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Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania APRIL 24, 2014
VOLUME XII, NUMBER 9
Kansas City shootings highlight threat of “lone wolf” attacks By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA) – The suspect in deadly shootings at two Jewish institutions in suburban Kansas City made no secret of his hateful views, but nobody anticipated the attack that claimed three lives on April 13. The shooter was identified as Frazier Glenn Miller, a 73-year-old white supremacist. The attack illustrates the dilemma of how best to protect Jewish institutions from the threat of deadly violence by extremists acting alone. “Lone wolves are really by far the most dangerous phenomenon. They are vastly more difficult to stop in advance of their actions,” said Mark Potok, the publications director for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “You can’t simply follow around all the people in the United States who have noxious views.” Vigilance on the part of communal institutions is key, said Paul Goldenberg, who directs the Secure Community Network, the security arm of national Jewish groups. “The only way to stop the lone wolf is prevention and hardening a soft target,” Goldenberg said. Miller, who was scheduled to appear in court on April 14, is suspected of killing a man and his grandson on April 13 in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, KS, and then shooting to death a woman at Village Shalom, a Jewish assisted-living facility a few blocks away, where she was visiting her mother. After Miller was placed in a police vehicle, he was heard to yell “heil Hitler.” The victims killed at the JCC were William Lewis Corporon, a retired physician, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood. Corporon and Underwood, members of an area Methodist church, were hit by bullets as they were in a car. Underwood, an aspiring singer, was at the JCC for a talent show, family told local
A policewoman and police car were at the entrance of the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, KS, following the fatal shootings there on April 13. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) media. The third victim, Terri LaManno, a Catholic mother of two, was killed in the Village Shalom parking lot. This was not the first time a JCC has been targeted by a lone gunman. In 2006, Naveed Afzal Haq, motivated by anti-Israel views, killed one woman and wounded five others when he attacked the Seattle Jewish Federation building. In 1999, white supremacist Buford Furrow wounded five people, including three children, when he opened fire on the North Valley Jewish Community Center in suburban Los Angeles and shortly after killed a mail carrier. The Southern Poverty Law Center was the first to identify the gunman as Miller, of Aurora, MO. The center said he was the grand dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1980s and subsequently a founder of the White Patriot Party, and served three years in prison on weapons charges and for plotting the assassination of its founder, Morris Dees. Miller had not been involved in criminal activity for decades, but he kept his views known and publicized them. He maintained
a website, www.whty.org (for “whitey”) and posted links to his media appearances, including one on a black radio show. In 2012, he appeared on a panel of extremists organized by a professor at Missouri State University and reveled in the encounter. In a post on the Vanguard News Network, a white supremacist site, he described sparring with Jewish students from the audience, whom he described as “two kikes.” Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research for theAnti-Defamation League, said lone wolves tend to operate on the margins of extremist communities, which makes it harder to detect when they may be plotting actions. This was true of Miller, who had alienated much of the movement in the 1980s when he had his sentence reduced in exchange for testifying against co-conspirators. Pitcavage said monitors can sometimes detect planning for violence, as extremists often will report in online forums private exchanges with individuals seeking coconspirators for a violent act. “When we see extremists start warning other extremists about someone, we pay attention,” he
Fliers call on Ukrainian Jews to register with pro-Russian separatists By JTA staff (JTA) – Pro-Russian separatists from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine denied any involvement in the circulation of fliers calling on Jews to register with separatists and pay special taxes. The fliers were distributed on April 15 in the city, where pro-Russian separatists led by Denis Pushilin this month took over several government buildings and declared their secession from Ukraine as the Donetsk Republic amid a standoff with authorities. The fliers were official-looking documents that carried what was presented as Pushilin’s signature, but the news site tvrain.ru on April 16 quoted Pushilin as denying any connection to the flyers, calling them a provocation.
On April 15, the news website novosti. dn.ua reported that the fliers were handed out that day by three unidentified men in balaclava masks carrying a flag of the Russian Federation. According to the report, the men distributed the fliers next to a local synagogue. The website quoted unnamed sources from the local Jewish community as saying that the fliers were an attempt to provoke a conflict and blame the attack on the separatists. Several antisemitic attacks, including a stabbing and the attempted torching of a synagogue, have occurred in Ukraine since the eruption in November of a revolution over the perceived pro-Russian policies of former President Viktor Yanukvych. He was ousted from power in February. Many sup-
porters of the revolution blamed pro-Russian provocateurs for the attacks. The flyers in Donetsk said all Jews who are 16 years old and above should register at the government building, which separatist protesters are occupying, and pay a registration fee of $50 by May 3. “Jews supported the nationalistic gang of [Stepan] Bandera in Kiev,” the authors wrote in reference to the Ukrainian Nationalist leader who in the 1940s fought with Nazi Germany against Soviet troops before he and his men took up arms against the German occupation. The fliers also said Jews were hostile to the Donetsk Republic. They were required to report any real estate and automobiles, the fliers also said.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Yom Hashoah
In Latin America
said. “The way the vine works, they think ‘he’s a government plant who’s trying to get me in trouble.’ They have a skewed reaction to it, but nevertheless they have a reaction. We have learned when we see those sorts of things to take them seriously.” The ADL passes on such information to law enforcement. In other instances, there are signs that the poster is a “powder keg,” Pitcavage said. Monitors, he said, look for “a long series of posts expressing aggravation – ‘something has to be done, it’s time to do something.’ They may say things to other people trying to get people involved.” Potok of the Law Center said extensive posting on such sites is not in of itself necessarily an indicator of such violence. Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist who in 2012 killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI, had been prominent among online extremists, but had not exhibited typical signs of an imminent attack. “We had been following Page for 12 years,” Potok said. “There was no indication that he had finally decided to start shooting.” See “Shootings” on page 10
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Candle lighting April 25.............................................7:36 pm May 2.................................................7:43 pm May 9................................................. 7:51 pm
A Libyan Jewish family’s travails in Israelis, both sabras and olim, fire Attendees at a conference brainPLUS the Holocaust; the 70th anniversary of up their grills while celebrating Yom stormed a future for Latin America’s Opinion...........................................................2 a concentration camp wedding. smaller Jewish communities. Ha’atzmaut. D’var Torah...................................................8 Stories on pages 6-7 Story on page 17 News in Brief....................................... 16, 19 Story on page 9
THE REPORTER ■ april 24, 2014
a matter of opinion Today’s Israeli leaders lack the very qualities that made its founders great And none embodied the biblical worldview more, or had more political agility, than Menachem Begin, who has no real heirs By Daniel Gordis Reprinted with permission from Tablet Magazine Israel’s founding generation is disappearing. In January, Ariel Sharon, who left an indelible mark on Israel’s map and history, finally passed away after spending eight years in a coma. In March, Meir Har-Zion, the fearless and controversial soldier who helped create the Sayeret Matkal, died at 80. And this coming summer, Shimon Peres, now 90 and the last surviving member of David Ben Gurion’s inner circle, will retire from Israel’s presidency and, presumably, begin to step back from public life. Certainly there are politicians who can still claim a direct connection to the founders’ generation, most notably Isaac Herzog – known as Buji – whose grandfather, Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, was Israel’s first chief rabbi and whose father, Chaim Herzog, a disciple of Ben Gurion, was the country’s sixth president. But, in a sense, we are already living in a post-founder era: There is no meaningful way in which Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud, can be called an heir to the party’s founder, Menachem Begin. The inexorable disappearance of those who lived through – and shaped – the heroic period of Israel’s establishment virtually begs us to ask, why is it that no one in today’s generation of leaders, who, of course, are all deeply committed to the state of Israel
and to the Jewish people, can truly claim the mantle of those who went before? The answer lies, perhaps, in the difference between how the members of the Independence generation perceived their Jewishness. These were men who came out of a Europe whose sons were educated as Jews. They embodied a biblical sort of statesmanship, in which their stewardship of the new state was crucial to the rebirth of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland. This was true of no one so much as Begin, who saw the world through utterly biblical lenses. The Bible, he believed, was actually the Jews’ deed to the land. The Tanach fed his adoration of Jewish fighters. And it gave context to Begin’s sense of time and purpose – in a way that has been true of none of Israel’s leaders either before or since. Devoted to the Jews, he believed with all his heart that those of other faiths were no less created in God’s image. A man of great faith, he understood the difference between a biblical worldview and a narrow ideology. In Israel, it is rare to find leaders who couple such profound conviction to such generosity of spirit and nimbleness of mind. But Israel’s leadership no longer thinks of itself so consciously and unabashedly in biblical terms; Israel no longer produces people with the authority of biblical fluency, let alone conviction, at the core of their politics.
Begin was not “observant” in today’s sense, but he was always a person of deep Jewish faith for whom the Tanach was the roadmap of life. He often related the tradition of his parents’ house, in which the children would play a game with their father: They would recite the beginning of a biblical verse, and their father would have to complete it. It was almost impossible to stump him, Begin would later recall. The Bible was the text, the book. When he was elected in 1977 – a surprise not only to the nation but to him as well – Begin was confronted by a group of reporters and asked if he had anything that he wanted to say to anyone. Begin reached into his pocket and took out a kippah, with a casualness unimaginable on the part of any non-Orthodox leader today, and replied that yes, he wanted to say something to Aliza, his wife and the love of his life: “I recall with favor the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride; how you followed me into the wilderness, in a land sown with mines.” It was, of course, a conscious misquote of the famous verse from Jeremiah 2:2, in which God says to the Jewish people, “I recall with favor the devotion of your youth, Your love as a bride as you followed Me in the wilderness, In a land not sown.” Faced with cameras and the surprise of his election, Begin did the only thing he knew how to do: He drew his inspiration from the biblical well that always nourished
him. Much the same transpired in June 1981, when eight Israeli warplanes prepared to take off from an airfield in the Sinai to head to Iraq, where they destroyed the nuclear reactor at Osirak. Israeli Intelligence had prepared copious amounts of material for Begin to review, as part of an assessment of what Saddam Hussein might do in response to the attack. But as the planes took off, made their way eastward, bombed the reactor and then raced home, Begin did not so much as crack one of the binders. Rather, he paced to and fro across his office, mumbling softly, apparently – according to Yehuda Avner, who was present and who related the story to me – reciting psalms. It was the height of tension, a moment of grave danger for the Jewish state. Rather than burying himself in classified data, Begin drew his calm from the Book of Books. It wasn’t simply a question of faith. The Bible, after all, is a book with a majestic sweep and a grand view of history. It opens even before the world is created and imagines a re-perfected reality at the End of Days. The events related in the Tanach – the beginnings of the Jewish people as a small family and then clan, Egyptian slavery and freedom, the march to the land, conquest, kingship and loss of the kingdoms – were, though central to Jewish history, reflective of just a small slice of time in the unfolding of the cosmos. Begin saw the world that way. See “Leaders” on page 4
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Opinions The views expressed in editorials and opinion pieces are those of each author and not necessarily the views of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Letters The Reporter welcomes letters on subjects of interest to the Jewish community. All letters must be signed and include a phone number. The editor may withhold the name upon request. ADS The Reporter does not necessarily endorse any advertised products and services. In addition, the paper is not responsible for the kashruth of any advertiser’s product or establishment. Deadline Regular deadline is two weeks prior to the publication date. Federation website: www.jewishnepa.org How to SUBMIT ARTICLES: Mail: 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (570) 346-6147 Phone: (570) 961-2300 How to reach the advertising Representative: Phone: (800) 779-7896, ext. 244 E-mail: email@example.com Subscription Information: Phone: (570) 961-2300
Condolences sent to Kansas City The following letter of condolence was sent to Todd Stettner, president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Dear Todd, As noted in my earlier phone call with you, please accept the sincerest condolences of Northeast Pennsylvania Jewry on the tragedy that has befallen
your community. No words can describe this horror, but please know that we are family, and should you require any assistance (financial or otherwise), you need only call me at my office in Scranton (570-961-2300). I thank God that this monster was arrested before he could do further harm, although our thoughts go out to the families of those who died. No words can express the sorrow they
must feel and that we feel for them, other than perhaps their knowledge that we share in their grief. Please know that your community will be in our thoughts this Passover. With deepest sadness, Mark Silverberg, executive director Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania 601 Jefferson Ave. Scranton, PA 18510
Remembering Sam Rosen To the Editor: A great man in our community recently passed away at the age of 90 and his name is Sam Rosen. Mr. Rosen lost everything that you can possibly lose in his young life, starting with the tragic loss of his parents, five sisters, six brothers, grandparents, cousins and friends who were part of the six million people that were casualties of the Holocaust. He survived the carnage of the Holocaust by determination and faith. If Sam’s life in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia was a movie, it would be hard to believe. He survived by pretending to be a Polish Catholic in his native Czechoslovakia and
escaping to Hungary. The threat of being caught was always on his mind, together with the fate of his family and the end of his nightmare. Sam was married to the late Olga Sunyog Rosen, who was also a Holocaust survivor. He started a new life in the United States of America, settling in Scranton. Sam and Olga raised two sons and became very active in the community, resulting in many community service awards and appointments to boards. He started his own business, National Pretzel, always bearing gift bags of pretzels to friends. He was very instrumental and established The Olga and Sam Rosen Holocaust Education Foundation, and helped to create the local
Holocaust memorial on the grounds of the Jewish Community Center. Sam never forgot what happened and made every conscientious effort to speak about the horrors he experienced. It was his mission to let everyone know and understand the Holocaust, and to remind future generations to never forget this horrific event. Sam Rosen was quite a man, and should be admired and remembered – memorialized – during Holocaust Remembrance Month. Lastly, his mantra will always go down in history: “Never again – never forget.” Sincerely, Patrick M. O’Malley Lackawanna County commissioner
Response to “Ya’alon Controversy” op-ed This letter comes in response to Mark Silverberg’s editorial in the April 10 issue of The Reporter, “Speaking Truth to Power: The Ya’alon Controversy.” Mr. Silverberg, you may respect honesty and so do I. But I do not see your opinion as the truth any more than you see mine as such. You will find American and Israeli Jews who are as passionate about their love of Israel and commitment to support it as
you who have very different opinions from yours about what is best for Israel, and what Israel wants and needs from its best friend, the U.S. I suggest that as the executive director of an organization, which represents all Jews in the region, if you continue to state your opinion publicly, you do so in the context of an opinion forum. As it stands, it can be construed as the voice
of your constituents. I assure you it is not. The student newspaper at the University of Scranton, The Aquinas, has a two-page opinion forum inviting diverse opinions. It could be a model for The Reporter. Sondra Myers Senior fellow for international, civic and cultural projects Director of the Schemel Forum The University of Scranton
APRIL 24, 2014 ■
community news Shelly Garber to be Temple Israel’s Phyllis Mardo Woman of Distinction recipient Temple Israel Sisterhood has announced Shelly Garber will be this year’s Woman of Distinction. The award is bestowed annually in memory of Phyllis Mardo, who is considered to be a role model for women in the Jewish community. Garber will be honored for her contributions to the congregation and its Sisterhood at the Shabbat service to be held on Saturday, May 10, at Temple Israel. The women of Temple Israel will conduct the service for Mother’s Day weekend. Generations of families will participate. Daughter of the late David and Mildred Firestone Gritz, Rochelle “Shelly” Garber is a lifelong Temple Israel member. Her early years were spent at the temple, which has been called “her home away from home,” participating in religious school classes, International Youth League and Girl Scouts. She was confirmed and later married in the temple sanctuary. Following graduation from Central High School, Garber
In addition to duties as mashgiach, Garber, left Scranton briefly to live and work in New with the help of other congregants, bakes York City, and some of her friends from Temple cookies and cakes for Shabbat kiddushim. Israel joined her. In 1963, she married Arthur She also takes on the tasks of mailing out the “Butch” Garber, also a member of Temple Ismonthly Sisterhood Leagrams and the annual rael. The couple had five children: Shari Lynn, New Year Greetings. Kenneth Marc, Lori Beth, David Lewis and Garber is the second generation in her family Alayna Michele. to receive the Woman of Distinction Award. Her Despite five children and a household to mother, Mildred, received the award in 2007. take care of, Garber found time to further her This makes them the first mother-daughter pair to education. She attended Lackawanna Junior receive the Woman of Distinction award. Garber College and obtained her real estate license. Shelly Garber said she is “honored” to share the award with She worked for a time in that field but, with the other women of the congregation, but “most small children at home, needed a job that would allow her to work and take care of her family. especially with [her] mother.” She added she is happy to One day, while reading the “Temple Israel Messenger,” follow in her mother’s footsteps handling Sisterhood duties she noticed an advertisement for a mashgiach. She ap- and “loves every minute” of her job in the kitchen. “Mazel tov, Shelly! May you enjoy many more years of plied for the position and has now been in the kitchen good health,” said a Temple Israel representative. for more than 25 years.
Dr. Alvin Rosenfeld to lecture on “The New Antisemitism”
The Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute has anHolocaust. Indiana University Press published nounced a lecture by Dr. Alvin Rosenfeld on the his “Confronting the Holocaust: The Impact of topic “The New Antisemitism” will be held on Elie Wiesel” (co-edited with Irving Greenberg) Thursday, May 8, at 7:30 pm, at Brennan Hall, in 1979 and, in 1980, published his “A Double at the University of Scranton. Dying: Reflections on Holocaust Literature.” Rosenfeld, professor of English and Jewish With his wife, Erna Rosenfeld, he translated studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, reGunther Schwarberg’s “The Murders at Bullenceived his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1967 huser Damm,” a book on Nazi medical atrociand has taught at Indiana University since 1968. ties published by the Indiana University Press He holds the Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish in 1984. His “Imagining Hitler” was published Studies and is director of the university’s Institute by Indiana University Press in 1985. He edited for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism. “Thinking About the Holocaust: After Half a Dr. Alvin He founded Indiana University’s Borns Jewish Century” (Indiana University Press, 1997), a Rosenfeld Studies Program and served as its director for 30 collection of articles by 13 scholars that includes years. He has received Indiana University’s Distinguished his essay, “The Americanization of the Holocaust.” His “The Service Award and also the Provost’s Medal “in recognition Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature” of sustained academic excellence, vision and leadership, appeared with Indiana University Press in 2009. His most resulting in lasting and widespread impact,” according to recent study, “The End of the Holocaust,” was published in the university. April 2011 with Indiana University Press. In recent years, The editor of “William Blake: Essays” (1969) and “The he has also written about contemporary antisemitism, as Collected Poetry of John Wheelwright” (1972), he is also “Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives,” an edited the author of numerous scholarly and critical articles on volume, appeared last spring. He is also editor of a series American poetry, Jewish writers and the literature of the of books on Jewish literature and culture, published by
Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone to perform live in at Scranton Cultural Center By Rabbi Rachel Esserman Tony Award® winners Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone will perform in “An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin” at the Scranton Cultural Center in Scranton in May. (For information about specific performances, see the ad on page 7.) The show includes choreography by fellow Broadway veteran and friend Ann Reinking, Mandy Patinkin who won a Best Choreography Tony (Photo by Brigitte Lacombe) Award® for the revival of the musical “Chicago.” They are accompanied on piano by Music Director Paul Ford. While Patinkin may be best known for his work in the television series “Criminal Minds” and “Homeland,” and
his role in the cult film “The Princess Bride,” Broadway theater lovers think of him foremost as a stage performer. His Tony Award-winning performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” was the first time he and LuPone appeared together. Patinkin also received a Tony nomination for his starring role in Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prizewinning musical “Sunday in the Park with George.” His concert career began with the release of his first solo album, “Mandy Patinkin,” and continued with additional albums, including “Mamaloshen,” which features traditional, classic
Indiana University Press, as well as editor of IUP’s new book series, “Studies in Antisemitism.” Alvin has served as an editorial board member of various scholarly journals, including Holocaust and Genocide Studies, as well as a board member and scholarly consultant to various Jewish institutions and organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Lilly Endowment, the Wexner Heritage Foundation, the Koret Foundation and the Conference on Material Claims against Germany. He held a five-year presidential appointment on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council from 2002-07 and presently serves on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Executive Committee. He is chairman of the Academic Committee of the Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. Additionally, Alvin is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of fellowship grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Foundation of Jewish Culture and the National Endowment of the Humanities. He was awarded the doctor of humane letters degree, honoris causa, by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in May 2007. He has lectured widely in America, Europe and Israel.
The following are deadlines for all articles and photos for upcoming Reporter issues.
Thursday, April 24................................... May 8 Thursday, May 8.................................... May 22 Thursday, May 22.................................... June 5 Tuesday, June 3, early............................ June 19
See “Patinkin” on page 5
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THE REPORTER ■ april 24, 2014
At 50th anniversary, Israel parade aims for pride, but gets protests
By Maxine Dovere JNS.org On June 1, as it has for five decades, the annual Celebrate Israel Parade (formerly the Salute to Israel Parade) billed as the American Jewish community’s largest show of pride and support for the Jewish state steps off along Fifth Avenue in New York City. While the parade’s theme this year for its 50th anniversary is “50 Reasons to Celebrate Israel,” a group of activists has found one particular reason to take the event to task. Ten Jewish organizations organized an April 8 protest rally outside the UJA-Federation of New York headquarters to make their opposition known to the inclusion of what they call pro-BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) groups in the parade, which is organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and supported by the UJA-Federation. Richard Allen, head of the advocacy group JCC Watch and the main organizer of
When negotiations between Israel and Egypt stalled in late 1978, U.S. President Jimmy Carter tried to press Begin, then physically ailing, into making concessions. It was, Carter entreated the Israeli leader, “an opportunity that may never come again.” But Begin’s view of the world was too biblical, too vast, too grounded in a sense of endless possibility of Jewish rebirth for that warning to strike a chord. Responding to Carter on Israeli television, Begin evoked a biblical perspective when he retorted, “Our people lived thousands of years before Camp David, and we will live thousands of years after Camp David... If we are told that this is the last chance to arrive at peace, we shall not agree: There are no ‘last chances’ in life.” If Begin was uncowed by American or international pressure, it was because he had inherited a biblical notion that it was the
At right: The April 8 rally in New York City against what protesters call the inclusion of “pro-BDS groups” in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade. Holding the microphone is Israeli Member of Knesset Nissim Ze’ev (Shas), a surprise speaker at the rally. (Photo by Maxine Dovere) the protest, told JNS.org that Jewish communal dollars “are being diverted to support BDS” and that the UJA-Federation provides funds to organizations that “provide platforms for anti-Israel activists.” In question are three groups – Partners for Progressive Israel, the New Israel Fund and B’Tselem – who are accused of funding and
promoting the BDS movement against Israel, but all deny that allegation. The NIF, for instance, states on its website that it opposes the BDS movement and is “concerned that segments of this movement seek to undermine the existence of the state of Israel.” Yet a promotional flyer for the April 8 rally notes that NIF funds pro-BDS organizations.
role of the Jew to be utterly alone. Reagan could pressure him; the world could hate him. Carter could lean on him and, when Begin refused to budge, call him a “psycho.” Time magazine could write of him, upon his election, “Begin, rhymes with Fagin.” But none of that got to him. For how was that different from the hatred and dismissiveness to which the Jews had always been subjected? “There is a nation that dwells apart, not reckoned among the nations,” said Balaam when he was dispatched to curse the Israelites. (Numbers 23) And there was Ahasuerus, to whom Haman famously said, “There is a certain people, scattered and dispersed among the other peoples... whose laws are different... and who do not obey the king’s laws; and it is not in your majesty’s interest to tolerate them.” (Esther 3) Yet, Balaam, in the end, did not curse
the Israelites, and the Jews hanged Haman on the very tree that he had prepared for Mordecai. To be in the business of Jewish leadership, Begin understood, was to be treated as marginal. Either one was up to it, or one was not – and he was. Yet, Begin invoked theological certainty with relative infrequency. When the air force planes returned from their mission to Osirak, he deftly side-stepped the question of whether the accomplishment was a miracle, or “only” an extraordinary military feat. “Thank God we have pilots like these,” he said, neatly covering his bases. He believed in irredeemable evil, and he believed that the Jews were the rightful owners of the land of Israel. But for all that seeming theological certainty, he was a much more nimble thinker and deft actor than most ideologically driven political personalities today, in Israel and beyond. He illustrated the difference between dogma and belief. And thus, throughout the course of his career, his keen adherence to one overarching purpose – the safety and security of the Jewish people – led him to take actions that have made him anathema to both sides of the Israeli political divide ever since. When the British controlled Palestine and sealed its borders, there was no place to which the Jews of Europe could escape. So, the British had to be dislodged; Jews needed to be saved. Begin led the Irgun, bombed the King David Hotel and – along with the Haganah and Lechi – did what was needed to open the shores. He thus became anathema to Ben Gurion’s Mapai and, later, to the entire Israeli political left. But, decades later, when he saw the opportunity to save Jewish lives by making a deal with Anwar Sadat, he gave up the Sinai, enraging the right. In his own mind, he was being entirely consistent. In the eyes of lesser and more ideological players, he violated sacred principles of both the left and the right – an unforgivable betrayal in today’s increasingly partisan,
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“For instance, five grantees of the New Israel Fund (Machsom Watch, Coalition of Women for Peace, Women Against Violence, Social TV and Mossawa) signed a letter to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, urging it to divest from Israel,” the flyer says. Partners for Progressive Israel states that it “denounces the use of BDS whenever employed as a tactic to bring an end to the state of Israel.” Yet, at the same time, the group has promoted a boycott of Israeli “settlement products” made beyond the Green Line and sold in the U.S. JCC Watch’s Allen told JNS.org, “We make no differentiation between products made in Israel and products made outside the Green Line.” He said the organizations he wants banned from marching in the parade are “Jews calling upon Jews to boycott Jews... hurting Jews. “To go against a fellow Jew financially is See “Parade” on page 8
Continued from page 2 increasingly polarized politics. Menachem Begin was undoubtedly a man of the political right. But he also inherited the Bible’s universalism and, with it, a respect for the Gentile world far too rarely found, especially on today’s Israeli right. It was Begin who welcomed the Vietnamese refugees who were found without food and water on the South China Sea; the Bible insisted that one could not ignore the plight of the stranger, because the Israelites, too, had been strangers, and he knew what he had to do. Compare that with Israel’s deportation of Sudanese refugees today and the derision with which too many of Israel’s contemporary leaders speak about them. Begin believed that God had given the Jews Judea and Samaria, so he unabashedly supported the settlement movement. But when Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that Elon Moreh had been built on land illegally expropriated, Begin relented immediately. “There are judges in Jerusalem,” he said, in an almost biblical syntax, channeling the Tanach’s insistence that law and judges must be at the core of society – and reflecting the fact that he took the law and judges of the state of Israel seriously. Compare that commitment to law with both the haredim in Israel today, with their willingness to use violence against the state, or the more radical settlers on the West Bank, and their burning of mosques and uprooting of Palestinian-owned olive trees. That anyone could do such things and invoke the name of the Jewish people would have left Begin utterly confused and dejected. But Begin himself resisted cultivating protégés. In 1983, when he resigned his position to Yitzhak Shamir, Shamir’s inner circle begged Begin to give the new prime minister his public blessing. “I’m not a king,” Begin replied as he refused. “I have no heirs.” This article is reprinted with permission from Tablet Magazine, at tabletmag.com, the online magazine of Jewish news, ideas and culture.
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APRIL 24, 2014 ■
French antisemitism and French aliyah skyrocket on parallel tracks government policy, but that the By Josh Hasten government “is trying very hard to JNS.org combat” antisemitism. Against the backdrop of studies One recent study that reveals the revealing rising antisemitism both in worrisome realities for French Jewry France and across all of Europe, as is the 2013 report on antisemitism well as one particularly brutal attack in France compiled by SPCJ, the in Paris in March, French Jews are security unit of France’s Jewish comflocking to Israel. munities. According to the report, 423 On March 30, the Jewish Agency antisemitic acts were recorded in the for Israel released figures showing country in 2013 alone. The research that aliyah from France increased draalso indicates that last year, 40 permatically over the first two months of cent of all racist violence perpetrated 2014. In January and February alone, in France targeted Jews. The report 854 French olim (immigrants) arrived amplifies the ramifications of that in Israel, compared to 274 over the statistic by explaining the trend from same period last year, representing a a proportionality perspective. 312-percent increase. “Since Jews represent less than Shay Felber – the Jewish Agency’s one percent of the French populadeputy director-general for community services and resident expert Pictured is David (identified only by his tion, what this shows is that less on France, who made aliyah from first name), a 59-year-old Jewish teacher than one percent of French citizens France with his parents in the 1970 who was severely beaten in Paris in March. were the target of 40 percent of racist – cites three main reasons for the The attackers drew a swastika on David’s attacks perpetrated in the country,” current trend. Two are antisemitism chest.(Photo courtesy of David via The says the report. The document also states, “Since and the difficult economic situation Algemeiner) the year 2000 – and for 14 consecuin France. But from a more positive perspective, the high level of Jewish education and Zion- tive years – the number of antisemitic acts in France has istic identity prevalent in the French Jewish community is been very high, about seven times higher than numbers also leading to an upswing in immigration to Israel, Felber recorded in the 1990s. During this period, six people were murdered because they were Jewish, including three tells JNS.org. In Paris during March, a 59-year-old Jewish teacher was young children.” The report concludes that antisemitism in France “cannot subjected to antisemitic slurs and then severely beaten by a group of young men identified as being “Maghreb.” The men be considered anymore as a temporary situation associproceeded to draw a swastika on the chest of their victim ated with the situation in the Middle East; it is a structural with a marker, and vowed they would return to finish the problem that has not been fought as such and has not been halted yet.” job. No arrests have been made yet for that attack. While many French Jews are moving to Israel to escape Felber believes that the current rise in antisemitic incidents and attacks in France is a direct result of the their situation at home, Israeli tourists are known to travel situation on “the street,” with many of the episodes be- frequently throughout Europe, often ignoring the situation ing perpetrated by local Arabs and Muslims. Yet Felber on the ground in hopes of having an enjoyable vacation. Gideon Behar, director of the Israeli Ministry of Forstresses that the anti-Jewish sentiment is not French
eign Affairs Department for Combating Anti-Semitism, tells JNS.org that while he is “concerned about the rising antisemitism in Europe, and it is something we are following very closely,” his office had not issued any travel advisories or warnings for France or any other European Union countries leading up to the current Passover holiday travel season. Mark Feldman, CEO of Zion Tours, a leading Jerusalem-based travel company, concurs that there is “no direct guidance for traveling to France” at this time. He says his company sends many Israeli travelers on vacation to places like Morocco, and that to “avoid speaking Hebrew, don’t be overly loud, [and] walk in numbers are what we would advise clients traveling to many cities throughout the world [to do], and not just [in] France.” Regarding aliyah, not only from France, but from Europe in general, being a result of rising antisemitism, Behar cites the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ November 2013 study. That study was based on a survey given to 5,847 Jews from EU member states, asking them about their own experiences and perceptions of discrimination, hate crime and antisemitism. Two-thirds of FRA respondents (66 percent) consider antisemitism to be a problem across the EU member states surveyed, while three-quarters of the respondents (76 percent) indicate that antisemitism has worsened over the past five years in the country where they live. Almost half See “French” on page 12
Continued from page 3
and contemporary songs sung in Yiddish. In 1997, Patinkin played a sold-out engagement of his one-man show, “Mandy Patinkin in Concert,” with all profits benefitting five charitable organizations. He has also appeared in numerous stage productions, including “The Wild Party,” in 2000, for which he received a Tony nomination. He has also appeared in numerous films and was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1984 for the film “Yentl.”
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THE REPORTER ■ april 24, 2014
Libyan family’s travails provide a glimpse at Jews in Arab world during Holocaust from typhus or starvation. Thousands By dr. Rafael Medoff of Libyan Jewish residents holding JNS.org foreign citizenship were expelled Although the commemoration to different destinations. The new of Yom Hashoah focuses primarily deportation policy was known as on the ghettoes and death camps in “sfollamento,” or “removal.” Europe, the persecution of Jews in The expulsion decree hit the North Africa and the Middle East Roumanis particularly hard. Because during the Holocaust has gained various branches of the extended famincreasing attention in recent years. ily were citizens of several different For Ben-Gurion University Professor countries, the Roumanis were torn apart Maurice Roumani, a scholar of the and deported to different locations. history of Jews in Arab countries, the “Some of my relatives held subject has a personal dimension as Algerian citizenship, so they were well: members of his own extended deported to the west, to Algiers,” family in Libya endured everything Roumani explains. “Several dozen from expulsions, to a 1,200-mile others held British citizenship – they trek through the Saharan desert, to had originally come from Britishdeportations to Bergen-Belsen. occupied Gibraltar – and they were Roumani is this year’s Schustersent to detention camps in Italy, and man Visiting Professor of Political Science at George Washington Uni- Prof. Maurice Roumani’s grandparents then later to Bergen-Belsen. Most of versity, in Washington, DC. He spends and other family members from Libya, us, numbering more than 200, held his spare time doing research on the pictured in the late 1920s. Members either French citizenship or what history of North African Jewry. of Roumani’s extended family in Libya was known as ‘Tunisian citizenship The Roumani clan, numbering endured everything from expulsions, to under French protection,’ so we were several dozen families throughout a 1,200-mile trek through the Saharan deported to the east, to Tunisia.” Since communication was severely Libya, was one of the oldest Jewish desert, to deportations to the Bergenfamilies in Benghazi. Roumani’s Belsen concentration camp. (Photo restricted, none of the relatives were able to maintain contact with those father was a successful merchant. courtesy Prof. Maurice Roumani) who went to other countries. It would Libya had been an Italian colony since 1911, and life for its 20,000 Jews was not significantly not be until the end of the war – three years later – that they affected by the rise to power in Italy of Benito Mussolini would finally find out what happened to one another. A total of about 900 Libyan Jews with British citizenship and his Fascist Party in 1922. The “Racial Laws” that were decreed in Italy in 1938 at first were not strictly enforced were deported to Italy. But after the Germans occupied Italy in late 1943, the exiled Libyan Jews were deported again, some in Libya. As Italy drew closer to Nazi Germany in World War II, to the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, others the Libyan colonial authorities began acting against the local to the Innsbruck-Reichenau slave labor camp. Most of them Jewish communities. In the summer of 1942, Jews holding managed to survive, however, thanks to the fact that they were Libyan citizenship were interned in forced labor camps. In British citizens. Nazi officials thought they might be useful as the Giado camp alone, nearly 600 of the Jewish internees died bargaining chips in a prisoner exchange with the British.
Roumani was a young child at the time, but still vividly remembers some of what he and his family endured during the expulsion. “We were packed into the back of trucks, without any of our possessions, basically just the clothes on our backs,” he tells JNS.org. “The journey went on for several days – it was more than 1,200 miles to Tunisia. At night, some of us slept on the ground, underneath the trucks.” After several grueling days in the Saharan desert, they arrived in the Tunisian town of La Marsa, where they were housed in a single rectangular one-story building, with each family crowded into a single room. “Food was insufficient and sanitary conditions were unbearable,” Roumani notes. “We arrived penniless and with no possessions except for a few clothes – we survived only because of the support we received from the local Jewish community.” The building had no protection from the war raging in North Africa between the Allies and the Axis, and in one bombing raid, 13 of Roumani’s relatives, including his grandmother, aunts and uncles, were among the approximately 200 Jews killed. Many others were severely wounded or permanently traumatized. In the postwar period, some survivors of the Libyan slave labor camp at Giado received limited financial compensation from the German government – but only if they emigrated to Israel, and only if they arrived in Israel between 1949 and 1953. Much later, in 2004, some of the other Libyan deportees began receiving a small monthly sum from the Germans. But those Libyan Jewish deportees who did not move to Israel and who passed away prior to 2004 received nothing, nor did their descendants. “No amount of money can ever make up for the lives that were lost or shattered,” says Roumani. “But our suffering, although not the same as what others experienced, deserves to be recognized, like other Holocaust survivors who suffered at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators.” Dr. Rafael Medoff is the director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington, DC, and author of 15 books about Jewish history and the Holocaust. The latest is “FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith.”
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Top: The “Piazza Muncipio” quarter of Benghazi, Libya, in the 1920s, where many Jews lived. Bottom: The “Covered Shuk” in Benghazi in the 1930s, where many Jews owned shops. (Photo courtesy Prof. Maurice Roumani)
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APRIL 24, 2014 ■
Love rules on 70th anniversary of Bau couple’s concentration camp wedding By Maxine Dovere JNS.org In stark contrast to the many somber memorials that recall the tragedies of the Holocaust, the Tel Aviv-based Joseph Bau Museum this year is celebrating an anniversary that symbolizes life, love and the joy of the human spirit: the 70th anniversary of the marriage of Joseph and Rebecca Bau. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Righteous Gentile Oskar Schindler. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film, “Schindler’s List,” includes a portrayal of the secret wedding of Joseph Bau and Rebecca Tennenbaum in the Plaszow concentration camp. “They appreciated every minute of their lives and considered each moment to be a miracle,” said the couple’s daughter, Hadasa Bau. “A happy man and a happy woman are the biggest treasures on earth.” Hadasa and her sister, Clila Bau, are co-directors of the Joseph Bau Museum. To celebrate the love and the spirit that characterized the relationship of Joseph and Rebecca, the museum held a two-day celebration in February, with more than 400 people gathering at Tel Aviv’s Cinemateque for an evening of humor, music and memory. A “blind date” after-party, at which guests wore masks portraying Joseph and Rebecca Bau, attracted about 1,000 people of all ages. Early in the morning of February 14, almost 100 people commemorated the Baus’ lives with a memorial at Nahalat Yitzhak Cemetery in Giv’atayim, near Tel Aviv, where the couple is buried. “According to Jewish tradition, in times of deep desperation, a wedding ceremony would be held in the cemetery, symbolically linking the living and the dead,” Clila Bau told JNS.org. “The bride and groom, who had to be orphans, would stand among the dead to ask for rachmanut (mercy) from God, both for themselves and their community. They sought a promise from God, the ultimate matchmaker, for continued life.”
Boaz Bau-Simon, the grandson of Joseph and Rebecca Bau, with his fiancé, Or (Irena) Gatina, in February. The couple announced its engagement at the ceremony commemorating the 70th wedding anniversary of Bau-Simon’s grandparents. Bau-Simon and Gatina are pictured holding a “teudat osher” (“certificate of happiness”) originally created by Joseph, as well as a letter relating the story of the lifelong romance of Joseph and Rebecca. (Photo by Maxine Dovere) “Our parents were that bride and groom,” said Hadasa Bau. “We [created] this symbolic wedding so that Israel, our country, will always have love.” Polish Ambassador to Israel Jacek Chodorowicz and Giv’atayim Mayor Ron Konick were keynote speakers at the ceremony, held at the cemetery’s Holocaust Memorial Plaza. Following the ceremony, which included the laying of messaged stones at the Baus’ graveside, the commemoration continued with a re-enactment of a “black wedding,” performed by students of the Haderach Theater School at the Giv’atayim Community Center. “The Germans wanted all the Jews dead. The Plaszow concentration camp was in fact built on what had been a cemetery. It was a place of death. Joseph and Rebecca Bau
had a love that shined even in the face of death, a love that saved the Jewish world,” Clila Bau said. Hadasa and Clila Bau narrated the dramatization of their parents’ wedding. Monica Chodorowicz, wife of the Polish ambassador to Israel, read translations of the love poems written by Bau in the concentration camp. Polish actress Baeta Nowak, who portrayed Rebecca in “Schindler’s List,” traveled from Poland for the commemorative events. She told JNS.org that being part of the film was a life-changing experience. “Many in Poland thought the Holocaust was just a story. Meeting Joseph and Rebecca Bau gave me an understanding of the reality that few people in Poland understood,” Nowak said. The two-day celebration concluded with a symbolic wedding, including the presentation of a ketubah for happiness, rather than the usual terms of the Jewish marriage contract. Nine couples – totaling 18, or “chai,” people, the Hebrew number representing life – each received a “teudat osher” (“passport to happiness”) that was created by Joseph, who was an artist. “The greatest wealth is love and kisses,” Hadasa Bau said. During the event on February 13, Boaz Bau-Simon, grandson of Joseph and Rebecca Bau, announced his engagement. Bau-Simon and Or (Irena) Gatina, his fiancée, participated in the symbolic marriage held on his grandparents’ anniversary. The symbolic wedding was filmed by CNN and broadcast worldwide as part of the network’s Valentine’s Day programming. “Joseph and Rebecca Bau symbolized a message of love,” Hadasa Bau said. “Be happy, never be too busy to be happy.” Joseph was a prolific artist. As a student, he learned German Gothic-style lettering, a skill that proved key to his survival. During the Holocaust, he created documentation that enabled hundreds of Jews to escape the Nazis. Later, when asked why he, the man who could make passports and See “Love” on page 14
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Abundant opportunities by RABBI DANIEL J. SWARTZ, TEMPLE HESED, SCRANTON Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1-20:27 In 2006, the country band “Blue County” released a song titled “I Get To.” The lyrics illustrate a viewpoint necessary for understanding this week’s Torah portion, Kedoshim. The lyrics read, in part, “I used to have to say those words; you always seemed to say them first. But I dreamt one night you’d left this earth, and I woke up and reached for you. Now I realize I don’t have to say I love you – I get to.” Parashat Kedoshim lists many mitzvot that might seem at first to be obligations – things we have to do: Share what our toiling has produced with the poor; respect our elders; establish fair weights and measures; love our neighbors like ourselves. It’s quite a long list and can seem overwhelming at first. How can we possibly observe all these varied commandments? But this same list can also be understood as abundant opportunities – things we are blessed to be able to get to do. It might at first be hard to find what unites this diverse set of commandments – some focused on rituals, some on our relationship with God and still others on just behaviors not only with our fellow humans, but also with plants and animals. The key is in the sentence that starts the parasha: “Be holy because I, the Eternal your God, am holy.” What ties all these mitzvot together is that they are seen as ways of approaching holiness. Holiness – most of the time, it seems pretty out of reach for most of us. And indeed, it is not supposed to be easy. In Hebrew, the word “kedushah” implies something that is both separated from other things – from, say, ordinary behavior – and elevated above them. It is a spiritual mountain to climb. And, thus, it is easy to see why we might
see that climb as something we have to do. Oy, it’s so high and so hard, and I’m shvitzing already – why do we have to do this anyway? But we don’t have to achieve holiness. Indeed, the opposite of holiness is not sinful behavior, which we do have to avoid, if we want to live according to Jewish values. Its opposite is the ordinary. And we are permitted to live perfectly ordinary lives, to never climb mountains, to proceed on an endlessly plain plane. But, neither are we definitively condemned to such a fate. Rather, our Torah portion reminds us, every day, in diverse ways, we are given the opportunity to reach for holiness. If we are open to the possibilities, we get to strive to be holy at each and every moment. And that list of what we thought were obligations? Each of them is its own potential pathway up that spiritual mountain. To prevent me from becoming overly acquisitive and to open up my heart to the needs of others, I get to give from the “corners of my fields,” sharing what I have made freely. To help me realize that even in my business practices I can find holiness, I am reminded of both the importance and the beauty of dealing fairly with others. To help me with humility and to foster hopeful anticipation of wisdom I might one day aspire to, I get to respect my elders. To remind me of our shared humanity, of the worth that inheres in every soul, I get to love my neighbors. What an amazing gift this is! Each in our own way, we are given the chance to hear the still echoing Voice and to ascend our own Mount Sinais. And we climb that mountain not because we have to, or even just because it is there, but rather because we get to, because we each are granted the privilege of ascending and seeing the grand view of life surrounding us.
Continued from page 4
against the tradition... it’s really a shame,” Allen said. The flyer advertising the protest featured the tag line, “It starts with boycotts.” Underneath the tag line and alongside an image showing Nazi troops posting a “do not buy” sign on a Jewish business, the flyer read, “April 1933: Nazis call for anti-Jewish boycotts.” At the bottom, the flyer stated, “April 2014: The Hamas-backed economic, cultural and academic boycott of Jews and Israel dehumanizes the Jewish state and dehumanizes and threatens Jews across the globe.” Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman sharply criticized the flyer, calling it a “distortion and outlandish abuse of historical memory.” To make the day of the parade “a litmus test for how much you love Israel” is “very sad and very scary,” Foxman said. Member of Knesset Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) was a surprise speaker at the protest, which drew about 75 people. He said the claim that Jews living in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem are “occupiers” is “legally and morally false, and a distortion of history and reality.” The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People “recognizes the Jewish people’s ties to the land ‘by history, culture, religion and language,’” Ze’ev noted. “Any Jewish organization which supports the BDS [movement] has no place among supporters of Israel,” he said. “The UJA and JCRC, as leading organizations of American Jewry, must adhere to this policy if they are to be considered supporters of Israel.” Well-known Israel advocate and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, in an interview with JNS.org, said he is sure that there would be “no pro-BDS groups” marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade. Saying he is “categorically opposed to excluding,” Dershowitz expressed his disagreement with efforts to decide who marches and who doesn’t on the political right or left. “No one marching favors boycott of products manufactured within the Green Line,” he said. “The one-day-a-year parade is a unity parade, not a divisive parade,” added Dershowitz. With a bit of humor, the lawyer said he maintains his stance against “making exclusions” even though “some marchers [on the] left and
right would not allow me to speak. “This is one day of unity,” Dershowitz said. “The next day we can continue the arguments. One day a year, we can have a unity within the Jewish community.” Michael Mittelman, director of the New York JCRC’s Celebrate Israel Initiative, told JNS.org that participation in the parade’s 50th anniversary iteration has increased about 12 percent from the 2013 parade, with significant spikes in both marchers and floats. Some 200 groups are scheduled to march. Mittelman said that to date, no groups have withdrawn from the parade. All participating groups in the parade sign a statement that declares they “identify with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” according to the JCRC. In a statement, the JCRC called BDS “a clear and present danger to the future of Israel. “The single most dangerous element of [BDS activists’] campaign is their stated call for a full right of return of Palestinian refugees into modern-day Israel, which would spell the end of the Jewish state,” said the JCRC, explaining that, as an organization, it “carries the profound responsibility to bring together the widest possible spectrum of supporters of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” At the same time, the JCRC said it has made the judgment call that despite the three questioned groups’ support for boycotting products “from Judea and Samaria,” those groups still “fit within the guidelines of the parade.” Rabbi Elie Abadie, the leader of New York’s Edmond J. Safra Synagogue, disagrees. Ahead of the April 8 protest, he wrote in a letter to UJA-Federation and JCRC leaders that the questioned groups’ “disguise of being legitimate ‘Pro-Israel Jewish Groups’ has been already discovered and revealed as false. “These are the same groups who continue to accuse Israel of being an apartheid state and a human rights violator, likening Israel to Nazi Germany,” Abadie wrote. “They are the ones who supported and celebrated the Goldstone Report, falsely accusing Israel of war crimes. We must not condone their actions, let alone allow anti-Israel groups to march under the banner of a legitimate group celebrating Israel.”
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APRIL 24, 2014 ■
On Yom Ha’atzmaut, falafel takes a back seat to barbecue
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That is the case for Yehudah Zaragoza, who arrived in Israel last year from Iran with his wife and two small sons. This year is the first time Zaragoza has the chance to celebrate the existence of his new home country. Living in the immigrant absorption center in Ra’anana, he plans to toast the Jewish state with the other newly minted Israelis from Spain, Brazil, India, France, the U.S. and the FSU. Mati (Matthew) Katz, from New York, happened to be visiting a daughter in Israel last Yom Ha’atzmaut before he made aliyah this winter. “The irony is, I made aliyah this year, but this is my second Yom Ha’atzmaut,” says Katz, who is now living in Maaleh Adumim and waiting for his wife to sell the family home and join him there. “It was wonderful last year with my wife and all three of our daughters here, but I know it will be something very different this year now that I am a citizen,” Katz says. “I had visited here many times, but there was something very powerful about having a one-way ticket to Israel. This year for the first time, I am celebrating as an Israel citizen.” Israelis are determined to celebrate their hard-earned freedom – even in the country’s south, where alarms go off with frightening frequency. This is Massachusetts native Bracha Vaknin’s fifth year in Israel and she says she’s still enjoying the “miracle of being surrounded by other Jews.” But living in Netivot, a 10-minute ride from Sderot, she and her family have gotten used to the alarm going off on her iPhone, signaling a siren anywhere in southern Israel. Vaknin and her husband and children spent nearly two weeks in a shelter two years ago, and this March she was waiting for her daughter’s ballet class to end when they were all sent to shelters in Netivot’s community center. “We’re hoping for a quieter year,” she says. The level of alert doesn’t detract from the celebration of Israel on Yom Ha’atzmaut, says Vaknin, who is looking forward to her father’s kin’s annual “ritual family barbecue,” where she will enjoy the holiday with uncles and aunts and cousins. Yet not everyone is happy with at least one aspect of Yom Ha’atzmaut. Over at the Village Green Restaurant – located near Ben Yehuda Street and the countless Yom Ha’atzmaut bands, performances and parties that will color the fifth of Iyar in that area – the fact that Barry Sibul’s establishment is vegetarian takes the edge off business on Independence Day, he says. “There is an amazing quantity of meat consumed on that day in Israel,” he says with a sigh. But not to be outdone, Sibul is making sure to stock up on plenty of veggie burgers. “That way,” he says, “even vegetarians can have something that at least looks a bit like meat.”
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By Deborah Fineblum JNS.org For one day in the spring, the humble falafel is all but forgotten as Israelis fire up their grills for some serious meat-eating. In that way, Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day), which falls on the fifth day of the Hebrew-calendar month Iyar, is not all that different from its American counterpart, the Fourth of July. On this holiday, marking Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s announcement of Israel’s independence at the stroke of midnight on May 14, 1948, you’ll find musical and theatrical performances on street corners; Israeli dancing and singalongs, speeches and classic Israeli movies shown on TV and radio; and Israeli flags fluttering from windows and balconies and car antennae. Sheet cakes are decorated with the blue and white colors of Israel’s flag, and the air is filled with the smoke of barbecue grills. New olim (immigrants) are celebrating not only Israel’s freedom to exist as an independent Jewish state, but also their own transformation into Israeli citizens, with those from the U.S. trading in their July 4 Hebrew National hot dog for a Fifth of Iyar all-Israeli kabob. “The first time a new citizen celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut, they are exhilarated that only a year earlier they were dreaming of making Israel their home and now they are a full part of their Jewish homeland,” says Rachel Berger, who heads up the Post-Aliyah Department of Nefesh B’Nefesh, which brings thousands of new olim to Israel each year. Not everyone will be lighting a personal grill on the holiday. Business is booming for Israeli restaurants on Yom Ha’atzmaut, with families taking advantage of the return of spring. Many workers use the day off to go on tiyulim, or day trips. In Zichron Yaakov, at the Italian restaurant Adama Bistro, manager Dganit Azolai expects the usually popular pasta specialties to be largely ignored in favor of meats of every kind, especially beef on the grill or other barbecue items. As a variation on the meat theme, the kosher Chinese restaurant Chon Lee in Ashdod finds its annual Yom Ha’atzmaut favorite to be crispy Chinese duck, says owner Jung Lee, who has now added the Hebrew and English languages to his native Mandarin. Boaz Fisafasavich, whose Beit HaStek in Haifa attracts an international crowd hailing from France, the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, says the immigrants demonstrate at least as much enthusiasm for Israel Independence Day – and for the traditional steak – as do his Israeli customers. “They’re new here,” says Fisafasavich. “But, no matter where they come from, they read the newspapers, too, so they know what is going on and how lucky we are to be here.”
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An Israeli family had a barbecue during the celebration of Israel’s 64 th Independence Day at Sacher Park in Jerusalem on April 26, 2012. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
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THE REPORTER ■ april 24, 2014
For greeter of Orioles’ fans, stadium post is a gateway to happiness
Robert Schapiro, left, and Sgt. Nicholas McCulley, to whom he had given a ticket for the day’s game on April 3. (Photo by Hillel Kuttler)
Shootings Other times, Pitcavage said, lone wolves operate completely under the radar, with no communications preceding an attack. White supremacist Keith Luke killed two West Africans in the Boston area in 2009 and was on his way to attack a synagogue when police stopped him. “No one had ever heard of Keith Luke before,” he said. “After his arrest, we discovered he had spent countless hours watching white supremacist videos on YouTube.” Other lone wolves embrace the status because of its utility, Pitcavage said, noting that Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in bombings and shootings in and
By Hillel Kuttler BALTIMORE (JTA) – Stationed at Gate H, behind the centerfield scoreboard at the northern end of the distinctive brick B&O Warehouse, Robert Schapiro greets fans outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards with Hall of Fame-caliber vocal embraces. “Welcome! Thanks for coming,” he tells a fan on a wet and chilly Thursday afternoon, the third game of the new baseball season. “Welcome, everybody!” “I’ve been here 23 years and you’ve been a big part of my life.” At 57, Schapiro remains a bundle of joy – a large presence, in girth and personality, for fans entering the ballpark where he has been employed since it opened in April 1992 as the home of the Baltimore Orioles. For the last 18 years, he has worked at Gate H. Whatever Schapiro’s developmental disability – he says his condition includes obsessive-compulsive disorder, an inordinate worrying over relatively minor issues – or the restrictions it places on his life, the
81-games-a-year Camden Yards experience is clearly agreeable. “I love the job. It’s an amazing job,” Schapiro says just before the fans, many wearing the garb of the Orioles and the visiting Boston Red Sox, proceed past the turnstiles. He’s fond of the baseball team and loves sports. But above all, it’s about the people. The work provides Schapiro with fulfillment and a social circle. Friends include his co-workers, such as ticket takers Bob Bennett, John Hagert and Renee Myles, and Joe Vega, who administers the adjacent cage where fans can leave items not allowed inside. Schapiro points to someone stationed at the far turnstile 40 feet away. “You see that little woman at the end? She got Employee of the Month,” he says, evincing pride by association. Schapiro says he is “blessed” to have the job. Colleagues and fans, along with those who know him in the Baltimore Jewish community, say Schapiro possesses an
Joe Vega, left, says his colleague Robert Schapiro is “fun to work with.” (Photo by Hillel Kuttler) intelligence and a heart of gold that make him special, although they admit that his forthrightness and often-disheveled appearance can be off-putting at first. Some fans ignore Schapiro’s welcome. Others return the greeting and, like the members of a visiting youth hockey team See “Greeter” on page 16
Continued from page 1
near Oslo on July 22, 2011, had assembled data showing that lone attacks were more successful. “The more steps there are, the more people there are,” the likelier it is that the plot will be leaked, Pitcavage said. Goldenberg, the Jewish security official, said it has become easier for potential assailants to survey Jewish targets because of information that’s easily accessed on the Internet. It’s not clear what drew the assailant to the Greater Kansas City JCC, Goldenberg said, but it was notable that there were at least two events that had been publicized and were likely to draw crowds: a play and the singing audition.
It was a tough balance, said Karen Aroesty, the ADL director in St. Louis, MO, who was in touch with the Kansas City community and law enforcement in the wake of the attack. “You want communities to spread the word about the activities they are doing, balancing that with the kind of security that protects against” potential assailants, she said. “How do they pitch security really strongly while being warm and welcoming? That’s a tough balance.” Goldenberg noted the importance of training members of the Jewish community. “It is empowering members of the Jewish community through education and knowledge, how to identify a suspicious person, how to face an active shooter,” he said. With the caveat that he was not yet fully apprised of how the JCC shooting went down, Goldenberg noted that the building immediately went into lockdown, that the assailant struck from the rear – away from security officers who would have been manning the front – and that he did not breach the back door. “Sometimes the best defense is a locked door,” he said. “The best defense is having
a plan for a lockdown and keeping the individual outside. The individual did not gain entry to the building, and that undoubtedly saved many lives.” The Jewish Federations of North America, a leader in obtaining Department of Homeland Security funding for security measures for Jewish buildings, said the Overland Park shootings underscored the need for the program. “The horrific shootings in Kansas City emphasize the fact that Jewish communal institutions have been the victim of an alarming number of threats and attacks,” William Daroff, the Jewish Federations’ Washington director, wrote in an e-mail. “Due to those threats, the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program has provided millions of dollars to assist nonprofits in upgrading their security capacity.” President Barack Obama, who in a statement said the attack was “heartbreaking,” pledged federal resources to the investigation. “I have asked my team to stay in close touch with our federal, state and local partners, and provide the necessary resources to support the ongoing investigation,” he said.
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APRIL 24, 2014 ■
You are cordially invited to the
ANNUAL MEETING of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania Please join us as we elect Officers and Trustees, celebrate the achievements of the past year and honor several individuals for their leadership contributions to our community and to Israel
Thursday, June 12th, 2014, 7:00 PM Linder Room, Scranton Jewish Community Center, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton Dessert reception will follow the meeting. Dietary laws observed - RSVP to 961-2300 (ext. 4)
Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania
2014 Annual Meeting Program
Welcome & introductions.......................................... Michael Greenstein, President Invocation................................................................. Rabbi Baruch Melman, Temple Israel of the Poconos State of the Federation Address.................................. Michael Greenstein, President Nominating Committee Report................................. Seth Gross, Chairman Installation of Officers and Trustees........................... Rabbi Baruch Melman, Temple Israel of the Poconos Presentation of Campaign Awards............................. Michael Greenstein, President 2014 UJA Campaign Report...................................... Donald Douglass, Esq., Barbara Nivert Closing Remarks Michael Greenstein, President Reception
Proposed Slate of Officers & Trustees 2014 - 2017 Officers*
President................................................................... Michael Greenstein* Administrative Vice-President................................... Douglas Fink* Vice-President........................................................... Dr. David Malinov* Vice-President........................................................... Elliot Schoenberg* Treasurer................................................................... Jerry Weinberger, Esq.* Assistant Treasurer.................................................... Barry Tremper* Assistant Secretary.................................................... Don Douglass, Esq.* *Officers to be elected at the Annual Meeting
Board of Trustees
Term Expiring in June 2017* (3-year term)
Term Expiring in June 2015* (1-year term)
Sandra Alfonsi, Phyllis Barax, Shlomo Fink, Susan Jacobson, Dan Marcus, Ann Monsky, Barbara Nivert, Ben Schnessel, Esq. and Eugene Schneider
*Trustees to be elected at the Annual Meeting
*Trustees to be elected at the Annual Meeting
Trustees with terms ending in June 2015
Lynne Fragin, Alex Gans, Larry Milliken, Gail Neldon, Karen Pollack and Irwin Wolfson
• Continuing Terms •
Herb Appel, Phyllis Brandes, Lainey Denis, Richard Fine Esq., Natalie Gelb, Laurel Glassman, Ed Monsky, Esq., Laney Ufberg and Jay Weiss
Trustees with terms ending in June 2016 Jim Ellenbogen, Joseph Fisch, Esq., Leah Laury, Phyllis Malinov, Mel Mogel, Dr. Geordee Pollock, Alma Shaffer, Suzanne Tremper and Eric Weinberg
The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania expresses its gratitude to those Trustees whose terms of office will expire in June, 2014. It is hoped that each of them will continue to serve the Mission of our Federation through its many important committees, programs and projects. Our sincerest appreciation is extended to Esther Adelman, Jeanne Atlas, Susan Diamond, Alan Goldstein, Jill Linder, Lynn Pearl, Molly Rutta, Paula Wasser and Steve Weinberger.
THE REPORTER ■ april 24, 2014
From Bible heroines to Bernie Madoff: Alicia Jo Rabins strikes new chord
for San Francisco’s Contemporary of excommunication, and so I wanted Jewish Museum, who commissioned to consider whether a modern, secular Rabins to compose a piece on the bibliexcommunication might be warranted. cal handmaid Hagar. “Ancient midrash I mean, if not Madoff, then who?” and post-punk violin should not work A classically trained violinist who together, but she makes it happen.” spent eight years touring with the Perhaps what is most striking about Brooklyn-based klezmer punk band the multitalented songstress, who grew Golem, Rabins was able to explore that up in Baltimore and spent her high question in depth while developing her school years sneaking out to punk Madoff rock opera with a grant from Alicia Jo Rabins, a musician, shows, is her sheer range. A critically acthe Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. More recently, she poet and Torah scholar, says she claimed poet who has published work in was awarded a $50,000 grant from “wanted to have a Jewish response Ploughshares and the American Poetry the Covenant Foundation to fund the to Bernie Madoff.” (Photo by Jason Review, Rabins also is a sought-after b’nai mitzvah tutor for unaffiliated creation of an arts-based educational Falchook) Jewish families and a U.S. cultural ambassador. In 2009, curriculum focusing on women in Torah. The Covenant Foundation grant – considered one of the she traveled with the U.S. State Department to five counmost prestigious in the field of Jewish education – came as tries in Central America to play fiddle music and teach a direct outgrowth of Rabins’ work with Girls in Trouble, American folk traditions. Her second mission, in 2011, the biblically inspired art-rock song cycle that first put her took her to Kuwait. When she’s not touring with Girls in Trouble, editing on the Jewish cultural map. With two CDs under her belt, Rabins is preparing to record a third album in Portland this the manuscript for her first book of poems or baking ginger summer with the help of yet another recent grant – this one snaps with her daughter in north Portland, Rabins can be found writing a weekly Torah commentary for the Jewish from Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council. Drawing its inspiration from stories of Bible women parenting site Kveller.com. “It sounds like I’m doing a – including Tamar, Miriam and Hannah – Girls in Trouble million different things,” Rabins said. “But for me, they’re began as Rabins’ master’s thesis at the Conservative all expressions of the same impulse to find meaning and movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. beauty in the work of creation.” After two years of Torah study in Jerusalem (and a regular Tuesday night gig at a bar near Ben Yehuda Street), Rabins eventually returned to New York City to complete her Continued from page 5 graduate degree in Jewish women’s studies. Knowing her musical repertoire, which had expanded (46 percent) of the respondents worry about becoming the to include bluegrass music during her undergraduate years victim of an antisemitic verbal insult or harassment in the at Barnard College, Rabins’ thesis adviser suggested that next 12 months, while one-third (33 percent) fear a physishe turn her research on women and music in midrash, or cal attack in the same period. In the 12 months before the Torah commentary, into songs. survey, 26 percent of all respondents reported experiencing “What I was really interested in was the internal, emo- an incident or multiple incidents involving verbal insult or tional experience of the women in the stories,” Rabins harassment because they were Jewish, and 4 percent expeDiane Arbus work on display said of her inaugural work with Girls in Trouble. “In the rienced physical violence or threats of violence. SeventyAmerican photographer DianeArbus’“Jewish darkest times, there was a power that came through, and I five percent of respondents consider online antisemitism Giant” is the second work featured in The Jewish wanted to focus on that.” to be a problem in their country of residence, and almost Museum’s series “Masterpieces and Curiosities.” Rabins’ symphonic take on the complicated lives of three-quarters (73 percent) said that online antisemitism The work will be shown at the New York City biblical women struck a chord and it wasn’t long before has increased over the last five years. museum through August 3. The picture shows Eddie Carmel, she was recording her first album with JDub Records, The Jewish Agency, meanwhile, recently unveiled a a sideshow attraction billed by promoters as “The World’s the now-defunct independent Jewish music label. Bassist new government plan to encourage aliyah from France. Tallest Man” in his parents’ Bronx apartment. Aaron Hartman, whom Rabins married three months be- Along with the Israeli Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Arbus’s photographs have been said to “explore the ten- fore the release of her debut album, joined the band after Absorption, the initiative is boosting the number of Jewsion between normalcy and aberrance. Here, she touches on he heard her rhapsodizing about the project at a Brooklyn ish Agency shlichim (emissaries) in France, increasing our obsession with superhuman height – a recurrent theme bar. Since then, the pair has toured the United States and marketing efforts, developing new immigrant absorption in folklore and popular culture, from Goliath and the Golem Europe together, playing everywhere from The Smell in programs, and establishing a special committee headed to Andre the Giant and the Incredible Hulk.” Los Angeles to the Great Synagogue in Stockholm. by the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office to For more information, visit www.thejewishmuseum. “Alicia is able to combine a deep rigor and familiarity remove obstacles to French aliyah. org or contact the museum at 212-423-3200 or info@ with Jewish text with a cutting-edge artistic sensibility,” The proposal also sets clear benchmarks for increasing thejm.org. said Daniel Schifrin, the former director of public programs the number of olim, seeking to double their numbers in the coming years. The plan was developed in consultation and cooperation with French Jewish organizations, both in France and in Israel. Other partners include the World Spring - Summer Series Zionist Organization, the Israeli Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, and Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, who are all are working together for the first time in order to strengthen French aliyah. The Jewish Agency’s Felber says the plan is two-fold, “to promote aliyah in France through aliyah fairs, Hebrewlanguage courses, and sessions which assist in potential olim to find jobs in Israel, while the second part is kilitah Learn about herbs and their health benefits! Participate in a demonstration (absorption) in Israel.” Felber says the Jewish Agency is on how to plant and arrange them in a container so they will grow and in the process of constructing two new absorption centers, and at the same time is working with local municipalities give you pleasure and health throughout the summer! in order to help French olim secure employment while also integrating into society. Where: The Greenhouse Project, Nay Aug Park - 200 Arthur Ave., Scranton, PA Felber says he is confident that based on the large aliyah When: Tuesday, May 27 - 6:30-8pm figures for French Jews – he estimates that there have been 100,000-120,000 total olim from France to date – these Registration & Pre-Payment required - Fee: JFS Members $10/Non members $15 • Supplies are additional new immigrants will also succeed in building their new To register - please call 570-344-1186, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org lives in the Jewish state.
By Rebecca Spence BERKELEY, CC (JTA) – Plucking a violin on an empty stage, an animated scene of Manhattan skyscrapers scrolling behind her pregnant body, the musician, poet and Torah scholar Alicia Jo Rabins begins to sing what sounds like a mystical incantation of sorts. “Bring me your empty jar, I will fill it,” she intones. “Where it comes from, I can’t tell you, no one knows.” Inspired by the biblical story of the prophet Elisha, Rabins, 37, is musing in the broadest possible terms about the crimes of Bernard Madoff, whose decades-long Ponzi scheme and the resulting fallout – particularly in the Jewish community – led to the creation of her first experimental rock opera, “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff.” Rabins’ one-woman show, which had its California premiere in March at the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival and will shortly be released as a digital download, parses the unholy ground of Madoff’s crimes through the eyes of seven disparate characters with both direct and indirect ties to the $50 billion scam. Over the course of two years, Rabins – who with a workspace grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council was working out of an abandoned Wall Street office when news of the scandal broke – conducted interviews with a wide-ranging cast of characters, from a Jewish-Buddhist monk who offered philosophical reflections to a Wall Street risk analyst who saw the writing on the wall. “I wanted to have a Jewish response to Bernie Madoff,” Rabins said over coffee in Portland, OR, where she moved last year from Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and 2-yearold daughter, Sylvia. “I grew interested in the ancient rituals
Growing Herbs, Growing Your Health
Checks can be made payable to: Jewish Family Service of Northeastern Pennsylvania For future programming, check out our website at www.jfsoflackawanna.org
An aliyah information fair in central Paris on March 30. (Photo by Alain Azria)
APRIL 24, 2014 ■
Join us for our
Mission to Harrisburg! Monday April 28, 2014 • Meet our state officials to discuss issues that affect our communities at large and those that concern us as the Jewish community of NEPA • Be a part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Yom Hashoah commemoration in the capital building Cost for this trip (includes bus and boxed lunch)- $20/pp Meet the bus at the JCC, 601 Jeﬀerson Ave. Scranton at 7:45 AM return about 5:30 PM
RSVP email@example.com or 570-961-2300 x2
THE REPORTER ■ april 24, 2014
After his hunger strike, Alan Gross’ backers ramp up calls for U.S. action
By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA) – Alan Gross did not warn his family he was launching a hunger strike, but hearing the news, they understood why: The U.S. government subcontractor languishing in a Cuban prison feels forgotten. Gross, a 64-year-old Jewish father of two from Potomac, MD, is currently serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for “crimes against the state.” He was arrested in December 2009 while on a mission to hook up Cuba’s small Jewish community with the Internet. The company he was working for had a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development. “We’re asking that the U.S. government do whatever it takes,” Jill Zuckman, a spokeswoman for the Gross family, told JTA in an April 11 interview, the day Gross ended his fast after eight days. “This situation is not going to be resolved unless President Obama takes a personal interest in it.” The intervention of his mother, Evelyn Gross, who turned 92 on April 15, led Gross to quit his hunger strike. In a statement, Gross said he was fed up with the approach of both Cuba and the United States. “My protest fast is suspended as of today, although there will be further protests to come,” Gross said in a statement. “There will be no cause for further intense protest when both governments show more concern for human beings and less malice and derision toward each other.” Efforts to win Gross’ release have faced diplomatic and political obstacles. Cuba wants the release of its citizens who have been convicted of espionage, while anti-communist Cuban-Americans have been resistant to compromise. It all leaves Gross and his advocates feeling ignored and seeking new ways of finding attention. Increasingly, Jewish groups have been criticizing the U.S. government’s handling of Gross’ case. Quoting from the statement by Gross announcing his hunger strike, the Conference of Presidents of Major American
Alan Gross is pictured here in 2013, flanked by his lawyer, Scott Gilbert, and his wife, Judy. (Photo courtesy of the Gross family)
Jewish Organizations, the foreign policy umbrella body for U.S. Jewish groups, issued a similar pox-on-both-houses admonition. “We believe that his case has not been given the urgent attention it warrants,” said the statement signed by Malcolm Hoenlein, the body’s executive vice president, and Robert Sugarman, its chairman. “The U.S. government has a special responsibility to Mr. Gross who is fasting to ‘object to mistruths, deceptions and inaction by the governments...’ and to call attention to ‘the lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal.’” He launched his hunger strike on April 3, leaving a message with his lawyer, Scott Gilbert, the next day. “We didn’t know that he was going to go on a hunger strike,” Zuckman said. “We’ve all been very worried about him. He wasn’t in great health to begin with to not eat any solid foods for over a week.” See “Gross” on page 18
Supporters of Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned in Cuba since 2009, rallied outside the White House on December 3, 2013. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Continued from page 7
documents for anyone, did not create them for himself, he responded, “If I make documents for myself, who would help the others?” The Nazis prohibited weddings, even among Poles. If a bride and groom were discovered, the entire wedding party would be arrested and murdered as a warning to not even think about love. “Yet, even in the camps, my parents defied that edict,” Clila Bau said. “There, a man and woman were forbidden to touch, let alone kiss. If caught by the Germans, a kiss of love could become the kiss of death.” The couple met on a cloudy day when Joseph was ordered to create a sun-exposed blueprint for Amon Goeth, the concentration camp’s commandant. Rebecca, who was fluent in German and had skills as a manicurist, was Goeth’s secretary. “Perhaps you can be my sun,” Joseph flirted, bringing a moment of laughter. After knowing Rebecca a little more than two months, Joseph smuggled himself into the women’s section of the camp, where his mother blessed and married the couple. Following the liberation of Plaszow, Joseph searched for Rebecca, who had been transferred to Auschwitz. Soon after, they found each another and renewed their vows – this time with a rabbinical blessing – two years to the day that the Plaszow wedding took place. When they attempted to register their February 13 marriage at the Krakow City Hall in Poland, a clerk responded, “Who does a wedding on the 13th? It’s bad luck.” But for the Baus, who were married in Rebecca’s bunk No. 13, that number had positive connotations. Only when they gathered their documents to immigrate to Israel did they learn the official date of their post-war marriage was listed as February 14 – appropriately, Valentine’s Day. In 1950, the Baus made aliyah with Hadasa, who was 3 years old at the time. Joseph worked at the Brandwein Institute in Haifa until 1956, when the family moved to Tel Aviv. He opened his studio the same year, furnishing it with his original desk, retrieved from the remnants of his Krakow home. For more than 40 years, Joseph created some of Israel’s most widely known – and some of its most secret – graphic works. Bau drew the documents used by Eli Cohen, the Israeli spy who was executed in Syria. He was the creator of the documentation used by the Israeli team that captured Adolf Eichmann. “[Joseph Bau] was a man who helped where needed,” said Doron Pollack, who was the curator of a recent retrospective on the artist’s work at the Dvora Fischer Gallery of the Zionist Organization of America House in Tel Aviv. “The Bau Museum is one of the most important small museums in the world.” Bau produced works in the graphic arts, literature, poetry, painting and animation. He created the titling for many of the Israeli movies produced during the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. He added a component of finely tuned, if somewhat dark, humor to each modality. His research and art of the Hebrew language reflected his inherently optimistic view of life. Through his art, he also portrayed the brutal reality of life during the Holocaust. Sotheby’s auction house has described his paintings and drawings as “significant contributions to the art of the Holocaust.” Bau was also the first Israeli artist to be exhibited in the galleries of the United Nations and the Cortes Generales (Spanish parliament). Following the artist’s death in 2002, his studio was reborn as the Joseph Bau Museum. His original animated movies, the equipment he built, and his paintings and graphic art are all on permanent display there. “He was a man thoroughly integrated into the currency of life – he created in any situation,” said Clila Bau. “My father refused to be haunted or controlled by his experience of the horrors of the Holocaust.”
APRIL 24, 2014 ■
Registration is open for The 26th Annual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust Open to area students in grades 8-12 from public, private, and parochial schools, the Teen Symposium program is offered from 8:50am-2:00pm at Marywood University on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 and Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The program is coordinated through the Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC) of the Jewish Federation of NEPA & Marywood University. For information please contact Mary Ann Mistysyn at (570)961-2300 EXT#4 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Choice of Tuesday, May 13th OR Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 Time:
8:30AM registration; 8:50AM sharp program begins; 2:00PM dismissal
Where: The University’s Sette La Verghetta Center for Performing Arts, 2300 Adams Ave. (Between Woodlawn & Seminary Streets) What:
The Teen Symposium on the Holocaust is a full day program that deals with the causes and effects of the Holocaust. It also provides an opportunity for participants to meet with survivors of the Holocaust and American GIs, who liberated the Nazi concentration camps. Sessions with survivors are the core of the day. Meetings with these witnesses bring insights and understanding that only such “living history” can bring to those who hear firsthand testimony.
Each day’s program will be held primarily in the Performing Arts Center on Adams Avenue, with breakout sessions in different buildings. The day will begin with two brief introductory sessions followed by the film, Children Remember the Holocaust. Breakout sessions follow, in which small groups will meet with survivors in classrooms. After lunch, attendees will return to the theater for the production of Lida Stein and the Righteous Gentile, followed by a guided audience discussion. The afternoon session is a 50 minute play that follows “ordinary” people from “ordinary” families caught up in the extraordinary political and social upheaval of the Nazi era. It focuses on the relationship between Lida Stein, a Jewish teenage girl, and her best friend Dora Krause, a German teenage girl. The play probes issues from the perspective of teenagers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who are swept up in life-altering decisions about friendship, politics and family loyalty in difficult times. The audience discussion that follows addresses two key aspects of the Holocaust era: the gradual intimidation and eventual segregation of the Jewish community from the larger society, and the characters, motivations and consequences of the decisions of friendly and non-friendly German adults and youth. It will also focus on peer pressure and its impact on decision making, family loyalty, personal responsibility, moral strength, and commitment. The only cost involved (mandatory) is lunch prepared by Marywood University’s food service. The cost is $6.00 for students and $8.00 for teachers. (Please note that teachers will be eating with their students). Registration begins on a first-come, first-served basis upon receipt of this notice, and will end when available spaces are filled. Participation requires adherence to the time schedule, which includes check in before 8:50AM. Registration deadline is April 9th with payment in full. Please be aware, and make your students aware, of the fact that the survivor they meet will have gone through one or more of many experiences in the Holocaust, but may not be a survivor of a concentration camp. School groups are divided so that participants from each school meet several people and can share what they learn upon returning to school.
Registration form may be faxed to 570-346-6147 or mailed to HERC, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton PA 18510. DEADLINE: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9th Please Fill Out Completely CHOOSE ONE & CIRCLE:
Tuesday, May 13th OR Wednesday, May 14th
[Please note: you MUST circle your choice and if you wish to bring groups on both days, please fill out separate forms] Lead Name__________________________________________________________________________________ Best contact phone for you_____________________________________________________________________ School Name________________________________________________________________________________ Grade Level_________________________________________________________________________________ Email______________________________________________________________________________________ School phone____________________________________ ext. #________________________________________ # Students:__________ @ $6.00 each = $_____________ # Teachers: _________ @ $8.00 each = $____________ CHECK TOTAL: $______________ [Checks should be made payable to: HERC (not Marywood) – in full by April 9, 2014 or the day of symposium] Names of all attending teachers: __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ Please note: We do not automatically assume a school is attending this year because they attended in past years – This form must be returned by the deadline of April 9th with your choice of date clearly marked. Thank you for your cooperation!
THE REPORTER ■ april 24, 2014
NEWS IN bRIEF From JNS.org
Hezbollah terror plot against Israeli tourists in Bangkok foiled
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) – The investigation into two alleged Hezbollah terrorists arrested in Thailand recently was progressing swiftly, the Bangkok Post reported on April 17, as one of the suspects reportedly admitted to a planned attack on Israeli tourists in Bangkok’s popular Khao San Road tourist hub. There are several Israeli travel agencies and other establishments in the area, along with a Chabad House. The men have been identified as French-Lebanese national Daoud Farhat and Lebanese-Filipino national Youssef Ayad. Both suspects reportedly arrived several days before the beginning of Thailand’s Songkran festival on April 13. Thailand’s deputy national police chief, Winai Thongsong, said the men were arrested at different locations in Bangkok after Thai police received intelligence from Israel about a planned attack on Israeli tourists during Passover. A Thai source said investigators believe at least nine suspected foreign terrorists connected to Hezbollah are somewhere in Thailand.Authorities are attempting to track them down, the source said.
from Boston, take pictures with him. “He’s a comical fellow, always,” Vega says. “He’s fun to work with. He always gives me stuff,” including a book on Jewish baseball players. Schapiro is a regular caller to the weekly Baltimore radio show “Shalom U.S.A.,” which he says provides his primary source of information on Jewish affairs. The interviews and announcements often alert Schapiro to the many lectures, film screenings and commemorations he attends. “Obviously he has challenges in his life, but he wants to learn, he wants to grow,” says the show’s host, Jay Bernstein. “Every time I see him, he thanks me for the program and all he gets out of it. It’s nice to hear.” Four years ago, at 53, Schapiro celebrated his bar mitzvah. At a Sabbath afternoon service at Beth El Congregation, he chanted the Torah portion. One aliyah at the reading went to Neil Frater, his classmate at Pikesville High School who regularly joins Schapiro and the latter’s brother, William, in the upper deck for Baltimore Ravens home football games. “I felt like I was helping a friend achieve something in his life,” Frater says of the bar mitzvah. “This is a man who, despite his
Israeli backpackers injured in Argentina after minibus overturns
Eleven Israeli backpackers were injured in Argentina on April 17 when the minibus they were traveling in overturned. According to local media reports, one backpacker sustained serious injuries to her head and was hospitalized. The rest were suffered light wounds. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said, “None of the injuries are life-threatening,” according to Israel Hayom.
where many of the residents still speak Aramaic, the same language spoken by Jesus. Last September, jihadists invaded the small village of about 5,000, attacking Christian homes and churches and threatening them with beheadings. As a result, all of the residents fled to Damascus and elsewhere. But after an extensive campaign, the Syrian army said it has restored “security and stability” to Maaloula and that residents could return. Reports, however, indicate that the town suffered extensive damage, with many homes and churches destroyed.
British Airways to add more Tel AvivSyrian Christian refugees seek return to London flights ancient town after gov’t recapture Starting next winter, British Airways will increase its Syrian Christian refugees from the ancient town of Maaloula are seeking to return to their home after it was recaptured by Syrian government forces the week of April 18. “I would love to go back and celebrate Easter there, but it’s still a bit early,” said Fadi Mayal, a former Maaloula resident who currently lives in Damascus’s Christian quarter, Lebanon’s Daily Star reported. “There are still sleeper cells in Maaloula,” Mayal said, referring to jihadist groups in the area. Maaloula, located 56 kilometers from Damascus, is an ancient Christian town
number of weekly flights between Tel Aviv and London from 14 to 17, Israel Hayom reported. The purpose of the increase is to give travelers from Israel more convenient arrival times as well as shorter connection times. Under the new schedule, the first morning flight, a wide-body Boeing 777 aircraft, will depart Ben-Gurion International Airport daily at 7:30 am. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, a second morning flight will depart at 10:30 am. There will also be a daily flight departing at 4:30 pm.
challenges, has succeeded in [attaining] some milestones.” The accomplishments include graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in criminology. Schapiro held several jobs until a life-altering January 1991 interview at Memorial Stadium for positions at Camden Yards, which the Orioles were building downtown. Dave Shegan, then working for a local job-placement agency, “will always be my hero because he thought I’d be good for this work, and he was right,” Schapiro says. The agency, known as STEP (the Schapiro Training and Employment Program), was established by Schapiro’s grandfather, Ben, a textile executive. Shegan says he knew that sending Schapiro for the Orioles interview would produce an ideal match. Previous jobs in offices, he explains, “were not really good for him” because of workplace protocols that demand decorum. “I’ve been doing this kind of work close to 30 years, and Robert is somewhat of a unique case,” Shegan says. “He has a lot of drive and he’s gregarious.” Those qualities come through in abundance at Gate H. “Have a great Passover,” Schapiro calls to a young man
Continued from page 10 wearing a kippah. “Happy birthday to you,” he begins singing to Brian Jones, whose wife, Michelle, checks in three celebratory balloons at Vega’s cage, where Schapiro retrieves a game program he’d bought earlier. He presents it to Jones. “I have all the respect in the world for you. I’ll be thinking of you,” he tells an acquaintance’s son who will be leaving soon to serve in the Israeli army. Schapiro then turns to the father and says, “That is a classy young man.” Thirty minutes earlier, U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas McCulley, wearing fatigues, and his wife, Christine, came by. The McCulleys were paying for a purchase at a nearby sandwich shop that afternoon when Schapiro handed the cashier $4 toward their meal and gave McCulley a ticket to the game. Now the McCulleys are buying a second ticket. “It was very kind of him,” McCulley says. The men pose for a photograph; Schapiro asks that it accompany this article. The opening of Camden Yards revolutionized the architectural landscape of Major League Baseball. For Robert Schapiro, it gave him his place in life.
Get ready for the 50th annual Celebrate Israel Parade Sunday June 1! This year’s theme is The Parade’s Golden (50th) Anniversary! Contact Dassy at Dassy.email@example.com or 570-961-2300 x2to make your reservations!
APRIL 24, 2014 ■
By famed waterfalls, brainstorming a future for Latin America’s smaller Jewish communities By Natalie Schachar PUERTO IGUAZU, Argentina (JTA) – The youthful group of 60 drew their chairs around tables strewn with jars of markers and the occasional Rubik’s Cube, nearby chalkboards at the ready for jotting down big ideas. The conference hall was suffused with a can-do vibe that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in Silicon Valley, but high-tech was not on the agenda. Instead, the crowd of social entrepreneurs and activists had come to a resort near the Iguazu Falls on the Argentina-Brazil border to brainstorm a future for Jewish life in small communities across Latin America. “The decline of communities in smaller cities is our biggest problem,” said the event’s co-chairwoman, Ariela Lijavetzky, director of informal education at Maccabi, a Jewish sports club in Buenos Aires. The recent four-day Lazos gathering – Spanish for “ties” – was sponsored by the U.S.-based Schusterman Philanthropic Network as part of its Connection Points initiative. One of many thematic gatherings of young Jews convened around the world by the initiative, Lazos focused on the challenges faced by shrinking Jewish communities in Latin America. Across the region, Jewish population is becoming increasingly centralized, leaving once-flourishing communities in smaller towns and cities struggling. “It’s at a critical point,” said Carlos Vilches Haquin, a lawyer from the city of Concepcion in Chile. “Information, programs, subsidies don’t get to Concepcion and a major reason is our isolation.” The trend toward centralization is pronounced in Argentina, where about 90 percent of the country’s Jewish population lives in the capital of Buenos Aires. In the
Victor Rottenstein, head of SEO operations at Mercado Libre, gave a presentation on April 1 at a conference convened in Iguazu Falls, Argentina to discuss the problem of shrinking Jewish communities in Latin America. (Photo courtesy of Lazos) Argentine city of General Roca, located in Patagonia, the Jewish community once numbered about 400 families. These days, an egalitarian minyan still convenes for Friday night services at a synagogue in the center of town. But the few active community members, which hover around 25, illustrates how times have changed. “Our principal income is from the cemetery,” said Pablo Indelman, the synagogue president, community director and Hebrew teacher. Jewish population movements parallel larger trends in Latin America, where people are flocking to the main urban areas of their countries. Young Jews often do not return to their hometowns after studying or working in the big city. Others leave for Israel or destinations abroad. “There’s almost no youth, they’re all grandparents,” said Moshe Sefchovich, a resident of Guadalajara, a city of more than one million in the Mexican state of Jalisco. He describes a mass movement of community members to Mexico City.
While aware of the difficulty of reversing migration trends, Lazos participants were determined to find ways to reinvigorate Jewish life. Participants proposed ventures such as the establishment of a new synagogue in the Argentine city of Corrientes and a network for Jewish travelers journeying to Brazil during the World Cup. Technology was offered up as a means of changing the status quo. “Everyone is asking where young adults have disappeared to,” said Victor Rottenstein, the head of search engine optimization operations at Mercado Libre, the Latin American version of eBay. “I’ll tell you where they are. They’re on Facebook.” Participants discussed how to capitalize on the potential contributions of community
members who had left and to improve the way resources are shared among communities. “Communities are widely distributed across a broad area,” said Diego Goldman, a psychologist from Buenos Aires who cochaired the Lazos event with Lijavetzky. “There is a big necessity for Latin America to work as a network.” The effort to strengthen small communities is complicated in some countries, however, by economic uncertainty. In Argentina, an inflation rate of approximately 30 percent and the prospect of further currency devaluations make it more difficult for institutions to stay afloat, with synagogues in a number of smaller cities selling off their properties and merging. See “Latin” on page 18
Lazos participants came together at an Argentine resort near the Iguazu Falls to discuss the problem of shrinking Jewish communities in Latin America. (Photo courtesy of Lazos)
Have you made your 2014 Pledge to the The mission of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania is: To rescue the imperiled, to care for the vulnerable, to support Israel and to revitalize and perpetuate the Jewish communities of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
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THE REPORTER ■ april 24, 2014
New Season of
• Non-Feature Films •
Blessed is the Match - In 1944, 22-year-old Hannah Senesh parachuted into Nazi-occupied Europe with a small group of Jewish volunteers from Palestine. Theirs was the only military rescue mission for Jews that occurred in World War II. Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy - This entertaining documentary, narrated by the award-winning Joel Grey, examines the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical. There are interviews alongside standout performances and archival footage. Constantine’s Sword is a 2007 historical documentary film on the relationship between the Catholic Church and Jews. Directed and produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Oren Jacoby, the film is inspired by former priest James P. Carroll’s 2001 book Constantine’s Sword. *Follow Me - The Yoni Netanyahu Story - featuring three Israeli Prime Ministers, Yoni’s ex-wife (for the first time on film) and recently released audio from the Entebbe operation itself. Follow Me brings a rare portrait of Israel’s elite soldiers and their greatest hero to the big screen. Inside Hana’s Suitcase - A real-life Japanese schoolteacher, who appears throughout the film, sparked this entire story by gathering artifacts for a Holocaust educational center she was developing along with a group of girls and boys called The Small Wings. After applying to receive Holocaust artifacts, a large box arrives with a handful of artifacts, including a battered brown suitcase labeled with Hana Brady’s name. The teacher and her students begin searching for the story behind the suitcase. What they discover will surprise you. They wind up unlocking — and showing us in the film — a whole series of deeply moving memories and other related artifacts and photos. Finally, Hana’s surviving brother George travels to Japan to meet the Japanese students. Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story - This excellent documentary, narrated by Dustin Hoffman, portrays the contributions of Jewish major leaguers and the special meaning that baseball has had in the lives of American Jews. Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story was shown at the Opening Event for the 2012 UJA Campaign. The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost - Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz presents a vigorous case for Israel: for its basic right to exist, to protect its citizens from terrorism and to defend its borders from hostile enemies. *The Flat - This gripping autobiographical documentary tells the story of the filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger, who travels to Tel Aviv to clean out the apartment of his recently deceased German-born Jewish grandmother. Goldfinger discovers, while going through her belongings, evidence that his grandparents were good friends with Leopold von Mildenstein, a leading official within the Nazi propaganda agency, and that they remained friends after World War II. He journeys to find out the details of this disturbing revelation. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg - As baseball’s first Jewish star, Hammering Hank Greenberg’s career contains all the makings of a true American success story. *Orchestra of Exiles - This riveting documentary tells the story of how Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman watched Jewish musicians being fired from classical orchestras when Hitler came to power. Huberman decided to build a new orchestra in Palestine and encountered many obstacles along the way. He ultimately succeeds and the Palestine Symphony gave its first performance December 1936. (When Israel gained independence in 1948, the orchestra was renamed the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, which remains to this day a world-class orchestra.)
• Feature Films •
Crossing Delancey - This is a warm comedy taking place in New York City. Isabella Grossman desires to rise above her family’s Lower East Side community, but her grandmother has other matchmaking plans. *Fill the Void - Fill the Void tells the story of an 18-year-old, Shira, who is the youngest daughter of her family. Her dreams are about to come true as she is set to be married off to a promising young man. Unexpectedly, her sister, Esther, dies while giving birth to her first child. The pain that overwhelms the family postpones Shira’s promised match. Everything changes when an offer is proposed to match Yochay, the late Esther’s husband, to a widow from Belgium. When the girls’ mother finds out that Yochay may leave the country with her only grandchild, she proposes a match between Shira and the widower. Shira will have to choose between her heart’s wish and her family duty. Footnote - The story of a great rivalry between a father and son, both eccentric professors who have both dedicated their lives to work in Talmudic Studies departments of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Though the father shuns overt praise for his work and the son is desperate for it, how will each react when the father is to be awarded the most sought after prize, the Israel Prize? This Oscar nominated film will entrance from the start. Good - In an attempt to establish its credibility, the new Nazi government is seeking out experts to endorse its policies and comes across Johnnie Halder’s novel of a husband who aids his terminally ill wife in an assisted suicide. Because of this, the Nazis flatter Johnnie, arranging for high paying and prestigious positions. Never evil, Johnnie Halder is an Everyman who goes along, accepting what he is told without question until he is an unwitting accomplice to the Nazi killing machine. *Hava Nagila: The Movie - Hava Nagila is instantly recognizable and musical shorthand for anything Jewish. But as audiences will discover in Hava Nagila (The Movie), the song is much more than a tale of Jewish kitsch and bad bar mitzvah fashions. In its own believe-it-or-not way, it encapsulates the Jewish journey over the past 150 years. Featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Leonard Nimoy, Regina Spektor and more. The film follows the song from Eastern Europe to Palestine and all the way to America. Hidden In Silence - Przemysl, Poland, WWII. Germany emerges victorious over the Russians, and the city comes under Nazi control. The Jews are sent to the ghettos. While some stand silent, Catholic teenager Stefania Podgorska chooses the role of a savior and sneaks 13 Jews into her attic. Every day, she risks detection — and immediate execution — by smuggling food and water to the silent group living above her. And when two German nurses are assigned to her living quarters, the chances of discovery become dangerously high. This is the true story of a young woman’s selfless commitment and unwavering resolve in the face of war. Noodle (PAL version- can only be played on computer, NOT regular DVD players) - At 37, Miri is a twice-widowed, El Al flight attendant. Her well regulated existence is suddenly turned upside down by an abandoned Chinese boy whose migrant-worker mother has been deported from Israel. The film is a touching comic-drama in which two human beings — as different from each other as Tel Aviv is from Beijing — accompany each other on a remarkable journey, one that takes them both back to a meaningful life. Operation Thunderbolt - The true story of the Entebbe hijacking and rescue. Operation Thunderbolt was filmed in Israel with the full cooperation of the Israeli government, and is an exciting re-creation of the events of those tense days. We see the full scope of the story, from the original hijacking to the passengers’ captivity in Uganda to the agonized debates at the highest levels of the Israeli government over a diplomatic vs. a military solution. Operation Thunderbolt is the thrilling and true story of how one small country refused to let its people be killed by terrorists and took action to prevent it. People who claim that Israel is a “terrorist state” should see the film and be reminded who the real terrorists are. Orthodox Stance (documentary-2007) - Dimitriy Salita, a Russian immigrant, is making history as a top professional boxer and rigorously observant Jew. While providing an intimate, 3-year-long look at the trials and tribulations faced by an up and coming professional boxer, Orthodox Stance is a portrait of seemingly incompatible cultures and characters working together to support Dmitriy’s rare and remarkable devotion to both Orthodox Judaism and the pursuit of a professional boxing title. Playing for Time - An outstanding cast brings life to this Fania Fenelon autobiography about a Jewish cabaret singer and other Jewish prisoners whose lives were spared at Auschwitz in exchange for performing for their captors. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - Set during World War II, this is the story of Bruno, an innocent and naïve 8-year-old boy, who meets a boy while romping in the woods. A surprising friendship develops. *The Concert - Thirty years ago, Andrei Simoniovich Filipov, the renowned conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra, was fired for hiring Jewish musicians. Now a mere cleaning man at the Bolshoi, he learns by accident that the Chatelet Theater in Paris has invited the Bolshoi Orchestra to play there. He decides to gather together his former musicians and perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi Orchestra. He wants a young violinist virtuoso, Anne-Marie Jacquet, to accompany his old Jewish or Gypsy musicians. If they all overcome the hardships ahead, this very special concert will be a triumph. The Debt - Academy Award winner Helen Mirren and two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson star in The Debt. In 1966, three Mossad agents were assigned to track down a feared Nazi war criminal hiding in East Berlin, a mission accomplished at great risk and personal cost… or was it? The Impossible Spy - Young Israeli husband Eli Cohen is recruited by the Mossad in the early 1960s and sent to Syria. Telling his wife he has a new job that requires extensive business travel, he takes up residence in Syria, where he befriends a high-ranking Syrian government official and provides invaluable information to Israel. On a visit home, his wife pleads with him to leave his job so he can be home more, and his handler tells him he has accomplished enough, but he decides to return to Syria one last time. One day, he learns of an attack on a kibbutz scheduled for that night; he abandons normal precautions in order to warn Israel as quickly as possible and is caught. The Other Son - The dramatic tale of two babies switched at birth, The Other Son creates a thoughtful presentation of what could be a soap opera-type event. Instead, director Lorraine Levy and a wonderful screenplay take the viewer down a very different path, allowing each to come to his/her own conclusions. Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story - Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story is an incredibly riveting, Emmy Award-winning, fact-based story about a hero who helped more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews escape from the Nazis during the Holocaust. *Just added to the Jewish Federation’s Film Lending Library!
Continued from page 17 Even communities with storied histories are struggling. Moises Ville, a town in the Argentine province of Sante Fe, known for its Jewish gauchos, or cowboys, once was a symbol of Jewish community life on the plains of Argentina. With the financial patronage of the German-Jewish philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsch, Jews fleeing czarist Russia and Central Europe had taken advantage of Argentina’s open-door immigration policy and established the colony in 1889. The city is still called the Argentine Jerusalem for its history and culture, and it is currently celebrating its 125th anniversary. Today, however, only about 250 of its 2,000 inhabitants are Jews. “One of our main concerns is the lack of young people,” lamented Claudia Baer, secretary of the community synagogue, before adding that she, too, would like to go to Israel, if it weren’t for her job.
Continued from page 14 A final straw for Gross was the revelation that USAID had launched a bid – after his arrest – to open a Twitterlike channel of communications to promote democracy and anti-regime sentiment among Cubans. The initiative ended in 2011 due to a lack of funding. “Once Alan was arrested, it is shocking that USAID would imperil his safety even further by running a covert operation in Cuba,” Gilbert said in a statement. Gross had been subcontracting for a contractor that was working for USAID. “USAID has made one absurdly bad decision after another,” the attorney said. “Running this program is contrary to everything we have been told by high-level representatives of the Obama administration about USAID’s activities in Cuba.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate on April 3 that efforts have been launched to free Gross, but added he could not elaborate. “We have a number of efforts under way, which I would be happy to talk to you about privately,” Kerry said in response to a question from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), whose parents were Cuban immigrants. “But we are very, very focused on trying to get Alan Gross out of there. His treatment is inhumane. And he is wrongfully imprisoned.” Gross’ family will not say what specifically they believe the Obama administration could do to free Gross. His wife, Judy, in 2011 had advocated humanitarian gestures for the so-called Cuban Five – Cubans who were convicted in the United States of spying offenses in 2001. Since then, the Obama administration has released two of the five before their sentences were complete for good behavior. One of the two was allowed, while still on parole, to visit an ailing family member in Cuba. Cuban officials have not explicitly offered Gross for the Cuban Five, but they have said it would be a natural trade. The Miami Herald on April 9 quoted Josefina Vidal, the Cuban official in charge of U.S. relations, as saying that meeting the “humanitarian concerns” regarding the three spies still in prison could “resolve” Gross’ case. The still-imprisoned Cubans had received longer sentences than the other two. One is serving a life term because of his involvement in the Cuban Air Force’s fatal 1996 downing of two planes belonging to a Cuban activist group. Four Americans were killed in the attack. The Cuban government’s interests section here did not respond to a request for comment, but in the past its officials have said that the situations of Gross and the Cuban Five are not comparable. They noted that Gross was allowed to see his wife while in prison and the Cuban Five were not. In its statement, the Presidents Conference said Gross is “being held hostage to apparently unrelated demands and actions.” In an interview, Hoenlein did not explain who was making the demands or actions. But Hoenlein said the Obama administration has lifted some travel restrictions on Cuba and he suggested refraining from further U.S. gestures toward Cuba pending a resolution of Gross’ situation. “The feeling is there hasn’t been any serious negotiation,” he said. “We are doing things with the Cubans, we made concessions with Cubans. Maybe we have to hold back.” Obama has eased some policies, including travel and money-transfer restrictions, but has held back on other rollbacks, in part because of the influence of American critics of Cuba. A delicate issue for Gross’ advocates in the Jewish community is that some of the fiercest opponents of accommodation with Cuba are also considered some of Israel’s most prominent congressional allies, including Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez, considered key by pro-Israel groups in overseeing the current nuclear talks with Iran headed by the United States, has expressed support for the Cuban Twitter program that triggered Gross’ hunger strike. “The whole purpose of our democracy programs, whether it be in Cuba or other parts of the world, is in part to create a free flow of information in closed societies,” Menendez told the Associated Press, which uncovered the program’s existence.
APRIL 24, 2014 ■
NEWS IN bRIEF From JTA
Scientists: Romanian troops behind 1941 massacre of Jews
Forensic scientists from Bucharest concluded that 36 bodies found at a mass grave near Iasi belonged to Jews who were murdered by Romanian troops. The investigation into the mass grave at Vulturi Forest ended in March and determined that soldiers of the Romanian army’s Regiment 6 perpetrated the murders in June 1941, the Elie Wiesel National Institute for Studying the Holocaust in Romania announced on April 16. The institute’s director, Alexandru Florian, said the finding was “a legal document proving the Holocaust in Romania.” The probe, which began after the grave’s discovery in 2010, revealed that 12 of the people buried there were children, including a toddler younger than 2. Nine women also were buried along with 15 men, a researcher for the Elie Wiesel institute said at a news conference in Bucharest. Military prosecutors conducted the probe. Vulturi is the second site in Romania where a mass grave has been discovered since World War II. In 1945, 311 bodies from three mass graves were exhumed in Stanca Roznovanu in Iasi. Gheorghe Stavrescu, the general who commanded the regiment, died in prison in 1951 of tuberculosis. He was imprisoned by Romania’s communist rulers for war crimes, according to the archives of the Romanian Ministry of National Defense. Two of his subordinate officers responsible for the Vulturi massacre died in the front during the war, according to the news site gandul.info. Approximately 380,000 Jews were murdered in Romania-controlled areas during the Holocaust, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. In 2003, Romania officially recognized the complicity of its pro-Nazi government during the Holocaust. Romania set up the Elie Wiesel National Institute in 2004, and proceeded to teach the Holocaust in over 100 schools. It also erected several national monuments in memory of the Holocaust and designated a national memorial day.
Chilean Jews mobilize to help earthquake, fire victims
The Jewish community of Chile is sending truckloads of supplies to victims of fire raging in the central port city of Valparaiso. The goods being prepared by the community will leave in seven trucks from the capital Santiago on April 17, the community’s president, Gerardo Gorodischer, told the Agencia Judea de Noticias. They include clothes, food, furniture and construction material. The trucks are scheduled to be offloaded at the government’s disaster management center near Valparaiso, according to the website of the Jewish community, known locally by the acronym CJCh. Fifteen people have been killed and hundreds have been injured in the fire that erupted on April 12. The blaze, which came two weeks after an earthquake struck Chile’s north, has consumed at least 2,900 homes. The April 1 quake killed six and led to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands. The Jewish community opened a fund-raising campaign for earthquake victims and set up an aid committee for fire victims, the community’s website said. Among the thousands of firemen at Valparaiso are volunteers from the Bomba Israel-15th Company, a not-for profit organization of Jewish and pro-Israel firefighters.
Israeli-Arab journalist arrested for visiting Lebanon
Israel arrested an Israeli-Arab journalist and political activist on suspicion that he met foreign agents after entering Lebanon illegally. Majed Kial, 23, was arrested the week of April 17 by the Shin Bet security service after returning on April 12 from a visit to Lebanon, which Israel considers an enemy country, Army Radio reported on April 17. Kial admitted to leaving Israel for Lebanon in March to attend a conference celebrating the 40th anniversary of Al-Sapir, a Lebanese paper for which Kial writes on social and economic issues. Kial, who lives in northern Israel, also is the editor of the website for Adallah, an Israeli not-for-profit organization that deals with issues connected to Israeli Arabs. Israelis are required to seek special permission to visit enemy countries, but Kial entered Lebanon without permission through contacts at the Palestinian Authority, Army Radio reported. Aram Mahmid, Kial’s lawyer, said he viewed the law requiring Israelis to seek permission before visiting enemy territories as “arbitrary.” Kial said he would not have been allowed into Lebanon if he had first received permission from an Israeli court, Army Radio reported. He added that he did not meet any Hezbollah officials in Lebanon and that his visit was for his journalistic work. An unnamed Shin Bet source was quoted as telling Army Radio that Kial “contacted Palestinian officials to arrange for his entrance into Lebanon despite being an Israeli citizen. The journalist entered Lebanon with Palestinian documents. In the following days, a decision will be made about the investigation into his actions and his indictment for visiting an enemy country.”
U.S., Israel teaming to push Israel into visa waiver program
The United States and Israel are creating a working group to help Israel advance toward joining the visa waiver program. “This is a goal of both the United States and Israel, and it would make travel easier for citizens of both countries,” Julia Frifield, the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, said in a letter sent on April 17 to Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY). The Department of Homeland Security is also part of the working group, Frifield said. The letter was the first indication that the U.S. government is dedicating resources to facilitate Israel’s entry to the program, which allows travel without pre-arranged visas. Two major obstacles have kept Israel from joining the program: Allegations by U.S. officials that Israel has discriminated against Arab- and Muslim-Americans seeking entry, and a proliferation of young Israelis traveling to the United States as tourists and then working illegally. The maximum visa rejection rate for entry into the program is 3 percent, and Israel’s is at 9.7 percent, spiking up from a 6 percent average in recent years. The letter from Frifield to Lowey outlined measures that would address concerns about visas denied because of suspicions that applicants planned to seek illegal employment, but did not touch the issue of discrimination, although State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki raised it in March, saying it was a core issue. Among the measures outlined by Frifield in her letter were a review of practices affecting Israelis aged 21-26 who want to travel to the United States, more education about how best to obtain visas for such travel and expanding cultural exchange programs for young Israelis. Frifield said the State Department had reviewed the visa refusal rate for Israelis aged 21-26 and found it had doubled from 16 percent to 32 percent in 2013. She said the main factor in the increase was Israelis seeking work illegally and noted the visa approval rate for that age group was nonetheless relatively high. “We know that despite a two-thirds approval rate, this increase has led to a perception by some that young Israelis are unwelcome to travel in the United States,” Frifield said. “Clearly that is not the case. Israel is one of our closest friends and allies.” Lowey, who with other lawmakers led demands for a review of the visa rejection rate for young Israelis, praised the measures outlined by Frifield. “I am pleased Embassy Tel Aviv and the State Department will undertake this full review of visa policies and have committed to making it easier – not more difficult – for young Israelis to travel to the United States,” she said in a statement.
State Dept. issues terror threat warning
The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide caution against the continued threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and overseas interests. “Current information suggests that al-Qaida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan and encourage kidnappings of U.S. citizens and Westerners,” the warning issued the week of April 11 said. “Information also suggests that al-Qaida and its affiliated organizations continue to plan
terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings.” The warning cautioned against Hezbollah in Lebanon, which the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist organization, citing “spillover violence” from the current crisis in Syria. The statement said that “no part of Syria should be considered immune from violence.”
Vienna Philharmonic to return Nazilooted painting
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra will return a donated Nazi-looted painting to the heirs of its rightful owners. The painting, “Port-en-Bessin” by French neo-Impressionist Paul Signac, will be given back to the heirs of French resistance operative Marcel Koch, the director of the Institute of European Studies in Moutaine, France, at a ceremony later in the year, the orchestra said on April 12. A German military official donated the painting to thank the orchestra for performances for German soldiers in France in 1940, according to The New York Times. The orchestra has been working in recent years to overcome its wartime activities and Nazi sympathies. Last year, the Philharmonic hired art historian Sophie Lillie to discover the provenance of the painting so it could be returned. “We are thrilled that this property from Vienna will be transferred to France and to the right persons,” Clemens Hellsberg, president of the Philharmonic, told the Times, adding, “It was really a moral problem.”
Reach recovery plan, court orders Hadassah hospital and Israeli gov’t
A Jerusalem court ordered Hadassah Medical Center and the Israeli government to reach agreement on a recovery plan in 10 days. District Court Justice David Mintz on April 13 also extended a stay of protection to the hospital from its creditors, even as it continues to operate at a deficit. The medical center has run out of the combined $28 million provided by the Israeli government and Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, according to The Jerusalem Post, and is operating at a deficit of $489 million. The next hearing, when a recovery plan is expected to be presented, is April 24. “Anyone who was thinking he would be taking a vacation with the family during the intermediate days [of Passover] is mistaken because the next hearing will be April 24,” Mintz said. “This is truly a matter of saving lives.” The week of April 10, the Gabbay Committee, a public committee set up by Minister of Health Yael German, recommended that control of the hospital be taken away from the Hadassah organization, which would be left with one representative on the Board of Directors. The committee said in its findings that the women’s organization would “continue to make substantial donations to the hospital.” But the Hadassah organization said in a motion filed with the court on April 11 that it would halt donations to the hospital if control is taken away and that it would have a ripple effect on philanthropy from the United States to all Israeli charities.
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THE REPORTER ■ april 24, 2014
April 24, 2014 Edition of The Reporter - Jewish Federation of NEPA