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Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania MARCH 14, 2013


Mother and son volunteers in Israel to speak on April 16 The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania will welcome Jean Blom and her son, Jacob, to the Scranton JCC on Tuesday, April 16, at 7 pm, to tell their story of volunteering in Israel. The community has been invited to listen and celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s 65th birthday. Jean lives in Halstead and has been a supporter of Israel and the Jewish people for many years. Last year, she came upon information about going to Israel as a volunteer with the Sar-El program through Volunteers for Israel. Through the organization, people from all around the world are partnered with one of the Israel Defense Forces Military bases to do non-combat, hands on, civilian support duties. Jean and Jacob had the opportunity to go in October for two weeks. “The experience enhanced her love for Israel and has encouraged her to want to share

Jean Blom

Jacob Blom

this with others,” explained organizers of the program. Jean works as a housekeeper at the Inn in Montrose. She is married and has two children, Jacey and Jacob.

Jacob is currently a junior in the Montrose Area School District, and an enlisted soldier with the U.S. National Guard. During his time researching which field of service he

wanted to join, he became familiar with the Israel Defense Forces through Facebook and found them to be “admirable” and “respectable.” As part of his graduation requirements for high school, each student needs to do a senior project. Jacob chose to volunteer alongside Jean to fulfill the requirement and to show support for the IDF. The experience has been “a highlight” for him “as a soldier and as a friend to Israel.” Jean has become an ambassador for Sar-el and Volunteers for Israel. She and Jacob will come to Scranton to share their experience with members of the Jewish and non-Jewish community in the hopes that other people, young and old, will give two weeks to serve the state of Israel. For more information, contact Dassy Ganz at or 961-2300, ext. 2.

Barbara and Louis Nivert to be guests of honor at Scranton Hebrew Day School 65th anniversary dinner The Scranton Hebrew Day School will celebrate its 65th anniversary dinner at the JCC on Sunday, May 12. In addition to acknowledging the families of the original founders, the school will pay tribute to Barbara and Louis Nivert, Scrantonians who are said to have “a strong background of service to the Jewish community.” The Niverts were honored two years ago by Jewish Family Service for their efforts. Louis has been active in the Jewish Federation for many years, serving as president from 1998-2000 and chairing the Campaign in 1993. Barbara has also been involved in various service organizations in the community. She has served as president of Jewish Family Services and was the

Women’s Campaign chairwoman of the Jewish Federation Annual Campaigns for 2012 and 2013. Nivert Metal has been a supporter of the Education Improvement Tax Credit program, which was initiated by the state of Pennsylvania to enable parents to send their children to a school of their choice, even if it may be beyond their means. The program allows donors to utilize a tax credit on Pennsylvania taxes when they donate money to qualifying organizations that distribute the money to eligible parents. The Niverts’ support of the effort has allowed the Scranton Hebrew Day School to continue offering Hebrew and secular education to children whose parents could

thropic endeavors, which have touched the lives of countless individuals in our community, the day school is proud to salute them at the school’s 65th anniversary dinner,” said a day school representative. Ads in honor of the Niverts may be placed in the commemorative journal by calling the school office at 346-1576, ext. 2. The journal will be distributed at the dinner. Reservations for the dinner may also be made by calling the school office at 346-1576, ext. 1.

Louis and Barbara Nivert not afford the costs of their tuition. “For this, as well as for all their philan-

First person

Hurricane Sandy relief effort – A trip into destruction, desperation and hope By Dr. Sandra Alfonsi At 8 am on Tuesday, February 26, my friend Tony Stefano and I set out for our fifth trip into the devastated areas of the Rockaways. This time, we headed only to Breezy Point with an unscheduled emergency delivery of food and a few bags of cleaning supplies. The day before, Tony and I shopped for food and loaded everything into my car. We were able to provide a lot of the requested items thanks to the generosity of members of Temple Israel of the Poconos, who had responded to my Shabbat appeal for food for this particular delivery. Both Tony and I made this trip willingly, as we have made all of the others, but there were unasked questions and unspoken thoughts as we proceeded toward Breezy

Point. How much longer will we be able to help? When will we see a decrease in the suffering and the need? What will happen when more people start to return to their devastated homes? How accurate is the “chatter” that the one and only collection and distribution center will be closed, leaving the people at Breezy Point without any source of food, cleaning supplies and clothing... and without hope? I think that Tony and I avoided this conversation because we already knew the

answers – there will be more suffering, more shattered dreams and more desperation. The Secret Sandy Claus Project, sponsored by The Sandy Claus Foundation, provides the largest donations of all of the supplies needed throughout the devastated Rockaways. It is a tremendous act of chesed, developed and managed by Michael “Sandy Claus” Sciaraffo, of Brooklyn. We – the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania – are the other organization now bringing food and cleaning supplies to help

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.

Musical notes

Pay it forward & give to the 2013 Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania Annual Campaign!


as of March 12, 2013 For information or to make a donation call 570-961-2300 ext. 1 or send your gift to: Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510




(Please MEMO your pledge or gift 2013 UJA Campaign)

See “Sandy relief” on page 7

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Holocaust Symposium

2013 UJA paign Update Cam

Prepping for Passover

Candle lighting March 15........................................... 6:51 pm March 22..........................................6:59 pm March 25..........................................7:02 pm March 26...............................after 8:04 pm March 29..........................................7:07 pm March 31...........................................7:09 pm April 1.................................... after 8:10 pm

The annual Holocaust Symposium A look at the influence Jewish The author of new interactive is seeking sponsors, as well as composers and lyricists have had haggadah reflects on writing it to PLUS celebrating its 25th year. on Broadway musicals. resonate with children. Opinion...........................................................2 Stories on page 4 Story on page 9 Story on page 15 D’var Torah.................................................10


THE REPORTER ■ MArch 14, 2013

a matter of opinion

The tyranny of deceit – a response to “Israel Apartheid Week” Reprinted with permission of Arutz Sheva – Israel National News In the aftermath of World War II, with the hideous revelation that two-thirds of European Jews had been systematically exterminated by the Nazis, antisemitism became unfashionable. But that is no longer the case. As the memory of the Holocaust fades into history, as we continue to transfer petro-wealth to our enemies; as Europe morphs into Eurabia; as Islamists take control over the U.N. and an increasing number of Middle East and North African countries; and as our universities become hotbeds for virulent anti-Israel teachings and rhetoric, logic fades, facts become confused with fictions, distinctions between democracies and tyrannies become irrelevant, history becomes unimportant, and antisemitism and anti-Zionism become indistinguishable. Natan Sharansky uses what he terms “the 3D test” to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from antisemitism: he identifies the three categories as de-legitimization, demonization and the double standard. Taking these three factors into account, one can discern that the new antisemitism manifests itself in many different forms and in many different forums – through divestment campaigns, international boycotts of Israeli products and entertainers (as Norway has done recently), boycotts of Israeli academics by European universities, holding Israel to standards no other nations in the world are required to meet – not nearly – and through

“Israel Apartheid Week” on Canadian and American college campuses where Israel is assigned the role of “Jew” among the nations of the world to be singled-out, cursed, harassed and defamed. As Richard Cohen wrote in The Washington Post, “Google ‘Israel and Apartheid,’

from the desk of the executive director

“ The Reporter” (USPS #482) is published bi-weekly by the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510.

President: Jeff Rubel Executive Director: Mark Silverberg Advisory Board Chair: Margaret Sheldon Executive Editor: Rabbi Rachel Esserman Layout Editor: Diana Sochor Assistant Editor: Michael Nassberg Production Coordinator: Jenn DePersis Graphic Artist: Alaina Cardarelli Advertising Representative: Bonnie Rozen

Opinions The views expressed in editorials and opinion pieces are those of each author and not necessarily the views of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Letters The Reporter welcomes letters on subjects of interest to the Jewish community. All letters must be signed and include a phone number. The editor may withhold the name upon request. ADS The Reporter does not necessarily endorse any advertised products and services. In addition, the paper is not responsible for the kashruth of any advertiser’s product or establishment. Deadline Regular deadline is two weeks prior to the publication date. Federation website: How to SUBMIT ARTICLES: Mail: 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 E-mail: Fax: (570) 346-6147 Phone: (570) 961-2300 How to reach the advertising Representative: Phone: (800) 779-7896, ext. 244 E-mail: Subscription Information: Phone: (570) 961-2300

Mark silverberG you will see that the two are linked in cyberspace despite the fact that Israeli Arabs, about one-fifth of Israel’s population, have the same civil and political rights as do Israeli Jews, and even sit in the Knesset.” Israel’s ambassador to Greece is an Israeli Arab. In May 2004, Salim Jubran, an Israeli Arab, was appointed to the Supreme Court of Israel. Arabic is an official language in Israel and is posted on all road signs. In 1948, there was only one Arab high school in Israel. Today there are hundreds. The fact that these anti-Israeli boycott campaigners on our campuses attack Israel as an apartheid state not only demonstrates their ignorance of what apartheid was in South Africa1, but raises the issue of why they do not propose boycotts of states that truly merit international disgust and censure. These protests aren’t just against Israel. They are also against the Jewish people. Israel’s Operation Cast Lead at the close of 2008 – a legitimate act of self-defense by any and all international standards – evoked universal resentment and hatred. Around the world, synagogues and Jewish graves were desecrated and antisemitic chants were shouted at protests. In April 2009, a swastika was found painted on a Jewish fraternity house at the University of Florida and on American campuses, and comparisons continue to be made between Israelis and Nazis, and between Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz. In all this, it is quite clear that distinctions between anti-Zionism and antisemitism are increasingly blurred. Taken in its totality, Israel not only has no right to defend itself in response to terrorist attacks, but it has no right to exist – which suggests that missile attacks on Israel’s civilian population are not only justified, but desirable. The lies perpetrated by otherwise respectable international religious, educational and political bodies against the only democracy in the Middle East are most notable in the double standards that are applied to Israel as opposed to states that have slaughtered their own peoples for decades with absolute immunity from international censure. It is true, of course, that criticizing Israel does not make one an antisemite any more than criticizing the government of France makes one anti-French. But it’s one thing to criticize France, and something else to declare the French nation illegitimate and to advocate its destruction. Martin Luther King Jr. once referred to Israel as “one of great outposts of democracy in the world,” with an “incontestable right to exist,” but that is no longer the case. Funny how these campus activists never seem to mention the Syrian de jure occupation of Lebanon, or Saudi funding of global jihad, or the treatment of Saudi women, or the crushing of all democratic dissent in Egypt and Iran. They have no difficulty bemoaning capital punishment in the United States, but say nothing when the Palestinians routinely execute suspected Israeli collaborators, including the mothers of young children, or when Hamas throws Fatah supporters to their deaths off 15-story buildings. It is shameful that pro-Palestinian professors and students on American and European campuses pretend that the only reason for the problems in the Middle East is because of Israeli obstinacy, as if it is the fault of the

Israelis and not the rejectionistArab world. Not only has every Israeli concession and every act of goodwill and compassion not changed the way Israel is portrayed, but each concession, each accommodation and each withdrawal – first from Lebanon, then from Gaza – has only fed the furious hatred that Islam and the international community feels for it. Borders have nothing to do with peace in the Middle East. It is the existence of Israel as a Jewish state that offends the Arabs and their supporters. It is the history of Jews in that land stretching back throughout 4,000 years that offends them, which accounts for their threats against Israel when it declares its intention to make the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb national historic sites with the aim of restoring them and opening them to the world. The fact that all religions will have freedom of access to such sites is irrelevant to the Palestinians, who have spent millions of U.S. and European dollars teaching their children that Jews came to the land as usurpers less than a century ago, and that Abraham was a Muslim, despite the fact that he lived almost 3,000 years before Islam was born! Israel could grant its enemies every possible concession (and has), but that would not bring peace. Nothing short of Israel’s destruction will suffice. Truth is, anti-Zionism becomes antisemitism when it reaches a certain pitch, and singling out Israel for condemnation and international sanction out of all proportion to any other parties in the Middle East is antisemitic, and not saying so is intellectually dishonest. In May 2010, a Turkish Islamist charity with close ties to Turkey’s ruling party sponsored a flotilla that it claimed was designed to “relieve suffering” in Gaza, but whose real intention was to support and supply Hamas and demonize Israel. Yet, these same “human rights” organizations are silent in the face of atrocities being committed in Syria today, and have offered nothing to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people. So, why is all this passion, all this anger and rage, directed at this one country? Why not at Hezbollah, which orchestrated the coup in Lebanon? Or at Saddam Hussein when he ruled as the “butcher of Baghdad”? Or at those who continue to persecute Christians in Egypt and Iran? Let’s call it what it is for those who arrogantly hold Israel to a standard of conduct to which no other nation in this world is held. Half a million men, women and children are slaughtered in Rwanda, and there is silence. The Chinese annihilate Tibetan culture, and there is silence. Tens of thousands of civilians are slaughtered in Chechnya, and there is silence. Egypt imprisons the leading democracy advocate in the Arab world after a phony trial and imprisons U.S.-funded pro-democracy American workers in Egypt, and not one single student group in America calls for divestiture from Egypt or rallies for the release of the imprisoned workers. Even Congress is incensed. But where are the student rallies? Syria occupies Lebanon for a quarter century, chokes the life out of its democracy, assassinates its political leaders, effects a coup d’etat through its Hezbollah proxy, sends Islamic terrorists across its borders to kill Americans and Iraqis and crushes whatever hope that country may have for a secure future, and not one single student organization on our campuses calls for divestiture from Syria. Iran uses its paramilitary Basij thugs to beat up student demonstrators in the streets of Tehran and squeezes the life out of that country’s embryonic democratic movement, and there is silence. Saudi Arabia denies its women the most basic human rights, and bans any other religion from being practiced publicly on its soil, yet no student group in America calls for divestiture from Saudi Arabia. These human rights violations and tragedies dwarf anything done by the Israelis, yet they fail to elicit the same degree of moral outrage that

Israel evokes among its campus critics. Two years ago, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Michael Oren, was shouted down by Hamas supporters and radical leftists, and forced to leave the podium at the University of California Irvine, but when the university pressed charges against the students, they argued that their right to free speech was being infringed. Apparently, Oren is not entitled to the same right. In Jenin, in April 2002, Israel was painted as the world’s pariah: Israelis were “Nazis,” “butchers,” “conducting war crimes” and “surrounding the infant Jesus with Israeli tanks.” There were claims of 3,000 Palestinians being massacred, that Israelis poisoned the Palestinian water supply and that Israel dumped Palestinian corpses into secret mass graves. A bishop in Copenhagen compared former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to King Herod. Newspapers across Europe, especially the BBC, “substantiated” these lies with reports of grisly deeds by Israeli soldiers. Palestinians went on international media networks with the active complicity of those networks in accusing Israel of murdering Palestinians for their body parts – lies later reinforced by respectable European newspapers, and even by a member of the British House of Lords in February 2010. The problem with all this is that no massacre occurred in Jenin! Less than 100 armed terrorists were killed in Operation Defensive Shield and almost as many Israeli soldiers were killed because they were ordered to go from house-to-house to avoid civilian casualties wherever possible. But that was of little consequence to those in the media and on our college campuses who condemned Israel for “unspeakable war crimes.” In Lebanon in 2006, Israel was condemned for violating Lebanese sovereignty, with scant mention made of the hundreds of Hezbollah missiles falling onto Israel’s civilian population centers and its use of Lebanese civilians as human shields. The same hypocrisy held true in the conclusions reached by the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead, which accepted the lies of Hamas as fact, disregarded Israeli commission findings, denied Israel’s right to defend itself and condemned Israel for having conducted war crimes in Gaza. The report made little mention of the 8,000 missiles fired at southern Israel and minimized reports that Hamas had used civilians as human shields, and mosques, schools and houses in residential areas to conceal its weapons – not to mention the millions of leaflets dropped and cell phone calls made in Arabic by the Israeli military to provide warnings to Palestinians in targeted areas. When the U.N. hosted the Third World Conference Against Racism in Durban, the nations of the world had an opportunity to address the hatred that afflicts hundreds of millions of people, but they only found time to dwell on Israel, accusing it of genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism and apartheid while the genocides in Bosnia and the Sudan were barely mentioned. In the name of “human rights” and “justice,” these advocates and self-proclaimed “protectors of the Free World” decry any and every Israeli action and seek to punish it by conducting academic and cultural boycotts of Israel, while Palestinian clerics call for the murder of Jews without eliciting any protest whatsoever. The Saudi and Egyptian media report on Jewish conspiracies causing 9/11, and run TV programs on Ramadan (the Islamic month of fasting) alleging blood libels, but there is no outcry against them for an international boycott. The bitter reality is that for Israel, international legal frameworks provide no protection and no hope for justice. Instead, these frameworks are used to exploit the rhetoric of human rights and morality to attack Israel. Even as Israel absorbs missiles fired indiscriminately at its civilian population See “Tyranny of deceit” on page 12

MArch 14, 2013 ■



community news Congregation B’nai Harim invites community to model seder By Lee Emerson Congregation B’nai Harim has invited friends in the community to a model Passover seder on Sunday, March 17, at 3 pm, at the Lake Naomi Clubhouse. Every year, Congregation B’nai Harim holds a model seder to serve as a review and also an opportunity to celebrate the holiday

as a congregation prior to celebrating with family. The program will be open to all faiths to learn as the congregation shares the retelling of the Exodus and the celebration of freedom. A traditional Passover seder dinner will be served and the celebration will be led by Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum, with participation by members of the

congregation and children present. The cost for the traditional “soup to nuts” dinner will be $35 and payment will be required in advance. For more information and registration, visit www. or call the message center at 6460100.

Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute to hold lecture on April 11 The Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute has announced a lecture by Dr. Ted Merwin, of Dickinson College, will be held on Thursday, April 11, at 7:30 pm, in Brennan Auditorium. The subject of the talk will be “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish: Non-Jews’ Growing Investment in Jewish Life.” According to organizers of the event, nonJews are playing “an increasingly important role” in Jewish life, citing examples of pop stars embracing Kabbalah, Passover seders being held in thousands of contemporary churches and non-Jewish women raising Jewish children.

Dr. Ted Merwin

The lecture will suggest that the future of Jewish life in America may “lie in non-Jewish hands” as much as in Jewish ones. Merwin is a professor, writer, journalist and public speaker. He is the author of “In Their Own Image: New York Jews in Jazz Age Popular Culture” (Rutgers, 2006) and of a forthcoming book on the history of the Jewish delicatessen, “Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli,” which will be published by NYU Press in 2014. He has also published scholarly articles in Dance Chronicle, The Journal of American

Bais Yaakov of Scranton hosts Bina High School for Shabbaton

Visitors from Bina High School in Norfolk, VA, traveled to the Bais Yaakov of Scranton for a Shabbaton from February 7-10. The Shabbaton began with a welcoming program on February 7 that was attended by students, teachers and the school principal. The visitors were honored at several events, including a welcome dinner created by Sue Severe and Esther Elefant; a welcome speech given by a representative from Bais Yaakov; and various games for getting to know one other. After the event, the guests were taken to their host’s homes in order to rest before the coming weekend. The visitors came to the Beth Shalom library in the morning on February 8 for breakfast, followed by a speech from Rabbi Nachum Brand. When the speech ended, the students were taken to Wegman’s for a scavenger hunt and then back to their hosts for lunch and preparing for Shabbat. That night, both schools met at the Elefants’ home for an oneg and a teachers’ panel. Rabbi Dovid Rosenberg also gave a speech. The Shabbaton theme was “Ashira l’Hashem b’chayai” – “Let me sing a song of praise to Hashem”

– with topics of praise and prayer as well. On February 9, the students participated in numerous Shabbat activities, including workshops; speeches by Rabbi Mordechai Fine, Rabbi Avraham Turin and Tova Aichenbaum; food; singing; and games. “The day really turned out to be packed with fun,” said a Bais Yaakov representative. In the afternoon, representatives from the two high schools visited the Jewish Home to sing and entertain the residents. After Shabbat, the girls went snow tubing, after which they returned to the school and ate, danced and sang. On the final morning, February 10, the Bina High School students departed Scranton. “This Shabbaton will always be remembered,” said a Bais Yaakov representative. “We are very grateful to Shabbaton heads Rachel Laury and Devorah Krycer for doing such a fabulous job.” Bais Yaakov also thanked those who contributed to the hostess kits: The Hilton, The Yeshiva Co-op and Starr Uniform.

Ethnic History, Cultural and Social History, Sondheim Review and many other academic journals. Merwin’s articles on Jewish culture have also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Haaretz, London Jewish Chronicle, Forward, Moment, Hadassah and many other newspapers and magazines. For the last 12 years, Merwin has written a weekly theater column for the New York Jewish Week, the largest-circulation Jewish newspaper in the nation. He has more than 500 bylines to date. Merwin serves as associate professor of religion and Judaic studies at Dickinson College in Carlisle, where for the last 10 years he has also directed the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life. He lives in Harrisburg with his wife, author Andrea Lieber, and three daughters.



The following are deadlines for all articles and photos for upcoming Reporter issues.



Thursday, March 14............................ March 28 Thursday, March 28............................. April 11 Thursday, April 11................................. April 25 Thursday, April 25................................... May 9


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THE REPORTER ■ MArch 14, 2013

Symposium anniversary event co-chairwomen announced

By Tova Weiss The Holocaust Education Resource Center’s Advisory Committee has announced that Barbara Nivert and Ann Monsky will serve as co-chairwomen for the planning committee for the recognition event marking the 25th anniversary of the Teen Symposium on the Holocaust. The event will be held the night of Tuesday, May 21, at the Jewish Community Center in Scranton. Both Nivert and Monsky have been called “devoted and seasoned community volunteers.” Nivert, who is currently the 2013 UJA Women’s Campaign chairwoman for the Jewish Federation, also serves as president of Jewish Family Service. She served as UJA 2012 co-chairwoman and has a long record of volunteerism with the Women’s Campaign, including chairing numerous Women’s Campaign divisions for many years and being involved in Super Sunday. Nivert

also served on the board of the JCC for more than a decade; is on the boards of Temple Israel and the Scranton Chapter of the Red Cross; and has served on numerous committees Ann Monsky for a variety of organizations. Monsky, a professional speech and language pathologist, has been active with the Jewish Community Center in many capacities and received its Seymour Brotman Award in 2010. She co-chaired the photo exhibit

of the JCC’s 100 th anniversary celebration; was the Women’s Campaign chairwoman for the Federation in 2010; and has been active at Temple Israel both on its board, with various Barbara Nivert committees and as a former religious teacher. Monsky has also been involved with the Jewish Home, Elan Gardens, B’nai Brith Men and Women Lodge #136, the Holocaust Symposium and various community organizations. Both women have served on the Feder-

ation’s Board of Trustees throughout the years and are known for their “dynamism and dedication.” Each are known to appreciate the understandings about the Holocaust – its causes, effects and human costs – that the symposium has helped spread to young people and their educators. Each also knows young people who have reportedly been “deeply affected” by meeting and speaking with survivors and liberators, and have found the experience to be, in their words, “life-changing.” Monsky and Nivert are working with a planning committee consisting of Mary Ann Answini, Esther Adelman, Bill Burke, Carol Burke, Susie Connors, Dassy Ganz, Seth Gross, David Malinov, Carol Rubel, Laura Santoski, Laney Ufberg, Phyllis Weinberg and Tova Weiss. Details about the May 21 anniversary event will be announced in the future.

Sponsorships offered for 25th annual Holocaust Symposium By Mark Silverberg The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, in conjunction with Marywood University, will host a series of Holocaust educational programs recognizing the 25th anniversary of the annual Holocaust Symposium on Tuesday, May 21, and Wednesday, May 22, at Marywood University and the Scranton Jewish Community Center. The programs will recognize 25 years of the Holocaust Education Resource Center’s annual Holocaust Symposium, which has involved thousands of high school students and teach-

ers from throughout Northeast Pennsylvania, focusing attention on the historical event. The 25th Anniversary Symposium will feature Holocaust survivors and death camp liberators from throughout the country, guest speakers of international renown, the film “Children Remember the Holocaust” narrated by actor Keanu Reeves, private group sessions where Holocaust survivors and liberators will interact with teachers and students, the keynote address, and a cocktail buffet and dessert evening event. The Holocaust has, in some in some parts of the world, become a subject for debate

25th Annual Holocaust Symposium Sponsorship Packages

Sponsors will receive the following benefits based upon their sponsorship category. Levels of sponsorship are:

PLATINUM - $3,000+

• Platinum sponsor recognition from the podium during the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program. Those in attendance will be asked to stand. • 6 free tickets to the sponsoring organization for the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program at the JCC • Publicity in the local print media • Honor Roll recognition (to be published, by sponsor category, as a Centerfold in the June issue of The Reporter our regional Jewish newspaper that is delivered to 1,800 Jewish households in Pike, Wayne, Monroe and Lackawanna counties) • Honor Roll poster (to be displayed prominently by category during the Holocaust Symposium and at the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program) • Platinum sponsors will receive 3 courtesy advertisements in The Reporter

and has been called a “hoax perpetrated by the Jewish people.” The symposium’s 25th year represents a tremendous opportunity to memorialize this human tragedy and to educate children on its significance and the lessons it teaches. Organizers are currently seeking sponsors for this year’s symposium. Sponsors will be recognized prior to and during the symposium, and during the cocktail buffet and dessert evening program that will follow it. There are also significant benefits that accrue from each level of sponsorship. (See ad on this page listing sponsorship levels.) Should your organization be interested in sponsoring these events at some level, make your check payable to Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510, with the memo “25th Holocaust Symposium Program.” “Please help us undertake this important event. Each year, the program has hosted between 1,000-1,200 students, teachers and

dignitaries, and we expect its 25th year to be no exception,” said symposium organizers. “Your sponsorship would be greatly appreciated.”

Israel education website

An Israel education website BASIS,, has been launched. It seeks to provide schools with techniques and tools to integrate Israel education across a school curriculum. It also hopes to provide a framework that supports students, educators and the greater school community in building personal, enduring connections to Israel and the Israeli people.

Jewish Federation of NEPA

GOLD - $1,500 - $2,999

• Gold sponsor recognition from the podium during the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program. Those in attendance will be asked to stand. • 4 free tickets to the sponsoring organization for the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program at the JCC • Publicity in the local print media • Honor Roll recognition (to be published, by sponsor category, as a Centerfold in the June issue of The Reporter our regional Jewish newspaper that is delivered to 1,800 Jewish households in Pike, Wayne, Monroe and Lackawanna counties) • Honor Roll poster (to be displayed prominently by category during the Holocaust Symposium and at the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program) • Gold sponsors will receive 2 courtesy advertisements in The Reporter

Facebook ® is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc

SILVER - $1,000 - $1,499

• Silver sponsor recognition from the podium during the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program. Those in attendance will be asked to stand. • 2 free tickets to the sponsoring organization for the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program at the JCC • Publicity in the local print media • Honor Roll recognition (to be published, by sponsor category, as a Centerfold in the June issue of The Reporter our regional Jewish newspaper that is delivered to 1,800 Jewish households in Pike, Wayne, Monroe and Lackawanna counties) • Honor Roll poster (to be displayed prominently by category during the Holocaust Symposium and at the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program) • Silver sponsors will receive 1 courtesy advertisement in The Reporter

BRONZE - $500 - $999

• Bronze sponsor recognition from the podium during the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program. Those in attendance will be asked to stand. • 2 free tickets to the sponsoring organization for the evening program at the JCC • Publicity in the local print media • Honor Roll recognition (to be published, by sponsor category, as a Centerfold in the June issue of The Reporter our regional Jewish newspaper that is delivered to 1,800 Jewish households in Pike, Wayne, Monroe and Lackawanna counties) • Honor Roll poster (to be displayed prominently by category, during the Holocaust Symposium and at the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program)

GENERAL - $75 - $499

• 1 free ticket to the sponsoring organization for the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program at the JCC • Publicity in the local print media • Honor Roll recognition (to be published, by sponsor category, as a Centerfold in the June issue of The Reporter our regional Jewish newspaper that is delivered to 1,800 Jewish households in Pike, Wayne, Monroe and Lackawanna counties) • Honor Roll poster (to be displayed prominently by category, during the Holocaust Symposium and at the Cocktail Buffet/Dessert evening program)

SAVE the DATE Tuesday, May 21, 2013 6 PM at the Jewish Community Center

A Community Recognition of the SILVER ANNIVERSARY of the


MArch 14, 2013 ■

First person



“Under our very noses the whole time” By Herb Lebovits Many years ago, my youngest son asked me who our relatives were. He knew about those living in our city, but no others. I promised him that one day I would develop a family tree, but I put it off. After my retirement, I recalled my promise and started headlong into my research. The search for my maternal roots took some twists and turns. This story might take some time to read, so I ask for your indulgence. Years ago, when I initially contacted a genealogist in Philadelphia to assist me in my search, she found and mailed to me some census reports for “Rosenbergs,” my mother’s maiden family name, living in Scranton and my birth city. Amongst the various names listed were a Bennett and Rachel Rosenberg. Looking at those names, and comparing them with names I had received from a cousin who is very deeply involved in genealogy research, whose trees showed no such names, I dismissed Bennett and Rachel out of hand. Stupid me! Could my great-grandparents have ever lived in these United States, let alone lived in Scranton? No way! No one ever mentioned these people in any conversation that I could recall. I gave these two people no further thought. Let me take another twist and turn away for a while as I continue this story. Years ago, I decided to learn more of my father’s family living in Scranton. Dad emigrated from Hungary in 1921, having been encouraged by and sponsored by his maternal

Providence Cemetery before the start of the restoration.

cousins in Scranton, who had established themselves in the wholesale clothing business in the late 1880s. These family members gave him a job in one of their wholesale clothing operations. I contacted a descendant of the operator of this business, one of those distant cousins of mine, in 2003. He remembered my dad as a relative, as an employee of his grandfather’s business and also as a customer of that wholesale business, inasmuch as my dad went off and established his own retail clothing business, in the Providence section of Scranton with a friend as his partner. The address of their business was 1436 N. Main Ave., Scranton. Our family lived in an apartment above dad’s store. My cousin, in turn, gave me a short list of names and some addresses, starting me into developing the genealogy of that paternal family branch. After completing a very long tree of more than 470 individuals, after weeks of phoning lead after lead, I made hard copies and mailed them to several distant cousins who had helped me in my search and who had expressed a desire to have their own personal copy. One recipient, Anne G., still lives in Scranton. She appreciated my efforts very much and we still keep in touch periodically. As it turned out, she was instrumental, unknown to her at that time, in assisting me in my personal maternal research. Another twist: In early December 2005, I received a phone call from a gentleman, Howard A., living in Massachusetts. He, too, was engaged in the search for his grandparents and great-grandparents, whom he traced to the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area. Several family documents that he had uncovered showed variations of the spelling of the name “Lebovits,” a name

Providence Cemetery as it appears now.

PA S SOVER 2013 Greetings

that appeared in some of his documents, and he thought that we might be related. From whom he obtained my name and address to contact me he would not divulge, but I suspect it was someone in Scranton. In any event, after speaking with Howard, we both came to the conclusion that we had no family connection. However, I retained his name and phone number in my files, and was I ever so thankful that I did. In early February 2006, several months after being contacted by Howard, my cousin in Scranton, Anne, knowing of my interest in genealogy, mailed me a page of the Scranton Sunday Times of January 29. The section was titled “People.” See “Under” on page 6

Political action requested

An impending bill in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the Holocaust and Genocide Education Bill, HB176, if passed, would mandate the teaching of the Holocaust and other genocides in all public and non-public schools in grades six-12. The bill was introduced to the House Education Committee by State Representative Brendan F. Boyle of the 170th District in the Philadelphia area. HB176 would amend the Public School Code of 1949 to require all public and non-public schools in the commonwealth to include in their existing curriculum age- appropriate education for grades six-12 on the Holocaust and other modern genocides. The Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Coalition and Boyle’s office have urged individuals – parents, students, teachers and community members – to send letters of support for the bill to their specific state representatives and to the heads of the House Education Committee in the House. The representatives can be e-mailed, mailed or faxed. The names of and contact information for state representatives and the heads of the Education Committee are available on the Federation’s website, http://jewishnepa. org, along with additional information.

Style A

py Passover p a H

Ad Deadline: March 19

Passover is traditionally a time for sharing with family, friends and strangers. While your seder table may not be large enough to fit all these people, you can share the warmth of this holiday with the entire Jewish community by placing a Passover greeting in The Reporter. Passover begins this year on the evening of March 25th, and the ads will appear in our March 28 issue. You may choose from the designs, messages and sizes shown here - more are available. You may also choose your own message, as long as it fits into the space of the greeting you select. (Custom designs available upon request.) The price of the small greetings are $18 (styles A, D and E), the medium ones are $36 (styles B, C and F) and the largest one (style G) is $72.

Wishing you and your family peace, health and happiness this Pesach Your Name(s)

To ensure that your greeting is published, please contact Bonnie Rozen at 1-800-7797896, ext. 244 or Your check can be made payable to The Reporter and sent to: The Reporter, 500 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal, NY 13850 Style D

PASSOVER 2013 Greetings

Next year may we all be free! Your Name(s)

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We accept r Visa r Mastercard r American Express r Discover (if applicable)

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Print Name on Card___________________________________________________ Card Number________________________________________________________ Expiration Date_______________________________________________________ Address, City, State, Zip (Registered billing address of card) ________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ Checks should be made payable to The Reporter, 500 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal, NY 13850

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ÊVisit the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania on the web at or on Facebook


THE REPORTER ■ MArch 14, 2013

jewish community center news Mostly Opera to hold “Love Stories” at the JCC Professional singers from the Greater Scranton area will perform on Sunday, May 5, at 4 pm, as Mostly Opera presents “Love Stories” at the Jewish Community Center Theater, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton. Wearing costumes and makeup to give the appearance of an opera house, Mostly Opera will stage scenes from several works by well-known composers. Tickets will cost $25 per person. The program will start with the love duet from “Un ballo in maschera” by Verdi, sung by Barbara Liberasky-Nowicki and Dennis Fanucci. It will be followed by the death of Scarpia from Puccini’s “Tosca,” sung by Julie Ziavras and Chuck Unice. The last act of Verdi’s “La Traviata,” a story of love and sacrifice, will be sung by Nicole Rideout, Vale Rideout and Larry Vojtko. Ellen Rutkowski will sing from

“L’Italiana in Algeri” and Nicole Rideout will perform from “Don Pasquale.” Fanucci will sing a selection from “Werther,” and Sarah Houck and Eric Sparks will present the love duet from Janacek’s “Janufa.” The event will conclude with act three of Puccini’s “La Bohème,” with Sparks, Marcelle McGuirk, Unice and Jessica Dunleavy. Also appearing in the concert will be Cantor Marshall Wollkenstein with an aria from “Ernani.” The orchestra will be conducted by Linda Houck. Stage direction and lighting will be done by Hélène Tinsley and Jim Langan. The president of Mostly Opera is Edwin Utan. To reserve a seat in advance, mail a check to Mostly Opera, 142 N. Washington Ave., Suite 800, Scranton, PA 18503. For additional information, call 346-3693.


It was a full-page article, along with two color pictures, of a gentleman, Milton F., from Dalton (a small town just north of Scranton), describing his genealogical research on behalf of the gentleman, Howard A., who had contacted me not two months previously. What a coincidence that I had been sent a newspaper article describing Howard’s search, along with pictures of both Howard and Milton. Milton had spotted a newsgroup posting by Howard on the Internet, describing Howard’s own search for his ancestors and asked for anyone’s assistance. Milton agreed to help Howard, and located the grave of the Massachusetts gentleman’s great-grandfather in the Dalton Jewish Cemetery, where my own parents and maternal grandparents are buried. I was intrigued by the Dalton-based fellow’s ability. I tried to contact him through several online search engines to obtain his phone number, but to no avail. I learned from him later that it was unlisted. Recalling that I had filed away Howard’s phone number, which I had saved along with the Scranton Sunday Times article, I retrieved it and phoned

L-r: Featured in Verdi’s “Rigoletto” were mezzo Jessica Dunleavy and tenor Erik Sparks.

him. He gave me the e-mail address and phone number of Milton. He even sent Milton a heads-up that I would be contacting him, which I did soon thereafter. Milton took on my search full-blast, obtaining and mailing me literally tons of material: many obits, documents, newspaper articles, etc., that he had researched and copied from the Scranton public library, including archival material, county documents and more. The most amazing discovery: Milton uncovered the fact that Bernard/Barnard (“Bennett”) and Rachel Steinberg Rosenberg, whom I had previously dismissed out-of-hand as not being kin to me, were indeed my great-grandparents, and had not only immigrated from Suwalk, Poland, but settled in Scranton with their seven children, one being my maternal grandmother, Bessie. When Bernard and Rachel Hannah died, she in 1915 and he in 1917, both were buried in what is named the Providence Cemetery on North Main Avenue, Scranton. Though neither I nor my brother were aware of its existence, it is situated

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

Soprano Julie Ziavras portrayed Madame Butterfly, with Finnbar Whittaker as her child, in Puccini’s opera.

Continued from page 5 four city blocks from the home where we were raised! No one, neither my mother nor my maternal grandmother, ever told my brother or me about these ancestors or their burial site. It’s quite possible my own mother and some of her siblings were completely unaware of this occurrence. She was about 8-10-years-old when Bernard and Rachel died, and upon reflection I assume my mother was too young to remember their demise and burial, and so did not recall these events in her later adult life. Oh, how I wish my parents told my brother and me about their childhood and their families. I’ll never find out the answers to many questions I now have about their earlier lives in this life. How very sad. Milton also learned that the Providence Cemetery had been under-utilized after the Dalton Jewish Cemetery was established in 1929. Over time, the Providence Cemetery was abandoned and eventually vandalized. Several years ago, a Jewish humanitarian and aid organization, the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, in conjunction with the Amos Lodge of B’nai Brith in Scranton, undertook the restoration of the burial grounds, photographing the tombstones, securing the integrity of the cemetery and posting the photos and names of each individual interred, with specific numbering by row and space, on its website. I accessed the site and found the locations of my great-grandparents. Next to the now-secured cemetery is a City of Scranton fire station, Truck #4, Engine #9, located at 1047 N. Main Ave., Scranton. The firemen retain a key to the locked cemetery grounds to be used by visitors. In August 2006, my wife and I drove from Memphis to Long Island to visit one of our married daughters and her family. By earlier arrangement, I drove one day from Long Island, picked up my brother living in northern New Jersey, and in a day-long rainstorm we drove more than 100 miles to Scranton to visit the graves of, and take pictures of, our beloved ancestors’ gravestones. It was a time I’ll never forget. As is customary when visiting a Jewish cemetery, we both placed small stones on the tombstones of our greatgrandparents, signifying that we had made a visit. The stones represent permanence; leaving flowers is not a traditional Jewish practice. I still get misty-eyed recalling the event, even as I write this account. Later the same day, while having lunch in Clarks Summit (between Scranton and Dalton), we phoned our friend Milton, telling him we were nearby and that we were on our way to the Dalton Jewish Cemetery to view the graves of our parents and grandparents. He immediately said that he would meet us at the cemetery, in the downpour, and he was true to his word. We embraced, under the coverage of umbrellas, and expressed our deep gratitude and thanks for all of his assistance. We still keep in touch periodically by phone or Internet. My brother and I had dinner in the old Scranton, Delaware and Lackawanna depot, which is now the Radisson Hotel. After gassing up my car, we took off for New Jersey and to Long Island. I recall driving into my daughter’s driveway at about 1:30 am. I had been traveling for more than 18 hours and was still wide-eyed and bushy-tailed! Now you know why I chose to use the phrase “Under our very noses the whole time” as the subject of this story, with the hope that your readers will continue in your searches for your ancestors and still-living family members. You will never know what you’ll find. As one of my maternal cousins said to me on my initial phone contact with her, “I know that there are a lot of my cousins out there, and someday I’ll find them all.” Her words resonated with me all through my own searches, as I’ve located cousins all across these United States and have personally visited several. The joy is in the discovery!

MArch 14, 2013 ■

Sandy relief

the people of Breezy Point. There are also some individuals throughout Queens who make small donations that must be picked up and delivered by volunteers who help out in the collection center. As Tony and I arrived at Breezy Point, we saw the first sign of improvement. Street lights were functioning, there was less of a police presence and we entered without having to stop and identify ourselves. We knew that last week, Breezy had finally gotten clean running water. Perhaps things were indeed improving and our unspoken fears could remain unspoken. Then we parked in front of the collection center. Reality met us at the door. Planks of wood still lay where concrete had been destroyed by the water. Sidewalks were non-existent and stairs were still unrepaired. We were greeted by Toni D’Antonio, the dynamo director of this center, and Mabel Veronica, her assistant. At the moment when Toni grabbed and hugged me and Mabel did the same, I understood that working street lights do not tell the story of the people, and that when we are asked to bring food, we must respond because the emergency is real and unabated. What made this particular welcome so unusual were the smiles and the laughter that greeted us along with the hugs. Tony and I were engulfed by the sheer happiness of these two young women who were delighted to see us – not just

for the food and supplies that we carried, but also because we had traveled so many miles to answer Toni’s appeal for food. Once inside the center, I marveled at the order and welcoming atmosphere. Toni had the center arranged like a department store, a pharmacy and a grocery store. The center spoke of Toni D’Antonio’s attention to human dignity. She told me that the day before our trip down, 35 people “shopped” in the center, enjoying the warmth in the room and the warmth of the two volunteers who were there to help them. Toni’s reaction when she saw some of the food items that we brought will remain with me forever. Sheer glee at the sight of ketchup, mustard and mayo poured over her face


Continued from page 1 and the room echoed with bursts of laughter and cheers. As I laughed with Toni and Mabel, Tony took photos of Toni, Mabel and me holding bottles and jars – actually we were almost dancing with them. Then Toni saw the four bags of coffee that we had brought and said, “You have no idea how happy my people will be.” “No,” she should have said, “You have no idea how happy our family will be. Now they have mayo to make tuna sandwiches and coffee to drink with them.” Tony and I left after we helped the two girls put everything on the shelves. We needed to head back See “Relief” on page 11

Above, left and right: The Breezy Point Collection and Distribution Center provided items for those in need.

Dr. Sandra Alfonsi was greeted by Toni D’Antonio, director of the Breezy Point Relief Center, and Mabel Victoria, assistant to D’Antonio.

Above, left and right: Dr. Sandra Alfonsi and Toni D’Antonio arranged the donated items.

Sign up today! The Jewish Federation is proud to give a helping hand to the businesses, business professionals, and non-profit organizations of NEPA during these difficult economic times by creating the NEPA Jewish Federation Business & Trade Alliance.

It will allow people from Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Wayne and Pike counties 24/7 access to: . Exchange Business Leads . Promote your Business . Develop Critical Business Skills and Solutions

. Post Job Opportunities and Receive Resumes . Increase Search Engine Optimization . Socialize and Network with Other Successful Business people

Sign up for membership at If you have not yet registered your business on our new Alliance web site, please contact Mark Silverberg at 570-961-2300 (ext. 1) or with your contact person, business name, business phone number, business e-mail address, and regular business postal address to ensure further Business and Trade Alliance communications and event invitations.

Take Center Stage! Sponsorship Opportunities Available. Capture the leading role and benefits as an Event Sponsor. For more information, please call Mark Silverberg at 570-961-2300 (ext. 1). NEPA Jewish Federation Business & Trade Alliance



NEPA Jewish Federation Business & Trade Alliance in Groups

ÊVisit the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania on the web at or on Facebook


THE REPORTER ■ MArch 14, 2013

Pair dispel stereotypes about the Orthodox

Videos and website highlight celebrity Jews thriving in mainstream By Elaine Durbach Reprinted with permission of New Jersey Jewish News, For those who harbor stereotypes about Orthodox Jews and how their beliefs limit their career options, Allison Josephs has

created an antidote. The creator and moving force behind the Internet site Jew in the City, Josephs released a video on December 13, “Orthodox Jewish All Stars.” The video features a range of people from various Orthodox streams, each in some

Family Fun Day and Basket Raffle Sunday, April 21st Please donate a basket to our Family Fun Day. All proceeds benefit the Early Childhood Dept. Suggestions: Children’s books, toys, games • Baby items Bath & body • Holiday • Cooking/baking themes Sports themes • Gift Certificates Gardening • Coffee Lover Candy & Sweets • Snacks ...or come up with your own idea! Be Creative!

Complete and return to the JCC or Chair Maria Cuck 570-466-3878 Name _________________________________________________________ Are you doing a basket alone? ___ If no, partner(s)’ name(s)______________ ______________________________________________________________ Theme of basket _________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ General contents of basket ________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Note: Basket contents should total at least $25.00. Please attach a decorative card with basket name and contents. Baskets must be turned in by Friday, April 5th

way defying a stereotype of parochialism. They include retiring United States Senator Joseph Lieberman, best-selling mystery novelist Faye Kellerman, basketball star Tamir Goodman, Top 10 recording artist Alex Clare and former HBO senior writer/ producer Jamie Geller. The list goes on: comedian Mendy Pellin; professional boxer Dmitriy Salita; the a cappella group The Maccabeats; Rhodes scholar and Princeton graduate Miriam Rosenbaum; and the founder of Sharsheret, the nonprofit breast cancer support group, Rochelle Shoretz, who was also a Supreme Court law clerk. Josephs, who grew up in Florham Park, said her Conservative family regarded Orthodox Jews as “weird and fanatical,” totally removed from normal contemporary life. That changed for her in her teens. She became observant herself, and eventually her family came to share her awareness of the negative stereotypes surrounding the Orthodox. “When I started Jew in the City in 2007, I made a list of the biggest misconceptions about observant Jews, and this was one of the worst: So many people believe that all Orthodox men have to be rabbis and that Orthodox women can only be homemakers,” she told NJJN. “I wanted to face that myth head-on.” Her own spiritual path, Josephs said, began when she was 8, when a despairing father who lived just a few houses away shot his two children and then himself. “I had the happiest life,” said Josephs, “but that brush with death made me aware of the fragility of life, and that nothing I was doing – not my grades or my friendships or my dance class – would last. I had a yearning for to find something that would last beyond this world.” She found it at the community’s Central

Hebrew High School, which was held on the Kushner campus in West Caldwell (and later in Livingston). “I’d always thought observant Jews were these creepy types, but here were people living with purpose and meaning. I came out of the first lesson” – on Pirke Avot – “with my soul on fire, walking on air,” she said. She went on to get a degree from Columbia University, but before that – and ever since – continued her Torah studies. One of her study partners is Mayim Bialik, the star of the TV show “Blossom” and now a regular on “The Big Bang Theory.” Working with Josephs is Hillside native Leah Rothstein, a graduate of the Jewish Educational Center’s Bruriah High School for Girls in Elizabeth. She joined the JITC crew in 2009 and is now its director of marketing and operations. Rothstein also serves as production assistant for some of the videos Josephs posts on her blog and helped create two of the segments on the “Superstars” video. Both women have heard objections that their website, in its portrayal of assertive Orthodox women and frank discussion of sexual matters, lacks “tznius,” or modesty. But, Rothstein said, she believes in “using the power of the Internet as a vehicle for good, such as increased awareness of Judaism and Torah.” Josephs said while some might disapprove of the public nature of what she does, she is comfortable that what drives her is good. “My greatest dream,” she said, “is that every Jew should know about the beauty of what Judaism offers and make their own choice whether to be observant from knowledge and not out of ignorance.”

JCC PreCamp 2013

It might still be Winter, but we’re already getting set for this

e Jewish Federation’s n th em o u a

year’s PreCamp! The best way to

o il l ey ist r A ? We send updated announcements and special

start Summer!

event details weekly to those who wish to receive them. June 10-21, 2-13 Prices TBA For members and non-members For children in grades K-7 CITs are welcome Days go from 8:30am-5pm Extra-care from 8-8:30am 5-5:30pm available Refer a friend and sibling discount offers

What is PreCamp? PreCamp is held for two weeks before the start of JCC Camp Daleville. While it is held at the JCC, we also go on field trips all over Scranton. Some of these have included water parks, local parks, museums, and community service opportunities. It is a fun, safe way for children to reconnect with their camp friends, make new ones, and start their summer right. For more information contact Aaron at 346-6595 ex:116 or

Send Dassy Ganz an email if you would like to join the list.

Planning on leaving town for a few months? Going on a long vacation? Moving any time soon? You can help save the Jewish Federation money by informing us of your plans and preventing the U.S. Postal Service from charging us for returned mail and address change notices. Before you go, call the Federation office or send us an email and let us know if you would like the mail sent temporarily to a different address, at no charge to you, or halted for a certain number of months. Give us a chance to get it right for you on the first mailing. Contact Dassy at (570)961-2300 or

“Must be Jews” – The tribe’s influence on Broadway musicals By Ron Kaplan Reprinted with permission of New Jersey Jewish News, In the Broadway musical “Spamalot,” the “Monty Python” send-up of the King Arthur legend, a character sings these lines in one of the more popular numbers in the show: “To get along on Broadway,/To sing a song on Broadway,/To hit the top on Broadway/and not lose,/I tell you, Arthur king,/There is one essential thing:/There simply must be, simply must/be Jews.” With that in mind, the PBS series “Great Performances” kicked off 2013 with the 90minute documentary “Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy.” The roster of notable composers and lyricists is extensive, an “all-star” team comprising the likes of George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Kurt Weill, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne – and others. But is it still true? Does a musical need input from a member of the tribe to be a success? Perhaps not, but according to Michael Kantor, who served as producer, director and writer on the film, “I think we’re all better off for there being Jews on Broadway.” In a telephone interview, Kantor – who won an Emmy in 2005 for the six-part PBS series “Broadway: The American Musical” – said, “The Jewish songwriters have exercised their best muscles to create a body of work that is incomparable... The great legacy is not only the great songs that the Gershwins and Irving Berlin and Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim have written, but also the fact that they helped to develop a unique American art form that everybody can enjoy.” Many of the songs from the heyday of

the Broadway musical “are either rooted in a Jewish liturgical melody, or there’s something about the ethos of the story that pertains to Jewish morals,” said Kantor. “It’s been a natural fit and the results speak for themselves in terms of how much Americans – be they Jewish or not – have enjoyed this art form.” A prime example is “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from the Gershwins’“Porgy and Bess,” which seeks to debunk some of “the things that you’re liable to read in the Bible.” While Sondheim and others of his generation may not have the same observant connection to Judaism, there’s no doubt that Yiddishkeit permeates their work. Sondheim, noted Kantor, “will pepper his speech with Yiddish terms.” “I don’t know whether or not the theater and its own rituals of the lights dimming... is a substitute for people’s religious needs. I think there’s a still strong connection, even if a lot of the talent themselves are not particularly observant in a religious sense.” Maury Yetson, who wrote the music for the shows “Nine” and “Titanic,” and whose grandfather was a cantor, grew up hearing Jewish melodies. Kantor said that when Yetson “writes a song for the musical ‘Nine’ called ‘Be Italian,’ he says, ‘That’s a Jewish song.’” In the documentary, Yetson demonstrates how Cole Porter’s hit “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” bears a remarkable resemblance to a Yiddish tune his father used to sing. Songwriters’ journey Although Kantor is an expert on the musical stage, he confessed to having been surprised when he learned about the connection between Berlin’s “God Bless America” and Hebrew prayers. “That’s pretty wild,” Kantor said. “It doesn’t mean

MArch 14, 2013 ■




Passover Center at Only the very best for your Seder 10-22 Lb. Avg. Wgt. Frozen

64 oz. Light White, Light Concord, White or

Empire Kosher Whole Turkey

Kedem Concord Grape Juice






24 oz. Regular, No Sugar, No Salt, Old Jerusalem Gefilte Fish or

See “Musicals” on page 15


Mrs. Adler’s Pike’n Whitefish


Kosher For Pesach 16 oz.•Farfel or

Streit’s Matzo Meal






Cost: $200 (includes Red Cross fees, instruction books, and CPR mask) Dates: Sundays April 7, April 14, April 21, April 28, May 5, and May 12 Time: 12pm to 3pm in the JCC pool and the multipurpose room Requisites: • Swim 300 yards (15 lengths of JCC pool) • 5 lengths freestyle • 5 lengths breast stroke • 5 lengths student’s choice • Tread water without using hands 2 minutes • Retrieve 10lb brick and return swim 1 minute 30 seconds

JCC Members Please be aware that the pool will be in use every Sunday 12-3pm in April and May 5 and 12th. We will try to accommodate lap swimmers, but depending on class size, this may be impossible.

Streit’s Cake Meal

Joyva Raspberry Ring Jells


Do you want to be a life guard? The JCC willll be holding a new American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification class d during April and May. Anyone 15 years and older is welcome to take this class, howeve however, space is limited to 15 participants. You must register by Monday, March 25th. Register by calling Paula at 585-1338.

16 oz.

Kosher For Pesach 8 oz.•Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Twists, Puffs or

Kosher For Pesach 16 oz.

Manischewitz Potato Starch 6 oz.•Low Sodium, Vegetable or

Streit’s Potato Pancake Mix

Kosher For Pesach Varieties 6 oz.

Class Schedule April 7 — Pool instruction April 14 — Pool practice April 21 — CPR/First Aid (multi-purpose room) April 28 — Pool instruction May 5 — Instruction testing (multi-purpose room & pool) May 12 — Testing (multi-purpose room & pool)



Lay’s Potato Chips

Kosher For Pesach Varieties Plus Deposit Where Required

Dr. Brown’s Soda 2 Liter

3 4 $ /5 239 169



Fresh Horseradish Root Kosher For Pesach 8 oz.

Rokeach Fruit Slices Kosher For Pesach Varieties 6 oz.

Osem Bissli Snacks 10 oz.


Manischewitz Gluten Free Matzo

2 199 299 299


Prices effective thru Saturday, April 14, 2012 in our PA stores (excluding Montrose). All varieties may not be available in all stores. We reserve the right to limit quantities and substitute items. Not responsible for typographical errors.

Find everything you need for a Zissen Pesach, all strictly Kosher for Passover.





THE REPORTER ■ MArch 14, 2013


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: Ben Schnessel, Esq. (570) 222-3020 615 Court Street, Honesdale, PA 18431 570-253-2222 • fax: 570-226-1105


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Creating a structure for holiness By RABBI steven nathan, JEWISH FELLOWSHIP OF HEMLOCK FARMS, THE SYNAGOGUE OF PIKE COUNTY Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 This week, we begin reading the third book of the Torah, Vayikra/Leviticus. Also known as Torat Kohanim, the Torah of the High Priests, much of Vayikra is dedicated to the laws of sacrifice and ritual purity that were the domain of the ancient Israelite priests. There is a long-standing custom within traditional Judaism that children begin their religious studies with Vayikra. It has always seemed strange that children were to begin with the book of Vayikra and its detailed descriptions of animal sacrifices and its intricate laws and regulations. Wouldn’t it seem more logical to start with the creation story, the intricate family dynamics of our ancestors found in Bereshit/Genesis or the drama of slavery and redemption found in Shemot/Exodus? Our sages asked a similar question in Yalkut Shimoni, a collection of midrash – rabbinic stories and commentaries – believed to have been written in the 12th or 13th centuries. Here we read, “Why do young children start with Torat Kohanim (“Torah of the Kohanim? [Why not] let them start with Bereshit/Genesis? Since the korbanot (sacrifices) are pure and the children are pure, let the pure come and deal with the pure.” I like the idea of beginning a pure, young child’s education with something that is directly connected to purity (at least in the minds of our ancestors). After all, we read in the Torah that we are to be a goy kadosh – holy nation – and a mamlekhet Kohanim – a “kingdom” of Kohanim – priests. What better way to begin this enterprise than by studying the laws of sacrifice that were incumbent upon the priests? In the 21st century, this interpretation may not speak to us as it did to our ancestors. Yet, I have come to realize that there is still great wisdom to our sages’ decision to begin Torah study with Vayikra, for one can discover, through delving into this central book of the Torah (it is literally the center of the five books), the centerpiece of what it means



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See “Holiness” on page 11

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to be a Jew and a human being. Vayikra means “and [God] called.” It may seem easier for us to hear the call of the Divine when reading about mythic journeys of the patriarchs and matriarchs, the ordeals of the slaves and their Exodus from Egypt or the revelation on Mt. Sinai; to hear God’s call in the description of sacrifices and ancient rituals is not so simple. However, Vayikra is about more than just rules and regulations. At the core of this, the central book of the Torah, we find an attempt to create structure for a new society. This structure is based on the commandment that is at the center of the book of Vayikra, and therefore near the exact physical center point of the Torah scroll: “You shall love your fellow human being as yourself. I am the Eternal your God.” This deceptively simple command is the essence of our quest for holiness and divinity in our world. When we reach eventually Chapter 19 in parashat Kedoshim (holiness) on Shabbat, we will read this as one of a group of commandments that instruct us to be holy because God is holy. This quest for holiness and holy living is at the core of the Torah, for it is at our core as individuals and at the core of creating community. However, in order to create a society that focuses on holiness there must be a structure as well as a path set out for people to follow. The structure may be adjusted from generation that still remains. The heart and soul of this structure is the commandment quoted above, which reminds us that each and every person we encounter in life – from our “worst enemy” to our “best friend” – is created in the image of the Divine. Jewish tradition is based on what we call halachah. Most commonly translated as “Jewish law,” another translation might be “the way to walk.” Halachah is the path that is meant to lead us through life. It is the path of holiness. At one moment, the path may seem broad and winding, while at another it seems narrow and treacherous. It is halachah, in its broadest, most flexible and porous sense, that provides the for the path. After all, there are many paths to holiness

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and to the One God. As a liberal Jew, I prefer to focus on its flexibility and adaptability, though of course, I respect my more traditional Jewish brothers and sisters who may have a different view. After all, there is more than one path to God and holiness. Yet, without an inner structure or without a path to follow, it is ultimately more difficult for us to adapt and change as times change. However, the path and the structure, as important as they are, are not simply there to give us a sense of safety, security and grounding. For as much as we would like to feel safe, secure and grounded while walking the path, ultimately we never know when the earth will shift beneath our feet. Rather, the path and the structure give us a sense of where others have gone before us in their journey of holiness. Each step we take along the path invariably changes its very shape. Sometimes this occurs without us realizing, while at other times we change the path or reshape the structure quite intentionally, and even radically. How and why the path changes is not as important as noticing the fact that is indeed changing with each step and in every moment and noticing where we are as this occurs. In addition to changes we affect as individuals, the community also has an effect on the path as well. It is the community’s search for holiness, and our part in it, that reminds us that we are created in the image of God, and allows us the freedom to discover who we are as individuals and as part of a community. The individual path and the communal path are neither totally distinct nor identical. Rather, they are intertwined and interdependent. Change in one calls for change in the other. For me, that is the essence of my halachah, my way of walking the path of holiness. To be holy does not mean that we are meant to understand exactly what holiness is and to behave in that exact way. Instead, to be holy means to seek out that which is best for humanity and brings us closer to godliness in our world as we walk every step and every moment. For me, the essence of what it means to seek holiness and hear the call of the Divine is not only to be found in observing the traditional forms of ritual and behavior that we have come to call halachah. For that is only one of the paths to holiness. Every moment is an opportunity for each of us to

MArch 14, 2013 ■ make a choice, and each step we take is also that moment’s destination in our journey. As we continue on this journey, let us remember “Vayikra” – that God has called, is calling and


before the predicted bad weather arrived in the Poconos. More hugs and kisses preceded our departure. As we drove away, Tony and I could hear laughter and shouts of “We love you! Travel safe! Talk to you soon! And thank you!” Tony and I always have conversations while driving home after one of our trips. This was no exception. Tony was elated by the sheer happiness of the two girls and their reactions to many of the different food items that we delivered. I answered him by saying, “Yes, I also enjoyed this. But that happiness only confirms that nothing has really changed. That the people still need so much. What will happen if that collection center closes?” It was Tony who answered me very seriously. “Then Toni D’Antonio will tell us where to come and that is where we will go.” It was my turn to laugh because Tony was correct. That was when I told him that it is only because of all of you – the members of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania – that individuals like Rabbi Levi Osdoba, Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz and Toni D’Antonio and their communities have hope. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for giving me the honor, the strength and the donations to continue



Continued from page 10 will always call to each of us if we only listen. Ultimately, this call is what enables us to make the choices and take the steps as we continue on the path of holiness. Continued from page 7

Dr. Sandra Alfonsi; Toni D’Antonio, director of the Breezy Point Relief Center; and Mabel Victoria, assistant to D’Antonio, were pleased with the food donations. this wonderful act of chesed. Dr. Sandra Alfonsi is the director of the Hurricane Sandy Relief Project of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

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

ÊVisit the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania on the web at or on Facebook


THE REPORTER ■ MArch 14, 2013

Tyranny of deceit

Continued from page 2

by terrorists, one continues to hear the howls and hatred voiced about “The Wall,” particularly those “innocent” suicide bombers who are being kept from their religious duty of self-detonating amid crowds of Jews. In that regard, I was asked in a lecture to explain why Israel was “ghettoizing” the Palestinians by constructing a security fence in areas that served as transit points for terrorists entering the country. The questioner noted that, as a Jew, I should be more sensitive to the concept of a ghetto and its dehumanizing effects on human beings. I responded that the security fence was neither built for reasons of discrimination nor motivated by racism, but as a deterrent to protect the lives of Israelis from Palestinian suicide bombers and, in fact, it continues to accomplish its purpose. But the suggestion that Israel may have had racist motivations in constructing the fence disturbed me because it is a recurring theme among major international bodies and on college campuses, so I rhetorically asked the questioner why she had decided to sort Israel out for “special treatment”? After all, the security fence that Israel has constructed to keep Palestinian suicide bombers out of its country is not unlike the security fence constructed by the Saudis to keep the Yemeni jihadists out of their country; or the one that India has constructed along its borders with Pakistan, Kashmir and Bangladesh for the same reason; or the one that the Thais have constructed to keep the Malaysian jihadists out of their country, or the one that the U.S. is constructing to keep Mexican illegals out of our country, although I couldn’t recall the last time a Mexican self-detonated in Albuquerque, or fired missiles into Dallas or Houston. Antisemitism has evolved from an irrational hatred or jealousy of Jews to an irrational hatred or jealousy of the Jewish state – Israel. Why is it that we don’t see demonstrations against Islamic dictatorships in London, Paris or Madrid? Why aren’t there demonstrations against the enslavement of millions of women who live without any legal protection? Why aren’t there demonstrations against the use of children as human bombs by jihadists? Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of the Islamic dictatorship in Sudan? Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel? Why is there no outcry by the Europeans against jihadism? Why don’t they defend

Israel’s right to exist? Where are the flotillas heading to Syrian shores? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that it’s easier to confront Western TV cameras in Gaza than AK47s in Syria. And finally, why are the Europeans so obsessed with the two most stable democracies on earth (the United States and Israel), rather than with the world’s worst dictatorships? So many stupid and irresponsible comments have been written about Israel, that there aren’t any accusations left to level against her. At the same time, the press never discusses Syrian and Iranian interference in propagating violence against Israel, the indoctrination of children or the corruption of the Palestinian leadership and the millions of dollars in international foreign aid that have been transferred into their private bank accounts, as was exposed by a former Palestinian leader in February 2010. And when reporting about victims, why is every Palestinian casualty reported as a tragedy while every Israeli victim is reported with disdain, if at all? This obsession with Israel represents a callous disregard for fundamental justice and antisemitism cloaked as righteous indignation. For example, with the start of Ramadan in early September, Israeli forces manning West Bank check-points were instructed to avoid eating or smoking in front of Palestinians as a sign of respect, even as the Palestinians continue to use the Tomb of Joseph as a garbage dump and have urinated next to the Torah scrolls in the Cave of the Patriarchs. Further, on any given day, Israeli prisons are hosting Red Cross representatives, journalists, lawyers and prisoners’ advocates, as well as family members of convicted Palestinian prisoners, while Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas on Israeli soil, was held in isolation for years until his release and denied any and all visitation rights from lawyers, family and even the International Red Cross, in violation of his human rights and international law. So, where was the international outcry for Shalit? And there’s more: Israel is constantly confronted with the demand that it must return Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinians and the Golan Heights to Syria – areas seized during the 1967 Six-Day War waged against it by the Arab world. Why, then, do we never hear that same


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argument being raised against other nations? After World War II, Poland annexed 10 percent of historic Germany (East Prussia); Morocco controls the Western Sahara; Armenia has controlled 15 percent of neighboring Azerbaijan since 1994; Turkey has controlled half of Cyprus since its 1974 invasion; Russia has controlled the Kurile Islands off northern Japan since the end of World War II, and China has occupied Tibet since 1950. So, where is the international outcry demanding that these countries return lands they seized in war? Why is it that only Israel’s control over the West Bank merits international censure? One can only imagine the outrage in Britain were Israeli politicians and civilians to start routinely telling the British “what you need to do” about the Falkland Islands. And what of the demand that the Palestinians be allowed a “right of return” to Israel proper or at least fair compensation for having been displaced as a result of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948? Some 850,000 Jews left behind $300 billion in assets when they were forced to flee for their lives from Arab and Persian countries after the birth of the state of Israel. So why are similar demands not being made of the Syrians, the Iranians, the Libyans, the Iraqis, the Yemenis and the Egyptians who displaced (or more specifically expelled) their Jews? I don’t recall any demands being made of any nation for compensation or allowing a right of return to any refugees displaced after any wars in modern times – except, of course, for those being made of Israel. Czechoslovakia expelled its Sudetenland Germans from their homes after World War II; the Poles expelled millions of Germans from East Prussia and absorbed that territory into Poland in 1945; thousands of Turkish Cypriots were displaced by Greek military forces in the 1960s and early ‘70s while Turkish forces displaced thousands of Greek Cypriots from Northern Cyprus after their 1974-76 war; 450,000 ethnic Chinese were expelled from Vietnam between 1978-79; the Bangladeshis expelled more than three million Hindus in 1974; 250,000 Georgians were displaced from Abkhazia between 1993-98, not to mention more than 500,000 ethnic Russians in Chechnya who were displaced during the First Chechen War in 1994-96, and more than 800,000 Kosovar Albanians were expelled from Kosovo during the Kosovo War in 1998-99. Somehow, I must have missed offers of a right of return or any compensation package being offered to these millions upon millions of persons displaced by wars – except in the case of Israel. Then there’s the issue relating to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza. Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of former British premier Tony Blair, entered Gaza aboard a protest boat and told Ynet News in Israel that Gaza was “the largest concentration camp in the world today” and a “humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur.” She was later photographed at a seemingly well-stocked grocery store in the so-called “concentration camp.” So, let’s consider how these Israeli “monsters” have behaved. Hamas has declared its intention to destroy Israel and murder every Jew residing there, and has fired more than 8,000 missiles at southern Israel. In return, Israel is providing 70 percent of Gaza’s electrical power and, each week sends tons of food, fuel and humanitarian aid to an enemy whose entire rationale for existence is the extermination or subjugation of every Jew in Israel. During World War II, the Allies firebombed Dresden, obliterated German cities and dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Talk about “proportional response”! Israel feeds its enemies! And finally, Israel has been condemned for retaliating against Hamas and Hezbollah for their missile attacks on Israel’s southern and northern civilian populations because, it is said, Israel is (and this is a direct quote from Human Rights Watch) “endangering non-combatants, using disproportionate force and committing crimes against humanity.” If Israel fired missiles into Gaza City, Sidon or Tyre, the world would be enraged, the U.N. Security Council would be called into Special Session, the U.S. and EU would be threatening Jerusalem and the media would be having a field-day. So why is it that when the Palestinians and the Lebanese fire missiles at Israeli civilians as their primary target, it is barely mentioned in the media, but when Israel retaliates against those missile sites in targeted bombings, it’s considered “disproportionate force”? All of this leads to the real issue lurking behind the scenes here – our enemies’ tactical use of human shields. Why is criticism never leveled at Hamas or Hezbollah, who regularly use children as human shields to protect their leaders, and schools, private homes and mosques to protect their weapons? In all the condemnation being heaped on Israel by the media and the Goldstone Report for Israel’s retaliatory strikes in Gaza, and before that in Lebanon during the Second Lebanon War (and indeed any future conflict, should a regional war erupt over Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons), no one ever asks how any democracy can expect to win a war without “endangering civilians,” especially when the enemy uses human shields as a weapon to insulate itself from military strikes. Are we not handing our enemies an enormous tactical advantage? How can any free nation ever See “Deceit” on page 14

MArch 14, 2013 ■




THE REPORTER ■ MArch 14, 2013

New Season of


March 2013 • Non-Feature Films • A Film Unfinished, a harrowing look at the devious art of a propaganda film made by the Third Reich, is a rich and well-researched investigation into the filmic history of the Warsaw Ghetto. As A Film Unfinished aims to set the record straight, it furthers a political resistance that Jews undertook during the war. In other words, this documentary is a tribute, a correction of history to honor those who died, witnessed, or survived atrocities prior to their move to Treblinka, Warsaw’s affiliate death camp. Blessed is the Match - In 1944, 22-year 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. Budapest to Gettyburg - The past and present collide as a world-renowned historian confronts a history he has refused to study-his own. Gabor Boritt is an expert on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. But it took his son’s urging to get him to return to his native Hungary and learn about the Jewish experience there from the time of his childhood until, together with his family, he escaped to the United States. 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. 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. I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal - Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor who lost 89 family members, helped track down over 1,100 Nazi war criminals and spent six decades fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice against all people. 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 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. • Feature Films • A Matter of Size - Winner of numerous international awards, this Israeli comedy is a hilarious and heart-warming tale about four overweight guys who learn to love themselves through the Japanese sport of sumo wrestling. (not rated) A Woman Called Golda - Ingrid Bergman plays Golda Meir, the Russian born, Wisconsin raised woman who became Israel’s prime minister in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. 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. 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. Frisco Kid - It’s 1850 and new rabbi Avram Belinski sets out from Philadelphia toward San Francisco. Cowpoke bandit Tom Lillard hasn’t seen a rabbi before but he knows when one needs a heap of help. Getting this tenderfoot to Frisco in one piece will cause a heap of trouble- with the law, Native Americans and a bunch of killers. Good - In an attempt to establish its credibility, the new Nazi government is seeking out experts to endorse its policies and they come 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, accepts what he is told without question until he is an unwitting accomplice to the Nazi killing machine. Hidden In Silence - Przemysl, Poland, WWII. Germany emerges victorious over the Russians, and the city comes under Nazi control. The Jewish 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 thirty-seven, 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. Nora’s Will - When his ex-wife Nora dies right before Passover, Jose is forced to stay with her body until she can be properly put to rest. He soon realizes that he is part of Nora’s plan to bring her family back together for one last Passover feast, leading Jose to reexamine their relationship. (not rated) 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 their 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. Rashevski’s Tango - Just about every dilemma of modern Jewish identity gets an airing in this packed tale of a clan of more or less secularized Belgian Jews thrown into spiritual crisis by the death of the matriarch who has held all doubts and family warfare in check. (not rated) Sarah’s Key - Julia Jarmond, an American journalist is commissioned to write an article about the notorious Vel d’Hiv round up, which took place in Paris, in 1942. She stumbles upon a family secret which will link her forever to the destiny of a young Jewish girl, Sarah. The Angel Levine - Things couldn’t get worse for Jewish tailor Morris Mishkin (Zero Mostel). His shop has gone up in flames, his daughter has married outside the faith and, worse yet, his wife is slowly dying. But just when he decides to give up on God, a mysterious man (Harry Belafonte) appears, claiming to be his Jewish guardian angel! Doubtful that the stranger is Jewish, never mind an angel, Mishkin must overcome his skepticism if he wants one last chance at redemption. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - Set during World War II, this is the story of Bruno, an innocent and naïve eight-year old boy who meets a boy while romping in the woods. A surprising friendship develops. The Couple - Based on the true story of a Jewish Hungarian’s desperate attempts to save his family from the Nazi death camps. Mr. Krauzenberg (Martin Landau) is forced to hand over his vast wealth to the Nazis for the safe passage of his family out of occupied Europe, only to find his two remaining servants are left trapped in a web of deceit and danger. Their only hope for survival relies on the courage of Krauzenberg. 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? 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 over 100,000 Hungarian Jews escape from the Nazis during the Holocaust. Ushpizin - A fable set in the Orthodox Jewish world in Jerusalem, Ushpizin tells the story of a poor childless couple, Moshe and Malli, whose belief in the goodness of the Almighty follows a roller coaster of situations and emotions but leads to the ultimate happiness, the birth of their son.


Continued from page 12 hope to win a future war against enemies who use human shields if it is condemned for “endangering civilians”? It is this absence of balance, this flagrant unforgivable deceit, not the criticisms of Israel, that are most troubling. For those who argue that their right to “fair criticism” is being infringed, let them understand what “fair criticism” is not. It is not “fair criticism” to portray Israel’s presence on the West Bank as an illegal occupation (which it is not, according to U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338), yet never utter a word of objection about Chinese, Serbian, Syrian, Turkish or Russian ethnic cleansing. It is not “fair criticism” to place the blame for Middle East violence at Israel’s doorstep while ignoring 14 centuries of Sunni-Shi’ite hatred, the damage done to Arab society through decades of misrule by dictators and despots, the Koranic-inspired hatred of a Jewish state existing in the midst of the Islamic umma, and the immense risks that Israel took in withdrawing from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005, not to mention the sacrifices that it continues to make in its quest for peace with the Palestinians. It is not “fair criticism” to accuse Israel of apartheid when it is the Arab world that preaches “death to the Jews,” spreads antisemitic hatred from its mosques, teaches “martyrdom” in its schools and summer camps, demands that any Palestinian state established on the West Bank be Judenrein (Jew-free), and dances in the streets when jihadists succeed in murdering Israelis in their homes (as in the case of the Fogel family), pizza parlors, marketplaces, during their Passover seders and, most notably, in celebration of the 9/11 attacks. Demanding that good German Aryans boycott Jewish shops in Nazi Germany in 1935 is no different in its essence from demanding that good Western universities boycott the Jewish state in 2012. Injustice in any language is still injustice. It’s all part of the same poison that feeds on the fabric of human decency. If a 5-year-old child can understand that slaughtering innocent people is wrong, then why can’t campus student organizations, religious establishments like the United Methodist Church, the U.N., the international media, the Europeans and the academics on American and British college campuses see it and voice their dissent? If we cannot tell the difference between a democratic Israel and an apartheid South Africa, or a jihadist from a peacemaker, then we are all parties to the greatest moral failure of our time – the inability to distinguish between those who defend basic moral values and respect the sanctity of a single human life, and those who are the enemies of such values by justifying the murder of the innocent in the name of some religious or ideological cause. We have every right to expect more from those who teach our children on the campuses of America or who preach to the faithful from their pews. Their positions of authority do not entitle them to foster antisemitism in the name of “justice” and “moral decency.” Until there is universal condemnation of the discriminatory double-standards applied to Israel, claims by self-righteous international organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the U.N. General Assembly, UNRWA, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the European Union and the International Court of Justice are more than meaningless. They are offensive and deceitful. Israel’s willingness to make peace has made it into a target by an international community that blames Israel for Muslim violence around the world. As their thinking goes, if Israel would just do whatever it takes to make peace, then Muslim violence would stop, not just in Israel, but in Burgas, Paris, London, Malmo, Brussels, Mumbai, Bangkok, Manchester, Basra, Marseilles, Lyons and Kabul. Anyone with any understanding of world events knows that this is pure, unadulterated garbage. All of this can be summarized as follows – the most dangerous threat posed to the Western world is its inability or unwillingness to stand together against those who seek to destroy our way of life. If we do not, as a collective, take a firm stand against these defamations; if we do not stand behind Israeli democracy in its just and moral struggle against expanding jihadism; if we do not prevent this widening witch-hunt, the international arrest warrants for Israeli diplomats, the indictments against Israelis for war crimes in the Hague, the erosion in the U.N., and the incitement against Israel; if we sit quietly and allow this insidious evil to flourish in our midst, then the legitimacy of the Free World’s own struggle against jihadism will most assuredly be undermined.

Endnote 1. Mitchell Bard notes that under apartheid in South Africa, whites and non-whites lived in separate regions of the country. Non-whites were prohibited from running businesses or professional practices in the white areas without permits. Non-whites had separate amenities (i.e. beaches, buses, schools, benches, drinking fountains, restrooms). Non-whites received inferior education, medical care and other public services. Though they were the overwhelming majority of the population, non-whites could not vote or become citizens. Mark Silverberg is a featured writer for the Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel),

MArch 14, 2013 ■


Preparing for Passover: An interactive haggadah for kids By Penny Schwartz BOSTON (JTA) – Francine Hermelin Levite has been using a unique version of the Passover haggadah for years. Now she has decided to publish her version of the Exodus story. Hermelin Levite, 43, the mother of three school-aged children, is the author of “My Haggadah: Made it Myself,” (, an interactive version for children of the ritual-laden book that is now available on online book retailers. Hermelin Levite’s journey to publishing a haggadah began about eight or nine years ago when she joined some unaffiliated young Jewish families living in lower Manhattan who


it wasn’t changed, the same way a Jackson Pollock painting differs from a preschooler’s splashand- drip painting. There’s no question that Irving Berlin took his own genius and created something new, but that connection, as demonstrated in the film, is so clear that it’s shocking to me.” Berlin was born Israel Baline in Russia in 1888. Kantor said one of the composer’s earliest memories was seeing his village destroyed in a pogrom. “And he lived long enough to see a pogrom on stage in ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ So the act of violence that drove him from his homeland to America becomes high art. It’s that kind of acculturation, assimilation, journey for these songwriters that they come in... fresh off the boat, first-generation immigrants – and Leonard Bernstein goes to Harvard!” “West Side Story” – Bernstein was the composer, Sondheim the lyricist – was originally called “East Side Story” and dealt with the conflict between Jews and Gentiles during the Easter/Passover holiday, but it was changed to Puerto Ricans and Anglos because the creators felt the original concept was too much of a rehash of “Abie’s Irish Rose.” Composers who came to America as adults – with their grown-ups’ sensibilities and outlooks – included Weill, who fled from Germany as the Nazis were coming into power. Kantor said such people “embraced

were banding to create a Passover celebration. Growing up in Detroit, Hermelin Levite says she enjoyed lively and inspirational seders led by her father, who followed the traditional haggadah embellished by music he composed and other innovations. But she knew it was not a universal experience. Hermelin Levite, a one-time journalist, educational software developer and graphic designer, volunteered to compile the haggadah. She said it had to resonate with kids and families of multiple backgrounds. She also was motivated by the needs of her young son, who has severe food allergies to nuts, chicken and wheat. “He was allergic to the food of

Continued from page 9 America in a way that those of us who grew up in the suburbs ought to learn from.” It may be that this perspective of the outsider made Jews particularly sensitive, if only subconsciously, and good choices to write for such hit shows as “Showboat,” “South Pacific” and “West Side Story” – all with racial or ethnic conflict at their cores – to name a few. Kantor was nominated for an Emmy for “Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America,” another mini-series on PBS, and served as producer for the documentary “The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater,” which also aired on PBS. Having had all that experience with Broadway, Kantor said, he was reluctant to revisit the general topic, but came to realize that although there have been numerous books about the role of Jewish composers and lyricists, no one had taken on the subject for a film. It’s quite different hearing the examples rather than just reading about them. “My goal is to try and reach out to the people who were part of it, who created the shows or who were in some ways related to those people, or maybe they’ve spent their whole lives studying it, to get the best perspectives and put them together in an interesting way.” For more information on “Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy,” visit http://


Passover,” she recalls thinking with all levels of knowledge of and vowed to create a seder in Jewish observance. which he could participate. To illustrate the passage of the four children – the wise, Hermelin Levite recognized wicked, simple and silent – the that children communicate in haggadah offers four blank faces various ways. “The book is in which kids are asked to draw designed to invite artistic exthe personalities of guests at pression ranging from simple their seder. Blessings are writstickers to more complex colten in Hebrew with English lage and discussion,” she said, transliteration. In retelling the adding that her husband, also a graphic designer, helped with The cover of Francine Exodus story, children are preHermelin Levite’s “My sented with an empty suitcase the images. Over the years, her do-it- Haggadah: Made it and asked to think about what yourself, hands-on haggadah M y s e l f . ” ( P h o t o they would take if they had has become popular through courtesy of Made it to leave in a hurry. Hermelin Levite hopes the questions spark word of mouth. Last year, she Myself Books) conversation. decided to self-publish and was amazed with the number of orders from farShe credits her Jewish education and a family flung locales such as Budapest and Hong that fostered a love of Jewish experience with Kong. This year, with a grant from Reboot, a the inspiration for creating the haggadah. “I nonprofit that supports innovative projects to used to think I was an accidental children’s book engage young, unaffiliated Jews, Hermelin author,” Hermelin Levite wrote to JTA in an eLevite is traveling across the country intro- mail. “But given my upbringing, professional ducing the haggadah to new audiences. The path and journey raising my kids, [writing the spiral-bound haggadah will appeal to kids haggadah] seems to make the perfect sense.”

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March 14, 2013 Edition of the Reporter  

March 14, 2013 Edition of the Reporter

March 14, 2013 Edition of the Reporter  

March 14, 2013 Edition of the Reporter