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Rockwern offers new toddler class It’s never too early to start a Jewish education. Rockwern Academy announces the opening of a new preschool class for toddlers. This program is geared toward toddlers, ages 18 months and up, and will begin Jan. 31, 2011. Classes will be held in spacious, well-equipped rooms within Rockwern’s preschool wing on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:15–11:15 a.m. Experienced educators, Traci Dickey and Brett Stern will be co-teaching the class. Activities include circle time, stories, introduction to Hebrew language, music, movement, crafts and playtime that will encourage the development of social, emotional and cognitive skills. It’s a great way to get ready for Rockwern Academy’s Preschool 2 class next fall! For the 2011-2012 school year, Rockwern is offering a two-day-per-week toddler class. This class will begin in August and be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays for children who will be 18 months by Sept. 30, 2011. Rockwern is enrolling now for all grades. Call the director of Admissions, Gail Sperling, for more information.

The American Israelite’s new website launches Jan. 28

Wise hosts Lunch and Learn, Feb. 3

Set to launch on Jan. 28, The American Israelite Online will offer free, easy access to Cincinnati’s Jewish community news and national and international news stories on a daily basis. It will be easier than ever to spread the word about exciting personal announcements online and in print. Social announcements include births, bar and bat mitzvahs, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, job promotions, honors and awards. Readers have always been able to submit their announcements to the paper for free, and now the news will be online and in our weekly print edition. Readers will have paper

At noon on Thursday, Feb. 3, Isaac M. Wise Temple offers a class during lunchtime titled, “Biblical Models of Leadership: Deborah.” While examining various biblical personalities, it becomes apparent that the characters embody different types of leadership. Four figures from the Bible – Moses, Joshua, Deborah, and Solomon – will be the focus of this year’s Lunch and Learn and Sunday Series. The biblical text and commentaries will be studied to analyze their leadership styles, methods, and efficacy. The classes will also explore what can be learned and taken from each biblical model so that participants can each be more effective leaders in their own realms. This session will focus on lessons from Deborah. The sessions will be held at the offices of Keating Muething & Klekamp from noon to 1 p.m. Participants who are interested in the topics but cannot attend during a Thursday session are able to take any of the classes on Sunday mornings at Wise Temple.

WEBSITE on page 19

WISE on page 19

The American Israelite Online—Makor—The Source/Cincinnati, Cincinnati Jewish News Online

Tucson Jewish community Debate rages on over anguished over Giffords shooting Palin’s ‘blood libel’ claim By Sheila Wilensky Arizona Jewish Post

By Ron Kampeas Jewish Telegraphic Agency

PHOENIX (Arizona Jewish Post) — Following the shooting that critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and left six dead, the Tucson Jewish community has come together to pray for Giffords and the other victims and offer their support. Giffords, who is Jewish, was among 14 wounded in the shooting rampage in front of a Tucson supermarket last Saturday morning. Jared Lee Loughner was arrested for the shooting and has already appeared in a Phoenix courtroom. Among those killed were U.S. District Judge John M. Roll, 63; Christina-Taylor Green, 9; Giffords constituent services director TUSCON on page 20

Courtesy of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, holds his critically wounded wife’s hand at the University Medical Center in Tucson the day after she was shot in a shopping mall in that Arizona city, Jan. 9, 2011.

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The postshooting debate over political civility is cooling down, but passions are still raging over Sarah Palin’s claim that critics were guilty of perpetuating a “blood libel” against her. Palin’s initial use of the term, in a Jan. 12 video message, drew sharp rebukes from liberal, Jewish groups and even some conservatives. Since then, however, several Jewish notables, including Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and former New York Mayor Ed Koch have defended Palin’s use of the term. Palin weighed in again Monday during an interview on Fox News — her first since the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson of U.S. Rep.

Courtesy of JTA

Sarah Palin’s video message after the Tucson shooting, released Jan. 12, 2011, included a reference to herself as a victim of a blood libel.

Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) that also left six dead and another 12 wounded. Palin defended her use of the term “blood libel” and said she PALIN on page 20







Major funding boost for Birthright from Israeli gov’t ups ante for philanthropists

After fire, what types of trees are best suited for Israel?

Big Brothers/Big Sisters 100th Anniversary Celebration

Izzy’s—where corned beef is king








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Jewish leaders gather for second Cincinnati 2020 leaders’ forum By Nicole Simon Assistant Editor On Thursday, Jan. 13, the second leaders’ forum for “Cincinnati 2020,” was held at the Mayerson Jewish Community Center. About 130 lay and professional representatives from different Jewish community agencies, congregations and organizations were seated at 15 tables for the forum, to hear speeches and discuss the final four of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnatibased initiative’s seven goals. After a kosher dinner, Shep Englander, the CEO of the Federation, and Bret Caller, the Federation’s president, welcomed the leaders. “We need your thoughts and ideas to carry this forward,” noted Caller. When Andy Berger, vice president of strategic planning for the Federation showed a flow chart explaining the timeline of Cincinnati 2020, beginning with the community study in 2008, it led to Berger’s revelation of how there will be a third Leader’s forum sometime in the spring of this year. “We are going to have a third [forum] in the spring because the leaders really enjoyed working with people that they didn’t normally work with,” said Sharon Stern, of the Federation. “It was a side benefit that

people found it rewarding enough to do it again. It’s a big plus from my point of view.” Berger also noted how since the first forum in late November of last year, the strategic plan is about 40 percent finished. Gary Heiman noted the Jewish Foundation’s partnership and how the forum’s “methodology and process is state of the art,” while Arna Poupko Fisher told a story of a Jewish shtetl preparing for the coming of the Messiah to help better explain the Jewish context for the forum. The audience then started brainstorming on the four discussion goals — Quality of Life, Community Resources, Civic Leadership and Jewish Community Leadership. As with the first one, the event facilitator, Sarah SingerNourie, coordinated the session and told the forum “we have a legacy to live into.” At each of the 15 tables, participants discussed their table’s specific goal and stuck post-it notes with their ideas/strategies onto easels next to their tables. After reviewing participant survey results from the last forum, changes to this forum included the Berger’s process flow chart as some of the leaders noted their interest in the process and more linear working on single goals. According to Stern, the leaders were interested in

reading the ideas of other tables discussing the same goals. Coming soon will be the ability for the public to offer ideas to the forum as well. In their closing words of the evening, Rabbi Yuval Kernerman, principal of the Cincinnati Hebrew Day School, reminded the forum that their children and grandchildren’s future was at stake. While Rabbi Sigma Faye Coran of Rockdale Temple told of Nachshon, the first person to step into the Red Sea before it started parting, and to be champions of this process. Andy Berger’s presentation also revealed that the final Strategic Plan, put together by Cincinnati 2020’s Steering committee (chaired by Berger), the goal teams who created some of the strategies, and by the forum participants will be presented at the third forum. The plan will be made up of the tactics and goals discussed at the forums and have plans and processes for making them into reality. According to Sharon Stern, it will not be a fixed document, and will be open to input from public before the third forum. After the strategy’s appearance at the forum, the plan will then be taken to local Jewish institutions and organizations to implement the procedures that were formed at the forums.

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New teen lounge and programs at the JCC The Mayerson Jewish Community Center provides local teens with year-round social and fitness programs, as well as summer camp employment opportunities. This February, teenagers can partake in an array of programs designed specifically for highschoolers at the JCC. This includes a teens-only Super Bowl party, a summer camp job fair, and lifeguard training. The JCC will open its new teen lounge in February as well. There will be a Super Bowl party at the J for high school students (open to the public) on Sunday, Feb. 6 from 5:30–10 p.m. Teens can watch the Super Bowl with their friends on two giant projection screens. Contests, prizes, kosher snacks and drinks will be available. Reservations are requested in advance, as space is limited. Also this February, the JCC will open its new teen lounge for J Members in grades 9–12. Amenities like an Xbox 360 with the newly released Kinect™ game-play motion sensors, a Blu-

ray DVD player, pool table, foosball table, coffee machine and snacks will be available in the new lounge, reserved exclusively for J Member teens. “I’m going to the Super Bowl party at the JCC, because I get to watch an awesome sports game and hang with my friends … Who wouldn’t like that?” said Alex Burte. “I also think the new teen lounge is a cool idea because it’s way better than hanging around the house.” Active teenagers (ages 13–15) can enroll in Teen Exceed, a special fitness program that qualifies younger teens to work out in the JCC fitness center on their own. Teen Exceed is offered on Sundays, Feb. 13 and 27. Personal training, small group training and Pilates Reformer training are available to teen members of the J (ages 16 and older) on a daily basis with multi-session discounts. Jewish high school students can join BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization), the largest Jewish teen organization in the world, at

the JCC. With separate chapters for boys and girls, the BBYO program at the JCC offers students an opportunity to develop friendships and leadership skills that last a lifetime. Teens can join BBYO any time, and meetings are on Monday evenings at the JCC. Any teen interested in a summer lifeguard position can enroll in several JCC aquatics programs provided by the Cincinnati American Red Cross (all open to the public). These programs include a water safety instructor training course starting Friday, Feb. 4; free swim stroke clinics on Saturday, Jan. 29 and Tuesday, March 1; and a lifeguard training class starting Thursday, March 3. Emily Deeds worked as a lifeguard at Camp at the J last summer, and plans to return this year. “Working at Camp at the J is perfect for me because I’m off from school during the summer, and I love being able to help children learn to swim.” JCC on page 19

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Rabbi Mark Glickman to speak The Cairo Geniza housed manuscripts and artifacts from one of the oldest Jewish communities. This treasure-trove of Bible, Siddur, and Talmud fragments gave insight into the sacred literature of the Jewish people, and the traditions of the Egyptian synagogue. Rabbi Mark Glickman wanted to know more. Glickman, currently a rabbi in the Seattle area, took his son with him, and became one of the few

rabbis to ever be given permission to visit the Cairo geniza. A geniza is a store-room that houses damaged or unusable sacred objects and literature prior to their burial in a Jewish cemetery. The Cairo geniza was hidden, and remained undiscovered for centuries. While Glickman is not the first to research and write about the Cairo Geniza, he is the most recent. Rabbi Glickman’s expieriences will bring him to the area on

a tour Jan. 24-26, 2011. Glickman will speak at Dayton’s Temple Israel on Monday, Jan. 24, at Valley Temple on Tuesday, Jan. 25, and at Rockdale Temple on Wednesday, Jan. 26. All evening programs are at 7:30 p.m. Glickman will be available after the program, which will feature video of his experiences. Glickman will also do a noontime program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of

Religion on Wednesday, Jan. 26. Rabbi Glickman was ordained from the Cincinnati Campus of HUC-JIR in 1990. Following ordination, Glickman served as the Director of URJ Kutz Camp, assistant rabbi of Temple Israel in Dayton, and Rabbi in congregations in Tacoma and Seattle Washington. All programs are open to the public and there is no charge. For more information, contact the Valley Temple.

Rockdale Temple WRJ announces Deborah Award recipient At the recent Central District (Biennial) Convention of the Women of Reform Judaism in Cleveland, Debbie Loewenstein, current co-president of the Rockdale Women of Reform Judaism, was one of 15 women in the central district to be honored with a 2010 Deborah Award. This award allows for recognition of one woman from each of the (36) Sisterhoods in the district who has demonstrated extraordinary service and commitment to both Sisterhood

and Judaism. Loewenstein was nominated by her Sisterhood and the nomination was confirmed by a six-woman sub committee of the central district executive board. Prior to becoming co-president of Rockdale Temple WRJ, Loewenstein served for eight years as its treasurer and con-currently as treasurer of the Sisterhood Gift Shop. She is instrumental in the Rockdale Temple commitment to the local Ronald McDonald House.

Loewenstein’s husband Joe, leads the Rockdale Building and Grounds Committee and they are the parents of three children. Women of Reform Judaism is the voice, presence and the venue for action of the women of Reform Judaism in the synagogue, the Jewish community and the local, state, national and international communities at large. An affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, WRJ brings together more than 65,000 women from over 500 affiliated

Sisterhoods in the United States, Canada and a dozen other countries. There are eight WRJ Districts nationally. WRJ is the founder of North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) and a founder of the Jewish Braille Institute. The work of WRJ on behalf of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has helped to support and advance the education of hundreds of rabbinic students and interns through significant financial contributions of the WRJ YES Fund.

Miami University offers lectures on modern Jewish culture Miami University will be offering five Posen Lectures in Modern Jewish Culture in Spring 2011. The series is free and open to the public. All, from entire classes to individuals in the Miami, Oxford, and Cincinnati communities, are welcome to attend. The first lecture and faculty seminar will feature Anna Shternshis on Thursday, Jan. 27. Her lecture is at 11:15 a.m. in Culler Hall 046 and is titled, “Transforming the Tradition: Jewish Anti-religious Propaganda

in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939.” The faculty seminar will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Great Room in MacMillan Hall. Anna Shternshis is the Al and Malka Green Associate Professor in Yiddish Studies at the University of Toronto, and she is the author of “Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union 1923-1939.” The Posen Faculty Seminar, organized around the work of invited speakers in the lecture series, is open to all Miami and

area faculty (and advanced students by invitation of participating professors). Participants will each receive a copy of the visiting scholar’s most recent book and/or another work of his or her scholarship to read prior to the seminar. Generally the introduction and one chapter of a book, or one to two articles or article manuscriptsin-progress will be read. Invited presenters will open the discussion with remarks about their research, and the conversation will unfold over a catered din-

producing a music video promises to become an annual event. “We had so much fun making the first music video in 2009,” said Carol Silver Elliott, CEO and president of Cedar Village. “And we were amazed by the thousands of hits, and the positive feedback we were receiving on YouTube!” she said. “We did this to bring together staff and our residents in a fun, creative way. Posting the video on YouTube allowed it to be shared with family, friends and many others across the country and around the world.” The 2009 video featured various

departments within Cedar Village, each creating their own special part of the production. This year, the planning team, headed by director of Development Sally Korkin, decided to incorporate a theme. The theme, Korkin explained, is “hands.” She said, “Hands are such a symbol of the care we provide at Cedar Village and the relationships we build with our residents. It just seemed to express who we are in a very simple, yet powerful, way.” Residents and staff all wore special blue rubber bracelets that say “Life Begins at Cedar Village” and many are still wearing them daily.

VOL. 157 • NO. 26 THURSDAY, JANUARY 20, 2010 15 SHEVAT 5771 SHABBAT BEGINS FRIDAY 5:26 PM SHABBAT ENDS SATURDAY 6:25 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 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 LEEANNE GALIOTO NICOLE SIMON Assistant Editors ALEXIA KADISH Copy Editor

ner. (Meals will be vegetarian, and kosher meal options will always be available upon request.) Faculty seminars will take place on the same days as lectures. Colleagues from any discipline are welcome to attend any number of these sessions, from one to all five. It is not necessary to attend the speaker’s lecture in order to participate in the faculty seminar. To participate in the faculty seminar, contact Juanita Schrodt at Miami University at least a week before the event.

Cedar Village debuts music video on YouTube Cedar Village Retirement Community staff believe that, “Sometimes you just have to do things for fun!” And that is exactly what they did when they united staff and residents on a joint project to create their second annual music video. As did the 2009 video, the new music video has become a hit on the internet through YouTube. Featuring choreography and dancing by residents, volunteers and staff members, the video is set to original music performed by songwriter and producer Mark Rossio, of Columbus. Filmed by Jeff Hill Productions of Mason,


Once the video was completed, there was a “premiere” with the residents; it was featured at the employee holiday party; it played continuously at Cedar Village’s special Mitzvah Day event on Dec. 24 and was, of course, posted on YouTube. Within 24 hours of posting, hundreds of “hits” were already recorded and the feedback has been great. “At Cedar Village, we do believe that age is just a number and our slogan, ‘Life Begins at Cedar Village,’ embodies our philosophy,” said Silver Elliott. “This video is one fun way to demonstrate that commitment.”


THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE (USPS 019-320) is published weekly for $44 per year and $2.00 per single copy in Cincinnati and $49 per year and $3.00 per single copy elsewhere in U.S. by The American Israelite Co. 18 West Ninth Street, Suite 2, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-2037. Periodicals postage paid at Cincinnati, OH. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE, 18 West Ninth Street, Suite 2, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-2037.

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



Vaad Hoier releases statement regarding Marx Bagels Due to inaccuracies circulating in the community regarding Marx Bagels, the Vaad Hoier of Cincinnati, under the guidance of the Bais Din, is issuing the following statement. The Orthodox Union representative, mentioned herein, has reviewed this statement. Current policy of the Vaad Hoier is to light the pilot of the kettle, in which eggs and bagels are boiled, on a weekly basis. The

bagel ovens were designed in consultation with Rav Sharfstein z”l to remain on at all times. As a matter of policy, the Vaad Hoier currently adjusts the fires in the ovens as well. These policies are in-line with standards of reputable kashruth organizations. At the behest of the Vaad Hoier, an OU representative, accompanied by Vaad representatives, visited Marx Bagels on Nov.

17, 2010. He made recommendations regarding kosher procedures at the establishment. The Vaad Hoier is in the process of implementing a lock system similar to that used in OU establishments. This system will act as an extra measure to ensure that both the kettle and the ovens remain under Vaad control. For any questions please contact the Vaad office.

Cedar Village’s ‘Opening Minds’ through Art is in need of volunteers On Thursday, Jan. 27, Cedar Village’s Opening Minds through Art, an art program for people with dementia, will begin, and currently is in need of volunteers to assist the participants to express themselves in a creative fashion. “The more volunteers we have, the more residents can par-

ticipate,” notes Angie Tapogna, director of volunteers. The program is one of the few at Cedar Village that boasts a 1-to-1 ratio of volunteer to resident. The program will take place Thursdays, 9:30—11:30 a.m., from January through April 21. Tapogna is asking for people to

make a two-hour committment each week to the program. The class will culminate with a gallery exhibition celebrating the artists’ accomplishments and will also educate the public about people with dementia. For more information, contact Angie Tapogna at Cedar Village.

92nd Street Y: Michael Lewis in conversation with Ira Glass Wise Temple’s next 92nd Street Y program via live satellite is Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011 at 8 p.m. Michael Lewis discusses his bestselling book titled “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” with moderator Ira Glass. The book details the build-up of the housing and credit bubble during the 2000s and what is being done to prevent a future collapse. It describes several of the key players in the creation of the credit default swap market that sought to bet against the bubble and thus ended up profiting from the financial crisis of 2007–2010. “The Big Short” was shortlisted for the 2010 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, and it spent 28 weeks on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list. Considered a leading journalist, Lewis is the author of such best sellers as “Money Ball,” “The Blind Side” and “Home Game.” Lewis has worked for the New York Times Magazine, as a columnist for Bloomberg, and a visiting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He wrote the Dad Again column for Slate. In an interview at the 2010 National

Book Awards, well-known journalist and novelist Tom Wolfe called Lewis one of two “writers to watch.” Ira Glass is host and executive producer of “This American Life” on NPR. Glass has worked in public radio for some 30 years. He began as an intern at National Public Radio. He was a reporter and host on several NPR programs, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Talk of the Nation. The 92nd Street Y series originates and is fed live from New York’s prestigious Jewish cultural center, the 92nd Street Y. The broadcast is fed into Wise Temple’s Wahl Chapel and Social Hall, both equipped with a large screen and digital video technology capable of state-of-the-art simulcasting. The Cincinnati audience at Wise Temple will be able to ask questions directly to Michael Lewis and Ira Glass. The event is open to the Greater Cincinnati public. There is a small fee and tickets are available at the door at 7:30 p.m. at Wise Center. For further information and reservations contact Wise Temple.

The American Israelite is currently seeking a


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Rockwern hosts Preschoolpalooza By Nicole Simon Assistant Editor On Sunday Jan. 16, the first Preschoolpalooza event took place at Rockwern Academy. The event, which had 60 pre-school age kids (18 months — 5 years) and their parents, was made free and open to the public with funding by the school. “The event was a success,” said Julie Torem, the event’s planner and Rockwern board member. “We got great feedback from the families who attended, and also from the

Carol Silver Elliott, CEO and president of Cedar Village, carries in food to serve to families at Ronald McDonald House.

Cedar Village residents donate, serve lunch at Ronald McDonald House On a cold day in January, a group of seven residents from Cedar Village Retirement Community joined with staff to form an “assembly line,” creating homemade veggie and turkey wraps. With fresh-cut tomatoes, red onions, asparagus, peppers and turkey, the residents created delectable masterpieces to donate to families staying at Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House.

Bringing food to families with sick children is a way to express our care for them and for our entire community. Carol Silver Elliott

“It’s such a pleasure to gather with my friends and prepare food for others,” said Helen Werner, resident of Cedar Village. “But the

real enjoyment is when we take all the food to Children’s Hospital and serve lunch to the families at Ronald McDonald House.” For the past three years, Cedar Village has brought a group of residents to the Ronald McDonald House to serve a donated lunch to the families whose children are being cared for at Children’s Hospital. “When you have a sick child, as a parent, you concentrate all your energy and resources on your child and you often neglect to take care of yourself,” said Jennifer Goodin, executive director of Ronald McDonald House. “Having Cedar Village come in today means this may be the one meal the parents won’t skip. It will give them sustenance and the energy they so desperately need, and they won’t have to grab their meals from a vending machine.” “Each month we do a service project with residents and staff,” said Carol Silver Elliott, CEO and president of Cedar Village. “It’s our way of giving back and helping others. Bringing food to families with sick children is a way to express our care for them and for our entire community. It’s so gratifying for all of us to take part in this simple contribution for which these families are so appreciative.”

staff who worked there as well.” Preschoolpalooza, for the most part, was set up in Rockwern’s cafeteria. Each child was given a passport to take to each activity. After completing all the offered events, the kids were given a prize. Each of the stations, which included a bounce house, face painting, decorating a pillowcase, snacks, and story time in Rockwern’s library, was chaperoned by either a Rockwern pre-school teacher or an older student. During Preschoolpalooza, both the prospective and returning fami-

lies of the school could meet teachers and current families, and they had an opportunity to check out what the school has to offer. Arielle Podberesky, a Rockwern second grader, had volunteered to be the story time reader in the library. According to her mother, she loves reading to the younger kids. When the face painting started to travel to the arms and legs of some participants, and “I think I’ll cry,” was said at the deflation of the bounce house at the end of the event, the young attendees showed enjoyment of the event.

Major funding boost for Birthright from Israeli gov’t ups ante for philanthropists By Ben Harris Jewish Telegraphic Agency NEW YORK (JTA) — Boosters of Birthright Israel are hoping that the Israeli government’s decision to more than double its investment in the popular free 10-day trips for young Diaspora Jews will yield dramatic results. But their hopes could be short lived if Jewish philanthropists fail to ramp up their own contributions to the tune of some $222 million over the next three years. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last week that his government would provide $100 million in financing to Birthright Israel from 2011 to 2013. The funding, which will rise over the three-year period from $26 million this year to $40 million by 2013, is aimed at increasing the number of Birthright participants to 51,000 annually by 2013. Last year, 30,000 Diaspora Jews went on the program. “It’s a historic decision which is going to revolutionize the relationships of young Jews to the State of Israel,” said Gidi Mark, the CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel. “It’s going to bring, for the first time ever, the majority of young Jews to Israel.” That prediction will hold true only if Jewish philanthropists, who now fund about half the Birthright budget, increase their investment. While the program brings tens of thousands of 18- to 26-year-old Diaspora Jews to Israel each year, spots are available now for only about half who apply. About a decade old, Birthright Israel was envisioned as a more or less equal partnership between the Israeli government, the Jewish federation system and private philanthropists, with each providing about a third of the budget. But the federation share of fund-

Courtesy of Birthright

Birthright Israel participants gather around philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, a Birthright donor, at a Birthright event in Jerusalem.

ing has remained low. In 2010, federations provided only about $6 million of Birthright’s $76 million budget, according to Birthright officials. That has increased pressure on the Israeli government and donors to make up the difference. The Birthright Israel Foundation, the charitable organization that helps fund the program, raised $49 million for Birthright in 2010. The budget for 2011 is projected at $87 million. By 2013, it will be $126 million, Birthright officials said. Robert Aronson, the president of the foundation, said there is no question that the Israeli government will reduce its giving if the foundation fails to raise the balance needed to bring significantly more Diaspora Jews to Israel over the next three years. It’ll take another $222 million over three years, he estimates. “We have our work cut out for us,” Aronson said. A major U.S. fundraising push under way is targeting Birthright alumni, as well as their parents and grandparents, in an effort to expand the foundation’s financial base well beyond the core group of

major philanthropists that helped launch the organization. Birthright has been sustained recently in large part by a $100 million gift from gaming magnate Sheldon Adelson, as well as continuing support from founding philanthropists Michael Steinhardt and Charles Bronfman. But in the decade since its founding the donor base has expanded to more than 13,000. Aronson says it is most important to ask parents and grandparents for contributions, as they care about Birthright because they can see its effect. Hailed as one of the most successful Jewish identity projects in recent memory, Birthright Israel has brought more than 250,000 young Jews to Israel since its inception in 2000. Based on data showing that an Israel trip was among the most effective contributors to Jewish identity formation, Birthright aimed to counter trends showing declining connection to Israel and weaker Jewish identification among young Diaspora Jews. BIRTHRIGHT on page 19




Repairing the world, and your home, on Tu b’Shvat By Edmon J. Rodman Jewish Telegraphic Agency LOS ANGELES (JTA) — The Jewish green day of Tu b’Shvat is not just the New Year for trees anymore. Jews are being asked increasingly to dedicate Tu b’Shvat to repairing the world. The Tu b’Shvat seder at the Jewish Funds for Justice is called “Tikkun [repair] and Transformation.” Kolel, the Adult Center for Liberal Jewish Learning, suggests four tikkunim, or repairs, to interact with traditional Tu b’Shvat seder themes: social, cosmic/existential, national and ecological. On the Reclaiming Judaism website, Rabbi Goldie Milgram writes, “Tu Bi-Shevat is meant to help repair this world.” But before you go out and make your repairs to the world, don’t you think you should fix up your home? Like what about that broken clothes dryer or dishwasher? You might be surprised, but this has a basis in Jewish tradition. The injunction of “ba’al taschit” — do not destroy — is the Jewish version of waste not, want not. To avoid waste, we need to learn how to repair rather than throw things away. It’s time to think globally and act locally — very locally, like in your kitchen or utility room. Yes, there’s a drought in Israel and there was that terrible fire in the Carmel Mountains of northern Israel, but that doesn’t absolve you of doing something about the water

drip dripping down your drain because you don’t know how to fix it. At Tu b’Shvat, consider this: With the money saved from a few simple home repairs, you can fix your house and your world. The holiday is often observed with a Tu B’Shvat seder, a Feast of Fruits. Nuts in the shell, like almonds, play a part in the ritual, and to those bent on repair, they bring to mind another kind of nut — those metal hexagonal ones that are really holding the world together. Repairs have never been more expensive, but repair parts and instructions on how to install them have never been more accessible. With household expenses such as insurance and utilities on the rise, why throw away that perfectly good but too-expensive-to-repair appliance when you can fix it yourself? What you can toss is that old stereotype of Jews, men or women, not being handy, or even owning tools. To get started, the Talmud says, “On three things the world stands: on justice, on truth and on peace.” Generations of Jewish engineers, plumbers and electricians would add a fourth: a toolbox. With a household tool set as basic as flat head and Phillips head screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, pliers and hammer, you can save enough money over a year to green up your yard for the next Tu b’Shvat. My toolbox was a wedding gift. It was wrapped with a bow, just like the other presents, but over the years its contents have far

Courtesy of Edmon J. Rodman

Tooling around: A basic set of tools helps you green up your life in a variety of ways.

outlived the usefulness of the crock-pots, slicers/dicers and sundry plug-in space-taker-uppers that we received for our home. Over time, my toolbox has opened my eyes to conservation. I like to think that with my repairs of a washing machine, dryer and oven, even computer, my personal landfill is smaller. Each repair has been a reminder that what is broken can often be fixed. With each repair, each turn of the wrench, the kabbalistic concept of the Tu b’Shvat seder known as asiyah — gaining awareness of the physical world — becomes more accessible. For those who are tool challenged, do as Pirkei Avot, the Ethics

of the Fathers, suggests: “Find for yourself a teacher.” I consult with my father-inlaw, Stanley Berko, a professional who has repaired appliances for much of his adult life: TVs, ovens, microwaves. In a kind of repairman’s oral law, he has passed down to me, patient phone call after call, an order to repair worth sharing: “Always check first to see if it’s plugged in,” he invariably tells me. “Then check the circuit breaker,” he adds for good measure. This might sound like a big “duh” until Stanley regales me with tales of the house calls he has made in which the plug is simply out or the breaker popped.

Our dishwasher tanked recently. Not enough water was going in, resulting in cloudy drinking glasses and a serving of grayish dried patina on everything else. With California in a drought, all that extra hand rinsing certainly wasn’t helping. By Googling the dishwasher’s make and model number along with the prompt “Doesn’t clean, not filling with water,” I found a help site where several respondents for a similar request had suggested clearing the filter in the washer’s inlet valve. But where was the valve? At an Internet parts site I found a schematic that showed the valve and filter were up front and easily accessible. I also found instructions on how to remove and clean it out. After unplugging the appliance and turning off the water, I did exactly that, with the aid of an adjustable crescent wrench and screwdriver. The result: cloudless cups and clean cutlery. A basic repair call would have been $100. Additionally there would have been the cost of a replacement part and the labor to install it. By doing the repair myself, I saved a lot of green. Yes, there was fire in Israel, and with a simple repair or two you can save enough to replant a couple of trees — with enough leftover for a fine spread of nuts (the edible kind) for your Tu b’Shvat seder. Edmon J. Rodman is a JTA columnist who writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles.

Jewish groups adjusting agendas for new GOP-led Congress By Ron Kampeas Jewish Telegraphic Agency WASHINGTON (JTA) — Faced with a new Congress intent on slashing the U.S. federal budget, Jewish groups are trimming their agendas to hew to its contours. On issues from Israel aid to the environment to elderly care, Jewish organizations are planning to promote priorities that would find favorable reception in the new Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives. The groups are trying to build alliances based on shared interests and recasting pitches for existing programs as Republican-friendly. “Some parts of our agenda won’t have much traction in this new climate,” acknowledged Josh Protas, the Washington director for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. “We are looking for items that have bipartisan priorities.” To be sure, Democrats still control the White House and the Senate, and many conservative initiatives will die in the Senate or by the stroke

of a presidential veto. But the House, with its considerable oversight powers and its ability to stymie legislation, remains extremely important. Protas says the JCPA, an umbrella body for Jewish public policy groups, already has had meetings with staff members of the new House speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio). On domestic issues, many of the major Jewish organizations are devoted to policies that directly contradict Republican approaches. According to Protas, Boehner’s staffers told JCPA representatives that the best strategy for working around that is to cherry-pick the smaller issues within the broader agendas that could appeal to Republicans. “We definitely got the sense that smaller, more focused legislation is what we’ll be seeing, so we’re trying to look at more discrete cases,” he said. For example, on elderly care, a signature issue of the Jewish Federations of North America. The JFNA will seek to frame Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities,

Courtesy of Speaker John Boehner

Jewish groups have met with the staff of Rep. John Boehner (ROhio), shown assuming the gavel on his first day as speaker Jan. 5, 2011, to discuss how best to work with the new Republican-led House of Representatives.

or NORCs, one of the jewels of the federation system, as a cost savings, according to William Daroff, director of the Jewish Federations’ Washington office. NORCs have been pitched previously as appealing earmarks for

lawmakers to insert into bills. But Republicans say they will eliminate earmarks, or discretionary spending by lawmakers; the Jewish Federations’ emphasis on costeffectiveness is an attempt to hit a popular Republican note.

“Programs like NORC,”Daroff said, “shift governmental policy away from expensive institutionalized care to less expensive” programs. Daroff invoked Republican talking points in explaining how the Jewish Federations would continue to seek funding for security for Jewish community institutions. Security funding, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars in recent years, has given local law enforcement the power to decide exactly how the money is spent, not federal officials. “It’s not a nameless, faceless bureaucrat in downtown Washington making a decision but someone in a community allocating funds to what a community feels its needs are,” he said. Another strategy is to establish relationships with Republican Congress members based on mutual concerns, and then trying to make the lawmakers aware of what drives Jewish community concerns, said Mark Pelavin, the associate director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center.




Limmud becoming new favored networking tool for Jewish authors, artists, groups By Sue Fishkoff Jewish Telegraphic Agency SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — Journalist and author Lisa Alcalay Klug flew across the country this month to present at Limmud NY, the annual New York version of the worldwide Jewish learning extravaganza. The Jan. 14-17 conference in upstate New York will be Klug’s seventh Limmud gathering in 12 months. Like the hundreds of other Limmud presenters whose paths she crosses, she doesn’t get paid for her time. “I’ve met amazing people, developed new friendships and reinforced past relationships,” said Klug, who splits her time in California, New York and Israel. “My world has grown exponentially because of it.” Limmud, which started out 30 years ago in Britain as a conference for professional Jewish educators and has burgeoned into the world’s largest network of gatherings promoting informal Jewish education, has become a creative and professional hub for presenters, some of whom have become regulars on the Limmud circuit. More than 35,000 people took part in one of 55 Limmuds held last year from Siberia to South Africa, according to Limmud. As more branches opened in more countries – there are eight now in the United States alone – it has become a collaborative opportunity for musicians and visual artists, who meet at Limmud and begin working together. Some performance acts formed

Courtesy of Limmud NY

Rabbi David Ingber, right, hits the stage at the January 2010 Limmud NY with musicians, from left, Bill Jonas, Michelle Citrin and Saul Kaiserman.

for a Limmud event continued afterward, including Los Desterrados, a British band that sings in Ladino, and the klezmerhouse dance mash-up project Ghettoplotz. Limmud gives writers an opportunity to promote their books and educators a chance to try out new topics. It also puts Jewish organizations in front of new audiences and potential donors. Much has been written about

Limmud’s impact on those who attend — the celebratory atmosphere, the array of learning opportunities, the radical egalitarianism of its all-volunteer structure that encourages participants to present and presenters to participate. That was all intentional from the beginning, says Raymond Simonson, the project’s Britainbased executive director. But what he and other organizers didn’t

foresee was how Limmud would become a networking tool for presenters. Unlike most festivals and conferences, which tend to invite experts, anyone can apply to be a Limmud presenter — a big draw for inexperienced presenters and established professionals wanting to try out new material. LIMMUD on page 22

Debating Debbie Friedman’s personal life By JTA Staff Jewish Telegraphic Agency NEW YORK (JTA) — A debate among bloggers following Debbie Friedman’s death is raising questions about the obligation of gay and lesbian celebrities to be out front in discussing their sexual orientation. The discussion began with a Jan. 10 post to Jewschool by David Levy lamenting what he described as the pioneering musician’s decision not to be public about her lesbianism. Just one day after the musician’s death, Levy noted that in virtually all of the public discussion and media coverage of the days leading up to her death, and in the posthumous writing about Friedman, there had been no mention of her life partner. “I don’t bear any ill will

towards Debbie for staying in the closet,” wrote Levy, the editor of and a board member of Keshet, a Boston-based nonprofit working for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Jews in Jewish life. “But her life in the closet was double-barreled tragedy: How sad that Debbie could not live her life with wholeness, and how sad that so many queer kids were deprived such an important role model. How ironic that the tyranny of the closet overpowered the woman whose songs let us let go for a moment of what the world might think of us, just long enough to shout ‘Nutter butter peanut butter’ or sway with our arms around our friends and not worry if we looked gay. “My friends who knew Debbie tell me that she had a life partner. I don’t know her partner’s name

because all the press around Debbie’s illness and passing only asked for prayers and comfort on behalf of Debbie’s sister, family and friends. I hope this did not add to the unbearable pain and loss her partner must be experiencing now, but how could it not?” The post stood in stark contrast to the countless tributes to Friedman, who transformed Jewish worship in hundreds of North American synagogues, if not thousands, with her sing-along style of folk-inspired music that brought prayer home to liberal Jews who had never felt its power. It also drew a scorching response from Debra Nussbaum Cohen on the Forward’s Sisterhood blog. “I’ve been asked to respond to this, or else never would have discussed it publicly, because Debbie

would not have wanted her personal life bandied about,” Nussbaum Cohen wrote. In the days before Friedman’s death, as the musician was hospitalized in Southern California with pneumonia, Nussbaum Cohen authored a post urging people to pray for Friedman. And in an “appreciation” following Friedman’s passing, Nussbaum Cohen became the first to report that Friedman had suffered for more than two decades from dyskinesia, a neurological movement disorder. But Nussbaum Cohen drew the line at the discussion on Jewschool, suggesting that it violated Friedman’s privacy and insisting it was off base in the assertion that Friedman had hidden her sexual orientation. FRIEDMAN on page 22

National Briefs Rutgers University returns Nazi-looted painting (JTA) — A painting looted by the Nazis in Holland was returned to the heirs of its Jewish owner by Rutgers University. The 1509 work “Portrait of a Young Man” by German painter Hans Baldung Grien, was returned Jan. 14 to Simon Goodman of Los Angeles, the grandson of a Dutch banker whose extensive collection was seized by the Nazis in Holland in May 1940. The university had spent a year tracking the origins of the portrait. The art collection of Goodman’s grandparents was well-known in prewar European art circles, according to reports. “Portrait of a Young Man” was part of a group of seven works that the Goodmans traded to a German art dealer representing Adolf Hitler in return for safe passage out of Nazi-occupied Europe. Instead, Nazi officers looted the art and sent the owners to death camps, where they perished, according to The Associated Press. The painting was donated by then-owner Rudolf Heinemann to Rutgers in 1959. Chicago man pleads guilty in $54 million scam (JTA) — A Chicago man who presented himself as a rabbi and allegedly ran a scam that stole $54 million has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud charges. Marvin Berkowitz, 64, who fled to Israel in 2003 to avoid arrest in a separate case, appeared Jan. 14 before a federal judge in Chicago. He is accused of stealing the identities of about 3,000 dead people and federal prisoners to file for tax refunds in 28 U.S. states, according to the Chicago Tribune. Berkowitz allegedly ran the scam from Israel. He was arrested there in August 2009. About 10 people participated in the scam, including several Berkowitz family members. His son David Berkowitz has pleaded guilty in the case. Marvin Berkowitz allegedly used more than 50 people to help with the scam by accepting the bogus tax refunds and then giving him the money. Berkowitz often posed as a rabbi, an attorney or an accountant, the court documents said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Berkowitz faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, as well as mandatory restitution, according to the Sun-Times. His sentencing will take place in June.



Australian Jews evacuating in face of huge floods By Dan Goldberg Jewish Telegraphic Agency SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — At least a dozen Jewish families in northeastern Australia have been evacuated from their homes as a major flood ripped through Queensland last week, killing at least 12 people. More than 40 people were still missing, and one Jewish man remains unaccounted for near the rural town of Toowoomba, which was flattened last Monday by what police described as an “inland instant tsunami.” The bulk of Queensland’s 6,000 Jews live in the state’s capital, Brisbane, which was bracing for its river to peak early Thursday morning as analysts revised up their predictions of the damage bill to $13 million, or 1 percent of the gross domestic product. Three-quarters of the state, an area larger than California and Texas, has been declared a disaster zone, with Premier Anna Bligh describing it as the “worst natural disaster in our history.” Prime Minister Julia Gillard deployed the army to assist in the rescue efforts. Jason Steinberg, the president of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies, said that “A number of Jewish families have been impacted, a lot are reporting difficulties. We are still trying to get details. There have been Jewish people evacuated from several towns. We are trying to assess their needs. “Homes are being evacuated as a precautionary measure. It’s an amazing sight,” said Steinberg, of Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city. “Where you once had a clear road, it’s a lake. The major arterial roads around Brisbane are now cut off.” He added that “The main shul is OK. The second shul is fine and the temple is fine.” Rabbi Levi Jaffe of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation transferred four Torah scrolls to his house, which is on higher ground. “It’s just a precaution,” said the Chabad rabbi. “In the 1974 floods, the water didn’t reach the shul. We’re hopeful it won’t.” Jaffe said services have been canceled this week but he would be holding prayers for the 200member families at his house. “We are bracing. They’re saying the worst is yet to come,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. I stocked up to an extent, but at the supermarket the shelves are completely empty of basic staples. People are quite concerned; there’s a bit of a siege mentality.” The rabbi said he and his sons

Proposed law to probe Israeli rights groups prompts fierce criticism in Israel By Leslie Susser Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Courtesy of Rabbi Levi Jaffe

Rabbi Levi Jaffe of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation helping a wheelchair-using Jewish woman evacuate from Australiass thirdlargest city, Jan. 12, 2011.

helped evacuate a Jewish couple from their high-rise inner-city apartment Wednesday afternoon amid fears that the electricity would be cut, leaving the wheelchairusing woman unable to escape.

Courtesy of Rabbi Levi Jaffe

Rabbi Levi Jaffe taking a Torah scroll from the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation to move to his home in the wake of flooding in Australia, Jan. 12, 2011.

“The chances of water reaching them was very high and their family in Melbourne was really worried, so we helped them evacuate,” Jaffe said. Ari Heber of the response unit at Queensland Jewish Community Services said the agency has identified a dozen homes in Brisbane

that it believes will go under. “We are not aware of anyone officially missing, we just don’t know where people are at the moment and communications are difficult,” he said. “Everyone is frightened. It’s quite scary, the volume of water is quite high and the speed is phenomenal. Tomorrow [Thursday] is going to be the worst, everyone has time to plan. It’s a very surreal situation just waiting for the water to arrive.” Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Dr. Danny Lamm called on Jewish Australians to give generously to assist victims of the floods. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them [the casualties] and their families”, he said, appealing to the Jewish community “to dig deep.” In Sydney, a food kitchen run by Chabad began preparing supplies to be transferred to Jewish families in Queensland. Rabbi Moshe Loebenstein of the Melbourne-based Chabad of Rural and Regional Australia said he was organizing Melbourne and Sydney families to host affected Jewish families and was sending up dry goods, clothing and towels.


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Knesset legislation calling for an investigation of Israeli human rights groups has sparked a fierce argument over who is doing more to hurt Israel’s reputation: Human rights organizations critical of the Israeli government and army, or the politicians who want to investigate them for allegedly going too far. By a vote of 47-16, the Knesset last week gave preliminary passage to proposed legislation calling for the establishment of a parliamentary panel to investigate the funding and activities of a long list of leftleaning human rights groups. One of the co-sponsors, Faina Kirshenbaum of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party, charges that the groups are working under the guise of human rights advocacy to discredit the Israel Defense Forces’ presence in the West Bank, criminalize its soldiers and encourage draft-dodging — with the overall aim of weakening the IDF and delegitimizing Israel. “These groups provided material to the Goldstone commission and are behind indictments lodged against Israeli officers and officials around the world,” Kirshenbaum declared during a Knesset debate, referring to the U.N.-endorsed Goldstone report on the Gaza war, which among its findings included allegations of war crimes violations by Israel. The heavy vote in favor of the legislation reflected widespread concern in Israel at the activities of human rights groups, some of which receive foreign government funds and whose goals seem potentially inimical to the national interest. Much of the subsequent criticism was directed at the choice of mechanism to deal with the issue: a parliamentary committee in which politicians would be interrogating their political opponents. After days of criticism for the “undemocratic” nature of the proposed investigatory committee, Lieberman invited cameras into the normally closed party caucus meeting Monday to show he had no intention of backing down. In his remarks, he suggested that Israel’s delegitimizers rely on the subversive work of Israel’s Haaretz daily newspaper; Yesh

Din, a group that monitors the rule of law in the West Bank; and Yesh Gvul, an organization that defends Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve in the West Bank. He called the organizations “collaborators in terror.” “There wasn’t a single meeting abroad where I spoke about delegitimization of Israel and people didn’t say look at what Haaretz wrote or what Yesh Din, Yesh Gvul or Yesh Batich published,” he said, the last name a derogatory play on words meaning “There is Zero.” Critics — from both the left and right wings — have accused Lieberman of McCarthyism. They argue that establishing a parliamentary mechanism to hound political opponents is patently undemocratic and brings to mind the witch-hunting days of anticommunist fervor in the United States in the early 1950s. Israeli law already requires full transparency on funding, most of the named NGOs are fully transparent, and there is a registrar of NGOs where funding information already is in the public domain, critics of the new legislation maintain. NGO Monitor, an organization often harshly critical of left-leaning Israeli human rights groups, went so far as to publish an Op-Ed in JTA criticizing the proposed law as unhelpful and polarizing. As for activities such as pointing out transgressions by IDF soldiers, opponents of the proposed law contend that such criticism shows the strength of Israeli democracy rather than casting aspersions on the IDF as a whole or bringing the country into disrepute. On the contrary, setting up a McCarthyist parliamentary committee would do far more damage to Israel’s good name, they argue. The proposed law, wrote NGO Monitor President Gerald Steinberg, provides “more ammunition for Israel’s most ardent critics to proclaim the ‘death of Israeli democracy,’ further contributing to Israel’s isolation.” Several of the singled-out groups monitor IDF activities in the West Bank. The groups say this is precisely what the role of civil society groups should be: ensuring that the occupation is as humane as possible. If their funding or activities contravene the law in any way, they should be dealt with by the police, not a politically weighted Knesset committee, they insist.




After fire, what types of trees are best suited for Israel? By Dina Kraft Jewish Telegraphic Agency TEL AVIV (JTA) — From leafy eucalyptus trees lapping the shores of the Sea of Galilee to date palms in the desert to pine and oak trees in the North — many of which were destroyed in the Carmel’s forest fire last month — Israel will celebrate trees on Tu b’Shvat. The holiday, which for centuries was a rather obscure festival mentioned in the Mishnah as the new year for trees, was revived by the early Zionists as part of their backto-the-land ethos. It’s now a highlight of the Israeli national calendar, with tens of thousands of Israelis, most of them schoolchildren, pouring out across the country to plant saplings in celebration of the Jewish Arbor Day. But this year, in wake of the Carmel Forest fire that killed 44 and consumed some 5 million trees and 12,000 acres of land, a growing understanding has taken root that mass replanting of trees is not the way to go. At least not right now. “Planting is still important, but in many cases we have to make a kind of change in our consciousness,” said Yisrael Tauber, director of forest management for the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael. “It’s not just planting, but also natural regeneration of forests, and the managing of that natural regeneration that is key.” The strategy after the fire has cast a spotlight on Israel’s longtime rush to make the Holy Land green, which for decades was embraced as Gospel (or, more accurately, Torah from Sinai) by both Diaspora and Israeli Jews. The question now is not how fast trees can be planted but whether and which trees should go in the ground, and how Israel should plan its ecological future. In the state’s early years there was a rush to plant pines, considered among the only trees that could survive and grow quickly on the bare, rocky ground that covers much of Israel, Tauber said. “But now we are in a second, new phase,” he noted. “We are now building sustainable forestry after these pioneering pines did a wonderful job for the first generation.” With a dry climate similar to that of California or Spain, Israel is a natural home for relatively short trees that need little water. Some, like acacias, can go for months without even a drop. For centuries the area was covered in a patchwork of squat, dense low-lying forest, especially in the native woodland areas of the Carmel, Galilee and the Judean hills. But by the time the early Zionist settlers arrived, much of

Courtesy of Israel Ministry of Agriculture

The Tabor Oak, like the one above, is common throughout the country's forests as well as in the Golan Heights.

Courtesy of Israel Ministry of Agriculture

The Aleppo pine, also known as the Jerusalem pine, was chosen in the 1930s as the ideal tree for planting because of its ability to grow quickly and soar high.

the forestland had been depleted, used over the years as firewood, building material, grazing land for goats and sheep, and even train tracks in the Ottoman era. “When people came to the land it looked like desert,” said Yagil Osem, a forestry expert at Israel’s Agriculture Ministry. “Part of the Zionist ethos was to rehabilitate the view.” After several failed attempts with other species, the Aleppo pine (also known as the Jerusalem pine) was chosen in the 1930s as the ideal tree for planting. Selected for its heartiness in arid soil and ability to grow quickly and soar high into the sky, the tree created the kind of forests with room for hiking and recreation that the Jews living in prestate Palestine knew of from Europe. Today that first generation of pines is aging, demanding more water and more prone to problems like pests, disease and fire, according to Osem. Forests that are almost exclusively pine planted of the same age and variety are especially vulnerable, he said. The planting paradigm began

to shift by the 1980s with a growing awareness of the importance of forest diversification. Other native varieties began to be introduced, including carob, pistachio, oak and other varieties of pine. The common oak is seen throughout the country’s forests as well as in the Golan Heights. Now the goal is to have as many “mixed” forests as possible with a focus on sustainable management, JNF officials say. Among the non-native pine species introduced in recent years to Israel are the Brutia, a variety that grows in Turkey and Cyprus and is known for being more pest resistant, and the Stone pine (also known as the nut pine), which produces pine nuts. The Stone pine is thought originally to have been brought to the Holy Land by the Romans, who cooked with pine nuts. In a land where even trees have become politicized as part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the pine tree has become emblematic of a renewed Jewish presence here, while the olive tree has become a symbol of the Palestinians’ ties to

the land. Of course, in biblical times the Jews were also known for tending olive trees. The olive tree’s deep historical roots date back some 10,000 years as this agricultural commodity took on important regional economic importance. Other prominent trees in Israel include the carob, which grows throughout the country. Originally from Africa, it is a relatively late local species, and like other successful trees here it needs little water to thrive. A cousin to the carob is the almond tree, whose white blossoms are harbingers of Tu b’Shvat’s arrival. It grows both at higher elevations and in the transition zone between the coastal Mediterranean plain and the desert. In its wild form its almonds are inedible, so it’s the domesticated variety that provides the almonds commonly eaten on Tu b’Shvat. Fig trees also are native and grow naturally near Israel’s rivers and streams. Cypress trees, which can live for hundreds of years, also are part of the Israeli landscape, most commonly seen in the North. Experts think the species may be native but that it disappeared over the centuries by locals attracted to the wood produced by its attractive, straight shape. The cypresses of today were brought from other parts of the Mediterranean and planted here. They are used often in landscaping and, because of their candle-like appearance, are planted frequently in the country’s cemeteries. Date palms, located in the Arava Desert and the Jordan Valley, grow naturally along desert streams, but it’s not clear whether such trees are native or the result of the casual tossing of their seeds by snacking Bedouin nomads. Citrus trees, specifically the Jaffa orange, are cultivated in groves along the coastal plain, and in the 1950s and ‘60s they represented something of an unofficial national symbol. But with the shrinking of Israel’s agriculture industry, many of the groves have been replaced by homes and office buildings. Israeli citrus — oranges, lemons, tangerines and pomellos — are still exported in relatively large quantities, especially to Europe,but even as far afield as Japan. It is thought that the first orange varieties were brought to the region by Arab traders who brought them from China and India. The introduction of more commercially successful avocado, mango and banana plantations have edged out many of the remaining citrus groves in Israel.

USCJ, Nefesh B’Nefesh launch third year of Ma’alot grants program JERUSALEM — The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Israel Commission and Nefesh B’Nefesh, which works in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency, are pleased to announce the continuation of their joint Ma’alot program for a third year. Following the runaway success of the program over the past two years in deepening the connection between Conservative communities and Israel and enhancing Aliyah awareness, the program, called Ma’alot – Taking Steps Toward Raising Israel Awareness, will run for a third year in 2011-2012. This exciting initiative, which has strengthened the partnership between Nefesh B’Nefesh and United Synagogue, worked with 10 innovative pilot synagogue programs from three regions in its first year. Following the success of these programs, the project received a boost in 2010-2011 when 76 applications were submitted from synagogues across North America; 26 of them were chosen. The program empowers Conservative movement leaders to increase the profile of Israel within their congregations, as well as to make congregants more aware of the possibility of making Aliyah. As in previous years, communities are invited to submit proposals for a grant to help develop programs that incorporate Israel and Zionist education and present aliyah as a realistic option for Conservative Jews. For 2011-2012, submissions may take the form of either new programs or added elements to existing programs that ran in previous years. To apply, go to Nefesh B’Nefesh’s website. The deadline for applications is Feb. 25, 2011. “We have a great partnership with Nefesh B’Nefesh,” said Rabbi Steven Wernick, United Synagogue’s CEO. “Nefesh B’Nefesh is a dynamic, incredibly well-run organization, and our partnership has seen some really wonderful, innovative activities and programming. We look forward to continuing increase awareness of Israel and commitment to it within our kehillot.” “The enormous success of this program proves how integral Israel and Aliyah awareness are among members of the Conservative movement” said Tony Gelbart, co-founder and chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We are honored to continue partnering with United Synagogue on this exciting program, and helping raise the profile of Israel and Aliyah among Conservative Jews.”



Big Brothers/Big Sisters 100th Anniversary Celebration PHOTOS CONTINUED ON PG.13


ANNOUNCEMENTS BIRTH enny and Julius Kassar are thrilled to announce the arrival of their new granddaughter. The baby girl was born January 17, 2011 to Courtney and Richard Kassar, and she has an older sister, Claire.


R E F UA H S H L E M A H Frieda Berger Fraida bat Raizel

Pepa Kaufman Perel Tova bat Sima Sora

Daniel Eliyahu Daniel ben Tikvah

Murray Kirschner Chaim Meir ben Basha

Edith Kaffeman Yehudit bat B’racha

Ravid Sulam Ravid Chaya bat Ayelet

Roma Kaltman Ruchama bat Perl

Edward Ziv Raphael Eliezer Aharon ben Esther Enya


Announcements Are Free! Dick Westheimer, grandson of Irvin Westheimer, founder of Big Brothers/Big Sisters Association in 1910

• Births • Bat/Bar Mitzvahs • Engagements • Weddings • Birthdays • Wedding Anniversaries • Refuah Shlemah/Get Wells Place your Free Announcement in The American Israelite by calling 621-3145 or by sending an e-mail to

Mike Kernish, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Association President



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Big Brothers/Big Sisters 100th Anniversary Celebration

Mike Whiteman and his Little Brother Josh

Bruce Baker, Past President of Jewish Family Service Mike Schwartz, President of Jewish Family Service, Hank Schneider

Dick Westheimer, grandson of Irvin Westheimer, founder of Big Brothers/Big Sisters Association in 1910

Kevin Keefe and his Little Brother Noah

Mike Schwartz, President of Jewish Family Service, Bruce Baker Past President of Jewish Family Service, Zell Schulman, Hank Schneider

Steve Coppel and his "little Brother" David Krumme




Izzy’s—where corned beef is king By Marilyn Gale Dining Editor There is a saying that older is better. In antiques, wines, and some cheeses, I suppose that is correct. Restaurants that have endured over 100 years are few and far between. At over 100 years old, Izzy’s is a Cincinnati icon, where corned beef is king and the sandwich is an art form. Leave it to our Queen City to be an adopted birthplace of the corned beef sandwich. “Hurry Back… Got the rent to pay. – Izzy Kadetz.” This line is featured in the margins of the take out menu. The restaurant is known for its characters as well as charm. Those of us who have lived in Cincinnati for thirty years or more can recall Izzy, with his booming voice and very large grin, making huge deli sandwiches. The small downtown eatery overflowed with customers, many standing against the walls waiting for those luscious potato pancakes or matzo ball soup. The Kadetz family brought corned beef to Cincinnati in 1901. Initially Russian immigrants, they first arrived in New York and then moved to the Cincinnati area at the turn of the twentieth century. I met with John Geisen, president and CEO of Izzy Kadetz, Inc. A congenial man, originally from Northern Kentucky and in the construction business, he proudly told me he has been with the company for 29 years. He met the family while doing home remodeling for them. I asked Geisen what he thought was the secret to Izzy’s long-term success. Geisen replied, “A commitment to food, quality, service, adaptability to change with the times, expanded menus, and upgrades in location and stores.” Izzy’s has nine locations in the Greater Cincinnati area, including two in Northern Kentucky. The Madisonville location has a drivethrough to facilitate a smoother, more customer friendly carry out, eliminating outside waiting lines in unpredictable weather. Izzy’s brand pickles and breads are now available at Kroger’s. “Izzy’s has an obligation to persevere,” said Geisen. “Today’s market challenges are rapid and the restaurant business is a continual balance between cost and profit. We work with small margins.” Attention to detail is crucial, and Izzy’s has managed to thrive with its simple legacy of hands on hard work and pride in its product. No doubt, Geisen’s forthright enthusiasm was an integral factor in the Kadetz family’s decision to put him in the leadership position. The menu is a sandwich lover’s

dream. Famous corned beef, a robust beauty, is served on a choice of bread. Most hard-core eaters would opt for rye, but I bet pumpernickel is a close second. Served with a mammoth potato pancake and pickles, it is a bargain at $6.90 for whole and $5.90 for half sandwiches. Izzy’s famous Reuben is lip smacking, loaded with corned beef and sauerkraut. Jeff Ruby, well known Cincinnati restaurateur, has created his own one of a kind double decker sandwich consisting of rye bread, cole slaw, roast beef, rye bread, roasted turkey, chopped liver, thousand Island dressing topped with rye bread. Open wide and enjoy. Other deli choices are pastrami, beef tongue, salami; the possibilities are endless for mouthwatering sandwiches. Vegetarians do not despair. Izzy’s is in touch with the times. There are “veggie Reubens” – a spicy delight mix which is a special blend of minced olives, sweet peppers, garlic, herbs and spices with diced fresh tomatoes piled high then smothered in sauerkraut and melted imported Swiss cheese on a rye roll. Or try old-fashioned egg salad, add cheese, and eat it on an onion roll, bagel or rye bread. Beer is available at some Izzy’s locations. Beverages always include Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda. If you still have room in your belly for dessert, there are three kinds of cheesecake on the menu: plain, chocolate chip and cherry. Izzy’s also provides catering options. The boxed lunch for $8.00 per person is served with choice of sandwich, chips, pickles, cookie and condiments. Be a hit at any party or late-night poker game, and order the sandwich tray at $7.00 per person. For only $2.00 extra per person, potato pancake, pasta salad, cole slaw and macaroni and potato salads are added. Izzy’s is more than a Cincinnati icon. It is an enduring eatery that is complete with charm and character. Geisen talked about the concept of Reubenista specialist. The task of Izzy’s management team is to develop and nurture their sandwich makers into creating a culinary art form. Geisen said, “If it looks good, it will likely taste good.” In my opinion, Izzy’s has reached that goal.

(Clockwise) John Geisen is your host; Remodeled, friendly atmosphere is a treat for downtown shoppers, Cincinnati visitors and business lunches; Mounds of corned beef and saurkraut on fresh rye bread with the famous potato pancake is mouth watering.

Izzy’s 800 Elm Street 513-721-4241 612 Main Street 513-241-6246 5098B Glencrossing Way 513-347-9699 1198 Smiley Avenue 513-825-3888 300 Madison, Covington 859-292-0065






20 Brix 101 Main St Historic Milford 831-Brix (2749)

Embers 8120 Montgomery Rd Montgomery 984-8090

Padrino 111 Main St Milford 965-0100

Ambar India Restaurant 350 Ludlow Ave Cincinnati 281-7000

Ferrari’s Little Italy & Bakery 7677 Goff Terrace Madeira 272-2220

Parkers Blue Ash Grill 4200 Cooper Rd Blue Ash 891-8300

Andy’s Mediterranean Grille At Gilbert & Nassau 2 blocks North of Eden Park 281-9791

Incahoots 4110 Hunt Rd Blue Ash 793-2600

Pomodori’s 121West McMillan • 861-0080 7880 Remington Rd Montgomery • 794-0080

Izzy’s 800 Elm St • 721-4241 612 Main St • 241-6246 5098B Glencrossing Way 347-9699 1198 Smiley Ave • 825-3888 300 Madison Ave Covington • 859-292-0065

Slatt’s Pub 4858 Cooper Rd Blue Ash 791-2223 • 791-1381 (fax)

Aroma Restaurant & Sushi 7875 Montgomery Rd Kenwood 791-0950 Baba India Restaurant 3120 Madison Rd Cincinnati 321-1600 Bangkok Terrace 4858 Hunt Rd Blue Ash 891-8900 • 834-8012 (fx) Bella Luna Café 4632 Eastern Ave Cincinnati 871-5862 Blue Elephant 2912 Wasson Rd Cincinnati 351-0123 Carlo & Johnny 9769 Montgomery Rd Cincinnati 936-8600 CUMIN 3520 Erie Ave Hyde Park 871-8714 Dingle House 9102 Towne Centre Dr West Chester 874-PINT (7468)

Johnny Chan 2 11296 Montgomery Rd The Shops at Harper’s Point 489-2388 • 489-3616 (fx) K.T.’s Barbecue & Deli 8501 Reading Rd Reading 761-0200 Kanak India Restaurant 10040B Montgomery Rd Montgomery 793-6800 Marx Hot Bagels 9701 Kenwood Rd Blue Ash 891-5542 Mecklenburg Gardens 302 E. University Ave Clifton 221-5353 MEI Japanese Restaurant 8608 Market Place Ln Montgomery 891-6880

Reuben Tuesday’s $6.95 Burger Wednesday’s $6.50 O’H APPY H OUR Mon-Fri 3-6pm

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New Menu Catering for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs & Weddings



Intersections of Gilbert & Nassau



MONTGOMERY 45242 • 891-6880

Sonoma American & Med. Grill 3012 Madison Rd Cincinnati 376-9941


Stone Creek Dining Co. 9386 Montgomery Rd Montgomery 489-1444





4110 HUNT RD. • 793-2600 Sukhothai Thai Cuisine 8102 Market Place Ln Cincinnati 794-0057


Sultan’s Med. Cuisine 7305 Tyler’s Corner Dr West Chester 847-1535

"Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in America"

Tandoor 8702 Market Place Ln Montgomery 793-7484

Chinese Restaurant News - 2004


(513) 489-2388

Through the Garden 10738 Kenwood Rd Cincinnati 791-2199 View Restaurant 2200 Victory Pkwy Cincinnati 751-8439


. Sushi Bar . Full Bar, Liquor . Sunday Brunch The Shops at Harpers Point . 11296 Montgomery Road Banquets

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Point of View


By Rabbi James A. Rudin

Worship inside many American synagogues used to be, in a word, boring. Until a generation ago, the congregation had little to no participation in the service, trapped between a professional choir that smothered worshippers with unsingable musical selections and a rabbi who read nearly all the prayers. Calling it a passive experience would be generous. The music could be particularly painful — liturgical imports that mimicked the classical stylings of European baroque, or pompous cantors whose operatic-like arias were rooted in the somber tones and bitter history of Eastern Europe. And then along came Debbie Friedman. Friedman, who died Sunday (Jan. 9) at the tender age of 59, grew up listening to legendary folk singers including Peter Yarrow, Joan Baez and Pete Seeger. After she picked up her guitar, American Jewish life would — thankfully — never be the same. Surprisingly, Friedman could not read music, but neither could Irving Berlin, another acknowledged Jewish master of American popular music. She taught herself to play the guitar, and the texts and prayers she set to music permanently shattered the staid inert life of American Jewish worship. Not surprisingly, at first some rabbis and cantors dismissed her music as shallow. But Friedman triumphed because her “superficial” music had an unlikely ally: the thousands of young Jewish campers in the 1970s and 1980s who sang her songs around countless bonfires. My daughter (now a rabbi herself) was one of those young campers who felt the emotional and religious power of Friedman’s many compositions; they are the same ones my granddaughter now sings at her summer camp. When the young campers returned to their synagogues, they demanded Friedman’s music be included in the “adult” services.

Rabbi Rudin is the American Jewish Committee's senior interreligious adviser, and published author.

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Dear Editor, The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati (JCRC) is deeply saddened and disturbed by the tragic January 8, 2011 shooting in Arizona that caused the deaths of six innocent people and wounded 14 others, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords. We join in our nation’s mourning for 9-year-old Christina Green, Dorothy Morris, Federal Judge John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard, and congressional staffer Gabriel Zimmerman. The JCRC and Jewish Federation of Cincinnati extend our continued thoughts and prayers for the complete healing of Representative Giffords and the other individuals who were wounded. We grieve with those who have lost family members and friends. Gary Greenberg, President; Jessica Baron, Vice President; Steve Shifman, Vice President; Arna Poupko Fisher, Immediate Past President; and Gal Adam Spinrad, Associate Director Dear Editor, The Obama administration recently proposed a new regulation that would reimburse doc-

tors for discussing end of life advance care planning with their Medicare patients. The proposal was opposed by Agudath Israel and others as an attempt to push elderly patients into agreeing to sign advance care medical directives that would allow caregivers to “pull the plug” on incapacitated patients. In response to the protests, the administration announced yesterday that it was withdrawing the regulation. Agudath Israel of America formally submitted comments on the proposed regulation earlier this week to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Abba Cohen, vice president for federal government affairs and Washington director and counsel, and Mordechai Biser, general counsel, wrote that while Agudah supports the concept of encouraging everyone to make advance care planning decisions, the organization had serious concerns about how the proposed regulation, as worded, will be implemented. “Our great concern,” they wrote, “is that elderly individuals may find themselves subject to pressure from their physician to execute an advance care directive that may not confirm to those individuals’ true wishes, and in fact may contradict their deeply-held religious or moral views on end-of-life health care.”

Agudath Israel also expressed concern about the range of options that may be presented to patients under the proposed regulation. “Since the regulation does not provide any clear direction as to what options should be discussed, the option to receive medical treatment and life support could be ignored while the option to terminate medical treatment and life support could be stressed as the only viable alternative in certain circumstances.” “The bottom line,” stated the attorneys, “is that many health care decisions, particularly those that involve withdrawing or not providing various forms of care and treatment, are fundamentally ethical decisions and not medical decisions. Individuals should be free to make their own choices about these deeply personal issues rather than being pressured by doctors into making choices that conform to the doctor’s personal preferences.” In response to the protests of Agudath Israel and many other groups, the administration announced [recently] that it was dropping the regulation. Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel, stated that “a potential threat to the elderly in our community has thus been averted.” Agudath Israel of America New York, N.Y.

T EST Y OUR T ORAH KNOWLEDGE THIS WEEK’S PORTION: YITRO (SHMOT 18:1—20:23) 1. Whom did the Children of Israel approach to seek G-d? a) Moshe b) Aaron c) Priests

a) Honor of parents b) Prohibition of theft c) Prohibition of idolatry

2. Chapter 20:5 lists how many negative commandments concerning idolatry? a) One b) Two c) Three 3. In which commandment is Hashem described as “jealous” 3. C. 20:5. Hashem is not forgiving of idol worship. Rashi 4. A. 20:6. Hashem will pay back good deeds up to 2000 generations, 500 times more than a sin. Rashi. 5. B. This question is not answered openly in the Parsha. Ramban verse 13 says the first five are between Man and Hashem and the second five are between Man and Man.

Debbie Friedman: An Appreciation

When those same campers assumed leadership positions in the American Jewish community, they brought Friedman’s music with them. The ballads and melodies once rejected as hollow became a key component of services, conventions and other public assemblies. Some have compared Friedman to Edith Piaf, the French chanteuse whose artistry, like Friedman’s, also brought audiences to tears. While Piaf sang about romantic love, regret and loss, Friedman sang about the joy of spirituality and the love for her people and all humanity. Scholars and music critics will no doubt analyze Friedman’s music for its theology or musical quality. But in many ways, none of that matters. The verdict has already been reached. Friedman was an authentic original who, like the Psalmist King David, is already a revered “sweet singer in Israel.” The reason for her success and acceptance is obvious. A person, even someone born with tin ears, can easily and fervently sing her melodies. Friedman transformed biblical and liturgical texts from the original Hebrew into understandable (and singable) English. While out-of-sight professional choirs are on the wane in most synagogues, the visible “people of God” are singing new songs — Friedman’s songs — unto their Creator. Standing with her guitar in either Carnegie Hall in a solo concert or at an outdoor camp synagogue, Friedman projected a joy and a love of God and Judaism. Her audiences joined in, often in tears. Even though Friedman no longer walks and sings among us, her music lives on. When we seek God’s physical or emotional healing, we listen to her haunting “Mishebayrach,” her most popular composition. When violence, war and destruction overwhelm us, we listen to her rendition of “Oseh Shalom,” an ancient prayer for peace. And when we commence a journey or near the end of our earthly lives, Friedman’s “Traveler’s Prayer” goes with us. Friedman’s earthly sojourn was much too short, but I want to believe she is still singing, albeit to a different congregation.

4. Which commandment does Hashem promise kindness? a) Prohibition of idolatry b) Remembering Shabbat c) Honoring parents 5. How are the Ten Commandments divided? a) One group of ten b) Two groups of five c) Ten separate ANSWERS 1. A. 18:15-16. Moshe taught not only laws but also prayed for the sick and even helped find a lost item. Ramban. 2. B. The prohibition of bowing is even the intent is to mock the idol. The prohibition of worship is even if the way of worship is ridiculous. Sefer Hachinuch


Written by Rabbi Dov Aaron Wise




Sedra of the Week By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin


Efrat, Israel - “You must be the representative of the nation to God; and you shall bring their issues to God” (Exodus 18:19). The most seminal event in Jewish history, the miracle which informed, inspired and inflamed our people with passionate commitment to ethical monotheism, was the Revelation at Sinai. How strange that the Biblical portion which details this phenomenon is named Yitro – after Moses’ fatherin-law, Jethro, a Midianite priest. What did Jethro / Yitro do to deserve such a signal honor? The Bible records Jethro’s contribution even before it gives us the content of the Revelation. According to Rashi, who cites the Sifrei, our text changes the chronological order by providing Jethro’s advice for a judicial structure even before the Israelites had received the legal code by which Moses would judge them. Apparently, the Torah believes that Jethro’s advice was crucial for the implementation of the Divine Law into daily life. What did Jethro teach Moses and Israel? Jethro sees his son-inlaw standing every day from morning to evening, judging the various disputes of the Hebrews who come “to seek out God,” deciding “between a person and his neighbor,” informing each of “the statutes of God and His laws” (Exodus 18:13-16). The Midianite sheikh, speaking from a lifetime of experience, recognizes an impossible situation: “What you are doing is not good; you will wear yourself out as well as this nation that is with you” (ibid, 1719) Jethro warns his son-in-law that he will never manage to deal with the enormous case load alone, and the people will grow impatient waiting in line! Jethro then suggests that Moses find “men of valor, Godfearing people of truth who despise ill-gotten gain” and will establish district courts. These people, who are financially and constitutionally able to resist the pressures of the wealthy and powerful, will arbitrate the daily disputes which can plague a nation committed to compassionate

Jethro then suggests that Moses find “men of valor, God-fearing people of truth who despise ill-gotten gain” and will establish district courts. These people, who are financially and constitutionally able to resist the pressures of the wealthy and powerful, will arbitrate the daily disputes which can plague a nation committed to compassionate righteousness and moral justice. righteousness and moral justice. But Jethro does much more than design a more manageable judicial “pecking order”; he actually defines Moses’s position as leader, setting the stage for the Hebraic version of Plato’s philosopher king. Moses understood the paramount importance of the Law for the development of the people. He also understood that since God had chosen him as the Lawgiver, each Israelite experienced personal contact with him as if it were contact with God. Moses was willing to stand from morning to night adjudicating individual cases because he realized that each client was actually “seeking God” (ibid 15). Jethro understands that such a situation cannot last. He therefore, explains to his son-in-law that he does not have the luxury of leading like a Rebbe, who deals with each individual and their problems; instead, he must lead like a Rav – an exalted teacher who brings the Divine Word to the nation as a whole, and serves as its interlocutor and defense attorney before God. Moses must speak with the voice of the Divine, and his mouth must express the words and will of the Divine; “clarify the decrees and the laws for [the nation] and show them the path they must take and the things they must do” (ibid 19, 20). He must be Moshe Rabbenu, a halachic teacher,

guide and king who operates wholesale rather than retail; a Rav and Torah teacher for all generations, rather than a Rebbe for the individuals of one generation. Such a vocation would make Moses a man of God (Ish HaElohim) rather than a man of the people. It might lead to more criticism, and even to impudent and ungrateful rebellions, but it would allow him more time with God and enable his intellect to fuse with the Intellect of the Divine (Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed). There was one detail in which Moses differed from Jethro. The Midianite priest suggested that all the great (big) matters be brought to Moses, and all small matters be judged by lesser courts (ibid 22); Moses re-interpreted his words to state that the difficult issues be brought to him whereas the simpler cases be judged by the magistrates. Moses taught that the highest court was needed for the difficult questions of Law, but not necessarily for simpler cases which happened to involve a great deal of money. As Moses initially explained to God, he was a man of weighty, theological and religiolegal speech rather than someone given to small talk. Shabbat Shalom Shlomo Riskin Chancellor Ohr Torah Stone Chief Rabbi — Efrat Israel












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Jewz in the Newz By Nate Bloom Contributing Columnist PORTMAN PINNACLES Sometimes the stars align and an actress seems to be at a publicity apex. Such is the case with NATALIE PORTMAN, 29. Everyone has heard she is pregnant and engaged. As I write this, it looks like she’ll win the Golden Globe for “The Black Swan”— and it’s a pretty sure bet she will get a best actress Oscar nomination for “Swan.” Her new indie film, “The Other Woman,” in which she plays a Jewish lawyer in a romantic/dramatic triangle, is now available for on-demand viewing on most cable/satellite systems. And—opening in theaters on Friday, Jan. 21, is “No Strings Attached,” Portman’s first romantic comedy. Portman plays Emma, a doctor who works incredibly long hours at a hospital. She chances to run into an old friend, Adam (Ashton Kutcher). One night, Adam gets some devastating news—his “jerky” father (Kevin Kline) is dating an ex-girlfriend of Adam’s. Adam gets drunk, crashes at Emma’s, and one thing leads to another—Adam and Emma get romantically involved. In order to protect their friendship—they make a pact—they can see each other—but with no strings attached—those strings being things like jealousy or love. But, as you can guess, keeping this pact is tough. “Strings” is directed and cowritten by IVAN REITMAN. Reitman was born (1946) in Czechoslovakia to Jewish parents. His mother was an Auschwitz survivor and his father was a fighter in the Czech anti-Nazi underground. They fled from Communist Czechoslovakia in 1949. They evaded Czech border guards and slipped into Austria, a Cold War neutral. The family immigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto in 1950. As Reitman tells the story— the Austrian border guards had orders not to anger the Russians by letting most Czechs cross into Austria. However, in a rare Austrian gesture of regret for their country’s role in the Holocaust— the guards were told to let into Austria the very few Jews who tried to cross. Reitman’s parents told the Austrian guards they were Jewish. The guards said prove it. So, they did the first thing they could think of—they pulled down Ivan’s pants (he was a toddler) and showed them that Ivan was circumcised! Virtually no non-Jewish Czechs are circumcised; so the guards believed them and let them in. I guess you could call it a miracle bris.

Reitman had a string of hits in the ‘80s including “Ghostbusters,” “Stripes” and “Kindergarten Cop.” However, he hasn’t had a hit, sadly, since the 1993 comedy, “Dave,” which starred Kevin Kline. Maybe “Strings” will end his dry spell. Meanwhile, his son, of whom he is vocally proud, is JASON REITMAN, 33. Jason has had three hits with his first three films (“Thank You for Smoking,” “Juno,” and “Up in the Air.”). By the way, I am virtually certain that Olivia Thirlby, 24, who plays Portman’s sister in “Strings,” is the daughter of a Jewish mother/non-Jewish father. Her breakthrough role came in “Juno,” playing Juno’s funny best friend. BLOOMING IN THE KING’S SPEECH The British film, “The King’s Speech,” is now a certified critical and box-office hit and is playing in theaters across the country. As you probably heard, it is about the stammering problem of King George VI (the father of Queen Elizabeth II) and how he partially overcame that problem with the help of an unorthodox therapist. As I previously wrote, the original screenplay is by DAVID SEIDLER, 73, an American Jew who was born in England. He and his English Jewish parents left for America in 1940 to escape the Nazi bombing blitz. It isn’t a big role—but look for veteran English Jewish actress CLAIRE BLOOM, who is about to turn 80, as Queen Mary, the mother of George VI. The reallife Queen Mary personified the look and manner stereotypically associated with the British aristocracy. Bloom has long been able to pull-off such aristocratic gentile roles, despite the fact that all four of her grandparents were poor Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. She once said that she was tickled when early critical notices described her as a “perfect English rose.” ENJOY During a week of bad news (DEBBIE FRIEDMAN’s death/the Arizona shooting)—one thing really brightened my day. After being off youtube for a long time—a tape of JENNIFER GREY singing “Duvid Crockett: the King of Delancey Street,” has re-appeared. This mostly Yiddish parody song was penned by Grey’s grandfather, comedian MICKEY KATZ (who was the father of musical actor JOEL GREY, Jennifer’s dad). Jennifer Grey is a revelation on this tape— so charming, funny and musical— check it out—you’ll smile.

FROM THE PAGES 100 Years Ago Mr. and Mrs. Moses Bing announce the engagement of their daughter, Sylvia, to Mr. Samuel J. Wolf, of Piqua, O. Mrs. Selma Auer and daughters Florence and Rita, have returned from Cleveland, where they visited daughter and sister, Mrs. L. A. Weisenberg. Mr. and Mrs. Leon Lederer entertained at dinner Sunday, the presidents of the Louisville and Cincinnati

Sections of the Jewish Juniors, Messrs. Alfred Strauss and Louis P. Mann. Morris Adler, President of the Fairmount Woolen Mills, and uncle of Joseph Adler, United States Commissioner, died late Friday night, January 13, at his residence in Flat 6, Granada Building, Avondale, at the age of 61 years. He had been sick for several years. Mr. Adler was born in Germany and came to Cincinnati at five

years of age. After being educated in the public schools here he went to work in the Fairmount Woolen Mills, which had been started by his father in 1867. He is suvived by his widow, who was formerly Miss Carrie Baer, of Hillsboro, Ohio. The funeral, which was largely attended, took place Sunday afternoon. Dr. Grossmann delivered the funeral sermon at the Chapel of the United Jewish Cemetery. — January 19, 1911

75 Years Ago Mrs. Arthur Lelyveld is a director of the Cincinnati Actors’ Guild, which will present a number of plays before the Guild, and later, for the public. Among those taking part in the forthcoming productions are Miss Elsie Westheimer, Mrs. Sidney Rosenberg, and Mr. Maurice W. Jacobs. Sailing on the SS Statendam for a West Indies cruise Friday, Feb. 7th, will be Mrs. Alva W. Goldsmith, Jr., Miss Emma Frank and Mrs. Milford G. Fox. McKenna, Mayer and Mielziner, new firm of Broadway producers, soon will present its first play, “Correspondent

Unknown.” The McKenna is Mr. Kenneth McKenna. The Mielziner is Mr. Jo Mielziner. They are brothers, sons of the late Mr. Leo Mielziner, Cincinnatian and artist, and nephews of Mr. Ben Leo Mielziner, 945 Burton Avenue. Louis Hauser, 3258 Burnet Avenue, passed away Saturday, Jan. 18th. Services were held from Weil Funeral Home on Sunday, Jan. 19th. Surviving Mr. Hauser are two brothers, Ike and David Hauser, and two sisters, Mrs. Lester Hirshberg and Mrs. Pauline Hirshberg. Samuel Greenwood, 63, of 878

Clinton Springs Avenue, widely known in Cincinnati business and fraternal circles, passed away at Jewish Hospital Saturday Jan. 18th. Mr. Greenwood was president of the Midwest Tobacco Co., 335 W. Fifth Street, and a member of the B’nai B’rith, Eagles and Elks. Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Jennie Greenwood, two sons, Earl and Eugene, and a daughter, Mrs. Ruth Levitch. Services were held from Weil Funeral Home, Rabbi David Philipson officiating. Interment was in United Jewish Cemetery. —January 23, 1936

50 Years Ago Wise Temple will install the following officers at its annual congregational dinner-meeting this Saturday, Jan. 21, at 6:30 p.m., at Wise Center: Melville J. Dunkelman, president; Justin Friedman, vice president; Morris J. Leher, secretary; James M. Levy, treasurer. Isaac N. Jarson, 3830 Washington Avenue, passed away Sunday Jan. 15, at the age of 62. He was co-founder of Cincinnati Pepsi-Cola Bottling Works. He had

been in the soft drink business since 1914. In 1925 he and Walter L. Gross founded the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., here. They expanded to Portsmouth, Ripley, and Hamilton, O., and Lexinton, Ky. They disposed of the Cincinnati plant in 1955 but retained the other four. Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Esther Max Jarson; a daughter, Mrs. Stanley Kaplan; two brothers, Reuben of Indianapolis, and Sam, of Cincinnati; four sisters, Mrs. Reuben

Kravitz of Ft. Thomas, Ky., Mrs. Sam Wiener, Mrs. Gustav Linder and Mrs. Charles Statman, all of Cincinnati; a brother-in-law, Harry Max, and three grandchildren. Robert I. Westheimer, active in civic and humanitarian affairs, was elected board chairman of the Community Health and Welfare Council today. He succeeds Rep. Robert Taft, Jr., who resigned because of the election as Republican floor leader in the Ohio House. — January 19, 1961

25 Years Ago Robert M. Blatt was re-elected president of the Jewish Federation at the 89th annual meeting Jan. 19th at Rockdale Temple. The meting also featured a tribute to Harold “Pat” Goldberg for his 34 years of community service, including 13 years as executive vice president of the Federation. Also re-elected were Stanley M. Chesley, vice- president; William M. Freedman, vice- president; Robert V. Goldstein, vice- president; Ernst Frankel, treasurer; Mitchell Gaswirth, assistant treasurer; Carolyn Saeks, secretary; Dolph Berman, assistant secre-

tary. Philip M. Meyers Jr., campaign chairman, was elected vice- president. Re-elected as 1986 trustees from beneficiary agencies: Fred Abel, Gloria Haffer, Dr. Bernard Hertzman, Dr. Myer Horowitz, Barry Kohn, Joshua Minkove, Dr. Lee Rosenberg, Jack Rubenstein, Harry Sudman, and Dr. Bruce Younger. Re-elected for a two-year term as trustees from the community-at-large: Dr. O. Daniel Fox, Harold Freeman, Franklyn Harkavy, Bill Katz, Morton Rabkin, Richard Weiland. Walter Rubel of Hollywood, Fla.,

formerly of Cincinnati, passed away Jan. 18. Mr. Rubel had been president of the former Rubel Baking Co., founded by his grandfather, Elias Rubel, in the late 1880s. Elias Rubel had five sons, all of whom worked in the bakery. Walter Rubel was the last member of the family participating in the company’s operation. It was sold in the 1970s. He is survived by a daughter, Barbara Rubel Pike, and two grandsons, Jason and Anthony Pike. He was the husband of the late Dorothea Rubel. — January 23, 1986

10 Years Ago Michael Fisher, chairman of Premier Manufacturing Support Services, Inc., will soon become president of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. He replaces John P. Williams, who will retire March 2 after 16 years as president. “Michael Fisher brings so much to the Chamber,” said Thomas G. Cody, executive vice president of Federated Department Stores and 2001 Chamber chair. “He has been on the front line of business. He took

over a three-year-old business and grew it into an international company. People who know him and who have worked with him use words like ‘people-centered,’ ‘customer-focused’ and ‘performance driven’ to describe him. His background and his philosophies make him an ideal person to head an organization that is in the business of serving member businesses and working collaboratively with others in the community.” Samuel Clayton, 87, passed away

December 30, 2000. Mr. Clayton was born in Cincinnati and was the son of the late Morris and Mamie (Mason) Clayton. He is survived by his wife, Lucille Clayton, and his children, Susan Clayton and Karen and Andrew Stillpass. Other survivors include a grandchild, Zoe Stillpass, and a brother and his spouse, Bernard and Muriel Clayton. Mr. Clayton is also survived by a sister-in-law, Helen Clayton, who was the wife of his later brother, Albert Clayton. —January 18, 2001






COMMUNITY DIRECTORY COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS Big Brothers/Big Sisters Assoc. (513) 761-3200 • Beth Tevilah Mikveh Society (513) 821-6679 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 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) 792-2715 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 The Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education (513) 487-3055 • Vaad Hoier (513) 731-4671 Workum Fund (513) 899-1836 •

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 •

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 Cincinnati Hebrew Day School (513) 351-7777 • Chabad Blue Ash (513) 793-5200 • 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 • Reform Jewish High School (513) 469-6406 • Regional Institute Torah & Secular Studies (513) 631-0083 Rockwern Academy (513) 984-3770 •

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 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 •

• • • • •

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(513) 531-9600 To place a classified, send copy to:

WEBSITE from page 1 copies of their announcements to share and save for scrapbooks and an online story they can link to on Facebook and e-mail. At The American Israelite Online, people will also be able to upload photos and videos of their events and announcements for free. From the website, it will be easy to learn more about events and news. The American Israelite Online will feature clickable links to connect you directly with synagogues, organizations and advertisers. WISE from page 1 To make the downtown classes even more convenient, Wise will provide students with the opportunity to purchase lunch provided that they place their order by the Tuesday before each Thursday JCC from page 3 On Sunday, Feb. 27, the Mayerson JCC will host its Summer Job Fair from 1–3 p.m., for positions including camp counselors, camp specialists, certified lifeguards, and swim instructors. At the Summer Job Fair, teens entering grades 11 or 12 can apply for junior counselor positions, and applicants ages 16 and older can apply for the certified lifeguard or certified swim instructor positions. High school graduates and older are eligible for positions as a senior counselor, camp office adminBIRTHRIGHT from page 6 In 2009, a Birthright-funded study by Brandeis University found that participants in the program were 57 percent more likely to marry other Jews and 30 percent more likely to view raising Jewish children as “very important.” As Birthright’s numbers grow, the level of Jewish engagement of participants tends to decline, which could dilute that largely rosy picture. But Len Saxe, the Brandeis professor who directed the 2009 study, said further research shows that the impact of Birthright doesn’t change even if the participants come from

Readers can connect to us on Facebook. While you learn about what’s new with your friends and family, you will also be able to know what’s going on in the entire Cincinnati Jewish community. “Like” us today and you’ll know when the website goes live, and you’ll be more connected to local, national and international news. The American Israelite Online will be the place to go to keep upto-date on Cincinnati’s Jewish news from organizations, synagogues, and community and social events. Please call us or e-mail us if you would like to participate in this opportunity. class. Lunch can be paid for at the class. After registering for the program, participants will receive more information about the lunch offered, or people may also bring their own lunch. Register online or call Anne Powers at the temple office. istrator or camp specialist in the areas of art and crafts, nature, song leading and sports. Resumes are helpful but not required, as attendees can fill out job applications at the fair or download them from the JCC website. All Camp at the J positions require a seven-week commitment (June 20–July 29) with additional earning opportunities at the JCC one-week specialty camps, Aug. 1–19. For more information about teen programs, events, and facilities at the JCC, contact Danny Meisterman, youth and teen coordinator. less Jewishly engaged backgrounds. “It really doesn’t matter exactly what the mix is,” Saxe told JTA. “You still have the Birthright effect.” Expanding the range of that effect now depends in large measure on how much money Aronson and his staff can wring from the pockets of American Jews, a task sure to be complicated by a still uncertain economic climate. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of effort,” Aronson said. “When I see the results of Birthright Israel, and the product in effect that we create for our young people, I am very optimistic that the American Jewish community will respond.”




‘My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m in Therapy’ comes to the Aronoff One of the longest-running oneman comedy shows in history, Steve Solomon’s “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m in Therapy,” is coming to the Aronoff

Center for the Arts Feb. 11–13. The play tells the story of Steve’s wild and wacky, but wonderful, family: Mom, Dad, Grandma Angelina, Grandpa

Harry, Bubbie, aunts, Uncle Vito, cousins, Macho Carmine and everyone in between whose sole purpose in life is to drive Solomon into therapy. And, they succeeded.

His hysterical adventures and the characters he brings to life on stage are not to be believed. The show runs Friday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m., Feb. 12, at 2 and 8 p.m.,

and Feb. 13, at 2 p.m. in the Jarson Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through the Aronoff ticket office.

TUSCON from page 1

those at the service on Sunday. Cantorial soloist Lori Sumberg led the congregation in a song of healing, saying, “When we have no more words we let music take us to a different place.” Congregants also stood and recited the names of shooting victims or family members in a prayer for healing. As part of the service, Melanie Nelson of the Pima County Interfaith Council spoke, noting Giffords’ support of the organization. “We must heal the divisiveness in this country,” she said. “Gabby’s always been a fighter and it’s up to us to continue fighting for a different level of conversation.” “As Gabby always has, may we listen,” Aaron said at the end of the one-hour service. “May we see each one as a shining human being who has a purpose in the universe. May these prayers reach our Tucson, our country, our world. It’s time to see what we hold together and find our common ground.” On Saturday evening, Temple Emanu-El held a prayer service led by Rabbis Jason Holtz and Richard Safran and cantorial soloist Marjorie Hochberg. More than 100 people attended. “We are taught in Jewish tradi-

tion that each human being is created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God,” said a statement by Senior Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, which was read to the congregation because the rabbi was out of town. “Today those images were shattered,” Cohon wrote. “It is up to us to pick up the pieces, and to make of those broken lives some holiness in our damaged community.” On Sunday morning, after Congregation Chaverim’s healing service, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Women’s Philanthropy “13 Extraordinary Women Tell Their Secrets” event took place at the University Marriot. Introducing the event, Jeff Katz, chairman of the JFSA, said, “We come together to grieve, to connect and to share the values that bind us together. Noting that the long-scheduled event was planned as a lighthearted morning, he said, “While it may seem hollow to laugh and celebrate,” celebrating the strength of our community would help move participants forward and heal. He added that during her first campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004, Giffords said, “If you want something done, your best bet is to ask a Jewish woman to do it,” and so it was

appropriate to celebrate the 13 women “doers” honored at the brunch. Rabbi Thomas Louchheim of Congregation Or Chadash gave an opening prayer, also referring to Saturday’s shooting. Aaron offered a healing prayer at the close of the event. The federation issued a statement Monday “joining the greater Tucson area in mourning the loss of life and praying for the speedy recovery of those wounded in the senseless acts of violence.” The statement noted that Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona could provide counseling for individuals and families struggling with the aftermath of Saturday’s rampage. “Just as Gabby and her congressional staff worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life, this tragic event reawakens our spirit to work harder and embrace our mission to improve the quality of life here, in Israel, and around the world,” said Stuart Mellan, JFSA president and CEO. “Specifically through our Jewish Community Relations Council and other program arms of the Federation, we intend to re-double our efforts to encourage civil discourse in our community leaders

and all those active in community life.” On a personal note, Mellan told the Arizona Jewish Post that his wife, “Nancy, worked for Gabby, adored her and her staff, including Gabe Zimmerman, who was a truly wonderful young man. Nancy told me at that time of the belligerent behavior that emerged during the Tea Party protests outside Gabby’s office, and how that spilled into intimidating behaviors toward the staff regardless of how diligently they attempted to make constituents feel heard. This makes me even more certain that those who think that there is no connection between the vitriol and this act should reconsider.” The shock of Giffords’ being targeted brought forth remembrances of her first campaign in 2004. Heather Alberts said she hadn’t known Giffords but agreed to hold a Meet and Greet on her patio that spring. “After hearing her magnificent passion, engaging with her warmth, and recognizing her intellect, I just fell in love with her,” Alberts said.

rhetoric that could have contributed to the gunman’s rampage, pointing to a map on her website that used images of gun crosshairs to indicate districts targeted in last year’s midterm elections. Giffords, who was shot and critically injured in the shooting attack, was the incumbent in one of the marked districts. During her Jan. 12 video message, Palin defended herself, insisting that “especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.” Palin seemed to be conflating generic calls to tone down the rhetoric — including one from Clarence Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff who was leading the investigation — with a number of attacks directly accusing her of responsibility. In fact, the debate about rhetoric subsequent to the shooting did not hew to party lines, and liberal pundits were among those vigorously defending Palin’s right to use strong rhetoric,

while conservatives were among those who suggested she needed to dial it down. Palin’s reference to the ancient fiction that Jews killed children to drink their blood as part of a ritual — one that has inspired pogroms, massacres and attacks on Jews throughout the centuries and even today is referenced as fact in parts of the Arab world and the former Soviet Union — set off alarm bells. Jewish reaction ranged from outraged to uncomfortable to defensive. “Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah Palin chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a ‘blood libel’ against her and others,” National Jewish Democratic Council President David Harris said in a statement condemning her remark. “Perhaps Sarah Palin honestly does not know what a blood libel is, or does not know of their horrific history; that is perhaps the most charitable explanation we can arrive at in explaining her rhetoric today.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center

and the Anti-Defamation League refused to endorse the notion that her actions may have contributed to the shooting, but they criticized Palin’s use of the term “blood libel,” saying it was offensive to Jewish sensibilities. Jews for Sarah, a pro-Palin group, defended Palin, a potential Republican presidential candidate for 2012. “Gov. Palin got it right, and we Jews, of all people, should know a blood libel when we see one,” Jews for Sarah said. “Falsely accusing someone of shedding blood is a blood libel — whether it’s the medieval Church accusing Jews of baking blood in Passover matzahs, or contemporary Muslim extremists accusing Israel of slaughtering Arabs to harvest their organs, or political partisans blaming conservative political figures and talk show hosts for the Tucson massacre.” Within days, Dershowitz, Boteach and Koch also defended Palin, supplying her allies with grounds to argue that Jewish opinion was divided on her use of the term.

Whether Palin was justified in using the term, even some conservatives objected to her releasing the video on the same day of the nationally televised service in Tucson to mourn the victims, pray for the wounded and cheer the bystanders who tackled the gunman and aided the injured. Palin’s video did call for “common ground,” setting a tone that would have jived perfectly with the unity message President Obama delivered at the event — if not for the blood libel remark. Obama’s speech earned widespread praise. “What we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other,” Obama said. “That we cannot do. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.”

Gabriel Zimmerman, 30; Phyllis Schenk, 79; Dorothy Morris, 76; and Dorwan Stoddard, 76. Zimmerman, a native Tucsonan, was widely reported as being Jewish, although he was not. “It’s shocking something like this would happen in our town,” Rodney Glassman, a former U.S. Democratic Senate candidate, said. “Gabby and I shared a really strong enjoyment of being out with constituents. This hits really close to home.” At candlelight vigils outside of Giffords’ congressional office, at the hospital in which she is recovering, and at local synagogues and other houses of worship, the community expressed agony over Saturday’s violence. Congregation Chaverim, where Giffords is a member, held a healing service Sunday morning with more than 150 people attending. Some six Tucson Police Department cars were on the scene, with officers providing security. Chaverim’s Rabbi Stephanie Aaron officiated at the congresswoman’s marriage to Capt. Mark Kelly in 2007. “Envision Gabby in her fullness with her radiant smile,” Aaron told PALIN from page 1 understands its meaning. “Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands and in this case that’s exactly what was going on,” Palin told Sean Hannity in the interview. Palin, a Fox guest contributor, also used the interview to condemn the shooting and other acts of political violence, and to offer prayers for the victims. The most recent Palin-related controversy echoes previous scrums revolving around the potential GOP presidential candidate, with critics arguing that she lacks the judgment, demeanor and smarts of a commander in chief, and her defenders seeing such slams as validation that she is just the right person to put the liberal elites in their place. Palin shows no signs of ceding the spotlight, but it was liberal politicians and commentators who were quick to put her in the center of the story following the shooting. Critics held Palin up as a prime example of violent political

Arizona Jewish Post Executive Editor Phyllis Braun contributed to this report.




2011 Range Rover provides luxury on and off the road

2011 Range Rover

The 2011 Range Rover delivers an amazing drive, off-road adventures and plenty of space, and it all comes wrapped in luxury styling and details. The Range Rover comes in four trims; HSE, HSE LUX, Supercharged and Autobiography. The Autobiography also has a special black, limited edition. The HSE and HSE LUX come with a LR-V8 naturally aspirated engine and delivers 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. The Supercharged model boasts a 5.0liter V8 capable of 510 horsepower and is capable of doing 0-60 in 5.9 seconds. All the trims come with fully adaptable six-speed transmission with CommandShift. CommandShift responds to driving style and driving conditions by reconfiguring shift patterns, as appropriate, for optimum driveability in all situations. This means the driver gets a better response and smoother, more efficient gear changes as well as improving economy. The Range Rover’s new features are Gradient Acceleration Control and Hill Start Assist. Hill Start Assist eliminates the annoying rollback that drivers experience when they are stopped on hills by keeping the initial driver-generated brake pressure long enough for when moving their foot from the brake to the accelerator. Gradient Acceleration Control slows the throttle to a preset speed depending on gear. The driver can select from the following options: Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand and Rock Crawl. As an extra handy and luxurious feature. The ground clearance can be adjusted from 9.1 inches at the standard driving height to 11.1 inches for those rough off-road terrains. The higher height allows for more clearance over uneven terrains. Inside the cabin, the 2011 five-

passenger Range Rover is luxuriously decorated with leather and wood. It has plenty head room and leg room and really allows passengers to spread out. The rear seat reclines with electronic controls, and on some models they have internal heating and cooling and four-way adjustable lumbar support. The head restraints are winged, airline style, perfect for long, sleep-inducing road trips. The right rear seat passenger can also control the position of the front passenger seat, moving it forward or back, but only if it is unoccupied, so there’s no temptation to annoy the front passenger. Laminated rear glass makes the rear seat quieter from outside noise. It is loaded with seven air bags: large curtain side airbags, driver and passenger airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, plus front seat pelvic and thorax airbags – all incorporated as standard. Additionally, the curtain side airbags feature extended inflation periods that help to protect occupants from side impacts. Other safety features include an automatic rear-view camera. The Range Rover HSE comes as standard with a heated windshield, electric tilt/slide glass sunroof, rain sensing wipers and automatic headlights, powerfold heated exterior mirrors with memory, park distance control, Xenon headlights including headlamp power wash, and 19-inch wheels. The HSE LUX comes with everything on the HSE and adds 20inch V-spoke alloy wheels, powerfold electrochromatic door mirrors with approach lamps and auto dimming function, and auto dimming exterior mirrors. The Supercharged comes with everything on the HSE LUX trims and adds 20 inch, 10spoke alloy wheels, diamond mesh side power vents, chromed exhaust tips and stainless steel pedals. The 2011 Range Rover starts at $79,685.

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where his sons will spread them. SHIFRES, Leonard D.

HALBERSTEIN, Martin, age 85, died on December 27, 2010; 20 Tevet 5771. SHIFRES, Leonard D., age 84, died on January 10, 2011; 5 Shevat 5771. PIKOVSKY, Benjamin M., age 85, died on January 12, 2011; 8 Shevat 5771. MILOV, Blima, age 61, died on January 14, 2011; 9 Shevat 5771.

Dr. Philip Frederick Bartel

VAK, Svetlana, age 80, died on January 14, 2011; 9 Shevat 5771.

2011 at the Arlington National Cemetary in Washington, D.C.

SIMONS, Irvin, age 92, died on January 17, 2011; 12 Shevat 5771

BARTEL, Dr. Philip Frederick

OBITUARIES HALBERSTEIN, Martin Martin Halberstein, age 85 of Cincinnati, died Monday, December 27, 2010 at the Clermont Mercy Hospital in Batavia, Ohio. He was an engineer and a United States WWII Army veteran. Mr. Halberstein was drafted into the Army at the age of 18 and was in combat in Europe and participated in the Battle of the Bulge where he was taken into captivity and became a POW for over a year. The devoted son of the late Harry and Bertha (Paker) Halberstein, he was preceded in death by one sister, Ruth Abramowitz. Mr. Halberstein is survived by one sister, Annette Robinson. He was a very loved and special uncle to his six nieces and nephews: Steve Robinson, Ron Robinson, Marlene Tang, of Woodland Hills, Calif., Shelley Katz of Potomac, Md., Paul Abramowitz of Coralville, Iowa, and Fred Abramowitz of Boston, Mass.; 13 great-nieces and nephews and one great-great-niece. Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, January 21,


Dr. Philip Frederick Bartel, born June 7, 1940 in Middletown Ohio, died December 28, 2010 in Santa Fe, N.M. Dr. Bartel was the son of Sam Bartel and Doris Ciener Bartel. He made his parents so proud by becoming a podiatrist, and he honed his craft for over four decades, both in Cincinnati and Santa Fe. Dr. Bartel had a sense of humor that was corny and hokey yet always welcomed; he’d spend hours listening to comedians like George Carlin, Jackie Mason and Bill Cosby. He loved playing guitar, tennis, golf and coming to Cincinnati to watch pro tennis with his two children. Appropriately, he spent three of his final days with his sons, watching two of his favorites—Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer—play a tennis match on television; reading jokes from a George Carlin book; and smiling with his sister. He is survived by sons Adam and Sean, his sister Aimee, and his wife, Julie Weinstein. Dr. Bartel did not want a funeral; however, all donations should be made to the American Heart Association or, because of his belief that free speech should not be stifled, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Va. His ashes have been sent to Cincinnati,

Leonard D. Shifres, former coowner of Richards Electric Supply Co. who later owned the Roll-aReel Co., died Monday, January 10. He was 84. A World War II Army veteran, Mr. Shifres grew up in Avondale and graduated from Walnut Hills High School before entering the military. He and his late wife, Dolores, lived most of their married lives in Bond Hill and Amberley Village. When he sold his interest in Richards Electric, Mr. Shifres developed Roll-a-Reel, an industrial wire and cable dispensing device. Mr. Shifres’ love of the trumpet lasted a lifetime, from high school, through the military and until his final years. He played with a number of civic and marching bands in Ohio and Florida including the Ohio Military Band, the Shriners and Windjammers Unlimited, which plays circus music, in his opinion the most difficult of all band music. A member of Adath Israel, he was diligent in his duties in his years as head of the synagogue’s cemetery board. For nearly four decades, he and his wife spent winters in Ft. Myers Beach, Fla., where they made many friends and enjoyed boating and fishing. But they always returned to Cincinnati, which they considered home. He spent summers tending to his yard, especially his beloved apple trees, at his Galbraith Road home. One of Mr. Shifres’ favorite lunchtime spots was the Chili Time chili parlor in Roselawn. Rarely did he leave without dripping something on his shirt or slacks. He took great pride in the accomplishments of his daughters and their families. A self-taught handyman, he kept a tidy workshop and tried to teach more than one son-inlaw, grandchild and nephew how it worked. Silver tape and WD-40 seemed to figure into every repair. Married more than 50 years, Mr. and Mrs. Shifres raised three daughters: Susan Smith of Atlanta, Ga., Audrey Glick of Columbus, Ohio, and Benita Gettel of Tucson, Az. Mr. Shifres also leaves a sister-in-law, Donna Levi; sons-inlaw Jay Smith and Harvey Glick; grandchildren, Lauren and Ben Brody, Brian, Blair and Tyler Smith, Ivy Glick, Rebecca Glick and Anne Hoskins, and Andrew Glick; and one great-grandchild, Will Brody. His entire family is deeply grateful for the friendship and care shown Mr. Shifres by his friend, Marj Isaacs. Services were held at Weil Funeral Home on Thursday, January 13. Contributions in memory of Mr. Shifres can be made to Adath Israel Congregation, the Alzheimer’s Association, Windjammers Unlimited or the charity of your choice.

LIMMUD from page 8 “We tell them, you don’t get money, but there’s an opportunity for people to have access to your merchandise,” said Karen Radkowsky, founding president of Limmud NY, which in 2005 became the first Limmud in the United States. “It’s an opportunity for them to be exposed to other thoughts and ideas. When they’re not giving their own presentations, they go to others. “It’s very different from the GA, where you might fly in, speak, and then leave,” she said, referring to the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America. The Limmud structure facilitates this cross-pollination, says Uri Berkowitz, co-chair of Limmud International, which oversees all branches outside the UK. Last month, some 2,500 people went to Coventry, England, for the 30th anniversary Limmud Conference. “Each Limmud is its own community, with a fresh audience, but they’re still part of the same family,” Berkowitz told JTA. “That’s why presenters can go from one to another. Now that there are enough of them, they’ll often know at least one or two other presenters, and can continue the conversations and collaborations.” That’s what happened to Klug. In February 2009 she went to Limmud LA on her own dime to talk about her new book, “Cool Jew,” and was spotted by friendly spies from Limmud UK. They invited her to present at Warwick in December 2009, which led to invitations to Limmuds in Atlanta, Berlin, Amsterdam and Budapest. Next month she’ll be back at Limmud LA, then on to Winnipeg in March for that Canadian city’s first Limmud. Limmud usually covers travel and accommodations for invited presenters but does not pay them for their presentation. Klug’s experience is not atypiFRIEDMAN from page 8 “The privacy and dignity with which [Friedman] lived her life – all aspects of her life – should be respected, not tossed aside to satisfy someone else’s prurient curiosity or politics,” Nussbaum Cohen wrote. “Debbie was not in the closet. Neither did she ride floats at a gay pride parade. She was, quite simply, a private person. She did not shout from the rooftops. She responded to alienation and injustice through the music she wrote that changed the way we pray.” Nussbaum Cohen added that “Debbie lived her life with authenticity and dignity, all the more remarkable because of the challenges she endured.” Another reporter-blogger, Marc Tracey of Tablet, waded into

cal, according to Radkowsky. Core volunteers from the British, New York and Los Angeles Limmuds attend each other’s gatherings to poach presenters. Arthur Kurzweil, a well-known genealogist, educator, magician and former book publisher, has presented at four Limmuds in New York and is headed to his first Limmud LA next month. Like Klug, he is an invited presenter. An experienced public speaker, Kurzweil gets more invitations than he can accept. Limmud is one to which he says yes. “These are my people,” Kurzweil said. “It’s what I do. Limmud is one more great opportunity to teach and share my interests.” Joel Chasnoff, a stand-up comedian and author of “The 188th Crybaby Brigade,” the story of his experience in the Israeli military, has presented four times at Limmud UK. Last year he led Limmud sessions in New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta, and this February he’s headed to Los Angeles. “The first time I went, I had no idea what it was,” he said. “I love it. It’s like summer camp. In terms of the audience, I find them smart and interested in Jewish thought. They’re in tune with what I talk about.” A number of Jewish organizations have latched onto Limmud as a way to present their message before a self-selected, motivated Jewish audience. Marc Rosenberg directs One Aliyah, the singles and young professionals department of Nefesh B’Nefesh, which sponsors North American immigration to Israel. He’s presented at Limmud UK the past three years, and this year will be his second at the New York one. “Since Limmud draws such a strong crowd from across the Jewish spectrum and Israel is a central topic, it seems a natural fit for our organization,” he told JTA. “By attending Limmud we are able to increase our exposure, tap into trends inside the community and answer anyone’s aliyah questions. the debate. “Well, first, she was in some sort of closet (albeit a slightly larger one than those populated by non-celebrities or public figures); if not, there would not have been anything wrong or unusual with Levy announcing she was a lesbian,” Tracey wrote. “Cohen’s confusion on this point betrays her more fundamental refusal to see the implications of Friedman’s closetedness – and the potential to celebrate her as ‘a lesbian Jew.’ ” Tracey insisted that “it is no disrespect to Friedman’s memory to admit that for those who care for GLBT rights, particularly in the Jewish community, where such people’s full personhood is not everywhere taken for granted – it would have been better had Friedman been publicly out.”

MatureLiving 2011 SPECIAL SECTION.

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American Israelite for January 20, 2011.