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Volume 7, Number 3 Passover 2017

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Serving the Local New Orleans, Northshore, and Baton Rouge Jewish Communities

Why Passover Is About a Lot More Than Good Food By Joshua Ratner (My Jewish Learning via JTA) -- What is the essence of Passover? On the one hand, it seems obvious: Passover is about gathering together with loved ones to recall, through sumptuous home rituals, the exodus from Egypt. We gather round our seder tables and quickly become engulfed in the warmth of family and friends, the culinary delights of a delicious meal, and the comforting, vaguely familiar words and songs we recite year after year. Passover is, indeed, a beautiful opportunity for rejoicing and celebrating. But it also can be much, much more. Looking closely at the Passover Haggadah, we can see that the rabbis who crafted the seder did not choose to make Passover a holiday solely focused on celebrating the past. Like the Fourth of July (or Hanukkah), Passover could

have been a day to recall passively our independence from an oppressive regime as a historical remembrance; to commemorate the past and salute our Founding Fathers (or Maccabees). Instead, Moses (as Founding Father of the Israelites) is largely shut out of the Haggadah — he appears but once. While remembrance of the exodus — from the enslavement of the Israelites to the 10 plagues to the crossing of the Red Sea — forms a major portion of the content of the Maggid (retelling) section of the Haggadah, that remembrance is but a means to a larger end. The end of the Maggid section reveals why. It says: "In each and every generation people must regard themselves as though they personally left Egypt, as it says, 'Tell your child on that very day: "This is what God did for me when I left Egypt.”' The Holy One of Blessing did not redeem only our ancestors, but God even

redeemed us with them, as it says, 'God brought us out of there in order to bring us to and gave us the land that God swore to our ancestors.'” The seder specifically, and Passover more broadly, is about remembering God’s deliverance of the Israelites not as a one-time, historical event but as something that is perpetually happening in the present. Redemption from slavery to freedom is intended to be an experience that we, too, can and should have during our seders. But why? (Rabbi Joshua Ratner is the director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New Haven, Connecticut. Ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2012, Ratner was a Joseph Neubauer Fellow and also earned a master's degree in Midrash and a certificate in pastoral care. He worked as an attorney for five years prior to entering rabbinical school.) ì


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The Airport Report Record Year: All-time High Number of Airlines, Non-stop Destinations, and Passengers In 2016, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport set new all-time records for its number of airlines, non-stop destinations, and passengers served. Based on year end data, the Airport served a record high of 11,139,421 passengers in 2016. This represents a 4.4% increase over the prior record set in 2015 when the Airport surpassed ten million passengers for the first time in its history by serving over 10.6 million passengers. This achievement can be attributed to

the extensive list of new flights and destinations added in 2016. Since 2015, the Airport experienced 23% growth in the number of non-stop destinations, increasing from 48 cities in 2015 to 59 cities in 2017. The Airport has a record high of 17 airlines and non-stop service to eight international destinations. The following list highlights the additional flights added in 2016: February 2016 • Allegiant Air added new nonstop service twice weekly to

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. April 2016 • Frontier Airlines provided additional service to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with three weekly departures and to Orlando, Florida, with four weekly departures. • Spirit Airlines added daily service to Los Angeles and Atlanta. June 2016 • American Airlines began daily service to Los Angeles. • Allegiant Air began service

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to St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida, a new destination. • GLO added daily service to a new destination Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. September 2016 • GLO started new non-stop service to Huntsville, Alabama. • JetBlue began service to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. November 2016 • Allegiant Air began non-stop flights to Concord, North Carolina. December 2016 • Choice Aire began non-stop service to a new international destination San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Several new flights are set to start in 2017. On March 27, 2017, British Airways will begin new international non-stop service to London, England, with four weekly flights on their Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner aircraft. In May, Condor will begin twice-weekly nonstop service to Frankfurt, Germany. The Airport is also experiencing an increase in domestic flights. Allegiant Air will begin non-stop service to two new destinations Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and Cleveland, Ohio. Southwest Airlines will begin seasonal, twiceweekly service to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and Columbus, Ohio starting April 30, 2017. Spirit Airlines will begin service to Cleveland, Ohio; Baltimore/Washington, DC; and Orlando, Florida, in May. The Airport is growing at a rapid pace. With great progress, posting increasing numbers in airlines, nonstop destinations, and passengers over the last several years, we hope to see the same continue in 2017. Mark Reis, Interim Director of Aviation for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport may be reached at airport@flymsy.com. Check your local listings for the air time of the Armstrong International Airport 30 minute television program, “Airport Alive” or view it on the airport website, www.flymsy. com, by clicking on the “Airport Alive” link on the “News and Stats” page. You can now follow the airport on facebook.com/MSYAirport and Twitter @NO_Airport. To find out how to be a volunteer at the airport, click on “Ambassador” on the airport’s website homepage. ì THE

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Touro Synagogue Tuesday April 4, 6:30PM Mautner Learning Center JEWISH MEDICAL ETHICS MEETING Join Rabbi Berk and Dr. Walter Levy in exploring how we bring Jewish medical ethics to our professional lives. The session is driven by relevant ethical issues affecting health care providers. Dinner and Discussion.We look forward to seeing you there. Please RSVP to info@tourosynagogue.com. Wednesday, April 5, 6:00PM Literature & Libations Dinner and a Lively Discussion

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith By Anne Lamott, Led by Rabbi Todd Silverman. With her characteristic humor and self-deprecation, Anne Lamott weaves a “narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter, and tears… [and] how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself.” Through the trials of alcoholism, drug addiction and bad relationships, she manages to show the world the very best parts of her heart and soul — and encourages us to recognize the best of ourselves even with all our flaws and faults. Join Rabbi Silverman on April 5 to discuss this life-changing memoir by an author who “has relished and soaked up the details of her existence, equally of mirth and devastation, spirit and grief, and spilled them onto her pages.” This title can be found at your local bookstore or online. Please RSVP to INFO@tourosynagogue.com so we can appropriately plan for dinner.ì

If your group has an event that you would like for us to include on the Community Calendar please e-mail the information to jewishnews@bellsouth.net. All submissions are subject to acceptance by the Editor. ì Thursday, April 6 – Sunday, May 1, 2017 Mass Incarceration Initiative Please be on the lookout for a collaborative program presented this spring by Touro Synagogue and Loyola University featuring a panel of local judges, prison personnel and returned citizens discussing compelling issues regarding diversion efforts, sentencing reform, and re-entry initiatives. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art presents States of incarceration, a traveling multimedia exhibition, web platform, and curricula focusing on the evolution and impact of mass incarceration in the United States, created by students and others directly affected by incarceration through simultaneous courses at 20 college campuses. In New Orleans, a team of students from the University of New Orleans, along with people directly affected by incarceration, explored the experiences of citizens in the city

and state with this pressing social issue. UNO's team’s work was compiled with 19 other universities’ work into a collective, multi-faceted portrait of incarceration, past and present, framed by the key questions these histories raise. When the exhibition travels to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, public programs, local exhibition components, conferences, and community conversations will build on local histories and connections with issue organizations to ground the national conversation in the local context of incarceration. It will open at The Ogden Museum in April alongside an exhibition of young people's artwork produced through workshops with local artist/activists entitled Picturing a World Without Prisons: Young Artists Take on the Carceral State. Feel free to contact the following with questions: Dani Levine at dlevine@avodah.net , Julie Silbert at julie.silbert@ keanmiller.com, or Naomi Yavneh at yavneh@loyno.edu. ì

Table of Contents Community News

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Community Highlights

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Holiday Features

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Education

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Bookshelf

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Afts & Culture

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Entertainment

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The Nosher

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Focus on Issues

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Travel

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Kveller

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The Surge in Anti-Semitism? Here's How to Stop It By Daniel Elbaum and Marc Stern (JTA) -- Almost daily accounts of vandalized cemeteries, spray-painted swastikas and bomb threats to JCCs and other Jewish agencies have naturally evoked considerable alarm. Clearly, we must never reconcile ourselves to an America where this is considered normal. Yet we must not succumb to the opposite tendency to see these recent incidents through a 2,000-year-old lens and draw comparisons to darker days, when Jews felt powerless and alone in the fight against anti-Semitism. There is no nation -- other than Israel, of course -- that has been more hospitable and welcoming to Jews than the United States. Indeed, there has been no generation of Jews in our people's history more ingrained into the fabric of the nation in which it lived. A recent Pew Research Center report found that Jews are the most admired religious group in the country, and it will take far more than the incidents of the last few months to alter that fact. Experts on hate crimes agree on two things. First, perpetrators are not always caught, and therefore the majority of hate-crime victims may not see the culprits brought to justice. Second, since hate crimes are "message" crimes, the public response is crucial in preventing them from happening again. Words matter. Condemnations matter. And leaders must step up and express solidarity with the victimized communities, sending the clear message

that such acts will not be tolerated or ignored. We welcome the White House's strong condemnation of recent antiSemitic incidents and its promise to find ways to stop them. We also appreciate the Senate letter urging action against these threats spearheaded by Senators Peters, Portman, Rubio and Nelson, and signed by all 100 members of the upper chamber. But still more can be done now. Here are three suggestions for concrete action: First, the White House should convene a conference on violent extremism and hate crimes. The assault on the Jewish community is not occurring in a vacuum. There also have been widespread reports of crimes against other minority communities. Although reasonable people can disagree about the causes, there can be little doubt that something ugly has been unleashed, and it needs to be examined and addressed. All crimes are reprehensible, but hate crimes carry an extra dimension since they victimize both individuals and communities. Recent polls reveal that a majority of European Jews do not feel comfortable wearing clothing or jewelry that identifies them as Jewish. The situation in Europe is very different, and tragically, more violent than what Jews in the U.S. have confronted. Still, the White House must elevate this issue in an effort to ensure that such sentiments do not take hold in our nation.

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People demonstrating at a Stand Against Hate rally at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, March 2, 2017. (Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

Second, federal security funding for vulnerable religious and other communal institutions must be increased. The Nonprofit Security Grant Program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security, is currently budgeted at approximately $20 million, a figure simply inadequate to meet a pressing need. Hate crimes aimed at Jewish institutions threaten not only those organizations. They menace the very basis of our pluralistic society, and therefore every citizen should have an interest in stopping them. Governments at all levels need to make financial investments to that end. No doubt there are other steps that can be taken -- a good example being the Federal Communications Commission's waiver of certain privacy rules that will make it easier to track phone threats. And finally, since other nations are watching, our reaction, in word and deed, can affect Jewish security

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abroad. The White House should act swiftly to dispel rumors that, as part of a wave of budget cuts, it plans to eliminate the State Department's special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. Since 2004, when Congress created that post, the special envoy has been a go-to global address, an embodiment of our country's commitment to fight anti-Semitism. It is needed today more than ever. Although the special envoy has dealt with anti-Semitism abroad, the position also sends a message here at home -- and so does any talk of eliminating it. The upsurge of anti-Semitism will not abate on its own. We need concerted action to reverse it. (Daniel Elbaum is the American Jewish Committee's assistant executive director and director of regional offices and Marc Stern is the committee's general counsel.) ì

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Chabad of Louisiana together with Chabad of Metairie, once again put together a spectacular Purim party, with over 250 in attendance. This year’s Purim feast theme was Purim in the Big Apple. Torah Academy’s multi-purpose room was transformed into scenes of the New York street. A subway station, street vendors offering hot-dogs and pretzels, a NY deli and fish market, the Manhattan skyline and 770 Eastern Parkway completed the look. A Big Apple menu and awesome music by Panorama Jazz Band rounded out the evening. A host of creative New York themed costumes abounded. Photographer Gil Rubman captured the event on camera. A big shout out to all of the volunteers and committee members for their hard work and efforts in pulling off a quality event. These outstanding themes and Purim parties are making it harder to top from year to year! ì

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(Rabbis Without Borders via JTA) -- At Passover, Jews over the world gather to celebrate "zman cheirutenu," the season of our freedom. We will read all about freedom from slavery. We drink four cups of wine to rejoice in the four freedoms given to our ancestors by God. We eat charoset, a mixture of fruits, nuts, juice or wine that represents the mortar used with the bricks we no longer have to place as slaves. Freedom from bondage, from Egypt, from Pharaoh. The idea of being freed from slavery by God is a central tenet of Judaism. We say, remember God freed you from slavery and took you out of Egypt every Friday night in the blessing of the wine and throughout the Torah even when speaking about seemingly unrelated things. But what, I wonder, upon finding freedom from slavery are we now free to do? Primarily, we are free to serve God and not Pharaoh. Spiritually speaking, the seder gives us the opportunity to check in with ourselves to see if we have become enslaved to Pharaohs of modernity like power, money and ego. God didn’t work so hard to bring us out of one Egypt just to replace it with another. The seder asks us, now that you have your freedom, what have you done with it? If the Exodus is a story of a three-part journey -- Egypt, the wilderness-desert and Israel -- serving God is the wilderness-desert, a stop on the way, the means to an end, but not the final place on the journey. Author and psychologist David Arnow writes in "Creating Lively Passover Seders": "Paradoxically, as we celebrate our liberation during Passover, we sharpen our awareness of the enslavement that reigns within and around us. At the moment we taste freedom, we remember the hungry … From the heights of deliverance, we survey a shattered world crying out for healing." He adds later: "What is the source of the staggeringly audacious conviction that the present, the status quo, cannot be the end of the road?

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That’s where God comes in. God speaks in a small voice within each of us saying, 'Never forget that yours is not a ‘normal’ but a broken world, one that we can surely help fix.' At the seder, that voice calls a little bit more audibly because with Passover we confront the reality of our freedom and we have used it, for good or ill." God did not bring us out of Egypt to serve God (Dayenu, it would have been enough). Rather, through our service to God we are meant to eternally bring freedom to others. Our service to God is our service to humanity. Our service to humanity is God’s work in action. So when you sit down to your seder, I hope you ponder not just your freedom from slavery but relish also your freedom to free others. Happy Passover. (Rabbi Rachael Bregman is at Temple Beth Tefilloh in Brunswick, Georgia, as the first female and the first resident rabbi in over 50 years. She lives two miles from the beach with her daughter, Lilith, and dog Zooey.) ì

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Reconnecting to Passover’s Roots Using Passover as an opportunity to go green. By Leah Koenig One of the dirty little secrets about the Jewish calendar is that many of the holidays have agricultural subtexts, which over time have been muted or lost completely under the historical and religious themes that were layered on top of them. Two of these holidays, Sukkot and Shavuot, have maintained a relatively transparent relationship to their earthy roots. But finding the natural themes of Passover takes a bit more digging. The first step is to forget about Moses — for now anyway — and recall that Passover, also known as Hag Ha-Aviv (holiday of spring), is one of the Torah’s three mandated pilgrimage festivals. It is inextricably linked to the beginning of the barley harvest in Israel. Leviticus 23:10-11 describes the omer (sheaf) offering of barley (the first grain to ripen in the spring) that took place in the Temple on the second day of Passover: When you enter the land that I am giving to you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest. He shall elevate the sheaf before the Lord for acceptance on your behalf. This priestly grain dance symbolized prosperity and was the official green light that the season’s harvest could be consumed. Today, Jews count the Omer for 49 days, starting on the second night of Passover–to coincide with the date of the omer offering–and continuing through Shavuot (the beginning of the wheat harvest). In most cases, however, Omer practices have been almost completely disembodied — stripped of their connections to grain and ground. The Seder Plate is Already Green Contemporary Jews are, of course, forbidden to bring sheaves of just-picked barley, which is hametz, to our seder tables. Still, if one is willing to look, signs of spring and nature’s rejuvenation abound throughout Passover. This is especially true of the seder plate, which weaves together the historical and agricultural in one eating ritual. The roasted lamb bone (z’roa), which commemorates lamb sacrifices made at the Temple is taken from one of spring’s most iconic babies. The green vegetable (karpas) sitting next to it that gets dipped in saltwater is a symbol of the first sprouts that peak bravely out of the justthawed ground in early spring. The roasted egg (beitzah) recalls both the sacrifices made at the Temple and also spring’s fertility and rebirth. Hametz as a Metaphor Even before Passover begins, the act of removing hametz from our homes offers other opportunities to connect to the natural world. This period of “Jewish spring cleaning” requires us to shake out our sheets and round up any bread or crumbs hiding in our kitchen cupboards. But removing hametz from our homes can also remind us to get rid of the excess “stuff” clogging up our lives — to liberate ourselves from any emotional or spiritual baggage from the year, and send bad habits packing. THE

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It is a perfect time to recycle the stack of junk mail piling up on the desk (and stop more from coming), plant seedlings in the garden, start composting, switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, or volunteer for a cleanup day at a nearby river, beach, forest, or park. It also offers a great opportunity to plan ahead, in order to avoid the all-too-common overuse of disposable dishes during Passover. As you clean out your kitchen cabinets, stock them with light-weight, recycled dishes and cutlery, like the stylish offerings from Preserve, which store easily and can be reused year after year. While these actions might seem like a distraction on an otherwise busy pre-Passover to-do list, integrating them into our holiday preparations can imbue our celebration with deeper significance that lasts beyond the holiday. During Passover, all Jews are challenged to remember the Israelites’ journey from slavery to

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freedom, and feel as if they went through it themselves. But for those willing to dig even further, the story of Passover is not simply historical. It is rooted to the land, the giddy joys of spring, and to the reminder that after every period of dormancy and every experience of suffering, new life awaits just under the soil. Find more practical resources and ideas for “greening Passover” at The Jew & the Carrot, The Nation, and The Kitchn. 70/Faces Media ì

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Finally, Jewish Camp for Adults By Ben Sales NEW YORK (JTA) -- The campers wake up in their cabins on Friday morning, dress and go to breakfast. Next comes a range of activities -- arts and crafts, archery, and kickball. Then, after an hour of primping and preening for Shabbat, they gather as the sun sets and head to Shabbat dinner, where they will bless the wine, eat and maybe sing. Then the wine -- and beer -- is poured. Welcome to Jewish summer camp for adults. This summer, hundreds of Jews will return to the grassy fields, rickety bunks, beaten basketball courts, and freezing lakes where they and their peers spent summers in middle school. For a long weekend they will sleep on the same bunk beds, throw the same dodgeballs, make the same lanyards and eat the same food (or, fine, maybe better food). The seven adult Jewish camps -scheduled for May to September at camps from Massachusetts to Cali-

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fornia -- are the inaugural project of Trybal Gatherings, an organization co-founded by Jewish camp alum Carine Warsawski. Trybal wants to replicate the success of short-term programs in Israel, like Birthright, by having Jews reconnect to Judaism and relax in a nostalgia-inducing and familiar environment. “We’re trying to keep the core elements that make these immersive experiences so powerful and bring them to people in their 20s and 30s,” said Warsawski, 32, who as a teen attended the Reform Jewish Eisner Camp in Massachusetts. “The core elements are a sense of community, a sense of Jewish connection and a sense of adventure.” The camps will run for four days, starting on a Thursday or Friday, at a time when the kids’ camps are not in session. Anyone 21 and over, Jewish or not, can attend, so that Jews with non-Jewish partners won’t be excluded. Bunks in a regular cabin run a bit above $500, while a spot in a private room at the camp’s retreat center will cost more than $600. Warsawski is planning on a minimum of 100 campers at each location. In bringing adults to Jewish camp, Warsawski is extending a traditional hallmark of the American Jewish experience According to the Foundation for Jewish Camp, some 200,000 kids attend more than 300 Jewish summer camps each year. It’s an experience that has been immortalized in American culture, from Allan Sherman’s 1963 song “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh” to the 2001 cult film “Wet Hot American Summer.” “One of the great things camp can offer is a sense of community and belonging,” said Julie Finkelstein, the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s director of leadership development. "People of any age

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are seeking community and belonging and a sense of who they are in the world.” Though far shorter than the average child’s camp stay, Trybal’s sessions aim to duplicate the experience as much as possible. On a sample itinerary, guests will arrive Thursday afternoon, set up their bunks and go to an initiation ceremony featuring something like a flaming bow-and-arrow performance. The next day, they will embark on the classic camp activities, like arts, sports or swimming. Friday night brings Shabbat dinner, with beer and maybe a wine tasting, and a light take on a Shabbat prayer service. “We’re trying to set the bar low,” Warsawski said, regarding the camp’s Jewish ritual content. “We want this to be inclusive. Diving into a heavily prayered Shabbat experience can marginalize people who didn’t grow up with those prayers.” After another round of Jewishthemed activities on Saturday morning (like making beeswax Shabbat candles), the campers will split up for a traditional color war. But during the final relay, instead of just jumping over hurdles or swimming, campers will have to successfully complete “adulting” activities, like ironing a shirt. Then, after a closing ceremony on Sunday, the campers will return to their everyday lives. As much as the experience recalls childhood summers, it has a decidedly adult twist. Misdeeds that would have gotten 13-year-old campers expelled -- from drinking

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to sex to ditching activities -- are fine now that they’re 30. Rather than a sunrise bugle, wake-up might be as late as 10, with a boozy brunch to follow. And there’s a party every night, with a DJ and an open bar. But camps will obey state laws, which means legal or controlled substances are still a no-no. “I expect people to have a good time,” Warsawski said. “I think people are responsible. I think people are coming here to have fun, and the open bar is a big draw, but there’s a lot more than getting wasted that makes it special.” Trybal is one of several organizations in recent years to launch adult camps. Camp Bonfire, another adult camp with no religious affiliation, will run two long weekends this year, drawing 180 people per camp. Another is Camp No Counselors, which delivers what its name advertises. After the summer ends, Warsawski plans to expand Trybal’s offerings to include other shortterm immersive experiences with a Jewish bent. She’s considering a Hanukkah trip to Iceland, or a few days on a dude ranch. In every case, her goal is the same: to give adults the same sense of community and possibility that camp gave her. “You get to be who you are” at camp, Warsawski said. “When you finally get to explore and try new things, and see what you like, and make your own choices, that’s how you start to form who you are That spirit of exploration doesn’t die when you’re a kid," she said. "You have that spirit of curiosity even when you’re an adult.” ì THE

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Here's How Summer Camps Welcome Their Youngest Charges By Lucy Cohen Blatter

Staff and campers at Camp Modin. (Courtesy of Camp Modin)

(JTA) — Wondering if your child is ready for overnight camp? A sure sign, according to Karen Alford, a sleepaway camp consultant, is that he or she has grown tired of day camp. “At 9 [or going into fourth grade], you’ve probably been doing day camp for several years, and there’s just a natural progression to sleepaway camp,” she told JTA. Of course, Alford added, some kids aren’t ready until they’re older. “You have to know your child and what they can handle,” she said, adding that “some parents with kids who have trouble separating find camp even more helpful at a younger age because it builds independence.” Luckily, most Jewish summer camps pay close attention to easing their youngest kids into the sleepaway experience. From pre-camp meet-and-greets to special presents for first-time campers to the common availability of ultra-short sessions — anywhere from five to 11 days — camps are acutely aware of the need to gently transition their littlest and newest campers into the culture of overnight camp. In addition to providing additional resources for the young newbies — and, of course, their anxious parents — many camps also hire additional staff and train them in some hand-holding. Take Camp Judaea, a pluralist Jewish camp in North Carolina. It offers a Taste of Camp Judaea, an 11-day program for kids as young as 7. Unlike older campers who can

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“specialize” in certain activities, the youngest campers, called Rishonim, get to sample all of the camp activities, including zip-lining and horseback riding. The Taste program is available for kids until the fourth grade. “To be honest, in some ways it’s more for the parents than the campers,” said David Berlin, assistant director of Camp Judaea. “The parents tend to be more nervous. This is our way of hooking them into camp.” Additionally, the ratio of campers to counselors is lower for the Camp Judaea’s Rishnonim campers, hovering around 3 to 1, as opposed to about 4.5 to 1 for the older kids. To prepare the first-timers, Camp Judaea holds parlor meetings for new families, most of whom come from the southeastern U.S., Berlin said. New campers get to watch a video, hear about a typical day at camp and have their questions answered. “It allows the families an opportunity to meet the staff before the summer begins,” Berlin said. They also used to send first-timers a book about sleepaway camp — "Sami's Sleepaway Summer," by Jenny Meyerhoff — but it's out of print. Berlin said the book was a great way to get young campers excited and have them learn what to expect -- he's looking for a replacement. At Camp Gilboa, located outside Los Angeles and part of the progressive Zionist Habonim Dror

movement, younger campers can experience sessions as short as four nights. “We focus on easing them into camp,” said Executive Director Dalit Shlapobersky. But because Habonim Dror offers year-round programming, kids can get involved prior to starting camp, and therefore become acquainted with other Gilboa campers and counselors well ahead of time, she said. The camp also invites families to visit during the year for weekends and retreats. Shlapobersky said campers typically start Gilboa at age 8. “At that point they’ve already gone through quite a few separations — they’ve had to get used to a new community at preschool, and then a new one at kindergarten/elementary school,” she said. “These things are all about practice. The more time we practice doing something different, the more ready we are to take something new on.” But Shlapobersky gives campers and families added support through the preparation process, which includes weekly emails beginning

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in May that focus on different aspects of camp -- like what to expect on the first day of camp, what sort of communications there will be to and from camp, a glossary of camp lingo. New campers also receive introductory phone calls from counselors a couple of days before the session begins. Additionally, Gilboa calls new parents to find out more about individual campers, making the camp more prepared for them when they arrive. “For example, if we know they’re really into magic, we can have one of the counselors who loves magic tricks ready,” Shlapobersky said. Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, which is affiliated with the Conservative movement, offers a sevenday Ta’am Ramah (Hebrew for Taste of Ramah), to children entering third grade. Rabbi Ethan Linden, the camp’s director, said there's a higher ratio of staff for the youngest kids. “We’ll have 20 to 25 kids and 10 See SUMMER CAMP on Page

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Bookshelf 7 New Kids' Books for Passover, from Seder Guides to Stories By Penny Schwartz (JTA) — From the wizardry of Harry Potter that echoes with Passover's themes to a cartoon frog who wisecracks his way through the seder, this year's new crop of Passover books for kids offers something for all ages and interests. The selection of fresh reads, including two family-friendly Haggadahs, also includes an unusual Jewish immigrant tale set in rural Argentina and a heartwarming, intergenerational story about an aging grandfather and his devoted granddaughter. Choose one — or several — to educate and engage the young readers in your family for this Passover, the eight-day festival of freedom that begins with the first seder on the evening of April 10. The (unofficial) Hogwarts Haggadah By Moshe Rosenberg; designed by Aviva Shur All ages; $27.95

Fans of Harry Potter will be in Hogwarts heaven this Passover. Moshe Rosenberg's Haggadah draws on the parallels between the wizardry of the best-selling "Harry Potter" books and the seder guide. “From the concepts of slavery and freedom, to the focus on education, to the number four, Harry Potter and Passover share almost everything,” Rosenberg writes in the introduction. 10 Passover 2017

This is the second Jewish Harry Potter-themed book by Rosenberg, a rabbi and Judaic studies educator in New York. (The first was “Morality for Muggles: Ethics in the Bible and the World of Harry Potter.”) Traditionalists, take note: Rosenberg assures readers that every word of traditional Haggadah text, in Hebrew and in English translation, is included. Interspersed throughout is commentary, via the lens of J.K. Rowling's characters, that takes on questions of freedom, evil and the Four Children. There's even a Harry Potter-themed version of the popular seder song “Had Gadya,” (“One Small Goat”). The Family (and Frog!) Haggadah By Rabbi Ron Isaacs and Karen Rostoker-Gruber; illustrations by Jackie Urbanovic

Behrman House; all ages; $7.95 A wisecracking frog takes center stage in this kid-friendly Haggadah that is a complete guide to a funfilled, informative, abbreviated seder that's designed to be 30 minutes to an hour. The lively Haggadah, filled with photographs and illustrations, begins with a seder checklist and candle-lighting prayers and guides families through the mainstays of the seder, from the Passover story, to the Ten Plagues to welcoming Elijah the Prophet. Songs go from the traditional favorite “Dayenu” to “Take Me Out to the Seder.” An entertaining cartoon frog appears throughout with jokes

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and funny comments (“Hold on! I brought my hopmonica!") that are sure to bring giggles and keep kids engaged.

ing Passover with her grandparents, where everything is the same year after year – running up the stairs at their apartment, finding piles of blankets and pillows for the Passover Scavenger Hunt sleepover with her cousins, and Shanna Silva, illustrated by Miki enjoying the good smells emanatSakamoto ing from the kitchen. But this year Kar-Ben; ages 4-9; $17.99 hard- will be different because her grandcover, $7.99 paperback father just got home from the hospital and is too weak to come to the seder table. In this heartwarming intergenerational story, Jessica comes up with a plan for how Grandpa can still lead the seder, continuing the family tradition. Jeremy Tugeau's large, expressive illustrations capture Jessica's emotions of joy, disappointment and love she shares her with grandfather. The Passover Cowboy Barbara Diamond Goldin, Every year at the seder, Rachel's illustrated by Gina Capaldi Uncle Harry hides the afikomen. Apples and Honey Press; ages 4-8; The kids have fun hunting for the $17.95 special piece of matzah and get a prize for finding it. But there's one problem: Uncle Harry always makes it too easy! In Shanna Silva's lively story, Rachel takes over the job. She grabs her markers, scissors and a big piece of cardboard and creates a clever scavenger hunt with six rhyming clues to stump her cousins. Each clue reveals something related to the seder, from the charoset to the shank bone. In the end, the kids are left with a puzzle to solve that will lead them to Rachel's perfect afikomen hiding place. Miki Sakamoto's illustrations are bright and colorful and capture the fun as kids move picture frames, race around the house and crawl From the acclaimed Jewish chilaround closets looking for clues. dren's book writer Barbara Diamond Goldin (“The Best Hanukkah A Different Kind of Passover Ever,” “Journeys With Elijah”) Linda Leopold-Strauss, illustrated comes an unlikely Passover story set in the Argentine countryside in by Jeremy Tugeau Kar-Ben; ages 4-9; $17.99, hard- the late 1800s. Jacob is a young Jewish boy whose Russian family cover, $7.99 paperback immigrated to Argentina, but he doesn't quite fit in. He makes a new friend, Benito, who helps him learn to ride horseback. Jacob works up the courage to invite his non-Jewish pal to his family's seder, but Benito says he has farm chores to do. But Benito ends up coming after all, at just the right moment: when Jacob opens the door to welcome Elijah, just as a flock of chickens arrive, too. Benito helps round up the On the way to her grandparents' chickens and joins the seder. house for the seder, a young girl As the family welcomes its new named Jessica is busy practicing friend, they learn from each other The Four Questions, in Hebrew, over and over. Jessica loves spendSee NEW KIDS BOOKS 11 on Page

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JEWISH LIGHT celebrates the holiday with his human friend, Josh Shapiro. Little ones will learn about Passover as well as basic shapes. ì

NEW KIDS BOOKS Continued from Page 10 about the meaning of freedom — and Jacob's mother and Benito also surprise him with a lasso and clothing he needs for an upcoming rodeo. Artist Gina Capaldi puts readers right in the action; kids will feel as if they are riding along on horseback with Jacob and Benito, and they'll feel part of the family's seder. An author's note explains that in the 1880s, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe arrived in Argentina. Goldin also poses a timely discussion question that asks families to imagine what it would be like to move to a new country. How It's Made: Matzah By Allison Ofanansky, photographs by Aliyahu Alpern Apples & Honey Press; ages 5-8; $15.95 Kids get an up-close look at how matzah is made in this fascinating new book overflowing with stunning color photographs that bring to life small-batch, handmade matzahmaking to factories that bake 35,000 pieces of matzah every day. Kids see the spiked rolling tool used to make the tiny holes in the matzah and get a peek inside the very hot

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ovens required for baking. Captions and explanatory text are informative but simple, making the photographs the stars of a wonderful book that will appeal both to kids and grownups. There are several Do It Yourself recipes and craft projects, including baking matzah, making a matzah cover and growing the greens for karpas, the symbolic vegetable eaten during the seder. Sammy Spider's Passover Shapes Sylvia A. Rouss; illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn Kar-Ben; ages 1-4; $5.99 board book The ever-popular Sammy Spider — now in his 24th year — is back! "Passover Shapes" is the second Sammy Spider board book that is geared for toddlers. In this brightly illustrated tale, the young spider

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(JTA) -- Aaron Hahn Tapper was spending the summer of 1994 studying at an Orthodox Yeshiva in Jerusalem when he was called into the office of the school's mara d'atra, or chief legal authority. Noting that Hahn Tapper's mother converted to Judaism under the auspices of the Conservative movement, the rabbi was blunt. "Well, it seems you may not be Jewish," he said, explaining that Conservative conversions may or may not be acceptable to Orthodox authorities. Hahn Tapper was allowed to continue his studies so long as he agreed to research the terms of his mother's conversion: When was it done? Who witnessed her conversion ceremony? Were they men? Hahn Tapper had spent 13 years at Philadelphia Jewish day schools and 10 summers at Camp Ramah in the Poconos. The yeshiva's challenge forced him to ask uncomfortable questions about Jewish law, beliefs and practice. Most of all, it raised questions about identity. Long after the yeshiva eventually accepted his mother's conversions, those questions stuck with Hahn Tapper, 43, through a career in Jewish and religious studies. Now the Mae and Benjamin Swig Associate Professor in Jewish Studies at the University of San Francisco, Hahn Tapper has written an introduction to Judaism for the college student and general reader that puts identity questions front and center, starting with its title: "Judaisms: A 21st Century Introduction to Jews and Jewish Identities." "Can someone's identities be deleted overnight on a technicality?" he writes, after describing the yeshiva incident. "Does Jewishness really depend solely on ritual and legal requirements? Or are Jewish identities more malleable than that?" At its core, the book is an attempt to answer the question, What does it mean to be a Jew? "For someone who's a 'halakhic man' -- the way in which they understand the world is only through the lens of halachah [Jewish law] and that's their construct

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-- it's a legal category," Hahn Tapper told JTA in a recent interview. "You either are or are not -- it's black and white." Others believe in a Jewish soul, or "neshama," that amounts to a metaphysical essence, or even genetic definition, apart from ritual and belief. Israel has its own definition, one that combines nationhood, citizenship and, increasingly, rabbinic oversight. Then there is the postmodern approach, in which people become a part of a community simply by believing themselves to be part of a community. In one way or another, all Jews are choosing to be Jewish -- or at least have the luxury to do so in the 21st century -- in a process Hahn Tapper and sociologists call "social identity performance," which depends on the behaviors and choices they present to each other and the outside world. "Most of us can't trace ourselves back that many generations," said Hahn Tapper. "There's a certain acceptance that whatever we're told by our parents are the facts. Ancestry doesn't go back that far for most most of us." In telling the story of Jews across the centuries and the continents, "Judaisms" -- a finalist for a 2016 National Jewish Book Award -presents Jewish history less as a timeline than a tapestry. Hahn Tapper writes about Jewish communities that developed within Christian, Muslim and Hindu cultures; European Jews and Asian Jews; gay See JAKE TAPPER on Page THE

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3 Popular Humorists Write a Haggadah for the 'When Do We Eat?' Crowd By Andrew Silow-Carroll

(JTA) -- Of making many Passover Haggadahs there is no end. If the Maxwell House version doesn't cut it for you, there are Haggadahs for vegans, for children, for chocolate lovers and even for Christians. There's the "Santa Cruz Haggadah" for hippies and the "New American Haggadah" for hipsters. There are annotated Haggadahs for those who want to extend the seder into the wee hours, and the "30 Minute Seder Haggada" for those who want to eat, pray and bolt. Now three well-known American humorists have written a Haggadah for an overlooked crowd: the wiseguys, cutups and punsters who frankly have a hard time taking the whole thing seriously. "For This We Left Egypt? A Passover Haggadah for Jews and Those Who Love Them" (Flatiron Books) is a collaboration of Dave Barry, whose syndicated Miami Herald humor column ran for over 20 years; Alan Zweibel, an original "Saturday Night Live" writer and co-creator of "It's Garry Shandling's Show"; and Adam Mansbach, the novelist who had a sleeper hit with his faux children's book, "Go the F*** to Sleep." "For This We Left Egypt?" (henceforth known as "FTWLE") is the sort of book that includes Jerry Lewis as one of the Ten Plagues, that wonders why slaves escaping Egypt would run directly toward a body of water, and that suggests Jews are told to eat the bitter herbs known as maror "to remind ourselves that we never, ever again as a people, want to be in a position where we have to eat freaking maror." For all the jokes, however (and it is pretty much all jokes), the book follows the basic steps of an actual seder and includes some prayers in THE

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their original Hebrew. It's even printed from right to left. If you were to discard the jokes, you'd be left with a fairly faithful framework of an actual Haggadah, albeit six pages long. At a panel discussion last week at the New York Public Library featuring the three authors, Barry said they hoped that some readers would actually use their parody haggadah at a seder. In the first place, it would mean selling more books. And in the second place -- well, he didn't mention a second place. Barry had previously collaborated with Zweibel on the 2012 novel "Lunatics." Mansbach and Zweibel wrote the 2015 kids' book "Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My ...." The three met up a few years ago at the Miami Book Fair and, at Mansbach's suggestion, started an email chain that ended up as "FTWLE." Zweibel, who grew up as a member of Congregation Sons of Israel in Woodmere, New York, had previously assured himself a place in Jewish Humor Heaven when he suggested to fellow SNL writers Al Franken and Tom Davis the idea for the "Royal Deluxe II" commercial parody. In that 1977 skit, a rabbi tests a smooth-riding luxury car by circumcising a baby in the back seat. Mansbach described his own 2009 novel "The End of the Jews" as a book about the "complexities of a Jewish identity -- the fact that you can feel culturally Jewish without being religious, or understand yourself ethnically as Jewish but not be down with the dominant politics of Jewish life, and so on." Which might seem to leave Barry, the son of a Presbyterian minister, as the odd man out in this trio, except that he and his Jewish wife belong to a Reform temple in Miami and he served as sandek -honorary baby holder -- at his grandson's brit milah. Barry recalled the family seders where his father-in-law and family patriarch, a Cuban Jewish immigrant named Harry Kaufman, liked to recite the complete Haggadah in at least three languages. The other guests tried to trick Harry into "skipping huge chunks of it and then pretend he fell asleep."

Looking back on those marathons, Barry said, "No wonder this religion is in trouble." In fact, the target audience for "FTWLE" are those who approach the annual seder as a bit of an ordeal -- an endurance test of biblical storytelling standing between them and their meal. A 2013 Pew survey of American Jews found that attending a seder is the most commonly observed Jewish practice, but it didn't seem to ask if anyone is actually enjoying the proceedings. In recent years, there's been a slew of Haggadahs meant to enliven the typical seder, with discussion questions for the adults and games to distract -- I mean engage -- the kids. Those efforts come in for ribbing in the "FTWLE" as well. Following the section on the Four Sons, one of a series of "discussion questions" asks, "Vito 'The G-dfather' Corleone had four children: Sonny, Fredo, Michael, and Connie. At Corleone family Seders, who do you think asked each of the four questions, and why?" (Yes, "FTWLE" follows traditional Jewish practice by spelling the Almighty's name as "G-d," as in "Then G-d spoke from inside the cloud. At least he said he was G-d; there was no way to tell for sure because of the cloud") (And weirdly enough, it doesn't have a parody of the Four Questions. Why is this Haggadah parody

different from all other Haggadah parodies -- of which there are examples, according to Yiddish scholar Eddy Portnoy, as far back as the 13th century?) I'm a product of the "seders don't have to be boring" generation, and at our table keep a stack of modern commentaries and supplements on hand to keep the evening lively. This year I'll add "FTWLE" for the times when things begin to flag. And I'll toss out questions from it like this one: "How come the Angel of Death needed lamb's blood to know which houses the Israelites lived in? You'd think that would be the kind of thing the Angel of Death would just know, right?" For a parody Haggadah, that's a seriously good question. ĂŹ

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Billy Crystal on Being Jewish, Playing Ball and More By Cindy Sher

Billy Crystal attending the Samsung Studio at SXSW 2015 in Austin, Texas, March 15, 2015. (Rick Kern/Getty Images for Samsung)

(JUF News via JTA) — The inimitable Billy Crystal is back on the road. The six-time Emmy Award-winning comedian, actor, producer, director and writer — most recently of a book of essays, "Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys" — is currently touring the U.S. with his new show, “Spend the Night with Billy Crystal.” The show, scheduled to tour through April, promises to feel like an intimate chat with the audience — a blend of standup with a “sitdown” interview with Crystal, moderated at many shows by comedian and actor Bonnie Hunt. Crystal, who lives in Los Angeles, will tell stories, talk about the world as he sees it, reflect on his life and

show some film clips from his long career. Of course, the popular nine-time Oscar host has numerous iconic films and roles to choose from: The title character in the quintessential rom-com "When Harry Met Sally;" the grouchy "miracle worker" in "The Princess Bride;" Mitch, a New Yorker heading toward a midlife crisis who goes on a cattle drive with his buddies in "City Slickers;" and in "Analyze This," a shrink to Robert De Niro's mob boss. But before he was charming millions, Crystal, 68, was entertaining his family and friends while growing up in the quaint beach town of Long Beach, New York. Then a predominately Jewish and Italian town, Crystal describes it as the “perfect place to grow up.” He often references his beloved hometown in his act, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s battering of New York in 2012, Crystal and his wife of nearly 47 years, Janice, helped raise more than one million dollars to help Long Beach rebuild and rebound. Crystal’s early childhood, back in the 1950s, was filled with music and laughter. His mother, Helen, was a talented tap dancer and sing-

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er. His father, Jack, worked six days a week at two jobs -- as a jazz promoter and manager of the family’s popular New York City record store. Jazz greats like Billie Holiday — who were friends of his parents — would frequent their home. Crystal and his dad would spend most Sundays together watching baseball games. Their relationship was chronicled in Crystal’s Tony Award-winning one-man show "700 Sundays" (also adapted into a book and HBO special), named for the number of Sundays he spent with his father before his dad died of a heart attack when Crystal was only 15. The only thing Crystal ever aspired to do as much as comedy was play baseball for his beloved New York Yankees — in fact, he says the highlight of his long career came in 2008 ,when he signed a one-day contract with the team in honor of his 60th birthday. In a phone interview with JTA, Crystal looked back on his family, his Jewish identity, his long career and the "one thing" that keeps him going. JTA: You seem to be a celebrity who wears your Judaism as a badge of honor, and not in a self-hating sort of way. Would you agree? Billy Crystal: I do. I mean, I still make fun, but it’s not about Jews — it’s about my Jews, it’s about my relatives. It’s not generalizations. What are some of your favorite parts about being Jewish? You mean, besides the circumcision? You remember that, huh? Yeah, oh yeah, that’s why I’m an insomniac. I’m waiting for that guy to come back in the room. What else do you love about being Jewish? The storytelling, the warmth, the sense of humor. My dad was strict about the holidays. We honored them, we went to temple. I like the ritual, and the caring for our planet that’s written into so many of the works I read in Hebrew school. How do you compare when you were just starting out in showbiz 4o-plus years ago to touring with your new show today? It all feels the same. I don’t think I’ve stopped working since the

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eighth grade. Backstage, when I was on Broadway, felt the same as it did backstage when I was getting ready to do a school play in high school. It’s that same energy of confidence, a little bit of nerves … The moment you go out, you release and say, ‘OK, I’m ready, here I come.’ It’s kind of an intoxicating feeling to go out and entertain people. That’s why, after all these years, I’m going back on the road with this show … At this age and this point in my career, to still have the hunger I did as a young man is a great feeling. Besides signing to a one-day contract with the New York Yankees, what’s another of your proudest professional achievements? I was the first American comedian to perform in the Soviet Union back in 1989 in an HBO special called “Midnight Train to Moscow.” It was a Russian-speaking audience [with] some Americans. Gorbachev was in power, the [Berlin] Wall had not come down yet, and [I felt honored] that HBO trusted me. I found all these relatives that I didn’t know I had there [in Russia]. But performing there and being an ambassador, if you will, for American humor in that country is something I look back on with great pride. What did your father teach you during those “700 Sundays,” before he passed away? Besides teaching me a love for comedy, a love for reading, a love for baseball, he also taught me about doing the right thing. My dad was a civil rights giant in his own quiet way, in that he was one of the first promoters to integrate jazz bands. So the house, yes, was filled with Jewish relatives with stories, but sitting next to them was Zutty Singleton, who was a great jazz drummer, or Tyree Glenn, who was Louie Armstrong’s trombone player, or any of these other great musicians. They were all just friends. My family label — Commodore Records — produced “Strange Fruit,” which is Billie Holliday’s epic song about lynching. It took a Jewish family to produce that record, to write that song. See BILLY CRYSTAL on Page THE

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SUMMER CAMP Continued from Page 9 staff counselors, plus a group leader," he said, adding that for older kids, there are typically 14 kids to four counselors per bunk. "We usually have more experienced counselors for the little ones,” he said. “We know we have to hold their hands more.” Linden said he’s found that most kids are ready to start camp between the ages of 8 and 10 — and agrees with other directors that parents are sometimes the last to be ready. But Ramah in the Berkshires pays extra attention to first-time campers regardless of age. “We’re particularly sensitive to issues of homesickness and integration,” he said. Linden said the camp employs staffers called "yoetzim" — people who are a little older, usually parents — who can get involved in tough situations. The camp also does “a lot of training on bunk dynamics, trying to make sure that no campers slip through the cracks," he said. "We work to find that one thing the kid loves to do and then use that to ease the transition,” he said. At Camp Modin, a pluralistic sleepaway camp in Maine, and the oldest Jewish camp in New England, the youngest campers are 8, or going into third grade. Director Howard Salzberg said Modin used to have even younger campers, but found they weren’t quite ready for the experience. While Modin doesn’t have extrashort sessions for first-timers — the shortest “regular”session is 3 1/2 weeks — counselors for younger kids are trained to give more personalized attention, Salzberg said. “We don’t expect these kids to

BILLY CRYSTAL Continued from Page 14 unpack their trunks or do their own laundry,” he said. “We recognize that these kids need extra help changing out of their wet bathing suits, that we need to make sure they’re showering, that they know how to open their soap in the shower, that they’re combing their hair. "With older kids it’s more about mentoring. For younger years it’s more parenting." And in some ways, the younger kids are easier, Salzberg added. “They present different challenges, but honestly, younger kids can be a lot easier than hormonally challenged teenagers,” he said, laughing. At Modin, newbies are matched with returning campers in a “big brother, big sister” program — the older campers call the younger campers before the session starts, and at camp they meet up on opening day. The older group gives the younger charges a small gift, like a goody bag or a Modin bracelet. Regardless of what age a child starts camp, the camp directors noticed that first-born kids tend to start camp older, and slightly more nervous, than their younger siblings. “Younger siblings have parents more prepared for the sleepaway camp experience, are often familiar with the campgrounds from visiting day,” Alford said. “Plus, they’ve seen how much fun their older siblings have at camp.” (This article was made possible with funding by the Foundation for Jewish Camp. The story was produced independently and at the sole discretion of JTA’s editorial team.)ì

How did your father’s premature death shape your life and your relationship with your mother? I was 15 and was dealt a bad hand. You can’t help but be angry, and I was angry and had to learn to live with that, and to deal with my mother, who was suddenly widowed and forced back into the workforce. [Being] back home alone with her, while my brothers were away at college, made me grow up really fast. I admired her strength — at the age of 50 she was suddenly back in the workforce. Three sons in school and we all graduated college because of her. You watch that and learn what parenting is really about, and what being a son is really about. My mom sent me on a path of trying to do the right thing in my life and also valuing every moment that you live. What’s your secret to your happy, healthy and long marriage? We still feel that we’re dating. After all these years, and all the things that we’ve been through, and all the joys and sadness that we’ve shared together — right from the beginning: You’re 18 and you have to tell the in-laws [that] you’re going to be a comedian. But Janice’s faith in me, her trust in me, her strength when things aren’t going well. Our key is we keep laughing, we keep talking and we keep loving. I’m going to remind you about a scene from your own movie, "City Slickers." Curly, a cowboy, asks your character, Mitch, if you know the secret to life. Then, Curly holds up one finger and says “One thing.” What I took Curly to mean is that each of us have to find that one thing that give our lives meaning. What is that one thing, or maybe a couple of things, that give you purpose? The purpose is Janice and the kids, and continually doing right by them and right by myself. That’s the most important thing … and in

my job, I have a purpose. I have a mind that still loves to create and I follow that deeply. Cindy Sher is the Executive Editor of Chicago’s JUF News. ì

Happy Passover

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Happy Passover to all my friends in the Jewish Community, thanks for your continued support! Mark Spears Jefferson Parish Councilman, District 3

Staff and campers at Camp Modin. (Courtesy of Camp Modin)

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Jessica Chastain on Playing a Holocaust Heroine in 'The Zookeeper's Wife' By Curt Schleier

Steve Stefancik

Chairman, St. Tammany Parish Council

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(JTA) — Strong women are right in actor Jessica Chastain’s wheelhouse. There's Maya, the fictional CIA agent in "Zero Dark Thirty," whose work led Seal Team Six to Osama bin Laden; Melissa Lewis, the heroic mission commander who refuses to abandon a teammate in "The Martian," and Elizabeth Sloan, the accept-no-prisoners Washington lobbyist who takes on the gun in-dustry in "Miss Sloan." “I look for characters that challenge the status quo,” Chastain, who snagged a Golden Globe for her work in "Zero Dark Thirty," told JTA in a telephone interview. “I know not every woman is a strong woman. But I am definitely inspired by those characters who push against the box society has put them in.” It’s no surprise, then, that she jumped at the opportunity to portray Antonina Zabinski in "The Zookeepers Wife." It's an emotionally moving film about World War II that tells the true story of a heroine and her husband, Jan, who put themselves -- and their children -at great risk in order to save 300 Jews by hiding them at the Warsaw Zoo, which they ran. Before the war, the zoo was considered one of the finest in Europe. People came from all over to walk its grounds, view the animals and perhaps catch a glimpse of the quirky Antonina on one of her daily bicycle rides around the facility, often with a menagerie of ostriches trailing behind. But as the film chronicles, bombs www.thejewishlight.org

leveled much of the zoo during the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, killing a substantial number of its animal residents. The Zabinskis were spared, and might have lived a relatively comfortable life during the occupation: A prewar colleague from Berlin, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl), was appointed the Reich’s chief zoologist. He protected the couple, in part because of his respect for their accomplishments in building a world-renowned zoo, and in part because of his not-sohidden crush on Antonina. Still, Heck had many of their best (and rarest) remaining species transferred to Berlin for breeding pur-poses, leaving the zoo relatively empty. It was a decision the Zabinskis took full advantage of — Jan (played by Johan Heldenbergh) used the empty cages to store arms for the resistance and eventually went off to fight with the partisans himself. They also hid a close personal friend, sculptress Magdale-na Gross (Efrat Dor, an Israeli actress). And then they decided to do more. They convinced Heck to let them raise pigs on the grounds, osten-sibly to feed the troops. Also, they promised to gather the slop accumulating in the nearby Warsaw ghetto to feed the animals. To Heck, it seemed like a win-win — but, in fact, the Zabinskis and other members of the resistance smuggled families into the zoo by putting them in barrels and covering them See CHASTAIN on Page THE

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CHASTAIN Continued from Page 16 with the garbage intended for the pigs. Then they were hidden in empty cages and in a network of tunnels. Nazi troops were a constant presence — a sneeze or a child's cry at the wrong moment could lead to tragedy. In fact, there were several occasions when it seemed the jig was up, all of which heightens the tension in a taut, well-constructed film that follows the Zabinskis from prewar good times through the conflict and its ever-present danger and, ultimately, to the couple’s poignant reunion at the war’s end. Thanks to the Zabinskis' heroism, some 300 were hidden and ultimately transferred by the resistance to safety. Over the course of the film, Chastain cascades through a range of emotions reflecting the many char-acters she subsumes -- zoologist, wife, mother, spy and temptress to Heck -- in a bravura performance that exudes confidence and strength. I ask Chastain if she is strong in real life “I’m OK pushing against the constraints society expects me to be in," she said. Was she always that way, or did success embolden her? “I think I’ve always been that way. I’d speak up when something wasn’t right or honorable.” But Chastain quickly notes standing up to authority is often easier said than done. “I could immediately say, 'yes, I would have done [what the Zabinskis] did,' but such an easy answer would diminish the strength they showed and sacrifice they made," she said. "It doesn’t acknowledge that her kids could have been killed. I hope I’m never challenged the way she was. She put the welfare of the many over the welfare of the few and was willing to sacrifice everything to do the right thing.” When offered the role, Chastain said she met with the director, Niki Caro, and immediately was im-pressed by the script. "The story — it’s world history," she said. "In American schools you don’t learn about women in histo-ry. It was an honor for me to portray this incredible female.” "The Zookeeper's Wife" is adapted from the book of the same name by Diane Ackerman that had re-lied upon Antonina's diaries. It's a tale of bravery and selflessness, especially since once Jan went off to war, Antonina was left to handle all the duties by herself. The Zabinskis are enshrined in Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations. While Chastain did not visit the Holocaust center in Jerusalem, she still managed extensive research for the role. “I read the book, of course, and visited the Warsaw Zoo," she said. "I met with her daughter [Teresa], who was a baby in the film, and learned about the family from a personal point of view. I also went to Auschwitz. I’d read about it, of course, but had never been to a concentration camp.” Chastain said the Auschwitz visit was profoundly moving. Her experiences made her realize how contemporary the film’s message is. THE

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“We learn by looking at history, and when we look we see Hitler, Mussolini — one of the first things they did was manage the press," she said. "That led to the atrocities. And when we look where we are now, we have to ask, 'Are we going to follow in those footsteps, are we going to create another atroci-ty, or are we going to create a world where we protect everyone regardless of their ethnicity?'” Chastain’s compassion for the underdog is well rooted. Though she doesn’t talk about it much, she was born to a single mom who at times had to shoplift food to feed a young Jessica and her sister. I gingerly broach the topic and ask how it impacted her career and life. “I think growing up in a situation where money wasn’t necessary for happiness actually helped me," she said. "I realized when pursuing an acting career, it’s not something you pursue for money. I pur-sued it realizing I could

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live without. I grew up without. “I grew up without many things, and because of that, I have compassion for those who have less. I’m very happy paying taxes so people can go to school and have health care because I know what it’s like to have little.” ("The Zookeeper’s Wife" opens nationally March 31.) ì

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Passover Recipes: Lighten up with Fish and Veggies By Megan Wolf (JTA) -- I love serving light foods that are naturally kosher for Passover. With so much matzah, vegetable and fish dishes are often a welcome addition in my home. In this holiday menu, my Coconut Carrot Soup is a creamy soup at its finest. The combination of carrots, ginger and coconut is so warming and really delicious. Not a ginger fan? It’s easy enough to leave it out. And what could be better than a recipe that doesn’t require excellent knife skills? Since the soup ingredients are blended, dicing imperfection won’t be noticeable at all. For the Caesar Salad, making your own dressing is an easy way to cut down on the fat and calories and tailor the taste to your palate. I'm a big garlic fan, but feel free to scale back – your dressing will still be delectable. Romaine hearts hold up especially well against a hearty dressing. The Lemon Salmon recipe is perfect for a crowd. Little work is required and the end result is so

tasty. Roasting lemons really brings out the flavors. You can encourage your guests to squeeze the warm lemon atop the salmon for even more flavor. The lemon in the Grilled Asparagus nicely complements the salmon without imparting an overpowering lemon flavor. Because one dish has roasted lemon and one has lemon zest, they are bright without being redundant. If you don’t have a grill pan -- it's a wonderful kitchen item to have, especially if you’re tight for space -- you can easily roast the asparagus in the oven for a similar texture. But really, nothing beats the smokiness of a grill. COCONUT CARROT SOUP

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Coconut Carrot Soup (Megan Wolf)

Ingredients: • 1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly diced • 1 cup diced celery • 1 tablespoon diced ginger • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided • 1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced • 1 can coconut milk • 3 cups vegetable stock • salt and pepper to taste • coconut milk yogurt, optional Preparation: In a large stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat, then add the carrots, celery and ginger Cook until soft, about 18-20 minutes. In a small skillet, heat the last 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent, then set aside. Add the can of coconut milk to the carrot and celery mixture and stir to combine. Add 2 cups of stock and stir to combine. Place half of the onion into the carrot mixture and place the mixture in a blender to combine until

smooth (you can also use an immersion blender directly into the stock pot). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with remaining sautéed onions and optional coconut yogurt on top. CAESAR SALAD Ingredients: • 2 large heads romaine lettuce hearts • 3/4 cup low fat Greek yogurt • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 3 cloves garlic • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (can be omitted for Passover) • 1 lemon, juiced • salt and pepper to taste • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese • hot pepper flakes, optional Preparation: In a blender or food processor, combine yogurt, olive oil, garlic, mustard and lemon juice. Taste, then season with salt and pepper and set aside Halve each lettuce heart and dice, then place in a large bowl. Toss the greens with half of the salad dressing to start, adding more to your taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. LEMON SALMON

Ingredients: • 1 pound salmon, sliced into 4 fillets • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns • 1 lemon, thinly sliced • 4 sprigs rosemary Preparation: Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat each piece of salmon with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and peppercorns. Place lemon slices over salmon and roast until cooked to your liking, about 10 minutes or more. Serve on a platter with rosemary springs. GRILLED ASPARAGUS

Grilled Asparagus (Megan Wolf)

Ingredients: • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese • 1 lemon, zested • Preparation: Heat a grill pan until hot (or roast in the oven). Toss asparagus with olive oil and place on grill pan, cooking about 3 minutes each side. Sprinkle warm asparagus with Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. (Megan Wolf is the author of "Great Meals with Greens and Grains.") ì

Lemon Salmon (Megan Wolf)

18 Passover 2017

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Vegan Challah Recipe By Izzy Darby (The Nosher via JTA) — One of the first Jewish foods I remember eating is challah. I associate challah with mingling at bar and bat mitzvahs, a glass of grape juice in hand and a chunk of bread in the other, calculating how many times I could reasonably duck into the temple bathroom without looking suspi-cious. I wanted to hide from the awkwardness of being 13 and the fact that temple never felt comfortable to me. My mom is Jewish and my dad is not, so my relationship with Judaism has always been rooted more in my stomach and attempts to find a religious identity than anything concerning actual religious observance. The challah was delicious. When I was a bit past bar mitzvah age, I attended a Passover seder with relatives on my mom’s side. It was a large group of friends and family, and we passed a dozen dishes around several tables pushed together -- one was not large enough to fit all of us. I was transfixed by the elaborate food traditions: the brisket, the matzah ball soup, the seder plate. We read stories, sang songs, and ate and ate and ate. I learned that one of the wonderful things about Judaism and its many traditions rooted in food is its ability to bring people together. I stopped eating meat, dairy and eggs about seven years ago, and can attest that eating a vegan diet creates a different but similar discomfort I remember feeling as a pre-

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teen. If you decide to follow this diet, you will be everyone’s least favorite friend when it comes to picking a place to have dinner, and you basically need to become accustomed to packing your own Thanksgiving meal. One of the reasons I write a vegan blog is to share recipes and stories to bridge that gap between those people choose to eat less meat (or dairy or eggs) and those who eat the meat and dairy and eggs. When I started following a vegan diet, I was pleased to learn that most bread is naturally vegan — chal-lah, of course, is one of the exceptions. After going years without challah, I decided to try my hand at a loaf like the ones I remember so well. I found the fluffiness was difficult to replicate. The first time I tried, I didn’t give the yeast enough time to rise and the challah ended up dense and doorstop-like. After a few more attempts it turned out pretty great. Ingredients: • 3-3¼ cups unbleached allpurpose flour • ¼ cup sugar • 1 envelope instant yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons) • 1¼ teaspoon salt • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil or refined coconut, melted (Note: If using coconut oil, it’s important to use refined for a mild flavor.) • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds or sesame seeds (optional) Directions: Whisk together 3 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in medium bowl. Mix together melted coconut oil and 1/2 cup of water in the bowl of a standing mixer with dough hook attached. Add the flour/yeast mixture to the wet mixture slowly. Knead at low speed until a dough ball forms, roughly 5 minutes. Add

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the remaining 1/4 cup flour a bit at a time. The goal is to add just enough to prevent the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl. Whisk liquid sweetener (maple syrup or agave) with 1 tablespoon of water and set aside. Oil a large bowl lightly with coconut oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling the dough around gen-tly to coat it with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 1 1/2-2 hours. Gently press dough to deflate, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size again, another 45-60 minutes. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside. Lightly flour a counter surface and transfer the dough to the floured surface. Divide dough into 2 pieces, one roughly half the size of the other. Divide both the large and small piece into 3 equal pieces (you will have 3 large sub-pieces and 3 small sub-pieces). Roll each piece into a roughly 16-inch snake. Line up the 3 large snakes of dough side by side and pinch them together at one end. Lay the left-side snake over the center one. Take the right-side snake and lay it over the center one. Repeat until pieces of dough are entirely braided, then pinch those ends together. Place the braid on the prepared baking sheet. Take the 3 smaller pieces of dough and repeat the process of rolling into snakes and braiding. Brush a bit of the maple-water mixture on top of the large braid and place the small braid on top of the larger braid. Loosely drape a piece of plastic wrap over the top and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the loaf with the maple-water mixture and place in the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown on top. Cool loaf completely and serve with desired spreads. (Izzy Darby is a vegan food blogger at www.veganizzm.com, where she strives to make plant-based eating approachable and fun.) The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at www.TheNosher.com. ì

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While Some Parents Pull out on of JCCs, Others Vow to Remain Despite Bomb Threats By Ben Sales

Brian Federman, a lifelong member of the JCC in West Hartford, Conn., sends his daughter to the preschool there. While the bomb threats that have hit JCCs nationwide have shaken her routine, Federman says he and his wife are not considering withdrawing her. (Courtesy of Federman)

(JTA) -- When Cincinnati’s Mayerson Jewish Community Center was hit with a bomb threat on Jan. 18, Adam Bellows was satisfied with how the staff handled the preschool kids, including his two-yearold son. The kids, said Bellows, had no idea the threat had happened. They were evacuated and taken to a secure location where they watched cartoons. But after he got home, Bellow’s

son started having a tough time. He couldn’t sleep, and was scared to return to preschool the next day. “It was hard to see how much it disturbed him,” Bellows said. “He wasn’t scared at the time or anything, but the next day he was saying, ‘I don’t want to go to the JCC.’ He kept asking, ‘Are we going to watch Mickey Mouse again? Is mommy going to come pick me up again?’ His world was interrupted.” More than 100 bomb threats have targeted JCCs, day schools and other Jewish institutions, coming in six waves since the beginning of the year. The latest wave, on Tuesday, targeted more than a dozen locations -- including JCCs, schools and offices of the Anti-Defamation League. While many JCCs report that members and preschoolers are staying put, there have been some exceptions. The Roth Family JCC near Orlando has seen 50 children pull out, according to reports that JTA has confirmed with a source who has knowledge of the matter.

In Birmingham, Alabama, where the JCC has been targeted four separate times, six families have withdrawn their children. Parents who spoke to JTA were happy with how the centers have handled the threats. The kids have returned promptly to their programs, and business has been able to carry on as usual “She wasn’t scared, she wasn’t worried,” said Matt Mandell, 39, of his four-year-old, a preschooler at the JCC in Rockville, Maryland, which was threatened on Jan. 9. “They did a great job of keeping everyone calm and not getting them scared unnecessarily. I feel very, very comfortable with it. There's only so much you can do.” And yet despite appeals from JCCs for calm and defiance, the repeated bomb threats have taken their toll. The Orlando JCC is holding an online fundraiser Wednesday, called "#ThenNowAndAlways," whose donor pitch says that, in light of "challenges greater than we expected," this year "it will take

significant effort just for us to break even." An open letter to President Donald Trump, signed by all 100 U.S. senators, urged specific action on anti-Semitism and alluded to the fiscal pressure on JCCs. “We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs, many of which are institutions in their communities,” the Tuesday letter said. Even among parents who are keeping their kids in JCC preschools, the bomb threats are creating stress in a place meant to be immune from danger. Even as their kids remain unaware of the calls, they’ve resulted in scenes of cribs being pulled outside, and law enforcement officials investigating campuses. Last month, the AntiDefamation League put out a broSee BOMB THREATS on Page

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2016 – 17 MONTAGE FINE & PERFORMING ARTS SERIES UPCOMING EVENTS LOYOLA CHORALE PRESENTS HANDEL’S MESSIAH April 23, 3 p.m. | Roussel Hall

HARLEM STRING QUARTET April 7, 7:30 p.m. | Roussel Hall

NADJA SALERNO-SONNENBERG WITH THE LOYOLA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA April 22, 7:30 p.m. | Roussel Hall

Loyola Chorale presents Handel’s epic choral masterwork, Messiah, featuring a professional orchestra and outstanding student soloists.

LOYOLA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA FEATURING NADJA SALERNO-SONNENBERG April 30, 3 p.m. | Roussel Hall The Loyola Symphony Orchestra featuring Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin, and 2017 Concerto/Aria Competition/Composition winners

For more information & tickets, please visit loyno.edu/events

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With Few Safeguards, Jewish Cemeteries Make Easy Targets for Vandals By Ben Sales NEW YORK (JTA) -- Sometime between the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 17, and the following Monday morning, vandals damaged 170 gravestones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Jewish cemetery outside St.

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Louis. Beyond that, cemetery staffers aren’t sure when the attack happened. Groundskeepers leave at 4 p.m. Fridays, and the cemetery is open to the public, unstaffed, all day Sunday. An employee discovered the damaged headstones Monday morning. Even less is known about Saturday night’s attack on the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia, which saw at least 100 gravestones toppled. Unlike the St. Louis-area cemetery, which is surrounded by a fence and employs groundskeepers, Mount Carmel is run by volunteers, with only a sidewalk separating it from the street. “There was nothing,” said Steve Rosenberg, chief marketing officer for Philadelphia’s Jewish federation. “It’s wide open. Anyone can walk right in. They can’t find anything that’s closed off to anyone.” The two attacks, coming one week apart, combined with a series of bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers, have stoked

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fears of rising anti-Semitism in the United States and have Jewish leaders fearing that more will follow. Cemeteries, security experts say, are particularly vulnerable because they are big, sparsely staffed and easy to penetrate. Chesed Shel Emet, with two locations in suburban St. Louis, has more than 20,000 grave plots and a staff of seven, including four groundskeepers. Mount Carmel in Philadelphia is even smaller: It has about 5,000 graves and no paid staff. Cemeteries “are of relatively large size, and if there is a cemetery staff, recent budget cuts tend to make that staff smaller and smaller,” said Michael Trinkley, director of the Chicora Foundation, a South Carolina group that conserves cemeteries and other historic sites. “There’s hardly any night security at cemeteries anymore.” “You can do a great deal of mischief in a relatively small amount of time, and the odds of getting caught are slim.” Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network, which advises Jewish groups and institutions on security, fears that cemetery attacks could become a trend like the wave of JCC bomb threats, the latest of which came Monday. Serving in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office two decades ago, Goldenberg investigated a wave of attacks on some 100 Jewish cemeteries over a period of seven years -- including his father’s resting place. That spate, he said, was inspired by the neo-Nazi music scene. “There’s a feeling that the cemeteries may become a place where vandals may become more proactive,” Goldenberg said. “Right now we’re concerned about copycats.” Trinkley and Goldenberg said the most effective way to prevent cemetery vandalism is through volunteer patrols that keep the cemetery manned at night, as well as surveillance. Chesed Shel Emeth has security cameras, while Mount Carmel does not. Goldenberg added that community members need to contact law enforcement when they see a threat, and should let police examine damaged stones before repairing a vandalized cemetery.

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A visitor to the vandalized Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia views some of the toppled tombstones, Feb. 26, 2017. (Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images)

“People want to do the right thing and clean up and put stones up,” Goldenberg said. “They need to reconsider that until the police show up for investigation.” While Goldenberg floated the prospect of paid security, Trinkley said many cemetery budgets probably cannot support that. Even repairing damaged stones can get pricey. Trinkley estimated that setting a toppled headstone aright could cost $500, while buying a new one can run to $4,000. Financial help has streamed in to assist Chesed Shel Emeth, including more than $100,000 raised by Muslim activists. Online fundraising drives for Mount Carmel are ongoing as well. Volunteers including Vice President Mike Pence pitched in to clean up the damage in Missouri, and a similar effort is being organized in Philadelphia. Trinkley likewise advised against forbidding fences and gates. A fence is ineffective, he said, unless it’s 8 feet tall and topped by protective wire -- features that can intimidate grieving families. “At some point, if you start making a cemetery look like a fortress, you’ve defeated most religious goals of making a cemetery a place of commemoration, visitation,” Trinkley said “You want to be welcoming so people can go to seek solace and comfort.” At Chesed Shel Emeth, director Anita Feigenbaum has begun a security assessment on how to make the site less vulnerable to attacks. But though the vandalism happened during a weekend, she said closing the cemetery gates on Sundays in the name of safety might be a step too far. “A lot of people can’t make it during the week,” she said. ì

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The 5 Best Exotic Passover Hotels By Ben Sales NEW YORK (JTA) -- The Sun Belt is so yesterday. For decades, the Passover allinclusive holiday has become a mainstay for a certain subset of Orthodox Jews with expendable income. Families that observe the holiday and its strict dietary laws can ditch the cleaning, the koshering and the cooking for eight days in the sun, with all of their kosherfor-Passover meals taken care of — including two seders and all their trappings. The stereotypical spring break locales — think Florida, Arizona, Mexico and the Caribbean — used to own the Passover hotel game, according to Raphi Bloom, founder of TotallyJewishTravel.com, a website that serves as a clearinghouse for Passover vacation bookings. The site lists at least 15 options in Florida alone. In addition, most hotels in Israel become kosher for Passover. But this year the options are increasing, Bloom said, due in part to a strong economy. The number of Passover hotels advertising with him jumped to 130 from 120 a year ago, and he estimates that they will serve about 80,000 total customers. Bloom said visits to his website in advance of the holiday have jumped 33 percent over 2016. With the increased competition, many Passover hotels are upping the ante. Beyond room, board and ritual needs -- from seders to daily prayer services -- hotels are drawing guests with ever-longer lists of amenities: water sports, golf and tennis, climbing walls, fitness and dance classes, full-day programs for kids, massages and day trips. Some feature prominent Orthodox scholars-in-residence -- think Rabbi Jonathan Sacks or former Sen. Joseph Lieberman -- and many advertise their adherence to the strictest levels of kashrut. Such experiences don't come cheap: Prices for these all-inclusive experiences range from about $1,500 to $8,000 per person, according to Bloom. But for those with cash to spare, here are five of the most exotic destinations to spend Passover this year.

age isn't sufficient, the program offers "especially designed packages ... in both Melbourne and Sydney to cater for our International guests who wish to arrive early."

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diplomatic relations with Israel? It’s possible. Morocco has a small Jewish community and a thriving etrog industry. It's become a Passover destination for Jews who want a Middle Eastern Passover outside of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv (or Egypt, for that matter). This offering provides a mix of Western luxe and Middle Eastern history and culture. Located an hour south of Casablanca, the resort has golf (obviously), massages, gokarts, all-terrain vehicles, biking and tennis. But for those who want to immerse themselves in the country, the program also offers day trips to Rabat, Marrakesh and Casablanca that showcase Morocco’s tourist highlights as well as Jewish historical sites -- from Rabat’s Mellah, or Jewish quarter, to the grave of Joseph Caro, a 16th-century Jewish legal sage. “The country of Morocco, for Jews, is very open relative to [other] Arab countries, and we want to take the opportunity to improve relations,” said Raphael Torjman, who manages the program and whose family hails from Morocco. “There are people who want to see this history.” Also on offer: a Mimouna, a traditional Sephardic meal held after Passover incorporating round challah, eggs, dairy and fish.

AUSTRALIA Marriott Resorts & Spa on the Gold Coast Passover Down Under! For those willing to brave a seriously long flight, there's an Aussie Pesach at the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa on Australia's "Gold Coast." Along with relaxation and, should you so desire, Torah classes, the resort is near top Australian surfing destinations. There are theme parks nearby, too, and guests can also take a day trip to the Great MOROCCO Barrier Reef, the world’s largest. Passover in a country with no And if you think a nine-day pack-

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SOUTH AFRICA Go to the seder, then go on safari. That’s the pitch for this hotel outside of Cape Town, which can boast being the only Passover resort in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to golf, tennis and a swimming pool, the Arabella offers adventurous activities like shark diving, a crocodile farm and a zip line. Wild animals, however, are the real draw here. Safari trips offer guests guided tours into the bush where lions, hyenas and elephants await. But what makes this safari different than all other safaris? A kosher-for-Passover picnic basket packed along for the ride. Guests are attracted to “the idea of Africa being luxury in the bush,” said Yechiel Asseraf, who runs the program with his wife, Pammy, a safari guide. “It gives you an opportunity to see wildlife in its authentic form.” MONACO Riviera Marriott Hotel If you don’t fancy a stay in a large country like Australia, why not spend it in the world’s secondsmallest nation, Monaco? Passover hotels dot southern Europe — from Spain to the Greek islands — but a stay in Monaco puts guests inside the playground of the rich and famous. Those who don’t drive a car during the holiday will have no problem traversing the entire country on foot — it’s smaller than a square mile — and take in everything from the Monte Carlo Casino to the Grimaldi Palace to the yachts. And during Passover's intermediate days, when Jewish law permits spending money, those with bursting wallets can enjoy the country’s high-end shopping. BRAZIL If you want to travel far but avoid the jet lag, your best bet may be Club Med Lake Paradise, outside Sao Paulo. Guests here can climb, swim and kayak, but the

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resort's 15-year-old Passover program, according to founder Salomão Berô, is different from others because it largely serves Latin American guests from places like Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Panama. Bero, a chef, prides himself on the program's cuisine, which includes kosher-for-Passover takes on Brazilian delicacies like pao de queijo, or cheese bread. ì “THE MOST WELL TRAVELED VEHICLES ON EARTH”

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3 Ways to Raise Compassionate Mensches in the Age of Trump By Cara Weinstein Rosenthal (Kveller via JTA) -- My 5-yearold keeps asking me what his babysitter did to make Donald Trump hate her. Of all the kid-driven questions I’ve had to field — Why is the sky blue? Where is heaven? Why can’t I have candy for breakfast? — the hardest have been the questions we’ve been discussing recently. Questions about why there are people in America who fear Muslims and want to keep them out of our country; why people want to build a wall between the United States and Mexico; why people are protesting at the airport As a mother and a rabbi, I’m always happy for a teachable moment, but the educational demands of the current situation have been stretching me beyond my comfort level. I reassured my children that their babysitter, a religious Muslim, is not in immediate danger — but the questions keep coming, and the challenge of providing ageappropriate answers is a daunting one. How can I help my children make sense of the tumultuous time we’re living in? How can I teach them to be mensches in the midst of a political and cultural climate in which hate is haute and rancor is the order of the day? As the level of dissension rises, many parents are feeling an increased sense of urgency to navigate not only the practical challenges of parenting, but the moral and spiritual ones as well. As I’ve struggled with my own questions

about how to teach my children to be compassionate in a world that’s increasingly unkind, I’ve been deriving comfort and inspiration from several core Jewish concepts that address fundamental issues of compassion and human dignity. Shmirat HaLashon — Guarding One’s Speech The very first story in the Torah, the Creation narrative, features the remarkable idea that God created the world through speech. The narrative emphasizes the awesome power inherent in speech. Other biblical and rabbinic texts play out this theme of the ability that speech has to create and impact reality. In Jewish thought, speech is not just breath and sound, it’s a potent force that can shape the reality of our lives and our world. When our elected leaders engage in hateful speech — when the very concept of truth is called into question — it perverts the divinely ordained idea of speech as a holy creative force. We need to teach our children that Judaism holds truth to be holy, and that just as God built the world through speech, we need to use our words to build up each other and to build a world of justice. Machloket L’shem Shamayim — Constructive Disagreement In a world in which disagreement is an increasingly salient part of our personal and communal interactions, how can we teach children that it’s not wrong to disagree, as

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long as it’s done in a respectful manner? It’s not a surprise that a religious tradition that prizes interpretation and analysis offers guidelines about how to disagree constructively. In Pirkei Avot ("Ethics of the Fathers"), the early rabbis distinguished between arguments that have a holy purpose and those that do not. A "machloket l’shem shamayim," a disagreement for the sake of heaven, occurs when the parties state their opinions respectfully and when they’re motivated by a desire to find the truth rather than by a lust for self-aggrandizement or personal gain. We need to teach our children that when they disagree with others, it should be a machloket l’shem shamayim — that they can disagree vociferously, but they must do so in a manner that is constructive and respects their opponent’s humanity. B’tzelem Elohim — In the Image of God One of Judaism’s foundational concepts is that human beings are created "b’tzelem Elohim," in the image of God. This idea is as challenging as it is powerful. How can we possibly believe that all people — even those we find repugnant — reflect God’s holiness? The idea of humanity as a reflection of the divine provides an added impetus to treat all people with decency, even if we fundamentally disagree with them and the ideas they represent. It also reminds us to teach our children that all kinds of people are equally precious. Children are obsessed with the idea of in-groups and out-groups — and current events present an

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uncomfortable reminder that adults are not so different. We need to teach our children that diversity is a marker, first and foremost, of the boundlessness of God’s creative power. We need to emphasize to our children that no racial, ethnic, national or religious group is better or worse than any other, that no person should be discounted or disrespected. Tolerance is necessary but not sufficient. We need to value the other, not just endure him. There are so many questions that I cannot answer for my children, much less for myself, but I’m trying to take comfort in the answers that our sacred texts provide about how to live as honorable people in this deeply flawed world that we inhabit. For parents who feel helpless in the face of the discord we see all around, maybe this can be our opportunity for "tikkun," corrective action. Maybe teaching our children is our way to help create a world of justice and love. They will succeed where we have fallen short. (Rabbi Cara Weinstein Rosenthal is an educator, congregational consultant and writer focusing on outreach and engagement. As the family engagement specialist for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, she works with synagogues to help them increase their potential to include young families in Jewish life and community.) Kveller is a thriving community of women and parents who convene online to share, celebrate and commiserate their experiences of raising kids through a Jewish lens. Visit Kveller.com. ì

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When Protesting the JCC Bomb Threats Doesn’t Help By Guila Franklin Siegel

(Kveller via JTA) -- When a friend, cause or institution we support has been hurt or under attack, it’s human nature — and admirable — for people to want to “do something” to be helpful. Unfortunately, onlookers’ idea of being helpful is not always what’s most useful to those who have been hurt. We’ve seen it recently at one Planned Parenthood medical office, where pro-choice protesters gathered to counter those protesting against abortion. The protest went on despite the organization’s preference for non-engagement at its clinic sites in deference to patient safety. And I saw it two weeks ago when we learned of yet another round of telephoned bomb threats received by Jewish institutions — thankfully once again all hoaxes. This was the second time one of our local agencies had been targeted, and as the associate director of our local Jewish community relations council I had an inkling of what the next hours and days would look like. Things became intensely personal for me, though, when we were told that two local institutions had received bomb threats and one of them was my older sons' Jewish day school. I reminded myself that all the previous threats had been hoaxes, took a deep breath and jumped into action with our staff. The school and local law enforcement handled the threat beautifully. The next day we began working in earnest on a united communal response, bringing in elected officials, law enforcement and our interfaith partners. At some point THE

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we began receiving inquiries about an event that a small group of people not directly connected to the targeted institutions were planning. They intended to have a rally right outside my sons' school, at the carpool line, at 7:30 a.m. They were calling the event “Bagels, Not Bombs.” At that moment, my mom instincts completely took over. “Bagels, Not Bombs?” What kind of message is that? Did I really want my sons, who thankfully had been so calm and unafraid in the face of a hateful person threatening to blow up their school, to see people waving signs about bombs at morning drop-off? More important, did I want an event at my kids’ school that was open to the public, was being advertised everywhere on social media and could attract anyone? Our school devotes a ton of money and resources to security, and preserving the integrity of the carpool line is a critical part of that effort. I quickly learned that the school had not sanctioned this event, but nonetheless word was spreading like wildfire on Facebook. It seemed like a well-meaning effort to stand up to anti-Semites and support the school. However, at JCRC, where our job is to always be sensitized to the larger implications for our Jewish community of, well, everything, we were alarmed. We worked with the school, and asked the organizers to cancel the event for the students’ safety and emotional well-being. But they held their rally across the street from the school. Dozens of people showed up, as did many TV, radio and print news outlets.

Later in the day, the organizers enthused on social media about the attendance and press coverage they had garnered. Again, this rally’s organizers were well-meaning, but they don’t have children at our school. They know nothing about our school’s culture or our children’s needs. Moreover, the head of the school had told them not to proceed with their plan because it would be detrimental to the students’ well-being. The fallout? Well, the school understandably put additional security in place for morning carpool. Other parents told me their children were distraught because they knew there was going to be a rally, they saw the extra police officers and patrol cars, and this scared them. From my own perspective, precious time and energy was wasted in trying to contain this situation at a time when we needed to devote every second to responding to the crisis caused by the bomb threats themselves. I must admit that I am angry — as a Jewish communal professional, but mostly as a Jewish mother. After the trauma earlier in the week, I am furious that the tranquility of my children’s morning drop-off was compromised. If people wanted to hold their own rally, "geh gezunt aheit," as my mother would have said. But not at or near my kids’ school. Not for the benefit of TV cameras. And not when the people I trust to take care of my children have told you to stay away. One of the first lessons I learned

as a Jewish community relations professional was to be sure to ask others what they need in times of crisis. We are imperfect human beings, which means that oftentimes, what we think would be helpful, even what we truly believe, is actually quite the opposite. Sadly, there will be more crises in the years to come. So to anyone who feels the impulse to respond, why not ask first? And if the answer is an appreciative but firm “no thank you,” please take that “no” for an answer and find another way to express your solidarity. (Guila Franklin Siegel is associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.) Kveller is a thriving community of women and parents who convene online to share, celebrate and commiserate their experiences of raising kids through a Jewish lens. Visit Kveller.com. ì Call Our Trained Experts & Experience the Difference

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BOMB THREATS Continued from Page 21 chure titled, "5 Tips for Talking with Children about Bomb Threats at Jewish Community Centers." While the threats have all been hoaxes, the disruption and inconvenience are having an impact on members and parents who might have other options. “I’m not scared, I’m infuriated,” said Emily Hausman, 29, whose three kids all attend preschool at the Birmingham JCC. “I find the whole thing infuriating. A threat is just a threat. They’re not real, and we’re being inconvenienced, and our poor kids are being inconvenienced, and dragged out into the rain.” In the wake of the threats, some JCCs have upped security, posting guards, hiring security coordinators or limiting access to the building. JCCs have sent parents a series of emails and text messages updating them on the threats and responses, and have held community meetings to address concerns. Others are wary of becoming less welcoming by "hardening" their facilities, and undermining the purpose of a community center. “While they are responding well

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to some of these concerns, they’ve stuck to this theory, which in my opinion is a little head-in-the-sand, that we’re an open facility, we’ve been that way for 100 years, we’re going to stay that way,” said Brian Federman, a lifelong member of the West Hartford JCC, which received a threat on Jan. 18. David Jacobs, the West Hartford JCC's executive director, told JTA the center's staff is trained to respond to a variety of threats, and is aware of everyone who enters and leaves the building. Despite his complaints, Federman says he and his wife have “not at all discussed pulling” their daughter out of the preschool. Other parents agreed, and said they view JCCs as a local hub they don’t want to abandon. “It’s really troubling, and really scary, but we live at that center,” said Nurit Friedberg, whose 2-yearold daughter goes to preschool at the JCC of Greater Columbus. “Whether we’re exercising or swimming, we’re there six days a week. She loves her school. We live there, and the idea of avoiding it doesn’t occur to me.” Several parents weren’t shocked when anti-Semitism came to the JCC. Sam Zerin, the parent of a 22-month-old at the JCC in Providence, said the Feb. 27 bomb threat there reminded him of an incident from his childhood. When Zerin was 13, anonymous threats arrived at his Indiana public school promising a mass shooting of Jews on Adolf Hitler’s birthday. While the shooting didn’t happen, students had to participate in response drills, and Zerin skipped school that day. He said the incident taught him that antiSemitism, even at school, is part of being Jewish. “On the one hand, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, how is this happening,’” Zerin said. “On the other hand, it’s like some things never change, and life goes on. Life has to go on. To a certain extent, I don’t want to give the anti-Semites what they want.”ì

JAKE TAPPER Continued from Page 12 Jews and Jews of color; assimilated American Jews and Ethiopian Jews who consider marrying out of their sub-community a form of intermarriage. He writes that "as far back as the Hebrew community, and through their subsequent rebirth as Israelites, Judeans and, eventually, Jews, this group has never been uniform or consistent. There has never been a Jewish people, only peoples. Within the Jewish tent there have always been subtribes, subidentities, and subfactions. And yet, even though the Jewish community has never been homogeneous or monolithic, Jews and non-Jews frequently speak about 'the Jews,' as if they are a single, cohesive, interconnected group" Hahn Tapper says his multicultural view of Jewish identity is shaped by his own experiences. Growing up in Philly (his older brother is Jake Tapper, the CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent), he attended a Conservative-affiliated Solomon Schechter school (now the Perelman Jewish Day School) through grade eight, and high school at the unaffiliated Akiba Hebrew Academy, now the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr. He was active with the Jewish community as an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University, but was heavily influenced by the baal teshuvah community he found in Jerusalem, where rabbis took an almost evangelical zeal in introducing young American Jewish backpackers to the Orthodox lifestyle. Hahn Tapper was both a participant in the baal teshuvah culture and an observer, fascinated about the ways these newly observant Jews "framed" their identities. Having grown up in a havurah, or informal congregation, that included some heavy-hitters from the Conservative movement -- including Jeffrey Tigay, the onetime chair of the Jewish studies department at the Uni-

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versity of Pennsylvania, and Chaim Potok, the rabbi and novelist -- Hahn Tapper was able to think critically about the rigid Orthodoxy he saw at the baal teshuvah yeshivas. "The guys around me [growing up] were no slouches, and I knew that they had a much more sophisticated understanding of things than I was being taught in this yeshiva," he said. Later he spent a summer in Fez, Morocco, on his way to getting a master's degree in theological studies from Harvard and a doctorate in comparative religion at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "That started opening up my eyes to the Ashkenazi-centric perspective of what it means to be a Jew," he recalled. All those experiences led him to think less about Jewish boundaries and more about Jewish possibilities. "I've come to accept to some degree, what does it matter what I think if the person across from me thinks that they're a Jew? Their identity is critical to them and has everything to do with their meaning as a person. Ultimately I am not making institutional decisions, so I can be open-minded about that stuff." Hahn Tapper knows that such open-mindedness can be frustrating and even threatening to those who prefer strict criteria for belonging. "Just putting an 'S' at the end of Judaism can be very disruptive for people because they do have some sort of concrete notion of what a Jew is," he said. "In reality, it is much, much, much more messy and complicated than that." Theory will one day meet practice, he realizes, especially as a father raising two Jewish children. He and his wife, Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper, the director of Jewish studies and school rabbi at the Yavneh Day School in Los Gatos, Calif., have two children, 6 and 9. "When my kids want to pair off -- that's when I would have to answer, would I accept so and so as really Jewish?" said Hahn Tapper. ì

Happy Passover to all my friends in the Jewish Community, thanks for your continued support! Randal Gaines

Louisiana State Representative District 57 Paid for by the Randal Gaines Campaign Fund

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