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Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania OCTOBER 25, 2012
VOLUME X, NUMBER 21
Preparing for war Israel’s North looks to lessons After two decades of quiet skies, from 2006 when thinking of war Tel Aviv girds for potential missiles By Ben Sales HAIFA (JTA) – When missiles rained down on northern Israel from Lebanon six years ago, surgeons at Rambam Hospital in Haifa worked, terrified, on the building’s eighth floor. That summer, missiles had struck fewer than 20 yards away, endangering the staff and patients of northern Israel’s largest hospital and the central facility for treating soldiers injured in the fighting. “There wasn’t even a bomb shelter because we thought they’d never bomb a hospital,” said David Ratner, Rambam’s spokesman. “We weren’t ready. The message we got was that we needed to become a hospital that could treat people under attack.” The experience has pushed Rambam’s wartime operating room a dozen stories down, to the third level of an underground parking garage that will become, should bombs fall again, one of the world’s largest emergency hospitals. At 645,000 square feet, the three stories will house 2,000 medical stations – enough to care not only for those wounded physically or psychologically from the war zone, but also for the most critically ill inpatients and outpatients needing regular treatments like dialysis. “This changes us from a laid-back hospital to a machine,” Ratner told JTA. “People aren’t going to stop having babies” during a war. As tensions between Iran and Israel heat up, and amid fears that Syria’s civil war could spill over into Israel (in a first since the war began, Syrian shells landed in Israel’s Golan Heights last month), Israeli cities and institutions like Rambam are planning for a potential repeat of the missile fire seen dur-
ing Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah. Any war with Iran is expected to prompt retaliatory strikes by Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy militia in Lebanon, and possibly by Hamas, which controls Gaza and has received funding and weaponry from the Islamic Republic. In 2006, northern Israel was caught largely unprepared for war. For six years before that, following Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon, the region enjoyed relative quiet. But more than 4,000 missiles were fired at Israel during the 34day 2006 war, prompting massive numbers of residents to flee their homes and leaving 163 Israeli soldiers and civilians dead. On the Lebanese side, there were more than 1,000 dead. In the six years of quiet that have followed the war, area residents say they have remained on guard. Nahariyah, a city of more than 50,000 on Israel’s northern coast situated less than 10 miles from the Lebanese border, suffered hundreds of rockets and two deaths in the 2006 war. Since then, the city has improved its emergency services by renovating its bomb shelters and implementing its part of a national attack alert system. Nahariyah’s hospital, like Rambam, has an emergency underground wing. But Izik Moreli, manager of Nahariyah’s security division, said the unpredictable nature of a terrorist threat means that the city may never be fully prepared for war. “I think we’re much more prepared,” Moreli said. “But I hope we don’t encounter things we don’t expect, like we did in 2006.” See “North” on page 4
By Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA) – On the seventh day of the Gulf War in January 1991, a Scud missile eluded American defenses and struck between two apartment buildings on Abba Hillel Street in Ramat Gan, a city that abuts Tel Aviv. The missile, part of Saddam Hussein’s revenge for U.S. Operation Desert Storm, killed one woman and was one of many Scuds to hit Israel during the war. Although Tel Aviv was a prime target for Palestinian suicide bombers in the 1990s and during the second intifada a decade ago, 1991 was the last time the city experienced missile attacks. Since 2006, it has gone through far less fighting than Israel’s northern and southern regions, which are adjacent, respectively, to the Lebanon and Gaza borders. But Tel Aviv’s tranquility is not expected to last should war break out with Iran. Iran and its proxy terrorist group, Hezbollah, now have missiles – Shababs and Fatah-110s – that can hit Israel’s largest metropolis. In a sign of Hezbollah strength, the group managed to fly a drone, financed by Iran, 35 miles into Israel on October 6 before Israeli forces shot it down. To prepare for the possibility of war, Tel Aviv has outfitted several mass underground parking lots to serve as bomb shelters. The city has about 350 shelters totaling more than 10 million square feet – enough to shelter about a million people. More than 400,000 people live in Tel Aviv, according to 2010 figures, with more than three million in its metropolitan area. Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, like Rambam Hospital in Haifa, can mobilize an underground facility with 1,000 beds in the event of a war. David Aharony, director of Tel Aviv’s Emergency and Security Department, touts his city’s “daily preparedness all year.” Residents can look up bomb shelters on an interactive map provided by the municipality, and a recent citywide mailing advised residents about the shelter closest to their home. Some could require more than 10 minutes of walking, but Aharony says that’s good enough. “In instances of war, in some situations you need to go to the safest place possible and then in later situations go to safer places,” he said. “In later stages, if someone wants to go to a
Federation on Facebook A projection of what Rambam Hospital’s underground hospital will look like once it is completed. (Photo by Rambam Hospital, Haifa)
The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania now has a page on Facebook to let community members know about upcoming events and keep connected.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Campaign Chai-lights Jewish arts and culture
Bedouins in the IDF
American soldiers set up the Patriot antimissle weapon system to protect from potential Iraqi Scuds sent toward Tel Aviv and Israel during the second Gulf War on July 23, 2003. (Photo by Flash90/JTA) bomb shelter, he will be able to find it.” Israel also has been preparing for a potential attack since April by distributing gas masks to its citizens, with 40,000 new gas mask kits going out every month. Israelis first received gas masks to guard against chemical attacks during the ‘91 Gulf War. Now the state See “Missiles” on page 10
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 (Please MEMO your pledge or gift 2013 UJA Campaign)
as of Oct. 19, 2012
Candle lighting October 26....................................... 5:47 pm November 2.....................................5:38 pm November 9.....................................4:30 pm
A look at the programs and services Singer-songwriter Marcus Gold- Despite hardships and communal PLUS offered by Jewish Family Service, haber has a new album; Jewish and feelings of inequality, many Bedouin which the UJA Campaign funds. Israeli film festivals in the U.S. feel obligated to serve in the IDF. Opinion...........................................................2 Story on page 5 Stories on page 8 Story on page 9 D’var Torah.................................................10
THE REPORTER ■ october 25, 2012
a matter of opinion Solving hunger means sharing the wealth By Rabbi Ari Weiss (JTA) – To eat: a cup of black beans, a few ounces of pasta and a bit of tuna. To drink: water. This was my dinner menu one Friday night last November as my fellow dinner guests dined on standard Shabbat fare: homemade challah, two types of salad, chicken prepared three ways, three bottles of wine, four side dishes, cake and fruit for desert, tea. I generally look forward to Shabbat dinner, but I had decided that week to join rabbis and faith leaders across the country to participate in a food stamp challenge. Some background about the challenge, which this year is being held November 11-17: The average recipient of aid in the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – commonly known as food stamps – receives $31.50 in benefits per week. That works out to $4.50 a day or $1.50 a meal, assuming three meals a day. In participating in the food stamp challenge, I had committed to spending only $31.50 on food and drink for a week, including Shabbat. I did so for two related reasons: to deeply understand the day-to-day reality of the 45.7 million Americans who receive federal aid each week necessary for their survival, and to have this knowledge lead me to act to ensure that this essential strand of the social safety net would not be cut in proposed deficient reduction legislation. Growing up, my family never required government assistance. The day after that Friday night dinner, while at shul, I realized how lucky I was: A friend had heard about my participation in the food stamp challenge and confided to me that her family
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had received food stamps throughout her childhood. Without this form of government assistance, there were times when she would have gone hungry. She wanted to remind me that hunger is not just an issue for Gentiles, that there are many in the American Jewish community who struggle with food insecurity as well. This conversation, as well as many others I had during the week I participated in the challenge, left me with a deep awareness of the fragility of my own life circumstances. My middle-class family had the resources to nurture me as I grew, and I realized that the wealth and privilege I enjoyed growing up was a matter of mere chance and therefore not a predicate of fairness. My life would have been much different were I born to parents who were food insecure or did not provide an environment that would nurture me and allow my talents to flourish. But if the circumstances of life are based on luck, in what sense can I claim, with integrity and as a matter of justice, that my resources belong solely to me? A variation of this line of reasoning is forcibly argued by John Rawls in “A Theory of Justice,” perhaps the most influential social justice work of the 20th century. But all great philosophical works have a pre-history and the idea that wealth is not our own is a core teaching of the Torah. Time and again, the Torah reminds us that the land, the generator of wealth in the agrarian economy of the Bible, is God’s: “For mine is the land, for you are sojourning settlers with me” (Leviticus 25:23).
The Jewish people are graced with our wealth and property by God; we cannot claim it as our own. As the Torah tells us in Deuteronomy 9:4, “Do not say in your heart... through my merit did the Lord bring me to take this land.” Rather, it is through God’s goodness that we enjoy the land’s bounty. This leads to the great concern of the Torah’s teaching about wealth, to a delusional narcissism that prioritizes our efforts and forgets that our capacity to create wealth transcends individual effort: “Lest you eat and be sated,” the Torah warns, “and build goodly houses and dwell in them. And your cattle and sheep multiply for you, and all that you have will multiply for you... And you will say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand made me this wealth.’” (Deut. 8:12-13:17) The fantasy of the wealthy, who believe that wealth is generated solely through individual effort, could not have been stated better by Ayn Rand. Yet the Torah straight on counters the myth of the self-made person: “And you will remember the Lord, your God,” the Torah informs us, that it is God and God alone who “gives you power to make wealth” (Deut. 8:18). If all this is correct and the core biblical teachings about wealth are that it originates with God who gifted it to us, then what are the conditions of its use? Here, too, the Torah provides the answer: If we receive wealth as a gift from God, it is essential that we in turn gift it to those in need. Throughout the Torah there are various
avenues through which this is accomplished, from tithing to leaving a corner of a field for the poor, and so on. All these commandments stem from the same fundamental motivation: our wealth is not completely ours, therefore we do not have complete control in its use. The 16th century commentator Rabbi Moshe Alshech could not have said it clearer when he wrote that “do not think that you are giving to the poor from your own possession, or that I despised the poor person by not giving him as I gave you. For he is my son, as you are, and his share is in your grain; it is to your benefit to give him his share from your property.” All this brings me back to SNAP and my participation in the food stamp challenge. Based on my experience and my understanding of the Jewish tradition, I deeply believe that my station in life is accidental, the nourishment that I received as a child was due to circumstances beyond my control, unlike billions around the world and millions in America who lack this basic security. If so, then I have an obligation to share the wealth that God has given me to ensure that those born without it have the same privileges and opportunities that I enjoy. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a necessary part of this social safety net. To make sure it remains there, I ask that you join me take the food stamp challenge on November 11-17. Rabbi Ari Weiss is the executive director of Uri L’Tzedek, a social justice organization of the Orthodox movement.
Celebrate and learn from the Soviet Jewry movement By Daniel Eisenstadt and Michael Granoff (JTA) – The greatest Jewish success story in a quarter century has become unknown to many in less than a generation. On December 6, 1987, when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in Washington, more than a quarter-million American Jews – Democrats and Republicans, observant and secular, and individuals representing the entire spectrum of Israeli politics – gathered on the National Mall with a single unified message as old as the Exodus story: “Let our people go!” “Our people” were the Jews of the Soviet Union who were being discriminated against, deprived of their freedom of expression and religion, and prevented from emigrating. After the Six-Day War, brave Soviet Jews began to risk their careers, loved ones and lives to protest the denial of these freedoms and to advocate for their basic right to immigrate to Israel. Refuseniks – Soviet Jews who had been denied an exit visa – cried out for help from other Jews. Israeli and American Jewish activists responded, saying “Hineni – Here I am.” The gathering on that cold December morning 25 years ago was the culminating event of a generation-long struggle by American Jews to win the freedom of their Soviet brethren. Commonly known as the Soviet Jewry movement, it was led by activists who came from every corner of the Jewish community. Their stories and impact continue to resonate with us as Jews and Americans. The movement’s real engine was at the grass-roots level across America. In the mid-1960s, college students, housewives, dentists, rabbis and teachers orchestrated letter-writing campaigns, local rallies, b’nai mitzvah twinning programs and more. And they persisted in their activism on behalf of Soviet Jews
for decades. American Jews from major cities traveled to the Soviet Union with books, messages of support and hidden religious articles. What was the net result? More than one million Soviet Jews became Israeli citizens. Jews from the former Soviet Union transformed intellectual fields in Israel from physics to economics to engineering and the medical sciences – and were recognized with Nobel Prizes no fewer than five times. Former Soviet Jews have changed the way we work and live through various high-tech innovations. Google, cofounded by Moscow-born Sergey Brin, who immigrated to the United States, might not have been created without the Soviet Jewry movement. In stark contrast to the lack of political clout and cunning among American Jews during the Holocaust era, this generation of Soviet Jewry activists, reared in the struggle for civil rights for minorities in America, took a universal message of inherent rights and freedom from kitchen tables and university squares to the White House. They confronted political leaders with a moral imperative based on many of the fundamental values, such as religious liberty, that were the foundation of America itself. In his award-winning book “When They Come for Us We’ll Be Gone,” author Gal Beckerman notes that the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which tied U.S.-Soviet trade to the basic right of emigration, marked the first time that a fight against the human rights abuses within another sovereign country was directly incorporated into American foreign policy. In fact, members of the Reagan administration credit activists of the Soviet Jewry movement for personalizing the philosophical differences between the countries, revealing contradictions that served to weaken the foundations of the Soviet Union itself.
Within four years of the Freedom Sunday March, the Soviet Union was no more. And yet this success story has not been integrated into our contemporary Jewish narrative or our understanding of American history. Few under the age of 30 know it ever happened. We formed Freedom 25 to rectify this incomprehensible situation. Our coalition of more than a dozen nonprofits and Jewish organizations is committed to help refocus Americans generally and North American Jewry specifically on this history and its lessons. Leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Sunday March, we will be creating a “virtual march” featuring online events, petitions and educational programming. Our goal is for one million people online to celebrate this defining moment in Jewish and human rights history. We also will work collaboratively throughout 2013 to ensure that the movement and its vital legacy become part of classroom curricula and, more important, join the stories we tell our children and grandchildren with pride. As we begin the year 5773, we should remember and appreciate that the struggle for freedom is ongoing. The lessons of the Soviet Jewry movement should inform how we respond to current and future challenges: As a community, we are strongest when we stand together. As a people, we must never stay silent when Jews are in need. As a light to the nations, we must ensure that those rights central to the Soviet Jewry movement – freedom of migration, freedom of information and freedom of conscience – define our activism. Daniel Eisenstadt and Michael Granoff are co-chairmen of Freedom 25 (www. freedom25.net), a coalition focused on promoting the history and lessons of the Soviet Jewry movement to the next generation.
OCTOBER 25, 2012 ■
community news Jewish Family Service participated in Steamtown Health Fair Jewish Family Service participated in the Steamtown Health Fair on October 14 at Commonwealth Medical College. Scranton Primary Healthcare Center and TCMC celebrated National Primary Care Week in conjunction with the National Health Service Corps’ Community Week by organizing the first Steamtown Health Fair. The family-friendly event, which organizers expect will be held annually, aimed to engage the community in thinking and talking about health. The combined goals of TCMC and Scranton Primary reportedly equated to “serving society using community-based, patient-centered, interprofessional and evidence-based model of education” by “providing quality primary health care to the poor at reasonable cost to the community.” Health-related organizations from throughout the Greater Scranton community were invited to demonstrate their services to health fair attendees. Jewish Family Services representatives distributed to the fair’s attendees information about JFS programs and services to the community.
At right, l-r: JFS board member and volunteer D r. D a n i e l G i n s b e rg joined Maggy Bushwick, coordinator of Older Adult Services, at the JFS table at the Steamtown Health Fair.
Jewish communities grapple with baby boomer retirement boom
tive examples of how communities By Neil Rubin are grappling with the challenges of BALTIMORE (JTA) – Every growing Jewish senior populations. Jewish community wants more RayIn 2005, the year of Las Vegas’ last monde Fiols among its active retirees. Jewish community study, Jews ages 65 The question is whether those comand older rose to 67,500, from 55,600 munities are prepared to meet the a decade earlier. In Greater Phoenix, needs she and hundreds of thousands a 2002 population study found that of “younger seniors” and older ones 20 percent of people in households will have in the near future. with Jews were in that age range – a Now 76, Fiols has resided in Las sizable increase from the 12 percent Vegas for the past 11 years. She bemark in the previous study, conducted longs there to a synagogue, Hadassah and Na’amat USA, a women’s Zion- Raymonde and Philip Fiol. (Photo in 1984. A 2005 study by the Federation in western Palm Beach County ist organization. Her volunteer time courtesy of Raymonde Fiol) found that about 57 percent of the largely is spent as president of the Holocaust Survivors community – 78,391 people – were 65 and older. MeanGroup of Southern Nevada. In spare moments, she and her while, a study that same year by the Federation in southern husband of 56 years, Philip, enjoy the area’s nature parks Palm Beach County found 61 percent of the community and attending lectures. “You have a choice of Jewish involvement, and we’re was 65 or older. “We have the fastest growing Jewish seniors community surrounded by Jewish friends,” Fiols said. “People look out for each other because a lot of them don’t have their children population in the country,” said Keith Myers, the president here, so you get invited for yontif and your friends become and CEO of MorseLife in West Palm Beach, a nonprofit that provides senior living and health care in the area. “In the family,” she said, using the Yiddish term for holidays. She and her husband are part of the area’s growing se- next 15 to 20 years, Palm Beach County is going to triple nior population. The Jewish community is thought to have its senior population from 300,000 to 900,000.” His nonsectarian agency has a $66 million annual buda larger share of people ages 65 and over than America get – up from about $57 million five years ago. Services generally, based on statistics from the last National Jewish Population Study and the 2010 U.S. Census. With the baby provided by the multifaceted operation include short-term boomer generation entering the 65-plus age group, experts rehabilitation, long-term care, independent and assisted say Jewish institutions will have to work hard to keep up living, home care, geriatric care management, adult day with what is expected to be a growing need for social ser- care, meals on wheels, and research and education. More is coming, with a $43.6 million expansion is in the works vices and social offerings among Jewish elderly. Already, Jewish programs ranging from medical assis- including a 100,000 sq. ft. short-term rehabilitation faciltance initiatives to psychological counseling, adult edu- ity, remodeling of a long-term care building, new space cation and heritage trips are expanding. Three retirement for memory- and vision-impaired residents, and expanded destinations with high concentrations of older Jews – Las independent living residences. “Our clients are living Vegas, Palm Beach, FL, and Phoenix, AZ – offer instruc- longer and we’re dealing with more considerations than ever,” Myers said. Mirroring the general population, similar expansions are taking place at Jewish retirement homes and centers around the country. Service providers also worry about meeting the needs of elderly people who chose to stay at
home, many of them in what’s known as NORCs: naturally occurring retirement communities. In 2001, the national Federation umbrella organization – now known as the Jewish Federations of North America – created a NORC Aging in Place Initiative to seek more federal assistance for NORC supportive services efforts, which often are supported with federal and state funds. At the Las Vegas Senior Lifeline, a nondenominational program run by the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, Federation spending on the program’s kosher meals, transportation to doctors and grocery stores, and light housekeeping has risen to $500,000 – a substantial increase in the past four years, according to Elliot Karp, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Federation. The program also gets government dollars. See “Retirement” on page 5
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THE REPORTER ■ october 25, 2012
Medieval Jewish banquet in small Italian town resurrects forgotten menus
By Ruth Ellen Gruber BEVAGNA, Italy (JTA) – In a medieval tavern in 21st century Italy, waitresses in archaic costumes served a tepid, chalk-white substance the texture of oatmeal to tables filled with slightly skeptical diners. Sweet yet salty, and flavored with a mix of unexpectedly tangy spices, it turned out to be a tasty puree made from shredded chicken breast, almond milk, rose water, cloves and rice flour. The dish was a savory form of biancomangiare, or almond pudding, a food that was popular in Italy in the Middle Ages. Jews back then loved it, too, food historians say, and often called it “almond rice.” On this recent night in Bevagna, an ancient walled town in central Italy’s Umbria region, biancomangiare was being served as the first course of a special kosher-style dinner aimed at re-creating a meal that Jews in Italy would have eaten in the 14th and 15th centuries. It was followed by a spicy lentil soup and then the main course: heaping platters of crisp, twice-roasted goose with garlic served with a warm salad of baked onions in sweet and sour sauce. The meal was rounded out by a form of spiced white wine called ippocrasso and honey-nut sweets served on fresh bay leaves. “We love medieval cooking,” said Alfredo Properzi, one of the dinner organizers. Properzi, a local doctor, belongs to a civic association that fosters study and re-enactment of life in the Middle Ages. The recipes for the dinner, he said, came from cookbooks of the period. “One of the big differences was the spices that they used – much more than today,” he said. “Also, medieval cooks liked to use various spices to color food as well as season it.” The dinner added flavor – literally – to an academic conference on medieval Jewish life in Bevagna, a town where Jews lived from the early 14th century until they were expelled from all of Umbria in 1569. “There were probably never more than two or three Jewish families in Bevagna,” Bar-Ilan University historian Ariel Toaff, the main conference speaker, told JTA as
many other holdings. But after his death in 1484, the family suffered a series of tragic setbacks, including deaths, bank failures and even a trumped-up claim by a young Bevagna boy that the family had lured him to their home and crucified him over Easter in 1485. Though apparently linked to a default on a loan to the Abramo bank by the boy’s mother, the allegations led to the banishment of several Abramo family members. The dramatic tale and long-gone Jewish presence in Bevagna have kindled interest in a town that already revels in its medieval history. Bevagna hosts medieval See “Medieval” on page 12
North Bar-Ilan University historian Ariel Toaff was served a double-roasted goose and baked onion salad by a “medieval” waitress in Bevagna, Italy. (Photo by Ruth Ellen Gruber) he sampled the dishes and sipped the strong local wine, Sagrantino di Montefalco. “It would have been impossible to maintain a kosher slaughter house for so few people,” he said. “If they wanted meat, they would have had to get it from another town, or they would have eaten poultry, which could be slaughtered at home.” No Jews today live in Bevagna, and only a few dozen Jews live in all of Umbria. But historic documents provide fascinating insights on many aspects of medieval Jewish life, from food and wine to religious observance, sex, love and marriage, economic life and, of course, discrimination. Particularly extensive archival material details the dramatic family saga of the most prominent Jews who lived in Bevagna in the 15th century, the banker Abramo and his large, extended clan. Abramo owned banks in three towns, as well as a mansion, investment properties, farmland and
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
Continued from page 1 Security officials in the North credit Israel’s streamlined Home Front Defense Ministry, part of the Defense Ministry, for spearheading the improvements, including the national alert system, drills to prepare for crises, and improved oversight and evaluation of emergency preparedness. In mid-September, the Israel Defense Forces conducted a surprise drill in the Golan Heights simulating a response to an attack there. The Home Front Command, created in 1992 after Scud missiles hit Israel during the 1991 Gulf War, reflects the IDF’s view that “the home front is no less a battlefront than any other location,” Eytan Buchman, an IDF spokesman, told JTA. The National Emergency Authority, a division of the Home Front ministry, held a national disaster simulation drill on October 21 that covered interruptions in communication and mobilization of forces that also would activate during wartime. American Jewish communities have supported the National Emergency Authority’s efforts through the Jewish Federations of North America. Since 2006, U.S. Jewish Federations have raised $350 million for the North, much of which has gone to renovating bomb shelters – for air conditioning, light fixtures, water coolers, toilets and television sets in the underground spaces. The funding also has provided for social, economic and educational programs according to Lee Perlman, JFNA’s managing director of program and planning for Israel and overseas. The Gulf War also brought widespread distribution of gas masks to Israel amid fears that Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein would launch biological or chemical attacks against Israel. This summer, gas mask distribution accelerated again as Syria’s government indicated it would consider using its stockpile of chemical and biological weapons in the event of a foreign attack. Some Israeli politicians still worry that the country is unprepared for war and they’ve been critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for seeming to move the country closer to an attack while Israeli cities are left exposed. Bomb shelters in northern Israel can hold only 60 percent of the local population, and almost half of Israelis do not own gas masks. “Israel has failed to learn from the Second Lebanon War,” said Ze’ev Bielski, chairman of the Knesset’s Subcommittee for the Examination of Home Front Readiness, according to the Times of Israel. “The bomb shelter situation is still dire for millions of Israelis.” But according to Meir Elran, director of the Homeland Security Program at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, the statistics are not cause for grave concern. He said that while the number of bomb shelters is not ideal, the situation is manageable because people will be safe as long as they remain inside a building. Building bomb shelters for every citizen would cost too much money and take too much time, he said. “It doesn’t make sense that there would be a bomb shelter for everyone,” he said. “It’s a question of cost and benefit. No one on the world has this and it doesn’t make sense for here.” Elran added that providing gas masks to the entire population also is cost inefficient, especially given that “the other side understands very well that if it uses chemical weapons, our reaction will be very severe.” Sometimes, Elran suggested, the best defense is a good offense. “The shorter the war is and the more severely the other side will be hurt,” he said, “the better it will be for Israel.”
OCTOBER 25, 2012 ■
UJA Campaign Chai-lights
Jewish Family Service The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s annual UJA Campaign last year provided $60,000 to Jewish Family Service because of the community service it performs. Established in 1915, Jewish Family Service is a nonprofit human service organization dedicated to helping maintain and strengthen the quality of individual, family and community life. Regardless of a client’s ability to pay, each individual and family receives professional help in a confidential manner. All JFS social workers and its executive director are licensed social workers in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Professional counseling addresses a variety of treatment areas, including addictions; domestic abuse; depression; parent-child relationships; panic and anxiety disorders; adjustment difficulties due to divorces; births; single parenthood; or living with illnesses or aging. Older Adult Services offers a comprehensive assessment of client needs and coordinates care management plans for elderly clients and their families, including counseling,
“No question that’s going to increase in the coming years,” Karp said of the need. “The number is stable at around 400 people served only because of limitation of resources. We could double it if we had the funds.” It’s not just social service needs that are important, but social needs. With more active, healthy retirees comes increased demand for educational and social programming. At the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School of Jewish Learning, which is geared toward all adults, organizers say they’ve seen a significant increase in seniors. In many venues, the majority of participants are retirees. In recent years, that program has expanded to 62 programs in 60 cities, mostly in North America, educating some 5,500 people a week. Synagogues, too, are retooling for seniors and new ones are opening in places with growing older-adult populations. In the mid-1990s, Temple Beit Knesset Bamidbar (Synagogue of the Desert) opened up in Sun City Summerlin, a gated community in the Las Vegas area for people age 55
homemaker services, nursing care, Mae S. Gelb Kosher Food Pantry. See Jewish Family Service guardianship service, visitors and JFS assisted individuals and famiKosher Meals on Wheels. lies in crises with critical financial photos on page 7. Other program areas include Holosupport and emergency services. caust Survivor Assistance Service, the JFS guided 291 individuals, free Dental Care Center, the Mae S. Gelb Kosher Food Pantry, couples and families toward improved mental health. family life education, volunteer services and financial aid. A collaborative effort between JFS, the Scranton District There is also the holiday assistance program, which is provided Dental Society and Fortis Institute provided more than to ensure that Jewish holidays can be celebrated by all. $17,552 worth of free dental care for eligible Lackawanna Jewish Family Service is accredited by the Council on County residents who are uninsured and unable to afford Accreditation of Services for Families and Children, a dental treatment. member of the Association of Jewish Family and Children’s JFS helped seniors attending the lunch program at Agencies and is an affiliated organization of the United the Jewish Resource Center of the Poconos share past Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties and the Jewish experiences and memories with the Reminiscing Group Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Support Program. Due to donations and funding sources received during JFS provided regional Holocaust survivors with the fiscal year 2011-12, Jewish Family Service served $15,897 in financial assistance from funds received from Northeastern Pennsylvania in many ways. the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Ger JFS provided food and other necessary household many Emergency Assistance Program. See “Family” on page 6 items to the hungry locally, with 52 pantry visits to the
and older. Now the shul has a rabbi, a cantor and more than 850 members. On Shabbat, people are congratulated from the pulpit on their anniversaries. “It takes them forever, because they start with 30 years and 40 years and 50 years and 60 years and up,” Karp said with a chuckle. Ellie Schwartzberg, vice president of older adults services and Jewish community services at Phoenix’s Jewish Family and Children’s Services, says she’s worried that Jewish communities remain unprepared to help the baby-boomer generation. For example, the community has not begun to put in place the nursing homes that will be required for the growing cases of Alzheimer’s disease. “I don’t think the community is ready at all for these boomers as they age and need these services,” she said. In Phoenix, the Jewish community has a NORC project, a hospital chaplaincy program and a Jewish senior center that a few years ago moved from a synagogue into an independent-living facility. “For young retirees it’s a
Continued from page 3 wonderful place,” Schwartzberg said of Phoenix. “But we know that a lot of people move back to their family once they become infirm or need more help, or sometimes even the family moves here.” Karp said that in Las Vegas, which is now talking about building its first Jewish retirement home, the dual challenge is clear. “We know that in our community the senior adult population is significant and will continue to grow,” he said. “We know we have to do a better job of providing better services both for the needy elderly and the ‘well elderly.’” For baby boomers, however, the bottom line in choosing a retirement destination may be an array of quality-of-life considerations, of which senior services is just one. “Even though you have the big developments and the clubhouses, there’s so much out here,” Fiols said of Las Vegas. “You have choices and I’m not talking about gambling. Come on out and you’ll have a grand time.”
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THE REPORTER ■ october 25, 2012
After another Malmo attack, a resolve to keep up new Jewish solidarity rallies
By Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA) – Hours after the late-night explosion outside the Jewish Community Center in Malmo, Sweden, the scent of baking challah already was wafting from the Center’s ovens into the chilly morning air, as it does every Friday morning. Later, the Jewish preschool at the site would open as usual. A smashed bulletproof glass window and two police officers standing watch were the only evidence of a September 28 attack in which assailants set off an explosive device and threw bricks at the Center’s door, according to Rabbi Rebecca Lillian, who lives in the building. Swedish police arrested and then released two 18year-old male suspects whom witnesses had placed at the scene; the city’s prosecutor is considering whether to indict them. Some Swedish Jews said the attack was yet another unwelcome reminder that they must bolster their public campaign against antisemitism, which only recently
A solidarity vigil organized by Malmo’s Network for Faith and Understanding at the city’s Jewish Community Center hours after assailants set off an explosive device there on September 28. (Photo by Rabbi Rebecca Lillian)
began to gain steam in the Scandinavian country after years of attacks and intimidation against Jews, often by local Muslims. “The attack on the synagogue may have been an attempt to intimidate us back into submission,” said Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, a 31-year-old Jewish woman from a city near Stockholm who has helped organize some of the recent Jewish solidarity rallies in Sweden. “The decision by Swedish Jews to rally against antisemitism is perceived by perpetrators as provocation,” she told JTA. “We must go on: It may need to get worse before it gets better.” Fred Kahn, board chairman of Malmo’s Jewish community of approximately 1,000, said he insisted on a business-as-usual approach after the attack “to show our enemies they have no chance of intimidating us.” The rallies against antisemitism in Sweden – at least 10 so far – began last December when a few Malmo synagoguegoers decided to keep on their kippahs after services and, in violation of security protocol, marched with them through town. Several more “kippah walks” followed, all organized by members of the community through Facebook. One gathering in August in Stockholm drew about 400 Jews and non-Jews, including government ministers. A similar number showed up for a rally in Stockholm on October 7, including some leading politicians. Another solidarity march is planned for October 20 in Malmo. “The community here used to keep a low profile, but there’s a feeling that we are lost if we do nothing now,” Frederik Sieradski, a spokesman for the Malmo Jewish community, told JTA during a recent solidarity trip that Jews from Copenhagen, Denmark, made to his city of 300,000 – the third largest in Sweden. The newly aggressive public actions by Jews against antisemitism mark a significant shift for Swedish Jews, according to Mikael Tossavainen, a Swedish-born researcher of antisemitism in Scandinavia at Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary Jewry. Tossavainen noted that a “very similar attack” against Malmo’s only Orthodox synagogue in 2010 “attracted far less international attention and response” than the September 28 attack.
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Sam Carlquist spoke at a rally at Stockholm’s Raoul Wallenberg Park in solidarity with the Malmo Jewish community on October 7. (Photo by Annika HernrothRothstein) The emergence of the kippah walks was a major factor in attracting attention to the problem in Malmo, he said. Another factor, Tossavainen said, was the city’s mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, who made international headlines when he advised Jews who want to be safe in Malmo to reject Zionism. Though he has condemned antisemitism, Reepalu has called Zionism a form of “extremism” comparable with antisemitism and said the Jewish community has been “infiltrated” by anti-Muslim agents. During her visit to the country in June, Hannah Rosenthal, the Obama administration’s special envoy for combating antisemitism, said Malmo under Reepalu is a prime example of “new antisemitism,” where anti-Israel sentiment serves as a thin guise for Jew-hatred. Since her visit, Malmo police have been more willing to follow up on complaints about antisemitism, according to Rabbi Shneur Kesselman, an envoy of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement to Malmo. Data by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention show that in the years 2009-2011, Malmo saw an average of 70 antisemitic incidents a year. Daisy Balkin Rung, a Jewish woman who grew up in Malmo but left years ago, came to a different conclusion after the attack. In a controversial op-ed on the website of Sweden’s TV4 that generated chatter on media outlets throughout the country, Rung called on Jews to leave Malmo. “It’s sad to admit: The kippah walks are a good thing, but they are not changing the situation in Malmo,” Rung told JTA. “I’m afraid Malmo is one battle which the other side has won.”
Continued from page 5 JFS partnered with Catherine McAuley Center Transitional Housing Programs to provide monthly support groups for previously homeless single women and mothers in need of support and assistance in becoming self-reliant. JFS maintained the highest national standards of professional performance as required by the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services, valid through December 2013. JFS volunteers delivered an average of 307 Kosher Meals on Wheels monthly to frail and homebound elderly. JFS provided case management for 32 older adults in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Monroe and Wayne counties to maximize their independence, health and safety. JFS facilitated an ongoing staff support group for Hospice of the Sacred Heart to help employees express their emotions in a safe, non-judgmental environment. JFS’ Passover holiday assistance helped provide traditional Passover foods to more than 128 adults and 158 children in the community. To learn more about JFS programs and services, visit www.jfsoflackawanna.org.
OCTOBER 25, 2012 â–
Since 1915, making a difference
in Northeastern Pennsylvania
J F S IN THE COMMUNITY Sheila Nudelman and staff provide counseling for Holocaust survivors.
JFS staff help grandparents and grandchildren adjust to new situations.
Volunteers from Bnos Yisroel High School prepare Holiday baskets for seniors. JFS staff at the JRC of the Poconos during a Reminisce Group session. JFS staff member, Don Minkoff provides support at Hospice of the Sacred Heart. JFS and United Way of Lackawanna County volunteers on the Day of Caring provide help where needed.
Congregation Bâ€™nai Harim volunteers make a delivery of donated food for the kosher food pantry at JFS.
JFS Grow Yourself program at a knitting class for participants.
Volunteer stocking the kosher food pantry at the JFS office that is available for families in need.
JFS staff member Maggy Bushwick, Mayor Chris Dougherty and Jack Finnerty, Albright Memorial Library Exec. Director attended a Library program.
THE REPORTER ■ october 25, 2012
Jewish Arts and Culture
Songs of “Ahava”: Jewish singer-songwriter Marcus Goldhaber touches the heart on new album
By Matt Robinson JNS.org Growing up in a family whose members supported him and each other even as some went their own ways, Marcus Goldhaber was fortunate to see love in its many incarnations. On his new album, “Almost Love,” Goldhaber uses his volumes of material to craft a baker’s dozen of songs that celebrate and investigate all the wonders of the heart. “My earliest [musical] influences were my family,” the 34-year-old Goldhaber tells JNS.org, recalling early days spent watching his mother play piano and his sister’s insistence that he try out for every school production he could find. Goldhaber’s father – who recently took up the violin – was also an important influence since he was “always taking me to local concerts, operas and musicals as I was growing up.” While many musicians take their cues from their parents and siblings, Goldhaber’s family influence extends one generation back. “You could just as well trace it back to my grandfather, who was a drum major in the marching band,” he notes, also mention-
Marcus Goldhaber’s new album, “Almost Love.” (Photo courtesy of Marcus Goldhaber) ing how the love between his grandparents still inspires him. In fact, “Almost Love” is dedicated to them. “Never were two people more in love,” Goldhaber recalls in the album’s liner notes prepared by Berklee College of Music Professor Fred Bouchard. From the gently comforting opening track “Love Me Tonight” (which takes its title from a 1932 Rodgers and Hart musi-
cal) or the musically and emotionally more complex “Hide Away,” to the anthemic title track and the swing of “Somebody In Love” (which is reminiscent of Annie Ross’ “Twisted”), to the gorgeously hopeful duet with Lauren Kinhan called “If I Knew Better,” Goldhaber’s album presents a broad range of sounds and ideas that fit inside the genre of jazz and the realm of love. In producing an album of originals, Goldhaber hopes that he will be able to connect with listeners just as some of his own favorites connected with him. “When I first heard Chet Baker play a melody or Sarah Vaughn scat through… a bop or even a young Sinatra phrase a lyric,” he muses, “it all just made sense to me and I wanted to hear as much as possible.” That drive to listen has helped Goldhaber become a walking encyclopedia of music. During his early days by his mother’s toe-tapping knee, Goldhaber explains that she would often ask him to name the song she was playing. “I usually did not know the song,” he admits. Those early failures to name that tune, however, pushed Goldhaber to investigate
and explore the songs his mother said he “should know.” The result is his deep knowledge of the writers and artists who made the Great American Songbook great. Goldhaber is more than happy to share that knowledge with his audiences, many of whom learn as much as they enjoy when they come to hear him. Though he admits that jazz and the Great American Songbook may not be the popular forms they once were, Goldhaber maintains that it has not been difficult to maintain his allegiances to these genres. “There are so many writers that have been influenced by songs outside of their primary genre,” he suggests, “so this music fit rather well into mix of sounds with which I have always surrounded myself.” When asked what drew him (and continues to draw him) to these songs, Goldhaber explains that he has always appreciated and admired the ease with which they get their musical messages across. “The simplicity… is often a foundation in the melody and lyrics,” he says. “I find it relaxing, energizing and inspiring.” See “Album” on page 12
Seeing Israel through film By Judy Lash Balint JNS.org A majority of American Jews has never stepped foot in Israel, according to the 2012 survey of American Jewish Opinion conducted by the American Jewish Committee. So outside of news items about the latest political machinations and security threats, how does this group form impressions of Israel? Over the past two decades, Jewish and Israeli film festivals showcasing Israel’s growing output of both feature and documentary films seem to be filling the bill. Seventy-nine North American cities will host Jewish or Israeli film festivals in 2012, with estimated audiences in the tens of thousands. Directors of a number of those festivals gathered at the Jerusalem Film Festival to determine what North American audiences The opening night of the Jerusalem Film Festival at Sultan’s Pool. (Photo by Judy will be seeing from Israel on their big screens next year. Isaac Zablocki, executive director Lash Balint) of the Other Israel Film Festival and program director of the Israel Film Center of the JCC of Manhattan, watched six films a day over the 10-day stretch of the prestigious Jerusalem Film Festival that takes place every July at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. Together with Other Israel Film Festival founder Carol Zabar, Zablocki is looking for films at the Jerusalem Festival that convey the complexity of Israeli society and help close the gaps of “cultural misunderstandings” between American Jews and Israelis. The Other Film Festival, now in its fifth year, was set up to focus on Israel’s Arab Facebook ® is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc minority, but over the past two years, Za-
Jewish Federation of NEPA
blocki explains, films dealing with “anything non-mainstream Israel” are gaining in popularity. Israel’s diverse religious community has become the focus of a number of recent documentaries and features, but they don’t always translate well for American audiences, according to Zablocki. Take “God’s Neighbors,” winner of the Anat Pirchi Feature Award at the Jerusalem Festival, for example. The film portrays the uglier side of three newly-religious Breslov Chasidim who terrorize their neighborhood in Bat Yam. “I don’t think a U.S. audience will connect,” Zablocki predicts. Zablocki explains that the Manhattan audience for Israeli films has changed over the years. “It used to be just Zionists who came to the old Israeli films,” Zablocki says. “Now, due to the quality of Israeli film, we get a younger crowd. It used to be falafel, now it’s hummus,” he quipped. It’s the unaffiliated young Jews that every Jewish outreach organization is trying to reach that turn up to see Israeli films, Zablocki adds. The audience for the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema is very different from the progressive young crowd in Manhattan. “Chicago is conservative. Jews here love to see Israel in a good light, so I have to be careful what we bring,” explains Beverly Braverman, a founding member of the Chicago Festival. The Chicago Festival generally screens 15 or 16 films, including six features and nine documentaries plus one popular Israeli TV show. Most of the shows are sell-outs, See “Film” on page 13
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Despite hardships, Bedouins still feel obligation to serve Israel By Ben Sales RAHAT, Israel (JTA) – On an August weekday afternoon, 19-year-old Mohammed Kernowi stands in front of a small store in Israel’s largest Bedouin city, a hot plate in front of him with small pancakes sizzling in preparation for the end of that day’s Ramadan fast. At his age, many Israeli men have been through basic training and are weathering their first of three years of compulsory military service either on the country’s borders, in the West Bank, in an office or on one of the country’s many bases. Kernowi, however, prefers baking to bullets. “No one goes from our family,” he said. “It’s a waste of three years of your life.” While some Bedouins continue to voluntarily serve in Israel’s military, their community – just as with some in Israel’s Jewish community – debate whether it is worthwhile. Bedouins, separated physically and to some extent culturally from other Israeli Arabs, are exempt from serving in the Israel Defense Forces. There are about 250,000 Bedouins in the country, according to Israeli government figures. The IDF could not provide an estimate of the army’s current Bedouin population, but Doron Almog, head of Israel’s Bedouin Improvement Program Staff, estimates that half a percentage of eligible Bedouins head to the army. Army service has been a defining part of Israeli public life; many Jewish Israelis make professional connections they use throughout their civilian careers. But the debate about who should serve in the IDF has become especially heated this summer. In August, the Israeli army officially began drafting young haredi Orthodox men when no new compromise legislation was passed by lawmakers about their service. In February, the Israeli Supreme Court had struck down the law that exempted the haredim from serving and mandated that they serve in either the military or civilian volunteer organizations. A faction of the Israeli Knesset is demanding that Arabs be required to serve as well. A month ago, the leader of Israel’s nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor Lieberman, submitted a bill to the Knesset that would have required all Israelis, regardless of background, to be drafted. The bill was voted down and Lieberman incurred protests from Israeli-Arab leaders. Kernowi complains that Negev Bedouins receive “no equality, no respect” from Jewish Israelis – a claim that is echoed by other Bedouins who also lament lackluster education and employment programs in Rahat. Another source of resentment toward the state are the IDF demolitions in recent years of unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev. Bedouin leaders say the villages are part of the seminomadic Bedouin culture; the Israeli government maintains they are illegal. Despite the complaints, some Bedouins serve readily and with distinction. Several sound no different than the most patriotic Jewish Israelis in describing the obligation they feel to serve the country, no matter how Israel treats their communities. “We live in the state and we should give to it,” said Sammy, 35, who joined the army
An IDF soldier trained during an exercise of the Desert Reconnaissance Battalion of the Gaza Division, which is primarily composed of Bedouins, in November 2010. (Photo by IDF spokesman) (legally) at age 16½. “I wanted to give the state three years.” But Sammy, who works in a Rahat grocery store, also says he regrets his time in the IDF. “I don’t see any value,” he said. “It didn’t help my life. It would be better if there were equality. There’s no equality even between Jews.” On one complaint – the lack of education – Col. Ahmed Ramiz, the head of the IDF’s minority department and himself a Bedouin, says army service can help. He says the IDF provides Bedouin soldiers the opportunity to advance their careers, in part by offering trade courses to soldiers along with scholarships. Ramiz adds that unemployment among Bedouins is due to their location rather than their ethnicity. “The unemployment exists in the North and South,” the regions where Bedouins live, he said. “The soldiers, if they want to serve, they can learn. We give them an opportunity to work and enter society.” Data from the government’s Israel Employment Service, however, show that Rahat’s unemployment rate is far higher than those of nearby predominantly Jewish cities. In April, Rahat’s unemployment rate was 29.2 percent, while those of the surrounding Beersheva, Ofakim and Netivot were 7.2, 12.7 and 8.2 percent, respectively. The IDF also offers Bedouin veterans who come from unrecognized villages priority in government resettlement programs that relocate the villagers to governmentsanctioned residences. While Sammy says his IDF opportunities passed him by, another resident of Rahat, Ibrahim Abuzayid, believes the IDF is the Bedouins’ best shot at equality in Israeli society – though he also is frustrated with what he sees as government anti-Bedouin discrimination. As the head of the Bedouin branch of the Coalition for the Soldier, an Israeli aid organization, Abuzayid helps provide troops with supplies and care packages. “In the army, there’s true equality that we don’t find every day,” said Abuzayid, who fought in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. “As soon as you take off your uniform you’re nothing. Give me an agricultural plot, a dozen acres. Give me water. I don’t deserve it?” Still, as is the case for many Bedouins, Abuzayid feels a duty to serve that he has passed on to his eight sons, all of whom did army service. “We don’t have another state,” he said. “They don’t help the Bedouins? It’s still our state. We were born here. Our children were born here. There’s no reason not to serve.”
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THE REPORTER ■ october 25, 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.
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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
by RABBI BARBARA GOLDMAN-WARTELL, Temple Concord, Binghamton, ny Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 The Torah portion Lech Lecha begins with a very famous text: “The Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who will bless you and curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.’” (Genesis 12:1-3) What a choice Abram had to make. He is being told to leave his home, his family – everything and everyone he knew – and for what? Promises. But these weren’t just anyone’s promises, these were God’s promises. Abraham had faith in God and, as we all know, he left his homeland and family and did as God commanded him. The rest is our legacy. Later in the portion, God promises Abram that his offspring will be as numerous as the sands on the shore and the stars in the heavens. Recently, the United States population reached 300 million, the third country in the world to reach this milestone. Much has been written about the challenges a population of 300 million people brings to our country in many ways. Lech Lecha is about promises, obligations, the covenant and relationships. While Abram had faith in God and followed God into the unknown for him based on God’s word, lately I’ve heard a lot of similar talk: “Follow me... Trust me... I can make everything better for you... Stick with me and your troubles will be over, I promise... Vote for me.” Does it sound familiar to you, too? We are being bombarded by politicking, by the media blitz of commercials, interviews, debates, news coverage, analysis of candidates and issues and analysis of analyses. So why do I bring the subject of politics up with the Torah portion? I bring it to you because as Jews we have
has renewed distribution to guard against potential chemical attacks by Hezbollah, which could acquire the bombs from an unstable Syria or Iran. According to the Israeli military, slightly more than half of Israelis own gas masks. Otherwise, Aharony said, the city will try to operate on its normal routine even during war. Public transit is planned to continue as usual, excluding the immediate areas around missile explosions. Service may be less frequent than on a normal day, as the Israel Defense Forces will use some public buses to transport soldiers, but Transportation Ministry adviser Michal Kala predicts that fewer people will be traveling because “people aren’t going to wait at a bus stop when a missile could hit them.” While Aharony said the municipality would wait until war’s end to repair any major damage to the electrical grid, the municipality will set up 30 spots around Tel Aviv where residents can access running water from reservoirs should the city’s plumbing system be damaged. But Tel Aviv and Israel as a whole also place significant responsibility on citizens to prepare themselves for conflict. The IDF’s Home Front Command recommends that residents buy flashlights, radios, bottled water and a fire extinguisher to take with them in case of evacuation. The millions of tourists who visit Tel Aviv each year can’t make those preparations. Aharony said the municipality will treat tourists “like any other resident in any way.” Officially, the task of keeping tourists safe falls to the hotels and Israel’s Tourism Ministry, which in wartime attempts to evacuate foreign nationals to their home countries. While the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv “does not foresee any call for an evacuation” in the near future, embassy spokesman Geoff Anisman said the embassy would contact Americans via text message and e-mail in the event of a war. Should evacuation be impossible, hotels have been asked to provide for guests and, if necessary, to serve as gathering spots for other tourists. Tel Aviv’s Dan Panorama has enough bomb shelters to hold all of its guests, and says it has enough food and water – and ways to obtain more
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The ruins of houses in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, caused by a Scud missile attack during the first Gulf War on January 25, 1991. (Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90/JTA )
a responsibility to ourselves and the rest of the world to study the issues and candidates thoroughly and then vote according to our conscience. As Abram had obligations to fulfill with God for his part of the covenant, so we as American citizens have the obligation to vote. In return, we have many rights and privileges. There continues to be talk about religion and politics. There is a place for religion in politics. We need to use our Jewish values and teachings in appraising a situation. Judaism can help us explore the issues so that we then can vote on a matter in a way that is consistent with our Jewish values. The sanctity of human life is a primary value, as is treating everyone with integrity. The future of Israel is important, and so are human rights, economic equity, peace seeking and so many other matters in the domestic and international realms. Talking and eating are favorite Jewish pastimes. It is time to talk about the issues and get formula to newborns infants, food to the starving and prenatal care to pregnant women. God is all-encompassing, far above and beyond partisan politics. It is insulting to religious people to cheapen religion by involving it in partisan politics. I would be remiss not to consider economics as a voting factor. We must use foresight in our voting. There are times when, in rash judgments, we can be penny wise and dollar foolish. Let’s move beyond the media blitz and fancy rhetoric of the politicians. We are talking about the future of the U.S.A. and the world. Use both your mind and hearts in deciding how you will vote on Election Day. Abram stood up and followed God’s lead. He took his faith and his commitments seriously. We, too, have beliefs and obligations. Vote as a United States citizen, use your Jewish values to decide how to cast your votes and get involved in the Jewish community. Go forth in this new Jewish year, be energized, take your commitments seriously and vote in the general election in November. Continued from page 1
Israelis prepared for a potential missile attack during a nationwide civil defense drill in March 2007. (Photo by Roni Schutzer/Flash90/JTA) – for an indefinite period of time. The main challenge for TelAviv in the event of war would be psychological, said Eyal Zisser of TelAviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East and African Studies. The city is referred to derisively as “the bubble,” and Israelis outside Tel Aviv often stereotype its residents as detached from the state’s security challenges. Should war reach Tel Aviv, “there won’t be a lot of killing, but the question is whether the public will live with it” psychologically, Zisser said. “They haven’t been attacked. They haven’t experienced it.” Reflecting that attitude, some shopkeepers on King George Street, a central artery in Tel Aviv, said they plan to keep their shops open even during a war. “The government will take care,” said Matti Bismanovsky, who has run the Kef Li office supply store here for 30 years. “I’m not worried.” Yakov Weiss, proprietor of the nearby Weiss Bakery, called Tel Aviv a “protected city.” But Ricky Danon, owner of the Bella Vintage clothing store, said that any war will feel immediate. “I’m scared to death of war,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll sell clothes during a war. It’s disgusting to sell clothes when boys are dying. I’ll hide under my pillow and pray for it to end.” Tel Avivis have been some of the most vocal opponents of a pre-emptive Israeli strike against Iran. In mid-August, hundreds gathered in front of the Tel Aviv apartment of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to protest a potential Israeli attack. Speaking at the rally, former Tel Aviv mayoral candidate Dov Khenin, a member of the Arab-Jewish Knesset party Hadash, said a strike on Iran would be “a terrible, horrible tragedy.” Danon said that while many Israelis might imagine Tel Aviv residents relaxing as conflict looms, they are just as immersed in the country’s debates as any other Israelis. “It’s not a bubble,” she said of Tel Aviv. “There are a lot of cafes here, but it’s only architecture. It looks like people don’t care, but they care. Everyone cares.”
OCTOBER 25, 2012 ■
THE REPORTER ■ october 25, 2012
events throughout the year and each June the entire town is given over to a medieval festival featuring food, costumes, artisan workshops, entertainment and historic re-enactments. The town co-sponsored the medieval Jewish life conference that featured the dinner, and Bevagna Mayor Analita Polticchia told JTA that she would like to take things even further. “We are thinking now of adding Jewish components to our annual medieval festival,” she told JTA between courses. “Maybe we can even see about getting a kosher winery started up.” Toaff, the son of the retired longtime chief rabbi of Rome, was key to organizing the Bevagna dinner. Though he gained notoriety a few years ago for a book suggesting that the medieval blood libel myth may have been fueled by the actions of small groups of Ashkenazic Jewish extremists carrying out revenge killings against their persecutors, his main work has focused on medieval Jewish life in Umbria. He also authored “Mangiare alla Giudia” (“Eating Jewish Style”), an influential history of Jewish cooking in Italy. “The dinner organizers asked me what would be a typical dish for the menu, and I immediately told them goose because goose was, so to speak, the Jewish pig,” Toaff said. “It had the same function for the Jewish table as the pig did for non-Jews. Every part of the animal was used, including for goose salami, goose sausage and goose ‘ham,’
Though most of his music has come from other writers, Goldhaber was inspired to try his own hand at composing for “Almost Love.” Though some of these songs had been taking shape over time, he admits that the decision to record them was late in coming. “We decided to do this about a month before we went into the studio,” he recalls. “I wanted to do this all along, but I was very hesitant, being a new writer and having a bunch of exciting new arrangements of standards that I wanted (and still want) to record.” He says his musical cohorts – music director/pianist Jon Davis and producer/drummer Marcello Pellitteri – were “pretty insistent” and also “reassuring… that the original album was the way to go.” The result has already begun to prove them right.
Continued from page 4
and foie gras was also a Jewish specialty.” Like today, he said, Jews in medieval times generally ate what the non-Jewish population did, adapting local recipes to the rules of kashrut. “Biancomangiare was also made sweet with milk, pine nuts, almonds and raisins,” Toaff said. “But if it was served with a meat dish, the Jews would substitute almond milk for dairy milk.” Also like today, certain dishes became Italian Jewish favorites. “Lentils were typically Jewish, and lentil soup was commonly eaten in the 14th and 15th centuries,” Toaff said. “Being round, they symbolized the cycle of life. Another typical Jewish cooking style was sweet and sour, like the baked onion salad.” Written recipes dating back nearly 500 years exist for one of the most famous Italian Jewish dishes, sweet and sour sardines, or “sardele in saor,” made with onions, olive oil, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, rosemary, raisins, pines nuts, sweet wine and candied citrus peel. “White sugar was considered a spice,” Toaff said. “And salt and pepper were expensive because they served as ‘refrigerators’ – they preserved food and they also hid any spoilage.” He added, “What is interesting in addition to what Jews ate in the Middle Ages is what they didn’t eat – corn, potatoes and tomatoes, which had not yet been imported from the Americas.”
Continued from page 8 Critics from local jazz experts to People magazine have hailed Goldhaber as a “youthfully carefree sweet tenor” who “will have you giddy one moment and melancholy the next and loving every note.” He has also been praised for his “accessible songwriting” and “intimate approach” that combines all the best elements of Chet Baker, Harry Connick Jr., Art Garfunkel and John Pizzarelli. “Each song has a different source of inspiration,” Goldhaber suggests, “but the common thread is that each introduces a unique perspective toward love, a different journey through love or a moment inside love.” To learn more about Goldhaber, visit www.marcusgoldhaber.com.
Biancomangiare The recipe is from “Libro de Arte Coquinaria” by Maestro Martino. See www.cucinamedievale.it/2009/12/ biancomangiare-alla-catalana/) 150 grams of peeled almonds 25 grams of rice flour ½ liter of chicken broth 150 grams of boiled chicken breast 5 centiliters of rose water Ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves Grind or finely mince the chicken breast. Grind (or crush with a mortar and pestle) the almonds, and dissolve with the rice flour in the chicken broth. Strain this to obtain a milky liquid. Bring this to a boil and add salt to taste. Add the minced chicken and simmer, stirring until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a thick cream. At the end of the cooking, add the rose water. Serve lukewarm, sprinkled with the spices. Twice Roasted Goose Roast a whole goose, with garlic cloves stuffed into its cavity. When done, cut it into pieces, roll the pieces in bread crumbs and salt, and bake a second time in the oven until the outside of each piece is crisp. Baked Onion Salad The recipe is from a 14th century cookbook. See www. cucinamedievale.it/2010/04/insalata-di-cipolle-allabrace/.) 2 pounds medium-sized sweet onions 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 Tbsp. wine vinegar Pinch of ground black pepper Salt to taste Pinch of a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, saffron and cloves Wrap the onions individually in foil and bake for about an hour at a high heat. Open the foil and let cool until lukewarm, then remove the blackened outer skin. Cut the onions into slices. Place in a salad bowl and dress with the salt, pepper and spices. Bathe with olive oil and vinegar, stir and bring to the table. (You can also use small onions and serve them whole rather than slice them.) Honey-nut Sweets Make a stiff mixture of chopped walnuts, almonds, hazel nuts and honey, seasoned with cinnamon and ginger, and form into diamond-shaped patties. Serve on large bay leaves.
OCTOBER 25, 2012 ■
Siyum HaShas inspiring newcomers to daily Talmud study By Neil Rubin BALTIMORE (JTA) – Watching coverage of the Siyum HaShas celebration in New Jersey this summer, Rabbi Ethan Linden said he wasn’t impressed by the spectacle of 90,000 Jews packed into a football stadium glorifying Talmud study. Rather, Linden said, he was impressed by the discipline: the daily learning of Talmud that untold thousands around the world undertook to complete the Daf Yomi, the page-a-day Talmud study cycle that takes seven and a half years to finish. So when the Daf Yomi adherents started a new cycle the next day, Linden, a Conservative pulpit rabbi at the Shir Chadash congregation in New Orleans, decided to join in. “Watching the coverage of it made me feel like more liberaltype Jews need to be doing this,” Linden told JTA. “I try to do some every day after I daven in the morning,” he said. “Sometimes it works, but often I’ll find it’s 11 o’clock at night and I’ll sit down and learn it. For me, much like with prayer, I really appreciate the daily discipline that at times is an extremely meaningful experience when things jump off the page and at other times when I’m just getting through it.” Two of Linden’s congregants also have started the Daf Yomi, and Linden has launched an invitation-only Facebook page called Unorthodox Daf Yomi that now has more than 120 members. The members are just some of the many Jews who say they were motivated by the publicity surrounding the August. 1 completion of the Shas – the 2,711 pages of the Talmud – to make daily Talmud study a part of their lives. The siyum – literally “completion” – helped Dyonna Ginsburg, the New York-based director of Jewish service learning for the Jewish Agency for Israel, decide it was time to address what she called weaknesses in her Jewish knowledge. The daughter of a Conservative rabbi and a graduate of a Modern Orthodox high school on Long Island, Ginsburg had studied Talmud before, but not in a systematic way. “Until now my engagement with the text and the issues were very piecemeal, isolated segments not in their overall context,” Ginsburg said. “The ability to really go through the Talmud page after page and understand the flow has been really, really powerful.” With a chuckle, she added, “The thought of taking on something that lasts seven and a half years seemed overwhelming. It wasn’t well thought
out, but I have not missed a day.” In Atlanta, Ari Bendicoff, who had seen advertisements for the siyum in the weeks leading up to it, watched the New Jersey celebration on the Internet. He needed no more convincing. “I grab it as I can,” said Bendicoff, 29, a business analyst in health-care technology, said of his Daf Yomi study time. “There is a lot of weekend catch up.” The experience, he said, has helped with his overall Jewish learning. “This can really give you somewhat of a 20,000-foot perspective,” Bendicoff said. “You get the high
level of review and understand the connections between the laws of damages and the laws of family relations, as well as agricultural law. It all connects.” Nigel Savage, director of the Jewish environmental organization Hazon, sent an e-mail recently to followers and wrote a blog post about his own newfound embrace of the Daf Yomi. Savage said he was inspired when a colleague at Hazon, David Rendsburg, showed him the new translated Steinsaltz Talmud – the Koren Bavli Talmud See “Study” on page 14
Continued from page 8
according to Braverman. However, when Braverman included the popular TV series “Arab Labor” (“Avoda Aravit” – Israeli slang for shoddy work) that pokes fun at Israeli Arabs trying to fit into Israeli society, “there was an empty auditorium.” “The majority of our audience is people in their 50s. Many in the older crowd have trouble with the sub-titles.” Braverman states bluntly. The festival does organize special screenings for groups of Jewish teens. “That’s what I care about the most,” Braverman admits. She is perplexed by the absence of members of the large observant community in the Chicago area and disappointed by the low interest of the non-Jewish community. Nevertheless, according to Braverman, moving the festival to a suburban theater has meant there are more sold-out films every year. “For $11, you can support Israel,” notes Braverman. Braverman has been coming to the Jerusalem Film Festival since 2005 to select films for her audience. Like Zablocki, Braverman packs many films per day into her Jerusalem schedule. “It’s the only place to see so many great Israeli films,” she explains. For Braverman, a lively and outgoing former trader who has made many friends over the years among Jerusalem festival regulars, the Jerusalem festival is where she connects with distributors to negotiate deals for her low-budget independent festival and to share notes with fellow Israel film directors from around the world. “I call it film camp,” she laughs. Tony Jassen scouts films at the Jerusalem festival for Seattle’s Jewish Film Festival, sponsored by the local chapter of the American Jewish Committee. Jassen, a former
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The Old City served as the backdrop for the Jerusalem Film Festival. (Photo by Judy Lash Balint) Seattle resident now living in Jerusalem who has an M.F.A. in script writing from Tel Aviv University and a degree in film and TV production from Jerusalem’s Hadassah College, says he tries to look for films that are not “on the circuit” and that will appeal to the diverse Seattle audience. Last year, more than a third of the Seattle festival’s offerings had a Sephardic theme, reflecting the fact that Seattle is home to the third largest Sephardic community in the U.S. “There’s no doubt the Jerusalem Film Festival is the big showcase for films and directors,” Jassen says. “Films give voice to the wide range of the Israeli experience and that’s what it’s all about.”
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THE REPORTER ■ october 25, 2012
New Season of
Heroines walking tour in NYC
• 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.
The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy will hold a “Heroines of the Lower East Side: A Historic Walking Tour” guided by Joyce Mendelsohn starting at Straus Square in New York City on Sunday, November 11, at 10:45 am. Mendelsohn, a historian, preservationist and author, will lead the two-hour tour, which celebrates the lives of nine women who played leading social, political and artistic roles on the Lower East Side in the early 20th century. She will examine how the nine women lived and how they each came to effect change in New York City and beyond. Heroines of the Lower East Side will highlight the careers of Lillian D. Wald, Emma Goldman, “Red Cinderella” Rose Pastor Stokes, Belle Moskowitz, Clara Lemlich, Anzia Yezierska, sisters Alice and Irene Lewisohn, and Aline Bernstein. Participants will also enjoy a visit to the dining room at Henry Street Settlement, where Wald hosted guests ranging from President Theodore Roosevelt to W.E.B. Du Bois and delegates of the National Negro Conference (after several New York City restaurants refused to accommodate the interracial group). The walking tour will conclude with a visit to the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy’s Kling and Niman Family Visitor Center for a view of a photography exhibit and refreshments. The tour is a fund-raising event for the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy. Admission is a $36 contribution. For a contribution of $54, participants will receive tour admission and a signed copy of Mendelsohn’s book, “The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited.” For a contribution of $100, participants receive both of the above and two free passes to any other LESJC public tour. Participants must pre-register and pre-pay for the tour by Thursday, November 8, at www.nycjewishtours.org.
Continued from page 13 edited by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz that combines modern Hebrew and English with traditional commentaries. Savage said he was hooked. “When David showed me the new Koren/Steinsaltz Talmud, and added that he was starting the Daf Yomi cycle, on a whim I decided to do the same,” Savage wrote in his blog post. “I ordered it a few minutes later on Amazon and it showed up two days later – this strange combination of the contemporary-fastest-of-the-fast, with the oldest-andslowest-of-the-slow.” Savage, who said several people have responded to his blog post by saying that they, too, have begun the studies, says he has not missed a day of learning. “On days when I have time, I do more than a page, and on days when I don’t have as much time I do less,” he said. One recent day, while studying pages 27 and 28 of Tractate Brachot, he said he was too captivated to keep going, so he began mining the commentary and making notes in the margins. “It’s an amazing, amazing story where Rabban Gamliel as the nasi is essentially toppled; there’s a sort of palace revolution,” Savage said of one of the great first-century leaders of the Sanhedrin council of sages. “Instead of spending only a day on it, I spent five, which put me further behind, but I imagine I’ll catch up on other pages.” With the completion of the first tractate of the Talmud in the Daf Yomi cycle slated to occur in early October, Ginsberg says she is preparing a celebration of her own, as is the custom when finishing a talmudic tractate. In keeping with the spirit of the tractate, she plans to invite some friends over for a themed brunch. “The seventh chapter deals a lot with etiquette at meals and different food items and what should be served when,” she said. “It fits well.”
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 25, 2012 ■
NEWS IN bRIEF From JTA
Bibi lauds Israeli military in stopping bid to break Gaza blockade
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Israeli military’s operation to seize a ship attempting to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. “Even the people who were on the ship know that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Netanyahu said the night of Oct. 20. “Their entire objective was to create a provocation and blacken Israel’s name. If human rights were really important to these activists, they would sail to Syria. We will continue to take strong and determined action to defend our borders.” Israeli naval commandos earlier in the day had boarded Estelle, a Swedish-owned, Finnish-flagged sailing vessel carrying up to 30 activists from countries including Canada, Norway, Sweden, Israel and the United States. Members of parliament of four European countries reportedly also were on board, as were three Israelis, on behalf of the Gush Shalom organization, who all boarded in recent days from a speedboat in Greek territorial waters. The boarding took place after the ship ignored calls to change course. The commandos who boarded the ship did not use force, according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces. The passengers were offered food and drink and checked to make sure they were healthy. The IDF told Ynet that an initial search of the boat, which was taken to the Ashdod port, did not turn up any humanitarian aid. The boat reportedly was carrying humanitarian aid such as cement, basketballs and musical instruments. Israel imposed the blockade in 2007 after the terrorist group Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip. It says the sanctions are to prevent weapons and other terror material from being smuggled in to Gaza. The Freedom Flotilla’s first attempt to break the blockade ended in the deaths of nine Turkish activists after Israeli Navy commandos on May 31, 2010, boarded the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be carrying humanitarian aid, after warning the ship not to sail into waters near the Gaza Strip in circumvention of Israel’s naval blockade of the coastal strip.
Netanyahu, Lieberman defend new Gilo housing
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the finalizing of a plan to build nearly 800 apartments in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. “We place no limits on construction in our capital city,” Netanyahu said on Oct. 21 at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting. “Just as they build in London, Paris, Washington and Moscow, we will continue to build in Jerusalem.” Netanyahu’s response came after an exchange between the European Union policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. “Settlements are illegal under international law and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible,” said a statement issued over the Oct. 21 weekend by Ashton’s office. “The EU has repeatedly urged the government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities in the West Bank, including in east Jerusalem, in line with its obligations under the ‘road map.’” Lieberman responded with a statement saying that Israel would not negotiate the status of Jerusalem. “Jerusalem is not a settlement. Gilo is a Jewish neighborhood,” he said. “Today there are 32,000 to 33,000 Jews living there. It’s an integral part of Jerusalem.” Israel’s Interior Ministry on Oct. 18 announced its final approval for plans to build 797 new apartments in Gilo, located in the southern part of eastern Jerusalem. The initial approval for the project came in June. The Jerusalem Municipality must still issue building permits for the project.
tweets that her group has flagged as antisemitic, according to the French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur. She said Twitter’s decision was “an important victory” for the fight against antisemitism. The week of Oct. 15, her organization threatened to sue Twitter if it did not remove antisemitic messages. Twitter’s announcement came after #UnBonJuif – a hashtag meaning “a good Jew” – served Twitter users to enter what Le Mode termed “a competition of antisemitic jokes.” On Oct. 10 it became France’s third most popular Twitter phrase. Some users tweeted that a good Jew was a dead Jew. One placed a picture of an emaciated woman taken at a Nazi concentration camp as an interpretation of what a good Jew. On Oct. 18, Twitter also announced that it had blocked access in Germany to a neo-Nazi group’s account due to hate speech. The San Francisco-based micro-blogging service has halted access to the account of Besseres Hannover, German for “Better Hannover,” according to the Financial Times. Members of the group have been charged with inciting racial hatred and creating a criminal organization, the BBC reported.
One-third of Israelis are at risk of poverty, report says
One-third of Israelis are at risk of poverty, a new Israeli government report shows. The Central Bureau of Statistics report issued on Oct. 17 shows that some 31 percent of Israelis were at risk of poverty in 2010, compared to 27 percent 12 years ago. Some 16 percent of European Union residents fall into the category. Being at risk of poverty means that one’s household’s per capita income is less than 60 percent of the median disposable income. Israel’s poverty line was at $506 for 2010. The amount to be labeled at risk of poverty is anything less than $610. Released ahead of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the data also show that 40 percent of Israeli children were at risk of poverty, compared to 20 percent in the EU. The report also found that 32 percent of Jewish households in Israel said they were unable to cover all monthly expenses, such as food, electricity and telephone bills, and 8 percent could not reach the end of the month without incurring debt. “Alongside concerns about those who are living in poverty, we see that a high proportion of working Israelis are not managing to make ends meet,” Yisrael Livman, founder and director of Mekimi, a nonprofit organization that advises and assists Israelis in financial crisis, said in a statement. “Many of the people we assist are working six days a week, serving their Reserve duty in the Army, and bringing up large families. A sudden change in circumstances, such as illness, failure of a business or unexpected unemployment, can cause a major financial crisis for the entire family.”
BBYO starting new gap year program in Israel
BBYO is launching a new pre-college gap year program in Israel. The Beyond program, part of BBYO Passport, is in conjunction with Authentic Israel, which runs Birthright Israel programs; Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; Masa Israel Journey; and Tel Aviv University. It offers an academic experience combined with service opportunities, leadership programming and travel. Registration for the 2013-14 program is now open. Beyond participants can join a five- or nine-month experience, both of which are eligible for an automatic Masa scholarship of $1,000, with up to $3,000 more being available based on financial need. Tel Aviv University serves as the program’s home base, and participants have additional opportunities to travel in Europe, perform community service in Africa, and learn scuba diving and cooking.
Beirut portrayal on “Homeland” has Lebanese minister talking lawsuit
Lebanon’s tourism minister said he wants to sue the producers of “Homeland” for the show’s portrayal of Beirut. Fadi Abboud told the Associated Press the week of Oct. 19 that he has government ministers studying media laws “to see what can be done.” Abboud said he is extremely upset that the city is portrayed on the Showtime series as being full of militants and jihadists, and that West Beirut in particular, a bustling residential neighborhood, is portrayed as a hotbed of violence. “Homeland” is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television. The Emmy-winning series, based on the Israeli show “Hatufim” (“Prisoners of War”), focuses on a CIA agent who believes that a returned American prisoner of war may be aiding terrorists.
Largest-ever U.S.-Israel military exercise begins
Israeli and U.S. troops began their largest-ever joint aerial defense exercise. Austere Challenge 12, which began on Oct. 21, is part of a training exercise designed to increase military cooperation between the United States and Israel. Its planning began more than two years ago and is not a response to specific events in the Middle East, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. In September, Time magazine reported that the exercise had been downsized and indicated that part of the reason was American distrust of Israel. U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin said Austere Challenge 2012 is the largest U.S.-Israel military exercise to date, according to the American Forces Press Service. The exercise will last three weeks and involve more than 3,500 American service personnel and 1,000 Israeli soldiers. Part of the exercise reportedly will involve live fire. Of the exercise’s $38 million price tag, the United States will pay $30 million and Israel $8 million.
Twitter will remove French, German antisemitic content
Twitter has reportedly agreed to remove French-language antisemitic messages from its website and to block access to an account linked to German neo-Nazis. Stephane Lilti, an attorney for the Union of French Jewish Students said that Twitter has agreed to remove
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
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THE REPORTER ■ october 25, 2012
Due to scheduling conflicts, we are rescheduling the NEPA Jewish Federation Business & Trade Alliance Fall Networking Dinner and making it an
Fall Networking Breakfast with guest speaker Robert H. Graham
Tuesday, December 4 • 8-10am
Radisson Hotel - Station Ballroom 700 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton, PA Our Speaker, Robert H. Graham of Riggs Asset Management Company, Inc. will discuss today’s economy & provide insight into its future. Attend this breakfast 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: $10 per member • $15 per non-member • Breakfast Buﬀet Included* Please RSVP by Thursday, November 29, 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 Make sure to bring business cards and brochures for our Alliance Resource Table!
To become a member, please register at
http://JewishNepaBTA.org *under strict kosher supervision