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Emma Schneider, 11, Rockwern Academy - Winner of the 2012 Chanukah Cover Coloring Contest



Jewish Federation announces program funding from Community Campaign

In November, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati Board voted to allocate just over $4 million in funds raised through the 2012 Community Campaign to local, national and global programs. The final determination was based on the recommendation of the Planning & Allocations committee, chaired by Marcie Bachrach and comprising over 80 volunteers from across the community. “It was an honor to work with the hardworking and dedicated volunteers throughout this allocations process,” said Bachrach. “They spent hundreds of hours visiting the agencies and organizations that run the programs that applied for funding, presenting their findings to the larger group and making the hard choices that come with the great responsibility of distributing the community’s dollars.” This year’s allocations process aligned with Cincinnati 2020, the long-range, community-wide strategic plan to transform Cincinnati into a model community and a Jewish destination. Programs that applied for funding were divided into Cincinnati 2020’s three pillars: caring (reducing poverty and isolation), connecting (creating an engaged community) and discovering (assuring our Jewish future). Additionally, with the recognition that the goals of Cincinnati 2020 represent the priorities of the community, applicants were asked to demonstrate how their programs further those goals. Two programs are receiving

funding for the first time this year: the Russian Speaking Senior Program and PJ Library, both of which are collaborations between the Mayerson JCC and Jewish Family Service (JFS).

“It was an honor to work with the hardworking and dedicated volunteers throughout this allocations process.” Marcie Bachrach

The Russian Speaking Senior Program is a new program that provides services previously offered by the Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe (FREE) Center, which closed in 2011. It will help aging Russian-speaking individuals to maintain and develop social relationships and a support system, have a safe place in the community to gather, participate in mentally stimulating programming and access community services and public benefits. Terry Susskind, one of the

council co-chairs for the Planning & Allocations committee, said, “Working in tandem, staff and volunteers of JFS and the JCC provide Russian-speaking seniors the personal setting and care they need to preserve their heritage in a familiar setting and provide support they would not otherwise have as they experience the problems of aging: declining physical and mental health, social isolation and lack of family support.” PJ Library is an international program that supports families in their Jewish journey by sending Jewish-content books, CDs and DVDs on a monthly basis to children from age 6 months to 5 years. The program was founded in Cincinnati in 2008. In addition to the monthly mailings, Cincinnati’s PJ Library also offers Jewish family and children’s programs at the JCC and monthly e-newsletters with parenting information and links to resources. In 2013, with funding from the Community Campaign, PJ Library will expand by increasing the subscription base from 400 to 800, which represents 60% of the estimated 1,400 children in the age range the program serves. Council Co-chair Suzy Marcus Goldberg said, “The Jewish Federation is very excited to become an allocation partner with the PJ Library program. It is a wonderful way for parents in our community to receive the tools they need to guide their children on their Jewish journeys.” Locally, 39 programs will receive funding from the Community Campaign in 2013.



(513) 368-9000

Looking for Survivors of a Train from Bergen-Belsen to Farsleben, liberated 13 April 1945, by the 30th Infantry Division, US Ninth Army. Survivors are asked to contact Frank Towers by email at or to Varda Weisskopf by email at or —THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE TZEDAKA—

Louis Sirkin joins Santen & Hughes as Senior Counsel Santen & Hughes is pleased to announce that H. Louis Sirkin has joined our firm in the position of Senior Counsel. Sirkin is one of the nation’s preeminent First Amendment and criminal defense attorneys. In his over 40 years of practice, Sirkin has defended the free speech and constitutional rights of countless individuals and businesses including museums, artists, activists, adult entertainment establishments, and ordinary citizens in all types of cases. Sirkin is admitted to numerous

H. Louis Sirkin federal and state courts including the United States Supreme Court where he argued successfully in October, 2001 in the case of Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition. Sirkin is a multiple award-winning attorney who has been recognized as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. He has also received the Nicholas Longworth, III Achievement Award for distinguished professional service from the U.C. College of Law, and the District Award from the Ohio State Bar Association for his outstanding contributions to the profession of law.




hands-on exhibits that spark imagination and bring learning to life. This giant Toy Menorah and Chanukah educational celebration fit right in!” In addition to the construction of the giant toy menorah there will be an olive press presentation, Chanukah crafts, latkes, donuts and a special appearance by the Chabad Hebrew School Choir. The public is asked to participate in the drive and bring an unwrapped new toy for the menorah. The Toy Menorah event will take place from 12 to 2 p.m. in the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Grand Rotunda, and is open to the public free of charge.

Local men go behind-the-scenes in Israel A recent, rather unique Men’s Israel Mission included a Cincinnati contingency of nine. They were joined by about 20 others from Detroit, Los Angeles and Ottawa. The nine day trip was organized by the Cincinnati Kollel in conjunction with Aish Hatorah international. Aish world headquarters overlook the Western Wall and Temple Mount, providing a most inspiring setting for Shabbat and other programming. One of the highlights of this mission was a barbecue at an IDF paratrooper base which accorded the visitors a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on Israeli military life with its struggles, opportunities and challenges. The mission covered a lot of ground during the week in Israel, traveling as far north as Kibbutz Misgav Am at the Lebanon border –

Cincinnati contingency of recent Kollel/Aish Hatorah Israel Mission pictured at Kibbutz Misgav Am overlooking Lebanon.

literally! – and as far south as Masada. The incredibly varied list of

activities included everything from floating in the Dead Sea to watching

a scribe at work writing a new Torah scroll, from an insider’s view of the Jerusalem’s Old City (including the Jewish presence in the Moslem quarter) to sneak peak’s into the mysterious worlds of Tzfat, Meah Shearim and even the Jewish enclave in Hebron. Another Men’s Mission is already being discussed, and two women’s missions are slated for this spring. These women’s missions, organized in conjunction with the national Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, are coordinated locally by the Kollel women’s affiliate, Sarah’s Place. The women’s missions are geared to Jewish mothers of children under age 18. One will depart Cincinnati in mid-May, the other in mid-June. For more information, contact Sarah’s Place or the Cincinnati Community Kollel.

Roth speaks at Wise Temple’s ‘Red Sea Adventures’ The Wise Temple Senior Adults are looking forward to hearing from Roger Roth on his “Red Sea Adventures” on Thursday, Dec. 13. Roth is founder and director of nonprofit Underwater Images Photo/Video Competition and winner of nine international first-place gold medals for underwater video productions. He authors promotional, educational scuba diving videos for schools, higher institutions of

learning and outreach programs around the world. He is a former science teacher and has been diving and filming underwater adventures since 1988. He currently resides in Montgomery with his family. “We are very excited and can look forward to an outstanding presentation by Roger. He will bring along historic equipment that will be on display for all attendees to view following his talk and ques-

tion and answer period,” commented Phyllis Tennenholtz, program co-chair with Barb Mandell. Mandell continued, “Not often do we have a real opportunity to explore the depths of the Red Sea in such a unique way as Roger will take us with his acclaimed international experiences. We are lucky to have Roger take time from his busy schedule to bring us this educational and informative program for all of us to enjoy.”

Roth’s work has been shown around the world to such clients as: the Discovery Channel, U.S. Navy, Nature Conservancy, Jean-Michel Cousteau and the Ocean Futures Foundation, just to name a few. The program will take place at Wise Center at 1 p.m. on Dec. 13. In addition to the speaker, there will be special Chanukah refreshments, as well as an opportunity to meet and greet friends.

December Coffee Talk discusses JNF, Young Judaea training, pluralist ideology and activism, Young Judaea serves 5,000 Jewish children, teens and young adults annually through U.S. camps and Israel programs. It seeks to build Jewish identity and Zionist commitment in American Jewish youth and young adults. Hadassah has been Young Judaea’s sole sponsor since 1967 and supported the movement for more than 25 years before that. Last June, the national board of Hadassah voted to turn Young Judaea into an independent, notfor-profit entity so that it could

more fully fashion its own destiny in a changing youth landscape. Hadassah will remain a major partner by providing three years of transition funding and by continuing to support scholarship fundraising. JNF is a non-profit organization founded in 1901 by a small group of leaders, including Theodor Herzl, as a general fund to purchase land in Ottoman-controlled Palestine. By purchasing plots of land, they hoped to establish the groundwork for the birth of the nation of Israel. Over the years, JNF has built roads, reclaimed land, drained swamps,

planted forests, beautified the landscape and constructed dams and reservoirs. JNF continues to make a commitment to the land and people in the 21st century by performing groundbreaking work to develop the land of Israel through a variety of multifaceted initiatives. In 1926, Hadassah adopted JNF as one of its projects and offers beautiful personalized JNF certificates to commemorate an occasion, honor a special person, or remember a loved one by planting a tree in Israel. TALK on page 19


VOL. 159 • NO. 20 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2012 22 KISLEV 5773 SHABBAT BEGINS FRIDAY 4:57 PM SHABBAT ENDS SATURDAY 5:58 PM THE AMERICAN ISRAELITE CO., PUBLISHERS 18 WEST NINTH STREET, SUITE 2 CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202-2037 Phone: (513) 621-3145 Fax: (513) 621-3744 RABBI 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 ALEXIA KADISH Copy Editor JANET STEINBERG Travel Editor MARIANNA BETTMAN NATE BLOOM IRIS PASTOR RABBI A. JAMES RUDIN ZELL SCHULMAN RABBI AVI SHAFRAN PHYLLIS R. SINGER Contributing Columnists JOSEPH D. STANGE Production Manager ERIN WYENANDT Office Manager e Oldest Eng Th

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Cincinnati Chapter of Hadassah will hold its monthly Coffee Talk program on Monday morning, Dec.10 at 9:30 a.m. at the home of Marcie Bachrach. Marcie will give us an update on Camp Young Judaea, and Nina Paul will discuss the long lasting partnership between Hadassah and Jewish National Fund (JNF). Tobe Snow is Coffee Talk Chair. Light refreshments will be served. Young Judaea, founded in 1909, is the oldest Zionist youth movement in the United States. Long regarded for its leadership


Then, on Sunday, Dec. 16, Chabad Jewish Center will put a unique spin on the classic holiday toy drive. In partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center, they will be publicly creating a menorah made entirely out of donated toys benefiting Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center. “This is the second year that we have been in partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center for Chanukah and it is very exciting,” adds Ziporah Cohen, co-director of Youth and Family Programming. “The Cincinnati Museum Center is a popular destination for Cincinnati families, ours included, particularly because of its unique, child-centric,

Est. 1854

“Chanukah on Ice has become a tradition within the community and we are pleased to bring it back year after year,” says Rabbi Berel Cohen, director of Youth Programming at Chabad Jewish Center. “We are very excited to introduce some new features. In the past, the ice menorah has been delivered fully sculpted, but this year we have arranged for it to be created at the event! It’ll be a real treat to see. We also will have a unique Latke Bar by Coach Gordy, dedicated to making custom latkes on the spot. With a variety of ingredients to choose from, such as sweet potato and zucchini, these will go way beyond the frozen store-bought potato latke.”

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Chabad Jewish Center is pleased to present two spectacular family events this Chanukah. First, on Sunday, Dec. 9, is the annual Chanukah on Ice celebration at Sports Plus in Evendale. There will be live sculpting of a giant 5 foot ice menorah, a figure-skating show, and of course, plenty of ice skating to Chanukah tunes. Chabad Jewish Center also brings along delicious Chanukah kosher food concessions, this year featuring custom latkes made on-the-spot by coach Gordy! Pizza, traditional jelly donuts and other snacks will also be available. Tickets are available at the door and include skate rental; food sold separately.

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Chabad Jewish Center presents Chanukah events

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.



The estimate to repair or replace the Losantiville School STICK WITH THE OLDEST



The American Israelite




A copy of the assessment completed in 2001 by Cincinnati Public Schools.

Brett Pelchovitz Stern, a lifelong Cincinnatian, is pleased to announce her recent move to Keller Williams Advisors Realty. There, she will specialize in residential real estate sales. Before joining Keller Williams Advisors, Brett was a residential real estate associate with Comey and Shepherd Realtors. She is a 1998 graduate of Indiana University (B.A. Jewish Studies and Sociology) and a 2000 graduate of Brandeis University (M.A. Jewish Communal Service and M.A. Non-Profit Management). Brett can be reached at the Keller Williams Advisors office. Contact Brett today at (513) 885-8226 or

By Michael Sawan Assistant Editor The Losantiville School will cost $5,490,563.64 to repair, according to a survey conducted by Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS). It would cost $1.659 million more than that to replace the structure entirely. The survey, conducted in 2001 as a part of CPS’ Master Plan building initiative, is the most recent investigation into the state of the structure. According to Michael Burson, former facilities director for CPS, it was this survey’s information that led to the decision to abandon the building. This is because “the cost to repair the building exceeds 66% of the cost to rebuild it,” he explained. Burson was quick to add that the school was “kept safe and functional” between the completion of the study and the discarding of the facility in 2005. He did concede, however, that there have not been any “capital replacements” made whatsoever. These repairs encompass the school’s big ticket items, such as the heating system, electrical sys-

tem, windows, interior lighting, roofing and so on. Including those listed, there are 17 categories that need repair, not to mention the actual cost of construction. Of the 17 categories eight require replacement entirely, including the roofing and the electrical system. There is also a frightening category titled “Hazardous Materials,” filed ironically under “Needs Replacement,” which will cost $170,500. The survey explains that the Hazardous Material in question is asbestos. It refers to a report conducted in 1997 that listed “the known locations of asbestos.” It also notes that certain areas had asbestos “open to observation, and were found in friable condition.” In a section titled “Educational Adequacy,” the facility received 105 out of a possible 200 points, having lost ground due to its lack of a library, poor Arts and Science facility, and general “poor condition.” It should be noted that inflation plays a large role in the proceedings. The $5.5 million listed in 2001 rises to $7,175,484.23 in 2012 dollars, according to the current Consumer Price Index data from

the U.S. government. This number, too, may be low.




Community comes together to celebrate Israel@65

Northern Hills HaZaK learns about trip to Russia

On Thursday, Nov. 29, the opening event was held for Israel@65, a six-month, community-wide celebration of Israel’s 65 years of independence. “Our Star is Born” was hosted by Hebrew Union CollegeJewish Institute of Religion and the American Jewish Archives, in collaboration with the Mayerson JCC, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and other Israel@65 partners. The event recreated the 1947 U.N. vote to create the State of Israel and took the more than 450 attendees on a journey from sorrow to joy – from the solemn remembrance of those lost in the recent violence in Israel to a flash dance mob and Cincinnati’s largest Hava Nagila! “This was an outstanding evening in celebration of Israel’s 65th – well organized, engaging and entertaining,” said community member Henry Fenichel. “It was an event of remembrance to be remembered.” Eliott Grossman said, “We enjoyed it and learned a lot. It also renewed our sense of how proud we are to have a Jewish homeland.” Thanks to the creativity and enthusiasm of Dr. Gary Zola of The Jacob Marcus Rader Center of the American Jewish Archives and Dr. Jonathan Cohen, dean, and students and faculty of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati celebrated the U.N. vote for the first time since the historic event in 1947. History was brought to life during the innovative, interactive recreation

Russia will be the topic when the HaZaK group of Northern Hills Synagogue – Congregation B’nai Avraham holds its monthly program on Wednesday, Dec. 12. Following a delicious lunch, Northern Hills member Bobbi Handwerger will discuss a July 2010 river cruise which she and her husband, Stuart took from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Russia. The trip gave the Handwergers the opportunity to stop and learn about many communities along the way. The program will take place at the Synagogue and will begin at noon. Handwerger served for many years as director of Recruitment Programs and K-12 Outreach in the Dean’s Office at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She has served on the Northern Hills Synagogue Board for many years in various capacities, including corresponding secretary, recording secretary, financial secre-

Community members dancing at “Our Star is Born,” the first night of festivities in the Israel@65 celebration.

of the U.N. vote. Mirit Balkan, Regional Coordinator from Masa Israel (a program of the Jewish Agency for Israel), said, “I was moved. I’ve never before been to such a powerful event.” Both educational and entertaining, “Our Star is Born” surprised audience members with a flash mob Israeli dance, led by Shani ZisovitchCohen and Idit Moss, and offered authentic Israeli food and music by The Big Galut. Then the community joined together to create a high-energy Hava Nagila that filled the Mayerson JCC’s Amberley Room. Yochi Hagay, CEO of Fruitura, an Israeli company considering building its U.S. headquarters in Cincinnati, said, “I’ve been to San Francisco and New York, but I’ve

never seen anything like the enthusiasm of the Jewish community in Cincinnati.” Special thanks go to Omer Eshel, Israeli Consul for Tourism, who represented the State of Israel at the event; Nina and Eddie Paul, co-chairs of Israel@65; Linda and Gary Greenberg, event co-chairs; all the Israel@65 sponsors and partners; and the many volunteers who made the event possible. Israel@65 continues through April with Israel-focused programs across the community. In the coming months, community members will be able to attend a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra performance featuring world-famous Israeli violinist Gil Shaham as well as a special Israel@65 night at the Jewish and Israeli Film Festival (Feb. 9–23).

tary and co-president of Sisterhood, and is currently vice-president for Member Services. Handwerger recently completed a two-year term as co-president of the Cincinnati Chapter of Hadassah. The Handwergers have two grown children and two grandsons. “HaZaK” is an acronym, with the letters standing for the Hebrew words “hakhma” (wisdom), “ziknah” (maturity) and “kadima” (forward). The HaZaK programs are for adults 55 and older, and are open to the entire community. In addition to members of Northern Hills, many attendees have come from the Jewish Community Center, Cedar Village, Brookwood Retirement Community and throughout Greater Cincinnati. There is no charge for the program and lunch, but donations are greatly appreciated. For reservations or more information, please call Northern Hills Synagogue.

Travel around the world in eight days with JCC Winter Break Camps New Camp at the J director, Ilana Nadel, has a world of fun in store for kids in grades K-6 during school winter break. Children will experience the world through a sport, craft and cooking activity unique to a different country each day. Children can create origami from Japan, play cricket from England and cook pasta from Italy. Kids will also enjoy swimming in the JCC indoor waterpark, playing games in the gym and having fun and exercising in the game room. “I’m excited to experience all the different world cultures with the children. Winter Break Camps are great both for kids and working parents, or parents who are looking for a safe, fun place for their children to be while school is out. Winter Break Camps are very popular camps at the JCC!” said Ilana Nadel, JCC camp director and Children & Family Program coordinator. JCC Winter Break Camp is

National Briefs Jonathan Pollard collapses in jail, rushed to hospital BUTNER, N.C. (JTA) – Convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard was undergoing observation in a hospital after collapsing in his jail cell. Pollard collapsed Saturday at the

offered on weekdays, Dec. 24 to Jan. 4 (excluding Dec. 25 and Jan. 1). The regular day is 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., but parents may drop off the kids as early as 8 a.m. and pick up as late as 6 p.m. Parents can register children for any or all days. Campers should bring a swimsuit, lunch and drink each day and advance registration is required. Wondering how to keep the kids busy on New Year’s Eve? Drop them off at the J! The popular New Year’s Eve Overnight is from 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, to 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1. Kids will ring in the New Year with noisemakers, a ball drop and a special “bubbly toast” at midnight. This exciting evening also includes waterpark adventures, snacks, bounce house, games in the gym, a movie and a yummy breakfast. Kids should bring a swimsuit, sleeping bag, pillow, pajamas, toothbrush and toothpaste. Federal Correction Institution in Butner, N.C., after complaining of being in serious pain for several weeks. He is receiving strong pain management medication, the Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home told JTA in a statement. Doctors are set to hold more consultations and decide on further medical intervention, the statement said. The committee said that Pollard’s wife, Esther, has been receiving updates about her husband’s condition. She and the committee have called on people to pray for his recovery.



Insiders stress importance of Israeli infrastructure development By Maxine Dovere JointMedia News Service NEW YORK – “I guarantee it! Your investment will not return 500 percent,” Yehuda Raveh, managing partner of the Israel Infrastructure Fund (IIF), told a recent meeting of investors in New York. What Raveh did promise was an innovative approach to the financing and development of urgently needed transportation, water, communications and energy infrastructure projects in Israel, coupled with reliable returns of up to 17 percent for investors in the country’s future. “An ideal situation for institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals who believe in Israel,” Raveh told JNS on Nov. 27. Israel is a nation quite literally on the move. In just more than six decades, the Israeli population has increased almost 25-fold, going from 600,000 in 1948 to more than 8 million in 2012. Multiple waves of immigration have been characterized by diversity – Russian, Ethiopian, Yemeni, North American and many others. The brightness and security of the nation’s future is “enhanced by investment in its infrastructure,” Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni said at the investors’ meeting, especially considering that Israel finds itself in a Middle East “where the entire regional order has become a regional disorder.” The strong performance of the Israeli economy, its rising stock market, and a government policy that recognizes the importance of investment and attention to infrastructure are essential elements of future planning, Aharoni said. Sigalit Siag, chief fiscal officer of the Israeli Economic Ministry, said facilitating infrastructure growth “encourages significant investment from foreign entities.” She anticipates that about 75 billion shekels will be allotted to transportation during the next five years. The IIF is helping to meet Israel’s mobility challenge by developing a cooperative model of government and private-sector funding integration that gets things done. Its Highway 431 project was completed significantly prior to its due date, according to Raveh. “That has never happened in the public sector,” Raveh told JNS. Had the project not been finished on time, the IFF would have been fined 1 million shekels per day for the delay, Raveh said. In Jerusalem, Mayor Nir Barkat – a former venture capitalist – is leading the charge to augment the ancient city’s rich historic character with a modern and global feel through partnerships, investment and infrastructure development. At a Nov. 15 talk with aspiring leaders at the Harvard University

Courtesy of Matanya/Wikimedia Commons

The Jerusalem Light Rail, one of Israel’s recent infrastructure improvements.

Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass., Barkat described the need for a new model of governing – one that emphasizes working with diverse communities and private-public partnerships. He described the development of local councils under his leadership to give a voice to the diverse array of Jerusalem communities – secular, Arab, Haredi, and Christian. Furthermore, drawing on his business background, he advocated for the creation of a young management team that led the way in forming private-public partnerships that leverage Jerusalem’s unique history, diversity, and strengths in education and life sciences to create new opportunities for investment and growth.

Courtesy of Maxine Dovere

Yehuda Raveh, managing partner of the Israel Infrastructure Fund, speaks at a meeting with investors in New York.

Barkat specifically touted the NIS 8.5 billion plan to build 12 skyscrapers at Jerusalem’s entrance as part of a massive modern business district as the result of his model. The project is expected to bring 40,000 new jobs to the city and allow Jerusalem to compete in the global marketplace. During a Nov. 11 meeting in

New York focused on expansion of development in the Negev, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert noted that infrastructure improvements, especially high-speed railways, unify the country and increase the efficiency of travel from the north to the south. He praised rail development overall, but noted that several rail projects have not met their scheduled start dates. Asked by JNS how private investment in the construction and operation of transportation infrastructure could impact cost and efficiency – and help meet or beat completion deadlines – Olmert declined to answer, citing a need for additional information. Founded in 2007 to foster development of transportation, water purification, energy, communication and other significant infrastructure projects, the IIF has partnered in such projects as CityPass, the 23-station Jerusalem light rail system that began operations in August 2011. The IIF participates in the management of Highway 6, known as the Cross Israel Highway, Highway 431, energy pipelines, energy production and communications projects. Five years after its founding, the IIF manages more than $1 billion of infrastructure investment – largely in Israel. The fund can virtually guarantee significant returns to institutional and individual investors based on government guarantees. “No war, no situation will negatively affect energy, transportation or water purification,” Raveh said. “These are not negatively affected; consumption actually goes up in times of crisis… These stable, continuing investments are little affected by crises, hostilities or economic changes.” Responding to a question concerning the safety of investing in Israel, Raveh said, “Don’t believe every word you read in the newspapers. Tel Aviv was never attacked, nor was Jerusalem. Investing in Israel has steadiness and assurance.”



After U.N. vote, question is whether Palestinians will use it as a stick or an olive leaf By Ron Kampeas Jewish Telegraph Agency WASHINGTON – How the United States treats the Palestinians’ new status as a non-member state at the United Nations depends on how Palestinians plan to use it – as cudgel or outstretched hand. Beneath the outcries of disappointment at the lopsided U.N. vote, both the United States and Israel showed signs of acquiescence to its inevitability. There were the grim warnings of financial consequence for both the Palestinians and the United Nations, but there was also a willingness to take at face value Palestinian claims that the vote is an avenue to return to talks – something Israel and the United States have been demanding for two years. The public statements by U.S. and Israeli officials, however, focused on the negative. “It places further obstacles in the path to peace,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a Foreign Policy Group address after the vote on Thursday. “We have been clear that only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve: two states for two peoples, with a sovereign, viable, independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel.”

Courtesy of Issam Rimawi/Flash90

Palestinians celebrating in the West Bank city of Ramallah after the U.N. General Assembly voted to recognize Palestine as a nonmember state, Nov. 29, 2012.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement after the vote that the Palestinian initiative “violated the agreements with Israel” and that he would “act accordingly.” That apparently presaged leaks to media outlets on Friday that he planned to build 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including in the corridor separating Maaleh Adumim, a large Jewish settlement in the West Bank, from Jerusalem. A broad array of Jewish groups condemned the vote, which passed by a margin of 138-9, with 41 abstentions. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in one of its rare public statements, predicted blunt and dire consequences for the Palestinians and the organization representing them in Washington and New York,

the Palestine Liberation Organization. “Congress has frequently warned the PLO that there would be consequences for its relationship with the United States if the PLO refuses to demonstrate its commitment to peace with Israel,” AIPAC said. “Congress has specifically linked continued aid and the operation of the PLO office in Washington to the Palestinians not seeking statehood status at the United Nations. AIPAC applauds this congressional leadership and urges a full review of America’s relations with the PLO, including closure of the PLO’s office in Washington.” Yet the sequence of congressional amendments introduced this week that would penalize the Palestinians for seeking statehood seemed, if anything, to retreat from punitive to wait-and-see. Earlier this week, a slate of Republican senators led by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) introduced amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act that would cut assistance to the Palestinians immediately and shut down the PLO office in Washington. The NDAA does not otherwise address the Palestinians, but the act is the most immediate vehicle for passage of legislation, as both Houses of Congress are frantically trying to pass major budget bills to head off the so-called fiscal cliff. VOTE on page 19

Holocaust restitution making little headway in E. Europe, Poland seen as worst offender By Dinah Spritzer Jewish Telegraph Agency PRAGUE – In 1988, Yehuda Evron received a memorable letter from Lech Walesa, the first postcommunist president of Poland, on the eve of the country’s transition to democracy. “He wrote that within a few months we would get my wife’s property back,” recalled Evron, now 80. His wife was the only Holocaust survivor of a family that owned a residential building and factory in Zwienec that had been confiscated by the Nazis and then seized by Poland’s communist government. Evron, a Romanian emigre and leader of the New York-based Holocaust Restitution Committee, which represents claims of thousands of survivors from Poland, chortled bitterly last week when recalling his initial optimism after corresponding with Walesa. Nearly 25 years have passed since, many more survivors have died and Polish leaders repeatedly have reneged on promises to enact a restitution law to compensate for the billions of dollars in property stolen from Jews and non-Jews during and after the Holocaust.

Courtesy ofAngora

The Polish magazine Angora's controversial cover featuring a picture of two Orthodox Jews staring toward Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science with a speech bubble stating, "Son, some day all this will be yours," April 17, 2011.

Home to more Jews than any other country before World War II, Poland is now the only European country to endure Nazi occupation that has not enacted a law to ensure some kind of private property compensation or restitution to Holocaust survivors or their heirs. RESTITUTION on page 20

With some anxiety, Poles see ritual slaughter prevailing By Cnaan Liphshiz Jewish Telegraph Agency News that ritual slaughter could be banned in Poland caught Jakub Lopinski at a critical moment in his career. Lopinski, a non-Jewish entrepreneur from Krakow, was preparing to open a new kosher slaughterhouse in an attempt to carve out a niche for himself in Poland’s large export industry for halal and kosher meat. But the future of that industry, estimated to be worth $250 million annually, was plunged into uncertainty last week when Poland’s highest court declared unconstitutional a 2004 government provision permitting the slaughter of conscious animals only for religious reasons. The ruling will take effect in January, the same time as a new European law, Regulation 1099, which requires that animals do not experience “unnecessary suffering.” Regulation 1099 provides exceptions for religious slaughter, though some level of discretion is reserved for individual states. Jewish leaders worry it won’t be enough to keep

kosher slaughter legal. But for Lopinski, his business depends on it. “All of this will be resolved through European Regulation 1099 long before we open our slaughterhouse,” Lopinski said. Poland is far from the first European country to see efforts to curb kosher slaughter on the grounds that it is cruel to animals. But unlike similar measures in Holland and Slovenia, among others, Poland, despite its tiny Jewish population, has a significant kosher industry, one on which several other countries depend for affordable meat. The Polish Ministry of Agriculture could not provide exact figures on the number of kosher slaughterhouses in Poland, but the French news agency AFP put the total number of kosher and halal abattoirs at 17. Salah Messikh, the director of Halal Polska, a large slaughter agency in Poznan, puts the total at 50. Messikh says Poland exports a few hundred thousand tons of halal meat annually. POLES on page 22



UN upgrade could shift IsraeliPalestinian conflict to the courtroom By Gil Shefler JointMedia News Service

Courtesy of Cnaan Liphshiz

Afshin Ellian at his office at Leiden University in the Netherlands, with a portrait of Islam critic Oriana Fallaci in the background.

Bard on the run: Iranian-born scholar still at risk in Holland By Cnaan Liphshiz Jewish Telegraphic Agency LEIDEN, the Netherlands – Among his many talents, Afshin Ellian has a knack for making people want to kill him. It’s a trait he demonstrated as a fugitive in his native Iran after the Islamic Revolution; then as a refugee in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he angered secular Stalinists; and finally in Holland, where he lives under 24hour police protection because of his criticisms of Islam. Ellian has never been someone to toe the line, however. As many in Europe were rushing to condemn Israel’s operation in Gaza earlier this month, Ellian, probably the most famous Iranian in the Netherlands, used his platform at the Dutch magazine Elsevier to blame Hamas “for putting their people in an inhumane position by needlessly waging war.” He has criticized the Western media for ignoring massacres in Arab countries and focusing instead on Israel. And he has drawn death threats from Muslim militants for zingers like this: “Radical Islamists are so determined to prove Islam is the religion of peace that they are willing to kill for it.” Having found himself in the line of fire so many times, it’s unsurprising that the 46-year-old philosopher, poet and law professor dismissed suggestions that he might be deterred by Hamas rockets from carrying through with his first trip to Israel, a country he first heard of as a young political activist in Iran. “Israel is what I wished Iran would be after the fall of the shah’s regime,” Ellian said in an interview last week at his office at Leiden University. “Its democratic nature is seen as a weakness by the Islamists in power but is a power-

ful model for young Iranians seeking change. Israel is also a central element – a made-up enemy – in the identity of the Iranian Islamic Republic, which oppresses them and has made me stateless. In short, Israel is relevant to my life.” A refugee from the Iranian revolution, Ellian has a high profile in the Netherlands. The author of several books, some of them on radical Islam, he is also a columnist for Elsevier and appears regularly on Dutch television as a Middle East commentator. His Op-Eds also have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and Der Spiegel. For a small country, the Netherlands has produced more than its fair share of political provocateurs who live under constant threat of death for their views. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born former parliamentarian, lived for years under armed guard following the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, with whom she collaborated on a piece critical of Islam, before leaving for the United States. The anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders also lives under police protection. Like Hirsi Ali and Wilders, Ellian came to embrace the Jewish state, both as the adversary of a shared enemy and a model of what a religiously inspired democracy in the Middle East could look like. He first heard of Israel as a teenager in Iran, fleeing the Islamists who would pick out political activists like himself in universities and on the street. His cousin, also an activist, was executed and dumped in a mass grave. “I was in a bakery and Ruhollah Khomeini, the revolution’s spiritual leader, promised that the war with Iraq will lead to Jerusalem,” he said. “The baker and I had no idea where that was. I figured it had to be a village in Iraq.”

Israel and the Palestinians have fought each other on many battlefields and many diplomatic fronts for decades, but the passing of the resolution upgrading the Palestinians’ status at the United Nations indicates the next war between the two might take place at a very different venue: courtrooms. The Nov. 29 resolution – which gave the Palestinians “non-member observer state” recognition – could have far-reaching implications regarding Israel’s legal standing in the world. Palestinians might hope to translate their victory in New York into action at The Hague, the sleepy Dutch city that is home to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Court of Justice (ICJ). The Palestinians can now bring criminal charges against Israel at the ICC. Advocate Ido Rosenzweig, a researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and expert in international humanitarian law, explained to JNS that the Palestinian Authority is likely to try gaining statehood recognition in the international courts after a previous attempt failed. “In such a case the court would have to address the Palestinian Authority’s legal status again in order to determine whether it corresponds with the definitions of statehood,” Rosenzweig wrote in an email.

Courtesy of UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Members of the Palestinian delegation at the United Nations General Assembly celebrate Nov. 29 upon the vote to upgrade Palestinian status to a non-member observer state Nov. 29.

The UN General Assembly passed the resolution over Israel’s objections with 138 members voting yes, 41 abstaining and only nine voting no. Outside North America and the Czech Republic, most of Israel’s support came from island-nations like Palau and Micronesia in faraway Oceania, where Old Testament stories of Israelites returning to their Promised Land resonate strongly among the fervently Christian locals. Even Israel’s regular allies at the UN like Germany could not risk breaking with their European Union partners and abstained. Meanwhile, the Palestinians were backed by

Paris, Beijing and Moscow, in addition to a solid bloc of Islamic states. After the resolution passed, Israeli officials downplayed its importance. “A defeat for Israel? I see it differently,” the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Proser, was quoted as saying by Israeli media. “The Arabs have an automatic majority in the UN. Only 87 of 193 members are democratic. Over 100 members are under the rule of tyrants. The Palestinian Authority’s reliance on such a majority cannot be a loss for Israel.” UPGRADE on page 22



Despite mounting criticism, Western Wall remains in haredi Orthodox hands

By Ben Sales Jewish Telegraphic Agency

JERUSALEM – Sitting in his office 20 feet above the Western Wall Plaza, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz is unperturbed by the simmering tensions below. For years, Israeli and American Jewish groups have agitated for greater religious freedom at the Wall, which currently allows for only Orthodox worship. Occasionally the outrage boils over. In October, Israeli police arrested Anat Hoffman, the chairperson of Women of the Wall, a group that organizes monthly women’s services at the holy site, for wearing a tallit, or prayer shawl. As the chief rabbi of the Kotel, as the Western Wall is known in Hebrew, and chair of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the government funded non-profit that governs the wall, Rabinowitz has sole authority to accommodate liberal Jewish practices. But as a haredi Orthodox rabbi, Rabinowitz refuses to abide any deviation from traditional Jewish law, which prohibits women from singing aloud, reading the Torah and wearing a tallit at the Kotel.

Courtesy of Ben Sales

Men taking kipot at the entrance to the Western Wall. The Wall’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowitz, mandates that men wear headcoverings there.

Violations are punishable by up to six months in prison or a fine of about $125. “The decisions are mine,” Rabinowitz said. “If everyone does their own custom, the house will explode.” Rabinowitz is a political appointee, named to his post in 2000 by then-Minister of Religious Affairs Yossi Beilin. His authority

stems from a 1981 law that gives the Kotel’s chief rabbi power to “give instructions and ensure the enforcement of restrictions.” The law also establishes that any prayer at the Kotel must be according to “local custom.” Who determines local custom? Rabinowitz. Rabinowitz further exercises authority through the Western Wall

Israel Briefs

Heritage Foundation. Founded in 1988 to promote tourism and support the Kotel’s physical upkeep, the foundation is now a government subsidiary, given full authority over the Kotel’s administration in 2004. Last year it received nearly $8.5 million in government funds, the bulk of its budget. The foundation’s 15member board includes no nonOrthodox representatives and steadfastly has resisted attempts to legalize non-Orthodox worship. “The body which has been given the keys of the Kotel by the Israeli government is a non-democratic, non-elected body,” said Lesley Sachs, Women of the Wall’s director. “It’s not a body that gives any kind of representation to world Jewry or Israeli Jewry. They have turned [the Kotel] into a haredi synagogue.” Critics charge that Rabinowitz has carte blanche to do what he likes, but the rabbi insists he doesn’t “change things.” He merely applies millennia-old Jewish laws. “This is the order that’s been there for 45 years,” he said, referring to the period since 1967, when Israel conquered the Kotel from Jordanian control. WALL on page 22

Livni unveils new party for run in Israeli elections By Israel Hayom JointMedia News Service After months of speculation, former Israeli Foreign Minister and Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni on Tuesday announced her candidacy in Israel’s Jan. 22 general elections, unveiling her new party Hatnuah (“The Movement”). According to media reports, Livni delayed launching her new party until after hostilities with Hamas in Gaza had ceased. “It was difficult for me to return to politics,” Livni told a packed roomful of reporters at a press conference in Tel Aviv. “I came to fight for our shared vision; to fight for peace. I will not lend a hand to those who are trying to turn the word ‘peace’ into a bad word. I came to fight for Jewish Israel, for democratic Israel. I came to fight against social gaps.” Livni said she “didn’t return to politics to be in this or that party.” “My return was motivated by a void that has emerged,” she said. “When I thought that [former Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert may run, I was relieved, because I thought he would pose a viable alternative to the prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu). Ultimately, I stepped in because the political arena remained empty.” Livni initially entered politics just over a decade ago, following a stint in the Mossad intelligence

service – as a legal adviser, some say, while others speculate that she helped hunt Arab enemies abroad – and then a career as a corporate attorney.

Courtesy of Antje Wildgrube/Wikimedia Commons

Tzipi Livni

Dubbed “Mrs. Clean” by one Israeli newspaper columnist, a reference to her unmarred integrity while her colleagues were plagued with criminal investigations, the usually dour former foreign minister is widely seen as the antithesis of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a glad-handing veteran politician embroiled in a corruption scandal that forced him from office. Reactions quickly followed Livni’s press conference. Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich, who had asked Livni to join the party but was rejected, issued a statement saying: “Tzipi Livni, who is a worthy woman and politician, is making a terrible mistake.

She is establishing a party of double refugees and giving Netanyahu and [Avigdor] Lieberman a reason to smile. Instead of focusing on their [Likud-Beytenu] ultra-extreme Knesset list, now we’re focusing on the fact that there is another little party in the Center. Anyone who believes that Israel should have a fair economy and just society, protect democracy and the rule of law and be able to promote a diplomatic [peace] process should unite behind the leadership of Shelly Yachimovich, who is leading the Center bloc with confidence and stability. Next week, the Labor Party will present an economicsocial plan that, when implemented, will give Israeli citizens better, more decent lives.” The other main Center-Left party, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (“There is a Future”), also issued a statement, saying, “The maneuver that Tzipi Livni instigated this morning is an embodiment of the old politics, the quintessential monster, motivated solely by her ego. It is unfortunate that Livni refused to be a partner in making a real change in the lives of Israel’s citizens.” Lapid had also asked Livni to join his party, and had been refused. Meanwhile, the results of the Likud primaries, which ended on Monday after two days of voting due to glitches in the computerized voting system, indicated that the party’s list for the next Knesset

includes Members of Knesset considered as belonging to right-wing side of the party. The big drama of the primaries was considered to be ministers Dan Meridor, Ze’ev Binyamin (Benny) Begin, Avi Dichter and Michael Eitan failing to garner enough votes to win spots on the list that would guarantee them seats in the next Knesset. MKs Danny Danon, Yariv Levin, Tzipi Hotovely all made it to the top 10 spots on the list. Moshe Feiglin, who heads the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction in the Likud and is considered on the far right of the party, captured the 14th spot on the list and will enter the Knesset for the first time in his political career. The party’s first 20 candidates for the Knesset are Gideon Sa’ar, Gilad Erdan, Silvan Shalom, Yisrael Katz, Danny Danon, Reuven Rivlin, Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon, Zeev Elkin, Yariv Levin, Tzipi Hotovely, Yuli Edelstein, Haim Katz, Miri Regev, Moshe Feiglin, Yuval Steinitz, Tzachi Hanegbi, Limot Livnat, Ofir Akunis, Gila Gamliel and Carmel Shama Hacohen. “When you compare our list with that of any other party, you will see that we have more public servants with proven experience,” said Erdan, who is currently Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection.

Israeli Cabinet resolution rejects U.N. vote upgrading Palestinian status JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Cabinet approved a resolution rejecting the U.N. vote to upgrade the status of the Palestinians and said it would not transfer tax payments to the Palestinian Authority. The resolution was adopted Sunday at the regular weekly Cabinet meeting. “The Jewish people have natural, historical, legal rights to its homeland with its eternal capital Jerusalem,” it said in part. “The State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people has rights and claims to areas that are under dispute in the land of Israel.” The resolution also said that last week’s vote by the United Nations’ General Assembly to grant the Palestinians non-member observer state status will not be used as the basis for future peace negotiations. “The Palestinian Authority’s one-sided step at the U.N. constitutes a gross violation of the agreements that have been signed with the State of Israel; accordingly, the Government of Israel rejects the U.N. General Assembly decision,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the meeting. Also on Sunday, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said he would not transfer tax payments collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority as part of the punitive measures taken in the wake of the General Assembly vote. Instead, Steinitz said, he would use the money “to offset their debt to the Electric Corporation.” Israel collects taxes and customs duties on goods imported into the West Bank on behalf of the PA in the amount of approximately $100 million a month. It is not the first time that Israel has frozen payments to the Palestinian Authority. Lauder agrees to bail out Israeli TV station JERUSALEM (JTA) – American billionaire Ronald Lauder agreed to bail out the financially troubled Israeli television station Channel 10. Under the agreement signed with the State of Israel, the franchise for Israel’s second commercial channel will be extended for three years and Lauder, the station’s majority shareholder, will invest nearly $21 million over that time, the Israeli business daily Globes reported. Channel 10’s debt is equal to about $29 million, according to reports.




ANNOUNCEMENTS BIRTH BIRTH mily Berning and Aron Weisner, of Washington D.C., are pleased to announce the birth of their daughter, Jane Beatrice on May 10, 2012. Jane is the granddaughter of Connie and Stan Weisner of Oakland, Calif., Phyllis and Larry Berning of Chicago, Ill. and Zola Makrauer of Blue Ash. She is the great-granddaughter of the late Janet and Irvin Makrauer of Cincinnati.


Jane Beatrice

Asher Weinstein, 13, Rockwern Academy

Shoshana Stern, 9, Rockwern Academy

Abbey Altman, 9, Rockwern Academy

Jonathan Levy, 9, Rockwern Academy

Sarah Croog, 11, Rockwern Academy

Gabe Kaufman, 10, Rockwern Academy

Avital Isakov, 10, Rockwern Academy

Sofia Cohen, 7, Rockwern Academy

Arielle Podberesky, 10, Seven Hills

Ethan Tyler, 8, Rockwern Academy

Bernard Netanel, 11, Rockwern Academy




Quint Kaufman, 12, Rockwern Academy

Molly Fisher, 9, Rockwern Academy

Jacob Kotzin, 12, Rockwern Academy

Marty Kahn, 10, Rockwern Academy

Matthew Youkilis, 11, Rockwern Academy

Lucy Schneider, 9, Rockwern Academy

Mady Warm, 9, Rockwern Academy

William Schneider, 9, Rockwern Academy

Josh Kotzin, 9, Rockwern Academy

Benji Kotzin, 9, Rockwern Academy

Jake Goodman, 9, Rockwern Academy

Hannah Pollock, 8, Rockwern Academy

Ben Peri, 11, Rockwern Academy

Elise Kravitz, 9, Rockwern Academy

Maximilian Grove, 9, Rockwern Academy

Olivia Vigran, 9, Rockwern Academy




Nikki Kukielka, 12, Rockwern Academy

Brad Gallop, 11, Rockwern Academy

Isaac Goodman, 10, Rockwern Academy

Bayley Goodman, 12, Rockwern Academy

Solomon Kravitz,11, Rockwern Academy

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.



Rascals’ New York Deli — why isn’t there more of this? By Michael Sawan Assistant Editor When is the last time you felt full? I mean FULL. So stuffed that, like our Roman ancestors, you suddenly realize it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to release this tension in one way or another. For many of you the answer is “two weeks ago exactly,” if you’re reading this on the date of publication. For me the answer is now. Right. Now. I have just gotten back from Rascal’s New York Deli and come to think of it, I haven’t been this full since the last time I was in New York. The amazing thing about the deli is that it enables you to just keep eating. A normal man’s appetite grows as large as his eyes. I’m sure it has something to do with the savoriness of the pastrami and corned beef, the oil in the latkes, the balance between sweet, meat and salty, it all refuses to quit until long after you are full. Morris Zucker, the owner of Rascals, would also point out the great ambiance of his restaurant: “The food is historically right, tastes great and is in abundance. This is a great place to be and hang out, it’s a very comfortable restaurant. Most restaurants you walk in and you can’t wait to get out... Here you can just come and hang out. We have WIFI, we have a nice TV. It’s just very laid back.” I’ll add that the restaurant is clean, too, an important distinction from its New York City inspiration. Rascals stands out for even more reasons than that. Zucker notes an emphasis on the restaurant’s constant changing, a shift away from tried and true toward what’s better. “A restaurant is an evolutionary thing. It’s always a work in progress, like life.” He points to Rascals’ new menu as proof, a streamlined and simplified two sided, laminated piece of colorful card stock. There will even be a new website to accompany it soon. Another positive change is in the decor, with a new mural having popped up. It’s made by Mr. Cincinnatus, an artist who has lately been picking up a good amount of notoriety. Even the mural itself has gotten a pretty wink. Zucker explains: “We just got on the Facebook page, Mark Mallory, the mayor, said ‘[the mural’s] great!’” Rascals does more than lunch

(Clockwise) The new mural at Rascals, by Mr. Cincinnatus; The Reuben Three-Way: A base of latkes, pastrami for meat sauce and sauerkraut and Russian dressing replacing the cheese; The Corned Beef Reuben, with a latke and strawberry applesauce; The sweet Stuffed Cabbage, Spinach and Garlic Potatoes platter.

and dinner sandwiches, too. “We’ve always done breakfast since we’ve opened,” Zucker said. “Cincinnati Magazine voted us one of the breakfast kings for our breakfast sandwich, so that’s helped out breakfast business.” The deli also caters and even has special holiday menu items. And, of course, the food is all delicious. I began my meal with a serving of Matzo Ball Soup. It’s notable because it is made from an Israeli recipe brought in by the restaurant’s new deli manager, Dan Katz, who hails from Israel. And what’s the distinction between an Israeli matzo ball and an American one? Who knows, but both are awesome. This version of the dish had certain things I was used to: a lightly salted chicken broth with vegetables, noodles and big hunks of chicken. But the matzo balls themselves were noticeably different. They melted in your mouth, possessing a creaminess that gave a second layer of warmth to the In MainStrasse Village

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tongue. It was a generous sized matzo ball, too, making the bowl of soup a perfect appetizer. Next I tried the Corned Beef Reuben, with a latke and a little cup of strawberry applesauce for dipping. Needless to say, this is a restaurant that is very comfortable in this realm. The reuben had a great mix of meat, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. The meat was cooked right, it retained both its flavor and texture, easily being the centerpiece of the sandwich. How could it not be? There was at least a quarter pound handful of the stuff on the sandwich. The combination of sauerkraut and Russian dressing is what proved to propel the sandwich. The sauerkraut had a nice light crunch and a slight spiciness, that tangy root taste that sauerkraut is so well known for. This was both cut and enhanced by the Russian dressing: the creaminess of it took the edge off, while the dressing’s own spices mingled with the sauerkraut and gave it a new tip. Just for fun, I

dipped the sandwich in the strawberry applesauce. It was good. Going back to business, I put the applesauce to its proper use: latkes. There was ketchup on the table. I knew it was there. I also knew how I was raised and the thought didn’t even cross my mind to place it on the latke, like some sort of hash brown. For the combination of sweet applesauce and oil fried potato pancake is the only honest combination, end of story. And, again, Rascals puts you in the position to do it right. Next I tried the Reuben ThreeWay. I suppose something like this is inevitable once New York meets Cincinnati. The spaghetti is replaced with latkes, the meat sauce with pastrami and the cheese with sauerkraut and Russian dressing. It is like a supercharged version of what I was eating before. All of the tastes melded into a dense forest of flavor, something so thick that one couldn’t tell where one flavor began and another ended. If there were ever the food equivalent of an impressionist


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painting, here it is, and I would never complain about it. Finally, I tried the Stuffed Cabbage. It normally comes with spinach and garlic potatoes, as pictured, but for our purposes I only tried the stuffed cabbage itself. I am so glad I did. Never before have I had something remind me of something else so fully, yet put an entirely new spin on it. This version of the dish was a good amount of sweet, even sort of tangy, with the crunch of the cabbage and the savoriness of the ground beef. And, again, the portion was gigantic, easily enough to feed one to two people. For authentic New York food, ambiance and generosity, Rascals is the obvious place to stop. Their hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m – 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Rascals’ News York Deli 9525 Kenwood Road Cincinnati, OH 45242 (513) 429-4567



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Report card: the state of our Jewish schools, part three By Michael Sawan Assistant Editor There are many Jewish institutions in the city of Cincinnati and we need to treat each and every one with the respect it deserves, for all are harbingers of our heritage, taking all that has come before and announcing it down the line of those yet to come. Being a 158-year-old institution, The American Israelite manages to remember this most of the time. And so it goes without saying! Cincinnati Hebrew Day School (CHDS) and Rockwern Academy both do good work. They, by their own design, make a point to establish the essence of the Jewish people into our faith’s newest adherents. Without these schools others would pop up, seemingly automatically. Ours is a community which demands such institutions. If money is being given to these schools, good. It is an investment in sustaining our heritage and so it is money well spent. It is no accident when both schools produce students that are at or above the 95th percentile. Even beyond facts and figures, many of you readers are products of one of these institutions. You know firsthand whether or not your Jewish day school education has been valuable. At this time we formally invite you to contribute to the conversation, either online via Facebook or through our Letters to the Editor page. There are a few bits of infor-

mation I gleaned while writing this article. For one, CHDS will continue, without trouble, to attract new students from the Orthodox Jewish community of Cincinnati. That’s just a given. Rockwern, too, can draw on the Jewish community, but since it feeds from the more secularized Jewish sects, they have to compete with the secular schools. To this end they go the extra mile academically to entice new families. From what I have gathered both schools are good for the community, and accordingly deserve the recommendation of any responsible person who considers a strong Jewish education important in a child’s intellectual and spiritual development. But we must remember that very few things are perfect. To that end The American Israelite has implemented its new, threestage investigative process. This article is the final step, Conclusion, meaning that the constructive criticism that The American Israelite would like to offer is as follows: We are well aware that any organization of humans will have problems. Unneeded secrecy, the sort where only those close to the organization are aware of what trials present themselves, is frightening and creates division in our community. The American Israelite simply suggests that both CHDS and Rockwern Academy make regular statements, perhaps

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Recently, I attended a eulogy for a lost friend. Somehow, the older I get the more of these there seem to be. There are nice guys and gals; and then there are “nice” guys and gals. Some think of themselves as being kind in an attempt to fit that image. Those who try

hardest usually fail. They’re the ones, for example, who believe abruptly slowing up on the freeway to allow an entering vehicle to merge is being a decent person. It never seems to occur to them that somewhere behind other cars and trucks might have to violently brake or swerve to avoid a collision. Sometimes a person is eulogized because of their tangible accomplishments, such as rising to high positions, earning peer recognition, or accumulating money. This brings up the question: Is it better to be a good person or a person that does good things? Maybe it’s all in the words of the eulogizer... or the definition of good? Daily TV news reports highlighting the misfortunes of fellow humans – for whom no eulogy is tendered – is disheartening. Most of us are by no means perfect now or in the past, but the common Judeo-Christian goal of “good” people is to be the best person we can be and to thank G-d every day for the blessings of our extraordinary life. Extraordinary inasmuch as our sufferings are trivial when compared to some of those we see exposed by the harshness of these news programs. Many who die in catastrophic events do not receive the honor of a eulogy as oft-times the survivors themselves usually don’t have the occasion and energy for wakes. Or... all who knew them also died in the same calamity. Maybe, for these good-who-die-

Israel’s right to defend herself, and his placing of responsibility for the current conflict squarely where it belongs, in the lap of Hamas and other jihadis. It’s not unheard of for an American president to suffice in such circumstances with a mere obligatory call for an end to the violence on both sides. Instead, the president spoke clearly about how “no country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens,” and how “a genuine peace process” must start “with no more missiles being fired into Israel’s territory.” And then there were the successes of the Iron Dome missile interception program (for which Mr. Obama also deserves our hakaras hatov, as it was expanded by a special allocation he requested and Congress approved in 2010); it likely saved many Jewish lives. Another, less readily apparent bit of light, though, might glimmer

in the ugly spectacle of the motorcycle savages in Gaza City. It’s certainly entirely possible, perhaps even probable given Gazan society’s cultural proclivity for barbarity, that the unfortunate man whose corpse was so desecrated (in such telling contrast to the treatment of Osama Bin Laden’s remains, which were given an Islam-sanctioned burial-at-sea send-off by American troops) was no Israeli spy at all. He may have been someone on the wrong side of a business deal, or of a marriage agreement, or of a rental dispute. Accusations of helping the Zionist Entity have long been a convenient way in places like Gaza and the West Bank to dispose of inconvenient lives with impunity. What, though, if the deceased and the others recently executed were in fact helping Israel? It’s not inconceivable. Just as there are operatives in enemy territory dur-

Dear Editor, The UN General Assembly vote on November 29 to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state” made Israel’s 65th birthday a sad day. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas still refuses to enter into talks with Israel despite his pledge to resume negotiations if he succeeded at the UN. Abbas failed at the Security Council last year, but it is only the Security Council which can admit new states, not the General Assembly. AJC applauds the nine nations which opposed the UN resolution, including Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama and the United States. They understood that the negotiating table is the proper location for the birth of a Palestinian state, not the UN. Sincerely, Barbara Glueck Director, AJC Cincinnati Region Dear Editor,

too-soon, their tribute will come after a future generation has had the time and ability to reflect. So, who or what is a nice guy or gal? Perhaps the description or meaning is akin to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of obscenity. In deciding the Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964) case, the judge indicated he couldn’t define it, but, he said, “I know it when I see it.” That’s the way it is with a truly pleasant and heartwarming soul. Words can’t describe them, but you know it when they have touched your life. As I scanned the room of longtime friends, I couldn’t help thinking what would I say about any of them – or they about me? Sincerely, Chuck Klein Cincinnati, OH Dear Editor, They are in their 80s and 90s now, but when the British ruled Eretz Israel they were teenagers, or maybe in their 20s. Their faces were on “wanted” posters; those who were caught went to prison or were exiled to Africa. They are the remnants of the most feared Jewish militia that fought the British – Lehi, commonly known as the Stern Gang. Every Hanukah they met in Tel Aviv, lit Hanukah candles, shared some doughnuts, and watched their numbers dwindle. LETTERS on page 22

Hidden light in Gaza? By Rabbi Avi Shafran Contributing Columnist Beyond all the Arab declarations of animus for Israel, beyond Hamas’ firing of rockets from hospitals and schools, beyond its cynical propagandizing of the resultant civilian casualties when those batteries are destroyed by Israeli jets, beyond the Gazan crowds celebrating the extension of Hamas missiles’ ranges to within reach of Israeli population centers, one image may best capture the jihadi mindset: the dragging of a man’s corpse through the streets of Gaza City. The executed man was an Arab, like the rider to whose motorcycle his body was tied, like the cheering men atop the other bikes in the macabre motorcade. He, along with several others who were likewise summarily murdered, had been accused of “col-

laborating” with Israel – i.e. with sending information to the Israelis that helped them identify missile sites or the whereabouts of jihadi military leaders. The gleeful bikers, in the end, are but an unvarnished representation of a society that seems to suck in hatred and violence with its every breath. They reflect the essence of Hamas, the movement that Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi lauds when he speaks to his people, of the West Bank residents who cheered on the rockets launched from Gaza, of the ostensibly civilized Arab countries whose representatives rushed to Gaza to show their own solidarity with the lusters for the blood of innocents. At the same time, though the recent conflict also featured heartening happenings, if too few of them, such as President Obama’s unequivocal endorsement of

ing every conflict, there are likely Palestinians who are in Israeli intelligence’s employ. And what if their motivation were not monetary but a recognition of the depravity of their society, their observation that its hatred gauge is perpetually in the red zone? Could it be that there are thoughtful Arabs in Arab countries, people who aspire to righteousness – not the jihadi-corrupted version but the real deal – who are willing to help Israel target evil people, even at the risk of their own lives? I don’t know. But even the possibility is a heartening thought. Our tradition teaches us that there are chasidei umos ha’olam, “unusually good people among the nations of the world.” I’d like to hope that there are members of that special human subspecies among the Arab masses. And if in fact there are, may Hashem bless and protect them.



C O R R E C T I O N: On page 21 of last week’s issue, Yaakov Selavan’s letter to the editor claimed him to be a “Former Cincinnatian.” In actuality he is not a former Cincinnatian himself, but the grandson of former Cincinnatian Dr. Ida Selavan Schwarz, who was a librarian at Hebrew Union College. The American Israelite regrets the error.

between? The great Biblical teacher, Nechama Leibowitz, explains that in a Shakespearian play there would appear a parenthesis between both of Reuben’s speeches which would read, “Crowd murmurs in dissent.” Reuben underestimated his brothers’ hatred; he thought that with a few ethical directives, he could save Joseph. But apparently, he lacked the authority and the wisdom to deflect their murderous designs. They cast Joseph into the pit, which would certainly have become his grave had he remained there. By the time Reuben returns to save him, Joseph is gone. Now a third unlikely candidate appears on the scene, Judah, the fourth son of Leah and Jacob. He is ethical as well as wise; he understands the importance of saving Joseph; he even refers to him as our “flesh and blood, our brother,” but he understands that the only way to dissuade the brothers from murdering Joseph is by gaining profit for them. “Why kill him and receive nothing in return? Why not sell him, which will bring profit as well as removing him from the picture?” (Gen 37:26,27). The wise Judah wins the day! Who eventually receives the birthright and why? Do Joseph, Reuben and Judah change and develop as they grow older? Our story is only beginning...












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T EST Y OUR T ORAH KNOWLEDGE THIS WEEK’S PORTION: VAYESHEV (BRAISHITH 37:1—40:23) 1. How did Joseph first raise the anger of his brothers? a.) Showed off how smart he was b.) Report their sins to their father c.) Claim he would rule other them 2. What happened in Dothan? a.) Jacob and his family lived there b.) City in Egypt c.) Joseph was sold as a slave 3. What happened in Timnah? a.) Potipar lived there 5. B 37:33 Jacob thought Joseph was attacked by a wild animal when he saw his coat torn and bloodied. However, the wild animal was a prophetic notion that Joseph would encounter Potiphar's wife who would test his virtue. Rashi

EFRAT, Israel – “Judah said to his brothers: What gain will there be if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Let us sell him to the Ishmaelites...” (Gen 37:26,27). We have just concluded the Biblical account of the rivalry between Jacob and Esau for the birthright-blessings, the momentous conflict regarding the heir to the mission and covenant of Abraham. We now enter the next generation, Jacob-Israel and his 12 sons. A small, nuclear family is now emerging as an incipient nation. The question is upon whose shoulders will the mantle of future Hebraic leadership now devolve? We are no longer dealing with one individual like Abraham standing alone against an idolatrous and immoral world; we are now speaking of 12 brothers, potentially 12 tribes, and the heir apparent must have the requisite strength, courage and wisdom to unite them to convey ethical monotheism to the entire world. The task is daunting and the very future of humanity is dependent upon the proper choice for leader. Even though Jacob’s sons are still young and the “tribes” they will one day represent have yet to emerge, our Biblical portion, Vayeshev, introduces us to the major contenders. From Jacob’s perspective, the heir has already been chosen: “These are the generations of Jacob; Joseph was seventeen years old….” (Gen 37:2). It is the beautiful, clever, first-born son of his beloved wife Rachel who must be the standard-bearer of the Abrahamic Covenant as the family of Jacob enters history as the nation of Israel. Indeed, Jacob presents him with the “striped colored cloak” as a sign of his election! As the story unfolds, however, there are apparent weaknesses within Joseph’s personality which make him unsuitable for the prize, at least at this stage of his life. He

reports their every peccadillo back home to their father, he treats them with supercilious disdain and brags to them about his dreams of mastery. He has the capacity to unify the brothers; however, the problem is that they are all united against him, even in their desire to kill him. It is these dreams which appear to be Joseph’s major flaw. The greatest legacy which Abraham received from God to bequeath to his descendants was the Promised Land of Israel, but Joseph hankers after the sheaves of grain produced by the more sophisticated Egypt, super-power of the Middle East, “gift of the Nile.” And even more problematic, while God was at the center of Abraham’s universe and of Jacob’s dream of the ladder uniting heaven and earth, Joseph is at the center of his own dreams, with the eleven sheaves of grain bowing down to him. Yes, he understands the familial mission to the world, but while he dreams of the sun, moon and stars, he sees them, too, as bowing down to him! The God of Abraham is nowhere in his dreams. The brothers take a page out of Rebecca’s textbook. They believe their father to be blinded by his love of Rachel, so for the good of the family and future nation they plot to get rid of Joseph; and deceive their father into thinking that he has been torn apart by a wild beast. It is at this juncture that the most likely candidate for heirapparent comes to the fore, proving his selfless high morality in his attempt to save Joseph from his brothers. Reuben is the firstborn son of Jacob, albeit to the unappreciated wife Leah. Logic dictates that he would have had most cause to rejoice at Joseph’s disappearance, making he, Reuben, Jacob’s most logical next choice. Nevertheless, just as the brothers grab the hapless Joseph and are about to kill him, Reuben hears (the cries of the crowd) and saves him from their hands; (Reuben) says, “let us not murder a soul” (Gen 37:21). Strangely, the very next verse (37:22) begins, “And Reuben said to them, ‘Do not shed blood; cast him into this pit…’” But why does the Bible have Reuben “speak” twice without anyone else speaking in

b.) Jacob lived there c.) Judah went to shear his sheep and met Tamar 4. Who had a scarlet thread? a.) The baby's hand that was born first b.) The butler when he was in prison c.) The baker when he was in prison 5. Did Jacob think Joseph was still alive? a.) Yes b.) No

3. C 38:12 Timnah was on the side of a mountain. Judah went up to get there. Also, Judah elevated himself there by admitting to his relationship with Tamar who he thought was a harlot. Midrash 4. A 38:28

by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin


Written by Rabbi Dov Aaron Wise

ANSWERS 1. B 37:2 Joseph reported everything that his brothers did wrong to his father.Rashi who gives several examples. I could not find what was Jacob's reaction. 2. C 37:17

Sedra of the Week




By Nate Bloom Contributing Columnist MELMANIA On Nov. 13, a collection of lesser known film and TV appearances by MEL BROOKS, 86, was released on DVD. On Monday, Dec. 10, at 9 p.m., HBO will premiere a special entitled “Mel Brooks Strikes Back.” It’s a film of an on-stage interview that Brooks recently did in Los Angeles before a live audience. The veteran funnyman tells stories about his life and long career. Clips of his TV/film work are also shown. As usual with HBO, there are many encore showings. FILM NEWS AND NOTES Last week, I wrote about the many real-life Jewish characters in the new film, “Hitchcock,” and the many Jewish thespians appearing in that film about the making of “Psycho.” I just learned that the film’s director, Brit SACHA GERVASI, 45, is the son of a non-Jewish father and a Canadian Jewish mother. In 2010, he wed theater producer JESSICA de ROTHSCHILD, 38, in a posh London synagogue. The celebs attending included the bride’s father, SIR EVELYN de ROTHSCHILD, 83, a leading member of the famous Rothschild banking clan. Last September, NICHOLAS JARECKI, 33, made his feature film debut with “Arbitrage,” a suspense thriller. Now his older brother, EUGENE JARECKI, 42, whose prior films include the documentary “Why We Fight” and “Reagan,” an acclaimed 2011 HBO bio-pic, is back in theaters with a new documentary, “The House I Live In.” “House” endeavors to show that the 40-year war on drugs has been a failure and it details the cost of that war through first person interviews. It also explores the political and economic corruption that has accompanied that “war.” (Opens in most cities on Friday, Dec. 7.) “Chasing Ice” is a documentary that shows how James Balog, a National Geographic photographer, changed from a climate change skeptic to a believer. He deployed revolutionary new time-lapse cameras that captured the rapid melting of global glaciers over a several year period. This well-produced documentary even has an original theme song, “Before My Time.” It’s sung by actress SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 28. She’s accompanied by famous violinist JOSHUA BELL, 44. (Opens in many cities on Dec. 7.) Also opening wide on Dec. 7 is “Playing for Keeps.” It’s a romantic comedy about a charming, down-on-his luck former soccer star (Gerard Butler) who returns



home to put his life back together. Looking for a way to rebuild his relationship with his son, he gets roped into coaching the boys’ soccer team. But his attempts to finally become an “adult” are met with hilarious challenges from the attractive “soccer moms” (Uma Thurman, Jessica Biel) who pursue him at every turn. The screenplay is by ROBBIE FOX, 40, a veteran TV/film writer (“So I Married an Axe Murderer”). His father, CHARLES FOX, 72, is a famous composer of popular and classical music. His work includes many film scores, many TV theme songs, and music for two new ballets. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, he teamed with lyricist NORMAN GIMBEL, now 85, and together they wrote the pop hits, “Killing me Softly with his Song” and “I Got a Name.” The latter tune was written for a TV series and was turned into a huge hit by the late JIM CROCE (who was a convert to Judaism). Fox’s parents were Polish Jewish immigrants. In 2009, along with his wife, JOAN (Robbie’s mother), he went to Poland with 72 cantors and the group performed Jewish music in several Polish cities. They were often joined by local Polish Jewish and Polish non-Jewish singers and musicians. Fox composed a new liturgical oratorio for performance during the tour. The tour was the subject of the 2010 documentary “100 Voices: A Journey Home.” (It’s available on Netflix and trailers are on YouTube.) This year, the Polish government gave Fox its highest cultural award for his work in fostering Jewish/Polish cultural ties. NOBEL PRIZE UPDATE On Nov. 29, President Obama met with 2012 American Nobel Prize winners at the White House. The 2012 winners will receive their prizes in Stockholm on Dec. 10. The Jewish winners this year are: American ROBERT LEFKOWITZ, 69, chemistry; American ALVIN ROTH, 60, economics; and Frenchman SERGE HAROCHE, 68, physics (Haroche was born in Morocco, the son of a Sephardi father/Ashkenazi mother). On Nov. 24, the light-hearted NPR current events radio program, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” ran a re-play of an interview they did a year ago with ADAM RIESS, 42, an astrophysicist who won the 2011 physics Nobel. He was very amusing in his give-andtake with the show’s panel. For example, when asked how he found out about his award, Riess replied: “Well, around 5:30 a.m. you get a call from Swedishsounding people and unless you ordered some Ikea furniture lately, it’s probably the Nobel Prize.”

FROM THE PAGES 150 Y EARS A GO Fruit Medicine - Ripe fruit is the medicine of nature; nothing can be more wholesome for a man or child, though green fruit is, of course, rank poison. Strawberries are favorites with all classes, and constitute a very superior remedy. Our own disordered livers and digestive apparatus are generally restored by that fruit. After them we do homage especially to peaches, and apples and grapes. We once knew a person who, believing himself in decline, determined to eat from four to six ripe apples a day, and note the result: In three months he was well. We know of another who was in general ill health that commenced the habit of drinking a glass of plain cider every morning, and never had a day’s illness for 25 years thereafter. Such remedies are simple enough. – December 12, 1862

125 Y EARS A GO The arrangements for the sure success of the Richmond Street Temple Fair are progressing rapidly. From present appearances the fair will be a pronounced success, and it requires only continued effort on the part of those interested to make this event one of prominence in the history of the congregation. The official committes are as follows: President, Mrs. L. Loeb; Vice-President, Mrs. J. Bing; Treasurer, Mrs. M. Weil; Secretary, Mrs. J. Stern. The committee on Contributions consists of Mesdames L. Meiss, J. Bing, J. Stern, H. Straus, M. Auer, J. Block, Greenhut and Hahn, and Mrs. Rappapor and the Misses Fletcher, Josie Jonap, Annie Brill and Rosa Wachtel. Due notice will be given of the various details. In the meantime all friends are requested to come forward and lend their assistance. – December 9, 1887

100 Y EARS A GO “Some Jewish Questions of the Day” will be the subject of a talk by Mr. Leo Wise, editor of the Israelite, before the Sons and Daughters of Zion Society at its next regular meeting, Sunday afternoon, December 8, at 3 o’clock, in the auditorium of the Jewish Settlement, 415 Clifton street. The general public is cordially invited to attend. Miss Yetta Cohn will open the Henrietta Corset Shop at 140 West Seventh avenue, between Race and Elm, on December 7, to which the ladies are cordially invited. Miss Cohn offers for the benefit of the ladies of Cincinnati and vicinity, her long experience and expert knowledge of all the refinement of correct corseting gained as manager for the past 10 years of one of the oldest houses in the city. Judge Harry M. Hoffheimer, of

the Superior Court Bench of the City of Cincinnati, has announced his intention to resign during this month to resume the practice of his profession. His present term of office has still three years to run. Judge Hoffheimer is married and has three children He is still a comparatively young man, he being but 45 years of age, but he has been in public life for about fifteen years, nine of which he has spent upon the Superior Court bench. – December 5, 1912

75 Y EARS A GO The Women’s Club of the Jewish Center will hold its annual bridge party Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 1:30 p.m. Mrs. M.B. Weiner is chairman at large while on the Ticket Committee are Mrs. I.C. Carmel and Mrs. Sidney Hirschberg. Mrs. Maurice Schetzer will be in charge of the cake sale at this party. Mens Club – Climaxing two weeks of vigorous campaigning, the Men’s Club of the Jewish Center held its annual election at the last meeting. A record turn-out appeared to elect: Max Rutman, president; Sid Kahn, first vice president; Charles Okrent, second vice president; Earl Coplan, recording secretary; Art Stillpass, treasurer; Leo Shear, corresponding secretary. Harry Apter relinquished his gavel after a most successful term as president. Committees will be appointed at the next meeting and plans are under way to make this a lively and interesting season.– December 9, 1937

50 Y EARS A GO Mrs. Joseph Kanter is chairman of the Book Committee for the musical play, “Time Do Fly,” to be presented Saturday evening, Jan. 19, at the Netherland Hilton at Rockdale Temple’s annual dinnermeeting. Those serving with her include Mrs. Frank M. Fox, Herbert S. Landsman, Henry P. Trounstine, Robert Senior, Jr., and Henry C. Segal. Special material for the show was prepared by Mrs. B. Andrew Ungar and Mrs. Richard Wolf. Mrs. Kanter, the former Miss Nancy Reed, began professional performances at the age of eight. She attended Julliard School of Music, sang and played the piano with name bands and she toured Europe with Benny Goodman’s band. She appeared on three daily television shows in New York City and at Le Ruban Bleu, supper club, in New York City. Mrs. Kanter is a member of the American Society of Composers and several of her original songs have been recorded, the latest by Debbie Reynolds.

On Oct. 6 she was presented the Distinguished Service Award at the annual United Cerebral Palsy convention in Washington for her original song, “Look At Us—We’re Walking,” for the national cerebral palsy telethon. Mr. and Mrs. Kanter and their four children reside in Forest Park. Mrs. Val Friedman and Philip T. Cohen are chairmen for the dinner. Invitations will be mailed soon. – December 6, 1962

25 Y EARS A GO Gloria S. Haffer was elected mayor of Amberley Village Dec. 1. Amberley Council chooses the mayor after council members, elected in November, are sworn in. Haffer has served on the council since 1975 and was vice mayor from 1983-87. She is Amberley’s first woman mayor. An attorney, Haffer is a partner in the firm of Buechner, Haffer, O’Connel & Meyers. She is a graduate of Walnut Hills High School, the University of Cincinnati and Salmon P. Chase College of Law. She is a member of the Cincinnati, American, Ohio and Kentucky Bar Associations. Long active in Jewish community activities, Haffer is a member of the Jewish Hospital board and serves on the Jewish Federation’s Hebrew Free Loan Committee. She served as president of the Jewish Community Relations Council, vice chairman of the Government Affairs Committee of Ohio Jewish Communities and is a member of the boards of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council and the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. Other members of the Amberley Council are: Dean Fite, vice mayor; Walter W. Hattenbach, Dr. Richard Kerstine, Walter Meyer, Marianne Pressman and Barbara Steinberg. – December 10, 1987

10 Y EARS A GO More than 70 volunteers from different Cincinnati constituencies came together Nov. 10 for Green Sunday, a phone-a-thon to raise money to support Jewish National Funds’s (JNF) work in Israel. Lainey Paul, daughter of Nina and Eddie Paul, JNF executive board members, organized some of her classmates to assist with the day. Her younger brothers, Max and Jake, lent a helping hand, raising more than $1,000. “The kids were excited, energetic and ready to go,” said Melissa Ann Fabian, JNF campaign associate. “They raised close to $2,000 on the phones by calling people that they know and people that we had contact information for. At the end of the day, the kids did not want to leave.” – December 5, 2002



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business@ or call Erin at 621-3145 TALK from page 4 Coffee Talk is a monthly, casual get-together, usually held in a Hadassah member’s home, to discuss topics of Jewish interest. Meetings are held the second Monday of the month, alternating between evening and morning times. Upcoming Coffee Talk programs will feature Judge Heather Stein Russell, Dr. Laura Wexler and Rabbi Judy Chessin. Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, was born from the vision of one woman, Henrietta Szold, who saw a great need and wanted to help. She knew VOTE from page 8 By Thursday morning, however, just hours before the U.N. vote, Barrasso had joined a separate Palestinian spending initiative, and one likelier to pass, spearheaded by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). That amendment to the NDAA would cut assistance to the Palestinians only if they use their new U.N. status to bring charges against Israel. The new amendment would shut down the PLO office in Washington only in the case that the Palestinians have not entered into “meaningful negotiations” with Israel. A lawmaker on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee told JTA that the House was likely to initiate a similar waitand-see bill. The lawmaker characterized it as a bid to see if the Palestinians would make good on suggestions that they were not in a hurry to bring charges at the International Criminal Court, and that a successful show at the United Nations could create the conditions necessary to bring the Palestinians back to talks. In an interview earlier this month, Maen Areikat, the PLO envoy to Washington, told JTA that the U.N. vote would mitigate the factor that has kept the Palestinians from talks until now: Israel’s continued settlement expansion. The vote, recognizing “Palestine” as within the pre-1967 lines, would grant the Palestinians assurances that lands they claim have international recognition, even if Israel continues to build Jewish settlements there. “After we get recognition within 1967 borders, we are willing to


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(513) 531-9600 what a powerful force women can be and created Hadassah to heal the world through the education and empowerment of women. In 1912, Hadassah women laid down the foundation of the Hadassah Medical Organization and other vital projects in Israel and around the world. Hadassah members still meet, make new friends, have fun, discuss and learn. Cincinnati Chapter is full of vibrant, intelligent women who look forward to continuing Henrietta Szold’s vision of making a difference for centuries to come. Coffee Talk is open to the public, and there is no charge to attend, but RSVPs are requested. engage Israelis,” Areikat said. Areikat, like other Palestinian officials, would not count out using U.N. bodies like the International Criminal Court to seek redress for what they say are illegal Israeli actions. But he also noted that even with the enhanced status of nonmember state, the road to such actions was fraught with bureaucracy and unlikely to happen anytime soon. On Thursday, two influential think-tankers otherwise known for their hawkish views testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the state of IsraeliPalestinian relations in the wake of November’s mini-war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Thursday’s vote. The two men – Robert Satloff, who heads the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Elliott Abrams, the deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush who is now at the Council on Foreign Relations – answered questions from lawmakers on whether the U.N. vote should trigger U.S. penalties on the Palestinians. Satloff said that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president and PLO leader, needed to show the Palestinian people that there was an alternative to Hamas’ preferred course: terrorism. “We have to encourage him to choose the diplomatic path,” Satloff said of the Palestinian leader. “It really comes down to invigorating an alternative.” Another witness, Danielle Pletka, the vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, shook her head in disagreement, saying the Palestinians needed disincentives to prevent uncooperative behavior.

20 • LEGAL


Retaining DNA from a person acquitted of a crime Legally Speaking

by Marianna Bettman Much has been written about how jurors in criminal cases now expect to be razzle dazzled by CSI kinds of evidence. Here’s a recent case from the Supreme Court of Ohio that would please CSI fans. The case is State v. Emerson. In 2005, Dajuan Emerson was tried for rape and was acquitted. During the investigation of this rape, the prosecution obtained a search warrant to obtain a DNA sample from Emerson. The DNA sample was processed and a DNA profile was obtained and entered into database known as “CODIS” (Combined DNA Index System). Even though Emerson was acquitted, his profile remained in CODIS. In 2007 the police investigated a stabbing death in Cleveland which was unsolved for two years. Blood was found on a door handle at the crime scene. The blood sample was processed, and the resulting DNA profile was entered randomly into CODIS. Just like on the TV crime lab shows, a match turned up. Emerson’s DNA profile, obtained from the rape case, matched the blood at the murder scene. There was no other evidence linking Emerson to the crime. Emerson was charged with aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, and tampering with evidence. He moved to suppress any DNA evidence on the ground that once he had been acquitted of the rape charge, his DNA should no longer have been retained in CODIS. The trial court denied the motion and Emerson was convicted of the murder and tampering charges. The Supreme Court of Ohio accepted Emerson’s case, to answer the question of whether the state had the right to retain his DNA once he was acquitted of the rape charge. Here’s some of the dazzle from the opinion. A DNA sample is not the same thing as a DNA profile. A DNA profile consists of a series of numbers that represent different

alleles that are present at different locations on the DNA. In case you are wondering what an “allele” is (I was) opinion author Justice Robert Cupp looked it up for us all, and put it in a footnote in the opinion. An allele is defined as “either of a pair of genes located at the same position on both members of a pair of chromosomes and conveying characters that are inherited in accordance with Mendelain law.” Thus, those numbers constitute the DNA profile used by the laboratories in making comparisons. Emerson argued to the Court that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the DNA profile obtained from his sample, and that the state should only have been allowed to use his DNA profile in the rape case. The continued retention of his DNA profile in CODIS and its use in the murder trial was an impermissible search and seizure – independent of taking the DNA sample – to which he had standing to object. The Court, in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Cupp (who was defeated in this past election) rejected Emerson’s arguments in this case. It is well settled law that in order to have standing to challenge a search or a seizure, a defendant must have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the evidence that is seized. This is a two part test. 1. Did the individual manifest a subjective expectation of privacy in the evidence seized? 2. Was that expectation objectively reasonable? The Supreme Court was quick to point out here that the original DNA sample in this case was obtained with a warrant, so there was no Fourth Amendment violation with respect to getting that sample. And the Court agreed that a person clearly has a legitimate expectation of privacy in his own DNA sample. But a DNA profile is something separate and distinct from the sample. To obtain a profile from a sample, a scientific process must be performed by a government agent, so a DNA profile is the government’s work product in which a criminal defendant has no possessory or ownership interest. The Court found Emerson didn’t manifest any subjective expectation of privacy in the DNA profile because he never tried to expunge the profile from CODIS after he was acquitted of the rape charge. A number of the justices asked about this at the oral argument. The pertinent statue at the

time was silent on what to do with DNA lawfully collected and used at trial, once there was an acquittal. The statute neither precluded its retention nor mandated its destruction. Defense counsel had argued that the burden should not be on the defendant to seek its expungement. In its opinion, the Court disagreed. The Court also found that even if Emerson had shown a subjective expectation of privacy in the DNA profile, society does not recognize that as objectively reasonable. Stuff collected at a crime scene can be kept for further investigation. So the DNA collected at the scene is really no different from fingerprints found at the scene. Both are retained for use in subsequent investigations. Emerson also argued that under then-existing statutes, his DNA profile should never have been retained because retention of DNA profiles of acquitted persons in CODIS was not permitted. While the Court conceded that one of the statutes Emerson relied on does not provide for the retention of DNA for acquitted individuals, a different statute empowers the Superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to establish and maintain a DNA database, including DNA records from forensic casework. The Court held that the profile obtained from the sample in this case is a record from forensic casework and as such was properly maintained in CODIS. The Court also noted that the CODIS Methods Manual has no provision for removal of a DNA profile of an acquitted individual, and although there is a section dealing with expungement in other circumstances, it is not self-executing. The burden of seeking expungement remains on the person seeking it, which as the Court earlier noted, Emerson failed to do. “There is no legislative requirement that DNA profiles obtained from lawfully obtained DNA samples be removed from CODIS on the state’s initiative when the subject of the profile is acquitted at trial, and we will not create such a requirement, ” Cupp wrote. As I have often noted, this Court is not one that is wont to add things to statutes. So here’s the holding from this case: “A person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her DNA profile extracted from a lawfully obtained DNA sample, and a defendant lacks standing to object to its use by the state in a subsequent criminal investigation.” Not all that surprising, really.

Writing about what’s left unsaid Incidentally Iris

by Iris Ruth Pastor What mother doesn’t know what her kids are thinking when Chanukah comes early in December? Even if they don’t utter it aloud? It would go something like the following: “This Sucks. The holidays haven’t even arrived and it’s over for us already.” But it need not be. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the holiday season without compromising our Jewish beliefs and values. Here’s a few: Bake those Christmas cookies with your kids (or without). Decorate them with wild abandon. And then give the batch to someone special in your life who does celebrate Christmas. Or experiment with eggnog recipes. Or whip up some stolen (fruitcake). Deliver away. A close high school friend of mine, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, married a Christian man. Every year his family gave her a Christmas gift and every year she beamed. What did RESTITUTION from page 8 Evron talked to JTA at last week’s Prague meeting on Holocaust restitution, called the Immovable Property Review Conference, which was organized as a follow-up to a 2009 conference in this city that produced a historic resolution on Holocaust assets. The resolution, called the 2009 Terezin Declaration, was signed by 46 countries that committed to speeding up the restitution of private and communal property to Holocaust survivors and their heirs. This year’s conference and the 2009 parley were organized and supported by the Czech Foreign Ministry, U.S.-based Jewish organizations and the U.S. State Department, with participation from countries throughout Europe. At last week’s gathering, many of the references to 2009 were in the form of laments that so little had been accomplished in three years. “In sum, restitution of property confiscated during the Holocaust proceeds exceedingly slowly, if at all,” said a report prepared for the conference by the World Jewish

they give her? Carefully chosen pieces of Judaica. Turn it around. Have a close friend, neighbor, coworker or family member who celebrates Christmas? Shower them with items related to the way they mark their religion. Take the kids and shop for those sparkly tree ornaments, deliciously pine-scented wreaths, gaily decorated Santa mugs. Christmas is the only national holiday rooted in religious tradition. It makes it hard for those in the minority to cope. But don’t lose heart. Seize Christmas Day as an opportunity to practice a cornerstone of Judaism: Tikkun Olam – repairing the world. Play Santa. Fill in for Christians at work. Donate toys to a shelter. Send a message of appreciation and support to the soldiers in our military who are far from loved ones during the holidays. When Jews continue the tradition of Jews volunteering – we as individuals and as members of a family – get an opportunity to participate in Christmas without compromising our values, but actually reinforcing them. And if you want to have some good old fashioned fun, sing a few of the most popular Christmas carols – the ones written by Jews, that is. (Santa Baby; Winter Wonderland; Silver Bells; Let it Snow, Let it Snow). And be sure and point out this amusing fact: the wildly popular White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin in 1940 while he was sitting poolside at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix – where there were absolutely no snowflakes in sight! Restitution Organization, an umbrella group. The focus remains on Central and Eastern Europe, where compensation for communal and private property seizures began in the 1990s and in most cases continues at a glacial pace. In Croatia, for example, the main progress since 2009 has been the proposal of an amendment eliminating a citizenship requirement imposed by Croatia’s restitution law – but the amendment has not been submitted to lawmakers for consideration. In Romania, all compensation to private property claimants has been suspended; critics blame a corrupt and bankrupt compensation fund. In Latvia, where 300 Jewish communal properties were never returned, a bill offering some compensation has been stalled for six years. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has withheld the final two years of a government compensation program to aid Hungarian survivors who reside outside the country.



This Year in Jerusalem The 2013 LR2 — why own a car This Year when you can own luxury? in Jerusalem

by Phyllis Singer This November brought new experiences for American olim (immigrants) in Jerusalem as Israel experienced Operation Pillar of Defense from Nov. 14-21. This military operation (not a war – just a military operation!) was launched against Hamas in Gaza to put an end to all the rocket and missile attacks that have been taking place on a non-stop basis in southern Israel, the area that is near Gaza. Although many olim have been here during previous military conflicts, including the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and before that – the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the 1967 Six Day War – this was the first time that Jerusalem had been targeted since the Six Day War. The sirens came as a surprise. Common belief was that the Palestinians would not target Jerusalem because of the many Moslem holy places and the large Arab population in the city. So much for myths! The first siren rang out on Friday night, Nov. 16, just as Shabbat was beginning. Many Jerusalemites were in Beit Knesset (synagogue/shul). I usually go to shul on Friday night; conveniently, it is right across the street from my apartment. As a traditional Israeli Orthodox synagogue, the women’s section is upstairs with a clear view from the balcony of the men’s section on the first floor. The women did not hear the siren, but the shul’s administrator called to everyone to evacuate to the bomb shelter in the lower level of the building, which happens to be another area that has been fixed up as a synagogue and is used for services. (This congregation has several different services going on simultaneously, and Shabbat services were also taking place in that area.) So down we went without any panic. Instructions from the Home Front Command of the Israel Defense Forces are to remain in the shelter for 10 minutes or until the allclear sounds, unless, of course, there are additional warning sirens. After 10 minutes, the men returned to the main synagogue, but the women remained for the rest of services in the lower level – not from fear, but just because it was more convenient not to go back up to the second floor.

We heard the next day that a missile had landed outside Jerusalem, and no damage had been caused. However, the attack marked a major escalation since Jerusalem had been thought to be beyond the range of Gazan rockets. Meanwhile, the Greater Tel Aviv area was also being targeted. Although missiles were more accurate than the one targeted for Jerusalem, most of them were destroyed by the Iron Dome system, an impressive interception system that destroys incoming rockets and missiles in flight. But Tel Aviv also had been thought to be beyond the range of rockets from Gaza. But Friday was not the only time that Jerusalem was targeted. The following Tuesday afternoon, when I was home, the sirens rang out again. The Home Front Command has been publicizing – including in English – instructions on how to respond upon hearing the warning sirens. Homes and apartments that have been built since the 1991 Gulf War have to have a safe room inside. However, many apartments and homes, such as our apartment building, were built long before 1991, and don’t have safe rooms. However, many apartment buildings like ours, which was built in the 1950s, have bomb shelters, which many people use as storage rooms. The Home Front Command has been instructing residents to clear out those bomb shelters and make them accessible to residents. However, if there is no safe room or bomb shelter in a building, and you cannot get to one within a very short period of time – depending on where you live in the country – then you’re supposed to take shelter in the stairwell of the building. When the siren sounded, I went out into the stairwell, because the bomb shelter in our building is locked, and I don’t have a key. But as I was locking my door, my upstairs neighbors were running down the stairs with a key. So I followed them, and we spent the next 10 minutes in the shelter. This rocket also landed in an open area outside Jerusalem. The vaad lady (the woman in charge of the building council) also came into the shelter and promised that she would have keys made for all of us for the shelter. But the ceasefire was declared the next day, so perhaps we won’t need them. Or perhaps that is really wishful thinking because no one is really optimistic that this ceasefire will last for a long time. And now who knows what else will happen since the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas won recognition Nov. 29 as a non-member state in the United Nations. Will the PA use that new status to pursue peace with Israel, or, more likely, will it continue on its present path of non-negotiation with Israel? Hopefully, nothing worse will emerge. And, hopefully, I won’t need the key to the bomb shelter!

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22 • OBITUARIES D EATH N OTICES PASTERSKAYA, Faina, age 86, December 2, 2012; 18 Kislev, 5773. KATZ, Julane L., age 85, December 3, 2012; 19 Kislev 5773. POLES from page 8 Shechitah, as the Jewish regulations concerning animal slaughter are known, accounts for about 20 percent of Poland’s ritual slaughter market, according to Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland. Only a small amount is consumed locally by Poland’s 6,000 Jews. Most is exported to Germany, Turkey, France, Italy and Israel. “A ban would be bad for us, but also bad for the Jewish communities in France and elsewhere who depend on affordable kosher meat from Poland,” said Rabbi Yehuda Brodie of the Manchester Beth Din, a kosher certification agency in England that employs some of the ritual slaughterers, or shochtim, for the Polish kosher meat industry. Messikh, whose halal butchers kill and export 2,000 to 3,000 animals a year, says affordability is why the industry has evolved in a country with so few Jews and Muslims – the latter community’s population estimated at about 25,000, according to a 2010 U.S. government estimate. “Overhead is much cheaper here than in Western Europe,” Messikh said. Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland, says ritual slaughter will survive the high court’s ruling, which was issued in response to a petition submitted by animal rights activists. LETTERS from page 16 They chose to meet on Hanukah because it commemorates the victory of the few against the many. They, too, began as a group of a few dozen extremists in 1940 and, even in 1948, when they all joined the Israeli army, they numbered under 1,000. Since 1932 Abraham Stern, their future leader, had been writing songs about “anonymous soldiers” who would “live underground” while fighting to liberate the homeland. By 1941 his followers were killing officials of the British regime who had promised to make the holy land a Jewish home but more or less reneged, and they were bombing the British offices that were preventing Jewish immigration. By then Stern was on the run and many of his men were in jail. His imprisoned troops crafted an olivewood Hanukah lamp and smuggled it to him with a note: “To our days’ Hasmonean, from his soldiers in captivity.” Hanukah was a special time


Abbas, still the nominal leader of all the Palestinians. Fatah bet that a successful bid at the UN would prove to the Arab world and its own base of support that it is still relevant. On the legal front, if the Palestinians attained statehood status in international courts, they could challenge Israel on several grounds. For instance, the PA could ask the ICC to prosecute Israel for war crimes: think Goldstone Report—the controversial probe that accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes— but with legal teeth. If the prosecution went ahead with such a probe, its jurisdiction would not be retroactive. In other words, Operation Cast Lead would not be under its scope of investigation, but any future flareups between Israel and the Palestinians would be. Israeli settle-

ments in the West Bank would also come under scrutiny, given that international law prohibits states from settling occupied land with their own citizens. If Israelis were found guilty at the end of such proceedings, it could lead to arrest warrants being issued against top officials. All of this is highly hypothetical and subject to extensive future legal wrangling, but the IDI’s Rosenzweig stressed that the potential for a Palestinian gambit in the international courts is real. “I think it’s worth mentioning the fact that it’s a bargaining chip due to the stress that such procedures might cause both internally in the Israeli systems and in the Israel-Palestinian conflict,” he told JNS. However, Rosenzweig added that such a course of action might

backfire because Palestinians could also be charged with committing war crimes. Meanwhile, neither Israel nor the Palestinians seem willing to back down. The Palestinians refused to give the U.K. assurances that they would not turn to the international courts to prosecute Israel, and the tone of the speech delivered by Abbas at the UN was hardly conciliatory. On its end, Israel announced it had approved construction of a new Jewish settlement in E1, a crucial strategic area just east of Jerusalem, the day after the resolution passed. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the decision had been made long ago, but the timing was to “be expected [because of] the UN decision.”

Prior to Israeli control, things were different. Photos from the British Mandate period show worshipers praying at the wall without a mechitzah, the religious divider that slices the plaza into separate sections for men and women. But Rabinowitz says the photos are meaningless, since the wall wasn’t under Jewish sovereignty at the time. “They couldn’t read Torah or blow the shofar,” he said. “They could hardly pray there. The British did terrible things. You want to go back to that? The British didn’t establish local custom.” Rabinowitz calls the Kotel “the biggest synagogue in the world,” and it’s almost certainly the busiest, with 8 million visitors annually. The courtyard of 22,000 square feet that abuts the Kotel hosts constant, simultaneous prayer groups, in addition to rows of people resting their foreheads on the ancient

stones, yelling their prayers or placing notes in the Kotel’s cracks. In the women’s section, which is about a third the size of the men’s, group prayer is much rarer because women are not allowed to sing out loud or read Torah. “Praying at the Kotel is a disaster area,” said Rabbi Jay Karzen, who has been officiating at Kotel bar mitzvahs since 1985. “You’re going to have 20 to 30 simultaneous bar mitzvahs and everyone is doing their own thing.” Despite its apparent chaos, though, the Kotel is a tight ship. “Organizational” ushers, working in teams of 10, patrol the plaza around the clock, stacking chairs, pushing mops across a shiny floor of Jerusalem stone and returning used prayer books to surprisingly orderly shelves. Although visitors come and go constantly, few books are stolen. Enforcing the Kotel’s religious restrictions falls to “informational” ushers who sit on the men’s side near a box of yarmulkes for visitors

who arrive without one. While religious laws on prayer and modest dress can be complex, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation has boiled them down to seven rules posted on a placard near the entrance. Karzen says disciplinary action is rare. “People come there to do their own thing,” Karzen said. “Mostly people cooperate.” The biggest exception may be Women of the Wall, which has met at the back of the women’s section at the beginning of every new Jewish month since 1988. Over the years, the group has faced arrest by the police and occasional harassment. So far, though, no one has succeeded in changing the 1981 law, despite several attempts. Israel’s Supreme Court repeatedly has rejected Women of the Wall’s petitions for a change in local custom, most recently in 2003. In that ruling, the court suggested that the group pray at Robinson’s Arch, an area adjacent to the Kotel that is

open to non-Orthodox prayer. The group rejected the option. Now the Israel Religious Action Center, an advocacy group affiliated with the American Union for Reform Judaism, plans to petition the Supreme Court to mandate a change in the makeup of the foundation’s board. While Rabinowitz would still hold ultimate Jewish legal authority over the Kotel, it is hoped that the board can provide a check on his power. “They’re the ones with the budget,” said Einat Hurwitz, who heads the center’s legal department. “The Kotel gets money from this group. If it becomes more pluralist, it will affect the separation between men and women.” It’s unclear whether the latest effort will gain traction. Nitzan Horowitz, a parliamentarian from the left-wing Meretz party and chair of the Knesset’s religion and state lobby, believes the courts are not the most effective forum for change on this issue.

for the fighters. Stern wrote, “We are a handful of freedom fighters, possessed with a crazy desire for sovereignty, and according to our detractors of little strength. But this is not so. The little strength is much greater than it appears. Like the Hasmoneans’ oil, the fire of zealousness and heroism burns in the temple of our hearts, a divine flame. The day is coming soon when we will use this flame to light the candles of our Hanukah, the Hanukah of the Hebrew kingdom, in a free Zion.” Stern was captured by British police in a rooftop apartment in south Tel Aviv and shot to death. The veterans have held their Hanukah gatherings in this hideout, now an Israeli museum. They were joined every year by Stern’s son, Yair, now 70. He was always the youngest “veteran” in the room. Though he was 6 years old when the British left and Israel was established, he paid the price of being his father’s son. During the War of Independence, an Israeli army unit drove past his

house on its way to battle. The commander jumped out of a jeep and ran to Yair, who was playing in the yard. “We have an army and a state thanks to your father,” he said, then drove off. “If I hadn’t heard that, I don’t know how I would have turned out,” Yair said recently. He became a sports reporter and ultimately the director of Israel Television. Now retired, he promotes the memory of his father and the 127 Lehi members killed by the British or in the 1948 war with the Arabs. Over the years the number of fighters attending the party dropped and the number of grandchildren rose. One regular was Hanna Armoni, now 87. In the 1940s she brought food to the underground’s prison escapees and blew up bridges. Her husband, Haim, helped blow up some British oil refineries and was one of 19 Lehi fighters sentenced to death for the deed. Hanna took out an ad in a local paper to inform Haim that he’d become a father, but he was

killed escaping from Acco prison before he met his daughter. The daughter attended last year’s party with her own children. “Lehi was violent,” Hanna says, “but in all the years of our war with the British, Lehi never targeted a woman or child. Our targets were British police, soldiers and government officials.” Tuvia Henzion, 92, was a synagogue choirboy who had studied auto mechanics. He fought with British Colonel Orde Wingate’s raiders before joining Stern’s militia. When Stern was killed, Henzion reorganized some of the remaining fighters into secret cells of three or four members; Lehi kept this structure for the rest of its war. One of the young people he drafted into Lehi was Armoni. In recent years, the two organized the Hanukah parties. Stern himself liked parties. He had been considered the life of any he was at and usually led the guests in songs and dances. When he died he was hated by the British and almost all of Palestinian Jewry,

which did not understand his insistence on throwing the British out of the homeland, especially during a World War. Today, Stern has been honored by the Knesset and has streets and even a town named for him. His followers, once “the few against the many,” are today the consensus in Israel. But every year, fewer of the original “few” meet on Hanukah, because fewer survive. This year they decided not to spend the time and money on invitations and refreshments. Instead, they appealed for contributions and have hired someone to put their literature online and revamp an old website. They haven’t given up hope and plan on having a party next year. Perhaps Judah Maccabee’s troops gathered on Hanukah to celebrate their victory, too, until none of them were left, and history was left with their stories.

UPGRADE from page 9 Meanwhile, in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, the crowds where celebrating. “Now we have a state,” PA President Mahmous Abbas told jubilant supporters upon his return from New York. “Palestine has accomplished a historic achievement.” The decision in New York changed nothing on the ground in the Middle East, but Abbas still had reason to rejoice. First, it put his Fatahled PA back on the international stage. The round of violence between Israel and Hamas that ended two weeks ago boosted the latter’s profile in the Arab world. Arab leaders trying to arrange a ceasefire spoke to the heads of the Islamist group in Gaza while completely ignoring their rival WALL from page 10

Sincerely, Zev Golan Jerusalem, Israel



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Nate Pinhas, 12, Rockwern Academy

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Runner-ups of the 2012 Chanukah Cover Coloring Contest






Hanukkah: The untold story

Courtesy of Jniemenmaa

King Antiochus

By Binyamin Kagedan JointMedia News Service During the eight days of Hanukkah, traditional Jews add the following to their daily prayers: “In the days of Mattathias the son of Johanan the High Priest, the Hasmonean and his sons, when the evil kingdom of Greece set upon your nation Israel to make them forget your teachings, and to remove them from the laws you desire, you in your great mercy… gave the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure.” Sound familiar? The little history lesson in this prayer is probably very close to the story of Judah Maccabee and King Antiochus you remember from Hebrew school: The underdog heroes attain a miraculous victory

over the powerful villains against all odds, winning back their religious freedom and purifying the defiled temple in Jerusalem. That’s the short story. The longer version is not quite as heartwarming or morally clearcut. Ancient historical records, especially the little known Book of Maccabees, actually tell of a bitter and bloody internal conflict that pitted Jew against Jew in a fight for political and religious domination. Toward the end of the fourth century BCE, Greek Hellenistic culture had spread to every part of Alexander the Great’s massive empire, and Judea was no exception. Certain Jews, mainly those belonging to the wealthy elite of Jerusalem, enthusiastically embraced the offerings of this culture – Greek names and dress, the gymnasium, even the Greek gods – and curried the favor of Alexander’s heirs, the ruling Seleucids, in return for their cooperation. The poorer farming communities of the rural Judean countryside, however, resisted the changes that were sweeping the ancient world, unwilling to give up the traditional Jewish beliefs and customs of their ancestors. The focal point of the conflict was often the high priesthood, which at the time was the most powerful office in the land. Tensions boiled over when Hellenized Jews paid Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes (the famous Antiochus of the Hanukkah story) to replace the reigning high priest with a Hellenist sympathizer who was not born of the priestly line. At the time, explains famed Jewish historian Solomon Grayzel, Antiochus’ actions were economically and politically motivated, and had nothing to do with suppressing

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Jewish religion. After all, there is no record of him imposing antiJewish policies on the many diaspora Jewish communities under his rule. However, when Antiochus’ power play sparked an uprising in and around Jerusalem, he reacted harshly by banning circumcision and observance of dietary laws within Judea, and erecting a statue of Zeus in the Holy Temple.

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HAPPY CHANUKAH Dr. Aaron J. Fritzhand & Family


Mattathias, who led the Maccabees in revolt.

Now the growing rift in Judean society blew wide open. Hellenized Jews not only supported the repressive policy, but also helped Antiochus’ men violently enforce it in the traditional Judean villages. In response, when the traditionalists rose up under the leadership of Mattathias, their fury was directed at their Hellenized countrymen. 1 Maccabees reports that Mattathias’ followers, called hasidim, or “pious ones,” slaughtered assimilated Jews and circumcised male children by force. Fearing for their lives, well-connected Hellenists called upon the Seleucid armies for protection, and it is with the ensuing battle that the well-known version of the Hanukkah story begins.




With a candle each night, celebrate the many dimensions of courage By Dasee Berkowitz Jewish Telegraph Agency


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NEW YORK – My 4-year-old son is obsessed with superheroes, dressing up at every opportunity as the superhero du jour to do battle with the bad guys lurking around the corner. (My 2-year-old daughter is just as enthusiastic, but at her age all she can really muster is a “meanie” face.) From a developmental perspective, I know this fantasy play is his way of exercising control over a world he is learning is increasingly out of his control. But I also see other qualities – his desire to be strong, to stand up for the good guys – in short, to be courageous. Becoming courageous doesn’t happen overnight. It develops when children have opportunities to stand up for what’s right and to take responsible risks. Through experiences my husband and I provide, and the stories we tell them, we can lay some groundwork. As I think about a central message of the Chanukah story and the way I want to portray it to my kids, models of courage abound. From Judah Maccabee, to Judith and Hannah and her seven sons, heroes and heroines fought for the right to be different, to be Jews who refused to assimilate into the prevailing Hellenistic culture. When Antiochus Epiphanes came to power, and observance of the most basic mitzvot (circumcision, Shabbat celebration and kashrut) were turned into capital offenses, their acts of courage formed the basis of a central narrative of the Chanukah story that has been passed down through the generations. Consider Judah Maccabee, whose army with a bunch of Jewish soldiers used guerrilla tactics and religious zeal to defeat the stronger Assyrian Greek army. He forced the Assyrian Greeks to rescind the policies that forbade Jewish practice, and in 164 BCE liberated the Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to a place of Jewish worship. Consider Judith, who did her

part to prevent the siege of Jerusalem in her hometown of Bethulia by seducing Holfenes, the Assyrian Greek army general, and then decapitating him. Her bravery is so highly esteemed by the Rabbis that it is because of her act of courage that Jewish women are obligated to light Chanukah candles. And consider Hannah and her seven sons, who refused to bow down to Zeus and Antiochus and eat non-kosher meat. The Book of Maccabees relates that each of her sons and then her mother were tortured to death. These acts of courage seem extreme and even unpalatable to our modern ear – what woman would sacrifice her son, not to mention all seven? And aren’t we a peace-loving people who should not extol brute force? But they also lead us to deeper questions about the nature of courage. Are there values and beliefs for which we are willing to make great sacrifices, and if any of these values or beliefs were to be violated, would we be stirred to action? While these figures present us with one narrative of the Chanukah story – of heroism in battle and martyrdom – a second narrative is favored by the ancient Rabbis. The story begins with the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the faith that the Jews had that the small cruse of oil, which should have lasted for one day only, could last for eight (in time for others to travel and get more oil). The second narrative downplays the military victory won by human hands and elevates the story to one in which our faith in God and God’s miracles are kindled. It reminds us that courage is born when we continue to have faith and hope even in our darkest time. Having faith in itself is an important kind of courage. While the call to be courageous is central to the Chanukah story – spiritually or physically – it is also daunting. But the rabbis offered another way for us to understand how to live a coura-

geous life and be our own heroes. “Who is a hero?” the rabbis ask. “One who overcomes his urges?” (Mishna, Pirkei Avot 4:1) Overcoming our most natural desires and exercising personal restraint is another kind of heroism. This is a kind of everyday courage. When we are present in a difficult conversation with someone we care about, even though our impulse is to leave, we are a hero. When we resist the urge to say something that we know will offend another person, even if we think it is warranted, we are courageous. When we have vowed not to feed a habit that is destructive to us, and when tempted and resist (a smoke, an extra piece of chocolate cake), we are being our own heroes. This Chanukah, celebrate all of the dimensions of courage by dedicating each night to one of them: Candle 1 to the classic Chanukah heroes of Judah Maccabee, Judith and Hannah. Candle 2 to the courageous acts of our children who welcome a new kid to the school, speak out against bullying or have faith that the next day at school might be a little better than today. Candle 3 to someone in your community who took up a cause you believe in and fought for it. Candle 4 to someone in your family – perhaps a parent or grandparent – and a courageous act they performed during their lives. Candle 5 to American and Israeli soldiers who are fighting to protect values and ideals that are sacred to us. Candle 6 to the courage that you have exercised by restraint – with a co-worker, spouse, child, friend or parent. Candle 7 to a person in your life who exemplifies courage the most. Candle 8 to that quality of courage in ourselves that enables us to bring light into dark places and for the energy to continue to stoke the embers of our own sense of courage.



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Linking to Lincoln on Chanukah

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With this Chanukah season calling for a Lincoln connection, why not light a Lincoln menorah?

By Edmon J. Rodman Jewish Telegraph Agency LOS ANGELES – We need to celebrate a Lincoln Chanukah this year. It’s not because of the new Spielberg movie – that gives us something to do on Christmas Day – but because of the 150th anniversary of a little-known event in American history that threatened to expel a portion of the Civil War-era Jewish population from their homes on the Festival of Lights. On Dec. 17, 1862, during the height of the war, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders 11 expelling “Jews as a class” from a war zone that included areas of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky within a 24-hour period. It was the first day of Chanukah. At the time, Chanukah was not the major holiday it is now. But Grant’s order, if carried out, meant that entire families would be uprooted during the holiday and beyond, and exiled from their communities. Today, relaxing in our home with family on Chanukah, retelling the Maccabee story that takes place in a far-off time and land, it’s uncomfortable to imagine a different story about our freedom that hits much closer to home. On that day, Grant was attempting to cut off the black market sale of southern cotton, in which some Jewish and other traders were engaged. As researched in the engaging new book “When General Grant Expelled the Jews” by the prominent historian Jonathan D. Sarna, we find that Grant’s order was enforced in several towns in Union hands, including Paducah, Ky.; Holly Springs, Miss.; and Trenton, Tenn., among others. “Only a few Jews were seriously affected by General Orders 11,” perhaps fewer than 100,

according to Sarna, but news of the order and the resulting outrage was quickly spread by The Associated Press. The B’nai B’rith sent a petition to Washington calling upon President Lincoln to “annul” the order. Other Jewish leaders moved to organize delegations to meet with Lincoln. A Jewish merchant from Paducah named Cesar Kaskel traveled to Washington on a mission to have the order overturned. Upon arrival he was able to arrange through an Ohio congressman a meeting with the president. According to an account of the meeting that Sarna says is often quoted but most likely embellished, Lincoln, using biblical imagery, asked Kaskel, “And so the children of Israel were driven from the happy land of Canaan?” In response, Kaskel asks for “Father Abraham’s” protection, to which Lincoln replies, “And this protection they shall have at once.” The reality seems to have been that when Lincoln finally heard of Grant’s order, he ordered the general in chief of the Army to countermand it. An account by the prominent Cincinnati Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, who also had met with the president about the issue, provides Lincoln’s rationale: “I do not like to hear a class or nationality condemned on account of a few sinners.” This Chanukah, then, with Lincoln on our minds, how should we commemorate Lincoln’s action to rescind what Sarna cites as “the most sweeping anti-Jewish regulation in all American History”? Should we devise a stovepipe hat menorah? Fry up four score latkes or change the lyrics of the modern classic Peter Paul & Mary Chanukah song to “Light one candle for the Tennessee Children?” Not necessary.

Jews going back to Lincoln’s presidency have found ways to connect before. After his assassination, expressing their sorrow, many rabbis delivered sermons that were collected in a book by Emanuel Hertz titled “Abraham Lincoln: The Tribute of the Synagogue.” The basis for the Library of Congress’ Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana was donated by Alfred Stern, a Chicago businessman. There’s even a Lincoln Street in Jerusalem. Continuing the connection is this year’s Steven Spielberg film about Lincoln’s role in the passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that abolished slavery. Watching the film, I found it to be an excellent way at Chanukah time to rededicate an interest in Lincoln’s heart, humor and wisdom. Another film, “Saving Lincoln” by director Salvador Litvak, approaches the Lincoln story through the eyes of his bodyguard. It might prove another way to light up a Chanukah night. Sarna’s book would be good for any night of the holiday, which many see as a struggle for freedom. For me it was a reminder that the dreidel’s message – “a great miracle happened here” – can apply to the U.S. as well. “In the end, General Orders 11 greatly strengthened America’s Jewish community,” Sarna writes. LINCOLN on page 17

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Festigal – Israel’s commercial Hanukkah production By Judy Lash Balint JointMedia News Service














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Israeli parents have a love-hate relationship with Hanukkah. They love the festive atmosphere, the public menorah lightings and sufganiyot (the Israeli doughnut), but schools are closed for nine days while offices and businesses remain open, so there’s a scramble to find ways to keep kids occupied. Enter the commercialization of Hanukkah in Israel. With winter weather limiting outside activities, the Hanukkah vacation has become the season for an astounding number of performances and events catering to every age group in almost every corner of the country. But few of them have anything to do with the message of Hanukkah. The granddaddy of them all is the Festigal, a state-of-the-art super sophisticated show featuring the country’s most popular entertainers, that packs 500,000 kids and their parents into more than 100 shows in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa and grosses tens of millions of shekels in revenue per season. This year’s extravaganza, produced by Stage Design Israel, features 8 LED screens and a revolving stage, designed and shipped over from the prestigious British Kinesys Design Company. “The Israeli market is always keen on new effects,” notes Design Israel’s Eyal Lavie. Increasingly, Festigal has been criticized for its strong commercial message and high ticket prices. Last year, the Israeli Scouts Movement held demonstrations outside a couple of the performances and circulated an open letter to protest “the values derived from this year’s Festigal, which stand in complete contradiction to our moral principles.” Each year Festigal adopts a theme, and last year it was Technology in the World, focusing on Facebook and iPhone. Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation officials said the implication that every child must own an expensive smartphone sends a “clear and problematic message.” One irate Jerusalem mother told JNS,

Courtesy of Festigal Facebook page

One irate Jerusalem mother told JNS, “I would never take my kids to Festigal. I’m opposed to everything it represents, especially the prices.”

“I would never take my kids to Festigal. I’m opposed to everything it represents, especially the prices.” Activists in Israel’s summer 2011 social protest movement also voiced objections to the event, citing exorbitant ticket prices. “We parents will not continue to be anyone’s suckers,” said Tali Hayat, a Nes Tziona parent involved in the protests. While a large percentage of the audience gets discounted tickets via workers’ unions and credit card companies, Hayat complains about the 170 NIS ($44) full price ticket. “The cost of entertaining children has now reached hundreds of shekels and without any justification at all.” It wasn’t always that way. Festigal started as a local show in Haifa in 1980 as a competitor to the popular Israel Children’s Song Festival, a song contest that ran between the early 1970s and 1987. Once the Song Festival died, Festigal began its commercial rise and became the proofing ground for dozens of performers looking for a showcase to gain recognition. Over the years, cable TV became widespread in Israel and The Children’s Channel morphed into a prime form of entertainment for Israeli kids. Performers on the channel are featured in Festigal and are instantly recognizable to kids from 4-12 years old, the show’s prime target market. The theme for Festigal 2012 is SpyFestigal (spelled out in English) and includes well-known entertainers such as Shiri Maimon,


Happy Chanukah

Asaf Herz, Dana Frider and Ethnix. In the promo video, the stars belt out a Hebrew version of Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ la vida loca.” “Festigal has nothing to do with Hanukkah,” acknowledges Allison Sommer, a mother of three from Ra’anana who has taken her kids to many Festigals. Sommer explains that the shows have two sections with a break where DVDs and Festigal paraphernalia is on sale. “There’s definitely blatant commercial product placement at Festigal,” Sommer says. “It’s a place for kids who are already exposed to pop culture on TV to see all their favorite performers in one fell swoop.” Dr. Jeffrey Woolf, a senior lecturer in Talmud at Bar Ilan University and an expert in halakha and modernity, sees the Festigal phenomenon as part of a deliberate move on the part of “certain elements in academia and the Ministry of Education to dejudaize the school curriculum and Israel’s public spaces.” Woolf says that the Maccabees of the Hanukkah story who resisted Hellenism “are exactly what today’s secular Israeli intellectuals do not want to imitate.” The intellectual elite, according to Woolf, has given up on the idea of Jewish particularism. Woolf explains that while the secular Zionists who built the country seized on Hanukkah as a role model to fight for freedom and found the historical Hanukkah story inspiring and a way to link Jews to their ideological roots, today the historical and religious significance of the holiday has diminished. “Part of the reason for that is the failure of the religious community to establish a common language with secular Israelis,” he charges. Ironically, Woolf adds, almost every Israeli today lights a Hanukkia or takes part in a public candle lighting ritual and eats sufganiyot, but the message of the holiday has been lost and supplanted by Festigal-like commercialism.



Explaining the ‘Maccabees’ Moniker for Jewish Athletics By Jacob Kamaras JointMedia News Service Jewish athletes from around the world gather every four years in Israel for the Olympic-style Maccabiah Games, not to mention the annual JCC Maccabi Youth Games in America. Most Israeli professional basketball and soccer teams preface their names with “Maccabi” (perhaps most notably the hoopsters of Maccabi Tel Aviv), and the athletic teams from Yeshiva University are dubbed – you guessed it – the Maccabees. Does all of this mean Judah the Maccabee was a superstar athlete back in the day? Actually, history suggests just the opposite. The story of Hanukkah was one in which the Jews – seeking to “Hellenize” – started to adopt Greek sports, only to have the antiassimilationist Maccabees buck that trend as well as others that blended Jewish and secular lifestyles. “Calling Jewish sports teams Maccabees is a contradiction in terms because the historic Maccabees were anti-sports,” Yeshiva University professor of Jewish History Jeffrey Gurock told JointMedia News Service. He explained that the Maccabees’ goal was to “return back [to tradition], go away from these outside influences.” Instead, Gurock said, the modern usage of the Maccabee moniker can be traced to 1898, when social Darwinist Max Nordau – founder of the Jewish athletic movement – coined the term “muscular Judaism” (muskel-Judenthum) at the Second Zionist Congress. Nordau believed the existence of strong and physically fit Jews could defeat the classic stereotype that Jews are physically weak and instead depend solely on their wit. The great rabbinic figures of the Middle Ages were concerned with physical fitness, but sports remained “something foreign to Jewish culture” at the time, Gurock said. Nordau was looking to emulate Jews who fought against the world and were successful, and historically speaking, that was found most prominently in the story of Hanukkah. “The only examples we have of Jews who were strong and success-

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Wishing All Our Family and Friends a Happy Chanukah Bradley & Constance Reisenfeld and Children Beryl Reisenfeld Basketball players from Maccabi Tel Aviv huddle up.

ful were really the Maccabees,” said Gurock, who is also the author of Judaism’s Encounter With American Sports (2005). From that point on, Gurock said the name Maccabees became a “badge of honor” for Jews pursuing sports. The same year as the Second Zionist Congress, Jews in Berlin founded the Bar Kochba athletics association, after which Jews in Eastern Europe (Galicia, Bulgaria) followed suit, according to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Russia’s Maccabi society joined the fray in 1913, and in the 1930s Poland’s Maccabi federation included 30,000 Jewish athletes in 250 clubs, YIVO said. Before World War II, “probably every European country from Poland on east had some sort of Maccabee team, or Maccabea Club,” Gurock said, representing “an expression of Zionist pride.” The trend continues today, with numerous Jewish sports teams calling themselves Maccabees or something similar – including the teams at Yeshiva University (YU). That led Gurock to another question: Since YU is an Orthodox institution, shouldn’t it call its teams the “non-Maccabees,” to accurately represent the anti-assimilationist protagonists of the Hanukkah story? Not quite, he answered. “What we like in modern times [about the historic Maccabees] are not so much their religious values, but their success in competing against the world,” Gurock said. Though the original Maccabees were against the concept of organ-

ized athletics, Gurock noted that they were still the first Jewish group to raise the question of “How can you be Jewish and engage in a foreign cultural activity called sports?” He explained that in ancient times, sports were associated with pagan culture and ritual rites, but in modern times, “the great challenge is to integrate that foreign cultural phenomenon called sports into Jewish culture, so that the two can live side by side, which is often a difficult task.” The Maccabees ultimately decided that mixing sports with their Jewish lifestyle would be too inconsistent, Gurock said. At YU, the athletic teams themselves – not the school’s administration – decided how they should be named. Originally the “Blue and Whites,” YU’s teams were the “Mighty Mites” from the 1940s1960s, when they struggled against athletically superior squads, according to Gurock. In the 1970s, the teams adopted their currents monikers: the Maccabees and Lady Maccabees.

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Defiance, then destruction: Hanukkah in the Warsaw Ghetto By Rafael Medoff JointMedia News Service “Never before in Jewish Warsaw were there as many Hanukkah celebrations as in this year of the wall.” That entry from the diary of Hebrew educator Chaim Kaplan in December 1940, shortly after the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto were built, may surprise those who are accustomed to thinking of the ghetto only in terms of the misery of its Jewish residents under the Nazi jackboot. But in those early months of the ghetto, before the worst periods of deprivation and persecution overwhelmed the Jews, their spirit showed on the first Hanukkah behind the walls. “Because of the sword that hovers over our heads,” the 1940 Hanukkah festivities were not held in the streets, Kaplan wrote. “Hanukkah parties were held in nearly every courtyard, even in rooms which face the street; the blinds were drawn, and that was sufficient. How much joy, how much of a feeling of national kinship there was in these Hanukkah parties! After sixteen months of Nazi occupation [since the German invasion of Poland in September 1939], we came to life again.” Kaplan was particularly pleased that “we even deceived the Judenrat,” the Nazi-appointed Courtesy of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

Children in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Jewish leadership. “It tried to ban the holding of Hanukkah parties without a special permit... But this took effect only on paper; the Judenrat was fooled. Hundreds of celebrations were arranged and the stupid Judenrat did not get a single penny.” In his diary, Kaplan quoted from a speech by a Zionist leader at one of the Hanukkah events: “In all the countries where they want to bury us alive, we pull the gravediggers in with us.” Kaplan could not realize how prophetic those words would prove less than three years later, when the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt would take down many Nazis before losing their own lives. Kaplan, 40, was the founder and principal of a Hebrew elementary school in Warsaw. He began keeping a diary, in Hebrew, in 1933. His entries about life in Jewish Warsaw following the construction of the ghetto walls offer a heartbreaking chronicle of disease, starvation, random atrocities and, ultimately, mass deportations. With 30 percent of Warsaw’s population crammed into an area comprising barely 2 percent of the

city, extreme overcrowding facilitated the rapid spread of disease. At the same time, Jews were limited to food rations of just 181 calories daily. By the summer of 1941, more than 5,000 Jews were dying monthly from starvation or disease. Kaplan’s diary entries throughout 1941 describe sidewalks filled with “families bundled up in rags, moaning with heartrending voices,” “formerly well to do people who never had to worry about matters of food” crowding the soup kitchens and “waiting their turn for a bowl of watery soup,” and random atrocities such as a Nazi with “a face as red as fire” wielding an iron whip, savagely lashing an elderly Jew for 20 minutes straight. There were too many horrors for the diarist to keep up with. “My inkwell has grown tired of lamentations,” Kaplan wrote at one point. “If I tried to write down everything in order, I couldn’t. Nor would I be recording anything new. Robberies, murders, humiliations, deprivations—nothing more.” GHETTO on page 9



Brooklyn toy store brings Chanukah early to children affected by Sandy By JTA Staff Jewish Telegraph Agency NEW YORK – Chanukah came early for children in Brooklyn after a toy store in Borough Park handed out more than $10,000 worth of toys to those affected by superstorm Sandy. Yonasan Schwartz, the owner of Toys to Discover on 18th Avenue in the heavily Jewish area of the New York borough, gave out more than 600 packages filled with toys over the weekend to children living in Brooklyn and on Long Island whose homes were ruined by the worst storm to hit the northeastern U.S. in memory. “After reading about all the ruins and how much people are suffering after the hurricane, I decided I had to do a little sharing,” Schwartz told JTA in a phone interview. “Everyone has been contributing a lot to the hurricane GHETTO from page 8 By the time the reader reaches Kaplan’s diary entries for Hanukkah in 1941, the contrast with those of the preceding year is evident. The festive and defiant mood of 1940 was just a distant memory. “This year very few Hanukkah candles were lit,” Kaplan wrote in December 1941. “Our holiday has been turned into a day of mourning. The courtyard of the prison on Dzielna Street was turned into a slaughterhouse today.” Fifteen Jews who were caught outside the city limits had been lined up and executed. In the months to follow, the situation grew steadily worse. Random killings became more frequent and better organized. “Not a day goes by that the Nazis do not conduct a slaughter,” Kaplan recorded. Homelessness, disease and starvation reached epidemic proportions. “In the gutters, amidst the refuse, one can see almost naked and barefoot little children wailing pitifully,” Kaplan wrote. “Every morning you will see their little bodies frozen to death in the ghetto streets.” By the early summer of 1942, refugees reaching Warsaw from elsewhere in Poland provided

relief, we’ve seen a lot of kindness in the Jewish community, and this was the best way I thought I could contribute, since I can give out what I actually own.” Schwartz, 43, of Brooklyn, handed out parcels with $150 worth of toys to anyone who came into the store and said their homes were affected by the hurricane. The parcel featured two types of building blocks games, several Jewish children’s books (including one in Yiddish), three packages of children’s Band-Aids, kitchen play sets and a doll set of little Jewish figurines. He said he was prepared to hand out 500 parcels, but made an additional 100 after receiving an overwhelming amount of responses from families in the Seagate and Far Rockaway communities. Toys to Discover posted its donation announcement to its Twitter and Facebook pages, and

also placed an ad in a weekly advertising publication. Schwartz said that many came in to pick up toys to distribute while they volunteered. “People have been so thankful for this contribution,” he said. “One person came to pick up a few parcels for an area in Far Rockaway where 52 families lost their homes.” People collecting toys for needy families continued to trickle into his store as the week went on after the parcels ran out, so Schwartz said he would now offer heavy discounts to families in need. “I’ve been in the toy business a long time, and I know how attached kids get to their favorite toys,” he said. “It’s sad to see how much children have lost when their families have lost their entire homes; they don’t have anything to play with. I hope they can become attached to these new toys fast.”

details of the fate that awaited each Jewish community targeted by the Nazis. Jews deported from their towns were taken “in tightly sealed freight cars,” Kaplan wrote, “until they come to the place of their execution, where they are killed.” In July 1942, Warsaw’s turn came. Kaplan described the first deportations in agonizing detail. Recording the tragedy of his people had become his life’s purpose, even as others doubted: “Some of my friends and acquaintances who know the secret of my diary urge me, in their despair, to stop writing. ‘Why? For what purpose? Will you live to see it published? Will these words of yours reach the ears of future generations?’” Somehow, they did. In early August 1942, realizing the end was near, Kaplan stuffed his diaries into kerosene cans and entrusted them to a friend who was able to smuggle them to a Polish acquaintance in a nearby village. Kaplan and his wife would not live to see another Hanukkah. They were deported from Warsaw and gassed soon afterward in the Treblinka death camp. The Polish villager eventually sold the diaries to New York University. Scroll of Agony: The

Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan was first published in English in 1965, then subsequently in Kaplan’s beloved Hebrew and four other languages. Although Kaplan did not live to see his words in print, the spirit of defiance he witnessed in the Hanukkah celebrations of 1940 lives on in the diary that has become one of the most important sources of eyewitness testimony about the Holocaust.

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By Stephen Whitfield JointMedia News Service How’s this for international influence? In 2004 a seminar was offered on American Jewish culture at the University of Munich; the students were required to present their research on a representative Jewish figure who has made a significant contribution to the arts or to thought in the United States. As the instructor, I asked the first Bavarian-based student who came to my office to indicate her choice of a topic, and was stunned by her selection: “Adam Sandler.” The comic actor is almost certainly better known for “The Chanukah Song” than for any of the three-dozen movies in which he has starred. It premiered on a December 1994 show of Saturday Night Live and thus drew popular attention to a holiday that, only a decade earlier, had inspired President Ronald Reagan to tell religious broadcasters of his pleasure in looking out at Lafayette Park and seeing “the huge menorah, celebrating the Passover season.” Sandler’s initial version generated such enthusiasm that he did two sequels. In 2002 the concept of “The Chanukah Song” was expanded into an animated film, Sony Pictures’ Eight Crazy Nights, which may be the only Hollywood film dedicated to this holiday. In 1999, when a chapter of the Hillel Foundation was inaugurated at West Point, the Jewish cadets celebrated the occasion by singing “The Chanukah Song.” It had evidently displaced “I Have a Little Dreidel.” The popularity of Sandler’s song can be gauged by setting it off against two other recent musical efforts to pump meaning into the festival. In 1983 folksinger Peter Yarrow decided to tap into his own secular Jewish heritage when Peter, Paul and Mary were scheduled to perform a “Holiday Celebration” at Carnegie Hall. In “Light One Candle” Yarrow asked listeners to light a taper “for the terrible sacrifice/Justice and freedom demand/But light one candle for the wisdom to know/When the peacemaker’s time is at hand.” But seven years later the idealism marking much of Jewish politics would give way to satire, when Tom Lehrer invoked Chanukah in southern California, “wearing sandals, /Lighting candles/By the sea.” Luckily for him, the holiday itself rhymed with Santa Monica, just as the demographic shift to the Sunbelt ensured that fewer and fewer Jews would be celebrating “Shavuos in East St. Louis.” The comforts of California even led

Courtesy of EPA/Mike Nelson

Adam Sandler has come a long way since releasing his ballad of young Jewish angst in 1994.

Lehrer to wonder at the imaginary reaction of “Judas Maccabeus/Boy, if he could see us.” But compared to “The Chanukah Song,” Yarrow’s denunciation of persecution and injustice came across as too earnest for popular taste, an echo of the Sixties out of sync with the administration of Ronald Reagan. Compared to the moral fervor of “Light One Candle,” Sandler’s song is downright silly. Compared to the cleverness and wit of “I’m Spending Chanukah in Santa Monica,” Sandler’s list song is amateurish and trite. No inspiration or perspiration was required to concoct the rhymes. The names of the celebrities are so easy to substitute that they violate the central rule of the lyricist’s craft, which is to make the climactic words both surprising and inevitable. “The Chanukah Song” nevertheless caught on. It’s a reasonable guess that Sandler wasn’t trying to emulate Cole Porter anyway, and preferred to reach out to adolescents and pre-adolescents – and of course to the young at heart. (The second, 1999 version was recorded live at Brandeis University.) The popularity of “The Chanukah Song” isn’t entirely explainable in terms of the degradation of taste, however. But when movie and television stars are more familiar than any author or almost any politician, celebrities are recognizable in a way that no religious

authority, no rabbi or sage, can hope to match. “The Chanukah Song” is therefore the soundtrack to the historian Daniel J. Boorstin’s famous definition of fame, which is bestowed on people well-known for their wellknownness. Boorstin contrasted them with the heroes whose great deeds the bards once recorded, a distinction lost upon the students of Manhattan day school who, when pollsters asked them in 1996 to name their heroes, put Jerry Seinfeld first. Finishing second was Adam Sandler. In taking for granted the authority of celebrity, “The Chanukah Song” addresses the emotional need for Yuletide solace. For children feeling estranged during the season, because the parents deny the divinity of Christ, Sandler offers a comic affirmation intended – quite honorably – to assuage the psychic pain of feeling excluded. Irving Berlin had the inspired idea of turning Christmas into a holiday that is more meteorological than theological, that recalls the excitement of snow but neglects to mention the birth of mankind’s savior. “White Christmas” (1942) became the most recorded song in history. Sandler is (characteristically) less subtle in confronting what membership in a religious minority imposes. But he did know how to touch a tender place in the heart of the American Jewish family, at a season of special vulnerability.



Dreidel fun-facts

Happy Chanukah

By Binyamin Kagedan JointMedia News Service The word dreidel is Yiddish, and comes from the German verb dreihen, meaning “to spin.” Dreidel literally means “little spinner.” The first dreidel players were Yiddish speaking Jews in medieval Europe. In fact, playing with tops has been a popular pastime across Western Europe since at least the 16th century! Many believe that the four letters on the dreidel – nun, gimel, hay and shin – were taken from the Hebrew expression Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, meaning “a great miracle happened there,” referring to the miraculous events of the Chanukah story in ancient Israel. Really, this meaning was added later on – the letters originally represented the Yiddish instructions for what to do when you land on each one (Yiddish and Hebrew use the same alphabet): Gimel for gantz, “whole”: take the whole pot; hay for halb, “half”: take half the pot; nun for nisht, “nothing”: don’t take out or put in; and shin

Courtesy of Adiel lo

Hanukkah dreidels

for shtehl einl, “put in”: put some of your coins into the pot. As the dreidel became a symbol associated with Hanukkah, many legends began to stem from it, like this one: When Antiochus decreed that Jewish law may no longer be studied in public, righteous Jews defied him and continued to teach Torah to their children. When they saw the king’s henchman coming,

groups of students would quickly hide their books and bring out their dreidels, pretending that they had merely gathered for a bit of fun and gambling. Recently dreidel spinning has become a competitive sport! The group Major League Dreidel hosts tournaments each year in New York City and crowns a champion for the longest-lasting continuous spin.


New children’s books: high seas adventures, food and fun By Penny Schwartz Jewish Telegraph Agency BOSTON – An imaginative historical tale of adventure set on the high seas will captivate young readers this Chanukah season. “Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue” is one of a few new children’s books for the eight day Festival of Lights, which begins this year on the evening of Dec. 8. Meanwhile, a fun-filled book aim to get food-loving kids of all ages into the kitchen with tantalizing menus while offering other fun holiday activities. EMANUEL AND THE HANUKKAH RESCUE by Heidi Smith Hyde From the opening pages of “Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue,” young readers will know they’re in for something out of the ordinary. Set in the 18th century whaling port of New Bedford, Mass., the fictionalized historical tale by Heidi Smith Hyde tells the story of a spirited 9-year-old Jewish boy named Emanuel Aguilar whose father is a merchant who sells sailing supplies and other provisions to the city’s whalers. “Papa, when will I be old enough to go to sea?” Emanuel asks his father, who cautions his son against the dangers of whaling. Emanuel yearns to place the family menorah in the window

during Chanukah but his father is fearful, recalling the tragedy of the Inquisition in his home country of Portugal, where Jews were not free to practice their faith. “This isn’t Portugal, Papa. This is America!” Emanuel protests, reminding his father that Chanukah celebrates religious freedom. On the last day of Chanukah, Emanuel stows away aboard a whaling ship, leaving a note for his papa explaining his hope to be free. But a sudden and vicious storm transforms the fun adventure, as Emanuel learns firsthand the dangers of the sea. By story’s end, the reunited father and son find hope and courage in the light of Chanukah and its power to inspire freedom. Artist Jamel Akib’s richly colored pastel paintings cast a luminous glow across the landscape. His highly detailed, realistic illustrations put readers into the story, from the interiors of the merchant shop and the family home to the dramatic scenes at sea. One double page spread depicts the busy working waterfront where angular, strong whalers unload crates and barrels from ships. Hyde was inspired to create the story after reading an article about Jewish involvement in New Bedford’s whaling industry. Jews were an integral part of the industry in New England coastal areas, she learned, serving as merchants,

candle exporters and even ship owners. Some Jews in the region practiced their faith in secret. Hyde says she was struck by the parallels with Chanukah, with its themes of the miracle of the oil and religious freedom. In “Emanuel,” she wanted to explore what it means to hide one’s identity. “Mostly, I want kids to realize that it’s important to be themselves, not to be afraid of who they are,” she told JTA. HANUKKAH SWEETS AND TREATS by Ronne Randall This colorful book offers stepby-step instructions for six holiday recipes including Luscious Latkes, Easy Applesauce, Fudgy Gelt and a Cupcake Menorah. The large print format with lots of photographs and graphics opens with a two-page spread, “Before You Begin Cooking,” with lists of what you will need as well as safety precautions and even a section on how to use measuring spoons. Boxed sidebars offer littleknown facts on the history of apples, a note on the nutrition of potatoes (must be before they’re fried in oil) and this astonishing statistic: The largest bakery in Israel produces up to 250,000 sufganiyot – Israeli-style filled doughnuts – on each of the eight days of Chanukah. A simple glossary defines words including dough, Maccabees, vitamin and Yiddish.

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response to Christmas By Penny Schwartz Jewish Telegraph Agency BOSTON – From Kung Pao kosher comedy to a swinging Mardi Gras version of the “Dreidel” song, two new Chanukah season releases explore the intriguing, delightful and sometimes perplexing ways in which American Jews have responded to Christmas. In a book and an audio CD compilation, the holiday season known as the “December dilemma” is seen and heard in a new light. An added bonus: the covers of both are enticing and entertaining. In the book “A Kosher Christmas” subtitled “‘Tis the Season to be Jewish,” Joshua Eli Plaut offers a richly detailed, pageturning read that draws on historical documents and ethnographic research sprinkled with often humorous images and photos. In his introduction Plaut, a rabbi and scholar, admits to a lifelong fascination with Christmas. The son of a rabbi, he recalls as a young child growing up on Long Island in the 1960s that his mother dutifully took him to sit on Santa’s lap every December. “She was never worried about any influence on me as a child because my family was secure in its Jewish identity,” he writes. Plaut paints a historical portrait of the shifts in American Jewish attitudes toward Christmas – the only American holiday founded on religion, he notes. Jews have employed “a multitude of strategies to face the particular challenges of Christmas and to overcome feelings of exclusion and isolation,” he writes, adding that Jews actually have played a crucial role in popularizing Christmas by composing many of the country’s most beloved holiday songs. Plaut treats readers to a chapter on the popular Jewish custom of eating Chinese food on Christmas, a tradition that surprisingly dates back more than a century to Eastern European immigrants on the Lower East Side of New York. One photo shows a sign in a Chinese restaurant window that thanks the Jewish people for their patronage during Christmas. In the 1990s, comedian Lisa Geduldig hosted the first Kung Pao Kosher Comedy evening of Jewish stand-up comedy in a San Francisco Chinese restaurant on Christmas. Two decades later the event is still going strong and being replicated in cities across America. On a more serious note, Plaut reveals a long history of Jewish

Courtesy of Idelsohn Society/Rutgers University Press

The audio compilation “‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah” and the book “A Kosher Christmas” delve into the ways that Jewish Americans handle Christmas.

volunteerism on Christmas, serving the needy and working shifts for non-Jewish co-workers, allowing them to spend the day with family and friends. Plaut also covers the challenges faced by intermarried families at Chanukah and Christmas. He addresses as well the subject of public displays of religious symbols, with Jews on both sides of the issue. Jonathan Sarna, the American Jewish historian who wrote the foreward, cautions that the book should not be read merely as a story of assimilation. In a phone conversation with JTA, the prominent Brandeis University professor argues that if that were the case, the book would be about how Jews observe Christmas. Rather, Plaut chronicles how Jews demonstrate their Jewish identity through alternative ways of acting on Christmas that show them to be Jewish and American. Most significant, Sarna asserts, “A Kosher Christmas” is important because it portrays how two religions are transformed by the knowledge of the other. The CD, “‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah” is a lively and inspiring music collection gathered by the Idelsohn Society, a nonprofit volunteer organization that aims to celebrate a Jewish musical heritage that may be lost to history. The two-CD set includes 17 tracks for Chanukah and Christmas – some familiar and others that are lesser known. Performers on the Chanukah disc include Woody Guthrie, Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, Flory Jagoda, Mickey Katz, the Klezmatics and Debbie Friedman. Among the voices that croon and swing on the Christmas disc are The Ramones, Theo Bikel, Dinah Shore, Sammy Davis Jr. and Benny Goodman. A 31-page booklet of liner

notes is a fascinating read of short essays, notes on the songs and colorful reproductions of old Chanukah recordings. The project started as an effort to present a historical survey of Chanukah music, according to David Katznelson, a veteran record producer who is one of the four principals of the Idelsohn Society. Other members of the core group include Roger Bennett, Courtney Holt and Josh Kun. As their search deepened, they found noteworthy Chanukah recordings, Katznelson recalls, some by well-known performers, others by little-known singers and educators. But the group was most struck by the abundance of Christmas music by Jewish composers and performers. “The biggest Jewish names in music have at least one Christmas recording in their catalog,” they write in the liner notes. The group shifted the lens of their project to tell the full story “of how American Jews used music to negotiate their place in American national culture,” according to the liner notes. “This was an amazing way to look at Jewish identity in the 20th century, through a combination of the history of Chanukah recordings side by side with Jews performing Christmas songs,” Katznelson affirms. Some of the earliest Chanukah recordings appear in the 1920s and 1930s. By then, what had been a minor Jewish holiday through the later years of the 19th century had been transformed into a major celebration that was promoted by Jewish religious leaders and embraced by American Jewry. The emergence of Chanukah recordings parallels that transformation, Katznelson suggests. In the postwar 1950s, in addition to traditional songs, livelier recordings targeted children.



Mel Gibson the Maccabee? How an irony-filled project fell apart By Maxine Dovere JointMedia News Service For Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas – who had planned to collaborate on a recently shelved film on the life of Judah the Maccabee, one of the Hanukkah story’s heroes – it was an unlikely shidduch to begin with. The Eszterhas family has a history of anti-Semitism. Eszterhas’ father was a Nazi propagandist in World War II Hungary who escaped detection until the late 1990s. When his father’s past was revealed, Eszterhas cut off all contact. “I turned my back on my father and his beliefs: my loyalty is to the 6 million dead,” he wrote for The Daily Beast. Gibson’s father Hutton is a known Holocaust denier and a member of the “Latin Church,” a Catholic sect that rejects the Vatican II declaration that “decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.” In contrast to Eszterhas, however, Gibson, has “stayed loyal to his father’s beliefs,” Eszterhas said. Perhaps the most notorious evidence of Gibson’s attitude came to light on a summer night in Malibu, Calif. in 2006, when Gibson was stopped for driving drunk. According to police reports, he called the officer who cited him a “motherf*r” and threatened to “get even.” Then came the line that reverberated throughout the Jewish world. “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?” Gibson demanded of the deputy. Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, as well as a film producer and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, said in an interview with that Gibson “has never shown the slightest inkling to come to terms with his anti-Semitism” despite the tapes exposing him.

Courtesy of Maxine Dovere

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, pictured, said "Considering [Mel] Gibson to play Judah Maccabee was outrageous."

“Considering Gibson to play Judah Maccabee was outrageous,” Hier said. “He never earned a second chance, never apologized. For me Mel Gibson is a non-starter.” How did Gibson and Eszterhas come to collaborate in the first place, and how did their unlikely partnership fall apart? In September of 2011, Warner Brothers announced that it would produce a film based on the life of Judah Maccabee with Mel Gibson. Eszterhas was to write the screenplay, and Gibson was to star on the big screen as Judah. Work began, and Eszterhas and his family were invited to Gibson’s house in Costa Rica. In The Atlantic that December, columnist Jeffrey Goldberg (who is writing a biography of Judah Maccabee) questioned Gibson about why he wanted to make a movie about the 2nd-century BCE Jewish hero. Gibson, according to Goldberg, responded that the Book of Maccabees (I and II) makes “ripping good reads.” By April 2012, slightly more than six months into the project, the Maccabees project was put on hold by Warner Bros. Eszterhas says he quit; Gibson claims he

was fired. was not able to reach either one of them for this report. Eszterhas, speaking with radio host Howard Stern, recalled his family’s Costa Rica experience, specifically Gibson’s alleged threatening and hate-filled antiSemitic rants, recorded by Nicholas, his 15-year-old son. Eszterhas claims the child was so fearful that he slept with a kitchen knife. Eszterhas wrote a nine-page letter to Gibson in which he accused the actor of using “The Maccabees” film project – a story about Jewish heroism – “in an attempt to deflect continuing charges of anti-Semitism which have dogged you, charges which have crippled your career.” He continued, “Let me remind you of some of the things you said which appalled me… You continually called Jews ‘Hebes,’ ‘ovendodgers,’ and ‘Jewboys.’... You said the Holocaust was ‘mostly a lot of horsesh*t… I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make “The Maccabees” is the ugliest possible one. You hate GIBSON on page 17

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Baked latkes for Chanukah, with roasted capon as a main dish By Helen Nash Jewish Telegraph Agency

Happy Chanukah!


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When I married 55 years ago, I knew nothing about cooking. I grew up during war years in Europe when food was not available. So my exposure to food, and particularly traditional food, was nonexistent. After I married, I decided to take cooking classes, first studying with chef Michael Field, author of the 1965 book “Michael Field’s Cooking School.” He realized that I had limitations because I never ate any of his meat dishes; I kept kosher. But he wanted to help and gave me substitutes and kept saying, “You can do this.” From there I moved onto Chinese cooking and classes with Millie Chan, author of “Kosher Chinese Cookbook.” I also read many books and took notes. And as ingredients became available in kosher versions, I experimented. Equipped with all of this information, I tested and retested recipes to make them kosher and my own. Now I am the author of three cookbooks, the most recent of which was just published this fall, “Helen Nash’s New Kosher Cuisine.” For holidays, I must confess that I like traditional recipes, so it is a little unusual that I would attempt to change anything in a potato latke recipe. But since I also believe in nutritious, healthy eating habits, I had to find a way to improve on the tradition of frying latkes. My challenge: to preserve the flavor of the fried potato pancake and at the same time to make it healthier, less messy (which frying always is) and more versatile. In other words, a latke doesn’t have to be just for Chanukah. It can also be a lovely side dish for fish, chicken or meat. It can even be a wonderful appetizer served with gravlox or as a small hors d’oeuvre topped with smoked salmon. After many trials, I discovered that latkes can be baked with very little oil while still preserving their crispy texture and flavor. In addition, my recipe can be made in batches and frozen in plastic containers with wax paper between the layers. The fact that they can be made ahead of time is particularly helpful for Chanukah party hosts, who have so many other responsibilities. My recipe requires the same technique of grating the potatoes and the same seasoning, but a fraction of the oil that normally is used when you’re frying potato latkes. The important element is that the cookie sheets should be of nonstick heavy gauge and the oven temperature quite high. I’ve also included a recipe for

Courtesy of Ann Stratton

Roast capon with olives makes a great Chanukah dish – especially for olive lovers.

roast capons with olives, which makes a great Chanukah dish if you’re serving a full meal. Capons have a subtly sweet taste that is quite different from chicken and turkey. The olives add an interesting flavor and give the sauce a delicious taste and texture. My family and friends – especially the olive lovers – always ask for second helpings. POTATO LATKES Makes 6 dozen bite-size latkes Ingredients: 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 medium onion, quartered 4 medium Idaho baking potatoes 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 1 large egg plus 1 large egg white, lightly whisked 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Preparation: Place an oven shelf in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Brush three heavy nonstick cookie sheets with 1 tablespoon oil each. (The thickness of the sheets allows the bottoms of the latkes to become golden.) Pulse the onion in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl. Remove

the metal blade from the processor and put on the medium shredding attachment. Peel the potatoes and cut them lengthwise into quarters. Insert them into the food processor’s feed tube and grate. Combine the potatoes with the onion. Add the flour, egg, egg white, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and mix well. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Place 1 level tablespoon of the potato mixture slightly apart on the greased cookie sheets. Bake the latkes one sheet at a time on the lowest shelf for 11 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Turn the latkes over and bake for another 6 minutes, or until they are lightly golden. Notes: Latkes can be baked earlier in the day and reheated. Arrange on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet in a preheated 350degree oven until hot, about 6 minutes. The wire rack prevents them from getting soggy. To freeze: Place latkes side by side in an airtight plastic container lined with wax paper, separating the layers with wax paper. To reheat, take them straight from the freezer and arrange on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet. Place in a preheated 400-degree oven until hot, 8 to 10 minutes. LATKES on page 17



Spice up Hanukkah with new latke toppings By Mollie Katzen JointMedia News Service Mollie Katzen – an awardwinning illustrator and designer, as well as best-selling cookbook author and popular public speaker – is back with a new round of recipes for Hanukkah. With over 6 million books in print, Katzen is listed by the New York Times as one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time and has been named by Health Magazine as one of “The Five Women Who Changed the Way We Eat.” Below are some of her ideas for how to freshen up your Hanukkah table, without intruding on your latke loyalties. How about switching the toppings? You can always have the usual applesauce and sour cream on hand, but consider adding some intrigue and savory twists – in addition to sneaking in vegetables, herbs, nuts, and olive oil – to the options on the menu. Add some lentil soup and a green salad, and your Hanukkah celebration will be colorful and compelling. CHIMICHURRI Chimichurri is the “national sauce” of Argentina, and is also common in Honduras and other Latin American countries. It’s a complex green paste, similar to a pesto, but containing a greater variety of herbs, and a tart taste from the presence of vinegar. Chimichurri is normally served with roasted or grilled meat or fish, but it’s also delicious on cooked potatoes and vegetables, pasta, grains, and sandwiches. It’s also a terrific dab of flavor for latkes – either directly on top, or as a green dollop on the sour cream. * This keeps for a week or two if stored in a tightly lidded container in the refrigerator. Just use as needed, as you would any condiment.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Chimichurri, the national sauce of Argentina, which chef Mollie Katzen suggests would make an appealing topping for latkes.

1 cup (packed) minced cilantro 1/4 cup (packed) minced parsley 1/4 cup minced scallions 1 tablespoon minced fresh

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“Loaded latkes.”

oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano) 1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic Big pinch of cayenne 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1/4 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Place the cilantro, parsley, scallions, and oregano in a food processor, and mince very finely. Add the garlic, cayenne, vinegar, salt, and process to a paste, with the food processor running until everything is fully incorporated. Drizzle in the oil at the very end. Transfer to a tightly lidded container and refrigerate until use. Yield: About 2/3 cup Preparation time: 10 minutes CHIPOTLE CREAM Chipotle chilies are smoked, dried jalapenos. They most commonly come in cans, packed in a vinegar preparation called adobo sauce. A little bit of canned chipotles-in-adobo goes a very long way, both in terms of its heat and its powerful smoky essence. In this sauce, sour cream and/or yogurt create a soothing, luxurious vehicle for the chipotle flavor. Serve this wherever it seems appropriate – on any egg dish, with beans, rice, cornmeal preparations, or drizzled onto soups – or on latkes. 1 cup sour cream or yogurt (or a combination) 1/2 to 1 teaspoon canned chipotle chilies, finely minced Place the sour cream and/or yogurt in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon minced chipotles, and let it sit for about 10 minutes, so the flavor can develop. Taste to see if it needs more chipotle paste, and adjust, as desired. Store in a tight-

ly covered container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. Yield: 1 cup Preparation time: 5 minutes RED PEPPER-WALNUT PASTE Based on the Middle Eastern sauce called muhammar, this delicious paste is simultaneously pungent, slightly hot and sweet. I make it often and keep it around for many uses: as a topping for pilafs and other cooked grains, for spreading on pizza, toast, crackers, and sandwiches, and as a dip for cooked or raw vegetables. I also love it on latkes. This keeps well for at least a week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In fact, the flavors deepen over time. For a California twist, you can use almonds in place of the walnuts. 2 heaping cups lightly toasted walnuts 2 to 3 medium cloves garlic One 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained 1 tablespsoon cider vinegar 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) Black pepper and cayenne to taste Place the walnuts and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground, but not yet a paste. Cut the peppers into chunks, and add them to the food processor, along with the vinegar, lemon juice, cumin, and honey. Process to a fairly smooth paste, then transfer to a bowl, and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Yield: 3 to 4 cups Preparation time: 10 minutes (after the peppers are roasted)




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By Chavie Lieber Jewish Telegraph Agency NEW YORK – Gone are the days when the Chanukah holiday meant an eight-day binge fest of all things fried. The Festival of Lights, which commemorates the Maccabean revolt against the Greeks, has a longstanding tradition of oily foods such as latkes and donuts in remembrance of the miracle of the temple oil, which lasted eight days instead of the expected one. But for some, the holiday has become an excuse to inhale fried potato pancakes and custard-filled pastry. “People have a misconception of the tradition to fry on Chanukah,” Yosef Silver, the author of the popular blog This American Bite, told JTA. “The concept is to remember the oil, but that doesn’t necessarily mean frying. We’ve gotten so wrapped up with frying, but there are ways to make Chanukah food, like latkes, just using oil.” These days, with everyone from the first lady on down drawing attention to our widening waistlines, Jewish foodies have plenty of options for consuming traditional holiday fare without packing on the pounds. Silver was raised on the old way – frying everything. But now he prefers to bake latkes rather than fry them. “If you prefer to use the traditional potato latke recipe, the best way to make it healthy would be to pan fry it with an oil substitute like Pam,” Silver said. “If you want to incorporate oil, add only a tablespoon and lightly pan-fry it.” For those who prefer a fried taste, Silver suggests swapping potatoes for healthier vegetables that provide vitamins and nutrition as opposed to starch. “My favorite latke variety to make is my variation using rutabaga and turnip,” Silver said. “Rutabaga is a starchy vegetable, but it’s not actually a carb. It gives a similar consistency to potatoes and is delicious.” Shaya Klechevsky, a personal chef from Brooklyn who writes the kosher cuisine blog At Your Palate, says there are ways to make healthier donuts, or sufganiyot – also a traditional Chanukah food though one generally more popular in Israel than the United States. But Klechevsky warns about playing too much with recipes. “When making the batter, you can use a little bit of whole wheat if you want to veer away from white flour, but you need to be careful because too much whole wheat will turn your donuts into

Ingredients: 6 cups coarsely grated peeled carrots 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 7 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger 3 large eggs, beaten to blend Blended olive oil (for frying)

Courtesy of Sam Felder/Creative Commons

Swapping potatoes for other vegetables, like carrots, zucchini and sweet potatoes, is one way to cut calories on the eight-day frying festival of Chanukah.

bricks,” Klechevsky said. “You can also substitute sugar with honey.” Rather than altering the recipe for the dough, Klechevsky says the best way to make healthy donuts is to use healthy fillings, like sugar-free jams, nuts, fruit and granola. “The best option is to bake donuts rather than fry them,” Klechevsky said. “The taste won’t be the same, but it will be close. You can buy little round molds and fill them with batter.” Erica Lokshin, a wellness dietitian at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, points out that baked donuts have half the calories and one-third the fat of fried. “Chanukah foods loaded in oil are high in cholesterol, which can be really bad for your heart, and eating them for eight says straight increases risks,” Lokshin said. Lokshin says that when serving toppings to go with latkes, reduced-fat sour cream and unsweeted applesauce are the best options. And since no one wants to feel deprived around the holidays, she suggests picking one night to indulge. “It’s better to designate which night of the holiday you will enjoy latkes and donuts, and stick to your regular eating routine on the other nights,” Lokshin said. “Otherwise, you’re picking at a donut here and a latke there, and over an eight-day period you will probably consume more than you hoped you had and it will throw off your eating routine in the long run.” Below are a couple of healthier latkes recipes.

Preparation: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil, or take a pastry brush dipped in olive oil and lightly coat the foil. Place grated carrots in a large bowl; press with paper towels to absorb any moisture. In another bowl, combine flours, salt, baking powder and pepper, and blend together. Add carrots, ginger and eggs to the flour mixture and combine. Mixture shouldn’t be too wet or too dry. When forming patties, the mixture should stick to itself and not come apart. If it’s too wet, add a little bit more flour; if it’s too dry, add more beaten egg. Allow to stand for 10-12 minutes for ingredients to absorb into each other. Place patties, about 3 1/2inch rounds, onto the greased baking sheet. Leave a little room around each one. Place tray into middle rack of oven and roast for 10-12 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Makes about 15 latkes. RUTABAGA AND TURNIP LATKE (Yosef Silver) Ingredients: 2 rutabaga, shredded 2 turnips, shredded 1 large onion, shredded 1 egg, plus one egg white 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper Preparation: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix all the ingredients, then shape the latkes so they are approximately the size of your palm and about 1/4-inch thick. Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil if you want to keep with tradition, or substitute coconut oil for a lighter alternative. Place the latkes on the cookie sheet with space between them. Once the oven has heated, bake the latkes until golden brown.



LINCOLN from page 5 “The successful campaign to overturn the order made Jews more confident.” And Grant, to “repent” and to “rehabilitate himself with the Jewish community” during his two terms as pres-

ident “appointed more Jews to office than had any of his predecessors.” This Chanukah, when we stand before our lit chanukiyot reciting Hanerot Halalu, “These lights which we kindle recall the wondrous triumphs and the miraculous victories,”

GIBSON from page 13 Jews.” Gibson, in a letter to Eszterhas, called Eszterhas’s assertions “fabrications.” “In 25 years of script development, I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time,” he wrote. “The decision not to proceed with you was based on the quality of your script, not on any other factor.” Eszterhas claims Gibson never intended to make the movie, but rather, that he just wanted to garner positive PR. He told Stern, “I worked for a year without pay because I wanted to write the story of the great Jewish hero.” “I strongly believe that unless he seeks and receives some kind of psychiatric help, someone is going to get hurt,” Eszterhas told Stern regarding Gibson. The Wiesenthal Center’s Hier told that Gibson “is an unrepentant anti-Semite” who “repeatedly exhibits his position despite having done real damage.” Hier does “believe that [Gibson] uttered those words” to the police officer in Malibu in 2006. “There’s an old Yiddish expression: what you do or say when you’re drunk, is what you’re

LATKES from page 14 ROAST CAPON WITH OLIVES Makes 10 to 12 servings Ingredients: 1 capon, about 9 pounds 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 2 onions 1 cup tightly packed flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped 3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered 3 tablespoons unsalted margarine, melted 1 cup dry white wine Preparation: Preheat the oven to 350. Discard any excess fat from the capon. Rinse it inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Season the inside and out with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Thinly slice one of the onions and set aside. Quarter the other onion and place it in the cavity along with the parsley and 1 tablespoon of the olives. Brush the capon with the margarine and place it on its side in a roasting

Courtesy of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department/Wikimedia Commons

Hollywood actor Mel Gibson planned to make Hanukkah movie despite anti-Semitism allegations.

really thinking,” Hier said. Jewish comedian Jackie Mason was among those who defended Gibson after the 2006 incident. “He never afflicted a Jew in his life personally,” Mason said in a Fox television interview. “How a guy lived for 50 years is what should count, not one remark when you’re drunk. He never joined a club that was antiSemitic. He never refused to give a guy a tip at a restaurant because pan. Scatter the sliced onions and the remaining olives around the pan. Roast the capon for 35 minutes, basting with one-third of the wine. Turn the capon on its other side and roast for another 35 minutes, again basting with a third of the wine. Turn the capon breast side up for 15 minutes, basting with the remaining wine. Turn the breast side down for another 15 minutes. The capon is ready when the drumstick juices run clear. (The total cooking time is about 1 hour and 40 minutes, or about 11 minutes per pound.) Remove the capon from the oven and cover it tightly with heavy foil. Let it stand for 20 minutes to let the juices flow back into the tissues. Place it on a cutting board. Pour the liquid from the baking pan, along with the olives and onions, into a small saucepan. Place the saucepan in the freezer for about 10 minutes, so that the grease can quickly rise to the top. (This makes it easier to remove.) To serve: Skim off the fat and reheat the sauce. Discard the onion and parsley from the cavity. Cut the breast into thin slices and serve with the sauce.

perhaps we can also recall the victories here of Cesar Kaskel, Rabbi Wise and ultimately Abraham Lincoln, who protected our freedom. So maybe they weren’t exactly American Maccabees – but Maccabee style for sure. he found out he was Jewish. His house doesn’t have a sign in front of it that says ‘no Jews allowed.’” But even before the episode with the police officer, in 2004 Gibson “solidified his antiSemitic position” with the production of “The Passion of the Christ” film, “portraying Jews so negatively” and conveying an “insult to the entire Jewish people,” Hier said. “Everyone identified as a Jew in the movie is shown as a buffoon, an idiot, or a sadist,” Hier said. “It is a cruel portrayal.” “Pope Benedict has acknowledged that Jesus was not killed by the Jews,” yet “in The Passion of the Christ, the actor crucified the Jewish people,” according to Hier. “Jews portrayed by Gibson are cruel, dishonest,” he said. Hier is sharply critical of Gibson for his “so-called apology” conveyed after the 2006 antiSemitic outburst, when a public relations professional was hired to write the apology. “This is not what you do,” Hier said. “You use the opportunity to apologize to the Jewish people personally… Find a quiet way of showing repentance, perhaps visit a concentration camp. But do it yourself! Then people might forgive.”

Best wishes for a happy Chanukah Dr. Michael A. Safdi, President Barbara Glueck, Director

HAPPY CHANUKAH from all of us at

























When Hanukkah candles burn brightly, we think of those who bring light to our lives and warmth to our hearts. Warm wishes to you at Hanukkah. |


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Board of Trustees Gary Heiman, Chairman s Michael R. Oestreicher, President s J. David Rosenberg, Vice President s Beth Guttman, Treasurer Jeffrey Zipkin, M.D., Secretary s Robert Brant s Michael Fisher s Gloria S. Haffer s Robert Kanter s Leslie Newman Brian Jaffee, Executive Director s 4555 Lake Forest Drive, Suite 645 s Cincinnati, OH 45242 s T: (513) 214-1200 s F: (513) 214-1210 s

The American Israelite, December 7, 2012  

The American Israelite, December 7, 2012