Page 1


Combined Federation-Day SchoolEpstein School annual meeting BY KATHIE PIIRAK The Jewish Federation of Central New York will hold a combined 2018 annual meeting with the Syracuse Hebrew Day School and the Rabbi Jacob H. Epstein School of Jewish Studies on Wednesday, June 6, in the Anne and Hy Miller Auditorium at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse. The evening will begin with refreshments at 6:30 pm, with the meeting to follow at 7 pm. The combined annual meeting is free and open to the community. Presiding over Federation’s 100th annual meeting will be Federation Board Chair

Ellen Weinstein. A dessert reception will be catered by JCC chef Donna Carullo under the supervision of the Va’ad Ha’ir. The Federation will elect its board of directors at the meeting. This year’s nominations include returning trustees for a two-year term ending in 2020: Marc Beckman, Rabbi Daniel Fellman, Mark Field, Adam Fumarola, Alan Goldberg, Ruth Stein, Steven Volinsky and Ellen Weinstein. Mickey Lebowitz and Jeffrey Maloff are returning for a one-year term ending in 2019. New trustee Leah Goldberg is coming onto the board for a two-year term ending in 2020.

Steven Volinsky to receive 2018 Roth Award Steven and Michael.” BY BETTE SIEGEL Federation President/CEO The Jewish Federation of Michael Balanoff said, “Steve Central New York announced Volinsky is a mensch. He epitthat Steven Volinsky will omizes the best in our commureceive the 2018 Esther and nity. He is kind, respectful and Joseph Roth Award for Outcommitted – a genuinely good standing Jewish Community person. This is what makes me Leadership. He will be preso happy that he is receiving the sented with the award at Fedth Roth Award this year.” eration’s 100 annual meeting A native Syracusan, Voon Wednesday, June 6. The linsky graduated from Notevening will begin with refresh- Steven Volinsky tingham High School. His ments at 6:30 pm. The award was established in May grandparents started Volinsky Bakery and 1979 by the friends and family of Esther they are featured in the Jay Lurie film on and Joseph Roth. It is a permanent award the 15th Ward. At the time, there were five and is displayed at Federation’s offices. Jewish bakeries in Syracuse. He met his It is awarded in honor and recognition wife, Fran, through a friend who was still of those individuals who have demon- at SU (after he had graduated). They were strated “outstanding Jewish community married in 1972 and have two children. leadership” and is always presented at Their son, Jeffrey, lives in Nashville, TN, Federation’s annual meeting. It is consid- and sings, writes and produces popular, ered by many to be the major community as well as other types of, music. Their service award presented by the Syracuse daughter, Rebecca, graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, majoring Jewish community. Federation’s vice president of finance, in painting. She teaches art and is a life Volinsky said he is at Federation’s offices coach. Of his wife, Volinsky said, “My “all the time.” Much of his volunteer com- wife is the most courageous person I know. mitment is aligned with his professional She has been battling a debilitating disease career. A CPA by vocation, he went to for some time and is an inspiration to me. Syracuse University and received a bach- Our kids, my sister, our family and friends elor’s degree in accounting. He worked have been amazing.” After his bar mitzvah, Volinsky said he for Price Waterhouse, which is when he became a CPA. He said that just having had two heroes – his mother for her kindan accounting degree is insufficient to ness and compassion and his grandfather, become a CPA – “a person needs a certain Morris Karlson, who was a member at number of years of auditing experience.” Young Israel (now Shaarei Torah OrthoBeginning in 1988, he worked for Ray- dox Congregation of Syracuse). Volinsky mour and Flanigan as chief financial walked to synagogue every Saturday officer, a job he held there for 23 years. just to be with his grandfather, of whom His staff grew from eight to 50 and the he was “very proud.” Not only was he company grew from seven to 115 stores. proud of his grandfather, he said, but his He said, “It was a great, rewarding expe- grandfather made him feel proud to be a rience to be on the Goldbergs’ executive Jew. Steve saw how much his grandfather See “Volinsky” on page 2 team. It was an honor to work for Neil,

The 2018 Esther and Joseph Roth Award for Outstanding Jewish Community Leadership will be presented to Steven Volinsky. The Roth Award was established in May 1979 by the friends and family of Esther and Joseph Roth. It is a permanent award that is housed and displayed at the offices of the Federation. It is awarded in honor and recognition of those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding Jewish community leadership and is considered by many to be the premier Community Service Award presented by the Syracuse Jewish community. The Syracuse Hebrew Day School Chorus will perform. The combined annual meeting is open to the community. Reservations are requested and may be made by contacting Kathie Piirak at 315-445-2040, ext. 106, or

2018 Federation Annual Campaign For more information, contact Colleen Baker at 315-445-2040, ext. 102, or


$ Goal: $1,300,000

as of May 17, 2018

JMAC fund-raiser to feature Sam Asher Trio BY VICKI FELDMAN The Jewish Music and Cultural Festival will host a fund-raising party on Sunday, June 10, at the Kimry Moor clubhouse from 4-6 pm. Hors d’oeuvres and desserts will be available for participants while they listen to music by the Sam Asher Trio, featuring Sam Asher, Ben Markowitz and Alex Reeder, as they play and sing Israeli, Sephardic, Mizrahi and modern Jewish music. The trio is the core of Farah, the Sephardic music group performing at JMAC this year. This is the 19th year of JMAC, which will occur on Sunday, August 5, on the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center

campus. Public support helps keep the JMAC free. More information about this year’s JMAC can be found at There is a charge to attend and reservations are requested by Friday, June 1. Guests may be dropped off at the clubhouse, but all parking will be at Mott Road Elementary School. Shuttle service will be available from the school to Kimry Moor starting at 3:30 pm. For more information, to make a reservation or for information on JMAC sponsorships or vendor opportunities, call Judith Stander at Jewish Federation of Central New York at 315-445-2040, ext. 114.


May 25............................. 8:13 pm.......................................................Parashat Naso June 1............................... 8:19 pm.........................................Parashat BeHa’alatcha June 8............................... 8:24 pm........................................Parashat Shelach Lecha

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Congregational notes

Senior fitness

Birthright for everyone

Local synagogues announce A look at the senior exercise An inclusive Birthright Israel trip upcoming services, concerts, classes at the Jewish Community through Friendship Circle seeks Center’s Fitness Center. dinners and more. to help empower its participants. Story on page 5 Stories on page 4 Story on page 5

PLUS Calendar Highlights............... 7 Obituaries................................. 7 Classifieds................................ 8 Summer Fun....................Insert


JEWISH OBSERVER ■ MAY 24, 2018/10 SIVAN 5778

First person

Seeds of Peace – building peace between Israelis and Palestinians on the SU campus BY RONIT DAVIS “Take a minute and just listen, don’t respond, don’t say anything, just listen for a minute, really listen to what the other person is saying.” These were the instructions given by Leslie Adelson-Lewin at the Seeds of Peace workshop at Syracuse University last month. Suddenly I found myself sitting on the floor in a circle with strangers talking about my family and the people who inspire me and I was listening to them talk about theirs. I’m a talker by nature and that minute of silence was difficult, sometimes uncomfortable; but I couldn’t even imagine what it must feel like for the Israeli and Palestinian teens at the Seeds of Peace summer camp in Maine to have much more intense, serious conversations and not automatically respond every time someone says something. The activity was really about learning to listen – to hear someone else. Hearing someone’s truth is at the crux of building trust and peace and that is the mission of Seeds of Peace. LIME: An Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue Group and the International Relations Club invited Leslie Adelson-Lewin because both student organizations believe in engaging youth


contributed to the Jewish community and said that this made him feel that “all of us have a responsibility for the survival and health of the Jewish community. I felt a need to contribute.” Volinsky grew up in Beth Israel synagogue (which later became part of Temple Beth El). Volinsky said he “does a lot of things under the radar.” A consummate volunteer, he has been treasurer of Temple Concord (where he has been a member since 1972), treasurer of the Syracuse Community Hebrew School and he has served on the Federation Board’s Nominating Committee and its Allocations Committee, and Temple Concord’s Development Committee and Fund-Raising Committee, where his role was making sure people

Students formed a circle and introduced themselves to one another and spoke about the things that were important to them. (Photo courtesy of Evan C. Jenkins) in peace-building. That was the premise of the day of events on April 10. In the afternoon, she talked to a room of 100 people about the organization, its mission and the way in which the building blocks for peace in the conflict can often begin in Maine. That evening 30 of us gathered in the same room to learn about the way in which the work of Seeds of Peace has affected the life of Somalian-born Seed, Salat Ali. Ali, a Syracuse local who talked about his difficulty assimilating into his community and the ways in which the organization helped him change his outlook about the differences between him and his American counterparts. He now channels that experience into helping educated young kids in Syracuse.

Leslie Adelson Lewin, executive director of Seeds for Peace, spoke to Syracuse University students in LIME: An IsraeliPalestinian Dialogue Group and the International Relations Club about building trust and peace (the mission of Seeds of Peace) because both student organizations believe in engaging youth in peace-building. (Photo courtesy of Evan C. Jenkins) Dialogue Group at Syracuse University. She graduated in May, 2018 with a dual degree in public relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at SU. Continued from page 1

paid their dues. He is now the chair of the Federation’s Finance Committee. Volinsky was considered instrumental in the creation of the Hebrew Interest-free Loan Program of CNY and learned of the existence of such an entity when his nephew in Detroit was starting a business and needed a loan. Subsequently, Volinsky spoke to several heads of Hebrew Free Loan Committees and worked with people from that program to create the one in Syracuse. Once he determined that there was indeed interest for the program in Syracuse, he wrote up the required documents. He said that Detroit’s program is massive, with a large staff and loans mounting in the tens of millions of dollars annually. He pointed out that not all Hebrew Free Loan

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR SU chapter of Alumni for Campus Fairness forming To the Editor: It’s no secret that many North American college campuses have become hotbeds of anti-Israel agitation. Syracuse University is no exception. A small, BDS-supporting, collection of faculty provides much of its fuel. They have repeatedly scheduled anti-Israel events coincident with significant dates on the Jewish calendar. A couple of years ago, it was on Holocaust Remembrance Day. This April, an Israel-bashing film, sponsored by 10 academic departments, was screened on Israel’s Independence Day. Hypocritically, the BDSers previously sought to bar a film festival entry, solely because the director was Israeli. There is recurrent anti-Israel programming in some academic departments, clearly impacting negatively on Jewish students. An anti-Zionist poster recently appeared in one dormitory. Even a quite anodyne Israel 70th anniversary celebratory exhibit on the Quad drew “Zionism is Racism” placards. In another instance which garnered widespread media coverage, a faculty member was so fearful that her BDS-supporting colleagues would retaliate against her for inviting a prominent Israeli film-maker to

That is when we found ourselves in a circle, shyly introducing ourselves to one another and talking about the things that were important to us. It made us all feel vulnerable; but it was eye-opening. In today’s political environment, it’s not often we get to hear from people different from ourselves, to realize that even the smallest things can bridge the divide between people on opposite sides. Universities have historically been bastions for liberalism, democracy and mobilizing youth. This event and the meaningful work that Seeds of Peace serves as a symbol of how that happened at Syracuse University. Ronit Davis is the immediate past president of LIME : An Israeli Palestinian

her conference, that she disinvited him. Also, in April, a group of BDS-promoting students participated in the disruption of an academic event featuring Ambassador Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul general in New York. A new national organization, Alumni for Campus Fairness, seeks to combat such toxic circumstances. Its stated purpose is to inform and involve alumni in fighting manifestations of antisemitism and promoting open and fair campus dialogue concerning the Arab-Israel conflict. It takes no official positions on political issues surrounding that conflict other than having the existence of Israel as a Jewish homeland with safe and secure borders. More information about ACF may be found at There are already over 20 chapters around the country. An SU chapter is now forming. Although the organization is primarily directed at alumni, students, parents and faculty are welcome to join. To become a Syracuse University chapter member, sign up at http://www.campusfairness. org/sign-up. Sincerely yours, Richard D. Wilkins

programs are affiliated with Federations. One of the associations he contacted for information was the Buffalo-area Hebrew Benevolent Loan Association, which has existed since 1897. It is one of the first Jewish free loan societies established in the U.S. and provided financial assistance to Jewish immigrants arriving from Eastern Europe. Federation Chair of the Board Ellen Weinstein said, “Steve is a most dedicated community volunteer and leader. By his actions, he truly epitomizes the spirit of tikkun olam and we as a Jewish community are so blessed by his efforts and accomplishments.”

of Central New York

Syracuse Office

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

Binghamton Office

Rabbi Rachel Esserman Executive Editor Diana Sochor Layout Editor Ilene Pinsker Assistant Editor Jenn DePersis Production Coordinator Bonnie Rozen Advertising Representative Kathy Brown Bookkeeper Production and Management The Reporter 500 Clubhouse Rd. Vestal, NY 13850

Billing Office 500 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal, NY 13850 1-800-779-7896

Jewish Federation of Central New York Inc. Web site:

Call for... Address Changes........... 315-445-2040, ext. 116 Local Articles and Announcements ......................................315-445-2040, ext. 116 ..... or e-mail Advertising:.....Bonnie 1-800-779-7896, ext. 244 ...........or e-mail Advertising Billing only............1-800-779-7896

The money to start the fund in Syracuse came from Federation reserves, and additional money will be raised to keep it going. The mission of the Hebrew Interest-free Loan Program of CNY is to offer small interest-free loans to Jewish community members at least 18 years old and who have lived in the Central New York area for at least six months or who have moved to the area for employment. Of the Roth Award, Volinsky said, “This award has been given to so many outstanding individuals. I am deeply honored to be this year’s recipient of the Esther and Joseph Roth Award. I plan to be active for a long time.” All articles, announcements and photographs must be received by noon Wednesday, 15 days prior to publication date. Articles must be typed, double spaced and include the name of a contact person and a daytime telephone number. E-mail submissions are encouraged and may be sent to The Jewish Observer reserves the right to edit any copy. Signed letters to the editor are welcomed: they should not exceed 250 words. Names will be withheld at the discretion of the editor. All material in this newspaper has been copyrighted and is exclusive property of the Jewish Observer and cannot be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. Views and opinions expressed by our writers, columnists, advertisers and by our readers do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s and editors’ points of view, nor that of the Jewish Federation of Central New York. The newspaper reserves the right to cancel any advertisements at any time. This newspaper is not liable for the content of any errors appearing in the advertisements beyond the cost of the space occupied. The advertiser assumes responsibility for errors in telephone orders. The Jewish Observer does not assume responsibility for the kashrut of any product or service advertised in this paper. THE JEWISH OBSERVER OF CENTRAL NEW YORK (USPS 000939) (ISSN 1079-9842) Publications Periodical postage paid at Syracuse, NY and other offices. Published 24 times per year by the Jewish Federation of Central New York Inc., a non-profit corporation, 5655 Thompson Road, DeWitt, NY 13214. Subscriptions: $36/year; student $10/ year. POST MASTER: Send address change to JEWISH OBSERVER OF CENTRAL NEW YORK, 5655 Thompson Road, DeWitt, NY 13214.

The Jewish Observer is a member of the American Jewish Press Association.

MAY 24, 2018/10 SIVAN 5778 ■



AROUND CENTRAL NEW YORK Rabbi Daniel Fellman received the Interfaith Leadership Award BY DIANE SACKS On May 1, Rabbi Daniel Fellman of Temple Concord was honored with the Interfaith Leadership Award at a dinner held at SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College. More than 700 people attended the event. The rabbi was honored along with seven others for helping to create and foster civil society in Central New York. He was honored for his work with InterFaithWorks, the Syracuse/Onondaga County Human Rights Commission, Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse and the Jewish Federation of Central New York. He has served on the board of each of these organizations and he also organized an interfaith trip to Israel in 2015, where he brought together people of different faiths to explore holy sites throughout Israel. He spoke of his efforts to bring people together. In his study, a sign hangs over the doorway that says, “da

L-r: InterFaith Works Chair of the Board Shiu Kai Chin, InterFaith Works President/CEO Beth Broadway, Rabbi Daniel Fellman and honorary co-chairs of the event Eric and Judy Mower. The rabbi was honored with the Interfaith Leadership Award.

lifnai mi atah omed,” or “know before whom you stand.” The sign was an ordination gift from Rabbi Fellman’s own childhood rabbi, Paul Drazen. “I put the sign above the doorway because I wanted to remind myself whenever anybody walks in, that they are somebody unique, they are somebody holy and they are somebody worthy of blessing. That idea motivates and defines a lot of what I do,” Fellman said. The rabbi said that much work remains, “I love the idea that ‘the arc of the universe bends toward justice.’ My sense has always been that sometimes we have to reach up and yank down that arc to get it moving a little faster!” The rabbi was honored along with Dennis Baldwin, Rev. Fredrick Daley, Melanie Littlejohn, Peggy Ogden, Rev. Dr. Peter Shidemantle, Dr. Yusuf Soule and Dr. Keith Alford, who spoke on behalf of all the honorees at the dinner.

JCC pools open May 26, group swim lessons start June 4 BY WILLIAM WALLAK The warmer weather and extended daylight hours are sure signs that Central New York’s outdoor swimming season is almost here. The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse will kick off this summertime tradition with the opening of its outdoor heated pools on Saturday, May 26, at 10 am. The JCC’s learn-to-swim group swimming lessons will begin on Monday, June 4, and continue throughout the summer. The pool will remain open through Labor Day. The JCC has two outdoor heated pools. There’s a small shallow pool which is ideal for small children who are non-swimmers. The large pool features both shallow and deep ends and a designated diving area and lap swim section. The JCC will offer group swimming lessons for children and semi-private and private lessons for children and adults seven days a week. Taught by Red Cross-certified instructors, swimmers of all skill levels are welcome.

Infants as young as six months, older children and adults can start learning to swim. There are also lessons geared toward advanced swimmers. JCC membership is not required to take swimming lessons, however members receive a discount. “We’re excited to be opening up the pools and offering our members another form of fun summertime recreation,” said Marci Erlebacher, JCC executive director. “The pools are such a focal point here over the summer for children attending camp, families spending time together and people taking swim lessons. I think everyone is looking forward to getting out in the sun and making a splash.” Experts say that exercising in a pool is a “great way to get the body moving and heart pumping.” Once again this summer the JCC’s Neulander Family Sports and Fitness Center will offer its aqua fitness class three times a week – on Mondays from 6-6:45 pm, Tuesdays from 1212:45 pm and Thursdays from 8:15-9 am. It is designed See “Pools” on page 4

Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center senior dining menu MAY 28-JUNE 1 Monday – Memorial Day – closed Tuesday – chef salad with dinner roll Wednesday – tomato basil soup with grilled cheese sandwich Thursday – baked ziti with dinner roll Friday – fresh salmon with dill JUNE 4-8 Monday – crispy teriyaki chicken Tuesday – chef salad, dinner roll Wednesday – beef stew over noodles Thursday – hot corned beef on rye Friday – roast turkey


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

Pictured is the JCC’s large outdoor heated pool. The JCC also has a small, shallow, heated pool (located between the large pool and the building), which is ideal for small children who are non-swimmers. The JCC’s pools open Saturday, May 26 at 10 am.



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



Wednesday, May 23..............................June 7 Wednesday, June 6..............................June 21 Tuesday, July 3, early......................... July 19 Wednesday, July 18.......................... August 2

DONATE YOUR CAR TO BETH SHOLOM, CONCORD, OR THE JCC, THRU C*A*R*S (a locally owned Manlius company)

“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

Visit the JO online at and click on Jewish Observer


JEWISH OBSERVER ■ MAY 24, 2018/10 SIVAN 5778

CONGREGATIONAL NOTES Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas CBS-CS HAZAK PRESENTS “FROM JEWISH MUSIC TO LAUGHTER” FEATURING CANTOR MARVIN MOSKOWITZ As Cantor Marvin Moskowitz was unable to perform his program “From Jewish Music to Laughter” in 2017, he will present the program on Sunday, June 24, at 10:30 am, at Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas. The cantor will combine the “emotions of yesteryear” with the “upbeat sounds of today’s ruach.” His repertoire includes a variety of Hebrew, Israeli, Yiddish, cantorial and English songs, along with a variety of “fun songs,” where he takes an English song and transposes it into a “humorous Jewish theme” such as those from the Borscht Belt, e.g. “Duvid Crocket: King of Delancey Street.” As a cantor, his goal is to “arouse the soul of the worshipper” by adding feeling and deep meaning to the prayers. He wishes to “inspire his fellow Jews to

feel the beauty of Judaism through his chanting and music.” The cantor’s music ims to address many needs, and the humor is intended to add the Jews’ ability to be able to laugh at any situation. He received his diploma from the Cantorial School of the Beltz School of Jewish Music at Yeshiva University. His first position was at Ahavath Achim in Brooklyn, NY. After six years there and six years at Brith Sholom-Beth Israel in Charleston, SC, he and his family moved to Syracuse in 1983, when he took the position as cantor at Temple Beth El. The cantor is the religious director of Menorah Park. He conducts the High Holiday services at Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation. He also works for the Va’ad Ha’ir as the mashgiach, and teaches at the Syracuse Hebrew Day School. Cantor Moskowitz has provided entertainment with his musical programs in many places. The program is free and open to the community. Refreshments will be available.

Temple Concord GOLDENBERG SERIES PRESENTS JEFFERSON QUARTET ON JUNE 5 BY CHANA MEIR The Jefferson Quartet will perform at Temple Concord as part of the Regina F. Goldenberg Series on Tuesday, June 5, at 7 pm. The concert will feature concertmaster Peter Rovit, pianist Ida Trebicka and violist Arvilla Rovit performing four pieces by Max Bruch for violin, viola and piano. Violinist Edgar Tumajyan and cellist Lindsay Groves will join the group for the Shostakovich Quinten for piano and strings. The core group is comprised of members of Symphoria and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. The Goldenberg Series events are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. For more information, contact the TC office at 315-475-9952 or office@ TEMPLE CONCORD TO HOLD B’NOT MITZVAH FOR FOUR CONGREGANTS ON JUNE 1 BY STEWART KOENIG Four women will become b’not mitzvah at Temple Concord’s Shabbat service on Friday, June 1, at 6 pm. Barbara Blumberg, Micaela Cooper, Meryl Lefkowicz and Chana Meir have studied together and will read from the Torah at the service. Rabbi Daniel Fellman said, “We are all

Pools to improve overall cardiovascular fitness

and flexibility, this group exercise class is set to music and will get participants moving. All ages are welcome. The class is free for JCC Fitness members. The JCC of Syracuse pool is a members-only benefit featuring open freeswim and lap-swim times. Guests are welcome to purchase a pool pass and

so proud of these women who will become b’not mitzvah. They have worked hard over two years, learning Jewish history, philosophy, holidays and liturgy. All four are wonderful examples of adult learners!” In the first year, the group was primarily taught by the rabbi, with a focus on history and culture. In year two, Cantor Kari Siegel Eglash concentrated on the structure of the service – Hebrew, chanting and the Torah parasha. Bat mitzvah Chana Meir said, “This experience is even more meaningful to me because I’m sharing it with Micki, Meryl and Barb. We all started out from different places and we’ve really bonded and grown together as we’ve worked toward making this new, deeper commitment to our faith. And we’ve had a lot of laughs along the way, too.” The service is open to the public. DIASPORA DINNER – COMMUNITY IS INVITED TO DINE AND LEARN ABOUT JEWISH SPAIN On Tuesday, June 19, Temple Concord will explore Spain as part of its Jewish Diaspora dinner series. Participants will meet for a 6:30 pm dinner at Laci’s Tapas Bar, 304 Hawley Ave., Syracuse, where Rabbi Fellman will discuss the Jewish communities of Spain. The dinner is open to the public. Reservations may be made by calling the TC office at 315-475-9952. Continued from page 3 swim when accompanied by a member. The JCC pool also may be booked by members and non-members for pool parties celebrating birthdays and other special occasions. For more information about the JCC of Syracuse pool, including swimming lessons and other schedules, call 315-4452360 or visit

The Oys and Joys parent group at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on May 6. L-r: Arel Moodie, Steven Sperber, Ethan Sperber, Elana Shever, Daniel Shever, Yolanda Febles, Davin Moodie, Stephanie Shirilan, Lyra Shirilan-Howlett, Ari ReckessSherlock, Gila Reckess, Emma Graber, Bella Graber and Melissa Harkavy.

Temple Adath Yeshurun SPECIAL SHABBAT On Saturday, June 2, Temple Adath Yeshurun will host a musical Mishpacha Shabbat, featuring Ba’alat Tefillah Esa Jaffe, with the TAY adult choir. Shabbat morning services begin at 9:15 am. Mishpacha Shabbat will begin at 10:30 am and offers services for every age: Tot Shabbat for children birth to 5 years old, junior congregation for children in grades one to five, and sixth- through eighth-graders helping in the main service. The day will will also include several high school students being honored for their commitment to volunteerism, Jewish life and Temple Adath Yeshurun. The Samuel B. and Jeannette Yellin Scholastic Achievement Award and the A. Solomon Menter Educational Excellence Award were both created to honor students in the congregation who demonstrate a commitment and dedication to Jewish education and the synagogue. The Yellin Award is given to a student who attends the Rabbi Jacob H. Epstein School of Jewish Studies and who has shown a commitment to expanding their Jewish knowledge. The Menter Award is for a student post bar/ bat mitzvah who has shown a dedication to education and a commitment to the religious school. Sam and Jeannette Yellin and Abe Menter were all dedicated to Temple Adath Yeshurun and were congregational leaders. They worked to further the children’s education and volunteered their time to make the synagogue a better place. The awards this year will be given to seven high school students who embody the characteristics of those for whom the awards are named. All seven students attend the Epstein School. They also volunteer in the religious school, help lead junior congregation services, read Torah and regularly attend Shabbat services.

This year’s Menter Award will be given to Sophie Scheer, Rachel Scheer, Peri Lowenstein and Edwin Hirsh. The Yellin Award will be given to Ryan Hinshaw, Kara Meltzer and Alexis Snell. HAZAK The Temple Adath Yeshurun chapter of Hazak is planning summer activities and is beginning membership renewal, which is due by August 1. On Wednesday, June 6, at 11 am, the group will have a 90-minute tour of the WCNY (public television) studios on Wyoming Street, off West Fayette Street, in Syracuse. Elevators are available and there is street parking. There is no cost to attend the program. Reservations are required by Wednesday, May 30. The group will host a pizza party at Trapper’s on Butternut Drive in DeWitt, on Thursday, July 12, at 5 pm. There is a cost for the party. At 6:30 pm, there will be a classic rock and roll concert by Mark Zane at Ryder Park in DeWitt. The concert is free and open to the public. Those who don’t attend the pizza party can meet the group at Ryder Park. Paid reservations for the pizza party are due by Thursday, July 5. TAY Hazak is collecting manufacturers’ coupons, which are then donated to the Syracuse Vet Center. The center counsels active and retired service members, and is located on Pine Street in Syracuse. Coupons may be left in the basket in the temple foyer. Hazak is open to Jews 55 and older. There are monthly events, which feature social, educational, or religious programs. There is a modest cost to join. All are welcome. For more information and reservations, contact JoAnn Grower at 315-463-9762, Joanne Greenhouse at 315-446-3592 or e-mail

FORGET THE CITY BLUES, COME JOIN US IN SYRACUSE, NY! June 8th-10th, 2018 Visitors will enjoy a weekend engaging with the vibrant and friendly local Jewish community. Spend a wonderful Shabbat within the warm Orthodox community of Sha’arei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse (STOCS), including meals, programming and speakers. , an eruv, a mikvah, a home for the elderly, kosher dining and ice cream parlor, a Hebrew day school and local access to kosher food. Then have brunch at the JCC while exploring real job opportunities and excellent housing possibilities. Please email for further information.

On May 2, approximately 25 members of the TAY Hazak group attended a program by Barbara Baum on Jewish artists. The group discussed and interpreted the art that Baum presented – including some of her own. L-r: Eileen Blair, Barbara Baum, Ellie Andrews, Ceil Cohen and Steve Meltzer.

summer 2018

Published by the Jewish

Federation of Greater Binghamton

May 2018

Page 2A - Summer Fun

Syracuse Jewish Music and Cultural Festival set for Aug. 5 The 19 Syracuse Jewish Music and Cultural Festival has been set for Sunday, August 5, from noon-5:30 pm, at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt, NY. This event is the largest of its kind outside of New York City. “As always, the music is the main draw,” said Vicki Feldman, co-chair woman of the event. “But we have terrific kosher foods that reflect both Middle Eastern and Eastern European favorites, beer and wine to keep you cool, and a variet y of artisans and vendors. We have a Grammy-nominated children’s entertainment duo on the main stage – The Pop-Ups – from New York Cit y. There’s free parking on and around the JCC campus.” th

At left: Adrianne Greenbaum and FleytMuzik entertained the crowd as the 2017 Jewish Music and Cultural Festival.

Kids’ activities will once again include the Kids Tent, hosted by the Jewish Community Center; the Robert Rogers Puppet Theater; face painting; and PJ Library. The music schedule is as follows: � noon-1 pm – Farah

� 1:30-2:30 pm – The Pop-Ups (fun for the entire family) � 3-4:15 pm – Susan Hoffman Watts Jewish Music Ensemble � 4:30-5:30 pm – Keyna Hora Klezmer Band � 5:45-6 pm – Community open music jam

Catering by The Oaks at Menorah Park will provide a great selection of kosher foods, under Va’ad supervision, including corned beef, knishes, kosher hot dogs, falafel, kugel, beer and kosher wine. Carvel will also be on site with its festival ice cream offerings. The event is sponsored by Price Chopper, Reisman Foundation, Pomeranz, Shankman, and Martin Trust, Jewish Federation of Central New York, Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center, a state grant secured by Senator John A. DeFrancisco, Paul B. and Georgina H. Roth Charitable Foundation, Jewish Observer, CNY Arts, M&T Bank, Syracuse New Times and Key Bank. For more information, visit the festival’s website at

Luzerne County – fun for all ages and interests Welcome to Luzerne County, nestled in the foothills of the scenic Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania, where you can find all your fun. Explore its miles of trails or paddle its waterways. Looking for sporting fun? Hit the tees, watch the Yankees’ AAA team, The RailRiders, in their new stadium – or enjoy cool thrills with the Penguins, a Pittsburgh

Penguins hockey affiliate, or on the slopes at Montage Mountain Resort. Indulge at Mohegan Sun Pocono with its full-of-life attitude, featuring gaming and harness racing. Did someone say entertainment? Applaud a performance at one of Luzerne County’s many theaters and venues, located everywhere from the top of a mountain to an under-the-stars setting.

Snake Creek Marine

Snake Creek Marine is a third generation, family-run business located in Montrose, PA. It has been a Mercury dealer since 1972 and Starcraft dealer since 1974. Stop in and check out the inventory of Starcraft fiberglass runabouts, Arima fishing boats, aluminum fishing boats and pontoons. Snake Creek Marine also sells boat lifts and boating accessories. Accessories help to make your boat unique to your needs.

Items such as global positioning systems (or GPS), extra seating, rod storage, draw plugs and bikini tops, just to name a few accessories, are among the many products displayed in the vast showroom. Snake Creek Marine’s helpful staff can get you on the water and keep you there. For further information, visit Snake Creek Marine’s Web site at www.snakecreekmarine. net or call 570-967-2109 or 1-800-453-3820.

Travel through the five regions that make up Luzerne County and discover what makes each one special” North River is home to Wilkes-Barre and Pittston, hubs for quality dining and shopping. Wilkes-Barre is home to hotspots like the Mohegan Sun Casino and the Mohegan Sun Arena. Hazleton and West Hazleton lay along the Southern Crossroads. Rooted in the rich story of anthracite coal mining that helped fuel the growth of the nation, history comes alive on the streets of Eckley Miners Village, just one of the area’s historical gems. The Pocono Plateau, in the eastern part of the county, is where you’ll find the elevated towns of Mountain Top, Bear Creek and White Haven. Discover plenty of opportunities to get outside and explore nature, including rafting the Lehigh River or hiking the D&L Black Diamond Trail. The Back Mountain holds even more for the outdoor enthusiast, like Ricketts Glen State Park, with 22 named waterfalls, and Frances Slocum State Park. Taste the best homemade ice cream at The Lands at Hillside Farms, where you can visit the animals and shop like a local.

One of the waterfalls in Ricketts Glen State Park in Luzerne County. Charming towns full of history make up the South Valley. Bike the Susquehanna Warrior Trail or browse the little shops in Nescopeck, and mark your calendar for the annual Briggs Farm Blues Festival, taking place this year from July 5-8.

May 2018

Page 3A - Summer Fun

Annual Arts and Wine Festival in Cortland on Aug. 4 Join the Cultural Council of Cortland County at the 12th Annual Arts and Wine Festival on August 4. The festival will run between 10 am and 5 pm at Courthouse Park in downtown Cortland. The cultural event is open to the public and offers fun for the whole family. The festival will feature local artists, crafters, musicians, food vendors and wineries. The Children’s Art Tent will offer free artistic activities for kids, including a sidewalk art contest beginning at 11 am. The day’s schedule will also include musical guests Crown City Brass, Steve Daniels, Answer the Muse, John West, Clinton String Duo, Fall Creek Brass and the JazzHappensBand. Festival admission is free, but admission to the Wine Tent is $16 online in advance, or $20 at the door. Only those 21 and older will be allowed entry to the wine tent and a legal

The Cultural Council of Cortland County will present the annual Cortland Arts and Wine Festival on August 4. ID is required. Each Wine Tent ticket includes tastings from 20 local wineries. The first 1,000 to purchase tickets will

receive a free commemorative wine glass with their purchase. All proceeds of the festival will benefit the Cultural Council of Cortland County, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage, promote and sustain arts and culture in Cortland Count y in order to enhance and enrich the qualit y of life. The Council could not continue to offer events like the Arts and Wine Festival without the support of the Cortland communit y, so festival organizers and the Council appreciate your support. For more information about the festival, visit, e-mail culturalcouncil3@ or call 607-753-1188. “We hope you will join us on August 4 in celebration of the arts!” say festival organizers.

Summer theater season at Auburn Public Theater Auburn Public Theater is a nonprofit arts center located in the heart of downtown Auburn, NY. Since 2006, its mission has been to enrich the social, cultural and economic growth of our region by bringing people together through affordable access to live performance, cinema, arts education and community events. Known for dynamic and engaging live programming, The Auburn, as it’s become known, offers vibrant performance series including comedy, music and theater. Every other month, you can find a hilarious comedian along with local openers on its stage. From Judy Gold to Paul Elia, The Auburn is committed to bringing high-quality talent and diversity to Auburn. September through August The Auburn invites an eclectic line-up of national and international music acts to the Main Stage, while also making sure to highlight the fantastic talent we have here on a local and regional level. From Syracuse groups to national recording artists like Lee Ann Womack and David Bromberg, The Auburn is committed to providing affordable, accessible musical experiences for Central New York.

The Auburn offers theatrical performanc“My Son the Waiter” is based on actor/ comedian Brad Zimmerman’s poignant, es year-round, highlighted by its summer hilarious and inspiring true story about the theater season. This summer, there is a pargrit and passion required to “make it” as an ticularly entertaining and hilarious line-up, artist, and the sweet rewards that come from including the return of The Calamari Sisters never giving up on your dream. Specifically, with a brand new show, the vaudevillian Zimmerman moved to New York City and Durante!, and”My Son the Waiter: A Jewish “temporarily” waited tables for 29 years, while Tragedy.” Make sure you come on out to continuing to pursue his dream of comedic Auburn for one of these great shows and acting. He never gave up and, many years try one of Auburn’s great restaurants before or after the show. The Calamari Sisters The Auburn Public Theater’s later, he opened for Joan Rivers and the run July 5-8, and Durante! runs July 12-14, summer theater season will George Carlin, and now has his own touring with Grover Kemble taking audiences on a open with “My Son the Waiter: show that is as profound as it is entertaining. rollicking, nostalgic jaunt through the life A Jewish Tragedy” June 28-30. Make sure you catch his rare Central New York appearance. of American singer, actor, comedian and Auburn Public Theater is committed to creating a vibrant popular entertainer Jimmy Durante. But first, the Summer theater season will opes with the atmosphere in downtown Auburn. Come on down and hilarious “My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy” from June check us out this summer for its theater season! There is 28-30. Hailed in The New York Times as a “great comedy,” something for everyone – see you at The Auburn!

Merry-Go-Round Playhouse offers Youth Theatre, Theatre Festival Playhouse, in Auburn’s lakefront Headquartered in Auburn, Emerson Park. Merry-Go-Round Playhouse Inc. The festival has expanded incorporates two distinct theatrical to include a new works series entities: The Finger Lakes Musical called The PiTCH, presented at Theatre Festival and Merry-Gothe Carriage House Theater in Round Youth Theatre. Originally downtown Auburn. The PiTCH offering youth drama classes as encourages audience input into the Auburn Children’s Theatre, the development of new musicals Merry-Go-Round Playhouse was per a condensed performance and founded in 1958 and is celebrating Q&A session. Previous PiTCH its 60th anniversary as an organizaThe “Hot Box girls” performed a routine in “Guys collaborators have gone on to furtion in 2018. The Merry-Go-Round Youth and Dolls” in 2017. (Photo by Ron Heerkens Jr. ther produce their pieces, including Theatre is the largest touring chil- / GF Media) 2017 contributor “Anne of Green dren’s theatre in upstate New York and one of the largest in the country. The Youth Theatre touring company reaches more than 100,000 students, in more than 70 school districts across the state, through its curriculum-based, multi-discipline Sequential Dramatics Program. (NewsUSA) – It’s the season of sunshine and road trips Youth Theatre programming has grown to include programs like Junior Stars, where students learn the fundamentals of the- – and if you want to get the most out of your four-wheeled atrical performance, and All Access, where participants take an adventure, pack a map to go along with that electronic GPS. “The best reason to keep paper maps in your vehicle, espeactive look behind the scenes of a Festival production, and learn the moves from professionals. For more information on in-school cially on long road trips, is because GPS isn’t always reliable,” says Cynthia Ochterbeck, editorial director of Michelin Travel programming and class programs, visit The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival presents classic Partner, “A printed map is one of the and contemporary works for a diverse audience to spur social most important tools a traveler in an unfamiliar setting can have awareness and cultural development in the local area. Located – it is easy to use and it allows you to make decisions on route in the picturesque Finger Lakes wine region of Central New changes if necessary. Plus, you don’t risk getting lost when you lose York, four hours from New York City and situated between the signal or the battery dies on your cell phone or GPS device.” Another benefit is that printed maps provide efficient ways Syracuse, Rochester and Ithaca, the festival is one of the largest producing musical theatre organizations in New York state of understanding road networks that surround particular outside of New York City. Annual performances take place areas. Some new maps even have a “not-to-be-missed” event at the Preston H. Thomas Theatre in the Merry-Go-Round calendar for regions in an easy-to-fold system.

GPS isn’t foolproof – keep a paper map

Gables,” which will make the leap onto the festival’s main stage during the 2018 season. The 2018 festival season, running from June through October at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, includes global smash hit “Mamma Mia!” (June 6-27); “Anne of Green Gables: A New Folk Rock Musical” direct from the 2017 PiTCH season (July 5-25); “Holiday Inn,” an Irving Berlin musical (August 1-22); “Murder for Two,” a musical comedy murder mystery “whodunit”(August 29-September 15); and “Beehive,” a tribute to the women of 1960s rock, pop and soul music. The PiTCH will also be running July 11-August 10 at The Carriage House Theater in downtown Auburn. For more information on any of the shows or programs, or to purchase tickets, call 315-255-1785 or visit

May 2018

Page 4A - Summer Fun

Summer concerts and fall performances at the Anderson Center at BU Binghamton University’s Anderson Center for the Performing Arts has been bringing world-class cultural programming to the region for more than three decades, and its upcoming 2018-2019 season is no exception. From blues to disco, ballet to acrobatics, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. First things first, though – it’s time to slide open the walls and prep the lawn seats for two exciting summer concerts! Summer kicks off in a big way on June 13, at 8 pm, with a performance by Grammy-winning blues outfit the Robert Cray Band. Cray is considered one of the pre-eminent guitarists of his generation – a talent of the caliber of B.B. King or Buddy Guy – who rose to prominence in the 1980s for a series of crossover radio hits like “Smokin’ Gun.” With his band and as a solo artist, Cray has recorded 20 studio albums, toured the world, released a series of signature Fender Stratocasters, and shared the stage with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Eric Clapton. His stop at the Anderson Center is in support of his latest release,

plent y to see at the Anderson Center. On “Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm,” which came October 24, the Chinese Warriors of Peking out this past April. will take the stage, presenting a show that On August 14, the Anderson Center is part acrobatics, part martial arts and part steps back into the ‘70s for an evening theater. On November 19, Ballet Folklórico of disco with the world’s foremost ABBA de México will make its much-anticipated tribute act, aptly titled ABBA: The Concert. return to campus after more than two dePerformances of “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia” and “Waterloo” will transport concertcades away. In 2019, audiences can expect performances by the Shanghai Opera Symgoers back in time, offering up the what has been called the most authentic experience phony Orchestra (Februar y 12), the Russian short of seeing the original band live. (The The Robert Cray Band will National Ballet (March 27) and jazz greats original ABBA recently announced plans bring its Grammy-winning the Fred Hersch Trio (April 4). to record for the first time in 35 years, but blues sound to Binghamton Show times, tickets and more information in lieu of live shows, they’ll be producing University’s Anderson Center can be found online at anderson.binghamton. a series of holographic concerts that utilize on June 13 at 8 pm. edu, or by calling the box office at 607digital avatars.) Expect dancing, jiving and 777-ARTS. The Anderson Center for the having the time of your life. Performing Arts is located on the campus of Binghamton As summer turns into fall and fall into winter, there’s still University, 4400 Vestal Pkwy. E., Vestal, NY.

There’s plenty of summer camp fun and adventure for children and teens to experience at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center, in Syracuse, NY, this year! The JCC’s Camp Joe and Lynne Romano summer day camp will run weekdays for eight weeks from June 25 through August 17. There will be plenty of non-stop excitement, fun and adventure for everyone to experience. Each week, campers will have a blast making new friends and participating in enriching activities. There’s nothing boring about summer camp at the JCC as campers go swimming and are kept active every day. Camp enrollment is broken out into three different age groups. The early childhood camp is for children 6-weeks old through entering kindergarten, school-age camp is open

to children entering grades one-six and the SyraCruisin’ teen travel camp is for teens entering grades seven-10. Each camp day begins and ends at the JCC on 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt. Depending on the camp, some campers may go off-site for scheduled field trips and specialty camp activities. Early and late care options are available for all campers. The JCC’s more than 30 specialty camps for school-age children allow kids to explore a specific interest area for an entire week. In addition to staples such as gymnastics, art, rocketry and fishing, two new specialty camps that have been added this year – “Cheerleading” and “Coding and Engineering” – are sure to be instant hits. Young teens ages 14 and 15 looking to take on some responsibility should check out the camp aide and counselor in training (or CIT) programs. They offer many opportunities to hone teamwork and leadership skills. Camp Romano registration is currently in full swing. Register your child anytime right up until the start of camp on June 25 and throughout the summer prior to the start of each camp session. But don’t delay – spots go quickly and some school-age specialty camp sessions closeout early. Except for the camp aide and counselor in training teen programs, current JCC membership is not necessary for Camp Romano registration. However, JCC members receive discounted camp rates. A discount for siblings is also available. For more information about the JCC’s summer camp, and to request the camp program guide, call 315-445-2360 or visit

JCC summer camp fun is just around the corner

Campers and counselors in the JCC’s Camp Joe and Lynne Romano school-age Nitzanim camp last year got creative making a mural on the sidewalk. The 2018 JCC Camp Romano season will run from June 25-August 17.

Summer events at the Binghamton Zoo The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park is looking for ward to spending summer 2018 with you! From Zoo School for the kids, to its special events throughout the summer, there’s no excuse to stay inside this season. T he B i ng ha m t on Magnus the coyote is one of many Zoo’s special events cal- residents at the Binghamton Zoo endar is highlighted by at Ross Park. three big events. For those 21 and up, Zoo Brew and Wine Too is the perfect event to kick off your summer. Come to the zoo on June 16 and raise a glass for conservation. Local and regional breweries and wineries will be stationed throughout the zoo offering samples of their best beers and wines. July is the perfect time for ice cream, and the zoo will once again host an Ice Cream Safari on July 14. Bring the family for this evening event and head out on a sweet expedition for ice cream and your favorite zoo animals. Guests will stop at five stations, each featuring a different flavor. The first 300 kids to come to Ice Cream Safari will receive a safari hat to wear during the event. The biggest event of the summer returns on August 22. Tame your hunger at the 27th annual Feast with the Beasts! This event showcases more than 25 New York and Pennsylvania restaurants and wineries. A wide variety of specialty cuisines, desserts and wines will be available for the evening. In addition to the many food and drink samples, guests may take part in a silent auction and basket raffle for the chance to win some amazing prizes. Tickets are now on sale for all three of these great events. Purchase online at, or stop by the zoo’s ticket booth during normal operating hours. A complete special events and promotions calendar is also available on the zoo’s website. In addition to a wild time at its special events this summer, the Binghamton Zoo is once again hosting Summer Zoo School. This is a great opportunity for children to learn about the diversity of the animal kingdom, important relationships between humans and animals, and so much more. Sessions are available in July and August for kids ages 4-13 years old. Zoo School registration is available online or by phone at 607-724-5461, ext. 235.

MAY 24, 2018/10 SIVAN 5778 ■

Seniors working out at the JCC BY ANKUR DANG She lifts 50 pounds like a boss, does 30 shoulder crunches and another 20 standing push-ups. She would like to do more, but building muscle is not why she’s at the gym. Her real concern is balance because she is 96 years old. “That would be the concern of any 96-year-old,” said Marion Stanislaw after completing her last set on the leg press. “When I first started coming here, I was somewhat frail and unsteady, but now I feel 20 years younger. My daughter says, ‘Mom, you look stronger every time I see you.’” Stanislaw has been a member of the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s Neulander Family Sports and Fitness Center for almost a year and she says that she would recommend it to everybody. “There is something here for everyone,” said Stanislaw. “Young, old, big, small, athletic… if you want to be steadier and stronger, [the trainers] will help you get there. If you want to lose 60 pounds, they will make sure you do it. And if you want to train for the Olympics, they will get you there as well.” Joe Yager, Stanislaw’s personal trainer and an independent contractor with the JCC, says he is impressed by her enthusiasm. “She puts in a lot of effort and she is very punctual,” he says. “But that’s not surprising. She was a nurse during World War II and she’s seen some tough things.” Yager also works with other seniors who work out at the JCC. In addition to personal training clients, he holds



Ninety-six-year-old JCC Fitness Center member Marion Stanislaw is pictured working out in the JCC’s adult fitness room.

JCC Fitness Center member Esther Hurwitz worked out recently during an Exercise Chair class.

a weekly group exercise class that focuses on balance and strength training through the use of a specially-designed exercise chair. “We have a lot of fun in this class even though he makes us work so hard,” jokes Domenica Cappa, a student in the chair class. “Joe is a good teacher. And he’s funny.” The environment of easy familiarity and comfort is not unique to the exercise chair class. A number of other group exercise classes like Yoga, NIA (Neuromuscular Integrative Action), Tai Chi and Pilates are also offered, and in each of those, the instructors and students work together as a team to accomplish goals of physical and emotional wellness.

And after they are done working out, some of the seniors head down to the JCC’s Anne and Hy Miller Family Auditorium for a kosher lunch. After all, staying healthy is about both diet and exercise. The JCC Fitness Center features on-staff personal trainers and independent contractor trainers. The on-staff trainers are Patrick Scott, JCC sports and fitness director, and Michael Knapp. The other independent contractor personal trainers are Larry Baiz Jr., John Hawley, Tia McIntyre and Ben Rayland. For more information on senior exercise classes and programs at the JCC Fitness Center, call 315-234-4522 or visit

“Everybody’s Birthright Experience” BY CARIN M. SMILK (JNS) – Monica Smolyar is like any other 21-year-old. She wants to get out and see the world. One of the places she always dreamed of visiting was Israel. She has a lot of family there, and her parents have been to the Jewish state many times to see them. Her older brother, Ari, went on a two-week trip in ninth grade and studied there for four months when he was a senior in Jewish day school. “She was enthralled by the idea,” says her mother, Suzanne. “She had done some travel through summer camp, but nothing major. The main thing was that she wanted to go on her own. And if she wants something, there is literally no way to stop her.” Monica, however, is not like every other 21-year-old. The resident of West Orange, NJ, has been diagnosed with severe ADD and has learning disabilities. Meaning, a trip abroad would be not only challenging, but downright difficult. “In my wildest dreams, I could not imagine that Monica would go on her own,” says Suzanne. But she did. They came across a Birthright Israel trip sponsored by Friendship Circle, which Monica has been involved with for about 10 years. And even though Suzanne and her husband, Alexander, were a little nervous, their daughter got on a plane last summer – and had the time of her life. “She fell in love with the land itself,” says Suzanne. “That’s something you can’t teach; you need to experience it for yourself.” Monica notes that there were two places she really wanted to see: the beach in Tel Aviv, which she had read a lot about before going, and the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem. As for the latter, the Kotel, she says: “I wanted to see if God could hear me there. If I could really feel Him.” While those may have been her personal highlights, Monica adds that she enjoyed many aspects of the 10day trip. She liked the water-rafting and the Jeep ride, though she says the hikes were challenging. She liked eating falafel from the street stands and spending time with her Israeli cousins. She liked learning about Israel’s battles and eventual independence, and about the history of the Second Temple. A very social person, Monica liked


White-water rafting in Israel was a highlight for many of the participants on a Birthright Israel trip for young adults with special needs. (Photo courtesy of The Friendship Circle) being with her peers, meeting new people and having freedoms she doesn’t necessarily get at home. Truth be told, she liked just about everything. And she can’t wait to go back. Her mother says all Monica talks about is the trip and the friends she made, which her mother thinks is “phenomenal.” “It can be hard for kids with special needs to make friends,” explains Suzanne. “She came home knowing new people, and now exchanges messages, sees others from the trip and chats with them on Facebook. And she seemed a bit more mature when she got back; after all, she had to take care of herself. She’s also more focused on Judaism. On every level, this trip appealed to her.” This December, the Smolyars will be traveling to Israel as a family to attend a cousin’s bar mitzvah, and

for Monica, who says she’ll go back “any day, any time,” it couldn’t be soon enough. Also on the trip was Julian Reiss, a fellow Friendship Circle participant. Julian lives with his parents, Allan Reiss and Cornelia Peckman in New Jersey; his older brother, Albert, is a graduate student at Brandeis University. The 21-year-old, who has autism, is in his last six months at a therapeutic school and enjoys art, reading, sports and going to synagogue. Julian says his mother saw an advertisement for the trip at Friendship Circle and asked if he wanted to go to Israel. He didn’t really know what to expect, but knew from Hebrew school that “Israel is the home of the Jews.” To help with background and get “the full Israel experience,” his mother gave him a bunch of books, including “Exodus” by Leon Uris, which he read while there. Julian notes that he didn’t speak as well last summer as he does now, and so communicating was hard. (In fact, when sent a list of questions about his trip, he took the time to write out the answers, and afterward spoke

Visit the JO online at and click on Jewish Observer

See “Birthright” on page 8


JEWISH OBSERVER ■ MAY 24, 2018/10 SIVAN 5778

D’VAR TORAH The blessings of Judaism, parashat Naso BY JEANETTE POWELL Parashat Naso is one of the longest of the parashiyot, and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes, “Yet one of its most moving passages, and the one that has had the greatest impact over the course of history, is very short indeed and is known by almost every Jew, namely the priestly blessing.” It has greater importance in its message for us today than the rest of the parasha. The Birkat Kohanim sets the stage for what we need to do in our lives and how we need to live. In “The Five Books of Moses,” Everett Fox translated, “God spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aharon and to his sons saying: Thus are you to bless the Children of Israel; Say to them: May God bless you and keep you!

May God shine His face upon you and favor you! May God lift up His face toward you and grant you shalom!’ So are they to put My name upon the Children of Israel that I Myself may bless them.” Rabbi Alyson Solomon comments, “Even before the children of Israel receive the Ten Commandments, they are told by God, ‘you are to be a mamlekhet Kohanim,’ a kingdom of priests.” One of our first communal obligations is to act as a nation of Kohanim. How do we manifest this proclamation? How are we to embody this task in our daily lives and bring it into our homes, our places of work, and our world? To shed light on our role as a mamlekhet Kohanim, this week’s parasha offers helpful insight into one of the core responsibilities of the


Hannah Bach, daughter of Michelle and Alan Bach of Liverpool, became bat mitzvah at Temple Adath Yeshurun on May 12. She is the granddaughter of Phil and Sandra Schwartz of Jamesville, and Lorraine Bach and the late Herbert Bach of Flushing, NY. She attends the TAY Religious School and the Syracuse Community Hebrew School. She is a student at Roxboro Road Middle Hannah Bach School in Liverpool. She enjoys drawing, singing, reading and playing the piano. For her mitzvah project, she made a donation and collected supplies for the SPCA and Paws of Oswego.

Joshua I. Lefkowicz

Joshua I. Lefkowicz, son of Melissa E. Lefkowicz and John D. Lacirignola of Manlius, became bar mitzvah on May 5 at Temple Concord. He is the grandson of Meryl Lefkowicz and Jeffrey Lefkowicz of Manlius, and Kathy Lacirignola and John L. Lacirignola of Oak Ridge, NJ. He attends the Syracuse Community Hebrew School and Joshua I. Lefkowicz the Temple Concord Religious School, and is a student at Eagle Middle School. He enjoys snowboarding, soccer, archery, camping, hiking, running and ice skating.

priests of the Temple, namely, to bless the people. As the Kohanim transmitted God’s blessing to the Israelites, we, too, must transmit God’s blessing to all people. To bless others is to serve as conduits of God’s blessing, God’s generosity and God’s light. Blessing opens a channel for holiness to enrich the lives of both those who bless and those who are blessed. By blessing others, we become channels of the Divine. According to Rabbi Arthur Green, “[In the act of blessing,] we make a statement of mutual relationship, that we are givers as well as receivers. To be blessed is to be protected by God and to bless others is to contribute to the protection and welfare of those whom we are blessing.” The image of God as Rabbi Green understands God helps us understand blessing. In his book, “Radical Judaism,” Rabbi Green believes that “God is present throughout all of existence, that Being or Y-H-W-H underlies and unifies all that is.” Thinking of this image, one can see how we share in the life of being. We bear responsibility for sharing blessings we have received and passing them on. Blessings are more than material goods. At its core, a blessing is love, a wish for the best of what another person may need. How does blessing help us? The wisdom of Judaism helps us figure out what blessing means for us today. If we live in the present; if we live in awareness and with an awe of creation; if we live in love; if we live in kindness; if we live in gratefulness and appreciation, we can realize the strength of life. If we believe we are made in God’s image and are a part of Being, then we are connected to the Divine. We share in Being. We have the power and strength that we are created with. We need to realize that as much as we can each day. Judaism prescribes formal blessings for almost every facet of life and every time of day. These call our attention to the greatness of blessings. See “Naso” on page 8

Please support your local Jewish community newspaper! You hear about it all the time… another newspaper closing its doors. Even our own local Syracuse paper reduced its subscriptions to three days a week. And Jewish newspapers are not immune to this trend. Ad revenues and a subsidy from the Jewish Federation of CNY do not cover our costs. We need the support of our readers. Please help keep the Jewish Observer in your hands, in your home every two weeks. Please consider a gift to support the Jewish Observer.

We believe our Jewish community wants and needs a Jewish newspaper. Where else will you find in-depth stories on Jewish events and programs, news from the synagogues, and stories about the members of our community, paired with national and international news about the Jewish world?

This Jewish focus is important to us, and we believe it is important to you too. The Jewish Observer is mailed free of charge to every identified Jewish home – helping to create a connected Jewish community. Your gift makes that happen! This is not a request for the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign. To make a donation through PayPal go to Click on the Tzedakah Box on our home page. Please specify that the gift is for the Jewish Observer – click on “I would like my gift to go to” after you have entered your information and type JO in the box. Or… Fill out the form below and mail back with your gift today to Jewish Observer, 5655 Thompson Road, DeWitt, NY 13214 Name: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Enclosed is my/our check for $ __________ (please make payable to Jewish Federation of CNY and write JO in the memo line) Please charge $___________ to my MC/VISA account _________________________________________________________________ Exp. ____________________ Name on card _________________________________________________________________________ Signature ___________________________________________________________________ _______ Check here if you DO NOT want your name published in the JO as a contributor to the JO Appeal. No amounts are listed, only names in alphabetical order. Published by the Jewish Federation of Central New York, Inc., (315) 445-2040 Ext.116 - FAX: (315) 445-1559 - 5655 Thompson Road, DeWitt, N.Y. 13214

MAY 24, 2018/10 SIVAN 5778 ■




Elaine Jaffe, 93, died on May 15 at the Nottingham. Born in Cleveland, she and her husband Leonard raised their family in Silver Spring, MD, until moving to Syracuse in 2011 to be closer to family. She was a lifetime volunteer, devoting her time to the Jewish Community Center and serving as the president of the Sisterhoods of her synagogues. She organized a nationwide event marking “Jerusalem 3000” with a collection of tapestries and needle weavings, which were collated into a book to commemorate “Jerusalem 3000.” She was predeceased by her daughter, Barbara Lynn. She is survived by her husband of almost 70 years, Leonard; their children, Norman and Maye, and Ron and Maizie; and five grandchildren. Burial was in Workman’s Circle Cemetery. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements. 

Calendar Highlights

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

Wednesday, May 23 Deadline for June 7 Jewish Observer Wednesday, June 6 Deadline for June 21 Jewish Observer Friday, May 25 Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas Shabbaton at the Asbury Retreat Center Saturday, May 26 Temple Concord Cinemagogue presents “The Kind Words” at 7:30 pm CBS-CS Shabbaton at the Asbury Retreat Center Sunday, May 27 Syracuse Jewish Family Service presents the movie, “Up” at 3 pm PJ Our Way Escape the Room party for 8-11 year-olds at 1:30 pm at the Community Library of Jamesville and DeWitt. RSVP: Carolyn at Thursday, May 31 SJFS presents “Old People in Training,” a Wisdom Circle led by Rabbi Evan Shore and SJFS Director Judith Huober from 5 – 6 pm Federation board meeting at 6:15 pm Saturday, June 2 Temple Adath Yeshurun - Musical Mishpacha Shabbat - Shabbat morning services at 9:15 am, Mishpacha Shabbat at 10:30 am, Yellin and Menter awards given out at morning services Sunday, June 3 Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center gala and meeting at 11 am at Owera Vineyards Tuesday, June 5 TC Goldenberg Series presents Jefferson Quartet at 7 pm Friday, June 8 Syracuse Hebrew Day School fifth grade cantillation assembly Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation Shabbaton Saturday, June 9 CBS-CS lunch and learn on racism following Shabbat morning services STOCS Shabbaton CBS-CS lunch and learn on racism following Shabbat morning services Sunday, June 10 STOCS Shabbaton Jewish genealogical group presents Nolan Altman at JCC at 2 pm Jewish Music and Cultural Festival (JMAC) fund raiser at the Kimry Moor clubhouse from 4-6 pm CBS-CS Oys and Joys - Pops in the Park at 10:30 am CBS-CS Kadima and USY hike in Ithaca from 1-5 pm Monday, June 11 SHDS - K-6 spring music concert at 7 pm Tuesday, June 12 TC Seasoned Citizens group presents a musical concert at 2 pm Wednesday, June 13 CBS-CS annual meeting at 7 pm Thursday, June 14 SJFS presents “Old People in Training,” a Wisdom Circle led by Rabbi Evan Shore and SJFS Director Judith Huober from 5 – 6 pm Friday, June 15 TC annual meeting at 5:30 pm




Ephraim “Hal” Mizruchi, 92, died in Syracuse on May 14. A longtime Syracuse resident, he was born in Chicago, IL, and had lived in New Haven, CT, and Cortland, NY. He earned a bachelor of arts from Roosevelt University, a master of arts from Yale University and a doctorate from Purdue University. He was the author of many books and a retired professor of sociology at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, where he taught generations of undergraduate and graduate students. He was an avid SU sports fan who loved attending SU games, a member of Temple Adath Yeshurun and a veteran of World War II, when he served in the Army Air Corps. He and his wife traveled widely, and lived in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and London, England. He was predeceased by his wife of 65 years, Ruth, in March 2018; his sisters, Esther and Miriam, and his brother, Hyman. He is survived by his children, Mark S. (Gail) Mizruchi of West Bloomfield, MI, David M. (Marcia) Mizruchi of DeWitt ,NY, and Susan L. Mizruchi (the late Sacvan Bercovitch) of Brookline, MA; and three grandchildren. Contributions may be made to Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Rd., Syracuse, NY 13224. Burial was in the Adath Yeshurun Cemetery. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements. 


Jerusalem entertainment complex won’t have to close on Shabbat

An entertainment and cultural complex built in a former 19th-century train station in Jerusalem will continue to operate on Shabbat, the city’s mayor said. Mayor Nir Barkat told the local news website Kol Ha’ir that he will allow the First Station complex to continue to operate as it has since it opened five years ago, despite a motion passed on May 16. The site, built along a former railroad line converted into a bike and jogging path, has become “highly popular” among Jerusalem residents and tourists. Secular business owners and residents say shutting down the shops on Shabbat is a capitulation to haredi Orthodox interests. The Jerusalem municipal council passed the motion sponsored by the haredi Orthodox parties to close the complex on Shabbat by a vote of 15-10. The final decision lies with the district committee of the Finance Ministry which could take up the issue on May 17. “As the person under whose leadership the station was built, Mayor Nir Barkat is certain there will be no change at the station and it will continue to operate according to the status quo in Jerusalem,” a statement from Barkat’s office said.

Your ad should be here! To advertise, please contact Bonnie Rozen at 800-779-7896, ext. 244 or bonnie@

Rachel Beckman on Nativ

Rachel Beckman, daughter of Marc and Karen Beckman of Fayetteville, is spending the 2017-18 academic year in Israel on Nativ, the “College Leadership Program in Israel.” It is a Jewish, pre-college academic gap year program, where Nativ participants are immersed in the diverse society of Israel, exploring the land and enjoying a Conservative Jewish lifestyle. Beckman is shown here third from the front hiking in the Banias. She is wearing her Jewish Federation of Central New York Super Sunday t-shirt. The day before, the Nativ 37 group had headed up north for a five-day Tiyul in the Carmel, Galil and Golan regions.


Muslim man arrested outside French Jewish school for shouting insults

A man shouted about Allah outside a Paris-region Jewish school and accused the people inside of killing children. The man was arrested and placed in a psychiatric institution after the incident on May 16 outside the Bet Hillel Jewish school in the northwestern Paris suburb of Levallois Perret, according to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. A witness called the police, who arrested the man and found a bottle containing an alcoholic beverage. Police took him to a psychiatric institution after determining he wasn’t in command of all his faculties, the report said.

Thank you for your trust and loyalty since 1934. When that difficult time arises, you can rely upon our expertise.

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


Wishing Everyone a Happy Passover!

Thank you for your trust and loyalty since 1934. When that difficult time arises, you can rely upon our expertise.

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


Everyone a Happy Rosh Hashanah ! g n i h s i WThank you for your trust and loyalty since 1934.

When that difficult time arises, you can rely upon our expertise.

Visit the JO online at and click on Jewish Observer


JEWISH OBSERVER ■ MAY 24, 2018/10 SIVAN 5778


U.N. Human Rights Council approves “war crimes” probe into Gaza deaths

The United Nations Human Rights Council approved a “war crimes” probe on May 18 to “provide recommendations to protect civilians against any further assaults” in the Gaza Strip. The resolution was approved in a 29-2 vote, with 14 abstentions. The United States and Australia were the only countries to vote against the resolution. However, Croatia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Kenya, Panama, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Switzerland, Togo, Slovakia and the United Kingdom all abstained. The United Kingdom said while it recognizes the “tragic and concerning loss of life” among the Palestinians, it was unable to support an investigation that ignores Hamas, as it does not “provide us with true understanding of accountability.” Similarly, Australia said that while the situation in Gaza is complex, “Israel has the right to protect its population, but should also exercise restraint. However, the role of Hamas cannot be ignored.” Speaking before the vote at the special session, UNHRC chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned that “killing resulting from the unlawful use of force by an occupying


slowly, but determinedly, on the phone to flesh them out. He also made it a point to say that he had fun during the process; it made him relive those 10 days.) Cornelia adds that since he got back from Israel, she’s noticed “a huge leap in language.” Like Monica, Julian was also touched by his visit to the Kotel, saying he could “feel the centuries of people who have prayed at the wall.” While connecting young adults to their Jewish roots is one of the more concrete goals of Birthright, some of the other objectives are more nuanced, according to Rabbi Zev Baram, executive director of the Friendship Circle in Philadelphia, who led the trip for the 22 young adults last June. These goals include connecting to people – the participants themselves and those they meet in Israel along the way – and increasing participants’ independence, even for so short a time. “People connect to each other and what is going on around them,” says Baram. There is a comfort level, an acceptance, he notes, about being around others with different needs. For instance, he has heard the comment: “I chose this trip because I won’t be judged for the quirks I have.” That’s empowering, and it comes in other forms as well. While the program is adjusted to meet certain requirements regarding inclusion, especially when it comes to more physical activities, it basically follows the typical format: a climb up Masada (though via cable car or for some trips up the Roman ramp); a visit to Tzfat, and the artist colonies and synagogues there; rafting on the Jordan River; shopping in Tel Aviv; walking around Jaffa; and Shabbat spent in Jerusalem. The group also went to Yad Vashem, the Israel Museum, the Biblical Zoo and the Davidson Center, all in Jerusalem, and had the opportunity to plant trees. Birthright Israel started offering free, 10-day trips for Jewish young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 back

power may also constitute willful killings, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Al Hussein, who is Jordanian, pointed out that the 62 Palestinians killed on May 14 versus the light Israeli casualties was “suggestive of a wholly disproportionate response.” A Hamas leader later acknowledged that 50 of some 62 Palestinians killed were members of the terror group. Israel’s ambassador to the UNHRC, Aviva Raz Shechter, slammed the special session, calling it “politically motivated and won’t improve the situation on the ground by even one iota. ... The unfortunate outcome of Monday’s riots can only be attributed to Hamas’s cynical exploitation of its own population, in a violent campaign against Israel,” she said. The U.S. envoy to the UNHRC, TheodoreAllegra, also said the council was “blatantly taking sides and ignoring the real culprit for the recent outbreak of violence: the terrorist organization Hamas.”

Hamas turns away supplies from Israel, including bandages, IV fluids and fuel

Despite reporting a “dire need” for medical equipment, the Hamas terror organization turned back two shipments of medical supplies for their populace because the goods bore labels from the Israel Defense Forces. On May 15, Continued from page 5

in 1999. Since then, more than 600,000 young people from nearly 70 countries have taken advantage of the program, though the majority of participants come from North America. At the end of 2017, the age eligibility for certain trips was raised to 32 to widen the pool of applicants. Friendship Circle started leading trips in 2008 – offering one trip per year – and has since connected about 230 teens and young adults (these trips are geared for those ages 18-29) with their homeland. This summer’s trip, which takes place from June 17-28, will be Friendship Circle’s 10th excursion to Israel. “They surprise themselves with what they can do,” says Baram. “For many, this is the first time they have been abroad, even the first time away from their families. They learn to be more independent; they have to be. Plus, we don’t water down the experience. There are some changes on the ground – our hikes are lower-key,and we provide more time for transitioning to activities – but that can happen anyway in Israel due to weather and other logistical concerns.” All in all, the rabbi emphasizes, it’s the same trip: “This is everybody’s Birthright experience.” Julian definitely believes that to be true. An athletic person (he’s on a Special Olympics swim team), Julian says: “I think everyone should go to be better people and better Jews” – and has been considering returning for some kind of work-study program, even for as long as a year. His parents have acknowledged that. They’ve been gathering information and talking to others about options for young people with disabilities and, if it goes anything like the Birthright trip, where Baram kept in daily contact posting photos and updates on Facebook, they will be reassured by this hugely independent step. Julian’s mother says he expressed interest in going back to Israel literally from the minute he got off the plane. And why not? Knowingly, Cornelia attests: “It’s the best thing he’s ever done in his life.”


L-M PAINTING Residential/Commercial

6340 Danbury Drive Jamesville, NY 13078-9729 (315) 446-0966 Fax (315) 446-1555

Your ad SHould be here! To advertise, contact Bonnie at 1-800-779-7896, ext 244 or

Israel expedited deliveries of medical equipment into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which Israel had reopened a day earlier after Palestinians burned it on May 11. Four of the supply shipments were sent from the Palestinian Authority, two from the United Nations Children’s Fund, and two from the Israel Defense Forces’ Technological and Logistics Directorate. The IDF reported that its shipment included IV fluids, bandages, disinfectants, hospital gowns, pediatric supplies and fuel for hospital generators. Though the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry has been stressing the “dire need” for more medical supplies, Hamas refused to accept those from Israel, turning the two Israeli trucks around even after they had passed through the crossing. Hamas called Israel “the murderers of our people,” and said Israel was “trying to improve its black image” by sending humanitarian aid. Also on May 15, Hamas forbade 14 trucks laden with food and diapers from entering Gaza, only allowing in medical equipment. More than 60 Palestinians were killed, including at least 50 members of Hamas, when masses of people organized by the group attacked the Israeli border, shooting at IDF soldiers, throwing gas bombs and rocks, flying incendiary kites and trying to break through the fence into Israel. As many as 2,000 rioters were injured. The IDF called the riots “unprecedentedly violent,” saying they only used live fire as a last resort. Hamas also attempted to incriminate Israel by suggesting that IDF soldiers caused the death of an 8-month-old baby who inhaled tear gas, but a Gaza doctor told the Associated Press that the baby had a pre-existing medical condition that likely caused her death.

Guatemala opens embassy in Jerusalem

Just two days after the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem to much fanfare, Guatemala made its move to open its embassy in the Israeli capital on May 16. Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales said: “With the opening of our embassy in the city of Jerusalem, Guatemala takes a courageous decision, a step forward in favor of union and friendship. This decision will be a legacy that will bring great benefits to everyone.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the opening “a great day” for both Israel and Guatemala. Despite being a small and largely impoverished Central American country, Guatemala has long represented an important partner for Israel. In 1947, it became one of the first countries to voice support for the creation of the Jewish state; in 1956, it became one of the first Latin American countries to open an embassy in Jerusalem, although it later relocated the mission in 1978 to the Tel Aviv suburb of Herzliya. Today, as Israel is attempting to build nontraditional allies around the world, Guatemala has expressed an interest in bolstering agriculture, science, technology and security ties with the Israelis.


Continued from page 6

These remind us how to live in connection to our Creator. Blessings are our constant connection to God. They are the channels of hope and strength and love and we need to use them. When we say we feel blessed, it is a wonderful feeling of love, power, hope and protection. When we wish blessings on another, we are conveying that channel of energy that comes from our Being in God. We are sharing our love and kindness and strength and hope. Blessing another makes us think about that person and the person’s condition, needs, achievements and life. We bless our children on Shabbat to convey our tradition and to put a mantle of love on our family. When we turn our face to face another, to look into their eyes, to care, we get past today’s dependence on impersonal technologies and we bless one another. Our souls touch. Most powerful is the Shema and its blessings as listed in the Siddur Lev Shalem. The prayers open Shabbat. Shabbat itself is one of our great blessings. We are reluctant to let go of Shabbat on Saturday evening, but we can continue that great blessing by remembering the daily blessings and using them each day. Finally, in the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in “No Religion is an Island,” he writes, “Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy. And yet being alive is no answer to the problems of living. To be or not to be is not the question. The vital question is: how to be and how not to be. The tendency to forget this vital question is the tragic disease of contemporary man, a disease that may prove fatal, that may end in disaster. To pray is to recollect passionately the perpetual urgency of this vital question.” We need to use blessings as sustenance for ourselves, family and community. Blessings connect us and make us stronger. Blessings cause us to interact with intimacy with each other, to understand and care for one another. Blessings are one answer to the problems of living. Jeanette Powell holds a master’s in religious studies from Canisius College and a bachelor’s from McGill University. She retired as executive director of a mental health services agency. She is a member of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas.


Jewish Observer Issue of May 24, 2018


Jewish Observer Issue of May 24, 2018