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Child survivor to speak at Yom Hashoah observance BY JUDITH STANDER The 2017 Yom Hashoah Planning Committee of the Jewish Federation of Central New York will present Elfi Hendell, a child survivor of the Shoah, as the featured speaker at this year’s annual community memorial observance. The communitywide event will be held on Sunday, April 23, at 2 pm, at Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Rd., Syracuse. Hendell and her family arrived in the U.S. in 1944. Her family was four of the 982 individuals guided to Oswego by Ruth Gruber. Starting from a port in Italy, they arrived in the U.S., eventually coming to Fort Ontario in Oswego, where they spent the remainder of World War II. The program will start promptly, beginning with prayers and psalms planned by the Syracuse Rabbinical Council. This part of the program will include a recitation of all the names inscribed in the Federation’s Book of Remembrance, names that represent individuals lost

“moved beyond the boundaries” during the Holocaust. The names of being identified as refugees are read aloud every year as a and survivors, and learned sign of remembrance. Anyone how to “survive and share their who has lost family members in strengths with others.” She holds the Shoah and wants the names a master’s degree in social work, to be remembered by the local along with additional years of community can contact Judith specialized training in psychoStander at 315-445-0161, ext. 114, or jstander@jewishfederatherapy. She has also worked as a clinician at the Center for Program organizers Comprehensive Health Practice, have asked that all names be Elfi Hendell a center that provides for addiccorrectly spelled. The Syracuse Rabbinical tion and psychiatric services. For Council has developed a special Yom the last several years, she has maintained a Hashoah service and will lead this part private mental health practice dealing with of the program, along with local cantors. marital, family relationships, depression, This portion of the observance will in- anxiety and abusive situations. She believes that her war years in Euclude recognition of living survivors and liberators from the Central New York area. rope, along with the time she spent at Ft. The service includes the chanting of the Ontario in Oswego, were “instrumental” El Maleh Rahamim and the communal in her choice of profession. She said, “Cerrecitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish for tainly the present climate of xenophobia, Yom Hashoah. increased antisemitism and the focus on Hendell and her family are said to have race discrimination harken back to my

Jewish Federation of CNY supports JCC security measures BY WILLIAM WALLAK The recent wave of threats made against the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse is said to have prompted “an outpouring” of support. One such supporter is located under the JCC’s roof: the Jewish Federation of Central New York is not only a tenant of the JCC, it has been a longtime supporter of the JCC’s various security initiatives. The Federation has committed more than $100,000 toward JCC security projects throughout the past three years, and its support is ongoing. The latest commitment of Federation support will be used for further securing the JCC’s main entrance lobby. It will be reconfigured with a new wall and secure

entry to provide an extra level of control to complement the JCC’s existing security measures. Additional funding for the project is still being sought and construction is expected to begin “very soon.” “We stand 100 percent with the JCC and all that it’s doing to enhance building safety and security for its occupants and visitors,” said Linda Alexander, president/ CEO of the Jewish Federation of Central New York. “As the largest recipient of our local Federation dollars, the JCC has always been the central address of our Jewish community where everyone should feel welcome and safe.” JCC Executive Director Marci Erlebacher said, “In recent years, the JCC has been

pouring an enormous amount of capital into building security, and the Federation has partnered with many of these projects. “All of us here at the JCC are very thankful for the Federation’s solid support of our security upgrades. Security has always been a top priority of ours and an integral part of managing our facility. We are truly appreciative of the Federation’s donors and campaign supporters whose generosity has benefitted our building security.” For information about supporting the Jewish Federation of Central New York, call 315-445-0161 or visit For more information about the JCC’s security upgrades, call 315-445-2360.

childhood... increase my own anxieties and much increase my interest in participating in some form of protest to combat [the] present, seemingly very undemocratic, values. As a ‘Jewish American’ woman, I very much identify with this unsettling climate and I am so glad I can participate in the Yom Hashoah memorial observance on April 23 in Syracuse, New York.” Partial funding for this year’s Yom Hashoah community memorial observance was made available through the Jerome and Phyllis Charney Foundation. Members of this year’s Yom Hashoah Planning Committee include Chair Alan Goldberg, along with Linda Alexander, Michael Balanoff, Rabbi Irvin Beigel, Cantor Francine Berg, Sarah Charney, Rabbi Paul Drazen, Rabbi Leah Fein, Vicki Feldman, Rabbi Daniel Fellman, Joel Friedman, Ryan Howlett, Susan Jacobs, Ba’alat Tefillah Esa Jaffe, Rabbi Daniel Jezer, Victoria Kohl, Myrna Koldin, Ilene Mendel, Cantor Paula Pepperstone, Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone, Rabbi Yaakov Rapoport, Liza Rochelson, Rabbi Evan Shore, Cantor Kari Siegel-Eglash, Barbara Simon, Brian Small, Victoria Sonne, Stander, Ruth Stein and Marcy Waldauer. The memorial observance will be open to the community. There is ample on-site parking and there will be no charge to attend. For more information, contact Stander at 315-445-0161, ext. 114, or

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



as of April 7, 2017

A matter of opinoion

In search of common ground: Snapshots from the AIPAC conference BY RON KAMPEAS WASHINGTON (JTA) – This year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference drew some 18,000 pro-Israel activists for three days of speeches, workshops and lobbying visits to Capitol Hill. Of the dozens of speeches and countless workshops, side meetings and schmooze opportunities, no message was broadcast louder than the need for bipartisan support for Israel. And no two figures better embodied that spirit perhaps than Marvin McMoore, the national president of the

College Democrats of America, who happens to be African-American, and Alex Smith, national chairwoman of the College Republican National Committee, who happens not to be. “If we want to protect the Israel relationship long-term, Democrats need Republicans and Republicans need Democrats,” Lillian Pinkus, AIPAC’s president, said during the March 26 morning plenary at the Verizon Center here as the arena camera picked out McMoore and Smith seated next to one another, holding hands, crowns touching, grinning, locked in a

platonic AIPAC embrace. Republican and Democrat. Man and woman. Black and white. “I can assure you they don’t agree on everything,” Pinkus said of McMoore

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

See “AIPAC” on page 8


April 14............................ 7:28 pm.................................................. Parasha-Passover April 16............................ 7:31 pm.................................................................Passover April 17................... after 8:34 pm.................................................................Passover April 21............................ 7:36 pm...................................................Parasha-Shemini April 28............................ 7:44 pm....................................... Parasha-Tazria-Metzora


Congregational notes

Holocaust survivors

The Teen Funders Committee is Talks, brunches, movie screenings Federation is asking for names of accepting grant applications from and more are announced by local Holocaust sruvivors to read at the synagogues. local charitable organizations. annual Shoah commemoration. Story on page 4 Story on page 3 Story on page 5

PLUS Spring Home and Garden...... 9 Calendar Highlights............. 10 B’nai Mitzvah......................... 10 Obituaries................................11



A MATTER OF OPINION Oswego County High School teacher asks students to defend or criticize the Holocaust BY BETTE SIEGEL The Jewish Federation of Central New York has invited the students mentioned in this article to the communitywide Yom Hashoah memorial observance on Sunday, April 23, at 2 pm, at Temple Adath Yeshurun. Since the articles originally appeared in The Post Standard regarding the assignment about debating the Final Solution, Alan Goldberg, a member of Federation’s board and chair of the upcoming Yom Hashoah program, has been approached by many asking what is being done. He is also coordinator of the Spector/Warren Fellowship for fellow educators, director of Regional Holocaust and Genocide Initiative and professor emeritus in the School of Education at Syracuse University. He has also read the letters that were sent to the paper, and was instrumental in reaching out to the Oswego teenagers and the state regarding the issue. He is working closely with the school superintendent to develop appropriate programming for the staff and students. He has also been contacted by the New York state assistant and deputy commissioners, who are pledging their support for whatever programming is developed. Goldberg’s approach, and that of the school superintendent, have been proactive and they both see this as an event that should not have happened, but

they both want to use it as an important teaching opportunity. The two students who stood up against the assignment will be recognized at the Yom Hashoah observance and he urges the community to attend the event on April 23. What would you do if your boss, or your company, or your school asked you to do something you thought immoral? What if someone asked you to write an article defending the killing of Jews or Muslims or Christians or Mexicans or any other group of people, or the lynching African-Americans or the bombing or poisoning of civilians or children? What would you do? In February 2017, Oswego County High School teacher Michael DeNobile asked his students “to write an internal memorandum in regards to their support or opposition to the Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” The word “Holocaust” was not mentioned. Those who study and speak about the Holocaust realize that “Final Solution” and “Jewish Question” are just code for “Holocaust.” Two seniors, Archer Shurtliff and Jordan April, objected to the exercise and asked their teacher if he really meant they should defend the extermination of the Jews. The teacher had randomly assigned students to argue for or against the Jews’

extermination. The two seniors were assigned opposite sides of the “argument.” Archer was assigned to write in favor of the Final Solution, and Jordan against. The assignment was intended to purportedly teach the students critical thinking, regardless of their own philosophy. Offered through the countywide CiTi/BOCES New Vision program, the course is intended for students going into professional careers such as health, business or law. They take college-level classes on the SUNY Oswego campus three days a week and spend two days a week at internships. The two seniors who objected are in the program’s law and government track. According to the students, there were no Jewish students in the class this year. The two students brought their concerns to their teacher, New Vision Program administrators and educators in their home schools. They argued that there are better ways to teach students about the Holocaust. April spoke about an academic trip she took to Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, where she visited concentration camps with a Jewish teacher. The two students came up with alternate assignments and materials that wouldn’t force students to argue on behalf of mass killings. They contacted the Jewish advocacy group, Anti-Defamation League. They want

an apology, a complete retraction of the assignment and a promise from administrators not to give it again. The two seniors said that many of their classmates continued with the original assignment, and administrators refused to retract the assignment or apologize for it. New York State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia initially supported the exercise, saying it prompted “critical thinking.” On April 3, Elia released a statement saying, “Since first learning of the assignment, I’ve done my homework to determine the facts in this situation. I spoke with district officials about this serious matter. We agree the assignment should not have been given. The teacher apologized and the assignment will not be used in the future.” Rabbi Emeritus Daniel Jezer, a member of Federation’s Community Relations Committee, said, “The teacher fell into the trap of thinking that there must be two sides to every issue. From the students’ letter on the bottom of the page (as seen in The Post-Standard) it may very well be that the teacher is a stimulating teacher and really wants and tries to get the kids to think.” So, I ask you again, what would you do? Kudos to the two teenagers for speaking up.

“Left vs Right” debate sparks community interest BY JUDITH L. STANDER The debate presented by the Jewish Federation of Central New York at Temple Adath Yeshurun on March 27 offered “left” and “right” points of view regarding Israel and its future. The debate was sponsored in part by the David Yaffee Israel Education and Advocacy Memorial Fund. More than 170 people filled most of the available seats in the room. They came to listen and learn from two presenters said to be “on the front lines” of the multiple issues affecting Israel’s existence. Moderator Alan Goldberg, coordinator of the Spector/Warren Fellowship for Fellow Educators, director of Regional Holocaust and Genocide Initiative, and professor emeritus in the School of Education at Syracuse University, introduced the speakers and the topics. Each debater was felt to hold “strong and often polarized” points of view through several rounds of questions, responses

and rebuttal commentaries. Regardless of the strength of the viewpoint expressed, the debate was not marred by loud shouting, pounding on the table or sarcastic comments from either participant. Mark Field, Federation’s vice president for communications, said, “My biggest takeaway from the discussion was that I was impressed that, despite different points of views, they were close friends, committed to listening to each other with respect, acknowledging that each could learn from the other. They offer a model of behavior we all should consider in view of our polarized, fragmented and highly charged state of discourse.” Federation organizers hope that all discussions regarding Israel, points of view and the sharing of opinions on strategic topics in the community, nationally and around the world, will be conducted in the same manner as stated by Field.


JCC bomb threats suspect traded millions in bitcoin on darknet, probe reveals

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to – Israel’s Rishon Lezion Magistrates’ Court on April 6 remanded a 19-year-old Israeli-American hacker from Ashkelon to police custody for an additional 12 days. It marked the suspect’s third remand since his March 23 arrest as part of an FBI investigation into allegations that he phoned in bomb threats to Jewish institutions – primarily JCCs – in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand earlier this year. The case has seen significant developments in recent days, as investigators analyzing the suspect’s computer for evidence discovered he had traded millions of dollars in bitcoin digital currency on the darknet. Police believe the suspect used the darknet to sell drugs and forged passports, drivers’ licenses and other identity papers. Authorities are now investigating the parties who paid for his services. In a previous hearing, the teen’s attorney argued his actions were influenced by autism and an inoperable brain tumor. Police are seeking to charge the suspect with a series of criminal offenses, including malicious intent to cause harm, sabotage, extortion and intimidation, money laundering, illegal possession of weapons, receiving illicit benefits under aggravated circumstances, falsifying computer records, hacking, inciting public panic and unlawful impersonation for the purpose of committing fraud.

At left: Federation hosted a debate 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, in March 27. L-r: J.J. Goldberg, moderator Alan Goldberg and Jonathan S. Tobin.

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AROUND CENTRAL NEW YORK Grant applications requested by Teen Funders BY JEFFREY SCHEER AND LINDA ALEXANDER The Jewish Community Foundation B’nai Mitzvah Program Teen Funders Committee is accepting grant applications from local charitable organizations. Grant recipients will be announced by the teen funders following their meeting on Sunday, May 7. All applicants must be legally recognized charitable organizations. Grant applications must be received no later than Monday, May 1, by the Jewish Community Foundation B’nai Mitzvah Program, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt, NY 13214. Grant requests can be for funding up to $1,000, and

applicants must provide details of the proposed project and explain how it “forwards the organization’s mission.” For grant application information, contact Kathie Piirak at 4452040, ext. 106, or The Jewish Community Foundation B’nai Mitzvah Program teaches the core Jewish value of tzedakah through “hands on” participation. More than 100 b’nai mitzvah funds have been established throughout the past 10 years. A b’nai mitzvah fund requires a minimum $250 donation from the teenager at the time of bar or bat mitzvah. The donations are matched by the Pomeranz, Shankman and Martin Charitable

Foundation for an opening balance of at least $500. The teenagers may advise to which charities the funds can be distributed. All b’nai mitzvah fund holders have been invited to join the Teen Funders Committee meeting, where the teen funders are asked to contribute some of their fund money to a pooled fund to be distributed by the group. In 2016, 12 organizations received funds totaling $4,754. Since spring 2009, the teenagers have distributed $39,604 to 81 Jewish and non-Jewish non-profits. For more information, contact Piirak at 315-445-2040, ext. 106, or

Safe Haven and Ruth Gruber highlighted at Yom Hashoah observance BY JUDITH STANDER The Jewish Federation of Central New York will hold the 2017 Yom Hashoah memorial observance on Sunday, April 23, at 2 pm, at Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Rd., in Syracuse. In addition to hearing from the featured speaker, child survivor Elfi Hendell, there will be recognition paid to the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum and Ruth Gruber, who was tasked by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt to accompany nearly 1,000 European refugees from 18 different countries to the United States in 1944. These refugees were housed in Fort Ontario in Oswego for the duration of World War II. The Safe Haven location is the only site in the United States of America that officially received refugees from Europe during World War II. Exactly 982 individuals from 18 different European countries were brought as

At right: Recognition will be paid to the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum and Ruth Gruber (pictured) at the Yom Hashoah mem-orial observance at Temple Adath Yeshurun on Sunday, April 23, at 2 pm. “guests” of President Roosevelt. They were transported aboard the USS Henry Gibbons across the Atlantic Ocean, along with wounded soldiers, and were hunted at sea throughout their ocean voyage by Nazi planes and U-boats. Safe Haven has been restored and established as

Pinsky lecture on April 27 The second Philip C. Pinsky lecture will be held in conjunction with the Thursday Morning Roundtable on April 27, from 8:15-9:15 am, at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, 1 Conservation Pl., Syracuse. The event is made possible by a fund through the Jewish Community Foundation of Central New York. The lecture honors Pinsky’s passion for using strategic policy and legislation to benefit society-at-large. Jason A. Helgerson, Medicaid director of the state of New York and executive director for New York’s Medicaid Redesign Team, will speak on Jason A. Helgerson

“Transformation of the Health Care Delivery System – Moving from Fee-for-Service to Value-Based Payment.” Given the “uncertain current state” of the health care system, this talk will look at developments occurring statewide and locally that are reducing health care costs, while improving access to services. A waiver from the federal government in 2014, also led by Helgerson, has allowed New York to reinvest $8 billion in federal savings generated by the Medicaid



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Thursday, April 6, early................... April 27 Wednesday, April 26......................... May 11 Wednesday, May 10.......................... May 25 Monday, May 22, early....................... June 8

See “Pinsky” on page 6

Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center senior dining menu APRIL 17-21 Monday – closed for Passover Tuesday – closed for Passover Wednesday – chicken rollatini Thursday – meatloaf Friday – birthday celebration – brisket APRIL 24-28 Monday – tomato basil soup, grilled cheese Tuesday – chicken fried rice Wednesday – hot corned beef sandwich Thursday – stuffed cabbage Friday – turkey The Bobbi Epstein Lewis JCC Senior Adult Dining

an education center to keep alive the story of the refugees. One part of Safe Haven’s local history includes the participation of members of the Na’amat organization in Syracuse, which established a fund to support the erection of a monument where the shelter stood. Co-chairing the project were Celia Meren, Alice Pearlman and Belle Shriro. Gruber was specifically charged with accompanying the refugees from a port in Italy to asylum in the United States. Her appointment was backed by the federal government and she was made a “simulated general” in order to escort the refugees on their secret mission. Her mission, and the experiences she and the refugees faced, were the basis for her book “Haven.” More than one film on the subject is being made. The community has been invited to attend the April 23 Yom Hashoah memorial observance to learn more about Safe Haven and Gruber.

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



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CONGREGATIONAL NOTES Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas CBS-CS WELCOMES ELIZABETH YAARI, BIBLIODRAMATIST Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas will welcome Elizabeth Yaari as a guest teacher on Saturday, April 29. Yaari is an artist and professional workshop facilitator. Her work throughout the past 15 years has been to empower individuals within groups to express themselves and relate to one another through a variety of art media, including rhythm, sound, meditation, movement and visual art. She will facilitate a bibliodrama, developed with Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone, during the regular Shabbat morning service that begins at 9:30 am. The community will be welcome to attend. There will be an enhanced kiddush following services. In addition, Rabbi Pepperstone will lead a lunch and learn on Pirke Avot following the kiddush. Yaari’s visit to Syracuse will be in conjunction with the Syracuse Area Jewish Educators all-community youth Explora-Torah being held on Sunday, April 30, at Temple Adath Yeshurun. The latter is made possible by the Community Program Fund of the Jewish Federation of Central New York. CBS-CS SPONSORS “GREENING UP” PROGRAM The Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas Sisterhood will host Tiferet Sassona Rose on Wednesday, April 26, at 7:30 pm, for a “Greening Up” workshop. Rose is the founder and coordinator of the Jewish community garden at Temple Adath Yeshurun and a middle school science

teacher at Southside Academy in Syracuse. The workshop will showcase several opportunities said to be “easy-to-implement” for lessening people’s load on the environment. This is part of an effort to “transform the lessons” of the CBS-CS year-long focus on sustainability into actions that can positively impact the environment. Reservations have been requested and can be made by contacting Rose at RUMMAGE SALE The Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas Sisterhood will hold its semi-annual rummage sale from Sunday-Monday, April 30-May 1, from 10 am-4 pm, with a bag sale from 3-4 pm on Sunday and all day on Monday. Proceeds from the sale help support scholarships for Jewish summer camping experiences, gifts for b’nai mitzvah students, and synagogue needs not in the regular budget. Items for sale may be dropped off between Tuesday-Friday, April 25-28, from 9 am-4 pm, as well as on Thursday, April 27, from 7-9:30 pm, and on Saturday, April 29, after 8:45 pm. For more information, contact the CBSCS office at 315-446-9570. CBS-CS also collects toiletries for Vera House and Operation Soap Dish, which collects toiletries and household products for clients of St. Lucy’s Food Pantry. These items can be brought to at CBS-CS during the drop-of hours. For more information, contact Steffi Bergman at 315-632-4905 or

Women’s seder

The first women’s seder in several years was held on March 22 and drew 121 attendees. Held at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse, it was sponsored by the Sisterhoods of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Temple Adath Yeshurun and Temple Concord; and National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Syracuse Section; and supported by the JCC and a grant from the Pomeranz, Shankman, and Martin Charitable Foundation. Syracuse’s women cantors led the seder. L-r: Cantor Paula Pepperstone, Ba’alat Tefillah Esa Jaffe, Cantor Kari Siegel-Eglash and Cantor Francine Berg.

Temple Adath Yeshurun CAMP ROTHSCHILD AT TEMPLE ADATH YESHURUN The Rothschild Early Childhood Center at Temple Adath Yeshurun will host a 10week summer camp, Camp Rothschild, from June 26-August 31, for children ages 5-12. A counselors-in-training program is also available for children aged 12-15-years-old. All children will have the opportunity to partake in daily swim lessons in a heated, in-ground pool, and are provided two kosher snacks and a kosher lunch. The overall theme for the summer will be “Making a Difference,” as campers will be able to raise their awareness of their daily interactions with the earth and its people. Among the weekly field trips will be visits to Green Lakes State Park, NBT Stadium for a baseball game, Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, Baltimore Woods and Big Don’s Wild River and Mini Golf. Every day, campers will have the opportunity to participate in a program featuring art, drama, music, nature, science, physical activities and crafts. In the afternoon, campers can choose from various specialties, which differ from week to week, including “acts of kindness,” engineering, gardening, all-American sports and free swim. Camp Rothschild also offers two overnight stays during the summer. In addition, there will be daily specials every week: Music Mondays, Target Tuesdays (archery), Walking or Wheels Wednesdays, Thirty-Minute Thursdays (cooking) and Fitness Fridays. The camp occasionally uses the sports fields at the neighboring Christian Brothers Academy High School for morning and afternoon programming, games and physical activity. For more information or to sign up, visit, e-mail recc@ or call 315-445-0049. PAUSE BUTTON AND MISHPACHA SHABBAT AT TAY Temple Adath Yeshurun will hold a Pause Button and Mishpacha Shabbat on Saturday, April 22. There will be services for every age, from tots and school-age to adults. Shabbat morning services will start at 9:15 am. Pause Button begins at 9:45 am and offers snacks, study and singing, after which participants return to complete the service. The topic for April’s Pause Button is “Theology Compared: American Judaism.” Services for tots and school-age children will begin at 10:30 am. The tots, children 5-years-old and younger, will meet in the Muriel and Avron Spector Library; junior congregation, first-fifth grade students, will meet in the room 15 youth lounge. The focus of the programs will be Yom Ha’atzmaut. There will be a kiddush lunch following services. For more information about the tots or junior congregation services, contact Alicia Gross at or Shannon Small at For more information about Pause Button, contact Rabbi Paul Drazen at

SCREENING OF “MY ITALIAN SECRET: THE FORGOTTEN HEROES” BY SONALI MCINTYRE The Temple Adath Yeshurun Adult Education chavurah will screen the documentary “My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes,” produced and directed by Oscar nominee Oren Jacoby, and narrated by Isabella Rossellini, on Sunday, April 23, at 10:30 am. The film focuses on the story of Gino Bartali, an Italian cycling champion, along with other Italians who repeatedly risked their lives to save Jews, partisans and refugees from Nazi-occupied Italy. Due to Bartali and the secret network he worked with, more than 80 percent of Italy’s Jews survived the Holocaust. Bartali never sought recognition or reward for rescuing so many Jews from deportation or death, and there were few who knew his name or the role he played in their rescue. Committee Co-Chair David Simon said, “In keeping with the spirit of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we felt it most appropriate to show this uplifting documentary, which highlights the actions of individual citizens, clergy and government officials.” Prior to the film, there will be Italian cookies and coffee. The program will be open to the community, and there will be no cost to attend. Reservations have been requested and will be appreciated. To make a reservation or for more information, contact the TAY office at 315-445-0002 or SISTERHOOD TORAH FUND BRUNCH BY SONALI MCINTYRE The Temple Adath Yeshurun Sisterhood will hold its first Torah Fund brunch under the leadership of Lisa Joseph on Sunday, April 30, at 10 am, at the synagogue. The featured speaker will be Susie Drazen. Joseph is the northeast area director for Torah Fund for Women’s League of Conservative Judaism and the TAY Sisterhood Torah Fund chair. She said, “We are excited to host this event and to have the chance to hear [Drazen] speak in an educational capacity in an informal setting. In the short time that she has been here, she has made a significant impact upon the TAY community and wider Jewish community.” Drazen is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in education, and she received her master’s in Jewish education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Her mother, the late Sonyamae Alpert, was the Torah Fund chair at Beth El Sisterhood in Sheboygan, WI, for many years. Upon moving to New York to attend JTS, Drazen lived in the newly-refurbished Mathilde Schechter Residence Hall, where the refurbishments were made through the support of Torah Fund donors. Drazen’s professional career is said to have been “devoted” to the Jewish community – as See “TAY” on page 6

Temple Concord “NO HOME MOVIE,” AN EXPLORATION OF LOVE AND LOSS BY CHANA MEIR Next up in Temple Concord’s Cinemagogue series will be the documentary “No Home Movie” on Saturday, April 29, at 7 pm. Chantal Ackerman, the film’s director, examines the life of her elderly mother, Natalia, a Holocaust survivor now living in an apartment in Brussels. Most of the film is set in the apartment, as Natalia goes about her daily life while dealing with her memories and lifelong anxiety disorder. Mother and daughter converse about trivial and profound

matters, as the film watches Natalia’s increasing frailty. Ackerman is known for her film “Jeanne Deilman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles,” made when she was 25 and which is regarded as “a masterwork of feminist cinema.” She died last October, apparently of suicide. The film is in French with English subtitles. Cinemagogue events are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. For more information, contact Temple Concord at 315-475-9952 or office@

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Federation seeking Holocaust survivors BY JUDITH STANDER The Jewish Federation of Central New York Yom Hashoah Planning Committee is seeking the names of Holocaust survivors to be read aloud at the annual community Yom Hashoah memorial observance. This year, the event will be held on Sunday, April 23, at 2 pm, promptly, at Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Rd., in Syracuse. During the program, memorial candles will be lit in recognition of Holocaust

survivors, while at the same time, recalling that more than six million Jews were killed. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum defines a survivor as anyone who was displaced, persecuted and/or discriminated against by the racial, religious, ethnic and political policies of the Nazis and their allies. In addition to former inmates of concentration camps and ghettos, this includes, among others, refugees and

people in hiding. The Federation is seeking survivors in the community who may not yet have participated in Yom Hashoah events in Central New York. Anyone who meets the definition of a survivor can contact Judith Stander at 315-445-0161, ext. 114, or, for more information. FEDERATION BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE The Jewish Federation of Central New


York maintains a leather-bound “Book of Remembrance.” It contains the names of many individuals and families lost during the Holocaust. These names are read aloud annually at the community Yom Hashoah memorial observance. To submit a family member name to be recorded in the Federation’s Book of Remembrance, contact Judith Stander at 315-445-0161, ext. 114, or jstander@

Shining Stars celebration at Menorah Park BY JUDY SCHMID The 12th Shining Stars celebration has been set for Thursday, May 25, from 5:30-8 pm, at Menorah Park, 4101 E. Genesee St., DeWitt, “under the tent.” The celebration coincides with Older Americans’ Month. “This celebration recognizes those employees, volunteers and residents that are known to ‘shine brightly’ on the Menorah Park campus,” said Steven

Sisskind, event co-chair. “My wife, Robin, and I are honored to announce 10 very special individuals who bring their vitality, their generosity and their compassion to all of us affiliated with Menorah Park.” The 2017 honorees include volunteer Lee Cagwin in the Jewish Home OT/PT department; Latoya Clarke-Lydford, CNA at the Jewish Home; Vikki Curry, Menorah Park housekeeping; volunteer David Elias

at the Jewish Home and Syracuse Jewish Family Service; Ronda Hegeman, resident at The Oaks at Menorah Park; receptionist Kim Joyce at the Welcome Center at Menorah Park; resident Eleanor Munzel at The Inn at Menorah Park; Michael Sagar, resident at The Inn at Menorah Park; and Samantha Villareal, CNA at the Jewish Home. Tickets, which include dinner, are required for the event. Reservations are re-

quired no later than Tuesday, May 16. For more information, contact Susie Drazen at 315-446-9111, ext. 141, or sdrazen@ Menorah Park of Central New York is a non-profit organization that offers services to “enhance residents’ potential for wellness and independence” and provides a variety of senior independent living and caring options in “a relaxed, comfortable community setting.”

Matthews grant benefits JCC children’s programs BY WILLIAM WALLAK The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse has been awarded a At left, l-r: Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse Board President Steven Sisskind presented a $1,000 Matthews Children’s Foundation grant check to JCC Executive Director Marci Erlebacher inside the JCC’s Neulander Family Sports and Fitness Center lobby. Sisskind has sponsored the JCC’s Matthews grant application for the past several years.

$1,000 grant from the Matthews Children’s Foundation to benefit the JCC’s Jerome and Phyllis Charney Early Childhood Development Program. This latest round of funding is a result of the ongoing efforts of JCC Board President Steven Sisskind and his sponsorship of the JCC’s grant application. “Once again, we truly appreciate the Matthews Foundation’s continued support of our children’s programs,” said Sisskind.

“The terrific generosity of the foundation has played an important part in helping us to serve our preschool students and local families.” The grant is being used to reintroduce a music program for preschooler students. The foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations that support children, and it has contributed millions of dollars to date to such charities.

DO YOU KNOW? Your Federation dollars at work – Open Libraries Project tral New York recognizes BY JACKIE MIRON the value in upgrading the The Allocations Committee library system, but also in of the Jewish Federation of building more collaboration Central New York awards between Jewish organizaCommunity Program Fund tions in the community. Grants each year in addition The current grant is for to the annual allocations hosting a half-day workshop made in the spring. Based for those responsible for other on the success of the 2016 synagogue libraries and for annual campaign, community Jackie Miron hardware to upgrade Temple program grants are available to all Jewish organizations, agencies, Concord’s tracking and sign-out system, and synagogues in the Central New York including a computer station in the library community. The Allocations Committee and a bar code scanner. Temple Concord is also independentreviews the grant requests and makes recommendations to the board, which ly supporting two representatives to the Jewish Book Council’s Network votes on the recommendations. Temple Concord has received a $1,000 Conference, the main conference nagrant from the Jewish Federation of Cen- tionally showcasing Jewish authors and tral New York toward its Open Libraries Jewish-themed books. The Jewish Book Project. The project will put Temple Council is the oldest and largest literary Concord’s library holdings online – and national resource center for information ultimately those of other area synagogues about the Jewish literary scene. It speand Jewish organizations – making the cifically helps libraries promote Jewish holdings accessible to the Central New book programming and represents a wealth of materials for use and review York Jewish community. Such expanded access will enhance for member organizations. The Jewish Federation of Central New the library experience for patrons, teachers and clergy, and will enable York awards Community Program Fund collaboration for study, research and en- Grants each year in addition to the annual joyment. Through this project, multiple allocations made in the spring. Based on congregations will be able to easily find the success of the 2016 annual campaign, Jewish-themed books and other media community program grants are available regardless of which congregation holds to all Jewish organizations, agencies and the materials. Discussions are already synagogues in the Central New York underway with those responsible for the community. The Allocations Committee libraries at Temple Adath Yeshurun and reviews the grant requests and makes Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas. recommendations to the board, which The Jewish Federation of Cen- votes on the recommendations.


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Temple Concord to hold “Concord Cares” fund-raiser November 2

BY STEWART KOENIG Temple Concord will again celebrate the Syracuse community at a fund-raising dinner and music event, “Concord Cares,” on Thursday, November 2, at the Marriott

Syracuse Downtown (Hotel Syracuse). Event Co-Chair Vicki Feldman said, “Concord Cares will continue the tradition of awarding ‘Mensch of the Year’ honors to deserving individuals from the com-

munity. We’ve changed the event name, venue and time of year, but we haven’t altered our intention of celebrating the good works of local people and coming together to spend a fun evening together.”

Complete details for the event will be announced soon. At the moment, event sponsors are being sought and can e-mail for a sponsorship packet.

Mary Ellen Bloodgood chosen Nonprofit Executive of the Year

Menorah Park Board member Warren Wolfson (left) introduced Mary Ellen Bloodgood (center). Presenting Bloodgood’s award was Alissa Viti (right), M&T Bank’s Central New York Region Charitable and Community Relations manager.

Yom Ha’atzmaut bourekas

BY STEWART KOENIG Menorah Park CEO Mary Ellen Bloodgood was chosen as the nonprofit executive of the year at Nonprofit Awards 2017 on March 28 at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool. The ninth annual Nonprofit Awards was presented by M&T Bank, with support from Business Journal News Network, and created and produced by BizEventz. The award is given to those “who exhibit leadership, planning skills, strong staff growth, board development, solid fiscal management and increased fund-raising.” In all, awards were given in 10 categories, including Career Achievement and Board Development, and multiple awards were given in most categories. Executive of the Year also went to Betsy Kennedy, of Cazenovia Public Library; Jerry Klemanski, of Syracuse Brick House; and Michael Parsons, of First Source Federal Credit Union Credit Union. Bloodgood joined Menorah Park – then the Jewish Home of Central New York – more than 30 years ago as CFO, rising to CEO in 2003. “[Bloodgood]’s strong management has created a fiscally strong organiza-

TAY a teacher, executive director, program and education director, and director of community services for the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section. After moving to Syracuse in 2015, she became the director of development at Menorah Park of Central New York. The Torah Fund brunch is open to members of the TAY Sisterhood and the

Approximately 13 volunteers made 853 bourekas during a three-day baking session for the Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration to be held on Tuesday, May 2, at Temple Adath Yeshurun from 5:15-8 pm.


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“[Sisskind] has been a fantastic advocate on behalf of the JCC, securing such solid support from the Matthews Foundation and other organizations,” said Marci Erlebacher, JCC executive director. “We are extremely grateful for the Matthews

Foundation’s continued support of the good works that our programs are doing.” For more information about the JCC and its programs, which serve infants to seniors, contact Erin Hart at 315-4452040, ext. 112, or

Women  Business

If you are a woman who owns or manages a business, The Jewish Observer has a unique advertising opportunity for you! WOMEN IN BUSINESS, the highlight of our May 11 issue, will feature an advertising section of display ads in a variety of sizes to suit your copy. As a bonus, for all ads over 4 col. inches, we’ll include a FREE mini feature using the information you provide. May 11 issue • Ad Deadline: May 3 For information on advertising, contact Bonnie at 1-800-779-7896, ext 244 or


Redesign Team reforms. Known as Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment, the program promotes community-level collaboration and reduces unnecessary use of hospitals. Helgerson, who became NYS Medicaid director in 2011, was previously the Medicaid director in Wisconsin, a state that has been credited with having “innovative programs to provide affordable access to health care for children and families.” In New York, Helgerson oversees a budget in excess of $60 billion. In 2015, Governing Magazine recognized him as “Public Official of the Year.” He is in demand as a speaker, nationally, as well as internationally, and the lecture will be an opportunity to “hear and engage” in a discussion with someone who is considered “hands-on” in transforming the health care delivery system. Giving input on the local perspective will be Central New York Care Collaborative Executive Director/CEO Virginia Opipare, who came to Central New York after years of health care system experience in other communities.

tion that continues to stay true to the mission of a faith-based organization,” Menorah Park board member Warren Wolfson said. “She is known nationally for her skills in serving seniors and developing new models of elder care, and has presented at many conferences, lending her expertise in the field of aging to colleagues across the United States.” Bloodgood’s past awards include the Dr. Herbert Shore Award of Honor from the Association of Jewish Aging Services and the Temple Adath Yeshurun Citizen of the Year award for “making our community and world a more sacred and celebrated place.” Bloodgood is also said to be very involved in her local Cortland community, serving as a member of the board of the local branches of Zonta, treasurer of the American Association of University Women and chair of the Cortland Memorial Foundation Board of Directors of the Cortland Regional Medical Center. Menorah Park Board President Mark Schulman said, [Bloodgood]’s leadership empowers all of us to do our very best for the community we serve. She is very deserving of this award.”

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women of the congregation. There will be a fee to attend, and the price includes three Torah Fund celebration cards. The brunch is free for all paid Torah Fund pin benefactors. Reservations have been requested. To make a reservation or for more information, contact Joseph by Tuesday, April 18, at 862-262-0506 or Continued from page 3

Pinsky, who has been called “a prominent Central New York lawyer committed to issues involving health care and families,” died in 2011 at the age of 72. He dedicated himself to numerous civic and Jewish organizations, both locally and statewide. During his 50-year legal career, he served as the first assistant counsel to the New York State Senate majority and assistant counsel to its Senate majority; chief counsel to the Temporary State Commission on Child Welfare; an assistant welfare attorney and the chief welfare attorney for the Onondaga County Department of Social Services. He was also an adjunct professor at Syracuse University College of Law, where he taught legislative law. When he left public service in 1988, he continued working on legislative issues and maintained an active legal practice. He also served as referee to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct from 2000 until his death. The public has been invited. For more information, contact Marilyn Pinsky at

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APRIL 13, 2017/17 NISAN 5777 ■

Arts as Torah In a program made possible Participants will then split into by a grant from the Jewish Fedgroups to discover “the healing” that occurs during the seven days of eration of Central New York’s isolation. They will then reconvene Community Program Fund to present their findings, either grants, Syracuse Area Jewish through shadow theater, painting Educators will present Elizabeth or drumming. Participants will also Yaari, artist and professional be able to “hear the voices of the workshop facilitator, on Sunday, people left behind.” April 30, from 9 am-noon, at Yaari’s work during the last Temple Adath Yeshurun. PJ Library® will be there as well. The Elizabeth Yaari 15 years has been “to empower individuals within groups to workshop is intended for children self-express and relate to one another” using from 4-years-old and older. The Torah portion Tazria is about “isola- a variety of different art media, including tion, transformation and healing,” which are but not limited to film, rhythm, sound, medconsidered predominant themes in Leviti- itation, movement, writing and visual art. For more information, contact Julie cus. Workshop participants will explore the command to “go to the place of isolation” Tornberg, director of youth and education through bibliodrama (role-playing of bibli- at Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra cal characters or objects) with Yaari’s help. Shas, at


Comedian to perform in Syracuse on April 20


Comedian Michael Wex son Street. The performance will appear in a free perwill be open to the public, and is “especially encouraged” formance at the Syracuse for Syracusans who are “YidUniversity Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life on dish-challenged.” Wex is the Thursday, April 20, at 7 pm. author of numerous best-selling His appearance is in conjuncbooks, including “Rhapsody in Schmaltz,” “Born to Kvetch” tion with the class “Jewish and “Just Say Nu,” as well Humor and Satire” taught by as his novel, “Schlepping the Ken Frieden, B.G. Rudolph Exile.” A longtime Canadian Professor of Judaic Studies Michael Wex (Photo performer at KlezKanada, Wex at Syracuse University. The performance is co-spon- by Zoe Gemelli) is reportedly known for his “wry wit and his preference sored by Hillel Executive Director Brian Small and is open to the for rye bread.” More information about Wex can be public. The Winnick Center is located at 102 Walnut Place at the corner of Harri- found at

Overwhelming majority of House Democrats urge Trump to preserve “two states” BY RON KAMPEAS WASHINGTON (JTA) – The overwhelming majority of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives urged President Donald Trump to reaffirm the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as U.S. policy. With 187 of 193 voting Democrats signing, the letter to Trump released on March 24 is a reminder of how divided the parties remain on how to define pro-Israel. It came on the eve of an American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference that the lobby had hoped would be a signal of bipartisan support for Israel.


J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, lobbied for the letter initiated by Reps. David Price (D-NC) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA). “It is our belief that a one-state outcome risks destroying Israel’s Jewish and democratic character, denies the Palestinians fulfillment of their legitimate aspirations, and would leave both Israelis and Palestinians embroiled in an endless and intractable conflict for generations to come,” said the letter, signed by 191 members. In addition to the 187 Democrats, signers to the letter included two non-voting Democrats and two Republicans. All but

one of the 21 Jewish Democrats in the House – Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey – signed the letter. AIPAC, which continues to back the two-state solution, did not have a position on the letter. And while AIPAC found issues ahead of its March 26-28 confab that would unite the parties – including new sanctions on Iran, countering the Israel boycott movement and supporting foreign assistance – there was nothing in the legislative agenda its activists took to the Capitol on the final lobbying day of the conference that explicitly backed two states. The

conference nonetheless planned to feature messaging that emphasized two states, an AIPAC official told The Jerusalem Post. Republicans last year withdrew explicit backing for two states from the party’s platform. In February, President Donald Trump appeared to back away from a twostate solution, which was supported by his predecessors over the previous 15 years. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leading what is considered the most hawkish Cabinet in the country’s history, is increasingly a lone voice in his government backing the outcome. He is

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For Israel’s female soldiers, a delicate balance between equality and military realities

BY SHIRYN GHERMEZIAN Israel’s female soldiers seem to break barriers on a consistent basis. In January, new figures revealed that the number of women serving in combat roles in the IDF’s Homefront Command is up 38 percent this year. In March, the IDF launched a pilot program in which women will be trained as tank operators for the first time. Indeed, the Jewish state takes pride in being an oasis for gender equality in a Mideast region largely bereft of women’s rights, and this attitude extends to Israel’s military.At the same time, for a nation facing ever-present security threats both internally and on its borders, gender equality has its limits. “The mission of the army is to protect and win. We need to understand that the mission of the army is not equal opportunity,” Brigadier General (Res.) Gila Klifi-Amir, who has had a 30-year career with the IDF and served as an adviser on women’s issues to the military’s chief of staff, said on April 3 in New York City. Klifi-Amir moderated a discussion with three female Israeli soldiers – Sgt. Noam, Staff Sgt. Maya and Staff Sgt. “Y,” whose full names were withheld for security reasons – in a program hosted by the Young Leadership Division of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a nonprofit dedicated “to provide for education and well-being” of IDF soldiers. The soldiers on the panel all told they have never felt discrimination for being a woman in the mil-


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under pressure from Cabinet ministers to his right to abandon two states and annex West Bank territory to Israel. AIPAC officials, if asked, affirm the lobby’s commitment to the two-state outcome. Other centrist pro-Israel groups, including the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, have taken a “more robust” posture defending two states, saying they are “alarmed” at retreats from the policy among Republicans and in Israel.


and Smith, who at this particular moment appeared to be agreeing on everything. “But through AIPAC, they found common ground on Israel.” *** Two other groups who may not agree on anything found each other at the conference – or at least encountered one another through a pane of glass. On L Street, outside the two-story windows of the convention center, 200-300 protesters from the leftwing IfNotNow, demanding an end to the occupation, walked and danced in a circle while banging buckets. Some brought babies in strollers. Their chants were muffled by the glass; a banner read “Reject AIPAC, resist occupation.” Inside, between breakout sessions, AIPAC activists, clad in muted suits and dresses, broke their determined, coffee-clutching, conference-goer stride and slowed down, cocking their heads toward the windows. There were no expressions of anger. Instead, there was the universal 21st century gesture signifying curiosity: They raise their smartphones to snap a picture. A young protester in a black woolen cap looked up and saw activists on an escalator. She lifted her placard

L-r: Staff Sgt. Maya, Sgt. Noam and Brigadier General (Res.) Gila Klifi-Amir at a Friends of the Israel Defense Forces program on April 3 in New York City. (Photo by Shiryn Ghermezian) itary, and that their male counterparts treat them with respect. Staff Sgt. Y described the interactions as “very, very professional,” and Staff Sgt. Maya – who commands an infirmary at her battalion’s headquarters – explained, “We train with the guys; we do everything like them. Inside the unit, everything is the same.” Israel is the world’s only country where military service is obligatory for women. From age 18-26, women must serve two years in the military – with some exceptions, such as if they are pregnant. Today, 95 percent of the IDF’s positions are available to women, according to Klifi-Amir. Yet “equal opportunity” does not exist in the purest sense, the soldiers said. Klifi-Amir told the crowd she does not believe all military positions should be open for women, depending on the mission. The physical training required for some military roles may be too grueling for a woman’s body, and the IDF is responsible for the life of each soldier, she said. “Where it’s right and it could be helpful, then it should be done. Where it’s not, then no,” Staff Sgt. Y

said regarding equal military roles for men and women. The soldier said her approach to military life can sometimes be shaped by what she believes male soldiers’ perceptions will be. “I need to learn to carry my own equipment, even if it’s very heavy, and when someone offers to help me I know to say no,” said Staff Sgt. Y. “I don’t want [male soldiers] to think there’s an area where I am different from them. There’s no reason why he should do it, and I won’t let him if he suggests it. I will even get a little offended if he does.” Gender is not the only issue these soldiers grapple with. Sgt. Noam, 19, who was born in Vietnam and adopted as an infant by an IDF soldier’s widow, discussed the challenge of training medical personnel in reserve units and getting the trainees to respect her because of her youth. “Most of the people are 40-years-old or 35, and I’m so young,” she said. “A doctor who has so much experience, how can I tell him what to do? It’s challenging. How can I teach him from the beginning? Because the medical material [learned] in a civilian’s life is not the same as in the army. And some operations done in the civilian world are much harder [to perform in the army].” Her Vietnamese background has attracted some unwanted attention from Israelis. Due to Israel’s relatively low East Asian-born population, she said, people probe her about her family and physical appearance, and wonder how she can speak Hebrew so well. “My favorite question is, ‘What are you?’ So sometimes I just answer that I’m an alien and that you should take me to your leader,” Noam said. Staff Sgt. Y, 23, is the first female soldier to oversee medical protocol and instruction in the Israeli Navy’s 13th flotilla, a special unit comparable to the U.S. Navy SEALs. As a paramedic, she has gone as far as treating wounded terrorists. “Inside of me, it’s not easy at all,” she said of that experience. “It is very, very hard. …But it’s part of the job.” Klifi-Amir added, “If we lose our values, we will become like other armies on the Arab side and Muslim side. We will not be like that.” Continued from page 1

decrying Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and grinned – a smile stripped of guile, as if to say, just look at this. *** New York State Assemblyman Michael Blake shouted for quiet at a bar packed mostly with Jews and some blacks. He wanted to talk about justice, about the disproportionate number of young black men in prisons. “If we want to be serious about criminal justice, be serious at the front end!” he said, his voice rising, his pacing increasingly agitated. The Israel Project, run by former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block, had a party at the Rosa Mexicano bar neighboring the Verizon Center. There were black activists not just from the United States, but from South Africa and Israel, too. No one mentioned Black Lives Matter. Block, like many in the pro-Israel mainstream, is seeking progressive partners who pretty much leave Israel alone. But such partners are few and far between. Black Lives Matter isn’t one, having created a platform last year that describes Israel as an “apartheid state” perpetrating “genocide” against the Palestinian people. But 20/20 Leaders of America, a bipartisan group of black legislators, mayors and other officials seeking criminal justice reform, may be such a partner, or something like it. Close enough. “You can love justice and Israel,” Block said and introduced the speakers. Some of them seemed to agree wholeheartedly – Zenobia Ravi, an Israel Project staffer, and Jamie Mithi of South Africa were standouts – but occasionally their support appeared to be merely transactional. Tashni-Ann Dubroy, the president of Shaw University, a historically black university in Raleigh, NC, said awkwardly that Jewish professors on her campus contribute a lot. She asked for donations. Blake, the vice chairman at large of the Democratic National Committee, was compelling – if you were listening. Most of the AIPAC activists erre munching tortilla chips and engrossed in one another. “Go back home and change some laws!” he exhorted before giving up. *** Squeezed between the major speakers at the Verizon Center were small, but moving, moments of family and friendship, splashed large on the big screens. Amy Friedkin, AIPAC’s president from 2002-04 and the first woman to hold the post, introduced her latest convert to the lobby’s work – her grandson, Brian Sternberg. Sternberg stared at his notes and Friedkin, an

old hand at politicking, mouthed some of his text as he delivered his remarks. He ended by promising to sign up for next year’s conference. “Brian,” Friedkin says, slightly embarrassed, “I’ve already registered you.” Bud Hockenberg and Dick Levitt called out to the 4,000 college students in attendance and noted that they, too, had a college connection – they met at the University of Iowa in the 1950s. “In college, Richard got me involved in several Jewish organizations which led me to AIPAC,” Hockenberg recalled. Levitt rejoined, “Believe it or not, this is my first AIPAC policy conference, but this is Bud’s 50th consecutive policy conference.” The two old friends offered info on how to register and made a promise that earns cheers. “We’ll both see you again next year,” Levitt says. *** Another break between sessions. I was on the convention center’s second level. A chant, muddied at first and then clear as the chatter dies down, came from a balustrade overlooking the first level: “If I am only for myself, who am I?” It is repeated. The conference-goers broke stride, looked up. Two banners dropped from either side of the balustrade: “IfNotNow rejects AIPAC and the occupation.” There was a silent moment, a poetic pause at a convention where security picked through purses and briefcases to keep out, among other things, protesters like these. And then the booing began. It rose and filled the halls, and security stripped away the banners and escorted the protesters out of the building. The next day, Rabbi Steven Wernick, the CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, remembered the moment at a meeting of leaders of American Jewish religious movements and Israeli Knesset members. It was a session on how to preserve American Judaism. “Some of my colleagues may be shreying their kop (screaming their heads off),” Wernick said, recalling the moment. “But at least [the protesters are] engaged and they’re willing to put their feet where their minds are.” Wernick, who has been attending AIPAC conferences for decades, said not with a little pride that he bet a lot of those protesters came out of his movement. Rabbi Ryan Bauer, a Reform rabbi from San Francisco, said at a separate conference session on how to engage young people, “I’m very happy with the protesters out there – because they care.”

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Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art, is trending in Paris BY CNAAN LIPHSHIZ PARIS (JTA) – In a dark alley in a poor suburb of this city, five men with violence on their minds closed in fast on 17-year-old Netanel Azoulay and his older brother, Yaakov. “Dirty Jews, you’re going to die!” one man yelled. The driving dispute quickly transformed into something physical, with one of the assailants wielding a saw. Azoulay – who, along with his brother, wears a kippah – nearly lost his finger and had his shoulder dislocated before passers-by broke up the brawl. The February 21 incident in Bondy was one of dozens of antisemitic assaults – among hundreds of less violent

Avi Attlan, kneeling, taught Krav Maga to students in Saint Mande on March 23. (Photo by Cnaan Liphshiz)

episodes – recorded annually in the Paris region. This altercation, however, was particularly shocking because of its bloodiness, and how it illustrated how quickly harassment can lead to bloodshed. But Azoulay’s injuries could have been worse. Azoulay has a brown belt in Krav Contact, a variant of Krav Maga, the self-defense martial art developed in Israel. And, in fact, he has been training for such a moment for years. “I think Krav saved our lives,” said Azoulay, who started training as a child, like his brother, in order to defend himself on Bondy’s rough streets. Azoulay’s father is a Krav Contact instructor, and the family was an early adopter of the method when it was still largely unknown in France. Over the past decade, however, thousands of French Jews – and some non-Jews, too – have turned to Krav Maga amid a wave of intimidation and violence on the streets of France’s major cities. “There’s an explosion in the popularity of Krav Maga,” said Avi Attlan, one of the technique’s pioneers in France. Ten years ago, it was taught at a handful of Jewish schools in the Paris area, he said. Today, Krav Maga is taught in at least 20 Jewish schools, including many belonging to the Chabad-Lubavitch educational network. Jewish summer camps have also recently begun to offer lessons. Attlan and the Krav Maga masters in his employ teach approximately 200 trainees in five venues across Paris. A decade ago he had about 40 students, Attlan said. In 2013, France had its first Krav Maga championship; it’s now an annual event.


L-r: Netanel Azoulay and his father, Armand, in Paris on March 14. (Photo by Cnaan Liphshiz) “To me, Krav Maga is a sport and a way of life,” said Attlan, an Algeria native in his 60s who stands 5-foot4. He said “it became a survival tool” for French Jews with the increase of antisemitic violence following the second intifada in 2000 – incidents in France that year rose from several dozen annually to hundreds. A sense of insecurity is what inspired Laurent Kachauda to start Krav Maga training 15 years ago with Attlan in Saint Mande, the upscale Paris suburb where an Islamist assailant killed four Jews at a kosher shop in January 2015. “Someone carved a swastika on my locker in high school,” recalled Kachauda, a 30-year-old accountant. “I realized someone was watching me and that they might one day attack. So I looked up Krav Maga instructors.” See “Paris” on page 12

Home-hunting tips in a seller’s market (StatePoint) – Are you on a serious hunt for a new home? Whether it’s your first time as a real estate buyer or you’ve done this many times before, you may experience a learning curve. After all, the market is forever in-flux, and experts advise that, these days, there are some distinctive challenges involved in becoming a homeowner. “If you want to snag your dream home in a seller’s market, then you’d better be on your game,” says Grant Simmons, who drives the consumer marketing strategy for, an online real estate resources site. Simmons offers tips to give buyers a leg up in today’s competitive marketplace. ‹‹ Know what you want: Make a list of the features you desire in your next home, and then separate them into wants and needs. Having your priorities in order will help you better determine whether a house truly suits your

needs and where you’re willing to compromise. ‹ ‹ Use your imagination: Buying a live-in ready home offers convenience, but you can potentially save thousands of dollars on the front end on an ugly or tired home with great bones or personalit y. Choose a real estate agent with vision who can help you find the diamond in the rough in your desired location. Remember, there can be large return on small, affordable updates. ‹‹ Know the deal-breakers: In a seller’s market, you may feel pressured to sign on the dotted line as soon as you find that home you really like. Before committing to a mortgage, do your due diligence. A shoddy roof, bad plumbing, foundation issues, outdated wiring and water damage are costly headaches you may not want to take

on in a new home. ‹‹ Do smart research: The Internet is your friend. So rather than cast a wide net, conduct smart searches. Some sites make real estate searches easier by connecting buyers with timely and accurate listing information, the listing agent, and data on the qualit y of life in local neighborhoods. ‹‹ Get serious: Busy real estate agents with a tight schedule prioritize serious prospective buyers. Be first on their list. Before you discover your dream home, get your financial ducks in a row, because when competition is fierce, you can’t afford to wait for mortgage approval. Even in a seller’s market, with smart research, foresight and planning you can make a wise purchase.

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Calendar Highlights

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

Wednesday, April 26 Deadline for May 11 issue Sunday, April 16 Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas Kadima day camp trip 9 am - 5 pm Monday, April 17 Seventh day of Passover Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse and Jewish Federation of CNY offices closed Tuesday, April 18 Last day of Passover JCC and Federation offices closed Wednesday, April 19 CBS-CS end-of-Pesach Mimouna celebration at 6 pm CBS-CS board meeting at 7:30 pm Saturday, April 21 Temple Adath Yeshurun Shabbat services at 9:15 am, with Pause Button at 9:45 am and mishpacha Shabbat at 10:30 am Sunday, April 23 Temple Adath Yeshurun will show “My Italian Secret The Forgotten Heroes” at 10:30 am Community Yom Hashoah program at Temple Adath Yeshurun at 2 pm Tuesday, April 25 Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse Executive Committee at 6:30 pm, followed by 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 Paul Drazen at 6:45 pm Wednesday, April 26 Syracuse Community Hebrew School at TAY from 4 - 6 pm CBS-CS Sisterhood “Greening Up” program at 7:30 pm Thursday, April 27 Epstein School at Wegmans Café at 7 pm Menorah Park board meeting at 6 pm Saturday, April 29 Temple Concord Cinemagogue presents “No Home Movie” at 7:30 pm Sunday, April 30 TAY Sisterhood Torah Fund brunch at 10 am Syracuse Area Jewish Educators-sponsored all-schools program with Elizabeth Yaari at TAY from 9 am - noon CBS-CS rummage sale 10 am-4 pm Monday, May 1 CBS-CS rummage bag sale 10 am- 4pm Yom HaZikaron Tuesday, May 2 Community Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration at Temple Adath Yeshurun from 5:15 – 8 pm

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Open up! BY RABBI URI C. COHEN “What would happen if Elijah drank from the cup – not in terms of the messiah – but on a physiological level? Would the wine pass through him, ghost-style, and end up on the rug? How much wine would it take to make Elijah drunk? Is that even possible? Presumably, if the messiah is coming, Elijah has got to put in an appearance at every single seder in the world, which – aside from being a logistical nightmare – means a lot of wine. Kind of like Santa Claus with the milk and cookies, though obviously there are fewer of us (Jews) than there are of them (cookies).” – Dave Barry, Alan Zweibel and Adam Mansbach, “For This We Left Egypt? A Passover Haggadah for Jews and Those Who Love Them” Why do we open the door at the seder? In the spirit of the many fours of the haggadah, I would like to present four rabbinic theories to answer this question. Two are historical, relating to the past when the custom started. The other two are idealistic, relating to the future when we hope the geulah (redemption) will occur. One: inviting the poor In the early Middle Ages, poor Jews didn’t make arrangements for the seder ahead of time. People at home would start the seder by issuing an open-door invitation. When they opened the door, they called out, “All who are hungry, come and eat!” Later, when Jews stopped living in Jewish neighborhoods, they stopped the open invitation and just invited the poor personally before the seder. (Rav Matityahu Gaon, 800s) Two: uninviting the blood libel At this point, the opening of the door was shifted to the end of the seder. Unfortunately, there was a new need for it there – the blood libel. In Christian Europe, antisemites would accuse the Jews of killing Christian children to use their blood in making matzah. Jews needed to make sure that no corpse had been dumped in their yard during the seder to frame them. When they opened the door, they cried out bitterly to God, “Pour out Your wrath on those nations that do not know You!” It was the righteous indignation of the unjustly accused that prompted this plea for Divine justice. (Likutei Zvi, 1866) Three: guarded for redemption According to one opinion, the redemption will occur on Pesach (Passover). In the words of the Talmud, “In Nissan we will be redeemed. As it says, ‘It is a night guarded for God’ (Exodus 12:42) – a night that’s been guarded [i.e., preserved for redemption] from the six days of creation.” (Rosh Hashanah 11b) This idea led to a custom of leaving the door open throughout the entire seder, as a sign of our faith in the redemption. It was even asserted that we deserve the redemption as a reward for showing such faith in it. (Rav Nissim Gaon, d. 1057) This morphed into our custom of opening the door at the beginning of the hallel section of the seder. It makes sense because this section relates to the future redemption. To remember that this night is “guarded”

B’NAI MITZVAH Jack Satterlee

Jack Satterlee, son of David and Jennifer Satterlee, of East Syracuse, became bar mitzvah at Temple Concord on April 1. He is the grandson of Dale and Marla Bly, of Corning, and Richard and Rosemary Satterlee, of Utica. He is a student at Pine Grove Middle School in East-Syracuse Minoa School District and attends the Temple Concord Religious Jack Satterlee School and the Syracuse Community Hebrew School. He enjoys tennis and soccer, and plays the baritone in the school concert band. He participated in the Syracuse University Honors Wind Ensemble, Poco Allegro and musical theater, where he is currently in Pine Grove’s musical, “Bye Bye Birdie.” He is a B’nai Mitzvah Fund holder and a member of the Teen Funders Committee at the Jewish Community Foundation of Central New York. He has been involved in the Endangered Animal Organization and volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House of Central New York. He has raised money for Immune Deficiency Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation by making and selling multi-colored crayons. He has also raised money and walked in the Walk for PI, and has volunteered at ACEing Autism, where he helped teach children with autism to play tennis.

for redemption, we open the door, which implies that we feel “guarded” and unafraid of whatever’s outside. When we open the door, we recite, “shefokh chamatkha,” because the mashiach (messiah) is expected to be the one to “pour out wrath” against God’s enemies. (Rema, Orach Chaim 480:1) Four: going out for redemption According to a little-known variation of this approach, when we open the door, we are signaling our readiness to be redeemed. In the future, when Eliyahu (Elijah) comes to announce the mashiach, we will go out to greet him right away. (Rav Nissim Gaon) Nothing should stand between us and redemption, not even the door. Five: where’s Eliyahu? You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the idea that opening the door is for Eliyahu. I left it out because this idea is not from the rabbis, but rather, late Jewish folklore. Presumably, it is based on the presence of kos shel Eliyahu. After all, if there’s a cup for Eliyahu on the table, that must mean he shows up at every seder, right? Wrong. The Vilna Gaon pieces together the story behind this cup. There’s a debate among the medieval rabbis as to whether or not we should drink a fifth cup corresponding to “veheveiti,” God’s promise to bring us to the Land. A compromise developed in which we put the fifth cup on the table, but do not drink it. Now, in other contexts, the Mishnah asserts that when Eliyahu arrives with the mashiach, he will resolve all the doubts of Jewish law. Accordingly, people started calling the fifth cup “kos shel Eliyahu” (Elijah’s cup), because in the future Eliyahu will resolve the doubt of whether we should drink it or not have it at all (sefer mat’amim). In other words, just because we call it Eliyahu’s cup does not mean we expect him to show up at our seder. And yet, Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl presents this expectation in a more positive light: “Another reason for the opening of the door is to hint that we are waiting for Elijah the Prophet to enter. This reason is given by children – and it’s a good reason!” Whatever the reason, the idea that Eliyahu visits every seder has captured the popular imagination. In conclusion, we have explained the opening of the door with four reasons (which may actually be five), perhaps corresponding to the seder’s four cups (which may actually be five). Rabbi Uri and Dr. Yocheved Engelberg Cohen, the first couple of the Syracuse Kollel, now live in Ramat Beit Shemesh. Uri teaches in Midreshet HaRova and Midreshet Moriah in Jerusalem.

MAZEL TOV Elisha Rudolph-Jedd Goldinger wedding

Elisha Rudolph, daughter of Ray Rudolph, of San Diego, CA, and Christine Caldwell, of Manlius, married Jedd Goldinger, son of Arlene and Larry Goldinger, of Lake Worth, FL, on February 19 at the North Ritz Club in Syosset. Rabbi Jonah Geffen officiated. Elisha is the granddaughter of Roberta Elisha Rudolph and Rudolph, of Delray Jedd Goldinger Beach, FL. Jedd is the grandson of Hilde Goldinger, of Delray Beach, FL, and Rhoda Aks, of Queens. Elisha’s maid of honor was Aileen Greenman. Bridesmaids included Tiffany Rothenberg, Abigail Reilly, Kim Rudolph and Alyssa Goldinger. Elisha was given in marriage by her parents. The best man was Larry Goldinger. Ushers included Adam Klipper, Kevin Sami, Joe Goldberg, David Litvok and Ethan Rudolph. Elisha graduated from Fayetteville-Manlius High School in 2002, Binghamton University in 2006 and University at Buffalo Law School in 2009. She works at Queens Law Associates. Jedd graduated from Syosset High School in 2002 and the University of South Florida in 2006. He works at JP Morgan. The newlyweds honeymooned in Thailand. They reside in New York City.

APRIL 13, 2017/17 NISAN 5777 ■

Deciphering the past


Rabbi Reuvein Rapoport, 87, died at home on March 24. He had celebrated his 87th birthday a few days before he died. Born in the Soviet Union in the Kaminetz-Podolsk area of Ukraine, Russia, he witnessed the arrest of his father, who was sent to Siberia for promulgating Judaism, but released shortly thereafter. He saw his grandfather, Rabbi Yaakov Tuvia Rapoport, chief rabbi of Minsk, Russia, and head of the kosher slaughter houses, arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Rabbi Reuvein emigrated from Russia with his family in 1936 to go to then-Palestine, eventually emigrating to Houston, TX, in late 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. The previous Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak Schneerson, paid for the 11-year-old Rapoport to come (by himself and speaking almost no English) to New York to enroll in the Yeshiva Tomchei Temimim, known as “770,” located at 770 Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, where he was among the first classes of students. At one farbrengen, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, told him to be a “soldat fun dem aibishter,” to be a “soldier in his service of God.” He was known for his diligence in his studies, especially in science, and he studied television and radio technology. He was also known for his handball skills. After his marriage to Chavi Braverman in January 1954, he worked with his in-laws in the food business, as well as in other businesses. In 1965, on the advice of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he became the rabbi of the West 31st Street Synagogue in Coney Island, Brooklyn, and the family moved to Sea Gate. Rabbi Reuvein later took a pulpit and began teaching elementary school in various yeshiva day schools in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway. In 1968, he began studying computer programming at Pratt Institute and later worked for Mobile Oil for seven years. He also trained as an appliance mechanic, and was a familiar person in the Jewish neighborhoods of Brooklyn. He moved to Flatbush in 1973 and became director of research and quality control at Tofutti in New Jersey in 1980, working on flavor development and quality control for more than 30 years. He and his family later settled in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where they opened their home to many guests. Rabbi Reuvein was a familiar face to the hundreds of students who attended Chabad House in Syracuse for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, where he led the services together with his son for more than 10 years. All his life, Rabbi Reuvein was known for his love of studying Torah, which was his main enjoyment. A longterm supporter of Chabad of Kensington, Brooklyn, he was known as a person with a kind word, a smile and a word of Torah to share. He was predeceased by his wife, Chavi Braverman Rapoport; and a grandson, Michoel Adler. He is survived by his children, Rabbi Yaakov Tuvia (Chanie) Rapoport, of Syracuse, Rabbi Shmuel Dovid (Tova) Rapoport, of Atlantic County, NJ, Rabbi Yisroel (Nechama) Rapoport, of Vineland, NJ, Boruch (Hadassah) Rapoport, of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, Ella (Yaakov) Adler, of Kensington, Chaya Sarah (Shmarya) Richler, of Montreal, Canada, and Rina (Mordechai) Lieberman, of Kensington; his siblings, Rabbi Dovid Rapoport, of Mequon, WI, Sarah Schonbrun, of Petach Tikvah, Israel, and Shoshana Stiskind, of Petach Tikvah, Israel. He is also survived by many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who follow in his ways, including many that are Chabad emissaries around the world. Burial was in the Chabad Lubavitch section in the Old Montefiore Cemetery, in Queens. Contributions can be made to Chabad House-Lubavitch, 825 Ostrom Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210. 

BY JNS STAFF ( – The Israel Antiquities Authority on March 19 announced the discovery of a hoard of 1,400-yearold coins in excavations near Jerusalem. According to the IAA, the cache of nine bronze coins – discovered in a large complex that served Christian pilgrims en route to Jerusalem – serves as “evidence of the Persian invasion at the end of the Byzantine period.” The coins feature the images of three Byzantine emperors: Justinian (483-565 A.D.), Maurice (539-602 C.E.) and Phocas (547-610 C.E.). The excavation that led to the finding occurred in June 2016 as part of the expansion of Israel’s Highway 1, which connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. A “massive” two-story structure and an “elaborate” wine press were revealed in the excavation. The coins were found among large stones that had collapsed alongside the building. “It seems that during a time of danger, the owner of the hoard placed the coins in a cloth purse that he concealed inside a hidden niche in the wall,” said Annette

A cache of 1,400-year-old coins discovered in excavations near Jerusalem. (Photo by Yoli Shwartz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority) Landes-Nagar, director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA. “He probably hoped to go back and collect it, but today we know that he was unable to do so.”

Students unearth 2,000-year-old Jewish community near Beit Shemesh BY JNS STAFF ( – During a week-long excavation project near Beit Shemesh, 240 Israeli students from Jerusalem’s Boyer High School uncovered the remains of an ancient Jewish community dating back to Israel’s Second Temple period. The archaeological dig was launched prior to the construction of a new residential neighborhood in the area and, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority district archaeologist for Judah, Dr. Amit Shadman, “the excavations will be followed by the site’s preservation and development as an

archaeological site in the heart of the new neighborhood.” Discoveries at the site included “eight ritual baths, cisterns and hiding refuges, along with rock-hewn industrial installations,” the IAA said. The IAA directors leading the excavation added, “The settlement’s extraordinary significance lies in its imposing array of private ritual baths, which were incorporated in the residential buildings. Each household had its own ritual bath and a cistern. ...Underneath the dwellings and rock-hewn installations, another surprising discovery was unearthed, dating to the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (2nd century C.E.) – a winding labyrinth of hiding refuges connected to sophisticated and elaborate complexes.” The Israeli students’ excavation work served as a means of supplementing the expenses of an upcoming student delegation to Poland. Funding from Israel’s Ministry of Construction and Housing supported the initiative, which was directed by the IAA and also involved pre-army course cadets.

PEXTON MEMORIALS An aerial view of the newly discovered 2,000-year-old Jewish community near Beit Shemesh, Israel. (Photo by Emil Aladjem, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

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NEWS IN BRIEF Israel’s first female Muslim diplomat to serve in Turkey

Israel’s Foreign Ministry the week of April 6 appointed its first female Muslim diplomat, 31-year-old Rasha Atamny, to serve in Turkey as the Israeli embassy’s first secretary.Atamny, who hails from the town of Baq al-Gharbiya in central Israel, was a psychology major at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and refined her diplomatic abilities in the school’s Model U.N. club. A year after joining the club, Atamny applied to represent Israel as a youth ambassador at the U.N. in New York City, and was accepted for the role. Although Atamny is the first Muslim woman to serve in a diplomatic capacity for the Jewish state, she is not the first Arab female diplomat. Christian-Arab Rania Jubran, daughter of Supreme Court Justice Salim Jubran, worked for the Foreign Ministry from 2006-09. Israel has several male Muslim and Arab diplomats currently serving in the Foreign Ministry.


Cache of 1,400-year-old coins discovered near Christian pilgrimage site in Jerusalem




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Jewish groups join letter urging Congress to resist Trump bid to allow church politicking

An array of Jewish organizations joined a letter from religious groups to Congress urging the preservation of a law banning tax-exempt status to faith groups that endorse candidates and parties – one that President Donald Trump says he hopes to rescind. “Houses of worship are spaces for members of religious communities to come together, not be divided along political lines,” said the April 4 letter signed by 99 groups and addressed to the leaders of both parties in the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as to the leaders of tax-writing committees. “Faith ought to be a source of connection and community, not division and discord,” the letter said. “The charitable sector, particularly houses of worship, should not become another cog in a political machine or another loophole in campaign finance laws.” Trump while campaigning said he wanted to roll back the “Johnson Amendment,” named for President Lyndon Johnson, who led its passage as a Texas senator in the 1950s. Trump said the amendment restricts free speech and favors Democrats by inhibiting political support among evangelical Christians. He has repeated the pledge since assuming office. The law, as the letter points out, permits churches to engage with political issues and allows pastors to endorse candidates away from church settings. Its restriction is on explicit endorsements of a candidate or a party by a church. Among the Jewish groups endorsing are the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, Bend the Arc, B’nai B’rith International, the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis, Hadassah, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Jewish community relations councils in Boston and Washington, the Jewish Federations of North America, Jewish Women International, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Assembly, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, the Union for Reform Judaism and Women of Reform Judaism.

Far-right party leader claims it is best hope for German Jewry

A far-right populist party in Germany claimed it is the last best hope for Jewish life in the country, spurring outrage from Jewish leaders there. Frauke Petry, co-chair of the anti-immigrant Alternative Party for Germany, or AfD, told the Die Welt newspaper on April 6 that her party is “one of the few political guarantors of Jewish life, also in times of illegal antisemitic migration to Germany.” Petry was responding to an interview with Ronald Lauder, head of the World Jewish Congress, who told the same newspaper that the AfD is a “disgrace for Germany” for “pandering to the extreme right.” Petry’s indirect retort to Lauder drew swift and indignant responses from German Jewish leaders. “We can do without such guarantors,” Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement, accusing the AfD of fomenting extreme right-wing sentiments and stirring hatred against minorities. Charlotte Knobloch, who heads the Jewish community of Munich and Bavaria and a former leader of the Central Council, condemned Petry’s “audacity and mendacity ... abusing the legitimate concerns of the Jewish people about antisemitism among Muslims in Germany for their own purposes.” Knobloch, who is the WJC commissioner for Holocaust memory, also called the AfD an “anti-modern, anti-democratic and xenophobic” political force for which Jewish people should not vote. The AfD has ridden a wave of anger toward Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy that has seen the arrival of more than one million refugees from war-torn areas in the Middle East and Africa since 2015, including many Muslims. The party has

managed to win seats in 10 of the 16 German state parliaments. AfD members have been accused of belittling the Holocaust and using supposed Jewish concerns to legitimize an anti-Muslim stance. The party officially opposes halal as well as kosher slaughter, and is unofficially opposed to ritual circumcision, which affects Muslims and Jews. Lauder in his interview said AfD “has no place in Germany. I hope they soon disappear from the political stage.” While Schuster has urged Merkel to confront possible antisemitic attitudes that some refugees may have brought from their home countries, he also has decried generalizations about the migrants and supports Jewish volunteer programs with refugees. Meanwhile, support for AfD appears to be faltering: The party is polling now between 7 percent and 11 percent, down from a high of 15.5 percent at the end of last year, with national elections scheduled for September.

FL Legislature committees allocate funds for Jewish school security

The budget committees of the Florida State House and Senate each voted to set aside funds to upgrade security at Jewish schools. The amounts set aside by the lawmakers in the votes on April 5 range from $254,000 to $500,000, the Associated Press reported. There have been threats made to 17 Jewish Community Centers and Jewish institutions in the state this year. Many were among the more than 100 bomb threats called into JCCs and Jewish organizations allegedly by a dual Israeli-American citizen living in southern Israel. The teen has been arrested, accused of making most of the threats using high tech-equipment from his bedroom. Republican State Rep. Randy Fine told AP that the money allocated by the Legislature would pay for security upgrades to protect the some 10,000 students at Jewish day schools throughout the state. Among the security upgrades would be fences and bulletproof glass.

Yad Vashem head calls for end to Syrian civil war and its “atrocities”

The chairman of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial called on the world community to end the civil war in Syria. Avner Shalev’s call on April 6 came a day after a reported chemical attack in northern Syria that killed dozens. “Following World War II, the global community enacted universal principles and instituted international organizations with the express purpose of averting future crimes against humanity,” Shalev said in a statement. Shalev expressed “deep concern over the appalling evidence of renewed carnage in Syria and the images of massacred children in this turbulent area,” and called upon “world leaders and the global community to act now in order to place to put a stop to the atrocities and avert further suffering.” Also on April 6, Syrian President Bashar Assad in an interview with a Croatian newspaper also published in Syria’s official news agency SANA accused Israel of supporting the rebels in Syria’s more than five-year civil war, saying it equates to a Syria-Israel war. “Concern about a war is unrealistic because the reality is that we are living this war,” Assad said. “But as for calling it a Syrian-Israeli war, you can assume in any case that these terrorists are fighting for Israel. It is a war that has taken a new form and uses new instrument. Even if they are not a regular Israeli army, they are still fighting for Israel.” Israel has remained on the sidelines of Syria’s civil war, though it has treated Syrian injured, both government troops and rebels, on the border and responded when rocket and artillery fire from the fighting has landed on Israel’s side of the Golan Heights. On April 5, Israeli leaders called on the international community to remove chemical weapons from Syria in the wake of the attack. Syria insists that it did not mount a chemical attack on the area, but rather struck a rebel-held arms depot that was storing chemical weapons.


Kachauda was one of 12 students at Attlan’s lesson at a gym in Saint Mande located just 300 yards from the site of the supermarket attack. The pupils – mostly Jews ranging in age from 17 to 50 – practiced moves in pairs and threes. In the aftermath of the deadly attack, leaders of the sizable Saint Mande Jewish community reached out to synagogue goers, recommending they learn to defend themselves. Jewish communities across the country mirrored the awareness-raising campaign. In some communities, rabbis recommended Krav Maga training. In others, members of the SPCJ, the security unit of French Jewry that also trains in Krav Maga, held workshops to give members a taste of the technique. One of Attlan’s students – Jordan Ctorza, 17 – needed no convincing to sign on. “I already wanted to be able to defend myself when they talked to us about Krav Maga at the synagogue,” he said. During the lesson, Attlan paired Ctorza with Sylvie, a non-Jewish resident of Saint Mande. Sylvie, a woman in her 30s who declined to state her last name, signed up for Krav Maga lessons “because the streets are not so safe for anyone, and especially as a woman,” she told JTA during a water break. She rejoined the group as Attlan gave rapid instructions in a hushed voice. Encouraging students to “hit faster” or “close up those exposed areas,” he discouraged them from chatting or giggling. “We don’t talk – we hit, we block,” he said. To Ctorza and many other Jewish Krav Maga trainees, the Israeli connection to the technique – part of the basic training for Israeli soldiers – makes for an emotional

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Krav Maga students practiced in Saint Mande on March 23. (Photo by Cnaan Liphshiz) attachment. “It means a lot to me that it’s something developed by my people for my people,” the teen said. But Krav Maga offers advantages that appeal also to non-Jews in France, where hundreds have died since 2012 in a series of terrorist attacks in which Jews were not specifically targeted. “Krav Maga is unlike karate, jiu-jitsu and other martial arts in that it has no rules,” said a Muslim Krav Maga instructor who works in the impoverished suburb of Saint Denis, north of Paris. He asked to withhold his name, citing safety reasons. “It’s suitable for the urban reality because it’s totally utilitarian,” he added. “It’s designed to neutralize an attacker. No bows, no niceties. Only whatever it takes to thwart

an attack. Kicks to the groin – fine. Thumbs to the eyes – sure. Whacks to the neck – why not.” The Arab instructor, who is in his 50s, said he left Saint Denis for a safer suburb 20 years ago following a brawl he had with drug addicts. He recalled assaulting them near a playground where his 18-month-old son had just found a used syringe in a sandbox. But the instructor, who has eight siblings in Saint Denis, keeps returning to teach Krav Maga to at-risk youth. “It prevents bullying and helps instill discipline and confidence,” he said. Martial arts, including Krav Maga, “got me out of this place, where 80 percent of my high school friends are now dead,” he said. “I hope to put others on that path, as well.” The Muslim instructor teaches his students about the Israeli origins of the method and uses its Hebrew-language terminology, “even though many of them have a negative image of Israel,” he said. “Religion stays outside the ring; there’s a mosque for that,” he said. “Politics stay outside the ring; there are debate clubs and youth movements for that.” A fifth of his 80 students are women, he said. He does not train children or “people likely to abuse the weapon I teach them.” Back in Bondy, Azoulay plans to resume his Krav Contact training once his hand is fully recovered. Surviving the attack showed him he has “what it takes to keep myself safe,” he said. But the incident’s emotional effects linger, he adds. “It didn’t make me afraid, but it made me uncomfortable,” Azoulay said. “I decided after the attack that I want to leave this country. Maybe for Israel, maybe go to the United States.”

e in THE JEWISH er h ad r ei th w sa ing at you To our readers... ne or buy someth vertisers know th do ad r r ai h ou t ur le yo to t u ge yo go to I want to remind ISH OBSERVER! member when you W re E J to E t H an T rt IN po D im A R so W YOU OBSERVER! It is that you say I SA es ic rv se r ei th e at their store or us . Thank you, They want to know ertising Executive Bonnie Rozen, Adv


Jewish Observer issue of april 13, 2017