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At Presbyterian assembly, divestment advocates get narrow, but limited, victory By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA) – There were amendments and amendments to amendments in a debate lasting for more than four hours. There were dueling T-shirts. There was a last-minute appeal for a joint pilgrimage to speak hard truths to Benjamin Netanyahu. And there was a plea to emulate Jesus and speak hard truths to Jews. After it all, there was the Presbyterian General Assembly’s vote, 310-303, to divest from three American companies that do business with Israeli security services in the West Bank. In the immediate aftermath, Heath Rada, the moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), appealed to the media present to “affirm” the love Presbyterians have for Jews. “In no way is this a reflection for our lack of love for our Jewish sisters and brothers,” Rada said following the June 20 vote.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, addressed the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on June 19 to urge the denomination to reject divestment. (Photo courtesy of Union for Reform Judaism)

JCC welcomes its 28th president, installs new officers The Jewish Community Center of Scranton held its annual meeting and board installation on June 11. Approximately 30 JCC members, board members and guests attended. JCC Executive Director Dan Cardonick gave a presentation on the state of the JCC, and Lou Shapiro, the outgoing president, was presented with a dedication award. A dessert reception followed the meeting. The slate of officers elected to two consecutive one-year terms included Jeff Leventhal, president; Harris Cutler, first vice president; Jerry Fragin, second vice president; Ann Monsky, treasurer; Cardonick, secretary/executive director; and Michael Greenstein, assistant secretary. The JCC also welcomed board members for a three-year term, including Dr. Joel Laury, Rabbi Eli Deutsch, Alma Shaffer, Janice Cutler, Cheryl Friedman and Molly Rutta, as well as new honorary members of the board Douglas Fink and Lou Shapiro, and ex-offico member of the board Rabbi Moshe Saks.

Their Jewish sisters and brothers were, for the most part, not buying. “It signals a real separation from the Jewish community, which was unfortunate,” said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, who flew in at the last minute to deliver an impassioned appeal to the mainline Protestant denomination to vote against divestment. In his address, Jacobs said his Reform movement opposed West Bank settlements and was concerned with the “pain and hardship” that the Israeli occupation causes Palestinians. And he made an offer: If the assembly rejected divestment, Jacobs said, church leaders could join him in presenting their shared concerns about Israeli policies in a joint meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But his appeal ultimately was rebuffed. “We simply cannot work with the Presbyterian Church on issues related to the Middle East,” Jacobs said in an interview from Israel, where he headed immediately after his June 19 appearance at the assembly. The resolution divests from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard. A similar resolution was defeated narrowly at the last biennial, in 2012. Netanyahu, addressing a colloquy of Jewish journalists in Jerusalem, criticized the vote. “The only place where you have freedom, tolerance, protection of minorities, protection of gays, of Christians and all other faiths is Israel,” he said June 22 at the Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem. Netanyahu suggested that American Presbyterian leaders “take a plane, come here and let’s arrange a bus tour in the region. Let them go to Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq.” Jewish communal officials who attended the assembly said the tight vote suggested that the church’s rank and file did not buy into the church leadership’s hypercritical See “Presbyterian” on page 8

Jeff Leventhal was installed as the Jewish Community Center’s 28 president. th

Federation on Facebook

The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania now has a page on Facebook to let community members know about upcoming events and keep connected.

Candle lighting Jeff Leventhal presented Lou Shapiro, immediate past president, with a dedication award.

New board members and officers of the Jewish Community Center of Scranton were installed at the JCC’s annual meeting and board installation on June 11.


Robots in a minyan?

News in brief...

July 4................................................. 8:21 pm July 11................................................ 8:19 pm July 18............................................... 8:15 pm July 25...............................................8:09 pm August 1...........................................8:02 pm August 8...........................................7:53 pm August 15.........................................7:44 pm August 22.........................................7:33 pm August 29.........................................7:22 pm

The Cleveland Cavaliers have With artificial intelligence programs Hamas members named as Israeli PLUS tapped Maccabi Tel Aviv’s winning improving, will self-aware robots teens’ kidnappers; U.S. House OKs Opinion...........................................................2 coach David Blatt for their team. count in future minyans? more Hezbollah sanctions; more. Jewish Community Center News............6 Story on page 8 Story on page 10 Stories on page 15 D’var Torah.................................................10


THE REPORTER ■ july 3, 2014

a matter of opinion Does antisemitism threaten American Jews?

By Kenneth L. Marcus In a recent issue of Time magazine, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, former president of the Union for Reform Judaism, writes that antisemitism is “not a threat to American Jews.” He could not be more wrong. Let us start with the obvious. Any threat to world Jewry is a threat to American Jews. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) important new study, there are now one billion adult antisemites in the world. As Rabbi Yoffie acknowledges, this is fully a quarter of the world’s adult population. Can American Jewry shrug this off? One can quibble with the ADL’s methodology, but it is not far-fetched. ADL considers a person to be antisemitic if they give a positive response to six out of 11 survey questions like these: “Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars,” “People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave,” and “Jews have too much control over the United States government.” Consider the magnitude of this finding. In 2012, according to the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, there were 686 reported incidents of physical violence, direct threats and major acts of vandalism against Jews and Jewish institutions worldwide. This is bad enough on its own, representing an increase of approximately 30 percent over the prior year. Worse, these figures understate the problem. According to the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency, 64 percent of European Jews who have experienced physical violence or threats do not report even the most serious incident. If this holds true for Jews elsewhere, the actual incident rate is ap-

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proximately three times higher than reported, reaching 2,000 serious incidents annually. But it gets worse. Even the adjusted figures suggest that Jews and Jewish institutions are enduring only one serious antisemitic incident per 500,000 antisemites annually. This means that in any given year, the overwhelming majority of antisemites are not acting on their aversions. Their reasons may be lack of opportunity, want

rassed for being Jewish within the last year. Perhaps the worst antisemitic incidents will be limited to the Middle East and Europe. But was the Nazi Holocaust no threat to American Jews merely because it remained off American shores? If there is any such thing as Jewish peoplehood, then security threats to any are threats to all. Now consider the dangers to Israel. In the Middle East and North Africa, nearly

According to the ADL, only nine percent of Americans hold antisemitic attitudes. This sounds good, but it translates to 21 million people. It means that there are far more antisemites than Jews in America. of courage, fear of consequence or adherence to convention. Economists call this “pent-up demand.” As the post-Holocaust taboo against antisemitism erodes, the ramifications are troubling. Suppose that one in ten thousand antisemites should physically harm or threaten Jews or Jewish institutions in a given year. Under this scenario, serious antisemitic incidents would increase to 100,000 per year, even if antisemitic attitudes remain constant. In other words, things can get much worse. Should Americans worry? In Western Europe, one in four Europeans harbors antisemitic attitudes. One recent survey indicates that roughly the same percentage (26 percent) of European Jews has been ha-

three quarters of the adult population holds antisemitic attitudes. This can only fuel continuing threats to Israel. Can American Jews feel secure as long as Israel remains under continuing danger? Given Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel remains under the steady risk of catastrophe. No Jewish American could feel secure about this. Now consider what Rabbi Yoffie probably meant to say. His point is that Americans do not face a direct threat of severe antisemitism. He is right that American Jews are not under siege. But he is wrong to minimize the threat that does exist. According to the ADL, only nine percent of Americans hold antisemitic attitudes. This sounds good, but it translates to 21 million people. It means that there are far

more antisemites than Jews in America. This may be one reason why the Federal Bureau of Investigation regularly reports that anti-Jewish hate crimes exceed hate crimes against any other religious group. On some university campuses, Jewish students have recently been spit at and called “dirty Jews” and worse. The problem is greater for those students who are known to support Israel on campuses where anti-Israel activism runs high. As anti-Jewish attitudes increase on some campuses, in some political circles and in some corners of the Internet, it is naïve to assume that the Jewish American community will not face spillover security risks. Moreover, we cannot assume that the factors that have rendered America exceptional will persist. In a global age, ideas, attitudes and behaviors are less constrained by national borders than they once were. Immigration, trade and international communications all bring foreign elements to American shores, both for better and for worse. To ignore the dangers of resurgent worldwide antisemitism is to misunderstand the ways in which we will all be touched by developments around the world, whether we choose to recognize them or not. Kenneth L. Marcus is president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law ( and former staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Oxford University Press will publish his book on “The Definition of Anti-Semitism” in 2015.

Operas you won’t be seeing at the Met arts,” in the words of the late Palestinian the Prophet Muhammad? By Ben Cohen In any case, why is there a need for critic Edward Said’s passionate defense Here are three operas that won’t get operas like these? After all, there already of “Klinghoffer,” then the plight of the staged at the famed Metropolitan Opera is an opera – “The Death of Klinghof- Palestinians carries the advantage of fer” – which engages subjects like ethnic instant recognition, particularly on the (Met) in New York City anytime soon: ‹‹ “Omar.” The story of a young Iraqi man identity, terrorism and the struggle of the left. If that means obscuring other huwho was beaten and tortured by Saddam voiceless to find a voice. Moreover, it man rights abuses, like those experienced Hussein’s secret police. Omar’s experi- does so on a terrain that is comfortingly by the Bedoon people in Kuwait (I can ence, relayed in the Iraqi writer Kanan familiar to the bearers of liberal angst in already hear the chorus of “Who?!?”), Makiya’s superlative book “Cruelty and our time: that of the conflict between the then so be it. For another, invoking the Palestinians Silence,” exposes a world in which, as the Palestinians and Israel. As readers doubtless know, “Klinghof- is an acceptable route for demonizing the lead character says, “Words can kill. Words are what got us in the end, not anything fer,” an opera that was first introduced identification and solidarity that many American Jews feel we did.” ‹‹ “A Persian Grand[F]ew have asked the critical question: why does the art world, towards Israel. When Leon Klinghoffer’s mother in Tokyo.” Based on a short like so much of the media and human rights community, default daughters slammed memoir published to the Palestinians when it comes to exploring the overarching the doctrine of moral by a young Iranian moral issues facing our civilization? What is it that gives the equivalence at the writer in a collection Palestinians unrivaled authenticity when it comes to such febrile heart of the opera, its librettist Alice entitled “Arab Spring Goodman (a Jew who Dreams,” the opera issues as statelessness and terrorism? has since converted relates the story of to Christianity) declared, “To those who to a New York audience in 1991, will an Iranian family reunited in Tokyo, a city that provokes the grandmother to observe enjoy yet another outing, courtesy of come prepared to see and hear only what ironically, “these infidels have created their the Met. Most of the arguments around they want to see and hear, nothing one can the opera now surfacing are, in fact, far say is of any use.” In other words, “You own heaven on earth.” from new. There is the accusation of people are philistines whose fealty to the ‹‹ “The Last Days of Hugo Chavez.” Set in Havana, where the late Venezuelan tyrant antisemitism – shrugged off, as usual, Zionist cause blinds you to the truth, as Hugo Chavez died of cancer, the opera fo- by partisans of the work – in the way well as to great art.” There is no record, cuses upon the exploitation of Venezuela’s that American Jews are portrayed. There of course, of Goodman ever asking the natural resources by the Cuban regime is also the misleading title – to speak of Klinghoffer sisters why they reacted in through its depiction of the relationship the “death” of Klinghoffer overlooks the the way that they did. I don’t believe that the defenders of between Chavez and the Castro brothers, unfortunate fact that this elderly Jewish man, a passenger on board the Achille “Klinghoffer” are capable of interrogating Fidel and Raul. These operas aren’t coming to the Lauro cruise ship seized by Palestinian the unspoken assumptions they carry. Nor stage of the Met, or any other prestigious terrorists in 1985, was actually murdered, will they ever address the contradiction venue, because, so far as I know, they by dint of his being shot and then thrown between promoting art that they deem to be “provocative” on the one hand, while haven’t been composed. And even if they overboard while in his wheelchair. But few have asked the critical question: stubbornly sticking, on the other, to the had been, who would dare stage them? Wouldn’t liberal sensibilities be offended why does the art world, like so much of one issue they know will play well with a by a reminder of the grotesque violence the media and human rights community, liberal audience. That’s why I’ll wager that someone inflicted by Saddam’s regime, given that default to the Palestinians when it comes – perhaps John Adams, the composer of to exploring the overarching moral issues the Iraqi dictator was removed by the hated George W. Bush? Wouldn’t efforts facing our civilization? What is it that gives Klinghoffer – will come up with an opera to lift the U.S. embargo against Cuba be the Palestinians unrivaled authenticity when that humanizes the Hamas kidnappers of compromised by a portrait of the dirty it comes to such febrile issues as stateless- the three Israeli teenagers (Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar) way dealings of the Castro brothers? Wouldn’t ness and terrorism? For one thing, the Israeli-Palestinian before the topic suggestions I’ve outlined an opera that tackles the sensitive subjects of Islamism and Muslim identity result conflict resonates, in America, in a way above even get considered. For when all in the kinds of angry demonstrations that other, far more terrible conflicts don’t. is said and done, “The Death of Klinghofbrought about by the publication, in If you want to counter the “neoconserva- fer” is an opera for those who live in an See “Operas” on page 3 Denmark, of the infamous cartoons of tive attack on the literary and pictorial

july 19, 2014 ■



community news JFHF Sisterhood to hold fund-raiser The Sisterhood of the Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms in Lords Valley has announced plans for a fundraiser to be open to all and held at the Jewish Fellowship on Saturday, August 2, at 6:30 pm. The event, “Neighborhoods of New York City – Cuisine and Cabaret,” will offer dinner and live entertainment. The JFHF Sisterhood will serve homemade and catered dishes representing ethnic entrees and desserts from Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Dinner music will be provided by the JFHF’s “Singing Rabbi” Steven Nathan. Nathan,

now in his second term at JFHF, the Synagogue of Pike County, was born and raised in Scranton. He will be accompanied by Nile Weber, a pianist in the Philadelphia music scene. Broadway show tunes, music of Tin Pan Alley and a variety of standards will also be performed, as well as requests. A surprise guest will also make an appearance, reprising a selection from his original musical that was recently produced at The Shawnee Playhouse. Reservations for the event must be made by Friday, July 25, by contacting 570-775-7497 or jfhf@enter.

New full-time social worker at JFS

Jewish Family Service has announced the hiring of an additional social worker to the team. Nicole Friedman has joined the staff as the new full-time social worker. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Millersville University, as well as a master’s degree in social work from Syracuse University. Friedman holds a license to practice social work in the state of Pennsylvania, and has an interest in working with youth and families. Friedman has experience working with children and youth in both the home and partial

Nicole Friedman

hospitalization settings. She began her social work career at Lourdesmont, providing multisystemic therapy to at-risk youth and their families in their homes. After gaining in home experience, she went on to Friendship House, providing individual, group and family therapy to early childhood clients. Friedman is currently accepting new clients, and has said she is looking forward to expanding her experience and helping others throughout the community. For any questions or to make an appointment, contact JFS at 570-344-1186.

Israeli-born actor and comedian to headline at Jewish Food Festival

net. Tickets will cost $40 per person. Checks should be made payable to Sisterhood JFHF and sent to JFHF, 1516 Hemlock Farms, Lords Valley, PA 18428.

Back to school backpack project

The Temple Hesed Social Action Committee is preparing for its annual back to school backpack project. Lackawanna County children in need, identified by local social service agencies, will be provided with new clothing and a backpack filled with supplies for the first day of school. Organizers have encouraged community members to consider supporting the project. Participants can be matched with a child in pre-kindergarten-eighth grade to provide all or some of the needed items. Supporters can alternately make a cash donation and the SAC will purchase the items. Any monetary donation would be appreciated and the donation will provide: ‹‹ Sponsor a child with a backpack, clothes and supplies – $100 ‹‹ Backpack with school supplies – $50 ‹‹ Backpack or school supplies – $25 To sponsor a child, contact Temple Hesed at 570-3447201. Checks should be made out to Temple Hesed with “Back to School” designated in the memo line. For those wishing to purchase the needed supplies, the temple will provide a list of what is needed for each child. Donations of backpacks and school supplies can be dropped off at Temple Hesed, 1 Knox Rd., Scranton, or at the Jewish Community Center, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, in the reception area, during normal business hours through Wednesday, August 13. The community’s contributions will help ensure that children start the school year with the confidence and tools they need. Organizers have thanked the community advance forESTATE its participation. •in ABSOLUTE REAL AUCTION •

The New York Times, Modi has become a sought-after performer in comedy circuits in New York City and throughout the country. Amelia David, of Backstage, said that Modi reminds her of a young Sid Caesar, “with a talent for creating accents and Gracious characters,” while the Los Angeles Times Lake Living in Mint Condition said that Modi is “quick on his feet” and Home on Oquaga Lake 52 Hanson Rd, Deposit, NY Luxurious 5 Bedroom “can improvise so nimbly that he keeps Auction: Saturday, July 12 at 12 pm any audience laughing.” OPEN HOUSE: June 27, 11am-1pm Israeli-born actor and comedian The performance will be held under Inspection: prior to auction or bydeadlines appointment Sells Bidder Regardless of Price The 2-hr following are forto theallHighest articles and photos Modi will perform at Nay Aug a large party tent, set up across from the Only 2+ hours from the GW Bridge and NYC for upcoming Reporter issues. • 2 Full Baths, 2 Half Baths • 2.342 Sq Ft • Built in 1987 Park’s Jewish Food Fest on Everhart Museum, and will be open to Roof 2Yrs 5OldBedrooms • New Granite Countertops & Stainless Steel Appliances • New Cherry Hardwood Floors DEADLINE ISSUE 60’ Level Lake Frontage • Large Deck w/Gazebo Total House Foam Insulated ticket holders only. Sunday, July 13. Anderson Windows • Cantilevered & Floating Docks Central Vacuum • Security System Thursday, July 17....................................July 31 Show admission costs $25 in advance, For complete information, visit or $30 at the door. For more information aboutordiscount Thursday, July 31............................... August 14 call Alan J. Benjamin at 607-343-5300 ticket packages that include both the comedy show and Thursday, August 14.......................... August 28 Continued from page 2 food concessions, visit or call Thursday, August 38.....................September 11 echo chamber that shuts out any dissenting views. To 570-587-3300. them, it’s beautiful music. To others, like myself, it’s a discordant racket. • ABSOLUTE REAL ESTATE AUCTION • Ben Cohen is the Shillman analyst for and Gracious Lake Living in Mint Condition a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Haaretz, and other publications. His latest publication is Luxurious 5 Bedroom Home on Oquaga Lake 52 Hanson Rd, Deposit, NY “Some Of My Best Friends: A Journey Through TwentyAuction: Saturday, July 12 at 12 pm First Century Antisemitism” (Edition Critic, 2014). Actor and comedian Modi will deliver a one-hour stand up performance at Nay Aug Park’s Jewish Food Fest on Sunday, July 13. Recently honored as one of the “top 10 comedians in New York City” by The Hollywood Reporter, Modi was born Mordechai Rosenfeld in Tel Aviv in 1970, and moved to the United States at the age of 7. He graduated from Boston University and worked as a Wall Street investment banker before taking up stand-up comedy at the encouragement of his coworkers. Lauded as “the next Jackie Mason” by




Inspection: 2-hr prior to auction or by appointment Sells to the Highest Bidder Regardless of Price

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THE REPORTER ■ july 3, 2014

Jewish Discovery Center ground breaking held June 22

Young children helped begin the ground breaking for the Jewish Discovery Center on June 22. L-r: Co-Directors of the Jewish Discover Center Chany Rapoport and Rabbi Benny Rapoport, Dr. Eric Goldberg and Tania Goldberg.

Bill Fiegleman and Alan Firestone looked on as Patrick Dietz, representative of Peoples’ Security Bank, poured a shovel of concrete.

At right: Norman Gevanthor addressed the crowd, explaining a vision of a new and expanded Jewish Discovery Center.

Mark Silverberg, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, addressed those assembled.

L-r: Bonnie Green, Patt Taylor and Barbara Nivert covered the cornerstone with fresh earth while Norman Gevanthor took a photograph at the ceremony.

2014 Graduates in our Federation Family High School

Eliyahu Aichenbaum Yosef Leib Berlin Ali Epstein Rebecca Fallk Esther Goldberg Tuvia Guttman Yehuda Herber Nathan Hollander Yehudis Kurtzer Lauren Larar


Daniel Arcus Merwyn Blatt Jordan Fiegelman Jason Pollock Joshua Smertz

Rachel Laury Justin Levy Rina Minkoff Rachel Pollack Mordechai Pritzker Ephraim Seiff Steven Silverman Bradley Smertz Sam Vale Yosef Weg Chaya Sara Weinreb

Andy Dattel emptied a shovel of concrete into a tube representing prayer. The two additional tubes represented Torah study and good deeds to complete the three pillars that, according to the Mishnah, hold up the universe.

Law School

Mathew Golden Eliezer Willis Cohen

If you would like to have your name published on our list of graduates, contact Dassy Ganz at 961-2300 x2 or with your information.

Rabbi Benny Rapoport welcomed more than 150 men, women and children to the ground-breaking ceremony.

Jewish Federation of NEPA

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july 19, 2014 ■



The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition

Holocaust education legislation moves on to the governor’s desk for his signature Representatives and Senate for By Joe Fisch passing House Bill 1424, and esThe Pennsylvania Jewish Copecially thanks Representative alition has praised the PennsylvaPaul Clymer for introducing this nia House of Representatives and bill,” commented Matt Handel, Senate for passing legislation to chairman of the Pennsylvania encourage Pennsylvania schools Jewish Coalition. “House Bill to teach the Holocaust, genocide 1424 ensures that Pennsylvania and human rights violations. students will receive the best House Bill 1424 encourages possible education about the schools to teach their students Holocaust, genocide and human about these subjects by helping Joe Fisch rights violations. This curricuthe state to develop curriculum options, distribute the options to all school lum will be developed with experts in the districts, train teachers to teach the subjects, field and teachers will be trained to use it assess schools’ use of these resources and well. The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition assure that every school district is offering wishes to thank the many senators and representatives who have played an essential the subjects to its students. “Pennsylvania’s Jewish community role in helping to move this legislation to very much appreciates the hard work and Governor [Tom] Corbett’s desk for his support of the Pennsylvania House of consideration.”

To get Federation updates via email, rregister on our website Pledge or Donate online at

Handel continued, “Educating our students about our world’s historic atrocities creates an understanding of the need for tolerance and an understanding of the consequences of bigotry and hate. We must never forget the horrors of what has happened, so that we do not allow these tragic chapters of history to be repeated.” The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition is known as “the eyes, ears and voice”

in Harrisburg of Jewish communities across Pennsylvania, including Jewish Federations in Altoona, Erie, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, WilkesBarre and York. Joe Fisch is branch chairman of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition for the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania.


THE REPORTER ■ july 3, 2014

jewish community center news JCC awards banquet honors volunteers The Jewish Community Center of Scranton held its 59th awards banquet on June 8 to honor volunteers for their service. Approximately 120 people attended the event, which was held in the Koppelman Auditorium at the JCC. The banquet was chaired by board members Alma Shaffer and Cheryl Friedman. Douglas Fink, JCC president from 2008-10, served as master of ceremonies. The awards were presented by previous recipients, JCC staff and board members. The award recipients include Michael Roth, Community Service Man of the Year; Ann Monsky, Community Service Woman of the Year; Morris Mertz, Seymour Brotman Award; Leah Laury, Samuel Shair Award; Rebecca Fallk, Lilliam Blume Memorial Award; Ali Epstein, Ann and Monroe Brandwene Memorial Award; Kathryn Smith, Bea and Max Rock Social Adult Club Award; Alma Shaffer, George Joel Senior Service Award; Michael Greenstein, Ed Basan Award for Special Service; and Lois Dubin, Diana Stahler Lustig Lifetime Achievement Award. Organizers expressed their thanks to all of the volunteers who worked to make the awards banquet “a special night for all who attended.”

Douglas Fink was master of ceremonies for the awards banquet on June 8.

The award winners posed with JCC Executive Director Dan Cardonick (far right).

At right: Mike Roth was presented with the JCC Community Service Man of the Year Award by Don Douglass. L-r: Douglass, Roth, JCC Executive Director Dan Cardonick and Doug Fink.

Ann Monsky was presented with the JCC Community Service Woman of the Year Award by previous recipient Emily Trunzo.

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





Name (s) (as you wish to appear on our list of “FRIENDS”) _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Address:________________________________________________________________________________________ Phone:_________________________________________________________________________________________ __Check here if you prefer your name not to be published Please write and send tax deductible checks to Jewish Federation, 601 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, PA 18510

Ceremonial objects exhibit

The exhibit “Off Label: Ceremonial Objects Imagined – The Work of Dov Abramson and Ken Goldman” is being held at the Laurie M. Tisch Gallery at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan through July 30. Using the works of Dov Abramson and Ken Goldman, the exhibit examines the boundaries between the sacred and the mundane, and tradition and innovation. It features sculpture, photography and video. For more information, visit or call 646-505-5716.

Exhibit about synagogues

Yeshiva University Museum is holding the exhibit “Modeling the Synagogue: From Dura to Touro” until August 3. The exhibit features seven models of synagogues, which were built to show their intricate designed. The synagogues were chosen to show the geographic breadth of the Jewish world across the centuries, from the ancient Mediterranean to modern America and Europe. For more information, visit or contact the museum at 212-294-8330 or

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

july 19, 2014 ■



Bust of local WWII General Ungerleider to be unveiled in park

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By Tom Flannery Courtesy of The Carbondale News One of the most distinguished citizens in the history of Carbondale was honored when a bust of the highly-decorated World War II General Alvin Ungerleider was recently unveiled in Memorial Park. A ceremony is set for noon on Saturday, July 26, now that the bust has been completed and a location has been prepared. “We have a nice spot selected up front on the left side [when facing the park], right near the sidewalk on General Alvin Ungerleider and his wife, Ruth Main Street,” offered Benjamin Ungerleider, with then-President Bill Clinton Schnessel, who initiated the proj- for the 50th anniversary celebration of D-Day in ect about two years ago. Normandy. He stated that he started thinking seriously about creating some sort summer, sculptor John Leon, of Cincinof lasting memorial to Ungerleider not nati, OH, was commissioned to create long after he died three years ago at age the memorial – a black granite obelisk, 89. At the time of his passing, his life with a size-and-a-half bust in bronze of was memorialized in remarks that were Ungerleider in uniform. Monuments By entered into the congressional record in Parise created the base of the piece and also did the engraving. Washington DC. “I’ve seen a picture of the bust in its clay Ungerleider was remembered for his many accomplishments, which included form, before it was bronzed, and I think it’s taking part in D-Day, where he was beautiful,” Schnessel said. “I can’t wait to wounded twice in the opening days of see the finished product.” He recalled that, as a child, Ungerthe historic invasion at Normandy; and helping to liberate the Nazi concentra- leider lived in The Coach building on tion camps, where he was able, as a Jew Pike Street. “His mother owned a little himself, to minister to the survivors; as mom-and-pop store there and the famwell as for his many medals and other ily lived in the back of the building,” honors. In 1994, Ungerleider was person- he recounted. He noted that a number of Ungerleider’s ally chosen to accompany then-President Bill Clinton in a wreath-laying ceremony family members will be traveling to at Normandy for the 50 th anniversary of Carbondale, some from as far away as D-Day. Two years ago, the city honored Alaska and even Israel, to participate in Ungerleider by issuing a proclamation the ceremony. He said Ungerleider’s wife marking April 16 as General Alvin Un- and two sons are expected to speak at the event about the general and the honor gerleider Day in Carbondale. Meanwhile, Schnessel said he had bestowed upon him by the city. “The formed a committee to work on the me- amazing thing is that this will be the first morial project which included himself, visit to Carbondale for a vast majority of Carbondale Historical Society President the family members who are coming,” Dr. S. Robert Powell, City Clerk Michele Schnessel pointed out. He said he expects the program to run Bannon, veteran city newsman Jerry Palko and former Ungerleider classmate about 45 minutes, with Rabbi Allan Smith, of Honesdale, offering the benediction, and Mike Delfino. “They all graciously volunteered their the honor guard being provided by various time and respective talents to serve on the local veterans’ groups. For Schnessel, it is much more than committee and help make this happen,” said Schnessel. He also expressed his the culmination of a couple years’ work. gratitude to the people of Carbondale, cur- “I don’t want to sound trite and say it’s rent and former residents, who funded the a dream come true,” he noted, “but the project through private donations, along fact of the matter is that this has been a with a contribution from the Ungerleider goal of mine for a very long time, to see family. “This was all made possible thanks General Ungerleider recognized for all to their generosity and it is very much ap- of his accomplishments in a lasting and preciated by myself and the Ungerleider meaningful way by his hometown. “I think it’s going to be a wonderful day family, as well as everyone who helped out on this project, which certainly in- for the Ungerleider family and for the city,” cludes Mayor [Justin] Taylor and our City he added, “and I couldn’t be happier to be Council members,” Schnessel noted. Last a part of it all.”

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L-r: A group that included Mayor Justin Taylor, Benjamin Schnessel, City Clerk Michele Bannon and Jonathan Parise, of Monuments By Parise, picked out the location in Memorial Park where the bust of General Alvin Ungerleider will be placed.

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THE REPORTER ■ july 3, 2014

David Blatt riding Tel Aviv’s Euro title to NBA dream job

By Anthony Weiss LOS ANGELES (JTA) – In 1981, David Blatt moved to Israel in pursuit of a path of lifelong worship – to play professional basketball. Now, more than 30 years later, Blatt is leaving Israel to make a different, and totally unprecedented, form of aliyah – to leave the ranks of Israeli basketball to coach in the NBA. The Cleveland Cavaliers have offered Blatt the position of head coach. “I’m leaving my home, but not my family,” Blatt announced at a press conference on June 12. “I’m not necessarily leaving for a better place. I’m leaving to follow my dream.” Blatt will become the first coach in the history of European basketball to move directly to an NBA head coaching position. Blatt’s journey from the Boston suburbs to Israel and now back to the United States marks a triumph not only for Blatt, but also for the small but storied world

of Israeli basketball, and particularly for the Maccabi Tel Aviv team, famous for its underdog victories. The most recent of those victories, which seems to have catapulted Blatt into the upper echelons of professional basketball, took place in the Euroleague Final Four in mid-May when Blatt led an undermanned Maccabi Tel Aviv squad to consecutive victories and the championship, a feat that impressed even NBA executives. “Maccabi was outgunned at every position except coach,” one NBA general manager told ESPN. “David took down two Goliaths in a weekend. He belongs in the NBA.” It has been a long journey for Blatt, who grew up in Framingham, MA, as an avid

After coaching Maccabi Tel Aviv to a European Championship, David Blatt appears headed to the NBA. (Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Presbyterian posture on Israel. “If you take a look at the closeness of the vote and realize how stacked the decks were going in, reading between the lines, this is not a church that in its general membership is strongly anti-Israel,” said Rabbi David Sandmel, the Anti-Defamation League’s director of interfaith affairs. The resolution, or “overture,” as it is called in Presbyterian parlance, was subject to a barrage of amendments – even amendments to amendments – when it reached the floor of the assembly in Detroit on June 20. Many of the modifications sought to make clear that the divestment did not signal a split with Israel. One amendment that passed made explicit that the resolution “is not to be construed or represented by any organization of the PC(USA) as divestment from the state of Israel, or an alignment with or endorsement of the global BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement.” The language of the divestment resolution as it passed also reaffirmed “Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign nation within secure and internationally recognized borders in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.” Rachel Lerner, J Street’s senior vice president for community relations, said she was heartened by the amendment. Lerner had delivered a speech at the assembly pleading

Celtics fan. Blatt attended Hebrew school at Temple Beth Am and later recalled putting money in jars to plant trees in Israel. But he never connected his passion for basketball with his Jewish background. Instead, he established himself as a top basketball talent and also had the good fortune to play for top coaches – first at Framingham South High School for Phil Moresi, now in the Massachusetts High School Basketball Hall of Fame, and then at Princeton University for Pete Carril, famed as the inventor of the “Princeton offense.” During Blatt’s sophomore year at Princeton, a coach for an Israeli kibbutz team recruited him to play in Israel for the summer. See “Blatt” on page 12

Continued from page 1

with the delegates to reject divestment. “There were a lot of people who backed the divestment resolution who weren’t voting against Israel but Israeli policy,” she said. “There is a way forward to dialogue. I don’t think cutting off discussion helps.” Other Jewish leaders who for years have engaged in interfaith dialogue with the Presbyterians said the last-minute qualifications could not mitigate a season of bitterness triggered by the publication in January of an anti-Zionist study guide, “Zionism Unsettled,” by the Presbyterian Church’s Israel/Palestine Missionary Network. Ethan Felson, the vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, said other mainline Protestant churches had engaged in pro-Palestinian advocacy “without trafficking in anti-Jewish tropes as that document did,” referring to the Presbyterian study guide. “Several other mainline denominations have passionate pro-Palestinian programs that are not informed by the same kind of animus,” he said. “Does anyone believe the Presbyterians are more committed to Palestinians than Episcopalians or Lutherans – or could it be something else?” The General Assembly passed a resolution declaring that the study guide “does not represent the views of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and directs all Presbyterian

Church (U.S.A.) entities to express this statement in all future catalogs, print or online resources.” But participants from mainstream Jewish groups also felt offended by what they said was, at the very least, tone deafness to Jewish sensibilities displayed by church leaders. They cited an incident when Virginia Sheets, the moderator of the assembly’s Middle East committee, opened proceedings to consider divestment with a prayer in which she said that “Jesus had many Jewish friends, and he wasn’t afraid to speak difficult truths to Jews in his time.” “We thought that this was a conversation of a bygone era in which Christian leaders were not careful in using the age-old tropes that demonized,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, the American Jewish Committee’s director of interreligious Jewish relations. “And now they are back masquerading as anti-Israel sentiment.” Divestment opponents said they felt the leadership stacked the odds against them, granting greater access to committee hearings to pro-divestment activists such as representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace. Pro-Israel activists wore T-shirts that read “Divestment leaves me out” and “Love us and don’t leave us,” which at least one speaker during the debate decried as “manipulative.” Jewish Voice for Peace activists wore T-shirts declaring “Another Jew supporting divestment.” Some were unsettled by the intensity of the lobbying. One woman during the debate remarked, “Even going to the bathroom there was someone lobbying for divestment.” Pro-Israel activists accused the leadership of allowing Jewish Voice for Peace to create the false impression that it spoke for a substantial portion of the Jewish community. “The Jewish Voice for Peace people were lobbying people all the time,” said Roberta Seid, the education director for the pro-Israel group StandWithUs. “They were saying, ‘You won’t offend Jews if you pass divestment. We represent a growing segment of the Jewish community.’” Sydney Levy, the director for advocacy at Jewish Voice for Peace, denied making claims that his group’s views were necessarily representative of the Jewish community. Instead, he said, its activists argued that the Jewish community’s resistance to debating divestment obscured the degree to which the community was divided on the issue. “We never say we represent all Jews, we say the Jews are divided, that there are red lines because the mainstream Jewish institutions are not interested in finding out,” he said. The Rev. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, president of the Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, spoke on the floor in favor of accepting the appeal from Jacobs, the Reform movement leader. She told JTA that it was important for the Jewish community to maintain its partnerships with Presbyterians, and that those Presbyterians who had lobbied against divestment will stay active in espousing their position on the issue within the church. “The body of Christ needs all voices represented,” Henderson said. “Change will only happen if we can keep people at the table.”

july 19, 2014 ■




THE REPORTER ■ july 3, 2014


Rabbi Dovid Saks President: Richard Rutta Jewish Heritage Connection 108 North Abington Rd., Clarks Summit, PA 18411 570-346-1321 • Website: Sunday morning services at 8:30 am Call for other scheduled services throughout the week.


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: 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: Please contact us for schedules and locations.


Affiliation: Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Allan L. Smith President: Henry M. Skier Contact Person: Cheryl Badner, Congregation Administrator (570) 253-2222 615 Court Street, Honesdale, PA 18431 570-253-2222 • fax: 570-226-1105


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: 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.


Rabbi Steve Nathan President: Steve Natt Forest Drive 1516 Hemlock Farms, Lords Valley, PA 18428 570-775-7497 • E-Mail: 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


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


President: Isadore Steckel 515 East Drinker St., Dunmore, PA 18512 Saturday morning Shabbat 7:30 am; also services for Yizkor


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: E-Mail: Friday evening Shabbat, 7pm; Saturday morning Shabbat, 9 am


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: 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.

What’s in a blessing? by RABBI MOSHE SAKS, TEMPLE ISRAEL OF SCRANTON Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9 This week’s parasha contains the very famous account of the King of Moab, Balak, deciding to confront the Israelites, not on the battlefield, but in the strength of their respective gods. He tells his “prophet” Balaam to offer a curse over the Israelites, and thus impede and diminish the strength of their God. On the way to the mountain on which Balaam will offer the curse, a strange event takes place. His donkey suddenly stops, and refuses to go forward. He yells at the donkey (as we do to our automobiles when they do not function), “Why have you stopped (you stupid donkey)?” Miraculously, the donkey answers, “Don’t you see the man with a sword standing in front of us?” It is only then that God reveals His Angel to Balaam. In an obvious reference to the inadequacy of pagan prophets to the one true God, he is then instructed to offer a blessing and not a curse to the Israelites. Balaam’s famous blessing, “How goodly are your tents,

O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!” is recited every day, upon entering the synagogue. Thus, one of our most famous prayers (the Mah Tovu) comes from a non-Jewish religious figure! Our sages decided that this verse was most appropriate for the synagogue and not the home (as one might intuitively think). Why? The synagogue is more than a place of prayer, more than a place of study, more than a place of assembly. It is a place that offers us a vision of what the world should look like. If we truly learn and act like the verse implies, then we can use the vision of the world that we model in the synagogue to perfect the outside world around us. In this sense, the synagogue is not a place to hide from the world, it is not a place to shut out and ignore the world around us. It is a place of study, of prayer, of community that can only reinforce the Jewish values of our tradition that we will carry into our home and into society. What’s in a blessing? Only as much as we are able to live by its teachings, to gain the moral strength from its message, so as to build a better world in which to live.

Should robots count in a minyan? Rabbi talks Turing test By Adam Soclof NEW YORK (JTA) – Robots can hold a conversation, but should they count in a minyan? A chatbot at Britain’s University of Reading was heralded recently as passing the Turing test, showing a conversational ability that managed to fool people into thinking it was human. Using the fictional identity of a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy with the name Eugene Goostman, the robot convinced a third of a panel’s members that they were interacting with a fellow human being. While some have expressed skepticism about the achievement’s significance, the advance of artificial intelligence raises profound questions. “From the practical legal perspective, robots could and should be people,” Rabbi Mark Goldfeder wrote in an article published on CNN’s website in response to the robot’s feat. “As it turns out, they can already officially fool us into thinking that they are, which should only strengthen their case.” Goldfeder, a fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, is working on a book on robots in the law tentatively titled “Almost Human.” An Orthodox rabbi, Goldfeder spoke via online chat with JTA about whether robots could some day be welcomed as members of the Jewish community and what the Jewish tradition has to say about this issue. JTA: What got you so interested in the topic of robots in Jewish law? Goldfeder: It was a natural evolution from apes, actually. I started off looking at the line between humans and non-humans in Jewish law, and realized that the demarcation was not as clear cut in ancient times as it appears to be now. Throughout the discussions in rabbinic literature we find creatures like Bigfoot, mermaids, centaurs, etc., and yes the golem, who in many ways resembles a robot. Once you assume it may not be a strictly speciesist argument, the move from great apes to robots is quite understandable – given, of course, the caveat the robots may not be technically alive in the classical sense. JTA: What are the basic criteria that would make a robot/monkey/mermaid Jewish? Goldfeder: Well, we start with the Talmud in Sanhedrin, which tells us the story of Rava sending a golem to Rabbi Zeira. Rabbi Zeira ends up figuring out that the golem was not human – it couldn’t communicate effectively and couldn’t pass the Turing test, apparently – and so he destroys it. The halachic literature asks why this was not considered “ba’al tashchis,” wasteful, since maybe the golem could

A “bot-mitzvah” depicted on the TV show “Futurama.” (Photo via Hulu) have counted in a minyan. While they conclude that this golem at least was not able to be counted – they leave open the possibility of a better golem counting – it seems then that creation by a Jewish person would give the golem/robot presumptive Jewish status. For living things there is always parentage and conversion. I should of course clarify that this entire discussion is “l’halacha v’lo l’maaseh,” a theoretical outlaying of views. Good clarification, though being a robot seems like a convenient excuse to opt out of a bris. In halachic terminology we would consider him “nolad mahul” (i.e., it is like he comes from the factory pre-circumcized). JTA: Theoretically speaking, say a robot walked into your office and said, “Rabbi, I want to count in the minyan.” Would that be enough evidence for you to count him? Goldfeder: Not necessarily. For the purposes of this discussion, I would accept the position of the Jerusalem Talmud in the third chapter of Tractate Niddah that when you are dealing with a creature that does not conform to the simple definition of “humanness” – i.e. born from a human mother or at least possessing human DNA, but it appears to have human characteristics and is doing human things – one examines the context to determine if it is human. When something looks human and acts human, to the point that I think it might be human, then halachah might consider the threshold to have been crossed. See “Robots” on page 14


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july 19, 2014 ■



Diamond minds: Baseball bonds generations of Shapiros By Hillel Kuttler ABERDEEN, MD (JTA) – Standing on a hill on a glorious Sunday morning, Mark and Ron Shapiro are kvelling as they watch Caden Shapiro – son of Mark and grandson of Ron – pitching in a baseball tournament in this city near Baltimore after having been shelved for nearly two months by a broken ankle. Mark Shapiro, the president of the Cleveland Indians, was back recently in his native area for the three-day competition as a coach for his boy’s Cleveland Spiders, not to see his Tribe play the Orioles at nearby Camden Yards. The site for the tournament – a complex of beautifully maintained fields – was named for Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, the most recognizable client of his dad, a sports agent. At 11, Caden is the latest Shapiro drawn to baseball, a chain emanating from the 1950s, when Ron’s immigrant father, also named Mark, took his young son by train from their home in Philadelphia to a World Series game at Yankee Stadium in New York. Ron and Mark Shapiro have combined for 62 years of baseball-related employment that began when the Orioles’ then-owner, Jerry Hoffberger, asked Ron, a lawyer friend, Baseball through the ages (l-r): Ron Shapiro, Caden in 1975 to assist Brooks Robinson with financial problems Shapiro and Mark Shapiro. (Photo by Hillel Kuttler) the team’s All-Star third baseman was experiencing. It launched Ron Shapiro into a lucrative career as an and general manager before being promoted to president four years ago. agent representing athletes in contract negotiations. Their jobs, at least occasionally, would have pitted ShaThe work appealed to Mark Shapiro, too, but he blazed a different path to his baseball life. In 1991, he took an piro the agent against Shapiro the executive. Instead, they entry-level job with the Indians that included chauffeuring recused themselves from face-to-face involvement. “When it came to doing contracts, he delegated and I prospective free agents such as pitchers Sid Fernandez and David Wells from the airport. From there he would serve as delegated,” Mark Shapiro said. “It just seemed like the director of player development, assistant general manager right way, the honest way, to handle it.”

Ron Shapiro said he’s heard plenty of kind words around baseball about Mark’s integrity. “What does a father feel other than unbelievable pride?” he said. “I look at Caden looking at his father, and the relationship continues.” Mark and Ron Shapiro see each other five or six times a year – they had been together a month earlier at the New Jersey bat mitzvah of Mark Shapiro’s niece – but speak by telephone several times a week. “Nothing happens of major importance where we don’t talk to each other,” said Ron Shapiro, 71. “It makes me happy to see kids play and parents and kids interacting around baseball,” said Mark Shapiro, 47. It was Mark Shapiro who co-founded the Spiders – a name the Indians had used in the late 19th century – two years ago to imbue youth baseball with values that he thought were missing. In youth baseball, “the overarching opportunity is character development,” Mark Shapiro said, sitting with his father in the shade following Caden’s game. “Character is how do you respond to adversity [and] setbacks? Being a great teammate, showing respect – that’s at the core of what this experience provides for us as coaches and as fathers.” They have the perfect role model in Ripken. The Orioles former star infielder, baseball’s ironman, had stood with Ron Shapiro not far from here surveying the acreage that would become a stadium and complex for the minor-league Aberdeen Ironbirds and youth leagues to draw the next generation of players. At the Ripken facility, Mark Shapiro called over former major-league first baseman Sean Casey to address the Spiders. Casey, coaching his son Jake’s Pittsburgh club, See “Baseball” on page 14

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THE REPORTER ■ july 3, 2014


Blatt loved kibbutz life and found that he was hooked. By the time he competed for the U.S. team in the 1981 Maccabi Games, winning a gold medal, he knew he was coming back. “From the time that I came here in ‘79, I knew that I wanted to play in Israel professionally for some years,” he told Haaretz. “I realized that I wasn’t making the NBA and I wanted to continue to play basketball professionally, in terms of money, but more than anything – to keep playing.” He played nine of the next 12 years in Israel, before retiring in 1993 to become a coach. His coaching career eventually brought him to Maccabi Tel Aviv – a team for which he had never played – where he served as an assistant under legendary coach Pini Gershon. When Gershon took a break from coaching in 2001, Blatt stepped into the head job for two successful seasons. Blatt went back to the job of assistant coach when Gershon returned. Blatt then bounced around Europe, coaching several teams as well as the Russian national team, which he led to an Olympic bronze medal in 2012. In 2010, Blatt returned to Maccabi as head coach. Among Israeli basketball teams, Maccabi Tel Aviv has long been dominant, winning the Israeli Championship 51 times and the European Championship six times since the team’s inception in 1932. That history, along with the city’s weather, culture and English-speak-

ing population, has made it one of the most desirable international locales for top players, including Jordan Farmar, a Jewish hoopster currently with the Los Angeles Lakers who played for Maccabi Tel Aviv during the 2011 NBA lockout. Maccabi Tel Aviv, in turn, has used that desirability to its advantage, offering low salaries to match a payroll that is relatively small by European standards. “It’s known to be what is called among players a lowball organization – they’ll lure you and low-ball you into signing with them because of tradition and history,” said David Pick, a senior basketball correspondent for and Israeli sports channel “They’re expecting players to take pay cuts to play for Maccabi and for the most part it works.” However, despite that edge in attracting talent, this year’s Maccabi Tel Aviv team was widely considered weak and unlikely to advance far in the playoffs. Three of the team’s five projected starters at the beginning of the season had been injured and the team entered the Euroleague’s Final Four as a “severe underdog.” When Maccabi took the championship in a pair of nailbiters, the victory was hailed in Israeli newspapers as a “miracle.” Shortly after the victory, Blatt announced that he was interested in pursuing options in the NBA. When he flew back to the United States recently for his father’s funeral, he reportedly met with new Golden State War-

Continued from page 8 riors coach Steve Kerr for 45 minutes during an airport layover in Los Angeles, and Golden State subsequently offered him a position as one of Kerr’s assistants. He also interviewed with Cleveland, first by phone and then in person on June 18. Cleveland offered him the job the next day. It is an open question, of course, whether Blatt’s success in Israel will carry over to the NBA, although the increasing success of European players in making the jump suggests that talent can transfer. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the San Antonio Spurs just won an NBA title by dominating the LeBron James-led Miami Heat with an international roster and style of play. A number of Blatt’s former players and coaches think he can do it. Ex-coaches Carril and Moresi have both expressed their belief that Blatt can make the transition, and former Maccabi and NBA player Anthony Parker, subsequently a scout for the Orlando Magic, has repeatedly stated that Blatt is one of the best coaches in the world. Blatt will be leaving behind a country that has not only become his home ,but which has embraced him as a superstar. “David Blatt doesn’t want to walk out in the street because he wouldn’t be able to,” Pick said. “David can leave the coaches’ facility at 1, 1:30 in the morning just to avoid the mob.” But, as Blatt has proven before, he’s willing to travel a long way from home to pursue his dreams.

july 19, 2014 ■





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THE REPORTER ■ july 3, 2014

New Season of


Jewish Museum travel to the Balkans

July 2014

• 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!

Participation in the Jewish Museum’s travel program is open to members at the individual $75 level and above. The program will visit Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia from September 7-18. The group will explore the cultural history of the Jewish people in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and visit the city of Vilnius, a UNESCO world heritage site that was one of the most important Jewish centers of learning pre-World War II. The group will also spend time in the Jewish suburb Slobodka, the ancient capital Trakai, Riga in Latvia, and Tallinn in Estonia. For more information, including day by day itineraries, help in making air arrangements, or registration information, contact the Jewish Museum Travel Office at 845-256-0194 or e-mail at Travels@


Continued from page 10 This makes sense from a Jewish ethical perspective as well. Oftentimes Jewish ethics are about the actor, not the one being acted upon. If I see something that for all intents and purposes looks human, I cannot start poking it to see if it bleeds. I have a responsibility to treat all that seem human as human, and it is better to err on the side of caution from an ethical perspective. JTA: In your opinion – more sociological than halachic – what’s your read on how seriously should Jewish institutions be preparing for the eventuality of artificially intelligent congregants or constituents? Goldfeder: I think the difference between science fiction and science is often time. If you were to ask me now, I don’t think Jewish institutions need to start worrying about it quite yet. Even with the Turing test officially passed, we are quite far from the situation of having a robot capable of walking among us unsuspected. But I do think that Jewish thinkers should start tossing around the questions because we’re probably 30, not 100, years away.


Continued from page 11 stood beside his own father, Jim, who had enlisted Ron Shapiro as his son’s first agent upon his being drafted by the Indians in 1997. Jake and Caden’s teams would square off that afternoon. Close friends Casey and Mark Shapiro would be in the coaching boxes. “Take it easy on us,” Casey told the Spiders. Coaching the Spiders helped Mark Shapiro overcome the temptation to attend the Indians-Orioles series. So was visiting with his father and stepmother, Cathi, at their suburban Baltimore farm. Father and son exude warmth. Ron Shapiro, unable to stay for the afternoon game, told Mark upon departing, “Give me a kiss and a hug,” and through their embrace the men uttered their mutual love. Their personal-baseball time together here was a weekend to savor. “For me, baseball has always been relational – and nothing is more relational than family,” Mark Shapiro said. “My love for baseball has always been tied to my father. And to be able to see that relationship and love for the game shared with my son, and to have my dad here, is incredibly special.” Caden gets the whole baseball-family thing. “It’s pretty cool, passing down baseball generation to generation,” he said, grasping the white sphere. “It’s a great experience I’m living with my father and grandfather. Baseball just runs in our family. I’ll pass it on to my grandkids.”

july 19, 2014 ■




Shin Bet, IDF identify two Hamas figures as teens’ kidnappers

Two West Bank Palestinian men affiliated with Hamas have been identified as the alleged abductors of three Israeli teens. Israel’s Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces on June 26 identified Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme as the alleged kidnappers. The suspects, who live in Hebron, have been missing since the June 12 kidnapping. While Israeli security officials learned of the identities of the suspected kidnappers soon after the kidnapping, it only disclosed the information publicly on June 26. The Shin Bet and IDF have been on a manhunt since about a day after the kidnapping, according to a statement issued by the services. Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel were abducted on June 12 from a junction in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem. Abu Aysha, a 32-year-old locksmith, was last seen at a family gathering only hours before the kidnapping, his father told the Times of Israel, adding that his son left the family gathering abruptly without telling anyone where he was going. Abu Aysha’s brother, also a Hamas member, was killed in November 2005 while attempting to hurl an explosive device at IDF soldiers during a clash in Hebron, according to the IDF. Kawasme, a 29-year-old barber, has been detained by the Palestinian Authority and by Israel in the past for his activities with Hamas, and his family is known to have ties to Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to break ties with Hamas following the announcement. “A short time after the kidnapping I said that those who perpetrated this activity were terrorists of Hamas. And indeed, today, the security services of Israel have published the names of two of the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” Netanyahu said in remarks at the Israel Air Force pilots’ course graduation ceremony. “I now expect President Abbas, who said important things in Saudi Arabia, to stand by those words and to break his pact with the Hamas terrorist organization that kidnaps children and calls for the destruction of Israel.”

U.N. Security Council calls on Syria, rebels to cease Golan fighting

The U.N. Security Council condemned the fighting between Syrian government and rebel forces on the Golan Heights and called for an end to military activity there. On June 25, the council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the two sides to cease “military activity of any kind” in the area between Syria and Israel. The resolution comes days after an Israeli teen riding in a vehicle on the Golan near the border fence was killed by a rocket fired from Syria. The Israel Defense Forces, which said it believes the attack was intentional and not a stray rocket as part of the three-year civil war, responded with tank fire across the Golan border at Syrian military positions. Syrian military activity in the Golan has “the potential to escalate tensions” between Syria and Israel, the resolution said. The resolution also extended the United Nations monitoring mission of the IsraelSyria cease-fire, which went into effect in April 2012, through the end of the year.

French court orders extradition of alleged Brussels museum shooter

A French court ordered the extradition of Mehdi Nemmouche, the Frenchman suspected of killing four people at the Jewish museum in Brussels. On June 26, the court in Versailles approved Nemmouche’s extradition to Belgium to face murder charges, according to reports. Nemmouche has been in police custody on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and possession of weapons since his arrest on May 30 in the southern French city of Marseille. Nemmouche had refused extradition, then changed his mind on condition that he not be ordered sent to a third country, namely Israel, for trial. Two of the people murdered in the attack were Israeli. French police said on June 1 that they believed Nemmouche committed the May 24 murders at the Jewish Museum of Belgium and then traveled to Marseille on a bus. He was arrested at a routine customs inspection of the passengers on the bus, which left from Amsterdam via Brussels to France. Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said earlier in June that a video found after Nemmouche’s arrest contains his voice claiming responsibility for the attack and murders. Nemmouche had tried to film the attack, according to Van Leeuw, but the camera failed. Nemmouche, who lived in the French city of Roubaix on the border with Belgium, had spent several years in a French jail for armed robbery. French authorities believe he left for Syria via Belgium to fight with jihadists in 2012 before returning to Europe.

Peres praises Abbas as “peace partner” at U.S. Capitol medal ceremony

Accepting the Congressional Gold Medal, Israeli President Shimon Peres lauded

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and called for renewing talks with the Palestinians. “President Abbas is clearly a partner for peace,” Peres said on June 26 at the U.S. Capitol, where the congressional leadership and Vice President Joe Biden conferred the honor on him. “There were people who thought otherwise,” he said. “I feel they are now closer to my judgment than their own.” Peres appeared to be alluding to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who suspended peace talks with Abbas in April after the Palestinian leader launched unity talks with the Hamas terrorist group, which controls the Gaza Strip. Peres attributed the change of heart to Abbas’ outspoken condemnation of the suspected kidnapping earlier in June of three Israeli teenagers. “He spoke bravely in Saudi Arabia, in Arabic against the kidnappings, against terror and for peace,” Peres said. Peres said Israel “will do everything in our power to bring home our three boys.” Peres, 90, is one of a handful of people to be awarded both the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Honor. His term ends in July.

House panel approves expanded Hezbollah sanctions

The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislation designed to keep international financial institutions from conducting business with Hezbollah. The Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014, introduced by U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Brad Schneider (D-IL), includes a provision to sanction foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate the activities of the Lebanese militia and party. Hezbollah already is subject to sanctions as a designated terrorist group. The bill extends such sanctions to third parties – an expansion that has proven effective in isolating Iran, a key sponsor of Hezbollah. “To deter dealings with Hezbollah, the bill targets those financial institutions that knowingly do business with what has been called the ‘A team’ of terrorists,” said Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the committee’s chairman, who joined with its ranking Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), to advance the legislation on June 26. “The threat posed by Hezbollah’s global operations has exploded,” Royce said. “Underpinning that development is a financing and logistical network. In 2011, we saw the tip of the iceberg when a massive Hezbollah drug and money laundering operation was uncovered.” The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the committee’s efforts, noting in a news release that Hezbollah “poses a direct threat to American and Israeli security, dominates the Lebanese government, [and] fights for the Syrian Assad regime.” A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate.

Philly synagogue targeted with swastikas

A Philadelphia synagogue was targeted with antisemitic vandalism. Members of the Congregations of Ner Zedek discovered two large swastikas spray-painted on the building when they arrived on June 23 for daily morning prayers, according to the Jewish Exponent. In recent weeks, a rock was thrown through a glass panel on a synagogue door, the newspaper reported. Swastikas also were spray-painted on the building, located in northeast Philadelphia, a few years ago. A city clean-up crew washed away the offending images later on June 23. Three newly installed surveillance cameras captured 14 hours of footage at about the time of the vandalism, according to the news website

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THE REPORTER ■ july 3, 2014

Profile for Becky Schastey

July 3, 2014 Edition of The Reporter  

July 3, 2014 Edition of The Reporter

July 3, 2014 Edition of The Reporter  

July 3, 2014 Edition of The Reporter