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Eddie and Nina Paul to receive JNF Tree of Life Award p.5
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The American Israelite T H E
O L D E S T
Jewish leaders gather for third Cincinnati 2020 leaders’ forum
Meet Dan Lederman: The Jewish bail bondsman legislator from South Dakota
Ahead of Palestinian U.N. gambit, Europe is in play
Sugar n’ Spice — everything is nice
E N G L I S H
Quebec exudes history and irresistible charm
J E W I S H
W E E K L Y
A M E R I C A
Simeon Zigler art exhibition to open at Skirball Museum
E S T .
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In New York shtetl where arson attack occurred, the...
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Israel considers options on Palestinian statehood bid
Brandon Sosna’s commencement speech for Sycamore High filled with Jewish values Even though Brandon Sosna was voted by his 2011 Senior Class as Most Likely to Make a Million Dollars, after hearing the commencement speech he made at his Sycamore High School graduation this past Sunday, it’s pretty clear that he is the kind of person who is also “most likely to give a million dollars away” someday, too! Brandon, son of Faye and Harold Sosna and grandson of Sam and Rachel Boymel, is a former Yavneh/Rockwern student and one of Cincinnati’s 2011 March of the Living delegates. He won the high honor of delivering the commencement address to his class of more than 450 students after taking part in an audition process in which he competed with a number of his classmates for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In addition to his natural conversational style, Brandon had years of practice honing his writing skills in the pages of the Leaf, the school’s award-winning newspaper, in which he served as the editor-in-chief in his senior year. He was also able to refine his public speaking skills by delivering Sycamore High School’s morning announcements each day. “Brandon’s speech was not only humorous and engaging, it was incredibly meaningful and inspirational to both the students and all of those who were fortunate to be there to hear it,” explains Pam Saeks, mother of 2011 Sycamore High School graduate, Kevin Saeks. “Calling on his classmates to ‘make a difference in the world’ shows an obvious emphasis on Jewish values that most certainly came from his family and upbringing in the Jewish community.” Brandon will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. When asked what the future holds for him he says, “I’m not sure what I want to do just yet, but I do believe I have been blessed with the ability to speak publicly and feel as though I can adhere to my own advice and make a difference in the lives of others.” See below for a copy of Brandon’s speech or go to The American Israelite’s website to see the video. “I’m just very thankful and humbled by the positive reaction I’ve received since I delivered the address,” Brandon adds. “It is my hope that those in attendance not only heard the words, but will act on them in the future.” “A graduation ceremony is an event where the
A behind-the-scenes ballpark tour for Jewish young professionals p.3
commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that individuality is the key to success.” – Robert Orben “Good evening, Sycamore High School class of 2011, friends, families, teachers, administrators, distinguished guests….
Many of the commencement speeches I’ve heard over the years are littered with clichés. You’ve heard them all. “As one door closes, another will open,” “this is the first day of the rest of your life,” followed by a beautiful recitation of an excerpt of Dr. Seuess’ “Oh the places you’ll go.” But I’m not going to feed you those clichés. Because, other than Mrs. Allen clanging them out of me sophomore year, I don’t know what our future holds. I can’t speak to the challenges, obstacles, hardships, and so forth that we will face, because I have yet to experience them myself. Not to mention, the world that we live in is evolving at an exponential rate. Many have seen the Best Buy commercial with the little girl prancing around the front yard singing “you bought the wrong TV silly head” to her father after he came home with a 3-D TV when 4-D was coming soon. When this ceremony is over, it’s going to take me at least half an hour to catch up on all the tweets and facebook updates that I’ve missed. In fact, this is my longest tweeting drought, with the exception
of when I’m sleeping, in over a year probably. Not only is our world changing rapidly, but unfortunately, it seems to be for the worse. Just go home tonight and turn on the local 11 o’clock news and watch for a few minutes. You’ll see turmoil in foreign countries, economic crises, rising gas prices, high unemployment rates, genocides, natural disasters, and much more. The easy thing to do is to then turn off the TV, turn out the lights, and go to sleep. The easy thing to do is to pretend nothing is wrong. It is human nature to take the path of least resistance – to take the easy way out of things. And by turning off that TV and pushing that off button, you are turning off yourself from the world, thus taking the path of indifference, the path of ignorance. I am here today to challenge you to go down a different path. That, instead of watching the news and merely accepting the fact that the world is a terrible, dangerous, unfriendly place, you do something to change it. Edmund Burke, the great philosopher, is most famed for saying: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” We do not need to resign to the fate that we cannot make a difference, because I know there are those of you sitting out there, having heard this before, thinking that you cannot possibly make a difference. So I will answer that bluntly: you are wrong. Making a difference is atheist. Helping people is color blind. If someone is seriously injured, he or she doesn’t care what religion the first respondent on the scene is. If someone has no money or food, he or she doesn’t care what skin color the person has that provides life’s necessities. Help does not discriminate and neither should those who offer it. “Because I can’t” is not a valid excuse; “because I don’t know how” is not a valid excuse; “because it doesn’t matter” is not a valid excuse. Let me make this clear: there are no excuses, not anymore, not in 2011. The reason we are in such a disastrous state is because of those who did nothing to fix what was going terribly wrong. Henry Friedman, the chairman of the Holocaust Education Centre in Washington, said that: “We are all different; because of that, each of us has something different SOSNA on page 19
Got Shabbat: Mid East Feast & Israeli Wine Tasting p.12
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A behind-the-scenes ballpark tour for Jewish young professionals The Great American Ballpark...it’s home base to our hometown team, and now Jewish young professionals, ages 21-35 are invited to get a free behind-thescenes tour of the Reds stadium as part of Access’ JSPN (Jewish Sports Network) initiative on Sunday, June 12 at 11 a.m. In addition to getting a chance to check out the press box and broadcast booth, for example, participants will get to sit in the dugout and hear the fascinating history of the country’s first professional baseball team. Plus, they’ll also get a little bit of Reds’ history from a Jewish perspective when professional Great American Ballpark Tour Guide, Ron Richards takes center field! Lunch and a free admission to the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is also included. “Now that I’m retired, being a tour guide offers me a great opportunity to show off our stadium and the Reds baseball franchise which has contributed so much to the game of baseball,” said Richards. “The Cincinnati Reds have the distinction of being the first professional team in baseball, starting the National League in 1869. However, in an ironic turn of events, they actually got kicked
Take a tour out at the ballpark with Jewish young professionals.
out of the league in 1880 for playing on Sundays and selling beer, a big no-no at that time. “Thus, they founded what is now the American League as well. Years later they were reinstated into the National league, Sunday games and beer sales intact! The Reds were also the first team to broadcast their games on the radio, and then on TV, and the first team to play under lights at night,” he adds. “As a longtime Reds fan I feel so fortunate to get the chance to pass on my passion for
the Reds and their history and the very significant contributions they have made to this All-American pastime!” This event is open to Jewish young professionals, 21-35 (age limit is strictly enforced). NonJewish significant others are always welcome. Space is limited and will fill up quickly. To RSVP please go to Access’ website or call or email Rachel Plowden, Access Coordinator, whose contact information is listed in the Community Directory located in this issue.
Jewish leaders gather for third Cincinnati 2020 leaders’ forum By Nicole Simon Assistant Editor On Thursday, May 31, the third leaders’ forum for Cincinnati 2020, a long-term plan for making Cincinnati into a more viable Jewish community, was held at the Mayerson Jewish Community Center. The event hosted 82 people from 32 different organizations, including 11 new people, which brings the total number of participants at all of the forums to 202. After listening to the “less talk, more action” requests of the previous lay and professional representatives, the speeches were kept short. Bret Caller, the Federation’s president, welcomed the leaders, noting how the Federation appreciated all the ideas brought to the forum so far and informed them that this event marked the “conclusion of phase one of Cincinnati 2020.” The Dvar Torah was given by the newly ordained Rabbi Elana Dellal. Then Federation CEO Shep Englander said a few words about the event, and finally the facilitator, Sarah Singer-Nourie, told the participants to “turn off the ‘critical part’” of their brains to think creatively. At each of the 10 tables, participants discussed their table’s specif-
ic goals and chose their top priorities. The last two forums created the tactics and sub-tactics that could be used in the implementation of Cincinnati 2020. Here, the goal of the evening was deciding which of those actions would, in the future, be the most useful. The votes were tallied, and Andy Berger of the Jewish Federation Executive Committee, reviewed them with the Forum. Some of the tactics which received the highest votes included creating a Jewish Concierge Welcome Center, starting up a one-stop website for Cincinnati’s Jewish seniors and their needs, and aiding new programs to help foster Jewish identity in Cincinnati’s Jewish children. The next step will be combining the top priorities from the Forum with those previously selected by other groups, which according to Berger, were similar to the ones chosen at the leader’s forum. The Steering Committee will then review them to potentially integrate ideas across the various Cincinnati 2020 goals. According to Sharon Stern, the Federation’s director of Community Building, they will begin assessing such issues as 2020 on page 22
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Cincinnati Klezmer Project members to entertain at Northern Hills HaZaK Steven Stuhlbarg and Irina Bernadsky, members of the Cincinnati Klezmer Project, will be the featured entertainers when Northern Hills Synagogue Congregation B’nai Avraham holds its final HaZaK program for seniors on Wednesday, June 15. The program will take place at the synagogue, beginning at 12 p.m.
Lunch will be served. Stuhlbarg and Bernadsky have been members of the Cincinnati Klezmer Project since 1993, with Stuhlbarg handling guitar and vocals and Bernadsky playing mandolin. Their musical selections will include Klezmer and a variety of other types of Jewish music. When they are not performing, Stuhlbarg
practices law, and Bernadsky serves as director of activities at Wellspring Health Care Center. “HaZaK” is an acronym, with the letters standing for the Hebrew words “Hakhma” (wisdom), “Ziknah” (maturity) and “Kadima” (forward). The HaZaK programs are for adults 55 and older, and are open to the entire community. In addition
to members of Northern Hills, many attendees have come from the Jewish Community Center, Cedar Village, Brookwood Retirement Community, and throughout Greater Cincinnati. There is no charge for the program and lunch, but donations are greatly appreciated. For reservations or more information, please contact Northern Hills Synagogue.
Film supports release of captive Israeli soldier The Jewish community in Cincinnati is honoring an Israeli soldier being held captive in Gaza with two showings of the film, “Family in Captivity.” Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been held in captivity in an unknown location in the Gaza Strip by Hamas since June 2006. June 25 marks the fifth year of his capture. The Mayerson JCC and Cedar Village Retirement Community are partnering to provide two opportunities for the Cincinnati area community to view this landmark film. The first showing is Thursday, June 23 at 10 a.m. at Cedar Village and reservations are required. The showing of this film at Cedar Village is co-sponsored by the Berg Family Fund. As an extension of the Jewish and Israeli Film Festival, the film will also be shown on Sunday, June 26 at 3 p.m. at the Mayerson JCC. The showing at the JCC is co-spon-
sored by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. All proceeds from the screening will go to the “Free Gilad Shalit” efforts. “Our Cedar Village family has followed the plight of Gilad Shalit throughout his captivity,” said Carol Silver Elliott, CEO and president of Cedar Village. “Sharing this film with our residents, and community, is an important opportunity to share his story.” Jeff Baden, executive director of the Mayerson JCC, added, “As a community center, the JCC is honored to provide the opportunity for our community to come together in support of the Shalit family’s efforts to free Gilad. We hope that people across Cincinnati will come to see the film and learn more about how they can help this soldier and his family.”
From June 21 to 28, communities across North America are showing support for the family of Gilad Shalit by showing the film and educating the public. The Shalit family’s plight propagates the current national debate in Israel between core Jewish values and political considerations. Redeeming the captive – a core Jewish value of never leaving a soldier behind or alone – faces an issue of national security as Hamas makes demands in exchange for Gilad’s return. This film is important not only to demonstrate the struggle of the Shalit family, but also the struggles Israel faces to survive. “Family in Captivity” shows the perseverance of a family going through tremendous heartbreak. This intimate story follows the day-to-day coping efforts of the Shalit family as they work to bring Gilad home. Their story shows the
human angle of this difficult ordeal and how these private and anonymous individuals rise to become national symbols. “While I was in Israel last month with Cincinnati’s March of the Living delegation, I visited the Shalit family’s tent where they are protesting outside the Prime Minister’s house and I learned firsthand about concern for Gilad,” said Rabbi Shena PotterJaffee, director of Jewish Life & Learning at the JCC. “This was moving for me, as well as the 24 teens on the trip, as we experienced what his captivity represents as part of the national conversation within Israel.” To learn more about the film, visit the Israel Film Center website. Anyone interested in learning about the Shalit family or to assist the “Free Gilad Shalit” efforts can find information at the Gilad website.
Lainey Paul, Sycamore High School senior and president of AIUSY, was honored by CRUSY’s regional executive board as USY-er of the Year.
Pennsylvania. “I could not be more pleased,” enthused Hillary Hirsch, director of youth and family programming for Adath Israel. “I look forward to building on our success next year.” For more than 50 years AIUSY has focused on intellectual, spiritual and social growth of Jewish teens. This year they held more than 30 programs featuring social action/tikkun olam, Israel and religious programming, as well as purely social events. Two of of these programs were singled out by CRUSY for special awards. Shabbat Around the World featuring the Jewish culture and food of China, Mexico, India and Italy won Best Shabbat Experience award and the Domestic Violence Awareness Shabbat interactive program won Best Social Action award. A D’var Torah on the domestic violence was given by President Lainey Paul during Shabbat morning services. Other social action programs
VOL. 157 • NO. 46 THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011 7 SIVAN 5771 SHABBAT BEGINS FRIDAY 8:45 PM SHABBAT ENDS SATURDAY 9:46 PM THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE CO., PUBLISHERS 18 WEST NINTH STREET, SUITE 2 CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202-2037 PHONE: (513) 621-3145 FAX: (513) 621-3744 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com RABBI ISSAC M. WISE Editor & Publisher, 1854-1900 LEO WISE Editor & Publisher, 1900-1928 RABBI JONAH B. WISE Editor & Publisher, 1928-1930 HENRY C. SEGAL Editor & Publisher, 1930-1985 PHYLLIS R. SINGER Editor & General Manager, 1985-1999 MILLARD H. MACK Publisher Emeritus NETANEL (TED) DEUTSCH Editor & Publisher BARBARA L. MORGENSTERN Senior Writer NICOLE SIMON RITA TONGPITUK Assistant Editors ALEXIA KADISH Copy Editor JANET STEINBERG Travel Editor STEPHANIE DAVIS-NOVAK Fashion Editor MARILYN GALE Dining Editor
Adath Israel USY is a winner During the Central Region United Synagogue Youth (CRUSY) regional convention in early April, CRUSY presented the Chapter of the Year award to Adath Israel’s high school USY (AIUSY) group and its Kadima middle school group. They also presented AIUSY with awards for the best monthly newsletter, best Shabbat experience program and best social action program. In addition, CRUSY’s regional executive board honored Lainey Paul, Sycamore High School senior and president of AIUSY as USY-er of the Year for her leadership skills. The Chapter of the Year award, explained CRUSY’s regional director, is presented for excellence in recruiting, programming, membership participation, fundraising, social action and leadership development. Adath Israel’s middle and high school chapters were chosen for these awards from among 26 active chapters in the central region comprised of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Western
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that distinguished AIUSY as Chapter of the Year included Operation Isaiah, collecting bags of food for the Free Store Food Bank; diaper, toy and cell phone drives; and the Dr. Martin Luther King Day March. To raise money, USY held a Mitzvah Day car wash fundraiser and a Purim carnival including a gragger sale and face painting. Religious related programs featured Adath Israel’s annual youth service followed by Lunch and Learn; three congregational Shabbat dinners preceded by USYers leading Friday night services; Megillah reading; sponsorship of Seudah Shelishit; a Chocolate Seder; and Lag B’Omer bonfire and festival. Social programs ranged from an all night bus ride and Sukkah sleep-over to roller skating, flag football, moonlight bowling, comedy sports show, movie night, speed friending REMIX, a Cyclones game, ski trip, Kings Island trip, Club Israel dance and monthly Nosh ‘n Drosh.
MARIANNA BETTMAN NATE BLOOM IRIS PASTOR RABBI A. JAMES RUDIN ZELL SCHULMAN RABBI AVI SHAFRAN PHYLLIS R. SINGER Contributing Columnists LEV LOKSHIN JANE KARLSBERG Staff Photographers JOSEPH D. STANGE Production Manager MICHAEL MAZER Sales ERIN WYENANDT Office Manager
THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE (USPS 019-320) is published weekly for $44 per year and $2.00 per single copy in Cincinnati and $49 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 The American Israelite columnists do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the newspaper.
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Eddie and Nina Paul to receive JNF Tree of Life Award Jewish National Fund (JNF) is hosting its annual national conference in Cincinnati, and it is thanks to the tireless fundraising efforts and dedication of Nina and Eddie Paul, who have supported JNF’s work in Israel for more than 25 years. “We got involved as a way of keeping our connection to Israel,” said Nina. “If we couldn’t be there, this was the closest to being part of Israel.” For their ongoing commitment to the Cincinnati community and the world at large, Jewish National Fund is honoring the Pauls with the Tree of Life™ Award, a humanitarian distinction presented by JNF to individuals for their outstanding community involvement, their dedication to the cause of American-Israeli friendship, and their devotion to peace and the security of human life. “We’re very humbled and proud to be this year’s honorees. We felt it was the right time, with the National Conference taking place in Cincinnati. We are happy to share this with friends from all over the country. We hope that we will be able to bring lots of people and support for projects we’ve chosen.” The Tree of Life™ Award
Eddie and Nina Paul
Dinner will be held on September 18, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati as part of JNF’s National Conference Sunday Night Gala. Larry King will be the keynote speaker. Nina and Eddie Paul have a long and distinguished connection to JNF. Nina has served as past Southern Ohio regional president, a
national board of trustees member and a member of the Israel Relations Committee. As one of the first members of The Sapphire Society, JNF’s women’s major gifts division, she helped create one of the largest regional groups in the country. Nina, who had an illustrious 30-year career in the jewelry world, was recently named JNF’s
first “Campaign All-Star.” Eddie, Ohio regional manager for ICS, served as JNF’s first midwest zone president from 20012003 and as Cincinnati president from 1999-2001 and has been a national board member since 1999. In addition to sitting on the JNF national board of directors and acting as advisor to JNF’s president, Eddie serves as chairman of a new committee on the environment. He has been a valuable asset in helping JNF gain a greater standing amongst the Cincinnati community and nationally. Nina and Eddie’s work extends to the greater Cincinnati and Jewish communities. Together, they established the Max Paul Fund at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which helps all children with brain tumors reintegrate into their schools and communities. In addition, they support the Special Needs Clinic at CCHMC and a new program which involves an exchange of doctors between CCHMC, Hadassah Hospital and Schneider’s Children’s Hospital in Israel. “What makes Nina and Eddie such special partners to JNF is their passion for and commitment
to the land and people of Israel,” said Rick Krosnick, JNF’s chief development officer. “For Nina and Eddie, fundraising for Israel is indeed a mitzvah.” The dinner will benefit four projects that deal with special needs: LOTEM, Integrated Nature Studies, a non-profit that enables people with disabilities to experience nature; Aleh Negev, a rehabilitative village for children and adults with disabilities; Red Mountain Riding Center at Kibbutz Grofit, which offers therapeutic horse riding to children with disabilities; and the Mayerson Inclusive Park Program, JNF’s project to make Israel’s forests, parks and nature trails accessible for people with and without disabilities. Supporting these projects is a cause close to Nina and Eddie’s hearts, as they have a son who has special needs. “JNF has really stepped up to the plate to take care of people with and without disabilities,” said Nina. “It is very satisfying to be able to see all the fabulous work that JNF does with the money that we raised. We can go to Israel and see firsthand the tangible results. It makes us feel very proud and validates our efforts.”
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Simeon Zigler art exhibition to open at Skirball Museum You are invited to AJC’s
Judge Learned Hand Award Dinner honoring
Michael W. Hawkins Partner, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 6 p.m. reception 7 p.m. dinner & program Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hall of Mirrors Please call 621-4020 for reservations by June 21.
The Skirball Museum of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Clifton has always been a place of treasures. Founded in 1913 as the Union Museum, the Skirball is one of the largest and most innovative Jewish museums in the American Midwest. But new exhibitions at the Skirball have been rare in the past decade. That is about to change with the gala opening reception of a showing of the work of 20th century artist Simeon Zigler on Sunday, June 26, from 4 - 7:30 p.m. The event will be free and open to all. The Zigler exhibition will include up to 40 pieces of the artist’s work from the early 1930s -1960s. The earlier works will be pen and India ink drawings. Later works include watercolor paintings, which the artist began producing in the 1950s with a unique technique and style. Simeon Zigler was born in the Ukraine in 1911 and immigrated to the United States with his parents and two siblings in the early 1920s. The family was escaping the aftermath of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution and all the terror that was brought upon the
Russian Jews during that period. Zigler took night classes at the Cincinnati Art Academy in the late 1920s. Subsequent employment to
Pictured is Simeon Zigler’s “The Fiddler.” See more works of Zigler at HUC’s Skirball Museum.
support his family —he eventually married and had three sons—meant he had limited time for painting and drawing, but it was never far from his heart. He died in 1969.
This show is the first of a series of planned special exhibitions to amplify the Skirball’s existing collections. This is good news, since the museum has not only a rich history, but a profound collection as well. “The Skirball is the only museum of Jewish art, history and ritual in the region,” says Dr. Jonathan Cohen, director of outreach at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati. “It reflects the contributions of Jewish art and religious observance to the life of our community,” continues Cohen. “Its collection is a testament to the significance of Jewish art to the life of the greater community. Jewish artists, artisans and collectors were profoundly influenced by their environment and experience. Their work, displayed in our museum, has graced Cincinnati for nearly a century.” The artist’s son, F.D. Zigler, an artist himself, says, “It is my hope that local and nearby artists, and people that love to see the fine workmanship of a man who loved his craft…will attend.” For more information about the upcoming Zigler exhibition, call Hebrew Union College.
Mercaz art exhibit at Cincinnati Art Museum “The inspiration in my art comes from my surroundings and experiences. The Jewish connection in my artwork is very important, if you ask any of my friends they would tell you I am Jewish and proud about it,” said Allison Nemoff, a student in the Mercaz painting class. Mercaz is excited to announce that it will have an exhibit of the students’ artwork from the “Paint Your Jewish World” course this past semester at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Beginning Tuesday, June 14, in the public exhibition space, the exhibit will be open throughout the summer running until August 28. “Creating art lets teenagers explore their faith through a different medium,” said Mercaz Hebrew High School director Dara Wood. Mercaz is open to the community, to any Jewish teen who would like to have access to a supplementary Jewish education in high school. Wood had hoped to appeal to teenagers by offering a creative outlet that would allow them to dig deeper into their religious backgrounds. This course was the second in their “Experiencing Jewish Education through the Arts” initiative and has been well received by the students and the community. “I approached the Cincinnati Art Museum about collaborating on this
class and was thrilled when they presented the opportunity for our students to have their work exhibited at the Museum,” said Wood. “What an amazing opportunity for a high school student to be a part of something as big as exhibiting their artwork at our remarkable Museum for an entire summer.” This class presented the students with the opportunity to search and describe how to portray their Jewish identity in paint. It challenged them to focus on their Judaism while learning new skills. The creative and open nature of this class compelled the students to step out of their comfort zone as far as delving into their Jewish identity and expressing how it plays into their everyday life. The “Paint Your Jewish World” course was taught by Stewart Goldman, a local professional artist who has held his own exhibits at the Museum, and Phyllis BinikThomas, the Judaic teacher who is also an artist herself. The partnership allowed the students to have access to a professional artist and be sure that the Judaic connection of the class was also a priority. Eighth grader Shira Shturman enrolled in the art class because it sounded different, “Art is something that I really enjoy a lot and it helps me to express myself,” said Shturman. “I
hoped to learn more techniques and think it would be a dream come true to have my artwork in a museum!” Junior Sarah Wasniewski echoed her sentiment, “I have always loved art and combining painting and Judaism will be a lot of fun. It would be so meaningful to have a finished piece of my work displayed at the Cincinnati Art Museum so others have the opportunity to look at what we’ve been working on.” This course, as well as our Film Making course offered last fall, were made possible in part by a matching grant from Legacy Heritage Fund Ltd, administered by the Informal Jewish Education Department at Brandeis University. “The community stepped forward in an amazing way to raise the matching funds for this grant,” said Wood. “Parents, grandparents, community members and foundations that prioritize Jewish education and the arts helped us to make my dream of uniting hands-on experiential art-based courses and Judaic learning in one.” “I hope the Jewish community will all come to the Cincinnati Art Museum and check out what our teens have been working on,” said Wood, “It is truly amazing to see what these students have created and how they relate their Judaism in their paintings.”
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The American Israelite website breaks 3,400 unique visitors in May Plus this week’s Facebook Fan of the Week The American Israelite website received 3,456 unique visitors during the month of May. Thus, the website has gained over 1,000
viewers during the previous month, which was 2,148. A unique visitor is counted only once no matter how many times they have visited a site. This method is measured by a computer’s IP address (Internet Protocol Standard), which acts like online fingerprints. Each of these unique visitors span a wide audience from
young professionals to families to teens, baby boomers, senior adults and more. Remember to stick with the oldest for what’s new. Also, congratulations to Connie Springer, this week’s new Facebook Fan of the Week. Don’t forget to “like” us, for your chance to be the Fan of the Week!
Northern Hills holds Chavurat Shabbat service focusing on Israel On Saturday, June 18, Northern Hills Synagogue - Congregation B’nai Avraham will hold Shabbat services in its popular Chavurat Shabbat format, with several program options parallel to the main service. Rabbi Gershom Barnard said, “We developed Chavurat Shabbat several years ago, under the inspiration of the Synaplex programs, whose special characteristic is having several different things going on simultaneously at the synagogue. However, we gave the idea our own twist, making a point of arranging all the program segments around a theme for Shabbat.” On June 18, the Torah reading
will be Parashat Sh’lah L’kha, which opens with an account of a reconnaissance expedition sent by the Israelites as they prepared to enter Canaan – the Land of Israel. The Torah reports that the 12 spies, one from each tribe, explored the entire land and, after 40 days, returned to the Israelite encampment. They brought back samples of the fruit of the land, but the “majority report” on the possibility of conquering the land was discouraging. Only two of the 12, Joshua and Caleb, gave a positive report. According to the Torah, the readiness of the people to give up their journey to the Promised Land
and return to Egypt led to the death of that entire generation in the wilderness. The three program options that will be presented at the synagogue will be on the geography of Israel, the food of Israel, and different ways of reporting information. Following the service, there will be a congregational Shabbat luncheon, free and open to everyone who comes to the synagogue. No reservations are required. The service will begin at 9:30 a.m. For more information about this program or about Northern Hills Synagogue, contact their office.
Jewish Foundation participates in N.Y.’s camp conference The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati participated in the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s continental One Happy Camper Conference in New York City on June 2. Approximately 50 attendees, including 30 from Jewish federations and foundations across North America, gathered to discuss the power and importance of nonprofit Jewish overnight camp and how communities can implement the One Happy Camper program in their community. Over 20,000 children in the U.S. and Canada have been enticed to attend nonprofit Jewish overnight camp thanks to a needblind cash grant from the One Happy Camper program (OHC) of the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC). OHC is a groundbreaking program, which typically awards families $1000 if their child attends one of 150 camps for the first time. Occasionally there are grants available for families who continue to send their children to camp for a second and third time as well. Since 2006 when OHC began (fka Campership Incentive Program), FJC has been collaborating with organizations in order to match funds, which are subsequent-
ly provided to families and applied to their camp enrollment fees. Across North America, FJC has joined forces with over 65 partners, and the number is on the rise. The Foundation and its partners have disbursed over $34.5 million in grants to date. FJC, the only public organization dedicated to nonprofit Jewish overnight summer camp, convened the symposium which included a presentation from Martin Schwartz, president and CEO of Dorel Industries Inc., and chair and $1 million donor to the Montreal Gen J Camping Initiative. There were also several other speakers and a panel made up of four community partners who talked about their communities’ camping initiatives and shared fundraising strategies. “The One Happy Camper conference provided excellent insights into the real value of overnight Jewish camping,” said Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati executive director Brian Jaffee, who attended the conference. “In addition, the presentations showcased some of the most effective models from around the country for how Jewish communal organizations are working together to make camp participation more affordable and accessible.”
8 - NATIONAL
Meet Dan Lederman: The Jewish bail JTS ordains its first bondsman legislator from South Dakota openly gay rabbi By Ron Kampeas Jewish Telegraphic Agency
By Debra Nussbaum Cohen The Jewish Daily Forward
WASHINGTON (JTA) — AIPAC photo-ops? Check. Initiate and pass Iran divestment bill? Check. Pheasant-hunt fundraisers, sandbagging for flood protection and running a bail bonds business… Check. Could Dan Lederman, an energetic and peripatetic 38-year-old Republican state senator in South Dakota, set a new template for Jewish politicians? “He’s somebody who clearly could be governor, congressman, senator,” said Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “He’s somebody who is totally committed to his constituents.” Last week, total commitment meant helping evacuate residents of the two counties, Lincoln and Union, he represents in the southeastern corner of the state ahead of floods anticipated because of melting snow. “The whole town is being evacuated,” Lederman told JTA from his town of Dakota Dunes in one of two phone calls abbreviated because of his efforts to find temporary housing for the residents and help set up sandbags. Lederman couldn’t resist getting in some partisan digs at the federal government. “I call it a political flood,” he said, blaming what he called “lax” use of dams. Building dams “used to be for public safety, and now it’s
NEW YORK (Forward) — Rachel Isaacs has known, for as long as she can remember, that she wanted to be a rabbi. On May 19, she concluded her pioneering journey through the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary to become the first openly gay person of either sex to be accepted into and then ordained as a rabbi by JTS. But when Isaacs was in college, she thought she wouldn’t be able to become a Conservative rabbi because JTS, at the time, did not ordain gay clergy. When the Conservative movement changed its policy five years ago, after nearly two decades of painful and divisive debate, Isaacs was in her first year of rabbinical school at the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion — and deeply immersed in her studies there. “I loved my teachers and classmates and couldn’t imagine being someplace else. I was happy for the [Conservative] movement but was unsure what it meant for me personally,” she said. After returning to the U.S. from Israel, where she learned in yeshiva and began her studies at HUC, she moved to Brooklyn and joined the Park Slope Jewish Center, a Conservative syna-
Courtesy of Dan Lederman
Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, U.S. Sen. John Thune (RS.D.) and State Sen. Dan Lederman chat in the South Dakota State Capitol during the launch of the legislature’s most recent session, Jan. 8 2011. Lederman is one of three Jewish lawmakers in the state.
for environmental and recreational purposes.” Lederman’s trajectory to Republican lawmaker is not unusual for Republican Jews: He grew up in a politically active Democratic household and switched gears in college when he found that his concerns about national security did not jibe with those of the party with which he was raised. It’s the same narrative that shaped nationally prominent figures like Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary for President George W. Bush — except that Lederman’s transformation happened in the Great Plains, not on some leafy Northeastern college campus. Lederman was raised in
Waterloo, Iowa, where Lederman’s had been a prominent name in local retail since 1905. It was a typical small-town Midwestern store: Packed with clothing and shoes, with the kids attending to customers and Lederman’s father supervising from a raised office in the back of the store. His father was prominent in Black Hawk County Democratic Party politics. “We were little campaign workers,” he said of himself and his three brothers. “We would get out the vote.” Lederman switched political gears by the time he started attending the University of Iowa in 1990 and joined Iowa’s National Guard as a combat medic. “I took a hard right,” he said.
In New York shtetl where arson attack occurred, the rebbe’s word is law By Alex Weisler Jewish Telegraphic Agency NEW SQUARE, N.Y. (JTA) — For years, this leafy Chasidic village about an hour north of New York City has been a shtetl-like haven where residents could live their strictly Orthodox lifestyle far from the temptations and bustle of the nation’s largest city. Out of view of most, life in this community of some 7,000 Skverer Chasidim has revolved around its spiritual leader, the Skverer rebbe, Rabbi David Twersky. In the wake of a recent arson attack that left a dissident New Square resident in the hospital with third-degree burns over more than half his body, the question is whether the centrality of the rebbe to community life has created an atmosphere of dangerous coercion. “We cannot encourage theocratic
rule,” said Michael Sussman, the civil rights attorney representing the burn victim, Aron Rottenberg. “Yet by tolerating these communities, we’re doing that.” The incident came in the wee hours of May 22, when police say that Rottenberg approached a man carrying a rag soaked with flammable liquid behind his family’s house. In the ensuing altercation, which took place at approximately 4 a.m., Rottenberg and his alleged assailant—Shaul Spitzer, 18—were badly burned. The incident appears to be the culmination of a dispute about enforcing the will of the rebbe—something akin to the rule of law in New Square. The rebbe likes his followers in New Square to pray at his synagogue. But since the fall, Rottenberg and a small group have been making the milelong trek to Friedwald Center, a nursing home in the adjacent village of New Hempstead, for a minyan.
That instantly marked Rottenberg, a 43-year-old plumber, as persona non grata in the community. The campaign of intimidation began soon after. Rottenberg had stones thrown through his car and home windows, received threatening phone calls late at night and found his children expelled from the village’s religious schools, according to Sussman. Then came the arson incident involving Spitzer, who had been serving as Twersky’s live-in butler for about a year. In a letter sent to state and federal judicial officials, Sussman said the campaign of intimidation occurred “under Twersky’s authority” and asked for the arson attack to be classified as a hate crime. The FBI reportedly has joined forces with the Ramapo Police Department to investigate the attack, according to The New York Times.
gogue with an openly lesbian rabbi. “My thinking shifted. It was a living expression of the Judaism I believed in and wanted to foster as a rabbi,” said Isaacs, 28. “It’s a community that is progressive and traditional and has an openly lesbian rabbi. The more I was at PSJC, the more I thought this is what I want to do.” “I wanted to lead a halachically observant community, so I decided it was best to transfer to JTS, where it would be far more likely I’d be working at a congregation that kept kosher, was more Shabbat observant and had more davenning with traditional nusach — things I grew up with that were part of my personal practice.” Switching seminaries midstream wasn’t easy. Isaacs had to take four and five classes through her last semester in order to graduate on time, even as she worked as a rabbinical intern and a college chaplain. Being the first openly lesbian rabbi ordained is “really an honor,” Isaacs said. “That I could stand on that stage and be ordained was the culmination of years and years of time and energy and effort from other people. I feel very grateful to them,” she said, “especially knowing that I won’t meet most of them. But I’m thankful for them.” (This story originally appeared in the Forward newspaper. )
RAC: Temple of Jewish political activism at 50 By Adam Kredo The Jewish Week WASHINGTON (Washington Jewish Week) — While driving through Miami in the early 1950s, Kivie Kaplan spotted a sign that would change his life and eventually alter America’s political landscape. It read: ”No dogs, no niggers, no kikes.” That jarring discovery caused Kaplan, a wealthy Jewish American businessman, to declare, “I’m going to spend the rest of my life fighting that sign,” recalled Al Vorspan, a close friend. Until that moment, Kaplan “was not a serious guy,” said Vorspan, who united with Kaplan and several Reform movement leaders to establish the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Created in 1961 using Kaplan’s money and the political savvy of activist Jews such as Vorspan, the RAC burst onto the scene at the apex of the American civil rights movement. It quickly became integral in the battle for equality and emerged from the 1960s as the gold standard in Jewish political advocacy.
Specializing in matters of social justice and civil rights, the RAC has trained a generation of Reform leaders to fight for their liberal values on Capitol Hill and across the nation. “The RAC is absolutely unrivaled in terms of the breadth of what it does,” said Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University. “It justified in a lot of ways the idea that it’s legitimate for religious institutions to have representatives in Washington promoting the ideas of their movements.” Though religious leaders and politicians alike now hold the RAC in high regard, the group faced early opposition from many within the Reform movement. Critics argued that Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath, the Reform movement’s executive director at the time, had no business bringing Judaism onto Capitol Hill. “It was an immense fight to create the RAC, one of the biggest fights in the history of the Reform movement,” recalled Vorspan, who served as director of the movement’s Commission on Social Action, which oversees the RAC. RAC on page 22
THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
INTERNATIONAL - 9
Rival to Chavez, demonized for his Jewish roots, is opposition’s new hope in Venezuela By Jasmina Kelemen Jewish Telegraphic Agency LOS TEQUES, Venezuela (JTA) — As someone who has spent his entire political career opposing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Gov. Henrique Capriles Radonski is accustomed to rough handling. But even he was taken aback by the viciousness that erupted two years ago outside the yellow walls of the old colonial home that now serves as his government seat. “They came here and they called me Nazi, when my grandmother was in the Warsaw Ghetto,” he said, his voice rising. “My great-grandparents were killed in a concentration camp. My grandmother’s mother and father were killed by the Nazis in Treblinka.” By “they” he means the redclad mob, led by the city’s proChavez mayor, who chanted “Nazi fascist!” and sprayed red swastikas onto the outer walls of the Casa Amarilla (Yellow House) in 2009. Since taking office three years ago as the governor of Venezuela’s second-largest state, Miranda, Capriles has become a lightning rod for anti-Semitic attacks from the state’s most radical corners even though he says he is a fervent Catholic and subject to what he describes as a campaign of “permanent sabotage” by the government. Capriles, 38, last month declared his intention to seek the nomination to run as the opposition candidate against Chavez, who will be running for his third consecutive term. Recent surveys show that the lanky Capriles, a grandson of Holocaust survivors who does not identify himself as a Jew, is the most popular politician in Venezuela. Sensing its best opportunity to defeat Chavez as the nation struggles with rampant crime, doubledigit inflation and deteriorating services, the opposition for the first time has agreed to unite behind a single candidate chosen in a primary scheduled for February. This makes Capriles the opposition’s most credible chance of defeating Chavez since he assumed power 13 years ago. “He represents the next generation of Venezuelan political leaders,” Ricardo Hausmann, director of Harvard University’s Center for International Development and a former Venezuelan minister of planning, said of Capriles. “He honed his political skills during very conflicted times and has been able to garner support from a very
Courtesy of Jasmina Kelemen
Gov. Henrique Capriles Radonski, pictured here at a ceremony to hand out vouchers for rebuilding rain-damaged homes, has emerged as a leading figure among the opposition to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, even as he has faced anti-Semitic barbs.
heterogeneous voting bloc.” Capriles is used to confronting the government. He was imprisoned in 2004 for 120 days for charges related to his activities as mayor of a middle-class district of Caracas during the 2002 coup attempt against Chavez. After several trials he was exonerated, allowing him to move on from mayor to governor. In 2008 he defeated a powerful Chavez ally to lead Miranda, which has nearly 3 million people. His victory unnerved the government by finding thousands of new votes in the overcrowded slums surrounding Caracas, which traditionally voted with Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV. Incensed at the loss of such a key state, Chavez immediately ordered the central government to take over Miranda’s hospitals. By presidential decree, Chavez dismantled the state’s infrastructure, taking over police units, asphalt plants and state employees, slashing budgets and crippling the governor’s ability to effectively administer power. To many it looked like revenge, an attempt to paralyze a potentially dangerous political foe. However, the effort seems to have backfired: Some polls are showing that as many as three out of four voters are blaming the Chavez government and not Capriles for reduced services. Capriles notes that while he believes he was targeted by the Chavez government, all of Venezuela’s states, regardless of their political affiliation, have had their powers diminished by the
central government. “Chavez has won through elections, but his daily maneuvering isn’t democratic,” Capriles told JTA. “The challenge is to democratically overcome a government that isn’t democratic.” Chavez does not usually refer to his opponents individually but has begun telling the nation it must be vigilant against political elements “looking to set the nation on fire.” Shortly after Capriles announced his intention to run, Chavez warned that the opposition was planning to destabilize the nation. Such remarks harked back to 2002, when the opposition tried to overthrow his presidency and carried out a devastating strike in the national oil industry. In an interview with a local private station, Chavez said he was sure he would win. “If they don’t kill me or some other catastrophe doesn’t occur, I’m certain — though there will be much work to do — that I will be re-elected for six more years,” Chavez said earlier this year. While Chavez’s approval rating has dropped from its peak level of about 80 percent, he still commands the support of about half the electorate. The half that is against Chavez is fractured among the opposition candidates. Chavez has benefited as well from more than a decade of political organization at the grass-roots level, and he remains popular among many members of Venezuela’s underclasses. Capriles argues that he can more effectively bring about the social improvements.
10 - ISRAEL
Ahead of Palestinian U.N. gambit, Europe is in play Israel By Leslie Susse Jewish Telegraphic Agency
JERUSALEM (JTA) — It was a sign that ties between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations remain strong despite the apparent tensions two weeks ago when the two leaders met at the White House. On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton shot down a French proposal for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that had put the Israeli leader in a quandary. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accepted the French proposal, which included a settlement freeze, his right-leaning coalition partners might have bolted the government. If he refused, it would have made it seem like he was the intransigent party in IsraeliPalestinian negotiations — a perilous position as France and other leading European states consider voting for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations in September. During a visit to Israel and the West Bank in early June, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe outlined his plan for restarting the stalled peace process: The goal would be to establish two states for two peoples on the basis of the 1967 lines with land swaps; borders and security would be discussed first, Jerusalem and refugees later. That part of the proposal mirrored Obama’s call two weeks ago for renewed Israeli-Palestinian talks. But the French proposal also envisaged achieving a full-fledged permanent peace deal within a year and a freeze of any unilateral steps
Courtesy of Isaac Harari / FLASH90 / JTA
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe visits the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem in Jerusalem during his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority territories, June 2, 2011.
in the interim. For the Palestinians, that would mean not petitioning the United Nations for statehood in September. For Israel, it would mean halting settlement construction in the West Bank. Juppe invited Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas to an international conference in Paris in July to kickstart the process. Abbas quickly replied in the affirmative. Netanyahu said he would first consult with the Americans. The package was attractive to the Palestinians because of its clear focus on the 1967 lines and its relatively short timetable. The sweetener for Israel was the explicit reference to “two states for two peoples,” implying that Israel would be, as Netanyahu insists, recognized as the state of the Jewish people.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu found himself in a bind. He already had said no to negotiations structured that way when Obama raised the issue. Netanyahu insists the Palestinians first recognize Israel as a Jewish state as a sign of readiness to end the conflict. In addition, Hamas, the terrorist organization that is now part of the Palestinian leadership following the recent reconciliation with Fatah, must recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and accept all previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements before a credible peace process can be contemplated. But perhaps even more important, Netanyahu has serious issues with the 1967 lines plus land swaps formula. He insists on maintaining an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley and, besides the large settlement blocs,
he wants to retain security areas along the Samarian mountain ridge, as well as sites of historic importance such as Hebron. This goes well beyond anything that could be construed as being “based on the 1967 lines.” Were Netanyahu to accept the French proposal, coalition partners like Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party might quit the government, and Likud hardliners like Benny Begin and Moshe Yaalon might challenge Netanyahu’s authority. Still, despite these very serious obstacles, the prize for taking up the French offer was tempting: Palestinian deferment of plans to seek U.N. membership this year. There was also a big stick: If Netanyahu rejected the French offer, Juppe intimated that France and several of its European allies would vote for U.N. recognition of Palestine. With Clinton’s nix, Netanyahu is off the hook. Meanwhile, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has quit trying to prevent the Palestinians from securing the two-thirds majority they need for recognition in the 192-member U.N. General Assembly. Unlike in the U.N. Security Council, where Obama has promised that the United States will veto any unilateral vote on Palestinian statehood, General Assembly votes do not carry the force of international law. Yet even in the General Assembly, Israel hopes to secure as many “No” votes as possible from democratic countries. This, Israeli officials argue, would carry enormous moral weight.
Israel considers options on Palestinian statehood bid By Linda Gradstein Jewish Telegraphic Agency JERUSALEM (JTA) — While U.S. officials are running a fullcourt diplomatic press against the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition of statehood this September and officials at international Jewish organizations are trying to convince foreign leaders to oppose statehood, the Israeli government appears to be taking a different approach: acceptance. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Knesset committee that there is no way to stop the U.N. General Assembly from recognizing Palestinian statehood. “It would be possible to get a resolution that the world is flat” in the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu said in a jibe at the body, where anti-Israel resolutions have a virtual automatic majority. The Palestinians routinely have relied on the bloc of Arab and Muslims states and their allies in
the non-aligned movement of mostly Third World countries to pass anti-Israel resolutions. A senior Israeli official close to the prime minister said Israel is not particularly concerned about a vote for a Palestinian state in the General Assembly. “We have very low expectations of the General Assembly,” he said. “Every year they pass at least 20 anti-Israel resolutions, including one condemning Israel for attacking the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.” Rather, the Netanyahu administration is relying on the fact that General Assembly resolutions do not have international legal standing and that in the U.N. Security Council, where resolutions do carry the force of law, the United States would veto any such resolution. But Israel remains concerned, the official said, that the Palestinians will use a General Assembly resolution to harden their positions against any compromise with Israel.
For now, Israeli officials are focusing on trying to limit the diplomatic damage that a General Assembly resolution could cause. “The president of the General Assembly said that even if a resolution passes, this isn’t statehood,” said a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Zalman Shoval, who accompanied Netanyahu on his recent trip to Washington. “But there will be negative repercussions. Countries will certainly use it for anti-Israel propaganda. They may even try to take economic steps against Israel, like divestment.” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has gone even further, warning of a “diplomatic tsunami” in September. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni recently attacked Netanyahu for failing to prevent the expected unilateral declaration of a state, saying he is a weak and inadequate leader. “Netanyahu has failed to recruit international support for Israel’s basic principles,” Livni, the head
of the Kadima Party, told the Knesset. “Israel needs a leader, and this government has missed an opportunity.” During the previous Israeli government, when Ehud Olmert was the prime minister and Livni the foreign minister, she held many meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. According to recent statements by Olmert and Abbas, they made significant progress on the issue of the future of borders of a Palestinian state. Most Israeli analysts say it is unlikely that peace talks will be renewed before September. “I think Netanyahu knows that any political initiative for restarting peace talks is a non-starter and that the Palestinians have no intention of returning to negotiations,” said Yossi Alpher, a former Mossad official and the editor of the joint Israeli-Palestinian website Bitterlemons. “His strategy is to hunker down and not to rock the boat.”
Briefs Syrian protesters remain on border after deadly demonstrations JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syrian protesters spent the night on the border with Israel on the Golan Heights following a day in which Syrian reports claim that up to 23 Arabs were killed. More protesters began gathering near the border again on Monday but did not show signs of repeating Sunday’s attempts to breach the border. Meanwhile, Syrian police reportedly began preventing pro-Palestinian marchers from approaching the border after setting up checkpoints and sending away many protesters. Syrian reports claim that 23 protesters were killed, including a woman and a child, and 350 injured Sunday on what the Arabs call Naksa Day commemorating the anniversary of the “setback” of the 1967 Six-Day War. The protests appeared to be a repeat attempt at the border breaches of May 15 that left more than a dozen dead. Israeli military officials reject the Syrian reports of the number dead as inflated. Israeli soldiers and border police used tear gas and fired their weapons in the air and then at protesters’ feet to break up the crowds threatening to breach the border in the Golan Heights at the Druze town of Majdal Shams and the Kuneitra crossing. Dozens of Druze youths from Majdal Shams in Israel threw large rocks and bricks at police on the border. On Monday, Majdal Shams remained a closed military zone. The opposition Reform Party of Syria asserted late Sunday that President Bashar Assad’s regime offered to pay demonstrators in the border protests $1,000 for participating, and $10,000 to the families of protesters killed during the demonstrations. A windfall of an extra $1,000 can keep a struggling Syrian family afloat for up to six months, according to a statement from the Reform Party. The party accused Assad of using the border clashes to divert attention from his government’s attacks on his own citizens. About 70 Syrian anti-government protesters reportedly were killed over the weekend, according to opposition reports. Meanwhile, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that it will complain to the United Nations over the protests.
SOCIAL LIFE - 11
THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
A N N O U N C E M E N TS
ANNOUNCEMENTS ARE FREE!
Alex Freedman and Laura Seidenberg in Tel Aviv in March 2011.
WEDDING arriet and Bill Freedman announce the wedding of their son, Alex, to Laura Seidenberg on August 29, 2010. Laura is the daughter of Michelle and Jimmy Seidenberg of Deerfield, Ill. Both are graduates of Washington University in St. Louis. Laura is pursuing her Masters Degree in Education
from the Bank Street Graduate School in NYC. Alex has just completed his third year of studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary. They are now returning from an academic year in Jerusalem and will reside in NYC.
arbara L. Morgenstern, a senior writer for The
Barbara L. Morgenstern American Israelite, will teach specialty reporting in Florence, Italy, this summer for seven weeks in connection with Miami University’s “Italy and the Renaissance 2011” program. A former Cincinnati Post reporter and a lawyer, Morgenstern has taught news writing and reporting classes, as well as media law, at Miami’s Oxford, Ohio, campus since 2003.
BIRTHS • BAT/BAR MITZVAHS ENGAGEMENTS • WEDDINGS BIRTHDAYS • ANNIVERSARIES Place your FREE announcement in The American Israelite Newspaper and Website by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
12 - CINCINNATI JEWISH LIFE
GOT SHABBAT: MID EAST FEAST & ISRAELI WINE TASTING Access, an initiative of The Mayerson Foundation for Jewish young professionals, 21-35, hosted a Mid East Feast & Israeli Wine Tasting as part of its Got Shabbat dinner series. Nearly 160 young professionals gathered at The Art of Entertaining in Oâ€™Bryonville to enjoy a sampling of select Israeli wines and a fivecourse gourmet Mediterranean meal prepared by chefs in an open view kitchen. The Shabbat prayers were led by HUC Rabbinic student, Jen Lader, and followed by a relaxing dinner where guests got to mix and mingle while they wound down the busy work week together. This event was also funded in part by a grant from the Saul Schottenstein Foundation B. Accessâ€™ next Got Shabbat dinner, Indian Summer Shabbat, on August 19, will celebrate the foods and culture of India. For more information about Access, consult the Community Directory in the back of this issue. To see more photos from this event, please visit www.americanisraelite.com
Jillian Steinberg, Sari Goldhoff, Amanda Ross, Annie Kanter, Melissa Brook
Armando Padilla, Wendy Rush, Matt Rush, Karen Overmeyer, Mark Overmeyer
Erica Efron, Jamie Dalin, Jessica Goldberg
Evan Fingerman, Ashley Ackerman
Lindsey Wilson, Molly Zwelling, David Kohn
THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
CINCINNATI JEWISH LIFE - 13
David Shott, Vladimir Leytus
Caryn Ben-Hur, Mollie Kanter, Sarah Jarnicki
Alana Berman, Michael Polisky, Elena Landa, Michael Haman, Stacey Wolfe
Larry Jerome, Sarah Lempert, Jay Shifman, Esther Miller, Dan Bischoff, Josh Kleymeyer
Rachel Rothstein, Evan Meyer, Chelsea Golding, Dan Sharff
David Solomon, David Polaniecki, Mark Shuller, Justin Smith
14 - DINING OUT
Sugar n’ Spice — everything is nice By Marilyn Gale Dining Editor Sugar n’ Spice was always a familiar spot in Cincinnati—now it is all pink and pretty, refreshed and glowing. Steve Frankel, brand new proprietor, has rejuvenated a colorful, neighborhood eatery in Cincinnati. Call it a resurrection of a beloved diner. Frankel, the fifth owner of this landmark establishment, describes himself as more of a caretaker of an historic icon than a restaurateur. “You don’t get rid of history,” said Frankel, “you just find a new use.” Indeed that is the case at clean, inviting Sugar n’ Spice. “You don’t fix what isn’t broken,” added Frankel. The original stools have been retained and hooks for hanging purses remain under the counters. Huge food portions still exist and Frankel wisely has kept a few pieces of the original charm—the cash register that only goes up to $9.99 and reupholstered counter chairs in glittery red and green. The longevity and retention of the devoted staff can be studied in colleges under business management. “Seventy years,” Frankel told me, like a proud papa. “Just because it is old, doesn’t mean it has to go away.” Frankel, an entrepreneur, formerly in charge of the third largest banking real estate in the country, was born and raised in Cincinnati. To the advantage of the community, he has adroitly layered his business acumen on top of a restaurant that has endured the test of time. Like a fine tapestry, he has pulled the durable strands through a modern vision and instead of unraveling, a breakfast and lunch spot convenient to city dwellers has reemerged. For 70 years, Sugar n’ Spice has been delighting Cincinnati area diners with its secret recipe Wispy Thin Pancakes, huge fluffy omelettes, signature creative sandwiches and more. The breakfast and lunch menu has changed little since Mort Keller established the restaurant in 1941. On any given day, you might see a new or old BMW, Ford truck, Cadillac and maybe even a Pinto in the parking lot. Throw in the occasional Jaguar, Honda and a Chevy, and you can get an idea of the diversity represented by this restaurant’s patrons. College and high school students frequently eat there. Good prices, fast service and large portions lure retirees and families of all races and ages. Frankel was quick to add that change isn’t always bad and that sometimes a little change makes things better. A newly painted décor complete with whimsical murals designed by Erica Hutchins, local Cincinnati artist, depicting pancakes and omelettes, and a rosy pink exterior add a friendly tone to
(Top-bottom) Steve Frankel, new owner, stands ready to greet his customers in the renovated Sugar n’ Spice; An omelette promises to satisfy even the largest appetite at Sugar n’ Spice; Sugar n’ Spice is all spruced up and ready to serve you.
the restaurant atmosphere. “The key at Sugar n’ Spice is the spirit. It is a team effort. The cooks,
dishwashers and wait staff are passionately involved from open to close,” said Frankel. He raved
about his staff, people who have remained with the restaurant during multiple changes of ownership.
One such loyal person was Donald Love, who couldn’t recall how long he had been the short order cook. He knew, though, it was over 25 years. A modest man, he denied the role of head cook, labeling himself as merely the most experienced. “I care about what I cook, and I enjoy the compliments. When you got people at a restaurant just for a paycheck, the food won’t be right,” Love said. A restaurant that has been in existence for nearly 70 years and amassed a group of regulars can be called generational. Folks who have been coming there since their teen years are now introducing their grandchildren to Mort Keller’s creations. Regulars come for the huge fluffy omelettes, wispy thin pancakes, fresh fruit cup or Love’s Salmon platter; two eggs, two salmon patties, choice of potato or grits, with a side of raisin toast or a muffin. I tried the omelette, very large, and it was enough for several meals. Frankel said the omelettes were made with “around 3 eggs,” but I suspect they were extra large ones. You get a lot of food for the price because feeding people makes Frankel happy. Omelettes start at $5.25, plus $0.50 for each additional ingredient. For the vegetarian conscious customer, the choices are abundant. You can have spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, black olives, red, yellow, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos or salsa. Choice of cheese is also plentiful. You can easily eat the recommended five daily servings of vegetables in one meal! Burgers intrigue me and I was glad to see that a popular item from baby boomer teen years still grace the menu. Of course, modern times have impacted the eatery so in addition to the beef patty, you can order grilled chicken, a turkey burger, or cotton pickin’ bar-b-que beef cooked on the large outdoor grill, shredded and bathed in a tangy sauce. Sandwiches start at $4.25. Breakfast is served all day, starting at 7 a.m. until closing at 3 p.m. Given the popularity of Mort Kellar’s Wispy Thin pancakes, at $4 for four, or a half order for $3, the public would be in an uproar if they weren’t on the menu at all times. For an extra $0.50, you can have your pancakes bulging with blueberries. We welcome the makeover of this charming Cincinnati breakfast and lunch spot. The motto on the front door declares the restaurant’s goal is to exceed the customer’s expectations. In these tough economic times, it is indeed a worthy value. Sugar ‘n Spice 4381 Reading Road Cincinnati, Ohio 513-242-3521
DINING OUT - 15
THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
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16 - OPINION
The latest marchers in the long parade of horribles anxious to murder in the name of a religion of peace are two feckless young men, Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, natives of Algeria and Morocco, respectively. They were arraigned last week in New York on charges of plotting to blow up synagogues. Mamdouh, according to prosecutors, is on tape saying he hated Jews; and Ferhani, according to the complaint, planned among other things to use hand grenades; and relished the thought of “pulling the pins and throwing them into the synagogue.” That image—now, thankfully, confined to harmless words in court papers—conjured in my mind a similar one, of another time, another synagogue, and other hand grenades. It was in 1943. After more than three years of German control over France, the Great Synagogue of Lyon continued to function. That December 10, however, the Lyon Milice, the Vichy government’s shock troops, decided to put an end to Jewish worship in the city. The shul’s rabbi survived the war to tell the tale, which is recorded in a book about Klaus Barbie, the infamous “Butcher of Lyon” (and the title, in fact, of the book, by Brendan Murphy — Empire/Harper & Row, 1983). A member of the Milice quietly entered the rear of the sanctuary that Friday night during services. Armed with three hand grenades, he intended to lob them into the crowd of worshippers from behind, and to escape before the explosions. After silently opening the door and entering the room unnoticed by anyone but the rabbi (who stood facing the congregation), he pulled the pins. What he saw, though, at that moment, grenades armed and the crowd of Jewish men standing with their backs toward him, so shook him that he froze, wide-eyed and uncomprehending, for a crucial moment, managing only to toss the grenades a few feet before fleeing in shock. Several worshippers were injured by shrapnel but not one was killed. What had so flabbergasted the Nazi was the sudden, unexpected sight of his intended victims’ faces, as the congregation, as if on cue, turned as one on its heels
to face him. The would-be mass-murderer had entered the shul precisely at “bo’i b’shalom,” the last stanza of Lecha Dodi, when worshippers traditionally turn toward the door to welcome Shabbos. Talk about timing. I’m not a fan of happy-ending or just-desserts stories. So many of them simply aren’t true or, at the very least, are not definitively sourced or corroborated. Even many of the most famous tales may be fictitious. (Stories don’t become more factual with repetition.) What’s more, every story that doesn’t seem to end happily or neatly testifies no less loudly to G-d’s plan. Hashgacha, or Divine Providence, is every bit as operative in the missed plane that didn’t end up crashing as in the one that did. But when an account appears not in an inspirational speech but in a well-researched history book, duly detailed and dated, well, it can’t help but draw our attention. Not as a “fortification of belief” but as special cause for us already-believers to feel keener gratitude to the Creator for His kindness. The story of the Lyon shul often visits my mind on Friday nights in shul, as I myself turn to welcome Shabbos. Its ending is compelling reason to give thanks, even 68 years later, to the Shomer Yisrael, the Guardian of the Jewish People. As is the nipping-in-the-bud of the plans of the North African terrorist wannabes currently sitting in detention. (And, if their guilt is established, may they remain there for many years to come.) No mortal can identify the special merit of the Lyon worshippers. Maybe it was the fact that the city’s Jewish community had provided sanctuary for Jewish refugees from other parts of France. Maybe it was the very fact of the synagogue stubbornly continuing to hold services during such trying times. Or something else, unknown. Or many things. But merits there were. And no mortal can know where the next plot against Jews is currently being planned. What we can know, though, is that we have a Guardian. And that we must strive to merit His protection for the future. Rabbi Shafran is an editor at large and columnist for Ami Magazine. This column is reproduced with permission from Ami Magazine.
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TEST YOUR TORAH KNOWLEDGE THIS WEEK’S PORTION: BEHALOTCHA (BAMIDBAR 8:1—12:16) 1. What were the trumpets used for? a.) Signal that The Children of Israel would move in the desert b.) Signal a meeting of the leaders c.) On occasion of certain sacrifices d.) All of the above 2. Is there any holiday other than Passover that one can make up? a.) Yes b.) No
b.) Foods that grew in Egypt c.) Worked well together with the manna 4. When did Moshe say “Hashem should scatter his enemies” a.) When the Holy Ark moved b.) When they blew the trumpets c.) When people complained about Hashem 5. When did Moshe say “Hashem find rest for the multitudes of The Children of Israel” a.) After a major setback happened to The Children of Israel. b.) At the daily sacrifice c.) When the Ark came to a rest
3. In what context are onion and garlic mentioned? a.) Foods that grow in Canaan 3. C 11:5 4. A 10:35 5. C 10:36
By Rabbi Avi Shafran Contributing Columnist
Written by Rabbi Dov Aaron Wise
ANSWERS 1. D 10:4-10 2. B
THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
JEWISH LIFE - 17
Sedra of the Week By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
SHABBAT SHALOM: PARSHAT BEHA’ALOTECHA • NUMBERS 8:1-12:16
Efrat, Israel — “And the nation became evil” (Numbers 11:1). From this week’s reading of Beha’alotecha, the Book of Numbers takes a dramatic turn, ushering in the sin of the scouts, the rebellions of Korah and Zimri ben Salou, and the general squabbling which resulted in the death of that generation in the desert. The words which signal this destructive dénouement are difficult to translate: “And the nation became evil ‘mit’onenim’” (Numbers 11:1), a word which only appears in the Bible this one time, and is generally translated as “complainers” (as if it had been written “mitlonenim”). How can we explain this sudden downward spiral? This turn of events is particularly surprising since Numbers began with such a positive and optimistic description of the tribes surrounding the Sanctuary, the Kohanim and Levites at their proper stations, and the army poised for the conquest of Israel. I believe the answer is found in the midrashic name of this book: The Book of Censuses. Two censuses are taken: the first at the outset of Numbers, and the second in Chapter 26, in the midst of the Israelite rebellions against Moses. How the Israelites are to be identified for each census is radically different, and herein lies the reason for the apparent spiritual decline. The first census is introduced as follows: “Take a census of the entire assembly of the children of Israel according to their families, according to their fathers’ households, every male individually… everyone who goes out to the army of Israel” (Num. 1:2-2). Rashi explains that each individual is listed according to his tribe, his father’s house, and his individual name; only those above the age of 20 — the minimum age for army service — were included. By contrast, Targum Onkelos interprets the word “l’mishpehotam” to mean “their children” rather than “their forebears,” or “their tribes.” Even from a more general perspective, the “yihus” (familial status) that one accrues for oneself is
I believe the answer is found in the midrashic name of this book: The Book of Censuses. Two censuses are taken: the first at the outset of Numbers, and the second in Chapter 26, in the midst of the Israelite rebellions against Moses. How the Israelites are to be identified for each census is radically different, and herein lies the reason for the apparent spiritual decline.
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far more important than the pedigree one receives from one’s forbears. When I was the rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue, much of my time was spent match-making. I would often receive phone calls from out-of-town parents anxious about the impending shidduch between their child and someone about whom they knew little, asking: “And what about the family, the yihus?” I had a stock response: “I guarantee you a better yihus than our King Messiah. After all, King David’s had as his forebears a Moabite convert from an act of incest on his maternal side and the result of a forbidden sexual relationship between a man and his daughter-inlaw on his paternal side.” Nevertheless, Rashi is still our most classical commentary, and since l’mishpehotam precedes leveit avotam (fathers’ household) in the verse, a simple reading would favor Rashi’s interpretation of “tribal forebears” over Onkelos’s “children.” Moreover, Rashi’s interpretation helps us understand the crisis which occurred. The second census has altogether different instructions: “Take a census of the entire assembly of the children of Israel according to their father’s houses, all who go out to the army of Israel” (Num. 26: 2). Missing are two crucial points
found in the first census — the tribal background and the individual name. Every good officer knows how important it is that each soldier has a sense of pride in his mission. This impetus derives from a historical tradition, a feeling of connectedness to a familial or tribal narrative for the sake of which the soldier is ready to sacrifice his life. Without this historical connection, the individual will be without the morale required to act with courage and commitment. The Israelites at Sinai were imbued with the mission to be a “holy nation and kingdom of priestteachers,” to set out for Zion from whence the G-d of peace and morality would be revealed. Somehow, they lost this sense of connectedness to their past during that first year in the wilderness. The Netziv explains the Hebrew “mit’onenim” as deriving from the phrase “anna v’anna,” to wander hither and thither, without a moral compass. In the absence of connection to an idealistic past, they gave up their dream of a consecrated future — and had to die forlorn where they were. Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Chancellor Ohr Torah Stone Chief Rabbi - Efrat Israel
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18 - JEWZ IN THE NEWZ
Jewz in the Newz By Nate Bloom Contributing Columnist TONY TIME The Tony Awards for excellence in the Broadway theater will be broadcast live on CBS, on Sunday, June 12, at 8PM. Neil Patrick Harris, a witty guy with a nice singing voice, will host. About 20 celebrities will appear as presenters. As of press time, three Jewish celebs have confirmed: JOEL GREY, 79; MATTHEW BRODERICK, 49; and DANIEL RADCLIFFE, 21. (The latter two actors are the sons of Jewish mothers and identify as Jewish.) All three guys are “connected” — Broderick was once engaged to JENNIFER GREY, Joel’s daughter. Radcliffe is currently starring in a Broadway revival of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” playing the same role that Broderick played in a 1995 revival. Interestingly, Robert Morse, who created the role (1961), is scheduled to appear at the awards — so I suspect that a special “How To” number or comic bit, featuring all three actors, is going to happen. Playwright EVE ENSLER, 58, (“The Vagina Monologues”), whose late father was Jewish, is to receive the Isabelle Stevenson award. The award began in 2009 and is presented to: “an individual from the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations.” In 1998, Ensler co-founded V-Day, a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls. Chicago’s Lookingglass Theater Company is this year’s winner of the Regional Theater Tony. It was co-founded by, and is heavily subsidized by actor DAVID SCHWIMMER, 44. NOMINEES Below are the Jewish Tony nominees I am aware of (not including producers or technical award nominees). Best original musical score (music and/or lyrics): JOHN KANDER, 84, (music/lyrics) and the late FRED EBB, for “Scottsboro Boys,” a show about a famous racial injustice case. Also nominated for best score is ALAN MENKEN, 61, (music only) for “Sister Act,” and DAVID YAZBEK, 51, (words and music) for “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” Also nominated in this category is B, 40, (“The Book of Mormon.”) This satirical, but not mean musical about Mormon missionaries features lyrics (but not music) by Stone and Trey Parker. Stone and
Parker, who are famous as the creators of the animated TV show, “South Park,” are also nominated for best “book” (story) of a musical. (Stone and Yazbek are the sons of Jewish mothers/nonJewish fathers). JOSH GAD, 30, who was raised Orthodox, is nominated for best actor in a musical (“The Book of Mormon”). Vying for the Tony for best featured actress in a play are: ELLEN BARKIN, 57, (“The Normal Heart;” a play about the AIDS epidemic by LARRY KRAMER) and JUDITH LIGHT, 62, (“Lombardi;” a show about the famous football coach). Grey is co-nominated (with George C. Wolfe, an AfricanAmerican) for best direction of a play (“The Normal Heart”). TV NOTES By coincidence, two new TV shows with Jewish stars start on Wednesday, June 15, at 10:30PM. Comedian H. JON BENJAMIN, 45, has provided the voice for more than a score of animated characters on TV and in films, but he has not appeared “live” very often. That changes with the premiere of his new Comedy Central cable series, “Jon Benjamin Has a Van.” The show’s press release says: “Every week Benjamin brings you fresh and unique takes on stories from all across America. Each show is a new adventure where Benjamin unwittingly becomes part of a story he's investigating. From hard hitting news to the softer side of human interest stories—Benjamin, and his van, are there. Hop in!” The first show features a trip to NY’s Little Italy. FRAN DRESCHER, 53, (“The Nanny”) returns to series TV as the star of the TVLand cable show, “Happily Divorced.” The press description says: “Inspired by Drescher’s real life experience and follows Los Angeles florist Fran (Drescher) whose 18-year marriage ends suddenly when her husband announces he’s gay. And if that weren’t enough, he can’t afford to move out. They figured out how to be “Happily Divorced,” but her being single and his being gay, while living under one roof, is a whole other story.” “Happily” is co-written and coproduced by PETER MARC JACOBSON, 53, who also cocreated and co-wrote “The Nanny.” He and Drescher were high school sweethearts and wed in 1978. In 1999, they divorced (no kids) and a few years later Jacobson came out as gay. ROBERT WALDEN, 69, plays Drescher’s father, with Oscarwinner Rita Moreno, 79, as her mother.
FROM THE PAGES 100 Years Ago Mr. Leonard H. Freiberg, a graduate of Yale, and a son of Mr. Bernard Freiberg, is the winner of the $50 prize at Cincinnati Law School for attaining the second highest credits. Mrs. Amelia Van Cleef, wife of Herman Van Cleef, of 221 Albany Avenue, died Sunday, June 4th, in her 49th year of age. She is survived by her husband, one son, Oscar, and one daughter, Mrs. Oscar Englander, of Toledo, Ohio. The funeral took place Tuesday afternoon, Rabbi Mielziner officiating. At the recent Confirmation
Service at the Plum Street Temple, Dr. Grossmann introduced an innovation which should be accepted by all congregations throughout the country. By his direction, the confirmants carried no bouquets of flowers and the class donated the cost of them to a charity organization. The Jewish Consumptive Relief Society held its meeting Tuesday, concluding a most profitable season. A report was read showing that there are now 680 members, and that the society has raised over $10,000 for the consumptives in the tented city in Denver. A musical program was
rendered by Miss Conrey, vocalist; Mrs. Adolph Klein, pianist, and Mr. Henry Robinson, who gave two violin solos. Dr. Eli A. Miller, No. 631 West Sixth Street, was married Tuesday to Miss Ethel Bloch, a daughter of Daniel Bloch, by Rabbi Philipson. The romance began when the couple were pupils at the Woodward High School a few years ago. Dr. Miller is one of the new interns on the staff of the Jewish Hospital, having been appointed immediately after his graduation from Ohio Medical College last week. — June 8, 1911
75 Years Ago Eddie Duchin and his orchestra, one of the most popular orchestras on the dance and air circuits, will be a special attraction in Moonlite Gardens, Coney Island, Wednesday night, with dancing from 8:30 to 1. The new Hamilton County Republican Executive Committee includes Mr. Walton H. Bachrach, Mrs. Gilbert Bettman, Mr. Gilbert Bettman, Mr. Willis D. Gradison, Mr. Alfred Gus Karger, Mr. Edgar Mills, Mr. Chauncey D. Pichel, Mr. Arthur M. Spiegel, Mrs. Saul Zielonka, Mr. Julius Mund, Mr. Benjamin S.
Schwartz, Mr. Jack Rubenstein. Mr. Milton Stuhlbarg, widely known for his dance orchestra activities, will be a senior counselor at Indian Acres Camp, Fryeburg, Maine, this summer. Mr. Stuhlbarg is a sergeant in Troop F. of the 123rd Cavalry and a senior in law at the University of Cincinnati. He will be an instructor in horsemanship and rifle and will assist in orchestral activity. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry M. Stuhlbarg of Baxter Avenue. Miss Gertrude Coulter, daughter of
Dr. Thomas Coulter, of Tulsa, Okla., and Mr. Irvin M. Bettman, son of Mrs. Irvin M. Bettman, of Fork Avenue, Walnut Hills, will be married at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Mayer, N. Crescent Avenue, Sunday, June 21st, Dr. David Philipson will officiate. Miss Mary Coulter will be her sister’s maid of honor, and Mr. Lee J. Workum will be best man. A family dinner will follow the ceremony. The bride and groom will leave immediately for the East to sail for a wedding trip in Bermuda. — June 11, 1936
50 Years Ago Mrs. Robert E. Guggenheim was re-elected president of the Jewish Hospital Auxiliary at the 15th annual luncheon at Losantiville Country Club Friday, June 2. Others elected were Mrs. B.H. Schaeffer, first vice president; Mrs. Ben Moskowitz, second vice president; Mrs. Jay W. Karpen, third vice president; Mrs. Alan Rosenberg, fourth vice president; Mrs. Joseph S.
Stern, Jr., recording secretary; Mrs. Robert A. Bowman, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Samuel L. Chalfie, financial secretary; Mrs. Lewis Bernard, assistant financial secretary; Mrs. Frederic N. Silverman, treasurer; Mrs. Edward H. Selonik, assistant tresurer; Mrs. J. Louis Warm, auditor. Mrs. Pearl Katz, formerly of Cincinnati and Milwaukee passed
away in New York City Wednesday, May 31. Survivors include her husband, Benjamin; a son, Ira Katz of Nashville; a daughter, Mrs. Abraham S. Braude of Milwaukee; three sisters, Mrs. Henry Gluckman and Mrs. Michael McFader, of Miami Beach and Miss Isabelle Martin, of Cleveland; and eight grandchildren. — June 8, 1961
25 Years Ago June Burgin will be installed as the 17th president of the Jewish Community Relations Council Tuesday, June 17th, at the Omni Netherland Plaza. Other officers being installed with Mrs. Burgin are Philip T. Cohen, A.J. Randman, and Ruth Zeligs, vice presidents; and Mickey Kaplan, treasurer. New board members are Dr. Myer Horowitz, David Lazarus, Dr. Herbert Paper, Dr. Daniel J. Ransohoff, Robert Heldman, Michael G. Kuhn, Dr.
Joel Schindler and Raymon Solomon. A native Cincinnatian, Mrs. Burgin attened Walnut Hills High School and graduated from Connecticutt College. She served as president of Wise Temple, 1979-81, and is on the Board of Trustees of the congregation and is a trustee of the Plum Street Temple. Robert I. And Ruth W. Westheimer have been selected as the first recipients of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award, given
to individuals who have rendered outstanding service as volunteers in the community. The Westheimers were honored recently at a meeting of the de Tocqueville Society. In presenting the awards, John G. Smale, chairman of the board of the Proctor & Gamble Company and Society cochairman, cited the Westheimers as an excellent example of people who have “made a difference.” — June 12, 1986
10 Years Ago Cedar Village held it annual meeting May 22. The outgoing chairman of the board, Jerry Lerner, led the session and thanked the outgoing trustees: Steve Boymel, Fred Heldman, Larry Shapiro, Rabbi Rick Steinberg, Sue Teller and Nancy Wolf. Rabbi Tom
Heyn gave a D’var Torah concerning the counting of the Omar and the week’s Torah portion, Parshat Bamidbar. Jerry Teller gave the nominating committee’s report. In June 2001, the following individuals will begin three-year terms on the
board of trustees: Philip Cohen, Ed Frankel, Frank Harkavy, Andrew Heldman, Gerald Robinson, Rabbi Gerry Walter, Harry Davidow, Murray Guttman, Joyce Heldman, Mark Moskowitz, Judith Smily and Rabbi Irvin Wise. — June 7, 2001
THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
CLASSIFIEDS - 19
COMMUNITY DIRECTORY COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS Access (513) 373-0300 • www.jypaccess.org Big Brothers/Big Sisters Assoc. (513) 761-3200 • bigbrobigsis.org Beth Tevilah Mikveh Society (513) 821-6679 Camp Ashreinu (513) 702-1513 Camp at the J (513) 722-7226 • mayersonjcc.org Camp Livingston (513) 793-5554 • camplivingston.com Cedar Village (513) 754-3100 • cedarvillage.org Chevra Kadisha (513) 396-6426 Fusion Family (513) 703-3343 • www.fusionnati.org Halom House (513) 791-2912 • halomhouse.com Hillel Jewish Student Center (513) 221-6728 • hillelcincinnati.org Jewish Community Center (513) 761-7500 • mayersonjcc.org Jewish Community Relations Council (513) 985-1501 Jewish Family Service (513) 469-1188 • jfscinti.org Jewish Federation of Cincinnati (513) 985-1500 • shalomcincy.org Jewish Foundation (513) 792-2715 Jewish Information Network (513) 985-1514 Jewish Vocational Service (513) 985-0515 • jvscinti.org Kesher (513) 766-3348 Plum Street Temple Historic Preservation Fund (513) 793-2556 Shalom Family (513) 703-3343 • www.myshalomfamily.org The Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education (513) 487-3055 • holocaustandhumanity.org Vaad Hoier (513) 731-4671 Workum Fund (513) 899-1836 • workum.org YPs at the JCC (513) 761-7500 • mayersonjcc.org
CONGREGATIONS Adath Israel Congregation (513) 793-1800 • adath-israel.org Beit Chaverim (513) 984-3393 Beth Israel Congregation (513) 868-2049 • bethisraelcongregation.net Congregation Beth Adam (513) 985-0400 • bethadam.org Congregation B’nai Tikvah (513) 759-5356 • bnai-tikvah.org Congregation B’nai Tzedek (513) 984-3393 • bnaitzedek.us
Congregation Ohav Shalom (513) 489-3399 • ohavshalom.org Congregation Sha’arei Torah shaareitorahcincy.org Golf Manor Synagogue (513) 531-6654 • golfmanorsynagogue.org Isaac M. Wise Temple (513) 793-2556 • wisetemple.org Kehilas B’nai Israel (513) 761-0769 Northern Hills Synagogue (513) 931-6038 • nhs-cba.org Rockdale Temple (513) 891-9900 • rockdaletemple.org Temple Beth Shalom (513) 422-8313 • tbsohio.org Temple Sholom (513) 791-1330 • templesholom.net The Valley Temple (513) 761-3555 • valleytemple.com
EDUCATION Chai Tots Early Childhood Center (513) 234.0600 • chaitots.com Chabad Blue Ash (513) 793-5200 • chabadba.com Cincinnati Hebrew Day School (513) 351-7777 • chds.shul.net HUC-JIR (513) 221-1875 • huc.edu JCC Early Childhood School (513) 793-2122 • mayersonjcc.org Kehilla - School for Creative Jewish Education (513) 489-3399 • kehilla-cincy.com Mercaz High School (513) 792-5082 x104 • mercazhs.org Reform Jewish High School (513) 469-6406 • crjhs.org Regional Institute Torah & Secular Studies (513) 631-0083 Rockwern Academy (513) 984-3770 • rockwernacademy.org
ORGANIZATIONS American Jewish Committee (513) 621-4020 • ajc.org American Friends of Magen David Adom (513) 521-1197 • afmda.org B’nai B’rith (513) 984-1999 Hadassah (513) 821-6157 • cincinnati-hadassah.org Jewish Discovery Center (513) 234.0777 • jdiscovery.com Jewish National Fund (513) 794-1300 • jnf.org Jewish War Veterans (513) 204-5594 • jwv.org NA’AMAT (513) 984-3805 • naamat.org National Council of Jewish Women (513) 891-9583 • ncjw.org State of Israel Bonds (513) 793-4440 • israelbonds.com Women’s American ORT (513) 985-1512 • ortamerica.org.org
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production@ americanisraelite.com SOSNA from page 1 and special to offer and each and every one of us can make a difference by not being indifferent.” As high school graduates and young adults, we are responsible to ourselves and each other to ignore the impulse to sit back and bask in the attitude that we are powerless to change the world around us. We all have abilities, we all have talents, we all possess the tools necessary to effect positive results. We simply must have the will to do it. As the old saying goes, if not us, who? If not now, when? Think about all that we as a class have accomplished in four years. The list is long, so I’ll choose just one example: Fashion for the Cure. This was a fashion show put on by the collective efforts of several Sycamore students that raised almost $20,000 for cancer research. Twenty. Thousand. Dollars. It’s easy to go through four years of high school and not recognize how lucky you are – all of us. But look around you. Look at all the support you have. Our biggest concerns are about what party we’re going to after this, not if there will be food on the dinner table when we get home. If all of us, all 462 of us, made that same commitment to put on a similar fundraiser wherever we are next year. I’m not a math genius, Mrs. Helgeson could tell you that...but that’s $9 million, $9 million that could be raised just by the students sitting before me. A few weeks ago I returned from the March of the Living trip, where our group visited Holocaust sites in Poland. While I will not overwhelm you with horrifying
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(513) 531-9600 stories, I want to share one image that has been stuck in my head ever since: at the death camp Majdanek, we walked out the back door of a gas chamber and crematorium, where we were immediately met with a view of an entire city just seemingly a few feet away. I felt like I could reach out, grab the city and hold it in my hand. That city remains there today, just like it was back then. That city was one full of people who, while knowing atrocities were being committed, chose to do nothing. That city was full of people who by being indifferent made no difference at all, except to encourage what was nightmarish behavior. My point in sharing this is that I now look over you, the Sycamore High School Class of 2011, the same way I looked upon that city. And it is my hope for and challenge to this group that we not choose the path of indifference. But instead that we go out into the world and make a difference everyday by positively impacting those around us. While Robert Orben’s comments about commencement speeches are indeed humorous, I believe the man is missing the point. It’s not what you wear on your body or on your head that defines your individuality. The exterior is immaterial. Thus the cap and gown do not matter at all. It’s what we all have, inside of us, waiting to be unleashed onto the world, that defines us. So I ask you, each member of the Sycamore High School class of 2011, what are you going to do? YOU can do nothing, or WE can raise 9 million dollars. What. Are. You. Gonna. Do? Congratulations and good luck. Thank you.”
20 - TRAVEL
Quebec exudes history and irresistible charm Wandering Jew
By Janet Steinberg Travel Editor
So Much to ‘Sea’: Canada, The Martimes and More PART 3 OF A SERIES Québec City is love at first “site.” And the first site to capture us was the 350-foot Cap Diamant, a massive headland dominating the majestic waters of the St. Lawrence. Our warm and welcoming north-ofthe-border neighbor transports us to Europe without ever having to cross an ocean. French is the main language in this fascinating metropolis that rivals any European city.
The gorgeous Fontaine de Tourny was awarded a gold medal at the Paris World Fair in 1855. Québec is the only fortified city in the Americas north of Mexico City. The Citadelle of Québec (the French name is used both in English and French) is located atop Cap Diamant, adjoining the Plains of Abraham. Known as the Gibraltar of America, the Citadelle’s construction began in 1820 and lasted more than 30-years. With spectacular views of the city, The Citadelle is home to the residence of the Governor General, and the Cap-aux Diamants Redoubt (one of the oldest military buildings in Canada). The traditional Changing of the Guard Ceremony is executed by the members of the Royal 22nd Regiment daily from June 24 to Labor Day. The Plains of Abraham, scene of the 1759 battle between generals Wolfe and Montcalm, are said to be “the heart and lungs” of Québec City. It was here, in one of the world’s largest and finest urban parks that hundreds of thousands of
fans rocked to Paul McCartney and Céline Dion as part of Québec City’s 400th anniversary celebration. Parliament Hill is home to Québec’s National Assembly that convenes in the Parliament Building, an architectural masterpiece. In front of the Parliament Building the Fontaine de Tourny (Fountain of Tourny) spews forth water from its 43 jets. The gorgeous Fontaine de Tourny was awarded a gold medal at the Paris World Fair in 1855. It adorned a broad avenue in France until 1960 at which time it was put into storage. At the turn of the 21st century, a Parisian antiques dealer purchased the fountain. In 2003, Peter Simons discovered the fountain during a visit to the Saint-Ouen Flea Market. After a costly restoration, Simons gifted it to the people of Québec City in recognition of their support for his retail fashion business, La Maison Simons. Today, it stands as a legacy of Québec City’s 400th anniversary. At night, ablaze in lights, it casts a magical spell. Vieux-Québec (Old Québec) is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Treasure that is alive with history and charm. In VieuxQuébec, the world-renowned Château Frontenac Hotel reigns supreme. Precipitously perched on a bluff overlooking the mighty St. Lawrence River, the Château Frontenac is the heart of the Old City. With its castle-like architecture and turrets, Le Château Frontenac is truly a dream castle experience! Château Frontenac, designed by the American architect Bruce Price, is one of a series of château-style hotels built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century. It was completed in 1924. The railway company sought to encourage luxury tourism and bring wealthy travelers to its trains. Two historic conferences, attended by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, were held at this imposing structure in 1943 and 1944. The amazing Château Frontenac is one of the most photographed hotels in the world. Place Royale is the cradle of French Civilization in North America. After a bust of Louis XIV was installed there in 1686, the public square became known as Place Royale. By the 1950s, this district (one of the oldest in North America) had become rundown. However, in the 1960s this part of the old city, that represents four centuries of history, was rehabilitated and is now a vibrant square. (I loved the name of a shop dubbed Frada…no relation to Prada.) Here, in this oldest neighborhood in North America, you will find the
Musée de la Civilisation, the most popular museum in Québec City. This bridge between the past and future takes a fresh look at local culture and other societies. Quartier Petit Champlain is another bustling area of historical architecture and cobblestone streets that saw a rebirth in the 1980s.The foot of the Breakneck Staircase is at the intersection of Rues du Champlain and Sous-le-Fort. If you don’t want to climb the approximate 40 Breakneck Stairs, you can ride the Funicular du Vieux-Québec between the Lower Town and the Upper Town. Riding the Funicular, at a 45degree angle along the rocky cliff face, you will get a fantastic view of the St. Lawrence River and Lower Town. One of the only funiculars on the continent, the Funicular du Vieux-Québec celebrated its 130th anniversary. Take time out for a lunch-break in Vieux-Québec. Pain Beni, ranked #2 out of 671 restaurants in Québec City, is one of the most affordable 4-star restaurants in Old Québec. The Soupe a l’oignon gratinee a l’erable et a la biere (French onion soup au gratin with maple and beer) is a must. After lunch, get out of town! A few minutes from Québec City is the enchanting Parc de la ChuteMontmorency (Montmorency Falls Park) with its spectacular waterfall. Montmorency Falls is an awe-inspiring 272-foot waterfall that is 98.5feet higher than Niagara Falls. The views are stunning whether you are taking the cable car, climbing the 487 panoramic stairs, or strolling across the suspension bridge. Perched atop the rock basin wall that was carved out by the falls is the elegant Manoir Montmorency. This regal villa houses an Interpretation Centre, shop, panoramic terrace and a café bistro. Winter paints an entirely different picture at Montmorency Falls. At the base of the falls, the frozen spray forms a giant cone known as The Sugarloaf. The ice wall that encloses the falls is a challenge to even the most skilled ice climbers. Québec City is a city for all seasons and all people. Little wonder that in the list of top 100 cities appearing in the November 2010 issue of Condé Nast Traveler, Québec City is ranked second out of the 10 best cities in the Americas (excluding American cities), fifth including cities in the U.S. and 10th among international destinations (from all continents). Go “sea” for yourself. Sea-ing is believing. (Top-bottom) Chateau Frontenac is the jewel in Quebec City’s crown; Montmorency Falls (Chute-Montmorency) is 98.5 feet higher than Niagara Falls; Harpist entertains passerbys in the Place d’Armes.
Janet Steinberg is an award-winning Travel Writer, International Travel Consultant, and winner of 38 national Travel Writing Awards.
FOOD/AUTOS - 21
THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
Prep with social Summer food All About Food
By Zell Schulman Recipe Editor Summer is here! The birds have returned, the sun has warmed the gardens and the first fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at your favorite markets. Somehow, Saturday and Sunday have always been a time for family and friends to stop by. It’s little league baseball or soccer or it’s just because the weekend is a time for relaxing. The following recipes can be prepared ahead of time and are perfect for last minute guests. The ingredients are waiting in your pantry to make the perfect Summer Supper, Sunday Brunch or Entrée. MUSHROOM STUFFED EGG CASSEROLE WITH WHITE SAUCE Serves 12 to 14 This recipe may have lots of ingredients but it can be cut in half and can also be prepared ahead of time, refrigerated and baked just before serving. Believe me, everyone loves it. Ingredients: 1 lb. Mushrooms, chopped and sautéed, one cup to be set aside and reserved 4 tablespoons butter, divided 12 hard-cooked eggs 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/4 teaspoon paprika 2 cups White Sauce (recipe follows) 1 cup dried bread crumbs 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese Method: 1. Melt 2 Tbs. of butter in a 2quart frying pan, add remaining chopped mushrooms and sauté until all the liquid has released, about 5 minutes. 2. Place in a large bowl to mix into white sauce. 3. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks and rub them through a sieve into the mushrooms. 4. Add salt, pepper and paprika and mix gently. 5. Refill egg whites with the mushroom mixture and press the halves together. 6. Place in an 11” X 13” casserole. 7. Melt the remaining butter into the frying pan over medium heat and add breadcrumbs, stirring well until well coated and toasted, about
2-3 minutes. 8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and add reserved mushrooms to the white sauce and pour over the eggs. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese evenly over the entire casserole and bake 15-20 minutes until brown on top. WHITE SAUCE Ingredients 2-1/4 cups milk, warmed 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 4 tablespoons flour Salt and ground white pepper to taste Method 1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, turn the heat to medium low, and add the flour. Cook uncovered, stirring constantly, until the butter and flour are smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. 2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the warmed milk. Place back on the heat on medium low heat, stirring all the time to allow the sauce to thicken like thick cream, but do not let it come to boil. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes. SMOKED TROUT All you need for this recipe are three packages of smoked trout, already prepared in packages in the gourmet fish department of your supermarket or specialty store. MELANGE OF BERRIES Serves 4 This is a wonderful “make ahead” fruit dish. It is both tasty and colorful on a buffet or as a dessert. Ingredients: 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2 pint fresh raspberries 1/2 pint fresh blueberries 1 cup chardonnay 1/2 cup clover honey 1/8 teaspoon Almond extract 1/4 teaspoon Cardamom Method: 1. Wash all berries, and place in a 1-quart container. Set aside. 2. Combine the Chardonnay and honey in a 2-cup glass measuring cup and heat 2-3 minutes in a microwave on high or combine in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Remove from heat and add the almond extract and cardamom. Stir well and allow to cool before pouring over the berries. 3. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving, being sure to turn the berries at least once. This is best done by transferring the top berries to another bowl so they will be at the bottom, then pouring the winehoney mixture over the berries again. Use a slotted spoon to serve berries in a chilled bowl. Pour reserved liquid over all. Serve with whipped cream, yogurt or ice cream.
2012 Audi A7 — new, willing, capable Just now arriving at dealerships, the 2012 Audi A7 3.0 TFSI quattro Auto Tiptronic Sedan—as it’s officially called—is based on the upcoming next-generation A6 sedan. While the two models share engines, transmissions and most other components, the A7 distinguishes itself with sleeker exterior styling, a four-passenger interior and a large hatchback instead of a trunk. Up front, Audi’s signature broad and deep trapezoidal grille is flanked by broad lower air intakes and stylish projector style Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights that reach upward into the front fenders. The rear-end treatment is neither too tall nor too chunky, and is adorned with neatly configured taillights and dual exhausts that are set in a low and assertive-looking fascia. An integrated rear spoiler automatically extends at 80 mph and retracts once the car gets back to 50 mph or less. The car’s low-slung roof neither obstructs rearward visibility from inside the cabin, nor does it cause the driver or front passenger to bump or unduly scrape their heads while climbing into the cabin. The hatchback offers a generous cargo hold, and the space easily expands via 60/40-split folding rear seats. The 2012 Audi A7 treats four passengers to a roomy and quiet
leather-clad cabin that’s neatly trimmed in aluminum-look and wood trim, with quality materials used throughout. Instrument-panel gauges are large and legible, with an elegantly styled dashboard that wraps around the driver and front passenger. The steering wheel incorporates controls for select functions without becoming too cluttered in the bargain. On the road the 2012 Audi A7 is a capable performer. Its supercharged and direct fuel-injected 3.0-liter V6 engine generates 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque that ensures strong launches and plenty of passing power. The A7 can make the leap to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds — impressive for a relatively small engine in such a large sedan. A smooth-shifting eightspeed automatic transmission includes Tiptronic manual-shift capability via either the gear selector or optional steering wheelmounted paddles. The automaker’s quattro allwheel-drive (AWD) system comes standard. It also splits the engine power between the axles on a 40/60 basis under most circumstances for a sportier rear-drive feel, automatically distributing power fore or aft when wheel slippage is detected. Also, an intelligent brake management system lightly applies the brakes to the inside rear wheel
while cornering. Audi’s Drive Select Control system is standard and allows the driver to tailor steering, engine and transmission response according to selectable modes for a more or less aggressive feel. Switching from “Comfort” to “Dynamic” mode makes the car suddenly feel far quicker, with an eager throttle quality. The 2012 Audi A7 comes generously equipped with amenities. Primary among them is the new subscription-based Audi Connect system that works with the available voice-controlled navigation array to provide real-time traffic, weather and news reports, gas prices and more. The navigation system further affords the ability to input destinations using fingertip handwriting recognition via a laptop computerlike touchpad on the center console. It works as advertised, though we found it only nominally less complicated than the alternative method of dialing in a street name one letter at a time with the MMI dial. The 2012 Audi A7 should appeal to a broad spectrum of luxury car buyers on the basis of its overall pleasing performance, tastefully attractive styling and broad array of cutting-edge amenities. The 2012 Audi A7’s MSRP is $59,250.
22 - OBITUARIES
DEATH NOTICES KADETZ, David, age 70, died on April 16, 2011; 12 Nissan 5771. HELLER, Morton, age 81, died on June 6, 2011; 4 Sivan 5771.
OBITUARIES SIVITZ, Blessing Artist, mother, activist, equality advocate, faithful observer of Jewish tradition, cancer survivor, community supporter—these words barely convey a life of service that was the hallmark of Blessing Sivitz, 90, who died Sunday, May 29, at Cedar Village in Mason. Her life journey began on September 4, 1920, in Winthrop, Mass., as the third of four daughters of Samuel and Esther Ida Schmidt. (Rona, Jane and Tikvah were the other three.) When the Schmidts moved to Cincinnati, Samuel founded Every Friday, an Anglo- Jewish weekly. The newspaper eventually grew into a family business, with Blessing as assistant editor. As a teenager, Blessing met the love of her life—an unabashed young man named Moses Sivitz. Both attended and graduated from Walnut Hills High School, where, incidentally, Blessing held the city record for the women’s standing broad jump for many years. She went on to further her education at the University of Cincinnati Applied Arts College. Blessing and Moses married in 2020 from page 3 as whether there are initiatives that make sense to put first, the level of resources required for each effort, the available capacity RAC from page 8 Opposition, he added, “was not only vehement and strident, but
1941, and moved to New York City looking for work. Shortly afterward, Moses was called into service with the U.S. 1st Army Infantry. Blessing took a job at a design studio in New York, and then a dental lab in Chicago. The end of the war brought Moses home to Cincinnati, and by 1947 there was a son, Jonathan. He was followed by Don in 1951, Michael in 1955, Susan in 1956 and James in 1957. The lively household settled in North Avondale, where Blessing helped organize the current North Avondale Neighborhood Association (NANA) in 1960. Shortly thereafter, she volunteered with HOME (Housing Opportunities Made Equal), which later was incorporated to enforce anti-discrimination laws in housing. She continued to support her community by residing there until 2009. She was also an early supporter of the progressive Charter Committee of Cincinnati, and volunteered as a canvasser, poll worker or organizer each year for over five decades. The Sivitzs were active members of the Isaac M. Wise Temple, which at the time was located in North Avondale. Blessing joined the Temple Sisterhood, and tutored at Rockdale Elementary School through this organization. She also served as president of the Cincinnati chapter of the women’s organization Pioneer Women (later renamed Na’Amat), where her own mother had been a founding member, and initiated the Teen Drop-In Center of the Jewish Family Service.
In 1973, Blessing’s husband died after a long battle with cancer. At age 52, she struck out to support herself and her three youngest children by taking a full-time position with the library of Hebrew Union College and later the University of Cincinnati, from which she eventually retired.
During this time, she also became an early supporter of improving office worker conditions through unionization, and was an active member of the founding group of the University of Cincinnati Chapter 925 Union, which today is known as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
As her children grew and grandchildren arrived, Blessing experienced a series of health setbacks. She survived three life-threatening battles with cancer, and then volunteered with the Barrett Cancer Center at the University of Cincinnati Hospital, in appreciation for their care. Another serious health challenge arose for her at age 80, which required months of rehabilitation after surgery for a tumor near her brain. During this time, her family began to refer to her as a “medical miracle.” Her eldest son, however, was not as lucky and died of melanoma in 1994, at the age of 47. In response to this devastating event, Blessing poured herself into caring for her extended family of six grandchildren, and reached out to her aging peers by becoming a regular at the Jewish Community Center. She attended exercise classes to keep up her stamina and proudly displayed her sculpture pieces at the Center’s Senior Art Class art shows. In 2000, three members of this class were picked to participate in a program through the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, called “Portraits of Compassion,” for youth in the Netanya Orphanage in Africa. The orphans had never seen photographs of themselves, much less a portrait. The idea was to paint portraits from their photographs to give to the children as gifts. “An interesting note,” said the organizer, “is that despite being partially blind, Blessing Sivitz’s portraits were amazingly detailed.” In 2009, Blessing left her beloved home in North Avondale to move to the supportive surroundings of
Cedar Village. There she again served her community by mentoring resident Alzheimer patients in the Village’s art classes and reaching out to her fellow residents with a warm acceptance. She was instantly loved by all who met her. The highlight of her stay was being selected for the Cedar Village B’nai Mitzvah Mission trip to Israel in October 2009. Along with eight other residents, she made a 12-day tour of many holy landmarks in the region. Notably, bat mitzvahs were far less common for Blessing and her peers when they were young women. So, on this trip, the ceremony of Blessing’s b’nai mitzvah at Robinson’s Arch was broadcast live on the Internet for family and friends. Blessing was quoted by major newspapers and news wire services regarding the trip as saying that preparing for her bat mitzvah “resulted in the blossoming of my own Jewish heart.” Blessing had an affinity for fresh flowers and good chocolate. Her family was bigger than anyone could keep track of (except her). No one was a stranger at her table. Always up for a good joke, laughter was her daily medicine. And presiding over Friday night dinner at her North Avondale home was her legacy. In fact, she presided over her last just two days before she passed away. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, June 12, at Cedar Village. Family will receive visitors beginning at 9:30 a.m., followed by the service at 10:30 a.m. Memorials can be made to Hospice of Cedar Village or the charity of your choice.
in the community to implement several projects at one time, as well as others. In addition, the implementers of the Cincinnati 2020 plan will continue to stay in touch with the
forum contributors. “We have made a commitment to stay in touch with all those who have participated in Cincinnati 2020, to keep them informed through emails, links and online
postings of what is happening,” noted Stern. “Eventually we will be going to every group, agency, congregation and organization to talk with them about the role they
would like to play. We will also be bringing individuals together when we get to the implementation phase and need to tap the expertise of our community leaders and content experts.”
immensely organized.” Reform congregations across the nation, including in Washington, rallied against the RAC, deeming its
overtly political mission divisive and anathema to the tenets of Judaism. One of the main hubs of dissent was the Washington Hebrew Congregation, which even hired lawyers to assemble briefs challenging the formation of the RAC. “People would gripe, ‘We didn’t join a congregation to advocate politically,’” recalled Rabbi Richard Hirsch, who as RAC’s first director was forced to perform damage control in an attempt to assuage disgruntled congregations across the United States. Faced with such widespread disapproval, leaders such as Vorspan, Hirsch and Eisendrath held their ground, confident that the RAC’s dedication to social equality and the Jewish principle of tikkun olam, repairing the world, ultimately would trump internal disagreements. And they were right. “The biggest hero of this whole
thing was Maurice Eisendrath,” Vorspan said. “He was the only one who said if a congregation thinks we’re wrong and shouldn’t be doing this, they can leave (the Reform movement). It could have smashed us to pieces.” But the RAC, he added, was built on a deep belief that “Jews have to take collective action as Jews, not just as individuals. It’s not just enough to preach. The important thing is to take a stand.” True to that goal, the RAC’s first fight was no small squabble. Before the dust kicked up by its controversial establishment had settled, Reform activists already were locked in the historic battle for civil rights in America. Kaplan, who had paid for the RAC’s D.C. offices on Massachusetts Avenue (its home to this day), made his contribution on one condition: that the RAC would host, free of charge, lawyers from the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other civil rights groups. They were afforded the use of the organization’s offices and staffers. (Kaplan later became head of the NAACP.) “In our conference room, these black lawyers and Jewish lawyers were working together every single day,” recalled Vorspan, noting that between 1963 and 1965, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were drafted in the RAC’s Massachusetts Avenue headquarters. Since then, the RAC’s legislative portfolio — and its political capital — has grown exponentially. Its lawyers have been instrumental in protecting the separation of church and state, defending religious freedom and preserving the environment, just to name a few central issues. In the late 1960s, the RAC was deeply involved in the anti-war protest movement.
2011 CALENDAR Special Issues & Sections J ANUARY
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Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning Issue Lag B’Omer
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Best of Jewish Cincinnati
Dentistry Issue/Dental Directory
Back to School & Shopping Guide
Mature Living/Senior Lifestyles
Rosh Hashanah Jewish Year in Review
Estate Planning / Financial Planning
Event Planning Guide
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