival, and the vision of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.” Her detractors accuse her of being a hardline lawyer and note her penchant for off-the-wall cases such as suing former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his publisher for $5 million in 2011, through an American lawyer. Carter was sued for breaking New York consumer law when he labeled Israel an apartheid state in his 2007 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The suit alleged that the book “intentionally misleads and misrepresents about actual historic events,” contrary to New York state law against deceptive business practices. (A review in The New York Times criticized the book for being biased and providing a narrow perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.) The book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, immediately condemned the lawsuit, calling it frivolous and a “chilling attack on free speech.” Indeed, the lawsuit was dropped by the plaintiffs three months after it was filed. But Darshan-Leitner shrugs off the criticism. She has been influenced, she notes, by the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, which has successfully filed civil suits against the Klu Klux Klan and other racist groups in the United States, garnering millions of dollars for their clients. “We’ve always dared, we have thought outside the box, we think creatively,” Darshan-Leitner asserts. “These are things that people don’t 12
try because they have not been done.” Darshan-Leitner has filed suits against international humanitarian aid groups for providing funds to Palestinian civil society groups that allegedly have ties to terrorist groups. She represents convicted American spy Jonathan Pollard in Israel. And, in the name of families who have been injured in terrorist missile attacks in Israel, she has filed suits in American courts against international banks she accuses of transferring funds to terrorist organizations including Hezbollah and Hamas. After the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in May 2010 — when eight apparently armed Turkish nationals and one Turkish American were killed in fighting between Israeli navy commandos and international activists who were attempting to break an Israeli-imposed blockade to Gaza — Darshan-Leitner worked to prevent other such flotillas from even attempting to reach the Gaza shore. As activists prepared for another flotilla to leave from Greece, she made it known to insurance companies that if they insured the ship, charges of aiding and abetting a terrorist group would be filed against them. Then, through a Greek law firm, she made sure that inspectors were sent to the ship to check for proof of insurance — there was none — and the ship was not permitted to leave port . Though many of her cases have been dismissed, Darshan-Leitner takes heart from many of the judges’ comments, reprimanding the state for not doing more for the victims of such attacks. “I think [the way I work] is unique, but I’m not surprised. I always took extreme steps,” she observes. “I don’t know if I am successful because I am a woman or despite the fact that I am a woman. At first when we started filing suits, people’s reaction to us was: ‘What, are you crazy? How can you sue terrorists?’ But now it is understood this is a new area of law.” Famed for her work, she is now sought out by potential clients and doesn’t need to look for them, she says. “Most of the [victims and their families] go to court to get justice, even if it is just by burdening the defendant with a lawsuit. It is very hard to have a
lawsuit against you,” she explains. “The [families] don’t want the money — they see it as blood money. But they [want] to teach [the perpetrators] that there is a cost for their crimes. “It has taken time…but I come with results, so when I argue before the Israeli courts they know there is a history,” she says. “After many years of work, our name has become known in Israel and abroad. We make sure our legal proceedings in court are perfect down to the smallest detail. We can’t afford to be mediocre. We are fighting huge banks with huge law firms.” The workload is immense and intense. Darshan-Leitner works right up to Shabbat, then dedicates the Sabbath in its entirety to her family. Even when she is abroad on speaking engagements or court cases, she tries to stay on top of her children’s homework and projects, keeping in touch with them on Skype and with their teachers via e-mail. “It is incredibly hard and my soul and conscience are torn apart, but I am really trying the best I can do,” she says.
lad in camouflage pants and a white T-shirt, Gaby Lasky looks at home sitting behind the defendant’s table at the front of the small, crowded Tel Aviv courtroom where she is waiting for her client’s case to be called up. She is representing Daphni Leef, one of the student organizers of the social justice protest movement in the summer of 2011. Leef is facing charges of participating in a riot, resisting arrest and interfering with the work of a police officer in a repeat demonstration the next summer that turned violent. She is accused of acts of excessive force and violence against the police. Though the court has previously said that the indictment against Leef (and two other defendants whom Lasky is also representing) should be retracted and the defendants let off with a warning, the trial has continued — as the prosecution insists the defendants be required to perform 60 hours of community service. Lasky, however, maintains that her clients were exercising their right to demonstrate in a legal gathering against social injustices. Leef insists she wants exoneration in the
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Passover Reflections Today, bringing back that sense of togetherness as a community and as a family is harder. by JUDY PRIVEN
e started to get ready for Passover the day after Purim. The rooms were whitewashed, the floors scrubbed. Since we did not want to dirty the house again, we all moved to the cellar, which did not have windows or a finished floor. “A few days before the seder, all the women in the village gathered in my grandmother’s house to make haroset. Since apples were very expensive, we barely had enough for everyone. So, in order to get its share, every family sent a representative with a small dish. I used to edge close up to my grandmother, as she ladled out a tidbit for each family. After everyone left, she let me have one big lick of the bowl. Nothing has ever tasted better than that lick.” This is the way my mother described Passover in the early 1920s in Palestine. About the seder itself she had little to say — except that it was strictly traditional, with the four questions, Elijah’s cup, and endless dipping and recitations. “Georgie!” Flash forward 40 years and I am in Boston at my Bubbe Koppelman’s seder, along with 22 aunts and uncles and cousins, not to mention grandparents, parents and my younger brother. Just the day before, my mother and I pulled the soaking pots from our bathtub, hid the cereal boxes in the basement, and changed
the oilcloth on the pantry shelves — all while I chanted the four questions under my breath, just for reassurance. “Georgie!” That’s my grandfather’s voice from the across the table. Apparently, my father, who is leading the seder, just tried to skip a word from the Haggadah. Meanwhile, the women are in the kitchen, creating the real wonder of the seder, as they stir up simmering smells of roasting brisket, tzimmes and chopped liver, rich with chicken fat. The most awesome moment of the seder, when even the littlest cousins stop chattering and pushing, is the song for Elijah, “Eliyahu HaNavi,” when the ancient past slips silently through the door. Squeezed shoulder to shoulder between my mother and Aunt Ann, I strain for some sign of the prophet himself — a whiff of wind, a shiver on the velvety surface of his kiddush cup in the middle of the table. And then, for some quirky reason I did not understand at the time, the melody flows into the mournful “Ani Ma’amin” (I Believe). This time, I imagine the lines of women clutching their suitcases and humming, deep in their throats, as they fall forward at the entrance to the camps…
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NEWS NA’AMAT The Story of Dan
he director of a day care center tells us about a boy and his mother: Daphna is a young single mother who gave birth to Dan, now 4, after an unplanned pregnancy. We have known this family for several years now, as Dan has attended our multipurpose day care center since an early age. These centers are intended mainly for children at risk. Last year, our staff realized that Dan had developed some behavioral problems. He had a very low frustration threshold and lacked self-control. He started to show signs of concentration problems, such as difficulty sitting during activities. The staff in the center decided that more information about Dan’s problems was needed to be able to help him in the best way, so he underwent diagnostic tests. Last year, Dan started meeting with
elegates from the United States, Israel, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Peru gathered for the meetings of the Na’amat
Masha Lubelsky, head of the Professional Scholarship Fund, presents award to doctoral candidate Adit Naor.
art therapist Shachar, who works at the center. He and his mother underwent dyadic treatment, which focuses on the inter-reactions between small groups of people. Daphna also benefited from parental guidance. During intake meetings with Shachar, Daphna showed signs of being overwhelmed and upset and told Shachar she was having a very hard time with Dan. Despite her good intentions, Daphna was finding it hard to set limits with her son, and she would frequently get mad at him instead. She seemed quite motivated to undergo counseling and willing to learn how to cope with the situation. During the first meetings, it became evident that Daphna wanted Dan to move forward and succeed. However, she appeared to be self-centered and focused on her own creative work. And she demanded that Dan play and draw according to her
World Movement at Beit Hachavera Community Center in Jerusalem this p ast November. Under the theme “Young People, Zionism, Israel and Everything Between,” Visiting students enrolled in the police academy at Kanot participants were updated Agricultural Boardiing High School. on the latest activities of Na’amat Israel and reported six months earlier. She is the daughter of on the programs in their Orit Tobe, Na’amat Canada’s president. own countries. A highlight Delegates enjoyed their visits to variwas a panel on the younger ous Na’amat installations: the technologigeneration, where delegates cal high school in Rishon L’Tzion, a day heard from Elise Nusbaum, care center in Kiryat Malachi and Kanot who made aliya Agricultural Boarding High School above.
Leaders from North and South America and Israel participate in the Na’amat World Movement conference.
instructions. It appeared difficult for her to understand what he actually needed and to adapt to his developmental and emotional needs. Gradually, Daphna managed to develop the needed skills to be there for Dan. And in her counseling sessions with Shachar, she eventually was able to vent her feelings honestly. Daphna learned how to play with him instead of demanding he do whatever she was doing, and allowed herself to be amazed by his accomplishments. She learned how to better understand her son’s needs, and the quality of the communication between them improved. Dan was very happy to receive positive responses from his mother, and finally gained confidence in his own abilities. During the past year, major work was carried out both on developmental issues and in finding a framework that would best suit Dan’s needs. The most significant achievement attained, thanks to the services offered by the center, was the improvement in the relationship between Dan and his mother. This year, Dan has been placed in a special education program that is suitable for his needs. After school, he comes to our multipurpose center, where he stays until 7 p.m. and then goes home.
Touring Na’amat on Tu Bishvat
n Tu Bishvat, Shirli Shavit, director of the Na’amat International Department, took a delegation from Canada working on a special project at the Hebrew University to a Na’amat multipurpose day care center in Tel Aviv. She reports: “Many of the children in the center are at risk. They come from deprived families with difficult backgrounds and need as much support and help as possible. “The center is like a home for the kids, operating from 7 in the morning to 7 at night. A social worker is present and additional therapists are provided as needed. “The kids danced with the visitors, and everyone planted a variety of flowers and vegetables in the garden. This was moving and exciting for both the delegates and the children.”
Vacation With Diapers
has initiated a new program for women on maternity leave: Vacation With Diapers. Ten weekly meetings for mothers and their babies, ages two weeks to two months, deal with issues relating to baby and mother care. Topics include infant development, yoga for mothers and babies,
legal rights during maternity leave, massage for babies, and going back to work. The first group, held at the Beersheva community center, turned out to be a gratifying experience, according to the participants. Aside from getting plenty of useful information, the young mothers enjoyed networking that will benefit them in the future. The program will expand to Tel Aviv and other cities.
Life at the Glickman Shelter
arrived at the shelter of Na’amat’s Glickman Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Domestic Violence in Tel Aviv with her one-year-old baby daughter. Two years ago, after finishing her studies, she had immigrated to Israel from Eastern Europe. S. was single and 22 years old at the time. She met a man who would later become her husband, and after a short time she became pregnant. Her husband had a big family in Israel, a stable job and a good salary. But none of this was of any help to S., as he ordered her not to leave the house. Since this began when she was pregnant, S. interpreted
Sophie Udin Club: On the Scene
English-speaking Sophie Udin club in Jerusalem, comprised of many women who made aliya from the United States and Canada, gets to enjoy the fruits of its fundraising. The group provides scholarships for 48 preschoolers in the Jerusalem area and often visits the day care centers. Reading the monthly Sophie Udin newsletters, edited by Judy Telman
it as a sign of concern for her health. But after the birth of the child, by Caesarean section, her husband didn’t help at all in raising their daughter. He would refuse to get up at night or even take care of her during the day, and he refused to hold the baby in his arms — not even once. When the baby was six months old, S. asked to go to work and to take the baby to a day care center, but her husband adamantly refused. Once again, S. found herself alone in her apartment, unable to interact with anyone. She became totally dependent on her husband and feared consequences if she opposed him in any way. Her world grew smaller and smaller. Her husband brought home only the food he regarded as sufficient. He would lock the refrigerator before he went out and even refused to allow S. medical treatment.
(a former vice president of Na’amat USA), we get eyewitness reports about Na’amat centers. From a recent issue: “Tamar, Aviad, SharLi, and Alya are all enrolled in the Na’amat Weiler Day Care Center in Gilo. This is a very mixed neighborhood with many emigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, along with native Israelis. The families of the children mentioned above are struggling to meet their daily needs and those of their children. With our help, these four children are able to benefit from the educational and developmental programs offered in Na’amat centers. “Michaela and Amla are siblings enrolled in the Mevasseret Day Care Center. Although Mevasseret is considered a relatively wealthy and successful community, there are many families who came in the 1940s from Morocco and work in the blue-collar sector. Michaela and Amla live with their grandparents while their parents are trying to overcome
After she collapsed on the steps of her building, neighbors took her to the hospital. Malnourished, her weight was down to 99 pounds. When her husband came to the hospital to visit, he brought the baby with him and left her there. The medical team called Na’amat and social services, and in this way the stories about her imprisonment, terror and starvation were finally exposed. S. now lives at the Glickman Center shelter and continues to be treated for her malnutrition. She has started to gain weight and is determined to end her marriage and get divorced. The shelter staff has helped her become emotionally and physically stronger and has supported S. as she regains faith in her abilities. Once she gets stronger, Na’amat will help her in whatever decision she makes regarding her future.
the difficulties of living below the poverty line. The same is true of Bat Sheva and Levi, another pair of siblings. How lucky for them that they have found a place in the Mevasseret Center where they are given a head start toward successful learning experiences and hope for the future.” “At the Baka Day Care Center,” Telman adds in a separate e-mail, “the club is aiding Noam, Oriah and Oriel with their tuition. Noam’s family has serious economic problems even though both parents are working — at minimum wage. Oriah’s parents are going through a divorce, an arduous process for both the parents and children. Her mother is grateful that Oriah can continue in the day care program as it serves as a stabilizing factor in her life. Oriel’s mother is the sole wage earner in the family; his father is handicapped and unemployed.” These are just a handful of the 48 children helped by the Sophie Udin club, and just a microcosm of the 18,000 preschoolers attending Na’amat day care centers all over Israel.
Na’amat International now has a Facebook page! Check out the latest news from our sisters in Israel and around the world — and don’t forget to pass the information on to your friends.
Poster encourages battered women to call Na’amat for help.
Lyrics to “A New Woman”
The popular Israeli singer Yardena Arazi uses a song as a weapon in the battle against domestic violence.
Famous Women Publicize the Plight of Battered Women
ver the years, Na’amat has worked to battle domestic violence through its shelter, counseling services, advocacy, legal aid program and public awareness campaigns. This past year, the organization turned to the renowned singer Yardena Arazi to aid the fight. She wrote a new version to a song called “A New Woman,” which encourages a battered woman to leave her spouse before it’s too late. Other famous women in Israel joined the initiative by making a poignant video that goes along with the song. Among the women who participated were Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, Meretz Party leader Zehavi Gal-On, past Supreme Court Judge Dalia Durner and actress Gila Almagor. You can view the clip on the Na’amat International website: www.facebook.com/naamatInt. Na’amat also launched a poster campaign on buses in the main Israeli cities. (above, right). They read: “You know that his apology is a joke…. If you suffer from domestic violence, call Na’amat 03-6492469.”
Leave today — without saying goodbye Take the child, and this time — leave! This time leave! With a plane, if needed, a cab or a train — Far away quick and now! You must! You must! You must! He will say that he is worried, he will say that he made a mistake… He will apologize and he will promise… Do not listen! Do not let him touch! He will never change. No, he will never change. You know, you know, you know! And your pain, your shame you will hide. You will succeed alone! Nothing is lost. Your strength is not burned. It was only hurt… You will discover the freedom from fear. And you will not be dependent anymore in being together, together, together. Not the pain, not the shame will show that you are weak. And from the pain and from the shame you will discover a new woman!
Books for Cooks and Foodies
Our annual roundup presents an array of beautiful and engaging cookbooks by authors who are passionate about making delicious meals. And even if you don’t cook, you’ll enjoy an abundance of information about Jewish history, life and culture. by JUDITH A. SOKOLOFF The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home (Andrews McMeel Publishing) by Nick Zukin and Michael C. Zusman. Zukin, an owner of Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen in Portland, Oregon; and Zusman, a judge by day and restaurant and food writer by night, begin their book with an engaging discussion on the origins, rise and decline of the Jewish delicatessen (between the two World Wars there were some 2,000 Jewish delis in New York City). Then they focus on today: “…posterity will show that the real savior will be the handful of second-wave Jewish delis that have opened since the dawn of the new millennium.” With an emphasis on artisanship, they say, this new generation of deli people are learning the traditional ways but also updating and altering them. The stories and recipes of several artisan delis are included, with photos so gorgeous that even vegetarians will salivate looking at the pastrami dishes. Some recipe examples: Pastrami Benedict, Cold Beet and Raspberry Summer Borsht, Spring Brisket with Leeks and Wild Mushrooms, Challah Sticky Buns, Chocolate Babka French Toast.
The Book of Schmaltz (Little, Brown and Company) by Michael Ruhlman. OK! OK! I’m sort of convinced after reading the author’s “love song to a forgotten fat” that a little fat is good. We can stop being phobic and feeling guilty about eating chicken fat, especially schmaltz — you know, the rendered kind, cooked with onions, that makes anything taste good. Just don’t eat too much. And you don’t have to be Jewish to love schmaltz. The non-Jewish author has a mentor in all things fat: Lois Baron, his neighbor in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She says: “Schmaltz is like a thread that runs through a great tapestry. It’s a secret handshake among Jews who love to cook and eat.” So here we go down this slippery slope with recipes for Traditional Chopped Liver (gribenes optional, but what the heck), The Mighty Knish (with close-ups of rolling the dough and forming the knishes), Kreplach and Kishkes. Then, it’s on to contemporary recipes like Shmaltz-Roasted Potatoes with Onion and Rosemary, Chicken with Schmaltz Dumplings, Savory Brioche, and Scones with
Roasted Red Pepper and ParmigianoReggiano. And such lovely photos. Jewish Traditional Cooking (Kyle Books). With their “150 nostalgic and contemporary recipes,” food writers Ruth Joseph and Simon Round lovingly take us back and forward in time with recipes created by generations of Ashkenazic and Sephardic mothers. Chapters cover soups, vegetables, fish, poultry, desserts, bread, Passover, and pickles and preserves. Recipes include fascinating tidbits about the origins of the ingredients. So, along with classic recipes like Haimishe Potato Soup, we get Jewish Penicillin Vietnamese Style; with Corned Beef with Knaidlach, we also get Sweet Potato Tortilla with Salami. Passover recipes include Herby Gnocchi in Mushroom Sauce, and Spinach and Cheesy Leek Roulade. The Prime Grill Cookbook (Pelican Publishing Company). Authors David Kolotkin and Joey Allaham take you inside the restaurant that marched in the forefront of the kosher culinary revolution. You’ll get a rib-eye view of the inner workings, personalities and
history of the Prime Grill, founded by Allaham in 1999 as the first high-end kosher steakhouse in New York City. Born in Syria, he became a fourth-generation butcher, then immigrated to New York in 1991. Kolotkin has been the executive chef for the past 10 years. Luscious close-ups of dishes abound, with recipes for Coffee-Rubbed Flatiron Steak with Stuffed Baked Potato, Pineapple Vegetable Strudel, Falafel Crusted Salmon, and Southern and Chocolate Chip Pie.
well as fancier, multiple-step ones. The section for Passover is the largest, with 45 recipes. Among the snacks, all “easy” recipes, are Chocolate Chip, Pistachio, Cranberry and Hazelnut Biscotti; Fruit Pie Bars; and Whole Wheat Fruit and Nut Granola. The moderate recipes include Chocolate Chip Sponge Bundt and Low Sugar Chocolate Almond Cake. The more complex recipes include Lemon Layer Cake, Key Lime Pie and Chocolate Chocolate Eclairs.
Isa Does It (Little, Brown and Company). Writer of the blog The Post Punk Kitchen, Isa Chandra Moskowitz promises “amazingly easy, wildly delicious vegan recipes for every day of the week.” And she delivers — in her conversational, witty style. Besides her 150 recipes, Moskowitz provides helpful tips on organizing, stocking your pantry, using tools and gadgets and the art of cutting up tofu and tempeh (for those who want perfect cubes and slices). Special thanks go to her for the cashew cream recipe. There are dishes for every kind of meal, such as Falafel Burgers, Acorn Squash Risotto, Red Lentil Thai Chili, Nirvana Enchilada Casserole, Banana Berry Scones and Orange-Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake.
Passover Made Easy (Art Scroll/ Shaar Press) by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. This is the first in a series of the authors’ reassuring “made easy” and “triple-tested cookbooks.” You’ll find more than 60 recipes, from starters to desserts, with many imaginative dishes to help you break out of a Passover routine. Included are Brisket Eggrolls, Barbeque Rib Steak with Honey-Horseradish Glaze, Spaghetti Squash Kugel, Matzah Toffee Bar Crunch and Truffled Grapes. Starters and Sides Made Easy by the same food writers presents a wide variety of ideas for appetizers and small dishes in the categories of vegetables, grains, meat and chicken, fish, dairy and desserts. You’ll find Za’atar and Rosemary Baked Olives, Kishka and Zucchini Towers, Forbidden Black Rice with Mango and Peaches, Sweetbreads with White Wine-Parsley Sauce, Tangy Tilapia Nuggets, and Apple Cherry Strudel. Both books include terrific photos and lots of cooking and serving tips.
Holiday Kosher Baker (Sterling) by Paula Shoyer. The author of The Kosher Baker: 160 Dairy-Free Desserts from Traditional to Trendy has now published this wonderful recipe book of traditional and contemporary desserts for the major Jewish holidays. It includes recipes that are gluten-free, nut-free, vegan and low in sugar; and each chapter includes easy onebowl desserts, as
Joy of Kosher (William Morrow) by Jamie Geller. This is a great cookbook if you can get through it without having attacks of guilt and jealousy.
Geller, with zillions of credentials (founder and chief creative officer of the Kosher Media Network, publisher of Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine, host of Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller cooking show) now brings us her latest cookbook, emphasizing “fast, fresh family recipes.” Did I tell you she has five children, ages 7 and under? (Their photos pepper the book.) And then there’s the supportive and loving man she refers to as Hubby (my only complaint about the book: his “name,” that is). Oh, and they recently moved from New York to Israel. Raised on takeout, Geller was clueless about cooking when she married — and, she confesses, she still doesn’t like to cook. But she sure learned, and that’s very encouraging for many of us. The more than 100 core recipes include either a “dress it up” or “dress it down” complimentary recipe, all told in her very chatty, friendly voice. Check out the Cilantro Corn Cakes (dress it up with Avocado Aioli), Chilled Coconut Berry Soup (dress it up with fruit, flower and mint ice cubes), Latkes with Caviar and Cream (dress it down with cinnamon and sugar for a sweeter version), Coq au Vin with Veal Sausage, Thyme and Merlot (dress it down with a quicker version), Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Skewers with Herbed Curry Mustard (dress it down for finger food), Nutty Caramel Brownies (dress it up with toasted marshmallows), Chocolate Hazelnut Milk Shake Martinis (dress it down by eliminating the liquor). All the recipes come with a suggestion for wine, a very good idea.
BOOK REVIEWS The Modern Menu (Gefen Publishing House). Kim Kushner’s motto is “less is more, simple is best and food should look as good as it tastes and taste as good as it looks” and “a thoughtfully prepared dish is far more interesting than a perfectly prepared one.” I’ll buy that. Among her kosher “foolproof ” recipes (she teaches cooking) are Kohlrabi and Cabbage Salad with Lemon Dressing, Cinnamon-Roasted Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes, Baby Lamb Chops and Pesto Croûte, Lemongrass Halibut with Cilantro and Peanuts, Chocolate Chiffon Cake, and Fig and Pecan Biscotti. Arty, closeup photos of the dishes enhance the book. The New Persian Kitchen (Ten Speed Press). The daughter of an American Ashkenazic mother and a father from a Muslim Iranian family, chef Louisa Shafia (who grew up in Philadelphia) has prepared everything from raw to vegan to high-end Swedish food at restaurants in New York and San Francisco. Now she is exploring the Persian food influences in her life, “blending the foreign and the familiar,” she writes. An overview of the history of Persian cuisine and a guide to Persian ingredients introduce the book. You’ll find everything for an exotic meal from starters and snacks to sweets: Winter Squash Fritters with Rose Petals, Passover Charoset, Cold Pistachio Soup with Mint and Leeks, Roasted Stuffed Artichokes with Mint Oil, Barley Stew with Lamb and Rhubarb, Persian Shepherd’s Pie, and No-bake Persimmon and Goat Cheese Cheesecake.
Nosh on This: Gluten-Free Baking From a Jewish-America Kitchen (The Experiment) by Lisa Stander-Horel and Tim Horel. For this important cookbook, expert baker Stander-Horel — who comes from a long line of serious bakers in the Eastern Europe tradition — has created gluten-free recipes that are “virtually indistinguishable from its gluten counterpart.” Her gluten-free kitchen came about because her husband (and co-author) suffers from celiac disease, and she also has bad reactions to gluten. So feast on these: Double Chocolate Chunk Mandelbrot, Sweet Cornbread Honey Donuts, Pumpkin Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream, Apple Pomegranate Tart, Raisin Pecan Rugelach, Passover Mini Berry Pavlovas, Challah Rolls, Matzah, Spinach Noodle Kugel and a whole lot more. Helpful cooking hints and explanations about ingredients and equipment are included along with many photos. The couple are the writing and photography team behind the baking blog Gluten Free Canteen. Balaboosta (Artisan). Einat Admony, a true, tireless balaboosta, is the chef-owner of three New York City restaurants (one called Balaboosta). It was in Admony’s childhood kitchen in Bnei Brak, from her Persian mother, that she “learned the trust-your-gut, balaboosta style of cooking” that she relies on to this day. We’re privileged to now have her “bold, Mediterranean recipes” for our own kitchens. Each section is preceded by a story about her cooking life. One section features recipes to feed your kids, encouraging their
participation; another provides quick and easy meals, a skill Admony picked up in the Israel Defense Forces. Others deal with slow-cooked foods, comfort food, romantic meals, barbeques, lowcalorie meals and Israeli recipes. In the section on foods you can’t live without, you’ll find recipes for sauces, dressings and sides like hummus, aiolis, labne and s’chug. Mouth-watering photos accompany the recipes, among them: Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Cider and Mustard Seeds, Quinoa Salad with Preserved Lemons and Chickpeas, Butternut Squash and Saffron Soup, Adobo Steak, Spicy Chicken Tagine, Fried Olives with Labne and Ricotta, and Pine Nut and Honey Bread Pudding. Cook in Israel (Cook in Israel) by Orly Ziv. You may not be able to go on one of Ziv’s exciting culinary tours or take her cooking classes in Israel, but you can use her recipes to taste the sumptuous multifaceted Israeli cuisine. Some of the dishes are influenced by her Jewish-Greek heritage on her mother’s side. A clinical nutritionist and vegetarian who lives in Ramat Hasharon, her recipes emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, grains and legumes, and she avoids fatty products. All recipes are accompanied by full-page, fullcolor photos. Try her Eggplant with Tomato Sauce Turkish Style, Raw Beet and Apple Salad, Onion Tart, Bukharan Chickpea Pastry, Beer Bread, Fish with Green Tahini Sauce, Passover Rolls and Chocolate and Halvah Babka.
Breaking Bread in Galilee (Hilayon Press) by Abbie Rosner. Passionate about learning to forage for wild edible plants and preparing foods in traditional ways, the author takes us on a fascinating culinary journey through the Lower Galilee where she lives. There, Rosner discovers “living links” to the ancient past through her Arab, mostly Bedouin, neighbors. They introduce her to plants like hubeisa, zaatar, luf and mandrake; to the laborintensive preparation of traditional dishes; and to the art of pressing olives, grinding wheat under stones and baking bread. They even help her build her own tabun, a clay oven. Not only does she unearth culinary traditions, but she develops wonderful friendships with the Arab people who warmly share their knowledge and skills. Rosner writes: “I have chosen to approach food as a means of bringing people together…. If using food as a bridge between individuals from either side of the conflict can help overcome suspicion and promote mutual understanding…then something very significant can be achieved.” A few recipes are included along with vivid descriptions of preparing dishes like Galilean Mejadra, a ruddy-colored bulgur, lentil and onion dish. The book is a real eye-opener. You can visit Israel many times, but it’s unlikely you’ll be exposed to this important — and fading — part of its culture. (Check out Rosner’s website: www.galileecuisine.co.il.) Eating the Bible (Skyhorse Publishing) by Rena Rossner. This is an innovative cookbook where the soulnourishing recipes “serve as talking
points for conversation and as a fun and meaningful way to incorporate the Bible into a weekly meal.” Recipes are divided by biblical chapter and accompanied by commentary. So, we have a quote from Genesis about Lot’s wife looking back and turning into a pillar of salt — which leads to an intriguing commentary on the event and then to a recipe for saltencrusted potatoes. In Exodus 1:14, the Jewish slaves are doing backbreaking labor using mortar and bricks, which brings us to haroset, the Passover food that reminds us of this work. Rossner also suggests: The apples in the haroset are “in tribute to the Israeli women who gave birth under apple or citrus trees in Egypt so that they might hide their baby boys…from Pharaoh’s infanticide decree.” A writer and poet living in Jerusalem, Rossner blogs about bringing more meaning to family meals at www. eatingthebibleblog.wordpress.com. Estee Kafra’s Cooking Inspired (Feldheim Publishers). Estee Kafra, editor of KosherScoop.com, gives readers a taste of the great variety of recipes from the popular website. Noting that cooking is much more than a chore, the Toronto resident writes: “I believe we can take this everyday act and elevate it into an experience of creativity, mindfulness and meaning.” We just need to “open our hearts and minds to the inspiration all around us.” With gorgeous photos as one mode of inspiration, she presents some 200 recipes, from appetizers to desserts. Besides Kafra’s own recipes, there are contributions by well-known chefs and food writers including Paula Shoyer, Daphne Rabinovitch, David Blum and Levana
Kirchenbaum. For Passover, check out the Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup, Seder Celery Root Chicken, Sweet ’n Sour Tongue, and Italian-Inspired Fruit Dessert. Icons for each recipe indicate whether the dish is Passover-friendly, gluten-free and seasonal. Arriving just under the wire is Mayim Bialik’s Mayim’s Vegan Table (DeCapo), written with Dr. Jay Gordon. We certainly can’t pass over Na’amat USA’s wonderful recent spokesperson. The vegan actress, neuroscientist and mother of two vegan sons doesn’t expect you to pick up the book and become an “instant vegan,” but hopes you’ll become a more thoughtful eater and feeder. Bialik, herself, is motivated by concerns for her family’s health, along with environmental and ethical considerations about the impact of raising animals for food. You can eat great food on a plant-based diet, Bialik declares, selecting recipes that will “please even the most skeptical carnivores.” Plenty of nutritional advice is offered. We have some 100 recipes to choose from — for breakfast, soups, salads, sandwiches, sauces, snacks, veggies, entrees, breads and desserts. Try the Dilled Chickpea Burger with Spicy Yogurt Sauce, Nondairy Kugel, Udon with Edamame and Peanut Sauce, Build-Your-Own Black Bean and Quinoa Tacos, Hot Pretzel Challah Bread, and Peacon Pie Truffles (with or without the bourbon). Judith A. Sokoloff is the editor of Na’amat Woman.
See It and Weep — The New Israeli Documentary
The Women Pioneers by AMY STONE
hey were young. They were idealistic and determined. They had no idea what they were getting into. We have the stories of five women journaling like crazy from the early days of Kibbutz Ein Harod, back when
Israeli director Michal Aviad lets the women pioneers of Ein Harod speak for themselves.
it was a settlement of tents near Lake Kinneret. These women pioneers filled hand-bound diaries with Hebrew script. They wrote on graph paper. At least one wrote on a Hebrew typewriter. In the 2013 documentary “The Women Pioneers,” Israeli director Michal Aviad lets the women speak for themselves. We see their diaries as their words are read, as the film cuts between their entries and archival footage. They wrote in Hebrew with a touch of Russian poetry in diaries seen from 1920 to 1948. The English subtitles capture the passion and the despair. These women didn’t hold back from recording initial shock and loneliness, first love, ongoing anger and frustration. We get a long-forgotten trove of intimate thoughts over vintage film of men and women in the fields, women in the kitchen,
women in the laundry, women at sewing machines, eventually women with babies — and men on tractors, men with guns, men making decisions. How did this happen? They came from Russia with revolutionary fervor, just a few years after the revolution. They dreamed of socialist equality, the New Woman, and Zionism. We feel we know their story — some of it through, according to the filmmaker, deceptive footage shot for U.S. fundraising among Zionist women’s organizations. We’ve seen the films of halutzim (pioneers) joyously dancing in one great circle under the Galilee sky — the land cleared of rocks, mountains almost dancing in the distance, joyous men and women joining arms — comrades in equality. Not. The 1918 Soviet Constitution declared “women have equal rights to
rived with her mother’s wedding ring? She wrote: “Even before I had a boyfriend I saw the relationship between two people as a free one. Without the shackles of religion and tradition I want full partnership in duties and rights, and most of all to secure my independence. And this ring is a symbol. Of what?” Pioneer Betty Friedan could not have said it better. We know the grim history of women’s inferior status in the kibbutz power structure. The film enumerates the details: Men ruled the secretariat, even coordinating the work done entirely by women. Women’s work was not just considered unproductive. Mothers’ nursing hours were listed as “idle.” All this is chronicled in the diaries with visual proof from film — black and white plus some faded color — from the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive, Ein Harod Meuchad
Photos courtesy of Dragoman Films
men.” But these women set their sights on building a revolutionary society in Palestine. They thought they had a clean slate — building a socialist kibbutz far from their elders. In the words of one diarist: “I knew only here could I realize a society in which women wouldn’t be oppressed for their biologic traits.” The film gives voice to the diarists’ fears on arrival at Ein Harod: What will happen to the newcomer’s delicate Russian hands meant only for kisses? Seeing the sunburned faces of the women who had come before them, one wrote: “We each asked ourselves, ‘Will you give your face, your body to this desolate land? One of us who was shocked at the sight cried all day. But in the morning, she put on a white scarf and went to work.” The rest is history, but not the official history glowingly handed down to posterity. Troubling and tragic are the endless blocked attempts to cast off male supremacy. What was a woman to do when a family from her hometown ar-
Archives and more. When women battled to get representation on committees, men feared being accused of weakness if they gave
They were young. They were passionate. They wanted to create free love in a brave new world. But free love worked better for the men than the women.
support. And when women did take part in meetings, they avoided expressing their thoughts. (See the woman surrounded by her male hevra, squirming in discomfort.) Conclusion: “The ultimate tragedy is the women’s sense of inferiority.” The film covers women finally winning the right to one-third representation on all committees and getting women’s work counted as productive. But they failed in getting men to do “women’s work,” and they were barred from “men’s work.” A diary recounts the humiliation of the women being locked in a cowshed with the children, the elderly and the sick during the 1929 Palestinian uprising. One woman writes: “The seed of insult that was sewn in the uprising of 1929 was sprouting in the uprisings of 1936.” She’s not talking about smoldering resentment between Jews and Arabs but of the women’s outrage over their men not letting them fight. This time the women trained and were finally issued weapons — hunting rifles — as the men headed off to fight. We know something of the price paid by women building the socialist Zionist dream, but the heartbreak they suffered in the attempt at “free
Passover Reflections continued from page 13
I never really appreciated those seders then, but strangely enough, I’ve been trying to bring back that feeling of automatic oneness with yearning ever since. It all seemed so natural, when our large extended family was growing and living in one city. And so difficult now. Sure, the preparation time is so much faster. Today, I just stick the pots in the dishwasher and declare them kosher l’Pesach. The haroset I whirl in a food processor. We banished the chopped liver and chicken fat so many years ago that no one asks for them any more. But bringing back that sense of togetherness — as a community and as a family — is harder. My father is no longer with us to lead the seders, my 24
love” comes as a shock. They were young. They were passionate. They wanted to create free love in a brave new world. But free love worked better for the men than the women. Women who had loved men and given birth to their children were devastated when their men created children with other women. At least one woman writes that she was more heartbroken by her friend’s betrayal than by her man. As the filmmaker said after the screening, these men were leaders in the kibbutz movement — sexy, eloquent. Streets were named after them. Nothing was named after the women. What did these women mean by “free love”? A pure, loving commitment between a man and a woman without the heavy hand of traditional laws of marriage? Love — sex — babies — independence. They certainly wanted them all. Did the women pioneers and the men they loved know about birth control? Were the women happy populating the land but wanted to do it with the love of a man who would be by their side, even without a wedding band? They seemed to never give up believing that change was possible. In a
final entry: “We will help the men not through understanding, compromise and humiliation, but by helping their war against themselves, against the belief in the supremacy of the male.” These eloquent, reflective women didn’t wonder whether men were made for free love longer than women. Instead, they berated themselves for not working harder to create a new man for the new woman. Feminism’s second wave went back over the same rocky ground as the women pioneers. Have we progressed? Israeli women have been flocking to the film’s screening. Very few men are in the audience.
mother — and most of my aunts and uncles — can no longer hear me chant the four questions. My cousins have families of their own. Today, my memories live, side by side, with a new reality: the reality of complicated airplane trips to my daughter and intense “catching-up” with hugs and exclamations before the holiday begins. But the seder itself I love even more. In this new reality, we may skip a word or two from the Haggadah. But we also take the time to reinterpret the Exodus story, with Passover puppets for the children and modern poetry, in English, for the adults. All through the seder, those tantalizing aromas of roasting brisket and tzimmes still simmer in the air, but my daughter and I lean back in our chairs, dipping and reciting along with everyone else. When it’s time to serve, even the children pitch in. And the prophet Elijah? As in years
past, we all sway and sing — both verses of the prophet’s melody this time: the songs of Eliyahu the Prophet and also of Miriam the Prophet, who was right there, at that first moment of freedom and whose timbrels showed the Israelites how to celebrate. Then, finally, in a bow to family tradition, “Ani Ma’amin. I Believe.” But this time, I turn to the soft, pink faces of my two grandchildren, their eager lips still smacking from chocolate macaroons and lollipops, and the miracle of survival floods me with gratitude.
Amy Stone, a founding mother of Lilith (the independent Jewish feminist magazine), is a journalist living in New York City. She blogs on www.lilith.org/blog. The Women Pioneers (2013) is an Israeli documentary directed by Michal Aviad (Hebrew with English subtitles, 51 minutes). It premiered in New York at the Jewish Film Festival in January 2014. For more information on the film, click on www.docaviv.co.il.
Judy Priven is a freelance writer working on a series of memoirs of Jewish immigrants to the United States within the last 100 years. She is the founder and retired publisher of Hello! America, Inc., guidebooks that specialize in information about international relocation.
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court, charging that the prosecution is trying to use the case as a warning to other young people not to participate in such demonstrations. After a few brief minutes at the hearing, the court sends the prosecution back to the police for more details. Leef and her family leave the courtroom while Lasky remains to wrap up some court bureaucracy. “Daphni took part in a demonstration and expressed her opinion against the economic policies of the government,” Lasky says, a few days later. She is in her sunny Tel Aviv office tucked away amid an auto mechanic shop, a metal works company, a drum store, a carpentry shop and a cooking school. “The Israeli authorities and the City of Tel Aviv wanted to stop a repeat of the demonstrations of 2011. This case is very important and has significance for all citizens of Israel regardless of their politics. The government is using her case as a flagship to stop social activists, presenting her as a delinquent. “It is very important in a democratic state that there be freedom of speech and freedom of assembly,” Lasky adds, choosing her words carefully. “It is important that citizens be permitted to express themselves in a non-violent way, even if it is against the government.” Born in Mexico, Lasky came to Israel in 1982, while still in high school, on an organized program at the Kfar Silver Youth Village boarding school. She decided to stay and her family later joined her. She completed her high school studies at Jerusalem’s elite Gymnasia High School. Influenced by the myriad of rich cultures in Mexico, she had wanted to be an anthropologist and to study issues of inequality in culture and gender. At Tel Aviv University, she began to study sociology, anthropology and art history. She quickly became involved in student activism as a member of the student union for the Ratz/Mapam Party — precursor of the left-wing Meretz Party — drawn to its civil rights platform. After Yitzhak Rabin’s election victory in 1992, for which Lasky had cam-
paigned with Meretz in charge of turning out the student vote, she worked as a parliamentary assistant for Meretz Knesset Member Dedi Zucker, who headed the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. “Through that, I realized that the law is a strong tool for change, to change reality, and so while I worked there I started to study law,” she recalls. “In studying law, my goal from the beginning was that I was going to deal with issues of human rights and civil liberties, freedom of speech and equality. I didn’t come to this career to become rich or not knowing what I was looking for. I knew exactly what it was I wanted and here I am.” From her third floor office, where she works together with two other lawyers in her firm, Lasky has represented the Palestinian, Israeli and international activists often arrested during demonstrations against Israel’s separation barrier. She also has represented Palestinian youth accused of rock throwing — as in a recent case that is preoccupying her at the moment, having just spoken to a teen accused of stone throwing two years ago. Lasky explains that the 14-year-old boy was taken by armed and masked soldiers from his home in the middle of the night without any prior summons to court on suspicion of throwing a rock in an open field in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. The boy was handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to a location that was not revealed to his parents. He was deprived of sleep, food and the use of a toilet. He was not briefed on his right to remain silent but was told that he had to talk. Lasky says that when a lawyer from her office called the police in the morning to tell them to stop the interrogation because he was on his way, the questioning continued. The lawyer was allowed to enter only after the boy had incriminated himself and others. “Parents have the right to be with a minor during questioning, and they have a right to see a lawyer before being interrogated,” explains Lasky. “After all this, we asked the judge to dismiss his confession because it was extracted illegally.” The court agreed that the police acted against the law, she says, but there
was no need to dismiss the statement because the boy was smart enough to know what he was doing. The minor remained in jail three months before Lasky was able to secure his release. He was then put under house arrest for one year, unable to go to school. And the two-year-old case — which does not involve any injury to anyone or damage of any property — is not yet over. “A child is a child and children’s rights must be protected,” Lasky states. “Also, an Israeli child can commit terrible offenses against Israelis, but God forbid he be treated this way. But because police and soldiers are used to such actions being permitted [in the West Bank], it is slowly beginning to permeate into Israel [as well].” She has heard of complaints of settler children also being treated in a similar manner and she opposes that, too. Still, Lasky points out, an Israeli minor has to be brought before a judge within 12 hours, while, until recently, a Palestinian minor could be held in jail for eight days before seeing a judge. Now, a Palestinian minor can only be held for four days before being brought to court — still much longer than an Israeli minor. “There are lots of people who support me,” Lasky says, “who recognize that unfortunately there is a need for people who do the work that I do. All this is done from a love of this place, from the desire to live in a country that respects people’s rights, that is fair and does not differentiate between rich and poor, or because of sex or ethnicity.” On the other hand, she comments, she is well aware of “the other side” whose “rhetoric” portrays organizations that deal with human rights as something negative in Israeli society, as anti-Israel. “It amazes me that in the State of Israel, which was created out of a scream of protest against the biggest violation of human rights, there are people — usually people who want to present themselves as the most patriotic — who [perceive] defending rights as something awful,” Lasky says. “For me that is incomprehensible and contradicts the very basis and principle of the creation of the State of Israel.” This stems, she believes, from a SPRING 2014
Sex Trafficking Must Be Stopped!
by MARCIA J. WEISS
What is human (or sex) trafficking?
he 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States,” yet human trafficking is present in every state, and few laws are in place to stop it. Human trafficking is the modern form of slavery, undermining our values and beliefs and promoting a severe breakdown in society. It is a horrific violation of human rights. Thousands of women and children, both girls and boys, are trafficked each year within or across national borders as part of a $32-billion annual industry. The U.S. State Department estimates that 27 million people are trafficked for labor, sex and other exploitative practices across the globe every year. Every 30 seconds another person becomes a victim of sex trafficking. Cases are reported in every country and in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. As the fastest-growing organized crime enterprise and the third largest criminal enterprise in the world, sex trafficking is big business. Be-
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lack of understanding of the concept of universal humanism and an incorrect [idea] of what it means to be a “victim.” One conclusion that can be reached by people who have been victimized, she says, is to decide to do unto others what was done to them, so that the others won’t do it to them again. The other conclusion is to assure that the victimization done to them not be done to others so the whole concept becomes unacceptable. “Unfortunately, people who support the occupation and use terminology of victimhood of the Shoah in this way are not only mistaken but cause 26
tween 14,000 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States annually, and approximately 100,000 American children are victims of community sex trafficking each year. Victims are generally under the age of 25, some as young as 12 to 14. Women and girls make up 98 percent of the victims. These staggering figures indicate that we must TAKE ACTION to ensure that the practice of sex trafficking ceases and that the traffickers and buyers are punished. Simple marketing principles apply: Demand drives supply and if there are no buyers, there will be no business. Current trafficking practices rely on secrecy and public ignorance to operate successfully. We must increase awareness and make trafficking a high priority in order to curb the practice.
Who are the victims? Victims of trafficking are among the most economically vulnerable in society. They are generally victims of poor economic conditions, economic deprivation and disadvantage, and lack of family support and education. They are enticed with the promise of a better life. Once recruited, traffick-
others to become mistaken as well,” Lasky continues. “We have to understand we are living in a divided land…. I believe that without reaching an agreement for two separate countries there are only two possibilities: Either we [become] an apartheid state where Israel does not give equal rights to Palestinians or we do not, but soon enough there will be an Arab majority and we will not be a Jewish state. There is no other way around it.” She adds: “People who are in any way involved even in the mildest form of terrorism have to be punished to the full extent of the law. I have not one word of compassion for anyone who believes that for any cause they can take the life of an innocent human being. I
ers use a variety of methods toward their victims, including starvation, confinement, beatings, physical abuse, rape, threats of violence and forced drug use. Victims may also endure psychological harm, including shame, grief, fear, distrust, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Victims generally arrive in the U.S. on tourist visas but overstay their time limits; others have fraudulent documents.
Where does sex trafficking occur? Trafficking is a national as well as a global problem. Aside from those victims trafficked within the United States, others come primarily from Latin America, the countries of the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia. Entry points are strategic sites along the U.S.-Canadian border, the St. Lawrence River, airports and military bases, easy access ports in Florida and along the East and West coastline. States like Pennsylvania are considered “pass-through” states for trafficking as well as a destination. Favorite airports in the East are Bradley in Connecticut and JFK in New York. San Francisco is a popular entry point in the West. When the
believe in the Israeli Declaration of Independence. We don’t have to invent anything new. Israel is a democratic and Jewish state that has to give equal rights to all citizens. We have to end the occupation and until we do that we have to take care of [the Palestinians’] rights.” Former colleague Zeev Zamir, who as deputy executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, a left-wing Israeli NGO, worked with Lasky at the beginning of her career, recalls her as dedicated, energetic and committed to the ideals of human rights. “She was very…supportive and emotionally connected with people,” he says. During her tenure with the organization, she provided support for
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) cracks down on one area of the country, the entry points shift elsewhere. Victims are moved in organized trafficking circuits from one place to another, from one brothel to another to prevent them from establishing contacts who could provide assistance, to escape detection from law enforcement, and provide a change of women for male buyers. Major sporting events such as the Super Bowl tend to attract increased sex trafficking.
What can be done? Major legislation is pending, aimed at awareness and remedies to curb and eventually eliminate sex trafficking. The Human Trafficking Prioritization Act, H.R.2283, elevates the State Department Trafficking in Persons Office to the status of a bureau, giving human trafficking a higher priority and allocating more resources to address the problem on a national level. The End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013, H.R.2805, provides for the arrest and prosecution of the buyers of sex from minors and other victims, not just the traffickers. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2013, S.1738/H.R.3530, proposes
creation of a “Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund” at the Treasury Department that the Attorney General can use to fund victims’ support programs. It would also increase law enforcement resources in the hopes of reducing demand for human trafficking by targeting purchasers. If successful, these bills will decrease demand for sex trafficking and increase the means of preventing it.
TAKE ACTION! Urge your legislators to support the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2013. Let’s raise awareness of this outrageous practice and take steps to eliminate it. Let’s educate our educators about the practice of targeting school-age children to engage in sex trafficking. Let’s encourage local schools to make sex trafficking awareness part of their curriculum. Na’amat USA pledges to protect women and children. Let’s redouble our efforts to bring an end to this heinous practice of sex trafficking. Marcia J. Weiss, J.D., is the Na’amat USA advocacy chair and national vice president for Program and Education.
young Israeli conscientious objectors and helped secure a safe release for a Syrian who had crossed over the border into Israel, according to his version, escaping the Syrian regime. After serving his jail sentence, had he been returned to Syria, he would have been killed as a traitor, says Zamir, and so he was kept in jail. In 2004, Lasky helped arrange for the prisoner to be included in a prisoner exchange deal set up with Hezbollah. The Syrian was sent to Germany along with some 435 Palestinian prisoners. “She went above and beyond to find a solution for him,” says Zamir. “This is not work done by the hour and she worked 24 hours a day.” Aware that many human rights groups are labeled as traitors or anti-Is-
NA’AMAT USA Resolution on Sex Trafficking Sex trafficking is the most common form of modernday slavery. Thousands of women and children, both girls and boys, are trafficked each year within or across national and international borders as part of a $32-billion annual industry. As the third largest and fastest-growing organized criminal enterprise in the world, sex trafficking is big business. An estimated 800,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders and additional individuals are trafficked within countries. WHEREAS trafficking occurs in every country, in all 50 states, and in all cities and towns, both large and small; WHEREAS victims of trafficking are generally under the age of 25, some as young as 12 to 14; WHEREAS an estimated 293,000 American children are at risk of becoming victims; WHEREAS sex trafficking promotes a severe breakdown in society, promotes organized crime groups, threatens government authority and encourages widespread corruption among vulnerable populations; WHEREAS agencies, educators and law enforcement at all levels must remain alert to this issue and address it vigilantly; NOW THEREFORE, Na’amat USA speaks for women and children in the United States and strongly urges our legislators to enforce existing laws aggressively and enact new legislation with harsh and severe penalties to deter both those engaged in sex trafficking and purchasers.
rael by right-wing groups and organizations, Zamir says that Lasky works for “the good of Israel.” He adds: “As a citizen she believes in human rights — that every person deserves to receive equal treatment under the law even if they are not from the same nation as you.” At her desk, fingering her coffee mug, Lasky talks about her life in Israel. She has won a seat on the Tel Aviv municipal council and muses over how she will balance all the aspects of her life as lawyer, mother and city council member. Mentioning that half of her family is here and half is in Mexico, she says: “Every day I am here I choose to stay here. And I choose to stay here because this is the one place I can really feel at home because this
is the only place I can feel I am fulfilling my essence. For that reason, and for the sake of my children, I want this place first, to continue to exist — and without reaching a [peace] agreement, I don’t think that is possible. And second, to be the best place it can be. Then we can start talking about other things like education and sustainability and culture. We were born with a responsibility to do tikkun olam (heal the world). To fulfill that call, we have to actually do it.” Jerusalem journalist Judith Sudilovsky writes for The Jerusalem Report and The Catholic News Service. She wrote “Going Away, Coming Home” in our fall 2013 issue. SPRING 2014
AROUND THE COUNTRY
πSan Fernando Valley Council honored Liz and Dave Raider (left) and Ruth and Mike Devine (right) at its gala 2013 Distinguished Community Leader Award Luncheon. Both couples are very active in their Jewish and general communities. Liz Raider is the national president of Na’amat USA, and Ruth Devine is the Donations Coordinator for Los Angeles Family Housing.
πJacqueline Oster (left), Southeast Area coordinator, and Natalie Shustrin (right), Kadimah club officer, set up the Na’amat USA display at the Combatting Sex Trafficking symposium in West Boynton Beach, Florida. The conference was sponsored by more than 20 organizations and local synagogues and drew some 400 participants (see related article on page 26).
πEveryone had a great time at the annual Spiritual Adoption Dinner of Cleveland Council held at the home of Linda Schoenberg, national board member. More than $4,000 was raised for Na’amat day care services in Israel. √ At a meeting of the Esther Goldsmith club of Toms River/ Ocean County, New Jersey: Reisa Sweet discusses the work Na’amat does in the Arab sector, focusing on the new Technological High School for Girls in Nazareth. On the right is Annette Basri.
Esther Goldsmith club ® of Toms River/Ocean County, New Jersey, held a Circle of Hope luncheon to raise funds for Na’amat technological schools. From left: Pearl Epstein, Lois Pollinger, and new members Diane Gang and Joyce Nussbaum.
πShalom club of Long Island Council (New York) celebrated Hanukkah at a member’s home with games, songs, latkes and sufganiot (donuts). From left: Eleanor Blackman, Diane Hershowitz, Trudy Sinn, Varda Singer and Nadine Simon.
π“Chocolat for Na’amat” fundraiser in Beverly Hills, California, was a great success! The event was organized by Neshot Otzma chapter, which is comprised of dynamic young professionals. “It was a lot of fun!” said Stephanie Nygard, Western Area director.
πCleveland Council presented a discussion on domestic violence with speakers from the Jewish Family Service Association.
Your Online Purchases and Searches Can Help NA’AMAT USA. It’s easy and it’s free with iGive.com! Join iGive.com for free — then shop and search and support our cause. A percentage of each purchase benefits NA’AMAT USA. Be part of the largest online network of shoppers, stores and worthy causes dedicated to turning everyday online shopping into much needed donations. It’s never been easier to support NA’AMAT USA. π Golda Meir chapter in Laguna Woods, California, held its festive annual Scholarship Dinner. Members honored Fran Ingram (left) and Natalie Rosen (right) for their outstanding services to the group and to Na’amat USA.
πCleveland Council held a delicious Donor Dessert event at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.
Shop at 1,300+ top-notch stores, including Amazon.com, Pottery Barn, Best Buy, Staples, PETCO, Expedia and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Smart shoppers will love iGive’s free shipping deals and exclusive coupons. That’s not all. You can raise a penny per search using iGive’s search engine www.iGive.com. And you will enjoy total member privacy.
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πNational board member Debbie Troy-Stewart of New Jersey holds her newborn granddaughter, who is already a Na’amat USA life member — fifth generation! Mazal tov!
national leadership vice president, has planned an exciting and educational seminar for a select group of our local leadership from cities across the United States. Jan Gurvitch, national fundraising vice president, will accompany the group as they experience first-hand how our Na’amat programs work and impact Israeli society. We look forward to strengthening and expanding our membership when the participants return home. As we approach spring after this long, hard winter, I wish you and your families a joyful Passover.
Make Recurring Donations to NA’AMAT USA! Recurring Monthly Giving gives NA’AMAT USA a steady source of income to fund its multitude of services in Israel. It’s a convenient and efficient way to provide help to those in need. Take advantage of the three easy ways to make recurring donations: Paypal – with a monthly bank draft Credit card – with a continuing monthly charge Credit card – with a monthly charge for a set duration of 10 months You can donate online at www.naamat.org or by calling the national office. Help ensure that our projects receive ongoing support!
NA’AMAT was founded 89 years ago as Pioneer Women.
Today, we’re still pioneers, providing day care for more than 18,000 Israeli children.
When NA’AMAT was founded in 1925, we were pioneers, dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in pre-state Israel. Now, with the largest network of day care centers in Israel, NA’AMAT has become a world leader in early childhood education. In fact, the NA’AMAT day care program has served as a model for the Head Start Program in the United States. Our activities also encompass legal, family and financial counseling; the prevention and treatment of domestic violence; a technological education network; and advocacy for women’s rights.
Join NA’AMAT USA today and become a pioneer of the 21st century. NA’AMAT USA, 21515 Vanowen Street, Suite 102, Canoga Park, California 91303 818-431-2200 • email@example.com • www.naamat.org 30