25 AV 5777 • AUGUST 17, 2017 • VOLUME XXXVIII, NUMBER 16 • PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID, SYRACUSE, NY
NCJW to present 45th annual Hannah G. Solomon Award to Ellen Weinstein VICKI FELDMAN The National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Syracuse Section AtLarge, will present the annual Hannah G. Solomon Award to Ellen Weinstein at a luncheon on Monday, October 9, at noon, at Justin’s Grill, 6400 Yorktown Circle, East Syracuse. Registration will start at 11:30 am, with the luncheon and program beginning at noon and ending by 1:30 pm. There will be a charge to attend. The Hannah G. Solomon Award is a national award presented by individual sections of NCJW. This is the 45th year of the Syracuse Hannah G. Solomon Award. Event organizers said, “The award is named for the founder of NCJW and is given to women who have demonstrated exceptional service to both the Jewish community and the community-at-large. Ellen Weinstein has made a commitment to improving the quality of life in Syracuse. She is someone who not only assumes many roles and responsibilities in both the Syracuse and Jewish communities; but she expects no acknowledgment or accolades for what she’s done
and before the United States to improve the quality of life Supreme Court. After graduatfor so many.” ing from law school, she joined A native of Brooklyn, the law firm of Pinsky and Weinstein graduated from Skandalis, and was a partner Brooklyn College of the in the firm until leaving private City University of New York practice in 2009 to become the with a bachelor of arts in chief clerk of the Onondaga 1969 and master’s in 1971 County Surrogate’s Court. in early childhood and eleHer professional volunteer mentary education. In 1976, Ellen Weinstein involvement includes serving after teaching in Brooklyn for as past vice president of the eight years, she moved from Brooklyn with her family to Griffiss Onondaga County Bar Foundation and Air Force Base in Rome, NY, where current vice president of the New York her husband, Howard, served as a base State Association of Chief Clerks of physician. In 1978, she moved with her the Surrogate’s Courts. She has held family to DeWitt. After the birth of her various positions of leadership within fourth child, she returned to teaching the Onondaga County Bar Association, as a substitute in the Jamesville-DeWitt including serving as its president in Central School district. She achieved 2006. She is a past member of the New her dream of becoming a lawyer by York State Bar Association’s House of earning her juris doctor from Syracuse Delegates and served as a member of University College of Law in December its Nominating Committee. She is a life member of NCJW, Great1990, graduating magna cum laude and er Syracuse Section, and Na’amat. She as a member of the Order of the Coif. Weinstein is admitted to practice law is currently the chair of the Board of in New York state and federal courts, the Directors of the Jewish Federation of District of Columbia Court of Appeals Central New York, having previously
Temple Adath Yeshurun Citizen of the Year dinner – David Muir, national honoree
and our national honoree, BY SONALI MCINTYRE David Muir, who grew up Temple Adath Yeshurun in Syracuse, attributes much has announced that David of his success to his local Muir of “ABC World News Central New York roots. Tonight” will be this year’s Our national and local honnational honoree at the 24th orees all exemplify how the Citizen of the Year dinner to community is strengthened be held on Saturday, October by dedication and vision. In 28, at 7:30 pm. Local honorPirke Avot 4:1 (Sayings of ees include Robin Goldberg, the Fathers), it is written, D.D.S.; Linda LeMura, Ph.D., David Muir ‘Who is honored? One who president of LeMoyne College; Norman Swanson, president and honors’ – an excellent description of owner of Woodbine Group Inc.; Mark this year’s honorees.” Muir, an Emmy-award winning Wladis, of The Wladis Law Firm; and Steven Wladis, of The Wladis Compa- journalist for ABC News, is the anchor and managing editor of “ABC World nies Inc. Andrea Knoller, chair of the Citizen News Tonight with David Muir” and of the Year dinner and TAY co-pres- co-anchor of ABC’s “20/20.” His ident, said, “The synagogue honors primetime specials for ABC News individuals from the community and include “Breaking Point: Heroin in nation who embody the values of good America” and “Flashpoint: Refugees citizenship and community spirit. This in America.” He also moderated a town year’s Citizen of the Year dinner prom- hall with President Barack Obama about ises to bring the largest turnout ever, for race, policing and efforts to bridge the what should be a very special evening. divide, “The President and the People: This communitywide tribute dinner A National Convention.” Before becoming anchor of “World has been held for more than 30 years and attracts leaders from Central New News Tonight with David Muir,” he York’s business, university and govern- had been dispatched around the world ment sectors. The honorees represent as a lead correspondent for ABC News a wide spectrum of our community for more than a decade. Muir revealed
Europe’s refugee crisis when reporting from the Hungarian/Serbian border; gained rare access to Guantanamo prison; and secured the exclusive interview with President Barack Obama during his historic trip to Cuba. Most recently, Muir landed the first post-inauguration interview with President Donald Trump. Muir, who began his career as an intern at a local Syracuse TV station, graduated magna cum laude from Ithaca College with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism. He also attended the Institute of Political Journalism at Georgetown University and studied at the University of Salamanca in Spain. He spent five years as an anchor and reporter for WTVH-TV before joining WCVB-TV in Boston. In Boston, he distinguished himself as an award-winning anchor and correspondent prior to joining ABC News. For more information about the Citizen of the Year dinner, visit www.adath.org or contact the TAY office at email@example.com or 315-445-0002.
served as the organization’s vice chair and co-chair of its Allocation Committee. She has been a Lion of Judah since 2009. A member of the board of Menorah Park Group Residences Inc. since 2010, Weinstein is also a member of the board of Syracuse Jewish Family Service and a member of the Board of Directors of Advocates Inc. She is a past member of Temple Adath Yeshurun’s board of directors, as well as a past president of the Jamesville-DeWitt Central School District Middle School parent-teacher group. Weinstein was the 2014 recipient of the Jewish Federation of Central New York Esther and Joseph Roth Award in Recognition of Outstanding Jewish Community Leadership, and co-recipient of the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s 2017 Kovod Gadol Award. At the Hannah G. Solomon luncheon, the Greater Syracuse Section At-Large of National Council of Jewish Women will continue its efforts on behalf of children in Central New York. Guests have been asked to bring children’s items to donate to McCarthy@Beard, a program run by the Syracuse City School District. Invitations will be mailed by early September. For more information, to make a reservation and/or send a tribute card honoring Weinstein, contact Marlene Holstein at 315-446-7648 by October 2.
2017 Federation Annual Campaign Goal: $1,200,000 $1,261,961 as of August 14, 2017 hest g i H r Ou ever!
To make a pledge, please contact Colleen Baker at (315) 445-2040, ext 102 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
C A N D L E L I G H T I N G A N D P A R AS H A
August 18........................ 7:44 pm....................................................... Parasha-Re’eh August 25........................ 7:33 pm................................................... Parasha-Shoftim September 1.................... 7:21 pm....................................................Parasha-Ki Titze
INSIDE THIS ISSUE New loan program
JCC kids’ classes
The Jewish Federation is starting Local congregations announce The JCC will offer kids’ fitness the Hebrew Free Loan Program talks, a film showing, religious and recreation classes starting school starting up and more. of Central New York. the week of September 11. Stories on page 4 Story on page 3 Story on page 5
PLUS Home and Real Estate........... 6 Calendar Highlights............... 6 Obituaries................................. 7 Senior Living............................ 8
JEWISH OBSERVER ■ AUGUST 17, 20176/25 AV 5777
A MATTER OF OPINION The Jewish Community Foundation, Teen Funders Program and me BY RACHEL BECKMAN Rachel Beckman is a recent graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius High School and will be studying in Israel next year on the Nativ program before attending Binghamton University. I have been involved in the Syracuse Jewish community for most of my life, so when I received a letter from the Jewish Community Foundation after my bat mitzvah asking me if I would like to join the Teen Funders Program, I was taken aback, since I had never heard of it. After reading a general understanding of the program, I decided to pledge $500 of my bat mitzvah money and join the program after finding that many of my peers had also joined. I was so intimidated by my lack of knowledge about the program, or how it worked, that I did not attend a meeting for at
least a year. When I finally resolved to attend a meeting, I was completely unprepared for what I encountered. That first meeting was also the most heated meeting I have ever attended. There I was, a 13-year-old, surrounded by my fellow Jewish teens passionately discussing funding. It is a powerful feeling, especially for young adults, to know that their own money is going toward the causes that the Teen Funders Program decides as a group. Not only does it require us to work together as a group, it also invests everyone in the decision-making process, which is not something many young adults are accustomed to. Needless to say, that experience was entirely foreign and astonishing to me. However, I was deeply impressed by the professionalism and maturity in which the
meeting was conducted. Even then, I could appreciate the undeniable uniqueness of the Jewish Community Foundation Teen Funders Program. A few weeks after my first meeting, I started receiving thank you letters from the organizations that my fellow Teen Funders and I had donated to. That’s when it started to feel real. It’s truly incredible that we have an opportunity in our community for teens to consider where and how much to donate to deserving organizations. This was significant money that could make a real difference. Yet, it also taught us the application process that charitable organizations undergo, financial stresses that they face and, correspondingly, the necessary process behind funding organizations. Some of these letters were from orga-
nizations that I knew and I had personally benefitted from. As I mentioned earlier, I have been involved in the Syracuse Jewish community for much of my life. With that came the privilege of a Jewish education and opportunities to participate in many Jewish events. It was such an incredible experience to have the means to give back to the organizations that I have benefitted from, as well as many other organizations I had no previous knowledge of. The Teen Funders Program has provided all of its members with an extraordinary opportunity to work together to make a difference that feels significant. By giving back to both the local community and the Jewish community around the world, the Teen Funders Program is equally educational and meaningful. Thank you.
A MATTER OF OPINION
Palestinian propaganda is infiltrating U.S. public schools
BY MIRIAM F. ELMAN This article was available in the August 7 edition of The Algemeiner online and is reprinted with its permission. Six years ago, a teenager in Newton, MA – Shiri Pagliuso – asked her father if it was true that Israel tortures and murders women activists in the Palestinian resistance movement. Then a high school freshman, Shiri had learned the information from her textbook – the “Arab World Studies Notebook,” a 540-page volume so riddled with unabashed bias that it had garnered a scathing 30-page report from the American Jewish Committee. Back in 2011, Shiri’s father – Tony Pagliuso – wasn’t yet aware of the AJC’s report. But he knew outright propaganda when he saw it. He contacted his daughter’s teacher, the head of the high school’s history department, the principal and eventually the superintendents – who all defended the “Arab World Studies Notebook” as essential for sharpening critical thinking skills. They also praised the book for providing a “balanced perspective” and an “Arab point of view.” Tony realized that he was being stonewalled, which got him thinking: If he looked at Shiri’s other course materials, what other dreadful stuff would he find? Determined to expose the extent of the problem, a bitter multi-year battle ensued that pitted Tony – who was soon joined by a group of other parents and Newton residents – against a shockingly hostile school district. Together, the parents and residents fought to get school officials to acknowledge their legitimate concerns, provide access to all the curriculum materials as required by law, and to pull the “Arab World Studies Notebook” and other academically unsuitable materials. Now, in a new study by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, researcher Steven Stotsky carefully traces how these partisan materials – many with scant scholarly value – seeped into a nationally prominent public school system. The 108-page monograph, “Indoctrinating Our Youth: How a U.S. Public School Curriculum Skews the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Islam,” is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the Newton curriculum controversy. Piecing together local media coverage, transcripts of school committee meetings and multiple interviews, Stotsky recounts the key events, including the run-around that Tony and the ad-hoc group of con-
cerned parents and residents got from school administrators. Several chapters are also devoted to a thorough analysis of world history course materials, which the school district was ultimately forced to disclose in 2014 via a court order. As Stotsky describes, the curriculum included materials rife with erroneous information, such as a radically doctored translation of the Hamas charter, and a handout identifying Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel – and Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Photocopies of PLO-produced propaganda maps downloaded from the Internet – and used by the school district – provided falsehoods about Israel’s “theft” of “Palestinian land.” Other textbook chapters and outdated Internet timelines omitted key historical and contextual information, like Israel’s many far-reaching offers of peace, and the hate-filled rhetoric and incitement that saturates Palestinian discourse. And a lot of the materials glossed over controversial topics. Stotsky’s report demonstrates how the religious components of the Israeli-Arab conflict were concealed from students, including the fact that for many Arabs, the conflict is a holy war – with Jews seen as infidel interlopers on sacred Islamic lands. Course materials about Islamic history also downplayed negative societal practices. Woefully simplistic expositions and misleadingly rosy texts portrayed Muslim conquerors as tolerant toward their subjects, and presented embellished descriptions of the status of women in many Muslim-majority societies. The inferior status and often precarious situation of non-Muslims under Islamic rule wasn’t presented at all. Stotsky relates how one textbook (“Early Islam”) even preposterously asserts that Muslim rulers were “especially liberal with the Jews and Christians” – as if they had equal rights and opportunities, and were free from discrimination. In short, “Indoctrinating Our Youth” is a deep-dive into what went so very wrong in Newton, and Stotsky is right to come down hard on headstrong school administrators and an uncooperative elected school body. These individuals created a bewildering degree of obstruction that exacerbated the controversy and made a timely removal of the problematic materials difficult. There’s some indication that local Jewish organizations – including the JCRC and, at least initially, the local chapter of the
Anti-Defamation League – were also less than helpful to the parents than they might otherwise have been. Still, the teachers should not be let off the hook. After all, they chose the curricula materials in the first place and were inexcusably dismissive of the parents. (In an interview, Tony admits that had Shiri’s ninth grade history teacher been more responsive to his concerns about the “Arab World Studies Notebook” passage, he probably wouldn’t have pursued the curriculum issue any further.) School officials repeatedly intoned that “we trust our teachers.” Yet, they were unable to properly evaluate the noticeable biases contained in the course materials, especially those downloaded from sketchy, non-authoritative Internet sources and provided to them free of charge by virulently anti-Israel, BDS-affiliated faculty members at Harvard University’s Middle East
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Outreach Center. This brings me to the CAMERA monograph’s most sobering insight about how anti-Israel and pro-Islamist propaganda is working its way out of higher education, and into U.S. public schools. The process often starts with federally-funded university centers for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, many of which have also been generously supported for years by multi-million dollar gifts from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states, and are top-heavy with faculty at the forefront of the anti-Israel movement, and who favor anti-Western perspectives. In Newton, as Stotsky documents, Harvard’s center had an outsized influence on high school educators. But these gown-totown collaborations are well-established in other places, and in some cases, they’re likely having a similarly disastrous impact on the public school curriculum. See “Schools” on page 6
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AUGUST 17, 2017/25 AV 5777 ■
AROUND CENTRAL NEW YORK Jewish Music and Cultural Festival 2017 celebrates Chai year on September 10 BY VICKI FELDMAN Eighteen years ago, Sid Lipton and Mimi Weiner had the idea that Central New York needed a Jewish festival. There was an Irish Fest, a Greek Fest and an Italian Fest. There were the Jazz and Blues music festivals. There was even a Food Fest in downtown Syracuse. Lipton and Weiner wanted a Jewish festival that had all of these elements: “great music, delicious ethnic foods and lots of Jewish spirit.” The main focus of the early festivals was said to be “to bring in great klezmer bands.” Klezmer music originated in medieval Eastern Europe and came to America with the immigrants at the beginning of the last century. For the first few years, the festival was held in Syracuse’s Armory Square and moved to the larger Clinton Square in 2002. The Syracuse Jewish Music and Cultural Festival, which is now the largest Jewish festival in New York State outside of New York City, is said to have evolved
Families watched a performance by the Robert Rogers Puppet Theater at the 2016 Jewish Music and Cultural Festival. into a festival “for not only the Jewish community, but for Central New York as well.” Now in its ninth year at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse, Sunday, September 10,
Federation to start Hebrew Free Loan Program of Central New York BY BETTE SIEGEL The board of the Jewish Federation of Central New York voted unanimously to institute a pilot program to benefit the Jewish community in Central New York. Called the Hebrew Free Loan Program of Central New York, its mission is to offer small, interest-free loans to Jewish community members at least 18-years-old who have lived in the Central New York area for at least six months or who have moved to the Central New York area for employment. The goal of the loan is to help people with “life’s ups and downs,” such as camp fees, school tuition, medical expenses, car expenses or any purpose deemed legitimate by the committee. The maximum amount of the loan is $4,000, with repayment due within two years. President/CEO Linda Alexander said, “Although this is a new program, it is also one of Federation’s oldest programs, as it goes back to Federation’s roots 99 years ago, when it was called the Syracuse Jewish Welfare Association. At that time, loans were made available to new arrivals to help them get started in their new life
here. The free loan program exists in many communities around the country and has been met with great success. We hope it is as successful in Syracuse.” Funds for the program will not come from Federation’s Campaign, but from the interest on its reserves. Unless otherwise stated, to qualify for a loan, an applicant must be employed and/or have other sources of income, such as government assistance or retirement income, sufficient to service the loan. Hebrew Free Loan Program of Central New York Committee Chair Steven Volinsky added, “We were able to lay the groundwork for this program with the help of leaders from Hebrew Free Loan Programs of Detroit, Los Angeles, Portland and Milwaukee. Our program will be modeled closely after the Portland program. They are so excited that Central New York will offer this wonderful program. Supporting one another, we can ensure the strength and vitality of our community.” More information about this new program will appear in a future issue of Jewish Observer.
Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center senior dining menu AUGUST 21-25 Monday – dinner at 5 pm – orange-glazed Cornish hen Tuesday – spaghetti and meatballs Wednesday – tuna wrap with sliced tomato Thursday – turkey chili Friday – roast artichoke chicken AUGUST 28-SEPTEMBER 1 Monday – dinner at 5 pm – salmon croquettes Tuesday – hamburgers with sautéed onions Wednesday – Moroccan chicken stew Thursday – sweet and sour meatballs over rice Friday – roast turkey with stuffing The Bobbi Epstein Lewis JCC Senior Adult Dining Program at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse offers Va’ad Ha’ir-supervised kosher
LARRY METZGER Owner
lunches served Tuesday-Friday at noon. Dinners are served on Mondays at 5 pm throughout the summer, due in part to the Dr. Morton and Mrs. Libby Maloff Summer Senior Dinner program. Reservations for dinner are required by the Wednesday before each dinner. Lunch reservations are required by noon on the previous business day. There is a suggested contribution per meal. The menu is subject to change. The program is funded by a grant from the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth and the New York State Office for the Aging, with additional funds provided by the JCC. To attend, one need not be Jewish or a member of the JCC. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Cindy Stein at 445-2360, ext. 104, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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will mark a milestone year for the 18th annual Jewish Music and Cultural Festival. There will be kosher food prepared by The Oaks Catering, and the Price Chopper Stage will feature acts by the Keyna Hora Klezmer Band at noon; Lyla Canté Judeo Flamenco at 1:15 pm; Adrianne Greenbaum and “Fleytmuzic” at 3 pm; and Boichik, featuring Cantor Kari Siegel Eglash and Joe Eglash, at 4:30 pm. There will be many free activities for the children, including arts and crafts in the Kids Tent, as well as games, the Robert Rogers Puppet Theater, face painting and the “Instrument Petting Zoo” by Signature Music. There will also be books on display from PJ Library® and a table in the vendors’ area for Discovery Toys. As always, there will be a variety of vendors, and representatives from all the local synagogues and Jewish agencies and organizations. The hours will be noon-5:30 pm. The full schedule and more festival details can be found online at http://syracusejewishfestival.org. JMAC remains free to attend through the support of its major sponsors: Price Chopper; the Dorothy and Marshall Reisman Foundation; the Paul and Georgina Roth Foundation; a state grant secured by Senator John A. DeFrancisco; the Pomeranz, Shankman, and Martin Trust; Jewish Federation of Central New York; See “Music” on page 6
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ AUGUST 17, 20176/25 AV 5777
CONGREGATIONAL NOTES Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas CBS-CS RELIGIOUS SCHOOL This coming year, the Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas Religious School curriculum will include gimilut chasidim, Torah and avodah (Jewish prayer and song) under the direction of new co-principals Jessie Kerr-Whitt and Elyssa Rosenbaum. Returning personnel include Cantor Paula Pepperstone, Mookie Van Orden and Jodi Bloom, with KerrWhitt teaching the pre-kindergarten and first grade class. Second and third, fourth and fifth, and sixth and seventh grade students will rotate through each class, taught by a teacher with expertise or skills appropriate to the subject. Student teachers will be paired with each teacher, and
the second and third grade class will have a student teacher who rotates with them. Families with children from birth-3years-old can join the pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students monthly on Sundays, starting at 10:30 am. The group for families with children this age is called “Oys and Joys of Parenting.” The group also plans additional outside programs. Continuing this year will be all-school tefillah (prayer), which is at 11:30 am in the sanctuary. Parents and families have been invited to join students each Sunday, as children and adults learn to pray together as a community. The first day of religious school will be Sunday, September 10. Each Sunday,
Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation Shaarei Torah presents discussion on solar eclipses BY RICHARD D. WILKINS A total solar eclipse will be visible in a narrow band across the entire U.S. on Monday, August 21, at around 1 pm. Though only partially visible locally, it should still provide a “striking sight,” weather permitting. Surprisingly, there is also a Jewish “angle” to this first in a quarter-century event. Carl Rosenzweig, professor of physics and astronomy at Syracuse University, will speak on Sunday, August 20, at 3 pm, at Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse, on the astronomy of solar
eclipses: what they are, when they occur, how they are predicted and why they are so rare. He will also give advice on how to safely observe them. The Jewish calendar, which was fixed more than 1,500 years ago, is lunar, but solar-adjusted, by adding seven Adar II leap months in 19 years, so as to keep holidays in their proper season – Passover in the spring, Sukkot in the fall. Throughout that same period, the secular calendar had to change, from Julian to Gregorian, to avoid ever earlier seasons. The “secret” behind its continuing accuracy was knowledge of past solar eclipses. The event will be free and open to the public.
5778 Deadline: September 6 (September 14 issue)
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religious school operates from 9 am-noon. An informal meeting will be held on September 10, at 9:45 am, for parents and the congregation’s youth and education team, which includes staff and volunteers. Third-seventh grade students will participate in the Syracuse Community Hebrew School on Wednesday after-
noons from 4-6 pm. A school that rotates locations, this year SCHS is located at Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, 18 Patsy Ln., Jamesville. For more information about the CBSCS Religious School, contact Kerr-Whitt or Rosenbaum at 315-446-9570, ext. 3, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas members Jarrod and Sue Bagatell, assisted by Marlund Chottiner, Dan and Jordan Glazier, Eric and Pam Morris, and Louis and Nance Wilson, organized and staffed a barbecue and day out at the Syracuse Chiefs game on August 6. Forty-four people attended the afternoon event, with participants ranging in age from an infant to one of the eldest members of the congregation.
Temple Adath Yeshurun At right: Leona Gasiorowski learned from an unidentified presenter from Cuse Pit Crew how to safely approach Elsa the dog while Bryson Stephens looked on from the background. Cuse Pit Crew is a non-profit organization that does community outreach and educational programming in the Syracuse area, while advocating for pit bulls and other misunderstood breeds. The presenter and Elsa visited Temple Adath Yeshurun’s Camp Rothschild during its “Changing the World: Making a Difference” week. Cuse Pit Crew noted that it is a “nonprofit organization on a mission to refuel the human-animal connection in the Syracuse area through community outreach and educational programming, while advocating for pit bulls and other misunderstood breeds.”
At right: Karen Docter Johnson and Lon Lowenstein (in the background) were among several volunteers assisting the Temple Adath Yeshurun Sisterhood with its rummage sorting in preparation for the three-day sale.
Temple Concord DISCOVER EASTERN EUROPE In preparation for a congregational trip to Eastern Europe in October, Temple Concord Rabbi Daniel Fellman will explore the past, present and future Eastern Europe in a two-session series on Mondays, August 28 and September 11, at 7 pm. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the history of Jewish life in Warsaw, Krakow and Budapest; remember the Shoah; and celebrate “the renaissance of Jewish life.” Discussions will be held in the TC library. There are still places available to join the trip, and reservations can be made by e-mailing Rabbi Fellman at email@example.com, or signing up at www.arzaworld.com/Temple-ConcordTour-to-Eastern-Europe-program.aspx. CINEMAGOGUE – “THE JAZZ SINGER” Cinemagogue will screen “The Jazz Singer,” a 1980 American film and remake of the 1927 classic, on Saturday, August 19, at 7:30 pm. In the film, Jess Robin (Neil Diamond)
dreams of a career in popular music, but his father, Cantor Rabinovitch (Laurence Olivier), forbids it, insisting Jess live as a traditional Jew and inherit his father’s position at the synagogue. With the help of a friend and professional musician, Bubba (Franklin Ajaye), Jess gets a chance to go to Los Angeles and have famous singer Keith Lennox (Paul Nicholas) record one of his songs. Defying his father and his wife, Jess leaves New York to pursue his dreams. Cinemagogue events are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. For more information, contact the TC office at 315-475-9952 or firstname.lastname@example.org. PIRKE AVOT Rabbi Daniel Fellman will hold a series on Tuesdays, August 29 and September 5, 12 and 19, at 12:30 pm, on the sacred texts in preparation for the High Holidays. For more information, contact the TC office at 315-475-9952 or office@ templeconcord.org.
AUGUST 17, 2017/25 AV 5777 ■
Celebrate Linda Alexander’s legacy of leadership The Jewish Federation of Central New York will hold a farewell party for Linda Alexander on Wednesday, September 6, at Temple Adath Yeshurun. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6:30 pm, with a presentation at 8 pm and dessert and dancing following. The event’s food will be under the supervision of the Va’ad Ha’ir. Alexander is president/CEO of the Jewish Federation of Central New York and current and founding executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation of
Central New York. She recently announced that she will be retiring in the fall and moving out of the area to be closer to family. She is considered “a leadership pioneer” for local women, having served as president of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas and the Federation’s chairwoman of its Annual Campaign. She also received the Community Endowment Excellence Award given by United Jewish Communities. Among her honors given by local community organizations in recognition of her leadership and efforts to
make a difference are The Post-Standard Achievement Award; the National Council of Jewish Women, Syracuse Section At-Large, Hannah G. Solomon Award in 2011; Temple Adath Yeshurun Citizen of the Year in 2006; the Esther and Joseph Roth Award for Outstanding Jewish Community Leadership in 1996; the Na’amat Woman of the Year Award; and the Onondaga County Medical Society Alliance’s Community Service Award. For more information, contact the Federation office at 315-445-0161.
Kids’ fitness and recreation classes start week of September 11 BY WILLIAM WALLAK The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center in DeWitt will soon begin another round of enrichment classes aimed at getting children moving and having fun. Open to preschool and school-age girls and boys, the classes will include dance, gymnastics, sports, fitness and more. Most classes start the week of Monday, September 11, and will run for 12 weeks through November. Sherri Lamanna, JCC director of gymnastics, dance and preschool physical education, said, “We have another great lineup of classes this fall that we’re offering for kids of all abilities. We make the classes fun while teaching a lot of great skills and other important lessons, such as cooperation and teamwork.” Ballet, jazz and tap dance classes for children ages 3-12 focus on movement, rhythm, strength and flexibility, while emphasizing fun, creativity and self-esteem. The program will conclude with a recital next spring. Gymnastics classes for children of all skill levels, ages 3-14, utilize the bars, beam, floor and vault. The regimen of instruction is intended to help children develop agility, flexibility and self-confidence. Placement in the classes is based on skill, rather than age. A sensory gym class for 3-5-year-olds will be also offered, providing appropriate sensory input for children of all abilities and developmental levels.
The JCC’s sports classes, consisting of basketball, karate, rookie sports and pre-kindergarten soccer, are for children ages 3-12. Each sport’s specific skills are taught along with teamwork, fair play, sportsmanship and conditioning. The JCC has once again partnered with the Central New York Karate School to offer the karate classes. There is also a “Movin’ and Groovin’ Fitness” class offered for third-sixth grade students for a five-week term starting Monday, October 30. Enrollment for all classes is open to the community and will continue through the start of each class. JCC membership is not required; however, members receive a discount. Busing for school-age children attending classes is available from some Syracuse city schools, select private schools, Fayetteville-Manlius schools and all public schools within the Jamesville-DeWitt School District. For more information about the JCC’s classes for children, contact Sherri Lamanna at 315-445-2040, ext. 126, or email@example.com, or visit www.jccsyr.org.
Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse gymnasts showed off their trophies and ribbons after a meet in Cortland last winter. Front row (l-r): Lily Engel, Abby Gorczynski and Nithya Suryadevara. Back row: Mae Cohen, Maeve Murphy and Amelia Booher.
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ AUGUST 17, 20176/25 AV 5777
To see a full calendar of community events, visit the Federation's community calendar online at www.jewishfederationcny.org. Please notify firstname.lastname@example.org of any calendar changes.
Wednesday, August 30 Deadline for September 14 JO Saturday, August 19 TC Cinemagogue will show “The Jazz Singer” at 7:30 pm Sunday, August 20 PJ Library will be at the pavilion by the Secret Garden at the Stone Quarry Art Park in Cazenovia from 10 am - noon Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation presents physicist/astronomer Carl Rosenzweig speaking on solar eclipses at 3 pm Monday, August 28 TC discussion on Eastern Europe by Rabbi Daniel Fellman at 7 pm Tuesday, August 29 Adult Education: Pirkei Avot /High Holiday preparation with Rabbi Fellman – 12:30 pm Friday, September 1 Temple Concord welcomes back Syracuse University students with an outdoor pizza truck at 6 pm Monday, September 4 CBS-CS Back to Shul barbeque 4-6 pm Tuesday, September 5 Adult Education: Pirkei Avot/High Holiday preparation with Rabbi Fellman – 12:30 pm Wednesday, September 6 Federation and the community will honor president/CEO of the Jewish Federation of Central New York and executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation of CNY Linda Alexander at TAY at 6:30 pm TC adult education: Learn about Israel with Rabbi Daniel Fellman at 10 am Sunday, September 10 First day of CBS-CS Religious School at 9 am Monday, September 11 CBS-CS Sisterhood annual potluck dinner at Fayetteville Town Center Community Room at 6 pm
D’VAR TORAH Yet there will be no pauper among you BY CARL ROSENZWEIG Parasha Re’eh presents the second of Moshe’s valedictory addresses to the Jewish people. As with many non-narrative portions of the Torah, it is a mélange of various, seemingly unrelated, topics. It begins with the blessings and the curses Jews were to perform on mountains Gerizim and Ebal, and ends with the laws of the three pilgrimage holidays – Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. In between are numerous laws covering a wide range of topics – but a glaring contradiction stands out, even on a cursory reading. “Yet there will be no pauper among you, for the Lord will surely bless you in the land...” (15:4, translation by Robert Alter). Seven sentences later, we read, “For the pauper will not cease from the midst of the land.” (15:11) The context provides the key to understanding the contradiction. The sections preceding, including and succeeding these two sentences, deal with different aspects of charity. The end of Chapter 14 states, “...you shall take all the tithe of your yield in that year and set it down within your gates. And the Levite shall come, for he has no share and estate with you, and the sojourner and the orphan and the widow who are within your gates and they shall eat and be sated...” (14:28-29). We have
B’NAI MITZVAH Samson Aaron Myshrall
Samson Aaron Myshrall, son of Jeanette and Daniel Myshrall, of DeWitt, became bar mitzvah at Temple Concord on August 5. He is the grandson of Gail Krauss, of Liverpool; the late Otto Meili; and the late William and Julie Myshrall. He is a student at Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School. He attends the TC Religious School and the Rabbi Jacob Epstein School of Jewish Studies. Samson Aaron He enjoys playing baseball, Myshrall basketball, the guitar and cello. For his mitzvah project, he volunteers at the Temple Concord Food Pantry.
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to personally feed the poor. Chapter 15 begins with the commandment to cancel all debts at the shmittah (seventh) year. In the midst of Moshe’s promoting this commandment, we read both statements about paupers: “...you shall not harden your heart and clench your hand against your brother the pauper. But you shall surely open your hand to him and surely lend to him enough for his want that he has. Watch yourself, lest there be in our heart a base thing saying, ‘The seventh year of remission is near’ and you... do not give him. You shall surely give to him... for the pauper shall not cease from the midst of the land...” (15:7-11). Charity is not limited to handouts. We must lend money to the poor to help them establish themselves, tide them over, or start businesses or farms in the biblical era. (Appropriately, the Jewish Federation of Central New York is starting a free loan society.) Immediately following this discussion, we read, “... Hebrew brother or sister sold to you, he shall serve you...” (15:12) which outlines (just) some of the humane requirements the Bible imposes on slave (servant) owners. A last resort for paupers in biblical times was sale of themselves as indentured servants. Traditional (e.g. Ibn Ezra) and modern commentators look upon the contradictory statements as aspirational (no pauper among you) and accusatory (the pauper will not cease) if we fail. Yeshayahu Leibowitz (chemist, philosopher and brother of Nechama Leibowitz, the famed commentator and Bible teacher) goes further. There shall be no pauper among you is a commandment – not a prophecy – not an exhortation. God commands us not just to fight, but to eliminate poverty – and He gave us an outline of how to do this. Just as with many mitzvot, we may fail to properly and enthusiastically fulfill it (paupers will not cease), but it is our responsibility to eliminate poverty. The Rambam (Maimonides) makes clear (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, Chapter 10, section 12) that we are not limited to Jewish charity: “Our sages commanded us to visit the Gentiles when ill... and to support their poor together with the Jewish poor... Behold Psalm 145:9,” which is recited three times daily in our traditional prayer service, Ashrei. “God is good to all and His mercies extend over all His works.” We have our work cut out for us. Carl Rosenzweig is a professor of physics at Syracuse University and a member of Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse.
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the JCC; Jewish Observer; CNY Arts; M and T Bank; Syracuse New Times; and Key Bank. Community sponsors include Birnbaum Funeral Service, Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Temple Adath Yeshurun, Temple Concord, Sisskind Funeral Service and Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse. Kids Tent sponsors are Debbie and Barry Shulman, together with the Mackenzie Hughes Law Offices.
How many people are aware that pushing vehemently anti-Israel and pro-Islamist materials into K-12 educational programming is now the BDS movement’s new frontier? It’s hard to say, but most Jewish American organizations have yet to take up the issue as a matter of major concern. “Indoctrinating Our Youth” is a warning that this problem can no longer be ignored. What happened in Newton was especially appalling, but it’s really just another instance of a trend that’s already well underway in public schools, where students are increasingly “learning” from textbooks and supplemental readings that are horribly slanted against Israel, and in some instances, even by classroom lectures and lesson plans that traffic in blatant antisemitic tropes. For years, high school students in Newton, MA, were taught a tale of Jewish-inflicted misery. But then they got lucky. A discerning classmate flagged a troubling reading assignment, and her stalwart dad was willing to raise hell. Will the rest of America’s school kids be as fortunate? Note: An earlier, separate version of this article was featured in Legal Insurrection on July 23. To access it, visit http://legalinsurrection.com/2017/07/case-study-biasedcurriculum-on-israel-and-islam-in-a-massachusettsschool-system/. Miriam F. Elman is an associate professor of political science and the Robert D. McClure Professor of Teaching Excellence at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. Follow her on Twitter @MiriamElman.
AUGUST 17, 2017/25 AV 5777 ■
OBITUARIES STEVEN K. ALEXANDER
Steven K. Alexander, 81, died on August 14 at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Born in Berlin, Germany, he came to the U.S. in December 1939 with his parents as they fled Nazi Germany. Most of his family who didn’t escape perished in the Holocaust. His parents settled in Homer, NY, where his father was a practicing physician. He maintained his childhood friendships and connections to Homer throughout his life. He loved music, the arts, SU sports, golf and cars, and was an avid reader of history. He graduated from Hamilton College and studied medicine in Basel, Switzerland. After receiving his medical degree, he served in the U.S. Army 9th Division in Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service. After his service, he returned to Syracuse, where he was a member of the first class of family practice residencies at St. Joseph’s Hospital. As he was nearing the end of his residency, he met his future wife on a blind date set up by his Vietnam tent-mate’s wife. They were married three months later. He had an established solo family medical practice in DeWitt for more than 30 years. He had a strong Jewish identity and supported many Jewish causes. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Linda; their children Keith (Bea) Alexander, Eric (Apple) Alexander, Karen (Aaron) Pomerantz; five grandchildren; and his sister, Eleanor (Arthur Farbenbloom) Sontag. Burial was in the Temple Brith Sholom section of Cortland Rural Cemetery. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions may be made to the Jewish Community Foundation of Central New York, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt, NY 13214.
Morton Fox, 82, died on July 28 in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Born in Syracuse, he was a resident there until retiring to Delray Beach, FL. He and his wife, Susan, moved to Ponte Vedra Beach three years ago to be closer to family. He served his country during the Korean War in the Army Air Corps. He was a graduate of Syracuse University and earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. He worked as an electrical engineer for General Electric in Syracuse, concentrating on radar and sonar systems. He was a lifetime member of Temple Adath Yeshurun. He was an excellent skier and was an instructor for many years at Toggenberg Mountain. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Susan; their daughters, Shelly (Craig) Bloch and Amy (Bruce) McKean; and four grandchildren. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions can be made to Parkinson’s Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018.
Play pickleball at the JCC
Leonard Paul Goldberg, 88, died on July 21 in Boca Raton, FL. Born in Brooklyn, he was a longtime member of the business community in Syracuse and a founding member of the Syracuse University Hardwood Club. He was dedicated to his family and the Jewish communities in Syracuse and Boca Raton, and loved boating, bowling and college basketball. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Harlean; their children, Terry Siegel, Janet (Ken) Shanks, Randi McCarthy and Warren (Meryl) Goldberg; four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and a large extended family. Burial was in the Beth El Mausoleum in Boca Raton, FL. Gutterman Warheit Memorial Chapel had arrangements. Contributions can be made to the American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75231.
BY WILLIAM WALLAK Pickleball is considered one of the fastest growing sports in America. It’s a racquet sport that’s a combination of tennis, badminton and table tennis. It’s said to be suitable for all ages, all fitness levels and all skill levels, and it is now being offered at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt. The JCC’s Neulander Family Sports and Fitness Center recently began offering pickleball play on its two outdoor tennis courts. Pickleball court times are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 am-noon and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-9 pm. The courts can be reserved for up to one hour at a time. Paddles and balls are available to use free-of-charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Pickleball is free for JCC Fitness members. There is a nominal charge for non-members. Court reservations are suggested and can be made by calling 315-234-4522. “We are excited to offer pickleball to our members and the community alike,” said Patrick Scott, JCC sports and fitness director. “We were able to re-stripe our tennis courts for pickleball play, while also retaining the tennis court stripes so that tennis can still be played. Pickleball is an exciting, fast-paced game that’s a lot of fun and great exercise. It’s just starting to become popular in this area.” Pickleball was created more than 50 years ago by a group of friends in the state of Washington who did not have the right equipment to play badminton. The game can be played as singles or doubles on a court similar in size to a badminton court with a slightly modified tennis net. Besides the court, the only other equipment required is paddles similar to ping pong paddles and a ball similar to a wiffleball. Pickleball is considered easy to learn and has been called “addictive” by those who regularly play. It’s regarded as a game of “finesse, precision and
JAMES LIONEL FRIEDMAN
James Lionel Friedman, 97, of New York City, died on July 29. He was born in Syracuse, served in World War II in the Army Air Force and graduated from Syracuse University. He practiced law and then had a long career in business. He is survived by his wife, Irma Lesser Friedman; his children, Jonathan (Brenda) and Anne; and three grandchildren. Burial was in the Temple Concord section of Woodlawn Cemetery. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements.
WILLIAM (BILL) POOLER
William (Bill) Pooler, 85, died on August 3 after years of dementia. He grew up in Philadelphia, and after serving in Germany during the Korean War, he completed his undergraduate studies at Temple University and his master’s degree at the University of Connecticut. He then completed his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Michigan and came to Syracuse with his wife, Rosemary, to become a professor of sociology in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. He retired in 2010. He was passionate about his family, teaching and running, and became an accomplished marathon runner. He was always supportive of his wife, Rosemary’s, career in politics, government and, more recently, the federal judiciary and Court of Appeals. He was a member of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas. He was predeceased by his sister, Shannon. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary; their children, Michael, of Syracuse, and Penelope (Mark Eisenbies), of Syracuse; and two grandchildren. Burial was in the Beth Sholom section of Woodlawn Cemetery. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions can be made to the Syracuse University’s Sociology Department, 302 Maxwell Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, 13244.
NEWS IN BRIEF From JNS.org
Israel, Jordan, P.A. to conduct fire-ever joint forest fire emergency drill
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) – Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority will collaborate this October on a large civilian exercise aimed at improving regional cooperation in fighting wildfires. The European Union-sponsored Middle East Forest Fire drill, the first exercise of its kind, is scheduled to take place Oct. 22-26, with the aim of improving regional and international cooperation in dealing with large fires. France, Italy, Spain, Croatia and other countries will send teams to the drill. The exercise will involve testing regional collaboration in emergency situations, such as fighting simulated huge fires, carrying out search-and-rescue missions and extracting people trapped under ruins. Dozens of Israeli firefighting, search-and-rescue and medical teams from the country’s Fire and Rescue Services, the IDF Homefront Command and the Magen David Adom emergency services group will participate in the drill.
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At right: The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse’s Sports and Fitness Center Director Patrick Scott demonstrated his pickleball volleying technique recently on one of the JCC’s outdoor pickleball courts. Pickleball is now being offered at the JCC.
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ AUGUST 17, 20176/25 AV 5777
How the Jews nearly wiped out Tay-Sachs
BY IRA STOLL This story is sponsored by Jscreen. Parents of children born with Tay-Sachs disease talk about “three deaths.” There is the moment when parents first learn that their child has been diagnosed with the fatal disease. Then there is the moment when the child’s condition has deteriorated so badly – blind, paralyzed, non-responsive – that he or she has to be hospitalized. Then there’s the moment, usually by age 5, when the child finally dies. There used to be an entire hospital unit – 16 or 17 beds at Kingsbook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn – devoted to taking care of these children. It was often full, with a waiting list that admitted new patients only when someone else’s child had died. But by the late 1990s that unit was totally empty, and it eventually shut down. Its closure was a visible symbol of one of the most dramatic Jewish success stories of the past 50 years: the near-eradication of a deadly genetic disease. Since the 1970s, the incidence of Tay-Sachs has fallen by more than 90 percent among Jews, thanks to a combination of scientific advances and volunteer community activism that brought screening for the disease into synagogues, Jewish Community Centers and, eventually, routine medical care.
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Members of Thou Shalt Ride recently rode from Owasco Lake to Canandaigua Lake, ending the ride with a barbecue. Thou Shalt Ride is a Central New York motorcycle club affiliated with the Jewish Motorcycle Alliance. The club’s goals include fellowship, scenic rides and support for Holocaust education. For more club information, contact Joel Stein at email@example.com. L-r: Stein, Ken Bell, Beth and Peter Caplan, and Dave Feldman.
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thinking,” which makes it “a level playing field” for all ages to compete against each other. For more information about pickleball at the JCC Sports and Fitness Center, call 315-234-4522 or e-mail Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until 1969, when doctors discovered the enzyme that made testing possible to determine whether parents were carriers of Tay-Sachs, 50-60 affected Jewish children were born each year in the United States and Canada. After mass screenings began in 1971, the numbers declined to two-five Jewish births a year, said Karen Zeiger, whose first child died of Tay-Sachs. “It had decreased significantly,” said Zeiger, who, until her retirement in 2000, was the state of California’s Tay-Sachs prevention coordinator. Between 1976-89, there wasn’t a single Jewish Tay-Sachs birth in the entire state, she said. The first mass screening was held on a rainy Sunday afternoon in May 1971 at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, MD. The site was chosen in part for its proximity to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. One of the two doctors who discovered the missing hexosaminidase A enzyme, John O’Brien, was visiting a lab there, and another Johns Hopkins doctor, Michael Kaback, had recently treated two Jewish couples with Tay-Sachs children, including Zeiger’s. Zeiger’s husband, Bob, was also a doctor at Johns Hopkins. The screenings used blood tests to check for the missing enzyme that identified a parent as a Tay-Sachs carrier. “With the help of 40 trained lay volunteers and 15 physicians, more than 1,500 people volunteered for testing and were processed through the ‘system’ in about five hours,” Kaback later recalled in an article in the journal Genetics in Medicine. “For me, it was like having written a symphony and hearing it for the first time – and it went beautifully, without glitches.” A machine to process the tests cost $15,000. “We had bazaars, cake sales [and] sold stockings, and that’s how we raised money for the machine,” Zeiger said. Before screening, couples in which both parents were Tay-Sachs carriers “almost always stopped having children after they had one child with Tay-Sachs, for fear of having another,” Ruth Schwartz Cowan wrote in her book “Heredity and Hope: The Case for Genetic Screening.” But with screening, Tay-Sachs could be detected before birth, and “carrier couples felt encouraged to have children,” she wrote. Kaback’s work helped enable thousands of parents who were Tay-Sachs carriers to have other, healthy children. “What he did for Tay-Sachs and how he helped so many families was amazing,” Zeiger said. “People named their kids after him.” The screenings were transformative, and the campaign to get Jews tested for Tay-Sachs took off. This was the days before Facebook or e-mail, so activists and organizers spread the word about screenings through newspaper and magazine articles, posters at synagogues and items in Jewish organizational newsletters. Volunteers and medical professionals spoke on college campuses and sent promotional prescription pads to rabbis, obstetricians and gynecologists. Doctors and activists enlisted rabbis and community leaders to encourage couples to be tested before getting married. Another early mass screening event was held at a school in Waltham, MA, guided by Edwin Kolodny, a professor at New York University’s medical school.
The first mass screening in the Philadelphia area was on November 12, 1972, at the Germantown Jewish Center, and drew 800 people, according to a Yale senior thesis by David Gerber, “Genetics for the Community: The Organized Response To Tay-Sachs Disease, 1955-1995.” Nearly half a century later, the Tay-Sachs screening effort remains a model for mobilizing a community against genetic disease. Parent activists, scientists and doctors are trying to emulate that model with other diseases and other populations. “You can’t be complacent, because now there are 200 diseases you can test for,” said Kevin Romer, president of the Matthew Forbes Romer Foundation and a past president of the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association. The foundation is named for Romer’s son Matthew, who died of Tay-Sachs in 1996. Romer and others involved with this issue stress the importance of screening interfaith couples, too. Non-Jews may also benefit from pre-conception screening for TaySachs and other diseases. Some research indicates, for example, that Louisiana Cajuns, French Canadians and individuals with Irish lineage may also have an elevated incidence of Tay-Sachs. Scientific progress means that Jews can now be screened for more than 200 diseases with an at-home, mail-in test offered by JScreen. The four-year-old nonprofit affiliated with Emory University’s Department of Human Genetics has screened thousands of people, and the subsidized fee for the test – about $150 – includes genetic counseling. While some genetic tests are standard doctor’s office procedure for pregnant women or couples trying to get pregnant with a doctor’s help, JScreen aims for pre-conception screening. The test includes diseases common in those with Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi backgrounds as well as general population diseases, making it relevant for Jewish couples and interfaith couples. “Carrier screening gives people an opportunity to plan ahead for the health of their future families. We are taking lessons learned from earlier screening initiatives and bringing the benefits of screening to a new generation,” said Karen Arnovitz Grinzaid, executive director of JScreen. It was a path pioneered by the Tay-Sachs screening that began in 1971. In Cowan’s book, she mentions a chart prepared by Kaback reporting on 30 years of screening: 1.3 million people screened, 48,000 carriers detected, 1,350 carrier couples detected and 3,146 pregnancies monitored. “Kaback and his colleagues could well have stopped there,” she wrote. “But they did not. There is one more figure, the one that matters most and that goes the furthest in explaining why Ashkenazi Jews accept carrier screening... after monitoring with pre-natal diagnosis, 2,466 ‘unaffected offspring’ were born” to parents who were both Tay-Sachs carriers. This article was sponsored by and produced in partnership with JScreen, whose goal of making genetic screening as simple, accessible and affordable as possible has helped couples across the country have healthy babies. To access testing 24/7, request a kit at JScreen.org or gift a JScreen test as a wedding present. This article was produced by JTA’s native content team.
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