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Successful Jewish community mitzvah project to benefit Samaritan Center

L-r: In December, Mary Beth Frey and Kathy Scott delivered socks to the Samaritan Center donated by the Jewish community. A grant from the Pomeranz, Shankman, Martin Charitable Foundation will pay for socks and hand warmers that will be delivered in late January.

BY KATHY SCOTT Organizers said the “outpouring of generosity” from the Jewish community was “warmly received” by the Samaritan Center guests this past holiday season. More than 135 pairs of socks, and more than 240 pairs of hand warmers, were collected. Some of the supplies were delivered to the Samaritan Center on December 21, and distributed Christmas Day at the annual Temple Concord holiday meal served that day. The Pomeranz, Shankman, Martin Charitable Foundation made a donation that allowed participants to order more supplies that will be distributed to the center in late January. Samaritan Center Executive Director Mary Beth Frey said, “The Samaritan Center is very grateful for the generosity of the Jewish community, and we wish them a very happy Chanukah! As winter officially starts, these additional supplies will definitely be in high demand!” This effort was said to be a collaboration of many individuals, whose efforts “added up to make a difference in hundreds of people’s lives.” Among those thanked were Mark Kotzin, of Temple Concord, who contacted all the local rabbis; Temple Adath Yeshurun Executive Director Barbara Simon, who coordinated efforts on behalf of that synagogue; Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas

L-r: Sue Gordon and Jen Satterlee wrapped hand warmers to be delivered to the Samaritan Center. Manager of Congregational Services Joan Bordett, who coordinated that synagogue’s efforts; and Jackie Miron and the Jewish Community Foundation of

Jewish Observer early deadline The deadline for the February 16 Jewish Observer has been moved to Monday, January 30. As always, articles may be sent earlier.

After day of 16 bomb threats, FBI to coordinate with Jewish community in “new reality” BY BEN SALES NEW YORK (JTA) – The FBI and Department of Homeland Security will be assisting local Jewish Community Centers in bolstering security after 16 JCCs received bomb threats on the same day. On January 11, officials from the FBI and Homeland Security conducted a conference call with U.S. Jewish communal leaders to discuss the incidents of January 9, what they stem from and how to craft protocols to handle such incidents in the future. Some communities already receive federal grants to provide for security. The bomb threats, none of which appear credible, hit JCCs up and down the East Coast, in addition to two in the United Kingdom, prompting evacuations of buildings and campuses. According to Jewish communal security officials, the bomb threats came both from robocalls and from live telephone calls. It remains unclear whether one person or group was behind all the threats. The U.S. JCCs affected ranged from one in northern New Jersey to several in the Southeast – including in Florida,

Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. In addition, JCCs in Maryland, Delaware, Tennessee and Pennsylvania received threats. Several Jewish institutions also received bomb threats the previous week. The simultaneous threats were unprecedented, according to Paul Goldenberg, the director of the Secure Community Network, a group affiliated with the Jewish Federations of North America that coordinates security for the Jewish community. “We’re in a completely different world now than we were a couple years ago,” Goldenberg told JTA. “What is unprecedented is in the shortest period of time we received a substantial number of bomb threats. These offenders are leveraging technology to intimidate and/ or terrorize communities.” The FBI is investigating the bomb scares, according to Goldenberg. One of the threatened communities, in Wilmington, DE, received a bomb threat at 11:45 am on January 9 and evacuated some 200 people from a complex housing four Jewish organizations. Everyone from preschoolers at

Central New York, who reached out to the project’s organizers with an additional grant from the Pomeranz, Shankman, Martin Charitable Foundation.

a Jewish day school to senior citizens eating lunch left the building within a few minutes. They returned about 90 minutes later. Seth Katzen, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, said communal officials were in touch with local FBI and police, who responded immediately, and that the evacuation was completed without panic. “There was a scare, but a manageable uneasiness,” he told JTA. “Everyone moved extremely well. It was to create panic and inconvenience, which it did. That is our new reality.” Neither Goldenberg nor the Anti-Defamation League explicitly tied the bomb threats to the rise of antisemitic attacks during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. Goldenberg said making such a link may be tempting, but would be

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C A N D L E L I G H T I N G A N D P A R AS H A January 20................4:44 pm........................................................ Parasha-Shemot January 27................4:53 pm............................................................Parasha-Vaera February 3................5:02 pm.................................................................Parasha-Bo

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Protests in Poland

Epstein School

Congregational notes

An incident at a Polish café The Epstein School announces Upcoming talks, kids’ events, inspires non-Jewish Poles to wear its spring semester courses, performances and more are kippot to protest antisemitism. including “Packing for College.” announced by local synaogues. Story on page 3 Story on page 2 Stories on page 4

PLUS Calendar Highlights............. 10 B’nai Mitzvah......................... 10 Obituaries................................11 Health and Wellness............ 12



Non-Jewish Poles don yarmulkes to protest antisemitism

BY CNAAN LIPHSHIZ (JTA) – On a quiet Thursday evening, Café Foksal in central Warsaw suddenly filled up with about 50 people wearing kippahs. The event was unusual for a city with very few observant Jews and an insignificant number of Israeli tourists. What made it exceptional is that almost none of the yarmulke wearers were Jewish. It was the latest twist in a media storm that has brewed around Café Foksal since a bartender was accused of antisemitic behavior toward two patrons, who were ejected allegedly for discussing Israel. The New Year’s Day incident, which surfaced originally in an unsigned post on the Gburrek blog, was amplified in the mainstream media and on social networks. Amid counter allegations that the complainants provoked the bartender with anti-Christian rhetoric, the affair highlighted the polarization between liberals and conservatives that is dividing Polish society. It was also the latest public rejection by a critical mass of people of any form of hate speech, antisemitic or otherwise. Led by Ryszard Schnepf, a former ambassador of Poland to the United States, the kippah wearers – journalists, activists and others – came to Café Foksal aiming to defuse the tensions stoked by the media’s publication of the allegations, which the bartender claims are false. Before the delegation arrived, hundreds of people joined a Facebook group calling for a boycott of the café over the unverified – and hotly disputed – charges of antisemitism. Hundreds more joined a rival Facebook group vowing support for Café Foksal,

At right: A kippah-clad man man took part in a silent march in Berlin to commemorate the 75 th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms on November 9, 2013. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images) whose management has categorically denied the antisemitism accusations. They claimed the patrons were tossed for engaging in anti-Christian hate speech about the Virgin Mary while under the influence of alcohol. The media, including the prestigious Gazeta Wyborcza daily, were sucked into the ensuing debate. That’s what prompted Schnepf to organize the kippah-wearing expedition in a bid to show that Jews were welcome at Café Foksal and that antisemitism is not tolerated in Polish society. “It was friendly and fun,” Schnepf wrote on Facebook about his visit to the controversial café, where he was photographed wearing a kippah. “That’s how you do it, for tolerance and friendship.” Café Foksal’s management also expressed its satisfaction with the event, sharing a picture of it on their Facebook page. “A very nice evening in the company of dozens of terrific men and woman wearing kippahs,” they wrote. “Thanks for a nice initiative against those who would divide us.” It was a positive spin amid the bad

publicity that followed the publication Tuesday of the unsigned blog post offering an account of what transpired January 1 at the 24-year-old pub. The unnamed writer, who said he was 32 and never involved in a brawl prior to the incident, wrote that he and a friend were asked by the bartender not to speak about Jews after the bartender overheard the two discussing Israel. “The bartender turned out to be an antisemite,” the blogger wrote. After they refused to leave the bar, security threw them out. Police arrived a half-half later, taking no action, the blogger added. The post did not say whether the blogger or the friend was Jewish. However, the bartender and management told the media that the two patrons reacted rowdily after she asked them not to use hate speech against Catholics and were sent out of the establishment. Jonny Daniels, founder of the From the Depths group, which works on Holocaust commemoration and Polish-Jewish relations, told JTA he interviewed the bartender, and she told him that the two were using profanities against the Virgin

Mary. After she asked them to refrain, they pelted her with small objects, including peanuts, the bartender said. “I wasn’t there so I don’t know what happened, but this doesn’t seem to me like a straightforward case of an antisemitic incident,” Daniels said. Antisemitic incidents are relatively rare in Poland, which is home to some 20,000 Jews, according to Michael Schudrich, the country’s chief rabbi. But such incidents receive massive attention in a country where antisemitism is a sensitive issue. Approximately 90 percent of Poland’s 3.3 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. The vast majority were killed by Nazi Germans. Thousands of courageous Poles, including Schnepf’s mother, saved Jews. But a small minority of Poles joined the killing, massacring several thousand Polish Jews at the least. On January 5, Adam Abramowicz, a lawmaker for the ruling Law and Justice party, who is not Jewish, reportedly said he wrote to Warsaw’s chief of police demanding the release of the report on the Café Foksal incident. If the accusations the blogger made against the bartender are correct, then the employee, and perhaps the establishment, should be legally accountable for discrimination, Abramowicz said he wrote in the letter. But if accusations are false, then the accusers are answerable for defamation and making a false deposition, he added. Until then, “What really went on there remains unclear,” Daniels said. “But what is clear is that when it comes to antisemitism, Polish society is anything but indifferent.”

Is Europe’s jihadist problem generating empathy toward Israel? ANALYSIS BY CNAAN LIPHSHIZ (JTA) – Is terrorism softening European attitudes toward Israel? When a Palestinian terrorist used a car to ram and kill an Israeli soldier in eastern Jerusalem in 2014, the European Union urged “restraint” and, without condemning the attack, called it merely “further painful evidence of the need to undertake serious efforts toward a sustainable peace agreement.” The statement by EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini was “a typical EU reaction, which blames the victim for getting attacked,” Oded Eran, a former ambassador of Israel to the European Union and a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, said at the time. Two years later, however, European officials had a much different reaction to a similar attack in eastern Jerusalem, which killed four Israeli soldiers on January 8. “The European Union condemns the murder of these four young Israelis, as well as any praise or incitement for terrorist acts,” Brussels said in a statement, which unlike the 2014 communiqué, omitted any reference to the fact that the attack happened in an area of Jerusalem that it considers occupied. Unusually, following the attack on January 8, the Israeli flag was projected onto the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and Paris City Hall, signs of solidarity with the Jewish state permitted by local authorities. Rotterdam City Hall flew the Israeli flag at half-mast. To Eran and other observers of Israeli-EU relations, this change in tune is

indicative of greater understanding and empathy in Europe to Israel’s fight against terrorism following a wave of terrorist attacks on the continent beginning in 2012. “I think it’s a new development that sincerely stems from the change in the minds of many people in Europe, in government and beyond, who now understand better than a few years ago the impact and influence of terrorism on the daily lives of innocent victims,” Eran told JTA on January 11. He was referring to the cumulative effect of at least a dozen major attacks on Western European soil since 2012 in which local or foreign jihadists killed hundreds of victims using methods long associated with Palestinian terrorists. In December, a terrorist whom the Islamic State terrorist group described as its “soldier” killed 11 people, including one Israeli tourist, at a Berlin Christmas market by plowing a stolen truck through the crowd. In July, a similar attack claimed more than 80 lives in Nice, France. Days later, an Afghan man injured four people with an axe on a train in southern Germany. These events happened just months after the murder of more than 30 people in a series of explosions in Brussels in March, and fresh on the heels of a horrific series of bombings and shootings that left 130 people dead in Paris in November 2015. The Israeli government, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, have been persistently drawing an equivalence between the attacks in Europe and attacks against Israelis by Palestinians. “The terrorists who attack us have the same murderous intent as those in Paris,” Netanyahu said about the November 2015

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Paris attacks. “It is time for states to condemn terrorism against us like they condemn terrorism anywhere else in the world.” Some European leaders clearly see his point. Following the Berlin attack, German President Joachim Gauck said as much in a reply he sent to a condolence message from Gauck’s Israeli counterpart, Reuven Rivlin.

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“You and your country are in a position to understand fully what being threatened by terrorism means for a people and a nation because in your country it has become almost a daily phenomenon. We know that you can feel with us and commiserate,” Gauck said. See “Empathy” on page 9

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AROUND CENTRAL NEW YORK Epstein School begins spring semester, including “Packing for College” for juniors and seniors The Rabbi Jacob H. Epstein School of Jewish Studies is concluding a “successful” fall semester. The school’s new curriculum focused on what students need to know and experience before graduating high school through courses on Jewish ethics, taught by Rabbi Evan Shore; Israel, taught by Tamar Frieden; through Mishnah on the topic of damages, taught by Ora Jezer; Jewish literature, taught by Ryan Howlett; Hebrew, taught by Tamar Frieden; Jewish theology, taught by Rabbi Paul Drazen; Jewish texts, taught by Rabbi Evan Shore and Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone; and exploring Jewish views on discrimination, gambling, the body and health through the lens of sports, taught by Scott Miller. Topics for the spring semester include a continuation of Mishnah and Hebrew, as well as new courses on advanced Jewish text, King David and Jewish issues through film.

The course on Israel will continue and include, for many students, the Teen Taste of Israel Trip in February, made possible by a special fund of the Jewish Foundation of Central New York. This coming semester will feature a mini-course for juniors and seniors, “Packing for College: Where Does Judaism Fit?,” which will meet January 26-March 23 at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse. It will feature separate tracks for each grade, and include one class for parents and guardians. Brian Small, executive director of Hillel at Syracuse University, will lead the juniors in topics on making Jewish choices on campus, their own Jewish identity and how to respond to questions about Judaism on campus. The class for their parents and guardians will empower families to discuss their individual expectations for college and their children’s Jewish life there.

Judith Huober, director of Syracuse Jewish Family Service, will guide seniors through on-campus topics, including making healthy and safe choices; navigating antisemitism and anti-Israel messages and events; living as a Jew independently; and a parent and guardian class to guide students and help them find their own way. The Epstein School staff is said to “recognize the importance” of “Packing for College: Where Does Judaism Fit?” and has invited all juniors and seniors, whether or not they attend the Epstein School, to this program. Students not currently enrolled can attend for only a modest fee. In addition, there will be spaces for all students to begin Epstein as the new semester begins. For more information, contact Epstein School Director Cantor Paula Pepperstone at or 315-766-0442.

JCC to hold Kids Night Out January 28 BY WILLIAM WALLAK The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse will hold a Kids Night Out for children in kindergarten-sixth grade on Saturday, January 28, from 7-10:30 pm, at the JCC, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt. The supervised event will feature age-appropriate activities, snacks and more. “Children, like adults, occasionally need a night out all to their own to hang out and have fun with friends,” said Mick Hagan, JCC’s director of children and teen

services. “We’re very pleased to continue this winter tradition of offering a Kids Night Out. It’s a real treat for the kids and also gives parents an opportunity to enjoy their own night out or night in.” Some of the winter activities will include winter-themed crafts, snack time, making an indoor snowman, kickball in the gym and a movie on the big screen. Discounted Kids Night Out early registration runs through Monday, January 23. Current JCC membership

Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center senior dining menu JANUARY 23-27 Monday – baked ziti Tuesday – baked herb chicken Wednesday – tuna salad on rye Thursday – beef stew over egg noodles Friday – roasted turkey JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 3 Monday – stuffed cabbage Tuesday – hot corned beef on rye Wednesday – split pea soup and hamburger with sautéed onion Thursday – macaroni and cheese Friday – orange-glazed chicken

The Bobbi Epstein Lewis JCC Senior Adult Dining Program at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center offers Va’ad Ha’ir-supervised kosher lunches served Monday through Friday at noon. Lunch reservations are required by noon on the previous business day. There is a suggested contribution per meal. The menu is subject to change. The program is funded by a grant from the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth and the New York State Office for the Aging, with additional funds provided by the JCC. To attend, one need not be Jewish or a member of the JCC. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Cindy Stein at 445-2360, ext. 104, or

or program enrollment is not necessary for a child to attend Kids Night Out. For more information or to obtain a registration form, call 315-445-2360 or visit

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premature given that the offender has not been identified. The New York Police Department, as well as the Southern Poverty Law Center, have released reports of a rise in hate crimes following the election. Goldenberg expects more attacks on religious institutions to take place in 2017. “In the last 16 months, we’ve seen an increase in harassment, intimidation, and as a direct result of some of the rhetoric and usage by extremists of social media,” Goldenberg said. “It’s easy to tie this into the election. I think that the current situation in the U.S. and abroad has allowed for some extremists to have a methodology.” Over the past two years, Jewish Federations in major urban areas have hired coordinators – mostly former federal law enforcement officials – to ensure that all local Jewish institutions are secure and prepared to face threats. More than 20 such security coordinators have been hired. Brenda Moxley, director of community security for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, was hired last year after serving as assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s criminal branch in Miami. She ensures that more than 120 area Jewish institutions are prepared for incidents such as those on January 9, in addition to being in touch with law enforcement officials. Moxley said the need for such procedures first arose following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and that Jewish institutions are now beginning to be proactive in responding to threats. “Every day, it’s important to be vigilant,”


she told JTA. “It’s not about being paranoid; it’s just about being prepared.” Others point out that Jewish institutions began “hardening” their security after the 1999 attack on the North Valley Jewish Community Center near Los Angeles, when a white supremacist opened fire in the JCC lobby and wounded five people. In April 2014, a 73-year-old neo-Nazi opened fire at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, KS, and Village Shalom, a nearby Jewish retirement community, killing three people.

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CONGREGATIONAL NOTES Temple Concord TU B’SHEVAT FOR TOTS Temple Concord’s gan series for toddlers and preschool students will be held on Sunday, January 22, from 10:30 am-noon. Children from ages 2-5 throughout the community have been invited to attend, along with a parent or guardian, and participate at no charge. Activities will be held at the synagogue, 910 Madison St., Syracuse. A new topic is introduced every month to the students. Through art, crafts, movement, stories, music and food, their experience is said to be “enhanced.” The focus for the January gan session will be Tu B’Shevat, the “New Year of the Trees,” which falls on the 15th of the Jewish month of Shevat. This year, the date is from sundown on Friday, February 10, to sundown on Saturday, February 11. THEATRE DU JOUR TO PERFORM The Theatre du Jour will perform A. R. Gurney’s play “Love Letters” on Sunday, January 29, at 2 pm, at the synagogue. The cast includes Syracusans Banna Rubinow and Mark Cole. Cole is an emeritus professor of the SUNY Oswego theater department. Rubinow is its longtime creative developer. There will be no admission fee. The press notes indicate that “Love Letters” is a “disarmingly funny and unforgettably emotional portrait about the powerful connection of love.” Two friends, rebellious Melissa Gardner and straight-arrow Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, have exchanged notes, cards and letters with each other for more than 50 years. From second grade, through summer vacations, to college and into adulthood, they have discussed their “hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, and victories and defeats. But long after the letters are done, the real question remains: Have they made the right choices, or is the love of their life only a letter away?” Rubinow said, “The rapport we achieve as Andy and Melissa in this play is like nothing I’ve experienced before. Gurney’s play is a small, perfect jewel, and it’s a privilege to work on it, especially with

someone as talented and deeply empathetic as [Cole].” For more information, contact the TC office at 475-9952. SAMARITAN CENTER AT CHRISTMAS BY MARK KOTZIN Members of Temple Concord prepared and served a homemade turkey holiday dinner for hundreds of guests at Syracuse’s Samaritan Center this past Christmas. For more than 20 years, synagogue volunteers have been serving the holiday meal at Samaritan Center on Christmas. Last year, at the Samaritan Center’s “new” home on North State Street, the volunteers served a record 385 guests. This year, about 75 Concord volunteers served 220 people. The volunteers were said to have done everything, from preparation and cooking to serving and cleanup. Committee chair was Mark Kotzin, who is also a TC vice president. In addition to a traditional Christmas meal, toys and blankets were given to the children in attendance, as well as bundles of

See “TC” on page 10

L-r: Marilyn Lebediker and Teri Greiner prepared a cart of meals to be delivered to families with children at the holiday meal at the Samaritan Center.

L-r: Daniel Harris, Bill Pennington, Barbara Fixler, Ellen Kotzin and Julia Harris worked on the turkey dinner’s serving line for the Samaritan Center guests on Christmas.

Small Business Profiles

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Temple Adath Yeshurun THIRD GRADE CONSECRATION Children in the Temple Adath Yeshurun Religious School third grade will participate in their consecration program on Saturday, January 21, during Shabbat morning services. Consecration means “dedication” and the third-graders will celebrate the milestone in their religious education by “dedicating themselves” to further Jewish study and to “being active participants in the Jewish community.” The students, led by their teacher Ellen Socia, will lead prayers, teach the community about Tu B’Shevat and receive an aliyah during Shabbat services. At the conclusion of the program, TAY Sisterhood President Alison Bronstein will give the children siddurim. The service will be followed by a kiddush in honor of the third grade class. HAVDALAH HAPPENING Temple Adath Yeshurun will celebrate the end of Shabbat with a Havdalah Happening on Saturday, January 28, at 5:45 pm. Participants will make Havdalah, sing songs, make a craft and have a dairy dinner together. There will also be a discussion for adults and older children. Children of all ages have been invited to attend with their families, and tots will be welcome to wear pajamas. Mincha and Maariv will begin at 5 pm. For more information, contact Alicia Gross at or 315-445-0002. HAZAK PRESENTS MEL RUBENSTEIN Mel Rubenstein will present a program on “Unexpected Business” on Wednesday, February 1, at 1 pm, at Temple Adath Yeshurun. When a shipping error resulted in unexpected business for Rubenstein, who works in shoes, he traveled thousands of miles worldwide, having a variety of chance encounters, ranging in tone from “humorous, sad, tragic and moving.” Among his stories were a confrontation with Canadian customs, a run-in with a university chancellor, “angels” to his rescue, a problem in Peoria while he was in Halifax, the threat of a $1 million lawsuit, and dealing with his fiercest competitor. His PowerPoint presentation presents his travels from the Port of Halifax to the Alamo in San Antonio; from Myrtle Beach to the sights of Seattle; from the boardwalk in Atlantic City to “the aura” of Anaheim and many other locales. Refreshments will be served at the free event and new members are always welcome. For more information, contact JoAnn Grower at 315-463-9762 or Joanne Greenhouse at 315-446-3592.

ACTOR DORI ROSE LEVIT TO SPEAK BY SONALI MCINTYRE Temple Adath Yeshurun will host actor Dori Rose Levit, who will present “Acting In: Inclusion of Special Needs in the Theater,” on Sunday, February 5, at 10 am. The program will be Dori Rose Levit followed at 11 am by a presentation to the religious school children. Originally from Sugar Land, TX, Levit graduated with a bachelor’s in acting and a minor in psychology from Emerson College in Boston. She has been acting since she was 5-years-old, and has been working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 10 years. Currently, she is living in New York City and working as a community support professional for AHRC New York City. February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, and Levit’s visit is part of the synagogue’s programming on inclusion. It is one of 18 congregations in North America that was selected as part of the USCJ-Ruderman Inclusion Action Community. The free program will be open to the community. For more information, contact the TAY office at 315-445-0002 or SISTERHOOD BOOK DISCUSSION The Temple Adath Yeshurun Sisterhood will discuss the book “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead on Sunday, February 5, at 10:45 am. The main character of the book, Cora, is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia, where life is particularly bad for her. A recent arrival from Virginia, Caesar, talks about the Underground Railroad. When they decide to escape, they find themselves being hunted. Although a historical novel, the book is said to examine “a new twist” to the slave experience. The novel received the National Book Award in fiction. It has been listed as one of the best books of 2016 by The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR. The community is welcome to attend book discussions. For more information, contact the TAY office at 315-445-0002 or

Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas POTLUCK SHABBAT DINNER Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas will hold its monthly Shabbat dinner on Friday, January 27, at 6 pm, followed by Shabbat Hadorot, when the third-seventh grade children will help lead services. The meal will be a dairy, kosher, potluck dinner prepared in accordance with the CBS-CS kosher potluck policy, which is available at Reservations for dinner will be required. To make a reservation and indicate the dish being brought to the potluck, contact the CBS-CS office at 446-9570 or ICE SKATING Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas will hold a congregational/intergenerational ice skating program on Sunday, January 29, from 1:30-3:30 pm, at Sunnycrest Rink, 699 Robinson St.,

Syracuse. CBS-CS will provide kosher snacks. There will be a cost for the event and it will include skate rental. For more information, or to make a reservation, contact the CBS-CS office at 446-9570 or DECLUTTER COACH SPEAKING ON JANUARY 30 Deb Cabral, known as the “Declutter Coach,” will speak at Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas on Monday, January 30, at 7 pm. Cabral is a certified professional organizer and productivity and efficiency coach. She will explain how to declutter homes, offices and other spaces. The program is open to the community and a modest donation will be requested. Reservations are preferred and can be made by contacting Pam Morris at

JANUARY 19, 2017/21 TEVET 5777 ■



Syracuse teens attend USY International Convention in Dallas, TX, in December BY LAURIE KAMENS With nearly 1,000 teenagers, staff, educators and guests in attendance, the United Synagogue Youth 66th annual convention included large-scale Chanukah celebrations, Jewish learning, leadership training and “hands-on” social action. A program of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, USY is America’s largest Conservative Jewish youth group. Attending the convention were young adults from 10 countries, including: Israel, Argentina, Ukraine, Uganda and more. This new program of year-long pairing of NOAM’s global chapters with USY regions is intended to help foster lasting relationships between Jewish teenagers from diverse backgrounds, as well as global learning initiatives and social action projects. “We are excited to bring together our teens to create global connections and discuss their shared future as leaders of Masorti/Conservative Judaism,” said Rabbi David Levy, USCJ’s senior director of teen learning. The convention focused on the theme “Chazak, Chaz-

Delegates from Syracuse, part of United Synagogue Youth’s Tzafon region, posed for a group photo at USY’s 66th International Convention in December in Dallas, TX. L-r: Abe Stanton, Hadar Pepperstone and Ben MacCrindle from Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas; Matt Lynne from Temple Adath Yeshurun; and Michale Schueler from CBS-CS. (Photo by Adrian Baird, Endless Entertainment)

ak, V’Nitchazek,” which translates as “Be Strong, Be Strong, May We Be Strengthened.” Through interactive educational programming, community service and talks from peers and leading professionals, the convention was to have helped build teenagers’ capacity as Jewish leaders, individuals and advocates. Educational partners included Hillel, KESHET and StandWithUs, with study sessions focusing on topics such as the Holocaust, modern day Judaism in America, Israeli history, politics, culture, Judaism on the college campus, inclusion and the media. The convention attendees participated in several hands-on social action projects with partners, including Goodwill of Dallas, Hope Farm, ACH Child and Family Services, Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Christian Center of Fort Worth, North Texas Food Bank, Catholic Charities of Ft. Worth, Christian Community Action, Mission Arlington and Mission Metroplex. The teenagers also engaged in ongoing charitable activities throughout the course of the convention, collecting donations for local Dallas agencies.

For these pro baseball players, visiting Israel is like coming home BY HILLEL KUTTLER PETACH TIKVAH, Israel (JTA) – For questions about Israeli food and culture, Corey Baker and Jeremy Bleich were their teammates’ go-to guys. Baker and Bleich, pitchers in the minor leagues and members of the club representing Israel in the World Baseball Classic, are the only ones who have previously visited Israel as adults, both on Birthright trips. The 10-player delegation arrived here the week of January 2 from Las Vegas and Chicago aboard a corporate sponsor’s private plane for a six-day visit that concluded on January 9 and was meant to connect the


nearly all-American Jewish team with the country they are representing in the tournament, a quadrennial event modeled after soccer’s World Cup. Israel will resume play on March 6 in South Korea, having won a preliminary round in Brooklyn, NY, in September. “For me, it feels good to tell them things because I’ve been here before,” said Baker, who played in 2016 for the St. Louis Cardinals’ AA and AAA teams and won a WBC game in Brooklyn. “Everyone’s excited to get some falafel and shawarma to see if it lives up to the hype.” The players and their significant others were kept busy with a steady dose of “modern Zionism, vibrant Israel,

fun and some baseball.” A venture capitalist told them about Israel’s cutting-edge high-tech scene. They met Knesset member and New Jersey native Michael Oren. They joined a graffiti artist in painting a mural of Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax on a Tel Aviv shopkeeper’s door, rode bikes on the city’s Mediterranean promenade and met fighter pilots at an Air Force base. On the morning of January 6, they dedicated a new baseball field in Beit Shemesh and visited the Yad Vashem memorial to the Holocaust. Over that weekend, the players took in Jerusalem’s Old City, Masada and the Dead Sea.

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See “Players” on page 9


JANUARY 19, 2017/21 TEVET 5777 ■



Jewish Federation Multi-Generational Chanukah Celebration a Big Success! Chanukah at The MOST committee co-chairs Rebecca Bronfein Raphael and Andy Weinberg

Federation staff

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors! Major Sponsors Elliott Meltzer Raymour & Flanigan® FURNITURE • MATRESSES Contributing Sponsors Cardiovascular Group of Syracuse Dr. Irving Raphael • Dr. Brad Raphael

2017 Campaign Chair Mark Wladis speaking to the crowd




Chanukah around the community

Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas celebrated Chanukah at a combined Chanukah and New Year’s party that included candle lighting, dinner and singing. The Greenblatt family included in front (l-r): Gali Cooper, and Tammy and Emily Greenblatt. Standing (l-r): Ben Greenblatt and his parents, Matt and Sally. At left: Temple Adath Yeshurun Ba’alat Tefilah Esa Jaffe sang the blessings and lit the first candle of the chanukiah during the TAY Men’s Club and Sisterhood event, “Latkes, Vodkas, and Babkas.”

On December 25, Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation held its annual Chanukah dinner, which was attended by almost 50 congregation members. Rachel Chait and Linda Davis prepared a meal that included “mounds” of latkes. There were games for the children, along with cupcakes they decorated, which were served on the dessert table. Rabbi Evan Shore delivered a d’var Torah and Cantor Marvin Moskowitz led the songs.

Members of the Shirat Shalom Singers children’s chorus joined members of the Knesseth Shalom Singers adult chorus to sing in Temple Concord’s pre-Chanukah service, under the direction of Cantor Kari Siegel-Eglash. They were joined by the members of the Shabbos Klezmorim Band, under the direction of Joe Eglash. At left: Jaclyn and Eli Gnacik built a Lego chanukiah a t t h e To r a h To t s C h a n u k a h celebration at Te m p l e A d a t h Yeshurun.

Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation members decorated cupcakes during the Chanukah dinner.

Advertisers... help our readers Temple Concord members lined up for a Chanukah dinner that included latkes.

out of planning their big day! Issue Date: February 2 • Ad Deadline: January 25

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JANUARY 19, 2017/21 TEVET 5777 ■



HEALTH SPOTLIGHT Don’t give up on your New Year’s resolution BY PATRICK SCOTT, M.S., C.S.C.S. Did you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or exercise more? If so, how’s it going? If you’re finding it difficult to stick with your resolution, now is a great time to regroup and make any necessary adjustments. Here are some tips to help get your New Year’s resolution back on track and ensure success. Start small Don’t try and change everything at once. If you have a long list of things you would like to change, start with the small ones to build some momentum, which will help carry you through the year and into the bigger changes. If your goal is to eat healthier, start with replacing juice


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Avraham Nir-Feldklein, deputy chief of mission at the Israeli embassy in Berlin, further drove home the message in a statement following the projection of the Israeli flag on the Brandenburg Gate, a gesture initiated by pro-Israel activists. “We all find ourselves facing the same terror, from Nice through Berlin to Jerusalem, but together we will stand against evil, and we will prevail,” he wrote. On Twitter, the German Foreign Ministry shared a picture of the projection, stating it was “in solidarity with Israel.” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, by contrast, described the gesture in her city merely as a “tribute to the victims of the attack” in Jerusalem. Muna Duzdar, an Austrian state secretary, insisted in an interview January 11 with JTA that “Europe always understood that Israel has a right to defend itself and have security,” and that greater empathy in Europe for terror victims extends not just to Israel, but to victims around the world. But following the attacks in Europe, “now we’re having the situation that we have daily terrorist attacks. I wake up and there’s an attack in Israel, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Germany. No country is left unaffected. And it might be that someone who was affected himself has a better understanding of this.” Duzdar, who was born in Austria to Palestinian parents and heads the Palestinian Austrian Society, rejected during the interview claims that the attack was not a terrorist incident because it was directed against soldiers on land that Palestinians consider occupied. “This attack targeted human beings, and as far as I understand it was a jihadist who did that, whose intention was to attack people,” she said. In Belgium, the anti-Israel columnist Dyab Abou Jahjah, who for years justified violence against Israelis and Americans in the pages of the De Standaard daily, was fired on January 9 for defending the January 8 Jerusalem attack on social media. “An attack on occupation soldiers in occupied territory is not terrorism! It is an act of Resistance. #FreePalestine,” Abou Jahjah wrote. In a statement, De Standaard Editor-in-chief Karel Verhoeven wrote that Abou Jahjah “has placed himself beyond the borders of acceptable debate” by endorsing violence. Yet the gestures of empathy toward Israel will not likely carry over to EU policy, according to Eran, the former ambassador. “These gestures are heartwarming and indicative of a positive change, but there is a clear distinction between empathy and policy in the corridors of the European Union, which is likely to remain as critical as ever of Israeli settlements and continue to oppose them on every international arena,” he said.


with water. Then you can build from there without getting discouraged. It is much easier to change one behavior at a time than three or four all at once. So start easy and build up to the harder things. Find your motivation This is often easier said than done. Everyone has different motives for change. You have to find whatever “that thing” is, and never lose sight of it. If you want to lose weight so you can play with your children more, hang a picture of them on your bathroom mirror so you are always reminded of your motivation. Find whatever that reason is and go for it. Don’t let anything stand in your way. There is a reason you want to change or resolve to do things differently – don’t forget that reason. Track and celebrate! The key to making any kind of progress is knowing that you are making progress. It’s hard to know if you are losing weight if you don’t weigh yourself, right? So why not create a journal or a log of all your progress, and then celebrate the milestones. When you lose those first 10 pounds, celebrate with a new smaller shirt or pair of pants. If you successfully go to the gym three days a week for four weeks, reward yourself. But no matter what your goal or resolution is, the key to success is to


“There’s nothing more exciting to me than to bring people who’ve never been here before,” said Jeff Aeder, a Chicago businessman and founder of the Jewish Baseball Museum, who funded the trip and brought his son. The January 5 appearance in this city’s Baptist Village baseball complex drew several hundred fans to watch a home run-hitting exhibition – catcher Ryan Lavarnway and first baseman Ike Davis, both of whom played recently in the major leagues, slammed multiple moonshots far beyond the fences – and a question-and-answer session. Fans sought autographs and selfies. Jon Moscot, a Cincinnati Reds pitcher, gave one boy his mud-caked cleats. Lavarnway handed another his bat. “You made me the happiest kid in the world,” he told Lavarnway. The players seemed as impressed by the surroundings as the spectators were of them. A goal of the trip is to connect the crew with the country they are representing in the WBC. But for most that was off their radar, said Peter Kurz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball. “Tel Aviv is amazing,” said Davis, a former member of the New York Mets and other teams. “It’s kind of like cities we’ve been to, but in Hebrew.” Baker said: “Whether you’re religious or not, you grew up with Bible stories, but that’s what they are – stories. In Israel, we see it.” Along with Moscot, whose arm injury will prevent him from pitching in Seoul, the delegation included Mets infielder Ty Kelly and outfielder Sam Fuld, who played last season for the Oakland Athletics and is a free agent. Another major leaguer who will join the club in Seoul is Danny Valencia, an infielder for the Seattle Mariners. (By WBC rules, a player may compete for a country if he is eligible for citizenship under its laws. Israel extends the right of automatic citizenship to Jews, their non-Jewish children, grandchildren and the non-Jewish spouses of their children and grandchildren.) Kurz said he hopes that players’ on-the-ground tweets

Patrick Scott, a certified strength and conditioning specialist®, posed with some of the new equipment in the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse’s Neulander Family Sports and Fitness Center. keep track. You will never be able to gauge your progress if you don’t know how you are doing. Have a buddy to keep you accountable Things are much more fun when you have a “partner in crime,” right? So find someone who is willing to commit to the same goal you are, and do it together. You are much more likely to stay on track and focused See “Resolution” on page 10

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and phone calls will aid in recruiting to the squad several major league stars who are Jewish: infielder Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros and outfielders Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays, Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers. None in that quartet has ruled out participating, he added. Kurz also expects the WBC visibility to boost Israelis’ interest in the sport. Following Israel’s inaugural tournament appearance in 2012, enrollment in IAB leagues jumped 25 percent, Kurz said – a figure he thinks he will match this time. His WBC players expressed pride at being included on the team and this visit. “As soon as they asked, I was excited,” Lavarnway said. “It was the easiest decision I could make,” added third baseman Cody Decker, who reached the majors with the San Diego Padres. And from Kelly: “I feel very appreciative and honored to be part of this team.” Moscot visited as an 8-year-old and is the Jewish-American player on the team with the strongest connection to Israel. He has an uncle and many cousins living in the country, and his father, Elliott, an eye doctor, resided here for four years. The pitcher’s grandparents, Joseph and Rose Moscot, lived here, too, and are buried in Beit Shemesh. “The guys see that as a Jewish American, I have ties here, and they see that it’s not a random country in the Middle East,” Moscot said. “It’s important for us to be playing for a country we have a relationship to – that there’s a bond there. After this trip, hopefully the guys will realize that it’s a special thing, that there’s some deeper meaning in it.” It’s already happening. “I personally feel a part of this, of Israel – the Jewish state of Israel,” Lavarnway said. “I feel a big part of this.” As night fell, Davis talked to the fans gathered behind the backstop about his feelings. “The cool thing about Israel is that Jewish people have a home here no matter where we live,” he said. “We might stay here if you want us to. When you get here, it feels a little like home.”

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Calendar Highlights

To see a full calendar of community events, visit the Federation's community calendar online at Please notify of any calendar changes.

Monday, January 23 Temple Concord Regina P. Goldenberg Cultural Series presents “Music - Uniting the World,” a concert by the Silverwood Clarinet Choir with guest conductor Travis Newton, at 7 pm Tuesday, January 24 Epstein School meets at Congregation Beth Sholom Chevra Shas at 6:30 pm Syracuse Rabbinical Council Series presents Rabbi Irvin Beigel at 6:45 pm Wednesday, January 25 Syracuse Community Hebrew School at Temple Adath Yeshurun from 4-6 pm Thursday, January 26 Epstein School at Wegmans Café at 7 pm Menorah Park board meeting at 6 pm Friday, January 27 TC Congregational potluck Shabbat dinner at 7 pm Saturday, January 28 Kids’ Nite Out at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse from 7-10:30 pm Monday, January 30 Early deadline for February 16 issue of the Jewish Observer Tuesday, January 31 Epstein School meets at CBS-CS at 6:30 pm Syracuse Rabbinical Council Series presents Rabbi Irvin Beigel at 6:45 pm Wednesday, February 1 TAY Hazak presents Mel Rubenstein speaking on “Unexpected Business” at 1 pm TC adult education on death and dying with Rabbi Daniel Fellman at 7 pm Syracuse Community Hebrew School at TAY from 4-6 pm Thursday, February 2 Epstein School at Wegmans Café at 7 pm Friday, February 3 TC Tot Shabbat at 6 pm Sunday, February 5 Acting In-Dori Rose Levit at TAY at 10 am Monday, February 6 TC Board of Trustees at 7 pm


if there is someone else to report to. Can’t find a friend to join you? Join a support group or Facebook group. There are tons of groups and organizations out there that would love to hear about your success and share it with the world. Support each other and set yourself up for yearlong and lifelong success. Resolutions don’t have to be daunting or something that is unachievable. Start with the above tips to help you refocus and get back on track. And, don’t be afraid


hand warmers and socks for those in need. More than 1,500 homemade holiday cookies were given out in bags decorated by the Girl Scouts’ Jamesville DeWitt Service Club. Committee member Angela Glickstein said, “The Jewish community looks forward each year to helping feed those in need. We want to make sure that everyone in our community has the opportunity to celebrate the holiday with a hot, home-cooked meal, as well as having gifts for the children who visit.” Kotzin said the synagogue could not have provided the holiday meal without “generous sustaining donations” from the Pomeranz, Shankman, Martin Charitable Foundation and Wegmans Food Markets. Additional donations came from community partners, including Price Chopper; Texas Roadhouse; Freihofer’s; PB&J’s Lunch Box/the Chicken Bandit; Temple Adath Yeshurun; Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas; the Girl Scouts’ Jamesville-DeWitt Service Club; the Good Makers of CNY; and Café Kubal. POTLUCK SHABBAT DINNER A Shabbat potluck dinner will be held following the 6 pm services on Friday, January 27. The service will be led by Rabbi Daniel Fellman, Cantor Kari Siegel-Eglash and the Knesseth Shalom Singers, and the TC adult volunteer choir. The potluck dinner will begin in the social hall immediately following kiddush. The tradition of potluck dinners is said to date back many decades at the synagogue. Everyone brings something to the table, in an opportunity to “show off” their dish.


The Torah – a guide to leadership BY ALAN SUKERT The new year 2017 has arrived and with it brings a new U.S. president. Regardless of whether you voted for Donald Trump or not, the fact is that he will be our president come January 20. However, he will be more than just our president; he will be seen in the eyes of many people as the “leader of the free world.” After all, our president is first and foremost a leader – he is commander-in-chief of the armed forces; he is the chief executive officer of the executive branch of the federal government; he is the leader of the White House staff. Therefore, whatever we may think of the new president as a person, we all have to hope that he is – or will become – a good leader. However, what are the qualities that make a good leader? There are people who are paid six- or seven-figure salaries and who go around and tell anyone who wants to listen what makes a good leader. There are hundreds of books on leadership that try to give the qualities of


Nora Wilson, daughter of Stevi and Patrick Wilson, of Fayetteville, became bat mitzvah on December 31 at Temple Concord. She is the granddaughter of Michael Suib and Nancy Butler-Ross, of Woodstock, and Ruth Wilson, of Rome. She is a student at Wellwood Middle School and attends the Temple Concord Religious School. Nora Wilson She plays modified and indoor field hockey, modified volleyball and recreational basketball. She is an all-star cheerleader for Central New York Storm and has been cheering since kindergarten. She also plays lacrosse for the Salt City Snipers. She has volunteered every summer since second grade at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic and is a regular year-round volunteer at the Samaritan Center. As a mitzvah project, she collected hygiene items for the Samaritan Center hygiene closet in lieu of birthday gifts and she delivers care bags to the homeless in Syracuse during her free time. Continued from page 9 to seek out help when necessary. To get your fitness resolution off the ground again, try switching up your routine or working with a personal trainer. The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse’s Neulander Family Sports and Fitness Center is currently running a trial membership special to make it easy and affordable to get you in the gym and help make your resolution a success. You got this. The JCC has your back should you need a little help. Happy New Year!

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L-r: Neal, Jeffrey, Kim and Samantha Eckhardt worked in the Samaritan Center kitchen preparing for the Christmas meal. (Photos courtesy of Mark Kotzin) There will be no charge to share the potluck meal. Congregational members and community friends can come and bring food, such as side dishes, vegetarian main dishes, salads or desserts. The synagogue will provide Shabbat-style brisket and fresh-baked challah. Participants have been requested to not mix meat and dairy in the same dish, or bring pork or shellfish. Reservations have been requested so there are sufficient places set for the dinner and can be made by contacting the TC office at or 315-475-9952.

leadership. However, I maintain that the first, and maybe the best, book on leadership is free and should be part of everyone’s everyday lives, especially us Jews – and that is the Torah. More to the immediate point, I think that this week’s parasha Shemot provides some valuable insights into what makes a good leader. Consider the situation – Egypt and the pharaohs have enslaved the Jewish people for more than 400 years with no foreseeable hope of that status ending anytime soon. Someone has to take the mantle of leadership to help God fulfill the promise of delivering the Jewish people from this bondage. So what qualities would God choose in the man to lead the Jewish people out of bondage? Or, more to the point, what are the qualities that made Moses a potentially good leader of men and the right choice for this monumental task? Moses was raised in the house of Pharaoh and some would argue that an environment – where and how a person is raised – plays a factor in one’s development as a leader. However, I tend to think good leaders are, in fact, born and not made, in the sense that they are born with the fundamental traits that make them potentially good leaders. What environment and upbringing do is bring those traits to the forefront at the proper time. So, what are the traits of Moses as stated in parasha Shemot? First is the fact that Moses understood his weaknesses. This may sound like an oxymoron – how can a good leader admit he has weaknesses and still be a good leader? However, consider that Moses understood his weaknesses well enough to know what he could do well, and what he needed help from God and others to accomplish. It is very troubling to hear a leader say that he or she knows everything about a particular topic, because no one can know everything. There is just too much information available on any topic. In today’s Internet world, there is someone who knows something more and different on any topic. For example, Moses knew he couldn’t speak well, but after an argument with God, he accepted God’s word that Moses’ brother Aaron would help him speak to Pharaoh and the Jewish people. I truly believe that the best leaders are the ones who know themselves well enough to know what they can do well and what they can’t, and who have the courage to ask for and accept help for the things that they can’t do well. There is another component to leadership, and that has to do with faith. It is not enough to believe in yourself to be a good leader; you also have to believe in others, especially all the people you will lead, and in God. You cannot lead someone successfully if you neither believe in, nor have the confidence (I call it faith) in, God – that God will guide you in everything you do. Moses was able to put away any self-doubts he had and subject himself to God’s will at the burning bush, and believe fully that God would enable him to carry out the task God had set before him. Good leaders know they can’t do it alone; but they also know that without faith in their fellow man and in God, they can’t do it at all. There is one more trait of a good leader revealed in Shemot, and this may be the most important one. In preparing for this d’var Torah, I read a commentary that said that Moses was fearless. I disagree. Moses wasn’t fearless; he had the courage to conquer whatever fear he had, to serve God’s will and lead the Jewish people. I think the point is that good leaders aren’t fearless – because fear does play a useful role. It alerts us when we encounter situations that have the potential for something bad to happen. However, good leaders know instinctively when to appreciate fear, and when to overcome it, to get the job done. It is hard for any of us to imagine what it must have been like for Moses to face God at the burning bush and argue with God. It took great courage to overcome the fear that Moses must have felt to argue with God, subject himself to God’s will and accept the task God had put forth. God knew that having the courage to overcome fear to do what is right was going to be needed if Moses was going to face Pharaoh and lead the Jewish people from bondage. So parasha Shemot teaches us that good leaders have to have the courage to overcome their fears to accomplish the greater good. They have to be willing to accept what they do well and have the courage to ask for help from others and God for the things they do not do well. They have to have faith in others and they have to have faith in God. Let us hope our new president has the wisdom to recognize and act on these leadership traits. Alan Sukert is an engineer with Xerox Corp. in Rochester and a member of Temple Adath Yeshurun.

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Israel’s Holocaust survivors fund receives and will allocate $63M BY ISRAEL HAYOM Israel Hayom/Exclusive to The Holocaust Restitution Company of Israel announced plans to allocate 243 million shekels ($63.1 million) to help Holocaust survivors. The funds became available following the sale of Bank Leumi shares worth 232 million shekels ($60.2 million). The plan, announced on January 10, will allow the Restitution Company to pay 6,750 shekels ($1,750) for every Holocaust survivor, beginning this month. According to the Restitution Company, the shares sold were part of a legal settlement reached with the Jewish Colonial Trust, Bank Leumi’s parent company. The sale of the stocks yielded 278 million shekels ($72.1 million), and the remainder of the proceeds will also be diverted into the survivors’ fund. In 2015, the stocks were valued at 148 million shekels ($38.4 million), but as part of the legal stalemate, they nearly doubled in value and afforded survivors twice the amount in restitution, which would not have been possible had the Restitution Company not taken legal steps to release the funds held by JCT, the company said. The Restitution Company sued JCT to release the funds, and agreed as part of the settlement to receive millions of Bank Leumi shares as well as a cash payment from JCT.


World nations glean emergency-response expertise from Israel’s Magen David Adom

Amid the rise in global terror attacks, countries around the world are turning to Magen David Adom – Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster relief, ambulance and blood services organization – to learn from its method of shortening emergency-response times. Chaim Rafalowski, MDA’s disaster management coordinator, recently presented the organization’s method of integrating Israeli volunteers into its emergency-response system at the first International Conference for Victims Assistance, held in Paris and sponsored by the United Nations’ cultural body UNESCO. Representatives from Germany, Belgium, Canada, Israel, the U.K., the U.S. and other countries attended the Paris conference. MDA provides medical equipment to trained volunteers who serve on standby basis and are summoned to nearby scenes of emergencies when needed. Anyone with basic medical training can become a volunteer MDA “life guardian” emergency responder. MDA’s command and control dispatches EMTs, paramedics and life guardians based on their proximity to any particular incident, reducing emergency-response times. The Israeli organization’s presentation at the Jan. 9 Paris conference came a day after the deadly Palestinian truck-ramming terror attack in Jerusalem, an attack that mirrored recent truck-rammings carried out by Islamic State in Nice and Berlin.

Italian city to build first new synagogue in more than 500 years

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to – In a ceremony in Palermo, Italy, the local archbishop announced on Jan. 12 that the site containing ruins of the city’s ancient synagogue is being returned to the local Jewish community. The community plans to build a new synagogue – the first in 524 years in Palermo, a city situated on the island of Sicily – near the ruins of the old one. The Jews of Sicily were expelled Jan. 12, 1493. The synagogue was destroyed, and the site on which it stood was taken over by the Roman Catholic Church and the monastery of St. Nicolo Tolentino. Since then, there has been no Jewish activity in Palermo. The Jan. 12 ceremony was held at the Historical Archives of Palermo, which like the monastery was built on the ruins of the synagogue. The decision to return the site to the Jewish community was made in response to a request by the Shavei Israel organization, a group dedicated to helping “lost” Jews worldwide reclaim their roots and re-embrace Judaism, and the Sicilian Institute for Jewish Studies.



Wendi Birnbaum, 64, died suddenly on December 28. She was a lifelong resident of Syracuse and the Fayetteville/Manlius area. She was a registered nurse and cared for her patients with unlimited devotion. She was known for her fashion sense and love of animals. She was predeceased by her parents, Irwin and Leta K. Birnbaum, both deceased. She is survived by a brother, Daniel. Birnbaum Funeral Service had arrangements. 


Sylvia Goldstein, 97, of Chicago, IL, formerly of Cortland, died on December 31 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. In her home town of Cortland, she was most known as the proprietor of Sylvia’s Casuals, a Main Street staple that specialized in fashionable clothing for women. When her husband died, she closed her shop and moved to Chicago to be near her daughter. For more than 40 years, she lived and worked in the “Chicago Gold Coast.” Her professional endeavors included managing the Chicago Lane Bryant store and assisting her daughter in the real estate business. She loved Chicago sports, singing and entertaining, and her relationship with her daughter. An icon at music venues, she received great joy from singing in open microphone settings. With her daughter at her side, her combination of voice and theatrics made a fan of all who heard her. On her 95th birthday, there was a musical tribute to her, with some of Chicago’s finest musicians and loyal fans. Her signature rendition was of the song “Bill Bailey.” She was predeceased by her parents, Louis and Sadie Harris, of Cortland; her husband, Wally; and her brothers, Arnie Harris, of Cortland, and Albie Harris, of Cobleskill. She is survived by her daughter, Fran Goldstein Shulman, of Chicago, IL; her sister, Estelle Smith, of Atlanta, GA; a niece, Susanne Harris; and nephews Larry Harris and Steve Harris. Burial was in the Cortland Rural Cemetery. Birnbaum Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions can be made to the American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75231. 


Michael A. Gordon, 52, of Syracuse, died unexpectedly on December 13 at home. He was predeceased by his mother, Christa Gordon. He is survived by his father, Richard (Beverly) Gordon; sister, Annette Romero; companion, Antonio Sanchez; and several aunts and uncles. Burial was in Loomis Hill Cemetery. Birnbaum Funeral Service had arrangements. 

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Millicent “Mimi” Rockwitt, 91, of DeWitt, died on December 30 at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She taught business in the Syracuse City School District for many years, and was a member of Temple Concord. She was predeceased by her husband of 43 years, Warren Rockwitt; her sisters, Sandra Trop and Vicky Resnick; and her grandson, Philip John Cass. She is survived by her daughters, Dede (Jeff) Bastedo and Jacki (Joe) Cass; and two grandchildren. Burial was in the Temple Concord section of Woodlawn Cemetery. Birnbaum Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions can be made to the SPCA, 5878 E. Molloy Rd., East Syracuse, NY 13211. 


Alan Murray Winslow, born Alan Murray Winkelstein, 95, died at home in Pleasanton, CA, on December 23. Born in Syracuse, he went to the Putney School in Putney, VT. He talked often about helping to build the buildings there and other aspects of the school, including the strong sense of community that was this high school’s hallmark. After graduating from Putney, he received a bachelor of science in English at Harvard University and, later, a doctorate in physics at Cornell University. Between the two, he joined the war effort as part of the Manhattan Project, working on uranium refinement in Oak Ridge, TN. In 1952, he accepted a job as a theoretical physicist at what is today known as the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in Livermore, CA, where he worked until his retirement in 1990. In retirement, he worked as a consultant for Apple, and then took a job with Adobe Systems in Mountain View, CA, where for several years, he was a member of the original Acrobat project. Throughout his life, he maintained an interest in public education, classical music, science, poetry, Shakespeare, politics and literature. He regularly attended the Carmel Bach Festival, the Ashland Shakespeare Festival and performances of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and participated in a local book club, until his early 90s. He was also involved in community activities, including being on the Livermore Board of Education, co-founding a film series at Lawrence Livermore Lab, and being one of the original supporters of the Livermore Independent newspaper. He was predeceased by his wife of 57 years, Arthur Rae Murden, in 2003. He is survived by their children, Deborah (Izzy) Winslow, Julie (David) Winkelstein, Geoffrey (Karen) Winslow and Jonathan (Beatrice) Winslow; his stepdaughter, Rebecca Yamin; nine grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; his sister, Phyllis Reicher; his brother, Peter Winkelstein; and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces. Burial was in the Holstein-Winkelstein family plot in the Temple Concord section of Woodlawn Cemetery. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements.

We are still family-owned and operated. “After 82 years” Providing unparalleled service to the Jewish community throughout Central New York.

1909 East Fayette St., Syracuse, NY 13210 • 315.472.5291 • 1.800.472.5182 Martin J. Birnbaum* Elaine R. Birnbaum Joel M. Friedman * Also Licensed in Florida

Israeli researchers develop new smartphone app to diagnose sleep apnea

Israeli researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a new system to help diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (or OSA) while the patient is still awake using their smartphone. The new system does not require contact sensors and can be installed onto a smartphone or a different device that uses a microphone. The software analyzes speech while the patient is awake and evaluates overnight breathing sounds. OSA affects roughly three million people a year in the U.S. Researchers have already tested the new Israeli-developed system on more than 350 subjects. The researchers are currently moving forward with commercial applications for the new system.



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“La La Land” composer, Jewish actors take prizes at Golden Globes

BY JTA STAFF LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Although many of the Jewish Golden Globes nominees went home empty handed, a few actors and film-makers with Jewish ancestry – and one young director who might be classified as an “honorary” Jew – made it to the winner’s podium. Justin Hurwitz’s musical gifts contributed to the success of “La La Land,” which won seven awards in the musical or comedy film category at January 8 ceremony. He was rewarded with Golden Globes for original score and the original song “City of Stars” (for which he shared the award with co-writers Benj Pasek, who is Jewish, and Justin Paul). Hurwitz is 31, as is Damien Chazelle, the film’s director, and they were roommates as undergraduates at Harvard. Chazelle, who won Golden Globes both as director and screenwriter of “La La Land,” was raised by Catholic parents. But as Chazelle told the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles last year, the parents were dissatisfied with their son’s education at a church Sunday school and enrolled him in the Hebrew school of a liberal synagogue. Over the next four years, Chazelle recalled, “I had that period of my life where I was very, very into Hebrew and the Old Testament, and then I went with my class to Israel when we were in the sixth grade. I

don’t think they even knew I wasn’t Jewish; I was, like, ‘passing.’” English actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson took home the award for best supporting actor for his performance in “Nocturnal Animals.” In the drama-thriller, Taylor-Johnson portrays the leader of a gang of fictional criminals in a book with which the main character becomes consumed. Veteran French film star Isabelle Huppert won as best actress in a drama for her role in the French film “Elle,” which also received a Golden Globe for best foreign-language movie. Huppert, who plays a businesswoman who plots an elaborate revenge on the home intruder who raped her, is the daughter of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. Her parents married while France was under Nazi occupation, with the father hiding his Jewish roots. Tracee Ellis Ross won the award for best actress in a musical or comedy TV series for her portrayal of a biracial anesthesiologist in the sitcom “Blackish,” which follows the life of an upper-middle-class African-American family. She is the daughter of Jewish music executive Robert Ellis Silberstein and Motown singer Diana Ross. The awards ceremony featured a montage honoring actress Carrie Fisher and her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, who died late last month two days apart. President-elect Donald Trump was the target of a

number of jibes and denunciations, though his name was never mentioned. Meryl Streep, who received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment, was considered the most outspoken. Streep denounced Trump for mocking a disabled New York Times reporter, and after asking the audience to back the Committee to Support Journalists, ended with a strong warning. “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence,” she said. “And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.” Trump responded immediately by telling The New York Times that such words would have no impact on attendance at his upcoming inauguration. “We are going to have an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout for the inauguration, and there will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars,” Trump said. “All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for this inauguration.” Streep had said earlier that the Hollywood Foreign Press and the crowd on hand “belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. ...But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places,” she said, singling out various actors and actresses and saying where they grew up, including actress Natalie Portman, who was born in Jerusalem.

Medical identity theft: another reason to protect your wallet (NAPSI)—Cell phone? Check. Credit Card? Check. Health Insurance Card...? Most people are sure to protect their cell phone and credit cards. You should have the same sense of urgency to guard your health insurance card. Medical identity theft is a complicated, costly crime that is difficult to resolve, can negatively affect your reputation and potentially harm your health. It can happen simply by someone borrowing or stealing your health insurance card and using your information to: 1. Have health services performed and file for reimbursement 2. Bill for health services that didn’t happen 3. File claims for health services or drugs not received

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4. Forge or alter bills, receipts and other health care forms 5. Go “doctor shopping” to get multiple prescriptions Stealing health information is a crime that’s on the rise. In the past five years alone, the number of victims has nearly doubled to more than two million annually, according to the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance, which studies medical theft to help reduce medical identity fraud. If someone steals your health insurance information, the consequences can be detrimental. Medical identity fraud can be: ‹‹ Dangerous to your health. If your medical records have been compromised and show incorrect allergy information or negative results on a test you haven’t had, you’re at risk of getting the wrong medical care. ‹‹ Costly. In 2014, medical identity theft cost consumers more than $20 billion in out-of-pocket expenses, according to MIFA. The number of victims who experienced outof-pocket costs rose significantly to 65 percent in 2014 from 36 percent in 2013. Sixty-five percent of the medical identity theft victims who were surveyed for the 2014 study reported paying more than $13,000 to resolve the crime. ‹‹ Difficult to detect and resolve. Some people learn they’re a victim of medical identity theft only when they find an error in the Explanation of Benefits (or EOB) or when confirming medical information, and correcting it isn’t a quick fix. Some victims work for months (or longer) to resolve the resulting issues. ‹‹ Consumers should work with their health insurers to help them protect their medical information. For instance, some health insurers help protect their members by using

software that continuously looks at claims data and other information to identify claims that look suspicious and may need to be investigated. According to health insurer Health Alliance Plan, there are a number of steps you can take to help prevent becoming a victim of medical identity fraud: ‹‹ Be careful with whom you share your medical information. ‹‹ Carefully review the EOB from your insurance carrier and alert your insurer if you see unfamiliar providers or services. ‹‹ Alert your doctor or clinic immediately if you receive a reminder for an appointment you didn’t make. ‹‹ Regularly review your medical records (under federal law, health insurers must give you a copy of your records upon request). If anything looks odd or incorrect, alert your insurer immediately. Access your records online to help expedite this process. ‹‹ Make sure your doctors and other health care professionals authenticate you at every visit. At a minimum, they should ask you for your full name and date of birth and ask for a photo ID. ‹‹ Shred your EOB – it contains personal health information that is very valuable to an imposter. Health care fraud increases total health care costs, which means everyone could end up paying more in the long run. If you suspect health care fraud, you can report it online at html, or contact your health insurer right away and ask them how it can help you protect your medical identity.


Jewish Observer Issue of 1-19-17