11 IYAR 5778 • APRIL 26, 2018 • VOLUME XXXIX, NUMBER 9 • PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID, SYRACUSE, NY
A message from Federation’s Campaign Chair
A hallmark of our community – the success of Federation’s Annual Campaign BY MARK WLADIS Congratulations. Once again, our community has risen to the occasion, making the Jewish Federation Campaign surpass the million-dollar mark. In fact, as I write this on April 23, the Campaign
has reached $1,156,000. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, exceeding the million dollar mark has become a hallmark of our community. Our goal is $1,300,000, which would be the largest amount the community has
AIPAC presentation to community on May 10 The Jewish Federation of Central New York is hosting a communitywide presentation by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee on “Combating Apathy and Partisanship: Challenges Facing the Pro-Israel Community” on Thursday, May 10, at 7 pm, at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center.
AIPAC’s Northeast Region Deputy Director Sharon Goldman will be the featured speaker. The Jewish Federation of Central New York welcomes this opportunity to hear AIPAC’s perspective on its role in supporting Israel and the Jewish community.
additional programming, or ever raised. With contributions ways to ensure their current prowhere they stand today, we are within striking distance of grams are reaching and serving our goal. as many people as possible – to In fact, there is a potential ensure that our youth are able to in outstanding donations of have a full Jewish experience. $158,000 – the amount of I challenge you to find one pledges committed by people other charity in Central New last year – that have not yet York that can say its pledges inbeen made for this year. If we creased by more than 40 percent are able to collect that amount or approximately $300,000 in Mark Wladis this year, our goal will have the past five years. We should been met – or exceeded! all be very proud of what we have done These additional contributions to the to ensure that the Jewish community will campaign help supplement additional continue to thrive and prosper this year programs and services at agencies such and for years to come. as the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center, Syracuse Hebrew Day School, 2018 Federation Syracuse Community Hebrew School, Rabbi Epstein School of Jewish Studies Annual Campaign and Hillel at Syracuse University. All of For more information, these Jewish entities use the additional contact Colleen Baker at funds to focus on our youth, whether for
Grant applications requested by Teen Funders BY MICHAEL BALANOFF The Jewish Community Foundation of Central New York B’nai Mitzvah Program Teen Funders Committee, led by Teen
Funder Coordinator Jeffrey Scheer, is accepting grant applications from local charitable organizations. Grant recipients will be announced by the teen funders
JCC Annual Meeting and Gala to be held June 3 BY WILLIAM WALLAK The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse is gearing up to celebrate its biggest and most important annual fund-raiser. The JCC of Syracuse’s 155th annual meeting and gala will be held on Sunday, June 3, from 11 am-2 pm, at Owera Vineyards in Cazenovia. The event will feature an awards ceremony recognizing a wide range of outstanding service in support of the JCC and the community. This year’s gala theme is a “Lower East Side Experience.” It will kick off with a cocktail hour, which will give way to an authentic deli-style brunch. Following a brief business meeting, 11
awards will be presented. JCC Executive Director Marci Erlebacher said, “We are delighted to recognize another superb group of honorees this year. The amazing service and support that these individuals and organizations have given to the JCC and to the local Jewish community is truly remarkable.” As in previous years, the gala’s proceeds will provide “significant funding” for scholarships to individuals in the JCC’s early childhood, after school, summer camp and senior programs. Thanks to the many gala supporters last year, the JCC granted more than $40,000 in scholarship
315-445-2040, ext. 102, or Cbaker@jewishfederationcny.org
1,156,000 as of April 23, 2018
following their May 6 meeting. All applicants must be legally recognized charitable organizations. Grant applications must be received no later than Wednesday, May 2, by the JCFCNY B’nai Mitzvah Program at 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt, NY 13214. Grant requests may be for funding up to $1,000 and applicants must provide details of the proposed project and explain how it promotes the organization’s mission. For grant application information, contact Kathie Piirak at 315-445-2040, ext. 106, or email@example.com. The JCFCNY B’nai Mitzvah Program See “Teen” on page 2
See “Gala” on page 6
The Jewish Observer wants to know what content its readers would prefer. Look for your e-mail survey on the JO in your inbox. It will be available until Friday, May 11, at 5 pm, when it will close. Readers are asked to fill it out and return it. If you don’t receive one, contact Bette Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-445-2040, ext. 116.
C A N D L E L I G H T I N G A N D P A R AS H A
April 27............................ 7:43 pm........................Parashat Acharai Mot-Kedoshim May 4............................... 7:51 pm....................................................... Parashat Emor May 11............................. 7:59 pm.................................. Parashat Behar-Bechukotai
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Federation at 100
A look at the years 2008-18 as Local congregations announce A family movie night at the JCC; the Jewish Federation celebrates their Lag B’Omer celebrations, JFS announces care giving and 100 years of community service. including barbecue and bonfires. advance care planning programs. Stories on page 4 Story on page 3 Stories on page 5
PLUS Wedding and Prom Guide...8-9 Calendar Highlights............. 10 D’var Torah............................. 10 Obituaries................................11
JEWISH OBSERVER ■ APRIL 26, 2018/11 IYAR 5778
Shining Stars 2018 celebration set for May 24 at Menorah Park
BY JUDY SCHMID The 13th Shining Stars celebration will be Thursday, May 24, from 5:30-8 pm, “under the tent” at Menorah Park, 4101 East Genesee St., DeWitt. The celebration coincides with Older Americans’ Month. Event Co-Chair Steven Sisskind said, “This celebration recognizes those employees, volunteers and residents that are known to ‘shine brightly’ on the
Menorah Park campus. My wife Robin and I are honored to announce nine very special individuals – and one longtime partner – who bring their vitality, their generosity and their compassion to all of us affiliated with Menorah Park.” The 2018 honorees include Barbara Baum, volunteer at Syracuse Jewish Family Services; Jack Cyprys, resident at The Oaks; Gulmira Fazliyeva, a dining room server at The Oaks; Vir-
ginia Joe from housekeeping; Debbie Kohanski, activities coordinator at The Inn; Christina Paul, activities coordinator at the Jewish Home; Aleykutty Philip, CAN at The Terrace; Alfred Weiss, a resident at The Inn; and Sharmel Yancy, CAN at the Jewish Home and Sodexo Senior Services. Tickets for the event include dinner. Reservations are required no later than Thursday, May 17. For more
information, contact Susie Drazen at 315-446-9111, ext. 141, or sdrazen@ menorahparkofcny.com. Menorah Park of Central New York is a non-profit organization that offers a continuum of care of services that enhance residents’ potential for wellness and independence and provides a variety of senior independent living and caring options in a relaxed, comfortable community setting.
A MATTER OF OPINION Thoughts on visiting Auschwitz II-Birkenau BY LEAH KUPPERMANN Leah Kuppermann graduated from the Syracuse Hebrew Day School and Fayetteville-Manlius High School and is a junior at the University of New Hampshire. She is studying abroad this semester in Budapest, along with eleven other students in her program. The group traveled together to Poland. One of her class assignments was to write a story about the group’s time in Poland; she wrote a short description of the time she spent visiting Auschwitz II-Birkenau. As she said, “I have hundreds of other things to reflect on from the day; but here is what landed on the paper.” She was part of the Jewish Community Foundation of CNY Teen Funders and Federation’s Super Sunday teen co-chair from the fall of 2012 until her high school graduation. She is the daughter of Diane and Brett Kuppermann and is a member of Temple Adath Yeshurun. As I entered Auschwitz II-Birkenau, I did not fully understand how big this former concentration camp was. How weak I felt. How angry I was. How connected I would find myself. How big this concentration camp is. In 1940, the German Nazis established a concentration and extermination camp in the town of Oswiecim, Poland and by 1944, it would imprison 1.1 million victims of the Holocaust. In every direction I looked, the land expanded far out of sight. Barracks appeared grouped in dozens, and the remains of those destroyed lay on the ground in groups of hundreds. The dark, infamous, train tracks appeared so stark on top of the bright white snow. The sky was gloomy and gray - capturing the mood we were all experiencing. The cold, wet, wind started at my head, froze the tears on my cheeks, and rolled down to my feet. I don’t let myself think about that. My cold, grievous daze was less intense than the feelings my religious ancestors felt entering the camp seventy years before, but more intense than emotions I had ever known in my life. How weak I felt. I can’t let myself think about that. My feet, tired from a four-hour tour of the neighboring Auschwitz camp – a five-minute drive down the road – were in no position to walk the path of those who lost their lives on this land. I walked the sloshy, puddle-filled tracks questioning how I would be able to return to normalcy and grasping that this trip impacted me in a much greater way than I was expecting.
teaches the core Jewish value of tzedakah through hands-on participation. More than 130 b’nai mitzvah funds have been established over the past 13 years. A b’nai mitzvah fund requires a minimum $250 donation from the teen at the time of bar/bat mitzvah. These donations are matched by the Pomeranz, Shankman and Martin Charitable Foundation for an opening balance of at least $500. The teens may recommend which
Leah Kuppermann, a graduate of the Syracuse Hebrew Day School and Fayetteville-Manlius High School, and a junior at the University of New Hampshire, is studying abroad this semester in Budapest. The students in her program visited Auschwitz II-Birkenau. My stomach, realizing it had been paid no attention to for the last seven hours, was telling me it felt the neglect. Except for the few tears left frozen on my cheeks, most of my tears had long left my body and evaporated into the air. I felt empty. The feeling I had as a Jew walking freely out of the amusement park turnstyles of Auschwitz left my stomach in a knot and my mind in no position to endure another heartbreaking glimpse of our world’s dishonorable past. How angry I was. With my scarf bundled around my ears and my hood up around my head, I could still hear the laughs of the tourists participating in a snowball fight thirty feet behind me. I had read articles that described disrespectful behavior at concentration camps; but for some reason, I expected my visit to be an exception. I had just witnessed these same people taking selfies and posing for pictures on the train tracks and thought it could not get worse. To my dismay, however, I stood there watching them pack the dense snow into balls, get a good wind up, and release laughter and the snow simultaneously. If I didn’t consciously know I was standing on the ground that carries the past of over a million murders, you could have convinced me I was watching third graders playing at recess. I felt a rage I hope never to experience again; but I decided not to let myself think about this, either. How connected I would become. About 20 minutes into our walk through Birkenau with about 20 more to go, my group of eight found ourselves in the back left corner of the camp. I don’t remember who was the first to notice, but we soon
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nonprofits receive their funds. All b’nai mitzvah fund holders are invited to join the Teen Funders Committee meetings, where the teens are asked to contribute some of their fund money to a pooled fund to be distributed by the group. In 2017, 11 organizations received funds totaling $6,440. Since the spring of 2009, the teens have distributed $47,754 to 75 Jewish and non-Jewish nonprofits.
The students from Leah Kuppermann’s group in Budapest. were all standing facing the brightest, reddest, roundest sun I had ever seen. It was hard to see because it was already pretty low in the sky, and hiding behind a forest of bare trees, but the moment it allowed us all to have was unmatched. The image was so surreal we were questioning if it was the sun or if it was a fluorescent sign that read “KFC” on the opposite side. We stood still for minutes in an attempt to monitor its motion so we could finally be confident it was, without a doubt, the sun. We stood silent. I didn’t feel my feet. I didn’t think about the cold. I did not process my emotions. I looked at the radiant sun. I am positive we were the only people in the camp who saw it
of Central New York
Bette Siegel Syracuse Editor Publisher Jewish Federation of Central New York Inc. Ellen Weinstein Chair of the Board Michael Balanoff Federation President/CEO Alan Goldberg Vice President for Communications Editorial 5655 Thompson Rd. DeWitt, NY 13214
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-- it was almost 5 pm and most visitors had cleared out, but it also seemed like we were the only ones in the world seeing that sun. My friend later explained to me her thoughts throughout those 10 minutes: we were experiencing the same view the Birkenau prisoners had of the sunset during their time there. Those words were powerful and heartbreaking; yet, that moment was comforting, serene and exactly what I needed. I have not figured out why, but that sunset is what made me feel at ease. Standing in one of the world’s evilest landmarks, that sun told me that life goes on. It told me that I would feel normal again and that feeling would be OK. All articles, announcements and photographs must be received by noon Wednesday, 15 days prior to publication date. Articles must be typed, double spaced and include the name of a contact person and a daytime telephone number. E-mail submissions are encouraged and may be sent to JewishObserverCNY@gmail.com. The Jewish Observer reserves the right to edit any copy. Signed letters to the editor are welcomed: they should not exceed 250 words. Names will be withheld at the discretion of the editor. All material in this newspaper has been copyrighted and is exclusive property of the Jewish Observer and cannot be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. Views and opinions expressed by our writers, columnists, advertisers and by our readers do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s and editors’ points of view, nor that of the Jewish Federation of Central New York. The newspaper reserves the right to cancel any advertisements at any time. This newspaper is not liable for the content of any errors appearing in the advertisements beyond the cost of the space occupied. The advertiser assumes responsibility for errors in telephone orders. The Jewish Observer does not assume responsibility for the kashrut of any product or service advertised in this paper. THE JEWISH OBSERVER OF CENTRAL NEW YORK (USPS 000939) (ISSN 1079-9842) Publications Periodical postage paid at Syracuse, NY and other offices. Published 24 times per year by the Jewish Federation of Central New York Inc., a non-profit corporation, 5655 Thompson Road, DeWitt, NY 13214. Subscriptions: $36/year; student $10/ year. POST MASTER: Send address change to JEWISH OBSERVER OF CENTRAL NEW YORK, 5655 Thompson Road, DeWitt, NY 13214.
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AROUND CENTRAL NEW YORK “Defiant Requiem,” a film about Terezin musicians, rescheduled for May 16 at JCC BY STEWART KOENIG The feature-length documentary film “Defiant Requiem” will be shown on Wednesday, May 16, at 7 pm, at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt. Conductor Murry Sidlin, president and creative director of the Defiant Requiem Foundation, will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward. The event is free and open to the public. The Jewish Federation of Central New York and InterFaith Works of Central New York are
sponsoring the film and subsequent discussion. The event was originally scheduled for March, but postponed due to bad weather. The film tells the story of Terezin concentration camp prisoner Rafael Schächter, a Czechoslovak composer, pianist and conductor, who taught the Verdi “Requiem” to 150 other prisoners, who memorized it and performed it 16 times. Syracuse Professor Emeritus and Director of the Regional Holocaust and Genocide Initiative Alan Goldberg said, “The film explores music as a means of defiance and resistance against the Nazis. It
Onondaga Historical Association honors Mike Moss The 2018 Onondaga Historical Association Medal will be awarded to three individuals: Michael Moss, for his work in preserving and advancing the history of Onondaga County’s Jewish community; Alissa Viti, manager of charitable and community relations at M&T Bank, for her dedication to educating the public about the community’s history through the funding of OHA programs and exhibitions; and Allen Naples, for his leadership and commitment to financing the restoration and adaptive reuse of OHA’s historic architecture, considered an important component of the community’s identity.
Federation in the 21st century: 2008-2018
This year’s event will take place at the Persian Terrace in the Marriott Syracuse Downtown (formerly the Hotel Syracuse) on Thursday, May 3, from 8-9:30 am. The OHA medal is the highest honor the organization can bestow for contributions made to the cause of preserving and interpreting local heritage. The OHA See “Moss” on page 10
Mike and Joy Moss. Mike will receive the OHA Medal, the highest honor the organization can bestow for contributions made to the cause of preserving and interpreting local heritage, at a breakfast on May 3.
is said that the text of the ‘Requiem’ enabled the chorus to sing to the Nazis what they could not say to them.” Sidlin conducts live concert performances of “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín,” as well, and is involved in other projects, including the “Defiant Requiem” film and the Rafael Schächter Institute for Arts and Humanities at Terezín. He lectures on the arts and humanities as practiced by the Terezin prisoners, and he developed a second concert drama highlighting compositions of 15 composers who were imprisoned at Terezin. Sidlin learned about the story from Terezin inmates, created the concert version of the “Defiant Requiem” and brought orchestra, chorus and former prisoners back to Terezin to perform it. See “Film” on page 10
Deadlines for all articles and photos for the Jewish Observer are as follows. No exceptions will be made.
Wednesday, April 25...........................May 10 Wednesday, May 9..............................May 24 Wednesday, May 23..............................June 7 Wednesday, June 6..............................June 21
BY BARBARA SHEKLIN DAVIS Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of articles highlighting each decade of the Federation’s work with and for the community in honor of its 100th anniversary. We hope you enjoyed this look backward as we continue to work to ensure a thriving future. The 21st century saw the expansion of Federation partnerships not only with its beneficiary agencies, but with the community’s synagogues and other Jewish entities. One hundred years after its founding in 1918, Federation continues to work to build community and ensure the continuity of Jewish life in Central New York by encouraging the participation of all Jews in the region in activities offered by its family of agencies, area synagogues and other Jewish organizations and institutions.
See “Federation” on page 8
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“giving to your own” MIKE LESSEN 315-256-6167 Calls returned ASAP
Charitable Auto Resource Service in our 18th year of enriching the religious sector
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ APRIL 26, 2018/11 IYAR 5778
CONGREGATIONAL NOTES Chabad to hold annual Lag B’Omer celebration Chabad Lubavitch of Central New York will hold its annual Lag B’Omer barbecue picnic and bonfire at Mill Run Park in Manlius on Thursday, May 3, from 5:30-7:30 pm. One Lag B’Omer tradition is for children to play with a bow and arrow. This year, there will be a bow-making presentation by the Primitive Survival Skills group at State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. There is an admission fee, with a reduction for children.
For more information, or to make a reservation, contact Chabad at 315-4240363 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of the omer count, is a festive day on the Jewish calendar, celebrated with outings (when children traditionally play with bow and arrows to commemorate the holiness of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai), bonfires and other joyous events. Many people visit the rabbi’s grave in Miron in Northern Israel, whose yahrzeit (anniversary of his death) is marked on Lag B’Omer.
Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas CBS-CS HAZAK PRESENTS MEL AND MADY RUBENSTEIN – “THE LUCKY SHOE DOG” On Sunday, May 6, at 2 pm, Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas Hazak will feature a presentation, “The Lucky Shoe Dog,” by Mel and Mady Rubenstein. Mel traveled thousands of miles for his business and had many “challenging” experiences, including a confrontation with Canadian customs, an encounter with a university chancellor, a brush with Hurricane Hugo and mail orders from Japan, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, France and England. While on these trips, he became acquainted with two craftsmen and purchased many of their glass and lucite creations, which will be on exhibit at this presentation.
He was the third generation in the family business, Rochester Shoe Stores. After he retired, he wrote four books and, with his wife, Madeline, has given presentations throughout the area. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. OYS AND JOYS – A WILD DAY AT THE ZOO A zoo educator and CBS-CS Program Director Melissa Harkavy will lead a Hebrew-infused adventure through the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on Sunday, May 6, at 10:30 am. Participants will learn about the animals living at the zoo, as well as their Hebrew names. For more information, or to make a reservation, contact Harkavy at director@ cbscs.org.
Olivia Pierce enjoyed the seder and the chocolate treats.
Sarah Kuss held a chocolate matzah with a marshmallow and Oreo in the middle at the CBS-CS Religious School chocolate seder on April 8. It was originally supposed to be during Passover, but was postponed due to inclement weather.
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Temple Adath Yeshurun
L-r: Alexa Levy and Hannah Grabowsky posed with their Passover plagues masks during a Passover model seder at the TAY Religious School.
To celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, Nathanael Finkelstein held up an Israeli flag he made during Storah Time, an optional Jewish enrichment program at Temple Adath Yeshurun’s Rothschild Early Childhood Center.
Temple Concord LOREN BARRIGAR AND MARK MAZENGARB PERFORM AT TEMPLE CONCORD, MAY 6 BY STEWART KOENIG The guitar duo of Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb will perform as part of the Temple Concord Regina F. Goldenberg Cultural Series on Sunday, May 6, at 7 pm. Barrigar is from Elbridge, NY. In 2010, he teamed with New Zealander Mazengarb. Since then, they have toured throughout the world, including Canada, Europe, Russia, New Zealand and the U.S. Their diverse repertoire of original and arranged music consists of guitar instrumentals, as well as vocal duets. Influenced by Americana, jazz, country western and classical music, the duo’s guitar playing is largely built upon the thumb-picking techniques pioneered by guitarists Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. They have opened for, and played with, guitarist Tommy Emmanuel. All three of their duo albums have won SAMMY awards (Syracuse Area Music Awards) for best album. The title track of their second studio album, “Onward,” won best instrumental at the International Acoustic Music Awards in 2013. Vicki Feldman, Goldenberg chair, said, “Loren and Mark’s musicianship is incredible and their shows are inspiring. We’re so lucky that they play often in Central New York, and their shows are almost always sold out, so I encourage everyone to get their tickets soon.” There is a fee for the show. Tickets can be purchased at www.lorenandmark. com/tour, and while still available at the Temple Concord office, as well as at the door. Free parking is available in the TC lot, on the street and in the Syracuse University Harrison, UNV and Lehman lots on University Avenue. Enter from University Avenue or the parking lot behind the building.
LAG B’OMER On Saturday, May 5, at 6 pm, Temple Concord will hold a Lag B’Omer event at Ryder Park. There will be a barbecue, games, singing and the annual kickball game. Participants should bring a flashlight. There is a modest cost and reservations may be made by contacting the TC office at 315-475-9952 or email@example.com or via the TC online calendar, ww.templeconcord.org/calendar. BLOOD DRIVE – TEMPLE CONCORD ACHIEVES PREMIER BLOOD PARTNER STATUS BY STEWART KOENIG Temple Concord has been recognized by the American Red Cross as one of its Premier Blood Partners for 2018, considered a prestigious honor, for its support of the community and national blood supply. As part of its commitment to helping save lives in the community last year, Temple Concord helped the Red Cross collect 88 blood donations. At the synagogue’s recent spring blood drive, 52 lifesaving donations were collected. Over the past seven years, the synagogue has collected 508 donations, which translates to more than 1,524 lives saved. Mark Kotzin, blood drive coordinator, said, “Temple Concord is proud to partner with the Red Cross to ensure lifesaving blood is available for hospital patients in need. Our temple shares that same humanitarian value to heal our world and we are grateful for the opportunity to host blood drives that do just that throughout Central New York.” Every day, volunteer blood and platelets are needed for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease, according to the Red Cross. The synagogue holds blood drives twice a year. The fall blood drive is scheduled for Sunday, October 28. Anyone wishing to donate can schedule donations starting in September by contacting Kotzin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-288-0773.
Binghamton, NY Issue • May 25 Deadline • May 9
L-r: Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb will perform at Temple Concord on Sunday, May 6, as part of the Regina F. Tom Griffiths donated blood at the April Goldenberg Cultural Series. 7 Temple Concord blood drive.
Free family movie night at the JCC on April 29
See “Family” on page 11
anz Jewish Community Center offers Va’ad Ha’ir-supervised kosher lunches served Monday through Friday at noon. Lunch reservations are required by noon on the previous business day. There is a suggested contribution per meal. The menu is subject to change. The program is funded by a grant from the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth and the New York State Office for the Aging, with additional funds provided by the JCC. To attend, one need not be Jewish or a member of the JCC. For further information or to make a reservation, contact Cindy Stein at 445-2360, ext. 104, or email@example.com.
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process can break down that barrier and lead to these essential conversations and will actually strengthen our relationships and make us feel closer.” Another new program, “Zen and the Art of Caregiving,” will be led by Syracuse Jewish Family Service Educator Peggy Miller, L.M.S.W., who said, “Caring for a family member or friend is an energizing and depleting, joyful and grief-filled, lonely and intimate experience. Whether you are the sole caregiver or share the load with family and friends, this class will help you learn to practice self-compassion and mindfulness through humor, storytelling and simple exercises, and to reach for a calmer and more joyful caregiving experience.” The class will meet on Thursdays, May 3, 10, 17 and 23, from 6-7:30 pm. “Poetry as a Pathway to Spirituality” with local poet and poetry writing teacher Gloria Heffernan has been postponed to May and June, meeting on Wednesdays,
Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center senior dining menu APRIL 30-MAY 4 Monday – baked ziti Tuesday – chicken salad on rye Wednesday – beef stew over egg noodles Thursday – spaghetti and meatballs Friday – fresh salmon with dill MAY 7-11 Monday – stuffed cabbage Tuesday – turkey on rye Wednesday – imitation crab cakes Thursday – meatloaf Friday – Mother’s Day celebration – brisket The Bobbi Epstein Lewis JCC Senior Adult Dining Program at the Sam Pomer-
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It’s all about family relationships – care giving and advance care planning BY DANIELLE MASURSKY Planning for getting older is more important than ever, the experts tell us. Syracuse Jewish Family Service is launching two programs in May to assist with this sometimes difficult process. The first is “Advance Care Planning: What is it, who needs it, and how, and when?” It will meet twice – on Tuesdays, May 8 and May 22. The second program is the “Gift of Grace: A Conversation Game for Living and Dying Well,” which will meet on Tuesday, May 15. Both programs are led by Nancy Aureli, B.S., R.N., and will meet from 10-11:30 am in the Arts and Minds Community Room of Menorah Park. All members of the community are welcome and may choose to attend one or both programs. SJFS Director Judith Huober said, “We often avoid talking with our family members about what we want our later life to look like, out of fear or embarrassment. Having compassionate assistance in this
activities will be available. Following the movie, there will be a read-aloud story by PJ Library® in Central New York in preparation for bedtime. The event is made possible by a Philip L. Holstein Community Program Fund Grant from the Jewish Federation of Central New York. Register by Friday, April 27, to attend the JCC’s family movie night at 315-445-2360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center will hold a family movie night and screen the Disney film “Moana” on Sunday, April 29, from 4-7 pm, at the JCC, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt. The event is free and open to the community. Children are welcome to attend in their pajamas and bring their blankets and pillows. Pizza, popcorn and beverages will be served, and crafts and other
APRIL 26, 2018/11 IYAR 5778 ■
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ APRIL 26, 2018/11 IYAR 5778
requests, served more than 6,000 meals to seniors and offered fitness classes at a discount to those in need. This year’s honorees represent “dedication and support,” and they will receive a personalized plaque or statue as a token of their honor. The Kovod Award, which signifies honor and importance, will be presented to longtime JCC volunteer Donna Lipton and JCC board member Lynne Della Pelle Pascale. Lipton, a self-professed “exercise addict,” taught a weekly senior fitness class at the JCC as a volunteer for 15 years before retiring last October. Her love for exercising began in the 1980s, when she started taking aerobics classes. After retiring as a sales administrator for a manufacturer’s representative, she began volunteering as an exercise instructor at the Manlius Senior Donna Lipton Centre and then at the JCC. Other organizations where she has volunteered include the Jewish Music and Cultural Festival, Manlius Historical Society, Preservation Association of New York, Park Avery House Museum, Onondaga Hill Antique Club and Menorah Park. In 2006, she was inducted into the Manlius Senior Centre Hall of Fame. She has served on the board of her synagogue, Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Chas, and she started its Hazak group. She remains active with CBS-CS. She and her husband, Sid, raised three children – all of whom learned to swim at the JCC of Syracuse when it was located on East Genesee Street. Pascale holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Syracuse University. She is the owner of Farmer Street Pantry, a local specialty food business whose products feature orchard fruit ingredients. She previously was the director of development at Onondaga Historical Association in Syracuse. She joined the JCC Lynne Della Pelle of Syracuse board in 2013 and has Pascale served on the Gala Committee, including as gala chair. While at OHA, she helped raise money to complete the Ska-nonh Great Law of Peace Center in Liverpool, and helped coordinate the Forever Hotel Syracuse Gala celebrating the re-opening of the Marriott Downtown Syracuse in 2016. She was also a volunteer education coordinator for the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation and longtime Syracuse Alumni Rowing Association member, including serving as president from 2013-15. Her children, Remy and Natalie, attended the JCC’s After School Program and enjoyed the Fitness Center as high school and college students. Remy was also a JCC life guard for several summers. She and her life partner, Ron Thiele, reside in Syracuse. Six Kovod Gadol awards will be presented this year. The name translates to “highest or “great” honor in Hebrew, and it will be presented to people who saw the JCC through a “very difficult and threatening time.” They were called instrumental in keeping the Center safe during and after last year’s bomb threats. This year’s recipients are Susan DeMari, security liaison for local Jewish organizations; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; New York State Police; Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office; town of DeWitt Police Department; and Centro, the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority. DeMari is a senior attorney adjudicator/attorney advisor with the Social Security Administration, Office
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of Disability Adjudication and Review. She is also a nationally-certified instructor in legal analysis and writing for SSA decision writers. As the volunteer security liaison with the Jewish Federation of Central New York, DeMari is the designated community contact for federal, state, county, local and university law enforcement agencies Susan DeMari in Central New York on behalf of the Jewish community. She’s been called instrumental in helping prevent, and respond to, threats from groups targeting the Central New York Jewish community. She is also a volunteer member of the Board of Police Commissioners for oversight of the town of DeWitt Police Department, including expenditures, personnel and departmental activity. DeMari received her bachelor’s in criminal justice from Brockport State University and her law degree from Syracuse University’s College of Law. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. It is staffed by more than 30,000 agents, analysts and other professionals who work across the globe to protect the U.S. from terrorism, espionage, cyber-attacks and major criminal threats, and provide its many partners with services, support, training and leadership. Since 1917, the New York State Police have been working to ensure the safety of the state’s roadways, prevent and investigate crime, prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters, and provide support to other law enforcement agencies. The State Police’s Canine Unit came to “sweep” the JCC during last year’s bomb threats and has continued to do so ever since. Both Onondaga County and the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office were formed on March 5, 1794. The Sheriff’s Office provides a range of services, including law enforcement through its Police Department, which consists of the road patrol, criminal investigations and special enforcement areas; corrections (Jamesville Correctional Facility and Onondaga County Justice Center); pistol licenses; fingerprinting; crime mapping; and animal abuser registry. The town of DeWitt Police Department provides 24-hour patrol coverage, criminal investigations, crimescene processing, community policing, a motorcycle unit and youth education programs. DeWitt police were the first law enforcement responders during the bomb threats made against the JCC last year, and they regularly provide security training to JCC staff. Centro is the public transportation provider for Onondaga, Oswego, Cayuga and Oneida counties. Centro made the JCC’s evacuations possible by busing JCC staff and children to an offsite evacuation area during last year’s bomb threats. Sheldon “Shelly” Kruth and Marilyn Pinsky – two individuals who have made their mark through service to the entire Jewish community – will be inducted into the JCC Hall of Fame this year. Kruth, a CPA, is a managing partner with the public accounting firm D’Arcangelo and Co. The Syracuse native graduated from Nottingham High School and Syracuse University, and became a certified public accountant in 1975. As a child, he attended the JCC summer camp and participated in other JCC programs. His connection to the JCC continued Sheldon B. Kruth as an adult serving on the JCC’s board, where he served as board president from 198182, co-chaired the Fund-raising Committee for the Holocaust Library, and co-chaired the committee for the Fitness Center addition. Kruth’s service to other local organizations includes serving as a board member and treasurer of the Jewish Community Foundation of Central New York, an officer at Temple Adath Yeshurun and past president of the March of Dimes local chapter.
Kruth married his high school sweetheart, Karen, and they have three daughters and five grandchildren. After serving 13 years as commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth, Pinsky retired from a 36year career in county government. A native of Port Jervis, NY, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Syracuse University. She is a member of Friends of the Central Library, Jewish Community Foundation of Central New Marilyn Pinsky York, National Council of Jewish Women, the advisory committee of the Thursday Morning Roundtable and the Syracuse Area Middle East Dialogue Group. She is the creator and convener of the meetup.com group Community Dining Syracuse. Her community involvement has also included serving as president of the InterReligious Council of Central New York, president of Jewish Family Services and as a board member of the Jewish Federation of Central New York, Leadership Greater Syracuse, YMCA, Syracuse Symphony, Syracuse Stage, Success By Six Policy Council, Oasis, Onondaga Citizens League and the board of visitors of the College of Human Services and Health Professions of Syracuse University. Pinsky was married for 50 years to Philip C. Pinsky, an attorney and state legislative authority. They have two daughters, a son and five grandchildren. This year’s Leslie Award, the third to be given since being introduced in 2016, will be presented to Carolyn Weinberg, coordinator of PJ Library® in Central New York, a JCC of Syracuse program. “The Leslie” recognizes outstanding commitment and service to the JCC and the local community – the qualities which the award’s name- Carolyn Weinberg sake, Leslie London Neulander, personified through her many volunteer pursuits. Weinberg has been an “active and proud” member of the Syracuse Jewish community. Having grown up Syracuse, she was always involved in the different Jewish youth groups within the community and served as a local and regional board member of United Synagogue Youth . After graduating from Binghamton University, she worked in international human resources in New York City and New Jersey for more than six years. She and her husband, Andy, moved back to the Syracuse area with their young daughter in 2011. They continued to increase their family and create a new social network in the community. In 2014, Weinberg became PJ Library coordinator for the Central New York area. She has continued to enhance local PJ Library membership and programming. In 2016, she helped pilot the new PJ Our Way Program locally for 9-11-year-olds. She also serves as recording secretary for Temple Adath Yeshurun’s Executive Board. She is active in children, family and young adult programs throughout the community, and helps welcome new families to the area. She and her husband reside in Fayetteville with their three young children. Invitations for the JCC’s annual meeting and gala were recently mailed out. There are still a variety of corporate and individual sponsorships, as well as program booklet advertiser spots. To purchase tickets, or for information on event sponsorships, advertising or to place a congratulatory message in the program booklet for any of this year’s honorees, contact Erin Hart at 315-445-2360, ext. 112, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The JCC of Syracuse, located on Thompson Road, DeWitt, was established in 1861 and is the second oldest JCC in North America. It offers a range of programs and services for all ages, including infant/toddler care, preschool, before and after school care and vacation camps for school-age children, summer day camps, teen programs, a sports and fitness center, outdoor heated pool and swimming lessons during the summer, adult programming, and services for seniors, including a senior kosher meal program.
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APRIL 26, 2018/11 IYAR 5778 ■
Community commemorates the Shoah Cantor Paula Pepperstone and Cantor Kari BY JUDITH STANDER Siegel Eglash. The Jewish Federation of Central New CBS-CS President Norma Feldman York sponsored the 2018 Yom Hashoah said, “For many years, I have watched memorial observance, “Reflections of the as the children of survivors have come to Shoah,” hosted by Congregation Beth the bima during Yom Kippur services to Sholom-Chevra Shas on April 8. recite the names of family members lost The Rabbinical Council of Central in the Shoah, family members they never New York prepared a commemoration knew. As president, I am honored that we service led by area rabbis and cantors will have the opportunity to learn from for an audience consisting of World War our contemporaries as they share stories II survivors, liberators, next-generations of survivors and community members. David Reckess was one of the which bring a different perspective to the Participating in the service were Rabbi five people who spoke about Shoah experience.” Federation’s Chair of the Board Ellen Irvin Beigel, Rabbi Leah Fein, Rabbi family members during the Weinstein welcomed the audience, and Daniel Fellman, Rabbi Daniel Jezer, Holocaust. the winners of the Yom Hashoah essay Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone and Rabbi Evan Shore. Rabbi Paul Drazen, chair of the Rabbinical contest were announced. Birnbaum Funeral Service is an Council, organized this year’s commemoration service. essay contest sponsor. The highlight of the program for Their goal was to memorialize those lost in the Holo- many people was the “Reflections on the Shoah,” when caust of World War II. The rabbis read hundreds of names five community individuals, Barrie Gewanter, David inscribed in the Federation’s Book of Remembrance. This Reckess, Liza Rochelson, Stephanie Shirilan and Paula is done each year to assure that these people will never Trief, told the stories of how their loved ones were saved. The Yom Hashoah Planning Committee included be forgotten. If there are additional names that should be written in this book, contact Judith Stander at 315-445- Michael Balanoff, Sarah Charney, Linda Cohen, Rabbis Paul Drazen and Daniel Fellman, Joel Friedman, Barrie 0161, ext. 114, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The local cantors who sang during the service included, Ba’alat Tefillah Esa Jaffe, Cantor Robert Lieberman,
Myrna Koldin helped Holocaust survivor Jack Cyprus light a Yom Hashoah memorial candle.
Cantor Robert Lieberman, Ba’alat Tefillah Esa Jaffe, Cantor Kari Siegel Eglash and Cantor Paula Pepperstone (partially hidden) sang during the Yom Hashoah commemoration.
L-r: Myrna Koldin looked on while the Shirilan-Howlett family lit memorial candles at the communitywide observance of Yom Hashoah sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Central New York. Stephanie Shirilan helped her youngest child, Lyra, light a candle, while Eden and Ryan Howlett waited their turn. Gewanter, Alan Goldberg, Ryan Howlett, Susan Jacobs, Victoria Kohl, Myrna Koldin, Ilene Mendel, Liza Rochelson, Judith Stander, Ruth Stein, Marcy Waldauer, Ellen Weinstein and Daryl Weiss.
L-r: Rabbi Daniel Jezer, Rabbi Irwin Beigel and Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone waited to read their list of Holocaust victims.
JCC seniors commemorate Yom Hashoah BY ANKUR DANG A child’s memory is a strange thing. While adults remember grand events that changed the world, children remember the little things from the everyday – the color of a hand-knitted sweater, a German copy of “Cinderella” that would not fit into an already overstuffed duffel bag, the blueberry sauce eaten with slightly undercooked blintzes and the chestnut teddy bear that traveled in her arms as she fled the country with her family. “You see, I thought the teddy bear would protect me from the Nazis,” said Dolly Honig, 87. Even though she knows there are gaps in her memory and some things are just too painful to recall, the thought of her furry friend still brings a smile to her face. Honig was only 9 years old when she and her family were forced to leave Berlin and go to Czechoslovakia. “My father went first because he wanted to make arrangements for me and my mother,” she said. “And we traveled by night with the help of one of his friends. We had to cross a railroad underpass, but there were guards stationed everywhere. I just remember my father’s friend shouting, ‘RUN,’ and so we ran like our lives depended on it… which they did – but I was too young to realize it back then.”
Helen Marcum read the poem “I am the Holocaust” by Hannah Diane Williams during the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse seniors’ Yom Hashoah commemoration.
H. Richard Levy was one of the 10,000 children who were rescued through the Kindertransport nine months before the official breakout of World War II.
In Czechoslovakia, Honig learned to speak Czech and even translated for her parents when they went to the market, but the peace was only temporary. Eventually, her father had to flee to France while she and her mother were forced to escape to Norway and live in hiding at a farm.
“We were not starving, but it was always so cold, so cold… it makes my bones freeze just thinking about it,” she says as she wraps her coat around herself. Honig’s story is reflected in her artwork. Like her father, she is an artist. Every inch of her workshop is peopled by bits and pieces of wire, stone, clay and completed pieces of art. A recurring theme seems to be her experiences as a child, reflected in pieces made out of blocks of stone with tiny closets carved into them that reflect the fuzziness of a child’s memory “We were always packing up and moving,” she said. “Almost always leaving things behind – dolls, books, clothes – so we had to pack small and that’s what we did. These boxes, their compactness, their stoniness, their portability – that’s my story.” While Honig’s recollection of her turbulent childhood is now tinged with a sense of acceptance and distance, another child survivor of the Holocaust, H. Richard Levy, reminisces about his experiences as if they had happened only yesterday. Levy was one of the 10,000 children who were rescued through the Kindertransport nine months before the official breakout of World War II.
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ APRIL 26, 2018/11 IYAR 5778
In 2010, the constitution and by-laws of the Syracuse Jewish Federation were updated. At that time, the official name of the organization became “Jewish Federation of Central New York.” The growth and diversification of needs in the local Jewish community continued to be a major Federation focus. At the same time, attention and funding continued to be allocated to those national and international issues that reflected the needs of Jews around the world, especially Israel. In the 21st century, the Federation no longer considered itself solely a fund-raising body, but, rather, an organization that embodied a 3,500-year tradition of caring, going back to the giving of the Torah. Federation, its leaders said, “is made up of the people who care enough to want to perfect an imperfect world. Federation reflects the passion of commitment, where tzedakah and a sense of social justice can make a difference in someone’s life.” Federation proudly declares that it is “the one place that belongs to every Jew. It is the place where philanthropy, volunteerism and commitment come together to make a difference – to repair the world (tikkun olam).” Fund-raising is still at the heart of Federation’s mission, but Federation is much more than a community financier. Rather, it represents the entire Jewish community of Syracuse in highly meaningful ways in matters local, national and international. In the polarized political climate that followed the 2016 election, for example, Federation took a public stance against
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Members of the community celebrated Israel and Yom Ha’atzmaut at Syracuse’s zimriah, a festival of contemporary and traditional Israeli songs held on Yom Ha’atzmaut. antisemitic and anti-Israel statements and actions, declaring that “the Jewish Federation of Central New York is deeply troubled about the rising tide of antisemitism in the United States and abroad. We are also concerned about increased virulent anti-Israel statements and actions here and abroad which go beyond differences over policy, but rise to antisemitism in their scope and degree. We condemn all hate speech and reaffirm our commitment to equality, human dignity and peace. We condemn attacks on any religious or ethnic groups that share our commitment to equality, human dignity and peace, and hold that an attack on any such group is an attack on us as well. We will continue to be vigilant in identifying all mani-
festations of bigotry, and we will work independently – or with allies – to reduce and eliminate their adverse effects on our community. We will respond as needed to acts and words that are in opposition to our mission to protect the interests of the Jewish community and to advocate for the state of Israel.” The direct beneficiaries of the Federation Campaign had changed from 1918. The Free Loan Society, the Orphans Home and the Friendly Inn no longer existed, but the mikvah was still supported as a community asset. The YMHA and YWHA had become the JCC and new institutions arose. The Federation now supports three different community schools and provides assistance to young people through sub-
sidies for Jewish camping and trips to Israel. The Jewish Community Foundation proudly holds assets of more than $14 million and, together with the Federation, has raised more money than ever before, allowing the Federation to greatly increase its support of local institutions. Federation honors the past through the Judaic Heritage Center, the Syracuse Jewish Cemeteries Association and the annual Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day, a communitywide program dedicated to honoring the memory of the victims of Nazi genocide. Federation also brings the community together to celebrate in times of Jewish joy. It supports the community Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration, the Jewish Music and Cultural Festival, and helps bring the Israeli Scouts Caravan to town each summer. As the central address for the Jewish community, Federation hosts the community calendar, publishes the Jewish Observer and e-mails “Community Happenings.” Once again, as at its inception, the Federation is focused on meeting local needs: 72 percent of funds raised support the local community, with the balance supporting more than 30 programs for Jews in need all over the world. “We do the good that is in your heart,” is a Federation motto. It has been true for 100 years and will prevail for the next 100 years as well. Barbara Sheklin Davis is co-author, with Susan B. Rabin, of “A History of the Jewish Community of Syracuse,” published by Arcadia Press. This series of articles is sponsored by Helen Marcum.
Israelis are throwing themselves one-of-a kind weddings in nature BY ANDREW TOBIN TEL AVIV (JTA) – In this tiny country, there are only so many places to have a wedding. Or so you would think. But a growing number of Israelis are creating one-of-a-kind outdoor weddings from the ground up. In some cases,
An avocado grove turned wedding venue waiting for guests in central Israel on May 19, 2017. (Photo by courtesy of Bloom)
they even start with the ground. “We brought in bulldozers for one couple,” said Ori Fuks, an Israeli wedding producer. “They wanted to get married on an avocado farm, so we built them a parking lot.” “Nature weddings,” as they are sometimes called, are an increasingly popular option for young Israeli couples seeking unique nuptials. In recent years, an industry has emerged around the bespoke outdoor events, offering an alternative to the traditional wedding hall blowout. Shani Maaman, a 31-year-old high-tech worker from Jerusalem, and her husband-to-be, Ran, were determined to do their wedding themselves. With the help of Israeli wedding blogs and Facebook groups, they spent months planning and preparing a wedding they felt reflected who they are. Unlike some couples, Maaman and her fiance did not start from zero. Instead, they converted a biblical tourism center, called Genesis World, into a bohemian desert getaway with Bedouin-style tents and cushions, billowing macrame decorations and a caravan of camels on hand. A DJ played world music-inspired beats late into the night. “Nature weddings have become common, but I know that our wedding was very, very special,” Maaman said. “The nice thing about the place was that because it’s not for weddings, it doesn’t feel commercialized. They don’t charge you for every little extra. If you want another area to chill out, they give it to you no problem.” Fuks said many young Israelis have become dissatisfied with the “copy and paste” approach of wedding halls, which they see as inauthentic. Having grown up working in two such venues owned by his family, in 2009 he started his own company called Bloom, which specializes
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Shani and Ran Maaman enjoyed the company of camels at their wedding in the Judean Desert on May 11, 2017. (Photo by Dana Bar-On) in nature weddings at sites with little to no infrastructure. “Young Israelis want their wedding to be their own,” he said. “They want to feel like they’re hosting you in their own home. That’s why we come and say, anything you want, we can create it.” Fuks lets couples customize nearly every aspect of their wedding, starting with the location. In addition to the avocado farm, he uses forests, deserts, vineyards and fields. In 2016, he threw a wedding in a pallet factory. He works with suppliers to bring in the desired amenities, like generators for electricity, a kitchen and bar, a sound system, lighting, restrooms, tents and flowers. Immediately after the event, everything is dismantled. No infrastructure can stay in place, Fuks said, because he rents the properties from private owners and may or may not have the required permits. Fortunately, he said, he has never had a wedding shut down. Fuks said business has grown steadily over the years to about 30 weddings a year, mostly in the relatively sunny months between March and October. At the same time, See “Weddings” on page 9
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The right (and wrong) way to defeat BDS on campus BY PAUL MILLER (JNS) – The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel has been a thorn in the side of Jewish and pro-Israel students on college campuses for more than a decade. Where BDS rears its ugly head, antisemitism in the form of intimidation and violence toward Jewish students almost always follows. Claims that BDS is a non-violent movement are patently false. With most college campuses serving as nurturing grounds for the far left, progressive groups hijacked by anti-Israel propaganda are dominating campus life, spewing hatred for Zionists and the Jewish state. In just the last few months, we’ve witnessed both the right way and the wrong way to defeat BDS on campus. The key to victory is unity – Jewish students, Christian groups and pro-Israel organizations working together. When Jewish leaders and groups are divided or distracted by other political causes, BDS will almost certainly prevail. The Jewish and pro-Israel organizations at the University of Illinois exemplify the right way to defeat BDS. By nearly a 2-1 margin – 3,133 votes against and 1,700 votes for divesting from the Jewish state – students at the educational institution’s Urbana-Champaign campus handily defeated “a discriminatory referendum” that called for divestment from companies doing business with Israel. Such overwhelming victories are simply unheard of. “The idea was that these student groups all worked together to defeat this,” explained Illini Chabad Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel to the Haym Salomon Center. “And by working
united, we not only defeated it, we defeated it 2 to 1!” With anti-Israel activism often rooted in misinformation, pro-Israel groups made it a priority to educate by sticking to the facts and presenting them clearly – other fundamental ingredients in defeating BDS. “The big BDS fail at the University of Illinois is an example of what happens when facts enter the conversation about the Middle East,” said StandWithUs Midwest director Peggy Shapiro. “With solid information in hand, students realized that the anti-Israel referendum was not pro-peace, not pro-coexistence and not even pro-Palestinian; that it was, in fact, thinly veiled antisemitism. They voted ‘no!’ The defeat is an example of education being the road to peace.” If there is one organization that success is predicated on, it’s the campus Hillel. The oldest and largest Jewish organization on campus often serves as the center of Jewish life for students. At Illinois, Hillel did not disappoint. “Hillel students led a campaign, ‘United Illini for a United Campus,’ focused on a positive message of campus values, unity and close collaboration with diverse campus organizations, university leadership and faculty, and community partners,” said Erez Cohen, executive director of Illini Hillel. “They were so successful in showing our community the value of maintaining and creating new relationships with Israeli institutions that the referendum failed by more than 1,400 votes.” In contrast, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, unity, leadership and prioritizing support for Israel took a backseat, according to pro-Israel organizations and activists on the ground.
Like the majority of college students, Jewish kids tend to be left of center politically. Many can be classified as leftists or progressive. This is problematic for these students who support Israel because progressive groups are almost always anti-Israel, having bought into the lie that “Zionism is racism.” So why would a Jewish organization that supports Israel partner with or even fund organizations that are vehemently anti-Israel and often antisemitic? According to recent University of Michigan graduate Jesse Arm, who served on the Hillel governing board in 2016, “the board is traditionally very quick to help fund and co-sponsor events with other progressive student organizations that exist outside of Hillel and are consistently supportive of BDS measures. These sponsorships are often approved by the student board not because Hillel students play an active role in the planning or execution of the events, but because Hillel board members fear being perceived negatively if they say no to such requests.” Arm added that “part of the reason such sponsorships are approved is in the hope that the next time around, the groups and individuals benefitting from the sponsorship may reject a BDS measure. This line of thinking never pans out.” He believes that progressive Jewish students have to accept some responsibility for the outcome of the BDS vote, noting that in student government elections last spring, the vast majority of Jewish students on campus supported a party with a pro-BDS executive candidate. “Jewish students’ opposition to BDS was tacit rather See “BDS” on page 12
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he said he has seen his competitors in the nature wedding industry proliferate, from just a couple eight years ago to as many as 10 experienced competitors and countless upstarts today. A saleswoman at one of Israel’s poshest wedding halls said the growing popularity of nature weddings has not cut into her clientele. But speaking on condition of anonymity to protect her job, she said she expects that to change in the near future. Among her Tel Aviv friends, she said, wedding halls are already out of style. “People want their wedding to make them feel special,” she said. “But this industry is all about money. You spend money you don’t have, and we make money. In a couple years, everyone will be planning their own weddings.” However, nature weddings are not necessarily less expensive. Fuks said his average wedding costs about $40,000, which is at the high end of the national average, according to a 2015 survey. Maaman’s $25,000 wedding is at the low end. Lira Wieman, the owner of LW Events, said nature weddings are nothing new for her clients, who include Israel’s rich and famous. Nearly three-quarters of the weddings she does are in nature, she said. In May 2017, she produced a high-profile desert wedding for model Shlomit Malka and actor Yehuda Levy. “They wanted a Burning Man-style event,” Wieman said, referring to the American countercultural festival. “It was crazy – three days on an isolated ranch with a 24-hour DJ party.” To some extent, Maaman’s wedding – which was also Burning Man inspired – was countercultural, too. Like a growing number of Israelis, she and her husband eschewed the Chief Rabbinate, the Orthodox authority that controls Jewish marriage in Israel. They opted for a secular humanist
rabbi, and because only an Orthodox rabbi can perform a wedding in Israel, they have yet to be officially married. Maaman said they plan to eventually marry abroad and have the union recognized by Israel’s secular bureaucracy, or to enter a common law marriage – two increasingly popular options. She said their motivation for not going through the Chief Rabbinate was more personal than principled. They wanted to do the wedding on a date that is forbidden by Jewish law and, more important, to have an egalitarian ceremony. Under the macrame chuppah, Maaman joined her husband in the traditional concluding ritual of breaking a glass in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem. “We’re not like anti-people,” she said. “What guided us was making it our wedding, fit to us. We did what we needed to do.”
At right: An Israeli couple posed at their wedding in the northern Israeli forest on May 29, 2017. (Photo by Yoav Alon)
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ APRIL 26, 2018/11 IYAR 5778
To see a full calendar of community events, visit the Federation's community calendar online at www.jewishfederationcny.org. Please notify email@example.com of any calendar changes.
Wednesday, April 25 Deadline for May 10 Jewish Observer Wednesday, May 9 Deadline for May 24 Jewish Observer Friday, April 27 Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas hosts weekend scholar-in-residence Joey Weisen berg, starting at 5:30 pm Saturday, April 28 CBS-CS hosts weekend scholar-in-residence Joey Weisenberg at 9:30 am services, followed by lunch and learn at noon and Seudah Shlishit at 8 pm Sunday, April 29 CBS-CS hosts weekend scholar-in-residence Joey Weisenberg presents “Building Singing Communities” workshop from 9:45 – 11:15 am Tuesday, May 1 Epstein School at Temple Adath Yeshurun from 6:30-8:30 pm Wednesday, May 2 Syracuse Jewish Family Service presents “Poetry and Spirituality” from 9 – 11 am hosted by poet Gloria Heffernan Boy Scouts of America honor Arnie and Libby Rubenstein at 6 pm Thursday, May 3 Syracuse Jewish Family Service presents “Zen and the Art of Caregiving” with Peggy Miller, LMSW from 6 – 7:30 pm Chabad Lubavitch of CNY annual Lag B'Omer barbeque picnic and bonfire at Mill Run Park in Manlius from 5:30-7:30 pm Saturday, May 5 TC Tot Shabbat at 9 am – a short celebration of Shabbat with singing, dancing, musical instruments and stories, followed by a “kiddie-kiddush.” TC Lag B'Omer celebration at Ryder Park at 6 pm Sunday, May 6 TC Sisterhood tour of the mikvah at 9:30 am, followed by lunch TC Brotherhood program at 9:30 am Syracuse Hebrew Day School BUDS spring planting party at 12:30 pm CBS-CS Hazak presents Mel and Mady Rubenstein program, “The Lucky Shoe Dog,” at 2 pm Jewish Foundation of CNY teen funders meeting from 3-4:30 pm TC Regina F. Goldenberg Cultural Series presents Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb at 7 pm Tuesday, May 8 TC Concord Seasoned Citizens at 2 pm Epstein School at Temple Adath Yeshurun from 6:30-8:30 pm Wednesday, May 9 SJFS presents “Poetry and Spirituality” hosted by poet Gloria Heffernan from 9 – 11 am TC Concord board of trustees at 7 pm TAY Rabbi Paul Drazen presents “The Ethical Life: Jewish Values in an Age of Choice” at 7:30 pm CBS-CS board meeting at 7:30 pm Thursday, May 10 SJFS presents “Zen and the Art of Caregiving” with Peggy Miller, LMSW from 6 - 7:30 pm Jewish Federation of CNY presents a program by AIPAC at 7 pm at the JCC Sunday, May 13 Mother’s Day Monday, May 14 SHDS board of directors meeting at 7 pm Tuesday, May 15 Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center Executive Committee meeting at 6 pm, followed by board meeting at 7 pm Epstein School at Temple Adath Yeshurun from 6:30-8:30 pm
Behaving in a “holy” manner BY ALAN SUKERT “You shall be holy, because I, Hashem your God, am holy.” That is the way parashat Kedoshim begins in this week’s double sedrah of Acharai Mot-Kedoshim. It then goes on to talk about a variety of areas where we are to behave in a “holy” manner – fearing your father and mother, not dealing falsely with others or lying to others, treating your workers fairly, keeping God’s statutes, honesty in handling weights and measures, and a myriad of other mitzvot dealing with personal conduct. But of all the mitzvot in Chapter 19 of Vayikra, there are two I want to focus on. “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart; thou shalt surely rebuke thy neighbor and not bear sin because of him.” Since the 2016 elections, there has been a marked increase in hatred across this country and a sharp increase unfortunately in antisemitic actions around the world. Go no further than think of the Charlottesville incident last year. The discourse in this country has become so negative and depressing that one wonders if we will ever be able to become united as Americans again. We have all forgotten the lessons of this parasha that “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” There is not a lot of neighborly love these days and that is a shame, if for no other reason than we all should strive to be holy, and hatred of our neighbor is about as un-holy as one can get. As a country we have to find our way back to a spirit of accepting those we disagree with as people who deserve to be treated with respect and a lack of “hate in thy heart” for them, and that has to start at the top, where all true change must emanate. The other mitzvah I wanted to focus on is: “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor favor the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.” We are so quick to judge in this country about everything, but especially about people. We always talk about first impressions; but how many times have we judged someone in a first impression to eventually find out that our
first impression was completely wrong – the person was either better than we initially thought or worse than we initially thought. We are seeing cries of favoritism to the rich on the part of the current administration and Congress at the expense of the poor and middle class; whether this is true or not doesn’t seem to matter because “perception is reality” and the perception on many in this country is that this is what is happening in Washington right now. If we truly are to love “thy neighbor as thyself,” then as a country, we all must judge our neighbors as we would like to be judged. To me, that is what righteousness in judgment comes down to – taking the time to ask yourself, “Am I being fair in how I am judging this other person; would I like it if he/she judged me in the way I am judging them?” We must approach how we treat other people the way we want to be treated ourselves. We have to look for the best in everyone and not judge them with hate in our hearts and malice in our thoughts. Even though the mitzvot only technically apply to us as Jews, we should treat every mitzvah as though it applies to everyone with whom we come into contact and try to be “holy” in everything we say and do in our relationships with other people. On Shabbat mornings we say the following prayer, “Our God and God of our ancestors, we ask your blessings for our country, for its government, for its leaders and advisors, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them insights of Your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.” In light of parashat Kedoshim, I think the prayer that everyone in this country, especially those in positions of authority, should be saying is simply, “May we be holy in everything we do and treat everyone with righteousness, justice and a lack of hatred in our hearts.” What a country it would be if we all could do that. Alan Sukert is an engineer with Xerox Corp. in Rochester and a member of Temple Adath Yeshurun.
Moss Medal is a two-sided, bronze piece struck in 1894 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the founding of Onondaga County. Since OHA is the largest and longest standing institution in the community devoted to conserving and presenting local history, one might also consider this medal the “highest tribute” awarded on behalf of the Onondaga County community to those who “ensure that local history remain a vital part of the future.” This is only the 27th OHA Medal ceremony since its inception in 1945. Moss, a businessman and historian, is an active member of Temple Concord in Syracuse. He served on the board of the Syracuse Area InterReligious Council (now InterFaith Works) from 1981-84 and from 1985-86 he was its board secretary. The Jewish Community Foundation of Central New York honored Moss in 2006 with its first Annual Legacy Award in recognition of his “extraordinary support of the Jewish community.” He has provided “significant “historical accounts for the film “Stories from the Syracuse Jewish Community.” In 2015, he received the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s Hall of Fame Award, which recognizes and celebrates
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individuals who have dedicated themselves to the Syracuse Jewish community and the advancement of the JCC. Viti joined M&T Bank in 2007 as manager of charitable and community relations for the Central New York region. She has more than 30 years of experience in banking, including various positions with Fleet Bank, Bank of America and Partners Trust. She is a graduate of SUNY College of Technology in Utica with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Naples joined M&T Bank in 2005 as senior vice president and regional president in Syracuse. Prior to M&T, he served as executive vice president and regional president for HSBC USA and Syracuse district executive for Key Bank of Central New York. He received his bachelor’s in personnel and industrial relations from Syracuse University, an honorary associate of arts degree from Onondaga Community College, and has received training from the West Point Management School of Career Development, the University of Buffalo in advanced leadership, the Graduate School of Retail Bank Management at the University of Virginia, and the Hong Kong Shanghai Corporate Center for advanced management skills. There is a charge to attend the breakfast. Sponsorships and program ads are also available. Reservations may be made by visiting cnyhistory.org/2018-medal. For information about tickets, sponsorships, or program ads, contact Jon Zella at 315-428-1864, ext. 315, or Jon.Zella@cnyhistory.org.
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While Sidlin is in town, two additional events will take place, also rescheduled from March. On Thursday, May 17, from 12:30-1:50 pm, he will meet with students in the Syracuse University music programs. From 4-7 pm, there will be a free workshop for teachers at the CiTi BOCES South Campus Phoenix Extension, 70 County Route 59, Phoenix, NY. All teachers are encouraged to attend and can get more information by calling CiTi at 315-963-4251 or the Syracuse University School of Education at 315-443-4752. Goldberg said, “It is an honor to have Maestro Sidlin here to share his depth of knowledge and perspectives on the film and the history that surrounds it. The film tells the story so vividly and the music brings the story to life. I encourage everyone to join us for this moving experience.”
APRIL 26, 2018/11 IYAR 5778 ■
South Carolina becomes first state to pass OBITUARIES KLEIN landmark bill to confront campus antisemitism Shirley Klein,SHIRLEY 89, died on April 16 at St. Joseph’s
BY JNS STAFF (JNS) – South Carolina became the first state to pass legislation to protect students from antisemitic acts. The State Senate overwhelmingly approved the legislation, H3643, in a 37-4 vote on April 12 as part of a larger spending package. The bill passed the State House of Representatives in March in a 116-2 vote. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has expressed support for the bill and is expected to sign it into law. “Antisemitism, and the forces that have led to its resurgence, are not representative of the values of South Carolina,” said State Representative Alan Clemmons, who authored the legislation. The South Carolina bill will help break down the barriers in the fight against antisemitism by providing educators and administrators with a clear and uniform definition to recognize anti-Jewish bigotry, according to the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under the Law. “There has been an alarming increase in antisemitism nationwide and particularly on our nation’s college campuses,” stated Aviva Vogelstein, LDB’s director of legal initiatives. “This bill gives South Carolina the tools to protect Jewish students’ and all South Carolina
Continued from page 7 “It does seem like that sometimes,” he said. “Like it was not too long ago that we heard that a synagogue in our neighborhood was set on fire, that my father was worried about our factory, that he was missing for 10 days and my mother was worried sick that he’d been taken to Buchenwald… but the truth is, it was a long time ago. However, it is still difficult to think about it.” Levy was 9 when Kristallnacht happened. And he remembers that even though his early years were happy and comfortable, he attended a Hebrew school because Jewish children were not allowed to go to the same schools as other German kids. He didn’t think much of it as a child, but he did keep a journal, “Anti-Semitic Incidents on the Street Car,” of which he has no memory. “My mother asked my father if she should pack the journal with my things,” he says. “But my father decided against it. He didn’t want me to carry any emotional baggage from Leipzig. He wanted me to be able to start afresh. The next day, when my mother dropped me off at the meeting point for the Kindertransport, she thought she would probably never see me again. But as fate would have it, she did. I never saw my father again.” Levy’s father was mortally ill with stomach cancer. He died six weeks after his son’s departure. “Thinking about those times is painful, but my story is a much more positive one as compared to others,” he adds. “There were people in my extended family who didn’t survive the Shoah. My maternal grandmother Elise died in Terezin.” Like thousands of other families, his family was also torn apart by the Holocaust. Every day, there are stories of people finding their long-lost loved ones or their descendants thanks to modern aids such as Facebook. His cousin, Marianne, who was still in Leipzig, tried to find out what happened to him through the Internet, but she was not successful. In a twist of good luck, the German television network MDR located him and reunited him with Marianne in a televised ceremony after 70 years. The location of this “very poignant” meeting was the train station where Levy had taken the Kindertransport. The seniors of the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center held a commemoration on April 13 during which they prayed for the victims of the Holocaust and hoped that such a genocide would never happen again. Helen Marcum concluded the remembrance by reading a poem, “I am the Holocaust” by Hannah Diane Williams. And while the rest of the afternoon was spent listening to thoughtful, contemplative music played by “Little Jazz Trails,” for many people, the commemoration was not over. As Honig would say, “We think about the Holocaust constantly.” It is in the things she has made over the years, the objects she has not been forced to pack in more than 50 years, and the warmth that she can feel in her coat. It is a lesson even if her memory is not so good anymore, but she tries – and she remembers.
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students’ right to a learning environment free of unlawful discrimination.” The definition included in the bill is similar to the one used by the U.S. State Department and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of Antisemitism that has been adopted by 31 countries. That definition states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” The legislation comes amid an uptick in antisemitic incidents in the United States and on college campuses. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents in America increased by 60 percent in 2017, and nearly doubled on American college campuses. The same report found that antisemitic incidents at non-Jewish elementary, middle and high schools increased 106 percent in the same period. “We have been dismayed by the rise of antisemitism, including harassment, intimidation and vandalism against Jewish students,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said in a statement. “This bill adopts the State Department definition of antisemitism and gives law enforcement an important tool for protecting students against unlawful acts motivated by prejudice. With a clear definition of anti-Jewish bigotry, law enforcement and administrators will be better equipped to prosecute and prevent hate crimes.”
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May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and June 6, from 9-11 am. Balancing appreciation and creation of poetry, Heffernan said, she will guide participants to reach for their own selves and poetic self-expressions, with readings and discussion of poems as prompts and encouragement. Participants will also share their work with the group. “Views on Aging: Through the Movie Lens” continues in May with the animated classic “Up” on Sunday, May 27, from 3-5:30 pm. Registration is requested for all classes, and can be made by e-mailing email@example.com or calling 315-4469111, ext. 234. All classes will meet in the Arts and Minds Community Room at Menorah Park, 4101 East Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13214. More information is available on the SJFS website at www.sjfs.org. This is an introductory pilot program and there is a small fee for each class that covers all sessions, but no refunds will be given for sessions a participant is unable to attend. Payment is accepted in advance or at the door.
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Hospital. Born in The Bronx, she had lived most of her life in the metropolitan New York area until moving to Syracuse more than 10 years ago to be closer to her son and daughter-in-law. She was the administrator of the Queensborough Hill Jewish Center for her entire professional career. She was predeceased by her husband, Harold, in 2003; and their son, Dale, in 1989. She is survived by her sons, Ira (Jeanne) Klein, and Randy (Shirley) Klein; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and her sister, Phyllis (Robert) Herzweig. Burial was in Wellwood Cemetery on Long Island. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions may be made to a charity of one’s choice.
NEWS IN BRIEF From JTA
Genesis Prize will choose where to donate Natalie Portman’s award money
Natalie Portman will no longer get to choose where her $2 million Genesis Prize will be donated after saying she will not travel to Israel to receive the award. Instead, the Genesis Prize Foundation will decide where the money goes. Portman is refusing to travel to Israel to receive the prize because “[r] ecent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel,” the foundation announced on April 19. It has canceled the award ceremony in June as a result. The prize, known as the “Jewish Nobel,” has been awarded annually for five years. Portman was announced as the 2018 laureate in November for a prize that “honors individuals who serve as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews through their outstanding professional achievement along with their commitment to Jewish values and the Jewish people.” Every winner has pledged to donate the award money, which was doubled this year to $2 million. Portman said she would be donating her award to women’s rights groups. The Genesis Prize Foundation will still give the money to women’s rights groups. But Portman will no longer choose the recipients, owing to her refusal to attend the award ceremony, according to a statement by Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn, who supplied half of this year’s award. “I cannot support the decision of canceling an appearance due to ‘recent events in Israel,’” Kahn said in the statement, which first appeared in The Jerusalem Post. “Together with the Genesis Prize Foundation, we will make sure that women’s rights organizations … will not be affected in any way. The prize money will be distributed by the Genesis Prize Foundation, not by Ms. Portman.”
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ APRIL 26, 2018/11 IYAR 5778
Study: 22 percent of U.S. millennials haven’t heard of or are not sure if they have heard of the Holocaust
BY JTA STAFF (JTA) – Over a fifth of millennials in the United States have not heard of or are unsure if they have heard of the Holocaust, a study found. The survey, which was commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (also known as the Claims Conference), found that many Americans were unaware of basic facts about the Holocaust. The results were released on April 12, which marked Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. The study included 1,350 interviews with Americans aged 18 and over. While six million Jews are estimated killed in the Holocaust, 31 percent of all respondents and 41 percent of millennials, aged 18-34, believe that number is two
million or less, according to the survey. Forty-five percent of all respondents could not name a concentration camp or ghetto from World War II, and 41 percent could not identify Auschwitz, a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps. The study found that the vast majority of respondents support Holocaust education. Ninety-three percent of the respondents said that all students should learn about the Holocaust in school and 80 percent said it was important to educate about the Holocaust to prevent it from happening again. Still, 58 percent of respondents believe that “something like the Holocaust could happen again.” Claims Conference President Julius Berman expressed concern about the lack of knowledge about the Holocaust
among millennials. “We are alarmed that today’s generation lacks some of the basic knowledge about these atrocities,” he said in a statement. The group’s executive vice president, Greg Schneider, said the study’s findings highlighted the importance of Holocaust education. “There remain troubling gaps in Holocaust awareness while survivors are still with us; imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories,” Schneider said. “We must be committed to ensuring the horrors of the Holocaust and the memory of those who suffered so greatly are remembered, told and taught by future generations.” The study was conducted February 23-27 by Schoen Consulting. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
unauthorized, automated face-recognition technologies; Minerva Labs, which fights malware; and Cylus, which helps railway companies detect and prevent cyber-attacks in their operational network. Last year, only three Israeli companies were mentioned in the CB insights cybersecurity report. This year’s list did not include tech companies that have not raised funding since 2016.
country have been bought by local nonprofit organizations that have subsequently turned them into museums.
NEWS IN BRIEF From JNS.org
Israel accounts for 7 percent of all cybersecurity deals worldwide
Israel, the country with the world’s 100 -largest population, signed the second-largest number of cybersecurity deals internationally, according to a report by New York data firm CB Insights. First place went to the United States, with a massive 69 percent of all global deals between 2013 to 2017. Israel fell far behind with just 7 percent, yet still managed to grab second place, ahead of the United Kingdom with 6 percent, Canada with 3 percent and China with 2 percent, according to the report. The report selected 29 cybersecurity startup companies considered “high-momentum companies pioneering technology with the potential to transform cybersecurity,” with six of them coming from Israel. The Israeli firms are: BioCatch, a startup using behavioral and physiological parameters to detect and prevent fraud; Aqua Security, which secures virtual container environments, and helps overlap DevOps and IT security; IRONSCALES, a maker of anti-phishing technologies; D-ID, which protects users’ faces from th
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Dutch Jews fume over a plan to turn a historic synagogue into a restaurant
(Israel Hayom via JNS) – Jews in the central Netherlands city of Deventer are outraged over a plan by a Turkish developer to turn a historic synagogue into an eatery. According to local media reports, developer Ayhan Sahin recently bought the 1811 Moorish-style structure, which has been declared a national monument, and has asked the municipal authorities to repurpose the building. The building, still known as the Great Synagogue of Deventer, was ransacked when the Germans invaded during World War II and all but ceased functioning as a Jewish institution after the Nazis exterminated the local Jewish community. The synagogue was resurrected in 2010, when a small congregation known as Beth Shoshanna began holding services there. The building was sold to a local church several years ago because the Jewish community could no longer afford to maintain it. The church eventually sold it to Sahin. Sahin told the local daily De Stentor that the planned restaurant “would appeal to a lot of people.” He said he would allow the local Jews to continue to worship there if they rented the space. Tom Furstenberg, one of the leaders of the Beth Shoshanna community, said it would be “scandalous” if the idea was given a green light, as this would crush the hopes of restoring the site. Other historic synagogues in the
than any fervent support for Israel,” said Arm. “Led by the university’s Hillel, kid after kid was sent up to the front of the room at the student government meeting to apologize for Israel’s crimes and faults, but then suggest BDS isn’t the answer.” He laments that although plenty of organizations on the Michigan campus want to partner with Hillel to combat BDS, “partnering with conservative or Christian groups is anathema to Michigan Hillel and its staff.” Arm’s perspective was confirmed by another student, who asked to remain anonymous. This individual feared retribution by Hillel leadership and progressive students on campus. This individual told the Haym Salomon Center: “Many people who spearheaded the movement against the BDS initiative helped elect the president and the vice president, who openly supported BDS. Naively, these students and Hillel leaders thought that forming a relationship with them would, in the long run, tip the scales in their favor. “The anti-BDS movement failed because they tried to play into their rhetoric by stating that Israel does all these terrible things and we agree with you, but BDS is not the answer. During the meeting, you sometimes couldn’t tell who was pro-Israel or anti-BDS because both sides were disparaging of Israel. White Jews such as myself were told not to speak against divestment at the meeting. It apparently made for bad optics.” One student who does not agree with the accusations against Hillel is Michigan freshman Benjamin Gerstein. “The accusations against Hillel hold zero truth. From sitting in on the Israel cohort meetings and watching as Hillel’s Israel team meticulously planned the counter-divestment effort, I know for a fact that Hillel worked hard to prevent divestment’s passage and took divestment very seriously,” he said. Gerstein added: “They held teach-ins and made sure there was a Jewish presence at [Central Student Government] meetings. Divestment’s passage had nothing to do
Durham, NC, becomes first American city to ban police training with Israel
Durham, NC, became the first U.S. city to ban its police from engaging in “military-style training” with police abroad in an effort to block exchanges with Israel. In a unanimous 6-0 vote earlier the week of April 20, the city council “opposes international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training since such exchanges do not support the kind of policing we want here in the City of Durham,” said in a statement. The resolution was adopted after a coalition of groups, dubbed “Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine Coalition,” which includes the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace that supports the BDS movement, in addition to other Muslim, pro-Palestinian and civil-rights groups, urged its passage in order to prevent any partnership the city’s law enforcement might enter into with Israel’s military or police. “The Israeli Defense Forces and the Israel Police have a long history of violence and harm against Palestinian people and Jews of Color. They persist in using tactics of extrajudicial killing, excessive force, racial profiling, and repression of social justice movements,” a petition by the group said. “These tactics further militarize U.S. police forces that train in Israel, and this training helps the police terrorize Black and Brown communities here in the U.S.” A Durham police spokesman said that their department has not engaged in any exchanges with Israel and does not have any plans to do so. However, former Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez did spend a week in Israel to undergo training, which he said focused on leadership and preventing terrorism. Continued from page 9 with the efforts of Hillel. The Hillel leadership is supportive to all of Michigan’s Jewish and pro-Israel students, and in no way was exclusive based upon political opinion. A plethora of Jewish voices were heard from all different backgrounds. Hillel’s counter-divestment efforts were well thought out, inclusive and planned with care and passion.” According to Tilly Shames, executive director of University of Michigan’s Hillel: “Michigan Hillel, alongside our partners, have worked tirelessly for more than a decade to defeat BDS resolutions each time they were brought to student government. We have convened a diverse array of anti-BDS student leaders to combat the fallacies and tactics of this movement. We have provided advocacy and educational tools for students to express their opposition and galvanize their peers, along with emotional support for our students during these difficult times. I have personally worked with and supported a diverse array of pro-Israel organizations in formulating and implementing strategy to push back against Israeli divestment.” Nonetheless, a number of students accuse Shames of “pulling strings” so that only progressive voices were permitted to address the Central Student Government during the BDS debate. Students with a more conservative voice with regard to the Jewish state were allegedly shut out. While it’s no surprise that various Jewish students and pro-Israel groups have different perspectives on what took place at the University of Michigan, such harsh criticism of Hillel and its leadership reveals that, at the very least, a united front against BDS did not exist. While each campus may have its own culture, only schools with a left-of-center student body would even consider supporting BDS. It is progressives who buy the lies about Israel. And that is why, as we saw at the University of Illinois, a united front using facts to educate the students is the key to defeating BDS on campus. Paul Miller is president and executive director of the news and public-policy group Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on twitter @pauliespoint.
Jewish Observer Issue of April 26, 2018