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this week


In Budapest, Hanukkah comes out of the shadows and onto the ice rink Page 12

Zach Krausman wins B’nai B’rith Bible Quiz

Viewpoint Synagogues Life cycles


tammy JoHNSoN B’nai B’rith Administrative Assistant with GaRy JavItCH ho would think that a bible quiz could be both entertaining and informative? Veteran observers know; and each year around Hanukkah, they attend the annual Edward Zorinsky B’nai B’rith Bible Quiz. The quiz always brings along tension, drama and a good time! Held for the 32nd time on Dec. 3, the match attendees filled the auditorium at the Jewish Community Center. Besides the competitors, the auditorium was filled

with family members and supporters. They watched as high schoolers Micah Gilbert, Spencer Gordman, David Kay, Zach Krausman, Charlie Spivack, Ethan Spivack, Hannah Stein and Joshua Stein vied to win a $700 first-prize scholarship. These funds can be applied to college tuition, an approved trip to Israel or an approved camp or educational program sponsored by a Jewish organization. The championship segment brought many challenging questions. The scores were close throughout its three rounds. In the end, Zach Krausman took home the top prize. Joshua Stein earned $400 for his See B’nai B’rith Bible Quiz page 2

The Astoria Hotel


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Tri-Faith Initiative seeks Executive Director

D ECEMBER 1 5 , 2 0 1 7 | 2 7 K ISLEV 5 7 7 8 | V O L. 9 8 | NO . 1 0 | C a ND LeLI G H tI NG | FRID AY , D ECEMBER 1 5 , 4 : 3 8 P. M.

The remarkable Millie Altman Page 5

Beth El’s Hanukkah maker pop-up kicked off holiday fun Page 6

SPoNSoReD By tHe BeNJamIN aND aNNa e. WIeSmaN FamILy eNDoWmeNt FuND

RICHaRD FeLLmaN Let me tell you a story. It begins a few years ago in the summer of 2009 when Bev and I were getting ready to leave Omaha for a half year stay in Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union. At the time I was teaching political science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha as an adjunct professor, and I received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach American Government at Uzhgorod National University in western Ukraine, in the city of Uzhgorod located on the western slope of the Carpathian Mountains, the farthest western city in the old USSR.

The most direct and easiest way to get to Uzhgorod was to fly to Budapest, Hungary, and take the train

more than 3,000 people. And I asked the travel agent making arrangements for our trip to find us a hotel

Located in downtown Budapest, Hungary, a block from Dohany Synagogue which was the entry to the Jewish Ghetto during the Nazi occupation of Hungary in World War II. Credit: directly to Uzhgorod. This meant we could spend a few days in Budapest, a lovely city on the Danube, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Before the Nazis entered Budapest in the middle of World War II the city had a large Jewish population. It includes the largest synagogue in Europe, the Dohany Synagogue which seats

near that synagogue since I knew it had become the entrance point to the Jewish Quarter of Budapest and during the Nazi occupation the entry gate to the Jewish Ghetto. So we checked in to the Astoria Hotel, a magnificent old facility built and furnished at the turn of See astoria Hotel page 2

KaRa SCHWeISS The community has seen the completion of many important milestones since the Tri-Faith Initiative incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 2006. In 2011, a piece of land was purchased in the Sterling Ridge development near 132nd and Pacific Streets. In 2013, Temple Israel completed construction of a new synagogue. Just this past spring, American Muslim Institute completed construction of a mosque and educational center and Countryside Community Church broke ground for a new church. And in the first quarter of 2018,

the Tri-Faith board of directors expects to have a new executive director in place to lead the organization into the future. The search is being conducted by Koya Leadership Partners, a national executive search firm dedicated to placing exceptionally talented leadership at mission-driven organizations and institutions of higher education. With respect to its core values of impact, diversity, respect and innovation, the company is widely known for providing customized, strategic and innovative support and services for acquiring and retaining exceptional talent. “The new executive director will report to and partner with the Tri-Faith board of directors and the clergy leading the three congregations while setting a clear vision and providing thoughtful, strategic direction for our organization. This will include oversight of the planning and building of the future Tri-Faith Center,” said Dr. Maryanne Stevens, RSM, the chair for TriFaith board of directors. “He or she will also be responsible for setting direction to fulfill the organization’s mission and commitments to the Omaha community while establishing a global presence as a pioneer and leader in interfaith relationships.” “We are seeking an executive director with a sincere passion for interfaith relationships and exchange, who will understand the significance of this unique opportunity. We expect this person to embody a high level of leadership and superior ability to convey the organization’s vision into relationships for its constituents,” said Bob Freeman, who serves on the Tri-Faith board of directors. Freeman is also a member of the Temple Israel congregation and a past Tri-Faith board chairman. The executive director will also be expected to catalyze research, reflection, discussion and action that further elevates Tri-Faith as the leading model of peaceful See tri-Faith page 2

2 | The Jewish Press | December 15, 2017

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Astoria Hotel

Continued from page 1 the century, that is in the early 1900’s. It was just a block away from the Great Synagogue. And it was in the middle of the downtown business and commercial distract. The lobby was small, as were the rooms, at least by current standards, but the furnishings were magnificent. The chairs in the lobby were covered with velvet, a deep red velvet, with polished wood and exotic rugs throughout. There were chandeliers, large chandeliers, hanging everywhere, or so it seemed. The dining room was staffed with waiters dressed in black and white, with small towels hanging over their forearms. They stood tall and erect and were quick to offer service. Hanging over the center of the dining room was a chandelier so large that it covered the entire ceiling. At the breakfast buffet each morning Bev and I felt as if we were Victorian royalty. Our stay in Budapest and at the Astoria, which I was told was named after the Waldorf Astoria in New York, went beautifully. We enjoyed the city, strolled along the Danube, visited the historical sites and the remnants of the once vibrant Jewish community, said to each other that on our return to the States, which meant coming to Budapest again, and if we were to meet our daughter Susie and our granddaughter Gabby if they came to visit us, we would again make arrangements to stay at the Astoria Hotel. Then, on the morning before we were to leave Budapest I happened to be walking around the hotel lobby and noticed a group of documents hanging on one wall, sort of hidden behind some large plants, and I began to read them. I was shocked. The legal documents, some in Hungarian, some in German, and some translated into English, gave the history of the Astoria, from its origin till the current decade. In the middle of these framed papers were two legal papers, one in German and the other clearly a translation into English, which were a lease of the entire Astoria, the building, its furnishings, and its staff, from the hotel’s owners to the Nazi

B’nai B’rith Bible Quiz

Continued from page 1 second-place position. Spencer Gordman collected $300 for his placement in the third slot and Ethan Spivack and Hannah Stein split $150 for tying for the fourth spot! Quizmaster Gloria Kaslow presented the questions, while Lodge President Ari Riekes served as timekeeper and host. Judges Martin Shukert, Cantor Wendy Shermet and Professor Leonard Greenspoon had their work cut out for them this year as several contestant responses required their expert interpretations. Tammy Johnson, B’nai B’rith Administrative Assistant took care of all the setup


Continued from page 1 and flourishing co-existence and interfaith interdependence. The executive director will provide leadership and vision to multiple sets of stakeholders, including the three faith groups on the Tri-Faith campus, the Omaha community (i.e., donors, the religion departments at the University of Nebraska Omaha and Creighton University, various faith communities, and social justice entities), and national and international interfaith communities. A select group of qualified candidates has been identified through Koya’s nationwide search and the first interviews are now underway.

Gestapo for the duration of the war, with the explanation that the Gestapo planned to use the hotel including its dining facility to house the officers who would be coming to Budapest to take over the city. It made no reference to the fact that the Astoria was across the street and just a block away from what would become the entrance to the Jewish Ghetto. It was not signed by Lt. Colonel Adolph Eichmann, who was placed in command by the Gestapo of the occupation of Budapest. Eichmann, I learned, confiscated a magnificent estate owned by a wealthy Jewish family for his own quarters and sent the owners to Auschwitz and their death. But the Nazi swastika and the word Gestapo were clearly part of the signature on the German documents. The Astoria’s owners thus made a profit on the Nazi occupation of Hungary. Years later, after the war was over and when the Soviet Union occupied Hungary, the Astoria was nationalized and ownership was taken away from its prior owners, and they left Budapest for London with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. I was in Budapest in late October of this year, 2017, and I left the group I was traveling with for a couple of hours and returned to the Astoria Hotel. I was alone. I looked for the documents on the wall in the corner of the lobby, but they were gone. In their place was a summary of the history of the Astoria. It skipped over World War II and went from the years of the Depression to the period of the Soviet occupation. I spoke with the head waiter in the dining room. He looked exactly like his predecessors did when Bev and I were there a few years ago. He took me to the spot on the wall in the lobby and said the documents between the Gestapo and the owners were once posted right where we were standing, but he said “They must have been replaced by this summary.” To me, the Astoria Hotel in Budapest was and still is haunted, beautiful as it is in its Victorian splendor, and so rich in many ways, but haunted by the memory of the Nazi Gestapo and the death they perpetrated on the Jews of Hungary. If I return to Budapest a hundred times I will never spend a night again or eat a meal again in the Astoria Hotel.

arrangements. She kept score and Gary Javitch President Emeritus assisted her. We can’t go without saying a big ‘thank you’ to Steve Riekes, who is one of the founders of the Bible Quiz. B’nai B’rith congratulates all who studied Deuteronomy, this year’s Torah Book! The B’nai B’rith Bible Quiz is held every year and is open to all Jewish high school students. If you are currently in eighth through 11th grade and you think you have what it takes, we hope you plan to study the Book of Genesis for the 2018 Ed Zorinsky Quiz!

The Tri-Faith board of directors expects to complete the hiring process by early spring of next year. Vic Gutman & Associates will continue to provide project management and communication services to the Tri-Faith Initiative for the foreseeable future and will assist in the onboarding process for the new executive director in 2018. The new executive director will initially work out of office space at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center on the University of Nebraska Omaha campus until the eventual completion of the Tri-Faith Center.

B’nai Israel Synagogue Shabbat Service and Speaker Series


he December service, away from its normal second Friday of the month, will take place Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Inspired by the recently published Council Bluffs, Iowa, Memories of the Jewish Midwest and the article based on an interview with Howard’s uncle, Sol Kutler, of Blessed Memory, Howard will talk about the family history of his grandparents Harry and Sarah Kutler, who settled in Council Bluffs, from the village of Pavolitch and the raising of their sons, Ben (Howard’s father) and Sol in The Howard Kutler Bluffs, both of whom became successful dentists in Omaha. We look forward to welcoming the entire Kutler family, Howard’s wife Nancy and daughter Sarah, a junior at Miami University of Ohio. Have not been to B’nai Israel for a while? Missed the light blue, broken down 50-year-old chairs? Thanks to the generosity of Buddy and Shirley Goldstein, both of Blessed Memory, our synagogue board has replaced the old chairs with beautiful dark blue comfortable arm chairs. As always, our Shabbat service will be led by Larry Blass. Stay for our tasty Oneg and schmooze about the latest Council Bluffs exciting happenings, the extensive River’s Edge development highlighted in the World Herald Money section last Dec. 1. Might that project lead to Jews moving into the new condominiums and apartments currently being built?

The Jewish Press | December 15, 2017 | 3


Beth El plans Switch Day at Blumkin Home ozziE nogg Beth El Synagogue congregants will volunteer at the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home on Monday, Dec. 25, allowing RBJH employees to celebrate Christmas Day with their families. “Beth El has offered a ‘Switch Day’ to the RBJH for over five years,” said Larry Kronick who is handling logistics for the program. “This activity benefits Blumkin Home staff because they get time off and typically come back more refreshed. In addition, residents gain some extra fun and personal attention from volunteers.”

Switch Day runs from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Volunteers can choose to spend a couple hours as morning companions, Bingo compan-

Yoni Doron Community Shaliach Due to the JFO campus being closed on Jan. 1, we will hold our monthly Eye On Israel session on Jan. 8, 2018. We will be taking a good look together at the month’s current events, how are they being perceived through the Israeli eye and conveyed by the Israeli media. This month has started with President Donald Trump’s statements about his decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is already circling every news coverage or media outlet in the world, with

many volunteering their own “end of days” prophet. We will follow up on that story, talk about its repercussions and, of course, give way for other news stories that this one might have covered up with its inevitable noise. Accordingly, I have chosen our next topic of dissection to focus on Jerusalem vs. Tel Aviv. We will talk a bit about each city and see how unique they are in their own special way. The distance there is between the world’s acknowledgment of Jerusalem (or lack thereof) as Israel’s capital and the Israeli people’s own perception. Why does Tel Aviv make it so easy

Eye On Israel

ions, or provide evening entertainment for the Residents. “Some volunteers also switch places with Blumkin Home employees in the housekeeping and laundry areas,” Kronick said. “With morning, afternoon and evening time slots available, most people can find a convenient two hours in which to volunteer at the Home.”

Beth El members — teens and adults — are encouraged to join this volunteer project. • Morning companions are needed between 9:30 a.m and 11 a.m. • Bingo companions are needed from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. • Light housekeeping volunteers are needed in any 2-hour shift between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. • Laundry help is appreciated in any 2-hour shift between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. • Evening entertainment volunteers are needed between 6:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. “Choose your activity and time slot and then call or text my cell phone — 402.515.2888 — or email me at by Thursday, Dec. 21,” Kronick said. “Switch Day is a winwin mitzvah.”

for the world to consider it Israel’s capital? Do people in Israel see it as their capital in certain matters? Is there a hidden rivalry between these two major cities? And much, much more! Hope to see you there! Eye On Israel meets regularly on the first Monday of every month (with the exception of the upcoming meeting), at noon in the The Kripke Jewish Federation Library. Admission is free! Just bring yourself and some healthy curiosity. For more information regarding all things Israel, please contact me, Yoni Doron, at

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4 | The Jewish Press | December 15, 2017

community Newly revised scholarship and grant information now available

GaBBy Blair Staff Writer, Jewish Press Be sure to peruse the newly revised ‘Scholarship and Grants’ booklet highlighting the funding opportunities for Jewish education, Israel and Jewish experiences and camp! Applications for financial assistance for the 2018-2019 academic year are now available for download from The Jewish Federation of Omaha’s website ( To be considered, applications must be filled out completely, legibly, in ink, and should include all supporting documentation, as outlined in the packet instructions. Financial assistance is available for The Pennie Z. Davis Child Development Center, Friedel Jewish Academy, residential Jewish summer camps, JCC day camp, and post high school education and Jewish opportunities. Jewish Experience Grants, Israel Experience Grants and youth group assistance is also available. The deadline to apply for financial assistance is March 1, 2018. No late applications will be accepted. The Financial Aid Committee is dedicated to confidentiality, and will review all requests during the month of March. Award letters will be mailed out no later than April 1, 2018. All decisions made on Financial Assistance awards are final and there is no appeal process. Questions? Please contact Diane Stamp, JFO Executive Assistant at 402.334.6407 or dstamp@jewish

The surreal and real Myanmar Rohingya ethnic cleansing One Saturday in November in the 22-story five star Sule Shangri La in Yangon, Myanmar, I breakfasted on an Indian egg dosa and my favorite Burmese confectionary, semolina. In the lobby I read the New York Times International edition. Page 4, was about the plight of the Rohingya on the Myanmar Bangladesh border 350 miles away across the Naf River. We were upgraded to Horizon Club status OliVer B. POllak because this was our fourth Shangri La visit, including Bangkok. It may be also because Burma’s hotels have a 50 percent occupancy rate. In my comfort a wave of dismay swept over me. I have been a Burma watcher, from a distance, since 1970, when I wrote my doctoral dissertation at UCLA on Anglo-Burmese relations. I did not visit the country until October 2015. The military dictatorship, in place since 1962, had repositioned itself in 2010 from a commanding seat to ostensibly a side or back seat to democracy. Karen and I travelled from Rangoon to Mandalay on an Irrawaddy River boat, actually built in Vietnam. We could palpably see, feel and hear democracy, freedom of speech, and the country opening up. Several days after we left Aung San Suu Kyi was elected State Councilor. International sanctions were lifted. Two years later, sitting in a luxury hotel, I wondered whether I was in 1939 Germany sitting comfortably in the Grand Hotel after Kristalnacht? As a child of Austrian and German refugee parents, part of my family died in concentration camps. In 2017 I was not a perpetrator, but does staying silent make you an enabler? Genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass graves, crimes against humanity coalesce and are mentioned almost daily, the plight of millions of displaced refugees more often than that. What can I do? Leave the country early, voice a protest, risk arrest, detention or deportation. Contact the U.S. or Israeli embassy. I was a tourist, a visitor, not a diplomat or an NGO human rights worker. Conscience struggled with comfort and fear. I bided my time, caught my taxi to the airport and voiced my concerns from a safe place. The tour bus guides says there is “no religious discrimination in our

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country.” Karen and I and our fellow travelers cringe awkwardly. We know better, we have been following human rights violations in Burma. Yet if “our country” means the Irrawaddy valley, then Arakan renamed Rakhine is not part of “our country.” The Burmese surrendered this coastal region to the British in 1826 as spoils to the victor at the end of the First Anglo-Burmese War. But parsing history and semantics in the 21st century should leave no doubt, where the Rohingya live or lived is Burma; and the Burmese deny that these Muslims, who date back as residents to at least the early 19th century, are not citizens, they are stateless people. The Burmese have a way of combining Buddhism and astrology to rename the country, move the capital, ban motorcycles, put their time zone in a half hour category, and do other contrarian things that suit their purpose and sense of difference. This includes devastating the Rohingya. Aung San Suu Kyi was elected with great expectations. After all she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Hannah Beach, in recent New Yorker and New York Times articles dismantles our expectations. We saw what we wanted to see, a woman under decades of house arrest asserted her freedom of conscience. I visited the home of her father Aung San who was assassinated in 1947. There were photographs of her as a two-year-old with her father. The National League for Democracy won the November 2015 election and The Lady became 1st State Counsellor because special legislation directed at her prohibited a Burman with children born outside the country, from being Prime Minister, a contrivance based on a combination of guile, manipulation, and gerrymandering. Aung San’s ineffectiveness, complicity, and virtual silence on the Rohingya has no exculpation. These non-Buddhist territorial outliers hardly receive lip service, and there is no real progress toward repatriation. The military appears to be enforcing a ‘Burma First’ policy. Fascism and ethnic cleansing has not been good to my family. I am disappointed that two colonial countries I studied for over four decades, Burma/Myanmar and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, where so much more was expected, have come to a sorry pass. And intolerance, ethnic cleansing and separatist tribal movements has made Omaha home to about 2500 Burmese Karen and Kachin refugees who fled military oppression.

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The Jewish Press | December 15, 2017 | 5

The remarkable Millie Altman


GAbby blAir as he passed away in 1971.” Rena each of my husbands passed away, I Staff Writer, Jewish Press Bailen, daughter-in-law of Millie, has was so blessed to have had three men fond memories of Mr. Zavett. “He was who were all so loving and good to me. Editor’s note: is is part two in a such a kind man and a very talented I loved each of them very much and two-part series. Part one was puborganist. He made the best chili.. its they loved me.” lished in our Dec. 8 edition. s with life, good and hard funny what one remembers.” DaughterMillie lived independently until this times were woven toin- law Debby Bailen, recalls meeting year, moving into the RBJH at age 104. gether. Millie remembers Millie and Hy. “‘I’ve been married to While not a resident until recently, Sam being drafted for Lew for 49 years now and am blessed to Millie crocheted 452 lap robes for World War II, and the have Millie as my mother-in-law. She’s RBJH residents over the years. Maggie chaos his deployment caused in their really the only true mother I’ve had and Conti is thankful for the beautiful and lives. “It’s a terrible thing, sending a is quite possibly the kindest, most help- numerous lap robes. “What a blessing loved one to war,” she reto have these robes for our calls sadly. “He wasn’t over residents. Each one made there long... just a few with such love and care, months; but it broke up no two alike. Millie would our business and home. never accept any reimWe had to start all over bursement for them, she when he returned. It was a just loved making them very hard time, but we had and knowing they were each other and we did it. being used.” Debby Bailen We discussed moving to says that for as long as Omaha or Sioux City she’s known Millie, there where we had family, but I was always something to didn’t want to leave Denicrochet by her side; many son until the kids had finof which she gave away as ished school or separate gifts.Indeed, Millie made them from their friends blankets for her own 12 and home,” she recalls. At grandchildren, and 10 that point, Millie’s sister great-grandchildren in adand brother-in-law, Ida dition to numerous nieces, and Leonard Hall, moved nephews, children and to Denison. The families grandchildren of friends. partnered together, purIn a phone call from Milchasing a salvage business lie’s nephew-in-law, Jeff that became ‘Bailen’s Junk Herstein, he marvels at the Yard’. woman Millie Altman is. Sam succumbed to can“I met Millie in 1963 and cer in 1955, at age 42, leavmarried her niece, Susan ing Millie a widow. “I was Ash. In all the years since, devastated. The doctors Millie has never once wanted to medicate me, missed a birthday for me, and well, I just didn’t bemy children or my grandlieve in that and I refused children! When my their medicine. Instead, I mother-in-law, Mary Ash, found a better way to work died in 1994, Millie bethrough my loss; I learned Pictured clockwise from top left: Millie and second husband Hy Zavett, came like a mother to my to crochet and put all my Millie and granddaughter Sarah, and Millie and third husband Charlie wife. Susan, who has since Altman. heart and energy into passed away, refused to making things for others; and, of ful, caring woman I know. She is gener- miss Millie’s 100th birthday party celecourse, I had our wonderful children ous to a fault.” Debby goes on to say, bration, making the flight to Omaha to care for. That was the best medi“Millie’s cooking and baking skills are even as she suffered with Parkinsons. cine,” she says wisely. “My mother is a legendary; she makes the most amazMy own granddaughters, ages 8 and real survivor,” says daughter, Sandra. “I ing peanut clusters and savory kugel. 11, visited Millie last year and were dehave no idea how she managed when Her table was always full, and this lighted to meet the woman who made dad died. She went to work to care for made her happy. She loves her family them their special blankets. There is us and we were never deprived of any and there is nothing she would rather only one Aunt Millie, and she takes necessities save for the loving presence do than spend time with loved ones.” care of everyone.” Stories like Herof our father. She is a gentle woman Millie loves fashion and is a talented stein’s are repeated time and time with a strong will and generous soul.” seamstress, often making her own again by those who know Millie. MagMillie’s son Lewis fondly reminisces; “I clothing. As such, she enjoyed working gie Conti still has the blankets Millie have the luck of being the youngest in large fancy department stores and made for her own children and not a child, and I got Mom to myself interacting with many people. She birthday goes by without good wishes through four years of high school. My credits staying active and social for her from Millie, even after all these years. friends loved her and we’d hang out at optimism and longevity. She became “She is quite possibly the most home where she had an endless supply an expert in fitting women with thoughtful person I know,” says Conti. of cookies and food for us. Football proper clothing and lingerie and is Millie is described as being very diswas a major event in Denison, and she very proud of having being trained in ciplined in her daily routine, staying never missed any of my games. She this field. healthy, exercising regularly and being loves ice cream, and we’d share a half In 1995, Millie met Charles Altman. active and creative. Millie took incredgallon with two spoons many times. Both in their 80’s they fell in love, mar- ible care scrapbooking throughout her We’d also fly together to visit my older rying a year later in Las Vegas. “I never life, detailing large and small events siblings. I loved having that time with thought I’d get married a third time,” alike, in such a way that a living hismy mom. It was really hard on both of confesses Millie, “but my Charlie was a tory was preserved. “She kept every us when I left for college.” really special man; I just couldn’t say mention of every family member from After moving to Omaha in 1963, no!” Daughter Sandra recalls, “Charlie newspapers and bulletins, which she Millie’s in-laws introduced her to their proposed to mom daily for a year, beassembled into personal history scrapfriend’s son, Hyman Zavett, and a fore she finally accepted. He made her books for each of her children,” says match was made; the couple was marreally happy and I wish they could’ve Debby Bailen. Millie donated her own ried soon after. “Hy was a wonderful had longer together.” After five years of scrapbooks to the University of Iowa’s man with two raised sons, whom I marriage, Charlie passed away. “In ‘Jewish Women in Iowa Project,’ a part adored, and life was good. We weren’t retrospect, I was really lucky,” explains of The Iowa Women’s Archives, in See Millie Altman page 6 married more than eight years though, Millie. “While it was so hard when


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6 | The Jewish Press | December 15, 2017

Beth El’s Hanukkah maker pop-up kicked off holiday fun


Gabby blair Staff Writer, Jewish Press Innovative, interactive and fun, Beth El’s Hanukkah Maker Pop-up, held on Sunday. Dec. 3 at Westroads mall, was a great success! Volunteers stayed busy running exciting stations including dreidel spinning, potato clock making, olive oil infusion, travel menorah kit decorating and beeswax

candle rolling. The highlight of the event was Doug Wolfson’s amazing 3D printer demo in which dreidels were created before large audiences of community members, mall shoppers and passersby, all drawn in to experience a little Hanukkah magic! Special thanks to all who volunteered and attended this very special event engineered by Shira Abraham and Ariella Rohr!

Please let the Jewish Press know in advance when you are leaving and when you are returning. Sometimes several papers are sent to your “old” address before we are notified by the Post Office. Every time they return a paper to us, you miss the Jewish Press and we are charged! Please call us at 402.334.6448 or email us at

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Millie altman

Continued from page 5 Iowa City. Jeannette Gabriel, Archive Curator shares, “Mildred’s graciously donated scrapbooks provide a glimpse into a vibrant, and previously unknown, community of Jewish youth in Sioux City during the Great Depression and WWII. The scrapbook is packed full of artistic creativity and imagination. It meticulously documented the dreams of a group of young women as they formed a secret sorority in high school, made scavenger hunts and threw house parties, and then became engaged to young men who went to War. Mildred’s contribution to the Jewish Women in Iowa Project provides context to better understand Midwestern Jewish women’s lives.” One of Millie’s most favorite family pastimes is playing cards. “She’s played since she was young and has many invitations and score cards in her scrapbook,” explains Debby Bailen. “Bridge was her favorite, along with Gin Rummy and Solitaire. She is a deadly Gin player and has passed down her strategies and love of cards to all of her progeny.” Granddaughter Sarah Smith lovingly shared memories of spending time with her grandmother while growing up. “My grandma loves the color purple, specifically lavender, so this color always makes me think of her. I remember spending Saturdays learning to play Gin Rummy and eating frozen pizzas with Grandma Millie. As a family we would play cards a lot, pulling out multiple decks to play Shanghai. Grandma would always start off complaining about the quality of her hand, and then she would win the hand, over and over! I love her so much and am so thankful to have a grandmother like her.” Millie’s children, Lewis and Sandra, both mention their mother’s unparalleled gift for numbers and laughingly agree that she is a card shark.

“Mom would be playing and likely beating you, while explaining your mistakes from five hands ago,” exclaims Lewis. “Consider that this sweet, lovely lady has survived three caring husbands and two of her own children, yet she stays positive and has a ready smile and a warm hug for everyone she encounters,” says daughter-in-law Debby Bailen. Daughter Sandra agrees. “My mom is a remarkable woman and a model of how one might live a full and meaningful life through simple acts of generosity and kindness. She’s always been forward thinking, open minded, open hearted and accepting. As a youngster, I don’t think I really knew her. One of the most precious gifts of my life is her long life which has given me the opportunity to know her not just as ‘my Mom’ but as a woman of incredible grace and optimism who is game for whatever life brings.” Millie isn’t able to crochet or scrapbook anymore and instead fills her time with word puzzles and surfing the web. “My son, Eddie, who passed away in 2014, was always a real whiz with anything mechanical. He invented machines that were used to automate production and taught me how to use the computer!” Her love of the computer has earned her the nickname ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ among friends and family. Altman says that since turning 100, she is often asked what her secret is for living such a long life. “I’ve no idea what to tell people when asked this question... maybe I’m not done with my job on Earth yet. It’s always been important for me to keep moving forward and keep busy, both mentally and physically. I am just so pleased that all my children grew up so well and that I have such a wonderful family. I can only say that more important than living a long life is living a full life, and I think I’ve done pretty darn well.”

Regents approve naming atrium after Dr. Edward and Sally Malashock


lisa spellMan UNMC Public Relations he University of Nebraska Board of Regents recently approved naming the atrium of the Davis Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to be called the Dr. Edward and Sally Malashock Atrium. “By naming the atrium of the Davis Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning after Dr. Edward and Sally Malashock, we recognize the generosity and dedication to UNMC that they have shown over the years and we express our deepest gratitude,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., chancellor. The Malashocks established the Dr. Edward and Sally Malashock Fund for the Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning this year with a major gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation. The donation was made to support construction of the Davis Global Center currently under construction on campus at 42nd and Emile Streets. Per the family’s wishes the gift amount was not disclosed. In 1989, they created the Edward and Sally Malashock Chair of Urologic Surgery at UNMC as a permanently endowed fund at the NU Foundation that provides annual salary, research and program support for urologic surgery. An alum of both the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and UNMC, Dr. Malashock earned his medical degree in 1946. In 1965, he was the urologic surgeon on the team that performed the first two kidney transplants in Nebraska. That same year he became a UNMC faculty member and served as a clinical professor of surgery in the section of urology until his retirement from both private practice and teaching in 1989. Dr. Malashock has received numerous awards including the 2009 Nebraska Medical Center Legends award; 2002 College of Medicine Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus award; and the Outstanding Physician Award. He also is honored on the UNMC Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education Wall of Honor. Nebraska Medicine and UNMC’s mission is to lead the world in transforming lives to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities through educational programs, research and extraordinary patient care.

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community ask Rabbi Katzman

Most of us have been blessed to grow up in an environment that taught us, by example, to be kind, to help others in need and to give of ourselves. putting forth effort to make someone else’s life better not only helps them... it feels good to the giver. but... there is always more we can do... someone else that needs time and attention, another lonely person in need – it is Rabbi MenDel always an uncompleted task. KatzMan i find myself struggling with how to not Chabad of Nebraska give so much of myself that there is not much left for me. (sometimes referred to as caregiver burnout) what does judaism teach us about this? how can we balance fulfilling our obligation to do for others, and at the same time... make sure we are doing enough to care for ourselves? burned out

Dear Burned Out, We can address this very important question by looking at the Torah’s attitude towards tzedakah. But first I mention the fact that in the ‘giving- of- oneself- department’ there are many variations. There are those to whom giving of oneself is unthinkable. They are busy, caught up with their own concerns, and focused on ways to advance their life’s mission. Alternatively, we have leaders the likes of Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses), Maimonides, and the Rebbe, for whom “self ” did not exist. With every fiber of their beings, at every moment of their tumultuous lives, they were focused outward. On the other. On the community’s needs. Their time was not their own. Their space overrun by others. Everything they owned they gave away. They needed nothing. Most of us find ourselves somewhere between these two

Did you know...

• There are at least 44 candles in each box of Hanukkah candles, enough for the entire eight nights? • The average 110-gram sufganiyah packs 400-600 calories, while one potato latke has 150? • Chocolate coins are 85 calories each? • Israeli author and politician Avram Burg is said to have the largest dreidel collection in the world, counting more than 3,500?

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extremes and the knowledge and awareness of our own needs and weaknesses is critical. Now to the Tzedakah discussion: The Torah enjoins us to give ten percent of our earnings to Tzedakah. This obligation applies to everyone. One may give more, up to 20 percent of our earnings, if we are feeling generous. But, says Torah law, one may not give more than 20 percent of our earnings. Why? Because if we give too much, we may become indigent, requiring assistance from the community, thereby defeating the purpose of our original Tzedakah intent. If we want to help others, we may do so. But we shouldn’t give to the extent where we short change ourselves and become a burden to others. (In our times, this 20 percent cap is lifted as many are able to give even 90 percent of their equity and not feel the squeeze) Herein lies the answer to your question: Your average Tom, Dick, or Harry is not capable and not expected to give of oneself to the extent where he compromises his ability to take care of himself. If we give too much and experience burnout, we become individuals who were compromised and now need help. We may feel resentful. Victimized. Taken advantage of. Of course there are times of emergency when we all pitch in and give of ourselves more than we can handle. But those are emergencies. How does one assess the right amount of giving? It’s important to have a mentor whose familiarity with us allows them to be objective and honest. The mentor can regularly help us assess our limits and abilities. Our mentor assists to evaluate if we are doing enough and when to cut back when we have over-committed. Find a mentor who you feel knows you well, whose judgement you trust, and with whom you feel comfortable. Do you have a question for Rabbi Katzman? Please send your inquiries to with “Ask the Rabbi” in the subject line.


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The sky is falling

ANNETTE vAN DE KAMP Editor, Jewish Press resident Trump’s announcement on Wednesday December 6 acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has many of us wondering: what’s next? It’s not easy to decide what to think about this latest development. The sky is falling, for sure. Or maybe it isn’t. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened since. Over 130 Jewish studies scholars from U.S. colleges and universities signed a statement expressing “dismay” at President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “Palestine is an innocent victim… As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist! We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. Two rockets were fired on Thursday evening, December 7, as Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank protested Trump’s announcement. Palestinians and Israeli troops clashed at the border earlier in the day. Some 300 people were wounded in riots across the West Bank, from Hebron to Ramallah. And tens of thousands protested in front of U.S. embassies from Indonesia to Pakistan to Austria. Of course, there were protests on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. More than a dozen men hurled firebombs at a synagogue in Gothenburg in southern Sweden hours after locals marched in the city against the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And in Amsterdam, a Palestinian broke the windows of a kosher eatery in protest. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Trump’s words improve the chance of reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Czech President Milos Zeman supported U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said Prague may follow suit, diverging with the position of his country’s Foreign Ministry. Meanwhile, the Paris branch of the far-left Antifa organization appeared to call for Israel’s destruction and for violent protests in that

city against the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s ing compared to the hatred and vitriol directed at Israel. Any criticism of the U.S. focuses on Trump as a person; not on capital. Israeli officials who spoke anonymously downplayed the the country as a whole. With the exception of the U.S. Rethreat of a diplomatic backlash to the American move. Pales- form movement’s statements, most responses to Trump’s tinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the United announcement fed the BDS movement, demonized and States could no longer act as a mediator between Israel and blamed Israel and in quite a few cases were outright antithe Palestinians. World leaders expressed concern and Arab and Muslim leaders warned of disaster. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for Palestinians to launch a new intifada, and the Israeli army braced for violence by redeploying troops to the West Bank and putting more soldiers on standby. (sources: JTA, Ha’aretz, CNN and Times of Israel) In a nutshell, hysteria ensued and everybody everywhere had something to say about Trump’s announcement. The question is: what is the appropriate response? I don’t know that there is a guideline for this. I for one didn’t think the announcement would really happen; I still find it hard to believe the U.S. embassy will actually be moved The site where a rocket fired from Gaza hit the southern Israeli city Credit: Flash90 from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Plus, President of Sderot, Oct. 05, 2016. Trump did sign the embassy waiver and even Secretary of Semitic. I believe Jerusalem already is the capital of Israel. I also State Tillerson admitted that relocation would be a lengthy and complicated process. So maybe we should, dare I say believe we don’t live in a peaceful world. Finally, I believe it it, all take a deep breath. However, if this past year in U.S. is not the job of the U.S. government to make the case for policy has taught us anything, it is that preconceived notions Jerusalem. It will not bring us closer to peace. Why stir up cannot serve as a trustworthy guideline. At this point, any- trouble when there are so many ways to actually support the State of Israel? Why not focus on the economy, thing is possible. What would it mean, were the U.S. embassy actually strengthen business ties, fight BDS, or emphasize educamoved to Jerusalem? There would be riots and mayhem, but tional opportunities? Learn from each other in the fields of that’s the easy answer. My deeper question is: if it is the medicine and technology? It’s anyone’s guess what the coming weeks will look like. United States making a policy change, building on that policy change and upsetting the status quo, why is it that Israel If this were a litmus test for how Israel is viewed in the receives the blame? Fine, with the Israeli flag, the stars and world, the news is not good. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. stripes were also set aflame at many of the demonstrations Just once, I wish people everywhere would approach the last week, but make no mistake: anti-U.S. sentiment is noth- State of Israel with honesty, fairness and an open mind.

How Jews on the left and the right are empowering BDS SEffI KOGEN JTA The BDS debacle at the University of Michigan proved once again that Jews can be their own worst enemies. Since 2002, the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government (CSG) has, on 10 occasions, rejected resolutions to support the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction the State of Israel. This month, however, for the first time, the resolution passed, to much hand-wringing in the Jewish community. The students who fought the resolution — sacrificing sleep, schoolwork and social lives — did absolutely everything they could, and are to be commended. And, after the resolution passed, the university’s administration immediately announced that, despite the vote, Michigan would not become the first school in the country to divest from Israel. Just why did the resolution pass this time? Contributing factors included strong bonds forged between various “progressive” coalitions and anti-Israel students; a stacked CSG (the vice president and several other members were staunch supporters of divestment); and a pervasive know-nothingness that saw the anti-Israel crowd raucously cheer the decision to prevent Professor Victor Lieberman — a recognized expert in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — from speaking at the debate on divestment from Israel. But what sealed the deal in favor of BDS were Jews — in two different flavors of radicalism. Sadly, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has become an integral part of nearly every campus-based attack on Israel, and Michigan was no exception. Jarring, though unsurprising, was the op-ed from the University of Michigan chapter of JVP, published the day before the divestment vote, entitled “To fight white supremacy, support divestment.”

This, of course, is a blatant lie: The creation of the State of Israel was itself a historic triumph over a white supremacist regime that sought to destroy a people it considered racially inferior. What is JVP’s evidence that Israel represents white supremacy? First, they charge that Jewish organizations (including my own, the American Jewish Committee) issued congratulations to President Trump after his November 2016 victory — which, as nonpartisan entities, they surely were right to do, whatever they thought of the new president. Next, they cite the odious

“It is your duty to make sure that today’s radicals are NOT tomorrow’s employees.” The site has documented the names, affiliations and activities of a number of young anti-Israel activists at campuses across the country, holding them accountable, in perpetuity, for the ill-advised tweets from their youth, their membership in political organizations and their campus activism. Some of those exposed by the site are undoubtedly Israel-haters. But by creating the specter of a blacklist, Canary Mission handed powerful ammunition to the anti-Israel crowd at Michigan. Using Canary Mission as a bogeyman, BDS proponents so scared the members of the CSG that they would end up on a shadowy website intended to make them unemployable that they took the extraordinary measure of voting by secret ballot. As the Washington Post’s memorable slogan puts it, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” This deeply unAn aerial view of Michigan Stadium as the sun rises on the University democratic decision to vote in seof Michigan campus. Credit: University of Michigan/Flickr cret left the members of CSG Richard Spencer, the disreputable doyen of the completely unaccountable to the voters who had alt-right, who, true to his trollish nature, heaps elected them. Thus unburdened, they voted, narpraise upon Israel despite his well-known disrerowly, to divest. gard for Jews. Finally, they offer a litany of disNow Canary Mission, in a preposterous partputed racial incidents in Israeli history, as if nership with its ideological opposites at JVP, has Israel must be perfect to deserve to exist. forced the Jewish and pro-Israel community at This rhetoric isn’t limited to Michigan. At the University of Michigan to deal with the fallschools across the country, and off-campus as out of a successful BDS resolution. well, JVP’s outspoken anti-Zionism gives cover Is all lost for the pro-Israel community on to non-Jewish Israel-bashers and renders them campus? Have we entered an era when these two immune to the charge of anti-Semitism, no matoddest of Jewish bedfellows open the floodgates ter how deserving of the label they might be. to widespread divestment? Hardly. The very next The second type of radical Jew that helped ennight, with no Jewish Voice for Peace op-ed and sure the BDS victory is the far-right group bean open, roll-call vote, the University of Maryhind the McCarthyite blacklist at Canary land student government heartily rejected BDS. Mission. The website, launched in early 2015, anSeffi Kogen is the American Jewish Commitnounced itself with a video featuring the tagline tee’s director of campus affairs.

The Jewish Press | December 15, 2017 | 9

Winners and losers as the us recognizes Jerusalem as israel’s capital michaeL J. KoPLoW JTA President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his announcement that he will move the embassy there from Tel Aviv will have a number of consequences for Israelis, Palestinians and the wider region. For Israel, it has finally received from an American president what it has long craved, which is righting the historic wrong of it being the only state whose self-declared capital is not recognized by the rest of the world. Israel’s government institutions are primarily in West Jerusalem in undisputed territory, and by formally recognizing this fact, Trump acknowledged what has been obvious to Israelis since the founding of the state 70 years ago. In using language that was not qualified and declaring “Jerusalem” to be the capital, some Israelis may interpret this to constitute an endorsement of Israeli claims to the entirety of the city, even though Trump explicitly ruled out this announcement as prejudging final status issues or the specific borders of Israeli sovereignty in the city. Nevertheless, even a more appropriate interpretation that the U.S. has recognized only the undisputed sections of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is an enormously positive development for the Israeli government, and it will have cause to celebrate. For the Palestinians, Trump’s qualifier that his announcement does not prejudice final status issues and the presi-

dent’s extolling of the importance of peace will not eliminate the bitterness of this pill. Trump’s lack of an explicit endorsement of an equal Palestinian claim to part of the city will be seen as a reversal of longstanding American policy and make it far more difficult for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to continue to engage with

a patron at a Jerusalem pub watches as President donald Trump recognizes the city as israel’s capital, dec. 6, 2017. Credit: onatan sindel/flash90 Trump’s emerging peace initiative. It will adversely affect Palestinian cooperation with the U.S. and Israel going forward, and is likely to lead to protests and violence. While nothing that Trump said Wednesday has actually

changed the situation on the ground, for the Palestinians this is an extremely significant symbolic loss. Today’s announcement will also make it more difficult for Sunni Arab states to be seen as publicly backing a Trump peace initiative, as Jerusalem remains one of the most sensitive issues among Arab publics. Serving as boosters for the Trump peace plan or being seen as heading toward normalization with Israel following this announcement will put Arab governments in a political bind, and despite the president’s prediction that this move will make a peace agreement easier, the opposite is likely to be the case. Public opinion serves as a heavy brake even in authoritarian states, and while the importance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has subsided for many Arabs in recent years, any changes in Jerusalem’s status quo have the ability to reverse that trend given the unique sensitivity surrounding the city. While the Trump announcement will change nothing on the ground itself, as Israel’s capital was Jerusalem even before Trump acknowledged it and moving the embassy will take years, the symbolism should not be understated. In declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital without making a clear statement that the U.S. does not recognize unhindered Israeli sovereignty in eastern Jerusalem, Trump may end up killing his own peace initiative in the cradle for the sake of an announcement whose timing was unnecessary now. Michael J. Koplow is the policy director of the Israel Policy Forum.

Why Jewish groups aren’t thrilled about the upcoming tax overhaul ron KamPeas WASHINGTON | JTA Staring at a massive defeat, Jewish groups dealing with social safety net issues are looking at the tax plan about to reach its final stages in Congress and hoping they can snatch a few small victories. The hope is that lawmakers in reconciling the bills preserve a number of elements of the Senate bill, particularly deductions for medical expenses. B’nai B’rith International, which advocates for elderly care, cited the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that the slashed taxes in the Senate and House bills would increase the deficit to $1 trillion. The measures ostensibly compensate for tax cuts by removing loopholes and deductions, but overall there will be massive losses in revenue. That could encourage lawmakers to slash medical coverage entitlements like Medicare for older Americans and Medicaid for the poor, according to B’nai B’rith, the largest national Jewish sponsor of low-income housing for seniors. “Many seniors would be at severe risk to not have the funds to cover basic housing, medical and food costs” were Medicare subsidies cut, the group said in its statement. The House of Representatives passed its bill a month ago, while the Senate advanced its version over the weekend. This week, the chambers are likely to go into conference to reconcile the bills, which President Donald Trump wants on his desk before Christmas. Jewish groups said they hoped the Senate version prevails for a number of reasons: • It preserves deductions for medical expenses. Most Americans who apply for the deductions, which apply if

one’s medical expenses exceed 10 percent of one’s income, are older than 65. • It has more expansive allowances for itemizing deductions for charitable giving, a practice that Jewish groups say is critical to their fundraising. “As more taxpayers continue to itemize, there will be less negative impact on charitable

senate majority Leader mitch mcconnell speaking as other republican leaders in the senate, John barrasso, left, orrin hatch, John Thune and John cornyn, look on, nov. 28, 2017. Credit: Chip somodevilla/Getty Images giving,” the Jewish Federations of North America said in a memo Monday to its constituent federations. The Senate version also does not touch current reporting for donor-advised funds, the system of allowing donors to determine where a federation spends the money they park in planned-giving vehicles. It’s a key way for federations to expand their donor base.

Orthodox Israeli singer covers eyes at concert to avoid seeing women dance JTA news sTAff A popular haredi Orthodox singer covered his eyes with tape during a Jerusalem concert so he would not have to see women dancing. Watching women dance is forbidden in Orthodox Jewish law, but Yonatan Razel’s move on Sunday is being called unprecedented. He covered his eyes for a few minutes at the International Conference Center show when some women began to dance at the front of the crowd, then removed the tape for the rest of the concert. Razel, 44, is one of Israel’s most successful haredi performers and recently released his third album. e concert was at a festival of Orthodox music for women. Razel’s move prompted some criticism online and from women’s groups.

“How far will this ostensibly religious extremism go?” Galia Wolloch, head of the women’s rights group Na’amat, wrote on Facebook. “And who are the religious authorities who encourage this bizarre behavior?” “is makes me really sad,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “I really enjoy Yonatan Razel's music and play it oen. Seems like this was done rather intentionally as there are so many different ways to avoid looking at someone/something versus TAPING YOUR EYES SHUT” Razel’s representative said the singer’s actions have been overly scrutinized. “Razel wants to say that he has appeared regularly for years before women and respects them, and his actions yesterday should not be given any other significance,” he said.

“In sum, the Senate version of HR 1 is more favorable than the House-passed bill to the charitable sector in general and federations in particular,” the JFNA memo said. • It does not remove the so-called Johnson Amendment, which blocks houses of worship from directly campaigning for political candidates. An array of centrist and liberal groups oppose removing the amendment; conservative Christian groups want it gone. Trump campaigned last year for the removal of the amendment, named for Lyndon Johnson, who led its passage as a Texas senator in the 1950s. The House version removes it. • The Senate version includes an amendment that would allow $10,000 a year in tax-exempt student savings plans to go toward private school tuition. Currently the monies are dedicated almost solely to university tuition. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced the amendment, which is favored by Orthodox Jewish groups, and it passed by a 51-50 margin -Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote. “We are supporting the expansion of 529 education savings accounts to the K-12 level,” said Abba Cohen, Washington director for the haredi Orthodox Agudath Israel of America, using the tax code name for the savings plans. “Tax-free withdrawals will include private school tuition and could help some parents in the community better afford the high cost of Jewish education.” One disappointment for Orthodox groups: At the last minute, lawmakers removed an amendment backed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that would have allowed parents sending their children to religious school to deduct 25 percent of their tuition fees as a charitable contribution. The Orthodox Union had backed the amendment.

LeTTer To The ediTor

Dear Editor, This letter is addressed to people who have been married 50 years or longer. I would like to know what is the most cherished wedding gift you still have and who gave it to you. Please contact me at Thank you, oliver b. Pollak

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synagogues B’naI ISrael Synagogue

618 Mynster Street Council Bluffs, IA 51503-0766 712.322.4705 email:

BeTh el Synagogue

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

BeTh ISrael Synagogue

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

ChaBaD houSe

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

CongregaTIon B’naI JeShurun

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

offuTT aIr forCe BaSe

Capehart Chapel 2500 Capehart Road Offutt AFB, NE 68123 402.294.6244 email:

roSe BlumkIn JewISh home

323 South 132 Street Omaha, NE 68154

TemPle ISrael

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

TIfereTh ISrael

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

B’naI ISrael Synagogue

Please join us for our upcoming events: Join us for our monthly Shabbat Speakers Series on Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m. with guest speaker Howard Kutler. He will talk about his grandparents, Harry and Sarah, who left Russian in the early 1990s and immigrated to Council Bluffs. He will address their journey and the wonderful new life they built in America. (Please note special date.) Our service leader is Larry Blass, and as always, an oneg to follow service. Everyone is always welcome at B’nai Israel! For information on our historic synagogue, please contact any of our board members: Scott Friedman, Rick Katelman, Carole Lainof, Marty Ricks, Sissy Silber, Nancy Wolf and Phil Wolf.

BeTh el Synagogue

Services conducted by Rabbi Steven Abraham and Hazzan Michael Krausman. frIDay: Kabbalat Shabbat, 6 p.m. SaTurDay: Shabbat Morning Services, 9:30 a.m. Bar mitzvah of Peyton kelln; Mini-Minyannaires, 10:45 a.m.; Mincha/Ma’ariv, 4:45 p.m. weekDay SerVICeS: Sundays, 9:30 a.m. & 5:30 p.m.; weekdays, 7 a.m. & 5:30 p.m. SunDay: BESTT Classes, 9:30 a.m.-noon; Torah Study, 10 a.m.; Celebrate Hanukkah with Torah Tots Part II, 10:30 a.m.-noon; Prophets and the Cities: Biblical City Gates wtih Rami Arav, 11 a.m.-noon; Kadima Class with Amy, 11 a.m.noon; Kadima Program, noon-2 p.m. TueSDay: Rabbi’s Book Club, noon at Whole Foods. weDneSDay: Chesed Committee visits Sterling Ridge, 2 p.m.; No BESTT Classes; No Hebrew High Classes; BILU USY Study for Finals, 4-6 p.m.; Rabbi’s Book Club, 7 p.m. Nebraska AIDS Lunch, friday, Dec. 22, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Contact Joan Marcus if you can help donate baked goods. Switch Day at the Blumkin Home, monday, Dec. 25. To sign-up, contact Larry Kronick at or 402.515.2888. All classes and programs are open to everyone in the Jewish community.

BeTh ISrael Synagogue

Services conducted by Rabbi Ari Dembitzer. frIDay: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Candle Lighting and Mincha, 4:38 p.m. SaTurDay: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Tot Shbbat, 10:40 a.m.; Hanukkah Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.; Insights into the Weekly Torah, 3:35 p.m.; Mincha/Seudah Shlishit, 4:20 p.m.; Havdalah, 5:43 p.m. SunDay: Shacharit, 9 a.m.; Bagels and Beit Medrash, 9:45 a.m.; The Jewish Way to Death and Mourning with Rabbi Ari, 10 a.m.; JYE BI Hanukkah Carnival, 4 p.m. monDay: Shacharit, 6:45 a.m.; Talmudic Tales with Rabbi Shlomo, noon. TueSDay: Shacharit, 6:45 a.m. weDneSDay: Shacharit, 7 a.m. ThurSDay: Shacharit, 7 a.m.; Women’s Class with Rabbi Ari, 9:30 a.m.

ChaBaD houSe

Office hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Services conducted by Rabbi Mendel Katzman. frIDay: Shacharit, 7 a.m. followed by coffee, treats, study and shmoozing. SaTurDay: Shabbat Morning Service, 9:30 a.m. weekDayS: Shacharit, 7 a.m. followed by coffee, treats, study and shmoozing. ThurSDay: Talmud Class, noon with Rabbi Mendel Katzman All programs are open to the entire community.

CongregaTIon B’naI JeShurun

Services conducted by Rabbi Teri Appleby. frIDay: Candlelighting for Hanukkah—4 candles, 4:42 p.m.; Hanukkah Service, 6 p.m. with congregational menorah lighting. SaTurDay: Shabbat Morning Service, 9:30 a.m.; Torah Study on Parashat Miketz, 10:30 a.m.; Candlelighting for Hanukkah—5 candles, 5:50 p.m. SunDay: LJCS Gan through Grade 7, 9:30 a.m.; LJCS Gesher, 10 a.m.; Candlelighting for Hanukkah—6 candles, 5:51 p.m.; South Street Temple is partnering with "We Can Do This"

to provide weekend meals to the children of the F Street Community Center. Join us as we provide lunch on the third Sunday of every month. Food/monetary donations, meal preparation and assistance with setting up, serving, and clean-up are needed! We will serve our next meal at 2:30 p.m. We are looking for a volunteer to help Aimee Hyten coordinate this project: For more information, email Sarah Beringer at sarah.m. monDay: Candlelighting for Hanukkah—7 candles, 5:51 p.m. TueSDay: Candlelighting for Hanukkah—8 candles, 5:51 p.m.; Ladies’ Lunch Group, noon at Issara Modern Asian Cuisine, 1707 Pine Lake Road. Please contact Deborah Swearingen at 402.475.7528 with any questions; Intro to Judaism, Session #4, 7 p.m. led by Rabbi Appleby. weDneSDay: LJCS Hebrew School, 4 p.m. ThurSDay: Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m. Our Chesed branch (Caring Committee) is looking for volunteers to provide transportation for Temple members and friends who aren’t able to drive themselves to doctor’s appointments and other commitments. Volunteers are also being sought to help caregivers in our Temple community when they need a little time to get things done for themselves. Contact Chesed Branch Head Vicki Edwards at if you would like to help with this important mitzvah. 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 any time the Temple is open.

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. Services will be held in the Chapel. Members of the community are invited to attend.

TemPle ISrael

frIDay: Celebrate Hanukkah with Latkes, Dreidels and Song: Hanukkah Service, 6 p.m. Family-friendly, interactive Hanukkah service, featuring our Kol Rina choir. Bring your dreidels! Bring your favorite family menorah! We will be lighting candles in the sanctuary at the start of service. SaTurDay: Torah Study, 9:15 a.m.; Shabbat Service, 10:30 a.m.

SunDay: Temple Israel Book Club, 9 a.m.;Grades PreK-6 with Hanukkah Party, 10 a.m.; Temple Tots Sunday, 10:30 a.m.; Temple TED Talk, 10:30 a.m.; OTYG Meeting, noon; Winter Wonderland with JYG, 2 p.m.; Hanukkah Candle Lighting at Heritage, 5:30 p.m. monDay: Light the Menorah Candles with OTYG at Heritage Sterling Ridge, 5:30 p.m. weDneSDay: Grades 3-6, 4 p.m.; T’filah for School, 4:30 p.m.; School Dinner, 6 p.m.; Grades 7-12, 6 p.m.; Family School, 6 p.m.; Guiding Principles for the Synagogue Community: R’fu’ah: Be Caring and Empathetic, 6:30 p.m. taught by Rabbi Brian Stoller. ThurSDay: Adult Education Symposium: Jewish Heroes, Heroines, and Personalities: Jesus: Theodor Herzl, 10 a.m. taught by Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin. All classes meet at Temple Israel.

TIfereTh ISrael

No Religious School: Winter Break, Dec. 24-Jan. 6. Services conducted by lay leader Nancy Coren. Office hours: monday-friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. frIDay: Short Kabbalat Services, 6:30-6:45 p.m. followed by members of the Tour of Israel 2017 group will speak about their experiences in Israel last summer. The discussion will center around highlights of the tour and their reflections about their learning. Join us as this group shares with us. SaTurDay: Shabbat Morning service, 10 a.m.; Junior Congregation, 11 a.m.; Please join us after services for a light Kiddush Lunch. SunDay: LJCS Gan through Grade 7, 9:30 a.m.; LJCS Gesher, 10 a.m.; TI Has Talent & Our Annual Hanukkah Latke Party, 12:15 p.m. at Tifereth Israel. We're looking for congregants who will sing, dance, play an instrument, tell jokes, do martial arts, recite poetry, etc. Sign up to be a performer by emailing Nancy Coren at or calling 402.770.4167. TueSDay: Ladies’ Lunch Group, noon at Issara Modern Asian Cuisine, 1707 Pine Lake Road. Please contact Deborah Swearingen at 402.475.7528 with any questions. weDneSDay: LJCS Hebrew School, 4 p.m. at TI. ThurSDay: Hebrew classes for adults, 6:30-7:30 p.m., with Esti Sheinberg. It's not too soon to be thinking about summer camp! All Federation families are eligible for Camp Incentive Grants of $300 per camper to pay the initial camp registration deposit. Application packets are availible in the Tifereth Israel foyer.

Palestinian man stabs Jerusalem security guard in the chest

JERUSALEM | JTA aid of a respirator. A Palestinian man stabbed and seriously inThe terrorist, a 24-year old from the Palestinjured a security guard in Jerusalem at the city’s ian West Bank city Nablus, was chased and central bus station. tackled by a police officer and civilian byThe apparent terror attack Sunday came as Palestinians continued to protest against the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, clashing violently with security forces. On Saturday evening, Dec. 9, the Palestinian man wrote on Facebook: “For Allah, we must boost Jerusalem’s status, restore religion’s glory and sanctify Al-Aqsa, and the blood will flow from us,” Ynet reported. The man has no ties to terrorist groups and committed the attack as a “lone wolf,” according to Hebrew media reports. The guard was reportedly checking Israel Police officers securing the scene where a Palestinian the belongings of people before they enman stabbed an Israeli security guard at the Central Bus Station tered the bus station, which is routine. in Jerusalem, Dec. 10, 2017. Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 He reportedly was inspecting the Palestinian man’s backpack when the terrorist pulled standers and held until security forces arrested out a knife and stabbed the guard in the chest. him and took him away for questioning. The guard, in his 30s, arrived at Shaare Zedek The man had a permit to work in the seam Medical Center in Jerusalem in critical condizone of the West Bank — between the security tion, Haaretz reported. It was later reported barrier and Israel’s internationally recognized that the knife actually hit his heart, and that he border — but not further west, according to the remains unconscious and breathing with the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet.

The Jewish Press | December 15, 2017 | 11

lifecycles BAr MITZVAH


Noah Shrago, son of Michael and Melissa Shrago and Lesli Shrago, will become a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, Dec. 23 at Beth Israel Synagogue. Noah is a seventh grade honors student at Alfonza Davis Middle School and a graduate of Friedel Jewish Academy. He enjoys playing the drums and taking voice lessons. He also enjoys math and playing video games. Noah has an older brother, Ethan. Grandparents are Helene and Jack Shrago and step-grandparents, Shelley and Skip Stern.

Parsha Miketz — Hanukkah

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The rabbis tell us that the persecution the Jews faced under the Greeks during Hanukkah was because we became lazy in our spiritual growth. Yosef ’s brothers saw him as a “naar” or a lad. He seemed childish in their eyes. What they failed to realize was the positive that is in childhood. The passion. The energy. On Hanukkah we rededicate ourselves to grow with rABBI ArI DEMBITZEr passion and energy like a child. Beth Israel Synagogue Shabbat Shalom

Palestinians must recognize Jerusalem as Jewish state’s capital, Netanyahu tells EU foreign ministers JTA newS STAFF Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of European foreign ministers that the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state and its capital, Jerusalem. Israel is open to seeing what kind of peace plan the United States will put forward, Netanyahu said. “I think we should give peace a chance. I think we should see what is presented and see if we can advance this peace. But if we have to begin it, I would say it’s one place: recognize the Jewish state,” he said Monday morning in Brussels. “It’s always been about the Jewish state. And it’s time that the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state and also recognize the fact that it has a capital. It’s called Jerusalem. “I believe that even though we don’t have an agreement yet, this is what will happen in the future. I believe that all or most of the European countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem, recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and engage robustly with us for security, prosperity and peace.” e prime minister praised President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying that Trump “put facts squarely on the table.” Netanyahu said that Israel was attacked long before any settlements were built and long before there were territorial issues. “We were attacked not because of this or that piece of territory, but of the idea of any territory, that there would

be a Jewish state, a nation-state for the Jewish people in any boundary was rejected by our neighbors,” he said. “is is what led to the conflict, and this is what continues the conflict.” Netanyahu noted that Israeli intelligence has prevented dozens of terrorist attacks, many of them on European soil. “I believe that Israel serves a very important security function for the people of Europe in ways that are not always understood, but increasingly are appreciated by the relevant governments,” he said. Prior to his meeting with the EU foreign ministers, Netanyahu met with reporters alongside EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who said the EU is opposed to changing Jerusalem’s status before a peace agreement is brokered between Israel and the Palestinians. Mogherini reiterated the union’s principled opposition to a change in Jerusalem’s status before a comprehensive peace agreement. “e only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both,” she said. Mogherini also condemned “in the strongest possible way all attacks on Jews everywhere in the world, including in Europe, and on Israel and on Israeli citizens.” She added that the European Union will redouble its efforts to relaunch the peace process.

NY Port Authority suspect blames bombing on Israeli actions in Gaza

NEW YORK | JTA was upset with an unspecified e suspect in a pipe bomb “incursion into Gaza.” attack on this city’s Port AuOn Dec. 8, rockets fired at southern Israel from Gaza thority Bus Terminal said he was motivated by Israeli acdamaged the entrance of an tions in Gaza, CNN reported. empty kindergarten in the Akayed Ullah spoke with town of Sderot. Israel reauthorities at Bellevue Hospisponded late Friday night with airstrikes on Hamas miltal, where he was taken aer itary installations in Gaza that the bomb went off premakilled two Hamas operatives. turely. He was among four e next day, the Israel Depeople injured in the attack Police and other first responders at the Port Authority Bus Terfense Forces discovered and when his homemade bomb minal in New York City after an explosion forced the hub to shut demolished a terror tunnel partially detonated in a tundown, Dec. 11, 2017. Credit: Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images that crossed into Israel from nel connecting the Times Square subway station with the Midtown Manhattan transit central Gaza. “He detonated the bomb, the explosive chemical in the hub during the Dec. 11 morning rush hour. bomb went off, it did not have the desired affect of causing New York Police identified Ullah, 27, as a resident of the pipe itself to shatter, which would’ve caused the more Brooklyn. He is said to be of Bangladeshi origin and has significant damage,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said lived in the United States for the past seven years. CNN cited a “law enforcement source” who said Ullah said he on MSNBC.


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12 | The Jewish Press | December 15, 2017


In Budapest, Hanukkah comes out of the shadows and onto the ice rink

Cnaan LIPHSHIz Oberlander isn’t just referring to public events at ice skating rinks — an example of Jews reclaiming their place in society. Judafest, which BUDAPEST | JTA there’s also the longstanding practice of placing Hanukkah menorahs was held for the 10th consecutive year, draws thousands of Jews and he outdoor ice skating rink — the largest in Central Europe on the windowsill, specifically for all to see. non-Jews to the historically Jewish 7th district for sessions, activities — in Budapest’s city center has been part and parcel of “Meaning, don’t be low key!” he told JTA. and exhibitions connected to Jewish cooking, dancing and Yiddish. Hungary’s Christmas tradition for nearly 150 years. Oberlander, 53, does not skate himself, he said, explaining he’s “not But there’s something special about the Hanukkah on ice event, Stretching across 3.5 acres between Heroes’ Square and very good at it.” But in his community, the event is one of the most pop- which is held at an iconic location with strong ties to the holiday period Vajdahunyad Castle, the Budapest City Park Ice Rink draws ular because of how it combines seasonal amenities, sports and religious for all Hungarians. hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the country each winter. ceremony in a fun, family-friendly setting. “I think it indicates a generational difference in which young people They come for the Christmas market, the winter festival, and the promHis interpretation of how Jews should celebrate Hanukkah is shared our age don’t think twice about participating in an event that celebrates, ise of smooth ice and affordable skate rentals. by many rabbis all over the world — Chabad rabbis, in particular — who publicly, our Jewish identity,” Eszter Fabriczki, 30, a regular at the It’s an enormous and enormously event, told JTA. “Holocaust surpopular attraction, so City Park Ice vivors passed the fear element to Rink is busy nearly every day with their children, but not to their grandthe Christmas revelers. Except, children.” however, on the first night of Against this background, Fabriczki Hanukkah. said her father “is freaking out over On that evening, the rink is popumy wanting to give my son a circumlated with hundreds of Jews. They cision, if I have a son, because then gather to sing Hanukkah songs as he could be identified as Jewish.” they watch rabbis on skates light a She has no children, adding: “I have large menorah built by EMIH, the no thoughts of this kind, living a local branch of the Chabad Hasidic pretty comfortable Jewish life.” movement. With help from a donor Despite the generational gap it exin Budapest, they rent the rink for poses, Fabriczki said she and her $12,000, and distribute sufganiyot mother have bonded over the City and tea to holiday revelers who Rabbi Slomo Koves lighting a menorah at Chabad Hungary’s 2015 Rabbi Slomo Koves, right, and a participant at Chabad Hungary’s Park Ice Rink Hanukkah event. Hanukkah on Ice event at Budapest's City Park Ice Rink, Dec. 6, 2015 Hanukkah on Ice event take selfies at Budapest's City Park “I’m quite religious but my mother have pre-purchased tickets. Credit: EMIH Ice Rink, Dec. 6, 2015. Credit: EMIH is not, so the Hanukkah on ice event The City Park Hanukkah celebra- 2015. tion started just over a decade ago, and it is unusual in that it’s one of stage large, public menorah lightings in central squares of major cities. is something we can share because she likes to ice skate and it’s imjust a few places in Europe where the North American “Hanukkah on New York, for example, boasts two such massive events: The Grand portant for me to observe all the Jewish holidays,” Fabriczki said. ice” tradition has taken root. In the U.S., Chabad rabbis organize dozens Army Plazas in both Manhattan and Brooklyn have been in competition But for 16-year-old Sara Szalai, Budapest’s Hanukkah on ice means of Hanukkah on ice events each year featuring the ceremonial candle over which holds the title of World’s Largest Menorah. quality time with her dad, Kalman, who is the managing director of the lighting, munching on the deep-fried Hanukkah delicacies and ice skatSuch displays inspired Jews to think big in Western Europe, ending Jewish community’s Action and Protection Foundation -- the local ing, with games for children and training for the inexperienced. decades in which communities traumatized by the Holocaust had equivalent of the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors anti-Semitic But in Budapest, the event is part of a broader “coming out” of Jew- shunned initiatives that advertise Judaism. incidents. ish communities in the former communist bloc, where after years of Since 2013 in the Netherlands, for example, the chief rabbi has been Neither are particularly concerned, she said, about self-identifying practicing their religion underground, Jews are now celebrating lifted in a crane (along with the Israeli ambassador) to light the first as Jews at the event. Hanukkah in very public ways. candle of a 36-foot menorah built for the Jewish community by Chris“Maybe there are people who think this way, but for us it’s not a big “Hanukkah used to be low key in Budapest, as was everything else tian Zionists who say it is Europe’s largest. In Berlin, a giant menorah issue,” said Szalai, who added that she’s a “pretty good” skater. connected to Judaism during socialism,” said Rabbi Boruch Oberlander, is lit at the Brandenburg Gate monument. “It’s usually pretty crowded there, so it’s a rare opportunity to really one of the early organizers of Budapest’s Hanukkah on ice tradition. Like the massive menorah lightings, Europe’s growing Hanukkah on skate properly on Hanukkah without worrying about bumping into peoBack then, Jews feared that practicing any religion -- and Judaism es- ice trend -- which this year can be observed in Budapest, Moscow and ple,” she said. pecially -- invited persecution. London -- also started in the United States, where it is occurring this The event typically unites Jews across the religious-secular divide. “But it’s not good for Judaism when things are low key,” he added, year in locations from Wollman Rink in New York’s Central Park, to Hanukkah has fewer restrictions than other Jewish observances such because it made people leave the tradition. Throughout the Soviet Houston to San Mateo, California. as Shabbat or Yom Kippur, when observant Jews are not allowed to opsphere of influence, decades of religious persecution compounded the In Moscow, the popular Hanukkah on ice event, which began in 2012, erate machines, travel or perform any action classified as work. Nazi-caused devastation. Unaware or ashamed of their Jewish identity, is eclipsed by what may well be the largest celebration of Hanukkah in In Hungary’s fractious Jewish community -- where interdenominacountless Jews in that part of the world assimilated, distanced them- Europe: the annual gathering of 6,000 Jews at the State Kremlin Palace tional tensions are rising amid polarizing policies undertaken by the naselves from Judaism and produced children that no longer regarded for an evening of dance and performances, as well as the bestowing of tionalist government — the Hanukkah on ice event offers a rare themselves as Jewish. awards to communal VIPs. Organizers say the venue is important to armistice in which the secular, religious, local and Israeli Jews put aside Against this background, Hanukkah has a special significance in the them for symbolic reasons because it produced some of the world’s their differences for a night of fun. post-communist world, said Oberlander, a Brooklyn-born rabbi who set- worst anti-Semitic policies after the fall of Nazi Germany. It’s also, Fabriczki noted, “a chance to see rabbis on skates.” tled in Budapest 28 years ago as an emissary of Chabad. In Budapest, the city’s summertime Jewish cultural festival is also

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December 15, 2017  

Jewish Press

December 15, 2017  

Jewish Press