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Federation awards seven Philip L. Holstein Community Program grants BY JUDITH L. STANDER The Jewish Federation of Central New York announced that seven grant applications to the Philip L. Holstein Community Program Fund were approved for funding by the Federation’s Board of Directors at a January 11 meeting. The recommendations were presented by the Allocations Committee, its chair, Mark Field, and members Michael Balanoff, Marc Beckman, Adam Fumarola, Mickey Lebowitz, Todd Pinsky, Cheryl Schotz, Ruth Stein, David Temes, Steve Volinsky and Ellen Weinstein. The total amount approved for funding for this cycle of program grants totaled $34,550. Each of these programs adds a new or expanded component to the community’s Jewish life, heritage and culture. Listed alphabetically, the grants were awarded to: HILLEL AT SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY ISRAEL FEST – $7,500 Hillel at Syracuse University will celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday with an

event on the SU Quad featuring several stations and activities with Israeli food, technology, experiential education about Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Hazikaron, and Israeli music and visual art projects. The project is designed to meet a mission goal of Hillel and parallels mission goals of Federation which are designed to “enrich the lives of Jews in Central New York. This celebration of Israeli culture will include foods, a replica of the Kotel (the Western Wall in Jerusalem), virtual goggles to “take” people to Israeli cities and observe the tie-dying custom of Israel-themed Syracuse t-shirts. Organizers hope that this will also provide an opportunity for SU students to feel safe celebrating Israel on campus. HILLEL AT SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY PASSOVER – $1,500 Hillel at Syracuse University, in partnership with Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse, Temple Adath

Yeshurun, Temple Concord and the Syracuse Hebrew Day School, proposes a community Passover meal at Hillel’s kosher dining hall. The inclusion of members of the greater Jewish community along with representation from the Jewish students on the SU campus seeks to strengthen their bonds. Both Federation and Hillel have similar mission goals to strengthen the relationships between students and community members. The Hillel dining hall is the only source of kosher Passover dining on campus, and it is often filled with students and faculty sharing the season’s traditions. Organizers hope that this dining experience will be extended to include the community around the campus and will be offered at an affordable price, with convenient, affordable parking accommodations. JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER OF SYRACUSE – $4,050 A series of three family events for the community will be offered at no charge to participants. Each has been designed

to provide a seamless transition from one program to another as children in the family age upward and take their families along with them. Funding includes expenses such as rental of equipment, upgrading existing games and materials, and kosher foods. A pajama movie day will utilize the big screen facilities in the JCC auditorium. Children will be encouraged to come in their pajamas and a theme will be planned to correlate with the movie. A component from the PJ Library will be included. A winter wonderland on a Sunday afternoon will include weather-appropriate outdoor and indoor activities for all age groups to enjoy together. The JCC’s annual Purim Carnival is the place to go as a community site for all local Jewish organizations to gather to celebrate together. One of the largest community gatherings to celebrate a Jewish holiday, it includes games, activities and foods.

See “Grants” on page 8

JCC of Syracuse to hold annual Purim Carnival March 4 BY WILLIAM WALLAK The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse is once again gearing up for a “fun-filled” day of games, activities, food and more during its upcoming Purim Carnival. The annual family-oriented event will be held on Sunday, March 4, from noon-4 pm, at the JCC on 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt. There will be interactive and “entertaining” activities for preschool and school-age children and their families. Admission will be free and open to the public. “We are so pleased to open our doors each year to the community and create such a fun and friendly atmosphere,” said Marci Erlebacher, JCC of Syracuse executive director. “Purim is one of the most lively,

joy-filled holidays – and what better way to celebrate than with a carnival for our members, neighbors and the whole community.” The JCC’s Purim Carnival is the Center’s largest indoor community event held each year. It has become a tradition for the JCC to hold the celebration as a way of giving back to the community so that families can come together for an afternoon of “good quality” time. Children are encouraged to dress in costumes, which is a Purim holiday custom. Children in costumes will receive a prize ticket at the door. A food and toiletry drive to benefit the Huntington Family Centers will also be held. Anyone bringing in an item to See “Carnival” on page 2

Purim Carnival volunteers needed

The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center is seeking volunteers for its annual Purim Carnival on Sunday, March 4, from noon-4 pm, at the JCC, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt. Shifts are available from 11:45 am-2 pm and 1:45-4 pm. The JCC of Syracuse puts on its Purim Carnival primarily with the help of volunteers. The many volunteer tasks that make the event a success include overseeing games, serving food and helping out in the prize room. For students seeking to fulfill community service requirements, volunteering is one way to earn credit hours, help out at the JCC and (hopefully) have some fun. The Purim Carnival has become a tradition for many local families to come together for what organizers hope is a fun-filled day at the JCC. Admission is free and open to the public.

A look at the many 2017 Purim Carnival activities held in the JCC Neulander Family Sports and Fitness Center’s Schayes Family Gymnasium.

L-r: The 2017 Purim Carnival face painting volunteers were Emma Clardy, Alana Jacowitz and Alea Smith. For more information about volunteering at the JCC’s Purim Carnival, contact Cindy Stein at 315-445-2040, ext. 104, or


February 16..................... 5:19 pm..................................................Parasha-Terumah February 23..................... 5:28 pm.................................................. Parasha-Tetzaveh March 2........................... 5:37 pm.....................................................Parasha-Ki Tisa

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Book talk Author Paul Mitura will discuss his military history book at the JCC on February 25. Story on page 2


SJFS classes

Three congregations will celebrate Syracuse Jewish Family Service Purim together; Chabad’s annual announces two classes, including Purim dinner; and more one on films’ prtrayals of aging. Stories on pages 3 and 8 Story on page 5

PLUS Small Business Profiles.....6-8 Calendar Highlights............. 10 Classifieds.............................. 10 Obituaries................................11



A MATTER OF OPINION What is a “kupah” and why should I care? According to Jewish tradition, the highest form of tzedakah (charity) is giving to a central campaign or community fund called a “kupah.” Throughout Jewish history, in small towns and large cities, within both Israel and the Diaspora (Jews scattered throughout the

should, but does so cheerfully. #6 – When one gives directly to the poor upon being asked. #5 – When one gives directly to the poor without being asked. #4 – When the recipient is aware of the donor’s identity, but the donor does


world), it was the custom of Jewish communities to create an address for centralized giving. This guaranteed the privacy and dignity of the poor as well as the successful maintenance of communal agencies. Today, the kupah is the annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Central New York. Gifts to the communal kupah is a “noble” expression of devotion to the Jewish people. It demonstrates a love of community that is without limitation – a proud statement of commitment to individual communities and to every individual Jew. Maimonides created a Code of Jewish Law in the 12th century that has helped to sustain the Jewish people for centuries. Based on oral rabbinic tradition, this code organized the ways to give charity into a simple list from the least to the most honorable. Where do you find yourself on this list? #8 – When donations are given grudgingly. #7 – When one gives less than s/he

not know the identity of the recipient. #3 – When the donor is aware of the recipient’s identity, but the recipient is unaware of the source. #2 – When the donor and recipient are unknown to each other. #1 – The highest form of charity is to help sustain a person (before he or she becomes impoverished) by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping the person find employment or establish him or herself in business so as to make it unnecessary to become dependent on others. To make a gift to this year’s Campaign: ‹‹ Call 315-445-0161, ext. 102, and speak with Colleen Baker ‹‹ Go to the Jewish Federation of CNY website,, and pledge online Thank you from your Syracuse Jewish Federation. We do the good that’s in your heart.

The #WeRemember campaign is a pledge to never forget Holocaust atrocities BY ANKUR DANG With nearly 600 articles, more than a dozen books (which have been translated into a dozen different languages) and a career spanning half a century, Dr. Alice Honig is considered a pioneer in the field of child and family studies. But while her professional story is called one of excellence, dedication and inspiration, her personal story is about compassion, memories and perspective. “I can’t help but think of them every day,” she says. “When I am cold, I simply take one more heated blanket or I turn up the heat. But they shivered through the long hours of labor and torture in those horrible camps. And the Nazis just laughed.” At the age of 89, she is old enough to remember the horrors of World War II. And even though she was never a direct victim of Nazi atrocities, as a young Jewish woman, she said she was affected deeply by the events of the war. “My mother used to send aid packages with warm clothes and food to Granitza, a place between Russia and Poland, where she grew up,” Honig says. “And all [the packages] addressed to the name Bender, which was her family name. But, after the war, no one knew where they were or what happened to them. Of course, they were murdered. And then, when I was older, I visited

Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse Executive Director Marci Erlebacher held up a #WeRemember sign, an initiative by the World Jewish Congress to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. Poland. My host was a very nice Catholic gentleman. And one day, I asked him what bus to take to Jasionowka, my mother’s old shtetl where she’d lived all her childhood. But he looked at me and said, ‘Alice Honig, the Nazis killed everyone in Jasionowka. They burnt it to the ground. All that is now there is a huge Catholic old age home. Do you still want me to tell you what bus to

See “Pledge” on page 11

Book talk by local author to explore unique military stories resides in Liverpool, and an Army BY ANKUR DANG officer with more than 30 years of On Sunday, February 25, at 1 service experience, including a stint pm, the Sam Pomeranz Jewish in South Korea. “Army officers are Community Center of Syracuse people. And just like people, they will present author Paul Mitura have stories. For that matter, even speaking about his book, “The objects have stories – particularly Best Worst Tank and the Ship when you look at wartime history.” That Wasn’t.” Did you know Jimmy Carter Paul Mitura Mitura’s book reflects this. There is a reason why a particular chapter was awarded a World War II Victory Medal even though he never is called the “Best Worst Tank,” instead of participated in the war? Did you know the more mundane “Worst Tank.” He continued, “That’s explained in the that during WWII, men up to the age of 65 were required to enlist? Did you know book, but I will elaborate upon it in my that Clark Gable, the biggest name in talk. I can tell you this though – that the Hollywood during the 1940s, gave up his qualifier, ‘best,’ refers to the back story acting career to become an Army officer? of the tank, while the ‘worst’ bit has to do These are the nuggets of history that with what it ultimately ended up being.” The JCC is located at 5655 Thompson Rd., often get lost in the larger narrative that usually focuses on dates, events and names, DeWitt. Light refreshments will be served particularly in the case of military history. and copies of the book will be available for “But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more purchase. For more information, contact the to it,” said Mitura, a Utica author who now JCC at 315-445-2360 or


donate will receive a prize ticket. One of the carnival’s main attractions is Esther’s Café, which will open for lunch at 11:30 am in the JCC’s Anne and Hy Miller Family Auditorium. A variety of homecooked, Va’ad-supervised kosher food by the JCC’s chef, Donna Carullo, will be available. The JCC Neulander Family Sports and Fitness Center’s Schayes Family Gymnasium will be transformed into a mini-indoor “midway” and, among other items, will feature kids’ carnival games, large inflatable bounce toys, slides and caricature drawings. Other event attractions will include entertainment, a toddler/ preschool bounce house, child-safe ID fingerprinting, car seat safety checks, PJ Library® activities, a used book sale and

Continued from page 1 release of the JCC’s 2018 Camp Joe and Lynne Romano summer camp guide. Thanks to the support of a small “army” of volunteers, the JCC of Syracuse is able to put on its Purim Carnival each year. Some of the many tasks volunteers will perform include running games, serving food and helping out in the prize room. For students seeking to fulfill community service requirements, volunteering is one way to earn credit hours, help out the JCC and have some fun. Volunteer shifts are available from 11:45 am-2 pm and 1:45-4 pm. For more information about the JCC’s Purim Carnival, including volunteer opportunities and donating gently used books for the sale, contact the JCC of Syracuse at 315-445-2360 or visit

Josh Van Alstyne, JCC assistant director of school age programs

of Central New York

Syracuse Office

Bette Siegel Syracuse Editor Publisher Jewish Federation of Central New York Inc. Ellen Weinstein Chair of the Board Michael Balanoff Federation President/CEO Alan Goldberg Vice President for Communications Editorial 5655 Thompson Rd. DeWitt, NY 13214

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Dr. Alice Honig All articles, announcements and photographs must be received by noon Wednesday, 15 days prior to publication date. Articles must be typed, double spaced and include the name of a contact person and a daytime telephone number. E-mail submissions are encouraged and may be sent to The Jewish Observer reserves the right to edit any copy. Signed letters to the editor are welcomed: they should not exceed 250 words. Names will be withheld at the discretion of the editor. All material in this newspaper has been copyrighted and is exclusive property of the Jewish Observer and cannot be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. Views and opinions expressed by our writers, columnists, advertisers and by our readers do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s and editors’ points of view, nor that of the Jewish Federation of Central New York. The newspaper reserves the right to cancel any advertisements at any time. This newspaper is not liable for the content of any errors appearing in the advertisements beyond the cost of the space occupied. The advertiser assumes responsibility for errors in telephone orders. The Jewish Observer does not assume responsibility for the kashrut of any product or service advertised in this paper. THE JEWISH OBSERVER OF CENTRAL NEW YORK (USPS 000939) (ISSN 1079-9842) Publications Periodical postage paid at Syracuse, NY and other offices. Published 24 times per year by the Jewish Federation of Central New York Inc., a non-profit corporation, 5655 Thompson Road, DeWitt, NY 13214. Subscriptions: $36/year; student $10/ year. POST MASTER: Send address change to JEWISH OBSERVER OF CENTRAL NEW YORK, 5655 Thompson Road, DeWitt, NY 13214.

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FEBRUARY 15, 2018/30 SHEVAT 5778 ■



AROUND CENTRAL NEW YORK Voices of the Shoah concert series to begin on Feb. 19 On Monday, February 19, at 7:30 pm, the inaugural concert of the Voices of the Shoah concert series, made possible in part by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Central New York’s Philip L. Holstein Community Program Fund, will include music written by Holocaust

composers, as well as contemporary American composers. Vocal soloists Cantor Paula Pepperstone and Kathleen Roland-Silverstein will be accompanied by pianist Dan Sato and Swedish musicians, pianist Katarina Ström-Harg and clarinetist Stefan Har. The concert will take place in

the Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas social hall. The evening is open to the community. There is a suggested donation at the door. For more information, go to and click on “Upcoming Events.”


Syracuse Jewish Fe on a successful BRETT KUPPERM

Three local synagogues to hold joint Purim celebration On Wednesday, February 28, at 6 pm, at Temple Concord, Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Temple Adath Yeshurun and Temple Concord will hold a joint Purim celebration. Highlights for the evening will include a Purim pizza

dinner, a three-congregation full megillah reading, and a joke and pun contest. Winning jokes and puns will be read between chapters of the megillah reading. Submit all appropriate joke entries (existing or original) to

Purim in Peking dinner BY RABBI YAAKOV RAPAPORT The Purim in Peking dinner is not at the Sheraton hotel as mistakenly stated in the Jewish art calendar. Chabad-Lubavitch of Central New York will hold its 34th annual communitywide Purim seudah (dinner) on Thursday, March 1, at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown hotel, beginning at 5:30 pm. Purim in Peking will once again offer participants a chance to enjoy kosher Chinese delicacies, drink wine according to the king’s bounty (Esther 1:7) and celebrate Purim with friends. Asian attire is optional. “Purim in Peking” has been well attended in the past and draws from a wide cross-section of the community. Hanita Blair, who has attended the dinners for many years, said, “For the past 20 years, my husband and I have enjoyed Purim with Chabad. It is a fun-filled evening from start to finish. We can always count on an evening of good food, good friends and good times with plenty of Purim fun thrown in.” There will be a megillah (Scroll of the Book of Esther) reading, accompanied by a slide show of the Purim story, at 4:45 pm. There is a charge to attend the dinner, with a reduction for children. Those under age 3 are free. Parking is available in the hotel garage for a small fee. For reservations and more information, call 4240363 or visit and click on

See “Helping” on page 5





L-r: Nicole Cain, Daniel Franz, Henry Whitesides, Ben Goldberg, Rabbi Yaakov Rapoport and Harrison Goldspiel. Purim in Peking in the top banner. TU B’SHEVAT – KABBALAH AND BEER On January 31, Chabad Lubavitch hosted its third Kabbalah and beer for graduate students and young Jewish professionals in celebration of Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees, at Wolff’s Biergarten in downtown Syracuse. This was an opportunity for young Jewish professionals to meet, exchange ideas and have some fun. There was a lot of discussion regarding the similarities between trees and people, and the mystical significance of the fruits of the land of Israel.

Helping at home and abroad 19581968 BY BARBARA SHEKLIN DAVIS Editor’s note: To mark this milestone, we are printing a series of 10 articles highlighting each decade of the Federation’s work with and for the community. We hope you enjoy this look backward as we continue to work to ensure a thriving future. Contributing to the Federation’s annual Campaigns became a mark of Jewish identification for many. Campaign workers and donors continued to be involved in the work of the Federation during the 1950s and ‘60s. But contributions to the annual Campaign declined and, at one point, the Federation even had to borrow money to send to the United Jewish Appeal. In 1958, the UJA national chair spoke at the Federation’s Initial Gifts meeting. “Israel is Jewry’s answer to 2,000 years of Jewish homelessness and persecution,” he said, noting that the Syracuse Jewish

The costume theme for the evening will be “Visual Puns and Visual Jokes.” Participants can Google the theme for ideas and are urged to be creative. (315)727-2888 brett.kuppe The event is sponsored by the Jewish Identity Fund, which was created by the Jewish Federation board from a bequest from the estates of Seymour Roth and Mitchell Shulman. On February 28, the Syracuse Community Hebrew School will meet from 4-6 pm and the Conservative daily service will be held at 5:30 pm at Temple Concord. There is a modest dinner fee. Reservations should be Jewish Community Heb made to participants’ respective synagogue at manager@, or on a successful 2



Monday, February 12, early.............. March 1 Wednesday, February 28................. March 15 Wednesday, March 14..................... March 29 Wednesday, March 28....................... April 12


Jewish Community Center on a successful 2017! BRETT KUPPERMANN DONATE YOUR CAR TO BETH SHOLOM, CONCORD, OR THE JCC, THRU C*A*R*S (a locally owned Manlius company)

(315)727-2888 “giving to your own” MIKE LESSEN 315-256-6167 Calls returned ASAP

Charitable Auto Resource Service in our 18th year of enriching the religious sector


Syracuse Hebrew Day School on a successful 2017! BRETT KUPPERMANN (315)727-2888

In the 1950s and ‘60s, Federation’s annual Campaigns became a mark of Jewish identification for many. Pictured is a group of men making Campaign calls in 1963.

Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center senior dining menu FEBRUARY 19-23 Monday – tomato basil soup, grilled cheese Tuesday – Hawaiian chicken Wednesday – hot corned beef sandwich Thursday – stuffed cabbage Friday – brisket FEBRUARY 26-MARCH 2 Monday – teriyaki crispy baked chicken wings Tuesday – Marsala meatballs Wednesday – cream of broccoli soup, tuna salad on rye Thursday – cheese quiche Friday – fresh salmon with dill The Bobbi Epstein Lewis JCC Senior Adult Dining



Deadlines for all articles and photos for the Jewish Observer are as follows. No exceptions will be made.

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 further information or to make a reservation, contact Cindy Stein at 445-2360, ext. 104, or

Visit the JO online at and click on Jewish Observer



CONGREGATIONAL NOTES Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas ROCK OUT WITH ACHLA USY ON MARCH 3 This Purim, “rock out” with Achla United Synagogue Youth on Saturday, March 3, at 7 pm, at an event open to all Central New York Jewish teens in grades nine-12. There will be karaoke and snacks. For more information, e-mail Melissa Harkavy at CBS-CS TEEN FEATURED AT THE USY INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION Achla USYer Hadar Pepperstone was selected to speak at the USY International Convention, December 24-28, in Chicago.

Temple Adath Yeshurun

In her speech, she said, “Dealing with labels, identities and stereotypes can be challenging. Only you can determine them for yourself. No one else has that power. Thinking this way about other people [allows us to] imagine them more complexly and think of them as complete people whom we don’t fully know – and be kinder towards them.” She is a senior at Jamesville-DeWitt High School and serves on the USY Tzafon Regional Board as the social action/tikkun olam vice president, and on the CBS-CS Achla board as the religious education vice president.

At left, l-r: Sophie S c h e e r, E l i s e Beckman, Aviyah Pepperstone and Danielle Downie enjoyed a movie at the Achla United Synagogue Youth all-city chill-out on January 27 at Congregation Beth SholomChevra Shas.

Above: More than 20 of Temple Adath Yeshurun Hazak members went to the Central New York Playhouse at ShoppingTown Mall to see “Boeing Boeing” on January 21. L-r: Sandra Townsend, Sandra Gingold, Bernard Bugin and Linda Stone.

At right: TAY hosted a Mishpacha Havdalah on January 20. Participants recited Havdalah, sang songs, did a craft and ate a dairy dinner together. Jordan Burns made a glow-in-the-dark Kiddush cup to make Havdalah.

Temple Concord

USYer Elise Beckman (far right) led PJ Havdalah at CBS-CS on January 20. (Photo courtesy of Arel Moodie)

CBS-CS students enjoyed ice cream, fruit and nuts at their Tu B’Shevat ice cream seder.

TOT SHABBAT, MARCH 3 Rabbi Daniel Fellman and Cantor Kari Siegel-Eglash will lead a Tot Shabbat for young children on Saturday, March 3, at 9 am. The short Shabbat celebration will include singing, dancing, musical instruments and stories, and be followed by a “kiddie friendly kiddush.” The rabbi said, “The tots are sure to have a magical experience.” The event is open to the public and no reservations are required. GOLDENBERG SERIES PRESENTS DANA “SHORT ORDER” COOKE WITH A SIDE OF STANTONS ON MARCH 6 On Tuesday, March 6, at 7 pm, Temple Concord’s Goldenberg Cultural Series will present Dana “Short Order” Cooke, considered by some as one of Central New York’s “wittiest, most respected” songwriters. He will bring his humor, sentiment and word play on an array of topics played in folk/acoustic style. Cooke, as he often does, performs with a “Side of Stantons,” stand-up bassist Jeff Stanton and Judy Cohen Stanton on fiddle and mandolin. Cooke’s website (www.danacooke. com) refers to him “as a songwriter in the mold of Roger Williams, the Roches and, especially, Loudon Wainwright III.” Goldenberg events are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. For more information, contact Temple Concord at 315-475-9952 or office@ or consult the online event calendar at TC HOLDS WEEKEND FOR FOODIES, WITH “MATZO” AUTHOR AND REGIONAL CHEF BY SALLY CUTLER Temple Concord will hold a weekend

cooking adventure beginning Saturday, March 10, and continuing Sunday, March 11. Guest presenters will be Michele Streit Heilbrun, granddaughter of Streit’s Matzo’s founder and author of “Matzo: 35 Recipes for Passover and All Year Long,” and regional chef Jeffory McLean, of Finger Lakes Foodies and the New York State Wine and Culinary Center. On Saturday, from 6:30-9 pm, Heilbrun will discuss recipes from “Matzo” and share family stories about Streit’s, considered the pre-eminent kosher food company with a 90-year history. McLean will prepare a kosher-style tasting menu and demonstrate recipe preparations from Heilbrun’s book. On Sunday,from 9 am-noon, McLean will teach a hands-on kosher-style cooking class. Participants will prepare and then eat lunch. After lunch, at 1 pm, the 2015 documentary film “Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream” will be screened. The film tells the story of Streit’s, its history and its place in the history of the Lower East Side in New York City. These events are concurrent with Temple Concord assembling recipes from its members to be published in a synagogue cookbook. All events are open to the public. Both Saturday’s event and Sunday’s class and lunch have a fee, and reservations are required by Thursday, March 1. Space is limited for Sunday’s event and early reservations are recommended. To register, call the TC office at 315-475-9952 or go online to the TC calendar at www. The movie is free and all are welcome.

Your ad could be HERE! To advertise, please contact Bonnie Rozen at 1-800-779-7896, ext 244 or

FEBRUARY 15, 2018/30 SHEVAT 5778 ■



SJFS pitches groups to anyone considering getting old (ever) BY DEBORAH ELLIS FINDING YOUR GRIT AND GRACE BEYOND MID-LIFE “Wondering how to develop yourself now so you’ll find fulfillment later in life?” asks Syracuse Jewish Family Service Director Judith Huober. If you do, she suggests joining a Wisdom Circle she will be co-facilitating with Rabbi Evan Shore, chaplain at Menorah Park. Scheduled for six monthly Thursdays (except for a break in April) from 5-6:15 pm in the Hy and Anne Miller Theater and Wellness Program’s Arts and Minds Community Room at Menorah Park, the group will be composed of anyone from the Jewish or greater communities, from age 30 to 120, who is starting to think that “later life is coming up in the rearview mirror a little faster every day,” according to Huober. “Like anything, a little advance prep goes a long way!” she says, quoting ageism expert Ashton Applewhite and aiming

the class at all “old people in training.” Jumping off Rabbi Dayle Friedman’s “Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older,” participants will explore readings, discussions and exercises aimed at helping them “find grit and grace beyond mid-life.” The class, the first in SJFS’s programming for Menorah Park’s new Center for Healthy Living, will meet Thursdays at 5 pm on these dates: February 15, March 15, April 26, May 31, June 14 and July 26 in the Arts and Minds Community Room at Menorah Park, 4101 East Genesee St., Syracuse. Participants can register at or by calling 315-4469111, ext. 234. Participants are required to attend at least one of the first two classes, as the course will be closed to new attendees after that. There is a nominal fee to attend and purchase of Friedman’s book is suggested (SJFS has eight copies to pass along at $12; first come-first serve).

VIEWS ON AGING: THROUGH THE MOVIE LENS Huober, a movie buff and aging aficionado, is also facilitating the next Center for Healthy Living group, a series of films and discussions on aging. “Like movies?” she asks. “Interested in aging and how society looks at it?” She and SJFS invite all members of the public to come to Menorah Park’s Center for Healthy Living to view and discuss a few films that offer some thoughts, a bit of wisdom and some gentle critiques on the usual portrayals of aging. The group is scheduled for Sundays from 3-5:30 pm in the Hy and Anne Miller Theater and Wellness Program’s Arts and Minds Community Room at Menorah Park. Huober said she chose films that are not the typical ones people think of when they think of movies about aging. “Let’s go beyond some of the preconceived notions and look below the surface a

bit,” said Huober. “From relationships among older people to relationships between young (and very young) and older people, to an old person’s relationship with a robot – these films will get you talking about relationships and aging – SJFS’s specialties!” Scheduled are: February 25, “Robot and Frank” with Frank Langella, Liv Tyler, Susan Sarandon and others; March 25, “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont,” starring Joan Plowright; May 27, “Up,” starring (voiced by) Ed Asner; and June 24, “Quartet,” directed by Dustin Hoffman and starring Maggie Smith and others. All members of the community are welcome. The group will meet in the Anne and Hy Miller Theater in the Arts and Minds Community Room at Menorah Park, 4101 East Genesee St., Syracuse. A nominal fee covers all four films (or just one: it can’t be prorated), plus popcorn. Register at or by calling 315-446-9111, ext. 234.

Save the date: April 19 Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration to feature Symphoria

Get ready to celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday this year with a musical twist. The Syracuse area’s annual Yom


Ha’atzmaut – Israel Independence Day – celebration will include a live Symphoria Pops concert, along with community

Continued from page 3

Welfare Federation and the UJA were both celebrating their 20th anniversaries. “Through the years,” he pointed out, “funds from Syracuse have rescued 5,732 Jews.” This year, he added, “Syracuse’s goal will be 500 lives.” By 1963, the Federation role as the representative of the entire Jewish community became more prominent. It began to make its voice heard on a variety of local, national and international issues. A resolution was addressed to President Lyndon B. Johnson, in the name of the Federation, stating that it approved of the march from Selma, AL, on behalf of civil rights. A resolution supporting the integration of Syracuse public schools was addressed to the superintendent of schools and to the Board of Education. A delegation of members of the Federation Board went to Washington, DC, to be present at the “Eternal Light Vigil” protesting the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union. In February of 1967, it was decided that Syracuse Jews would devote a weekend in March on behalf of Soviet Jewry, with special services to be conducted in all temples and synagogues, and a mass community rally at Nottingham High School auditorium. Concern for Israel still dominated the Federation agenda. An Israeli diplomat reported at a dinner meeting of the Syracuse Jewish Welfare Federation that immigration to Israel would continue at a high level for the next five years. “At least 200,000 newcomers are expected from distressed areas,” he reported, warning that a “second Israel” of permanently poor and unintegrated immigrants could become a grim reality unless special efforts were made to accelerate absorption of the newcomers. “The full absorption of these groups is a very difficult task which must be handled with great skill, more social workers, more teachers, youth centers, adult education facilities, and just about everything else which more money will buy,” he declared. Furthermore, he stressed, “large numbers of immigrants from certain underdeveloped countries are illiterate, and everything humanly possible must be done to lift them culturally and economically.”


Senator Abraham Ribicoff, speaking at another Federation Campaign kickoff meeting, told the audience that “American Jews should guard against too sentimental an approach to the problems of modern Israel.” Ribicoff said that “American Jews commonly have an unrealistic conception of Israel, despite the fact that the Jewish nation is besieged with many serious problems. Most visitors see too much good when they get to Israel,” Ribicoff told the audience. “There’s a tendency to over-sentimentalize during visits to the country.” In reality, he said, “Israel, a nation of about 2.5 million people, suffers from an imbalance of $500 million in its trade setup. That means that Israel imports $500 million worth more of goods than its exports. For a nation the size of Israel, this imbalance represents a serious threat to economic stability.” In addition, the senator continued, “Israel also spends the largest percentage of any nation in the world today on defense – about 12 percent of its gross national product. The United States, in contrast, spends only about three percent of its gross national product for defensive purposes.” The reason, Ribicoff said, is that Israel “is surrounded by nations that would just as soon wipe it from the face of the earth.” As the Federation completed its half century of service to and on behalf of the Syracuse Jewish community, it had much to be proud of. As an editorial in the local paper pointed out, the Federation was a strong unifying force for the Syracuse area Jewish community, noting that “we can see the concept at work in the centralized fund-raising effort each spring to develop and expand agency programs for families, for cultural and recreational activities, for summer camping and Jewish education.” With great insight, the editors noted that the Federation represented “Judaism in action and Judaism is inherently and deeply a religion of action, a way of life, a way of living.” Barbara Sheklin Davis is co-author, with Susan B. Rabin, of “A History of the Jewish Community of Syracuse,” published by Arcadia Press.” This series of articles is sponsored by Helen Marcum.

cantors and adults’ and children’s choirs. The event will be held on Thursday, April 19, from 5:45-8 pm, at Temple Adath Yeshurun. The family-friendly celebration will again feature a free Israeli kosher dinner, children’s activities (including a tots program), Israeli shuk with a variety of items for sale, photo booth, Israeli wine tasting and more. The event is free and open to the public. This year’s festivities are being un-

derwritten by a Yom Ha’atzmaut grant from the Philip L. Holstein Community Program Fund of the Jewish Federation of Central New York and the Pomeranz, Shankman and Martin Charitable Foundation, and is being presented by the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center and hosted by Temple Adath Yeshurun with the support of local area synagogues. For more information, contact Orit Antosh at

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A JCC Early Childhood Program grand event for all

BY ANKUR DANG The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s Jerome and Phyllis Charney Early Childhood Development Program celebrated its annual “Grand Event” on January 25 and 26. Grandparents and other family members close to the children were invited to have lunch with their preschooler and to shop for books for them at the ECDP’s book fair. Isabella Vondeak’s grandmother was reading a story to her, but she seemed a lot more interested in the goodies that would come afterward. Vondeak, who is in ECDP classroom A, seemed excited to have her grandmother there, along with her little sister, Olivia. “We enjoyed reading the story, didn’t we?” Candy Vondeak, the girls’ grandma asked them. They nodded happily as they dug into their food. “And we got story books to take home,” Isabella chimed in. It was unclear if Olivia Vondeak understood her elder sister’s excitement, but she jumped up with a little clap.

Meanwhile, in classroom B, Zypora Lacirignola was hanging onto every word of her grandma’s story. Occasionally, she took a quick glance around the room to see what the others were doing, but she was clearly not interested in the jigsaw puzzle or the hobby horse, and her grandma, Meryl Lefkowicz, knew, which is why she was happy to buy her more books from the fair. “I think this is a great idea,” Lefkowicz said, after closing the book. “She gets to show off what’s here and we get to buy her some books, and read and get some quality time together. She loves having stories read to her; and this is perfect because she has her friends around her and she has her grandma reading to her – two of her favorite things in one place at the same time.” Amid books, fairy tales, toys and their favorite foods, the children and their family members bonded with each other away from the busy routines of household duties and professional lives. For Isabella, the Grand Event didn’t come often enough. “I wish grandma came to my class every day,” she said with a little pout. Even though


March of the Living to continue trips despite Polish bill denying complicity in Holocaust

L-r: Candy Vondeak with her granddaughters Olivia and Isabella Vondeak during the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s Jerome and Phyllis Charney Early Childhood Development Program’s Grand Event on January 26.

The International March of the Living, an educational initiative that has brought more than 250,000 participants to visit concentration camps in Poland, has announced that it will continue its trip in 2018, despite the organization’s opposition to a new Polish law criminalizing statements implying concentration camps were Polish, or similar statements linking Poland to the crimes against Jews in World War II. Instead, the organization is calling for “for an open discussion and dialogue on all aspects related to the history of the Holocaust in Poland and Europe,

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Alexa Levy (right) smiled for the camera with her “grammy,” Christine Bowden, during the ECDP’s January 26 Grand Event. that’s not happening any time soon, it was probably comforting for her to know that she was not the only one with that particular wish.

which is also the position of the government of Israel.” In a statement, March of the Living said, “Like in years before, more than 12,000 participants, Jews and nonJews alike, including thousands of non-Jewish Polish students and students from other nations, will take part in the passing the torch of memory from survivors to the next generation. On each trip, the survivors share their precious stories in the very places they transpired, with their students who commit to becoming the bearers of their memories.” Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, International March of the Living president, said, “We believe it is our sacred responsibility to carry the torch of Holocaust memory and we remain committed to teaching the importance of understanding the past as a means of protecting the future. Now, as much as ever, we believe our mission is of the utmost importance.”

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FEBRUARY 15, 2018/30 SHEVAT 5778 ■



Poland isn’t the only country trying to police what can be said about the Holocaust BY CNAAN LIPHSHIZ (JTA) – In 2015, Ukraine’s president signed a law whose critics say stifles debate on the historical record of World War II and whitewashes local perpetrators of the Holocaust. Law 2538-1 criminalized any rhetoric insulting to the memory of anti-communist partisans. And it celebrates the legacy of such combatants – ostensibly including the ones who murdered countless Jewish and Polish citizens while collaborating with Nazi Germany. The law generated some backlash, including an open letter by more than 70 historians who said it “contradicts the right to freedom of speech,” ignores complicity in the Holocaust and would “damage Ukraine’s national security.” But as with similar measures in Europe’s ex-communist nations, the Ukraine law generated little opposition or even attention internationally – especially when compared to the loud objections to a similar measure in Poland that was signed into law on February 6 by the president. The law had passed both houses of parliament in recent days. The United States and Israel joined historians and Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust authority in decrying the bill. “The Ukrainian and Polish laws are similar, but in Ukraine’s case, we didn’t see anything even close” to the avalanche of condemnations that Poland received, said Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee and a longtime campaigner against Holocaust revision in Ukraine. “I wish we had; maybe this law could have been stopped in Ukraine.” To activists like Dolinsky, the singling out of Poland reflects the ongoing politicization of the debate on Eastern Europe’s bloody World War II history. They say the conversation is distorted by geopolitical tensions involving Russia,

estimates” the crime of genocide populism, ignorance and unresolved or “other crimes against humanity national traumas. or war crimes committed by the There are clear similarities USSR or Nazi Germany against between the Ukrainian and Polish Lithuanian residents.” laws, according to Alex Ryvchin, a Similar legislation in Latvia from Kiev-born Australian-Jewish jour2014 imposes up to five years in nalist and author who has written jail for those who deny the role of about the politics of memory in “the foreign powers that have perEastern Europe. “Both seek to use the legitimacy petrated crimes against Latvia and and force of law to enshrine an the Latvian nation,” without menofficial narrative of victimhood, tioning the involvement of Latvian heroism and righteousness while L-r: Polish President Andrzej Duda SS volunteers in murdering nearly criminalizing public discussion of nominaed Mateusz Morawiecki to be the all of the country’s 70,000 Jews. historical truths that contradict or prime minister at the presidential palace The denial of local culpability undermine these narratives,” he in Warsaw on December 11. Both support during the Holocaust is at the root said. Yet, he noted, “The reaction to the law ocriminalizing references to of opposition to Poland’s law, which the Polish law has indeed dwarfed death camps as Polish. (Photo by Janek sets a maximum of six years in jail the response to persistent state Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images) for “whoever accuses, publicly and revisionism elsewhere in Europe against the facts, the Polish nation or in spite of the fact that the rate of collaboration was the Polish state of being responsible or complicit in the generally lower in Poland than in Ukraine and Latvia.” Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich” or “grossly The Baltic nations of Lithuania and Latvia were diminishes the responsibility of the actual perpetrators.” pioneers in nationalist legislation that limits discourse On February 6, President Andrzej Duda said he would sign about the Holocaust in their territories. Critics say these the laws (which he did later in the day), finalizing them, laws also shift the blame for the murder of Jews, which but also refer them for review by Poland’s highest court. was done with local helpers, to Nazi Germany alone. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who in the They also seem to equate the Nazi genocide with po- past has been criticized for not calling out his country’s litical repression by the Soviet Union – which many in Eastern European allies on these issues, called the Polish the former Soviet Union blame on Jewish communists. legislation “baseless” and said Israel opposed it. The In 2010, Lithuania – a country where Nazi collabora- U.S. State Department in a statement suggested it could tors virtually wiped out a Jewish community of 250,000 have “repercussions” for bilateral relations with Poland. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s scheduled – amended its criminal code, prescribing up to two See “Holocaust” on page 12 years in jail to anyone who “denies or grossly under-

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Nine things you didn’t know about Purim

BY JULIE WIENER (My Jewish Learning via JTA) – With costumes, spiels and lots of drinking, Purim is one of Judaism’s most raucous holidays. You might know about beautiful Esther thwarting evil Haman’s plans, the custom of getting drunk and what hamantashen are. But we’re guessing there are a few things about Purim, which this year starts at sundown on Wednesday, February 28, that might surprise you. 1. Esther was a vegetarian (or at least a flexitarian). According to midrash, while Queen Esther lived in the court of King Ahasuerus, she followed a vegetarian diet consisting largely of legumes so that she would not break the laws of kashrut (dietary laws). For this reason, there is a tradition of eating beans and peas on Purim. (After all, you’ll need something healthy after all the booze and hamantashen.) 2. You’re supposed to find a go-between to deliver your


JEWISH HOME OF CENTRAL NEW YORK – $5,000 Menorah Park of Central New York will provide specially designed programs to enable individuals with developmental disabilities to become more physically and socially active in society. Organizers hope that these programs will work toward overcoming feelings of isolation, frustration and sadness, and focus on improving quality of life and family. The programs will allow freedom of choice and, hopefully, give purpose and meaning to life through activity and involvement. The newly opened Center for Healthy Living includes a bistro, Arts and Minds Community Room, movie theater and computer lab. It will be the gateway for these programs, which will also include nutritional counseling, fitness programs and other activities to help reach the primary goal of integration of these individuals into the community, sustaining or improving quality of individual experiences, and networking with providers with the flexibility to meet individual needs for all age groups. RABBI JACOB H. EPSTEIN SCHOOL OF JEWISH STUDIES – $4,500 To promote Jewish continuity, identity and culture, a special schoolwide Passover seder will be led by students of the haggadah elective class. They will study seder in the fall semester and then lead a spring seder designed to demonstrate their working knowledge


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mishloach manot, the gift baskets traditionally bolize Haman’s hat – or his ears or pockets. exchanged with friends and family on Purim. Or something a little more womanly. Some The verse in the Book of Esther about mishloach say these cookies represent Haman’s ears (the manot stipulates that we should send gifts to Hebrew name for them, “oznei Haman,” means one another, not just give gifts to one another. just this), and refer to a custom of cutting off a As a result, it’s better to send your packets of criminal’s ears before his execution. Another goodies to a friend via a messenger than to theory is that the three corners represent the just give them outright. Anyone can act as a What does haman- three patriarchs whose power weakened Haman go-between, so feel free to recruit the postal tashen symbolize? and gave strength to Esther to save the Jews. service or even that nice guy in the elevator to Answers abound. Yet another theory: Because the German (Photo by Wikimedia word tasche means “pouch” or “pocket,” the help you deliver your gifts. 3. The Book of Esther is the only biblical Commons) cookies could signify Haman’s pockets and book that does not include God’s name. The Book of the money he offered the king for permission to kill Esther also makes no references to the Temple, to prayer the Jews. Finally, in recent years, some feminists have or to Jewish practices such as kashrut. suggested the cookies, which after all are not dissimilar See “Purim” on page 11 4. Hamantashen might have been designed to sym-

and ability to share their new perspectives with their school community. This will be a full seder experience with kosher foods catered by The Oaks. In attendance will be the students who are planning and executing the seder, along with 75 or more students and adults in attendance who will also be able to influence other seders, which they will attend or lead. A common edition of the haggadah will be purchased so everyone will experience the same seder and will be able to identify similarities and differences from other seders they attend. SYRACUSE HEBREW DAY SCHOOL – $5,000 To move ahead in promoting the quality of its presence as a Jewish day school in Central New York, the SHDS board feels a need for consultations between a market professional and the current admissions director, along with the SHDS social media and marketing content creator. The goal will be to focus staff on current best practices in the areas of advertising and social media, content marketing and branding. If the cost of these consultations exceeds the grant, a private donor has pledged funds to ensure the project’s success. YOM HA’ATZMAUT COMMUNITY CELEBRATION – $7,500 The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center and partner organizations, including Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congre-

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Continued from page 1 gation of Syracuse, Temple Adath Yeshurun and Temple Concord, along with the Rabbinical Council of Syracuse, Chabad House, Syracuse Hebrew Day School, Rabbi Jacob Epstein School of Jewish Studies, Beit Tikvah Residence, Hillel, Menorah Park and The Oaks are planning a community simcha event to celebrate Israel’s 70th year of independence. The celebration will be held on Thursday, April 19, at Temple Adath Yeshurun and will include a performance by the Symphoria Orchestra, along with its pops chorus. Special guest conductor Cantor Joseph Ness will conduct instrumental and vocal music from his original score. Among the offerings will be activities for children and adults, including an Israeli-style shuk, a free gourmet-style Israeli supper, games and a kosher wine sale. PHILIP L. HOLSTEIN COMMUNITY PROGRAM FUND The applications for Federation funding through the Philip L. Holstein Community Program Fund must meet one or more of these community priorities: ‹‹ Improving the quality of life for our seniors and aging population. ‹‹ Creating a welcoming community for young people and their families. ‹‹ Improving community communication. ‹‹ Outreach to the unaffiliated and intermarried. ‹‹ Strengthening formal and informal Jewish education.

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FEBRUARY 15, 2018/30 SHEVAT 5778 ■


Super Sunday judged a success By Colleen Baker On January 28, more than 60 volunteers participated in the Jewish Federation of Central New York’s annual event, Super Sunday, held at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center. With the help and generosity of so many members of the community, more than $34,600 was raised, surpassing last year’s total of $33,702. From 9 am until 3 pm, volunteers placed calls and raised funds for the local, national and international Jewish community. The event was also multigenerational, with children from the Syracuse Hebrew Day School’s “Club 56” bringing energy and youth to the JCC’s auditorium. Myrna Koldin and Joel Friedman helped coordinate and organize the pledge cards. The event was sponsored by the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse, Natur-Tyme, American Food and Vending, Dunkin’ Donuts and Verizon. Federation Board Chair Ellen Weinstein said, “Super Sunday is an event to which so many people look forward. We have so many amazing volunteers of every generation coming together for this particular event. It’s an opportunity for them to connect, schmooze, have some breakfast or lunch and help out our community in such a meaningful way, all on one Sunday.” All the pictures accompanying this article were taken by Mark Kotzin, Len Levy or Kathie Piirak.





Unmasking a holiday BY BARBARA SHEKLIN DAVIS Full disclosure: I don’t like Purim. I don’t like Halloween either. Or Mardi Gras. It’s the masks. They are sinister. They frighten me. What are they hiding? Why do we need to hide? What do we need to hide? It has been noted that the name of God is absent from the Purim megillah. God is hidden. That is not a particularly pleasant thought. It only adds to the moral void in which much of the story takes place. Esther’s very name comes from the Hebrew word nistar, which means hidden. There is much about Esther which has to be hidden – her somewhat ambiguous relationship with

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, February 12 EARLY Deadline for March 1 Jewish Observer Wednesday, February 28 Deadline for March 15 Jewish Observer Saturday, February 17 Temple Concord Cinemagogue presents “Dough” at 7:30 pm Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse game night at 7:15 pm Monday, February 19 “Voices of the Shoah” concert at Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas at 7:30 pm Tuesday, February 20 TC - Regina F. Goldenberg Series presents Robin Seletsky and Big Galut(e) at 7 pm Tuesday, February 27 Epstein School at Temple Adath Yeshurun from 6:30-8:30 pm Wednesday, February 28 Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Temple Adath Yeshurun and Temple Concord will hold a joint Purim celebration at Temple Concord at 6 pm Thursday, March 1 Purim Syracuse Hebrew Day School Purim Carnival Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse Wild West Purim Seudah at 5 pm Saturday, March 3 TC Tot Shabbat at 9 am TAY - Pause Button (services begin at 9:15 am; pause at 9:45 for a snack, singing, and study; and then resume). Mishpacha Shabbat begins at 10:30 am. Sunday, March 4 Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center Purim Carnival – 11:45 am – 4 pm

Mordechai, her Jewish heritage, her deception of the king. There are so many real and metaphorical masks that so many people are wearing. And taking off the masks, or, in the case of Vashti, taking off everything, is incredibly dangerous, even life-threatening. Why is it that we celebrate this holiday with drinking, carousing, singing, parading, gifts of food and donations to the poor? How do the masks relate to all this? The wearing of masks was not always a part of the celebration of Purim and there is no clear explanation of the custom of masks and costumes. Some say it was to preserve the dignity of the poor as they begged for gifts of food on the holiday. Others say it is to conceal the identity of those who overindulge in the consumption of alcohol necessary to fulfill the talmudic injunction to imbibe until one can “no longer distinguish between Arur Haman (Cursed is Haman) and Baruch Mordechai (Blessed is Mordecai).” Whatever the reason, the masks are revelatory of one thing for certain: the complexity of human nature and the ubiquity of deception. I recently read Ayelet Waldman’s novel “Love and Treasure,” which recounts the destruction of the Hungarian Jewish community during the Holocaust. One of the characters in the book says, “So many Hamans, only one Purim.” But he is wrong. There are, actually, many purims. The Jewish Encyclopedia lists 30 of these fast and feast days. They are observed in various Jewish communities around the world to commemorate deliverance from a danger which threatened either a whole community or an individual family. At the celebration of these anniversaries, a Hebrew megillah, giving a detailed account of the event in question, is read in the synagogue or in the family circle. Special prayers are recited and business is suspended for the day. These purims, called Purimi Katan, range from the Purim of Abraham Danzig through the Purims of Cairo, Lepanto, Florence, Padua, Tiberias and Tripoli to the Hitler Purim of Morocco. So the correct observation should really be, “so many Hamans, so many purims.” Because a purim represents a deliverance from a terrible fate – sometimes a fire, sometimes pillaging, sometimes a massacre. What does it take to deliver a community from an Amalekite? What courage does it take for people and nations to confront and defeat evildoers, extremists, racists or those who commit murder and genocide? What courage did it take for Esther to go before the king and reveal not only that she was Jewish, but that she had deceived him by omitting to mention that fact earlier? How did she take off her mask? What was she feeling when Mordechai said to her, “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place; but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” What kind of a man was Mordechai, sending Esther to marry a non-Jew, telling her to deceive the king and the court? What kind of relationship did Mordechai have with Esther? Guardian? Uncle? Cousin? Husband? posits that “not only was [Esther] an upright Jewish girl who abhorred the notion of marriage to a Gentile vile king, she was actually already married. The Talmud explains that she was married to Mordechai, her cousin, who

was also the greatest sage of that generation. Every time Esther was taken to Ahasuerus, she was literally taken and forced to be with him. Throughout her ‘marriage’ to Ahasuerus, Esther still remained loyal to her true husband, Mordechai. After leaving Ahasuerus’ presence, she would immerse in a mikvah and then secretly rendezvous with Mordechai.” This interpretation seemed a stretch to me, so I still had no answer to the question: what kind of people were Mordechai and Esther? It is hard to answer this question because, of course, Mordechai and Esther are the hero and heroine of the Purim story. The ambiguity of their relationship and the nature of their deceptions must be explained away for the sake of the greater purpose that their actions served – that of saving the Jewish people. That is why Purim is a holiday of masks. Just as masks and costumes conceal one’s real identity, just as the megillah conceals God’s name, so too is the nature of the protagonists of this story hidden. Just as “Esther” is rooted in the word for “hidden,” the word “megillah” is related to the word “galah,” which means “to reveal.” Thus, the megillah of Esther could be translated as “Revelation of the Hidden.” Let us examine the qualities of Esther and Mordechai that allowed them to save the Jewish people of their day from the monster who would destroy them: they were pious, but compromised their piety for a greater good; they were honest, but compromised their honesty for a greater good; they were principled, but compromised their principles for a greater good. And although this is not a lesson that our sages seized upon, it is one that perhaps makes sense to us today. How can we judge Mordechai and Esther with a present-day sensibility when they were living under a king who had no qualms about parading his wife naked in front of the court, banishing and replacing her, keeping a harem, and allowing Haman to order the extermination of all the Jews throughout his kingdom? For the Jews of Persia, the situation paralleled the horrific circumstances in which many imperiled communities find themselves in the 21st century in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and to a lesser degree in many other countries, including our own. We all wear masks. Sometimes we use them to protect ourselves, other times to deceive, other times to become someone we are not. Jews in America have historically worn masks that conceal their Judaism. Taking off masks can be stressful. And seeing people without their masks can be as frightening as seeing people wearing masks. Yet, like Esther, sometimes we have to reconsider our disguises, take risks and do the right thing. Perhaps the point of Purim masks, then, is to remind us that sometimes we, like Esther, must look deep into our hearts, reveal clearly who we really are and stand up for what we truly believe. Barbara Sheklin Davis is professor emerita of modern languages at Onondaga Community College. She served as principal of the Syracuse Hebrew Day School for 27 years and also headed the Epstein High School of Jewish Studies and the Combined School. She is the author of “100 Jewish Things to Do Before You Die,” co-author (with Susan Rabin) of a “A History of the Syracuse Jewish Community,” and author of “A History of Syracuse’s African American Community.” She is a member of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas.

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BY BARBARA SHEKLIN DAVIS Joey Binder graduated from the Syracuse Hebrew Day School in 2008 and is a senior at Cornell University. He is studying biological sciences, with a concentration in evolution and ecology. He is pre-med, and will be applying to medical school in the hope of becoming a plastic surgeon. A busy person, he likes technology and took courses in web design in high school. He has held a part-time job with the Onondaga County IT department since he was 17 years old, and he helped design the Onondaga County Sheriff’s website, and designed the Lakeview Amphitheater website. He is a member of Cornell’s International Affairs Society and, in that capacity, he was invited to the United Nations in New York City twice, and represented Cornell at Carnegie Hall. He also studied in South Africa for part of his junior year. Binder says his day school experience “helped form the person that I am today.” Even recess had an impact. He recalls “sledding with Bill pushing me down the hill” as one of his favorite memories. Perhaps that explains why he is the founder and current president of Cornell’s first official snowboarding club, The Big Red Boarders. He recommends SHDS to prospective students because “the academics, Hebrew language and religious instruction were superior.” He noted that “being able to

Joey Binder studied in South Africa for part of his junior year. read, write and speak Hebrew was great, and it helped me when I took Chinese in high school.” He put his day school learning to good use when he was in Africa. He says that “from the traditions of the SHDS and my mom, I celebrated my first seder at Kruger National Park with my professors, staff and classmates. I decided to cook my first seder by myself. I cooked for 35 people. The seder

See “Binder” on page 11



Eva Charlotte Galson died on February 2. Born in Vienna, Austria, at the time of Kristallnacht, she was expelled from grade school. Due to chance and luck, the family avoided the concentration camps and fled to the United States when Eva was 11. She quickly mastered English and excelled in school, studying chemistry at Queens College. She married her longtime sweetheart after his World War II military service and graduation from Cornell University. She lived in Syracuse for most of her adult life. Between the births of her first two children, she earned a master’s degree in chemistry at the School of Forestry at the State University of New York, working and publishing with Ernst Sondheimer. Her husband, Edgar, along with his parents, Henry and Gertrude (later joined by brother, Allen) built the firm Galson and Galson, Consulting Engineers (G & G). When the firm expanded to include an environmental business, Galson Technical Services (GTS), Eva was an early employee, initially overseeing laboratory quality control and then becoming manager of the GTS laboratory. Under her leadership, the laboratory gained national recognition for the quality of its services. She was especially interested in quality control of laboratory analytical procedures and served as chair of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Committee on Laboratory Accreditation. Under her leadership, the GTS laboratory became one of the earliest to receive certification from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and AIHA as well as from the New York State Department of Health. She was a certified industrial hygienist (CIH) and a pioneer in the field of laboratory testing and analysis. Twenty-five years ago, Eva, Edgar, Allen and Nirelle purchased Pumpkin Island in the Canadian Thousand Islands. Family gathered there during all seasons except winter. Eva enjoyed scrabble and crossword puzzles, and was interested in plants and birds. She did copper enameling, tiling, sewing and knitting. Until the end of her life, she loved finding and preparing new recipes. She made jam, creating her own recipes and producing large batches year after year. Later in life, she cultivated, collected and photographed orchids, earning many ribbons. In her basement Orchid Room, she nurtured her plants and prepared them for display at home and for competitions. She was active in the Central New York Orchid Society, serving as secretary and newsletter editor and enjoyed bringing home new plants. She is survived by her husband of almost 70 years, Edgar; children, Wendy (Susan Windle), Diana Galson-Kooy (Hanne Kooy), Steven (Jessie) and David (Diane Kile); and nine grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Birnbaum Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions may be made to Upstate Cancer Center, Upstate Foundation, 750 East Adams St., Syracuse, NY 13210. 


Arthur Rothman, 93, died on February 3 at Menorah Park after a brief illness. He was an independent sales representative of children’s clothing, representing Dr. Denton’s for most of his career. After retiring, he worked every day from 9 to 5 in his son Gary’s veterinary office, Quarryside Veterinary Hospital. He never missed a day and just recently retired on his 93rd birthday. He was predeceased by his wife, Doris, in 1991. He is survived by his sons, Gary (Vicki), Jeffrey (Ruthie) and Mark (Miriam); nine grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren. Burial was in Beth El Cemetery. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions may be made to the Senior Meal Program at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt, NY 13214. 

FEBRUARY 15, 2018/30 SHEVAT 5778 ■

Adar (Adar I and Adar II) every third, sixth, eighth, 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th year over a 19-year period. 8. Purim is celebrated one day later inside walled cities than it is everywhere else. The Book of Esther differentiates between Jews who lived and fought their enemies for two days within the walled capital city of Shushan and those who lived in unwalled towns, where only one day was needed to subdue the enemy. The rabbis determined we should make that same distinction when memorializing the event. Accordingly, if a person lives in a city that has been walled since the days of Joshua (circa 1250 B.C.E.), as Shushan was, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of Adar, a day referred to as Shushan Purim. 9. Just after the 1991 Gulf War, Israel’s most popular Purim costume was of the Israeli army spokesman whose face appeared on TV every time a Scud missile alert sounded – and people snacked on “Saddamtashen” instead of hamantashen. Spokesman Nachman Shai’s “reassuring tones earned him the sobriquet ‘National Valium’” while Israel was being pelted with Iraqi missiles, according to a JTA report at the time. That year, while many costume-makers avoided the temptation to make Saddam Hussein costumes (it would be like a Hitler costume, one vendor told JTA), bakeries hawked “Saddamtashen,” which “look and taste exactly like hamantashen.” Julie Wiener is managing editor of My Jewish Learning.


Continued from page 2

take to Jasionowka, your mother’s shtetl?’ And I just said, ‘Thank you, sir, I am sorry. I guess I won’t go.’” Over the years, Honig has had many friends tell her about their direct and indirect experiences of the war. And even though the Holocaust is history for most of the world, she remembers it every day. “For years, I sat next to a survivor at Temple Beth El,” she says. “How could I ever treat it as history? And it hasn’t stopped. Look at what happened in Rwanda, Cambodia, Darfur; what is happening in Syria. How could I not remember?” And it is with that thought that she holds up a sign that says #WeRemember. The #WeRemember campaign is an initiative by the World Jewish Congress to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. January 27 is observed as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day every year. This year, in the weeks leading up to it, millions of people around the world held up a #WeRemember sign as a mark of respect and a pledge to reject hatred and discrimination in all forms. The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse’s staff and many of the seniors that come to the Center for lunch also joined the campaign. The JCC will continue to collect the stories and testimonies of

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in appearance to female reproductive parts, were meant to be fertility symbols. 5. In 1945, a group of American soldiers held belated Purim services inside Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels’ confiscated castle. According to JTA coverage at the time, the Jewish chaplain “carefully arranged the candles over a swastika-bedecked bookcase in Goebbels’ main dining room,” and Jewish soldiers explained to their Christian comrades in attendance “about Haman and why it was so fitting that Purim services should be held in a castle belonging to Goebbels.” 6. The Book of Esther, which many scholars theorize is fictional, may be an adaptation of a Babylonian story. Some scholars argue that the Book of Esther adapted stories about these pagan gods – Marduk becoming Mordechai and Ishtar transformed to Esther – to reflect the realities of its own Jewish authors in exile. 7. The Jewish calendar has a regular leap year with two months of Adar (but only one Purim, which falls during the second Adar). To ensure that the holidays remain in their mandated seasons, the Jewish calendar was ingeniously adjusted to accommodate the 11-day difference between the lunar and solar years. In the fourth century C.E., Hillel scheduled an extra month at the end of the biblical year, as necessary. The biblical year begins in spring with Nissan (Exodus 12: 1-2) and ends with Adar. Hillel, in conjunction with the Sanhedrin (Jewish supreme court), chose to repeat

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people over the next few months leading up to the Yom Hashoah observance which falls on April 12 this year. “Survivors of the Holocaust are becoming fewer and fewer in number. They are literally dying out,” said Marci Erlenbacher, the JCC executive director. “As a society, we can never forget what happened to six million Jews; because, unfortunately, genocide keeps repeating itself. No group should be wiped out because another group doesn’t like their religion or look or skin color. We need to take a stand and we need to remember so that it does not repeat itself. The goal of this whole movement is, as I see it, to say ‘Enough! No more genocide – no matter who the people are – no more genocide.’” The goal of the #WeRemember campaign is to get six million people to hold up the #WeRemember sign. Join the JCC in meeting this goal. To share a story or have someone else share a story with the JCC, contact Will Wallak at 315-445-2360 or Follow the JCC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the local progress of this movement. “I know some people say it did not happen,” Honig said, after getting her picture taken with the sign. “Maybe if enough of us hold up this sign, they will believe it. Maybe they will believe it that the deaths of six million Jews and five million other people are not lies.”

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Continued from page 10 was great and everybody enjoyed the latkes, brisket, matzah ball soup, veggies, matzah and grape juice. Like the day school’s seder, everybody wanted the red fruit slices that my mom sent from home. I gave everyone a little tutorial, led the prayers and everyone enjoyed the seder. There were no leftovers.” Another benefit he derived from his day school experience came from his third grade Chumash class. “Rabbi Shore said that he was going to teach us about taking notes. I raised my hand and asked, ‘What are notes?’ Rabbi said that they were ideas that you wrote on paper, and that it would help me with school and college. He was correct. It did, and it has.”


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visit to Poland the week of February 5was canceled after he criticized the law, which Israel’s embassy in Poland said was generating antisemitic hate speech in the media. Back in Israel, the Polish Embassy condemned what


Judge says Met Museum can keep Picasso sold by Jew fleeing the Nazis

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York by the estate of a German-Jewish businessman seeking the return of a Picasso painting sold in order to flee the Nazis. The family of Paul Leffmann did not adequately show that the late businessman sold the masterpiece “The Actor” under duress, which would have mandated its return to the family, Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan ruled on Feb. 7, Reuters reported. Laurel Zuckerman, Leffmann’s great-grandniece, is the executor of the estate of Leffmann’s wife, Alice. She sued for more than $100 million in damages for the painting. The Leffmanns fled Nazi Germany for Italy in 1937. The following year, Leffmann sold “The Actor” to two art dealers for $12,000 in order to escape to Switzerland. “The Actor” was donated to the Met in 1952. The museum acknowledged the prior ownership of the Leffmann family in 2011.

Trump doesn’t want Israel exporting medical marijuana, so it won’t

Israel has halted a plan to export medical marijuana for fear of upsetting President Donald Trump. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the plan to be frozen despite support from the Health, Agriculture and Finance ministries, Hadashot news reported on Feb. 7. Netanyahu told the heads of the ministries he ordered the freeze after receiving a call about the issue of exporting marijuana from Trump, who is against its legalization. The prime minister made it clear that he did not want Israel to be a pioneer in the export of medical marijuana in order not to anger the U.S. president, according to the report. A government committee had determined that the export of cannabis would bring between $285 million to $1.14 billion a year to the Israeli economy, according to the report.

Continued from page 7

it called ignorant remarks by Yair Lapid, an opposition leader. Citing his credentials as the son of a Holocaust survivor, Lapid said the Polish law is designed to hide how Poland was “a partner in the Holocaust.” Jewish organizations, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said for their part that they understand the Polish frustration with terms like “Polish death camps,” which seem to shift the blame for Nazi war crimes to Poland – one of the few Nazi-occupied countries where the Nazis did not allow any measure of self-rule or integrate locals into the genocide. And the term is especially offensive in Poland, where the Nazis killed at least 1.9 million nonJews in addition to at least three million Jews. But, many Jewish groups added, the legislation in Poland ignores how many Poles betrayed or killed Jews and is therefore detrimental to the preservation of historical record and free speech. Dolinsky in Ukraine isn’t a fan of the Polish legislation, either. “But I don’t quite understand why it and only it provoked such a strong reaction,” he added. “We needed that strong reaction two years ago in Ukraine. This fight needs to apply to all these cases. For the pressure to be effective, it shouldn’t be selective.” Dolinsky believes that Ukraine – which, unlike Poland, shares a border with Russia – is getting a free pass from the West because it is subjected to hostility from Russia under President Vladimir Putin. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine amid ongoing psychological warfare against the Baltic nations, often involving the deployment of Russia’s army around those countries in blunt loudspeaker diplomacy. “There is a lot of Russophobic sentiment worldwide and it means international silence on countries with a conflict with Russia,” said Joseph Koren, chairman of the Latvia Without Nazism group. “Poland and Hungary are in a different category,” agreed Dovid Katz, a scholar of Yiddish in Lithuania and longtime campaigner against Holocaust distortion there. The singling out of Poland and Hungary, he said, is “not least because the issues of the Holocaust, antisemitism and restrictions on democratic expression in these countries have never been perceived primarily through the same binary lens of pro-and anti-Putin.” Under that alleged cover of silence, in Ukraine and the Baltic countries there is a rapid lifting on taboos that

P A S S O V E R Deadline: March 21 (March 29 issue) Passover is traditionally a time for sharing with family, friends and strangers. While your seder table may not be large enough to fit all these people, you can share the warmth of this holiday with the entire local Jewish community by placing a Passover greeting in The Jewish Observer.You may choose from the designs, messages and sizes shown here - more are available. You may also choose your own message, as long as it fits into the space of the greeting you select. (Custom designs available upon request.) The price of the small greeting is $18 (styles C, E & F), the medium one is $36 (styles A, B & D) and the largest one (style G) is $72. To ensure that your greeting is published, simply fill out the form below and choose a design that you would like to accompany your greeting, or contact Bonnie Rozen at 1-800-779-7896, ext. 244 or Checks can be made payable to The Jewish Observer and sent to: The Reporter, 500 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal, NY 13850.

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had been in place for decades on the honoring of war criminals, even including SS volunteers who “enthusiastically” participated in the mass killings of Jews and Poles. Largely ignored by the international media, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis recently gave the final approval for a law that offers financial benefits to all World War II veterans – including SS volunteers who murdered Jews. Latvia is the only country in the world known to have an annual march by SS veterans, which takes place with the approval of authorities’ on the country’s national day in the center of its capital, sometimes with mainstream politicians in attendance. Last year, the municipality of Kalush near Lviv in Ukraine decided to name a street for Dmytro Paliiv, a commander of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as the 1st Galician. Ukraine’s state television observed a moment of silence for the first time last year for Symon Petliura, a nationalist killed by a Jewish communist for Petliura’s role in the murder of 35,000 to 50,000 Jews in a series of pogroms between 1918 and 1921, when Petliura was head of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. “There is less willingness to speak out on Ukraine in media, in the scientific community and in Western governments, so it seems,” Dolinsky said. But this alleged turning of a blind eye, he added, is a disservice. “Ukraine needs to join Europe as a civilized member of that family of nations. And for that to happen, it needs to speak honestly and openly about its history,” he said. To Ryvchin, the Australian author, the “particularly forceful reaction to the Polish law is likely because Poland is seen as the epicenter of the Holocaust,” he said. The Germans built extermination camps only in Poland, according to Holocaust historian Efraim Zuroff. “Any attempt to distort or disguise what happened in Poland is seen as a particularly egregious attack on the history of the Holocaust and the memories of the dead,” Ryvchin said. Ironically, Poland is perhaps singled out for criticism because of the country’s vocal civil society and the debate it is generating over the politics of memory, Katz suggested. Even today, he said, Poland and Hungary “have robust liberal movements that themselves counter official government policy on many issues – unlike the Baltics, where dissent is often quashed using the full force of the law.”

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Jewish Observer issue of 2/15/18  
Jewish Observer issue of 2/15/18