thejewishpress AN AGENCY OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF OMAHA
Boris Bally: Converging Ripples
Twisted serenity Page 8
This week at camp Page 11
Viewpoint Synagogues Life cycles
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SaRah GilBeRt Temple Israel Pride Task Force Volunteer In a rainbow-hued show of support and love for LGBT+ friends and family members, the Omaha metro area’s Jewish community walked together at the Heartland Pride Parade in Council Bluffs, IA, on June 30. With banners from Congregation Temple Israel, Beth El Synagogue, the AntiDefamation League and the Jewish Federation of Omaha, over 100 members of the Jewish community of all ages joined other faith congregations, businesses and nonprofit agencies that share the values of acceptance, love and active inclusion
GaBBy BlaiR Staff Writer, Jewish Press The Jewish Federation of Omaha is pleased to present the Jewish Business Leader’s Bagels and Business Breakfast featuring guest speaker Rachel Jacobson, Founder and Executive Director of Film Streams, on Wednesday, July 25, 7:30-8:30 a.m., at The Happy Hollow Club (701 S 105th Street, Omaha).
Rachel Jacobson Credit: Laurie & Charles Photography
Michael Staenberg and Converging Ripples
Jewish Omaha marches together
JBL presents Rachel Jacobson
JU L Y 1 3 , 2 0 1 8 | 1 AV 5 7 7 8 | V O L . 9 8 | NO . 3 8 | C a nd leli G h ti nG | FRID AY , JU L Y 1 3 , 8 : 3 9 P. M.
annette van de kaMP Editor, Jewish Press t was an early morning in June that employees and members showed up at our Jewish Community Center to find artist Boris Bally, perched high upon the main entrance façade, installing his artwork. Within days, the project was completed, in spite of a few interruptions by those typical Nebraska rainstorms. Donor Michael Staenberg made it happen; the once blank wall now holds an intriguing combination of “color, sound, movement and curiosity,” in Bally’s words. “I hope,” he added, “it acts as a beacon and an invitation.” Michael Staenberg said he never thought of it as a blank wall: “I grew up here and this building represents important aspects of myself, my hometown community and See Converging Ripples page 2
Blumkin Home introduces new logo and website Page 5
SPonSoRed By the BenJaMin and anna e. WieSMan FaMily endoWMent Fund
of LGBT+ individuals. The day started with Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin leading Saturday morning services at Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs. “Having a Shabbat
ners, matching tie-dyed t-shirts, and a rainbow chuppa. Members handed out candy with an attached note to explain the symbolism of the chuppa as a welcoming home. Officials esti-
service before Pride gave us the opportunity to pray with words,” Rabbi Berezin said, “and then to put those words into action as we prayed with our feet.” Despite the early heat and humidity, approximately 50 people prayed and sang together before enjoying bagels and lining up for the parade. The Jewish community’s entry included ban-
mated approximately 5,000 people in attendance at the parade. The Jewish community’s presence at Heartland Pride Parade was possible through the lay leadership and months of diligent work of Matt Blodgett and Robert Friedman of the Pride Task Force. “I’m happy to be here and especially happy about the See heartland Pride Parade page 3
Rachel moved back to her home town of Omaha in 2005, after working for arts and media organizations in New York City, in order to start Film Streams, a nonprofit organization devoted to enhancing the cultural environment of Omaha through the presentation and discussion of film as an art form. Film Streams has attracted great media attention to Omaha, including a profile in The New York Times and mentions in Wired Magazine, The New Yorker, on NPR’s Morning Edition, CNBC, and airings of two of Film Streams’ Feature programs on PRI’s Studio 360. Jacobson developed Film Streams’ board of advisers and board of directors, and oversaw the design, build out and launch of the Ruth Sokolof Theater, which has seen more than 500,000 visitors since opening on July 27, 2007. In addition to successfully cultivating relationships with dozens of area nonprofit organizations, she currently manages Film Streams’ strategic direction, finances, fundraising and programming. Most recently, Jacobson led the organization’s nine million campaign and building project to renovate and reopen Film Streams’ second venue, the historic Dundee Theater. Rachel also volunteers on several local boards: the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, the Advisory Board of Opera Omaha, and the Board of Trustees of the Business Ethics Alliance. She has also served three times on the Film Television and Media Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been honored by the Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 (2006), the Women’s Center for Advancement Tribute to Women (2009), the Nebraska Appleseed Good See JBl presents page 2
2 | The Jewish Press | July 13, 2018
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Converging Ripples Continued from page 1 my growth from a child into young adulthood. I am forever grateful for this JCC and the Jewish community that supported me in many of the most important and pivotal moments in my life. There is nostalgia and inherent value; this way of making something old new again is a Mitzvah and Tikkun Olam in action. It is a way for me to honor the past, give back and embrace the future.” The title of the artwork is Converging Ripples; compiled from 1848 tiles created from recycled traffic signs Bally purchases in large quantities. “The only people I have to outbid,” he explained, “are scrap metal dealers, so I don’t really have a lot of competition.” He cuts the signs up and files the sides of the tiles, so when the wind moves the individual pieces, the light catches the edges. The artwork measures 29’ wide x 25’ tall, starts at 17’ and is 42’2” off the ground at the top for a total surface area of 725 sq. feet. We had to ask: is it tornado resistant? “According to the engineers and the hardware ratings, it should be. We definitely over-built the piece!” Bally said. “The idea behind this abstraction is, ‘splashes that become intersecting ripples,” Bally added. “A pebble is thrown into or skipped over a pond, stirring the surface. Raindrops may create tiny splashes, which in turn become larger waves and ripples. We each become the ‘splashes’ and our resulting ripples intersect like a dialogue to become a diverse textured community of beauty. I want folks to think about color, light, elements (wind/ rain/ snow) and nature. I want folks of all walks of life to feel comfortable and connected to the material of recycled signs and to enjoy the movement, which makes the mural an ever-changing structure. The reflective signs catch light and shimmer as they move — and also as the viewer and/or the sun moves. The signs are down-to-earth, familiar and common materials that have been given a second life by being abstracted and thus transformed.” The philosophy and philanthropic message are very close to his heart, Staenberg said. He hopes the artwork will have a ripple effect into the community. “This is why I give back and have founded organizations such as Givable.” “Honestly,” Bally added, “It was Michael Staenberg who came to me with the idea from the beginning. We went through numerous design ideas. Of course, budget played a big part in the ultimate size. Michael had a VERY clear vision of what he wanted up there and I worked with that color scheme and the shapes he suggested. Debbie Stamer and Sara Fisher helped us visualize the mural on the building and she was the one who dictated placement. I ended up adding a few rows of tiles to the bottom, as a donation, because I wanted the mural to be a little more ‘square’ and contain more blues without going over budget. This piece is the most major, largest piece I have made to date. I think it exudes the welcoming spirit of the JCC and I’m extremely proud of how it turned out.”
So who is this artist whose vision so perfectly matched what our building needed? Boris Bally is Chicago-born to Swiss
parents and Swiss-trained and works as a metal smith and designer in Providence, Rhode Island, where he maintains a studio and business in a former reform school building, Bally Humanufactured, LLC. Bally is the recipient of the 2015 Rhode Island Council on the Arts Fellowship in Craft and of two RISCA Design Fellowships. He also received a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship, as well as numerous other awards. His work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions. In May 2009, he completed an oral history interview for the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. In it, he describes his love affair with metal as his material: “My father has always had a shop and he’s always made stuff. I remember him taking me to Westinghouse, on days when they didn’t have a babysitter and my mom basically said, ‘If you don’t get him out of here, I’m going to go nuts.’ And I’d go there and get all the plexiglass scraps and I’d grind, and I was just a little kid, using a grinding wheel. My father was never--safety was never an
issue. And they think Americans are pretty much idiots for the way that they overdo the safety thing because nobody’s learning anything. You know, the way to feel that fire is hot is to get burned. That’s kind of the Swiss mentality.” Around the age of 13, Bally became a little too enthusiastic in building random things in his bedroom at home; so to get him out of the house, his mother signed him up for a metal class at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. When the teacher loaded up the saw frame and sawed a piece of metal, “he blew my mind,” Bally remembers. “Up until this point, I’ve only bought things, found things, bent things, smacked them with a hammer a couple of times. You know, you can cut wood, but metal? Whoa. It really moved me.” The rest, as they say, is history: “From that point on, I couldn’t be stopped.” Asked whether he’ll be back, he said: “I really want to come use that lovely indoor pool! I have a feeling I will be back sooner than we all think. It is the most amazing JCC I have ever seen. Throughout the JCC complex, the art has brought the facility to life.” The Manufacturing team for the artwork included Boris Bally, Don Nguyen, and Don’s helpers Laura Ferguson Hastings, Michael Duffy, Joey Chia, Sarah Pumple, Joanna Elizabeth Read, and Noah Schwartz; Lucas, Etai, Nico and Boris Bally completed the installation. To read more about the work of Boris Bally, visit www.borisbally. com; the Smithsonian interview can be found at https://www.aaa. si.edu/collec tions/interviews/oral-history-intervi ew-boris-bally-15682.
Continued from page 1 Apple Awards (2012) and participated in National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program. Come eat, network and learn with us! Please RSVP at https://tinyurl.com/ break fastjuly25 by July 20. Be sure to save the date for this year’s JBL Hall of Fame Event at the Happy Hollow Club 7:30-9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17! All JBL events are free with paid membership of only $100 per year; current members will be receiving renewal notices soon. Your membership helps us continue to build and strengthen the legacy of Jewish businesses in Omaha and provides opportunities for networking and relationship building. Interested in becoming a JBL member or sponsor? Please contact Steve Levinger at 402.334.6433 or slevinger@jewishoma ha.org OR Alex Epstein at 402.505.7720
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Heartland Pride Parade
The Jewish Press | July 13, 2018 | 3
aDL-CRC hosts first community wide event
Continued from page 1 turnout,” said Blodgett. Friedman added, “Today was a holy experience and our efforts will continue to get better.” Given the strong turnout and positive feedback from participants at the parade, the Pride Task Force will take some time over the next several months to plan future events for LGBT+ members and their allies. “Today, we had more than 100 people march in the Heartland Pride Parade,” Friedman said. “This is a great number and we’re looking forward to more LGBT+ programming in Jewish Omaha in the future.” A special thank you to everyone who took pictures to document this wonderful day!
Pam monsky Community Development Liaison, ADL-CRC he Anti-Defamation League Plains States Region is excited to announce our first community-wide event, ‘Be an Ally, Make a Difference, Raise a Glass’ to raise funds for our mission of fighting antiSemitism and all forms of hate! The event will be held on Sunday, Aug. 19 and feature a wine-tasting experience and silent auction. The event is open to the public and supporters of the ADLCRC and will be held at Gallery 1516, 1516 Leavenworth St., from 2–4 p.m. Tickets are $50 and include wine and light fare. Honorary event co-chairs are Gary Nachman and Sheila Fitzgerald. Event co-chairs are Toba Cohen-Dunning and Eric Dunning. The featured wines for the event are from Yarden, Inc., importer of quality Israeli wines from Golan Heights Winery and Galil Mountain Winery and Chieftan Distribution. Silent auction packages include two club seat tickets to Elton John’s farewell tour, a night and dinner at Lied Lodge, Nebraska Football tickets and a signed poster from the cast of Hamilton. Every day, the ADL-CRC works to help shape laws locally and nationally, and develop groundbreaking model legislation. We work with students to respect inclusion and to challenge bias and bullying. We train law enforcement officers about extremism, terrorism and hate crimes. We never give up trying to build a better world inspired by our democratic sense of unity. Our mission is increasingly critical.
We look forward to seeing everyone at Gallery 1516 on Aug. 19! For tickets and more information, please contact the ADL-CRC office at 402.334.6570. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure
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.
4 | The Jewish Press | July 13, 2018
community Rockbrook Village organic Farmers Market
Shop our weekly farmers market every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. focused on local and responsibly-grown produce, grass-fed meats, free-range eggs, cheeses, herbs, honey, and so much more! Get to know the farmers growing your food and learn about their specific practices behind the scenes. You’ll also find plants, gourmet breads and pastries, cold-pressed juices, and even all-natural soaps and beauty products. The Rockbrook Village Organic Farmers Market is an intimate affair where you can avoid the crowds and comfortably stroll, shop and feel confident in the quality of food for sale. Located in the central plaza of the Rockbrook Village shopping center, our market provides a well shaded and relaxed shopping experience with free, close, available parking. This year a new Latin concept restaurant, The Hunger Block, will also be hosting a small bar on the plaza selling wine and beer for customers to purchase and enjoy while they shop! Stop by after work for a quick happy hour with friends, then pick up fresh ingredients for your Thursday night or weekend meals. We are now in our fourth year for this community-service event and we are thrilled to partner with other local farmers and business owners as it relates to our mission of supporting local! Buy in confidence at our fourth annual Organic Farmers Market, Thursdays 4 – 7 p.m., exclusively at Rockbrook Village, just off the interstate at 108th and Center. Rockbrook Village--homegrown, locally owned. PAID ADVERTISEMENT
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Israel-Diaspora partnership yields new life-saving technology
NaThaN Roi individuals and communities learn from one another and experience the enriching reciprocal benefits of being part for The Jewish Agency for Israel round the world, a child dies once every nine of the global Jewish family. days from being forgotten in a hot car. A team One of P2G’s partnership regions connects Israel’s Westof young entrepreneurs from Israel and the Di- ern Galilee with a consortium of 14 Jewish Federation comaspora brought together by The Jewish munities in the U.S. as well as Budapest, Hungary. After Agency’s Partnership2Gether platform aims to Hungarian market research discovered that around the change that with a new life-saving technology. world, a child dies once every nine days due to being forgotIt’s the latest innovation ten in a car, Efrat Srebro, a emanating from Israel’s facilitator of the Western world-famous “start-up Galilee partnership, nation” culture, and it’s a sprung into action by reunique manifestation of cruiting young Israelis to Israel-Diaspora connectwork on a solution. edness. “We understood that The Jewish Agency’s this was an issue of tikkun Partnership2Gether olam,” Efrat says, using (P2G) Peoplehood Platthe Hebrew term for “reform facilitated the work pairing the world.” of young Israelis who, The technology involves placing a chip under the padding of a booster The young Israelis with the support of the seat that measures a child’s weight when he sits down, and transmitting partnered with students Jewish state’s renowned a signal through a wireless keychain if a child screams or goes more from Budapest’s Javne defense contractor Rafael than 10 minutes alone in the car. Lauder Jewish CommuCredit: Nathan Roi for The Jewish Agency for Israel nity Schools to form a Advanced Defense Systems, developed the “Life Seat,” system to prevent forgetting team in Israel’s national Young Entrepreneurs competition. children in cars. The Education Committee of P2G’s Western Galilee partP2G is The Jewish Agency’s strategic initiative that con- nership believes that project-based learning creates particnects the Jewish people by creating enduring relationships ularly powerful connections. between Israel and Jewish communities of the Diaspora. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, meanwhile, provided These personal and professional friendships, attachments volunteers for the Israeli-Hungarian team to create Life and emotional investments establish the bedrock of a global Seat. The technology involves placing a chip under the community. The program connects 900 Jewish and Israeli padding of a booster seat that measures a child’s weight, communities and organizations around the world in 46 when he sits down and transmits a signal through a wireless partnerships. keychain if a child screams or goes more than 10 minutes Through a shared committee process, more than 10,000 alone in the car. P2G volunteers work together each year to determine the “The experience of sharing, repairing the world from a ways in which partnered communities engage with and sup- uniquely Jewish sense of mission, and enabling the young port one another. Through hands-on projects and personal Hungarians to connect with Israel were our motivations for interactions that engage 350,000 Israelis and Jews each year, creating this project,” says Efrat.
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Susan Bernard 402.334.6559 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Jewish Press | July 13, 2018 | 5
For Sale Coronado Condominium
Blumkin home introduces new logo and website
Ozzie nOGG Home, so we can then analyze the statistics to The Rose Blumkin Jewish Home has rolled see how many of these inquiries turn into visout a marketing campaign that features a new its to the facility that result in new admislogo and updated website. “The current logo sions. The Rose Blumkin Jewish Home has a — the blue and green depiction of Main well-deserved reputation for serving our eldStreet and the front entrance — was an ap- erly with care and love,” Ulven continued. propriate image when the building was enlarged and modernized in 2010,” said Chris Ulven, RBJH Executive Director. “But we felt the Home would benefit from fresh rebranding to coincide with our new marketing campaign, and the Jewish Social Services Board — JSS — agreed. Our JSS Board cochair, Jeff Kirshenbaum, along with RBJH staff, were involved in the entire process of logo development, and worked closely with the professionals we hired to create the new look.” GlynnDevins Agency in Kansas City, a leading technology-enabled marketing agency serving the senior living industry, designed the logo and website. “The logo has a Judaic feel to it, and its bright, vibrant colors — almost like stained glass — are a perfect fit for the Blumkin Home,” Ulven said. “The tagline, A Legacy of Caring for All, was developed in rBJh residents annette Fettman, center, and rose rosenberg, discussions at a JSS Board right, have their makeup applied in the courtyard before the meeting. We hope everyone photo shoot. likes the new logo as much as we do.” “The Home’s new website, along with new Omaha photographer David Radler and his promotional and marketing materials, will six-man crew provided still shots and video help us better communicate to residents’ famof Blumkin Home residents and their families ilies, potential residents and health care who are the face — and heart — of the re- providers the quality care the RBJH provides.” branding effort. “It was a wonderful experiShelly Fox, Director of Admissions and ence, photographing the residents and their Community Outreach for Jewish Social Servchildren and also interviewing them,” Radler ices, added, “Our updated website will prosaid. “Our film and photography crew got to vide current residents and their families with see the Blumkin Home and the people who all the pertinent information about what is work there up close. The dedication of the going on at the Blumkin Home. We’re excited staff really stood out, and some of the chil- to make menus, upcoming events and photos dren of residents were moved to tears when of recent activities accessible to everyone. they told us how thankful and touched they Equally important is the ability the site gives are by the care their parents receive at the us to share information regarding the Home Home. Residents got all dressed up for the with those who might need services and rephoto shoot,” Radler continued, “and felt re- sources. We know that many folks look onally involved in the process. We all had fun line as their first effort to reach out for photographing Happy Hour and also the Ice information. But the new website is not inCream Sundae event. We captured some tended to be a self-service operation. We beautiful moments. I can’t wait to see the re- want the community to know that we are alsults on the new website and brochures.” ways available for a phone conversation or inAccording to Ulven, the new website will person meeting regarding the Rose Blumkin be user friendly and interactive, with photos Jewish Home or Jewish Senior Outreach and testimonials from residents and their services. If you have any questions or needs, families. “The site will also include a tracking please contact me at 402.334.6532, or Erika function that allows us to gather data on the Lucoff at 402.334.6529.” number of people who visit the site and how Please visit the new RBJH website here: many request further information about the www.rbjh.com.
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.
Visit us at jewishomaha.org
770 North 93rd Street #4C3 Omaha, NE Approximately 2,140 square feet with master bedroom and master bath, second bedroom, second full bath, den, living room, formal dining area, kitchen with seating area, laundry room, outside patio, parking stall in heated garage, and storage area in the lower level of the building. All kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, and folding treadmill are included with the sale. Full-time property manager on staff who oversees the residents needs and support. Coronado residents have access for their use to the party room on the first level, swimming pool, and fitness room. Accepting offers to sell this property starting at $326,000. Contact Howard Kutler at 402-699-5407 with questions and to see the property.
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KarEn Gustafson JFS Executive Director orn Sarah L. Davidson, (we all know her lovingly as Sally) her destiny may have been a career in Social Work, but who knew where life would take her... to the pinnacle of her profession. I’m going to start at the end and work my way back. Sally “officially” retired on the last day of May from being a therapist for the past 10 years at Jewish Family Service. Prior to her employment at JFS, Sally was a Board member for the agency during the reign and at the request of Steve Stiel, Executive Director of JFS from 1999-2001. There would be no good-byes or sally Kaplan accolades allowed from Sally; even leaving her office to be cleaned out at a later date. That’s Sally. I am happy and sad at the same time, to have learned that Sally (and Gary) was given the PILLAR Award at Temple Israel Synagogue, for their long-standing service to their community and synagogue. I am thrilled for their honor and sad that I was not in attendance. In fact, I learned that Sally and Gary had to be honored without their knowing ahead of time; because, chances are they would have said no to this public display of appreciation. Regarding Sally, Emeritus Rabbi, Aryeh Azriel said it best: “Having Sally and her many gifts in the life of Temple Israel through the years of my work have been a blessing to us, the clergy and the leadership. Sally helped all of us to get a deeper understanding of the human nature and the challenges that confront our daily life. In her presence, you always strove to be genuine and real. Listening to Sally was rewarding as she kept teaching, assisting and supporting our busy work. Thank you, Sally, for sharing sacred work in our community.” Sally initially wanted to become a teacher, getting her Bachelors of Science degree in Education from UNL in 19--, after initially going to school for Sociology (ages and dates are not going into this story... a promise made to Sally in exchange for the opportunity to write this article)... see what I mean about her? But after working at Child Saving Institute as a social worker in the area of adoption, then coordinating Black Homes for Black Children with the same agency, Sally found her passion for this field (eventually adopting her own daughter to complete her family of five which includes her loving husband Gary and their three daughters; Elizabeth, Katie and Carrie; and now, proud grandparents to six), getting her Master’s Degree and Nebraska State Licensing in Social Work. For such a young person (you’re welcome Sally), Sally has had many rewarding experiences which lead to her expertise as a Master Therapist (Master Therapist is not really a “thing” in Omaha, but those who know her in the field would agree). In addition to her adoption work, she worked with Parents United, offering support groups for those perpetrators, nonoffending spouses and adult and teen victims of familial incest; a therapist and Clinical Director at Child Saving Institute
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Summer camp season is in full swing. My grandchildren, along with dozens of other Omaha children, are fortunate to be attending Jewish summer camps at the JCC, Beth El Synagogue, Camps Herzl, Sabra, Olin-Sang Ruby Union Institute, Ramah, Beber, and others. The children are having fun, meeting new friends, reacquainting with old friends and learning new Howard EpstEin skills and talents, all in Jewish environExecutive Director, ments. Numerous studies have shown that chil- JFO Foundation dren who have a great camping experience at a Jewish summer camp are more likely to stay actively engaged in the Jewish community through their teen and adult years. How lucky we are that so many camping opportunities are available for Omaha’s Jewish youth. At the same time, summer camp is costly, with overnight camps
(CSI); an Adjunct Instructor at Iowa Western Community College, teaching social work and child abuse seminars; and a Forensic Interviewer at Project Harmony. Although Sally was a “jack of all trades” so to speak, when it came to counseling people her greatest gift came to those who struggled with sexual abuse somewhere in their history. Sally’s work life describes just one part of her. Her volunteer experiences have included: Parents United Facilitator, Family Advocate Volunteer (CSI), Parent Assistance Line (CSI), Child Abuse Council, Advocacy Office for Children and Youth Board, Voices for Children in Nebraska Board, River Cities Camp Fire Council Board, Hattie B. Munroe Board, Junior League of Omaha, Metropolitan Child Abuse Coalition, Child Saving Institute Board, Planned Parenthood of Omaha/Council Bluffs Board, Temple Israel Board and Jewish Family Service Board. Those who know Sally know that she cannot fully walk away from what she loves and those she loves, so we have all, more than willingly and even “selfishly” as you will soon hear Jon Meyers say, asked Sally to stick around and continue to offer her expertise in the areas of social work supervision and Board Governance. As our newly elected JFO Board President and long-time friend of Sally’s, Jon Meyers said, “I need more than one sentence to share my feelings and relationship with Sally. I have worked with Sally for many years in Jewish organizational leadership. She is wonderful to work with. She is bright, caring, passionate and compassionate. She is a scholar in process and governance; while at the same time exhibiting heartbased leadership that others want to follow. Sally was my personal appointee to the executive committee when I was President of Temple Israel. I trust Sally implicitly to give me advice and tell me what I need to hear. I am pleased for Sally and her retirement, but as Karen stated above, her retirement, which we all knew was “only official,” provided a window of opportunity for me to ask Sally to facilitate the JFO Rabbis and Presidents’ Committee and to work on the newly-formed JFO Governance Committee.” In addition to her work with Jon and for the Jewish Federation of Omaha, Sally will be working with a bright young social work student for Jewish Family Service and will be doing clinical supervision with a previous colleague who is now the Clinical Director at Children’s Hospital. In my continued promise to avoid aging Sally, or any of us for that matter, I just want the community to know how much Sally has offered to the Jewish community as well as the Omaha community. She has influenced many of us in the profession of mental health care. What an honor it is for me to be able to write this story about Sally. Where she once was my supervisor at Child Saving Institute, she has become a very valued colleague and friend. JFS will miss her greatly. But as is true of many transitions... our loss is her family’s gain. On a final note: In 2011, JFS celebrated its 100th Anniversary and created an award given to Gloria Kaslow that read... ”this award will henceforth be known as The Gloria Kaslow Award, for support and dedication to Jewish Family Service.” Sally will become the first recipient of the Gloria Kaslow Award, since Gloria received it herself. The presentation will be private; however, Gloria has graciously offered to present it to Sally. That will be honor enough from one gem to another.
costing $650 to $1,000 or more per week per child. Without financial aid, many families are not in a financial position to give their kids the great Jewish camping experience they deserve. Over the years, many generous donors have established endowments at the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation to provide camp scholarships. This year, endowments generated $61,000 for camp scholarships, helping 43 Jewish kids go to Jewish summer camps. Yet, this was not nearly enough. Omaha’s Jewish families requested almost $95,000 in financial aid for camp, and we were able to fulfill only 65% of the scholarship dollars requested. More scholarship funds are needed for next summer and each summer thereafter. I’ll be happy to discuss endowment opportunities for Jewish summer camp scholarships and other Jewish community needs. Please feel free to contact me at 402.334.6466. We will be happy to help you achieve your charitable legacy.
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The Jewish Press | July 13, 2018 | 7
community Essence, Spirit, Soul
Gabby blair The Nebraska Jewish Historical Society (NJHS) requests help from the community in identifying photographs from the archives. Please contact Kathy Weiner at 402.334.6441 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to assist in the effort to preserve Jewish Omaha history.
The RBJH is looking for volunteers for Saturday morning religious services from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. We need help with escorting Residents to and from the chapel and assisting service leaders with their needs, such as handing out books, setting up, etc. If you are interested, please contact Sabine Strong, Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com or call 402.334.6519. Orientation and background check are required. Training will be provided by Renee Kazor.
There are about 100,000 words in the English language, whereas there are only about half that in modern Hebrew. In certain areas, however, Hebrew is the richer language. Consider the traditional prayer before donning the tallit, when a person asks God to preserve their nefesh (essence), ru’ah (spirit) and neshama (soul) from evil forces. I’m not sure how to explain the difference be- TEDDy tween these three Hebrew words, but WEiNbErGEr the first step is to take note of them. Perhaps Hebrew is simply more sensitive to matters of the spirit than is English. When you go to parent-teacher conferences, you are likely to discuss not just how your child is doing academically, socially and emotionally, but also “nafsheet” which, following my translation above, can be defined as essence-fully. I like that Israeli teachers are trained to think in the broadest possible way about their students—including how the child’s whole spiritual being is functioning. While you may have heard of the woman’s name “Neshama,” since this is the name of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s daughter, herself a successful singer, you probably don’t know that a common term of endearment in Israel is “neshama.” My daughter Rebecca, who is very much influenced by Israeli Sephardic culture, is always calling me “neshama sheli” (my soul). Nefesh, ru’ah and neshama all refer to the fact/belief that the human being is more than flesh and blood, that as long as there is life, there is spiritual essence. All three words appear early on in Genesis: “And the earth was unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind [ru’ah] from God sweeping over the water” (Gen. 1.2); “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath [neshama] of life, and man became
ROSH Hashanah Greetings This year you can send your greetings through these very special ads that will run in our annual Rosh Hashanah issue. Each ad can be personalized with your name, the names of your children or your grandchildren.
a living being [nefesh]” (Gen. 2.7). The closest physical manifestation of our words is represented by blood, and not coincidentally, the Torah describes the prohibition on eating blood as follows: “For the blood is the life [nefesh], and you must not consume the life with the flesh” (Deut. 12.23). Related to this hematologically is the English expression: “a bleeding-heart liberal.” The expression in Hebrew for such a person uses one of “our” words: yefeh nefesh, a “beautiful being.” I do yoga several times a week with on-line instructors (I’ve given free plugs to free classes in the past and here is another one: “Yoga with Kassandra”). It’s interesting that “affirmations” are crucial in yoga. Correct postures and correct breathing are tied into correct being using affirmations such as: “I give myself permission to be all that I can be” and “I now choose to create a life that is joyful and abundant.” There is a clear spiritual component to yoga, and good yogis learn not to neglect it. Judaism also has several key affirmations including the following, traditionally said every morning, hearkening back to Genesis: “My God, the soul You placed within me is pure. You created it, You fashioned it, You breathed it into me, You safeguard it within me, and eventually You will take it from me, and restore it to me in Time to Come.” The primordial breath with which God created the first human being is alive in me and, fittingly, part of what I do with it is to pray (or affirm). Whether one invokes God or not, it’s wonderful to recall that at the deepest level of our being we are good. For a beautiful rendition of the above prayer by a contemporary Israeli trio, click on: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=A3zYFvpGsoc Teddy Weinberger, Ph.D., made aliyah in 1997 with his wife, former Omahan Sarah Jane Ross, and their five children, Nathan, Rebecca, Ruthie, Ezra, and Elie, all of whom are veterans of the Israel Defense Forces; Weinberger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Thank you, Zev Gordman!
Gary and lisa epstein present a $500 check to Zev Gordman. Zev was the winner of an OJaa contest to boost membership. OJaa saw a huge increase because of Zev’s efforts. Thank you Zev! if you are not already a member of OJaa, search Omaha Jewish alumni association on facebook, or fill out a registration form at http://www.jewishomaha.org/about/our-community/ omaha-jewish-alumni-association. everyone is welcome!
Rich Juro receives ACLU of Nebraska award
Rich Juro received an award at the ACLU of Nebraska’s annual meeting on June 23 in Omaha. Juro was awarded the Robert M. Spire Founders Service Award in recognition of his ongoing support of the organization, including his many years of service as a board member and a former member of the ACLU lawyers committee. Rich has helped to lead and sustain our work as a philanthropist and is a committed civil rights and civil liberties champion. For over 50 years in Nebraska, the ACLU has worked in courts, legislatures and communities to protect the constitutional and individual rights of all people. With a nationwide network of offices and millions of members and supporters, we take up the toughest civil liberties fights. Beyond one person, party, or side — we the people dare to create a more perfect union. Learn more at aclunebraska.org.
hollow melancholy surrounds the abandoned. True abandonment represents either progression or disaster, and it is often impossible to tell which. Deserted houses, schools, stores and entire townships litter the Midwest in varying states of decay. Some are just concrete foundations, some are piles sam kricsfeld of metal, glass, and brick, and some still stand with bowing roofs and shattered windows. These buildings and townships were founded by and for people with jobs and families. It is almost impossible to trace them – they vanished into history just as they vanished from their property. All that remain are crumbling monuments with unknown sources and a certain future: disappearance. I began my exploration of the abandoned while at college. I decided one weekend to drive aimlessly into central Kansas to clear my head. I soon found myself on winding dirt and gravel roads until around a bend I saw the ruins of two houses. Only walls and window frames still stood, but these were unmistakably homes. The paint color of the bedroom wall was still visible. And there was not another living soul. I followed the dirt road into a town with a main street of vacant wooden shops leaning precariously to one side and crossroads leading to two-story houses reeking of rot and decay. Various other times I ventured out into the wastelands of Kansas, often seeing grey wooden houses or faded red barns on the verge of collapse from the side of the road. I visited junkyards with just one person tending over 20 acres of vintage American cars, seeing once great machines like BelAirs, Mustangs, and Chargers left all but abandoned. There were cars from the 1970s and 1980s in hedges along the dirt roads, with license plates last registered decades ago.
Most striking was a three-story tall schoolhouse with its roof fallen in. There were rusting toys still in the schoolyard. This was where people grew up and became who they were. Now, it’s virtually nothing. I do not enter these buildings or the property. Occasionally, they do have “No Trespassing” signs, signifying that someone somewhere knows about this place and is simply letting it decay. Even without a notice, entering these properties can be dangerous – not for supernatural reasons, but for things like lead paint, asbestos, wild animals, or falling through the disintegrating floorboards. I simply look from outside in, trying to gather clues to a life no longer lived. Some sites of veritable history are also left neglected, such as the sites of John Brown’s Pottawatomie Massacre and Battle of Osawatomie. There, Brown’s abolitionist forces decided that to expedite the end of slavery, they must murder slave owners. These battlefields are now heavily wooded, with a faint dirt path leading you to faded plaques describing the place’s importance. I had to research century old maps to find these locations. Other almost indiscernible plaques say that the Oregon Trail passed through that very spot, and if you look carefully, you can see the wagon wheel ruts in the fields. There is a difference between these sites and more identifiable ruins such as the Colosseum or Masada. Those sites are recognized for their importance and revered as remnants from great cultures with significant impact. They have significant historical evidence to verify the events that happened there, and even tour guides to tell you what you’re looking at. But in the Midwest, places not made to last lie lost in the prairies. They are not celebrated or even noticed anymore, and they sit miles from another soul. And very soon, they won’t even be there anymore. I choose to keep looking for forgotten places because of their twisted serenity. They offer a sort of catharsis through feelings of fear, sadness, intrigue, and excitement. I can’t know what happened there and am left with no choice but to accept the unknown. But those emotions, not linked to any known facts or history, can be felt without the presence of others or the burden of rationalization. Plus, you get cool pictures.
The Jewish Press | July 13, 2018 | 9
Beth El’s Kamp KEF 2018: Fun while learning
OZZiE NOgg Above: Kamp KEF staff and kids enjoy a day at the zoo, below: This past June 4-8, 28 kids from Molly Epstein, left, Naama Abraham, Ellis Meyer (in striped shirt), four-year-olds to rising 5th Graders Ezra Blair, Eadie Tsabari, Charlie Menin, Kooper Menin, Zach enjoyed a week of Jewish summer Krausman and Micha Christensen. day camp at Beth El Synagogue during Kamp KEF 2018. “Kef means fun, in Hebrew,” said Eadie Tsabari, Beth El Director of Congregational Learning, “and this is by far my favorite week of the entire year. Beth El is all about giving kids a Jewish summer camp experience, and introducing our cutest, greatest, littlest children to camping is a real privilege. We’re also blessed because many of our older kids, who have gone away to Jewish summer camps, sign on as KEF Tyler, 10, are regulars at KEF. “This was Molly’s counselors, and bring that Ramah or Herzl atmosthird year and Tyler’s fourth year,” Laurie said. phere back for our youngest campers. Just like at ‘big kid’ camp, every KEF day includes a flag raising, “They absolutely love it. Molly tells me, ‘I learned a lot of things there like making instruments, and the Birkat Hamazon and Ruach at lunchtime, outdoor counselors were very nice and fun and I liked playfun during ‘waterfront’ time on the Slip ‘N Slide, ing in the blow-up pools and squirting water bottles plus clean-up, flag lowering at the end of the day, at each other and I can’t wait to go back next year.’ and special Kabbalat Shabbat events. The week After the week at KEF, Tyler headed off to his first uses an informal approach to Jewish learning, with a focus on singing, arts and crafts, and making new year at Herzl in Wisconsin, all because of the experience he received at Beth El’s day camp. This profriends. Everyone, kids and staff, has a blast.” gram is a brilliant thing. To offer a week where kids The theme of Kamp KEF 2018 was Welcoming from pre-K to teen-age counselors spend time tothe Stranger. “We did this by ‘travelling’ around the gether having fun at the synagogue makes the kids world and learning about the art, music, food, feel so comfortable there. They learn to see Beth El games and language of people who live in different as more than just classrooms and a place to worcountries,” Tsabari explained. “Understanding other ship and be serious. Eadie, Amy Dworin — Beth El’s people is the Jewish way to not be afraid of people Youth Engagement Director — and their counselors who are different from us. The kids embraced all have such amazing energy. It’s contagious, and the the activities and came away with a better underkids love every minute they spend at Kamp KEF.” standing of community and kindness. The theme alAlong with Beth El clergy, professional staff and lowed us to incorporate Jewish content in a way that doesn’t distract from the main goal — to create parent volunteers, the Kamp KEF counselors include college students and High School/Middle School a fun experience in a Jewish setting.” Campers and madrichim who act as ‘guides’ during the year in staff also designed and planted the Kamp KEF garthe synagogue’s Hebrew and Sunday School. Beth den next to Beth El’s playground, and implemented El student counselors included Ari Finkelstein, Ethan a recycling program. “We made a conscious choice Finkelstein, Benjamin Kutler, David Kay, Spencer to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste in order to Gordman, Zach Krausman, Tristen Newman, Britmake a smaller carbon footprint,” Tsabari said. tany Clignett, Julia Weill, Michael Raffel, Lillian “There are so many things you can teach and have Cohen, Lauren Kirk, Brooklyn Armstrong and fun doing at the same time.” Amanda Simon. College-age counsellors were Effie Five year-old Dayton Abramson, son of Marissa Tsabari, the Kamp KEF Medic and a graduate of and Brad Abramson, was a first-time KEF camper UNMC PA School; and Alyssa Cohen, a Senior at this summer. “Dayton loved Kamp KEF,” his mom the University of Kansas. said. “He told me he had so much fun going to the For Eadie Tsabari, Kamp KEF is all about building zoo with his friends, and all the water play they did, community. “The best way to instill Jewish values and they even got muddy. We will for sure sign up into our children is by doing. Summer camp is a again next year.” Seven-year-old Noah Juster, son of Sorin and Eliana Juster, is a three year veteran of place to build memories, make best friends and have a wonderful time. We invite Beth El families and all Kamp KEF. “We love this camp because it is full of Omaha Jewish families with young children to feel meaningful content,” Eliana said. “Spending time at welcome, to come experience Kamp KEF and this the Synagogue with other Jewish kids helps great week of Jewish fun. We’ll be back next year.” strengthen relationships, promote the feeling of bePlease visit the Kamp KEF website: http://www. longing and build a community. A lot of care and bethel-omaha.org/activities/youth/kamp-kef/. creativity goes into the planning, but the execution Photos from June 2018 are available here: feels spontaneous, which makes KEF a really fun https://picasaweb.google.com/1062264516050 place to spend the beginning of the summer break.” Jason and Laurie Epstein’s children, Molly, 6, and 9921665/6290926335340550593.
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SIGMA ALPHA MU Update
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DaViD alloy President of Alumni Board of Control f you are a young man attending high school and you are interested in attending the University of NebraskaLincoln, please contact me at 402.334.0609 or alloyent@cox. net to learn more information about our Sigma Omicron Chapter. e Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity, Sigma Omicron Chapter in Lincoln, NE, continued to be very active this past semester. To give you an idea of what kind of young men we are recruiting: the second semester GPA was 3.199. is was #9 overall for fraternities, and #1 for the small fraternity category. Here are some examples of what some of our members are accomplishing: Derek Baumfalk, a 2014 pledge, is performing a social media internship for Sammy National, and member Rilee Lake will be studying abroad in the U.K. at Oxford University’s economics program. Brandon Warren will be doing an internship in Lincoln in manufacture engineering and Zach Ostravich will be performing an internship at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jackson Hole, WY. Julian Suarez will be studying abroad next semester, and he is performing an internship in the physics lab and research with General Dynamics Corporation. Derek Baumfauk continues to coach high school and club gymnastics programs, and he is a volunteer assistant on the UNL men’s gymnastics program. Tyler Greenwald will be interning this summer in the health field in Lincoln. Current members attending the 2018 National Convention in Chicago (August 10-12) are Tanner Crable, Derek Baumfalk and Tyler Greenwald. Alumni attending the convention will be
Tisha B’av at Beth israel
Mary Sue GroSSMan Beth Israel Synagogue Tisha B’Av, a day of fasting, mourning and repentance, is a day of recalling the destruction of the First and Second Temples and other tragic events in Jewish history which took place on the 10th of Av. This year, Tisha B’Av observations at Beth Israel begin the evening of July 21 and concludes Sunday evening, July 22. Rabbi Shlomo Abramovich, Beth Israel’s Visiting Scholar, will be leading Tisha B’Av activities. “At this time of the year we mourn the destruction of the Temple, on the 17th of Tammuz and at Tisha B’av,” shares Rabbi Shlomo. “It seems that today it is difficult to relate to those times and to feel that something is missing without the Temple. Coming together on Tisha B’Av is a way to connect and focus on different aspects of the Temple and talk about its holiness and the closer connection to G-d we could have if it were here.”
Dean Lambert (82) and David Alloy (70). Congratulations to the recipients of the Sigma Alpha Mu – Sigma Omicron UNL Scholarship Fund: Tanner Crable $1,680 – Julian Suarez-Cardona $1,000 – Michelle Davidson $680 (daughter of Alum Allen Davidson 76). Michelle is attending Wayne State University. Also we would like to congratulate the scholarship recipients from Sigma Alpha Mu National: Zach Ostravich $1,500, Derek Baumfalk $1,000, Tanner Crable $1,000 and Julian Suarez-Cardona $500. In a previous article, we mentioned that Papa John’s Pizzeria had a promotion in partnership with the Lincoln Sammies. ey raised $690 that was donated to e Alzheimer’s Association. e fraternity members raised $1,054 during a promotion called “Dogs for Danielle” and the funds were donated to Danielle Silsbee to assist her in her battle against breast cancer. She works at UNL with one of our current members, Rilee Lake. Find out more at http://www.dailynebraskan. com/news/huskers-help-huskers-fraternity-raises-fundsfor-staﬀ-member-s/article_3f3e0ca8-436e-11e8-a904c3445422c473.html). On April 29 the fraternity members, with some of the Lincoln Jewish youth, participated in their annual clean-up and maintenance at the Nebraska Holocaust Memorial at Wyuka Cemetery. Congratulations to Robert Freeman (72) who was inducted into the Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame on April 6. Finally, June 29 we had a nice gathering of Sigma Omicron alums at the Omaha Marriott Hotel. Present were Rich Sophir (69), Howard Epstein (70), Ron Wiseman (67), Ron Giller (70), David Alloy (70), Steve Rosen (70), Maynard Rosenberg (67), and Mark Jacobson (68).
On Saturday evening, July 21, Mincha will be held 7:45 p.m. followed by Seudah Shlishit at 8:15 p.m. The fast begins at 8:51 p.m. followed by a class by Rabbi Shlomo, Understanding Eicha. The reading of Eicha will follow class. On Sunday morning, July 22, Shacharit begins at 9 a.m., followed by Kinnot. At 10:30 a.m., Rabbi Shlomo will share a BBC documentary on the rebellion against the Romans. “This documentary is very well made and tells the story of the destruction, mostly through the eyes of the Romans,” reports Rabbi Shlomo. He also wants people to be aware that the violence of war is shown quite graphically. On Sunday evening, Mincha will be held at 8:30 p.m. followed by another class by Rabbi Shlomo, The Destruction of the Temple. Maariv will be said at 9:30 p.m. and the fast concludes at 9:40 p.m. The entire community is invited to join any or all the events. For questions, please contact the synagogue office at 402.556.6288.
Yad Vashem says declaration has ‘grave errors and deceptions’ JTA NEWS STAFF Israel’s main state museum and research body on the Holocaust said ursday that a joint statement by Israel and Poland on the genocide contained “grave errors and deceptions.” e Yad Vashem statement pertains to a declaration made last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, that acknowledges collaboration by some Poles during the Holocaust and the rescue of Jews by others. It also states that during the Holocaust, “unfortunately, the sad fact is that some people – regardless of their origin, religion or worldview – revealed their darkest side.” Newspapers in Israel, Germany and the United Kingdom published the declaration, leading to criticism from opposition leaders and historians in Israel. e PKO Foundation of Poland’s Bank Polski paid for the ads. e bank has close ties to the government. Beyond the “outrageous insinuation that Jews also revealed ‘their darkest side at that time,’” Yad Vashem wrote, the Poles who revealed it “were not devoid of identity.” e joint declaration was designed to end the diplomatic spat between Poland and Israel over a law passed in Poland’s parliament in February that criminalized blaming the Polish nation for Nazi crimes. Israel protested the law and Poland’s government subsequently soened it, adding an amendment
that scraps the three-year prison sentence prescribed in the original legislation. Yad Vashem’s chief historian, Dina Porat, accompanied the work of Polish and Israeli diplomats who hammered out the declaration finalizing the détente, Netanyahu said. Yad Vashem said last week that the amendment was “a positive development in the right direction.” But the museum apparently changed its position, citing “a thorough review by Yad Vashem historians” of the joint declaration published on June 27. e joint declaration “contains highly problematic wording that contradicts existing and accepted historical knowledge in this field,” the statement said. e document’s wording “effectively supports a narrative that research has long since disproved, namely, that the Polish Government-in-Exile and its underground arms strove indefatigably — in occupied Poland and elsewhere — to thwart the extermination of Polish Jewry.” Last week, Yad Vashem’s academic adviser, Yehuda Bauer, said in a radio interview that the joint declaration was a “betrayal” by Israel of “the wonderful Polish liberals” who may be exposed to litigation in civil court under the law passed by the country’s right-wing government.
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RBJH celebrates July 4th
The Jewish Press | July 13, 2018 | 11
community This week at camp
Clockwise from left: cnas Sharo Lawrence, Pushpanjali Pradhan Deshar, mikayla buskevicius with resident betty Kelberg after bingo on July 4th.
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brittany hamor Intern, Jewish Press This week, campers got a taste of Italy. This was an on-site field trip. They created gelato, competed in a Leaning Tower of Pisa competition, and smashed grapes into juice. Campers learned how to be the new Van Gogh this week by joining our “Amazing Artists” program. Artists worked hands-on with 3rd through 6th
graders creating different art pieces. The campers worked on various artwork including painting, sculpting, and drawing. Cheer and Dance camp is back in session! Campers were able to join local high school and college level cheer and dance members this week for JCC Cheer and Dance Camp. They learned basic team cheers, dance moves, cheer formations and voice projection. Parents were invited to a Pep Rally at 11:30 a.m. on June 29 in
the JCC basketball gymnasium. This week at Camp Shemesh, campers decorated rooms and themselves red, white, and blue for America’s birthday. At Summer Fun Days, 4th through 8th graders went to Adventureland. Campers were able to enjoy roller coasters, bumper cars and swimming all day. Camp Shemesh CDC staff chose their favorite activities to mark the mid-point of summer camp.
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(Founded in 1920) Abby Kutler 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 Abby Kutler, President; Eric Dunning, Ex Officio; Laura Dembitzer; Candice Friedman; Jill Idelman; Andy Isaacson; Michael Kaufman; David Kotok; Natasha Kraft; Debbie Kricsfeld; Eric Shapiro and Amy Tipp. 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. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ANNETTE vAN DE KAmP Editor, Jewish Press ou will have to forgive me; the June 29 shooting at Maryland’s Capitol Gazette has left me a bit unmoored. I don’t have an opinion ready and I probably won’t for a long time. I don’t claim grief; I didn’t know any of the victims personally and as far as the proverbial ‘thoughts and prayers’ go, well, I doubt they are helpful at this point. Five people are dead: Editor Gerald Fischman; Sales Assistant Rebecca Smith; Editor Rob Hiaasen; Reporter and Editor John McNamara and Reporter Wendi Winters. Three others were injured. Is this different because it happened at a newspaper, instead of a school, a mall, an airport? Maybe, maybe not. In Federalist Paper # 84, Founding Father Alexander Hamilton wrote: What signifies a declaration that "the liberty of the press shall be inviolably preserved?" What is the liberty of the press? Who can give it any definition which would not leave the utmost latitude for evasion? I hold it to be impracticable; and from this, I infer, that its security, whatever fine declarations may be inserted in any constitution respecting it, must altogether depend on public opinion, and on the general spirit of the people and of the government. The year was 1788; were he alive today, Hamilton would most likely have some additional comments about where that public opinion and general spirit are headed. In case you’re wondering: things are not well. The shooting at the Gazette wasn’t a logical conclusion as much as an illustrating point; while the responsibility for the death of five press members lies solely with the shooter, the climate in which the shooting occurred cannot be ignored. When a shooting occurs, we rarely ask: ‘whose fault?’ without providing an instant answer. We point at easy access to guns, at mental illness. Critical coverage by the Press, ‘Fake-News,’ lack of decent security, corrupt law
enforcement or militant Muslims. One of the victims was Jewish; maybe that had something to do with it? Probably, the Media isn’t telling us everything, you know.
1923 statue of Alexander Hamilton by James Earle Fraser on the south patio of the U.S. Department of Treasury building in Washington, D.C.
And so we sink into a never-ending maelstrom of speculation and accusation, depending what side of the aisle we live on. In a perfect world, we would all be above that. In a perfect world, however, nobody would get shot. Most of all, in a perfect world, the White House response to the shooting would have sounded sincere. We have to discuss President Trump, “a candidate who made vicious rhetorical attacks on journalists a staple of his raucous campaign events, railed about the ‘crooked’ and ‘lying media’ in nearly every debate, and even went after individual reporters by name.” (M. Scott Mahaskey, Politico, 2016) “The FAKE news media (failing @nytimes, @CNN, @NBCNews and many more) is not my enemy. It is the
enemy of the American people. SICK!” President Trump tweeted in February of 2017, as reported by the New York Times. The article continued: “The president has referred to the media as the “opposition party” to his administration, and he has blamed news organizations for stymieing his agenda. But the language that Mr. Trump deployed on Friday is more typically used by leaders to refer to hostile foreign governments or subversive organizations. It also echoed the language of autocrats who seek to minimize dissent.” Trump used that phrase, ‘enemy of the people,’ several times since and as recently as a few days before the shooting.” When Alexander Hamilton wrote: “whatever fine declarations may be inserted in any constitution respecting it, must altogether depend on public opinion, and on the general spirit of the people and of the government,” this is exactly what he meant. You can have your Bill of Rights, you can have your laws, you can even pay lip service, but when true respect for these basic rights is lacking, where does that leave us? Again, the Maryland deaths are the responsibility of the shooter. Yet, we are faced with a climate where it is okay to blame “The Media” for anything and everything. For telling us too much, for not sharing enough, for sharing uncomfortable news we don’t want to hear and writing headlines we can’t unsee. And while the shooting is not directly Trump’s fault, the climate in which it occurred is. "This attack shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief," he said during a press conference. "Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job." Yes, they should; they should be free from fear. But, Mr. President, how awesome would it be if that freedom were something you actively pursued? If, for once, you actually took a real, long and hard look at yourself and the childish things you’ve tweeted about the Press, and decided to be a better man?
The road to LGBTQ acceptance in Israel was bumpy. I should know. JoNATHAN DANiLoWiTz TEL AVIV | JTA Tel Aviv has been decked out in rainbow flags for weeks. Suddenly, it seems, every restaurant, coffee shop and store is super “gay friendly.” The city’s Pride Parade is traditionally held on the second Friday of June. Fifteen years ago, estimates were that 9,000 people attended the event. This year there were a quarter of a million. About 40,000 tourists came to Israel especially to participate in and enjoy the range of activities before and after Friday’s spectacular. The Tel Aviv municipality budgeted three million shekels (nearly $1 million) to make sure that the events especially this 20th successive parade, went off smoothly, safely and securely. The statistics tell a story of acceptance, freedom, welcome and nondiscrimination. It hasn’t always been this way. I’ve come a long way along the bumpy road to this somewhat-equality for the LGBT community in Israel. The road ahead still beckons. In 1979, I arranged to have the annual conference of the World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organizations in Israel. I had been fortunate enough to attend two conferences previously, one each in New York and Los Angeles. The name World Congress was a little pretentious: Most of the 20 or so then-member groups were American, with Israel, England and France representing the “world.” I started planning 18 months before. Finding a conference site, planning the program, sending registration forms – lots of work without an office and all done by a few volunteers. It was hard, especially in those days before emails, internet and faxes, and when international calls cost a small fortune. But things seemed to be falling into place until that fateful phone call from the kibbutz guest house I’d selected for the conference, just five weeks before the start: “Uuhhh – we’re sorry to have to do this but we have no option. We are canceling our commitment to host the conference because the Rabbinate in Jerusalem has threatened
to withdraw our kosher certification if we go ahead.” I was stunned. After all, we had signed a contract to have the three-day conference there -- accommodation, meals, conference rooms, facilities – everything.
Revelers take part in the annual Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, June 8, 2018. Credit: Amir Levy/Getty Images The Chief Rabbinate has the exclusive right to issue kosher certification for hotels and restaurants, and it can use that as a tool to do whatever it likes. Although many restaurants don’t bother, no Israeli hotel that wants to attract foreign tour groups can hope to do so if they don’t offer -- and pay for -- rabbinical kosher supervision. I tried to argue, pointing out the legal aspects of a contract, of morality, decency and ethics, but the hotel was between a rock and a hard place and just refused. Midsummer in Israel is high season for tourism. With the conference just weeks away, I scrambled to find another suitable location with the accommodations and facilities we needed. I heaved a sigh of relief when a small Tel Aviv hotel accepted our reservations and again I signed the contract. Things were back in gear until the next bombshell hit: same telephone call, same stuttering apology and same explanation. This time – just days before the first conference participants were due to land
– the Tel Aviv Rabbinate had discovered our plans and forced the hotel to cancel. Oh, we held the conference: We rented a wedding hall -- posing as travel agents -- and had the event there. It was a grand success. I took two stinging slaps in the face, but each time I simply backed down. How could this have happened? Because I was gay; because homosexuality in 1979 was still officially criminalized in Israel; and because I thought I had no rights. I “knew” there was nothing I could do and anyway, I was too afraid to try. Who would support me? Would a lawyer represent me? How could I fight back against the powerful Rabbinate? “Don’t be a fool,” I told myself, “just shut up and don’t rock the boat.” Yet only 10 years later I stood up in court, suing my employer, El Al Israel Airlines, for illegal discrimination against me as a homosexual. I needed my job, but I needed my self-esteem, too. I needed to stop living a lie; to step out of the dark dreary closet and start living. No longer would I let people spit on me and pretend it was just rain. I turned 180 degrees: I had rights, I was equal to others, even better than some. And I was ready to tell the world: Don’t mess with an angry gay man. My lawsuit lasted six years and dragged through three court levels. Each time the judges ruled in my favor, and each time El Al appealed to a higher court, until Israel’s Supreme Court decision in 1994: “Enough already! Give this man his rights. Discrimination is illegal.” The decision, saying those in a gay relationship are owed the same employee benefits as heterosexuals, became a precedent that paved the way to opening up Israel’s LGBT community to equality. I continued happily working for the airline for eight more years, until I could take early retirement. In 1979, I was meek and mild and ready to accept that being gay was the cross I had to bear. By 1989 I was a proud, out citizen who just happened to be gay, and so what? See The road to LGBTQ acceptance page 13
The Jewish Press | July 13, 2018 | 13
US immigration policies are straight out of the Bible -- the story of Sodom
JIll JACobs NEW YORK | JTA Last week, I visited McAllen, Texas, with a group of clergy — including 10 rabbis — to bear witness to the situation on the border, where new policies are forcing the detention and separation of families and the refusal to hear asylum claims from victims of gang and domestic violence. These practices violate both international refugee conventions signed by the United States, and basic morality and humanity. Though we expected to enter the Ursula Detention Center, where some of these separated parents and children are being held, the staff there ultimately denied us entry. We did, however, spend time with some of the luckier families — those who were not detained at entry but instead were granted a “credible fear” interview (the first step in the asylum process) and released wearing ankle monitors. These families hoped to reunite with family elsewhere in the country and pursue their asylum claims in their new communities. I spent time talking with three families, all of whom included one parent and one or two very young children: a mom from Nicaragua traveling with her two children, aged two and six, on her way to her children's grandmother's home in San Francisco; a dad from El Salvador whose two-year-old happily played with toy cars as we chatted; and another dad, from Honduras, who had brought his four-year-old with him on the journey, but had left his wife and two older children at home with the hopes of bringing them later. The three families had fled violence and gang violence in their home countries in the hopes of establishing safe and stable lives for their children. They had endured monthlong journeys -- by bus, taxi and foot -- plagued by robbery and intimidation by smugglers and others. The father from Honduras told me that he had heard news of the family separation policy while still in Mexico, but believed he had no choice but to keep heading north. In defending his new “zero tolerance” policies, which cast all border crossers as criminals, Attorney General Jeff Sessions quoted the Christian Bible: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” (Romans 13:1, NSRV translation) The verse has a sordid history of being invoked to defend slavery, and to reprimand ministers who dared to oppose the Nazi takeover of the German Church. Sessions found a convenient justification for demanding obedience to an immoral law. Too bad he didn't look a bit earlier, to the story of Sodom. The Torah does not specify the sin of Sodom, a city so wicked that God chooses to destroy it, along with the neighboring Gomorrah. But some textual clues in the Bible offer a few suggestions. Within the story itself, two divine messengers arrive to warn Abraham’s nephew, Lot, that the city will be destroyed. When the people of Sodom hear that Lot has welcomed strangers into his home, they surround the house demanding that he surrender the visitors, probably to be gang raped. While Sessions probably believes that the sin of Sodom concerns homosexuality, the Bible and rabbinic tradition think otherwise. Per the prophet Ezekiel, “This was the sin of your sister Sodom: arrogance! She and her daughters had plenty of bread and untroubled tranquility; yet she did not support the poor and the needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49) In contrast
to Abraham, who offers passers-by a chance to wash their feet and enjoy a hot meal, the residents of Sodom respond to visitors with threats of violence. The Talmud is even more explicit: “[The people of Sodom] said: Since bread comes forth out of [our] earth, and it has the dust of gold, why should we suffer wayfarers, who come to us only to deplete our wealth? Come, let us abolish the practice of traveling in our land.” (Sanhedrin 109a)
as Sodom justify themselves through the establishment of unjust and immoral laws. So the Talmud identifies the four judges of Sodom, whose names roughly translate as “Liar,” “Habitual Liar,” “Forger” and “Perverter of Justice.” By instituting inhumane laws, and then lying about these, Sessions and the administration have shown themselves worthy inheritors of these monikers. With Sodomites running our government, the challenge for every citizen is to refuse to normalize or justify the laws of Sodom. Thankfully, the response to this administration’s new immigration and asylum policies has not come only from a single young woman with a pitcher of bread. Throughout the country, we have seen protests at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices and detention centers, many involving rabbis and Jewish community members. God responds to the Sodomites decision to ban wayfarers, according to one early text, by saying, “With the good that I have bestowed upon you, you want to banish the law of hospitality from your midst? I shall banish you from the Illegal migrants seen in a jail at the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, June world!" (Sifrei Devarim 43:10) We may 17, 2018. Credit: U.S. Border Patrol/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images not need to worry about a divine interLike Sessions, the Sodomites viewed immigration as a zero- vention that will rain sulfur down on the United States, but sum game in which newcomers would only take resources the divine message is clear: A country that closes its doors to without contributing anything in return. Accordingly, both those seeking refuge destroys itself. adopted a “zero tolerance” policy aimed at closing the borders. Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the executive director of T’ruah: The The Talmud goes on to imagine a series of deceptive and Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, which mobilizes 2,000 rabviolent practices that the people of Sodom would employ to bis and cantors and tens of thousands of American Jews to maim and starve any foreigners who dared enter their land. protect human rights in North America, Israel and the OcBut even in Sodom, a few brave souls dared civil disobedience cupied Territories. — and often paid the price. “A certain maiden gave some bread to a poor man, [hiding it] in a pitcher. When the matter became known, they covered her with honey and placed her on the parapet of the wall, and the bees came and consumed her." (Sanhedrin 109b) That's the other sin of Sodom: The residents who deceived and attacked foreigners were the law-abiding ones. Indeed, their lynching of the brave woman who dares feed the poor Continued from page 12 suggests that the people of Sodom would have agreed with In 2018, there were a quarter of a million participants Sessions’ exaltation of the law above all else. in this year’s Pride Parade -- almost 40 years since that But laws do not appear on their own. Cynically, the current fateful conference and 30 years since I stood up in court administration imposed a zero tolerance policy requiring the and demanded my rights. I feel a tinge of pride – perhaps criminalization of border crossers and eliminated two major a quarter of a million tinges of pride – that we’ve come reasons to apply for asylum, then complained that the prohisuch a long way. It wasn’t easy, and the road ahead won’t bition against locking up parents and children together forced be either. But until there is no need for parades, events, the separation of families. (It is not illegal to apply for asylum, conferences and the like, we must continue battling the inregardless of how one entered the country.) The new execusensitivity and ignorance that is homophobia. tive order, which purportedly ends the separation of parents The time has come to stand on the right side of history. and children, does not end zero tolerance. Thus the only legal Next year my partner and I -- we met at that conference choice would seem to be locking up parents and children to- will celebrate our 40th anniversary. gether — but for an existing legal ruling prohibiting the inJonathan Danilowitz, born and raised in South Africa, definite detention of children. The current law is not only is a retired flight attendant and freelance translator who immoral but also incoherent. has lived in Israel since 1971. The ancient rabbis understood that immoral societies such
The road to LGBTQ acceptance
14 | The Jewish Press | July 13, 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
following a short summer haitus, we will meet again in september: Young Jewish Omaha Shabbat Event, friday, sept. 7, 7:30 p.m. For information conctact Nate Shapiro at nshap iro@jewishomaha@org. Erev Rosh Hashanah, sunday, sept. 9, 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah, monday, sept. 10, 10:30 a.m. Kol Nidre, Tuesday, sept. 18, 7:30 p.m. Yom Kippur, Wednesday, sept. 19, 10:30 a.m. and Concluding service and Break-the-fast, 5:30 p.m. Our High Holiday services are led by guest Cantorial soloist Jeff Taxman. For information on our historic synagogue, contact any of our board members: Scott Friedman, Rick Katelman, Carole Lainof, Marty Ricks, Sissy Silber, Nancy Wolf, or email email@example.com.
BeTH el synAgogue
Services conducted by Rabbi Steven Abraham and Hazzan Michael Krausman. frIdAy: Kabbalat Shabbat, 6 p.m. sATurdAy: Shabbat Morning Services, 9:30 a.m.; Shabbat Mincha following Morning Services. WeekdAy serVICes: Sundays, 9:30 a.m. & 5:30 p.m.; weekdays, 7 a.m. & 5:30 p.m. sundAy: Torah Study, 10 a.m. WednesdAy: Beth El Cine-gogue presents movie Blazing Saddles, noon; Chesed Committee visits Sterling Ridge, 2 p.m. Tisha B’Av Mincha, Ma’ariv & Havdalah, saturday, July 21, 8:45 p.m. Reading of Eicha following services. There will be a Seuduah (Food) between Mincha and Ma’ariv. Nebraska AIDS Coaltion Lunch, friday, July 27, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Joan Marcus serves lunch once a month at the Nebraska AIDS Project, and she needs baked goods for dessert. Contact Joan if you can help by donating baked goods.
BeTH IsrAel synAgogue
Services conducted by Rabbi Ari Dembitzer. frIdAy, rosh Chodesh Av: Shacharit, 6:45 a.m.; Candle Lighting, 8:39 p.m. sATurdAy: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Insights into the Weekly Torah Portion, 7:35 p.m.; Mincha/Seudah Shlishit, 8:20 p.m.; Havdalah, 9:47 p.m. sundAy: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Bagels and Beit Midrash, 10 a.m. mondAy: Shacharit, 7 a.m. TuesdAy: Shacharit, 7 a.m. WednesdAy: Shacharit, 7 a.m. THursdAy: Shacharit, 7 a.m.
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, rosh Chodesh Av: LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at TI; Erev Shabbat Service, 6:30 p.m. with music by Leslie Delserone and Peter Mullin; Oneg, 7:30 p.m. hosted by David Nachenberg; Candlelighting, 8:39 p.m. sATurdAy: Shabbat Morning Service, 9:30 a.m.; Torah Study on Parashat Matot-Masei, 10:45 a.m.; Havdalah (72 minutes), 10:09 p.m. sundAy: Adult Beginning Hebrew, 11:30 a.m.; Feeding the kids at the F Street Rec Center, 2:30 p.m. For more information, contact Aimee Hyten at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lupe Malcom at lupemalcom email@example.com; Jewish Book Club, 1:30 p.m. at Gere Library, 2400 S. 56th St. and will
discuss The Girl from Human Street by Roger Cohen; Dr. Mike Eppel speaks on the Rohingya refugees in Myanmar, 3 p.m. mondAy: LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at TI. TuesdAy: LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at TI; Star City Kochavim Rehearsal, 6:45 p.m. WednesdAy: LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at TI; Federation Board Meeting, 7:30 p.m. at TI. THursdAy: LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at TI; High Holidays Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m. Potluck Dinner and Game Night, saturday, July 21, 6 p.m. and Erev Tisha b’Av Reading of Eicha, 9:30 p.m. at TI.
offuTT AIr forCe BAse
frIdAy: Services, 7:30 p.m. every first and third of the month .
rose BlumkIn JeWIsH Home
sATurdAy: Services, 9:15 a.m. led by Marty Shukert. Services will be held in the Chapel. Members of the community are invited to attend.
frIdAy: Shabbat Comes to You at Remington Heights, 4 p.m.; Shabbat Service, 6 p.m.; TiYPE Shabbat (18+), 6 p.m. Join 18+ TiYPE for Temple Israel services followed by dinner at Pitch Pizza and dessert at eCreamery in Dundee! sATurdAy: Torah Study, 9:15 a.m.; Shabbat Service,
10:30 a.m. Haftarah reader: Miles Remer. TuesdAy: Board of Trustees Meeting, 7 p.m. Tisha B'av Service, saturday, July 21, 7 p.m. Please join us for a solemn service commemorating Tisha B’Av. Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning for the tragedies in Jewish history, the brokenness in the world today, and the pain and loss in our own lives. The mourning we do on Tisha B’Av also marks the start of the High Holiday season, as we begin our climb toward the light and promise of Rosh Hashanah. Holy Smokes, Tuesday, July 24, 7 p.m. Led by Rabbi Stoller, this men-only evening will feature cigars, beer, whiskey, and philosophical discussions of men’s issues and perspectives from Jewish texts. This event is free, though reservations are required. RSVP to Temple Israel, 402.556.6536, by friday, July 20.
Services conducted by lay leader Nancy Coren. Office hours: monday-friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. frIdAy: LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at TI; No Services sATurdAy: Shabbat Morning service, 10 a.m followed by a Kiddush luncheon. mondAy: LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at TI. TuesdAy: LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at TI. WednesdAy: LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at TI; Federation Board Meeting, 7:30 p.m. at TI. THursdAy: LJCS CAMP ISRAEL, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at TI.
Tisha B’Av at Temple Israel
CAssAndrA HICks WeIsenBurger Director of Communications, Temple Israel Coming just seven weeks before Rosh Hashanah, Tisha B’Av marks the beginning of the High Holiday season. Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, is a day of mourning for the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout history, as well as for the pain and brokenness in our own lives. Our spiritual journey of t’shuvah starts on Tisha B’Av, when we weep for our own brokenness and the pain we have sometimes caused others by our actions. Over the next seven weeks, our lamentation gives way to hope as we climb toward the light and the promise of Rosh Hashanah. Tisha B’Av, Judaism’s sacred time for mourning, is the first step on the path to renewal. Observing Tisha B’Av is new to Temple Israel. In Reform Judaism, this holiday is not often commemorated, but last year our clergy team chose to begin remembering this day with a solemn
and spiritually powerful service. “This day of communal mourning also becomes very personal for many of us who have recently lost someone dear to us. When death takes a loved one, we feel their absence daily. As we observe Tisha B’Av, we invite all those in our community who have lost someone dear to them to join us for our service and light a candle in their memory. Together, we will hear the names of those whom our community has lost and as we weep for them, we will also begin to feel the promise of hope that the High Holiday season brings us,” explained Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin. Please join us on Monday, July 31 at 7 p.m. as we mourn together for what has been, and pray together for what might be: that we may soon know redemption, wholeness, and peace. “Bayom ha-hu yihyeh Adonai echad ush’mo echad– on that day God will be one and God’s name will be one.”
Congressional candidate calls Israel ‘apartheid regime’
jta news staff A Somali-American congressional candidate running for the Democratic nomination in Minnesota called Israel “the apartheid Israeli regime.” Ilhan Omar’s tweet came in response to accusations that a tweet she wrote in 2012, accusing Israel of “evil doings,” amounts to anti-Semitism. In an interview with ABC News for a segment titled Progressive Democrats increasingly criticize Israel, and could reap political rewards, Omar rejected accusations of anti-Semitism by conservative critics. “These accusations are without merit,” the Minnesota state representative said. “They are rooted in bigotry toward a belief about what Muslims are stereotyped to believe.” Earlier she had tweeted a response to a critic who had accused her of anti-Semitism: “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews. You are a hateful sad man, I pray to Allah you get the help you need and find happiness.” She added, sarcastically: “Well you know, if a Muslim says something negative about Israeli government, they must hate Jews. Didn’t you get that memo.” Minnesota’s primary election is Aug. 14. Omar, who is among several Muslim women in
the U.S. running for Congress, wrote in a tweet in November 2012 that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel” The tweet came two days after the Israeli army began an operation in Gaza triggered by the launching of 100 rockets at Israel from the strip over a 24-hour period. Omar has neither apologized for nor retracted the tweet. She is running to succeed Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim elected to the Congress. Ellison is running for attorney general in Minnesota and is not seeking re-election. Omar has received some pushback on social media in recent weeks. A tweet from a Twitter user with the handle @shabbosgoy called her a “proud Jew hater” after she made a brief appearance in the music video of the pop group Maroon 5’s song Girls Like You. The ABC News segment noted the recent upset primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, calling her one of several progressives whose willingness to criticize Israel’s actions have paid off politically.
The Jewish Press | July 13, 2018 | 15
lifecycles in MeMoriaM
Bernie Altsuler passed away on June 15 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, at the age of 96. Services will be held at Temple Israel on July 24. He was preceeded in death by his wife Shirley of 55 years. He is survived by his sons and daughters-in-law, Jeffery and Mary, and Steve and Sandy; three grandsons; and six great-grandchildren, as well as many cousins, nephews, nieces and many caring friends and neighbors. He was born in Omaha in 1922, and lived here until age 89, when he moved to live with his son Steve and Sandy in Hot Springs, Arkansas, for the last seven years. He enjoyed many years as a private pilot and was a founding partner of West Side Supply Company. Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or to the oraganization of the donor's choice.
david a. jaCoBSon
David A. Jacobson passed away at home in Omaha on July 4 at age 70, surrounded by family. Services were held on July 8 at Temple Israel, 13111 Sterling Ridge Drive. He was preceded in death by his parents, Helen Jacobson Speier and Jack Jacobson. He is survived by his wife of 43 years Nancy; his four children: Justin, Ben (Natalie), Sara, and Rachel (Stephen Osberg); grandchildren: Zoii, Zane, and Cleo; brother Bob, and countless other relatives, friends, and colleagues. David worked at Kutak Rock for 41 years and was chairman of Kutak Rock LLP from1996 to 2017. During his tenure as chair, the firm grew from 230 lawyers in nine cities to more than 500 lawyers in 18 cities. He also oversaw the restoration of the firm’s iconic Omaha office, the Omaha Building, established as “Omaha’s first skyscraper” in 1888. In no small part thanks to David’s legacy of championing diversity and inclusion, Kutak Rock earns a perfect score on Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality index and is consistently recognized as a “Ceiling Smasher” for women, with the second highest percentage of women equity partners in the country for law firms over 300 lawyers. David was passionate about community service. He served on dozens of boards and committees, notably Partnership 4 Kids, the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the African American Achievement Council, and the UNO College of Community Service and Public Affairs Dean’s Advisory Council. He was the co-founder and a member, along with his wife Nancy, of the Omaha Black/Jewish dialogue. And, as the founding Chair of Film Streams’ board, David was instrumental in developing a nonprofit film center in Omaha. Thirteen years since the organization’s inception, it is now an established cultural institution, operating both its original venue, the Ruth Sokolof Theater, and the recently-restored 93-year old Dundee Theater. David was born and raised in Omaha, and received both his BA and JD from University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He was a proud Omaha Central High school graduate and was inducted into the Omaha Central Hall of Fame in 2014. Memorials may be made to Film Streams, Partnership 4 Kids, or the Central High School Foundation.
Merle Bernard potaSh
Merle Bernard Potash passed away July 6 at age 86 at the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home. Services were held July 9 at Beth El Synagogue with internment at Mount Sinai Cemetery. He was preceded in death by his parents, David and Ida (Dolgoff) Potash, brothers Larry Potash and Gordon Cherwitz, brother-in-law Jerry Wasserman.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ruth (Slavin) Potash, daughter and son-in-law, Janie and Allan Murow, daughter, Julie Potash and son and daughter-in-law, Alan Potash and Amy Nachman; grandchildren: Rebecca and Josh Klein, Daniel Murow and Charity Bolling, Aaron Murow, Ethan Potash, Adeev Potash and Ezra Potash; great-granddaughters: Ella and Sadie Klein; sister, Phyllis Wasserman and sister-in-law and brother-inlaw, Marilyn and Harvey Konigsberg and his loving nieces and nephews. Merle served in the Navy from 1951-1954. He was the recipient of several medals. Memorials may be made to Beth El Synagogue or the Jewish Federation of Omaha.
aliSon e. SloSBurg
Alison “Ali” E. Slosburg passed away on June 28 at age 24 after a battle with leukemia. Service were held on July 1 at Beth El, 14506 California St. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Eleanor Slosburg and Barbara and Eddie Gorelick. She is survived by her parents, Martha and David Slosburg; brothers and sisters, Joe, Libby, Kate and Max; grandfather, Stanley Slosburg; and many uncles, aunts and cousins. Ali was born and raised in Omaha, where she attended Westside High School. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she was a highly decorated athlete on the Women's Rowing team. She received a Masters in Anatomy at UNMC, and had completed her first year of medical school at UNMC, when she became ill. Memorials may be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or the American Red Cross Blood Bank.
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16 | The Jewish Press | July 13, 2018
This National Review columnist is defending the Spanish Inquisition Ben SALeS JTA
ere’s something no one expected: A reputable conservative magazine has published a column defending... the Spanish Inquisition. To be clear, this is not Monty Python. is is a column in the National Review. Here’s the headline: e Spanish Inquisition Was a Moderate Court by the Standard of Its Time. Moderate? We’ll run down some basic facts about this infamous, brutal, centuries-long persecution of the Jews below. But first, let’s read some of the takes from the column by Ed Condon, who was identified as a writer, editor and practicing canon lawyer. “[W]hile any reasonable person would find a lot not to like about the Spanish Inquisition,” writes Condon, in perhaps the understatement of the year, “[i]n fact, examined simply as a functioning court, the Spanish Inquisition was in many ways ahead of its time and a pioneer of many judicial practices we now take for granted. “Let’s start with the basic legal concept of an ‘inquisition.’ It just means a court of inquiry in which the judges take the lead in directing proceedings in the pursuit of truth, rather than a prosecution-driven adversarial system. Such courts continue to function in many secular jurisdictions today, and there is, frankly, nothing very sinister about it, though it appears alien to those of us raised on American courtroom dramas.” Condon goes on to claim that the Inquisition was “actually a reluctant creation of the Church.” To Condon, Tomas de Torquemada, Spain’s infamous Grand Inquisitor, was “a much more nuanced historical figure than the cartoonish portrayal of him suggests.” He calls the Inquisition’s use of torture — wait for it — “downright progressive.”
He also writes that “the jails of the Inquisition were universally known to be hygienic and well maintained.” Astonishingly, Condon says that the Inquisition was created to protect Spanish Jews, who were forced to convert to Christianity under threat of expulsion or death.
An illustration of a Spanish Jew before a Grand Inquisitor. Credit: Paul Hardy/Photo12/UIG via Getty Images “e pope hoped, perhaps naively, that by getting directly involved, the Church could bring the situation under control and end the frenzied religious denunciations,” Condon writes. He acknowledges that that idea didn’t quite go as planned, but blames the Spanish monarchy for “hijacking” the Inquisition. But then, he says, Torquemada brought it under control and set up a relatively fair justice system. He writes that the Inquisition courts were fairer than Spanish civil courts. at last point may very well be true, but... who cares? During the Inquisition, which wasn’t abolished until the early 19th century, hundreds of thousands were forced into exile, and thousands were converted under duress. Tens of thousands more were murdered. It was a reign of terror that persecuted people based on
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their religion and, significantly, their race. Even pious Catholics with Jewish roots were targeted. It struck fear into an entire population that was already forced into secrecy. “Once the identity of the accused individuals was established, they would be seized, thrust into inquisitional dungeons, interrogated (occasionally under torture), and sentenced to a variety of punishments, ranging from terms of penitential service to imprisonment or to ‘relaxation,’ that is, death,” Howard Sachar wrote in his book Farewell Espana: e World of the Sephardim Remembered. “us, even in its earliest phase, between 1479 and 1481, in a ferocious reign of terror, nearly four hundred individuals were burned at the stake for heresy in the city of Seville alone,” Sachar continued. “roughout Castilian Andalusia, some two thousand persons were burned alive, seventeen thousand others were ‘reconciled,’ that is, spared the death penalty but subjected to such punishments as imprisonment, confiscation of property, and debarment from all employment, public and private. eir wives and children faced destitution.” e Inquisitors were particularly vicious in their treatment of conversos, or converts who were suspected of practicing Judaism in secret. In all, some 30,000 conversos were burned at the stake. On Mallorca, 82 conversos were condemned in 1691. irty-four were publicly garroted and their bodies were burned in bonfires. Another three, including a rabbi, were burned alive. In 2011, Mallorca’s regional president oﬀered the country’s first formal apology for the Inquisition’s killing of Jews. Benzion Netanyahu, the late father of the Israeli prime minister and scholar of the Inquisition, did assert that King Ferdinand backed the Inquisition in part to prevent a wider, popular bloodbath. But Netanyahu also insisted that in its purveyors’ deadly pursuit of racial purity, the Inquisition was a precursor to the Holocaust.
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The entire community is invited to the opening reception, sunday, August 12, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the JCC Gallery. Made possible through the generous support of the Special Donor Advised Fund at the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation.