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Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania JANUARY 2, 2014
VOLUME XII, NUMBER 1
Community lecture to explore tensions between Islam and the West
The Jewish Discovery Center will present a free community lecture by an Israeli military intelligence analyst, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, on Sunday, January 12, at 10:30 am. The lecture will discuss why it is difficult for Americans to understand the Middle East. The event will be held at Lackawanna College, 501 Vine St., Scranton. Admission will be free, but registration will be required. Tickets can be reserved online at http://JewishNEPA.com or by calling 570-587-3300. The Middle East is currently undergoing a “profound and historic” transformation,
the events that make headlines according to organizers. Many in the news every day, about are trying to understand the dewhy the conflict ongoing, if velopments in the Arab world and there will ever be normalcy, and in the Arab and Muslim culture whether freedom and democracy and religion. Additionally, Iran’s can flourish in a region ruled by nuclear aspirations and the recent tribalism and violence. interim agreement signed in GeBorn and raised in Tel Aviv, neva has many concerned around Kedar served for 25 years as a the world. The United States and lieutenant colonel in Israeli miliother western governments are tary intelligence, studying Arab involved in what is happening political discourse, Arab media in Syria, Egypt, Israel and Iran. Dr. Mordechai and Islamic groups. Currently, he The lecture will present questions Kedar about how Americans can make sense of lectures at Bar-Ilan University’s Department
of Arabic Studies and does research at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He is considered one of Israel’s leading figures in understanding the Arab world and is the Middle East analyst for the daily newspaper Makor Rishon, as well as other publications. Kedar speaks Hebrew, English and Arabic, and is a frequent guest in the Israeli, Arab and international media. Sponsorship options are available for the program, including a pre-lecture breakfast reception with Kedar at 9:30 am on January 12. The rates per couple are $100, $180 or $360.
Pipeline won’t save Dead Sea, but could supply needed water to “thirsty” neighbors By Alex Traiman JNS.org A recently approved trilateral plan to create a water pipeline connecting the Red Sea and the rapidly evaporating Dead Sea has everything to do with providing freshwater to a desperate region, and less to do with reversing the receding water levels in the Dead Sea. “This project will not save the Dead Sea,” Prof. Jiwchar Ganor, faculty member at the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, told JNS.org. Each year, the Dead Sea loses approximately 800 million cubic meters of water, and the shoreline recedes by approximately one meter. Tourists visiting the sea can easily see the impact of water recession. “You would need to add 800 million cubic meters per year to stabilize the levels of the sea. This will be a project of approximately 100 million cubic meter per year,” Ganor said. As part of the project, approximately 100 million cubic meters of water will be desalinated in the Gulf of Aqaba, in Jordanian territory, and divided between Israel and Jordan, with the majority of the water going for drinking and irrigation to Israel’s Arava desert. As part of the cooperation, Israel will then provide desperately needed water to Jordan in the north. “In Jordan, they have a very severe problem of water shortage. It is not like the shortage we have in Israel. In Amman, you do not have fresh water every day in the taps. They have a huge water shortage,” said Ganor. According to Ganor, a water shortage for Jordanians could fuel growing instability for the Hashemite regime. Citizens without water may act in unpredictable ways, including taking to the streets. “If you look at the entire region, Jordan, Syria, Israel and Lebanon all take water. This area has a huge population, and it needs a huge amount of
water… It’s not good to have neighbors that are thirsty,” Ganor said. “For Israel, it is very important, as I see it, that Jordan will have more water,” he said. “Through this cooperation, Israel gains water where it needs it, in the South, and Jordan gains it where it needs it, in the North.” It is this demand for fresh water that has caused the depletion of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. Waters that flow into the Jordan River and Israel’s Lake Kinneret, also known as the Sea of Galilee, are all diverted for consumption, meaning the natural flow through the Jordan River and ultimately into the Dead Sea has been greatly reduced. For years, environmentalists have warned about the dangers to the future of the Dead Sea if appropriate water flow is not restored. Several plans have been floated to bring water to the Dead Sea, either from the Mediterranean Sea to the west or the Red Sea to
the south. Most recently, Israeli President Shimon Peres was a vocal advocate of a plan to build a canal between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea – which at 400 meters below sea level is the lowest point on Earth. The plan recently approved by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority will bring water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea via a pipeline. Yet the waters that will be piped to the Dead Sea will be neither desalinated freshwater nor seawater. “What will be brought to the Dead Sea is the waste of the desalination project, known as brine,” Ganor said. “The present plan is to desalinate sea water in Aqaba [Jordan]. As part of the desalination process, half the water output will be fresh water, and half will become brine that includes all the salt from the desalination, so it has a double concentration of sea salt. It is this strategic brine water that will be distributed to the Dead Sea,” he said.
See “Water” on page 6
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A view of the Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan. (Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons)
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Jews in Ukraine
Ganor said there are two reasons to bring the brine to the Dead Sea. “The first reason is to avoid dumping of brine into the Red Sea.
Jews in music
Candle lighting January 3.........................................4:28 pm January 10.......................................4:34 pm January 17.......................................4:42 pm
Young Jews in Ukraine are marching A look at Jewish composers who Holocaust survivors in Israel PLUS with antisemitic ultranationalists to influenced 20th century American struggle to meet daily needs and Opinion...........................................................2 protest the current government. music. say the gov’t should help more. D’var Torah...................................................8 Story on page 7 Story on page 12 Story on page 15 UJA Campaign.......................................10-11
THE REPORTER ■ january 2, 2014
JANUARY 2, 2014 ■
a matter of opinion The Pollard injustice Reprinted with permission of Arutz Sheva – Israel National News President Obama recently granted Christmas clemency to eight convicted crack cocaine dealers, each of whom has served more than 15 years of their “unfair” sentences. But no such luck for Jonathan Pollard, who has served 28 years of hi s u n f a i r sentence for passing secrets to America’s most faithful ally. “Commuting the sentences of these eight Americans,” Obama said, “is an important step toward restoring fundamental ideals of justice and fairness.” Nor is this the first time he has gone on record on the issues of “justice and fairness” on prison sentences. Earlier, on March 21, he stated, “As president, my first obligation is to observe the law here in the U.S. I need to make sure that every individual is treated fairly and equally.” Given the sentences meted out to these persons and especially to those who spied for the United States’ enemies, can anyone call Jonathan Pollard’s sentence “fair and just” under any circumstances? If “fairness and justice” are his concerns, perhaps he should ask why former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Lawrence Korb (who served under Caspar Weinberger), former U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dennis DeConcini, Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Attorney General Michael
Mukasey, former Deputy Attorney-General Philip Heymann, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, 39 U.S. congressmen, 18 U.S. ex-senators and even the European Parliament (on September 16, 1993) have repeatedly called for Pollard’s sentence to be commuted?
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Mark silverberG The answer, quite simply, is because Pollard’s punishment did not fit his crime. McFarlane went so far as to write that Pollard’s imprisonment was “disgraceful and mean-spirited,” and “well beyond what any court would sentence for the same action today.” He called Pollard’s life sentence a “great injustice” and disproportionate to the crime he committed. In 1987, Pollard pleaded guilty to one count of providing classified American intelligence information to an ally, Israel, but the agreement was quashed by the judge at the request of then U.S. Secretary of State Caspar Weinberger, who submitted a topsecret letter and memorandum that falsely accused Pollard of treason. It would later be disclosed that Aldrich Ames – a senior CIA official – and Robert Hanssen – a senior FBI official – not Pollard, had sold the names of American agents to the Russian KGB, although Pollard, rotting in jail, remained the fall guy. As it happens, Pollard was classified as a GS-12 – an intelligence analyst with no special “blue stripe” clearance (as had Ames and Hanssen) for access to vital secrets including the names of U.S. foreign intelligence agents in Russia, but that did not deter U.S. intelligence agencies, who were desperately seeking some way to control the damage done by Ames and Hanssen and to justify Pollard’s life sentence. In fact, the newly declassified 1987 “CIA Damage Assessment” indicates that the information Pollard provided to Israeli intelligence related primarily to Tunisian, Syrian, Pakistani, Iraqi, Libyan, Iranian and Soviet nuclear, chemical and biological warfare capabilities, as well as Saudi intelligence assets – vital U.S. intelligence information that he believed Israel was legally entitled to receive, but which was being withheld as retaliation for Israel’s 1981 pre-emptive strike on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor (the CIA has a long-standing pro-Arab predisposition) and as potential bargaining leverage with Israel. The information Pollard provided also included a signals intelligence manual the Israelis needed to listen in on Soviet advisers in Syria; satellite photos of the PLO headquarters in Tunisia; information on Soviet arms shipments to Syria and other Arab states; Tunisian and Libyan air defense systems; information on Egyptian missile
systems; and a “blue book” roster that listed the identities of all the Saudi and other Arab intelligence agents (as of 1984) including, coincidently, a Saudi terrorist by the name of Osama bin Laden. With regard to Syria, Pollard provided documents concerning a suspected research and development facility, the Syrian electronics intelligence system, Syrian drones, a national command, control and communications center based in Damascus, and Syrian military units to which Soviet advisors were assigned – information for which he was paid by the Israelis. The common denominator in all these documents was that they related to the existential threat posed to Israel by these hostile countries. Pollard was never charged with treason, he never had a trial and he was never indicted for harming the United States or for compromising U.S. capabilities, codes, agents or war plans. He was indicted and convicted on only one charge: one count of passing classified information to a foreign power, an ally, without intent to harm the United States. Under the heading “What the Israelis Did Not Ask For,” the “Assessment” remarks (at page 43) that the Israelis “never expressed interest in U.S. military activities, plans, capabilities or equipment.” Contrary to the extremely damaging “worst spy in history” and “betraying America’s sources and methods” comments expressed by Weinberger, there is no evidence that Pollard’s actions led to the loss of a single American life throughout the years. As former U.S. federal prosecutor John Loftus noted in his detailed research into the intelligence aspects of the case, no less a figure than Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Leeper (who was involved in laying the initial indictment against Pollard) subsequently characterized the damage caused by the release of the information that Pollard actually gave Israel as “minimal” and, in 1994, government sources were quoted as saying that “no one died as a result of the Pollards” (Washington Post, April 23, 1994). As Loftus wrote in Moment Magazine in June 2003, “Pollard was stealing Soviet secrets for Israel, not American secrets for the Soviets.” Moreover, a concurrent damage assessment known as the Victim Impact Statement, written by the U.S. Department of Justice and submitted to the sentencing judge in 1987 as an aid in determining Pollard’s sentence, determined that the damage was determined to be nothing more than shortterm friction between the U.S. and unnamed Arab countries and a temporary reduction in bargaining leverage held by the U.S. over Israel – not the kind of permanent, irreversible and overwhelming harm to U.S. national security that some have claimed. It is true that Pollard committed a serious crime and his espionage should not be condoned, nor should the gravity of his crime be underestimated, but his 28-year sentence is outrageous considering that the average sentence for passing classified material to an ally is 10 years, and the median
time served for such an offense is between two-four years. Indeed, Woolsey suggested that Pollard’s sentence was unjust in an interview with National Public Radio last March. He noted that America has caught several spies for friendly countries, including spies for Greece and the Philippines, and sentenced them to serve terms ranging from fourseven years. Nor were they alone. In the mid-1990s, Robert Kim, who spied for another U.S. ally, South Korea, was punished with nine years in prison, of which he served seven. Other spies, like Randy Jeffries, a Federal Bureau of Investigations clerk who spied for hostile nations like the Soviet Union, and Sharon Scranage, who spied for Ghana, were sentenced to three and two years respectively. Even agents who committed far more serious crimes on behalf of hostile nations like the Soviet Union did not receive such a harsh sentence. In fact, of the more than 50 recently convicted Soviet bloc and Chinese spies (except for Ames and Hanssen, both of whom also received life sentences for espionage activities that caused irreparable damage to U.S. interests and the loss of U.S. intelligence agents in the Soviet Union), two-thirds served less time or were sentenced to less time than Pollard has already served. Alan Dershowitz, writing in The Washington Post (January 2, 1999, page A19), added even more fuel to the argument supporting a commutation of sentence for Pollard: “In 1995, an American Naval officer named Michael Schwartz (a non-Jew) was arrested and, after confessing, indicted for spying for Saudi Arabia, an American ally. Schwartz’s only punishment was discharge from the Navy with the loss of his rank and pension. He never spent a day in prison. In 1986, Dr. Abdel Kader Helmy was arrested and indicted for passing American ballistic missile secrets and parts to Egypt, which then passed them on to Iraq. Helmy’s treachery led directly to Iraq’s development of the Condor missile. At the insistence of both the State and the Defense Departments, Helmy was indicted not for espionage, but for ‘smuggling’ restricted technology. Helmy was sentenced to four years in prison, and was released after two years. In 1987, Clayton Lonetree was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union, an enemy of the U.S. Among other things, Lonetree passed the floor plans of the U.S. embassies in Moscow and Vienna to the Soviets, jeopardizing the lives of all the Americans employed there. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison and, after several sentence reductions, was released after nine years.” The short of it is this. Pollard is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying for a U.S. ally – Israel. He spied in the U.S., but not against the U.S. He has more than paid his debt to society. If “fairness and justice” are what the president has in mind, perhaps he should begin with commuting the sentence of Jonathan Pollard.
Stop the dishonest academic boycott By Lawrence Grossman (JTA) – It started as barely a blip on the radar. At its annual conference last April, the Association for Asian American Studies, or AAAS, unanimously approved a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israeli universities to protest the country’s treatment of Palestinians. While the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement had been active for some time on campuses across the country, it was the first time an American academic organization had signed on. But since the AAAS is a tiny group of barely 800 members, and fewer than 100 were still around on the final day of the conference when the vote was taken, the step was viewed more as a curiosity than
the beginning of a trend. Now the blip is beginning to look more like a wave. In December, the much larger American Studies Association, or ASA – it has nearly 5,000 members – passed a similar resolution by a 2-to-1 margin in an online vote in which about a quarter of the members participated. The language, previously approved unanimously by the organization’s national council, claims there is “no effective or substantive academic freedom for Palestinian students and scholars under conditions of Israeli occupation” blames the United States for “enabling” the occupation; and endorses “a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.” While the ASA has long had a reputation for leftist and anti-Western bias, resolu-
tions to the same effect are expected to be proposed at the upcoming meetings of the large mainstream academic bodies in the humanities, such as the Modern Language Association and the American Historical Association. Both will hold their annual meetings in January. The professoriate is the most highly educated sector of our society, its members taking justifiable pride in their ability to think clearly and not be swayed by faulty logic. Surely those who come to the subject with no preconceived anti-Israel feeling will see through the two-tiered hypocrisy of the boycotters. First, it is rather odd that the ASA has never before called for severing academic See “Boycott” on page 12
community news Temple Israel of the Poconos to hold Tu B’Shevat community seder Temple Israel of the Poconos, located at 711 Wallace St., Stroudsburg, will hold a community Tu B’Shevat seder to celebrate the New Year of the Trees in collaboration with the Chai Program and religious
school on Tuesday, January 14, from 5:30-6:30 pm. The cost to attend will be $5 per person. Temple Israel of the Poconos’ Rabbi Baruch Melman will lead the Tu B’Shevat seder following the
style of the Kabbalistic masters of Tzfat. For reservations, contact Debbie Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-751-7692 by Tuesday, January 7.
Kosher turkeys donated by Poconos Jewish community Temple Israel of the Poconos and the Jewish Resource Center of the Poconos joined together on November 24 to give gifts of kosher turkeys and other foods to the Jewish
community of the Poconos as they prepared to celebrate Chanukah and Thanksgiving. Temple Israel of the Poconos and the Jewish Resource Center of the Poconos expressed their thanks to the new Price Chopper in Marshalls Creek for helping make the project a reality.
S E N I L D A E D Rabbi Baruch Melman and Rabbi Yehuda Salkow presented donated kosher turkeys.
The following are deadlines for all articles and photos for upcoming Reporter issues.
Rabbi Baruch Melman, of Temple Israel of the Poconos, helped prepare gifts of kosher Thanksgiving and Chanukah foods Jewish community members.
Rabbi Yehuda Salkow, of the Jewish Resource Center of the Poconos, posed with some of the donated goods.
Thursday, January 2.......................... January 16 Thursday, January 16........................ January 30 Thursday, January 30...................... February 13 Thursday, February 13.................... February 27
Tony Stefano and Al Peselnick prepared food for distribution.
Bais Yaakov news Bais Yaakov dinner and carnival called a “huge success” Bais Yaakov’s annual Chanukah carnival at the Beth Shalom drew a large attendance, during which families enjoyed food prepared by Suzanne Severe, Leah Laury and the crew. Snow cones and doughnuts were also available. Bais Yaakov thanked those who sponsored booths, including Sheila Cutler, in memory of Frank Nutis; Janice Cutler, in memory of Werner Brodman; Molly Rutta, in memory of parents Daniel and Frances Wilson; Gilda Franseze, in memory of Ken Franseze; Maria Ufberg and family, in memory of Howard Ufberg; and Gary Davis, in memory of Ruth Davis. Also involved in preparing the dinner and carnival were Beckey Schastey, Nancy Ben Dov, Devora Weinreb, Vera Epshteyn, Necha Weinreb, Atara Raven, Adina Elefant and Bais Yaakov students Sora Leah Bree, Adina Leah Bilus, Batsheva Davidson, Sora Harkavy, Nechama Harkavy, Devorah Krycer, Dahlia Laury and Rachel Laury. Organizers expressed their gratitude for “their dedication and hard work.” Bais Yaakov joins Ora Academy of Rochester for Shabbaton Bais Yaakov joined Ora Academy of Rochester, Pitts-
burgh and Ottowa for a small school Shabbaton from November 22-23. Girls from other cities got to know one another and participated in roller skating, swimming and other activities. They also visited the Corning Glass Factory on the way back to Scranton. Bais Yaakov hopes to reciprocate in the spring. Chanukah with Bais Yaakov The students at Bais Yaakov participated in several Chanukah activities, such as baking cookies and playing Chanukah games with the residents of the Jewish Home. They also performed at Elan Gardens and prepared activities. CHAGIGA The seventh- and eighth-graders of the Scranton Hebrew Day School attended this year’s Bais Yaakov Chanukah party, which was themed “Fly with BY.” Guest speaker Vera Epshteyn gave a d’var Torah on Chanukah and shared her own experiences of life growing up in the Soviet Union, where Jews were not free to practice religion and celebrate Chanukah. The 10th grade prepared a comedy musical video spoof on Chanukah and school life. Senior Devorah Krycer created a PowerPoint game that the girls played. “Much work was put into this chagiga and it was well worth it,” said a Bais Yaakov representative.
Save the Date! The Bais Yaakov Theatrical Production February 8 at 8pm
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THE REPORTER ■ january 2, 2014
Temple Israel of the Poconos held community menorah lighting
More than 60 members, their families and friends attended the Temple Israel of the Poconos community menorah lighting for singing, latkes and jelly donuts.
At left: Several menorot were lit at the Temple Israel of the Poconos community menorah lighting. Temple Israel of the Poconos celebrated the seventh night of Chanukah with a community menorah lighting.
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Born in a DP camp, baseball’s historian adopts America’s national pastime By Hillel Kuttler CATSKILL, NY (JTA) – The past escorts John Thorn home from the moment he greets a visitor at a 139-yearold railroad station, crosses the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and arrives at his residence, a county historical landmark. Clad in a facsimile jacket of the defunct Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs, he enters the billiards room of his home in this Hudson River town 35 miles south of Albany, its walls crammed with old framed prints and theater posters. The environment befits the official historian for Major Major League Baseball’s official historian, John Thorn, League Baseball and one who pictured holding a royal decree knighting his greatdevours Americana. “I am a grandfather, says the past enhances the present in sports sports historian by trade,” the as well as family matters. (Photo by Hillel Kuttler) 66-year-old Thorn says, “but ting in his second-floor office surrounded by I am an antiquarian in all things.” While Thorn may delve into baseball lore books filling floor-to-ceiling shelf units. Growing up, Thorn refused to speak with for a living, it was more than just a game for this son of Holocaust survivor parents who was his parents in their native Polish, but only born in a displaced persons camp in Germany. in the English of the family’s adopted land. As an immigrant raised in the New York City The household included an older “brother,” boroughs of the Bronx and Queens, the young Adam – actually a cousin whose parents Thorn collected baseball cards and read their were murdered, like much of the family, in statistics and text, which he says helped him the Holocaust. Thorn recalls that his parents assimilate in America. Thorn says he was had ransomed Adam from a peasant who drawn to the national pastime because of shielded him during the war. Adam became its “possibilities for fairness” and the heroic a successful businessman; he’s retired and lives in Florida. figures who played the game. As one whose story mirrors that of many His baseball-inspired imagination enabled Thorn to “construct my own legends untied other post-war Jewish immigrants, Thorn See “Historian” on page 16 to my European roots,” he explains while sit-
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JANUARY 2, 2014 ■
Jewish artists pushing the technological frontier
By Talia Lavin NEW YORK (JTA) – Jazz music drifts from speakers down to the cherry wood tables of the West Café in Brooklyn as the Israeli artist Nurit Bar-Shai prepares to show examples of her latest work. With deft, freckled hands, she opens a manila envelope and slides three petri dishes across the table. In the dishes are billions of Paenibaciullus vortex bacteria arranged in delicate whorls of blue. The series, which Bar-Shai calls “Objectivity [tentative],” displays “chemical tweets” of bacterial communication that expose viewers to the science behind her work while prompting them to reflect on the nature of human interaction. “When people see bacteria working together to create these designs, they might wonder, how do I depend on others in my life?” Bar-Shai told JTA. “What do the social networks I am part of look like?” Bar-Shai is one of a number of artists incorporating cutting-edge science into their works, anything from digital images of microorganisms to so-called visual synthesizers that combine visual and audio elements into one “synesthetic” signal.
LoVid’s “Retzuot (ShinShinAgam)” is a tefillin-inspired video project. (Courtesy of LoVid, photo by Yoni Maron)
Tech-influenced artwork has been around for decades, but recent advances have expanded the potential for using technology in artistic creation. Artists working with such media frequently offer critical perspectives on the role technology plays in an increasingly digital world. “It’s important to maintain a healthy balance between technophilia and critical distance about technology,” Tali Hinkis told JTA. Hinkis, who grew up in Tel Aviv, is one half of an art duo known as LoVid. Her father was an Apple employee during the company’s early years of operations in Israel. Along with partner Kyle Lapidus, Hinkis produces work that joins digital sounds and images. In one piece inspired by tefillin, “Retzuot (ShinShinAgam),” a colorful video screen connected to a handmade synthesizer is embedded in an object fashioned from wire and fabric to look vaguely like the wooden boxes worn by observant men during morning prayers. The contraption produces sounds and colors on the screen that change as the artists manipulate an electric current. Hinkis says it is part of an effort to “mute the consumerism” in today’s technology and bring computers back to their “hackable” roots. “Nowadays, hardware is hidden and discreet,” she told JTA. “As we progress there is less accessibility in mainstream technology. We celebrate technology, but we’re looking for further possibilities. Not everything has to be boxed and sold.” Cynthia Beth Rubin, a faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design, uses digital technology to give audiences new ways to engage with ancient texts. Her exhibition, “Layered Histories,” created in collaboration with rabbi and composer Bob Gluck, uses leafs from the Marseilles Bible, an illuminated Bible written in 1260 in Toledo, Spain. The Bible vanished from 1492 to 1894, when it was found in the Marseilles municipal library, and Rubin and Gluck sought to create an “imagined history” of those mysterious centuries.
At left: In “Objectivity [tentative]” Nurit Bar-Shai utilizes Paenibacillus vortex bacteria and agar gel molds to create striking images. (Nurit Bar-Shai)
Friends of The Reporter Dear Friend of The Reporter, Each year at this time the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania calls upon members of our community to assist in defraying the expense of issuing our regional Jewish newspaper, The Reporter. The newspaper is delivered twice of month (except for December and July which are single issue months) to each and every identifiable Jewish home in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
columns that cover everything from food to entertainment. The Federation assumes the financial responsibility for funding the enterprise at a cost of $26,400 per year and asks only that we undertake a small letter writing mail campaign to our recipients in the hope of raising $10,000 from our readership to alleviate a share of that responsibility. We would be grateful if you would care enough to take the time to make a donation for our efforts in bringing The Reporter to your door.
As the primary Jewish newspaper of our region, we have tried to produce a quality publication for you that offers our readership something on everythingfrom opinions and columns on controversial issues that affect our people and our times, to publicity for the events of our affiliated agencies and organizations to life cycle events, teen columns, personality profiles, letters to the editor, the Jewish community calendar and other
As always, your comments, opinions and suggestions are always welcome. With best wishes, Mark Silverberg, Executive Director Jewish Federation of NE Pennsylvania 601 Jefferson Avenue Scranton, PA 18510
Cynthia Beth Rubin’s “Layered Histories” is an interactive digital representation of the history of the Marseilles Bible. (Cynthia Beth Rubin) The exhibit centers on a specially designed tablet computer that enables viewers to interact visually with the Bible. Using a specially designed pointer, users can touch images on the tablet, causing digitally altered images inspired by the Bible’s wanderings to project onto a screen, accompanied by music meant to replicate the sound of communal recitation. Since 2003, the exhibition has been presented in Florida, Connecticut, Rhode Island and at the Jewish museum in Prague. See “Artists” on page 14
Continued from page 1 The second is to contribute some water to the Dead Sea, which has a negative water balance, so it will slow down the decrease in the Dead Sea water level,” he said. According to Ganor, substantial research has not been conducted on whether or not placing the brine back into the Red Sea would have any tangible ecological impact on the Red Sea’s famed coral reefs and colorful sea life – yet that is clearly a concern. In terms of total salinity, the water in the Dead Sea is about 10 times saltier than the seawater of the Red Sea, and five times saltier than the brine. Yet the compositions of the two waters are very different. “There are different salts in the Dead Sea,” Ganor told JNS.org. “In the Dead Sea, for example, calcium is high, while sulfates are low. In seawater, sulfates are high and calcium is low. And there are many other examples.” Meanwhile, some environmentalists are arguing against bringing the brine to the Dead Sea. “The question of risk to the ecology of the Dead Sea depends on the amounts of water deposited. In small amounts, there is no risk. If we are talking about very high amounts of new water, then there are various types of risks relating to the Dead Sea water composition, and the growth of particular types of algae that are currently not part of the Dead Sea’s environment,” Ganor said. “According to the research that we conducted at BenGurion University along with other institutes including Hebrew University, we found that if you add relatively small amounts, less than 350 million cubic meters per year, there will be no ecological risk to the Dead Sea,” he said. “If you add a very high amount, say 700 or 800 million cubic meters, there is a much bigger concern.” Whether these concerns would negatively affect tourism in the Dead Sea is unknown, as the actual effects cannot be accurately studied. “We don’t know the precise amount of water that is safe to add without ecological change. The current pilot can give us a real field study to better determine the impact in larger numbers,” Ganor said. While politicians would like to enlarge the project in the future, more data is needed to do that, said the professor. “Yet again, the issue of the brine is not the major component of this deal,” he said.
In Ukraine protests, young Jews are marching with ultranationalists
support. They are very pro-Russian.” By Talia Lavin Right-wing parties such as Svoboda, which (JTA) – On the last evening in November, garnered 10 percent of the national vote in at least 31 protesters were taken into custody 2012 parliamentary elections to become and dozens treated for injuries following a the fourth-largest party in Ukraine, bristle violent confrontation with Ukrainian police at Russia’s influence over their country. in Kiev’s Independence Square. They have embraced EuroMaidan despite But that wasn’t enough to intimidate the the right-wing tendency, evident elsewhere crowds who have occupied the main square in Europe, to resist the encroachment of the of the capital since November 21. Thousands European Union. showed up the following morning, including a “Svoboda is an opposition party to the curyoung woman carrying a 10-liter pot of fresh rent regime, and they are supporting this trend borscht to help the crowd through another because it goes against the current regime,” cold day on the square. said Oxana Shevel, an associate professor It was “like a carnival,” said Dmitri Geraof comparative politics at Tufts University. simov, 32, a Jewish klezmer musician who Ukrainian Jewish leaders have been unhas taken part in the protests. “I didn’t feel nerved by Svoboda, which it considers a any aggression in the crowd. It was like a threat to community security. The party’s public holiday.” use of antisemitic rhetoric also has prompted The ongoing protests – known widely concern from the European Parliament. as EuroMaidan, after the Ukrainian name “We fear that this situation will get out for the square in which they have taken of control,” Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski, head place – were sparked initially by anger over President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign Protesters against the Ukrainian government cheered a speaker in Kiev’s Independence of the Jewish community organization in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, told an agreement that would have deepened ties Square on December 5. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images) JTA. “And when there is chaos, minorities between Ukraine and the European Union. will suffer, as our history tells us.” youth. And Jewish youth in Ukraine primarily fall under They have since blossomed into a full-blown movement Other Jewish community officials, including the chief that description.” seeking Yanukovych’s resignation, along with calls for an While it is difficult to know how much support there is Chabad rabbi of Ukraine, Moshe Azman, have likewise end to corruption and the “selective prosecution” that has landed opposition leaders in jail. The protesters also want for the protest movement among young Ukrainian Jews, the condemned the protests as dangerous for the Jewish comcountry’s orientation toward Europe has proven a divisive munity. But those concerns have not been enough to keep a strengthened social safety net. A number of young Jews are involved in the pro- issue within its Jewish community. Older Jews tend to be Jews from joining the protest movement. After mass emitests, which have drawn together a diverse coalition of more fearful of Ukrainian nationalists, whose resentment grations in the 1970s and 1990s, the Jewish community in liberal youth and opposition party leaders, including of Russian influence has led them to support a more pro- Ukraine shows no signs of leaving. And for young Jews, investment in Ukraine’s future is a part of their identity. members of the ultranationalist Svoboda (Freedom) Europe orientation. “I love Ukraine very much,” Talinovskaya said. The community “is very split on the issue of the proparty, whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has freely traf“My parents are here, my friends are here and I have tests,” said Meylakh Sheykhet, Ukraine director for the ficked antisemitic stereotypes. “If the nationalists are in favor of a regime change in the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union. no plans on emigrating, which means my children will country, and I am also, then they won’t prevent me from “Generally speaking, the young generation of Jews, just be born here.” Other Jews active in EuroMaidan echoed her going out into the Maidan with everyone and expressing like other young Ukrainians, support this revolution. But my opinions,” Evgenia Talinovskaya told JTA. “The Euro- the older generation of Ukrainian Jews, the ones who grew sentiments. See “Ukraine” on page 14 Maidan movement is primarily identified with the educated up and were educated in the Soviet system, they are not in
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JANUARY 2, 2014 ■
d’var torah ABINGTON TORAH CENTER
Rabbi Dovid Saks President: Richard Rutta Jewish Heritage Connection 108 North Abington Rd., Clarks Summit, PA 18411 570-346-1321 • Website: www.jewishheritageconnection.org Sunday morning services at 8:30 am Call for other scheduled services throughout the week.
BETH SHALOM CONGREGATION
Rabbi Yisroel Brotsky 1025 Vine St., Scranton, PA 18510, (corner of Vine & Clay Ave.) 570-346-0502 • fax: 570-346-8800 Weekday – Shacharit: Sun 8 am; Mon, Thurs. & Rosh Chodesh, 6:30 am; Tue, Wed & Fri, 6:45 am; Sat & Holidays, 8:45 am. Mincha during the week is approx. 10 minutes before sunset, followed by Maariv.
BICHOR CHOLEM CONGREGATION/ CHABAD OF THE ABINGTONS Rabbi Benny Rapoport President: Richard I. Schwartz 216 Miller Road, Waverly, PA 18471 570-587-3300 • Website: www.JewishNEPA.com Saturday morning Shabbat Service 9:30 am. Call or visit us online for our bi-weekly schedule
CHABAD LUBAVITCH OF THE POCONOS Rabbi Mendel Bendet 570-420-8655 • Website: www.chabadpoconos.com Please contact us for schedules and locations.
CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL
Affiliation: Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Allan L. Smith President: Henry M. Skier Contact Person: Ben Schnessel, Esq. (570) 222-3020 615 Court Street, Honesdale, PA 18431 570-253-2222 • fax: 570-226-1105
CONGREGATION B’NAI HARIM
Affiliation: Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum President: Alan S. Wismer P.O. Box 757 Sullivan Rd., Pocono Pines, PA 18350 (located at RT 940 and Pocono Crest Rd at Sullivan Trail 570-646-0100 • Website: www.bnaiharimpoconos.org Shabbat Morning Services, 10 am – noon; every other Saturday Potluck Shabbat Dinner with blessings and program of varying topics, one Friday every month – call for schedule.
JEWISH FELLOWSHIP OF HEMLOCK FARMS
Rabbi Steve Nathan President: Steve Natt Forest Drive 1516 Hemlock Farms, Lords Valley, PA 18428 570-775-7497 • E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Friday evening Shabbat service 8:00 pm, Saturday morning Shabbat Service 9:30 am.
MACHZIKEH HADAS SYNAGOGUE Rabbi Mordechai Fine President: Moshe Fink 600 Monroe Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 570-342-6271
OHEV ZEDEK CONGREGATION
Rabbi Mordechai Fine 1432 Mulberry St, Scranton, PA 18510 Contact person: Michael Mellner - 570-343-3183
Union of Reform Judaism Rabbi Daniel J. Swartz President: Ken Miller 1 Knox Street, Scranton, PA 18505, (off Lake Scranton Rd.) 570-344-7201 Friday evening Shabbat, 8 pm; Saturday Morning , when Shabbat School is in session, at 11 am
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF DUNMORE
President: Isadore Steckel 515 East Drinker St., Dunmore, PA 18512 Saturday morning Shabbat 7:30 am; also services for Yizkor
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF THE POCONOS
Affiliation: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Rabbi Baruch Melman President: Dr. Sandra Alfonsi Contact person: Dr. Sandra Alfonsi 570-223-7062 711 Wallace St., Stroudsburg, PA, 18360 (one block off Rte. 191 (5th Street) at Avenue A) 570-421-8781 • Website: www.templeisraelofthepoconos.org E-Mail: email@example.com Friday evening Shabbat, 7pm; Saturday morning Shabbat, 9 am
The destroyer, freedom and responsibility by RABBI DANIEL J. SWARTZ, TEMPLE HESED, SCRANTON Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16 In parashat Bo, the story of the plagues comes to its climax and conclusion, with the death of the first born and the tza-akah g’dolah, the great cry arising from Egyptian households. But just before this climatic moment comes a strange instruction, with an even stranger justification presented: “Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and to the two doorposts. None of you shall go outside of the door of his house until morning. For when the Eternal goes through to smite the Egyptians, God will see the blood on the lintel and two doorposts, and the Eternal will pass over the door and not let the Destroyer enter and smite your home.” (Exodus 12:22-23) This ritual distinguishes the final plague from all that preceded it. For with every other plague, protection came automatically. The Egyptians’ water turned to blood; that of the Israelites did not. Frogs and insects, even wild beasts, plagued the Egyptians, but left the Israelites alone. Hail struck throughout Egypt – except in Goshen, where the Israelites were. Most fantastic of all, darkness descended on Egypt – and yet the “Israelites enjoyed light in their dwellings.” All of this happens without any actions or rituals upon the part of the Israelites. Why does all this change with the final plague? What has changed that leads to the necessity of hyssop and blood? If God could figure out how to parcel out darkness to the Egyptians and yet give light to the Israelites, why not simply protect them from “the Destroyer” as well? The significant change was probably one of two things: the nature of the plague itself and the situation of the Israelites. Let’s take a look at the nature of the plague first. In commenting on verse 23, Rashi writes, “Once the Destroyer (death personified – later referred to as the Angel of Death) is let into the world, it doesn’t distinguish between the righteous and the wicked.” It would be easy to fool ourselves into thinking that the Destroyer is some fanciful, ancient legend – but in our very real, prosaic world, the Destroyer is around us at all times. Nuclear war is perhaps the most obvious modern Destroyer. That’s why J. Robert Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavad Gita when he witnessed the first test of the atomic bomb, “Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.” But any kind of war lets loose the Destroyer. We might claim that there can be “surgical strikes” in war, but no bomb distinguishes between the righteous and the wicked. Even without overt violence, the Destroyer is present. Think, for example, about global climate change. Our actions or inactions today will cause death and destruction for generations to come, generations entirely without blame for our wasteful energy practices. So, Torah reminds us, violence and death are never neat or clean, never target only the “deserving.” We need to be careful, lest we un-
leash plagues. Once they are loose, they are difficult or impossible to contain. But the severity of the plague is not all that has changed. With this final plague, the Children of Israel stand on the cusp of the Exodus, freedom from Pharaoh and a radically different life. So it is now time for the Israelites to cease being the audience to their own redemption and instead to take an active role. Rashi hints about this in another of his comments, that God instructs the Israelites to paint the lintel and doorposts with blood so that God can see “you are busy with My commandments.” The psychologist Erich Fromm expands on this greatly in his work, “Escape from Freedom.” Fromm sees the Exodus as a tale that helps us to examine what it means to mature and take on responsibility. That is what made the journey from slavery to freedom so challenging that the generation of the desert couldn’t make it to the Promised Land. This is a journey that all of us must make – learning to leave the security of childhood for the frightening, uncertain, but deeply rewarding, Promised Land of adulthood. These two explanations, the increased severity of the plague and the incipient change in status of the Israelites, may seem to be completely different. But they have a common root: responsibility. The tale of the 10th plague reminds us how tempting it is to avoid responsibility, how tragic the consequences of that avoidance can be and, as the Exodus unfolds through the rest of Torah, the deep rewards that ultimately come when we take responsibility for our actions and behaviors.
Exhibit on defining identity
The exhibit “Casual Conversations” by Alina and Jeff Bliumis is being held at the Laurie M. Tisch Gallery at the JCC in Manhattan through February 26. The two-part project looks at defining identity. On July 7, 2007, in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, the artists asked 45 beachgoers in this predominantly Russian neighborhood to define their identity. Each participant was given the choice of three signs (Russian, Jewish or American) or given the opportunity to make their own sign. The photographs of the event are on exhibit. The second part of the project is an interactive station that allows visitors to answer questions about their cultural identity and then have their photographs taken. These photos are then posted online. For more information, visit www.jccmanhattan.org/thelaurie-m-tisch-gallery or contact the JCC at 646-505-5716.
Introduction to Belly Dancing Belly dance is a non-impact, weight bearing exercise suitable for all ages. It’s a good exercise for the prevention of osteoporosis in older people. Come and enjoy an introduction to this great exercise under the direction of an experienced dance instructor! Where: Step by Step Dance Studio, 1200 N. Keyser Avenue, Scranton When:
Wednesday, January 29, 6:00 and 7:00PM
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF SCRANTON
Affiliation: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Rabbi Moshe Saks 918 East Gibson St., Scranton, PA, 18510 (located at the corner of Gibson & Monroe Sts.) 570-342-0350 Fax: 570-342-7250 • E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday, 8 am; Mon & Thurs, 7:15 am; Tue, Wed & Fri, 7:25 am; Rosh Hodesh & Chagim weekdays, 7 am; Shabbat Morning Service, 8:45 am; evening services: Sun – Thurs, 5:45 pm; Friday Shabbat and Saturday Havdalah services, call for times.
Registration Information: Fee: $15 per person To register please call 570-344-1186, or by e-mail email@example.com Checks can be made payable to: Jewish Family Service of Lackawanna County Registration & Pre-Payment required
For future programming, check out our website at www.jfsoflackawanna.org
Thanks to everyone for coming to our
All-American Chanukah Feast!
THE REPORTER ■ january 2, 2014
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
Your gift to the Federation’s UJA Campaign provides funds to meet the ongoing humanitarian and social service needs of our local and global Jewish community. The part of your gift that remains in our community funds the many agencies that comprise the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania and include….
ANNUAL UJA CAMPAIGN SUPPORTS • Scranton Jewish Community Center • Jewish Family Service of Northeastern Pennsylvania • Scranton Hebrew Day School • Yeshiva Beth Moshe • Bnos Yisroel of Scranton • Bais Yaakov of Scranton • Scranton Ritualarium (Mikva) • Jewish Resource Center (JRC) of the Poconos (Stroudsburg) • Jewish Discovery Center/Chabad • Temple Hesed Religious School (Scranton) • Temple Israel Religious School (Scranton) • Congregation B’nai Harim Religious School(Pocono Pines) • Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms Religious School (Lords Valley) • Temple Israel of the Poconos Hebrew School (Stroudsburg)
…and our many and varied programs, projects and services including… • Holocaust Education Resource Center/ History Teacher Enrichment Seminars • Holocaust Symposia (annually - for hundreds of middle and high school student in NEPA) • Coordination of humanitarian & disaster relief efforts (like Hurricane Sandy) • NEPA Federation Missions to Israel • Israel Emergency Campaigns (in the event of war) • Participation in NY’s annual Celebrate Israel Parade • NEPA Federation Missions to Harrisburg (in coordination with the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition) • Northeast Pennsylvania J…ewish Film Festivals (2007/2009) • NEPA Jewish Film Lending Library • NEPA Jewish Federation Business and Trade Alliance (BTA) (www.jewishnepabta.org) • partnering with the Scranton JCC, Jewish Family Services, Temple Israel and Temple Hesed in determining the financial feasibility of constructing a new Jewish Community Campus • grants to JFS for Russian Jewish resettlement and underwriting the travel expenses of Jewish Family Service (JFS) personnel to and from the Pocono Jewish communities • sponsorship of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Artists Street Fair (Stroudsburg) • sponsorship (with the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg) of the Matisyahu “Festival of Light” Concert on December 11th, 2012 • financial support for NEPA Jewish Federation participation in the NY-based OU Job and Relocation Fair designed to attract Jewish families and business persons to our region • participation in Breast Cancer Awareness Programs • analysis of Jewish demographics in Pike, Wayne, Monroe and Lackawanna counties • capital expense assistance for agencies requiring major capital repairs (including the Scranton Mikva and Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms Hebrew School) • CRC activities (lobbying local, regional, state and national elected representatives on matters affecting Jewish interests in NEPA, Israel and the world) • Security-related issues (relating to anti-Semitic threats and vandalism) The Jewish Federation has earned a reputation as a trusted, effective charity that makes a real difference in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Your support sustains a caring, compassionate community that unites in good times or bad to take care of each other and to celebrate Jewish life together. A contribution to our annual UJA Campaign is the one gift that does it all.
Because we work together as a community. Your involvement Yields: Many Happy Returns
JANUARY 2, 2014 ■
HERE’S HOW YOUR FEDERATION BRINGS YOU MANY HAPPY RETURNS
WHO...who we are… The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania is comprised of many very devoted volunteers whose efforts are supported by the contributions of more than 800 generous financial donors. These engaged community members are facilitated by an executive director, an assistant director, a secretary and a business manager. YOU can join us by attending an event or bringing us an idea.
WHAT…what we do… Federation is a regional Jewish philanthropic organization created to fulfill the social service needs of Jewish community members of all ages in Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike and Wayne Counties. It oversees local community relations issues and through its membership in the Jewish Federations of North America, it shares a portion of its funds to sustain, improve and enrich the lives of Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world. MISSION: Enrich Jewish life in Northeast Pennsylvania, Israel and around the world through service, programming, advocacy and fundraising through its annual United Jewish Appeal.
WHERE…where to find us… The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania is located in the Jewish Community Center of Scranton, 601 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, PA 18510. Find us online at www.jewishnepa.org or call 570-961-2300.
WHEN…when we started… The Federation formed in the aftermath of World War II when a group of Scranton’s Jews decided to help rescue Jews striving to escape the perils of Hitler’s ravaged Europe. Dozens of thankful refugees came to Northeast Pennsylvania to find jobs and a place to live. As other communities in Northeast Pennsylvania joined forces and shared financial resources, Federation grew into an extended family of caring volunteers. In 2000, the Scranton-Lackawanna Jewish Federation expanded into the Jewish communities of Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties and became the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania. We are now one family united is a common cause – the perpetuation of Jewish life in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Israel and in many countries around the world where Jews are vulnerable and in need.
WHY…why we’re needed… The Jewish Federation represents not only our communities in Northeast Pennsylvania, but is a branch of national and international Jewish organizations. We communicate and translate the need and purpose from these umbrella organizations to our community and back. Our membership in the Jewish Federations of North America fulfills our responsibility for offering a dedicated and responsible connection to Klal Yisroel…our Jewish brethren worldwide. An insightful member of our community said, “If there wasn’t already a Jewish Federation, we would have started one!”
HOW…how you can help… The Federation provides opportunities to volunteer and participate in many arenas. Give of your valuable time for a one-time or ongoing volunteer experience. Have your voice heard by considering being active on one of our many Federation committees (from disaster relief like Hurricane Sandy to emergencies involving the survival of the State of Israel; from community relations to UJA, and the raising and allocating of funds to over 15 local and regional educational, social service, recreational and cultural organizations and agencies that constitute the organized Jewish interests of NEPA Jewry. Your Campaign contributions allow Federation to respond to the many service and programming needs in our community, the U.S., Israel and worldwide. We build community, and each person who gives of their time as a volunteer or donates money, fuels the organization.
Your involvement yields...
Many Happy Returns 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 • (570)961-2300 • www.jewishnepa.org
THE REPORTER ■ january 2, 2014
JANUARY 2, 2014 ■
Jewish influences on 20th-century American music
on the importance of having the liturgical, spiritual By Robert Gluck and historical information translated into Yiddish, JNS.org into the popular language, not just in Hebrew, so that Discuss these names – Irving Berlin, George Gerit became a synthesis between the higher aspirations shwin, Jerome Kern, Benny Goodman – with author/ of a culture and the everyday life of the culture. This musician Ben Sidran, and you will understand how is one of the things that continues today.” being Jewish, the Jews’ hunger to fit in and their ease Berlin published his first song, “Marie from Sunny at doing so helped shape both the core of their identity Italy,” in 1907 and in 1911 had his first major interand many of America’s greatest songs. national hit, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” which “Jews in America were able to access a popular sparked an international dance craze in places as far imagination because they were, in some ways, experts away as his native Russia. Known for writing music at being outsiders wanting to be accepted. They had a and lyrics in the American vernacular (uncomplicated, long tradition of this. A lot of people have speculated that this kind of alienation is a key component to the Musician Ben Sidran, author of simple and direct), Berlin’s aim was to reach the heart Jewish identity, and without it, the Jewish identity A publicity photo of Irving Berlin “There Was A Fire: Jews, Music of the average American, who he saw as the real soul might well be in jeopardy,” Sidran, author of “There taken in 1906. (Photo courtesy and the American Dream,” of the country. During his 60-year career, Berlin wrote an estimated Was A Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream,” of Life magazine images via performed in France in 2011. 1,500 songs, as well as the scores for 19 Broadway tells JNS.org. Wikimedia Commons) (Photo courtesy of Ben Sidran) shows and 18 Hollywood films. “There’s No Business Experts cite Irving Berlin, born Israel Baline in Russia in 1888 before being raised on New York City’s the Jewish tradition to the popular tradition,” Sidran says. like Show Business” and “White Christmas” are among Lower East Side, as the first major Jewish songwriter to “The initial connection was with the Haskalah (Jewish his most famous songs, and his work has been sung and influence the American songbook. Berlin rejuvenated music Enlightenment period of 18th-19th century Europe), the recorded by such renowned artists as Frank Sinatra, Barbra from the bottom up, according to Sidran. popular Yiddish writers in the Pale of Settlement, and how Streisand, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald. “Only 19 years old, just five years after moving out of “An important part of the story is the connection of important it was. The Jewish community recognized early the family apartment and onto the streets, Irving Berlin became not just a legitimate American songwriter, but a role model for many future songwriters,” Sidran says. JFS VEHICLE DONATION PROGRAM “A man who could neither read nor write music, but who spoke the people’s English.” Support JFS with a donation Berlin’s father was a cantor and according to Laurence of your car, truck, RV, boat or motorcycle Bergreen, author of “As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin,” it was singing in synagogue with his father that • Fast, Free Pick-up and Towing gave Berlin his musical background. Bergreen notes that • Receive a Tax Deduction for your Donation Jerome Kern said that Berlin “had no place in American • All Vehicles Accepted Running or Not! music, he was American music.” “I take that to mean that [Berlin] wrote on so many themes, Visit Us on the personal and patriotic, and in so many styles – Jewish, Irish, Web at: Italian, romantic, patriotic, Russian, [and] ragtime – that his www.jfsoflackawanna.org words and music were deeply imbued in all of American popular music,” Bergreen tells JNS.org. To Donate, Call Today Toll Free: 1-877-537-4227 Bergreen says Berlin, like other immigrant songwriters, especially Jewish and Irish, became an adept copycat. “He could sound like almost any ethnic group you could name,” Bergreen says. “That is revealing of his immigrant origins, and his artistically fruitful search for a musical and a personal identity in the New World. When you compare and contrast his original name, Israel Baline, with the name he took as an adult, Irving Berlin, a transformation, but not a disguise, you can see Use this planned giving quick reference guide to help determine the best strategy in capsule form how he grew into the artist and icon he for achieving your philanthropic and financial goals. became. But throughout his life, he thought of himself, For more information or to discuss these planned giving options, please contact Mark Silverberg, and his friends knew him as, ‘Izzy Baline.’” Executive Director, Jewish Federation of NEPA, 570-961-2300 (x1) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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By Julie Wiener NEW YORK (JTA) – At the Federation movement’s General Assembly in Jerusalem in early November, the chairman of the network did something unusual for Jewish power gatherings: He devoted the bulk of his speech to nursery school. Calling Jewish preschool the “seedbed of our community,” the chairman of Jewish Federations of North America, Michael Siegal, pledged to raise $1 billion over the next decade for a Jewish revitalization plan with tuition-free Jewish preschool as its centerpiece. By offering free Jewish preschool to every Jewish child in America, Siegal said, “We would be opening ourselves to generation upon generation of more active, more connected, more Jewish Jews.” But many Jewish early childhood professionals don’t see free tuition as a viable or effective strategy. At a recent meeting in Washington of the Alliance for Jewish Early Childhood Education, representatives of several national organizations that work with Jewish preschools discussed how best to leverage Siegal’s pronouncement – which he and Jewish Federations CEO Jerry Silverman also made in an Op-Ed. Cathy Rolland, director of early childhood for the Union for Reform Judaism and co-chairwoman of the alliance, said the free preschool proposal has “ignited an important conversation” about the best way to support and engage Jewish youngsters and their parents. “It’s stirred up people and gotten them to find a collective voice,” she said. In interviews with JTA, numerous Jewish early childhood leaders said they were taken by surprise by Siegal’s proposal. While they are eager to bring more families into their doors and wouldn’t turn down tuition subsidies, they told JTA that they would prefer to see investments made in program quality, professional development, teacher compensation and seeding more full-day programs that enroll not just preschool-age kids, but infants and toddlers. “I’m thrilled the case for Jewish preschool is out there,” said Valerie Lustgarten, an education consultant who is one of five founders of the Paradigm Project, a new group advocating for Jewish early childhood education and offering coaching and other services. “But more than money,
Children learned in small groups with a teacher at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, MA. (Photo courtesy of the Paradigm Project) it’s about quality and engaging parents,” she said. “I don’t think Jewish families will come in just because it’s free.” It is unclear just how many people could be served with $1 billion, as annual tuition at Jewish nursery schools ranges from $6,000-$20,000 per year, and Jewish early childhood leaders estimate there are 540,000 Jewish children under age 5 in the United States. While most American Jewish children receive a preschool education, fewer than a quarter do so in a Jewish program, according to the latest study of the subject, in 2008. According to Rolland, enrollment has declined since then due to the recession and competition in several states from universal pre-kindergarten programs. Studies suggest that Jewish preschool can play a vital role not just in education, but in connecting families to Jewish community. A 2010 study by Brandeis University’s Mark Rosen outlined the high significance of the first years of a child’s life in cementing family patterns and friendships. Peter Blair, one of several Jewish early childhood educators who helped Lustgarten launch the Paradigm Project last year, says new parents are at a life stage when they are
particularly open to connecting with Judaism. “Many people step away from Jewish life for years after their bar or bat mitzvah, and it’s when they have their own children that they start thinking about what it means to raise Jewish children and what they want to pass down,” Blair said. But Jewish preschool has not gotten much attention in the Jewish organizational world. The Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative, a national effort launched in 2005 to strengthen Jewish preschool programs, closed after just six years in part because it was unable to attract sufficient funding. Salaries for early childhood teachers are notoriously low, quality and Jewish content are inconsistent, and many synagogues and JCCs that host early childhood programs expect them to be moneymakers rather than drivers of Jewish engagement that require investment. In recent years, as many Jewish Federations have restructured or eliminated central agencies for Jewish education, support and training for Jewish early childhood educators has been cut. Neither the Avi Chai Foundation nor the Jim Joseph Foundation, the two largest national funders of Jewish education, have made preschool a major spending priority. (Jim Joseph, however, was one of the funding partners of the defunct Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative and now funds a national leadership training program for new early childhood directors.) Maxine Handelman, the early childhood education consultant for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, says early childhood needs a national advocate and coordinating body to generate funds and expertise, similar to the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, or PEJE, did for day schools in the late 1990s. “If there were a PEJE for early childhood, that helps institutions start an early childhood program and institute best practices,” she said, “that would be a game-changer.” While tuition may be one thing deterring families from enrolling their children in Jewish preschools, Handelman said that’s not among the top reasons. Studies have shown that convenience, word-of-mouth and where friends go are the most influential factors in Jewish parents’ decisions See “Preschool” on page 16
Continued from page 2 relations with any other country, not even such authoritarian regimes as China, Iran, Sudan or Syria, where no academic freedom exists. Whatever failings can be laid at Israel’s door, it is a democracy with free elections, a free press and, yes, academic freedom. Indeed, it was Israel that established the first Palestinian universities on the West Bank. Far from seeking to oppress the Palestinian population under its control, Israel is engaged in intensive negotiations with the Palestinian Authority to achieve a peace agreement whereby Israeli and Palestinian states can live side by side in peace. Acknowledging that Israel is hardly among the worst human-rights offenders, the ASA president insists nonetheless that “one has to start somewhere.” But why start by boycotting a free society rather than a repressive one – unless you come to the issue already predisposed against Israel? Second, for consistency’s sake, a boycott aimed at Israeli academia should insist on forgoing the use of anything produced by Israeli brainpower – much of it at the very universities targeted for boycotting. That would include computer laptops, cell phones, crops produced by drip irrigation, geothermal power and a host of biomedical devices and pharmaceuticals. At the very least, such a boycott should logically include an end to the enjoyment of the most visible fruits of Israeli intellectual life – the pathbreaking accomplishments of its 12 Nobel Prize winners, by far the highest per-capita number of Nobel laureates for any country in the world. The fact that none of the would-be boycotters has even suggested taking such a step raises the strong possibility that the entire academic BDS campaign is shot through with another form of hypocrisy, one that decries Israel as an international pariah while at the same time making use of the life-enhancing and life-saving breakthroughs that the objectionable country has achieved. If they remain fair-minded and look behind the hypocritical rhetoric, American professors can stop the academic boycott in its tracks. Lawrence Grossman is the American Jewish Committee’s director of publications.
Free tuition? Jewish preschool leaders say money’s not the problem
See “Music” on page 18
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As you know, weeks ago, Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm ever to strike land struck the Philippines leaving in its wake an estimated 4,800 dead and over two million persons displaced. Jewish communities around the world are opening their wallets and providing financial relief to the Philippines at a pace that may be the third-highest ever for an overseas disaster. On site reports speak of “utter devastation.” There is no electricity in the entire area and no water, and while local emergency food stocks have been distributed, stocks are dwindling. Israel has already sent hundreds of medical personnel to the Philippines and has set up mobile hospitals in the most devastated areas in addition to having flown in tons of food, blankets and the basic necessities of life.
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THE REPORTER ■ january 2, 2014
JANUARY 2, 2014 ■
Struggling Holocaust survivors in Israel say gov’t must do more
For new dad, a stronger bond from a cut foreskin by DEBRA RUBIN WASHINGTON (JTA) – Natan Zaidenweber thought the mohel was kidding. His wife, Linda Raab, thought it was some kind of religious formality and didn’t give it a second thought. But the mohel, Cantor Philip Sherman, was serious. Though most fathers demur when he invites them to perform the bris on their sons by clipping their foreskin, preferring to delegate the task to someone professionally trained in the procedure, Sherman finds that about 5 or 10 percent of dads agree to do the cut. “It is the father’s mitzvah to actually perform the bris as Abraham did for his son, Isaac,” Sherman said. “Many fathers have
told me what an incredible moment it was for them to do the actual bris and enter their sons into the covenant of Abraham.” The Mill Valley, CA, couple realized the cantor wasn’t joking only once the ceremony was under way. Sherman began with a naming ceremony for Jay Hilay and his twin sister, Sivan Rose. Then he again offered Natan the option of making the cut. The new dad stepped forward, and as his startled wife screamed his name in a tone that she says was intended to say, “Are you crazy?,” a friend reassured her it would be easy. “I then took a deep breath, surrendered to the faith I had in Phil and motioned that they had my blessing to proceed,” Raab said.
Sherman set up what was needed, gave the baby some sugar water, put a clamp in place and offered Zaidenweber some direction. Making the cut, Zaidenweber said, was a powerful bonding experience. “I’m glad I did,” he said. “I’m glad I have that connection with my son. Your love is equal for both [twins], but it’s special that we have that bond.” For Raab, too, the experience was a positive one. Sherman had told the gathering that a baby’s cry during a bris is like the sound of the shofar opening the gates of heaven. “I closed my eyes, heard Jay’s cry and actually was able to experience it as
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Rubin’s newest project, “Eden Waters,” includes digital images of microorganisms taken from a lake at Eden Village Camp in upstate New York. Using a mobile app called Aurasma, Rubin digitally altered the images and embedded them in photos of the lake to create blown-up stills. When users hold up smartphones to the photos, other hidden images appear. “I wanted to show people what was hidden in the natural scenes they usually see,” Rubin told JTA. “My goal is to educate them about science and to show them new perspectives, ones you wouldn’t normally expect from a smartphone.” Hinkis and Lapidus also have utilized
Ahava (Anuta) Teslenko, a 29-year-old model and television personality, told JTA she considers her role in the movement “a demand of the soul and the mind” borne of the “necessity for an independent Ukraine.” Gerasimov said EuroMaidan is a protest against a “Russian future” for the country. “Many Ukrainian Jews who considered themselves Jews first have left Ukraine already,” Sheykhet told JTA. “So those who stayed, and who now make up the majority of the Jewish presence in Ukraine, consider themselves Ukrainian first.” Anna Furman, 22, said being Jewish is no obstacle to her “passionate involvement”
deeply spiritual and beautiful,” Raab said, noting her pride that her husband took on the role. “He stepped up, fearlessly, with a faith in himself that I wouldn’t have had in myself,” she said. “I have since been aware of how much his modeling has helped me to muster more courage as I face the tasks of mothering.” If the couple were to have another son, would Zaidenweber make the snip again? Yes, say mom and dad, without hesitation. If you know of a lifecycle event that would make a great story, e-mail email@example.com.
Continued from page 6 smartphone apps to jar audiences from their usual perspectives. The pair created an app called iParade, which uses GPS location technology to create what they call “locative artworks.” Users download an app with a map that directs them to a particular place. Once there, a video filmed in that place becomes available to view on the phone. The videos are based around streets and buildings in New York and Chicago. “Technology has become so easy that we’re obsessed with it, but we forget how much it affects us,” Hinkis said. “We want to open people’s eyes to what else is possible and could be possible.”
Continued from page 7 in the fight for Ukraine’s future. Like other young protesters, she believes a pro-European orientation for Ukraine, and the reforms that will entail, will change her country for the better. “It’s important to note that healthy and informed nationalism entails support for the religious and cultural heritage of the people,” Furman told JTA. “What’s important is that this is the country we live in, and we are its citizens here and now. We can’t close our eyes to what’s happening around us.” “None of us think that joining the European association will magically make our lives perfect, like a fairy tale,” Talinovskaya said. “But we have to start somewhere.”
By Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA) – Breakfast costs Dov Jakobovitz $2. Lunch costs him $2.25. Both are served in the public oldage home in south Tel Aviv where he lives. But the food is not to his liking. Jakobovitz longs for the dishes he ate as a child in Transylvania – gefilte fish, goulash, chicken wings – rather than the rice-and-salad fare more typical of the Israeli diet. A restaurant he enjoys in the center of the city serves such Ashkenazi fare, but he can’t afford it. For dinner, he eats leftovers from lunch. But Jakobovitz knows it could be worse. Born in the Romanian town of Satmar in 1928, Jakobovitz was deported with his family to Auschwitz at age 14. The memory of watching his mother sent to the left in the selection line, to the gas chambers, still haunts him. “In the concentration camp, we ate the shavings of carrots and vegetables,” he recalls. “We had wooden shoes. We ate from our hands, from our hat. We’d be satisfied with enough to eat from that. That was in Auschwitz.” Jakobovitz made it to prestate Israel in 1947 and was immediately drafted into the Haganah, the Zionist military organization. He fought in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence and in the 1967 Six-Day War. Today he can’t meet basic monthly expenses. He receives $1,200 every three months in reparations from the German government and another $120 per month from Israel, but it’s not enough. Jakobovitz skimps on buying medicine to save money. He doesn’t buy new clothes and purchases only the cheapest shoes – they hurt his feet. Only rarely does he splurge on organized day trips for the elderly. And he’s not alone. A report this year by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel found that a majority of Israel’s 192,000 survivors are struggling economically. Another 40 percent report feeling “very lonely.” Two-thirds are unsatisfied with government assistance for survivors. And 92 percent feel the government doesn’t invest enough in their welfare. “There are still gaps between the response and what’s needed,” said Roni Klinsky, the foundation’s CEO. In the past, “people got less help and weren’t organized enough to get assistance. The state always has troubles. There are wars and new immigrants. But the survivor issue wasn’t a high priority.” The issues are pressing now, Klinsky says, because of the dwindling number of survivors – it’s the last chance to make a substantive difference for many of them. An estimated 37 survivors die every day in Israel, a rate that within five years would nearly halve the survivor population to just over 110,000. In the state’s first decades, some Israelis reacted to survivors with ambivalence, deriding them as passive and weak. The Dorner Report, a 2008 government study on public assistance to survivors, charged that “as they built, developed and defended the land... successive governments of Israel neglected the right of survivors to personal reparations.” Klinsky says attitudes have changed and Israelis now respect the resiliency of Holocaust survivors. The government also has dedicated $1 billion in additional funding to survivors over the past four years. Recently elected Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who often references his father’s Holocaust experience, has added about $28 million in aid to survivors annually over the next five years. “The state of Israel is trying to aid them to not only die with respect, but to to live with respect,” said Menachem Wagshel, the Social Welfare and Social Services Ministry’s coordinator for Holocaust survivors. “We need to look at the coming years as critical, when we can still assist them to give them the best care.” Among the challenges facing the government in meeting that commitment is defining just who qualifies as a Holocaust survivor. Following the Dorner Report, the government expanded its definition to include those who escaped or performed forced labor, doubling the number of recognized survivors. Klinsky and Wagshel are now formulating for the first time a unified list of Israeli survivors that they hope to finish within two years. Wagshel also is creating a government office that will handle all survivor concerns, consolidating a sprawling apparatus. One potential beneficiary of all that is Ruth Eizenberg, who escaped from Kiev to the Ural Mountains as a child, arriving in Israel in 1972. Eizenberg, 79, has asthma and trouble walking. She lives in a fifth-floor walkup in Jerusalem. A government-funded caretaker who visited her twice weekly was dismissed recently because, Eizenberg said, a nurse misjudged her ability to live unassisted. Eizenberg is requesting the caretaker’s return, but thus far without success. “It’s hard for me to get home,” she said. “I can barely get into the bath.” Eizenberg’s most reliable help comes from Yedida Freilich, 25, a student who visits once a week as part of Adopt-a-Safta, a volunteer program founded in 2012 to
provide company for lonely survivors. During her last visit, Freilich helped Eizenberg acquire a cane from Yad Sarah, a nonprofit that aids the disabled and elderly. “When you know you’re seeing the same person on the same day at the same hour, it gives structure to a life that is otherwise inactive,” said Jay Schultz, Adopt-a-Safta’s founder. “It’s a more healthy social and mental environment for the survivor.” Another new initiative to address survivor loneliness is a community center founded two years
Dov Jakobovitz, 85, lives in an old-age home in a poor neighborhood of Tel Aviv. He survived Auschwitz and fought in two Israeli wars, but now he doesn’t have enough money for food. (Photo by Ben Sales)
ago in a bomb shelter in central Jerusalem. In newly renovated rooms, the center hosts holiday celebrations, lectures and activities for 120 regular attendees. Jakobovitz frequents a similar center in Tel Aviv. The programing is nice, he says, but the government needs to take more responsibility. “I want to rest,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of demands. I’d like to live a little better, to go into a store and buy a shirt or shoes that are comfortable. I know this is my last stop and I’m too old to want. I don’t need money to spend, just to live.”
December 24, 2013
Dear Friends, Your generosity this year was amazing! Although the volatile economy has affected everyone, your hearts and pocketbooks were opened wide. Thank you so much for keeping Project Joy a priority. Many local organizations received toys beautifully wrapped by our volunteers. Jewish Family Services received multiple toys for over sixty children. Some individual needy families, who were brought to our attention, received holiday gifts for their children. Totally, over one hundred children were remembered. The children and their parents in the pediatric departments of Moses Taylor and Geisinger Hospitals were especially touched when we personally visited them and presented their children with holiday gifts and get well wishes. Multiple families were adopted from Lackawanna Children and Youth, St. Joseph Center, and the Catherine McAuley Center. These children received new toys, clothing, winter coats, outfits and pajamas, which were requested from their own specific and personalized wish list. These gifts could have been their only visit from Santa. Children’s Advocacy was thrilled with the gifts for older children who are sometimes over looked. Teenagers deserved gifts too! This year we also added United Neighborhood and adopted a family from there as well.
Our heartfelt thanks to the following contributors: Robert & Faye Rosenberg Weiss Markets Wegman’s Naomi & Paul Alamar Sam’s Club Carol & Jeff Leventhal Lawrence & Judie Golden Saul & Sharon Levy Michael Roth Nancy Friedman David & Gail Dickstein Rich & Cari Leventhal Mahler Stephen & Tara Crum Sam Harris Joel & Priscilla Goldman Guitelle Rothstein Gloria Dinner Donald & Joyce Douglass Robert & Elaine Ufberg Villa Capri Cruisers Car Club Tim & Debbie Shane Faye & Rick Bishop Jerry & Lynne Fragin Norm & Arlene Gevanthor Paula Wasser Ann & Leo Moskovitz Rosalie Engelmyer Lindsay Leventhal Jim & Jacqueline Verano Jack & Carol Nogi Richard & Carole Fine Judy & Lou Premselaar Rochelle & Howard Spizer Donna & John Appleton James & Patricia Alperin Beverly Klein Stuart & Janet Moskovitz Louise McNabb Susan & Allan McKay Eileen Baine Cal & Doris Leventhal Robin & Jeffrey Jacobson Steve & Ellen Seitchik Joe & Ruthie Hollander Michael Mardo & Iris Liebman Adele Baldinger Ed & Phyllis Brandes Zipi Weinberg Phyllis Weinberg Jerald & Kerrie Gilbert Ann & Ed Monsky Seth & Sheryl Gross Margi & Louis Shapiro Amos Lodge Susan & Ricky Jacobson Toby Silverman Gayle & Mike Greenstein Robin & Jeffrey Jacobson Anonymous Susan & Ricky Jacobson The following volunteer wrappers and delivery personnel spent hours making these gifts look especially festive for each child. A special thank you to these wonderful people: Donna Appleton Susan McKay Nancy Friedman Anne Herman Ann Monsky Tim Frank Michele Wilk Angela Weinberg
Gail Dickstein Lucy Hufford Zipi Weinberg Phyliss Weinberg Lynne Fragin Sharon Levy Ellen Seitchik Jeff Leventhal
Vince Kalinoski Robin Jacobson Marlene Czachor Eileen Baine JCC Office Staff JCC Maintenance Staff Naomi Alamar
With deep appreciation,
Carol Leventhal Carol Leventhal, Project Joy Chairwoman
THE REPORTER ■ january 2, 2014
says he shares both the sense that America “was a blessedly safe haven” and that baseball welcomed his family into the country. So his work as a consultant for the National Museum of National American Jewish History on its upcoming exhibition documenting Jewish ties to the national pastime is personal, too. While Thorn is baseball’s authority on matters of the past, he extends the game’s historical allure to present and future generations. He and MLB Advanced Media launched BaseballMemoryLab.com, where fans can share baseball experiences; the remembrances are hyperlinked to relevant articles and videos. Thorn has “incredible command of historical information,” says Josh Frost, his colleague at MLB Advanced Media, “constantly breathing new life into [Memory Lab] to keep it fresh.” The site also hosts Thorn’s blog, Our Game, which pries open the treasure chest of baseball history’s attic. Embedded in one recent entry were four baseball cards, perhaps hinting at Thorn’s fondness for his own roots in the game and its legendary performers. Legend and fact, in Thorn’s view, aren’t so contradictory. In his 2011 book, “Baseball in the Garden of Eden,” Thorn confirms the view of historians that Abner Doubleday’s purported invention of the game was just myth. Still, Thorn, a member of baseball’s Origins Committee, says he’s unwilling to “beat the corpse” of Doubleday because
about where to enroll their children. In addition to serving younger children and offering more full-day options, advocates say preschool directors and teachers need more training, not just in educating tots and infusing Judaism into their curricula, but in connecting parents to Jewish life and helping them form friendships with other Jewish parents. Shellie Dickstein, director of early childhood and family engagement at New York’s Jewish Education Project, said professionals in the field need to see themselves as “family networkers, relationship-builders and concierges. That requires some training, and we need to be more mindful about the kind of skills it takes,” she said. There are a few other relatively new efforts to bolster Jewish preschool.
JANUARY 2, 2014 ■ of its hold on fans. “Let’s put the myths to one side,” he says. “We can’t kill them, but let’s get to the story that the very best scholars will endorse.” Along with the numerous sports books he has authored and edited, Thorn for many years wrote for a New York Folklore Society journal. Legends, after all, offer delectable tales, he says. Thorn offers the family legend about his great-grandfather Ernest Thorn, a renowned magician from Galicia, in an article he researched and wrote titled “Magician’s Blood.” Ernest Thorn, it seems, endured a shipwreck and went on to marry a Turkish woman. Near the end of his life, Richard Thorn, John’s father, learned that Ernest was a chevalier knighted by the Cambodian King Norodon I. Soon after the article’s publication, a German antiques dealer who had recently discovered the knighthood document e-mailed Thorn. “I couldn’t have written the check fast enough,” Thorn says of the $150 purchase, though he isn’t quite certain that Ernest really is his ancestor. “It’s great to be part of muddled history,” he adds. “What is history? It is the story we tell ourselves, generation by generation.” It was history that brought together Thorn and Jim Bouton, the ex-pitcher and author of the best-selling book “Ball Four” chronicling his baseball career. Bouton helped Thorn locate a 1791 document proving baseball was played then in Pittsfield, MA, and Bouton later consulted with
Continued from page 13 The Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College are recruiting for their third cohort of the Jewish Early Childhood Educators Leadership Institute, a 15month program that provides new and aspiring directors of Jewish preschools with studying, mentorship and community-building opportunities. United Synagogue recently launched a training program for new early childhood directors, and the Reform movement is exploring how to seed more full-time child-care programs. The JCC Association of North America in recent years has increased its support and professional development for both preschool directors and staff. A Chabad early childhood initiative has helped create more than 45 new preschools since 2010, and there are plans to create another 100 over the next four years.
Continued from page 5 Thorn on a renovation of the century-old Wahconah Park in Pittsfield. In 2004, they staged a Vintage Base Ball game there, played under 19th century rules, that was telecast live by ESPN. Bouton, who lives in Massachusetts, says his now close friend Thorn is “such a smart man – very funny, a wonderful conversationalist. We hardly talk about baseball anymore.” Back in the billiard room, Thorn poses for photographs while holding the Norodon decree, stamped in 1878. On one wall hangs a painting of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, also a Negro Leagues team, taking the field. On another wall, a painting by the same local artist, John Wolfe, depicts the great Jim Thorpe in his Carlisle (PA) Indian Industrial School football uniform. Thorn directs a visitor to the kitchen, where opposite the table is a century-old barber chair in which Thorn likes to read newspapers. “History wafts over every game we’re watching now,” says Thorn, digging into his wife Erica’s homemade apple pie. “That’s my goal: to enhance the pleasure of fans today. “Is it vital to know who Dazzy Vance was or who Babe Herman was? No, but I see Yasiel Puig, and I think of Babe Herman because he makes mental errors,” Thorn says of two former Brooklyn Dodgers and a current star of their Los Angeles successors. “I feel I’m waving the flag for baseball’s 31st franchise, which is history, which underlies the other franchises.”
Israeli orchestra tour
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will tour the United States in March 2014. The orchestra will be joined by music director for life Zubin Mehta, and principal guest conductor Gianandrea Noseda. It will play Carnegie Hall on Thursday, March 20. The performance will include guest artists violinist Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth for benefit performances, including Partos’ Concertino for String Orchestra, Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin and Cello and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. For more information, visit www.carnegiehall.org/ or call 212-247-7800.
NEWS IN bRIEF From JTA
Boston funeral home drops Orthodox burial society for Jewish alternative
A new nondenominational Jewish burial society has replaced an Orthodox one at a Boston-area Jewish funeral home. Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston, which launched this fall and is part of a growing movement of Jewish burial societies that include non-Orthodox volunteers, began performing tahara – the ritual preparation of bodies for burial – at Brezniak-Rodman Chapel in West Newton, MA, on Dec. 16. Until December, the Orthodox-run Chevrah Kadisha of Greater Boston, whose membership is by invitation only, had been the sole provider of tahara at Brezniak-Rodman and other area funeral homes. After Brezniak-Rodman announced that it would provide space for the new group, which has more than 100 volunteers, Rabbi Naftali Horowitz, who is known as the Bostoner rebbe, sent a letter stating that the Chevra Kadisha of Greater Boston would continue operating there only “if we are the only one using the facilities.” Allowing a nondenominational group to use the funeral home’s facilities would “add great confusion regarding the standards which will be administered,” the letter said. The week of Dec. 20, Brezniak-Rodman confirmed that the Chevra Kadisha of Greater Boston had stopped working with the funeral home. David Brezniak, owner of Brezniak-Rodman, said of Horowitz, “I respect his decision, and he needs to respect mine. I thank him for whatever he’s done over the years, and that’s it.” Officials from the Chevra Kadisha of Greater Boston, including Horowitz, did not respond to inquiries from JTA. Brezniak said the new group employs the same standards in conducting tahara as the Orthodox one and that he has been pleased so far with their work. “The people doing this are very dedicated,” he said. “They’re not cutting any corners.”
More U.S. universities withdraw from ASA over academic boycott of Israel
Two more American institutions of higher learning officially withdrew their memberships from the American Studies Association after its membership voted in favor of an academic boycott of Israel. Kenyon College and Indiana University on Dec. 23 joined Brandeis University and Penn State Harrisburg in canceling their memberships in the association. Dozens of other universities also have condemned the ASA boycott, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Maryland and New York University. The Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities, composed of 60 public and private U.S. colleges and universities and two Canadian universities, issued a statement on Dec. 20 opposing a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Earlier this year, the Association for Asian American Studies announced it would mount an academic boycott of Israel. On Dec. 15, the Native American Studies Association urged its members to boycott Israeli educational institutions. The Modern Language Association in January will debate an academic boycott of Israel.
Russian forensics experts: Arafat was not poisoned
Yasser Arafat was not poisoned with radioactive polonium, forensic experts in Russia said. The finding announced on Dec. 26 by experts at Russia’s state forensic agency back a report issued earlier that month by French forensic experts about the death of the late Palestinian leader. “Yasser Arafat died not from the effects of radiation but of natural
causes,” said Vladimir Uiba, head of the Federal Medico-Biological Agency, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency. Arafat led the Palestine Liberation Organization for 35 years and became the first president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996. He fell violently ill in October 2004 and died two weeks later, at the age of 75, in a Paris military hospital. The official cause of death was a massive stroke and there was no autopsy. His remains were exhumed last year. Arafat’s wife, Suha, had filed legal action in July 2012 asking French authorities to look into claims that her husband was poisoned, following the broadcast of an Al Jazeera documentary that said his clothes tested positive for high amounts of deadly polonium 210 radiation. The following month, French prosecutors opened a murder inquiry into Arafat’s death. Samples were taken from Arafat’s exhumed body in November 2012 by Swiss, French and Russian experts. Faed Mustafa, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia, told the state RIA Novosti news agency that despite the findings Palestinian authorities have decided to continue the investigation into Arafat’s death.
Ostreicher’s flight proves his guilt, Bolivian president says
Jacob Ostreicher’s flight from house arrest in Bolivia to the United States proves he is guilty of money laundering, Bolivian President Evo Morales said. “From the moment he fled he’s a confessed delinquent because why would anyone escape if they didn’t commit a crime?” Morales told reporters on Dec. 24, the Associated Press reported. Ostreicher, who had been held in prison and then under house arrest in Bolivia since 2011, escaped from Bolivia earlier in December and has not been seen in public since reportedly returning to the U.S. on Dec. 16. Ostreicher, who had a flooring business in New York, invested money with a group involved in a rice-growing venture in Bolivia and was managing the business when he was arrested on suspicion of money laundering. He also was accused of doing business with drug traffickers. In June, Bolivian authorities arrested 15 people – including government officials – on charges of engineering his arrest in the hope of extracting a cash payment. Despite those charges, Bolivia did not release Ostreicher, a haredi Orthodox father of five, and his case drew the attention of leading lawmakers in Congress, including Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Sean Penn, a movie actor and human rights activist. On Dec. 18, Penn told the AP that he was with Ostreicher and that he was receiving medical care in an undisclosed location after being removed from Bolivia in a “humanitarian operation” aimed at saving him “from the corrupt prosecution and imprisonment he was suffering in Bolivia.” Family members told local media that Ostreicher had been missing for a week before they learned he had entered the United States.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis makes landmark address to Limmud UK
Ephraim Mirvis became the first sitting British chief rabbi to address the annual Limmud conference, defying the opposition of prominent haredi Orthodox rabbis in England. Mirvis, who received a standing ovation on Dec. 23 upon entering the packed auditorium at the University of Warwick, did not directly address the controversy in his session on that week’s Torah portion. Referring to Moses’ talent in drawing together the Jewish people, he suggested that single strands are easier to break than a rope. “We need to concentrate seriously on binding the Jewish people, rope-like, together,” Mirvis said. The chief rabbi was to give a second session on Dec. 24 titled “A Torah guide to conflict resolution.” The critics had said the conference, which draws thousands of participants from all walks of Jewish life, represented a danger to British Jewry because of its inclusion of non-Orthodox religious perspectives.
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THE REPORTER ■ january 2, 2014
JANUARY 2, 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 12 Composer George Gershwin called Berlin “the greatest songwriter that has ever lived.” Gershwin himself, according to Sidran, was a “gifted musician who wanted to be part of the Jewish composers in the transitional period, and even considered composing for the Yiddish theater.” Born Jacob Gershovitz in Brooklyn in 1898, Gershwin began playing piano at age 12. He grew up in nearly 30 different apartments, from Harlem to Coney Island. At age 15, he quit school to work as a professional musician. Gershwin’s compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best-known works are the orchestral compositions “Rhapsody in Blue,” “An American in Paris” and the opera “Porgy and Bess.” Berlin and Gershwin would pave the way for many other Jewish musical greats, including Jerome Kern, Benny Goodman and Bob Dylan. Kern, a composer of musical theater, wrote 700 songs used in more than 100 stage works, including the songs from the hit musical “Show Boat.” He collaborated with other Jewish artists – Oscar Hammerstein II, Ira Gershwin and E.Y. Harburg. “‘Show Boat’ was the jewel in the crown of many Jewish composers interested in writing the American opera,” Sidran says. Born in Chicago, the ninth of 12 children of poor Jewish immigrants from the Russian empire, Benny Goodman became a strong clarinetist at an early age and started playing professionally in bands. “Goodman looked like an accountant, but he was America’s first rock star because he could swing,” Sidran says. “His popular songs helped create the dance craze.” Goodman is remembered for his August 21, 1935, gig at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles, where fans, primed by radio airplay of his tunes to hear him in person, broke into wild applause. News reports spread word of the enthusiastic dancing and exciting new music. The “Jitterbug” appeared as a new dance craze and radio broadcasts carried the band’s performances across the nation. Two decades later, a song that was written by Jews would inspire Bob Dylan’s career. “Bob grew up listening to his transistor radio and once said it was Elvis Presley singing ‘Hound Dog’ in 1956 that made him want to be a performer,” Sidran says. “He said it was the performance and it didn’t matter who wrote the song. But, of course, the song wasn’t just there. It was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, a couple of Jewish kids carrying on the tradition that went back to Gershwin and Berlin, constructing songs out of the raw cultural materials at hand.” What is behind Jewish success in making songs? A major factor is what Sidran calls “contextualizing.” “If you go back into the basic Jewish tradition, the Jews are more interested in the question than the answer,” he says. “This constant questioning is a way of contextualizing not only the information you’re seeking, but the Jewish life. It’s how you live your life. If you read Torah, Jews are constantly arguing with God and they’re not getting an answer. They’re getting a discussion of which they’re a part. This is a core example of contextualizing. Things are connected. In particular reading the Talmud, the ongoing discussion is so important.”
Notice to our Pocono Readers 911 Emergency Management Services has been updating mailing addresses in Monroe County and Lehman Townships in Pike County. Please don't forget to notify the Federation so you will continue to receive The Reporter. Thanks, Mark Silverberg, Executive Director Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania
NEWS IN bRIEF from israel From JTA
Gaza rocket strikes southern Israel
A Kassam rocket fired from Gaza landed near Ashkelon in southern Israel. The rocket attack early Dec. 26 landed in an open area of Hof Ashkelon, located just to the east of Ashkelon. There were no reported injuries or damage, according to reports. The Code Red alert signaling an incoming rocket heading for Israel sounded in several communities in southern Israel. An Iron Dome anti-missile defense system battery is permanently stationed near Ashkelon. On Dec. 26, an Iron Dome battery was deployed at the port city of Ashdod, and on Dec. 25 batteries were deployed in Beersheba and Sderot. The rocket attack comes after a week of terrorist attacks in Israel, including a bus bombing and another rocket fired from Gaza that landed near a school bus stop. Israel retaliated for the Dec. 22 rocket attack, hitting what it said were several terrorist targets, including a weapons manufacturing building and training grounds.
Dore Gold to become adviser to Netanyahu
Dore Gold, a former Israeli U.N. ambassador, will become foreign policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gold will fill the post vacated several months ago by Ron Dermer, who left to become the Israeli ambassador to the United States. This will be the second time Gold will be serving Netanyahu in this capacity. Netanyahu’s plan to hire Gold was published on Dec. 26 on the website of the government’s procurement administration, Haaretz reported. According to the document, Gold will serve as an outside consultant and will be paid hourly; he was to begin his one-year contract on Jan. 1. He also reportedly will retain his position as head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a think tank.
Beit Shemesh mayoral vote voided due to fraud
A Jerusalem court voided the results of municipal elections in Beit Shemesh over fraud accusations, paving the way for a rematch between a secular challenger and the haredi Orthodox incumbent. The Jerusalem District Court’s decision on Dec. 26 came after the results of the Oct. 22 election were challenged by Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and losing candidate Eli Cohen, who was backed in the election by the city’s Modern Orthodox and secular communities. Haredi Orthodox Mayor Moshe Abutbul, who had won the election by 956 votes, said he would challenge the court’s decision. He has 45 days to file an appeal with the Supreme Court. According to law, elections must be held within 120 days of the court’s ruling or after appeals have been exhausted. Abutbul supporters are alleged to have voted multiple times, paid voters to cast ballots for Abutbul and facilitated fraudulent voter registration. Beit Shemesh, a city of 80,000 near Jerusalem, has been the site of sometimes violent clashes between haredi Orthodox extremists and non-haredim. Additional police were sent to Beit Shemesh on Dec. 26 following the court decision in anticipation of rioting. In July, a group of haredi men reportedly smashed the windows of a bus after a woman refused to move to the back. The following month, police arrested 14 haredi rioters who blocked a major street and set trash bins on fire to protest construction at a Beit Shemesh site that once may have been a burial ground.
Israeli military strikes Gaza after man killed near border
Israel’s military fired on what it called terror sites in Gaza in retaliation for the murder by a Palestinian sniper of an Israeli man who was making repairs to the security fence. The Israeli man, identified as Salah Abu Latif, 22, was killed on Dec. 24 by a single gunshot to his chest. A civilian employee of the Israeli Defense Ministry, he was airlifted to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, where he died of his injury. Israel Air Force aircrafts and IDF tanks and infantry fired on a weapon manufacturing facility and a military target in the southern Gaza Strip, terror training and military sites in the central Gaza Strip, and a concealed rocket launcher in the northern Gaza Strip. Direct hits were confirmed, according to the IDF. A 3-year-old Palestinian girl was killed in a strike near the al-Maghazi refugee camp, the Palestinian Ma’an news service reported. “This is a very severe incident and we will not let it go unanswered. Our policy until now has been to act to thwart such incidents beforehand and to respond in force and this is how we will act regarding this incident as well,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement following the shooting. The incident occurred near Kibbutz Nahal Oz. The fence had been damaged by recent winter storms. The shooting occurred after a series of terror incidents in Israel. On Dec. 22, a bomb exploded on a bus in Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv, Border Police guards thwarted a stabbing attack in Jerusalem and a rocket was fired from Gaza into southern Israel, landing near a school bus stop. On Dec. 23, an Israeli policeman was stabbed in the back in the West Bank.
Netanyahu wants investigation of U.S. spying
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered an investigation into reports of American spying on Israeli leaders. In his first comments following revelations that American intelligence intercepted e-mails from senior Israeli officials, Netanyahu said such actions were unacceptable. “In the close ties between Israel and the United States, there are things that must not be done and that are not acceptable to us,” Netanyahu said on Dec. 23 at the beginning of a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset. Netanyahu announced at the meeting that he had ordered an investigation into the issue. Netanyahu also told the party meeting that he had met with Esther Pollard and had updated her on his efforts to free her husband, the jailed spy Jonathan Pollard. Pollard is in the 29th year of a life sentence in a U.S. prison for spying for Israel while working as a civilian Navy intelligence analyst. Netanyahu is expected to call for Pollard’s release as part of the current U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Create a Legacy for our Jewish Future in NEPA TYPES OF GIFTS
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GIFTS OF MUTUAL FUNDS Contributing mutual fund shares can provide the same tax advantages as appreciated stocks. Due to the great complexities involved with the transfer of mutual fund shares, please begin the transfer process well before December 31st.
GIFTS OF REAL ESTATE A charitable contribution of property is most attractive when there is no mortgage balance and the property is increasing in value. Based upon the fair market value, you may claim an income tax deduction, avoid all capital gains taxes, and remove that property from your taxable estate. You may transfer real estate to the Jewish Federation at any point, but please consult your tax professional or financial advisor prior to a real estate transaction.
DEFERRED/PLANNED GIFTS Deferred gifts are often called “planned gifts” because they are integrally connected to your financial and/or estate plans. They may range in size from very small bequests to multi-million dollar trusts. They are deferred gifts because, even though they are given today, the Jewish Federation will not realize their benefit until some time in the future. Please contact the Federation for more information regarding various planned giving options.
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CONTACT For further information, please contact Mark Silverberg, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 601 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, PA at 570-961-2300 (ext. 1)
THE REPORTER ■ january 2, 2014
January 2, 2014 Edition of The Reporter