THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010 27 SHEVAT, 5770 SHABBAT: FRI 5:53 – SAT 6:53 CINCINNATI, OHIO
6th Annual Chicken Soup Cook-Off by Avi Milgrom Assitant Editor
VOL. 156 • NO. 29 SINGLE ISSUE PRICE $2.00
NATIONAL A Valentine for Jews: Return to sender?
Wise Temple Brotherhood’s Sixth Annual Chicken Soup Cookoff was a “clucking success” according to event chairman, Dr. Jay Rissover. Emceed by Hagit Limor from WCPO , the crowd jammed the Wise parking lot and overflowed into the J’s lot. Early on, the crowing on the floor was that Izzy’s had the only soup that really tasted like Bubbie’s chicken soup. Not that the other soups didn’t taste good
too; they just didn’t have that maternal flavor. No surpise then that Izzy’s walked away with what event participants consider the biggest prize – the People’s Choice Award for chicken noodle soup. From the pool of judges came another assessment: only one out of 10 soups sampled was really good. Here are the other winners: Professional Division: Best Matzo Ball — Kroger Blue Ash: Chef Avi Rubinoff Second Place — Kinneret Café
Most Original — McAllister’s: Mexican Tortilla Soup Second Place — Bravo’s Deerfield Best Chicken Noodle — Trio’s Second Place — Kroger Blue Ash Amateur Division: Best Matzo Ball — Dr. Neil Jobalia: Chicken Mole with Quaca Matzoballs Most Original —Kris Kotsovos Second Place —Lauren and Theresa Kohn Best Chicken Noodle —Alex Petty
Second Place — Dr. Patricia Joseph. The paid attendance for the Sunday event was 845 with 45 brotherhood volunteers; two costumed chicken volunteers; 34 amateur entrants and helpers; 30 pros and helpers; and 18 judges for a total of 974 in attendance, who consumed 39 gallons of soup, 1500 bagels and 500 sandwiches. Of most importance to the brotherhood was the 29 gallons of soup collected from the event and 64 cases of soup from Manischewitz – all donated to the Over the Rhine Soup Kitchen.
Hadassah’s 2010 Education Day by Avi Milgrom Assistant Editor
ISRAEL Israel in Olympics to win, or not at all Page 10
DINING OUT Gabby’s Café a Valentine’s Day destination
The 2010 Education Day this past month, sponsored by Hadassah and Jewish Family Service (JFS), focused on the different attributes and problems of four generations. The generations were defined as follows: Greatest Generation, born between WWI and 1929; War Babies, born between 1930 and 1945; Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964; Generation X, born between 1965 and 1976 and the youngsters of Generation Y, born between 1977 and 1990. The participants, led by JFS’s Linda Kean, were split into groups by generation to explore their various values and common cultural experiences. The Greatest Generation and the War Babies grouped together. In the end, each
(L-R) Gilda Schwartz and Bobbi Handwerger, Hadassah Co-Chairs; Tobe Snow, President of Cincinnati Chapter of Hadassah; and Linda Kean and Sandee Golden, Jewish Family Service Co-Chairs.
generation reported their findings to the whole group. The oldest participants, the Greatest Generation and War Babies, lived through Pearl Harbor, President Kennedy’s assassination, 9/11 and currently live with the threat of terrorism. Without stereo systems, let alone MP3 players, they listened to Glenn Miller on the radio or on plastic discs — 78s — not unlike the one initially fabricated by Thomas Edison. For communications they had the option of talking face-toface, telephones— often on shared “party” lines — or 3 cent mail! As children they understood that they were expected to attend college and become a parent. Their big fantasies were for their family to buy a television, new clothes and to move from their apartment into a home.
HADASSAH on page 19
Vancouver Jews gearing up for the Games by Ben Harris Jewish Telegraphic Agency
TRAVEL Seabourn Pride: forget couch potato…think suite potato Page 20
NEW YORK (JTA) — Shmuel Birnham’s road from Vancouver rabbi to official Jewish clergyman of the 2010 Winter Olympics began, in all places, at an interfaith service with the Dalai Lama. During the Tibetan leader’s 2004 visit to Vancouver, Hong Chian, a local Buddhist doctor, invited Birnham to be one of the Jewish representatives at the service. When the Olympics rolled around, Chian, who serves on the multifaith com-
mittee for the Olympics, called on Birnham again — this time to head up the team of Jewish clergy providing spiritual support services to visiting athletes. It has made Birnham the semiofficial rabbinic leader of the 2010 Winter Games. As head of a team of rabbis serving the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Birnham is helping to arrange services at both Olympic Villages — the Whistler mountain resort and in Vancouver itself — and provide counseling to athletes who, having trained for much of
their lives for a brief shot at Olympic glory, may find themselves facing crises for which spiritual guidance would be helpful. Rabbis and cantors will be on call for the duration of the Olympics for that purpose. “I ran track at Dickinson College,” said Birnham, who heads the Conservative Congregation Har El in West Vancouver. “Even at that measly low level, I have a sense of what goes on. I cannot imagine the pressure of a once-ina-lifetime chance.” Birnham is among a number of
members of the city’s 30,000strong Jewish community gearing up to support the thousands of athletes and Jewish tourists expected to descend on Vancouver, the most Jewishly active city ever to host the Winter Olympics. The Olympics start Feb. 12. Synagogues are organizing Shabbat dinners for visitors. Several events will introduce the community to the three participating Israeli athletes. A local Jewish woman who
VANCOUVER on page 22
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
The importance of ‘Mind Fitness’ for aging at NHS, Feb. 17 The monthly HaZaK program for seniors at Northern Hills Synagogue (NHS) - Congregation B’nai Avraham will be on the importance of keeping mentally fit. The message for this talk on Wednesday, Feb. 17th will be that to age successfully, seniors must stay mentally fit as well as physically fit. Specifically, the talk will focus on the importance of engaging the brain, and techniques for doing so. The featured speaker will be
Ann Sutton Burke, Director of Aging Services and Supportive Care Management at Jewish Family Service. Ms. Burke has 29 years of experience in planning and managing community-based care for the elderly. In her years spent in the field of gerontology, she has worked both with seniors who have developed new passions and found creative ways to engage with others, and with those who have not. Ms Burke will share her insights on
staying mentally vigorous. “HaZaK” is an acronym, with the letters standing for the Hebrew words “Hakhma” (wisdom), “Ziknah” (maturity), and “Kadima” (forward). The HaZaK programs are for adults 55 and older, and are open to the entire community. There is no charge for the program. Lunch is included. For reservations or more information, call the Northern Hills Synagogue.
Lincoln and the Jews: a talk at Wise on Feb 21. On Sunday, Feb. 21, Dr. Gary P. Zola will discuss American Jewry and the Idealization of Abraham Lincoln at Wise Temple. Zola will explain why many of Lincoln’s personal and professional characteristics have caused American Jews to embrace the sixteenth president as a man who possessed a Jewish soul. Zola serves as the Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center and Professor of the American Jewish Experience at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He is the only American rabbi serving on the Academic Advisory
Council of the congressionally recognized Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in Washington, D.C., and has recently completed a monograph on Lincoln and the Jews. In addition to his work at the American Jewish Archives, Zola serves as Professor of the American Jewish Experience at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. In his academic capacity, Professor Zola edits The Marcus Center’s award-winning biannual publication, The American Jewish Archives Journal — one of only two academic periodicals focus-
ing on the total historical experience of American Jewry. “We are so excited about this event,” commented Wise Temple’s Senior Adult chairperson, Cynthia Marmer, whose committee is hosting the lecture. “Dr. Zola is a stellar speaker, and this topic holds special interest for us.” From February 2009 through this month, America has been commemorating the bicentennial anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The lecture is open to the public and is free of charge. For more information, contact Wise Temple.
Basketball, baseball and softball competitions at the J On Sunday, Feb.14 there will be a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. This one-day tournament is for boys and girls in grades 7—12. Feb. 26 is the deadline to register for the JCC Blue Jays youth baseball players. For more than a decade, the JCC Blue Jays have competed against other local youth baseball teams in the Cincinnati Knothole Baseball Association. Any child (boy or girl, member or not) who will be age 5 - 12 on or after May 1, is welcome to play on a JCC Blue Jays baseball team. Most games are held on weekday evenings, and there are no practices or games on Fridays or Saturdays. Previous baseball experience is not necessary. Players (ages 5 – 7) are in the Coach’s Pitch class, and get their first experience playing baseball against other teams. Class “D” consists of players, ages 8 – 9; class “C” is for ages 10 – 12 “This will be my son’s third
year as a JCC Blue Jay,” said Rachel Sollofe. “He enjoys playing, and I’ve seen his sports skills really improve. In fact, this year,
“There is a real fraternity atmosphere associated with our league...” Brandon Guttman he’ll be playing in a more advanced level. All the kids (and the parents) love Coach Mike! He’s really great with the kids and always keeps things fun.” JCC Blue Jays players will compete against District 4 teams
from Deer Park, Mariemont, Madeira, Norwood, Terrace Park, Indian Hill and Pleasant Ridge. Finally, on Wednesday, April 14, the JCC Men’s Fast Pitch Softball League starts its 16-game season. New players are welcome to participate in this year’s league, and registrations are due to the JCC by Wednesday, March 24. “The JCC Men’s Fast Pitch Softball League has a real draft, an all-star game, two seasons (spring and summer), and a tournament… Everything you’d want in a softball league!” said Brandon Guttman. “When I joined three years ago, I didn’t know most of the players, but I was welcomed by everyone, and I mean everyone. There is a real fraternity atmosphere associated with our league, and I feel like I’ve made lifelong friends.” JCC sports leagues and programs are open to both J members and non-members Contact the J for more information.
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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
NHS throws Purim party at Borders, Feb. 21 To celebrate Purim, Northern Hills Synagogue (NHS)Congregation Avraham and Borders Books are teaming up for A Purim Extravaganza. The festivities will take place
on Sunday, Feb. 21 at Borders in Mason and include stories, a costume contest and treats. The festival of Purim commemorates the saving of the Jews of the ancient Persian empire from
destruction at the hands of the evil Haman. As recorded in the Book of Esther, the plot was foiled by the efforts of Esther, the Queen and a secret Jew, and her cousin, Mordechai. For thousands of
years, Jews have celebrated their deliverance from this evil plot with an especially joyous celebration. The event is open to the community; there is no charge. Call the Synagogue for more information.
‘The Next Generation: The Impact of the Holocaust’, a Shabbat talk by Sarah Weiss Sarah Weiss, Executive Director of the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education (CHHE), will be the Third Friday speaker at Northern Hills Synagogue (NHS) on Friday, Feb. 19. Ms. Weiss will examine the impact of the Holocaust on the descendants of survivors, bystanders, and perpetrators, as well as genocide survivors in the aftermath of the Holocaust, while passing the legacy of education and remembrance to the next generation. The granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Ms. Weiss was recently elected to the Ohio Holocaust Council and became a Commissioner for the Cincinnati
Jewish groups press Obama on faith-based funding WASHINGTON (JTA) — Six Jewish groups were among those urging President Obama to restrict White House faith-based funding. Twenty-five organizations signed on to a letter sent Thursday to the White House urging Obama to make good on his promise to amend the executive orders establishing the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships signed by his predecessor, George W. Bush. Obama extended the executive orders allowing federal funding for faith-based social service programs, such as hunger relief and drug-use rehabilitation, upon assuming office a year ago, but said he would eventually amend them to reflect his concerns that they overstepped constitutional boundaries. “We are disappointed that now, one year after your Executive Order, almost every aspect of the Bush Administration Faith-Based Initiative remains in place — the White House and all the federal agencies are still operating under all
Sarah Weiss of the center for Holocaust and Humanity Education will speak at NHS on Feb. 19.
the inadequate rules and insufficient safeguards imposed by the previous Administration,” the letter reads. It recommends a number of amendments, including ensuring that religious institutions using federal money for social programs establish distinct bodies to run the programs; banning such programs from discriminatory hiring practices and proselytizing; and ensuring that they provide beneficiaries with information about secular alternatives. The six Jewish signatories were the Union for Reform Judaism, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, B’nai B’rith International and Women of Reform Judaism. Other groups included gay defense organizations, Christian and Sikh groups, and civil liberties groups. Obama cites AJWS in ‘God’s grace’ speech WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama cited the American Jewish World Service among groups that exemplify “God’s grace, and the compassion and decency of the American people.” Obama, addressing the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, spoke of recent efforts to bring relief to Haitians after the island nation’s devastating earthquake.
Human Rights Commission. Ms. Weiss is a graduate of the esteemed Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies in Israel. Recently she became a Lerner Fellow through an advanced course sponsored by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous at Columbia University. Also, she is the 207th recipient of AmeriCorps’ Public Allies Changemaker Award. Since joining the staff of the CHHE in 2004, Sarah has formed partnerships with organizations and educational facilities locally, nationally and internationally. In 2007, she led 30 local high school students on an educational journey to Poland and Israel as
part of a collaborative venture between CHHE and the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. Jeff Bassin of Northern Hills Synagogue observed, “We are delighted to have Ms. Weiss share with us her thoughts and experiences in dealing with this significant topic. As the years go by, fewer and fewer survivors remain to tell their stories. It is especially important for descendants of survivors to begin speaking out on behalf of those who came before them. We hope the entire community will come and share in this important discussion.” A dessert reception will follow. The entire community is invited to attend. Call the Synagogue for more information.
God’s grace, he said, was expressed in Haiti “through multiple faith-based efforts. By evangelicals at World Relief. By the American Jewish World Service. By Hindu temples, and mainline Protestants, Catholic Relief Services, African-American churches, the United Sikhs. By Americans of every faith, and no faith, uniting around a common purpose, a higher purpose.”
received numerous unofficial messages but no clear answer. Today we heard via the office of the Israeli Ambassador in Moscow that the Russian Foreign Ministry still maintains that our legal status in Russia is not adequate for convening a meeting of the Board of Governors.” The meetings will now take place Feb. 21-23 in Jerusalem. The decision to change locations comes at a critical time for the agency’s operations in the former Soviet Union after having had to slash its programming in the region because of recession-induced budget cuts. The agency’s new chairman, former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, has made it a top priority to resuscitate funding for projects in the region. The Russian government, according to a Jewish Agency source, has been focusing on the fact that the Jewish Agency is registered in Russia as a local NGO, but the board of governors meeting is an international convention. An agency insider dismissed this line of argument. “It is not as if they didn’t know who we were three months ago,” the source said. “They put up lastminute, ostensibly bureaucratic, hurdles.” “Apparently they didn’t want it to happen,” the source said. “The Jewish Agency is Israel’s largest nonprofit with diplomatic links to Russia. In an ironic way, this justifies our need to be there.”
Jewish Agency blames Russian gov't for cancellation NEW YORK (JTA) — The Jewish Agency for Israel has canceled plans to hold its upcoming board meetings in St. Petersburg over concerns that the Russian government would not allow the gathering to take place. The agency had announced in the fall that it would be holding the meetings there with the intent of showcasing to its 120-member board the projects that the organization operates in Russia. But despite several months of planning, the Russian government recently cooled to the idea, according to a letter the agency sent Tuesday to its board of governors. “Two weeks ago we were advised for the first time about some outstanding issues regarding the legal status for the Jewish Agency in Russia,” the letter said. “We immediately submitted all the required documentation and have since been waiting for an official response. In the interim we have
LET THERE BE LIGHT
The oldest English-Jewish weekly in America Founded July 15, 1854 by Isaac M.Wise VOL. 156 • NO. 29 Thursday, February 11, 2009 27 Shevat, 5770 Shabbat begins Fri, 5:53 p.m. Shabbat ends Sat, 6:53 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 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 CHRISTIE HALKO Office Manager
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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
A Valentine for Jews: Return to sender? by Edmon Rodman Jewish Telegraphic Agency LOS ANGELES (JTA) — “Famous Jewish Lovers” might seem like a dreamed-up category on “Jeopardy!,” but it’s easily real. Valentine’s Day is coming; why should Jews be left off the list of heartthrobs? Jews are hot. Askmen.com in its 2010 “Top 99” most desirable women poll recently named the Jewish actress who plays Sloan on “Entourage,” Emmanuelle Chriqui, as No. 1. Last year, actor Jake Gyllenhaal was included on People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” list. We’re in demand as mates, too — and not just by other Jews. Even a former president’s daughter wants one, as well as Ivanka Trump. And they wouldn’t be the first children of the powerful to fall for a Jew. This is a story that goes way back. Long before the TV show “Big Love,” there was Big Sol. King Solomon, who built the First Temple and ruled over Israel’s golden age, according to the Book of Kings had 700 wives and 300 concubines, mostly of foreign birth. In biblical Egypt, Potiphar’s wife couldn’t keep her hands off Joseph. Some biblical characters were so hot that even hiding their Jewish identities couldn’t cool them off. King Ahaseurus fell for an unrevealed Esther. In another mix-up in Genesis, Pharaoh goes for Sarah. Today there are so many nonJews signing up for JDate that for
several years now in the sign-up under “religion,” you can enter “willing to convert.” Jewish demographers have analyzed repeatedly why a majority of Jews are marrying out, why they are attracted to the “other.” Feb. 14, a day flashing red for love (or is it a warning), is as good a day to ask: Why is the “other” attracted to Jews? My first glimpse of an answer came in college. A male friend and I were riding a nearly empty bus from our apartment to UCLA. Deep into our conversation, our ears picked up when we heard words like “Jewish men” and “great husbands” coming from a seat a couple of rows in front of us occupied by two girls. We looked each other a look that said, “What’s going on here?” “Jewish men make great husbands,” one of the girls said with some conviction. “Yeah,” agreed the other. “They don’t drink, and they take good care of their families.” Is any of this true? Fast forward to now, when I read this exchange back to another friend, Dr. Pini Herman, a Jewish demographer who has worked on Jewish population studies in several major American cities. “Is what they said about Jewish drinking true?” I asked Herman. “It’s a myth,” he responded. “Compared to the non-Jewish population, our rate is only slightly lower, though bar culture is more prevalent in other groups.” “And what about Jews as a
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This year it seems everyone wants a Jewish Valentine. What’s the attraction? It starts with the heart.
group taking better care of their families?” I asked. “We do happen to be better educated and have higher socio-economic status,” he answered. “Jews are also highly interested in good health care.” Just being Jewish by itself also seems to be attractive. I have spoken with a couple of big-city kids who attend colleges in the Midwest, where they share classes and activities with kids who may have never met a Jew or have had limited contact. “It’s like I’m exotic,’ said a student from a major Midwestern university who asked to remain anonymous. “They seem to really be interested in my curly hair.”
“Even though I could take it as a stereotype,” he added, “they are always saying Jews are funny. I guess it’s something they like.” So does it come down to this? We’re hot because our curves and curls fill the screens and famous bedrooms. We are seen as exotic in the Midwest, make enough money to guarantee good dental care and are good for a laugh? An image that turns down the flame a bit, don’t you think? What if the attraction comes not so much from what we look like in the mirror, or to the accountant, but from how our ideals have shaped our self image? Take a look at the words of praise found in Eshet Chayil, “A
Woman of Valor,” the hymn said on Friday nights by a husband to his wife, and a corresponding Psalm 112, said by a wife to bless her husband: Of a woman of valor, Eshet Chayil says: “She extends a hand to the poor… She projects strength and dignity … Her speech abounds with wisdom.” Of a man who reveres God, the psalm says: “He shall never be shaken … His mind is firm … He has given freely to the poor … His goodness is an inspiration to others.” Here’s the heat source. Good looks always attract; even the Bible says how struck Isaac was when he first set eyes on Rebecca, and she was riding a camel. But aren’t the qualities mentioned in these verses — wisdom, dignity, generosity — the ones that really turn on everybody? Giving freely — not just with money, but with emotions, actions and words — that’s what I think is fanning the flames. Having touched on an answer, I end with this question: Now that you know that a non-Jew may want to hand you a Valentine, how will you respond? (Edmon J. Rodman is a JTA columnist who writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles.)
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
Jewish biathlete bringing passion for success to Vancouver by Ben Harris Jewish Telegraphic Agency NEW YORK (JTA) — When the call from Germany arrived at the Spector family home in Lenox, Mass., last month, the voice on the other end betrayed little of the excitement one would expect from a newly minted Olympian. Laura Spector, 22, had qualified for the U.S. Olympic biathlon team that will be competing this month in Vancouver. “It was a very quiet voice, and it was just, ‘Daddy, Hi it’s Laura. I made the team,’” her father, Jesse, recalled. “It was just like that. It was that quiet, from this 5foot, 100-pound kid. It was probably a very emotional three to five seconds because her voice sounded as though, ‘Dad, I didn’t make the team.’ But she was so composed. It had its own — I don’t know — moment is the only way I can put it.” Spector will be the youngest American woman vying in the biathlon, which combines crosscountry skiing with target shooting. She is also one of five athletes measuring in at 5-feet tall — the shortest members of the 2010 U.S. Olympic team. A student of genetics and Jewish studies at Dartmouth College, Spector is among a handful of
Laura Spector discovered biathlon at 14, saying “It was my first experience with shooting a gun, but I loved combining two sports.”
Jewish Olympians headed to Vancouver for the 21st Winter Olympics. Chicago native Ben Agosto, a 2006 Olympic silver medalist, is returning to compete in the icedancing pairs. Steve Mesler, a bobsledder from Buffalo, N.Y., is back for his third Olympics. Israel will field a team of three in Vancouver: Mykhaylo Renzyhn, an alpine skier originally from Latvia, and the brother-sister duo Alexandra and Roman Zaretsky, born in Belarus, who compete in ice dancing. Agosto, 28, who nearly missed
the 2006 Olympics because his partner, the Canadian-born skater Tanith Belbin, was not yet a naturalized American citizen, said he was looking forward to soaking in the atmosphere of what will almost certainly be his last Olympics. A last-minute act of Congress granted Belbin expedited citizenship and she was able to represent the United States at the Games in Turin, Italy. “When that came through it was really a big surprise, but we really didn’t have that time to build up and kind of think of what to expect,” Agosto told JTA by phone from his training rink in
Pennsylvania. “We were just kind of thrown into it. There’s a lot that I don’t remember because it was such a whirlwind.” Spector grew up on a farm in Lenox where her family keeps llamas, alpacas, goats, horses, sheep, turkeys and chickens. She does her academic work during the spring and summer to free up the fall and winter for training and competition. In high school she would wake before the sun to make tracks on her skis in a field behind the family home. She discovered biathlon at a camp for the sport in Lake Placid, N.Y., when she was 14. “It was my first experience with shooting a gun, but I loved combining two sports — cross-country skiing (in this case running because it was summer time) and marksmanship — to make each a little more challenging,” Spector wrote in an email. “Therefore, the greater the reward when you do well.” Her parents describe her as unusually precocious and passionate who, from a young age, was adept at meeting challenges. “She’s not a frivolous kid,” said Spector’s mother, Patty, herself a national champion in marathon canoe racing. “Even when she’s on the road and traveling, she reads books that most people her age would never go near or pick up. She just finished ‘The Gulag
Archipelago.’” When she became a bat mitzvah at the Conservative Congregation Knesset Israel Synagogue in nearby Pittsfield, where her family has been members for 30 years, Spector conducted the entire Shabbat service in keeping with the synagogue’s tradition of lay-led services. Spector also attended the synagogue’s Hebrew school. “For me, being Jewish is a lot about family and community, and the continuity of tradition,” Spector said. “There is an entire congregation at home responsible for the shaping of my religious and cultural identity. There is comfort in knowing that these are people who have known me since I was born and have instilled in me thousands of years of tradition in ethical behavior.” Though generally considered a minor sport by Americans, biathlon is wildly popular in Europe and is said to be the continent’s top-rated televised winter sport. Patty Spector compares it to NASCAR racing in the United States. The Spectors have watched their daughter perform in stadiums packed with thousands of fans in Europe, and they will be in Vancouver to cheer on Laura and the other American athletes. “What Jewish mother would not go see their daughter?” Patty said.
Book provides a guide for teens on building better relationships by Suzanne Kurtz Jewish Telegraphic Agency WASHINGTON (JTA) — Carl Levy remembers the day he met Randy, his wife of 39 years. It was Oct. 15, 1965 and they were teenagers attending a United Synagogue Youth convention in New Jersey. “I remember sitting at the table for dinner. Randy was a little late that night,” Levy says, adding that “I remember her sitting down at the table. I remember being interested.” Says his wife: “I remember what I wore.” Five years later they married, and Levy says with a chuckle, “It’s all because of USY.” The Levys and 50 other couples lovingly shared their romantic journey on a recent video for USY titled “Summer Lovin’.” The couples had one thing in common: Each relationship blossomed due to some involvement with the Conservative youth movement. As the video concludes, a smiling newlywed and expectant father advises, “So look to your left, look to your right; that might be your future wife or husband.” While the Jewish community places an emphasis on the importance of Jews meeting and marry-
ing other Jews, it rarely looks at the nature of these relationships, says Deborah Rosenbloom, director of programs at Jewish Women International. “We talk about the end goal of marrying a Jew, but we don’t talk about what [makes] a good relationship,” Rosenbloom says. Recognizing the need to have this discussion, JWI teamed with USY nearly two years ago to develop a comprehensive guide to help educate Jewish teenagers on the importance of developing healthy relationships. The result of the collaboration is a nearly 200-page source book titled “Love Your Neighbor, Love Yourself,” which debuted with the “Summer Lovin’” video before 1,000 teens last December at USY’s four-day annual convention in Chicago. “This was my fourth [USY] convention,” says Josh Block, 17, of Massachusetts. “And I was the most impressed with the topics in this book.” Divided into four major sections in 13 chapters, the book addresses some weighty issues affecting healthy intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships, and provides useful tactics for good relational decision making. Problems such as
abuse and aggression in relationships are discussed at length, and modern dilemmas of self-image, sexuality and the power of language also are explored. Woven throughout the book are quotations, parables and insights from contemporary Jewish writings such as Rabbi Elliot Dorff’s “This Is My Beloved, This Is My Friend: A Rabbinic Letter on Intimate Relations,” and ancient sources like the Talmud and Torah with realtime scenarios, pop-culture references and thought-provoking exercises. One exercise, on the meaning and responsibilities of a good friend, resonated strongly with 17year-old Charlene Thorpe. Thorpe says that at the convention, she found herself reflecting on a quotation in the source book from Pirke Avot that spoke of the importance of friends keeping each others’ secrets. The insight, she says, helped her confront a friend who told other friends about Thorpe’s crush on a particular boy. “It made me look at how I define my friendships,” the Massachusetts high school senior says. “I talked to [the girl] and said, “'We can’t have this. Friends are trustworthy. How can you tell my secrets?'” The book also delves into some
timely issues such as appropriate language and behavior when communicating via the Internet and social networking sites. “We’ve had kids exchange emails and Facebook [postings] before they’ve even gone on a summer trip together,” says Karen Stein, USY assistant director and the book's editor. “They might have had an entire relationship with someone before they’ve ever met in person.” It becomes a problem of “cyberbullying,” says Stein, when teens post inappropriate, sometimes hurtful statements, comments and photographs of themselves and others online. She says the book was designed with the hope of teaching teens “how to behave online [and] how to portray themselves [appropriately].” The pervasiveness of teens and technology abuse in relationships was highlighted by a 2007 survey conducted by Liz Claiborne Inc., which showed that 71 percent of teens said boyfriends or girlfriends spreading rumors about them on cell phones and social networking sites was a serious problem. Sixty-eight percent of the teen respondents said a boyfriend or girlfriend sharing private or embarrassing pictures or videos on cell phones and computers is another
serious problem. Making matters worse, Rosenbloom says, is that “parents are clueless.” The Claiborne survey also found that 82 percent of parents whose teens were e-mailed or texted 30 times per hour were unaware this was even happening. With their source book, JWI and USY are hoping to not only educate teens but their parents, too. Louis Sacks, 17, a high school junior from Pennsylvania, says he hopes his friends who could not attend the USY convention will be able to use material from the source book. “My dad is borrowing it!” he adds. “Our goal is for Jewish teens to have opportunities to talk about relationships in a guided, facilitated conversation with adults,” Rosenbloom says. “If we can help instill core values, it will impact their relationships.” Among those core values is respect, she says, “whether that relationship is with parents, friends, partners, the community or yourself.” As for the book, Rosenbloom says she welcomes the opportunity to develop similar material for teens from other denominations.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
Torah scribe under national scrutiny by Alan H. Feiler Guest Author BALTIMORE (Baltimore Jewish Times) — Irene Siegel recalls standing in the cluttered Jewish Bookstore of Greater Washington last year listening closely as her husband, Bernard, told the Wheaton shop’s coowner, Rabbi Menachem Youlus, about his family’s roots in the Ukrainian village of Vasilkov. “Menachem said, ‘Oh, I’ve been there,’ and mentioned some names that he’d seen on gravestones [in Vasilkov],” said Irene Siegel, 80, a Baltimore native who now lives in a retirement community in Silver Spring, Md. She recalled that when the rabbi mentioned the surname Chasinsky, her husband’s maternal family’s name, “Bernie got all excited.” “But it all happened very fast,” she said. “It seemed to me that Bernie had given him all the clues and information first. Then, [Youlus] said, ‘I’ve got a Torah from there.’ It just seemed too coincidental.” Siegel said that after her husband, 88, committed to paying nearly $18,400 for the Torah, which was donated last October by the couple to Pikesville’s Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation, she privately expressed her reservations to him about the believability of the rabbi’s story. “Bernie said to me, ‘You don’t trust anyone!’ “ she said. “But it just sounded too good to be true or exaggerated a bit. I told my husband, who is very trusting, ‘Don’t believe everything you’re told!’” A recent Washington Post investigative article on Youlus quoted Holocaust scholars, former customers and associates questioning the veracity of some of the rabbi’s accounts of “rescuing” Torahs in Central and Eastern Europe, many of which were allegedly hidden, stolen or buried during the Holocaust along with mass graves. A Baltimore resident, scribe, CPA and graduate of Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Youlus, 48, is head of the Rockville, Md.-based Save A Torah organization. Dubbed the “Indiana Jones of Torah Scribes,” he claims to have discovered and refurbished hundreds of scrolls over the past two decades and speaks frequently at synagogues and Jewish schools across the country about his efforts and exploits. Contacted recently via e-mail by the Baltimore Jewish Times, Youlus wrote that he was unavailable for comment at that time. Someone who answered the phone at his store also said the rabbi was unavailable. A statement on Save A Torah’s Web site reads: “We request that the public not be misled by innuendo in one published report, and reserve judgment until after Rabbi Youlus is given a fair opportunity to respond. Save A Torah is turning to independ-
ent experts in the field to verify the origin of donated Torahs.” In past interviews with media outlets, Youlus has spoken about how he found Torahs in monastery basements, deep in the ground and even in former concentration camps. He said he had been beaten up and sporadically threatened as he attempted to smuggle Torahs out of some countries. Youlus says he restores the Torahs to meet halachic, or Jewish legal, standards and sells them to individuals or families, who in turn donate them to congregations in memory of deceased loved ones. At many ceremonies, the rabbi would speak about a particular Torah’s background in touching, nostalgic tones and explain Save A Torah’s mission. “He’s a very interesting, knowledgeable person and an excellent speaker,” said Bernard Siegel, a retired federal government employee, who also purchased a Torah from Youlus for the Shoshana S. Cardin School for $25,000 and a Megillat Esther for Stevenson’s Chizuk Amuno Congregation for $5,000. “He’s very likable and non-judgmental. Even though he’s Orthodox, most of the places he’ll go to are not necessarily Orthodox.” Said Irene Siegel: “You can’t help but like Menachem. He’s very openminded and personable and friendly. He treats people equally, and I don’t think he does that to be manipulative.” In October 2005, Youlus, a father of nine, said his mission in life culminates in the holiday of Simchat Torah. “While I’m carrying a Torah, I think of all the different experiences that I have had that year rescuing Torahs,” Youlus said. “And I think of all the communities destroyed by the Nazis. I drink it all in, and I can’t tell you I don’t have tears in my eye. Hugging the Torah, it means love to me, and it also means to never let go.” The rabbi says he has developed a sixth sense about locating authentic, discarded Torahs around the world, and sometimes finds himself wheeling and dealing with shadowy, nebulous characters. “What’s the difference between a thief and a Ukrainian antiques dealer?” he asked sardonically. “Nothing.” Despite the accusations against him, Youlus has his defenders. Carol Pristoop, executive director of the Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center near Reisterstown, said 10 donors purchased a scroll for $10,000 from Rabbi Youlus for her facility in 2001. “I’m saddened to hear this,” she said of the allegations, “but he has been so helpful with the continuing care of this Torah. I take it back to him once a year. I take it to his house, [and] he lives very modestly.” Pristoop attributed the rabbi’s alleged fabrications to the fact that
“he wants people to feel good. This was a midrash. It could be possibly fraud, but every Torah is sacred. “This man, in many ways, is doing a mitzvah,” she said. “I think he wants to affirm the living connection [to the Torah]. He has to live with himself, but I have a beautiful Torah that I’m happy about.” In a Jan. 29 e-mail, Joel Shurkin, board chairman at Chevrei Tzedek, alerted congregants about the Washington Post article on Youlis. Chevrei Tzedek has purchased two Holocaust-era Torahs from Youlus over the past seven years. “We have no reason to doubt they are kosher, and we will continue to use and honor them,” he wrote. But Shurkin noted that because the rabbi was retained as an expert by the congregation when the scrolls were insured, Chevrei Tzedek needs to confirm the historical origins of the Torahs to determine if the matter affects the synagogue’s insurance policies. “Menachem told us a story about the provenance of the sefer Torah,” Chevrei Tzedek’s Rabbi Avram Israel Reisner said of a Holocaust scroll purchased about 18 months ago. “But the bottom line is that we would have purchased the sefer Torah at this price and time even if it was from a little shul in Yonkers. “I trust him as a sofer [scribe]. I don’t have concerns. You can easily verify if [a Torah is] kosher or not.” Reisner went on to say that Youlis “should be offered every opportunity to respond to the charges. He
deserves the opportunity to explain himself.” Rabbi Steve Schwartz, religious leader of Beth El, said his synagogue purchased a Torah from Youlus a couple of years ago. While also confident the Torah is “kosher,” he said the Youlus matter is a “serious concern” to Beth El. “We’re trying to take a cautious approach,” Schwartz said. “We need more information to come out. If the allegations are proven true, that’s just wrong. If [Rabbi Youlus’] stories are fabricated, it’s wrong.” But Dr. Moshe Shualy, Chizuk Amuno’s ritual director, vigorously defended the scribe and strongly criticized the tone of the Washington Post article about Youlus. “There was no moment in the article when there was a sense of compassion or insight into what he’s doing,” he said. “Is he a liar or a cheat? I don’t think that’s the case, and I’ve known him for nearly 20 years. He’s being crucified. He’s clearly risking his life to get these Torahs. He’s not going on eBay. He goes to Eastern Europe and acquires these Torahs from people who probably stole them from monasteries or museums.” While defending the authenticity and halachic validity of Youlus’ Torahs, Shualy admitted that he has personally questioned the scribe’s anecdotes over the years. “How does he find a [sefer] Torah at Auschwitz that no one else ever found? Of course there have been misstatements,” he said. “But I
would trust him with my life. “Should we judge him because he says things that don’t sound quite right? Do we stand behind him and support him, even if he’s not telling the whole truth since he did things that were not necessarily legal [to acquire and transport the Torahs out of Europe]? Should we make him untrustworthy to these people he deals with over there?” Shualy said Youlus “supplies authentic kosher documents. I know of no other Orthodox sofer who will come into non-Orthodox synagogues and do what he does. He’s a genuine hero.” Irene Siegel, however, admits she’s not so sure anymore. While still considering him a friend, she said she would hesitate to conduct business with Youlus again. She said she plans to talk to him in the near future. “I’m not angry at him, but I’d like to hear what Menachem has to say and see if he can justify his actions,” Siegel said. “I don’t want to accuse anyone until I know it’s true. But I feel like you do when your mate cheats on you and you still love them, but it’s tarnished and you’re hurt. I want to believe him and not feel ripped off or disappointed. “But if it’s true,” she said, “I feel betrayed.” Her husband added: “I had so much faith in him. We’re both very upset. It’s a shame.” (The executive editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times, Phil Jacobs, contributed to this report.)
It started with tiredness and a stomachache. All kids get stomachaches, but this one did not go away. It lingered. It lingered through many doctor visits and tests. One inconclusive exam and head scratch after another. Eventually someone put the picture together and the answer came back; cancer. Stage IV neuroblastoma primarily located in the stomach, but had also found its way to many other places. Shockingly strange that a little eleven-year-old girl bursting with the vibrancy of potential and life as she is about to transit from child to youth should face this kind of challenge.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
Amid heated rhetoric, Israel’s reply to Goldstone suggests more civil approach
It would be easy to fall into the litany of cancer’s ravages; the tubes and knives and multi-syllabic medications that all whisper a hope of recovery. But the road of life has forked and while there is no return to how it was before, what lies ahead is a story yet to be told. Cancer commands our attention, but as Hannah has shown us in the past eight months, it does not command one’s spirit. Hannah Max is an amazing little girl. Part American, part British and grown on Dutch soil; she is the daughter of Randy Max and Rachel Browne, two orchestral musicians. She has never been without music moving through her bones. While she grew up amongst violins, pianos and percussion, and had the natural gift of perfect pitch, music was not the love for her that it was for her parents. Hannah has a different kind of mathematical mind. Wickedly sharp with numbers and puzzles, and a bit of a shark with cards, she has a wit that seems impossibly dry for her now twelve years. Unlike many kids that wrinkle up their nose at strange or new foods, Hannah is known for diving into sushi, and fearlessly adventures her way through thinly sliced fish! It has been an increasingly difficult journey as she graduated to ever more powerful doses of chemotherapy that shrunk the tumor to an operable size, and then a tidal wave of chemo, along with stem cell re-infusion, in an attempt to clear out any remaining traces of cancer. The equanimity and spirit of gratitude that Hannah has shown in the face of such adversity touches all of those around her. As her grandmother, Carol Max of St. Louis, often points out “Hannah is unstoppable.” Even as she travels the path of chemo and is no stranger now to scalpel and suture, she would return to school as soon as she was released from the hospital, and would muster her strength to spend an hour or so saddled up on the back of a horse; her most favorite place to unwind a blue-skied afternoon. “She is just an amazing little girl!” At this juncture there is little else that can be done for Hannah in Holland, but there is a ray of hope that shines from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where an innovative program, run by Dr. John Maris, focuses specifically on the treatment of neuroblastoma in children. This experimental program holds promise not just for Hannah, but for those in the future who could benefit from the development of this unique method of treatment. The cost of the treatment is enormous, hundreds of thousands of dollars. A special fund has been created to help Hannah receive her treatments in Philadelphia.
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Israel took a conciliatory tone in its reply to a report on the Gaza War by Richard Goldstone, shown here addressing the media after presenting the report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Sept. 29, 2009.
by Ron Kampeas Jewish Telegraphic Agency WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Goldstone wars continue, but beneath the shouting a diplomatic track has emerged. The Israeli government last week published a reply to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s report on the conduct of last winter’s Gaza war with Hamas, insisting that Israel Defense Forces investigations into possible Israeli wrongdoing in Gaza were not principally motivated by last autumn’s U.N. report. Nonetheless, the reply repeatedly refers to the U.N. report — known as the Goldstone report for its principal author, retired South African judge Richard Goldstone — and was delivered within the six-month deadline that Goldstone recommended to avoid international prosecution. Moreover, the bulk of Israel’s reply is dedicated to establishing the independence of military investigators and prosecutors, which would satisfy Goldstone’s requirement that any investigation should not be a matter of the alleged perpetrators investigating themselves. The Israeli document notes that two senior IDF officers were disciplined for firing rocket shells into a populated area of Gaza where the field office of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the principal group administering relief to Palestinian refugees, was situated. More striking is the conciliatory tone taken by the Israeli government toward Goldstone and the human rights groups from which he drew in writing his report —
acknowledging that Goldstone and the groups played a critical role in helping the IDF examine its actions. An Israeli army spokesman said that while the army relied primarily on its own resources to identify deviations from policy, the human rights groups helped spur along the process. “We take a look at ourselves and where we were right and where mistakes were made,” Capt. Barak Raz told JTA. “It’s important that a commander can go home at the end of the operation and look his family in the eye, and that the soldiers 20 years from now can look in their children’s eyes.” Nonetheless, he added, “I can’t deny that these reports also contributed to our ability to be made aware.” The civil tone does not mean the rhetorical wars engendered by Goldstone, a human rights icon with a pro-Israel history, are over. Top Israeli officials, up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, continue to cast the report as inimical to Israel’s interests as Iran and its putative nuclear weapons program. Non-governmental defenders of Israel continue to demonize Goldstone. Most recently, Alan Dershowitz likened him to a “moser,” a Jewish traitor deemed in some interpretations as worthy of a death sentence. In the meantime, left-wing and pro-Palestinian groups continue to call for war crimes investigations of Israel and have inhibited travel by Israeli officials to Europe lest they face arrest warrants. Against the noise, the government’s description of the Israeli
army’s cooperation with the same groups was telling. Noting that 150 separate investigations arose from Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s name for the Gaza War, the government reply says that a portion were initiated by the army and “others were opened in response to complaints and reports from Palestinian civilians, local and international non-governmental organizations, and U.N. and media reports.” Of the 150 probes, 36 have resulted in criminal prosecutions — 19 of these involved shooting toward civilians, and 17 involved using civilians as human shields, mistreating detainees and theft. Between 1,000 and 1,500 Palestinians died in the war. Human rights groups say the majority were civilians, while Israel says the majority were fighters. Israel launched the operation after Hamas stepped up its rocket attacks on southern Israel. Such attacks had been an almost daily occurrence since the terrorist group took over the strip in 2006, and dated back more than eight years. Of the 34 incidents outlined in the Goldstone report, the Israeli government says the army was investigating 22 before the report was published — it dmits that Goldstone’s research led to the other 12 inquiries. (The two officers reprimanded for shelling the UNRWA compound are not among them.) Additionally, the government reply says, the Military Police Criminal Investigation Division “has sought assistance from nongovernmental organizations (such as B’Tselem) to help locate Palestinian complainants and witnesses, and to coordinate their arrival at the Erez crossing point to Gaza, to allow interviews and questioning.” B’Tselem is an Israeli human rights group concerned with the mistreatment of Palestinians. The approach is welcome, said Michael Sfard, the legal counsel for three groups — Yesh Din, Peace Now and Breaking the Silence — that have been targeted by right-wingers and some Israel defenders as antagonistic toward Israel’s interests. “It’s the first time since Cast Lead that a government body has done something that is purely professional, and this is how it should have been handled,” Sfard said. Goldstone declined a request from JTA for an interview.
With unconventional ways, Moscow rabbi seeks to boost Jewish life by Anna Rudnitskaya Jewish Telegraphic Agency MOSCOW (JTA) — The rabbi sits at the head of a conference table in a central Moscow bank and greets its vice president as he walks through the imposing door. “Come in, Pavel Nikolaevich, I’ve got many bones to pick with you,” the rabbi says. On the wall hangs a calendar with a Christmas scene titled “Old Testament Scenes,” and on the table rest several small desk calendars bearing the bank’s logo and a quote from Confucius: “What you don’t like done to you, don’t do to others.” “First, would you please put on a kipah when talking to decent people?” the rabbis says to Nikolaevich. “Second, what do these ‘Old Testament Scenes’ on the wall mean? Do you really think Christmas is an Old Testament scene? And thirdly, who do you think is the author of the phrase, ‘What you don’t like done to you, don’t do to others?’” “Confucius,” says the bank executive, taking a kipah from the table and putting it on. “You are totally wrong,” the rabbi says. “This was said by Hillel, a Jewish man of wisdom, and is considered the essence of Judaism.” Nikolaevich sighs. The rabbi takes the calendar from the wall and turns it around so the Christmas scene is covered. “Man is not allowed to study Torah if there is anything unkosher in the room,” he says. This is the beginning of Rabbi Yosef Hersonski’s weekly “Torah in a bank” lesson. Held weekly for Jewish businesspeople in Moscow, most of whom are Nikolaevich’s partners or bank clients, the class is one of the ways Hersonski, the head of the Jewish community in the Russian capital’s Khamovniki neighborhood, is trying to draw the mostly assimilated Jews of Moscow to Jewish life. Hersonski, 32, was raised in Ukraine, immigrated to Israel with his parents at 13 and came to Moscow in 2002 as an envoy for Chabad-Lubavitch. He supervised a number of Internet projects and was involved in informal Jewish education. Two years ago, one of his students, Moscow businessman Dmitry Agarunov, head of the Gameland media company, suggested that they organize a synagogue in his home neighborhood of Khamovniki, a central Moscow
district with a mix of old Moscow intelligentsia and wealthy newcomers. Hersonski became the rabbi. “After several years of studying Torah, Dmitry thought it was wrong to drive a car to a synagogue to celebrate Shabbat,” Hersonski said. “Having the synagogue nearby was one of the first ideas. Another was to build this synagogue so it would correspond to its members’ specific interests. “As for me, I was also looking for some new perspective in my job at that time. So Dmitry’s suggestion fell on fertile ground.” The synagogue was opened in rented office space in September 2008, right before the economic crisis hit. “We decided to do this long before the recession, but it turned out that opening a synagogue was kind of an answer to it,” Agarunov told JTA. “It made me feel a bit more relieved. I prayed for the business to survive, and it worked.” One of the synagogue’s first events was a conference called Torah and Crisis, which brought together rabbis and businessmen to talk about how to do business in the new economic climate. The conference was such a success that it was followed by a seminar, Torah and Money, which became a regular feature. One of the first questions Hersonski was asked, he recalls, was whether it would be kosher for a manager to forcefully take an employee who had been caught stealing out to the forest to have a “man-to-man talk.” The rabbi reminded him of the Hillel quote that Nikolaevich had mistaken for Confucius. While most Moscow synagogues operate with financial aid from major Russian or international Jewish organizations, the synagogue in Khamovniki is run exclusively by the local community. Participants are expected to chip in for synagogue events — something the rabbi says helps participants feel they are building the community together. The synagogue’s slogan is “Among the right guys.” At the moment, about 30 people regularly participate in synagogue events, but another 100 are occasional visitors. The rabbi is trying to attract newcomers in unconventional ways, including using blogs like Live Journal and online social networks like Facebook. He even has started a site in Russian, where anyone can ask him questions about Judaism.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
British Jews weigh fight after court ruling on ‘Who is a Jew’ by Winston Pickett Jewish Telegraphic Agency LONDON (JTA) — To fight or not to fight? That question has bitterly divided the Jewish community in Britain following the Supreme Court ruling a month-and-a-half ago striking down a Jewish school’s policy of limiting admission to the children of Jewish mothers. The ruling, which said that state-funded Jewish schools may not award places on the basis of whether a student’s parent is Jewish because it contravenes Britain’s Race Relations Act, went beyond forcing an expansion of admissions criteria to children whose Jewish identity is a matter of dispute between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews. By detaching Jewishness from Jewish legal criteria, whether Orthodox or Reform, it opened up the possibility that non-Jews could qualify for admission. It also introduced the idea that the government, rather than Jewish religious authorities, can determine who is Jewish in Britain. “This case had nothing to do with denominations or conversions,” Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, wrote in the London Jewish Chronicle. “It focused on one simple fact: that Jewish identity is — conversions aside — conferred by birth, by the mother, or in the case of liberal Judaism, by the father if the mother is not Jewish.” The court decision in midDecember struck down those interpretations of Jewish identity and introduced its own, Sacks said. British Jews across the denominational spectrum have viewed the ruling with alarm as government intrusion into religion. But a bitter debate has erupted within the Jewish community over exactly how to respond, exposing deep fault lines in the community and fueling Britain’s “Who is a Jew?” debate. For now, the umbrella organization for British Jewry, the Board of Deputies, has decided to take a wait-and-see approach on how the ruling will play out. Leaders of the non-Orthodox movements here have praised the stance, but Orthodox leaders remain unsatisfied by the process. “We were deeply concerned that a change in legislation is not being actively pursued,” said the
rabbinical council of the United Synagogue, Britain’s mainstream Orthodox movement. The debate started with the case of a Jewishly observant 12year-old boy, identified in court papers as “M,” whose father is Jewish and whose mother is a convert to Judaism through the Reform movement. The boy applied to the statesupported JFS school, a flagship of North London’s Jewish community founded in 1732 as the Jews’ Free School. The school, which has about 1,900 students, rejected M on the grounds that he was not Jewish according to halachah, or Jewish law, which traditionally holds that only those born to a Jewish mother or a woman who converted to Orthodox Judaism can be considered Jewish. Britain has nearly 7,000 statesupported parochial schools, including some 50 Jewish schools. Under the law, schools can give preference to applicants from their own faiths using criteria set by a designated religious authority. But M’s family sued, saying the school had discriminated against him. The family lost, but the ruling was overturned by the Court of Appeals. Ultimately the case reached Britain’s newly created Supreme Court, which ratified the Appeals Court decision in a 5-4 ruling, saying that basing school admission on whether one’s mother is Jewish is by definition discriminatory and in violation of the 1976 Race Relations Act. The decision has left British Jews divided. On one side are the Orthodox, who advocated early intervention by seeking an amendment to legislation that effectively would nullify the court’s decision and reestablish halachah— and with it, the primacy of British Orthodoxy – as the determining criterion for school admission. On the other side are representatives from non-Orthodox Jewish movements, who said they would support a change in legislation only if their converts henceforth would be accepted into mainstream Orthodox schools. These representatives were pleased that the court ruling struck a blow against Orthodox dominance of religious matters even as they were alarmed by the government’s level of meddling in internal Jewish religious matters.
Miriam Alster / Flash90 / JTA
Israel’s 2008 Summer Olympics team, shown with President Shimon Peres, had 43 members, but Israel is sending only three athletes to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
Israel in Olympics to win, or not at all by Marcy Oster Jewish Telegraphic Agency JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two weeks before the European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, in mid-January, Israeli skater Tamar Katz was sick in bed and going crazy. Though she had qualified already in international competition for the 2010 Winter Olympics, the tougher standards of Israel’s Olympic Committee required that Katz finish in the top 14 in Europe to punch her ticket to the Winter Games in Vancouver. Katz said that while she felt weak before leaving for Estonia, she felt good when she took the ice. But Katz made a mistake in her performance, missing her triple lutz-double loop combination, the highest scoring element in her program. She finished 21st — half a point away from qualifying for the finals, where her free skate routine might have propelled her into the top 14. As a result, Israel is not sending Katz to Vancouver. Stories like Katz’s are “heartbreaking,” acknowledges Efraim Zinger, secretary general of Israel’s Olympic Committee. But he adds, “In the end, you either did it or not.” About a decade-and-a-half ago, Israel began applying demanding new standards to limit its Olympics delegation to athletes with a legitimate shot at a medal. Consequently, only three Israeli athletes will be competing this month in Vancouver – downhill skier Mikail Renzhin,
and the brother-and-sister ice-dancing duo of Alexandra and Roman Zaretsky. It is Israel’s smallest delegation to the Winter Games since 1998, when the nation also sent three athletes. Israel sent five athletes to each of the last two Winter Games — in Turin, Italy, in 2006 and Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2002. Israel’s firstever appearance in the Winter Games was in 1994 in Lillehammer, France, when one Israeli athlete participated. The policy of the Israeli Olympic Committee has proven controversial here. “I think the Israel Olympic Committee should not be harder on the athletes than the International Olympics Committee,” Shlomo Glickstein, professional director of the Israel Tennis Association, told JTA. “It’s tough enough to get into the Olympics.” In the lead-up to the Summer Games in Beijing two years ago, Israeli tennis star Dudi Sela was ranked 71st in the world — well within the top 100 required to qualify for the Olympics. But because Sela fell short of Israel’s own Olympic Committee standards — he needed to be among the top 50 in his sport to qualify — he was forced to stay home. Zinger argues that while some Israeli athletes are left behind, the policy — which applies to the Summer Games, too — has enabled Israel to invest the lion’s share of its resources into the athletes the committee thinks have a chance at winning medals.
Until the late 1980s, Israel was sending teams “just to participate,” Zinger said. Now, he says, “We decided that we are going to win.” Glickstein says the notion that the policy is about saving money is absurd, maintaining that it takes just a few thousand extra dollars to send an athlete to the Olympics — most of which is paid by sponsors. Rather, Glickstein says of committee members, “They don’t want to be ashamed.” Israel picked up its first two medals in the 1992 Summer Games, a silver and a bronze in judo, and has won five since, including a gold in sailing in 2004. All the medals have come in the Summer Games. Katz is angry about being left behind. “No country wants to take away a slot. They are usually happy to send their athletes,” she told JTA. “It is an honor for me to represent my country. I thought it would be the same for my country as well. I was shocked. I did everything to make it to the Olympics.” A Facebook group called “Tamar Katz should be allowed to compete at the 2010 Olympics” has garnered more than 1,500 members by the beginning of February and generated hundreds of e-mails to the Israel Olympic Committee. Born in the United States to Israeli parents, Katz lived in both Israel and the United States as a child. In Israel, she lived in the northern city of Metullah, near the country’s only ice skating rink. In OLYMPICS on page 19
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
Gabby’s Café a Valentine’s Day destination by Bob Wilhelmy Restaurant Reporter Going out to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day can be frustrating and expensive. But it need not be either, if you select Gabby’s Café as your dining spot. First, Gabby’s owner, Dino DiStasi, offers reasonably priced special entrée dishes. And second, he promotes them as part of Valentine’s “Week,” starting today, February 11, and ending on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14. Some folks absolutely, positively must go out on the actual day. Me, I’ll take my sweetie to dine earlier, and avoid the crowds. So whatever works for you. Anyway, the specials are both good and good values. There is the filets de Parma, a twin filet mignon cooked to order and served with mushroom risotto and a demi glace (hold the prosciutto rose) for $20. Or select the grilled veal chop, a 10-ounce bone-in chop grilled to order, with asparagus and chive mashed potatoes for $23. Salmon Del Ray is another choice on the specials list, served with Dijon sauce, rice pilaf and a vegetable medley for $16.50. Chocolate mousse topped with fresh berries is the special dessert to go with the entrée items, and it’s one you could split for $5.50. Regardless when you choose to go to Gabby’s Café, you many wish to check out the pizza selection, and especially the pizzas with wheat crusts. We tried the fire-grilled vegetable pizza, and it was scrumptious! The crust is thin and crunchy, and tastier than the regular-dough pizzas to my way of thinking —. also, healthier, I suspect. It’s $12.95. The vegetable toppings and the sprinkling of Gabby’s 3-cheese blend make for a tasty topping that is not the least bit heavy. Often pizza can leave that lump-in-the-stomach feeling, but not the wheat-crust variety at Gabby’s. I recommend it. Another dish that will be returning to the menu soon (February 16th) is vegetable lasagna, an ideal dish for those who want vegetarian choices that taste as good as the meat and cheese versions. Also, Gabby’s Café features weekly specials, such as chicken Franchesca. The dish features a sautéed chicken breast served with risotto and Marsala mushroom sauce for $15.95. A recent weekly pizza special on the list was the smoked salmon variety, topped with boursin cheese, capers, red onions for $9.99. The salmon is smoked in-house. DiStasi is a hands-on operator of his café, and he runs a one-of-a-
Bartender Lesley Gallagher, whom guests will find behind the mahogany in the “other half” of Gabby’s Café, is in the process of serving one of Gabby’s wheat-crust vegetable-topped pizzas.
kind place with an emphasis on Italian foods. In fact, while he used to have a designated “Italian Night,” DiStasi stated that every night can be Italian Night, if patrons want the Italian specialties added for that night. Add a bottle of North Coast Scrimshaw pilsner at $3.95, and you’ve got yourself a delightful meal. When you go to Gabby’s Cafe, you’ll notice how many people DiStasi greets by first names. To me, that means satisfied repeat customers; people who come into the café several times a week to eat or have a drink and a snack in the bar. Gabby’s features a full bar with premium pours from the well, and premium beers on tap, including Guiness, Smithwick’s, Stella Artois, Paulaner and more. Recently, DiStasi installed a new menu, tweaking a few dishes, adding a few, subtracting a few. “We work hard to make everything that comes out of our kitchen really good and wholesome,” he said. The dishes we tried confirmed that he and his staff are right on target with those efforts. First, we had some soup: black bean and the du jour selection, a
creamy cauliflower. Both were tasty, pleasantly textured soups. The black bean was thick, creamy and richly flavored, and the cauliflower soup was a more delicate variety, with more subtle flavors. Soup is $3.99 a bowl. Next we were treated to a series of five entrees that we selected from a goodly number of menu choices. We’ll share all, but there is one little item that gave me pause and really spoke to the essence of what DiStasi is doing at Gabby’s Café. The fish and chips platter, for $11.99, featured a side dish of slaw. The slaw was the creamy variety, and boy, was it good! We asked our server about the slaw, and she explained that it was not “cole” slaw exactly, but “vegetable” slaw, made with cabbage, broccoli, peas and onion, in a creamy slaw dressing. That recipe typifies, as much as anything, the extra steps to which the folks at Gabby’s go to offer better, tastier, more interesting and inviting foods to patrons. By the way, the fish and chips platter are every bit as good as the slaw. The fish is cod, beer-battered and then deep-fried to a golden brown, and served with crunchy,
tasty French fries. The fish features a good crust on the outside and tender, flaky white fish inside. As fishand-chip dinners go, my rating is best-in-class for Gabby’s version. I’ve tasted none better, and most are not nearly as good. Next, we had three pasta dishes, each offering distinct flavors and combinations. One was the classic spaghetti and meat balls — hold the cheese! — for $10.99. The pasta and sauce was very good, with no hint of the off-taste one finds with most red-sauce spaghetti dishes offered by restaurants. Gabby’s sauce was tomatorich, not bitter and not overly sweet, but just the right acidity and depth of flavors. The meatballs were large and of good consistency —not rubbery or giving the sense of being machine made. My favorite from a group of very good entrée selections was the Chicken Marsala for $13.99, featuring sautéed breast of chicken, lightly breaded, in an amber sauce of Marsala wine and mushroom slices, served over pasta. The sauce clings to the pasta and mushrooms, and delivers taste and flavor in every spun forkful of vermicelli.
Next, and for vegetarians or others who appreciate meatless dishes, try the eggplant parmesan, for $13.99. It features homemade marinara sauce, kalamata olives, and goat, provolone and parmesan cheeses, along with a side of vermicelli. Yum! Gabby’s Café menu is loaded with other items as well, including appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and a large selection of pizzas on traditional and wheat crusts. Also, there is a Sunday brunch menu, and the Café offers catering of events. Sunday brunch is offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Gabby’s as well. There are eggs and omelets, and a variety of breakfast specials such as pancakes, French toast, Belgian waffles and more. All are on a pick-and-choose menu, and no selection is more than $7.99. The café is open everyday, from 11 a.m. (10 a.m. on Sundays) to 10 p.m. weekdays, 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 p.m. on Sunday. Live Music is featured on Saturdays, starting at 6 p.m. Gabby’s Cafe 515 Wyoming Avenue Wyoming, Ohio 45215 513-821-6040
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
Point of View
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
by Rabbi James A. Rudin
EDITOR’S NOTE For this issue, our copy editor, Alexia Kadish, was unable to make it into the office to
Rabbi Rudin is the American Jewish Committee’s senior interreligious adviser. review the final copy before press time because of the snow storm. We apologize for any oversights as a result of her absence.
Do you have something to say? E-mail your letter to email@example.com
Dear Editor, Editorially you could be more open minded. Not every Jew is an Obama progressive socialist. Some of us do not seek to emulate New York, pseudo liberals. Many of us consider ourselves American first of all. We do not advocate changing everything that makes the United States great. Mark these words: Sarah Palin, who you editorially exorciate, will be the American Margaret Thatcher in 2012. Emanuel Tepper West Palm Beach, Fl. Dear Editor, You are in line at a security check, and you notice a 90 year old woman in a wheel chair being wanded. The first thought is “our society has lost it's mind, wanding a 90 year old woman in a wheel chair.” The woman turns out to be the mother of a U.S. senator. The senator sponsors legislation that has some measure of common sense, prohibiting the searching and wanding of 90 year old wheel chair bound women, after all Arab terrorists are 18-28 year
old males. The senator feels good about our society finally coming to its senses and two weeks Later Arab terrorists smuggle C4 onto an airplane in the wheelchair of a terrorist made up to appear as a 90 year old woman. I remember a few years back, a terrorist dressed as a Chassidic rabbi walked, unnoticed onto a bus in Israel and proceeded to murder the passengers with a bomb strapped inside his clothes. I think about the Liebowitz children and how their parents could have prevented the “Tefillin scare in the air” with a little common sense. Had the children simply been directed by their parents to speak with the captain as they boarded the plane, the chaos would have been avoided. The captain in all likelihood would have explained to the passengers, what they were about to see. As rabbis all over the country express indignation and scorn for the gentile passengers, crew and Transportation Safety Administration for not “understanding and having compassion and diversity,” I see a different scenario. A boy stands up during the flight opens a package and pulls out two black boxes. He
straps one on his arm, places one on his head then opens a book that has writing that looks middle eastern, and then begins talking to himself. The crew rushes over to him and begins to ask questions. Of course he does not respond while davening. Wow, talk about alarming the passengers! The boy is lucky he was not attacked and killed by the passengers. Would that have been an anti-Semitic assault? Is it the job of the general population of the USA to know and understand our religious practices? I submit to you that there are Jews who don’t know what Teffilin are or for that matter Mikva, Negilvasser etc. Shame on Caleb Liebowitz’s parents for getting a “what were they thinking” stupid attack and not looking out for their childrens safety and welfare in our wacky society. Glen Liebowitz chastised federal marshals for being to aggressive with his children. C’mon Glen, your kids were on a flight to Kentucky, not Israel! Roll up the Philadelphia Inquirer, smack yourself upside the head and chant “what was I thinking? Paul Glassman Deerfield Township
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE of this week’s Torah portion This Week’s Portion: Mishpatim (Shmot 21:1—24:30) 1. Can a Father sell his daughter to be a slave? a.) Yes b.) No 2. What is the punishment for injuring a pregnant woman? a.) Death b.) Pay damages c.) Exile to a city of refuge 3. Is there a difference if an ox gores a person once or several times? a.) Pays more after the third time b.) Only pays after the
third time c.) Gets lashes after the third time 4. Is it permissible to take collateral for a loan? a.) Yes b.) No 5. Which animal would Hashem send to Canaan to fight before the Children of Israel? a.) Insect b.) Frogs c.) Bears d.) Lions
Written by Rabbi Dov Aaron Wise
1. A 21:7 A girl can only be sold and serve as a slave until her 12th birthday. She has the same laws as a Jewish slave. The master also has an option to marry her. Rashi 2. B 21:22,23 If the woman is injured then the attacker would pay the value of a pregnant woman. Rashi 3. B 21:28,29 After the first time the animal is condemned After the third time the owner pays full value of the attacker or the one injured. Rashi 4. A 22:25 5. A 23:28
Two weeks ago, I wrote how the University of Florida’s star quarterback, Tim Tebow, had abused his celebrity fame in advertising a particular set of religious beliefs — however sincere — by painting Bible verses under his eyes before a game. But college football is not some cosmic metaphysical clash between good and evil, the faithful and infidels, or the saintly and the sinners. Despite what frenzied fans and obsessive coaches may believe, it’s only a game. Since that column, something more ominous than college football, or Tebow’s face-based evangelism, has emerged. It reveals, on a level that’s more than just skindeep, the danger of employing exclusivist religious language, not in sports, but in warfare. For more than 30 years, Michigan-based defense contractor Trijicon has systematically, and some would say covertly, encoded biblical verses on the weapons systems (including gun sights) it sells to the U.S. military. The idea started 30 years ago with company founder Glyn Bindon, who died in a 2003 private plane crash. His personal project of placing scriptural citations on Trijicon’s products continued until mid-January, after several news outlets highlighted the practice, thanks to the watchdog efforts of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). For several years, the MRFF has exposed the aggressive and unconstitutional evangelistic conversion campaigns that operated at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Once Trijicon’s practice became public, the Pentagon demanded an end to the encoding program; the arms manufacturer quickly acquiesced. Trijicon encoded at least seven different religious markings on weapons that are currently being used by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They include: 1. An abbreviation for John 8:12, in which Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” 2. An abbreviation for 1 Thessalonians 5:5, “You are all
sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. A range of faith groups — people of no faith, and people of ardent faith — lambasted the company. The MRFF charged that biblically encoded weapons put American troops at risk — an action that clearly gave additional incentive and emboldenment to recruiters for our nation’s enemies. Some years ago, Brent Walker of the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty put it this way: “We have obligations to Christ and Caesar. They’re both appropriate and good things. But they’re not the same things.” Trijicon’s actions are not, however, necessarily unique. They reflect a long-held position shared by many Christians who believe their faith’s compassionate portrayal of Jesus is too soft, too girly. Instead, they seek a warriorlike faith, one that wraps the Christian cross in the stars and stripes of Old Glory. That bellicose Christianity is best expressed in the 1865 hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers”: “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle see His banners go!’ Because of the hymn’s bellicose lyrics, there was an unsuccessful attempt in 1986 to remove it from the United Methodist Hymnal. The song was left out of the 1990 Presbyterian Church (USA) hymnal. When I served as an Air Force chaplain in Japan and Korea, I learned an important lesson about religion and war. A Protestant chaplain and I were discussing the massacres of European Jews at the hands of medieval Christian Crusaders. He shuddered and expressed his abhorrence of the Crusaders, and he also admitted his dislike of “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I still remember what he said next. “Remember, we are always American soldiers representing the best in our nation,” he said. “We are not religious warriors.” It was true then, and it’s even truer today.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
Sedra of the Week
MODERN ORTHODOX SERVICE
by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Daily Minyan for Shacharit, Mincha, Maariv, Shabbat Morning Service and Shalosh Seudas.
Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Mishpatim Exodus. 21:1 — 24:18
Kiddush follows Shabbat Morning Services
Prayer as Empowerment Efrat, Israel — “And you shall serve the Lord your G-d, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst” (Exodus 23:25) Maimonides, the great Sefardi jurist-philosopher (11th - 12th Centuries), begins his Laws of Prayer, “It is a positive commandment to pray every day, as it is written ‘and you shall serve the Lord your G-d.’ They taught from Tradition that this ‘service’ refers to prayer, as it is written ‘to serve Him with all your heart’ (Deuteronomy 11:13), regarding which our Sages have taught, What is the service of the heart? Prayer!” Hence, the Biblical source for prayer is derived from our Biblical portion of Mishpatim (literally, Laws). It is interesting to note that prayer, which seems to be such a cardinal religious experience is not derived from a more explicit source which clearly teaches, “thou shalt pray;” but no such verse exists in our Bible. Moreover, many people find prayer to be a difficult experience, especially to pray each day with meaning and intent (kavannah). It is recorded that when Rav Shneuer Zalman of Liadi (17451812), the founder of Habad Hassidut decided to enroll at the Hassidic center of Mezritch rather than the Yeshiva of Volozhin, he explained to his disgruntled fatherin-law, “In Volozhin I would learn how to study difficult texts properly; whereas in Mezritch I would learn how to pray. It is far more difficult to learn how to pray than it is to learn how to study.” I would imagine that in choosing our particular verse as the Biblical source for prayer, Maimonides is teaching us an important lesson about the act of prayer. What is that message? And how ought we define prayer? Is it an act of human surrender to G-d, or is it rather a human search for empowerment from the Divine. In order to extract that lesson, I would like to remind you of Rashi’s difficult interpretation of a verse which we read two Sabbaths ago: the Egyptians are pursuing the Israelites in order to bring them back to Egypt as slaves, while in front of our people lies the Reed Sea. Seized by terror, they pray to G-d. Moses attempts to allay their fears, and he too cries out to G-d,
but the response that he receives from G-d is surprising; “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Speak to the children of Israel, and let them get moving (into the waters of the Sea)’” (14:15). Rashi (ad loc) expands the dialogue: “The Holy One, Blessed be He, said (to Moses), ‘this is not the time for lengthy prayer, when the Israelites are in such distress.’” But then when ought we to engage in lengthy prayer; when the Israelites are not in distress? What does Rashi mean to teach us? I believe that Rashi wrote this commentary with a striking Aggadic passage in mind. It takes place after the destruction of the Second Temple, Rabbi Yossi enters the ruins of a destroyed Synagogue to pray for redemption and he is chided by Elijah the prophet who tells him; “You should have prayed for redemption, while planting, building, or even waging war for redemption “on the road” rather than in a hopeless ruin”. If one is afraid of an enemy, then one may pray a shortened prayer, but it should be a prayer combined with human efforts, with human action! (BT Berachot 3a) This is precisely what G-d is saying to Moses: this is not the time for lengthy prayer; let the Jews begin to act and enter the waters of the sea. Once Israel initiates the movement towards redemption, G-d will assuredly respond. From this perspective, we can much better understand Maimonides’ Biblical source for prayer, which comes at the end of a segment which begins five verses earlier, “Behold, I shall send a messenger (Moses) before you to guard you on the road (to the conquest of the Land of Israel), to bring you to the place which I have prepared for you… My messenger will go before you (in battle), and bring you into the Amorite, Hittite, Perizite, Canaanite, Hivite and Jebusite (lands), and I will cut them off… and you shall serve the Lord your G-d…” (Exodus 23: 20-25). From the context of this passage, it becomes clear that prayer is not meant to be an expression of total dependency upon G-d by a powerless nation or individual; it is rather a request for strength and courage, a desire for empowerment from our “Senior Partner” who has covenantally joined Himself to us in the grand march of humanity towards redemption. It is also fascinating that Nachmanides, a younger contemporary of Maimonides, disagrees with Maimonides as to the source,
and frequency of prayer. He maintains that it is only Biblically mandatory for the individual to pray in times of stress. (I once heard from my revered teacher Rav J.B. Soloveitchik that practically speaking there is no dispute between them: Nachmanides understood that existentially the individual is in distress every day, three times a day). His Biblical proof-text is: “When you go to wage war in your land against an enemy who oppresses you, you shall sound the broken staccato sounds of the trumpets, and you shall be remembered before the Lord, and you shall be saved from your enemies” (Numbers 10:9). Here, too, it is prayer within the context of action! In most Sefardi Prayer Books, the opening Biblical invocation before one begins daily prayer is neither of the two proof-texts we have just cited, but rather, “You shall love your friend like yourself, I am the Lord” (Lev. 19; 18). This introduction to prayer, initiated by Rav Haim Vital, would be completely inexplicable were it not for the thesis of “prayer as a request for Divine empowerment” which we have just offered. If indeed prayer is an attempt to come close to the Divine (Korban, sacrifice, stems from the Hebrew karov - to come close), then the purpose of prayer is to enable us to be like Gd: to create a more prefect world, to show love, patience and kindness towards every being created in the Divine Image. From this perspective, the most meaningful prayer ought to be, “Dear Parent in Heaven, I don’t ask You to make my life easy; I only pray that you help me to be strong.” The Talmud (BT Sotah 49b) gives frightening signs of what will occur at the end of the days: “Insolence will reign supreme, inflation will increase… leadership will be involved in harlotry, Wisdom will be vitiated… truth will be absent… a person’s enemies will be his family members… the face of the generation will be the face of a dog…. and the only one we will have to rely upon is our Parent in Heaven.” It seems to me that the last thing mentioned “The only One we will have to rely upon is our Parent in Heaven” is not a solution, but rather the worst of the problems; when we feel ourselves powerless to act, our troubles have really intensified! Shabbat Shalom Shlomo Riskin Chancellor Ohr Torah Stone Chief Rabbi — Efrat Israel
RABBI HANAN BALK & ASSISTANT RABBI STUART LAVENDA
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3100 LONGMEADOW LANE • CINCINNATI, OH 45236 791-1330 • www.templesholom.net Richard Shapiro, Interim Rabbi Marcy Ziek, President Gerry H. Walter, Rabbi Emeritus Friday February 12 6:00 pm Shabbat Nosh 6:30 pm Shabbat Evening Service
Friday February 19 6:00 pm Shabbat Nosh 6:30 pm Shabbat Evening Service
Saturday February 13 10:30 am Shabbat Morning Service
Saturday February 20 10:30 am Shabbat Morning Service
JEWZ IN THE NEWZ
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom Contributing Columnist SOMETHING SWEET, SOMETHING EVOLVED Garry Marshall’s new film, “Valentine’s Day,” follows the intertwining lives of a group of Los Angelinos as they have romantic encounters on Valentine’s Day. (Opens Friday, Feb.12) The flick’s star-laden cast includes the hunky co-stars of the hit TV doctor show “Grey’s Anatomy” — ERIC DANE, 37, (TV’s Dr. Sloan; AKA “McSteamy”) and Patrick Dempsey (TV’s Dr. Shepherd; AKA “McDreamy”). My sources tell me that Eric Dane’s late father, an architect, was not born Jewish (although he may have converted to Judaism). Eric’s mother, LEAH, is Jewish and Eric was raised Jewish. His brother’s Jewish wife worked, until recently, for the San Francisco-area Jewish Federation. “Creation” co-stars Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin and JENNIFER CONNELLY as his deeply religious wife, Emma. (Opens Feb. 12) The film follows the famous 19th century scientist as, torn between faith and science, he struggles to finish his famous book “On the Origin of Species,” which went on to become the foundation for evolutionary biology. (Connelly, 39, whose mother is Jewish, is the reallife wife of Paul Bettany). SUCCESS IN SCHMATTAS HBO’s new series, “How to Make It in America,” follows two hustling young Brooklyn guys as they try to succeed in NYC’s fashion scene. (Premieres Sunday, Feb. 14, 10PM). Ben Epstein (BRYAN GREENBERG, 31) and his Hispanic pal/business partner Cam Calderon (Victor Rasuk) use their street smarts and connections to finance their clothing lines. They tap Cam’s relative, a high energy drink mogul, and Ben’s childhood pal, hedge fund manager David Kaplan (EDDIE KAYE THOMAS, 29). Greenberg, who grew up in a religious Jewish home, mostly recently co-starred on the TV drama, “October Road.” Thomas, who also co-stars on the Fox series, “Til Death,” is still best known as “Finch” in the “American Pie” movies. A JEWISH ‘CHEESE CAKE’ MINYAN Each year, the mega-popular Web site Askmen.com posts a list of the “Top 99 Most Desirable Women.” In theory, this list is based on more than just looks — site visitors are asked to choose the woman they would most want to have as their wife or girlfriend. (This year, Askmen.com added videos of all 99 women.)
Six million site visitors voted and 10 Jewish women are among the 99. The number before their name is their ranking —their age follows their name: (1) actress EMANUELLE CHRIQUI, 31; (13) Israeli model BAR REFAELI, 24; (17) actress NATALIE PORTMAN, 28; (23) actress SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 25; (32) actress MILA KUNIS, 26; (47) model BROOKE BURKE, 38; (62) business exec and recent convert to Judaism IVANKA TRUMP, 28; (78) comedian CHELSEA HANDLER, 34; (81) former reality show star/fashion designer WHITNEY PORT, 24; and (99) actress JAMIE-LYNN SIGLER, 28. Chriqui co-stars in the HBO series “Entourage.” The daughter of Moroccan Sephardi parents, she was born in Montreal and raised in Toronto. When informed of her #1 Askmen.com ranking, Chriqui diplomatically replied: “Hearing what that vote is made of is the biggest compliment of all because it’s not just about being ‘hot’ but about being a well-rounded woman. That’s really empowering — people recognize that I care about other things." ANOTHER AMERICAN VANCOUVER-BOUND In 2006, the Jewish Sports Review newsletter and this columnist managed to “uncover” two American Jewish athletes who are going to the Winter Olympics, again, in 2010: bobsledder STEVE MESLER and ice dancer BEN AGOSTO (who performs with his partner, Tanith Belbin). There is also first time Olympian, LAURA SPECTOR, who will participate in the biathlon —skiing and target shooting. Late last week, I learned of another Jewish athlete, ice dancer CHARLIE WHITE — thanks to a call his proud Jewish grandma had just made to the Detroit Jewish News. White, 22, has been ice dancing with his partner, Meryl Davis, since 1997 and the team has really come into its own in the last few years — winning the 2009 and 2010 U. S. championship in ice dancing. They are now ranked 2nd in the world in their sport and ranked ahead of Belbin and Agosto (who won the silver medal at the 2006 Olympics). White and Davis are coached and choreographed by IGOR SHIPLAND, a Russian Jewish immigrant who has coached many famous ice dancing teams, including Agosto/Belbin (the latter team now has a different Russian Jewish coach). White is Detroit area native and a Univ. of Michigan student. His grandmother told the News that her daughter, White’s mother, is Jewish. White’s father is not Jewish and he was raised in a secular household.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
FROM THE PAGES 100 Years Ago Mr. and Mrs. Charles Nusbaum, of 835 Lexington Avenue, Avondale, have as their guest Miss Lena Kahn, of Lincoln, Ill. Mrs. Fanny Hoffheimer, relict of the late Solomon Hoffheimer, was buried in Walnut Hills last Sunday afternoon, Dr. Phillipson officiating. She was in her 80th year and a long time resident of Cincinnati. Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Bloom and daughter, 3511 Burnet Avenue, are in St. Louis enjoying the hospitality of
Mrs. Bloom’s mother, who celebrates her 79th birthday anniversary on Friday, feb. 11th ., with their son Ralph, who is connected with the St. Louis branch of the Bloch-Pollack Iron Co. The family will spend several days together. Mr. and Mrs. Moritz Loth celebrated their golden wedding last Saturday and received numerous congratulations and good wishes from a host of relatives and friends. Mr. Loth has been one of the fore-
most men of Cincinnati, and on numerous occasions has proved himself a good citizen of the first rank. It was largely through his devotion, energy, capacity, and persistence that the Union of American Hebrew Congregations was established. He signed the first call for its organization, presided over the preliminary meetings, and was its first president, holding the office through its most critical years and for a long series of terms. — February 10, 1910
75 Years Ago Mr. and Mrs. David Sway of Union Street, announce the coming marriage of their daughter, Sarah, to Mr. Ben N. Ritter, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Ritter, of Larona Avenue, Tuesday, March 12th. The immediate families will attend and Rabbi Louis Feinberg will officiate. Joseph L. Stix, 82, retired, formerly a partner in the dry goods firm of Lous Stix and Co., died of a stroke of apoplexy in his room in the
Hotel Alms, Wednesday, Feb. 6th. He had been a resident of the hotel for the last thirty years. Mr. Stix was born in New York City, but came to Cincinnati when a young man. He retired about 15 years ago, when the company went out of business. He was a man of unusual physical activity until a year ago. The late Charles Wenderoth was a close personal friend and years ago the two were among the
active bicyclists of the city. Daily for several years, Mr. Stix walked from the hotel at Victory Parkway and McMillan Street to Fountain Square and back. Mr. Stix leaves three brothers: Aaron L. Stix, Cincinnati; Otto L Stix and Sylvan Stix, both of New York City; and three sisters: Mrs. Samuel Weiss, Mrs. Joseph Cullman, and Mrs. Jonas Mann, all of New York City. — February, 14, 1935
50 Years Ago Mr. and Mrs. Carl Guttman of Clinton Springs Avenue entertained informally for Gov. Michael V. DiSalle Sunday afterrnoon, Feb. 7, prior to his evening lecture in the Jewish Community Center Forum, series at Wise Center. Sigma Delta Tau Alumnae League recently elected these officers at the home of Mrs. Morris Osher: Mrs. Eugene Levine, president; Mrs. Fred Elkus, vice president; Mrs. Morris Fogel, treasurer; Mrs.
Lewis Stone, recording secretary; Mrs. Louis Dollin, corresponding secretary. Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Aug, Sr., announce the engagement of their daughter, Miss Claire Aub, to Robert A. Bedolis of New York City. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. M.D. Bedolis, of Dayton, O. A spring wedding in New York City is planned. Mrs. Gertrude Horowitz, 64, 23456 Secion Road, passed awa y Thursday, Feb. 4.
She is survived by her husband, Aaron B. Horowitz, of Cincinnati; a son, Edwin V., of San Diego; three brothers, Harry Vigran of Richmond, Ind.; and Nathan and Sol Vigran, of Cincinnati; and three grandchildren. Joseph Mann, 1119 Egan court, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 3. He is survived by his wife, Rachel Mann; his three children, Mrs. Samuel Schindler, Albert and Leon Mann, all of Cincinnati; and four grandchildren. — February 11, 1960
25 Years Ago Howard Goldfelder, chairman and chief exeutive officer of Federated Department Stores, will chair the 35th annual Awards Dinner of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. The announcement was made by NCCJ co-chairpersons Paul B. Aern, Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins and Joyce J. Salinger. Karline Brown of 2324 Madison Road passed away Feb, 3. She was 91. Miss Brown was a pioneer in establishing a public resource for films and recording in Cincinnati. While in
her 40’s she earned a master’s in library science from Columbia University and became the first director of the Film and Recording Center of the Hamilton County Public Library. She is survived by her sister-inlaw, Cecile E. Roth; two nieces and their husbands, Carol B. and Thomas S, Heldman of Cincinnati and Susan B. and Joel Goldsmith of Chappaqua, N.Y.; one great niece and five great nephews. Mrs. Florence Iglaure Wyler of Glen Manor Home for the
Jewish Aged passed away Jan. 27. She was 104. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Alan (Katherine) Strook of New York City; a son, Dr. Carl Wyler of Cincinnati; four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Mrs. Wyler was the wife of the late Dr. Jesse S. Wyler and the sister of the late Mrs. Walter (Zillah) J. Friedlander. Her parents were Carl Iglaurer and Rosa Stix, two pre-Civl War residents of Cincinnati. — February 7, 1985
10 Years Ago The University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, the chief governing body of the University that oversees the development of policies and determines the direction of the University, elected Benjamin Gettler board chairman on January 5. Gettler will lead the board for two year, until 2002. “I owe the University a great deal and hope as chairman to be able to repay it to some extent for all the benefits I’ve received,” say Gettler, president and board chairman of Vulcan International Corp., an American Stock Exchange listed company.
Harris K. Loftspring, 80, of Cincinnati, Ohio passed on January 22, 2000. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Marjorie Ann Loftspring. Surviving children are: Dr. Edward and Ina Loftspring of Cincinnati; and Randy and Bonnie Loftspring of Cincinnati. Surviving grand children are Rachel Loftspring, Blair Loftspring, Drew Loftspring, and Nina Loftspring. Other surviving family include a brother and his wife: Allen and Charlotte Loftspring of Cincinnati; and a brother-in-law and sister-in law: Bernard and Beverly
Rosenberg of Cincinnati. Sam Malcolm Levy passed away on Jan. 24, 2000. He was born in Henderson, Ky in 1901. Mr. Levy was a graduate of the University of Chicago and spent his life in the advetising industry. Mr. Levy’s wife, Isabel Cone Levy, predeceased him in 1977. He is survived by his daughter, Susan Levy Klau of San Juan, Puerto Rico; and four grandchildren: Michael D. and David C. Klau, Phyllis Tannenbaum, and Cynthia Nettle; and eight great grandchildren. — Febraury 10, 2000
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
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 Northern Hills Synagogue (513) 931-6038 • nhs-cba.org Rockdale Temple (513) 891-9900 • rockdaletemple.org 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
RICHEY CONSTRUCTION Carpentry, Remodeling Repairs, Gutters, Siding, Windows, Roofing, Decks, Tile, Drywall, Painting, Kitchen, Baths
• Up to 24 hour care • Meal Preparation • Errands/Shopping • Hygiene Assistance • Light Housekeeping
HADASSAH from page 1 For this group, there was no divorce option and no premarital sex. Appropriate careers were as secretaries, nurses or teachers. Values included respect for authority and belief in hard work and thrift as the way to a good life. There was a striking difference in the next generation, the Baby Boomers, who were the first to taste the great pleasure of air conditioning as well as birth control with its attendant free sex. With women’s liberation providing lift, this generation thought anything they wanted was within their grasp, including never aging. Remarked one Baby Boomer, a delusional state of mind was probably another generational attribute. Other well-known attributes of this generation, while growing into responsible adults, were drug use, life without a bra and the approbation of peers for rebelling against authority. Generation X, on the other hand, is neither impressed by authority nor rebellious toward it. Many are children of boomers. Having lived through the Nixon hearings, Iran hostages, the Challenger explosion and then, as they left home, the mid-80s’ fear of HIV and its impact on sex, this generation has been quick to adopt a skeptical attitude. While the Baby Boomers believe in teamwork and leadership by consensus, this group believes in leadership by competence and in OLYMPICS from page 10 the United States she lives and trains in Rockland County, N.Y., about 25 miles from New York City, and receives a stipend from the Israel Skating Federation. Israel supports about 80 top-caliber athletes in several sports. The support includes training, expenses to attend international competitions, hiring coaches, and providing full medical coverage and treatments not covered by regular Israeli national health care, as well as stipends and performance-based
self-reliance. As the first “latchkey” kids, this generation is reluctant to commit to relationships. Finally there is Generation Y, the generation that has given “failure to launch” a whole new meaning. For this generation the world is a scary place – from which their parents are happy to protect them. The Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11 and terrorism comprise the darker reaches of their world. It is this generation that happily moves back home, perhaps because they are the most experiential, most community minded and least materialistic. This generation is distinguished as well by their level of attachment to technology and a “normal” family life that involves working parents, divorce and “loose” family structure. Where the War Babies are turned off by vulgarity, this generation is turned off by promiscuity; indeed, for Generation Y love can wait. Before and after this exploration, there were breakout sessions on financial planning, technology and creativity. In addition, there was a session in which participants discussed how they dealt with major life transitions faced by their parents, such as the death of a spouse or the loss of independence. The session painted a troubling picture of how a life of collecting chachkas ends: How does one get rid of them all.. Said one participant, “So now my children can shop in my basement.” incentives. Many athletes argue that merely appearing in the Olympics, even without winning anything, is a good way for younger athletes to gain experience for the next Olympics. But Zinger says Israeli athletes can get the same experience from appearing in other international competitions. Katz disagrees, saying Olympics exposure helps with the judges. “If they want me to medal in 2014, they should have sent me now,” she said.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
Seabourn Pride: forget couch potato…think suite potato Wandering Jew
by Janet Steinberg Travel Editor Doc Irv’s Mermaids have done it again! This time, Doc Irv (Silverstein) and his comely Mermaids went yachting the Baltic on Seabourn Pride, one of the luxurious Yachts of Seabourn. Doc Irv’s Mermaids, a fun-loving, stimulating, ocean-loving group of widows and divorcees, of all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages, is straight out of “Golden Girls”…and TV producers would love it. Seabourn Pride, a swift, stunning, oceangoing vessel, is straight out of James Bond…and 007 would love it. This sleek enticing vessel is one of the pride and joys of her parent’s fleet — The Yachts of Seabourn. As a matter of fact, when Shirley Temple Black christened her in San
ern conveniences combined with the Old World charm of ocean travel. Within each suite you’ll find: a large sitting area appointed in the tradition of a 5-star hotel; a walk-in closet with an electronic safe; a fully stocked bar (compliments of the house); flat-screen TV and DVD player, with the latest movies available from a full library of DVDs. And the space goes on, into a spacious marble bathroom complete with oversized shower or combination tub/shower and vanity with twin sinks. The Seabourn environment was created for people who discern the difference between the acceptable and the exceptional. Aboard Seabourn Pride, the very highest standards trickle down to the tiniest detail. There is only one class of service for Seabourn’s discriminating passengers…perfection! No reasonable request is refused and tipping is not requested or expected. Seabourn’s art of dining is no slight art. The Restaurant is a gourmet establishment where you can dine when you want and with whom you want. It is a restaurant where you can order whatever you want from menus created by Celebrity Chef Charlie Palmer. And, unlike any other ship, you can indulge yourself with Russian
The elegant Seabourn Pride docked in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Francisco on December 19, 1989, they named her Seabourn Pride. Designed for the optimum balance of function and fashion, the bold and spacious Seabourn Pride has eliminated the age-old cabin crisis of space...or a lack thereof. Each cabin, on this 10,000-ton ship that carries a maximum of 208 privileged travelers (comparably sized ships carry 400), is a suite. And each suite ranges from a minimum of 277-square feet to 575 square feet with picture windows or verandahs from which you can “sea” the world. If ever you were ever a couch potato, those days are over! Once onboard Seabourn Pride, you’ll become a suite potato. You’ll find it extremely difficult to leave your luxurious suite. Each Seabourn suite offers mod-
caviar…caviar…caviar…at no additional cost. Twenty-six pounds of those tasty, round, black jewels were served on our 12-day Baltic cruise (washed down with 540 bottles of champagne). Seabourn Pride’s yachting life is whatever you want it to be and so much more. There are no crowds, no lines to wait in, and no schedules to keep. You determine the pace of your day and can be as active, or as laid back, as you wish. If you want to enjoy a day at sea by lounging at the pool, go ahead. When you’re ready for a little action, you can challenge other guests to a game of bridge, take a cooking lesson from the chef, or show off your short game in the golf putting competition. If you need to check in with family and
Doc Irv’s Mermaids and Mermates are a fun-loving, stimulating, ocean-loving group of seafarers.
friends, there is ship-wide WiFi and cell phone service. Weather permitting, when Seabourn Pride is anchored offshore instead of being docked, the ship offers an additional treat that is designed to surprise and delight the expectations of even the most experienced cruisers. Passengers are invited down to the Deck 3 Marina, where a ramp at the stern end will open up like a car ferry. Then, with the help of a traverse crane, tenders, sailboats, paddleboats, sailboards, banana boats and powerboats for water skiing, are launched into the sea. But the piece de resistance is the wire-mesh swimming pool that is stored in two pieces, on the port and starboard sides of the ship. Put together and lifted into the bay with a crane, the pool is fastened to a pontoon-type platform extending from the stern ramp. Railings are inserted into the teakwood deck and the sea-filled pool is ready for use. Only James (007) Bond is missing. Little wonder that The Yachts of Seabourn were honored as the “2009 World’s Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. Our Baltic/Russia cruise began with a 3-day pre-cruise stay at the Marriott in Copenhagen, Denmark. This gave us plenty of time to visit Daniel Libeskind’s architecturally unique Jewish Museum, and Tivoli Gardens; to stroll the Stroget; and to photograph the Little Mermaid. On our third day in Copenhagen, we boarded Seabourn Pride, the elegant lady that would sail us — and 200 passengers from 13 nations — on a roundtrip voyage of 1843 nautical miles, ending back in Copenhagen. Our first port of call, some 534 nautical miles from Copenhagen
was Tallinn, the capital and largest city of Estonia. Situated on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, Tallinn is home to approximately half a million people. Imagine our delight and surprise to find a splendid, modern synagogue in this country of only 3000 Jews. The new Tallinn Synagogue is the heart of Jewish life in Estonia. Our brief stay in Estonia also allowed time to see Kadriorg Park and Palace, the modern KUMU Art Museum of Estonia, Presidential Palace, Old Town, and the impressive Song Festival Ground. Our day in Estonia was followed by 3 days in St. Petersburg, Russia. From there we sailed on to Helsinki, Stockholm, Berlin, and Denmark’s beautiful Bornholm Island where the rocks form the landscape. Seabourn Pride’s port stop for Berlin was the town of Warnemuende, some two-and-ahalf hours away. Since Doc Irv’s Mermaids and a couple of Mermates (AKA husbands) num-
bered 14, Seabourn arranged for us to have our own Mermaid bus to take us on the day-long excursion. Not only was our Mermaid bus more economical than purchasing 14 individual shore excursions to Berlin, but it was more fun. The doting Seabourn Pride staff continued to spoil us, even in absentia. To our delight, the bus was supplied with box lunches, coolers filled with water and soft drinks, and bottles of champagne. The corks were popped in Berlin at the conclusion of a most memorable day. The bus ride back was a quiet one with champagne dreams floating in 14 tired heads. Sailing aboard one of the Yachts of Seabourn was what leisure travel was meant to be...what leisure travel should be...travel, just for the sake of traveling. As the saying goes, “life is better on the deck of a yacht.” (Janet Steinberg is an awardwinning Travel Writer and Travel Consultant)
A warm Seabourn welcome home after a long shore excursion to Berlin, Germany.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
Audi’s luxury utility vehicle, the A3
2010 Audi A3
For 2010, the Audi A3 has added a diesel engine, made wood interior accents available and included S line features across all models. The A3 is available in two trim levels: Premium and Premium Plus. Since the A3 is between a wagon and a hatchback, many have referred to it as “jack-of-all-trades” car. A3 buyers get an understated upscale cabin, as well as sporty exterior styling. In addition, the car has available all-wheel drive and the added versatility of the hatchback body style. Audi has also changed the engine offerings in the A3. The V6 model is no longer available, but a fuel-efficient cleandiesel engine joins the ranks. As mentioned, the 2010 Audi A3 comes in two trim levels: Premium and Premium Plus. Premium models include: 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, cruise control, a trip computer and a 10-speaker audio system with a single-CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. By choosing the Premium Plus trim level, the buyer also gets xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, aluminum interior trim, a power driver seat, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth. Optional extras for the Premium and Premium Plus A3 include: a Cold Weather package (including heated front seats, mirrors and windshield nozzles) and a Sport package that includes 18inch wheels, high-performance tires, sport seats and a sport-tuned suspension. For the A3 Premium Plus, the purchaser may also add the Convenience package, which includes: automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, upgraded Bose stereo and auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also available is the Titanium Sport package and a navigation system with the MMI controller and either a six-CD
changer or an iPod interface. All A3 buyers may choose from: aluminum or black roof rails, wood interior trim and a panoramic sunroof. As mentioned earlier, the 3.2 liter V6 has been replaced by a four-cylinder 2.0-liter diesel that utilizes clean-diesel technology. It produces 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The diesel model is available in front-wheel drive only, with the S tronic transmission. Gasoline-powered A3 models are offered with either front-wheel drive or Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system and are available with a six-speed transmission. Safety features on the 2010 A3 include: front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, antilock brakes and stability control. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the A3 its highest score of “Good” in frontaloffset and side-impact tests. The A3’s cabin is crafted from high-quality materials. Metallic vent surrounds and knobs further add to the A3’s look and feel. The optional navigation system brings with it Audi’s MMI electronics controller. Both front and rear seats offer comfortable accommodations. Trunk capacity is almost 20 cubic feet. The 60/40-split rear seats fold down for bulkier cargo. Longer items are easily accommodated by the center trunk passthrough. The 2010 Audi A3’s 2.0-liter gasoline engine provides ample power and is well-matched to both transmissions. The leather interior is available in four colors: black, tan, grey, and silver. Eight different exterior colors are also available. Voted “Green Car of the Year” by Green Car Journal, the 2010 Audi A3 is a leader in clean diesel technology, luxury and performance. The 2010 Audi A3 has an MSRP starting at $29,950.
If you are moving or have moved, please fill out the form below and mail to: The American Israelite 18 West Ninth Street, Suite 2 Cincinnati, OH 45202-2037 You can also change your address by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
DEATH NOTICES KOLSTEIN, Philip L., 73, died on February 4, 2010; 20 Shevat, 5770. TOBIN, Bertha, 98, died on February 5, 2010; 22 Shevat, 5770. ADAMS, Roy, 94, died on February 7, 2010; 23 Shevat, 5770. PRICE, Celia Oscherwitz, 81, died on February 7, 2010; 23 Shevat, 5770. BENJAMIN, Betty R., 90, died on February 7, 2010; 24 Shevat, 5770. BARON, Helen S., 97, died on February 8, 2010; 24 Shevat, 5770.
OBITUARIES WEISSMAN, Bertha Bertha Weissman passed away January 20, 2010 – the fifth day of Shevat, 5770. A daughter of the late Samuel and Leba Adelman, both from Poland, Mrs. Weissman was born and grew up in New York City. Preceding her in death were her husband, Dr. Herman Weissman, her brothers, William and Leo Adelman, and her son-in-law, Ross Feld. Mrs. Weissman is survived by her daughter, Dr. Ellen W. Feld, her grandsons, Aaron and Zachary, her niece Beth Torres and her nephews Mark and Robert Adelman. After college, Mrs. Weissman worked for the New York City Department of Social Services for
several years until she was married in 1945. She was married for 52 years until her husband, Herman Weissman, passed away in 1997. Dr. and Mrs. Weissman lived in Texas for several years until moving to Beacon, N.Y. In Beacon, Mrs. Weissman was active in Hadassah and was a lifelong member of the Beacon Hebrew Alliance. She and her husband enjoyed concerts and lectures and she was known for her cooking and entertaining. The couple moved to Cincinnati in 1995 to be with their family. Services were held for Mrs. Weissman at Weil Funeral Home, on January 21, 2010, officiated by Rabbi Mendy Majeski. Memorial contributions can be made to the Cincinnati Association for the Blind (513) 221-8558 or to The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, (212) 727-9955. BENJAMIN, Betty R. Betty R. Benjamin, who for decades was a local and national leader of Reform Jewish organizations and served as the development director for Hebrew Union College, died Sunday, February 7, 2010 – the 24th day of Shevat, 5770 – of natural causes at a nursing home near Ellicott City, Md. She was 90. Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, February 12, 2010, at Weil Funeral Home, 8350 Cornell Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45249, with visitation starting at 12 p.m. Burial will immediately follow at the United Jewish Cemetery in Price Hill. Mrs. Benjamin was a former member of the board of governors of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and a past president and board member for VANCOUVER from page 1 competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics will be among the last torch bearers carrying the Olympic flame on its way to B.C. Stadium for the opening ceremonies. Karen James, who chairs women’s philanthropy for the local Jewish federation, will carry the flame about 1,000 feet on the afternoon of Feb. 12, beginning near Rodney’s Oyster House on Hamilton Street in downtown Vancouver. “It’s very thrilling,” said James, who swam the 200 individual medley in Munich and placed “17th or 18th.” She can’t remember exactly. At the 1972 Games, James was returning to the Olympic Village after hours when, rather than walk around to the main gate, she and her friends took a shortcut over a
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
life of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, now known as the Women of Reform Judaism. At HUC’s 2009 graduation ceremony last June for newly ordained rabbis, Mrs. Benjamin was given the college’s Presidential Medallion for her lifetime achievements. At that time, the dean of the college, Rabbi Kenneth E. Ehrlich told its graduates: “The classrooms you meet in, the professors that teach you, the books you study from are all here in good measure because of Betty Benjamin’s work.” A resident of Cincinnati for almost 70 years, Mrs. Benjamin made her family home in Amberley Village and then at the Hammond North Apartments in College Hill, before moving last year to Maryland to be closer to her son. “She was a very smart, very outgoing person who cared immensely about her family, her friends and her community,” said her son, Robert Benjamin, of Ellicott City, Md. “She first distinguished herself as a volunteer leader and then, at a time in life when most people are thinking about retiring, she went back to work and raised millions of dollars for organizations, particularly Hebrew Union College.” HUC Dean Ehrlich added: “As Director of Development at HUC, Betty Benjamin introduced strong programs and creative initiatives that still guide our College community and serve as models for other organizations in Cincinnati and around the country. She believed in HUC and its mission. She devoted her considerable energies and expertise to maintaining and strengthening this institution that plays such an important role in the life of our community, our people, and our
future. We – her HUC family — are grateful for all that Betty did for us. We express our deepest condolences to the members of her family. And we will remember her – with respect and with love – in our thoughts and in our prayers.” Mrs. Benjamin was born Betty Ruth Eichenbaum on April 16, 1919, in Chicago, attended the University of Chicago, and moved to Cincinnati in the early 1940s to wed Irving S. Benjamin, an entrepreneur, to whom she was married to for 28 years until his death in 1969. She began her volunteer work at Issac M. Wise Temple, where she was president of the sisterhood and temple board member. She also served as chairwoman of the women’s Division of the Jewish Welfare Fund and on the boards of the American Jewish Committee, Jewish Community Relations Committee, Hadassah, National Council of Jewish Women, Brandeis Women’s Auxiliary, Jewish Hospital Women’s Auxiliary, and Jewish Care and Relief. Along with rising to the
national leadership of what is now called the Women of Reform Judaism, she also served as a member of the executive committee of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now called the Union of Reform Judaism) and as a member of the governing body of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Professionally, she worked at HUC from 1982 to her retirement in 1996 and, after that, continued as a part-time senior advisor on giving and development until 2004. Her HUC title was National Director of Planning Giving and Director of Development for the Cincinnati Campus and the Midwest and South regions. Prior to that, she served as director of annual giving at the University of Cincinnati Foundation (1981-82), director of the women’s division of the Allied Jewish Agency in Philadelphia (1980-81), associate campaign director of the Jewish Welfare Fund in Cincinnati (1972-80). From 1966 to 1971, she was vice president and then president of her husband’s company, United Enterprises, Inc. in Cincinnati. Survivors include her daughter, Cheryl J. Greene of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; her son, Robert Benjamin, of Ellicott City, Md.; and three grandchildren, Benjamin Greene of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Lily Garland Benjamin and Julia Garland Benjamin, both of Ellicott City, Md. The family requests that any contributions be made to the Clifton campus of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, 3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220-2488; (513) 221-1875.
fence. Some dark figures nearby decided to climb with them. The next morning, James said, she awoke to the sound of helicopters and remembers watching Israeli athletes and coaches taken hostage by Palestinian terrorists being led out to a bus. Eleven Israelis died later in a failed rescue attempt at a nearby airport. On Feb. 14, James will light a candle in their memory at a ceremony in Vancouver. “The Olympics — in general ever since then — I have mixed feelings,” James said. “I always sort of sit with that ambiguity.” To keep the Vancouver Games secure, officials plan to deploy a force of about 15,000, according to USA Today, at a cost of nearly $1 billion. As part of the Jewish community’s observance of the Olympics, the Vancouver
Holocaust Centre will run an exhibit for the duration of the Winter Games highlighting Canada’s dilemma over whether to participate in the so-called Nazi Olympics — the 1936 Games in Berlin. It was in Berlin that many features of the modern Olympics were introduced, including the idea of a torch relay, according to the center’s executive director, Frieda Miller. “We were very careful not to make a direct link between those Games and the contemporary Games,” Miller told JTA. “It’s not a polemic. We do not pass judgment. We present the dilemmas and the situation as is and let people make their own analogies.” The history of Jewish Vancouver dates to 1872, with the arrival of the city’s first Jewish settler, Louis Gold. Vancouver’s second mayor, David
Oppenheimer, was a German-born Jew who generally is considered the city’s founding father. The first synagogue was built in 1916. Today there are 12, in addition to six day schools, three Chabad centers and a community kollel, or subsidized religious study program for adults. The local federation has prepared a dossier with details of the city’s Jewish history to help guide visitors to the Jewish opportunities available in Vancouver. Like the athletes themselves, Vancouver’s Jews are experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase their city and community to the world. “I am looking forward to whatever is going to happen,” Birnham said. “I am looking forward to this very rare moment, and this very rare honor, and this very rare responsibility.”
Betty R. Benjamin
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Published on Jan 24, 2011
Published on Jan 24, 2011
too; they just didn’t have that maternal flavor. No surpise then that Izzy’s walked away with what event par- ticipants consider the biggest...