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Sivan 29, 5771

July 1, 2011

Summer Supplement to the INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS速














A Summer Supplement to the Intermountain Jewish News®



6 • Saving Chernobyl’s Children! ISRAEL





Sunscreen • 15

9 • Baby Doctor Retires DR. TED ENGEL’S 42-YEAR

10 • Exchange Students AUTHOR TELLS HOW


Extreme Sports • 17 ISRAELIS

Rambam’s Diet • 25

40 • Coffee BENEFITS



43 • It’s Hard To Tavel? HELPERS










34 • Polio



SENIORS • 49 Communal Memory • 50


Warriors’ Stories • 58 WWII VETS

ABOVE Extreme Sports in Caesarea




47 • Detecting a Heart Attack IT’S POSSIBLE WITH ISRAELI DEVICE





Containing Cancer • 23












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‘SHER’ DELIGHT One of the community’s newest members is Miriam Sher, daughter of Rabbi Chaim and Rivky Sher.














July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 5

Stas, left, reunited with his brother Danny, was brought to Israel by CCOC last year.

Saving Chernobyl’s Children BY ABIGAIL KLEIN LEICHMAN


n its 93rd rescue mission, the New York-based charity Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl (CCOC) brought another 25 children to safety in Israel at the end of April. The plane touched down at Ben Gurion International Airport almost 25 years to the day since a combination of engineering deficiencies and human error caused one of the

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Chernobyl nuclear power plant’s reactors to release massive radioactive material into the environment — many times more than at Hiroshima during World War II. The fallout directly led to the deaths of about 100,000 people, sickened countless others and continues to pose grave health risks — particularly to children there, who have a high rate of thyroid disease, birth defects, heart conditions

and compromised immunity as a result of exposure to lingering radiation in the air, water and soil. In 1990, the worldwide Chabad organization started flying out affected Jewish kids ages eight to 15 to resettle in Israel. The number of rescued youngsters now stands at 2,755. “Israel is the only country that will accept the children on a permanent basis, and we are the only organization in the world that takes them out permanently,” explains Rachel Fertel, special events coordinator for CCOC. “Others take them out of Chernobyl [for treatment] but bring them back after a few weeks. We don’t want them back in contaminated areas ever again.” Once the rescued children stop breathing contaminated air and eating contaminated food, their health improves,

Pavlov, who has heart problems due to radiation, with the uncle who raised him. according to CCOC international director, Yossi Swerdlov.

Reunited with relatives Fertel says that the Chernobyl kids are accommodated in youth villages at Kfar Chabad, an Israeli town, where they receive free medical, psychological and dental care as well as schooling for several years. “We make sure they have the tools they need to survive. Many have gone on to the army or jobs, and stay connected with us as adults.” Some later move to the US or elsewhere, she added. About half of them choose to become Israeli citizens, and about 80% are reunited with their families at some point — either their parents join them in Israel or they move in with Please see CHILDREN on Page 8 July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 7

CHILDREN from Page 7 relatives. The April 28 flight included 15 girls and 10 boys. It also included a man whose nephew, Pavlov, was brought by CCOC 18 months ago. The uncle had raised Pavlov after his father died and his mother became very sick due to the radiation, so CCOC arranged for him to be on the flight to visit the boy, who suffers from radiationrelated heart problems. Another new arrival, Stas, was reunited with his brother Danny, who was brought to Israel by CCOC last year. The boys’ mother is still in Ukraine with another brother, and CCOC reports that it intends to bring the entire family back together.


he children are chosen on an application basis,” says Fertel. “A lot of times the parents send the applications, or

sometimes community leaders or relatives apply, if the parents have passed away. They know that in order for the children to survive and have a healthy lifestyle, they need to get them out because children are most susceptible to radiation. The half-lives of the isotopes go on for hundreds of thousands of years.”

‘A flight full of kids costs $360,000 — a huge expense’ Expensive proposition Rescuing, housing, feeding and caring for the Chernobyl children takes large sums. The main source of funds is CCOC’s annual benefit dinner, Children at Heart, which attracts many

celebrities among hundreds of guests. “It costs us $18,000 per year per child,” says Fertel. “A flight full of kids costs $360,000. It is a huge expense, and that’s why we work our hardest to do this.” The organization also sends medical supplies to Ukraine to help the many remaining children and adults. Last year, an MTV producer made a promotional video for the organization, “Let Dreams Take Flight,” which interviews several “alumni” of Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl. The actor Michael Douglas narrated an earlier video about the disaster and the organization, “The Cry is Answered.” “With 25 children on board, this flight was extremely meaningful and sends a powerful message to the world: To this day, a quarter of a century after the disaster occurred, there is still a need to permanently evacuate the children from the contaminated zones,” says Fertel.


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5,000 babies in 42 years! BY ESHLEY SPITZER


ith more than 5000 baby deliveries, and over 30,000 surgeries checked off the list, Dr. Tibor Engel retired after 42 years of private practice in obstetrics and gynecology in May, 2011. Known by patients and co-workers as a caring friend and expert in his field, Dr. Engel is recognized as an inspiring role model. “I’ve been with Dr. Engel for 34 years and it has been quite a learning experience,” said Harriet Saper, practice manager at Consultants in OB-GYN. “Dr. Engel has been an inspiration for all of us who have worked for him. He is the caring doctor that everyone would like their doctor to be.” One of only four physicians titled as a full clinical professor in obstetrics and gynecology by CU Medical School, Dr. Engel began practicing at Rose Medical Center and served on staff at the University Hospital. He was one of the first doctors active in reproductive endocrinology and infertility treatment in the Denver metro area; he was the first physician in Denver to perform a laparoscopy. He has written articles pertaining to ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. In between more than 35,000 procedures, Dr. Engel has served as a leader in the Jewish and medical communities. His numerous positions have included president of Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy, assistant director of the medical staff at Denver General Hospital, a board member at East Denver Orthodox Synagogue and an active member of AIPAC. He has been a generous supporter of several charities and looks forward to continuing his efforts. Dr. Engel’s former partners, Dr. Susan Moison, Dr. Julie Mahoney, Dr. Jennifer Guggenheim and Dr. Stephanie Owens, will continue the practice at a new location: Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital, as of Aug. 1, 2011. “It’s a privilege to be in this position and to have participated in the lifecycle events of so many people’” says Dr. Engel. “This time is very bittersweet because I will miss my

Dr. Ted (Tibor) Engel patients and the joy of delivering babies and taking care of people.” In his retirement, Dr. Engel looks forward to traveling and to relaxing at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.


45th Annual Dinner SAVE THE DATE


Sunday, November 13, 2011 at BMH-BJ Social Hall

Reserve the date for our gala event! This is your opportunity to provide support for a premier educational institution in our community and to ensure the future of our people. For more information, please contact the Yeshiva office at 303-629-8200 1555 Stuart Street • PO Box 40067 • Denver, CO 80204 July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 9

Welcome . . . bienvenue . . . Ira Cherington

Willkommen . . . BY ESHLEY SPITZER fter 20 years of placing international high school students with host families, author Ina Cherington documents stories, real experiences and learned lessons from host families and international students in her book, Living with Your Exchange Student (iUniversal, 2011). Inspired to write the book after a friend encouraged her to document her collection of entertaining stories, Cherington realized that no previous literature on the subject was available. “A lot of families do not even know that the program exists,” Cherington said, adding that 30,000 students are placed nationally each school year. The book’s stories, documenting real life experiences, both challenging and rewarding, may inspire readers to partake in the hosting program.


sing the experiences of host families she helped set up in Denver, Cherington tells intriguing stories of students from over 30 countries. Cherington’s book includes stories of Jewish high school exchange students who were not always comfortable with


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their Jewish identity in their home countries, but found strong ties to Judaism when given the opportunity to explore Judaism freely during their home stays. One entry includes the experience of a German exchange student who went on to spend a summer on a kibbutz in Israel after being exposed to a Jewish community, rituals and traditions during her program. Cherington described the commitment that host families take on when they invite a foreign student to become a part of their family and every day life for an entire school semester or year. The book covers important topics, ranging from basic hosting pointers to dealing with cultural differences. Cherington hopes that the book’s entertaining accounts will inspire families to take the opportunity to host a student and learn about culture through a universal, interpersonal relationship, ultimately helping restore peace and understanding across cultures. “Hosting a student is full of exciting and enjoyable times, but is also challenging,” Cherington says. “This book shows you how to manage the difficult times through experience. I hope to make it available to as many host families as possible.”







CORNED BEEF’S REIGNING CHAMPS The Denver Community Jewish Softball League is in full swing, with 14 teams in two divisions. Last year’s champs (above), the HEA-Brews, are (as of June 23) undefeated in the league’s Corned Beef Division. And in the Pastrami Division? Sinai’s Mitts-vahs are undefeated.














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DNT TXT AND DRV! The Dangers of Distracted Driving BY SAMANTHA BERENSTEIN 12 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011


olorado is one of 26 states that have categorized text messaging while driving as a primary offense. The statute has been implemented due to a shocking increase in fatal accidents as a result of distracted driving. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 51.4% of teenage drivers have admitted to texting while driving. It seems as though it’s too late to stop the snacking, makeup-applying, radio blasting and cellular conversations, and now few teenage drivers or others have given up the dangerous habit of texting while driving. Drinking and driving is by no means a mild offense. However, the consequences for driving while under the influence do not come close to distracted driving. Why is it that the threat of a DUI deters some from making that fateful mistake, while the fear of death, supposedly humanity’s greatest fear, is not enough to keep the cell phones at bay? A poll by Harris Interactive, a market-research firm, asked teenagers, ages 14-17 whether they thought they would die one day if they regu-

larly text and drive. 35% said yes, compared to 55% who thought drunk driving could prove deadly. The threat is not yet perceived to pose enough danger to override the convenience of a quick message. A study conducted by Car and Driver yielded results that proved texting and driving to be the most perilous of all vehicular distractions. An unimpaired driver takes approximately .54 seconds to brake. But for one who is legally drunk, his additional time to stop would add four feet to the distance that the unimpaired driver takes to stop. Now add 70 more feet to stop for a driver sending a text message! The 66-foot difference still doesn’t make us want to ride with someone drunk, but the huge lapse between the two in statistics calls into question our judgment about riding with someone texting. By no means is this only a teenage-driver issue, but the largest group that texts while driving remains teenage and new drivers. The INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS surveyed teens in Denver,

‘I only text at stop lights because I don’t think it is dangerous as long as the car isn’t moving’ who asked to remain anonymous, and asked them why they text and drive despite the dangers. One teen said, “I only text at stop lights because I don’t think it is dangerous as long as the car isn’t moving.” When asked about the seemingly superfluous need to talk to someone this instant, most teens said they are “talking to the person they are about to meet,” or “arranging my plans for the rest of the day, so I don’t want to put it off until later.” Some teens say, “We would never text and drive, the risk isn’t worth it,” but admitted that they have noticed many others doing it. “Just the other day, I passed a car that seemed to be going exceedingly slow on the highway, when I got within sight of Please see DRIVING on Page 14 July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 13

DRIVING from Page 13 the driver I saw that she was texting.” According to the Transportation Research Board, 29% of teenage drivers look away from the road for three seconds at a time while texting. Three seconds is nothing worth noting in everyday life choices, but when it’s three seconds at 60 MPH, anything can happen. So what is being done to combat this problem? Effective Dec. 1, 2009, Colorado House Bill 1094 was implemented. It calls for a ban on cell phones for drivers under 18, and prohibited those over 18 from sending text messages while driving. Violations of this law result in a $50 fine and are classified as a Class A traffic infraction. This is a good start, but due to the difficulty in monitoring cell phone usage,


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very little change has been observed. In fact, officers are noting that there may even be an increase in accidents since the bill passed because drivers are now trying to conceal the offense — which leads to more distraction. Education about the dangers of texting and driving is seen as the most effective way to stifle this trend. Besides regularly going through the risks of distracted driving, setting an example is also a useful tool to prevent further cases. Parents who text and drive are far more likely to produce young drivers with the same habits because neither will see the risk as something directly applicable to themselves. Texting and driving isn’t just dangerous for the driver, but the rest of the drivers as well. Scarcely do we put our own lives in danger, so why would we want to put someone else’s life at risk, too?

Don’t forget the Sunscreen



t’s an easy thing to forget in your morning ritual. Brushing your teeth, combing your hair and getting dressed are all standards for people keeping up a healthy appearance, but many people forget an important element to their health: sunscreen. The hot weather of summer brings families and friends together for outings to the pool and amusement parks, but amidst all the fun, the danger of sun damage is lurking. From wrinkles and age spots, to sunburns — to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer — it’s no wonder that skin care professionals urge sunscreen use on a day to day basis. There has been a dramatic change in the purpose of sunscreen over the past few decades. In 1953, the company, Schering-Plough, became famous when their advertisement for Coppertone sunscreen featured a little blonde girl and a puppy tugging at her swimsuit. The ad was an instant hit and the consumer desire for “tanning lotion” soared. The purpose for the lotion then was to help the consumer create a “healthy tan.” Now, according to Skin Cancer Foundation, the “healthy tan” is a myth of the past. The Skin Cancer Foundation has a new purpose for sunscreen. It is intended not only to prevent burns, but all tanning. According to the American Cancer Society, “there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence Please see SUNSCREEN on Page 16 July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 15

SUNSCREEN from Page 15 of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.” Shockingly, “every 62 minutes a person dies of melanoma,” says a study by the National Cancer Institute. In the wake of what some people view to be a dangerous world, it seems almost preposterous to let this cycle go on every hour when there is an easy fix with sunscreen.


eople of all ages are affected by sun damage, but the numbers of severe cases increase for women between the ages of 16-29, according to the World Health Organization, because “71% of females within this age group visit tanning beds on a regular

basis.” A. P. Kaminsky, owner and skin care therapist at Skin Esthetics Denver, says, “Tanning beds inflict much worse damage than damage from natural sun exposure.” “Colorado prides itself on 300 days of sunshine, but this also means a greater risk for people who don’t incorporate sunscreen into their daily routines.” Many people taking part in the 9-5 workday forget about the sun exposure they are still vulnerable to. “You can get sun damage from the walk from your car to work, to lunch or even UVA rays through your window,” continues Kaminsky. “I read about a study conducted within the last six months wherein it was proven that people who go unprotected in the course of one year because of a lack of outdoor time, have the same skin damage as someone who spent one week on the beach without any protection at all.” Now that the dangers are known, here are some tips from Kaminsky on how to stay safe in the sun: • “Mix sunscreen and your daily moisturizer together so you don’t forget it” • “Reapply, reapply, reapply” • “Stay away from tanning beds” • “Remember that no one is exempt from sun damage” Annual skin care checks with your local dermatologist are recommended for close monitoring of any change in the skin’s outer layer. Sunscreen with at least an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 is suggested and should be reapplied after outdoor swimming or heavy sweating. Don’t let this discourage you from spending the summer outdoors having fun; just remember to protect yourself while reminding others by wearing a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses and drinking plenty of water. The Coppertone girl got rid of her deep tan line, but she’s still on the beach and enjoying summer. Enjoy the heat; just be conscious of your choices outdoors.

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treme sports


Skiing at Mount Hermon

Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

Israel’s top 10 thrillers

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 17

Top 10 Extreme Sports in Israel


xtreme sports — the popular term for a slew of inherently dangerous, sometimes countercultural activities — are disproportionately popular in Israel. Israelis love a challenge, and a bit of danger added to the mix is just perfect for thrill-seekers across the country. “This combination of adrenaline and nature is far more suitable to the Israeli mindset than any high-tech

amusement park,” says Moshe Meyers, CEO of Israel Extreme, a company specializing in off-the-beaten-track tourism. “This tiny country has so many natural sites for every type of extreme sport. “We have some of the most beautiful and challenging sites in the world. I don’t know any other country with so many participants,” Meyers tells Israel21c.

ISRAEL IS A DREAM COUNTRY FOR CAVING 1. Down below Beyond the obvious airborne, waterborne or ground level sports, going underground is a rapidly developing extreme option in Israel. “Caving is possibly the most dangerous challenge sport there is,” says Sergey Shipitsin, one of Israel’s most accomplished speleologists (a scientific specialist in caves). “It’s also one of the few activities where you can still go where no one has gone before.” Shipitsin, 43, says that “Israel is a dream country for the cave explorer,” ranking among spelunkers’ top 10 countries. Israel has four main caving areas: the Jerusalem Hills, Mount 18 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

This small land has natural settings suitable for every type of extreme sport, from remote desert canyons to snow-capped peaks. With such a keen local audience already paving the way, tourists from abroad are also rapidly discovering that the country is a great go-to destination for the thrill of their lives. Here are Israel21c’s picks for Israel’s 10 most challenging extreme sports. Sodom (unique in the world), the Upper Galilee and the Hebron Hills in the West Bank. Mount Sodom — basically a block of salt rising 230 meters above the Dead Sea — is pierced by labyrinth caverns and tunnels formed by rainwater, including the world’s biggest salt caves. If you know where to look, the Jerusalem Hills have thousands of caves, many of

them eminently explorable. Caving (known as potholing in the UK), which includes climbing, hiking and rappelling, is not an activity to be attempted alone, or without the proper equipment and preparation. In 2004, Shipitsin and some fellow cavers set up Sarma, a non-profit organization dedicated to cave exploration and rescue, which now has some 3,000 members. “Israel has many people experienced in both cave exploration and rappelling. We organize challenge trips underground and training courses. You don’t have to be particularly fit — we had children aged seven and a 74-year-old in last

MANY RAPPELLING SITES IN ISRAEL weekend’s tour,” he says. 2. Into the abyss Rappelling — the controlled descent down a rope known as “abseiling” in British English and “snappling” in

Hebrew — against the cliffs of the Ramon crater in the Negev, or down wadis in the Judean Desert, produces an unbelievable adrenaline rush. Israel is blessed with some tremen-

dous rappelling sites, not all of them in the desert. Try Khirbet Oren on Mount Carmel, where the stone wall rises from the valley almost vertically; the Kesh on the border with Lebanon; the prehistoric Pigeons Caves near Karmiel; or the notoriously challenging Black Canyon trail in the Golan Heights, which involves traversing rushing water and hiking through a nature reserve. For training, we counted 12 rockclimbing walls in Ashdod, Haifa, Jerusalem, Kibbutz Ha’Ogen, KiryatOno, Kfar Blum, Petah Tikvah, Ramat Yishai and Tel Aviv. 3. Jump out of a plane “Anyone who doesn’t parachute once in his or her life is missing out,” says Ziv Kochva, a parachuting guide at the Paradive jump school near Habonim Beach opposite the Carmel Please see EXTREME on Page 20

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 19

EXTREME from Page 19 mountain range. Paradive is Israel’s largest jump school. “Parachuting is an empowering experience — a tremendous feeling of freedom. Fear that turns into elation: Nothing can be compared with it,” says Kochva. Israel has its own skydiving fraternity, many of them graduates of paratroop units or the Israel Defense Forces’ jump school at Tel Nof. Civilian skydivers must take a course and get at least 10 jumps under their belt before being allowed up to 12,000 feet. But the beauty of parachuting is that you don’t need to take a test — anyone can experience it through tandem jumps, harnessed to a guide. Free-falling is for the particularly strong of heart. “It can be the greatest experience of a lifetime,” Kochva exclaims. “You drop for 50 seconds at 200 kph, then spend five to seven min-

PARACHUTING ABOVE ISRAEL’S COASTLINE utes floating down in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s a closed area — a nature reserve and the only part of the Mediterranean coastline closed to flights.” Since opening a decade ago,

Watch for the L’Chaim Magazine September 23, 2011 Including the 24th Annual Community Directory 20 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011


Paradive has conducted more than 300,000 jumps. Parachuting is definitely not a cheap thrill, yet “all sorts of people, from 12-year-olds to some in their 70’s, and not necessarily former paratroopers,” take to the air, says

PARAGLIDING OVER CAESAREA Kochva. “Often these thrills are a birthday present — a present they never forget.” 4. Fly like a bird The complementary sports of paragliding and hang gliding answer one of our most basic urges: to fly. A hang glider, with its aluminum frame, requires more skill than a paraglider, which flies more slowly and can land in the smallest field. Weather conditions are considered ideal in Israel, which is blessed with favorable soaring conditions almost year-round. The country boasts no fewer than 25 official launch pads and thousands of aerial sport fans. There are several popular sites in northern Israel, notably the Manara cliff near Kiryat Shmonah in the Upper Galilee, the Gilboa mountain, Zichron Ya’akov and Mount Tabor above the Jezre’el Valley. The hill is known as “The Mountain of the Leap.” A perfect place to start would be off the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean coastline. Training courses and everything from glide parachutes to flying dune buggies are available for rent at several professional schools.

Apco Aviation

5. Bicycle country Mountain biking has become incredibly popular in Israel in the past decade, as has urban bicycling. The country has dozens of biking clubs

boasting thousands of members, and as diverse a set of biking trails as you’ll find anywhere in the world. Myriad routes wind through some of the most distinct terrain, traversing dried up desert wadis, wind-swept hilltops, lush vegetation and even snow. Downhill enthusiasts will love the Hermon Mountain, while the arid south of the country offers yellow-tinted vistas and the silence of the desert. Riding through the Negev by moonlight is particularly recommended. 6. Just enough for the city Urban anarchists take to parkour, also known as freerunning — the noncompetitive, utilitarian discipline of French origin in which participants use only their bodies’ natural abilities to negotiate a route lined with obstacles. City teenagers, in particular, can increasingly be spotted bounding,


Please see EXTREME on Page 22

Shay Levy/Flash90

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 21

SURFING ALL YEAR ROUND EXTREME from Page 21 climbing, vaulting, rolling and swinging through their local concrete jungle. Sometimes they can even be spotted leaping from one rooftop to the next. But be warned: a few have already been injured and the police are on the lookout for participants. 7. Thrills on wheels You don’t see the same numbers of skateboarders tearing up Israeli streets that you do in North American cities, but skateboarding is alive and kicking in this corner of the Middle East. Israeli cities have many new marble-lined plazas that come alive after office hours. Unlike in other countries, skateboarding is not a crime in Israel and there is no police harassment of skaters. The Sporteque in Tel Aviv is the best and biggest park in the country with a vert, a mini-ramp, a mini-vert, four quarters, three fun boxes, four banks, two rails, a pyramid and a pro shop selling all the required paraphernalia. Head for Golda Park in central Tel Aviv for the country’s best unofficial skate spot. Jerusalem boasts a newly rebuilt concrete skate park at Gan Sacher, adjacent to the Supreme Court, while skaters also hang out at Safra Square, next to City Hall. Crazy Roller in Herzliya has a mini-half pipe and a 3.4 meter high vert, and there are also skate parks in Ra’anana, Katzrin and Shoham. 8. Above the metropolis Here’s a challenge: Run up to the top of Israel’s highest skyscraper, the Azrieli Tower in Tel Aviv. It started as a wager between a few local nutcases, and has since developed into every wannabe hunk’s rite of passage. The super-fittest can 22 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

make it up the 1,144 stairs and 54 floors in seven minutes. 9. Surfing safari When the waves are high, thousands of surfers and windsurfers flock to the Mediterranean waters all along Israel’s coastline, which is dotted with surf schools. It’s not Hawaii, but the sea often throws up sufficient swell and the shallow, sandy beaches are ideal places to learn how to surf all year round. The country has produced some fine surfers, including Israel’s first Olympic gold medalist — in windsurfing — Gal Fridman. In fact, Israel is a major force in this sport, and has hosted international windsurfing championships. Surfing in Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90 Israel began in the 1950s when a young Californian, Dorian Paskowitz immigrated to Israel with six long boards and introduced the sport to Tel Aviv. Today surf schools dot the country’s coastline, 10. Most incongruous sport in the Middle East The highest point in Israel, Mount Hermon, hosts Israel’s only ski slope, with three chairlifts and a wide range of ski trails at novice, intermediate and expert levels. But be warned: Not all Israelis are expert skiers even if they think they are, and accidents abound. More family-oriented activities at the ski slope include sledding and Nordic skiing.


Containing Cancer A breakthrough? BY ABIGAIL KLEIN LEICHMAN


t is called simply p53, a short name that belies its starring role in halting the spread of cancer. Israeli scientists already knew that when activated, the p53 gene produces a protein that can halt and even kill cancerous cells. Now, a team headed by Prof. Yinon Ben-Neriah and Dr. Eli Pikarsky of the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem have discovered that p53 also governs a mechanism that keeps those deadly cells from invading healthy epithelial tissue lining the cavities and surfaces of many internal organs. As the researchers described in the February issue of the journal Nature, the ability to “turn on” p53 could be a critical means of protection against colorectal and other epithelial forms of cancer.

Engineered mice yield surprising discovery Building on earlier p53 studies by Dr. Moshe Oren of the Weizmann Institute of Science, who joined the current research team, Hebrew University doctoral students Ela Elyada and Ariel Pribluda spent six painstaking

years engineering a unique mouse model to study the effect of p53 on the cell-invasion process. “53 has been known for 20something years as a gene that protects against cancer by suppressing tumors,” Ben-Neriah explains to ISRAEL21c. “It has several mechanisms to do this, and you can observe these phenomena even in a tissue culture dish.” But his team wanted to go deeper. After developing a model that mimics colorectal cancer in mice and removing their p53 gene, the researchers saw something never before observed: malignant cells began invading neighboring cells at a fast clip. “One of the earliest signs of cancer progression is this invasion process,” says Ben-Neriah. “Normally, it is slow. In humans, it takes 10 to 15 years for colorectal cancer to develop. Even in mouse models, it takes at least six months. But when we knocked out 53, we started observing the malignant process within seven days, and it happens throughout the gut. There was something funPlease see CANCER on Page 24 July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 23

CANCER from Page 23

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damental going on that had to do with 53.” Using sophisticated tools to analyze DNA and gene expression, the researchers found specific genes that kick off the invasion process. And when p53 is activated, it keeps those invasion-activating genes in check.

Better and faster way to diagnose cancer Pikarsky, one of Israel’s leading pathologists, thinks it could be possible to use invasion-activating genes as diagnostic biomarkers for determining whether a tumor is contained (benign) or invasive (malignant) at a very early stage. Current methods cannot make this determination before

‘Using the biomarker, we could have a chance to find out without going to the lymph nodes’ the malignant cells have already invaded surrounding tissue, typically lymph nodes. “Using the biomarker, we could have a chance to find out without going to the lymph nodes, and that would be a tremendous advantage,” says Ben-Neriah. Survival rates could be greatly enhanced if treatment started so early, and people with benign tumors would get the good news much sooner. Another possible application of their discovery — though Ben-Neriah says it’s still just wishful thinking — would be to boost the group-control function of p53 to keep benign tumors from developing a spreading capacity. This idea is now being studied at the Hebrew University researchers’ labs. Yissum, the Hebrew University’s technology transfer company, is lining up investors for human studies to begin this summer at Hadassah Medical Center on breast cancer patients and in Japan on gastric cancer patients. — Israel 21c

South Beach, Weight Watchers, or Rambam? BY ESHLEY SPITZER


new fad diet pops up daily with what seems to be the latest research on getting healthy and staying in shape. Some of these “new” diets, however, have guidelines that are almost identical to Maimonides’ dietary guidelines, dating back 800 years. The Rambam, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, was one of the most renowned Torah scholars of all time, and also recognized as a famous philosopher and physician in the Middle Ages. The dietary guidelines set forth by the Rambam have been steppingstones for some of the most famous diet plans Please see DIETS on Page 26

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 25

South Beach, Weight Watchers, or the Rambam? DIETS from Page 25 today, verified by rabbis, doctors and dieticians. The Rambam introduced these concepts in his teachings concerning exercise, foods that benefit digestion, eating habits and other nutritional concepts. A recently published book, The Life-Changing Diet, creates a diet plan based on t h e R a m b a m ’s teachings. The following are some of the Rambam’s dietary guidelines found in the fourth chapter of Sefer Hamada, “The Book of Knowledge”, the first volume of his famous code of Jewish laws. These guidelines are designed to improve diets, sustain energy, aid digestion and succeed in weight loss, while staying in shape. #1 Eat to live, don’t live to eat The Rambam states the importance of eating in order to help make the body more productive and energized in order to live efficiently.

He states, “When one eats, drinks, or cohabits, his purpose should not be to secure physical gratification . . . he should have in mind that he eats and drinks solely to maintain his body and its organs in health and vigor.” Eating simply for pleasure can lead to gratification from food that does not benefit the

body but instead leads to overeating, which retards our ability to be energized and productive.

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#2 No fad diets — change your habits The quicker the fix, the quicker it gives out. Fad diets may be fast, but unlearned changes will not benefit health or weight loss in the end. “One should not change his habits all at once. It is impossible to go suddenly from one extreme to the other. Human nature always likes that to which it is habituated.” The Rambam suggests that we need to understand our motives for craving unhealthy foods. In order to achieve weight maintenance, the Rambam tells us that we must understand how our minds are involved with how we eat. Then we can slowly replace our bad habits with healthy habits. #3 Eat until your stomach is threequarters full The Rambam insists that eating wholesome foods until we are only three-quarters full is necessary for a healthy diet. “Overeating is like poison to the

South Beach, Weight Watchers, or the Rambam? body” he says. Listen to your body. Eating when hungry is the best way to achieve maximum health. Overeating can damage digestive organs. The idea of “saving room” in order to eat more for pleasure is destructive and keeps us from having a nutritious diet. Choosing nutrient dense foods with fewer calories is the most effective way to maximize each calorie and maintain a healthy weight. #4 Work, eat, rest Warming our bodies before we eat through physical exercise is another helpful tool for proper digestion. The Rambam states, “One should work until one’s body gets warm . . . and then one may eat. One should not ride, work or agitate one’s body until the food has been digested.” Preparing bodies for a meal with exercise allows one’s metabolism to speed up and digest food properly without putting on weight. Even walking, stretching or a few deep breaths before a meal can boost the metabolism, helping our bodies use calories more efficiently. #5 Eat what is in season The Rambam suggests, “In summer, one should eat cold foods; in the winter, one should eat hot foods with lots of spices.” Cold foods can help reduce the temperature of our bodies, helping us maintain a regulated temperature that makes us more comfortable and energetic. Eating spices in the winter can prevent sickness and help quicken

digestion and quicken circulation. Hot foods increase our metabolism and increase digestive enzymes. Eating hot foods during the winter can help us fight winter sickness and dodge the common cold. #6 Put intellect before instincts Our strongest feelings are our instincts. Humans act on instinct in order to quickly gratify certain desires. Being able to analyze our instinctive behaviors can help us distinguish between what our body wants from what our body actually needs. Diet control is easier when we take the time to notice the difference between actually being hungry and just craving physical pleasure. Balancing our immediate reactions with intellect and reasoning gives us more control of our diet, stopping us from just giving in to our instinctive means of pleasure. The Rambam suggests that success comes from trying to intellectually process cravings without simply giving in to them quickly. Long-term success is based on privileging logical reasoning over biological instinct. #7 Treat your table like a temple The dining table can symbolize the function of the holy temple; a place where people come together to gratify their needs, give blessings and thanks, speak words of wisdom and express gratitude for good food. Although the Rambam suggests that we should not eat in excess and just for gratification, we should still enjoy eating so that we are grateful and appreciative. The Rambam tells us to

appreciate fixed times for meals and meal gatherings. #8 Don’t drink while digesting The Rambam does not encourage drinking during a meal. Filling up on water can cause bloating, interfering with our ability to digest solid foods properly. The Rambam’s rule suggests that processing food nutrients is more effective when we do not drink with a meal. #9 Eat fruit first The Rambam advises that we eat fibrous fruits such as strawberries, melons and grapes at the beginning of the meal to help with digestion. Eat these fruits as the first course and wait a short time before continuing on to the next course. “One should wait until the first course has passed from one’s upper stomach before eating the second course.” Dieticians often recommend that fruit be eaten first because it is digested faster then other foods, and helps speed up the digestion process. #10 Commit to your regime Dieting is not always easy, but overall, commitment is the key to success. The Rambam stresses that gaining more control over eating habits through self-discipline will help build character. The Rambam says, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” The discipline to treat our bodies with respect by creating healthy habits ultimately leads to success and great satisfaction.

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 27

28 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011







Michael Klein (right), executive director of the Allied Jewish Apartments, helps build community among older adults, such as AJA resident Hank Teitelbaum (left). Shari Valenta














July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 29

POLIO Its devastating effects on a Jewish woman and her family. Shame, self-hatred, guilt, understanding . . . and reconciliation BY ANDREA JACOBS

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Denverite Anne Gross writes The Polio Journals: Lessons from My Mother July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 31



week after returning from her mother’s funeral in 1985, Anne Gross received a package at her home in Denver. She carried it to the kitchen table, opened it and swallowed her disbelief. The package contained journals written by her mother chronicling her lifetime battle with polio and its attendant shame — raw emotions she never shared with her daughter. Carol Rosenstiel contracted polio in 1927 at the age of two. Paralyzed from the waist down, she married, had two children, mastered the harpsichord and recorded with Igor Stravinsky. What sounds like an exemplary victory over physical limitations was actually an unspoken plea for acceptance in an unaccommodating world. “This was a time when polio victims didn’t venture outside their houses,” Gross tells the Intermountain Jewish News. “People blamed the victims. Disability was shameful, and my grandparents were very ashamed. This was the prevailing attitude toward disabilities. “My grandparents, Isadore ‘Iz’ and Evelyn Greenfeld, took the lessons they learned from being Eastern European Jews — downplaying their religion, hiding their vulnerabilities — and

Clockwise, l-r: Iz, Evelyn, Carol and brother Howard. 32 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

silenced all issues relating to my mother’s condition. “But I think they were extreme, because they never talked to her about it at all. She was forced to live as if her paralysis was a minor impediment.” Gross mentions a family anecdote that illustrates the intergenerational thread of shame and secrecy. “My grandfather rose from using a pushcart to being the owner of his own clothing manufacturing company,” she says. “But early in his marriage he lost his job and didn’t tell his wife. “Every day he left the house as if he were going to work, sat on a park bench until it was time to go home and then told my grandmother what happened at work.” The Greenfelds loved their daughter.

When she was three, they sent her for her first stay at Warm Springs, Georgia, the rehabilitation center established by fellow polio sufferer Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After Bennington College in Vermont accepted Carol as its first paraplegic student, Iz installed banisters on the stairs at his own expense so she could navigate the building. Although the Greenfelds pursued every avenue to assist Carol with her physical needs, they refused to crack open the healing doors of uncensored expression that were equally important. “The few times I tried to talk to my mother about her paralysis she turned Carol leaves the synagogue on her wedding day, May 29, 1949.

away,” Gross says. “I only had one real conversation with her, and she downplayed it. “No one thought twice about her disability,” she says. “But when I was growing up, I always felt that my mother was gripped by an impenetrable sadness that, if acknowledged, would have crushed her.” As Gross read her mother’s journals in 1985, she was overcome “by the selfhatred and shame she felt. Then I realized I felt the same way about her — and I couldn’t tolerate what those feelings said about me. So I closed the journals and put them in the basement.” Eighteen years later, when her father Robert Rosenstiel died, she returned to Please see POLIO on Page 34

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 33

POLIO from Page 33 her childhood home in Los Angeles and found additional boxes filled with journals. The discovery resulted in introspection, insight, forgiveness — and Gross’ 2011 book, The Polio Journals: Lessons from My Mother.

Above: Carol practices with fellow musicians in her home. Below: FDR’s inscribed photograph, a cherished memento.

how to clean their environment.”


merica’s first major polio epidemic occurred in 1916 in New York. Public officials attributed the outbreak to the influx of immigrants — particularly Eastern European Jewish immigrants. “People didn’t really know how polio was transmitted,” says Gross, who is married to Chuck Gross and is the mother of two daughters. “But it was thought polio was somehow related to dirt and became associated with ‘dirty lifestyles.’ “Health authorities spent a lot of time and money cleaning up the streets of New York City and taught immigrants

Immigrants were forbidden to go to the movies or socialize with anyone

34 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

outside their neighborhoods. The Greenfelds were wealthy — but Carol was among 500 New Yorkers to contract polio in 1927. “My grandparents moved to New Rochelle because they thought the suburbs would be better for their daughter,” Gross says. Warm Springs’ mineral water, therapeutic innovations and walking program for polio sufferers were well known when Carol first arrived at the dusty Southern enclave in 1928. She stayed six months, and would return again. Accompanied by her Aunt Mary, she learned to walk on various surfaces — gravel, grass, concrete, stairs — how to fall with minimal impact, and the miracle of swimming. “I remember the heady experience of freedom, no longer confined by my braces or wheelchair, a glorious feeling of mastery,” Carol wrote in her journal. “Above the water, under the water, in the air as I went diving — flying — from


Carol Rosenstiel and her daughter Anne find activities they can share during the summer. a sitting position on the diving board into my wondrous water world.” FDR bonded with Carol, and the relationship was mutual. “My mother lived across the road from FDR, whom she got to know quite well,” Gross says. “She learned two things from him: that one of the ways to deflect attention from your disability is taking an interest in other people; and to be very outgoing.” Aunt Mary frequently played cards with FDR and his secretary Missy LeHand, which Carol observed from her safe perch on the future president’s lap. Carol last visited Warm Springs in 1937. When Carol was 16, she met Robert Rosenstiel. It took a while for the relationship to develop — WW II interrupted the attachment — but they finally married when she was 24. The couple moved to Los Angeles, bought a house in Beverly Hills and enjoyed what Anne Gross, who was born in 1952, describes as a “sophisticated lifestyle.” Outwardly charismatic and gregarious, Carol refused to share her suffering with anyone — including her daughter. Still, there were signs that something was very wrong.

y mother had frequent temper tantrums,” Gross says. “She also experienced incapacitating anxiety when she was left alone. I thought that if I could take on some of her sadness, I could unburden her. “I also felt guilty, because I could walk and she couldn’t.” When Gross was 11 or 12, she remembers kissing her mother goodbye before going over to a friend’s home. “She sort of turned away and said, ‘I don’t want you to go,’” Gross recalls. “After I got to my friend’s house, I was so anxious that I came right back. I never felt I could leave her after that. “I was as paralyzed emotionally as she was physically.” Gross’ compassion for her mother turned to anger when she entered her teens. “It was a stormy adolescence,” she says. The problem was rooted in the double message Gross received from her family: that polio “was not a big deal, but I need to be doing this and that for your mother. It left me feeling totally confused and angry. “If my mother’s disability was ‘a minor impediment,’ why was I constantly feeling so bad for her?” Determined to get as far away as possible from the conflicted roost, Gross traveled across the country and attended Boston University. After graduating, she worked in the area for a while and then entered Duke University. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from Duke, moved to Colorado for her internship and post-doctorate studies at the CU Medical School, and specialized in treating individuals with disabilities and chronic illness. Geographically removed from her mother, Gross’ specialty merely strengthened her resolve to reconnect with Carol and pierce the silence.

‘I was as paralyzed emotionally as my mother was physically’ “As I started working with people like my mother, I realized how much I yearned to talk to her about her own disability,” she says. “I vowed to try again.” Gross returned to California several times, but Carol was now ravaged by post-polio syndrome, which strikes about 30 Please see POLIO on Page 36 July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 35

POLIO from Page 35 years after the initial attack. “Because she had to overuse her arms, shoulders and upper back for decades to balance her body, she was riddled with pain.” It was not the time to the pry off the

lid of secrecy that held mother and daughter at arm’s length. Then Carol was diagnosed with cancer and died several months later, in 1985. Gross’ window into her mother’s truth slammed shut — until the journals arrived.


vercome with her own failings in relation to her mother, Gross put the journals in the basement and focused on her marriage and starting a family. Eighteen years later, she was finally ready “to learn about my mother’s life.” Gross’ immersion into Carol’s reality was both inspiring and heartbreaking. “She wrote about what it was like to be the only paraplegic student in school; the medical procedures she endured as a child so that she would appear less disabled. “But what really got to me was her self-hatred and shame. All she wanted was to be accepted for who she was — and she was forced to keep that hidden. “And I learned that my mother’s silence wasn’t a choice. It was a means to survival. She grew up in an era when the only way people with disabilities could ever hope to be accepted was to diminish their condition.” Now when Gross recalls past situations with her mother, she inevitably places them in the context of the journals and the insights they unwrapped. “I remember going shopping with her to look for a dress for my Bat Mitzvah,” she says. “This little kid suddenly starts staring at my mother, and I felt exposed because she was in a wheelchair. My mother was unfazed. “But after I read her journals, I realized those were the feelings she had about herself every day of her life. “If we had been able to talk about it, we could have moved beyond it. But shame, by its very nature, is tied to

An emaciated Carol Rosenstiel poses with her husband Bob. Carol, who suffered from post-polio syndrome later in life, passed away in 1985. Bob died 18 years later.

36 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

secrecy.” Gross closed her private practice in 2004 to begin writing The Polio Journals, an exhausting yet necessary task that took six years. Her mother’s journals, aimed from the hip to the heart, “were truly a gift to me,” she says. “I felt she was saying to me, ‘I really did want to talk to you about it but couldn’t do it. This is my way of finally telling you everything.’”

With the discovery of the Salk and Sabin vaccines in the 1950s, polio devolved into a distant memory. Global outbreaks continue, but on a drastically reduced level. While hygiene is a factor in transmission, researchers have determined that polio is a contagious virus that enters Carol, with her husband Bob, makes an animated point.

the mouth, travels to the intestinal tract and generally remains there. At least 95% of individuals who contract polio feel flu-like symptoms or nothing at all. In the remaining 5%, the virus breaks free, permeates the bloodstream, invades the central nervous system and destroys the spinal chord. Please see POLIO on Page 38

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 37

POLIO from Page 37 Like the majority of epidemics, polio strikes at random. No one is at fault or deserving of its devastation. “But you don’t need a disability to feel shame,” Gross emphasizes. “The desire to fit in is universal. And when you’re in a minority — whether it’s due to religion, physical disability, mental illness, alcoholism — you feel you have to hide or downplay the difference. “My family’s story proves that silence doesn’t work. It just intensified our sense of shame and isolation. And it’s intergenerational, passing from my grandparents to my mother to me.” Gross has made a conscious decision to stop the vicious cycle at her own doorstep. “We’ve spent many dinner conversations as a family talking about this,” RIGHT: a plaque in memory of Carol Rosenstiel at Warm Springs, Georgia, where she received innovative therapies as a child. BELOW: Anne and her husband Chuck Gross attend the dedication ceremony, 2007.

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she says. “I teach my children that differences are to be embraced, not silenced; and to respect, acknowledge and accept people for who they are. “My daughter Erica works at JFS in the Jewish disability awareness program. My daughter Renee is a rising junior in the University of Michigan’s theater department and visits prisons every week to teach drama to inmates.” Gross looks across the table and shares the greatest secret of all. “With understanding comes forgiveness, for my mother, my grandparents, myself — for everyone.”

Anywhere* in the world Online IJN Subscription ®

*Anywhere there’s Internet, download the IJN ® Each Thursday, a complete PDF version of the print IJN ® at $58/year Contact 303-861-2234 or July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 39


40 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011


o drink caffeine or not: The decades-old question of whether coffee provides more benefits or more risks to your health has been answered, at least according to a recent study at Harvard School of Public Health. It showed that coffee reduces the risk of prostate cancer. The study linked higher intake to lower risk by as much as 60% for men who drink at least six cups of coffee a day. Interestingly enough, caffeine is not the determinant in the health benefit. Over 45,000 men participated in the Harvard study and consumed both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee; the research proves that the antioxidants present in the coffee provide the benefits. They have nothing to do with variant levels of caffeine. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death for men in the US. The study’s senior author, Lorelei Mucci, says that drinking coffee is one of the “potentially modifiable

lifestyle factors that men can do to lower their risk of lethal prostate cancer.” Although the research suggests that men should up their daily coffee intake, does the good outweigh the bad? Dr. William Maniatis, urologist at Advanced Urology in Parker, says, “Coffee can be a twoedged sword. Some articles tell you that two aspirin a day can save your life, and some tell you that it can kill you. “This topic of coffee should be studied more before any more conclusions are drawn. We want to lower the risk of prostate cancer but along the way we don’t want people to die of the jitters.” Other studies have shown side effects of coffee ranging from depend-

ence, insomnia, heart disease to high blood pressure. Caffeine intake was not a factor in the study at Harvard since both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee was used, but the studies relating to harmful effects of caffeine are relevant, since many coffee

patients. “A common question in the care of patients with known arrhythmia is the safety of caffeine and whether there is a need to curtail caffeine intake,” says “Caffeine and Cardiac Arrhythmias: A Review of the Evidence,” an article in the American Journal of Medicine. In a study conducted by the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Helsinki, Finland, the results found that “caffeine is the main active component in coffee. Acute intake of coffee and caffeine increases blood pressure and risk of heart disease for the subjects.” Dr. Peter Levitt, an interventional cardiologist at Swedish Medical Center, disagrees. “The relationship between caffeine and arrhythmias has

‘A moderate consumption level of coffee would be between three to six ten-ounce cups’ drinkers will likely increase their daily dose. It might be that six cups of coffee is beneficial to a person’s health, but it is also possible that generous amounts of caffeine are detrimental to some heart

Please see COFFEE on Page 42

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 41

COFFEE from Page 41 not been studied effectively, but from all available evidence I see no adverse relationship between abnormal palpitations and an intake in caffeine. “A moderate consumption level of coffee would be between three to six ten-ounce cups of coffee and, if decaffeinated, there would be no effect at all on the body.” Ian Thompson, the director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center and professor of urology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, warns, “the wrong take-home message is drink more coffee and you won’t get prostate cancer.” However, researchers from the

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University of Scranton ranked coffee as the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet. The Journal of the American Medical Association published nine studies all showing the positive effects of coffee. Coffee reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and perhaps, slows the progress of Parkinson’s disease. It seems to be the consensus that too much of anything is never good—but, maybe neither is too little. The Harvard study gives legitimacy to the habit of everyday drinkers. Perhaps it is fair to say a little won’t hurt you, so next time you’re in need of some warmth, grab a cup of jo’ and bask in health.

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itting in a brand new office, Kimarie Jones, owner of Preferred Travel Helpers, makes her excitement, passion and confidence contagious. She describes her spiritual journey that allowed her to follow her dream to change the world, one smooth journey at a time. Jones, co-founder of Air-Ambulance, a medical transporting company that was voted 16th in the Hot 100 US Companies only two years after its opening, was inspired to start Preferred Travel Helpers on a family vacation. Traveling with her special needs daughter, Jones decided to bring a family helper on vacation to assure that the vacation ran smoothly. At one point, when Jones’ daughter wantPlease see TRAVELING on Page 44

‘Helper’ Jere Ross, standing, with client Ron Sager

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ed to go to the beach, their vacation helper offered to take the child, and let Jones have her own vacation time. “It was at that moment that all these bells went off, and I realized that the primary caregiver is never on vacation,” Jones recalled. “I really wanted to give other people the chance to experience what I experienced then, an actual vacation with my family where I had time carved out for me.” This experience reminded Jones of the importance behind reuniting and reconnecting families. “Although it may not be easy to bring families together, we can do it, we need to do it.” Jones says. PTH began with the principle that shortening the distance between families for memorable milestones should never be a burden. “I’m trying to almost pop the seed in peoples’ minds to think that yeah, maybe grandpa is older and has a hard time traveling, but If we can help pack him, ride the plane with him, we can bring grandpa so that he could see his greatgrandchild be born — wouldn’t that be awesome?” When it came time for the graduation of Jones’ two daughters, she was determined not to let the distance between Colorado and Florida keep her mother from the simcha. “You can’t get a hug on skype!” Jones exclaims. “Many family members use the excuse that they do not want to burden their families, and they should never feel that way. I wanted my mom to come, no matter what, so having this helping service was a win-win.” Whether the help is packing, getting to the airport, running errands at home during a vacation, or getting the Concierge package with a personal travel assistant, PTH is designed to cater to each client individually. “We are going to make it work for you, depending on what you need,” says Jones. “If you can’t fly, fine, we will drive.”


fter benefiting from a personal assistant, Jones hired helpers through a rigorous application and training process, looking to build a skilled, compassionate and friendly team. From enthusiastic college students to specialed teachers, nurses and retired specialists, Jones’ team has grown to include diverse skill sets. Once interviewed and put through a background check, helpers move on to training, where they learn how to face any traveling challenge. “They learn CPR, lifting techniques, basic traveling tips, everything from what to do when someone is red in the face to flying physiology,” Jones comments Once helpers are added to the database, clients can

describe the type of assistant they are looking for, and choose from the most qualified candidates. Jones tells story after story of clients, grateful for the opportunity to finally visit family and friends separated from them for years. Whether it is travel inconveniences, commitments at home or health anxieties, Jones noticed that the long list of excuses could potentially be shortened with a helpful traveling service. Calling herself her own best customer, Jones saw the indescribable difference that a little extra help could make. “With a special needs family member, traveling is just a stressful,

People say they don’t want to burden their families — they should never feel that way stressful process. If we can create an actual vacation where you can involve special needs family members, it’s just a wonderful way to help families reconnect and stay connected.” Having been through it all — from living through Hurricane Andrew, surviving cancer, succeeding several times as an entrepreneur and raising her own family — Jones’ passion to succeed speaks volumes for her underlying philosophy. “It’s all about the people, isn’t it? No matter how big we may get, we will always treat our clients, our helpers and all of our contacts as friends. Everyone has their own baggage they are dealing with, and I just want to help, to be that friend, to be that support.” Jones has spoken to large travel and vacation agencies creating business arrangements, and has communicated with hospitals and retirement homes about making PTH services available and accessible. One day Jones hopes to set aside a scholarship fund for special needs students with her business profits. She knows that with her skilled team and her dedication, PTH is on its way to being bumped up to first class. “This concept may be new, but it is needed. Ever since the idea came to me, I haven’t been able to sleep!” Jones exclaimed. “This is just my way of saving the world by reconnecting one family at a time.”

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July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 45

Detecting a

heart attack BY DAVID SHAMAH


ith coronary heart disease is the number one killer in the US today, it’s no surprise that health authorities are stressing the importance of early detection — which leads to earlier treatment, and can save lives. While crushing pain in the chest might be easy to recognize as heart trouble, other symptoms like pain in the shoulders or arms, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath or fatigue, are not. Now, an Israeli company could have the

46 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

solution. The Israeli diagnostic company Novamed has developed a new home diagnostics product, SensAheart, that can detect a heart attack — medically known as a myocardial infarction — while in progress or even before it takes place. Heart attacks don’t just happen instantly — they develop over several days, says Dr. Igal Ruvinsky, head of Please see DETECTING on Page 47

DETECTING from Page 46 Novamed’s R&D department. It’s important to get treatment as soon as possible to avoid long-term damage to the heart. But many people suffer mild, or even serious, heart attacks without even realizing what is happening — and often, victims are able to continue to function through a prolonged episode even while in pain. “Either they are unaware of the symptoms, or attribute their pain to something else. You need a quick diagnosis and quick action in these cases,” Ruvinsky says. “Our kit lets home users determine whether they need to rush to the hospital, or whether they can rule out a heart attack as the cause of their suffering.”


Works with a single drop of blood

n order to test for a heart attack, you need blood — and one of SensAheart’s biggest advantages is that it can provide highly accurate results with just one drop of blood. “We test for the presence of troponin, an enzyme that is released at the onset of myocardial infarction, as well as for FABP3 [heart-type fatty acid binding protein], also released when an attack ensues,” says Ruvinsky, explaining that during a heart attack the blood and urine levels of FABP rise rapidly. “So by testing for both these markers, we get a very accurate picture of the state of the heart — and whether the patient is having, or is about to suffer, an attack.” The blood is analyzed and filtered, and a few minutes later an indicator appears on the window of the analysis kit, telling the patient whether she or he can relax or should rush to the hospital. “There is no other similar test that can be marketed to the home user in this way, because all of them require much more blood for analysis,” says Dr. Gavriel Shalmiev, Novamed’s vice president and marketing manager.

“One drop is enough, because our use of the cardiac markers that indicate a heart situation are much more sensitive. That’s part of our product’s magic.”


Promising clinical results

ovamed, which has been producing diagnostic and research tests for a variety of conditions since 1995, has the numbers to prove its effectiveness. In one study conducted at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, the test gave accurate results for 94% of participants, indicating that they indeed were going to suffer a heart attack and thereby catching the problem in its initial stages. SensAheart has been available for purchase since the beginning of the year, and Novamed has already sold thousands of units in Russia and China, where the company chose to market first. Most of the sales so far have been to institutions, but the company plans to market to home users during the coming year. “We are planning to submit the product for Federal Drug Administration approval at some point in the future, once it gets established elsewhere,” Shalmiev says, explaining that Novamed’s management wanted to avoid the high expense an FDA application during the product’s initial sales phase. “There are plenty of markets outside the US where this product will sell well.” Novamed, located in Jerusalem, is about 15 years old and has 60 employees. The company sells about 100 diagnostic products, garnering annual sales of about $10 million. Though it is owned by Riverside-Europe, a worldwide private equity firm, the company remains Israeli through and through. “We have a lot of projects going on,” says Shalmiev. “There are a lot of great developments in the pipeline, and we’re proud to be able to be doing this work in Jerusalem.”

‘Our kit lets home users determine

whether they can

relax and rule out a

heart attack or rush to the hospital’

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 47

48 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011





ALL THE GENERATIONS Five-generation families are rare. The Epstein-Bernstein family of Denver and beyond has made it. Family matriarch (seated at right) is Ann Epstein, known to many as the longtime secretary of BB Denver Lodge 171. Second generation (seated on left) is her son-in-law Ed Bernstein, widower of Ann’s daughter Elaine. Third generation (top left) is Ed and Elaine’s daughter Dahlya Goldfiez of Baltimore. Fourth generation (top right) is her daughter Sara Atara, also of Baltimore. Fifth generation (on his great-grandfather’s lap) is baby Natanel, 7 months.














July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 49

Inner worth and com

Dorothy Feld

BY ANDRE 50 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

mmunal responsibility

dman Cohen

EA JACOBS July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 51


Denver Jewish history


orothy Feldman Cohen, 94, sits on a high-backed purple chair in her living room. A regal repository of Denver Jewish history, she politely dismisses the spotlight enveloping her this morning. “I didn’t think this would be about me,” she says, an infectious burst of laughter elevating her gravelly voice a few registers. Dorothy has always been identified with Feldman Mortuary, a family legacy she inherited, perpetuated and personifies. Turn the spotlight on her, and Feldman catches the light — for the Jewish mortuary has defined this slightof-stature mother, grandmother and great-grandmother for the majority of her life. Dorothy’s father Sam Feldman established the business in 1936. Aaron Cohen, her husband, assumed control after Sam’s death in 1937 and ran it for 41 years. Her son Steve Cohen took over in 1980 and held the directorship for 25 years. Today, Dorothy’s grandson Jim Cohen is at the helm. People invariably link Dorothy to Feldman even now. “A lady where I live just said to me, ‘Oh, Feldman was busy this week!’” The connection has stuck with Dorothy through childhood, marriage and the decades that followed. “It wasn’t like Feldman and my marriage were two separate things,” she

Photos: Arlen Flax

says. “Feldman was part of our home. It was a family affair, and we all worked together. Aaron and I were proud that we were doing something for the community.” Dorothy’s recall and retention are extraordinary. Animated anecdotes surface like peaches ripe for the picking. Rarely does the passage of time consume a specific date or event.

52 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

As her words roll like modest yet implacable waters, one gets the sense that Dorothy Cohen always valued her inner worth and communal responsibility. Dorothy understands all too well that life’s equilibrium turns on a dime. One minute you’re here. The next . . . While she has repeatedly observed loss at a distance, she has felt its sudden blow in the deepest recesses of her

heart — but few have learned to partner that inexorable rhythm with more tenacity and grace.


orn in 1916 in Denver, Dorothy was the only child of Sam and Sadie Feldman. Her father worked in the livery business for several years before establishing the Jewish mortuary that shaped her identity, hours and decades. “My dad was always in the livery service,” she says. “He took tourists to Pikes Sadie Feldman, Dorothy and Sam Feldman, shortly before Sam’s death in 1937. Peak, Estes Park and other — the ‘better’ Jewish business,” she says, referring to German destinations in big open Cadillacs. Jews in the city. “He also owned two limousines and a hearse and did the The Orthodox Jews laid out the deceased in their homes livery for what was then Meyer Mortuary, which later became and called Meyer to transport the bodies for burial at Denver’s Capitol Mortuary. “Meyer was Jewish and he got the — I don’t how to say it Please see COHEN on Page 54

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COHEN from Page 53 Jewish cemeteries. “Meyer rented my father’s cars for his mortuary,” Dorothy says. “But one day he told him, ‘Sam, I bought cars of my own so I won’t be needing yours.’ So my father said, ‘Then I will start a Jewish mortuary’ — and there was a great need for one.” With a modicum of experience but lots of determination, Feldman opened the mortuary at 14th and Tremont in 1936. “Was my father nervous?” Dorothy ponders. “Probably. But he was a very dynamic man. If he decided to do something, he saw it through.” A student at Taylor Elementary, Gove Junior and East High, Dorothy says her classmates never teased her about being the daughter of a mortuary owner. One of Sam Feldman’s friends was Sam Sass, who worked for him on the

West Side. Sass was Sabbath observant and in charge of the chevra kadisha, the Jewish burial society. He would take his horse and wagon, assist with “removals” from hospitals and deliver the body to Orthodox homes on the West Side. He also supervised the taharah (ritual cleansing) for

‘My father was a dynamic man’ the men. “His stories were very funny,” Dorothy says. Once Mr. Sass called Sam in the middle of the night to remove a body from St. Anthony’s to a West Side residence,

54 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

where the body was placed on a bed of straw. Sam Feldman had to get a doctor to sign the death certificate in the morning and ensure that everything was legally kosher. The family held the service at home and then had Feldman Mortuary transfer the body to the cemetery. When the family of the deceased received a $50 bill from Feldman, they were incensed. “What, for just taking him across the street?” They didn’t realize the intricacies that transpire behind the scenes, Dorothy says. Another time, a person died on Saturday, Shabbat. In accordance with Jewish tradition, the family wanted the service to take place that night. “So we turned on the car headlights after sundown and had the burial.” Sam Feldman suffered from high blood pressure, but “in those days, there

was no treatment,” Dorothy says. He died of a stroke on Nov. 28, 1937.


The couple dated for three years before getting married on Oct. 11, 1936. “Things were tough back then,” she says of the economy. Sam Feldman’s death left a huge personal void on his family and the mortuary he founded only one year earlier. Sadie now owned Feldman but needed to find someone to run it. Aaron, who was working for his brother-in-law in the jewelry business, agreed to take on the challenge. “He had no experience,” Dorothy says. “None at all. I think he was a little nervous. But Aaron was determined to learn, and we all seemed to

hen Dorothy enrolled at DU, her beauty was as striking as her intelligence. She attended tea dances with her friends. Knowing her, she probably didn’t bother keeping one eye glued on the eligible male students — but one of them quickly targeted her. Aaron Cohen was an exceptionally handsome young man. “He was very Dorothy, Aaron and Sadie at a formal Jewish function. nice looking,” Dorothy Sadie passed away in 1974. smiles. “Oh yes. And he was learn along with him.” an athlete. All the girls at East High just drooled over him. Dorothy did the books and raised their three children, “I fell in love with Aaron because he was a real gentleman — and I guess mostly because he liked me!” Please see COHEN on Page 56

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 55

COHEN from Page 55 Steve, Nancy and Margey. Over the next 41 years, Aaron toiled 70 hours a week, Dorothy says. “He

would get a call in the middle of the night, put his clothes on over his pajamas, come back to the house, sleep for a while and wake up early. “It was hard. But in those days, we were glad to make a nice living. Aaron and I were both practical people. This was our business, and this is what we did.” Dorothy was the disciplinarian. If her kids didn’t use proper English, she corrected them. And Aaron supported her decisions. “If your mother says it’s so, it’s good enough for me,” he would say. “I worked at our marriage,” Dorothy admits. “Aaron had a small staff but he was a one-man show.” They were fixtures on the Jewish social scene, including the major din-

ners. “Oh yeah,” she recalls. “But the dinners were different in those days. They featured Eddie Cantor, Sophie Tucker, all the big names. And they were more formal.” A pragmatist by nature, Dorothy never experienced any ghostly or ghastly encounters at Feldman Mortuary, which moved to its current location at 1673 York St. in 1939. “No,” she says flatly. “Nothing like that.” Denverites still talk about

Aaron’s macabre sense of humor, a quality Dorothy verifies. “Oh, absolutely. “I think that in a business like ours, if you don’t have a sense of humor then it’s very hard for you,” she says. “You need an outlet. “He’d call that whistling in the dark. It’s your own nervousness about death. To relieve the pressure, you do things like that.” Sadie Feldman passed away in 1974.

56 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

When Aaron retired in 1980, son Steve Cohen returned from St. Louis and picked up the Feldman mantle. In 1981, the Cohens’ daughter Nancy was tragically killed in a car accident near Aspen. “That was the hardest thing in my life,” Dorothy says, her pain signaling that one sentence will have to suffice. The rest is not for public consumption. Aaron died in 1993. “Luckily, Steve was here,” Dorothy says. “That helped me. Aaron and I were very close partners, in business and the home. Our love was mutual.”


orothy Cohen’s remarkable attitude, resolve and lack of regret are nothing short of inspirational, but she’d probably shrug off the compliment like an invasive telemarketer.

While she cherishes the past, she doesn’t value it to the exclusion of the present. She loves her family, enjoys the quiet days and welcomes the future. Asked about the most extraordinary thing she’s witnessed in her long life, Dorothy disregards inventions, missions to the moon and standard salutes to progress. “I don’t know,” she says. “I always had a father who adored me, a husband who adored me, children who adore me, and six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. “I think I’m very lucky, don’t you?” She regrets nothing. “I think I did the best I could with my life,” she says, her expression softly defiant. “When I had to face death, I did. My favorite saying is, ‘You have to play the cards you’re dealt.’” Perhaps due to Dorothy’s professional intimacy with death, you won’t find her whistling in the dark over its inevitability. “It’s true, I do think about death very often now,” she says. “But then I realize I’ve done my bit on this earth, and when the time comes I’ll be ready.” The morning grows late. But for Dorothy, it’s still early — and filled with promise. Dorothy enoying a simcha.

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stories I I r a W d l r o 20 W s n a r e vet s e i r o m e m p a sw STORY AND PHOTOS BY CHRIS LEPPEK

58 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

Denver Jewish veterans of WW II gather recently at a breakfast hosted by the Pepper and Leff families.


gathered at the Fresh Fish Company had only five minutes to ong story short.” tell their long stories. More than one of the old warriors who gathThey each did their best, with the unique blend of stoic ered June 6 at a Denver area restaurant selflessness, wise-guy humor, brotherly comradeship and the summed up their tales of war with that phrase. “aw shucks, it was nothing” attitude so Long stories, indeed. characteristic of those who served in WW One told of parachuting into Germany, II. in air that measured 19 degrees below Druckman’s Two Denver couples — Miff and Joanne zero. Pepper and Marv and Shirley Leff — hostAnother recalled being blown off the skills in Yiddish ed the first of what they hope will be many deck into the ocean when a Japanese gatherings of Jewish WW II vets. Many of kamikaze struck a bulls-eye on the ship he landed him a the veterans who attended are old friends was aboard. of the Peppers and Leffs; some are new Still another survived what World War II postwar job friends, meeting them for the first time at veterans knowingly refer to as the Bulge, the breakfast. only to be among the troops who found a at a DP camp. Marv Leff, himself a WW II Army veterwhole new level of horror when they liberan, is an outgoing, humorous fellow who ated Dachau. Later, he met an brought a handful of war trophies to the “Everybody has a story,” said one veterbreakfast – a binoculars with its case and a an, another veteran of the Bulge. “We inmate of that dagger with its sheath, all bearing the could sit for hours and days and talk and swastika emblem of the enemy. talk about it.” camp in Denver Pepper, a serious and sincere man Yet on June 6, 2011 — 67 years to the whose military service came in a long day after D Day, the Allied invasion of at BMH career with the Army Reserve beginning Normandy that finally turned the tide of the war — each of the 20 veterans who Please see WW II on Page 60 July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 59

WW II from Page 59

Sol Shafner, an Air Corps bombardier, still fits quite neatly into his original WW II uniform.

Four generations of Kauvars, beginning with Rabbi C. E. Hillel Kauvar, have appreciated being part of the Colorado community for over a century. In loving memory of Dr. Abraham J. Kauvar from his loving wife Jean Kauvar and their entire family

just after WW II, took care of the emcee duties. “Some of these are fellas that I grew up with and know very well,” Pepper told the INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS. “I know they served in the world war and thank G-d they came back. “We owe them a debt of gratitude for the work they did. They were all heroes, in my mind. They put their lives on the line for us and helped preserve our freedoms – otherwise we wouldn’t be here to celebrate.” When asked whether the gathered veterans would agree with his description of them as “heroes,” Pepper smiled. “They would say no, all they did was their job. But they did a very good job to help us win the war.” Most WW II veterans today are 85-90 years old, Pepper said, which means that now is the time to hear their stories and pay them tributes. “Overall, we’re losing about a thousand a day,” he said of WW II vets. “We want to let them know they’re not forgotten.” When breakfast was done, Pepper stood before his heroes and asked them to stand to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and to observe “a little prayer of silence for those that didn’t return and those we have lost since the end of the war through attrition.” To those who found it difficult to stand — many carried canes or sticks, a couple used walkers — Pepper said they could remain seated. But they rose as one, each and every one, and assumed erect military stances, hands on their hearts, as they pledged and prayed. Pepper then quoted George C. Patton, a general who served as commander for many of those present: “Do not mourn for them; thank G-d that they lived.”


ne by one, like roll call, the vets gave their names and told their stories. Some took a bit longer than the five minutes allowed, some considerably less. Howard Greinitz — After noting the names of a few brothers in arms recently lost to death, Greinitz summed up his service as a halftrack driver in the Third Army in Europe, his survival of the Battle of the Bulge and the Bronze Star he earned. He also recalled an effort to clear a minefield. He drew the short straw and went on foot to track a path through the field on his own, but a comrade insisted on going with him, even though he hadn’t been ordered to go – a moment of selfless bravery that Greinitz has never forgotten. Les Levitt — Served in the Naval Air Corps, based on the Please see WW II on Page 62

60 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

Miff Pepper, organizer of the recent WW II veterans breakfast, addresses the group of men he unhesitatingly calls ‘heroes.’

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 61

WW II from Page 60

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aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in the South Pacific. “We had a lot of close calls but I think mainly our survival was by the sergeants, the corporals. Everybody included made it possible for us to deal with this.” Levitt was 20 when he went to war, he said, “and lost a lot of good friends.” Homer Goodman — An Army Air Corps veteran, Goodman served aboard a B-17 bomber as a belly gunner. He too had a lot of close calls, and “a lot of experiences.” It was he who parachuted into the icy air above Germany. Leonard Litvak — A Navy yeoman, Litvak was a man of few words, taking only a few unelaborated seconds to describe his service aboard the battleship USS California. Hesh Steinberg — A fighter pilot, Steinberg flew a P47 Thunderbolt on a total of 87 missions, only 60 of which were officially credited by the Air Corps. He escorted bomber formations and attacked enemy ground forces. He was interviewed about his return to Normandy in 2009 by the IJN. “I made it all the way through,” he said. “Out of the original 36 pilots that graduated with me, seven of us came back. It was an interesting introduction to life, I guess, but I can’t say that it was particularly enjoyable.” Shep Waldman — Waldman served in the Third Army as an infantry staff sergeant during the Allied invasion of Europe, which included the infamous Bulge. “We fought our way through Normandy to the Elbe River,” he summarized. David Marks — Interviewed recently by the IJN, Marks served as a truck driver for the artillery during the waning days of the war in Europe. “I happen to be one of the very, very fortunate ones,” who missed the worst fighting, he said. Another vet asked Marks what division he was in. “The 65th Division. Does it make any difference? There were so many divisions. We all won. We all won.” Mort Gordon — A retired brigadier general, Gordon began his military career in the Air Corps in the South Pacific and China Sea. He flew in a squadron of Black Widow fighters — “the only aircraft that was designed and built during World War II to accommodate radar.” While on a naval vessel, Gordon witnessed a successful kamikaze strike. “It hit the deck, blew us out of the water and blew me off the top deck. I was in the water for five hours.” Leonard Strear – Drafted into the Army, Strear served as a


Second Lieutenant in the Third Army. He fought at the Bulge. “Our unit fought all the way through Normandy, went to Paris and ended up the war on May the 8th [1945] in Czechoslovakia. “I had a nice ride. Thank goodness I made it safely. I was happy to serve our country.” Sol Flax — An Air Corps sergeant, Flax (the father of IJN photographer Arlen Flax) served in the Pacific Theater. “I was serving in the Philippines during the time that they were mobilizing for the landing on Japan and President Truman dropped those two big whoppers. I was very, very fortunate.” Marvin Leff — Leff was an Army PFC and yet another Bulge veteran. “I was in a little recon troop of 10 men that was 15 miles ahead of the front lines,” Leff said. “Since I was such a dummy, I did most of the night patrols where we’d set out in the forest trying to hear the tank movePlease see WW II on Page 64

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Martin Boxer, a survivor of 25 missions aboard a B-17 bomber, credits luck alone with his survival of the war. WW II from Page 63 ments or what the German infantry was doing, trying to figure out what the hell the Germans were up to so we could get rid of ‘em quick.” Then a touch of mordant GI humor: “Otherwise, it was an uneventful nothing of a war.” Martin Boxer — The ultimate man of few words, Boxer told his fellow vets only that he flew 25 missions on a B-17 in the Eighth Air Force. “That’s it,” he said. “Got nothing else to say.” Iz Kozatch — Another tight-lipped veteran, Kozatch, an Air Corps tech sergeant, served as a gunner aboard a B-24 bomber. He has an amazing 50 missions to his credit. Bob Talpers — Talpers served as a captain in one of the Transportation Corps’ “Red Ball” units that hauled gasoline — 96,000 gallons at a time.

64 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

He acknowledged the combat vets for the intensity of their service. Morris Brown — An Air Corps corporal, Brown served at the Panama Canal, contributing to efforts to counter Axis attempts to destroy the Panama Canal – from Germans on the Atlantic side and Japanese on the Pacific side. Norman Druckman — A National Guard sergeant who enlisted well before the war started, Druckman served in Europe as a “tank destroyer.” His brother also served in Europe and was wounded at the Bulge, only a few miles away. Later, Druckman’s skills in Yiddish landed him a postwar job at a DP camp. In later years, he met an inmate of that camp here in Denver, at BMH Congregation. Sid Shafner — An Army corporal during the Bulge, Shafner served in a Signal Corps unit in the Seventh Army. “Heading south toward Munich,” he said, “we accidentally ran into Dachau, the concentration camp.” Sol Shafner — Sid’s brother, Sol Shafner was an Air Corps staff sergeant. He served as a bombardier aboard B-24s and B29s in the South Pacific. He addressed his brother, who sat next to him: “Thank you, brother. I appreciate what you did. Inasmuch as you’re my younger brother, I salute you. “I did my bit and I’m very, very proud and humble that all these nice gentlemen are here.” Irv Hook — A Navy vet, Hook expressed admiration for his comrades’ stories. “I never liked to wear a tie so I decided I’m going into the Navy,” he cracked. “That was probably a fortunate thing. I’ve listened to all you people, you people who’ve been to hell and back.” The Navy, however, wasn’t all that safe either. A number of Hook’s engineering classmates were sent to the carrier USS Benjamin Franklin, which was “practically destroyed and all went down.”


efore he could leave the room, Martin Boxer – the lieutenant of few words – is stopped for a quick talk. He is asked what he thinks of Tom Brokaw’s characterization of WW II vets as “the greatest genera-

tion.” Boxer, who at 93 is on the elder side of this elder group, smiles. “I don’t know about that,” he says quietly. “I never thought

about it that way. But I guess we did a pretty good job. I know I did a good job.” The veteran philosophizes for a moment. “I never learned how to pray,” Boxer says. “I didn’t know how to pray. So I counted on luck, and I think I was lucky because I got through the war, through 25 missions over Germany, got a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Purple Heart and a Presidential Unit Citation.” Luck, he says, was an omnipresent factor during the war, especially in the perilous world of bomber squadrons. “You know, it didn’t matter how great your pilot was. It was all luck, as far as I’m concerned.”

Boxer knows that young Americans are still fighting today, and still dying, nearly seven decades after his own war came to a close. In some ways, he thinks it might be harder for them than it was for him. “I think we understood better why we were fighting. They don’t have a clear understanding of what they’re fighting for in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” This old warrior doesn’t foresee a time when the world will no longer need the sacrifices of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. “No,” Boxer says sadly. “Never. I don’t think there will be a time when there is no war.”

‘It was all luck, as far as I’m concerned’

Nazi binoculars and dagger — trophies of war captured by Marvin Leff, an Army recon man who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and lived to tell the tale.

July 1, 2011 • INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS — Generations • 65

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■ I Integrity Print Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

■ Y

I NTERMOUNTAIN J EWISH N EWS . . . . . . . . . . . . .24, 39

Yeshiva Toras Chaim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

66 • Generations — INTERMOUNTAIN JEWISH NEWS • July 1, 2011

Generations: Healthy Living  

Intermountain Jewish News: Special Magazine Supplement

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