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Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania OCTOBER 11, 2012
VOLUME X, NUMBER 20
“For ourselves, for our children, for Israel – forever”
Federation’s Super Sunday scheduled for Oct. 14 The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s “biggest day of the year,” Super Sunday, will be held at Nivert Metal in Throop. “On Sunday, October 14,” said Executive Director Mark Silverberg, “you will receive an important phone call.” Silverberg has asked all community members to remember several points when answering the phone: In the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, more than 200,000 elderly Jews receive food and other emergency supplies from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an agency funded with money from the Annual United Jewish Appeal Campaign, to which this Federation allocates its overseas dollars. In Israel, children are kept safe with extra security guards and after-school activities
organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel with funds provided by UJA dollars. In Buenos Aires, thousands of Jews receive some form of help through the “Solidaria” (Solidarity Network), organized by the JDC and funded by United Jewish Appeal. Aliyah from Argentina, Ethiopia, Russia, Britain and France continues, and the Jewish Agency for Israel is funding their resettlement in Israel with resources provided by United Jewish Appeal. Jewish Family Service in Northeastern Pennsylvania is providing help and support for a growing population of seniors and financial help for families in need in local communities. The Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania and Elan Gardens (its assisted living facility) are providing the elderly in North-
eastern Pennsylvania with special programs, services and health care that improves the quality of their lives. The Reporter, the newspaper the Federation pays to publish, keeps the Jewish community informed on what is happening within it and provides a forum for its members to express their opinions. Grants from the Unrestricted Endowment Fund provide new and creative programs and services to the region that are designed to enhance the quality of Jewish life throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. The December 2012 Budapest/Israel Solidarity Mission has 16 participants from Lackawanna, Monroe, Wayne and Pike counties, many of whom have never before been to Israel. The regional Community Relations Com-
Major Gifts brunch and Pocono dinner called “the best ever” The annual Major Gifts brunch for the 2013 UJA Campaign was held at the home of Michael and Kathleen Karnoff on September 23. The featured speaker was Stephen Flatow After the buffet, Campaign Co-Chairmen Jeff Rubel and Don Douglass explained the importance of contributing to the Campaign and introduced Flatow, who shared the story of his daughter, Alisa, who died of wounds sustained in a suicide bombing in Israel. He described his daughter’s “joie de vivre, her love of Torah Judaism,” and her commitment to the state of Israel. Tearfully, he shared with those present the hospital’s request of whether his family would consider donating Alisa’s organs. Thinking of her “generous nature” and the family’s personal Zionist and Jewish attitude “that we must give back to our people and to the state of Israel that had given so much to them in general and to Alisa in particular,” the Flatows agreed. Mark Silverberg, executive director
See more photos of the Campaign events on page 7. of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, concluded the morning program with a call for “unity and continuity among all Jews.” Later that afternoon, Colfax Avenue Enterprises (the caterers for both events) prepared for an overflow audience at Temple Israel of the Poconos in Stroudsburg a variety of hor d’oeuvres, a chicken buffet and desserts. Douglass thanked Temple Israel of the Poconos and its president, Sue Tremper, for hosting the annual Pocono UJA Program. He introduced Barbara Nivert, 2013 Women’s Campaign chairwoman, and thanked the group “for its continuing support of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania.” Flatow was introduced, this time by Rubel, and again, the attendees listened to Flatow’s story. He closed his remarks at both events by speaking of the Yom Kippur season and said that “though God decides each person’s fate for the coming year dur-
ing these Holy Days of Awe, it is in each person’s hand to maximize his or her days by reaching out to others and supporting the Jewish people and the land of Israel.” Members of the Greater Stroudsburg, Honesdale, Hemlock Farms and B’nai See “Pocono” on page 6
mittee continues to work with the local and regional media on Israel-related issues, with the clergy on interfaith matters and with national Jewish organizations on matters pertaining to antisemitism and the national and world Jewish condition. Holocaust education programs, already established in the Greater Scranton area, are now being expanded through East Stroudsburg University and the public school systems of Monroe County. The Federation cooperates with local Jewish organizations and congregations to identify and connect unaffiliated families to the Jewish community and to promote participation in Jewish life. “There are more points to remember,” Silverberg said, “but those listed suffice to show the value of your UJA dollars here at home, in Israel and around the world.” Super Sunday Chairman Jim Ellenbogen said, “When the phone call comes on Super Sunday, we ask that you give with an open heart. For Israel, for Jewish life in Northeastern Pennsylvania, for our fellow Jews everywhere, and for our neighbors on October 14, answer the call.”
2013 UJA paign Update Cam
Pay it forward & give to the 2013 Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania Annual Campaign! Goal: $800,090
For information or to make a donation call 570-961-2300 ext. 1 or send your gift to: Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510
Campaign Co-chairman Don Douglass and Joyce Douglass enjoyed the program.
(Please MEMO your pledge or gift 2013 UJA Campaign)
$222,240 as of Oct. 5, 2012
Federation on Facebook Federation President Don Bernstein and Campaign Co-chairman Jeff Rubel socialized at the home of Michael and Kathleen Karnoff.
Doug and Madelyn Fink attended the Major Gifts brunch.
L-r: Joyce Douglass, Women’s Campaign chairwoman, and Barbara and Louis Nivert, listened to the speaker.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Campaign Chai-lights
Baseball in Israel
Jews in Latin America
The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania now has a page on Facebook to let community members know about upcoming events and keep connected.
Candle lighting October 12........................................6:08 pm October 19........................................5:57 pm October 26....................................... 5:47 pm
A brief look at JAFI, the JDC, Taglit- More Israeli youth are playing Jewish life is growing in Latin PLUS Birthright Israel and other programs baseball, as Israeli teams participate America, which is now home to an Opinion...........................................................2 the UJA Campaign supports. in international competitions. estimated 500,000 Jews. D’var Torah.................................................10 Story on page 5 Story on page 8 Story on page 9 News in Brief..............................................19
THE REPORTER ■ october 11, 2012
a matter of opinion For ourselves, for our children, for Israel – forever
“Judenrein” On Yom Kippur 2012, the U.N. General Assembly “hosted” Iranian Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, whose antisemitic genocidal diatribes against Jews, Israel and Zionists (who, for all intents and purposes are treated as one in the same) have b e c o m e commonplace in that organization and throughout the Islamic world. The following article (originally given as a lecture) was published on November 16, 2003, in response to similar comments made by a former of prime minister of Malaysia – Mahathir Mohamad – to the Organization of Islamic Nations. Sadly, it remains as relevant today as it was a decade ago. In 1862, the lord mayor of London hosted a dinner in honor of the visiting grand duke of Russia and among the invited guests was the famous Jewish philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore. The grand duke was a rabid antisemite and being true to his pathology, he could not let the moment pass without commenting to the lord mayor in a voice loud enough to be heard by the assembled guests that on his last visit to Japan, he noted that the country “was unique in that it had neither Jews nor pigs!” The assembled quests were clearly embarrassed, but Montefiore casually leaned forward and, looking the grand duke directly in the eyes, replied, “Well sir, perhaps you and I should visit Japan – that way, they would have a sample of each!”
History tells us that the level of antisemitism in any society is a barometer of that society’s health. If so, I would say that the United States is in pretty good shape, that Europe is developing a serious case of Alzheimer’s and that the Muslim world is about as pathological as
from the desk of the executive director
“ The Reporter” (USPS #482) is published bi-weekly by the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510.
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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: www.jewishnepa.org How to SUBMIT ARTICLES: Mail: 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 E-mail: email@example.com Fax: (570) 346-6147 Phone: (570) 961-2300 How to reach the advertising Representative: Phone: (800) 779-7896, ext. 244 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscription Information: Phone: (570) 961-2300
Mark silverberG one could possibly imagine. Four recent incidents have occurred that should be cause for concern. In early November, two suicide bombers attacked the two major synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 24 persons who were attending a bar mitzvah. Last month, Joe Lieberman was hissed at by an Arab-American audience in Dearborn, MI, when he briefly explained Israel’s defensive wall in terms not unlike those used by other candidates. The problem was not so much what he said. He was hissed at because he was a Jew. At about the same time, a Gallup poll was taken by the European Union to determine the countries that Europeans felt represented the greatest threat to international peace. Israel placed number one; America came in a close second. Now understand, throughout the past decade, the North Korean regime has starved an estimated three million of its own people, established thousands of slave labor camps, developed nuclear weapons in violation of every agreement it has ever made and is seeking to sell them to the highest bidder. North Korea has lobbed ballistic missiles over Japan, threatened a nuclear war of annihilation against its southern neighbor and supports itself primarily by dealing in drugs and counterfeit currency. And yet, 60 percent of Europeans regard Israel as more threatening than either North Korea or Iran – the second largest funder of terrorism in the world next to Saudi Arabia. So, if ever there was proof that there was something sinister lying behind Europe’s constant criticism of Israel and its support of Israel’s enemies other than pure antisemitism, this poll now answers it. Antisemitism has evolved from an irrational hatred or jealousy of Jews to an irrational hatred or jealousy of the Jewish state – Israel. Last month, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia summed up the world’s problems with his buddies in the Organization of Islamic Nations. According to the prime minister, Jews should be con-
demned for having invented (among other things) such concepts as human rights and democracy... and then he added: “They and their ideas rule the world by proxy.” This is not a man who is especially interested in interfaith dialogue. Yet, even his crudely antisemitic remarks aren’t the real problem. The real problem is that 57 other world leaders applauded him. A politician making such remarks about Jews at an international summit is a man with a problem. But when 57 Muslim world leaders applaud him, that’s a clash of civilizations, because a mindset that dwells on the hatred of Jews and infidels leads directly to a rejection of Western values and Western civilization. These four events should give us cause for concern because most of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world never even met a Jew. For example, there are 70 million Egyptians today, 95 percent of whom have never come within a mile of a Jew (unless they were in the Egyptian Third Army that was surrounded by the Israelis in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which case they would have seen plenty of Jews under less than pleasant circumstances). But that aside, one of the highest-rated Egyptian television programs in recent memory was a 41-episode series aired last Ramadan on the Jewish conspiracy to take over the world and the methods used by “that accursed, wicked race” to use Christian or Muslim blood to bake into their Passover matzahs and hamantashen for the Purim holidays. It is amazing that the greatest hatred of Jews today exists in a country where only 28 Jews actually remain. The 57 countries present at the Muslim summit did not notice, however, that the prime minister was insulting them more than the Jews, for he was addressing the leadership of a group of failed states whose total gross domestic product constitutes less than the GDP of Spain. He was speaking to a collection of aging jihadists, dictators, kings and emirs who would probably be the only audience on earth to applaud the damning of Jews for establishing human rights and democracy. Ironically, these nations are hardly in a position to condemn human rights and democracy, since they have never tried them! In fact, their only achievement has been that they have stolen their nations’ oil wealth and plundered the human capital of their own people. So, there’s something pathetic about a culture that is so ignorant and ill-prepared for the challenges of the 21st century that even its pathologies (like antisemitism) have to be imported from Europe. Because the truth is, by not introducing human rights and democracy into their na-
tions, the Arab/Persian world has doomed itself to live forever in the shadow of the greatness that was once the Moorish Empire of Spain. Bin Laden said he wanted it back. The problem is, he couldn’t deliver, and only the West can show him how. A thousand years ago, the Islamic Empire in southern Spain produced leaders, philosophers, mathematicians, chemists and astrologers who encouraged their followers to experiment and to challenge established norms; scholars who coined the terms – al-gebrwa (or algebra) and al-kamiya (or alchemy, the forerunner of chemistry); who created the first celestial map (check the names of the stars and note that many are in Arabic); who adapted Hindu numerals (now known as “Arabic numerals”) to mathematics; and who laid the foundations for the European Renaissance. Moorish Spain was the greatest economic and military power on earth, a symbol of the greatness of the Islamic world at a time when Europe was lost in medieval feudalism. In fact, the great Jewish doctor and philosopher Maimonides was a student who studied at the feet of Islamic scholars. Today, that same Islamic world has descended into a stagnant cultural abyss whose social and economic development is about where Europe was in the 11th century. They are a sorry group of failed states that have not produced one single manufactured product of sufficient quality to sell competitively on world markets; whose national productivity is the lowest in the world with the possible exception of sub-Saharan Africa; whose capitals do not contain a single world-class university; and whose countries do not host a single true democracy that respects human rights, or permits a responsible media, or encourages the rights of women or minorities. So, for the leader of a Muslim nation to condemn Jews because they are the founders of human rights and democracy, and to attack them “as a people who think” can only be perceived as a compliment by any sentient human being. The prime minister is wrong when he says that Jews rule the world, but he is right when he implies that we have made a difference in it. The Arab Muslim world may weave conspiracy theories about Jews, and cover its newspapers with excerpts from “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and stories of Jewish blood libels, but the truth remains that, as a people, the ideas and concepts that Jews formulated have changed the face of virtually every civilization known to man – and from a people who represent less than one-quarter of one percent of the world’s population – I’d See “Judenrein” on page 8
letters to the editor Jewish voters should look at actions and words of presidential candidates To the Editor: The article by Aaron Troodler in the issue of September 27 states a truism: basically, “look before you leap,” referring to the upcoming election. He urges Jewish Americans to pay attention to the candidates to discern their true intent when they speak. The platitude “actions speak louder than words,” while trite, is highly appropriate in this election. Both of the major candidates are well-known to switch their allegiance
to issues, based upon the perceived popularity of the position. In other words, the candidates are likely to say anything to get elected. However, in the case of the incumbent, President Obama, we have hard facts and actions that we can rely upon instead of his words. Most recently, he refused the request of Israel’s prime minister to confer with him at the U.N. meeting in late September, just as he did once before
Reader appreciates book review To the Editor: A few weeks ago, I read a book review in your paper on “The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer,”
and I ordered the book from Amazon, and read it. It was a wonderful book and I thank you for bringing it to my attention. Sincerely, Roz Dichter
earlier this year. He has refused to refer to Islamic terrorists as the terrorists they have demonstrated themselves to be. He continues his support of the new radical Islamist regime in Egypt after helping to depose President Mubarak, a leader who could be relied upon to keep the peace with Israel. He is unable, or unwilling, to make hard decisions with regard to Iran and its potential nuclear threat. In short, President Obama’s actions disqualify him from receiving the votes of any Jewish voters, if the well-being of Israel is the issue. That is not to say that Mitt Romney or Gary Johnson are better. Their actions cannot be demonstrated at the present time. But as the article said, “Jews should vote with religion in mind.” Gerald M. Serlin
OCTOBER 11, 2012 ■
community news University of Scranton to hold lecture on “Pope John Paul II and the Jews” on Oct. 25 The Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute of year, he was a visiting fellow at Princeton the University of Scranton has announced a University’s James Madison Program in public lecture by Dr. David Dalin on the topic American Ideals and Institutions. He has been “Pope John Paul II and the Jews.” The lecture a visiting professor at the Jewish Theological will be held on Thursday, October 25, at 7:30 Seminary, George Washington University and pm, in the Pearn Auditorium at Brennan Hall Smith College. on campus. The lecture will be free and open He received his B.A. from the University of to the public. California at Berkeley, where he was elected to Dalin is a widely-published scholar of Phi Beta Kappa. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. American Jewish history and politics, as well from Brandeis University. He also received his as Jewish-Christian relations. He is currently a Dr. David Dalin rabbinical ordination and a second M.A. from professor of history and politics at Ave Maria the Jewish Theological Seminary. University in Florida. During the 2002-03 academic Dalin is the author, co-author or editor of 10 books,
The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition
State Capitol news Reprinted from Volume 6, Edition 2, September 27 PJC Mission Statement The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, working individually and collectively with others, represents Pennsylvania’s Jewish communities before state government and with other Pennsylvanians. Jewish values guide the PJC’s focus on issues of importance to these communities, including public social policies and funding and regulation of the delivery of human services Voter ID – will it be needed this election? According to an article in The Patriot News, opponents of the state’s voter ID law wanted an injunction when they filed a lawsuit challenging the requirement that voters produce a photo identification to have their votes count on Tuesday, November 6. They might get one, though it remains to be seen whether such an order would do what they sought. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ended a six-hour court session hinting he might issue an injunction as a possible outcome. He asked the lawyers for both sides to come to court, when the hearing resumes, prepared to argue what that order should say. State of Pennsylvania – 12,000 voter ID cards issued According to an Associated Press article, the state’s top election official says nearly 12,000 new identification cards have been issued by the commonwealth to residents seeking to comply with a tough new Pennsylvania law requiring voters to show photo ID. Secretary of Commonwealth Carol Aichele said that most of those cards are “non-driver voter identification cards.” Aichele estimates about 100,000 of the 9.6 million eligible voters in Pennsylvania don’t have a proper form of identification. Education Improvement Tax Credits for fiscal year 2012-13 already filled The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue established Act 4 of 2001, which authorizes awarding tax credits to businesses that contribute to a nonprofit scholarship organization, such as public and private educational programs. The Pennsylvania Jewish Educational programs receive more than $8 million in scholarships through the program. During the past state budget battle, the Jewish commu-
nities were successful in educating elected officials about the need for reforming the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program and the need for additional credit dollars for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten-12th grade educational programs. Efforts were successful in an EITC increase from $75 million to $100 million. Sixty million dollars will be allocated toward EITC kindergarten-12th grade for private schools, $30 million will be allocated toward EITC kindergarten-12th grade in public schools and $10 million will be allocated toward EITC pre-kindergarten. In addition, a new program was created: the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit, which creates $50 million in scholarship tax credits to help students in distressed schools find other educational alternatives. The reforms passed in the last budget include the elimination of the July 8 application filing for S-Corps, whereby enabling all businesses to file on July 1. They passed an increase in the ceiling credit applied for by a company. There is also an early application process to enable companies who have utilized the EITC program to be able to apply for their renewal before the July 1 filing date as a reward for continued support of the program. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, all of the available credits in the EITC program were filled by July 9. Kindergarten-12th grade credits were filled by July 9 applications, with applications received on July 9 randomly awarded. Pre-kindergarten credits were fully exhausted as of July 2, with 99 percent of the applications received on July 2 accepted. For OSTC, only $10 million out of the $50 million in the program has been applied and awarded.
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including “The Presidents of the United States and the Jews.” His book “Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience,” co-authored with Professor Jonathan D. Sarna of Brandeis University and published by the University of Notre Dame Press, was selected by Choice as one of the outstanding academic books of 1998. He has written extensively on Catholic-Jewish relations and the history of the relationship between the Papacy and the Jews. Dalin’s article on “Pius XII and the Jews” was published in The Weekly Standard and reprinted in Inside the Vatican, published in Rome. Dalin’s book “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis,” has been translated into French, Spanish and Italian. He is also the co-editor of the book “John Paul II and the Jewish People: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue,” published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2008. Dalin has lectured extensively on American Jewish history and Jewish-Christian relations at colleges and universities, as well as at Jewish communal institutions, throughout the United States.
The following are deadlines for all articles and photos for upcoming Reporter issues.
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THE REPORTER ■ october 11, 2012
HERC news The Holocaust Education Resource Center will be functioning this year on a more limited basis, with Tova Weiss continuing as part-time director and Dr. David Malinov heading its Education Advisory Board, as decisions will be made about restructuring the center and the future. Its first focus will be an educators conference, which will be held at the University of Scranton on Thursday, November 29. For more information on the conference, see article on this page. HERC’s “crown program,” the Teen Symposium on the Holocaust, will continue as well. Spring 2013 will mark the 25th anniversary of the program, which has educated more than 20,000 students and teachers, and allowed them to meet with survivors and liberators to hear first-hand testimony. Mary Ann Answini has been named symposium coordinator after working with Weiss as co-coordinator for two years. Answini is a recently retired educator who was responsible for bringing many North Pocono students to the symposium throughout the years, as well as training other teachers in educating about the Holocaust. Answini has already organized a committee and begun to plan for the upcoming 25th Teen Symposium on the Holocaust, which will be held at Marywood University from TuesdayWednesday, May 21-22. The 25th anniversary year will mark “a major milestone,” according to a HERC representative, and will “emphasize the foresight of the symposium’s founders,” including Seymour Brotman, then executive director of the Federation; Mickey Rosenberg, then Community Relations Committee professional; and Tova Weiss, then lay chairwoman of the CRC. The HERC resource collection is not accessible to the general public at this time, but HERC representatives expressed hope that it will be available in the near future. The Resource Center director’s phone number remains 961-2300, ext. 6, and the e-mail is email@example.com. Answini can be reached at 961-2300, ext. 5, and her e-mail is MaryAnn.Answini@jewishnepa.org. Rae Magliocchi, HERC secretary, can be reached at 961-2300, ext. 4, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Echoes and Reflections” professional development conference on Nov. 29 The Holocaust Education Resource Center is coordinating a full-day professional development conference, scheduled for Thursday, November 29, in Brennan Hall, at the University of Scranton. The conference will be supported by the Jewish Federation, the university and the Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute of the University of Scranton. The deadline for registration is Tuesday, November 13, but registration will be made on a first-come, first serve basis, with a total of 60 participants accepted. “As experienced teachers retire and new teachers replace them, there is a great need for training, support and curricular materials,” explained organizers of the conference. “Beyond the history and personal stories of survivors and liberators, the lessons of the Holocaust are often seen as a way to deal with battling current genocides and helping to prevent future ones.” The conference will present two three-hour workshops, each led by an expert national trainer, and each will be offered twice in order to allow for smaller, more interactive groups of participants. One workshop will train teachers in the use of “Echoes and Reflections,” a state-of-the-art multimedia curriculum available on teaching the Holocaust, with a curriculum developed by the three Holocaust education institutions: Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem, University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation and the AntiDefamation League. A DVD of material accompanies the curriculum, featuring primary source materials and videos from the collection of the Spielberg Foundation of firstperson testimony from survivors, rescuers, liberators and other witnesses of the Holocaust. “Echoes and Reflections” supports study in United States and world history, English, Holocaust studies, fine arts, character education and the social sciences, and meets or reinforces U.S. national standards in social studies, English/language arts and viewing and media literacy. It also supports a number of state standards, all of which is explained. The curriculum also connects to contemporary issues of diversity, prejudice and bigotry, and modern-day genocide. The other workshop, though not a parallel to the Ho-
locaust, addresses bullying in schools. To help educators deal with physical, verbal, social and online bullying, the ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute has created “Becoming an Ally” workshops as tools in schools’ efforts to address bullying in all of its forms. An early September meeting with superintendents of Northeast Intermediate Unit 19 set the stage for encouraging principals to release teachers to participate in the program. Since then, a mailing went out to all principals in NEIU 19 and IU 18 (Wilkes-Barre), as well directly to teachers. The professional development conference will be offered free of charge and each participant will each receive a free copy of the “Echoes and Reflections” curriculum and DVD. Extra copies will be available for the full price. Conference organizers hope community members will encourage others to attend. For a registration form, see the ad on this page. Teachers can earn ACT 48 hours through NEIU 19. For more information, call Tova Weiss at 961-230, ext. 6, or Rae Magliocchi at 961-2300, ext. 4.
Cultural tour of Israel
Group IST is partnering with artist collective Artists 4 Israel to bring A4I’s arts mission to the general public via Culture Bang!, a week-long guided trip to Israel to explore the country’s arts and cultural life. The trip will take place from December 26-January 1. With an itinerary created exclusively for Group IST by A4I, travelers on the Culture Bang! tour will experience Israel through the lens of local artists in all mediums while visiting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Israel’s north. Artists in the disciplines of visual art, dance, graffiti, installation art, sculpture, theater, music and film are among those visited. The Culture Bang! tour package, which includes airfare, six nights stay at beachside hotels, regional travel, VIP passes to clubs, bars, restaurants and art shows, all breakfasts and art supplies, is available for $2,999. For more information, visit www.groupist. com/artists4israel.
JNF bird watching missions
ECHOES AND REFLECTIONS
Professional Development CONFERENCE Thursday, November 29, 2012 • Brennan Hall, University of Scranton Offering Two Workshops:
ECHOES AND REFLECTIONS: A Multi-Media Curriculum on the HOLOCAUST
Great resources for educators to incorporate in their classrooms – no matter the time frame of their unit. and
BECOMING AN ALLY: Responding to Name-Calling and Bullying for Educators Please Note: The Holocaust and Bullying are not parallel, but do share the basis of “targeting the other.” With bullying growing as a national – and local – problem, it is timely and appropriate to deal with both subjects.
Please cut and send in the form below. Additional Information: Tova Weiss, 570-961-2300, X6 or Rae, 570-961-2300, X4 Please print or type the following information:
ECHOES AND REFLECTIONS EDUCATORS CONFERENCE NAME:________________________________________________________________________ POSITION:_________________________________________________________________ GRADE LEVEL:____________________________________________ YEARS TEACHING:________________________________________________________________ SUBJECTS TAUGHT:____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ SCHOOL NAME:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ SCHOOL PHONE______________________________________ FAX:______________________________________ EMAIL:________________________________________ HOME ADDRESS:_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ HOME PHONE (optional):________________________________________________ EMAIL:________________________________________________________________
All registrations forms must arrive by TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13TH Send to: Holocaust Education Resource Center, 601 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, PA 18510
Jewish National Fund will hold its third annual Bird Watching and Nature Photography Mission. The 10-day excursion to Israel and Cyprus, led by Reuven Yosef, former director of the International Birding and Research Center in Eilat, will take place February 12-21, at the peak of Israel’s spring migration. Israel is located on a central migratory path, attracting both professional and amateur birders, photographers and experts from all over the world. Among mission stops will be Lake Agmon in the Hula Valley, a major feeding stop for migrating birds en route between Africa and Europe; a tour of the Hula Birdwatching Center, named one of the world’s most outstanding sites for nature observation and photography by BBC Wildlife Magazine; and the Jerusalem Bird Watching Observatory, where Eyal Bartov will lead a workshop on nature and wildlife photography. For the first time, participants will experience a two-day trip to Cyprus. Located along the bird migration route between Africa and Europe, the island of Cyprus is considered one of the best places to watch birds in the midst of their seasonal migration. The trip will also visit JNF projects and sites, includingAleh Negev, a communal rehabilitative village; Be’er Sheva River Park, the centerpiece of JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign; Sderot Indoor Recreation Center; and Harvey Hertz-JNF Ceremonial Tree Planting Center. Participants will have the option to include an additional day tour to hike or take a cablecar ride to Masada and enjoy a visit to the Dead Sea. Registration is available online at JNF.org/travel/missions/. For more information, contact Stuart Diamant-Cohen at email@example.com or 410-486-3317.
OCTOBER 11, 2012 ■
UJA Campaign Chai-lights
JAFI, Taglit-Birthright Israel, the JDC and more “UJA Campaign gifts do a ‘World of Good,’” said a Campaign representative, who noted that 32 percent, or $279,800, of the 2012 UJA Campaign was allocated to Israel and overseas Jewish assistance. Jewish Agency for Israel – the Israel experience The Jewish Agency for Israel is aware of the “transformative” effect of “Israel experiences,” particularly on young Jews. With the help of donors, the agency harnesses the potential of Israel experiences as “a vital key to securing the Jewish future.” Together with the government of Israel, as well as with fund received from Federations across North America (as part of its Israel/Overseas allocations), the Jewish Agency provides an array of long-term and short-term Israel experiences for tens of thousands of Jewish teens and young adults each year. Its developing continuum welcomes young Jews to Israel from North America, South and Central America, Eastern and Western Europe, Australia, South Africa and the former Soviet Union, providing identity-building programs and “forging lifelong bonds between Diaspora youth and the Jewish state.” In 2010, the agency helped bring approximately 38,000 young Jews to Israel from around the world for study, internships, volunteer, work, travel and social opportunities. Tens of thousands continue to seek these experiences out, and “the Jewish Agency is committed to making their dreams come true.” From 10 days to 12 months: Taglit-Birthright and Masa Israel The Taglit-Birthright Israel program, or “Birthright,” offers groups of Jewish young adults 10-day educational tours of Israel that are fully subsidized by donors, with no cost to participants. Visitors ages 18-26 experience “intensive Israel immersion” as they interact with Israeli peers, travel on professional guided tours and attend a traditional celebration of Shabbat. Masa Israel Journey connects young, Jewish adults from around the world with approximately 200 “gap year,” study abroad, post-college and volunteer programs in
Israel, lasting from five-12 months. Masa Israel Journey is a collaboration of the Jewish Agency and the government of Israel, with the Israeli government matching every dollar raised for Masa Israel by the Jewish Agency and subsidizing the experiences with scholarships. Established in 2003, Masa has brought more than 55,000 young Jews to Israel from communities throughout North America and the world, including approximately 10,000 in 2010-11 alone. For high school students: Lapid and Machon Lapid, or Hebrew for “torch,” was founded in 2008 as a cooperative initiative to raise awareness of and to significantly increase participation in quality high school-age programs in Israel. The coalition was built on the concept that “a strong relationship with Israel begins with a meaningful Israel educational experience and is vital to developing and fostering collective Jewish identity in youth.” As one of the three primary organizations bringing youth to Israel from abroad, Lapid seeks equal recognition and financial and institutional support on par with comparable programs for participants of university age. The Young Leadership Training Institute, or Machon, was founded in 1946 as an initiative of the World Zionist Organization to operate training programs for the graduates of Zionist Youth Movements from abroad that provide advocacy and educational tools to respond to the challenges facing Zionism – namely, encouraging immigration to Israel and settling the land. To date, more than 12,000 graduates have passed through the gates of Machon, including young women and men from South America, Mexico, the U.S., Europe, South Africa and Australia. Machon alumni have gone on to lead their respective Jewish communities and have continued to work in the sphere of Jewish Zionist education. ConnecTLV and absorption programs for youth and young adults ConnecTLV is a social venture that strives to connect young people to the state of Israel, and help them through the process of aliyah and absorption through online and offline networks. ConnecTLV was founded in
2010 and has already worked with thousands of young Jews from around the world, in Israel, through social and cultural event programming designed to engage young, new immigrants seeking to expand their support networks through friendship, social groups and, ultimately, aliyah resources. The Jewish Agency operates a range of customized absorption programs for young adults that blend integration into Israeli society with supportive services. Training workshops, vocational seminars and academic and nonacademic frameworks offer young new immigrants from varying countries of origin an entry into Israeli society featuring numerous supportive resources. Jewish Caring for Elderly from Argentina to Uruguay and Beyond At the age of 101, “Rebeca” lives at the Jewish elderly home in Montevideo, Uruguay, where she enjoys literature classes, gymnastics and the care of the highly trained staff. “Rebeca” is 101-years-old, but “seems to have the sprightly energy of a woman not a day over 80,” said JDC representative. Still, the toll of her life and the limitations of aging mean she is no longer able to care for herself. With no family in which to turn, Rebeca looked to the Jewish community for support. For the past three years, Rebeca has resided at Hogar Israelita Uruguay, the Jewish old age home in Montevideo “that ensures members of the local Jewish community can live out their lives with nurture and dignity,” according to a JDC representative. Conceived with JDC’s professional council and modeled on the state-of-the-art LeDor VaDor elderly home built by JDC and the local Jewish community in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the facility provides complete care for its residents. JDC brings its expertise to its work with the elderly in Latin America, built on decades of experience in caring for aging Jews in Israel, the former Soviet Union and beyond. This expertise is applied to the training of professionals in eldercare, as well as building local capacity and improving the quality of service. Most recently, JDC organized a See “Campaign” on page 6
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It will allow people from Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Wayne and Pike counties 24/7 access to: . Exchange Business Leads . Promote your Business . Develop Critical Business Skills and Solutions
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THE REPORTER ■ october 11, 2012
Continued from page 1
Harim Jewish communities commented that the event “was the finest UJA-Pocono program they had ever attended.” “The sense of community and friendship was evident through the camaraderie that was apparent to all, and the audience was clearly mesmerized and energized by the program,” said a Campaign representative.
Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania Executive Director Mark Silverberg listened to guest speaker Stephen Flatow.
Ken and Bonnie Green attended the Major Gifts brunch.
Jeff and Carol Rubel attended the event.
Gerry Sare attended the Major Gifts brunch.
Hosts Kathleen (mostly hidden) and Michael Karnoff listened to the speaker, Stephen Flatow.
Campaign Don and Carol Dembert attended the Major Gifts brunch.
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series of conferences for professionals and nursing home directors from throughout the Latin America. Participants from Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo came together to learn, share practices and exchange solutions among their respective institutions. For Rebeca, the staff’s professionalism and the community are said to be “what set Hogar Israelita Uruguay apart.” She said, “When I was no longer able to fend for myself, it was very important to me to live in a Jewish home. I couldn’t have family nearby so I wanted to have community. It has been an excellent experience for me here.”
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.
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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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Al Reich attended the Major Gifts brunch. Continued from page 5 Rebeca’s personal story has been filled with trials. She moved to Montevideo from Buenos Aires when she was in her early 20s, married a fellow Sephardic Jew and gave birth to two children in quick succession. But when her younger daughter was born with micro-encephalitis and several severe disabilities, Rebecca devoted her life to caring for her child’s unique needs. She tended to her husband’s traditional home and volunteered in her community as president of the Women’s Commission at B’nai B’rith. After her son married and had children of his own, he moved his family to Israel, leaving Rebeca alone to care for his ailing sister. But with the passing years, being a sole caretaker proved too difficult and she used her savings to put her grown daughter into a place that could meet her needs. Unfortunately, by the time Rebeca was 98, she was no longer able to live independently; her son had passed away and the Jewish community was the only place she could seek help. “I couldn’t be alone,” she said. “At Hogar Israelita Uruguay I got the assistance I needed.” Today, Rebecca reportedly “relishes” her days with her community. “I am almost blind, but people here know I love literature so they read to me. It’s wonderful! The kindness and the compassion of the staff – I couldn’t get that anywhere else.” “Please remember to donate to our annual UJA Campaign,” said a Campaign representative.
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THE REPORTER ■ october 11, 2012
Israel’s baseball fans field dreams of growth
By Ben Sales BAPTISTS’ VILLAGE, Israel (JTA) – The 14- and 15-year-old boys pat their gloves and stand alert across the infield, their knees bent and eyes shifting between home plate and the pitcher’s mound. Coaches yell out the familiar phrases: “Nice play!” “Throw to first!” “Easy out!” Then, from the dugout, a player shouts, “Yala, Uriah! Kadima!” – “Let’s go, Uriah! Forward!” Then, in English, “Eyes on the ball!” and turns to his teammate to chat in Hebrew.
“When I started playing baseball, I started understanding more English,” said Tal Degani, 14, a reserve right fielder for the Misgav Pythons, a youth team from northern Israel. An Israeli native, Degani “found baseball on the Internet” and from there connected with the Israel Association of Baseball, which has organized youth and amateur competition across the country for 20 years. Six hours later, in Jupiter, FL, Israel’s national baseball team won its second qualifying game for the World Baseball Classic, defeating Spain, 4-2. Coupled with its 7-3
victory over South Africa in the qualifying round opener on September 19, Team Israel needed one more victory in the modified double-elimination tournament to advance to the WBC in March. Israel, however, was unable to pick up the victory, losing 9-7 to Spain in 10 innings on September 23 in the final game of the qualifying round. Israel and Spain finished with the same record in the tournament, but Spain advanced to the WBC. With just three Israeli members, Team Israel’s core is professional Jewish players,
active and retired. They include former outfielders Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler, who had to withdraw from the roster due to injury and is now the bench coach for manager Brad Ausmus, an ex-Major League catcher primarily for the Houston Astros. Team Israel’s Major League makeup is a far cry from Israeli baseball, which is played mostly on sandlots and converted soccer fields by teenagers and about 75 diehard adults, mostly American immigrants and their children. The Baptists’Village facilities, See “Baseball” on page 12
Continued from page 2
say that was pretty damn good. Ideas are the engines of history, so if the Arab Muslim world wishes to foster this cult of Jew-hatred, it is shortsighted if it believes that human rights and democracy are the only things that can be “blamed” (so to speak) on the Jews. Truth be told, the Jews have contributed much more than that to mankind. In the pagan era, it was religion, in the Greco-Roman era, it was humanism; in the Islamic era, it was philosophy; and, in the modern era, the Jews gave the world the principles of theoretical science. While Romans worked man and beast seven days a week until they died, it was the Jews who introduced the concept of the Sabbath and, for this, they were condemned as heretics. From the Jewish prophets arose the concepts of the right to trial, the right to confront one’s own accusers and the right to present evidence on one’s own behalf. These principles were part of our culture from the time of Deborah and the Judges, a thousand years before the Common Era. These concepts were carried throughout the millennia by the Jews while what is now the Western world floated on a sea of superstition. From the Jewish people sprang a Jewish Essene who became the Messiah for Christianity. From the Jewish people came Saul of Tarsus, the organizer of the Christian church. Even the Mormons today claim they are the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel. So, if the Arab-Muslim world chooses to wallow in self-pity and Jew-hatred, they should understand the whole picture. Ask historians like Arnold Toynbee and they will tell you that, by all historical standards, the Jewish people should be footnotes to history. They should not exist today. Technically, they should have died out thousands of years ago with the Hittites, the Ammonites, the Canaanites and the Philistines – their historical contempo-
raries. These great nations of antiquity left behind a record of their history in material things like tablets, monuments and ruins. But the Jewish people survived the eons of time because of the ideas they taught and continue to teach, and the impact these ideas have had upon other peoples and other civilizations. Unlike the ancient tribes, we have survived because Judaism contained the seeds of its own rebirth and evolved as the world changed. Alternatively, Islam has never had a Renaissance. The Malaysian prime minister condemns Jews because, as he says, “they think.” And because “they think,” the Jews survived and prospered in Babylon, in the Hellenic world and during the Roman Empire, flourished in the Islamic era and emerged from a 1,200 year darkness known as the Middle Ages, and have risen to new intellectual heights in the 21st century. But we have paid dearly for these contributions. In fact, if pain and suffering could ennoble, the Jews could challenge the aristocracy of any nation on earth. In their eagerness to eradicate all vestiges of Judaism from the world, the Nazis of yesterday and the antisemites of today forget that from the Jewish Talmud came the principles of tort law, trade regulations, civil damages, real estate, commerce, the principles of credit and negotiable securities, the sanctity of oaths and the enforceability of civil contracts. The Chinese have a saying – “be careful what you wish; it may come true.” So if the antisemites of the world are to condemn the Jews, let them imagine a world that is Judenrein – a world without Jews. In the 1850s, Jewish medical researchers argued that micro-organisms caused contagious diseases, and laid the foundations of modern heart therapy, bacteriology, clinical pathology and endocrinology.
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It was the Jews who suggested serum immunity for contagious diseases, who pioneered the chemistry of muscles and who made blood transfusions possible through the discovery of different blood types. It was Jewish scientists who measured the distances to the stars in the heavens, who contributed to the study of the internal combustion of stars and who discovered the planet Uranus. It was Jewish chemists who created the modern chemical and dye industries, who worked out the theory of atomic valences, developed molecular theories, classified organic compounds based upon their molecular structure, and determined the composition of chlorophyll and the role of enzymes in the chemical processes of life. The antisemites want a world that is Judenrein, but it will cost them. Let them remember that it was Jewish physicists who delineated the theory of relativity, discovered the photoelectric effect, and discovered gamma rays that now scan for weapons of mass destruction in the millions of foreign cargo containers that arrive each day in America from foreign ports. It was Jewish physicists who isolated isotopes, worked in electron kinetics and pried open the secrets of the atom. If Jews are to be hated for these contributions, then they must be hated for all their contributions. In the 20th century, Sigmund Freud lifted the lid off man’s mind and, with psycho-analysis, revolutionized man’s concept of himself and the relationship of mind to matter. Three hundred years earlier, Baruch Spinoza was outcast and excommunicated because he pried philosophy loose from superstition and mysticism, and opened the path to rationalism and modern science. Albert Michelson discovered the speed of light and won America’s first Nobel Prize in 1907. Selman Waksman isolated streptomycin. Casimir Funk discovered vitamins. And Jonas Salk introduced the polio vaccine that saved my life when I was a child and billions of other since then. So, to the antisemites of the world, I say beware what you wish, for this world would be a lesser place but for the contributions of the Jews. In truth, these contributions pale in the face of the contributions made by scientists of other faiths, but these contributions are no less significant when one takes into account that they come from a religious/cultural group of negligible size.
Jews are hated by the Bin Ladens, the Khaddafis, the Khomeinis, the Assads, the Ahmedinejads and the petty dictators of the Islamic world not because of who they are, but because of what they have achieved. Jewish heritage has always respected learning and education, has always imparted justice and has always taught its doctrines in abstractions, and never absolutes, like the jihadists, whose greatest “contribution” to mankind has been to restore the pagan ritual of human sacrifice (suicide bombers) to the modern era. So if the Bin Ladens of the world believe that by murdering Jews in synagogues, buses, restaurants and Passover seders they are killing our ideas, they are wrong.
In the early 1980s, a letter appeared in a Colorado newspaper that is not a Jewish newspaper, nor was the author of this piece Jewish. It was written by a World War II veteran in response to some antisemitic graffiti that was scrawled on the walls of a Denver synagogue. The graffiti consisted of a swastika and under it was written the words “Jews Go Home.” The letter went like this: Jews Go Home Well there’s nothing really new in this. You’ve heard it all before. But suppose, just this once, you took the advice of these sick people, and actually packed your bags and left for parts unknown. Before you go, would you do me a favor? Would you leave your formula for Salk vaccine behind? After all, you wouldn’t want my child to die from polio would you? And would you leave your genius for science and physics and mathematics behind because if it wasn’t for your Einsteins, Fermis and Steinmetzs, we would be looking up from our chains to see a happy, aging Hitler drive by in one of our Cadillacs. And would you leave your talent for humor and music and entertainment behind because I’m not too sure that I would want to live in a country where you weren’t here to share your genius with us. You see if you go, if these stupid people force you to leave, then freedom goes with you, democracy goes with you, and everything my buddies and I fought for in World War II goes with you. So when you go, would you do me a favor? Would you slow down in front of my house and honk……because so help me God, I’m going with you, too. Mark Silverberg’s articles have been archived at www.marksilverberg.com.
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Latin America’s Jewish communities grow, confront challenges By Diego Melamed BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) – When the Sao Paulo Hebraica Sports Club and Community Center in Brazil opened the Aleph School earlier this month, it welcomed 450 students and had 120 more on the waiting list for next year. Hebraica, which is similar to an American Jewish community center, has reached 24,000 members and has a $30 million budget. Meanwhile, Sao Paulo’s oldest synagogue, Temple Beth El, recently dedicated a new building, leaving the original one to become the Jewish Museum of Sao Paulo. In Panama, the Jewish community has grown by 70 percent in the past 10 years. The 8,000-member community in that period has seen a rise from three to 10 b’nai mitzvah a week. In Argentina, the number of children in Jewish preschool programs has soared by nearly 1,000 – from 3,952 in 2005 to 4,914 in 2012. Nearly wherever one looks, Jewish life is growing in Latin America, which is now home to an estimated 500,000 Jews. The growth comes as the region continues to transform economically as part of a social evolution following the end of military dictatorships that ruled many countries into the 1980s. From 2000 to 2010, poverty in the region dropped from 44 percent to 32 percent of the population, according to the Economic Committee for Latin American and the Caribbean, or CEPAL. In large part, it is because of the increase in jobs that has come from rising prices for the region’s commodities and natural resources, such as copper, oil, soybeans, meat, fruits and other agricultural products. And more growth is on the horizon. Latin America will contribute to global growth more than Europe in the next seven years, according to CEPAL, which released a study in August that said the 2013-2020 period “will be a low-growth cycle for industrialized economies while it will display dynamism in emerging economies.” Despite the growth, challenges remain for many Jewish communities. “We have strong signals of a new flourishing situa-
tion, but we also will still have a variety of problems, like the poor knowledge about Judaism in our members and some type of hidden antisemitism in the general society,” said Alberto Milkewitz, director of the Isaraelite Federation of Sao Paulo. But that hasn’t dimmed optimism among Jewish leaders. Some 83 percent of approxiately 400 of the region’s Jewish leaders polled recently by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee believe that conditions in their countries are good enough to further develop Jewish life. Only 10 percent reported that living as a Jew is risky. Brazilians self-reported the most positive feedback, Venezuelans the most negative. The poll’s full results will be released at the Nov. 12 JDC meeting of Latin American and Caribbean Jewish community leaders, which will convene in Quito, Ecuador. Venezuela is the notable exception to the wave of positivity among Latin American Jewish communities. Political insecurity, economic challenges and state-sponsored antisemitism in the country have prompted significant Jewish emigration in recent years, with most expats moving to the United States, Israel, Spain, Colombia or Panama. Venezuela now has an estimated 9,000 Jews, down from about twice that number a decade ago, according to the JDC. The race for president in Venezuela has seen the incumbent, Hugo Chavez – a close ally of Iran and acerbic critic of Israel – use state media to lob antisemitic broadsides against his rival, Henrique Capriles Radonski, a grandson of Holocaust survivors who identifies as Catholic. The election is scheduled for October 7. In Chile, home to 15,000 Jews among a Palestinian Diaspora as large as 400,000, Rabbi Chaim Koritznisky is much more positive. “Four years ago I was invited to Santiago by five families to build a new synagogue community called RuachAmi,” said Koritznisky, who heads a Reform congregation. “The founders felt that there was a void in the Jewish community for those searching for a Judaism that was egalitarian, inclusive, spiritual. We also See “Latin” on page 14
Participants celebrated during services at the World Union for Progressive Judaism Conference of Jewish Communities in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in August. (Photo by Diego Melamed)
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THE REPORTER ■ october 11, 2012
d’var torah ABINGTON TORAH CENTER
Rabbi Dovid Saks President: Richard Rutta Jewish Heritage Connection 108 North Abington Rd., Clarks Summit, PA 18411 570-346-1321 • Website: www.jewishheritageconnection.org Sunday morning services at 8:30 am Call for other scheduled services throughout the week.
BETH SHALOM CONGREGATION
Rabbi Yisroel Brotsky 1025 Vine St., Scranton, PA 18510, (corner of Vine & Clay Ave.) 570-346-0502 • fax: 570-346-8800 Weekday – Shacharit: Sun 8 am; Mon, Thurs. & Rosh Chodesh, 6:30 am; Tue, Wed & Fri, 6:45 am; Sat & Holidays, 8:45 am. Mincha during the week is approx. 10 minutes before sunset, followed by Maariv.
BICHOR CHOLEM CONGREGATION/ CHABAD OF THE ABINGTONS Rabbi Benny Rapoport President: Richard I. Schwartz 749 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit, PA 18411 570-587-3300 • Website: www.JewishNEPA.com Saturday morning Shabbat Service 9:30 am. Call or visit us online for our bi-weekly schedule
CHABAD LUBAVITCH OF THE POCONOS Rabbi Mendel Bendet 570-420-8655 • Website: www.chabadpoconos.com Please contact us for schedules and locations.
CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL
Affiliation: Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Allan L. Smith President: Henry M. Skier Contact Person: Ben Schnessel, Esq. (570) 222-3020 615 Court Street, Honesdale, PA 18431 570-253-2222 • fax: 570-226-1105
CONGREGATION B’NAI HARIM
Affiliation: Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum President: Phyllis Miller P.O. Box 757 Sullivan Rd., Pocono Pines, PA 18350 (located at RT 940 and Pocono Crest Rd at Sullivan Trail 570-646-0100 • Website: www.bnaiharimpoconos.org Shabbat Morning Services, 10 am – noon; every other Saturday Potluck Shabbat Dinner with blessings and program of varying topics, one Friday every month – call for schedule.
JEWISH FELLOWSHIP OF HEMLOCK FARMS
President: Steve Natt Forest Drive 1516 Hemlock Farms, Lords Valley, PA 18428 570-775-7497 • E-Mail: email@example.com Friday evening Shabbat service 7:30 pm, Saturday morning Shabbat Service 9:30 am.
MACHZIKEH HADAS SYNAGOGUE Rabbi Mordechai Fine President: Dr. Shaya Barax 600 Monroe Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 570-342-6271
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The letter bet
by RABBI MENDEL BENDET, DIRECTOR, CHABAD LUBAVITCH OF THE POCONOS Bereshit, Genesis 1:1-6-8 The Torah begins with the word “Bereshit – In the beginning,” the first letter of which is the letter bet. Bet is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, yet God chose to begin His Torah precisely with this letter. One would think that the Torah would start with the letter alef, as everything in the Torah is arranged in an orderly fashion. Thus, at first glance it would seem more logical for the Torah to have opened with the word “Elokim” – “God created in the beginning the heavens and the earth,” rather than with “Bereshit.” What are we to learn from the fact that the Torah begins with the letter bet? Nothing in the Torah is unintentional or accidental. Rather, the specific use of the second letter of the alphabet alludes to the fact that, for the Jew, the actual study of Torah must be the second stage in his approach to God’s wisdom. Before learning God’s Torah, the Jew must prepare himself appropriately. Only after he has done so will his learning be conducted in the proper manner God has prescribed.
How is a Jew to prepare himself? By contemplating the special holiness that the Torah contains. A Jew must always remember that God gave us His holy Torah for the express purpose of connecting ourselves to Him. Learning God’s Torah is the means by which we may do so. If a person does not think about God before he studies, he is liable to look upon the Torah as a collection of narratives, a guide to our conduct, or perhaps merely a book which contains great wisdom. Without the proper preparation, he may forget that the Torah is sacred, and that its main objective is to allow us to connect ourselves with the Giver of the Torah. To remind himself, the Jew must recite a blessing over the Torah every morning before he commences learning. By saying “Blessed are You Lord, Who gives the Torah,” we place the One Who has given us the Torah foremost in our minds. Only then do we arrive at the second stage, the stage of actual study, through which we attach ourselves to God.And the more Torah we learn, the more connected we are to Him. Thus, the letter bet serves to teach us that the Torah is God’s Torah, and that the primary purpose of its study is to connect ourselves to Him.
Celebrating life with a tahara dance gender issues in Jewish burial. By Edmon J. Rodman “How you treat people when they’re LOS ANGELES (JTA) – With her dead really changes how you treat them arms raised heavenward and fingers when they’re alive,” said Dr. Michael signifying the Hebrew letter shin, Andrea Slater, the president of Kavod v’Nichum Hodos danced to the choreography of a and a member of a tahara group. Slater, a mitzvah. At a recent Los Angeles conferpracticing Chicago physician, met Hodos ence on Jewish burial practices and the in Jerusalem in 1991 and continued to folmitzvah of tahara, Hodos used her talents low her work. He said he invited her to the as a dancer and choreographer to interpret conference to “help find a different way to the seldom-discussed ritual preparation represent to the world what we do.” for burial of a Jewish body. “Death is hard, but it shouldn’t be Her dance, introduced in June at the scary. No one wants to talk about it,” American Jewish University in Los AnSlater said, noting that those who work geles, was part of the evening program of the North American Chevra Kadisha and Dancing the tahara, Andrea Hodos with the dead have issues, too. “There Jewish Cemetery Conference organized holds up three fingers for the are emotional and physical challenges by Kavod v’Nichum – literally, honor Hebrew letter shin, representing to performing tahara.” Tahara, which means ritual washing, and comfort – a national chevra kadisha the name of God. (Photo by Edmon includes rechitza, a cleanliness washing, education and support organization. The J. Rodman) as well as halbasha, dressing the meit conference covered such topics as natural burial and green cemeteries, the environmental and financial (male deceased) or meitah (female) in shrouds. See “Tahara” on page 18 issues involved with burial vs. cremation, and emerging
Grow Yourself Fall ~ Winter Series
Rabbi Mordechai Fine 1432 Mulberry St, Scranton, PA 18510 Contact person: Michael Mellner - 570-343-3183
Union of Reform Judaism Rabbi Daniel J. Swartz President: Eric Weinberg 1 Knox Street, Scranton, PA 18505, (off Lake Scranton Rd.) 570-344-7201 Friday evening Shabbat, 8 pm; Saturday morning Shabbat, 11:15 am
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF DUNMORE
President: Isadore Steckel 515 East Drinker St., Dunmore, PA 18512 Saturday morning Shabbat 7:30 am; also services for Yizkor
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF THE POCONOS
Affiliation: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Rabbi Baruch Melman President: Suzanne Tremper Contact person: Art Glantz 570-424-7876 711 Wallace St., Stroudsburg, PA, 18360 (one block off Rte. 191 (5th Street) at Avenue A) 570-421-8781 • Website: www.templeisraelofthepoconos.org E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Friday evening Shabbat, 8pm; Saturday morning Shabbat, 9 am
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF SCRANTON
Affiliation: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism President: Michael Mardo 918 East Gibson St., Scranton, PA, 18510 (located at the corner of Gibson & Monroe Sts.) 570-342-0350 Fax: 570-342-7250 • E-Mail: email@example.com Sunday, 8 am; Mon & Thurs, 7:15 am; Tue, Wed & Fri, 7:25 am; Rosh Hodesh & Chagim weekdays, 7 am; Shabbat Morning Service, 8:45 am; evening services: Sun – Thurs, 5:45 pm; Friday Shabbat and Saturday Havdalah services, call for times.
Come meet nationally known brew master, Jaime Jurado; get a tour of the newly reopened Susquehanna Brewing Company and sample some beer! Where: Susquehanna Brewing Co. 635 S. Main Street, Pittston, PA 18640 When: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 @ 6:30 – 8:00pm Transportation will be available from the JCC parking lot - meeting at 5:45pm Registration Information: JFS Members - $10 Non-Member - $15 To register please call 570-344-1186, or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Checks can be made payable to: Jewish Family Service of Lackawanna County Registration & Pre-Payment required
For future programming, check out our website at www.jfsoflackawanna.org
OCTOBER 11, 2012 ■
October 14, 2012
THE REPORTER ■ october 11, 2012
Shlomo Carlebach’s life comes to the stage in “Soul Doctor”
By Lisa Alcalay Klug NEW YORK (JTA) – As he researched the complex life of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach for a new musical, playwright Daniel Wise found a surprisingly candid source. Neshama Carlebach, a successful recording artist and popular performer of her father’s compositions, openly revealed his many struggles as “a lonely and conflicted” Orthodox rabbi – both rock star and spiritual shepherd. “When someone collaborates on a show and at the same time is the daughter of the subject matter, and she is serving of the show rather than her own perspective, it helps make the show what it is,” Wise says. “It was
also very brave.” As Neshama explains, her father’s message is that everyone “can surpass their own walls. Some people say he was an angel. He was a person. But he was a strong person. He made beautiful choices and that should be a inspiration for the world.” Some of Carlebach’s followers aren’t so pleased with the candor about his exploration of the 1960s counterculture and his willingness to cross Orthodox boundaries. “Reb Shlomo was a soul on fire who was a rebbe to thousands,” says Shy Yellin, president of the Carlebach Shul on New York City’s Upper West Side. “He was a tzaddik rooted
in the love of God and His Torah and whose purpose, like other great rebbes, was to connect us to ‘Hashem Yisborech’ in the deepest way. Because he was human, with all the challenges one faces, Shlomo could relate to his flock and we to him. If he made any mistakes, they were long ago expiated. He was beloved by all.” During his lifetime and perhaps even more since his death in 1994, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach – known widely as Reb Shlomo or simply Shlomo – is credited with reinvigorating Jewish life with uplifting songs and spiritual teachings. His fascinating trajectory is the basis of a Broadway-bound See “Carlebach” on page 16
Continued from page 8
located in central Israel near Petach Tikvah, are some of the country’s only regulation fields. The game remains far less popular than soccer and basketball, Israel’s two staple sports. Israeli basketball teams have
Teens from the Misgav and Jerusalem teams of the Israel Association of Baseball's Junior League squared off in Baptists' Village, Israel, on September 21. (Photo by Ben Sales)
won premier European competitions, while soccer rivalries arouse passion in bars and living rooms nationwide. And while a professional baseball league, the Israel Baseball League, existed for one season in 2007, it folded in bankruptcy after a championship run by the Beit Shemesh Blue Sox from a heavily American suburb of Jerusalem. “Baseball cannot survive on the Anglo population by itself,” said Leo Robbins, who coached youth teams for more than a decade and now umpires games. “Our base for the last 20 years has been immigrants who just came over. Their friends, they don’t come to play baseball because they haven’t been exposed to it.” The Israel Association of Baseball runs on a budget of approximately $380,000 per year, and even though baseball is traditionally a summer sport, games here are played in the cooler months of September through June. Kids aged 5 to 18 can play, and teams generally include 12 to 20 members. The IAB also includes a small league for adults. Still, IAB Secretary General Peter Kurz is optimistic about baseball’s chances here. He notes that since the Israel Baseball League’s one season, the number of kids playing
Join the Golon Hadassah of Northeast PA for a day at the National Museum of American Jewish History Sunday, October 21, 2012
Museum at Dusk 2, Todd Mason/Halkin Photography,National Museum of American Jewish History
The National Museum of American Jewish History, located in the heart of historic Philadelphia, is the only museum in the nation dedicated solely to telling the story of Jews in America. Bus departs from *Temple Israel of the Poconos in East Stroudsburg. Please get to the synagogue around 9 am for a prompt, 9:30am departure. *Pick up in Scranton if there are 10 or more people. The bus will leave Philadelphia between 4:00pm and 5:00pm. Cost: $55 (includes round trip charter bus, Museum admission & guided tour, and Kosher boxed lunch) Seating is limited; Payment is requested no later than October 10, 2012
Please respond to Dr. Sandra Alfonsi ASAP to confirm attendance and submit your lunch order by email (email@example.com) or phone (570-233-7062) Kosher, boxed lunch selections - please choose one: Each lunch comes with a drink, potato chips, chocolate chip cookie, whole fresh fruit, and vegetable slaw. • Bagel with Nova Lox, Cream Cheese & Tomato • White Meat Tuna Salad with Lettuce & Tomato on Twist Roll Cost: $55 • Grilled Salmon on Black Bread with Cucumber Dill Sauce (includes round trip charter bus, • Grilled Vegetable Hoagie with Red Pepper Mayo Museum admission & guided tour, • Oven Roasted Turkey on Challah and Kosher boxed lunch) Seating is limited; Payment is requested • Corned Beef on Rye Lunch beverage selections - please choose one: Pepsi-Regular Pepsi-Diet Sweetened Iced Tea
no later than October 10, 2012
The Misgav Pythons players in their dugout during the Israel Association of Baseball's Junior League game against Jerusalem in Baptists' Village, Israel, on September 21. (Photo by Ben Sales) baseball in Israel has grown 30 percent, to approximately 1,000. Kurz expects the growth to accelerate should Team Israel qualify for the WBC. “The only reason we’re playing in this tournament is to promote baseball in Israel,” he said. “The only reason the WBC invited us to compete in this tournament is all the hard work our senior national team has done over the past 20 years.” The WBC bid is not the first time Israel has fielded a national team in international competition. It regularly sends teams to tournaments in Europe and the United States, and recently Israel hosted the qualifying tournament for the European Championship, where it placed second. Kurz also is counting on a proposed baseball stadium in the Tel Aviv suburb of Raanana to jump-start the sport’s popularity in Israel. The $4 million project would include a gym, “a clubhouse, a place where guys want to come. You’ve got to have a place where guys can hang out, talk to each other, learn,” he said. Unlike Kurz, Robbins doesn’t see success in the WBC as a catalyst for growth here. Rather, he envisions a program that would bring baseball to schools through a team of coaches. The league will “start to snowball” if a couple thousand children nationwide get a taste of baseball, he said. “It’s getting out there and showing those kids how fun it is,” Robbins said. “You’re not going to do it by having them see the game. They have to feel what it’s like to catch a ball, to hit a ball.” Watching games can help, though, said Arye Zacks, who coaches two teams in central Israel’s Modi’in, because it exposes young fans to the array of possible scenarios in baseball. “There’s a lot of baseball situations that the kids don’t recognize because it hasn’t happened to them in a game before,” he said. “A kid growing up surrounded by baseball, they’re familiar with it because they’ve seen so many games on TV.” But for all the talk of televised games, professional facilities and international championships, Pythons coach Yaniv Rosenfeld said his top priority is what he calls “Zionist baseball,” giving as many Israeli kids as possible a chance to play. Turning to the field again, Rosenfeld shouts at his pitcher, “Ktzat ricuz!” – “A little concentration!” “It’s all about pitching the strikes!” Behind him, waiting on the bench, Degani said, “I love this game. I love to bat and the team’s unity.”
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
OCTOBER 11, 2012 ■
Looking for a Jewish education? There’s an app for that By Josh Lipowsky TEANECK, NJ (JTA) – The man sitting on the commuter train focusing intently on his iPhone might be playing Angry Birds. Or he might be studying Talmud, Skyping with a chevruta partner in Israel or even teaching Hebrew school. “Mobile technologies could help people practice Judaism,” said Barry Schwartz, CEO of Rusty Brick, a West Nyack, NY-based software company that has created more than 30 Jewish mobile apps. “It is the future. Wherever you go – the airport, shul – people are looking stuff up and praying.” Welcome to Judaism’s digital age. Mobile technologies are augmenting traditional learning and how people fill their free time, said Rabbi Jack Kalla of Aish HaTorah, which has long been at the forefront of digital Jewish outreach with videos, podcasts and an extensive website. “From our perspective, the use of the Internet in trying to reach people who are searching or may not even have started their search in Judaism is really wide open,” he said. “This is where people are, and the Internet itself is the means to reach people today.” Jewish organizations across the spectrum are taking advantage of developing mobile and digital technologies to reach new people across multiple platforms. And all seem to agree: Get on board or get left behind. “It’s not going to be the new model; it is the new model,” said Rabbi Simcha Backman, director of Chabad’s Askmoses.com. “This is the new way and we should embrace it. Forward-thinking organizations are doing that.” Created to reach people who don’t have access to rabbis, Askmoses offers live chats with scholars on its website, Backman said. Earlier this year, the site began a text-messaging program. “Social media is literally a whole new world for Jews and Judaism,” he said. “The options are limitless how we can reach out to people.” RustyBrick has released the ArtScroll Schottenstein Talmud in an app for the iPhone and iPad that will allow for instant translations, highlighting specific passages and quickly jumping from one section to another. “This opens up the whole world of Jewish literature for the past 2,000 years,” Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, co-founder of ArtScroll, putting it “literally at your fingertips.” While such access may have been available previously
Rabbi Steve Blane, founder and dean of the New York City-based Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute, broadcast a Shabbat service over the Internet. (Photo courtesy Rabbi Steve Blane) in schools, libraries or private collection, the innovation, Schwartz said, is what you can do with the information because of the technology. The information can change based on the user’s location, time of day or preference of Ashkenazi or Sephardi customs, he said. “Enhancing the text around those criteria is the future of Jewish text learning,” Schwartz said. “When you’re able to actually interact with the words on the page, it’s going to change how people understand what they’re learning.” Changing the way people learn is just what the Union for Reform Judaism is planning in its congregational Hebrew schools. URJ is set to roll out a digital format of its Mitkadem Hebrew school curriculum, which will allow students to communicate virtually with each other and their teachers. Students will work in small groups through each level of the curriculum, focusing on prayers, the meaning behind the prayers and vocabulary while the teachers act as facilitators, testing at each level. This will allow students to work at their own pace in the classroom and work remotely with teachers outside of class, said Michael Goldberg, URJ’s head of books and music. “They relate to each other online on a regular basis anyway, but there’s something powerful about meeting virtually and in person,” he said. In one pilot program, a student who plans to travel to Scotland next year with his parents will use Mitkadem to keep up with his Judaic studies back home. Students, Goldberg said, have reacted positively to the classroom innovations, and URJ eventually hopes to expand the
program to every aspect of Jewish education. Some catch-up might be necessary for educators, however. Teachers are the “digital immigrants” in the classroom, while students are the natives, said Wendy Light, director of integrated education in the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s education department. A little more than a year ago, with grants from the Partnership for Effective Learning and Innovative Education, the Conservative movement began a handful of pilot programs to train its educators in Web 2.0 technologies and how to incorporate them in the classroom. The training incorporates a number of free technologies, such as Googledocs, Skype and Moodle. “It’s going to replace the old paradigms in schools that are savvy enough to grab on and adapt the new technology,” Light said. “For some schools it will never catch on.” While Goldberg predicts Mitkadem Digital eventually will replace its printed predecessor, brick-and-mortar congregational schools are unlikely to disappear. “Synagogue communities are evolving in so many ways and undoubtedly education will continue to evolve with it,” he said. “There’s a place for online learning, but the experience of being physically together and having those personal connections one to one is very important.” For Rabbi Steve Blane, the Internet is the future of Jewish interaction and education. He is the founder and dean of the New York City-based Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute, a completely online, independent rabbinical school in its second year that has students from around the world meeting in online chats and webinars. Each week, Blane will connect with his students over the Internet and teach traditional davening and praying, and then act as a moderator for discussions among the students. “Students are required to lead their own sessions. This is not a teacher giving lectures,” he said. “JSLI is based on the idea that students have acquired wisdom. This nurtures everyone. They get credit for their past experience.” JSLI ordained its first class of nine rabbis last August, including students in Florida, Seattle and Israel. When students gathered together for the ordination weekend, it was the first time many of them had met face to face. Blane also is the spiritual leader of Sim Shalom, an online synagogue that broadcasts weekly services to congregants who log on from around the world. “As the technology gets See “App” on page 18
a C m s ’ paign E n e m o W v ent 3 1 Thursday, October 18 at 7 pm s 20 Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania, 1101 Vine St., Scranton, PA 18510 Sunday, October 21 at 2 pm Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms, 1516 Hemlock Farms, Lords Valley, PA 18428
Renowned Harpist A renowned harpist, Barbara Dexter has been sharing her musical talents since the age of 7. She has entertained audiences at large social events and participated in numerous choral and musical productions. She has established an ensemble of harpists called Serenity that promotes the healing effects of music at nursing homes, schools and churches. Currently, she plays at St. Joseph’s Center (Scranton) for the severely mentally and physically challenged, and has personally seen the benefits of the healing power of music on these precious souls. Prior to her work at St. Joseph’s Center, she was part of Pastoral Services at Scranton’s Community Medical Center (CMC) where she played her harp at bedsides in the ICU-CCU, Neonatal ICU, Hospice and the Behavior Unit. The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania is proud to have Barbara Dexter entertain our guests at our 2013 Women’s UJA Campaign events, at which time she will share not only her harp music but some of her personal experiences on the healing power of its sound.
Please RSVP to 570-961-2300, ext. 4
ÊVisit the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania on the web at www.jewishnepa.org or on Facebook
THE REPORTER ■ october 11, 2012
Family drama By RABBI RACHEL ESSERMAN Novels about family life have sometimes been pejoratively referred to as kitchen-sink dramas. Yet our connections to our loved ones are a fundamentally important part of our lives. Two recent literary novels – “The World Without You” by Joshua Henkin (Pantheon Books) and “The Innocents” by Francesca Segal (Voice/Hyperion) – do a brilliant job showing just how complex and fascinating these relationships can be.
offer a welcoming home for interfaith couples and families, gays and lesbians.” There are 100 families who now belong to the temple and more than 500 people are expected to arrive for the coming High Holidays services. Also in Santiago, the Dr. Chaim Weizmann Hebrew Institute has seen sustained growth. In 2005, there were 265 children aged 2 to 5 in the preschool. Today the number is at 373, according to Sergio Herskovitz, the school principal. Similar stories in the region abound. In Panama City, a decade ago there were barely any children at weekly activities at Kol Shearith Israel synagogue. Now nearly 60 young people participate in weekly events and the total budget of the community has tripled. The community has been strengthened in part by Jewish immigrants from Venezuela and even Argentina and Uruguay, says Gustavo Kraselnik, the rabbi of Kol Shearith Israel. “We are very optimistic about our future,” he said. Argentina, with 285,000 Jews, is home to the region’s largest Jewish community. The growth in preschool children there has been matched by a rise in Jewish high school and college students. In Buenos Aires alone the number has risen from 15,593 to 19,162 in the past seven years. In the capital city, the economic recovery allowed real estate developments such as Nordelta, a gated community with artificial lakes, to erect a new Jewish center two years ago. Last Chanukah, about 150 people came out for a celebration. “We started from zero,” Rabbi Diego Elman of Judaica Fundation, the Nordelta temple, told JTA. “This year we started a monthly Shabbat with an average of 60 people; most of them are children.”
Everyone mourns in their own way: That’s a lesson the Frankel family still needs to learn. “The World Without You” takes place in July 2005, one year after the death of Leo Frankel, a journalist who was captured and killed while on assignment in Iraq. His mother, Marilyn, has scheduled a memorial service just for family and friends to counter the drama and press that had attended the funeral. She’s spent the past year writing opinion pieces against the war and President George W. Bush, whom she feels is responsible
Continued from page 9 The growth also has brought the need for more Jewish teachers. In 2006, a new training center to prepare Jewish teachers was opened in Buenos Aires. It’s had 35 graduates. “It’s a good start, but there is a scarcity of teachers in every main city of the region,” said Leticia Baran, the supervisor of Argentina’s Department of Jewish Education. “We’re starting to export Jewish teachers to other countries.” International Jewish organizations are noticing the increased Jewish activities. Last November, the ROI Community, which convenes creative Jewish social entrepreneurs, celebrated an Ibero-American gathering in Buenos Aires to “propel the Latin American Jewish spring” and to spotlight the region’s “dynamic Jewish social entrepreneurs.” The same month, the Jewish Agency’s board of governors met in Argentina – the first time in 15 years that its summit was held outside of Israel. The following month, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky announced a $1 million fund to strengthen the connection between young South American Jews to Israel and the global Jewish community. And last December, Bnai B’rith International held its International Policy Conference in Montevideo, Uruguay – the first time the international event was held in Latin America. “This region has a vibrant reality and an incredible production of knowledge and Jewish life,” Shai Pinto, the vice president and COO of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, told JTA. “In our movement Latin America is the fastest growing region.” Fabian Triskier, the JDC’s Latin America director, says, “Our conclusion is clear: The Jewish community of Latin America is moving forward.”
for Leo’s death. Her husband, David, has coped by busying himself with hobbies – cooking, reading opera librettos and running. However, their fundamentally different approaches to the loss of their son has created fissures in their 40-year-old marriage. Visiting for the service are Leo’s three sisters – Clarissa, Lily and Noelle – and his widow, Thisbe. All four women are struggling with the aftermath of Leo’s death. Thirtynine-year-old Clarissa has finally decided she wants a baby, but her inability to conceive is driving a wedge between her and her loving husband. Lily, who refuses to allow her significant other to attend the service, fights with everyone as though deliberately seeking to alienate her parents and sisters. Traveling from Israel with her husband and four sons, Noelle, now an Orthodox Jew, is troubled by images of a past she longs to forget. Thisbe worries that not only is her 3-year-old son, Calder, beginning to forget his father, but that revealing a new aspect of her life might anger her in-laws. Each member of the family is seeking love and acceptance, something they might receive if only they opened their hearts and minds to each other. What makes Henkin’s work so wonderful is that he successfully places readers in his characters’ minds. He shows just how complex each person is so that, even when you dislike a character, it’s impossible to dismiss their concerns. I felt each sister’s irritation and shared their desire to yell at and/or shake annoying family members. Yet, often in the next chapter, when he focused on a different character, I suddenly understood and sympathized with their problems and dilemmas, even the characters who once seemed so infuriating. Henkin also does an excellent job showing how very different our self-image can be from the way others perceive us. For example, Lily doesn’t believe that her strong mother might be frightened of her, even though her father clearly sees how terrified Marilyn is of her daughter’s anger. This is but one of the many insights Henkin reveals about his characters in a work that ranks as one of this year’s best novels. While Henkin writes from more than one point of view, Segal focuses mainly on one person: 28-year-old Adam Newman. “The Innocents” has been compared to Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence,” although Segal’s work has a depth See “Book” on page 16
OCTOBER 11, 2012 ■
THE REPORTER ■ october 11, 2012
show, “Soul Doctor: The Journey of a Rock Star Rabbi,” the first new Jewish hit musical in decades. Neshama shares an official “creative credit for additional material” for the show, which is carried by more than 30 Carlebach melodies, often with new lyrics by David Schechter. “Soul Doctor” sold out in test runs in Florida and New Orleans, and opened to a limited engagement July 24-August 19 at the New York Theatre Workshop. Again, the show rapidly sold out. Producers are negotiating with a New York theater for an open-ended run. As a cultural phenomenon in the 1960s music scene, Carlebach’s songs grew wildly popular. He performed on stage with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jerry Garcia, Pete Seeger, the Grateful Dead and Nina Simone, among others. He played venues from Carnegie Hall to hippie coffeehouses, prisons to ashrams. He even performed spontaneous midnight concerts under New York City’s West Side Highway for the local homeless, whom he often knew by name. Carlebach died suddenly when his heart failed on an airplane at LaGuardia Airport in New York. His annual yahrzeit triggers memorial concerts around the world. In a category all his own, his music now captivates Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, gay and lesbian, Orthodox and Chasidic communities. Cross-over Jewish reggae sensation Matisyahu coined himself a “Bob MarleyShlomo Carlebach fusion.” Even Pope John Paul II used Carlebach’s composition “Brothers and Friends” to open his last Mass at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. “Soul Doctor” reveals how Carlebach’s music and heart-centered teachings of “boundless love and joy” touched disillusioned hippies and dropouts, says Wise, who also directs the show. The musical riffs on the successful formula of “Rent,” which Wise took on
Eric Anderson and Julie Osborne as Shlomo Carlebach and his wife, from the off-Broadway play “Soul Doctor.” (Photo by Carol Rosegg) tour around the world. Both employ actors playing multiple roles and doubling as stage hands, gracefully transforming sets through scenes. “Soul Doctor” travels from contemporary Vienna back to Carlebach’s childhood there under Nazi occupation, from a New York home and a dynamic musical beit midrash to the psychedelic House of Love and Prayer in 1960s San Francisco and more, in the multiple loops of Carlebach’s explorations of Jerusalem. Caracas. Nepal. And beyond. As his newly published commentary on Genesis reveals, Carlebach also was an innovative Torah scholar. As a Chasidic figure and composer of niggunim – wordless, expressive tunes infused with spirituality – Carlebach bridges Old World and new, pre-war Orthodoxy and the post-war establishment he realized wasn’t reaching America’s rapidly assimilating Jews. Despite its rabbi protagonist, “Soul Doctor” attracts diverse audiences because “It’s about how we are spiritually all the same,” says veteran Broadway composer and orchestrator Steve Margoshes, who wove together the score for “Soul Doctor” and previous Broadway smashes such as Elton
Continued from page 12 John’s “Aida,” “Smokey Joe’s Café” and is that Shlomo was known for his powerful “The Who’s Tommy.” charisma and boundless love. He openly In the 1950s, the 30-something Orthodox used physical touch and passionate lanrabbi searches American counterculture and guage to help comfort and heal. He did this becomes intimate friends with Simone, a indiscriminately,” Wise adds. “There were then-unknown jazz singer who introduced many women to whom Shlomo gave love him to gospel music and R&B. Carlebach and affection. Some wanted a more intimate suddenly finds himself “torn between his deep and romantic relationship and then later traditional roots and his dream to create a resented that he did not. While others went Jewish revival through his joyous and soulful on to adopt an ultra-Orthodox Jewish life melodies,” Margoshes explains. “He wakes and have a difficult time reconciling Shlomo up one day and decides the Jewish experience as a rabbi who publicly displays physical is bankrupt and he is going to reinvigorate affection. We have included this in ‘Soul it, no matter the personal cost.” Doctor’ as a central conflict in the story.” Their unusual connection – Simone later In the show, Carlebach grapples with became the musical voice of the civil rights questions of modernity and how to heal movement – helped Shlomo shape contem- young broken souls who expect a hug and porary Jewish music and reinvigorate the won’t dance with a mechitzah. American Jewish experience in the aftermath “Soul Doctor” doesn’t shy away from of the Holocaust, Wise says. Carlebach’s struggling with his upbringing’s With composite characters and scenes, Orthodox restrictions against even casual “Soul Doctor” is not a strictly factual presen- physical contact with women and intense tation of Carlebach’s life. Rather than pure condemnation from the establishment and his hagiography, it is a gripping exploration of own father. Audiences watch him find love, the many challenges and controversies en- attempt to balance family with touring, and countered by Carlebach. “It is more the idea ultimately encounter a devastating divorce of Shlomo than what historically happened,” when his wife takes their children – Neshama says Rabbi Naftali Citrin of the Carlebach and her sister, Nedara (now a married mother Shul and Carlebach’s grand-nephew. “It’s a of two living in Israel) – to Toronto. version of Shlomo’s life that can’t possibly Today, the sisters honor their father’s rich contain everything.” contributions to Jewish tradition through “Soul Doctor” reflects the humanity of the Carlebach Legacy Trust, which collects this larger-than-life personality leaving his teachings, compositions, photographs an Orthodox dynasty to become Chasidic and bootleg recordings. Neshama, also a while attempting to reach the young and mother of two, is working on her ninth unplugged through conventional rabbinic album celebrating her father’s music, teachings. The methods prove ineffective, despite Orthodoxy’s concerns of kol isha, so Carlebach struggles again to break out or halachic rulings regarding men hearing of the mold of previous Orthodox leaders women sing. She also is trailblazing interand “become Shlomo,” the recording star, faith concerts with the Rev. Roger Hambrick performer, spiritual minstrel and friend still and members of the Green Pastures Baptist both treasured and criticized. Church Choir of the Bronx. Their album, One topic the show does not directly “Higher and Higher,” was a sixth-time touch on are allegations of inappropriate Grammy entrant last year. sexual behavior made by some women “There is work to be done,” Neshama says, against Carlebach after his death. Writing “and not everyone is down for the work.” in an e-mail to JTA, Wise says he would TLisa Alcalay Klug is the author of two have tackled the issue, but “after over 100 humor books, “Cool Jew: The Ultimate interviews with credible individuals and Friend, Guide for Every Member of the Tribe,” a Dear researching dozens of credible documents National Jewish Book Award finalist, and PROJECT JOY, through the Jewish Community Center and published articles, there was nothing I “Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for of a very Every specialWoman woman,ofRoseBud Leventhal. Although could find to support such allegations.” the Tribe,” a celebration on, the project continues in her memory. The “What was consistent from the research of Jewish women debuting in October.monies co
private donations. Due to the ever changing needs of th our present economy, we have expanded our gift giving base one. We want every child to experience a special s Continued from pageHoliday 14 your generosity, we can do this. This year in our area the ec and breadth of its own. What the author does different and possibly dangerous. worsened. gift might be delineation the only oneofa child receives. have in common with Wharton is that Segal is Our Segal’s careful her char-
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. Due to the ever changing needs of the community and our present economy, we have expanded our gift base. Our 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 70 children benefited from wonderful gifts we purchased from wish lists that we received from Jewish Family Services, the Catherine McCauley Center and Saint Joseph’s Center. In 2009 we added Children and Youth Services and Children’s Advocacy to our lists 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 office. We will be wrapping the gifts on Thursday, December 13th at the JCC starting at 9:00am. All volunteers are welcome. Please call Carol Leventhal at 587-2931 or 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
not only capable of giving great psychological acters – whether it’s through their own insight into the mind of her characters, but eyes or Adam’s – creates portraits that also offers a wonderful sociological analysis readers’ hearts. alsoFamily does Ser from wishwill listsengage that we received fromShe Jewish of the tight-knit Jewish community of Temple a wonderful job showing how the Jewish McCauley Center and Saint Joseph’s Center. Fortune (a suburb of London) to which they community gathers and honors its customs. belong. Yet, none of this distracts from the we Foradded example, one chapter features a Shabbat In 2009 Children and Youth Services and Chi novel’s engrossing and engaging plot.our list ofdinner at Rachel’s parents’ home. During needy children and were thrilled thatthe we wer Adam, considered one of the most eli- evening meal, the warmth and love these more kids. And, as always, we still visited the pediatric gible young men in the community, has just people feel for each other shines through; three localthis Scranton hospitals to give their patients gifts become engaged to his longtime sweetheart, includes their willingness to respect Rachel Gilbert. He’s content with his place each others’ foibles and idiosyncrasies. were fortunate to have the monies them too. in life, including his position at the law firm Even when Adam focusesto onassist the possibilwhere his fiance’s father is a partner. How- ity of leaving the community for Ellie, he We hope knows this year tomuch give even gifts your help ever, when Rachel’s cousin, Ellie Schneider, how thesemore people carewith for him moves back to London from New York City, – even with his faults and weaknesses – and Adam finds himself confused and atvital odds and just special project has become. alltodepen howthis much he stands to lose. This I came with his life. It’s not just that Ellie is beautiful feel for and understand all the characters and has worked as a model; she represents in a“The Innocents,” to be moved byintheir Please send donation to “PROJECT JOY” care of t the outside world, one not part of the Jewish fates and their futures. Segal’s ability to put Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, PA 18510, or just drop off community cocoon that has always buffered me inside Adam’s heart – to see his growth Adam. He wonders what it would be like to in maturity and understanding – swept me explore that world and finds himself drawn away on a tide of emotion. Throughout the We will be wrapping theses gifts on Tuesday, December emotionally and physically to Ellie. Yet, it course of the novel, the characters came to starting 9:00 am. All volunteers are welcome. Please ca is difficult for him to choose between the atfeel like friends and family. Because of this, 587-2931 or 586-0241 if you willalso be able to as help communal support and love of family and Segal’s marvelous work ranks oneus wra and worthwhile! friends, and his desire for something new, of the best of novels of the year.
Thank you for your continued suppor t and ge
Carol Leventhal, C
OCTOBER 11, 2012 ■
NEPA Jewish Federation Business & Trade Alliance
Economic Outlook Dinner Wednesday, October 24 • 6 to 8 pm
Radisson Hotel, 700 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton Our Speaker, Robert H. Graham of Riggs Asset Management Company, Inc. will discuss today’s economy & provide insight into its future. Attend this dinner and ﬁnd out how the economy will aﬀect business today and in the future! Robert H. Graham is President and Chief Investment Officer of Riggs Asset Management Company, Inc., an independent boutique investment advisory firm serving affluent families and institutions throughout the United States and abroad. Mr. Graham advises clients on Growth and Income Investment Strategies; Wealth Preservation and Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs. Mr. Graham began his investment management career in 1989 and joined Riggs Asset Management Company in 1999 as a Senior Investment Officer and Principal. He is Chair of the Board of Directors for the North Branch Land Trust, serves as a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of Diamond City Partnership, member of the Board of Directors of Leadership Wilkes-Barre and the Family Business Forum. He is also a member of the Director’s Leadership Group for the William G. McGowan School of Business at King’s College. Mr. Graham is frequently featured in publications such as The Times-Tribune, The Citizen’s Voice, The Northeastern Pennsylvania Business Journal, The Times Leader and The Standard Speaker where he provides insight into economics, investing and wealth management.
Cost: $20 per member • $30 per non-member Dinner Buﬀet Included* Please RSVP by Monday, October 22nd, 2012 by calling or e-mailing either Rae Magliocchi at 570-961-2300 x4 • firstname.lastname@example.org or Becky Schastey at 570-540-5250 • email@example.com
To become a member, please register at http://JewishNepaBTA.org *under strict kosher supervision
THE REPORTER ■ october 11, 2012
New Season of
• Non-Feature Films •
A Film Unfinished, a harrowing look at the devious art of a propaganda film made by the Third Reich, is a rich and well-researched investigation into the filmic history of the Warsaw Ghetto. As A Film Unfinished aims to set the record straight, it furthers a political resistance that Jews undertook during the war. In other words, this documentary is a tribute, a correction of history to honor those who died, witnessed, or survived atrocities prior to their move to Treblinka, Warsaw’s affiliate death camp. Blessed is the Match - In 1944, 22- year Hannah Senesh parachuted into Nazi- occupied Europe with a small group of Jewish volunteers from Palestine. Theirs was the only military rescue mission for Jews that occurred in World War II. Budapest to Gettyburg - The past and present collide as a world-renowned historian confronts a history he has refused to studyhis own. Gabor Boritt is an expert on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. But it took his son’s urging to get him to return to his native Hungary and learn about the Jewish experience there from the time of his childhood until, together with his family, he escaped to the United States. Constantine’s Sword, is a 2007 historical documentary film on the relationship between the Catholic Church and Jews. Directed and produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Oren Jacoby, the film is inspired by former priest James P. Carroll’s 2001 book Constantine’s Sword. Inside Hana’s Suitcase - A real-life Japanese schoolteacher, who appears throughout the film, sparked this entire story by gathering artifacts for a Holocaust educational center she was developing along with a group of girls and boys called The Small Wings. After applying to receive Holocaust artifacts, a large box arrives with a handful of artifacts, including a battered brown suitcase labeled with Hana Brady’s name. The teacher and her students begin searching for the story behind the suitcase. What they discover will surprise you. They wind up unlocking--and showing us in the film--a whole series of deeply moving memories and other related artifacts and photos. Finally, Hana’s surviving brother George travels to Japan to meet the Japanese students. I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal - Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor who lost 89 family members, helped track down over 1,100 Nazi war criminals and spent six decades fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice against all people. Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story - This excellent documentary, narrated by Dustin Hoffman, portrays the contributions of Jewish major leaguers and the special meaning that baseball has had in the lives of American Jews. Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story was shown at the Opening Event for the 2012 UJA Campaign. The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost - Famed attorney, Alan Dershowitz, presents a vigorous case for Israel- for its basic right to exist, to protect its citizens from terrorism and to defend its borders from hostile enemies. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg - As baseball’s first Jewish star, Hammering Hank Greenberg’s career contains all the makings of a true American success story.
• Feature Films • A Matter of Size - Winner of numerous international awards, this Israeli comedy is a hilarious and heart-warming tale about four overweight guys who learn to love themselves through the Japanese sport of sumo wrestling. (not rated) A Woman Called Golda - Ingrid Bergman plays Golda Meir, the Russian born, Wisconsin raised woman who became Israel’s prime minister in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Crossing Delancey - This is a warm comedy taking place in New York City. Isabella Grossman desires to rise above her family’s Lower East Side community but her grandmother has other matchmaking plans. Footnote - The story of a great rivalry between a father and son, both eccentric professors who have both dedicated their lives to work in Talmudic Studies departments of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Though the father shuns overt praise for his work and the son is desperate for it, how will each react when the father is to be awarded the most sought after prize, the Israel prize? This Oscar nominated film will entrance from the start. Frisco Kid - It’s 1850 and new rabbi Avram Belinski sets out from Philadelphia toward San Francisco. Cowpoke bandit Tom Lillard hasn’t seen a rabbi before but he knows when one needs a heap of help. Getting this tenderfoot to Frisco in one piece will cause a heap of trouble- with the law, Native Americans and a bunch of killers. Good - In an attempt to establish its credibility, the new Nazi government is seeking out experts to endorse its policies and they come across Johnnie Halder’s novel of a husband who aids his terminally ill wife in an assisted suicide. Because of this the Nazis flatter Johnnie arranging for high paying and prestigious positions. Never evil, Johnnie Halder is an Everyman who goes along, accepts what he is told without question until he is an unwitting accomplice to the Nazi killing machine. Hidden In Silence - Przemysl, Poland, WWII. Germany emerges victorious over the Russians, and the city comes under Nazi control. The Jewish are sent to the ghettos. While some stand silent, Catholic teenager Stefania Podgorska chooses the role of a savior and sneaks 13 Jews into her attic. Every day, she risks detection--and immediate execution--by smuggling food and water to the silent group living above her. And when two German nurses are assigned to her living quarters, the chances of discovery become dangerously high. This is the true story of a young woman’s selfless commitment and unwavering resolve in the face of war. Noodle (PAL version- can only be played on computer NOT regular DVD players) - At thirty-seven, Miri is a twice-widowed, El Al flight attendant. Her well regulated existence is suddenly turned upside down by an abandoned Chinese boy whose migrant-worker mother has been deported from Israel. The film is a touching comic-drama in which two human beings- as different from each other as Tel Aviv is from Beijing- accompany each other on a remarkable journey, one that takes them both back to a meaningful life. Nora’s Will - When his ex-wife Nora dies right before Passover, Jose is forced to stay with her body until she can be properly put to rest. He soon realizes that he is part of Nora’s plan to bring her family back together for one last Passover feast, leading Jose to reexamine their relationship. (not rated) Operation Thunderbolt - The true story of the Entebbe hijacking and rescue. “Operation Thunderbolt,” was filmed in Israel with the full cooperation of the Israeli government, and is an exciting re-creation of the events of those tense days. We see the full scope of the story, from the original hijacking to the passengers’ captivity in Uganda to the agonized debates at the highest levels of the Israeli government over a diplomatic vs. a military solution. “Operation Thunderbolt” is the thrilling and true story of how one small country refused to let their people be killed by terrorists and took action to prevent it. People who claim that Israel is a “terrorist state” should see the film and be reminded who the real terrorists are. Playing for Time - An outstanding cast brings life to this Fania Fenelon autobiography about a Jewish cabaret singer and other Jewish prisoners whose lives were spared at Auschwitz in exchange for performing for their captors. Rashevski’s Tango - Just about every dilemma of modern Jewish identity gets an airing in this packed tale of a clan of more or less secularized Belgian Jews thrown into spiritual crisis by the death of the matriarch who has held all doubts and family warfare in check. (not rated) Sarah’s Key - Julia Jarmond, an American journalist is commissioned to write an article about the notorious Vel d’Hiv round up, which took place in Paris, in 1942. She stumbles upon a family secret which will link her forever to the destiny of a young Jewish girl, Sarah. The Angel Levine - Things couldn’t get worse for Jewish tailor Morris Mishkin (Zero Mostel). His shop has gone up in flames, his daughter has married outside the faith and, worse yet, his wife is slowly dying. But just when he decides to give up on God, a mysterious man (Harry Belafonte) appears, claiming to be his Jewish guardian angel! Doubtful that the stranger is Jewish, never mind an angel, Mishkin must overcome his skepticism if he wants one last chance at redemption. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - Set during World War II, this is the story of Bruno, an innocent and naïve eight-year old boy who meets a boy while romping in the woods. A surprising friendship develops. The Couple - Based on the true story of a Jewish Hungarian’s desperate attempts to save his family from the Nazi death camps. Mr. Krauzenberg (Martin Landau) is forced to hand over his vast wealth to the Nazis for the safe passage of his family out of occupied Europe, only to find his two remaining servants are left trapped in a web of deceit and danger. Their only hope for survival relies on the courage of Krauzenberg. The Debt - Academy Award winner Helen Mirren and two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson star in The Debt. In 1966, three Mossad agents were assigned to track down a feared Nazi war criminal hiding in East Berlin, a mission accomplished at great risk and personal cost… or was it? Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story - Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story is an incredibly riveting, Emmy award-winning, fact-based story about a hero who helped over 100,000 Hungarian Jews escape from the Nazis during the Holocaust. Ushpizin - A fable set in the Orthodox Jewish world in Jerusalem, Ushpizin tells the story of a poor childless couple, Moshe and Malli, whose belief in the goodness of the Almighty follows a roller coaster of situations and emotions but leads to the ultimate happiness, the birth of their son.
Continued from page 12
more and more sophisticated, more and more doors open,” he said. “I had a gentleman who wanted to say Kaddish stuck in traffic.” The advances allow Blane, who worked for years as a cantor in the Conservative movement, to reach Jews from all backgrounds. While he does not see the new paradigm completely displacing traditional venues, he does predict some attrition. “It’s almost as if the structures we’ve created will supplement the Internet rather than the other way around,” he said. “Communities will live and breathe around the Internet and come together less frequently.” With technology advancing at a rapid pace, just what Jewish education will look like in 20 years, or even in five years, is unclear, but the Jewish world appears ready for the challenge. “All of these things are enabling us to realize our tradition and Judaism in ways that were simply unimaginable a few years ago,” said Backman of Askmoses. “I don’t know where it’s going, [but] it’s going to be phenomenal and in a positive way.”
Continued from page 10
To create the dance, Hodos, who uses movement and theater exercises in her work interpreting the Torah, reached into her family history. “I began thinking about my grandmother,” who had died a few years earlier, said Hodos. After the funeral Genie Zeiger, who had participated in the tahara for Hodos’ grandmother, presented the family with a poem titled “Washing the Corpse.” “She lay in stillness under a thin white sheet,” began the poem, which unemotionally takes the reader through the steps of tahara, as well as connects those steps to the meitah’s life. “Needlepoint was her specialty,” the poem continued, “and so it was with that exacting care that we tied her white linen vestments.” “I was moved by how the poet had captured so much without even knowing her,” Hodos said. At the convention, before a small audience that included members of tahara groups in the United States, Hodos introduced her dance by reading from a description of tahara written by Rachel Barenblatt, better known by her nom de blog, the Velveteen Rabbi. “The steps of the process are simple,” the description began. “Wash hands and don gloves and aprons. Say a prayer asking the meit to forgive you for any inadvertent offenses of missteps committed during tahara.” According to Slater, tahara is performed by a team of three or four people – men prepare men, women prepare women – with as many as six or seven if new members are being trained. Volunteer burial societies, or chevrei kadisha, which organize and train the tahara groups, are located in rural and urban areas. Many societies in larger cities pay a stipend. Generally, Barenblatt’s description follows an outline of first ritually washing the hands, then with warm cloths washing the body. Then the body is washed with a constant stream of poured water using nine kavim, or three buckets of water about two gallons apiece. Once the washing is finished, the group repeats the words “tehorah hee,” “she is pure.” The meitah is dried off and dressed in hand-stitched white linen, with the strings tied “so that the loops form a letter ‘shin,’ representing Shaddai, a name of God.” The meitah is then placed in a simple pine box and the lid is closed. Hodos suggested in her introduction that the process had its own choreography. While reciting the poem, she began to dance. “We washed her, under sheet after sheet,” intoned Hodos, her hands and arms moving in a sweeping motion as if uncovering, then pouring water. “We tied her white linen vestments,” she went on, her fingers moving as though stitching, after which she held up her hands, each with three fingers extended, signifying the form of a shin. “We recited prayers,” she said, her hands held together as if holding a book. “After closing the lid, we rested our hands on its soft piney surface,” said Hodos, gracefully lowering her arms. Then, repeating “tehora hee,” she raised her arms to heaven, signifying the end. “When a tahara team is working together, it’s like a troupe of dancers,” said Rabbi Meira Iliinsky of San Francisco said following Hodos’ demonstration. “Tahara is an intense experience,” added Iliinsky, a former member of a tahara group in Richmond, VA, who found that after performing a tahara, returning to normal was difficult. “You can’t help, but think this is going to happen to me someday,” she said. Iliinsky found the dance a ritual that could help her get back into life. “It uses your body to express the feelings between life and death,” she said. “It’s a perfect ritual to begin a tahara or end it.”
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OCTOBER 11, 2012 ■
NEWS IN bRIEF From JTA
“Death to the Jews” spray-painted on Brussels synagogue
Two unidentified vandals spray-painted antisemitic slogans on a Brussels synagogue. Security cameras filmed two men spray-painting “death to the Jews” and “boom” on the wall of Beth Hillel synagogue in the Belgian capital on Oct. 2. The footage was too blurry to be used to identify the vandals, according to a report by Le Vif, a Belgian daily. The same synagogue sustained minor damage in January 2009 after unknown assailants threw a Molotov cocktail at the entrance. Evelyne Huytebroeck, minister for the environment in the regional government of Belgium’s Brussels region, said the spraying of slogans “could only be the action of people from outside the region, in which tolerance prevails.” Huytebroeck added that she hoped local elections “would not inflame the spirits.”
the Jewish community’s main building, and the two countries said they would continue negotiations through government officials in Geneva. Iran is accused of directing the attack, which killed 85 and injured hundreds. The Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah allegedly carried out the attack. “The only Iranian offering of cooperation that we accept is to submit the accused to the courts of our country, where they will enjoy guarantees and rights of defense,” declared a document signed on Oct. 3 at the rebuilt AMIA headquarters by the relatives and Jewish leaders. “As victims of the attack, we are not ready to endorse a new Iranian maneuver whose sole purpose is to ensure impunity for fugitives and to prevent justice.” Among those signing were Guillermo Borger, president of AMIA; Aldo Donzis, president of the DAIA, the country’s umbrella Jewish community’s group; and 21 relatives of victims of the blast.
Flotilla sponsor tweets that Zionists helped perpetrate the President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney focused on revenue and spending, with an Holocaust
First presidential debate spotlights economy, health care
emphasis on health care, in their first presidential debate. With the focus on the economy, foreign policy was mentioned only in passing as the candidates squared off on Oct. 3 at the University of Denver. Obama said Romney’s plans to repeal his health care reform passed in 2010 would remove new protections, including mandatory coverage for those with preexisting conditions and coverage for children up until age 26 under their parents’ plans. Romney said such coverage was a matter best left to the states, and reiterated his claims that the federal plan inhibits business growth and costs jobs. Obama criticized Romney’s plan to transition Medicare, the federal insurance program for the elderly, to private insurers, saying it would drive up costs for seniors. Romney said the change was needed to salvage the program. Romney also outlined his plans for energy independence, which include promoting use of domestic resources, among them coal. Romney also advocated increased drilling on public lands. The candidates will focus on foreign policy in the third of their three debates, on Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL.
Iverson signing on with Maccabi Haifa for U.S. games – and maybe longer
Former NBA Most Valuable Player Allen Iverson reportedly will play for Maccabi Haifa in its two exhibition games against NBA teams – and perhaps longer. Iverson, 37, will suit up for the Israeli squad when it takes on the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves later in October in the United States, the Israeli Sport5 site reported. Sport5 added that Maccabi Haifa officials are considering signing the perennial NBA All-Star guard to a longer contract if the experiment succeeds. Iverson was invited to play for Haifa by coach Brad Greenberg, who was a part of the Philadelphia 76ers staff when Iverson starred for the team. Left without a team for this season, Iverson had announced his retirement earlier this year. In 2011, Iverson played for the Turkish club Beshiktash. Earlier this year, he declared bankruptcy.
Irving Cohen, maitre d’ of Concord Hotel in Catskills, dies at 95
Irving Cohen, the maitre d’ at the popular Concord Hotel in the Catskills for 50 years, died in Florida at 95. Cohen, who started working as a waiter at the Concord in the late 1930s and stayed there until the resort shut down in 1988, died on Oct. 1 at his home in Boca Raton, The New York Times reported. He was known at the hotel as “King Cupid” for being the unofficial matchmaker. Many Jewish guests came to the Concord year after year to find a suitable spouse, and Cohen devised a seating system using a pegboard and colorful pins to place girls and boys next to each other, according to the Boca Raton News. “The dining room was the place to meet other people, and for many it was the main attraction,” he told Boca Life in 1999. The paper described him as “a warm, endearing personality with a quick wit” who introduced some 10,000 couples to each other, resulting in more than 100 marriages. The Concord was a hotspot for Jewish guests after the turn of the 20th century. The Catskills, in upstate New York, became known as the Borscht Belt after many Jewish residents settled in New York City and built guesthouses, inns and hotels as getaways. Cohen was born in 1917 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He worked as busboy at Grossinger’s, another Catskills hotel resort, after graduating from the area’s Seward Park High School, according to The New York Times.
Paris district inks pact with P.A. to help eastern Jerusalem Arabs
The district of France that includes Paris signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority to provide funding for programs in eastern Jerusalem. The pact between Ilede-France and the P.A., which was approved on Sept. 28 and will be signed in October, will send 300,000 euros (nearly $400,000) for educational and social welfare programs to eastern Jerusalem, according to the Times of Israel. The agreement undercuts Israel’s claim to eastern Jerusalem, a largely Arab district that Israel considers part of its united capital. “There is very high sensitivity to the Palestinian cause in France,” Ile-de-France Councilman Jacques Picard told the Times of Israel. “This symbolic move is certainly intended to send a political message.” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschon told the Times of Israel that the Ile-de-France council “seems intent on ignoring reality and living in a make-believe world.”
The founder of the Free Gaza Movement, which uses flotillas in trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, tweeted that Zionists were responsible for the Holocaust, then apologized. Greta Berlin tweeted that she meant to post the tweet to her private Facebook account rather than the organization’s Twitter account. The original tweet, sent on Sept. 30 from @freegazaorg, read that “Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews.” It linked to a video of Eustace Mullins, a conspiracy theorist, claiming that the word “Nazi” combines the words “National Socialist” and “Zionist.” Mullins died in 2010. “I posted it from Facebook, not realizing that my private account was connected to the FG account. I apologise,” Berlin tweeted. Although the Free Gaza Movement deleted the tweet, Avi Mayer of the Jewish Agency for Israel posted a screenshot of it on Oct. 1, according to the National Post.
Syria’s FM Moallem: U.S. stays out of Syria at Israel’s behest
Walid Moallem, the foreign minister of Syria, blamed Israel in part for the American handsoff approach to fighting in Syria. “I can see the American foreign policy in the Middle East has to take in its account and priority the Israeli interest,” Moallem told Al Monitor, a Middle East news website, in a rare interview conducted during the recent United Nations General Assembly in New York. “And the Israeli interest today is to continue this violence in Syria as long as it’s Syrian killing a Syrian, as long as the country infrastructure is destroyed. For that we don’t see any American initiative to end this violence.” The Obama administration is under pressure from congressional Republicans, anti-Syria groups and its ally, Turkey, to intervene against the Syrian government through helping to set up a no-fly zone, among other proposals. Israeli officials also have said they would favor the removal of the Assad regime in part because of its Iran ties, although they also fear an Islamist takeover.
Israeli intel: Independent jihadist network perpetrating Sinai attacks
Terror attacks in the Sinai emanated from an independent jihadist network there, Israeli intelligence reportedly believes. Many members of the Sinai network are Egyptians who do not live in the Sinai, according to the Ha’aretz newspaper, which cited Israeli intelligence. Two of the three terrorists involved in the September cross-border attack that killed an Israeli soldier were well-off husbands and fathers who did not outwardly identify with religious extremism, Egyptian newspapers reported, according to Ha’aretz. Other attacks on the Sinai border, including the killing of eight Israelis in August 2011 and the 14 attacks on a gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel, also are believed to have emanated from the same jihadists network and are not an extension of Gaza terrorism. Ha’aretz reported that the network recruits from throughout the Arab world.
Jailed Alan Gross may have tumor, doctor says
Jailed Jewish-American contractor Alan Gross may have a cancerous tumor that needs to be treated, his lawyer said. Gross has an unidentified mass behind his right shoulder, according to reports. Cuban doctors declared the mass to be a hematoma that would reabsorb over time. CT and ultrasound scans of the mass conducted by the Cuban doctors were sent to Gross’ lawyers in the United States. “Gross has a potentially life-threatening medical problem that has not been adequately evaluated to modern medical standards,” U.S. radiologist Dr. Alan Cohen said in a statement released by Gross’ attorney Jared Genser. Cohen said in his statement that Gross should be treated at a U.S. hospital and that the mass should be biopsied. A “soft tissue mass in an adult who has lost considerable weight must be assumed to represent a malignant tumor unless proven to be benign,” the doctor said, according to Reuters. Gross, 63, of Potomac, MD, was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison for “crimes against the state.” He was arrested in 2009 for allegedly bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s Jewish community while working as a contractor for the U.S. Agency on International Development. In September, a Cuban Foreign Ministry official rejected claims by Gross’ wife, Judy, that Gross was in ill health, and also said Cuba was willing to negotiate his release with U.S. officials, reportedly in exchange for five Cuban spies, four of whom remain in jail in the U.S. Gross reportedly has lost more than 100 pounds since his arrest and his family says he is suffering from degenerative arthritis. His mother is dying and one of his daughters has cancer.
Argentina’s Jews balk at negotiations with Iran over ‘94 bombing
Relatives of victims of the deadly bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires and Jewish leaders are urging their government not to negotiate with Iran. Hector Timerman, Argentina’s Jewish foreign minister, met recently at U.N. headquarters in New York with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, about the July 1994 bombing on
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THE REPORTER ■ october 11, 2012