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Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
VOLUME XI, NUMBER 19
Pamela Geller to speak at JFHF on October 6
The Men’s Club of the Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms, the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Golan Hadassah of Northeastern Pennsylvania will present Pamela Geller on Sunday, October 6, at noon, at the Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms, Lords Valley. Reservations will be required. The cost will be $5 per person, which will include a buffet lunch. Geller is the founder, editor and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com, and executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America. She is the author of “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance” (WND Books) and “The Post-American Presidency: the Obama Administration’s War on America” with Robert Spencer and a foreword by Ambassador John Bolton (Simon and Schuster). She is also a regular columnist for World Net Daily, Andrew Breitbart’s Big
“The Sean Hannity Show,” Government and Big Journalthe “Bill O’Reilly Show,” ism, the American Thinker and “Red Eye,” “Geraldo,” “The other publications. Mike Huckabee Show” and Geller received the Annie other shows on the Fox News Taylor Award for Courage in Channel. She has been fea2010 from the David Horowitz tured in The New York Times, Freedom Center. In October The Washington Post, the Los 2011, the United States MaAngeles Times, the Daily Mail rine Corps presented her with and the Telegraph. the flag flown on September Her articles and op-eds have 11, 2001, over Camp Leatherbeen published in The Guardian; neck “amid the battlefields of on Fox News; in the Washington Afghanistan during decisive Pamela Geller Times; Big Government, Big operations against enemy forces Journalism; Human Events; the American in Helmand Province.” She has been the subject of a profile on Thinker; Newsmax; Hudson NY; Pajamas Me“60 Minutes” and of a cover story in the dia; Israel National News; World Net Daily; Sunday New York Times Metro section. The FrontPage Magazine; New Media Journal; Times also published an in-depth interview Canada Free Press and other publications. Geller is a frequent guest on talk radio with her. She has made appearances on ABC, CNN, AP, Reuters, “NBC Nightly News,” and has regular segments on two radio
shows, the “Jaz McKay Show” and “Jamie Allman in the Morning.” Geller has been a featured speaker at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Restoration Weekend and at numerous Tea Party and “pro-freedom” events across the nation. Geller has broken numerous stories, including the illegal foreign sources of some of the financing of officials in the current U.S. administration, antisemitic posts on the website of U.S. officials, political organizing in public school classrooms and more. She is also known for speaking against the “Ground Zero mosque.” Her publishing career began at the New York Daily News, after which she took over operation of the New York Observer as associate publisher. For reservations or information, contact Carole Weiss at the Jewish Fellowship at 775-7497.
Colorado flooding wreaks havoc on Yom Kippur observances By Andrea Jacobs Intermountain Jewish News DENVER – Before the start of Yom Kippur, a flood of historic proportions swallowed Boulder, CO, and surrounding areas,
displacing families, damaging synagogues and threatening services on the holiest day of the Jewish year – until determination came to the rescue. Orthodox Boulder Aish Kodesh hit the
A Chabad volunteer helped people clear damaged goods from their homes in Colorado. (Photo courtesy of Chabad)
The U.S. National Guard responded to heavy flooding in Boulder, CO, on September 12. (Photo by Joseph K. VonNida/U.S. National Guard via Getty Images)
Internet first, sending a mass e-mail to 500 residents announcing that heavy rains and flooding had destroyed the tent it had prepared for the holiday. The e-mail offered alternative locations for services, including hard-hit Chabad centers and Denver synagogues out of harm’s way. Elon Bar-Evan, executive director of Boulder Aish Kodesh, said the tent and parking lot were under water and that many prayer books intended for the services were ruined. Rabbi Marc Soloway, spiritual leader of Conservative Bonai Shalom in Boulder, told the IJN on September 13 that his synagogue had sustained significant flooding. “Our Yom Kippur services are scheduled elsewhere, but it is unclear whether we will be able to have them there at this point due to flooded roads and so forth,” Soloway said. “It’s a mess.” At Har HaShem, Boulder’s major Reform synagogue, the power was out. “The lower level of the main building was under four feet of water,” said Ellen Kowitt, communications and membership director, reached at her home in Erie, CO. Because Kowitt often works from home, she was able to update the website. Before the server collapsed, Rose wrote an e-mail to the congregation: “The Talmud teaches that rain is a sign of blessing. That might sound questionable right now. Whether we can turn this into a blessing remains to be seen... I believe in us.” Chany Scheiner of Chabad of Boulder described a scene of utter chaos at the synagogue, which is attached to the side of her home. “CU and other places closed on Thursday,” she said. “My husband Rabbi Pesach Scheiner and I thought they might be making a big deal out of nothing.” When three rooms filled with water later that night, they knew it was serious. “There was a flood in front of our house and the backyard was
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Aiding Syria refugees
Jews in sports
a nice sized swimming pool,” she said. The Scheiners and their children were evacuated. Neighbors convinced them to leave. “We went in their car,” Scheiner said. “It was like the parting of the Reed Sea.” When the Scheiners returned to assess the damage, they found a few inches of brown water in the synagogue. The family got on their knees to clean the small worship space and then tackled the house. Days of heavy rain across Colorado’s Front Range left eight people confirmed dead as of the evening of September 23 and hundreds more unaccounted for. Reconstructionist Beth Evergreen, located in the foothills just outside Denver, nearly shut its doors on the evening of Yom Kippur due to flooding. According to Rabbi Jamie Arnold, the road cutting through Evergreen, in the mountains west of Denver, was closed all day September 13, which meant congregants coming from Conifer would have to tackle a circuitous route from the opposite direction. Only about 30 to 40 “hard-core” congregants made it to Beth Evergreen for Kol Nidre, Arnold said, and about 300 attended Yom Kippur services the next day, when the clouds dissipated long enough to allow for safe travel. See “Flooding” on page 12
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Candle lighting September 26......................after 7:36 pm September 27..................................6:33 pm October 4.......................................... 6:21 pm October 11........................................6:10 pm
U.S. Jewish groups are quietly A look at the American Jewish Joint Jewish calendar-related sports raising funds for Syrian refugees Distribution Committee’s programs conflicts are an Israeli dilemma; a PLUS in Jordan, as is IsraAid in Israel. aiding Jews worldwide. look at two Jewish NFL coaches. Opinion...........................................................2 Story on page 3 Story on page 5 Stories on pages 6-7 D’var Torah.................................................10
THE REPORTER ■ september 26, 2013
a matter of opinion
Debating energy in Israel “More sun to you, Shale: A key to Israel’s energy future Israel!” power of the sun, envisioned that all hot By Yosef I. Abramowitz water and electricity in Israel were going JNS.org The perpetuation of a world powered to be produced by solar power. With 60 percent of the country’s land by oil is one of the most anti-Jewish actions imaginable. A world that re- consisting of desert, Israel could be the sists transitioning quickly from oil to first major economy to be powered by the renewables is a world that feeds the Ira- sun. Research funds should be invested nian nuclear program, promotes radical into battery storage technologies to accelerate the adoption whabbiism in Saudi Arabia and around A w o r l d t h a t r e s i s t s of grid-scale storage the world, acceler- transitioning quickly from of green power for nighttime use. ates extreme climate Thomas Friedchange, pollutes our oil to renewables is a world air, distorts world that feeds the Iranian nuclear man writes convincpolicy against Israel, program, promotes radical ingly that the new and sends American whabbiism in Saudi Arabia and natural gas finds in and other troops off around the world, accelerates the United States should be viewed as to bloody and expensive wars in Iraq extreme climate change, a transitional phase pollutes our air, distorts world in our economy, and elsewhere. I s r a e l i P r i m e policy against Israel, and sends bridging the era of Minister Benjamin American and other troops off coal and oil to that Netanyahu has chal- to bloody and expensive wars of solar and other renewables. This is lenged us all to imagalso true for Israel, ine a world without in Iraq and elsewhere. an energy island. oil and has set up within his office a special bureau invest- Israel’s offshore natural gas finds, if used properly, can provide the windfall ing in oil substitute strategies. Theodor Herzl imagined the future necessary to build a national renewable state of the Jews running on renewables, energy infrastructure. Let’s face it: There is only one reason through an ambitious hydroelectric program linking the Mediterranean and Dead to attempt to justify drilling on Israel’s seas. David Ben Gurion, recognizing the historic lands, pumping chemicals into the ground above a water aquifer, heating it up to 350 degrees Celsius for three years (at a huge energy expense) and pumping dirty shale oil out. That reason is greed, pure and simple. Advocates of fracking will try to mask “ The Reporter” (USPS #482) is published bi-weekly by the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 601 Jefferson Ave., their greed with arguments for energy Scranton, PA 18510. independence. But Israel is blessed with President: Michael Greenstein enough clean natural resources that we Executive Director: Mark Silverberg don’t need oil. Energy independence is possible and supremely preferable Executive Editor: Rabbi Rachel Esserman without fracking. And with nearly evLayout Editor: Diana Sochor Assistant Editor: Michael Nassberg ery automaker coming out with electric Production Coordinator: Jenn DePersis vehicles, even our transportation can be Graphic Artist: Alaina Cardarelli driven by renewables. Advertising Representative: Bonnie Rozen For Israel to take part in perpetuatBookkeeper: Gregory Senger ing the world’s oil-based economy is a betrayal of our values and ultimately threatens our existence as a country and Opinions The views expressed in ediof the world. Our founding fathers untorials and opinion pieces are those of each author and not necessarily the views derstood that God has granted us a land of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern blessed with clean natural resources that Pennsylvania. can promote energy independence while Letters The Reporter welcomes letters providing a model to the rest of the world on subjects of interest to the Jewish comto kick their addiction to oil. munity. All letters must be signed and We need to realize that fracking in include a phone number. The editor may Israel is a sin fueled by greed. The sun withhold the name upon request. could power the country by day, and the ADS The Reporter does not necessarnatural gas finds by night. Green energy ily endorse any advertised products storage technologies could soon power and services. In addition, the paper is the country at night as well. not responsible for the kashruth of any advertiser’s product or establishment. The “start-up nation” should not sucDeadline Regular deadline is two cumb to the 20th century oil fantasies weeks prior to the publication date. of a handful of Jewish investors from abroad. Through clear thinking, innovaFederation website: tion, moral and political will and a clear www.jewishnepa.org vision while standing up to greed, greenHow to SUBMIT ARTICLES: tech investors and Israel should unite in Mail: 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA rejecting fracking, embracing solar and 18510 become, finally, a renewable light unto E-mail: email@example.com the nations. Fax: (570) 346-6147 Yosef I. Abramowitz, named by Phone: (570) 961-2300 CNN as one of the world’s leading green pioneers, promotes solar energy How to reach in Israel and Africa, and has, along the advertising Representative: Phone: (800) 779-7896, ext. 244 with his wife, Rabbi Susan Silverman, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org accepted Naomi Tsur’s invitation to run for Jerusalem City Council on a green, Subscription Information: inclusive list. He can be followed on Phone: (570) 961-2300 Twitter @kaptainsunshine.
which the industrialized world could not By Neil Goldstein operate. Countries like Saudi Arabia, VenezuJNS.org Israel soon will be producing natural gas ela, and Iran have enormous political power from fields in the Mediterranean in sufficient because of the oil they can provide to Europe quantity to replace all of the coal and gas or to China, and because of the monopoly the country needs for its electrical power power that they have, as members of OPEC, production and for fueling industry – with to embargo the supply of oil to anyone who an additional 30 percent left for export. But doesn’t toe their political line. Moreover, the enormous wealth they have while natural gas may be sufficient to fulgained by selling oil fill domestic needs for the next 40 years, the The obvious question people is at the root of a great government of Israel have raised is why, with deal of the evil in this has sensibly decided an enormous abundance of world – permitting Saudi Arabia to field that solar power – both natural gas and solar power, one of the world’s photovoltaic (“PV”) plants and concen- Israel should even bother largest military forces trating solar power to develop these “shale oil” and enabling Iran to (“CSP”) – should be and “oil shale” resources finance both terrorpart of the nation’s – however much oil they ism and the development of its nuclear energy mix, providing may contain. For those who capabilities. an additional pollutionFurthermore, by free source of electrical understand the geopolitical power whenever the importance of oil, the answer developing an onsun is shining. is obvious: oil is a strategic shore oil industry, Given these enor- commodity without which the Israel will generate very significant tax mous offshore natural industrialized world could not and royalty revenues gas resources and the and high-quality, solar energy projects operate. high-paying jobs, that are being pursued, why, then, does it remain important for Israel all of which will benefit the average Israeli citizen. to develop its shale resources? One obvious question that remains is, To understand that need, it first is crucial to clarify that, while the undersea if solar energy can be part of the solution sandstone formations in which Israel’s gas for Israel’s own energy needs, why can’t is entrapped are overlain with shale, these Israel use solar – rather than develop its offshore sites are not what are meant when shale resources – to help the world reduce people talk about Israel’s “shale” deposits its dependence on oil? The reason that ap– particularly since Israel’s offshore gas is proach isn’t viable is that solar can be an being recovered by “conventional” means alternative to fuels such as coal or natural rather than using more complex technolo- gas only to the extent that it can replace gies usually needed for producing fossil those fossil fuels for producing electrical fuels from shale. Instead, when people power. But because virtually no oil is used speak of Israel’s shale they are referring to for producing electricity in the industrialized two onshore sites, one in the center of Israel world, solar can do nothing to replace oil. In near Beit Shemesh (the “Shfela Basin”) and fact, rather than being used for generating electricity, more than 60 percent of oil used the other in the Golan. Moreover, rather than containing pre- worldwide is consumed, instead, to produce dominantly natural gas (like Israel’s offshore liquid transportation fuels (gasoline, diesel fields or like the Marcellus shale in Penn- and aviation fuel), while most of the rest is sylvania and New York state) – both these used as a feedstock for manufacturing petonshore sites are likely to deliver a quite rochemicals. So, to repeat the point: because different and distinct mix of fossil fuels that solar cannot be used to fuel cars, trucks or will be of particular importance for fueling buses or as the feedstock for plastics and transportation, rather than for generating fertilizer, it is pretty much useless when it electricity. Specifically, the Golan site is comes to replacing oil. When we consider whether it is worththought to contain predominantly oil. Meanwhile, the site in the center of the country while to develop Israel’s shale resources, it (in the Shfela Basin) contains fossil fuels in is important to stress that the government of a different form altogether: hydrocarbons Israel has declared that reducing the world’s dependence on OPEC oil is of strategic imbound to the shale rock. Although some opponents of develop- portance to Israel. And so, it has established a ment there have raised a cry against “frack- special division in the prime minister’s office ing” at this site, the reality is that is “frack- to mount a governmentwide effort to help the ing” is not being contemplated, nor would world find alternatives for fueling transportait be useful in freeing these hydrocarbons. tion (including advanced biofuels, natural gas Instead, the developers of the Shfela Basin and electric vehicle technologies). But until these transportation alternatives site have devised an entirely new suite of far more benign technologies that would become widespread, it remains strategically heat the rock (“oil shale”) gradually over and economically important for Israel to dea period of years to free the hydrocarbons. velop its oil shale and shale oil resources. Neil Goldstein is executive VP of the They have estimated that there is as much as 250 billion barrels of oil in place in the Israel Energy Partnership, as well as a Shfela, much of which could be recovered member of the Board of Directors of the economically using these methods… nearly Council for a Secure America. Previously, as executive director of the American Jewish as much oil as in all of Saudi Arabia! The obvious question people have raised Congress, he played a role devising and is why, with an enormous abundance of natu- working for enactment of the U.S.-Israel ral gas and solar power, Israel should even Energy Cooperation Program, which funds bother to develop these “shale oil” and “oil joint U.S.-Israel research into solar, wind shale” resources – however much oil they and other alternative energy technologies. may contain. For those who understand the Earlier, Goldstein served as executive geopolitical importance of oil, the answer is director of Citizens for Clean Air and as the obvious: oil is a strategic commodity without Sierra Club representative in New York.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 ■
community news Bais Yaakov begins the new year Bais Yaakov began its new year with orientation on August 29. Guest speaker Rabbi Mordechai Dov Fine spoke on the theme of new beginnings, especially at this time of year. The next week included a full day yom iyun, day of introspection, with guest speakers and activities related to the Yomim Noraim, High Holidays. Guest speakers included Rabbi Dovid Saks, Vera Epshtyn, Rabbi Avrohom Turin, Leah Gans and Yocheved Kofman. The
students also visited the Jewish Home to bake Rosh Hashanah challah with the residents. They then visited the home of Esther Elefant, where they baked nearly 100 challah rolls to be distributed in Webster Towers before yom tov. They also viewed a video presentation called “Be Inspired.” The first full week of school began on September 9 with regular classes, as well as speakers and presentations related to the aseres yimai teshuvah, the 10 days of repentance.
Presentations included the study of the book of Yonah by Rabbi Dovid Fohrman, Kofman’s “Make the Right Choice Now,” a video account of September 11th by Rabbi Nosson Sherman and a discussion led by Adina Elefant. The students planned to visit the Jewish Home to make and hang sukkah decorations with the residents. Following the holidays, there will be the annual orientation for volunteering at meal time and other occasions at the Jewish Home.
Congregation B’nai Harim celebrated Rosh Hashanah By Lee Emerson At the end of services for Rosh Hashanah at Congregation B’nai Harim, Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum and Dr. Daniel Schidlow were joined on the bima by Mark Arzon and
L-r: Mark Arzon, his grandson Daniel Shaykevich, Dr. Daniel Schidlow and Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum sang during Rosh Hashanah services at Congregation B’nai Harim.
Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum blew the shofar to mark the end of the Tashlich service.
his grandson, Daniel Shaykevich, for the singing of Ein Keloheinu. Shaykevich is the son of Ed and Julia Shaykevich, of Monroe County. He was a bar mitzvah at Congregation B’nai Harim and is a teen aide in the religious school, as well as an Eagle Scout. Arzon immigrated with his family from Russia and resides in Brooklyn, NY. “His pride and joy of singing with his grandson was evident, as was the delight shown by the family,” said a CBH representative. “The entire congregation was smiling.” After Rosh Hashanah services, members of CBH stood on the beach at Lake Naomi Club for Tashlich to “cast away their sins” by throwing small stones into the lake. This is part of the beginning the 10-day period of repentance known as the Days of Awe. CBH is a Reform Jewish congregation located in Pocono Pines. For more information, visit www.bnaiharimpoconos. org or call 646-0100.
Jewish groups aiding Syrian refugees – sort of By Uriel Heilman NEW YORK (JTA) – When Georgette Bennett decided a few months ago to help refugees from Syria’s civil war, she wanted to do it in a Jewish way. Citing a passage from Leviticus she said her late husband often quoted, “Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor,” Bennett met with the CEO of a major Jewish aid group and quickly got him to agree to head a Jewish effort for the refugees. Bennett, a former professor, journalist and philanthropist, supplied the first $100,000. Alan Gill, the CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, got more than a dozen Jewish groups to sign on to the campaign, dubbed the Jewish Coalition for Syrian Refugees in Jordan. So far, more than $344,000 has been collected, most of it allocated to groups working with refugees in Jordan. But though they constitute some of the nation’s largest and most prominent Jewish organizations, most of the 16 groups in the coalition have done little to help the cause. They have not used the mechanisms they usually employ to rally Jewish support or raise money – mass e-mails and press releases, to name just a couple – even as many of them have posted conspicuous “calls to action” to rally support for a U.S. military strike against the Assad regime. Only three have posted prominent appeals on their websites. And only one, the JDC, has contributed any money of its own – $50,000, according to a spokesman. The biggest contributor so far has been Bennett herself, who has now put in a total of $150,000. “I found myself very much called by the Jewish imperative that commands us to act in the face of human suffering,” said Bennett, president of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, which she founded two decades ago in memory of her husband. “What makes it near to my heart is I was a refugee. I come from a refugee family. I’m a child of Holocaust survivors. And I can’t help but relate to the plight of these refugees.” Jewish groups are not working with Syrian refugees directly – that’s being left to local partners on the ground, many of which asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of their work and the Jewish source of the money. In a separate effort, the Israeli group IsraAid has been
Syrian refugees living in camps and tents in northern Jordan are receiving aid from Jewish and Israeli groups. (Photo courtesy of IsraAid) providing mattresses and food-and-hygiene packages to refugee families in urban areas in northern Jordan for the last year. As with the coalition’s effort, IsraAid is working with locals, but Israeli staffers have been traveling to Jordan every few weeks to coordinate the effort. “We do distributions in concert with local partners – they know we come from Israel,” Shachar Zahavi, the group’s director, told JTA. “Most often they’re surprised, but there is thanks. We have not encountered any hostility. Everybody’s been wonderful. We’re not representatives of the Israeli government. We’re a civil society organization.”
IsraAid, which says it has spent tens of thousands of dollars so far, is funded in part by North American Jewish groups, including the American Jewish Committee and Toronto’s Jewish Federation. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society is also planning on dispatching team members to Jordan to help the Syrian refugees find new homes overseas, including in the United States. The effort, for which HIAS has received $50,000 from the coalition (HIAS is also a member), is not yet operational. The plan is to have people on the ground by 2014. “As a Jewish organization, we have to be very careful in terms of how we participate in the response,” HIAS CEO Mark Hetfield told JTA. “But now we’ve found a way to participate constructively, and it’s clear our community needs to be represented in response to the Syrian refugee crisis.” See “Refugees” on page 12
S E N I L D A DE The following are deadlines for all articles and photos for upcoming Reporter issues.
Tuesday, September 24, early...........October 10 Thursday, October 10........................October 24 Thursday, October 24......................November 7 Thursday, November 7..................November 21
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THE REPORTER ■ september 26, 2013
Following Birthright’s bar mitzvah, examining its offspring
By Alina Dain Sharon JNS.org Shira Kaiserman remembers her 2010 Taglit-Birthright Israel trip like it was yesterday. While the New Yorker’s group was visiting Mount Herzl, the guide began to tell them the story of Hannah Senesh, an Israeli national heroine who was caught and killed by the Nazis after parachuting into Europe to help rescue Holocaust refugees in 1944. “As a woman you don’t really hear about a lot of modern-day Jewish women who made such a strong contribution to the Jewish people,” Kaiserman told JNS.org. She was so affected by the Birthright experience that she left a career in advertising for Jewish nonprofit work, now serving as the director of program marketing and social media at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. Kaiserman, 28, belongs to a new generation – maybe even a new category – of young Jews who have come out of the Birthright program, which in January marked its “bar mitzvah” anniversary. Some members of this Birthright generation have gone on to make different, and meaningful, choices across different areas of life. Perhaps no one has seen the trip’s impact more tangibly than Susannah Sagan, the associate director of Ohio State University’s
campus Hillel. At OSU, many Birthright participants return to campus and begin taking Jewish studies courses, getting involved with the university’s pro-Israel group, Buckeyes for Israel, or with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Some of these students “come back and start living in the [Hillel] building,” Sagan told JNS.org. In the 13 years since philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt joined forces with the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency for Israel, global Jewish communities and other philanthropists to fund Taglit-Birthright Israel, the program has taken about 350,000 young Jews on free 10-day trips to Israel. A series of studies by Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies has surveyed program alumni regarding the impact of Birthright on their lives and looked at those who applied to the program, but didn’t participate, as a control group. Most recently updated in 2012, the studies show that Birthright often creates a new community for participants. “The evidence is clear that Taglit inspires a stronger sense of Jewish identity,” said Brandeis University Professor Leonard Saxe, a chief author of the research. While the surveys didn’t ask directly about leadership, it’s clear that Birthright “produces a
Taglit-Birthright Israel trip participants with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo courtesy of Taglit-Birthright Israel)
A Taglit-Birthright Israel trip through Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. (Photo courtesy of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life) desire to be part of the Jewish community,” Saxe added. The research shows that former Taglit participants are 42 percent are more likely to feel “very much” connected to Israel compared to people who didn’t go on the trip. More survey respondents who participated in the program are likely to belong to a religious congregation than those who did not. Birthright participants are also slightly more likely than nonparticipants to make charitable contributions to Jewish or Israeli causes. “My speculation is that in this era of electronically mediated social interaction, the need for actual connection is intensified,” Saxe said. This holds true for the Manhattan JCC’s Kaiserman, who said that before going on Birthright she initially “didn’t really do anything Jewish-related at all” after college, even though she had attended Jewish day school all her life. Matthew Putterman, a 24-year-old analyst for a real estate financial services firm in Houston, went on Birthright in 2010. He grew up in a neighborhood without a lot of Jewish families and joined a non-Jewish fraternity in college. This void “was quickly filled during and after Birthright.” While on the trip, Putterman was introduced to the Gift of Life organ donor program. Spurred partly by his own sister’s diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, he eventually made his own bone marrow donation to a man suffering from blood cancer. “The sense of global Jewish community developed during Birthright definitely helped to substantiate my initial feelings of wanting to help if at all possible,” Putterman told JNS.org. One of the seminal aspects of the Birthright experience continues to be the mifgash (“encounter” in Hebrew). “Each group is joined by eight Israelis, and… usually seven out of eight are Israeli soldiers. They come
dressed as soldiers only for the first two hours, but then they dress like civilians, and you cannot distinguish who is the American, who is the Israeli,” Gidi Mark, CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel, told JNS.org. According to the Birthright website, more than 55,000 Israelis have participated in the program since its inception, 87 percent of them Israeli soldiers. One of the Israeli soldiers who accompanied his trip visited Putterman in Houston. “Asaf and his friend (also Israeli, traveling with him) were a big hit at our family’s Thanksgiving dinner,” Putterman said. “Without Birthright, Asaf might never have experienced a full American Thanksgiving, and I likely wouldn’t have returned to Israel after graduating from college,” he said. Kaiserman said she had her “aha moment” regarding her choice of career after she saw an Israeli soldier on her trip “dressed in uniform and making this daily sacrifice for Israel.” The Brandeis study showed that former Birthright participants are 22 percent more likely to indicate that they are at least “somewhat confident” in discussing the current situation in Israel in comparison to those who didn’t go on the trip. After the experience, participants tell people, “You cannot say anything about the so-called bad Israeli soldiers, because we’ve been with many of them during our trip to Israel,” Mark said. Program participants are also 45 percent more likely to marry someone Jewish than those who didn’t go on the trip. “It’s very important to me to marry a Jewish partner and to have Jewish life,” Kaiserman said. Putterman is now dating a girl he met on his Birthright trip. “It is definitely comforting to know that… the tough decision that interreligious couples have to make on which faith to raise their children is not something that I will need to worry about,” he said.
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SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 ■
UJA Campaign 2014 Chai-lights
UJA dollars at work in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Israel and throughout the Jewish world Compiled from Joint Distribution Committee dispatches by Mark Silverberg Thirty-one percent, or $279,800, of last year’s UJA Campaign – $895,814 – was allocated to Israel and overseas Jewish assistance. American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (Europe) Overview The Joint Distribution Committee has been a presence in Europe from the outset of World War I, helping to rebuild shattered lives and fragile communities. JDC provided aid during World War I, rescued Jews during World War II, cared for survivors in European displaced persons camps in the post-war period and has continued to support Jewish life until today – even during the Communist years. The Iron Curtain that once separated European Jews is becoming a memory and the general movement is toward regional reunification. A new spirit of “openness, cooperation and a sharing” of resources and experiences is said to be taking hold. This presents new opportunities and challenges alongside the continued need to care for the needy. Today, European Jewry comprises the world’s third largest concentration of Jews, after Israel and the U.S., and is considered a major player in the Jewish world. Throughout the last few years, the European Jewish reality, in both Western and Eastern Europe, has changed, affecting both the external and internal environments of the continent’s Jewish communities. Externally, the European Union has expanded and now includes 12 new members from Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, with Croatia and Turkey readying to become members within the next two years. Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union on January 1, 2007. Internally, there is a generational change in Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. Now, more than two decades after the collapse of Communism, a new generation that has tasted democracy is said to be “coming of age” and taking the lead in community life. The opportunity for developing
communal leadership is supported by potential benefits of property restitution and the prospect of eventual financial independence. Although the future is expected to present challenges, which each community will need address at its own pace, the conditions in today’s Europe are said to offer “enormous possibilities” for the future of the continent’s Jewish communities. To complement these changes, especially in central and eastern Europe and the Baltic states, JDC is working to redefine its operations. Since the post-World War II period, JDC’s role in Western Europe has focused solely on providing technical assistance and community development, building leadership and maintaining self-sufficient Jewish communities. However, in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, JDC’s focus has been on providing services to the needy – primarily Holocaust survivors – while maintaining the overall mission to help revive Jewish communal life in countries that lived under Communist rule until the late 1980s. Today, working in partnership with local communities, JDC strives to serve welfare needs, particularly those of Holocaust survivors and Jewish children, and strengthen communities through “innovative” programming concepts, networking and exchanges. “Helping communities toward self-sufficiency in all aspects of communal life is JDC’s overarching aim,” said a JDC representative. “Jewish values and Jewish solidarity are its guiding principles. Technical assistance, the transfer of know-how, and leadership and professional development are its modus operandi in this new Europe.” Connections to Jewish life JDC supports Jewish life programs and opportunities throughout Europe. Considered to be of “critical importance” are the many unaffiliated Jews in the region, particularly those in the middle generation who grew up in an era when organized Jewish community life was either dormant or suppressed. Regional, or inter-community, programming is a hallmark of JDC’s work in the region and this focus
will continue to play “an increasingly important” role in the years to come. JDC currently supports: Jewish community centers in Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. The Ronald S. Lauder/JDC International Summer Camp in Szarvas, Hungary. Local Jewish summer camps for more than 4,000 participants. Informal Jewish education, seminars such as Limmud Baltics and lectures by scholars. Regional youth gatherings, such as Weinberg Black Sea Gesher. Family camps and retreats. Jewish holiday and religious activities. Community development JDC’s community development strategy focuses on fostering lay and professional leadership, as well as furthering organizational capacity and communal growth. JDC’s tools include training, institutes for advanced learning, community consultations, networking events and web-based learning, such as: The JDC International Center for Community Development at Oxford University Jewishprograms.org Strategic European Loan Fund Property management seminars and training The Center for Jewish Leadership (Leatid) Buncher Community Leadership Program Pan-European gatherings, such as the European General Assembly Innovative community development concepts and models Welfare JDC continues to provide support for 28,000 Holocaust survivors in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. As these survivors become aged and frail, and are trying to cope with economic and political change, the social See “UJA” on page 6
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THE REPORTER ■ september 26, 2013
Jews in sports
Beyond Greenberg and Koufax: Jewish calendar-related sports conflicts become an Israeli dilemma By Beth Kissileff and Jacob Kamaras JNS.org When baseball legends Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax both famously refused to play crucial games on Yom Kippur, Greenberg during the 1934American League pennant race and Koufax in the 1965 World Series, their decisions were personal and did not impact their teams’ ability to take the field. Israeli teams in international competitions, however, have recently been faced with that very dilemma. In July, the Israeli national women’s lacrosse team chose to forfeit a World Cup game against the Haudenosaunee Nation team because the match fell on Shabbat and could not be moved. The Israeli team, which would have finished seventh place among 19 teams in the tournament with a victory, instead automatically finished eighth. Additionally, the Israeli Tennis Association in August announced its refusal to play a Davis Cup match against Belgium that was scheduled to take place this Yom Kippur, September 14. The International Tennis Federation eventually ordered the match to be moved to September 15, but decided to fine the Israeli team more than $13,000 due to the costs that resulted from adding a day to the tournament, Yediot Achronot reported. Jeffrey Gurock, the Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, explains that American Jews are generally accepted by their host society, and that the Christian world has come to recognize the importance of the High Holidays within Judaism, meaning it is simply “up to the Jewish player to decide whether he wants to play or not.” But when it came to the Israeli tennis team being fined in international play over not competing on Yom Kippur, and the World Cup’s inability to move the Israeli lacrosse team’s Shabbat match, Gurock saw the moves “as a political statement. “As far as Israel is concerned, unfortunately, it speaks to where Israel is seen by the international bodies,” Gurock tells JNS.org. “A sports metaphor can be applied to the United Nations. It speaks to how isolated and unaccepted Israel is by the world. It’s very unfortunate, but that’s the difference between America and Israel.”
Israeli women’s lacrosse team member Sara Greenberg wielded her stick. (Photo by Donna Pedersen) Despite the impediment it presented on an international stage, the Israeli women’s lacrosse team was unyielding about the issue of competing on Shabbat. In fact, when Scott Neiss, executive director of the Israel Lacrosse Association, launched efforts to bring the sport to Israel, part of his thinking was that if the sport was to be accessible to Israelis of all religious backgrounds, it could not be played professionally on Shabbat. Neiss tells JNS.org that not playing the sport on Shabbat is a “national identity issue.” El Al Airlines, he notes, does not fly on Shabbat, and many other aspects of the country shut down on the day of rest. The lacrosse programs (both men’s and women’s) that Neiss launched in Israel “want to reflect and represent that,” he says. Among the Israeli team members who played competitive lacrosse in college was Katie Mazer, whose University of Pennsylvania (Penn) team was Ivy League champion from 2007-2009, made Final Four appearances in 2007 and 2009, and reached the national championship game appearance in 2008. Asked how she would have felt about a Shabbatinduced forfeit at Penn, Mazer responds, “I think I would have been angry and unhappy about forfeiting a game in college.” But on the Israeli national team, Mazer’s attitude
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columns that cover everything from food to entertainment. The Federation assumes the financial responsibility for funding the enterprise at a cost of $26,400 per year and asks only that we undertake a small letter writing mail campaign to our recipients in the hope of raising $10,000 from our readership to alleviate a share of that responsibility. We would be grateful if you would care enough to take the time to make a donation for our efforts in bringing The Reporter to your door.
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regarding Shabbat was different. She says that once “you are in Israel and actually feel and see Shabbat and what it means and celebrate,” the day of rest takes on new meaning. Mazer says she was pleased with the Israeli team’s decision to forfeit because it was “for a bigger purpose.” Neiss, whose efforts brought the sport to the Jewish state, was not an obvious candidate to either make aliyah or start the lacrosse programs. He does not play lacrosse himself, and he attended St. John’s University in Queens, NY – not a hub of Jewish life. “I’m the kid that wasn’t supposed to move to Israel,” Neiss says. But both during and after college, Neiss worked full-time for a professional lacrosse league and volunteered for the U.S. national lacrosse program. At age 25, he visited Israel for the first time on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip. In the summer of 2011, Neiss was able to pilot lacrosse programs for both men and women in Tel Aviv, while splitting his time between New York and Tel Aviv and meeting with potential funders. The first funders of the Israeli programs launched by Neiss were American Jews who were passionate about lacrosse. Neiss realized in December 2011 that if he were to focus on the project full-time, the “only place to do that was in Israel.” He made aliyah in February 2012. Now he continues to help lacrosse-playing Jews make the same move to Israel. The coach for the Israeli women’s team, Lauren Paul Norris, came on board through old-fashioned “Jewish geography.” Currently a Division I college lacrosse coach at See “Sports” on page 14
Continued from page 5 services they receive play “an increasingly critical role.” Through the local Jewish communities, JDC provides the care the elderly need to live out their lives in dignity, with knowledge that they are not alone. Communities are assisted in funding programs for Holocaust survivors through restitution sources, such as the Conference on Material Claims against Germany, the Swiss Banks Settlement, the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, the German government and the Foundation pour la Memoire de la Shoah, which work in partnership with JDC. JDC is also working to transfer more programmatic and financial responsibility to local communities as they become capable. The following services are provided: Food packages Meals-on-wheels Kosher canteens Warm homes Medications and medical consultations Home care Winter relief SOS emergency support Rehabilitation and respite care Old age homes Jewish and community activities Children in need As part of its Global Children’s Initiative, JDC is assisting Eastern European communities in extricating children in need from the cycle of poverty and allow them to fully integrate into society. In partnership with local communities, JDC has identified more than 1,200 Jewish children in need in the region. In 2012, JDC supported social services to nearly 1,600 Jewish children in need, providing individual case management, food, clothing and medical support. In addition to basic services, JDC has supported the participation of Jewish children in need in Jewish educational programming. JDC is also providing technical assistance and creating exchange opportunities for communal professionals who work with children and families. Together, through donations to the 2014 Annual UJA/ Federation Campaign, the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania sends a message to Jews around the world through the JDC: “We are with you in your hour of need. We are one family. You will not be forgotten.”
Jews in sports
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 ■
Remembering legendary NFL coaches Gillman and Levy
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coaches they talk about Vince By Robert Gluck Lombardi, Tom Landry and JNS.org Joe Gibbs, but you don’t hear Growing up in a tough them mention Sid Gillman.” Minneapolis neighborhood, Gillman compiled a 123Sid Gillman overcame anti104-7 NFL head coaching semitism to become one of record for the Los Angeles professional football’s most Rams, Los Angeles Charimportant innovators. “Mingers, San Diego Chargers neapolis, unlike (neighborand Houston Oilers. Vermeil ing) St. Paul, was an antisesays Gillman was not only the mitic town. St. Paul was more father of the modern passing welcoming to Jews. Sid’s wife game, but also the father of was discriminated against others aspects of current NFL because she was Jewish. Sid offenses, including formation passed away, but I talked to his children while researching The cover of “Sid Gillman: variations. “Gillman’s genius in terms the book. They believe he was Father of the Passing of the modern-day offense passed over for coaching jobs Game,” the book by Josh is undeniable,” Katzowitz because he was Jewish,” Josh Katzowitz on the legendary Katzowitz, a writer covering Jewish football coach. writes in his book. “Spreadthe NFL for CBS and author (Photos courtesy of San ing the field with receivers, of “Sid Gillman: Father of Diego Chargers, Gillman running backs and tight ends? the Passing Game,” tells family, Los Angeles Gillman’s idea. Using the long pass to stretch a defense? JNS.org. Times; cover design by Gillman’s baby. What NFL The start of the 2013 NaScott McGrew for Clerisy fans cheer on the field today tional Football League seaPress) can be directly traced back to son presents an opportunity the Midwestern coach who to reflect on the careers of led the charge of the West famed Jewish coaches, such Coast offense.” as Gillman and Marv Levy, In his book, Katzowitz who helped shape the game’s details the culture of antisemihistory. tism Gillman faced in MinGillman’s influence on neapolis. Jews were blamed the modern game can be for the city’s unemployment seen in his “coaching tree.” problems. “Religious leaders Coaches who either worked invoked hateful language with Gillman directly or were when referencing Jews, and associated with him in other those in the community forways include Al Davis, former bid them from taking part in owner of the Oakland Raiders; civic and social organizations. Chuck Noll, who coached the They couldn’t buy houses. Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles; college The cover of “Then Levy They couldn’t take certain coaches Ara Parseghian (Uni- Said to Kelly... The Best jobs. Neither Sid nor Esther versity of Notre Dame) and Buffalo Bills Stories Ever (his wife) would ever break Bo Schembechler (University Told,” by Jim Gehman. away from the antisemitic of Michigan); Bill Walsh, who Jewish coach Marv Levy culture of the Midwest. It coached the San Francisco and his quarterback, Jim followed them, haunted them, 49ers to three Super Bowl Kelly, both pictured on and changed the track of their titles; and Dick Vermeil, who the cover, led the Bills to careers,” Katzowitz writes. Yet in 1935, Gillman recoached the St. Louis Rams four consecutive Super turned to Minneapolis to work to a Super Bowl title. Bowl appearances. (Photo at his family’s movie theater, Vermeil, who wrote the courtesy of Triumph where he received a present foreword to Katzowitz’s Books) from his cousin – Fox movie book, first met Gillman in 1960, when they happened to be sitting next reels featuring football highlights. Gillman to each other at a football clinic in Reno, learned how to operate projectors, and spent NV. Eighteen years later, as head coach of much of that summer and long hours during the Philadelphia Eagles, Vermeil brought in the rest of his coaching career reviewing Gillman to help his staff. “Sid influenced film. By taking the reels home and studying the way the game is played today more than them, Gillman changed the nature of the NFL any other coach in the history of the NFL,” coaching profession. “I believe he was the originator of Vermeil tells JNS.org. “He does not get that kind of credit, but he deserves it. Everything studying film,” Vermeil tells JNS.org. “He you see in football in the modern offense, at stimulated other peoples’ thinking. I brought one time, was originated by Sid. He’s been him in to coach coaches. He had such a paid respect, he’s in the Hall of Fame, but passion for learning, for new ideas, and See “NFL” on page 14 whenever people talk about great football
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THE REPORTER ■ september 26, 2013
DISCRIMINATE. With millions still out of work, many people in our own community are forced to choose between paying the rent and putting food on the table. That’s why we’re not only expanding our food pantries and meal programs, we’re also offering job training and networking to get people back to work. Today, more people are turning to us for assistance than ever before. Help us ensure that no one is turned away.
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SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 ■
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THE REPORTER ■ september 26, 2013
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: Alan S. Wismer 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: Dr. Sharon Alfonsi 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 Rabbi Moshe Saks 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.
Who are we?
by RABBI MOSHE SAKS, TEMPLE ISRAEL OF SCRANTON Bereshit, Genesis 1:1-6-8 As we once again begin the reading of the Torah with the portion of Bereshit, the very first question asked by the rabbinic commentators is this: Why, if the Torah is God’s gift to the Jewish people, don’t we begin with the story of Abraham, chapter 12 of Genesis? The common answer is that the first 11 chapters of the Torah prove God’s existence and that since He created the world, He can give any part of it to whomever He wants; hence, the inalienable right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. There is, however, another explanation that makes sense and is, I believe, a crucial part of how we need to live in a multicultural world. Bereshit proves to the reader that God is the god of all humanity and, as such, the “stories” in these first 11 chapters serve as a blueprint for all of humanity: how we relate to God and to each other. Let’s take the tale of Adam and Eve. We all know the story; they are given only one prohibition – not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. Of course, they not only transgress this command, but refuse to take responsibility for their actions! Adam blames Eve (and, ultimately, God), while Eve blames the serpent. In the midrash, the serpent even blames the angels of God! But if we look a little more closely at this story, we have
a serious question. What exactly is the “punishment” meted out to Adam and Eve? Having to work in order to eat? Having pain in childbirth (and, ultimately, in life)? Becoming mortal? If we seriously examine these new life situations, especially if we consider that their life in the Garden of Eden seemed to be a child-like existence, we might agree that one of the points of the story is to describe who we are and the challenges we face as human beings. The question then becomes – are we ready to learn and grow as human beings despite our limitations? How does God fit into this equation? It’s no coincidence that this Torah portion is read soon after the High Holidays. These are exactly the issues that we are commanded to confront as we begin each New Year in our tradition. How do we improve our lives and those around us? I would posit that these crucial life questions reflect not only on our relationship with other Jews, but with the entirety of the human family. How we personally answer these important questions will, indeed, help to determine the year ahead. We all want a life of peace, a life of physical and spiritual health, and a life of well-being. To a great extent, we can be in control of many (but not all) aspects of life in the year ahead, especially in the way in which we treat others and use these principles, with God’s help, to build better relationships, better families and communities, and continue our efforts at tikkun olam, repairing the world around us.
Continued from page 4
But not all participants fall in line with survey findings. Dan Eisenberg, an assistant professor in anthropology at the University of Washington who went on Birthright in 2004, fondly remembers “hiking through beautiful landscapes and nice times,” and still remains friends with one of the Israeli soldiers on his trip. Eisenberg, however, still doesn’t consider it very important to marry a Jewish partner. Eisenberg also said that despite the Birthright experience, he doesn’t buy the story some Israelis tell that they are “somehow more true Jews because they are living in a land with some historical roots… and among a contemporary culture that is predominantly Jewish.” Yet interest in Birthright continues to rise. According to Jeffrey Solomon, president of Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, one of the philanthropic organizations involved with Birthright since its founding, last year about 34,000 students went on the program and about 42,000 will go this year, an approximately 25 percent increase. “It is without question the best philanthropic investment we ever made. It’s been a success beyond our dreams,” he told JNS.org. This May, philanthropists Sheldon and Miriam Adelson donated another $40 million to the Birthright Israel Foundation, bringing their total contribution to the program to $180 million. “Exposing young Jews to Israel helps broaden their awareness and deepen their cultural identity,” Miriam Adelson said, according to Israel Hayom. Birthright is also expanding in a variety of international directions. According to Gail Hyman, Birthright’s vice president of communications and marketing, last spring
the program launched a new “Tour Educator Institute” so that tour educators “are better prepared” for “the cultural differences presented by a wide range of trip participants from now more than 60 countries.” Additionally, dozens of countries looking to connect Diasporas with their motherlands are taking notice of Birthright. “I’ve just been to a conference in Dublin where everybody was talking about Birthright-Israel as a pioneer in this. We were approached already by countries like Bulgaria... and we are happy to help those who approach us,” Mark said. The true impact of Birthright on young Jews around the world, in terms of fostering leadership, may not be obvious for years. “Although only a small percentage of Taglit alumni have already become Jewish leaders, among young adults taking leadership roles, those who have participated in Taglit are over-represented. Anecdotally, among the next generation of Jewish professionals, we’re seeing many who come out of a Taglit experience and some who attribute their desire to work in the Jewish community to Taglit,” Saxe said. Susannah Sagan’s son didn’t really enjoy his own Birthright experience, but when he returned to the U.S., he said, “I don’t know what it is, but I think about Jerusalem every day.” Shortly after, he returned to Jerusalem for a 10-week career internship. “These are the people who are going to sit on Federation boards... on all the Jewish agency boards.” Sagan said. Jacob Kamaras contributed to the reporting for this story.
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SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 â–
The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania Invites You to the
Featuring a special screening of the newly released documentary:
Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness Sunday October 13 Buffet Dinner Reception at 5:30 PM Program at 6:15 PM
Temple Israel of the Poconos 711 Wallace Street, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18360 Cover charge- $10.00 per person RSVP no later than Wednesday, October 9 - (570)961-2300 x2 A riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, SHOLEM ALEICHEM: LAUGHING IN THE DARKNESS tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature. Plumbing the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who forged it.
THE REPORTER ■ september 26, 2013
Continued from page 1
“I didn’t change my sermon substantially,” Arnold said. “I included prayers for healing and read names for those unable to say Kaddish for their loved ones. But my sermon was about the function of community; how it provides sanctuary. I think that said it all.” Meanwhile, Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm of Chabad at the University of Colorado was receiving a call a minute and a stream of e-mails the morning of September 13. “We’ve already cleaned up our mess – only a few inches in the shul,” Wilhelm said. “But it’s pretty intense.” Students contacted Wilhelm to find out where they could attend services in Boulder. Some, unable to get home to Denver, also called him. Others trapped in inaccessible
Continued from page 3
Aside from HIAS, the members of the coalition – itself a subgroup of the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief – include the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; the Union for Reform Judaism and its affiliated Religious Action Center; the Jewish Federations of North America; Ve’ahavta, a Canadian group dedicated to tikkun olam, the Jewish concept of repairing the world; the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement; Mazon, the Jewish hunger relief organization; the U.K.-based World Jewish Relief; World ORT; the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; the World Jewish Congress; the American Jewish Committee and the JDC. Ve’ahavta and World Jewish Relief both have posted calls on their websites to help with the refugee crisis. “Each group decided what they want to do based on their constituencies,” said JDC spokesman Michael Geller. “They all participate in the calls. They participate in the allocations conversations.” Aside from the contributions by Bennett and the JDC, the coalition has received $25,000 each from two anonymous donors, $75,000 from the California-based Leichtag Foundation and about $20,000 from grass-roots donors. “The Jewish community understands tikkun olam, understands humanitarian responsibility,” said Will Recant, an assistant executive vice president at the JDC. “When they were made aware, they started to step forward just as they did for Darfur, Rwanda and other areas of humanitarian need.”
areas requested basic supplies. “The saddest part for me is that there are people who are completely stranded,” he said. “They can’t even get out of their cars. Another girl in an isolated canyon has no food or water.” Bonai Shalom was able to hold services at Naropa University, despite the university’s closing. Several Boulder Aish Kodesh members attended Bonai Shalom’s services. “Our congregation shares land with Boulder Aish Kodesh,” said Steve Hill, president of Bonai Shalom. “We’re very close.” Wilhelm, who rewrote his sermon on September 12 to emphasize the need for volunteers “to seize the day,” said that a few hundred people comprising a “very different turnout” prayed at CU Chabad over Yom Kippur. Kol Nidre “felt like a relief,” he said. “Students were happy to get out of their dorms and join us. There was a very special energy.” For those who couldn’t make it to synagogue, some observed the holiday at home. “Yom Kippur is where you are,” said one man, who asked not to be identified. “We had the machzor, we had the parasha, so we did it at home.” Jonathan Lev, executive director of the Boulder JCC, which also sustained damage, broke away to spend a few hours at Bonai Shalom’s Kol Nidre service. “Although I couldn’t stay long at services, people were talking to each other, pooling resources and figuring out what was necessary,” he said. Flooding virtually annihilated the Chabad Jewish Center of Longmont, located about 25 miles northeast of Boulder. “Our shul was completely ruined,” Rabbi Yakov Borenstein said on September 13. “It looks like an island. We are right next to a creek here.” Borenstein managed to save the Torah scroll, prayer books and other ritual items before he was ordered out of the building on September 12. At 3 am that night, the rabbi, his wife and four children were evacuated from their home. “Our Hebrew school is gone,” he said. “The water is two feet deep. Humidity has warped all our sacred books.” Borenstein worried he might not draw a minyan to Yom Kippur services in Longmont, but almost 100 people showed up. “God has a purpose in everything,” Borenstein said. “I see a tremendous amount of good in people. Volunteers and donations are coming from all over. What a beautiful world we live in.”
Yiddish Book Center presents weekend on Singer family
The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, will present a weekend course exploring the lives and works of the most notable family of Yiddish writers, “The Family Singer: Three Siblings and Their Stories,” from Friday-Sunday, November 1-3. The threeday course will be led by Professor Anita Norich and will delve into the work of the three Singer siblings: Isaac Bashevis Singer, I. J. Singer and Esther Singer Kreitman. Norich will explore what their writings reveal about the three siblings’ views of Jewish life, of their contemporary world and of one another. The programs will include a Shabbat dinner and Saturday lunch and dinner. There will also be a screening of “Enemies: A Love Story” (a film based on the novel by Isaac Bashevis Singer); an exhibit of books and materials by and about the Singer siblings; and a guided tour of the Yiddish Book Center’s exhibits and gardens. Norich is professor of English and Judaic studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of numerous works, including “Discovering Exile: Yiddish and Jewish American Culture During the Holocaust,” “The Homeless Imagination in the Fiction of Israel Joshua Singer” and the forthcoming study “Writing in Tongues: Translating Yiddish in the Twentieth Century.” Norich teaches, lectures and publishes on Yiddish language and literature, JewishAmerican literature and Holocaust literature. For more information, to see the full schedule and to register, visit www.yiddishbookcenter.org or call 413-2564900, ext. 142.
Jewish art on the web
Jewish Art Now, www.jewishartnow.com, calls itself “the central portal for the convergence of Judaism and contemporary art with a fresh and innovative perspective.” The site offers interview of artists, information about exhibits and showing, reviews of exhibitions and more. Artists are also invited to send information about their work for consideration on the site. In addition, it lists “calls for entries” for galleries and websites looking for artwork.
P A C E Perpetual Annual Campaign Endowment Your gift to the Annual Campaign DOES A WORLD OF GOOD. Endowing your gift allows you to be there for the Jewish community of NEPA forever. A Perpetual Annual Campaign Endowment (PACE) is a permanent fund that endows your Jewish community Annual Campaign gift as a lasting legacy. A PACE fund will continue to make an annual gift in perpetuity on your behalf. To determine the amount you need to endow your entire campaign gift, multiply your current annual gift by 20. You can fund your PACE by adding the JEWISH FEDERATION OF NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA to your will, or by making the Federation a beneficiary of your IRA. All contributions to establish a PACE are tax deductible.
Let your name be remembered as a blessing. Endowments can be created through a variety of vehicles, some of which do not necessitate funding during your lifetime yet still provide your estate with considerable tax benefits. They also enable you to perpetuate your commitment to the Annual Campaign in a way that best achieves your own personal financial and estate planning goals. Examples Of Ways To Fund Your Pace Gift Are: • outright contribution of cash, appreciated securities or other long-term • capital gain property such as real estate • charitable remainder trust • gift of life insurance • charitable lead trust
• gift of IRA or pension plan assets • grant from your foundation • reserved life estate in your residence • bequest
Using appreciated property, such as securities or real estate, affords you the opportunity to eliminate the income tax on the long-term capital gain, will in some instances generate a full income tax charitable deduction and will remove those assets from your estate for estate tax purposes. For more information contact Mark Silverberg at Mark.Silverberg@jewishnepa.org or call 570-961-2300, ext. 1.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 ■
You are invited to a
Kosher Wine Tasting with columnist, social & political commentator and kosher wine expert, Micha D. Halpern
Sunday, October 6 at 4:30pm at the home of Don & Carol Dembert, 28 Oakford Glen, Clarks Summit Minimum Gift - $1,500 as an individual gift or as a gift from either spouse. Please RSVP by Wednesday, September 25 and/or call 570-961-2300 (ext. 2) to assist us in making arrangements.
A ent J U Ev 4 1 n 20 aig p m Ca
The Men’s Club of The Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms, The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Golan Hadassah of Northeastern Pennsylvania present
Sunday, October 6, at noon Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms, Lords Valley Reservations will be required - $5 per person includes a buffet lunch
Geller is the founder, editor and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com and executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America. She is the author of “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance” (WND Books) and “The Post-American Presidency: the Obama Administration’s War on America” (Simon and Schuster) with Robert Spencer, featuring a foreword by Ambassador John Bolton. She is also a regular columnist for World Net Daily, Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and Big Journalism, The American Thinker and other publications. Geller has broken numerous stories, including the illegal foreign sources of some of the ﬁnancing of ofﬁcials in the current U.S. administration, antisemitic posts on the website of some U.S. ofﬁcials, political organizing in public school classrooms and many more, but she is potentially best known for her leadership against the “Ground Zero mosque.”
For reservations or more information, please contact Carole Weiss at the Jewish Fellowship at 775-7497
THE REPORTER ■ september 26, 2013
New Season of
• Non-Feature Films •
Blessed is the Match - In 1944, 22-year Hannah Senesh parachuted into Nazi- occupied Europe with a small group of Jewish volunteers from Palestine. Theirs was the only military rescue mission for Jews that occurred in World War II. *Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy - This entertaining documentary, narrated by the award winning Joel Grey, examines the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical. There are interviews alongside standout performances and archival footage. Budapest to Gettyburg - The past and present collide as a world-renowned historian confronts a history he has refused to study-his own. Gabor Boritt is an expert on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. But it took his son’s urging to get him to return to his native Hungary and learn about the Jewish experience there from the time of his childhood until, together with his family, he escaped to the United States. Constantine’s Sword, is a 2007 historical documentary film on the relationship between the Catholic Church and Jews. Directed and produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Oren Jacoby, the film is inspired by former priest James P. Carroll’s 2001 book Constantine’s Sword. Inside Hana’s Suitcase - A real-life Japanese schoolteacher, who appears throughout the film, sparked this entire story by gathering artifacts for a Holocaust educational center she was developing along with a group of girls and boys called The Small Wings. After applying to receive Holocaust artifacts, a large box arrives with a handful of artifacts, including a battered brown suitcase labeled with Hana Brady’s name. The teacher and her students begin searching for the story behind the suitcase. What they discover will surprise you. They wind up unlocking--and showing us in the film--a whole series of deeply moving memories and other related artifacts and photos. Finally, Hana’s surviving brother George travels to Japan to meet the Japanese students. Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story - This excellent documentary, narrated by Dustin Hoffman, portrays the contributions of Jewish major leaguers and the special meaning that baseball has had in the lives of American Jews. Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story was shown at the Opening Event for the 2012 UJA Campaign. The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost - Famed attorney, Alan Dershowitz, presents a vigorous case for Israel- for its basic right to exist, to protect its citizens from terrorism and to defend its borders from hostile enemies. *The Flat - This gripping autobiographical documentary tells the story of the filmmaker, Arnon Goldfinger who travels to Tel Aviv to clean out the apartment of recent deceased German-born Jewish grandmother. Goldfinger discovers, while going through her belonging, he finds evidence that his grandparents were good friends with Leopold von Mildenstein, a leading official within the Nazi propaganda agency and that they remained friends after World War II. He journeys to find out the details of this disturbing revelation. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg - As baseball’s first Jewish star, Hammering Hank Greenberg’s career contains all the makings of a true American success story. *Orchestra of Exiles - This riveting documentary tells the story of how Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, watched Jewish musicians being fired from classical orchestras when Hitler came to power. Huberman decided to build a new orchestra in Palestine encountering many obstacles along the way. He ultimately succeeds and the Palestine Symphony gave its first performance December, 1936. (When Israel gained independence in 1948, the orchestra was renamed the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, which remains to this day a world class orchestra.)
Continued from page 6
High Point University in North Carolina, Norris attended the McDonogh School in Baltimore with the older sister of one of the players on the Israeli women’s team. Neiss flew Norris to tryouts in January in New Jersey, where she assisted in evaluating players for the team and eventually agreed to coach it. Norris, who had never been to Israel before this summer, now plans to bring her mother to the Jewish state when she coaches the team for the next World Cup in four years. She says being in Israel felt “comfortable” to her, and that Tel Aviv “felt like New York City with Hebrew everywhere.” Mazer, the team member who also serves as co-director of the Israel Lacrosse Invitational Tournament, had been working for Teach for America in Oakland, CA, and was planning to begin graduate school in social policy and social work. She had been to Israel with her family at the time of her bat mitzvah, and then again on a Birthright trip at age 18, but never expected to be living in the country. A tryout for the Israeli lacrosse team changed all of that. Now an Israeli citizen, Mazer lives in the “lacrosse house” where some team members reside and says her stay in Israel is “indefinite.” “Don’t tell my mom,” she jokes. Mazer says she hopes that as a result of the Israeli lacrosse team’s World Cup forfeit, which shows that it is possible to play high-level lacrosse, but still be able to sit out in observance of Shabbat, an Orthodox girl in Israel will “have sports as part of her life because of our decision.” The Haudenosaunee Nation – a group of Native Americans whose team was the one that benefitted from the Israeli team’s forfeit of the Shabbat game, earning a seventh-place World Cup finish without having to play the Israelis for that ranking – actually invented the game of lacrosse. Kathy Smith, the Haudenosaunee team’s chairwoman, respects the Israeli team’s decision to forfeit. “We understand the importance of national identity and are respectful of the sacrifices the Israelis are willing to make to uphold what is important to them,” Smith says in a statement on the Israeli team’s website. “We are optimistic we will have the opportunity to play against Israel in a friendly game in the near future.”
• Feature Films •
A Matter of Size - Winner of numerous international awards, this Israeli comedy is a hilarious and heart-warming tale about four overweight guys who learn to love themselves through the Japanese sport of sumo wrestling. (not rated) Avalon- Sam Krichinsky and his extended family arrive in American to find the American dream in a place called Avalon. We watch the Krichinsky family move from poverty to prosperity,facing their changing world with enduring humor and abiding love. Crossing Delancey - This is a warm comedy taking place in New York City. Isabella Grossman desires to rise above her family’s Lower East Side community but her grandmother has other matchmaking plans. Footnote - The story of a great rivalry between a father and son, both eccentric professors who have both dedicated their lives to work in Talmudic Studies departments of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Though the father shuns overt praise for his work and the son is desperate for it, how will each react when the father is to be awarded the most sought after prize, the Israel prize? This Oscar nominated film will entrance from the start. Frisco Kid - It’s 1850 and new rabbi Avram Belinski sets out from Philadelphia toward San Francisco. Cowpoke bandit Tom Lillard hasn’t seen a rabbi before but he knows when one needs a heap of help. Getting this tenderfoot to Frisco in one piece will cause a heap of trouble- with the law, Native Americans and a bunch of killers. Good - In an attempt to establish its credibility, the new Nazi government is seeking out experts to endorse its policies and they come across Johnnie Halder’s novel of a husband who aids his terminally ill wife in an assisted suicide. Because of this the Nazis flatter Johnnie arranging for high paying and prestigious positions. Never evil, Johnnie Halder is an Everyman who goes along, accepts what he is told without question until he is an unwitting accomplice to the Nazi killing machine. Hidden In Silence - Przemysl, Poland, WWII. Germany emerges victorious over the Russians, and the city comes under Nazi control. The Jewish are sent to the ghettos. While some stand silent, Catholic teenager Stefania Podgorska chooses the role of a savior and sneaks 13 Jews into her attic. Every day, she risks detection--and immediate execution--by smuggling food and water to the silent group living above her. And when two German nurses are assigned to her living quarters, the chances of discovery become dangerously high. This is the true story of a young woman’s selfless commitment and unwavering resolve in the face of war. Noodle (PAL version- can only be played on computer NOT regular DVD players) - At thirty-seven, Miri is a twice-widowed, El Al flight attendant. Her well regulated existence is suddenly turned upside down by an abandoned Chinese boy whose migrant-worker mother has been deported from Israel. The film is a touching comic-drama in which two human beings- as different from each other as Tel Aviv is from Beijing- accompany each other on a remarkable journey, one that takes them both back to a meaningful life. Operation Thunderbolt - The true story of the Entebbe hijacking and rescue. “Operation Thunderbolt,” was filmed in Israel with the full cooperation of the Israeli government, and is an exciting re-creation of the events of those tense days. We see the full scope of the story, from the original hijacking to the passengers’ captivity in Uganda to the agonized debates at the highest levels of the Israeli government over a diplomatic vs. a military solution. “Operation Thunderbolt” is the thrilling and true story of how one small country refused to let their people be killed by terrorists and took action to prevent it. People who claim that Israel is a “terrorist state” should see the film and be reminded who the real terrorists are. Orthodox Stance (documentary-2007) - Dimitriy Salita, a Russian immigrant, is making history as a top professional boxer and rigorously observant Jew. While providing an intimate, 3-year long look at the trials and tribulations faced by an up and coming professional boxer, ORTHODOX STANCE is a portrait of seemingly incompatible cultures and characters working together to support Dmitriy’s rare and remarkable devotion to both Orthodox Judaism and the pursuit of a professional boxing title. Playing for Time - An outstanding cast brings life to this Fania Fenelon autobiography about a Jewish cabaret singer and other Jewish prisoners whose lives were spared at Auschwitz in exchange for performing for their captors. The Angel Levine - Things couldn’t get worse for Jewish tailor Morris Mishkin (Zero Mostel). His shop has gone up in flames, his daughter has married outside the faith and, worse yet, his wife is slowly dying. But just when he decides to give up on God, a mysterious man (Harry Belafonte) appears, claiming to be his Jewish guardian angel! Doubtful that the stranger is Jewish, never mind an angel, Mishkin must overcome his skepticism if he wants one last chance at redemption. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - Set during World War II, this is the story of Bruno, an innocent and naïve eight-year old boy who meets a boy while romping in the woods. A surprising friendship develops. The Couple - Based on the true story of a Jewish Hungarian’s desperate attempts to save his family from the Nazi death camps. Mr. Krauzenberg (Martin Landau) is forced to hand over his vast wealth to the Nazis for the safe passage of his family out of occupied Europe, only to find his two remaining servants are left trapped in a web of deceit and danger. Their only hope for survival relies on the courage of Krauzenberg. The Debt - Academy Award winner Helen Mirren and two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson star in The Debt. In 1966, three Mossad agents were assigned to track down a feared Nazi war criminal hiding in East Berlin, a mission accomplished at great risk and personal cost… or was it? *The Other Son - The dramatic tale of two babies switched at birth, The Other Son creates a thoughtful presentation of what could be a soap opera type event. Instead, director Lorraine Levy and a wonderful screenplay takes the viewer down a very different path allowing each to come to his/her own conclusions. *The World of Sholom Aleichem - Three of Sholom Aleichem short stories are adapted for the stage and broadcast on the 1959 television series “The Play of the Week”. Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story - Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story is an incredibly riveting, Emmy award-winning, fact-based story about a hero who helped over 100,000 Hungarian Jews escape from the Nazis during the Holocaust. *Just added to the Jewish Federation’s Film Lending Library!
Continued from page 7 the overall enhancement of the game, especially from an offensive standpoint. More importantly, he had an overall appreciation for the fundamentals and how the game should be taught fundamentally.” Gillman is the only coach in both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. “I hope Jewish people look at a guy like Sid and take some pride because he was an innovator,” Katzowitz says. Levy led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances, but no victories, in the 1990s. A motivational speaker, Levy used his Harvard University education to motivate and shape the careers and lives of many pro football athletes. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001, Levy is one of only 14 coaches to win 100 games with one NFL team. Jim Gehman, author of the book “Then Levy Said to Kelly... The Best Buffalo Bills Stories Ever Told,” was a television sports reporter when Levy became the Bills’ coach. “I would talk with him once or twice a week during the season,” Gehman tells JNS.org. “Yet, he was as cooperative and professional with me as he was with the newspaper beat writers whom he dealt with on a daily basis. I respected him for that. And still do.” After dropping seven of their first nine games in 1986, the Bills replaced head coach Hank Bullough with Levy, the director of football operations for the Montreal Alouettes. “I knew the names of the players in the room, but I couldn’t have pointed out (quarterback) Jim Kelly or (defensive end) Bruce Smith or any of those guys,” Levy says in Gehman’s book, recalling his first meeting with the team. “What it takes to win is simple, but it isn’t easy. Run, throw, block, tackle, catch, and kick better than your opponent. We’re not going to do it with a bunch of Xs and Os. We’re not going to do it with a bunch of talk. We’re going to go to work on fundamentals.’ And I did point out to them, ‘I’m going to ask three questions for you to answer. I know mine. Where are we now? Where do we want to go? How are we going to get there?’” Kelly and Smith, both members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, would help Levy’s Bills “get there” – to the tune of four straight conference championships. “We felt that it was the beginning of something special,” Smith says in Gehman’s book, regarding Levy’s start with the team. “We knew his personality was contagious and the fact that he had a great deal of integrity. And if any of that rubbed off on us, we felt that we were headed in the right direction.” Vermeil believes Levy’s legacy is not tarnished by the fact that the Bills lost all four Super Bowl games he led them to. “Marv is a wonderful human being and a great coach. Anyone that can take a team to the Super Bowl four times is a great coach regardless if you win the game,” Vermeil tells JNS.org.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 ■
NEWS IN bRIEF From JTA
Obama, Netanyahu to meet at White House
President Barack Obama will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House to discuss the peace talks with the Palestinians and developments in Syria. “The president looks forward to discussing with Prime Minister Netanyahu the progress on final status negotiations with the Palestinians, as well as developments in Iran, Syria, and elsewhere in the region,” a White House official said, confirming that Obama and Netanyahu will meet on Sept. 30. Earlier, Netanyahu’s office had confirmed that the leaders also will meet in New York during the U.N. General Assembly. The United States recently negotiated a deal with Russia to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons capability. Talks between the Israelis and Palestinians relaunched this summer largely through the efforts of the Obama administration led by Secretary of State John Kerry. On Sept. 17, Martin Indyk, the chief U.S. negotiator in the talks, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank. Abbas reportedly called for stronger and more direct U.S. intervention in the process.
Biden to keynote J Street conference
Vice President Joe Biden will be the keynote speaker at J Street’s annual conference. Also speaking at the Sept. 28-Oct. 1 conference of the liberal pro-Israel group will be Martin Indyk, the chief U.S. Middle East peace negotiator, according to a copy of the schedule posted online on Sept. 17. The conference will feature speakers from across the Israeli political spectrum, including from the Shas, Likud, Labor, Hatnua and Yesh Atid parties – a signal of how J Street has overcome resistance to engagement in Israel’s political establishment. Also featured will be leaders from the U.S. Jewish establishment, including the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the National Council of Jewish Women. Republicans, however, are absent from the schedule. J Street over the years has overwhelmingly endorsed Democrats for elected office. J Street advocates an active U.S. role in bringing about a two-state solution and is critical of Israel’s settlement enterprise. It refused to weigh in recently on President Barack Obama’s appeal to Congress to authorize a strike on Syria’s Assad regime to degrade its chemical weapons capability. The vast majority of Jewish and pro-Israel groups had backed Obama in his effort.
Toulouse Jewish school gets Merah-linked death threats
The Jewish school in Toulouse where Muslim extremist Mohammed Merah killed four people last year received death threats from a man who claimed to be Merah’s cousin. The unidentified person who called the Ohr Hatorah School on Sept. 16 told the secretary, “I am going to smoke all of you tonight,” according to a report on Sept. 17 on the French television channel M6. Police traced the line used for the call to an unnamed woman with a criminal record for theft, M6 reported. An officer was stationed outside the school as a precaution. Merah gunned down three children and a rabbi in March 2012 before fleeing the scene on a scooter. Days earlier, he had killed three French soldiers in two attacks. He was killed three days after the school attack in a shootout with police who stormed his apartment. French authorities have arrested and released dozens of people who they suspected of assisting Merah. The only possible suspect who remains in custody is Merah’s older brother, Abdelkader, who is charged with acting as an accessory to murder shortly after the shooting. His remand was extended by another six months recently as prosecutors prepare for his trial.
ADL: Racism targeting new Miss America recalls Myerson’s treatment
The bigotry facing the first Indian-American to become Miss America recalls the harsh treatment visited on Bess Myerson, the first Jewish woman to win the coveted crown, the Anti-Defamation League said. Nina Davuluri has faced racist messages on Twitter and other social media platform since her crowning on Sept. 15. In a statement issued on Sept. 16, the ADL said it was “deeply troubled” by the messages linking Davuluri, who was Miss New York, to terrorism and 9/11. “We have been down this road before. Who can forget how Bess Myerson was treated after becoming the first Jewish woman to win the Miss America pageant in 1945?” Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, said in the statement. “Myerson faced open prejudice and bigotry as many sponsors and events associated with the pageant refused to recognize her title. Ms. Davuluri’s platform of ‘celebrating diversity through cultural competency’ is a message that all Americans and people of good will should strive to emulate.”
part of Hitler’s personal bodyguard corps. As Der Landser portrayed it, Greek villagers were grateful to have been conquered. Nazi propaganda is illegal in Germany, as is denial of the Holocaust, though Bauer said the magazine does not violate German law.
Syria transferred weapons to Hezbollah, Saudi paper reports
Syrian President Bashar Assad transported some of his country’s chemical weapons to the terrorist group Hezbollah, a Saudi newspaper reported. The daily Al-Watan, citing opposition leader Kamal al Labwani, reported on Sept. 16 that the Syrian government hid some of its chemical weapons stockpile in trucks that transport vegetables. Some of the weapons also were smuggled to Russia, according to Labwani of the Syrian Coalition. Other unconfirmed reports said that Syria has spread its chemical weapons stockpile throughout 50 locations within the country or to Iraq. Israel has expressed concern that Syria’s chemical weapons will fall into the hands of terror groups bent on the Jewish state’s destruction, including Hezbollah.
Rabbi joins White House meeting on human trafficking
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, participated in a White House meeting on human trafficking. Schonfeld at the all-day meeting on Sept. 16 helped steer a session on building markets for “slave-free” goods. The meeting drew faith leaders and others active in combating human trafficking. It included top officials from the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and the State Department. “After spending the summer developing materials and momentum for rabbis to raise up the issue of modern-day slavery in their congregations, it was thrilling to gather with faith and community leaders from across the country and brainstorm how we can bring awareness of this issue to the scale that will be required in order to eradicate slavery,” Schonfeld said in a statement to JTA.
BBC retracts assertion that ‘73 attack by Arabs was pre-emptive
The BBC changed its characterization of Syria and Egypt’s 1973 attack against Israel as being “pre-emptive.” The adjective appeared on the British Broadcasting Corp.’s Learning Zone, a platform designed to offer historical information to students, and was removed on Sept. 17 following questions by JTA. “During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Egypt and Syria acted pre-emptively against Israel at the Suez Canal,” the website read. BBC’s ethics guide defines a pre-emptive strike as “military action taken by a country in response to a threat from another country – the purpose of it is to stop the threatening country from carrying out its threat.” Asked by JTA whether BBC had indications that Israel had threatened or planned to attack its Arab neighbors 40 years ago, BBC’s head of communications, Claire Rainford, wrote in an e-mail on Sept. 16 that the producers of Learning Zone “have reviewed the copy and decided to remove the word pre-emptive.” The false characterization was featured in an article by the critical website BBC Watch. According to Learning Zone, the information on the website was provided by the Israeli historian Benny Morris, who has written extensively about Israel’s culpability in the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem, as well as British journalist Robert Fisk and linguist Noam Chomsky – both harsh critics of Israel who have likened the country’s practices to apartheid in South Africa. The text on Learning Zone now reads: “During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Egypt and Syria acted against Israel at the Suez Canal.” Rainford did not reply to JTA’s question on whether the BBC had indications that Syria, which mounted a surprise attack in the Golan timed to coincide with the Egyptian advance, also acted against Israel at the Suez.
UC-Berkeley institute for Jewish law gets $2.85 million grant
A University of California, Berkeley institute focused on Jewish law and Israel received a $2.85 million grant from four Bay Area Jewish foundations. The grant for the Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society will be distributed over the next three to five years, the institute said in a recent statement. The Jim Joseph Foundation will provide $1.2 million and the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation is giving $750,000. The Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund and the Koret Foundation are each donating $450,000. With the grant, the 2-year-old institute hopes to expand its programming, which includes conferences and community events along with courses. The institute is currently running two programs – one on Israel studies and one on Jewish law and thought.
German publisher dropping magazine seen as glorifying Nazis
A German publisher said it will drop a magazine that was seen as glorifying the actions of German troops who participated in the Holocaust. The Hamburg-based Bauer Media Group said recently that it would stop publishing Der Landser, which has survived numerous challenges since being founded in the 1950s by a veteran of the German air force, The New York Times reported. Der Landser’s editors said the publication was simply offering tales of ordinary soldiers in World War II, but the magazine has been the subject of complaints by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, which said it promoted flattering stories about war criminals. Bauer “had no alternative given the overwhelming evidence,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Wiesenthal Center, told The New York Times . In a study, the center documented how officers and units portrayed by the magazine were involved in the mass murder of Jews or partisans and other atrocities. “It is a scandal that it took the research from the Simon Wiesenthal Center to make the case and finally force the issue,” Hier said in a statement issued on Sept. 17. One recent issue was devoted to the exploits in Greece of an SS unit that was
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THE REPORTER ■ september 26, 2013
September 19, 2013 Edition of Federation Reporter