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Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania MAY 9, 2013


In budget battles, Obama administration sees Jews as playing key role By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA) – In the battle to end the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, it’s all hands on deck. Increasingly for the Obama administration, which is deadlocked over the budget with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, that means reaching out to Jews. In conference calls and in appearances at Jewish events, administration officials are soliciting Jewish support in their bid to end the congressionally mandated budget cuts that kicked in March 1 and which critics warn could have a dramatic impact on vital government programs. In recent days, top administration officials have noted – and none-too-subtly – that programs dear to the organized Jewish community will face cuts should the sequester continue. “Israel got a plus-up in the budget, I think, to $3.1 billion total,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in April 17 testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign

Gene Sperling, the chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, spoke at the Reform movement’s Consultation on Conscience on April 23. (Photo courtesy Religious Action Center) Affairs Committee, referring to a hike in defense assistance that is part of a 10-year deal negotiated in 2007. “But that is subject to sequester, as is everything,” Kerry said. “And we’re not able to undo that. So there’ll be a plus-up, but then there’ll be a reduction from the plus-up. It’s still a net plus-up, but there is a sequester that

will apply to everything, including Jordan, Egypt, Israel.” The full impact of the sequester, a package of wide-ranging budget cuts Congress adopted in 2011 as an inducement to compel policymakers to reach a budget deal by 2013, has yet to take effect. If it proceeds unchecked, it will result in cuts to defense assistance of about $155 million, or 5 percent of the total assistance package, according to congressional and pro-Israel officials. Israeli officials speaking on condition of anonymity say that cuts also are expected to the $200 million budgeted for missile defense cooperation, which is not included in the larger defense assistance package. The pro-Israel community is pushing back against the cuts in its encounters with congressional Republicans. In an April 12 meeting between Jewish leaders and the congressional Republican leadership, Howard Kohr, the director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, argued forcefully for the overall foreign aid pack-

age, according to participants. The Obama administration, in its April 10 presentation, allocated $52 billion for foreign assistance, a number commensurate with figures dating back to the early years of the administration of George W. Bush, who significantly increased assistance to the developing world. Congressional Republicans, influenced in part by the rise of the party’s conservative Tea Party wing, have called for slashing the foreign aid budget, in some cases to zero. Jewish groups favor continuing foreign assistance, and not just to Israel. B’nai B’rith International welcomed the $52 billion allocation, calling it “a serious effort to address America’s strategic interests abroad in an era of fiscal austerity.” In an appearance at the Reform movement’s Consultation on Conscience on April 23, Gene Sperling, the chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, opened by referencing his Jewish upbringing – something the onetime See “Budget” on page 10

Bernardine Kaplan Memorial Resource Center to be established at SHDS 65th anniversary dinner Scranton Hebrew Day School officials have announced that, in conjunction with the school’s 65th anniversary dinner, the establishment of the Bernardine Kaplan Memorial Resource Center for secular studies will be held on Sunday, May 12, at the JCC. A reception will begin at 4:30 pm, with Mincha at 5 pm and

dinner at 5:30 pm. Kaplan has been called “an ardent advocate for all children with special education needs.” She felt that all children should have “every opportunity to excel” in their studies at their own particular level. “This was Bernardine’s special interest and the day school is honored to give this

program her name in perpetuity,” said a school representative. The evening’s program will feature tributes to Louis and Barbara Nivert, Rabbi Dovid and Batya Freeman, Howard Gans and Jerry Weinberger. “Founders” Awards will be presented to the families of Jacob Fink, Harry Harris, Benjamin L. Klein,

Jewish Family Service annual meeting honoree announced Jewish Family Service of Lackawanna County has announced that the 2013 recipient of the agency’s annual award for outstanding service is Seth Gross, of Scranton. He will be honored at the 98th annual meeting of JFS on Tuesday, June 4, at 7:30 pm, at the Jewish Community Center. Presently serving as the part-time executive director of Temple Israel, Scranton, Gross has combined a career in the private business sector with volunteering in the Jewish community. Believing that “selfless service is an obligation of Jewish citizenship,” Gross’ commitment to helping others “shines as an example of everything that Jewish Family Services holds in esteem,” noted a JFS representative. Gross graduated from Scranton Central High School in 1959 and from the University of Pittsburgh in 1962. He next attended the College of Insurance until 1963. He began his career in insurance working

Reinheimer Insurers Inc. He was for Chubb and Son in New York past president of the Northeastern City for two years. He returned Pennsylvania Chapter of CPCU, to Scranton in 1966 and joined and has taught classes for the his father, Abraham, his mother, CPCU designation. Lillian, and his uncle, Bernard Gross has served as president Gross, in Gross-Brown Associof many Jewish and commuated Agencies Inc. He received nity organizations throughout the Chartered Property Casualty the years, including the Scranton Underwriter designation in 1967 Lions Club, the Lackawanna and the Chartered Life UnderAudubon Society, Jewish Famwriter designation in 1970. He ily Service of Lackawanna was associated with Gross-Brown Seth Gross County, Junior Achievement of from 1966-94, when it merged with Chamberlain Insurance. He continues Northeastern Pennsylvania, Temple Israel See “Honoree” on page 5 to be associated with Chamberlain and

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.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Flip side of Birthright


Jerusalem’s layers

Fishel Moskowitz, Morris Schorr and M.J. Waldman. A memorial tribute will be paid to David and Norma Harris. Reservations may be made by calling the school office, 346-1576, ext. 2.

2013 UJA paign Update Cam

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

$808,691 as of May 2, 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)

Candle lighting May 10...............................................7:52 pm May 14...............................................7:56 pm May 15.................................... after 8:57 pm May 17...............................................7:59 pm May 24...............................................8:05 pm

Birthright Israel college trips are Recipes for a dinner celebrating Archeological discoveries are having an effect on how many high the holiday of Shavuot feature revealing the layers and history of PLUS school students visit Israel. cheeses. Jerusalem. Opinion...........................................................2 Story on page 5 Story on page 9 Story on page 15 D’var Torah.................................................10



a matter of opinion How shemitah can help us kick the consumerist habit By Sarah Chandler (JTA) – Judaism is designed to be a person’s operating system, the platform on which other areas of one’s life functions. But for many Jews, religious practice sits on a shelf alongside theater subscriptions, gym memberships and soccer practice, relegated to one of many offerings from which we can pick and choose. For Jewish educators like myself, this mindset poses particular challenges, forcing us to adopt the tactics of public relations agencies to induce Jews to participate in Jewish life. Why can’t these opportunities speak for themselves? Why do people have to be convinced to take a Hebrew class, attend Shabbat services or drop in on a lecture? Partly, of course, it’s an issue of time. Lots of people might want more Jewishness in their lives, but work, family and other commitments end up taking precedence. Even in the best-case scenario, when people do show up for Hebrew school, committee meetings or worship services, many are unable to leave their consumerist addictions at the door. They may sincerely want to achieve something – learn a new skill, be inspired by a rabbi’s talk or approve next year’s budget – yet they instinctively rely on “experts” to package Judaism for them. The cult of achievement seeps into everything. Leaders steeped in the ethos of corporate America expect flawless execution at meetings. Parents pushing their kids on the fast track are never satisfied with the rate of their children’s Hebrew acquisition. What if, instead of being just one more place to look for “more” and “better,” Jewish life could be an escape from this compulsion? What if, instead of being just one more

“ 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

place to “get it done,” Jewish life could be the place Jews awoke to gratitude for what they have in each moment? The ancient Jewish practice of shemitah, the biblically mandated sabbatical year of rest and release that begins in September 2014, offers one way to roll back this trend. At its core, shemitah is a chance to show contemporary Jews that ancient Jewish texts have the potential to serve as a sophisticated

Hazon, a national Jewish organization promoting sustainability, is part of a coalition of eco-minded Jewish projects planning a series of initiatives in anticipation of the next shemitah year. Taking our cues from the transition town movement, a social experiment that focuses on economic localization and sustainable agriculture, the Shmita Project seeks to revive the ancient teachings of the sabbatical cycle and apply them to our times. Bringing

At its core, shemitah is a chance to show contemporary Jews that ancient Jewish texts have the potential to serve as a sophisticated map for many areas of their lives, not just occasional events in particular buildings. map for many areas of their lives, not just occasional events in particular buildings. But it is also a way to induce individual Jews to take more responsibility both for their personal consumption habits and shaping the contours of their spiritual lives. Traditionally, shemitah was a time when farmers did not cultivate their lands, debts were forgiven and slaves were set free. In a contemporary context, when most of us are neither farmers nor slaves, we can see this year not only as a chance to restore balance and share more equitably, but to release ourselves from the mentality that sees everything in the world – from natural resources to Jewish communal ones – as one more set of things to be consumed. Anyone looking to revive their communities, spend more time with family and friends, or even live more simply can take inspiration from the concept of shemitah.

these principles alive is our next best shot to counter the consumerist impulse from within the Jewish tradition, all the while supporting the environment, our communities and ourselves. Jewish texts explain that during the shemitah year, land owners would take down their fences so that the poor and animals could take freely from the crops. Today we might consider which resources from our “fields” we can offer to others. We could literally feed the hungry, or give of ourselves in other ways, through volunteering, pro bono work or other collaborative community projects. Shemitah also calls upon us to release debts and take time off from work. Today, communities might consider setting up a “degrowth” plan in recognition of the fact that we are living beyond the capacities of the ecosystem. The Worldwatch Institue

cites studies in Europe that indicate cutting back from a work week of more than 50 hours actually would create jobs. My hope is that such efforts will result not only in people taking a closer look at how economic sustainability might work in their communities, but also in individuals taking greater responsibility for personal consumption habits and relieving themselves of the expectation that others will perform Jewish practice on their behalf. Rather than criticizing the failings of our institutional leaders, we can take active roles in revitalizing Jewish life – and local economic and environmental systems – as co-creators. In turn, we can begin to discharge the consumerist tendency from our communal life. Parashat Behar, the Torah portion that contains the injunction to observe shemitah, falls this year on May 3-4. It will be a wonderful opportunity to share shemitah educational and experiential offerings in your local synagogue, school, community center, or community garden. Imagine the Jewish community digging into these ancient texts about shemitah and renewing them for modern times. Imagine disaffected Jews igniting change through community organizing inspired by Torah. How will you integrate shemitah principles into your personal and communal life by September 2014? Join us on the journey. Sarah Chandler, the director of earthbased spiritual practice for Hazon’s Adamah Farm at Isabella Freedman, is a Jewish experiential educator, community activist and spiritual leader.

Judaism must embrace its “doubters” By Edgar M. Bronfman (JTA) – As of 2012, one in 20 Americans is identifying themselves as an atheist, agnostic or unbeliever. According to the research done by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released last year, nearly 33 million Americans list themselves with no religious affiliation. While it’s not specified in the Pew study how many Jews are among the ranks of the nonbelievers, doubtless the cultural landscape of Judaism is also impacted by these larger trends in Western culture. Part of the reason for this shift is the coopting of what is perceived to be “religious” by the most conservative forces in our society. As increasingly narrow definitions of what it means to be a “believer” prevail, people with progressive social values or who openly doubt a life lived within the boundaries of strict religious practice find themselves at increasing distances from a life defined by a religious identity. Although I am a proud and active Jew, I count myself among those who find this definition of religiosity too constrictive. It seems the pendulum between doubters and believers is swinging further and further apart. Those who live in belief become more extreme in their views and less tolerant of any deviation from their definitions, while those who are more expansive in their views simply drop out rather than stay and fight for the legitimacy of their views. This binary approach does not move us forward. The question we must ask if we are to give serious consideration to the Jewish future is, why are the narrowest definitions winning the fight over defining Judaism? At 83, I’m unusual for my generation in my open doubting. Generally the younger the age group, the less religious they are. Millennials, specifically those born between 1990 and 1994, the youngest group of adults polled, logged in with 34 percent religiously unaffiliated. This fits in to trends that Jewish sociologists have seen emerging throughout the late 20th century within American Judaism,

where intermarriage, lack of affiliation with institutions and general alienation from Jewish life expands amid increasing assimilation. I refer to this generation as “doubters”: young Jews who openly question the meaning and worth of a traditional Jewish life. The existence of these doubters, with their hard questions about the relevancy of Judaism to their lives and removal from the community, usually is met with alarmist cries of fear about the existence of the Jewish future that I see as unfounded. What frightens me about this information is different.

The question we must ask if we are to give serious consideration to the Jewish future is, why are the narrowest definitions winning the fight over defining Judaism? It strikes me as a loss on two levels. First, the doubter allows the narrowest definition of what constitutes a religious life to dominate. Second, it is the young people self-imposing their own exile from the Jewish people. While I feel sadness knowing our young people do not always embrace the wealth of heritage that is theirs, I also understand them. That is not to say I agree. I know what it means, however, to look at the Jewish landscape and feel that the existing options offer no home. If one needs to see that in action, look at the religious forces in Israel, where the rabbinate has stifling control over a religious life defined by haredi Orthodox definitions that limit the civil rights of secular citizens. It is a blessing then – of the non-religious variety – that here in America we live in a society that allows so many avenues of religious expression. (This is emerging in Israel, too, but it is far more complicated, although inroads are being made.) In my youth and young adulthood, there

were unifying causes of the Jewish people – something we all stood behind jointly because we knew in our hearts it was right. We stood together against the Holocaust, for the state of Israel and to free Soviet Jewry. Such a single uniting principle allowed even those who did not see themselves inside of religion to still feel a place among our people. In modern times, however, this central cause is lost to us. The threat of antisemitism is not as vital as it once was for many of us – especially here in America – and the threats to Jewish lives and well-being become more and more theoretical and remote for younger Jews, especially those who distance themselves from Israel. So what are the communal experiences that will guide us to a better Jewish future? There is a triple response here: education, positive communal experiences and unifying causes of social justice. Jews are now secure enough, especially in America, to focus their activities on the betterment of all humanity, not just the Jewish people. Coupled with that is the need for even doubting Jews to educate themselves about their heritage and traditions. Those practices need not be limited by the most religious interpretations. Acknowledging a Judaism that embraces doubt, and that such a practice is backed by hundreds of years of Jewish thinking, is one way in which we, like our forefather Abraham, can expand our tent. It is time to be realistic about the future of the religious and cultural heritages of Judaism. In abandoning the doubters and their tough questions, we are abandoning the hope that the legacy of our meaningful texts, beautiful rituals and unique view of the world will live on – not because we didn’t embrace religion, but because we didn’t embrace doubt. Edgar M. Bronfman is the president of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation and the former president of the World Jewish Congress. He is the former CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd.

MAY 9, 2013 ■



community news Scranton community participates in Orthodox Union’s Jewish Communities’ Home and Job Relocation Fair The Orthodox Union recently created an opportunity for families and smaller Jewish communities to network, the OU Jewish Communities’ Home and Job Relocation Fair. Now in its fourth year, this year’s fair was held on April 21 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. Forty smaller communities were represented, some for the first time, including Scranton. Organizers of the event were anticipating more than 1,000 people to attend. A growing number of Orthodox Jewish families have reportedly become frustrated with the high cost of living in major cities, causing many to consider moving to “out of town” communities. “Real estate and tuition costs in day schools in the big cities are sky high, and the pressures of ‘keeping up with the Cohens’ are a reality they must face daily,” explained an OU representative. As a result, many families become interested in moving, seeking a warm environment with amenities suitable to their Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, such as kosher food, a Hebrew Day School, a mikvah and synagogues. They also look for houses they can afford and for new job opportunities to support their families. The Scranton Jewish community decided to participate in an attempt to help grow the community with young families whose children would consider attending the Scranton Hebrew Day School. A new website was created for this initiative (, highlighting the reasons for living in Scranton. Visitors to the Scranton booth at the fair received a brochure on the Orthodox com-

munity, as well as sample newsletters from area synagogues, the Scranton Hebrew Day School, the JCC and the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania. Elisheva Lorber created a sheet of real estate listings with photos and financial information to help inform those looking for an affordable community. Approximately 100 persons visited the Scranton booth at the fair, with 60 leaving e-mail contact information. They will be invited to a forthcoming Shabbat program in Scranton. The Organizing Committee and those who represented

Scranton at the fair have been recognized for their efforts. Those thanked included Rabbi Yisroel and Aviva Brotsky, Dr. Joel and Leah Laury, Meshulem and Rivky Epstein, Stuart and Elisheva Lorber, Rabbi Dovid Rosenberg, Rabbi Arye Jacubowicz and Dassy Ganz. Special thanks has been extended to those whose financial backing made the project possible, including the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

L-r: Visitor Shmuel Fischler was greeted by Meshulem Epstein at the Scranton booth at the OU Jewish Communities’ Home and Job Relocation Fair.

S E N I L D A E D The following are deadlines for all articles and photos for upcoming Reporter issues.


L-r: Adina, Leah and Dr. Joel Laury visited the Scranton booth at the OU Jewish Communities’ Home and Job Relocation Fair.

Thursday, May 9.................................... May 23 Thursday, May 23.................................... June 6 Thursday, June 6.................................... June 20 Thursday, June 20.....................................July 4

L-r: Nacum Segal, a Jewish radio host, interviewed Rabbi Yisroel Brotsky and Meshulem Epstein at the OU Jewish Communities’ Home and Job Relocation Fair.

Morris Goldstein celebrates his 101st birthday Rivky Epstein (left) discussed Scranton with a visitor at the booth at the OU Jewish Communities’ Home and Job Relocation Fair.

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The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania has extended best wishes to Morris Goldstein, of Scranton, who celebrated his 101st birthday. “May he be granted many more years in good health,” said a Federation representative.


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25th Annual Holocaust Symposium Sponsorship Packages May 21 & 22 • Marywood University •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

GOLD • $1,500 - $2,999

Passover in downtown Stroudsburg Passover in downtown Stroudsburg this year was called “a roaring success” by participants of the event. The Sherman Theatre hosted nearly 100 people for the two-day event, which began on March 25. The seder on the first evening was led by Rabbi Yehuda Salkow, director of the Jewish Resource Center, and Yitzchok Silkin, visiting from England. They took turns expounding on the meaning of the haggadah and the Jews’ historical survival amidst many hostile nations. Their presentation featured stories, humor and insights. The children present also participated. In addition to the traditional holiday meal, participants enjoyed a dinner prepared by Julie Harter, JRC’s office-manager and chef. On the morning of March 26, after breakfast at the JRC, services were followed by another banquet at the Sherman Theater, featuring holiday insights and music by Rafi Laury. During the afternoon, there were classes and discussion. Salkow spoke on the theme of the soul based on King Solomon’s mystical work “Song of Songs.” Silkin led a discussion on “light

• 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

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)

following darkness,” demonstrating that trials can be used as opportunities for growth, as well as obtaining and appreciating freedom. For the second night’s seder, participants had the option to hold a family seder in partitioned areas of the stage or join in with the communal seder held by Chasidic storyteller Rabbi Dovid Kaplan. In the afternoon on March 27, the holiday’s second day, women held “circle time” concurrently with a men’s program. The program featured a talk by Adina Laury on the counting of the omer. Sylvia Silkin and her daughter, Miri Salkow, delivered a joint presentation on “the power of words and expressions.” Leah Laury managed the catering for the program. Her whole family assisted throughout the event, with each member contributing. Julie Harter used her professional chef’s training to cook a variety of meals in the theatre’s kitchen. The meals were called “delicious and nutritious.” Iris Grubler of the JRC arranged for the decor and flower arrangements. “It was the loveliest Passover retreat, and thanks are due to the more than 25 volunteers involved who gave so much of their time to make it possible,” said Grubler. Organizers of the two-day Passover program noted that the Sherman Theater, under the leadership of Richard Berkowitz, went “above and beyond” to accommodate their requirements.

Volunteer Elisheva Kosemrel helped prepare for the event.

One of several seder tables prepared for the Passover program at the Sherman Theatre.

Richard Berkowitz and Rabbi Yehuda Salkow posed together at the Sherman Theater.

At right: Julie Harter and Donna Waite attended the Jewish Resource Center seders.

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)

Jewish Federation of NEPA

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MAY 9, 2013 ■


NEPA Interfaith and Diversity Education Initiative Last November, the Federation agreed to participate with Rabbi Joe Mendelsohn of Scranton in developing educational resources and programs on religious diversity for Northeastern Pennsylvania schools and community organizations. The Northeastern Pennsylvania Interfaith and Diversity Education Initiative involves the development of an explanatory brochure, a handbook, an interfaith questionnaire, other promotional materials and a request to make presentations to several school systems. Mendelsohn proposed developing a handbook explaining all religious holidays, together with basic descriptions of religions based in Northeastern Pennsylvania, including sensitivity-training materials. The materials would be designed to encourage participation in community, college and university diversity programs, and will involve making presentations to secondary school superintendents, teacher in-service training sessions, school assemblies and community organizations. Mendelsohn enlisted the support of four students from the University of Scranton and Marywood University to gather the information. The handbook was completed and printed in April. Mendelsohn also created an educational component for

teachers and other professionals sitivity Awareness” that required that connect to Scriptures and participants to “look outside their religious theologies. preconceived notions through The initiative gained supthe use of vocabulary,” and ran a port from the Scranton Area booth for students to learn more Ministerium, Lackawanna Comabout interfaith efforts through missioner Corey D. O’Brien, examining quotes from different Lackawanna Heritage Valley religious traditions. Authority, Marywood University, Mendelsohn also presented University of Scranton, United Judaism’s reaction at the CathoWay of Lackawanna and Wayne lic Diocese’s lecture series on Counties, Diocese of Scranton, Vatican II. He joined Reverend Mayor Christopher Doherty, The Phil Altavilla, the pastor of the Rabbi Joe Commonwealth Medical College, Cathedral of St. Peter and direcMendelsohn Scranton School District and tor of ecumenism and interfaith NEIU 19. affairs, on November 11 at Mary, In addition, Mendelsohn has promoted Mother of God Parish, Holy Rosary Church, the project during his interfaith and diversity in examining the church’s relationship with work in the community, receiving support non-Christian religions as a result of the from the Greater Scranton community. Vatican’s document “Nostra Aetate.” ToDuring this past year, he has participated gether, they examined the intent, contents in the University of Scranton’s Fifth Annual and specific language of the document, and Diversity Fair for high school and university the perceptions generated from all three. students, during which he and Dr. Mahmoud In the spring, Mendelsohn’s new “InFahmy responded to clips from the film terfaith Handbook” was formally added to “Encounter Point” that described the efforts the Northeastern Pennsylvania Federation of Palestinians and Israelis to work toward website as part of his Interfaith and Diversity peace on a grass-roots level by emphasizing Initiative efforts. their commonalities. Under his guidance, diversity and interHe also presented the workshop “Sen- faith program assistance is currently being


provided to Marywood University, the University of Scranton and the Commonwealth Medical College. He has given a didactic to Geisinger chaplains on diversity and has assisted in editing their teaching materials to provide more inclusive language. He has taught Commonwealth Hospice of Northeastern Pennsylvania professionals as well. As a chaplain for the Pennsylvania State Police, Mendelsohn has also promoted sensitivity awareness and diversity not only among Christian colleagues, but throughout the department. Mendelsohn has met with William King, the superintendant of Scranton schools, to discuss integration of the “Interfaith Handbook” into the school, and with Colin Furneaux, NEIU 19 director of curriculum and instruction, to discuss the integration of the new “Interfaith Handbook” into the Greater Northeastern Pennsylvania school systems. He has also met with school superintendents from the five school districts in IU20, from Pleasant to Delaware Valley. Mendelsohn has expressed his appreciation to all who have supported the project, especially to Harris Cutler, with whom he, Mark Silverberg and the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania developed the idea.

The Birthright Israel flip side: Fewer high school students traveling to Israel By Gil Shefler NEW YORK (JTA) – With the summer travel season fast approaching, providers of Israel programs for teenagers are bracing themselves for what several say could be a season of historically low travel in a year unaffected by major security concerns. Over the past decade, Israel travel among those aged 13-18 has seen a dramatic falloff. Though exact figures are difficult to come by, leaders of several leading North American teen programs say they have seen drops of 30 percent to 50 percent in participation in their Israel trips since 2000. Two recent studies point to a roughly 40 percent drop in the number of North American 13- to 18-year-olds going to Israel. “I think every year [the overall number of high schoolers going to Israel] is getting smaller and smaller,” said Avi Green, the

executive director of BBYO Passport, a provider of travel programs for teens. “And there’s no reason to believe this year won’t be the smallest.” Though leaders of teen programs acknowledge the role of Middle East violence during the second intifada and the 2007 financial crisis in depressing participation, they unanimously point to one central cause of the decline: Taglit-Birthright Israel, a program created to provide free Israel trips for Jews aged 18-26. Founded in 2000 to counter the decline in Israel attachment and Jewish identity among North American Jews, the program has brought hundreds of thousands of Jewish young adults to Israel on the 10-day trips, including a projected 20,500 North Americans this year alone, which would be a record. Yet the promise of a free Israel trip seems to have

had a flip side: thousands of parents of Jewish high schoolers deferring Israel travel until their children are eligible for Birthright. According to an internal survey conducted in 2008 by BBYO Passport, 30 percent of parents whose children were BBYO members said they preferred sending their

kids on Birthright. Another 28 percent said they preferred high school trips, while 40 percent were undecided. “Birthright is an extraordinary experience,” said Paul Reichenbach, the director of Union for Reform Judaism’s Camping See “Birthright” on page 8


Youth Holocaust Education Birthright Israel participants visited Yad Vashem during summer 2012. (Photo of Taglit-Birthright Israel participants taken with permission inside Yad Vashem)


of Scranton, Scranton Jewish Community Center, the United Way and the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He currently serves on the boards of Jewish Family Service, Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the JCC and Temple Israel. Gross previously served on the board of the Scranton Hebrew Day School when his daughters attended the school. He served on United Way Allocations panels in various positions, including chairman of allocations, for a combined total of 11 years. He also worked on the Pennsylvania Film Festival/ Scranton Tomorrow Committee and the First Night Celebration in Scranton. Gross received the Scranton Jewish

Continued from page 1 Community Center Young Leadership Award in 1981, its Man of the Year Award in 1990 and its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Gross is married to the former Sheryl Jacobowitz, of Pittsburgh. They are the parents of two daughters, Rachel Gross, married to H.P. Baker, and Shoshana Gross, married to Sandy Bodzin. Seth and Sheryl are the grandparents of Elle Baker and Adin and Avi Bodzin. Event Chairwoman Sheila Cutler has announced the committee members to be Barbara Nivert, Phyllis Brandes, Susie Connors, James Ellenbogen, Joel Joseph, Paula Wasser, Ed Monsky, Janet Holland and Faye Bishop.


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



Jewish Federation’s Yom Ha’atzmaut

Ann and Ed Monsky attended the Federation’s Yom Ha’atzmaut program on April 16.

Kim Glassman and her grandmother, Marion Glassman, attended the Yom Ha’atzmaut program on April 16.

Jeanne Blom, in giving a presentation at the Yom Ha’atzmaut program, described the scenery in Israel.

L-r: Sheila Nudelman-Abdo socialized with Irene Solzenberg at the Yom Ha’atzmaut program.

L-r: Tova Weiss, Jill Linder, Rabbi Dovid Saks and Cantor Vladimir Aronzon attended the Yom Ha’atzmaut program on April 16.

In honor of Israel’s 65th birthday, members and friends of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania attended a lecture on April 16 by two speakers about their recent experiences visiting Israel. A crowd of nearly 50 people heard Jeanne Blom, of Hallstead, tell of her work as a volunteer on an Israeli army base as part of Volunteers for Israel/Sar-el. The organization arranges for volunteers from all around the world to help relieve the soldiers of the Israeli Defense Force from some basic duties so they can better defend and protect Israel. Blom’s presentation also included a series of photos from her trip. Blom said, “I am not Jewish, but I love the people and the land [of Israel] and it was a chance of a lifetime to do something for

L-r: Sheryl Gross and Norma Fisch posed for a photo together. In the background was Irene Solzenberg.

The audience viewed photos provided by Brad Smertz (standing at left).

You are cordially invited to the

A M

of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 7:00 PM Linder Room, Scranton Jewish Community Center 601 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton Dessert reception will follow the meeting • Dietary laws observed RSVP to 961-2300 (ext. 4)

2013 Annual Meeting Program Welcome & Introductions ............................................. Jeff Rubel, President Invocation .................................................................... Rabbi Moshe Saks, Temple Israel (Scranton) State of the FederationaiAddress..................................... navlysnneP nretsaehtroN fJeff o nRubel, oitarePresident deF hsiweJ 2012-2013 UJA Campaign Report mar.............................. gorP gniteeM laDon unnDouglass, A 3102 Barbara Nivert Presentation of Campaign Awards................................ Mark Silverberg, Exec. Director Nominating Committee Report..................................... Michael Greenstein, Chairman Installation of Officers and Trustees .............................. Rabbi Moshe Saks, Temple Israel (Scranton) Closing Remarks Jeff Rubel, President Reception

Program called “captivating” the soldiers of the IDF.” Her 17-year-old-son, Jacob, accompanied her on the trip. Brad Smertz, of Clarks Summit, then provided both a story and photos of his first visit to Israel as part of the Scranton JCC’s Teen Israel Experience, co-sponsored by the Federation. His pictures depicted “beautiful scenery and active teens,” according to the Federation, that “gave everyone the feeling that all young people should have a chance to

MAY 9, 2013 ■



visit and volunteer in Israel.” The program began and ended with the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Hatikva,” led by Cantor Vladimir Aronzon. Dessert featured a cake in the shape of the Israeli flag, blue and white cookies, and fruit. Guests were able ask questions and talk to the speakers. “It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our Jewish homeland,” said a Federation representative.

The family of Brad Smertz posed together at the program. Top row (l-r): Gary Smertz, Brad Smertz, Alan Smertz and Alex Gans. Bottom row: Michele Smertz and Brad’s grandmother, Toby Grossman.

Members of the Jewish community attended the Yom Ha’atzmaut program on April 16. Standing: Mark Silverberg. Seated (l-r): Joe Fisch, Gene and Anita Schneider, and Irene and Lewis Solzenberg.

Audience members listened to a presentation about Israel at the Yom Ha’atzmaut program.

Community members attended the Yom Ha’atzmaut program on April 16. Standing (l-r): Seth Gross, Ed Monsky, Ann Monsky, Irwin Schneider, Mark Silverberg and Joe Fisch. Seated: Speaker Brad Smertz, speaker Jeanne Blom and Dassy Ganz.

Proposed Slate of Officers & Trustees 2013-2016 Officers* President ............................................. Jeff Rubel* Administrative Vice-President......... Douglas Fink* Vice-President.................................... Michael Greenstein* Vice-President.................................... Dr. David Malinov* Vice-President.................................... Elliot Schoenberg* Treasurer............................................. Jerry Weinberger, Esq.* Assistant Treasurer............................ Barry Tremper* Assistant Secretary ........................... Don Douglass, Esq.* Term Expiring in 2016* (3-year term)

Board of Trustees

Jim Ellenbogen, Joseph Fisch, Esq., Leah Laury, Phyllis Malinov, Mel Mogel, Dr. Geordee Pollock, Alma Shaffer, Suzanne Tremper, Eric Weinberg Term Expiring in 2014* (1-year term) Sandra Alfonsi, Phyllis Barax, Susan Columbo Diamond, Dan Marcus, Larry Milliken, Lynn Pearl and Karen Pollack Continuing Terms Esther Adelman, Herb Appel, Jeanne Atlas, Phyllis Brandes, Mark Davis, Lainey Denis, Jacques Deutsch (replaced by Eugene Schneider), Atty. Richard Fine, Natalie Gelb, Laurel Glassman, Alan Goldstein, Jill Linder, Atty. Ed Monsky, Molly Rutta, Laney Ufberg, Paula Wasser, Steven Weinberger and Jay Weiss *Officers to be elected at the Annual Meeting

Our thanks is extended to the following Trustees whose terms of office are expiring Shlomo Fink, Robin Jacobson, Michael Mardo, Ann Monsky, Sam Rosen, Atty. Ben Schnessel and Alan Smertz

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



Congregation B’nai Harim held model community seder

By Lee Emerson Members of Congregation B’nai Harim recently held a model community seder, led by Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum and assisted by Dr. Daniel Schidlow. Skip Spady provided music for the event. Many members of community churches were present to celebrate and to relate the story of Moses leading his people. A traditional seder meal was served by the staff at Lake Naomi Club, including matzah, chicken soup with matzah balls, gefilte fish and more. The children had an opportunity to look for the hidden matzah and open the door for Elijah.

Skip Spady provided a musical background for the singing.

Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum (standing) and Ira and Phyllis Miller attended Congregation B’nai Harim’s community model seder.


Continued from page 5

and Israel Programs. “We’re a big supporter of it. Yet at the same time it’s made it difficult for sponsors of high school trips to get traction.” According to a 2010 report, the overall number of 13- to 18-year-olds traveling to Israel from around the world dropped from a record 20,000 in 2000, the year of Birthright’s founding, to 12,000 in 2009. Elan Ezrachi, a fellow at the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education and the study’s author, said approximately half of those participants are North Americans.

Ramie Arian, who conducted a separate 2011 study focusing specifically on teen travel from North America, came to a similar conclusion: the number of high schoolers going to Israel has dropped 40 percent since 2000, though the numbers have since stabilized. Meanwhile, Birthright participation has surged, with the program struggling to keep up with demand. Len Saxe, a Brandeis University professor who has done extensive research on Birthright, acknowledged that some programs have taken a hit, but claimed the overall numbers


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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



of teens traveling to Israel may have risen – particularly if one includes the Poland-Israel March of the Living trip, which the two studies did not. “Based on the available data, I believe what’s happened is that there has been a shift,” Saxe said. “The shift is toward shorter programs that engage younger people – middle school trips, in particular, have grown and there are other short-term programs, including March of the Living. Instead of the normative programs [being] six weeks during the summer late in high school, there are more two-week trips.” With no central body tracking data, it’s hard to evaluate such claims. But several academics said the move away from longer term high-school travel is both clear and detrimental. Experiencing Israel as an adolescent rather than as a young adult, Ezrachi said, is more impactful. And teenagers have more follow-up opportunities through synagogue youth groups or Jewish day schools than those who return to college campuses, a drawback Birthright has belatedly sought to address. “Its not enough for the Birthright people to say this is not my problem,” said Jack Wertheimer, a history professor and former provost at the Jewish Theological Seminary. “The question is whether they are willing to invest their resources to maintain these teen trips. The summer teen trips are much longer, much more impactful, and may end up bringing teens to Israel to study and work there. Something ought to be done.” Proponents of teen travel have offered a number of ways to level the playing field, including distributing philanthropic dollars more equally between trips for adolescents and young adults, or creating an Israel voucher that could be used for any number of travel options. Gideon Shavit, the head of Lapid, a coalition representing 30 providers of teen programs to Israel, said the Israeli government should be supporting teen travel as it supports Birthright – to the tune of $40 million in 2013. But sending kids on a costly multi-week Israel summer trip in high school is a tough sell when there’s a free trip in the offing a year or two down the road. “Given the choice of spending $7,000 or $8,000 on a two-week trip or nothing on a 10-day trip,” Reichenbach said, “it’s a no-brainer.”



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

Birthright participants visited Masada during summer 2012. (Photo by Taglit-Birthright)

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

Celebrate Shavuot with the best of the spring season By Helen Nash NEW YORK (JTA) – With its tradition of dairy meals, Shavuot is one of my favorite holidays. Arriving later in the spring – an ideal time to find delicious fruits, herbs and vegetables – it’s perfect for using fresh and seasonal ingredients. The four dishes I have selected for a Shavuot menu not only are perfect for dinner or lunch, they also reflect my philosophy on eating well: good planning, portion control and nutrition. Each dish can be prepared in advance, is not too difficult to make and doesn’t require many ingredients. And the ingredients are readily available. I love to start holiday meals with soup. Green Pea and Zucchini Soup can be served at room temperature, which is nice if the weather is warm. It also freezes well. For the main course, Ziti With Herbs and Mozarella has a lovely combination of herbs and cheese. And in late spring and summer, there is an abundance of fresh basil, parsley and arugula, all of which add wonderful flavor to the dish. For my fish, the tasty Seared Tuna With Two Sauces also can be served at room temperature. Finally, instead of the obligatory highly caloric cream cheese-based cheesecake, try Ricotta Flan with Raspberry Sauce. The ricotta and almonds make the cake much lighter (and healthier) than a traditional cheesecake, and it can be served warm, cold or at room temperature. Feel free to add fresh raspberries. The recipes below are from “Helen Nash’s New Kosher Cuisine” (Overlook Press). Green Pea and Zucchini Soup Makes 6 servings This nutritious soup is truly a dish for all seasons, as it can be served at any time of year. Because it is so easy to prepare and freezes well, I usually have a batch on hand for last-minute dinner guests. 1 pound zucchini 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 20 ounces frozen sweet green peas, defrosted 3¼ to 4 cups vegetable broth 10 basil leaves, torn Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese Rinse the zucchini and trim the ends. Cut into ½-inch cubes. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the zucchini and garlic and saute for a minute. Add the peas and 3¼ cups broth, and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Cool the soup a little. Puree half the soup coarsely in a blender. Return it to the saucepan and reheat, adding more broth as needed, until the soup reaches the desired consistency. Stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. Ziti with Herbs and Mozzarella Makes 6 appetizer servings or 4 main-course servings 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves 1 cup tightly The abundance of packed flat-leaf fresh basil, parsley and arugula available in late parsley 1 cup loosely spring adds wonderful packed arugula flavor to the Ziti With Herbs and Mozzarella. leaves 4 Tbsp. extra (From “Helen Nash’s virgin olive oil New Kosher Cuisine”) ½ pound fresh mozzarella ½ tsp. crushed red pepper

Kosher salt 1 pound imported ziti 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice Freshly ground black pepper Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and bake in a toaster oven at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft. Cool. Peel the cloves and place them in a food processor along with the basil, parsley, and arugula. Adding the oil in a stream through the feed tube, pulse until semi-coarse. Transfer to a large bowl. Cut the mozzarella into ½-inch cubes. Add the cheese, along with the crushed pepper, to the herb mixture and combine. Bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Add all the ziti at once and stir. Boil briskly, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, until the pasta is al dente. Drain in a colander, refresh with cold water and drain well again. Add the ziti to the herb and mozzarella mixture, and combine. Season to taste with the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Seared Tuna with Two Sauces Makes 6 servings Tuna is surely one of America’s favorite fish and it lends itself to many types of preparation, from sashimi to “tunafish” sandwiches. This dish calls Seared Tuna can be for the fish to be accompanied with two almost raw; it can Asian-inspired sauces, be accompanied ginger or piquant. with one of the (From “Helen Nash’s Asian-inspired New Kosher Cuisine”) sauces, Ginger or Piquant Asian. 1 tsp. kosher salt 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 2 pounds sashimi-quality tuna 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil Julienned daikon, sliced seeded cucumbers and strong-tasting salad leaves like arugula or watercress, for garnish Ginger Sauce or Piquant Asia Sauce, to serve Combine salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pat the tuna dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sear the tuna on both sides, then remove from the heat and rub both sides with the salt-pepper mixture. When cool, wrap the tuna tightly in wax paper, then in foil. Refrigerate it for at least 4 hours or overnight. This will make it firmer and thus easier to slice. To serve: Cut the fish against the grain in thin slices and serve accompanied by the suggested vegetables. Serve either of the sauces separately. Ginger Sauce Makes about ½ cup 2 shallots, finely chopped 3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce 2½ Tbsp. rice vinegar 2 tsp. water ½ tsp. sugar 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated 1 generous Tbsp. olive oil 1 generous Tbsp. sesame oil ½ tsp. black pepper Combine the ingredients well and season to taste. Piquant Asian Sauce Makes about 1 cup ¼ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves 2 tsp. wasabi powder 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil ¼ tsp. powdered mustard 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice ½ cup shelled soybeans (edamame), defrosted (see note) See “Shavuot” on page 12

MAY 9, 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


Affiliation: Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum President: Phyllis Miller P.O. Box 757 Sullivan Rd., Pocono Pines, PA 18350 (located at RT 940 and Pocono Crest Rd at Sullivan Trail 570-646-0100 • Website: Shabbat Morning Services, 10 am – noon; every other Saturday Potluck Shabbat Dinner with blessings and program of varying topics, one Friday every month – call for schedule.


Rabbi Steve Nathan President: Steve Natt Forest Drive 1516 Hemlock Farms, Lords Valley, PA 18428 570-775-7497 • E-Mail: Friday evening Shabbat service 7:30 pm, Saturday morning Shabbat Service 9:30 am.

MACHZIKEH HADAS SYNAGOGUE Rabbi Mordechai Fine President: Dr. Shaya Barax 600 Monroe Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 570-342-6271


Rabbi Mordechai Fine 1432 Mulberry St, Scranton, PA 18510 Contact person: Michael Mellner - 570-343-3183


Union of Reform Judaism Rabbi Daniel J. Swartz President: Eric Weinberg 1 Knox Street, Scranton, PA 18505, (off Lake Scranton Rd.) 570-344-7201 Friday evening Shabbat, 8 pm; Saturday morning Shabbat, 11:15 am


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


Affiliation: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Rabbi Baruch Melman President: Suzanne Tremper Contact person: Art Glantz 570-424-7876 711 Wallace St., Stroudsburg, PA, 18360 (one block off Rte. 191 (5th Street) at Avenue A) 570-421-8781 • Website: E-Mail: Friday evening Shabbat, 8pm; Saturday morning Shabbat, 9 am


Affiliation: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Rabbi Moshe Saks President: Michael Mardo 918 East Gibson St., Scranton, PA, 18510 (located at the corner of Gibson & Monroe Sts.) 570-342-0350 Fax: 570-342-7250 • E-Mail: Sunday, 8 am; Mon & Thurs, 7:15 am; Tue, Wed & Fri, 7:25 am; Rosh Hodesh & Chagim weekdays, 7 am; Shabbat Morning Service, 8:45 am; evening services: Sun – Thurs, 5:45 pm; Friday Shabbat and Saturday Havdalah services, call for times.

Receiving the Torah By RIVKAH SLONIM, EDUCATION DIRECTOR, CHABAD CENTER FOR JEWISH STUDENT LIFE AT BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 Jewish holidays are always coming “early” or “late,” juxtaposed as they are in our minds against the Gregorian calendar that rules our lives. This year, for instance, Shavuot comes “early,” which is just a prelude to a very early Chanukah, which we will celebrate this coming year during Thanksgiving (gasp). But there are some things that remain unchanged, like the fact that this week’s parasha, Bamidbar, is always read on the Shabbat before Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah. The literal meaning of the word bamidbar is “in the desert” (despite the fact that the fourth book of the Bible, Bamidbar, is rendered Numbers in the English language, as it does indeed include a great number of census taking) and, in fact, it is in the desert wilderness that we received the Torah at the foot of Mount Sinai. Shavuot is known as the Chag Matan Torah, the holiday of the giving of the Torah, but it is also referred to as the time of Kabalat Hatorah, the receiving of the Torah. It is both the giving and receiving that we seek to re-enact each year in our celebration of the holiday. What makes us worthy recipients of this most precious and infinite gift from God? This is where the “desert” as backdrop for this most important junction in Jewish history becomes significant. A wilderness is a no-man’s land. It is ownerless and barren. Just as a desert is empty and

desolate, so does a student of Torah need to know that he is but an “empty vessel.” Humility is a vital pre-requisite if we are to successfully absorb divine wisdom. As long as we are full of ourselves and our preconceived notions, we will not be able to assimilate and integrate Torah into our being. Even if we are already somewhat accomplished in our Torah studies, we still need to remember that the beginning of all true knowledge is the recognition of how little we know. Then there is the idea that an ownerless wilderness is there for anyone to stake his claim. No person or group of people has a monopoly on Torah. It belongs to each and every single Jew, not just the elite few. “The Torah that Moses commanded us is the heritage of the entire Congregation of Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 33:4) While we acknowledge that there is much hard work ahead of us if we are to acquire the Torah and make it ours, we also know that with diligence and effort we can succeed. Maimonides, in his “Laws of Torah Study” (3:1), states, “With three crowns was Israel adorned – the crown of Torah, the crown of the priesthood and the crown of royalty. The priesthood was the privilege of Aaron... royalty was the privilege of King David... the crown of Torah is there ready and waiting for all of Israel... and it is the greatest crown of all.” The literal meaning of our parasha, Bamidbar, and the many lessons it conveys, serves as a fitting prelude for the beautiful festival of Shavuot. May we continue to receive the Torah with joy and earnestness on this holiday, and on each and every day of our lives.


Continued from page 1

consultant to “The West Wing” TV show rarely has done. “I feel a bond not because it’s a Jewish organization per se, but you’re an organization that wakes up and asks yourself what you can do for those in our society who need the most justice,” Sperling said. “For me, those things are bonded. That’s how my parents raised me. That’s how they raised me about what it meant to be Jewish.” Sperling outlined the administration’s economic goals – securing a middle class that lives in dignity and extending opportunity to all, not just those born to privilege, he said – and slammed what he described as Republicans’ “slash everything” strategy. Tax cuts instituted during the Bush years, he said, needed redress. “You can simply slash everything regardless of its impact on the economy or people [so] you can say you met your deficit target,” he said. “You could meet that metric, but at the expense of your larger goals.” Sperling nonetheless suggested that some spending cuts were inevitable. “If you say all you care about is jobs and therefore we should just load things up with huge infrastructure projects and other issues and not worry about

the long-term deficit,” he said, “you don’t at the same time give people confidence that we as a country are going to deal with those long-term deficits.” Jewish groups have been alarmed by some of the proposed cuts in the Obama budget, particularly a plan to reduce Social Security spending by slowing the program’s cost-of-living increases and by cutting subsidies to pharmaceutical companies that service the Medicare program. “We urge the president and Congress not to balance the budget on the backs of those among us who are most vulnerable with cuts to critical social services,” the Jewish Federations of North America said in a statement in early April. The Jewish Federations also weighed in against the Obama administration’s plan to reduce the charitable tax reduction from 35 to 28 percent. “Limiting the deductibility of charitable contributions will definitively result in less giving and therefore place a stumbling block in front of the ability of charities to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and heal the sick,” it said.

Spring-Summer Series

Grow Yourself...

Segway in the Park!

Introductory Segway Training & Tour at Nay Aug Park Sign up early for your time slot Bring a picnic and enjoy an evening outdoors! Where: Nay Aug Park When: Wednesday, May 29 between 6:00 and 8:30 PM Registration Information: JFS Members - $25 pp 1/2 hour Non-Member - $35 pp 1/2 hour To register please call 570-344-1186, or by e-mail Checks can be made payable to: Jewish Family Service of Lackawanna County Registration & Pre-Payment required

For future programming, check out our website at

MAY 9, 2013 â–

25th Anniversary Event The community is invited to an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Holocaust Symposium, a most successful educational collaboration between the Jewish Federation of NEPA and Marywood University. Please see the invitation on this page and note that your check will be your reservation. Event co-chairs Ann Monsky and Barbara Nivert are pleased to announce that Natalie Gelb will serve as toastmistress. Natalie, who is Executive Director at Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority and Heritage Valley Partners, Inc., is well known for her community work and activism. Education is a passion for her, as evidenced by the many programs she has helped to bring about and the collaborative efforts that LHVA has been part of under her direction. Natalie has also been active with the Jewish Federation for many years, serving in different capacities including the Executive Board. The guest speakers, both local and those who travel in from elsewhere to speak to students at the Symposium, will be introduced to everyone. Honored for their work will be Seymour and Kathy Brotman who helped establish the program, Marywood University, represented by its president, Sister Anne Munley, and Tova Weiss who has been involved with the program since its inception and served as its coordinator or co-coordinator for 18 years. Space is limited, so please make your reservation as soon as possible.



Top reasons to be at the 25th Holocaust Symposium Anniversary Event :

4. The weather is milder, days ar e longer, and it's still light out. 3. Delicious food , chance to socializ e, brief program. 2. Thank the orga nizations and sc hools which, and people who , made the prog ram possible. 1. Celebrate a lo ng-running partn ership which has: * educated some 30,000 students and teachers over 25 years about the Holocaust * provided terrifi c resources to ed ucators * helped to instill an understandin g of how prejudice causes harm * taught avoidanc e of prejudice, bi gotry and discrimination in one's everyday lif e * put a face on hi story and person alized it, ensuring memor y into the future .

n i o j u s o t i n u c o e y l e e t brati i v n i ng We years of the Annual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust as we honor SEYMOUR AND KATHY BROTMAN MARYWOOD UNIVERSITY and TOVA WEISS for their visionary commitment to & partnership in successful Youth Holocaust Education Tuesday, May 21 at 6:00pm at The Jewish Community Center, Scranton Cocktail buffet and dessert

Couvert $36 per person

Unable to attend, but please accept my donation of ______________________ Please mail your check, payable to HERC, to HERC, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 OR If attending, names and number of guests _____________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ Name ___________________________________________________________________ Address __________________________________________________________________ City _____________________________________ State___________ Zip ____________ Phone ___________________________________E-mail___________________________ Please mail your check, payable to HERC, to HERC, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, Pennsylvania 18510



Budapest bistro Matzah Soldier draws trendy clientele

By Cnaan Liphshiz BUDAPEST, Hungary (JTA) – On a corner in the heart of the former Jewish ghetto here, David Popovits sits down for some matzah ball soup and super-sized dumplings at his newly opened kosherstyle restaurant. A burly, 40-year-old Hungarian Jewish businessman, Popovits used to eat in the restaurant as a boy, when its former owners ran a “dirty little place


½ cup vegetable broth Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a medium-mesh strainer. Season to taste. Note: Frozen edamame, shelled and unshelled, is available in health-food stores and supermarkets. Ricotta Flan with Raspberry Sauce Makes 8 to 10 servings You can bake this light dessert a day in advance and refrigerate.


1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, for greasing the pan 1 cup blanched Ricotta Flan with almonds 4 large eggs, at Raspberry Sauce is a room temperature lighter alternative to ½ cup plus 1 the traditional Shavuot cheesecake. (From Tbsp. sugar 1 tsp. vanilla “Helen Nash’s New Kosher Cuisine”) extract Grated zest of 2 lemons One 15-ounce container ricotta cheese, at room temperature

that smelled like oil but had good Wiener schnitzel,” as Popovits puts it. It wasn’t the memories, but the location that convinced Popovits to gut the place and reopen it two months ago under the name Macesz Huszar, or Matzah Soldier, a gastronomic temple of Hungarian Jewish cuisine. Planted in the now fashionable Seventh District, the area draws enough traffic to provide a clientele for

Continued from page 9 Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the flan Fresh raspberries, for garnish Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10by-1½-inch flan dish with the butter. Roast the almonds in a toaster oven at 350°F for 5 minutes, until golden. Cool. Finely grind them in a food processor. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, adding the sugar gradually until well combined. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, ricotta and almonds. Mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the center feels slightly springy to the touch. Place on a wire rack to cool. Raspberry Sauce One 12-ounce (340 g) package unsweetened frozen raspberries, defrosted 1 Tbsp. Cognac (optional) 2 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, or to taste Puree the raspberries in a blender until smooth. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve. Push the solids through the sieve with the back of a spoon to obtain as much puree as possible. Stir in the Cognac. Sweeten to taste with sugar. To serve: Spoon the raspberry sauce on individual plates and place slices of the flan on top. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with fresh raspberries.

JCC PreCamp 2013

this upscale establishment boasting designer chandeliers, a VIP room and an ample bronze bar. The restaurant has earned some flattering reviews, but the eatery’s budding popularity is more than good for business. At a time of mounting concern over the rise of Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party, Popovits sees the restaurant’s promising start as a testament to Hungarian Jewry’s return to normalcy David Popovits, owner of the Matzah Soldier, sat down after long years of com- for a meal at his upscale restaurant in Budapest in March. munist repression, when (Photo by Cnaan Liphshiz) Jewish cooking and culture was the sole province of the elderly and quated taunt meaning something like “little the hard-core religious. Jew boy” – was chosen as a symbol of the Popovits intended Matzah Soldier modern Hungarian Jew. “It has one leg “to occupy a unique niche.” Budapest, planted in the Huszars, the 19th century Aushe says, has several kosher restaurants tro-Hungarian cavalrymen, and another in that serve the city’s small Orthodox that most Jewish of foods and traditions, community and kosher tourists. And the matzah,” Popovits says. there’s Rosenstein, which is something Some patrons come for nostalgic reaof an institution for Hungarian Jewry sons. “I eat pork, no problem,” says Regina even though it serves pork. “There was Szabo. “I came here because my brother nowhere for people like me: nonreligious, told me the matzah ball soup tastes like kosher-conscious Jews with a bit of our grandmother used to make it.” money, a refined taste and appreciation Others, like Zsoltan Nagy, don’t even for tradition,” Popovits says. notice the words “Jewish bistro” emblaThe mix of old and new is a strong ele- zoned on the large window. “Now that ment of the bistro’s aesthetic, which mar- you mention it I see it, but I come here for ries the coziness of a living room with an business meetings cause it’s a cool place,” attentive and professional staff, wireless he told JTA. Internet and other features that contribute But the Jewish element was not lost to a business-lunch atmosphere. on local and even international media. Since the fall of communism, Hungary Earlier in April, Time magazine opened has seen a cultural revival driven by people an article about Hungarian Jewry with like Popovits who are in sync with con- a scene from Macesz Huszar, which temporary cultural trends, yet still want the publication described as “delicious to carry on the Jewish traditions of their proof of the renaissance of Hungary’s grandparents. The group is key to the suc- once vibrant Jewish culture.” And the cess of Limmud Hungary, a Jewish learning Nepszabadsag daily’s food critic praised event that draws hundreds every year, and the restaurant for “reinventing simple a bewildering array of other Jewish cultural Jewish foods as delicacies.” and social offerings serving Budapest’s The daily was critiquing the stuffed estimated 80,000 Jews. “There are five goose neck, the duck breast filled with synagogues within half a mile of us,” chopped liver and creamy cholent. But Popovits says. “Those synagogues used to Popovits is most proud of the matzah ball be rather empty but are now packed thanks soup and the brisket, which is smoked to people like me, who are not religious especially for the restaurant according to but are connected to tradition. It showed an old Eastern European Jewish recipe me a business like Matzah Soldier could unavailable commercially anywhere in take off.” Hungary, according to Popovits. “[We] The name Macesz Huszar – an antiSee “Bistro” on page 18

It might still be Winter, but we’re already getting set for this year’s PreCamp! The best way to start Summer!

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

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

MAY 9, 2013 ■



It’s Parade Time!

Mark Silverberg, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, has announced that the Federation will once again join the thousands of marchers in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade, this year on Sunday June 2, 2013. The theme of this year’s parade is PICTURE ISRAEL (THE ART AND THE CRAFT). In keeping with the theme, our Federation’s banner will reflect the mosaic of diversity in the Jewish population of the State of Israel. We thank Becky Schastey, our Federation webmaster, for creating a photographic mosaic superimposed over the flag of Israel. Cost to participate in this always exciting program is only $10.00 per person with a family cap of $25.00. This covers snacks, the official parade T-shirt and, of course, a day trip to New York City & a stop in Teaneck, N.J. for shopping & dinner.

Celebrate Israel’s 65th Birthday

Join the Jewish Federation as we march along New York’s Fifth Avenue in the Celebrate Israel Parade • Sunday June 2, 2013 (time to be announced)

We Are


Pick up points- Scranton JCC, Budget Inn and Suites Stroudsburg Cost - $10.00 per person with a $25.00 family cap. Includes trip to NY, snack on the bus, official parade T-shirt. As always, we will stop in Teaneck, NJ after the parade for shopping and dining in kosher establishments. Call/email with your reservation to Dassy Ganz 961-2300 x2,



JRC Lag B’omer Barbecue in East Stroudsburg The Jewish Resource Center of the Poconos organized a Lag Ba’Omer barbecue event that was graciously hosted by Iris Grubler of East Stroudsburg in an idyllic setting, with perfect weather. Over forty participants came from all over Monroe County and one ex-Pocono family came all the way from Philadelphia. Rabbi Yehuda Salkow, JRC director, spoke as he always does, with his warm smile and engaging tone, reminding people about the significance of the day and its customs. The event was also described as a belated celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israel Independence Day. Vered Thacker of Henryville, PA, led a game involving the theme “What does Israel mean to me?” and “What do you wish for Israel and its citizens?” Thacker read humorous quotes depicting typical facets of Israeli personality. The best of them, Israelis have to leave Israel only to discover that there is no place like Israel! The children enjoyed toasting marshmallows and playing with sidewalk chalk and ball games. The event was described by participants as most welcomed, and necessary for bringing Jewish people together in a positive, upbeat and meaningful setting.

Reporting by Gabrielle Sunshine

MAY 9, 2013 ■


Archaeological discoveries reveal Jerusalem’s layers By Judy Lash Balint Tens of thousands visited the Old City on May 8 for Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. While celebrations went on above ground, new excavations underneath and around the Old City are being uncovered and opened to the public, peeling back layers of history and expanding understanding of events in the center of the Jewish universe. Old City expert Rabbi Barnea Selevan, a veteran licensed tour guide and co-director of Foundation Stone, is excited about a series of archeological digs taking place in the vicinity of the Western Wall. For the past several years, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation has sponsored excavations at the back of the plaza, and workers have uncovered part of a Roman colonnaded street dating back to the second century C.E. But what was ignored until recently, according to Selevan, are several small stone buildings, overgrown and blocked by material from the dig. “When I look down from the street in front of the Chabad building several levels above the site, those old walls are the most exciting thing I see,” Selevan tells JNS. org. “There’s no question they’re from First Temple times.” Seals from the Temple were found nearby. The walls, according to some archeologists, are from homes that were abandoned, but not destroyed by the Roman onslaught on Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Selevan notes that the streets exposed at the back of the plaza lead to the Temple Mount in the Robinson’s Arch area and provide evidence that the Romans stayed in Jerusalem and used the Temple Mount during the early Roman period. Plans call for further excavations underneath the plaza and then to open the

The Jerusalem Archaeological Park-Davidson Center. (Photo by Nemo/Wikimedia Commons) underground area, much as the Western Wall tunnels have been open to the public since the 1990s. Selevan says that excavations are continuing in the tunnel area too, and beautiful rooms with ornate capitols from First and Second Temple times are being prepared to be open to the public. In today’s Jewish Quarter that lies above the Western Wall Plaza, Selevan recounts the “delicious” discovery of a “fancy Roman bathhouse” two stories underground on Ha’omer Street, that was found in the course of construction of a new mikvah (ritual bath) for men. “In all likelihood, the bathhouse was used by the Roman 10th Legion – the same guys who thought they were wiping out the Jews,” he says.

Dr. Yuval Baruch, Jerusalem District archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority, reveals that despite the extensive archaeological excavations in the Jewish Quarter, so far not even one building has been discovered there that belonged to the Roman legion. “The absence of such a find led to the conclusion that Aelia Capitolina, the Roman city established after the destruction of Jerusalem, was small and limited in area,” he tells “The new find, together with other discoveries of recent years, shows that the city was considerably larger than we previously estimated,” Baruch says. “Information about Aelia Capitolina is extremely valuable and can contribute greatly to research on Jerusa-


lem because it was that city that determined the character and general appearance of ancient Jerusalem and [the city’s appearance] as we know it today. The shape of the city has determined the outline of its walls and the location of the gates to this very day.” The trauma of the Roman plunder of Jerusalem is heavily evidenced at several locations in the City of David, located a few hundred yards from the Western Wall to the southeast of the Dung Gate. Aharon Horowitz, director of Megalim, the Institute of Jerusalem Studies of the City of David, points out that the drainage channel underneath the Herodian-era street in what is known as the Pilgrims Ascent area of the City of David was used by Jews hiding from the Romans. A Roman sword was found in the channel. According to University of Haifa archaeologist Ronny Reich, who has worked in the area for decades, the smashed paving stones indicate that the Romans broke through the street to the channel below to drag out the Jews who tried to flee toward the Kidron Valley in the last days of the siege. Over the past year, the ascent has been opened and visitors can walk along the Herodian Road to the southern wall excavations at the Jerusalem Archaeological ParkDavidson Center. Across the road from the City of David Visitors Center is the Givati Parking Lot site, the largest archeological excavation in Jerusalem. “Every day there are new finds here,” Horowitz tells “There are remains here of every strata of Jerusalem history.” One of the most magnificent is the floor of a building considered by some experts to be the 1st-century palace of Queen Helena of Adiabene, who converted to Judaism. A huge Roman mansion from the third century was also uncovered in the former parking See “Jerusalem” on page 16

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Book review

Secrets in Berlin

by RABBI RACHEL ESSERMAN Why would someone risk their life to save a stranger? There’s no easy answer to that question. However, it’s one authors love exploring, especially when writing about Germany during the Nazi era. In his wonderful “City of Women” (Amy Eihorn Books/G. P. Putnam’s Sons), David R. Gillham examines the life of Sigrid Schröder, who, at first glance, seems to be a model German citizen. Not only does she have a soldier husband serving on the Russian front, she works as a stenographer in the patent office in Berlin. Although she is not fond of her mother-in-law, the two live together and make do with the rations allotted by the government. Sigrid’s only vice seems to be her frequent trips to the movies. Yet, it soon becomes clear that Sigrid has depths few suspect: Not only does she have a Jewish lover, she soon finds herself involved in a world filled


lot, and hundreds of Roman and Byzantine artifacts have been unearthed inside, including a gold earring inlaid with pearls and stones. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently chose a facsimile of the earrings to present to American first lady Michelle Obama when she visited Israel with her husband. Besides the digs and excavations below today’s city, significant conservation and restoration has been completed on the Old City walls in recent years. Over the past six years, the Jerusalem Development Company, Prime Minister’s Office and Israel Antiquities Authority have completed sprucing up and restoring all four kilometers of the city walls erected in the 16th century by Sultan Suleiman, and all seven gates of the Old City. The last time any rehabilitation work was done on the walls was in the 1920s, during the British Mandate period. Last October, a delegation from the Jewish National Fund of Canada dedicated a park containing restoration of the grounds in front of a stretch of the Old City wall, south of Jaffa Gate. At the ceremony, Shuka Dorfman, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority, noted, “These impressive walls attest to the building and destruction of seven different regimes, and

with secrets, some so dangerous they could cost her and her family their lives. When the story opens in 1943, the mobilization of almost every able-bodied male has made Berlin into “a city of women.” British Air Force bombs fall on a regular basis and tempers flare from the lack of sleep and the discomfort of the shelters. However, it’s still very dangerous to complain openly about the Nazi regime. Movie theaters serve as a shelter from the real world: “There’s a crowd waiting for the ushers to open the door to the auditorium. In a city where the food is bad and getting worse, where rationing has emptied shop windows, in a city slowly suffocating on the gritty effluence of another year of war, movie houses are still places to spend a few marks without cutting coupons from a ration book, or waiting one’s life away in a queue.” Sophie doesn’t go for the films – which are Nazi

Continued from page 15 include remnants from the First Temple Period. Our preservation activities concentrated on the park’s main promenade and on the antiquities along the wall.” Today, visitors can walk along an accessible path along the wall between Jaffa Gate and Zion Gate, touch the ancient stones and peer into the small caves dotted along the base of the wall. Other discoveries of a much smaller nature will end up in museum displays, but still tell a story about Jewish life in Temple times. A tiny button-sized object of fired clay stamped with a two-line Aramaic inscription is one of the most intriguing finds of recent years. According to archeologists Eli Shukron of the IAA and Ronny Reich, the meaning of the inscription is “Pure for God.” Like a modern-day kashrut seal, the object was probably used to mark products or objects that were brought to the Temple and had to be ritually pure. “This stamped impression is probably the kind referred to in the Mishnah,” Shukron and Reich said. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that such an object or anything similar to it was discovered in an archaeological excavation, and it constitutes direct archaeological evidence of the activity on the Temple Mount and the workings of the Temple during the Second Temple period.”

propaganda – but “to find an empty space in the day... to find a crevice of solitude.” The dark balcony at the movie theater is a safe place for people to talk or make love. Her lover first approaches her there, as does her neighbor – a young woman doing her duty year as a nanny – who asks her to lie to the police. Why does Sigrid take such dangerous chances? She’s unsure herself. Although her instinct is to follow the rules, the rules don’t always seem to apply now because there are larger questions of right and wrong. Perhaps it’s her curiosity that gets her into trouble. Sigrid wants to know what her neighbor is doing, but in Nazi Germany, knowledge is a dangerous thing. It forces you to choose – to give information to police or commit yourself to the work. Just keeping secrets is not a safe option: associating with a guilty person can cost you your job or your life. Sigrid also discovers how difficult it is to keep secrets: she feels “closed off,” no longer able to talk openly to her one friend at work and completely unable to share with her mother-in-law who tows the Nazi party line. Even those working to resist the Nazis parcel out information on a need-to-know basis. It’s unsafe for everyone to know too much since they might be arrested and tortured. Yet, not knowing torments Sigrid: What happens to the people they help? Are they safe? Have they been captured? What’s the next step in their journey? This desire pushes her to take greater and greater risks. At the same time, she wonders whether life is completely random or if there is “some kind of unknowable clockwork in action. Some vast pattern, unseen at street level.” Yet, Sigrid knows the pattern will be never be revealed, that some things have to be taken on faith. “City of Women” is a powerful, dramatic novel with wonderfully complex characters. The suspenseful, intertwining plots will keep readers on the edges of their seats. It’s fascinating to watch Sigrid’s character develop throughout the course of the book, as she moves from focusing solely on herself to caring about the good of others. Yet, even at the end, Sigrid is far from perfect: While she may try to do good, she also stumbles and falls like the rest of us. Gillham is to be congratulated for turning the story of an ordinary woman into an extraordinary novel.


The tragedy of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath has devastated the lives of millions of people in NY, NJ and CT. Hundreds of thousands are without food, water, medical supplies, shelter and the basic necessities of life.




The tragedy of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath has devastated the lives of millions of people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Hundreds of thousands are without food, water, medical supplies, shelter and the basic necessities of life. Their lives hang in the balance. As Jews, we must do our part in relieving their suffering as we have always done when faced with national catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina. The lives of millions of Americans hang in the balance. We must be there for them.

Please donate… Tax-deductible contributions made out to the Jewish Federation of NEPA/Hurricane should be mailed to our office at 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510. You can also donate online by visiting

Thank you for your generosity!

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MAY 9, 2013 ■



NEWS IN bRIEF from israel From JTA

Second airstrike on Syrian target blamed on Israel

An airstrike on a military research center in Syria, the second attack on Israel’s northern neighbor in three days, is being blamed on Israel. Syrian state media accused Israel of the early May 5 attack on what it identified as the Jamraya military research center, located about 10 miles from the border with Lebanon. The Reuters news agency cited an unnamed “Western intelligence source” on May 5 who confirmed the attack and said it targeted stores of long-range Fateh-110 missiles that were in transit from Iran to Hezbollah. The missiles have the capacity to strike Tel Aviv from Lebanon. Israel’s military did not confirm nor deny reports that it was responsible for the attack. Israel also had attacked the military center in January, U.S. officials said at the time of that strike. The May 5 attack follows one on a warehouse near the Damascus airport on May 3, also said to be by Israel, that targeted missiles bound for Hezbollah. Reuters reported that an Israeli official confirmed the May 3 attack, though Israel’s military would not comment on the reports. The Syrian media accused Israel of targeting the country’s infrastructure in response to what it called Syrian military successes against the rebels leading the country’s two-year civil war. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a public appearance on May 5 to dedicate a section of highway near Jerusalem named for his late father, did not address the attacks on Syria. He did, however, mention Israel’s security, saying that his father, Benzion Netanyahu, “taught me about the enormous responsibility that we have to ensure the security of the state of Israel and build up its future. This heritage needs to unite us all every day, and so it does.” Meanwhile, two of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense batteries were moved to northern Israel near Safed and Haifa on May 5 in the hours following the second strike on Syria. The attacks on Syria come several days after an Israeli military intelligence official said that Israel confirmed the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and the Obama administration said in response that it needed more information to determine who used the weapons before taking action. On May 4, President Barack Obama said Israel has the right to protect itself from terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah. “What I have said in the past and I continue to believe is that the Israelis justifiably have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah,” Obama told Telemundo in remarks picked up first by Reuters. Iran, meanwhile, called on the countries of the Middle East to unite against Israel in the face of an attack on Syria. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the countries of the region should stand together against the “assault,” the Reuters news agency reported, citing the Iranian Fars news agency. The commander of ground forces for the Iranian army, Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, offered to train the Syrian government’s army to fight Israel, Reuters reported, citing Fars. Also on May 5, Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faisal al Mekdad, in an interview with CNN, called the May 5 attack on the Syrian military research facility a “declaration of war” by Israel and said Syria would retaliate in its own way and at its own time.

outgoing Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser and National Security Advisor Yaacov Amidror, according to the Jewish Agency. In addition, he met with archeologists and other experts. In early May, Sharansky, who was tasked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with finding answers to the egalitarian prayer issue at the Western Wall, also met with Jacobs and Union for Reform Judaism Board Chairman Stephen Sacks. Jacobs on May 3 called the proposal “a unique opportunity” for the Reform movement. He noted that several weeks ago, when Sharansky first presented the proposals to a group of rabbis in New York spanning the religious spectrum, no one left happy. “We all were hoping for more,” he said. “But because we all left unhappy, Natan Sharansky had done a very good job. What he did was he stretched every single one of us to a place where sometimes Jewish leaders, especially rabbinic leaders, don’t like to go. It’s a little place called compromise. And somehow he understood that whatever solution he would bring not only to the Diaspora leadership but also to the leadership here, it had to make everybody a little bit uncomfortable, to move everybody off their place of comfort and righteous demand to a place where we could all be together.” Jacobs added that it is “not just the Kotel that needs to be liberated,” referencing discrimination by the haredi Orthodox against women on buses and in public forums, as well as against the non-Orthodox movements of Judaism.

Rally protests plan to close Jerusalem cineplex on Shabbat

Jerusalem residents protested against a plan to close a new movie theater complex on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Some 500 Jerusalem residents and supporters protesting the

night of May 4 at Safra Square in front of City Hall called for Cinema City to be open on Friday night and Saturday. The complex, which includes restaurants and a 15-screen movie theater, is set to open this summer. It will close on weekends in keeping with an agreement between the Finance Ministry, the property developer and the Jerusalem municipality. Among the groups protesting were Awakening, the Meretz political party and Be Free Israel.

Report: Israel rejects 1967 borders “precondition”

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni reportedly refused to accept the 1967 border as the basis for a final Israeli-Palestinian border prior to negotiations. Livni told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on May 2 that Israel would not agree to the 1967 borders as a precondition of peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Maariv reported. Rather, she said, the border issue must be resolved through talks. President Barack Obama has called for the resumption of negotiations “on the basis” of the 1967 borders, a reference widely interpreted as allowing for an agreement in which Jewish settlement blocs become Israeli territory in exchange for other areas. On April 29, the Arab League for the first time publicly cited the possibility of “comparable,” mutually agreed and “minor” land swaps between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Livni, who was designated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lead any revived talks with the Palestinians, praised the initiative. The May 2 meeting with Kerry in Washington also included Yitzhak Molcho, the top Israeli peace negotiator. Kerry met recently with an Arab League delegation and praised its reaffirmation of the 2002 Arab peace initiative, which offers Israel peace in exchange for a return to the 1967 lines.

Reform chief Jacobs supports Western Wall plan

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the head of the Reform movement, endorsed a plan for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall. Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, on May 3 in Jerusalem called for support of the “bold, audacious proposals by Natan Sharansky, “ the Jewish Agency chairman. He was speaking at Connections 2013, the 36th International Conference of the World Union of Progressive Judaism. Under the plan recommended in April by Sharansky, an existing egalitarian section of the wall known as Robinson’s Arch would be expanded and a unified entrance to the Western Wall Plaza would be built leading to the wall’s traditional and egalitarian sections. In recent days, Sharansky has met with senior staff at the Prime Minister’s Office for consultations, including

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New Season of


Yidstock 2013 music festival in MA

May 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.

The Yiddish Book Center announced the line-up for its annual summer music festival. The Klezmer Conservatory Band will kick off Yidstock on Thursday, July 18, and the festival will continue through Sunday, July 21. In addition to the Klezmer Conservatory Band, the line up includes Klezperanto, Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys, Brass Khazones: Steven Bernstein and Frank London, the Wholesale Klezmer Band, Golem, and the Yidstock All-Stars. There will also be a jam at the end of the weekend: a “Yidstock All-Stars” band with players from the weekend’s bands, under the musical directorship of Frank London. Among those all-stars will be Ilene Stahl, of Klezperanto, and Margot Leverett, of Klezmer Mountain Boys. For more information or to purchase tickets and festival passes (a limited number of passes are available and sell out quickly) visit or call 413-256-4900.

New NMAJ exhibit on “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow”

The National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia will hold the exhibit “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges” until June 2. The exhibit tells the story of Jewish academics from Germany and Austria who were dismissed from their teaching positions in the 1930s. While top academics like Albert Einstein were in demand at prestigious universities, lesser-known professors had a much more difficult time finding teaching positions in the United States. The country was still in a depression, and unemployment, xenophobia and antisemitism were prevalent. As anti-Jewish actions in Germany escalated, several organizations, including the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, worked to obtain positions for the exiled scholars. Of the several hundred refugee scholars who came to this country, more than 50 of them found positions at historically black colleges. The exhibit features more than 70 artifacts and documents, photographs and two new films, by Joel Sucher and Steven Fischler, featuring the professors and the students. For more information, visit or call 215-923-3811.

The Civil War and Jews

The American Jewish Historical Society and Yeshiva University Museum will present the exhibit “Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War” until August 11 at the Center for Jewish History in New York City. The exhibition focuses on the Jewish experience during the war, seeking to show how the war serves as a crucible for American Jews, laying the groundwork for their integration and Americanization on a large scale. It discusses how the war allowed for their full participation of Jews in American life – militarily, politically, economically and socially – and set the stage for massive Jewish immigration decades later. In addition to telling this story, the exhibit also spotlights specific episodes in Jewish American history, including President Abraham Lincoln’s reversal of an order by General Ulysses S. Grant that expelled Jews “as a class” from the massive Tennessee Territory after accusations of disloyalty. The core of the exhibition is the collection of Robert D. Marcus, of Fairfax, VA, which is generally regarded as the world’s most significant collection of Civil War Judaica. The exhibition also showcases dozens of documents and artifacts from museums, libraries and private collections across the United States, and features three exclusively created short films that offer contemporary perspective from leading historians and scholars. For more information, call 212-294-8330 or visit http:// or


Continued from page 12 try to reinvent the old recipes without departing from the tradition upon which they were based,” says Popovits, who operates two bars in addition to Matzah Soldier. “I often just buy a fresh piece of lamb, bring it to the kitchen and then we begin to experiment while consulting the old recipes until we get it just right.” The next step for Popovits is compiling a cookbook of his own, which he says he may well name after the restaurant. “Writing this book would be making a statement, reaching a milestone that says this is where we are,” Popovits says. “I would like to stake that claim: This is the place that Jewish East European food occupies right now, in the great culinary democracy of our times.”

MAY 9, 2013 ■




Google edition adopts “Palestine”

Google changed the title on the homepage of its Palestinian edition from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine.” In a statement to the BBC on May 3, Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said the company was “following the lead” of several bodies, including the United Nations, in adopting the change across its products. In November, the United Nations granted Palestine the status of “non-member observer state.” The Palestinian Authority welcomed Google’s decision, the BBC reported. Israel considers any formal use of the word Palestine as pre-judging the outcome of currently stalled peace talks. The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Yigal Palmor, told the Times of Israel on May 3 that “Google is not a political or diplomatic entity, so they can call anything by any name, it has no diplomatic or political significance.”

WJC: Hungary’s Orban comes up short in antisemitism message

The World Jewish Congress welcomed comments by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban condemning antisemitism but said he did not go far enough. Orban, addressing the opening dinner on May 5 of the World Jewish Congress plenary assembly in Budapest, called antisemitism “unacceptable and intolerable,” and said it was a “moral obligation” to “declare a zero tolerance policy” against it. A day earlier in the Hungarian capital’s downtown, several hundred far-right demonstrators staged an “anti-Zionist” and anti-communist rally, highlighting what the WJC called an “alarming rise of neo-Nazi political parties and antisemitic incidents” in Hungary. The rally organized by the antisemitic and ultranationalist Jobbik party, the third largest in Hungary, lasted approximately two hours and ended without incident. Orban had ordered a ban on the rally, but a Budapest court overturned the decision and allowed it to proceed. Security was tight during the demonstration, which was held near the Hungarian Parliament building. There was also a heavy police presence in Budapest’s downtown Jewish quarter, where streets were blocked around the city’s main synagogue. The WJC meeting brought more than 500 delegates and observers to Budapest from some 100 countries. The three-day assembly, a quadrennial event usually held in Jerusalem, is being held in Budapest to show support for Hungarian Jews following a series of antisemitic incidents and particularly the rise of Jobbik. A WJC spokesman welcomed Orban’s statements, but in a statement criticized the Hungarian leader for failing to confront what he said was the “true nature of the problem: the antisemites in general and by the extreme-right Jobbik party in particular. We regret that Mr. Orban did not address any recent antisemitic or racist incidents in the country, nor did he provide sufficient reassurance that a clear line has been drawn between his government and the far-right fringe.” The WJC called on Orban, whose rightist government holds a firm grip on power with a two-thirds majority in Parliament, to back up his words with deeds. In his speech to the WJC gathering, WJC President Ronald Lauder decried “growing ignorance, growing intolerance, growing hatred.” Again, he said, “we see the outrage of antisemitism. This is by no means only in Hungary, but also in other places in Europe – in Greece, in Ukraine and elsewhere.” As many as 100,000 Jews live in Hungary, the vast majority in Budapest.

Denmark, Finland upgrade Palestinian diplomatic missions

Denmark and Finland updated their Palestinian diplomatic missions to embassy status. The countries made a joint announcement on May 4 on the sidelines of a meeting of Nordic foreign ministers in Stockholm. “We hope that the intention to give, for all practical purposes, the Palestinian Missions in our capitals conditions for work identical to those of an embassy will encourage [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas to engage with determination in the necessary negotiations with the Israeli government on a two-state solution,” the Danish and Finnish foreign ministers, Villy Sovndal and Erkki Tuomioja, said in a statement. The updated status will take effect by the end of this year. Sweden’s parliament upgraded the status of the Palestinian mission in Stockholm to an embassy in March.

Dutch royals want to discuss, not change, event scheduled for Yom Kippur

A Dutch official said talks will be held with the Jewish community about a royal ceremony scheduled to take place on Yom Kippur. A farewell party for the recently abdicated Queen Beatrix is currently scheduled for Sept. 14, the Jewish Day of Atonement. A spokesman for the royal house said discussions were under way to “find the best way to make the day happen,” the news site Spirit24 reported, but the date would not be changed because of scheduling constraints. Recently, the daily NRC Handelsblad reported that Dutch Jews were “vexed” by the decision to hold the event on Yom Kippur. Holland’s chief interprovincial rabbi, Binyomin Jacobs, was quoted as saying: “Jews are again faced with a reality in which they don’t belong, and that is painful.” Jacobs told JTA he was “not angry, but pained.” He added: “I can see why the Jewish minority was overlooked in scheduling the event. We are a very small minority. And that is painful.” He added he did not expect the royal house to reschedule. A special prayer was held on April 28 in Amsterdam’s Portuguese Synagogue ahead of Beatrix’s succession as monarch on April 30 by her son, Willem-Alexander. Jacobs and two other rabbis attended the succession ceremony in Amsterdam. The prayer was in honor of the royal house, the Dutch government, the state of Israel and members of the Israel Defense Forces, according to the Dutch Israelite Religious Community, or NIK.

China offers to broker Abbas-Netanyahu meeting

China offered to broker a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will both be in Beijing the week of May 5 on separate visits. “If the leaders of Palestine and Israel

have the will to meet in China, China is willing to offer necessary assistance,” Hua Chunying, the spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying on May 3 by Xinhua news agency. The United States is pressing the sides to revive peace talks and has asked the international community to facilitate such a meeting. Abbas has made a settlement freeze a precondition for talks, a condition Netanyahu rejects. The party-run People’s Daily noted that Netanyahu’s visit marked the first time an Israeli prime minister chose China as his first foreign post-election trip. Netanyahu was re-elected prime minister in elections in January.

Scottish church: Jews have no scriptural claim to Holy Land

The Church of Scotland published a paper denying that “scripture” provides a basis for Jewish claims to Israel. The paper, titled “The Inheritance of Abraham,” rejects “claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory.” The paper further states that “reconciliation can only be possible if the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East[ern] Jerusalem and the blockade of Gaza are ended.” The report was published online recently by the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland ahead of the church’s general assembly on May 18. The report’s introduction describes it as the council’s “latest reflection on the ‘questions that need to be faced,’ as the political and humanitarian situation in the Holy Land continues to be a source of pain and concern for us all.” While the 10-page report does not mention the upcoming meeting, its final chapter, titled “Proposed Deliverance,” calls on the church to “urge the UK Government and the European Union to use pressure to stop further expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank.” The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said on May 3 that the paper is “an outrage to everything that interfaith dialogue stands for” and “reads like an Inquisition-era polemic against Jews and Judaism.” “The arrogance of telling the Jewish people how to interpret Jewish texts and Jewish theology is breathtaking,” the Jewish council said. The council further declared that the paper “closes the door on meaningful dialogue” and called on the church to withdraw it ahead of its forthcoming General Assembly.

Jewish burial site restored off African coast

A Jewish burial plot in the island state of Cape Verde was rededicated with help from the king of Morocco. About 100 people attended the rededication ceremony on May 2. “The support of King Mohammed VI to this project is representative of Morocco’s attachment to the preservation of its patrimony – Arab, Jewish or Berber,” Andre Azoulay, the king’s Jewish adviser, said in a statement read during the ceremony by Abdellah Boutadghart, a Moroccan diplomat. Several hundred Moroccan Jews settled in Cape Verde off the Senegalese coast in the 19th century, when it was still a Portuguese colony. The community has since disappeared, but the Moroccan government has been a “major benefactor” of heritage preservation efforts, according to Carol Castiel of the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project. “Just imagine, a Muslim king contributing to a Jewish project in a Christian country. I think it says it all,” Castiel said. Situated in the heart of the Cape Verde’s largest cemetery, the Jewish burial plot is set apart by a low-hanging chain that encircles its 10 restored headstones, the oldest dating back to 1864. The rededication ceremony was concluded with a prayer by Eliezer Di Martino, the rabbi of the Jewish Community of Lisbon. The project has so far cost about $125,000 but may end up costing three times that amount as efforts continue to restore additional Jewish heritage sites in other parts of Cape Verde, a republic made up of 10 islands.

Study: Jewish summer camps increasingly attuned to special needs kids

A study released by the Foundation for Jewish Camp showed that overnight camps are growing increasingly aware of the needs of children with disabilities. The organization on May 1 said the study showed a greater number of camps offered unique services to a larger number of children with special needs than previously expected. “Camps were serving much larger numbers of children with disabilities than we thought before we did the research,” said Abby Knopp, vice president of program and strategy at the Foundation for Jewish Camp. “Also, the kids that are getting to camp are gaining the benefits; being more connected to Judaism, Israel and other Jewish kids.” The survey spoke to 828 parents, campers, camp directors and staff from 124 Jewish camps throughout the United States and Canada. About a third of the camps in the study offered a track for children with special needs, and just over half had staff exclusively dedicated to their care. Slightly more than 90 percent of parents of children with disabilities said they were happy with their children’s experience at camp. Pollsters acknowledged that the results might have been affected by the fact that only parents who enrolled their children at Jewish camps were included in the survey, excluding parents who did not send their kids to camp. Nonetheless, the group said the data was a good sign for Jewish camps.

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See why everyone describes this as Unforgetable, the trip of a liftime!

Tel Aviv Caesaria Army Base Tiberias Sea of Galilee Jerusalem Tzfat (Safed) Golan Heights Masada Dead Sea Haifa

Saturday, October 12 Tuesday, October 22, 2013 We’ll arrive Sunday evening into Israel and stay overnight in Tel Aviv. The next morning we’ll travel up the coast of the Mediterranean to Caesaria, and then travel to the city of Tiberias, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where we’ll stay for two nights. We’ll travel throughout the Galilee, and we’ll visit the mountaintop city of Safed, and there we’ll go up to the Golan Heights. Then it’s off to Jerusalem, a truly magical city. We’ll go through the Old City, go to the Western Wall, and see many other sites throughout the city that are so special and so sacred. One day will take us down to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, and a visit to the mountain fortress of Massada. You will also have the chance to become “Archeologists For a Day”, as we take part in an active archeological dig, which is one of the most productive digs in the country! Near the end of the trip we will go to an IDF Army Base. We’ll have an opportunity to meet and talk with some of the youngsters who are serving in the Army today. We’ll also visit Tel Aviv, where we’ll sit in the actual place where Ben Gurion declared the state, in May, 1948, & then it’s off to the airport for our trip home. The cost of the trip is $3895 or $2965 for the land portion only. To sign up for the trip call Mark Silverberg at 570-961-2300 xt1. Questions? Call Barry Weiss, 570-650-0874 or Jay Weiss, 570-565-9515, or email bjtravel4@

ISRAEL, 2013 Home to the World’s 3 Great Religions!

This journey will touch you spiritually, no matter who you are. Come and share an experience so unique, it will be like nothing else you’ve ever done!

Profile for Becky Schastey

May 9, 2013 Edition of the Federation Reporter  

May 9, 2013 Edition of the Federation Reporter

May 9, 2013 Edition of the Federation Reporter  

May 9, 2013 Edition of the Federation Reporter