The Jewish Light 2021 Chanukah & Election Issue

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Volume 11, Number 8 Chanukah 2021/Elections

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usa Local Jews Raise Concerns After Teachers Were Told THE

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That Texas Law Requires ‘Opposing’ Views Of The Holocaust By Ben Sales

Jake Berman, a Jewish former student, speaks at a school board meeting in Southlake, Texas on Oct. 18, 2021.

(JTA) — Jews in the Texas school district where an administrator told teachers that a new state law meant they should include “opposing” views of the Holocaust in their classrooms are speaking out against her statement and the law that prompted it. “The facts are that there are not two sides to the Holocaust,” Jake Berman, an alum of the district who said he had experienced antisemitic bullying while enrolled, said in testimony at a school board meeting Monday that was reported on by NBC News and has since been shared widely on social media. “The Nazis systematically killed millions of people.” He added, “There are not two

sides to slavery. White Europeans enslaved Black Africans in this country until June 19, 1865, a moment we’re barely 150 years removed from. There are not two sides to Jim Crow. There are not two sides to racism and that same oppression continues today.” Last week, the administrator was recorded telling teachers in the Carroll Independent School District that, in order to comply with a law requiring teaching “diverse and contending perspectives” on controversial issues, they would have to offer “opposing” and “other perspectives” on the Holocaust. The administrator signaled that she was uncomfortable while she gave that guidance, and teachers on the recording protested. Berman said her remarks were “assuredly a misstep.” The law in question was motivated by growing Republican opposition to critical race theory, a concept in legal studies that says racism is baked into the country’s laws and institutions. Opponents of the theo-

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Jewniverse (Jewish Culture & History) Lifestyle

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administrator’s comments “completely unacceptable,” according to NBC News. Berman said he attended schools in the district through eighth grade, when a principal advised him to leave to escape the antisemitic bullying he was enduring. He said that the slurs directed at him drove him to contemplate suicide and led to depression in his adult life. “I was subject to a rash of bullying, almost all of which was antisemitic in nature,” he said. “I received everything from jokes about my nose to gas chambers, all while studying for my bar mitzvah from a Holocaust survivor as my primary tutor.” “The message you and the state are sending to your teachers opens the door for more of this type of behavior in your students,” he said. “If you don’t think that these same attacks are happening in your schools today with regard to someone’s skin color, gender or religion, you are sorely mistaken.”

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ry — including some Jewish activists — claim that it is being taught broadly in schools with no room for opposing perspectives. Last week, the superintendent of the school district apologized for the administrator’s remarks, saying that “the comments made were in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history. Additionally, we recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust.” He added that the state law “does not require an opposing viewpoint on historical facts.” State Sen. Bryan Hughes, the Republican who wrote a companion bill to the law in question, denied that his legislation requires teaching opposing views on matters of “good and evil.” Hughes’ bill expands the law’s restrictions, and is moving through the legislative process now. Rob Forst, a parent in the district who identified himself at the school board meeting as a descendant of Holocaust survivors, called the

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JEWISH LIGHT

How Israel Is Leading The World In Reviving Bee Colonies — In The Middle Of The Desert

A JNF-USA supported R&D station in Israel’s South experiments with growing new types of flowers in the desert. (Courtesy of JNF-USA)

The Arava Desert in Israel’s south is “abuzz” with activity — and it is all thanks to one important six-legged critter: the humble honeybee. In a world where scientists acknowledge the important role bees play in our ecosystem yet worry about their dwindling numbers, farmers in Israel’s Arava Desert are working to grow bee colonies – and they are already achieving some very “sweet” results. You would not expect to find a bee colony in the middle of a desert, yet the bees at Porat Farm in Ein Yahav, an area supported by

Jewish National Fund-USA (JNFUSA), are not only surviving, they’re thriving. Despite its arid moonscape-like environment, the Arava region in Israel’s Negev Desert provides the ideal conditions for growing bee colonies. With limited pollution, the air remains pure, which in turn helps prevent many of the diseases that are decimating bee colonies around the world. And the conditions that help bees thrive in the arid environment are benefiting local farmers as well. In addition to the variety of delicious honeys that comes from bees, local farmers in the Arava and JNFUSA supported agricultural scientists rely on bees to pollinate their crops. In fact, farmers will rent beehives from beekeepers like Porat and place them in their fields, resulting in more profit for their businesses and better quality fruits and vegetables for Israelis and consumers around the world.

According to Noa Zer, JNF-USA Liaison in the Arava and owner of a two-acre pepper farm, “Without the bees we wouldn’t be able to grow what we grow. There would be no source of income. The bees are the best helpers.” There are two types of bees that are being used to help boost local agriculture: the honeybee and the bumblebee. As Dr. Oded Kanan from JNF-USA’s R&D center in the Arava explained, honeybees are more commonly used in open greenhouses, whereas the bumblebee is used in closed greenhouses. While the bumblebee does not produce honey, they are still essential for pollination. Bumblebees move their wings hundreds of times per second, and the vibrations from it allows them to pollinate a flower before they move along to the next plant. This process is called “buzz pollination.” This new approach is a major upgrade from previous pollination

techniques in the region, when farmers would have to go by themselves, flower by flower, with a special device to pollinate them. Today, thanks to the helpful coop-

A beekeeper in Israel’s Arava Desert explains why Israel’s bee colonies are flourishing in the desert. (Courtesy of JNF-USA)

eration of bees and innovative researchers, farmers were able to increase their yield by 60 percent. And today, farms in the Arava are responsible for producing more than half of all of Israel’s produce. Farmers and experts alike agree, it all comes down to cooperation. Whether it be the way bees work See BEE COLONIES on Page

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BEE COLONIES Continued from Page

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together with each other and with the farmers or the way that JNFUSA invests in communities in the Arava, cooperation is key. To attract 500,000 new residents to Israel’s south as part of the organization’s Blueprint Negev initiative, JNFUSA has invested in a range of projects that create local jobs and opportunities. Accordingly, JNFUSA has invested in R&D facilities, built parks and playground, created medical centers, and supported agriculture schools. And as JNF-USA continues to support research facilities in the Arava, leading scientists are continuing to make breakthroughs that support global agriculture. As Dr. Kanan points out, “Without bees there is no world, and this is something scientists everywhere are working on.” Communities in other countries, like Nepal, are

catching on and adopting the methods that they saw being used in Israel. It modernizes the way food is being grown, helps with economic security, and ultimately has a ripple effect throughout society. It’s what farmers like Zer call, “the bee effect.” By helping Israel’s desert bloom, these little bees, with the help of local farmers and JNFUSA, are making a big impact. And that’s something that is pretty sweet and worth celebrating this year! This is a paid post. JTA’s editorial team had no role in its production. This is a Paid Post from the Jewish National Fund-USA, which ensures a strong, secure, and prosperous future for the land and people of Israel, and Jewish people everywhere.

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Send editorial to us via e-mail at jewishnews@bellsouth.net or reach us by phone at (504) 455-8822. Our mailing address is United Media Corp. P.O. Box 3270, Covington, LA 70434 • To place advertising in THE JEWISH LIGHT, call United Media Corp. at: New Orleans (504) 455-8822 Northshore (985) 871-0221 Baton Rouge (225) 925-8774 THE JEWISH LIGHT carries Jewish Community related news about the Louisiana Jewish community and for the Louisiana Jewish community. Its commitment is to be a “True Community” newspaper, reaching out EQUALLY TO ALL Jewish Agencies, Jewish Organizations and Synagogues. THE JEWISH LIGHT is published monthly by United Media Corporation. We are Louisiana owned, Louisiana published, and Louisiana distributed. United Media Corporation has been proudly serving the Louisiana Jewish Community since 1995. Together, we can help rebuild Louisiana. We thank you for the last 26 years and we look forward to an even brighter tomorrow.

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Israel

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JEWISH LIGHT

How Offshore Accounts Turned The British Virgin Islands Into An East Jerusalem Landlord By Asaf Shalev

British Virgin Islands. (Jeffrey Greenberg/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

(JTA) — Some of the most contested real estate in east Jerusalem has come under the legal control of the British Virgin Islands in recent years because the Israeli settlers who managed the properties used offshore accounts and failed to pay corporate fees and taxes. This finding appeared in a series of recent reports by Uri Blau and Daniel Dolev of Shomrim, an Israeli investigative news organization, following a massive leak of records from the secretive world of offshore financial services. The leak, known as the Pandora Papers, was shared with Shomrim and some 150 other news outlets around the world. The roughly 600

journalists involved in the project have been publishing exposés on politicians and other public figures who hold bank accounts, real estate, and other property in jurisdictions that offer secrecy and tax benefits. Of the people identified in the leak, 565 are Israeli citizens, according to Shomrim, which noted that it is not illegal to do business using offshore accounts. Offshore accounts can be advantageous for their holders in several ways, including, potentially, shielding their identities, reducing their tax liability and insulating them from legal requirements or consequences in their own countries. Among those Israelis is Matityahu Dan, the head of Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli nonprofit dedicated to boosting the Jewish population of east Jerusalem by gaining control of homes in Palestinian neighborhoods. Ateret Cohanim uses companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, according to Shomrim. One of those companies is called

Philinest, and it reportedly controls two apartments in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem on lease from an entity affiliated with the Jewish National Fund. Ateret Cohanim’s treasurer, who was in charge of paying Philinest’s registration renewal fees, quit in 1998, and the person who replaced him failed to keep up the payments, Shomrim reported, citing a court deposition given by Dan. When reached by Shomrim, Dan declined to comment. As a result of the lapse, the British Virgin Islands canceled the company’s registration. Per local laws, the company’s assets eventually became the property of the islands’ government. In 2010, Ateret Cohanim petitioned a local court to reinstate Philinest and in 2019, the court finally agreed, according to Shomrim. Donhead, another British Virgin Islands company owned by Ateret Cohanim, had been leasing a plot of land in the Palestinian neighbor-

hood of Silwan when its registration lapsed in 2010. The Israeli nonprofit sought to revive its claims but whether it succeeded is unknown, Shomrim reported. At least a handful of other Israeli settler nonprofits also use the British Virgin Islands to manage real estate in east Jerusalem — and, similarly, several have had to try to claw back company registrations after failing to pay fees, according to Shomrim. The report identified Humberstone Ventures S.A, which controls a piece of property adjacent to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City, and another company called Beit Hanina Properties.

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G lobal What Happened To All The Art That Nazis Looted? This Jewish THE

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Museum Exhibit Tells The Story Of Several Masterworks. By Chloe Sarbib This article originally appeared on Alma. of many, is one of the most dramatic stories of twentieth-century art… Artworks that withstood the immense tragedy of the war survived against extraordinary odds,” the text continues. “Many exist today as a result of great personal risk and ingenuity.” Felbermeyer, movement of repatriated art (Jewish Museum)

Great works of art often become so present in our everyday lives — the “Mona Lisa” on a mug, “The Starry Night” on a sweater, Basquiat in Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Tiffany campaign — that it’s easy to forget how fragile the originals are. These images that populate our collective consciousness all started as a single destructible canvas. But most museums don’t highlight the life these artworks have had as physical objects — often because that history is wrapped up in colonialism and theft. At the new Jewish Museum exhibition “Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Stories of Looted Art,” which opened last month in New York, this overlooked aspect of a painting’s history becomes the focus. “It is often difficult to understand the ‘biography’ of an artwork simply by looking at it, and even more difficult to uncover the lives and experiences of the people behind it,” reads the text on the first wall visitors encounter, displayed beside Franz Marc’s “The Large Blue Horses.”

Franz Marc, “The Large Blue Horses” (Jewish Museum)

The gallery is organized around how the artwork it features — including works by Chagall and Pissarro (both Jewish), Matisse, Picasso, Bonnard, Klee and more — came to hang there. All the pieces displayed have one quality in common: They were either directly affected or inspired by the looting and destruction of the Nazis. “The vast and systemic pillaging of artworks during World War II, and the eventual rescue and return THE

JEWISH LIGHT

Edith Standen and Rose Valland at the Central Collecting Point in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jewish Museum)

One of the most striking instances of bravery the exhibit recounts is that of Rose Valland, a curator at the Jeu de Paume, which housed the work of the Impressionists. During the collaborationist Vichy regime, the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, or ERR, took over the museum building. The ERR, “one of the largest Nazi art-looting task forces operating throughout occupied Europe,” used the space to store masterpieces it had taken.

the personal collections of highranking Nazi officials — Hermann Goering in this case.

Paul Cezanne, “Bather and Rocks” (Jewish Museum)

In the exhibit, Valland’s story is overlaid on a 1942 photograph of this room. Some of the works in it — by Andre Dérain and Claude Monet, among others — are believed to have been destroyed. But three of the paintings that survived are on the adjacent wall: “Bather and Rocks” by Paul Cezanne, “Group of Characters” by Pablo Picasso, and “Composition” by Fédor Löwenstein. They last hung together in the Room of the Martyrs, awaiting their fate like many of the Jews of Europe. Some Impressionist paintings on display at the Jewish Museum, like Matisse’s “Girl in Yellow and Blue with Guitar,” spent the Holocaust in

Henri Matisse, “Girl in Yellow and Blue with Guitar” (Jewish Museum)

Others — like Marc Chagall’s “Purim,” a study for a commissioned St. Petersburg mural he never painted — were confiscated, labeled “degenerate” for their Jewish authors and content. But that didn’t stop the Nazis from selling them to fund the war effort. The exhibit calls out these financial incentives that spurred the Nazis to steal from Jewish collectors: It was as much about seizing Jewish wealth as about any ideological See EXHIBIT on Page

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The Room of the Martyrs, in the Archives du Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangère – La Courneuve (Jewish Museum)

Valland, who had worked at the Jeu de Paume before the war, stayed on during the Occupation and collaborated with the French Resistance to track what the Nazis did with the stolen paintings. “At great personal risk,” including sneaking into the Nazi office at night to photograph important documents, “she recorded incoming and outgoing shipments and made detailed maps of the extensive network of Nazi transportation and storage facilities.” Pieces by Jewish or modernist artists were often labeled “degenerate” and slated for destruction. Valland was unable to save many of them, and referred to the room where they were housed as the “Room of the Martyrs.” www.thejewishlight.org

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holiday that celebrates Jews surviv- they belonged. Staring at a map of ing persecution in this World War II how far some confiscated Jewish context is poignant. literature had traveled is intimidatbeliefs. Germany was in debt when ing in the sheer scope of this stagthe Nazis came to power, and even gering pre-internet task. “degenerate” art was often sold on the international market “to raise funds for the Nazi war machine” if they thought it would fetch a good price. So the Nazis weren’t even principled in their anti-Jewishness; Marc Chagall, “Purim” (Jewish they were happy to profit off of Museum) works by Jewish artists and were Johannes Felbermeyer, “Artworks in The exhibit includes documents storage at the Central Collecting Point, often motivated by simple greed. “Purim,” painted in 1916-17, from the collection points, in Munich, [ca. 1945-1949].” (Jewish Museum) contains “folkloric imagery and Munich and Offenbach, where the vivid colors draw from Chagall’s Allies traced the paths of stolen “Afterlives” also features art by memories of his childhood in a work, stored them when recovered, Jews who faced persecution directJewish enclave in the Russian and eventually tried to “reverse the ly — pieces made at the camps empire.” Seeing a depiction of a flow” by sending them back where themselves or while in hiding. The

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haunting, delicate drawings of Jacob Barosin, who made them while fleeing to France and ultimately to the U.S., were moving. And the presence of “Battle on a Bridge,” a looted painting so revered by the Nazis that Hitler had earmarked it for his future personal Fuhrermuseum in Austria, was chilling. Its inventory number, 2207, is still visible on the back of the canvas. But what was most captivating about the exhibit was how it helps the visitor imagine what Jewish cultural life was like before the Nazis came to power. I often have the impression that accounts of the Holocaust concentrate more on the horrors of the camps and less and on the individual lives and communities they destroyed. Here, I learned about Jewish gallerist Paul Rosenberg, whose impressive gallery the Nazis co-opted — after seizing his valuable art, of course — for the “Institute of the Study on the Jewish Question,” an antisemitic propaganda machine. I learned about his son Alexander, who, while liberating a train with the Free French Forces thought to be full of passengers, recovered some of his father’s art against all odds. I saw August Sander’s “Persecuted Jews” portrait series from late-’30s Germany, and looked into the faces of people forced to leave their homes. And I saw a huge collection of orphaned Judaica and ritual objects from Danzig (now Gdansk), Poland, where the Jewish community shipped two tons of their treasures to New York for safekeeping in 1939. If no safe free Jews remained in Danzig 15 years later, these items would be entrusted to the museum. None did.

Dor Guez, “Letters from the Greater Maghreb” and “Belly of the Boat”, and collages by Lisa Oppenheim. Installation view by Steven Paneccasio. (Jewish Museum)

The exhibit also includes the work of four contemporary artists grappling with the contents of “Afterlives” and the era it evokes. Maria Eichhorn pulls from the art restitution work of Hannah Arendt. Hadar Gad uses her painstaking process to paint the disasSee EXHIBIT on Page

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I am proud to be a native of New who grew up in a family Dr. Patricia B. Robertson, Ph.D. Orleans or nine brothers and one sister. I attended New Orleans Public Schools, graduating from Marion Abramson High School. After graduation, I received a B.S. in Accounting from Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) and an MBA from the University of New Orleans (UNO). Finally, I attained a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Southern University at Baton Rouge (SUBR). I am a tenured Associate Professor of Public Administration at SUNO. I also have over 20 years’ experience in federal government employment in accounting. I am the former Accounting Supervisor for the Clerk of Criminal District Court before Hurricane Katrina. Also, I am a business owner of Appointed Financial Group, a financial services company in New Orleans since 2000. I am the Founder and CEO of Caring About New Orleans, a nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CANO CDC), and the president of the Conference on Minority Public Administrators (COMPA); a national organization that services and assists public administrators, professionals, and inspiring students working in public service by supporting, strengthening, and expanding the roles minorities play in shaping public policy. I am the author of the book “Be Strong” published in 2020, my story of subjugating through struggle, challenge, abuse, and trauma to triumph, written to encourage women who find themselves in similar situations. My struggles have increased my faith, serving as a member of the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office Prison Ministry. As an active member of The Church at New Orleans, I serve as president of Local and Foreign Mission’s programs and president of the Student Scholarship Initiative. I have four children and nine grandchildren. My interest for the Clerk of Criminal District Court is because I am the most wellrounded and best prepared for this office. Furthermore, I want to make a difference by putting people first. My platform includes securing 21st century technology, especially for records management, improve working relationships with the judiciary, and make the office bilingual. YOUR I also want to workPLEASE closelyCHECK with Registrar PLEASE CHECK YOUR of Voters and Secretary of State ensuring that Every Registered Voter has an Opportunity to Vote on Election Day. I want to stop AD CAREFULLY AD CAREFULLY FOR FOR the last-minute purging of voter rolls and return voting polls to every precinct and on SPELLING && GRAMMAR, AS SPELLING GRAMMAR, AS college campuses.

OCT OCT 2012 2012

SG/JDF/1/6V SG/JDF/1/6V

Happy tomy my HappyChanukah New Year to Friends Supporters in in Friends & Supporters The Jewish Community! Community! Please Join us forfor a Day ofvote Service to GiveIBack I humbly ask your because still to our Citizens haveoflost so much during believe in thewho value PUBLIC SERVICE. Hurricane Ida! I’m not here to be a politician, but rather to serve the citizens of New Orleans by Saturday, September • 10aof- 2p the Office of the 18 Clerk Criminal making 4211 Court South work Claiborne Ave. for the people! District

food • ice • toiletries

paid for by: The Patricia Boyd-Robertson Campaign Fund

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these become a metaphor for the sembly of Danzig’s Great SynaYour ad will run Your ad will run harmonious conjunction between gogue. Lisa Oppenheim collages AS-IS unless changes two Semitic languages, between AS-IS unless the only existing archival photo-changes are made and one mother tongue and another, made and graph of a lost still-lifeare painting and between homeland and a new approved with with Google Maps images of the approved with your your country.” clouds above the house where its Account Executive by Account ExecutiveI’ll bylet the exhibit’s curators sum Jewish owners lived. And Dor Guez, a Palestinian North African up how I felt as I left: “Many of the artist from Israel, created an artists, collectors, and descendants installation from objects belong- who owned these items are gone, ing to his paternal grandparents, and as the war recedes in time it can who escaped concentration camps become even harder to grasp the in Nazi-occupied Tunisia. They traumatic events they endured. Yet previously ran a theater company, through these works, and the histoAfter deadline, ries that attend them, new connecand a manuscript written by his After this this deadline, tions to the past can be forged.” grandfather in his Tunisian Judeothe only changes the only changes “Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Arabic dialect was damaged in that may may be be made made Stories of Looted Art” is on view at transit. Guez blew up that the unfamilto correct the Jewish Museum in Manhattan iar handwriting and inkare blots are to into correct through Jan. 9, 2022. abstracted prints thatPUBLISHER’S hang on theERRORS.

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No One Lost Their Jewish Last Name At Ellis Island. But We Gained A Safe Haven. By Andrew Silow-Carroll

The author's grandmother’s French residence permit from 1914 includes a spelling of her husband’s original name, Karolchouk, before he and his brothers changed it to Carroll. (Courtesy)

(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — Shortly before he died, my dad gave me a trove of family documents, some dating to the 19th century. For the first time I had confirmation of what our family name was before a great-uncle changed it to Carroll when he and his brothers immigrated to America. My father’s parents moved from Russia to Paris before coming to the United States. Among the papers is a yellowed French immigration document signed by my grandfather on March 13, 1913; there he spells his last name Karoltchouk. On my grandmother’s “Permis de sejour a un etranger,” issued in Paris in 1914, it’s spelled Karolchouk. A cursory web search locates Jews with variations like Korolczuk and Karolchuk, which I am told is a common Polish surname. My father was always ambivalent about his last name. His uncle was probably right that a deracinated name like Carroll made it easier for a family of Polish Jewish immigrants trying to gain a foothold in America (although my dad’s parents didn’t quite get the memo in naming my father Irving). On the other hand, Dad always felt the name suggested that he was trying to hide something or pretend to be

something he was not. The dilemmas of Jewish namechanging form a powerful chapter in novelist Dara Horn’s new collection of essays. “People Love Dead Jews” is an examination – deeply reported, at times brilliant and often bitter – on the persistent hatred aimed at Jews, even in their absence. A recurring theme of the book is the way antisemites, philosemites and Jews themselves rewrite and distort the past, and how Jewish identity is “defined and determined by the opinions and projections of others.” This story is part of JTA's coverage of New York through the New York Jewish Week. To read more stories like this, sign up for our daily New York newsletter here. Our last names are a case in point. Horn explodes the old myth that Jews’ names were changed at Ellis Island by clerks too lazy or malevolent to spell them right. In public lectures and a 2014 essay, Horn would explain that “nobody at Ellis Island ever wrote down immigrants’ names.” Instead, she’d cite works like Kirsten Fermaglich’s “A Rosenberg by Any Other Name,” a deep dive into the data showing the “heartbreaking reality” of Jewish immigrants changing their own names “because they cannot find a job, or because their children are being humiliated or discriminated against at school, or because with their real names, no one will hire them for any white-collar position.” Genealogists like Jennifer Mendelsohn and Philip Sutton and Ellis Island officials like Peter Urban have confirmed this over the years. What Horn didn’t count on was the anger of her audiences, who insisted that their grandparents and great-

grandparents were passive victims of a clerk’s pen. Horn explains this denial as a “deep pattern in Jewish history,” which is “all about living in places where you are utterly vulnerable and cannot admit it.” Instead of fessing up to that vulnerability and their culpability in bowing to it, many Jews prefer to invent more benign “origin stories,” either to exonerate their non-Jewish neighbors or spare themselves and their children the “humiliation” that the new country is no more friendly to Jews than the one they left. If Jews were to tell the truth about why Karolchouk became Carroll, or (in my mother’s case) Greenberg became Green, they’d be “confirming two enormous fears: first, that this country doesn’t really accept you, and second, that the best way to survive and thrive is to dump any outward sign of your Jewish identity, and symbolically cut that cord that goes back to Mount Sinai.” Horn ends up saluting the “enormous emotional resources” displayed by the Jews who cling to the Ellis Island myth, but I felt hers is an

overly harsh assessment of the survival strategies employed out of necessity by a previous generation of Jews. I can’t prove that my greatuncle and his brothers weren’t humiliated by the name change, but I am guessing that it went down easier than Horn imagines. A new country, a new language, a new alphabet. So much was lost in translation. I think given the choice between the misery they left behind in the Old Country and the opportunities available to them even in an intolerant America, their generation felt losing the last name was a palatable tradeoff. History bears out their choice. Within a generation or two, the name-changers’ children were able to assert their Jewishness in countless ways. The prosperity that came with “passing” allowed them to build public Jewish lives, worship as they chose and climb the ladder of success unthwarted by the twisted imaginations of antisemites. See SAFE HAVEN on Page

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When I decided to Mark Johari Lawes enter this race, in part, it was because of my commitment to community and public service. It is how I was raised. My Mother, Joyce Lawes, also known as “Momma Suma”, lived over 30 years in Israel and as a teenager, I spent a couple of summers there. Serving the community is in my DNA. My wife of 41 years and I, have two children who are LA State Troopers, two NOPD Officers and one is an Educator. I’m in this race to make needed change. I plan to initiate programs to increase hiring of Police Officers, training for community policing in the neighborhoods, collaborate with programs to offer Vo-Tech, Career and Jobs Skills training for high school students and their parents. As a longtime Business Owner, presently with The Half Shell on the Bayou Restaurant, on Bayou Road, I plan to streamline the One Stop Shop in the city administration’s permitting process, to lessen the difficulties in people trying to do legitimate business in the city. I will hold Corporations receiving tax payer’s monies accountable and to support getting rid of monopolies in the utilities arena, to get better services for the citizens of New Orleans. Let me be clear, about something….I don’t need a job and don’t have political ambitions. For me and my family, this commitment to political candidacy is about ensuring public safety and the greater quality of life in every corner of my district. Mark Johari Lawes #59 Candidate, Council District D “LAWES FOR THE CAUSE”…. SAFE HAVEN Continued from Page

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Having achieved success, these Jews would build forward-facing Jewish institutions, proudly attach their names to dormitories and concert halls, and send their children to Jewish day schools without fear that they would be denied admission to the top universities. Horn’s book, by contrast, is haunted by the killings of Jews in Pittsburgh, Poway and Jersey City, but those attacks remain the exceptions. Despite the beefed-up security at American synagogues in the wake of 9/11, and the renewed feelings of vulnerability they instilled, those attacks don’t reflect the lived reality of most American Jews 100 years removed from Ellis Island. Jewish survival and adaptation have often depended on shape shifting, from first-century Yavneh to 20th-century Tel Aviv, when Jews like David Grün and Goldie Myerson traded one kind of Jewish name for another. Besides, what we consider “Jewish” last names are often themselves “un-Jewish” place names and occupations, adopted after state legislation in YiddishTHE

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speaking lands required hereditary names instead of the patronymics the Jews had been using. They certainly didn’t go back to Sinai. Name changing wasn’t a humiliation but a strategy, and one that, in the American context, has paid off handsomely. Like my dad, I sometimes wish our last name sounded more Jewish. I fret that Carroll undercuts what little authority I have as a “public” Jew, or reinforces my own occasional feelings of inauthenticity (which I define as “not having gone to Jewish summer camp”). But of course, to even think of reclaiming a “Jewish” name is a privilege that would have been unimaginable to so many Jews living in truly hostile lands. And the notion of what is and isn’t a “Jewish” name is itself being complicated – and enriched — by conversion, interfaith marriage and all the other factors that have diversified the Jewish community in recent years. Still, as Horn wrote in her original article about the Ellis Island myth, the internet has become a “toxic sea” of antisemitic misinformation, and “that makes it all the more important to get Jewish his-

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Happy Chanukah to all my friends in the Jewish Community! tory right.” We should all recognize the Ellis Island story for the myth that it is, and embrace the real stories of courage and adaptation that brought us to this place and time. Andrew SilowCarroll is the editor in chief of The New York Jewish

Week and senior editor of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (@SilowCarroll). The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media.

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Sweden’s Foreign Minister Visits Israel, Ending 7-Year Diplomatic Freeze By Katarzyna Andersz

Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde, center, on a tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem, Oct. 18, 2021. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

STOCKHOLM (JTA) — Sweden’s foreign affairs minister visited Israel on Monday, ending a sevenyear freeze in diplomatic relations between the two former allies that had started over disagreements on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Foreign Minister Ann Linde’s visit opens “a whole new book of friendship and cooperation,” said her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid. Israeli President Isaac Herzog said it symbolized that the countries were “turning a new leaf.” “Sweden and Israel have a deep and long-standing friendship, with extensive trade and cultural ties. There are also quite a few argu-

ments. In recent years, these arguments have caused us to drift apart. Today we are changing that,” Lapid said at a press conference with Linde in Jerusalem on Monday. The visit came less than a week after Sweden’s government hosted a high-powered international conference on combating antisemitism in Malmö, a city known in recent years for being a hotspot of that form of hate. Put together, the two moves signal outgoing Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s desire to repair relationships with Sweden’s local Jewish communities and the Jewish state. “On behalf of Sweden I promise that we say ‘never again,’ and mean it,” Linde tweeted Monday after a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum. “We will continue to take action to combat antisemitism in all its forms, to make sure that we never forget.” Israel and Sweden had ceased formal relations in 2014, after Sweden officially recognized a Palestinian state. The following year,

after the multiple terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 dead, Sweden’s then-foreign minister, Margot Wallström, linked the killings to what she argued was a feeling of hopelessness among Palestinians. Wallström, a longtime outspoken supporter of a Palestinian state, then in 2016 called for an investigation into how Israeli security forces responded to Palestinian attackers during a spate of violence. In response, Lapid, then an opposition leader in Israel’s parliament, called her antisemitic. On Monday, Lapid — whose father and grandmother were among the tens of thousands of Jews saved by the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg during the Holocaust — welcomed Linde at a press conference in Jerusalem. “In my parents’ house there is a wooden box in which my late father kept some souvenirs that survived the Holocaust. There is a yellow badge with the letter J, Jude — Jew, some photographs and letters that somehow survived the war,” Lapid said.

“And there’s a ‘Wallenberg passport,’ a document laden with seals and signatures, designed to hide the fact that Raoul Wallenberg had virtually no authority to grant it to my father. But he did … and saved their lives.” Linde said that “Sweden’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” which supports a two-state solution, “has not changed.” She added that she has been impressed by how Israel’s new government has shown it is interested in improving living conditions for Palestinians in Gaza, and that it has condemned violence by Israeli settlers. On Tuesday she visited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ramallah, and in talks emphasized that Sweden wants to play “a bigger role in renewing the peace process.” “I have invited both [Israel’s and the PA’s] foreign affairs ministers to Stockholm,” Linde also told the Swedish newspaper Expressen. “Not at the same time though, we take it step by step.”

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8 Ways To Make Your Hanukkah More Eco-Friendly

Holiday Features

Green tips for the Festival of Lights.

Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights, thanks to the oneday supply of oil lasting a miraculous eight days. In the spirit of this resource-preserving miracle, here are eight suggestions from the Jewish environmental organization Hazon for making your Hanukkah celebration more environmentally sustainable. Use locally grown potatoes and onions, and fry them in organic oil. Potatoes and other root vegetables are in abundance during the winter, and buying food locally cuts down on the greenhouse gasses from transporting food. Stop by your local farmers market and stock up prior to making your Hanukkah latkes. Change up your latke toppings. Rather than buying a traditional brand of sour cream, stock up on an all-natural or organic type. Make your own applesauce from locally grown apples — or buy an organic brand such as Santa Cruz or Trader Joe’s. Or check out some of these homemade topping ideas. Eat less meat.

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The meat industry is one of the greatest single contributors to global climate change. Use the festive opportunity to cut down on meat consumption and eat some of the wonderful produce that is available during the winter months. If you want to avoid all animal products, try one of these vegan latke recipes: regular and beet. Use environmentally sustainable candles. Beeswax, soy, and palm oil provide more natural alternatives to the traditional paraffin Hanukkah candles. Several vendors sell beeswax Hanukkah candles, and GoodLight Natural Candles’ Hanukkah candles not only claim to be “clean burning and non-toxic,” but the company “contributes to sustainable palm farming.”

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9 Things You Didn’t Know About Hanukkah Lesser-known facts about the Festival of Lights. By My Jewish Learning coins “commemorating the miracles of St. Nicholas.” 2. The first Hanukkah celebration was actually a delayed Sukkot observance.

Hanukkah is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays in the United States. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing new to learn about this eight-day festival. From the mysterious origins of gelt to an Apocryphal beheading to Marilyn Monroe, we’ve compiled an item for each candle (don’t forget the shammash!) on the Hanukkah menorah. 1. Gelt as we know it is a relatively new tradition — and no one knows who invented it.

While coins – “gelt” is Yiddish for coins, or money – have been part of Hanukkah observance for centuries, chocolate gelt is considerably younger. In her book On the Chocolate Trail, Rabbi Deborah Prinz writes that “opinions differ” concerning the origins of chocolate gelt: Some credit America’s Loft candy company with creating it in the 1920s, while others suggest there were European versions earlier that inspired Israel’s Elite candy company. Prinz notes, as well, that chocolate gelt resembles a European Christmas tradition of exchanging gold-covered chocolate

The second book of Maccabees quotes from a letter sent circa 125 BCE from the Hasmoneans (the Macabees’ descendants) to the leaders of Egyptian Jewry, describing the holiday as “the festival of Sukkot celebrated in the month of Kislev rather than Tishrei.” Since the Jews were still in caves fighting as guerrillas on Tishrei, 164 BCE, they had been unable to honor the eight-day holiday of Sukkot, which required visiting the Jerusalem Temple; hence it was postponed until after the recapture of Jerusalem and the rededication of the Temple. Many scholars believe it is this connection to Sukkot – and not the Talmudic account of the cruse of oil that lasted eight days – that explains why Hanukkah is eight days long. 3. The books of Maccabees, which tell the story of Hanukkah, weren’t included in the Hebrew Bible – but they are in the Catholic Bible. There are different theories explaining why the first-century rabbis who canonized the scriptures omitted the Maccabees, ranging from the text’s relative newness at the time to fears of alienating the Roman leadership in control of Jerusalem at the time.

4. Marilyn Monroe owned a music-playing Hanukkah menorah (the Marilyn Monrorah?). When the Hollywood star converted to Judaism before marrying Jewish playwright Arthur Miller, her future mother-in-law gave her a menorah as a conversion gift. The Hanukkah lamp, which the menorah’s current owner says Mrs. Miller brought back from Jerusalem, has a windup music box in its base that plays

Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem. It’s featured in the Jewish Museum in New York City’s exhibit “Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn,” but sadly you can’t wind it up. 5. The game of dreidel was inspired by a German game played at Christmastime, which is itself an imitation of an English and Irish one. Our Eastern European game of dreidel (including the letters nun, gimmel, hey, shin) is directly based on the German equivalent of the British totum game: N = Nichts = nothing; G = Ganz = all; H = Halb See 9 THINGS on Page

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world, according to the Guinness to know the most latkes ever eaten Book of World Records is 32 feet in one sitting. high and weighs 4,000 pounds.

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= half; and S = Stell ein = put in. In German, the spinning top was called a “torrel” or “trundl.” 6. Oily food (think latkes and sufganiyot) isn’t Hanukkah’s only culinary tradition.

Traditionally, Hanukkah has included foods with cheese in recognition of Judith, whose liberal use of the salty treat facilitated a victory for the Maccabees. To combine the two unhealthy but delicious traditions, try this recipe for cheese latkes. 7. On Hanukkah, we celebrate a grisly murder. The aforementioned Judith had an ulterior motive for plying Assyrian general Holofernes with salty cheese: making him thirsty so he would drink lots of wine and pass out, enabling her to chop off his

head and bring it home with her. The beheading – particularly the fact that a woman carried it out – was said to have frightened Holofernes’ troops into fleeing the Maccabees. 8. The next “Thanksgivukkah” (sort of), is only 50 years away. In 2013, the convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah on Nov. 28 inspired everything from turkey-shaped menorahs to a giant dreidel float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. 9. The largest menorah in the

Happy Chanukah!

The Shulchan Aruch stipulates that a menorah should be no taller than about 31 feet. Incidentally, Guinness lists at least three other Hanukkah-related records: most dreidels spinning simultaneously for at least 10 seconds (820), most valuable dreidel ($14,000) most people simultaneously lighting menorahs (834) and largest display of lit menorahs (1,000). We’d like

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I have thought extensively about how New Orleans could perform better and compete with cities that have been recruiting our talented young adults for generations (Houston, Dallas, Atlanta), and how we must change for our future. I realize that it is critical for us to finally unite as a capable community, and for New Orleans to work for itself instead of against itself to encourage talent to stay here by rewarding what you know and not who you know. In 1993, I earned a position on a team supporting a Donald Mintz Mayoral Campaign. As the campaign’s position papers can attest, the vision for positive progress involves creating a functioning public sector, a vibrant economy, and sincerely working with citizens and other stakeholders. These are the keys to build a thriving community for all and to preserve the unique cultural expressions that are so very right about New Orleans. I believe this to my core! I am a public servant at heart having worked over the last twenty years as a staffer within public processes. I have worked for a councilwoman in District E, two mayors in economic development and neighborhood engagement, and thirteen years in disaster recovery. I bring an authentic progressive change agent’s heart and mind combined with experience. Before even running to be your Councilman, I have set a plan to reduce crime, improve city performance, and strengthen District C neighborhoods, which have been left vulnerable. Crime, noise, blight, litter, illegal dumping, illegal Short-Term Rentals, and unenforced code and permitting regulations make life in our district stressful and difficult for far too many residents on both sides of the River. Economic decline in District C, particularly in Algiers, has resulted from decades of political intrusion, cliques, and the failure of government and economic development leaders to care enough about us to work together, to plan strategically, and to build for our community’s long-term future. We need to diversify our economy and expand opportunity based on talent and merit. As your Councilman, I will address the many problems that have plagued District C for generations.

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From Judeo-Greek To Karaim, Oxford Courses On 12 Rare Jewish Languages Aim To Keep Heritages Alive By Michelle Krasovitski

(Wikimedia

Commons; collage Grace Yagel)

by

(JTA) — In April, the language-learning app Duolingo added its 40th language to its program arsenal: Yiddish. A couple of decades ago, it would have been unthinkable for a mainstream non-Jewish language program to offer an expansive, comprehensive course in Yiddish. But Duolingo’s Yiddish addition only serves to reflect the increased global interest in learning a language that once had as many as 12 million speakers.

Ladino, a Romance language of Sephardic Jews still spoken by hundreds of thousands worldwide, has also garnered much interest in recent years. Ladino classes, both online and in-person, are widely available to prospective learners. But while those two Jewish languages are enjoying a cultural renaissance, many others — ones spoken in Crimea, Baghdad, Baku and beyond, which have both miraculously survived and succumbed to tumultuous periods in world history — have remained largely inaccessible to interested learners. This month, that’s changing. The Oxford School of Rare Jewish Languages in the UK has launched its inaugural semester of courses in 12 Jewish languages, belonging to the Aramaic, Arabic

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and Turkic language families. They range in number of speakers, from millions to none. The courses, which began this week, run for an hour a week online and are free for all students. “There are currently many brilliant research projects and online platforms concerning Jewish languages,” said Professor Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, president of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and the creator of the new program. “What is missing is the possibility for the growing number of interested students to learn these languages, even less in an academic setting.” This is why she sees the OSRJL’s format — online and free — as significant: it ensures that classes are accessible to an international pool of students. Yiddish is one of the 12 Jewish languages offered by the OSRJL — and with roughly 1.5 million speakers worldwide, it is the only language offered by the program that is not endangered or extinct. In fact, Yiddish is growing in its number of speakers. “People outside of the Yiddish-

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speaking world have this distorted notion that Yiddish is disappearing,” explained Kalman Weiser, a Silber Family Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at York University, in Toronto. “It’s not. It’s only growing. Judeo-Greek, on the other hand, is a language that is going to disappear.” Weiser’s mother speaks JudeoGreek, but unfortunately, this tongue, which originated in the Macedonian Empire, is expected to die out with this generation without serious intervention. Most of the languages offered by the OSRJL face a similar fate. Several — including Judeo-French, Classical Judeo-Arabic and Classical JudeoPersian — are already considered extinct. The latter is a language that Daniel Amir, a doctoral researcher of Iranian Jewish history at the University of Oxford, aims to study at the OSRJL. He also plans to take courses in Judeo-Neo-Aramaic, a language with an estimated 60 speakers left. See OXFORD on Page

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“Knowing a language is one thing, but getting to learn and improve together with other people is exciting and motivating. All of these languages are ones with which I have a strong personal connection,” he said. Amir’s family speaks a dialect of Judeo-Neo-Aramaic that is in serious decline, and he wishes to do his part to halt the downward trend. “Most of my experience with the dialect is through talking with and listening to my family, so getting a chance to formally study it is a great privilege,” he said. Studying any Jewish language, whether it is of heritage or not, opens up a window into the diverse history of world Jewry, Weiser noted. He mentioned a theory proposed by sociolinguist Max Weinreich in “The History of the Yiddish Language,” which suggests that there is an unbroken chain of Jewish languages stemming from ancient Hebrew to today, where Yiddish is the latest link. “Once you take this approach, any Jewish language becomes a

vital part of Jewishness,” Weiser said. “You start off at one place but then you begin to see the bigger picture.” Though the chances that Karaim (a Turkic language with roughly 80 speakers) or Judeo-Italian (a Romance language with 250 speakers) are one’s heritage language are low today, studying them can be a potent exercise in understanding the broader Jewish experience. Olszowy-Schlanger told JTA that the OSRJL intends to bolster the

connection students feel to their cultures, both through the language courses and by offering a variety of other online content, including blog publications on exceptional books and a 16-lecture series on Yiddish music. The ripple effects of a program like this are not secluded to the Jewish realm — Weiser mentioned that many past Jewish language initiatives were in tandem, influenced by, or would go on to influence other Indigenous language pro-

grams. The faculties that raised Hebrew from the proverbial dead have also influenced the revitalization of Indigenous languages such as Lushootseed and Sami, and helped inspire the moves to preserve Irish and Cornish. “These communities merit and deserve our research, curiosity, and admiration — both in their pasts and presents,” Amir said. “And language is a perfect point of departure.”

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Noah’s Ark Is One Weird Bedtime Story By Andrew Silow-Carroll

"Two By Two" by Barbara Reid is a whimsical version of the Noah's Ark story. (Scholastic)

(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — Our oldest son is named Noah, and as a result we collected a lot of children’s books based on the Bible story (which will be read in synagogues this Shabbat). On its face, the story of Noah and the flood, with its parade of animals, is just right for kids. In truth, it’s a weird and woolly story that gets weirder and woolier the more you think about it. If bedtime reading was supposed to be relaxing, we picked the wrong story. Every kids’ version of a Bible story is a “midrash,” which is a Jewish method for explaining and expanding on the Hebrew canon. The closest English word is “homily,” but midrash is really literary analysis, except written in the form of parables, legal arguments and

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fan fiction. A midrash can fill in the gaps of the typically terse Torah. The famous bit about Abraham smashing his father’s idols? That’s a midrash, made up by the rabbis to explain how the future patriarch of the Jewish people came to reject his father’s bad example. There is a formal literature of midrash, but the spirit of the enterprise lives on whenever people use the Bible as inspiration for novels, films, comic books – and children’s books. Midrash is also what you leave out of a story. When its comes to Noah. there’s an awful lot an author or parent might prefer to leave out. First of all, it presupposes an exasperated God who, terrifyingly, decides to wipe out nearly all of humanity because of the sinful ways of the people He created. A kid just might ask exactly what all those sinners did to deserve annihilation. And while Noah, his family and the animals survive their 40-day ordeal, and God makes a rainbow as a sign that he’ll never to do it again, you can’t help but think about the 41st day. In his new book, “The JPS Jewish Heritage Torah Commen-

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tary,” Rabbi Eli L. Garfinkel notes that when the Noah story is told to children, the tale is given “an ageappropriate cheery patina, depicting the ark and the animals with bright, primary colors. The actual biblical text, however, is anything but colorful and happy. It is a dark, dismal story, a tale of people who are left to mourn a lost and destroyed world.” Sweet dreams, kids. Kids’ books about Noah tend to glide past the sticky theology, but some deal with it. “Two by Two” by Barbara Reid, with amazing illustrations fashioned out of modeling clay, is a whimsical, pun-filled poem (“Space within was so restricted/ Even the boas felt constricted”). But it opens by acknowledging that people “turned to evil ways” and with God declaring “Let them drown!” Bright children might also wonder — just as the classic midrash does — why Noah doesn’t do more to save people outside of his immediate family. The rabbis solve this by suggesting that he took so long to build the ark – perhaps 52 or 70 years – because he wanted to give his fellow humans time to see what he was up to and repent. But there’s also Bart Simpson’s midrash, which comes to the opposite conclusion: Acting out the story, Bart has the people cry out, “Noah, Noah, save us!” To which Bart, as Noah, replies tersely, “No.” The Little Golden Books “Noah’s Ark” deals at some length (for a kid’s book) with Noah’s unease and his neighbors’ contempt. After God tells Noah he is going to “Wash away the evil in the world,” Noah is next seen telling his wife and kids, “We must obey God!” You are left to imagine, as any good midrash writer would, the heated family discussion that came before this declaration. Any parent who tells his kid “We must obey God!” has probably lost the argument. For those who don’t want story time to become a seminar on theodicy, there are books, like “On Noah’s Ark” by Jan Brett, that leave God out of the story entirely. Instead, Brett’s version begins with, “Grandpa Noah says that the rains are coming.” No God, no bad guys. Of course, this only ends up shifting the conversation from “Must we obey God?” to “Must we obey Grandpa?” A lot of the children’s books instead treat Noah as an ecological cautionary tale. That’s a Jewish tradition too, based in part on the verses:

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“The earth became corrupt before God.” (Genesis 6:11) A literal reading suggests that humankind’s evil had infected the earth itself – a potent metaphor and prophecy for environmentalists. And Noah, as the savior of all life on earth, can be portrayed as the very first eco-warrior. In a science book for kids, “Planet Ark: Preserving Earth’s Biodiversity,” author Adrienne Mason takes the ark as a metaphor for the earth itself: “In many ways, our beautiful blue home – planet Earth – is like an ark sailing through the universe,” she writes. “Thankfully, there are many modernday Noahs – groups and individuals – who are working hard to preserve Earth’s biodiversity.” One of our favorite versions of the Noah story, “Aardvarks, Disembark!” by Ann Jonas, is essentially a roll call of the animal pairs as they leave the ark. The kids loved hearing us recite the odd names – aurochs, gerenuks, lechwes, peludos, urumutums – and we adults understood that a lot of these animals were extinct or endangered. Parents know their kids best, and its up to them to decide what sort of lessons they’d like to impart and what books best help them do that. Is Noah about the wages of sin? The possibility for forgiveness and a fresh start? The need to protect a fragile planet? If your kid doesn’t ask you what they did with all the poop on the ark, you’re missing out on a peak parenting moment. My Noah is all grown up, and the children’s books have been set aside in the hope that we’ll one day read them to grandkids. Given the headlines, I suspect that the Noah story and its themes — a reckless populace, a degraded environment, a retributive flood (or fire, or pandemic) — are only going to become more relevant. Bedtime with grandpa is going to be a bummer. Andrew Silow-Carroll is the editor in chief of The New York Jewish Week and senior editor of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (@ SilowCarroll). The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media.

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I Left My Hasidic Community. ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Helped Me Put Things In Perspective.

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A year ago, I was watching “Schitt’s Creek” with my wife. It was the last season, second to last episode, so things were already emotional. Then there was that scene. The one where David is sitting on the car with his best friend Stevie and looking at the house that his soon-to-be husband Patrick had wanted to buy for him before David had told him that they were moving to New York. Patrick, the hunky good boy that he is, had agreed to, and David was now looking at another reality he might live if he chose to stay in Schitt’s Creek. And he was crying. It’s at this point that Stevie asks him, “What is it about New York?” After some needling, it’s clear that David is dying to go back to prove to his former friends, the ones who can’t even come to his wedding because they had a rave to go to, that he was someone. In his words, “I want those people to know that I’m not a joke and that I’ve won.” Stevie can hardly handle it. She points out the house and says, “David, look at this place. You’ve won.” It was at that point that I broke down. In a moment, I went from tearing up due to the beauty of the scene to suddenly feeling completely overwhelmed with a sense of deep familiarity. My wife, Rivka, paused the episode right as David fell into Stevie’s arms and bawled. And that was when I turned toward her and fell into her arms and cried in a way I hadn’t in ages, letting out something I had been holding onto for a very long time. I cried and cried, holding onto her, letting the snot and the tears come out, finally. Rivka looked at me and asked THE

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what was going on. “I’m David,” I said. Last summer, almost exactly one year ago, my family and I had moved across the country. We brought our three daughters from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the center of the Chabad Hasidic community that I had struggled and failed to reform, to our new home in Long Beach, California. For a while, such a move felt unimaginable. We had dedicated our lives to this community, and to the Orthodox world at large. We had given everything to be part of it, and we felt that even when things were challenging, we were part of a divine mission to make it better. It started with joy: We wanted to build a community for creative Jews, a place where they could express what was in their hearts freely. But we quickly learned that there were certain things in the hearts of some of our fellow writers and community members that the larger community did not think should be expressed, like feelings about laws of family purity, hiding a lack of belief, modesty, childhood abuse, queer issues, Donald Trump, racism and the act of expression itself. As our community grew, we spoke more openly about the backlash we and those we cared about were experiencing. And in turn, this led to further backlash. But rather than give in, all of this caused us to invest further. We turned our home into a community center, made it our full-time jobs, and started to become more vocal as activists, joining and helping lead communities like Torah Trumps Hate that invested heavily in transforming the Orthodox narrative around politics after the 2016 election. It was the only way I could make sense of things, even when they got dark: I was brought into this community by God, and so the difficulties I faced in it were just difficulties I was meant to face and do something about. When we finally faced up to the See SCHITT'S CREEK on Page

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reality that no change was coming, and that even if it was, our attempts to build something there was breaking us down and hurting our family, I agreed to make the move my work had been asking me to do for a few months. The move, by any objective measure, was an incredible moment for my family. We were no longer living in a shoebox but in a charming house, a dream I had had since Rivka and I married. We were a few minutes from the beach. We found a school that was diverse and Jewish (the biggest fear we had was losing the vibrancy of the Jewish education we had found in Brooklyn). We were no longer constantly broke. And as for me, I was no longer in a community that proved toxic to me. I had finally left, finally broken free, finally had the space to be and think and act however I wanted without a community looking over my shoulder. I could finally heal. And yet, part of me felt defeated. Broken. In many ways, the Haredi Jewish world creates an impossible situation for those who wish to make change: We are taught that change can only happen from within, and yet are simultaneously told when we try to make that change that we are traitors. The reformers within the community learn early that “the most effective way to make change is quietly.” I had many “moderate” Haredi leaders whisper this to me when I’d write yet another screed about what I saw as the failures in our community. We are also taught to be deeply phobic about the very idea of leaving, which connects to our belief that staying within is the only way to make change. And yet, it is this very determination to stay that forces us to work within a system designed to quiet dissent. So, when we leave, despite the fact that it is, in fact, a form of liberation, it can feel like an utter failure. Like we’ve lost. Like we’ve given up. I suppose this was all swirling in my head when David shared his thoughts with Stevie. I spent years, years of my life, believing that the only way to “win” was to stay. I had bought into a lie, one that kept me in a place that only hurt me, my family and the people I cared about. I was like David: determined to attach myself to New York, if only to prove to them that, in the words

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of David, “I’m not a joke. And that I’ve won.” Yet there was also life asking me, “Why do you want to go back to a place that’s done nothing but hurt your feelings?” That’s what an abusive relationship is. It convinces you that the only way to make things right is to stay. And that’s why I cried when Stevie cried out to David, “Look at this place! You’ve won!” I also have my own charming little home, one that I was lucky enough to have chosen with my wife. I didn’t need to justify myself to anyone. I didn’t need to win anything. I didn’t need to prove that I wasn’t a joke. I chose this life, and that is what matters. That the agency in my heart, in my soul, had finally been acted upon to its full completion. I was no longer doing half measures: I was out. That’s winning. That’s enough. I rewatched “Schitt’s Creek” a month or so ago. And there I was, again, watching this episode with Rivka almost exactly one year later. Again, I found myself collapsing in tears. But this time, the tears were sweet: tears of victory. It was a year later, and already things were so much better than they had been. Rivka had recently told me that I was healthier than she had seen me our entire marriage. When my parents came to visit, they mentioned that I seemed so much calmer, that I had always seemed agitated and anxious when they visited us in New York. I was more present with my daughters than I had ever been. And while we miss having a Jewish community, we are also excited to now join one with intentionality, forethought and agency. I built a life here. My family is healthier, happier. We are living a life of freedom, one that we’ve chosen. We won. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media.

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‘Fiddler’ Meets ‘The Sopranos’: A Gritty, Forgotten Novel By Sholom Aleichem Is Published In English For The First Time By Penny Schwartz

The cover of Curt Leviant's translation of "Moshkeleh the Thief." (The Jewish Publication Society)

(JTA) — Move over, Tevye the dairyman. Make room for Moshkele the thief, the rough and tumble rogue hero from the wrong side of the shtetl in a newly rediscovered work of fiction by Sholom Aleichem. The recent publication of “Moshkele the Thief: A Rediscovered Novel” (Jewish Publication Society/University of Nebraska Press), translated from the original Yiddish and with an introduction by Curt Leviant, marks the first ever English-language translation of the novella by perhaps the most popular and most widely read Yiddish writer. Sholom Aleichem, the pen name of Shalom Rabinowitz (18591916), was a masterful storyteller whose keen eye, wit and humor earned him the reputation as the Jewish Mark Twain. He left a legacy of novels, plays, essays and stories that have been translated into dozens of languages. His fictional stories of Tevye, the everyman’s philosopher of Jewish life, family and faith in a shtetl village in Czarist Russia, inspired the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” But even though Aleichem could write about flawed characters and the grittier side of shtetl life, Moshkele is a far cry from Tevye. The all-but-forgotten tale, first serialized in Yiddish in a Warsaw newspaper in 1903 — a year before

Rabinowitz would leave Kyiv for New York City, and three years before his death at 57 — explores the underside of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. The novella brims with the doings of horse thieves, cheats, swindlers and a pious tavern keeper who doesn’t hesitate to show off his comely daughters to sell a few more bottles of vermouth. The book also captures relations between Jews and non-Jews, another rarity in popular Yiddish writing of the day. It took the astute eye of Leviant, a seasoned translator and scholar of Sholom Aleichem’s work, to spot references to “Moshkele the Thief” (“Moshkele Ganev” in Yiddish) while doing research at the Hebrew University Library in Jerusalem. A retired Rutgers University professor of Hebrew literature and the author or translator of more than 25 books (including the forthcoming novel, “Me, Mo, Mu, Ma & Mod”), Leviant was thumbing through old copies of the Yiddish quarterly “Di Goldene Keyt” when he noticed a brief mention of the title. “Moshkele” is not included in the 28-volume “The Complete Works of Sholom Aleichem,” published after his death. “I felt I was at the edge of a gold mine,” Leviant wrote in an email. Back at home in New York, his query to the National Yiddish Book Center turned up copies of the three Yiddish editions of “Moshkeleh Ganev,” dating from 1913 (Warsaw), 1927 (Kiev), and 1941 (Moscow). “I read this short novel in one sitting and decided that his gem must make its way to the public,” Leviant recalled. He immediately began translating.

crimes. Moshkele prefers horses to his religious school rabbis from a young age, and is portrayed as an intimidating but lonely soul, rejected in love and disdained by his coreligionists in the small town of Sholom Aleichem, circa 1900. (FPG/ Mazapevke — anticipating misunArchive Photos/Getty Images) derstood literary gangsters from Leviant captures the broken syn- Isaac Babel’s Benya Krik to James tax and jargon of the shtetl demi- Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano. monde, who prefer euphemisms See FIDDLER 24 like “I shot a bird” or “I whistled it on Page out of the shed” to refer to their JEFFERSON PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY

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The Author Of ‘The Matzah Ball,’ A Hanukkah Novel, Wants Jews To Read More Romance By Philissa Cramer

Jean Meltzer aimed to subvert traditional Jewish stories in her debut novel "The Matzah Ball." (Lisa Damico/ Mira Books; collage and illustration by Grace Yagel)

(JTA) — Jean Meltzer always knew how “The Matzah Ball,” her first novel, would end. “The rule of romance is that there has to be a happy ending; the characters have to get together,” Meltzer told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “If they don’t get together, that’s not a romance; that’s literary fiction.” So (not-really-a-spoiler alert) it was a foregone conclusion that protagonist Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt, a best-selling Christmasthemed romance writer who has kept her career from her observant

Jewish parents, would wind up with Jacob Greenberg, her Camp Ahava crush who is now throwing the glitziest Hanukkah party New York City has ever seen. But while Rachel and Jacob’s love story conforms to the conventions of the romance novel, Meltzer sees it as subverting traditional Jewish stories that more often dwell on the difficulty or danger of being Jewish. “I wanted to write a book for Jews where the heroes were sexy, where the men were strong, where the women were beautiful, where they got their happy ending,” said Meltzer, a self-proclaimed rabbinical school dropout and Christmas junkie. Meltzer also wanted to spotlight a character who, like her, struggles with chronic illness. Rachel’s myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, is invisible to those who don’t know her but shapes her life in every way, much as it has for Meltzer, who was

diagnosed as a young adult and describes herself as “basically homebound.” Meltzer spoke to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from her silvertinsel-draped home office in Northern Virginia about the impetus behind “The Matzah Ball,” why she believes the Hanukkah bush has a place in Jewish homes and the power of romance novels to shape Jewish identity. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. JTA: Why did you decide to write this book and what are you hoping to achieve with it? Meltzer: I’ve always been a nice Jewish girl who loves Christmas. And every year I go into, say, Target, and there’s a holiday display with all of the Christmas books. Year after year, I went looking for a Hanukkah book, and there never was one. I just wanted to see myself represented on that table. I could envision it: a blue and white book in the sea of red and green.

I also had an experience where my 7-year-old niece was sitting on my lap and she looked at me and she goes Auntie Jean, you have a big nose, and big noses are ugly. She goes to Jewish day school, she’s surrounded by strong Jewish women, and I thought, where did she get this message? So when I sat down to write this book, I wanted to do something different from the stories I had grown up with, which were Holocaust stories, stories where Jews were being taken hostage by terrorists — you never really saw us as the heroes of their own stories. I wanted to write a book for Jews where the heroes were sexy, where the men were strong, where the women were beautiful, where they got their happy ending. I wrote this book primarily for myself, but it was really out of a desire to sort of just create a different type of Jewish story. See MATZAH BALL on Page

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like a tchotchke on my lawn. Even so, I’m very proud of my outdoor display — we have gone insane. We have giant blow-ups and we put up lights and it’s gotten to a point where people literally drive to see it. In Jewish law, there are prohibitions against mimicking your foreign neighbors and things like that. So growing up I think that was very strong: There was a fear of assimilation and that having a Christmas tree, we were all going to go off and marry non-Jews and not be Jewish anymore. For me, I feel like I’ve done the work Jewishly, and I am very comfortable in my Judaism. So I don’t feel like the Hanukkah bush is going to be my slippery slope that’s going to push me over the edge and change my belief system. But there is also a commandment of beautifying your holy objects, and then the commandment for Hanukkah lights is that you’re supposed to publicize the miracle, right? I’m not a rabbi, but you can maybe make an argument [in favor of Hanukkah lawn displays]. I’ve always been a person who likes pretty things, and especially with chronic illness and in Size_2019_print.pdf 1 11/11/19 11:38 AM on to my joy theLAW_full middle of a pandemic, holding is such a big part of my life. And when I walk

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I think we all know that antisemitism is a growing problem. I didn’t want to add to that. I wanted to write the best of my community. I wanted to write the best of Shabbat dinners that I’ve been to, the best of Jewish mothers, the best of Jewish friendships, and all the fun of living in the Jewish world. I wanted people to see Jews in a different light. In the literary world, the #OwnVoices moveand it’s nighttime and the lights are twinkling, I ment has argued that stories about communities feel it in my kishkes. It just makes me feel good. and cultures should be written by people from If you were to pick a favorite moment in the those communities and cultures. There’s also book or the writing process, one that felt like a backlash to this idea from those who say it peak moment for you, what would it be and deprives writers of the power to invent and may why? cause writers to be pigeonholed. How do you The hardest thing for me to write, or what I see your work fitting into this debate? think was the most important thing, was the Having worked with non-Jewish editors and bedazzled wheelchair. [Jacob sends a sparkly seeing how people have reacted to the book, I wheelchair to Rachel’s apartment after a flareup can see now that I think in a very Jewish worldof her chronic fatigue leaves her unable to leave view that is very different from how the rest of home.] the world thinks. Things that I sort of take for The problem of chronic illness is that it’s granted and nuances that I thought everybody invisible. Because we’re invisible, our struggles would sort of understand, I had to realize and are not fully seen and because they’re not seen, learn that that was not the case. they’re not understood. So this idea that like, Listen, I’m a writer. I love writing. Any writer again, it’s almost like intersectionality of idenshould be able to write any story. But I really tity — we think of ourselves as Jewish, but think there is something to #OwnVoices. You we’re more than just Jewish. A lot of us have would have to do years and years and years of multiple identities. By making it visible, by research, I think, to write a book like “The Matshowing that it’s so much more norzah Ball,” if you didn’t have the experience. mal than we realize, that’s how we I think there’s absolutely something to be get people to understand that it’s part said for #OwnVoices. of our experience. The book is very thoroughly Jewish — not And when you’re chronically ill, just the characters and setting but the text, that moment where you want to use a which is peppered with references to the Talwheelchair is really the moment mud and other Jewish texts. Who do you see when you’re like “holy crap, I’m as the audience? really sick,” and when your disability At the end of the day I don’t know who the goes from invisible to visible. So I audience will be but I will tell you that absofelt it was incredibly important and lutely non-Jews have picked up the book. Debbie Macomber is the queen of Christmas See MATZAH BALL 24 romance: She fell in love with the book, and on Page not only gave me a blurb but she did my launch event recently. The first international territory my book sold to was Sweden, which again is a place that you don’t think has a huge Jewish population, and it’s going to be [the publisher’s] Christmas lead in 2022. So, obviously, the book is resonating with non-Jewish readers and I think it’s been resonating with Jewish readers as well, which is the ultimate hope — that it reaches who it needs to reach. Your story is about a celebration of holiday aesthetics, but there’s also a moment where the characters realize that a bunch of dreidels and menorahs just don’t have a glitzy effect. The Christmas aesthetic is so well developed, and there are so many variations on it. Why do you think the Jewish holiday aesthetic is so much less developed? I did not grow up in a family that had any type of Christmas or Hanukkah decor, but I love it now. Every year I start sort of scouring Louisiana Alarm Watch (504) 780-8775 www.laalarmwatch.com for, like, a new Hanukkah inflatable for the SECURITY • FIRE • MEDICAL ALERT • CAMERAS • ACCESS CONTROL lawn, and every year it’s impossible to find something that’s good, that doesn’t look just C

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powerful that women who were chronically ill and sick could see that they could be loved, even in a wheelchair. And that it’s okay to accept your disability, and then also that a man or a woman or a partner will love you in spite of whatever your disability is, will love you through all the good and bad of your life. It was the hardest thing to write because I had never seen anything like that in a romance, but I felt like at the end of the day it was the most important scene I wrote in the book. What else would you want Jewish readers to know about your book? It was written to create a joyous Jewish story. I know it’s different but I really think everyone should at least pick it up, give it a chance, give it a try. You might find that you actually like romance and romcom more than you realize. I know it’s new for the Jewish world. I really think it’s important that young people and all of us see ourselves in stories beyond the lens of victimhood, and I really think that one of the ways we do that is by making ourselves heroes in our own stories. And this is a way to do that. Romance gives us the ability to become heroes and love interests, and champions of our own narrative. I hope I’m not the only Jewish romance writer going forward. [Meltzer’s second book, “Mr. Perfect on Paper,” will come out next year, and she’s at work on a third.] I hope we have lots of Jewish rom coms because there’s a huge gaping hole in the market there. And, you know, I think it’s really important that we start telling stories where we get a happy ending. I know it’s not what we do, but everyone deserves a happy ending, including Jews.

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The story unfolds over the course of 20 brief chapters, reflecting the rhythm of its original run as a serial, cliffhangers and all. Early on, the narrator teases with the tantalizing scandal of Tzirele, the beautiful unmarried daughter of Chaim Chosid, who runs Mazapevke’s tavern. Unlike her sisters, Tzirele wants more to life than being matched in marriage and mothering a brood of children. In a rebellious turn that might have shocked contemporary readers, Tzirele runs away with the town’s Christian liquor tax collector, who arranges for her to take up residence at the local monastery until they can be married. With nowhere else to turn, Tzirele’s bereft family pins its hopes on Moshkele for her rescue. Even amidst the trauma, the book’s tone remains wry: The monastery garden is “an earthly paradise, as it was called in Mazepevke, even though no Jew had ever had the privilege of setting foot in it.” Sholom Aleichem also occasionally breaks the fourth wall and addresses the reader directly: “But let’s cast philosophy aside and return to our novel,” he writes at one point. Sholom Aleichem himself was pleased with the novel, Leviant explains in the book’s introduction. “’I now feel as if I’ve been born anew, with new – brand new – strength. I can almost say that now I’ve really begun to write. Until now, I’ve only been fooling around,’” Sholom Aleichem wrote in a letter published in a later biography. It certainly opened up possibilities for other writers in Yiddish. Leviant writes that the next generation of Yiddish writers – including Sholem Asch and Isaac Bashevis Singer – “had no qualms representing the seamy side of Jewish life.” By the time “Moshkele Ganev” was published, Sholom Aleichem was at the height of his literary career and popularity, Leviant noted. “Perhaps earlier, he would not have attempted a portrait of a ganev,” he wrote. “The fact that the book was serialized in full shows that readers were clamoring for the next installment.” THE

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Joc Pederson, Jewish Baseball Star, Is An Adorable Dad By Lior Zaltzman

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Everyone is obsessed with Joc Pederson right now, and not just because the Jewish dad and Atlanta Braves slugger is a great player — though, of course, he is! The 29-year-old has played a major role in helping his team advance to the National League Championship Series — which means that, when they clinched, the Braves went on to the World Series! In fact, Pederson has a track record for being so strong during postseason games that many fans have started to call this month “Joctober.” If that isn’t awe-inspiring enough, Pederson is also admired far and wide for his unique jewelry game! The father of two has been sporting a pearl necklace while going to bat in recent MLB games, and we are here for his adoption of this classy 1950s housewife/stylish grandma accessory. When initially asked about the necklace, the outfielder simply said, “There was no story behind it, that he’s just ‘a bad

bitch,'” a sports journalist wrote on Twitter. Honestly, this chutzpadik reply really had baseball fans and Jewish athlete-watchers reeling! “I saw some [pearl necklaces] and thought they looked cooler than the black or gold chains [traditionally worn by players], so I texted my jeweler, got some, and it kind of took off,” Pederson later explained. As my colleague Evelyn Frick at Alma writes, whether or not Pederson’s pearls are an attempt to subvert gender norms, it’s kind of a radical move — especially in professional sports, where softness and femininity aren’t typically revered. As a parent, I can’t help but love that this is the example Pederson is setting for his two kids — to dare to be different (or be “bad bitch,” if you will). We could all use a little bit of his chutzpah! While his mother, Shelly, is Jewish, Pederson and his siblings grew up in Palo Alto, Calif., in a home not aligned with Jewish religion or rituals. According to his brother, Tyger, “Sometimes went to bar mitzvahs or experienced Hanukkah at a friend’s house.” Nonetheless, Pederson is embraced by the Jewish sports establishment — and even joined Israel’s baseball team back in 2013! “My mom’s Jewish, I grew up in a pretty Jewish community… I had

THE

enough information and Jewish background, or heritage, that I could play,” he said about playing for the Jewish state. What’s more, he was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California in 2019 and the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. In 2017, he broke the record for most home runs for a Jewish player in a World Series championship. While it’s unlikely that Pederson is raising his kids Jewish, by all accounts he appears to be a menschy dad of the finest order. His social media feeds are filled with loving tributes his wife, Kelsey Williams, and their children. (Bonus fun fact: When the couple tied the knot in January 2018, John Legend performed at their wedding!) Adorably, when Pederson’s elder daughter, Poppy Jett, was born in October of 2018, the player, then 26, changed his walkup music to “Big Poppa” by The Notorious B.I.G. Talk about dad pride! Then, in 2021, when he left the Dodgers after a decade on the team, he wrote a reflection on that time period. He shared that every night, when he puts Poppy to sleep, “I kiss her on the forehead and we say the same two things to each other… I

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tell her I love her. (She says back, ‘I love you!’) … And I tell her to dream big. (She says back, ‘Dream big!’)” We love that! A video showcasing his time with the Dodgers has many moments with his daughter on the field. There are also videos of his son, who was born in the fall of 2020, whom Pederson appears to call Wilder in the video — though he usually nicknames him “Bubba” or “Bubs” in social media posts. In a recent social media post, Pederson shared a picture of himself with his two kids, wearing matching tie-dye t-shirts that little Poppy made them. It was just so adorable: In a video posted by the official MLB account, dated to his standout win on October 11, Pederson is shown leaving the stadium with Poppy, still wearing the pearl necklace around his neck. He holds her hand as he walks out of the stadium with her, lovingly chatting with her and making sure the toddler safely makes it down the stairs. It is all very darling: Mazel tov on your recent wins, Joc, and we cheered you on in the World Series!

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Arts & Culture

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At 95, Mel Brooks Will Finally Deliver ‘History Of The World: Part II’ By Ron Kampeas

Mel Brooks as Torquemada in "History of the World: Part I" (1981), which will finally see a sequel on Hulu. (20th Century Fox/screenshot)

(JTA) — You couldn’t Torquemada it: Mel Brooks is making a sequel to “History of the World: Part I,” the 1981 revue that delighted and/or appalled Jews with, among other segments, a cheery musical take on the Spanish Inquisition. The original was a feature film; the sequel on Hulu will be a variety series, Variety reported on Monday. Brooks, who is 95, will executiveproduce and write; joining him will be professional funny people Nick Kroll, Wanda Sykes, Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen and Kevin Salter. Production is set to begin in 2022.

Janet Hays

Most of the original film’s cast, including Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise, Gregory Hines, Cloris Leachman and Sid Caesar, have died in the 40 years since it was released. “I can’t wait to once more tell the real truth about all the phony baloney stories the world has been conned into believing are History!” Brooks told Variety. Brooks played a number of roles in the original “History,” including the Spanish inquisitor Torquemada in the Inquisition skit — a tough competition for the most joyfully tasteless segment. “We have a mission to convert the Jews,” Brooks sings as Torquemada, after sliding down a bannister, Broadway-style, to greet his prisoners in the torture chamber. “Jew, Jew Jew Jew Jew Jew Jews!” the chorus of monks replies. “We’re going to help them see the light and make an offer that they can’t refuse,” Brooks sings. “That the Jews just can’t refuse!” say the

monks. Other sketches covered cavemen, Moses, the Last Supper, the Roman era and the French Revolution, in which Brooks, as King Louis XVI, uttered the immortal catchphrase, “It’s good to be the king.” The new series finally fulfills the teaser at the end of “Part I,” which promised a sequel that would cover “Hitler on Ice” and “Jews in Space.”

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On Netflix And Elsewhere, New Collections Of Palestinian And Israeli Films Are Now Available For Streaming By Andrew Lapin

Netflix's new "Palestinian Stories" film collection includes a few dozen noteworthy Palestinian films from the past few decades, including (from left) the Oscar-nominated "Omar" and "Ave Maria," and "Giraffada." (Netflix)

(JTA) — Some of Netflix’s biggest international hits of the last few years — from “Fauda” to “Shtisel” — have been Israeli imports. Now, the streaming giant is spotlighting Palestinian entertainment, as well. Last week, Netflix released a “Palestinian Stories” collection consisting of what it said was 32 films, although only 27 films were listed under the category in the U.S. as of Monday. Of the available selections, which span the last cou-

ple of decades, 12 of them are short films. A mix of drama, comedy and documentary, many of the films focus on relationships between Palestinians and Israelis, particularly the Israeli military; a few also incorporate American Jews into their plots. Most, but not all, are from Palestinian directors; several were made with the participation and cooperation of Israelis. At least one director is from a Jewish family. Netflix said more Palestinian films would eventually be added to the service. Palestinian filmmakers welcomed the opportunity to give their stories a wider platform. “We all in the Palestinian film industry have been eager to share our narrative with the world through our authentic creative productions as an alternative to news reporting,” said May Odeh, director of ‘The Crossing,” in a Netflix news release.

Netflix added that the collection would “showcase the depth and diversity of the Palestinian experience.” Here are a few of the noteworthy entries available in the U.S.: “Omar,” directed by Hany AbuAsad, was nominated for the 2013 Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar — the second Palestinian film to be nominated in the category, after Abu-Asad’s own “Paradise Now,” and the first to be identified as originating from “Palestine” rather than “Palestinian Territories.” It’s a drama about a Palestinian baker who becomes a militant and must make deals with the Israeli government while behind bars. “Ave Maria,” a satirical short film directed by Basil Kahlil, was nominated for the 2016 Best LiveAction Short Film Oscar; its plot follows a family of religious Israeli settlers whose car breaks down in the West Bank, forcing

them to depend on a group of nuns for help. (Another Palestinian short film on Netflix, 2020’s “The Present,” was also nominated for an Oscar.) “Chronicle of a Disappearance” and “Divine Intervention” are the first two feature films by the acclaimed director Elia Suleiman, who is often hailed as an heir to Buster Keaton for his largely silent comic vignettes and his deadpan acting as a fictionalized version of himself. “Divine Intervention,” from 2002, was the first-ever Palestinian film submitted to the Oscars, and, after considerable controversy over whether the Academy considered “Palestine” qualified to submit an entry, was accepted for consideration (though not nominated). A handful of selections are See NETFLIX on Page

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Best wishes to my many friends & associates in the Jewish Community. Thank you for your continued support.

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Groundbreaking Partnership Combines Israeli Technological Prowess With Pediatric Medicine By Larry Luxner

Israel's Technion and Cincinnati's Children's Hospital are teaming up to invent new ways of diagnosing and treating pediatric illnesses. (John Fedele/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV — Eosiniphilic esophagitis, a chronic immune disease caused mainly by food allergies, is a serious condition affecting about one in 2,000 children. Yet it’s very difficult to diagnose. That’s because it traditionally requires a highly trained pathologist to analyze biopsies under a microscope — an arduous, timeconsuming process that sometimes yields different results depending on who is doing the analysis. But what if a machine scanned the biopsies instead, and got the diagnosis right every time? An inconceivable fantasy only 20 years ago, it’s no longer science

fiction — thanks to a unique new partnership between the TechnionIsrael Institute of Technology in Haifa and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio. Known officially as the Bridge to Next-Generation Medicine, the academic venture, launched in September, aims to revolutionize pediatric medicine by combining the Technion’s technological prowess, including world-renowned expertise in computational science and artificial intelligence, with doctors and scientists focused on understanding and treating childhood diseases. The hope is that together they will come up with new ways of diagnosing and treating pediatric illnesses. “It’s an exciting partnership that brings together people who normally wouldn’t work together — particularly computer scientists with computational biologists, and pediatric scientists focused on better understanding of treating the diseases of childhood,” said the chief visionary behind the partnership, Dr. Marc Rothenberg, director

of Children’s Hospital’s Division of Allergy and Immunology.

Dr. Marc Rothenberg, director of Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital’s Division of Allergy and Immunology, is the chief visionary behind the partnership with the Technion. (CCHMC)

For example, when it comes to eosiniphilic esophagitis, a microscopic evaluation by a doctor might take 20 or 30 minutes. But a computer could do it automatically and work 24/7, and it continually learns. With the new partnerships between the Technion and Cincinnati Children’s, the analysis could take place within minutes of procurement of the microscopic slide, and it can happen across large distances — in this case the Atlantic Ocean. Marrying science with big data, in particular, can help unleash a

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toolbox to solve unmet global pediatric needs, ranging from ultra-rare diseases to common ones such as asthma, cancer and autism, according to Rothenberg. “Research has become much more complex and involves big data sets,” Rothenberg said. “By having approaches that involve expertise in computational science and AI — which is a strength of the Technion — we can apply these to understanding diseases in ways that are revolutionary.” A world expert on inflammatory diseases, Rothenberg came up with the idea for the partnership while on a sabbatical at the Technion and its associated hospital, Rambam, also in Haifa. Two Israeli scientists, professors Yonatan Savir and Shai Shen-Orr, will head up the project on the Technion side. Savir specializes in harnessing artificial intelligence for health applications. Among other things,

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Health PARTNERSHIP Continued from Page

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his lab at the Technion developed unique algorithms to remotely monitor patients for COVID-19 symptoms. “My lab is unique because we have people doing molecular biology together with those with a background in engineering and computational biology,” Savir said. “Our underlying basic research goal is to understand how biological systems age and fail. The aging process is so complicated, and there are so many moving parts.” Machine learning and AI can do a variety of things for medicine, Savir explained. For one thing, AI can help physicians make better decisions based on current biomarkers — molecules found in blood, tissues or body fluids that suggest some kind of abnormality or can help determine how well a body is responding to a certain kind of treatment. AI can also reveal biomarkers that otherwise are not readily apparent.

Yonatan Savir, who heads a lab at the Technion that studies informationprocessing in biological systems, is an expert in artificial intelligence who has co-founded several startup companies. (Nitzan Zohar)

“In the last few years, more and more clinics have the ability to scan slides of biopsy images, and biopsies are one of the main tools we have for diagnostics,” Savir said. Shen-Orr leads the immunology and precision medicine lab at the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine. Among other things, he co-founded CytoReason, an AI-driven company that collaborates with some of the world’s biggest drug companies, including Pfizer and

Sanofi. “Generating big data in biology is not a problem anymore. You can now sequence a genome for less than $1,000,” he said. “But you basically understand only 5-10% of the genome. The problem is getting insight. That’s where computer science comes in, and machine learning is just one approach.” The Technion is Israel’s foremost academic incubator for high-tech startups. University officials hope that the partnership with the Children’s Hospital will help what is already one of America’s leading hospitals become a vector for Israeli companies working on medical applications. At present, the partnership between Technion and the Cincinnati hospital involves about 20 researchers at the Technion. As requests for proposals go out, officials expect possible areas of collaboration to grow, including such areas as development of stents and other biomedical devices. Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital was established in 1931 as the nation’s first pediatric research institution and consistently ranks among the best children’s medical facilities in the United States. The partnership with Technion was announced at an online event in September. “But we are not a university, so we don’t have the strengths the Technion has in technology,” Rothenberg said in an interview. “We think this is a unique partnership, and we hope the only limit will be the amount of funding we’re able to raise.” This story was sponsored by and produced in collaboration with the American Technion Society. To learn more or make a gift for this initiative by two world-class institutions joining powers to unlock the potential of big data to transform child health, please call Joey Selesny at (248) 593-6760 or visit ats. org/contact. This article was produced by JTA's native content team.

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directed by women, including 2014’s “Mars at Sunrise,” directed by Jessica Habie, a former West Bank resident born in Florida who identifies as being from a “JewishArab family with a Guatemalan ancestry.” The film follows the relationship between a Palestinian artist and a Jewish-American poet as the artist reveals a traumatic incident from a run-in with an Israeli soldier. Five films are by director Mahdi Fleifel, who was raised in the Ein el-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon (and whose production company is named Nakba Filmworks). Felifel’s filmography is a mix of dramas and documentaries about life among Palestinian refugees in Greece and Lebanon: “3 Logical Exits,” “A Drowning Man,” “A Man Returned,” “Xenos” and “A World Not Ours.” “Ghost Hunting,” directed by Raed Andoni, is a documentary in which former Palestinian prisoners of Israel reenact their detentions for the camera. “Giraffada,” a family-oriented animal caper directed by Rani Mas-

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salha, follows the adventures of a Palestinian veterinarian and his son as they convince an Israeli vet to help them smuggle a giraffe from Tel Aviv to the West Bank so it can find a breeding partner. For those looking for even more films from the region, today the Israeli Film Archive in Jerusalem launched a digital version of its collection, making around 250 narrative films — from a mix of Israeli and Palestinian directors, some dating as far back as 1928 — available online. The vast majority of these films can be streamed for free from the archive’s website; a select few are pay-to-rent. Among the films spotlighted in the archive are collections spotlighting major international hits from Israel and innovative Israeli directors like Amos Gitai. The archive has said that its entire digital collection will be available in North America, though a perusal of the platform on Monday revealed that many of its films were still unavailable to stream from the U.S. Several of the films that are available to stream do not have English subtitles, and unfortunately there is no easy way to navigate through the ones that do.

Happy Chanukah to all my friends in the Jewish Community!

Happy Chanukah to all my friends in the Jewish Community.

It is an honor to serve as your Constable of Second City Court.

Thank you for your continued support!

Gail Grover, Judge • Juvenile Court, Division B 30 Chanukah 2021/Elections

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NOSHER

Gluten-Free Churros For Hanukkah

(food)

By Tannaz Sassooni

3. Place dough in the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on high speed to fully incorporate each one. You can do this by hand or with an electric hand mixer, but a freestanding mixer gives the smoothest results. Continue to mix for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture comes together into a smooth batter. 4. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large

pan or shallow pot over medium heat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or paper towels to hold cooked churros. 5. Fit a pastry bag with a 1M or equivalent tip. Place the bag in a tall glass or jar and fold the top of the bag over the edge of the jar. Fill the pastry bag with dough. You may need to do this in batches, dependSee CHURROS on Page

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I am running for Constable of Mandeville to make a difference in our community. It started with a question for Jonathan Gold. Hanukkah 2011 was nearing, and a friend sent a query to Ask Mr. Gold, the advice column of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic renowned for putting Los Angeles on the map as a destination for culinary diversity. She told Gold that she wanted to participate in the Hanukkah tradition of eating foods fried in oil, but didn’t want to smell up her apartment frying latkes Instead, she sought the city’s best churros. A tradition was born. One night that week, a small, merry group got together and headed, per Gold’s recommendation, to the Salinas Churro Truck. At the truck, we ran into friends who’d also read the Mr. Gold column and biked over to heed the call for sweet fried dough. Our groups joined forces. Someone’s tinny boom box provided the soundtrack as new friendships were forged on a temperate LA winter night over bag after grease-stained bag of fresh, warm, crisp churros. A couple of years later, we met again. This time at Mr. Churro on historic Olvera Street, a main square in Los Angeles from back when California was still part of Mexico. In this little shop, you could get churros with fillings like guava paste and cajeta, Mexican goat milk dulce de leche We played digital dreidel on someone’s phone, tried to remember the words to our favorite Hanukkah songs, and danced in the plaza as Olvera Street lit up with crowds of people for Las Posadas. Our Hanukkah tradition was not just delicious; it embodied the spirit of our city’s pluralism. Churros have become a special part of my family’s Hanukkah celebrations, too. Since my nephew was diagnosed with celiac disease, sufganiyot can no longer be part of our THE

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festivities. Luckily, my neighborhood taco stand has gluten-free churros. For those who don’t happen to have a gluten-free taco stand within walking distance, this treat is easy to recreate at home. Instead of the classic cinnamon-sugar topping, you can pair them with dipping sauces that nod to traditional Hanukkah flavors: sweetened sour cream and raspberry jam. Note: You’ll need a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton 1M or other large open star tip. This recipe is adapted from "Boulder Locavore." INGREDIENTS For the churros: • 1 cup water • 8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick) • ¼ tsp salt • 1 ½ Tbsp granulated sugar • 1 cup gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 GlutenFree Flour, but any gluten-free flour with xanthan gum should work) • 3 large eggs, room temperature • 1 tsp ground cinnamon • canola, vegetable, or rapeseed oil, for frying For the dipping sauces • ½ cup raspberry jam • ½ cup sour cream • ½ tsp vanilla extract • 1 ½ tsp granulated sugar DIRECTIONS 1. Combine water, butter, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Cook until butter is melted, whisking to combine all ingredients. 2. Lower heat to medium, add flour, and stir constantly until mixture comes together into a loose dough, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat

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Coconut Latkes With Cranberry Applesauce And Cardamom Mascarpone By Amy Kritzer

Coconut gives the latkes a subtle flavor and extra crunch. Just when we start to recover from the gluttony fest known as Thanksgiving, bam! It’s already time for Hanukkah. Bring on the fried. Growing up, my Mom cooked both traditional and sweet potato latkes every year for my brother and me. We looked forward to these tasty fried treats almost as much as getting the latest Everclear CD or a new set of Pogs, hypothetically speaking of course. I continue the tradition by cooking for our annual Chrismukkah gathering and showing my friends that latkes are way more than a Jewish hash brown. Last year, I served up Mexican Potato Latkes, which were gobbled up faster than you can say “chag sameach.” This year, inspired by my leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving, I went with a slightly sweet approach.

Coconut gives the latkes a subtle flavor and extra crunch, while the cranberry applesauce and cardamom mascarpone brings a tartness that lends itself to the perfect bite. Since I am not hopeful of having a white Hanukkah with the 80-degree weather we have in my home in Austin, TX, I garnished the plate with extra coconut to resemble snow. Wishful thinking, perhaps? INGREDIENTS For Latkes: • 2 cups (2/3 pound) russet potatoes, washed and peeled • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut • 2 eggs • 2 Tbsps flour • 2 Tbsps granulated sugar • ½ tsp salt • ½ cup canola oil

• 3 pounds apples (any apples you would use for baking, I used golden delicious), peeled and diced • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries • 2 Tbsps granulated sugar (up to 4 if you want it sweeter) • 1 tsp ground cinnamon • ½ tsp ground ginger • ½ tsp ground all spice • Zest and juice from 1 orange • 2/3 cup water (1/2 cup if using frozen cranberries) • 1 Tbsp brandy (if desired) • For Cardamom Mascarpone: • ¼ cup mascarpone • 1 tsp cardamom (or more to taste) DIRECTIONS To make the Coconut Latkes, start by shredding your potatoes with a grater. Ring out all the moisture with a strainer and paper towel until all the moisture is gone and then add in the coconut, eggs, flour, sugar and salt and combine. Meanwhile, heat up canola oil in a large sauté pan. Scoop two-table-

CHURROS Continued from Page

For Cranberry Applesauce

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spoon dollops of the potato mixture and flatten lightly and fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Then flip and fry the other side. Drain on a rack over paper towels. To make Cranberry Applesauce, in a large saucepan, combine apples, cranberries, sugar, spices, orange juice and zest, water, and brandy if desired. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 15 minutes until apples are tender and some of the cranberries have burst. Stir every so often, adding water if it gets too thick. Remove from heat and let cool. Blend with an immersion blender or smash with a fork. To make Cardamom Mascarpone, combine cardamom and mascarpone in a bowl until blended. Garnish latkes with applesauce and mascarpone! Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her grandmother’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.

Best Wishes to my many Jewish Friends and Constituents for a Happy Chanukah! C. Denise Marcelle

Representative District 61 Louisiana House of Representatives

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ing on the size of your bag. 6. Check oil temperature by placing a small piece of dough into the oil. If many small bubbles form around the dough, it’s ready. Pipe dough into the hot oil in about 4-inch lengths, using a sharp knife or scissors to cut off the end. Use tongs to turn churros as they fry, until they are golden brown all around, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove cooked churros to the prepared baking sheet. 7. To make sour cream dipping sauce, mix all ingredients (minus raspberry jam) until combined. 8. To make raspberry dipping sauce, heat jam in a microwavesafe bowl until it is slightly runny, about 30 seconds on full power. 9. Serve churros with dipping sauces while they are still warm and fresh.

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JeWniVerse

Whistle, Gotham City’s Latest Superhero, Is Jewish. It’s A Full-Circle Moment For The Comics Industry. By Julian Voloj

Whistle, a.k.a. Willow Zimmerman, is DC Comics' first explicitly Jewish superhero in decades. (Courtesy of DC, written by E. Lockhart, with art by Manuel Preitano, colors by Gabby Metzler and letters by ALW’s Troy Peteri)

(JTA) — It turns out that Batman’s hometown of Gotham City has a historically Jewish neighborhood, complete with a synagogue. And for this year’s Holidays, at least one masked superhero was worshipping there. Her name is Whistle, a.k.a. Willow Zimmerman, and she’s a Jewish superhero — DC Comics’ first to be explicitly created as Jewish in

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44 years. She’s an activist-turnedmasked-crusader who draws inspiration from Jewish teachings; she develops the ability to talk to dogs; and she’s making her debut this month in “Whistle: A New Gotham City Superhero,” a graphic novel geared to young adults. “There’s a long and fascinating history of Jewish creators in comics,” the book’s author and character creator, E. Lockhart, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “Superman, Batman and Spider-Man were all invented by Jewish men, and scholars have interpreted them through a variety of lenses that take that into account. But while there have certainly been Jewish superheroes before, Whistle is the first Jewish hero to originate as Jewish from DC Comics since 1977.” Lockhart was referring to Ser-

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aph, a superhero from Israel who helped Superman in “Super Friends #7″ before immediately falling out of the public eye. Yet the roots of superheroes are distinctly Jewish. Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, the sons of Jewish immigrants, effectively kicked off the lucrative genre in 1938 with the debut of Superman in “Action Comics #1.” Superman was a new kind of hero, a noble, all-powerful defender of American ideals who harbored a secret identity and origin story that made him distinctly an outsider. If his origins weren’t specifically Jewish, they were certainly informed by the Jewish experience. Superman became an unexpected bestseller and, consequently, the blueprint for a whole genre, as the market soon flooded with new superheroes. The vast majority of these comic book pioneers — writers, illustrators and publishers — were Jewish, including Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. However, their characters were a generic form of “all American” without any religious or ethnic affiliation. So while Captain America was allowed to punch Hitler on the cover of the hero’s debut, it took decades for superheroes to

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have a Jewish identity. There have been exceptions over the decades, most notably Marvel’s “X-Men” villain Magneto, retconned as a Holocaust survivor following his debut, and popular DC antihero Harley Quinn, a Brooklynite who sprinkles in Yiddish phrases and was voiced in her original 1990s animated TV debut by the Jewish comedienne Arleen Sorkin. (Harley’s current film incarnation, played by Margot Robbie, drops the Jewish signifiers.) But what makes Whistle unique is that her origin story is centered around her Jewish identity. Willow Zimmerman is a social justice activist who volunteers at a local pet shelter and lives with her single mother, an adjunct Jewish studies professor, in Down River, a Gotham City neighborhood modeled after the Lower East Side. That means it comes with a long Jewish history, making Judaism canonical in Gotham more than eight decades after Bob Kane and Bill Finger, two Bronx Jews, created the Dark Knight. The setting was informed by Lockhart’s own upbringing. GrowSee WHISTLE on Page

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ing up, she often visited the real Lower East Side with her father, the playwright Len Jenkis, who wrote for “The Incredible Hulk” TV show in the 1970s. “I always had a strong sense of my paternal family’s heritage and the history of New York City as intertwined,” she said. “I had done research on the Jewish history of the LES for another book, so when DC invited me to create a new Gotham City hero, it felt natural to use some of that research and my own love of the neighborhood to create a new part of Gotham that’s a lot like the LES of the 1980s.”

Willow Zimmerman visits a synagogue. (Courtesy of DC, written by E. Lockhart, with art by Manuel Preitano, colors by Gabby Metzler and letters by ALW’s Troy Peteri)

For Whistle herself, Lockhart drew inspiration from a different trailblazer at DC’s rival: Kamala

Khan, the Muslim Ms. Marvel introduced in 2013. “I love Ms. Marvel and was definitely inspired by the way [author] G. Willow Wilson engaged with questions of heroism and the superheroic body through the lens of Kamala’s Muslim identity,” Lockhart said. “I thought about it a lot while I was writing Whistle.” “Whistle,” which is illustrated magnificently by Manuel Preitano, is Lockart’s debut as a graphic novelist. “I write novels about young women who are navigating morally complicated situations,” she said. “Very often the stories are about agency and power and self-knowledge, one way or another. So in that sense, ‘Whistle’ is right on brand for me.” Those familiar with the Batman universe will recognize many side characters, such as the Riddler and Poison Ivy, in the narrative. “It was great fun […] to play in the sandbox of DC Comics’ Gotham City, which has a wonderful rogues gallery of spectacularly deranged supervillains,” Lockhart said. Another Batman supervillain, Killer Croc, plays a central role in Willow’s transformation into a

superhero. Outside her local synagogue, she and her sidekick, a loyal stray Great Dane named Lebowitz (named after Fran, Lockhart confirms), collide with Killer Croc and wake up being able to understand each other. “When she gets superpowers, she becomes Whistle — and no longer feels helpless,” Lockhart explains. “It’s a fantasy of empowerment, but her position is also morally complicated. I didn’t want to shy away from asking questions about what it means to be a hero, emotionally and ethically.” Like Lockhart herself, Willow is secular. Her visit to Gotham’s synagogue is for meditation purposes. “I knew I would tell the most truthful and nuanced story if I wrote from my own identity and from the community I’m in,” Lockhart said on her decision not to make the character strictly observant. “My heroine engages with her Jewish-

ness in much the same way that I do.” Rooted in Lockhart’s own past, Willow’s Judaism leans on oldneighborhood nostalgia and Yiddishisms like “bubbeleh. It’s a more traditionalist approach to a Jewish superhero identity than other recent efforts, such as Marvel’s relaunch of “White Tiger” in 2002 as a biracial Jew of color struggling with his Black and Jewish identities. But Lockhart does touch upon many present-day topics animating Willow’s generation, such as gentrification, social justice and environmental issues. With Willow, a hero whose actions are clearly informed by her Jewish identity and the concept of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, Judaism will now be an integral part of Gotham’s mythology.

Happy Chanukah to all my friends in the Jewish Community. Thank you for your continued support!

Louis Fitzmorris Assessor St. Tammany Parish

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Lifestyle

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This Jewish Family Has Been Making Honey Wine For 150 Years By Stacey Pfeffer This article originally appeared on Kveller.

Rachel Lipman, at 28 perhaps the youngest winemaker in Maryland, is pushing through boundaries in a traditionally male-dominated industry. (Jonna Michelle Photography)

Rachel Lipman cares deeply about preserving her Jewish family’s fifth-generation winemaking business, Loew Vineyards, but the 28-year-old is keeping an eye on the future, too. As one of the youngest winemakers in Maryland — if not the youngest — she’s pushing through boundaries in a traditionally male-dominated industry. But that’s not all. Lipman is also educating customers about her family’s extraordinary legacy of producing unique wines — a 150-yearold family tradition that was nearly eradicated by the Holocaust. Among the 14 wines currently available on the Loew Vineyards website, four are not wines in a traditional sense. Rather they are meads, or honey wine. Meads are made with fermented honey and therefore are well-suited for the upcoming High Holidays. Among the available varieties include cyser (mead with apple juice) and pyment (mead with grape juice). A fifth-generation winemaker, Lipman’s method of making mead is not unlike the way her ancestors did it in Europe. “My grandfather always says you can’t argue with success,” she says, referring to the family’s proprietary mead recipe. These days, Lipman uses modern machinery and loves scouring local farmers markets to discover new honey producers with whom she can collaborate. According to a spate of recent articles, mead is having something of a moment. Lipman is naturally thrilled by the development, though believes there is a misconception that all meads are sweet. Her family’s mead comes in varieties that are dry, semi-dry and semi-sweet. “There is a lot of experimentation going on with mead right now, similar to craft beers,” she says. “I even heard of a peanut butter banana mead.” Central to the story of Loew VineTHE

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yards is Lipman’s grandfather, who grew up in Lvov, Poland (now the Ukrainian city of Lviv) prior to World War II. Before the Holocaust, Lvov was home to Poland’s thirdlargest Jewish population, behind Warsaw and Lodz. The city had a Jewish population of some 200,000 — about one-third of the total — but only some 800 survived the genocide. The region also boasted many wineries, meaderies and distilleries, with the majority owned by Jews. Lipman has spent much time uncovering her family’s mead-making past. During the long months of COVID, she has sifted through Polish documents, periodicals and newspapers to learn more. She discovered that the family meadery was

in a district that housed warehouses, vodka distilleries, several meaderies and, yes, even a beer garden. In fact, the family meadery took up the length of an entire city block. The patriarch of the Loew family in the mid-1800s was Meilech Loew, who made mead and distributed it internationally. Meilech and his wife, Malka, had 10 sons, two of whom created their own meaderies, while the others ventured into wine distribution and marketing. One son, Eisig, established the first national meadery and beeswax facility in Poland. He and his wife, Clara, had three sons, one of whom was Wolfgang — Lipman’s grandfather, who Americanized his name to William (Bill) upon immigrating to the U.S.

During the Holocaust, the family’s winemaking business was decimated — as were nearly all the members of the Loew family. Bill survived serving as part of the Underground, where his multilingual skills were highly prized. He was imprisoned in a Budapest political prison and two concentration camps, and eventually was liberated during a Dachau death march on April 23, 1945, by the U.S. Army’s 99th Infantry Division. Each year, the family commemorates this special day with Bill, 95, who remains involved with the business. “It’s kind of like a birthday celebration for us,” Lipman says. See HONEY on Page

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lIfestYle HONEY Continued from Page

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Once he arrived in America, Bill attended night school, married Lois Hendrickson and eventually became an electrical engineer. Yet the sweet smell of the barrels from his family’s meadery always remained a part of him. Upon retiring in 1982, he purchased a 37-acre plot in Frederick County, Maryland, with the aim of planting grapes and continuing his family’s wine and mead-making legacy.

Lipman learns to prune vines from her grandfather. (Loew Vineyards)

“The way our family oriented ourselves, everything was about

preserving the past,” Lipman says. “There was little discussion of the future.” COVID, however, served as a pivotal moment for the family business. Not only did Lipman have to safeguard her grandparents, who enjoyed interacting with customers in their tasting room, she knew she had to implement some operational changes if she wanted a sustainable future. Citing Hillel the Elder’s iconic quote — “if not now, when?” — Lipman and her family made a significant investment in new fermentation tanks, which has allowed them to increase production to meet growing demand. They also remodeled the tasting room, created an online reservation system and updated their website to showcase the family’s long history in the business. Lipman credits her grandmother with helping to facilitate a lot of the recent changes. “She knows we have something that cannot die,” Lipman says of her grandmother. “Without her, we wouldn’t have been pushing for a future.” Locating historical documents about her family required perseverance. Lipman joined a global Facebook group of mead-makers and posted about her family’s long tradition. Doing so helped her locate

mead labels from her great-grandfather’s business, and even an article in a Lvov newspaper about how her mead-making great-uncle collected tzedakah. She also uncovered many documents that traced the history of mead in Europe — how it was predominantly produced by monks in the 1600s to its heyday in the 1800s through World War II. “These documents just say the businesses disappeared after World War II,” Lipman says. “It doesn’t say that Jews owned these businesses and that is why they were gone. The people and the industry were destroyed by the Nazis. I intend to make that known.” As the oldest grandchild, Lipman spent much of her childhood at her grandparents’ vineyard. From cooking Passover meals with her grandmother to riding on her grandfather’s tractors out to the vineyards, Lipman was and remains exceptionally close to her grandparents. As she got older, her grandfather taught her chromatography, a technique that allows you to investigate the flavor of the wine. Lipman ultimately decided to study plant science at the University of Maryland and even interned at an organic vineyard in France’s Loire Valley.

Lipman doesn’t think her grandparents were intentionally grooming her to work on the vineyard, but does believe “they wanted me to love the vineyard as much as they do,” she says. She continues: “When you are 21, you think, ‘Sure being in the alcohol business sounds great! I worked at beer and wine stores then, but the more I learned about the industry, the more serious I became about it [as a future career].” As Lipman’s family prepared for Rosh Hashanah 5782, some of their red wines and meads were on the table — along with challah, brisket and salmon. Lipman also buys a number of apple varieties at the farmers market, and they’ll have honey and salt flights, too. “Our family has one of the longest production of meads in the world,” she says. “It is a pretty incredible story.” Lipman hopes to continue to produce wines well into the future and watch the roots that her family planted so long ago continue to flourish. In the meantime, the Loew family looks forward to saying “L’chaim!”— “to life!” — over their wines each Rosh Hashanah, knowing all too well the meaning of the phrase.

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