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Jewish-American experience—an evening of music, words at B’nai...



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Cedar Village’s 2011 Golf Classic at Wetherington Golf and Country Club p.12 J E W I S H





Did Israel, gay marriage or the economy make the difference in...



CINCINNATI, OH Candle Lighting Times Shabbat begins Fri. 7:17p Shabbat ends Sat. 8:18p

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Jewish law goes to court: Mesira meets American justice

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After doctors’ strike, Israelis take stock of health care system’s woes

Cinti hosts largest JNF conference to date By Elijah Plymesser Assistant Editor

YPs cook up sweet start to New Year



Shalit takes case to free his son Gilad to the U.N.


In Sicily, Jews reach out to Inquisitionera forgotten Jews


Sukhothai—tried and true Thai in Montgomery


Last Friday, Sept. 16, Jewish National Fund (JNF) kicked off its largest national conference. Ever. Cincinnati was selected as the proud host of numerous foreign dignitaries, including Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, JNF officials, Larry King and many others. The main conference opened on Sunday, Sept. 18, with a memorial commemorating 10 years since 9/11, and highlighted JNF’s Living Memorial in Jerusalem. Throughout the day there were a variety of breakout sessions, where attendees learned of the various roles and activities of JNF. The day continued with the keynote address from Speaker Boehner emphasizing the special bond between the U.S. and Israel, citing common values, a common enemy, and shared desire to live in prosperity and peace. Speaker Boehner began with some levity, stating, “It is a privilege to be a warm-up act for Larry King,” who was to speak later in the evening at the Tree of Life gala event. Boehner, a West Chester resident, pointed out Cincinnati’s strong Jewish history, particularly the presence of the nation’s oldest continuously running Jewish newspaper. He soon moved on to more serious matters, particularly Israel’s current position in the Middle East. He rebuffed the claim that Israel is isolating itself in the region, commenting, “Israel is not isolating itself, Israel is leading the Middle East.” Speaker Boehner assured the crowd that the House of Representatives will continue to fulfill its commitments and obligations to Israel, referencing the largely military aid that Israel receives each year in order to maintain its “technological edge” over hostile neighbors in the region. Boehner concluded by reminding those watching that “Israel is the closest ally America has” and that “where I’m from, and where you’re from, we stand by our friends.” CONFERENCE on page 20

Renae D’Andrea

2011 Tree of Life Award recipients Nina and Edward Paul with gala keynote speaker and Shalom Peace award recipient, Larry King.

Renae D’Andrea

Chairman of the Board Ronald S. Lauder with CEO Russell Robinson, JNF President Stanley Chesley and Mayor Mark Mallory with the mayoral declaration of September 18 being JNF Day in Cincinnati.



Jewish-American experience— an evening of music, words at B’nai Tzedek Jewish receptiveness to various environments has been studied from many viewpoints, and on Sept. 24 at 8:30 p.m., speaker and performer Kimberly Gelbwasser will make the case in “The Jewish King of Ragtime: Ethnic Identities in the Music of Irving Berlin,” that the Jewish influence has nowhere been as pronounced as in the creation of the American songbook. The evidence can be found in

two recent publications, the 2009 play “Tin Pan Alley Rag” by playwright Mark Saltzman, and David Lehman’s book “A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs.” Both note Irving Berlin, and assess the reasons—both commercial and otherwise—that led him and other Jewish musicians to write popular songs rather than operas. Gelbwasser’s presentation-performance is based on her graduate

research at CCM. Piano accompaniment will be by Steve Cahn. Irving Berlin, the JewishRussian immigrant becomes a songwriter at the turn-of-the-century New York City. The presentation will take place at the Congregations B’nai Tzedek and Beit Chaverim in Kenwood. Call the B’Nai Tzedek Congregation or check out their website for more information.

Pauline Horn hired as Adath Israel’s Administrator Pauline Horn began work this summer as Adath Israel Congregation’s new synagogue Administrator. “The aspect of my job that I enjoy most and which has kept me in the field for so many years,” said Horn, “is that on a daily basis I have the pleasure of relating to and working with many people with diverse interests and skills, all working toward the same goal.” Her goals for Adath Israel “as we move the congregation into the future” include supporting the officers, Board of Trustees, committees, and staff, carrying out the policies and procedures of the synagogue, helping determine best practices, and shaping new policies and procedures. “Pauline came to us with many years of experience in synagogue administration and with really wonderful comments from people she has worked with through the years,” said Penny Pensak, president of the congregation. “We are

Pauline Horn, new synagogue Administrator for Adath Israel.

thrilled to have her as part of our Adath Israel family.” At Adath Israel her responsibilities include financial management, budget and planning, fundraising and revenue enhancements, administration of the Board, retention and recruitment of mem-

bers, building, grounds, and facilities use, library, office and volunteer management, personnel administration, special events, administrative support for religious school, youth department and Mercaz, and communication, marketing, and public relations. A graduate of Siegel College of Judaic Studies in Beachwood, Ohio with a Master of Judaic Studies, Horn brings 30 years of experience to Adath Israel. Previously she was executive director of Beth Sholom Congregation in Frederick, Md. and Kehilath Israel Synagogue, Overland Park, Kan., Administrator of Congregation Shaarey Tikvah, Beachwood, Ohio, business manager of a family-owned business in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and teacher at the Solomon Schechter Day School and Suburban Temple in Cleveland. Horn and her husband, Marvin, of 37 years, have two daughters, and two grandchildren.



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Experience the High Holy Days like never before at Adath Israel “It brought tears to my eyes,” commented a university professor when attending his first High Holy Day service at Adath Israel. He was referring to the emotional power of the soul-stirring melodies chanted by Cantor Dani Birnbaum and his wife, Bat ‘Ella, of Tel Monde, Israel. When joined by their young son, Nitzan, whose powerful voice belies his age, the sanctuary is filled with smiles and disbelief. Accompanying Cantor

Birnbaum’s high level of musical artistry will be the Adath Israel volunteer a cappella choir whose voices often mimic instruments to augment their signature sound. Choir Director Mitch Cohen, long time Adath Israel member, has composed several original liturgical pieces including Unetaneh Tokev, Uva Shofar Gadol, Yaahleh, El Melech Yoshev, Sh’ma Kolenu, and Psalms 23 and 27. The collaboration between the cantor and the

choir adds a special dimension to the liturgy resulting in moments of transcendent power. A special Selichot service and reception will be held on Saturday evening, Sept. 24 beginning at 8:45 p.m. Complimentary dessert is provided by Chocolate Passion with music by Nancy Illman, Max Meyers, and Larry Appleblatt. The reception is followed by an inspirational service led by Mitch Cohen and the High Holy Day Choir.

To deepen and enrich Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for everyone, Adath Israel will be using the Conservative movement’s newly published High Holiday prayer book, Mahzor Lev Shalom. “The Mahzor Lev Shalom reflects our commitment to both tradition and change and our commitment to the needs and religious interests of Conservative Jews. We have benefitted from the Mahzor Hadash for 17 years,” said Rabbi Irvin Wise.

JCC welcomes new Camp, Teen Directors The Mayerson JCC is pleased to welcome Matt Steinberg as the new Youth and Teen Coordinator, and BBYO City Director. The J is also pleased to announce that Matt Miller has been promoted to JCC Director of Camps, and Matt Steinberg will assume Miller’s former position as Assistant Director for Camp at the J. Steinberg has worked at Camp at the J for the past three years, gaining experience in all aspects, from counselor to sports specialist to administrative duties. He also plays in the JCC Men’s Fast Pitch Softball League and coaches JCC boys Blue Jays baseball. Steinberg is a life-long Cincinnatian, attending Walnut Hills High School and Miami University. “I am excited about working directly with the teens in our com-

JCC promotes Matt Miller to Director of Camps and Matt Steinberg to Youth and Teen Coordinator.

munity to create a strong and exciting teen program,” Steinberg

said. “We have an awesome new teen lounge at the J where we will

be showing movies, playing billiards, and hanging out every day, in addition to events throughout the year. I encourage all the teens to come by and check it out!” The JCC Teen Lounge is open after school, Monday – Thursday, and also on Sundays. This is a dedicated space for teens to relax, socialize, and play games such as Xbox Kinect and foosball. In addition to his current position as JCC Youth/Family Coordinator, Matt Miller assumes the role of Director of Camp at the J, as well as director of the JCC’s popular S’Mores Camps and School Break camps throughout the school year. “Matt Miller has proven himself as a program innovator, and as someone who recognizes the importance of providing a safe and caring environment for families,” said Jeff Baden, Executive Director. “His boundless energy and enthusiasm, along with his natural rapport with children and his love for camping and the outdoors, made the decision to promote Matt an easy one.” Miller started his career at the Mayerson JCC as a teacher in the Early Childhood School in 2008. He became the Youth/Family Coordinator and Assistant Camp Director the following year. For the past three summers, Miller has served as the boys’ basketball coach for the JCC Maccabi Games Cincinnati delegation. Katie Karmel is retiring from her position as JCC Camp Director after more than four years. She led Camp at the J’s efforts to become an American Camping Association accredited camp and also led annual camp enrollment growth. Karmel facilitated improvements to the JCC camp site, including building permanent huts, a gaga pit, and the new Schneider Ball Field. “Camp at the J will continue to grow and develop as the area’s premier Jewish day camp under Matt Miller’s and Matt Steinberg’s direction and guidance,” Karmel said. “Both are very committed to the important role that camp plays in the lives of our children, and they each bring an enthusiasm that is contagious.”



VOL. 158 • NO. 9 THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011 23 ELUL 5771 SHABBAT BEGINS FRIDAY 7:17 PM SHABBAT ENDS SATURDAY 8:18 PM THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE CO., PUBLISHERS 18 WEST NINTH STREET, SUITE 2 CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202-2037 Phone: (513) 621-3145 Fax: (513) 621-3744 RABBI ISSAC M. WISE Founder, 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 ELIJAH PLYMESSER NICOLE SIMON Assistant Editors ALEXIA KADISH Copy Editor JANET STEINBERG Travel Editor SONDRA KATKIN Dining Editor 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 LYNN HILLER 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 columnists of The American Israelite do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the newspaper.



Cincinnati native participates in YU’s Presidential Fellowship A group of Yeshiva University’s 18 top graduates will gain new and unique insight as they spend a year giving back to their alma mater as members of YU’s Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership. The highly competitive program places high-achieving new graduates in roles in departments and schools across the institution. Fellows are mentored by senior leadership within their department and work on projects of importance to the University. At the same time, they hone their professional and leadership skills in weekly graduate-level seminars covering key topics in university administration and Jewish communal leadership. Since it was established by President Richard M. Joel in 2004, the Fellowship has played a critical role in transforming the University into a leadership laboratory and expanding YU’s service to the Jewish community. With the guidance of director and YU Vice President and Chief of Staff Rabbi Joshua Joseph, fellows

develop thoughtful and innovative projects which they follow from concept to fruition. They also spend time visiting Jewish organi-

Shoshana Balk, graduate of YU’s Stern College for Women and Cincinnati native

zations to learn about communal structure and participating in service learning missions in cities such as New Orleans.

“How wonderful it is that top graduates of Yeshiva University choose to invest a year of their lives in continuing to shape this great institution,” said President Joel. “How reciprocally wonderful it is that in so doing they expand their minds, learn leadership skills and get to partner with wonderful people in advancing the story of the Jewish people.” Shoshana Balk, of Cincinnati, graduated from Stern College for Women and is a fellow in the Azrieli Graduate School of Education and Administration’s Institute for University-School Partnership, which dovetails with her own career interests: Jewish education and clinical psychology. “I applied to the Presidential Fellowship because I wanted to gain skills and mentorship from professionals within the University while continuing my involvement in an institution where I have thrived and spent some of the best years of my life,” said Balk. She plans to take courses at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies during her year.



Get ready to run the J5K on Oct. 16 Runners and walkers can enjoy the rolling hills of Amberley Village by participating in the J5K Run on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 8 a.m. Starting line for the J5K is at the Mayerson JCC. The J5K course through the neighborhood streets of Amberley Village finishes at Temple Sholom, directly across Ridge Road from the JCC. Advance registration is encouraged. The J5K race is a “chip” timed event for male and female runners and walkers of all ages. Showers, locker rooms and restrooms inside the JCC will be available for all participants. “Over 135 runners

This New Year’s Make time for family! ...and leave the cleaning to us! .00 $30.00 OFF





participated in last year’s inaugural J5K, and more are expected this year,” said Brian Toomey, JCC Fitness Director. “I hope everyone will be at the J in the weeks prior as they prepare for this fantastic 5K run.” Advance registrations (postmarked by Saturday, Oct. 8) are discounted and include a tech race shirt. Registrations submitted Oct. 9 – 14 are also discounted, but will only be accepted online and race shirts are not guaranteed. Race day registration on Sunday, Oct. 16 is available at the JCC for a higher price and race shirts are

not guaranteed. Registration can be completed online, by mail (forms are available for download from the JCC website) or in person at the JCC fitness desk. After the J5K, an awards presentation will be held at the JCC for winners in each age division. Age categories begin with age 10 and younger, and are grouped in 5-year increments to age 65+. There are also awards in several age categories for the winning walkers. For registration forms or more information about the J5K Run, contact Andy Mays at the JCC or see their website.

merry maids Relax. It’s done.


Call: 631-9594 • Email: Web Brochure:

Join the Jewish Young Professionals for JGourmet, and cook up something sweet for the High Holidays. Pictured: Meredith Mason, Lindsay Benjamin, Rachel Plowden, Ben Kohn

YPs cook up sweet start to New Year “Access may be known for throwing some of the biggest and best parties for Jewish young professionals (YPs) anywhere in the region, but many people don’t know about our ongoing efforts to help make holiday time more meaningful for those who are look-

ing for a deeper way to connect,” explains Rachel Plowden, Access Event Coordinator. “With the High Holidays fast approaching we have lots of great things in store for anyone who wants to get their New Year off to a great start.” In addition to helping nearly 130 Jewish young professionals, ages 21-35 secure tickets to local High Holiday services at the congregations of their choice, Access will match them up with other young professionals going to the same congregation so they can walk in and sit with one another. And for those who would enjoy a place to go for a home cooked Rosh Hashanah and/or Break Fast meal, Access will pair them up with one of 15 area families who have graciously agreed to open their hearts and their homes to host these young professionals. Many YPs are using this as an opportunity to try something new. “I am so excited to attend a Humanistic Rosh Hashanah service!” says Melissa Bloomberg, an

Access High Holiday ticket recipient. “I was always curious about what Humanistic services were like in college, but never had the opportunity to attend one. It’s really great that Access and the congregations are providing us with this chance to check things out on our own terms!” Access is also offering a High Holiday-themed JGourmet cooking class where participants will learn how to prepare brisket and kugel and other traditional foods eaten for generations by Jewish people during the High Holidays and throughout the year. Of course, the class will also include a culinary course in fun things to do with apples and honey! The class includes hors d’oeuvres, hands-on instruction by a seasoned chef and a full tasting at the conclusion, and will take place Monday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at a Forkable Feast in Oakley. However, space is limited to just 25 participants and classes fill up quickly. YPS on page 19



Did Israel, gay marriage or the economy make the difference in GOP’s win in N.Y.? By Daniel Treiman Jewish Telegraphic Agency NEW YORK (JTA) — Was it Israel, same-sex marriage or the Obama administration’s handling of the economy? That’s the question political partisans and observers are debating after Republican Bob Turner won an upset victory in the heavily Democratic and Jewish New York congressional district represented by Anthony Weiner until his scandalinduced resignation in mid-June. Turner beat his Democratic opponent, New York State Assemblyman David Weprin, in Tuesday’s special election by a margin of 54 to 46 percent, with more than four-fifths of precincts reporting. The race was closely watched as a measure of attitudes toward President Obama, and the Jewish vote was a particular focus of attention. In the lead-up to the election, former New York Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, urged voters to support Turner in order to send a message of dissatisfaction to Obama over his policies toward Israel. “This Republican win in an overwhelmingly Democrat district is a significant indicator of the problem that President Obama has in the Jewish community,” Matt

National Briefs JWI creates domestic violence misheberach prayer NEW YORK (JTA) — Jewish Women International has created a misheberach prayer to raise awareness of domestic violence. Created by JWI’s Clergy Task Force, the prayer is multidenominational and written in Hebrew and English. It directs healing specifically to the victims of domestic abuse; the misheberach prayer calls for complete healing of the body and spirit. The new prayer is being disseminated through rabbinical bodies and other channels. It is intended to be read aloud during High Holidays services, which this year are taking place just before and during National Domestic Violence Awareness month in October. “When rabbis mention something in public, it signals that they are approachable and available to talk about the issue,” said Rabbi Richard Hirsh, executive director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical

Courtesy of Uri Fintzy

Jack, a retired middle-school principal and 30-year Queens resident who declined to provide his last name, leaves a polling site after voting for Democrat Dave Weprin, who lost the race for New York’s 9th congressional district, Sept. 13, 2011.

Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said in a statement. “While party leaders scramble to deny and try to stem the erosion of Jewish support for Democrats, the real issue is this president’s policies on Israel, on jobs, and on the economy.” But the president of the National Jewish Democratic Council, David A. Harris, said that negative views of Weiner meant “keeping this seat in Democratic hands has been an uphill battle.” He also noted the “difficult economy,” Association and co-chair of the Clergy Task Force. “It may help someone who may be ambivalent to step forward.” Pro-Israel ads in Bay Area countering anti-U.S. aid campaign SAN FRANCISCO (j. weekly) — The pro-Israel organization StandWithUs has launched an ad campaign in Bay Area Rapid Transit stations to counter local ads that call for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. The posters will be on display Sept. 18 through Nov. 13 at five major stations, as well as on a local cable car. The initial ad campaign, sponsored by Friends of Sabeel, Jewish Voice for Peace and others, went up in BART and Muni stations in late August, and runs through Sept. 23. It depicts Palestinian and Israeli grandfathers with a caption calling for an end to military aid to Israel. The new posters feature two boys — a Palestinian and an Israeli — next to the slogan “Israel Needs a Partner for Peace.” In October, StandWithUs will launch a similar poster campaign in 18 New York City subway stations to counter an ad campaign opposing U.S. aid to Israel now on display there.

saying that “In this atypical district, they’ve reacted atypically.” In his statement, Harris said, “One thing we know beyond the shadow of a doubt is that this election was about many things — but not Israel.” Harris cited a Siena Research Institute poll, conducted Sept. 6-8, showing that only 7 percent of the district’s voters had identified Israel as the main factor in determining their votes. The poll also found that 16 percent of the district’s Jewish voters said a candidate’s Israel stance would be the most important factor in determining their vote. By contrast, 30 percent of those polled said a candidate’s position on the economy was the most important factor, and 20 percent cited Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs as the top issue. Some Republicans, however, pointed to a pre-election survey from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-aligned firm. That poll, conducted Sept. 8-11, showed that 54 percent of district voters disapproved of Obama’s policy toward Israel. It also found that among the 37 percent of voters who identified Israel as very important, Turner was leading by a 71-22 margin.

Congregations B'nai Tzedek & Beit Chaverim Invite you for the evening program of music and words...

“The Jewish King of Ragtime, Ethnic identities in the music of Irving Berlin”

September 24, 2011 at 8:30pm Presentation & Performance: Kimberly Gelbwasser Piano accompaniment: Steve Cahn Followed by Selichot Services at 10:00pm

6280 Kugler Mill Road 984-3393 •



Jewish law goes to court: Mesira meets American justice By Ron Kampeas Jewish Telegraphic Agency WASHINGTON (JTA) — In a Los Angeles courtroom, the federal justice system is colliding with one of the most vexing areas of Jewish law. Rabbi Moshe Zigelman, 64, already has spent two years in jail in a tax-fraud and money-laundering case that also saw the grand rabbi of the Spinka Chasidic sect sent to prison. The scheme involved soliciting large tax-deductible donations and secretly funneling most of the

money back to the donors. Now federal prosecutors are threatening more jail time for Zigelman, the Spinka rebbe’s personal secretary, who is refusing to testify and implicate others before a grand jury. Zigelman’s lawyers say that his religious convictions do not allow him to testify. They point to the laws of mesira, the Talmudic prohibition against a Jew informing on another Jew to non-Jewish authorities. In modern terms, it’s a sort of Jewish no-snitching rule. The concept of mesira, which

literally means “delivery,” dates back to periods when governments often were hostile to Jews and delivering a Jew to the authorities could lead to an injustice and even death. The rules of mesira still carry force within the Orthodox world, owing both to the inviolability of the concept’s Talmudic origins and the insular nature of many Orthodox communities. But they are also the subject of debate over whether the prohibition applies in a modern democracy that prides itself on due process and civil rights. “The question of the parame-

ters of the prohibition of mesira remains a dispute about how to apply it in a just democracy,” said Rabbi Michael Broyde, a law professor at Emory University. Rabbinical authorities are split on the issue, depending in large part on where they sit on the Orthodox spectrum. The issue is so sensitive that some religious leaders are reluctant to publicly discuss it, with many recognizing that the topic has the potential to adversely affect the way Jews are perceived. Modern Orthodox authorities tend to advise against invoking

mesira in the United States, excepting cases where there is a rare consensus that an alleged offender has been singled out for being Jewish by an anti-Semitic individual in a position of authority. “Mesira is not applicable in a society where there is no official anti-Semitism and a reasonably uncorrupt court system,” said Rabbi Yosef Blau, the spiritual adviser at the Yeshiva Universityaffiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. LAW on page 21

Shalit takes case to free his son Gilad to the U.N. By Dan Klein Jewish Telegraphic Agency NEW YORK (JTA) — Noam Shalit, the father of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, wants his son’s plight to be part of the discussion of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations in September. In his view, Shalit’s release should be a precondition of any vote at the United Nations on recognition of a Palestinian state. Shalit was in New York last week meeting with U.N. ambassadors from various nations, including pro-Palestinian ones, to make that case. Whether or not they’ll take his view into consideration is an open question. But in at least one corner, Shalit won considerable sympathy: The City Council of New York pro-

Courtesy of Miriam Alster/Flash90

Noam Shalit, right, with Knesset member Michael Eitan during a protest on behalf of Shalit’s captive son Gilad outside the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem on Gilad’s 25th birthday, Aug. 28, 2011.



Lecture by Arna Poupko Fisher: “It’s Deeply Personal: The Case for Jewish Peoplehood” COFFEE & LIGHT DESSERTS WILL BE SERVED • SELICHOT SERVICE AT MIDNIGHT


ROSH HASHANA SERVICES THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29TH & FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30TH At 2209 Losantiville Road (RITSS High School) Open to all – no tickets necessary • Services Begin at 8:30AM, Shofar 10:00AM

Guest Rabbi: Rabbi Yuval Kernerman, Principal, Cincinnati Hebrew Day School Complimentary babysitting and youth groups for ages 12 months and up. For more information on upcoming events, please visit

claimed Sept. 7 Gilad Shalit day. The point of Shalit’s trip was to keep the issue of his son’s captivity from being forgotten amid world events, and to use those events as a lever to secure Gilad’s release. “We hope he’ll be home for Rosh Hashanah,” Shalit told a meeting of the New York City Council, saying a prisonerexchange deal between Israel and Hamas is “the only way.” In a 30-minute interview with JTA last Friday, Shalit talked about the need to put pressure on all sides using whatever tools are available. In the more than five years since Gilad Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid on the Israel-Gaza frontier in June 2006, the Shalit family has done all it can to make sure the plight of the captive soldier remains high on Israelis’ minds.

Shalit and his wife, Aviva, set up a protest tent opposite the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem that has not budged in more than two years. They’ve held nationwide marches, disrupted Independence Day ceremonies and prompted myriad campaigns to pressure the Israeli government to cut a deal with Hamas, including a recent one for Shalit’s 25th birthday. There are Free Shalit wristbands, bumper stickers and banners. Last week, Shalit met in the United States with American Jewish organizations to strategize on how to lobby the Obama administration to put more pressure on the Palestinian Authority, which he believes can pressure Hamas. Shalit dismisses the notion that the Palestinian Authority SHALIT on page 20

Conservative synagogues crack open door to intermarried families By Naomi Zeveloff The Jewish Daily Forward (Forward) — In June, after a year of internal discussion, Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, a Conservative synagogue just outside Philadelphia, made a tiny amendment to its constitution: It redefined household membership to apply to families with one Jewish parent as well as those with two. Though the amendment impacted a small number of intermarried congregants — some 10 families in a total of 720 — it spelled a philosophical transformation for the congregation that reflects broader changes in the Conservative movement writ large. Faced with the prospect of losing members because of a hostile environment for intermarried couples, Conservative congregations are providing membership opportunities for non-Jewish spouses. But in doing so they are sometimes placing themselves in opposition to

the national Conservative leadership. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the movement’s congregations, opposes membership rights for non-Jews. “Is it so outrageous for us to say that someone who is married to a Jew also has a place within the Jewish community?” asked Rabbi Neil Cooper of Temple Beth HillelBeth El. The changes at Beth Hillel are of a piece with efforts to accommodate intermarried couples nationwide, but they also go one step beyond by offering limited voting rights to intermarried couples. Because a family membership at Beth Hillel comes with two votes — one for each adult partner — non-Jewish spouses may now weigh in alongside the rest of the congregation to amend the synagogue’s constitution or elect individuals to the board or the executive committee. INTERMARRIED on page 21



In Sicily, Jews reach out to Inquisition-era forgotten Jews By Alex Weisler Jewish Telegraphic Agency SIRACUSA, Italy (JTA) — On her deathbed, Salvatore Zurzolo’s grandmother confided a long-held secret: Their family was Jewish. Zurzolo, of Calabria in southern Italy, had been flirting with Judaism for years, ever since choosing to stay with Parisian Jews during a Catholic youth trip to the city when he was 18. After his grandmother’s confession, Zurzolo contacted the central Italian Jewish community in Rome and asked to begin the conversion process. “For 20 years I was told it was not possible,” Zurzolo said. But he didn’t give up, keeping kosher, wearing a yarmulke and a Star of David necklace, and visiting Israel 10 times in two decades, according to his account. Finally, last December, Zurzolo formally converted to Judaism with a dip in the ancient mikvah of Siracusa, Sicily’s fourth-largest city and one of Italy’s southernmost municipalities. Last week, Zurzolo returned to the site of the ritual bath, which sits below an upmarket hotel, for a firstof-its-kind conference aimed at "Ebrei di Ritorno," the Italian term for “Returning Jews”—descendants of Jews forcibly converted during the Inquisition era who are now exploring the possibility of coming back to the religion. The gathering, which brought together a passel of prominent Italian rabbis and more than a dozen mostly Sicilian descendants of Jews, was an important step for Siracusa: It marked the first time that the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, or UCEI, the umbrella group for the Italian Jewish establishment, offered formal recognition and support. Among the attendees were Rabbi Eliyahu Birnbaum, chief rabbi of Turin; Rabbi Shalom Bahbout, chief rabbi of Naples; and Rabbi Roberto Della Rocca, head of the UCEI’s culture and education department. Sicily now has its first rabbi in 500 years, and Siracusa’s tiny oneroom synagogue — occupying the bottom floor of an apartment building in the city’s outskirts and drawing from a revolving door of about 40 interested locals — is one of only two or three Jewish communities in Italy south of Naples. Perhaps most important, Italian Jewry seems open to welcoming newly converted Jews from Siracusa. Rabbi Gadi Piperno, project manager for southern outreach for the Union of Italian Jewish Communities’ department of education and culture, came to Siracusa for the recent outreach seminar. “We used to say that Naples was the frontier” of Italian Jewry, he


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The American Israelite Alex Weisler

Rabbi Stefano di Mauro has jump-started a tiny Jewish community in southern Sicily that appeals to descendants of Jews reestablishing their connection with the religion.

said. “But now, at the end of Italy, we have a community — so this is the new frontier.” At the two-day conference, participants told personal stories of discovering their heritage, pored over Torah passages—including the Book of Ruth, which is focused on the conversion of Naomi’s daughter-in-law—and heard from Michael Freund, founder and chairman of the Shavei Israel Foundation, which seeks to facilitate connections between descendants of Jews, Israel and the Jewish people. Freund, whose group has worked with descendants of Jews in India, South America, Poland and the Iberian Peninsula, said the Siracusa event was his first foray into the so-called anusim communities of Italy—descendents of forcibly converted Jews. Sicily had a Jewish population of at least 50,000 at the time of the Inquisition, and Freund believes that welcoming back descendants of Jews is the best way to avenge the violence and intimidation of that era. “The sweetest revenge for what the Inquisition did to these people’s ancestors would be to bring back as many of these people as possible,” he said. Elisabetta Barbera made the trip from Rome to attend the conference. She said she suspects that her family has Jewish links and that definitive proof is not the point. “Being 60, it’s my right to die like a Jew. That’s it,” she said. “It’s my feeling, my link, my faith.” Event attendees said the seminar made them feel less alone. Maria La Cara traveled from the Sicilian capital of Palermo, nearly a three-hour drive. Raised Catholic, she began attending Pentecostal services at 18 and found herself getting consistently hung up on the word “Israel” when she came across it in prayers.

La Cara says one of her family’s surnames, Scimonetto, is a common converso name in the southern Italian region of Reggio Calabria, but she has no definitive proof of Jewish ancestry. “I think I’d feel better if I found out I was Jewish,” she said. “If my past is more clear, then so is my present.” La Cara said she has received support from her family, but that’s not a universal experience in heavily Catholic Sicily. Carlo — a biochemistry student from Catania, about 40 minutes north of Siracusa — didn’t want to provide his last name because of his family’s discomfort with his growing Jewish identity. When he was 8 or 9, Carlo dreamt that his mother and grandmother told him he was Jewish; he has Jewish roots on both parents’ sides. But when Carlo began exploring the religion in his midteens, it upset his family. “My family is a total Sicilian family – it’s Catholic,” he said. “For them it’s not a good decision. I’m not decided on whether I’ll complete my path to Judaism.” Amid all the existential questions and sweeping rhetoric at the gathering were practical concerns. This was the central concern for Rabbi Stefano di Mauro, a Sicilian native who converted to Judaism when he was about 30 and was later told of his family’s Jewish roots. Now that Siracusa has a synagogue again, he is focused on making the city a welcoming place for the community of anusim. “The next step is to create a permanent beit din (religious court) for the South and give the opportunity to the ones who want to come back to Judaism to be helped faster,” he said. “I’m not so young anymore to get so excited, but it seems like G-d wants this to happen. So many things are coming together.”



After doctors’ strike, Israelis take stock of health care system’s woes

Courtesy of Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90

Israeli specialists holding their shoes during a demonstration by doctors outside the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, July 26, 2011.

By Jessica Steinberg Jewish Telegraphic Agency JERUSALEM (JTA) — Thousands of Israeli doctors spent the last four months engaged in a nationwide strike, using work stoppages, YouTube videos and a final hunger strike by disgruntled medical residents to protest their wages and working hours. Now that the doctors’ strike is over, Israelis are debating whether a raise in wages and shorter workdays can offset the deeper problems plaguing their country’s socialized health system. Israel’s health system is “an old

horse,” and the strikes exposed severe structural deficiencies in the health system, said Dov Chernichovsky, a professor of health policy and economics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Chernichovsky also chairs the health policy program at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. “We have an excellent system with a lot of good manpower, but we’re losing ground in its funding and organization,” he said. “It’s a system afflicted with narrow interests that undermine the public nature of the system.” The crux of the strike was about

more money and less time at work. Doctors working in a public hospital or HMOs currently earn approximately $7,000 a month working a 42-hour week and seeing patients every 10 minutes at the HMOs. By the end of the strike, doctors received a gradual salary increase for those working extra shifts, more regulation of working hours — they’ll have to punch a time clock — and a promised addition of 1,000 doctors at the hospitals. But doctors are still disgruntled. With roots dating back to the British Mandate, Israeli medical care has traditionally offered universal health care administered by four “kupot cholim,” or HMOs, that were initially set up by the country’s labor unions before the state was established. Patients saw their doctors at the HMO and went to the mostly state-owned hospitals when necessary. Many doctors split their time between the HMOs and hospitals. There was a gradual yet seismic shift in the system. As Israelis grew wealthier and the population aged, demand grew for a different kind of health care — one that offered more care, advanced technology and more client choice. Israelis wanted the advantages of private care, and the health care system ended up providing it, albeit through a back door. STRIKE on page 23

Courtesy of Maggie Osama/Creative Commons

Egyptian demonstrators attacking Israel's embassy in Cairo, Sept. 9, 2011.

Embassy attack in Egypt stokes Israeli fears of new Egypt By Linda Gradstein Jewish Telegraphic Agency JERUSALEM (JTA) — Retired Israeli Air Force pilot Uri Dromi remembers the day 34 years ago when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat landed in Israel to tell the Israeli people that he was ready to make peace. Dromi, who had flown missions in the 1967 Six-Day War against Egypt, had been assigned to escort the Egyptian aircrew during Sadat’s visit. “I was standing there on the tarmac and suddenly there’s this big airliner with Egyptian markings being escorted by three Israeli jet fighters,” Dromi told JTA. “It turns and lands. The door opens and there stands Anwar Sadat, who until then had been the leader of our

Israel Briefs Egypt bans lulav exports to Israel, Diaspora JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egypt has banned the export of palm fronds to Israel and Jewish communities abroad, leading to fears of a lulav shortage for the Sukkot holiday. Israel had previously imported about 700,000 palm fronds a year in the run-up to Sukkot, which is about 40 percent of the annual demand, Haaretz reported. Another 700,000 of the 2 million lulavs used in Diaspora Jewish communities also come from Egypt. The palms are grown in the Sinai Peninsula. Israel’s Agricultural Ministry said in a statement that it is

greatest enemy. This is one of the moments I will always cherish.” Today, Dromi, who runs the Mishkenot Sha’ananim conference center in Jerusalem and organizes briefings for journalists, is worried that the historic peace between Egypt and Israel could be unraveling. Last week’s attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo by a mob of thousands of Egyptians has him worried. “I think it is serious because there’s a lot of energy there,” Dromi said. “The anti-Israel sentiment was always there, but it was marginal compared to the problems Egyptians had. Now Egyptians are expressing all of their anger and frustration against Israel.” FEARS on page 23 encouraging local palm farmers to increase their production. The ministry also has issued special licenses to import lulavs from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Spain. The holiday begins on the evening of Oct. 12. While Egypt reportedly has not given a reason for banning the palm export, it is believed that the current unstable relations between the two countries is the cause. Israeli diplomats return to Cairo embassy JERUSALEM (JTA) — Four Israeli diplomats and security personnel have returned to Israel’s embassy in Cairo after being evacuated amid violent protests. The envoys — a consul, an adviser and the chief of security and his deputy, according to reports — returned to Cairo to a new building and will deal only with low-level issues in an effort to retain Israel’s diplomatic presence in Egypt, Ynet reported.




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Cedar Village’s 2011 Golf Classic at Wetherington Golf and Country Club

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Carol Silver Elliot, Kay Geiger, Carol Neuman and Andrew Shott

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GOT PHOTOS? Have photos from an event to share? If so, send your photos in and have them seen by our readers in the Cincinnati Jewish Life section of The American Israelite. Submit your photos by sending them on a CD to The American Israelite, 18 W. 9th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 or by e-mailing them to Make sure to include photo descriptions for each photo and a short synopsis of the event, including date/place/reason/etc. All photos should be hi-res to ensure print quality. If sending by e-mail, send them in batches of 3 to 4 per e-mail (12 MB max).

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Sukhothai—tried and true Thai in Montgomery By Sondra Katkin Dining Editor In the Montgomery Market Place, there is a little village that is reminiscent of a picture in a storybook with small shops framed with brightly colored wood. Once you escape the Montgomery Road traffic, its pervasive presence disappears and the artistic landscaping and intriguing storefronts lure you to explore. On the left side of the square, behind a fragrant rose bush, is the entrance to Sukhothai, the “Dining Guide’s” choice for best Thai restaurant in Cincinnati in 2005. When I interviewed “Toy,” chef and owner with his wife “Lin” (their nicknames), I learned that this is a customer-oriented restaurant. Toy said that he will make special requests for his clients and even named one of his three rooms Jerry’s Room, for one of his regular diners. That’s “kicking customer friendly up a notch.” As we talked, one of his servers brought out an array of enticing platters, each one aesthetically pleasing with tantalizing aromas wafting up from the plates. I unfolded the pale gold cloth napkin and began with the appetizer, curry puffs. They look like large three sided ravioli with a crispy exterior dusted with crumbs and stuffed with a potato-onion mixture. It was the Asian version of a delicious, chewy “knish.” I thought I could ignore the dipping sauce that accompanied it since the puff was so good by itself, but of course when I tasted it, the allure of the light, sweet and sour flavor was irresistible. Who was I to ignore an integral aspect of a complete conception? In between courses, I noticed the lovely yet subtle decor. There are three rooms with walls of muted pastels, pink, salmon and pale gold with a contrasting blue rug. The separations create a more intimate ambiance and the soft colors add a relaxed feeling. Acoustical tiles complete the comfort factor and unusual art adds a decorative accent. For example, there are two pictures “painted” by a 3-year-old Thai elephant. At first, I thought Toy had said 3-year-old child. Then he showed me a picture of the pachyderm prodigy plying his craft. The paintings were surprisingly good. Toy informed me North/South Indians Indo Chinese






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(Clockwise) Inviting entryway to Sukhothai restaurant; “Toy” and lovely “Lin” at a table in “Jerry’s Room;” Tempting mango and sticky rice, lemony fresh coconut soup, chewy curry puffs and aromatic chicken basil.

that northern Thailand has the first elephant hospital in the world. I love learning new things. Another new fact — my coconut soup was flavored with “kaffir” leaves. Toy showed me his 15-year-old kaffir tree and I tasted a leaf. It was profoundly lemony. Google “told” me that it’s a lime tree with an intense concentration of aromatic oils in the leaves and skin of the fruit. Every home in the Thai countryside has one. It added a wholesome lemony essence to the soup. To intensify the citrus flavor, they add lemon grass. A chicken soup base, crunchy mushrooms, cilantro garnish and “galanga,” a ginger like herb only spicier with mustard like overtones, complete the ingredients. When it all comes together, it’s fun to take it apart bite by bite and I added two more words to my culinary lexicon (kaffir and galanga). Toy told me, “I love to cook; my wife and I do all the cooking ourselves.” He has traveled

throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East and was once the chef on an oil tanker. After working in the restaurant business for over 30 years in various American cities, he explained that his success in Cincinnati came because it was “his time.” They will celebrate the 13th anniversary of Sukhothai in October. I give them a lot of credit since restaurant success can be elusive and a tucked away location depends a great deal on word of mouth. My third course, the entree, chicken basil, was served with lovely decorative garnishes and featured a wonderful basil aroma and flavor, crunchy vegetables and a generous amount of moist white meat chicken. I appreciated the “au jus” nature of the sauce which went well with the rice and didn’t feel heavy or mask the taste. This was not food with gossamer subtleties or complex layering of myriad ingredients and “infusions.” It was a clear, sharp blending of Asian fla-

vors — the sweet, the sour and the savory. Toy has an extended “family” of regulars who will attest to the popularity of his craft. Thai restaurants do not usually stand out because of “chewy” food. Here, Sukhothai differs from most. The first chewy experience was the curry puffs and the second and final reward for this diner was the sticky rice and mango. The mango was at its most pungent sweetness, a golden contrast to the bright white rice. What a nice rice experience. I could taste both a hint of mango and coconut milk, two wonderful dessert ingredients. However the most fun part was just chewing it. The rice didn’t go quietly, but I loved its perfect level of firmness. It reached that intersection of flavor and texture with no stop sign to interfere. I will certainly cherish these chewy memories. Another dessert standout, according to my server, is deep fried cheesecake with vanilla ice cream. Toy has assured me that his

patrons can choose any level of spiciness they wish and that all the entrees can be prepared as vegetarian. The menu features specials for lunch. Several soups, including the famous “tom yum,” are always available. They offer a variety of salads, thin, thick, and cellophane noodle dishes, as well as many curries. Also popular are the stirfry entrees. House specials include various duck, chicken and seafood preparations. Rice varieties are either plain or fried with tasty ingredients such as pineapple. Sukhothai serves wine, beer and liquor. They are open for lunch 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Dinner hours are 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. Sukhothai Thai Cuisine 8102 Market Place Lane Cincinnati, OH 45242 513-794-0057






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G-d positioning system

The ultimate pleasure for which our souls pine is closeness to G-d, and it is only fully obtainable in a world beyond this one.

the steep climb required to reach it) or Paterson, New Jersey’s unexpectedly impressive Great Falls. But the difficulty of even finding Buttermilk Falls was inspiration of its own. We had spent most of an entire day driving through the southern foothills of the Catskill Mountains trying to locate our quarry, which, although immobile, had proven elusive. We knew it wasn’t the larger falls by that same name, nearly 200 miles to the northwest. But, somehow, neither our standard GPS nor my personal one (my wife’s first name is Gita) had managed to guide us smoothly to our destination. Here we were, though, finally, on Buttermilk Falls Road, although it seemed a less than promising avenue. We passed a rusted-out 1940sera truck, which had been turned over the decades into a large planter for an impressive assortment of weeds. And then we watched a parade of ramshackle dwellings prominently displaying “No Trespassing” signs pass by outside our car windows. One notice read (honestly): “Trespassers Will Be Shot. Survivors Will Be Shot Again.” It somehow captured the

Rabbi Shafran is an editor at large and columnist for Ami Magazine.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Do you have something to say? E-mail your letter to

Dear Editor, Thank you for reviewing my latest book, “The Badge, Stories and Tales From Both Sides of the Law.” (15 Sept., 2011) Though the reviewer, Morris Berg, got most of the details correct, I was sorry he was confused by the mix of fiction and “autobiographical” (his word) stories. Had he read the Preface or called me for an interview it might have cleared up his concerns. Mr. Berg’s inaccuracies and redundancies are not the quality writing I’ve become accustomed to in 40+ years of reading The American Israelite. Finally, left out of the review, is the book’s availability. It may be purchased through the Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites (just enter: The Badge Klein). Chuck Klein Author and former AI Columnist Georgetown, Ohio Dear Editor, In a previously strongly Democratic New York City Congressional district, the Republican defeated a Jewish Democrat who supported Obama.

Representative Henry Waxman, a very powerful Jewish Democrat from California, publically rebuked the Jewish voters who supported the Republican for “voting in their economic interest.” This insulting comment ignores both of the following truths: Jewish voters are increasingly dismayed by the anti-Israel policies of Obama (which is the real reason for their vote) and Jewish voters have consistently, unlike any other voting block, supported candidates and parties who do not represent their economic interests. Waxman’s slanderous comments should not be shrugged-off; can you imagine how furious Jewish leaders would be if those untrue words were from a Republican conservative? John Feibel West Chester, Ohio Dear Editor, AJC has begun an intensive series of private meetings with world leaders who have come to New York for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. This year’s agenda includes the Palestinian bid for U.N.

recognition of a state without negotiating with Israel. Other pressing topics are the Iranian nuclear threat, the Durban 3 gathering, and repercussions of the Arab Spring. It is the 21st year of AJC’s “Diplomatic Marathon,” a 10-day period that is the high point of the global advocacy organization’s pioneering year-round diplomatic outreach around the world. AJC has built relationships over the years with dozens of governments on all continents, making it possible to have open and timely policy conversations on critical issues with presidents, prime ministers, and foreign ministers. Experienced staff and lay leaders engage in hands-on highstakes diplomacy. The UN designed the first Durban conference to fight racism, but instead Durban 1 and 2 bashed Israel, Zionism and Jews. AJC applauds the 13 democratic nations which have withdrawn from Durban 3, scheduled to open on September 22. John M. Stein President, AJC Cincinnati Regional Office

T EST Y OUR T ORAH KNOWLEDGE THIS WEEK’S PORTION: NITZVIM-VAYELECH (DEVARIM 29:9—31:30) 1. What does the beginning of the Parsha talk about? a.) Blessing b.) Curse c.) Laws 2. How does it describe Hashem's anger? a.) Smoke b.) Fire c.) Furnace 3. Whom does Moshe command to strengthen himself? a.) Joshua 3. A 31:7,23,3:28 4. C 31:30 5. C Isiah describes the anticipation for the redemption. Hashem is waiting by saying he will not be silent for Zion. The children of Israel are waiting like watchman at the top of the wall.

I rode the brake and we descended the single-lane dirt path slowly, feeling the vibration of pebbles under our tires turn into the audible crunch of good-sized stones. My wife and I had embarked not long ago on our annual short summer vacation in search, as usual, of a hike in a forest to a waterfall. We were, we thought, close to our goal. The particular falls on our agenda this year were clearly not going to be any match for the stunning double-drop Kaaterskill Falls (made all the more rewarding by

spirit of the surroundings. The prospect of puncturing a tire on this clearly “residential” dead-end and finding ourselves at the hospitality of the locals was enough to convince us, with no evidence of any waterfall in sight, to do a slow, careful three-point turn (avoiding the deep, foot-wide running ditch on either side of the road) and head gingerly back to the paved road from which we had turned onto the unappealing artery. It turned out that Buttermilk Falls Road, at least that one, did not in fact lead to Buttermilk Falls. (This was upstate New York; why would it?) The falls were 50-odd miles’ drive and a short forest hike away. Eventually, we reached our goal. The roundabout way we got there, though, and the one-flat-tireaway-from-disaster situation we experienced, made me think about Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato. Well, not about him, astounding a personage as he was, but rather about his most famous work, the Mesilas Yesharim, or “Path of the Just.” Specifically, its first chapter, in which he introduces the idea, familiar to many but still counterintuitive to some, that human beings are created to receive pleasure. He describes the world as a place filled with transient joys, to which we are attracted because of our pleasure-seeking natures. But many of those joys in fact distance us from the ultimate pleasure intended for us; our pursuit of them leads us away from our goal. The ultimate pleasure for which our souls pine is closeness to G-d, and it is only fully obtainable in a world beyond this one. And while all sorts of paths here beckon us, holding out shiny diversions for our consideration and promising true gratification, they are barren roads, even dangerous ones. We need to navigate our lives around them, and trod tried, true paths, not those that may lead to places we may think we wish to go but really do not. The truth is that all thinking people over time come to realize both that we are pleasure-seekers and that the satisfaction of our desires — no matter how we may feed, clothe, entertain or pamper ourselves — remains frustratingly out of reach. So many roads that seemed so very promising turn out to be such total disappointments. While we are still fortunate to occupy this world of doing, though, we always have the ability to execute our personal three-point turns. As I recall the sound of the stones underneath our car on Buttermilk Falls Road that day, I imagine the vibration as the sound of Elul approaching.

b.) Elazar c.) Pinchas 4. What special words did Moshe speak at the end of the Parsha? a.) Comfort b.) Rebuke c.) Song 5. Haftorah: To whom does the prophet compare the Children of Israel? a.) A soldier returning home victorious b.) Sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob c.) To a groom and bridegroom ANSWERS 1. A,B Moshe made another covenant with the people to insure their loyalty to Hashem and his mitzvot. Also, because Joshua was soon going to take Moshe's place, Moshe needed to warn the people another time. Rashi 2. A 29:19

Rabbi Avi Shafran Contributing Columnist

Written by Rabbi Dov Aaron Wise



Sedra of the Week


by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel - “You are standing this day, all of you, before the Lord your G-d – the leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, every person of Israel” (Deut. 29:9). The festival of Rosh Hashana is always preceded by Parashat Nitzavim the first part of the double portion to be read this Shabbat. I suggest that this is hardly an accident. I believe the true significance of Rosh Hashana is explained by the special covenant we find in Nitzavim. In order to properly understand this covenant, it’s important to analyze a number of textual problems at the beginning of our portion. Firstly, the opening verse, quoted above: Which covenant is the Bible speaking about? Abraham entered into the Covenant of the Pieces, a national covenant promising the first patriarch progeny and a land; Moses and the Israelites entered into a Covenant at Sinai, granting and obligating the nation to a set of laws, both moral and ritual. What could possibly emanate from a third covenant, after Israel had already been established as a nation and a religion? And how are we to understand the strange inclusion of not only those actually present, but even those who were not? If this refers to past generations, how can they not be “standing before G-d”? They are probably closer to Him than those who are alive. And if this refers to future generations, what of the fact that the Bible is constantly renewing the covenant: after the conquest of the Land in the period of Joshua, after the return from Babylonian exile, and every seven years in the dramatic event of hakhel, when all the Israelites are commanded to gather and reconfirm their special relationship with G-d. So who are those “not standing before G-d this day”? Clearly this is the covenant first mentioned in Chapter 2 of Deuteronomy (Re’eh) — the blessings and the curses on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal to which the Israelites were bound just before their entry into Israel. They are instructed to erect large stones on their way to Shechem (Nablus, their entry

The content of these blessings and curses are 12 of the most significant of the Bible’s moral and ethical laws: cursed are those who disobey and blessed are those who uphold the strictures against idolatry, cursing one’s parents, moving one’s neighbors’ boundary markers (stealing, trespassing, invading one’s privacy), misdirecting the blind (literally and figuratively), perverting justice for the stranger, orphan and widow, striking one’s neighbor, taking a bribe and various sexual crimes. These are all universal laws which apply to every human being. point to Israel) on which “the words of this Torah” (apparently this particular covenant) were to be written “very well explained” – which means, according to our Sages, that they were to be translated into 70 different languages. The content of these stones appears to be a kind of second Decalogue, because an altar is to be erected untouched by implements of iron — identical to the command concerning the first Decalogue (Deut. 27:1-8). The content of these blessings and curses are 12 of the most significant of the Bible’s moral and ethical laws: cursed are those who disobey and blessed are those who uphold the strictures against idolatry, cursing one’s parents, moving one’s neighbors’ boundary markers (stealing, trespassing, invading one’s privacy), misdirecting the blind (literally and figuratively), perverting justice for the stranger, orphan and widow, striking one’s neighbor, taking a bribe and various sexual crimes. These are all universal laws which apply to every human being. Hence, I submit that this third covenant contains the rules and regulations which the Almighty imposes upon humanity, the teaching of which is our mission. After all, part of the charge we received at Sinai was to be a “kingdom of priest-teachers” – teachers to the other nations. All the prophets envisage a time at the end of days when all the nations come to us to learn the message of ethical monotheism: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

and humanity shall not learn war anymore.” Maimonides codifies the principle that just as the Bible was given to teach Jews the 613 commandments, so too it teaches the world the seven fundamental rules – such moral and ethical teachings as “Thou shalt not murder” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Therefore, our Bible says that when the Israelites enter the Land of Israel, they are to write the 12 ethical commandments to the world in stone, and in every one of the 70 languages; this is a lesson for every visiting dignitary as well as a clear message to every entering Israelite. This third covenant was for the Jews to communicate to those who were “not with them before G-d” at the time of their entry into Israel. Indeed, our future (as well as the future of the world) depends on our success in fulfilling our mission. Ezra ordained that we read about this third covenant every Rosh Hashana. The primary meaning of Rosh Hashana is our acceptance of G-d’s kingship throughout the world; the primary challenge of Rosh Hashana is to bring the world to recognize that kingship. The weeping cry of the shofar (trua) reflects our sadness at a world not yet perfected; the exultant, exalting sound (tekiya) reflects our faith that we shall ultimately succeed. Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Chancellor Ohr Torah Stone Chief Rabbi – Efrat Israel












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By Nate Bloom Contributing Columnist

with JONAH HILL, 27, as Beane’s right hand man.

PRO FOOTBALL AND A SPORTS MOVIE The following is a list of Jewish players on an NFL team roster as of Sept. 13. All these players have at least one Jewish parent and were raised Jewish or secular. This list was prepared with the aid of Jewish Sports Review magazine. I have placed an (M) or a (P) following the player’s name to indicate which parent is Jewish if the player doesn’t have two Jewish parents: GREG CAMARILLO, 29, (M), widereceiver; Minnesota; BRIAN DE LA PUENTE, 26, (M), guard, New Orleans; ANTONIO GARAY, 31, (M), nose tackle, San Diego. After seven years with four NFL teams in which Garay hardly played due to injuries, he finally had a good season in 2010 and earned the starting spot; KYLE KOSIER, 32, (M), guard, Dallas; ERIK LORIG, 24, tight end/fullback, Tampa Bay; TAYLOR MAYS, 23, (M), safety, Cincinnati; ADAM PODLESH, 28, punter, Chicago; SAGE ROSENFELS, 33, (P), back-up quarterback, NY Giants. As I write this, he’s on injured reserve, as is GEOFF SCHWARTZ, 25, offensive tackle, Carolina. A three-time first team AllAmerican at the Univ. of Southern California, Mays was a San Francisco ‘49ers second round draft pick in 2010. However, he showed some weaknesses in his first pro year and he was traded to the Bengals. Mays grew-up in Seattle. His white, Jewish mother, LAURIE, is a department store executive. His African-American father, Stafford, is a former pro player who works as a Microsoft executive. Mays was raised Jewish and is happy to talk about his bar mitzvah. This season’s only rookie is GABE CARIMI, 23, right tackle, Chicago. A practicing Jew and a great college player, he was the Bears’ 1st round draft pick. His Jewish father took the last name of his Italian stepfather. Gabe’s mother is a Jew-by-choice. Sad to note: veterans DAVID BINN (San Diego) and IGOR OLSHANSKY (Dallas) were cut just before the season began. Opening Friday, Sept. 23, is “Moneyball,” about how real-life Oakland A’s baseball team general manager Billy Beane put together winning teams by defying conventional wisdom and using deep computer statistical analysis in drafting and trading for players. Directed by BENNETT MILLER, 44 (“Capote”), the film stars Brad Pitt (Beane),

MORE MAD MEL NOTES You probably heard that Mel Gibson has made a deal with Warner Bros. to produce a film on the life of JUDAH MACCABEE (he may also direct). Atlantic Magazine writer JEFFREY GOLDBERG, in a Sept. 9 web article, has a fascinating interview he did with Gibson about two years ago when he heard rumors that Gibson was interested in making this movie. Rather than summarize it, I urge you just read it. It can easily be found on the Atlantic magazine website. I will note that I endorse Goldberg’s view that protests, as with Gibson’s “Jesus movie,” are largely ineffective and actually help Gibson via the free publicity for his movies. Here are a few points of my own, not in other articles I’ve seen on this subject: Gibson, who makes anti-Semitic remarks, and almost certainly holds profoundly antiSemitic views, is the son of Hutton Gibson, a virulently anti-Semitic, ultra-traditionalist Catholic who denies the Holocaust. Nonetheless, Mel produces films on his Jewish faves (like a documentary about LEONARD COHEN and a made-for-TV movie about the lives of The Three Stooges). This “weirdness” is “squared” when one learns that Joe Eszterhas (“Basic Instinct”) has been signed to do the Maccabee film screenplay. Eszterhas’ family background is traditionalist Catholic, too, and his father, Istvan, edited a Cleveland Catholic newspaper. But here’s another, even creepier connection between the two guys’ fathers: Joe wrote “The Music Box” (1989), a fictional feature film about a Hungarian immigrant who is tried for war crimes against Jews. Not long after “Music Box” opened, Joe found out that Istvan was being investigated by the Justice Dept. for helping Hungarian Catholic fascists persecute/kill Jews during WWII. In his autobiography, Joe writes: “My father worked in the propaganda ministry ... had written hundreds of vicious anti-Semitic editorials ... edited Government-funded antiSemitic publications ... and had even organized a book burning.”(Istvan was ultimately not deported because he was so old and didn’t personally harm any Jews.) The revelation of his father’s background caused Joe to be largely estranged from his father until his father’s death. Unlike Mel Gibson, Joe has been nothing but pro-Jewish. Still, it’s a strange duo to be making a film

FROM THE PAGES 100 Y EARS A GO Mrs. Julia Bloch and daughter, Emily, have returned from Omena. Mich., where they spent the last two months. On board the Kronprinzessin Cecile on her voyage to New York were, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Freiberg, Miss Katherine Block, Miss Goldsmith, Mrs. S. W. Pritz, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Segal, and Mrs. Charles Fleischman. Henry A. Strauss, for several years past one of the city’s most energetic and capable young newspaper men in his position as court reporter of the United States courts, has been admitted to the bar and became a member of the legal profession. He joins the wellknown law firm of Cohen & Mack. Mr. and Mrs. J. Wilhermsdorfer, Flat 1, Andover apartments, corner Albany and Burnet avenues, will celebrate their Golden wedding, Friday, September 29, and will be glad to see their friends. Reception from 4 to 10 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Wilhermsdorfer are old residents of this city where they were married by Rev. Dr. Isaac M. Wise. Mr. Wilhermsdorfer was born at Ansbach, Bavaria, seventynine years ago, and was, until a few years connected with Stern, Auer & Co. until advanced years compelled him to retire. Mrs. Wilhermsdorfer was Jeanette Gallinger, and was born in Rheinsh, Bavaria, and is by seven years her husband’s junior. Both are enjoying their full mental activity. Mr. Wilhermsdorfer is somewhat in impaired health physically, but not so seriously that he cannot appreciate the blessings of the occasion. — September 21, 1911

75 Y EARS A GO Miss Dorothy F. Zeligs has received word from her publishers that her book, “A Child’s History of Jewish Life,” is in press and probably will appear in October. The book covers the first 16 centuries of the Common Era and follows chronologically her first volume, “A Child’s History of the Hebrew People” which was published last fall, and which enjoyed a wide popularity in both public and religious schools. Miss Zeligs, a teacher in the Cincinnati public schools, is on leave of absence this year in order that she may continue her writing activities. Announcement is being made of the engagement of Mr. Morris E. Samuels, 641 Glenwood Avenue, and Miss Naomi Spiegel, daughter of Mrs. Benjamin Spiegel of Norfolk, Va. Miss Slema Faust, 19, of Milton court, passed away Saturday, Sept. 12th, after a six-month illness. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Faust. Her brothers Charles, Philip and Marvin, also survive. Rabbi Louis Feinberg officiated Sunday at services, held from the Weil Funeral Home.

Mrs. Dora B. Eckstein, 211 Central Park West, New York, passed away in this city, Wednesday, Sept. 23. She is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Gilbert Mombach, 1002 Marion Avenue, and Mrs. Alfred Nathan. — September 24, 1936

50 Y EARS A GO Morris Lucas, 4200 Redwood Terrace passed away Saturday, Sept. 9. Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Ruby Schaen Lucas; one daughter, Mrs. Julian Moskowitz, of Cincinnati; two sons, Dr. Stanley Lucas of Cincinnati and Dr. Melvin Lucas of Cleveland; a sister, Mrs. Ethel Perlman, of Cincinnati; a brother, David Lucas, of Cincinnati; and ten grandchildren. Professor Millard Meiss of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, N.J., is the first American to be president of the International Committee of Art History. He entered his three-year term as president recently. Professor Meiss is the brother of Mrs. Leo S. Friedman, 3854 Spring House Lane. Professor Meiss is former curator of paintings at the Fogg Museum and former professor of fine arts at Harvard. Dr. I. S. Ravdin, Philadelphia, president of the American College of Surgeons, will speak at a meeting sponsored by Sheltering Oaks Hospital Thursday, Oct 19, at 8 p.m., at the Jewish Community Center. Philip Steiner is president of the hospital. Admission will be by donations to the hospital. Dr. Ravdin, professor of surgery, Schools of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, will speak on “Medical Horizons.” He is vice president for medical affairs at the university and was elected president of the American College of Surgeons last October. During World War II, Dr. Ravdin was a Major General in the U.S. Army Medical corps. He was medical chief of staff in the China-Burma-India Theater. — September 21, 1961

25 Y EARS A GO Robert M. Blatt, president of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, announced the appointment of Barry A. Kohn as chairman of a newly formed Building and Maintenance Task Force. In recognition of the large Jewish community investment in buildings housing Federation beneficiary agencies, the task force has been charged to develop a comprehensive set of guidelines relative to the structural and maintenance needs of these buildings. Serving on the task force with Mr. Kohn are Dolph Berman, Hirsch Cohen, John J. Frank Jr., Rozlyn Harkavy, Louis Peerless, Morton Rabkin, A.J. Randman, and Bernard S. Rosenthal. Crest Hills Country Club held its third annual Mixed Partner

Invitational to benefit Hospice of Cincinnati on August 19th. The event, held in memory of Renee Bass, past chairperson and founder of the invitational, raised more than $16,500 to help meet the needs of those faced with terminal illnesses. Jerry Horwitz and Leah Siegel, chairpersons, wanted to continue with the event. “Hospice fills a very special need in our community. We wanted to help these efforts continue,” Mrs. Siegel said. In addition to Mr. Horwitz and Mrs. Siegel, the committee included Florence Feldman, Bernard Friedman, Bob and Gail Hauer, Robert and Phyllis Lappin, Bea Margolis, Walter Paul, Tom Siegel, Stuart Silverman, Saul and Elaine Skurow, and Babette Weinberg. — September 25, 1986

10 Y EARS A GO Cincinnati’s Jewish community, like all the other Americans, has drawn closer together in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the crashed airliner in Pennsylvania. While shocked and dismayed, the community has responded to help the healing process begin, but the specter of possible future attacks has also brought the need for heightened security. Classes at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati Hebrew Day School and Yavneh Day School were cancelled Sept. 11 to allow students to be with their families, but also for safety concerns. In the days following the attack, area synagogues have held special prayer services to help the congregants sort through their emotions. Security procedures for High Holiday services have also been implemented. For example, Adath Israel Congregation has enlisted the cooperation of Amberley Village authorities to provide “heightened security,” according to Rob Festenstein, temple administrator. He indicated that these measures would extend through the holiday season, adding that security would be “conspicuous throughout the property.” Barry Finestone, Isaac M. Wise temple administrator, said that the congregation has been on alert “for a couple of years,” and they are taking steps to assure the congregation’s safety.” “We have reviewed our ongoing security arrangements to make sure our congregants are safe,” he added. The Jewish Federation/ Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) has been in frequent contact with national law enforcement officials regarding possible local threats. “They have no credible information to suggest that there may be an imminent terrorist threat in the Cincinnati area,” said Michael Rapp, JCRC director, in a letter to Jewish agencies. — September 20, 2001



COMMUNITY DIRECTORY COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS Access (513) 373-0300 • Big Brothers/Big Sisters Assoc. (513) 761-3200 • Camp Ashreinu (513) 702-1513 Camp at the J (513) 722-7226 • Camp Livingston (513) 793-5554 • Cedar Village (513) 754-3100 • Chevra Kadisha (513) 396-6426 Cincinnati Community Mikveh 513-351-0609 Fusion Family (513) 703-3343 • Halom House (513) 791-2912 • Hillel Jewish Student Center (513) 221-6728 • Jewish Community Center (513) 761-7500 • Jewish Community Relations Council (513) 985-1501 Jewish Family Service (513) 469-1188 • Jewish Federation of Cincinnati (513) 985-1500 • Jewish Foundation (513) 514-1200 Jewish Information Network (513) 985-1514 Jewish Vocational Service (513) 985-0515 • Kesher (513) 766-3348 Plum Street Temple Historic Preservation Fund (513) 793-2556 Shalom Family (513) 703-3343 • The Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education (513) 487-3055 • Vaad Hoier (513) 731-4671 Workum Fund (513) 899-1836 • YPs at the JCC (513) 761-7500 •

CONGREGATIONS Adath Israel Congregation (513) 793-1800 • Beit Chaverim (513) 984-3393 Beth Israel Congregation (513) 868-2049 • Congregation Beth Adam (513) 985-0400 • Congregation B’nai Tikvah (513) 759-5356 • Congregation B’nai Tzedek (513) 984-3393 • Congregation Ohav Shalom (513) 489-3399 •

Congregation Ohr Chadash (513) 252-7267 • Congregation Sha’arei Torah Golf Manor Synagogue (513) 531-6654 • Isaac M. Wise Temple (513) 793-2556 • Kehilas B’nai Israel (513) 761-0769 Northern Hills Synagogue (513) 931-6038 • Rockdale Temple (513) 891-9900 • Temple Beth Shalom (513) 422-8313 • Temple Sholom (513) 791-1330 • The Valley Temple (513) 761-3555 •

EDUCATION Chai Tots Early Childhood Center (513) 234.0600 • Chabad Blue Ash (513) 793-5200 • Cincinnati Hebrew Day School (513) 351-7777 • HUC-JIR (513) 221-1875 • JCC Early Childhood School (513) 793-2122 • Kehilla - School for Creative Jewish Education (513) 489-3399 • Mercaz High School (513) 792-5082 x104 • Kulanu (Reform Jewish High School) 513-262-8849 • Regional Institute Torah & Secular Studies (513) 631-0083 Rockwern Academy (513) 984-3770 •

DO YOU WANT TO PLACE A CLASSIFIED? Send an e-mail including what you would like in your classified & your contact information to

production@ YPS from page 6 “We truly appreciate the cooperation of all the participating congregations and families who are working in partnership with us to make all this possible for the young professionals in our community,” says Pam Saeks, Director of Jewish Giving for The Mayerson Foundation. “Many of our constituents are from out of town and don’t have a place to go for the High Holidays. We are so proud to be part of a community that is so welcoming, and glad to play a small part in


• • • • •

Up to 24 hour care Meal Preparation Errands/Shopping Hygiene Assistance Light Housekeeping

(513) 531-9600 helping to give those who are interested a way to make a more meaningful connection with their Judaism and our Jewish community,” she adds. For High Holiday tickets, to be paired with a host for one or more holiday meals and to take part in the JGourmet High Holiday Hits Cooking Class, participants must pre-register online or call or email Rachel Plowden at Access. Please consult the Community Directory listing in this issue for contact information. Access is an initiative of The Mayerson Foundation.

David Polaniecki, Sarah Seaman, Michael Israel

ORGANIZATIONS American Jewish Committee (513) 621-4020 • American Friends of Magen David Adom (513) 521-1197 • B’nai B’rith (513) 984-1999 Hadassah (513) 821-6157 • Jewish Discovery Center (513) 234.0777 • Jewish National Fund (513) 794-1300 • Jewish War Veterans (513) 204-5594 • NA’AMAT (513) 984-3805 • National Council of Jewish Women (513) 891-9583 • State of Israel Bonds (513) 793-4440 • Women’s American ORT (513) 985-1512 •

Essa and Kevin Torch



Upcoming ‘Hike for Hospice of Hamilton’ This coming Saturday, Sept. 24 is the 12th annual “Hike for Hospice of Hamilton,” a wholly owned subsidiary of Hospice of Cincinnati. Harry’s Corner is again the presenting sponsor with the team of Robbie’s Song in loving memory of Debbie Dalton’s son, Robbie Dalton. The team is

raising money which goes toward providing the experienced, compassionate, caring end of life care to the indigent who would otherwise not receive this care that Hospice of Cincinnati provides. The 2011 Hike for Hospice gives participants the opportunity to hike in memory or in honor of

a loved one. Community organized teams of walkers travel a two-mile route through downtown Hamilton, while helping Hospice of Hamilton continue its high quality of care for terminally ill patients and their families. Hospice of Hamilton is the fourth oldest hospice in the

nation and the second to have created an inpatient resident program. Everyone needing the services of Hospice of Hamilton is welcome regardless of ability to pay. That is why your gift is so important to the patients and families served by Hospice. Many of our most important programs are

not funded by insurance – including the Patient Distress Fund for patients with little or no insurance coverage, and our bereavement services that include Fernside – a program especially designed for children who have lost a parent, sibling or close relative.

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beef supervision, Tomer Kosher Foods’ parent company has experience and expertise in the beef industry that enables retailers and customers alike to have confidence. In addition to the basic kosher cuts, such as brisket, rib eye, stew meat, etc., Tomer Kosher Foods has unveiled a new line of value added products. The first of many

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CONFERENCE from page 1

Ethiopian Jews to Israel). Kahana explained that as these children get older and eventually become adults, the state-support for therapy and rehabilitation programs is virtually non-existent. So ALEH decided to do something bold— create an entire community in the Negev that is able to provide therapy, rehab programs, housing and community for adults of all ages. With the help of JNF, which provided nearly 60 percent of the budget to build the facility, ALEH was able to create a community that provides quality care for those in need and bring jobs to the Negev. The government continues to fund 70 percent of the operational costs of the complex, with the remaing 30 percent coming from donors around the world, including many JNF members. Prior to ALEH Negev, the only hospital in the region that provided quality rehabilitation care was located in Beer Sheva. With the help of JNF, ALEH was able to create a full-lifespan village to cater to those with special needs in a holistic setting unlike any other in the world. Following the interview with Yossi Kahana, participants returned to the main hall to hear Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York, a specialist in public relations and branding. He spoke about Israel’s brand image around the world. His main message was that by Israel always presenting itself in reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is doing itself harm. When asked by a member of the crowd about the recent row and deterioration of relations with

Turkey over apologizing for the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in 2009, Aharoni replied that none of this was actually about an apology, but an overall repositioning of Turkish interests (after being rebuked by the European Union for the past decade). “Had the Turks handed us their demands and we read them aloud, it would not be enough for Turkey,” he said. Just as the “Arab Spring” proved that Israel was not the keystone of all the turmoil in the Middle East, neither are Israel’s actual statements and actions the crux of what Turkey is concerned with, but rather the currying of favor in the Arab world to compete with local power players like Iran and Saudi Arabia. The evening concluded with the Tree of Life Award dinner honoring Nina and Eddie Paul and all that they have done for JNF and the Sapphire Society in particular. The Tree of Life Award is a humanitarian award given in recognition of outstanding community involvement, dedication to the cause of American-Israeli friendship, and devotion to peace and the security of human life. Master of Ceremonies Hal Linden (of Barney Miller fame) provided the largest JNF crowd ever with laughs throughout the evening, and introduced Larry King, who charmed attendees with stories from his childhood and life in show business. King was the recipient of the Shalom Peace award. Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory spoke at the gala as well, and with an official mayoral decree, declared September 18 JNF Day in Cincinnati, in recog-

nition of all the important work that JNF has done. With over 800 people in attendance, this was the largest JNF gala dinner ever. The final day of the conference, Sept. 19, was devoted to outlining JNF’s goals in developing the Negev. Attendees heard from Chairman of the Board Ronald Lauder, who also pioneered the JNF’s Blueprint Negev development plans; Ezra Ravins, head of the Central Arava Regional Council; Ofir Fisher, President of the Or Movement which promotes new communities in the Negev and aids families transitioning to life in the south; and Russell Robinson, CEO of JNF. Already JNF has constructed more than 220 reservoirs and increased Israel’s water supply by 12 percent. Chairman Lauder told the crowd, “If we want people to come to the Negev, we need to improve education and health-care facilities” in addition to eight more steps necessary in his view for reaching JNF’s goal of settling 500,000 people there in the coming years. During the last session of the conference, JNF outlined its plans for the Parson Water Fund, which includes new reservoir construction, high-depth well drilling and water reclamation plans. In a joint-interview, Cinincinnati’s own Stanley Chesley, president of JNF-USA, stated, “The JNF is the ‘now’ of Israel” and “All the money donated to the JNF goes directly to Israel.” Unfortunately due to schedule constraints (likely thanks to a momentous week at the U.N.), Ambassador Michael Oren was

forced to cancel his visit and instead delivered his closing address via video-link from Washington, D.C. He discussed the quickly evolving regional dynamic affecting Israel, particularly Israel-Egypt relations and Israeli-Palestinian relations. Regarding the Palestinian General Assembly statehood bid, Oren stated, “We are now facing a threat from the Palestinians” and that they would use state recognition to “delegitimize us” and push for sanctions against Israel. He also mentioned the risk of dealing with a state of Palestine, as Israel’s prior arrangement, such as the Oslo Accords were between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, not Palestine. As direct negotiations are a stipulation for achieving a final-status agreement with the Palestinians, the Palestinians would be throwing away years of peace-building by taking unilateral action. Despite the foreboding picture painted by the Ambassador, he said there is still plenty of room for hope in the “Arab Spring,” such as the hopeful toppling of the Assad regime in Syria. He also reminded listeners “that all options remain on the table” with respect to Iran, and that needs to remain a credible threat for deterrence to be effective in curbing the development of Iranian nuclear capabilities.

want one state for the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Authority cannot absolve itself of responsibility; it holds responsibility for all the Palestinian people.” Indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas for Gilad Shalit’s release resumed recently in Cairo, Shalit said, but he remains pessimistic.

“The new Egyptian administration has taken the lead again,” Shalit said. “It is now new people, but Egyptians are the same. We need to urge the Egyptians to move on fast and effectively; we don’t have another three years to spend with negotiations.” At the United Nations last week, Shalit’s focus was the Palestinian Authority. He said he met with more

a dozen U.N. ambassadors to urge them to block any statehood recognition until his son is free. Of particular importance, he said, were his meetings with countries that already have recognized the state of Palestine, such as Argentina. “We are not dealing with politics,” Shalit told JTA. “We are not asking them to vote for or against a

Palestinian state. We just believe that a first step, as a precondition, they should comply with international law.” The leaders of the world, he said, have to tell the Palestinians, “Look, you cannot go on with this violation of international and humanitarian law and at the same time ask for legitimacy and recognition. It is very basic. They don’t go together.”

Despite big name speakers, the true star of the national conference was JNF itself. The conference was used to highlight the progress that JNF has made in Israel, in a variey of fields such as irrigation, urban rehabilitation, reservoir construction, forest preservation and reclamation and much more. More breakout sessions followed the main plenary, and during it The American Israelite had the opportunity to hear about the work JNF was doing to preserve Israel’s historic sites, develop the Negev, as well as the work and writing of New York Times bestseller Jon Entine, who has done extensive research on the genealogy of Jews. Throughout the conference, different JNF officials repeatedly referenced the ALEH Negev facility, yet it wasn’t until The American Israelite met with their Director of Development, Yossi Kahana, that I understood exactly what this project was about. ALEH—Hebrew for leaf, but also an acronym that in Hebrew stands for Helping Children with Special Needs—was founded 25 years ago as a solution to the treatment needs of children with special needs. As the government was not adequately equipped to deal with the long-term therapies required by special needs children, ALEH was founded by Major General Doron Almog (who commanded the first task force during the Entebbe raid and was instrumental in Operation Moses which brought 7,000 endangered SHALIT from page 8 cannot influence Hamas or does not share responsibility for his son’s captivity. “How can they say they have no leverage on Hamas?” he said. “The Palestinian Authority is going to the U.N. to appeal for one Palestinian entity, not two. They

Publisher’s Note: In all, this year’s JNF National Conference and Cincinnati Tree of Life dinner will be one to remember. It is the hope of The American Israelite that many more JNF National Conferences will be held in Cincinnati following the success of this year’s event.

FOOD • 21


Care for your bread Zell’s Bites

by Zell Schulman Having spent five days in New York, staying with my son and enjoying two of my 11 grandchildren, as well as seeing theater, enjoying lunch with friends and taking in the exhibit at the Jewish Museum, you would think I had an absolutely LAW from page 8 Chasidic and other haredi Orthodox authorities, however, tend to view the laws of mesira as still relevant in the American context. But they do see exceptions in which it is permissible to turn a fellow Jew over to secular authorities — for instance in cases of “din rodef,” justice for the pursuer, when the alleged wrongdoer threatens a life. In recent years, some rabbinical authorities have said that the ban on informing does not apply to alleged child molesters. “There are certainly cases, like where a Jew is a threat to others, where it does not apply, but mesira is a religious law of great gravity and an observant Jew takes such things very seriously,” said Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, a haredi Orthodox umbrella body. INTERMARRIED from page 8 However, non-Jews cannot take leadership positions. They aren’t allowed to serve as synagogue president, nor can they chair committees. Other issues of concern remain. Can non-Jews stand alongside Jews on the bimah? Should intermarriages be listed in the synagogue bulletin’s “Mazel Tov” column? These will be dealt with at a later date. “I decided where we had to start was membership,” said Cooper. “It was silly to talk about how we were going to welcome people into the community if we were pulling them in with one hand and pushing them away with the other.” The question of what to do about intermarriage has long bedeviled the Conservative movement. As Jewish rates of intermarriage have climbed over the past few decades, the Reform movement has gained a reputation for openness, recognizing patrilineal descent and allowing rab-

fabulous time Something was missing. My mouth was watering for the perfect New York breakfast to start my day— a prune or apricot Danish with a freshly brewed cup of tea. Believe me, nowhere is there Danish like the Danish you find in the New York bakeries. I spent one whole afternoon trying to find prune and apricot Danish. My Cincinnati friend, Lesha Greengus, is a Maven when it comes to finding the best of everything in New York. Fortunately for me, she was at her New York apartment and we went to Amy’s Bakery in the Chelsea Market, where I purchased the best Rugelach I have ever tasted. The pound I took back with me to Cincinnati didn’t last long. Unfortunately, we came too late for the Danish, Amy’s

had sold out. It seems if you want Danish you need to get to the bakeries early in the morning. I was able to buy two wonderful breads at Amy’s. The dark pumpernickel with currents and almonds made the most marvelous toast. I couldn’t wait to take it out of the toaster. Its crust had the perfect crunch, and when I added the cream cheese and fresh preserves, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The other bread was a delicious rye. Half of it is still in my freezer. My wish for New York Danish was complete, when early Sunday morning, just a few hours before I was to leave for the airport, my son Alan took me to The Hungarian Pastry Shop several blocks from his home in Harlem. The tables outside and in were filled with families, young cou-

ples and singles, all enjoying their coffee or tea and eating Danish. I lovingly held onto the box filled with two dozen Danish, prune, apricot, and a wonderful bonus, cheese Danish, just out of the oven. I may not have a recipe for the New York Danish, but in my luggage, was a card from Amy’s which I am happy to share it with you.

bag, or if cut, leave the cut side down on a board or shelf.

“HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BREAD” For best results eat immediately! We like serving our bread warm for the fullest flavor.

Freezing This bread also freezes well wrapped in plastic, then in foil. Defrost it at room temperature inside the plastic, then refresh it as described above.

Storage To store fresh bread, leave it at room temperature in a paper

What not to do Refrigerating and microwaving bread is not recommended.

Shafran, who responded to questions from JTA via e-mail, said that mesira’s role in modern America was a matter of disagreement among decisors of Jewish law. But he also noted that the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, widely regarded as the pre-eminent Orthodox decisor in recent times, had ruled that the ban was still in force. Asked how the practice appears to the outside world, Shafran replied, “All Jews are family. If that fact provides grist for the mills of anti-Semites, that’s unfortunate. But it’s a fact all the same. And Orthodox Jews make no apologies for what the Torah teaches us.” Shafran cast the issue as a matter of conscience. “In America, there is a long and illustrious history of citizens putting personal conscience before the law of the land,” Shafran wrote. “That’s part of why Americans celebrate the civil rights movement and the civil

disobedience that was part of the lives of its champions. Dedication to a religious ideal deserves no less respect than dedication to a secular ideal. If a person is willing to give up his freedom in the service of a higher ideal, he should be respected for that selfless choice.” Blau said the comparison to civil rights leaders does not stand up, citing Zigelman’s case as an example. “The people in the civil rights movement were willing to pay their price, to be put in jail,” he said. “They were fighting for justice; he is fighting for protecting criminals.” Michael Proctor, Zigelman’s lawyer, has said in court papers that imprisoning Zigelman would be unjust because he will not “abandon his religious precepts” under any circumstances, The Los Angeles Times reported. U.S. District Court Judge Margaret Morrow heard arguments

in the case on Sept. 7 and said she would rule at a later date. The American courts have never upheld a request for an exemption from testifying based on the rules of mesira, said Rabbi J. David Bleich, a professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University and a law professor at its affiliated Cardozo School of Law. “I don’t know what he thinks he’s accomplishing,” Bleich said of Zigelman. “The attorney is probably trying to keep him from testifying, and it’s not going to work.” Bleich said that as a matter of Jewish law, mesira in a democracy would not apply in civil cases. For instance, were Zigelman’s alleged co-conspirators facing a fine, he would be obliged to testify. A criminal matter was different, Bleich said, because there were differences among Jewish decisors over whether the state had the right to apply physical punishment,

including incarceration. “In Jewish law, it hinges on whether the secular state has a right to put people in prison,” he said. Particularly in cases in which a defendant faces physical danger, an informant would be prohibited from testifying, Bleich said. Such dangers may face the Orthodox in maximum-security prisons, where hardcore racist gangs may hold sway, he said, but not in white-collar prisons where tax offenders serve their sentences. Orthodox Jews must weigh not only their obligations to the state but to the community in which they live, said Broyde, who in addition to teaching at Emory is a rabbinic judge on the Beth Din of America. “It’s a balance of what needs to be done and the community you want to be part of,” Broyde said. “It’s balancing the goal of being a good insider with being a good outsider.”

bis to officiate at mixed marriages. On the other end of the spectrum, the Orthodox movement has disavowed intermarriage as a violation of Jewish law and a threat to Jewish continuity. Conservative Judaism occupies a murky middle ground. Its Rabbinical Assembly prohibits Conservative rabbis from officiating at interfaith weddings, and even their presence at such a marriage can cause a stir. (Witness the fuss made over the presence of Arnold Eisen, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, at the reception after Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in July 2010. Although he is not a rabbi, Eisen had to publicly state that he had not attended the wedding, which had taken place during Shabbat.) When it comes to synagogue policies on welcoming intermarried couples, however, national guidelines are vague, if not completely outdated. The RA is revising its policies

regarding intermarriage. The last time it took an official position on the subject was in 1988, when the rabbinical organization advised Conservative congregations to encourage non-Jewish spouses to participate but not to belong. A non-Jewish partner might be welcome at High Holy Days services, for instance, but he or she would be barred from membership. United Synagogue historically has taken a similar tack. “When it comes to participation, more should be done to be more welcoming,” said Rabbi Steve Wernick, the organization’s CEO. “But in terms of ownership, our current position is that it is reserved for Jews.” Over the years, exclusionary attitudes inside synagogues and at the leadership level have caused an exodus of intermarried couples from Conservative congregations to Reform ones. “Very few interfaith couples stayed in Conservative synagogues,”

said Rela Geffen, a professor of sociology at Gratz College in suburban Philadelphia. “The idea that intermarrieds wanted the Jewish community to change on their behalf was a very contemporary idea.” Things did begin to change in Conservative synagogues in the early 2000s, when the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, under the leadership of Rabbi Charles Simon, initiated a campaign to integrate intermarried couples. Since then, an untold number of Conservative synagogues across the United States have simultaneously hewn to and flouted the advice of the national Conservative leadership, adjusting membership norms in a way that nominally accommodates the intermarried. According to several leaders in the Conservative movement, mixed households once were categorized as single-parent families on synagogue rolls, which allowed them to pay less for membership. In an effort to make intermarried families

feel more welcome — but also to fill synagogue coffers — synagogues began to do what Beth Hillel-Beth El did in June, changing the definition of household membership to include intermarried families as well as inmarried ones. But most of these synagogues allowed only one vote per household, effectively barring the non-Jew from making decisions that would affect the future of the synagogue. “It’s one household, one vote,” said Simon. “This is not about us letting non-Jews do this or that. This is about how you treat people. If you treat people with dignity, then they are integrated into the shul.” At Ansche Chesed, a Conservative synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, for instance, household membership is extended to inmarried and intermarried couples alike. As a matter of synagogue policy, only Jews may vote. But, said Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky, such an occasion has yet to arise.

Refresh On the second day, wrap it in plastic to maintain its freshness. To refresh the loaf, sprinkle or mist the portion you want to serve lightly with water and place it in a preheated 400° oven for 68 minutes, or until crusty. You may also slice and toast the bread for delicious results.

22 • OBITUARIES D EATH N OTICES BARRON, Judith T., age 88, died on September 14, 2011; 16 Elul 5771. SHULLER, Saul E., age 95, died on September 18, 2011; 19 Elul 5771.

O BITUARIES DENNIS, Gerald “Jerry” Lee Gerald “Jerry” Lee Dennis, age 66, passed away on September 3, 2011 — the 4th day of Elul, 5771. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was the son of the late Benjamin and Leah Dennis. Graduating from Woodward High School in 1963, Mr. Dennis STRIKE from page 10 Most doctors remained at the public hospitals and HMOs, but many began moonlighting, seeing patients privately and scheduling procedures outside the confines of the public health system. In 1995, a health care reform law allowed HMOs to begin creating optional supplementary medical insurance that Israelis could purchase and which allowed them greater access to affordable private care. While all Israelis are required to sign up with one of the HMOs for a basic package of government-funded health care packages, some 80 percent of Israelis now hold supplementary medical insurance that covers a portion of private care, according to Chernichovsky’s research. The government pays for 59 percent of Israeli health care expenditures — the lowest share among developed countries that provide universal health care. Private hospitals and private practices have flourished as patients turn to them for surgeries and procedures that are funded primarily by their supplementary medical insurance. For doctors with private FEARS from page 10 The embassy attack, during which a mob pulled down the embassy walls, broke into the building and rampaged for several hours while six Israeli security guards were trapped inside, was the latest and perhaps most worrisome in a series of events south of the border that have Israel concerned that it faces a game-changer with the new Egypt. Most worrisome, some Israeli officials said, was their inability to reach senior Egyptian officials quickly. Instead they had to rely on U.S. mediation. “There were difficulties in reaching certain Egyptian officials,” a senior Israeli official told JTA. “And the real difficulty was that even when they were finally


attended The Ohio State University and then worked with his father at Sharon Auto Parts for many years until the business closed. He continued working in the scrap business until 1993. From 1993 until December 2010, when illness forced him to retire, he worked as a truck driver. Mr. Dennis was a member of the National Ski Patrol for over 30 years. During this time he volunteered at Sugar Creek Ski Area as well as founding and being nominated as the first Patrol Direcor of the National Ski Patrol at Perfect North Slopes, in 1980. Other hobbies included sailing the hobie cat and exploring his love of old cars, especially his Sunbeam. Gerald became a Bar Mitzvah

Gerald Dennis

at Adath Israel Congregation, where he was a member for many years. He was married to Kay Bluestone from 1970 until they divorced in 1998. Mr. Dennis shared his loves with his only child, Stephanie, through teaching her to ski at the age of 3 and making sure she knew there was nothing that could not be accomplished with hard work. According to his daughter, Mr. Dennis had a sense of humor that could make a normal day hilarious. He also had the ability to strike up a conversation with a total stranger and become good friends. He loved to share his knowledge and took great joy in seeing others succeed from what he taught them.

Surviving relatives include his daughter, Stephanie (Robert) Bement, of Los Alamos, N.M., his sister, Renee (Irwin) Becker, and his nieces and nephews, Cheryl and Steve Leff and Family, Sarona and Steve Vivanco and Family, and Cheryl and Jay Becker and Family. Funeral services were held at Weil Funeral Home on Tuesday, September 6, 2011, officiated by Rabbi Haviva Horovitz. Interment followed the service at United Jewish Cemetery in Montgomery. The family would appreciate memorial contributions to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Donor Services, P.O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, Mass. 01202; (888) 557-7177.

patients, the shift toward more private care funded by supplementary health insurance has resulted in more income earned outside the public hospitals and HMOs. Doctors often leave their public posts early in the day to provide the privately funded care. “Everyone’s running to private medicine, especially since the strike,” said Yisrael Barel, a regional manager for HMO Leumit in Netanya. “The senior doctors don’t like to operate in the public system and push customers to do it privately. I recently called a friend, a top surgeon, to ask him to take care of a patient, and he said, ‘You expect me to do private medicine in a public hospital?’ ” Israel’s health system has become a hodgepodge of socialized medicine mixed with private practice. The entire wage structure of senior doctors is based on the assumption that they will moonlight, working two to three jobs, including at a public hospital where they can then refer patients to their private practice. To the younger doctors, it’s a system that makes no sense. “You have to look at the strike of the young doctors against the background of the protests in the

general Israeli public,” said Dr. Dov Guverman, a senior official at Israel’s Health Ministry. “It’s a new generation of people who aren’t willing to accept the old system.” Guverman blames the situation on the Health Ministry’s acceptance 16 years ago of the legal provision allowing the HMOs to sell supplementary health insurance. The country’s shift toward private medical care is “our fault, and it’s something that we failed to reorganize,” he said. “It’s created a significant impairment of the health care system, and I don’t see any immediate solutions for that.” Medical residents all over the Western world earn too little, work too hard and complain, said Dr. Uzi Beller, chairman of the department of gynecology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, but elsewhere they usually know “that there is a horizon of decent income.” In Israel, however, “the salaries are very poor, and I can tell you that as a chairman of a department with tenure and a full professor position in the university, my income is always less than $2,858 [after taxes],” Beller said. “So we all have to earn from private practice.” Beller, however, can see his pri-

vate patients at Shaare Zedek. Unlike other Israeli hospitals, Shaare Zedek and Hadassah Medical Center, also in Jerusalem, have a plan called Sharap, a Hebrew acronym that stands for private medical service. Established at Hadassah in the 1950s, it allows doctors to do their private work within the hospital, leaving the billing and accounting to the hospital, which then takes about 25 percent of the income. “The first tenet of Sharap is that it leaves the doctors working full-time in the hospital,” said Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director-general of Hadassah Medical Center. “They come in the morning, go home at night and have no medical activities outside of the hospital. The heads of departments are around, senior doctors are around for emergencies, for questions from young doctors, for setting an example.” To Chernichovsky, a modified Sharap program, universally available to all, is one obvious solution to the current health care conundrum. He wants to install Sharaplike systems in every Israeli hospital, keeping doctors at the public hospitals, and patients as well, and diverting the supplementary insur-

ance funds back to the hospitals. He believes that senior doctors would agree to the system because they would rather work in one place rather than three. “Sharap is an excellent but not perfect solution,” Beller said. “There is no magic solution, and every solution has a downside.” Indeed, despite the advantages of the Sharap system, Shaare Zedek and Hadassah physicians were still part of the strike, demanding the same wage increases and work hours as their colleagues in other parts of the country. For now, it’s clear that the strike raised questions and doctors are still demanding answers. The Health Ministry blames much of the crisis on their own acquiescence to the supplementary health insurance, which led to the growth of private medical care. For critics like Chernichovsky, it's a question of leadership, and the solution involves finding a way to change the policy debate and direction of the health care system. “We’re hitting ideology and Israel’s lack of policymaking,” he said. “There’s practically no health policy. It’s a free-for-all in the health clinics and the system lacks governance. It’s a sad story.”

reached, their promises for quick intervention did not materialize as quickly as the situation required.” Egyptian commandos eventually arrived to rescue the trapped Israelis, and Israel sent its Air Force jets to retrieve them and bring them home. The official said he does not expect the embassy to reopen soon but that there are contacts with Egyptian security officials. “We are discussing how to ensure that such an attack will never happen again and what is needed to be done to secure the reopening of the embassy,” he said. “We are definitely worried. Which way Egypt is going is anybody’s guess.” The Egyptian military council running the country quickly condemned the attack, called the riot-

ers “criminals” and said it would launch criminal proceedings against those caught. “The Egyptian leadership said they are committed to the peace treaty, and so are we,” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told JTA. “Anyone over 50 remembers the Egyptian-Israeli wars in which thousands of people on both sides of the frontier were killed. I don’t think the people of Israel or Egypt want to go back to that.” The 32-year-old peace treaty between Israel and Egypt is one of the cornerstones of Israel’s security doctrine. While it has resulted in few people-to-people ties, the pact made Israel’s southern border reliably quiet and freed up Israel’s military to focus on threats elsewhere.

“We’ve always had a saying that without Egypt there’s no war and without Syria there’s no peace,” said Yehuda Ben Meir, an analyst at the INSS think tank at Tel Aviv University. “Even when relations were cold, the peace treaty was solid.” Under Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt from Sadat’s assassination in 1981 until he was deposed early this year, Egypt established military and intelligence cooperation with Israel. Both Egypt and Israel viewed Hamas’ growing strength warily, and Egyptian security forces tried to stop the smuggling of weapons and terrorists from the Sinai into Hamas-ruled Gaza. Since Mubarak’s ouster, Israeli intelligence officials say, smuggling has dramatically increased.

Despite a recent poll showing that more than half of Egyptians would support severing ties with Israel, most Israeli experts don’t believe Egypt will rush to abrogate its peace treaty with Israel. Most of the Egyptian political factions, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have said they will continue the peace treaty. Cutting off ties also would threaten the $3 billion in foreign aid that Egypt receives annually from the United States. But Israel is concerned. The attack on the embassy came just weeks after a terrorist attack on the border between Israel and Egypt that left eight Israelis dead. Israeli officials said the terrorists traveled from Gaza to Egypt and then into Israel. Three Egyptian security officers were killed inadvertently in firefights after the attack.





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