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Left to right, the “Battle for Israel’s Soul”

The Jewish Federation of Central New York will present a debate on Monday, March 27, at 7 pm, at Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Rd., Syracuse, on the “Battle for Israel’s Soul.” The debate will be between J.J. Goldberg, editor-at-large of the newspaper The Forward, and Jonathan S. Tobin, senior online

editor and chief political blogger of Commentary. The event will be sponsored in part by the David Yaffee Israel Education and Advocacy Memorial Fund. The debate will be free and is open to the community. For more information, visit http://jewishfederationcny. org or call 315-445-2040, ext. 106.

U.S. “Women’s Strike” platform calls for “decolonization of Palestine” BY JTA STAFF (JTA) – The platform for a strike to support feminism and women’s rights drew criticism from some over its call “for the decolonization of Palestine.” The statement on Palestine is included in a section on “Antiracist andAnti-imperialist Feminism” in the platform for the U.S. affiliate of the International Women’s Strike. The grassroots feminist movement organized events around the world on March 8. It groups solidarity with Palestine with other causes, including Black Lives Matter, “the struggle against police brutality and mass incarceration,” and immigrant rights. “We want to dismantle all walls, from prison walls to border walls, from Mexico to Palestine,” the platform reads. Critics of the platform included Emily Shire, the politics editor of the women’s news site Bustle. She wrote in a New York Times op-ed published on March 7 that as a Zionist she was “troubled” by the plank on Palestine. “I find it troubling that embracing such a view is considered an essential part of an event that is supposed to unite feminists,” she wrote. “I am happy to debate Middle East politics or listen to critiques of Israeli policies. But why should criticism of Israel be key to feminism in 2017?” Shire also criticized the strike for the involvement of Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian woman convicted and sentenced by an Israeli military court in 1970 to life in prison for two bombing attacks, including one in 1969 that killed two Israelis. Odeh was among the eight authors of an op-ed article in The Guardian announcing the movement. She confessed to planting the bomb, though in recent years has claimed that the confession was given under torture, which is disputed by Israeli officials. “While the fairness of Ms. Odeh’s conviction is debated, the fact that she was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was categorized as a terrorist organization by the State Department, is not,” Shire wrote. The niece of one of the victims of the

1969 attack also criticized the strike over Odeh’s involvement. “But, explain how my family is supposed to reconcile the reality that the woman who stripped my uncle of his life is now deemed a hero by many of my fellow Americans. What justification is there for Rasmea Odeh, a woman who killed two people (with the intention of killing more!) to lead a peaceful fight for human rights?” Terry Joffe Benaryeh wrote in an op-ed published recently on Huffington Post.

JCCs to Sessions: “We’re frustrated” with progress on bomb threats BY JTA STAFF (JTA) – Executives from 141 Jewish Community Centers signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressing frustration with efforts combating a rash of bomb threats. The letter, sent on March 8 by the JCC Association of North America, the national organization of Jewish Community Centers, requested a meeting with Sessions and urged the Justice Department to do more to stop the threats. It also praised local law enforcement’s response to the incidents and recognized President Donald Trump’s condemnation of them. “Still, we are frustrated with the progress in resolving this situation,” the letter said. “We insist that all relevant federal agencies, including your own, apply all the resources available to identify and bring the perpetrator or perpetrators, who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in communities across the country, to justice.” More than 100 bomb threats have


Female Israeli lone soldiers may finally get home away from home BY LORI LOWENTHAL MARCUS Part of the widely admired strength of the Israel Defense Forces comes from the military’s many “lone soldiers,” who leave their homes and families abroad in order to help protect the Jewish homeland. Now, some women in this group may receive a boost to their ability to serve. Significant media attention has focused on Israeli lone soldiers in recent years, particularly after two American-born soldiers (Max Steinberg of California and Sean Carmeli of Texas) were killed in the 2014 Gaza war. There are currently three “homes” that provide lone soldiers with communal living quarters, camaraderie and support. Yet there is one large segment of this group that doesn’t receive the same attention – nor some of the same resources – as the rest of their peers. Until now, female lone soldiers have not enjoyed the same type of group residential facilities as their male counterparts. But that is likely about to change. “The IDF would not exist today as a functioning army without its female soldiers,” said Josh Flaster, national director of The Lone Soldier Center – In Memory

hit JCCs and other Jewish sites across the country since the beginning of the year. The latest wave [at press time], on March 7 and 8, targeted 20 JCCs, day schools and offices of the Anti-Defamation League. The Department of Homeland Security has made its regional experts available to JCCs, and leaders of major Jewish groups met with FBI Director James Comey on March 3. Local JCC directors have repeatedly praised the response of area law enforcement. “Local law enforcement have represented a beacon of responsiveness and professionalism as our communities have endured dozens of antisemitic threats in past weeks,” the letter said. “We respectfully ask that federal agencies, including your own, do the same.” Authorities have yet to identify the person or people behind most of the threats. Juan Thompson, a St. Louis resident charged with making eight of the threats to avenge a former romantic partner, appears to have been a copycat.

2017 Federation Annual Campaign Goal: $1,200,000



as of March 13, 2017

Dana Grob (left), a former Israeli lone soldier from New York, and Natalie Adjei. (Photo by Dana Grob) of Michael Levin, a nonprofit that assists lone soldiers before, during and after their army service. “Every soldier is taught to shoot or is taught other essential aspects of combat or military preparedness and fitness by female instructors.” Female soldiers’ existing key support role in the IDF was amplified during the past 18 months upon the creation of two

To make a pledge, contact Jessica Lawrence at 445-2040 ext. 102 or

See “Home” on page 10

C A N D L E L I G H T I N G A N D P A R AS H A March 17..................6:56 pm......................................................... Parasha-Ki Tisa March 24..................7:04 pm..........................................Parasha-Vayakel-Pekudai March 31..................7:12 pm.........................................................Parasha-Vayikra


Congregational notes


Upcoming PJ Library events Local synagogues announce A look at the rising tide of include a Passover-themed event dinners, concerts, lectures and antisemitism in the U.S. and if more. at the MOST. it’s just better reporting. Stories on page 4 Story on page 3 Story on page 6

PLUS Summer Camps....................8-9 Calendar Highlights............. 10 B’nai Mitzvah......................... 10 Obituaries................................11


JEWISH OBSERVER ■ MARCH 16, 20176/18 ADAR 5777

A MATTER OF OPINION A view from the frontlines

BY HUNTER STUART This piece originally appeared in The Jerusalem Report magazine and is reprinted with its permission. In the summer of 2015, just three days after I moved to Israel for a year-and-a-half stint freelance reporting in the region, I wrote down my feelings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A friend of mine in New York had mentioned that it would be interesting to see if living in Israel would change the way I felt. My friend probably suspected that things would look differently from the front-row seat, so to speak. Boy was he right. Before I moved to Jerusalem, I was very pro-Palestinian. Almost everyone I knew was. I grew up Protestant in a quaint, politically correct New England town; almost everyone around me was liberal. And being liberal in America comes with a pantheon of beliefs: You support pluralism, tolerance and diversity. You support gay rights, access to abortion and gun control. The belief that Israel is unjustly bullying the Palestinians is an inextricable part of this pantheon. Most progressives in the U.S. view Israel as an aggressor, oppressing the poor noble Arabs who are being so brutally denied their freedom. “I believe Israel should relinquish control of all of the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank,” I wrote on July 11, 2015, from a park near my new apartment in Jerusalem’s Baka neighborhood. “The occupation is an act of colonialism that only creates suffering, frustration and despair for millions of Palestinians.” Perhaps predictably, this view didn’t play well among the people I met during my first few weeks in Jerusalem, which, even by Israeli standards, is a conservative city. My wife and I had moved to the Jewish side of town, more or less by chance – the first Airbnb host who accepted our request to rent a room happened to be in the Nachlaot neighborhood where even the hipsters are religious. As a result, almost everyone we interacted with was Jewish Israeli and very supportive of Israel. I didn’t announce my pro-Palestinian views to them – I was too afraid. But they must have sensed my antipathy (I later learned this is a sixth sense Israelis have). During my first few weeks in Jerusalem, I found myself constantly getting into arguments about the conflict with my roommates and in social settings. Unlike waspy New England, Israel does not afford the privilege of politely avoiding unpleasant political conversations. Outside of the Tel Aviv bubble, the conflict is omnipresent; it affects almost every aspect of life. Avoiding it simply isn’t an option. During one such argument, one of my roommates – an easygoing American-Jewish guy in his mid-30s – seemed to be suggesting that all Palestinians were terrorists. I became annoyed and told him it was wrong to call all Palestinians terrorists, that only a small minority supported terrorist attacks. My roommate promptly pulled out his laptop, called up a 2013 Pew Research poll and showed me the screen. I saw that Pew’s researchers had done a survey of thousands of people across the Muslim world, asking them if they supported suicide bombings against civilians in order to “defend Islam from its enemies.” The survey found that 62 percent of Palestinians believed such terrorist acts against civilians were justified in these circumstances. And not only that, the Palestinian territories were the only place in the Muslim world where a majority of


citizens supported terrorism; everywhere else it was a minority – from Lebanon and Egypt to Pakistan and Malaysia. I didn’t let my roommate win the argument [in the] early morning hours. But the statistic stuck with me. Less than a month later, in October 2015, a wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Jewish-Israelis began. Nearly every day, an angry, young Muslim Palestinian was stabbing or trying to run over someone with his car. A lot of the violence was happening in Jerusalem, some of it just steps from where my wife and I had moved into an apartment of our own, and lived and worked and went grocery shopping. At first, I’ll admit, I didn’t feel a lot of sympathy for Israelis. Actually, I felt hostility. I felt that they were the cause of the violence. I wanted to shake them and say, “Stop occupying the West Bank, stop blockading Gaza, and Palestinians will stop killing you!” It seemed so obvious to me; how could they not realize that all this violence was a natural, if unpleasant, reaction to their government’s actions? It wasn’t until the violence became personal that I began to see the Israeli side with greater clarity. As the “Stabbing Intifada” (as it later became known) kicked into full gear, I traveled to the impoverished East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan for a story I was writing. As soon as I arrived, a Palestinian kid who was perhaps 13-years-old pointed at me and shouted “Yehudi!” which means “Jew” in Arabic. Immediately, a large group of his friends who’d been hanging out nearby were running toward me with a terrifying sparkle in their eyes. “Yehudi! Yehudi!” they shouted. I felt my heart start to pound. I shouted at them in Arabic, “Ana mish Yehudi! Ana mish Yehudi!” (“I’m not Jewish, I’m not Jewish!”) over and over. I told them, also in Arabic, that I was an American journalist who “loved Palestine.” They calmed down after that, but the look in their eyes when they first saw me is something I’ll never forget. Later, at a house party in Amman, I met a Palestinian guy who’d grown up in Silwan. “If you were Jewish, they probably would have killed you,” he said. I made it back from Silwan that day in one piece; others weren’t so lucky. In Jerusalem, and across Israel, the attacks against Jewish Israelis continued. My attitude began to shift, probably because the violence was, for the first time, affecting me directly. I found myself worrying that my wife might be stabbed while she was on her way home from work. Every time my phone lit up with news of another attack, if I wasn’t in the same room with her, I immediately sent her a text to see if she was OK. Then a friend of mine – an older Jewish Israeli guy who’d hosted my wife and me for dinner at his apartment in the capital’s Talpiot neighborhood – told us that his friend had been murdered by two Palestinians the month before on a city bus not far from his apartment. I knew the story well – not just from the news, but because I’d interviewed the family of one of the Palestinian guys who’d carried out the attack. In the interview, his family told me how he was a promising young entrepreneur who was pushed over the edge by the daily humiliations wrought by the occupation. I ended up writing a very sympathetic story about the killer for a Jordanian news site called Al Bawaba News. Writing about the attack with the de-

In the Jewish Observer of February 16, there was an error in the article, “State of Israel to mark many milestone anniversaries in 2017,” on page 6. It mistakenly said that Theodor Herzl died in 1902. He actually died in 1904. The error is regretted.

tached analytical eye of a journalist, I was able to take the perspective that (I was fast learning) most news outlets wanted – that Israel was to blame for Palestinian violence. But when I learned that my friend’s friend was one of the victims, it changed my way of thinking. I felt horrible for having publicly glorified one of the murderers. The man who’d been murdered, Richard Lakin, was originally from New England, like me, and had taught English to Israeli and Palestinian children at a school in Jerusalem. He believed in making peace with the Palestinians and “never missed a peace rally,” according to his son. By contrast, his killers – who came from a middle-class neighborhood in East Jerusalem and were actually quite well-off relative to most Palestinians – had been paid 20,000 shekels ($5,300 to storm the bus that morning with their cowardly guns. More than a year later, you can still see their faces plastered around East Jerusalem on posters hailing them as martyrs. (One of the attackers, Baha Aliyan, 22, was killed at the scene; the second, Bilal Ranem, 23, was captured alive.) Being personally affected by the conflict caused me to question how forgiving I’d been of Palestinian violence previously. Liberals, human-rights groups and most of the media, though, continued to blame Israel for being attacked. Ban Ki-Moon, for example, who at the time was the head of the United Nations, said in January 2016 – as the streets of my neighborhood were stained with the blood of innocent Israeli civilians – that it was “human nature to react to occupation.” In fact, there is no justification for killing someone, no matter what the political situation may or may not be, and Ban’s statement rankled me. Similarly, the way that international NGOs, European leaders and others criticized Israel for its “shoot to kill” policy during this wave of terrorist attacks began to annoy me more and more. In almost any nation, when the police confront a terrorist in the act of killing people, they shoot him dead and human-rights groups don’t make a peep. This happens in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh; it happens in Germany and England and

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France and Spain, and it sure as hell happens in the U.S. (see San Bernardino and the Orlando nightclub massacre, the Boston Marathon bombings and others). Did Amnesty International condemn Barack Obama or Abdel Fattah al-Sisi or Angela Merkel or François Hollande when their police forces killed a terrorist? Nope. But they made a point of condemning Israel. What’s more, I started to notice that the media were unusually fixated on highlighting the moral shortcomings of Israel, even as other countries acted in infinitely more abominable ways. If Israel threatened to relocate a collection of Palestinian agricultural tents, as they did in the West Bank village of Sussiya in the summer of 2015, for example, the story made international headlines for weeks. The liberal outrage was endless. Yet, when Egypt’s president used bulldozers and dynamite to demolish an entire neighborhood in the Sinai Peninsula in the name of national security, people scarcely noticed. Where do these double standards come from? I’ve come to believe it’s because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appeals to the appetites of progressive people in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere. They see it as a white, first-world people beating on a poor, third-world one. It’s easier for them to become outraged watching two radically different civilizations collide than it is watching Alawite Muslims kill Sunni Muslims in Syria, for example, because to a Western observer the difference between Alawite and Sunni is too subtle to fit into a compelling narrative that can be easily summarized on Facebook. Unfortunately for Israel, videos on social media that show U.S.-funded Jewish soldiers shooting tear gas at rioting Arab Muslims is Hollywood-level entertainment and fits perfectly with the liberal narrative that Muslims are oppressed and Jewish Israel is a bully. I admire the liberal desire to support the underdog. They want to be on the right side of history, and their intentions are good. The problem is that their beliefs often don’t square with reality. See “View” on page 6

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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MARCH 16, 2017/18 ADAR 5777 ■



AROUND CENTRAL NEW YORK PJ Library’s science of Passover at the MOST April 2 BY CAROLYN WEINBERG PASSOVER AND SCIENCE AT THE MOST PJ Library® families have been invited to attend a Passover-themed event at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology on Sunday, April 2. The interactive event will feature various stations that will combine the elements of the Passover story with science and art activities. There will be two sessions: the first will be held from 11 am-noon for children 2-6-years-old, and the second from 1-2 pm for children 6-11-years-old. Registration will be required for the event and can be made by contacting Carolyn Weinberg at pjcny@jccsyr. org. Spaces are limited and have filled up in the past,

so those interested have been encouraged to register as soon as possible. YOM HA’ATZMAUT PJ Library will be at the Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration at Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Rd., Syracuse, on Tuesday, May 2. Children have been encouraged to attend and participate in an interactive Israel experience. The PJ Library® (PJ for pajamas) is a nationally-acclaimed literacy program started by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that gives free Jewish bedtime stories, CDs and DVDs to families raising Jewish children. The PJ Library Central New York chapter is a program of the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse

JCC’s ECDP voted most loved preschool BY WILLIAM WALLAK The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s Jerome and Phyllis Charney Early Childhood Development Program has been voted Hulafrog Syracuse’s “most loved preschool” for 2017. The award was announced on February 14 after parents voted on the Hulafrog website between January 6-February 3 to select “the most beloved family-friendly businesses” in Central New York. Among other categories awarded were pediatric

dentist, ice cream parlor and child-friendly restaurant. Hulafrog Syracuse is a local website started in 2015. It aims to connect parents to local events and businesses in the community, as well as to each other. The site is part of a larger network of Hulafrog sites in many cities across the country. “We are extremely grateful for all of our families and everyone else who voted to help us win the most loved See “ECDP” on page 4

SU Rudolph Lecture Syracuse University’s Jewish Studies Program will present the 2017 B.G. Rudolph Lecture with Menachem Lorberbaum on Tuesday, March 28, at 7 pm, in Crouse Hinds 010. The lecture is free and open to the public; a light reception will follow. Lorberbaum’s presentation is a part of the B.G. Ru-

dolph Lecture series that was created in 1973 by Bernard G. Rudolph in order to bring distinguished Judaic studies scholars to SU’s campus. For more information on the program or the lecture series, contact Professor Zachary Braiterman, Jewish Studies program director, at 315-443-5719.

and supported by the Pomeranz, Shankman and Martin Charitable Foundation, Jewish Federation of Central New York, Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse, Syracuse Hebrew Day School, Temple Adath Yeshurun and Temple Concord. The PJ Library in Central New York serves children from 6-months-8-years-old in Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties. For more information or to sign up, visit www.pjlibrary. org or e-mail Carolyn Weinberg at PJ OUR WAY PJ Our Way is the newest chapter of PJ Library for children ages 9-11. It is different from PJ Library as it is designed to meet the developmental needs of 9-11 year-olds by offering a choice and creative outlets. Every month, children can visit the website to choose one book from a selection of four with Jewish themes. The books are then mailed to children’s homes. They can then post comments and reviews on the PJ website. Enrollment is limited to children ages 8-and-a-half-11. They just need to visit Once enrolled, they can log onto the site and choose a book between the first and 10th of each month.

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Wednesday, March 15.................... March 30 Wednesday, March 29...................... April 13 Thursday, April 6, early................... April 27 Wednesday, April 26......................... May 11

Catering by The Oaks to hold takeout “Pub Night” on March 23 BY STEWART KOENIG Catering by The Oaks will hold a “Pub Night,” on Thursday, March 23, offering a range of party food for takeout for one person or a party of any size. The program will be held “to help the community celebrate, from any happy occasion to March Madness, to anything else in between.”

Orders are preferred by Monday, March 20. The pickup on March 23 will be between 5:30-6:30 pm. To order, call 315-446-9111, ext. 255, or 315-4493309, ext. 107. The entire menu can be found at or Catering by The Oaks on Facebook.

Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center senior dining menu MARCH 20-24 Monday - baked ziti Tuesday – baked herbed chicken Wednesday – tuna salad on rye Thursday – beef stew over egg noodles Friday – roast turkey MARCH 27-31 Monday – stuffed cabbage Tuesday – hot corned beef on rye Wednesday – sweet and sour meatballs Thursday – chicken fried rice Friday – Moroccan chicken stew The Bobbi Epstein Lewis JCC Senior Adult Dining Program at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse offers Va’ad Ha’ir-supervised kosher lunches served Monday-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 THE JCC, CONG. BETH SHOLOM & TEMPLE CONCORD, GLADLY ACCEPT DONATED VEHICLES THRU C*A*R*S (a locally owned Manlius company) “giving to your own”

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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ MARCH 16, 20176/18 ADAR 5777

CONGREGATIONAL NOTES Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas Rabbi Troster will be the CBS-CS SHABBAT DINNER Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra scholar-in-residence, focusing on “NurShas will hold its monthly Shabbat turing the Tree of Life: Environmental dinner on Friday, March 24, at 6 pm. It Judaism,” the weekend of March 31- April will be catered by the CBS-CS Sister- 2. He will speak on March 31 during hood. The dinner will be followed by a services, which begin at 6 pm, and which shorashim service for all. Dessert will follows a short social “hour” with snacks follow services. shorashim – meaning at 5:45 pm. He will also speak during ser“roots” – services are geared to all ages vices on April 1, which start at 9:30 am, and include interactive participation. and following services at 12:15 pm. These programs will be open to the community. Dessert will follow services. Rabbi Troster will meet with the conThere is a cost for the dinner. To make gregation’s third-seventh grade students a reservation, contact the CBS-CS office and their parents in the morning on April at 315-446-9570. 2, while younger children and their parents NURTURING THE TREE OF LIFE: will participate in environmental activities ENVIRONMENTAL JUDAISM with the school’s faculty. As part of the scholar-in-resRabbi Troster is consididence weekend with Jewish ered by many to be one of eco-theologian and religious the country’s leading Jewish environmental leader Rabbi eco-theologians and religious Lawrence Troster, from Frienvironmental leaders. He day-Sunday, March 31-April is the rabbi of Kesher Israel 2, InterFaith Works and Women Congregation in West ChesTranscending Boundaries will ter, PA. He contributes to co-sponsor a multi-faith panel, the Huffington Post and has “Love and Care for the Land,” published books and numeron Saturday, April 1. It will discuss what each participating Jewish eco-theo- ous articles. He is a popular faith community is doing re- logian and religious lecturer on eco-theology, garding environmental issues; environmental lea- bio-ethics and Judaism and what they each would like to der Rabbi Lawrence modern science, and was honored by the Temple of Unbe doing; what the barriers are Troster derstanding, one of the oldest to doing those things; and how worldwide interfaith organizations, as faith communities can come together to an “Interfaith Visionary.” achieve those goals. Participating will be The weekend will be made possible Rabbi Lawrence Troster (Conservative Judaism), Sister Caryn Crook (Catholic), with funding from the Joseph and Leah Mohammed Khater (Sunni Islam), Kendra Kalina Fund. For more information about Hatfield-Timajchy (Ba’hai), Freida Jacques the weekend, contact Sarah Saulson at sa(Onondaga Nation) and Catherine Landis or 315-449-9423. (Zen Buddhism). The program will be open The Friday and Saturday events will be to the community and will begin at 8:30 pm. open to the community.

Temple Concord ROBIN SELETSKY TO PERFORM AT TEMPLE CONCORD MARCH 20 Temple Concord will host clarinetist Robin Seletsky and members of her Jewish music ensemble, the Big Galute, as part of the Regina Goldenberg Cultural Series, on Monday, March 20, at 7 pm, at Temple Concord, 910 Madison St., Syracuse. The performance will feature an evening of music from around the world, including songs, dances and classical works. One feature of the performance will be excerpts from the original work “The Tale of Monish,” a setting of the epic poem by the Yiddish writer I. L. Peretz. Free parking will be available in the parking lot of the temple at the lot entrance. Concert attendees can enter the building from the parking lot entrance. For more information, call 315-475-9952. SCHOLAR SERIES PRESENTS RABBI PHYLLIS SOMMER ON APRIL 2 BY CHANA MEIR Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, director of congregational learning at Congregation Am Shalom in Glencoe, IL, will discuss balancing life as a rabbi, wife and mother of four, as part of Temple Concord’s Scholar Series on Sunday, April 2, at 11 am. She describes herself as “passionate about Jewish life and learning... and baking... and technology... and reading, and quilting and posting regular updates on Facebook,” and “just about everything!” She and her husband, Rabbi Michael Sommer, are the parents of “Superman Sammy” Sommer, who died of leukemia at the age of 8 in 2013. Rabbi Phyllis Sommer blogged about Sammy’s experiences, inspiring the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s “36 Rabbis Shave for the Brave” campaign in Sammy’s memory. Rabbi Phyllis Sommer spends part of every summer on faculty at the Olin-SangRuby Union Institute, in Oconomowoc, WI, where she leads a quilting retreat for

Temple Adath Yeshurun PAUSE BUTTON AND MISHPACHA SHABBAT Temple Adath Yeshurun will hold a Pause Button and Mishpacha Shabbat, with services for every age, on Saturday, March 18, with Shabbat services starting at 9:15 am, at the synagogue, 450 Kimber Rd., Syracuse. Pause Button begins at 9:45 am and offers snacks, study and singing, after which participants will return to complete the service. Services for tots and school-age children will begin at 10:30 am. Children from birth-5-yearsold will meet in the Muriel and Avron Spector Library, and junior congregation for first-fifth grade will meet in the youth lounge. The focus of the programs will be

Passover, and there will be a kiddush lunch following services. For more information about the tots or junior congregation services, contact Alicia Gross at alicia@ or Shannon Small at ssmall@ For more information about Pause Button, contact Rabbi Paul Drazen at BLOOD DRIVE AT TEMPLE ADATH YESHURUN The Temple Adath Yeshurun Men’s Club and Sisterhood will sponsor a blood drive through the American Red Cross on Sunday, March 19, from 9 am-2 pm, on the stage side of the ballroom at Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Rd. To make an appointment, call Jeff

Joseph at 315-885-0384 or visit http:// and use sponsor code “templeadath.” Appointments have been encouraged and are preferred. Walk-ins will be welcome, but they may have to wait for an available donor slot. JEWISH SCULPTORS AND MODERN ART LECTURE BY SONALI MCINTYRE The Temple Adath Yeshurun adult education chavurah will present Samuel D. Gruber on Sunday, March 19, for the program “Beyond the Second Commandment: Jewish Sculptors and Modern Art.” Gruber said, “Jewish avoidance of three-dimensional art is often exaggerated, and the reasons were often more broadly cultural than strictly religious. There is a long tradition of Jewish wood and stone carving in Eastern Europe especially expressed in synagogue ark decoration and on gravestones. In mid-20th century America, however, a new style of synagogue sculpture championed abstract forms to suggest timeless Jewish themes.” Gruber will make special mention of two pieces at Temple Adath Yeshurun, “The Last March” by Nathan Rapoport and “The Burning Bush” by Dorothy Riester. Gruber has been a lecturer in Jewish studies at Syracuse University, and has also taught at Temple, Binghamton, Cornell and Colgate universities. He was trained as a medievalist and architectural historian, and is an expert on medieval urbanism, especially Italian medieval towns and cities. He has written extensively on the architecture of the synagogue and is often considered an expert and activist in the documentation, protection and preservation of historic Jewish sites and monuments. See “TAY” on page 7

adults each spring. She blogs at http:// and at http:// Scholar Series events are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. For more information, contact the TC office at 315475-9952 or REGINA F. GOLDENBERG CULTURAL SERIES PRESENTS SU BRASS ENSEMBLE ON APRIL 3 BY CHANA MEIR As part of Temple Concord’s Regina F. Goldenberg Cultural Series, the Syracuse University Brass Ensemble will perform on Monday, April 3, at 7 pm. The Syracuse University Brass Ensemble is a group of 35 professional-level brass and percussion musicians drawn from Syracuse University, SUNY Upstate Medical University and upstate New York communities. It performs about 16 concerts each year around Central New York, and has twice placed first nationally in the North American Brass Band Association Championship Festival. The repertoire of the SU Brass Ensemble includes music from major musical periods and often features new compositions commissioned by nationally known composers. The ensemble recently premiered “In Praise of Science,” which was written for it by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Robert Ward. The event will be free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. For more information, contact the TC office at 315475-9952 or FIRST SEDER ON APRIL 10 Temple Concord will celebrate the first night of Passover with a traditional seder to be held at, and catered by, Traditions at the Links on Monday, April 10, at 6 pm. Rabbi Daniel J. Fellman and Cantor Kari Siegel-Eglash will lead participants through the traditional and “sometimes not-so-traditional” portions of the haggadah that was selected for this seder. Temple Concord seders are participatory, with guests around the tables called on to read passages aloud. This includes the children who ask the “Four Questions” to the eldest in the room. Everyone is said to be “fair game” to be called upon to do a part. There will be a seder plate on each table with traditional seder foods. Once the story has reached a “resting point,” there will be a traditional catered meal. The finding and consumption of the afikomen represents the end of the meal, with sweets to follow, along with more drinking and singing. The seder will be open to the community, but reservations will be required. There will be a charge for adults and children 6-years-old and older. To make a reservation, contact the TC office at 315-475-9952; use the form in the TC e-bulletin; visit www.templeconcord. and click on the online calendar and follow the directions there; or contact the TC office at 315-475-9952 or


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preschool award this year,” said Pamela Ranieri, JCC early childhood director. “We are so fortunate to have such kind and wonderful staff members who really put our kids and families first. This kind of recognition is extremely satisfying and reinforces the great work that everyone here does every day.” The JCC’s Early Childhood Development Program is a comprehensive childcare facility and preschool rooted in Judaic teachings and traditions, serving infants 6-weeks-old through pre-kindergarten children 5-years old. For more information about the JCC’s Early Childhood Development Program, call 315-445-2040, ext. 120, or visit

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Syracuse Community Hebrew School holds Inclusion Day Programming BY DIANE WLADIS Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion month was in February and is celebrated nationally by Jewish organizations. The Syracuse Community Hebrew School had an inclusion day. The Syracuse Community Hebrew School celebrated Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion month by conducting school-wide workshops in each classroom on February 8. The purpose of the activities was to further the students’ understanding and acceptance of others with differing abilities. In the individual classrooms, each teacher had an inclusion lesson tailored to a specific grade level. Teacher Tamar Frieden paired off third grade students with classmates with whom they don’t normally socialize. They were given the task of learning new things about their “new” friend. They next selected three different crayons as each student created a uniquely designed and colored flower. As the flowers were put together, one student exclaimed, “Different is cool!” Frieden explained, “When different flowers are put together, they create a more beautiful picture.” Jennifer Cohen led the fourth grade students in a discussion of the different challenges that people face and how those challenges “do not change the person inside.”

Syracuse Community Hebrew School fourth grade students attempted to write with their eyes closed in order to promote discussion on inclusion. They were observing Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion month, which was celebrated nationally by Jewish organizations in February. The students then rotated through centers where each student was given a different challenge, such as having to cut with scissors in the incorrect hand; writing their


name with their eyes closed or reading text that had been printed to appear scrambled or distorted. The fifth grade class observed a variety of differently-colored and patterned eggs, which Cantor Paula Pepperstone broke open to reveal that their centers were all the same. Each student was then told to make two different lists: one about the important things about themselves that everyone could see, and another about the important things about them that no one could see. Sixth grade teacher Cecelia Ellis read her class a short story about an eagle that was mutilated by a man who doesn’t understand the purpose of its curved beak and talons. This led to a discussion about why the man altered the bird without regard to its special qualities and the students related this to their own observations of discrimination. Ora Jezer worked to raise the awareness of her seventh grade students by assigning each student with a different and specific disability and then several tasks to complete. Students did not know what the other students’ disabilities were, as each experienced isolation from their peers. They discussed the different ways people view disabilities. Special education teacher Andrea Speer explained, “The purpose of today was to have the students understand that we are all unique and we need to respect and celebrate diversity.”

JCC 2017 summer camp registration is now open BY WILLIAM WALLAK Registration for the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse’s 2017 Camp Rishon began on March 12. The summer day camp for children and teenagers will run weekdays for eight weeks this summer, from June 26-August 18. Camp Rishon will once again offer a variety of programs so campers can “establish lasting friendships, gain experience by doing and hopefully have fun all summer long.” Last year, the JCC held what was called “one of its most successful” Camp Rishon summer day camps. Hundreds of campers, ranging in age from infants to school-age children to teenagers, attended a total of 2,500 camper weeks during the eight weeks of camp. Camp enrollment is broken into three different age groups. The early childhood camp is for children 6-weeks-old-entering kindergarten; school-age camp is open to children entering first -sixth grade; and the SyraCruisin’ teen travel camp is for young teenagers entering seventh-10th grade. Nearly all of the JCC’s camps are held at the JCC in DeWitt. The exceptions are scheduled off-site field trips, overnight trips and certain off-site specialty camps. In all cases, though, the camp day begins and ends at the JCC. Early and late care options are available for all campers. Once again this summer, the JCC will offer its Yachad (meaning “all together” in Hebrew) inclusion program for school-age children with special needs. The program aims to create a “sense of community among participants of all abilities” by utilizing additional support staff and making necessary accommodations. There will be no additional cost to enroll qualified children in the Yachad program, provided the JCC’s grant funding is approved again this year.

Current JCC membership or program enrollment is not necessary for a child to attend Camp Rishon. Early registration is recommended as many sessions close out quickly. A discount for siblings is available and a limited number of scholarships in the form of financial aid are

also available. The scholarship application deadline is Monday, May 22. For more information about Camp Rishon, or to request the summer camp program guide, call 315-445-2360 or visit

At right: Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community of Syracuse school-age campers attended the camp’s opening day last year.



J.J. Goldberg is editor-at-large of the newspaper The Forward, where he served as editor-in-chief for seven years. In the past, he served as U.S. bureau chief of the Israeli news magazine Jerusalem Report, managing editor of The Jewish Week of New York and as a nationally syndicated columnist in Jewish weeklies.

450 Kimber Rd., Syracuse, NY

Jonathan S. Tobin is the senior online editor and chief political blogger of Commentary, the neo-conservative magazine of opinion and ideas covering American politics, international affairs, Judaism and social, cultural and literary issues. Tobin was executive editor of The Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia from 1998 through 2008.

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Is the “rising tide” of American antisemitism only a surge in incident reporting?

BY LORI LOWENTHAL MARCUS Dozens of bomb threats have been called into Jewish institutions since early January, and scores of headstones at four Jewish cemeteries were desecrated in recent weeks. But is there actually a rising tide of antisemitism in America? Despite the threats and attacks, positive feelings between different American religious groups are on the rise, as measured in mid-to-late January by the well-respected and non-partisan Pew Foundation. Additionally, far more damaging antisemitic incidents took place throughout the preceding decade and a half than the ones garnering attention in recent weeks. During the past two months, there have been more than 100 bomb threats directed at Jewish institutions – mostly at Jewish Community Centers – and cemetery attacks near St. Louis, in Philadelphia, in Rochester, NY, and in Brooklyn, NY. Federal authorities on March 3 arrested Juan M. Thompson, a 31-year-old former news reporter from St. Louis, in connection with eight of the bomb threats. Running parallel to these anti-Jewish hate crimes has been a groundswell of anger directed at President Don-


In reality, things are much, much more complex than a five-minute spot on the evening news or a two paragraph-long Facebook status will ever be able to portray. As a friend told me recently, “The reason the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so intractable is that both sides have a really, really good point.” Unfortunately, not enough people see it that way. I recently bumped into an old friend from college who told me that a guy we’d both known when we were freshmen had been active in Palestinian protests for a time after graduating. The fact that a smart, well-educated kid from Vermont, who went to one of the best liberal arts schools in the U.S., traveled thousands of miles to throw bricks at Israeli soldiers is very, very telling. There’s an old saying that goes, “If you want to change someone’s mind, first make them your friend.” The friends I made in Israel forever changed my mind about the country and about the Jewish need for a homeland. But I also spent a lot of time traveling in the Palestinian territories getting to know Palestinians. I spent close to six weeks visiting Nablus and Ramallah and Hebron, and even the Gaza Strip. I met some incredible people in these places; I saw generosity and hospitality unlike anywhere else I’ve ever traveled to. I’ll be friends with some of them for the rest of my life. But almost without fail, their views of the conflict and of Israel and of Jewish people in general was extremely disappointing. First of all, even the kindest, most educated, upper-class Palestinians reject 100 percent of Israel – not just the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. They simply will not be content with a two-state solution – what they want is to return to their ancestral homes in Ramle and Jaffa and Haifa and other places in 1948 Israel, within the Green Line. And they want the Israelis who live there now to leave. They almost never speak of coexistence; they speak of expulsion, of taking back “their” land. To me, however morally complicated the creation

ald Trump for allegedly failing to swiftly or sufficiently denounce antisemitism. Some critics have labeled the president an antisemite and claimed he is responsible for unleashing a wave of religious hatred. In response, Trump and his spokesmen have been condemning the recent acts of antisemitism, using that specific phrase. The president began his speech to Congress February 28 by calling attention to the “recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries.” But is America witnessing a significant uptick in antisemitism, or just a surge in the attention paid to, and the reporting of, antisemitic incidents? To answer that question, the incidents must first be appraised accurately. They are religious hate crimes, according to the FBI’s definition: “a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a religion.” The past 18 years, however, have witnessed larger-scale crimes against Jewish institutions such as the following: ‹‹ In 1999, a white supremacist walked into the lobby of the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, CA, and fired 50 shots, wounding three children,

a teenager and an adult. The shooter, Buford O. Furrow Jr., was gunning for Jews. ‹‹ In 2006, Naveed Haq forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle facility, where he shot six people, murdering one of them. ‹‹ In April 2014, Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. drove to the Overland Park JCC and the Village Shalom retirement home in Kansas, and fatally shot three people. Miller hoped to kill Jews by targeting Jewish institutions, but his victims happened to be Christians. The recent bomb threats, none of which was followed by actual attacks, are not a new phenomenon in the U.S., although the successive and coordinated hits on so many Jewish institutions in a relatively short period of time is in fact unprecedented. Jewish cemeteries, meanwhile, have been occasionally vandalized for as long as they have existed. In December 2010, more than 200 headstones were knocked over, smashed and graffitied at Brooklyn’s Washington Cemetery – the same cemetery that was targeted recently. Internet searches going back decades reveal dozens of Jewish cemetery desecrations, but the overwhelming majority of these attacks received See “Reporting” on page 8

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of Israel may have been, however many innocent Palestinians were killed and displaced from their homes in 1948 and again in 1967, Israel is now a fact, accepted by almost every government in the world (including many in the Middle East). But the ongoing desire of Palestinians to wipe Israel off the map is unproductive and backward-looking and the West must be very careful not to encourage it. The other thing is that a large percentage of Palestinians, even among the educated upper class, believe that most Islamic terrorism is actually engineered by Western governments to make Muslims look bad. I know this sounds absurd. It’s a conspiracy theory that’s comical until you hear it repeated again and again as I did. I can hardly count how many Palestinians told me the stabbing attacks in Israel in 2015 and 2016 were fake or that the CIA had created ISIS. For example, after the November 2015 ISIS shootings in Paris that killed 150 people, a colleague of mine – an educated 27-year-old Lebanese-Palestinian journalist – casually remarked that those massacres were “probably” perpetrated by the Mossad. Though she was a journalist like me and ought to have been committed to searching out the truth no matter how unpleasant, this woman was unwilling to admit that Muslims would commit such a horrific attack, and all too willing – in defiance of all the facts – to blame it on Israeli spies. Usually when I travel, I try to listen to people without imposing my own opinion. To me that’s what traveling is all about – keeping your mouth shut and learning other perspectives. But after 3-4 weeks of traveling in Palestine, I grew tired of these conspiracy theories. “Arabs need to take responsibility for certain things,” I finally shouted at a friend I’d made in Nablus the third or fourth time he tried to deflect blame from Muslims for Islamic terrorism. “Not everything is America’s fault.” My friend seemed surprised by my vehemence and let the subject drop – obviously I’d reached my saturation point with this nonsense. I know a lot of Jewish-Israelis who are willing to share the land with Muslim Palestinians, but for some reason finding a Palestinian who feels the same way was near impossible. Countless Palestinians told me they didn’t have a problem with Jewish people, only with Zionists.


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They seemed to forget that Jews have been living in Israel for thousands of years, along with Muslims, Christians, Druze, atheists, agnostics and others, more often than not, in harmony. Instead, the vast majority believe that Jews only arrived in Israel in the 20th century and, therefore, don’t belong here. Of course, I don’t blame Palestinians for wanting autonomy or for wanting to return to their ancestral homes. It’s a completely natural desire; I know I would feel the same way if something similar happened to my own family. But as long as Western powers and NGOs and progressive people in the U.S. and Europe fail to condemn Palestinian attacks against Israel, the deeper the conflict will grow and the more blood will be shed on both sides. I’m back in the U.S. now, living on the north side of Chicago in a liberal enclave where most people – including Jews – tend to support the Palestinians’ bid for statehood, which is gaining steam every year in international forums such as the U.N. Personally, I’m no longer convinced it’s such a good idea. If the Palestinians are given their own state in the West Bank, who’s to say they wouldn’t elect Hamas, an Islamist group committed to Israel’s destruction? That’s exactly what happened in Gaza in democratic elections in 2006. Fortunately, Gaza is somewhat isolated, and its geographic isolation – plus the Israeli and Egyptian-imposed blockade – limit the damage the group can do. But having them in control of the West Bank and half of Jerusalem is something Israel obviously doesn’t want. It would be suicide. And no country can be expected to consent to its own destruction. So, now, I don’t know what to think. I’m squarely in the center of one of the most polarized issues in the world. I guess, at least, I can say that, no matter how socially unacceptable it was, I was willing to change my mind. If only more people would do the same. Correction: A previous version of this post said Bilal Ranem and Baha Aliyan were paid $20,000 to commit the attack on the Jerusalem bus. The post has been updated to note they were paid 20,000 NIS ($5,300). The error occurred here on, not in The Jerusalem Report magazine or on Statement from Hunter Stuart: I’m a journalist and editor with more than eight years of professional experience. I was a staff reporter and editor at The Huffington Post in New York from 2010-15. Most recently, I spent one-and-a-half years working as a freelance reporter in the Middle East, where I wrote for Vice, The Jerusalem Post, Al Jazeera English, the International Business Times and others. My reporting has also appeared on CNN, Pacific Standard, the Daily Mail, Yahoo News, Slate, Talking Points Memo and The Atlantic Wire. The state of Israel considers me a threat to “public security.” To contact Stuart, e-mail, Skype at hunter.stuart, LinkedIn at Hunter Stuart, follow Stuart on Twitter at @hoont, or visit Stuart’s personal blog at This piece can also be viewed online at Jerusalem-Report/A-view-from-the-frontlines-480829. The author spent a year working as a journalist in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, which made Hunter Stuart rethink his positions on the conflict.

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Gruber has spoken at Temple Adath Yeshurun, lecturing on Jewish artistic identity, new Jewish art, Jewish photographers, the photography of Jews and recent trends in Jewish art. He also presented a lecture on American synagogues and Jewish identity. Within the larger community, he has led walking tours to discuss architecture and history. He said, “This illustrated talk provides an introduction to the work of more than a dozen Jewish sculptors. It also considers if there are consistent artist experiences and qualities in the work itself that support a collective view of their art and what, if any, role Judaism or Jewishness plays in this view.” The program will be open to the community and there is no cost to attend. There will be a brunch at 10 am, followed by the presentation at 10:30 am. Reservations have been requested and can be made by contacting the TAY office at 315-445-0002 or TAY SCREENS “THE WANDERING MUSE” BY SONALI MCINTYRE The documentary film “The Wandering Muse” will be shown at a “Movie in the Round” program on Saturday, March 25, at 8:15 pm. It explores Jewish identity through the music of diaspora, “from ram’s horn to beatbox, from Argentina to Uganda.” The film is part of the Temple Adath Yeshurun Musical March series. The “Wandering Muse” depicts several Jewish musicians from around the world, moving away from the music venues and joining in the creative process and the struggles the musicians face in their lives. The film shows two friends playing tango-infused klezmer in an Argentinian bar; then moves to rural Uganda, where villagers chant Hebrew prayers in East African harmonies; then a Montreal party as an artist blends hip-hop and jazz with cantorial singing; and lands in a Berlin apartment with two friends, an American and a Russian, harmonizing an anti-Zionist song from the 1920s. Keeping traditional and contemporary tones in constant connection, the film sheds light on “the birth of a dynamic new Jewish music.” The film was written and directed by Hungarian-born Tamás Wormser and produced by Wormser and Artesian Films. In his director’s statement, Wormser said, “There are many films on Jewish subjects, but none about my favorite Jewish archetype – the wandering artist. Now that I’m a father of two sons, I have been struggling to explain to them what it means

to be Jewish. It means so much, yet very little. For me, being a Jew is not simply a religion, a people, a culture, a tradition or a sense of humor. My idea of Jewishness might be the opposite of another Jew’s, yet we both claim to be one.” This film premiered at the RIDM Montreal International Documentary Festival; earned a nomination for the Prix Gémeaux in Best Arts and Culture Documentary category; became an official selection in the fifth Beijing International Film Festival Doc-Sector; was featured at the Miami Jewish Film Festival, Fresno Film Festival and Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival; and won the Context Prize at the Moscow Jewish Film Festival. Wine, dessert and coffee will be served during the film, which is part of TAY’s Musical March series. This program will be open to the community. While there is no charge to attend, reservations have been requested and can be made by contacting the TAY office at 315-445-0002 or info@ TAY HAZAK PRESENTS THOMAS NGUYEN IN CONCERT BY SONALI MCINTYRE The Temple Adath Yeshurun Hazak chapter will present Thomas Nguyen in concert on Sunday, March 26, at 1 pm. He will perform selections by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Bartók and Gershwin. Nguyen was featured on Carrie Lazarus’ program, “Extraordinary Talent,” in 2015. He is majoring in music and piano at Onondaga Community College, with plans to Thomas Nguyen transfer to a fouryear program elsewhere. For two years, he has played the piano; however, as a child, he played the drums, violin and saxophone. Hazak President JoAnn Grower said, “We are so excited to have such a wonderful talent join us at Temple Adath Yeshurun. Thomas’ music is delightful and we’re looking forward to sharing that with the community.” The program is free and open to the community. Refreshments will be served after the program. Reservations have been requested and will be appreciated. To make a reservation, e-mail JoAnn Grower at or call the TAY office at 315-445-0002.


JCC’s Early Childhood Program celebrates 100th day of school

The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s Jerome and Phyllis Charney Early Childhood Development Program celebrated its 100th day of the current school year on February 10. The preschool and pre-kindergarten students participated in activities to mark the occasion. Above: Pre-kindergarten students and teachers in classroom B dressed like they were 100-years-old.

DeWitt Fire Department visits JCC preschool At right: The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s Jerome and Phyllis Charney Early Childhood Development Program welcomed the DeWitt Fire Department for a visit on February 22. As part of their learning about community helpers – those who live and work in the community, why they are needed and why residents should appreciate them – ECDP classrooms 6, 7 and 8 had a hands-on tour of some fire trucks in the JCC parking lot. The fire fighters demonstrated the different parts of the trucks, as well as some equipment, and the children were all able to go inside the fire trucks. Pictured is DeWitt fire fighter Jason Ormsby helping ECDP preschooler Lydia Clark out of a fire truck.

The Temple Adath Yeshurun sisterhood baked fresh hamantashen to sell for Purim. Congregants could purchase hamantashen by the dozen in apricot, cherry, chocolate, poppy seed or mixed flavors. L-r: Linda Levy, Sandy Meltzer, Marcia Mizruchi, Susie Drazen, Maxine Molloy and Carol Lipson.



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minimal media attention and some were not reported at all. So why have the four cemetery attacks in recent weeks proved different? A security expert who deals exclusively with Jewish institutions, Jason Friedman of the Community Security Service, told that given his historical perspective, he is not convinced that there has been “a dramatic increase in antisemitic events rather than a big increase in the reporting of and on such events.” Friedman’s organization recently issued a detailed report documenting 45 years of antisemitic incidents. The 42-page chronology only catalogues shootings, arsons, explosive devices and hostage situations, and does not include hoax bomb threats and cemetery desecrations. Two entries from 2016 in the CSS report are a foiled

bombing attempt at an Aventura, FL, synagogue in April and explosives thrown at the homes of two ChabadLubavitch rabbis in Rockland, NY. Although those acts caused actual property damage and were intended to inflict physical harm, even death, they received little media coverage. The FBI has been compiling statistics on hate crimes since 1999. From 1999-2015, the most recent year for which data is available, Jews have always been the biggest target of religious hate crimes by a wide margin. In 1999, Jews were on the receiving end of 76 percent of all religious hate crimes in America. That figure was 56.5 percent in 2001 and 65.3 percent in 2002. No other religion suffered half as many hate crimes as Jews during those years. Jews have been the targets of between 500

and more than 1,000 hate crimes every year since the FBI began its documentation. While news headlines and politicians decry the “rising tide” of hatred against Jews, the Pew Foundation’s recently published report – “Americans Express Increasingly Warm Feelings Toward Religious Groups” – belies such claims. Between June 2014 and January 2017, according to the study, non-Jewish Americans’ feelings toward Jews grew warmer, from 63 “degrees” to 67 degrees. The survey was conducted from January 9-23, 2017. Friedman, meanwhile, said he sees a silver lining in the possible uptick in the reporting of antisemitic incidents – that it encourages Jewish institutions to be forward-thinking and proactive.

In this family, all four siblings found spouses at the same summer camp BY GABE FRIEDMAN (JTA) – Ami Yunger is used to people sounding surprised when they hear that he and his three siblings all met their spouses at the same summer camp. But he doesn’t think it’s that weird. “Funny enough, I am so used to it that sometimes I think that it is strange when I hear about couples who did not meet their spouse at camp,” Yunger said. The 24-year-old now studies economics at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, but he grew up in Montreal. He followed the path of his modern Orthodox siblings at age 10 when he began spending summers at Camp Moshava in Ennismore, Ontario – a small outpost of the Bnei Akiva religious Zionist youth movement. There he met a girl named Samara when he was 14 and she was 13. They didn’t start dating until moving to Israel after high school, just before Ami served in the Israeli army, and they married five years ago. In doing so, Ami became the last of the four Yunger siblings to marr y someone they met at Moshava. No surprise, then, that he invited dozens of Moshava campers to his wedding, and not just those with whom he went to camp. “Half the camp disappeared and they all went to my kid’s wedding,” said Joy Yunger, Ami’s mother. “It was like being at camp – the kids came and it was such a camp atmosphere, they sat around in a circle.” Finding love at Jewish camp is not exactly a new or rare phenomenon. Many Jewish camps, especially those that

At left: Shlomie and Dalia Yunger at Camp Moshava as teenagers. (Photo courtesy of Dalia Yunger) At right: Shlomie and Dalia Yunger at their wedding. (Photo courtesy of Dalia Yunger) fall under a specific denomination’s umbrella, host campers with similar religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. The Conservative movement’s Ramah camp network has its own dating app for alumni. But a group of four siblings meeting their spouses at the same camp? Yunger’s brother Gadi, 33, and sister Naomi, 30, even married siblings from the same Toronto family. “I don’t know whether it was in the water or it was in the juice they gave them,” Joy said. All of the Yunger siblings started officially dating their basherts after their time in camp – although some were not too adept at hiding their developing feelings before then. Shlomie, 35, and his wife Dalia, 36, were “only friends” and fellow camp employees throughout their camp days (Shlomie as a counselor and Dalia on sports staff), but

At left: Ami and Samara Yunger at Camp Moshava. (Photo courtesy of Ami Yunger) At right: Ami and Samara Yunger at their wedding. (Photo courtesy of Ami Yunger)

most of the camp sniffed out their budding romance. One time, when Dalia was assigned to the rock climbing wall, Shlomie offered to climb as an example to a group of young campers. As Dalia helped belay him down, some of the boys entangled their ropes – so when Shlomie made it down he was tied up next to Dalia. “Even the 10- and 11-year-old boys knew there was something,” Dalia said. For one summer, Naomi slept in a bunk that her future sister-in-law Dalia helped oversee. It was during that time that Joy Yunger first became acquainted with Dalia – through a letter Naomi wrote home calling her an amazing counselor. Naomi’s only complaint was that Dalia made her and her fellow bunkmates do push-ups if they misbehaved. “Since then, my daughter-in-law has run the New York Marathon four times,” Joy said. Today, Shlomie and Dalia Yunger live in Toronto, where he is an accountant and she works in regulatory finance. Gadi and Atara live in Modi’in, Israel, from where he runs a clothing company based in Toronto (he makes frequent business trips) and she works as a graphic designer at a company in Tel Aviv. Naomi and Zvi also live in Toronto, where she is a kindergarten teacher and Zvi works in finance. While Ami goes to school in Ramat Gan, Israel, Samara works as a special education teacher in Beit Shemesh. They all know of other couples who met at their camp, and they say it was easy to find love at Camp Moshava because most, if not all, of the campers developed a deep bond to Israel. Gadi said at times he felt like he was on a kibbutz because of the communal themes, how much campers learned about Israel over the summers and the number of Israeli workers on campus. “For Atara and I, one of our pre-requisites was that the other would want to live in Israel one day,” Gadi said. “When you have like-minded people [at camp] that believe in something like Israel, I think it just works.” Dalia added that the camp’s retro aesthetic and feel – embodied in things such as rustic bunks and the old, decaying couches in the small room where counselors See “Camp” on page 9

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Israeli archaeologists uncover 2,000-year-old Roman period road BY JNS STAFF ( – Israeli archaeologists have uncovered a 2,000-year-old road from the Roman period, the Israel Antiquities Authority said on March 7. The ancient road, discovered near the city of Beit Shemesh, ran along a route similar to Israel’s modern Highway 375 and “was apparently meant to link the Roman settlement that existed in the vicinity of Beit Natif with the main highway known as the ‘Emperor’s Road,’” said Irina Zilberbod, director of the excavation for the IAA. “The construction of the Emperor’s Road is thought to have taken place at the time of Emperor Hadrian’s visit to the country, circa 130 C.E., or slightly thereafter, during the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132-135 C.E. The

presence of a milestone (a stone marking distances) bearing the name of the emperor Hadrian which was discovered in the past close to the road reinforces this hypothesis,” Zilberbod said. The Roman Empire, according to the IAA, had developed Israel’s roads “in an unprecedented manner” after most of the country’s previous roads were “improvised trails.”

At right: An aerial view of the Romanera road that Israeli archaeologists recently discovered near the city of Beit Shemesh. Credit: Griffin Aerial Photography Company/Israel Antiquities Authority.

Jewish camps are ready to welcome children with all abilities BY JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI It may be cold outside now, but it’s already “find-your-camp” season, as parents look to find outstanding summer experiences that will help their children thrive. When my children were younger, there were few good options for children with disabilities/special needs to be welcomed, included and appropriately accommodated in Jewish summer camps. Thanks to the outstanding leadership of the Foundation for Jewish Camp and many wonderful nonprofit Jewish camps around the country, there are now many outstanding choices.


Camps have done their part to create environments and supports for success. But families need to do their parts, too. For example, parents should be open about sharing their child’s strengths as well as sharing the areas where their child will need additional support. For example, if your child takes ADHD or other medications during the school year, it is not fair to the camp or other campers to take your child off their medication before sending them to camp unless it is done with the involvement and understanding of the camp and medical supports. After all, parents should

hang out – brought the camp staff closer. Camp administrators even paired up counselors who they thought might have crushes on each other to do nightly bunk check-ins together. “If there’s any chemistry between people there, it’s going to come

Continued from page 8 out,” she said. (This article was made possible with funding by the Foundation for Jewish Camp. The stor y was produced independently and at the sole discretion of JTA’s editorial team.)

Naomi and Zvi Glustein (Photo courtesy of Naomi Glustein)

Gadi and Atara Yunger at their wedding. (Photo courtesy of Gadi Yunger)


view themselves as partners in creating a successful summer for their child(ren). In preparation for the search for a Jewish camp families should take a look at Foundation for Jewish Camp’s guide to finding the right Jewish camp for your child with disabilities, The Search for Summer Fun (online at ctt?kn=22&ms=Mjc5MTU0MDUS1&r=MjI2MzE1OTg4ODc yS0&b=0&j=OTgzMjc2Mjc0S0&mt=1&rt=0). This guide will walk you through the considerations and questions to ask to find the perfect fit for your camper. With more than 155-plus

Jewish overnight camps in North America, there are plenty of choices out there. You can learn more about them and refine your search using the Find A Camp tool at www. And, first-time campers can save up to $1000 off their summer through the One Happy Camper program! See more details at While not every Jewish camp is right for every child, today there is a great Jewish camp for almost every child. Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is president of

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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ MARCH 16, 20176/18 ADAR 5777


Ki Tisa – (Un)holy cow BY BARBARA DAVIS (Un)holy Cow A poem by Andy Finkel You want me to make you a big golden calf? You’re out of your minds. You’re having a laugh. Well okay, but first cut all your jewelry in half before Moses comes down the mountain.

Calendar Highlights

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

Saturday, March 18 Temple Concord Cinemagogue presents “Baba Joon” at 7:30 pm Sunday, March 19 Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse board meeting at 9 am TC Brotherhood meeting at 9:30 am Temple Adath Yeshurun presents Sam Gruber at 10 am TC GAN program from 10:30 am-noon TC Sisterhood program at 12:30 pm Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas Hazak presents “The Holocaust: Myths and Misconceptions” with Alan Goldberg at 2 pm Monday, March 20 TC Goldenberg Series presents Big Galute with Robbie Seletsky at TC at 7 pm Tuesday, March 21 Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse Executive Committee meeting at 6 pm, followed by a board meeting at 7 pm Epstein School meets at CBS-CS at 6:30 pm Syracuse Rabbinical Council Series Davar Acher, adult class taught by community rabbis, presents Rabbi Evan Shore at CBS-CS at 6:45 pm Wednesday, March 22 Syracuse Community Hebrew School at TAY from 4-6 pm Community women’s seder at the JCC at 6:15 pm Thursday, March 23 Epstein School at Wegmans Café at 7 pm Friday, March 24 CBS-CS Shabbat dinner at 6 pm with Shorashim services at 7 pm Saturday, March 25 Environmental Judaism lunch and learn following services with Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone at CBS-CS at 12:15 pm TAY movie-in-the-round, “The Wandering Muse,” at 8:15 pm Sunday, March 26 TAY presents “Meet The Text” at 11 am TAY Hazak presents Thomas Nguyen in concert at 1 pm Monday, March 27 Federation presents a debate between Jonathan S. Tobin and J.J. Goldberg on the “Battle for Israel’s Soul” at 7 pm at TAY Tuesday, March 28 Epstein School meets at CBS-CS at 6:30 pm Syracuse Rabbinical Council Series Davar Acher, adult class taught by community rabbis, presents Rabbi Evan Shore at CBS-CS at 6:45 pm Wednesday, March 29 Deadline for April 13 issue of the Jewish Observer SCHS at TAY from 4-6 pm Thursday, March 30 Epstein School at Wegmans Café at 7 pm Friday, March 31 CBS-CS presents eco-theologian and religious environmental leader Rabbi Lawrence Troster as the scholar-in-residence during services at 6 pm Saturday, April 1 CBS-CS presents scholar-in-residence Rabbi Lawrence Troster during and after services: “Love and Care for the Land,” a community-wide multi-faith panel discussion at 8:30 pm Sunday, April 2 CBS-CS presents scholar-in-residence Rabbi Lawrence Troster with children at 9 am TC Sisterhood brunch at 9:45 am PJ Library presents the Science of Passover at the Museum of Science and Technology at 11 am and 1 pm Monday, April 3 TC Board of Trustees at 7 pm Temple Concord Goldenberg Series presents Syracuse University Brass Ensemble at 7 pm

(To tell you the truth, I’d rather not try it. I’m afraid if I don’t that it might start a riot. I’ve got to do something to keep this lot quiet until Moses comes down the mountain.) These Jewish people are all very odd. Despite seeing all the great miracles of God They still need a statue to which they can nod before Moses comes down the mountain. He’s been gone 40 days now for talks with the Boss. He’s coming back down and he don’t half look cross. What are those two big stone things I’ve just seen him toss as he makes his way down the mountain It’s hard to believe that someone could write a poem about the incident of the Golden Calf, but perhaps not as hard as understanding why the Jewish people, who had just been saved by God from slavery in Egypt, would, after just a month without Moses, throw it all away and

B’NAI MITZVAH Matthew Jacob Malec

Matthew Jacob Malec, son of John and Amy Malec, of North Syracuse, became bar mitzvah at Temple Adath Yeshurun on January 14. He is the grandson of Russ and Renée Williams, of Vestal, and John and Carolyn Malec, of Auburn. He attends the TAY Religious School and is in the seventh grade at Gillette Road Middle School in North Syracuse. Matthew Jacob He is a member of the school Malec yearbook club, the musical stage crew, the morning news crew and is also in cycle for his junior black belt in karate. For his mitzvah project, he made a donation to the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.


new combat divisions that almost completely consist of women. The divisions comprise 2,000 soldiers. Previously, women could pursue combat roles through units such as the IDF’s nearly two-decade-old coed Caracal battalion. “When people think of the IDF, they picture a guy with a gun in a combat unit, but they have no idea what happens behind the scenes,” said former lone soldier Dana Grob, a native of New York’s Long Island region who made aliyah at age 22. What isn’t apparent to most observers, she explained, is the Israeli military’s vast combat support system – comprised largely of female soldiers. “I was a searchand-rescue instructor. I taught guys in combat units. The girls get overlooked, although our role is critically important,” Grob said. Lone soldier Nechama (whose last name cannot be published because she is still serving), who will be 22 next month, is part of a missiles unit in the Israeli Air Force. Originally from London, she made aliyah in 2014. “I’m an Israeli with a British past, not a British person,” Nechama responds when asked if she plans to return to England after finishing her military service. When Israeli-born soldiers are off-duty, they can return to their families for home-cooked meals, and to have their laundry and shopping done for them. If they get sick or injured, they can visit their regular doctors with little hassle and they have families to look after them. But lone soldiers have no experience with the Israeli medical system and nobody to help them navigate it. There are no home-cooked meals or supportive parent-like figures waiting to greet them when they go off-duty. They do all their own shopping, cooking and cleaning in the short time they are not on their base. Israeli-born soldiers, meanwhile, can focus on what they need most – sleeping or socializing. Grob broke her foot last year during a training exercise. The kibbutz where she lived while off-duty is not set up to take care of sick soldiers or soldiers with disabilities, and it’s extremely difficult to carry a bag filled with groceries or laundry while on crutches. After some tough months under those circumstances, Grob couldn’t wait to get back on her military base. To address these problems and to augment its own staff’s efforts to mitigate them, beginning in 2015, the Lone Soldier Center created an independent home for male lone soldiers, and has since added two more facil-

turn to idol worship. No wonder God gets really, really angry and wants to kill everyone. And Moses argues with God and obtains a reprieve for the Israelites. What an amazing man Moses must have been! Not only did he lead and inspire this unruly bunch of former slaves; but he actually argued with God to save their lives. Who argues with God? Who can actually win an argument with God? And then Moses sees what God had seen and begins to understand and share God’s fury He smashes the tablets and orders the slaying of some 3,000 non-believers. He once again approaches God to ask forgiveness for the people. And God responds with a plague, but still agrees to allow them to proceed to the Promised Land. Then, after two successive and successful negotiations, Moses makes the most chutzpadik petition of all. “Let me behold Your Presence,” he says to God. (Exodus 33:18) Who did Moses think he was? Did the previous successes go to his head? Was he out of his mind? First he argues with God and then he asks to see God, even as he knows that no one could see God’s face and live. But God, endowed with infinite wisdom, finds yet another way to accede to Moses’ request, saying “I will make all My goodness pass before you” and giving him precise instructions about how, where and when to behold it. What are we to make of the violent confrontations, retributions and outcomes of parasha Ki Tisa? The dynamic between Moses and God is intense and strangely human. The emotions are raw and the results tragic. Yet, at the same time, there is hope. When God says, “I will make all My goodness pass before you,” it was a reminder to Moses – and to us, in our day – that despite the anger, grief and despair, and while we cannot ever see God, there is always goodness, if we just know how to look at it. We must allow it to pass before us and let its light illumine our darkest places and our darkest days. Barbara Davis is an educator and an author, whose latest book is “100 Jewish Things to Do Before You Die,” published by Pelican. She is also a member of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas.

Continued from page 1

Soldiers of the IDF’s Bardales Battalion prepared for urban warfare training on a foggy morning in southern Israel on July 13. Fifty-percent of the soldiers in the Bardales Battalion, an infantry combat unit, are women. (Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90) ities. Women – who comprise 40 percent of the IDF and about one-third of the military’s lone soldiers, according to center head Flaster – have had no such home to date. But the Lone Soldier Center is now actively engaged in the process of acquiring a private home to accommodate up to 10 female soldiers. The organization has a current fund-raising goal of $60,000 for the project. The home will be fully furnished and stocked with everything necessary to sustain the troops when they are off base. Just as with the male soldiers’ homes, the facility for women will have a “house mother” who will prepare kosher meals and provide the kind of adult supervision and support that so many lone soldiers sorely miss. “I really could have used the kind of support system a bayit l’chayalot (home for female soldiers) will provide,” Grob said. “People are wonderful about donating fleeces to keep us warm, or pizzas for those doing late-night guard duty, but having an actual home in a central location, with laundry facilities and an adviser who can help with practical or just emotional support, is even more important.” Nechama added, “It’s so hard for a lone soldier to find a place that is affordable and in a central location – to have the camaraderie of other soldiers in the same home would make our lives so much easier.” “We would not have the IDF, we would not even have our state,” said Flaster, “were it not for the females serving in our military.”

MARCH 16, 2017/18 ADAR 5777 ■



Edward S. Green died on March 2 in his sleep at Francis House, following complications from a stroke on Valentine’s Day. “Think Big” was one of his principle mottos, and his family nickname was “Big Ed.” He was also known as “Mr. Syracuse,” having been born, raised and educated in Syracuse, where he worked, raised a family, developed properties, mentored younger professionals and was devoted to every major community organization. He graduated from Nottingham High School, where he met his future wife, Joan Feder. They courted during his years at Syracuse University and her years at Cornell, and were married in 1949. They raised their three children in DeWitt. He became a CPA and co-founded his initial accounting firm, Rudolph and Green. Realizing that he wanted a deeper understanding of the law to support his accounting work, he enrolled in law school at SU, while continuing his accounting practice. Upon graduation from law school, the accounting firm was joined by a companion law firm, and by 1981 the two side-by-side firms became Green and Seifter. As his accounting and legal practices grew, he was introduced to, and interested in, many charitable, civic, educational, theatrical and arts organizations in Syracuse. During his professional career, he served on the boards, and usually was chair, of the Syracuse Symphony, the (former) Syracuse Jewish Federation, Everson Museum, Syracuse Stage, the Gifford Foundation, the InterReligious Council, the West Side Initiative, the Syracuse International Film Festival, Glimmerglass Opera and the Community Foundation. He was a Syracuse University trustee for many years, where he also served on several committees under four separate chancellors. He had a penchant for building projects in Syracuse and bringing in investors, and throughout the years was instrumental in the development, and ownership or management of, many properties, including Crouse Physicians Office Building, Limestone Tennis Club, The State Tower Building, Presidential Plaza and the Marx Hotel. They settled in Cazenovia in 1971, where he became involved on the boards of Cazenovia College, the Cazenovia Area Community Development Association and the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation. He was serious about his physical fitness, and was a tennis player, swimmer, runner (who completed the New York City Marathon for his 57th birthday) and a skier, first in the early years in Vermont and during the last 30 years in Snowbird, UT. He and his wife were adventurous travelers, hiking and skiing through Europe, going on safari in Tanzania and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to celebrate his 60th birthday, among other trips. They also went on many memorable educational trips with Syracuse University. He retired from Green and Seifter in 2000, and then founded an investment advisory firm, Edward S. Green and Associates, in association with his daughter, Nancy. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Joan; children Jill (Bill Johnson) of Napa, CA; Bill (Diane Whitney), of San Francisco; and Nancy (Tony Marschall), of Cazenovia; four grandchildren; and his sister, Helen Pierson. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions can be made to the Jewish Federation of Central New York or to the Francis House, 108 Michaels Ave., Syracuse, NY 13208. 



Gloria Katz (née Rynveld), 93, died on March 2 in Syracuse. Born in Syracuse, she was a lifelong Syracuse resident. Gloria began her 31-year career at Syracuse University as a secretary at the East African studies program in 1964. In 1985, she received a Chancellor’s Citation for Distinguished Service. She was one of three Maxwell School representatives on the building committee for the Melvin A. Eggers Hall. Her name is on a plaque in the lobby honoring the work of the committee. At her retirement in 1995, she was the assistant to the dean of the Maxwell School. She loved to learn, was a voracious reader of politics, history, mysteries and novels, and remembered everything she read. She enjoyed cooking, sewing, weaving and gardening. She loved Native American and African art. She and her husband, Marvin, traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad. She was an SU basketball season ticket holder for 35 years. She was predeceased by her husband of almost 69 years, Marvin, in 2016. She is survived by her daughter, JoAnn (Marty) Gorman; her son, Gary; five grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and her daughter-in-law, Jackie Katz. Burial was in the Temple Concord section of Woodlawn Cemetery. Birnbaum Funeral Service had arrangements. Donations can be made to the Upstate Foundation, Inc., Project Fund Geriatrics, 750 E. Adams St., Syracuse, NY 13210; or Hospice of Central New York, 990 Seventh North St., Liverpool, NY 13088. 


Donna C. Rothfeld, of Cazenovia, died on March 2 from cancer at her Hilton Head Island, SC, winter home. She was a 2005 graduate of Cazenovia College, and received the highest honors in her class. She was a member of Temple Concord, where she taught religious school. She helped and supported her husband in the family business, Harrison Bakery. She is survived by her husband of 46 years, James; her children, Suzanne (John) Steven, Michelle Rothfeld and Michael (Melissa) Rothfeld; her sister, Patricia Ingersoll; four grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. Burial was in the Temple Concord section in Woodlawn Cemetery. Birnbaum Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions can be made to Temple Concord, 910 Madison St., Syracuse, NY 13210; or Hospice Care of the Lowcountry, P.O. Box 3827, Bluffton, SC 29910. 

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Jewish elderly advocates take aim at GOP’s proposed changes to health care

Two Jewish agencies charged with elderly care sharply criticized the new Republican health care bill. B’nai B’rith International, which sponsors low-income housing for the elderly, and the Jewish Federations of North America, which advocates for funds for the poor and the elderly, took aim changes contained in the American Health Care Act, the bill Republican leaders hope to pass as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. “Congress and the Trump Administration appear to be moving quickly to pass potentially devastating cuts to Medicaid,” JFNA said in an action alert sent the week of March 10 to its constituent groups, urging them to lobby Congress against the cuts. The organization said the cuts “would greatly impact Jewish Federation partner agencies that provide health, long-term care and home and community-based care,” noting that federation partner agencies get about $6 billion from Medicaid each year. Medicaid is the government program that supports health care for the poor. The bill proposes to cap Medicaid funding to each state according to the number of eligible participants at the beginning of the fiscal year. B’nai B’rith and JFNA said such caps would not take into account changes in enrollment numbers and other unexpected health care cost increases. “Changing any portion of the Medicaid funding to a per capita cap proposal would have a significant negative impact on seniors, because capping federal funding for Medicaid would add an additional layer of pressure to state budgets, and put the health care and financial security of millions of older adults at risk,” B’nai B’rith said in its March 8 statement. B’nai B’rith also took aim at a component of the bill that would reduce premiums for younger, healthier Americans, citing studies predicting “low-income adults in their 60s could see dramatic increases in premiums.”

Trump, Abbas to hold formal talk

The White House scheduled a telephone conversation between President Donald Trump and Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. The White House schedule for March 10 had Trump speaking by telephone with Abbas at 12:15 pm, in what would be the first direct contact between the new American president and the Palestinian leader. Trump, who drew the ire of Palestinian leaders last month for appearing to back away from longstanding U.S. support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has also resolved to move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move the Palestinians oppose. Congress recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 1995 and mandated the move, but successive U.S. presidents have exercised a waiver in the law that allows them to delay the move for national security reasons.

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Team Israel falls to Netherlands for first loss in World Baseball Classic

Israel’s national baseball team, which has been shocking the world with its success as an underdog in the World Baseball Classic, on March 13 suffered its first loss in the international tournament. Team Israel fell 12-2 to the Netherlands, a squad it had defeated in an earlier stage of the competition. The loss followed Israel’s 4-1 win on March 12 over traditional baseball powerhouse Cuba. The Israeli team – which consists of Jewish Americans who are eligible for Israeli citizenship – came in to the 16-team tournament ranked 41st in the world and with 200-to-1 betting odds to win, but began the WBC with four consecutive wins, including over host nation South Korea. After emerging from Pool A of the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record and adding the win over Cuba, Israel looked all but assured of moving on to the semifinals of the tournament at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. But following the loss to the Netherlands, Israel must now win its game with Japan, scheduled for March 15, to guarantee a spot in the next round.


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Passover recipes: lighten up with fish and veggies BY MEGAN WOLF (JTA) – I love serving light foods that are naturally kosher for Passover. With so much matzah, vegetable and fish dishes are often a welcome addition in my home. In this holiday menu, my Coconut Carrot Soup is a creamy soup at its finest. The combination of carrots, ginger and coconut is so warming and really delicious. Not a ginger fan? It’s easy enough to leave it out. And what could be better than a recipe that doesn’t require excellent knife skills? Since the soup ingredients are blended, dicing imperfection won’t be noticeable at all. For the Caesar Salad, making your own dressing is an easy way to cut down on the fat and calories, and tailor the taste to your palate. I’m a big garlic fan, but feel free to scale back – your dressing will still be delectable. Romaine hearts hold up especially well against a hearty dressing. The Lemon Salmon recipe is perfect for a crowd. Little work is required and the end result is so tasty. Roasting lemons really brings out the flavors. You can encourage your guests to squeeze the warm lemon atop the salmon for even more flavor. The lemon in the Grilled Asparagus nicely complements the salmon without imparting an overpowering lemon flavor. Because one dish has roasted lemon and one has lemon zest, they are bright without being redundant. If you don’t have a grill pan – it’s a wonderful kitchen item to have, especially if you’re tight for space – you can easily roast the asparagus in the oven for a similar texture. But really, nothing beats the

smokiness of a grill. COCONUT CARROT SOUP 1 lb. carrots, peeled and thinly diced 1 cup diced celery 1 Tbsp. diced ginger 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced 1 can coconut milk 3 cups vegetable stock Salt and pepper to taste Coconut milk yogurt, optional In a large stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat, then add the carrots, celery and ginger. Cook until soft, about 18-20 minutes. In a small skillet, heat the last 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent, then set aside. Add the can of coconut milk to the carrot and celery mixture, and stir to combine. Add 2 cups of stock and stir to combine. Place half of the onion into the carrot mixture and place the mixture in a blender to combine until smooth (you can also use an immersion blender directly into the stock

Coconut Carrot Soup (Photo by Megan Wolf)

pot). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with remaining sautéed onions and optional coconut yogurt on top. CAESAR SALAD 2 large heads romaine lettuce hearts ¾ cup low fat Greek yogurt 2 Tbsp. olive oil 3 cloves garlic ½ tsp. Dijon mustard (can be omitted for Passover) 1 lemon, juiced Salt and pepper to taste ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese Hot pepper flakes, optional In a blender or food processor, combine yogurt, olive oil, garlic, mustard and lemon juice. Taste, then season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Halve each lettuce heart and dice, then place in a large bowl. Toss the greens with half of the salad dressing to start, adding more to your taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. LEMON SALMON 1 lb. salmon, sliced into 4 fillets 2 Tbsp. olive oil ½ tsp. kosher salt ½ tsp. peppercorns 1 lemon, thinly sliced 4 sprigs rosemary Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat each piece of salmon with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and peppercorns. Place lemon slices over salmon and roast until cooked to your liking, about 10 minutes or more. Serve on a platter with rosemary springs.

Lemon Salmon (Photo by Megan Wolf)

GRILLED ASPARAGUS 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed 1 Tbsp. olive oil ¼ cup Parmesan cheese 1 lemon, zested Heat a grill pan until hot. Toss asparagus with olive oil and place on grill pan, cooking about 3 minutes each side. If preferred, preheat oven to 400°F. The asparagus can roast for 10-15 minutes, depending on the preferred doneness. Sprinkle warm asparagus with Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Megan Wolf is the author of “Great Meals with Greens and Grains.”

Grilled Asparagus (Photo by Megan Wolf)

Yesteryear’s Passover

Mixing water with flour to make matzah dough at the Streit’s factory on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, date unknown. Streit’s closed its 90-year-old factory after Passover 2015 and moved to Orangeburg, NY. (Photo courtesy of Streit’s Matzos)

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Jewish Observer Issue of March 16, 2017