thejewishpress AN AGENCY OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF OMAHA
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Esther Katz receives Malashock Award
ANNeTTe vAN De KAMP “I met Dinah Raful and she Editor, Jewish Press mentioned there was a dance department at the Jewish Commut its June 4 Annual nity Center, so I stopped by and Meeting, the Jewish Federation of met Leslie Wallace, the Dance Omaha will present Director at the time. I shared JCC Dance and with her how much I would love Cultural Arts Director Esther to teach here; within a year, I reKatz with the Jody and Neal ceived a call from Leslie that she Malashock Award for Profesneeded a dance teacher.” sional Excellence. This award is The rest is history. When, in given annually to a professional 2006, Esther was preparing to chaperone the Artza kids to Isin the Omaha Jewish commurael, she received another call nity who has shown exemplary from Leslie. This time, she told professional performance in adEsther she was getting married vancing the mission or the orand was moving to Kearney.. ganization. “She told me she thought I Esther is married to Philip should apply for her job,” Esther Katz; they have a son Jonah and said. “I wasn’t necessarily ready two daughters, Talia and Ellie. esther Katz to leave my day job as a special Laura Kirshenbaum, 15, has danced in Esther’s department for as many years as she can education teacher, but after giving it some thought, I realized it made sense. So, here we are!” count: “Esther is the greatest role model I can imagine,” she said. Esther became the Dance Director in 2006, which at the “She is also one of the kindest people I know. She is forever time also included supervising BBYO. The Shaliach program helping out and she’s always accessible, going above and be- was added to Esther’s responsibilities and Jeff Aizenberg and Lisa Shkolnick asked her to be the Assistant Director for the yond, no matter what it is her students need.” Esther Katz arrived in Omaha in 2003, initially working as 2010 Maccabi Games, which brought hundreds of Jewish teens a special education teacher for OPS and began teaching ballet to Omaha. “After that, I asked if I could scale back and focus specifically at the JCC on the side in 2004. “When I moved here, I knew I would be teaching,” Esther said. See Malashock Award page 3
Jewish Business Leaders breakfast Page 6
Yom HaShoah 2018 Page 7
Barton and Caryl Greenberg bequest Scholarship Fund
Mega Teen Trip: Robert Osborne Page 12
inside Viewpoint Synagogues Life cycles
SPONSOReD By The BeNjAMiN AND ANNA e. WieSMAN FAMiLy eNDOWMeNT FUND
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LiNDA POLLARD Endowment Assistant/Staff Writer, Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation Caryl and Bucky Greenberg shared a strong commitment to Omaha and to the youth in the community. During their lifetimes, they both served the youth of the community and the Omaha area through their volunteer activities. With a desire to continue helping to serve the young, Caryl and Bucky left a bequest in their will for the Anti-Defamation League through the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation. According to their daughter, Beth Greenberg, “Not too long ago, Mary Beth Muskin discussed ADL’s ‘No Place for Hate’ program with Bucky, and he was enthusiastic about applying his and Caryl’s bequest to this program. Joe and I are deeply pleased that our parents’ values can be extended with this new scholarship
in their name.” Mary-Beth Muskin stated, “Bucky was an amazing gentleman who was remarkably committed to the ADLCRC, the community and making the world
Caryl and Bucky Greenberg
a better place. The scholarship is a way to honor his and Caryl’s memory and continue their work.” The Barton (Bucky) and Caryl Greenberg ADL-CRC Memorial No Place for Hate Scholarship Fund will provide college scholarships to graduating high school seniors who have actively engaged in the ADL’s No Place for Hate program at their schools, or other ADL-sponsored anti-bias or bullying prevention program for high school students. The scholarship will be open to all high school seniors who attend a No Place for Hate school, have made a See Greenberg Scholarship page 2
Always Room at Our Table for refugees
ADL-CRC Regional Director Mary-Beth Muskin participates in the Room at our Table discussion at UNO. PAM MONSKy Community Development Liaison, ADL-CRC viRGiNiA GALLNeR Room at Our Table Undergraduate students at the University of Nebraska-Omaha have launched a new initiative called “Room at Our Table,” a social media campaign highlighting the stories of local refugees to encourage positive attitudes. The campaign is part of the ADL: Innovate Against Hate program, sponsored by the AntiDefamation League (ADL) and
managed by EdVenture Partners. The ADL: Innovate Against Hate (Hashtag = #InnovateAgainstHate) campus challenge is currently underway at 20 U.S. colleges across the country. The student teams are designing, piloting and implementing social or digital initiatives with the goal of countering hate and extremism while promoting values of fairness, equity and inclusion. Developed in partnership with EdVenture Partners (EVP), an See Room at Our Table page 2
2 | The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018
Room at Our Table Continued from page 1 educational organization that has 28 years of experience developing innovative industry-education partnership programs, ADL: Innovate Against Hate will challenge students to implement a big idea that will effectively confront and respond to the growing campus presence of hate groups or counter bad speech with good speech. “One of the biggest challenges facing campus communities is the prevalence of hate speech and hate group activity on campus,” said George Selim, ADL Senior VP of Programs. “Students are well-versed in social media and have credibility with their peers. They can play a pivotal role in fighting against hate and extremism, and arming them with the tools to do so now will build a generation of change-makers.” Each ADL: Innovate Against Hate team will conduct research into hate and extremism and submit a creative brief outlining their proposed action plan. On April 6, $1,000 plus $500 in Facebook ad credits were released to each team to activate their ideas on their college campuses and in their communities, engaging their target audience, and establishing baselines to measure the effectiveness of the campaign. At the end of the semester, the top three teams selected by ADL will be invited to present their campaigns in front of a jury panel and an audience of industry leaders on June 12 in Washington, D.C. Through photos and videos, this campaign builds on themes of hospitality, welcoming and community engagement to increase awareness of refugee issues and empower communities to form their own opinions about refugees. Earlier this month, the ADL-CRC was invited to participate in a Sustained Dialogue event to discuss the refugee experience in Omaha. With over 60
students and community members in attendance, including the Spring 2018 cohort of YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative), small groups came together to discuss their thoughts on three questions: What does diversity look like, and how do I imagine it here
accept refugees for who they are, and getting to know each other’s stories, to help them grow as members of our community - to help each other.” Samantha Salvatori, Communications Specialist at Lutheran Family Services, shared an important statistic.
Two students participating at the Room at our Table event at UNO. in Omaha? What does it mean to be a refugee here in Omaha? What does an inclusive Omaha look like, and what part can we play in that? Implicit bias research has found that stereotypes shape opinions on refugees. But here in Nebraska, people are changing their minds about refugees based on personal interactions. In 2016, Nebraska resettled the most refugees per capita of any US state, according to the Pew Research Center. Far Right extremist groups are also competing for the uncommitted majority’s views on refugees as demonstrated by the ADL’s Hate Crime Map (2017). Sarah, a social work major at UNO, volunteers regularly with Youth Emergency Services and the Refugee Empowerment Center. “It’s important to
The current administration has decreased the number of refugees accepted for settlement from 110,000 to a mere 45,000 per year. Sam from Brunei talked about the importance of getting people at the table. “Listening to their stories and being intentional about it is my personal action step. That’s how we can promote inclusivity.” Mary-Beth Muskin, ADL-CRC Regional Director said, “The students displayed incredible enthusiasm and genuine empathy towards the refugee plight in our state and our country. I’m looking forward to working with Room at our Table to help educate the public about how we can encourage refugees as they become valuable members of our communities.”
Continued from page 1 commitment to making their school environment better, and will continue their education, using their No Place for Hate skills in their community into the future. Applications for the scholarship will be available at No Place for Hate schools in the school counselors’ offices or through the school’s No Place for Hate sponsor. The ADL plans to award the first scholarship for the 2018-2019 school year at the No Place for Hate year-end rally. The ADL board and staff will be involved in the selection process. Caryl passed away on June 23, 2015, and Bucky passed on Oct. 24, 2017. The Greenbergs shared 64 years of a loving marriage, leaving son Joe and his wife Terri, daughter Beth and husband Jim Wright, and Joe’s two children with many loving memories. Both Beth and Joe mentioned that Caryl was a good cook and baker. She loved opening her house to family and friends for delicious and engaging dinners. She was the family trip planner, always considering everyone’s special interests in her trip planning. Only a year before Caryl died, she planned a family cruise to Alaska for Beth, Joe and their families. Everyone was afforded the opportunity to have their own adventures during the day, gathering for a family dinner to share their day’s adventures. Both Bucky and Caryl were active volunteers in the Jewish and secular communities. Each in their own way, Caryl and Bucky mentored the youth of Omaha. Caryl lead school groups through Joslyn, and was on the board of Beth El’s Hebrew High School. Bucky coached young swimmers and read to school groups through Kiwanis and Shriners. They were both active in the community in other ways. Beth stated that, “In addition to organizing the needlepoint torah covers (and making two of her own) and contributing the six needlepoint panels of “the Creation” to Beth El, toward the end of her life Caryl completed a cross-stitch panel of an excerpt from Genesis for the group “Torah Stitch by Stitch” from Toronto. That panel will be part of a full “quilt” of the Five Books of Moses the group is assembling from panels stitched by volunteer craftspeople from around the world.” Joe Greenberg added, “Bucky and Caryl were very involved in the community in their own ways. Dad through taking leadership roles at Beth El and the ADL, as well as coaching youth swimmers, and Mom through her lifelong learning and the needlepoint work she did for Beth El.” Referring to Bucky’s association with the ADL, Beth said, “He was, though, a true idealist and deeply honored the values of brotherhood and study inherent in Judaism. These beliefs were certainly a foundation for his longtime commitment to the ADL.” Bucky was the longest serving board member of the Plains States Region of the ADL, serving on the board for over 50 years. According to Bob Wolfson, former Regional Director in Omaha, Bucky was a quiet, strong willed, kind man who led by example. Former ADL Regional Director, Alan Potash, shared that Bucky was dedicated to combating anti-Semitism and working with kids. The ADL’s mission of working for a better community, and a world where hate is no longer an acceptable behavior was a perfect complement to Bucky’s values. Joe said that Bucky “wanted to do what he could See Greenberg Schalrship Fund page 3
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The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018 | 3
yom Hazikaron Commemoration at Beth Israel
Mary Sue GroSSMan Executive Director, Beth Israel Synagogue srael’s fallen and those killed in terrorist attacks were remembered and honored during a Yom Hazikaron Commemoration held at Beth Israel on April 17. The evening began with remarks by Rabbi Ari Dembitzer and Rabbi Shlomo Abramovich followed by the sounding of a siren as is done in Israel. A
film clip sharing a soldier’s experience during the Yom Kippur War was shown after which Yaakov Abramovich, Rabbi Shlomo’s father, spoke as did Yoni Doron, Henry Ginsburg, and Ophir Palmon. The event was also shown live on Beth Israel’s Facebook page. “It was a wonderful event to pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the past 70 years,” commented Rabbi Ari. “Todah Rabbah to everyone who attended.”
Continued from page 1 on the Performing Arts,” Esther said. Soon, she began to build the Musical Theater Program which has engaged hundreds of members of both the Jewish and the general Omaha community. Esther also oversees the summer concert series and the JCC Yom Ha’atzmaut festivities and started a separate Dance Program called the Training Company. Then, of course, there are annual Dance Camps and Musical Theater Camp. “Her attitude is extremely positive,” one parent said. “She works long hours and is extremely easy to work with. She truly cares for my children and I know countless parents have that same experience. I see how my own kids respond to her, what she has added to their lives. It’s not always about what they learn, but just as often about how they learn. Esther has that rare ability to show respect for who our children are as people, as individuals. I don’t know that I can ever adequately put into words the effect Esther has had on our family, both as a person and through her programs.” It’s a sentiment that is echoed by countless parents: “She is organized, an excellent role model, sets appropriate expectations and follows through with her students, parents and her co-workers. She is also creative, which is obvious to anyone who spends time in her department. At recital time, you will catch her sewing costumes. Before any Musical Theater performance, you can find her out looking for props and costume accessories. You can rest assured that the costumes are tasteful; parents really appreciate her style.” Esther’s impact doesn’t just reach the endless streams of participants who come for Dance, Yoga or Theater classes. It also impacts the Residents in the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home. “For each of the Musical Theater shows, Esther invites our Residents to view the dress rehearsals,” RBJH Activities Director Maggie Conti said. “It’s always a huge hit with our Residents and their family members. In addi-
tion, she encourages us to invite the Residents of the Livingston Plaza, so they can view the show at no cost. Recently, she brought the Training Company dancers to perform for our Mainstreeters Luncheon, which was a real treat. She wears many hats and I can always count on her to be a professional.” “We need the Cultural Arts,” Esther said, “because Theater and Dance unifies. It’s in our heart and soul, it creates common ground and gives people a way to express themselves, no matter their age. It also allows us to give back to the community. Whether you are on the performing side or in the audience, everybody benefits.” Other benefits include learning to speak in public, building friendships with other performers in different age groups and finding a much-needed outlet that can’t necessarily be found in a traditional classroom. To an outsider, it can seem overwhelming: the endless class schedules, rehearsals, performances, costumes, props and the many evenings and weekends Esther spends in the building. “I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” Esther said. “I’ve chosen this career, and it’s so much more than a job: it’s my life. Being acknowledged through the Jody and Neal Malashock Award for Professional Excellence is really gratifying, especially because my work is such a passion.” As is the case for many Jewish professionals, Esther’s week never ends with 40 hours. There are endless other times to volunteer, evenings, weekends, but “when you are passionate, you give it your all,” she said. “It’s so much more than a job. My family is always involved, my kids are used to me bringing work home and sometimes even help me put props together and no matter where we go, as Jewish professionals, we always take pride in representing the Jewish Federation of Omaha.” The Jewish Federation of Omaha Annual Meeting will take place at the Jewish Community Center on Monday, June 4, from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. The entire community is encouraged to attend.
Greenberg Scholarship Fund Continued from page 2 commitment to improve the world in general and for the Jewish people in particular.” Joe continued, “Our parents were both very committed to making the world better for everyone.” Reflecting on his parents’ lives, Joe stated, “Overall, I would say they lived charmed lives. They were happily married for over 60 years, they were healthy until the end, and they were able to do the things in life that they wanted to do. They
were role models for how to live a good, full life.” Beth added, “Love of family, friends, community and Judaism permeated both Bucky’s and Caryl’s lives, and they shared the most profound love for each other. Perhaps both of their mottos would be, ‘Live life with purpose and enjoy life while you can.’ They often said that money was only good for the good you could do with it.” And their bequest will ensure that their gift continues their legacy of doing good.
4 | The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018
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calendar May 2018
all events held at the Jewish Community Center unless otherwise noted. This calendar does not include all community events. For a complete listing, visit the Federation’s website: www.jewishomaha.org (click on calendar). To keep calendar accurate, call Pat Anson at 402.334.8200. The Jewish Press is not responsible for the accuracy of the events.
Friday, april 27 Beth El Cooks/Serves Lunch at NE AIDS Coalition, 11:30 a.m. Star Deli, 11:30 a.m. at RBJH Shabbat Service/Confirmation, 6 p.m. at Temple Israel Scholar in Residence: Dr. Keren McGinity, 6:30 p.m. at Beth El
Saturday, april 28 Scholar in Residence: Dr. Keren McGinity, 9:30 a.m. at Beth El Torah Study, 9:15 a.m. at Temple Israel Jr. Congregation, 10 a.m. at Beth El OTYG Elections/Lock In, 6 p.m. at Temple Israel Sunday, april 29 Torah Study, 10 a.m. at Beth El Religious School, 10 a.m. at Temple Israel Torah Tots, 10:30 a.m. at Beth El Pesach Sheini Brunch, 11 a.m. at Chabad Scholar in Residence: Dr. Keren McGinity, 11 a.m. at Beth El TED Talk, 11 a.m. at Temple Israel L.O.V.E. Game Day, noon Musical Theater Rehearsals, 3 p.m. Central Hall of Fame Meeting, 3:30 p.m. at RBJH
Monday, april 30 Parsha Study with Shani, 9:30 a.m. at Chabad JFO Board Meeting, 11:30 a.m. at RBJH YJO strategic Planning Meeting, 6:00 p.m. In Moderation series, 7 p.m. WedneSday, May 2 Mystical Thinking with Rabbi Katzman, 9:30 a.m. at Chabad JCC Director Meeting, 11 a.m. Breadbreakers Luncheon and Speaker, noon at RBJH Religious School, 4 p.m. at Temple Israel BESTT Hebrew School, 4:15 p.m. at Beth El BESTT Hebrew High, 6:30 p.m. at Beth El Adult Education Class, 6:30 p.m. at Temple Israel
thurSday, May 3 Friedel PTO Annual Plant & Flower Sale, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Hebrew Class, 10 a.m. at RBJH Adult Study with the Clergy, 10 a.m. at Temple Israel Talmud Class, noon at Chabad Beth El Chesed Committee Visits Blumkin Home, 2 p.m. Lag B'omer Barbeque, 5 p.m. at Chabad
Friday, May 4 Friedel PTO Annual Plant & Flower Sale, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. CDC Family Shabbat, 8:30 a.m. Shulchan Ivrit-Hebrew Table with Yoni, 1 1:30 a.m. at RBJH Star Deli, 11:30 a.m. at RBJH 7th and 12th grade Graduation & Teacher Appreciation, 6 p.m. at Beth El Shabbat Service/Senior Celebration, 6 p.m. at Temple Israel
Saturday, May 5 Torah Study, 9:15 a.m. at Temple Israel Jr. Congregation, 10 a.m. at Beth El
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Sunday, May 6 BESTT Sunday School, 9:30 a.m. at Beth El Torah Study, 10 a.m. at Beth El Annual Meeting, 10 a.m. at Beth Israel Religious School, 10 a.m. at Temple Israel Torah Tots, 10:30 a.m. at Beth El Temple Tots Sunday, 10:30 a.m. at Temple Israel Musical Theater Rehearsals, 3 p.m. Cantor’s Concert, 4 p.m. at Beth El JCC Dance Recital 2018, Cast B, 4 p.m. YJO: Lag B’Omer at Grossman’s, 6 p.m. at 12920 N 47th St.
Monday, May 7 Parsha Study with Shani, 9:30 a.m. at Chabad Eye on Israel, noon JCC Dance Recital 2018, Cast B, 6:30 p.m. tueSday, May 8 Beth El Chesed Committee Visits Remington Heights, 2 p.m.
WedneSday, May 9 Mystical Thinking with Rabbi Katzman, 9:30 a.m. at Chabad JCC Director Meeting, 11 a.m. Breadbreakers Luncheon and Speaker, noon at RBJH Rabbi's and President's Meeting, noon at RBJH BESTT Hebrew School, 4:15 p.m. at Beth El Hebrew High Goes to City Sprouts, 5:30 p.m. JCC Dance Recital 2018, Cast A, 6:30 p.m. Federation Campaign Women’s Spring Event, 7 p.m. at the Landing at Pella thurSday, May 10 JCC Dance Recital 2018, Cast A, 6:30 p.m. Hebrew Class, 10 a.m. at RBJH Talmud Class, noon at Chabad Come Play Shanghai, 1 p.m. at Beth El
Friday, May 11 Star Deli, 11:30 a.m. at RBJH Temple Israel Shabbat Comes to You, 4 p.m. at Remington Heights Tot Shabbat, 5:30 p.m. at Beth El Saturday, May 12 Lifeguard Class, 8 a.m. Torah Study, 9:15 a.m. at Temple Israel Simchat Shabbat, 9:30 a.m. at Beth El Jr. Congregation, 10 a.m. at Beth El
Sunday, May 13 BESTT Sunday School, 9:30 a.m. at Beth El Torah Study, 10 a.m. at Beth El Yom Yerushalayim with Rabbi Ari, 10 a.m. Torah Tots, 10:30 a.m. at Beth El Jerusalem Day & Mother’s Day art workshop event, 2 p.m. Musical Theater Rehearsals, 3 p.m.
Monday, May 14 CDC Graduation Practice, 9 a.m. Parsha Study with Shani, 9:30 a.m. at Chabad IHE Governance Council Meeting, 11:30 a.m. Jewish Press Board Meeting, 5:30 p.m. Friedel Jewish Academy Board Meeting, 7 p.m. at FJA
tueSday, May 15 CDC Graduation Practice, 9 a.m. Kindergarten Parent Meeting Camp, 6 p.m. Temple Israel Board of Trustees, 7 p.m. at Temple Israel
WedneSday, May 16 CDC Graduation Practice, 9 a.m. Mystical Thinking with Rabbi Katzman, 9:30 a.m. at Chabad JCC Director Meeting, 11 a.m. Breadbreakers Luncheon and Speaker, noon at RBJH Beth El Chesed Committee Visits Sterling Ridge, 2 p.m. BESTT Hebrew School, 4:15 p.m. at Beth El BESTT Hebrew High, 6:30 p.m. at Beth El
thurSday, May 17 CDC Graduation Practice, 9 a.m. Hebrew Class, 10 a.m. at RBJH Talmud Class, noon at Chabad Resident Council Meeting, 3 p.m. at RBJH 100 Cameras - Refugee Art Opening, 6 p.m. Love Board Meeting, 7 p.m. at RBJH Friday, May 18 CDC Graduation & Reception, 9 a.m. School Directors Meeting, 9 a.m. Star Deli, 11:30 a.m. at RBJH Temple Israel TiYPE Shabbat, 6 p.m. Shi Shi Israeli, 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 19 Lifeguard Re-certification Class, 8 a.m. Temple Tots Shabbat, 9 a.m. at Temple Israel Torah Study, 9:15 a.m. at Temple Israel Sunday, May 20 Torah Study, 10 a.m. at Beth El Shavuot, 11 a.m. at Chabad Musical Theater Rehearsals, 3 p.m.
Monday, May 21 Parsha Study with Shani, 9:30 a.m. at Chabad tueSday, May 22 Camp & Swim Team Meet & Greet, 5 p.m. Swim Team Parent Info Night, 6 p.m.
WedneSday, May 23 Mystical Thinking with Rabbi Katzman, 9:30 a.m. at Chabad JCC Director Meeting, 11 a.m. Breadbreakers Luncheon and Speaker, noon at RBJH Training Company Show for RBJH, 3:30 p.m. thurSday, May 24 Hebrew Class, 10 a.m. at RBJH Talmud Class, noon at Chabad Planning Commitee Meeting, 4:30 p.m. at RBJH Friedel's End of Year Celebration, 7 p.m. Friday, May 25 Beth El Cooks/Serves Lunch at NE AIDS Coalition, 11:30 a.m. Star Deli, 11:30 a.m. at RBJH Saturday, May 26 Torah Study, 9:15 a.m. at Temple Israel
Sunday, May 27 Torah Study, 10 a.m. at Beth El Musical Theater Rehearsals, 3 p.m.
Monday, May 28 Parsha Study with Shani, 9:30 a.m. at Chabad tueSday, May 29 Musical Theater Tech Rehearsal, 4-9 p.m.
WedneSday, May 30 Musical Theater Dress Rehearsal, 4-9 p.m. Mystical Thinking with Rabbi Katzman, 9:30 a.m. at Chabad Breadbreakers Luncheon and Speaker, noon at RBJH Risk Management Meeting, 2 p.m. at RBJH thurSday, May 31 Hebrew Class, 10 a.m. at RBJH Talmud Class, noon at Chabad Willy Wonka Musical Theater Performance, 7 p.m.
Soul Zimra coming to Omaha
Cat King Director of Engagement and Communications, Temple Israel Soul Zimra is a Jewish worship band that writes and performs joyful and irresistible live music, and Temple Israel is proud to host them for Shabbat services June 8 and 9. Their musical style combines acoustic and bass guitar with mandolin to blend modern secular folk, rock, blues, and other popular music with traditional liturgy to enhance the prayer experience at Shabbat services. Made up of Andy Dennen, Gary Schaffel, and Marcus Newman, the band regularly performs at B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Chicago and their goal is to “bring meaning, energy, transcendence, and light to prayer.” “Since they formed the band seven years ago, Andy, Marcus, and Gary have led Shabbat morning services weekly at my former synagogue, Congregation BJBE in Deerfield, IL, headlined numerous Jewish communal events in the Chicagoland area, and led prayer as artists-in-residence at synagogues around the Midwest. I am so excited to welcome them to Temple Israel, and I hope you will come pray with us! Take it from me—this is a spiritual experience you will not want to miss!” says Rabbi Stoller. On Friday, June 8, Temple Israel will host a free concert in its outdoor amphitheater during Shabbat evening service at 6 p.m. Before service, at 5:15 p.m., we will have a free community cookout dinner with hamburgers, hot dogs, vegetarian hot dogs and other fixings. Then, on Saturday morning, Rabbi Stoller will welcome Soul Zimra to join him in Torah study at 9:15 a.m. to study Music: The Language of the Soul followed by Shabbat morning service at 10:30 a.m. which will also feature the music of this wonderful band. Mark your calendar and plan to join us for a very musical Shabbat June 8 and 9 at Temple Israel!
The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018 | 5
Denise Bennett marks 30 years at Friedel
betH COHen Head of School, Friedel Jewish Academy riedel Jewish Academy will be celebrating a momentous occasion at the Endof-Year Celebration on Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m. in the JCC Theater. The school will be marking Mrs. Denise Bennett’s 30th year teaching at Friedel. Mrs. Bennett came to Friedel in 1988, early in her teaching career. She is currently teaching 5th and 6th grade General Studies. Mrs. Bennett brought to Friedel the Modern Woodmen of America speech contest, and has been part of the coaching team for five state winners and for the national winner, Danny Denenberg, in 2015. She also traveled to the White House in 2012 to be recognized with Lily Phillips, a high school senior and Friedel graduate, whose Presidential Scholar award winning essay was about her most influential teacher, Denise Bennett. Many surprises are in store for the evening of May 24th, and there are ways alumni, parents and friends of Friedel can be involved. Part of the presentation that evening will include a video montage of alumni sharing what they learned from Mrs. Bennett. Whether long division or a life lesson, alumni are sharing the wisdom that Mrs. Bennett shared with them. Video clips have come in from across the United States and Israel, and video clips will be accepted through May 7 to be included in the montage. For instructions on where to send a video, contact email@example.com or go to the school’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/FriedelJewish Academy. While you are there, like the page so you’ll see all the great throw-back-Thursday posts covering the last 30 years with
Mrs. Bennett. In honor of Mrs. Bennett, donations are being accepted to the new “Teachers’ Wish List Fund.” Mrs. Bennett is looking forward to the next decade at Friedel (and beyond!), and the Teachers’ Wish List Fund provides for items selected by teachers that they would like for their classrooms. Make a donation to the Teachers’ Wish List fund in honor of Mrs. Bennett at www.FriedelJewishAcademy.com, by calling the school office, 402.334.0517, or by sending a check to the school, 335 South 132nd Street, Omaha, NE, 68154. With a donation, you can include a personal message in the evening’s printed program. Mark your calendar for May 24 at 7 p.m. For those who know and love Mrs. Bennett, this is an event you won’t want to miss!
Homemade comfort food at Jack & Mary’s Restaurant
Jack & Mary’s Restaurant appreciates the Jewish community’s support over the years and looks forward to serving you good homemade comfort food into the future. Don’t forget we offer full-service catering and carryout from individual dinners up to large groups. A great value for parties. With graduation right around the corner, we would love to help simplify your day and take care of the cooking. Weddings, special occasions, you name it, we take care of it all!
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Susan Bernard | 402.334.6559 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jewish Business Leaders breakfast
6 | The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018
simchat shabbat returns to Beth el JOanie JacOBsOn he Miriam Initiative at Beth El Synagogue will bring back Simchat Shabbat, an alternative Shabbat service, on Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m. in the Beth El Chapel. “Simchat Shabbat has been, over the past number of years, a fantastic addition to our Shabbat morning repertoire,” said Rabbi Steven Abraham. “I’m thrilled that The Miriam Initiative is going to lead us in prayer on Saturday, May 12. The Hazzan and I have led a number of Minyan In The Round services with great success, and we are excited to see Simchat Shabbat put their flair in the Shabbat morning service.” The first Simchat Shabbat took place in February 2011 and continued through November 2012. “We offered eight different services during that time for congregants of all ages,” said Eadie Tsabari, who served as spirit leader in the original series. “Simchat Shabbat is engaging. It’s interactive ... innovative ... and a wonderful combination of tradition and relevancy in 2018.” “Simchat Shabbat is an opportunity to add some levity and creativity to the serious endeavor of interpreting Torah while engaging all ages in the process,” added Gloria Kaslow. “It’s joyful, thought-provoking, spiritual, and fun. I look forward to its return.” The alternative service features a modern format, original readings, live music and song, and a collective spirit. “Even though I feel so comfortable in our traditional Shabbat morning service, it can be very inspiring and thought provoking to
experience new readings and prayers,” said Patty Nogg. “I have especially liked learning about the week’s Torah portion in a creative new way.” Rather than an individual giving a D’Var Torah, Simchat Shabbat interprets the week’s Torah portion in a Parasha Play. It gave Nancy Rips “a fresh new way to look at Shabbat, not in a formal setting, but with friends, with singing, with laughing, with drama, and yes, great food.” A complimentary congregational lunch created by Tippi Denenberg and Susan Witkowski will be served free of charge to all Beth El members. “We want everyone to share in the joy of Shabbat, whether they attend Simchat Shabbat or stop by the synagogue after a walk,” Tippi said. “Please let us know you’ll join us for lunch by calling Ariella Rohr at Beth El, 402.492.8550.” Jill Belmont was one of the guitarists in the original series. “The beauty of the Simchat Shabbat experience is in its relaxed unconventionality and creativity. The mix of storytelling, music, readings, and parasha plays makes each program unique and meaningful, not to mention fun. At the end of each one, I felt a personal connection and knew that I’d just been a part of something very special.” The Miriam Initiative is a new concept in women’s programming at Beth El -- a series of ongoing projects and programs created, developed and presented by Beth El women. The Initiative welcomes all women who want to participate at any level from leadership to fellowship. Call the synagogue 402.492.8550 for more information.
The Miriam Initiative
Lincoln Yom HaShoah
nancy cOren The Holocaust Memorial Monument at Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln was the site of a service held on Yom HaShoah. Members of the South Street Temple and Tifereth Israel Synagogue were led in prayer and reflection by the spiritual leaders of each congregation, Rabbi Teri Appleby and Spiritual lay-leader Nancy Coren. Jon Leo led the group in musical selections related to the themes of faith and hope. At the conclusion of the ceremony, participants shared thoughts about family members who were survivors and those who perished in the Holocaust. Gary Hill also provided information about the creation of Nebraska’s Holocaust Monument and the way in which it is used to help educate school groups.
steve LevinGer Chief development Officer, Jewish Federation of Omaha Omaha native Harley Schrager was the featured speaker at the April 18 Jewish Business Leaders’ breakfast. In addition to spending time schmoozing with one another while enjoying an outstanding breakfast, those in attendance heard Harley Schrager’s story on the Pacesetter Corporation’s history and his lessons learned in business and community involvement. Thanks, Harley, for sharing your thoughts and also to Broadmoor Development for their sponsorship of the breakfast! For those of you who were unable to attend, here is the link to our Facebook post with photos from the event. https://www.facebook.com/pg/JewishOmaha/photos/?t ab=album&album_id=1802588943096837. The next Jewish Business Leaders’ meeting will be 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 25 at Happy Hollow and feature guest speaker Rachel Jacobson, Executive Director at Film Streams. This event is generously sponsored by Kutak Rock.
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 email@example.com.
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The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018 | 7
Yom HaShoah 2018
Annual Plant Sale April 11, the community came together at Beth El Synagogue for the annual Yom HaShoah commemoration. Survivors Milt Kleinberg, Lila Lutz, Bea Karp, Marcel Kahn, Annette Fettman for Cantor Leo Fettman, Polina Labunskaya, Esther Silver, Dr. Fred Kader and Kitty Williams shared their personal experiences with those present and lit candles in memory of the victims. Omaha’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, titled “In their own words,” was presented by the Jewish Federation of Omaha and the Institute for Holocaust Education. Additional support was provided by Beth El Synagogue, Beth Israel Synagogue, Temple Israel, the Morton A. Richards Youth Program Fund, the Gertrude T. and Albert B. Newman Fund (both of the JFO Foundation), Gary and Jaren Javitch and the Joanie Jacobson Jewish Cultural Arts Fund.
New website for Mt. Carmel Cemetery
Gary Hill A new website has been established for Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mt. Carmel Cemetery is a traditional Jewish burial place and is volunteer-managed and maintained. The website address is: http://mt carmelcemetery.com/. The website was developed by Richard Evnen and Gary Hill working with Phoenix Web Group and was funded in part by the Shirley & Leonard Goldstein Supporting Foundation. The website features a Records section where records of individuals buried at Mt. Carmel can be accessed. Once a person’s last name is typed, a list of all individuals with that last name will appear. Clicking on that person’s name will provide a picture of where their grave is located as well as information on the individual. Attachments to the person’s record can include copies of the death certifi-
cate, their birth date and date of their death – in both the Georgian and Hebrew calendars. Information can be added to an individual’s record by friends, family members or interested parties. Such information may include obituaries, pictures, historical data on the person or works of the individual. Submitted information and documents to the site is not published until reviewed by Cemetery volunteers. This type of database is intended to help create or preserve a historical record of the person. Links to information on the individual, such as to the Nebraska Jewish Historical Society, can also be attached to the individual record. The Mt. Carmel Cemetery is also placing Veteran Plaques next to the headstones of all who served in the military. For more information or questions, visit the website where a Contact Form is available or contact Garyhill@cegaservices.com.
May 3 and 4 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. JCC Main entrance Large variety of annuals and perennials plus vegetables and herbs Plants provided by
Class of 2018 HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS
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: jpress@ jewishomaha.org 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:
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8 | The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018
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Bud Heckman speaks at Temple Israel
CAT KINg such as hospitality. Bud talked about how he felt this himself Director of Engagement and Communications, Temple Israel as he participated in some initial conversations with his fellow Reverend Bud Heckman is the inaugural Executive Direc- clergy and staff from the Tri-Faith congregations as they distor of the Tri-Faith Initiative, and he prefers to be called cussed logistical topics such as who will shovel the sidewalks “Bud” over any other more formal title. He visited Temple Is- in our shared campus. Bud explained that living together, inrael on Friday, April 13, and spoke about his vision for Tri- tentionally, helps us see that others are just like us with the Faith at our Shabbat evening service. Rabbi Brian Stoller same concerns we have. introduced Bud and spoke of the Tri-Faith’s “capacity to This is important in a time of turmoil as we deal with some change the world” contrasted with the fact that “at the same of the trends he and others have uncovered in their research, time, we are just three congresuch as the changing demogations.” We need more than graphics and religious identifigood intentions, Rabbi Stoller cations in America and the said: “We need a leader, and shifting populations of Chrisafter searching far and wide, we tians, Muslims, and Jews across found the guy!” the globe. By 2050, for example, Bud has served for many Christians may be a minority to years in the field of interfaith coa plurality of other religions. operation and said that he heard While many may feel anxiety or about Omaha and our Tri-Faith distress in the face of these Initiative long before the positrends, “Tri-Faith is creating a tion of Executive Director came counter-narrative, a counteropen. He congratulated us on example of harmonious living,” what he described as an “intersaid Bud. He closed with an exesting and bold experiment in ample, small by comparison, he co-living” and he said he was said, to the ambition of our Trihonored to be a part of it. Faith initiative, but a story that Bud shared with us a little bit illustrates the value of what we of his own personal journey, are attempting here in Omaha. and focused on his time at In 1991, the roof of B’nai Bud Heckman Boston University where he Jeshurun synagogue in New earned his Master of Arts in Religious Studies. He told the York City fell in and a nearby Methodist church, St. Paul & story of how he came to be interested in interfaith coopera- St. Andrew’s, shared their sanctuary space with the Jewish tion as he found himself focusing on a course of study differ- congregation while repairs were made. The renovations were ent from what he expected when he entered the program completed in 1996, but the relationship between neighbors there. His studies took him on a path that explored the way has only strengthened over the years. Bud told the story of our faith traditions change and how we deal with the fact of how these two congregations came together as the West Side our religious diversity. He pointed out, for example, that 42 Campaign Against Hunger to create a “supermarket-style” percent or more of Americans have changed their faith tra- food bank in 1993. It serves as a model to the world, not only ditions. “And let me reassure you,” he said, “participating in of interfaith relations but of how to serve those in need while interfaith relations actually strengthens your faith because it promoting self-reliance and ensuring dignity. makes you think more about it.” He said that we are sharper Bud closed his D’var Torah by describing a banner that in our own religious beliefs when we have to answer questions hangs in the sanctuary of St. Paul & St. Andrew which quotes about them, as we do when we interact with others who are Psalm 133, verse 1, and reads, “How good it is when brothers not of the same faith. and sisters dwell together.” As we welcomed Shabbat together In fact, having meaningful conversations with others of dif- in our beautiful Temple Israel chapel, with the light dimming ferent religions helps us to develop empathy. It exposes us to in the skylight overhead, our new Tri-Faith Executive Directhe realities of others and uncovers common understandings, tor asked us, “What will you do, together, here?”
Payday lending a big problem in Nebraska
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PAm moNSKy Community Development Liaison, ADL-CRC Last month, The National Conference of Jewish Women, Omaha Section and the ADL-CRC partnered to present Wine & Conversation focused on Payday Lending in Nebraska. This event was sponsored by a grant from the Ruth Frisch & Oscar Belzer Endowment Fund. Ken Smith, Staff Attorney for the Economic Justice Program at Nebraska Appleseed spoke about the current landscape of payday lending in Nebraska including how a payday loan works, how they are regulated, and how they function to trap borrowers in a cycle of debt. Mr. Smith gave extensive details about why payday lending reform is needed at the state and federal level and covered the current legislative proposal in Nebraska. A payday loan is a short-term, small dollar loan, generally for five hundred dollars or less, that becomes due on the borrower’s next payday. A borrower writes a check dated for the next payday or gives a payday lender authorization to directly debit a checking account. When the borrower’s next payday arrives, that income is typically absorbed by regular expenses and the borrower cannot afford to pay the loan and fees in full right away. The borrower is left with only one option – to pay a fee to the lender to renew the loan. Without enough income to pay off the loan, a borrower repeats this process of simply paying renewal fees and sinks deeper into debt. In Nebraska, payday loans carry an average annual interest rate of 461%. While it’s unclear how many individuals take out payday loans, there were 80 licensed payday loan businesses in Nebraska in 2017, many with multiple storefronts. Nebraska has the highest interest rate in the country at 461%. Mr. Smith says the solution is to eliminate or reform these lenders, and
address the duration of the payback period. LB 194, sponsored by Senator Tony Vargas, proposed limits on total fees payday lenders can charge to $500 or 5%. While there was much discussion, this legislation did not pass. Community members are encouraged to contact Senators Vargas, Brett Lindstrom and Roy Baker to express support of payday lending reform legislation. There are alternatives to payday lenders, according to Mr. Smith. Low income credit unions and non-profit micro-lenders are available.
B’nai B’rith Trivia Quiz
The Beth El team won the B’nai B’rith annual trivia challenge. Clockwise, from left: Carmela Kramer Karni, Nate Schwalb, Aviva Shukert, Howard Epstein, Richard Fellman, Ben Shapiro. Proceeds went to the Beth El 21st Century Endowment Fund.
The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018 | 9
(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: wwwjewishomaha.org; 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 ishomaha.org; send ads (in TIF or PDF format) to: rbusse@jewishom aha.org. 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 ishomaha.org. Letters should be no longer than 250 words and must be single-spaced typed, not hand-written. Published letters should be confined to opinions and comments on articles or events. News items should not be submitted and printed as a “Letter to the Editor.” The Editor may edit letters for content and space restrictions. Letters may be published without giving an opposing view. Information shall be verified before printing. All letters must be signed by the writer, but the name can be withheld at the writer’s request. The Jewish Press will not publish letters that appear to be part of an organized campaign, nor letters copied from the Internet. No letters should be published from candidates running for office, but others may write on their behalf. Letters of thanks should be confined to commending an institution for a program, project or event, rather than personally thanking paid staff, unless the writer chooses to turn the “Letter to the Editor” into a paid personal ad or a news article about the event, project or program which the professional staff supervised. For information, contact Annette van de Kamp-Wright, Jewish Press Editor, 402.334.6450. Postal The Jewish Press (USPS 275620) is published weekly (except for the first week of January and July) on Friday for $40 per calendar year U.S.; $80 foreign, by the Jewish Federation of Omaha. Phone: 402.334.6448; FAX: 402.334.5422. Periodical postage paid at Omaha, NE. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Jewish Press, 333 So. 132 St., Omaha, NE 68154-2198 or email to: jpress@jewishomaha. org.
American Jewish Press Association Award Winner
Nebraska Press As- National Newspaper sociation Association Award winner 2008
Nazis as the abstract Other
ANNETTE vAN DE KAMP Editor, Jewish Press erman rap is something I generally try to avoid. Unless you’re Falco and singing about Amadeus Mozart, it all makes me cringe. So when two German rappers recently won an award for doing their thing, I wasn’t aware, until the backlash happened. “Kollegah and Bang won an Echo Music Award in the hip-hop category, one of Germany’s top music prizes, for an album whose lyrics boast of physiques ‘more defined than those of Auschwitz inmates’ and call for ‘another Holocaust; let’s grab the Molotov’ cocktails. The ceremony took place in Berlin on April 12, which also was the annual Holocaust and Ghetto Uprising Remembrance Day.” (JTA) Anti-Semitism that presents itself in popular music, as if it’s not a big deal, should bother anyone; the fact that it occurs in Germany makes it especially troublesome. Never mind that another German musician, Campino, spoke out against them at the award ceremony, never mind that the audience gave Campino a standing ovation; the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of Kollegah and Bang’s records are in the hands of young people, doing their part in normalizing anti-Semitic language. “I know why Germany still has a Nazi problem,” writes Alexandra Senfft in Haaretz. Senfft is the granddaughter of Hans Ludin, who was Nazi Germany’s envoy to Slovakia. Her grandfather was executed when the war ended; Senfft is quite open and forthcoming about what he did, what he was responsible for and, most importantly, what he knew. This admittance is, according to Senfft, problematic for many descendants of the Nazis: “The Nazi is the abstract Other. […] As long as Nazism’s crimes and violations are seen to be related
solely to those outside one’s inner circle, the mechanisms of denial and silencing create complicity. Family loyalty is thus built on lies, a misinterpretation of love.” Promoting public understanding of past crimes, while excusing one’s own family members in private, according to Senfft, creates a world in which Nazi patterns of think-
shaped current conditions and perceptions in the United States to know that what Senfft touches on is true. So what do we do now? When the overwhelming evidence of Holocaust atrocities isn’t enough to make the world take notice, where do we go from here? If six million victims are silenced again and again, when people like Kollegah and Bang don’t see there is a problem, how do we convince them the problem exists? When asked to respond to Campino’s criticism, the two rappers joked about not working out enough before the award show. They effectively avoided the entire issue, not even responding to the journalist’s questions. There was, as far as they were concerned, nothing of importance to talk about. And here we are, all this time assuming that it meant something, that people everywhere would take notice and admit that what the Nazis did was wrong, not to be repeated. That it taught the Not just a problem in Germany: on March 16 a march was held on the world certain truths. Perhaps it is time square around Latvia’s most famous monument. Known as the Memowe acknowledge the hard facts: that rial for Latvian Legionnaires, it is the world’s only march by veterans of educating and making people underNazi Germany’s elite SS unit. A man dressed in a pre-WWII Latvian mili- stand the very fundamental truth, that tary uniform salutes as former Nazi SS veterans and their sympathizers the Holocaust was wrong, is much walk to the Monument of Freedom in Riga, March 16, 2016. more of an uphill battle than we ever Credit: Ilmars Znotins/AFP/Getty Images thought. That there are plenty of peoing aren’t ever really eradicated. In other words, society ple who, at the end of the day, don’t really care. And that as a whole doesn’t truly embrace the idea of past wrongthe notion that, by allowing anti-Semitic language and ness. There is a difference between saying the right thing thought to continue, it could (will) happen again, doesn’t and feeling the right thing. really faze some people. After all, they might think, was it One only has to look at how the history of slavery has really all that bad?
Israel at 70: Lessons for the Silicon Prairie BARuch hALEvI and BOB WOLFSON As Israel celebrates its independence day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, on April 18, it can be instructive for people in our area to see how much the country has accomplished in just 70 years. For example, in 1948, Israel had two universities; today, with 62 institutions of higher learning, Israel has the highest number of university degrees per capita. With a GDP ranked 33rd by the IMF, Israel’s economy is six times larger than in 1950. Recently the Minister of Economy and Industry has announced plans designed to spur growth to become the world’s 15th largest by 2025. How can a country with just 8.5 million people surpass much larger countries? Through innovation, for one thing. Israel has become known as the “Start-up Nation,” and is recognized as a leader in ag-tech, water-tech, bio-tech, med-tech, clean-tech, fin-tech, cyber security, energy (including electricity and solar power) -- technologies that have a positive global impact. Israel averages 640 new startups per year dating back to 1999, more than 5,000 startups in that time – the greatest concentration of high tech companies outside Silicon valley, according to the Bank of Israel. And while most startups in the U.S. don’t make it to their fifth anniversary, since 2008, a majority of those startups are still in business. Here are five best practices from Israel that can be applied here at home. 1. Adopt an optimistic mindset and rebrand the Midwest. In the words of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, at the establishment of the state of Israel 70 years ago, “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.” Since then it has, indeed, been creating miracles, such as transforming itself into the Start-up Nation, a technology superpower and a world-class economy. We believe the Midwest, a region with robust and thriving business, financial and technological ecosystem, with each state having particular industry expertise and excellence should rebrand
4. Spur entrepreneurship as a career path. With a culture that demands independence combined with “chutzpah,” the Yiddish word for nerve and self-confidence, Israeli students are encouraged to become entrepreneurs rather than find a job in a pre-existing company. It takes chutzpah and innovation to attempt to solve global challenges like drought, water efficiency and irrigation, crop productivity and protection while also developing organic pesticides, and farm-specific robotics. According to AgFunder, a U.S. website covering agricultural startups, there are more than 400 Israeli agtech startups -that’s chutzpah. 5. Network for innovation. In Israel, ideas often emerge during conversations with people from their networks -- if you’re open about where innovation comes from. Some say Israel is successful because it has a tight network. Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and the other Midwestern states can replicate this, James Emery via Wikimedia commons and scale across a regional network as it 2. Ensure industry and academic institutions work transforms itself into the Silicon Prairie. together. Israel gets businesses and academic instiThrough a combination of these values and aptutions working together. For example, instead of plying the lessons from the Start-up Nation, we, in feeling like they’re in an ivory tower, Israeli aca- the Silicon Prairie, can build our own entrepredemic researchers work on projects funded by out- neurial and innovation ecosystems. We can evolve side companies, with an emphasis on patents into a national and international technological surather than journal articles, followed by a con- perpower and we can make our own, positive certed effort by technology transfer departments global impact if we heed the words of Israel’s to find businesses that can commercialize the in- founding father, Theodor Herzl, “If you will it, it tellectual property. is no dream.” The people of the Silicon Prairie have 3. Get government support. State governments can the will. Welaunch has the platform. And together foster innovation ecosystems. One way: the Israel we will realize this dream. Innovation Authority supports 24 different incuRabbi Baruch HaLevi, D.Min, and Bob Wolfbators covering different technologies that provide son are co-founders of welaunch, a U.S.-based a range of services for startups, financial support non-profit introducing Israeli technology startups including grants and loans for two years to help to corporations, investors and research partners them gain traction. Another way: maintaining and as a platform for economic development, Jewish upgrading infrastructure that supports the knowl- community engagement and Israel innovation edge industry sector. And because networking is education. so important to Israeli business, the IIA offers For more information visit www.welaunch.org partner matching services, that can be easily trans- or email Baruch at Baruch@welaunch.org. lated here. our states as Silicon Prairie. Just as the Start-up Nation has done, Silicon Prairie, comprised of Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, can leverage this network to bring in new business opportunities, gain international recognition and attract the world’s leading technology companies.
10 | The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018
synagogues B’naI Israel synagogue
618 Mynster Street Council Bluffs, IA 51503-0766 712.322.4705 email: CBsynagogue@hotmail.com
BeTh el synagogue
Member of United Synagogues of Conservative Judaism 14506 California Street Omaha, NE 68154-1980 402.492.8550 bethel-omaha.org
BeTh Israel synagogue
Member of Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America 12604 Pacific Street Omaha, NE. 68154 402.556.6288 BethIsrael@OrthodoxOmaha.org
An Affiliate of Chabad-Lubavitch 1866 South 120 Street Omaha, NE 68144-1646 402.330.1800 OChabad.com email: email@example.com
CongregaTIon B’naI Jeshurun
South Street Temple Union for Reform Judaism 2061 South 20th Street Lincoln, NE 68502-2797 402.435.8004 www.southstreettemple.org
offuTT aIr forCe Base
Capehart Chapel 2500 Capehart Road Offutt AFB, NE 68123 402.294.6244 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
rose BlumkIn JewIsh home
323 South 132 Street Omaha, NE 68154
Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) 13111 Sterling Ridge Drive Omaha, NE 68144-1206 402.556.6536 templeisraelomaha.com
Member of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism 3219 Sheridan Boulevard Lincoln, NE 68502-5236 402.423.8569 tiferethisraellincoln.org
B’naI Israel synagogue
Join us for our monthly Shabbat Speakers Series on may 11, at 7:30 p.m. with guest speaker Rabbi Brian Stoller. 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: BESTT Shabbaton at Camp Rivercrest; NE AIDS Lunch, 11:30 a.m.; Kabbalat Shabbat, 6 p.m. with Dr. Keren McGinty. saTurday: BESTT Shabbaton at Camp Rivercrest; Shabbat Morning Services, 9:30 a.m. with Dr. Keren McGinty; 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 Shabbaton at Camp Rivercrest; No BESTT Classes, 9:30 a.m.; Torah Study, 10 a.m.; Sunday Speaker: Dr. Keren McGinity, 11 a.m.; Dinner at the Stephen Center, 5:30 p.m. wednesday: BESTT Classes, 4:15 p.m.; USY Kadima goes to Richwood Farm, 5 p.m. Thursday: Chesed Committee visits Blumkin Home, 2 p.m. BESTT Graduation and Teacher Appreciation, friday, may 4, 6 p.m. Shabbat’s Cool, saturday, may 5, 10 a.m. Cantor’s Concert, sunday, may 6, 4 p.m. All classes and programs are open to everyone in the Jewish community.
BeTh Israel synagogue
Services conducted by Rabbi Ari Dembitzer. frIday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Friday Learnig Series wtih Rabbi Shlomo, 11:15 a.m. at the JCC; Mincha, 7:30 p.m.; Candle Lighting, 7:59 p.m. saTurday: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Insights into the Weekly Torah Portion, 7 p.m. with Rabbi Ari; Mincha/Seudah Shlishit, 7:45 p.m.; Havdalah, 9:03 p.m. sunday: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Bagels and Beit Midrash, 10a.m. with Rabbi Ari. monday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Talmudic Tales, noon with Rabbi Shlomo. Tuesday-wednesday: Shacharit, 7 a.m. wednesday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Lag B’Omer Backyard BBQ and Bonfire, 6 p.m. Thursday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; L’Dor V’Dor — Intergenerational Learning, 6:30 p.m. with Rabbi Shlomo; Character Building, 6:30 p.m. with Rabbi Ari.
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: Erev Shabbat Service, 6:30 p.m.; Oneg, 7:30 p.m.; Candlelighting, 8:01 p.m. saTurday: Shabbat Morning Service, 9:30 a.m.; Torah Study, 10:30 a.m. on Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim; Havdalah (72 Minutes), 9:32 p.m. sunday: LJCS Gan through Grade 7, 9:30 a.m. Grades 4-7 will clean the Holocaust memorial at Wuyka cemetery. Please dress your student appropriately and pick up at the cemetery at noon; LJCS Gesher, 10 a.m.; Adult Beginning Hebrew, 11:30 a.m.; Board of Trustees Meeting, 1:30 p.m.; Jewish Federation of Lincoln Community meeting, 3 p.m. at
Tifereth Israel; Come learn and play Pickleball, 7-9 p.m. All equipment furnished. Wear comfortable clothing. For questions, call or text Miriam Wallick at email@example.com. Tuesday: Intro to Judaism: Jewish Living/Home Community, 7 p.m. wednesday: No LJCS Hebrew School Thursday: Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. at the Graduate Hotel, 141 N. 9th Street; Yesterday’s Youth Lunch, noon at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church; Yesterday’s Youth Group (Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church) visits Temple, 1 p.m. Garden and Grounds work party, sunday, may 6, 8:30 a.m. Jewish Book Club, sunday, may 6, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Gere Library, 2400 S. 56th St. We will discuss Day After Night by Anita Diamant. 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.
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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 Alan Shulewitz. Services will be held in the Chapel. Members of the community are invited to attend.
frIday: Shabbat Service, 6 p.m. saTurday: Torah Study, 9:15 a.m.; Shabbat Service, 10:30 a.m. Torah Reader: Kate Murphy and Haftarah Reader: Jeff Schweid; High School Seniors Special Havdalah at Cantor’s Farm, 5:30 p.m. RSVPs required. sunday: Teacher Meeting, 9 a.m.; Grades K-6, 10 a.m.; Temple TED Talk, 10:30 a.m.; Confirmation Rehearsal, 11:30 a.m.; Rosh Chodesh Planning Meeting, noon; Tri-Faith Committee Meeting, noon; 2nd-6th Grade Spring Kick-Off Program, 12:30 p.m. Temple is launching new youth groups for kids in grades 2nd-6th! We’ll be announcing the new names of the youth groups and having lots of fun with Maccabiah game competitions including tug-o-war, musical chairs, water balloon competitions, and much more! RSVPs requested. 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.; High School Listening Session, 6:30 p.m.; Lag b’Omer Bonfire and S’mores, 7:30 p.m. Thursday: Jewish Heroes, Heroines, and Personalities: Rachel Adler, 10 a.m. taught by Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin. All classes meet at Temple Israel. Shabbat Service with Senior Celebration, Confirmation, and Scholarship Award, friday, may 4, 6 p.m. This year, Temple Israel is combining our Confirmation and Senior Celebration into one service. Also, the Brandon Thomas Pursuit of Passion Scholarship will be awarded during the evening. A lovely Oneg will follow, and everyone is invited to share this special evening with us. OTYG Elections and Late Night Program, saturday, may 5, 6 p.m. Calling all current 8th through 11th grade members of Temple: you are eligible to run for a position on the Omaha
Temple Youth Group board! This is a great way to get more involved and make a difference in your community. If interested, contact our Director of Youth and Young Adult Engagement, Aliyah Lasky at firstname.lastname@example.org. Not Just Your Mama’s Challah Rosh Chodesh event, sunday, may 6, 2-4 p.m. Women of Temple Israel, join us for baking challah! Resident expert Rosie Zweiback will give us a tutorial along with sous chefs Beth Meyers, Tamara Draeger, Mitzi Friedman, and Berta Ackerson. The dough will be prepped in advance so we can get hands-on with the braiding and baking. Come join the fun! RSVP to rsVp@templeisraelomaha.com or 402.556.6536, by wednesday, may 2. Holy Smokes, Tuesday, may 8, 7 p.m. Led by Rabbi Stoller, this men-only evening will feature cigars, beer, whiskey, and philosophical discussions of men’s issues and perspectives from Jewish texts. Join us as we discuss burnt offerings over a smoked kosher brisket. This event is free, though reservations are required. RSVP to Temple Israel, 402.556.6536 or rsVp@templeisraelomaha.com, by friday, may 4.
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: LJCS Gan through Grade 7, 9:30 a.m. Grades 4-7 will clean the Holocaust memorial at Wuyka cemetery. Please dress your student appropriately and pick up at the cemetery at noon; LJCS Gesher, 10 a.m.; Jewish Federation of Lincoln Community meeting, 3 p.m. at Tifereth Israel; Come learn and play Pickleball, 7-9 p.m. All equipment furnished. Wear comfortable clothing. For questions, call or text Miriam Wallick at email@example.com. wednesday: No LJCS Hebrew School Thursday: Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. at the Graduate Hotel, 141 N. 9th St. Cost: $30 per person. The guest speaker, Rev. Allen R. Hilton, Ph.D., founder of House United, a donor-driven, non-profit initiative dedicated to bringing people together for the common good; Hebrew classes for adults, 6:30 p.m., with Esti Sheinberg. Each meeting will include listening, speaking and a little reading. It's not too soon to be thinking about summer camp! All Federation families are eligible for Camp Incentive Grants of $300 per camper to pay the initial camp registration deposit. Application packets are availible in the Tifereth Israel foyer. 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. We have a display called Celebrating Israel: Snapshots of the People Behind a Young State which we have received from the Museum of the Jewish People (Beit Hatfutsot) in Tel Aviv. It will be able to be viewed from april 19-may 20th. The exhibit showcases historical moments of the State of Israel as seen through the eyes of its people. LJCS Fundraiser for Hurricane Relief: BINGO, BOOKS and BAKED GOODS, wednesday may 9, 5-6 p.m. at Tifereth Israel. Cost $5 (includes bingo card and markers). All proceeds go to the Jewish Community Center of Puerto Rico Sharre Zedeck Synagogue.
uno summer course to focus on experience of Jewish women in the midwest gaBBy BlaIr Staff Writer, Jewish Press There is still time to register for Jewish Women in the Midwest, a summer course being offered on Tuesday evenings, 6 p.m.-8:40 p.m., May 15-Aug. 7. All classes will meet at the Jewish Community Center Library; 333 S. 132nd Street. Sponsored by the University of Nebraska – Omaha Schwalb Center for Israel & Jewish Studies, the course will be led by Jeannette Gabriel, Ph.D. candidate in Social Studies Education at The University of Iowa. This course is open to all UNO students and members of the community
through UNO’s auditor and Senior Passport programs. The UNO Senior Passport Program costs $25 and allows participants over age 65 to attend 2 undergraduate courses per semester with instructor’s approval. To audit this course, or to join the Senior Passport Program, please contact Patsy Stradling, UNO Registrar’s office at 402.554.3042 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration forms may also be picked up from Mark Kirchhoff at the JCC in the Kripke Federation Library. For more information about The Schwalb Center, please contact Kasey De Goey 402.554.2788 or email@example.com.
The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018 | 11
PEOPLE WHO READ NEWSPAPERS ARE
lifecycles bat mitzvah
Ava Elizabeth Sophir, daughter of Claudia and Richard Sophir of Leawood, KS, will become a Bat Mitzvah at 10:30 am on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Overland Park, KS. Ava is a seventh-grade student at Leawood Middle School. Outside of school, she is involved in team gymnastics, competing in local, state, and regional meets. For her mitzvah project, Ava spent time with senior citizens at the Village Shalom Retirement Community in Overland Park. She played games, helped with sing-alongs, and assisted with arts and crafts. Grandparents are the late Audrey and Al Sophir of Omaha, and Nancy Shepherd of Kansas City, MO. Omahans Penny and Jim Sophir are aunt and uncle, as is Marty Sophir of Edwards, CO. Relatives and friends are invited to a kiddush luncheon following services at the Temple.
NCJW Wine & Conversation
Please join NCJW Nebraska for a Public Advocacy and Education Event — Medicaid Expansion for Nebraskans ursday, May 3, at 7-9 p.m. at Spirit World at Aksarben Village, 6680 Center Street (parking on the north side of the building) Medicaid Expansion is moving forward in the State of Nebraska as a ballot initiative. is is an important social justice action aimed at increasing healthcare for over 80,000 Nebraskans. Having failed three times in the Unicameral and with no support from our Governor, we are ready to take it directly to the voters to be placed on the November ballot. Come and have a glass of wine and hear from Nebraska Appleseed on this important topic. Our speaker will be Kait Madsen, a Community Organizer in Nebraska Appleseed's Health Care Access & Economic Justice Program. She works with community members to mobilize around health care access issues and share their personal stories to advocate for quality, aﬀordable health care. At Nebraska Appleseed Kait has worked on protecting the Aﬀordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid, and protecting DACA recipients. She is originally from Iowa and moved to Omaha three years ago aer graduating from Loyola University Chicago. For more information, please contact Becki Brenner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mountaintop coming soon to the omaha community Playhouse
Tickets for Omaha Community Playhouse’s upcoming production of The Mountaintop are now on sale through the OCP box office. The production will run may 4 – 27 in OCP’s Howard Drew Theatre. The Mountaintop reimagines the final night in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,’s life. The story takes place in his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis as he meets a mysterious woman who shares a disturbing secret with him. An Olivier Award-winning play of historical fiction, The Mountaintop imagines the final night in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After giving his speech, “The Mountaintop”, Dr. King returns to his room at the Lorraine Motel. When a mysterious woman with a secret agenda pays a visit to Dr. King, the resulting confrontation imaginatively explores destiny, legacy and mortality. Disclaimer: Contains dialogue related to racial tension and adult language. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4. The events in this timely and powerful story take place the night before his death, 50 years ago on April 3, 1968. Tickets are available at the OCP Box Office, by calling 402.553.0800 or online at omahaPlayhouse.com or www.tick etomaha.com. Single tickets start at $24 for adults and $18 for students. Ticket prices are subject to change based on performance date, seat location and ticket demand. Call the OCP box office for current prices. For groups of 12 or more, tickets are $20 for adults and $14 for students.
Israel 70 Photography Exhibit at Tifereth Israel
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NaNcy coReN Tifereth Israel is the site of an exhibit titled Celebrating Israel: Snapshots of the People Behind a Young State. The display showcases historical moments of the State of Israel as seen through the eyes of its people. It gives viewers insights into the formation of the State of Israel and is a way of celebrating Israel’s 70th birthday. Curated by Yaara Litwin of the Museum of the Jewish people in Tel Aviv, Beit Hatfutsot, the 29 panel exhibit is now available for viewing in the Tifereth Israel social hall until after Shavuot. The exhibit will also be available at Tifereth Israel for further use in educational programming in years to come.
acharei mot-Kedoshim: Be Holy
Rashi tells us that to be “holy” means to separate oneself from forbidden desires. The commentaries explain Rashi’s comment to mean that in order to connect to something the right way, one has to be selective on how they act on their desires. We can elevate all of our desires by chan- Rabbi aRi neling them according to the Torah’s DembitzeR directive. May we all separate in order Beth Israel Synagogue to connect. This is “holiness.” Shabbat Shalom
Kara eastman for congress
I’m running for Congress because our values have been forgotten and ignored in Washington. My work at Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance has centered around identifying problems that affect families in our community and finding solutions. Unhealthy housing is pervasive in our city. We continue to place children living in poverty in homes that are substandard, and we know that unhealthy homes are holding our children back by causing IQ problems and other health issues that cause children to miss school. Healthier homes are a step in the right direction toward our children’s success, but we also need to ensure we have schools that perform well. We have to create programs that open the door to debt-free college and job training for students so they have the education and skills needed to find well-paying jobs. In addition, we must reform our criminal justice system and stop the school to prison pipeline. It’s time to stop jailing kids for things like running away from abusive homes, “truancy” related to illnesses, or unpaid traffic tickets. We need to fund programs that help these kids grow into healthy adults without removing them from schools and incarcerating them. It’s time to decriminalize marijuana and remove mandatory minimums for non-violent offenders; both will significantly reduce racial disparities in our prison system. We must ensure police officers are trained and held accountable for their actions. In order to address the many issues that disproportionately affect people of color and families in poverty, we have to have the political will to invest in these communities. I am a proven leader and community organizer who is ready to stand up and fight for our neighborhoods, families, and children. You can be a part of the solution. Please vote for me, Kara Eastman, on May 15 in the Democratic Primary.
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mDs cooRDiNatoR/Assistant DON, Jefferson Community Health & Life Gardenside. Experience with LTC MDS, assessments, care plans and 2 years LTC nursing experience preferred. Requires current Nebraska RN license, BLS, excellent customer service and communications. Apply online at JCHealthandlife.org/careers/; for information call 402-729-6850. a Place For Mom. The nation’s largest senior living referral service. Contact our trusted, local experts today! Our service is Free/no obligation. Call 1-855-441-8821. life aleRt, 24/7. One press of a button sends help fast! Medical, Fire, Burglar. Even if you can’t reach a phone! Free Brochure. Call 800-216-4935. sUffeRiNG fRom hearing loss? You may qualify for a ClearCaptions Phone at no cost to you. Real-time Phone Captioning. Free installation. FCC Certified Provider. Contact ClearCaptions! 1-844-687-7589.
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12 | The Jewish Press | April 27, 2018
Mega Teen Trip: Robert Osborne
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.
RobeRT osboRne irst off, I would of course love to thank the Omaha Jewish Federation and the entirety of the Omaha Jewish Community for allowing me to go on this fantastic trip-of-alifetime to Israel. Your generosity towards all of us teens is much appreciated and goes a long way to better our lives and our Jewish identity, and in turn, we will give back and help in our part. Now, to delve into the trip from my perspective and give you what I felt were my highlights of it, and also what I got out of it and still hold close to myself. This was a trip like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It opened my eyes to the entire world as a whole and gave me a better perspective about us Jews and the history we’ve gone through. From first landing in Tel-Aviv and
being just wowed at how beautiful the entire state is, especially with the awesome sunset backlighting the entire scene, I knew it was like a home away from home. Knowing too that almost all the people around you are all Jewish gives that feeling of comfort, even if it’s a completely foreign country to me. I’ve never felt closer to my religion, and I am not a very religious person, but the entire culture and community that surrounds Judaism is what makes it special to me. This trip has not only helped to fulfill that, but made me want more. Being a highlight of this and building upon the fact that to me this was a trip in connecting myself more culturally and with the entire community worldwide, the time we spent with our host families in the Western Galilee had to be one of the best parts. We were not only able to speak and spend
time with Israeli teens our age, but also able to live their lives. We lived with them for four days, went to school with them and experienced their day to day life half-way across the globe. We also just casually hung out with them and their local friends (often from either their or nearby moshavim or kibbutzim). My personal host, Ofer, was purely nice and his family was very accepting to me and (fellow teen trip participant) Grant Jabenis as their guests. I had just a great time. He lived in Bustan Hagalil, which is right by the Mediterranean. One night we walked down to the sea with him, his dog, and a group of teens including other Omaha teens and their Israeli hosts. It is just an interesting feeling that is almost
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unexplainable to be half-way across the globe with local teens and experiencing life together: having fun, laughing, silly shenanigans like eating spicier than spicy peppers in dares, riding electric bikes for the first time late into the night, playing ping-pong and billiards at the teen lounge in the moshav, bowling and trying to get your name spelled correctly, and having Jumanji interrupted by intermission at a local mall. What I’m trying to express, in words I cannot find, is that this experience (especially with both Omaha and Israel teens) made experiencing the Land of Israel that much more special. Even when we were just with the Omaha group for the rest of the trip, we never broke connection with each other or the Israelis, because these connections made with those all over the world and those made right at home are, what I see to be, the most important. Being able to have friends all over makes the world seem much more tangible. When they are Jewish like you, it makes you feel like an interconnected family with ties that can’t break, even with the strongest tide, no matter how loose or how tight they may be.
Mazal Tov, Aaron! We are so proud of your achievements – membership in NHS, varsity letter in tennis and a Merit Award from the Band.
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We are so proud of your achievements – membership in NHS, varsity letter in tennis and a Merit Award from B.E.S.T.T.
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