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VOL. 159 • NO. 26

The American Israelite T H E



Ahead of March deadline, Jewish groups bracing for sequester cuts



Time and space: A decade after fatal mission, film covers...



Inside the 2013 Israeli election: the system and the players



Carlo and Johnny— steaks for the memories




Audi A3—style with a conscience







$5 million budget hole is latest woe for conservative synagogue group



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Meet Yair Shamir, the political scion who could replace Avigdor Liberman




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In Israeli elections, Netanyahu and right-wing coalition seen cruising to...

Students explore Jewish Cincinnati, take bus tour of historic sites Over 50 high school students celebrated their return from a summer in Israel by gaining a newfound appreciation of Cincinnati’s Jewish community, highlighted by a bus tour of some of Cincinnati’s historic Jewish sites. On Dec. 2, 2012, 57 students in the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s “Israel HERE” program participated in a bus tour of historic Jewish Cincinnati. The tour was led by Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of The Jacob Marcus Rader Center of the American Jewish Archives, and fifth-year rabbinical student Ari Lorge. Highlights of the tour included Plum Street Temple, Chestnut Street Cemetery, the original Adath Israel and Wise Temple on Reading Road and the old JCC building. “My favorite site was Plum Street Temple,” said Kal Heyn. “I have always heard about it, and it was cool to see all of the history in that building.” Through the tour, the students started to understand the significance of Cincinnati in the history of the Jewish people in America and the importance of sustaining and growing the local community. “It was really great to see how we come from such an important place in Jewish history,” said Heyn. “After spending the summer in Israel, it was nice to learn that there is a lot of history here as well.” The bus tour was the third of six sessions of Israel HERE, a post-trip engagement program for recipients of Israel Travel Grants funded by The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati. Israel HERE was developed by Community Shaliach Yair Cohen and Jewish Federation Director of Youth Israel Experiences Sharon Spiegel. Its goal is to help the students process their experiences in Israel, strengthen their own personal Jewish identity and explore and expand their relationships with the local Jewish community.

The group of young tourists standing in front of Plum Street Temple.

“This is just as important as the trip to Israel itself,” said Cohen. “It is the second part of a two-step process, a way for participants to invest the

“The ‘Israel HERE’ initiative is a supremely important program,” said Dr. Zola. “Typically, American Jews send their young people to

“Israel HERE strives to build on the Jewish excitement that was sparked in Israel, and this is precisely what needs to be done.” Dr. Gary P. Zola passion and understanding they gained in Israel back into their own community. It’s a must-have component of any travel to Israel.”

Israel where their Jewish identity is strengthened. Yet once back in the U.S., there is little or no follow up. Israel HERE strives to build on the

Jewish excitement that was sparked in Israel, and this is precisely what needs to be done.” Israel HERE grew out of the Jewish Foundation’s desire to maximize the value of the investment made in the community by increasing recipients’ engagement and thereby encouraging them to eventually become the next generation of leaders and philanthropists. Cohen said, “Such programs are a relatively new endeavor. National organizations like Birthright and Masa, as well as Jewish communities throughout the country, are working to master the field of post-trip engagement.” Israel HERE sessions continue through April, including a community service project and participation in the community-wide celebration of Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day).



Israel@65 is an international effort led by the government of the State of Israel to recognize and celebrate the unique and unprecedented achievements of the State of Israel in its first 65 years

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Northern Hills honors Renee Roth Northern Hills Synagogue – Congregation B’nai Avraham is proud to honor long-term volunteer and community leader Renee Roth at a tribute gala on Saturday evening, Feb. 2. The special event will take place at the Synagogue and will begin at 7:30 p.m. Few people have contributed more energy to Northern Hills Synagogue and the wider community than Roth. She has held many roles and worn many hats over the past 30 years. Described as “the link that knows what is truly happening” at Northern Hills, Roth led the congregation as president from 1989-1992. She has also served as Sisterhood president, programming vice president, board member, finance committee member and chair of the catering staff. A trained educator, Roth has had an instrumental role in fostering Jewish education at Northern Hills and in the Jewish community, serving on or chairing various educational

Renee Roth

boards and committees, including those of Northern Hills, Cincinnati Community Hebrew Schools, Mercaz, Kehilla, the Jewish Community Education Council, the Melton Adult Education Committee and the Let My People Know Committee. Not confining her commitment to education to the

Jewish community, Roth has also taught middle school and served on the Sycamore Community Schools Board of Education. In the Jewish community, Roth’s Jewish Federation of Cincinnati positions have included the Young Women’s Cabinet, the Council on Jewish Life and Learning (chair), the Planning and Allocations Committee and the Federation Board. She has also served on the boards of the Jewish Community Center and Cedar Village. “Northern Hills Synagogue is honoring Renee Roth for all that she has contributed to our congregation for more than 30 years. Renee’s leadership, both in Northern Hills and in the Jewish Community, is a standard toward which we should all strive. She has mentored many members in leadership roles and has furthered the understanding of our responsibility to our synagogue and com-

munity. I am certain that everyone who has worked with her will be joining us, to celebrate her accomplishments on Feb. 2,” commented Joe Lazear, Northern Hills’ president. Roth has been supported in her activities by her very understanding husband, Eli, and sons Scott (married to Susan Spies Roth) and Lee (married to Lisa Mazzone). The evening’s festivities include music, dancing, appetizers, dessert and a special tribute to Roth, recalling her tremendous work. A memory book giving friends the opportunity to record their experiences with Roth is being prepared. Comedian John Bunyan will perform. There is a fee to attend.

Jazz meets Judaism in Cincinnati There is a little bit of jazz musical history right in Cincinnati at Rockdale Temple. When jazz composer and performer Dave Brubeck died late last year, Rockdale member Steven Goldstein reached out to Rabbi Sigma Faye Coran, senior rabbi at Rockdale Temple, with the story of the 1969 dedication of Rockdale Temple’s Amberley Village synagogue. The Union of American Hebrew Congregations – now the Union for Reform Judaism – commissioned Brubeck to create a composition that would appeal for brotherhood between the African American and Jewish communities. Rockdale moved into the Amberley Village synagogue in October 1969 – just 18 months after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. From that inspiration for renewed brotherhood, Gates of Justice was created. The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music joined in the commissioning and Cincinnati Pops icon Erich Kunzel conducted the world premiere at Rockdale’s new Amberley Village synagogue. In a 2004 article, Janelle Gelfand of the Cincinnati Enquirer quoted Brubeck saying, “The idea was to bring these two cultures together, to show similarities rather than their differences.” The text of Gates of Justice combines some lyrics written by Brubeck’s wife Iola with quotations from speeches delivered by Dr. King, Hebrew liturgy and the Jewish sage Hillel. In 2003, the Milken Archive of Jewish Music recorded an interview with Iola and Dave Brubeck. Brubeck was known for his unconditional support of social justice. In the 2003 oral history, he tells Eugenia Zukerman that his support

The text of Gates of Justice combines some lyrics written by Brubeck’s wife Iola with quotations from speeches delivered by Dr. King, Hebrew liturgy and the Jewish sage Hillel. of social justice grew from a lifetime including an early childhood experience where his father introduced the young Dave Brubeck to an African American man who had been branded – much like a horse or cow. Brubeck also talked with Zukerman about the difficulties he encountered performing with a racially integrated band. Gates of Justice was Brubeck’s second large scale composition based upon sacred texts. Although Brubeck was not Jewish, he observed what some call a natural bond between American Jews and leaders of the Civil Rights movement in the early 1960s. After Dr. King’s assassination, Brubeck felt those bonds beginning to fray and welcomed the invitation to use his musical talents to reinforce the common threads. In the original composition, Brubeck calls for the tenor vocalist to be a Jewish cantor and the baritone vocalist to be an African American familiar with the “sonorities and style of spirituals and blues,” according to Neil Levin writing for the Milken archive. Rockdale Temple invites you to join in a commemorative Shabbat experience on Friday, Jan. 18. Rock

Shabbat services will be held at 6:15 p.m. followed by a congregational dinner at 7:15 p.m. At 8:15 p.m., members of the community will join in a meaningful opportunity to listen to a selection from Dave Brubeck’s “Gates of Justice,” as part of Rockdale Temple’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration. Rabbi Coran will lead a discussion about the work in its historic and present-day context. Rockdale Temple welcomes the public to services, dinner and the discussion. Feel free to join in all or any part of the evening. Rockdale Temple will also be participating in the Interfaith Prayer Service and the Commemorative Civil Rights March, sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition, on Monday, Jan. 20. Rabbi Coran says the congregation is looking to include a performance of Gates of Justice into events marking next year’s 190th anniversary of Rockdale Temple. Formally known as Kehal Kodesh Bene Israel, Rockdale Temple held its first services in January 1824, making it the oldest Jewish congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains.


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The J offers camp during breaks, snow days ed something more for him to do, not to just be with a babysitter. He always comes home happy and I couldn’t be more thrilled.” With the winter bringing more inclement weather than usual, the J is proud to offer “Snow Days at the J.” Much like School Break Camps, each snow day has a camp theme and unique games and projects. Just pack kids a lunch, drink, swimsuit and warm clothing in case they go outdoors. They will

spend the day doing art projects, playing in the gym, splashing in the waterpark and having fun with friends. “Snow Days at the J” start as early as 8 a.m. with pick-up as late as 6 p.m. If a Level 3 Snow Emergency is declared, “Snow Days at the J” will not be held. A completed Emergency Medical Form is due at time of registration for “Snow Days at the J” and MLK Day School Break Camp.

Wise Temple’s ninth annual Cincinnati Chicken Soup Cook-Off orations, you can cast your vote for your favorite soup in the People’s Choice Award. Help us pick the best in the city. Number 5: Great bargains and fabulous prizes. Place a bid in the silent auction for: fine jewelry, art, sports memorabilia, sports tickets, restaurant gift cards, photography packages and more. In addition, all attendees receive a door prize ticket and prize winners will be announced throughout the event. Number 4: Live music. The Wise Temple band, Shir Chadash, will be performing and adding to the day’s lively atmosphere. Number 3: A greater purpose. The Cook-Off is a part of a greater Mitzvot. In addition to soup sam-

ples for the public, hundreds of gallons of food for a local soup kitchen have been donated as a part of this event. Number 2: There is an energy and camaraderie that comes with the cooking of chicken soup that is second to none. And the Number 1 “non-soup” activity happening at the Ninth Annual Cincinnati Chicken Soup Cook-Off is…a great sense of fellowship. The smiles and kibitzing among hundreds of people at this event is contagious. They say chicken soup cures the common cold, but at Wise Temple, it does more than that. It bonds people together. So bring your appetite and your enthusiasm.

CircumDecision event discusses current issues

THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE CO., PUBLISHERS 18 WEST NINTH STREET, SUITE 2 CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202-2037 Phone: (513) 621-3145 Fax: (513) 621-3744 RABBI ISAAC M. WISE Founder, Editor, Publisher, 1854-1900 LEO WISE Editor & Publisher, 1900-1928 RABBI JONAH B. WISE Editor & Publisher, 1928-1930 HENRY C. SEGAL Editor & Publisher, 1930-1985 PHYLLIS R. SINGER Editor & General Manager, 1985-1999 MILLARD H. MACK Publisher Emeritus NETANEL (TED) DEUTSCH Editor & Publisher JORY EDLIN MICHAEL SAWAN Assistant Editors


Rabbi Chayim Heinemann

Dr. Jay Bernstein

tioner of ritual circumcision) with advanced mastery of physiological as well as spiritual dimensions of circumcision. His background includes advanced training with the London School of Circumcision whose clientele includes a significant percentage of London’s non-Jewish populace. The two presenters will share perspectives on circumcision and the unique attributes of the Jewish ritual bris. They will also field questions and will be available for consultation after the presentation.

CircumDecision will be presented in Bethesda Hospital’s Goetz Conference Room (main Entrance) on Tuesday evening Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. CircumDecision is particularly appropriate for young couples interested in making an educated decision regarding this important matter. There is no charge for this program but those interested in attending are encouraged to register in advance by contacting the Kollel.

ERIN WYENANDT Office Manager e Oldest Eng Th

ewish N h-J ew lis

ty, holding a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Bernstein achieved the rank of Major in the Army National Guard and his military experience included serving as a field surgeon and company commander, as well as serving in Kuwait during Operation Enduring Freedom. Rabbi Heinemann is a Kollel staff scholar and very popular lecturer appreciated for his ability to present complex material with clarity and enjoyable delivery. He is also an expert Mohel (practi-



The two presenters will share perspectives on circumcision and the unique attributes of the Jewish ritual bris. They will also field questions and will be available for consultation after the presentation. A unique seminar will address the various concerns related to circumcision and particularly Jewish “brit milah” practices. “CircumDecision” will be presented at Bethesda North Hospital in conjunction with the Cincinnati Community Kollel. Presenters will be Dr. Jay Bernstein and Rabbi Chayim Heinemann. Dr. Bernstein is a local physician specializing in Emergency Medicine. He has also done special training in circumcision and has an extensive background in matters of public health and safe-


cious soup you can eat, here are the top nine exciting activities happening at the Chicken Soup Cook-Off: Number 9: Look at the great table decorations, be amazed at the color and creativity of all of our entrants. Number 8: Meet celebrities. Our Mistress of Ceremonies, Janeen Coyle, is accompanied by a team of judges: Our newly elected Congressman Dr. Brad Wenstrup, Nathan Bachrach, Braun Thomas and Howard Ain. Number 7: Other tasty foods to round out your soup. Number 6: A little friendly competition. Not only will celebrity judges vote for everything from most unique soup to best table dec-

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On Sunday, Jan. 27, from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. Wise Temple will be bustling with activity for the ninth annual Cincinnati Chicken Soup Cook-Off. Delicious smells, beautiful tables and great food entice us as restaurants and amateurs show off their cooking prowess in THE competition for the Best Chicken Soup in Cincinnati. Every year the Jewish community assembles to savor different soups. But is it just about soup? Jay Rissover, program co-chair and chicken soup aficionado, says, “Savoring the best professional and amateur soup collations in the city is certainly the highlight of this event, but it’s definitely not just about the soup!” Besides sampling all the deli-


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Each child should bring a lunch with a drink and a swimsuit. Advance registration is required. You do not have to be a member to participate in any JCC camp, but J Members receive a discounted price. Jennifer Green enrolled her son in many JCC school break camps and said, “As a busy mom, the J is such a great option for school break. I know he is in a creative, caring environment. I want-

r in Am ape er sp i

During school breaks and snow days, the Mayerson JCC offers a safe, caring place where parents can bring their children, grades K – 6, to have fun and create lasting friendships. On Monday, Jan. 21, parents can drop off their kids at the JCC as early as 8 a.m. and pick-up as late as 6 p.m. for MLK Day School Break Camp. Children will enjoy a day full of swimming, playing sports and creating cool craft projects.

THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE (USPS 019-320) is published weekly for $44 per year and $1.00 per single copy in Cincinnati and $49 per year and $3.00 per single copy elsewhere in U.S. by The American Israelite Co. 18 West Ninth Street, Suite 2, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-2037. Periodicals postage paid at Cincinnati, OH. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE, 18 West Ninth Street, Suite 2, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-2037. The views and opinions expressed by the columnists of The American Israelite do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the newspaper.



National Briefs

Seeking Kin: Looking for light on the legend of Shalom Schwartzbard By Hillel Kuttler Jewish Telegraph Agency

Swastikas painted on buildings in Colorado (JTA) – Swastikas were spray-painted on buildings in several cities in Colorado. The latest incident occurred last week when a swastika and the word “Jew” were spray-painted on the B’nai Chaim Synagogue in Morrison. Earlier in the week, swastikas were painted on the windows of three stores in an outdoor mall in Boulder. “It is not known if there is any connection between these actions,” ADL Mountain States Regional director Scott Levin told KWGN-TV in Morrison. “It is especially disturbing that swastikas were used to deface a sign at a synagogue given their use by the Nazis as a symbol of hate against the Jewish people,” Levin said. A swastika also was painted on a menorah in the front yard of a rabbi’s home in December in Colorado Springs. Six months ago, Beth Torah Synagogue in Colorado Springs also was vandalized. Security guard arrested for vandalizing Memphis yeshiva’s Torahs at hotel (JTA) – A Memphis yeshiva’s Shabbat retreat was disrupted when a hotel security guard was arrested for vandalizing Torah scrolls and other property belonging to the school. Justin Shawn Baker, 24, an Iraqi War veteran living in Jackson, Tenn., was arrested and charged with vandalism between $60 and $250,000 — a Class B felony. His bail was set Monday at $100,000. Baker is an armed guard working for the Maxxguard security firm. On Saturday morning, local police and later federal law enforcement were called to the DoubleTree Motel in Jackson to investigate damaged Torah scrolls, siddurs and music equipment belonging to the Margolin Hebrew Academy’s Cooper Yeshiva High School. Approximately 50 high school students and faculty from the school were spending Shabbat at the motel on their way to a ski trip in the Smoky Mountains. A MySpace profile page belonging to Baker and one belonging to a woman who identifies herself as Baker’s wife both make references to Satan, though neither page has been in use for at least three years.

BALTIMORE – Tamar Dagan of Jerusalem is related to a man who nearly a century ago killed someone he held responsible for the mass murder of Jews. Now Dagan wants to know more about her relative. Dagan’s parents, Yosef and Hinda Lipzin, grew up in the Satanov shtetl in what then was Russia and today is western Ukraine. The couple reached prestate Israel in 1934, three years before Dagan’s birth. Hinda Lipzin’s maiden name, Schwartzbard, is legendary – infamously so. One of her kin was Shalom Schwartzbard, who in 1926 killed Semyon Petliura in broad daylight on a Paris street. Many Jews at the time considered the killing a justifiable act of revenge for Petliura’s presumed role in antiJewish pogroms in Ukraine. Some scholars today, however, believe that Petliura was neither antiSemitic nor a murderer. Dagan is hoping to find Arkadi Schwartzbard, who she thinks could be her relative – and, by extension, a relative of Shalom Schwartzbard. She hopes, too, that Arkadi Schwartzbard might be able to shed light on Shalom’s legend within the family. Arkadi is presumed to be living in the United States. All Dagan knows about Arkadi is what someone called to tell her recently after she was interviewed on the Israeli radio program “Hamador L’chipus Krovim” (Searching for Relatives Bureau): He served in the military before leaving for the United States in 1994 with his wife and two children. Dagan also isn't sure precisely where Shalom Schwartzbard falls on her family tree. “I didn’t ask how we’re related, and now there’s no one to ask” because most of the elders have passed away, said Dagan, a retiree who worked for Israel’s Foreign Ministry and then for a kindergarten near her home in the Beit Hakerem neighborhood of Jerusalem. Dagan also didn’t ask her mother much about Schwartzbard’s notorious act. But she remembers her mother calling Schwartzbard “a hero who killed the evil Petliura, the enemy of the Jews,” Dagan said, using the Hebrew phrase from the Book of Esther that described Haman, who had plotted to destroy the Jews of ancient Persia. The facts appear to be cut and dry – at least in Jewish lore. A street sign in the southern reaches of Beersheva is telling. It marks the short city

block between Palmach and Negba streets that is called Avenger Street, with the parentheses on the sign noting that it also is called Shalom Schwartzbard Street. The sign provides the years he lived, 1886-1938, and states, “A writer and the avenger of the blood of Ukrainian Jewry. In Paris in 1926, he killed Petliura, the leader of the Ukrainian rioters. In a trial that turned into a case against the pogroms, he was acquitted.” A native of Ukraine, Schwartzbard left for Vienna, then Switzerland and Paris, working as a watchmaker, writing poetry and gravitating to other socialists and anarchists. He was a decorated soldier in the French Foreign Legion during World War I and later went to Russia. In the period following the revolution that toppled the czar, he fought in the Red Army. After a few years back in Paris, Schwartzbard learned that Petliura had moved there, too. Schwartzbard decided to kill Petliura because of the pogroms in Ukraine that took the lives of 14 members of Schwartzbard’s family. He held Petliura responsible, as he had headed the Ukrainian National Army. The Schwartzbards were far from the only victims. According to some estimates, more than 1,000 pogroms were launched in the late 1910s, killing as many as 100,000 Jews. Thousands more were brutally tortured and raped. On a Paris sidewalk on the afternoon of May 25, 1926, Schwartzbard shot Petliura multiple times. In a celebrated trial that included testimony

Courtesy ofTamar Dagan

Tamar Dagan hopes that by locating a man in the United States who might be related to her, she can help shed light on the legacy of Shalom Schwartzbard.

by survivors of the pogroms, Schwartzbard was acquitted. Following his release, he planned to move to prestate Israel but was refused by British Mandate authorities. He died while visiting South Africa and was buried in Cape Town. Thirty years later, Schwartzbard's remains were brought to Israel and he was reinterred on Moshav Avichail, just north of Netanya. An explanatory plaque in the cemetery refers to Schwartzbard as a “Jewish hero.” Some scholars are less definitive. Anatoly Podolsky, the director of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies, said that after the Soviet Union fell two decades ago, serious research began into such matters as Petliura’s legacy. Podolsky called the years immediately following the Russian

Revolution “very complicated,” due largely to the power struggles among czarists, Red Army forces and Ukrainian nationalists. “It was a very terrible period for Jews in Ukraine,” Podolsky said Jan. 10 from his office in Kiev. “Petliura was not anti-Jewish – but as a leader, he was responsible,” said Podolsky, who cited recent research into a pogrom in Proskurov in February 1919 in which 1,500 Jews were killed. One of Petliura’s military chiefs was the pogrom’s leader; Petliura ordered him executed, Podolsky said. A Rutgers University professor emeritus in history, Taras Hunczak, said in a separate interview on Jan. 10 that Petliura was not an antiSemite but rather “was friendly historically” to Jews. “Petliura was not personally responsible for pogroms. Were there pogroms? Of course, there were,” said Hunczak, a native of Pidhyaci, Ukraine, and author of a 2008 book on Petliura and the Jews. “He was not necessarily the best leader, but he was a decent person.” Having heard the academicians’ assessment, Dagan isn’t sure what to believe. “I only know what I read: that he hated Jews and led the pogroms,” she said of Petliura. “Now, [people] come and say no. But it’s hard to prove. I don’t know what to think.” A moment later, Dagan telephoned to remark about the research. “It’s like people today who deny the Holocaust,” she said. “It upsets me.”



Ahead of March deadline, Jewish groups bracing for sequester cuts By Gil Shefler Jewish Telegraph Agency NEW YORK – A pregnant Darfuri woman at a refugee camp in Chad, a Latino senior citizen living below the poverty line in the Bronx and an elderly Jewish immigrant from the former Soviet Union living in Boston. They may not know it, but these individuals are all beneficiaries of programs run by Jewish organizations with public money. And if Congress can’t reach a deal to avoid the so-called sequester by March 1, many of these programs could be severely scaled back – if not terminated. “Both our international and national work can be impacted,” said Mark Hetfield, the interim president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which provides medical kits to mothers of newborn children in Chad, among other services. “It could cause some really serious cuts to the programs, but we have still no idea what they might be.” HIAS is among the dozens of Jewish organizations grappling with

the potential loss of federal funds from the so-called sequester, a measure adopted by the U.S. Congress last year to force itself to confront a hemorrhaging national debt and return the country to sound fiscal footing. Unless a budget compromise could be found, draconian across-the-board cutbacks of 8.5 percent were to have automatically taken effect on Jan. 1. The impact of those cuts was designed to be so devastatingly painful that Congress would in effect force its own hand. Despite the self-imposed deadline, however, intense negotiations failed to produce the desired outcome. In late December, Congress agreed to raise new revenue by increasing taxes on affluent Americans but put off decisions on spending cuts. The lawmakers also pushed the sequester deadline back to March 1. As the new deadline nears, some Jewish organizations are preparing for the worst, identifying non-essential services to be axed while lobbying federal officials to protect vital programs. Hetfield says HIAS’s most vulnerable operations are in Ecuador,

where the agency helps refugees who fled fighting between government and rebel forces in Colombia, and Chad, where it provides aid to fugitives from Sudan’s neighboring war-torn Darfur province. “These are programs I think will be targeted more deeply because they are not emergency refugee maintenance programs,” Hetfield said. “But cutting a program might create an emergency.” Other HIAS operations, such as the agency’s refugee resettlement program, also are in limbo. Robert Marmor, executive director of HIAS’s Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, says his staff recently helped an Iraqi mother and her three daughters file a request for reunification with the family’s father. The successful completion of that process would depend on continued funding from the federal government. “The worst-case scenario would mean no new refugees,” Marmor said, “and that would be the worst, especially for families that are waiting for relatives.” CUTS on page 19

A tale of mutual empathy: Jewish refugee scholars at historically black colleges By Michele Alperin JointMedia News Service In Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, an exhibition aptly opening on Martin Luther King Day will highlight a historical moment of mutual respect and cooperation between the African American and Jewish communities. Although their relationship has often been tense, especially after the rise of the black power movement and its expressions of anti-Semitism, the hiring of Jewish refugee scholars in the 1930s by historically black colleges stands as a beacon to the potential for common ground between the two groups. Ivy Barsky, executive director of the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH), explains the museum’s goals in mounting the “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow” traveling exhibit created by the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. “We wanted through this exhibition to really look at what happens when groups or individuals live together, understand each other and their histories, and come from a history of shared empathy and understanding – what happens when those relationships are shared and deep, real and authentic.” In producing this exhibit and its attendant programs, Barsky and her staff collaborated closely with the African American Museum in

Courtesy of Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Professor Ernst Borinski teaching in the Social Science Lab, Tougaloo College, MS, ca. 1960. Prof. Borinski, a refugee from Germany, was part of the Tougaloo community for 36 years. In the Social Science Lab, students were encouraged to think critically and question social attitudes, prejudices, and race relations.

Philadelphia. Patricia Wilson Aden, its interim president and CEO, notes that the subject matter – the littleknown history of Jewish refugee academics from Germany and Austria who were given livelihood and dignity by the historically black colleges – “provides an opportunity to delve into our mutual history.” The exhibit grew out of a film that itself was motivated by Gabrielle Simon Edgcomb’s book, From Swastika to Jim Crow:

Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges. Filmmaker Steve Fischler learned of the book in a letter to the editor of the New York Times by refugee scholar John Herz, who referred to it during a period of overt discord between Jews and blacks. The film that Fischler produced with his partner Joel Sucher was first aired by PBS in 2000.The two men actively helped to develop the exhibit. SCHOLARS on page 22

Will Republicans let Lew get to Treasury? By Ron Kampeas Jewish Telegraph Agency WASHINGTON – Jacob Lew helped Orthodox observance reach the highest precincts of governance. But can a man that Republicans say “can’t get to yes” be confirmed as secretary of the Treasury? President Obama is likely to nominate Lew, his chief of staff, to the post on Thursday, replacing Timothy Geithner. Lew is well known in Washington circles, but in some ways he is the polar opposite of Joe Lieberman, the former Connecticut senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee whose exuberant and public Jewish observance helped pave the way for Lew. Lew has been in public view much less than Lieberman and has not aggressively promoted his observance, although Lew is happy to talk about how he balances it with public service in relatively confined Jewish settings. He credits his bosses – Bill Clinton in the 1990s, when Lew headed the Office of Management and Budget, and Obama, under whom Lew has headed the OMB before becoming chief of staff – for their understanding. “As a father who is at home and has dinner with his girls, he values that Shabbat is my time being with my family,” Lew told JTA in a pre-election interview, when he was stumping for the president. “I could not ask for someone to be more respectful and supportive, and that’s the reason it works.” Such deference, coupled with a studiously low profile in Washington, has helped smooth his relationships. Until recently, Lew was a Washington rarity – a person who enjoyed admiration on both sides of the aisle. That came to an abrupt end two years ago when Lew, in his OMB capacity, led the administration’s negotiations with Congress to rein in the deficit. The talks failed, and the GOP made Lew a bogeyman, saying he was too ideological. Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward’s book about the talks, “The Price of Politics,” quoted Republicans as describing Lew as “disrespectful” and overly ideological in protecting entitlements. Woodward quotes House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as pleading with the White House to pull back Lew, saying he could not “get to yes.” That reputation already has drawn a pledge to block Lew’s nomination even before Obama formally announced it. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said in a statement Wednesday that Lew “must

never be secretary of the Treasury.” Those close to Lew inside and outside the White House say he is a “mensch” who frustrated Republicans with an encyclopedic command of facts that tended to undercut their arguments. According to Woodward, Lew also was soured by what he saw as Republican disrespect for the president, particularly when Boehner refused for a time to take Obama’s calls. Lew is fiercely loyal to his boss, and they enjoy a brotherly relationship, White House insiders say, pointing to Lew’s omnipresence in official White House photos. He is one of a small group seen praying with the president on the day of last month’s massacre of schoolchildren in Connecticut – a moment that Obama has described as the worst in his presidency. Tevi Troy, an observant Jew who was deputy health secretary under President George W. Bush and who debated Lew during the election, said ideological differences should not undercut a nominee and that he hoped to see Lew confirmed. “He is ideological and very committed to entitlements without full recognition of the fiscal challenges we face,” he said. “I hope as Treasury secretary he will come to some sort of agreement that will alleviate our dire fiscal situation.” Otherwise, Troy said, he was a fan of Lew for raising the roofbeams for observant Jews. “I’m a fan of people who balance religious observance and high-level government service,” Troy said. “It’s great that it shows that Jews at whatever observance level can serve at high levels of governments.” Lew’s value is not just his example but also his advice, said Rabbi Levi Shemtov, the director of American Friends of Lubavitch, who often acts as an adviser to devout Jews in Washington seeking to balance observance and public service. “Jack Lew does not only seek rabbinical advice, he sometimes helps dispense it,” Shemtov said. Shemtov recalled having to consider a request from a congregant who was called in to government work urgently on a religious holiday. Lew happened to be in synagogue, and Shemtov was able to consult with someone familiar both with governance and halachah, or Jewish law. “He’s able to give an inside view of the scale of urgency in a way that that can help rabbis and even communal leaders understand things more practically,” he said.



Time and space: A decade $5 million budget hole is latest woe after fatal mission, film covers for conservative synagogue group By Gil Shefler movement’s Fuchsberg Center in Israeli astronaut’s legacy Jewish Telegraph Agency Jerusalem that cost $887,000;

By Maxine Dovere JointMedia News Service

Dan Cohen describes Ilan Ramon, the first and only Israeli astronaut, as “a man used to rising to the occasion.” On Jan. 31 at 9 p.m., Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope – a documentary directed by Cohen – will air on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Ramon’s death. Israel sent one of its best on NASA’s fatal Columbia mission: Israel Air Force (IAF) Colonel Ramon was 46, an engineer (electronics and computers), a pilot, married and the father of four. As a combat pilot, he was an integral part of the 1981 raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. He trained for Columbia at Houston’s Johnson Space Center. Officially designated as a payload specialist, Ramon was described by Commander Mike Anderson as “fully integrated with the crew.” Ramon, one of the mission’s seven casualties, is the only nonAmerican to receive the United States Congressional Space Medal of Honor (awarded posthumously). He was chosen to be a NASA astronaut in 1997. By 1998, he had begun a rigorous, five-year training program. “From the moment he arrived in Houston until he lifted off, Ramon went through a transformational change. He came to understand who he was and what he represented,” Cohen told JNS. Ramon considered himself a representative of all Jews and all Israelis. Although a secular Jew, as the first Israeli astronaut he recognized the importance of maintaining Jewish identity and unity. “I am the son of a Holocaust survivor,” he once told Israel Radio. “I carry on the suffering of the Holocaust generation, proof that despite all the horror they went

Courtesy of NASA

The late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.

through, we’re going forward.” Ramon asked Mission Commander Rick Husband to provide kosher meals on board Columbia and received rabbinical guidance for Shabbat observance in space. Among the topics explored in Cohen’s film is what astronauts carry into space. Some carry significant personal items; others bring items with a larger message. Poems and photographs, letters and legacy accompanied Ilan Ramon to space. His wife and children sent personal mementos and letters. Moshe Katsav, then Israel’s president, provided a Tanach (Bible) on microfiche. History traveled, too: a pencil drawing called “Moon Landscape” drawn by 14-year-old Peter Ginz, killed at Auschwitz; a kiddush cup; and the flag of the IAF also flew. These things, said then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at Ramon’s memorial service, “touched and excited all Jews” and were “a source of pride and united our hearts.” The Israeli astronaut also carried a miniature Torah scroll saved from the Holocaust. The scroll had been given to a boy who celebrated his FILM on page 20

NEW YORK – The congregational arm of the Conservative movement ran a cumulative budget deficit of more than $5 million over the past two years, JTA has learned, renewing longstanding concerns for the future of one of the movement’s key institutional pillars. According to a financial audit obtained by JTA, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism reported back-to-back losses of $3 million in 2012 and $2.7 million the previous year. Over the same period, the organization, which is celebrating its centennial this year and counts hundreds of congregations as members, has seen a more than 10 percent drop in its overall assets, from $45.2 million to $40.1 million. United Synagogue’s chief executive officer, Rabbi Steven Wernick, told JTA that the negative cash flows were due mostly to a handful of one-off events. Not counting those expenses, the operational deficit in 2012 is only about a third as large, at $1.1 million. “We hope to reduce it to $600,000 next year and balance the budget the year after that,” Wernick said. Still, the numbers are bad news for an organization that unveiled a much-heralded strategic plan two years ago that aimed to reverse years of flagging membership and declining revenues. United Synagogue leaders are “rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic,” said a senior executive at one of the movement’s largest synagogues who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Operating that far in the red is a big red flag,” the executive said. “I think it’s important for them to get their financial standing in order. I think they wouldn’t advise their synagogues that way.”

Courtesy of USCJ

Rabbi Steven Wernick, chief executive officer of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, says the group’s $5 million deficit over the last two years stems mainly from three one-time expenditures.

Once the largest Jewish religious stream in the United States, the Conservative movement has suffered through years of decline brought on in part by an aging and shrinking membership, some bruising philosophical battles and most recently a string of financial losses. The movement’s flagship institution, the Jewish Theological Seminary, went through two rounds of layoffs in the past four years to close a multimillion-dollar budget gap. United Synagogue has seen a 14 percent drop in its membership rolls over the past decade. In 2008, three Canadian synagogues quit United Synagogue to form their own partnership, claiming the burden of paying fees to the umbrella group outweighed the benefits. According to Wernick, the recent financial troubles stem from three one-time expenditures: the settlement of a longstanding lawsuit related to ownership of the

structural reorganization resulting in a large number of severance packages; and the cost of implementing a new strategic plan. Wernick said the organization hoped to balance its books through a mix of savings from structural reorganization carried out in 2011 and 2012, a new fundraising arm and the generation of new revenue by raising membership fees by $1 per household – the first such hike in five years. Under the terms of the strategic plan released last year, synagogue dues were to have been reduced. At the United Synagogue board meeting last month in Las Vegas, discussion of the audit was limited to just a few minutes near the end, leading some to charge that Wernick was deliberately seeking to avoid scrutiny of the budget. Wernick denied claims of any intentional wrongdoing, saying the limited time was due to unexpected delays. “In our last meeting we ran out of time, but the process was a normal, healthy process,” he said. Wernick has endured something of a rocky tenure in the three years since he took the helm of United Synagogue. On the eve of his appointment, United Synagogue came under intense criticism from some of the movement’s most successful rabbis, united in a coalition that called itself HaYom. Shortly thereafter, the Forward reported on an unsent letter from several synagogue presidents accusing the organization of being “insular, unresponsive, and of diminishing value to its member congregations.” More broadly, many in the movement are coming to believe the time for large, centralized organizations in Jewish religious life in America has passed. GROUP on page 19



In Antwerp, a haredi pariah forces school to go coed

Meet Yair Shamir, the political scion who could replace Avigdor Liberman

By Cnaan Liphshiz Jewish Telegraph Agency ANTWERP, Belgium – With a soft smile and two young boys in tow, a mild-mannered Moshe Aryeh Friedman appeared undeserving of his reputation as the scourge of the local haredi Orthodox community as he walked his sons to school on Monday. Until, that is, he led them straight into Benoth Jerusalem, a girls-only public school that was forced by a judge to admit Friedman’s boys on the grounds that Belgian schools cannot discriminate on the basis of gender. In the haredi community, gender segregation is the norm, and Friedman’s push for admission is considered so sensitive that Belgian police assigned an escort, lest the Friedman boys be attacked upon their arrival. “This is a fascinating development in our society,” Friedman told the 15 or so Belgian journalists who had turned out to see his sons – Jacob, 11, and Josef, 7 – attend their new school. “Finally boys and girls can study together, ending centuries of discrimination.” Friedman, a 40-year-old Brooklyn native, is an unlikely champion of gender equality in Jewish schools. The haredi rabbi became a pariah after attending a 2006 conference in Iran question-

By Ben Sales Jewish Telegraph Agency

Courtesy of Cnaan Liphshiz

Moshe Friedman and wife Lea Rosenzweig speaking to journalists outside Antwerp’s Benoth Jerusalem girls’ school that their two sons are now attending, Jan. 7, 2012.

ing the Holocaust and for his friendship with the country’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. A fierce anti-Zionist, Friedman has befriended the leaders of Hamas and has cast doubt on whether 6 million Jews actually died in the Holocaust. As a result, Friedman was excommunicated by Jewish communities in Antwerp and Vienna, where he had lived for several years, and his children were denied entry to communal institutions. In 2007, Friedman sued the Viennese Jewish community after three of his daughters were expelled from Talmud Torah, a private school. Friedman said it was

because of his trip to Tehran; the school cited unpaid fees. In 2011, Friedman returned to Antwerp with his wife, Lea Rosenzweig, a Belgian national. When no haredi schools would admit their sons, Friedman tried to enroll them in schools for girls. That failed, too, so he sued. “We had very few public schools to choose from,” Friedman told JTA. “The element of collective punishment against my children is well known.” Friedman says the Jewish community is taking “revenge” on him because of his opinions. COED on page 22

70 years later, recalling the first battle against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto By Moshe Phillips JointMedia News Service Seventy years ago this month, the Nazis began their second deportation of the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. In response, on Jan. 18, 1943, the first organized and armed Jewish/Zionist resistance action in the Ghetto was launched. The fighters of the ZZW and ZOB drove the Nazis from the Ghetto. Months later, on April 19, 1943, on the eve of Passover, the Nazi SS and police units entered the Ghetto and were attacked by organized Jewish partisans yet again. There were two separate armed resistance organizations in the ghetto – the ZZW and ZOB. The most famous Jewish leader of armed resistance is Mordechai Anielewicz, commander of the ZOB (Jewish Fighting Organization) during the uprising. The ZOB was an alliance of several Zionist and non-Zionist youth groups. Anielewicz received paramilitary training in Betar as a young teenager and left Betar before the war. The ZOB had a socialist orientation, and Betar as an organization did not participate in it, in part

because of politics. ZZW, the Jewish Military Organization, was commanded and manned by Betar members and their allies. Betar’s fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising have been largely written out of history. Moshe Arens, Israel’s former defense minister and a Betar alum, recently wrote a yetto-be published book on Betar’s heroic battle against the S.S. in the ghetto. Flags Over the Warsaw Ghetto was released by Gefen Publishing in November 2011. That book and articles by Arens about the ZZW that were published in Yad Vashem Studies, Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post have helped to create a far more accurate account of the ZZW’s participation in the uprising, and did much to recall the heroism of Pawel Frenkel, ZZW’s commander. The ZZW is now thought by historians to have been the betterequipped force in the Ghetto, and had procured machine guns. The ZOB, however, had more fighters. The groups finally decided to coordinate their efforts in the last moments before the April 19 battle began. For 28 days, Jewish warriors

fought the enemy and showed bravery not seen since the days of Bar Kochba’s uprising against Rome. In the Vilna Ghetto, Betar leader Joseph Glazman was deputy commander of the United Partisan Organization, the only armed Jewish resistance group in that ghetto. Betar was founded in 1923 by Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940), a figure who is too often forgotten today. Professor Daniel J. Elazar (19341999), a scholar of the Jewish political tradition, in the May 15, 1981 edition of the journal Sh’ma Elazar remarked about Jabotinsky’s legacy: “Would there be serious public commemoration of the 100th birthday of Zev Jabotinsky had it not been for the fact that the Likud won the election in Israel in 1977? Not likely. For thirty years and more, Jabotinsky was one of those nonpersons in Israel and the Jewish world… The ruling Labour Party made him a non-person for the same reasons that it portrayed Menachem Begin and his supporters as uncivilized fascists – it is easier to beat the opposition by painting it as irrelevant, intolerable and non-existent, until it is too strong to be dismissed.”

TEL AVIV – Yair Shamir says he doesn’t discuss hypotheticals. For the Israeli Air Force commander turned technocrat turned politician, these topics include how to respond to settlement evacuations or achieve Palestinian statehood, a fracture in the U.S.-Israel relationship or Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman’s departure from politics. Shamir, the 67-year-old scion of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, is the hard-line Yisrael Beiteinu’s No. 2. With Liberman, the former foreign minister, under indictment for fraud and breach of trust, he is the de facto heir apparent to one of Israel’s largest political parties. Assuming that mantle would be quite a shift for Shamir, who entered politics only last year. He served 25 years as a pilot and officer in the IAF before moving on to private business. Until 2011 he served as chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries, the country’s leading aircraft manufacturer. Before that he was an executive at El Al Israel Airlines, a large telecommunications firm, a venture capital fund and a computer equipment company. Entering politics was a “nationalist decision,” Shamir told JTA, a choice “to give my coming years to strengthen Israel on the national level and not on the private level.” Last year he was appointed deputy to Liberman in Yisrael Beiteinu, a party that originally focused on Russian immigrant concerns but since has attracted Israelis with nationalist views from other backgrounds. Shamir tries to avoid talking about the party without Liberman. “The press is trying to create a rivalry between us,” Shamir said. “I’m almost convinced that he’ll come out innocent. A public figure who is found guilty in court shouldn’t be a public figure, but everyone needs to follow his own conscience.” That attitude fits into Shamir’s overall political philosophy. He professes deep respect for pluralism and democracy while also opposing a Palestinian state – a position that puts him at odds with Liberman. Liberman has called for redrawing the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state in the West Bank to include more Jews and exclude as many Arabs as possible. Shamir follows in the ideological footsteps of his father, who served as prime minister from

1986 to 1992 and died last July. As leader of the Likud party, the elder Shamir opposed any compromise with the Palestinians – even after the outbreak of the first intifada – and strongly supported West Bank settlement expansion. “I see him as my lighthouse,” Shamir said of his father. “A lighthouse isn’t the nicest building. It’s a simple building but it stands on a cliff and always shines its light, in bad and good weather. It’s not shaken by a storm or a calm sea.”

Courtesy of Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/JTA

Yair Shamir, son of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, speaking at a news conference in Jerusalem, Oct. 23, 2012.

Like his father, Shamir wants Israel to hang tough in the constantly unstable Middle East. His top priority as a politician, he says, will be to contribute his business experience to government by strengthening the country’s infrastructure and economy. “The only way to maintain the land and the people is to be strong economically and militarily,” he said. “When you look at who Israeli politicians are, there isn’t enough representation of industry and agriculture, the people that are really doing anything.” When it comes to opposing a Palestinian state or settlement evacuations, Shamir says the State of Israel deserves the entire Land of Israel and sees no reason to be conciliatory as long as the IsraeliPalestinian conflict remains intractable. That’s why he treats a scenario of settlement evacuations and Palestinian statehood as a hypothetical. “Right now there’s no hocuspocus solution,” Shamir said. “The Arabs there who call themselves Palestinian, they’ll stay or go, but we’ll definitely stay. We need to keep building in the land.” Shamir seems like a throwback to the Likud of his father’s time – a party committed to Greater Israel. And while he isn’t traditionally observant, Shamir calls himself a “believing Jew.” He supports the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and keeps a copy of the Tanya, its principal philosophical tract, on his desk, along with a Bible.



In Israeli campaign, Netanyahu gets hit from the right and left By Ben Sales Jewish Telegraph Agency TEL AVIV – “Ooh, aah, look who’s coming!” the crowd of young people chants. “It’s the next prime minister!” Hundreds of voices rise from a packed dance floor Sunday as Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, enters the room grinning, singing along with the pounding music overhead and leaning over the stage – somewhat uncomfortably, it seems – to shake hands with supporters. It’s a rally for Young Likud, the youth wing of Netanyahu’s faction. His picture illuminates a screen behind the disc jockey, and huge banners hang above the dance floor emblazoned with the word “Machal” – the name for Likud that will appear on the ballot in Israel’s Jan. 22 elections. “For whoever wants to defend and expand the state, there’s only one vote: Machal, Machal, Machal!” Netanyahu exhorts the crowd. “Bring everyone to the ballot box!” For the prime minister, the message becomes more urgent by the day. While pundits and polls for months have all but guaranteed him another term, Netanyahu’s path to victory in the past two weeks has hit two major obstacles: an ascendant challenge from the right and a center-left that threatens to unite against him. The result has been a dramatic drop in Netanyahu’s poll numbers. In October, when Likud merged lists with the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, polls had the joint list maintaining its current 42 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Now most polls peg the joint list at 34 or 35 seats, with some going as low as 32 – still making it the Knesset’s largest party, but with a much smaller margin. Instead of moving across the political map, most of those votes have shifted even further to the right – to the hard-line Jewish Home party. Led by Naftali Bennett, 40, a charismatic former army officer and high-tech entrepreneur whose parents immigrated to Israel from San Francisco, Jewish Home has staked out some progressive social positions on housing and budget reform. On security issues, however, Bennett has taken a hard line. He favors annexing large swaths of the West Bank, firmly opposes Palestinian statehood and has tried to portray Netanyahu as inconsistent on security policy. Jewish Home traditionally has been the party of Israel’s religious nationalist sector. But Bennett, with his clean-shaven face and barely noticeable yarmulke, has tried to appeal to all sectors of

In Israeli elections, Netanyahu and right-wing coalition seen cruising to encore By Ben Sales Jewish Telegraph Agency

Courtesy of Marc Israel Sellem/FLASH90

Tzipi Livni, leader of the Hatnua party, speaking at The Jerusalem Post diplomatic conference in Herzliya, Dec. 12, 2012.

Israeli society. Fifth on his faction’s list is Ayelet Shaked, a secular woman from the traditionally leftist northern Tel Aviv. “I want to make it possible for anyone to live in Israel, especially young people,” Bennett told a crowd of English speakers in Tel Aviv last month. “We’re opening the party for the religious, secular, for haredim, for everyone.”

Courtesy of Miriam Alster/FLASH90

Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, speaking at a political debate at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Jan. 8, 2013.

Bennett’s hawkishness at times has gotten him into trouble. He suggested that he would disobey an army order to evacuate settlements, and this week Bennett said he would oppose drafting haredi yeshiva students in Israel’s universal conscription. Even so, polls have put Jewish Home at 14 or 15 seats, which would make it the Knesset’s third-largest party after Likud-Beiteinu and Labor. In the current Knesset, Jewish Home has just three seats. Votes moving from LikudBeiteinu to Jewish Home, both rightist parties, won’t hurt Netanyahu’s reelection chances because the right-wing bloc will remain the same size, and LikudBeiteinu still is expected to be the largest party. What could unseat the prime minister, though, is a center-left majority in the next Knesset. The center-left is split into three major parties: Labor, led by former journalist Shelly Yachimovich; Yesh Atid, which was founded last year by media personality Yair Lapid, whose father was a Knesset mem-

ber; and Hatnua, the party founded last year by former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni that emphasizes IsraeliPalestinian peace. The latest polls have Labor winning 18 to 20 seats, with Yesh Atid and Hatnua at nine to 11 apiece. Last week, Livni called on the three parties to unite ahead of the election. Instead of joining a Likudled coalition, Livni wants the parties to form a “blocking bloc” in the Knesset to stop Netanyahu from leading the government. But the center-left has been plagued by infighting throughout the campaign. Following an unsuccessful meeting on Monday with the leaders of the three parties, Yachimovich and Lapid accused Livni of using them for “political spin.” Livni is still pushing for unity. “I’ll obviously be happy if you vote for Hatnua, led by me,” Livni said Tuesday in a video message. “But more importantly, vote for one of the centrist parties. You know what? In these elections there are only two ballots: an extremist ballot and a moderate ballot.” Even with a fragmented center, recent polls show a tightening race. A poll conducted last week by the Times of Israel noted that 31 percent of voters have yet to choose a party and that most undecided voters are likely to break toward the center-left. And throughout the campaign, majorities of voters have said they care most about socioeconomic issues, which are being championed by Labor and Yesh Atid. Likud has responded to attacks from the right and left by calling in its campaign for “a strong prime minister, a strong Israel.” With a comfortable lead in the polls, Netanyahu’s challenge is to draw voters even as most Israelis expect a Likud-Beiteinu victory. “It’s not every day that a prime minister puts on jeans and goes to hang out in Tel Aviv,” Netanyahu quipped to reporters as he headed into the Young Likud rally. Then he straightened up and said, “A leftist bloc necessitates a strong Likud-Beiteinu.”

TEL AVIV – Uncertainty is an inherent condition of democratic politics, but one outcome is all but certain in next week’s Israeli elections: the right wing will win and the left wing will lose. Almost every party acknowledges that the merged Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu factions will take the most seats and be the standardbearer of the next coalition government. For the fifth straight election, the center-left Labor will likely lose as Likud or an offshoot runs the state. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Likud prime minister, almost definitely will win another term. LikudBeiteinu is expected to amass 33 to 38 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, nearly twice as many as the likely runner-up, Labor, which should receive 17 to 20. The virtual certainty of this outcome, and the right-wing’s bold selfassurance in the face of it, has reduced a fragmented center-left to shambles. Labor and two new parties, Yesh Atid and Hatnua, have similar agendas focused largely on socioeconomic issues, yet every unification effort has ended in recriminations. And only Hatnua among the three parties has anything to say about the diplomatic future of the state, and it’s led by a former rising star of the right. Netanyahu’s biggest challenge leading up to the Jan. 22 election has come not from his traditional sparring partners on the left but from the right, where the hawkish Jewish Home Party has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the polls. The ascent of Jewish Home has been the biggest story of the campaign. When elections were called in October, pundits expected the religious Zionist party to win seven or eight seats. Now most polls have the number at 14 or 15 – on track to be the Knesset’s third-largest party. Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett, a newcomer to politics following a high-tech career and leadership positions in the settler movement, has engineered the gain by courting secular right-wing voters and adopting some progressive economic policies. But Bennett is no moderate. He opposes the creation of a Palestinian state under any conditions and has said he would disobey a military command to dismantle settlements, though he later walked back from that position. The party’s fortunes will depend on whether voters trust Bennett’s promises of tighter security and

Courtesy of Gideon Markowicz/Alsh90/JTA

Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich addressing supporters at a campaign event at the Dizengoff Center mall in Tel Aviv, Jan. 14, 2013.

cheaper housing, or remain wary of a party that skews far right on certain national security and religious questions. As the fortunes of Jewish Home have risen, those of Yesh Atid have declined. Expected to be a major story of the campaign when it launched in April, Yesh Atid was founded by Yair Lapid, a former television journalist and son of the late secularist politician Tommy Lapid. But its poll numbers have fallen due to infighting in the centrist camp and Lapid’s unwillingness to discuss diplomatic and security issues. Polls now show the party taking about 10 seats, but if Yesh Atid gains 12 or 13, it will mean that Lapid’s economic message has struck a chord as Israel confronts a budget deficit of more than $10 billion. If voters perceive Lapid as unprincipled or inexperienced, especially on matters of diplomacy and security, they may turn to the one centrist party focused on IsraeliPalestinian peace negotiations: Hatnua, which was founded and is led by Tzipi Livni, a former Kadima head and ex-Likud minister. Livni has spent the entire campaign bashing Netanyahu for his alarmist and isolating rhetoric on national security. But she has not vowed to oppose his coalition and could give him cover to move forward on negotiating a peace agreement with the Palestinians if he chooses. Hatnua has polled similar numbers to Yesh Atid. If it reaches the teens, it could indicate that a constituency still exists that supports peace negotiations. A mediocre Hatnua showing would confirm the ELECTIONS on page 22



Inside the 2013 Israeli election: the system and the players By Alina Dain Sharon JointMedia News Service “Bibi,” “Bennett,” “Tzipi,” “Shelly.” The way names of major candidates in the Israeli elections have been bandied about by international observers and media analysts, you would think Israeli voters are only electing the prime minister. Not so. When they enter the “Kalfi” (Hebrew for ballot box) Jan. 22, Israelis will decide the composition of the 19th Knesset (Israel’s parliament) by casting votes for whole parties – not specific candidates. Each party, which presents candidates for membership in the Knesset, must win at least 2 percent of the total vote to get two members in. The government will be established based on how many seats each party wins, and the president will appoint the prime minister, usually the leader of the party that won the most votes. That candidate must then form a coalition with other Knesset-elected parties, and those parties that are not included become the opposition. Thirty-four parties are competing in this election, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s newly formed Likud-Beiteinu party favored to win the most Knesset seats, which would mean the reelection of the prime minister. Despite a radically different election system from the U.S. – at least technically speaking – over the past decade Israeli elections “became personalized,” Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) researcher Dr. Ofer Kenig told JNS. “Some even call this phenomenon ‘the Americanization of elections/politics,’” he wrote in an email. Israeli election results, however, still only “determine the balance of power between parties in the Knesset,” according to Kenig, who explained that the elections “never produce a party with an overall majority.” In the last election, Kadima beat current Netanyahu’s Likud, but Netanyahu still formed the government. This time, the rightreligious bloc of parties could gain the most seats, but Netanyahu may still leave parties from that bloc out of his future coalition. “When Israelis go to the polls they don’t really know what kind of government/coalition they are going to end up with. And so, a considerable part of the campaign revolves around questions such as ‘which party will consider cooperating with other parties following the elections,’” Kenig wrote. Below, JNS highlights the key players in this year’s race. LIKUD-BEITENU An alliance formed between the center-right Likud (Hebrew for “unification”) party led by

Courtesy of Flash90

An Israeli family casts a ballot at a polling station in Tel Aviv on Feb. 10, 2009.

Netanyahu and the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu (Hebrew for “Israel our home”) party. Likud is a conservative party that seeks a capitalist free-market, supports Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria and affirms Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It places a priority on Israeli security against attacks when it comes to negotiating with the Palestinians. But previously, Likud politicians have gone against their own party’s traditional views on the Middle East conflict through offering concessions to the Arab side. In 1977, Prime Minister Menachem Begin led Israel to a peace treaty with Egypt, and in 2005 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (before leaving the Likud party) led the disengagement from Gaza. Netanyahu himself recently announced support for a demilitarized and peaceful Palestinian state. Yisrael Beitenu is a nationalist party founded by recently resigned Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. It initially tended to represent RussianJewish immigrants, but has expanded to other Israelis. The party is focused on security and stipulates that the core goal of the Palestinians is not the achievement of peace through negotiation but to completely destroy the Jewish state. “We extend our hand in peace to our enemies, but as long as they choose the path of war, we must be diligent and fight back,” states the party’s official online description. HABAYIT HAYEHUDI Habayit Hayehudi (Hebrew for “The Jewish Home”) is a national religious party currently led by 40-year-old software tycoon and veteran of an elite IDF unit, Naftali Bennett. Bennett, whose family is American, has become a phenomenon in Israel. The party seeks to strengthen the identity of Israel as a Jewish, Zionist state while upholding “the rights of Israel’s minorities, among them the Arab minority,” according to its official website.

“My positions are very clear: I never hide the fact that I categorically oppose a Palestinian state inside our country,” Bennett said in a recent TV interview. The party proposes the full Israeli annexation of Area C in Judea and Samaria, granting full citizenship to Arabs who currently reside there. The party also wants to invest in the building of infrastructure that will improve the daily lives of both Arabs and Jews in the entire region, and it wants to integrate ultra-orthodox citizens into the Israeli workforce and military service. Habayit Hayehudi is “probably the only party in this race that will not agree with any further [Palestinian] land deal,” and it does not agree with a two-state solution, said Uri Bank, the party’s Knesset candidate and U.S. native in a teleconference hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) Jan. 10.

Courtesy of Yossi Zamir/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, together with his children, waves to young supporters from behind the DJ’s station in a Tel Aviv nightclub on Jan. 6, 2013, calling for the public to support the Likud Beiteinu party.

government interference as long as the government protects the basic social needs of its citizens such as the needs for housing, health and education. The party wants to negotiate a political solution with the Palestinians and opposes Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria. Several well-known Israeli politicians came from this party, such as Israel’s only female prime minister, Golda Meir, and former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995. According to MK Nachman Shai, a member of Labor who spoke on the Jan. 10 JFNA teleconference, said the party’s aim is “to preserve the Jewish and democratic character” of Israel.

SHAS Shas (a Hebrew acronym that roughly translates to the Sephardic Torah Guardians Movement) is an Orthodox religious political party that primarily caters to Sephardic religious Jews in Israel. Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai is the current chair. On domestic issues, the party supports the current exemption of military service for ultra-orthodox Jews and promotes various social welfare projects. On the conflict with the Palestinians, Shas has tended to have centrist views, which has allowed it to form a coalition with nearly any ruling party. Recently, though, it has begun to lean more to the right on the Palestinian issue, opposing any Likud freezing of construction in Judea and Samaria.

HATNUA Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, who was defeated by Shaul Mofaz for that party’s chairmanship in May 2012, founded a new centrist party, Hatnua (Hebrew for “The Movement”). In a November 2012 press conference announcing the new party, Livni vowed to fight for a “democratic Israel.” “The government enters dialogue with those who support terror and avoids the camp that has prevented terror, that fights for two states,” she said. In terms of domestic issues, Livni wants “young people to have homes, earn a living, and live with dignity without always fearing for the future.” Hatnua is also committed to pass a law that would require the ultra-orthodox to serve in the IDF, from which they are currently exempt. “I’m in favor of a Zionist party – a liberal, secular, and democratic party,” Livni said.

AVODA (LABOR) Avoda (Hebrew for “Labor”) is a social-liberal political party led by former Israeli journalist and writer Shelly Yachimovich. The party follows the social democratic principle by calling for a freemarket economy and minimal

YESH ATID Yesh Atid (Hebrew for “There is a Future”) was founded in 2012 by Israeli journalist Yair Lapid, who left that career to enter politics. This party is primarily focused on domestic issues. One of its major platforms is reforming the

Israeli government by reducing the number of political parties that can form a coalition and the number of ministers that can serve in the Knesset, so that the overall system is more like the governments of European nations such as Germany or the United Kingdom. The party believes that many issues on its agenda, such as the reform of education and the need for equality in military service, could in this manner be dealt with more efficiently. The party also proposes an economic program to help small businesses and the middle class. KADIMA A poll commissioned by Yedioth Ahronoth from the Mina Tzemach polling company in November showed that Kadima (Hebrew for “Forward”), a major party in past elections, wouldn’t likely make the 2 percent threshold required to get Knesset seats in the upcoming election. THE PIRATE PARTY Although it has little realistic expectation of winning any Knesset seats, the Israeli Pirate Party may garner some votes from Israelis disillusioned with larger and more conventional parties. The party was founded by ponytailed 33-year-old Ohad Shem-Tov, who showed up at the Knesset to register the party wearing a scarf on his head and a hook on his hand. But the party isn’t all about fun and games. As part of a larger movement of international pirate parties that began in Sweden in 2006, the party is connected to concerns over the freedom of information, including reforming international copyright and patent law related to the controversial yet popular Bit Torrent file-sharing platform. “Dressing up is a gimmick, it’s a way to draw attention,” ShemTov told the Associated Press. “But this party is serious, even if we use a little humor and do it with a smile.”



Fusion Family’s Funday School Series On Sunday, September 9th, Fusion Family treated young families to an afternoon of sugary-sweet fun at Weller Park to help welcome the New Year. The event featured an Apples and Honey “candy bar” where kids got to fill bags full of BitO-Honey, sour apple gummies and more, decorate cupcakes and make candy necklaces. Guests also got to become the game pieces in a life-sized Candyland game and learn a little something about the holiday of Rosh Hashanah with “Miss Meliss” who blew the shofar and taught them some basic concepts. At the end of the event kids wrote one thing they wanted to try and do better in the year to come on balloons and then released them all at once in an open field as part of an eco-friendly balloon launch. This event was the first in Fusion Family’s Funday School Series. Fusion Family is an initiative of The Mayerson Foundation for families in which at least one parent is Jewish and the other is not, or in which one or both parents have converted to Judaism. For Fusion Family’s contact information please consult the Community Directory listing in this issue. Photos continued on page 12.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BIRTH BIRTH obyn Miller and Daniel Miller proudly announce the birth of their son, Beck Vinnie Miller, born on October 5, 2012. Beck’s grandparents are Debbie and Bob Siegel of Cincinnati, and Jane and Don Miller of Columbus.


BIRTHDA Y BIRTHDAY nternationally known pianist and harpsichordist Hilda Jonas will celebrate her 100th birthday with family and friends on January 21 in San Francisco. She and her late husband Gerald, to whom she was married nearly 70 years, fled Germany in 1938, and moved to California in 1975, after living in Cincinnati for 33 years. She has performed in many countries, as well as locally at Wise Temple, as a soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony, at the Taft Museum and Art Museum. She has given many fundraising concerts for Jewish organizations. Hilda has two daughters, Susanne and Linda, and in 2012 she saw her first two great-


Hilda and Gerald Jonas

grandchildren. It gives her great pleasure that she has witnessed six generations of her own family. NEW FEATURE! FEATURE! he American Israelite will begin publication of the Jerusalem Post Crossword Puzzle in next week’s issue, Jan. 24. Compiled by David Benkof, the puzzles are a popular passtime that will flex your brain. Benkof is a noted columnist with the Jerusalem Post and other publications. A new puzzle will be published once a month, with both Judaic and secular clues. Hints range from “Sephardim eat it on Passover” to “Linda married a Beatle,” plus everything in between.






HAVE PHOTOS FROM AN EVENT? Whether they are from a Bar Mitzvah, Annual Meeting, School Field Trip or Your Congregation’s Annual Picnic, spread the joy and share them with our readers in the Cincinnati Jewish Life section! MAIL: MAIL Send CD to The American Israelite, 18 W 9th St Ste 2, Cincinnati, OH 45202


Please make sure to include a Word doc. that includes the captions, if available, and a short synopsis of the event (date, place, reason, etc.). If sending photos by e-mail, please send them in batches of 3-5 per e-mail (16MB MAX). All photos should be Hi-Res to ensure print quality. THIS IS 100% FREE. For more information, please contact Joe at (513) 621-3145. All photos are subject to review before publishing.



Carlo and Johnny—steaks for the memories By Michael Sawan Assistant Editor Carlo and Johnny is going on 13 years of business. This is no accident, as the restaurant has managed to cultivate a personality of sophistication and elegance. The restaurant is chiefly a steakhouse, with General Manager Joshua Peyton noting the fact with pride: “We specialize in steaks. Dry aged steaks, specifically. We have the largest selection of steaks – different cuts – in the city. The bone end cuts seem to be really popular; the bone end strip, bone end filet, bone end ribeye.” And for desserts? Carlo and Johnny offers made in-house ice creams, with anywhere between eight and 10 flavors at any one time. The restaurant prides itself in its potentially festive atmosphere. There is live music five nights a week, with one night in particular standing out from the rest: “We get a great crowd for the entertainment, particularly on Fridays,” said Peyton. “We do a Friday happy hour, from 5 until 8, with a guitar player named Kenny Cowden. [During Happy hour we offer] half price appetizers, drink specials, five dollar glasses of wine, five dollar martinis, live entertainment...” Peyton continued relentlessly, his list of Friday night offerings changing with each new week’s specials. Carlo and Johnny has a habit of keeping things fresh. The people that the restaurant attracts are also varied. Peyton explains, “We get a lot of guests from the area, the Montgomery, Blue Ash, Indian Hill, Kenwood areas. A lot of business clients as well,” with special events being a large draw for the restaurant. “[Carlo and Johnny] tends to be the special occasion place, we have a lot of birthdays and anniversaries. We have rooms for private parties so we have a lot of graduation celebrations, retirement parties, things like that.” Such resilience is possible because of the restaurant’s attention to detail: “We really try to cater to our guests,” explains Peyton. “If you want to make it wild and crazy we can do live entertainment upstairs as well, with your private party, or we can do very subdued.” Not every guest knows, though, that the restaurant has quite the colorful history. The house was completed in 1847, and for a time served as a residence. A century and a half later the building had wracked up a litany of sordid functions, including casino, carriage house and brothel. “The casino had strong mafia connections,” notes a document explaining the history of

Courtesy of Michael Sawan

(Clockwise) Joshua Peyton, Justin Leidenheimer, and THE SUIT stand in front of the bar at Carlo and Johnny; Classic portraits and chandeliers abound in this classy restaurant. A view of the outdoor courtyard is visible through this private room’s large windows; A ‘60s vibe subtly glows from this dining room; The hunting room.

the building. The macabre past doesn’t stop there, with the document noting that “there have been at least four deaths on the premises,” all of them violent. Carlo and Johnny has embraced its heritage, having been named in memory of two of the police officers who raided the building while it was a casino. Doorknobs that were once owned by Al Capone are in use in two of the restaurant’s dining rooms and a general gangster-mafia vibe wafts through the

elegant, semi-dark restaurant. But not to worry: if the Godfather isn’t your thing, there are rooms with all sorts of different themes. One room features stuffed animals, another classical paintings, another broad windows and rich, deep wooden tones. There’s a room for every mood at Carlo and Johnny, a fact that is the result of careful planing: The restaurant was redone since its purchase by Jeff Ruby at the turn of the century. “Everything’s been redone

since Mr. Ruby purchased the place,” said Payton. “[He] kind of took everything back to the studs and started over again. Uncovered a few fireplaces that had been covered up over the years... Redid everything, basically.” And does it ever show. The restaurant is photogenic, casually displaying an assortment of antiques and fine art that could constitute a small museum. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started offering guided tours through

the restaurant in off hours, allowing people to simply admire the collection. But until that time, the only way to take it all in is through a good old fashioned meal. Carlo and Johnny’s hours are Monday through Thursday, 5:30 – 10 p.m.; Friday, 5:30 – 11 p.m.; Saturday, 5 – 11 p.m.; Sunday, 4 – 10 p.m. Carlo and Johnny 9769 Montgomery Road Cincinnati, OH 45242 (513) 936-8600





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Prayer and politics By Rabbi Avi Shafran Contributing Columnist I was heartened by the responses I received to my essay last week, in which I suggested that Jews of good will on each side of the issue of women’s prayer groups at the Kosel Ma’aravi make an effort to empathize with those on the other. Even as someone who wishes to see the Jewish religious tradition of millennia upheld at that holy spot, I still consider it important to try to appreciate how women used to women’s or mixed-sex services might feel in a segregated national Jewish prayer area where the only group services are men’s. And I expressed my hope that those women, too, will try to put themselves in the shoes of men who embrace halacha and thus may not hear women’s voices raised in song. Where such empathy might lead was not my point; the empathy itself was. I heard, among others, from several non-Orthodox rabbis who (even though they prefer a different setup at the Kosel than I) expressed their appreciation for what I wrote. Heartening too was that I didn’t receive a single communication from anyone in my own charedi community eschewing empathy for those unlike us. (Perhaps that shouldn’t have been surprising, but it was.) Deeply unimpressed with what I wrote, though, was a Reform rabbi on the West Coast. In a blog she writes for JewishJournal, Susan Esther Barnes characterized my call for empathy as inconsistent and even “insulting” since I pointedly did not apply it to people like Women of the Wall’s leader Anat Hoffman, whose words and actions seem to be weapons wielded in pursuit of a political/social agenda. It is true, and I made no bones about it. I am unable to summon empathy for ideologues like Ms. Hoffman. While a Jew who (justifiably or not) feels personally pained by the dearth of vocal women’s prayer groups in the main Kosel plaza deserves the sincere concern of other Jews, one who is motivated by the social activist cause of undermining Jewish tradition is a different matter. Someone who construes halachic standards at the Kosel as some intentional, nefarious “silencing… of women who comprise half of this nation,”(Ms. Hoffman’s words), as a moral wrong that must be fought and vanquished – and who proudly declares that by provoking arrest “we are reclaiming Judaism’s holiest site” (ditto) – cannot lay claim to my good will. My critic insists that the purposeful disruptions engineered by

Ms. Hoffman at the Kosel are nothing more than “traditional Jewish prayer,” as if praying somehow entails summoning an eager cadre of media to record it (and, of course, its predictable results). Rabbi Barnes accuses me of “calling heartfelt Jewish women rabble-rousers.” But I did nothing of the sort. I called heartfelt Jewish women heartfelt Jewish women. It was rabble-rousers whom I called rabble-rousers. It’s hardly my judgment alone. The presumably non-charedi oped page editor of the Jerusalem Post, Seth J. Frantzman, recently wrote that “If Orthodox Jews decided to abandon the Kotel, Women of the Wall would follow them, because it is the Orthodox Jewish method of worship [that disturbs them]… [it is] the need to ‘liberate’ the Jewish Orthodox women, i.e. colonize them, that unfortunately appears to motivate some of these actions.” The group, he contends, “seems too often interested only in itself and its narrow agenda.” I would not apply so broad a brush myself, but there is little doubt that there are indeed places that merit the tar. Writing in Commentary, moreover, respected (non-charedi) journalist Evelyn Gordon, while raising a different issue, makes a similar observation. What, she asks, about “the thousands of women who visit the Western Wall every day not to ‘see and be seen,’ as Women of the Wall chairwoman Anat Hoffman” described her goal, “but to pour out their hearts to G-d?” Should they be subjected, against their will, to services “conducted in as loud, public and disruptive [a] manner as possible?” What Ms. Hoffman and likeminded social ideologues want, Ms. Gordon continues, “is to make a political statement.” Were they “more interested in prayer than in politics,” she suggests, “Israelis might be more sympathetic to their cause.” There are women among supporters of women’s prayer services at the Wall who are sincerely interested only in prayer. Those are the fellow Jews for whom I feel, and counsel others to feel, empathy. Their goal is not to “see and be seen” or to “reclaim” the Kosel, but to pour out their hearts to Heaven. And whether they choose to pray at the Robinson’s Arch area of the Kosel set aside for vocal women’s prayer or quietly alongside their more tradition-minded Jewish sisters in the main plaza’s women’s section, they, along with all the men there for the same reason, are part of a unified, de-politicized, heartfelt Jewish presence in that peaceful, holy place.

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

Dear Editor, January 18, 2013, marks the 68th anniversary of the day the infamous death march started out of the Auschwitz complex: Auschwitz I Main Camp, Auschwitz II Birkenau, and Auschwitz III Buna. Over 100,000 prisoners, mostly Jews, started walking toward the city of Gleiwitz some 40-50 miles away. Very few prisoners had the chance to escape. Very few survived; most died on the road. I for one was able to escape the march. I would like to ask the Rabbis of our temples and synagogues in Cincinnati to include the victims of the Holocaust into their remembrance service this weekend, through a Kaddish. Sincerely, Werner Coppel Cincinnati, OH Dear Editor, I enjoyed the Jan. 3 article about the film regarding Jewish boxers (“Film tries to make Jewish boxing a hit again,”). Probably many of your readers have grandfathers or great-grandfathers who were interested in the sport because of the pride they felt that showed that Jews were not wimps, or “Sha Sha” Jews—a term used to describe those who were reluctant to make too much of their identity as Jews. I remember my father and some of his friends gathering around the radio, listening to hear if their newfound heroes would be victorious. My memory of this dates back to 1928 and into the 1930s. Names like Al Singer, Benny Leonard, Barney Ross, Ruby Goldstein, Ray Miller (my father’s cousin), Maxie Rosenbloom and others, made especially the first generation of Jews proud. Jews were in all aspects of the sport; managers, trainers and promoters, and they became great fans and often bought the most expensive seats. Unfortunately, the sport drew some unsavory people and fell into disrespect. While the above named gentlemen were nationally and internationally known, Cincinnati also had local Jewish boys who fought professionally, names like Battling Chink, Si Nebolsky, Max Koshover and Sammy Sweet, and we had promoters as well. Herman Katz and Sam Becker come to mind. I know these activities, which

took place mainly in the first third of the 20th century, were a very small part of the Jewish Experience and dwell into insignificance when we think of our contribution to society in fields of science, medicine, literature and the arts, as has been the case throughout the ages. Sincerely, Ephraim Roth Cincinnati, OH Dear Editor, It is looking more and more certain that former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is going to be the next American Secretary of Defense. President Obama has officially announced his intention to nominate Mr. Hagel. Considering precedent, whereby very few nominated cabinet members who were formerly members of the Senate had been rejected by that body, there is little reason to believe that the Hagel nomination will not pass muster. Ever since word got out that the president was intending to appoint Hagel, a lot of newspaper and online space, together with TV airtime, have been devoted to critiques of him, particularly regarding his views on Israel and Iranrelated matters. Now that it looks as if his appointment is going forward, it is reasonable to consider what the consequences for Israel may be with a Pentagon led by Hagel. First, we need to recognize that not every decision that President Obama makes is directed at or against Israel. Many decisions made in Washington relating to defense and/or security matters are primarily based on broad-based U.S. defense and security needs and only incidentally on Israel. We need to view it in that perspective and not read into it too much about intentions toward Israel. Such may be the case here. Let’s begin with a broad consensus on Obama Administration policy: No matter what one believes overall about the president’s record on Israel, there is wide agreement that the military and security relationship between the two countries is as strong, if not stronger, than ever. This involves American supply of sophisticated weapons to Israel, including key assistance that enabled Israel to build its vital antimissile Iron Dome system. It is also reflected in the deep bilateral coor-

dination and consultation between military officials on both sides, at the highest and mid-level positions. There is little reason to assume that these relations will be diminished under a Hagel tenure at the Department of Defense. Just yesterday, Hagel talked about Israel living in a tough neighborhood and that it must have the means to protect itself. He seems to be beginning to correct his spotty, tepid support for Israel; in September 2012, he co-authored an op-ed closer to President Obama’s stand on Iran and sanctions. And his history in the Senate showed a recognition of Israel’s security needs and a record of support for U.S. defense aid to Israel. The combination of the deep relationship between security officials of both countries, the president’s perspective on Israeli security needs, the role of Congress and the fact that Hagel himself acknowledges Israel has security challenges leads me to conclude that the relationship will not change significantly. Where Hagel’s views diverged from the mainstream and could have more negative impact on Israel are on Iran and on the role of the Israel lobby in the making of American policy. First, a caveat: When we talk about the bilateral security relationship, that is truly the domain of the Secretary of Defense. So it is critical that Hagel seems in line with past U.S. policy. Regarding American policy toward Iran and the role of supporters of Israel, the president’s views should be determinative. Obama has publicly and repeatedly committed to preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear bomb and, if necessary, to use military force to achieve that goal if nothing else works. Notwithstanding the president’s intentions, however, a Hagel appointment, together with that of John Kerry as Secretary of State, can lead to misperception by Iran that America may be taking the military option off the table. Hagel has stated that he does not believe that America should attack Iran. This potential reading by Iran of America’s intentions would be a disaster. While sanctions and diplomacy are by far the preferred paths for dealing with the nuclear issue, the likelihood of those approaches working is highly dependent on the LETTERS on page 22

C O R R E C T I O N: In the Sedra of the Week published on January 10, 2013, the biblical quote was mistakenly published as: “Take thy rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it become a serpent (Exodus 7:9).” It should have read: “So the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and He commanded them to the children of Israel and to Pharaoh, King of Egypt, to let the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. (Ex. 6:13).” We regret the error.



be patient until they truly wish to be redeemed, until they are worthy of being redeemed. Hence, the God of Creation and “let there be light” evokes certitude and precision, whereas the God of Redemption, “I will be what I will be,” evokes open-endededness. Such is always the case when one takes on independent partners with freedom of choice to whom one grants empowerment. And God has chosen Israel to teach and ultimately lead the world to adopt ethical monotheism and realize redemption because He believes in us and in humanity. However, unlike the seven specific and successful acts of Creation, Redemption is fraught with advances and setbacks, successes and failures, progression and retrogression. That is the major distinction between creation and history; the laws of nature are basically unchanging, whereas history – “his story,” our story, not only God’s story – is dependent on human input and is therefore subject to change. This change is positive and salutary. God created a functioning world, but one which is incomplete and therefore imperfect. Conventional wisdom would have it that just as the laws of physics seem to be unchanging, so are the social structures of totalitarian empires unchanging and so human nature is unchanging. The sun-god Ra – identified with Aries the ram (lamb) – is the zodiac sign of the spring month of Nisan. Indeed, the sun, from the perspective of people on earth, also seems unchanging. Enter the Hebrews with their celebration of the renewal of the moon each month; sanctifying the changing moon over the static Egyptian sun. The Hebrew nation was formed out of the cataclysmic change that overthrew Egypt’s slave society, the change that forced Egyptian power to bow before biblical concepts of human equality and freedom. Hence the Jewish people fight for change, glory in change and even sanctify change. But change wrought by human faith and action demands human responsibility. It is with this sense of responsibility that we must approach the

miraculous change of our status as a nation state after close to 2,000 years of being dependent on host nations. Now we must believe in ourselves as God’s full partners; we must resuscitate the vision of the prophets who insisted that our leaders and populace must be righteous and moral. We must promulgate laws that express human equality, especially in terms of women’s rights and minority rights. If we expect to be respected; we must recognize the sea of change that has overtaken much of the leadership of the Christian world and warmly clasp the hand of friendship they are proffering. National commitments (such as service in the IDF) must be taken into the account alongside of religious commitments for those Israelis wishing to convert. Clearly, we have a long way to go. But if we change, we will not only survive; we will prevail. Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Chancellor Ohr Torah Stone Chief Rabbi – Efrat Israel












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T EST Y OUR T ORAH KNOWLEDGE THIS WEEK’S PORTION: BO (SHMOT 10:1—13:16) 1. Who urged Pharaoh to let the Children of Israel go? a.) His wife b.) His generals c.) His servants

a.) Adult males b.) Children c.) Women

2. What was Pharaoh's response? a.) He ignored them b.) Brought Moshe and Aaron back to the palace c.) Told them he needed three days to think about it 3. Which group did Pharaoh say could go? palace R'Bchai 5. C 12:42 Hashem was waiting for this night to redeem the children of Israel from Egypt. Also, this night Hashem awaits to redeem us again.

EFRAT, Israel – “May the renewal of the moon be for you [the Festival of] the first day of each month; this month being for you the first of the months of the year” (Exodus 12:2). This interpretation of the verse, cited by Rashi and chosen by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch as the primary translation of the text, renders each phrase of the verse another lesson bound up with the Exodus from Egypt. We must mark the Festival of the New Moon, and Nisan is to be counted as the first of the months of the year. I understand why Nisan was chosen as the first month; it is the month in which Israel became a free nation; but what has the renewal of the moon to do with the exodus from Egypt? And why is this Festival of the New Moon the very first of God’s commandments to the Israelites? The answer, and the most profound reason that we celebrate the Festival of the New Moon each month, harks back to the special Name of God identified with the book of Exodus, which points toward the realization of Redemption. The ineffable Name YH-V-H (Exodus 6:1-3) is closely related to the name Ehyeh asher ehyeh, which God revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:13-15). Generally, it is translated “I am that I am” or “I am whatever is, the Source for the animation of all life.” It is more correctly translated “I will be what I will be.” The first translation emanates from Maimonides (at the beginning of his Mishne Torah), and is closely allied to Aristotle’s “Unmoved Mover” and Tillich’s “ground of all being.” The second emanates from Yehuda Halevi (The Kuzari) and is more closely allied to the plain meaning of the biblical text (“I will be what I will be”). The first is the God of Aristotelian “being,” the God of Creation; the second is the God of Platonic “becoming,” the God of history and of redemption. The God of Creation exudes power and establishes limits (El Shaddai); He operates alone, within a specific period of time (the seven primordial days of creation). The God of history exudes patience and only guarantees a successful endgame of redemption and world peace; during usual world-time. He operates with partners – human beings, especially the heirs to the Abrahamic covenant – for whom He must wait and with whom He must

The first is the God of Aristotelian “being,” the God of Creation; the second is the God of Platonic “becoming,” the God of history and of redemption.

4. What did Pharaoh ask from Moshe after the plague of locust? a.) No more plagues b.) To bring food c.) Forgive his sin 5. What is the night of the redemption from Egypt called? a.) Night of freedom b.) Night of the Paschal sacrifice c.) Night of watching

Egyptians think it over. Ramban 2. B 10:8 3. A 10:11 4. C 10:16 The sin was Pharaoh disgracing Moshe and Aaron by chasing them out of the

by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin


Written by Rabbi Dov Aaron Wise

ANSWERS 1. C 10:7 Moshe figured that the Egyptians were worried they would starve because all the food would be destroyed by the plagues of hail and locust. Therefore he left the palace to let the

Sedra of the Week




By Nate Bloom Contributing Columnist JEWS ON ICE, AGAIN / SAY A PRAYER As I write this, it appears that the 113-day lockout of National Hockey League (NHL) players by the owners is over. Players are expected to ratify a 10-year contract announced on Jan.7 by NHL commissioner GARY BETTMAN, 60, and DONALD FEHR, 64, the executive director of the players’ union (NHLPA). The late MARVIN MILLER built the pro baseball players union (MLBPA) into a powerful force when he was its head (1968-1983). In 1977, he hired Fehr and groomed him as his successor. Fehr replaced the retiring Miller in 1983 and stayed until 2009. In late 2010, he became head of the NHLPA. MICHAEL WEINER, 51, a lawyer like Miller, Bettman, and Fehr, succeeded Fehr as MLBPA head. Sadly, Weiner has been battling an almost certainly terminal brain tumor since last July. Nonetheless, he continues to teach Sunday school at his New Jersey synagogue and attend fundraisers for brain tumor victims. He told ESPN that he is very touched by the many Jewish friends who have asked him his Hebrew name (“Sholmo Ben Yitzhak”) so they can say a prayer for him. On a more upbeat note – here are the three Jews playing NHL hockey as the delayed season begins: MICHAEL CAMMALLERI, 30, left wing, Calgary Flames; JEFF HALPERN, 36, center, NY Rangers; and ERIC NYSTROM, 29, left wing, Dallas Stars. NOTE: Jewish Sports Review magazine says that 10 Jewish players are now playing in the highest minor league, the AHL. Several have a good chance of being called up to the NHL this season or next. ACTING TO REALITY AND BACK TO ACTING HEATHER DUBROW, 44, who joined the cast of the reality show, “The Real Housewives of Orange County” last February, makes a guest appearance on the Jan. 23 episode (10PM) of the TVLand series, “Hot in Cleveland.” She plays a woman who tangles with star character Vicky (Wendie Malick). Back in 2002, under the name Heather Paige Kent, Dubrow co-starred in the short-lived TV sit-com, “That’s Life.” Not long after, she virtually quit acting in favor of raising a family with her husband TERRY DUBROW, a prominent Los Angeles plastic surgeon.



Married since 1999, the couple have four children. Dr. Dubrow has appeared, himself, in short spots in other reality series, including “Bridalpasty.” His brother, KEVIN DUBROW (19552007), had a burst of fame in the ‘80s as the lead singer of the rock band “Quiet Riot.” Sadly, Kevin could never stay clean and died of a drug overdose. Heather Dubrow is also set to guest star in an episode of “Malibu Country,” the new ABC sit-com starring Reba McEntire. The episode is expected to air this month, but the exact date was not available at press time. She plays a friend of Reba’s neighbor, Kim Salinger. Salinger, by the way, is played by SARA RUE, 33, who was much heavier when she starred in the sit-com “Less than Perfect” from 2002-2006. Her first marriage to a Jewish guy ended in 2007. Rue, who was born Sara Schlackman, wed again in 2011 in what the press described as a traditional Jewish wedding (I don’t know if her current husband is Jewish). She’s now five months pregnant with her first child. SECOND GENERATION SUCCESS On Jan. 6, the Sunday Styles section of the NY Times profiled NATHANIEL RICH, 32, and SIMON RICH, 28, the sons of famous journalist FRANK RICH and his ex-wife, literary editor GAIL WINTON. Nathaniel has carved out his own path as a top-flight literary editor and novelist. He has a new novel (“Odds Aganist Tomorrow”) due out this month. Simon is currently a screenwriter at Pixar Studios and his new book, a collection of humor essays (“The Last Girlfriend on Earth”) is also due out this month. Doing equally well is the Mamet family. CLARA MAMET, 17, the daughter of famous playwright DAVID MAMET, 65, and his wife, actress REBECCA PIDGEON, 47, is currently co-starring on the ABC sit-com “The Neighbors.” Clara’s half-sister, ZOSIA MAMET, 24, co-stars as the Jewish lead character, Shoshanna Shapiro, on the hit HBO series, “Girls,” which just began its second season. Zosia recently told the NY Times that when she was 17 she became estranged from her mother, actress Lindsay Crouse, and went to live with her father and stepmother. She told the Times that she identifies as Jewish, adding “The only WASPy part of me is that I like gin – Oh, and I ride horses.”

FROM THE PAGES 150 Y EARS A GO “Give him the tools that can handle them the best.” This democratic never mind who he is, where he came from, whether he is a classical scholar or the plain, good, common-sense man, whether he is a Frenchman, a German, an Englishman or a Greek, never mind all that, as long as he does what he claims to do. Take for instance M. Loth, wholesale notion dealer, who for the last four years advertises that he sells at very low prices hosiery, shirt fronts, handkerchiefs, collars, embroideries, spool threads, buttons, combs. In short, a sea of Notions, which have been bought advantageously by our buyers at home and abroad, who visit every market as fast as steam and good horse-flesh can carry them: our telegrams and letters follow them in every direction with minute instructions and as we have money at every great money-centre ready to check from, they are powerfully aided, to buy low and consequently we can, and do sell cheap. Let merchants who wish to select from a large and well bought stock and be waited on by gentlemanly and willing salesmen, give us a call, we will try to make the hours spent at our establishment profitable. Respectfully, M. Loth.– January 30, 1863

125 Y EARS A GO On to-morrow evening there will be given a most elegant leap year party at College Hall. The banquet will be spread at the Gibson House, opposite. The most elaborate preparations have been made, and he is a fortunate young man who has received an invitation. The matter has been kept secret, but the writer learned from a little bird that the important event was about to take place. Walnut Hills has a young ladies’ “Nine Club,” which meets every Sunday evening for the exchange of civilities and the discussion of current events. The Misses Lillian and Daisy Seasongood, of Avondale, gave a delightul Mother Goose party. The palatial residence was handsomely decorated; colored ribbons were suspended from chandeliers and doorways with little geese attached. The fifty children present were dressed in Mother Goose costumes, and looked charming. – January 20, 1888

100 Y EARS A GO A number of young men have been chosen to debate the Wesleyan College on February 14, at the University of Cincinnati and in Delaware, Ohio. Out of the two teams, the negative and affirmative side of the question, the following Jewish boys will take part: Edwin Davis, David Grodsky, Melvin Lowenstein, Harry Richmond and

(alternate) Frederick Rypins. Senator Alfred M. Cohen, of Cincinnati, was the recipient of many honors at Columbus this week. He went to the State Capital to meet the Presidential Electors, as the member from the First Congressional District. The preliminary session was held in the Governor’s office. Under the law the Chief Executive of the state calls the College to order and presides over it until an organization is effected. Mr. Cohen was chosen temporary President by acclamation. – January 16, 1913

75 Y EARS A GO The Cincinnati Zionist District has appointed Edward S. Horwitz chairman of its general meeting, Wednesday, Jan. 26th, at 8:15 p.m. at the Bureau of Jewish Education. The meeting will celebrate HaMischa Oser B’Shavat, first day of spring in Palestine. A play, “Who’s Afraid?”will be presented by children of members under Mrs. Hannah Goodman. The play gives a picture of child life in a Palestinian Colony. The cast: Phylis Burgin, Abe Dunsky, Elmer Goldman, Sol Kaplan, Harold Perlman, Buddy Mae Shapire, Marilyn Tepper, Mathilda Wahl, Hannah Slawita. A joint Oneg Shabbos will be observed by Habonim and Young Judeans Friday evening, Jan. 21st, at 3 p.m. in the Bureau of Jewish Education. After recital of Kiddush, the playlet, “Mishpat,” will be presented by members of Mitzvah Bonim, led by Ernst Lorge, and Hagshama Tzofot, led by Eudice Goldman. The remainder of the program will be conducted as a Professor Quizz, Harold Pearlman of the BrandeisBialik club, acting as professor. The social hour will be in charge of Eudice Gootman and Natalie Daniels, and will consist of singing, dancing and refreshments. The public is invited. – January 20, 1938

50 Y EARS A GO I.C. Elman will be presented the “Man of the year” Award at Histadrut Night Sunday, Jan 20, at 8 p.m., at a dessert banquet at Carrousel Inn. Allen Brown is chairman. Former Governor George M. Leader of Pennsylvania will speak. “Frank Sinatra Visits Israel,” a new movie in Technicolor, will be shown. Mr. Elman helped establish the Cincinnati Histadrut Committee. He is Chairman of special gifts. Chaim Schaengold announces that he has assumed management and operation of the Cites Services Station at Section and Reading Roads. He will specialize in all repairs and tune-ups and will take

customers’ cars through safety lane inspections without charge. Mr. Schaengold came to Cincinnati from Tel Aviv in 1961. In Israel he operated a garage and service station business and serviced vehicles of the Israeli Government on a contract basis. Prior to World War II he operated a similar business in Warsaw, Poland. “This is the third continent on which I have been in the service station business, and I trust the last,” Mr. Schaengold said. With his wife, Deborah, and sons, Shlomo snd Jeffrey, he resides on Pelham Place in Roselawn. Shlomo and Jeffrey are students at Roselawn School and Woodward High School, respectively. – January 17, 1963

25 Y EARS A GO Save a spot on your 1988 calendar for The Party, to be held Saturday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m. at the Rockdale Temple. An annual event hosted by Big Brothers/Big Sisters Association of Cincinnati, the evening will feature music by the rock/pop band LIXX, food, a cash bar and a bachelor bid. Says Sid Saewitz, co-chairman of this year’s party, “Our committee has two goals: to host a really great mixer and to acquaint people with the benefits of being a Big Brother or Sister, plus auctioning off several bachelors for a worthy cause!” The Jewish Hospital Adolescent Chemical Dependency Unit will host a free community lecture with Johnson Institute lecturer and consultant, Nancy J. Rosendahl, M.A. The event will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m. in the medical auditorium. The public is invited to attend. “Nancy Rosendahl is an excellent resource person for parents, teachers, and counselors. We hope that the public will come to learn more about adolescent drug and alcohol dependency. Our goal is to enable adults to recognize the problem and to understand the importance of their role in intervention,” Thomas Schroyer, director of Jewish’s Adolescent Chemical Dependency Unit said. – January 21, 1988

10 Y EARS A GO Members of the Jewish community joined hundreds of Cincinnatians to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 20. The day’s program was organized by the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition, which operates under the leadership of Maxwilliam J. Saeki-Lewis, president and Rabbi Gary Zola, vice president. Participants began their observance of the holiday by marching from Fountain Square to Music Hall. Both Adath Israel Congregation and the Isaac M. Wise Temple organized groups to join in the Memorial Walk. - January 23, 2003



COMMUNITY DIRECTORY COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS Access (513) 373-0300 • Big Brothers/Big Sisters Assoc. (513) 761-3200 • Camp Ashreinu (513) 702-1513 Camp at the J (513) 722-7258 • Camp Chabad (513) 731-5111 • Camp Livingston (513) 793-5554 • Cedar Village (513) 754-3100 • Chevra Kadisha (513) 396-6426 Cincinnati Community Kollel (513) 631-1118 • Cincinnati Community Mikveh (513) 351-0609 • Eruv Hotline (513) 351-3788 Fusion Family (513) 703-3343 • Halom House (513) 791-2912 • Hillel Jewish Student Center (Miami) (513) 523-5190 • Hillel Jewish Student Center (UC) (513) 221-6728 • Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati 513-961-0178 • 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) 214-1200 Jewish Information Network (513) 985-1514 JVS Career Services (513) 985-0515 • Kesher (513) 766-3348 Plum Street Temple Historic Preservation Fund (513) 793-2556 Shalom Family (513) 703-3343 • The Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education (513) 487-3055 • Vaad Hoier (513) 731-4671 Workum Fund (513) 899-1836 • YPs at the JCC (513) 761-7500 •

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

Congregation Ohr Chadash (513) 252-7267 • Congregation Sha’arei Torah Congregation Zichron Eliezer 513-631-4900 • Golf Manor Synagogue (513) 531-6654 • Isaac M. Wise Temple (513) 793-2556 • Kehilas B’nai Israel (513) 761-0769 Northern Hills Synagogue (513) 931-6038 • Rockdale Temple (513) 891-9900 • Temple Beth Shalom (513) 422-8313 • Temple Sholom (513) 791-1330 • The Valley Temple (513) 761-3555 •

EDUCATION Chai Tots Early Childhood Center (513) 234.0600 • Chabad Blue Ash (513) 793-5200 • Cincinnati Hebrew Day School (513) 351-7777 • HUC-JIR (513) 221-1875 • JCC Early Childhood School (513) 793-2122 • Kehilla - School for Creative Jewish Education (513) 489-3399 • Mercaz High School (513) 792-5082 x104 • Kulanu (Reform Jewish High School) 513-262-8849 • Regional Institute Torah & Secular Studies (513) 631-0083 Rockwern Academy (513) 984-3770 • Sarah’s Place (513) 531-3151 •

ORGANIZATIONS American Jewish Committee (513) 621-4020 • American Friends of Magen David Adom (513) 521-1197 • B’nai B’rith (513) 984-1999 BBYO (513) 722-7244 Hadassah (513) 821-6157 • Jewish Discovery Center (513) 234.0777 • Jewish National Fund (513) 794-1300 • Jewish War Veterans (513) 204-5594 • NA’AMAT (513) 984-3805 • National Council of Jewish Women (513) 891-9583 • State of Israel Bonds (513) 793-4440 • Women’s American ORT (513) 985-1512 •




CUTS from page 6 Budget cuts have forced Valeriya Beloshkurenko, the director of the Met Council’s Home Services department in New York, to let more than half her staff go in the past two years. Approximately 50 percent of her remaining budget comes directly from the federal government, and the other 50 percent that comes from city and state sources is at risk, too. Beloshkurenko manages a team of three handymen who help low-income seniors with everyday home maintenance tasks throughout New York City – things such as installing door knobs and locks, changing light bulbs, putting grab bars in bathrooms and opening clogged drains. “When our team shows up the people we help, whether they are Latinos in the South Bronx or Russian Jews in Brighton Beach, are so grateful,” Beloshkurenko said. “I cannot tell you how many thank you letters we receive.” Susan Rack, the director of Covenant House, a B’nai B’rithrun home in Boston for the elderly, has a staff of 10 nurses and maintenance workers caring for more than 300 tenants, mostly Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Although the home is in relatively good financial standing thanks to a recently awarded $3 million grant, the curGROUP from page 7 “The reason why USCJ continues to struggle is because synagogues can have their needs met without it,” said Rabbi Menachem Creditor of Congregation Netivot Hashalom in Berkeley, Calif. “The question facing Conservative Judaism as an American movement is not the same as the USCJ’s financial health. And so as Conservative Judaism continues to evolve in North America, a new movement might emerge to connect our synagogues to another.” Wernick strongly defended his organization’s place within Conservative Judaism. He cited a list of programs and activities – including Sulam, a leadership development program, and the subsidies given to member synagogues in times of crisis, like the

• • • • •

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

(513) 531-9600 rent cutbacks might force Rack to reduce salary costs. “Do we do it by cutting everybody’s hours or by cutting one person?” she said. “I’m not sure.” B’nai B’rith runs 38 such homes across the United States, and their directors are likely to face similar dilemmas if federal spending on the elderly is cut. “If the sequester were to go into effect in two months from now, that could affect our ability to serve residents we already have as well as bring new residents,” said Rachel Goldberg, B’nai B’rith’s director of aging policy. In the buildup to the March 1 deadline, B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Federations of North America and many other Jewish groups are lobbying lawmakers in a bid to blunt reductions. In those efforts, Goldberg said, they have found friends and foes on both sides of the aisle. “At this point, parties themselves have pretty interesting patterns within their caucuses,” she said. “We’ve seen within the Republican Party there were disagreements. We’ve walked into Democratic offices and found less friendliness than expected and the other way around.” When approaching politicians, Goldberg says, the most important thing to stress is that “spending cuts do not fall disproportionately on low-income citizens and elderly-spending programs.” recent efforts to aid victims of superstorm Sandy – as proof of its relevance. “We believe we’re implementing [our strategic plan] with great success and that the future is only going to be brighter,” he said. “Are some congregational leaders not in love with what we do? Sure, but there are many more coming to us to ask for our support.” The United Synagogue executive board is set to hold a briefing on the audit’s findings in a conference call on Thursday and put it to a vote one week later. Wernick said the full content of the audit will be placed online after the vote as part of the organization’s commitment to transparency. “We’re still in the start-up phase and it’s not easy, but we’re moving out of it and we’re growing,” Wernick said. “And you don’t get that in an audit.”



Author returns to Cincinnati, offers discussion of her book By Michael Sawan Assistant Editor Cincinnati native Rebecca Gale will be offering a discussion on her newest book, Trying, at the JCC, Jan. 18, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Gale was an active member in Cincinnati’s Jewish community, having been a leader of Temple Sholom’s youth group, a graduate of Yavneh Day School (now Rockwern Academy) and the Cincinnati Reform Jewish High School.

The talk is a part of the JCC’s Think Tank series, a senior program that aims to stimulate intellectual interaction and foster discussion. Gale will present her work and will then facilitate a conversation around it.

Gale’s book is being published by Boxfire Press, an independent company that chiefly prints paranormal and science fiction works. Gale currently lives in Washington, D.C., where she is a contributing editor for Roll Call, a

newspaper covering Congress. She has also worked as a Press Secretary and Communications Director for members of congress. Gale graduated from Miami University, and received her M.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

Catching up with Lainey Paul Live from Israel

by Lainey Paul I have a lot of catching up to do... Sorry it’s been so long! Life has become crazier and crazier. Now that I have a job at Nu Campaign, I have been living part of the week in Jerusalem, part traveling, and part on the kibbutz. Truth is, as much as I love working for Nu, I definitely miss being on the kibbutz. My time is so precious until I draft into the army. I feel like my ability to get as much as I can out of living on the kibbutz is slipping through my fingers. I am going back this Shabbat (my birthday Shabbat!) and not planning on leaving for long periods of time until I draft, which means no more Nu. It was a great way for me to pass the time, however, and I am grateful to David (the creator) for giving me the opportunity to talk about how amazing Israel is and even get paid for it! On another note, here’s the basic gist of what I’ve been up to the past three weeks... After my five day, fun-filled adventure, I spent a lovely Shabbat on the kibbutz and met the new garin that has now joined us. Monday, another six day adventure kicked in: The Paul Family came to Israel! We were on the move literally every second, from Jerusalem FILM from page 7 bar mitzvah trapped in the horrors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The rabbi who had smuggled the Torah into the camp did not survive; the boy, the scroll – the rabbi’s admonition to tell the world what happened in that place and the boy’s promise – did. Dr. Joachim “Yoya” Joseph, that bar mitzvah boy, became a physicist and was Israel’s lead scientist supporting Ramon on the ground. During their work together, Ramon learned the story of the scroll. When he returned to Houston, he asked

to Be’er Sheva to Tel Aviv to Nordia to Tel Mond to the kibbutz and back to Jerusalem; no wonder it went by within the blink of an eye! In Be’er Sheva we visited a past Chavera M’Yisrael, Ortal, who has now not only become a very close friend, but also a daughter and a sister. I have been fortunate to spend a lot of time with her lately but it was fun having the whole family catch up and eat a five-course Moroccan meal at the same time. We then visited a JNF project along the “river” (how could we not, knowing who my parents are). It was truly amazing to see the tangible difference JNF makes in Israel. You can see, feel, touch and smell where all the money goes; none of it is lost in translation. That evening we made our way up to Tel Aviv and met up with the Cincinnati crowd that had come on a family Bar/Bat mitzvah trip. It was lots of fun seeing such a huge part of home here in Israel. A new “friend” even came to meet my family and so did my friends from my garin. We all had a lovely dinner together, which was really nice. We spent the next couple of days in our old stomping grounds of Tel Aviv, which is always entertaining. We finally started making our way up to the kibbutz for Shabbat after stopping to visit friends in Nordia and the Birnbaum family in Tel Mond. Now my dad and Jake got to finally see where I’ve been living and met my friends and kibbutz family (my mom visited in October and already had that experience). It was weird, even for my family, I think. My mom understood more, having lived on a kibbutz and being a fluent Hebrew speaker. I think my brother and dad were a little surprised to see my living conditions and lifestyle and wondered why I chose this life versus what I could

have had at home. All in all, it was amazing, spending some quality time with my brother. I introduced him to all of my friends, played soccer with him and my host siblings, and even had a nice late night talk. It’s times like these where I truly take a step back and evaluate the decisions I have made. The decision to live far away from my family. The decision to potentially put my life in danger. The decision to feel at times excluded. Don’t worry, I’m not regretting my decision and I am so happy here I’m about to explode! It’s just important to never lose sight of what you’re leaving behind. Well family time came to an end exactly when Shabbat did. We drove straight into Jerusalem, where I was dropped off at work and they were off to the airport. It was hard to let them go, but I have to admit, Saturday nights at work are so much fun and ridiculously busy, I barely had time to think about them leaving. It was easier this way for me. The next big extravaganza was NEW YEARS! Israelis have very little to do with New Years, unless they are going to meet Americans, of course. I mean, let’s be real, the New Year already happened during Rosh HaShanah, right?! I ended up celebrating down in Be’er Sheva with Ortal and other friends and it was definitely a night to remember! I spent two nights there and by Wednesday evening I was up in Netanya where I met up with Gil (my other host brother who was a past Chaver M’Yisrael) and the Cincinnati Jewish Federation Young Leaders trip. It was a blast from the past seeing people I haven’t spoken to since Yavneh. There were many of my friend’s older siblings that I didn’t think I was ever going to see again. It was great spending time with

them cooking and doing team building activities and hanging out with Gil afterward. By early Thursday morning I was on my way back to Jerusalem, meeting up with friends and heading over to Latrun where two members of my garin were being sworn in to Shiryon (tanks). It was a very nice ceremony and I even got a little teary eyed. It’s crazy that these boys have been in the army for almost two whole months and I haven’t even started anything yet! I was so proud of them, though, as they approached the table and chanted “I promise” as they held their gun for the first time while also receiving a Tanach. How amazing is that? When you are sworn in to Tzahal, not only are you given your weapon, but you’re also given the Jewish Bible. I find that so incredibly fascinating and shows 100 percent where our values and intentions lie. After their “tekes” (ceremony), we gave them huge hugs and raced back to Jerusalem to the Kotel for another garin member’s “tekes.” He was being sworn into Nachal (a branch of infantry). We weren’t able to sit at this one and the claustrophobia was a bit overwhelming, but we managed. We stood literally right behind him and chanted his name the entire time. When the tekes was over, his rabbi came up from behind him, lifted him on his shoulders, and all of his friends that were in Yeshiva with him last year circled around him and started singing and dancing. Someone even gave him a giant Israeli Flag to wave in the air. That’s where I lost it. It was just so beautiful and moving. Absolutely an amazing sight to see! I spent that Shabbat in Jerusalem with Elana Pentelnik, a very good friend from Cincinnati who was here on a program for a

few weeks. We davened the most beautiful Kabbalat Shabbat on the roof of my friend’s Yeshiva, looking onto the Kotel (Western Wall). The kavana (purpose/meaning) these boys had while they prayed was so moving. It allowed for an extraordinary davening experience with tons of singing and dancing (just how I like it!). Shabbat ended and I had another super exciting and busy night at work. Birthright has officially taken over all of Israel. It’s unbelievable! We, as in the Nu Campaign Team, even got to work the Birthright Mega Event this past Monday night! Now that was an experience. I am all for showing these kids a good time and getting them pumped up to come back to Israel, but the money that is thrown at these extravagant events is simply mind-boggling. Getting in was certainly no fun in the pouring rain, but once inside and all settled in, we had a blast! It literally has been hurricane weather the past couple of days, though, and thank G-d, Israel is getting rain. Unfortunately, it also has come at the cost of some lives. I was barely even able to get out of Jerusalem! And I now have army news...DRAFTING ON MONDAY, Jan. 14! One day before I turn 20! All those special interviews payed off in the end, though I can’t disclose too much information. When I know more and am able to discuss some things, you’ll hear from me. I do know that I must shut down my Facebook page and I might not be able to continue writing this blog. Hopefully I’ll know more once I’m in my unit and beginning my army experience. Shabbat Shalom!

permission to take the tiny Torah saved “from the depths of Hell to the heights of space.” “Ilan felt Yoya’s promise deep within his heart and carried it with him deep into space,” Cohen said. “Keeping the promise is an important part of the mission of this film.” Mission of Hope is the story of the most diverse shuttle crew ever to explore space. “Moving tributes like this film remind us all that spaceflight always carries great risk,” NASA Administrator and four-time space shuttle astronaut Charles Bolden said. “But fallen heroes like Ilan were willing to risk the ultimate

sacrifice to make important science discoveries and push the envelope of human achievement.” For Cohen, Mission of Hope became a personal mission. He sought to tell the story not as tragic, but rather as uplifting. “When Yoya asked, ‘What can I do to help you tell this story?’ I did not realize that conversation would lead me down a seven-year path,” he said. Meetings with General Rani Falk at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, with Ramon’s widow, Rona, and the other astronauts’ families followed. Overall, making the film took the full 10 years since the

Columbia tragedy. “We had to wait for Rona (Ramon’s widow) to be ready,” Cohen said. “Raising money was also difficult.” Dr. Alex Grobman, historical consultant for the documentary and executive director of the America Israel Friendship League, has great admiration for Cohen. Grobman, who also appears in the production, was called upon to verify the historical correctness of the story of the bar mitzvah in Bergen-Belson, including confirmation that there was actually a Torah at the ceremony. “Filmmakers rarely care about

historical accuracy,” Grobman told JNS. “Cohen’s approach was different – he was meticulous in his research. For him, this was a labor of love.” “Ilan Ramon was an exceptional man, a charismatic personality who recognized that being part of the Columbia shuttle crew was a transformational experience,” Grobman said. “Ramon embodied the best of Israel. One cannot view this film without understanding the depth of his humanity, love of Israel, and responsibility to the Jewish people. Being involved with this production, as an historian, as a Jew, was a great honor.”

Until next time, Lainey



When housing meets social responsibility Incidentally Iris

by Iris Ruth Pastor When I was a little girl, my family and I lived two streets away from the state’s insane asylum – Longview State Hospital. From the 1930s through the 1970s, any person committed there, remained there, until death. Records show that 1,160 men and women of various ages and races – many veterans of foreign wars – are buried on the site in a tucked away piece of often untended ground. I remember staring at all the vacant eyed, shriveled people sitting lethargically on park benches within the asylum’s perimeter as my mom and I would be on our way to the grocery store or car wash. One day I even watched spell bound as police hustled a completely nude young woman into their patrol car – an escapee from Longview no doubt. On many sleepless nights, I fretfully thrashed in my bed consumed with wondering about what strange things were happening within the portals of Longview – both internally to the souls it housed and externally by the treatment it metered out. Little did I know that many patients – whether schizophrenic or otherwise mentally incompetent – were doing worthwhile things: making pottery, tending/farming the land and building ancillary bridges within the confines of the multiacre property. Longview was established, according to public records, for the “safekeeping, comfort and medical treatment of such idiots, lunatics and insane person of this state {Ohio} as might be brought to it for these purposes.” Today, Longview State Hospital no longer exists. Its rolling green lawns and gothic-like, multi-story brick buildings have been replaced by an industrial park. Today, most likely, those who would have been housed in those sterile labyrinth of wards are on the streets – facing other horrors. But things may be changing. At the same time that the homeless are swarming our streets in many cities due to lack of institutional support or viable means to

living with family members, another trend is also emerging. As the baby boomers continue to be sandwiched in between their boomerang children and their aging parents, the need for different age groups to live under one roof increases. The tidy model of the post-World War II nuclear family of mom and dad, two children and a dog is becoming outmoded. Or has already become outmoded. And the increasing number of boomer grandparents who now live far from their beloved grandchildren and long to be geographically closer is also inching upward. Add this to the mix: young adults everywhere are recognizing that sharing a house with their friends is not so much different than sharing an apartment postcollege or dorm rooms while an undergraduate. Add to the mix that ethnic groups with strong traditions of multi-generational living are seeking housing options tailored to their cultural footprints, too. Builders are beginning to recognize that there is a need for extended families to be under one roof. And they are responding to market demands. Units are springing up all over the country with revised floor plans – efficiency apartments over garages, small apartments connected to main houses with discrete entrances and specially designated first floor flex space adaptable to a family’s unique needs. For me, as a long distant bubbe yearning for more accessibility to my five grandchildren who live 1,200 miles away, it’s a comforting trend. My one son and daughter-in-law recently moved into their first single family residence – and promptly added a guest room and full bath off a back hall. It may not be its own self-sufficient living space, but it’s certainly a signal to both sets of grandparents that we are welcome – if not permanently – at least at decent intervals. And that’s a start. I don’t know if non-traditional, inventive housing footprints will solve the homeless problem either. If families will embrace old uncle Fred who has never been able to make it on his own and is living on the streets. Or 20-something cousin Johnny who has just lost his first job and can’t afford his apartment. Or 40-something spinster Lydia who hasn’t ever been quite right in the head. It may not solve the homeless problem completely, but it certainly is worth thinking about. And it, too, is a start. Keep coping, Iris

Audi A3—style with a conscience The Audi A3 isn’t just a small car. It’s a small Audi. With its adroit handling, innovative powertrains and an interior that’s both spacious and flexible, the Audi A3 is a small car that’s big on achievements. Because, with all sincerity: Where is it written that those wanting a compact, efficient car must settle for less quality and driving pleasure? The Audi A3 may cast a modest shadow, but factor in its surprisingly roomy interior and available signature Audi technologies like the S tronic dual-clutch transmission, TDI clean diesel engine and quattro all-wheel drive, and the A3 is one small car with a disproportionate level of desirability. With other Audi models so well represented in the top tiers of performance, the A3 directs its talents toward matters more practical. Its standard 2.0-liter TFSI engine features direct injection and a turbocharger, with the resulting 200 horsepower propelling its modest weight with ease. Its pioneering six-speed S tronic remains the only dual-clutch transmission in its segment, delivering quick shifts and greater efficiency than conventional automatics. A tight 35.1-foot turning radius complements its naturally nimble handling, with available quattro all-wheel drive blessing it with more sure-footed traction in any weather. And when it comes to fuel efficiency, the A3 presents a choice between great and excellent – the latter thanks to a

Audi A3

clean diesel TDI engine that can reach 42 mpg on a highway cruise, taking you well over 500 miles between fill-ups. While other premium compacts resort to drastic shapes to achieve style, the Audi A3 stands apart with its classically handsome body. Clean, chiseled features, unique LED taillights, and available LED daytime running lights represent its signature Audi style. The A3 also comes with five fullsize doors that do wonders to facilitate entry, exit and luggage loading compared to its two- and threedoor peers, with available features like aluminum roof rails to expand its utility further. The universal Audi philosophy of creating rich, stylish cabins is obvious from the driver’s seat of the A3. High-grade materials comprise every surface in sight, with the levers, switches and buttons

providing firmly defined feedback. Genuine aluminum and Flex metallic accents tastefully brighten up the surroundings while rich leather covers the seat surfaces, with or without the available Alcantara inserts. The available Open Sky panoramic sunroof boasts enough surface area to shower natural light on the front and rear seats, all of which feature room and comfort fit for full-size adults. And then there are the creature comforts: With three levels of warmth, the available seat heaters help keep you comfortable in cold temperatures. And while most entries in this class come standard with mere vinyl-upholstered interiors, the seating surfaces in every A3 come covered in genuine leather. To school or the symphony, movie or museum, the A3 has you traveling in style. The MSRP starts at $28,165.

22 • OBITUARIES D EATH N OTICES SCHNECK, Melvin, age 88, died on January 8, 2013; 26 Tevet, 5773. FREEMAN, Sheila, age 69, died on January 11, 2013; 29 Tevet, 5773. BOYAR, Inez, age 88, died on January 14, 2013; 3 Shevat, 5773. ELECTIONS from page 9 perception of many Israelis that the conflict will not be resolved in the coming years. What Livni really wants is a coalition without Netanyahu led by her or Labor chair Shelly Yachimovich. Seeking to harness the energy of 2011’s social protests here, Labor has presented itself as the alternative to LikudBeiteinu. Yachimovich said recently that she would not join a Netanyahu-led coalition in a move that would seem to consign Labor to the opposition. Labor has avoided discussing Israel’s diplomatic future, which seems to have disaffected some voters, and almost certainly will take fewer than 25 seats. That would be an improvement on last election’s 13 but still a decline for a party that once dominated Israeli politics. As Livni, Lapid, Yachimovich and Bennett jockey for potential spots in a Likud-led Cabinet, one political bloc’s numbers will likely remain fairly stable: Haredi Orthodox parties have 15 seats now, a number that is expected to slightly increase. The haredi platform, however, has become increasingly unpopular, as more and more Israelis oppose full-time yeshiva students receiving government stipends while avoiding the nation’s mandatory military conscription – concerns that have animated Yesh Atid’s campaign, among others.


SCHOLARS from page 6 During the interviewing process for the film, Fischler was particularly impressed with the mutual recognition by scholars and their students of their shared experiences of oppression. “You will see some of the students talking about how, when they learned about this history of their teachers, they felt sympatico in some ways. Having themselves been victims of racism, they saw the scholars being subjected to antiSemitism and worse in Europe. They felt they were two exploited groups that did have something in common, and that bonded them together.” These shared experiences contributed to strong connections between the Jewish refugee scholars and their college communities, but the reciprocal nature of their relationship was also noteworthy. “It was not one-sided,” says Barsky. “The colleges give these professors COED from page 8 Aron Berger, the father of one of Benoth Jerusalem’s 200 female pupils, acknowledged that Friedman was left with little choice. But he added, “We need to ask why this community and the one in Vienna left him no choice. There’s trouble wherever Friedman goes.” In a separate and pending case, Friedman has sued a Zionist allboys yeshiva in Antwerp for denying admission to his daughters. By involving the Belgian courts, Friedman has violated the Orthodox norm of resolving conflicts internally – a move that is unlikely to improve his standing in the community. Perhaps even more important, he has compromised the haredi community’s pedagogical autonomy and separation of the sexes – two hyper-sensitive points for a devout group striving to insulate itself from Belgium’s secular and often unsympathetic society. LETTERS from page 16 Iranian belief that if they do not change policy peacefully, there is the real threat of a U.S. military attack.

homes and communities, and the professors bring their talents, content knowledge, and incredible teaching skills.” In contrast to relationships during the civil rights era, the black colleges in this case were the philanthropists, as it were, offering the highest form of tzedakah, a livelihood, to the refugee scholars. “They are the ones doing the helping,” says Barsky, “and in a very real way these lives were saved.” As young academics, the refugee scholars did not have the international reputations of an Einstein or an Arendt, and they could not get jobs in the white institutions of the Northeast. “They were here during the Depression, on tourist visas, afraid that if they didn’t get jobs they would get sent back,” says Fischler. The scholars’ gratitude to these colleges was so strong that in some cases they never left, even in the face of offers from prestigious institutions. Fischler recalls interviewing

Plato expert Ernst Manasse three months before he died. He asked Manasse why he did not accept a job offer from Princeton University while teaching at North Carolina College for Negroes (which later became North Carolina Central University). His response? “I could never do that. I could never leave.” The exhibit’s artifacts reflect both the activism of some scholars in the civil rights movement as well as their strong empathy for the black experience. Included in the exhibit is a receipt for a fine that Donald and Lore Rasmussen had to pay for having lunch with a black student in a coffee shop. “This is not a great act of resistance; this is them living their daily lives as they want to live it,” says Barsky. Another set of artifacts includes paintings by Victor Lowenfeld and his student John Biggers, who went on to become by far the greater artist

of the two. Barsky paraphrases what Biggers shared in the film about his first experience creating art, in Lowenfeld’s class. “The professor told us that we had a lot to communicate, that we were living in the segregated South with incredible persecution and violence, and we had a lot of anger and a lot to say; and Lowenfeld encouraged us to say it through artwork.” The symbiotic relationship between the professors and their students exemplifies the value of strong mentoring, another take-home from this exhibit. Fischler illustrates this with an anecdote by Calvin Hernton, who eventually became a dean at Oberlin College. His professor, Fritz Pappenheim encouraged him to apply for a Fullbright, which Hernton thought was “the most ridiculous thing in the world.” But to satisfy Pappenheim, he filled out the application, and as a result he received the Fullbright that launched his career.

“It’s a sad day for the community, which has lost a battle which is important to it and its tradition,” said Michael Freilich, who as editor in chief of the Joods Actueel Jewish monthly has been writing about Friedman for years. At an improvised news conference outside the school, Friedman declined to comment on the Holocaust, his private life, his past and the various accusations made about him. Instead, he confined his remarks to the legal issue at hand, which he presented as a matter of gender equality. Friedman did not respond to further questions by JTA by phone and email. Friedman has been a thorn in the Jewish side for years. In 2006, The Associated Press reported that he had announced a new “coalition” between himself and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Europe, after a meeting in Stockholm with Atef

Adwan, a senior Hamas figure. Friedman also has been accused of having dealings with Austria’s extreme right. A Jewish umbrella group in Flanders filed a complaint against Friedman for Holocaust denial a few years ago. More recently, a lawyer from Antwerp accused him of not paying off debts in the United States and in Austria. In 2007, Friedman reportedly was attacked by Jewish pilgrims during a visit to Poland. “Pretty much any haredi community would shun Moshe Friedman,” said Freilich, who maintains that Friedman’s problems are less about his politics than his tendency to “use the law as an instrument of terror, which makes the community afraid of him.” For now, the Benoth Jerusalem school is struggling to adjust to its sudden fame. The leader of the Belz Chasidim community, to which the school is affiliated, asked communi-

ty members to let things take their course regardless of their personal feelings. The school sent parents and staff a letter asking the same. But the community is anything but resigned to the new status quo. “For 30 years I have managed to do my work in silence and devotion but now, to our detriment, we have been made famous by Moshe Friedman,” said Leibl Mandel, the school’s director. “It’s bad for education.” It may also be bad for Friedman’s children, as they may be sucked deeper into the escalating fight. Henri Rosenberg, a lawyer from Antwerp who has compiled a file on Friedman’s business transactions in Vienna and the U.S., last month called for a probe by child welfare services into their domestic circumstances. “Enrolling them here is child abuse,” Berger said. “They can have no social interaction here, when the girls play among themselves.”

Therefore, with the prospect looming of another round of negotiations with Iran, it will be critically important in the days and weeks ahead that the president reiterates

his prior commitment to the military option. Indeed, if Hagel should reassert his views on Iran, it may even be necessary for President Obama to find a moment to make clear that Hagel’s position opposing U.S. military action against Iran does not represent U.S. policy which he, the president, decides upon. This, of course, would be awkward and one hopes things won’t have to come to that. As to Hagel’s comments on the “Jewish lobby,” I, of course, hope that in the Senate hearings he will clarify and apologize. The fact that Hagel has never been happy with the pressure coming from supporters of Israel is well known. What he needs to do is reassure the Jewish community that his reaction in his public statement went too far and that this in no way will slant his support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, which is a primary American interest. A com-

mitment by him to engage supporters of Israel in dialogue might be helpful in this respect. All in all, I repeat what I’ve said elsewhere. Hagel would not have been our choice, but it is the president who has the prerogative to select his Secretary of Defense. The selection does not have to be as bad as some fear. The security relationship should continue under a Hagel-led Pentagon. And on other matters, particularly Iran, where Hagel apparently comes from a different perspective, we expect the president to make clear that his long-held views will continue as American policy. Sincerely, Abraham H. Foxman National Director of the Anti-Defamation League New York, N.Y. This letter originally published in Haaretz



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