Spring 2013 2012
Courtesy, Volcani Center
Magazine of Na’amat USA Spring 2013 Vol. XXVIII No. 2
Programs for Jewish girls and young women empower them in their communities and personal lives. By Rahel Musleah
Editor Judith A. Sokoloff
Visiting Na’amat Day Care in the Danger Zone...............................................9 Our Na’amat correspondent visits preschool facilities in Sderot and Ashkelon, longtime targets
Assistant Editor Gloria Gross
of rocket and missile attacks from Gaza. By Judy Telman
Art Director Marilyn Rose
Preventing a World Food Crisis...................................................................13 Israel’s Volcani Center paves the way to provide food for the ever-expanding global table.
Editorial Committee Harriet Green Sylvia Lewis Elizabeth Raider Shoshana Riemer Edythe Rosenfield Lynn Wax
By Judith Sudilovsky
I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!......................................................................18 Women in India express their burning anger and grief at the rape and murder of Damini — but they also express their hope. By Aimee Ginsburg
Na’amat usa Officers
PRESIDENT Elizabeth Raider VICE PRESIDENTS Gail Simpson Chellie Goldwater Wilensky
President’s Message Take Action!
TREASURER Debbie Kohn
RECORDING SECRETARY Norma Kirkell Sobel
Na’amat Woman (ISSN 0888-191X) is published quarterly: fall, winter, spring, summer by Na’amat USA, 505 Eighth Ave., Suite 2302, New York, NY 10018 (212) 563-5222. $5.00 of the membership dues is for one year’s subscription. Nonmember subscriptions: $10.00. Signed articles represent the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of Na’amat USA or its editors. Periodicals class postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster, please send address changes to Na’amat Woman, 505 Eighth Ave., Suite 2302, New York, NY 10018.
by Marcia J. Weiss....................................... 23
Around the Country................................................... 28
Na’amat usa Chairs Harriet Green National Funds, Gifts, Bequests Lynn Wax Club and Council Fund-raising
by Elizabeth Raider and Galia Wolloch.....
Book Reviews: Books for Cooks and Foodies by Judith A. Sokoloff.........................................................24
FINANCIAL SECRETARY Irene Hack
E-mail: email@example.com Web site: www.naamat.org
Jewish Girl Power!........................................... 4
Our cover: Jewish girl power — a growing trend. See story on page 4.
Na’amat Usa Area Offices Eastern Area 505 Eighth Ave., Suite 2302 New York, NY 10018 212-563-4962 firstname.lastname@example.org
Illustration by Avi Katz.
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
immigrants, community centers, and centers for the prevention and treatment of domestic violence. Na’amat USA advocates on issues relating to women’s rights, the welfare of children, education and the United States-Israel relationship. Na’amat USA also helps strengthen Jewish and Zionist life in communities throughout the United States.
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Israel began the year 2013 with two important events. “A Day of Zionism” conference was held for all Na’amat regional chairpersons at the new Herzl Educational Center, an impressive facility on Mount Herzl. Masha Lubelsky, Na’amat Israel representative to the World Zionist Organization Executive, spoke about “Israel: A Zionist and Democratic State.” A highlight of the day was a tour entitled “Following the Footsteps of Women in Zionism,” which included a visit to
the graves of prominent women such as Golda Meir, Leah Rabin and Hannah Szenes. Na’amat held its Ideological Conference in February at Ayanot Agricultural High School with some 300 members from all over Israel. There was discussion of major issues concerning women that will be the focus of the organization for the next five years: equality for women in marriage and divorce, 51-percent representation for women (women comprise 51 percent of the Israel population), family-supportive work environments, equal pay for women in the workforce, and educating for gender equality in the schools.
From Galia Wolloch
uring the first session of the Na’amat convention in July, I was elected president. At that time, I invited you, my friends, to join me on a journey — and you joined in. For the past few months, we have been sitting together in this shared creative process, transforming ideas into principles. This process culminates today when, after sitting around these tables in an open and genuine talk, we have finally finished formulating the principles of our journey. Today we really get started. We have flags [principles] that we intend to wave in large groups, inviting more and more people, men and women, to join us. Together, we will succeed in turning our flags into common knowledge. Only together can we move on from principles to actions and from actions to achievements.
President Galia Wolloch addressed these issues in her speech at the conference. Excerpts from this talk follow my message. Please remember to register for the Na’amat USA National Convention, July 21-24, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio. Our convention committee is hard at work planning a wonderful, informative and enjoyable four days (see page 31 for more information). My best wishes to you and your families for a joyous Pesach.
When I dream about achievements, I imagine a civilized society, a civilized country. And what is a civilized society? It is one that tries as hard as it can to be more egalitarian, more just and more moral. Right in front of my eyes I see a country that offers real equal opportunities: for women, for young families, for single mothers, for elderly women, for men and women who live in the peripheral areas, for those who have difficulty finding employment, for those earning minimum wages and don’t have enough money to get them through the month, for Arab women, for Orthodox women. I see before my eyes women from all layers of the population and with all levels of education. I see a woman employed at a bank, and next to her, a woman who lectures at the university. They both have to cope with the burden of their dual careers. Both feel, and quite rightly so, that they are not compensated for their full contribution. They both have to struggle against a covert glass ceiling — denied, but with a strong presence.
The same can be said about the educated Arab woman from a village in the Galilee who is so eager to go to work and help support her family, and about the new immigrant woman who lives in Netivot. They both want to walk proudly, but none is able to rip the thin thread where the following words are written: No entry here! I can also envision the situation of a young father who has to fight just to convince his employer that he deserves, at least once a week, to see his children when they are awake and wearing regular clothes instead of pajamas. Despite all our nice affirmations about new and egalitarian families, we are still very committed to our old norms, which praise work and careerism as well as gendered stereotypes. I have to admit that even I have fallen into these norms occasionally. Let me tell you a true story that happened a few days ago. Early one afternoon, I called a colleague, a man with a senior posicontinued on page 17 SPRING 2013
Jewish Girl Power!
Programs for Jewish girls and young women have spread across the United States, empowering them in their communities and personal lives. by RAHEL MUSLEAH
Illustrations by Avi Katz
alia Kovacs remembers a moment during a girls-only group in high school when she was asked a question she had never heard before. “We had to go around the room saying what we thought our favorite part of our bodies was. I was so uncomfortable. I remember skipping my turn and going last. Eventually I said my ears, because they were functional.” For Kovacs and her friends, the group — Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! — provided a safe space to talk about what was really going on in their lives “without worrying about who was listening. That’s not always possible as a self-conscious teen surrounded by boys,” she says. The national program that began 10 years ago has reached 11,000 girls in 6th to 12th grades and has expanded to almost 350 groups this year. Through discussions and projects at the begin-
ning of each new Hebrew month, girls learn how Jewish tradition and values can help them with their everyday challenges. They find their voices and build positive relationships with one another and with a trained adult mentor. Some groups have been meeting through middle and high school — for up to seven years. Now 24 and a first-grade teacher in Washington, D.C., Kovacs says she makes it a point to tell her younger sisters what she likes about them — not just their internal qualities but also their physical attributes. “They should know they have a beautiful part on the outside, too, and not in a vain or bad way.” Kovacs also regularly hosts a women-only Shabbat dinner, and seven of her Rosh Hodesh friends originally from Great Neck, New York, attended her wedding this past August. “To see them dancing around her was one of my proudest and most profound educational moments in 25 years,” says the group leader, Moji Pourmoradi. Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!, a program of Moving Traditions, pioneered the field of programming for Jewish girls. Projects for girls have since proliferated across the country, focusing on issues from self-esteem and leadership to financial literacy and bat mitzvah. What they add up to is empowerment, framed in a Jewish context that can foster healing, meaning and possibility. “There’s nothing more central to human beings than their gender,” says Deborah Meyer, executive director of Moving Traditions (www.movingtraditions.org), which advocates for an expansive view of gender in Jewish learning and practice.
She co-founded Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! (www.roshhodesh.org) with Sally Gottesman and other women. “It’s also incredibly complicated,” Meyer adds.“Culture defines gender and tells us who we can become. We started with teens because it’s such a critical time in shaping identity.” Though many teen girls, Jewish or not, struggle with similar issues, “what motivates us is the place of Jewish values and being part of a community,” says Pippi Kessler, program director at Ma’yan, a feminist nonprofit research and education incubator in Manhattan. Women’s organizations with an adult lens have realized the import of directing their efforts to young women. They have added college campus projects and are now introducing teen programs. “When you get inculcated with ideas about gender, it’s harder to challenge later in life. To instill gender equity and feminism earlier, we must start earlier,” says Elana Sztokman, a leading writer on issues of Jewish feminism and executive director of JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, which is piloting a program for teens and is dedicating a track of its annual conference this fall to teens. “Girls today are expected to be good at all the traditional girl ‘stuff’ — being pretty, nice, empathetic and cooperative, and also at most of the traditional guy stuff — getting straight As, being superathletes, being assertive and aggressive,” says Aliza Frohlich, psychologist and Judaic studies teacher in Bergenfield, New Jersey. “There’s still a lot to be done to create a world in which girls and women have the opportunity to do whatever they want with full agency and safety
and the support of culpornography, sexting, ture,” agrees Meyer, financial literacy, pre55, who experienced scription drug abuse, youth empowerment Internet and cell-phone and leadership firstbullying, and leadership hand as a camper and in a coed world. leader in the Labor ZiPourmoradi holds onist Habonim-Dror the Rosh Hodesh meetmovement. ings in her own dining The issues the room. She drapes the taRosh Hodesh groups ble with a cloth the girls explore are power and have decorated with authority, body image, their names, and scatsexuality and intimacy, ters icebreaker quesand relational issues tions that she has writthat include bullying ten on cards: What’s and friendship. Each the nicest compliment year of the group is deyou’ve ever gotten? voted to a different asThe best book you’ve pect of identity: heart, ever read? Your favorite spirit, voice, wisdom Participation in Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! helped place to be alone? After and power. Jewish valthe girls pick a question ues like derech eretz, teand answer it, they beto solidify the girls’ commitment to Judaism and shuvah, lashon hara, for gin the Jewish-themed instance, help girls act program from the curwith consideration and riculum. For Hanukstrengthened their understanding of themselves as respect, avoid gossip kah, Pourmoradi asked and speak with integrity. what it means to be a agents of change in the Jewish community. Looking back at light. Each girl wrote on the 10 years of the their own candle with organization’s activisticker letters what enties, Gottesman comdows them with the ments: “The impact on girls has been equity, and how we integrate Jewish val- power to become a light. The answers profound, especially as many of the ues into our lives as Jewish women.” But ranged from music and yoga to parents first girls in the program are now in most of all, she adds, “what I walked and friends. “Now they have the candles their mid-20s and are becoming active away with was a sense of community. in their rooms whenever they need it,” members of the Jewish community in We made this time to get together and Pourmoradi says. “I want the girls to their own right. Their participation became a part of each other’s lives.” be connected to Judaism in a way they in Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! A survey Moving Tradition con- wouldn’t have otherwise. To show teenaghelped to solidify their commitment ducted in 2011 drew the following ers that we are all in this theological jourto Judaism and strengthened their un- comments from participants: “I can ney together is a priceless gift.” derstanding of themselves as agents of talk about Jewish identity and womanHer daughters, Rachel, 14, and change in the Jewish community, en- hood;” “I feel it’s really safe and I know Amy, 16, are both in the group and suring that their voices, and the voices the other people there would keep my encourage their friends to join. “I of all women and men, are heard in the secrets;” “I feel comfortable talking tell them they’ll feel good after they Jewish community.” about girl stuff like growing up, and we come,” says Rachel. “We’re all friends Sarah Levy, 22, who participated in talk about what happened at school — and we’re all there for the same thing.” the Great Neck group for four years and things I can relate to with friends.” A recent discussion focused on how to is now a pre-med student, recalls mean“We explore what messages girls are overcome insecurity when someone ingful discussions on forgiveness and receiving from the outside world, how at school insults you, she recalls. “We intention (“If you apologize and it’s not they understand them and what compass- talked about how to prove to a bully wholehearted, does it still count?”) as es help them negotiate — family, Judaism, that the insult is not something you well as other specific topics. “We talked staying connected to themselves,” says care about.” about how we see ourselves in the mod- Meyer. The organization is updating its Meyer’s daughter, Carla Golden, 22, ern world, about feminism and gender curriculum to reflect new issues like online a senior at Penn State, saw the positive SPRING 2013
impact the Rosh Hodesh group had on her younger sister Talia (now 19). “She found support from women and learned how to talk to girls in a noncompetitive way. It promoted leadership from a place of equality for everyone.” Disappointed that her own group didn’t gel, she created a college version that she leads, a Hillel-supported club open to both Jews and non-Jews.
ful career. The second concept we were referencing was the idea that women are expected to project a sense of effortlessness — for example, to be thin without admitting to dieting, beautiful without makeup, or to be in a leadership position without appearing overly assertive. Girls are still given few stories about what is acceptable.” Rachel Abeshouse, 21, a student at Vanderbilt University, participated in RTI in 2007. “It makes sense to ask girls about girls. The program treated us as adults and allowed us to think through things ourselves.” She learned,
hattan. (The film and research findings are available free on Ma’yan’s Web site, www.mayan.org.) The emotional and developmental milestones around bat mitzvah are at the core of several programs. “Beneath the Surface,” a three-session program for girls and their mothers, was developed by Mayyim Hayyim, a community mikveh and education center in Newton, Massachusetts, with the guidance of feminist scholar Penina Adelman. hile the Rosh Hodesh proj“There’s a concern that bat mitzect reaches thousands, vah is just a show and then it’s over,” Ma’yan has made a big insays Lisa Berman, Education Center vestment in a seemingly director. “We need small group of girls — just to deepen that expe35 so far over the course rience, and to allow We need to deepen the bat mitzvah experience, and moms and daughters of four years. Founded 20 years ago to act as a catato connect more lyst for change for women to allow moms and daughters to connect more deeply deeply with each and girls, it shifted its foother about somecus to girls in 2006. A rething other than the with each other about something other than the search training internship guest list, tutoring (RTI) for girls in grades and dresses. It takes 9 to 11 covers different all that off the table.” guest list, tutoring and dresses. topics each year: a broad The safe, quiet, neusurvey of attitudes and tral space opens the experiences; the meaning door to conversation of bat mitzvah; and the ethics, structure for instance, that parents’ expectations and activity — moms to moms, girls to and impact of community service. affect girls differently. “It can be wor- girls, mothers to daughters. “We engage girls as experts on their risome when girls are pigeonholed and Mother-daughter pairs make their own group,” notes Beth Cooper Ben- expected to become doctors or law- own midrash and rituals and learn jamin, Ma’yan’s director of research. yers.” Abeshouse says her “first foray about the history and significance of The research that previously existed, into research” helped her decide to fol- the mikveh. One pair brought an old she says, was designed and collected by low a scientific path, to understand the family ladle, scooped water out of the adults. “We are generating data miss- value of mentors like Benjamin, and to mikveh and washed each other’s feet. ing from our knowledge base, and are look more critically at her own choices. Another pair purchased a decorative giving girls the opportunity to inform “In talking to young girls, I would say floor plant indigenous to the area of our inquiry and interpretation.” It’s not pursue the avenues you are interested in China in which the adopted daughter that Ma’yan assumes everything a girl rather than others’ expectations.” had been born; they watered the plant wants is good for her, says Benjamin, In Ma’yan’s social justice appren- with water from the mikveh. Immerbut being responsive means “listening ticeship, “That’s Not Fair,” girls exam- sion is not required, says Berman, since first rather than being prescriptive.” ine privilege, power, injustice and ad- it’s a personal choice that might deter The current cohort is researching vocacy, and use arts media like political some potential participants. But about “secrets of the perfect girl” — the pres- theater to educate, provoke and create half of the 61 pairs that have particisures and expectations girls perceive change. Another program, a filmmaking pated have returned at the time of bat themselves to be facing. “This came up intensive, resulted in a short documen- mitzvah to immerse. in reference to two different ideas,” ex- tary, “Bat Mitzvah Dress Code,” which For the Jewish Women’s Archive plains Kessler. “The first was the idea not only taught girls the logistics of based in Brookline, Massachusetts, that contemporary women are still being interviewing and filmmaking, but also offering girls the possibility of new held accountable to traditional gender tackled tough questions about custom, role models is the crux of its online norms — being expected to be physi- expectations, family, community and “MyBatMitzvahStory,” launched a year cally beautiful, nurturing and accommo- Jewish values around religious iden- ago (http://mybatmitzvahstory.org). At dating. But instead of these traditional tity and clothing choices. The film was a time when families are thinking about pressures lessening, new pressures have screened in conjunction with a sym- family history, Jewish identity and peobeen added — such as additional pres- posium, “What To Wear,” held at the plehood, the program provides heroes sure to be athletic and have a success- Jewish Theological Seminary in Man- beyond biblical matriarchs or even iconic
Zionists like Henrietta Szold. Stories of women like Challenger astronaut Judith Resnik, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, or pop vocalist Regina Spektor can build girls’ connections to Judaism, says Etta King, education program manager. “We’re striving to recognize the multifaceted aspects of the American Jewish woman in each person.” At her own bat mitzvah, says King, three grandmothers were present — her mother’s non-practicing Christian mother, her Irish Catholic step-grandmother, and King’s Jewish grandmother from her father’s side. “I was carrying on what all three taught me, but I am a Jewish woman. I thought about how their lessons resonate in my life.” An online toolkit with templates for conducting family oral histories and collecting artifacts simplifies the research process. “The stories that came before us are important, and part of the responsibility of being Jewish adults is telling those stories,” says King. Unaffiliated and interfaith families or those doing nontraditional ceremonies may especially benefit from the program.
n fact, much of the programming for Jewish girls doesn’t attract the Orthodox community, and few resources exist for Orthodox girls. JOFA’s pilot program at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Baltimore, led by feminist educator and artist Chava Evans, engages high schoolers who want a role in Torah reading, prayer and ritual, supplemented by hesed (acts of loving-kindness) projects and social programming. Named B’not Tzelophchad for the five daughters who petitioned to inherit land in ancient Israel, the support and consciousness-raising network teaches teens “to speak up for change in their schools and synagogues, to determine how they fit into prayer, and to discuss sexuality, gender and relationships,” says
JOFA program director Rachel Lieberman. “They learn to articulate their spiritual needs and religious ideals and translate them into action.” JOFA also encourages girls to write for its blog (Jewfem.com), as did Eden Farber, a 16-year-old from Atlanta who chronicled her story of empowerment last year at Young Israel of Toco Hills. In fact, Farber led the way for the women of her synagogue. With her mother’s help, Farber sent out an e-mail inviting the women to her home to discuss ritual inclusion. The group began “a leyning [chanting] initiative” and culminated in a women’s Torah reading on Simchat Torah. The second session of the group has attracted two other teens. “This is not an egalitarian community, and that’s fine,” Farber wrote. “The women reading Torah did not read it to say, ‘Hah!’ — they read it to read it. These women, whom I am proud to know, wanted a genuine religious experience. They wanted to connect to God in a way they never had before — yet in a way they knew they must; they wanted their daughters to see their future as strong and independent talmidot Torah. They
are building Am Yisrael. “Watching one of my own hanikhot [campers], who was too young to leyn at this reading (though she did learn to leyn with us) but got to watch her mother and grandmother read, reminded me of the other side of why this was so important. It’s not only the mothers setting religious examples for their daughters, but entire communities creating new models. It was not just important to me; it was not about a personal opportunity to leyn. Because at the end of the day, I am an individual, and this was an event of a community — a community of women that wanted to learn and develop a skill and teach unto their children, as the Torah tells us; a community that would defy gravity if they had to — just to learn. The message was loud and clear: We matter, our daughters matter, and this Torah is our Torah, too. “What my community needs is groups and programming for everyone — girls and boys, teens and adults — to redefine what it means to be a Jewish woman,” explains Farber. “All too often, the role of a Jewish woman is likened to a housewife. We need representation from people who model active religiosity. Jewish teens today can’t see strong, observant, active women –- so how can we be them?” She adds that Orthodox girls are put into a “small, constrictive, dark, gloomy box” in which they will subsequently be stuck forever unless they are better educated about religious participation, Torah and Talmud, and the laws of modesty. In the absence of any organized groups for girls in her community, Farber counts an 87-member Facebook group, Teenage Orthodox Feminists, as her online community. The request for “girls-only” time often comes from the girls themselves, as it did at the Paramus, New Jersey, Yavneh Academy where Aliza Frohlich teaches. The coed social-emotional curSPRING 2013
riculum for middle schoolers discusses issues from self-esteem to peer pressure and stress management, but Frohlich started an optional girls-only class to address body image, media pressures, modesty, prayer, female role models and women’s role in Judaism. ”It’s an opportunity for the girls to understand situations that will confront them in life,” says Frohlich. “The girls cherish the time together.” The messages of Judaism are the messages of healthy, well-adjusted women, says Frohlich “They are one and the same. I revel in the idea that through the Torah our girls will develop stronger self-images and become more resilient to the pressures they experience.”
cross the country, San Francisco’s Shalom Bayit, founded as an intervention and crisis program to combat domestic violence, began a prevention program for teens called “Love Shouldn’t Hurt.” Zephira Derblich-Milea, youth program coordinator, does 70 workshops a year for teens and parents on healthy relationships, boundaries and dating violence. Sometimes teens approach Derblich-Milea following a workshop to talk about their own situation or that of a friend. “They open up to me specifically because I am a stranger and probably won’t see them again.” Six years ago, Shalom Bayit published a curriculum and facilitators’ guide for middle school, high school, college students and parents. It has been sold across the country and internationally. “Sexual abuse and domestic violence is everyone’s issue. It crosses all boundaries — socioeconomic, racial and ethnic,” says Derblich-Milea. “Most people in the Jewish community believe it doesn’t happen in our community, so we educate people that it does, and what our religion teaches us: Be there for others. Stand up for your neighbors. Protect yourself against verbal and physical abuse. Humiliation equals shedding blood.” Jewish Women International, which also offers a curriculum promoting healthy relationships, has shifted its focus to advocating financial literacy for girls, says Deborah Rosenbloom, director of programs. Life$avings for Teens introduces high school girls to key elements of budget8
ing, saving, and asset building, all within a Jewish context. In addition to the teen workshops, it includes a mother/daughter seminar to foster conversation, training for educators to use the four-hour curriculum, a public awareness campaign and online resources. Over 1,500 teens have participated so far. “The important piece is the message that mothers talk to teens about money along with other conversations. Teens don’t understand that having money gives you power. It is an important way to control your life. Every young woman should be as financially literate as she is academically accomplished.” JWI began its financial outreach on college campuses. But, says Rosenbloom, “once they are in college, credit card debt can escalate, and their career choices can influence their quality of life.” The program also stresses the Jewish values of being responsible with money, not wasting and, of course, tzedakah (charity). “The bottom line is that it’s a program by a Jewish organization for Jewish teens and women. It is a way to help young women be independent and strong women,” says Rosenbloom. The Manhattan High School for Girls has made the curriculum mandatory for its students. Jewish women’s foundations around the country (usually associated with Jewish federations) have also prioritized girls’ programming. After hearing from community leaders and girls themselves that girls’ needs were not being served, the San Diego Jewish Women’s Foundation budgeted $325,000 over four years for five programs promoting self-esteem, improving peer relationships and enhancing leadership skills. Facilitators are now being trained to make their projects self-sufficient so they can continue independently. “There is a lot of pressure in Southern California to be perfect against an ideal that’s not attainable. It’s an airbrushed ideal,” says Tina Beranbaum, the foundation’s chair. The foundation tailored the programs to appeal to different ages: High school girls wanted a service element that they could include on their college-bound applications, so “Girls Give Back” stresses hands-on service
learning and advocacy. This past year, the girls worked with five organizations, helping the homeless, cleaning up beaches, sustaining a women’s’ shelter, assisting refugees and helping children with special needs. The social element of Girls Life, an interactive wellness program with physical fitness, leadership and Jewish values components, draws younger girls, ages 11-14. B’Not, Lead On!, an initiative of the national Friendship Circle, brings together typical and special-needs teens ages 11-17. “Girls with special needs learn how to be a friend and what it’s like to be included,” Beranbaum says. “Typical girls learn how blessed they are and how unimportant physical perfection is. They develop deep relationships that are life-changing for both.” Marcia Jaffe, 17, the youth president of B’not, developed a leadership program to plan events and brainstorm new ideas. “My friend feels like she is a leader as well. It gives her confidence and comfort. Judaism isn’t part of my friend’s home or life. Through this program she sees the ideals of Judaism expressed.” The San Diego programs have encouraged more teens to volunteer their time at local organizations and to take active roles in advocating for public policy changes, says Beranbaum. Older teens are training younger teens on the importance of giving back to the community and sensitizing them to negative images of women in the media. And because the programs span Jewish denominations, they are promoting tolerance and understanding. Giving girls a voice will result in far-reaching effects on the Jewish community at large, girls and program organizers agree. “For the Jewish community — really any community — to succeed and advance,” says Kovacs, “each person needs to feel comfortable in his or her own skin.” Rahel Musleah is a New York-based writer, singer and educator who presents programs on the Jews of India and Iraq. She wrote “Ilana Goor Museum” in our winter 2012/13 issue. Visit her Web site: www.rahelsjewishindia.com.
Visiting Na’amat Day Care in the Danger Zone
Our Na’amat correspondent visits preschool centers in Sderot and Ashkelon, longtime targets of missile and rocket attacks from Gaza. by JUDY TELMAN
Dina Amuyal, director of HaShikma Day Care Center in Sderot, joins the children playing in the popular ball box, located in the shelter.
kindergartens, schools, businesses — as residents responded to the red-alert alarms, which sent them scurrying to shelters and safe rooms that they had to reach within 15 seconds. Needless to say, my visit was postponed. However, a couple of weeks later, after a cease-fire agreement was reached, the trip was rescheduled, and my husband, Stew, and I headed for Sderot — located one kilometer from Gaza. I don’t know what I expected to find in an area that has seen a constant barrage of rocket attacks since Israel’s disengagement in 2005. I had imagined destroyed buildings, broken streets and fields turned upside down from the impact of exploded rockets. However, when we drove into the city, I almost thought we were in the wrong place, because it all looked pretty normal. The
Photos by Rivka Finder
hen I first planned to visit Na’amat installations in Sderot and Ashkelon, life was relatively quiet in that area of southern Israel — a longtime target of thousands of rocket, missile and mortar attacks from Gaza. A date was set in November for me to meet with Yehudit Uliel, regional chairperson of Na’amat, and to visit various Na’amat installations in the two cities. And then the rockets came raining down, striking homes, businesses and factories, causing damage and creating havoc. Everything closed down — day care centers,
Kobi Harush, Sderot chief of police, shows writer Judy Telman some of the missiles that have fallen on the city.
government is quite effective when it comes to cleaning up and repairing this kind of destruction. And there are even a number of new houses being built. Yehudit Uliel and I were joined by photographer Rivka Finder, whose wonderful images have illustrated many Na’amat stories over the years. Coffee came first — and a chance for Yehudit to give us some background. Yehudit has an impressive history. She was born and raised in Sderot, the youngest of five children (four brothers), and her parents still live in their original
home. She has a law degree, a degree in sociology and has taught “informal education,” she said. Yehudit was a member of the local municipal council and knows just about everybody in the town. She has been active on the Na’amat local council and national level, and has worked with children, teenagers, adults and seniors in a variety of programs. Her experience, her caring and her personal ties with the community are evident in the programs and activities organized by Na’amat. Yehudit has two children, one in the army and the other just out of the military. She was constantly greeted by passersby as we walked or drove through the city. Before seeing the day care centers, Yehudit arranged for us to meet with Kobi Harush, head of security in Sderot. He took us around Sderot, pointed out the buildings that had been hit by rockets and spoke about the damage to property. He drove us to what he calls “Kobi Hill,” a site overlooking the town, neighboring kibbutzim and moshavim, Ashkelon and Gaza, which is right next door. Kobi told us that some of the missiles and rockets were fired at the Rothenberg Electric Power Station in Ashkelon, which supplies electricity not only to Israeli cities but also to Gaza. When the station was hit, electricity was cut off to Gaza as well as to Sderot, Ashkelon and other local communities. It was then, as we drove through
the area, that I got the feeling I was in the wrong place. All the buildings that had been damaged were in the process of being repaired or have already been repaired, renovated and equipped with a safe room. Apartment buildings throughout the city have had additions put on that are reinforced and impenetrable by rockets. All bus stop stations have been converted into reinforced shelters, so that if people are waiting for a bus or nearby when the alarm goes off, they can pop in and feel safe and secure. Residents go about their business — driving, walking, shopping, working and eating in restaurants. The only indications that this has been an area under attack for the past several years are the preponderance of monuments, memorial sites, plaques and sculptures dedicated to those who lost their lives as a result of the missile strikes from Gaza. These memorials may be found at roundabouts and in front of homes, schools and buildings — grim reminders of what has transpired and what may happen again. Our next stop was police headquarters, where the municipality has stacked the remnants of the variety of rockets and missiles that landed and exploded in places throughout the city — including homes, businesses, school yards and fields. Kobi pointed out each type, explaining their range and even who fired it — Hamas, Fatah or one of the Palestinian splinter groups. Many
Naptime at the Tsaalon Day Care Center, one of Na’amat’s 30 multipurpose centers that service children from disadvantaged families.
weapons are signed by the group that fired them. There are hundreds of these chilling remnants displayed on the shelves outside police headquarters and many more in storage. We were grateful to Kobi for enabling us to get a better understanding of what has been taking place in this special community where nobody has left, people are going on with their lives, and new people are moving in.
e then headed to the two Na’amat day care centers in Sderot. Both are now located in new facilities provided by the Defense Ministry and are totally reinforced — keeping the children and staff safe in case of an attack. The old centers (one of which was hit prior to Operation Cast Lead) remain standing. Yehudit hopes to be able to convert one of them into a women’s center where Na’amat can offer classes and other services. It would house the organization’s legal aid offices, as Na’amat lawyers come to Sderot every two weeks to offer women legal counsel regarding discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, marital problems and domestic violence. Currently, if Yehudit wants to introduce a course or have a lecture, she has to rent space. Our first stop was Maon HaShikma, to which Na’amat Canada contributes. When we entered the building, the first thing that struck us was the cleanliness, the colorful walls, the pictures and the children’s lively drawings displayed throughout. Director Dina Amuyal took us to the three classrooms — one for 19 infants; one for 20 toddlers, ages 1 to 2
At the Community Day Care Center in Ashkelon, from left: Rahel Kiri, day care center curriculum supervisor; Yehudit Uliel, regional chairperson; Ilana Abaksis, director; a mother with her baby.
years old; and another for 23 children, ages 2 to 3. We arrived on the last day of Hanukkah, and, of course, were greeted with a holiday song. In each classroom, the children were engaged in their activities — sitting with the caregiver, listening to a story, playing a game, assembling a puzzle. One of the children, overwhelmed by the entry of strangers, began to cry, and in seconds he was picked up, comforted and reassured by one of the caregivers. The room designated as a shelter (although all the rooms are reinforced) has a playground with rubber mats, slides and a huge box filled with large colored balls in which the children play, roll around or just relax. There is also an air cleaner to suck out poison and clean the air in case of chemical warfare. Our next visit was to the Tsaalon Day Care Center in Sderot, a multipurpose facility open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Dedicated to Alice Howard (z'l), past national president of Na’amat USA, it is a new facility offering special services. There are the children who attend the regular 12-hour day and others who come from throughout the city for an after-school program from noon to 7:00 p.m. These children, up to age 8, take part in a variety of social, develop-
A father brings his children to the Feigele Testyler Day Care Center in Ashkelon.
mental and educational activities. They get a hot lunch when they arrive and dinner before they go home, in addition to the afternoon snack. Many come from low-income, single-parent or large families and also families in distress. Director Etti Yifrach pointed out that there is a social worker in each center who works with parents and children dealing with posttraumatic stress syndrome as well as other problems. This is a vital service to the community and to the people who deal with the day-to-day worries about the uncertainties and dangers in their lives. The after-school program is coordinated with the Municipal Welfare Department.
Yehudit mentioned that she is very pleased that Alice Howard’s son Alan Howard visits the center a couple of times a year, reinforcing the connection between Na’amat Israel and Na’amat USA.
e were able to convey the feeling of support and caring for the children from an unexpected source. Through a personal connection with the volunteer staff who come (for 1 to 1-1/2 years) to the Brigham Young Center for Middle Eastern Studies housed on Mount Scopus and their humanitarian committee, my husband and I were able to deliver part of their contribution to the children in the Na’amat day care centers in Sderot and Ashkelon. They had put together 500 “hygiene kits” containing two towels, two bars of soap, four toothbrushes and toothpaste; and 500 “school kits” with lined and unlined pads of paper, pencils, colored pencils, scissors, pencil sharpeners and erasers to be distributed in the two cities. Most of the boxes were delivered by truck, the cost of which was covered by the English-speaking Sophie Udin Club of Na’amat Jerusalem. Before leaving Sderot, we stopped
Snacktime at the Feigele Center. Like all multipurpose centers, it’s open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
at another remarkable place: a totally reinforced indoor recreation center — a contribution of the Jewish National Fund in the United States. The facility offers recreational games, toys, sports equipment and activities for children and adults. Physical therapy and homeopathic medical care are available, along with a coffee shop. Five side rooms are totally reinforced and easily reached in the event of a red alert. When we arrived, the place was teeming with people, since it was the last day of Hanukkah and schools were still closed for the holiday. During the critical days of the rocket attacks, when day care centers were closed, many of the Na’amat day care children were brought here, supervised by their regular caregivers to provide an atmosphere of “normality.” Yehudit had another surprise for us. She took us to her parent’s home where she was born. What a treat! Her mother also worked for Na’amat, but, now retired, she does volunteer work with seniors. In her lovely house, homemade goodies were awaiting us. Who could refuse? Family pictures adorn the walls, signs that her mother and father are proud of their offspring. Of special interest was the security room built on to the house so that Yehudit’s parents are totally protected in case of an attack. The room is equipped with two beds and a television set. The window has shatterproof glass and a shutter that closes to totally seal off the room. They showed us a house directly across the street that was hit by a rocket and completely destroyed during Operation Cast Lead. Fortunately, the elderly woman who lives there was not home at the time. The house has been reconstructed, and one would never know what had happened. As we left, a box of cookies was handed to me. What does one do with the Jewish Mother Syndrome? Got to love it. What a remarkable city!
ff to Ashkelon, just 12-1/2 kilometers north of Gaza. This is another city targeted by Hamas rockets and missiles, but it has not yet created the same degree of security protection found in Sderot. Bus stops are not reinforced and buildings don’t have security rooms
built on. In the event of an attack, people have to scurry to the nearest shelter or drop to the sidewalk if there isn’t one nearby. Na’amat runs four day care centers in Ashkelon, including a multipurpose one, open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. In addition, the organization offers special programs for women and families. For example, Rachel Kiri, who is the regional curriculum supervisor for the Na’amat day care centers, took on the added responsibility of working with a group of 15 volunteers who help bereaved families — a cooperative project of Na’amat and the Ministry of Defense. The women meet once every two weeks and receive training and guidance from a representative of the Defense Ministry. They meet with the bereaved once a week, explains Rachel, and have been very instrumental in helping these families deal with trauma and loss. It is not unusual for these women to volunteer in many other ways with Na’amat, with Rachel as the glue that holds them together. The highlight of our visit to Ashkelon was the visit to two of the day care centers. As always, we could not help but be impressed with an atmosphere that exudes warmth and caring. The director of the Community Day Care Center, Ilana Abeksis, was ill that day, and one would think her absence would affect the functioning of the center. However, we found ourselves, once again, at a well-run facility, with caregivers surrounded by children — infants through toddlers — who know that they are safe and well cared for. Although the building is not reinforced, there is a shelter. Designed as a playroom, it contains colorful mats and toys and the very popular box of colored balls. The shelter has an air filtering system. After school hours, classes are held for women, linking the center to the community and reaching out to meet its needs. Here, too, Yehudit would like to convert the one day care center that had closed into a neighborhood clubroom for women. Last stop: the Feigele Testyler Day Care Center, named for a woman who died in the Holocaust. Her family chose to honor her memory by building and contributing to this multipurpose center. There are two buildings. One is a
trailer-like structure where small groups can gather for special programs such as music enrichment, story hour and counseling. The regular center has three classrooms and a reinforced shelter/ playroom. As in all Na’amat centers, meals are prepared on the premises. When entering, one’s appetite is often aroused by the tempting aromas emanating from the well-equipped kitchens. And I haven’t yet met a cook who didn’t greet me with a smile and an opportunity to taste — another offer that’s hard to refuse. Miriam Menashe is the veteran director of the Feigele Center. Completing her shift for the day, one of the caregivers told us that it’s because of Miriam that the facility is a smoothrunning success, full of happy children. This was an unsolicited testimonial. It is obvious that the entire staff of caregivers, teachers and cooks respect one another and have high regard for Miriam, who they claim keeps her finger on the pulse of whatever is happening in each classroom and with each child. The children and caregivers in the Na’amat centers represent a microcosm of Israeli society. They are Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Ethiopian, native Israelis and relatively new immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Western Europe. They are role models for Israeli society — and for people throughout the world — demonstrating that people can live and work together, no matter what their ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic status. They are people who strive to help and support others — children, mothers, fathers, entire families — to overcome hurdles and face each day determined to make it better than the one before. And what could be a more splendid way than with a head start from Na’amat! Judy Telman and her husband, Stew, made aliyah to Israel from the United States 29 years ago. She had been a national vice president of Na’amat USA before immigrating. Telman has written about Na’amat installations for this magazine for many years. Her involvement in Na’amat, she says, has remained an important part of her life in Israel.
Preventing a World Food Crisis Israel’s Volcani Center paves the way to provide food for the ever-expanding global table. by JUDITH SUDILOVSKY
n less than 40 years there will be 9 billion people living on this planet. That’s 9 billion people who will need to be fed. We already live in a world where housing and development is encroaching on agricultural lands and green spaces and depleting natural resources and where we’re not producing as much as we are consuming. Today’s 7 billion people are feeling the effects of climate changes that are causing hotter and drier weather, challenging our ability to use our natural resources to provide food for the expanding global table. Many communities will not be able to afford food due to the steep increase in energy costs, the reduction of agricultural land and the reduction in irrigation water. And it’s not just a production issue — the food crisis is also about waste, including inefficient harvesting, poor distribution and storage, and careless consumption. In the developing world, half the food produced is lost even before harvest due to drought and pestilence. And every night in the developed world, huge quantities of food go to waste due to oversized portions and consumers who buy more food than they can use at the moment and then
never consume. Making matters worse, the excess ends up in landfills, creating hazardous gases that appear to increase global warming. Educating wealthier nations to become rational consumers is one of the many serious challenges of feeding the growing global population, agricultural experts say. While our present agricultural know-how and production are good enough to feed the world’s population for the near future, that won’t be the case for very long, agricultural experts
and scientists warn. New ways of growing, storing, packing and shipping food must be found if the world is to avoid a future food crisis. In December 2012, some 250 agricultural experts, scientists and students from more than 15 countries gathered at an international conference on increasing future food production sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Organization (ARO), better known as the Volcani Center, in honor of its 90th anniversary. Because two-thirds of Israel’s land is defined as arid or semi-arid, and the average yearly rainfall in most parts of
Below: the Israel Ministry of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Organization, better known as the Volcani Center. Right: Volcani’s Official Seed Testing Laboratory. Photos courtesy of Volcani Center
the country is less than 12 inches, the country has been in a position to take a leading role in research aimed at finding ways of growing sturdier, more weatherresistant crops that are better able to grow under arid conditions, said Professor Yoram Kapulnik, director of the ARO, located near Tel Aviv. “For us [this research] is a necessity,” Kapulnik told journalists before the opening of the two-day conference. “The people who founded this institute in 1921, much before the establishment of the State of Israel, realized that they needed to start a mechanism to produce more food,” he explained. “Sixty years ago, most fresh produce was imported into Israel; today, we can support most of our food needs, and we are also exporting to other countries.” As of 2012, every Israeli farmer can support 10 times as many people with the food he produces than in 1955 when he could only provide food for 15 people, noted Kapulnik. Because its neighbors are not open to do business, out of necessity Israel has had to develop means of exporting
its produce long distances while maintaining the food’s freshness over longer periods of time. This is especially important in a world that has become more environmentally aware and where the cost of shipping by air has become prohibitive, Kapulnik said. Israel is now in a position to contribute greatly to scientists’ search for solutions to the projected growing food scarcity. “We have become experts at doing more for less.” In the Department of Ornamental Horticulture, researcher Dr. Hinanit Koltai overseas a team of scientists who are developing biotechnical means for improvement of crop performance to produce higher-yielding, more pestresistant crops for the years to come. One of their main aims is to use a hormone treatment to create strains of fruit trees that will need less water to produce superior fruit, she said. The center’s Department of Agronomy and Natural Resources has been instrumental in developing a new strain of super early-harvest wheat that manages to skirt around the problem of droughts in certain regions. By taking only 65
days to ripen, rather than 100 to 110 days, the wheat has already been early harvested when drought conditions begin. This can make the difference between starvation and eating in years of drought. Though the wheat strain is of lower yield, said the department’s Dr. Uri Kushnir, it is a question of lower yield versus no yield at all. In another part of the building, Dr. Rivka Hadas, head of the Israel Plant Gene Bank, leads a group of researchers dedicated to the conservation of gene pools of native plants. Using advanced research, they put select plant seeds gathered in the wild into a deep freeze, after they have been catalogued for future needs or research. Dr. Yehiam Salts, a researcher in the Plant Sciences Department, is a proponent of genetic engineering for plants. It’s a controversial topic, with some environmentalists, scientists and concerned citizens opposed to or worried about harmful effects on our bodies and the environment. Salts believes that genetic engineering will need to be used increasingly if the world is to
meet the food security challenges of the future. He points out the positives: Genetic engineering can make plants resistance to herbicides that are being sprayed to eliminate weeds; they can produce crops that are more insect- and virus-resistant. “Opposition to the production of genetically modified plants can be overcome by thoroughly testing the resulting plants,” he emphasizes. Salts gives the example of Golden Rice as a plant that benefited when a gene from corn was transferred to rice. “It is a more nutritious rice, providing vitamin A,” he explained. Developed in Switzerland by a non-profit organization, it was given to a rice-breeding center in the Philippines free of charge. Asked about research in Israel, he said: “There is a lot of research creating crops that are virus resistant and drought resistant. There have been many successes, but testing was done only in greenhouses or very small experimental fields very far from agricultural areas. It is only experimental. Nothing is commercial so far.” But the research does not necessar-
ily always involve complex technology. Simple things such as the time of day a crop is harvested or the conditions under which it is grown or stored or what color wrapping is used to package the produce can affect the shelf life of a crop, said Professor Elazar Fallik, head of the Institute of Postharvest and Food Sciences. Thus, a farmer can chose to harvest his crop just before it ripens, so when the produce arrives in markets and shops, it is at its peak, ready to be eaten. Another simple solution was found to solve the problem of tubers sprouting (such as in potatoes) while in storage. Instead of using chemical compounds, they are sprayed with mint oil and put into cold storage. This non-toxic procedure extends their shelf life to six to nine months, Fallik noted. Coming up with the idea of spraying mint oil, strange as it may sound, is just what scientific research is all about — one idea leads to another, he said. “You don’t have to invest in sophisticated technology to maintain quality.” One machine, which has increased the shelf life mainly of citrus fruit and
saved Israel more than $4.5 million per year since it was introduced to farmers, is based on the same simple technique used by automatic car wash machines, Fallik said. Using recyclable hot water, some three tons of fruit a day can be processed and washed using conveyor belts. By washing the fruit at such a high temperature, the natural wax of the fruit is melted, sealing any cracks on the fruit’s surface and preventing fungus from growing. At the same time, this inhibits the ripening process, again extending its shelf life and permitting the fruit to be shipped longer distances. At the low cost of $60,000 per unit, the machine is not only economically accessible to farmers in Europe and North America, but also to individual farmers in developing countries. Today, 250 units are being used by farmers around the world. “It is very cheap technology and within two years the farmers get a return back on their investment,” explained Fallik, who came up with the idea in 1996. The latest version of the machine came out in 2005.
Also on the conference agenda were discussions on the advances in water technology and desalination, climate change, improving plant productivity and yield, reducing losses during production and post-harvest, and biotechnology for animal and plant improvement. Keynote speaker Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture, challenged participants with some non-sugar-coated statistics regarding these topics. “Even a four-degree increase in temperatures will have a significant impact on crop failure and cause serious malnutrition in the world,” he warned, noting that there can also be a climatic impact on livestock and water animals. “We don’t know; we don’t have the data. The optimal growing temperature for corn and soybeans is 84.2 to 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, you get a steep decline in production. This poses a very serious challenge.” Developing countries are not the only ones that need improvements in farming methods. In the United States, temperatures are rising, Ramaswamy noted, which is having a serious impact on crop yield in certain areas. At the same time, 80 percent of the water supply is going solely for food production. The United States has greatly depleted the water reserves in the world’s largest aquifer, he continued. Known as the Oglala Aquifer, it runs under some 225,000 square miles in the Great Plains region, from the High Plains of Texas
and New Mexico through Oklahoma and Kansas to Colorado and Nebraska. Long used as a source of water for agricultural, municipal and industrial needs, the recharge rate (the rate at which rainwater replenishes the extracted groundwater) in some parts of the aquifer has greatly surpassed the aquifer’s natural rate of recharge. “It has been depleted so badly because we are growing corn where we should be growing sorghum,” Ramaswamy explained. (Sorghum uses water more efficiently; and it’s 28 times more energy efficient than corn when it comes to making ethanol.) Aquifers around the whole world are under stress, with an “unbelievable depletion of aquifers in India, China and the United States.” At the moment, one of the major problems in the food supply chain is that of food waste, he noted. “To be able to double our food production in 40 years, without increasing use of land and water, if we can reduce our waste by half maybe we can make headway in the challenges we are facing,” he said. Another large problem is getting young people interested in being the farmers and ranchers of the future, Ramaswamy pointed out. Research — such as the kind done at the Volcani Center — is another key to a sustainable food future, he said, adding that Brazil, China and South Africa are also putting a lot more investment into agricultural research. “If we are to be able to set the table for 9 billion people in 40 to 50 years, Ra-
Professor Elazar Fallik shows how large quantities of fruit can be cleaned using a washing machine he developed.
maswamy said, “we need to share and create new knowledge,” noting that the world will need some 170 million more acres of land to feed the projected 9 billion people of the future the way things are going. At a Camp David Summit last year, Ramaswamy recalled, the G-8 and African leaders committed themselves to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the next phase of their shared commitment to achieving global food security. Their main goal is to increase investment in African agriculture and innovations, which will enhance agricultural productivity. At a time when Israel is threatened by calls for boycotts of not only products grown in the West Bank, but also of Israel’s participation in academic arenas in other countries, participants said they supported more collaborative efforts. “I think scientists could be good devices to overcome political fighting; it is a good way to connect between people,” said Cristina Pandi, a chemist from Turin University in Italy. “We need the best minds on the planet to move anything forward.”
Jerusalem journalist Judith Sudilovsky is a frequent contributor to this magazine. She wrote about Jewish Cleveland in the last issue. 16
continued from page 3 tion, and I heard the voices of children in the background. He said he was taking the children to their after-school activities. Without thinking too much, I told him about a woman I could introduce him to. The man answered: What are you talking about, Galia? I am married. As you can imagine, the fact that a man in a senior position was with his children during the afternoon hours led me to the conclusion that he was divorced and this was his day with the kids. I was very embarrassed, and the man had me face my mistake and rightly so. He said that when he started working at this demanding position, he had made it clear to his employer that at least once a week he would be leaving work early to spend some time with his children. This story highlights the importance of the role of Na’amat better than anything else. We should be there to assure that a father who wants to see his children and be a partner in raising them does not have to feel different and does not need to fight against the whole world to justify this. We should be there so that a woman professor at the university does not need to present more publications and more credentials than any man in her department to become a full-fledged professor. We should be there to assure that we are represented by women in the right proportion to the rest of the population in every conference, every board and every government body — so that we will not have to accept excuses, such as we couldn’t find women, or the ones we considered were not interested, and many other diverse explanations and pretexts. Today we have a real working plan for the next five years. We will translate these decisions into action strategies, and we will match each and every flag to the most effective ways for carrying on the struggle. We will demonstrate, walk, make proposals public; we will formulate law projects and appeal to the High Court of Justice; we will turn to the leaders of the government and to its ministers — and hopefully there will be more wom-
en ministers. And we will demonstrate again and again — and implement all the tools available in the concrete world as well as in the virtual space. We will seek the support from all our men and women partners without giving up. We will seek untiringly to create a balanced working world that is supportive of the family; where there is a representation rate of 51 percent for women, just like our proportion in the general population; and where there are equal wages for men and women. We will fight for gender equality to become an integral part of the curriculum in the entire educational system,
and against the competition between the rabbinical courts and the family courts as we struggle for equal rights in marriage and divorce. We will do all this during the coming five years. We will not be able to achieve everything immediately. We will not succeed in each and every one of these matters right away. We will have to arrive at a compromise when there is no choice. I already know this. But I promise that we will not stop dreaming and we will not stop fighting. Whatever we fail to attain now will continue to represent a challenge for us. We will not give up until it actually happens!
I Am Woman, Women of India express their burning anger and grief over the rape of Damini — but they also voice their hope. by AIMEE GINSBURG
something bad to a woman. But if there really were so many demonstrators, especially so many men, maybe things have changed.” The protests that have rocked India since the rape and death of the young woman known only by the pseudonym Damini have been unusually intense, even in a country that does see eruptions over various cases of social injustice — as there are, of course, many. Increasingly over the past few years, reports of sexual violence and cases of gang rape have reached the headlines, many in Delhi and the surrounding region but in other major cities as well. Very few of these cases are ever successfully prosecuted. In the past year, several insensitive if not outrageous remarks by politicians and police officials regarding the behavior of the victims have sparked smaller protests by women’s organizations. But as Damini lay fighting for her life, and even more so when the news of her death reached the horrified population, the outpouring of anger and grief — by many who have never been out to protest, by many who were not used to standing with others of different class or age and, perhaps most startlingly, by countless men who previously said nothing publicly on the subject — raised the hope that finally there might come a change in laws, in police behavior, and, most important, in the consciousness of the nation. “Who can say if there is more vio-
lence against women here than anywhere else in the world?” says Devika Arora, a private nurse in New Delhi. “But I don’t think we have seen these kinds of protests against it anywhere in the world. Every woman in India knows what this is about,” she adds, echoing what every woman I spoke to during the demonstrations has repeated. “We all know we, or worse — our daughters — could easily be next. The women in India, despite what outsiders may think, are very strong and do not hesitate to show their power when they feel that enough is enough.” I spoke to many women, and some men, during the great protests all over India. Ages 17 to 69 and from many different backgrounds and classes, they all, without exception, said that since Damini’s death, this topic has woken up the latent pain and anger that has always resided in them. They all reported having shed many tears but expressed much hope as well. Here are their voices, unedited and direct, as they were all so happy for the chance to speak directly to their sisters — and brothers — around the world.
Malika Dutt, 51, is a human rights activist, cultural entrepreneur and lawyer by training. Dutt is founder, president and CEO of Breakthrough, a global human rights organization that uses the power of media, pop culture and community mobilization to promote human rights values.
Illustrations by Marilyn Rose
unita Jayawant, 27, a domestic laborer in a town far from New Delhi, had not heard about the gang rape in the capital or about the death of the victim, a brave young physical therapy student who fought for her life in a hospital in Singapore until the end, earning her the passionate love and support of the entire country. Damini, an alias, was lured onto a private — masquerading as a public — bus along with her boyfriend and then brutally beaten and raped by a group of men who in the end threw her on the road and tried to run her over. Sunita was also unaware of the explosion of anger and grief that led to mass protests across the country, attended by both women and men of all classes and ages, until her sister called her from Delhi with the news. “I am surprised to hear so many people were protesting,” she says. “It has always seemed to me that nobody cares about it.” Sunita recalls that something “very terrible” happened to her in the village, but when she told her mother, she was warned never to speak about it again. A similar “thing” happened to her sister, who was given the same order. “If anyone would know,” says Sunita, “it would be very, very bad for us. After a long time I thought to myself that he should be the one to be afraid, that something terrible should happen to him if anyone knew,” she adds boldly, “but by then I was grown and moved away. I still never told anyone about it.” Sunita says the death sentence seems appropriate, “So that maybe they will become afraid and stop just doing whatever they feel like doing without even being afraid.” Then the young woman, a sweet-natured mother of four, adds: “I can’t imagine men will ever get such a punishment for doing
Hear Me Roar! T
he last two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me. As a feminist and human rights advocate who has been challenging violence against women for the last three decades, it has been a time of great optimism and hope that the reaction to the recent gang rape in Delhi is a harbinger of change. I have been particularly heartened to see the number of young men joining women in demanding government accountability for women’s safety in public spaces. At the same time, I am filled with deep anger and sorrow; sorrow that this brave young woman died, anger at the levels of violence that women face at home, in the streets and in the workplace every single day. I am also angry that it takes such a brutal incident for the country to react and take to the streets. I am still puzzled by what the tipping point was in this particular case because this kind of brutality is unfortunately not rare, and, sadly, most of the time, women face violence at the hands of family members. “One of the narratives that is really making me angry is the one that calls on men to think about women as their mother, sister, wife or daughter — as if this relational understanding will somehow lead to a change in mindset and make men allies. This kind of thinking only reinforces the relational and dependent way in which men view women. And women certainly don’t experience any kind of equality as a wife, mother, sister or daughter in their homes anyway, so this line of argument doesn’t even make any sense. Men need to change their mindsets and see women as fully human, as full citizens, as people entitled to human rights in their own right! Has violence against women in-
creased in India or other parts of the world? As far as I am concerned, violence against women is the biggest human rights pandemic globally with India perhaps higher up on the list in terms of incidence. We face a life cycle of violence — from sex selection and female feticide to sexual assault, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, dowry related violence and the treatment of widows. Most of us experience sexual harassment on a regular basis and learn how to cope and navigate public spaces with the threat of violence as a constant fear. I think the violence has always been endemic but is now more apparent in public spaces as gender roles change. Right now, though, I must confess that I am very proud of the young women and men who are out there on the streets demanding change and accountability for women’s safety and security. I am hoping that this moment will mark India’s transition as a country that is the worst place for women to one that led the charge for serious recognition for women’s human rights the world over.
Anjali Puri, 55, is a senior journalist and news editor in Delhi.
very woman growing up, living in and moving around Delhi, has experienced unwelcome attentions from men from 16 to 60. These range from irritating and offensive to repulsive and gross. It was like this 35 to 40 years ago,
it is still like this, especially if you are dependent on public transport. I don’t get harassed now because I don’t take public transport and am not in that age group anymore that gets harassed as much. But a friend of mine who was sexually assaulted tried the legal route. Although she was rather high placed in the media and was relatively well connected, she was so harassed by the accused — who seem to have more support from the police than she did — she ended up dropping the case, as all of her friends advised her that she must look after herself even at the expense of justice. Although I understand her decision and as her friend, support it, this is too often the case and this really needs to change. There is so often impunity for these guys. That’s why men like those on the bus had no fear of the law and its consequences. One of the most talked about rape cases in this city, which no one who lived here then has ever forgotten, was of a 16-year-old college student called Geeta Chopra, who thumbed rides to get to her destination quickly, and got into the wrong car. She was raped and then murdered, along with her 14-yearold brother, who was with her. That was 35 years ago, and there were marches, protests, headlines, calls for the death penalty, public executions, all of that. So, am I saying what happened in the current case is nothing new, but a “normal” Delhi response to a crime of monstrous brutality? No. What is truly SPRING 2013
Rather than being stigmatized for being raped, Damini became a symbol and a source of inspiration. Cynics wonder how long this sentiment will last. unprecedented about the December 16th case is that the protests were so widespread and sustained and that millions have rallied around a faceless, nameless lower-middle class. [Geeta, a naval officer’s daughter, was very much of the elite.] It was also very heartening that her fellow citizens became deeply invested in her hopes and dreams and desperately wanted her to live, rather than quietly fade away like rape victims do in Hindi films. Rather than being stigmatized for being raped, the woman became a symbol and a source of inspiration. Cynics wonder how long this sentiment will last. We shall see. For now, however, the bloodthirsty calls for public execution and incidents of violence notwithstanding, this deeply selfish city has displayed more evolved behavior and more empathy than I ever suspected it could.
Jyothi Karat, 30, is a successful photographer.
16-year-old girl was kidnapped with the promise of a job in Cochin, and then she was locked up, drugged and raped repeatedly by prominent persons of the society in a lodge in the city. Six months later, she was rescued with the help of a very daring and amazing woman. Two decades had passed when I met her. She had been scarred for life,
with the trauma never leaving her. She had been forced to change her name, her identity, and leave her home — all for her own safety and for the reputation of her family. Not one single person has been convicted for the crimes committed against her, despite abundant evidence. She has been fighting the case for 20 long years, but was ready to give up. “I just want to move on,” she told me. Honestly, I don’t have any close girl friends that haven’t experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lives. It’s so common that we don’t even think much of it nowadays. It’s all part of growing
The problem is ours, too!
icholas D. Kristof put it aptly in his
an epidemic of rape in the U.S. military.
Health Organization has found that
New York Times op-ed column on
A female soldier in combat zones is
domestic and sexual violence affects
January 12, 2013: “Is Delhi So Different
more likely to be raped by a fellow
30 to 60 percent of women in most
From Steubenville?” He was referring
soldier than killed by enemy fire. The
to the Steubenville, Ohio, high school
U.S. Department of Defense estimates
football players who are accused of
there were a staggering 19,000 sex
change the way the world confronts
repeatedly raping an unconscious
crimes in the military in 2010 alone.
these issues. Hillary Clinton, for one,
16-year-old girl. This is just one of
Only 8 percent of these cases are ever
did a superb job trying to put them on
the many thousands of acts of sexual
the global agenda. In late February,
violence committed against American women each year.
Congress reauthorized and strengthened
the world’s most common human rights
the Violence Against Women Act (see
abuses, compromising the health,
page 23). On March 1, Congress passed
women will be raped in her lifetime
dignity, security and autonomy of its
the Trafficking Victims Protection
and there is a reported rape every 6.2
victims. Women worldwide, ages 15
Reauthorization Act, which had expired
minutes. Every nine seconds, a woman
through 44, are more likely to die or be
in 2011. This is our country’s most
is assaulted or beaten, and a great
maimed because of male violence than
important tool in the fight against human
number of these incidences are due to
because of cancer, malaria, war and
trafficking and modern-day slavery.
domestic or partner violence. There is
traffic accidents combined. The World
In the United States, one in five
Gender-based violence is one of
The United States is helping to
But we can do much more — in
Although the Delhi protests were commendable, I believe we need a more deep-rooted enlightenment, much like Gandhi’s fight for eradication of untouchability. up. Some of my friends have had traumatic experiences. But they eventually learnt to deal with it and know how to prevent it in the future. In Kerala, my home state, men flashing their thing and even shagging in front of you is quite common. My earliest memories are of this guy who would lift his dhothi [cloth tied around the waist] to flash his thing in front of the 6-year-olds who would be playing during lunch time near our convent school gate. The management solved the problem by keeping the gate shut 24/7, keeping us locked up instead of him. Men try to feel you up in buses, movie theaters [the main reason most families don’t like to send women and children to cinemas without a male escort] and trains. I didn’t like to report such incidents back at home, lest that should cost me my hard-earned freedom to go about on my own.
our homes, communities, workplaces and government. Congress has yet to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, the global version of VAWA. And more must be done to stop gender-based violence through education, awareness and prevention and protection programs. Some Americans look with condescension at acts of violence against women in other countries, but the problems of domestic violence, dating violence, rape and sex trafficking are also our own. They are everybody’s problem — and the battle to stop the violence must be waged throughout the entire world by both women and men. — Judith A. Sokoloff
I was 17 when I decided to take a 8 p.m. bus from Coimbatore (where I was studying) to Trichur, despite my father forbidding me to do so. I got into the bus, only to realize I was the only girl aboard. Even the “ladies seats” were occupied by men, and I took a window seat close to the driver. Soon I felt strange fingers wandering through a gap between the seat and the window from behind me, trying to feel my breast. I jumped up, shouted at the culprit and pointed him out to the conductor of the bus. There was pin-drop silence in the bus. The conductor came up to me and softly said, “Please just adjust, madam.” I cannot really explain in words what I felt right then. A mixture of helplessness, fear, disgust, anger — above all, anger. I sat down again and predictably, the fingers came crawling again. But this time, I was prepared. I had a safety pin with me, which I used to scratch his finger while catching hold of his fingers with my other hand. I didn’t use the pin only to stop him from harassing me; I wanted to make sure I hurt him. I heard his yelp and he wriggled out and moved to another seat. From then on, I knew I would have only myself to count on; my fellow citizens will only look away. Although the Delhi protests were commendable, I believe we need a more deep-rooted enlightenment, much like Gandhi’s fight for eradication of untouchability. And I still firmly believe that this is a good time to be a woman in India. The Indian woman is not afraid of grabbing the spotlight anymore. She needs no looking after. I think that the attitudes of the rapists point to a deeply
seated sense of insecurity of the male psyche. So, we know that this will be a long drawn out battle, one we may not win for ourselves but for sure we will for our daughters.
Venita Coelho is a well-known Bollywood screenwriter, television writer, author and activist.
have yet to meet a woman friend who didn’t have a story of sexual harassment or assault to share. Whether they were rich, poor, protected or on their own, every single woman has a story that she tells with tears. A girl child in India is brought up bound by dozens of rules that are meant to keep her “safe”: “Don’t wear sleeveless shirts.” “Be home before eight o’clock.” “Ignore what men say to you or you will encourage them.” Above all, a conspiracy of silence is encouraged. “Don’t tell anyone,” because if you do, it is your own reputation that will be damaged, not that of the harasser. And in that little fact, we have the basic reason why rapists get away with it. It is pathetic that it took the brutalizing of a young girl to finally break that conspiracy of silence. I wept for Damini. But I also wept to see the people out on the streets, to see the thousands, to see mothers and daughters together marching. For the first time in a very long time, I feel that we as a nation have anger enough to do something about the tears that all our mothers, SPRING 2013
I have not slept peacefully for days, and I’m just burning with passion to do something to make a difference. sisters, daughters, wives have shed. I think we are reaching the time when it is clear that it is up to us to take back our own freedom — to play where we wish to, walk where we wish to with whoever and whenever we wish to. I think that the realization is upon us that it is not only up to us to take our own freedom but that we can actually do it.
Bina Bina Ramani, 69, is a renowned fashion designer and businesswoman.
’m deeply anguished about what we are witnessing in our country. Malini [her daughter, a fashion designer] and I sat in bed watching the passion that has arisen from this dreadful tragedy, and we wept for Damini and for the thousands of others who have met similar fates. I have not slept peacefully for days, and I’m just burning with passion to do something to make a difference. For now, I have initiated a candlelight vigil [in the state of Goa] on the first day of the court trial. We will demand a speedy, transparent and honest trial. There are several changes required, but where does one begin? In primary schools, boys and girls need to be truly educated by truly intelligent teachers about how special, unique and sacred they are, body, minds and souls. But do we have such teachers in India? We need special education against violence inside each home. But will fathers, uncles and brothers allow
such education at home? We need awareness on the streets, on public transportation and in public places. But do such bystanders have compassion in India, or will they continue to be cowards? We need compassionate men and women police officers who take pride and have integrity in their jobs. They don’t exist. We need honest and trained and compassionate medical examiners that will treat rape victims with dignity and kindness. We don’t have any. I believe that every elected official who has a criminal record — rape or otherwise — should be made to resign with immediate effect. I believe the accused, who are always shown with their heads covered, receiving protection from the glare of the media, should, in fact, be exposed for their heinous crime. And the minute they have confessed to the crime, their foreheads should be branded with burning tongs with “RAPIST” written boldly across. But most of all, I believe that the person who has been found to molest or rape a child or minor should receive the severest of punishment as speedily as possible. I won’t be wrong in declaring that at least 90 percent of females in India have been groped or molested if not raped during their lifetimes! That makes it 550 million women! When we succeed at making the change, it will not be only for women in India but for our sisters the world over.
henoa D’costa, 17, who recently graduated high school and hopes to become a journalist, also believes a change is coming: “Since I was a small girl, I have heard unending warnings about the things that could happen to me and the things I needed to do or not to stay safe. But my friends and I always know that these precautions will be meaningless if we run into the wrong man. So yes, there is a kind of constant fear, but more than that, I’m furious. My friends and I are praying that these protests will last and
bring a real change. We are praying that Damini’s death will not have been in vain. We want the potential rapists to be the ones who are afraid — not us.” Originally from the United States, journalist Aimee Ginsburg has lived in India for 15 years. She writes for India’s Open magazine and is the India correspondent for Israel’s Yediot Ahronot. When she lived in Israel for many years, Ginsburg won Na’amat’s Ariela Yashiv Award for the journalist who had done the most to improve the status of women in Israel. She wrote “Santoshi” in our fall 2012 issue.
Part II: Violence Against Women by MARCIA J. WEISS
n the United States, one in five women will be raped during her lifetime and there is a reported rape every 6.2 minutes. The estimated total is actually five times as high, meaning there is nearly one rape every minute and tens of millions of rape victims. Unbelievable? There is more. A woman is beaten every nine seconds in the United States, and nearly one-half million of those require medical attention. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta estimated that in 2010 there were 19,000 sexual assaults in the military alone. Nonetheless, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) — signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and reauthorized by Congress in 2000 and 2005 — was defeated by the 112th Congress in 2012. BUT… As Na’amat Woman magazine nears press time, we are happy to hear that VAWA was passed by Congress. On February 28, the House voted to reauthorize the Senate’s inclusive, bipartisan VAWA after the House GOP substitute bill went down to defeat. This is something to celebrate! Following is a brief history of the Act. VAWA is a comprehensive legislative package designed to end violence against women. It established the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice. VAWA was created to improve the criminal justice system’s responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, and to increase the availability of services for victims of these crimes. Among its programs and services are community violence prevention programs, the federal rape shield law, funding for rape crisis centers and hotlines, and legal aid for female survivors of violence. The Act provides $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecu-
tion of violent crimes against women and imposes automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted. Funding protects adult and teen victims, and supports training for law enforcement and courts on those issues as well as a coordinated effort on state and local levels aiming toward uniform responses across the country. In July 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union called VAWA “one of the most effective pieces of legislation enacted to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. It has dramatically improved the law enforcement response to violence against women and has provided critical services necessary to support women in their struggle to overcome abusive situations.” As a result of this historic legislation, every state has enacted laws making stalking a crime and strengthened rape statutes. The annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped more than 50 percent since VAWA became law, and the reporting of domestic and sexual violence has increased as much as 50 percent. The attempted 2012 renewal was opposed by conservative Republicans who objected to extending the Act’s provisions to same-sex couples and provisions permitting battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas. The Senate voted to reauthorize the Act, and the House passed its own version (omitting provisions of the Senate bill protecting gay men, lesbians, Native Americans and illegal immigrants who were victims of domestic violence). The two bills could not be reconciled. As the 113th Congress convened in early January 2013, however, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. Their version closely resembles the bill
passed by the Senate in 2012 with improved programs and extended and strengthened protections for all victims of violence, including students, racial minorities, tribal members, immigrants and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. It also provides for campus safety and sets minimum state funding formulas for key programs to ensure that small, rural states can access VAWA grants. And it grants law enforcement with “rape kits,” aiming to reduce the nationwide backlog of sexual assault evidence collection. The Senate authorized the act in February with an overwhelming 78 to 22 bipartisan vote. The next step should be the passage of the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). Originally introduced in the 110th Congress, it addresses the terrible fact that one out of every three women will be physically, sexually or otherwise abused during her lifetime. IVAWA would direct the U.S. government to create a comprehensive five-year strategy to reduce such violence in 10 to 20 countries that have high levels of violence against women and girls. It is important that we support the effort to pass this Act. Another matter of concern to women is that of sexual coercion. In response to a growing body of research on the subject, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is encouraging physicians to screen women for coercion and refer those in abusive relationships for counseling. The group also wants doctors to offer abused patients longer-acting methods of contraception that cannot be easily detected, such as implants, injections or IUDs. Notable findings by the group include homicide (mainly committed by intimate partners)
War on Women:
as a leading cause of pregnancyassociated deaths, abusive partners trying to impregnate unwilling partners by interfering with their contraceptive methods, and other instances of partner violence. The main thrust of this issue is to raise the awareness of physicians to address this growing problem.
Marcia J. Weiss, J.D., is the Na’amat USA National Advocacy chair. In the last issue of the magazine she addressed the topic of abortion.
BOOK REVIEWS Books for Cooks and Foodies
Here’s our annual roundup, reflecting the ongoing explosion of wonderful Jewish (mostly) cookbooks. by JUDITH A. SOKOLOFF
ccording to the Publishers Weekly bestseller lists for 2012, politics and food were the most popular nonfiction subjects. Two of the books discussed below, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof and The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, ranked in the top 20. Even during our recent recession, there was a five-percent rise in sales for cookbooks. Looking at nonfiction titles checked out of America’s libraries over the past couple of years, cookbooks have overtaken health and medicine titles to hold the top position. Yet there are those who insist the cookbook is dead, due to the rise in popularity of cooking apps and Web sites. I think cookbooks will have a place in our homes for a very long time, though many more will appear in digital format. They are more than just recipes. They are an experience — a pleasure to peruse even if you’re not cooking, and a reflection of the author’s personality and perspective. They may include anecdotes, history, travelogues and photos, not to mention your own cooking history written in the margins. Whether you’re looking for new recipes,
inspiration, ways to hone your cooking skills, or you just need an impressive gift or coffee table tome, you’ll enjoy the following books. The New Jewish Table (St. Martin’s Press) by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray. The owners of the popular farm-to-table Equinox Restaurant in Washington, D.C., give us their innovative take on traditional Jewish cooking. Before they married, Episcopalian Todd bonded with Ellen’s Jewish family through food, especially New York Jewish deli — and their blending of culinary cultures began. With an emphasis on seasonality, the book is divided into fall, winter, spring and summer, each with six chapters: brunch, starters, lunch, dinner, sides and desserts. Menu suggestions for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah and Passover are included. An engaging dialogue between the two begins the book and continues, adding warmth and personality throughout. Among the 125-plus tantalizing recipes are Etrog Cake, Todd’s Modern Day Brisket, Matzo-Stuffed Cornish Game Hens, Tuna Noodle Kugel, and Fig and Port Wine Blintzes. Splendid photos accompany the recipes. Two other restaurateurs married to each other bring us The Mile End Cookbook: Redefining Jewish Comfort Food from Hash to Hamantaschen (Clarkson Potter). Noah and Rae Bernamoff opened Mile End Delicatessen in Brooklyn in 2010 with the mission of making good Jewish deli and sharing the classic Jewish comfort food of their childhoods. They took inspiration from their grandparents — hers from New York
City, his from Montreal. The small restaurant is a great success, and they’re now offering us the tools to create a Jewish deli feast at home, including explicit instructions on how to smoke meat. There are recipes for pickled everything: mushrooms, eggs, red onions, fennel, beets and lemon-chile asparagus. Sandwiches include Beef on Weck, Smoked Mackerel, Pastrami and Corned Beef. Entrées include Hot Tongue on Toast and Romanian Steak With Spring Onions. Then there are the breads: challah, pletzel, matzo, rye and pumpernickel. Cameo appearances by experts in their fields add another dimension to the book, giving us tips on choosing meat, buying knives, selecting wines and a brief history of Jewish appetizing. Kosher By Design Cooking Coach: Recipes, Tips and Techniques to Make Anyone a Better Cook (ArtScroll Mesorah Publications). In Susie Fishbein’s eighth cookbook — containing hundreds of lush food photos — she adds a new element: her teaching talent. She serves us 10 game plans for topics such as essential kitchen equipment (including how to sharpen knives); techniques for making appetizers, soups, salads and poultry; selecting and cooking beef and fish; side dishes and desserts. With so much useful information, Fishbein meets her goal of enabling readers “to create a meal using ingredients they had on hand… to realize that parts of recipes could be used in other ways…. I wanted to give them the encouragement to become more comfortable in the kitchen…to help
them develop instincts about cooking.” Among the 120 recipes: Kansas City Ribs, Vietnamese Burgers With Peanut Sauce, Cajun Quinoa, Helen’s Turkey Taco Eggrolls, Chicken Pot Pie Soup and White Chocolate Chocolate Cake. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom From an Obsessive Home Cook (Knopf). Deb Perelman, self-taught cook and photographer created the very popular Web site SmittenKitchen.com. Her love of cooking now also shines through in her first book. With her charming introductions to every recipe, it’s clear she’s your friend — she talks to you, she wants you to enjoy yourself. Those of us with small kitchens can identify with her cooking in a tiny New York City space. We, too, can create her sumptuous recipes. Think you need a bread machine, pizza paddle or wood-burning oven to make a great pizza? Perelman will let you in on her secret to keep it fairly simple. Tired of the usual hamantaschen? Try her rhubarb version. Need a dreamy new turkey recipe? Use sumac, coriander, cumin and pepper in Sesame-spiced Turkey Meatballs and Smashed Chickpea Salad. Her photos spice up the book. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust (Clarkson Potter). The delightful Food Network star Ina Garten offers us recipes she has made dozens of times, indicating the “speed bumps and the blind spots along the way so you can make the adjustments you need to make….” With this advice, our cooking can be foolproof, too, and
less stressful. With Garten’s tips about timing, breaking down tasks, measuring, tasting and storing, she does give one confidence. I like the way she begins the book with a recipe for the Dukes Cosmopolitan. After you’ve tasted this lovely drink, you can move on to Thyme-roasted Marcona Almonds, Fig and Fennel Caponata, Hot Smoked Salmon, Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad, Sicilian Grilled Swordfish, Amelia’s Jambalaya, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Globs. Gorgeous photos accompany the text. Helen Nash’s New Kosher Cuisine: Healthy, Simple & Stylish (The Overlook Press). In her third cookbook, Nash brings her imagination to the fore and inspires ours as well. Concentrating on dishes that are easy to prepare and on ingredients that are readily available, her longtime philosophy is “eating well on a daily basis requires good planning, portion control and nutrition.” Nash emphasizes how important it is to select ingredients of the highest quality and whenever possible, seasonal. Divided into chapters for hor’d’oeuvres; appetizers; soups; salads; vegetables, potatoes and legumes; pasta, rice and grains; fish; poultry; meat; luncheon dishes and desserts, the recipes include Sauteed Baby Artichokes, Ziti With Roasted Vegetables, Artic Char With Honey and Wasabi, Curried Veal Roast, and Flourless Chocolate Nut Torte. On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao (Jewish Lights). Following
her strong “chod-dar,” her “internal, serendipitous radar for chocolate discoveries and experiences,” Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz set off around the world to uncover stories and history about Jews, chocolate and religion — and chocolate in general. Though not a cookbook, this fascinating work includes recipes she and her rabbi husband discovered in their travels. They include Basque Chocolate Cake from Bayonne, France, where Jews are said to have initiated local chocolate making; Cognac Truffles from Lisa Hoffman who fled Germany in 1939; the popular Israeli Chocolate Spread, which had its origins during the Tzena, the period of food scarcity in Israel between 1949 and 1959. Prinz also includes “A Consumer’s Guide to Buying Ethically Produced Chocolate” and a list of chocolate museums and factory tours around the world. Her Web site, www.jews-onthechocolatetrail.org, offers resources and educational material — even “A Haggadah for a Chocolate Seder.” Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution, With 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes (The Harvard Common Press). Michael Natkin, food writer, food photographer and creator of the awardwinning vegetarian blog Herbivoracious, combines his talents in this book of diverse, innovative recipes for appetizers to desserts. Forty main courses are among the 150 mouth-watering recipes. You’ll find TeaSmoked Lychees, Tempeh-filed Potstickers, Watermelon Radish and Watercress Salad, Crispy Polenta Cakes With White Beans and
BOOK REVIEWS Morels, Stir-fried Corn With Lemongrass, Manouri Cheese Blintzes, and Sephardic Doughnuts drizzled with honey for Hanukkah. The No-Potato Passover: A Journey of Food Travel and Color (Brio Books) by Aviva Kanoff. No, you won’t starve, author Aviva Kanoff assures readers in her foreword, explaining how she took up the challenge of creating a low-carb no-potato Passover cookbook: She was tired of using potatoladen recipes. Kanoff’s colorful photos of food and her travels add zest to the book. You’ll find recipes for Pomegranate and Goat Cheese Salad, Cabbage Soup With Matzo Meatballs, Salt and Pepper Kugel (made with spaghetti squash), Quinoa Taboule, Lavender Mint Roasted Chicken and Chocolate Chip Biscotti. Ordering information can be found at www.nopotatopassover.com. Max Sussman, chef de cuisine at Roberta’s in Brooklyn, and Eli Sussman, a line cook at Mile End Delicatessen — two brothers obsessed with food — serve up their humorous, lively This Is a Cookbook: Recipes for Real Life (Olive Press). Though their cooking may be beer-fueled, the instructions very clearly show you how to make a wide variety of “awesome” dishes. For brunch, there’s their dad’s Hanukkah latke recipe, which they make almost every weekend. (Dad “makes a huge mess. He puts newspapers on the floor, uses every burner, and the whole house smells bad for a week. But they are super delicious.”) Their “Backyard Grub” includes Watermelon Gazpacho and Fried Grape Salad With
Hazelnuts and Blue Cheese. For a “Night In” there’s Butter-Poached Cod With Herb Salad or Korean-style Short Ribs. “Dinner Party” dishes include Grilled Figs with Burnt Honey and Pistachio Yogurt along with Chicken Schnitzel. For “Midnight Snacks,” there are five kinds of popcorn. Need “Sweet Stuff”? Try Cereal Cupcakes or S’mores With MapleBourbon Marshmallows. Jerusalem: A Cookbook (Ten Speed Press) by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Ottolenghi, the influential chef and acclaimed London restaurateur, was raised in Jerusalem and has an Italian Jewish background. Tamimi, also a chef and the same age, grew up in Muslim East Jerusalem. They met in London and became close friends and business partners. Athough they haven’t lived in Jerusalem in more than 20 years, they both consider the city home. “The flavors and smells of this city are our mother tongue. We imagine them and dream in them…. They define comfort for us, excitement, joy, serene bliss. Everything we taste and everything we cook is filtered through the prism of our childhood experiences; food our mothers fed us, wild herbs picked on school trips, days spent in markets….” In their homage to Jerusalem, they vividly show us the enormous tapestry of its cuisines, created from the farflung backgrounds of its many peoples. From traditional age-old dishes unchanged to updated traditional ones, they share recipes along with savory anecdotes. Among the dishes are Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion With Tahini and Za’atar; Lemony
Leek Meatballs, Tomato and Sourdough Soup, Stuffed Artichokes With Peas and Dill, Braised Eggs With Lamb, Tahini and Sumac; Yogurt Pudding with Poached Peaches. Stunning photos of the dishes and Jerusalem fill the pages. Excuse me, I have to stop writing and eat something! Stella’s Sephardic Table: Jewish Family Recipes From the Mediterranean Island of Rhodes (The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection). In her magnificent book (which must weigh 10 pounds), Stella Cohen, food writer and artist, blends the stories, history and recipes of her Judeo-Spanish background. She begins her family history in Greece on the island of Rhodes, where her great-grandfather was the rabbi — then moves on to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where she was born and has raised her family in the Sephardi tradition. She passes on to us her “most-loved” traditional Sephardic everyday food as well as festive dishes from Rhodes and some recipes from her travels to Morocco. Among them are Chicken and Aubergine Stew, Swiss Chard and Chickpeas Braised With Veal, Grilled Fish Kebabs, Chicken Matzo Bake, Slow-cooked Lamb With Potatoes, Pumpkin and Cheese-Coiled Pastries, and Hot Fresh Apricots Filled With Almond Paste. An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair (Tuttle Publishing). Faith E. Gorsky’s passion for Middle Eastern food began when she married into a Syrian family and learned to cook from her mother-in-law. Her helpful cooking tips and techniques and her knowledge of cooking
implements and ingredients, along with the recipes, will give you all the tools you need to make these delectable dishes. In this attractive book, there are recipes for Spiced Meat Flat Pies, Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce, Hummus With Several Variations, Lentil Stew With Swiss Chard and Lemon Juice, Spiced Shawarma Chicken Wraps, and Stuffed Squash With Yogurt Sauce. Gorsky also has a Web site: www.AnEdibleMosaic.com. The Best of Mexican Kosher Cooking (Israel Bookshop Publications). Shifrah Devorah Witt and Zipporah Malka Heller invite us to explore Mexican cuisine that is authentic in taste and can be made easily. Their “Easy Shabbos Dinner” includes Challah With Cumin and Garlic Dip, Gefilte Fish Mexicanie, Drunken Chicken and Arroz Blanco and other enticing dishes. Among the 90 recipes are Cheese and Black Bean Chimichangas, Steak and Chicken Fajitas, Sweet and Spicy Baked Squash, and Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream. The Art of Fermentation: An Indepth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes From Around the World (Chelsea Green Publishing). Sandor Ellix Katz says he’s a “food-loving back-to-theland generalist who became obsessed with fermentation.” It all started when he was a child who developed a craving for Guss’ sour pickles on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. A food activist, he believes that fermentation can be an important element in economic revival, that “relocalizing food means a renewal not only of agriculture,
but also of the processes used to transform and preserve the products of agriculture into the things people eat every day.” His broad knowledge of the many aspects of fermentation — history, health benefits, methods and uses — makes for an interesting, practical 500-page book. Alcoholic drinks, vegetables, fruits, sour tonic beverages, dairy products, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs, fish — you can ferment them all if you have the time, patience and commitment. Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built (Schocken Books). Mark Russ Federman, former owner of the much loved Russ & Daughters appetizing store on the Lower East Side, has written an engaging, hamish memoir about his family, the business and the neighborhood. The grandson of the founder, Joel Russ, Federman took over the store from his parents in the late 1970s and turned it over to the fourth generation a few years ago. The story begins in 1907 when the cost of sponsoring an immigrant was $25 and the price of a herring was a nickel. When Joel arrived in New York from Europe, his sister set him up with a pushcart for selling herring. The store opened in 1914 and continues to be a great success. Mostly memoir, with a handful of recipes and many photos, we are privileged to have his recipes for Mushroom Barley Soup, Herring in Parchment, Egg Cream, and Bagel Pudding With Prunes and Raisins. The book is as delicious as the store’s smoked fish. Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary
Cookbook (Crocodile Books). Stories and food share many characteristics. They both can elevate our consciousness; they get handed down from generation to generation; they change according to the needs and wants of the storyteller or cook. Author and storyteller Jane Yolen and her daughter and recipe maker Heidi E.Y. Shefrin make a perfect stew out of Jewish tales and recipes in this lively book illustrated by cloth and collage artist Sima Elizabeth Shefrin. Chicken plays a large role in “Three Clever Things,” a tale from Midrash Rabbah, so the author pairs the story with a recipe for Tzimmes Chicken. “And the Matzo Was Still Warm,” about a miracleworking rabbi, is combined with a recipe for Matzo Brei — “There is no wrong way” to make it. Yolen includes anecdotes about the origins of the stories and the recipes, all child-friendly. This is a wonderful book for the young and old to share. Passover Made Easy: Favorite TripleTested Recipes (Artscroll/Shaar Press). Anything that can make Passover easier is surely welcome. Cookbook author Leah Schapira and food writer Victoria Dwek have teamed up to present 60 recipes (56 are gluten-free) that look mighty interesting, including Meatballs in Blueberry Sauce, Brisket Eggrolls, Tortillas With TomatoMint Salsa and Guacamole, Matzaroni and Cheese, and Espresso Macarons With Chocolate-Hazelnut Cream. They also provide preparation tips, food styling advice and wine pairings, with photos for every recipe. This is the first in a series of “Made Easy” cookbooks by the co-authors.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
π Kadimah club (Cleveland Council) visits the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland to view “Bezalel on Tour,” an exhibition that celebrates the 106th anniversary of Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. From left, front row: Nina Rosner, Judy Friedman Luisa Aviv, Arlene Grove and Stacie Madow; back row: Robin Lieberman, Larry Rosner, Maxine Zion, Kelly Hahn, Sue Katz, Rona Weiss and Jerry Cohen.
π Pittsburgh Council holds a dessert reception for national president Elizabeth Raider, who updated members on Na’amat Israel activities. From left: Elizabeth Raider, past council president Marla Scheinman, past council president Carole Wolsh, Hativah club president Alexandra Greenberg, past council president Judy Sufrin and Marcia Weiss, council president and national board member.
π Members of Kadimah Club (Palm Beach Council) enjoy a wonderful weeklong cruise on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam. From left: Jacquey Oster, Ralph Davidson, Natalie Shustrin, Cookie Draluck, Morty Draluck, Bernice Leitner and Babs Lee. π Bayit Chadash, Palm Beach Council’s newest club, held its first program, a book and author luncheon. There was a great turnout to hear Ellen Brazer, author, most recently, of And So It Was Written. From left: Doris Katz, president; Ellen Brazer and Marjorie Moidel, Southeast Area national coordinator.
Members of the local committee make ® exciting plans for Na’amat’s 41st National Convention in Cleveland, July 21-24. From left, seated: Jeanette Buckwald, Natalie Landy, Annette Solomon, national board member Linda Schoenberg, Eileen Gordon and Susan Haas; standing: Luanna Gamble, Devorah Silverman, Marguerite Morris, Ellen Saltz, Florence Dobrin, Sheila Adler, Myrna Groger, Robin Lieberman, fund-raising co-vice president of Cleveland council, and Rose Spiegler.
π Cleveland Council holds its festive annual Spiritual Adoption dinner at the home of its president Linda Schoenberg, who served a delicious Italian-style vegan meal. From left: Linda Schoenberg, Louis Kelsch, Marlene Ricanati and Rona Weiss.
π Cleveland Council holds a retirement brunch to honor Rhoda Shapiro’s 24 years of outstanding service as executive director of the council. She is surrounded by family, from left, front: Molly Cohen (great-niece) and Tzvi Gordon (grandson); second row: Michael Gordon (son-in-law), Shari Gordon (daughter), Shoshana Gordon (granddaughter), Julie Cohen (niece), Malkie Shapiro (daughter-in-law), Rhoda Shapiro and Jeffrey Shapiro (son); back row: Shia Shapiro (husband).
π Students from Na’amat’s Ayanot Agricultural High School participated in a March of the Living trip to Poland. They came home with strong positive feelings about what it means to be a Jew and Israeli Zionist living in an independent state. The march is an annual educational program that brings students from all over the world to Poland to study the history of the Holocaust and to examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hate.
π Na’amat holds a “A Day on Zionism” for all regional chairpersons. The program took place at Mt. Herzl at the new Herzl Educational Center. The day began with a lecture by Masha Lubelsky on the topic “Israel: A Zionist and Democratic State,” followed by a special tour, “Following the footsteps of women in Zionism.” Delegates also visited the Herzl Museum. The group is shown standing at the grave of Golda Meir, Israel’s former prime minister and national secretary of Na’amat USA (then called Pioneer Women) in the early 1930s.
Na’amat held its Ideological Convention in ® Ayanot Agricutural High School with some 300 delegates who set goals for the next five years. Discussions addressed women in society; women in the workforce; religion, law and family; health and welfare; education.
You are Invited to Join the NA’AMAT USA
Circle of Love A child’s future is in your hands! That child needs our Circle of Love to be nurtured and set on the road to a happy and productive life. Each Circle of Love provides a scholarship for an at-risk child to attend one of Na’amat’s multipurpose centers. These centers provide not only quality education, but also psychological and special needs services — all in a loving environment, 12 hours a day. A single donation of $2,000 completes a circle. Ten people, each donating $200, will also create a circle. Donors’ names will be inscribed on the Circle of Love wall in Israel and appear in Na’amat Woman magazine.
With your help, the Circle of Love will be never-ending. Please contact the national office for additional information. Phone: 212-563-5222; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: www.naamat.org.
Circle of Love Donors
Na’amat USA wholeheartedly thanks the following for providing scholarships for needy Israeli children to attend Na’amat multipurpose day care centers. One ($2,000) or More Aurelia Goldberg Jack Mason Elissa Newlander Estate Jacob B. Pelta Pittsburgh Council Frances and Alvin Reingold Trust 30
Sabra Club (Brooklyn, NY) Youngstown Council Others Andrea Abramowitz Frances Ehrlich Esther Goldsmith Club, Toms River, NJ Evelyn Leidner
YOU CAN WIN A CONVENTION PACKAGE! Annual members who become life members between July 1, 2012, and Israel Independence Day, April 16, 2013, will be entered into a drawing for a convention package (land only, value: $450). Looking forward to meeting you at the convention -July 21-24, 2013 -- in Cleveland! Chellie Goldwater Wilensky National Convention Chairperson
Rock With NA’AMAT!
he national convention chairpersons are looking forward to your participation in Na’amat USA’s 41st National Convention, July 21-24, in Cleveland. The site is the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland East/ Beachwood. “The committee and I are working hard to make this convention educational and meaningful, as well as fun,” says Chellie Goldwater Wilensky, national convention chair. “We’re looking forward to meeting many Na’amat USA members from all over the country. We know you will especially enjoy meeting Galia Wolloch, our dynamic new Na’amat Israel president.” Wolloch, along with Shirli Shavit, head of Na’amat ’s International Department, will update delegates about the organization’s latest projects in Israel as well as its plans
of action, “and they are looking forward to meeting you personally,” Wilensky says. Also on the agenda are Ron Prosser, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations; Mark Raider, American historian and professor of modern Jewish history at the University of Cincinnati; and Yoran Sideman, Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region. There will be breakout sessions on leadership, advocacy, fund-raising, membership and programming, which will give delegates a variety of new ideas to take home and share with fellow members. A panel on the “War on Women” will feature employment law attorney Laurie J. Wasserman and other women renowned for their expertise in women’s issues. New national officers will be elected at this triennial event. Participants will enjoy a visit to Cleve-
Convention chairs from left: Marcia Weiss, Linda Schoenberg, Chellie Goldwater Wilensky and Gail Simpson.
land’s Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, and there’s an optional pre-convention trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Among the entertainers are Shlomo Haviv, the popular singer/songwriter; the Yiddishe Cup, a top klezmer band; and Kathyrn Wolfe Sebo, a cantor and entertainer. Get in on the action and send in your registration today!
Convention registration form
She’s a Winner! Mazal tov to Sydelle Nelson of Orli club in Chicago, winner of the contest for annual members. She has been awarded a Life Membership in Na’amat USA.
NA'AMAT USA 41st NATIONAL CONVENTION CLEVELAND, OHIO, JULY 21-24, 2013 Please print your name as you wish it to appear on your badge.
Welcome to the New Life Members of NA’AMAT USA SOUTHEAST AREA Phyllis Cohen Delray Beach, Fla. Sara Krifcher Boynton Beach, Fla. Barbara Lapinson Boynton Beach, Fla. Barbara Rosenberg Aventura, Fla. Alyce A. Rosenthal Delray Beach, Fla. MIDWEST AREA Judith Fox W. Bloomfield, Mich. Judy Green Cleveland, Ohio Melanie Hoffman Highland Park, Ill. Lois G. Klein Lyndhurst, Ohio
Arlene Leshner Northbrook, Ill. Lifsa Schachter Pepper Pike, Ohio WESTERN AREA Johanna Bilow Tarzana, Calif. Marlene Gurewitz Woodland Hills, Calif. Linda Kavalsky Woodland Hills, Calif. Shirll Lerner Encino, Calif. Adina Reyter Studio City, Calif. Barbara Rubin Laguna Woods, Calif. FRIEND Steven Rosen San Francisco, Calif.
Name Address City/State/Zip Phone E-mail Club Council Life Member
Rooming with Arriving on
Name of guest/spouse Address City/State/Zip Phone E-mail Club Council Friend of Na’amat USA
$450 (per person, double occupancy). Single supplement: $200. Package includes 3 nights in the DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland East/Beachwood plus opening night reception, 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners, closing brunch, all programs and entertainment, convention bag and materials.
Total registration fee(s) $________________ Enclosed is my check payable to Na’amat USA Please charge:
Name on account Account number Expiration date Signature
Please send to: Na’amat usa, 505 8th Avenue, Suite 2302, New York, NY 10018.
Join us in Cleveland, Ohio, for the 41st National Convention of NA'AMAT USA.
July 21-24, 2013 DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland East/ Beachwood Convention Package: $450.
Experience the spirit and excitement of a NA'AMAT USA convention. Join dynamic women in stimulating discussions and important plenaries. Enjoy socializing with members from across the United States and visitors from Israel. Generate new ideas and help shape the future of the organization.
Top Israeli and American personalities Gala banquet and festive entertainment Sessions on critical issues Election of national officers And much, much more!
Make our convention part of your family vacation! See page 31 for convention package details and registration form.