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Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania NOVEMBER 8, 2012
VOLUME X, NUMBER 22
Community members volunteered for Super Sunday A group of volunteers helped make calls on Super Sunday, October 14, held at Nivert Metal headquarters in Throop. Executive Director Mark Silverberg and Campaign Chairmen Jeff Rubel, Don Douglass and Barbara Nivert organized the volunteers and discussed solicitation methods. Due to the volunteers’ efforts that Sunday morning, as well as during the evening follow-up session on October 15, the Jewish Federation’s annual UJA Campaign raised thousands of dollars to help local Jewish agencies and Jews around the world, especially in Israel. Some volunteers took cards home to continue the calls even after the session at Nivert Metal ended. The Federation expressed its gratitude to volunteers Esther Adelman, Maggy Bushwick, Douglass, Bernice Ecker, Esther Elefant, Nancy Friedman, Jeff Ganz, Ruth Gelb, Janet Holland, Nivert, Rubel and Millie Weinberg.
Phone volunteers Bernice Ecker and Nancy Friedman helped at Super Sunday on October 14.
Millie Weinberg was seen at the breakfast table.
At right: Jeff Ganz made a call on Super Sunday.
At left: Executive Director Mark Silverberg spoke with Louis Nivert, who lent his office for the Super Sunday Telethon.
Jeff Rubel, Campaign co-chairman, attended Super Sunday.
Jewish teens ready to experience Israel with the JCC The JCC will run a 2012 Teen Leadership Seminar in Israel from December 20-31. The program will provide an opportunity for Jewish teenagers to build their Jewish and Zionist identity, gain a sense of Jewish pride and learn about Israel as “the cornerstone of the Jewish world.” Nine teenagers will participate in the program, including a four-part educational series to prepare them for their trip. They
Esther Elefant and Nancy Friedman listened during the briefing.
will have the opportunity to learn about contemporary Israel, from culture to politics, as well as internal issues facing the country. “The teenagers will also visit major sites and become immersed in Israeli society. These teens will return with new leadership skills and a strong sense of energy to be educators or advocates of Israel, whether at home or on their college campus,” said organizers of the seminar.
The JCC expressed its thanks to the sponsors who have helped make the program possible, including B’nai Brith Amos Lodge, Aaron Glassman Fund, Bruce Lewis Gelb Fund, Temple Israel of Scranton, Amskier Insurance Agency, Morey and Sondra Myers, Steven Bruce Arenberg Israel Youth Travel, Jewish Cultural Memorial Fund and the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
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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)
Participants of the 2012 Teen Leadership Seminar in Israel will include (front row, l-r) chaperone Rika Schaffer, Ali Epstein, Nina Lyubechansky, Alison Abdalla, Liza Rosenstein and chaperone Hilary Greenberg. Back row: Becky Fallk, Andy Fiegleman, Bradley Smertz, Sam Vale and Rachel Pollack. (Photo by Ann Wadika)
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Point/counterpoint
Funds for Shoah survivors
as of Nov. 5, 2012
Candle lighting November 9.....................................4:30 pm November 16...................................4:24 pm November 23................................... 4:19 pm
Two views of the reasoning behind, Victims of Nazi persecution in the Iran is still enriching uranium to 20 PLUS and ramifications of, a letter sent FSU may be eligible for a one-time percent; Syrian tanks on the Golan Opinion...........................................................2 by Christian leaders to Congress. payment from Germany. Heights; and more. Jewish Community Center News............6 Stories on page 2 Story on page 15 Stories on page 19 D’var Torah.................................................10
THE REPORTER ■ november 8, 2012
a matter of opinion
Point/counterpoint Christians’ letter is an unworthy tactic
Christians’ letter was reasonable, worded sensitively
rejected their leaders’ divestment proposals By Rabbi Noam E. Marans (JTA) – Iran is threatening Israel, the in May and July. Criticism of the letter to Congress by Middle East and the world with the specter diverse Christians has been sharp, including of nuclear weapons. Christians across the Middle East are persecuted and martyred a call for leadership accountability. Presbyin the repercussions of the so-called Arab terians for Middle East Peace, for example, Spring. But some American Christian lead- declared, “It is unjust and disrespectful to ers are busy dedicating time, money and the many General Assembly commissionresources to their habitual demonization ers who worked so hard to serve the church at past assemof Israel. T h e l a t - Even as we continue to labor in the blies to see their work unest tactic is religious relations vineyard, we should dermined and an October 5 be ever vigilant that the successes of misrepresentletter to Congress alleging the past 50 years not be undermined by a ed by church human rights non-representative anti-Israel sentiment officials and staff with no violations of some Christian leaders and their small, authority to by Israel and calling for an but vocal, energetic and well-funded make policy.” The new investigation following who are attempting to hijack of U.S. mili- the positive trajectory of Christian-Jewish initiative led to the cantary aid to the relations. cellation of country. The the annual signatories include certain leaders of the Presbyte- Christian-Jewish Roundtable, which rian Church (USA), United Methodist was founded in 2004 to open lines of Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church communication between Christian and in America and the National Council of Jewish leaders in the wake of initiatives by liberal Protestant movements to divest Churches, among others. What motivates these individuals to from companies doing business with open a new anti-Israel front? One could Israel. Jewish organizations expecting be the frustration of their own failure to to discuss Arab-Israeli peace efforts at convince denominations to use divestment the Roundtable on October 22-23 were as a club to pressure Israel. The letter’s blindsided when they learned of the signatories are grappling with the reality Christian outreach to Congress. In lieu of this year’s Roundtable, a that Methodists and Presbyterians again broad spectrum of seven Jewish organizations joined to call for an extraordinary meeting of Jewish organizations and the senior leadership of the Christian institutions that signed the letter to Congress and have participated in the “ The Reporter” (USPS #482) is published bi-weekly by the JewRoundtable. At that meeting, a more ish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 601 Jefferson Ave., positive path forward for our communiScranton, PA 18510. ties might be determined. President: Jeff Rubel Even as we hold specific Christian deExecutive Director: Mark Silverberg nominations accountable for the excesses of some of their leaders, we should not Advisory Board Chair: Margaret Sheldon generalize about all Christians or even Executive Editor: Rabbi Rachel Esserman all Presbyterians, Methodists, LutherLayout Editor: Diana Sochor ans, etc. Americans are overwhelmingly Assistant Editor: Michael Nassberg supportive of Israel, and at least 75 perProduction Coordinator: Jenn DePersis cent of Americans are Christians. They Graphic Artist: Alaina Cardarelli Advertising Representative: Bonnie Rozen understand that Israel is on the front line of the worldwide terrorism threat. Opinions The views expressed in ediThey know that Israel strives mightily torials and opinion pieces are those of to avoid inadvertent harm to civilians each author and not necessarily the views while protecting all of its citizens – Jews, of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Christians and Muslims. They believe Pennsylvania. that Israel has pursued peace relentlessly Letters The Reporter welcomes letters and, when there is a partner – as there on subjects of interest to the Jewish comwas with President Sadat of Egypt and munity. All letters must be signed and King Hussein of Jordan – has obtained include a phone number. The editor may sustainable peace and security with its withhold the name upon request. neighbors. They comprehend that Israel ADS The Reporter does not necessaris America’s only reliable ally in the ily endorse any advertised products and services. In addition, the paper is Middle East, with shared democratic and not responsible for the kashruth of any religious freedom values, in a dangerous advertiser’s product or establishment. part of the world. Deadline Regular deadline is two Interfaith dialogue has had a transweeks prior to the publication date. formative positive impact on the Jewish experience; we must never take that for Federation website: granted. Christian-Jewish relations in www.jewishnepa.org the past two generations have changed the course of the unfortunate first two How to SUBMIT ARTICLES: millennia of Christian enmity and perseMail: 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 cution of Jews and Judaism. Even as we E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org continue to labor in the religious relations Fax: (570) 346-6147 vineyard, we should be ever vigilant that Phone: (570) 961-2300 the successes of the past 50 years not be undermined by a non-representative antiHow to reach Israel sentiment of some Christian leaders the advertising Representative: and their small, but vocal, energetic and Phone: (800) 779-7896, ext. 244 well-funded following who are attemptE-mail: email@example.com ing to hijack the positive trajectory of Christian-Jewish relations. Subscription Information:
American Jewish Committee, provided By Rabbi Brant Rosen (JTA) – There has long been an un- an interesting window into the mechanics written covenant between the Jewish of this covenant. In his October 21 piece, establishment and Christian leaders when “Christians’ letter is an unworthy tactic,” it comes to interfaith dialogue: “We can Marans said nothing about the substance talk about any religious issues we like, of the letter itself, choosing instead to vebut criticism of Israel’s human rights hemently attack the Protestant leaders and reject the statement as nothing less than “the violations is off limits.” Over the past few weeks, we’ve painfully opening of a new anti-Israel front.” Marans went on to surmise that this witnessed what can happen when Christians break this covenant by speaking their reli- reasonable, religiously based call for justice was the product of “certain leadgious conscience. On October 5, 15 prominent American ers” who are frustrated with “their own Christian leaders released a letter that failure to convince denominations to use called on Congress to make military aid to divestment as a club to pressure Israel.” Israel “contingent upon its government’s Nowhere did he address the issue of Iscompliance with applicable U.S. laws and raeli human rights violations (except to refer to them policies.” While most Why has the Jewish establishment a s “ a l l e g a A m e r i c a n s reacted so violently to a relatively tions.”) In the end, he sugwouldn’t consider it unrea- balanced and religiously based call? g e s t e d t h a t sonable for our Because by speaking their conscience, this letter repnation to insist these Christian leaders had the audacity resents “the that an aid re- to break the unwritten covenant: If a n t i - I s r a e l sentiment of cipient abide by U.S. laws, you want to have a dialogue with us, some Chrissome Jewish leave Israel alone. ... It is not the role tian leaders organizations, of Jewish organizations to dictate how a n d t h e i r including the their Christian partners can live out their small, but vocal, energetic Anti-Defamation League conscience or their values, no matter how a n d w e l l and the Jew- much they may disagree. Unpleasant fu n d ed fo lish Council on realities cannot be discarded simply lowing who Public Affairs, because these organizations regard such are attempting to hijack lashed out at the positive their Christian issues as off limits. trajectory of colleagues, eventually walking out on a scheduled Christian-Jewish relations.” It is difficult to read such a statement Christian-Jewish Roundtable. They are now requesting that the Christian leaders without concluding that Marans’ definition come to a “summit meeting” to discuss of “postive Christian-Jewish relations” means anything other than “no criticism of the situation. Considering the vehemence of such a re- Israel allowed.” It is important to note that the letter to sponse, one might assume that the Christian leaders’ letter was filled with outrageous and Congress was not written by a few angry church renegades; it was authored by 15 incendiary anti-Israel rhetoric. But in fact their letter is a sensitively prominent church leaders representing a worded and faithful call supporting “both wide spectrum of the Protestant faith comIsraelis and Palestinians in their desire to munity, including the Presbyterian Church live in peace and well-being,” as well as (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in acknowledging “the pain and suffering America, the United Methodist Church, the of Israelis as a result of Palestinian ac- National Council of Churches, the United tions,” the “horror and loss of life from Church of Christ, the Christian Church rocket attacks from Gaza and past suicide (Disciples of Christ), the American Friends bombings,” and “the broad impact that a Service Committee (a Quaker agency) and sense of insecurity and fear has had on the Mennonite Central Committee. While it is painful to read such accusaIsraeli society.” Yes, the authors of the letter also ex- tions leveled at respected Christian leadpressed their concern over “widespread ers by a Jewish director of interreligious Israeli human rights violations committed and intergroup relations, it is even more against Palestinians, including killing of saddening that some Jewish organizations civilians, home demolitions and forced have chosen to walk away from a scheddisplacement, and restrictions on Palestinian uled interfaith roundtable, then demand that the Christian leaders attend a “summovement, among others.” As painful as it might be for these Jew- mit” on their own dictated terms. It is not the role of Jewish organizations ish groups to hear, however, these are not scurrilous or arguable “allegations.” They to dictate how their Christian partners can long have been documented by international live out their conscience or their values, human rights groups, including the Israeli no matter how much they may disagree. human rights organization B’Tselem. The Unpleasant realities cannot be discarded letter points out that a 2011 State Department simply because these organizations regard Country Report on Human Rights Practices such issues as off limits. We can only hope that these Christian has detailed widespread Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinian leaders will stand firm and that this sad epicivilians, many of which involve the misuse sode will lead us to a new kind of interfaith covenant – one based on trust and respect, of U.S.-supplied weapons. Why has the Jewish establishment re- a willingness to face down our fear and acted so violently to a relatively balanced suspicion of one another, and a readiness and religiously based call? Because by to discuss the painful, difficult issues that speaking their conscience, these Christian may divide us. Will the American Jewish establishment leaders had the audacity to break the unwritbe up to such a task? ten covenant: If you want to have a dialogue Rabbi Brant Rosen is the co-chairman with us, leave Israel alone. A recent JTA op-ed by Rabbi Noam E. of the Rabbinical Council of Jewish Voice Marans, who serves as director of inter- for Peace and a congregational rabbi in religious and intergroup relations for the Evanston, IL.
Phone: (570) 961-2300
See “Unworthy” on page 6
november 8, 2012 ■
community news Expansion to Waverly called “investment in Jewish future”
Jewish Discovery Center purchases Waverly estate By Chaim Davidson Organizers of the Jewish Discovery Center have announced that they have moved out of their location in Chinchilla and relocated to 216 Miller Rd., Waverly. The 20-acre property has been called “a nature-lover’s dream,” featuring open fields and meadows, surrounded by trees and lightly wooded hills. While the acreage is set back hundreds of feet from the road and neighboring farms on Carbondale Road, it is less than a mile from Abington Road and the Waverly Community House. Rabbi Benny Rapoport, director of the Jewish Discovery Center, said that the decade of Jewish activities at the original location, leased from Pedmar Inc., have spawned “many vibrant programs that have grown exponentially” throughout the years. “The rental space served as an incubator for the vision of how the Jewish Discovery Center can impact and enrich all segments of the community,” Rapoport said. “Many popular programs were conceived and launched, events such as family Shabbat Dinners, adult education courses, teen learning programs, children’s Hebrew education, hands-on mitzvah workshops and the ever-popular
An aerial view of the estate purchased in Waverly. Shabbat and holiday cooking programs... truly something for everyone!” Rapoport also explained what prompted the move. “Over the past few years, it became increasingly clear
that space was becoming an issue. The Passover seder sold out; Purim and Chanukah events had to move to outside venues; and our catering facilities needed expansion. Now, the JDC has purchased a spacious location with lots of exciting potential for our community.” According to organizers, plans are in place for the construction of a 4,500-square-foot facility that will house the JDC’s social and educational programs offered throughout the year. In addition, the natural setting of the new location will lend itself to new activities for all ages. “We are deeply indebted to the generosity of Gilbert Weinberger and Andrew Weinberger, of Pedmar Inc., who in their foresight recognized the potential and were very generous in helping to provide the space,” said Rapoport. “Thanks to their bold vision 10 years ago, the Jewish Discovery Center has become a force for Jewish education and enrichment in our community.” Further information about the development of the new facility will be announced in the future. The facility will offer an expanded array of events and activities for all members of the community, regardless of background, observance or affiliation.
Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms welcomes Rabbi Steve Nathan By Judy Hamer and Gail Neldon The Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms, the Synagogue of Pike County, welcomed its new spiritual leader, Rabbi Steve Nathan, at a breakfast on October 7, hosted by the Fellowship Men’s Club. Dan Marcus, Men’s Club president, introduced Nathan to the crowd. Nathan described his background and answered questions about his vision for the future of the Fellowship. Nathan received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Boston College. His graduate degree was done at Columbia Teacher’s College, where he received a degree in counseling and psychology. He noted that Judaism and Jewish life were always very important to him. Wanting to combine Judaism and counseling, he attended the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia and became ordained as a rabbi. The Reconstructionist movement emphasizes a community-based approach where rabbis and the community decide what path to take. Nathan is currently the educational director of the religious school of Temple Israel in Scranton. He also counsels children and adolescents.
ranges from Reform to Orthodox to Reconstructionist. Nathan also enjoys writing prose and poetry on Jewish themes. To conclude his talk, he shared one of his poems, “The Conversation Begins,” which was about the beginning of a conversation with God and His people. Nathan made the analogy that he considered his welcome breakfast as the beginning of a conversation between himself and See “Nathan” on page 4
DEADLINE Men’s Club President Dan Marcus (left) introduced Rabbi Steve Nathan (right) to the congregation. A third generation native of Scranton, Nathan explained that he was attracted to the position at the Fellowship because he likes diversity. The Fellowship’s population
The following are deadlines for all articles and photos for upcoming Reporter issues.
Bais Yaakov school programs under way Bais Yaakov High School students have begun their rotation and visits to the Jewish Home, as well as activities with the residents. Bais Yaakov participated in the Jewish Federation’s Super Sunday to raise funds for Jewish causes and education, including Bais Yaakov High School. The Mishmeres program began the year with learning each day a specific law pertaining to refining one’s speech. The program also showed a video on this year’s theme,
“Respectfully Yours.” Students heard from several speakers, including Rabbi Paysach Krohn, Rebbetzin Rena Tarshish and Atara Malach. Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan Bais Yaakov went on its annual trip to Roba’s Tree Farm to enjoy the fall foliage and celebrate Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the new month, for Cheshvan. The G.O. heads, Feigl Kofman and Miriam Raven, prepared an activity on this year’s theme, “Wear a smile, it’s the style.”
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Thursday, November 8..................November 22 Tuesday, November 20................... December 6 Thursday, December 20...................... January 3 Thursday, January 3.......................... January 17
THE REPORTER ■ november 8, 2012
Community members enjoy sukkah festival SHDS rabbis publish “The List”
After years of effort, two staff members of the Scranton Hebrew Day School recently saw their work come to fruition. Rabbis Yaakov Aichenbaum and Dovid Freeman have published “The List,” a comprehensive list of frequently used words in Chumash. The public premiere of “The List” will be held at the Yachad National Staff Development Conference in November at Yeshivat Noam in Paramus, NJ. Both rabbis will present a two-part workshop about “The List” and will discuss the learning tool with all of the educators in attendance. The undertaking began with 1,000 words most often used, which comprise approximately 87 percent of all the words in Chumash. Proper nouns constitute another nine percent, leaving only four percent of the 79,847 words used in Chumash that did not make the frequent word list. However, “The List” is more than a list of frequently used words. Each word is referenced in the order that it appears in the Chumash and in the exact chapter and verse in which it is located. Each word is also translated into English and Yiddish. The format facilitates systematic and coordinated instruction of vocabulary. “The List” also features an interactive CD, PDF files from which to make flashcards and classroom videos of various elements of the program. The endeavor will serve as a teacher training manual for educators in the United States and beyond. Scranton Hebrew Day School students will be the immediate beneficiaries of the educational material. The Scranton Hebrew Day School Board of Directors staff and students have congratulated Aichenbaum and Freeman on their accomplishment. According to a school representative, “SHDS takes great pride in their achievement, which continues the school’s 65 years of excellence in educational development.”
Above: Children and their parents enjoyed live entertainment at the sukkah festival. Emily Kessler enjoyed a pony ride at the sukkah festival.
At right: Yosef and Avrem’l Rapoport performed a firejuggling show.
Laura Litvak and Talia Sullum enjoyed the bounce castle and seeing their friends.
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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
Continued from page 3
Fellowship members. Those in attendance expressed “delight and the congregation’s good fortune” to have Nathan as its spiritual leader. Many commented on the “warmth and spirituality” he conveyed, his “articulate and knowledgeable address,” and his “beautiful singing voice” as well. As past spiritual leaders have done, Nathan will participate and represent the Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms in many of the Steve upcoming ecumenical events tradi- R a b b i Nathan spoke to tionally held in the local Hemlock Farms community. Until then, the the attendees at congregation has invited anyone the Men’s Club interested from Hemlock Farms or breakfast. outside in the local Pike and Wayne County communities to meet Nathan and the Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms members at Friday night or Saturday morning services on the first and third weekend of each month. Services are followed by an oneg Shabbat of light refreshments. To verify the time of the service, call the Fellowship office at 775-7497.
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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
Wednesday, Dec. 12 • 5:30pm JCC Auditorium
november 8, 2012 ■
Mission to Harrisburg 2012 By Joseph Fisch A delegation of 18 people of diverse ages and geography traveled from the Scranton JCC to the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg on October 16 to spend a day on Capitol Hill. The program was arranged by Hank Butler, executive director of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, in cooperation with Dassy Ganz, assistant executive director of the Jewish Federation of Northeast Pennsylvania. The travelers were welcomed to the capitol by Kyle Mullins, legislative director for Senator John Blake, who served as the group’s leader throughout the day. A Senate hearing room was placed at the group’s disposal and served as the site for meeting legislators and the visit with Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region Yaron Sideman, as well as the luncheon provided by the Federation. At the time of the delegation’s visit, the legislative session was to be adjourned sine die after two days to avoid “mischievous legislation” that could be enacted by a lame duck legislature between election and the assumption of office of the newly elected representatives. The circumstance was compounded by the funeral of former U.S. Senator Arlen Spector at Temple Har Zion in Penn Valley, which was being attended by many of the current and former Pennsylvania elected officials, including Governor Tom Corbett and former Governor Ed Rendell. The assembled were addressed by Senator Mike Stack,
All speakers were reportedly Secretary of Aging Brian Duke, Blake See Harrisburg Mission “generous” with their time, invitand Sideman. They were also visited photos on page 7. ing questions and remaining until by Senator John Wozniak. The senaall questions were answered. They tors discussed issues of interest to the community, including the progress of legislation relating indicated “their door is always open” when needed, and to Terror Free Procurement (to preclude procurements encouraged suggestions for legislation and requests for to invest in Iran). They described the legislative process assistance. Delegation members said the senators exhibited and a consensus building across the aisle required to pass collegiality when referring to colleagues across the aisle legislation. Bi-partisanship was common and the philo- that might well be emulated on the federal level. During lunch, the delegation visited with Sideman and sophical differences was said to have adversely affected a very small percentage (estimated at five percent) of the his deputy consul, Elad Strohmayer. Sideman explained his duties and areas of responsibility, as well as the trade cobusiness of the legislature. The senators also described their support and the support operation envisioned between the Commonwealth and the of the Pennsylvania state legislature for issues of interest to state of Israel. After lunch, the delegation was seated in the the Jewish community, as well as for Israel, and exhibited Senate gallery as guests of Blake to hear Sideman’s remarks sensitivity to the problems Israel faces gleaned in part from to the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The day concluded with a tour of the capitol, which multiple trips to the Jewish state. The senators’ comments were underscored by the remarks of Butler, who deals with the has been called “the most beautiful state capitol in the elected officials at the capitol on a daily basis in his capacity United States.” President Theodore Roosevelt is said to have remarked at the dedication of the edifice in the early as executive director of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition. Duke spoke about aging issues, aging in place and days of the 20th century that the building was “the most naturally occurring retirement communities. Duke also magnificent structure” he had ever witnessed. discussed his department’s four-year plan, the Older “The point was to learn about the legislative process and Americans Act, the Aging and Disability Center, and the meet with legislators as constituents and that objective was Link Program. Butler explained that the NORC concept accomplished,” said a representative of the delegation. “The originated in Israel. visit with the general consul was an additional treat.”
The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition
State capitol news Reprinted from Vol. 6 Edition 4, October 19, 2012 PJC Mission Statement: The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, working individually and collectively with others, represents Pennsylvania’s Jewish communities before state government and with other Pennsylvanians. Jewish values guide the PJC’s focus on issues of importance to these communities, including public social policies and funding and regulation of the delivery of human services. Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition mourns the loss of former Senator Arlen Spector The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition said that it is “deeply saddened” by the loss of former U.S. Senator Arlen Spector,
calling him “a true fighter both in his personal and professional endeavors.” He was Pennsylvania’s longest serving United States senator, serving 30 years in the U.S. Senate. “He was a champion for the citizens of Pennsylvania and a fighter for the state of Israel,” said a PJC representative. “May his accomplishments, fight and memory forever remain a blessing.” Israeli consul general meets with Pennsylvania leaders to push for increased Israel/ Pennsylvania relations Israel’s Consul General of the Mid-Atlantic Region Yaron Sideman and Deputy Consul General Elad Strohmayer
recently traveled to the Pennsylvania capitol to discuss efforts to improve relations with the state’s elected leaders and the state of Israel. Sideman and Strohmayer met with Governor Tom Corbett, House Speaker Sam Smith, Senate President Pro-Tempore Joseph Scarnati and Representative Dan Frankel (the highest ranking Jewish elected official in Pennsylvania). Sideman was also invited to speak before the entire Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Pennsylvania Senate. Along with these visits and speeches, Sideman was able to schedule in some time with the members of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, See “Coalition” on page 6
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THE REPORTER ■ november 8, 2012
jewish community center news New JCC wellness center opens The JCC’s new wellness center is now open. The JCC staff expressed its thanks to the members for being “patient and understanding” while the renovation was conducted. “We know it was not easy working out in a variety of different places around the building,” said a JCC representative. The JCC also thanked its personal trainer,
who were present for a “Day on the Hill” and strategy planning discussions with Matt Handel, chairman of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition. The meetings and presentations were said to be “very successful” as progress was made to advance legislation to prevent the state of Pennsylvania from entering into procurement contracts with companies investing in
Continued from page 5 Iran’s energy sector (Terror-Free Procurement), and increase trade relations between Pennsylvania and Israeli businesses. Follow-up meetings to move these efforts forward are in progress. For any questions, call Hank Butler, executive director of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, at 717-330-4574 or e-mail hank@ pajewishcoalition.org.
The JCC’s new wellness center is now open.
For information on advertising, contact Bonnie Rozen at 1-800-779-7896, ext. 244 or firstname.lastname@example.org November 2012
Social Adult Club Monday, November 12 at 12:45pm
Film Presentation: My Week With Marilyn
In the early summer of 1956, 23 year-old Colin Clark, just down from Oxford and determined to make his way in the film business, worked as a lo wly assistant on the set of 'The Prince and the Showgirl'. The film that famously united Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe who was also on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Aurthur Miller. Rated R. Running time: 1 hr. 39 min
Continued from page 2
So it is important for American rabbis and other Jews to share their concerns with their Christian clergy colleagues and neighbors about this latest effort to demonize Israel and damage AmericanIsraeli relations. The people in the pews, Christian and Jewish, deserve better. Time will tell whether Christian leaders will take this crisis opportunity as a moment to reflect and offer a credible reset to Jewish leaders who have called upon them to step up to the plate.
Peace for Palestinians and Israelis will arrive only though direct negotiations between the parties leading to a two-state solution, the Jewish state of Israel and a future Palestinian state, dwelling in peace and security. New tactics that ultimately are not about peacemaking but are about demonizing Israel will not bring the peace that Israelis and Palestinians so much desire. Rabbi Noam E. Marans is the director of interreligious and intergroup relations for the American Jewish Committee.
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JCC Youth Programs Need someplace for your kids to be when there is no school?
Tuesday, November 13 from 6-8pm
Dinner and a Show! The Poets See flyer for details Tuesday, November 19 at 12:30pm
Give Thanks Party! With Live Music from The Doug Smith Band Great food, friends and fantastic entertainment!
Wednesday, November 21 at 12:45pm
Video Concert Presentation: Natalie Cole
Natalie Maria Cole is an American singer, songwriter and performer. Natalie rose to musical success in the mid-1970s as an R&B artist with the hits “This Will Be”, “Inseparable” and “Our Love”.
Monday, November 26 at 1pm
Presentation on The Jewish Home by Rabbi Sandhaus
Ralph Caputo, who offered three separate learning sessions on how to utilize the new equipment. “The JCC wellness staff is committed to helping you learn how to fully utilize the new machines and equipment,” a representative added. Members have been encouraged to visit the wellness office to ask for assistance, leave feedback or just to say hello.
JCC “School’s Out” Programs • for children in grades K-7 •
Nov. 12 - Monday, Veterans Day Nov. 26 - Monday after Thanksgiving $30/day for JCC members $40/day for non-members $5 sibling discount for up to three childreen $10 friend referral discount
School’s Out includes field trips, swimming, games, arts & crafts, special activities and much more!
of Eastern Pennsylvania
Wednesday, November 28 at 12:45pm
Short Presentation on the history of Yiddish
Social Adult Club General Session Meetings:
November 12, 26 and December 3, 17
On Veterans Day, we’ll have “Build Your Own MiniGolf”, swimming and games! Extra Care is available from 8-8:30am and 5-5:30pm for an additional fee of $10 per day.
For information, contact Aaron Brooks at (570)346-6595, ex:116 or email@example.com
november 8, 2012 ■
Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s
MIS SION T O
THE REPORTER ■ november 8, 2012
Harpist Barbara Dexter performs at 2013 Women’s Campaign Opening Event
The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania hosted Barbara Dexter, a harpist, for the 2013 UJA Women’s Campaign Opening Event. More than just a musician, Dexter is a therapeutic harpist who spends time at the bedside of patients with traumatic brain injuries, premature babies and the mentally and physically challenged residents at St. Joseph’s Center in Scranton. Dexter also performed at an afternoon program for the Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms. Dexter explained the healing power of the harp, particularly for those with head injuries, and shared stories of recovery, which members of the audience called “miraculous.” Dexter answered attendees’ questions and gave people a chance to try playing the harp. The event, which was attended by young and old, was introduced in Scranton, at the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania, by Dassy Ganz, assistant executive director of the Federation, and by Barbara Nivert,
Harpist Barbara Dexter entertained at the Women’s Campaign Opening Event. Women’s Campaign chairwoman, at the Jewish Fellowship. “But mostly, she gave us all a chance to soar on the wings of her truly heavenly music,” said organizers of the event.
Barbara Nivert, Women’s Campaign chairwoman, tried playing the harp.
Barbara Dexter looked on as Dassy and Shira Laury tried to play the harp.
Margaret Sheldon and her mother, Anita Sklarsky, enjoyed the program.
Roz and Molly Rutta attended the Women’s Campaign Opening Event.
Sara Morris listened to the music while Roz Ben-Dov and Esther Elefant looked on.
Audience members Roz Ben-Dov and Miriam Luchens enjoyed the program.
The audience at the Jewish Home watched Barbara Dexter’s performance.
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L-r: Steve Natt, Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms president; Mark Silverberg, and Vernon and Marilyn Schklamo attended the performance by Barbara Dexter at Hemlock Farms.
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The audience at Hemlock Farms listened to Barbara Dexter perform.
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november 8, 2012 ■
THE REPORTER ■ november 8, 2012
d’var torah ABINGTON TORAH CENTER
Rabbi Dovid Saks President: Richard Rutta Jewish Heritage Connection 108 North Abington Rd., Clarks Summit, PA 18411 570-346-1321 • Website: www.jewishheritageconnection.org Sunday morning services at 8:30 am Call for other scheduled services throughout the week.
BETH SHALOM CONGREGATION
Rabbi Yisroel Brotsky 1025 Vine St., Scranton, PA 18510, (corner of Vine & Clay Ave.) 570-346-0502 • fax: 570-346-8800 Weekday – Shacharit: Sun 8 am; Mon, Thurs. & Rosh Chodesh, 6:30 am; Tue, Wed & Fri, 6:45 am; Sat & Holidays, 8:45 am. Mincha during the week is approx. 10 minutes before sunset, followed by Maariv.
BICHOR CHOLEM CONGREGATION/ CHABAD OF THE ABINGTONS Rabbi Benny Rapoport President: Richard I. Schwartz 216 Miller Road, Waverly, PA 18471 570-587-3300 • Website: www.JewishNEPA.com Saturday morning Shabbat Service 9:30 am. Call or visit us online for our bi-weekly schedule
CHABAD LUBAVITCH OF THE POCONOS Rabbi Mendel Bendet 570-420-8655 • Website: www.chabadpoconos.com Please contact us for schedules and locations.
CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL
Affiliation: Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Allan L. Smith President: Henry M. Skier Contact Person: Ben Schnessel, Esq. (570) 222-3020 615 Court Street, Honesdale, PA 18431 570-253-2222 • fax: 570-226-1105
CONGREGATION B’NAI HARIM
Affiliation: Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum President: Phyllis Miller P.O. Box 757 Sullivan Rd., Pocono Pines, PA 18350 (located at RT 940 and Pocono Crest Rd at Sullivan Trail 570-646-0100 • Website: www.bnaiharimpoconos.org Shabbat Morning Services, 10 am – noon; every other Saturday Potluck Shabbat Dinner with blessings and program of varying topics, one Friday every month – call for schedule.
JEWISH FELLOWSHIP OF HEMLOCK FARMS
Rabbi Steve Nathan President: Steve Natt Forest Drive 1516 Hemlock Farms, Lords Valley, PA 18428 570-775-7497 • E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Friday evening Shabbat service 7:30 pm, Saturday morning Shabbat Service 9:30 am.
MACHZIKEH HADAS SYNAGOGUE Rabbi Mordechai Fine President: Dr. Shaya Barax 600 Monroe Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 570-342-6271
OHEV ZEDEK CONGREGATION
Rabbi Mordechai Fine 1432 Mulberry St, Scranton, PA 18510 Contact person: Michael Mellner - 570-343-3183
Union of Reform Judaism Rabbi Daniel J. Swartz President: Eric Weinberg 1 Knox Street, Scranton, PA 18505, (off Lake Scranton Rd.) 570-344-7201 Friday evening Shabbat, 8 pm; Saturday morning Shabbat, 11:15 am
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF DUNMORE
President: Isadore Steckel 515 East Drinker St., Dunmore, PA 18512 Saturday morning Shabbat 7:30 am; also services for Yizkor
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF THE POCONOS
Affiliation: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Rabbi Baruch Melman President: Suzanne Tremper Contact person: Art Glantz 570-424-7876 711 Wallace St., Stroudsburg, PA, 18360 (one block off Rte. 191 (5th Street) at Avenue A) 570-421-8781 • Website: www.templeisraelofthepoconos.org E-Mail: email@example.com Friday evening Shabbat, 8pm; Saturday morning Shabbat, 9 am
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF SCRANTON
Affiliation: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism President: Michael Mardo 918 East Gibson St., Scranton, PA, 18510 (located at the corner of Gibson & Monroe Sts.) 570-342-0350 Fax: 570-342-7250 • E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday, 8 am; Mon & Thurs, 7:15 am; Tue, Wed & Fri, 7:25 am; Rosh Hodesh & Chagim weekdays, 7 am; Shabbat Morning Service, 8:45 am; evening services: Sun – Thurs, 5:45 pm; Friday Shabbat and Saturday Havdalah services, call for times.
by RABBI STEVEN NATHAN, SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THE JEWISH FELLOWSHIP OF HEMLOCK FARMS Chaye Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18 This week’s parasha is Chaye Sarah (Bereshit/Genesis 23:1-25:18). Though the name of the parasha means “life of Sarah,” it actually begins by telling of her death at the age of 127. Our matriarchs, and other women in the Torah, are often forgotten, compared to their husbands and other men. For though many portions are named after a man, this is the only one named after a woman. And if only one woman were to have a parasha named after her, it is quite fitting that it be Sarah. Not only because she was one of the two first monotheists (and proto-Jews), but because looking at the character of Sarah as portrayed both in the Torah and the midrash (rabbinic exegetical tales) it is easy to see that she surely deserves recognition. Within the Torah, Sarah is a character who is strong, yet flexible. When she thinks that her son Isaac is being threatened by his brother, Ishmael, (even though this may not have been the case) she immediately protects him by insisting that Abraham cast out Ishmael and his mother, Hagar. Though her actions may be viewed by us as harsh and disproportionate to any actual threat, no one can claim that she was being passive. Yet, the same Sarah, or Sarai, as she was known then, leaves her home and her family with her husband and follows him to an unknown land, guided by an unknown God, without ever seeming to question him. This may seem to some the actions of a passive or subservient wife. Yet, the sages do not view these actions as passive. In fact, the sages say that Sarah is actually to be more praised than Abraham because he went on the journey having spoken with God and knowing that God was with them. However, Sarah went on this journey because she had unwavering faith in God without ever hearing God’s voice directly. We are even told by the sages that Sarah’s prophetic powers were greater than Abraham’s because the Ruah Ha’kodesh (Holy Spirit) rested upon her in a special way, which it did not rest upon Abraham or anyone else. This is symbolized in the midrash, which states that the cloud of the Shekhinah (God’s Divine Presence) hovered over the entrance to Sarah’s tent, just as it was to later hover over the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary where worship was held during the Israelites’ years of wandering in the desert. “All the years
that Sarah was alive, there was a cloud [of the Shekhinah] at the entrance of her tent... the doors of the tent stood wide open... there was blessing in the dough of the bread... there was a light burning from one Shabbat eve to the next Shabbat eve” (Midrash Bereshit Rabbah, 60:10). The midrash continues to tell us that the light went out, the doors closed and the cloud vanished when Sarah died, only to return when (in this week’s parasha) Isaac brought his new bride, Rebecca, into “his mother’s tent,” where she comforted him following her death. In this midrash, it is clear that Sarah was seen as a paradigm of hospitality, kindness and blessing; she also had a special connection with the Divine. Our sages remind us that when the angels (visitors) came to Abraham to prophesy Isaac’s birth, Abraham went to Sarah and asked her to prepare the meal, for he knew that it was because of her that the dough was blessed. Though Abraham carried on the conversation with the visitors, it was Sarah’s hospitality that provided these divine messengers with sustenance. In the rabbinic mind, Sarah and Abraham’s relationship was portrayed as a true partnership. How sad, then, that for years the Amidah, the central prayer of our daily liturgy, has begun by calling on God as simply the God of Abraham (Isaac and Jacob). Only within the last few decades, within more liberal circles, has he been referred to as the God of Abraham and the God of Sarah (Rebecca, Rachel and Leah). The sages made it clear that Sarah had a relationship with God separate from that of Abraham and unique in its own way. She was not merely connected to God through her husband. Sarah’s spirit and her strength can serve as a role model for us all, regardless of gender. The fact that the midrash portrays the Divine Presence as returning to Sarah’s tent upon Rebecca’s entry into the tent also shows us that the lineage and tradition continues. Rebecca is the clear spiritual heir to Sarah’s legacy. And so the tradition of the God of Sarah, the God of Rebecca, the God of Rachel and the God of Leah may indeed be as old as the idea of God as the God of their male partners; it has only taken us this long to acknowledge this fact and rectify the situation. Let us hope that, as time goes on, more Jews realize this and more congregations outside of Reconstructionist, Reform and some Conservative ones begin to include their names See “Faith” on page 12
Friends of The Reporter Dear Friend of The Reporter, Each year at this time the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania calls upon members of our community to assist in defraying the expense of issuing our regional Jewish newspaper, The Reporter. The newspaper is delivered twice of month (except for December and July which are single issue months) to each and every identifiable Jewish home in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
columns that cover everything from food to entertainment. The Federation assumes the financial responsibility for funding the enterprise at a cost of $26,400 per year and asks only that we undertake a small letter writing mail campaign to our recipients in the hope of raising $10,000 from our readership to alleviate a share of that responsibility. We would be grateful if you would care enough to take the time to make a donation for our efforts in bringing The Reporter to your door.
As the primary Jewish newspaper of our region, we have tried to produce a quality publication for you that offers our readership something on everythingfrom opinions and columns on controversial issues that affect our people and our times, to publicity for the events of our affiliated agencies and organizations to life cycle events, teen columns, personality profiles, letters to the editor, the Jewish community calendar and other
As always, your comments, opinions and suggestions are always welcome. With best wishes, Mark Silverberg, Executive Director Jewish Federation of NE Pennsylvania 601 Jefferson Avenue Scranton, PA 18510
I WILL SUPPORT CONTINUATION OF OUR EXPANDED FEDERATION REPORTER BY CONTRIBUTING $36
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Name (s) (as you wish to appear on our list of “FRIENDS”) _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Address:________________________________________________________________________________________ Phone:_________________________________________________________________________________________ __Check here if you prefer your name not to be published Please write and send tax deductible checks to Jewish Federation, 601 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, PA 18510
november 8, 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 • email@example.com or Becky Schastey at 570-540-5250 • firstname.lastname@example.org 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
THE REPORTER ■ november 8, 2012
National helpline to provide crisis counseling, support to PA residents affected by Hurricane Sandy
The National Disaster Distress Helpline will provide constant access to crisis counselors and support for Pennsylvanians experiencing emotional distress in relation to Hurricane Sandy. “The helpline is a national hotline answered by a network of crisis call centers across the U.S., providing phone- and text-based support to people experiencing emotional distress before, during and after disasters,” said Secretary of Public Welfare Gary D. Alexander. Distress symptoms can manifest as anxiety, stress, confusion, isolation and fear. For those impacted by previous
Continued from page 10 as well. And if one’s traditional practice does not allow for changing the liturgy, perhaps a way could be found in text study and commentary, or in writing kavvanot (introductory or intentional reading) to include the heritage of Sarah and the other matriarchs. Remembering that God has a unique relationship with the matriarchs as well as the patriarchs is not only about feminism or gender equality, it is about acknowledging and paying attention to the fact that the God of Abraham and the God of Sarah is within each of us. Rabbinic tradition attributes a specific middah (quality or personality trait) to each of our ancestors. If we stop and pay attention to the voices of all as they speak to us through prayer, meditation, study or living our lives, we discover these voices, these divine/human qualities within ourselves. Without paying attention to both the God of our matriarchs and the God of our patriarchs we are all diminished; our task of bringing the Divine into the world is incomplete, just as Abraham’s task of welcoming the Divine visitors would have been unfinished if Sarah had not been there to provide for them. As we remember the life and death of Sarah, as well as the welcoming of Rebecca into her tent in this week’s parasha, let us remember this message. Let us reach outward and inward to connect with the God of Abraham and the God of Sarah. One God with many faces who touches each of our lives in a different way in each and every moment, bringing us together as one humanity, one world in the name of the Divine.
catastrophic events in their lives, new events can trigger memories of prior experiences. Populations most likely to suffer from distress related to tropical storms and hurricanes include survivors of previous disasters living in the impacted areas – especially children and teens – loved ones of victims and first responders, rescue and recovery workers. Anyone experiencing distress in relation to Hurricane Sandy can call the Disaster Distress Helpline toll-free at 800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746. Spanishspeakers can text “Hablanos” to 66746. Calls and texts will be answered by trained crisis counselors from call centers throughout the U.S.
The Disaster Distress Helpline, a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is the first national multi-lingual helpline dedicated to providing crisis counseling and support to those struggling emotionally before, during or after disasters. The Disaster Distress Helpline can also connect callers with counselors in more than 100 languages. Interpretation services and counseling services are also available to hearing-impaired individuals through the text service. Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline online at http:// disasterdistress.samhsa.gov for additional resources and to access brochures available for download to the public in both English and Spanish.
Study: Young pro-Israel activists are diverse ideologically, religiously By Neil Rubin WASHINGTON (JTA) – Jewish student leaders may be strident in their Israel advocacy, but they are tolerant in defining pro-Israel activism and diverse in their political views. Those are among the major findings of a new survey being billed as the first major study of North American young adult leaders involved in pro-Israel advocacy. Of the 4,000 or so Israel advocates age 30 and younger who were surveyed, 87 percent said they welcomed “multiple perspectives” on the pro-Israel spectrum. Ideologically speaking, 45 percent self-identified as either politically liberal or slightly liberal; 30 percent said they were conservative or slightly conservative; and 21 percent called themselves moderate. Four percent said they were extremely conservative and 2 percent said they were extremely liberal. The respondents came from diverse religious backgrounds, too: 37 percent said they were Conservative Jews, 27 percent Orthodox, 18 percent Reform and 16 percent “other Jewish.” The study, titled “Next Generation Advocacy: A Study of Young Israel Advocates,” was released recently by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. It was conducted by Ezra Kopelowitz and Daniel Chesir-Teran
of Research Success Technologies. “There’s a sense that young advocates come from a particular political persuasion, that they’re shrill and that there’s polarization,” Lisa Eisen, the director of the Schusterman Foundation, told JTA. “They are very diverse, sophisticated and non-ideological, which is not something that most people would imagine.” Divisive activists are part of the spectrum, Eisen acknowledged, but they “are way out on the margin.” Those surveyed were leaders of such organizations as Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Hillel, iCenter, the Israel on Campus Coalition, Moishe House, The David Project, Write On For Israel, Hasbara Fellowships, MASA Israel Journey, Stand With Us and the BBYO group for teenagers. The study also pointed to a relatively high correlation between participation in Birthright Israel, the free 10-day trip to Israel for young adults, and Israel activism: Some 26 percent of the pro-Israel leaders surveyed were Birthright alumni. Pro-Israel activist Samantha Vinokor, 22, said she discovered early on that there is no single profile for pro-Israel See “Study” on page 14
november 8, 2012 ■
THE REPORTER ■ november 8, 2012
Family drama by RABBI RACHEL ESSERMAN Novels about family life have sometimes been pejoratively referred to as kitchen-sink dramas. Yet our connections to our loved ones are a fundamentally important part of our lives. Two recent literary novels – “The World Without You” by Joshua Henkin (Pantheon Books) and “The Innocents” by Francesca Segal (Voice/Hyperion) – do a brilliant job showing just how complex and fascinating these relationships can be. Everyone mourns in their own way: That’s a lesson the Frankel family still needs to learn. “The World Without You” takes place in July 2005, one year after the death of Leo Frankel, a journalist who was captured and killed while on assignment in Iraq. His mother, Marilyn, has scheduled a memorial service just for family and friends to counter the drama and press that had attended the funeral. She’s spent the past year writing opinion pieces against the war and
Continued from page 12
activism. “You don’t need to be religiously observant because you can connect in your own way and you don’t need to be politically aware because you can connect culturally or through food or in other ways,” said Vinokor, who was active in proIsrael groups at the University of Pittsburgh before enrolling in a master’s program at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York and landing a job as director of communications for the World Zionist Organization. “The pro-Israel movement can give so many different people a home,” she said. “That’s something that I tried to bring onto campus and that I bring to my professional life as well.” Eisen said the study debunks some myths about who pro-Israel activists are and what they believe, while also revealing some shortcomings in how pro-Israel activists are mobilized in American Jewish life. While 85 percent of high school seniors and 66 percent of college seniors said they wanted to continue pro-Israel work after graduation, only 27 percent and 33 percent, respectively, reported being asked to do so by a Jewish organization. “The motivation is there, the passion is there, the interest is there,” Eisen said. “We just haven’t fully tapped the potential.”
President George W. Bush, whom she feels is responsible for Leo’s death. Her husband, David, has coped by busying himself with hobbies – cooking, reading opera librettos and running. However, their fundamentally different approaches to the loss of their son has created fissures in their 40-year-old marriage. Visiting for the service are Leo’s three sisters – Clarissa, Lily and Noelle – and his widow, Thisbe. All four women are struggling with the aftermath of Leo’s death. Thirtynine-year-old Clarissa has finally decided she wants a baby, but her inability to conceive is driving a wedge between her and her loving husband. Lily, who refuses to allow her significant other to attend the service, fights with everyone as though deliberately seeking to alienate her parents and sisters. Traveling from Israel with her husband and four sons, Noelle, now an Orthodox Jew, is troubled by images of a past she longs to forget. Thisbe worries that not only is her 3-year-old son, Calder, beginning to forget his father, but that revealing a new aspect of her life might anger her in-laws. Each member of the family is seeking love and acceptance, something they might receive if only they opened their hearts and minds to each other. What makes Henkin’s work so wonderful is that he successfully places readers in his characters’ minds. He shows just how complex each person is so that, even when you dislike a character, it’s impossible to dismiss their concerns. I felt each sister’s irritation and shared their desire to yell at and/or shake annoying family members. Yet, often in the next chapter, when he focused on a different character, I suddenly understood and sympathized with their problems and dilemmas, even the characters who once seemed so infuriating. Henkin also does an excellent job showing how very different our self-image can be from the way others perceive us. For example, Lily doesn’t believe that her strong mother might be frightened of her, even though her father clearly sees how terrified Marilyn is of her daughter’s anger. This is but one of the many insights Henkin reveals about his characters in a work that ranks as one of this year’s best novels. While Henkin writes from more than one point of view, Segal focuses mainly on one person: 28-year-old Adam Newman. “The Innocents” has been compared to Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence,” although Segal’s work
C H A N U K A H Greetings
Once again this year, The Reporter is inviting its readers and local organizations to extend Chanukah greetings to the community by purchasing a Chanukah greeting ad, which will appear in our December 6 issue (Deadline: Nov. 28). Chanukah begins this year on the evening of Dec. 3. You may choose from the designs, messages and sizes shown here - more are available. You may also choose your own message, as long as it fits into the space of the greeting you select. (Custom designs available upon request.) The price of the small greeting is $18, the medium one is $34 and the largest one is $68. To ensure that your greeting is published, please contact Bonnie Rozen at 1-800-779-7896, ext. 244 or bonnie@ thereportergroup.org. Checks can be made payable to The Reporter Group and sent to: The Reporter, 500 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal, NY 13850
has a depth and breadth of its own. What the author does have in common with Wharton is that Segal is not only capable of giving great psychological insight into the mind of her characters, but also offers a wonderful sociological analysis of the tight-knit Jewish community of Temple Fortune (a suburb of London) to which they belong. Yet, none of this distracts from the novel’s engrossing and engaging plot. Adam, considered one of the most eligible young men in the community, has just become engaged to his longtime sweetheart, Rachel Gilbert. He’s content with his place in life, including his position at the law firm where his fiance’s father is a partner. However, when Rachel’s cousin, Ellie Schneider, moves back to London from New York City, Adam finds himself confused and at odds with his life. It’s not just that Ellie is beautiful and has worked as a model; she represents the outside world, one not part of the Jewish community cocoon that has always buffered Adam. He wonders what it would be like to explore that world and finds himself drawn emotionally and physically to Ellie. Yet, it is difficult for him to choose between the communal support and love of family and friends, and his desire for something new, different and possibly dangerous. Segal’s careful delineation of her characters – whether it’s through their own eyes or Adam’s – creates portraits that will engage readers’ hearts. She also does a wonderful job showing how the Jewish community gathers and honors its customs. For example, one chapter features a Shabbat dinner at Rachel’s parents’ home. During the evening meal, the warmth and love these people feel for each other shines through; this includes their willingness to respect each others’ foibles and idiosyncrasies. Even when Adam focuses on the possibility of leaving the community for Ellie, he knows how much these people care for him – even with his faults and weaknesses – and just how much he stands to lose. I came to feel for and understand all the characters in “The Innocents,” to be moved by their fates and their futures. Segal’s ability to put me inside Adam’s heart – to see his growth in maturity and understanding – swept me away on a tide of emotion. Throughout the course of the novel, the characters came to feel like friends and family. Because of this, Segal’s marvelous work also ranks as one of the best of novels of the year.
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november 8, 2012 ■
In Ukraine, new funds for survivors bring high – some say unrealistic – expectations By Cnaan Liphshiz ODESSA, Ukraine (JTA) – In her dilapidated apartment, Larisa Rakovskaya examines a stack of unpaid heating bills. Sick and alone, the 86-year-old Holocaust survivor and widow is preparing for another encounter with the cold, her “worst and only fear.” Rakovskaya says her hope of staying warm this winter lies with a one-time payment of approximately $3,200 that she may receive from Germany via the Claims Conference following Berlin’s recent decision to include victims of Nazi persecution in the former Soviet Union as beneficiaries of the so-called Hardship Fund. Some 80,000 survivors across the former Soviet Union are expected to qualify for the payouts, half of them in Ukraine, where a crumbling welfare system often leaves the old and disabled to live and die in penury. Rakovskaya says that once she uses the Hardship Fund payment to pay off the few hundred dollars of debt she owes utilities, she wants to visit Israel for the first time. “I don’t want to renovate and I don’t need a boiler. My last wish is to see Jerusalem,” she tells JTA. Marina, her social worker from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, asks Rakovskaya to “be realistic” and use the money for day-to-day living. The Claims Conference, which negotiated the expansion of the Hardship Fund with Germany, says the money will have “an enormous impact.” The application process starts in November, and eligible claimants are expected to be approved as quickly as eight weeks afterward, according to Claims Conference spokeswoman Hillary Kessler-Godin. Applications will be processed throughout most of 2013. JDC, which funds Jewish welfare operations in the former Soviet Union known as Heseds, called the new money a “welcome addition” but cautioned that survivors, as well as other Jews in the region, still need ongoing assistance. Rakovskaya lives on a $111 monthly government pension in a one-bedroom apartment with her small dog, Chunya. Old newspapers absorb humidity from the broken floor; the brown walls are crumbling. With no hot water, she heats water over an electric stove and then washes over a rusty sink. She has managed to get food and medicine and keep
her home heated thanks to support from her local Hesed. Established in the 1990s, Hesed provides relief, medical services and food to approximately 170,000 Jews in former Soviet countries. JDC’s 2012 budget for welfare and social services in the former Soviet Union comes to $113.5 million. Some of the money comes from the Claims Conference, which funds Hesed programs directed at Holocaust survivors. In 2011, those funds reached approximately $75 million. Approximately 7,000 Hesed clients live in Odessa, a city with a Jewish population estimated at 40,000. Ukraine has some 360,000 to 400,000 Jews, according to the European Jewish Congress. Rakovskaya has experienced far worse living conditions. As a girl, she had to live with her mother in the catacombs that run under Odessa’s streets. They went underground after Romanian soldiers occupied the city in 1941 as allies of Nazi Germany. Once home to 200,000 Jews, only about 90,000 remained when the Romanians arrived. Most of them were murdered. Thanks to her father’s non-Jewish last name, Rakovskaya and her Jewish mother were able to slip through the roundups. Greg Schneider, the executive vice president of the Claims Conference, told JTA that the new Hardship Fund payment is the fruit of 20 years of labor. During the Cold War, Germany “understandably” resisted compensating victims living behind the Iron Curtain for fear that Soviet regimes would confiscate the money, Schneider said. Since communism collapsed, the Claims Conference has “asked, pushed, pressed, urged and cajoled” Germany to compensate victims living in Eastern Europe just like victims living in the West. “I think it’s too late, but we’re happy this is finally happening,” he said. The $3,200 is “the equivalent of receiving a year’s worth of pension.” Asher Ostrin, the JDC’s director of activities in the FSU, calls the fund “a welcome addition,” but also says “It will not elevate anyone from extreme poverty to middle-class comfort.” Many of the Holocaust survivors who will receive the one-time payment from Germany will continue to be aided by Hesed, which has many other clients who are not Holocaust survivors.
One of the recipients is Svetlana Mursalova, 56. Once a social worker for Hesed, she suffered a crippling hip fracture that rendered her bedridden and unable to work. She says her two children have no interest in her, leaving her to survive on a monthly disability pension of $109. “Without the help from Hesed, I would need to choose between food and medicines. I would have died,” she told JTA. “My situation is very painful because I always used to look after myself and others. But you have to stay optimistic.” On her wall is a portrait of her Siamese cat, Marquis, which she describes as her best friend. Mursalova thought about leaving for Israel, she says, but now that she is unable to walk properly, “leaving is even more difficult than staying.” Ostrin says many poor Jews resist immigrating to Israel for fear of the unfamiliar and a deep attachment to their apartments – often the only property they managed to keep during and after communism. Although tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews require JDC charity to get by, a small number of Jews have become wealthy since the collapse of communism. In recent years they have been involved increasingly in charity and in projects that promote a self-sustainable Jewish life here, according to Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee. One example is a Jewish kindergarten with 40 pupils and a long waiting list of parents willing to pay the $500 monthly fee – approximately double the national average salary. The money keeps the school running, but also helps fund community services and activities ranging from pottery and aerobics lessons for the elderly to basketball tournaments for teenagers. Those parents, however, represent “a very thin layer of rich Jews who are unable to tend to the serious needs of the elderly and poor,” Dolinsky says. “Without the generous support of American Jewry, we would face a humanitarian disaster.” Dolinsky says the new funds secured by the Claims Conference “will not change anything on the fundamental level, but they are important for the recipients and as a form of belated justice.”
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THE REPORTER ■ november 8, 2012
By Rafael Medoff JNS.org Like American boys and girls, youngsters growing up in British Mandatory Palestine or the new state of Israel experienced thrills through the adventures of Tarzan, the immortal Edgar Rice Burroughs character whose 100th anniversary will be celebrated in October. American Tarzan movies with Hebrew subtitles attracted standing room-only audiences and Hebrew writers churned out a torrent of unauthorized Tarzan stories, sometimes with a Zionist twist – such as Tarzan helping to smuggle Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Europe to Palestine. But the writers and their readers alike would have been very surprised to learn that one of the Tarzan movie producers was actually involved in sponsoring the real-life rescue of Jews from the Nazis. “Tarzan of the Apes” debuted in the October 1912 issue of The All-Story, an early pulp magazine. (Pulps, so called because of the cheap paper on which they were printed, were all-fiction periodicals that usually featured detective or adventure stories.) “Tarzan” was only the third story ever written by Burroughs, a 36-year-old pencil sharpener salesman who, after reading a number of pulps, concluded – as he later recalled – “If other people got money for writing such stuff, I might too, for I was sure I could write stories just as rotten as theirs.” The story of the English infant raised by apes in Africa was so successful that Burroughs authored more than a dozen additional Tarzan novels in the years to follow. The character soon made his way to Hollywood, with the first Tarzan film appearing in 1918, starring Elmo Lincoln. But it was the portrayal of the Lord of the Jungle by swimming champion Johnny Weissmuller that brought Tarzan to the pinnacle of international renown. Born in Hungary to ethnic German parents in 1904,
Tarzan and the Holocaust
We i s s m u l l e r was, according to some sources, of partial Jewish descent. As a child growing up in Chicago, he contracted polio and took up swimming to counter the effects of the disease. His athletic prowess brought It was the portrayal of him to the at- the Lord of the Jungle tention of Wil- by swimming champion liam Bachrach, Johnny Weissmuller a Jewish swim- (pictured) that brought ming coach who Tarzan to the pinnacle became Weiss- of international renown. muller’s mentor. ( P h o t o b y M G M Weissmuller set studio) numerous world records and won five gold medals at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics. From 1932 to 1948, he starred in 12 Tarzan movies. They were hugely popular, not only in the U.S., but also around the world. “As a boy in Tel Aviv, I saw every one of them, sometimes more than once,” says the award-winning Israeli filmmaker Moshe Levinson. “My friends and I also gobbled up the short Hebrew-language Tarzan books that came out almost every week. We loudly imitated his famous ‘jungle roar,’ although the neighbors weren’t always happy about that. We just couldn’t get enough of Tarzan.” Levinson recalls that many of the Hebrew Tarzan stories were written by young authors who would later emerge as giants of the Israeli literary world. “People like Amos Oz, Amos Keinan and Yeshayahu Levit, were moonlighting – they needed to pay the rent while they were waiting for their big break, so they wrote these Tarzan stories un-
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.
But others were more responsive to the der pseudonyms, glorifying a char- young Zionists’ appeals. An early and imacter who was portant supporter was Bernard P. Fineman. deeply rooted in A Hollywood figure of some prominence, nature, vibrant, Fineman had produced movies featuring unafraid, scorn- such stars as Gary Cooper (“Wolf Song,” ful of the in- 1929) and Lucille Ball (“Beauty for the tellectual life,” Asking,” 1939). In addition, his first wife, he says. “That Margaret, was the niece of legendary direcwas how they tor Cecil B. DeMille. Fineman’s Tarzan wanted the new connection was as the producer of the fifth Israeli society to of the 12 Weissmuller films, “Tarzan’s Secret look, and it had Treasure,” which was released in 1941. The "Adventures of a big impact on The plot was boilerplate Tarzan: Boy (TarTarzan" cover. (Photo by us kids.” zan and Jane’s adopted son) stumbles upon Ritchey Litho. Corp.) The fact that gold at the bottom of a river. Members of a Britmany Jews in ish expedition, learning of Boy’s discovery, Mandatory Palestine mistakenly believed kidnap him and Jane in order to force Tarzan Weissmuller was Jewish further added to to reveal the location of the treasure. Eluding Tarzan’s popularity in the Holy Land. Eli crocodiles and aided by a herd of friendly Eshed, Israel’s foremost Tarzan expert, notes elephants, Tarzan comes to their rescue. Like that Oz, in his autobiographical stories, all of the Tarzan adventures, “Secret Treasure” depicts himself as an avid Tarzan fan. Oz was a box office success. At the very moment Fineman was workwrote that his parents “were very proud that Johnny Weissmuller, the real Tarzan, ing on “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure,” he was is a Jew... Tarzan for us was a Jew since actively assisting the real-life adventurers he always fights as ‘one against many’ and of Aliyah Bet. Not only did the Tarzan because he was smart and full of tricks and producer provide financial support for the American Friends of a Jewish Palestine, but his enemies were stupid.” In one of the Hebrew novellas, Tarzan he also did for them what Hollywood types helps smuggle Jewish refugees out of Eu- do best – networking. He introduced them rope and past the British naval blockade of to important potential supporters, including Palestine. At one point in the story, Tarzan the actor Edward G. Robinson, Fineman’s is captured by the British and imprisoned, sister, the journalist Frances Gunther and her husband John, the future author of “Death Be although he later escapes. In real life, the Irgun Zvai Leumi un- Not Proud.” It was Gunther who coined the derground militia in Palestine initiated the term “Jew-running” to describe the Irgun’s Aliyah Bet (unauthorized immigration) refugee-smuggling operations. Robinson campaign in 1937. It brought an estimated later starred in a dramatic pageant about the 20,000 Jews to the Holy Land during the plight of the Jews, “We Will Never Die,” next four years. About 7,500 miles away, a that the Bergson Group staged at Madison handful of Jewish activists were looking for Square Garden. The Gunthers became pillars donors in Hollywood to help bankroll the of the rescue movement, with Frances servAliyah Bet operations. Hillel Kook (using ing as treasurer, spokeswoman, and fundthe name Peter Bergson), Yitshaq Ben-Ami, raiser; she even testified in Congress for a Samuel Merlin and Alex Rafaeli, follow- Bergson-initiated resolution on rescue. Some of the Hebrew-language Tarzan ers of the Revisionist Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky and members of the Irgun, had knock-offs found the Lord of the Jungle doDear Friend, been sent by Jabotinsky to the U.S. between ing things that Jews were unable to achieve, PROJECT JOY, Jewish Center such as through tracking the down NaziCommunity war criminals 1938 and 1940 to seek financial and political Martin Bormann and Rudolf Hoess. Such support for Aliyah Bet and the creation of a of a very special woman, RoseBud Leventhal. Although Tarzancontinues stories substituted fantasy The for unatJewish state. Their organization, known at project on, the in her memory. monies co tainable reality. But in the case of that point as American Friends of a Jewish private donations. Due to the ever changingAliyah needs of th young we Jewish activists took matters Palestine, later was popularly known as Bet, our present economy, have expanded our gift giving base into their own hands and changed the course the Bergson Group. And Hollywood one. would We want every child to experience a special Holiday s of history fordo tens ofThis thousands Jewish prove to be one of its most importantyour bases generosity, we can this. year inofour area the ec refugees. And a Tarzan movie producer, of of support. worsened. Our gift might be the only one a child receives. Although there were many Jews among all people, was part of the team that made Tinseltown’s film directors, writers and it possible. Dr. Rafael Medoff is director of the David actors, some changed their names and hid from wishS.lists that Institute we received from JewishStudies, Family Ser Wyman for Holocaust their Jewish identity in order to advance McCauleyand Center and Saint Center. coauthor, withJoseph’s Prof. Sonja Schoepf their careers in the movie industry. Rafaeli later wrote of his surprise and disappoint- Wentling, of the new book “Herbert Hoover In 2009 Children and Youth Services and Chi andadded the Jews: The Origins of the ‘Jewish ment to find many Jewish actors “aloof and we andchildren Bipartisan for Israel.” uninterested in their people’s fate.” our list ofVote’ needy andSupport were thrilled that we wer
more kids. And, as always, we still visited the pediatric three local Scranton hospitals to give their patients gifts
were fortunate to have the monies to assist them too.
We hope this year to give even more gifts with your help
vital and special this project has become. This all depen
Please send a donation to “PROJECT JOY” in care of t Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, PA 18510, or just drop off
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!
We will be wrapping theses gifts on Tuesday, December starting at 9:00 am. All volunteers are welcome. Please ca 587-2931 or 586-0241 if you will be able to help us wra and worthwhile!
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.
Thank you for your continued suppor t and ge
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
Carol Leventhal, C