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Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania OCTOBER 24, 2013


Jewish Federation opening event combined “tikkun olam and fun”

Super Sunday has been known in the past as a quiet day of phone solicitations to benefit the United Jewish Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania. This year, the UJA phone-a-thon was only part of the Super Sunday program held at the Scranton JCC on September 29. A crew of volunteers led by Sue Severe, the JCC’s kosher kitchen manager, helped operate the JCC kitchen. The free boxed lunches offered on Super Sunday consisted of a sandwich (egg salad, tuna or turkey), fruit, snack and drink. Event organizers expressed their gratitude to the Federation and to Carlucci, Golden, DeSantis Funeral Home Inc., of Dunmore, for sponsoring the lunch. They also thanked the volunteers, Nancy Ben-Dov, Rozzie Ben-Dov, Bernice Ecker, Carol Fishbein, Leah Laury, Shira Laury, Nancy Milano, Millie Myers, Nancy Rainey,

Theresa Shonus and Katherine Smith. The Red Cross was present in the JCC’s Koppelman Auditorium on Super Sunday. Team leaders Jennifer Williams and Robert Lee, as well as the phlebotomists, helped create an atmosphere for donations. Tim Frank, director of youth services at the JCC, was the first donor of the day. At the end of the day, Williams reported that 21 people made donations, 10 of whom were “first-timers.” Organizers thanked Marshall Needle and Walter Gantz, who volunteered as escorts and at the canteen area. Christine Kelly, head of the JCC’s Early Childhood Department, and Trish Kuntz, from daycare, created a children’s program in the gym that included face painting, arts and crafts and the bounce house. The Goodman Lounge hosted performances

Lou Nivert made calls for Super Sunday.

Sara Davis, of Scranton, painted the face of Lotem Thacker, of Stroudsburg.

See “Event” on page 4

L-r: Volunteers Nancy Ben-Dov, Nancy Milano, Theresa Shonus, Katherine Smith and Millie Myers posed together.

Amanda Cardonik had her face painted at Super Sunday.

Sue Severe and Walter Gantz posed together at the end of the blood drive.

Documentary on Sholem Aleichem called highlight of Pocono UJA dinner

Members of the community attended the Pocono UJA dinner. Seated (l-r): Lynn Fragin, Gail Greenstein and Barbara Nivert. Standing: Gerald Fragin, Don Douglass and Mike Greenstein.

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.

By Dassy Ganz The annual Pocono UJA dinner held on October 13 at Temple Israel of the Poconos drew a large attendance that organizers said “attests to the devotion and commitment of the Pocono communities to the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania.” Couples and singles attended from Hemlock Farms in Lords Valley, the Congregation B’nai Harim community in Pocono Pines, Stroudsburg and Scranton for a buffet dinner prepared by Scranton’s Colfax Avenue Enterprises Kosher Caterers and the documentary film, “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness.” Sandra Alfonsi, president of Temple Israel of the Poconos, welcomed those in attendance to the synagogue and to the event. Don Douglass, chairman of the 2014 UJA Campaign, thanked the Pocono communities for their participation in the event and in the Campaign as a whole. Also in attendance were Barbara Nivert, 2014 Women’s Campaign chairwoman;

INSIDE THIS ISSUE China and Israel

Breast cancer detectors

News in brief...

Mike Greenstein, president of the Jewish Federation; his wife, Gail; and Mark Davis, future chairman of the 2015 UJA Campaign. Jerry and Lynn Fragin, of Scranton, attended as readers of Sholem Aleichem. The film documented the life and literature of Shlomo Rabinowitz, also known as Sholem Aleichem. Audience members called it an “eye-opener,” detailing Aleichem and the world of Eastern European Jewry in general. The picture provided an opportunity for viewers to learn more about the man behind “Fiddler on the Roof.” Mark Silverberg, executive director of the Jewish Federation, closed the evening by thanking all of the guests, as well as Mel Kaplan, who coordinated the technical aspects of the event. Silverberg explained the purpose of the UJA Campaign to support local and overseas agencies, pointing out the various advancements See “Dinner” on page 5

Candle lighting October 25.......................................5:48 pm November 1.....................................5:39 pm November 8.....................................4:3 1pm

China-Israel ties get a boost with A Jewish foundation is supporting Karnit Flug to head Bank of Israel; PLUS plans to build a new college in China a German breast cancer program an Egyptian Righteous Gentile’s Opinion...........................................................2 jointly with Israel’s Technion. that employs blind women. family rejects the honor; more. Jewish Community Center News............6 Story on page 7 Story on page 9 Stories on page 15 D’var Torah.................................................10



OCTOBER 24, 2013 ■

a matter of opinion Visions from another generation On September 25, 1916, in the midst of what was then referred to as “the war to end all wars” – long before the slaughter of two-thirds of European Jewry and the birth of the modern state of Israel – the first Annual Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Scranton convened under the chairmanship of its president, S a m u e l Samter. He began his address with the following words: “The Talmud tells us that he who saves one life is considered as if he had preserved the whole world. As Jews, and most especially as Jewish leaders, that is our responsibility. This Federation was established as a concerted communal effort, the purpose of which is to care for the sick, the handicapped, the widow and the orphan; to relieve temporary distress; to rehabilitate families; to find employment for those willing and able to work; to furnish personal service to those in need; to provide educational opportunities for our children; to guide the immigrant and help him understand America and become a useful citizen of the land of his adoption. In a word, it aims to do what man should do for man, in a simple and human way.” This statement was endorsed by the founders of the Scranton Jewish community – people like Jacob Brandwene, Israel Greenberger, Jacob Harris, Leon Levy, A. B. Cohen and Jacob Nogi – many of whose descendants continue to hold leadership positions in this community. These leaders and their contemporaries now rest peace-

fully in Providence, Dalton and Dunmore cemeteries, but in their time, their vision and commitment built the institutions that became the forerunners of Scranton’s Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service Agency and the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania.

from the desk of the executive director Mark silverberG Many of the founders who came to Northeastern Pennsylvania to build their lives here more than a century ago (and, in the case of Honesdale, two centuries ago) barely spoke English. Yet, despite antisemitism, despite what must have been difficult financial circumstances, they were able to educate their children, care for their poor and indigent, keep our traditions alive, build synagogues and Hebrew schools, establish a Hebrew Free Loan Association, build a YMHA and leave sizable endowments to ensure that Jewish life would continue long after their time. They are no longer with us. Now it’s our turn. If there are to be thriving Jewish communities in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the years to come, it will be because of us – because of our collective vision, our collective will, our collective endowments and our collective annual UJA gifts for our people and for Israel. It is our vision that matters today. As President Kennedy said in an era long since past, the torch has been handed to a new generation. As such, the continuity of Jewish life here, in Israel and

around the world now rests upon us. Remember what it was like for Jews when there was no Jewish state, when even one Jew was considered too many, when the nations of the world closed their doors to our people. Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility to those who will follow in our footsteps to ensure that Masada shall never fall again. As students of history, we know very well that we are the barometers of the societies in which we live. The Jewish people have been like a cultural surfboard throughout history, riding the crest of the world’s civilizations – rising as they rose, falling as they fell, from Babylon to modern times – but always rising to new and even greater levels of human achievement. If we have learned anything from our past, it is that as it has gone with democracy, so it has gone with us – and as it has gone with us, so it has gone with democracy. If pain and suffering could ennoble, then truly the Jewish people could challenge the aristocracy of any nation on this earth. So we must never take our freedom for granted. Nor must we ever take the existence of the Jewish state for granted, especially today when there are those who proudly proclaim their messianic duty to “wipe Israel from the face of the earth,” who deny the first Holocaust yet state their intention before an uncaring world to bring on the second. I want to close with a brief story – part of which you may know and part of which you may not. On July 4, 1976, while we were celebrating our Bicentennial, Israeli commandos, under cover of darkness, flew 4,000 miles under enemy radar to rescue 248 passengers, mostly Jews, who had been taken hostage by the PLO and flown

to Entebbe, Uganda. When it was over, two passengers and the sayeret matkal leader, Yoni Netanyahu were dead, but because of their sacrifice, hundreds of our people survived. Now, fast forward 25 years to October 28, 2001 – barely a month after 9/11. Our 2001 Israel Mission participants visited Mt. Herzl, Israel’s military cemetery. After paying our respects at the grave of Theodore Herzl, we walked through rows and rows of thousands of small white marble gravestones marking the final resting places of those who died so that Israel might live. We stopped in front of one nondescript grave in the middle of a long row of white marble stones. It was Netanyahu’s grave. One member of our Mission asked our Israeli guide why Yoni’s gravestone was so ordinary. “After all,” he said, “Yoni Netanyahu is a hero.” The Mission guide looked at him and replied quietly: “Because everyone who lies here is a hero.” At moments such as these, we solicit funds for millions of our people in Israel and around the world who cannot plead their case to you. If they could, they would, but that is my job. I ask on their behalf. It is a small price to pay. Israel is sacrificing its children, so that ours will have a Jewish state. So, in asking for your gift, I ask it for our community, for our people, for Israel and on behalf of the founders of our respective communities who believed that leaving a legacy to ensure Jewish continuity was of paramount importance to their lives. Let us remember what they achieved and sacrificed for us, and why we owe them so much. Mark Silverberg’s editorials and articles have been archived at www.marksilverberg. com.

After the Pew report, what’s next? “ The Reporter” (USPS #482) is published bi-weekly by the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510.

President: Michael Greenstein Executive Director: Mark Silverberg 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 Bookkeeper: Gregory Senger

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

How to inspire a Jewish future in America By Yossi Prager (JTA) – The Pew Research Center recently released the first national demographic study of Jewish Americans in more than a decade. Like all such studies, there are disagreements at the edges about the accuracy of some of the results, but the study’s most significant findings have been generally accepted. The big news is that one in five selfidentified American Jews does not identify as Jewish by religion (one in three among younger Jews), and that even among Jews by religion, the intermarriage rate since 2005 is 55 percent. Looking only at the non-Orthodox, since 2005, more than 70 percent of the marriages have been intermarriages. The big question now is how funders and Jewish organizations respond to this data.

By itself, the news that one-fifth of America’s Jews do not see themselves as Jewish by religion might not be disastrous. After all, there are many Israelis who identify with the Jewish people who call themselves “secular.” The problem is that the Pew study found that unlike Israeli “chilonim,” most of whom see themselves as integral members of the Jewish people and actually perform more than a few Jewish rituals as a matter of course, American “Jews of no religion” are unlikely to raise their children as Jews, be attached to Israel, give to Jewish causes or see being Jewish as important in their lives. One Jew of no religion who was interviewed for the study described himself to Slate this way: “Six months ago I told a friendly Pew pollster that I consider myself

Jewish, but not religious, that my wife is not Jewish, and that my daughter is being raised ‘partially Jewish,’ in Pew’s terms. And as an intermarried Jewish nonbeliever, I think it’s time we anxious Jews stopped worrying and learned to love our assimilated condition – even if it means that our children call themselves half-Jewish and our grandchildren don’t consider themselves Jews at all.” In short, most Jews of no religion have both feet out of the Jewish community – or at least are on their way to the exit sign. The astonishingly high intermarriage rate among recent marriages outside of Orthodoxy is so important because, according to the Pew study, nearly all children of two Jewish spouses are being raised as Jewish by religion, while See “Inspire” on page 8

Pew points the way toward more avenues to Jewish life By Andres Spokoiny (JTA) – Since the release of the Pew report on American Jews, the question I’ve been asked most often is what surprises me about it. What surprises me most is that anybody is surprised. The Pew report points to a series of phenomena that are well known in the world today: identity fragmentation, radical free choice, embracement of diversity and the breakdown of organizational and ideological loyalties. Jews are, as Tolstoy said, like everybody else, only a little more so. For many of these phenomena we are the canary in the coal mine, the early adopters and the over-adapters. The report is not good or bad news. It shows us a reality we can’t ignore anymore. It is up to us to see the opportunities hidden in this new reality. There are a few things we should be thinking about here.

One, inclusiveness is no longer optional. In a highly diversified community like ours, inclusiveness – of mixed marriages, of people with disabilities, of different sexual orientations, of different ideologies and levels of observance – is not optional. We can no longer think in terms of a majority including a minority because in our highly diverse world, everybody is in one way or the other part of a minority. Two, we need more avenues to Jewish identity. Those of us who grew up in communities where the main expressions of identity were secular (Zionism, Hebrew, arts and culture) are not surprised to learn that more than 30 percent of young American Jews do not identify as religious in any way. But it would be foolish for us to think that they have a weaker potential to identify themselves meaningfully as Jews.

If we don’t want to lose 30 percent of our people, we need to work much harder at developing alternative avenues for Jewish engagement. We significantly underinvest in Jewish culture as a way to foster Jewish identity. The report makes self-evident that one of the main tasks of Jewish leadership needs to be opening as many gateways as possible to Jewish life without being judgmental about which ones are more authentic. The more doors we open, the more people will come in. As the Talmud says, the Torah is a heart with many rooms. In a context of extreme uncertainty, we can’t foresee which ones will be successful in offering a good avenue for engagement. Three, nothing is either/or. The Pew report shows that American Jews don’t see their identity in either/or terms. However, those of us in leadership positions usually See “Avenues” on page 3



community news “Prize Extravaganza and Melave Malka” set for Nov. 16 at the Radisson Lackawanna Station

Committee members have been working to finalize plans for the “Illuminations III – Prize Extravaganza and Melave Malka” to be held on Saturday, November 16, at 8:30 pm, at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in downtown Scranton. A booklet depicting the variety of prizes, which range in price, has gone to press and will be mailed to friends, alumni and out-of-town supporters. Prizes include a $2,500 dental package; a freezer fully stocked with David Elliot chicken; Klein’s Ice Cream; Ben-z’s fish products; Mendelsohn’s Pizza; a $300 Price Chopper Gift Card; a $300 Riccardo’s

Gift Card; a $200 Target Gift Card; a set of Corelle dishes and Waterford beverage glasses; a Fossil watch; a Soda Stream fountain jet soda maker; and more. Admission will cost $18 per person or $30 per couple, and will include a dairy buffet melava malka. There will be free admission per couple with $100 or more purchase of auction tickets. Meshulem Epstein will serve as master of ceremonies. All proceeds will benefit the Scranton Hebrew Day School’s scholarship fund. For more information or to receive a prize booklet, call the school office 346-1576, ext. 2.

Israeli wine tasting held for UJAFederation major gift donors Nationally recognized wine taster and expert Micah Halpern guided a group of UJA-Federation major gift donors on a tasting of Israeli wines on October 6 at the home of Don and Carol Dembert, which overlooks the grounds of Oakford Glen. The program also featured a variety of food, including domestic and imported kosher cheeses, as well as chocolates, nuts and fruit. During the event, Halpern explained that Israeli wine has caused “a revolution” in the international wine scene, placing kosher wine “in the same caliber as non-kosher wine.” The group was introduced to the methods used by sommeliers to examine and appreciate the qualities of the wines. The group tasted a selection of red and white wines, as well as a dessert wine. The red wines from the Dalton Safsufa collection were merlot and cabernet sauvignon, as well as a pinot noir from the Galil Mountain winery. The white wines were a Segal chardonnay and a Dalton sauvignon blanc. The concluding dessert selection was Yarden winery’s Gewirtzemeiner. Halpern closed his program by thanking everyone for their commitment to Israel and the Jewish people. He explained that he knows that those who give to UJAFederation are “the leaders of our Jewish community and of the Jewish community-at-large.” He added that he looked forward to meeting with the group again in other venues.


do. In a world of fragmented, plural identities, we need to break loose from old definitions that condition our thinking and action. The concepts of religion, culture, nation and people are 19th-century ideas created to respond to the specific reality of European Christianity. They are not adequate (and never were) to describe the Jewish experience. Things shouldn’t be either/or in terms of communal funding. We shouldn’t invest in culture at the expense of investments in education or synagogue life. Rather, we should look at the synergies that will materialize if we stop looking at those areas as unconnected silos. Skeptics will say that hard choices must be made because resources are scarce. But excluding any part of Jewish expression will only shrink the pie further. Exclusion is a vicious circle. We should not look at funding as a zero-sum game, because new initiatives and matching grants can bring new philanthropic resources to the Jewish community. Four, organizational paradigms are inadequate. Legacy Jewish organizations in many cases are stuck in paradigms inherited from the Industrial Revolution. They are pyramidal, centralized, top-down structures that rely heavily on the loyalty of their constituents and donors. Yet Jews don’t think in terms of organizational loyalty anymore. Pew and other reports like Committed to Give and NextGen Donors show that Jews don’t give to organizations, but to causes. Organizations need to see themselves as tools for donors and users rather than vice versa. This is not merely semantics. It implies seeing the relation between missions and users, donors or members in a completely different light. Organizations need “network weavers” rather than fund-raisers, facilitators rather than directors and catalysts instead of organizers. The Pew report and others show that this is a time of bubbling creativity in the Jewish community. Rather than announcing doom, the report could spur us to create

The “Prize Extravaganza” Committee met to formulate plans for the event to be held on Saturday, November 16. L-r: Laney Ufberg, Phyllis Barax, Leah Laury, Fraidel Tzuker and Rachelle Werbin.

“The Latke Song” to debut on Nov. 4

A Broadway music publisher will debut the world premiere of “The Latke Song” music video on Monday, November 4, at 10 am, on Mo’Sho TV, a new YouTube channel. The video was written and performed by Scrantonians Morris Mertz and Leo Aronzon, who comprise the duo Mo’Sho.

L-r: Don and Carol Dembert, Mark Silverberg and Micah Halpern posed together at a UJA-Federation wine tasting program. Halpern demonstrated his knowledge of Israel and wines throughout the event, telling anecdotes about several subjects and fielding questions. He also spent time with the attendees following the program. Mark Silverberg and the Jewish Federation expressed their gratitude to the Demberts for hosting the program.

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



Thursday, October 24......................November 7 Thursday, November 7..................November 21 Thursday, November 21.................. December 5 Thursday, December 19...................... January 2

Continued from page 2 mechanisms that capture and catalyze that energy. Five, we need new ideological leaders. The report shows that Jews haven’t ceased searching for values and meaning. But the ideological movements of the past 200 years – Reform, Conservative, Orthodoxyand ultra-Orthodox – are all modern phenomena created as different responses to the encounter between Judaism and the realities of the 19th and 20th centuries. They are historical and we’d be ill-advised to see them as timeless. They may not be fully adequate to respond to the different set of challenges facing Jews in the 21st century. So maybe instead of lamenting the lack of connection to modern Jewish ideologies, we should be working on creating postmodern ideologies. This is not a purely philosophical issue. It’s about the critical question of what Judaism as a culture, religion and civilization has to offer to those of us who yearn for meaning in an uncertain world. Answering the question of why be Jewish is just as important as how to be Jewish. Andres Spokoiny is the CEO of the Jewish Funders Network.

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of classic Jewish music. Brothers Alan and Jay Sweifach, as well as Jim Bazewicz, of the Hester Street Troupe played an upbeat style of clarinet, keyboard and percussion. The group also took requests from the audience. The UJA phone-a-thon was held amidst all of the activities in the JCC Linder Room. Mark Silverberg, executive director of the Jewish Federation, led the training. Afterward, the solicitors, many for the first time, made their phone calls. Organizers said that there had never been so many new solicitors, potentially due to

Elizabeth Aronzon and Batsheva Gruber attended Super Sunday at the Scranton Jewish Community Center.

Continued from page 1

the different location and time. Also thanked for their work were the Super Sunday volunteers, Sheila Abdo, Jean Blom, Maggy Bushwick, Mark Davis, Esther Elefant, Jim Ellenbogen, Vera Epshteyn, Joe Fisch, Jeff Ganz, Mike Greenstein, Seth Gross, Ann Herman, Janet Holland, Larry Millikan, Maddy Mogel, Mel Mogel, Barbara Nivert, Louis Nivert, Gwen Pole, Rabbi Dovid Rosenberg, Ellie Sullum, Emily Trunzo and Millie Weinberg. One of the day’s attendees said, “This was a great program. A perfect mix of fun, food and ‘tikkun olam’ (repairing the world).” A Federation representative added, “Thank you to all who support the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania and its programs.”


OCTOBER 24, 2013 ■


Continued from page 1 the Jewish communities of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

achieved by Israel and the “open door with which it welcomes all Jews who need a homeland.” For many, this was the last time to gather before leaving for winter homes,

and many expressed their appreciation for the Jewish Federation’s efforts to unite

Sandra Alfonsi welcomed all in attendance at the Pocono UJA dinner.

Members of the community attended the Pocono UJA dinner. Seated (l-r): Gail Neldon, Ellen Raffman and Phyllis and David Malinov. Standing: Irwin and Pauline Wolfson.

L-r: Nancy Rainey, Bernice Ecker, Carol Fishbein, Leah Laury, Rozzie Ben-Dov and Shira Laury volunteered on Super Sunday. Don Douglass addressed the audience at the Pocono UJA dinner.

Eli Laury donated blood. Volunteers Marshall Needle, Jennifer Williams and Robert Lee posed together.

Mark Davis watched the program at the Pocono UJA dinner.

Ellie Sullum volunteered with the phonea-thon on Super Sunday.

Tim Frank, the new JCC director of youth services, donated blood on Super Sunday.


Mark Silverberg gave closing remarks at the Pocono UJA dinner.

L-r: Herb Rosen and Mark and Yafit Entenberg attended the Pocono UJA dinner.

L-r: Donors Zain Rabbani, Catherine Butel and Mark Davis took a break on Super Sunday.

L-r: Trish Kuntz and Christine Kelly prepared a craft project for children.

The Hester Street Troupe performed on Super Sunday. L-r: Jay Sweifach, Alan Sweifach and Jim Bazewicz.

L-r: Phone volunteers Jim Ellenbogen, Emily Trunzo, Jeff Ganz, Ann Herman and Larry Milliken prepared to make their calls.

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

The JCC has hired Timothy Frank as its new director of youth services and recreation. Frank graduated from Wyoming Seminary High School and completed his undergraduate degree in history, philosophy, and secondary education from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. Frank was employed last summer at the JCC of Wyoming Valley Day Camp, directing the program

for fifth-seventh grade students. He will be responsible for all of the JCC children, pre-teen and teenage programs and services. “I am very excited to bring you fun and new programs for our youth,” said Frank. “Additionally, we plan on offering more School’s Out Programs with different activities, more details to come. In addition, the Youth Lounge will be open from 3-5 pm, Sunday-Thursday, for kids 5 and up, so come on down!”

Frank can be reached at timothy@ or by phone at 570346-6595, ext. 116. The JCC has encouraged the community make suggestions for youth programs.

At right: Tim Frank

JCC Preschool celebrated Sukkot The JCC Preschool celebrated Sukkot on September 25 by learning about the holiday in the JCC sukkah. The children were joined by the Cader family, as it has been their custom for generations to bring in gift bags. The tradition was started by Nettie Cader in the 1960s. She passed this custom on to her son, Irving, and his wife, Helene, who passed it down to their son, Jim, and his wife, Carol. The Cader family also donated the sukkah to the JCC. They were joined by Rabbi Moshe Saks, who gave the blessing and educated the children about

the holiday. The JCC expressed its gratitude to the Cader family and Saks.


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Rabbi Moshe Saks and Irving, Jim and Carol Cader stood outside the JCC sukkah.

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Cancer Wellness & Exercise Center

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

of Northeastern eas e stern Pennsylvania Penn nnsyllva lvva

Our Cancer Wellness & Exercise Program

Includes 3 eight-week sessions of exercise, water therapy, yoga, massage therapy and nutrition, catered to each patient’s needs • Comprehensive Fitness Assessments before and after the program • A wide variety of activity options over each eight week period • Seminars & Lectures on Exercise and Nutrition • A warm, friendly atmosphere where you will meet other cancer patients & survivors • Massage Therapy • Craniosacral Therapy Next session starting • Lymphatic Drainage Therapy • Personal Training October 14, 2013.

Our Cancer Wellness Team at the Scranton JCC is a highly skilled, certified and energetic group of professionals that will assist you either in a group setting, or one on one with personal training. We are here to help you adopt or continue a lifestyle that fosters optimal health and wholeness. This team, combined with our state-of-the-art fitness center, aerobic studio and swimming pool, will help cancer patients and survivors overcome the everyday symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and depression. Also, cancer patients and survivors will enjoy the benefits of exercise, meet other patients and survivors, and have an opportunity to better enjoy life to its fullest extent. Our team members include certified specialists in Cancer Wellness, yoga and specialized therapies, and also professional fitness instructors and personal trainers.

The cost is $90 per 8-week session of up to 24 classes per session. Call Cara Sherman at 346-6595, ext. 117, to register.

to Sw im at t h n r a e Le

BDS antidote may come from China

By Alex Traiman An apparent antidote to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is coming from a once unlikely source. Chinese magnate Li Ka-Shing, among Asia’s richest businessmen, recently donated $130 million to Israel’s Technion University, as part of a joint venture with Shantou University that will establish the Tech- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) nion Guangdong Institute of talked to China’s Premier Li Keqiang (right) during a Technology. The gift, one of signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing the largest ever to an Israeli on May 8. Netanyahu is one of several Israeli leaders to university, is indicative of a make recent trips to China to nurture the Israeli-Chinese pervasive deepening in the relationship, which just got another boost in the form of connection between Israel magnate Li Ka-Shing’s $130 million to Israel’s Technion and one of the world’s emergUniversity. (Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO/FLASH90) ing powers, China. This is the first time a school from any other country universities have accepted multi-million has been invited to establish an entirely new dollar donations from philanthropists in academic college based in China. Muslim-majority nations, most notably In addition to the $130 million gift to Saudi Arabia, to establish Middle Eastern Technion, for strengthening Technion’s home studies programs that many Jewish groups campus in Haifa, Guangdong Province will criticize for an alleged anti-Israel bias. In invest approximately $150 million to develop September, a map used in an Arabic lanthe new Technion Guangdong campus. guage course at San Diego State University “While academics around the world are labeled all of the Jewish state’s territory as attempting to damage Israel’s economy with “Palestine,” before it was replaced with a calls for boycotts and divestment, it is the map that included Israel. Chinese who see the inherent value in Israeli Academics at American universities are ingenuity, innovation and education,” Cari- among the leaders of those calling for divestce Witte, executive director of Sino-Israel ment from Israel, in addition to expressing Global Network and Academic Leadership, other anti-Israel sentiments. University an institute working to advance Israel-China of Pennsylvania professor Ian Lustick in relations, told “Economic stability September wrote a controversial New York is one of China’s main goals. They view this Times op-ed calling for a one-state solution to collaboration as an investment in their own the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, under which future,” Witte said. Israel “may no longer exist as the Jewish and Over the past several years, China has democratic vision of its Zionist founders.” demonstrated a growing interest in Israel’s Last summer, the University of California technological contributions, particularly in Board of Regents voted in Sadia Saifuddin, the areas of water conservation and purifica- a leading BDS activist, as a student regent. tion, agriculture, air quality and alternative Additionally, several student governments in energy. Further, multiple Chinese universi- the UC system have passed resolutions callties have established Israel Studies Centers. ing for their schools to divest from Israel. The development of such study centers is According to Witte, China’s investment in a strategic asset for Israel, as top Chinese Israel is neither political nor ideological, but academics often serve as advisors to top rather a practical investment in China’s own government officials. economic and social interests. “China wants At the same time, American campuses to make the transition from being a manuare seeing significant anti-Israel activity, facturing power to becoming innovators, and including the annual “Israel Apartheid they believe that the Israeli innovative spirit Week.” Over the past decade, many leading See “China” on page 13

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jewish community center news JCC welcomes new director of youth services and recreation

OCTOBER 24, 2013 ■

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OCTOBER 24, 2013 ■

Former Baptist Sunday school teacher designing for the frum fashionista

Her decision to convert By Talia Lavin horrified her Baptist fam(JTA) – Just before Maria ily. “In the beginning they Patricia de Sousa set out for a freaked out,” Goldberger year-long stint at a seminary recalls. “But they accept me in Jerusalem seven years ago, with love and that’s it.” she stopped by the house of Goldberger met her husan Orthodox Jewish woman band online, inspiring anin her home city of Sao Paulo, other move – to Canada. She Brazil. She wanted to find and Artie settled down in his Esther Goldberger out about life in Jerusalem hometown of Montreal. She – where to eat, how to get quickly found life as a housewife lacking around, what to bring for a Sabbath gift. But de Sousa soon learned that she had and decided to study fashion at the city’s LaSalle College. Again, Goldberger says, overlooked a major detail. Her guide to the Orthodox world took she was the only Jewishly observant woman one look at her – “Dressed,” de Sousa says, in her class. Goldberger is the latest to join a small “like a typical girl in the summer in Brazil” – and said gently, ‘I think you’re going to cadre of designers who have sought to remake haute couture for Orthodox women, have to find some new clothes.’” Seven years later, the woman now known whose modesty requirements make much as Esther Goldberger is the proprietor of of mainstream fashion inaccessible. But DellaSuza, a Montreal-based fashion line for while many designers for Orthodox women religious women. Goldberger, 36, designs focus on formalwear for special occasions, the label’s lightweight dresses, tops and Goldberger says that she saw an opportunity skirts at home and produces them with a to design modest clothing that can meet the small staff at her office. “I started DellaSuza demands of a religious woman’s everyday as a one-woman operation,” she says. “And life. “So many of these women want to dress there were many, many nights of insomnia in something comfortable to go to the store, to run after their kids in the park, but nobody and a lot of work.” A former bilingual secretary and Baptist thinks about them,” Goldberger says. Her clothing designs reflect her sunny Sunday school teacher, Goldberger says personality – bright colors and vivid patterns she started to read about Judaism and “fell in love” with the faith. She studied the – all within the confines of modesty laws. religion in Brazil, which eventually led Goldberger also writes a series of chatty her to a seminary in Har Nof, an Orthodox columns about fashion for the Jewish Press, Jerusalem neighborhood. She was the only an Orthodox newspaper, with titles such as “The Glitzy World of Inverted Triangles.” non-Jewish student there.

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Goldberger is excited about the possibilities of expanding her line, providing modest clothing as well for Muslim and Christian women. She says she still struggles with convincing people, including her husband, that designing clothes is more than just a hobby. “All my life it’s always been the same,” she says. “When


I started studying Judaism in Brazil, I heard, ‘No, that’s not for you.’ The same thing when I met my husband online, and when I decided to start a fashion line. ‘Don’t think about that! That’s not for you!’ “But I never listen,” Goldberger says. “I just keep going.”

Continued from page 2

only 20 percent of children of intermarriages are being raised exclusively as Jewish. Some of these couples are Jews of no religion and others are headed for the exits anyway. Others might be seen as having one foot within the Jewish community and one foot out. So what to do? Without offering firm policy recommendations, which should be carefully developed, here are initial principles: ‹‹ We should recognize the big picture. In the aggregate, the many programs developed by Jewish philanthropists and organizations after the 1990 population study that first showed alarming intermarriage rates have failed to stem the tide of assimilation. (It will be interesting to see whether the Pew study supports the contention that Birthright Israel increases Jewish identity and participation.) There is likely nothing that can be done to attract Jews heading for the exits, and the programmatic efforts should focus on those who at least have one foot still within the community. ‹‹ Based on the Pew study, at least in America, Judaism will endure across generations almost exclusively in families that identify with Judaism as a religion. (It is less clear to me what level of observance or participation generates a “tipping point.”) The reasons are less clear, but I imagine that part of the answer stems from the famous Ahad Ha’am saying, “More than the Jews have kept the Shabbos, the Shabbos has kept the Jews.” Or, as Rabbi David Wolpe wrote in his thoughts about the study: “As a countercultural tradition in America, Judaism asks a great deal of its adherents. Judaism is a behavior-centered tradition. It is primarily enacted in a language strange to most American Jews [Hebrew] and requires an extensive education to understand its fundamentals... That which is continually

diluted will eventually disappear.” ‹‹ Along these same lines, we should measure the likely success of programs based on whether they offer the intensive and immersive education needed to give participants an understanding of the power and beauty of Jewish values and practices. Anything less will fail to give participants sufficient motivation to make the commitment of time, energy and money needed for engaged Jewish life. Programs that attempt to “meet people where they are” can only be justified if they actually succeed in attracting Jews to more substantive ongoing programs. ‹‹ Every business owner knows that it costs less to retain a customer than to attract a new one. While economic considerations may not be the only relevant ones, it is far more cost effective to invest in Jews who are closer to the core of the engaged Jewish community, whether they are children or young adults. The study tells us that these, too, are Jews at risk of assimilation. Investment in these young people is our community’s best chance for increasing retention of an energizing nucleus that has the potential to reverse the trends painfully evident in the study. We all prefer good news to bad. This has caused some commentators on the Pew study to celebrate the number of Jews regardless of their commitments or argue that the answer is to be more “welcoming” of those who are heading for the exits. There are no easy fixes. The only way to retain the next generation will be to inspire them to desire and love substantive Jewish life. If enough Jews can be so inspired, the Jewish future will be far rosier than the snapshot offered by the Pew study. Yossi Prager is the executive director-North America of the Avi Chai Foundation.

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Jewish group supports German breast cancer detection tool employing blind women By Alina Dain Sharon As of 2005, German gynecologist Dr. Frank Hoffmann was no longer allowed to send women under the age of 50 to get mammograms without first finding a breast abnormality during his routine examination. Since some breast lumps can be very small, Hoffmann wasn’t certain he could discover something during the few minutes he had to spend with each patient. That’s when he decided to launch an innovative program, Discovering Hands, hoping to give blind women an opportunity for a life-changing career by turning their more acute sense of touch into a skilled breast tumor detection tool. With 17 medical tactile examiners already trained and working across Germany, Hoffmann’s initiative has connected with the Ruderman Family Foundation, an organization based in Israel and Boston that prioritizes the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish community. This partnership may enable Discovering Hands to branch out to Israel and the U.S. “I don’t know many examples of a Jewish and Israeli funder foundation investing in Germany. It’s not easy with our history,” Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, told Ruderman first met Hoffmann at a philanthropy conference in Switzerland. He then toured Germany with Hoffmann, examining the program in action at hospitals and clinics. With the support of various German governmental bodies and Hoffmann’s 2010 election as fellow by ASHOKA, an organization that invests with social entrepreneurs, Hoffmann was able to develop an entire curriculum training blind and visually impaired women to become MTEs. The Ruderman foundation granted Discovering Hands an initial $72,000 donation in 2013 to help it grow across Germany, and it will offer logistical support to bring the program to Israel, where initial discussions have taken place with the Hadassah University Hospital-Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem. For women under the age of 40, mammograms are not always “very good at detecting tumors because the breast density is pretty high at that point and a lot of things are hidden,” said Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, an oncologist at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital and associate professor of hematology-oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, when asked about the potential of Discovering Hands. But studies have shown that “if nurses are taught how to do self breast exams and they do them on themselves,” then their exams are much more useful, Kaklamani told Therefore “the idea of having somebody trained to do breast exams, especially if because that individual… is visually impaired, [he or she] has a better sense of touch, I would think that would work.” In the MTE breast examination method, self-adhesive orientation stripes with tactile orientation points are attached to the patient’s breast in various positions, and the breast is divided into zones that allow the examiners to define the precise square centimeter where an abnormality is found. Unlike an exam by a doctor, an MTE breast examination takes between 30 to 60 minutes. Discovering Hands conducted a study in conjunction with the University of Essen, looking at 451 patients that were examined by MTEs. Among these patients, there were 32 abnormal findings that were discovered by the MTEs, but not by the doctors. “Women with those findings would have been sent home by the doctors,” Hoffmann told JNS. org. A new peer review study will begin in November. “The results [of the Discovering Hands study] are very encouraging,” Kaklamani said, cautioning that more studies are needed to test the program’s full effectiveness. “This technique can be seen to be complementary to mammograms, replacing the mammograms, or not at all beneficial if a woman has yearly mammograms. So all these are things that need to be taken into consideration.” Hoffmann believes that that his program has potential beyond breast cancer detection. “A well-trained sense of touch is useful in other diagnostic situations… MTEs one day (could examine) the eye bulb, the prostate, the testicals” or lymph nodes, he said. According to Kaklamani, breast cancer is notably prevalent in the Ashkenazi Jewish community because individuals of that ancestry can carry BRCA gene mutations. “In the general population one in 500 individuals are positive and in the Ashkenazi Jewish population it’s one in 40… BRCA mutations predispose significantly for

breast cancer. So from that standpoint there’s an increased incidence,” she said. Given its focus on the inclusion of people with disabilities, what sparked the Ruderman Family Foundation’s interest in Discovering Hands is less the science behind breast cancer detection and more the program’s potential to employ visually impaired women. “I think [Discovering Hands] has a huge medical benefit for the community, but it also has a huge benefit for providing employment and inclusion for blind women,” Jay Ruderman said. Currently in Germany, training to become an MTE lasts nine months and takes place through vocational centers for the blind and visually impaired across Germany. Of the eight such centers in Germany, four are now qualified to train MTEs. “Losing your sight means that you retract yourself from public life, lose contact with your friends, lose your job. Many of them are reduced to the four walls of their own home,” Hoffmann said. “Taking part in aspects of other lives… connects them intensively with patients. On the other hand, doing their job, they are real life savers.” In addition to learning anatomy and breast examination technique, women through Discovering Hands also learn communication and Braille technology skills so that “they can do their documentation on their own [and] don’t need another helping person with them when they are doing their job,” Hoffmann said. After six months of study and a final examination, the women undertake a three-month internship at a clinic. According to Kim Charlson, director of the Perkins

Braille and Talking Book Library at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA, one challenge blind people discover when searching for employment is “the attitude of people who are sighted about the abilities of people who are blind.” She said some people think, “How could I do this job if I were blind? I couldn’t; therefore, the person must not be able to do that job.” “The women in this program are absolutely going to have that extra skillset because they know how to interpret what they’re detecting with their fingers, whether it’s Braille or if they’re looking for a tumor,” Charlson, who is blind herself, told “It’s a great opportunity to work in that kind of healthcare field where blind people can make a significant contribution in some way, and have a job, and pay taxes, and do all those things like everybody else does.” Charlson, who is also a breast cancer survivor, is acutely aware of the challenges surrounding its diagnosis and treatment. “I’ve gone through treatment and early detection was critical for me,” she said. “We should use all the tools that are out there.” In October, Discovering Hands started another training course in Nuremberg for the next four MTEs, and next spring another course will begin in Berlin and Halle, training six more. But women who want to be screened do not necessarily know this program exists, Hoffmannn said. Insurance companies need to be willing to pay for these exams so that doctors will be willing to offer them in their clinics. In Germany, six insurance companies are See “Cancer” on page 12

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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.


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What is your legacy? by RABBI BENNY RAPOPORT, DIRECTOR, JEWISH DISCOVERY CENTER Chaye Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18 Recently, the Nobel committee in Stockholm, Sweden, announced the recipients of this year’s prizes, awarded to a distinguished few individuals who made major contributions in the important fields of science, medicine and economics, as well in the furtherance of peace and tolerance. The awards always make the headlines, but what isn’t reported is the story of how it all started. It goes back to 1888, when a French newspaper erroneously published a premature obituary of the Swedish chemist, engineer and arms manufacturer Alfred Nobel, condemning him for his invention of dynamite. “Le marchand de la mort est mort” – “The merchant of death is dead,” it began, and blasted him for becoming rich by “finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before.” It was the reading of his own obituary that is thought to have influenced Nobel’s decision to leave a better legacy for himself, which indeed he did, bequeathing what is the equivalent to $250 million to establish the Nobel Prize. The Life of Sarah When we think about the life and legacy of the first Jewish matriarch, Sarah, we find that our Torah portion, which records her passing, is titled “Chaye Sarah,” which means “the life of Sarah.” Odd, because beginning with her burial in Hebron, all of the events discussed took place after her death. The main episodes recounted are Abraham’s purchase of the cave of the machpeilah, Sarah’s burial place; Isaac’s engagement and marriage to the righteous Rebecca, and Abraham’s remarriage to Hagar and his fathering additional children. The title of the parasha doesn’t match its content. If we’re talking about the death of Sarah, why name this section of the Torah “the life of Sarah”? How is any of this related to the life of Sarah, when all of these happenings underscore her death and absence, the fact that she is now gone? Who was Sarah? Let’s take a closer look at who Sarah was, what her life was about. Our sages tell us that Sarah had one dream all her life. Ever since her youth, during her travels with Abraham through Mesopotamia and Canaan, her clash

with Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, and even after the birth of her long-awaited son, Isaac, she lived with a passion to educate humanity about the one God; she longed and yearned to give birth to the nation chosen to spread that message to the world. Abraham was the father of many nations. Yes, he was the father of Isaac, too, but he equally loved his son Ishamel, believed in his great potential and wanted him to achieve greatness as well. Sarah, however, was the progenitor of only one son, of Isaac, and she did all in her power to protect him and to prevent Ishmael’s behavior from influencing or corrupting Isaac in anyway. She even asked Abraham to expel Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, who was her maidservant, and God told Abraham to obey Sarah’s instruction. Her lifelong desire to see the birth of the Jewish people is seen in all of the events mentioned in our parasha: Isaac’s marriage to Rebecca – who embodies all of Sarah’s virtuous character traits – is the first step that facilitates the realization of her dream and the beginnings of our nation. Abraham’s purchase of the burial place of Adam and Eve, where all three couples of the Jewish patriarchs are to be buried, provides the first record of territory in the Holy Land being legally purchased, becoming part of the eternal inheritance and property of the Jewish people. And at the end of the parasha, when we read of Abraham’s additional children, the Torah adds that Abraham gives gifts to the children of his concubines and sends them away, instead giving everything to his son Isaac! Isaac is the one who inherits not only his father’s material possessions, but his spiritual mission and destiny as well. In Chaye Sarah, Sarah’s vision and dream comes to pass. In these chapters of Genesis we witness the birth of the three interrelated elements of the Jewish people, their homeland and divine destiny. In this parasha about “the life of Sarah,” we discover the shaping of Sarah’s legacy with the fulfillment of her most valuable beliefs and convictions. Sarah’s legacy lives on for all eternity, in the mission and destiny of her progeny, the Jewish nation. Today, let’s take a moment to reflect and think about the things that we live for and consider the value of our achievements and accomplishments, what are our deepest beliefs See “Legacy” on page 12

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





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OCTOBER 24, 2013 ■

film review

Chasidic family wrestles with mixed motives in “Void” by MICHAEL NASSBERG The entirety of Rama Burshtein’s drama “Fill the Void” is set within an insular Israeli Chasidic community, depicting their world as one consisting of religion and family, with few other distractions. Built around the story of a young woman forced to make a life-changing decision after a sudden tragedy, the film explores how personal motives, familial responsibility and Judaic tradition define a people. After her older sister dies in childbirth, Shira (Hadas Yaron) is asked to wed the widowed father, Yochay (Yiftach Klein), despite her wish to be paired with a man closer to her age and never previously married. Depending on who is speaking, Shira is advised to either follow her heart or do what’s best for her family. Although Yochay is a pleasant man, and he consents to the idea expecting that she will make a good mother, Shira’s uncertainty is evident to everyone around her. Most viewers will either understand, or quickly learn, that marriage arrangements are a way of life in this sect. Shira was never destined to go to college, start a career and eventually meet the right man, but she was on the verge of sealing the deal on a husband who felt right. Aside from her desire to share the experience of marriage with somebody who, like her, has not been there before, as well

Cancer paying for this examination. Since medical, governmental and insurance systems vary significantly from country to country, Hoffmann wants his program to expand outside of Germany as a social franchise model. All the documentations and plans behind the program can be given to private or governmental entities, which can use that information to implement the program independently in their own countries. Discovering Hands is already working with partners to implement the program in nearby Austria by the end of next year. For the Ruderman Family Foundation, the next step is to try to bring Discovering Hands to Israel by 2014, Jay Ruderman said. If the foundation can bring the program to a hospital and make it a success, the project may get

L-r: Shira (Hadas Yaron); her sister, Esther (Renana Raz); her mother, Rivka (Irit Sheleg); and Aunt Hanna (Razia Israeli). (Photo by Karin Bar, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics) as potentially respecting her late sister’s wishes, Shira’s reasons for either option are tricky to pin down. She rarely speaks her mind, even when pressed, perhaps because she lacks options for having an honest, unfiltered conversation – family, friends, the rabbi, Yochay – nobody can guide

Continued from page 9

some public attention and induce demand, and then the Israeli government might respond with funding and other assistance, he said. “That’s what I’m hoping will happen in Israel,” Ruderman said. The foundation is also open to helping bring the program to the U.S., where “most centers of Jewish gathering are not inclusive” to people with disabilities, Ruderman said. Of the entire U.S. population, about 17-18 percent have disabilities. In the U.S., the implementation of Discovering Hands could begin in Boston, according to Ruderman. “I do think that this technology could be influential all around the world. You have to think of all the countries in the world where [mammograms are] either not available or extremely expensive. This is a very low-tech, brilliant idea that could be replicated all over the world,” Ruderman said.

her without factoring in their own concerns. Surrounding Shira are a handful of foils – the slightly older Frieda (Hila Feldman), who puts on an optimistic face while swallowing her frustration about not having found a spouse; Shira’s mother, Rivka (Irit Sheleg), who desperately wishes to keep her grandson close; and her Aunt Hanna (Razia Israeli), a handicapped woman at odds with Rivka. Through them and a few tertiary characters, viewers see a community where a busy rabbi stops to help an elderly woman pick out a stove because she has no other family, or where Purim tradition means giving out generous cash gifts to men who publicly, without hesitation, admit to being in need. Some may not be comfortable with the assumed gender roles, but it is clear the community takes care of its own. Burshtein, an Orthodox woman herself, did not make “Fill the Void” with an awareness that the Chasidic lifestyle may seem unusual to an outsider, in much the same way a European or Asian filmmaker would not feel the need explain aspects of their culture to foreign audiences. Due to this, those unfamiliar with Chasidism may not grasp the subtext in various scenes. However, the major themes come through clearly, and Yaron and Klein portray their characters with effective subtlety. With a brief running time, the photoplay is compact and occasionally sparse, withholding any comic relief or major digressions from the fates of the protagonists. Though there is some cause for celebration in “Fill the Void,” the picture elicits mostly concern for those who have become invested in Shira and Yochay’s search for happiness – for a film so centered on marriage, it has so little time for romance.


Continued from page 10

and ideals? What legacy do we want leave behind? Dr. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, used worldwide as a powerful force of destruction, yet the legacy he created is his commitment to helping others and improving the world – and that calling continues to live on in the millions of lives that have been helped by those deserving recipients of the Nobel Prize. What will our legacy be?



THE LIFECYCLIST After settling late father’s affairs, woman moves on with trip to the mikvah by DEBRA RUBIN (JTA) – Susan Esther Barnes had had a rough two years. Her father’s death in April 2011 came as a shock; she hadn’t even known he had been hospitalized. And his widow’s leaving town for a week complicated plans for his funeral and burial. As executor of his will, Barnes discovered that the money in bank accounts that were to go to her and her sister had been transferred to someone else. All in all, it was an extraordinarily difficult ordeal, says Barnes, who wrote about the experience on her Religious and Reform blog. When she received a letter in May telling her that her duties as executor were completed, the Novato, CA, resident


49, remembers thinking. was relieved. “It felt like such a point of transiBut her rabbi, Michael Lezak of Rodef tion,” Barnes, a consultant for public agencies, Sholom in San Rafael, CA, often encourages told JTA. “When I got that letter, I wanted to people who are facing a transition or traumatic mark the occasion.” time to visit the mikvah. It helps them “to realMikvah sprang to mind. ize they’re not alone, that the Holy One walks The daughter of a Jewish father and non-Jewish them into the water,” Lezak says. “The water mother, Barnes had converted to Judaism about two has transformational power.” decades ago, but had never dipped in the ritual waBarnes e-mailed Lezak and told him of her ters. “Twenty years ago, it wasn’t really something Susan Esther Barnes that came up in Reform conversions,” she says. (Photo courtesy Susan plans. She also decided she wanted to say the blessing for a new convert, although Lezak told Nor had she visited the mikvah when her rabbi Esther Barnes) her that wasn’t necessary, that “she is 100 percent suggested it prior to her Jewish wedding in 2008 Jewish in my eyes.” But Barnes says “it seemed silly not (she and her husband were married civilly in 2003). “I don’t want some stranger seeing me naked,” Barnes, See “Mikvah” on page 15 Continued from page 7

can help them accomplish that goal,” Witte said. Technion President Peretz Lavie wrote in a letter to alumni, “A number of leading universities from the U.S., U.K. and Australia have already launched academic programs in China, but the Technion is the first university whose China campus and operation will be fully funded by Chinese resources.” “With this agreement the Technion has taken another major step forward in our quest to become one of the top leading science and technology universities in the world,” Lavie wrote. “Together with our partnership with Cornell in the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute in New York City, and other strategic international collaborations, the Technion has become a world renowned powerhouse in science, technology and innovation – and this is manifesting itself east and west.” In September, Technion was cited by Bloomberg Rankings as the world’s seventh leading university – the only university in the top 10 outside the U.S. Undergraduate and graduate students at the new facility in Guangdong Province will receive their degrees from Technion. In addition to the new university campus, a nearby a technological park will be built to “serve as a bridgehead for Israeli companies interested in the Chinese market,” according to Lavie.

C HA N U K A H Once again this year, The Reporter is inviting its readers and local organizations to extend Chanukah greetings to the community by purchasing a Chanukah greeting ad, which will appear in our November 21 issue (Deadline: Nov. 13). Chanukah begins this year on the evening of Nov. 27. You may choose from the designs, messages and sizes shown here - more are available. You may also choose your own message, as long as it fits into the space of the greeting you select. (Custom designs available upon request.) The price of the small greeting is $18 (styles B & E), the medium one is $36 (styles D & F) and the largest one (not shown) is $72 (actual size is 2 col. x 4”). To ensure that your greeting is published, please contact Bonnie Rozen at 1-800-779-7896, ext. 244 or Checks can be made payable to The Reporter and sent to: The Reporter, 500 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal, NY 13850.

Ka-Shing, the Chinese investor, held a significant investment in the Israeli start-up Waze, a social-based GPS app that provides real-time changes in traffic conditions and anticipated travel times. Google recently purchased Waze for nearly $1 billion. Funds earned by Ka-Shing in the sale contributed to the Technion investment. Speaking at a ceremony in Tel Aviv on October 6 marking the joint venture, Ka-Shing stated, “In a world of fluid boundaries, the transformative power of technology waves like a magic wand, bringing new models and opportunities to many frontiers and generating new solutions to entrenched problems, but we all know the wands are only as powerful as the wizards who use them, and the magic comes from the genius within. “Our responsibility is to invest in education to unlock that genius and enable the continuing realization of human potential, building a society rich in knowledge and securing a sustainable quality of life for all. Failing to do so amounts to a crime against the future,” Ka-Shing said. “When you combine the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel with the unbelievable scale of China, you have a great partnership,” Lavie added. “We hope that by combining our research methodologies with the scale and resources of China, we will create a major research institute that will help not only China and Israel, but also mankind in general.”

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Witte told that the most significant aspect of the deal is that the Technion “offers a uniquely effective way of marrying Israeli innovation and creativity with Chinese commercialization and manufacturing capabilities to build a new engine for development.” The Israeli government has recently invested significant energy in strengthening the Israel-China relationship, particularly as the U.S. economy remains muddled in recession, and American government debt threatens ongoing financial aid for Israel. In September, Israel expressed a willingness to waive $55 million in financial commitments from the U.S. for the Arrow Missile Defense System. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Naftali Bennett; and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz have all made recent trips to China to nurture the relationship. The deal with Ka-Shing and Guangdong Province may prove to be just the first of many large investments. “This joint venture is important for economic development and regional stability for both Israel’s region and China’s region,” Witte said. “That the tiny nation of Israel, with only eight million people, has the ability to partner with the world’s most populous nation and the world’s second-largest economy, is a very powerful sign of Israel’s unique ability to contribute on the world stage.”

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Dear Friend: PROJECT JOY, through the Scranton Jewish Community Center, was the “brainchild” of a very special woman, RoseBud Leventhal. Although RoseBud has passed on, the project continues in her memory. The monies come solely from private donations. The goal is a simple one. We want every child to experience a special Holiday season. Through your generosity, we can do this. This year in our area the economic situation has worsened. Our gift might be the only one a child receives. Last year, over 75 children benefited with wonderful gifts we purchased from wish lists that we received from Jewish Family Services, the Catherine McCauley Center and Saint Joseph’s Center. In this northeast Pennsylvania region, one out of every three children lives at or below the poverty level. In 2009 we added Children and Youth Services and Children’s Advocacy to our list of needy children and were thrilled that we were able to help even more kids. And, as always, we still visited the pediatric departments of our three local Scranton hospitals to give their patients gifts of cheer over the holidays. Once we were made aware of specific needy families in the area, we were fortunate to have the monies to assist them too. We hope this year to give even more gifts with your help. Each year we receive so many “thank you letters and notes,” which just confirms how extremely vital and special this project has become.This all depends on you! Please send a donation to “PROJECT JOY” in care of the Scranton JCC, 601 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, PA 18510. Or you can just drop off a new unwrapped toy at the JCC’s office. We will be wrapping the gifts on Thursday, December 12th at the JCC starting at 9:00 am. All volunteers are welcome. Please call Carol Leventhal at 570-587-2931 or 570-586-0241 if you will be able to help us wrap gifts this year. It’s fun and worthwhile! Thank You! Carol Leventhal, Chairperson Project Joy

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New Season of


From JTA

Karnit Flug to be first female Bank of Israel chief

Free spring break in Israel

October 2013

• Non-Feature Films •

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. *Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy - This entertaining documentary, narrated by the award winning Joel Grey, examines the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical. There are interviews alongside standout performances and archival footage. 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. Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story - This excellent documentary, narrated by Dustin Hoffman, portrays the contributions of Jewish major leaguers and the special meaning that baseball has had in the lives of American Jews. Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story was shown at the Opening Event for the 2012 UJA Campaign. The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost - Famed attorney, Alan Dershowitz, presents a vigorous case for Israel- for its basic right to exist, to protect its citizens from terrorism and to defend its borders from hostile enemies. *The Flat - This gripping autobiographical documentary tells the story of the filmmaker, Arnon Goldfinger who travels to Tel Aviv to clean out the apartment of recent deceased German-born Jewish grandmother. Goldfinger discovers, while going through her belonging, he finds evidence that his grandparents were good friends with Leopold von Mildenstein, a leading official within the Nazi propaganda agency and that they remained friends after World War II. He journeys to find out the details of this disturbing revelation. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg - As baseball’s first Jewish star, Hammering Hank Greenberg’s career contains all the makings of a true American success story. *Orchestra of Exiles - This riveting documentary tells the story of how Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, watched Jewish musicians being fired from classical orchestras when Hitler came to power. Huberman decided to build a new orchestra in Palestine encountering many obstacles along the way. He ultimately succeeds and the Palestine Symphony gave its first performance December, 1936. (When Israel gained independence in 1948, the orchestra was renamed the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, which remains to this day a world class orchestra.)

• Feature Films •

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) Avalon- Sam Krichinsky and his extended family arrive in American to find the American dream in a place called Avalon. We watch the Krichinsky family move from poverty to prosperity,facing their changing world with enduring humor and abiding love. 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. 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. 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? *The Other Son - The dramatic tale of two babies switched at birth, The Other Son creates a thoughtful presentation of what could be a soap opera type event. Instead, director Lorraine Levy and a wonderful screenplay takes the viewer down a very different path allowing each to come to his/her own conclusions. *The World of Sholom Aleichem - Three of Sholom Aleichem short stories are adapted for the stage and broadcast on the 1959 television series “The Play of the Week”. 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. *Just added to the Jewish Federation’s Film Lending Library!

The Jewish National Fund is offering Alternative Spring Break trips in March. The free trips are for Jewish college students and young adults, ages 18-30, who will spend one week in Israel working and volunteering in the northern region or the Negev Desert. Participants are responsible for raising a minimum of $1,500 through an online program that communicates with family and friends. Monies raised will go toward JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign for those traveling to southern Israel or to Operation Carmel Renewal for those traveling to northern Israel. ASB registration is now open for the 2014 trips; to sign up, visit The trip dates are March 1, 8, 15 and 23. For more information on the ASB program, contact 212-879-9305,ext. 245 or

Coming Soon to the Federation’s Jewish Film Library The Concert Thirty years ago, Andrei Simoniovich Filipov, the renowned conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra, was fired for hiring Jewish musicians. Now a mere cleaning man at the Bolshoi, he learns by accident that the Chatelet Theater in Paris has invited the Bolshoi orchestra to play there. He decides to gather together his former musicians and perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi orchestra. He wants a young violinist virtuoso, Anne-Marie Jacquet, to accompany his old Jewish or Gypsy musicians. If they all overcome the hardships ahead this very special concert will be a triumph.

Only Human Starring Oscar-nominated Norma Aleandro (GABY) this gloriously irreverent family comedy fuses brilliant characterization and unrelenting humor to rework the age-old story of meeting the parents with a hilarious modern twist. With its astute blend of warmth and humor ONLY HUMAN is able to address head-on some of today s most salient issues: the meaning of family and community in an ever-shrinking world and the challenges and consequences at stake when cultures clash within our very homes. When Leni comes home to introduce her fianc Rafi to her idiosyncratic Jewish family everything goes smoothly until the lovers belatedly reveal that Rafi is Palestinian. Amid the ensuing hysteria Rafi escapes to the kitchen ostensibly to help prepare the dinner. Unfortunately he drops the soup he was meant to defrost out of the seventh floor window hitting a pedestrian below and as if the evening s not going badly enough it turns out the pedestrian may be Leni s father. Hava Nagila: The Movie Hava Nagila is instantly recognizable and musical shorthand for anything Jewish. But as audiences will discover in- HAVA NAGILA (THE MOVIE), the song is much more than a tale of Jewish kitsch and bad bar mitzvah fashions. In its own believe-it-or-not way,- it encapsulates the Jewish journey over the past 150 years. Featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Leonard Nimoy, Regina Spektor and more,- the film - follows the song from Eastern Europe to Palestine and all the way to America. Fill the Void Fill the Void tells the story of an eighteen-yearold, Shira, who is the youngest daughter of her family. Her dreams are about to come true as she is set to be married off to a promising young man. Unexpectedly, her sister, Esther, dies while giving birth to her first child. The pain that overwhelms the family postpone Shira's promised match. Everything changes when an offer is proposed to match Yochay, the late Esther's husband, to a widow from Belgium. When the girls' mother finds out that Yochay may leave the country with her only grandchild, she proposes a match between Shira and the widower. Shira will have to choose between her heart's wish and her family duty. Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness A riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, SHOLEM ALEICHEM: LAUGHING IN THE DARKNESS tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature. Plumbing the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a new modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who forged it. For more information, please contact Dassy at or 570-961-2300 x2

Karnit Flug, the deputy governor of the Bank of Israel, was picked to move up to the top spot and if confirmed will be the first woman to be the central bank’s governor. Flug’s appointment was announced on Oct. 20 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid. The deputy governor since July 2011, Flug has been serving as acting governor since Stanley Fischer stepped down on June 30. Fischer recommended Flug to be his replacement. Her appointment comes after two would-be appointees withdrew their names from the nomination after embarrassing personal information came to light. Lawrence Summers, a former U.S. Treasury secretary and president of Harvard University, also reportedly turned down the post. Flug had resigned from her position after being passed over to replace Fischer. “We have been impressed by Dr. Flug’s performance as acting governor in recent months and we are certain that she will continue to assist us in moving the Israeli economy to additional achievements in the face of the global economic upheaval,” Netanyahu and Lapid said in a brief statement. Flug’s nomination must be confirmed by the Knesset. Flug received a doctorate in economics from Columbia University in 1985 and worked at the International Monetary Fund before joining the Bank of Israel in 1998. She joins Janet Yellen of the United States as landmark picks to lead the central banks of their countries. Yellen, who is Jewish, was appointed earlier in October as chief of the Federal Reserve and if confirmed would be its first female chief.

Israeli diplomats protest poster claiming ethnic cleansing of Bedouin

Israeli diplomats protested the use of a poster accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing against the Bedouin that was featured at an event at the European Parliament. “Stop Prawer-Begin Plan, no ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Bedouin” read the poster seen at a conference Oct. 17 in Brussels organized by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the European Parliament’s second largest bloc, on the Bedouin Arab minority in Israel. The Israeli ambassador to the European Union, David Walzer, termed the poster “unacceptable” in a letter he sent to the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, who is a member of the Socialists and Democrats group. “Europeans and Israelis are fully aware of the possible consequences of the irresponsible use of such words,” Walzer wrote. The Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, also known as the Prawer-Begin Plan, was drawn up by former Likud Knesset member Benny Begin and approved by the Cabinet in January. It calls for Israel to officially recognize and register the vast majority of Bedouin settlements throughout its South, and compensate the residents of 35 unrecognized villages – some 30,000 to 40,000 people – who are to be moved off state-owned land into towns built by Israel for them. The plan to remove the Bedouin has sparked protests in Israel and drawn condemnations from international bodies. Organizers of the conference in Brussels “systematically rejected” requests to host Doron Almog, director of the Headquarters for Economic and Community Development of the Negev Bedouin in the Prime Minister’s Office, Walzer said in a statement on Oct. 19. Leaders of the Socialists and Democrats group were not available for comment. David Saranga, the head of European Parliament Liaison Department at Israel’s mission to the European Union, said event organizers agreed only to give Almog the floor for five minutes during the debate. “All this makes me fear that the real objective of this seminar is not to improve the living conditions of the Israeli Bedouin, but rather to cynically exploit this crucial issue to bash again Israel,” Saranga said. “This is certainly not the best way to conduct a constructive dialogue.” Almog and Kamel Abu Nadi, an Israeli Bedouin from the Negev, addressed the Delegation for Relations with Israel in the European Parliament the same day and provided first-hand information concerning the Prawer-Begin Bill and its ramifications.

Several minor earthquakes shake Israel

Israel has been hit by four minor earthquakes over the past several days. Two earthquakes on Oct. 20 were felt in the area of Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee – one at noon and the second a few hours later. They both measured about 3.6 on the Richter scale. The previous day, an earthquake of the same magnitude hit northern Israel, with its epicenter between the Hula Nature Reserve and the Sea of Galilee. A 3.5 magnitude quake occurred late the week of Oct. 18, also near Tiberias. It is not known what the string of mild earthquakes means and if it is a precursor of a larger earthquake in the region. The Sea of Galilee is located on the Great Syria-African Rift, which has been the center of several earthquakes.

Family of Egyptian Righteous Gentile rejects honor

A family member of an Egyptian doctor who was the first Arab to be recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations said the family is not interested in the honor. Mohamed Helmy, who died in 1982, was recognized by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in a ceremony in September. The Associated Press tracked down one of Helmy’s relatives in Cairo, who told the news service that the family would not accept the award. “If any other country offered to honor Helmy, we would have been happy with it,” Mervat Hassan, the wife of Helmy’s great-nephew, told AP. Hassan told AP that the family did not want to accept the honor because Israel and Egypt continue to have a hostile relationship despite a 30-year peace treaty. She added, “I respect Judaism as a religion and I respect Jews. Islam recognizes Judaism as a heavenly religion.” Helmy settled in Berlin after completing his medical studies there, but was forbidden to work under the Nazi regime beginning in 1938 because he was not considered Aryan. He spoke out against Nazi policies and hid a Jewish friend at a cabin he owned. Helmy arranged

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

to hide other members of her family at the home of a German woman who also was honored by Yad Vashem, Frieda Szturmann, according to Yad Vashem. Letters written decades ago by the Jewish Holocaust survivors on behalf of Helmy were discovered in the archives of the Berlin Senate and recently submitted to Yad Vashem.

Israeli windsurfer Shahar Zubari takes gold at World Cup

Israeli windsurfer Shahar Zubari won a gold medal at the Sailing World Cup in China. Zubari finished first in the men’s RS:X on Oct. 19 in Qingdao. Israeli Maayan Davidovich took the bronze medal in the women’s RS:X. In 2008, Zubari won the bronze in the RS: X at the Beijing Olympics and the world championships.

Abbas: Peace talks have plenty of time

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the new peace talks with Israel have plenty of time to bear fruit. Abbas told the German news service Deutche Welle that the peace talks that restarted in July after a hiatus of several years have not reached a dead end, as some have claimed in recent weeks. “We’re still at the beginning of the road,” he said during the interview on Oct. 19. “We have enough time to continue to examine the main and tough issues.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said the talks should last about nine months. Abbas also said during his visit to Germany that any peace deal will be put up for referendum, and that Jerusalem should be the shared capital of both the Jewish and Palestinian states. He also hinted that the negotiations are based on the pre-1967 borders. Also on Oct. 19, the Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, called for an end to the division between the Palestinian leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to better negotiate an agreement with Israel. “Let’s have one government, one parliament and one president,” Haniyeh said, according to Reuters. He also called for a national strategy that includes “armed struggle, popular uprising and political, diplomatic and media battles.”

Knesset panel advances bill requiring two-thirds majority to negotiate Jerusalem

A bill approved by a Knesset committee would require the approval of a two-thirds majority of Knesset lawmakers to negotiate the status of Jerusalem. The Knesset Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved the bill by a 5-4 vote. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the measure, which will require 80 of the 120 Israeli lawmakers to approve any withdrawals from land within the city limits of Jerusalem. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians, has said she will file an appeal. Under the law, the Knesset, Cabinet and municipality of Jerusalem are exempt from implementing an agreement on Jerusalem reached without the approval of two-thirds of the Knesset.


to fill in that hole as long as I was going.” Lezak accompanied her to The Mikvah Society in San Francisco July 19. Standing behind a slightly ajar door, Lezak talked to her prior to each blessing that accompanied her three immersions into the water. He reminded her of their congregational visit to Israel, where they saw the mikvah at Masada, telling her she was connected to thousands of years of history. He emphasized that she was doing the conversion blessing solely for herself, since she was “already unquestionably Jewish.” He also asked her “to look at the stairs leading out of the mikvah and to see them as stairs leading to the next chapter of my life.”

Continued from page 13 The mikvah attendant stood by, declaring “kasher” after each dunk. For Barnes, the immersion marked an end to dealing with the knowledge that she had missed her father’s final days and the ensuing difficulties involving his estate. “There’s definitely a clear line between then and now; I’m whole now,” she says, adding that she plans to visit the mikvah to mark future life passages. “I cried through the whole thing. I didn’t feel sad. It just felt powerful,” she says. “I felt connected to an ancient tradition.” If you know of a lifecycle event that would make a great story, e-mail lifecyclist@jta. org.

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For more information about leaving your legacy, legacy gifts or bequests contact:

Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania TEL: 570.961.2300 (ext. 1) E-Mail: With the true spirit of kehilla and our commitment to tikkun olam, the Jewish Federation’s CREATE A JEWISH LEGACY Initiative is a community-wide partnership established between the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania and its many UJA-funded educational, social service, cultural and recreational agencies and institutions including the State of Israel and the needs of world Jewry – all with a shared vision of ensuring a strong and sustainable Jewish future.

TODAY. TOMORROW. TOGETHER These include world-wide Jewish needs (JDC), the State of Israel, Scranton JCC, Jewish Family Service of NEPA, Scranton Hebrew Day School, Scranton Mikveh, Temple Hesed Religious School, Scranton Temple Israel Religious School, Yeshiva Beth Moshe/Milton Eisner Institute, Bais Yaakov of Scranton, B’nai Harim Religious School, Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms Religious School, Jewish Discovery Center/Chabad, Bnos Yisroel of Scranton, Jewish Resource Center of the Poconos and Temple Israel of the Poconos Hebrew School

October 24, 2013 Edition of the Federation Reporter  
October 24, 2013 Edition of the Federation Reporter  

October 24, 2013 Edition of the Federation Reporter