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this week

JFO/JCC building project updates page 2

Temple Israel Passover Family Seder page 7

Annual Goldstein lecture

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AnnEttE vAn DE kAMp Editor, Jewish Press he University of Nebraska at Omaha is proud to present the 19th Annual Goldstein Lecture on Human Rights, April 12 at 7 p.m. at the Weitz Community Engagement Center. The speaker is Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. He is the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University. “The entire Goldstein family is excited to continue the legacy by Buddy and Shirley,” Don Goldstein said. “The lecture and related activities are major events at UNO and in combination with the new Human Rights Center and Community Chair establishes UNO as a major source of Human Rights activity in our area.” Dr. Glaude served as the president of the American Academy of Religion in 2017 and has written several books: Democracy in Black (2017), African American Religion (2014), In a Shade of Blue (2007) and Exodus! Religion, Race and Nation in Early Nineteenth Century Black America (2000). For Exodus, he

Eddie S. Glaude Jr. was awarded the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize. He is a columnist for Time Magazine and has also written for the New York Times and the Huffington Post. Eddie S. Glaude speaks to the black and blue in America, his biography states. His writings take a wide look at black communities and reveal complex-

Jews in Mozambique

Emerging Voices: How Zora Arkus-Duntov saved the Corvette page 12



ities, vulnerabilities and opportunities for hope. Hope that is, in one of his favorite quotes from W.E.B. DuBois, “not hopeless, but a bit unhopeful.” In addition to his readings of early American philosophers and contemporary political scientists, Glaude looks to African American literature in his writings and teaching for insight into African American political life, religious thought, gender and class. At Princeton, he is the Chair of the Department of African American Studies, a program he first became involved with shaping as a doctoral candidate in Religion at Princeton. Known to be a convener of conversations and debates, Glaude takes care to engage fellow citizens of all ages and backgrounds, from young activists to fellow academics, journalists and commentators, as well as Twitter followers, in dialogue about the course of the nation. His ideas are shared widely; he regularly provides commentary for radio and television, including Democracy Now, Morning Joe and The 11th Hour. Currently, he is working on a book See Annual Goldstein lecture page 3

Tri-Faith Initiative names Executive Director

Fran and Rich Juro in front of the Maputo Synagogue

inside Viewpoint Synagogues Life cycles

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RIcH JuRo Where is Mozambique? A large nation in the Southeast of Africa, with a long Indian Ocean coastline, between South Africa on the south and Tanzania on the north. What is Mozambique? Arab traders have been visiting the country for maybe 1000 years. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama “discovered” it early in 1498 on his

ocean route to India. Mozambique became a colony of Portugal soon after and remained so for almost 500 years. For 15 years, it battled for independence; but when it was achieved in 1974, Mozambique sank into a bloody civil war from 1974-1989. A million people died, and millions more were displaced. Maybe that’s why Mozambique has the only flag with an AK-47 on it! Who lives there? The rapidly-growing population numbers over 30 million, and between one and two million live in Maputo, the capital. Most of the people are black Africans of the Bantu tribe, but the culture has been influenced by the long presence of the Arabs and the Portuguese. About half the people are Christian, one-fourth are Muslim, and about one-fourth animist See Jews in Mozambique page 3

Dr. Maryanne Stevens, left, Bud Heckman, Rabbi Brian Stoller, Reverend Eric Elnes and Imam Jamal Daoudi LAuRA pAuLSEn The Reverend Bud Heckman has been selected to serve as Executive Director for the Omaha-based TriFaith Initiative. Heckman recently served as Executive Director of Religions for Peace USA, presently as convener of the Interfaith Funders Group, and voluntarily remains president of the Board of Governors of the Religion Communicators Council. He brings two decades of experience in interfaith relations work – nationally and internationally, in nonprofits, academia and philanthropy –to the emerging collabora-

tive work of the Tri-Faith Initiative. Begun in 2006, the Tri-Faith Initiative is comprised of three Abrahamic faith groups who have chosen to be in a purposeful relationship together and become neighbors on a common plot of land, committed to practicing respect, developing acceptance and building trust. By spring 2019, all three houses of worship will be complete. A Tri-Faith Center will be the final building constructed on the land, culminating in an ambitious $65 million effort. Programs developed through the Tri-Faith Initiative are intended to See tri-Faith Initiative page 2

2 | The Jewish Press | March 9, 2018


Tri-Faith Initiative

Continued from page 1 be a catalyst in Omaha and a model well beyond for advancing understanding among people of distinct faiths.Tri-Faith board president Dr. Maryanne Stevens, RSM, said, “We welcome Bud’s leadership to the Tri-Faith Initiative, as he brings passion, well-respected expertise, a track record of developing non-profits and unique insights into the future of interfaith relations.� Heckman comes to the Tri-Faith Initiative from New York City. He will be giving shape to its work and carrying forward plans for construction of the Tri-Faith Center on the shared campus of the congregations, known as Tri-Faith Commons. An ordained United Methodist clergyperson, Heckman has been leading faith-based and academic nonprofits for more than two decades and brings experiences with three different foundations that advance interfaith cooperation, as well as a funders affinity group. Principally, he has advanced interfaith cooperation being seen as a movement, through concerted efforts in higher education, national

and international interfaith organizations, and philanthropy. Heckman served on the Interreligious Cooperation Task Force of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships under President Obama. “Few things are more misunderstood and yet, at the same time, more important to our lives and world today than religion,� said Heckman. “It is a true privilege to become a part of this ambitious initiative. You know you are on to something good when CNN, NPR, and even Comedy Central have already come knocking to see what exactly was going on in Omaha even before the Tri-Faith Commons was finished or the Center was built.� Heckman formally started his new role March 1, 2018. Members of the Tri-Faith Initiative’s three faith groups as well as members of the greater community will have an opportunity to meet him at the 2018 Dinner in Abraham’s Tent, Tri-Faith’s fundraising event scheduled for April 22 at 6 p.m. at CenturyLink Center Omaha. For more information, see the Tri-Faith website at


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 Gary.Javitch@Gmail. com, Breadbreakers chairman. For more information or to be placed on the email list call 402.334.6443 or

Enrico� Dr. Mark Wygoda “Comandante My Father’s Holocaust Resistance

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JFO/JCC building project update

town hall Meetings n an effort to keep the community informed on the current and upcoming JCC building projects, the Jewish Federation of Omaha will continue to hold a series of town hall meetings. Community members who attend the meetings will have the opportunity to ask questions, view architectural renderings, and receive updates on the project progress. The next Town Hall Meeting is on Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. in the JCC Social Hall. For those unable to attend Town Hall meetings, renderings of the building project can be viewed at the JCC Front Entrance and the Member Services lobby. These renderings are also online at http://www.jew -improvements/. Questions can be submitted via email at Outdoor aquatic Complex Opening events Construction of the Outdoor Aquatic Complex remains on schedule, with plans to open at the end of May. A series of grand opening events will take place on the following days: tuesday, May 22 | Outdoor aquatic Complex Open house, 5–6 p.m. JCC members can be the first to take a tour of the new Outdoor Aquatic Complex during the Open House. Monday, May 28 | Memorial day Pool Party, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Weather permitting, all JCC Members can spend their holiday at the Outdoor Aquatic Complex, which will be open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Monday, June 4 | Community Pool Celebration The community is invited to view the Outdoor Aquatic Complex at the Community Pool Celebration, which will be held directly

March 21, 2018 | 6:30pm Durham Museum, Truhlsen Hall (801 S 10th St)

JCC Campus. Renovations of the indoor pool, locker rooms and health spas will begin late spring. These renovations are needed in order to improve facility amenities and increase square footage. New spaces will include a family changing area and activity rooms that will house small group training, yoga, pilates, spinning, group exercise and youth programs. A project timeline is currently being prepared and will be announced by the March 25 Town Hall meeting. More information will be communicated as the renovations progress. thank you Updating our 44-year-old facility with more functional spaces and features is a process. Our goal is to provide members of all ages and interests with a state-of the art facility that meets their needs. We apologize for any inconvenience this renovation causes. We offer our sincerest thanks for your patience and support. If you have any concerns, please email us at questions@jcc

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The Jewish Press | March 9, 2018 | 3

Jews in Mozambique

Continued from page 1 Dalim – Jewish Community of Mozambique – was rededicated in the (ancestor worship). Yes, there are a few Jews, as you’ll see later, and presence of the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Mozambique, Dr. they are recognized as an “official” religion. There are no national reliMaria Benvinda Delfina Levi, May 19, 2013 / 10 Sivan 5773.” gious holidays and there is no anti-Semitism. What’s the history of the Jews in Mozambique? Yes, there have been The good news: the country has been a reasonably stable representa- a few Jews in Maputo (formerly called Lourenco Marques) ever since tive democracy since 1989, and its economy is increasing nicely every the Portuguese colonized it 500 years ago. But the first congregation year (except when the tsunami hit it in 2000). It was officially declared wasn’t formed until 1899, when a South African rabbi, Joseph Hertz, free of land mines in 2015. Now natural gas has been discovered. came there after fleeing the Boer War between the English and the The bad news: Mozambique is still a very poor nation, with corrupDutch settlers. Rabbi Hertz soon returned to Johannesburg, but the tion, disease, and other very nasty stuff as part of everyday life for spirit of community he lit became a real synagogue building in 1926. most of its people. For example, Several years later, persecution in just in the news is that a 50 feet Europe resulted in the Maputo Jewhigh garbage heap collapsed after ish population increasing from a big rain. The result: 17 people about 30 to 500. were killed who were scavenging in The winning faction in the the pile or who lived in “illegal” Mozambique War of Independence makeshift housing right next to the in 1975 was socialist and anti-relidump. Unbelievable! gious. Jews felt uncomfortable for What were we doing there? It good reason, and most left for was our second brief stay. About South Africa, Israel, or Portugal. six years ago, we made a cruise The cemetery was vandalized and stop in Maputo, the capital. We fell into disrepair; the synagogue found unpaved streets, trash everywas expropriated and became a where, and a generally unpleasant warehouse. Maputo synagogue urban area. Recently, we were on In 1989, under the leadership of another cruise that was to stop there. We contacted a tour company a non-Jewish businessman, the Jewish community was re-energized. on the internet to pick us up to give us a personalized tour. The cemetery was cleaned up. The synagogue was repaired and reMaria, our local guide, was a lovely young lady with perfect English stored, although the cost escalated from $25,000 to $150,000. It’s a and a student at the local university. We drove around on the nowbeautiful building in the Portuguese Baroque Revival style. The old paved streets seeing a much-improved city. At the National Art MuTorah was found, but it was not ritually pure. Graciously, a congregaseum, large paintings and sculptures by contemporary Mozambican tion in Capetown, South Africa, donated another Torah. Israel and artists were displayed beautifully. At the “Yellow House”, reputedly Mozambique established diplomatic relations in 1993. the oldest building in Maputo, the unique National Money Museum has Today, the Jewish community numbers 25-35. Sabbath services are glass counters filled with currency and coins from around the world. held every Friday night, attended by Jews and non-Jews, locals, visiWe went to FEIMA, a park-plaza with a large circular walkway lined tors and some diplomats. There is no rabbi, so a local congregant leads with dozens of vendors offering local artwork, carvings, jewelry, and the service. everything else. But first we ordered chicken and fish seasoned with There are some unique customs. At the Passover Seder, the native herbs at the open-air restaurant. When we came back after buy- Charoset is made with locally-grown cashews. (Sounds yummy to me.) ing our “treasures” from the shops, the meal was ready and delicious. The prayer books are in Portuguese (still the official language), English Finally, we asked to visit the Maputo Synagogue. We drove a few (for visitors or diplomats), and, of course, much of the singing is in Heblocks and parked in front of a lovely white building surrounded by a brew. The services are a combination of Sephardic and Ashkenazic ritwell-trimmed lawn. Like some structures in Maputo, and like many syn- uals. But everyone gets along. With so few Jews, they must! agogues around the world, there was a locked gate and a security Mozambique is gradually emerging from a long period of colonializaguard. After a brief chat between Maria and the guard, he opened the tion, war, and deprivation. Likewise, the Jewish community is finding gate, and we were able to stroll around the grounds. The sign on the success as a small but vibrant part of that nation. building stated in Portuguese (we translated using our Spanish so the The following sources were used for additional research: Jewish Viraccuracy is not guaranteed): tual Library, Wikipedia, and a recent article in the Forward, In Mozam“This historic Synagogue of Maputo, under the auspices of Honen bique, A (Very) Small Jewish Community Thrives.

Annual Goldstein lecture

Continued from page 1 about author and social critic James Baldwin, tentatively titled James Baldwin’s America. Glaude writes of Baldwin: “Baldwin’s writing does not bear witness to the glory of America. It reveals the country’s sins, and the illusion of innocence that blinds us to the reality of others. Baldwin’s vision then requires a confrontation with history (with slavery, Jim Crow segregation, with whiteness) to overcome its hold on us. Not to posit the greatness of America, but to establish the ground upon which to imagine the country anew.” Dr. Glaude left his home in Moss Point, Mississippi at the age of 16 to begin his studies at Morehouse College. He holds a master’s degree in African American Studies from Temple University and a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton

University. He began teaching at Bowdoin College and has been a visiting scholar at Amherst College and Harvard. In 2011, he delivered Harvard’s Dubois Lectures. In 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Colgate University, delivering the commencement address, titled: Turning Our Backs. The 2018 Goldstein Lecture on Human Rights is sponsored by the UNO Religious Studies Department, the Goldstein Center for Human Rights, the Goldstein Family Community Chair in Human Rights, UNO SPHRS and the UNO Black Studies/Malcolm X Festival. For more information, please contact the Arts and Sciences/Religious Studies Department at 402.554.2628 or email unoreligion@unoma

Spring Arts & Crafts Show at Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs Make plans now to attend the annual Spring Arts and Crafts Show that will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 17-18 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The show is billed as one of Iowa's largest shows, with over 150 exhibitors presenting and selling thousands of unique, handmade products. Among the various products being sold at the show are oak and pine furniture, paintings and prints, ceramics, kids teepees, wall hangings, blankets, jewelry, pet products, etched and stained glass, yard and garden art, pottery, candles, clothing, quilts, aprons, pillows, doll clothes, rugs,place mats, table runners, purses, floral

arrangements and wreaths, wood and metal signs, soap and lotions, and many more original products. Exhibitors will also be selling coffee cakes, dips, salsa, soups, jams, jellies, cheese and sausage,wines, honey, food mixes and roasted nuts. All items offered for sale to the public are handmade by the exhibitor. Hours of the show are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 and children 10 and younger are free. Parking is free throughout the show. All patrons who attend the show on Saturday will receive a two-day re-entry stamp.





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Passover happenings at Beth Israel – Be a part of it!

maRy Sue gROSSmaN again looking forward to enjoying.” Smiling he added that Beth Israel Synagogue while their daughter, Rina, isn’t quite ready to ask the four njoy the second seder at Beth Israel Synagogue and questions, he knows there will be a great group of kids who join in the nationwide initiative Passover Across will sing the four questions with gusto. America, spearheaded by the National Jewish OutRabbi Ari also stressed that everyone should make sure to reach Project. The seder, led by Rabbi Ari Demb- find a group to join for the Passover seder, either at Beth Israel itzer, will take place Saturday evening, March 31, Synagogue or any other location. “Think about fellow Jews beginning at 7:30 p.m. you can invite to share in the Passover is one of the most celseder” he adds. Anyone in need ebrated Jewish holidays in the of a home in which to celebrate world as Jews join family and the first seder is encouraged to friends to celebrate the story of call the synagogue office. the exodus from Egypt through Beth Israel is honored to be acfood, story and song. Beth Israel’s cepted for the NJOP Passover Passover Across America seder Across America. NJOP*, an indewill follow this tradition and everypendent, non-denominational, nonone is invited to be a part of this very profit organization, was established in special event. Singles, couples, families, 1987 by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald young and old are all welcome. in response to the spiraling losses of The evening will begin with Mincha at 7:30 p.m. A seder Jews from Jewish life due to assimilaintroduction will immediately follow during which salad and tion and lack of Jewish knowledge. Through its highly innovafish will be served. Maariv and a short intermission will fol- tive and stimulating educational programming and influential low, with part two of the seder social media platforms, NJOP Pre-Passover Happenings at beth israel beginning at 8:30 p.m. conveys the relevance and viThe dinner menu will inbrancy of Judaism to contemJoin Rabbi Ari for two special Passover prep classes in March. clude matzo ball soup, tossed The first will be held on Sunday, march 18 at 10 a.m., entitled porary Jews by providing a salad, brisket, baked chicken, How to Make Pesach Kosher. The following week, on Sunday, greater understanding and mushroom farfel kugel, veg- march 25 also at 10 a.m., the topic will be The Haggadah – It’s a knowledge of the basics of Juetables, and dessert. Thanks to Lot More Than Just Four Questions. daism and Jewish life. Over the the generosity of NJOP, Beth last 30 years, more than 1.6 milShop the Beth Israel Gift Shop for all your Passover needs – Israel has received grant fund- non-food needs, that is! The gift shop is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m., mon- lion North American Jews have ing to help offset the costs of thu and 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Fridays. been engaged Jewishly through the seder, providing the opBeth Israel’s chometz burning will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, NJOP’s positive, joyous Jewish portunity to involve more peo- march 30. The form to sell chometz is available on the Beth Israel programs and experiences. ple than ever. The cost is $18 website and must be received in the synagogue office no later NJOP’s other renowned profor adults, $9 for children 4-12 than 10:30 a.m. on the 30th. grams include Read Hebrew and $5 for those under four America and Canada, ShabThe annual OU Guide to Passover is available in the Beth Israel who will be eating. Reserva- office during business hours. bat Across America and tions are needed by March 23 Canada, Passover, Sukkot and and can be made at or by calling Hanukkah Across America in addition to a variety of classes. 402.556.6288. After March 23, prices increase to $28 for For additional information on Passover or other happenadults and $18 for children. Anyone in need of financial as- ings at Beth Israel Synagogue, please visit the synagogue websistance to participate in the seder should contact the syna- site at or call 402.556.6288. Beth Israel’s gogue office at 402.556.6288. mission is to perpetuate the legacy of Torah Judaism in the A goal of the seder is to ensure that the attendees will have modern world and provide a home for those who wish to a beautiful experience and learn the meaning, explanations, learn about and observe halacha, Jewish law. Beth Israel Synand customs of the seder. This is a wonderful opportunity to agogue welcomes all persons of the Jewish faith to join and share the beauty of a Pesach Seder with members of the com- accepts the diversity of practice and thought among its memmunity. Rabbi Ari Dembitzer states, “Having a seder with our bers. Beth Israel offers a variety of religious, cultural and soextended Omaha Jewish family is an event Laura and I are cial programs throughout the year.

The Prophets and Social Justice at Beth El Ozzie NOgg Professor Gary Rendsburg — a world-renowned scholar of the Bible, Hebrew language and ancient Judaism at Rutgers University — will visit Beth El Synagogue as Scholar-in-Residence from Friday, March 16 through Sunday, March 18. His appearance is part of a series of adult education classes, Major Themes in the Minor Prophets: Social Justice, that have been offered by Professor Leonard Greenspoon and Rabbi Steven since the first of the year. The schedule for Dr. Rendsburg’s presentations include a discussion of the prophet Amos during Friday evening services on March 16; an examination of the writings of Hosea during Shabbat morning services and at lunch on March 17; and an adult education learning session on Isaiah and Micah on Sunday morning, March 18 at 11 a.m. According to Professor Greenspoon, the books of the 12 Minor Prophets — Hosea through Malachi — are little known beyond their names, though their writings contain a wealth of insights about beliefs and practices that are at the heart of Judaism. “The books of Amos, Hosea and Micah embody powerful prophetic voices,” Greenspoon said. “Their words, and the themes they emphasize, are as relevant today as when they were first uttered: social justice, the relationship between God and humans, and proper — as well as improper — ways to establish connections with God and with other humans. And, as these prophets make abundantly clear, all of these themes and the actions that flow from them are interconnected.” Professor Rendsburg participated in the 2002 Klutznick-

Harris Symposium: Food and Judaism, where he spoke on The Vegetarian Ideal in the Bible. During the 2007 Symposium: The Mountains Shall Drip Wine: Jews and the Environment, Professor Rendsburg presented From Desert to Sown: Israel’s Encounter With the Land of Canaan. “We’re excited to welcome Gary back to Omaha, this time to teach about the Prophets,” Rabbi Abraham said. “I know his lectures will be thought provoking and a unique learning experience for our congregants.” The Gary Rendsburg Scholar-in Residence weekend is sponsored by Marcel and Ilse Kahn.

Parshat Vayakel-Pekudei: A True Community

There are two Hebrew words for community. Kehal means a community for the sake of community. Eidah means a community devoted for an exalted purpose, to make this world spiritual. As we finish the Book of Exodus, Shmot, we recognize that the true value of community is what we Rabbi aRi do with it. We need to raise our community DembitzeR up to impact the world. We need to be a Beth Israel Synagogue true Eidah. Shabbat Shalom.

Israel at 70: Omaha Community Mission Annette vAn de kAMp Editor, Jewish Press Are you eager to connect with your Jewish heritage? Have you always wanted to see Tel Aviv, walk the streets of Jerusalem or visit the Western Galilee? Or maybe you’ve been to Israel, but you feel it’s time for a return trip? Now is your chance. One of the goals of the Jewish Federation of Omaha is to provide our community with unique ways to experience Jewish life around the globe.An informational meeting will be held Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. at Beth El Synagogue. From Aug. 1 through Aug. 9 (travel dates not included), the Jewish Federation of Omaha will offer the Omaha Community Mission. Cost of the trip is $3,200 per person with double occupancy ( does not include airfare). Included are all breakfasts, five dinners, three lunches and eight guided touring days on a luxury air-conditioned bus. All program and entrance fees are also included; the supplement for a single-occupancy room is $1,017. A $500 deposit is due by March 15. The trip starts in Tel Aviv, where you will walk or cycle along the beautiful boulevards of the White City of Tel Aviv. You will visit Independence Hall, where in 1948 David Ben Gurion declared Israeli Statehood. A culinary tasting tour through the Israeli Lewinsky shuk is part of the program and you will visit Israel’s new high-tech Taglit State of Mind Innovation Center. Next, the trip takes you to the Ayalon Institute Bullet Factory and the new Rabin Center; of course, in Tel Aviv, there is also beach time, so bring your sunscreen! Next, you will visit the North and the Galilee Region. Get an inside look at the Galilee Medical Center and drive through the Jordan Valley. You will see the fascinating and unique archaeological excavation of Beit She’an, at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley. Included is also a visit to the mystical city of Safed, which is not to be missed. Its synagogues, galleries and shops are a

Training Company

Sunday, March 18 at 4 p.m. in the Jewish Community Center Theater, the JCC Dance Training Company performs their annual show, called rip•ple ef•fect. The Training Company is the Jewish Community Center’s elite audition dance company for ages 12 to 18. It provides dancers with a setting unlike regular classes or an annual recital. It builds teamwork, technique, unity and lifelong friendships.

highlight of any trip north. There will be tours of the Syrian and Lebanon borders as well as a Jeep ride in the Golan Heights. You can kayak on the Jordan river and rappel and zip line over Hula Valley, visit an IDF base and have a barbecue dinner with Israeli soldiers. Of course, the water caves of Rosh Hanikra are a must-see. Through it all, you will meet new friends and see for yourself the impact our Omaha Jewish community has in the Western Galilee. You will conclude your trip in Jerusalem. Pray at the Kotel, take a walking tour through the old city of Jerusalem and gaze at the spectacular panorama of the city from Mt. Olive. With Jerusalem as your home base, you can take a virtual tour of the Second Temple and ride a camel, have dinner in Abraham’s tent at the Land of Genesis and swim and lunch at the Dead Sea. There will be a special tour of Yad Vashem. Get to the top of Massada via the cable car ride or take an optional sunrise hike up the mountain. The waterfalls at Ein Gedi are a welcome respite for any traveler — you’ll think you’re in paradise. Of course, there is shopping both in swanky Mamilla and at the Mahane Yehuda market. For more shopping and to enjoy Jerusalem’s busy nightlife, Ben Yehuda is your destination. A community subsidy of $1,000 per adult and $1,500 per child through the Israel experience Grant is available for donors to the Jewish Federation of Omaha Campaign, with an increased gift for 2019 and 2020. To sign up, download the application at http://www.jewi ssion%202018%20info%20and%20Application.pdf and email or bring to Senior Director of Community Impact and Special Projects Louri Sullivan at lsullivan@jewishoma You can also call Louri Sullivan if you need additional information: 402.334.6485.

seating and name in program.

To purchase tickets, please contact the JCC Registrar at 402.334.6419. Cost: General Admission $15 and Child/Student $10. Patron Tickets: Choreographer: $100. 2 tickets, reserved seating and name in program; Director: $150. 4 tickets, reserved seating and name in program; Producer: $200. 6 tickets, reserved

The Jewish Press | March 9, 2018 | 5

community The healing power of pilates

MAggIe thoMAS Fitness Trainer, Jewish Community Center Pilates is well known for its unique ability to improve strength, flexibility, and posture. However, the principles of Pilates also make it possible for people with chronic pain to stay active and even reduce their symptoms of pain. The Pilates principles: breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular movement, and head and cervical placement ensure a safe and effective workout for all participants. Under the right instruction, Pilates has the potential to improve the quality of life for individuals who suffer from chronic pain. “I would estimate that two-thirds of the population have back pain or will experience it at some point in their lives. In the majority of these cases, it is caused by poor posture and/or muscular imbalances, such as a weak core,” Physical therapist Kevin Almquist states. “Pelvic alignment is the starting point for improving core strength and rehabilitating the low back.” During instruction, proper alignment is the first step of every exercise. Starting in the right posture helps activate the intended muscles and allows the rest of the body to stay relaxed. JCC Pilates Instructor Meg comments on the importance of breathing mechanics to stay relaxed through a workout. “One of the key principles of Pilates is breathing. Breathing correctly helps clients stay relaxed and reduces the need to tense while performing exercises. It teaches the body to work hard while staying relaxed through the neck and shoulders. This hopefully transfers to their daily lives and reduces neck and shoulder pain.” Deb Sherman, JCC member, attests to the healing power of Pilates in her fitness routine. “Pilates can be so individualized. When I train with Holly (JCC Pilates instructor), we focus on specific exercises that engage my core without aggravating my back. She’s (Holly) learned what exercises eliminate my pain and leave me feeling invigorated.” With consistent practice Pilates can reduce pain in the knees, back, shoulders, and neck by restoring the natural curves of the spine. It also can provide an effective workout that tones muscles without stressing the joints. Whether it is on the mat, in a class or on the reformer, Pilates will help you move with ease.

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6 | The Jewish Press | March 9, 2018

community Mega Teen Trip: Lauren Kirk

The Omaha Teen Trip to Israel is a collaborative project led by the Jewish Federation of Omaha, Beth El Synagogue, Temple Israel, and Beth Israel Synagogue. The purpose of the mission is to bring Jewish Omaha Teens to Israel to experience the Jewish Homeland, connect with Israelis, and connect with each other. As a way of saying “thank you” to the community, the teens are writing about their experiences and sharing them with the community via The Jewish Press throughout the year. In addition to being led and financially supported by each Omaha Synagogue and the Jewish Federation of Omaha, The 2017-2018 Teen Trip was supported in part by The Herbert Goldsten Trust, the Phillip & Terri Schrager Supporting Foundation, the Lois Jeanne Schrager Memorial Fund, the Carl L. Frohm Educational Custodial Fund, the Milton S. & Corrine N. Livingston Foundation Fund, the Shirley & Leonard Goldstein Supporting Foundation, and the JFO Foundation Special Donor Advised Funds. Thank you to all who supported this effort. lauren kirk Choosing to go on the teen trip to Israel was the best decision I have ever made. While on the trip, I was able to experience so many things I would never have been able to do if hadn’t gone. I was able to forge new friendships with different teens from synagogues other than the one I go to, who I hadn’t met before, and I was able to see beautiful sights all around the state of Israel. From seeing the Western Wall for the first time, to staying with an Israeli host family for four days, the trip was amazing. My favorite part of the entire experience was getting the opportunity to stay with an Israeli host family. We spent Shabbat with our host family and we were able to experience how people in Israel observe Shabbat. We went for an RV ride along the beach and had a picnic lunch right by the sea. The Mediterranean was incredibly beautiful. Also, we got to know some of the other teens who lived in the kibbutz, and I still am in contact with all of them. We would walk around the kibbutz, hang out and dance on the beach and have fun in the youth lounge they usually spend time in. Overall, the host family experience made me never want to leave Israel. I loved living how Israelis live and being able to experience Israel in that way. Not only was being able to see Israel for the first time a highlight of the trip, but being able to make new friends I probably wouldn’t have been able to meet was amazing. We had many fun times in the hostels at night and on the many bus rides throughout the trip. We somehow managed to make a 20-hour bus ride fun and entertaining. This trip was such an amazing experience, and I would like to thank everyone who made it possible. I can’t wait until the next time I am able to visit Israel.


Meet Micha Solomon

Gabby blair start the next leg of his journey. He met and Staff Writer, Jewish Press married his wife Kathleen and the couple anting more from the gym welcomed their first child, a daughter, last than you are getting? Are year. Solomon opened Invictus Fitness in the you ready to take whole I-80 Business Park, 6320 S. 118th St. (behealth fitness seriously? tween Q Street and Harrison St.), in NovemNot sure where to start? ber and already has a dedicated clientele. Check out Omaha’s very own Invictus Fit- Solomon credits his early success to the fact ness and prepare for a transformation of that his clients feel the difference of the Inyour body, inside and out! victus Gym program. “People Owned and operated by are comfortable here, regardMaster Trainer, Micha less of their fitness level when Solomon, Invictus Fitness is they begin. Working on whole more than just another gym; health helps people not only it is a program specially tailook better, but more imporlored to help each individual tantly, feel better. That is what achieve their total health goal. Invictus is about.” Born in Johannesburg, When asked about his gym, South Africa, Micha immiit is clear that Micha is doing grated to the USA as a young what he loves. “My passion is child. After graduating from the study of the human body Millard North, he devoted and helping others learn how himself to studying anatomy to get, feel, and remain healthy and health, earning a degree while achieving their total, in Exercise Science and Nuwhole body, health objectives,” Micha Solomon trition with certifications he explains. “I like to think of from the National Academy of Sports Medi- myself as a bio-hacker. Bio-hacking is like cine and National Strength and Conditioning computer hacking, but hacking the biology Association. Solomon specializes in the art of our body and surrounding environment of fitness and has worked with a wide array in order to function at an optimal level cogof people; from beginners to professional nitively and athletically. Our bodies are imathletes and celebrities, even Olympians. pacted by our genes, the foods we eat and the After leaving Omaha, Solomon started his environments we are exposed to. All of these course of studies, training in New York/New factors impact how our bodies function and Jersey before moving to Los Angeles. Along how we feel, with no two bodies being alike.” with personal training, he also works along- Solomon goes on to explain, “There has side professional doctors promoting and been a sharp rise in inflammation and auto bringing new life to individuals with the aid immune diseases in our population, along of bioidentical hormone replacement ther- with many other factors that negatively imapy. The HRT combined with his nutrition pact our health, contributing to innumerable plans and training helps his clients feel ailments. At Invictus Fitness, the goal is not young again and restores vitality. just aesthetic; it’s about correcting and healIn 2009 Solomon chose to emigrate to Is- ing bodies from the inside out by examining rael where he played professional rugby for nutrition, environment and activity. My goal the Israeli National Team and Olympic 7's for each person who comes in to train is for Team. He then joined the army where he was them to achieve a level of optimum performstationed as the head fitness and Krav ance, specifically for their body, by taking all Maga(Self Defense) instructor in the elite factors into account. This approach helps counter-terrorism unit where he spent his foster motivation and does improve overall time training the special forces of the United health, strength, stamina and functionality States as well as the Israeli army. Putting his of one’s body; much more beneficial than expertise in physical fitness to use, he was just using the gym to lose a few pounds. The able to successfully implement a program physical aesthetic results will come as the that improved the overall physical health overall body health is improved.” and ability of soldiers, in addition to focusStop by, call, or email Invictus Fitness and ing on injury-prevention techniques. After discover how Micha can help you achieve his completion of service, he started a pre- your whole body health and fitness goals, army program training young individuals today! I-80 Business Park, 6320 S. 118th from around the world in order to prepare Street (between Q Street and Harrison St.); them for the Special Forces in the IDF. 402.739.2149; In 2015 he returned to Omaha, ready to

The Jewish Press | March 9, 2018 | 7

Annual Langers lunch

Pictured are: Yoshi Zweiback, former Omahan, now in La, Rabbi of Stephen S. Wise Congregation; left; Steve Bloch, Omaha; Kieth Liberman, former Omahan, now in La; David Wintroub, former Omahan, now in La; Mike Erman, half Omaha, half La; Carl Riekes, Omaha; Mort glass, former Omahan now in newport Beach, Ca; Jacob Savage, formerly of new York City, now in La and boyfriend of Lexie newman; Marshall Becker, Omaha; Murray newman, Omaha; Richard Merfeld, La resident, friend of norm Veitzer and annual attendee; Sheldon Rips, former Omahan, now in La; Mike Meyer, former Omahan, now in Laguna Beach, Ca; gary gitnick, former Omahan, now in La; and norm Veitzer, Omaha,

Temple Israel Passover Family Seder Cat King Temple Israel Director of Engagement and Communications Temple Israel’s Passover Family Seder is going beyond the traditional and incorporating some exciting enhancements this year! The food is as good as always, but the Seder itself has fun new surprises. We are so excited to announce some changes to our already-wonderful family Seder. As always, this is a family-friendly gathering, and members of every generation will find something in the new format that brings them joy. The annual search for the Afikoman is eagerly anticipated by the children in attendance, and this year it’s going to be a real mystery to solve! The story-telling of the Haggadah will allow everyone to participate. And we are adding to the fun with new activities such as Play-Doh Passover illustrations where each table gets to creatively interpret a portion of the Passover story. You’ve never had so much fun at a Seder! If you are looking for a Seder to join for the second night of Passover, there is a place for you at Temple Israel’s Family Seder on Saturday, March 31 at 6 p.m. Maybe, for whatever reason, you can’t host a Seder of your own. Maybe you’re new to the community or find yourself without an invitation this year. Perhaps you are attending a Seder on the first night of Passover and you love sharing the second night with your Temple Israel family. And maybe you just want to check out our exciting new approach! If our Passover Fam-

ily Seder is not already your tradition, this is the year you can make it so. Temple Israel is proud of the beautiful Seder we host each year for one to two hundred of our members. The meal itself is always amazing and this year is no different as we will be serving roast brisket, matzah ball soup, potato kugel, salad, chocolatedipped macaroons for dessert, and all the traditional favorites such as charoset, gefilte fish, and, of course, lots of matzah. You don’t have to cook a thing or wash a dish, making it easier to just sit back and enjoy yourself, which is part of why we celebrate Pesach in the first place. Whether you come every year or this will be your first time to Temple Israel’s Family Seder, we look forward to seeing you there. Please note: Elijah is the only one who can show up without a reservation! We need you to RSVP by March 23 so we can plan this beautiful meal. Your payment is your reservation, and we are grateful to those who make this meal possible and help us keep our costs low. Dinner is only $27 per adult and $14 for children ages six through 12. There is no cost for children five and under. The cost increases to $37 and $24 after the RSVP deadline, so be sure to make your reservation today, and no later than March 23. The Passover Seder is a treasured tradition that allows us to retell the story of our history with creativity, joy, laughter, and hope. This year at Temple Israel we are going above and beyond and we invite you to join us at our table.

8 | The Jewish Press | March 9, 2018

Beth El women keep calm and cast on...


High School Seniors and Parents

We will be publishing our annual High School Graduation Class pages on May 18, 2018. To be included, fill out the form below with a photo and send it to us or you can email the information and photo to: by May 1, 2018. High School Senior Information ______________________________________ Name ______________________________________ Parent(s)’ Name(s) ______________________________________ Current High School ______________________________________ College you plan to attend Send by May 1, 2018 to:


333 So. 132 St. | Omaha, NE 68154

OzzIE NOgg rive at Personal Threads by 5:45 p.m., so staff have time to There’s growing evidence that knitting can induce a relaxed help them choose a ball of yarn and appropriate needles. “Exstate, like that associated with meditation and yoga. In fact, perienced knitters can come at 5:45 p.m., too,” Judy Brookstein picking up a ball of yarn and knitting needles has become a said, “to explore the yarn selections. And please bring any cursocial phenomenon that many call ‘wool therapy.’ Local enthu- rent projects you’re working on so we can all see them. Knitsiasts include Judy Brookstein and Sibby Wolfson, co-chairs of ting for everyone begins at 6:15 p.m. By the end of the evening, Beth El’s A Nite to KNIT! scheduled for Wednesday, March newbies will know how to knit the basic stitches, and we en28, from 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at Personal Threads Boutique, courage the experienced knitters who join us to share their 8600 Cass. The program is part of Beth El’s Miriam Initiative. knowledge with us.” The program is limited to 20 participants. “At the Miriam Initiative kick-off event last fall, I mentioned “Knitting connects us with things dear to our hearts,” Judy to Joanie Jacobson, the Initiative’s said. “Family, friends, community, General Chairperson, that I and it can even be a form of thought knitting might be a nice tzedekah when we give the work way to bring women together,” of our hands to others — an Judy Brookstein said, “and the idea afghan to the Blumkin Home, a took off from there. I’ve been takknitted hat for a cancer patient. ing knitting classes at Personal There’s something very special Threads for the past four years, so about spending hours, days, I volunteered to speak to the ownweeks, even months on a project, ers, Joe and Julie Wynn. They’re then seeing it completed and excited about the opportunity to knowing you made it one stitch at host our group, as are the very cre- Judy Brookstein, left, Personal Threads Boutique owner a time. Whether you make the ative women who work and teach Joe Wynn and Sibby Wolfson. The two women, co-chairs item for yourself, a loved one or a at the boutique. I don’t paint, draw, of Beth El's A Nite to KNIT!, say a visit to the shop is like stranger, it truly is a work of art sculpt, sew or play a musical in- spending time in a candy store. and one of a kind.” strument, but I can knit, and I love it. Knitting gives me the “A Nite to KNIT! is just what we hoped for when we started opportunity to create something beautiful with my own hands.” The Miriam Initiative,” Joanie Jacobson said. “Beth El women Sibby Wolfson admits she has “taken up knitting” four or coming up with great programming ideas and making them five times. “This time I started knitting again when we moved happen. There are so many areas of interest to explore, and back to Omaha from New York City in June of 2016,” she said. thanks to women like Judy Brookstein, Sibby Wolfson and Dr. “It takes my mind off of everything, it’s great problem solving Liora (Lou) Lukas — who brought us Enchanted Circles — practice, and knitting with a group of women at my weekly we’re able to present two programs this month that weren’t Personal Threads class is pretty wonderful. We show each originally on this year's calendar. The energy is so positive other our work, discuss colors, textures, stitches. We talk about and future prospects are great.” music, share our thoughts about politics, and discuss everyThe entrance to Personal Threads Boutique, 8600 Cass St., thing we’re involved in when we aren’t knitting. I've gotten to is on the North side of the building. Take the elevator to the know some really interesting women while learning how to 2nd floor. For A Nite to KNIT! reservations, contact Judy do a cable stitch, and I’m pretty sure knitting is now a perma- Brookstein, 402.493.3642, or email: by nent part of my life.” Judy also belongs to a knitting group. “Six Friday, March 23. of us meet weekly at Personal Threads for two hours of knitThe Miriam Initiative is a new concept in women’s proting, deciding on our next projects with help from a terrific gramming at Beth El -- a series of ongoing projects and proinstructor, plus free-wheeling discussions about every topic grams created, developed and presented by Beth El women. imaginable. The shop is so beautiful and there’s always luscious The Initiative welcomes all women who want to participate new yarn to admire. It’s like spending time in a candy store.” at any level from leadership to fellowship. Call the synagogue During A Nite to KNIT!, novice knitters should plan to ar- 402.492.8550 for more information.

Conversations with the Clergy kick-off CAT KINg Temple Israel Director of Engagement and Communications What we used to call Reform Jewish Outreach has been updated and rebranded as Audacious Hospitality by the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Defined as “the focused effort to embrace our diversity and reach out to those currently not engaged in Jewish life,” it is one of the four core priorities of the URJ 2020 Vision. Temple Israel, a URJ-affiliated congregation, is proud of its history of embracing diversity and inclusion over the years, and we are proud to have kicked off a major new engagement initiative that has Audacious Hospitality written all over it. Conversations with the Clergy is an engagement initiative that was dreamed up by Rabbi Brian Stoller, our new Senior Rabbi. It is a longterm program that will come to life one gathering at a time. Congregants will be invited to attend a “Conversation with the Clergy” hosted by fellow congregants in their homes. The purpose of the Conversation with the Clergy is to facilitate small-group conversations to build and strengthen our holy community, and to ensure our members feel known, loved, inspired, valued, accepted, safe and enriched. We want everyone to be inspired to add value and to feel valued as a member of the congregation. In other words, Audacious Hospitality. Rabbi Stoller announced this initiative in his Installation Remarks, in November 2017. “In the coming months, we’re going to begin a congregational conversation about these things. We’ll meet in small groups in people’s homes and have coffee together, share our stories, and talk about why we’re here, and what we hope being part of Temple will add to our lives. Tonight, I invite you to participate in this conversation, and I hope you will. Maybe you’ll host a coffee in your home. Maybe you’ll come because a friend asks you to. However you participate, I want you to invest yourself in your Jewish life and take ownership of it.” To realize this goal, Rabbi Stoller hired Cat King as Temple Israel’s first Director of Engagement and Communications and tasked her with creating Conversations with the Clergy. A congregant of 12 years, Cat has over 18 years of experience as an instructional designer, and she applied her talents to the design of this initiative. Sally Kaplan and Lester Katz,

both masters in their respective crafts of social work and interior design, also helped design and deploy the initiative. Because each Conversation with the Clergy brings together a blended audience, there is a need for some structure in order to bring out people’s stories while still staying within a reasonable time frame, so Cat is on hand to facilitate each one. On Feb. 22, the first Conversation with the Clergy was launched at the home of Rosie Zweiback, Temple Israel’s current President. Eight guests joined Rabbi Stoller, Cat, and Rosie and shared their stories with each other. How long have you been a member of Temple Israel? What brought you here? What keeps you here? And what is something people here might not know about you? Four questions frame the storytelling and everyone participated joyfully. There was a married couple who converted together, others who were born and raised Jewish, a few who moved to Omaha from other states, and some who grew up in Omaha and have been members of Temple Israel their whole lives. Stories were shared over homemade apple cake and many questions were asked. At the end, someone said joyfully, “That felt like an episode of Moth Radio!” referring to the lively storytelling show on NPR. After Rabbi Stoller concluded the first conversation with the Shehecheyanu prayer, everyone stuck around to socialize, a true sign of success. It was incredible. It was beautiful. It was audacious. Conversations with the Clergy will continue for all of 2018 and possibly beyond. Built into the design of the initiative is the idea that every member of Temple Israel should be invited, eventually, to a gathering. If any members would like to be invited sooner than later, they are encouraged to contact Cat King to sign up as a host or an invitee. The 2020 vision of the URJ and Rabbi Stoller’s vision for the Congregation of Temple Israel could not be more aligned. “I want to take this journey together and discover our portals together and elevate our lives together. I want to know you. I want you to know each other – not superficially, but in a real, meaningful way. And I want all of us to know God, and the power of Judaism to transform our lives... This is my vision of synagogue life in the 21st century. I hope you will join me in making it a reality.” Audacious Hospitality indeed.

The Jewish Press | March 9, 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.

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Royal visit

ANNETTE vAN DE KAMP Editor, Jewish Press Prince William, who some day might be King, is planning a visit to Israel: “The Duke of Cambridge will visit Israel, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the Summer,” Thursday’s announcement on the Facebook account of the British Embassy in Israel read. The visit, according to the statement, “is at the request of Her Majesty’s Government and has been welcomed by the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities.” It contained no further details. ( Why is this a big deal? First off, no British Royal has made an official state visit to Israel since 1948’s Independence. The official reason: in fighting for independence from the British Mandate, the Zionist movement fought British nationals. Unofficially. It has been seen as something of a boycott. Since 1948, members of the royal family have made unofficial visits, most notably in 2016, when Prince Charles attended the funeral of Shimon Peres and took a side trip to visit his grandmother’s grave in Jerusalem. Princess Alice of Battenburg, Charles’ paternal grandmother, is buried at the Mount of Olives’ Church of Mary Magdalene because she saved a Jewish family during the Holocaust. The Princess’ story is interesting: congenitally deaf, born in 1885, she was married to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (yes, he was Prince of two completely different countries) and spent most of her life in Greece, which is where she hid a Jewish woman and two of her children from the Nazis. She moved to Windsor Castle to live with her son and daughter in law, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1967. She died two years later and was interred at Windsor castle. But in 1988, according to her

personal wishes, her body was moved to Jerusalem, where she has rested ever since. In 1994, her son Prince Philip attended a ceremony at Yad Vashem, honoring her memory. It is probable that, had princess Alice not been interred at Mount Olives, no British royal would have visited Israel at all.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge Credit: Chris Jackson/Pool/Getty Images

“A Telegraph report in late 2015 said British royals were unlikely to visit Israel before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. ‘The Royal family can’t really go there,” a British government source told the newspaper at the time. “In Israel so much politics is caught up in the land itself that it’s best to avoid those complications altogether by not going there.’” (Times of Israel, 2016) Now, all that changes with Prince William’s visit. This is Big News, inspiring headlines from The Guardian to The New York Times.

There are reasons for this shift in British policy, says Israeli paper Haaretz, calling the announced visit “a sign of Britain’s diminished status in the world.” That diminished status has much to do with Brexit, which isn’t going too well and causing numerous problems for Great Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May-- both at home and across the rest of Europe. With Europe looking at Great Britain as if it is a pouty child who got herself in this mess, May is going to need to find support elsewhere. Maybe America? But the United States has President Trump, who is close with Prime Minister Netanyahu. In addition, Great Britain relies on Israeli technology and intelligence in the fight against terror, meaning: the Brits need Israel more than vice versa. Talk about a reversal. Luckily, Great Britain has one thing neither the U.S. nor Israel has: royals. Like an ace-in-the-hole, they can produce a Prince who, with much fanfare, can be paraded around to show goodwill. At least, that’s what Haaretz claims. Of course, we’re not necessarily talking about objective journalism here, but that’s nothing new when it comes to news about British royals. Whether a remnant of an archaic institution or a lovely tradition that is not so secretly admired and envied by countries that do without, royalty still means something. A real live Prince like William is, more than anything, a symbol. He does not make policy, he does not comment on world affairs; he doesn’t affect outcomes or create law. So what is he then? It’s a little bit like loaning Bibi a shiny toy to play with, to borrow and take pictures with. A P.R. move, in other words. But that’s what royal visits are, after all: a boost for Public Relations. My question is: what exactly is in it for Israel?

Why Wayne LaPierre’s CPAC speech freaked out Jews and heartened anti-Semites ANDREW SiLOW-CARROLL JTA I don’t know if Wayne LaPierre is anti-Semitic. In many ways, I don’t care if Wayne LaPierre is antiSemitic. But the executive vice president of the NRA gave a speech this week that was heard as anti-Semitic by two kinds of people: left-leaning Jews and hard-right anti-Semites. Let’s agree that’s troubling. Speaking at CPAC, the annual arch-conservative gathering, LaPierre accused proponents of gun control of promoting “socialism” in the guise of public health and safety. Behind this “social engineering,” he said, are the billions of dollars donated by “people like George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer and more.” The fact that he singled out three Jews -- and later, the late Jewish community organizer Saul Alinsky -- was alarming to two columnists for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Bradley Burston wrote that LaPierre’s defense of gun rights “included expressions of dog-whistle anti-Semitism reminiscent of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ with descriptions of a powerful plot to destroy America’s freedom by ‘European-style Socialists’ who he said had taken over the Democratic Party.” Rabbi Avraham Bronstein of Long Island’s Hampton Synagogue wrote that LaPierre “delivered a Christian nationalist call to arms that should be chilling to us all.” The anti-Semitic fringe heard the same things in LaPierre’s speech. “The NRA Representing White People Against the Jews” blared a headline in the Daily Stormer, the neo-Nazi website. LaPierre “knows it’s Jews coming for our guns,” wrote Andrew Anglin, the site’s founder. Another neo-Nazi website, Infostormer, declared, “There is no denying the Jewish role in pushing for gun control and it is good to see that the NRA is now indirectly exposing this fact.” Neo-Nazis hear what they want to hear -- the obscene flip side of Jews who are too quick to cry anti-Semitism. Neither are completely reliable judges of what is and isn’t anti-Semitism. Jonathan Tobin of the Jewish News Syndicate noted that Soros is “arguably the nation’s leading funder of liberal causes” and that Bloomberg has

put his money behind an organization, Everytown for Gun Safety, that decries the National Rifle Association’s influence. “If you were amassing a list of prominent opponents of the NRA, such as the one LaPierre spouted about,” Tobin wrote, “it would be impossible to do so without naming many Jews primarily or even solely known for their politics.” That seems fair and accurate, and it would ex-

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md., Feb. 22, 2018. Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call onerate LaPierre if his speech were a reasoned, careful consideration of the challenges to the NRA’s agenda. But because LaPierre’s address was an emotional defense of the Second Amendment, as opposed to one that was legal or intellectual, it’s fair to explore the emotional impact of the words he chose. Soros and Bloomberg? Naming either or both is a surefire way of riling up a conservative crowd -- but is that solely because of the causes they back or because they represent an insidious archetype? Perhaps most CPAC members can identify Alinsky, who died in 1972 -- or does the name itself signify something alien and ethnic? Beyond the name checks, LaPierre also delivered an anti-socialist manifesto combined with a religious sermon about providential destiny. The constitutional right to bear arms “is not bestowed by man, but granted by God to all Americans as our

American birthright,” said LaPierre, channeling a largely Christian theology that merges Americanism and religion. Some Jews might agree, although the more typical Jewish approach is to acknowledge that while rights derive from the obligation of all humans to God, government is instituted among mortals to interpret and secure those rights. Regardless, the notion that something so peculiar to the American experience as gun rights is God-given is something you’d rarely hear outside of an NRA rally. I assume LaPierre believes all Americans have the right to bear arms, but this argument appeals almost exclusively to a religious minority (and a minority of a minority at that: A Pew study says evangelicals are as likely to back stricter gun laws as most other Americans). Which is to say, words matter, and LaPierre chose words meant to appeal to a particular audience -one that quakes at the notion of a socialist takeover of America and shivers at the idea of godless billionaires who would take away our rights. I wouldn’t call that anti-Semitism, but it is certainly a gambit that comes straight out of an anti-Semitic playbook. At the very least it echoes the paranoid-style populism that has almost always defined Jews as Other. In thinking about anti-Semitism, I am always drawn back to what former Harvard President Lawrence Summers said about the connection between harsh anti-Israelism and old-fashioned Jew hatred. “[P]rofoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities,” he said. “Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent.” I would hesitate before calling anyone -- a campus BDS activist or the leader of the NRA -- an anti-Semite. I can’t judge their intent. But I can note the effect of their words and actions. And if they do edge too close to classic anti-Semitic tropes -- that territory where hostility to Jews thrives -- I think it is fair and necessary to point it out. Andrew Silow-Carroll is the editor in chief of JTA.

10 | The Jewish Press | March 9, 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 event: Join us for our monthly Shabbat Speakers Series on March 9, at 7:30 p.m. with guest speaker Ruth Meints, Executive Director of the The Omaha Conservatory of Music. 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: Tot Shabbat Pre-Neg, 5:30 p.m.; Tot Shabbat with Yoni Doron, 6 p.m.; Kabbalat Shabbat, 6 p.m. saturday: Shabbat Morning Services, 9:30 a.m. Bar Mitzvah of noah Blair; Junior Congregation, 10 a.m.; Mincha following Shabbat Morning Services. weekday serVices: Sundays, 9:30 a.m. & 5:30 p.m.; weekdays, 7 a.m. & 5:30 p.m. sunday: BESTT Classes (K-7), 9:30 a.m.; Torah Study, 10 a.m.; USY Board and Lunch, noon. Monday: Women’s Book Group Meeting and Annual Potluck Dinner, 6:30 p.m. at the home of Debi Kutler. tuesday: The Ethical Life with Rabbi Abraham, noon at Whole Foods; Chesed Committee visits Remington Heights, 2 p.m. wednesday: BESTT Classes (Grades 3-7), 4:15 p.m.; USY Program, 5:15 p.m.; Minor Prophets with Professor Leonard Greenspoon, 6 p.m.; BESTT Hebrew High Classes, 6:30 p.m.; The Ethical Life with Rabbi Abraham, 7 p.m. thursday: Hebrew Reading in your Pajamas, 8 p.m. For access to this online class, email Hazzan Krausman at Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Gary Rendsburg, Friday-saturday, March 16-18. Shabbat’s Cool, saturday, March 17, 10 a.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, 6:06 p.m.; Shabbat Across America Dinner, 6:45 p.m. saturday: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Insights into the Weekly Torah Portion, 5:05 p.m. with Rabbi Ari; Mincha/Seudah Shlishit, 5:50 p.m.; Havdalah, 7:07 p.m. sunday: Shacharit, 9 a.m. weekdays: Creating Spiritual Life, 7:45 a.m. with Rabbi Ari. Monday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Talmudic Tales with Rabbi Shlomo, noon at the JCC library. tuesday: Shacharit, 7 a.m. wednesday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Board of Commissioners Meeting, 6:30 p.m. thursday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Connecting to Our Fatih, 9:30 a.m. with Rabbi Ari.

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, 6:09 p.m.; Shabbat Evening Service, 6:30 p.m.; Oneg, 7:30 p.m. saturday: Shabbat Morning Service, 9:30 a.m.; Torah Study on Parashat Vayakhel-Pekude, 10:30 a.m.; Havdalah (72 minutes), 7:40 p.m. sunday: No LJCS Classes; Adult Beginning Hebrew,

11:30 a.m.; Come learn and play Pickleball, 7-9 p.m. All equipment furnished. Wear comfortable clothing. For questions, call or text Miriam Wallick at tuesday: Intro to Judaism: History II — Modernity, 7 p.m. wednesday: No LJCS Hebrew School. thursday: Sebouh Asianian lecture, 7 p.m. at Gaughan Multicultural Center, Unity Room. LJCS CAMP ISRAEL is gearing up for another great twosession July 9–July 20, 2018. Make plans for your child to attend this summer. 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.

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 Comes to You at Remington Heights, 4 p.m.; Shabbat Service, 6 p.m.; Grade 6 Retreat, 6 p.m. saturday: Temple Tots Shabbat, 9 a.m.; Torah Study, 9:15 a.m.; Shabbat Service, 10:30 a.m.; Bat Mitzvah of lauren dolson, daughter of racquel and tom dolson. sunday: Kids’ Choir, 9:30 a.m.; Grades PreK-6, 10 a.m.; Temple Israel Book Club, 10:30 a.m.; Caring Committee Meeting, 10:30 a.m.; OTYG Board Meeting, noon; Religious School Steering Committee Meeting, noon. 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: Shome’a T’filah: Listen Intentionally, 6:30 p.m. with Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin. thursday: Jewish Heroes, Heroines, and Personalities: Rabbi Akiva, 10 a.m. taught by Rabbi Steven Abraham, Beth El Synagogue. Class meets at Temple Israel. Shabbat with OTYG, friday, March 16, 6 p.m. Join OTYG for services at Temple Israel, followed by a fun activity. No Religious School, March 18 Jewish Heroes, Heroines, and Personalities: Leonard Bernstein and Arnold Schoenberg, with Cantor Wendy Shermet, thursday, March 22, 10 a.m. Through study of their writings, speeches, and music, along with biblical and historical sources, we will learn about some of the most fascinating

personalities who have shaped the Jewish experience from ancient times to the modern day. All classes will meet at Temple Israel.

tifereth israel

Services conducted by lay leader Nancy Coren. Office hours: Monday-friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. friday: Services, 6:30 p.m. saturday: Shabbat Morning service, 10 a.m.; Junior Congregation, 11 a.m.; Please join us after services for a light Kiddush Lunch. sunday: No LJCS Classes; We will be cleaning our kitchen for Passover in the morning; Come learn and play Pickleball, 7-9 p.m. All equipment furnished. Wear comfortable clothing. For questions, call or text Miriam Wallick at miriam wednesday: No LJCS Hebrew School — LPS Spring Break. thursday: Hebrew classes for adults, 6:30-7:30 p.m., with Esti Sheinberg. Each meeting will include listening, speaking and a little reading. Jewish Book Club, sunday, March 18, 1:30 p.m. at Walt Library and will discuss The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild Side by Steve Sheinkin and Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution by Julia Alekseyeva. Please contact Laura French with any questions. You're part of the puzzle...Don't be a missing piece! Join us for a Communal Seder at Tifereth Israel. You can choose from 2 options: friday, March 30, 6 p.m. — A Passover Seder for all ages. saturday, March 31, 6 p.m. — A Seder geared for extended families with children ages 0-13. Reserve a Place Now for yourself and your family! Cost: Free to all but donations to help defray expenses may be contributed to the Lay-leader Discretionary Fund. RSVP to the office at 402.423.8569 to say you're coming or e-mail 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. As you start to make summer plans, consider sending your child to LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, July 9–July 20, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at Tifereth Israel. Light Kosher dairy snack and lunch included. Tuition for each week is $75. This program is open to children ages 5-14. We require ALL campers to be registered through the LJCS, therefore we cannot accept drop-in guests.

early deadline notice

The deadline for the April 6 issue is tuesday, March 27, 9 a.m. Questions? Call 402.334.6448.

Belgian watchdog slams anti-Semitic caricature JTA Belgium’s main watchdog on anti-Semitism accused a local cartoonist who was honored at Iran’s Holocaust mockery festival of drawing a Nazi-like caricature of White House adviser Stephen Miller. Luc Descheemaeker, who in 2016 received a $1,000 prize from Tehran at its annual cartoon contest about the genocide, published the caricature of Miller in January. Miller, who is Jewish, appears as having a hooked-nose, oversized ears and fleshy lips. On Twitter, Descheemaeker hashtagged it “Influencer.” “A caricature normally exaggerates facial features,” Joel Rubinfeld, president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, said this week about the caricature. “But these three features are classic elements of anti-Semitic caricatures like the ones of Der Sturmer,” he added, referencing a propaganda publication of Nazi Germany. “And they’re not very prominent in Miller’s face.” Coupled with the “Influencer” hashtag and in view of “previous anti-Semitic works by Descheemaeker, this is quite clearly an anti-Semitic caricature,” Rubinfeld said. Descheemaeker, who in 2016 was named “cultural ambassador” of his municipality of Torhout, did not reply to JTA’s requests for a comment.

e City Council there also did not reply to repeated queries. Descheemaeker’s previous works include a caricature featuring a stereotypical Orthodox Jew waiting to bludgeon an Arab mother and her baby with a giant Star of David while the boy holds a balloon emblazoned with a dove holding an olive branch. Another one features an Orthodox Jew waiting around a corner for a Muslim woman who wears an explosive vest, perhaps to jolt her into triggering the explosives. He won the prize in Tehran for a caricature featuring the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” atop a wall representing Israel’s security barrier against Palestinian terrorists. e German-language phrase, which means “work sets you free,” appeared on a gate of the Birkenau-Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland. Descheemaeker is a retired teacher from the Sint-Jozefs Institute high school in Torhout. A member of the school’s faculty told a Jewish weekly in Belgium in 2016 that the institution is proud of his winning the award, though the principal of that institution later said the school does not share Descheemaeker’s views. e principal said Descheemaeker produced events to preserve the Holocaust’s memory for the school.

The Jewish Press | March 9, 2018 | 11

lifecycles in memoriAm

cAroLyn “KiKi” rAtner

Carolyn “Kiki” Ratner passed away Dec. 10, 2017 in Middletown, OH. A private service was held Dec. 14, 2017 at Golden Hill. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ellie M. Ratner, parents Zena and Sam Kutler and brother, Bennett Kutler. She is survived by Debbie and Pacey Mindlin, Ronna M. Ratner, Malory Ratner and James Weidner.

Effigies of Israeli soldiers strung up in Jerusalem

JTA Two effigies of Israeli soldiers with ropes around their necks were hung in predominantly haredi Orthodox areas of Jerusalem. Police officers removed the effigies from a rooop in Mea Shearim and from a rope dangling from a column on Chaim Ozer Street, the Israel Broadcasting Corp. reported. One was soaked in a flammable fluid. e effigies had black kippahs on their heads, leading to speculation in the Israeli media that it was meant to intimidate haredi soldiers who serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Haredi Orthodox Jews were allowed an automatic exemption from serving until a 2014 law decreed they sign up for the army or other frameworks by 2017. Despite violent protests in response by some haredim, including assaults against haredi conscripts, their numbers are rising, according to the IDF from just a few dozen in 1999 to 2,850 recruits in 2016, according to the news site NRG. “e sight of an effigy of a soldier hanging from a noose in M’a She’arim is shocking,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman wrote on Twitter. “As defense minister, my job is to afford security also to this kind of inciters. As a citizen, my duty is to fight them politically. e authorities’ duty is to put them behind bars. I expect the heads of the haredi parties to condemn this act.” Liberman has clashed with haredi politicians over his support for increasing conscription among the haredim. He dressed up as a haredi soldier on Purim in what the Israeli media interpreted both as a jab to anger haredi politicians and a sign of support and solidarity for haredi soldiers facing pressure and intimidation in their communities.

B’nai Israel speaker series Ruth Meints will be our featured speaker at B'nai Israel on Friday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. Ms. Meints has been the Executive director of the Omaha Conservatory of Music (OCM) since 2003 and “orchestrated” the move to its new location two years ago at the former home of Temple Israel. Ruth will discuss some of the exciting work at OCM such as the classes at St. Augustine Mission School, the String Sprouts Program, the OCM Summer Institute and many more. We look forward to Ruth’s presentation and a possible appearance by one or more of her student performers.

STUDENTS WITH BETTER GRADES It all starts with Newspapers.

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Dear Editor, I disagree with an article that was written in the Feb. 23, 2018 issue of The Jewish Press. According to the article titled "Central High students visit Temple Israel," " 'Do you know what's wrong with occupation?' [Rabbi Azriel] asked. Without hesitation, he answered his own question. 'It distorts and destroys the occupier,' and then asked [the Central High School students] to consider how this compares to the occupation of Native Americans in our own land." It's clear that this idea reflects anti-semetic and anti-Israel undertones. This comparison between Native Americans and Palestinians is completely absurd. The Jewish people have a right to self-determination on their indigenous homeland. How can Jews be "occupying" their own homeland? The answer is that they cannot, and the Jews are there to stay in Israel. The Jewish connection to the Land of Israel dates back roughly four thousand years, during which time the Jewish people were sovereign in the land for vast periods of time. The Jewish claim to Israel rests on God's promises to the Jewish people in the Bible, the most influential document in the history of the world. Anonymous Editor’s note: The Jewish Press’ policy is that letters may not be submitted anonymously, but writers may request their name be left out of the paper.

Vectors of Violence: Persecution and complacency in Nazi Germany and the Great Plains KAsey de Goey Fried Academy Staff Assistant While eugenics gave legitimacy to existing racial policies in the early twentieth century, racism was already entrenched in European and American society well before the emergence of this new “science.” The persecution of groups, such as Jews, colonized native populations, and people of Asian, African, and Latino descent, were accepted notions by the majority populations on both continents and were often an unnoticed part of everyday life and practice. Although different in many ways, the history of racism in Nazi Germany and the Plains region of the United States illuminates some universal phenomena that manifested in distinct historic persecution of individuals considered “others” in society. The Sam and Frances Fried Holocaust and Genocide Academy is pleased to announce a regional partnership between the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). The two institutions will jointly host a two-day educational forum on March 27- 28 at UNO’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center (CEC). This educational forum brings together scholars, students, and community members to engage in meaningful dialogue on how, when, and why governments and ordinary people supported, complied with, ignored, or resisted targeted oppression and racial violence in different historical contexts. All members of the community are invited to a panel discussion titled Power, Persecution, and Pain: Reflections on Violence in Society. Dr. Mark Celinscak, Executive Director of the Sam & Frances Fried Holocaust and Genocide Academy, will moderate a discussion with scholars from around North America on the topic of societal violence. The event will be held on Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m. at the CEC, Room 201. The panel will be preceded with a reception at 6 p.m. in the CEC’s Lower Commons Lounge.


On Wednesday, March 28, at 9:30 a.m., Dr. Kierra Crago-Schneider, Program Officer for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will moderate a panel of experts on Approaching Difficult Topics in the Classroom. At 1 p.m. attendees will be introduced to materials and resources offered by the USHMM. Participants will also be provided the opportunity to discuss effective programming for their campuses. The Sam and Frances Fried Holocaust and Genocide Academy is excited to partner with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum for this event. “This is a tremendous opportunity for UNO, as well as for local scholars, students, and community members,” explains Dr. Celinscak. He adds that the “USHMM is known for their strong programming and campus outreach. UNO faculty and students will especially benefit from this unique partnership.” Dr. CragoSchneider remarked, “Since its inception in 1998, the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has worked to ensure that quality Holocaust education is available to university students, faculty and community members across North America. Along with the Sam and Frances Fried Holocaust and Genocide Academy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, we are bringing this educational forum on persecution and violence in society to campus. This program is part of a wider initiative to bring Holocaust studies into conversation with ethnic studies in universities all over North America. We are confident that this program with UNO will engage audiences in meaningful conversations in examining the lasting impact of racism on communities in Europe and North America.” To register for any of the events or for more information about the Sam and Frances Fried Holocaust and Genocide Academy, please visit: or contact us directly at

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How Zora Arkus-Duntov saved the Corvette


12 | The Jewish Press | March 9, 2018

everyone knows that the true American sports car is the Chevrolet Corvette. The “plastic fantastic” roadster arrived in 1953… and was a disaster. Powered by a 6-cylinder truck engine with an automatic transmission, the “sports” car came without sport. The Corvette’s head was on the chopping block until a suave Russian Jew came out of nowhere and gave it a new heart. This man was Zora Arkus-Duntov. Born in Belgium in 1909, Zachary Arkus (later changed to Zora) was the first son of Rachel and Jacque Arkus. They moved to St. Petersberg shortly after his birth only to face World War I and the Russian Revolution. Growing up in these turbulent times, it’s a good thing Zora had chutzpah; he used a revolver to protect his family’s food rations and to convince a doctor to help his sick mother. His mother divorced Jacque and married Josef Duntov, whom Zora respected enough to change his last name to Arkus-Duntov. Unfortunately, the family decided that they would move to Berlin. In Berlin, Zora discovered his love of engines. He originally owned a motorcycle, but his mom thought this unsafe and insisted he buy a car. Zora bought a racecar. This act of defiance was not isolated; when hospitalized after dislocating his shoulder, he made a pass on a nurse. This outraged her so much that she shoved Zora to the floor, injuring his spine. He also would smuggle gold across multiple countries by hiding it in the frame of a hollowed-out Mercedes-Benz. As Zora matured, he encountered Elfi Wolff (a woman so spectacular that she deserves her own article). In 1939 they married and, along with Zora’s family, moved to Paris to flee Nazism. There they bought a winning lottery ticket. Zora and Elfi celebrated by speeding around Paris in their sports car, only to crash into the Chamber of Deputies building. This incident foreshadowed the Arkus-Duntov family’s experience in Paris. The elation of escaping Berlin was rapidly squashed by the wall of advancing Nazis, prompting Zora and his brother Yura to join the French Air Force. France surrendered shortly after, putting his family in crisis. Zora fled to Marseille and obtained exit visas for his family by seducing the wife of the Spanish

consul. Elfi outran German tanks in her MG sports car during the Fall of France to meet Zora and his family on the boat to Manhattan (I told you she deserved her own article). Zora and Elfi continued to be cool in the new world. Zora and Yura founded Ardun (a combination of Arkus and Duntov), a company SAm KriCSfelD providing military engine parts and modifying Ford V8s. The company soon folded, but not before Zora had raked in enough of an income to start racing. Striking contracts with racing companies Allard and later Porsche, he raced at the famous 24 Hours of LeMans from 1952-1955.

Zora’s custom 1974 Corvette with his initials (Z A. D) painted on it.

On Jan. 17, 1953, Zora attended the GM Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria. The Motorama was General Motors’s traveling car show exhibiting the latest and greatest concept cars and technologies they had to offer. But this day was special, as Zora witnessed the unveiling of the Chevrolet Corvette. “It is the prettiest car I have ever seen,” he said, “but mechanically it stinks.” He sent a letter to Chevrolet chief engineer Ed Cole along with some technical papers. He was so charming, persuasive, and technically gifted that Chevrolet hired him on the spot. He sent a memo to his bosses soon after entitled, “Thoughts Pertaining to Youth, Hot Rodders and Chevrolet”. This set the tone for not only his career, but for Chevrolet as a whole. Over his 22-year career, he is responsible for changing Chevrolet from a mundane, family-oriented company to the Camaro-building, V8 snarling, world-conquering peak it reached in its heyday.

Zora is the man responsible for putting a V8 engine in the Corvette, finally making it sporty in 1955. To showcase the engine, Zora himself drove a Corvette at 150 miles per hour on Daytona Beach. Not yet satisfied with the Corvette’s powerplant, he added fuel-injection to the Corvette, giving it 283 horsepower (a figure unheard of in 1957). Perhaps the only mar on his record is his dislike of the 1963 Corvette’s iconic split-rear window, which he promptly discarded after one year. He later developed racing Corvettes only to be barred by GM banning him from racing (perhaps he was too good?). Upon reaching the then-mandatory retirement age of 65, his final acts were attempting to convince Chevrolet to make the Corvette mid-engined. This did not happen. Zora and Elfi lived a happy retired life in Michigan. Zora spent much of his retirement test driving Corvettes, attending car shows, and restoring his airplane. Active until the very end, he was planning on breaking the world record for highest speed in a non-jet aircraft. Zora died of lung cancer (due to smoking) in 1996. Elfi died in 2008. Both were cremated, and their ashes are held in the National Corvette Museum along with Zora’s personal Corvette. Upon Zora’s death, Pulitzer Prize winner George Will wrote that “if... you do not mourn his passing, you are not a good American.” While not publicly embracing his Yiddishkeit, Zora Arkus-Duntov remains the most successful Jew in the American automotive industry. He is deservedly called “the father of the Corvette.” He alone is responsible for reshaping the entire automotive industry by making a little plastic Chevy faster than Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis. If the Corvette is David, Zora is the rock that toppled the Goliath of European sports cars. And remember his dream about a mid-engined Corvette? It’s happening in 2019. And GM just trademarked the name “Zora”. Sam Kricsfeld is a freshman at University of Kansas. He shares his story as part of the emerging Voices series. emerging Voices invites Jewish writers between the ages of 13 and 25 to share their thoughts and opinions about any topic they choose. If you are interested in writing for this series, please email the editor at avandekamp@ emerging Voices is supported by the Joanie Jacobson Jewish Cultural Arts Fund at the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation.

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March 9, 2018  
March 9, 2018  

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