thejewishpress AN AGENCY OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF OMAHA
2018 Week of Understanding Page 4
Mega Teen Trip: A Mezuzah on every door Page 9
Table 64: A personal story from Dinner Under Abraham’s Tent Page 16
inside Viewpoint Synagogues Life cycles
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SPonSoRED BY THE BEnJAmin AnD AnnA E. WiESmAn FAmilY EnDoWmEnT FunD
MAY 4 , 2 0 1 8 | 1 9 IY AR 5 7 7 8 | V O L . 9 8 | NO . 2 9 | C A nD lEli g H Ti ng | FRID AY , MAY 4 , 8 : 0 6 P. M.
Teen Leadership Awards
gABBY BlAiR Staff Writer, Jewish Press very year, lay leaders and professionals from The Jewish Federation of Omaha and its agencies, local synagogues and other Jewish organizations submit their nominations for The Robert and Ellen Gordman Jewish Teen Leadership Award, honoring a teen Raelyn Cherry who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the community. This year’s Teen Leadership Award will be presented at the Jewish Federation of Omaha’s Annual Meeting on June 4. Criteria for nomination include active participation and demonstrated leadership ability in local youth groups, strengthening their organization, developing future leadership and community involvement. The pool of nominees is reviewed with award recipients selected by Bob and Ellie Gordman, themselves. Honorees receive a stipend of $1000 to be used towards a conclave, convention, Jewish summer camp or recognized Israel experience trip of their choice, and their names are engraved on permanently displayed plaques at the JCC.
Diversity in the Western galilee: A traveling exhibit
nATE SHAPiRo Director of Development In May of 2015, the Partnership2
GETHER Program of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish Federations of North America conducted an “Artist Workshops in the Western Galilee.” The program annually brings U.S. artists to the Western Galilee to make personal connections with community members through a wide range of artistic disciplines. The program encourages contemporary artistic creation and collaboration in hopes of generating new artistic discourse between participants and local residents. It is designed to encourage the See Western galilee page 3
This year, The Jewish Federation of Omaha is pleased to present The Robert and Ellen Gordman Teen Leadership Award to two very deserving Omaha teens, Raelyn Cherry and Lauren Kirk. Raelyn Cherry is currently a junior at Millard North High School and is the daughter of Kimberlee and Michael Cherry of Omaha. Most recently, Cherry lauren Kirk was one of two teens selected from a group of over 200 to serve as coordinator of the 2018 Spring Regional Convention and has been actively involved in planning community events since 2015. Over the past three years, Raelyn has attended Hebrew High and has been an active member of USY. Additionally, she has served on numerous boards, planning and steering committees including BBYO Connect Teens, Haunted Havdalah, the BBYO Beau & Sweetheart dance and Winter Regionals. Cherry also served as the 2016-17 Omaha Council Sganit vice-president and is the Omaha Council Mazkirah public relations liaison for 2017-18. According to Rachel Martin, BBYO/Teen Director, “Raelyn See Teen leadership page 2
Seth Rich Memorial Camp Scholarship Cantor’s Concert
Beth El’s Herzl Campers: Amanda Simon, left; Julia Raffel; Brandon Raffel; Sabrina Schwarz; Courtney Schwarz; Amy Dworin, Beth El’s Youth Engagement Director who came to visit; Tyler Epstein; Ethan Spivack and Joshua Shapiro. ozziE nogg The 2018 Beth El Cantor’s Concert to benefit the Seth Rich Memorial Camp Scholarship Fund is scheduled for Sunday, may 6 at 4 p.m. in the synagogue sanctuary. Featured performers, Listen Up!, an award-winning a cappella vocal band, will be joined by young singers from the congregation. A dessert reception will follow the concert. “Our Cantor’s Concerts are dedicated to the memory of Seth Rich, a vital and
promising young man who was senselessly slain in Washington, D.C. in 2016,” explained Hazzan Michael Krausman. “Seth devoted his life to making sure all people had equal access to their right to vote, so as to have a voice in the future of our country. He was also a passionate proponent of Jewish summer camping. It is our task, in his memory, to ensure that all our youth are given the chance to enjoy a Jewish summer camp See Cantor’s Concert page 3
2 | The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018
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Teen Leadership Continued from page 1 has been an active BBYO member since her 8th grade year. She is a great example of a teen who started from the bottom, without any BBYO knowledge, and made her way up into leadership positions through hard work and a commitment to bettering her chapter and council. Raelyn is always willing to say ‘yes’ to helping with or leading a program and is proactive in befriending and including younger, newer members by inviting them to programs and encouraging them to run for board positions. Raelyn will leave a lasting legacy on this organization and be remembered by all for her dedication and enthusiasm towards Omaha BBYO and its members.” Upon learning that she had been selected as one of this year’s Teen Leadership Award recipients, Raelyn shares the following: “When I found out I was awarded, I was elated. I’m signed up for BBYO’s International Leadership Training Conference this summer and plan to use my full award towards it. Jewish experiences truly mean alot to me, and being able to attend this program makes me excited for the future of Omaha Council and my Jewish leadership in general. I couldn’t be more delighted to be with some of my best friends from our region and all around the world this summer!” In addition to enjoying time spent with BBYO and the wider Jewish community, Raelyn enjoys running, painting, videography and playing tennis. She is passionate about animals and is considering pursuing a degree in veterinary science. Lauren Kirk is currently a junior at Millard West High School and is the daughter of Kelly and Thomas Kirk of Omaha. Amy Dworin, Director of Youth Engagement, cannot say enough about Lauren’s development into a teen leader at Beth El Synagogue. “The most striking thing about working with Lauren Kirk is her independence. Her involvement in Jewish life is self-created because she has made Judaism a priority. Lauren started with USY her freshman year of high school. She was very quiet and often faded into the background during events. She was elected to a board position during her sophomore year simply because we had a very small chapter and needed people; soon afterwards, she became one of our chapter’s greatest leaders and most vocal members. Shortly into her term as communications chair, I learned that everything Lauren does, she does with gusto. Her passion, enthusiasm and drive helped reinvigorate our chapter’s communications and programming. Her programs are creative, well-attended and well-executed, thanks to her detailed planning. Encouraging Lauren and watching her grow as a leader has been inspiring.” Lauren has been very active at Beth El. Growing up, she attended BESTT, Kadima, and then Hebrew High before moving onto leadership roles in her teenage years including as a teacher’s assistant and counselor for younger BESTT students enrolled in camps and attending shabbatons. Kirk has served as a member-at-large for MZ Yoshanah since 2015, and was BILU communications co-chair for 2016-17. Lauren has also become very active with USY Emtza region and in 2017-18 alone, she served as Regional General Board
Member and Convention Co-chair. Perhaps the best example of Lauren Kirk’s leadership skills occurred earlier this year following the shooting in Parkland, Florida. As a part of the Hebrew High curriculum, the high schoolers discussed the tragic events with Rabbi Abraham and worked through their emotions with teachers. However, Lauren was inspired to take action and do more. According to Amy Dworin, Lauren’s first step was to think about ways that she and her USY friends could make a difference locally. “She planned a program for USY where the teens could learn about activism and then organized a letterwriting campaign so that they could write to their Congress people about issues of importance to them. Still wanting to do something tangible for the survivors, she contacted USY counterparts in the Florida area asking for input on ways we could support them. After reading an article about life after the shooting, Lauren was compelled to independently reach out to a source mentioned in the article asking how she could be involved in their recovery efforts. When she learned about the March for Our Lives, Lauren was eager to participate but was concerned that since the rally took place on Shabbat some members of her community might be excluded. She reached out to the synagogue leadership about making the March part of a downtown Shabbat experience so that everybody who felt passionate about making schools safer could be involved. Taking the initiative, Lauren served as the teen coordinator for the March 2018 Beth El ‘March for Our Lives’. She helped design shirts, make signs and inspire others to be involved.” Lauren’s efforts resulted in over 50 members of the Beth El community marching with her and she even spoke at the rally. Since the rally, Lauren has formed relationships with The March for Our Lives group and plans to stay involved with this movement in the future. One of Dworin’s favorite programs designed by Lauren was ‘Cut-Throat Kitchen’; an Iron Chef inspired activity she organized for the middle and high schoolers in 2016. “She had teenagers in the kitchen competing in challenges like working while handcuffed to another person or preparing a meal using only
doll sized kitchen utensils. Her creativity was impressive but not as impressive as watching a group of 15 teens hooked onto her every word and actually going along with the crazy tasks she had them do. Not only did everybody have fun, but they learned about kashrut and how to independently make a meal. Her ability to synthesize fun activities with meaningful content is a skill that many seasoned educators would be envious of. This year alone she has led our chapter and organized a regional convention for 80 kids from across the Midwest while still managing to participate in BBYO, serve on her school’s yearbook staff, excel in AP classes, cheer competitively and work two part-time jobs. I am continually impressed with Lauren’s involvement in Jewish life and the way that she inspires others around her. I know that she will continue to be an asset to the Omaha Jewish community and have loved having the opportunity to work with her.” Aside from her passions within the Jewish community, Lauren is an accomplished student taking AP and honors classes in physics, pre-calculus, history, language/composition and Spanish. She is on Millard West’s year book committee and is part of West Friends, a special needs inclusion club at her high school. Lauren’s hobbies include competitive cheer, tumbling and photography. Additionally, she works as a BESTT Madricha and assistant teacher at Millard Day Care. Upon learning that she had been selected as one of this year’s winners, Lauren shared the following: “When I found out that I had won the Teen Leadership Award, I was shocked and speechless. I am extremely honored to have been selected to receive this award and I hope to continue utilizing my leadership skills in years to come. Before learning I had been nominated and won the award, I was planning to attend an eight week session at Alexander Muss High School in Israel. I am planning to use the scholarship money towards the tuition for the HSI session.” The Jewish Federation is very proud of Raelyn and Lauren and extends a hearty Mazal Tov to their families. It is both heartening and inspiring to see our youth having such passion and dedication for their community. Knowing that these young people are tomorrow’s leaders gives us hope for a brighter and stronger future for us all.
Vote for Theresa Thibodeau
Last October, I was appointed to the Neincreasingly complex, competitive economy. braska Legislature to represent District 6. Public safety has to be a top priority. I It’s been an honor and privilege serving in will work to ensure Nebraska law enforcethe Legislature these last six months, and ment and the state prison system have the I’m asking for your support to allow me to resources needed to keep us safe. And I’m continue representing you. proud of our work this session to close the Nebraska truly is the Good Life. Our great bottle club loophole and provide law enstate has afforded me the blessings of raisforcement greater ability to ensure compliing a family, starting a small business, and ance with our laws in these establishments. being active in our community. I understand We must lower taxes on Nebraska famithe importance of providing common-sense lies, seniors and small business. High taxes leadership in the Legislature, and that’s my constrict family budgets and drive away the promise to you for the next four years. investments Nebraska must compete for to Every child deserves a great education. create jobs, grow paychecks, and Through my small business, I see firsthand strengthen our economy. We need to reduce the positive impact a quality education has the state’s uncompetitive income tax rate, on a child. Our state’s promise to children is eliminate the tax on Social Security benea quality education, wherever that promise fits, and reduce the property tax burden. can be realized. I support empowering parI hope to earn your vote in the primary ents to make choices about their children’s election on May 15. Thank you for the honor education that will best prepare them for an of serving as your voice in the Legislature! PAID ADVERTISEMENT
Continued from page 1 exchange of ideas and enrichment for communities. Noa Epstein-Friedman, Israeli Arts and Regional Development Coordinator for the Partnership2GETHER, explained at the time that a special opportunity had been incorporated into the program for 2015. A proposal had been accepted to recruit photographers who would photograph and interview people of the Western Galilee region with the goal of providing visual and narrative snapshots of the diversity of people living in the region. The results of their work were to be compiled to create a touring exhibit for the P2G communities. For the project, the applications of eight photographers, seven from the United States and one from Budapest, Hungary, were accepted. Each photographer worked with four individuals. Mark Kirchhoff, local photographer and Program and Communications Assistant for the Jewish Federation of Omaha, was one of those selected for the program. We asked him to share some of his experiences. He told us that project work began on Sunday, May 17. “I was soon jolted into awareness that I had some difficult work ahead for this first day. While in the van going to the moshav Shavei Tzion where we would be interviewing people, we were asked, ‘Does anyone speak German?’ I raised my hand ever so slightly – was I really doing this? – And mouthing the words, ‘I speak some.’ I was immediately assigned to interview and photograph Amos. The diversity of the region was unfolding itself early.” Currently retired, Amos Frölich had escaped from southern Germany in 1938 at the age of seven. As he grew, he contributed significantly to the development of the community, including serving as a veterinarian for a large part of his life. Mark also photographed Elyia Beany, an Arab artist from the Arab village of Kfar Yasiff. “Elyia had such a calm, peaceful manner,” Mark said. “He said that he believed that even through turmoil; there is always the possibility for harmony.” Mark visited the Kibbutz Yehiam where he photographed Yohay Neeman, the manager of the meat processing plant. “Yohay had an amazing story to tell of how the plant not only survived a fire but reinvented itself and became more efficient and grew in size and prestige,” Mark shared. Mark’s final photo session was with Efrat Srebro. Efrat has developed a program for kids called “Music that counts” that begins with those in kindergarten. At that time she was working with over 1,000 kids from the city of Akko. “I was both intrigued and fascinated with the many ways she has incorporated music into learning – math, history, current events – just about everything,” Mark said. The traveling exhibit will feature not only Mark’s work, but that of other participants and will be on display at the Jewish Federation of Omaha’s Gallery during the month of May 2018. From Omaha, it will travel to Indianapolis. For information about this exhibit or any other Israel-related programming, please contact Nate Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018 | 3
Continued from page 1 “After our B’nai Mitzvah,” the boys said, “we’re looking forward to experience. The scholarships funded by this concert are a wonderful reading Torah and participating in Kadimah youth group.” investment in the future leadership of our community.” Seventeen-year old Amanda Simon will attend Herzl Camp this sumThis summer, David and Becca Finkelstein’s twin sons, 14-year old mer as an OZO — the program that trains campers to become counAri and Ethan, will attend selors. “I’ve always had such Camp Ramah in Wisconsin for fun summers at Herzl.” Amanda their sixth consecutive year. said, “and this year, as an OZO, “Their camp experiences have I’ll be able to provide my helped shape them into the campers with a great experiproud young Jews they are beence. I look forward to making coming,” their parents said. it their best summer ever.” Ac“Summer camp helps them realcording to Amanda’s mom Jill, ize that they’re part of some“Jewish summer camp has thing bigger than just ‘them’ — been an important part of her part of a larger community that life. She always looks forward reaches all over the country, as to summer when she can go to well as the world. Both boys her ‘happy place’. Amanda has ‘pay back’ their scholarships by made many great friends that volunteering at Beth El’s Kamp she keeps in touch with and Kef, assisting younger students gets to see at Jewish convenat BESTT, and helping with tions throughout the year. I other activities around shul.” think that attending Herzl camp For Ari and Ethan, Jewish sumhas provided her with a sense Beth El campers at Ramah. Ethan Finkelstein, left, Phoenix mer camp is the place where of Jewish identity. My hope is they can “continue learning He- Mavropolous, Asher Finkelstein, Ari Finkelstein, laying down, Colin she will continue to participate Kelln, Brittney Clignett, Jason Clignett and Sophia Mavropolous. brew and other parts of Juin youth groups and Jewish colAsher is a Ramah first-timer this summer. daism that we don’t lege activities.” necessarily learn in the synagogue.” Both boys agree that “the most Emily Kutler, 17, will also attend Herzl Camp this summer as an fun part of camp is seeing our friends from all over the country. The OZO counselor-in-training. The daughter of Bruce and Pam Kutler, friends we only get to see at camp. Going to a Jewish summer camp Emily has been a camper since she was ten. “My dad went to Herzl, is important to us, because we have something in common with every- some of my cousins went to Herzl, and since my first year at camp, one there.” The Finkelsteins youngest son, Asher, will be a Ramah it’s been my home away from home. I know that camp is where I befirst-timer this summer. long and that’s where I’m happiest.” Emily’s synagogue involvement Other Beth El parents and campers echo these sentiments. The Raf- was already strong, “but,” said Emily’s mother, “Herzl made her Jewfel kids — Julia, Michael and Brandon — are all Herzl Camp veterans. ish identity stronger. Emily chooses to be very active in USY because it “It started when Julia went to Herzl and loved it,” said their mother, has become an extension of camp. USY — locally, regionally, and interAmy Tipp. “She passed that love on to her brothers. Camp has been nationally — has offered her many exciting leadership opportunities, the solidifying foundation for their Jewish identity.” Jonathan and which have helped her grow in many ways.” Emily was recently Sheila Rich recognize that their almost-13-year-old twins, Alex and elected 2018-2019 Emtza Regional President, the largest geographical Zach, gained enormous confidence at Camp Ramah. “We feel their reli- USY region in North America, which includes chapters from Denver to gious experience at camp has given them a confidence they bring back Wisconsin, and from St. Louis to Winnipeg, Manitoba. “Going to Jewto Beth El,” Jonathan Rich said. “Confidence leads to participation. ish summer camp strengthened the path started by Beth El, and by Participation leads to a stronger identity. Camp Ramah, along with Bruce and me, to a strong Jewish identity,” Pam continued. “For Emily, BESTT, has given the boys this gift. They have become leaders, not finding a college with an active Jewish student population is now a just participants.” Alex and Zach Rich ‘repay’ Beth El for their scholar- top priority. Being around her own Jewish community and support ships by baking Challah and acting as greeters at Shabbat services. See Cantor’s Concert page 4
Friday Learning Series: The Bible
4 | The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018
2018 Week of Understanding
Liz FeLDSteRn Executive Director, Institute for Holocaust Education The Institute for Holocaust Education’s 2018 Week of Understanding programming included speaking engagements at 20 different schools, Countryside Community Church, Durham Museum, Millard Library, and Beth El Synagogue. From March 19-23, eight different speakers (Holocaust survivors
and their children) reached over 5,000 listeners! Support provided by the Omaha Public Schools and the Goldstein Supporting Foundation. Clockwise from above: Liberator and survivors – stars of the Week of Understanding, Annette Fettman and Lila Lutz, Closing banquet with Marcel Kahn and Fred and Sarah Kader; students listen intently to survivor testimony.
Continued from page 3 group has become very important to her, and I believe it always will be.” According to Beth El President Jim Zipursky “We’re very fortunate to have so many of our members embrace the importance of sending their children for summer camp experiences at Camp Ramah, Herzl Camp and Camp Sabra. We are also fortunate to have generous benefactors who support the Seth Rich Memorial Scholarship Fund. Last summer, Beth El was able to award scholarships/stipends to 30 Beth El summer campers. This year, we hope to be able to offer a wonderful summer camp experience
to even more of our kids. The May 6 concert is sure to be as wonderful as those Hazzan Krausman has orchestrated in the past.” Listen Up! is a two-time winner of Best Original Arrangement in the Harmony Sweepstakes, a national competition for all-vocal ensembles. Their recording, Jewphoria, was nominated for best religious album by Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARA). Listen Up! eclectic music videos have garnered more than a half-million views on YouTube, and their Adon Olam cover of Pharrell Williams’ Happy led the world-music charts on iTunes. “Listen Up! delivers harmony, humor and vocal pyrotechnics with
Jewish pride and joy,” Hazzan Krausman said. “I look forward to greeting you at the concert. It’s going to be awesome.” Chairmen for Listen Up!, a concert to benefit the Seth Rich Memorial Camp Scholarship Fund, are Mary and Joel Rich and Pam and Bruce Friedlander. Ticket pricing and sponsorship opportunities are found at http://bethelomaha.org. Individual tickets are available at $18. Donors of $50 receive two tickets, and $100 donors receive four tickets. Donators of $180 and above should contact Hazzan Krausman at firstname.lastname@example.org for ticket requests. All donations are tax deductible.
MARK KiRChhoFF Community Engagement and Education he ever-popular and acclaimed Friday Learning Series (FLS) has taken on a vibrant life through the collaborative efforts of the Jewish Federation of Omaha and Beth Israel Synagogue. It works tirelessly to present informative, meaningful topics to its participants. The FLS is taking a welldeserved vacation on May 4. During this time it has limited access to its phone and email and will not be returning calls until it returns on May 11. In its refreshed state on May 11 at 11:15 a.m. in the Kripke Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Abramovich Jewish Federation Library, it will present a topic that speaks to the very essence of being a Jew – the Torah. It will continue on May 18 and May 25 in its customary triple-header style. The person who breathes life into the series, Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Abramovich, (“Please, Mark, you may call me Shlomo”), Visiting Scholar at Beth Israel Synagogue and whose teaching ability has drawn many to his classes, says of this series, “During this month we celebrate Shavuot – Erev Shavuot on the 5th of Sivan, Shavuot on the 6th, and Yizkor Shavuot on the 7th, that is the 19-21 of May. This is the holiday when we received the Torah on Mount Sinai. There is perhaps no more fitting topic for the FLS this month than the Bible.” Shlomo [!] went on to explain that the classes will begin with an introduction to this book of books. Each session will consist of a discussion of one of the three books of the Bible – the Torah (“Teaching”, also known as the Five Books of Moses), the Nevi’im (“Prophets”) and Ketuvim (“Writings”). “The FLS begged for more weeks to cover this topic, but I said ‘Three is enough to accomplish my goal.’ I wish to provide meaningful information in such a way that those who participate will obtain a new appreciation for the topic and be inspired to pursue more study on their own. This series of classes will seek to show the importance and the relevance of the Torah and its values for our life today,” concluded Rabbi Shlomo. The Friday Learning Series is open to the community free of charge. Reservations are not required. Come to one, come to all. Bring a friend. Bring an acquaintance. You will be inspired by each session.
The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018 | 5
The Merry Month of May
Maggie ConTi choice. Cost is $10 per person. Reservations Director of Activities and Volunteer Services, RBJH are appreciated by Monday, May 7. Make A Free Afternoon at the Movies: Lady check payable to Jewish Social Services and Bird: Friday, May 11, 1 p.m. – JCC Theater. send reservation with full payment to MainNo Charge. Complimenstreeters c/o Maggie Conti, tary popcorn, warm and 323 South 132 Street, delicious, will be served. Omaha, NE 68154. Bring a pal. A teenager Thursday, May 17: Bill (Saoirse Ronan) navigates a Chrastil in a Community loving but turbulent relaConcert at 1:30 p.m. in the tionship with her strongRose Blumkin Jewish willed mother (Laurie Home Auditorium. Elvis is Metcalf) over the course of back by popular demand: an eventful and poignant The show is open to the senior year of high school. community - everyone is Lady Bird is an affecting welcome. An award-winlook at the relationships ning Branson, MO, enterthat shape us, the beliefs tainer, Chrastil has been a that define us, and the unfull-time musician and matched beauty of a place show-biz personality since called home. 1983, performing at theGolden Globe aters, fairs, casinos and rewinner for BEST sorts across the country Picture, five Acadand abroad. His show is emy Award nomia salute to music legnations and 99% ends Elvis Presley, approval rating on Conway Twitty, Johnny the Tomatometer by Cash, Willie Nelson, critics on Rotten Neil Diamond, Roy OrTomatoes. Rated: R bison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy (for language, sexual Holly, Tom Jones, The Vencontent, brief graphic tures, and other country nudity and teen parand rock stars from the 50s tying). Running time: and 60s. Bill is a whiz on 1 hour and 35 minutes. If the guitar, piano, bass guiyou want to have lunch at tar, drums, and harmonthe Star Deli before the ica, as well as being a show, call Maggie Conti at talented vocalist and song402.334.6521 to reserve a Center: Joyce Torchia, left, Bill Chrastil writer. His show is fun and table. Lunch is on your own. The Star Deli full of energy. You won’t want to miss it. opens for business at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, June 3 at 2 p.m. the JCC Musical: Luncheon and concert at Parkwood Ter- Willie Wonka in the Jewish Community race Apartment Club House (1010 North Center Theater. Cost: $5 per person, a saving 92nd Plaza – 93rd and Western) on Monday, of 50% to Mainstreeters only. Note: we have May 14, at noon. Musical Memories with only a limited number of tickets. First, come, Joyce Torchia following lunch with selections first served. Pick up your tickets the day of from the Great American Songbook. The the show at Will Call.Make check payable to “stage” has always been her calling, and after Jewish Social Services and send reservation many years away from performing, she was with full payment to: Jewish Social Services, offered a part in the musical From Generation c/o Maggie Conti, 323 S. 132nd Street, to Generation in 2004 at the Jewish Commu- Omaha, NE 68154. For questions call Maggie nity Center. - she has been singing ever since. at 402.334.6521. Lunch will be catered by Panera. For lunch, We welcome all Jewish residents of the choose either 1/2 turkey sandwich or 1/2 Omaha area age 60+ and invite you to take Mediterranean veggie sandwich, both served part in these spring activities. For more dewith salad, potato chips, a pickle, baguette, tails, phone Maggie Conti at 402.334.6521 or and a cookie for dessert and beverage of your email her at email@example.com.
Rockbrook Village Spring Craft Fair
Join us for the 30th Annual, Rockbrook Village by Blooms, and custom hand-stamped keychains by Spring Craft Fair where you can discover makers, the amazing crew at Creatables, a vocational day designers, and artisans of all types who will be center for adults with physical and developmental showcasing their “craft” to the Omaha market in disabilities. Rockbrook Village has also partnered this curated event. Find amazing, high quality, with local non-profit Project Harmony to host our handmade items including: wood craft, jewelry, Lil’ Makers tent where children can enjoy arts & ceramics, all-natural health and beauty products, crafts as well as a face painting station. kid-centric apparel and accessories, home goods, This is a FREE community event for the whole fine art, horticulture, small batch food and drink family, paid for and hosted in part by the amazing purveyors, paper goods, and MORE! Happening merchants of Rockbrook Village. Find something this Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. in special and unique for Mom, just in time for the Rockbrook Village Center Plaza. Mother’s Day! Get to know and support the local Enjoy live music all day, a wine and margarita artisans and business owners in our community at garden hosted by The Hunger Block, pet portraits one of the longest running craft shows in the city. by Denise Levy, a ceramic painting station hosted by Located, off the interstate at 108th and Center— EARTHENjoy, create your own terrarium bar hosted Rockbrook Village—homegrown, locally owned. PAID ADVERTISEMENT
CRAFT FAIR MAY 5 Ř 10am-5pm
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6 | The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018
Temple Israel confirms and celebrates its teens
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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, email us the graduate’s name, parents names current high school and the college you plan to attend plus a photo to: email@example.com by May 7, 2018.
Cat King arts. He knew from a young age he always Director of Engagement and Communications, wanted to be a chef,” says Andie Gordman, Temple Israel Brandon’s mom. It is appropriate and beautiAs summer approaches, we congratulate ful to honor his life with a scholarship that our seniors as they graduate and move on to helps other young adults pursue their dreams. the next chapters of their lives. Confirmation is a poignant We also celebrate Confirmarite of passage for our tenth tion with our tenth graders as graders as they share a private they commit to Jewish lives. At moment with our clergy to afTemple Israel’s Shabbat firm their commitment to the evening service on Friday, Jewish People. This year’s conMay 4, at 6 p.m. we will comfirmands are: Sara Bierner, bine our confirmation and daughter of Samuel Bierner and senior celebration, as well as Joseph Pinson; Julia Brodkey, award the Brandon Thomas daughter of Stacie Brodkey and Pursuit of Passion scholarship Marc Brodkey; Harper Mattie to Benjamin Brodkey. The Gordman, daughter of Danielle evening will conclude with an and Jeff Gordman; Alexander Ben Brodkey Oneg sponsored by Elly and Kraft, son of Natasha Kraft; Bob Gordman, Andie Gordman and Dan Brandon Wigodsky, son of Tereza Wigodsky Fitzgerald, and Lindsey Thomas in celebra- and Andrew and Tracy Wigodsky. tion of Brandon Thomas and all of the gradAlso in Friday’s service, Temple Israel’s high uating seniors. school seniors will be given a celebratory Music is the passion Ben Brodkey will pur- blessing by the clergy as they prepare to gradsue this fall at Drake University. He graduates uate and begin the next phase of their lives. from Westside High School with a Diploma This year’s seniors are: Hannah Bargas, with Commendation, meaning he took addi- daughter of Sharon and Damon Bargas; Bentional credit hours, completed a senior proj- jamin Brodkey, son of Stacie Brodkey and ect, met service learning requirements, and Marc Brodkey; Aleia Budwig, daughter of put together a future plan portfolio. When Larry Budwig and the late Kirsten Budwig; Ben does something, he goes above and be- Cooper Clark, son of Kimara and Kevin yond. He was in high school when he realized Clark; Jackson Clark, son of Kimara and that he wanted to have a career in music. He Kevin Clark; Adam Folsom, son of James Folwants to help high school kids see how music som and the late Jill Folsom; Jane Glazer, can touch their lives in positive ways. “The daughter of Jennifer and John Glazer; Harley study of music helps you think. It allows your Gordman, son of Bridget and Kenneth Gordbrain to process numerous things at once. It’s man; Jonothan Gordman, son of Bridget and so difficult and so like a language itself, that Kenneth Gordman; Adam Cooper-Kahn, son having a background in music helps you of Amy and Paul Rabinovitz; Kathleen Kirstudy everything else” Ben explained. shenbaum, daughter of Jennifer Tompkins Stacie Brodkey and Marc Brodkey are very Kirshenbaum and Matt Kirshenbaum; Kasproud of their son. When asked what this sandra Kizlin, daughter of Ronna Jo Kizlin; scholarship means to him, Ben says, “I hope Benjamin Leathers-Arnold, son of Ilene to be the best music teacher I can be, and the Arnold and Carrie Leathers; Samantha Matz, best musician that I can be, and I’d really like daughter of Stacie Spies-Matz and Jay Matz; to inspire others to be the best musicians they Simon Murphy, son of Kate and Joseph Murcan be. I appreciate the scholarship because phy; Benjamin Raffel, son of Wendy and it will help set me in the right direction as I Adam Raffel; Madeleine Rauhauser, daughter begin my study.” of Nancy Nogg; Chloe Ray, daughter of Brandon grew up at Temple Israel. He was Shayna and Matthew Ray; Eliana Reiss, a student at the Institute for the Culinary Arts daughter of Wendy and Robert Reiss; Ellie at Metropolitan Community College in Simon, daughter of Stacy and Bruce Simon; Omaha. He was 21 years old and a few credits Harrison Stoneking, son of Cynthia and Brian shy of completing his culinary degree when Stoneking; Mia Vinci, daughter of Jody Vinci he was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident and Gino Vinci; Brooke Wilczewski, daughter in 2010. “Brandon had a passion for culinary of Allyson and Christopher Wilczewski.
Vote Kara Eastman for Congress Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, we’ve seen high schoolers all over the country speak out for changes that will make schools safer. Local students put together a March for Our Lives, because they know this isn’t something that happens in other places, but has happened right here in Omaha at Millard South High and Von Maur. It’s not fair that these children, who are dealing with the pain and trauma of witnessing their friends and classmates gunned down at school, have to take this fight on their shoulders. I’m not going to let them to fight alone. Gun violence is a public health issue that touches all of us. We absolutely can pass common-sense gun safety regulations and make changes, right now, to protect our schools, churches, and public places, and most importantly, to protect our children. Universal background check legislation must be
passed and loopholes must be closed. We need to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns and ban the sale of guns to people convicted of violent crimes, to those on the no-fly and watch lists, and to domestic abusers. Red-flag laws, designed to allow family members to speak up when they are concerned that their loved ones are seeking the use of a weapon to harm others, should also be passed. Weapons designed to fire a large number of bullets quickly must not be sold to the public. These weapons have one purpose, and one purpose only, to kill, quickly and effectively. Americans do not need high-capacity magazines and weapons of war to hunt, protect their homes, or for sport. These weapons belong on the battlefield, not in our communities. You can be a part of the solution. Please vote for me, Kara Eastman, on May 15 in the Democratic Primary.
Yom Yerushalayim: A celebration of Jerusalem
Importance of Jerusalem?” Immediately following Mary Sue GroSSMan Beth Israel Synagogue class, the film In Our Hands: The Battle for om Yerushalayim is the commemora- Jerusalem will be shown. The film, which will tion of the reunification of conclude at approximately noon, tells the story of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israel’s 55th Paratrooper Brigade and how Israel Israeli control over the Old City in Defense Forces risked everything for the sake of June 1967. Celebrated on the 28th their homeland. With first-hand interviews and day of Iyar, this year it is historical re-enactments, celebrated the evening of this powerful docudrama Saturday, May 12 and focuses on the commitSunday, May 13. An Isment and sacrifice of the raeli national holiday, the soldiers who reunited Chief Rabbinate of Israel Jerusalem. It should be declared Jerusalem Day noted that the film cona minor religious holiday tains some graphic battle to thank G-d for victory images. The class and in the Six-Day War and film will take place in the for answering the 2,000Youth Lounge located in year-old prayer of “Next the synagogue basement. Year in Jerusalem”. This The lounge is easily acyear Jerusalem celecessed via the lower brates the 51st anniversidewalk. sary of Jerusalem’s “The importance of reunification. Special Jerusalem is unapparevents, concerts, tours, elled,” comments Rabbi live music, exhibitions, Ari. “The strength that Jewish quarter of Jerusalem workshops, and more one can draw from this Credit: MathKnight spiritual center is imwill be held throughout via WikiMedia Commons mense. Consider the numIsrael during May. Due to the young age of this holiday, there is still not ber of times Jerusalem has been destroyed over much that makes it unique in terms of customs the years and yet it has been rebuilt and always and traditions. It is gradually becoming a “pilwith a Jewish presence.” He continues saying, grimage” day, when thousands of Israelis travel “The goal of my class is to highlight how and why some hike - to Jerusalem to demonstrate solidarJerusalem holds such a key in Judaism.” ity with the city. The morning events are open to the community, Beth Israel will celebrate Yom Yerushalayim on free of charge. For additional information, please Sunday morning, May 13, beginning at 10 a.m. visit orthodoxomaha.org or call the synagogue with a class by Rabbi Ari Dembitzer, “What is the office at 402.556.6288.
The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018 | 7
community Downtown Shabbat: Omaha’s Berkshire Weekend Tradition
Gabby blair Staff Writer, Jewish Press Omaha locals, friends and visitors from around the world are invited to share Shabbat services and a delicious home cooked meal at Downtown Shabbat, Friday May 4; 6:30 p.m. at 1000 Dodge Street. Hosted by Omaha Chabad, this fabulous event, created by Rabbi Mendel Katzman, Forrest Krutter (Z”L), and numerous other volunteers, has become a much anticipated tradition amongt many attending Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder’s meeting. Specifically designed for those seeking an island of calm in an otherwise frenetic weekend, Downtown Shabbat is always located in close proximity to the CenturyLink Center and the Hilton Hotel, where many will gather over the weekend, and this year’s new venue is no exception. According to Rochi Katzman, “This year’s Downtown Shabbat location at 1000 Dodge Street is less than a five minute walk from The CenturyLink, making it amazingly convenient for those who wish to participate. We typically host an average of 50 to 60 people for our annual Berkshire Shabbat Dinner, with many folks returning year after year. The
warm reception and Jewish flavored Nebraskastyled hospitality they receive when they visit Omaha is amongt their trip highlights. Omaha’s Downtown Shabbat is a really wonderful and unique experience; plan to meet
new people from around the world and catch up with old friends, all while celebrating an inspirational Sabbath together. I am so pleased we are able to provide this service to so many.” On Saturday, May 5 at 7 a.m., Chabad will host an early minyan, with Kiddush; cholent and all the trimmings will be available throughout the day at the same location. More information on Saturday offerings will be available on Friday night. Questions or concerns? Email Rochi Katzman at firstname.lastname@example.org or Levi Katzman at email@example.com or call 402.330.1800. Visit ochabad.com/brk to reserve.
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Yom Ha’Atzmaut 2018
This Shabbos we are given the mitzvah of “Sefirat Haomer,” the counting of the Omer offering. The rabbis tell us that the word used for counting, “sefira” also means to sharpen - or work through our character traits. In a few weeks, we will celebrate the receiving of our eternal Torah. In order to use the Torah the way that G-d intended, we clarify and identify our traits to work raBBi ari on them to allow us to receive the demBitzer Torah in the proper way. If we work on Beth Israel Synagogue our traits, we enable the Torah to take us to new heights. If we don’t, we will abuse the Torah. May we soar from Sinai. Shabbat Shalom.
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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thanks to the herbert goldsten trust, the iaC, and the following JFO Foundation funds: the Special donor-advised fund, the Shirley and Leonard goldstein Supporting Foundation and the murray h. and Sharee C. newman Supporting Foundation, Yom ha’atzmaut was celebrated in style in the Jewish Community Center’s gym.
Chocolate Shabbat is a hit! Cat King Director of Engagement and Communications, Temple Israel On the eve of Shabbat on Friday, April 20, something really magical happened at Temple Israel: we had our first Chocolate Shabbat and it was amazing! We started with a delicious dinner for the whole community featuring Chef Hattam’s world-famous macaroni and cheese. Tables of people sharing food and stories spilled out into the community court before we were called into the sanctuary to welcome Shabbat together in a very special Friday evening service. A group of children in grades two through five had been rehearsing for weeks and weeks in preparation of their big debut as our new kids’ choir at our first Chocolate Shabbat. The name of the choir is Kol Chokolad which, loosely translated, means “the voice of chocolate” because the voices of our children are sweet. Our choir director Sara Cowan and all of our clergy wore matching t-shirts with the kids, and they
sang beautifully from the Bimah. The sanctuary was full of children’s voices as Temple Israel tried something new and designated a kids’ corner stage left from the Bimah for our littlest members. They had games and puzzles and blocks to play with as moms and dads with strollers sat nearby. This was a great way for parents and grandparents and other family members to enjoy Shabbat services with their kids, instead of separate from them. After an extremely joyful service that may or may not have convinced children that chocolate comes from heaven, we all headed into the social hall for a truly spectacular spread of desserts. The chocolate oneg was beautiful, and we are grateful for the many people who baked and made delicious chocolate treats for our first Chocolate Shabbat. Look for Chocolate Shabbat to return this fall. It was a big hit and will be a new tradition at Temple Israel!
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The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018 | 9
Mega Teen Trip: Isabella Wright 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.
A Mezuzah on every door Isabella e. WrIghT few months ago I was fortunate enough to go on a trip to Israel funded by the Jewish Federation. It was a wonderful way to spend my winter break, but if I’m to be honest, the whole experience was quite overwhelming. Often when people ask me, “How was it?” I’ll use humor and insight to cover up how emotionally exhausted I felt, walking where hundreds of my ancestors walked. I don’t consider myself a spiritual person on any front, and yet here I find myself months later, enjoying Nebraska’s snowy April and missing this country that’s always been so physically far away, but so emotionally close. It’s taken me a while to process the whole experience, and it had to happen in layers. There wasn’t a dull moment on this trip; our group did every activity we could fit into 12 days. I missed my mom and my bed, and it was surreal to find myself surrounded by Jews for such a long period of time. It’s taken me until now to fully decipher what I wanted to gain from my first, and, HaShem willing, not my last trip to this wonderful place. Recently, the United States bombed Syria, leaving my twitter feed littered with liberals upset with the fighting of violence with violence. While I agree with the philosophy, I couldn’t help but notice that these people that care so much about Syria now are the same ones who are first in line to tag their posts “#FreePalestine”. Please. While on the trip with the Federation, not only were we exposed to the religious/histor-
ical aspects of the country, but the modern culture and politics. We met with former, current and future IDF soldiers, all more than happy to educate. They’re among the nicest and most virtuous people I’ve ever met, with the habit of choosing morality over vengeance. What’s frustrating from an American-liberal standpoint is how many of my peers attack the country for its defense against Palestine, and while I can (and sometimes do) open my mouth and fight back, I’m never going to change their minds. This has always stressed me out, that a country that I’ve loved so dearly for so long is often portrayed as “evil” by Western media. I don’t often feel “other” when it comes to Judaism, but this aspect is the raging outlier. However, while in Israel I didn’t have to worry about this. I was surrounded by people who understood the world the way I do, not only in the political sense (which I am quite fond of, hi, Mom!), but in the cultural sense. For twelve days I didn’t have to be so wildly conscious of what’s kosher, for 12 days I didn’t have to worry about holiday conflicts, for 12 days I could freely practice the bits of Hebrew I remember, and for 12 days there was a mezuzah on every door. Israel wasn’t about walking on some rocks that maybe King David walked on too; it was about being a proud Jew sans the slight guilt that’s too easy to feel in this country. I loved standing on that land; I can’t wait to go back; but for now I can use that emotion to treasure the moments spent in a synagogue, celebrating what makes us truly Jewish: community.
Perhaps the first time an Omaha Rabbi has visited B'nai Israel Synagogue, Council Bluffs in 25 years, we welcome Rabbi Brian Stoller, Temple Israel as our guest speaker on Friday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. As always, the service will be led by lay leader Larry Blass of Bellevue, NE. Rabbi Stoller assumed the position of Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel in the summer of 2017 after nine years as associate rabbi at Congregation BJBE, Deerfield, IL. He will speak about Finding Your Portal: A Vision for Jewish Life in the 21st Century. B'nai Israel, in its 115th year, is a small but grow-
ing congregation. The synagogue structure which was built in 1930 after a fire destroyed the previous structure, is slowly being modernized by the current leadership. As the Jewish population in Council Bluffs has shrunk drastically in the last 50 years, most of the members live in Bellevue and Omaha. Whether a member of B'nai Israel or Temple Israel, other Omaha congregations or unaffiliated, come over the river and enjoy a wonderful service on May 11 at 618 Mynster Street. As always, following the service, we have a delicious Oneg and plenty of schmoozing. For directions, call Marty Ricks at 402.301.4038.
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Students shine at No Place for Hate end-of-year rally PAM MoNSKy Community Development Liaison, ADL-CRC ore than 100 students from area high schools, middle schools and elementary schools celebrated at the ADL-CRC Plains States Region No Place for Hate® initiative end-of-theschool-year rally at Goodwill Benson Gardens recently. For over 15 years, the ADL’s No Place for Hate® initiative has been supporting safe and inclusive school environments by promoting school activities that help to reduce bullying, name-calling and other expressions of bias.
Pictured from top: Kids at the No Place for Hate® rally, Jocelyn Music, and Elham receiving the scholarship from Mary Beth Muskin. Forty-five schools representing Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas took part in the No Place for Hate® movement this year that has inspired over 2,000 schools, nationwide, to combat hate and increase the appreciation for the richness that diversity brings. During the rally, highlights of the schools’ No Place for Hate® activities were presented and new schools received their No Place for Hate® banners to display at their school. Schools that have participated in the program longer than one year received stars with dates to add to their banners. New to the rally this year was the presentation of the Bucky and Caryl Greenberg No Place for Hate® Scholarship. Bucky Greenberg was a committed member of the ADL-CRC board for over 50 years. His generous donation has made it possible to continue his commitment to making the world a better place. This year’s awardee is Elham Abdalla, a senior from Central High School. She will use the scholarship to attend Metro Community College, but depending on additional scholarships, she may be able to afford to attend UNO. In addition to the presentations, students were treated to Louder Than a Bomb slam poets and up-and-coming local
singer-songwriter Jocelyn Music. Just this year, Jocelyn was voted best pop artist, was signed with BMG and appeared on Showtime at the Apollo. Students also heard from Stella Daskalakis Thurkill, a news anchor from Sioux City, Iowa, who led the opening session and delivered the luncheon keynote speech about her career as a journalist and some of the challenges facing the media. The ADL-CRC is grateful to the Fred and Eve Simon Foundation for their support of No Place for Hate® programming. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure
Meet Elham Abdalla
PAM MoNSKy Community Development Liaison, ADL-CRC At first, Central High School senior Elham Abdalla appears a bit shy. But she quickly warms up as she describes how much her life has changed over the past three years. Elham is from Sudan, a country embroiled in near-constant civil strife for decades. Her mother died when she was just six years old and Elham’s father left the country for Ghanna, leaving her grandmother to raise her and her 13 siblings and cousins whose parents have also been lost to war. Elham Abdalla Elham’s grandmother had a profound influence on her. “She taught us to respect those who are older and those who are younger than us. That’s why No Place for Hate® made so much sense to me,” she said of the ADL program that combats bullying, name-calling and other expressions of bias at Central High, and other metro area schools. Elham’s father finally made it to the United States and sent for Elham and her two younger brothers in 2014. Elham had to learn a new language and a new culture and she was nervous. “I wondered how it would be to be around people who don’t speak my language, who don’t dress like me. Omaha is really different from Sudan where my village was destroyed by the civil war,” she added. Despite the enormous challenges she faces, Elham speaks English incredibly well and has come to appreciate a culture that is very different from the one she left. “Central has a lot of diversity. In Sudan, everyone is Muslim and everyone dresses the same. My teachers and new friends have been very helpful. I’m even going to prom with some friends!” she told us. Elham says her favorite things about Omaha are feeling safe and the opportunities freedom provides. She plans on studying nursing at UNO and going on to become a doctor. In addition to receiving the Bucky and Caryl Greenberg scholarship, Elham has received the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation scholarship, making it possible for her to attend UNO and have what she needs to be successful in the classroom. “Over her four years at Central, Elham learned a new language, acclimated to a different culture and graduated from High School,” recalls Ron Moore, who has been her counselor at Central from the beginning. “Through all of this, she never lost any of her kindness, innocence or desire to accept others. She has learned to question, rather than blindly accept, and has realized that there are times when she must go beyond her comfort zone. Elham has grown into a strong independent young woman, and I’m very proud of her and her successes.” As for Elham’s thoughts on Omaha, with Central and No Place for Hate®, she said, “Students are friends, we share a sisterhood and brotherhood. We should respect each other, love each other, not hate each other.”
justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, the ADL fights antiSemitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all Locally, the ADL-CRC office was established in 1950. In a unique relationship, the ADL also serves as the Community Relations Committee (CRC) and is the central resource for information on social issues and problems affecting the local Jewish community in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. The ADLCRC attempts to foster conditions conducive to creative Jewish living in a free society.
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10th teen found dead after flash flood
JTA e body of a missing Israeli teen was found overnight April 26, bringing to 10 the number of teenage hikers killed by a flash flood during a hike in southern Israel. Two Palestinian children also died from flooding in the West Bank, Haaretz reported, as the region has been lashed by intense spring rains.
Family and friends at the funeral of 18-year-old Maayan Barhom at the Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem, Friday, April 27, 2018. Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90 e nine girls and one boy killed at Nahal Tsafit, south of the Dead Sea, were taking part in the Bnei Zion pre-army program. ree staﬀ members, including the director of the trip, have been arrested for possible negligence, Haaretz reported. Weather agencies had issued flood warnings for the region aer unusually heavy rainfall on April 25. Israel Television News reported that one of the girls killed had written text messages the day before April 26’s trip saying she was worried about their safety. “I can’t believe I’m actually going hiking in weather like this. It doesn’t make sense to go to a place that’s completely flooded. It’s tempting fate. We’re going to die – I’m serious,” the girl, 18, wrote on the messaging application WhatsApp. Funerals for seven of the victims took place Friday, drawing thousands of mourners, the Times of Israel reported.
The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018 | 11
community Providing for our Community: JFS Food Pantry KAren GustAFson JFS Executive Director As the weather FINALLY breaks into Spring, flowers begin to bloom and BBQ grills begin to fire up, we all tend to smile more... not to mention our smiles when we see the sun more frequently. Let us not forget those in our community who have a harder time smiling every day, no matter the weather, because they have a hard time putting food on their tables on a daily basis. The JFS Food Pantry has seen a doubling of requests over the past year: From 7/1/16-4/1/17, JFS experienced 123 visits to our food pantry and provided 41 food cards for perishable items, such as milk, eggs, bread, etc. The average cost per visit was $46. This year, from 7/1/17-4/1/18, JFS experienced 221 visits to our food pantry and 27 food cards. The average cost per visit rose to $58.50. Our total costs have gone from $7,429 in 2016-17 to $14,237 so far in 2017-18. There is NO shortage of need. Our JFS Assistance Coordinator Linda Cogen works with community members to locate other food pantries as well in order to help subsidize what they get at JFS; however, most food pantries only allow a family to come one time a month. Food is a basic necessity for everyone. In recent Board and budget meetings, Jeff Kirshenbaum (JSS Board co-President) and Susie Norton (JSS Board member), both stated that “this kind of Tzedakah is one of JFS’s primary purposes – to serve those in our community in need of assistance. The JFS Board strongly believes in its duty to help those in need within our
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community.” Unlike many of other Omaha area food pantries that limit visits to once per month, the Board does not limit community members from visiting the food bank weekly as needed. Further, The Board strongly believes the food in the pantry be both nutritious and high quality. Linda works hard to keep the pantry stocked with items that meet our clients dietary needs as much as we can. You cannot get that kind of personal attention at just any food pantry. Our community is our priority! To name some of the most recent: Temple’s Social Justice Committee put together 200 packages of premeasured soup kits; JCC Girl Scouts donated Girl Scout cookies to the food pantry (this is a luxury item that we would not typically carry. They went off the shelves immediately); food bins are placed at the JCC Summer Backyard Concerts; Temple collects food on a regular basis outside of their office door and Beth El provides a list of needed pantry items in their monthly Kol. In addition, the JFS Website offers a list of needed items www.jfsomaha.com that are not able to be purchased with SNAP benefits (previously known as food stamps), the CDC children have given JFS 1/2 of their “saved” Tzedakah money each year (with the other 1/2 going to an Omaha community charity), and several families have provided food for the pantry by building food centerpieces during their child’s Bar or Bat Mitvah. As you can see, everyone, even our children, can help. If you wish to make a food donation or a monetary donation for us to purchase food, please call JFS Assistance Coordinator, Linda Cogen at 402.334.6493.
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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12 | The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018
(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.
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Find yourself in Israel
ANNETTE vAN DE KAMP Editor, Jewish Press t’s time for me to get a little personal. My husband and I have this unwritten rule. When one of us comes up with a wild idea, the other one is supposed to say: “Let’s do it.” So, this summer we plan to fly the kids to Holland to visit family; after the two weeks are up, I will take them back home to Omaha. Jeremy will not come back with us, because he is flying to Tel Aviv instead. I’m simultaneously jealous and excited; it’s his first time and he will finally see for himself why I love Israel so much. It’s a total drain on our budget and we’re doing it anyway. Why? He’s not just going to Israel, he is going on the JWRP MoMENtum trip, the husband’s version of the heavily subsidized Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project trip the Jewish Federation of Omaha has now sent two groups of women on. I was lucky enough to be part of the first group in 2016; while it wasn’t my first time in Israel, this trip was different. It was educational, inspiring and life-transforming. I made life-long friends and gained an entirely new appreciation of why we call this place home. It is more than the bricks and mortar and the history, it put me in touch with the Jewish soul we all share. For my husband to finally see Israel against the backdrop of an organization that really gets it is everything I want for him. Why am I telling you this? Because there are still spots open for this adventure. And if you are a father and your children are under 18, you should sign up. You will get nine days in Israel, July 30-August 7 (travel days not included) for $900 ($1,200 if your spouse has not gone before you) plus the price of your plane ticket. You’ll participate in empowering classes led by world-class speakers and explore Tsfat, Tel Aviv and Masada. You will
Everyone loves Yoni
MoLLy GoLDBERG It is no secret: everyone loves Yoni, the Israeli shaliach. My Grammie Nancy loves Yoni – she smiled from ear to ear when I brought him home for dinner and praised his sing-a-longs at The Rose Blumkin Jewish Home. The students I teach at Temple Israel love Yoni – they raved about his Yom Ha’Atzmaut program, where they Skyped with an Israeli to learn krav maga. Yoni has leveraged his resources and utilized his time to make Israel accessible to the Omaha Jewish community and specifically to me. I distinctly remember the first time I met Yoni at a Young Jewish Omaha (YJO) Sukkot event. He was slaving away in the kitchen, chopping onions while stirring four sizzling pans of shakshuka. Over dinner, we had an impassioned debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Like so many of my liberal American Jewish peers, I sympathize with the plight of Palestinians. I argued that the occupation and settlement enterprise jeopardize the future of liberal democracy in Israel. Yoni explained how Yasser Arafat walked away from Ehud Barak’s generous peace treaty in 2000, resulting in Palestinian violence against Israelis in pizza parlors and shopping malls. Yoni spoke then personally about the fear he felt during and after the second intifada, and argued that Israel has been unfairly condemned since for its efforts to protect its population from terrorism. This conversation was the first of many discussions that altered my thinking. Before meeting Yoni, I was quick to criticize Israeli policies, especially those related to human rights. Over the course of a year, Yoni has shifted my orientation toward Israel. He has made my personal Zionism more multi-faceted and less conflict-centric, more sympathetic toward the Israeli people, and more ap-
spend Shabbat in Jerusalem. There is nothing better than Shabbat in Jerusalem! Lodging and meals, plus all excursions and classes, are included. Also included are two days in our Partnership region. The Jewish Federation of Omaha is able to offer this thanks to generous grants from the Goldstein and Albert and Ellie Feldman Family Foundations. If you are a mother of children under 18, stop hesitat-
It’s Israel! Why am I coming up with all these roadblocks? I emailed Louri Sullivan as soon as I came home and told her: “I’m in.” That was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. I found that, when you put 400 different Jewish women in a room for Shabbat dinner, you all have something in common. I found the women from Omaha I traveled with became more than friends or casual
ing and sign up as well: the next women’s trip will take place from October 23-31, 2018. If you’re still on the fence, let me explain why I am so enthusiastic about this opportunity. I will admit I was hesitant when I first heard about it. The marketing materials talked about ‘summer camp for grown-ups,’ and showed pictures of women dancing and laughing, it all seemed a little too good to be true. Would I really have anything in common with total strangers? Did I want to be stuck in a classroom while outside the sun was shining and I could be walking the streets of Jerusalem? Was it a good idea to leave my kids and husband behind, skip work, the dishes, the laundry? It was July, the kids were out of school; normally a good time to take a trip as a family. If I was going to leave the office, didn’t I owe it to my family to vacation with them? Then, I drove home from work one day and as I sat at a stoplight, I suddenly thought: I am crazy to say no to this.
acquaintances: I found sisters I didn’t know I had. I found that there is immense value in stepping away from your daily life, in reassessing what you are about, and I rediscovered what is important. I found a part of myself I used to know, back in college, before I let job-and-laundry take over. Doctor’s appointments, taxes, groceries and parentteacher conferences: all these things are important. But leaving the day-to-day behind, just for a little while, allowed me to take a very honest look at why Judaism is my core. It made me a better parent and a better wife. If you think that sounds cheesy, go ahead; but I hope you’ll call my bluff and ask yourself: wouldn’t it be great to feel that way? I felt that way while I was on the trip. I feel that way every time I remember. I feel that way every time I run into someone who was there with me. Do yourself a favor. Call Louri Sullivan at 402.334.6485 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Jump in with both feet; you will absolutely not regret it.
preciative of Israeli culture (e.g., policy and films). On April 25, Yoni invited Israeli photojournalist Erez Kaganovitz to Omaha to present his collection, ‘Humans of Tel Aviv.’ The project celebrates Israel’s multi-culturalism and vibrant civil society, showcasing photographs of old and young Tel Avivian’s, Ethiopian migrants, Arab Israelis, asylum seekers, and ultra-Orthodox Jews. I was most
the notorious “Tora prison” in Cairo. Azam was eventually freed, thanks to a religious duty in Judaism to bring about the release of a fellow Jew captured or imprisoned unjustly by the authorities. Although Azam was not Jewish, he believes that his Israeli DNA granted him a protected status. These three images represent two religious minorities and one Jewish person, yet all three individuals shared a love for and a deep loyalty toward Israel. Yoni has introduced me to tangible social policies in Israel that are arguably more humane than their parallel social policies in the U.S. For instance, from Yoni’s father’s lecture at the University of Nebraska Omaha on ageism, I learned about a new Israeli law that allows elderly people to appoint a “decision making supporter” to assist them in financial and medical decisions. The law enables older citizens to live independent lives without resorting to a legal guardian. I deeply respect the concept that elderly people in Israel have autonomy and choice near the end of their lives, which is something we lack in the United States. Recently I had a disagreement with a friend and I asked Yoni for advice. Yoni said the ravine between me and my friend was not as great as I had made it out to be; our opinions and thoughts were more alike than they were different. Erez Kaganovitz echoed this sentiment of commonality and mutual respect in his presentation, “Israeli democracy is big enough and strong enough to hold a range of people, views, and convictions.” My friendship with Yoni has convinced me that it is not always possible to think in strict dichotomies – right/wrong, oppressor/oppressed, liberal/illiberal – about the state of Israel and its people. Yoni blurred the boundaries of my beliefs about the Jewish state and inspired my curiosity.
moved by three adjacent photographs. In the first image, Lucy, a proud Christian Israeli citizen, pledges her allegiance to Israel. In the second image, Dani Gold, the inventor of the “Iron Dome” missile defense system, advocates for ingenuity and resilience in the scientific community. In the third image, Azam, a Druze man describes his experience as a religious minority who was falsely charged with espionage and imprisoned in
The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018 | 13
Israel at 70: It’s time to reclaim Zionism GIl Troy JERUSALEM | JTA All too often, when I ask campus organizations that are proIsrael and deeply Zionist why they avoid using the “Z-word” in their messaging and literature, I’m told, “Zionism doesn’t poll well.” True, not polling well is one of today’s great sins. But imagine what our world would be like if our ancestors feared the polls. The American Revolution wouldn’t have polled well. Suggestions that Northerners crush slavery in 1860 wouldn’t have polled well. And proposing a new Jewish state in 1897 wouldn’t have polled well either. At the time, most European Jews believed enlightened Europe was outgrowing anti-Semitism -- that polled well. Let’s learn from our heroic predecessors – and from feminists, gays and African-Americans, whose first attempts to defend their rights didn’t poll well either. Take back the night, resist internalizing our oppressors’ hatred of us. Reclaim the Z-word: Zionism. In his book on “the strange career of the troublesome” Nword, the African-American Harvard Law professor Randall Kennedy explains the “protean nature” of political words. Groups can triumph with linguistic magic by defining themselves and their aims; when enemies define them, they lose. Kennedy warns against allowing the hater to define the hated, and that’s what is happening. First, “shame on them”: Shame on the anti-Zionists who single out Jewish nationalism, meaning Zionism, in a world organized by nationalisms, and call it “racist.” Shame on them for libeling a democratic movement. Shame on them for ignoring Judaism’s national-religious duality, which allows non-Jews to convert into the Jewish religion and join the Jewish nation, making Zionism among the least biologically based, least racist, most permeable forms of nationalism. And shame on them for racializing the national conflict between Israelis and Palestinians – inflaming hatred, making peace more elusive. Alas, shame on us, too. Zionism should be a more popular term than “Israel.” Until 1948, Zionism was the movement affirming that Jews are a people with a homeland and that like other nations, Jews have the right to establish a state on that land (others may, too – nationalism involves collective consciousness, not exclusive land claims). Since 1948, Zionism
has been the movement to perfect that state. Like all countries, Israel makes good and bad moves. If you’re anti-Zionist, you reject Israel’s very existence. If you’re critical of Israel somehow, you’re a thinking human being. America’s president offers an opportunity to understand that distinction. The 77 percent of American Jews who hate Donald Trump still remain proudly American. Why can’t we love Israel and Zionism regardless of particular prime ministers or policies, too?
Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, leaning over the balcony of the Drei Konige Hotel during the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, Aug. 29, 1897. Credit: GPO via Getty Images Here’s the real question for Jews: Do you feel connected to Israel? If so, you stick with it because you belong to the Jewish people. And you help perfect that state through Zionism – embracing different schools of Zionist thought. It could be Religious Zionism or left-leaning Labor Zionism or rightleaning Revisionist Zionism or Cultural Zionism. Establishing Israel in 1948 fulfilled the Zionist idea – that powerless Jews need a state as a refuge, immediately, and as a platform to flourish and express Jewish values, long-term. Seventy years later, debating Zionist ideas welcomes debate from left to right, religious and nonreligious, about what Zionism and Israel can mean to me as Jew, as a person – and how some of these ideas can help Israel become a model democracy. That’s why Zionism didn’t end in 1948 – the debates continue. If Zionism as an idea asserts that Jews are a people with a
homeland, and Zionism as a movement builds, protects and perfects the state, Zionism as a value is more personal. Zionists see it as a way of explaining Judaism as a culture, a civilization, an ethnicity, a tradition, not just a religion. It anchors us in a self-indulgent, throwaway society, providing a sense of community in an often lonely, alienating culture, and a sense of mission in an often aimless world. Reclaiming Zionism often entails moving from Political Zionism -- asking what we can do for our country – to Identity Zionism – asking, with apologies to JFK, what your country can do for you. There’s a reason why Israel ranks 11th on the world “Happiness Index,” despite the nation’s many challenges. Most Israelis are instinctively Identity Zionists. Their identity blossoms from the Zionist state – which appreciates strong family values, robust community ties, deep patriotic feelings – and a broader sense of mission in life. That’s part of the package Birthright participants and other tourists appreciate when visiting Israel. And that’s the recipe that makes so many Israelis happy despite the rush-rush of their society and the roar-roar of some Palestinian neighbors demanding their destruction. Zionism isn’t the only way or the best way, it’s just my way, my people’s way. I’m not smart enough to improvise another framework. Identity Zionism includes commitments to Jewish education, Jewish action, to making Jewish ethics come alive, to Jewish peoplehood and Jewish community – these are core Zionist values I, for one, would – in Churchill’s words – never surrender. Today, the #MeToo conversation spotlights how often victims – especially women -- internalize persecution, letting bullies win. Anyone interested in abandoning Zionism first should ask: How much of this internalizes the delegitimization campaign? If we don’t stand up for ourselves, who are we? If we let those haters win, what are we? And if we don’t start celebrating and reclaiming the Z-word now – at Israel’s 70th – then when? Gil Troy is the author of The Zionist Ideas, which updates Arthur Hertzberg’s classic work The Zionist Idea, and was just published by The Jewish Publication Society. He is a Distinguished Scholar of North American History at McGill University. Follow on Twitter @GilTroy. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media.
The evils of the Holocaust demand that each one of us be a lifesaver
DAvID SCHIZer JTA Remembering the Holocaust is a solemn duty that all of humanity shares. On Yom Hashoah, which starts on Wednesday evening, as we reflect on those heartwrenching events – among the darkest in human history – we should remember the heroes as well as the villains. There was pure evil, to be sure, but also courage, principle and sacrifice. The inspiring aspects of the Shoah – like stars glittering in the darkest sky – have become clearer to me after a year leading the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which rescued Jews and supported resistance during World War II. When the war ended, JDC cared for survivors in displaced persons camps. Today, JDC provides lifesaving care to over 50,000 survivors in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. I cannot say this work has changed my view of the Holocaust. The murder of millions still horrifies me beyond words, and I will never understand it. But I have learned three lessons from the Holocaust that I find motivating and even uplifting. These lessons should resonate with every Jew, even at a time when the global Jewish community is divided about many issues. First, when lives are at stake, we should never give up. Even in the darkest times – indeed, especially in those times – we should do what we can to create a bit of light. This point is especially resonant this year, as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which began on April 19, 1943. Residents of the ghetto worried that Nazi atrocities there would be hidden from the rest of the world. So they wrote testimonials and buried them in aluminum crates. The creator of this secret archive was Emanuel Ringelblum, a historian who was working in Warsaw for JDC when the Germans invaded. Although the Nazis murdered Ringelblum in 1944, others unearthed the crates after the war, preserving an eternal record of suffering and heroism in the ghetto. The ghetto’s residents wanted not only to be remembered, but also to resist. They needed money to buy weapons. The main source of these funds was Ringelblum’s friend and mentor, Isaac Giterman, who was JDC’s director in Poland when the war broke out. When Giterman could no longer tap funds from the United States, he persuaded Polish
Jews to spend hidden wealth on the uprising. In addition to weapons, the ghetto fighters also needed a military plan. But it was hard to develop one, since the Nazis did not allow meetings in the ghetto. To circumvent this restriction, Giterman opened a soup kitchen. The military planners served the soup, allowing them to spend time together every day planning the uprising. The Nazis murdered Giterman three months before the uprising, but his courage and resourcefulness show what can be achieved even against impossible odds.
Jews lined up in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Credit: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives The same bravery and ingenuity animated the work of two Christian diplomats in Budapest, Carl Lutz of Switzerland and Raoul Wallenberg of Sweden. They saved over 100,000 Hungarian Jews by arranging hiding places and issuing “protective passports.” Much of their work was financed by the War Refugee Board, a U.S. government institution that received nearly all of its funding from JDC and other philanthropic sources. Just as the Holocaust shows that evil can be resisted, even when the prospects of success seem remote, there is a second lesson as well: Jewish life can blossom again, even where indescribable atrocities once were committed. For example, nearly three decades ago my organization established the JDC-Lauder International Jewish Summer Camp in Szarvas, Hungary. Since then, Camp Szarvas has helped thousands of young Jews from across Eastern Europe and the former So-
viet Union to forge strong Jewish identities and become leaders of their local Jewish communities. The third lesson of the Holocaust is more sobering, but perhaps even more motivating: Tragically, more could have been done to rescue Jews from the Nazis, as emphasized by David Wyman, a distinguished Holocaust historian who passed away last month. For example, the United States admitted only a fraction of the refugees that our (restrictive) immigration laws would have allowed. The British barred Jews from Palestine, relenting to Arab pressure. The Allies did not bomb the tracks to concentration camps or adequately fund the War Refugee board. Some Jewish communal organizations failed to treat these issues as their highest priority. Even if one questions whether more Jews could have been saved then, there is no question about our abilities now. If we resolve to rescue vulnerable Jews from a range of threats – anywhere in the world – a powerful Jewish state can be an ally in this effort, as can the Jewish community in North America, which is perhaps the wealthiest and most influential in the history of the Diaspora. In other words, when the global Jewish community is united, we have the means to aid vulnerable Jews everywhere. By providing food and medicine, we can save the lives of impoverished elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union or Venezuela. By sharing expertise and resources, we can protect Jewish communities in Europe from terrorist threats. By investing in education and other innovative programs, we can bring children in Israel’s social and geographic periphery into the economic mainstream, and much more. Indeed, JDC already pursues these goals in partnerships with the Claims Conference, the government of Israel, Jewish federations, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and many others. Today, the main issue is not whether we are able to help vulnerable Jews across the globe; it’s whether we are willing. If we fail to act on their behalf, it is because we are making a choice not to help. This is a choice we must never make. Regardless of our political leanings or our religious denominations, we should commit together to help the vulnerable among us. This is the best way to honor the memory of those we lost during the Shoah. David M. Schizer is CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
14 | The Jewish Press | May 4, 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 on Finding Your Portal: A Vision for Jewish Life in the 21st Century. 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 Graduation and Teacher Appreciation, 6 p.m.; Kabbalat Shabbat, 6 p.m. saTurday: Shabbat Morning Services, 9:30 a.m. with Dr. Keren McGinty; Shabbat’s Cool, Grades 3-7, 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, 9:30 a.m.; Torah Study, 10 a.m.; Torah Tots, Ages 4-5, 10:30 a.m.; School Committee Meeting, 11 a.m.; USY Elections, noon; Cantor’s Concert with Listen Up!, 4 p.m. monday: Women’s Book Club, 7 p.m. at the home of Judith Barnes. Tuesday: Chesed Committee visits Remington Heights, 2 p.m. wednesday: BESTT Classes, 4:15 p.m.; Hebrew High visits City Sprouts, 5 p.m. Thursday: Shanghai, 1 p.m. Pre-neg and Tot Shabbat, friday, may 11, 5:30 p.m. The Miriam Initiative’s Simchat Shabbat, saturday, may 12, 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.; Friday Learnig Series wtih Rabbi Shlomo, 11:15 a.m. at the JCC; Mincha, 7:30 p.m.; Candle Lighting, 8:07 p.m. saTurday: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Insights into the Weekly Torah Portion, 7:05 p.m. with Rabbi Ari; Mincha/Seudah Shlishit, 7:50 p.m.; Havdalah, 9:12 p.m. sunday: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Beth Israel Annual Meeting, 10 a.m. monday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Talmudic Tales, noon with Rabbi Shlomo. Tuesday-wednesday: Shacharit, 7 a.m. Thursday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Connecting With Our Fatih, 9:30 a.m. with Rabbi Ari; 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: Friday First Family Shabbat Service, 6:30 p.m.; Family Dinner, 7:30 p.m. hosted by Maria Cadwallader adn Dennis Dohner; Candlelighting, 8:08 p.m. saTurday: Shabbat Morning Service, 9:30 a.m.; Torah Study, 10:30 a.m. on Parashat Emor; Havdalah (72 Minutes), 9:39 p.m. sunday: Garden & Grounds work party (rain date), 8:30 a.m.; LJCS Gan through Grade 7, 9:30 a.m.; LJCS Gesher, 10 a.m.; Adult Beginning Hebrew, 11:30 a.m.; Jewish Book Club, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Gere Library, 2400 S. 56th St. We
will discuss Day After Night by Anita Diamant.; 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: Holy Days/Festivals — Shavuot/Omer/Coversion, 7 p.m. wednesday: LJCS Last day of School Gathering: Special fundraiser for hurrican relief in Puerto Rico, 5 p.m. Join us on saturday, may 19 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. for our community Tikkun Leil Shavuot event. We will have a dairy/pareve potluck supper, followed by special study sessions led by Nancy Coren and Rabbi Appleby, and we will conclude with havdallah and dessert! 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 Jim Polack. Services will be held in the Chapel. Members of the community are invited to attend.
frIday: Shabbat Service with Senior Celebration, Confirmation, and Scholarship Award, 6 p.m. Brandon Thomas Pursuit of Passion Scholarship will be awarded and an oneg will follow. saTurday: Torah Study, 9:15 a.m.; Shabbat Service, 10:30 a.m. Torah Reader and Haftarah Reader: Miles Remer; OTYG Elections and Late Night Program, 1-9 p.m. RSVPs required. sunday: Madrichim Appreciation, 9 a.m.; Grades PreK6, 10 a.m.; Social Justice Committee Meeting, 10:30 a.m.; Temple Tots Sunday, 10:30 a.m.; Temple Israel Book Club, 10:30 a.m.; School Picnic, noon; Not Just Your Mama’s Challah Rosh Chodesh Event, 2 p.m. RSVPs required. Tuesday: Holy Smokes, 7 p.m. RSVPs required. wednesday: No Religious School; No Adult Education. Thursday: Jewish Heroes, Heroines, and Personalities: Rachel Adler, 10 a.m. taught by Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin. All classes meet at Temple Israel. OTYG Shabbat, friday, may 11, 6 p.m., Join OTYG for services at Temple Israel followed by a fun activity. Stay tuned for more details! RSVP to Ben Leathers-Arnold, ben firstname.lastname@example.org, by monday, may 7. Jewish Heroes, Heroines, and Personalities: Maimonides, Thursday, may 17, 10 a.m., taught by Rabbi Brian Stoller. OTYG Installations and Shabbat Service, friday, may 18, 6 p.m., Our new Omaha Temple Youth Group will install its new board members at Shabbat service. Join us and support
our teens! TiYPE Shabbat, friday, may 18, 6 p.m., Please join TiYPE for services at Temple Israel, followed by dinner, laughs, and fun at Charred Burger + Bar in Sterling Ridge. Appetizers are on us! RSVP to email@example.com by monday, may 14. Tikkun Leil Shavuot Evening Service, Dinner, and Study Sessions, saturday, may 19, 5 p.m., Temple Israel’s Shavuot festivities will include a joyful, family-friendly service with lots of singing, a community dinner featuring Chef Hattam’s finest dairy delights, and an evening of adult learning with our clergy team on a variety of compelling Jewish topics.
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. We will have Doane students and faculty joining us for Shabbat services; 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.; LJCS Gesher, 10 a.m.; Tifereth Israel Board Meeting, 1 p.m.; Come learn and play Pickleball, 7-9 p.m. All equipment furnished. Wear comfortable clothing. For questions, call or text Miriam Wallick at firstname.lastname@example.org. wednesday: LJCS Fundraiser for Hurricane Relief: BINGO, BOOKS and BAKED GOODS, 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. Thursday: 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. 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 20. The exhibit showcases historical moments of the State of Israel as seen through the eyes of its people. Tikkun Leil Shavuot: Celebrating the Giving of the Torah, saturday, may 19, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at South Street Temple. We will have a dairy/pareve potluck supper, followed by adult study sessions led by Nancy Coren and Rabbi Appleby, and concluding with havdallah and dessert! Please RSVP by wednesday, may 16. Please sign up to bring a salad, kugel or blintzes, fruit, or dessert for 6-8 people in a new foil or glass container, or in original packaging office@southstre ettemple.org or 402.435.8004. 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.
scottish man who taught dog to do nazi salute crowdfunds over $185,000 for appeal JTA e Scottish man who was found guilty of a hate crime and fined $1,100 for teaching his girlfriend’s dog to do the Nazi salute has raised tens of thousands of dollars for his appeal. Mark Meechan, 30, who was convicted last month, taught the pug to respond with the Nazi salute when prompted by statements such as “Heil Hitler” and “gas the Jews.” Meechan posted videos of the dog performing the trick on YouTube. Meecham said at his sentencing that he would appeal his conviction, saying it sets a dangerous legal precedent against freedom of expression. He has raised over $185,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs of his appeal. On the page he says: “is conviction will be used as an example to convict other people over the things they say and the jokes they make, it sets a standard where courts will be able to will-
fully ignore the context and intent of a persons words and actions in order to punish them and brand them as criminals.” e original video was viewed more than 3 million times before it was removed for violating YouTube’s policy on hate speech. Meechan said on the video that he trained the dog to annoy his girlfriend. He later posted a video in which he apologized for the original dog clips, saying it was a joke and that he has no such political leanings. Sheriﬀ Derek O’Carroll rejected Meechan’s explanation that the video was made as a private joke and pointed out that he had “not taken any steps to prevent the video being shared publicly.” He added: “I found it proved that the video you posted, using a public communications network, was grossly oﬀensive and contained menacing, anti-Semitic and racist material.”
The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018 | 15
abe LouiS JaviTCh
Allison Pascal and Mark Javitch of San Francisco, CA, announce the March 12 birth of their son, Abe Louis. He is named after his great-grandfather, Albert Schlesinger and his great-great-grandfather, Louis Sokolof. Grandparents are Karen and Gary Javitch of Omaha, and Beth and Charles Pascal of Hillsborough, CA. Great-grandparents are Sandy Schlesinger, the late Ruth and Phil Sokolof, the late Mildred and Robert Javitch, and the late Albert Schlesinger.
Mort Robinson* was a successful businessman who regularly and generously volunteered his time for the Jewish Federation of Omaha and its agencies. He always made gis to the annual Jewish Federation campaign and to numerous fund drives. He cared deeply for Omaha’s Jewish community. Mort also cared deeply for his howard ePSTein brother, Philip*. Mort wanted to Executive Director, provide for Philip as long as he JFO Foundation lived, and he also wanted to provide for Omaha’s Jewish community. And that is what he did, all through a generous gi to charity in April 1996. With that one gi, Mort created a charitable remainder annuity trust. Philip received $9,600 each year for 32 years from that trust until he passed away earlier this year. When Philip died, over $100,000 remained in the trust, and the entire remainder will be deposited into endowment funds at the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation to promote and enrich Judaism and Jewish culture, religion and education, to fund the annual Jewish Federation campaign, and to support the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home. Consider how much Mort accomplished with his gi: Mort’s brother received income for life, a total in excess of $300,000. e new endowments which Mort established at the Foundation, valued at over $100,000, will generate income of over $5,000 each and every year to benefit the programs and operations of the Jewish Federation and the Blumkin Home. Mort got to realize his charitable dreams. Mort also saved on taxes. His gi to the charitable trust was appreciated publicly traded stock, so he paid no capital gains tax AND he got an income tax deduction for the full value of the stock he donated.** You, too, can help yourself, your family and your Jewish community. Consider the gi that gives and keeps on giving – a charitable trust. Click here to learn more about charitable trusts. Please feel free to contact me at 402-334-6466 or by email at email@example.com. We will be happy to help you achieve your charitable legacy. *Names changed to protect the privacy of the donor and his brother. **Consult your tax and legal advisors for specific tax and legal advice.
To SubmiT obiTuarieS To The JewiSh PreSS:
Email the Press at firstname.lastname@example.org; mail to 333 So. 132 St., Omaha, NE 68154; or online at the Jewish Federation of Omaha website: www.jewishomaha.org. Click on Jewish Press and go to Submit Announcements.
Steven Spielberg says Schindler’s List is the film he is most proud of
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NEW YORK | JTA Out of all his celebrated films, Steven Spielberg is most proud of Schindler’s List, the 1993 Oscar winner about a German businessman who saved over 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust. e filmmaker made the claim at a Tribeca Film Festival event recently marking the film’s 25th anniversary that brought him together with actors Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and others involved in the movie. “I have never felt, since Schindler’s List, the kind of pride and satisfaction and sense of real, meaningful accomplishment — I haven’t felt that in any film post-Schindler’s List,” Spielberg said.
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Steven Spielberg, left, Liam neeson and ben Kingsley at the Schindler’s List cast reunion event at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival at The beacon Theatre in new York City, april 26, 2018. Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival Aer a screening of the film, Spielberg said during a Q&A session that it was the first time he had watched the movie with an audience since it debuted in 1993, according to e Associated Press. e filming, which took place in Poland, took a toll on Spielberg and some of the cast, the director revealed. Neeson, who starred as Oskar Schindler, found the process “dangerous and unforgettable”; Spielberg needed regular calls from his friend Robin Williams to cope with the experience. “Robin knew what I was going through, and once a week, Robin would call me on schedule and he would do 15 minutes of stand-up on the phone, and I would laugh hysterically, because I had to release so much,” Spielberg said. Two young Israeli actors had “breakdowns” on set aer the filming of a scene in which Jewish women thought they were going to be killed in an Auschwitz gas chamber. Spielberg called the day in which actors were asked to strip naked before being marched around the camp set one of the most diﬃcult of his career. “ere was trauma everywhere. You can’t fake that,” Spielberg said. Spielberg and the crew experienced anti-Semitism firsthand during filming as well. Swastikas were painted near their set at one point, and Kingsley (who played Schindler’s Jewish accountant) stood up for an Israeli actor in a bar aer a German-speaking man approached and asked if he was a Jew. Spielberg, who said the process of making the film brought his “Jewish life pouring back” into his heart, also said he thinks Holocaust education should be more universal in the U.S. “It’s not a pre-requisite to graduate high school, as it should be,” he said. “It should be part of the social science, social studies curriculum in every public high school in this country.”
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16 | The Jewish Press | May 4, 2018
Table 64: A personal story from Dinner Under Abraham’s Tent Jackie Grau hey were already serving dinner by the time I found my seat at table 64 on Sunday evening. As I moved the Tri-Faith Initiative materials off my chair to sit down, I discreetly studied the nine people already at my table. In a room of 700, there was little chance I’d be seated with my closest acquaintances, but I figured I would at least recognize a few faces at my table. I was wrong. To my right sat two women I remembered greeting at the doors of the Centurylink Center. One wore a clerical collar and, coincidentally, I had stopped her earlier to ask about it. It turns out she is an Episcopalian priest. She drove over two hours to attend Dinner Under Abraham’s Tent. To my left were a group of three friendly folks, and across from me were two lovely, youngish, couples. I introduced myself and was surprised at the reactions. There were echoes of delight and several, “Oh, you’re part of Tri-Faith?”, “you go to the Temple?”. My dinner partners were thirsting for details they couldn’t get from the TFI website, brochures, or the event speakers that evening, though these things do their own jobs very well. I happily began answering their questions. Soon I was in that familiar spot, riding high on life, fed with endorphins, the energy of nine people, and my own passion for the topic. They kept asking and I kept responding, and we went on... until someone asked if I had been raised Jewish. I turned over in my mind whether to simply say, “Yes,” and move on, or whether to go deeper. I dove. I sank down into my own story. I described my two professional parents, Northeastern, intellectual Jews, and then
good answers and, worse, there was a tacit understanding it was “ancient history” and humans did terrible things “back then.” It didn’t take me long to tear apart that convenient “explanation” at the seams. So I dug my safe bunker ever more deeply, hiding away from what I saw as the sinister hypocrisy of religion. I would come out only in body and not in spirit, at my husband’s insistence we raise our boys within some organized religious community. ...Until Tri-Faith elevated and opened me back up. I saw there were others with internal ailments like mine. But they looked for a cure instead of ignoring it like I had done. At first there was bleeding within me, but it was overshadowed by the reconnection of what had been a scarred-over mass of cut up, visceral, pieces. I believe I am now a confident, at peace in spirit, Jewish, woman -- not just a girl “raised Jewish.” When I reached this part of my monologue, I noticed some nodding heads at table 64. I saw faces turned towards mine, some cupped in hands, listening. A few pairs of eyes were looking into mine, while others gazed through me in introspection. And that was the story of how 10 people around a dinner table on April 22, in Omaha, came to understand each other. It happened within a matter of minutes. Oh, and yes, the event was wonderful. The Tri-Faith mugs looked great (thanks to TI’s TF committee volunteers!), the event was well attended, the venue was lovely, the speakers were fantastic, and the food looked and smelled great. But, I didn’t exactly go just to get a meal, you know? The opinions expressed in this article are the personal reflections of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all Temple Israel members.
I painted in the image of my younger, obstinate, contrary, self. Yes, my ancestors on both side were Jews. I was “raised Jewish.” But I was disconnected from religion like something that had been severed in my gut. I watched my older sister prepare for her Bat Mitzvah. I tagged along to look at party venues. I Ioved the cake tastings, the dress shopping. I listened as my mom and her own sister mulled over the perfect guest favors. When the day came, I danced on the parquet squares of Princeton’s most fashionable hotel, surrounded by hordes of happy, but ignorant, 13year-olds. Then I watched my sister eagerly open her envelopes containing checks with bountiful zeros. And after it all, I was disgusted. I refused to be Bat Mitzvahed. As an older girl, I demanded rational answers. Somewhat astonished, I hoped for explanations from my history professors about the roots of religion. But how could the Crusaders think killing “for G-d” was ever all right? Did they truly torture their neighbors in the name of religious sanctity? Or maybe I was misunderstanding something? There were no
* Jon Meyers, President Bruce Friedlander, Past President Toba Cohen-Dunning Jim Fried Ted Friedland John Glazer Richard Heyman Abby Kutler
Lisa Lucoff Scott Meyerson Mike Norton Nancy Schlessinger Mike Siegel Phil Wolf
Ted Friedland, President Jon Meyers, Ex Officio Bob Belgrade Steven Bloch Paul Epstein Michael Erman David Gilinsky Donald Goldstein Gloria Kaslow Howard Kooper Jody Malashock Murray Newman
Steve Nogg Marty Ricks Carl Riekes Andrew Robinson Harley Schrager Jeffrey Schrager Ted Seldin, Emeritus Norman Veitzer
Toba Cohen-Dunning, Co-President Jeff Kirshenbaum, Co-President James Farber, Ex-Officio Kate Kirshenbaum, Treasurer Susan Norton, Secretary Joanie Bernstein Sharon Brodkey Darlene Golbitz Larry Kelberg Dr. Alan Kricsfeld Tina Meyers
Jeff Platt James Polack Mike Shrago Dorothy Spizman Terri Zacharia
John Glazer, President Jason Epstein, Ex-Officio Shira Abraham Shane Cohn Dan Epstein Karen Flayhart Jason Franklin Dusty Friedman Mosah Goodman Howard Kutler
Chuck Lucoff Jamie Meyerson Dorothy Spizman Linda Zimmerman
Abby Kutler, President Eric Dunning, Ex Officio
Jim Fried, President Gary Nachman, Ex Officio
Laura Dembitzer Candice Friedman Jill Idelman Andy Isaacson Michael Kaufman David Kotok Natasha Kraft Debbie Kricsfeld Eric Shapiro Amy Tipp
Ellie Batt Lindsay Belmont Bob Bleicher Carol Bloch Becki Brenner Shirley Cemaj Toba Cohen-Dunning Danny Cohn Ted Friedland
Herb Friedman David Gilinsky Ron Giller Steve Hogan Nancy Jacobson Rich Juro Bea Karp Jeff Kirshenbaum Gary Lipshutz
Bob Nefsky Andrea Olson Alan Parsow David Radler Mark Singer Tom Vann Aaron Weiner
*As of April 26, 2018
We invite the community to the Federation's Annual Meeting on Monday, June 4th at 5:30 p.m. for the installation of the Boards.