THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009 • 23 KISLEV, 5770 • SHABBAT: FRI 4:57 – SAT 5:57 • CINCINNATI, OHIO • VOL. 156 • NO. 20 • SINGLE ISSUE PRICE $2.00
Vanessa Leahr, 10, Rockwern Academy - Winner of the 2009 Chanukah Cover Coloring Contest
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
New Year’s Eve at the J The JCC is hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration for adults (ages 21+) on Thursday, Dec. 31. “The Code,” a local band led by Jamie Steele, will perform. Comprised of nearly a dozen male and female singers, dancers and musicians, The Code has performed at thousands of festivals, parties, formal dances and major community events, from Cincinnati to Lexington, over the past six years. Their repertoire includes songs from the 1960s to
today, featuring hits like “Love Shack,” “I Will Survive,” “Crocodile Rock,” and “Mustang Sally.” Jamie Steele, lead singer of “The Code,” is CEO of Halom House, Inc., in Blue Ash. (Halom House is a residential support organization for local mentally and physically disabled Jewish adults.) Guests are encouraged to dress up in festive attire and ring in the New Year at the J with cock-
tails, snacks, a champagne toast, and a midnight breakfast buffet. Children in grades K – 6 can attend their own JCC New Year’s Eve party at the J on Thursday, Dec. 31. It will be a kids-only overnight celebration, with access to the JCC waterpark and gym as well as a movie, crafts, games, prizes, snacks, a special soda pop toast at midnight, and breakfast in the morning. For information on tickets and reservations, call the J.
NHS presents program on The Bintel Brief, Dec. 18 The Bintel Brief, “a bundle of letters,” has been the Forward’s advice column — for Jews from Jews — since 1906. Often separated from family and bewildered by life in a new country, thousands of Jewish immigrants wrote to the offices of this Yiddish-language newspaper founded in 1897. The paper’s founder and editor, Abraham Cahan, would answer with advice. In his memoir, Cahan wrote, “People often
need the opportunity to pour out their heavy laden hearts…” Many of the challenges that appeared in the Bintel Brief many years ago are relevant today. On Friday, Dec. 18, Northern Hills Synagogue - Congregation B’nai Avraham members will share actual letters and responses from the book, “A Bintel Brief: 60 Years of Letters from the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward,” by Isaac Metzker.
The program will follow Shabbat services. An Oneg Shabbat will follow, and the community is welcome. This program is presented by the Adult Education Committee. The next program will feature John Entine, author of “Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity, and DNA of the Chosen People” on Sunday, Jan. 10. For more information on both events, call Northern Hills Synagogue.
Over The Rhine Jewish Benefit raises funds for OTR organizations Religious and ethnic diversity was represented at a recent fundraiser, OTRJB, that was initiated by the Jewish community. The event raised $4300 for three Over the Rhine non-Profits: the Over the Rhine Soup Kitchen, the Freestore Food Bank and the Revitalization Initiative. Mayor Mark Mallory, as well as leaders from the Over the Rhine Chamber of Commerce, the Freestore Food Bank, the Over the Rhine Soup Kitchen, and the Theater Ensemble attended the event held at Rockdale Temple. The evening was structured to support small group discussions focused upon the value of diversity in Over the Rhine, as facilitated by Randy Harris of the Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati. A significant component of the program featured an exploration of how the Jewish values of economic justice and cultural diversity translate into strengthening bridge building between Jewish leaders and issues of concern to Over the Rhine. The fundraiser was the beginning of an ongoing program. Event coordinators plan to
The event raised $4300 for three Over the Rhine non-Profits: the Over the Rhine Soup Kitchen, the Freestore Food Bank and the Revitalization Initiative. solicit feedback over the next few months as well as organize a group of lay leaders to support other such learning and awareness opportunities in the future. As a first step, seminary students, administrators, and faculty from HUC-JIR plan to take a tour of Over the Rhine, led by the Over the Rhine Chamber of Commerce president, Brian Tiffany, in December. In addition to support and participation from HUC-JIR’s students, faculty and the administration, the benefit was co-sponsored by Temple Sholom, Rockdale Temple, Wise Temple, Valley Temple, and Beth Adam Congregation as well as the American Jewish Archives, the Jewish Community Center,
Jewish Vocational Services, and the Klau Library. Ari Plost, a 4th-year rabbinical student, organized the OTRJB as the Tikkun Olam vice president of the HUC-JIR student government. Observed Plost, “This event reflects our ideals as future rabbis and community leaders who are committed to encouraging pluralism in our society by reaching out to those of all faiths and backgrounds…The strong support for OTRJB by the HUC-JIR community and by the wider Jewish community reflects our commitment to social and economic justice as well as our belief in the existing and future role that the Jewish community can play in revitalizing the Cincinnati community.”
BROWER Retired High School Art Teacher & Artist will be in the
WOMAN’S ART CLUB CULTURAL CENTER ART SHOW WED TO FRI, DECEMBER 9 TO 11 6 P.M. TO 9 P.M. and again on
SAT & SUN, DECEMBER 12 & 13 2 P.M. TO 6 P.M. 6980 CAMBRIDGE AVE., MARIEMONT
She will be showing and selling copper enameled pictures and handmade solid silver jewelry. Please come visit her. Thank you.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
Temple Sholom welcomes all to a Chanukah dinner, Dec. 11 Following Shabbat services, the Annual Chanukah Dinner will take place on Dec. 11. There will be a variety of foods for dinner including potato
latkes prepared by the Temple Sholom Brotherhood. For entertainment there will be games, songs and dancing. Families are encouraged to bring
their own menorahs to help add to the festivities. The event is sponsored by the Temple Sholom Sisterhood, who hope to make the event especially
welcoming to those who are new to town. For reservations and information, including fees, call the temple.
Jewish perspectives on health care reform, NHS, Dec. 16 Jewish perspectives on health care reform will be the topic when Northern Hills Synagogue Congregation B’nai Avraham holds its monthly HaZaK program for seniors on Wednesday, Dec. 16. Rabbi Mark E. Washofsky, Ph.D., of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion will
lead the program. He will focus on Jewish Ethics and Health Care Policy. Recently, Washofsky served as Professor of Rabbinics, specializing in the literature of the Talmud and Jewish law. In addition, Washofsky chairs the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American
Rabbis, the rabbinical arm of the Reform movement. His extensive publications include Jewish Living and Practice (URJ Press, 2000), Teshuvot for the Nineties (with W. Gunther Plaut, CCAR, 1997), and essays and articles on Jewish bioethics, abortion, the right to die, AIDS, and ethical responsibility.
Washofsky is the Solomon B. Freehof Professor of Jewish Law and Practice at HUC-JIR, and a member of the faculty since 1985. HaZaK programs are for adults 55 and older, and are open to the entire community. Lunch will be served. For reservations and information call the Synagogue office.
The ‘Rape of Europa’ at Wise, Dec. 17 “The Rape of Europa” will be shown at Wise Temple on Dec. 17 in the afternoon. Wrote Kenneth Baker of the San Francisco Chronicle, “With impressive clarity and sweep, ‘The Rape of Europa’ recounts the Nazi theft and destruction of European art and architecture. The calamity began soon after Adolf Hitler’s assumption of power in 1933, and its repercussions still make themselves felt in litigation over the rightful ownership of recovered
“...‘The Rape of Europa’ recounts the Nazi theft and destruction of European art and architecture.”
artifacts. The film is based on Lynn Nicholas’ award-winning book, The Rape of Europa. Weaving through the narrative, from beginning to end, is the story of Gustav Klimt’s famous Gold Portrait stolen from Viennese Jews in 1938. The painting’s story — it sold in the end for $135 million to New York collector Ronald Lauder — illustrates the daunting financial struggles that underlie the Nazi’s actions and its consequences. With such eye-opening values,
the film asks survivors whether a work of art can ever exceed the value of a human life. A side consideration, but nonetheless interesting to explore, is the notion that Hitler’s own failure as an artist drove the Nazi’s plunder. Following the film, there will be a discussion period chaired by Ruth Lowenthal. The program is free; refreshments will be provided. Call Wise Temple for more information.
Hadassah’s membership appreciation Zumba Party, Dec. 16 Cincinnati Chapter of Hadassah will hold a Membership Appreciation — New Member Zumba Party on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at the Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge. The party begins with light bites and appetizers, followed by a 45-minute Zumba session led by Lorri Munafo, a licensed, certified Zumba instructor, who also teaches at the JCC. No prior knowledge of Zumba is necessary. Zumba is an exercise/dance class that fuses Latin rhythms with relatively simple moves. Part dance, part aerobics, Zumba is an hour-long routine that works most muscles in the body. It was created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto
Since 2003, the Zumba Academy has trained over 20,000 instructors around the world and sold more than 3 million DVDs on the Internet and through infomercials. “Beto” Perez. Perez decided to call the exercise Zumba, after the Colombian slang word meaning to buzz like a bee or move fast. After his success isnColombia, Beto brought the class to the United States and, in 2001, he was approached by
entrepreneurs Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion to create a global company based on his fitness philosophy. The three young entrepreneurs trademarked the word Zumba and set a goal to expand the brand all over the world. The
explosive demand for Zumba instructors across the nation and abroad spurred the creation of the Zumba Academy, the educational division of Zumba Fitness. Since 2003, the Zumba Academy has trained over 20,000 instructors around the world and sold more than 3 million DVDs on the Internet and through infomercials. Participants should wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Zumba requires a lot of pivoting, so it is recommended to wear a shoe that has flat soles. There is a parking lot across the street from the Ascent. For information on the event and its cost, call the Cincinnati chapter office.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
The oldest English-Jewish weekly in America Founded July 15, 1854 by Isaac M.Wise VOL. 156 • NO. 20 Thursday, December 10, 2009 23 Kislev, 5770 Shabbat begins Fri, 4:57 p.m. Shabbat ends Sat, 5:57 p.m. THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE CO., PUBLISHERS 18 WEST NINTH STREET, SUITE 2 CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202-2037 PHONE: (513) 621-3145 FAX: (513) 621-3744 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org HENRY C. SEGAL Editor & Publisher 1930-1985 MILLARD H. MACK Publisher Emeritus NETANEL (TED) DEUTSCH Editor & Publisher AVI MILGROM MICHAEL McCRACKEN Assistant Editors ALEXIA KADISH Copy Editor JOSEPH D. STANGE Production Manager PATTY YOUKILIS Advertising Sales LEV LOKSHIN JANE KARLSBERG Staff Photographers JANET STEINBERG Travel Editor ROBERT WILHELMY Restaurant Reporter MARIANNA BETTMAN NATE BLOOM RABBI A. JAMES RUDIN RABBI AVI SHAFRAN Contributing Writers SANDY PENCE Office Manager
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The views and opinions expressed by American Israelite columnists do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the newspaper.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
On Nov. 16 & 17, students and staff at Rockwern Academy delivered over 5,000 food items to the Jewish Family Services food pantry in Golf Manor and also to Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen in Over the Rhine.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
Jewish Labor Committee calls for Hyatt boycott Jewish Telegraphic Agency
AgnosticPreachersKid / Wikimedia Commons
“Tea partiers” paying homage to talk-show host Glenn Beck —- both were criticized in an AntiDefamation League report for comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler — at a rally Sept. 12, 2009.
Conservatives rap ADL report on anti-government anger by Eric Fingerhut Jewish Telegraphic Agency WASHINGTON (JTA) — Some conservatives are accusing the Anti-Defamation League of launching a partisan attack following its report asserting that a “current of anti-government hostility” has swept the United States in the year since Barack Obama was elected. The Jewish defense organization did not respond similarly to anti-Bush hatred during the previous eight years, the conservatives have argued, and was unfairly linking mainstream criticism of the president with fringe attacks on Obama. But the ADL said it frequently denounced extremist rhetoric during the Bush administration, and that its new report does make a distinction between everyday partisan vitriol and more problematic attacks. “The comments are coming from people who have not read the report,” ADL spokeswoman Myrna Shinbaum said. “They’re reacting to the media spin and not its substance.” The report, titled “Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies,” examines both some mainstream and more fringe expressions of anti-government anger, which it says is characterized by a “shared belief that Obama and his administration actually pose a threat to the future of the United States.” “Some of these assertions are motivated by prejudice,” the report
states, “but more common is an intense strain of anti-government distrust and anger colored by a streak of paranoia and belief in conspiracies.” Among other things, the report cites the “tea parties,” the “Birther” movement and the disruptions of congressional town hall meetings across the country this summer — often by protesters comparing the Obama administration and the Democrats to Nazis. The report also examines conspiracy theories circulating among anti-government extremists — including fears of the imposition of martial law and government confiscation of guns — and finds a “sudden and surprising resurgence of the militia movement” that had peaked during the mid-1990s. The ADL charges that some in the mainstream media have played a role in promoting anti-government anger, specifically singling out Glenn Beck of Fox News as a “fearmonger-in-chief” for making comparisons between Obama and Adolf Hitler, and promoting conspiracy theories. Beck himself responded on his Nov. 25 radio show to the ADL report and a Los Angeles Times piece that mentioned the report and compared Beck to the 1930s antiSemitic radio broadcaster Father Coughlin. Beck slammed the ADL, saying it was “nothing … but a political organization at this point — and it kills me to say that.” “Name the person that has been more friendly to Israel, name the person that has spoken more to the
Holocaust deniers running Iran,” Beck said. Among the more prominent critics of the report was Commentary executive editor Jonathan Tobin, who wrote that it essentially argued that those who “merely cry that they ‘want their country back’ from the Democrats while standing outside a town-hall meeting become the thin edge of the wedge of a new threat to democracy and, by extension, a threat to the Jews.” “By choosing to frame its report denouncing this brand of extremism in such a way as to associate all those who have opposed Obama’s policies in one way or another with the far Right, the ADL has stepped over a line that a nonpartisan group should never cross,” he said. ADL officials said the report does distinguish between mainstream partisan attacks and more hostile rhetoric. The introduction states that for the most part, conservative politicians and media figures “eschew the conspiracy theories and more outlandish notions and tactics propagated by others. Some of their activities parallel Democratic tactics during the Bush administration. These mainstream political attacks fall outside the bounds of this report.” The report adds that “one of the most important effects of these activists, however, is to help create a body of people who may be predisposed to believe the assertions and claims of more extreme individuals and groups.”
CONSERVATIVES on page 19
WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Jewish Labor Committee is calling on Jews to boycott Hyatt Hotels. The call comes following the news earlier this fall that the hotel chain had laid off approximately 100 members of its housekeeping staff and replaced them with lowerwage workers. In August, employees at three Boston-area hotels were tasked with training people they thought were additional housekeeping hires. On Aug. 31 they learned the new staffers were their cheaper replacements from a Georgia-based staffing firm, the Boston Globe reported. The New England JLC, which is circulating a petition to rabbis and cantors worldwide to swear off holding Jewish events at Hyatt Hotels until the former employees are rehired, called the Hyatt’s costcutting move an “outrageous step of reducing the pay of the least powerful workers, those who are critical to a hotel’s mission.” The petition began circulating nationally on Nov. 19. The three Boston-area hotels are the only ones to institute these cost-
cutting measures. More than 200 rabbis and cantors in the United States and Canada are supporting the campaign, which also has the backing of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. In September, Patrick said Massachusetts state employees would not stay in Hyatt hotels on business travel until the fired housekeeping staffers were reinstated. The Hyatt Corp., which went public in November for the first time in four decades, did not return a call seeking comment. The new workers, who at a reported $8 an hour are paid about $7 less hourly than the laid-off employees, have far fewer benefits, according to the New England JLC. Marya Axner, regional director of the JLC in Boston, said the move was an unnecessary cost-cutting measure, given that the hotel chain still boasts a healthy profit margin. “If you look at the Hyatt and how much money they make, yes, they have made less because of the recession, but they are still making a profit,” Axner said.
Philanthropist pleads guilty to bribes Jewish Telegraphic Agency LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Elliott Broidy, a leading investor in the Israeli economy and major donor and activist in the Los Angeles Jewish community, pleaded guilty Thursday to the felony charge of rewarding official misconduct. According to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Broidy admitted that he made nearly $1 million in payoffs to four senior New York state officials as he pursued an investment from the state public pension fund. He has agreed to forfeit $18 million in management fees and a judge may impose a sentence of up to four years in prison following Broidy’s guilty plea, the Wall Street Journal reported. The development is part of Cuomo’s wide-ranging pay-to-play probe on whether decisions about how to invest retirees’ money in the giant pension fund were wrongly
influenced by money and politics. Cuomo said that Broidy has acknowledged paying at least $75,000 for high-price luxury trips to Italy and Israel for a top official in the New York State Comptroller and his relatives. Several media sources quoted unnamed sources identifying the official as the former comptroller Alan Hevesi; his lawyer reportedly declined to comment. By raising $800 million, Broidy turned his Markstone Capital Group into the largest private equity fund in Israel, at a time when the intifada was at its height and most investors were shunning the Jewish state. In Los Angeles, Broidy has been a major donor to the United Jewish Fund and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a trustee of the University of Southern California and USC Hillel, and has served on the Hebrew Union College board of governors and as a trustee of Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
Looking to reinvigorate, Conservative synagogue leaders set for parley by Bryan Schwartzman Guest Author PHILADELPHIA (Jewish Exponent) — As the congregational arm of the Conservative movement continues its structural overhaul — brought on in part by a decline in membership and a $1.3 million budget deficit – some 500 people are expected in Cherry Hill, N.J., next week for the group’s biennial convention. In the past year, the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism has been seeking to reassert its relevance after 30 congregations nationwide opted to withhold dues and disassociate. Over the course of a decade, the movement has dropped from 800 synagogues to approximately 650. Leaders within the movement have charged in recent years that the United Synagogue has lacked transparency and not provided needed assistance as synagogues confront a host of economic and demographic challenges. In March, a group of about 50 rabbis and lay leaders, known as the HaYom group, sent a letter to the organization demanding reform. “Most of the time, most synagogues are not even aware that the United Synagogue office exists,” said Rela Geffen, a Philadelphia sociologist and co-author of the 2000 book “The Conservative Movement in Judaism: Dilemmas and Opportunities.” The recent upheaval comes as synagogues across denominational lines have struggled to adapt to shifting spiritual and demographic
landscapes. Yet the Conservative movement faces its own particular challenges. It has lost adherents to both Reform on the left and Modern Orthodoxy on the right. Its various arms have not always worked well together. And as a branch committed to both Jewish law and adapting to modern times, it has faced intense internal debates, most recently over its decision to approve the ordination of gay rabbis. At the same time, Conservatives have a new crop of professional leaders who have sought to reinvigorate the movement, including Arnold Eisen, in his second year as chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the first woman to head the movement’s Rabbinical Assembly. And there’s Rabbi Steven Wernick, the United Synagogue’s new executive vice president and CEO. When the group’s conference opens Dec. 6 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, observers say all eyes will be on the man charged with infusing new life into the congregational body. Tapped in March to head the organization, the former religious leader of Temple Adath Israel in Merion Station, Pa., has spent the past months meeting with congregations across the United States and Canada. “I hope that we create a new vision that provides hope and confidence that United Synagogue is prepared to play a significant role in the life of Conservative Judaism,” said Wernick, acknowl-
edging that he’s working to restore the effectiveness and credibility of United Synagogue. He said the agency is in the midst of creating a long-range strategic plan.
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Rabbi Steven Wernick, the United Synagogue’s new executive vice president and CEO, acknowledges that he is working to restore the effectiveness and credibility of the organization.
“This is one of those seminal moments in history, and we are going to rise to the occasion and create the foundations for a resurgence of Conservative Judaism,” he said. Geffen said that Wernick is “going to have to present and defend a lot of his decisions” at the conference. “It will be very interesting to
watch his public role and see him as an advocate of the movement,” Geffen said. Those decisions include an announcement in September that United Synagogue plans to cut 10 percent of its staff and downsize from 15 regional offices to six district offices. That move followed a similar downsizing undertaken by the Reform movement. The four-day biennial also will feature a public meeting of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Laws and Standards, which provides guidance for religious practice. The body is expected to debate a responsa — a body of written legal and policy decisions — that would encourage Jewish cemeteries to create a separate section where non-Jewish spouses could be buried next to their Jewish mates. The committee also will debate appropriate forms of contraception according to Jewish law and whether families should keep violent video games out of the house. Rabbi Robert Layman, who led the local United Synagogue office for more than a decade, said he always believed that more Reform Jews identified with the Reform movement as a whole, while the vast majority of Conservative Jews identified more closely with their particular synagogue rather than the theology and ritual practice of the Conservative movement. Many of the issues and debates sure to arise at the biennial — outreach to interfaith families, the changing nature of the synagogue and community, the challenge of engaging “post-denominational”
Jews — were on the agenda at a recent program sponsored by the Jewish Theological Seminary’s alumni association. More than 90 people attended the Nov. 22 panel discussion at Temple Sinai in Dresher, Pa., featuring Eisen, the chancellor at JTS, and three recent graduates, all clergy currently working in the region. Since the trends in Judaism are favoring smaller communities, minyans and study groups, the panelists wrestled with just how the Conservative synagogue can serve contemporary needs. “It’s definitely time, when the world has totally transformed itself within the last 20 years, for a new look at the institutions in the Jewish community,” said Eisen. Rabbi Michael Uram, incoming director of Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania, said that too much time is spent worrying about the future of the movement rather than the wider Jewish world. “We always seem to be asking questions about how do we advance an institution, how do we build a movement,” said Uram, who added that thinking needs to shift toward serving communities and individuals rather than serving a movement. “Is the goal an institution or is the goal Judaism?” Rabbi Micah Peltz of Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill said he faces this conundrum as a congregational rabbi: How many different study sessions and minyanim can we have going on until we don’t feel like a congregation anymore? “How much community do we cede in doing that?” Peltz wonders.
Groups fighting abortion restriction in health reform bill by Eric Fingerhut Jewish Telegraphic Agency WASHINGTON (JTA) — Several Jewish groups are fighting a controversial measure in health reform legislation that would have the effect of eliminating insurance coverage for abortion for millions of women. At issue is the Stupak Amendment, a measure included at the last minute in the health care bill passed Nov. 7 by the U.S. House of Representatives. Several organizations — including the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the National Council of Jewish Women, the American Jewish Congress and the Chicago-based Joint Action Committee — have spoken out or are lobbying to make sure the amendment does not end up either in the Senate version of health care
legislation or the final bill that emerges from a conference committee. Jewish abortion rights activists say that many people fail to realize the effect of the measure on reproductive freedom. The issue potentially could divide liberals as they struggle to prioritize protecting abortion rights and securing conservative Democratic votes in favor of a final health care bill. “We strongly want to see health care reform, but we don’t want to see women thrown under the bus,” said Marcia Balonick, executive director of the Joint Action Committee, a Jewish political action committee that promotes reproductive freedom, separation of church and state, and the U.S.Israel relationship. Under a law known as the Hyde Amendment, public funds cannot be used to cover abortions except in
cases of rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother. But the Stupak Amendment would go much further, banning anyone receiving federal subsidies for health insurance — those earning 400 percent of the poverty level, or $88,000 for a family of four — from buying a plan that covers abortion. In addition, the proposed measure would not allow any insurance plan that takes part in the new “insurance exchange” to include abortion in its coverage, even for those paying for coverage with their own funds. (The legislation would allow companies to sell a separate “rider” for abortion coverage, but advocates say it is unlikely that women would purchase such a plan for what is almost always an unplanned procedure.) By essentially saying that insurance plans cannot segregate private funds used for abortion from public
funds that are not allowed for such a purpose, opponents argue that Stupak in a number of areas contradicts government policy — which, for instance, permits public funds to go to religious institutions as long as the money is not used for religious activities. The director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Rabbi David Saperstein, said that in pushing for the stricter abortion measure, religious conservatives are using the opposite argument from their case for allowing government-subsidized school vouchers to be used for religious schools. Conservatives argue that the voucher case does not constitute government endorsement of religion because a mother or father is making the choice of where to spend the money. But in pushing for the adoption of Stupak, proponents are saying that if
the government gives an individual money for health insurance, the government is then endorsing abortion if the recipient uses her insurance to pay for such a procedure. Sammie Moshenberg, director of Washington operations for the National Council of Jewish Women, said that while her organization does not like the current law preventing federal funding of abortion, it was willing to abide it in order to achieve significant health care reform. “We understood from very early on, this vehicle is not going to be the vehicle where we’re going to fight that battle” on the Hyde Amendment, she said. But Moshenberg called the Stupak Amendment “devastating,” describing it as “an attempt to have one religious viewpoint foisted on us legislatively and sets up the federal government to enforce it.”
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
For Antwerp Jews, turns out diamonds aren’t forever
Antwerp’s Jewish district has something of the feel of a modern shtetl.
by Ben Harris Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Benjamin Lubelsky, in his bicycle store in Antwerp, on Nov. 17, 2009, makes his living outside the diamond business. Growing numbers of Antwerp Jews are having to follow this model.
Alexander Zanzer, photographed in his Antwerp office on Nov. 17, 2009, says Jewish wealth in the city has dropped tenfold.
ANTWERP, Belgium (JTA) — Some years ago, Benjamin Lubelsky’s son asked him for help fixing his bicycle, a preferred mode of transport here among Jews and gentiles. Lubelsky, a Bobover Chasid, acquired the necessary parts and soon was fielding requests from neighbors for similar services. Seeing the potential for a business, he acquired training in bicycle mechanics and opened his own shop, Gal Gal — Hebrew for wheel — in the heart of this city’s Jewish quarter. A generation ago it would have been unheard of for a Jew in Antwerp to get his hands dirty as a mechanic. Jobs in the city’s Jewishdominated diamond industry were abundant, lucrative and required little training. Upwards of three-quarters of Antwerp Jews relied on them for their livelihoods. “When I was a child,” Lubelsky said, “most of the Yiddin were in diamonds.” Those days are a memory now. Most of the low-skilled diamond cleaving jobs have been shipped off to India and elsewhere. In their wake, international businessmen have gained a foothold in the diamond trade, relieving Jews of their once commanding position in the market. The change has resulted in an enormous loss of Jewish wealth and vastly enlarged the rolls of Jewish welfare recipients. It also has forced Jews to seek out new means of
livelihood — as taxi drivers and shopkeepers, in real estate. Perhaps most significant, it has brought to a close decades of job security during which virtually anyone could, after a few months of training, acquire work that reliably provided the means to support a vital Jewish life. “It’s pure Darwinism,” said Alexander Zanzer, director of the Royal Society for Jewish Welfare, commonly known as the Centrale. “The Jewish community has to adapt or die.” The Darwinian analogy is sounded frequently these days among the Jews of Antwerp, who still rank among the most unique Jewish communities in the world. Approximately half of the community is Orthodox or Chasidic — an astonishingly high figure by the standards of the Jewish world — and it is among the last in Europe whose members live, work and worship within a defined Jewish quarter in the city center. The neighborhood has the feel of a modern shtetl. Black-hatted Chasidim hurry about along narrow lanes, their sidelocks trailing in the wind. Children and adults cycle along Antwerp’s extensive network of bike lanes. Along the Schupstraat, the pedestrian street in the Jewish quarter that is ground zero for the global diamond trade, yarmulkewearing men cut business deals with partners from around the world. “Antwerp is the last Jewish ghetto of Europe,” said Shmulie Markowitz, a local travel agent. “Religious or not, everyone speaks heimishe Yiddish. Even by the nonJews, the code word for closing a deal is ‘mazel.’” That kind of insularity was enabled by easy diamond jobs that obviated the need to acquire higher education and even fluency in the local languages. “Why would they?” asked Rabbi Aharon Kohen, a Belzer Chasid and the spiritual leader of the Moriah synagogue. “They go into diamonds, they make double, triple the amount. There was no good reason to do anything else.” Today the reasons are mounting. At the Antwerp Diamond Symposium in November, an annual event that attracts the leading figures of the diamond world, the talk was of a “new normal” for the industry. The global financial crisis is rewriting the rules for a trade that given the particularities of trafficking in precious gems, relies significantly on trust and longtime business relationships. The symposium once was a lavish affair; former President Bill Clinton was a special guest in 2003. This year’s event, held in the functional confines of a conference cen-
ter, felt more like an academic conclave. But the changing face of the industry could be read elsewhere, too: in the audience, where a smattering of yarmulkes and black fedoras were swamped by a sea of Indian and Asian businessmen. “The Jewish community lost its identity with the diamond industry,” said Ari Epstein, the deputy CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the industry group that organizes the symposium. It also lost vast personal fortunes. According to Zanzer, the community has seen a tenfold loss of wealth that has sent the ranks of Jewish needy soaring. The Centrale is spending some $2.3 million per year to support more than 700 Jewish families — up from 100 families a decade ago. “We have seen the poverty go up exponentially over the last five years,” Zanzer said. The numbers only tell part of the story. In the past, families may have needed temporary assistance to manage tough times. Today they need help keeping their children fed. “The gravity is totally different,” Zanzer said. Beyond the rising poverty statistics, a shifting economic landscape is likely to effect deeper psychic changes among the Jews of Antwerp. Moving into other professions will require training and interactions with wider Belgian society that mostly had been unnecessary. It also may provide the final impetus for those who have long chafed at the community’s conservatism to seek new opportunities abroad. “I’m fed up being the only religious Jew that goes into a bar,” said Barry Mellinger, a marketing executive hoping to relocate to New York. People will have to adapt, Epstein said. “The recycling from the diamond business to other businesses is a transition which is very painful,” he said. “It was easy money. It was a good living. It was security. You knew when you were born what you were going to do.” That kind of security was particularly appealing for the more religious elements of a community that skews toward the traditional, enabling them to lead lives marked by minimal interaction with the wider world. For the same reasons, the fervently Orthodox from New York to Tel Aviv have gone into the diamond trade. “It’s not a problem of the Antwerp diamond community,” Epstein said. “It’s a question of how do religious people make a living in today’s world. That is the question.”
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
Talking Israel, Jews and anti-Semitism at Amsterdam film festival by Ben Harris Jewish Telegraphic Agency AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A hushed crowd filed into a standingroom-only space above the Escape Club in Amsterdam last week to hear the Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Maziar Bahari describe the four months he spent in a Tehran jail. Bahari was arrested without charge in June following the disputed re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In tones of compassion and respect for what he had endured — physical abuse, interrogations, solitary confinement — he was peppered with questions: on the prospects for real democracy in Iran, on the fate of his comrades in the struggle for reform, even about his grandmother. Hours later, no less than 30 people were turned away from a soldout Nov. 22 screening of “the definitive documentary” about leftist professor Norman Finkelstein, an aggressive critic of Israel who was denied a tenure bid at DePaul University despite the support of much of his department. And the following day, a similarly large audience was generally respectful in its questioning of several left-leaning Israeli filmmakers who, despite the session’s topic being the media and the Middle East, veered into a wide-ranging and critical discussion of Israeli state policy. But politeness has its limits at the world’s largest documentary film festival, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, a 10-day cinematic extravaganza that draws filmmakers and enthusiasts from around the globe. The general tendency toward supportive and constructive questioning fell away at a Q&A session following the world premiere of “U.N. Me,” a Michael Moore-ish critique of the world body’s failures, starting with its inability to prevent genocide in Rwanda and condemn genocide in Sudan. “The first guy got up and yelled out, ‘Bush puppet,’” co-director Ami Horowitz said. Still, Horowitz insisted, the attendees provided plenty of positive feedback. And at least his film made the cut — it was rejected by three American festivals. ‘U.N. Me’ The film, the creation of Horowitz, a former Wall Street banker, and Matthew Groff, enjoyed something of a buzz at the festival. By any measure it is a scathing indictment of the United
Nations. It shows how an organization founded to end the scourge of war abandoned Rwandans in the face of a murderous mob; how U.N. peacekeepers enjoy themselves on the beaches of Coite d’Ivoire; how the supposedly reformed Human Rights Council ignored the recommendations of a panel investigating atrocities in Darfur; and how the Oil for Food program in Iraq became a frontpage scandal because of corruption. Even more interesting, the film appeared to place the festival audience in an exquisite dilemma: Harsh U.N. critiques often are the domain of Israel supporters and American neocons, a perception typified by Horowitz’s questioner, yet the film’s human rights bona fides are unassailable. A key interviewee is Jody Williams, the Nobel Peace Prizewinning campaigner against land mines who authored the report on Darfur. And the tone is not one of contempt for the United Nations or its member states but a sort of incredulousness at how an organization could drift so far from its noble founding purpose. So for every festival attendee who saw Horowitz as a neocon in sheep’s clothing, there was another who saw him as a noble crusader. Brian Brooks, writing in IndieWIRE after seeing the film in Amsterdam, called it “one of those rare moments when a film seriously has challenged my personal view.” The film deliberately steered clear of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even though the issue often is Exhibit A in the conservative case against the U.N. human rights machinery. “If Israel was in this movie, every question would have been about Israel,” Horowitz said. “It would have deflected the film to discussion about Israel. It’s maddening. Every fiber in my body wanted to talk about the disproportionate, insane amount of criticism that Israel gets. But at the end of the day we had to have discipline, and part of the process of having discipline is leaving that out.” “Israel Ltd.” The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam is much more than a film festival. There are also master classes — radio documentarian Ira Glass gave one over the weekend — debates, discussions and, of course, parties. But while many of the films dealt with the Middle East, only one of the debates did: “Middle East, Media and Me.” The main protagonist was Eyal
Matthew Groff, left, and Ami Horowitz are the makers of “U.N. Me,” a critical documentary about the United Nations that generated a buzz at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
The largest film festival in the world, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam included a number of films and events related to the Middle East.
Iranian-Canadian filmmaker and journalist Maziar Bahari, shown meeting with admirers in Amsterdam on Nov. 22, 2009, was released recently from a Tehran jail.
Sivan, an Israeli filmmaker who lives in self-imposed exile in Paris. Sivan was a special guest at the festival, which featured a retrospective of his work, screenings of his 10 favorite films and a master class. It was incredibly difficult to understand Sivan, and not because of his accent. He spoke of the Israeli-Zionist contradiction that is “so clear today” — so clear, in fact, he felt no compulsion to say what it is. Far easier to understand was Sivan’s partner for part of the debate, Mor Loushy, who directed “Israel Ltd.” The film tracks a group of North American teens on a four-week Israel trip sponsored by the Jewish Agency for Israel. Loushy was clearly outraged by what she found: impressionable youngsters being taught that Israel is surrounded by enemies who seek to destroy her; the vicarious thrill of a week of mock army training, during which some of the boys took to the shooting range with alarming enthusiasm; the veneration of Israel’s fallen in a visit to a military cemetery; and an introduction to the Jewish state in which, as far as the film tells us, Palestinians were scarcely mentioned at all. Depending on one’s outlook, this image of Israel’s booming teen tour industry is either an effective means of Jewish identity-building or an exercise in state-sponsored indoctrination. The fact that audience members at an afternoon screening reacted with both outrage and shrugged shoulders indicated that Loushy — her personal views notwithstanding — treated a potentially explosive issue with fair-minded objectivity. ‘Defamation’ Another Israeli film screening was “Defamation” by Yoav Shamir, who explains at the start that as an Israeli, he has never experienced anti-Semitism. So he set out to figure out what this demonic force is all about. He starts in a logical enough spot: the New York offices of Abraham Foxman at the AntiDefamation League. Shamir wanted examples of anti-Semitism cases he could film and follow; the league presented mostly instances of people unable to take time off for Jewish holidays or overhearing someone using an anti-Jewish slur (or what appears to be one). He also follows the story of a group of Israeli teens on a death camp tour of Poland, where they are taught to see the world as an invariably hostile place.
FESTIVAL on page 22
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
U.S., Israel closing gaps on Iran and peacemaking
Yossi Zamir / Flash 90 / JTA
Signs show that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking Nov. 29, 2009 during a news conference in his Jerusalem office, and President Obama are very much on the same page concerning Iran sanctions.
by Leslie Susser Jewish Telegraphic Agency JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel and the United States seem closer than they have been for months on two key issues: peacemaking with the Palestinians and Iranian nuclear ambitions. The point was hammered home with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement of a 10-month freeze on building in West Bank settlements and strong White House censure of Iran’s plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants. But important differences of nuance remain on both fronts. Israel would like to see more robust action on Iran without delay, and the United States wants Israel to make further substantial peace overtures to the Palestinians. The latest escalation in tension between Iran and the international community came after the International Atomic Energy Agency demanded that the Islamic Republic immediately halt enrichment at a previously secret site near the holy city of Qom, and outgoing IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradei declared that he could not confirm that Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program. The strongly worded IAEA motion of censure was endorsed by Russia and China, two powers that in the past have tended to steer clear of tough measures against Iran. Iran responded with contempt. Rather than close down the facility at Qom, it would start building five new ones over the next few months, and accelerate plans for another five in their wake. The Iranian parliament urged reduced cooperation with IAEA inspectors, and there was even talk of Iran withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — moves that would give it a free hand to pursue a nuclear
weapons program without international scrutiny. Israeli pundits say the Iranian threats are intended to test international resolve in the hope of getting an improved offer from the United States and other major powers: permission to enrich uranium to industrial grade on Iranian soil rather than in France and Russia. But this time, the pundits say, the Iranians may have miscalculated, and the clear White House warning that “time is running out for Iran to address the international community’s growing concerns about its nuclear program” could presage the end of President Obama’s attempt to engage Iran and the beginning of the harsh sanctions regime Netanyahu has long advocated — with Russia and China aboard. Indeed, when he first met Obama in 2007, before either man was in high office, Netanyahu pressed the case for strong economic sanctions against Iran. Obama, then a junior senator, picked up on this and soon afterward sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act. During their latest meeting in Washington just over three weeks ago, Iran again was high on the agenda. Netanyahu told journalists that time would show the meeting to have been very significant — he strongly emphasized the word very — language some pundits took to imply that major understandings on the Iranian nuclear issue had been reached. For now, the signs are that Obama and Netanyahu are very much on the same sanctions page, with slightly different views on the timing. The big question is what happens if sanctions fail. Israeli pundits argue that Obama, embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan, will not want to open a third front against Iran, whereas Netanyahu is not ready to take any
option, including the military one, off the table. What is clear to both leaders is that if either decides to attack Iran, Israel will become a target for Iranian retaliation. Hence the huge joint military exercise in the Negev in late October, testing Israeli and American anti-missile defense systems. On the Palestinian front, the Americans welcomed Netanyahu’s building freeze as going beyond anything previous Israeli governments had done. But at the same time the Americans made it clear that they would have liked to have seen more — for example, a freeze that did not exclude East Jerusalem, public buildings and housing units already started — because the object of the exercise was to get the Palestinians on board for peace talks, and only a full freeze might have achieved that aim. The Americans also are pressing Netanyahu to free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners outside the framework of the impending deal for the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli corporal held by Hamas for more than three years, because of the bitter rivalry between the secular Fatah organization and the more militant Hamas. The thinking is that the standing of the U.S.-backed Fatah leader, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, could be weakened by the planned release of about 1,000 prisoners to Hamas in return for Shalit. Releasing large numbers of Fatah prisoners to Abbas would help prevent him from losing face. The main U.S. goal, though, is to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and here they believe Netanyahu could have done more — for example, by agreeing to resume talks where his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, left off, or giving the Palestinians a clearer idea of the contours of a final peace deal. The way forward now could be new U.S. bridging proposals which do exactly that. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Netanyahu’s settlement freeze has made this possible, and the United States will soon present the parties with something along these lines. The Americans, however, are well aware that with Hamas in control of Gaza, and with conflicting Israeli and Palestinian bottom lines on all the core issues, the chances of success are not high. On the other hand, the prize to be won is huge. Success would mean a pacified Middle East with enhanced American influence and prestige. The question is, will Obama be prepared to take the risk of likely failure, with the attendant consequences for his and America’s international standing?
Islamic Movement gathers steam in Israel by Dina Kraft Jewish Telegraphic Agency UMM AL-FAHM, Israel (JTA) — It’s time for noon prayers in this Israeli Arab city, and a jumble of sneakers piles up outside the doors of a mosque on the top floor of a private high school for the sciences. Inside, the boys, led in prayer by a math teacher, stand in two rows on a soft green-and-beige carpet and then kneel in unison. The $5.8 million tab to construct the high school, considered one of the top Arab schools in Israel with its stateof-the-art physics and chemistry labs, was picked up by the Islamic Movement. Such support — helping fund community needs not being met by the Israeli government — is one way the movement is gaining power and influence among Israel’s 1.2 million Arabs. “This vacuum has opened the door for the Islamic Movement to get in and provide alternative services,” said Yousef Jabareen, a resident of Umm al-Fahm and director of Diras at a nonprofit that advocates for socioeconomic and political equality for Israel’s Arab citizens. The influence of the movement — particularly its northern branch, which preaches adherence to a devout form of Islam and a code of social isolation from Israel at large — can be seen in the shift toward increased religious observance among some of Israel’s Arab citizens, the majority of whom are Muslim. Critics say the movement’s more extreme elements preach a form of nationalism that is actively anti-Israeli and is radicalizing Israel’s Arab citizens. Its social service tactics have been compared to the work of Hamas, which similarly built a base of support among ordinary Palestinians by providing social services not offered by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. With its power base in Umm alFahm, one of Israel’s largest Arab towns, the Islamic Movement in Israel is drawing support with the message that pride in Islamic roots can overcome the feelings of second-class citizenship to which Arab citizens often feel relegated in the Jewish state. The movement is divided into two branches: the more radical northern branch, which eschews the Israeli political process and calls on followers to abstain from voting in national Israeli elections, and the more moderate southern branch, which is represented in Israel’s Knesset. Sheik Ibrahim Sansur, a Knesset
member who leads the movement’s southern branch, told JTA that the Islamic Movement is united by the goal “to crystallize the religious and national identity of the Arab minority inside Israel.” Representatives of the northern branch refused JTA’s requests for interviews. But Sheik Ra’ad Salah, a key leader of the branch and the former mayor of Umm al-Fahm, made headlines during the Jewish High Holidays six weeks ago when he called on supporters to “liberate” the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem “with blood and fire,” touching off days of clashes between police and Arab rioters. Umm al-Fahm is a visible example of the movement’s success. Its hilly landscape is dotted with the rounded domes of mosques built by the movement, as well as dozens of other movement-funded projects, including women’s education centers, a college for the study of Islamic law and Arabic language, and even a hospital under construction. A growing number — perhaps a majority — of women and girls wear headscarves, and men sport thick beards. The Islamic Movement started to take off here following the 1967 Six-Day War. It was then that Israel’s Arab citizens could reestablish ties with their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that had been cut off since the 1948 war of Israeli independence. Many Arab Israelis attended Islamic colleges in the West Bank and Gaza, sparking a return to devout observance for some inside Israel. The movement was strengthened by the example of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. Salah has become the face of the movement’s more controversial side. A product of the post-1967 Islamic awakening in Israel, Salah returned from his religious studies in Hebron and Nablus as a leader of the movement. He has been accused of raising millions of dollars for Hamas — a charge he denies. Yitzhak Reiter, a professor of political science at the Hebrew University and Ashkelon Academic College, says Salah’s broader goal is to connect Israel’s Muslims to the larger Islamic world and make Jerusalem the future seat of an Islamic caliphate. Salah preaches that Israel’s archeological activities near the Temple Mount are part of a secret Jewish plan to destabilize the AlAksa Mosque, provoke its collapse and pave the way for the construction of the Jewish Holy Temple. Such charges are dismissed as fantasy and incitement by Israeli authorities.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
ROCKWERN ACADEMY’S OWN HANUKIOT SOCIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
As part of Hanukkah celebration and studies, the 1st and 2nd grade students at Rockwern Academy made their own Hanukiot (Menorah).They will use their Hanukiah to light a candle for each of the 8 days of Hanukkah. L-R Omie Turner, Marty Kahn, Madison Weeden, Samantha Jennings and Elise Kravitz show their Hanukiah creations.
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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
Focus on guests at Carlo & Johnny a win-win for diners by Bob Wilhelmy Restaurant Reporter Carlo & Johnny is doing well, even in a really bad (though gradually improving) economy. Why that is so can be traced to training and service, according to Donny Arnsperger, GM, who cites that focus, along with providing wonderful, memorable dining experiences for guests. “One reason we are doing well at a time that has been very hard on the fine-dining sector of the restaurant business is because we are really focused on service and making sure that our guests know that we appreciate them being here,” he said of the opulent Carlo & Johnny steakhouse. That appreciation does not happen by accident, according to Brian Bainum, who works on training the server staff and everyone else who has contact with guests before and during the dining experience. “For instance, in the course of the year, we have a 40-week training program in place for servers,” he said. “We spent at least an hour each week for six weeks on wine training, so our servers know what to recommend at the table. We put servers through the Gallo Wineries wine program this past summer, where they learned some of the skills of a sommelier.” In addition to training on wines and scotches and beef and other offerings, there is a reservations-todining-to-after-experience continuity to guest appreciation. As an example, let’s say the Jones party of four walks in the door. The hostess greets and takes the Jones party to the table and informs the server that Mr. and Ms. Jones are in the house. The server then uses the surname in addressing the table. “That’s a small thing, really, but we want to let our guests know that who they are is important to us, because we know that they chose to come to Carlo & Johnny, and we deeply appreciate their choice,” Bainum said. “If there is a takehome item, the server will write ‘Thank You’ on the container, so that when they pull that out of the fridge, they’ll get another sense of our appreciation. Again, little details, but all with the intent of making sure every guest knows we are working to serve them and pleased that they
From left at Carlo and Johnny, with a very young Frank Sinatra looking over their shoulders, are: Kate Wenderfer, bartender; Donny Arnsperger, GM; Katsuyuki Ono, sushi chef; Joshua Peyton, assistant GM; Justin Leidenheimer, executive chef; and Brian Bainum, guest services manager.
chose to be with us.” That kind of attention to detail is found throughout the Carlo & Johnny operation, from valet parking to every aspect of kitchen activity. Perhaps that is why this Greater Cincinnati steakhouse has garnered a national reputation. In recent rankings by the Zagat Group (national restaurant raters, par excellence), Carlo & Johnny was rated third-best steakhouse in the United States, with two steakhouses in Las Vegas finishing in slots one and two. That’s impressive! Also impressive are two new dishes to be added to the menu, according to Justin Leidenheimer, executive chef of the restaurant. “We’re adding a fresh red grouper entrée to replace halibut, which is out of season. We could continue with halibut, but only frozen product, so we change over to a fresh fish.” The grouper is egg breaded and
prepared with sautéed leeks, shiitake mushrooms and asparagus in a lemon butter sauce (hold the king crab), for $33.95. Another addition to the menu that is not seasonally driven is the new spicy ribeye steak that features a chili rub made of various peppers, jalapeños, chipotle herbs and garlic. Those ingredients are cooked in oil for an hour, and pureed to serve as the seasoning for the steak. The reviews are excellent, and Leidenheimer believes the steak will be very popular with diners. Another reason to head to Carlo & Johnny is the entertainment value. “We’re featuring live music five nights a week now,” Arnsperger said, noting the Tuesday through Saturday schedule. “On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, we have dance-band offerings, so our guests come here for that.” “How we treat our guests is
Carlo & Johnny 9769 Montgomery Road Cincinnati, OH 45242 513-936-8600
In the Heart of Kenwood
9386 Montgomery Rd Cincinnati, OH 45242 6111 MONTGOMERY RD • 513.531.0700 MOLLYMALONESCINCINNATI .COM
seared yellow fin tuna, at $32.95; wood-grilled salmon, for $22.95; and osso buco, a braised veal shank, for $27.95, along with a number of veal and lamb chop selections. The steak, and all the food, is very good. If you’ve been to a Jeff Ruby property, you know about the quality of the food. But another facet of the restaurant that adds to the experience is the décor: in a word, elegant. Every room in the longtime restaurant property is exquisite, and a great place to dine in style. In fact, Arnsperger said that he has been working to bring the “wow” factor to the décor from the very first day he took over going on four years ago. His effort shows at every turn. See you at Carlo & Johnny!
GREAT CASUAL DINING
AUTHENTIC IRISH FARE • LUNCH SPECIALS TUESDAY IS TRIVIA NIGHT • GREAT SUNDAY BRUNCH • LIVE MUSIC ON THE WEEKENDS!
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key,” Arnsperger said. “We have a sincere desire, a mindset, to exceed our guests’ expectations. We strive to do that in every way possible, and that helps make us an outstanding restaurant; a steakhouse that gets rave reviews from people who dine here, but also from people like the Zagat folks, who know fine dining from a foodservice point of view.” The menu at Carlo & Johnny features sections entitled tenderloin, short loin, rib and composition. Along with a tomahawk rib steak for two, you’ll find a dry-aged Porterhouse for two, at $90; a Kentucky bison strip steak, for $39.95; and the very rare, as in not often found on any menu, bone-in filet mignon, at $48.95; along with my favorite, the New York king strip steak, for $34.95. Other entrees featured outside the steak portion of the menu are: the Gerber Farm chicken, $21.95;
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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
DINING OUT Andy’s Mediterranean Grille
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800 Elm St
2 blocks North of Eden Park
612 Main Street
7880 Remington Rd
5098B Glencrossing Way
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8028 Blue Ash Rd
300 Madison Avenue
4858 Hunt Rd
Blue Ash 891-8900 • 834-8012 (fx)
Slatt’s Pub Johnny Chan 2
4858 Cooper Rd
11296 Montgomery Rd
Carlo & Johnny
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9769 Montgomery Rd
489-2388 • 489-3616 (fx)
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8501 Reading Rd
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7565 Kenwood Rd
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by Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu Guest Columnist NEW YORK (JTA) — A recent survey by the Forward of 75 major American Jewish communal organizations found that fewer than one in six are run by women, and that those women are paid 61 cents to every dollar earned by a man. I was not surprised to read this, only saddened again by the realities of the Jewish community. It is past time that the Jewish community welcomed women into leadership roles and valued our contributions. If we don't do this, we will lose the next generation of Jewish leaders. I know this because I almost left myself. I did not encounter overt sexism until I entered rabbinical school in 1994. That year, I was told in a job interview for a position at a bureau of Jewish education, “What are you in rabbinical school for? You should just get a degree in Jewish education and teach Hebrew school or day school. This is what you will wind up doing once you have children anyway.” One professor told me, “More important than anything you learn in school will be to get married and have babies.” Another, asked how long an assignment should be, replied, “Like a woman’s skirt: Long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be interesting.” I was shocked and appalled by these comments. This was 1994, not 1954! I seriously considered leaving school. Studying Jewish texts, which in and of themselves are patriarchal documents, combined with a sense that today’s community did not want to hear my voice because I was a woman, was almost too much to bear. My faith that God does not see me as less than my male counterparts propelled me through my years in rabbinical school. I chose to focus my rabbinate in the Jewish communal nonprofit world. After ordination, I worked for eight years in a Jewish community center. I loved my position. I was able to experiment with new and cutting-edge programs. I learned management skills. I grew stronger in my identity as a rabbi. However, from day one, the power structure was clear. The top three positions — executive director and two assistant executive directors — were men. Ninety percent of the rest of the JCC staff were women. The same was true in the local Jewish family service and the federation. In addition, the salary gap between the top positions and those below was as
much as $100,000. When I was ready for a new challenge and began looking for a new job two years ago, I again seriously considered leaving the Jewish communal professional world. Where was my growth potential? I entered the rabbinate because I wanted to be a leader in the Jewish world, but it seemed that my opportunities were slim. As a rabbi, I was directed to look (again) at Jewish education positions, not management positions. But this was not my career goal. After eight years of managing a half-a-million-dollar budget, raising the bulk of the money needed for that budget, creating programs and supervising several staffers, I had strong management credentials. I was in a position to lead, and I wanted to use my talents as a female rabbi with management skills in our community. Luckily I found a position at CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, where I hope I can grow into my true potential. However, had this job not materialized, there is a very real chance that I would have left the Jewish communal field. The world is in flux; borders everywhere are coming down. If the Jewish community wants to continue to be vital, exciting and attractive to postmodern American Jews, then we have to make way for different voices to be heard in our leadership structure. We need Jewish leaders who are female, gay, black and Asian. This is our community now. The face of the Jewish community is literally changing more and more each year, and the leadership needs to reflect these changes. Frankly, the Jewish communal world needs to be shaken up. Now is the time to do it. The current economic crisis is an opportunity to turn old assumptions on their heads. It is time to turn in a new direction, take some risks and open our community to new ideas. I am confident that we will benefit. I am also just as confident that we will lose very talented people to other communities and causes if we don't do this. My story is not atypical. There are hundreds of women, if not thousands, like me. I am asking you to support me, teach me and mentor me, so that I/we can be part of our collective future. (Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu is the director of Rabbis Without Borders at CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.)
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Do you have something to say? E-mail your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Editor, The American Jewish Committee is profoundly concerned about the draft document on the Middle East which Sweden has submitted for discussion by the Council of the European Union. AJC is urging European diplomats to call on their governments to reject the draft. The draft document contains provisions that would clearly prejudice the outcome of negotiations, such as reference to “a two-state solution with an independent … state of Palestine, comprising the West Bank and Gaza and with East Jerusalem as its capital….” Thus, the document runs contrary to the principle of direct negotiations stipulated both in the Madrid Peace Conference and in the Roadmap. While expressing commitment for a Palestinian state, the document says nothing about the imperative that the Palestinians and other Arab parties recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Nor does the draft document mention Palestinian terrorism — and the Palestinian Authority’s commitment under the Roadmap to combat it. AJC has long supported a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states living side-by-side in peace and security. But such a solution cannot be achieved by one-sided documents that ignore the realities on the ground. Sincerely, Barbara Glueck Director, American Jewish Committee Cincinnati Region
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE of this week’s Torah portion This Week’s Portion: Vayeshev (Braishith 37:1—40:23) 1. Whom did Yehuda son of Jacob marry? a.) Sister b.) Niece c.) A woman who was not from Jacob's family 2. Who was Tamar? a.) Judah's wife b.) Judah's daughter in law c.) Judah's sister 3. Why did Judah give Tamar a sheep? Did she accept? a.) Security for payment
b.) To bring as a sacrifice c.) To shear wool for clothing 4. How many children did Tamar have? a.) One b.) Two c.) Twelve 5. Describe the relationship between Joseph and Potifar? a.) Positive b.) Hostile c.) Only business
Written by Rabbi Dov Aaron Wise
Jewish community ignores female leaders at its peril
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
1. A 38:2 The word “Canaanite” means a businessman because Jacob and his family would not marry from the daughters of Canaan. Ramban says they married from other nations including descendants of Ishmael. 2. B 38:6 3. A 16-23 Actually, Judah promised Tamar a goat for their meeting, which he did not have. Tamar demanded collateral (security) until he paid. Then, Judah gave her his signet and a kerchief as a security. When Tamar was being led to execution for adultery, she showed the security as proof that she was pregnant from Judah. 4. B 38:27 The commentators dispute if Judah stayed married to Tamar. Since he fulfilled the levrite marriage he did not stay married to her. R B'Chai 5. A 39:1-7
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
Sedra of the Week by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Parshat Vayeshev Genesis 37:1 — 40:23
Efrat, Israel: “She is more righteous than I” (Gen. 38:26). What are the traits that make one worthy of the birthright? The Biblical portions we have just read have been fraught with parental and sibling rivalries surrounding the birthright, riveting tensions — literally life-and-death struggles — over which of Abraham’s sons and grandsons will be the most worthy bearer of his mission and covenant. At stake is the destiny of the Jewish people, a nation chosen by G-d to bring the Divine blessing to all the families of the earth, and what has occurred until now between Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau seems like child’s play in comparison with what we shall soon encounter amongst the 12 sons of Jacob. What precisely are the siblings of each generation striving to attain? Leon Kass, in his monumental “The Beginning of Wisdom,” suggests that it is no less than the preservation and perpetuation of the Abrahamic mission and vision. If I may define these concepts in my own terms, I would suggest that preservation requires material success, the kind of economic and physical security which can ensure the continuity of a specific familial ethnic entity from generation to generation, protecting it from being assimilated into a larger and more powerful nation. The standard bearer of this gift of preservation may be said to have received the “blessing” (berakhah). Perpetuation requires a steadfast commitment to the unique lifestyle, values and goals taught by Abraham: a commitment to one G-d of the heavens and the earth, familial dedication, compassionate righteousness and justice. The standard bearer of this gift may be said to have received the birthright (bechorah). In a family of 12 sons and one daughter, the competition for winning Jacob’s patrimony is fierce. The family is beginning to develop into a nation, with 12 tribes poised to parallel the 12 chieftains of powerful clans who emerged from Esau (Gen. 36) and the 12 princes who developed into the Arab nations of Ishmael (Gen. 25: 12-18). At this juncture, the chief necessary characteristic of the family standard bearer would be his ability to direct and unite all of his siblings, creating a cohesive clan dedicated to the realization of the Abrahamic vision. For Jacob, it was clear that this right should be granted to the firstborn son of Rachel, the beloved
wife for whom he had labored 14 years. Joseph was “beautiful of form and appearance” (Gen. 39:6); he was also smart and charismatic. No wonder Jacob gave him the striped and colored tunic, a paternal gift which expressed the bestowal of the birthright. But was Joseph in fact the most qualified candidate? The Bible describes him as someone who “shepherded his brothers [sic] among the sheep... and brought evil reports about them to this father,” (which may explain why he was later Divinely punished measurefor-measure when Potiphar’s wife lied about his relationship with her). Furthermore, he entertains dreams of mastery over his brothers: “all of their sheaves of grain are bowing down to his sheaf of grain.” All of this contributed to his poor relationship with his siblings. A unifying leader does not dream that he is ruling over his followers, but rather inspires the people to seek his leadership. Joseph’s pride, exacerbated by his father’s devotion, seems overwhelming; he dreams that the sun, moon and eleven stars are also bowing before him — before him, and not before G-d! Even his dream of the grain sheaves, a portent of material success and his future capacity to supply food to his family and countless others, contradicts family unity: agriculture is the professional advance developed in Egypt, geographically and culturally far removed from the shepherding occupation of the Abrahamic family in Israel. Joseph is indeed a visionary, but he hardly succeeds in uniting his brothers; instead, he seeks to dominate and control them and even to relocate the family from Israel to Egypt. The other leading candidate for the prize of the birthright blessing is Judah, whom we meet close-up when Joseph is sold into slavery. Reuben certainly means well, and intends to save the hapless son of Rachel when he tells the brothers to throw him in a pit rather than kill him, but his efforts are totally ineffective and he never once refers to Joseph as a brother. Judah, on the other hand, knows exactly how to speak to his siblings; he suggests a way in which they can rid themselves of Joseph and simultaneously make a profit. In the course of his proposal, he twice refers to Joseph as their brother, emphasizing that they dare not lift their hands against their own flesh and blood, “and his brothers hearkened” — not to Reuben, but to Judah. Immediately following Joseph’s sale into slavery, precisely when the reader is anxious to discover what transpired in the life of this
charismatic figure in the strange land of Egypt, our Biblical portion turns to the tale of Judah and Tamar, thereby emphasizing the silent rivalry over the birthright between Joseph and Judah. Judah, resentful of Joseph’s arrogant behavior and incensed by the favoritism displayed by their father, shows his disaffection by marrying a Canaanite woman. When his two sons die without children, Judah refuses to grant his daughter-in-law, Tamar, “yibbum” (levirate marriage; the responsibility of a brother to marry his widowed, childless sister-in-law). He appears to not understand the deep level of brotherly responsibility inherent in this rite. Judah is taught that lesson — as well as strong lessons in justice and compassionate righteousness — by Tamar, who disguises herself as a harlot (much as Jacob once disguised himself as Esau) and has relations with him. Judah promises the “harlot” a young goat as payment (reminiscent of the goat skins worn by Jacob when procuring the birthright from Isaac, as well as the goat’s blood in which the brothers dipped Joseph’s coat before bringing it home to Jacob), but since he doesn’t have a goat with him, he leaves her his signet ring, his wrap and his staff as collateral. Tamar becomes pregnant and Judah sentences her to death. But Tamar sends him his ring, cape and staff, declaring that these objects belong to the father of her unborn child. Judah publicly admits, “She is more righteous than I,” risking public embarrassment in order to save her life. Eventually, Tamar gives birth to twins; the younger one (Peretz) overtakes the elder (Zerah), much the way Jacob overtook Esau by grasping at his heel. We shall learn from the end of the Scroll of Ruth that Judah’s son Peretz will be the forefather of David, progenitor of the Messiah. G-d chose Abraham, loved him and singled him out, “to instruct his household after him… to observe the way of the Lord and to do compassion and righteousness...” (18:19). By publicly acknowledging Tamar’s integrity and admitting that he erred, Judah is expressing these qualities. He demonstrates an ability to lead and unite his brothers and the ethical sensitivity necessary to perpetuate the Abrahamic ideal. Joseph may be a charismatic and successful provider of food, but thus far in our story, he is far too transfixed upon himself and the Egyptian produce to leave room for either G-d or for his brothers! Shabbat Shalom Shlomo Riskin
Celebrating 125 years in Cincinnati and 10 years at Cornell. 8100 Cornell Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45249 (513) 489-3399 • www.ohavshalom.org
3100 LONGMEADOW LANE • CINCINNATI, OH 45236 791-1330 • www.templesholom.net Richard Shapiro, Interim Rabbi Marcy Ziek, President Gerry H. Walter, Rabbi Emeritus Friday December 11 6::30 pm Hanukkah Celebration Sholom Unplugged Service – Hanukkah dinner to follow services
Friday December 18 6:00 pm Shabbat Nosh 6:30 pm Shabbat Evening Service
Saturday December 12 10:30 am Shabbat Morning Service
Saturday December 19 10:30 am Shabbat Morning Service
MAZEL TOV TO: Sheldon and Brenda Kahan on the marriage of their daughter, Meredith to Sean Flowers
JEWZ IN THE NEWZ
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom Contributing Columnist MOONLIGHT AND BONES “Serious Moonlight,” a black comedy, opened in limited release last Friday, Dec. 4, with more theaters being added all month. Meg Ryan stars as Louise, a high-powered attorney. She meets her husband, Ian (Tim Hutton), at their country home for what she believes to be a romantic weekend. Instead, Ian tells Louise that he’s leaving her for a younger woman. She reacts by tying Ian up and refusing to release him until he agrees to work on their marriage. Further complications ensue when several other persons, including the young mistress, show up at the house. “Moonlight” was the last screenplay completed by actress/writer/director ADRIENNE SHELLY (“Waitress”) before her murder in 2006 by a guy she caught stealing from her purse. She was survived by her husband, ANDY OSTROY, and their daughter, now 5. Ostroy was the main force in bringing “Moonlight” to the screen. “The Lovely Bones” is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Alice Sebold (herself the survivor of a brutal rape). Saorise Ronan plays Susie, who is raped and murdered. Her spirit, however, can still see events from heaven and possibly wreak vengeance on her killer. Directed by Peter Jackson (“Lord of the Rings”), the co-stars include RACHEL WEISZ, 39, and Mark Walhberg (as Susie’s parents), Susan Sarandon (her grandmother), and Stanley Tucci (her killer). (Opens Friday, Dec. 11, with a much wider opening on the 25th). A FAMILY’S PUBLIC TRAGEDY Opening in theaters this month (check local listings) is “Skin,” based on the true story of Sandra Laing, a South African girl who was born in 1955. Laing’s parents were white Afrikaners who were unaware of their black ancestry and supported the then-government’s policy of strict racial segregation. The elder Laings appeared white, as did their first child. However, Sandra and her younger brother looked mixed race. (Blood tests proved that Mr. Laing was the father of all three children). Sandra’s situation became an international sensation when she was forced out of whites-only schools when she was about 8 years old. Eventually, she dropped out of white society and became estranged from her parents. The
film follows Sandra over 30 years. Starring as Sandra Laing is Oscarnominee SOPHIE OKONEDO, 41. Okonedo, who identifies as Jewish, was raised by her white English Jewish mother. Her father is a black Nigerian. PEOPLE SPEAK “The People Speak,” is a documentary based on the works of leftist political scientist HOWARD ZINN, 87. Using dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries and speeches of everyday Americans, it focuses on the concept of democracy based on the lives and experiences of ordinary Americans who, through their words and actions, changed the course of history. Many celebrities appear speaking the words of these citizens or performing songs — including BOB DYLAN and Bruce Springsteen. The film is produced by Matt Damon, who grew up next door to Zinn’s home in Massachusetts. (Airs on the History Channel on Sunday, Dec. 13, 8PM. Encore at 12AM). HOPING HARRY IS THERE Here’s a long heads-up to make sure you tune-in: on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 8PM, NBC is airing a two-hour special, “SNL Christmas 2009.” It’s a compilation show of the best holiday skits since the show began in 1974. A list of the skits has not yet been announced, but I think it is very likely that two Chanukah themed “classics” will be shown. The first is ADAM SANDLER’s “Chanukah Song.” Actually, Sandler appeared three times on SNL to sing three different versions of the song — but I suspect only one of three will air. The other is “When Hanukkah Harry Saved Christmas.” This very funny sketch starred JON LOVITZ in the title role. The basic plot: Santa gets sick on XMAS eve and his Jewish friend, Harry, steps in to save XMAS for “all the little Gentile boys and girls.” Harry normally just delivers Chanukah presents to Jewish kids. Harry drives a flying cart pulled by three donkeys (who can also fly). The donkeys bear blankets with their names. Their names are also mentioned in the very funny “Harry” theme song played during the skit. Here are the lyrics: “On Moische! On Herschel! On Schlomo! /It’s Hanukkah Harry 8 nights a year! /On Moische! On Herschel! On Schlomo! /Means that Hanukkah Harry is here! /Delivering toys for Jewish girls and Jewish boys/We dance the hora around the menorah /When Hanukkah Harry is Here!”
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
FROM THE PAGES 100 Years Ago Mrs. Lee Steinharter and son and Mrs. Sidney Steinharter, son and daughter have returned after a visit with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. I. Gans, at Evansville. A double betrothal has been announced: the brides-to-be are Miss Elsa L. Mondschein, who is engaged to Mr. Harry Blumenthal, and Miss Henrietta Mondsdchein, who is to marry Mr. Albert Horwitz, both of
Hamilton. The brides-elect are daughters of Mrs. Louise Mondschein, of East Walnut Hills. For the first time in several seasons Cincinnati is to have a season of grand opera, although a very brief one, in Italian and French, at Music Hall, Monday evening, Dec. 27 and Tuesday afternoon and evening, Dec. 28. During this, his first visit as an impresario to Cincinnati, Mr. Oscar
Hammerstein will present the very cream of his company. This will include such famous artists as Mme. Luisa Tetrazzini, Miss Mary Garden, Mme. Carmen Walter-Villa, Mlle. Soyer, Charles Dalmores, Murice Renaud, John McCormack, the young Irish tenor; M. Dufranne, M. Gilibert, M. Polese, M. Crabbe and M. Zerola. The operas to be given will be announced later. — December 9, 1909
75 Years Ago Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Meiss, 960 Lenox Place, are the parents of a daughter, born Sunday, Dec. 9th, at Jewish Hospital. Mr. Isaac Levy announces the engagement of his daughter, Miss Naomi, to Mr. Gilbert Frankel, son of Mrs. Bertha Frankel. The wedding will take place Sunday, Jan. 6th. Mr. and Mrs. Jack Bogdan (Sophie Mandell), 722 Chalfonte Place, are the parents of a son, born Sunday, Dec. 9th, at Jewish Hospital.
Appointments for directors for service on the staffs of the General Hospital Tuberculosis Sanatorium and Chronic Disease Hospital include: Drs. Alfred Friedlander. Albert H. Freiberg, Samuel Iglauer, Elmore B. Tauber, Sidney Lange and Julien E. Benjamin. Dr. Sander Cohen has been appointed assistant in medicine at the College of Medicine and assistant clinician in the Outpatient Dispensary, General Hospital. The fifth annual Juryless
Exhibition of the works of Cincinnati artists is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum and will continue through Dec. 30th. The exhibition includes water colors, paintings in oil, sculpture and designs in the decorative arts. Exhibitors include Myer Abel, Bernard Segal, Kenneth Brown, Erna Bottigheimer, Amanda R. Wolf, Sigmund Valin, Josef Warkany, Albert Pels, Esther Lebensohn, Ruthie Guttman. — December 13, 1934
50 Years Ago The marriage of Miss Joanne Hening, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Hening, of Toledo, Ohio, to Dr. Stuart Silverman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nat Silverman, took place Sunday evening, Dec. 6, in the Commodore Perry Hotel, in Toledo. Rabbi Leon Feuer officiated at the candlelight ceremony. Dinner and dancing followed. The bride is a graduate dental hygienist of Ohio State University and a member of Sigma Delta Tau. Dr. Silverman attended the University of Cincinnati and received his degree of doctor of
dental surgery from Ohio State. He is affiliated with Alpha Omega. Announcement has been made of the engagement of Miss Lois Mandel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ben L. Mandel, to Mr. Richard A. Meyer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Morton Meyer, of St. Louis. Miss Mandel has been teaching handicapped children at the Miriam Schol in St. Louis since graduation from the University of Michigan. Mr. Meyer, who served with the armed forces in Korea for two years, is a graduate of St. Louis country Day School and Colgate.
Israel W. Oscherwitz, a senior partner with the I. Oscherwitz & Son Co., passed away Thursday, Dec. 3, at Jewish Hospital. He was 64 years old. Survivors include his widow, Mrs. Rae Glueck Oscherwitz, two sons, Dr. Stanley Osher, Oakland, Calif., and Dr. Mark Oscherwitz, of San Francisco; three brothers, Max B., Cincinnati, and Philip and Harry Oscherwitz, Chicago; two sisters, Mrs. Kalman Shneider, Cincinnati, and Mrs. S.A. Broids, Chicago; and three grandchildren. — December 10, 1959
25 Years Ago Theodore C. Deutsch, Sr. of 6201 Kenwood Hills Drive passed away Nov. 26. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte Bondy Deutsch; a daughter, Judith Deutsch Meyer of Los Angeles; a sister, Edith Deutsch Bubar of Los Angeles and six grandchildren, Michael S. Deutsch of Miami;, Edward A. Winston of Los Angeles, Christopher J. Deutsch of Mars, Penn., Pamela J. Deutsch and Theodore C. Deutsch, III, both of
Cincinnati. Mr. Deutsch was the father of the late Theodore C. Deutsch, Jr. Philip T. Cohen, president of the Jewish Federation, announced that a special $10,000 contribution has been donated through the Federation Endowment Fund to assist in worldwide efforts to aid victims of the famine in Ethiopia. The $10,000 allocation will be sent along with other individual contributions from the Cincinnati Jewish community. Monetary aid
will be sent to Ethiopia via the American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). “Joint” has been working for many years aiding people and countries in times of need. “Joint” helped in similar crises in Cambodia in 1980, in Italy in 1981 and in Lebanon in 1982. Dr. and Mrs. Roy First are proud to announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Lenora, Saturday, December 8 at Rockdale Temple.— December 6, 1984
10 Years Ago Howard Eugene Rissover died Nov. 26. He was 74 years old. He is survived by his wife Pearl; children Dr. Jay and Dr. Janalee Rissover, Lynne Rissover of Chicago, Ill. and Arlen and Susan Rissover, sister Dorothy; and five grandchildren. Dr. Rissover was born in Cincinnati, where he raised a family and established a medical practice in Norwood.
Rabbi Raffie Zuroff is the new director of development at RITSS High School. He was born and raised in Farmington Hills, Mich., a suburb just north of Detroit, where his family was instrumental in establishing a Jewish presence in the area. The Last Days of Ballyhoo will be produced by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Jan 16 – Feb. 18.
The Southern comedy won the 1997 Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway and was written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Driving Miss Daisy. It’s set in December 1939 and most of Atlanta is ablaze with the premier of Gone with the Wind. But the city’s Jewish community is going gaga over Ballyhoo, the social event of the holiday season. — December 9, 1999
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
COMMUNITY DIRECTORY COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS Big Brothers/Big Sisters Assoc. (513) 761-3200 • bigbrobigsis.org Beth Tevilah Mikveh Society (513) 821-6679 Camp Ashreinu (513) 702-1513 Camp at the J (513) 722-7226 • mayersonjcc.org Camp Livingston (513) 793-5554 • camplivingston.com Cedar Village (513) 336-3183 • cedar-village.org Chevra Kadisha (513) 396-6426 Halom House (513) 791-2912 • halomhouse.com Hillel Jewish Student Center (513) 221-6728 • hillelcincinnati.org Jewish Community Center (513) 761-7500 • mayersonjcc.org Jewish Community Relations Council (513) 985-1501 Jewish Family Service (513) 469-1188 • jfscinti.org Jewish Federation of Cincinnati (513) 985-1500 • shalomcincy.org Jewish Foundation (513) 792-2715 Jewish Information Network (513) 985-1514 Jewish Vocational Service (513) 985-0515 • jvscinti.org Kesher (513) 766-3348 Plum Street Temple Historic Preservation Fund (513) 793-2556 The Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education (513) 487-3055 • holocaustandhumanity.org Vaad Hoier (513) 731-4671 Workum Summer Intern Program (513) 683-6670 • workum.org CONGREGATIONS Adath Israel Congregation (513) 793-1800 • adath-israel.org Beit Chaverim (513) 335-5812 Beth Israel Congregation (513) 868-2049 • bethisraelcongregation.net Congregation Beth Adam (513) 985-0400 • bethadam.org Congregation B’nai Tikvah (513) 759-5356 • bnai-tikvah.org Congregation B’nai Tzedek (513) 984-3393 • bnaitzedek.us Congregation Ohav Shalom (513) 489-3399 • ohavshalom.org Golf Manor Synagogue (513) 531-6654 • golfmanorsynagogue.org
Isaac M. Wise Temple (513) 793-2556 • wisetemple.org Isaac Nathan Congregation (513) 841-9005 Kehilas B’nai Israel (513) 761-0769 Kneseth Israel Congregation (513) 731-8377 • kicc.org Northern Hills Synagogue (513) 931-6038 • nhs-cba.org Rockdale Temple (513) 891-9900 • rockdaletemple.org Sephardic Beth Sholom Congregation (513) 793-6936 Temple Beth Shalom (513) 422-8313 • tbsohio.org Temple Sholom (513) 791-1330 • templesholom.net The Valley Temple (513) 761-3555 • valleytemple.com EDUCATION Chabad Blue Ash (513) 793-5200 • chabadba.com Cincinnati Community Kollel (513) 631-1118 • kollel.shul.net Cincinnati Hebrew Day School (513) 351-7777 • chds.shul.net HUC-JIR (513) 221-1875 • huc.edu JCC Early Childhood School (513) 793-2122 • mayersonjcc.org Mercaz High School (513) 792-5082 x104 • mercazhs.org Reform Jewish High School (513) 469-6406 • crjhs.org Regional Institute Torah & Secular Studies (513) 631-0083 Rockwern Academy (513) 984-3770 • rockwernacademy.org ORGANIZATIONS American Jewish Committee (513) 621-4020 • ajc.org American Friends of Magen David Adom (513) 521-1197 • afmda.org B’nai B’rith (513) 984-1999 Hadassah (513) 821-6157 • cincinnati-hadassah.org Jewish National Fund (513) 794-1300 • jnf.org NA’AMAT (513) 984-3805 • naamat.org National Council of Jewish Women (513) 891-9583 • ncjw.org State of Israel Bonds (513) 793-4440 • israelbonds.com Women’s American ORT (513) 985-1512 • ortamerica.org.org
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CONSERVATIVES from page 6 Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks argued that the ADL was disproportionately focusing on the right when there were “equally troubling and disturbing actions on the left.” Brooks cited U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) for comparing the U.S. health care system to the Holocaust and Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) for comparing town hall attendees to “brownshirts.” The ADL did send a letter to Grayson taking issue with his remarks, but Brooks argued that the organization should have called on Democratic leadership to denounce the remarks — as it did for the Republican leadership when some spoke at a Tea Party rally featuring two signs comparing Obama health care proposals to Nazi Germany. “ADL really should ensure that they’re treating proportionately the actions on both sides,” Brooks said. “People look to them to be nonpartisan.” Other conservative commentators have argued that the ADL never put out a similar report on anti-Bush hatred. The ADL did not release a formal “report” decrying inflammatory criticism of President George W. Bush, but it did issue a well-
publicized statement in 2004 slamming the MoveOn organization for allowing a 30-second advertisement comparing Bush to Adolf Hitler to be posted on its Web site as part of a contest. This summer, liberal bloggers pointed to that statement in urging the ADL to condemn statements from the right comparing Obama to Hitler. The ADL also frequently criticized the anti-Israel and antiSemitic signs and sentiments at anti-war rallies sponsored by the far-left group ANSWER during the Bush administration, and a lengthy chronology documenting what went on at its events appears on ADL’s Web site. The ADL also has released two reports on 9/11 anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that emanate from both the left and the right. National Jewish Democratic Council executive director Ira Forman said he was glad to see the ADL “do the right thing” and that the organization was doing its job as a nonpartisan organization. “The ADL made the distinction that not every Republican elected official is the same as the Tea Partiers, but they did say there was a responsibility” for those on the right to disassociate themselves from that inappropriate rhetoric.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
Sunny San Juan: Sea, sand, and serenity Wandering Jew
by Janet Steinberg Travel Editor Part 5 of a Series Saludos Amigos ! Bienvenido a Puerto Rico. Greetings friends. Welcome to Puerto Rico. This sun-drenched island wears three faces: historic old San Juan…a lush, colorful interior…and lively, opulent beach resorts. Whether you are looking for a secluded retreat or a mecca of activity, you can find it all in sunny San Juan, the verdant port to which Regent Seven Seas Navigator sailed me to on the last leg of her “Southern Caribbean and Lesser Antilles” cruise. San Juan, where palm-fringed beaches of the Atlantic meet aquamarine waters of the Caribbean, is a city teeming with vitality and culture. And much of it can be observed by boarding one of the free shuttle buses that allows both locals and tourists to hop on and off around two different routes of the city. One route takes you along the water to the Fort. The other takes you into Old Town. Bus stops for both routes are near Pier 1 and Pier 4 where the RSSC Navigator and other cruise ships dock. The bus stop across from Pier 4 is located in front of Punto de Vista, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant/bar. Though the place doesn’t look like much, owner Tato
Rodriquez serves up tasty, authentic, inexpensive, Puerto Rican food. Old San Juan is 500-plus years of Spanish history with a network of tunnels strategically labyrinthed under it. The ruins of the 200-acre El Morro fortress, and the winding streets of Old San Juan, are virtually unchanged since the days of the Spanish Main. Savor the ambiance in Old San Juan. A safari into Old San Juan takes the visitor through almost 500 years of history in a single day’s time. Through narrow streets paved with blue adoquines (cobblestones), and dating back to 1521, you can explore historic fortresses and browse through charming courtyards framed by gems of colonial architecture and pastel-tinted shops. Once within the solid limestone walls that surround the old city, major sightseeing attractions are encompassed within a seven square block radius. Wear your walking shoes for the uphill-downhill jaunt that is about to follow. EL MORRO FORTRESS (aka San Felipe del Morro Castle), standing 150-feet above the sea is easily the Caribbean’s most imposing — and perhaps most photographed — historical structure. Having climbed the steep ramps of the fortress, which dates back to the 1600s, one is rewarded with a sweeping view of the sea. El Morro consists of a vast field covering a system of mining tunnels and six levels of guns still pointing seaward. SAN CRISTOBAL CASTLE, El Morro’s counterpart in defending the island, was built in the 17th century to ward off inland attacks. The mighty fortress, which became known as the “Gibraltar of the West Indies,” has a ground floor museum showing the history, design and people involved in the construction
The narrow, cobblestone streets of Old San Juan are virtually unchanged since the days of the Spanish Main.
El Morro Fortress is the Caribbean’s most imposing — and perhaps most photographed — historical structure.
of the fortress. LA FORTALEZA, situated on a hill overlooking the harbor, was constructed in 1533 by Charles I as another of San Juan’s military defenses against raids by Carib Indians. Now the executive mansion for the Governor of Puerto Rico, it is the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere. The DOMINICAN CONVENT, a huge beautiful structure started by the Dominican Friars in 1523, is now headquarters for the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. It is a unique venue for concerts, informal dinners, or cocktail parties. The PABLO CASALS MUSEUM, located in a charming twostory, 18th century building on the Plaza San Jose, features glimpses of the life and work of Pablo Casals. The legendary Spanish cellist and composer lived in Puerto Rico the last 17 years of his life. In 1950, he founded the Casals Music Festival in France, but moved it to Puerto Rico in 1957 where it has been held ever since. Puerto Rico, home to approximately 3,000 Jews, is one of the largest and richest Jewish communities in the Caribbean. A short drive from Old San Juan is Sha’are Zedeck Synagogue (903 Ponce de Leon Avenue) whose Czech architect Antonin Nechodoma was strongly influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. One of three synagogues in San Juan, it also serves as the Jewish Community Center. A scenic ferry ride from San Juan will take you to the suburb of Cataño, the home of Bacardi (pro-
nounced bah-car-DEE) — Puerto Rico’s most famous rum. A short publico ride then takes you to the distillery where you are given a tour of the world’s largest rum distillery; a look into the Bacardi Museum; a stroll or minibus tour through manicured gardens and complimentary rum drinks such as pina coladas and frozen daiquiris. If you don’t have the time for this, Don Q Rum has a factory showroom right across the street from Pier 2 Buen provecho! Good appetite! Dining in San Juan is a gastronomic fiesta fantastica. Now that you’ve acquired a taste for exotic rum drinks, you must accompany them with an order of platanutres (slices of crisp fried green plantains). For your main course, try arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), Puerto Rico’s national dish or asopao de pollo, a delicate combination of chicken, rice, asparagus, peas, and pimentos. Have an authentic Puerto Rican lunch at Amadeus; sip a pina colada in La Mallorquina, the oldest restaurant in Puerto Rico; or imbibe a fresh-squeezed orange juice in the courtyard of the El Convento Hotel, originally a Carmelite convent. “Hecho en Puerto Rico” – made in Puerto Rico – are four words that tap into a rich vein of artisan creations. If shopping for crafts is your thing, San Juan offers a plethora of Puerto Rican folk art. The cuatro (with five double strings and similar to a guitar), and the triple, (its sister instrument similar to a ukelele), are hand-hewn from native trees and tuned to perfection. These mellow-stringed
instruments are used to accompany the folk dancing of the jibero (country people of Puerto Rico) who retreated to the hills and developed a separate hillbilly culture and musical tradition. Other instruments, hand-made locally from colorfully decorated gourds are the quiros and the maracas. Since Indian times, woven hammocks have been cool, comfortable alternatives to beds in the tropics. Over the centuries, local weavers have become expert in hand-making hammocks. Woven handbags, baskets, lampshades, placemats, and rugs are also available in all styles and price ranges. Jewelry and crafts, made from fruits and vegetables are hardened and preserved by a chemical process conceived by a local physician. No two are ever alike. Artisans also fashion mundillo, handmade bobbin lace which is worked on a mundillo frame, into bands, doilies, collars, tablecloths, and other dainty items. Interesting island masks include vejigantes used in festivities and papier mache masks popular during the carnival festivities in Ponce. Other traditional crafts include Puerto Rican pavas (straw hats), ceramics with Indian designs, papier mache fruits, replicas of Indian bohios (huts), macrame wall hangings, and folk dolls. Que pasa en Puerto Rico? (What’s happening in Puerto Rico?) Go see for yourself! (Janet Steinberg is an award-winning Travel Writer and a Travel Consultant.)
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
A terrific supercharged ride! When Audi replaced the S4’s V8 engine with a V-6, some critics were skeptical. But their doubts were misplaced. Even though the 2010 edition of the S4 Sport Sedan has a smaller engine, it is actually quicker from zero to 60 (5.3 seconds) than its predecessor and it handles better too — thanks in large part to less weight in the engine compartment. The V-6 that powers the allwheel-drive 2010 Audi S4 is supercharged and rated at 333 hp and 325 pound-feet of torque. The car comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission–a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual is optional. When it comes to fuel economy, the S4 is rated by the EPA at 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 21 combined. The 2010 Audi S4 offers an impressive, quiet ride and smooth handling. The S4’s shifter fits nicely into the palm of any hand. The front seats provide excellent cushioning and support. The rear seats are also comfortable, offering more legroom than other cars in this class. The S4’s gauges are clear and attractive. Audi’s third-generation MMI (Multi Media Interface) is
bundled with the optional navigation system. It is user friendly and provides an excellent navigation system, with a button on top of the standard control knob for enhanced map functionality. With the Prestige Package, the driver gets a Bang & Olufsen stereo that produces a crisp, full sound. Other “goodies” that come with the Prestige Package ($6,100) include: 19-inch wheels, a DVD player, keyless entry/ignition, autodimming mirrors, and hard-drivebased navigation system. The S4’s roomy trunk easily accommodates a standard suitcase and a set of golf clubs. And, installing a child safety seat in the rear is an easy task. The S4’s interior consists of high-quality materials that are stylish and “best in class.” Add to that the fact that the fit and finish are superb and the purchaser of an S4 has an excellent car. Standard safety features include front airbags, with front and rear head airbags. Four-wheel, anti-lock brakes are standard, as well as traction control and rollover protection. The 2010 Audi S4 has a base price of $46,725.
A crossover from Land Rover The 2010 LR2 from Land Rover is a crossover vehicle that offers excellent off-road capabilities; a comfortable, quiet ride; and a roomy interior. It offers the buyer luxury and prestige in a smaller, more economical package than a full-size SUV. As with other Land Rovers, the LR2 still provides 8.3 inches of ground clearance, all-wheel drive, and many electronic aids. The 2010 Land Rover LR2— a luxury crossover — is available in one trim level: HSE. Standard features include: 19-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights, a dualpanel sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, automatic xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, perforated leather seats, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition/entry, a trip computer and a nine-speaker Alpine stereo with a six-CD/MP3 changer and an auxiliary audio jack. Several option packages are available for purchase. The HSE Plus package adds heated exterior mirrors, adaptive headlights, driver seat memory, Bluetooth and satellite and HD radio. If the buyer moves up to the HSE LUX pack-
age, he or she also gets a navigation system and an upgraded 13-speaker surround-sound system with a rear seat headphone module. SIRIUS Satellite Radio is optional Interior comfort may be upgraded with the Climate Control package that adds a heated windshield, heated washer jets and heated front seats. Audi offers the LR2 in 11 standard exterior colors. However, the buyer may choose among four others that Audi labels as its “Extended Global Paint Palette:” Galway Green, Biscay Blue, Bali Blue, and Ipanema Sand. Interior leather is available in three colors: Ebony Napoli, Almond Napoli, and Storm Napoli. The standard engine in the 2010 Land Rover LR2 is a 3.2 liter inline-6 that produces 230 hp and 234 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. Standard safety features on the 2010 Land Rover LR2 include: antilock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control; roll stability control; and airbags. The 2010 Land Rover LR2 has a base MSRP starting at $36,350.
DEATH NOTICES LIEBSCHUTZ, Edith, age 90, died on December 6, 2009; 19 Kislev, 5770. CHARKINS, Bertha, age 96, died on December 7, 2009; 21 Kislev, 5770.
OBITUARIES HYMON, Harold L. Harold L. Hymon, age 87, passed away November 28, 2009. Mr. Hymon was the only child born to Mary (Amy) Hymon and Joseph Hymon on April 16, 1922. He grew up in Cincinnati where he met, fell in love, and married the love of his life, Shirley Ann Oscherwitz. Harold was a WWII veteran, joining the Army Air Forces in 1943 and serving his country until 1946. Mr. Hymon was the consummate salesman, never at a loss for words, who had a story or joke for every occasion. He had a private pilots’ license and he loved boating, good food, big parties, traveling, good scotch, working out at the gym, and even tried his hand as a “gentleman farmer” with too many Green Acres mishaps to mention. His love affair with his wife lasted over 59 years and when his wife fell ill, he went to the nursing home to lovingly care for her by washing her face, brushing her teeth, combing her hair, putting
FESTIVAL from page 9 The film, which opened last week in the United States, encourages us to consider the costs of the Jewish fixation with fighting antiSemitism. To Shamir’s credit, he doesn’t deny that anti-Semitism exists, though he arguably downplays it. Shamir ably depicts how for some Jews, fighting anti-Semitism is a secular religion, their means
makeup on her and taking her out every day for three years until she passed away. One day he called with a revelation, “I am 77 years old and I had no idea you couldn’t put lipstick on wet lips!” But his defining quality was his loyalty to his family and friends, with many of his friendships spanning over 40 years. Harold touched the hearts and lives of all who knew him and he will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Preceding him in death was his beloved wife, Shirley Ann Hymon, and son, Robert Hymon. Surviving relatives include his children, Dr. Bruce (Deborah) Hymon of Dayton, and Pam (Michael) Schartner of Germantown, and his grandchildren, Jason A. Noble, Tara A. Gaaskjolen and Tasha E. Cavallaro. Funeral services were held for Mr. Hymon at Weil Funeral Home on December 1, 2009, and were officiated by Rabbi Rick Shapiro of Temple Sholom. The family would appreciate memorial contributions to VITAS, 100 South Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1500, Miami, Fla. 33131; 305374-4143. LIEBSCHUTZ, Edith Edith Dorothy Leshner Liebschutz, age 90, died Sunday, December 6, 2009, in Hackensack, N.J. Edith was born into the Leshner family in Hamilton, Ohio, where she grew up in a family of of expressing Jewish identity, and how the ADL can be seen as catering to such people. But he falls into the “silencing” trap with his discussion of Finkelstein, Walt and Mearsheimer, and the whole Israel lobby thing. Also, at a conference in Israel about the new antiSemitism, no one mentions Israel’s occupation of the West Bank except for one British guy, and he gets a lecture from some
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
talented musicians, Yiddishkeit, Jewish culinary treats and fun loving people. Her parents, the late Anna and Sam Leshner, from the Ukraine, luckily escaped the Kossacks, emigrated to America, and were fortunate to meet each other in Hamilton, after both travelled from Russia through Ellis Island. They raised their family – Edith, and three brothers Saul, Don and Gene, in a household of music and froelich. Edith was a fine pianist and actress. At Jefferson Elementary School, she played “Forest of the Flowers” daily for years on the piano in the school’s foyer, as the children marched out of school at the end of the day. At Hamilton High School, she played several leading character roles, including Madame Pampanelli in George Kelly’s “Torch Bearers” and Edna in Clifford Odets’ “Waiting for Lefty.” In the latter, she used a New York accent throughout the entire play, and she was so expert at it, that younger girls flooded her the next day, asking if she really spoke that way. After graduating high school, Edith worked as a secretary at Leshner Corporation, while acting in a weekly live radio broadcast at WMOH, along with another woman and two men. The drama was produced by WMOH station owner John Slade, theatre fan, who presented a variety of serious dramas and comedies throughout the 1940s. After a dozen years at both Leshner and WMOH, she met David Herbert Liebschutz, owner of the Hamilton and Cincinnati women’s fellow participants about how awful he is. Shamir then has a eureka moment — the ADL and the lobby are silencing Israel’s critics. The problem is that the people he mentions are tenured professors, authors of books and articles, and invited to speak around the world. Even Finkelstein, who failed in his tenure bid at DePaul, gives hundreds of lectures each year. Asked about this disconnect, Shamir replies that what he means is that these men are considered radicals who aren’t given the time of day by the establishment, which prefers not to hear them. Hence, he says, they are “silenced.” ‘American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein’ The first thing to be said about the documentary “American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein” is that it is not as bad as it could have been. Given the politics of festivals like the one in Amsterdam, one could understandably have expected a fawning look at a man reviled by the
clothing boutiques, Martin’s Towne and Country, and they married in 1950. With her poise, beauty and flair for fashion, Edith became a living model for the high end fashions of Martin’s. Edith and David had three daughters, Linda, Patty and Amy, and she passed along her love of music, drama and lively discussion in the rapidly changing and interesting cultural environment of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Aside from Edith’s three brothers involved in both drama and the professional music world—Saul, amateur stand-up comedian, Don, voice-over actor and jazz DJ for many years at WMUB in Miami, Ohio and Gene as tenor saxophonist and clarinetist to this day—two of Edith’s daughters grew up to be professional singers; Linda Liebschutz, an opera/early music singer in San Fransisco, and Amy London, jazz
singer in New York City. Pat Preston has lived in the world of politics all her life. After their father’s death in 1996, the three daughters decided to move their mother near Amy, in Hackensack, N.J., where she resided for the last five and a half years, and could be near Amy’s family. She was cared for until her death by a wonderfully loving woman, Marina, with the help of three other kind and empathetic women, Chela, Mayling and Martha. She will be terribly missed by her family — her children, Linda Liebschutz and Joseph Taylor of San Francisco, Pat Preston of Houston, and Amy Liebschutz London and Roni Ben-Hur of Teaneck, N.J., her four grandchilden, Shoshanna Rosenzweig, Amara Taylor, and Sofia and Anna Ben-Hur, her siblings, Gloria Leshner of Texas (wife of the late Saul Leshner), Don and Jerry Leshner of Hamilton, Gene and Helen Leshner of Milwaukee, as well as all of her beloved Liebschutz and Leshner nieces and nephews. Edith was one of the most friendly and funny people in the world, and a beloved member of the Cincinnati Jewish community for many decades, with hundreds of friends. Rest in peace Mom, we love you, thank you for giving us your zest for life. There will be a funeral at Weil Funeral Home on Monday, December 14 at 11 a.m. Donations may be made to the American Alzheimer Foundation or to the charity of your choice.
American Jewish establishment and venerated by the left. But Finkelstein’s critics, most notably Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, get plenty of face time. That’s not to say the film isn’t sympathetic to its subject — Finkelstein generally has the last word — but there is much to make any fair-minded observer stop and think. The filmmakers achieve this by largely sidestepping the content of Finkelstein’s views and focusing on the man — why is he the way he is, what costs he has paid for his beliefs. These are actually the most interesting questions about Finkelstein; nothing would be more plodding than a film that seeks to figure out which narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is actually right. Appropriately enough, the filmmakers look deeply at Finkelstein’s family, whose history as Holocaust survivors he regularly invokes both to deflect criticism that his views are antiSemitic and as justification for his intense concern with the plight of the Palestinians. Finkelstein acknowledges that
his was a “very peculiar household,” and even his friends talk about his obsession with his parents and their Holocaust experience. One childhood acquaintance, who says Finkelstein was influenced by his mother “to an unhealthy extent,” says he’s intent on effecting his own destruction and wonders aloud whether he’s a self-hating Jew. Finkelstein remains resolute in speaking his mind on the Middle East despite the ever mounting personal costs. Nearing 60, he has no job and lives alone in the small Brooklyn apartment that once belonged to his father. Either he has tremendous courage and conviction, or a pathological and destructive fixation. All of which results in a portrait more sad than indignant. In the end, Finkelstein comes off as sad, disturbed, strange and pathetic — more worthy as an object of compassion than of anger. That’s not a bad thing to keep in mind the next time he publishes something inflammatory, which given the modicum of pressures on his time these days is surely right around the corner.
Edith Dorothy Leshner Liebschutz
SPECIAL CHANUKAH PROMOTION In celebration of Chanukah this year and in our quest to do Tzedeka for the community we are having a special sign up. Sign up as many people as you know and then send in the form below with payment for them to receive The American Israelite for 1 year for only $1.00. Restrictions do apply. Must be a new subscriber, can not be a renewal, can not be somebody currently receiving. Can be in-town or out-of-town. Sign up as many people as you wish*. PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY
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Published on Jan 24, 2011
Vanessa Leahr, 10, Rockwern Academy - Winner of the 2009 Chanukah Cover Coloring Contest THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009 • 23 KISLEV, 5770 • SHA...