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this week

Israel’s favorite drag queen page 7


Scholarships Where your Campaign dollars go:

The 2015 Mega Teen Trip to Israel at Beth El Synagogue, Beth Israel Synagogue, Temple Israel and Friedel Jewish Academy. is subvention, which totaled over $70,000 for the 2016-2017

school year, is calculated based on the number of children enrolled and hours taught at each institution. See Scholarships page 3

ADL Educator Speaker Series: Read Hebrew America offered Keegan Korf at Beth Israel

One Ruth Gruber says goodbye to another page 12

inside Viewpoint Synagogues Life cycles

D ECEMBER 2 , 2 0 1 6 | 2 K ISL EV 5 7 7 7 | V O L . 9 7 | NO . 9 | c a ND lelI g H TI Ng | FRID AY , D ECEMBER 2 , 4 : 3 7 P. M.

OzzIe NOgg abbi Moshe Isserles (c. 1525 1572) - considered the Maimonides of Polish Jewry wrote that when one supports someone else who is studying Torah, “it is considered as if he had studied himself.” is support of learning is reflected by the scholarships allocated from Campaign dollars by the Jewish Federation of Omaha. “We’re proud to announce that in 2015-2016, we awarded 414 scholarships and subvention grants totaling $454,141,” said Nate Shapiro, JFO Director of Development. “A significant portion of this money comes from Annual Campaign contributions, while some of the money, especially for college scholarships, comes from the JFO Foundation and family endowments.” These scholarships and subventions take a variety of different forms, including: Religious School Subvention. To promote Jewish education for the youth in our community, JFO supplies financial assistance to religious school education

Don’t forget the Hanukkah Extravaganza! page 2



8 10 11

ScOTT KuRz Administrative Assistant, ADL Digital Citizenship Week, which was held October 16 to 22, was a week devoted to helping kids learn how to manage their online reputations, deal with issues such as cyberbullying and conduct themselves safely online. We invite you to learn ways to help educate youth and parents on how to think critically, behave safely and participate responsibly in today’s online world and some of the new technology options OPS is working to implement in schools. Thursday Dec. 8 from 7:30 to 9 a.m., we welcome Keegan Korf. As the Lead Teacher of Digital Citizenship for Omaha Public Schools in partnership with Common Sense Media, she works with educators to integrate digital citizenship lessons into their existing curriculum. She also serves as a community outreach liaison who provides education to parents and community members, teaching them how to have dialogue with children about digital media use.

Keegan Korf The ADL’s Educator Speakers Series is made possible through funding from the Omaha Schools Foundation. These events are open to the public at no cost. Each presentation topic focuses on an evolving issue in education as it relates to the mission of the ADL. Teachers, administrators and direct service providers are exposed to unique material and presenters and given the opportunity to have open dialog about the topics. The staff of the Plains States Region of the Anti-Defamation League is committed to addressing the issues of prejudice and discrimination that affect the people of Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. In order “to secure justice and fair treatment for all citizens,” the office provides numerous educational programs to the region, monitors and exposes racial and religious extremists, and advocates for the enforcement of hate crimes legislation.

MaRy Sue gROSSMaN Executive Director, Beth Israel Synagogue Beth Israel Synagogue is pleased to offer the nationwide program READ HEBREW AMERICA during a five week course beginning in December. Conceived and orchestrated by NJOP (National Jewish Outreach Program), the

course is expected to reach 12,000 affiliated and unaffiliated Jews in the United States and Canada. Led by Rabbi Shlomo Abramovich, the five week Hebrew Reading Crash Course will focus on teaching the Hebrew alphabet and basic reading skills to See Read Hebrew america page 2

2 | The Jewish Press | December 2, 2016


Read Hebrew America continued from page 1 Jews with little or no background in Hebrew. Classes will meet at Beth Israel Synagogue on Monday evenings, 7:30-8:30 p.m,. beginning Dec. 12. The course is open to the community, free of charge. “Twenty years of experience in teaching over 250,022 North American Jews to read Hebrew has taught us that for most unaffiliated Jews, Hebrew literacy is a crucial first step towards personal Jewish empowerment and enthusiastic communal involvement” commented Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald, Founder and Director of NJOP. “Without the ability to read Hebrew, many Jews feel alienated from religious services and shy away from involvement in Jewish ritual observances and traditions.” NJOP strongly believes that the mass outreach approach of READ HEBREW AMERICA AND CANADA has been proven to be an opportunity to touch, inspire and engage tens of thousands of seeking Jews, thus ensuring a flourishing and vibrant future for them as part of an enriched North American Jewish community. While no surveys or studies specifically report on the state of Hebrew literacy in North America, experts agree that, at an absolute minimum, 80% of all North Ameri-

jewish press notices

can Jews do not know how to read Hebrew. The READ HEBREW AMERICA AND CANADA program is based on NJOP’s popular and enjoyable Hebrew Reading Crash Course. Designed for Jews with little or no background in Hebrew, the program concentrates on teaching the Hebrew alphabet and basic reading skills. Follow up programs are available to those who are interested in further advancing their Hebrew reading and comprehension skills. To assure sufficient materials will be available for all participants, those interested are asked to register at or by calling the synagogue office at 402.556.6288. Please contact Rabbi Shlomo at Beth Israel with any questions. NJOP was established in 1987 by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald, and has become one of the world’s largest and most successful Jewish outreach organizations. NJOP has offered free programs at more than 4,965 locations across North America and in 41 countries worldwide. Through programs such as READ HEBREW AMERICA AND CANADA and SHABBAT ACROSS AMERICA AND CANADA, NJOP has as of June 2016 successfully reached more than 1,559,447 North American Jews, and engaged them in Jewish life.

The Jewish Press will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26 and Monday, jan. 2.There will be no Jewish Press on jan. 6, 2017. Questions? Call 402.334.6448.

Don’t forget the Hanukkah Extravaganza!

annette van De kaMp membership services, or at any of the three We hope you will join the Jewish Federa- synagogues and the Chabad House. tion of Omaha, the Jewish Community There is no cost to attend, and RSVPs are Center and Friedel not necessary. Jewish Academy During the celeduring the Kids’ bration, which Campaign comes with all the Hanukkah Extravbells and whistles, aganza. Mark the you might get date in your calenhungry. In that dar: Monday, case, you can purDec. 19, from 5 to chase latkes at 7 p.m., the front Friedel’s annual entrance of the latke sale, FJA Jewish CommuHead of School nity Center welBeth Cohen said. comes kids from “Kids’ meals are the entire commuonly $5 and inthe epstein Family nity to celebrate clude two latkes Hanukkah and Tzedakah. with applesauce and sour cream, two donut PJ Library is participating, and will proholes and a juice box,” she added. Adult vide Hanukkah story tellers in the Kripke meals will have three latkes; a bottle of Library. There will be dreidel games, crafts, water replaces the juice box. To-go orders a jumpy castle and balloon animals as well are $15 for ten latkes, applesauce and sour as face painting. cream included. Donuts are for sale as well. Crystal Epstein, who is one of the CoPre-orders are appreciated, and can be Chairs of the event, said: “Aryeh and I placed by contacting friedelacademy@ think it is really important to start talking by Dec. 14 at the latest. about giving with our kids at a young age. The 2017 Kids’ Campaign Chairs are It’s never too early to start. The JFO Kids Stephanie, Matthew, Shalom, Judah and Campaign makes it really easy to do that. Eliana Beneda; Crystal, Aryeh, Nina and And having a community event to bring it Josie Epstein; Lisa, Chuck, Makayla and all together at the end makes it really fun Kori Lucoff; Jamie, Troy, Ainsley, Aiden and special.” and Audrey Meyerson; Melissa, Matt, Part of that “something bigger” is, of Joshua, Evan and Lea Shapiro and Sonia, course, the Kids’ Campaign itself. If your Alan, Adria and Asher Tipp. child does not yet have the official Kids’ For more information, please email Louri Campaign 2017 Tzedakah box, you can Sullivan at or pick one up at the JCC front desk as well as contact any of the Kids’ Campaign Chairs.

‫אהבת ישראל‬

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The Jewish Press | December 2, 2016 | 3


Hornstein Scholarship awarded Linda PoLLard Endowment Assistant/Staff Writer, JFO Foundation he Bennett G. Hornstein Memorial Scholarship for aspiring or current law students has been awarded to Timothy Snyder for the 2016-2017 academic year. Timothy is a third year law student at Creighton University School of Law, where he is a member of the Creighton Law Review. He graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Art degree from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2012. Prior to attending Florida Gulf Coast University, Timothy attended and received an Associate of Liberal Arts degree at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida. Since May of this year, Timothy has served as a law clerk in the Douglas County Public Defender’s office. At the age of nine, Timothy joined a basketball league at a Timothy Snyder community recreation center. Lacking attention and guidance at home, Timothy was helped by his coaches and the parents of other players. He was encouraged and assisted with rides, meals and help finding a college basketball scholarship. Referring to the support he received from others, Timothy wrote on his application, “Through it all, each person always seemed to deliver the same message: give back to the community. For this reason, I plan to spend my career and personal life giving back to the community.” Throughout his formal education, Timothy has been involved in volunteer work. He has been a youth basketball coach in various programs since 2005. He has participated in a reading program at an elementary school, has served meals in a soup kitchen, and was in an Adopt-a-Road program, cleaning up a highway.


Continued from page 1 israel Experience Grants. Our community understands the deep, emotional connection between the Holy Land and Jewish tradition. Whether it be through our MegaTeen Mission, Birthright or the number of trips through national youth group organizations, JFO is dedicated to helping our community’s young people strengthen, first hand, their bond with Israel. PaSSPorT to israel. In addition to Israel Experience Grants, JFO helps parents support their children’s connection with Israel through the Passport to Israel program which provides an avenue for families to save for future trips to Israel for their kids. Participants are eligible for matching funds from the Jewish Federation of Omaha and the family’s Omaha synagogue. Currently, over 60 community members are taking advantage of this wonderful program. Youth Group Scholarships. JFO believes that participation in Jewish youth groups helps build Jewish identity. National conventions and retreats, as well as local events, promote networking among Omaha teens and teens across the country and the world. Youth groups foster cooperation, empower our youngsters, create future leaders and play a crucial role in ensuring Jewish continuity. Friedel Jewish academy. e Jewish Federation of Omaha is proud to share our campus with the Friedel Jewish Academy. e school’s low student-to-teacher ratio means the kids receive a superior educational experience which includes an integrated curriculum of general and Jewish studies, as well as Hebrew immersion classes. Education of this caliber can be expensive, and JFO provides scholarships to help ease the financial burden to families. “is year, as well as last year, Friedel leadership approached the Federation board for support,” said Jewish Federation of Omaha President Bruce Friedlander, “and the JFO board was happy to designate incremental dollars to assist with the school’s operations.” The Pennie Z. davis Child development Center. e CDC on the Jewish Community Center campus is one of the highest quality child care centers in the city. e Jewish Federation of Omaha is committed to helping parents

Timothy has used his background in literature studies and writing to great advantage. He has written shortstories and a novel. Two stories have been published. He was an editor and head writer for Web River Group in Tampa and was a writing tutor at Hillsborough Community College. The late Bennett Hornstein, assistant Douglas County public defender for 20 years, was a passionate advocate of the rights of those who could not afford a lawyer. After his battle with cancer and untimely death at the age of 46, his family established the Bennett G. Hornstein Endowment Fund in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation. This fund provides an annual scholarship for a law student who will carry on Hornstein’s commitment to working for those members of society whom no one else wants to help. The criteria for selection are those qualities that Hornstein exemplified: a high standard of academic achievement, an adventurous spirit and a desire to take on an active role in service to the community. Applicants must also be attending law school at the University of Nebraska or Creighton University. The scholarship selection committee is headed by Hornstein’s son, Joe, of Denver, Colorado, and includes Hornstein’s daughter, Jill Goldstein, attorney at Kutak Rock, as well as other attorneys from the Omaha area. “We have awarded $33,000 in scholarship funds to aspiring law students since the endowment was established in 2006,” according to Joe Hornstein. “Timothy Snyder exemplifies the qualifications we always look for in our recipients. He displays a high standard of academic excellence, an adventurous spirit and a desire to take an active role in making a difference in the community.” For more information about the annual Bennett G. Hornstein Memorial Scholarship, please visit Scholarship applications are accepted each year, per instructions on the website. The Foundation welcomes donations to the Bennett G. Hornstein Endowment Fund in support of the scholarship. Donations may be made via the Foundation’s website,, or by mail to: Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation, 333 S. 132nd Street, Omaha, NE 68154. For more information, call the Foundation at 402.334.6551.

send their children to the this premier institution by providing needs-based financial assistance. residential Camp. For many of our young community members, going to overnight camp is the highlight of their year. Summer camp is a chance for children and teens to take a break from technology, and gives kids time to discover themselves while interacting with their Jewish peers. In addition to scholarships, funding is also available through the recently expanded Jewish Experience Grant program. Jewish Community Center Summer Camp. Needs based scholarships are available for Jewish children who want to attend the day camp provided during the summer months by the Omaha JCC. College Scholarships and Loans. The Omaha Jewish community supports our teens pursuing higher education. The Foundation has numerous scholarship funds available for college-bound, vocational and technical students. As college expenses continue to rise, this particular category of scholarship becomes increasingly important. “Your gis to the Annual Campaign make a profound impact,” Shapiro said. “Because of you we are able to invest in our youth through scholarships for Jewish education, Jewish camps and trips to Israel. A thank you letter we received last year from a college grad read, in part, “While attending commencement, I began thinking about my past four years and the wonderful opportunity you granted me -- the chance to experience all that I have accomplished with a bit less stress of tuition bills. I cannot put into words how thankful I am. is diploma is as much yours as it is mine.” All Jewish Federation of Omaha scholarships are awarded to recipients with the highest degree of confidentiality. Scholarships and grants are currently being administered through the office of Alan Potash, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Omaha. Feel free to contact Alan or his assistant, Diane Stamp with any questions at either 402.334.6574/ or 402.334.6407/ Additional information and applications are available on the Jewish Federation of Omaha website –

The Torah is a tree of life to those who support it. That is, the Torah not only gives life to those who study it, but also to those who support those who study it. from a Midrash

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Celebrate with Chinese Food and a Movie at Temple Israel



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scoTT LiTTky Program Director, Temple Israel We all know the answer to the question: What are we doing on Dec. 25th? We’re eating Chinese food and going to a movie. During her confirmation hearings, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was asked by Senator Lindsey Graham where she had spent the previous Christmas. She answered to the laughter of all in attendance, “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.” With this in mind, Temple Israel is pleased to announce our Second Annual Chinese Food & a Movie at Temple Israel to be held on Sunday, Dec. 25 at 6 p.m. The dinner will be a catered Chinese food dinner and will include two appetizers, five entrees, fried rice and white rice. The cost is $8 for those who are 13 years of age and older. It is free for those under 13 years of age. While planning the evening, Dennis DePorte, Executive Director said, “what

better way to have our Temple Israel family be together on Dec. 25, celebrating friendship and eating good Chinese food and watching a movie!” For our movie this year we will be showing the 2015 release, Spare Parts, starting George Lopez and Jamie Lee Curtis. The movie is rated PG-13. The movie Spare Parts, “is about four Hispanic high school students who form a robotics club under the leadership of their school’s newest teacher, Fredi. With no experience, 800 bucks, used car parts and a dream, this rag tag team goes up against the country’s reigning robotics champion, MIT. On their journey, they learn not only how to build a robot -- they learn to build a bond that will last a lifetime.” To RSVP for the evening, please call Temple Israel at 402.556.6536. RSVPs are due by Friday, Dec. 23. For more information, please contact Scott Littky, Program Director at Temple Israel.

JCC announces new classes

We are excited to announce that with the abundance of interest in the Teens N Strength Training Class, the JCC will be opening another time slot to accommodate this. If you would be interested, we are opening up the Tuesday/Thursday at 5 p.m. time slot or a Wednesday/Friday at 4 p.m. time slot. These classes will be starting a week after the original Teens N Strength Training Date. These classes will start on Dec. 6 and Dec. 7. Please call Member Services to register. If you have specific questions about programming, please call Steve at 402.334.6423 or Breann at 402.334.6580.

ADL: Remarks by Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem distort Judaism and deepen divisions within the Jewish people

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The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned remarks made by Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. In an interview with Israel Hayom, Rabbi Amar called the LGBT community a “cult of abomination” and also called members of the Reform movement “evil,” referring to the activity of the Reform movement as “incitement.” “The remarks made by Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Amar about the LGBT community and Reform Jews distort the core values of Judaism, a religion whose ‘ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace,’ which believes that every person was created in image of God,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, and Carole

Nuriel, Director of ADL’s Israel Office. “The position of Rabbi of Jerusalem carries with it the responsibility of representing the general public, including those who differ from his views. “When the Chief Rabbi of the holiest city to Jews utters such remarks, it is both painful and distressing,” Greenblatt and Nuriel added. “It stigmatizes and excludes the LGBT community and deepens divisions among millions of Jews around the world.” The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

Get help with your technical issues Adam Trubnikov identifies himself as a solution engineer. In his high school years, he made RubeGoldberg devices. In college, he traversed the audio console connections to remix well-known video game music. In the real world, Adam applies his well-rounded technical and social knowledge to help people and small businesses around him. The habit of this evolving entrepreneur is to learn. It is this ambition that makes him the reputable computer expert he is today. See his other ad on page 3! Born in New York City, NY and growing up in Brooklyn, Adam attended a Yeshiva in Manhattan. At the age of eight, his parents Alexander Trubnikov and

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Israel Experience

The Jewish Press | December 2, 2016 | 5

community Temple Israel holds Annual Camp Fair

hAnnAh GoodmAn On my way to Israel, I really didn’t know what to expect, but I honestly didn’t think it would resonate with me as much as it did. Stepping out of the airport and seeing people speak in Hebrew and wear yarmulkas, I felt like a majority. I finally get what it means when we call Israel the Jewish Homeland, and seeing the Western Wall in person made me fully understand why we face it when we pray. A couple in Jerusalem even told us “Welcome Home.” Our tour guide, Asaf, really did a good job of making us understand the meaning of Israel to the Jewish people. I am so grateful for all I’ve learned over these past ten days. I feel like the three synagogues in Omaha have also really tightened as a community. I can honestly say I eventually felt closer with some of the people on this ten day trip than I had with people at camp for 1 month. It was amazing to meeting Lior, the teenager from my host family. She seemed so happy to talk to us and practice her English. She also really wants to visit me one day. I met some more really inspirational people as well. A woman created a replica of a house she had in Ethiopia when she was young. She also told us a story of how she traveled miles and miles to journey to the land of Israel, her mother dying along the way. It just made me realize how much this small land means to so many people. Honestly, this was a great trip I will never forget.



speaker to be announced for Wednesday, dec. 7, noon. For more information or to be placed on the email list call 402.334.6443 or

sCoTT lITTky Program Director, Temple Israel students in Temple Israel’s sunday Religious school program enjoyed a morning of fun at our annual Camp Fair. Camp directors and staff from Jewish camps in our region shared information of the amazing summer experiences that Jewish children can have each summer.


B’nai Israel Speaker Series

nAnCy WolF numerous Holocaust workshops, traveled to many Holocaust sites, and is an oin your friends at B’nai Isalumna of the Belfer National Conferrael Synagogue in Council ence of the United States Holocaust MuBluffs for the next Shabbat seum, “Bearing Witness”, and “Bearing speaker program on Dec. 9, Witness - Advanced” with the Antiat 7:30 p.m., as we welcome Defamation League. Donna Walter, Education Coordinator for the Institute for Holocaust EducaDonna will share reflections of her journey with Holocaust education. She tion (IHE). Donna will share reflections will touch on her early experiences atwith her presentation My Journey with tending IHE programming as a teacher, Holocaust Education. and incorporating some of that in her Donna joined the staff of the Institute classroom teaching, becoming involved for Holocaust Education in 2012. In adwith Project Interfaith, attending “Beardition, she serves as Coordinator for the ing Witness”, and experiencing the JewNebraska Holocaust Education Consorish community of Omaha while getting tium. She had worked as an 8th grade to really know our survivors. “My jourLanguage Arts teacher and Language ney has been eye-opening, heartwarmArts coordinator at ST. Pius X/St. Leo in ing and a blessing”, Donna explains. Omaha, and was the recipient of the donna Walter The service leader will be Larry Blass, 2012 National Catholic Educational Asand a delicious oneg will follow. sociation Distinguished Teacher Award. She has attended

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6 | The Jewish Press | December 2, 2016

community BBYO update

ELijah Marburg There are some very exciting upcoming events for Omaha BBYO! Mother Chapter AZA #1 will be holding a fundraiser with the Bagel Bin (1215 S 119th St). From Dec. 9-11, present this article or one of many fliers to the Bagel Bin, and 18% of your order will go to Mother Chapter. Yes, you can help give Jewish teens in Omaha the opportunity to have meaningful Jewish experiences and form lifelong friendships simply by enjoying a bagel at this community favorite restaurant! Fliers can be found at any Jewish institution in Omaha, along with many local Jewish-owned businesses. Additionally, promotions for this fundraising event can be found on social media, at one of the Omaha BBYO Twitter accounts. Some of these include @Mamas AZA1, @OmahaAlephGodol, @OmahaAlephMazkir, and @OmahaBBYO. Show one of these tweets, or a flier, or this column to your cashier at the Bagel Bin between Friday Dec. 9 and Sunday Dec. 11, and 18% of the proceeds will benefit Mother Chapter. We invite you to enjoy Omaha’s finest bagels while supporting the Jewish youth community. Additionally, the Omaha BBYO council will host Mid America Region’s Winter Regional Convention from Dec. 27-30. Keep up with convention news with #MARWRC 2k16 on Twitter, and stay tuned for further updates in the Jewish Press.

Panel discussion at Friedel Jewish Academy

Friedel Jewish Academy invites all adults in the community to attend a panel discussion on Sunday, Dec. 4, from 7 until 8 p.m. about innovation and the use of technology in education to help all types of learners thrive. First, Dr. Phyllis Adcock of UNO's College of Education will discuss multiple intelligences and the different ways in which children learn. Next, teachers Denise Bennett and Paul Maudlin will guide participants through hands-on demonstrations of innovative techniques with which they engage students, both analog, such as ways of getting kids out of their seats while learning, and digital, such as through the use of interactive SMART Boards. Finally, Jessica Johnson from Do Space will talk about how parents can engage their children in learning using resources that Do Space makes available to the public. This evening is ideal for parents, grandparents, educators, or anyone wishing to find out more about how innovation and technology enhance learning. Light refreshments will be served, and babysitting is available for those who RSVP to Friedel Jewish Academy is located at 335 South 132nd Street.

Visit us at

Israel’s favorite drag queen is this former yeshiva boy

learning, he put on women’s clothes for the first time for a Purim party. anDrEw Tobin TEL AVIV | JTA He also said he started dragging his friends to gay clubs as a lark, though o become Suzi Boum, it takes Lior Yisraelov about an hour. he knew it was something else. It’s a routine Yisraelov has nailed down: First he shaves, “When I started realizing I was gay, I was sitting every day and learning then he applies layers of makeup. Next, fake eyelashes, and Torah, Talmud, Gemara and Mishnah. And you learn this is one of the most finally the blond wig, the glittering clothes and the over-the- prohibited things in Judaism. So you look up at the sky and you ask God: top accessories. Why did you make me something you Over the years, Suzi Boum’s look don’t want me to be?” Yisraelov said. has stayed more or less the same. But “You can’t talk to your rabbi or Yisraelov, 33, has undergone several your family,” he added. “But when transformations -- from a yeshiva boy you pray to God, there’s no answer.” to an openly gay Arabic teacher to IsAfter finishing a yearlong pre-army rael’s most in-demand drag queen. preparatory program in northern IsAnd, to varying degrees, his Orrael -- where he performed in drag thodox Jewish family and his counfor the first time at a New Year’s Eve try have changed along with him. party at a local bar -- Yisraelov moved “Each time I came out with anback home and continued doing the other revelation, my family eventuthings expected of a young religious ally accepted it, even if they weren’t Zionist man. He fulfilled his mandahappy about it,” he said while doing tory army service, commuting to milhis makeup at his Tel Aviv apartment itary headquarters in central Tel Aviv on Thursday night. “And Israel has Lior Yisraelov displaying both sides of his character. to work in intelligence as an Arabic Credit: Katya Borodin translator for three years. Then he made me famous.” Yisraelov was getting ready to perform at a bachelorette party. Fresh earned degrees in Arabic and communications from Bar-Ilan University. out of the shower and clean-shaven, he looked boyish and lanky, wearing He graduated in 2011 and went to work as an Arabic teacher at a secular only athletic shorts. But as he caked on makeup, Suzi Boum began to middle school in suburban Tel Aviv. He also gradually moved away from emerge. With the addition of the wig and a sequined dress, she was com- Jewish observance. At the same time, he was slipping out of his parents’ plete -- and she promptly headed out the door to work. apartment at night to dance and hook up under the neon lights of this city’s At the party, Suzi Boum burst into a roomful of tipsy women, who burgeoning gay scene. screamed with delight. She transitioned seamlessly into a lip-sync performance Yisraelov had an experienced guide: His oldest sister was transgender of an Israeli engagement song, then moved to roasting the bride-to-be (“So and changed her name from Erez to Arizona. A former drag performer heryou’re a psychology major. Where do you want to be a waitress after you self, she bequeathed the name Suzi Boum to her younger brother when graduate?”). She wrapped up with a slightly raunchy quiz game (“What is she retired from the craft in 2008. the wildest place your boyfriend says you’ve had sex? Wrong. Take a shot!”). Arizona, now 39, went on to become the first transgender woman to Liran Adani, 32, a video producer at a marketing company in Tel Aviv, marry a man under a huppah in Israel. Yisraelov’s other two sisters married saw Suzi Boum perform at her cousin’s bachelorette party last month. and started haredi Orthodox families. Though her recollections were hazy -- she blames a day of drinking in a About a year after creating his version of Suzi Boum, when he was 26, hotel suite -- she said the act was definitely a hit. Yisraelov met his partner, Yuval Shimron, who quickly convinced him to “All the girls loved her,” Adani said. “It’s fun to see that a man likes to move in with him. Shimron, now a 32-year-old computer engineer, later be a woman, and it makes him feel confident and happy and sexy. I inter- began joining Yisraelov in drag performances, which he still does sometimes. pret it as: Embrace your feminine beauty. You’re beautiful; flaunt it.” Several months into their relationship, Yisraelov went to his parents’ Yisraelov said he makes an effort to be a “nice drag queen.” Because of home for Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. An hour before the his background, he said he has a special ability to make Orthodox people start of the fast, years of hiding his gay life from his parents suddenly ended comfortable. On a 2014 reality show, he managed to turn a skeptical Or- when his father confronted him about rumors he had heard: Was his son thodox contestant, who initially would not shake his hand, into an enthu- really living a gay lifestyle? Yisraelov confirmed he was. The family, which siastic drag performer. did not want to be interviewed for this article, was devastated. “He was a little too into it, actually,” Yisraelov said, laughing. “His wife “My mother cried. She asked, ‘Why do I deserve this? What did I do? was begging me to change him back.” What didn’t I do? Where did I go wrong?’” Yisraelov recalled. Bachelorette parties may be Yisraelov’s bread and butter, but he does His dad, he said with a sad smile, “fasted for a week instead of a day.” all sorts of events, from bar mitzvahs to company parties to city events, Despite their disappointment, his parents did not reject him. And on anincluding the massive Tel Aviv Pride Parade. For the last several years, Suzi other visit months later, Yisraelov dropped the final bombshell: He was a Boum has made appearances on a variety of TV shows. professional drag queen. “I would say he’s the most successful drag queen in Israel,” said Dekel “I always say I came out three times: as secular, as gay and as a drag Lazimi, 28, a filmmaker who is making an online video series about his queen,” he said. “And I understood why it was hard for them each time. friends in Tel Aviv’s drag scene. “Lior is the only one that has really broken But I figured if they could get over the fact that I was gay, they could get out of the gay scene and into TV and stuff.” over the fact that I wear dresses.” Yisraelov grew up in a religious Zionist community in south Tel Aviv, a “Everyone was worried I was going to become a woman, like Arizona, 20-minute bus ride from where he lives now, though it can seem like a world because that was the path she took. But on that, at least, I was able to away. He was the youngest of four children in a Bukharan Jewish family. assure them: no way.” During his final year of high school, after more than a decade of yeshiva See israel’s favotite drag queen page 7

The Jewish Press | December 2, 2016 | 7

Hanukkah in Lincoln

nancy coren Tifereth Israel will be holding its annual Hanukkah Latke Party on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 25, at 4 p.m. in its social hall. The best latkes in town (plain and tarragon) will be prepared by men who enjoy taking over the kitchen for this event. The meal will follow TI HaS TaLenT 4, a variety show featuring the talents of congregants of all ages. This annual celebration is open to members, their families, and friends as well as individuals who would like to become better acquainted with Tifereth Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s many fine offerings. candles will be lit for the 2nd night of Hanukkah with those in attendance!

Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite drag queen continued from page 6 Yisraelov explained that Suzi Boum is just a character -- at first he wanted to be an actor, and the character helped him overcome his shyness. Now, he said, she allows him to perform for a living. Yisraelov started doing bachelorette parties at the suggestion of a friend. He quickly found he preferred them to gay events -- there was more interaction and acting. Plus, the straight world was a relatively untapped market and the money was better. Sensing a business opportunity, Yisraelov got serious about developing the Suzi Boum brand. He perfected his makeup technique, including the all-important illusion of cleavage, by watching YouTube videos. He honed her performance by looking to divas like Beyonce and RuPaul. A few years later, Yisraelov put his communications degree to use: He built a website to attract clients and sell Suzi Boum merchandise, and created YouTube, Facebook and Instagram pages. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when the media began to take notice and he quit teaching. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He marketed himself to the straight world, which no one else had really done,â&#x20AC;? said Lazimi, the filmmaker. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The market was empty five years ago, and he went in and killed it. Others are trying to follow him now.â&#x20AC;? Suzi Boum is part of the LGBT communityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s growing visibility in Israeli popular culture. Assi Azar, a vocal advocate for gay rights, is a beloved TV and radio host, and Amir Ohana, a Knesset member for the ruling right-wing Likud party, is one of two openly gay Israeli lawmakers. Experts say such figures have contributed in recent years

to greater LGBT acceptance. Still, Israel remains a relatively conservative society. Forty-three percent of Israelis deem homosexuality unacceptable, and 22 percent would not want to live next door to a homosexual, according to respected surveys. Negative attitudes toward homosexuals are most concentrated in Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Orthodox communities, as well as among Arabs. On Thursday, as Yisraelov put on makeup, news broke that the chief rabbi of Jerusalem and former chief rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar, had called members of the LGBT community a â&#x20AC;&#x153;cult of abominationâ&#x20AC;? and said Jewish law called for them to be put to death. In Yisraelovâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s religious Zionist community -- which practices an Israeli brand of modern Orthodoxy and participates in the mainstream culture -- attitudes have softened. Ahead of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jerusalem Pride March, leading religious Zionist rabbis spoke out against homosexuals, with one calling them â&#x20AC;&#x153;deviants.â&#x20AC;? But community leaders, including Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Rabbi Benny Lau, condemned the remarks. Yisraelovâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family, too, has come a long way. He thinks seeing him succeed has helped. These days, he can stop by their apartment after a drag show, still in costume, and have Shabbat dinner. He even performed for his mother and her friends on her 60th birthday. Shimron, Yisraelovâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s partner, who once was banned, is now welcome. Then again, new pressures are emerging. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My mom is starting to ask when there will be children,â&#x20AC;? Yisraelov said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I tell her to be patient.â&#x20AC;?



8 | The Jewish Press | December 2, 2016

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More than one type of arson

annette van de kamp-WrIght Editor of the Jewish Press t is not that surprising that the story about the fires in Israel went largely under the radar in America. Haaretz doesn’t run stories about California wildfires on the front page either, and here in the US we’ve been a little distracted. Add to that the death of Fidel Castro, and a simple fire on the other side of the world doesn’t have a chance. Especially if there are no casualties. Cynical? Maybe, but the truth often is. Still, it is a shame it got so little attention. The story, in and of itself, perfectly illustrates the complexities of Israeli life. From the challenges of dealing with these fires in a hot and dry climate, the telling list of countries who offered assistance, the trending “IsraelIsBurning” hash tags to the cooperation of Israeli and Palestinian leadership and the working side-by-side of their fire departments, there are a lot of things to talk about. According to Israeli police, a total of 90 [some reports said 110, ed.] fires raged across the country; it is estimated that 30 % were due to arson. According to Times of Israel, “Police said that they have questioned some 50 people in connection with the fires and arrested 24. Eighteen of those arrested are Israeli Arabs, Channel 2 reported. Two of those, from the Israeli Arab towns of Umm al-Fahm and Deir Hanna in northern Israel, admitted to arson. Five people were arrested on suspicion of inciting on social media and 45 were questioned on suspicion of starting fires.” By Thursday of last week, the fires reached the city of Haifa and some 60,000 residents had to evacuate. Help came from far and wide: Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, France, the United States, Spain, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Great Britain, Croatia, and Russia all sent planes, trucks and manpower. And yes, in spite of the reported on-

line gloating on Twitter, the Palestinian Authority sent help as well. It’s an interesting turn in the story, if one is willing to see it. Those tweets that started popping up in the Arab world included such gems as “From the reports, it seems that some of our Arab brothers in occupied Palestine are behind the wave of fires. If this is indeed the situation, we support

the heroes who did this and call on them to continue and on others to join the arson intifada.” The tweets were accompanied by false media reports about Jewish residents leaving their children behind in the fire and authorities assisting only Jewish residents while leaving Arab residents to fend for themselves. Netanyahu’s spokesman for Arab media, Ofir Gendelman, called the posts examples of “despicable fanatic hatred.” Minister of Education Naftali Bennett suggested that those who rejoiced online could never claim Israel as their homeland, since they obviously didn’t love it. Thing was, most of those tweets were not spread by Palestinians at home, they

came from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and various other Arab states. Still, the story could have landed there, in familiar territory, with Jews and Arabs fighting a proxy conflict on social media. But then a new story popped up on Sunday. Palestinian firefighters arrive to help put out flames in Israel, one headline read. And: PA firefighters return home after battling blazes in Israel. Now that is a story worth telling, especially with all the thanking back and forth between the Knesset and the Palestinian authority, right? It’s positive, it’s focused on seeing the good that comes out of a bad situation. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog stated, “from this tragedy, there is a glimmer of hope that things can be different.” He also said that the cooperation was “proof that there are those interested in suppressing terrorism, who have a true desire for cooperation and coexistence in the region.” ( Palestinian firefighters praised the cooperation; Jews opened their homes to Arabs and vice versa. Good feelings all around. Not so fast. While in Israel, there was relief that the worst was over, Newsweek ran this headline: As Israel Implies Arabs Responsible for Wildfires, Palestinian Firefighters Deploy To Help. Read it again. What is the staff at Newsweek trying to accomplish with a headline like that? Are they insinuating Israel doesn’t deserve help, since certain Arab Israelis have been arrested? Does it matter that they confessed? Who is implying what, exactly? And why am I surprised? What may be the most aggravating thing about this entire complex story is how much work it is to get anywhere near the truth. Most people don’t obsessively check their Israeli media feed, and for some, that Newsweek headline may be all they ever see. It’s frustrating, and it’s tiresome, and it is the perfect example of what we are up against. There is more than one type of arson, and some are harder to fight than others.

Why a rabbi under the chuppah may boost Jewish engagement in intermarried homes Leonard Saxe and Fern Chertok WALTHAM, MA | JTA At a summit meeting held last week at the National Museum of American Jewish History, several hundred communal professionals, rabbis, scholars, philanthropists and young intermarried couples gathered to discuss engagement of interfaith families in Jewish life. There is widespread communal agreement that intermarriage has reshaped the landscape of American Jewish life, but a lack of consensus regarding how best to respond to this development. At the forefront of the controversy has been rabbinic officiation at intermarriage ceremonies. For some, the debate over whether a rabbi or cantor should conduct an interfaith wedding hinges on theological questions. But for many the debate is also about the impact that rabbinic officiation might have on the Jewish character of the homes and families these couples create. Contrary to the long-held assumption that choosing a Jewish officiant is a symbolic, not a substantive act, we now have strong evidence of the association between rabbinic officiation at intermarriages and the couples’ subsequent involvement in Jewish life. Our new report, Under the Chuppah: Rabbinic Officiation and Intermarriage, explores the trajectories of Jewish engagement of a large group of young adult Jews married to Jewish and nonJewish spouses. As part of a long-term follow-up study of 2001-2009 applicants to Birthright Israel, we surveyed 1,200 married young adults. We explored differences among three groups of couples: inmarried couples, intermarried couples who had a sole Jewish clergy officiant (i.e., no non-Jewish co-officiant) and intermarried couples who married under other auspices such as a

justice of the peace, friend or family member. The data are unequivocal that intermarried couples whose weddings were officiated by Jewish clergy as the only officiant are more highly engaged in Jewish life than other intermarried couples.

Intermarried couples whose weddings were officiated by Jewish clergy as the only officiant are more highly engaged in Jewish life than other intermarried couples, a new study has found. Credit: Ashley Novack Among the intermarried couples married by a rabbi or cantor, the overwhelming majority (85 percent) of those who now have children reported that the religion in which their children are being raised is Judaism. This is in stark contrast to the intermarried couples who did not have a sole Jewish officiant, of whom 23 percent are raising their children Jewish. Consistent with these findings, one-third of intermarried couples who had a rabbi or cantor as sole officiant are synagogue members. This number is more than four times higher than the rate for intermarried couples married by another type of officiant. These differences persist even when the gender, Jewish background and college

Jewish experiences of the Jewish spouse are taken into account. On the two measures that have been at the heart of the controversy about Jewish officiation at intermarriages -- synagogue membership and raising children Jewish -- intermarried couples with sole Jewish clergy officiation are not very different from inmarried couples (that is, Jews who marry Jews). The rates of synagogue membership are 34 percent for the former vs. 41 percent for the latter, and for raising children Jewish 85 percent vs. 94 percent. Sole Jewish officiation at intermarriages does not, however, fully level the playing field between intermarried couples with a sole Jewish officiant and inmarried couples on all measures of Jewish engagement. For example, intermarried couples who had sole Jewish officiation are somewhat less likely to have a special meal on Shabbat. Our study does not provide a full explanation of the reasons for the differences between intermarried couples with a sole Jewish officiant and other intermarried couples. In part, the decision to have a Jewish officiant likely reflects a continuation of the already existing Jewish trajectory of these couples. But it may also be that the involvement of Jewish clergy has an independent impact on the lives of intermarried couples. Interactions with Jewish clergy in preparation for the wedding may serve to welcome the non-Jewish partner into Judaism, establish the groundwork for a continuing relationship and affirm the couple’s prior decision to raise a Jewish family. Conversely, rejection by clergy, even with a referral to another rabbi, may have a negative effect. Rabbinic officiation at intermarriage is a relatively new phenomenon, and we are only now See Intermarried homes page 9

The Jewish Press | December 2, 2016 | 9

Home Technology Tutor

a shabbat to have the ‘conversation’ about end-of-life issues ROseMaRY LLOYD CAMBRIDGE, MA | JTA Talking about death makes some people uncomfortable. Of course, we think we should talk about it. Ninety percent of Americans surveyed said it’s really important that we talk with our loved ones about our wishes for the kind of care we would like at end of life. Yet fewer than 30 percent of us have actually had these conversations. There remains a yawning gap at the end of life between what we hope for ourselves and our loved ones, and the reality of what is happening. What’s the gap? Well, 70 percent of us hope for the deathbed scenario that may be familiar to your imagination: at home, pain-free and peaceful, surrounded by loved ones. But in reality, 70 percent of us are dying in hospitals and nursing homes, many after spending 10 days in an ICU undergoing invasive, sometimes painful, often expensive and futile interventions. Interventions that many may have chosen to forego if they had had meaningful conversations with their loved ones and health care providers along the way about their wishes. Unfortunately, too many of us wait until it’s too late because we think it is too soon to bring up the topic. But when we delay, we risk leaving our loved ones in the dark to make decisions for us that they feel ill equipped to make. I’ve heard people say that they just wish they had had their mother’s or their father’s voice in their heads, saying what mattered most, so they could ground their answers to urgent questions from doctors in the Intensive Care Unit about “What should we do now?” What is in our way? Is our fear really so great? Do inherited superstitions hold so much sway? I have heard otherwise rational people confess to thinking that if we talk about dying, it might happen sooner. Others say it just feels weird or that it is awkward to bring it up with your closest friends and family. There are, no doubt, barriers to having conversations about the possibility that we may not always be in control. That is why I am grateful that congregations across America are taking up The Conversation Project on the invitation to teach and preach about the importance of talking about our wishes for end-of-life care during our faith engagement campaign, Conversation Sabbath, Nov. 11-20. At Conversation Sabbath, people gather to celebrate and worship in churches and synagogues and temples — with a twist: This time they courageously welcome encouragement from their spiritual leaders and support from one another to reflect on what matters most at the end of life. Using the "power of the pulpit,” clergy are uniquely positioned to change our cultural aversion to talking about the reality of our mortality. They will ground their messages in

‘No locks, yes lox’

JTA New York City’s Department of Transportation does not want you leaving locks on the Brooklyn Bridge. But eating a big bagel with lox and cream cheese? That is strongly encouraged.This isn’t the first time that officials showed a little chutzpah in picking Brooklyn street signs. In 2000, Borough President Marty Markowitz had the DOT install a sign on the outbound Williamsburg Bridge reading “Leaving Brooklyn. Oy Vey!”

scripture and stories, ethics and anecdotes to encourage having crucial conversations about wishes for end-of-life care away from a hospital and in familiar settings like their congregations. Talking about our wishes matters, and it can start being a normalized conversation when we begin talking around our tables and not waiting until there is a medical crisis. At the Conversation Project, we don’t think it’s a morbid conversation. If you ever saw our team working together, you might be surprised by the laughter, by the joy we find in our work. We see the lifeaffirming effect these crucial conversations are having on all the people in a circle of care. When we start talking about what might matter most to us at the end of life, we are sharing more than our thoughts and concerns about medical treatments. We are sharing who we are, who and what we love, what we value about living, and what legacy Credit: Pixabay we hope to leave our loved ones and our communities. I’m not saying it’s never sad. No amount of talking will take away the sadness of losing a beloved. However, if our loved ones know of our wishes, they can spend our last days savoring how we have lived, not worrying about how they think we would want to die. Talking together, cultivating a subtle day-to-day awareness of our mortality, is a deeply spiritual practice. It’s a practice that nourishes a sense of awe and joy and gratitude for this one, unique, amazing life we have been given. There is no cure for mortality. But there is the possibility that our aging and our dying can be blessed with a kind of healing wholeness when we restore these human events to their place in the sacred cycle of life. We need courage and compassion to contemplate this mortal existence if we are to extract the blessings available in the intimate and essential conversations we need to be starting in the comfort of our homes and houses of worship. The gift of accepting finitude, should we be willing to unpack it from the bubble wrap of avoidance and fear, is one that will give us more life right now. It allows us to leave this life not merely having visited this world, but having lived fully by having the best day possible each day. In the face of being mortal, let us bless one another with the gift of compassionate conversations. Through this gift, we leave a legacy that will be a blessing for generations. The Rev. Rosemary Lloyd, BSN, MDiv, a former nurse and Unitarian Universalist minister, is the director and adviser to faith communities for The Conversation Project Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Intermarried homes

Continued from page 8 beginning to see its effects. What does seem apparent from our research is that most couples who engaged rabbis for officiation purposes appear to have Jewish commitments that carry over past the wedding ceremony. Marshall McLuhan famously cautioned, “We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror.” In contrast to demographic studies which, while valuable, tell us more about the past than the future, our socio-psychological studies of intermarried young couples shed light not only on the lived experiences of contemporary Jews, but also provide critical data for thinking about the future. We would like to think that our research, rather than viewing Jewish experience through a rearview mirror, is looking forward. We are discovering that the consequences of intermarriage that we have long expected to be devastating vis-a-vis the Jewish future may not be inevitable. Leonard Saxe is the director of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies of the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University. Fern Chertok is a research scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies.

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10 | The Jewish Press | December 2, 2016

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618 Mynster Street Council Bluffs, IA 51503-0766 402.322.4705 email:

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

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

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

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

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Capehart Chapel 2500 Capehart Road Offutt AFB, NE 68123 402.294.6244

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323 South 132 Street Omaha, NE 68154

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

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

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Join us for our monthly Shabbat Speakers Series on dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. with guest speaker, Donna Walter, Education Coordinator, Institute for Holocaust Education on My Journey with Holocaust Education. Oneg to follow service. Everyone is always welcome at B’nai Israel! Our services are led by lay leader Larry Blass. For information on our historic synagogue, please contact any of our board members: Scott Friedman, Rick Katelman, Carole Lainof, Marty Ricks, Sissy Silber, Nancy Wolf and Phil Wolf.

bETh El synaGoGuE

Services conducted by Rabbi Steven Abraham and Hazzan Michael Krausman. Friday: Teen Global Shabbat/Kabbalat Shabbat, 6 p.m.; Congregational Gourmet Shabbat Dinner with Chef Laura Frankel, 7 p.m. saTurday: Shabbat Services, 9:30 a.m.; Shabbat’s Cool (Grades 3-7), 10 a.m.; Mini-Minyannaires, 10:45 a.m.; Mincha/Ma’ariv, 4:45 p.m. wEEkday sErViCEs: Sundays, 9 a.m. & 5:30 p.m.; weekdays, 7 a.m. & 5:30 p.m. sunday: BESTT Classes, 9:45 a.m.; Torah Study, 10 a.m.; Torah Tots, 10:30 a.m.; Cooking Class with Chef Laura Frankel, 11 a.m.; BESTT Kibbutz Chaverim Lunch & Bowling, 12:15 p.m. TuEsday: Rabbi Abraham’s Ethics & Values: A Jewish Guide to Life’s Most Difficult Questions, noon at Whole Foods. wEdnEsday: BESTT Classes, 4:15 p.m.; USY Board Meeting, 5 p.m.; Hebrew High Dinner, 6 p.m.; Rabbi Abraham’s Ethics & Values -- A Jewish Guide to Life’s Most Difficult Questions, 6:15 p.m.; Hebrew High, 6:45 p.m. Thursday: Shanghai, 1 p.m. USY & Kadima Cutthroat Kitchen, wednesday, dec. 14, 5:30 p.m. Please RSVP to Amy by Dec. 10. All classes and programs are open to everyone in the Jewish community.

bETh israEl synaGoGuE

Office hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.. Services conducted by Rabbi Ari Dembitzer. Friday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Mincha/Ma’ariv & Kabbalat Shabbat, 4:38 p.m.; Candle Lighting, 4:38 p.m. saTurday: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Torah Parade, 9:45 a.m.; Insights in the Weekly Portion, 3:35 p.m.; Mincha/Seudah Shlishit, 4:20 p.m.; Havdalah, 5:41 p.m. sunday: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Bagels and Beit Medrash, 9:45 a.m. monday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Lunch and Learn, noon with Rabbi Shlomo. TuEsday-wEdnEsday: Shacharit, 7 a.m. Thursday: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Women’s Class, 9:30 a.m.; Scholar’s Club for 6th Grade, 4:30 p.m.; Avot U-Banim, 7 p.m.

Chabad housE

Office hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Friday, 9 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. followed by a kiddush luncheon. sunday: Shacharit, 8:30 a.m. followed by Sunday Secrets: Jewish Fun Facts class at 9:15 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: New Tanya Series -- The Anatomy of Your Soul: Who Are You?, 9:30 a.m. with Rabbi Mendel Katzman. Thursday: Advanced Talmud Class, noon with Rabbi Mendel Katzman. All programs are open to the entire community.

ConGrEGaTion b’nai JEshurun

Services conducted by Rabbi Craig Lewis. Friday: Pre-neg, 6 p.m. hosted by Leslie Delserone & Peter Mullin; Candlelighting, 4:41 p.m.; Shabbat Evening Service, 6:30 p.m. saTurday: Shabbat Morning Service, 9:30 a.m.; Torah Study, 10:30 a.m. on Parashat Toldot; Havdalah (72 minutes), 6:11 p.m.

sunday: LJCS Gan through Grade 7, 9:30 a.m. at Tifereth Israel; LJCS Gesher, 10 a.m. at South Street Temple. TuEsday: Star City Kochavim Rehearsal, 6:45 p.m. wEdnEsday: LJCS Hebrew classes, 4 p.m. at Tifereth Israel. Thursday: Temple Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m. adulT EduCaTion TuEsday: Intro to Judaism, Session #4, 6:30 p.m. led by Rabbi Lewis. wEdnEsday: Intro to Prayer Hebrew, Session #7, 6 p.m. Thursday: Beginning Conversational Hebrew, Session #6, 6:30 p.m. LJCS Hat and Mitten Drive: Every child deserves a warm and cozy Winter season! Join the LJCS as we collect hats and mittens for the children of the Friendship Home. Donations will be collected through sunday, dec. 4. Donations can be dropped either building. Congregation Annual Meeting, sunday, dec. 11, 1 p.m. It’s time for our annual holiday drive for Clinic With a Heart. Please help by donating over-the-counter medications and personal care items. Donations can be brought to the Temple Office anytime the Temple is open. President’s Office Hours, sunday mornings, 10 a.m.– noon at SST. If you have any Temple business you would like to bring before the Board of Trustees, potential programs, or new ideas, please let us know! Call for an appointment at the Temple at 402.513.7697. Or if you prefer, email David Weisser at

oFFuTT air ForCE basE

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

rosE blumkin JEwish homE

saTurday: Services, 9:15 a.m. led by Jim Polack. Services will be held in the Chapel. Members of the community are invited to attend.

TEmplE israEl

Friday: Shabbat Services, 6 p.m. saTurday: Temple Tots Shabbat, 9 a.m. All children and their families are invited to participate! Enjoy stories, songs, crafts (and bagels, of course!) with your child, while connecting with our Temple Israel community; Torah Study, 9:15 a.m.; Shabbat Morning Services, 10:30 a.m. Bat Mitzvah of Rose Friedland, daughter of Jamie and Ted Friedland; Adult Game Night, 7 p.m. at Spielbound, 3229 Harney Street. Come enjoy a night of board games and good company at Spielbound. Cost is $5. Adults of all ages are invited. RSVP to Program Director Scott Littky, 402.556.6536. sunday: Temple Israel Annual Blood Drive, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Make an appointment online by visiting www.redcross and search sponsor code “TempleIsrael” or contact Executive Director Dennis DePorte, 402-556-6536; Grades PreK6, 10 a.m.; OTYG Meeting, noon. wEdnEsday: Grades 3-6, 4 p.m.; School Dinner, 6 p.m.;

Grades 7-12, 6:30 p.m.; Family School, 6:30 p.m.; Modifying Genetic Disease- Lifestyle and Nutrition with Dr. Bruce Buehler, 6:30 p.m. Building on his class from last winter, Dr. Buehler continues his discussion on modifying genetic disease; A Taste of Talmud: The Most Important Rarely Studied Text in Reform Synagogues, 6:30 p.m. Thursday: The Magic of Rituals, 10 a.m. with Rabbi (Sussman) Berezin 5th and 6th Grade Shabbat Service, Friday, dec. 9, 6 p.m. Temple Israel Book Club, sunday, dec. 11, 10 a.m. Temple Tots Sunday, sunday, dec. 11, 10:30 a.m. 31st Annual Bible Quiz, sunday, dec. 11, 1:30 p.m., JCC Auditorium. Study with Rabbi Berezin during Wednesday dinners. To register, please contact Religious School Director Sharon Comisar-Langdon, 402.556.6536. Chinese Food & A Movie, sunday, dec. 25, 6 p.m. Join us at Temple Israel for a catered Chinese dinner and a family movie. The cost is $8 and children under 13 are free. Please RSVP to Temple Israel, 402-556-6536, by wednesday, dec. 23.

TiFErETh israEl

Services conducted by lay leader Nancy Coren. Office hours: monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday: Services, 6:30 p.m. saTurday: Shabbat Morning Services, 10 a.m. followed by our intergenerational celebration honoring Tifereth Israel's Octogenarians and Nonagenarians. sunday: LJCS Gan through Grade 7, 9:30 a.m. at Tifereth Israel; LJCS Gesher, 10 a.m. at South Street Temple. wEdnEsday: LJCS Hebrew classes, 4 p.m. at Tifereth Israel. LJCS Hat and Mitten Drive: Every child deserves a warm and cozy Winter season! Join the LJCS as we collect hats and mittens for the children of the Friendship Home. Donations will be collected through sunday, dec. 4. Donations can be dropped either building. Join us for our Shabbat Pasta Dinner and Birthday Celebration honoring all congregants born in the month of December, Friday evening, dec. 9, 6:15 p.m. There will be no Friday evening services following dinner. All ages are welcome to join together. Dress casually, be ready to enjoy the sweetness of Shabbat and the warmth of being together! The Nurturing the Wow Parenting Group, sunday, dec. 11, 11 a.m. on How Do We Find Joy in the Mundane. Parents who plan to attend are requested to let Nancy Coren know of their participation on that day. ADL representative, Mary Beth Muskin of Omaha, will be at Tifereth Israel on sunday, dec. 18 at 1:30 p.m. to speak about the findings of the NOW IS NEVER national conference as it relates to the upswing in anti-semetic acts in this country. TI Has Talent 4 & Our Annual Hanukkah Latke Party, dec. 25, 4 p.m. We're looking for congregants who will sing, dance, play an instrument, tell jokes, do martial arts, recite poetry, etc. Sign up by e-mailing Nancy Coren at or

Egyptian movie star reveals he is Jewish

GabE FriEdman JTA If an actor talked about his Jewishness in an interview in the United States, he wouldn’t make headlines. But in Egypt -- where levels of anti-Semitism are high and Jews are oen ridiculed in TV shows and other aspects of popular culture -- that kind of revelation is a big deal. Karim Kassem, who has appeared in prominent roles in Egyptian movies and TV series, told an Egyptian talk show host last week that his mother was Jewish. Kassem, 30, revealed that he discovered his Jewish roots as a boy while complaining about Jews. Aer he said that Jews have big noses and are stingy, his sister stopped him in his tracks, according to e Times of Israel. “Karim! You don’t know? Your mom is Jewish!” Kassem told host Mona Elshazly, e Times of Israel reported. According to Arab media reports, Kassem had a multifaceted religious identity. He cele-

brated Jewish, Muslim and Christian holidays as a child. His dad’s father was Muslim, his dad’s mother was Christian and his mother was Jewish. One report, paraphrasing the original interview in Arabic, said Kassem’s mother was the one who taught him about the Quran. Despite his Jewish pride, Kassem was careful to insist that his Jewish ancestors were not Zionists. His Jewish grandfather chose not to immigrate to Israel in its early days when many of his peers made the move because he saw Zionism as a “racist” movement. Although only a handful of Jewish people remain in Cairo (compared to the nearly 80,000 who lived throughout the country before Israel’s founding in 1948), Egyptian attitudes towards Jews may be changing. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has shown he wants to work with Israel on security issues in the region. e Egyptian TV show Jewish Quarter, which focuses on the Jewish neighborhood of Cairo in 1948, was a breakout hit during Ramadan last year.

The Jewish Press | December 2, 2016 | 11

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Tom Callahan Callahan Promotions, Inc. Make plans now to attend the annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Show that will be held Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3-4, at the MidAmerica Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The show is billed as one of Iowa's largest shows, with over 200 exhibitors presenting and selling thousands of unique, handmade products. Among the various products being sold at the show are leather goods, oak, pine and wine barrel furniture, paintings and prints, ceramics, kids teepees, wall hangings, toys, blankets, jewelry, metal art sculptures, pet products, etched and stained glass, yard and garden art, pottery, candles, clothing, quilts, aprons, pillows, fishing lures, doll clothes, baskets, rugs, place mats, table runners, purses, floral arrangements and wreaths, wood and metal signs, soap and lotions, emu oils and many more original products. Exhibitors will also be selling coffee cakes, dips, salsa, barbeque sauce, soups, jams, jellies, cheese and sausage, wines, fudge, honey, food mixes and roasted nuts. All items offered for sale to the public are handmade by the exhibitor. Hours of the show are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 and children 10 and younger are free. Parking is free throughout the show. All patrons who attend the show on Saturday will receive a two-day re-entry stamp. For more information on the show, please call 563.652.4529.

World with no hate

nanCy Coren Tifereth Israel held its 2nd annual World With No Hate Shabbat service on Nov. 18. Congregants invited friends, neighbors, and coworkers to join them at the Friday evening service dedicated to eliminating hatred, prejudice, and discrimination. With over 80 individuals attending this interfaith service, the theme of the evening was particularly meaningful in light of the increase in hate crimes being reported nationwide. Guest speaker Gene Crump, a retired legal counsel for UNL and former Deputy Attorney General for the State of Nebraska, spoke about the need to increase positive interactions between individuals of all races, ethnicities, and religions. Crump emphasized the good that can be accomplished when we realize that each of us is made in the image of G-d. Spiritual Lay-Leader Nancy Coren urged the congregation to remember the words of Rav Kook: “Righteous people don’t complain about evil, but rather add justice to the world; they don’t complain about heresy, but rather add faith; they don’t complain about ignorance but rather add wisdom.” The service was followed by an oneg Shabbat gathering where attendees mingled and conversed with one another bridging the gaps that so often exist in our society.


To SubmiT obiTuarieS To The JewiSh PreSS:

Email the Press at; mail to 333 So. 132 St., Omaha, NE 68154; or online at the Jewish Federation of Omaha website: Click on Jewish Press and go to Submit Announcements.

Applications invited for 2017 JDC Archives Fellowship Program The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Archives is pleased to announce that it is accepting applications for its 2017 fellowship program. In 2017, 5-6 fellowships will be awarded to senior scholars, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and independent researchers to conduct research in the JDC Archives, either in New York or in Jerusalem. Topics in the fields of twentieth century Jewish history, modern history, social welfare, migration, and humanitarian assistance will be considered, as well as other areas of academic research

covered in the JDC archival collections. To identify relevant materials, please see our finding aids. The fellowship awards are $2,500-$5,000. Please visit html to apply and for further information. Deadline for submission: Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017.

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12 | The Jewish Press | December 2, 2016


One Ruth Gruber says goodbye to another


RuTh EllEn GRubER JTA hen you share a name with someone you respect and admire, you always try to live up to the connection, because sometimes outsiders aren’t aware of the difference. That’s how it was for decades with me and Ruth Gruber, the noted photojournalist, reporter and author who died last week at age 105 after a remarkable life and career. From my first international byline, when I was a young intern at the Associated Press in Rome in the 1970s (when Ruth was already in her 60s), right up to a Facebook comment just a couple months ago, our names, and also our shared focus on Jewish affairs, have led to confusion. It didn’t matter that she was decades older than I was, or that she had written largely about Israel and Holocaust matters and I mainly write about European Jewish affairs and Jewish heritage. Our biographies have often been conflated, and articles even ran with the picture of the wrong person. Ruth received checks in the mail that were actually due to me, and a major Jewish organization once sent me an official letter announcing an award – except as I The pioneering photojournalist Ruth Gruber and the longtime JTA Euroread through the letter I realized that the award was pean correspondent Ruth Ellen Gruber met at a book launch party in meant for her, not me. 1992. Credit: Ruth Ellen Gruber I tried to underscore my individuality by using my I frankly can’t remember now if we met when I returned middle initial or middle name – Ellen – in my byline and in to the U.S. briefly after my expulsion from Poland, or if our other professional dealings. But it hasn’t always helped. first meeting came nearly a decade later, in 1992, when, In January 1983, when, as a UPI correspondent, I was arwearing a striking broad-brimmed hat, she attended the rested on trumped-up accusations of espionage, jailed launch of my first book, Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to overnight and expelled from communist Poland, Ruth’s answering machine ran out of space because of calls from anx- Central and Eastern Europe. But we stayed in touch over the years, and every time we ious friends and family.

The Legacy Project: A Dance of Hope This public performance is part of the Carolyn Dorfman Dance educational residency in Omaha, a collaboration of Omaha Performing Arts and the Institute for Holocaust Education

got together or spoke on the phone we laughed about our common – if sometimes frustrating – problem of confused identity. Over the decades, I have received scores of emails meant for Ruth, especially before she herself had an email account. A particular flood of them came after a two-part CBS mini-series based on Ruth’s book, Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America, aired in February 2001. Scores of viewers who were moved by the story of how Ruth in 1944 escorted 982 refugees from 19 Nazi-occupied countries to safe haven in Oswego, New York poured out their hearts in sometimes very emotional terms. Even five years later a non-Jewish viewer in Colorado wrote to Ruth at my email address: “Shalom!!” he began. “There are no words to express how your story has impacted our lives! [...] Do you have any suggestions as to how we might embrace and love the Jewish population where we live? With all the hatred that has been afflicted on your beautiful people and culture there are so many obstacles to overcome. Any advice you could give would be priceless!!” Perhaps the funniest example of our identity mix-up took place in person, not in cyberspace. At an American Jewish Committee annual meeting in the late 1990s, I gave my name when I asked a question during one of the sessions. As I went back to my seat, a woman stopped me. “It’s so good to see you again!” she exclaimed. “You came to our house in the ‘40s!” I stared at her for a few seconds before I could gather myself to respond. “Look at me,” I finally told her. “I know I’m tired, but do you really think I could have come to your house in the ‘40s?” Farewell, Ruth! I hope I can continue to honor your example.

THURSDAY January 19, 2017 7:30pm | Orpheum Theater, Slosburg Hall

Tickets can be purchased at An exultant “dance theater” trilogy that joins us through our common human experience. Told through the lens of the Holocaust and its devastation, hope inspires the journey to a land that promises new beginnings! Described by critics as “ingenious” (The Star-Ledger) and “emotionally resonant” (The New York Times), the dances in The Legacy Project bring together Dorfman’s family stories, Jewish history, and a universal struggle for identity.

Because her dances are about people and life experience… they hold immediate appeal. The New York Times

Dorfman and her company have created dances that serve as metaphors for the greater truths of the human experience. Their triumphant work will make you cry, laugh, think and celebrate the capacity of the human spirit to rise above all circumstance.




Funding generously provided by: Slosburg Family Charitable Trust, Simon Family Charitable Trust, Steve & Patty Nogg.

December 2, 2016  

Jewish Press

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