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Community-wide day of service, May 2 On Sunday, May 2, there will be an event that is expected to engage over 500 volunteers and impact the lives of over 10,000 people in the community. Give a Day participants will work on one of 18 projects — each lasting approximately 2-3 hours — that will make improvements to the community, help those less fortunate, and support individuals in their pursuit of health and wellbeing. Projects will take place throughout the general community as well as the Jewish community and will include: Creating art on bricks for the 2010 Bricks Along the Journey Silent Auction to benefit breast cancer research; Passing out water and oranges

Iranian scientist requests asylum in Israel JERUSALEM (JTA)—An Iranian nuclear scientist has requested political asylum in Israel, an Israeli lawmaker said. Ayoub Kara, a Druze minister of the Likud Party, said Saturday that an Iranian academic with ties to Iran’s nuclear program passed the request for asylum via an Israeli woman of Iranian descent, according to reports. The scientist is waiting for Israel’s decision from a “friendly” third country, according to Kara, who did not name the scientist or the country in which he is hiding. The Washington Post reported Sunday that an increasing number of Iranian nuclear scientists are defecting or leaking information about Iran’s nuclear program to Western nations.

to runners in the Flying Pig Marathon; Making fleece blankets at Valley Temple to distribute to children’s hospitals; Cleaning and organizing the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry; Planting flowers and visiting with residents of Halom House, which serves adults with developmental disabilities. For children there will be specially designed Give a Day programs as well, including: Gardening and indoor painting at Cincinnati Hebrew Day School; Trimming bushes and planting flowers at Union Day School, which serves children and adolescents with behavioral, emotional or academic problems;

Painting a mural in Over-theRhine with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful; Sprucing up the Peaslee Neighborhood Center in Over-theRhine. “The idea for Give a Day came about because we consistently heard that there is a strong desire to create more opportunities for social action,” said Jan Armstrong Cobb and Chase Kohn, co-chairs of the event. “For the Jewish community, giving back is a core value that can be expressed through participation in projects that will have a real impact and appeal to young adults as well as families. We are grateful to our generous sponsors who understand the importance of coming together as a community and who stepped

forward to secure the success of this vital effort.” Registrants will be contacted by the project team leader prior to the event. All participants will receive a free t-shirt to wear during their project. This is a “rain or shine” event; the event is open to everyone in Greater Cincinnati. The community-wide day of service is sponsored by Women’s Philanthropy and the Young Adult Division of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. Thirty-two volunteer team leaders from throughout the community helped to plan and organize this event. For a complete list of the projects and other information, contact the Jewish Federation.

NCJW, now the Cincinnati Fund, awards new grants

NEW YORK (JTA) — With a high-profile discussion scheduled on women’s leadership and two proposed rules aimed at marginalizing rabbis who deviate leftward on hot-button issues, an upcoming Orthodox rabbinical conference is expected to draw its largest crowd in years. The Rabbinical Council of America’s three-day conference set to begin Sunday in Scarsdale, N.Y., comes just months after the near ordination of a female rabbi by one of the RCA’s highest-profile members drew a sharp rebuke from the haredi Orthodox leadership of

Agudath Israel of America. “I think it will be one of the more exciting RCA conventions,” said Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, the council’s first vice president, seeking to put a positive spin on what also could prove to be a highly divisive gathering of mostly Modern Orthodox rabbis. Two amendments to the RCA convention that have been put forward are clear reactions to the controversy sparked by Rabbi Avi Weiss’ decision in January to confer the title “rabba” — a feminized version of rabbi — on Sara Hurwitz, a member of the clerical staff of his New York synagogue, the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Following the Agudath condem-

nation and discussions with RCA officials, Weiss stated that he did not intend to confer the rabba title on anyone else, saying Orthodox unity was of more pressing importance. One amendment effectively would expel from the council any member who “attempts to ordain as a member of the rabbinate, or to denominate as ‘rabbinical’ or as ‘clergy,’ a person not eligible to serve as such as those terms are understood under the policies and positions of the RCA.” A second amendment would bar from officer positions anyone who is a member of another national

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Cincinnati section celebrated 115 years of service to children, women and families of Greater Cincinnati on April 15, 2010 at Cedar Village. As the members of the section celebrated their history, they announced a new identity, the NCJW Cincinnati Fund, and then put the new identity into service with the announcement of grants totaling $27,000 to nine organizations: Cedar Village, Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Council on Child Abuse, Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati, Jewish Early Learning Cooperative, Jewish Family Service, Planned Parenthood, Pleasant Ridge Montessori and United Cerebral Palsy of Cincinnati are this year’s recipients. NCJW, whose motto is “a faith in the future, a belief in action,” has a long history. In 1893 Hannah G. Solomon founded the National Council of Jewish Women at the Chicago World’s Exposition. Soon after, she wrote a letter to Rabbi David Phillipson to help select Cincinnati dignitaries, inquiring “as to the best women in Cincinnati to entrust our cause with.” The cause she had in mind was to bring Jewish women together in a national organization whose purposes would be philanthropic and social. By 1895, women began to join the organization, including the volunteers of the Cincinnati section.

LEADERSHIP on page 19

NCJW on page 21





Jewish leaders caught between criticizing, defending Obama

Haiti: 100 days since disaster

FIT-FUN Day at the J on Sunday, March 21, 2010

Marx Hot Bagels— quintessential New Yorkstyle deli

Orthodox rabbinical parley to address women’s leadership by Ben Harris Jewish Telegraphic Agency


VOL. 156 • NO. 40 SINGLE ISSUE PRICE $2.00








JVS celebrates 70th anniversary and major renovation, May 6 Jewish Vocational Services, (JVS) will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at noon and an open house in the evening of May 6 at its Blue Ash facility to celebrate its newly renovated building as well as its 70th year. JVS and its Cincinnati Career Network will feature social media expert Michael Loban, who will talk about using social media for professional networking. Originally founded to strengthen the Jewish community’s presence in the workplace, it has since broadened its array of services to include the vocational, social and recreational needs of people with development disabilities. Originally located in downtown Cincinnati, JVS moved to Roselawn, then Blue Ash. It now has several other suburban sites as well. JVS renovated its 54,000square-foot building to create more work, lunch and socialization space for an increasing number of clients with disabilities. It also upgraded its restrooms to deal with clients who have more severe disabilities than those in the past. The average age of its clients also has increased and they need more accommodations. “We’d been working in an old, outdated facility in pretty

tight quarters,” said JVS’s Peter Bloch. “The renovations have created brighter, more consumerfriendly areas.” Twelve years ago, JVS moved into the Rossplain Road building that once housed a manufacturer. Back then, JVS had 60 people in its Work Adjustment program, which orients people with developmental disabilities to workplaces and provides them with work onsite and elsewhere. Now, that program has an average of 140 people per day. Back then, JVS had 12 people in its Adult Day Service program, which provides social and recreational activities for older adults with developmental disabilities. Now, that program has 42. JVS planned the renovations to accommodate its clients’ needs for 10 to 15 years. As the general population ages, it expects the number of people in its Adult Day Service program to continue to increase. So it will be able to enlarge the space for its Adult Day Service program and decrease space for other purposes. JVS also modernized the offices of its Cincinnati Career Network, which provides career development services to the entire community and administers scholarship funds. The Career Network

has added a conference room and computer lab for use by job seekers. JVS spent about $850,000 on the project, borrowing about $500,000. It benefitted from lowinterest rates and contractors who offered discounted prices because of the slowdown in construction work. One of the key benefits of the new space is that all of the Adult Day Service consumers can be in the same large room to celebrate special occasions, such as holidays and birthdays. Previously, they had to be split up to fit in smaller rooms. Now, JVS can bring in performers to entertain the entire group at once, including choirs, drill teams and magicians. And the larger space will enhance the ability of the consumers to interact with each other, to stimulate each other’s growth. “The new space has great potential to help enrich our consumers’ lives,” Bloch said. “We’re all excited.” “For 70 years, JVS has made a difference in people’s lives,” he continued. “JVS has helped thousands of people. Now, it’s time to thank the community for supporting us.” For more information on JVS and the celebration, contact JVS.

JFS delivered over 430 meals for Passover this year More than 120 volunteers participated in the 12th annual Dr. Samuel S. Rockwern Passover Delivery of Jewish Family Service in late March. The volunteers, who ranged in age from preschool to adults in their 80s, delivered over 430 meals to families in need. Volunteers were enthusiastic. “We feel our family is so lucky to be able to put together a Seder meal. My kids and I want to help others also make their meal,” said Karen Goodman of Symmes Township, who was delivering meals with her three children, Brian, 14, Melissa, 12, and Jennifer, 9. Jessica Kahn from Wyoming brought her two children, Rebecca, 14, and Ethan, 12, to introduce her son to volunteering. “I thought the Passover Delivery would be a great way for him to get involved,” she said. Ethan will volunteer for the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry as his mitzvah project for

his bar mitzvah. Jewish Family Service Food Pantry, which is the only kosher food pantry in the region, is located in space donated by Golf Manor Synagogue. Tom Glassman and his son Ethan, 11, of Wyoming have Russian relatives and looked forward to delivering to other Russian-speaking families. “This is our third or fourth year volunteering and we get to use the Russian phrases that our relatives have taught us when we deliver the meals,” said Glassman. “We enjoy the reaction we get from speaking in familiar phrases.” Barbara Schwartz from Loveland, along with her daughter Jami Edelheit and two grandchildren Carly, 15, and Michael, 11, of Montgomery were overwhelmed by their volunteer experience. This multi-generational family sat and visited with each household, an important element of the volunteer project. After they delivered their packages, they came back to

show the candy and gifts they received from the recipients. “Words cannot explain one of the most wonderful days of my life,” said Barbara. “We didn’t know they would be so appreciative. And we enjoyed learning about their families and many talents.” One recipient presented a hand carved box to her grandson with a promise to give him something next year when he becomes a bar mitzvah. Each donated box contained matzah, matzah ball soup mix, macaroons, gefilte fish, grape juice, nuts, apples and a chicken dinner. Cincinnati Hebrew Day School donated the storage and set-up facilities. Area congregations, organizations and businesses collected the nonperishable, boxed food. The balance was purchased with monetary donations from The Rockwern Charitable Foundation and individual community donors. This project was started by a group of volunteers in 1998.

(L-R) Stephanie Gilinsky, Faye Sosna, Joy Lawrence Slater, Wendy Flacks, Ezra Cohen, Ariella Cohen, Barbara Schwartz, Diana Stewart, and Marcie Cohen

Breast cancer awareness program at Adath Israel On Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m., the Adath Israel Sisterhood will present a Breast Cancer Awareness Program, Memories and Miracles, at the home of Faye Sosna. The program will focus on a panel of experts: Dr. Sandi Amoils, medical director of the Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Elyse Lower, professor of medicine at the University of Cincinnati, and Dr. Howard Saal, director of

Clinical Genetics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, will each present and offer their expertise regarding breast cancer. Joyce Kamen will moderate the evening. Memories and Miracles will be an ongoing program to remember and honor those who have been affected by breast cancer. There is a fee for non-members; call for more information.


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Study participants needed: caregiver family members of Holocaust survivors Caregiver, family members of Holocaust survivors are needed for a study by Ohio State University (OSU) and Jewish Family Service (JFS). Study participants will be asked to complete a simple questionnaire and return it to the researchers by mail. It seeks information on the unique experiences of family members who provide care and assistance to Holocaust survivors. “This study is important, as the findings will help us to develop programs to better serve family members of survivors and others who have suffered trauma and loss in their lives,” said Gail Gepsman Ziegler, program director of Center for Holocaust Survivors at Jewish Family Service.

Specifically, the study will explore the lives of survivors in any setting with family members who provide any level of assistance, from simply helping around the house to providing full care. Dr. Keith Anderson, assistant professor in the College of Social Work, will conduct the study. If interested or know of any family members and/or someone who might be interested in participating, contact Dr. Anderson at OSU. Those who need help completing the survey can get assistance from Ziegler at Jewish Family Service. The survey is also available in Russian. Family members will receive a $20 check of appreciation for participating or they can choose to have the funds donated to Jewish Family Service in Cincinnati.

AJC’s annual Lazarus Awards announced AJC’s 45th Annual Simon Lazarus Award winners for outstanding student volunteers were announced last week at Rockdale Temple. Of the 70 teens — juniors and seniors nominated this year from 45 high schools throughout Greater Cincinnati —there were 10 finalists. The award recognizes the contributions young people make to their community. Finalists received award books and savings bonds on April 22 at Rockdale Temple. The junior class winner was Katie Landgrebe of Madeira H.S., who launched the Unbound Movement and organized hundreds of students to fight injustices in Haiti, India and South Africa. She planned an informative workshop in Cincinnati and traveled twice to Haiti to enroll in school abused youngsters trapped in domestic servitude. Her counselor, Kimberly Homer, calls her a “motivator…never afraid to step up and lead.” The winner of the senior class award was Meghan Marth of Sycamore H.S., who began in her freshman year to rally her peers to provide construction, texts, mentors, technology and tuition for a primary school in war-torn Uganda. According to teacher Lisa Vanags,

Meghan “has set, maintained, achieved, and wildly surpassed her initial goals for the club.” Her mentor Connie Ring of Moeller H.S. says, “She has an open heart, a business woman’s head, and an amazing amount of maturity and common sense.” Junior class finalists included: Mariel Beausejour of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, who teaches English as a second language to youngsters; Rachael Collins of Lloyd Memorial H.S. in Erlanger, who provided disaster relief to flood victims in New Orleans and Iowa; Colleen Henshaw of Western Hills and Mother of Mercy H.S., who volunteers with children who are ill or living with disabilities; Grace Reifenberg of Loveland, of Ursuline Academy, who volunteered at an orphanage in Mexico. Senior class finalists were: Meera Basu, of Wyoming H.S., who organizes events in opposition to modern day slavery, fights genocide in Darfur, and links seniors with teens in Cincinnati; Grace Ferguson of Ursuline Academy, who coordinates afterschool care for a large family with many children with disabilities and personally tutors several of them regularly; AJC on page 20


The oldest English-Jewish weekly in America Founded July 15, 1854 by Isaac M.Wise VOL. 156 • NO. 40 Thursday, April 29, 2010 15 Iyyar, 5770 Shabbat begins Fri, 8:11 p.m. Shabbat ends Sat, 9:11 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 HENRY C. SEGAL Editor & Publisher 1930-1985 MILLARD H. MACK Publisher Emeritus NETANEL (TED) DEUTSCH Editor & Publisher AVI MILGROM MICHAEL McCRACKEN Assistant Editors ALEXIA KADISH Copy Editor JOSEPH D. STANGE Production Manager PATTY YOUKILIS Advertising Sales LEV LOKSHIN JANE KARLSBERG Staff Photographers JANET STEINBERG Travel Editor ROBERT WILHELMY Restaurant Reporter MARIANNA BETTMAN NATE BLOOM RABBI A. JAMES RUDIN RABBI AVI SHAFRAN Contributing Writers CHRISTIE HALKO Office Manager

THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE (USPS 019-320) is published weekly for $40 per year and $2.00 per single copy in Cincinnati and $45 per year and $3.00 per single copy elsewhere in U.S. by The American Israelite Co. 18 West Ninth Street, Suite 2, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-2037. Periodicals postage paid at Cincinnati, OH. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE, 18 West Ninth Street, Suite 2, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-2037.

The views and opinions expressed by American Israelite columnists do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the newspaper.




Wise Temple sixth graders celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut The theme of the event was the celebration of Israel, as sixth graders from Wise Temple participated in a retreat from Friday, April 16 through Saturday, April 17. Students sang, played and celebrated Shabbat together. The retreat took place at Camp Campbell Gard in Hamilton, Ohio along the Great Miami River. Toward the end, the 30 or so

students flew kites, some with “Happy Birthday, Israel!” on them. The event included: Shabbat services at the outdoor chapel led by Sam Pollack, a Wise Temple graduate and current student at Ohio State; a campfire and s’mores; making hummus with Chen Ezer, one of the Federation’s Chaverim m’Yisrael; a game of

Ga Ga; completing a low ropes course and much food. “Over the course of the retreat, a wonderful sense of community was felt, from the teambuilding games we played at the beginning of the retreat through a shared Havdalah service outside before boarding the bus back to Wise,” said Rachel Kasten of Wise.

The J hosts the Cincinnati Ballet, its own dancers this spring On Sunday, May 23, the Cincinnati Ballet Company and Ballet Tech Cincinnati will present their new collaboration, “Cultures of Dance,” at the J at 3 p.m. The production is designed to create more interest in the arts, expand community outreach and promote diversity in the community. Cincinnati Ballet Company and Ballet Tech Cincinnati pooled their resources to create this show. The May 23 production showcases a broad range of cultures and styles, with dancers representing contemporary ballet, Hip Hop, musical theater, Chinese and Indian Dance.

The performance includes a short history of dance, highlighting the commonality of movement in various dance cultures, the timeline from ancient to modern dance styles and a component that engages the audience. Marvel Gentry Davis, producing artistic director and board president at Ballet Tech Cincinnati, said she is “delighted to collaborate with Cincinnati Ballet, Greater Cincinnati Chinese School Children Arts Troupe, Krucial Hip Hop Crew, and Nalanda India Dance Academy (and) to be at the forefront of promoting cultural exposure, diversity, and creating

new dance audiences for Greater Cincinnati.” Then about two weeks after the “Cultures of Dance” performance, on Thursday, June 3 at 6 pm, the JCC will present its “Spotlight” performance. This recital and art exhibit highlights youth and adult performers and artists who are currently enrolled in cultural arts programs at the JCC. There will be dance performances by the students in the Ballet & Tap and Hip Hop classes, as well as a range of multi-media art. For more information and tickets, contact the J.




Lag B’Omer celebrated with African Acrobats

African Acrobats in performance, May 2.

Chabad Jewish Center will celebrate Lag B’Omer this year with a performance by The African Acrobats on Sunday, May 2. The celebration will include a barbeque as well as father and son softball. The African Acrobats show includes human pyr-

amids, tumbling, balancing, contortions and limbo. Originally from Mombassa, Kenya, with a current base in Las Vegas, the African Acrobats have performed in over 25 countries, including crowds at NBA games, theme parks and national television shows. “All Jews of every age, affiliation and background, are invited to attend,” said Rabbi Berel Cohen of Chabad Jewish Center. “Lag B’Omer is a holiday that celebrates Jewish unity, and this cookout is an opportune time to bring that unity to the local Jewish community. What could be better than to have an acrobatic troupe that exemplifies teamwork to accomplish breath-taking feats! This is a celebration that will be enjoyed by all ages and remembered for much time to come.” Lag B’Omer, commemorates the cessation of a tragic plague that occurred over 2,000 years ago during the weeks between Passover and Shavuot, wiping out 24,000 disciples of the great Talmudic sage Rabbi Akiva. The plague is thought to have arisen as a result of the followers’ lack of respect for one another. The dying ceased on Lag B’Omer. For this reason, the day is devoted to unconditional love and respect of one’s fellow, whomever and wherever they may be. This day also marks the passing of the great sage and mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who is attributed as the author of the Zohar, the foundational book of Kabalah. On the day of his passing, Rabbi Shimon instructed his disciples to mark the date as “the day of my joy.” Thus each Lag B’Omer celebrates Rabbi Shimon’s life and teachings. The event will be held at Bob Meyer Park, next to Rockwern Academy. For ticket information, contact Chabad Jewish Center.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Defenders of the Obama administration deny that the traditional phrase “Next Year in Jerusalem” was kept out of the White House seder on March 29, 2010.

Jewish leaders caught between criticizing, defending Obama by Ron Kampeas Jewish Telegraphic Agency WASHINGTON (JTA) — With anxiety over the White House’s Middle East policy mounting in some pro-Israel circles, several Jewish organizational leaders have found themselves in a discomfiting position: criticizing the Obama administration in public while stridently defending the president in private against the most extreme attacks. The criticism has come in the form of mostly polite statements and newspaper ads questioning Obama administration pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, particularly regarding building in eastern Jerusalem. Such criticisms are voiced as well in private meetings with administration officials. The defense comes up in dealings with irate donors and constituents, in phone calls, e-mails, addresses to small Jewish groups, shul talk. The theme of the complaints is consistent, and shocking, said multiple leaders, who all spoke off the record, and reflect the subterranean rumblings about the president heard during the campaign: His sympathy lies with the Muslims, he doesn’t care about Israel, he’s an anti-Semite. One recent flood of anxious queries followed the Obama administration’s announcement earlier this month of its long-awaited nuclear policy. The reality of the policy was a pledge not to threaten with nuclear weapons those nations that provably disavow their nuclear weapons capability. Nations that continued to maintain a threatening nuclear posture, the policy made clear, would still face

the prospect of a U.S. nuclear response should they attack the United States or its allies. Obama named Iran as such a nation. Yet instead of being reassured, donors and members of national Jewish groups flooded Jewish leaders with anxious queries about a posture that they interpreted as being aimed at embracing a nuclear Iran and forcing Israel to abandon its own reported nuclear capability. Another persistent — and unfounded — rumor has it that Obama removed the phrase “Next Year in Jerusalem” from the White House seder in March. “Where the **** are they getting this?” asked a senior official at an organization that has been publicly critical of Obama since last summer. Jewish officials said a share of the blame lay with the Obama administration, partly for not adequately reaching out to Jews and to Israel, and partly because of the emergence of what appears to be internecine policy wars. “The real story of The New York Times story is not that he’s changing Israel policy,” said another leader of an organization that has not been shy about criticizing the Obama administration. “The real story is, why are officials leaking” misrepresentations of his policy “to The New York Times?” On the other side, one leader blamed the Netanyahu government for sending mixed signals on how to handle the tensions between Israel and the United States over settlement policy. LEADERS on page 20




Liberators gather, perhaps for last time, to recall the camps by Melissa Apter Jewish Telegraphic Agency WASHINGTON (JTA) — Walking along the dimly lit corridors of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the liberators peered at black-and-white photographs and listened to tour guides detail events that many had witnessed as young soldiers. The relative quiet was a sharp contrast to the flurry of flash bulbs set off moments earlier in the museum lobby as photographers jockeyed to shoot the best picture of U.S. Gen. David Petraeus handing out commemorative medals to the 120 Americans whose divisions freed concentration camps throughout Germany and Austria. Norman Smith of Albion, Neb., served in the 101st Airborne Division, and later the 82nd, and guarded the Landsberg Prison in Germany at the end of the war. “The same place where Hitler wrote ‘Mein Kampf,’” he said from his wheelchair. Smith carried with him pictorial histories of his division and regiment to donate to the museum’s archives. Stories and pictorials like Smith’s were preserved during the special gathering, the largest of liberators ever at the Holocaust museum, on April 14-15 as part of the Days of Remembrance. This year’s theme was “Stories of Freedom: What You Do Matters.” Petraeus, who heads the Central Command covering the Middle East and Central Asia, saluted the liberators in his keynote address in the Capitol Rotunda on April 15, marking the museum’s annual Holocaust commemoration. “As we remember the victims

and survivors today, we also remember and honor the American soldiers who liberated the survivors of the camps 65 years ago,” Petraeus said. “We salute once again the thousands upon thousands of Americans who donned the uniform, freed a continent, and then saved those who survived the living hell of the concentration camps.” During the ceremony, the aged liberators rose to recognize their units as they were announced. Some, assisted by their children, gripped their wheelchair arms. “This event was significant for two reasons because it marked 65 years since the liberation and it may be one of the last times we can have a group of liberators at the museum,” said Neil Newman, who has been giving tours of the museum for five years. “It really gave us a chance to honor the liberators and hear their stories.” As Newman guided the veterans and their family members through the permanent exhibit, he focused on the role of the liberator. But it was inside a railroad car that Hilbert Margol, a Jewish-American veteran from Atlanta, felt the greatest emotion. “I was stationed with light artillery supporting the [42nd] infantry company,” Margol said. “We were riding down the road on a fire mission, fired a few rounds, when a jeep driver said that he saw a strange camp on the other side of the road. My twin brother and I went to see the camp.” What Margol and his twin brother, Howard, saw was the main entrance to Dachau. “My most vivid memory was of a railroad boxcar on a track by the main entrance,” he recalled. “The sliding doors were open and we could see deceased bodies piled up.” Margol learned years later that

Goldstone will attend grandson’s bar mitzvah by JTA Staff Jewish Telegraphic Agency CAPE TOWN (JTA) — Richard Goldstone will attend his grandson’s upcoming bar mitzvah in South Africa, following an agreement with local Jewish groups. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies brokered a deal between Goldstone and community organizations angry with Goldstone for his authorship of a U.N. report on Gaza war seen as grossly unfair to Israel. Under the agreement, Jewish groups agreed not to protest during the bar mitzvah celebrations and Goldstone agreed to meet with the leadership of South African Jewish communal organizations, according to an email released late Friday by both Goldstone and the Board of Deputies. The meeting, to be hosted by the

South African Zionist Federation, is set to discuss the Jewish community’s reaction to the Goldstone report, which accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. “My whole family feels joyful that we’ll be able to celebrate the bar mitzvah together,” Goldstone told JTA following the agreement. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies said it “respectfully requests, in light of the agreement reached, that all parties immediately desist all public activities on this matter so that the young man’s bar mitzvah celebration can be returned to the privacy and dignity that it deserves.” Goldstone originally had planned to skip his grandson’s bar mitzvah next month after the Zionist Federation threatened to protest Goldstone outside the synagogue.

the bodies had been inside the car for 2 1/2 weeks. There was only one survivor. With a brownie box camera,

Howard Margol snapped a picture of the boxcar, which is now part of the museum’s archives. Emerging from the darkness the

liberators were led to the memorial hall, where candles flickered in honor of the victims and those who died securing the freedom of the survivors.




Haiti: 100 days since disaster by Larry Luxner Jewish Telegraphic Agency Haiti’s Jews try to pick up the pieces PORT-AU-PRINCE (JTA) — For half a century, Gilbert Bigio’s mansion was the de facto Jewish community center of Port-au-Prince. It’s where Haiti’s only Torah scroll was kept, an Israeli flag fluttered from the rooftop and each Passover the country’s 50 or so Jews would gather for a Seder, singing, “Next year in Jerusalem.” That beautiful mansion, with its luxurious swimming pool and a gazebo for outdoor parties, is now a collapsed pile of rubble — destroyed like countless other structures in the Jan. 12 earthquake that leveled much of this city. After the quake, Bigio managed to find the Torah scroll amidst the ruins of his house. He took it to his daughter’s undamaged home nearby for safekeeping. None of Haiti’s Jews were known to have been killed in the quake. If tracking down Haitian Jews was hard before the earthquake, which killed an estimated 230,000 and crippled the country’s fledgling economy, these days it’s next to impossible. There’s no rabbi or functioning synagogue in the country, and land phone lines are still mostly out of service. “We don’t know how to cope with this tragedy,” said Bigio, a businessman who is also Israel’s honorary consul in Port-au-Prince.

“They’re already talking about the next shock, because apparently the first earthquake was not complete.” Since the quake, there are only about 15 or so Jews left in Haiti, according to Bigio, out of a total population of 9 million. And they spend most of their time in Miami or the neighboring Dominican Republic because conditions at home are so difficult. Sharona Nathan, daughter of the late Israeli peace activist Abie Nathan, is one of them. She lived here from 1979 to 1991 to be with her mother, who managed a hotel in Port-au-Prince. Sharona Nathan eventually landed a job as an English teacher at the local Berlitz language school and married a Haitian man of Palestinian origin whose parents ran the famous Issa art gallery. She was one of nine Israelis in the country when the earthquake struck. “When the quake happened, there was no communication whatsoever,” she recalled. “My daughter in Israel was freaking out. People around the world were traumatized, because they got the whole story, but we had no idea of the extent of the damage.” Nathan’s family eventually learned via family friends on Facebook that she was alive and unharmed. Besides Nathan, the only other Israeli known to be living here full time is businessman Daniel Kedar, who runs the ProDev foundation now providing disaster relief to Haitian quake victims. Kedar’s

Larry Luxner

Children raise the Israeli and Haitian flags as the national anthems of both countries are played during a ceremony at a refugee camp on the edge of Port-au-Prince, March 2010.

wife, Maryse Penette, is a former tourism minister of Haiti. “Until the quake, our presence here was virtually non-existent,” Kedar said of Israel. “There are no Israeli products, no Israeli names, nothing. So Israel for the Haitians has only religious connotations. All of a sudden, we’ve become one of the biggest players in relief, so we’ve

had an exposure totally disproportionate to the size of our mission.” Israel was one of the earliest countries to dispatch a relief and rescue team to Haiti, and the IDF set up a sophisticated field hospital after the quake that was widely hailed as the best place to get medical care in Port-au-Prince in the days after the tremor. Between 20 and 30 Israelis are now doing relief work in Haiti, according to Kedar. Israel also has decided to build a $1.5 million vocational school to be funded by the Jewish Diaspora, Bigio said. The idea is to teach Haitians how to become plumbers, mechanics, carpenters and the like — all skills that will be much needed for a postquake recovery. Luis de Torres, Christopher Columbus’ interpreter, is said to have been the first Jew to set foot in Haiti, in 1492. The first Jewish immigrants to Haiti came from Brazil in the 17th century, after Haiti was conquered by the French. These crypto-Jews were all murdered or expelled along with the rest of the white population during the slave revolt of Toussaint L’Ouverture in 1804. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a synagogue in Jeremie, a city along Haiti’s southern peninsula that was home to many mulatto families of Jewish origin; there are also vague historical references to Jewish tombstones in the port cities of Cap Haitien and Jacmel. By the end of the 19th century, Sephardic Jews began arriving in Haiti from Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. Bigio’s uncle came here from Aleppo, Syria, in 1896, and his father arrived 20 years later.

In 1937, Haitian officials — like their counterparts in the Dominican Republic — began issuing passports to hundreds of desperate Eastern European Jews fleeing the Nazis. Many of those grateful Ashkenazim stayed until the late 1950s. At one time as many as 300 Jews lived in Haiti, with congregants packing Bigio’s house every Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for services. But attendance dwindled along with Haiti’s Jewish population, especially after the 1986 overthrow of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier and the ensuing chaos of the Aristide years. “There has never been any antiSemitism in this country,” Bigio told JTA. “The Haitians always had admiration for Israel, and now more so than ever.” U.S. Jewish communities building ties to Haiti PETIT-GOAVE, Haiti (JTA) — Not a single Jew lives among the 170,000 inhabitants of Petit-Goâve, nor among the 20,000 refugees from Port-au-Prince who have crowded into this town since a magnitude-7.0 earthquake leveled Haiti’s capital in January. But Jews are among those helping bring Petit-Goâve back to life. “After what I saw in Port-auPrince, where it’s so overwhelming you don’t know where to start, PetitGoâve was where I found hope,” said Riva Levinson of Temple Rodef Shalom in Arlington, Va. Levinson visited Haiti last month, and her Reform congregation recently formed a partnership to raise money for the area through Children & HAITI on page 22




Reaction to tragedy showcases changes in Polish-Jewish relations by Ruth Ellen Gruber Jewish Telegraphic Agency ROME (JTA) — The Jewish reaction to the death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of other senior Polish officials in an air tragedy highlights a remarkable change in how the Jewish world views Poland. The prayers, public statements and personal tributes, including a special remembrance during the March of the Living, were normal expressions of grief and solidarity for a close friend and ally — in short, heartfelt sentiments that probably could not have been made 20 or even 15 years ago. Poland looms large in the collective Jewish consciousness. Huge numbers of North American Jews trace their ancestry to Poland, and before World War II Poland was Europe’s Jewish heartland. Some 3 million Polish Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Until fairly recently, however, much of the Jewish world regarded Poland as little more than a vast, anti-Semitic Jewish graveyard. These attitudes were exemplified in 1989 by Israel’s then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who famously declared that Poles “suck in” anti-Semitism “with their mother’s milk.” Today, however, Poland is one of Israel’s best friends, and Jewish leaders hailed Kaczynski and others on the doomed plane for their dedication in helping write a new chapter in Polish-Jewish relations. Kaczynski was buried April 18. This change in Jewish attitudes by no means came overnight. It was the fruit of a deliberate, sometime rocky post-communism Polish policy aimed at convincing the Jewish world that Poland — and Poles — could be trusted partners. This included organized outreach, Poland’s emergence as an ally of Israel and extensive Polish interaction with international Jewish organizations on both a formal and informal basis. In 1995, the

Polish government even established the unprecedented post of roving ambassador to the Jewish Diaspora to foster contacts and provide a conduit for communications. Meanwhile, lacerating public debates in Poland over antiSemitism and the Polish role in the Holocaust, sparked by several books and films, also demonstrated to the Jewish world a willingness in Poland to tackle these troubling issues. “Jewish attitudes became more positive as the world began to recognize Poland as a modern democratic nation rather than the apocryphal place of our ancient sufferings,” says Michael Traison, a Jewish American lawyer who has maintained an office in Poland since the mid-1990s. “And attitudes were impacted by the growth of information flowing out of Poland to the Jewish world as people learn that ‘Am Yisrael chai’ [the Jewish people lives], even in Poland.” Jewish figures themselves played key roles by demonstrating their own openness to Poland and highlighting the revival of contemporary Jewish life in the country. Shevach Weiss, a Polish-born Holocaust survivor and former speaker of the Israeli Knesset, became a popular and even beloved figure among locals as the Israeli ambassador to Poland from 2000 to 2004. I’ll never forget seeing him plunge into a crowd of 10,000 frenzied fans, most of them Catholic Poles, who crammed into the main square of Krakow’s old Jewish quarter, Kazimierz, for the final concert of the annual Festival of Jewish Culture in 2002. The Krakow Festival and the new Museum of the History of Polish Jewry under construction in Warsaw also have won enthusiastic American supporters. Poland’s American-born chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, has been tireless in spreading the word that a small but living Jewish community

Andrzej Rybczynski / AFP / Getty Images

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Maria, were laid to rest after funeral services at St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw, April 18, 2010.

exists in Poland. Organizations such as the San Francisco-based Taube Foundation and the American Jewish

Committee now make it a point to bring Jewish groups to Poland not just to commemorate the Holocaust but to take part in Jewish cultural

events and meet local Jews and Catholic Poles. REACTION on page 20




Palestinian village and Israeli town build rare partnership by Sue Fishkoff Jewish Telegraphic Agency WADI FUKIN, West Bank (JTA) — Mohammed Mansara, a 70-year-old farmer who goes by the name Abu Mazen, indicates with a sweep of his arm the fruit trees and vegetables he grows on his small plot of land in this Palestinian village in the West Bank, population 1,200. Then he points to a small green hill on the western side of the village topped by a tidy cluster of red-roofed homes. That is Tzur Hadassah, an Israeli community of about 5,000 Jewish residents. “Tzur Hadassah has such nice people,” he says in Hebrew. “They are great neighbors.” Mansara could walk from his home to Tzur Hadassah in about

half an hour, but it’s illegal. Wadi Fukin sits smack on the Green Line, the demarcation between pre-1967 Israel and the West Bank. A portion of the West Bank security fence is slated to go through the valley, cutting off Wadi Fukin from Tzur Hadassah and from much of what remains of its agricultural land. Similar stories repeat all along the Green Line, as Israelis and Palestinians jostle over the route of the fence. What makes Wadi Fukin’s case different is that it has strong allies across the Green Line: Tzur Hadassah residents who buy fresh produce from village farmers, and Friends of the Earth Middle East, or FOEME, an Israeli-PalestinianJordanian environmental organization that is challenging the route

of the security fence here in Israel’s Supreme Court. Three hundred Tzur Hadassah residents have signed a petition against the fence being built in their valley. Wadi Fukin and Tzur Hadassah have had a relationship since 2001, when they became two of the first members of FOEME’s Good Water Neighbor project. The project, which now works with two dozen towns and villages, brings together Palestinian and Israeli communities to protect their shared water resources, fostering peace and long-term cooperation based on shared environmental interests. Tzur Hadassah resident Tamar Gridinger says FOEME’s project prompted her to visit Wadi Fukin for the first time several years ago. A group of Tzur Hadassah residents had been buying organic fruits and vegetables from another source, she says. Then they learned that FOEME had brought in permaculture experts to help Wadi Fukin farmers give up pesticides and return to the sustainable agricultural practices used by their grandfathers. “When we realized that Wadi Fukin farmers were growing organic vegetables, it was like a gift,” Gridinger says.

Sue Fishkoff

Palestinian farmer Mohammed Mansara, in his home village of Wadi Fukin, has close ties with residents of an Israeli town just across the Green Line.

Now she and 25 other Tzur Hadassah families participate in a Community Supported Agriculture project, where they pre-buy a month’s supply of fresh produce from the village and pick up their allotment every week. (Israelis may cross the Green Line into the West Bank, but Palestinians need a special permit to cross the line into Israel.) “Both sides gain from it,”

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Gridinger says. “We get inexpensive, organic fruit and vegetables, and they earn money.” Since 2001, relations between Wadi Fukin and Tzur Hadassah have deepened. Wadi Fukin farmers invite co-op members to an annual hafla, or celebration, in the village, and Tzur Hadassah residents have helped villagers navigate the Israeli bureaucracy. When one young villager with leukemia needed weekly medical treatment at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital, co-op members would pick him up and drive him across the checkpoint reserved for Israelis, saving him hours of waiting at the border. “I’d never met my neighbors in Wadi Fukin before, and now they have become my friends,” says Gridinger, showing off a scarf Mansara brought back for her from Mecca, where he recently went on a haj, or pilgrimage. “Not because of the ‘great principles’ of the project. Abu Mazen is just a friend.” Relations between Wadi Fukin are not as good with its Israeli neighbor to the east: Betar Ilit, a fast-growing ultra-Orthodox settlement of some 35,000 residents on Mansara’s side of the Green Line built in part on land originally belonging to the village. Since construction began at Betar Ilit in 1985, Wadi Fukin’s 11 natural springs have dried up, and when Betar Ilit’s sewers back up, Mansara says, the effluent pours down the hill into the village fields. The Israeli government has sent notices to Betar Ilit to resolve problems caused to Wadi Fukin. “The main spring is just a trickle now,” Mansara says, showing visitors an empty reservoir where water used to flow. “The water would go into a channel and then to the fields. Now the channel is filled with garbage.”




FIT-FUN DAY AT THE J ON SUNDAY, MARCH 21, 2010 More than 800 people attended this fun wellness-focused event at the J. There were activities for all ages, including a moon bounce, giant slide, batting cage and fitness circuit for kids; a wellness expo for adults; lots of giveaways; and presentations by leading hospitals and medical specialists. Attendees also enjoyed a special picnic lunch. Two mountain bikes were awarded as raffle prizes; winners were Fran Coleman & Pierce Hoffman. Cincinnati Bengals players, Kevin Huber and Chase Coffman, were available for meet-and-greets and autograph signings. Guest presenter Mary Wineberg, track star and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist, spoke, answered audience questions, and presented awards to the winners of the JCC Indoor Triathlon, which took place in the morning. Photos continued on page 12.

R E F UA H SHLEMAH Frieda Berger Fraida bat Raizel Rozlyn Bleznick Rachel Boymel Rochel bat Pesia Fruma Daniel Eliyahu Daniel ben Tikvah Mel Fisher Moshe ben Hinda Edith Kaffeman Yehudit bat B’racha Roma Kaltman Ruchama bat Perl Pepa Kaufman Perel Tova bat Sima Sora Mina Kamkha Malka bat Baila Murray Kirschner Chaim Meir ben Basha Andrea Lavine Chana Sara bat Esther Enya Al Markovitz Avraham ben Charna Alan Schwartzberg Avraham Pesach ben Mindel Ravid Sulam Ravid Chaya bat Ayelet Diane Yasgur Devora Yehudit bat Rivka Rachel Edward Ziv Raphael Eliezer Aharon ben Esther Enya











Marx Hot Bagels—quintessential New York-style deli by Bob Wilhelmy Restaurant Reporter New York, the city that never sleeps, has a variety of signature styles of eating. You can get streetvended or eatery-based foods there that originated there and are hard to find anywhere else. One eatery we have here that rivals “NYC-ness” is Marx Hot Bagels, the deli. For starters, Marx features a lunch counter with stools. Also, tables, not fancyschmancy, but chrome and laminate topped affairs, along with chairs that are no-nonsense. The place is boisterous, too; people kibitzing and help shouting, and owner John Marx spouting all manner of directives to his charges. People come in for the bagels, the breakfasts, the lunches, the baked goods. It’s all strictly kosher, BTW. Anyway, the place is not really a madhouse, but a first-time visitor could think so. If more than one person is waiting on line at the bagel counter, you may very well hear proprietor John Marx bellow for help at the front counter. When that happens, somebody from the back-of-the-bakery operation scurries up to the counter to help out. No pretense there! Yours truly has visited Marx Bagels in the middle of the afternoon many times. The place always is buzzing. Maybe four or five couples at the deli-style tables, having a late lunch, and a few singles eating alone: soups, salads, tuna on a bagel, bagels and cream cheese. More patrons stand at the bagel counter, ordering from the 40 or so varieties of bagels that Marx produces fresh every day. So the place is noisy, a little clangy, perhaps, but not offensive in that regard. “That’s the way here, because this is not just a destination to buy food and eat,” said Danielle Marx, John’s wife and co-worker. “People come here to meet their friends and to just be together and enjoy the food while they talk about things.” John Marx puts it differently: “I want this place to be like a deli in New York (City); I don’t want it to be like a place in Cincinnati.” He went on to explain that so often, there is an eating-place formula, right down to a scripted approach to the customer. You’ve heard it a thousand times: “Hello, I’m Ashlee or Bret (or some other too-cute name) and I’ll be your server today. Can I start you off with some appetizers?” I say: “No you can’t! And please, please take your canned baloney back to the cooler.” “People ask all the time if John is from New York, because this

At Marx Hot Bagels, you’ll find John Marx, who stands behind the parve sweets counter, and who readily admits he’s much better at making bagels and kibitzing with customers than just about anything else.

place is like that because of him,” said wife Danielle, with equal parts critique and affection. “She thinks I’m too loud sometimes; that I go too far,” John Marx added. “But I have fun doing this, and people who come here all the time have fun with it too, because this is not like anyplace else in Cincinnati, and that is just what I want. If you are not having fun working a business like this, you should really do something else, because it’s a lot of work.” So, the proprietor has worked to maintain the type of business his customers have come to expect from Greater Cincinnati’s premier Bagelman. “The breads, we do the old fashioned way, baking them on stone shelves in the oven, not in pans,” Danielle Marx added. “We have the New York rye and pumpernickel and the half and half (pumpernickel and white in a swirl); and the egg challahs our customers really like.” Raisins can be added to the challah bread by special order as well. “Cookies also,” she said. “We have the star and dreidel shapes along with regular shapes, and we

can do special shapes—fish or some other shape—a customer may want for a religious event,” she added. Jewish families should know that Marx Hot Bagels truly adheres to kosher practices, right down to having its ovens and kettles ritually lit by the hand of a qualified Jew according to dietary law. Enter Marx almost any time of day, and likely you will see members of the Jewish community eating a meal at

the counter or at one of the freestanding deli tables. Speaking of his Jewish customers, John Marx said: “The most religious of the religious eat here. Lots of customers stop in on the way to work and get coffee and a bagel with cream cheese or something like that. The sweets case is where some people go for a breakfast item.” “We want our Jewish customers to know about the services

here, and how we can help when they need us,” Danielle Marx said. “We make the food trays for times when people gather and for shivas; shiva trays. Also, for other times that have religious meaning. “For instance, we do the food trays with all the vegetables, the sliced tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, pickles and olives around, and the tuna and egg salad and white fish and cream cheeses, including flavored ones. We can even provide the hard boiled eggs if they want, and the lox. “Then we have the bagels that go along with the trays in a basket to the side. And we can do these (orders for trays) very quickly (24 hours notice is appreciated) and have them ready to go,” she said. “The key is that it’s all fresh,” said John Marx. “Everything is fresh. Everything. The egg salad, the tuna salad, the whole place is fresh.” That includes John Marx, who is New-York fresh and having fun everyday. Marx Hot Bagel Shop 9701 Kenwood Road Cincinnati, OH 45242 513-891-5542



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May is Jewish American Heritage Month “The United States would not be the country we know without the achievements of Jewish Americans” —President Barack Obama Last week I was privileged to visit Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City, the oldest Jewish congregation in North America, founded in 1654 by 23 Jews escaping religious persecution in Recife, Brazil. Could these 23 refugees ever have imagined that 356 years later, there would be a national month of celebration honoring the achievements of Jewish Americans? In 2006, following the unanimous passage of a congressional resolution introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and in the Senate by Senator Arlen Specter, President George W. Bush proclaimed May as Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). Since 2006, each year in May, programs and events across the country honor the myriad contributions Jewish Americans have made to the history, society and culture of the United States. In my role as national coordinator of JAHM, it is my privilege to work with the leaders of Jewish American institutions whose mission is the preservation of Jewish American history and heritage. These organizations, the American Jewish Historical Society, New York; the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati; the Jewish Women’s Archive, Boston; the National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia; the Council of American Jewish Museums, Denver; the Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami; and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, Washington, D.C., make up the JAHM Coalition. Our collective goal is raising awareness about the important role that Jewish Americans have played in this country for more than 350 years in every field of endeavor—medicine, science, literature, the arts, politics, military service, government, sports, entertainment—and so much more. It is important for Jews to learn about and acknowledge these achievements, but it is even more important that non-Jewish Americans

become aware of the impact American Jews have had on the history of our country. The more we learn about each other, the more tolerant a nation we become. Here in Cincinnati, we can be proud of our Jewish American heritage. Cincinnati is not only the oldest Jewish community west of the Allegheny Mountains, but has also been an institutional center of American Reform Judaism for more than a century. Indeed, Cincinnati’s Jewish newspaper, the American Israelite, was established in 1854 as an instrument of the reform movement and is the oldest English Jewish weekly in America. Also from Cincinnati is our first corporate sponsor, Manischewitz, founded in 1888. Manischewitz became a sponsor in 2010, the first year that JAHM has received institutional and corporate sponsorship. It was joined by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, our first institutional sponsor. They provided JAHM with the funding to create and fill the position of national coordinator and develop and launch an interactive Web site that serves as a clearinghouse for JAHM events and programs nationwide. I am proud to work with devoted colleagues in both the Jewish and larger Cincinnati community who have joined the effort to make JAHM a wellknown annual celebration. Our JAHM community partners include the National Underground Freedom Center, the Taft Museum of Art, the Mayerson JCC, Barnes and Noble Bookstores, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cedar Village Retirement Community, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Hillel Cincinnati, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Center for Holocaust, Humanity Education, the Cincinnati Board of Rabbis, and Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati. As we celebrate each year, we look forward to welcoming even more community partners.

Do you have something to say? E-mail your letter to

Dear Editor, What can history teach us? In 1929, FDR met with the Saudis. A deal was made which lasts until this present day. 1. Standard Oil of California would drill the oil. 2. Standard Oil of California would refine the oil. 3. Standard Oil of California would buy the oil. The downside for the Saudis is they would become so rich, other nations would make war and take their oil from them. Their military was not capable of protecting their blessings, so Roosevelt promised to protect Arabia with the U.S. military. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Arabia called in the chips and the United States landed its military powers on Arabian soil to fight against Iraq. The U.S. economy would plummet if it were not for our ability to access oil from Arabia. If we did not protect Arabia, other nations would either make an offer such as Roosevelt made, or

just take it by force. The United States also defends Israel. This ally helps protect U.S. interests in the Middle East, while also fulfilling a promise G-d made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Where does Barack Obama fit in this world setting? A starting point would be, who endorsed him first. In my view, it was Senator Ted Kennedy. Also, many campaign ads were paid for by the Catholic Church. Notre Dame University invited him to speak at their commencement ceremony. What would the Catholic Church profit from having Obama in the White House? 1. The copper, gold, silver and diamonds of Africa. 2. Germany is competing with China for access to these mines. That’s why the African student asked Hillary Clinton why China wanted to loan billions of dollars to Africa. 3. Germany is a world leader in manufacturing and is the third largest economy in the world.

The Pope is also German. Ronald Reagan established diplomatic ties with the Vatican. John Paul II counselled Reagan to build up SDI and Russia would collapse its economy trying to stay up. This enabled the reunification of Germany, while weakening the U.S. economy. Gorbachev went to John Paul II and received billions of dollars in loans without disarming any missiles. No, Russia is indebted to the Vatican, and the Pope is from Germany. I believe soon, Germany will break from the E.U. and join with the other countries listed in the Bible Book of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. The good news is G-d will defeat this evil plot and defend Israel. In closing our look at history: 1. Joseph’s brothers bowed to him in the end. 2. Israel, after rejecting Moses at first, followed him in the end. Frank R. Whitson Cincinnati

T EST Y OUR T ORAH KNOWLEDGE THIS WEEK’S PORTION: EMOR (VAYIKIRA 21:1—24:24) 1. Who has prohibitions of coming in contact with a deceased body? a.) Kohen b.) Levi c.) Yisroel d.) All of the above 2. Does this restriction include his wife? a.) Yes b.) No 3. Why did Moshe put the blasphemer in lockup?

a.) People would not copy his ways b.) It was a form of atonement, like a city of refuge c.) He was not sure how to judge him 4. What was the blasphemer's judgment? a.) Stoning b.) Exile c.) Forced service in the Mishkan 5. How are the festivals called? a.) Times of happiness b.) Calling of a sanctified time c.) Days for Hashem

OPINION on page 22

C O R R E C T I O N: In the April 22 issue article on Dr. Rivkin, we regret not attributing the last paragraph (page 20) as a quote from Dr. Francis Barry Silberg, Dr. Rivkin’s biographer and bibliographer.

on the head of the blasphemer, which was not done by other capital crimes. Since the witnesses repeated over the blasphemy that they heard, it was a sign that the blasphemer was responsible not them. Rashi 5. B 23:4 On a festival, there is a special mitzvah to pray together in public with fine garments and special foods. Ramban

by Abby Schwartz Guest Editorial


Answers 1. A 21:1 This prohibition is in effect even when there is no Bait HaMikdash. Ramban 2. B 21:2 3. C 24:12 Moshe was not sure what his punishment was. Rashi 4. A 24:14 Part of the process, that the witnesses placed their hands


Written by Rabbi Dov Aaron Wise




Sedra of the Week by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Emor

Efrat, Israel — “Remove the blasphemer to the outside of the camp” (Lev 24:14). Our Biblical portion of Emor concludes with a strange and almost mythical tale of what appears to be the son of a mixed marriage (“the child of an Israelite woman and of one who is an Egyptian man”) who picks a fight with an Israelite and publicly blasphemes. In response, G-d commands that those who heard his blasphemy must place their hands upon the blasphemer’s head and pelt him with stones (Lev. 24:10-23). The rather terse Biblical account is fraught with textual difficulties. Why does the Bible delineate the same capital punishment in three separate verses (Lev.24:14, 16, and 23)? And why tell a gossipy tale of mixed marriage as the prelude to the law of the blasphemer? Why not simply record the crime and its punishment, as is usual in the Bible? And if the background story is to be told, why not give all of the details? We are left with many gaps, especially as to the background of the two individuals who intermarry and their son’s attitude to his identity. The nature of the punishment is also strange. Why do the people who hear the blasphemous words have to place their hands on the head of the criminal? “Laying of the hands” in the Bible generally signifies either a conferral of authority such as when Moses gives over his authority to Joshua (Numbers 27:23) or a transference of guilt such as when the High Priest places the sins of the nation upon the head of the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21,22). Neither of these symbols applies to the blasphemer. Finally, the Biblical description of the blasphemer’s punishment concludes with the seemingly superfluous phrase “he shall be pelted, yes, be pelted, by the entire witness – congregation, stranger as well as citizen” (24:16). The next verses in the very same chapter seem to be presenting a totally disparate crime, “If a man smites the soul of another, he shall die, yes die” (24:17). The Bible goes on to record the laws of smiting animals and causing blemishes to other individuals adding kind of obiter dictum: “There shall be one law for you, stranger as well as citizen, for I am the Lord your G-d” (24:22). The chapter concludes by returning to the blasphemer, who is to be removed from the encampment and pelted with stones (24:23). Why all of this extraneous material in the midst of the tale of the blasphemer?

Leviticus 21:1 - 24:23

I believe that the Bible is explaining to us what might have caused a Jew to stoop to publicly blaspheming the Lord who had just taken the Israelites out of Egypt with wonders and miracles. The crime was particularly strange since it was a transgression from which the perpetrator derived no “pleasure of the moment” (as in the case of the cohabitation with Midianite women or the orgiastic dancing associated with worshipping the Golden Calf); it only served to express his bitter anger, rebellion and disillusionment. We have already seen that father Jacob needed to discover and accept his own proud identity. He achieved this by freeing himself from his obsession with the hands of Esau which were internally wreaking havoc with the “wholehearted man, dweller of tents” — his real persona. Only when he had succeeded in doing this could he truly accept “the Lord G-d of Israel” and merit the name Israel. (Indeed each of us receives our basic identity, certainly in the most formative stages of our lives, from

our parents, from their sense of identity and from the way in which they relate to each other and to us). The Midrash, cited by Rashi, gives us a fascinating insight into the parents of this Israelite born to a mixed marriage: his Egyptian father was the taskmaster who smote the Hebrew slave and was, in turn, smitten by Moses. Apparently, this man’s self-image was severely damaged, and he yearned for acceptance by the Hebrews! His mother, Shlomit bat Divri from the tribe of Dan, was constantly chattering (dibur is speech), greeting everyone in sight again and again (“shalom lakh, shalom lakh,” Shlomit would always prattle). She too, desperately sought acceptance from everyone around her, and became easy prey for the sexually promiscuous. Two such parents, who came from two very different cultural backgrounds may well have married for the wrong reasons and could hardly have given their son a strong sense of identity as a proud child of Israel. SEDRA on page 22

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Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom Contributing Columnist BIRTHDAY NOTES Tomorrow, April 30, is this writer’s birthday. Being a historyminded guy, I’ve made a mental note of notable events on 4/30— and the list includes: Washington’s First Inauguration (1789); the Louisiana Purchase (1803); The fall of Saigon (1975); and Hitler’s suicide (1945). During Hitler’s lifetime, Jews told this grim joke: Hitler visits a psychic who tells him that he will die on a Jewish holiday. Hitler asks, “Which one?” The psychic says, “Any day you die will be a Jewish holiday.” (This joke was later updated with Yasir Arafat subbing for Hitler.) So, tomorrow is a Jewish holiday of sorts. It is also the 77th birthday of country music legend Willie Nelson. Virtuoso harmonica player MICKEY RAPHAEL, 59, has been in Nelson’s band since 1973. Born and raised in Dallas, Raphael’s Jewish father fled from Germany in 1936 and his mother is an American-born Jew. Raphael is interviewed in SCOTT BENARDE’s book on Jewish rockers, “Stars of David.” (2003) He told Benarde that Willie Nelson, a kind gentleman, has never uttered an anti-Semitic remark and that Willie knows a lot about Jews and Judaism. However, most country music people, Raphael says, are woefully ignorant about Jews/Judaism and some even use phrases like “Jew ‘Em Down” without realizing how offensive it is. HOW TO SUCCEED OR NOT IN SHOWBIZ DANIEL RADCLIFFE, 20, the star of the “Harry Potter” movies, is going to star in a new Broadway revival of the musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” It is set to open sometime next year. “How To” opened in 1962 to glorious reviews, ran for four years, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The songs were by FRANK LOESSER (1910-69), with the story by ABE BURROWS (191085). A 1995 revival, starring MATTHEW BRODERICK, now 48, ran for about two years. Like Broderick, Radcliffe is the son of a Jewish mother and a nonJewish father. (Daniel identifies as Jewish, but is secular.) It looks like

Radcliffe — again like Broderick — is going to make the difficult transition from an adolescent star to a successful adult actor. I recently visited a Web site devoted to the original “Mickey Mouse Club” (which first aired 50 years ago) and was surprised to learn that three of the original Mousekeeters had a Jewish background: JUDY HARRIET, born Judy Spigelman; EILEEN DIAMOND; and Doreen Tracey. The first two were “one season-only” performers. Doreen, who was a “star Mousekeeter,” had a Jewish father; but was raised in her mother’s Catholic faith. These three women, like most former Mousekeeters, did not have much success as adult performers. Diamond, however, has had a long career as an artistic director in good regional theater. GOING AND NOT GOING As you might have heard by now, LEONARD NIMOY, 79, has announced that he plans to retire from acting in the near future. Best known for his role as Mr. Spock in “Star Trek,” Nimoy says: “I’ve been doing this professionally for 60 years and I love the idea of going out on a positive note. I’ve had a great, great time.” Nimoy, a religious Jew, says that he will not appear in the next “Star Trek” film, scheduled to be released in 2012. He added that this will be his last season as a frequent guest star on the TV show, “Fringe.” On the other hand, ELI WALLACH just told Reuters that he has no plans to retire, even though he is 94. Wallach had a small, but pivotal role in ROMAN POLANSKI’s recent release, “Ghostwriters,” and he has just completed filming the Oliver Stone film, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Wallach plays a man who experienced the stock market crash of 1929. In one scene, young people ask him, “What do you think?” and Wallach’s character replies, “Well, 1929 was tough, but what’s happening now is even worse. You’re going to go through terrible things.” The Stone film will be released in September. In June, Wallach will appear on the Turner Classic Movies station, guest programming four of his favorite films. Before each selection is broadcast, Wallach will be interviewed by TCM host Robert Osborne.


FROM THE PAGES 100 Years Ago Mr. and Mrs. Emanuel Loth announce the engagement of their daughter, Ella Violet, to Mr. Leopold Wachman. Abrahamn Sommerfield, a longtime and highly respected citizen of Cincinnati, died at his home, after a brief illness. A widow and several children, all of them grown, survive. The third annual public Seder was celebrated at the Jewish Settlement. About 200 guests were present, including representatives of every rank, grade and movement in

Jewish life. Professor Deutsch conducted the services, assisted by Cantor Mandleberg, of the Avondale Temple. Among the speakers were Hon. Alfred M. Cohen, whose young son asked the questions; Mr. Victor Abraham, who characterized the gathering as the most democratic he had ever seen; Mr. Robert Marx, Mr. Nathan Isaacs and Mr. Alexander Landesco. The funeral services over the remains of Simon Marcus Winkler took place Friday afternoon, Dr. K. Kohler, president of the

Hebrew Union College, officiating. Rabbi David Philipson conducted the services in the mortuary chapel in the United Jewish Cemetery, and Lafayette Lodge, F. and A.M., attended to the Masonic rites. The honorary pallbearers were I.J. Friedlander, Henry P. Kaufman, John Schaffner, Jacob Stern, David Kahn and Isadore Mendel. The active pallbearers were: Hugh Galt, Dr. G. Deutsch, Charles Geilfus, Fred Kaufman, Benjamin Mielziner and John Kellerman. — April 28, 1910

75 Years Ago Mr. John Erskine, author, lecturer, professor of English at Columbia, and president of the Juilliard School of Music, will address the Phi Beta Kappa annual initiation dinner at the Hotel Alms. Mr. Lester A. Jaffe is Phi Beta Kappa president. A surprise birthday celebration at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Lawrence Ach, was given Mr. Samuel Ach Wednesday evening, April 24, on the eve of his 75th birthday.

Expecting to attend a family dinner, Mr. Ach found at the table many of those associated with him in civic affairs for the past 10 years, among them, Mayor Russell Wilson, Messrs. Victor Heintz, Henry Bentley, Robert Heuck, Charles P. Taft, Sanford Headley, Alfred Segal, former Mayor Murray Seasongood, City Manager C.A. Dykstra, Safety Director Fred Hoehler, Mrs. Withrow, Mrs. Miles Benham and Miss Edith Campbell. Ribbons in the Cincinnati

Amateur Spring Horse Show at the Cincinnati Riding Academy went to Miss Betty Huttenbauer, Mr. Richard Foreman, Mr. Nathan Fechheimer, Miss Frances Huttenbauer, Miss Barbara Henry and Miss Martha Alice Fechheimer. In the parent-and-child class, Mr. Samuel Huttenbauer and daughter, Miss Frances, won second award. Miss Phyllis Ann Mills was a winner in the horsemanship class. — May 2, 1935

50 Years Ago Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Wohl will be in Waco, Tex., where they will attend the naming ceremony for their new grandson, the son of Rabbi and Mrs. Amiel Wohl. Mr. and Mrs. Ben Wolf announce the engagement of their daughter, Barbara, to Dr. Israel Michael Dizenhuz, son of Mrs. Lilly Dezenhouse and the late Mr. Binem Dezenhouse, of Toronto. Miss Wolf, a graduate of

Walnut Hills High School, attended Ohio State University and was graduated from the University of Cincinnati. She teaches in the Cincinnati Public Schools. Dr. Dizenhuz was graduated from the University of Toronto Medical School. He is a resident at Cincinnati General and Jewish hospitals. Edward Wertheimer, Sr., Belevedere Apartments, passed away Wednesday, April 20, at

Jewish Hospital. He was the board chairman and former president L. & E. Wertheimer, Inc., distillers. Survivors include: his son, Ed Wertheimer, Jr., president of the company; five grandchildren and one great-grandson. His wife, Mrs. Selma Kuhn Wertheimer, passed away in 1955 in Alexandria, Egypt, while they were on a Mediterranean cruise. — April 28, 1960

25 Years Ago Cincinnati Community Hebrew Schools will become an operating division of the Bureau of Jewish Education on July 1, according to a joint announcement issued by Deborah Fox, president of the Bureau, Irvin Fox, president of the school and Robert Blatt, president of the Jewish Federation. The merger agreement reuniting these two agencies, which operated as one from 1925-52 but have func-

tioned independently the past three decades, will be signed by the three presidents at the 60th anniversary meeting of the Bureau on May 29. William Marmer of 4667 Elizabeth Place passed away April 16. He was 87. He is survived by his wife, Ann; a daughter, Bette Zuber of Portsmouth, Ohio; a son, Milton N. Marmer; two brothers, Morris Marmer of Deerfield, Fla., and Herman Marmer of Hollywood, Fla.;

five grandchildren and nine greatgrandchidren. Mr. Marmer was the father-inlaw of the late Abraham Zuber and Phyllis Marmer and the brother of the late Samuel Marmer, Jack Marmer and Esther Rissover. Services were on April 19 at the Weil Funeral Home. Rabbi Alan Fuchs officiated. Interment was in the United Jewish Cemetery in Montgomery. — April 25, 1985

10 Years Ago David Miretsky, a Russian artist who resided in the Cincinnati area for four years, will be showing work at Closson’s art gallery from May 13 through June 10. Miretsky’s upcoming exhibition follows a recent and successful premier at the prestigious OK Harris gallery in New York City, where the artist resides. Entitled “Miretsky and Miretsky,” the show will include works by both the onetime Cincinnatian and his daughter, Anya, who will be making her local debut as an artist. “Miretsky and Miretsky” marks

the 25th anniversary of the senior’s premier at Closson’s, an exhibition which served as a catalyst for his later successes. Phyllis Weston, vice president and director of Closson’s art gallery, is credited as discovering his talent in times when few recognized the strength of his technique and the expressive qualities of his compositions. Sidney Silvian, 74, passed away on Saturday, April 15, at the Arbors East. He is survived by his wife, Ingrid of Columbus; a brother and sister-in-law, David and Alice

Silvian of Athens, Ga.; three stepdaughters: Stevie Lauterjung of Philadelphia, Monica Gleeson of Westerville, and Deborah Gleeson of Columbus; one step-grandson; and many cousins. He was the son of the late Max and Sarah (Kantor) Silvian. Mr. Silvian was a retired attorney with the Ohio Division of Securities. He was a member of the Agudas Achim Synagogue and of various Jewish organizations. Mr. Silvian was active for many years in community theater both in Columbus and Cincinnati. — April 27, 2000



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LEADERSHIP from page 1 rabbinic group “whose principles or tenets of faith are antithetical or contrary to the policies and positions of the RCA.” Weiss is one of the founders of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, a liberal Orthodox group founded, in part, to serve as an umbrella for graduates of Weiss’ rabbinical school, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Graduates of the school have been unable to secure automatic membership in the RCA, which has never taken a public position on the fellowship. RCA insiders say adoption of the measures, neither of which would be retroactive, is unlikely. But their existence still points to a tug within the organization between those seeking to maintain the council as a broadly inclusive group and those who want to draw firmer lines. “The RCA leadership has always been centrist,” said one RCA official involved in planning for the conference. “The rank-andfile rabbis, those on the front lines, can’t afford to be radicals on either end. But it’s getting harder and harder to promote an RCA which is led by the center, but which includes the whole range.” Following the Weiss controversy, the RCA announced that women’s leadership would be placed on the conference agenda. A committee is now in the late stages of crafting a policy on the issue. The policy, which will have to

be ratified by the membership, would express general support for women’s scholarship and their assumption of appropriate leadership roles while drawing the line at ordaining them as rabbis. But lately there has been resistance from those seeking stronger language marking certain functions as forbidden. “The committee expects for there to be pushback and perhaps alternate language from both the right and the left,” said the RCA official. Whether any formulation could quell the controversy is unclear. Weiss has never backed down from his view that Hurwitz is a member of the synagogue’s rabbinic staff, though he says the school he is launching to train women will bestow a title other than rabba. Moreover, several women now serve important Modern Orthodox congregations in various capacities — some of which clearly overlap with traditional rabbinic functions. The results of a survey to be presented at the convention show a clear consensus among RCA members against granting “semicha,” or ordination, to women, according to an official involved in the council’s strategic planning process. On other issues, the official said, there is no “strong consensus.” The policy that the council is to enact on women’s leadership will likely remain vague on specifics as a result. Its drafters say that a policy of calculated ambiguity is necessary in part to maintain unity across a broad range of opinion.




Dancer Miriam Rosenblum honored in Boston The Israel Folkdance Festival of Boston honored Cincinnati native Miriam Rosenblum last month at the 2010 dance festival as the inaugural “Festival Honoree of the Year.” The festival offers Jewish and Israeli dance and brings hundreds of performers from across North America to perform at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. The “Honoree of the Year Program” recognizes individuals who have dedicated significant amounts of time and effort to the Festival. Rosenblum was a pivotal participant in, and supporter of, the Israel Folkdance Festival since the fifth performance in 1981, when she graced the festival stage as a member of the legendary Hamakor Israeli Folk Dance Troupe in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The

Miriam Rosenblum was honored last month at the Israel Folkdance Festival.

AJC from page 4

LEADERS from page 6

Olivia Morris of Indian Hill H.S., who campaigns for fair trade chocolate and created a Hunger Awareness week at her school; Kyle Nienaber of Beechwood H.S. in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., who volunteers with Hospice patients locally and in South Africa, feeding the dying with comfort and patience. Among the nominees was Sam Dubin, a junior at Walnut Hills H.S. As head of the Community Action Team, Sam organized an environmentally friendly all-school locker cleanup, which yielded tons of paper, a truck full of clothes, and an office worth of usable school supplies. He spearheaded coat drives and neighborhood cleanups, as well as matching high school tutors with students at a nearby elementary school. Sam is the son of Dr. Neil and Laurie Dubin of Hyde Park. Five community leaders served as judges to select the Simon Lazarus, Jr. award winners: Shakila Ahmad, Muslim community leader; Jim Borgman, Pulitzer Prizewinning cartoonist; Chris Crocker, Bengals safety: Jan-Michele Kearney, publisher of the Cincinnati Herald; Judge Nadine Allen of Hamilton County Municipal Court. Trip Wolf served as this year’s AJC Awards Committee chairperson. “These students have big hearts and helping hands. Their unselfishness, caring and leadership enrich our community. Jewish tradition teaches that it is according to our deeds that God’s presence descends. The students’ actions show they value deeds of loving-kindness, one of Judaism’s guiding principles.”

The official cited reports that Netanyahu personally approved public letters — from Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, and Elie Wiesel, the internationally known Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace laureate — criticizing Obama’s demand for a halt in Jerusalem building. Despite mounting criticism by some Jewish leaders, polls show that Obama’s support among Jews in general remains strong. His backing has dropped from astronomical highs after he was elected, but remains about 10 points stronger than in the general population. Moreover, to the degree that it has eroded, the dissatisfaction with Obama appears to have more to do with unhappiness over his handling of health care and the economy than it does Israel. Those who are expressing their concerns, however, are among the most active members of the proIsrael community and help set the tone for the trilateral U.S.-IsraelJewish leadership ties. Richard Baehr, writing in the conservative online magazine The American Thinker, cited The New York Times’ misreading of Obama’s remarks in arguing that “this presiREACTION from page 9 “The story of Judaism in Poland did not end with the Holocaust,” promotional material for Taube-led tours says. What all this means is that after decades of looking at Poland through a lens tinged darkly with tragedy and distrust, Jewish leaders increasingly are willing to demonstrate belief that Poland has changed. Or at least is changing. To be sure, this does not mean that Polish anti-Semitism has vanished;

dance troupe was so highly regarded that it had its own annual show that filled Kresge Auditorium. As director of the MIT Hillel, Rosenblum provided invaluable support and sponsorship for the festival for close to 30 years. “The Festival is important not only as a showcase for Jewish and Israeli culture, but as a forum for new generations of dancers to share in the great tradition of Israeli dance,” said Rosenblum. Much of Rosenblum’s professional focus has been dedicated to Israeli dance. She has directed Israeli dance performance troupes, staffed Fred Berk’s Israeli dance camp, created and produced Cincinnati’s Israel Folk Dance Festival and taught workshops both in the U.S. and abroad. With her recent retirement from MIT Hillel the Israel Folk

Dance Festival recognized her many years of support without which the festival would not have been maintained. The festival was preceded by an Israeli market in the Kresge lobby. In her acceptance speech, Rosenblum said, “I’m a secondgeneration folk dancer who has taken great pleasure in helping pass on the love of folk dance to a third generation. Just as it is for so many of you, for me, dancing is essential to happiness. “But folk dancing is also a kind of teaching, for through it we learn the history and culture of our people. For more than three decades the Israel Folkdance Festival of Boston has been the driving force for this in the northeast. Its existence has encouraged two, perhaps now three, genera-

tions to learn about their heritage and take pride in representing Jewish and Israeli culture.” After thanking the festival committee and donors, she concluded, “Back in the days when we broadcasted our philosophy on our tee shirts, I had two favorite shirts that went a long way toward describing my world view: One shirt read, ‘To dance is to live and to live is to dance’ while the other contained Emma Goldman’s famous line, ‘If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.’” Malka Benjamin, Ms. Rosenblum’s daughter and a member of Boston’s Zikukim dancers, presented her with flowers. After the presentation to Rosenblum, the festival performance continued. The show presented some 300 performers and attracted an audience of nearly 1,000.

dent is the greatest threat to the strategic alliance of the U.S. and Israel since the founding of the modern Jewish state in 1948.” McLaughlin & Associates, a GOP polling firm, touted signs last week that Jewish support for Obama was eroding, but the survey questions were premised on shaky assertions. Administration defenders cite signs suggesting that beyond the settlement rhetoric, the relationship is improving: Obama has increased defense cooperation, for instance, and strategic consultations between officials of both nations are more frequent than they have been in a decade. “Our bond with Israel is unshakable and unbreakable,” Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, said Monday on Bloomberg TV. Jewish leaders welcome such reassurances but say they are made defensively, and repeatedly call on the Obama administration to become proactive. Robert Wexler, the former Florida congressman who was Obama’s chief Jewish proxy during the election and now heads the Center for Middle East peace, suggested a more proactive posture was in the offing: “Actions in the next several months will begin to reflect it.” Notably, Emanuel held a behind-

closed-doors meeting Tuesday with a group of leading Orthodox rabbis. Meantime, Jewish leaders are walking a tightrope trying to balance traditional deference to the administration with concerns over the tensions. Lee Rosenberg, the president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, made the Israel-isour-best-friend case: “Israel stood by America in spirit and in action after the tragic events of 9-11,” Rosenberg said. “As both our great nations fight the same scourge of terrorism and Islamic extremism, it is Israel which serves on the front lines as an outpost of American interests in a dangerous part of the world.” Elie Wiesel’s was obliquely critical, not naming Obama, and deferring to U.S. orthodoxy that a finalstatus agreement must accommodate Palestinian claims to the city. “What is the solution?” Wiesel asked. “Pressure will not produce a solution. Is there a solution? There must be, there will be.” Ronald Lauder — president of the World Jewish Congress — directly addressed Obama and suggested that the president was sacrificing Israel to improve relations with the Muslim world. “The Administration’s desire to improve relations with the Muslim

world is well known,” said Lauder, an active Republican. “But is friction with Israel part of this new strategy? Is it assumed worsening relations with Israel can improve relations with Muslims?” Abraham Foxman of the AntiDefamation League has publicly criticized the administration on several Israel-related fronts. Still, he said, Jewish leaders have a responsibility to defend the president “when talking to those who accuse him of being an enemy of Israel or a Muslim.” “For many years, you had a lot of Jews who didn’t vote for President Bush who would say, ‘I don’t like Bush but I love what he’s doing on Israel,’” Foxman said. “Now the paradigm is changing. A lot of Jews are saying, ‘I like Obama, but I don’t like what he is doing on Israel.’” Foxman added that the most frequent question he hears when speaking to Jewish audiences is whether Obama is a friend of Israel. “I say yes — but what’s wrong is the implementation of what he promised. What’s flawed is the strategy, not the goal,” Foxman said. The ADL leader quickly added that despite promises to learn from past mistakes, the administration’s handling of Israel-related issues is “going from bad to worse.”

on the contrary. It does recognize, however, that other forces are in play, too. To someone like me, whose relationship with the Jewish experience in post-Holocaust Poland goes back nearly 30 years, this change of attitude is as dramatic as it is welcome. It remains to be seen, though, how far it has trickled down. An American Jewish friend here in Italy, who first told me the news about Kaczynski’s death in the plane crash, was surprised when I expressed dismay.

“I don’t know anything about him except that he’s an anti-Semite,” my friend said. An Israeli Facebook friend wrote: “I wish that Poles — who indeed suffered a grievous loss in the plane crash that killed its leadership — felt the same sense of loss over the 3 million Polish Jews murdered in their country, often at the hands of the Polish people.” Still, I was moved and encouraged by the homage paid to Kaczynski by the 10,000 participants of this year’s March of the Living, the annual

youth gathering that commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day with a ceremony at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Back in 1994, when I was the cultural guide for a March of the Living group, the youngsters I was with spent their last evening in Poland acting out anti-Polish skits. Their handbook took for granted that the youngsters would feel nothing positive toward local Poles. “We will hate them for having participated in atrocities, but we will also pity them for their woeful living conditions today,” it read.




NCJW from page 1 The section formed in the “vestry of the Mound Street Temple (currently known as Rockdale Temple) and consisted of pleasant afternoons devoted to the study of Jewish thought and literature.” By 1903, the pleasant afternoons of quiet study had turned into service projects and advocacy. One of the first programs was a vacation school for Jewish immigrant children — protecting and helping children has been a constant theme of the Cincinnati section’s projects. Another long-standing interest of the Cincinnati Section has been to provide aid to the “foreign born” — first focused on German immigrant girls, then on eastern-European refugees and later on refusniks from the Soviet Union.

Another longstanding interest of the Cincinnati section has been to provide aid to the “foreign born” — first focused on German immigrant girls... By the second decade of the 20th century, NCJW Cincinnati section’s work on behalf of the blind and deaf had begun. Braille books were followed by large-print books and culminated in helping to start Radio Reading Services. Other projects served children with disabilities, one of these being a pre-school for kids with Cerebral Palsy. This project became a model for future projects in the way it started with NCJW volunteers and funding and then converted into a stand-alone institution. NCJW volunteers have advocated for societal changes as well. Volunteers spoke out for the elderly, the sick or the poor, day care and religion in the Public Schools. Other issues the section undertook were strengthening Israel and Jewish life here in America, juvenile justice, domestic and child abuse, reproductive rights and advancing the rights of women everywhere. About a year ago, the Cincinnati section sought to renew itself; thus the decision was made to connect with the national NCJW board and staff to design a new pilot project. The work culminated in the new NCJW Cincinnati Fund.

NCJW Cincinnati Fund awards a total of $27,000 in grants to Cedar Village, Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Council on Child Abuse, Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati, Jewish Early Learning Cooperative, Jewish Family Service, Planned Parenthood, Pleasant Ridge Montessori and United Cerebral Palsy.

National Council of Jewish Women, Cincinnati section past presidents: Roz Chaiken, Mona Kerstine, Andi Herzig, Penny Pensak, Marlene Ostrow, Mauri Willis, Nancy Rosenthal and Nancy Garfield Chirlin



DEATH NOTICES EINHORN, Lawrence M., age 74, died on April 20, 2010; 6 Iyar, 5770. GOLDBERG, Marvin “Bro,” age 79, died on April 21, 2010; 7 Iyar, 5770. WEIL, Cher, age 56, died on April 22, 2010; 8 Iyar, 5770. KURTZ, Craig R., age 49, died on April 22, 2010; 9 Iyar, 5770. WEBER, Manny, age 88, died on April 26, 2010; 12 Iyar, 5770. HAITI from page 8 Families Global Development Fund, a charity run by Lola Poisson, wife of Haiti’s ambassador in Washington, Raymond Joseph. It’s one of numerous efforts launched by synagogues across the United States as a response to the disaster. With the summer rains on their way — bringing a growing threat of the spread of water-borne epidemics like typhus and malaria — it’s more critical than ever. Last month, Levinson and Poisson surveyed firsthand the damage wrought by the quake, which killed an estimated 230,000 and left millions homeless. The two women plan to return to Haiti in late May along with Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s top diplomat in Haiti. “We want to get the whole congregation involved beyond just donating money,” explained OPINION from page 16 Elsewhere in this issue, there is a listing of JAHM events and programs—lectures and art exhibitions, book displays and historic tours, a SEDRA from page 17 A Midrash, cited by Rashi rein-


Levinson, a management consultant who has done work in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, including a 10-year stint in Angola during that country’s civil war. “What we’re hoping is that Rodef Shalom will turn this into a mission trip for adults and teens — helping not only with their money but also their hands,” she said. “This is an opportunity to mobilize everybody: engineers, doctors, young people.” The Jan. 12 quake wrought utter destruction in Petit-Goâve, located 42 miles west of Port-auPrince. Eight days later, a 5.9magnitude aftershock had its epicenter here. Nowadays, U.N. peacekeepers from Brazil and Spain guard the entrance to the town, which resembles a war zone. “Many of our people are now sleeping in tents outside,” said Luc Philogene, a priest who spent 19 hours trapped under the rubble of his church before being rescued. “The shelter suffered severe cracks and cannot be repaired. It will have to be knocked down and completely rebuilt.” Michael Shochet, Rodef Shalom’s cantor, said he wants to help the town recover, but that his shul can’t do it alone. “Our hope is to work with one of the larger organizations in the community, such as the Union for Reform Judaism or the federation here in Washington, or the American Jewish World Service,” he said. “One small congregation is not going to be able to raise a significant amount of money, but the Reform movement has raised a huge amount for Haiti relief and hasn’t allocated all the funds yet. That’s what we need.”

The Union for Reform Judaism has raised $1.2 million for Haiti relief so far. Naomi Abelson, the group’s congregational relations manager, said the need in a town like Petit-Goâve, where 1,000 people were killed, is critical. “It’s much more obvious in a small, rural village where there aren’t as many U.N. representatives and nonprofit groups,” said Abelson, who toured Petit-Goâve along with Levinson and Poisson. “The leaders of these communities have been through so much themselves. I think we’ll be able to provide them with the resources they need.” Just outside Port-au-Prince, on a torturous dirt road in the capital’s devastated Delmas district, an orphanage named Project Papillon cares for 28 children, seven of them HIV-positive. Since 2006, the orphanage has been funded jointly by Temple Beth El and First Presbyterian Church, both of Hollywood, Fla. “We felt that since South Florida is geographically so close to Haiti, we are called upon through our respective religious traditions to respond to Haiti’s very dire needs,” said Rabbi Alan Tuffs of Temple Beth El. The synagogue and the church have raised more than $125,000 in the last four years; that money has helped finance a separate house for HIVpositive orphans, as well as a school and dental care for all 28 children. Tuffs says he’s planning to take a group of up to 20 Jewish volunteers to Haiti in July for a four-day work-study program. “People have been generous in their support,” he told JTA. “The trick is to keep them interested

once Haiti starts fading from the front pages, which has already started happening.” Abelson said she’d like to send groups of Jewish volunteers to Haiti under the auspices of URJ’s Adult Mitzvah Corps. But that’s not likely to happen immediately. “At this moment, Haiti is not set up for unskilled volunteers,” she said. “There’s certainly a need, but it’s going to take a few months to get there,” Abelson added. “We may take a trip as a movement, or we may encourage our individual congregations to do that, and help them connect with valuable projects on the ground.” Of course, synagogues aren’t the only Jewish groups helping in Haiti. Jewish federations across North America have raised more then $5.5 million so far for Haiti. That money is going to support the work of partners on the ground, including the IDF field hospital that operated immediately after the quake, IsraAID and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The JDC has financed 120 water tanks to provide Haitians with about 300,000 gallons of drinking water every day and is partnering with the ProDev Foundation to operate 10 temporary schools for 2,000 displaced children. The American Jewish World Service has raised $5.2 million for Haiti quake relief and is working through organizations here that it’s been supporting for the last 10 years. “Fortunately, we were in a very good position to make an impact quickly,” AJWS spokesman Josh Berkman said. “We’re not doing large infrastructure projects and

bringing in shipping containers. We focus on community-based work, empowering grassroots organizations.” Berkman said his group already has allocated $700,000 to specific, short-term relief projects like disease prevention, social support and the removal of debris from roads. “For the next six months, we’ll be working with women’s organizations and rebuilding clinics, schools, community centers and institutions that haven’t been able to secure funding from other sources, or are being underserved. We’re also focused on recapitalizing the agricultural sector,” Berkman said. “Longer-term, our plan is to help the community shift from a disaster-response mode to economic development, helping our grantees develop network opportunities and be a central part in the rebuilding of Haiti.” Jewish Healthcare International intends to send four missions every year to Haiti in collaboration with the University of Miami’s Project Medishare to help the country with chronic care, medical infrastructure, education and training. “Most people have curtailed activities during the rainy season, but we’re planning on having missions begin in earnest again in the fall,” said Jewish Healthcare International’s Jerry Kobrin, an ophthalmologist from St. Paul, Minn., who visited Haiti shortly after the quake. “Our biggest emphasis will be continuing care, and the rebuilding of hospitals and clinics. Once the medical infrastructure is re-established, Haitians will be better able to weather the storm next year.”

film screening, community service and more. Take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate and learn. On May 30, members of Congregation Shearith Israel will join together at their historic cemetery to

honor the members of their congregation who gave their lives in the Revolutionary War. As they reflect on 356 years of Jewish American history, they will likely be remembering as well those 23 Jews who arrived on

American soil in 1654. I believe those founders would be proud of our efforts today to honor and recognize the achievements of Jewish Americans in all fields of endeavor who have helped to weave the rich

and vibrant fabric of American history, society and culture.

forces this idea. Picking up on the phrase, “the son of the Israelite woman went out…,” it asks:

“Where did he go out from? Rabbi Levi answered, ‘He went out from his world of Judaism.’” Even though as the son of a Hebrew woman, Jewish law defined him as a Hebrew, the fact that his father was Egyptian (even though the Midrash states that he converted) caused him to be treated as an outsider. He neither felt himself to be a full Jew, and nor did other Jews accept him as one. The Midrash goes on: “He went out frustrated from Moses’ Religious Court. He wanted to establish his tent in the encampment of the tribe of Dan (from his mother’s side), but he was rebuffed – the tribal inheritance followed the male lineage. When Moses sided with the decision of the tribe, he went out and blasphemed” (Vayikra Rabbah 33: 3). This young man, certainly an

Israelite from a halakhic, legal perspective, yearned for acceptance; instead he was rejected and rebuffed. His fight with an Israelite was against the tribe of Dan who removed his tent from their encampment. His resulting sense of alienation caused him to feel alienated from and rejected by the G-d of Israel as well. Indeed, it is almost natural for us to strike out against those whom we perceive as having attacked us! The Talmud similarly teaches that when Timna, a Mediterranean princess, was rejected in her quest for conversion by our Patriarchs, she became mistress to Elifaz (son of Esau) and bore him Amalek (B.T. Sanhedrin 99b). Amalek became Israel’s arch–enemy. Rejection breeds rejection and thus the Divine

imperative that the rejecting Israelite community must place its hands on the head of the blasphemer because they are grafting onto him their sin of rejection. The blasphemer becomes the community’s scapegoat. The primary message of our redemption from Egypt is that we must “love the stranger (the other), because we were strangers in Egypt.” Hence our Biblical passage emphasizes that the stranger must be treated as a citizen and that rejecting a human being is tantamount to smiting his soul. Only when we truly accept the stranger will G-d truly accept us as His redeemed people!

(Abby Schwartz is national coordinator of Jewish American Heritage Month. She is based in Cincinnati.)

Shabbat Shalom Shlomo Riskin Chancellor Ohr Torah Stone Chief Rabbi — Efrat Israel



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