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inside viewpoint Synagogues life cycles

Sacred collaborative screening Janu aRy 1 2 , 2 0 1 8 | 2 5 T ev eT 5 7 7 8 | v O l . 9 8 | nO . 1 3 | c a Nd lEli g h Ti Ng | FRID ay , Janu aRy 1 2 , 4 : 5 9 p. m.

PaTrick kiNNEy Communications Director, Film Streams, Ruth Sokolof Theater ∙ Dundee Theater n Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m., Film Streams and the Tri-Faith Initiative will present a onetime screening of Sacred at the Ruth Sokolof Theater (1340 Mike Fahey St.) followed by a panel discussion. Shot by more than 40 filmmaking teams around the world, Sacred immerses the viewer in the daily use of faith and spiritual practice. At a time when religious hatreds dominate the world’s headlines, this film explores the many roles faith plays in the human experience. The film’s director commissioned or sourced footage from top independent filmmakers from more than 25 countries — and a wide range of religious traditions — each team contribut-

Opera Omaha welcomes Karen Flayhart Page 2

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SPONSOrEd By ThE BENJamiN aNd aNNa E. WiESmaN Family ENdOWmENT FuNd

Beth El offers women’s Tu B’Shevat seder

OzziE NOgg Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees, will be celebrated with a special seder at Beth El Synagogue on Sunday, Jan. 28 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the social hall. “This is our third annual Tu B’Shevat seder,” said Alice Weiss, chairman of the program. “It’s always a fun event, Credit: Yosarian via Wikimedia Commons an opportunity to get together in the dead of winter and ture. We’ll include all the traditional celebrate our relationship with na- elements of a seder — in this case symbolic foods like fruits and nuts, plus four cups of wine or juice plus Four Questions that give us a better understanding of Tu B’Shevat. “Marti Nerenstone and her guitar will be our Seder leader, so we can all look forward to story telling and singing Hebrew and other folk songs.” Marti Nerenstone, a resident of Council Bluffs, IA, earned her BA degree from Oberlin College in 1975, See Women’s Tu B’Shevat seder page 3

ing a single scene. The film, sweeping in its global reach, yet intensely intimate, is a tour de force that unifies these scenes into a single work, told without narration, without experts and, for long stretches, without words at all. Following the film will be a discussion featuring the spiritual leaders of the Tri-Faith Initiative: Rabbi Brian Stoller, Rev. Chris Alexander, and Imam Mohamad Jamal Daoudi. Dr. Maryanne Stevens, Board Chair of TriFaith Initiative, will introduce the film and Dr. Paul Williams, University of Nebraska Omaha Associate Professor of Religious Studies, will moderate. Tickets for this special screening at Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater are $10 general; $7.50 for students, seniors, teachers, military, and those arriving by bicycle; and $5 for Film Streams Members. See Sacred page 2

It’s Cholent Madness at Beth Israel

aarON kurTzmaN Beth Israel Synagogue Cholent is a staple in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, and not only is it a delicious hot meal that helps battle these frigid months, but it is a symbol of our community as well. This traditional food has been passed down from parent to child for centuries in a myriad of different forms. Each generation changes it just a tiny amount, creating a rich and vibrant legacy through flavor alone. Beginning Jan. 20 and continuing through early March, Beth Israel Synagogue will host the fiercely competitive “Cholent Madness” contest between eight contestants, the winner of which will be crowned the “2018 Beth Israel Cholent Champion.” “The Cholent Contest has always been a fun and delicious event for the community,” says Bette Kozlen, Beth Israel Programming Committee member.

“The first contest was held two years ago, and while the committee felt a repeat of the competition was a fabulous idea, Rabbi Ari was particularly excited to hear the news.” During this bold and often spicy competition, Beth Israel will provide meat, potatoes, barley, onions, beans, and spices—the essentials to a hearty cholent. The contestants will be tasked with providing their own special ingredients. Each week two contestants, working in the Beth Israel kitchen, will make enough cholent, to satisfy 60 hungry people during kiddush. Will you join the hotly contested “Cholent Madness” competition? Will you be the one to take the crown as Beth Israel’s best cholent master? Find out by calling the Beth Israel Synagogue office at 402.556-6288 to register. The deadline for registration is Jan. 16. Good luck!

Opera Omaha welcomes Karen Flayhart

2 | The Jewish Press | January 12, 2018



Author Abigail Pogrebin at Beth El OzziE NOgg

bigail Pogrebin, author of My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew, will discuss her book during a scholar-in-residence weekend at Beth El Synagogue. She will speak at dinner following 6 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat services on Friday, Jan. 19, and address the congregation from the pulpit during the 9:30 a.m. Shabbat morning service on Saturday, Jan. 20, followed by kiddush. My Jewish Year has been the source material for a series of adult education classes led by Beth El’s Rabbi Steven Abraham over the past months. Pogrebin’s immersive exploration of the Jewish calendar began with her popular 12month series for the Forward. In My Jewish Year, Pogrebin expanded her investigation, infusing it with more of her personal story and exposing each ritual’s deeper layers of meaning. “Something tugged at me, telling me there was more to feel than I’d felt, more to understand than I knew,� Pogrebin said. Although she grew up following some holiday rituals, Pogrebin realized how little she knew about their foundational purpose and current relevance. She wanted to understand what had kept these holidays alive and vibrant, in some cases for thousands of years. Her curiosity led her to embark on an entire year of intensive research, observation, and writing about the milestones on the Jewish calendar, and to celebrate all the Jewish holidays, even those she’d never

Abigail Pogrebin heard of. In the book’s forward, journalist A.J. Jacobs writes, “For most of her life Abby was only loosely connected to her heritage. She was Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden was Italian. But she hungered for a more authentic taste of Judaism. And this wonderful book is the result.� Pogrebin is also the author of Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish, in which she discussed Jewish


identity with 62 celebrated public figures ranging from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Steven Spielberg, from Mike Wallace to Natalie Portman. Pogrebin’s articles have appeared in Newsweek, New York Magazine, The Daily Beast and Tablet. Pogrebin was formerly a producer for Ed Bradley and Mike Wallace at CBS News’ 60 Minutes, where she was nominated for an Emmy. A frequent speaker at synagogues and Jewish organizations around the country, Abigail Pogrebin lives in New York with her husband, David Shapiro, and their two teenage children. Her mother, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, was a founding editor — along with Gloria Steinem and others — of Ms. Magazine. “The Beth El family is thrilled to host Abigail Pogrebin during her visit to Omaha,� Rabbi Abraham said. “I thought her book was excellent, and I’m sure she will be a very compelling speaker.� Both sessions of My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew are free of charge and open to the community. Participants are asked to register at This program is generously sponsored by the Ann Goldstein Endowment.

Continued from page 1 Advance tickets can be purchased at 2CPLkvm or through the Film Streams Box Office, in person or at 402.933.0259 x15. For more information, questions or requests, please contact Patrick Kinney at 402.933.0259 x11 or patrick@film The screening and discussion are part of Film Streams’ Community Development Program, which facilitates partnerships with other nonprofits and community groups on film-related events that speak to their missions and programming. Each quarter, Film Streams’ Community Development Committee reviews proposals for special screenings and programs. Deadlines for proposals are Jan. 2 (for April-June events), April 1 (for July-Sept.), July 1 (for Oct.-Dec.) and Oct. 1 (for Jan.-March).

Retreat yourself...

JOAN WOrtmANN Director of Marketing and PR Opera Omaha is thrilled to welcome Karen Flayhart to the staff as the company’s new Director of Development. Karen is a seasoned marketing and development professional who believes deeply in supporting the vital work of nonprofit organizations — work that impacts millions of people every day. Karen started her nonprofit career in Washington, D.C., working in the publications and services department of the National Association of Broadcasters. She transitioned from the association community to the Karen Flayhart philanthropic community in 2006 when she became the Director of Marketing at the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. She expanded her development experience further when she joined the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago in 2008 where she provided marketing and communications support for the organization’s development activities, including its annual community campaign. In 2015, Karen joined The ARK, a private social service agency located in Chicago that serves about 4,400 people a year, as the Director of Development and Marketing. During her tenure there, Karen launched several new giving programs, including a corporate sponsorship program and legacy program. Karen moved to Omaha this summer with her husband Rabbi Brian Stoller of Temple Israel and their two children. She is on the Board of the Jewish Community Center of Omaha and volunteers for the Tri-Faith initiative. She is a graduate of the American University in Washington with a Degree in Marketing. “I’m delighted to welcome Karen to Opera Omaha,� said General Director Roger Weitz.� Her experience and expertise will be invaluable as the company continues to grow and engage the community in new and exciting ways.� Visit for more information.

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Jbl bagels & business: Todd Simon of Omaha Steaks to speak Gabby blair Staff Writer, Jewish Press î ˘e Jewish Federation of Omaha is pleased to present Todd Simon at the upcoming Jewish Business Leaders’ Bagels and Business breakfast on Wednesday, Jan. 17 from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at Champions Run (13800 Eagle Run Drive). Simon is a fiî‚?h generation owner of the Omaha SteaksÂŽ group of companies and serves as Senior Vice President of Omaha Steaks International, Inc., President of OSSalesCo, Inc., and Vice-Chairman of, Inc. In his various roles, Mr. Simon is responsible for consumer sales and marketing of Omaha Steaks branded products and services. Mr. Simon joined the family business over 25 years Todd Simon ago aî‚?er graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He carries on the strong commitment Omaha Steaks and the Simon Family have always had toward community philanthropy. Mr. Simon is extremely involved in shaping his family’s leadership in supporting the arts, as well as social and human services agencies and programs. He has been active on the boards of a number of philanthropic organizations including Jewish Family Service, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, the Omaha Community Foundation and the Young Presidents’ Organization.

Steve Levinger, JFO Chief Development OďŹƒcer anticipates a good turnout for this month’s JBL event, and feels that “JBL breakfast events are an excellent way to learn from and network with professionals in our community. î ˘is program helps us to continue to build and strengthen the legacy of Jewish businesses in Omaha.â€?



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Future 2018 JBL Bagels and Business events will be held at î ˘e Happy Hollow Country Club and include Harley D. Schrager, retired President, COO and co-owner of the Pacesetter Corporation on April 18 and Rachel Jacobson, Executive Director at Film Streams on July 25. As always, JBL Events are free with a paid membership of only $100 per year. For more information, or to become a sponsor, please contact Steve Levinger at 402.334.6433 or or Alex Epstein at 402.505.7720 or aepstein@omnepartners .com; join online at community-programs-and-events/jewish-business-leaders/. Please contact Steve Levinger as soon as possible if you missed the Jan. 12 RSVP deadline, but would like to attend.

Women’s Tu b’Shevat seder Continued from page 1 spending her first and third years at Oberlin, and her second year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She then served as a chaplain assistant in the United States Army for almost four years, before attending law school at the University of Iowa, graduating in 1982. She has served as lay leader for many congregations including the former Beyt Shalom Reconstructionist Synagogue in Omaha and, for a time, at B’Nai Israel Synagogue in Council Bluffs. In 2003, she received the Parsow Volunteer of the Year Award from Jewish Social Services/Rose Blumkin Jewish Home and was recognized by the Omaha Jewish Federation in 2009 for her volunteer work as a service leader at the RBJH. She has led the High Holy Day services at the Blumkin Home for the last several years. Marti’s work as an attorney includes advocating for children in foster care in Iowa. “I encourage lots of participation at all of my services, and this Tu B’Shevat Seder is no exception. We will talk, sing and learn together.� Throughout the centuries, Kabbalists have used the tree as a metaphor to understand God’s relationship to the spiritual and physical worlds, and 16th century mystics of Tzfat compiled a Tu B’Shevat seder, somewhat similar to the seder for Passover. “It involves enjoying the fruits of the tree, particularly those native to the Land of Israel,� Alice Weiss said, “and is a great way to appreciate the bounty that we so often take for granted. We know the afternoon of Jan. 28 will be a wonderful experience.� Beth El, in partnership with The Miriam Initiative, offers the

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Tu B’Shevat seder at no charge, but participants are asked to register online at the Synagogue’s website: The Miriam Initiative is a new concept in women’s programming at Beth El -- a series of ongoing projects and programs created, developed and presented by Beth El women. The Initiative welcomes all women who want to participate at any level from leadership to fellowship. Call the synagogue 402.492.8550 for more information.

2018-19 Scholarship applications now available

Gabby blair Staff Writer, Jewish Press Financial assistance may be available for qualified applicants planning to attend the Pennie Z. Davis Child Development Center, Friedel Jewish Academy, JCC summer camp, Jewish residential summer camp, Israel programs, college, vocational and technical schools, and adult Jewish education classes. Scholarship and grant applications can be found on the Jewish Federation of Omaha webpage at: education/scholarships-and-grants/. Applications and all required documentation are due March 1, 2018. Questions? Please contact Diane Stamp at 402.334.6407 or



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4 | The Jewish Press | January 12, 2018

Yet another book about slavery?

As chance would have it, January, the month that contains the national holiday commemorating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., is also the month in which the bible’s Exodus cycle is read on Saturday TEDDY mornings in syna- WEINBERGER gogues around the world. (This year there is perfect overlap: the first portion of the book of Exodus is read on the first Saturday of January, and the portion containing the exodus from Egypt is read on the last Saturday of January.) A recent book by an African-American author, however, made me realize just how little I knew of slavery, even though I am a dutiful synagogue attendee. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead makes powerfully clear what it means when one’s body is owned by another. For me, two things stand out from my reading of this book: the sexual abuse of (primarily female) slaves, and the atrocities that were committed upon the bodies of the slaves. In the Bible, 190 years of slavery is telescoped neatly into the first two chapters of Exodus. We never really feel the pain of the slaves. In The Underground Railroad, there is no emotional escape from the horrors of slavery. Childishly, my initial reaction was to be furious with the author. Who was Colson Whitehead to make me feel so deeply about slaves of another people? What good did it serve today to stir all this up? For some guidance here, I turned to my friend Barbara McCaskill, Professor of English at the University of Georgia and a specialist in African-American literature. Barbara said: ‘There’s nowhere to run or hide to escape the aftermath of slavery -- politically, socially, psychologically and culturally. This is a reality with which every American still must reckon: how our perceptions of each other and institutional structures today have been influenced by policies and attitudes that originated as hypocritical rationales for the ownership of human beings and the exploitation of their uncompensated labors. The racism that is a legacy of enslavement is an ongoing and negative drag on the lives of all Americans. Now more than ever we must seek ways to heal from the trauma and division it has caused. Since the abolitionist movement, telling stories that con-

front history honestly and that document the testimonies of those whose stories have been erased has been one step in the process of finally coming to terms with the past.’ The truth is that America is still involved in a reckoning with slavery and its aftermath. What by now should be common knowledge again and again proves sensational. For example, you will I am sure, be surprised at the title of a recent book by the historian Danielle McGuire: At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance -- a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. It turns out that though we all know about Rosa Parks’ refusal to obey a bus driver’s order to move to the back of a Montgomery bus in 1955, we do not know that her refusal was in part a protest against routine sexual harassment and violence that black women had been enduring on those busses for decades — including being assaulted by some of those very same bus drivers. A further example: As recounted in The Underground Railroad, and as documented in The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America, an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum that closed only a few months ago, during the era of American segregation, lynchings of black men, women, and/or children were often viewed as entertainment, and whole families would come with picnic baskets to sit and watch. Americans don’t know enough about ‘from whence we came,’ and so for the time being, we need many more books like The Underground Railroad — because ‘if you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go’ (James Baldwin). Other books that came up during this year’s conversations with Prof. McCaskill: James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time; Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought, Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment; Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness; Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me; Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric; and Beverly Tatum, Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race. Teddy Weinberger made aliyah in 1997 with his wife, former Omahan Sarah Ross, and their five children. Their oldest four, Nathan, Rebecca, Ruthie and Ezra are veterans of the Israel Defense Forces; Weinberger can be reached at weinross@net

Omaha Community Playhouse presents Ripcord Tickets for Ripcord, a comedy of one-upmanship as two feisty senior ladies compete for their rightful place, are now on sale through the Omaha Community Playhouse box office. The production will run Jan. 19 – Feb. 11 in OCP’s Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Pranks and practical jokes abound when cantankerous Abby and chipper Marilyn are forced to share the nicest room at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. As Abby attempts to get rid of her unwanted new roommate, a series of bets soon escalates into a hilarious game of one-upmanship as the two women try every trick in the book to claim their space in the apartment and their place in the world. Ripcord is a hilarious tale with a lot of heart. Disclaimer: Contains adult language spoken by a cantankerous old lady. Omaha Community Playhouse will hold an open-

ing night celebration on Friday, Jan. 19 free for all Ripcord opening night ticketholders beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Owen Lobby. The event will include a tea sampling courtesy of The Tea Smith and rounds of BINGO (with prizes). Tickets are available at the OCP Box Office, by calling 402.553.0800 or online at OmahaPlay or Single tickets start at $24 (Wednesdays) and start at $30 (Thursdays – Sundays) for adults and student tickets start at $16 (Wednesdays) and start at $18 (Thursdays – Sundays). Tickets for groups of 12 or more start at $20 for adults and start at $14 for students. Ticket prices are subject to change based on performance date, seat location and ticket demand. Call the OCP box office for current prices.

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Beth El participates in USCJ Biennial Convention Ozzie nOGG abbi Steven Abraham of Beth El Synagogue, along with congregants Joel Rich, Caryn Scheer and Bob Wolfson were among more than 1200 clergy and lay leaders who attended the 2017 United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism Biennial Convention held this past December in Atlanta. The theme, Dare Together, signified the Conservative movement’s intention ‘to question the assumptions we bring to the Jewish present and inspire our communities to embrace the emerging Jewish future.’ Convention sessions were designed around three tracks: Create New Paradigms, Elevate Key Moments and Renew Our Fire. “We engaged in meaningful conversation regarding what Jews need and want in 2018,” Rabbi Abraham said. “Discussions emphasized the importance of relationship-building, offered programs to help thriving congregations embrace 21st century families, and showed how experiments in innovation can provide congregations with clues to navigate the present.” Rabbi Abraham joined HIAS Director of Education, Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer, in presenting a session based on Beth El’s Welcoming the Stranger program. “Several years ago,” Abraham explained, “our congregation recognized that we couldn’t turn our backs on political refugees in war-torn countries. So in 2016, Beth El welcomed and helped resettle a refugee family from Syria. The convention session I co-facilitated discussed the current refugee situation, as well as how local communities can participate going forward in that area. Currently, we’re proud that Beth El is one of eight synagogues that were asked to participate in an action committee on the topic of interfaith family engagement, another important issue we’ll address in 2018.” For Joel Rich, a Beth El past president, the Biennial was a chance to learn with others. “The topics varied from dealing with aging buildings to strategies for establishing legacy giving,” he said. “The sessions I found particularly valuable included Engaging Baby Boomers in Congregational Life; Engaging Those Who Are Not Like Us; and Engaged Virtual Communities. I also had the chance to meet with delegates from other congregations in our Central District, which includes 100 Conservative congregations from Denver to Pittsburg and Canada to Texas. Being able to share ideas about the future of Conservative Judaism with friends, new and old, was a fantastic experience.” Convention sessions provided insights into how communities approach prayer, study, social justice, Israel and learning. “The Dare Together theme underscored how the Conservative Movement is embracing change, rather than fighting it,” said Caryn Scheer, Vice President of Engagement on the Beth El Executive Board. “People practice Judaism in very different ways and come from all different backgrounds, and the Conservative movement is heading

in a direction of acceptance. There were sessions at the conference centered around inclusion, LGBT, and racial diversity. We need to reach out to members of all these different demographics and empower new participants in synagogue life. I returned to Omaha energized with new ideas, many of which we hope to implement with our membership.” In 2016, Beth El Synagogue was one of 50 Conservative congregations invited to take part in the USCJ Ruderman Inclusion Action Community, an initiative that aims to transform Conservative congregations into truly inclusive communities for people with disabilities. Bob Wolfson worked with Rabbi Abraham as Beth El’s Inclusion Committee chair. “The BienCaryn scheer, Beth el delegate to nial devoted several the 2017 United synagogue for sessions to the work of Conservative Judaism Biennial the Ruderman Initiative,” Convention. rabbi steven abra- Wolfson said, “and it’s ham, Joel rich and Bob Wolfson clear that the execution also represented Omaha. and underlying cultural changes inherent in creating inclusive communities are complex and challenging. While assistance for the hearing impaired, accessible bathrooms, wheel chair ramps and large print Siddurim are important, they don’t address the underlying questions. Are we missing opportunities to draw in people seeking community but not yet finding acceptance? Are we offering people with disabilities a synagogue experience that allows them to participate safely and enjoyably? How do we, the temporarily able-bodied, alter our own fears and experiences to really open our doors? These are some of the questions we’re asking, and the answers will raise as many questions as they answer. The Biennial was an enormous help in focusing attention on these and so many other issues. I’m grateful to have attended.” The special nature of the Omaha Jewish community was evident in Atlanta. “During conversations with delegates from other cities, one thing became obvious,” Joel Rich said. “And that’s how lucky we are to live in Omaha, where our clergy are friends and want only the best for all of us, regardless of affiliation. When others hear about the friendship of our rabbis and their willingness to appear on programs together, that’s a very good feeling. The fact that a group of high school students from all three synagogues recently took a trip to Israel lead by clergy from all the congregations is something special to Omaha. People in other cities are amazed. They can only dream of such cooperation.”


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The Jewish Press | January 12, 2018 | 5

community Wildlife Encounters

MaGGie COnti Director of Activities and Volunteer Services, RBJH the rBJh residents and students from the Friedel Jewish academy took a journey with Wildlife encounters and explored the world’s amazing habitats and the animals that live within them! Wildlife encounters is award-winning, highly entertaining and educational. school assemblies and workshops allowed participants to meet and learn about some of the worlds’ most amazing animals. Wild about animals program brings animals from all over the world right to you! students and residents learned about each animal’s habitat, adaptations, environmental role and what we can do to help the animals we share this planet with.


B’nai B’rith BreadBreakers

B’nai B’rith Breadbreakers meets weekly on Wednesdays at the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home auditorium from noon to 1 p.m. For specific speaker information, please email, Breadbreakers chairman. For more information or to be placed on the email list call 402.334.6443 or

Shalom to the staff

6 | The Jewish Press | January 12, 2018

community Beth Israel plans warm welcome to Shaarei Pruzdor students Mary Sue GroSSMaN Beth Israel Synagogue Jan. 18-21, Beth Israel Synagogue will roll out the red carpet for students from Shari Prozdur Yeshiva. Based on Long Island and run by Rabbi Elly Merenstein, Sharei Prozdur - which means “gates of the palace” - is a newly opened yeshiva with just 26 boys, all of whom are in the 9th grade. Over the next three years, additional students will join to grow the school to 9th-12th grades. The group will arrive with the goal of learning from a community that differs significantly from where they live while also providing a great experience to Beth Israel and the larger Omaha Jewish community. Binyamin and Mimi Lerner, frequent visitors to Omaha, will be traveling with the students as honorary liaisons! “We’re excited to host this yeshiva for the weekend as the ultimate goal is to have either the 11th or 12th grade based here in Omaha” shared Yaakov Jeidel, Beth Israel’s NCSY youth program coordinator. “I personally know the people who run this school and am confident this will be nothing short of

an epic weekend full of growth and learning experiences for all.” The kick-off event for the weekend will be Thursday evening, Jan. 18 beginning with minyan at 5:10 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and learning for 6th12th grade boys and their fathers at 6:45 p.m. The evening will feature a partner learning session, with a focus on father/son learning. Guidance will be available for those not familiar with this type of learning. The visitors will also be available to join in as study partners. Friday, Jan. 19 will be time for the visitors to experience Omaha, including breakfast at the Bagel Bin, a visit to Friedel Jewish Academy, the Star Deli experience, the farm of Claire and Gail Duda and a visit to local sites. Shabbat will begin with davening at 5:07 p.m. followed by a Shabbat dinner at 6 p.m. Dinner, which is open to the community, will include chicken soup, challah, brisket, potatoes, vegetables and dessert. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for ages 3-12 with reservations needed by Monday, Jan. 15. Register on-line or call the synagogue office. One of the Shari Prozdur students will speak after dinner. An

Oneg Shabbat for teens and adults will conclude the evening. On Saturday morning, Jan. 20, members of the group will help lead services, speak following kiddush, and be a part of special JYE BI activities. Mincha will take place at 5 p.m., followed by a special Seudah Shlishit and a musical Havdalah. The evening will feature a talent show, highlighting the multitude of talents of the visiting students. Sunday, Jan. 21, will feature davening at 9 a.m. and JYE BI activities at 10 a.m. with visits to more Omaha sites in the afternoon. One visit will include visiting the grave of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Grodzinsky, a well-known and highly respected scholar and author. Rabbi Grodzinsky served two Orthodox congregations in Omaha in the late 1800’s. He is buried at B’nai Jacob Cemetery located by Temple Israel Cemetery. The group will be departing for the second portion of their winter trip early Monday morning. For dinner reservations or more information, call the Beth Israel office at 402.556.6288. Dinner reservations are needed by Monday, Jan.15.

Sara KoheN Calling all parents of children entering kindergarten in Fall 2018! Conveniently located on the Omaha JCC campus, Friedel Jewish Academy is a private school that provides an outstanding kindergarten through sixth grade education with optimal, low stu-

dent-teacher ratios. Starting in Fall 2018, Friedel will be open to both Jewish students and graduates of the CDC, regardless of religious background. On Feb. 22, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., children will get to enjoy a fun preview of kindergarten in Friedel’s kindergarten classroom. Par-

ents can either bring their children (and stay to enjoy coffee and conversation in the JCC Canteen) or let the CDC know that it is okay for Friedel staff to bring their child(ren) from the CDC to Friedel for the event. To sign up for kindergarten roundup or to schedule a tour of the school, please contact the school office at 402.334.0517 or

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MaGGIe coNtI Director of Activities and Volunteer Services, RBJH the residents wanted to give back to staff by making Shalom tiles (refrigerator magnets) and Inspirational rocks (words such as breathe, calm, create, dream) to say thank you with a small token of appreciation. helen abrahamson helped pass out the gifts to staff. Sarah Navratil and emily clement (activities coordinators) organized this heartfelt project. helen abrahamson is our resident ceramic specialist.

Shabbat Shira celebration for Tifereth Israel members

NaNcy coreN Spiritual Lay Leader, Congregation Tifereth Israel Members of Tifereth Israel will gather for a special Havdallah service at the Coren home on Jan. 27. After saying good-bye to Shabbat, percussionist Louis Raymond-Kolker will entertain the group with his steel drum compositions. This gathering is being planned for Shabbat Shira and will provide those gathered with a sensory delight as they listen to Raymond-Kolker’s dynamic performance. Louis is a graduate music student at UNL who came to Lincoln last fall from Texas A&M University-Commerce.

The Jewish Press | January 12, 2018 | 7

there is a Nebraska Jewish story everywhere

oLiver B. PoLLAk Names leaped like lambs across the table; It’s an axiom that Jews from New York to Rabbi Kripke, Margo Riekes who taught in San Francisco eat Chinese on Christmas Eve Sunday school. Louri Fellman Sullivan, Betsy and Christmas. But what is the chance that Baker, Julie Peartree, Jeff Schrager, Andy five people at the ten-seating table, among 380 Robinson, John Lehr, Joanie Bernstein, Rips, people attending the 25th annual Kung Pao Turkel, Aunt Tevee and Uncle Bernie and Kosher Comedy in Chinatown, had resilient their children, cousins Julie, Jeff and Jennifer. Omaha Jewish connections. Christmas Eve traffic from Richmond to the City was super light. With three people in the car, we qualified for the High Occupancy Vehicle Lane, but why bother. A touch of sadness accompanies crossing the Oakland Bay Bridge. A drunk driver crashed through a toll booth and killed the toll taker, a Burmese mother of two, the first such toll booth fatality. Dinner tickets were $72, parking a $17 bargain. We Gary Caine, left, Lori Feldman, Jodi Fleishman, robert Fleishman queued, stood in/on line, schmoozed with Lori and Jodi expect to visit Omaha in April others waiting for the door to open. Joanie 2018 in conjunction with the Al and Ellie FeldLatchaw, a UNO colleague, was with us. man Family Israeli Foundation. Their father We were going to be at the Seinfeld table established a foundation with the Omaha Jewfrom 5 to 7:30 p.m. Sociability dictated the ish Federation to provide support to strengthen usual questions to the strangers at the table. ties between Omaha Jewry and Israel. Joanie started chatting with the woman on The seven-course meal prepared for 380 her left. Round one, name and occupation. guests leaned toward bland. Favorites were Several minutes later, round two, where do Shrimp and Walnuts, Sweet and Sour fish you live, where are you from, exposed the with pineapple, and Barbra Streisand’s eggOmaha connection. The three of us had lived plant in garlic sauce. Least favored, the first in Omaha a total of 104 years. We were talk- and last dishes: egg drop soup and chow mein ing to the Omaha Feldman sisters, Lori Feld- noodles. There was no pork, a Chinese menu man and Jodi Fleishman and their families. achievement, but there was shrimp “because Lori and Jodi are the children of Albert (Al) your hostess loves shrimp.” International Feldman and Eleanor (Ellie) Bernstein Feld- shrimp consumption by humans, avian and man. I know the Feldman law firm, Al, Shelly sea life is staggering. Harris, and especially James Stumpf because The meal ended with unpredictable “Yidhe was a bankruptcy trustee. Al and Ellie were dish fortune” cookies served in the takeout snowbirds, then settled in 2001 in Carlsbad. box on the lazy susan. There’s nothing particLori graduated Westside in 1974 and from ularly Yiddish about, “You can’t pee on my the University of Pennsylvania in 1978 with back and make me think it’s raining,” and a B.A. in English. She earned her law degree “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after a few at the University of California's Hastings Col- days,” both received by three people at the lege of the Law in 1981. She married Gary table. Nor did, “Some people are like new Caine of Little Neck, New York, in 1982. They shoes – the cheaper they are, the louder they live in San Rafael and have three children, squeak,” strikes a Yiddish chord. They lacked Zachary (Zach) 28 years, and 24-year old quality control for variety. twins, Joshua (Josh), and Hannah. Lori’s best But, “With one tuchus, you can’t dance at memories include large family holiday din- two weddings,” resonated Yiddish. And ners for Thanksgiving and Passover, and “What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witspending time with close friends from high ness with your mouth,” echoed the proscripschool. Gary is a CPA and Senior Partner at tion of lashon hara. The meal, to use a 19th Deloitte. They belong to Congregation Kol century postal service idiom, was “nothing to Shofar, Tiburon, a conservative synagogue. write home about.” Jodi graduated Westside in 1979, majored The two women and one male Jewish coin psychology at the University of Pennsylva- median had fresh material that closed my nia and married Robert Fleishman from Tea- year of relishing Jewish comediennes in The neck, New Jersey, in 1997. They live in Amazing Mrs. Maisel. Placentia in Orange County. Jodi and Rob The Feldman sisters knew about the Nehave two children, Bradley, age 20, who at- braska Jewish Historical Society. Meeting tends University of Arizona, and Andrea, age new people who know people who know 18, who attends Indiana University. Jodi is a people creates, keeps life interesting, stokes Marketing Director at Gibson Overseas in conversations, and forms an ever-widening Commerce. Robert is Senior District Vice net of affiliation. President for AIG-Retirement Services DiviWritten with the assistance of Jodi Fleishsion. Jodi and Rob belong to Shir Ha-Ma’alot man, Lori Feldman, Joanie Latchaw and in Irvine, California. Karen Pollak.

Letter to the editor

Dear Editor, Congratulations to the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Film Festival committee for selecting such an outstanding selection of five diverse films. Every aspect of the “movie-going experience” was covered: comedy, dark history and documentaries of current Jewish issues of life in the USA and Israel. We were very fortunate to have seen all the films

this year and found them both entertaining and provocative. Again, kudos for all the time and effort the committee spent choosing these films. My only suggestion for the 2018 Festival would be to present all the films via live streaming since it worked so beautifully for the last movie. Carole A Lainof Papillion



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8 | The Jewish Press | January 12, 2018


BBYo Update: Spring 2018 Semester

727 N. 69 St. | $499,950 You don’t see houses like this every day! Fantastic, single-owner, large ranch in the prestigious Fairacres neighborhood. This house has been nearly untouched by time! This is your chance to own a stylish, elegant, mid century gem with huge bedrooms, tons of built-ins, crown molding throughout, and over 3,200 sq ft above grade! Live in the high end luxury of the 1960s or make it your own modern masterpiece. Your choice! 2 new furnaces ‘17. This one must be seen to be believed. Don’t hesitate.

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women’s guide Coming in March

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Susan Bernard

402.334.6559 |

RaCHeL MaRtin BYO’s Mid-America Region: Omaha Council is ready for the Spring 2018 semester. I am very excited to return as the Interim BBYO Director for the next several months. I know the Council has great potential to increase membership, strengthen connections between current members and grow both individually and as a group of Jewish teens dedicated to the Jewish community. For 2018, the Winter Regional Convention will take place in January over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, rather than during winter break. This change has been discussed for Rachel Martin several years, as attendance steadily decreased due to other commitments during the winter holiday season. WRC 2018 is hosted by St. Louis Council Jan. 12-14. It takes BBYO teens, or, teens in general, a few weeks to get back into the swing of things after the end of the Fall semester and winter break. Moving the convention to mid-January will help ignite a spark for the AZA and BBG chapters to continue to develop through the multiple BBYO folds and start the Spring semester on a strong note. Here are some highlights to look forward to in 2018: January • Winter Regional Convention in St. Louis – join friends from Omaha, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Minnesota for this three-day spiritthemed Mid-America Region convention. • Spring recruitment begins! 8th graders can experience full membership (overnights, conventions, etc.). Jewish teens of all ages are invited to learn about BBYO and become members. February • Partner program with Young Jewish giving – learn about the Jewish value of philanthropy and how Jewish teens can begin philanthropic giving at a young age. • Chapter programs – separate AZA (guys) and BBG (girls) programs built around the folds of BBYO. This is a great way for new or potential members to learn about the different chapters and meet new friends in a smaller, low-key setting. • international Convention in orlando, FL – this six-day experience is the highlight of many teens’ BBYO experience. Connecting with thousands of Jewish teens from across the globe, Jewish celebrities, a private VIP concert, and the largest teen-led Shabbat in the world – what could be more fun? • 3rd annual Hamantaschen Bakeoff – kick off Purim with friends, foods, and fierce competition as BBYO hosts the 3rd annual hamantaschen baking competition. Bonus points for creativity. March • Support temple israel Synagogue’s youth group – nFtY – by attending their annual Spaghetti Feed fundraiser. BBYO looks forward to more collaborative programming with all Omaha-area synagogues. • Chapter meetings weekly and mid-semester evaluation and planning for end of semester. • Council elections for 2018-2019 school year. This is always a bittersweet time as we say goodbye to seniors who are graduating, but look forward to starting another programming year with new leaders in place! • Passover – stay tuned for our annual Chocolate Seder led by some of Omaha’s finest Jewish teens. This Seder is always a sweet way to celebrate a meaningful Jewish holiday with friends. April

• Beau & Sweetheart Dance – BBYO’s teen-led dance committee and both AZA and BBG chapters work hard to plan, coordinate, and elect new chapter Beau and Sweetheart revealed on this themed night. Come ready to dine and dance this Sunday night away! • March of the Living Program – this program is open to all Jewish teens, even non-BBYO members. It begins in Poland, during Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), as groups march solemnly through concentration camps. It ends in Israel where teens rejoice during Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. • Young Jewish giving Shuk – a time to put teen philanthropy learning to use. Walk around this “market” and learn about each Jewish organization available to allocate funding. • BBg Founder’s Day – celebrate the day BBG was founded 74 years ago. • Spring Regional Convention at Camp Sabra – Omaha teens will be the two coordinators in charge of this entire convention and work with teens from the entire region to plan the best end-of-year convention, yet! May • aZa Founder’s Day – celebrate the day AZA was founded (in Omaha!) 94 years ago. • Senior Farewell BBQ – yard games, senior awards, and reminiscing on the past year during a final teen-led campfire service. Seniors give their “lives” and impart wisdom unto younger members for the remainder of their BBYO experience. BBYO is more than a Jewish youth group. It is open to all Jewish teens in grades 8–12. It is the largest pluralistic teen-led movement in the world, and engages more than 80,000 Jewish teens worldwide. BBYO welcomes all Jewish teens, regardless of background, denominational affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, including those with a range of intellectual, emotional, and physical disabilities. BBYO chapters meet weekly on Tuesdays in the JFO Kripke Library at 6 p.m., unless otherwise indicated via email. This calendar represents all Omaha Cornbelt Council programs, to which boys and girls are invited. Each AZA & BBG chapter has a separate calendar for current and potential members to attend. Teen-run chapter board members are responsible for communication regarding chapter programs and information. BBYO chapters are supervised by volunteer advisors. For more information or to become a member, visit

Livingston Hanukkah Maggie Conti Director of Activities and Volunteer Services, RBJH

our annual Livingston Hanukkah Party was held at Livingston Plaza. the event was sponsored by the Livingston Plaza Fund and Jewish Social Services/Jewish Senior outreach. anna Mosenkis performed for the guests.

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The Jewish Press | January 12, 2018 | 9

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(Founded in 1920) Eric Dunning President Annette van de Kamp-Wright Editor Richard Busse Creative Director Susan Bernard Advertising Executive Lori Kooper-Schwarz Assistant Editor Gabby Blair Staff Writer Thierry Ndjike Accounting Jewish Press Board Eric Dunning, President; Andy Ruback, Past-President; Sandy Friedman, Treasurer; Alex Grossman; Jill Idelman; Andy Isaacson, Mike Kaufman; David Kotok; Debbie Kricsfeld; Abby Kutler; Pam Monsky; Eric Shapiro and Barry Zoob. The mission of the Jewish Federation of Omaha is to build and sustain a strong and vibrant Omaha Jewish Community and to support Jews in Israel and around the world. Agencies of the Federation are: Community Relations Committee, Jewish Community Center, Center for Jewish LIfe, Jewish Social Services, and the Jewish Press. Guidelines and highlights of the Jewish Press, including front page stories and announcements, can be found online at:; click on ‘Jewish Press.’ Editorials express the view of the writer and are not necessarily representative of the views of the Jewish Press Board of Directors, the Jewish Federation of Omaha Board of Directors, or the Omaha Jewish community as a whole. The Jewish Press reserves the right to edit signed letters and articles for space and content. The Jewish Press is not responsible for the Kashrut of any product or establishment. Editorial The Jewish Press is an agency of the Jewish Federation of Omaha. Deadline for copy, ads and photos is: Thursday, 9 a.m., eight days prior to publication. E-mail editorial material and photos to: avandekamp@jew; send ads (in TIF or PDF format) to: rbusse@jewishom Letters to the Editor Guidelines The Jewish Press welcomes Letters to the Editor. They may be sent via regular mail to: The Jewish Press, 333 So. 132 St., Omaha, NE 68154; via fax: 1.402.334.5422 or via e-mail to the Editor at: avandekamp@jew Letters should be no longer than 250 words and must be single-spaced typed, not hand-written. Published letters should be confined to opinions and comments on articles or events. News items should not be submitted and printed as a “Letter to the Editor.” The Editor may edit letters for content and space restrictions. Letters may be published without giving an opposing view. Information shall be verified before printing. All letters must be signed by the writer, but the name can be withheld at the writer’s request. The Jewish Press will not publish letters that appear to be part of an organized campaign, nor letters copied from the Internet. No letters should be published from candidates running for office, but others may write on their behalf. Letters of thanks should be confined to commending an institution for a program, project or event, rather than personally thanking paid staff, unless the writer chooses to turn the “Letter to the Editor” into a paid personal ad or a news article about the event, project or program which the professional staff supervised. For information, contact Annette van de Kamp-Wright, Jewish Press Editor, 402.334.6450. Postal The Jewish Press (USPS 275620) is published weekly (except for the first week of January and July) on Friday for $40 per calendar year U.S.; $80 foreign, by the Jewish Federation of Omaha. Phone: 402.334.6448; FAX: 402.334.5422. Periodical postage paid at Omaha, NE. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Jewish Press, 333 So. 132 St., Omaha, NE 68154-2198 or email to: jpress@jewishomaha. org.

American Jewish Press Association Award Winner

Nebraska Press As- National Newspaper sociation Association Award winner 2008


Please, stop Tweeting

ANNETTE vAN DE KAMP Editor, Jewish Press eading the newspapers these past few weeks, there is no doubt: there’s no love lost between U.S. President Trump and the Palestinian leadership. While his statements on Jerusalem added fuel to the fire, he didn’t stop there. Jan. 2, he said, “the Palestinian Authority was taking hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance from the United States while showing no appreciation or respect.” (NYT, 1.4.18) The New York Times called it a “blunt, harsh criticism likely to escalate tension.” Trump added: “But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these future payments to them?” Let’s back up a bit. What Trump is threatening to do is dismantling the UNRWA. It stands for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees and works not only for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, but also in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, where Palestinians are caught between a rock and a hard place. They reach a total of 5,261,930 refugees; let that number sink in for a while. I know, when you check the UN website, the language is hard to get past. It’s the accusing jargon that talks of occupation, it’s a lot of fodder for the BDS crowd, there is little talk about what Hamas has done to the people in Gaza, how politics always seem to get in the way of what regular people really need. Why there are still almost 2.2 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, yet BDS proponents keep forgetting to mention them. Much of the discussion surrounding the “Pales-

tinian Problem” ignores how this never has been, nor ever will be, a black-and-white issue. It just isn’t all that simple. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Trump hasn’t

really thought this through. How would a humanitarian crisis in Gaza help Israel? How would not sending aid to refugee camps in Lebanon advance peace? How would handing antiZionists an almost tailor-made anti-Israel message help anyone? Because Trump can scream and tweet whatever he wants; if there is a price, he is not the one who will pay it. The Israeli people are. Last I checked, the White House is in Washington D.C. and not in Southern Israel. Trump does not know what it is like to have rockets fly by day and night. I can’t help but think back to the Simpsons episode from a few years back, in which the Israeli tour guide, voiced by Sacha Baron-Cohen, chided the American tourists for not knowing what it was like to have neighbors like Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. I’m not saying I’m so much smarter than our President. But that is exactly the point: I don’t know, because I live here and not there. And those tweets bother me. It takes seconds to send them, but the consequences can be catastrophic. Just look at the backand-forth with North Korea; does that precedent make anyone else nervous? Smack talking (because that is what it is), threatening and grandstanding via social media is not how we will achieve peace. It will not force a single Palestinian to the negotiating table. It will ruffle feathers, it will destabilize the entire region, it will set us all back, and it feeds egos rather than hungry mouths. And no matter where you live in the political spectrum, that should worry you.

How do you define anti-Semitism? It's complicated. ANDREW SILoW-CARRoLL NEW YORK | JTA JTA doesn’t give out Person of the Year honors, but if we did I’d be tempted to nominate Michael Kadar, the Israeli-American teenager accused of making hundreds of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in early 2017. As I wrote soon after his arrest: “[T]he JCC bomb threat hoax wasn’t just an isolated swastika daubing — it was an ongoing story affecting Jewish institutions in nearly every American Jewish community. It shaped a communal narrative that something ugly was happening out there. And it fueled a political crisis among most American Jewish organizations and the White House, with the former accusing the latter of taking too long to denounce anti-Semitism and to comfort Jews traumatized by the bomb threats and at least two major cemetery desecrations.” Kadar, 18 at the time of his arrest in April, “deserves” the dubious distinction for another reason: He personifies perhaps the Jewish question of 2017, which is, “How do you define anti-Semitism?” Kadar’s circumstances are of course peculiar to him, asking if a series of hoaxes that terrified Jewish institutions stop being anti-Semitism because the caller is Jewish. The question I am talking about is both semantic and political, pitting left against right on at least two battlegrounds. The first is the college campus, and the second is the national political scene. On college campuses, groups intent on fighting anti-Israel activity often insist that Israel’s enemies are anti-Semitic, certainly in effect, and usually by intent. They point to slogans and imagery that draw on age-old stereotypes of Jewish control and collusion. They ask why of all the countries in the world -- including those with gruesome human rights records -Israel is singled out for threats and boycotts. Examples of the blurring of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism abound. In September, the student government at the University of Wisconsin-Madison held a vote on an anti-Israel resolution -- on Passover. A student legislator at McGill University tweeted “punch a Zionist today” and somehow survived impeachment; an anti-Zionist student group at the same Montreal university admitted that it used anti-Semitic propaganda to prevent a Jewish -- and presumably anti-BDS -- candidate from being re-elected to the student government.

But there’s a big gap among Jewish activists when it comes to defining the challenge. Left-leaning groups worry that labeling even hostile political rhetoric as hate speech puts Jews on the wrong side of the free speech debate. They say that a tool that has only recently been applied to anti-Semitic activity on campus -- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act -- takes too broad a brush in defining anti-Semitism and ends up blaming legitimate critics of Israel of creating an “unsafe” environment for Jewish students.

Michael Kadar, the American-Israeli teenager arrested on suspicion of making over 100 bomb threats to American JCCs, leaves court in Rishon Lezion, Israel, March 23, 2017. Credit: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Two of the most active groups in promoting the use of Title VI -- the Zionist Organization of America and the Lawfare Project -- are on the right. And they argue that the tactics of the boycott Israel movement, especially when they include comparing Israel to Nazi Germany or denying Israel’s right to exist, are contemporary examples of an age-old hatred. A shadowy group called the Canary Mission bypasses the legal arena by publishing a virtual, and ethically suspect, blacklist of faculty and students it deems are “affiliated with movements that seek the destruction of Israel, routinely engage in anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions, and promote hatred of Jews.” On the political front, the anti-Semitic debate broke in almost exactly the opposite way: The left was quick to label President Donald Trump as a fomenter of anti-Semitism and some of his aides and minions as anti-Semites outright. The failure of the White House to name Jews in its formal statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day -- like Trump’s tepid condemnation of

the racist and anti-Semitic marchers at Charlottesville -- was not just an inadvertent mistake, many on the left reasoned, but a dog-whistle to the nationalist, and sometimes racist and anti-Semitic, right that supported Trump. Similarly, the left insists former White House strategist Steve Bannon was no mere “economic nationalist” but a cynical demagogue who was willing to play on familiar anti-Semitic tropes to stir the Trump base. Right-wing groups, most notably the ZOA, were quick to defend Trump and Bannon. They would point to the strongly pro-Israel stance of Breitbart News with Bannon as its head and Trump’s triumphant visit to the Western Wall at the beginning of his term. Bannon spoke at a ZOA fundraiser, and the organization issued numerous statements accusing the Anti-Defamation League of being too hard on the Trump administration and too soft on pro-Palestinian activists. (The ADL notes that it has called out anti-Semitism on the right and among progressives alike.) Meanwhile, right-leaning Orthodox Jews felt their gamble on Trump paid off when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Right-left divides aren’t new to Jewish communal politics, but applying them to the fight against anti-Semitism appears to be. Once upon a time, the Jews’ antagonists were obvious: Louis Farrakhan, David Duke, Hamas, the U.N. General Assembly, neo-Nazis here and in Europe. They haven’t gone away, but now the Jewish left accuses the Jewish right of downplaying the dangers of the “alt-right.” The Jewish right says the real threat to Jews is not from pro-Trump internet trolls but from progressive campus groups, including Jews on the far left, who condemn Israel but really mean “the Jews.” The left thinks it a vital Jewish mission to enter into social justice coalitions with other minorities, including Muslims; the right says Black Lives Matter lost all moral authority when it joined the pro-Palestinian cause. Or maybe it’s not such a new phenomenon after all, because behind the debates are a familiar series of issues that have long divided the Jewish activist class: tikkun olam vs. “peoplehood”; universal justice vs. particularist priorities; a broad human rights agenda vs. a narrower focus on Israel. A polarized political climate only created the conditions for divides that were there all along.

10 | The Jewish Press | January 12, 2018

synagogues B’naI ISraeL Synagogue

618 Mynster Street Council Bluffs, IA 51503-0766 712.322.4705 email:

BeTh eL Synagogue

Member of United Synagogues of Conservative Judaism 14506 California Street Omaha, NE 68154-1980 402.492.8550

BeTh ISraeL Synagogue

Member of Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America 12604 Pacific Street Omaha, NE. 68154 402.556.6288

ChaBaD houSe

An Affiliate of Chabad-Lubavitch 1866 South 120 Street Omaha, NE 68144-1646 402.330.1800 email:

CongregaTIon B’naI JeShurun

South Street Temple Union for Reform Judaism 2061 South 20th Street Lincoln, NE 68502-2797 402.435.8004

offuTT aIr forCe BaSe

Capehart Chapel 2500 Capehart Road Offutt AFB, NE 68123 402.294.6244 email:

roSe BLumkIn JewISh home

323 South 132 Street Omaha, NE 68154

TempLe ISraeL

Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) 13111 Sterling Ridge Drive Omaha, NE 68144-1206 402.556.6536

TIfereTh ISraeL

Member of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism 3219 Sheridan Boulevard Lincoln, NE 68502-5236 402.423.8569

B’naI ISraeL Synagogue

Please join us for our upcoming events: Join us for our monthly Shabbat Speakers Series on Jan. 12, at 7:30 p.m. with guest speaker Josh Stein who with 35 other teens from just returned from 11 days in Isarel. Our service leader is Larry Blass, and as always, an oneg to follow service. Everyone is always welcome at B’nai Israel! For information on our historic synagogue, please contact any of our board members: Scott Friedman, Rick Katelman, Carole Lainof, Marty Ricks, Sissy Silber, Nancy Wolf and Phil Wolf.

BeTh eL Synagogue

Services conducted by Rabbi Steven Abraham and Hazzan Michael Krausman. frIDay: Kabbalat Shabbat, 6 p.m. SaTurDay: Civil Rights Shabbat with guest speaker, Mr. Thomas Warren, President and CEO of the Nebraska Urban League, 9:30 a.m.-noon; Mincha/Ma’ariv, 5:15 p.m. weekDay SerVICeS: Sundays, 9:30 a.m. & 5:30 p.m.; weekdays, 7 a.m. & 5:30 p.m. SunDay: MLK Weekend—No BESTT Classes; Torah Study, 10 a.m. monDay: Morning Minyan, 9 a.m. TueSDay: The Ethical Life class with Rabbi Abraham, noon at Whole Foods. weDneSDay: BESTT Classes, 4:15-6:15 p.m.; BILU USY, Noah Aronson themed Lounge Night, 5:15-6:15 p.m.; Minor Prophets class with Leonard Greenspoon, 6 p.m.; Hebrew High Class, 6:30-8 p.m.; The Ethical Life class with Rabbi Abraham, 7 p.m. ThurSDay: Chesed Committee visits The Blumkin Home, 2 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat, friday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 20, following Shabbat Services with guest speaker, Abigail Pogrebin, author of My Jewish Life. Shabbat’s Cool, Grades 3-7, Saturday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m.12:15 p.m. All classes and programs are open to everyone in the Jewish community.

BeTh ISraeL Synagogue

Services conducted by Rabbi Ari Dembitzer. frIDay: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Candle Lighting and Mincha, 4:59 p.m. SaTurDay: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Insights into the Weekly Torah, 4 p.m.; Mincha/Seudah Shlishit, 4:45 p.m.; Havdalah, 6:03 p.m. SunDay: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; From Mechitza to the Marriage Canopy—Gender Roles in Judaism with Rabbi Ari, 10 a.m. monDay: Shacharit, 7 a.m. TueSDay: Shacharit, 7 a.m. weDneSDay: Shacharit, 6:45 a.m. ThurSDay: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Women’s Class, 9:30 a.m.

ChaBaD houSe

Office hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Services conducted by Rabbi Mendel Katzman. frIDay: Shacharit, 7 a.m. followed by coffee, treats, study and shmoozing. SaTurDay: Shabbat Morning Service, 9:30 a.m. weekDayS: Shacharit, 7 a.m. followed by coffee, treats, study and shmoozing. monDay: Personal Parsha class, 9:30 a.m. with Shani. weDneSDay: Mystical Thinking, 9:30 a.m. with Rabbi Katzman. ThurSDay: Talmud Class, noon with Rabbi Katzman. All programs are open to the entire community.

CongregaTIon B’naI JeShurun

Services conducted by Rabbi Teri Appleby. frIDay: Candlelighting, 5:03 p.m.; Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. at Embassy Suites; Shabbat Evening Service, 6:30 p.m.; Oneg, 7:30 p.m. hosted by Edmar, Lidiana and Sofia Matos. SaTurDay: Shabbat Morning Service, 9:30 a.m.; Torah Study on Parashat Va’era, 10:30 a.m.; Havdalah (72 minutes), 6:34 p.m.; Meet and Greet, 7:30 p.m. at Rabbi Appleby’s home. SunDay: LJCS Gan through Grade 7, 9:30 a.m.; LJCS Gesher, 10 a.m.; Purim Spiel Rehearsal, 1 p.m.; Adult Ed: Shabbat Prayer, 3 p.m.; Meet and Greet, 7:30 p.m. at Rabbi Appleby’s home.

TueSDay: Ladies Lunch Group, noon at Carmela’s Bistro, 4141 Pioneer Woods Drive (70th & Pioneers Blvd). Please contact Deborah Swearingen with any questions; Intro to Judaism, Session #6, 7 p.m. led by Rabbi Appleby. weDneSDay: LJCS Hebrew School, 4 p.m. ThurSDay: Meet and Greet, 2 p.m. at the Temple. Jewish Book Club, Sunday, Jan. 21, 1:30.-3:30 p.m. at Gere Library, 2400 S. 56th St. and will discuss Between Gods by Alison PIck. Please contact Laura French with questions. South Street Temple is partnering with "We Can Do This" to provide weekend meals to the children of the F Street Community Center. Join us as we provide lunch on the third Sunday of every month. Food/monetary donations, meal preparation and assistance with setting up, serving, and clean-up are needed! We will serve our next meal on Jan. 21 at 2:30 p.m. For more information, email Sarah Beringer at Our Chesed branch (Caring Committee) is looking for volunteers to provide transportation for Temple members and friends who aren’t able to drive themselves to doctor’s appointments and other commitments. Volunteers are also being sought to help caregivers in our Temple community when they need a little time to get things done for themselves. Contact Chesed Branch Head Vicki Edwards at if you would like to help with this important mitzvah.

offuTT aIr forCe BaSe

frIDay: Services, 7:30 p.m. every first and third of the month.

roSe BLumkIn JewISh home

SaTurDay: Services, 9:15 a.m. led by Marty Shukert. Services will be held in the Chapel. Members of the community are invited to attend.

TempLe ISraeL

frIDay: Shabbat Service, 6 p.m. SaTurDay: Torah Study, 9:15 a.m.; Shabbat Service, 10:30 a.m.; Omaha Symphony and Temple Israel Community Concert, 7 p.m. Temple welcomes the San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir and the Omaha Symphony for an evening of music. There will be a wine and cheese reception with the artists afterward, and all in the community are welcome to join us for this free event. SunDay: No Religious School.

weDneSDay: Grades 3-6, 4 p.m.; T’filah for School, 4:30 p.m.; School Dinner, 6 p.m.; Grades 7-12, 6 p.m.; Family School, 6 p.m.; Guiding Principles for the Synagogue Community: Kibbutz Galuyot: Know that We are Always in God’s Presence, 6:30 p.m. taught by Cantor Wendy Shermet. ThurSDay: Jewish Heroes, Heroines, and Personalities: Joseph Soloveitchick, 10 a.m. by Rabbi Brian Stoller. The Symposium will be taught by Temple Israel clergy, with guest sessions led by our Tri-Faith clergy partners and other teachers in the Omaha Jewish community; Rosh Chodesh Hosting Game Night, 6:30 p.m. As we welcome the month of Shevat at our upcoming Rosh Chodesh gathering hosted by Marlen Frost and Susan Long. We will enjoy old game favorites and new game favorites. You are welcome to bring your own game as well. RSVP required; Kol Rina Rehearsal, 7 p.m.

TIfereTh ISraeL

Services conducted by lay leader Nancy Coren. Office hours: monday-friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. frIDay: Share Shabbat Potluck Dinner, 6:30 p.m. at the home of Katie Pocras (7410 Old Post Road #17). Bring a dairy or pareve salad, vegetable dish, or dessert. The main dish, challah, and grape juice will be provided. SaTurDay: Shabbat Morning service, 10 a.m.; Junior Congregation, 11 a.m.; Services will be followed by a light Kiddush Lunch. SunDay: LJCS Gan through Grade 7, 9:30 a.m.; LJCS Gesher, 10 a.m. monDay: Tifereth Israel Office closed; Second Half of the DVD Course Beginnings of Judaism, 7:30-9 p.m. TueSDay: Ladies Lunch Group, noon at Carmela’s Bistro, 4141 Pioneer Woods Drive (70th & Pioneers Blvd). Please contact Deborah Swearingen with any questions. weDneSDay: LJCS Hebrew School, 4 p.m. ThurSDay: Hebrew classes for adults, 6:30-7:30 p.m., with Esti Sheinberg. Each meeting will include listening, speaking and a little reading. It's not too soon to be thinking about summer camp! All Federation families are eligible for Camp Incentive Grants of $300 per camper to pay the initial camp registration deposit. Application packets are availible in the Tifereth Israel foyer. Jewish Book Club, Sunday, Jan. 21, 1:30.-3:30 p.m. at Gere Library, 2400 S. 56th St. and will discuss Between Gods by Alison PIck. Please contact Laura French with questions. Tifereth Israel Board Meeting, Sunday, Jan. 21, 3 p.m.

aDL-CrC brings national speaker to B’nai B’rith Breadbreakers

pam monSky to issues and events relating to Israel, the IsraeliCommunity Development Liaison, ADL Plains States Region Palestinian conflict, the Arab World, Iran, global Shaya Lerner, the ADL’s Assisanti-Semitism and international eftant Director for Middle Eastern forts to delegitimize Israel, and Affairs, will be the featured helps develop ADL policies and speaker at a collaborative event programs on these matters. He has with the ADL-CRC and B’nai drafted and edited numerous ADL B’rith Henry Monsky Lodge letters, op-eds and policy memos Breadbreaker’s scheduled for on a variety of Middle East and international issues, and has conWednesday, Jan. 24, from noon tributed to a number of ADL to 1 p.m. in the Social Hall at the publications, including the annual JCC. Bring a brown bag lunch or Israel: A Guide for Activists. reserve a kosher lunch for $11. For more information or to order Lerner will be sharing ADL’s inShaya Lerner a kosher lunch for $11, please conternational work and will lead a discussion of current events. In his ADL capacity, tact the ADL-CRC office by Monday, Jan. 22 at Lerner is responsible for monitoring and reacting 402.334.6570 or email

Celtic Fiddle Camp

The Old Avoca Schoolhouse in Avoca, NE will be hosting a special Celtic Fiddle Camp for fiddlers, violists, mandolinists, guitarists, recorder players, and ukulele players. Music from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales will be featured. Sessions will be led by championship fiddler and author, Deborah Greenblatt. The camp will be on Wednesday, March 14-Friday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to noon. Musicians can sign up for 1 day, or 2 days, or all 3 days. On Wednesday, participants will be mostly reading tunes, using sheet music in standard notation. We’ll be learning melodies, harmonies, and chords. You will be improving your sight reading, and experiencing fiddling fun.

On Thursday, we will be mostly playing tunes by ear, so feel free to bring your recording gadgets. Sheet music versions of the tunes will be provided for you by the end of the day, just in case your ears need the help. On Friday, we will be mostly jamming, modulating, singing, dancing, experimenting, sharing, and playing fiddle related instruments. Limited enrollment. Pre-registration required. Full payment due on your first day of camp. $ 60 fee for 1 day.; $110 fee for 2 days. ($55 per day); $150 fee for 3 days. ($50 per day) For more information, and to register, send an email to Debby at

The Jewish Press | January 12, 2018 | 11

lifecycles mARRiAge


Jennifer hadad and Adam goldberg were married Dec. 31, 2017 in Ashkelon, Israel. The ceremony was officiated by Rabbi Ari Dembitzer. Jennifer is the daughter of Wendy and Yigal Hadad of Toronto, Ontario and the granddaughter of Leah and Morris Melamed of Ottawa, Ontario, and Ruth and Abba Hadad of Moshav Zimrat, Israel. Her attendants were her siblings, Ilana and Adam Hadad. Adam is the son of Cindy and Bruce Goldberg of Omaha and the grandson of Carol and Manny Goldberg of Boca Raton, FL, and Joanie and the late Marty Lehr of Omaha. His attendants were his brothers, Scott and Max Goldberg. They will continue to reside in Israel.

in memoRiAm

RUTh ellie eRmAn

Ruth Ellie Erman of Omaha and Scottsdale, AZ passed away on Dec. 27 at age 70. Services were held Dec. 31 at Temple Israel, 13111 Sterling Ridge Drive. Interment held at Temple Israel Cemetery. She was preceded in death by parents Nina and Philip Becker. She is survived by husband Joseph of Omaha and Scottsdale, AZ; son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Monique Erman of San Francisco, CA; daughter and son-in-law, Dana and Michael Kaufman of Omaha; grandchildren: Ayla and Josephine Erman and Abigail and Benjamin Kaufman; brother and sister-in-law, Andrew and Rikki Becker of Manhattan, KS; many brothers-andsisters-in law, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association or the Jewish Federation of Omaha.

esTheR eRliCh

Esther Erlich passed away at age 64. Private services were held December 26 at Mt. Sinai Cemetery. She was preceded in death by parents, Charles and Lottie Erlich. She is survived by brothers Abraham and Rick Erlich; sister Patty Erlich.

JUdy iTkin

Former Omahan Judy Itkin passed away on Dec. 28 in Georgetown, TX. Services were held on Dec. 31 in Austin, TX. She is survived by her husband Jeffrey Itkin and daughter, Lindsey, of Houston, TX. Memorials may be made to Beth El Synagogue, David Lidell Fund or the Parkinsons Foundation.

RevA (RimmeRmAn) oRUCh

Reva (Rimmerman) Oruch passed away on Dec. 17 at age 96. Services were held Dec 21 at B’nai Abraham Cemetery (Fisher Farm) 8900 S 42 St. She was preceded in death by husbands, Robert Rimmerman and Albert Oruch; and son, Harlan Rimmerman. She is survived by son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Linda Rimmerman, daughter-in-law, Carol Rimmerman; six grandchildren, nine greatgrandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews. Memorials may be made to the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home.

mazal tov: Andy Ruback named Ceo

Flood Communications, a leading media company, which owns and operates 15 radio and television stations across the state of Nebraska, today announced Andy Ruback will join the company as CEO, beginning Jan. 16. “Andy is perfectly suited to lead Flood Communications into its next phase of growth,” said Mike Flood, founder of Flood Communications. “Andy has a proven track record, and with his leadership, I am confident we have a very bright future. His expertise in building media brands, engaging teams, and creating ideas makes him an Andy Ruback ideal fit for our organization.” Ruback began his career in the broadcast industry as an Account Executive before earning management roles with leading broadcast and publishing companies including Clear Channel and City Weekly. Most recently, he served as Market Manager for NRG Media in Omaha, NE. Ruback has received numerous industry recognitions, including features in Radio Ink’s Small Market Heroes and General Manager of the Year issues. In 2013, Ruback was accepted to and graduated from the National Association of Broadcasters distinguished Broadcast Leadership Executive Management program. “Flood Communications has tremendous media brands and a motivated team,” said Ruback. “e team lives and breathes their communities, while generating tremendous value to users and advertisers through the creation of high quality and relevant content across radio, TV and online.” Andy Ruback is a Past-President of the Jewish Press Board of Directors.

Time’s Up

JTA Barbra Streisand criticized the sexism of Hollywood while presenting an award at the Golden Globes, pointing out that she is the only woman to have received its best director award. “Backstage I heard they said I was the only woman... to get the best director award, and you know, that was 1984: at was 34 years ago. Folks, time’s up!” Streisand said before presenting the final award of the night for best motion picture. Streisand’s best director award at the Golden Globes was for the movie Yentl, in which she also played the title character. Streisand also praised Hollywood movers and shakers for changing the way they do business in the wake of the sexual harassment scandals that have rocked the industry.


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12 | The Jewish Press | January 12, 2018


Jewish families killed in Costa Rica crash remembered for passionate social justice work


JOSEFIN DOlStEN NEW YORK | JTA embers of two families killed in a plane crash in Costa Rica were being remembered for their involvement in Jewish and philanthropic causes. The Steinberg family of Scarsdale, in suburban New York, and the Weiss family of Belleair, Florida, were killed Dec. 31 when the small plane in which they were passengers went down in the Central American nation’s northwest shortly after takeoff. The nine victims in the families were among 12 casualties — 10 U.S. tourists and two local crew members — in the accident in Guanacaste. Costa Rican investigators said Jan. 1 that the cause was probably strong winds or mechanical problems, The Associated Press reported. People close to members of the Steinberg and Weiss families spoke to JTA on Jan. 2 about the victims’ commitment to bettering the world. The Steinbergs — Bruce, an investment banker, and wife Irene, along with their sons Matthew, 13; William, 18, a student at the University of Pennsylvania; and Zachary, 19, a student at Johns Hopkins University — attended the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale. They were involved in Jewish and social justice causes, including the UJA-Federation of New York, the American Jewish Committee and Seeds of Peace. William helped introduce his family to Seeds of Peace, an organization that promotes conflict resolution, including between Israelis and Palestinians. He attended a Seeds of Peace camp in Maine in the summer of 2015, where he focused on dialogue between Indians and Pakistanis, as well as a leadership session in 2016 and a Jerusalem trip this summer. The Steinberg family supported the organization and attended benefit events. A fellow program participant, Paul Guenther, 18, remembered William as supportive and deeply caring. “He was a real mentor and supportive figure at camp for me,” Guenther said. Guenther, who is not Jewish, said that

William taught him about Judaism when the two visited Jerusalem this summer. At a Shabbat dinner, William helped lead the group in celebrations, and during a visit to

basically following in her footsteps. They were an incredible family.” The Weiss family — Mitchell and Leslie, both physicians; their daughter, Hannah, 19,

dent to be presenting her vision to the chancellor of JTS — in a totally respectful and appropriate way,” said Jobanek, who met Hannah prior to her work at List College,

Ari Weiss performing at Camp Ramah Darom in Clayton, Ga. Credit: Camp Ramah Darom

Bruce Steinberg, left, with son William at the Seeds of Peace Camp in Otisfield, Maine. Credit: Seeds of Peace

Irene Steinberg, far right, at the UJA-Federation of New York Scarsdale Women’s Opening Event with Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Oct. 26, 2017. Credit: The UJA-Federation

the Western Wall, he helped give Guenther the lay of land. “He was telling me what to do so I wouldn’t stick out,” Guenther said. William was interested in pursuing a career in international affairs and believed that conflict resolution skills could serve as a stepping-stone. “He very much was thinking about working towards peace in the Middle East in either the State Department or a think tank or an NGO,” said Clarke Reeves, the programs and development manager for Seeds of Peace. “He felt that the program in Jerusalem, the mediation and negotiation seminar, would kind of lay the foundation for him for a lifetime of public policy and global citizenship.” Irene Steinberg’s efforts for UJA-Federation of New York included serving on its Scarsdale Women’s Board. She raised awareness about the organization’s work, participated in fundraising efforts and organized events. Irene, who previously worked as a social worker, was passionate about Israel and social justice, said Tali Strom, a senior development executive at UJA-Federation. “She really was someone who wanted to make a difference in this world and woke up every day and did that, and did that for UJA,” Strom said. “She raised three boys who were

and son, Ari, 16 — were members of Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, Florida. Hannah Weiss — a sophomore enrolled in a joint program at Columbia University and List College, the undergraduate school of the Jewish Theological Seminary — cared deeply about the environment. On campus she was involved in a handful of organizations promoting sustainability and hoped to double major in sustainable development and Jewish thought, said Shuly Rubin Schwartz, dean of graduate and undergraduate studies at JTS. Hannah also spent a summer volunteering at an organic goat cheese farm in Israel. “She was trying to get at that deeper imperative to improve the world,” Schwartz said. “She really did so in any way that she could. She was only a sophomore, only in her third semester, but she was so clearly a rising star.” Hannah led a group effort to introduce composting to her student dorm, recalled Jessica Jobanek, the Jewish life director at List College, adding that Hannah wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she believed in. During Sukkot this year, she approached JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen to tell him about her work to improve sustainability at the school. “I actually remember being struck by how bold and brave she was as a sophomore stu-

when the two taught at Hebrew school at B’nai Jeshurun in Manhattan. Prior to moving to New York, Hannah spent summers at Camp Ramah Darom, a Conservative summer camp in Clayton, Georgia. Ari Weiss also attended the camp. “They were really stars, the two of them, just shining bright,” camp director Geoff Menkowitz said of the siblings. “It’s a huge loss that we are all reeling from and heartbroken from right now.” As a camper, Hannah was involved with the organic gardening and sustainability program. “It was one of the things that set her on the trajectory to be such an advocate for environmental issues and social justice,” Menkowitz said. Ari lit up the camp through music, playing guitar, bass and piano at concerts. “It’s not an exaggeration to say he was a rock star,” Menkowitz said. This made Ari a big name throughout the camp, even among those who were not in his immediate circle of friends. “It’s a rare talent when you have a ninthand 10th-grader that can excite the staff, the counselors,” Menkowitz said. “They were not politely clapping [for] him. He had fans that were real fans.”

Celebrating Our History P A S S O V E R   2 0 1 8

publishing date | 03.23.18

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January 12, 2018  
January 12, 2018  

Jewish Press