2020 October Reflector

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Jewish Community Federation 6



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Volume 68 | Issue 10



Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 | October 2020

‘Meaningful Meals’ for Frontliners


















(ABOVE) Six nurses from St. Mary’s - Bon Secours - Hospital hold lunches they received recently from “Meaningful Meals,” a special project launched in March by community members Claudia Biegler and Janet Meyers. (LEFT) Three healthcare staff members from Richmond Memorial Hospital show their appreciation to “Meaningful Meals.” For more details and photos, see Page 20.

.Community Chronicles Federation Happenings

continues on Oct. 13 T

he Federation’s Annual Campaign 2021 virtual series, Community Chronicles, continues on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the entire community. The online program will feature Lisa Friedman Clark who will offer inspiring remarks on how the Federation has helped her with a number of life challenges. She refers to herself as the “Luckiest Unlucky” person she knows and has learned to “dance between the raindrops.” Even through all her trials and tribulations, Lisa remains optimistic and involved in her work with the Jewish community. The series aims to help educate, inspire and motivate the community on why a gift to the Federation Annual Campaign this year is more important than ever before. Join community members on Oct. 13 to hear how much donating to the Federation matters. The series was launched on Aug. 10 with guest speaker Mark Wilf, the chair of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Board of Trustees and owner of the Minnesota Vikings. The second virtual program was held Sept. 14, featuring a Cooking Class by James Beard award-winning chef Michael Solomonov, founder of Tall Order. For more about Community Chronicles and the Annual Campaign, contact Federation Director of Development Jesse Feld at jfeld@jewishrichmond.org. To sign up for the next Community Chronicles virtual event, visit jewishrichmond.regfox.com/community-chronicles-with-lisa-friedman-clark

To register, for the free virtual program, visit jewishrichmond.regfox.com/community-chronicles-with-lisa-friedman-clark For more information, email Jesse Feld at jfeld@jewishrichmond.org.

JCFR has provided more than $118,000 to community from COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund By Sara Rosenbaum Director, Impact and Community Planning, JCFR he Federation’s COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund has provided $118,196 to community Agencies and Synagogues through early September. In March, as the Richmond Jewish community, along with the rest of the world, went to shut down, the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond launched the COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund to support our most vulnerable community members. This Fund has provided direct funding to the JFS Richmond Jewish Care Line and to the Agencies and Synagogues who offer care and resources to the community. A special Crisis Relief committee has been working with the leadership of the Federation partner Agencies to understand the growing needs in the community. The relief fund has raised $183,468 as of early September and has allocated funds throughout the community. As the



community begins to reopen, the committee will continue to evaluate ongoing needs and support the community and its members. The following funds have been profided: • $5,148 - iPads to JFS and Beth Sholom Senior Living for telehealth and senior connectivity • $18,000 - Weinstein JCC to assist with Camp Hilbert Summer Preparations, Security and Virtual Programming costs • $18,000 - Beth Sholom Senior Living to offset additional costs of $14/day per resident for additional care, funding 1,000 patient days • $7,000 - JFS Richmond to provide additional support and liquidity for Richmond Jewish Care Line • $1,500 - Rudlin Torah Academy for support for virtual distance learning • $1,500 - Aleph Bet Preschool for supporting ongoing programming, distance learning and additional scholarships for those facing financial hardships

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• $4,000 – For the 8 Community Synagogues to provide each with $500 to offset virtual Shabbat and Passover programs, and use at Rabbi’s discretion • $5,000 – to FeedMore’s COVID-19 Relief Fund • $5,000 – Daniel Staffenberg Discretionary fund in $500 increments • $5,000 – JDC Coronavirus Fund for needs in Ukraine, especially for seniors facing additional hardships • $1,000 – RTA to fully close its 201920 gap for COVID-19 technology expenses • $15,000 – Weinstein JCC to employ a nurse and an inclusion and support staff member on site for the eight-week summer childcare program at Monument Ave., which allowed the Center to fully implement all health and safety best practices to operate during the COVID-19 crisis • $7,048 – For special COVID-19 reopening kits with thermometers, masks, gloves and face shields to the agencies



How good & pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity. The Reflector is published monthly by the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond. Copy must be received two-and-a-half weeks prior to the date of publication. The Reflector reserves the right to edit or refuse any copy or advertisement submitted. Views expressed by guest writers and reader’s letters do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond. Call for information about advertising in The Reflector at 545-8655. Acceptance of advertising does not endorse or guarantee Kashruth. Ellen Renee Adams, President

Daniel Staffenberg, Chief Executive Officer Raymond (Skip) Kozakewicz, Editor Sara Rosenbaum, Director of Impact and Community Planning Jesse Feld, Director of Development and Engagement David Cohen, Director, Jewish Community Relations Meghan Kelly, Marketing Manager

Jewish Community Federation


5403 Monument Avenue • Richmond, VA 23226

(804) 545-8620 Email: reflector@jewishrichmond.org

Crisis Relief Fund More on page 10 www.JewishRichmond.org


My 10 (+1) Wishes for the New Year Daniel Staffenberg Chief Executive Officer Jewish Community Federation of Richmond

1. I wish we can be together soon, allowing us to connect and remove the isolation and stress so many are feeling. 2. I wish this moment encourages us to try new things, experiment, engage new Jews in communal life and think differently. This is our time to build the Jewish Community of the future. 3. I wish we recall more often our true purpose and calling as Jews is to create a world of care, love and dignity. That we are each created in the image of G-d. That every person brings light and value to our world. That Jewish life is about community. 4. I wish that we redouble our efforts to work together for the

common good. 5. I wish the Miami Heat, Florida Gators and Tampa Bay Lightning win championships. 6. I wish that peace continues to spread across the Middle East and weapons are exchanged for handshakes. 7. I wish that what unites us all, no matter where our opinions place us on the political spectrum, is the world needs to be better. And it is our responsibility to make it better. 8. I wish that we will make time this holiday season to reflect, replenish and renew. 9. I wish we return to gaining strength from a diversity of opinions, political, social and cultural,

Federation Happenings

and respectful discussion and dialogue of those differences remains a sign of a strong community. 10. I wish that memories of those lost in the last year bring good memories and all those who have lost loved ones find comfort among community. 11. I pray on Rosh Hashanah for G-d to treat us with righteousness and kindness — asei imanu tzedaka va’chesed — not randomly, but daily. The commandments in the Torah guide us to act legally, ethically and compassionately, to take steps toward achieving a “Shana Tova” — a “good” year, a “good” life. While we don’t know exactly how 5781 will play out, it is within our capacity to focus our efforts this year to fill the world with goodness.

When we hear the beautiful sound of the Shofar this Rosh Hashanah, I wish it will energize us around Jewish community. Let us create Jewish memories that weave us into the fabric of Jewish history. Let us find ways to make life meaningful and exciting again. Let us find moments to express gratitude, fulfill a new Mitzvah, participate more in the life of our community, and work to repair the injustices in our society. Tekiah, Shevarim, Seruah. L’Shana Tova Tikateyvu. To reach me, email daniel@jewishrichmond.org.

Meghan Kelly joins Federation as marketing manager M eghan Kelly has joined the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond as marketing manager. Kelly, a native of Roanoke, brings significant digital and print graphic design, social media and website expertise, email marketing and traditional marketing experience to the Federation professional team. CEO Daniel Staffenberg noted, “One of the key recommendations from our Navigating The Future work groups was to strengthen and expand our marketing and communications program. This goal takes an important step forward as we welcome Meghan Kelly to our professional team. She will lead a strategic effort, in particular, to improve www.jewishrichmond.org, expand community wide marketing and help launch a robust digital Reflector. She will work closely with Reflector Editor Skip Kozakewicz. Kelly has a Bachelor’s Degree in Strategic Advertising from Virginia Commonwealth University, an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Virginia Western Community College and holds numerous applicable marketing certifications and licenses. Her most recent position was with Virginia Military Institute’s Alumni Agencies as its communications specialist in which she managed the social media strategy for www.JewishRichmond.org

Meghan Kelly Contributed Photo

the entire Alumni Association, as well as its online presence. This included video cre-

ation and digital content. Prior to VMI, she was a marketing analyst with Virginia-Georgia Transformer, Roanoke; and a marketing manager--assistant project manager with Shively Electric, Roanoke. Kelly will be responsible for developing and managing Federation marketing programs, developing brand and strategic communications and managing the dayto-day operation of the Federations communications on behalf of the community. This also includes performing marketing research within the community to better identify target audiences and needs, pro-

vide consultation and acting as a resource for our partner agencies and Synagogues and developing innovative ways to reach the community and work to connect them to our community partners, agencies and Synagogues. Kelly said, “I am thrilled to be at the Federation and look forward to crafting a marketing plan that utilizes our resources to inform, engage and inspire the Jewish Community and Richmond community as a whole.” To reach Kelly, email mkelly@jewishrichmond.org. or call (804) 545-8625


October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 | the Reflector | 3


Jewish Community Relations Committee

The true meaning of normalization: Reflections on the Abraham Accords T

David Cohen Director Jewish Community Relations Jewish Community Federation of Richmond

his past month, the Richmond Jewish community joined with Jewish communities around the globe in celebrating the historic peace agreements signed at the White House between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. We welcomed the full normalization of ties and the establishment of diplomatic relations – as well as the principles of peace and cooperation expressed in the Abraham Accords. There can certainly be some skepticism around the political motivations for this deal from each of the parties. What cannot be denied, however, is that we know that it is possible for an Arab state to publicly recognize the State of Israel. Despite any past differences and any current disagreements, the UAE and Bahrain acknowledged Israel’s identity as a sovereign state whose borders need to be respected and whose people have a right to life and the pursuit of happiness just like every other nation on earth. If you don’t think that is big – then I am not sure what History you have been studying from the past 70 years. The Abraham Accords are actually a remarkable set of principles that outline a recognition of rights and broad cooperation in the region that is simply stunning given the history of enmity from which it came. The challenge now is to use this public recognition as a model to challenge Israel’s delegitimization in the world, and to try with all our might to have the term “normalization” be seen as something positive in the Palestinian community.

Delegitimization and the rejection of normalization are actually born of the same bitter fruit. The premise of the BDS movement for example is not that Israel should allow Palestinians a state or change policy. European delegitimization, BDS demonization, and Palestinian rejectionism all boil down to one argument – that Israel is a European colonizer that has no right to the land. That may not be what every person who protests against Israel believes – but it is at the core of what still prevents the Palestinians from gradually moving toward a normalized relationship with Israel – as the UAE, Bahrain and other Arab states have been doing for years. Without Arab states promoting this outdated view of Israel, the only source for its continued use in the region is actually the Shia political extremism of Iran that is exported to Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. When Abbas gets up at the United Nations and spews and hour of anti-Semitic tropes and claims of illegitimacy, who is he speaking for now? Clearly, he is no longer speaking for the Arab world. In many ways, that conflict, the Arab-Israeli conflict, ended in a loud crescendo at the White House on Sept. 15. So, anyone that continues to chime in on that claim of illegitimacy needs to know they are only amplifying the Shia Iranian worldview. THEIRS is the now the only state sponsored venom that claims Israel should be wiped off the map. THEIRS is the faulty rhetoric that fuels rejectionism and halts cooperation

in the Palestinian community. THEIRS is the anti-Semitic hatred that underlies the ill-informed anti-Israel activism in the United States. “Normalization” has not been achieved between Israelis and Palestinians because cooperation, business partnership, and political compromise is seen as an evil, traitorous act. Meaning that Israel is evil and to cooperate is to “normalize” the legitimacy of their false claim to the land. This is the ideology that the UAE and Bahrain started to shed years ago. The Abraham Accords are the public articulation of their new ideology; one that reflects a distinct change of course, and one brought about through soul searching as well as expediency - a common formula for any real peace. To hope for or expect less of the Palestinian leadership is shortsighted and diplomatic folly. Normalization MUST be seen as the recipe for any path toward a negotiated agreement. The only way for Israelis and Palestinians to know each other better - and to trust each other more is to gradually build up layers of connectivity, create regular opportunities for collaboration, and increase every-day personal interactions. If anything has shown this process of subtle normalization is a proven path toward peace – it is the Abraham Accords and the bi-lateral agreements that brought these ideals of cooperation and mutual respect to life. To reach me, email dcohen@jewishrichmond.org.

JCFR celebrates the U.S. brokered peace agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain The following statement was issued on Sept. 16 he Jewish Community of Richmond joins with Jewish communities around the globe in celebrating the historic peace agreements signed at the White House between Israel, the Unit-



ed Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. We welcome the full normalization of ties and the establishment of diplomatic relations agreed to by both Arab states - and the principles of peace and cooperation expressed in the Abraham Accords.

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We applaud this continued progress toward a new Middle East and a lasting peace achieved through dialogue and diplomacy. The JCFR congratulates Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and the Trump administration for the hard work

that led to this remarkable achievement. We look forward to the months and years ahead when other Arab states join in this accord - and to a time when Israel and the Palestinian leadership can find common ground through a similar diplomatic path toward peace.



Beth Sholom receives an electronic Mah Jongg table

Thank you to Paul and Zelda Silver for their generous donation of the magnificent electronic Mah Jongg table. Not only does it do just about everything automatically —it is a beautiful piece of furniture! Since its arrival, a few weeks ago, it has generated much conversation among our avid Mah Jongg players and staff. Contributed Photo

Outdoor visitation going well


eth Sholom is happy to announce outdoor visitation sessions are going well at our Assisted Living and the Healthcare Center. The sessions are scheduled by appointment only and are limited to 30 minutes. They are carefully controlled to minimize

the risk of introducing the virus back into our population. These visits depend on the weather, the resident’s condition, and their individual physical ability. Please check our website for updated outdoor visitation scheduling information, www.bethsholom living.org.

Beth Sholom Happenings

Beth Sholom 2020 Annual Meeting Join us for


Sunday, October 25th 5:00 PM Virtually with Zoom

Please RSVP to Communications@bslcc.org to receive your login.

1600 John Rolfe Parkway, Richmond, VA 23238 | www.bethsholomliving.org | 804-750-2183

Coming this Fall •

Beth Sholom’s Annual Meeting (via Zoom)

Sunday, October 25 at 5 p.m. •

Community Conversations (via Zoom): “Living with Dementia During COVID-19” Guest Speaker: Michael Skrajner with the Hearthstone Institute’s “I’m Still Here” approach to dementia. Tuesday, November 10, noon

Check our website, www.bethsholomliving.org for more information or to register for any of the above events, call (804) 421-5355. (RIGHT) Resident Irene Wolins and family enjoying an outdoor visit. www.JewishRichmond.org


October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 | the Reflector | 5


Weinstein JCC Happenings

‘Ladies of the Lounge’ at the Weinstein JCC


t began after a conversation where the status of the Men’s Locker Room and its recent updates were referenced, which prompted Carole Weinstein to begin her plan to help renovate the Women’s Locker Room at the Weinstein JCC. Not one to shy away from a project that involved overhauling and beautifying a space, beginning last spring under Carole’s direction and with her support, the Women’s Locker Room began to be transformed. The updates were expansive, including the installation of state-of-the-art lockers with keypads, new carpet, paint, lighting and furniture, enclosed changing areas, and the biggest change, which involved relocating the sitting area formerly located in the back to the front where members entered the room. Carole recognized that the location and aesthetics of this space was vital, so women could enter into a place that encourages them to “rest and relax and connect.” With all of the renovations completed in late 2019, including the new lounge area and furnishings, a large blank wall “called out for something” said Carole. After meeting with Orly Lewis, the Weinstein JCC CEO, and discussing her wishes for a woman artist that was local to Richmond, Holly Markhoff was suggested. Carole recognized Holly’s work from cards that were on sale on display at the JCC, but Carole never knew the work was done by someone in the community. After researching Holly’s work and feeling that her figurative style would work well in the setting, Carole contacted Holly in late February about “creating an inclusive, welcoming art piece for the women’s lounge in the locker room.” Carole and Holly met in person right before the pandemic hit, and Carole shared her vision with Holly. “She wanted a welcoming, all-inclusive art piece that would be the first thing seen when entering the lounge,” Holly stated. “Carole stressed she wanted the diversity of the JCC to be represented in the art, so that everyone


(From Left) Artist Holly Markhoff, Carole Weinstein and Weinstein JCC CEO Orly Lewis, at the installation of the artwork in the Women’s Locker Room in late August. Weinstein JCC Photo

would feel included and welcome. She wanted to include women of different ages, ethnicities, body types etc.; each wearing all types of locker room lounge wear, from a towel to yoga attire.” Carole added she wanted to show women who looked “whimsy and happy!” To complete the vision, Holly added “a bit of additional locker room attire and diversity, including a person with her bottom showing in the corner of the room, a very pregnant lady, as well as an exercising woman with a cane!” From her direction, and the style and color scheme Carole had selected for the area, “Ladies of the Lounge” was created. Carole, Orly and Holly met to discuss various titles and came to an agreement on the name which Holly said in her mind “implies feisty and modern ladies in the 1920s, having a beverage together in the ‘ladies lounge’. “As a cute twist,” Holly added, “instead in this painting the ladies have similar companionship but are dressed and half dressed in gym lounge attire.” But just as writer’s experience “writer’s block,” Holly was hit by a creative hurdle as well. The timing of COVID, isolation and quarantine had begun at the same time as her worn on the painting and Holly stated she felt “saddened by our world, and not very motivated to paint and create.” The work was evolving, but very slowly. Then, Holly said, “In the midst of the pandemic, Carole reached out to check-in on me.” Holly stated that she felt Carole may not know how much her outreach at that moment shaped the painting, and moti-

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vated and uplifted her. “Here we were in the midst of a world health crisis, along with the turmoil of the powerful recognition of our nation’s racial inequalities, and I was reminded that there was still a need and a place for this piece of artwork!” Holly felt a purposeful and energized direction knowing the painting was being created “specifically to be welcoming and inclusive, inside the welcoming and inclusive Weinstein JCC, and that it would be on display in the lounge of the Women’s Locker Room, a place to go for health and well-being.” Holly said, “With the uplifting and much-needed thoughts of health, and well-being, diversity, inclusiveness, I poured myself into the painting. Just over the horizon, the JCC Women’s Locker Room would be open again with “Ladies of the Lounge” in place to welcome everyone. I hope that people will feel a bit uplifted themselves by the painting.” The Weinstein JCC would like to thank Carole for her extraordinary vision, dedication and generous support of this project, from conception to completion and hopes more of the women membership will be encouraged to “lounge” in the beautifully renovated space. Interested in becoming a member? Contact Membership Director Randi Amar at ramar@weinsteinjcc.org or go to: weinsteinjcc.org. The Weinstein JCC is supported, in part, by a generous annual contribution, programming grants and COVID-19 Crisis Relief Funds from the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond. www.JewishRichmond.org

Weinstein JCC Book Fair in November presented virtually


ovember is Jewish Book Month and for over 40 years the Weinstein JCC has celebrated by bringing some of the most talented and wellrespected authors to the Center. In partnership with the Jewish Book Council, the Book Fair has introduced audiences to a wide variety of topics and stories that have enhanced knowledge, broadened perspectives and brought the community together. The Fife-Davis Family Annual Jewish Book Fair and Gift Shop will present four virtual author events beginning Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m., with Alan Zweibel, one of the original comedy writers for “Saturday Night Live.” Zweibel has had a long and successful career “helping funny people be funnier” as he recounts in


his memoir, Laugh Lines. On Monday, Nov. 16 at 12:30 p.m., co-hosted by 5400 Club, David G. Marwell will discuss his compelling biography of the infamous Nazi doctor, Mengele, along with the gripping narrative of the quest to bring him to justice. Jan Eliasberg, award-winning writer and director of TV series pilots and episodes including Miami Vice, Wiseguy, NCIS: Los Angeles and Nashville, just to name a few, will be speak about her book, “Hannah’s War,” on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 11 a.m. with the Jewish Woman’s Club. “Hannah’s War” is a fantastic work of historical fiction that takes the reader back to the final months of WWII and the brilliant researchers behind the first atomic bomb.


Weinstein JCC Happenings

The final book fair event will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m., with Sue Eisenfeld, author of “Wandering Dixie.” This travelthrough-history work of non-fiction explores how the history of Jewish southerners converges with the region’s complex, conflicted present. Partnering with JCC’s from Tidewater and Fairfax, Eisenfeld’s jour-

ney of revelation about our nation’s fraught history will hit close to home. Visit weinsteinjcc.org, for more details and registration information for the events included in The Fife-Davis Family Annual Jewish Book Fair. For Questions? Contact Leslie McGuigan at lmcguigan@weinsteinjcc.org or (804) 545-8644.


October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 | the Reflector | 7


Weinstein JCC Happenings

Arts + Ideas VIRTUAL Kick-Off


he 5400 Club at the Weinstein JCC will meet virtually on Mondays from 12:25-1:30 p.m. A Zoom meeting registration link will be emailed to members the Friday before each meeting. For questions? Contact Shari Menlowe-Barck at sbarck@weinsteinjcc.org or (804) 545-8611. Oct. 5 - Kristina Anderson, “Virginia Tech: Safety is Personal: Lessons Learned as Survivor of the Virginia Tech Tragedy.” Oct. 12 - Robert Brink, chairman of the


ctober will kick-off the 2020-21 Arts + Ideas season and for the first time, these events will all be offered VIRTUALLY. While certainly not the plan originally envisioned back in January, this season will still be chock full of arts and culture programs designed to bring culture and community together in new and creative ways. Subscriptions to the virtual season are priced at $200 and include musical and theatrical performances, films, speakers and more! Subscribe today and be a part of the new season! For a complete listing of all of our events, visit weinsteinjcc.org. Virtual Arts + Ideas Happenings for October: Oct. 1, 7 p.m.: Art Exhibit Opening: Hope, Peoplehood and the Five Legs Curated by Lisa Lezell-Levine; Sponsored by Hirschler The exhibit will be on display from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30 in the Sara D. November Gallery as well as online at weinsteinjcc.org. This event is FREE. Thursday, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.: Jewish Family Theatre presents A Mover, A Shaker, A Macher, A Mensch This special JFT production, “A Mover, A Shaker, A Macher, A Mensch” is a tribute to Earl Ferguson, of blessed memory. With artistic direction by Debra Clinton and musical direction by Natan Berenshteyn, we will take a “behind the scenes” look at the man who made great things happen, in both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Tickets are $25 per household and included in the Arts + Ideas virtual season subscription.

Virginia State Board of Elections, “Turnout, Redistricting and Security: Challenges for Election 2020 and 2021.” Oct. 19 - Professor John Paul Jones, UR Law School, “Peaceful Assembly/Disorderly Conduct: Some Law and History.” Oct. 26 - Dr. Sharon Keller, Hofstra University, “Coping with Crowds: Escapes in the Lower East Side.” Note: The programs and speakers listed are scheduled at Reflector press time. Any changes to the speakers/programs will be communicated to members.

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m.: Sip & Learn Series: The Firsts, The Inside Story of the Women Reshaping Congress In November 2018, the greatest number of women in American history entered Congress. Jennifer Steinhauer, author and New York Times reporter, has followed these women’s first year in the 116th Congress, chronicling their transition from running trailblazing campaigns to the daily work of governance. This event is FREE. Oct. 28, 7:00 p.m.: Women’s Night Out: Moodtopia Co-hosted by Hadassah Richmond; Sponsored by Hannah and Allen Cohen Moodtopia is a practical guide to herbs, adaptogens, essential oils and aromatherapy designed to help you tame your moods, de-stress and find balance. Attendees will walk away with natural ways to promote peace of mind and general health along with strategies for combatting stress and anxiety. For more details about any of these upcoming programs, visit weinsteinjcc.org.

Fall Youth Fitness Programming at the Weinstein JCC


he Weinstein JCC will be offering a variety of youth programming for children from Preschool-5th grade beginning this fall. These programs include a variety of interests and activities including ballet, hip hop, fitness and yoga classes, as well as an instructional soccer league. Class sizes will be limited to practice social distancing. Keep your kids active and moving by signing up for these programs at weinsteinjcc.org. Membership is not required to register! For more information, contact Allison Snyder at asnyder@weinsteinjcc.org. Kids Group X on Mondays 4:45-5:30 p.m. Guf Bari=Healthy Body Tuesdays K-2nd grades: 4:30-5:15 p.m. 3rd-5th grades: 5:20-6:05 p.m.


Family Bootcamp on Sundays 2 p.m. Preschool Yoga on Fridays 4:30-5:15 p.m. CORE Kids Academy Gymnastics Preschool Ages 3-5 on Wednesdays 3:45-4:30 p.m. K-3rd on Wednesdays 4:45-5:30 p.m. All Star Instructional Soccer League Sundays Preschool: 12:30-1:15 p.m. K-1st: 1:30-2:30 p.m. 2nd-3rd: 2:45-3:30 p.m. Intro to Ballet I Ages: 3 – 4 on Mondays from 3:45-4:30 p.m. Intro to Ballet II Ages: 4 – 5 on Mondays from 4:35-5:20 p.m.

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Ballet I School Ages: 5 – 8 on Tuesdays from 4:30 – 5:15 p.m. Ballet II Ages: 9 – 12 on Tuesdays from 5:20 – 6:05 p.m. Beginner Hip Hop Ages: 3 – 5 on Thursdays from 3:45 – 4:30 p.m Jr. Hip Hop School Ages: 5 – 8 on Thursdays from 4:35 - 5:20 p.m. Hip Hop Ages: 9 – 12 on Thursdays from 5:25 – 6:10 p.m.

Richmond Urban Dance Company founder and artistic director, Mandy Helmlinger, leads students in the Junior Hip Hop class that practices weekly at the Weinstein JCC. Weinstein JCC photo


New school year programs for children at the Weinstein JCC


Weinstein JCC Happenings


eptember ushered in cooler days, a new school year and new programming at the Weinstein JCC. Following the many guidelines and protocols put into place to keep children safe, classrooms are again bustling with children learning, exploring and engaging with a pod of peers. With a smaller number of families enrolled to best meet licensing regulations and new guidelines, the innovative programs provide an all-day enriching and educational setting for children. Preschool Re-imagined nurtures young children through a Reggio Emilia-inspired program featuring lower ratios, fewer transitions and discovery and education through outdoor play. And the new elementary and middle school program “All Day at the J” provides a safe space for students to do their virtual learning through their respective schools, while maintaining the normalcy of being in a caring, fun, and engaging program with friends. With smaller class sizes, enrollment is limited! To learn more or inquire about registration for the few spots remaining in the Preschool program, contact Early Childhood Director Donna Peters at dpeters@weinsteinjcc.org or (804) 545-8617. And to learn more about our school-aged program “All Day at the J” contact Kids’ Place Director LaVenus Harried at lharried@weinsteinjcc.org or (804) 545-8639. Details can also be found at weinsteinjcc.org.

Preschool teachers (ABOVE) Cameron Booth and (BELOW) Melissa Longstaff lead their classrooms of 4-year-olds in outdoor exploration, learning and fun. Weinstein JCC photos

The new “All Day at the J” program supports elementary-aged kids with their virtual learning for the first half of the day, and games, play and more when school is out. www.JewishRichmond.org


October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 | the Reflector | 9


JFS Happenings

Immunity and Aging


ince the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been many questions about this contagious and mysterious virus. Because COVID-19 is a new virus, humans have no pre-existing defenses to recognize that is a dangerous intruder. Among the most impacted are the elderly residing in long term care facilities. According to the New York Times, approximately one third of the nation’s cases are linked to these congregate facilities. Several factors make the elderly in long term care facilities especially vulnerable. With advanced age, the immune system loses its fighting power against foreign bacteria and viruses. The immune system is much like an army that fights invading germs by producing white blood cells that make proteins or antibodies to fight viruses and bacteria (antigens). The antibodies attach to antigens the way a key fits into a lock, and destroy the invading germs; however, if the body doesn’t recognize the foreign antigens, illness can occur. As we grow older, the immune system becomes less efficient and more vulnerable. Secondly, with age the body heals at a slower pace because there are fewer immune cells that bring about healing. This slower response time increases the risk of becoming sick because it takes longer to react to harmful germs. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for the elderly to have pre-existing chronic conditions which further compromise the

Virtual Bowling Ball Campaign for Virginia’s Kids in Foster Care

Online celebration of building families and making kids’ dreams come true: Thursday, October 29!

Continued from page 2



immune system. Hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and dementia are a few of the compounding illnesses which increase susceptibility. Lastly, skilled nursing facilities house many people living in tight quarters; therefore, it difficult to social distance. We are still learning about transmission of this virus, and in spite of dedicated hygiene, virile contagiousness has been an issue. There is optimism amidst these realities. Immunologists have identified four things we can do to boost our immune system to keep fighting power at its best. They include: There’s not a moment to spare. 1. Exercise. Regular exercise in1000+ children in Virginia’s foster care system creases the production of antibodies, expels toxins, and energizes metabolism. It are looking for their forever families right now. also lowers the production of adrenaline and cortisol hormones, which gives the immune system added strength. 2. Eat well. The gut contains the largest number of immune cells of your whole body, about 60% of your entire immune system. Avoiding processed foods and focusing on lean proteins, vegetables Visit jfsrichmond.org/bowlingball to learn more. and fruits is a good guide. 3. Get outside. Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. tunity to regenerate. The brain and body perform important tasks during sleep that help Researchers have found that Vitamin D repair cells and fight off illness. Prioritize rest! regulates immune reactions and activates For more details about JFS, visit www.jfsrichmond.org. T-cells, which play a crucial role in helpJewish Family Services is supported, in part, by a generous annual contribution, a programming ing fight infections. grant to support the Jewish Care Line and COVID-19 Crisis Relief Funds from the Jewish 4. Get enough sleep. Sleep is reCommunity Federation of Richmond. storative and gives the body an oppor-

COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund and all Synagogues in Richmond and Beth Israel, Charlottesville. • $15,000 – to support scholarships for Jewish families directly affected by the COVID-19 financial downturn. JFS Richmond has agreed to serve as the confidential vetting agent for this scholarship fund in line with its normal process. All scholarship requests will be run through JFS and grants will be made directly to the agency. • $10,000 - Fund to support COVIDrelated Jewish Care Line needs. These dollars are supporting basic needs, including food, utility bills, rent and other basic needs. 100% of these dollars will be used to support those in need as


the Care Line infrastructure and administration run by JFS is funded by the Federation Annual Campaign. We thank the many community donors who made gifts to the JCFR COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund, and if you would like to contribute,visit https://www.jewishrichmond.org/covid19. Thank you to the COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund committee: Ellen Renee Adams, Miriam Davidow, Robyn Galpern, Josh Goldberg, Howard Goldfine, Brian Greene, Larry Jackson, Amy Nisenson, and Ashley Noell; with support from Daniel Staffenberg, Jesse Feld, and Sara Rosenbaum.

10 | the Reflector | October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781

Thank you Friends of Reflector The Reflector staff and Jewish Community Federation of Richmond thank the following for their recent donations to the Friends of Reflector. As always, we thank the community for supporting the Reflector. Stay healthy and safe.

Tom and Susie Byer Sue and Art Davis Julie Semp Marshall Wolf www.JewishRichmond.org


The Richmond Jewish Coalition for Literacy launched a school supply drive to support the students at Swansboro and Laburnum Elementary schools as they returned to a virtual school program. Over $1,600 was raised to purchase muchneeded supplies for the students to bring home. Unfortunately, all mentor programs have been postponed by the schools until at least January. We will continue to be in touch with the schools regularly to offer other support. For more information about RJCL, contact Sara Rosenbaum at srosenbaum@jewishrichmond.org.


RJCL: Back to School support

Jewish Community Happenings

Back to School supplies are stacked on tables at Swansboro Elementary School for parents to pick up. More than $1,600 was raised for the effort, helped by mentors from Richmond Jewish Coalition for Literacy.

Parents pick up school supplies for their children at Swansboro Elementary School in Richmond. Contributed Photos

Hadassah Happenings

#HadassahVotes 2020


ith #HadassahVotes, Hadassah is mobilizing our members around all phases of voter engagement — online and in our communities. Join us and help us mark the 100th anniversary of women securing the vote by making this the largest turnout of women voters. “At this moment in American history, two things are clear: with freedoms and rights come responsibilities, and women’s voices are needed more than ever,” writes Hadassah National President Rhoda Smolow. Civic engagement is central to Hadassah’s promise to effect change – from promoting voting and an informed citizenry, to writing and meeting directly with elected officials on issues that matter. Join the Hadassah Voting Team Hadassah is participating in Vision2020Votes, a national, nonpartisan effort to get more women than ever registered and voting in the 2020 elections. Via the online platform, Motivote, anyone can join Hadassah’s Voting Team and regional teams. Request an absentee ballot, add Election Day to your calendar, help someone else register, visit the Hadassah National Action Center and more. Let’s Break the Record for Women Voting! Vision2020Votes is a national, nonpartisan effort to get more women than ever registered and voting in the 2020 elections. There’s no better way to increase the power of women’s voices in decisions that affect society, and to honor the suffragists who won the fight for women’s right to vote 100 years ago.


Why do so many people who have registered, signaling their intention to vote, not carry through? In too many cases, life gets in the way. They’re busy, miss the mail-in deadline, don’t know where to go, don’t have transportation, don’t have a babysitter, etc. People who intend to vote are far more likely to overcome these barriers if they join a team of people they know who all commit to voting, make a plan to vote, and are encouraged, rewarded and reminded at key points along the way. That’s what happens when you sign up with Vision2020Votes and invite others to join your team. Anyone can sign up and join the Hadassah team- locally, join the Southern Seaboard Region team. For more information and to sign up, go to: Hadassah.org/Vote2020.

What’s new from Hadassah Hospitals Cause for Optimism: First “Passive Immunization” Patients Return Home In the spring of 2020, Dr. Dana Wolf, the longtime head of Hadassah’s Virology Unit, took the helm of the Clinical Virology Laboratory, beginning a highspeed race to create a serum of COVID-19 antibodies. At the same time, in an initiative spearheaded by Director General Prof. Zeev Rotstein, Hadassah’s Blood Bank began collecting antibody-rich plasma from volunteer donors. Since then, the Israeli biopharmaceutical firm Kamada, working with Hadassah Medical Organization, has produced a passive vaccine: the antiSARS-CoV-2 plasma-derived immunoglobulin (IgG) that is showing promising therapeutic results in patients

with COVID-19. The first patients treated have already been released from the hospital and have returned home. As The Times of Israel reports: “The world’s first clinical trial for a coronavirus drug made from antibodies got off to a promising start in Jerusalem, with all three patients involved released.” These early results are enough to “raise hope in Israel and around the world,” says Director General Prof. Zeev Rotstein of the Hadassah Medical Organization. Patients with any viral disease develop antibodies in their plasma that help fight off the disease. Hadassah’s Blood Bank collected plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients and transferred that plasma to Kamada, which used it to produce the appropriate antibodies, what it calls its “anti-SARS-CoV-2 plasma-derived immunoglobulin (IgG) product.” According to HMO Director General Prof. Zeev Rotstein, the treatment is being given to seriously ill COVID-19 patients. Potentially, it could also stop the progression of disease in high-risk patients who contract the virus. What makes passive immunization different from an active vaccine is that a passive vaccine uses antibodies from recovered patients while an active vaccine contains a dead or weakened version of an actual virus. Hadassah believes each of us has the power to help heal our world. To learn more about Hadassah and our Richmond chapter or to donate to this amazing organization, contact Leslie Baron, president at bubbielou57@gmail.com.


October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 | the Reflector |11


Jewish Community Happenings

Hortense Wolf: The Golda Meir of Richmond (Editor’s note) Hortense Wolf (OBM) was the first woman president of the JCFR in 1977-78. As the Federation prepares to celebrate 85 years of service in Richmond, we want to share stories with Reflector readers on some of the families, individuals and institutions that were and are the soul and legacy of our Jewish community. This is the first in our series to Honor Our Past. We appreciate Robin Jackson coordinating the series with the Reflector and writing the first article about this truly remarkable leader who impacted so many people. By Robin Jackson or her diminutive size, Hortense Wolf stood tall in the Richmond community. “Next to family, the Richmond Community, both Jewish and non-Jewish, was the love of my mother’s life,” said her son Franklin in her eulogy in 2009. He continued, “she believed it was better to give than to receive, and she truly felt God put us all on this earth for a purpose and hers was to make this community a better place to live.” She spent most of her 94 years living that purpose. Brought up in depression years in Portsmouth, her parents and their siblings were involved in public affairs in both the Jewish and general community. In her Woman of Valor speech in 1998, she recalled early memories of. “me and the Sunday school kids going door-to-door collecting funds for Hadassah and standing on a downtown street with my mother collecting nickels and dimes for flood relief along the Mississippi River. My parents were always involved in community, schools and Synagogues. My four siblings and I along with young cousins were inculcated early on with the practice of sharing, Tzedakah and participation in community.” Her mother died when she was a freshman in college and her father felt the money was needed for her three brothers’ education. As Franklin noted, “my grandfather was a strict disciplinarian and his rule was law. So, she did not finish college.” In 1936 while attending a cousin’s wedding in Richmond she met the dapper Benjamin Wolf. They fell in love and soon were married. She immediately plunged into Richmond Jewish community life, becoming part of the newly organized Richmond Jewish Community Council, the forerunner to the Federation. As Hortense told it later, “The clouds of war were already forming in Europe. Families from Germany with the foresight to leave were beginning to trickle into our community. While those families were mainly sponsored by relatives, the work of the Council began to go into high gear.” She continued, “Many military installations were in Virginia. Weekends saw hundreds of soldiers and



In this 1952 photo, (center) Hortense Wolf is with (left) Libby Meyers and Libby’s daughter (right) Dorothy (now Dorothy Wizer.) Family Photo

Facing the Future ~ Honoring the Past 19 35

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Jewish Community Federation of Richmond 85th Anniversary

“My parents exemplified what it means to live lives of Jewish values.” Marshall Wolf

of Israel. She was proud that Richmond responded and the Richmond Jewish Community Council was in the heart of the action. Son Marshall said recently, “My parents exemplified what it means to live lives of Jewish values. Growing up, I had no idea that their models influenced me as well as my brother, Franklin. Both of us, in our own ways, have been dedicated to the Jewish community, Temple Beth-El and in my case, welcoming the stranger, Hachnasat Orchim (welcoming guests/being kind to strangers),” specifically, by becoming a foster parent and then later an adoptive parent. Eleven years into her marriage, Ben suffered a debilitating stroke. Six months earlier, in their kitchen, they had started a retail heating oil distribution business as a side investment. When it became apparent he wasn’t going to recover from his stroke, Hortense stepped into a “man’s world” with no college degree or prior business experience. She knew she had to support her family and recognized the great potential for growth in the fuel oil delivery business, becoming president of Eveready Oil Company. “What she brought into the business world was a fierce determination to provide for her family, an extraordinary work ethic and courageous zeal to serve her customers at all cost,” Franklin said recently. He continued, “This phenomenal dedication kindled unbelievable support from the community that caused her business to grow and prosper.” She was named the 1984 Small Businesswoman of the Year by the Retail Merchants Association and soon became

sailors pouring into Richmond. Among them were Jewish personnel from all over the country. Richmond Jewry opened its heart and homes to offer hospitality to those who little knew what was in store for them.” Ben and Hortense and their two small sons, Marshall and Franklin, had moved into a home with a large yard. She recalled how, “each weekend saw groups of Jewish military mingling with Richmond Jewish girls under the sponsorship of the Council in the back yard of our home. Singing, dancing, cooking hot dogs and eating corn grown in our victory garden was Richmond’s way of saying good luck to you!” She added that as the war continued and then came to an end, American Jewry were galvanized into action, raising tremendous sums of monHortense Wolf More on next page ey to salvage the remnants of European Jewry and establish the new State

12| the Reflector | October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781


Wolf family legacy of education and service

(From left) Hortense Wolf poses with a community member during a Federation Mission to Israel. Family Photo

Hortense Wolf Continued from page 12

the area’s first recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Businesswoman of the Year. Longtime community leader Neil November (OBM) who knew Hortense for decades once said, “Those early years really were so hard on her. But she kept it together - her business and her family. She’s a very brave gal.” He described her as a “dedicated member of the Jewish Community and a straight business lady. She can slug it out in a macho-dominated field and yet she’s always managed to retain her femininity and grace.” Hortense was a friend and mentor to many. She was a warm and nurturing individual, which made her a great community leader. She had unique abilities, which she fostered with her numerous community responsibilities. She accepted challenges and tasks with zeal. In 2000, Hortense said in letter to the Federation, “My greatest contribution during the years of my Jewish communal participation was to bring women to the forefront. It started in the 1970s when I chaired the Campaign and culminated with my becoming the first woman President of the Federation. Women were encouraged to become full participants and assume leadership roles. That was a major change. The 70s were years of growth for us. Subsequent events and participants confirmed my convictions.” As the first female president of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, she helped transform the Federation and its Campaign forever with improvements to the Jewish community that are still felt today. She improved Campaign techniques, helped form the Women’s Cabinet and encouraged the Federation to become active in national organizations. She was a powerful force in the creation of Richmond Jewish Foundation. In remarks at her funeral in 2009, long-time community leader Helen Horwitz said, “Her election as president of the Jewish Federation broke the glass ceiling and made it possible for Jewish women to attain the highest positions of leadership in the community. Hortense was a model for a generation of www.JewishRichmond.org

Son Marshall Wolf ’s life took an unanticipated turn in 1989 when he became a foster parent and later an adoptive parent to a 12-year-old, orphaned, Cambodian refugee, Kosal. Kosal arrived in this country with two older sisters who have enriched his life and together they slowly became a large extended family. Kosal graduated college to become a talented graphic designer and works in real estate. His married oldest sister, Sokly, has her own alteration shop and 2 married children. Both children are college graduates and her daughter has two young children. His middle sister, Phavy, is a dental assistant and is married with 5 children, all with higher education goals. This brings Marshall’s extended family to a total of 21! “Only in later years have I realized my commitment to helping others was rooted in my parents’ model. Helping these orphaned new immigrants acculturate to life in the United States has reaped multiple rewards in my life. The legacy of my parents for living lives of dedication to the Jewish community and to Tikkun Olam has been passed forward,” Marshall reminiscences. Franklin has served the Richmond and Jewish community following closely in his mother’s footsteps. His service includes becoming an Eagle Scout, president of his AEPi Fraternity chapter, and founder/president of the 20-30 Club, a JCC- sponsored social group for Jewish adult singles. He has been incredibly involved with Temple BethEl, serving as president and instrumental in starting its women and workers who followed her. This giant of a woman, known affectionately by many as the Golda Meir of Richmond, was actually short in stature but her wings were large enough to encompass all who came to her who became known as ‘her girls.’” Among her many honors, she was awarded the Federation’s Lifetime Achievement Award as well as its Distinguished Community Service Award. Her further list of awards, achievements and honors reads like a Who’s Who. This included the Federation’s Woman of Valor – L’dor V’dor, twice awarded the JCC’s most prestigious honor, the Edith, Esther and HJ Bernstein Award (32 years apart), and the Chesed Award from Rudlin Torah Academy. She also served as a vice president and secretary of the Richmond Jewish Community Council, chairman of the Women’s Division of the Jewish Welfare Fund, president of the Women’s Cabinet of the Council (which she helped found), secretary of the JCC, and secretary of Temple BethEl Sisterhood. She was a member of several agency Boards of Directors including United Way of Greater Richmond, Jewish Family Services, VCU Judaic Culture Committee, The Daily Planet and the Richmond Fuel Oil Association. Over and above being a fierce businesswoman and a committed community servant, she was a devoted and caring mother and grandmother. Shabbat dinners were a tradition that was as important as anything else in her life. In fact, according to her grandson Joseph, “Friday night dinners were not to be missed! It didn’t

Shoe Ministry Program, Save the James Program and RISC - Richmonders Involved with Strengthening our Community. Franklin also has served on the boards and committees of the Federation and JCC. He has been an active Campaign worker for the Federation for over 50 years! He has served as the president of the Oil Heat Institute of Mid-Virginia and was the organizer and treasurer for almost 30 years of the 3BK Family Association. He currently is a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels. For this community service and more, in 2019 Franklin was awarded the first Neil November Distinguished Community Service Award by the JCFR. Franklin’s wife, Gini, has worked in the JCC preschool for many years. Like her mother-in-law, she was awarded the Edith, Esther and HJ Bernstein Volunteer Leadership Award. And their children continue the path of education, excellence, and service that Hortense inspired. Eldest son Joseph lives in California with his wife and children, and has several degrees in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, all with honors. He attended UVA on the Governor’s Virginia Scholars 4-year scholarship. Joseph is director of Product Management at Intuit and previously worked at Google where he received The Executive Management Group Impact Award and the Operating Committee Excellence Award. Wolf Family More on page 22 matter whether there was a football game, a party or heading out on a date … you always made time for Grandma’s on a Friday night. And the most special Friday night dinners of all were Report Card dinners where grandma would prepare our favorite meals to celebrate our grades and accomplishments.” She passed her Shabbat traditions and love of Judaism as well as her work ethic and mucy more to the next generations. As many knew, Hortense was a humble woman who never said no and never turned down a challenge or an opportunity. She once said, “I am just an ordinary woman with an ordinary life.” Guiding all of Hortense’s efforts were her creeds - “each person is responsible for their own destiny, each of us has a communal responsibility, each individual has responsibility for the mitzvah of tzedakah, and how good it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity.” To conclude her eulogy, Franklin told friends and relatives, “If this day and this life are to have any meaning to you, Mom would want you to open your eyes and hearts to your community. Serve when asked and unselfishly give or your time, energy and resources to make this community a better place for all of us to live, to enjoy and to prosper. Amen.” “My parents exemplified what it means to live lives of Jewish values.”


October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 | the Reflector | 13

Beth-El Religious School Happenings

By Ramona L. Brand Director of Youth Learning Religious School Opening Day Sunday, Sept. 13 Opening Day Car-nival filled with Smiles On Sunday, Sept. 13, we warmly welcomed our students to the start of the school year with a fun-filled Car-nival. “Welcome Back TBE Students” proclaimed the large colorful sign that greeted families as they came up the driveway to the school building! Kids popped out of cars, had their pictures taken, and then back in again as families proceeded from station-to-station through the school parking lot. After receiving bags filled with school supplies and Rosh Hashana goodies, students played games, won candy, made a New Year’s video, heard the Shofar and received lots happy “air hugs” from all the teachers! What a joyful way to begin our school year. October School Calendar: Sundays, Oct. 18 and 25 Wednesdays, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28 Confirmation class meets: Oct. 18 and 25 Sukkot and Simchat Torah Family Programs Recommended for families with children from small infants to Grade 3 Sukkot: Sunday, Oct. 4. 9 - 10:15 a.m. Sukkot Family Program: Sukkah of Peace – celebrate the bounty of Sukkot with stories, songs, and activities and make-along Sukkah decorations. Special guest Sandy Ryder of Wild Swan Theater brings Jewish stories to life through drama. Simchat Torah: Sunday, Oct. 11, 9:30 - 10 a.m. (precedes the Temple’s Simchat Torah service) Come dressed as a Torah, make an edible Torah, or bring your own soft Torah and join us for a celebration including stories, songs and dancing. A special Tot-Kafah will take place! Temple Beth-El membership is not required to attend our Family services and programs. For zoom link information, email r.brand@bethelrichmond.org



Synagogue Happenings

As these pictures show, there was lots of “Car-nival fun” at Beth-El on Sept. 13. Beth-El

Tot Shabbat Returns Saturday Nov. 7 Open to the entire community. For families with children from small infants to age 5. Families can enjoy a Shabbat service geared for young children and filled with music, stories, movement and more. A musical, meaningful service designed for wiggles. Theme: Being Thankful Time: 9-10 a.m. Location: Wherever you are! For Zoom Link and Password information, email r.brand@bethelrichmond.org 2020-2021 Dates: Nov. 7 / Dec. 5 / Jan. 2/ Feb. 6/ Mar. 6/ April 10/ May 1 Registration for the 2020-2021 Religious School year is still open! For Grade Pre-K through 10: Our innovative and child-centered approach to Jewish learning provides a dynamic environment where Jewish education is joyous, fun, inspiring and spiritual. Skill level Hebrew enables students to learn at an independent pace and move comfortably toward mastery. Our creative program incorporates electives, hands-on learning, and interactive education. Classes are currently virtual with once a month in-person, outdoor grade level classes being held. We are adhering to strict COVID-19 health and safety standards. General school schedule: Grades: Pre-K – 2 / Sundays 9 am- noon; Grades: 3-7/ Sundays 9 a. m. - noon and Wednesdays 4:15 p.m. – 6:14 p.m. Interested in learning more about our school? Contact r.brand@bethelrichmond.org • Temple Membership is not required for families with students in grades Pre-K through 2nd grade and 8th-10th. • For online registration, visit: https://www.bethelrichmond.org/school

14| the Reflector| October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781



Happenings at Brith Achim


Synagogue Happenings

Rabbi Dennis Beck-Berman blows the Shofar. Contributed Photo


all is always busy with the High Holidays at Congregation Brith Achim; this pandemic-hampered year is no exception. We held distanced services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in September, including pre-recorded musical performances from congregants both locally and from across the country. Every congregant was sent a High Holiday package, with services enhanced by the ubiquitous owner-

ship of “shofarot” among our members with children! The High Holidays were complimented by our distanced Shabbat services and video-conferenced Thursday night Torah studies, keeping us spiritually active and Kabalistically enlightened. Men’s Club and Sisterhood have also been busy. In September, Sisterhood published the annual Memorial Book and Men’s Club’s president, David Goldstein, gave a Zoom talk on “Practical Computer Security.”

October continues the cluster of important celebrations with Sukkot (and meals at Rabbi Beck-Berman’s Sukkah) and Simchat Torah. With any luck and the pandemic subsiding, we will be in the Shul waiving “lulavim” and rerolling Torah scrolls as a congregation! For more details or to register for any of these events, please call the Synagogue office at (804) 7323968 or email brithachim@aol.com. May your new year be blessed!

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October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 | the Reflector | 15


Synagogue Happenings

Or Atid happenings T

Jewish Heritage Library - Or Atid students can visit the virtual library to explore their Jewish heritage, reading stories about Jewish culture and discovering Jewish tradition. Contributed Photo

Or Atid Religious School news By Alison Litvin Education Coordinator Engaging distance learning starts Oct. 4 his October, the Kornblau Religious School starts the school year virtually. Distance learning offers several challenges, and the school’s dedicated staff has been collaborating for several months to provide a meaningful classroom experience for all students. Beginning Sunday, Oct. 4, students and teachers will meet each Sunday morning on Zoom. During these weekly live sessions, staff are leading interactive lessons to engage students through Zoom’s features. Each week, teachers screen-share to display their virtual classroom tailored for each unit. Inspired by the point-and-click adventure game, these virtual classrooms serve as a visual aide for each session. By giving students remote-control access, each class is able to navigate the virtual classroom together to fully explore their lesson. Focusing on interaction and movement, class activities provide learners the chance to connect with each other over games and thoughtful discussion. Students and staff alike enjoy the opportunity to stretch with Alef-Bet Yoga and move around-the-house with scavenger hunts, building community through the screen to make the most of virtual learning. After each session, staff upload their virtual classrooms online for family access. Students and parents are able to review and practice each lesson at their own


pace, as needed. In addition to all classroom materials being posted online, staff are sharing resources for families looking to extend their learning beyond the classroom. Whether making up for a missed class or squeezing in Hebrew practice during the week, the virtual classroom helps keep Or Atid families and staff connected. This year’s classroom may be virtual, but that doesn’t stop our staff or students from discovering new ways to interact with Jewish holidays and traditions, Israeli culture, Hebrew and Tefillah, and the weekly Parsha. For more information about the school, and to learn about our approach to distance learning, please contact Education Coordinator Alison Litvin, at relschool@oratid. org, or call Congregation Or Atid at (804) 740 - 4747.

hank you to our Or Atid community and guests for participating in our High Holy Days Services; Shana Tova! Our mixture of interactive, live streaming, and limited in-person events were enjoyed by all. We look forward to the New Year, and all that it brings as we continue to navigate our current situation. We are rounding out this High Holy season with some fun events for Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Join us for a virtual Sukkah hop and a service including the Lulov & Eskro. We are also planning a Simchat Torah virtual parade with our Helen and Sam Kornblau Religious School. Be on the lookout for details on the website www.oratid.org and through our Facebook page. The Or Atid Book Club has been enjoying its virtual meetings. In September the Book Club had an engaging discussion about the historical fiction “The Song of the Jade Lily” by Kirsty Manning. We learned about a topic many were unaware of - the lives of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during World War II. We look forward to an indepth discussion later this month about the novel, “The Physician.” This is the first book in New York Times–bestselling author Noah Gordon’s Dr. Robert Cole trilogy. For information about Or Atid, please contact the office at (804)740-4747. Shana Tova to all!

Brachot Board - Shechehiyanu Or Atid students can refer back and review the blessings they’ve studied on the virtual Brachot Board


16 | the Reflector | October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781



Or Ami happenings in October O n Friday, Oct. 2, Or Ami has a special Zoom service prepared for Sukkot, featuring a virtual Sukkah you help decorate (you have to come -- if only to see how we’ll pull this off). Then, on Friday, Oct. 9, we will have a Simchat Torahthemed Shabbat service with a virtual tour of the Torah scroll. If you would like the Zoom links for these holiday services, please email Maria (office@or-ami.com). Friday Shabbot services are virtual on our Facebook page from 7:30-8:30 p.m., and Zoom Torah study is on Saturdays beginning at 2:15 p.m. and ending at 3:45 p.m. Again, please contact Maria (office@or-am.com) for a link. Sunday, Oct. 11, is Opening Day of Religious School. We offer an inspirational and educational program online until we can be sure that it is safe for all students and staff to gather in person again. This year, students in the K-8 program will be learning about Jewish heroes from biblical times to the present day, including scientists, athletes, activists, and trailblazers of diverse Jewish backgrounds. Our Torah Tots preschool program will be focusing on

A photo from Or Ami virtual Rosh Hashanah Family service, from the Lego story about celebrating Rosh Hashanah. Rabbi Ahuva Zaches created these tableaus for the children’s service.

biblical heroes. Along with learning about these Jewish heroes, our students will have time for fun social connections and meaningful prayer experiences designed to support students’ mental and spiritual health -- especially during these challenging times. Religious School registration is still open. To register your child(ren), please visit https://or-ami.com/registration/.

Synagogue Happenings

Readers can see a recap of the meaningful services from Or Ami’s High Holy Days on YouTube at: (https://or-ami.com/high-holy-days/) Our usual busy social schedule is curtailed for now, but our Book Club still meets, and what a lot of fun we have. On Monday, Oct. 5, our Zoom meeting will discuss “Spies of No Country” by Matt Friedman, and on Nov. 2, “Lost Girls of Paris” by Pam Jenoff, will be our topic. For more information on any of our programs, or to obtain links to Zoom events, please contact our office at (804) 272-0017 or office@or-ami.com. Want to know more? Contact us at Belong@Or-Ami.com or check us out at www.Or-Ami.com. You can follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/OrAmi-Richmond, or catch us on Twitter@oramirichmond. All inquiries are welcome.

Refugees need your help By Marilyn Breslow ur world has contracted, yet turmoil and repression continue in this time of the pandemic. In Syria, Sudan and Afghanistan, innocent people are forced to abandon all they know for safety. Here in Richmond, many are traumatized and destabilized by an invisible threat; imagine this with the exponential fear of grievous bodily harm. The U.S. refugee resettlement program was eviscerated in the past few years. Our government reneged on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by reducing the numbers of refugees offered resettlement and turning away those seeking asylum.



The U.S. also reduced its financial support of humanitarian aid, destabilizing economies and making life much more tenuous, especially in overcrowded, squalid camps. The United Nations High Commission on refugees reports there are now 79.5 million refugees, asylum seekers, and internally-displaced persons worldwide. Most seek safety in neighboring countries. Only 107,000 refugees were resettled in third countries (countries offering permanent resettlement) last year, close to what the U.S. used to resettle before the current administration slashed admissions to 18,000 in 2020. If you would like to learn more about refugee resettlement and how

to advocate for change,Congregation Or Ami offers speakers knowledgeable in refugee resettlement policy, and experienced in refugee life abroad and here, and how to be of help. Richmond refugee resettlement agencies welcomed close to 300 newcomers to the metro area in 2019 and close to 200 this year. These recent arrivals are seeking to rebuild their lives. They seek work and to send their children to school. Learning English is a high priority. Despite the difficulty, their need persists, and there are ways to get involved and offer a neighborly welcome – even from a distance. If your congregation (or a group of con-

gregants or friends) would like to hear more in a zoom meeting, please contact: Social_Action@or-ami.com. Or Ami is the recipient of a mini-grant from the Kraus Foundation through the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. The money will be used for materials to teach English. Our partner is ReEstablish Richmond, whose staff provides orientation and training to match refugees with volunteers. The Torah instructs us 36 times to care for the stranger; this is an opportunity to extend the welcome in trying times.


October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 |the Reflector | 17


Synagogue Happenings

A “young man” walks up a driveway to drop off an At-Home High Holy Day Kit on the doorstep of a Beth Ahabah family. Contributed Photos

Coping and Innovating E veryone and every organization has faced endless challenges in the last six months: staying home, staying well, caring for the ill, working from home, working at work! And learning how to Zoom, coping with distance learning. Our Synagogues faced the challenge of how to be a congregation when congregating was both unwise and dangerous. Periodic congregational calls, switching all meetings to Zoom, livestreaming services were some solutions. Congregation Beth Ahabah convened an ad hoc Health and Safety Committee to develop safe practices, rules, and guidelines. In August, the congregation began having small outdoor socially-distanced service projects (with proper masks and gloves), like our annual pre-High Holy Day Hebrew Cemetery Clean-Up. The top of our parking garage became an open-air cinema for teens to watch the debut of Disney’s “Mulan,” each with a lawn chair in a socially-distanced chalked circle. To make the celebration of High Holy Days as “normal” as possible, High Holy Day Prayer Books were made available for Drive-By pick-up. Congregants could also drop-off donations for our annual FEED MORE food drive at that time or


on several other scheduled days. The week before Rosh Hashanah, staff, led by Programming Manager Allie Vornholt, prepared hundreds of At-Home High Holy Day Kits containing apples, honey, candles, spices, service programs, and even a do-ityourself Tashlisch service complete with dissolvable paper for writing one’s sins on. A small army of board members and volunteers delivered a kit to the doorstep of each local member, out of town members received a similar kit in the mail. The High Holy Day are not over yet, everyone is invited to join us for a Virtual Shabbat Service Celebrating Sukkot Friday, Oct. 2 at 6:15 p.m. and a Virtual Shabbat Service Celebrating Simchat Torah featuring Klezmer Band My Son the Doctor, Friday, Oct. 9, 6:15 p.m. Both will stream publicly on our YouTube Channel -CongregationBethAhabahRichmondVA

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Hundreds of At-Home High Holy Day Kits were prepared by Beth Ahabah staff for congregants with apples, honey, candles and more. These were delivered to the doorsteps of members.

High Holiday Prayer Books are packaged in plastic and ready for pickup by congregants.



Sukkot: Festival of (Voting) Booths


s the Jewish community prepares for the festival of Sukkot, beginning at sundown on Oct. 2, and as we build our temporary booths, our Sukkahs, let us be mindful of the importance of entering the voting booth as well. The Brit Olam (Social Justice) Committee of Congregation Beth Ahabah is working in conjunction with the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center (RAC) 2020 civic engagement campaign, “Every Voice, Every Vote,” to encourage all citizens to exercise their fundamental right to vote. With a non-partisan goal of encouraging voter participation in the Jewish community, this committee is striving to empower, motivate and support all citizens to enable their participation in this cornerstone of democracy. Given the health and safety concerns arising from the global pandemic of COVID-19, the following information is provided

to help clarify the variety of voting opportunities offered in 2020: How to Vote in the November 3 Election: 1) Vote Early & In-Person: • All registered voters may cast early, inperson ballots at their local registrar’s office or designated satellite location from Sept. 18 to Oct. 31. 2) Vote by Absentee Ballot: • All registered voters may apply to vote absentee through their local registrar’s office or by visiting the Virginia Department of Elections website at https://vote.elections.virginia.gov. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. • Absentee ballots may be returned in the following ways: 1) Deliver to your local registrar’s office or designated drop-off locations no later than Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. 2) Deliver via U.S. Postal Service with a postmark dated no

Synagogue Happenings

later than Nov. 3. However, all voters using this method are encouraged to mail their absentee ballots early. See www.vote.org/absentee-ballot-deadlines for more information. 3) Vote at the Polls: • All registered voters may cast their vote at the polls on Nov. 3 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Alternative Kohelet on Voting: By Rabbis Randi Nagel, Scott Nagel, and Sue Shankman To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to register to vote, and a time to help others register to vote; A time to vote absentee, and a time to pledge to vote; A time to discuss issues and time to share ideas; A time to talk and a time to listen; A time to persuade, and a time to refrain from persuasion;

A time to concede, and a time to celebrate; a time to join together, and a time to dance; A time to seek information about candidates and ballot measures, and a time to make decisions; A time to hold onto convictions, and a time to recognize and respect the perspective of others; A time to disagree, and a time to agree; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to heal, and a time to come together; A time for opposing views, and a time for peace. For more information about this civic engagement campaign, visit https://rac.org/ take-action/congregations-communities/rac-civicengagement-campaign-2020. You may also contact Beth Ahabah “Every Voice, Every Vote” project leader, Judi Brown, at jmb131@gmail.com.

BAMA Job Description The Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives (BAMA) collects, preserves, and exhibits materials related to Jewish history and culture – with particular emphasis on Richmond, Virginia. The museum maintains the records and objects generated by Kahal Kadosh (K.K.) Beth Shalome and its successor K.K. Beth Ahabah. It also collects materials of Jewish organizations, businesses, and individuals throughout the Richmond community. The museum is a 501(c)3, operates under its own board of trustees, and has a staff of three part-time employees. Position Title: Administrative Assistant/Docent This is a part-time position, 25 hours per week. Sunday work is required. Duties: • Greet visitors and talk about museum; answer phone • Perform general office duties including bill-paying, purchasing, recording donations and preparing financial statements • Work with the Board’s Collections and Acquisitions Committee to accession materials • Enter records into card catalogs and records management systems • Manage small gift shop • Assist with research • Perform other related duties as assigned Qualifications: • Bachelor’s degree • Excellent organizational skills • Familiarity with Microsoft Office • Ability to work in a small team in close quarters • Ability to lift 25 pounds • Knowledge of Richmond history is preferred • Knowledge of Judaism is preferred To Apply: Please send a resume and cover letter to William B. Obrochta, executive director, Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives, 1109 W. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23220.

Bed & Breakfast

615 S. Main Street • Blackstone, VA 23824 434-292-3199 or 800-509-3567 www.greyswaninn.com info@greyswaninn.com October 2020 . Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 |the Reflector | 19


.‘Meaningful Meals’ supports frontliners during COVID-19 Jewish Community Happenings


ince the COVID-19 pandemic shut down normal day-to-day life in mid-March, Claudia Biegler and Janet Meyers have felt a strong need to help frontline workers in the Richmond area. “We felt absolutely helpless in March,” noted Claudia. “We considered some possibilities on what we might do. We began with a simple grassroots project of providing lunches for a few on the frontlines. And it has grown into a lovely monthly salute to our Richmond healthcare and related professionals.” The program, “Meaningful Meals,” supports a different group of workers each month who receive catered box lunches through Garnish, a local Richmond catering company. The duo want to recognize Louis Campbell, owner of Garnish, for his support. “Louis has set the total cost of one box lunch at $10, no matter what it may cost him. There are no delivery charges or other costs to us for this project. Thank you very much Louis,” said Janet and Claudia. By frontline workers, they want to not only help healthcare workers but others -- physical therapists, hospice staff and volounteers, teachers, fire fighters, rescue squad members and even pharmacists. Janet added, “These lunches are a treat and so very much appreciated. The groups receiving the lunches have sent us countless pictures and thanks. It is very gratifying and fulfilling as these frontliners are our heroes.” They began in March by sending lunches to a team of eight healthcare staff at Beth Sholom Healthcare Center. Claudia explained, “Samantha Goodman, daughter of my good friends, Julie and Mike Goodman, is Director – Life Enrichment there. We learned

An associate with Garnish Catering drops off lunches from “Meaningful Meals” to Lisa Patten at the Bon Secours Reinhart Guest House recently. Contributed Photos

Two staff members from Bon Secours Community Hospice House in Chesterfield County pose with the donated lunches from “Meaningful Meals.” Kathy Wood, St. Mary’s – Bon Secours, poses with an associate from Garnish Catering following a recent delivery of lunches from “Meaningful Meals.”


her team was under unbelievable pressure with the pandemic. So, with some help from a few of our friends, we arranged to send lunches to her team. It was so well received, we decided to move ahead with this project.” Next, they helped an administrative nursing team at St. Mary’s -- Bon Secours with box lunches. A friend of Janet’s, a lead administrative nurse of a 5th floor team at the hospital had not had a day off in weeks while caring for COVID patients. “They were working very long shifts. They were so grateful and appreciative for the lunches,” said Janet. As word spread among their friends and others, they began receiving donations to help provide lunches. Since March, over 175 lunches have been provided with 45 meals delivered on Sept. 15 to

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the Bon Secours Community Hospice Staff in Chesterfield County. Others who have been supported include Bon Secours Respiratory therapists and nurses, Reinhart Guest House of Bon Secours, Richmond Memorial and even CVS Pharmacy, Patterson and Lauderdale Avenue Claudia noted, “The workers are very grateful for the recognition and we feel fulfilled because we’re able to do something personally to acknowledge our heroes.” Since their efforts were growing and reaching a point where they might not be able to handle all the donations efficiently, they met with Robert Nomberg, president of Richmond Jewish Foundation. As a result, RJF has created an endowment fund that it will administer for “Meaningful Meals.” “Several people had asked if

they could make larger donations. With the creation of a RJF endowment, we can do this! People can donate as much or as little as they want, as often as they want. So, for example, a $100 donation will feed 10 frontline workers.” This fund is not a long-term, permanent endowment. It will end when the COVID-19 pandemic ends. “The funds in the endowment are those from the donations,” Janet explained. There are several ways to support the Meaningful Meals Endowment Fund at RJF: • Send a check payable to Richmond Jewish Foundation with “Meaningful Meals” in the memo line, mailed to RJF, PO Box 17128, Richmond, VA 23226 • Donate online at https://www.rjfoundation.org/donors/donate/ • For gifts of stock by contacting Michele Craig at RJF at (804) 5458653

• For IRA Rollover gifts (70 ½ and older) - have IRA administrator contact Michele Craig. • For any other gifts, contact Robert Nomberg at RJF at (804) 5458656. Claudia and Janet thank community members for their donations for “honoring our frontline workers.” For October, they plan to provide lunches for more staff members at the Bon Secours Community Hospice House. In addition, they are asking community members if they have a connection to frontline workers or want to invite donors to help “Meaningful Meals,” to contact either of them for details. For more information, email janet.s.meyers@gmail.com or call (804) 869-7700 or email claudiabiegler@ gmail.com or call (804) 928-5888.



Jewish Community Happenings

Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery Ben Kutner Co-President



ucked away in a section of the sprawling Forest Lawn cemetery near the RIR track on Laburnum is a beautiful and moving memorial to the slain relatives of the survivors who emigrated to the Richmond area. Best known to the Richmond Jewish community for the Beth El section at the entrance, Forest Lawn is also where, in 1955, members of the New American Jewish Club bought land and erected the memorial to their loved ones who perished in the Holocaust. These new residents of the United States pooled their meager resources and constructed this memorial to 200 family members who had perished in the Holocaust and whose final resting places will forever be unknown. Since then, every year on the Sunday closest to the November anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass), a memorial service is held to honor the slain relatives and all of the six million who were killed, continuing our com-

Annual Kristallnacht Memorial Service Sunday, Nov. 8 2 p.m. mitment to Never Again. The service is usually an hour long, traditionally with a guest speaker, family speaker, high school students who have won the Esther Windmueller Never Again essay contest, candle lighting, reciting of El Maleh Rachamim and Kaddish prayers. In 1998 the Virginia Department of Historic Resources recognized the Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial, one of the first Holocaust memorials in North America, by listing it as a Historic Landmark in Virginia. The following year, the U.S. Department of the Interior placed it on the National Register of Historic Places. On Nov. 7, 1999, two flanking panels, bearing 239 additional names, were dedicated by new members of the Richmond Jewish community to memorialize their family members who were killed in the Holocaust. Adjacent to the Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial is a Jewish cemetery for Holocaust survivors, their descendants, and

Pictured is the Holocaust Memorial at the Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery in Richmond. It is believed this is the oldest memorial to the Holocaust in North America. Contributed Photo

others of the Jewish faith. Recently, after some research undertaken by Inge Horowitz we received some wonderful news. We have always said the Emek Sholom Memorial is one of the oldest Holocaust memorials in North America, having been under the impression for many decades that our memorial was preceded by a memorial obelisk in a cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana. Attempting to find out more about this obelisk, Inge contacted the Indianapolis Federation to obtain materials. They were puzzled about the request, and undertook their own investigation. After researching the issue they determined there was neither written nor physical evidence that such an item ever existed. While we do not know the origins of the story of the Indianapolis Holocaust Memorial, we now strongly believe that Richmond is indeed home to the OLDEST memorial to the Holocaust in North America. Yet Emek Sholom remains one of Richmond’s best kept secrets. I recently

made a donation to Emek Sholom in memory of a friend’s parent who passed away, a Jewish family with long Richmond family roots. When my friend received the acknowledgement card he called to let me know he had to look up Emek Sholom on Google, as he had never heard of it ! This year’s memorial service, marking the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht and the 65th annual ceremony held at Emek Sholom will be held on Sunday Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. The service is open to the public. Due to Covid concerns and restrictions this year, the service will be transmitted live from the memorial at Emek Sholom. While our speakers, Rabbi, Cantor and a few people will be present, it is likely most of us will attend the service remotely. Information to attend the remote service will be published and communicated soon. For more information about the Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery, please visit emeksholomcemeteryrichmond.org/

The Esther J. Windmueller ‘Never Again’ Award Continues


or years, Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery has been promoting our “Never Again” essay competition. In November of 2017, we renamed the award the Esther J. Windmueller Never Again Award to honor Esther Windmueller (OBM) who assisted with the competition for years and passed away in 2017. Each year, we ask high school students to write an essay of 500 words or www.JewishRichmond.org

less about how to stop Anti-Semitism worldwide and in America. In the past, many of our award winners were from the Richmond area, but we encourage applicants from all high schools throughout Virginia. We also ask that the award winners read their essay during the Kristallnacht event, which will be Sunday, Nov. 8, 2 p.m. This year, in order to emphasize the importance of the competition and the message of stopping anti-Semitism, we

have increased the award. Our first place winner will be receiving $500, and our second place winner will be receiving $300. Winners will also be asked to provide a one page document that summarizes their essay and outlines ways to counteract anti-Semitism. We are asking that applications be submitted by Oct. 14. For more information about the award and to download the application, please visit our website


http://www.emeksholomcemeteryrichmond. org/. If you visit the website, you can also view past winning essays and information about our past winners dating back to 2005. If you have questions, please e mail Rachel Loria at racheltloria@ gmail.com. We look forward to reviewing the 2020 essays and introducing the community to our next essay winner.

October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 |the Reflector 5780| 21

. Life & Legacy - Supporting a strong Jewish tomorrow Foundation Happenings

By Robert Nomberg president & ceo richmond jewish foundation


hank you to the 375 local donors who, over the last four years, have promised to create 529 legacy gifts to support our Richmond Jewish community. These future gifts are estimated to provide an additional $20 million in endowments for Jewish Richmond. These generous commitments are part of a collaborative nation-wide endowment building effort, the goal of which is to provide future financial stability in our community. Our local LIFE & LEGACY partnership includes 10 Jewish organizations and congregations – Chabad of Virginia, Congregation Beth Ahabah, Congregation Or Ami, Congregation Or Atid, Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Jewish Family Services, Keneseth Beth Israel, Rudlin Torah Academy, Temple Beth-El and Weinstein JCC – along with Richmond Jewish Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. During the past four years, these partners have been provided with training, support, and monetary incentives to develop and grow their legacy programs. “Participation in the community-wide LIFE & LEGACY program provided the

foundation and training necessary to integrate legacy giving into the philanthropic culture at the Weinstein JCC. It inspired our staff and volunteers to think long-term and to dedicate the time and resources necessary to ensure the successful future of the Center,” said Chris Greenberg, LIFE & LEGACY Chair, Weinstein JCC. She continued, “We are grateful to the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Richmond Jewish Foundation for bringing the LIFE & LEGACY program to our Richmond community - a program that has helped us to engage 50+ new legacy donors that represent more than $2 million in projected gifts for the Weinstein JCC, as well as funding for our annual operating budget from newly established endowed funds.” In less than 8 years, the national LIFE & LEGACY program has motivated more than 17,000 donors in 63 communities across North America, including in Richmond, to commit more than a billion dollars in current and after-lifetime assets to the Jewish organizations which shaped their lives. In challenging times like these, endowments provide organizations with the financial stability to meet evolving needs. Legacy commitments ensure that organizations that are providing impactful programs and services during both calm and turbulent times have the necessary resources to adapt. “The cooperation and collaboration fostered by LIFE & LEGACY as local organizations work to a shared goal of endowment building is especially critical now,” said Arlene D.

Wolf Family

Continued from page 13

Younger brother Matt lives in San Francisco and works at Facebook where he builds tools that allow small businesses to be more effective and efficient. Prior to Facebook he worked at Stubhub, where he won several awards and is listed on 4 U.S. Patents. Before working in tech, Matt attended James Madison University on a Merit Scholarship where he was president of Hillel from 20062008. He also won the Teamwork Award and placed 3rd of 140 teams in the 2009 JMU Business Plan Competition. After graduation Matt served as chairman of the Board for JNet (a Jewish young professionals’ network) in Northern VA.


Schiff, national director, LIFE & LEGACY. “Even in the midst of so much disruption and uncertainty, we continue to empower many generous and committed individuals and families to give back to the Jewish organizations that have played and are playing an important role in their lives.” The commitments made by Richmond’s legacy donors over the past four years are just the beginning of a community-wide effort to ensure a strong Jewish tomorrow Over the last year, our partners diligently focused on engaging with donors to legally formalize their initial commitments. Despite the recent challenges of in-person connections, almost 70% of our local commitments have been legally formalized by these donors working with Richmond Jewish Foundation and their attorney, accountant, insurance agent or wealth advisor. The fifth year of our LIFE & LEGACY program kicked off last month and will focus on sustainability. RJF will continue to provide guidance, training and incentives for participating organizations and congregations to further integrate legacy giving into their institutions and create a long-term culture of philanthropy. RJF is proud and honored to partner

The third talented child, daughter Rebecca, has served in the Navy for 14 years. She graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy and has a master’s degree in Physical Oceanography. She is a Surface Warfare Officer, meaning she serves on warships. Early on, Rebecca became the Jewish Lay Leader for a crew of about 1,000 sailors. She says, “There are not enough Chaplains in the Navy to have one on every ship nor enough Chaplains to represent the multitudes of faith that make up our armed services.” Therefore, the Navy relies on lay leaders to help accommodate the religious practices of various faith groups. Serving on the USS FORREST SHERMAN, Rebecca completed a deployment to the Middle East where they

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were assigned to conduct counter piracy operations in the Gulf of Oman. Her next tour landed her in Afghanistan. Rebecca is proud that “in addition to my day job, I also became the Jewish Lay Leader and supported members of the Jewish faith on Forward Operating Base (FOB) Sharana.” They held Friday night services, observed Passover and the High Holidays, and celebrated Chanukah. “Even if just for an hour or so each week-spending time with fellow Jews offered a great sense of community,” she recalls. In addition to serving as the Officer In Charge, Rebecca was also the Jewish Lay Leader onboard USNS Mercy. “We held weekly Shabbat services while the ship

with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation on this vitally important Jewish endowment building initiative. Through LIFE & LEGACY, our local Jewish organizations have collectively been awarded almost $230,000 in unrestricted incentive grants for successfully participating in the program and meeting their annual goals. “Providing Jewish organizations with a strategy to help secure their long-term financial goals is absolutely vital, especially now in the middle of an economic crisis,” said Harold Grinspoon, founder of HGF. “Supporting our Jewish institutions is critical to ensuring future generations are able to enjoy our rich culture and heritage. I am thrilled that LIFE & LEGACY is motivating donors to make legacy commitments that will sustain vibrant Jewish communities for years to come.” To learn how you can be part of securing Richmond’s Jewish future, email RJF Legacy Director Lauren Plotkin at lauren@rjfoundation.org or call (804) 5458624.

was underway while transiting between countries along the Pacific Rim. We had a small group of regular attendees to include young Army Soldiers to more senior Naval Officers,” she says. Recently she spent three years stationed in Bahrain as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer on the USS GLADIATOR. “It is an incredible feeling to get to do something you dreamed of, worked toward, and studied for years,” she says with pride. “I am truly blessed to have been able to work alongside … hands down the hardest working Sailors I have ever met in the US Navy.” In addition to serving on the USS Wolf Family More on next page www.JewishRichmond.org


Virginia Holocaust Museum Happenings

(From left) VHM Executive Director Samuel Asher and Chairman Marcus Weinstein open up the Virtual Annual Meeting on Sept. 9. VHM screen photos

VHM Virtual Annual Meeting T

he Virginia Holocaust Museum held its virtual Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 9 via a public Zoom program. VHM Chairman Marcus Weinstein welcomed the online attendees and then asked Executive Director Samuel Asher to outline the program for the evening that included a keynote address by “Violins of Hope” Author Professor James Grymes. Before his Invocation, Rabbi Dovid Asher offered an In Memoria on Holocaust Survivors and community leaders who had passed away in 2020. He described details of their lives and those of other family members. These included Sonia Brodecki, 92, who died Jan. 16; Margot Maier Miller who passed away on Feb. 26; Helen Zimm, 96, who passed away on April 6; Alan Zimm, 99, who passed away April 18, a month shy of his 100th birthday; Selma Brown, 100, an original board member of Virginia Holocaust Museum who passed away on April 19; Gene Atkinson. 86, a VHM board member who passed away on April 26; Earl Ferguson, 73, a longtime VHM board member and treasurer who passed away on June 3; Maria Brodecki, 70, daughter of Holocaust Survivors

Boleslaw (Bud) and Sonia Brodecki, who passed away on June 21; and Rabbi Israel Koller, 84, who served congregations in West Virginia and Richmond and had been a chaplain at Beth Sholom Senior Living. He passed away Sept. 5. In his remarks, Asher noted, “This has been a difficult year. We have responded to many changes due to the COVID-19 crisis. But we are weary from all of the daily challenges in our lives and in our community. We have received many calls from supporters who understand the importance of our Museum and the need to tell the story of the Holocaust and what hate can do. Virginia Holocaust Museum and other Museums in town have an opportunity to accomplish educational work and stand together to fight racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.” He described how the Museum like other area museums temporarily closed their doors in

Wolf Family

Continued from page 22

GLADIATOR, she also was the Jewish Lay Leader on the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain. “We had a very sizeable Jewish Community connected to the Navy Base and State Department. The Bahrain community was definitely the largest Jewish Community I have been connected to while serving in the US Navy. As a very familyoriented group, we held activities for kids, weekly services on the base, and were able to observe and celebrate all significant Jewish holidays.” Rebecca noted, “The Jewish Community is very important to my family and something that www.JewishRichmond.org

was ingrained growing up.” As a teen she was honored with the JCC Arenstein Family Excellence in Youth Service Award. “As a Lay Leader, I am able to bring together a Jewish Community. I have had some amazing opportunities and have participated in some unique missions throughout my 14 years of service. I am grateful to be able to serve my community and my country,” she concludes. Rebecca is currently working in the Pentagon at the Office of Legislative Affairs.

Rabbi Dovid Asher delivers his InMemoria.

March. The 22 museum leaders took part in virtual meetings over several months. VHM re-opened with special safety and health protocols on July 6. “Our weekend and week-day traffic is almost back to the preCOVID numbers. So, come on down and see exhibits you might have missed before. Due to the COVID crisis, we will wait to bring new visiting exhibits until 2021. We have used the Auschwitz and Beyond Duty Exhibits, which are in-house exhibits, since we reopened in July. We continue to maximize Holocaust education for the teachers and students.” Asher announced a number of upcoming professional programs, workshops and new exhibits planned for 2021. He said a Yom HaShoah Observance, which was not held this year, will take place in its regular time slot in April of 2021; Violins of Hope will be held August - October of 2021. “It tells the remarkable stories of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, and of the Israeli violinmaker dedicated to bringing these inspirational instruments back to life.” Other exhibits are in the planning stages including “All that Remains: A Holocaust Exhibit in Fiber.” He noted the Capital Campaign has been boosted with additional gifts. “The Barbara and Fred Kort Foundation has made a $190,000 grant to renovate our Lobby and the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation has made a grant of $150,000 for matching


Guest speaker author and Professor James Grymes.

dollars in our continued renovations. The total available for capital projects at the present time is over $600,000.” Asher concluded, “We are all the keepers of the memories. Help us to continue to be a beacon of hope – as we stand against Racism, Anti- Semitism and bigotry.” He then introduced guest speaker author and professor James Grymes. The “Violins of Hope” exhibit will come to Richmond from Aug. 1, 2021, until Oct. 25, 2021, and will be displayed at VHM, the Virginia Museum for History and Culture and the Black History Museum. The opening concert will be held at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Sept. 9, 2021. Other programming is being rescheduled and will be found at ViolinsofhopeRVA.com. In his remarks, Grymes shared stories of several Holocaust Survivors who are featured in his book “Violins of Hope: Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour (Harper Perennial, 2014). Each person had horrific accounts of their time in the concentration camps and how music and their violins helped them to endure and survive. Like many others in the camps, music provided an outlet to take their minds away from their daily horrors. Some never played an instrument again due to the terrible memories. One Survivor said, “Playing music gave me one more day, one more day, one more day ... ”

October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 | the Reflector |23

MANY THANKS TO OUR 2020 CORPORATE PARTNERS The support of our Corporate Partners during this challenging year has been critical to our success. We extend our deepest thanks for their generosity and commitment to our community. Jewish Community Federation of Richmond

2020 Corporate Partners: Emerald Level Sponsor:

THESE PARTNERSHIPS ENABLE US TO Provide life-sustaining humanitarian aid at home and abroad

Sapphire Level Sponsors: Build a welcoming and inclusive community and offer resources at every stage of life

Gold Level Sponsor:

Empower older adults to thrive in their homes and community safely and independently

Contributor Level Sponsor:

Educate our community about compelling issues

Donor Level Sponsors:

Connect Jewish young adults with their community and peers

It makes good corporate sense to partner with the Federation. Sponsors are provided with the opportunity to invest in social impact through an organization that evokes recognition and trust throughout the Greater Richmond region. Supporting the Federation will increase your company’s brand awareness, enhance your corporate image and generate good will among the people who count the most—our donors and your clients. If you’d like to learn more about our partnership program, please contact Paul H. Powell, Director, Corporate Partnerships and Business Development at 804.320.0220 (Remote Office) or ppowell@jewishrichmond.org. www.JewishRichmond.org


October 2020 Tishrei/Cheshvan 5781 | the Reflector | 24