4 TISHREI 5776 • SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 • VOLUME XXXIV, NUMBER 18 • PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID, SYRACUSE, NY
Mark Wladis to chair 2016 Annual Campaign By Marianne Bazydlo The 2016 Jewish Federation of Central New York Annual Campaign will be chaired by Mark Wladis, who has invited everyone to collaborate on a common goal: a thriving Jewish community. According to Wladis, there will be a two-pronged approach to this year’s Campaign. “The first prong is the financial goal, which we’ve raised to $1.2 million. However, this Campaign is only partly about the money. It is also about the good work that our beneficiary agencies do. This brings us to the second prong, which is getting an even greater number of people involved, and welcoming them all in the Jewish community’s big tent. We have room for everyone, and we want to work together to make Syracuse an even more vibrant and growing home for our Jewish community.” There will be a kick-off event on Saturday, November 14, at the Museum of Science and Technology, 500 S. Franklin St., Syracuse, which will be open to the community. The event will be intended for all ages, with children also welcome. Wladis said, “We are changing the
nature of the Campaign, and Wladis has reached out to this event is a perfect example individuals in all different of that. It’s not a fund-raiser, constituencies, representbut instead, an opportunity ing all ages in his efforts to for guests to mingle and get improve the Campaign. He to know each other, building has brought together people bonds and strengthening their from a variety of professions relationship with others in the – doctors, lawyers, businessJewish community.” men, Syracuse University employees and others. He He continued, “I didn’t created a Campaign cabinet, immediately agree to chair Mark Wladis which the community will be the Campaign when Linda Alexander asked for my commitment. able to read more about in the future. As with other major decisions in my Wladis has been able to involve people life, I took some time to consult with who had never before been asked to my family, prior Campaign chairs and contribute their time or money to the Federation supporters, colleagues and Federation, and who are now working other members of the Jewish commu- toward a common goal. Wladis concluded that “now is the nity. I wanted their input about what was important to them and what their goals time to seek out and welcome” greater for the Federation and the Campaign involvement, to secure commitment would be. The overwhelming feedback I not only to the Federation, but to the got was that if I or another in my genera- wider Jewish community in Central tion didn’t do it, who would? I learned New York. He said, “Many of us ask that we have a real need to energize why there is no longer a kosher deli or our community and give people the op- kosher meat market in the area. Now portunity to be a part of this Campaign is the time to build energy and exciteand the good works that are supported ment among all of us in the Jewish community’s big tent, and answer those by the Federation.”
questions with solid action.” Wladis has long been involved in supporting the community, which he learned from his parents, who chaired numerous boards, have been charitably inclined and are supporters of the Jewish community. In fact, his father is a past chair of the Jewish Federation Campaign. Wladis was named a member of “Forty under Forty” for Central New York and the Board of Trustees of Onondaga Community College. He has also served as chair of the Board of Directors of Success By 6, and on the boards of the Federation, the Central New York Lupus Foundation and the Onondaga County Commission on Economic Development, Conventions and Tourism. Wladis is an attorney whose practice focuses primarily on business, government relations and tax matters. He is the president of the Wladis Law Firm, P.C., a multi-disciplinary firm with offices in East Syracuse and Watertown, which serves clients across New York state. He and his wife of 25 years, Diane, have four children – Jacqueline, Harrison, Andrew and Tyler – and live in Pompey.
Federation welcomes Ambassador Ross to Syracuse October 1
By Marianne Bazydlo Scholar and diplomat Dennis Ross will speak on his new book, “Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama,” on Thursday, October 1, at 7:30 pm, in the Temple Adath Yeshurun sanctuary, 450 Kimber Rd., Syracuse. The Jewish Federation of Central New York will host Ross’ visit. Federation President/CEO Linda Alexander said, “We invite the community to hear Ambassador Ross as he begins
his tour for his latest book, which will be available to our community even before the official release date of October 13. We are very excited that our community will be one of the first he is visiting.” Ross will meet with the Federation’s major donors before his 7:30 pm community talk. Mark Wladis, chair of the 2016 Federation Campaign, has also arranged for Ross to meet with The Post-Standard Editorial Board the following morning.
Ross is counselor and Davidson Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a distinguished professor in the practice of diplomacy at Georgetown. He served for two years as special assistant to President Barack Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and
Middle East policy, Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process. He was the U.S. point man on the peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. Ross will sign copies of his book at the event. There will be no fee to attend. For more information, contact Marianne Bazydlo at Federation at 445-2040, ext. 102, or mbazydlo@jewishfederationcny. org.
Federation plans magic, merriment and munchies at “Meet at The MOST” By Marianne Bazydlo “Meet at the MOST,” a “friend-raising” celebration for the Jewish Federation of Central New York, will be held on Saturday, November 14, from 6:30-9 pm, at The Museum of Science and Technology, 500 S. Franklin St., in Armory Square in downtown Syracuse. Mark Wladis, chair of the upcoming
2016 Federation Campaign said, “‘Meet at The MOST’ will be a little bit different from some of our past Federation events. This will be a family-oriented, enjoyable, social time for all ages to explore The MOST’s exhibits, enjoy some food, music, magic and some entertaining surprises. We hope everyone will come and bring their families.”
Wishing you a healthy and happy New Year
“We are thrilled that Pam Levine is chairing this event,” said Linda Alexander, Federation’s president/CEO. “With her extensive experience in event planning throughout Syracuse, ‘Meet at The MOST’ is sure to be a great time for everyone.” The event will be catered by The Oaks
and supervised by the Va’ad Ha’ir. There will be a nominal family fee to attend. Look for more information in upcoming issues of the Jewish Observer. For more information, contact Marianne Bazydlo at Federation at 445-2040, ext. 102, or email@example.com.
C A N D L E L I G H T I N G A N D P A R AS H A September 18...........6:52 pm........................Parasha-Vayelech -Shabbat Shuvah September 22...........6:44 pm......................................................Erev Yom Kippur September 25...........6:39 pm.......................................................Parasha-Haazinu September 27...........6:35 pm............................................................... Erev Sukkot September 28...........after 7:33 pm...............................................................Sukkot October 2.................6:26 pm......................................................... Parasha-Sukkot
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Sandy Koufax
Katrina 10 years on
A look at why Sandy Koufax sitting Local Sukkot services and events; Jewish communities in New out a World Series game still seeking atonement on social Orleans and Mississippi reflect on media; recipes; and more. matters 50 years later. life 10 years after Katrina hit. Stories on pages 2, 4, 7, 8, 10 Story on page 2 Stories on page 6
PLUS Health Care Greetings........... 7 Calendar Highlights............. 10 Obituaries................................11 News in Brief......................... 12
JEWISH OBSERVER ■ september 17, 2015/4 TISHREI 5776
Why Sandy Koufax sitting out a World Series game still matters 50 years later
By Hillel Kuttler WASHINGTON (JTA) – Jesse Agler was pretty talented as a catcher and pitcher in Little League, yet his parents benched him regularly. That’s because the Aglers had a no-baseball-on-Shabbat rule, one cloaked in sports royalty. “It was a source of frustration as a kid, but I appreciated later what they tried to do,” said Agler, a 33-year-old radio broadcaster for the San Diego Padres who grew up in South Florida. “It goes back to Koufax making the point about that day, that it’s not for baseball.” Agler was referring to the decision by Sandy Koufax, the star pitcher of the Los Angeles Dodgers, to sit out Game 1 of the 1965 World Series against the Minnesota Twins because it fell on Yom Kippur. Koufax instead started Game 2 the next afternoon. The Dodgers lost both days, but won the championship
in seven games. The mighty left-hander had dominated that regular season, leading the majors with 26 wins, a 2.04 earned run average, 27 complete games and 336 innings pitched – not to mention he also pitched a perfect game, set a 20th-century record with 382 strikeouts and earned the National League’s Cy Young Award. Koufax was considered the supreme pitcher of his generation and the greatest Jewish hurler ever, and his taking a stand occurred at baseball’s centerpiece event. It’s become the stuff of legend in American Jewry as an example of ethnic pride. “There was no hard decision for me,” Koufax said later in an ESPN documentary released in 2000. “It was just a thing of respect. I wasn’t trying to make a statement, and I had no idea that it would impact that many people.” Intended or not, Koufax’s call contin-
a matter of opinion Israel advocacy knows no bounds By Shoshana Kranish Beverly, MA, resident Shoshana Kranish is a sophomore at Syracuse University and is studying international relations in the Middle East and North Africa. She spent the spring semester studying abroad in Tel Aviv. During the summer, she interned at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and then signed on as a fellow for the school year. She will be responsible for writing op-eds and holding pro-Israel events on campus. She said her interest in Israel advocacy started after her Birthright Israel trip in May 2014. Although the trip was not her first time in Israel, it was right before the war, so everything was very fresh in her mind. The war provided “a crucial point” when she felt she needed to start defending Israel, and attended her first rally last July. During her semester abroad in Israel, she looked for summer work while continuing her love for Israel. She said that this is how she ended up working at CAMERA, and she “hasn’t looked back since!” As students begin to pack their bags to head back to college in the coming weeks, about 60 of them made their way to Boston for a four-day intensive conference on Israel advocacy. Hosted by the Boston-based organization CAMERA, the conference sponsored leadership training for college students across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The students listened to dozens of stories about Israel, journeys with Zionism and Israel advocacy on their college campuses. Among the speakers the CAMERA staff brought to Boston was Sergeant Benjamin Anthony, a reservist in the IDF and founder of the organization Our Soldiers Speak. Originally from England, he made aliyah after the antisemitic trope that is so prevalent in the U.K. and Europe simply became too much for him to bear. He reminded the audience that the discourse surrounding Israel is a fight, not a debate. A strong voice and equally as strong in his convictions, Anthony spoke clearly when he said that “if she (Israel) does well, you will do well.” Everyone in the room, from the students to the staff to other speakers who had come to give presentations, felt the fervor in his talk. While his narrative was largely personal, there were others who spoke and provided a more factual case for Israel. On the first night of the conference, students watched the “J Street Challenge” film and engaged in a ques-
tion-and-answer session with producer Avi Goldwasser. The film (available at http://thejstreetchallenge.com) features a variety of opinions. Not all of the sessions were based entirely on Israel, however. There were sessions that focused on public speaking and non-verbal communication, as well as debating strategies. JSwipe founder David Yarus taught about the technology behind optimizing Facebook pages. Gilad Skolnick, director of Student Programming at CAMERA, outlined how to best write an op-ed, and push publication in one’s own campus paper. One morning, students laced up their sneakers for a 45minute class on Krav Maga, which got our hearts racing and brought smiles to everyone’s faces. Perhaps the most effective aspect of the conference, though, was the way in which students learned from each other. Some attendees are incoming freshmen in college, and the older students were able to offer them guidance and advice. There were attendees whose college campuses are plagued with anti-Israel sentiment and who were able to provide an entirely new perspective on the way they advocate for the Jewish state. Students shared what has worked on their college campuses, from a TED-talk style event with a focus on Zionism and Israel; to handing out cupcakes with the Israeli flag emblazoned in frosting; to bringing Israeli artists to campus to showcase their work. The conference concluded with a mock BDS resolution hearing, with students having just 45 minutes to prepare a speech that would effectively convince their student government to vote no on divestment. This final task allowed students to put to use the tools they had gained during the previous three days: strong public speaking and communication; an emotional argument as well as a factual one; and of course, a renewed, strengthened passion for the state of Israel. As students boarded their cabs to go back to their respective hometowns and colleges, they cried and hugs were exchanged. Just four days before, these students were strangers. They had perhaps had just one thing in common: their love for Israel. By the time they left, though, there was so much more that constituted these newfound friendships. Students were no longer simply Zionists. They had been reminded that they truly were part of a family, and always would be.
ues to resonate 50 years later. While the decision was a personal one for Koufax, now 79, it represented a visible, even monumental, progression for Jews of his generation in claiming their place in this country. If a great athlete could proudly stand up as a Jew, the feeling went, we can, too. Koufax followed in the deep footprints of the previous generation’s American Jewish baseball icon, Hank Greenberg, who sat out an important game played by his Detroit Tigers during the 1934 pennant race that fell on Yom Kippur. “I think it was a matter of conscience with both of them,” said Larry Ruttman, author of the 2013 book “American Jews and America’s Game.” “Koufax was a huge star when he did it, and Greenberg in ‘34 wasn’t – but he was coming to be one.” Greenberg’s legend has faded a bit because nearly a century has passed, Ruttman said. Koufax, by contrast, “remains so potent now because his playing days are still within living memory” for many fans. Koufax’s decision remains so profound, in fact, that a half-century later it still carries lessons for those raised neither with the sport nor in the United States. London native Alexandra Benjamin teaches a course on Jewish history during the semester-long Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim international high school program. In discussions about the sometimes disparate pulls of secular and Jewish culture, she returns time and again to the Koufax decision. “The reason the Sandy Koufax example works so well is that baseball is very much a part of American culture and he is Jewish,” Benjamin said. “At some point he had to make a choice... So some guy stayed home from work and it was Yom Kippur – he’s not the only one, but he’s a public figure,” she added. “Still today, that example is relevant, it works and it has impact.” In summer 1999, Benjamin chaperoned a British Jewish youth group visiting the United States, where they
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enjoyed a quintessential American experience: a baseball game at New York’s Yankee Stadium. Lunch involved buying food at the ballpark’s kosher hot dog stand. “It was mind blowing,” said Benjamin, because such availability is inconceivable at a British sports venue. She said the kosher hot dogs, like Koufax, demonstrated that enculturation and Jewish pride are highly compatible. At a recent Padres-Nationals game at Nationals Park here, Carly Meisel, a former student of Benjamin, had Jewish values and baseball on her mind. The previous week, she and some friends had attended a game at Boston’s Fenway Park on Jewish Heritage Night. Meisel, 18, was attending the Nationals’ game with approximately 50 other incoming freshmen at George Washington University. Among those waiting at the stadium’s kosher kiosk was Yoni KaiserBlueth, the kippah-clad executive director of the university’s Hillel. Kaiser-Blueth, 40, was born in Brazil, but quickly adopted baseball as a child in America. He grew up in Los Angeles, where, unsurprisingly, Koufax’s legend was strong. “The takeaway is that you have values and choices to make in life. It resonates especially today because of the lack of relevancy of Judaism in some people’s lives,” Kaiser-Blueth said as he pumped mustard across his kosher sausage. “If you see an athlete – for better or worse a role model – make that choice, it can reverberate in their [the fans’] lives. Think of what Madonna did for Kabbalah – she created a whole industry.” Apropos of Koufax, Kaiser-Blueth noted that every year at this time, his students raise concerns over school conflicting with the approaching Jewish holidays. The issue is acute this year, with all seven days falling during the week. Meisel expressed confidence in professors’ willingness to help her make up missed classes and course work. She related that surety directly to Koufax’s See “Koufax” on page 5
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SEPTEMBER 17, 2015/4 TISHREI 5776 ■
AROUND CENTRAL NEW YORK October 13 Sisterhood Symposium to explore Jewish views of the afterlife By William Wallak At the upcoming sixth Sisterhood Symposium, presented by the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas and the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center, Dr. Benjamin Sommer and Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone will discuss “The End: Jewish Views of the Afterlife.” The program will be held on Tuesday, October 13, at 6:30 pm, at the JCC, 5655 Benjamin Sommer
Thompson Rd., DeWitt. Sommer is professor of Bible, in the department of Bible and ancient Semitic languages at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He has taught rabbis, Jewish educators and laypeople in the United States and Israel. He specializes in literary analysis of the Bible and biblical theology. Rabbi Pepperstone is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas. He has been a participant in the symposiums since his arrival in Syracuse in 2011. Participants have considered past Sisterhood symposia to have been “timely” and “thought-provoking,”
JCC offers Columbus Day vacation camp for children October 12 By William Wallak The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse will hold a Columbus Day vacation camp for children in kindergarten-sixth grade on Monday, October 12, from 9 am-4 pm, at the Center, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt. Among the activities offered at the camp will be arts, crafts and sports. Half-day options and early and late care from 7 am-6 pm are also available. The camp’s half-day options run from 9 am-noon and from 1-4 pm. Mick Hagan, the JCC’s director of children and teen services, said, “We’re going to have so many cool things for the children to do on their Columbus Day break. We’ll get creative with lots of hands-on, fall-themed activities and have lots of different games and sports available to
keep everyone moving. It’s going to be a blast.” The program will include making Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria ship replicas; playing “ships and sailors” in the gym; and other activities. The afternoon will feature fall-themed crafts, Ga-ga (Israeli dodgeball), “football frenzy” and dancing games. Full-day campers have been asked to bring a non-meat lunch. An afternoon snack will be provided. Early registration pricing and a discount for siblings is available through Monday, October 5. Registration is discounted for JCC members; however, membership or JCC program enrollment is not necessary for a child to attend the Columbus Day vacation camp. For more information or to obtain a registration form, call 445-2360 or visit www.jccsyr.org.
where her sister, Judy Torres, lived, or move to Florida to be closer to her mother. She comes from a line of bakers, including her mother and grandmother, and the brownies are a family recipe. She started off making platters of brownies, which she gave to car dealers for the customers. She realized that she needed to expand and sell her brownies wholesale to be successful. She got a foot in the door at DisneyWorld and has been selling her product for more than 20 years. The Women’s Fund of Central New York hopes Mains’ story will inspire women business owners and entrepreneurs from Central New York. “I was fortunate to have people in my life who believed in me and my dream, even when the road got bumpy,” said Mains. “I applaud the members of the Women’s Fund who – through their encouragement and support – pave the way to success for the women and girls of Central New York. I look forward to sharing my story with them.” At the talk, Mains will share a presentation and, of course, some chocolate. Tickets cost $55. Patron tickets are available for $75, which includes entry into a one-hour round table with Mains prior to the event. For more information about the event or to buy tickets,
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Wednesday, September 16.............. October 1 Thursday, September 24, early..... October 15 Wednesday, October 14................. October 29 Wednesday, October 28............. November 12
THE JCC, CONG. BETH SHOLOM, and now TEMPLE CONCORD, GLADLY ACCEPT DONATED PHI EPSILON fraternity VEHICLES THRU C*A*R*S (aPI locally owned Manlius company) “ g i v iits n g t50th o y o u r oreunion wn” is holding in (it’s what you do best) Pittsburgh on Oct. 23 & 24, 2015. Tax de ductio All graduates CALL between n “mike the car guy” l959 and l964 are welcome. For further information, contact MIKE LESSEN 256-6167 Ed Friedlander at 203 322-8808. email@example.com C ha r i ta ble Auto R e s o urce S e r v ice
REUNION PHI EPSILON PI fraternity is holding its 50th reunion in Pittsburgh on Oct. 23 & 24, 2015. All graduates between l959 and l964 are welcome. For further information, contact Ed Friedlander at 203 322-8808.
See “Mains” on page 5
Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center senior dining menu September 21-25 Monday – tuna salad on a bun Tuesday – stuffed cabbage Wednesday – closed for Yom Kippur Thursday – baked ziti Friday – Cornish hen September 28-October 2 Monday – closed for Sukkot Tuesday – closed for Sukkot Wednesday – hoisin salmon Thursday – TBA Friday – TBA
S E N I L D A E D
I n o u r 1 0 t h ye a r o f e n r ic hi n g t he re l i g io u s s e c tor
Women’s Fund of CNY hosts former Syracusan and brownie “mogul” Sheila Mains The Women’s Fund of Central New York will host Sheila G. Mains, CEO and founder of Brownie Brittle, LLC, at its fall luncheon event, “Ingredients for Impact,” on Thursday, September 24, at 11:30 am, at the Bellevue Country Club. Better known as “Sheila G,” Mains developed her brownie products from a small startup to a multimilliondollar brand. Launched in 2011, Sheila G’s® Brownie Brittle™ has already achieved national distribution in thousands of groceries and other retail outlets. In 2012, Mains partnered with Jerry Bello, founder and CEO of Keen Marketing. In 18 months, they raised Brownie Brittle from $500,000 in sales to more than $28 million. In the early 1990s, after losing an executive position with a printing company that closed, Mains embarked on her “Plan B for Brownies.” After selling small batches to local stores, her notoriety as a “brownie maven” spread. Her brownies have been featured at various restaurants and theme parks. Originally from Syracuse, Mains graduated from Jamesville-DeWitt High School. She currently lives in West Palm Beach. She has a factory in Florida and another in California. Mains was living in Minnesota when she had to move. Her two choices were to move to Syracuse,
and organizers hope that this year’s program will continue that trend. The event will include a full-course dinner. For more information and to make a reservation, contact CBS-CS at 446-9570 or firstname.lastname@example.org by October 1.
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-Friday at noon. Lunch reservations are required by noon of 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 email@example.com.
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congregational notes Temple Concord Temple Concord will start its programming year on Saturday, September 19, at 7:30 pm, with its Cinemagogue film series. It will screen “Sukkah City,” a film about
a design competition among contemporary engineers and architects to build the best sukkah. The film series is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome.
Temple Concord will conduct its annual cemetery service on Sunday, September 20, at 12:30 pm, at Woodlawn Cemetery. Participants will celebrate Simchat Torah on
Tuesday, October 6, at 7 pm. The celebration will be preceded by a new member dinner. For more information, contact the TC office at 475-9952.
Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas Adult education opportunities at CBS-CS A range of adult education opportunities at Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas will begin in October. Rabbi Andrew and Cantor Paula Pepperstone will teach mishnayot (rabbinic commentaries) on the Jewish festivals on Saturdays at 4 pm in their home. For the location of the class, contact the CBS-CS office at 446-9570 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The sessions will begin during Sukkot on
Saturday, October 3, and end before Pesach. Texts will be provided in Hebrew and English. For the second consecutive year, the CBS-CS Sisterhood will sponsor semi-monthly Thursday morning study sessions at 10:30 am at the synagogue with Rabbi Pepperstone, beginning October 8. This year there will be four series of classes with four sessions each, including”Subversive Sequels in the Bible,” “Jewish Views of the Afterlife,” “The Jewish Gospels” and “Topics in
Jewish Biomedical Ethics.” Cantor Pepperstone will lead “Torah Reading: Own Your Trope,” a workshop to help participants chant Torah at services. The class will meet at CBS-CS for 10 Mondays, at 7 pm, beginning on October 12. There will be a fee for non-members of CBS-CS for the class. Registration will be required and can be made by contacting the CBS-CS office at 446-9570 or email@example.com. This year, the Hillel at Syracuse University lunch and learn discussion group
led by Rabbi Pepperstone will study the “Book of Job,” which explores the question of why the righteous suffer. To join the group and receive a schedule of meeting dates, contact Rabbi Pepperstone at firstname.lastname@example.org. The class will meet approximately at noon every other week at Hillel starting on Monday, October 28. For more information on these and other activities at CBS-CS, contact the CBS-CS office at 446-9570 or cbscs@ yahoo.com.
Sukkot around the community Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas (USCJ affiliated), 18 Patsy Ln., off Jamesville Rd., DeWitt, 446-9570. For youth programs, call Julie Tornberg at 701-2685. Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse (Orthodox, affiliated with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America), 4313 E. Genesee St., DeWitt, 446-6194. Temple Adath Yeshurun (USCJ affiliated), 450 Kimber Rd., Syracuse, 445-0002. Temple Concord (Reform, affiliated with Union for Reform Judaism), 910 Madison St., Syracuse, 475-9952. Chabad House at SU. All services at Chabad House, 825 Ostrom Ave., Syracuse, 424-0363. Hillel – Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life at Syracuse University Campus, 102 Walnut Pl., Syracuse 4225082.
Congregation Beth SholomChevra Shas
Services are open to the community. For more information, guests and visitors should contact the Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas office at 446-9570 or email@example.com. Monday, September 28 Sukkot day one Shacharit and Musaf 9:30 am Tuesday, September 29 Sukkot day two Shacharit and Musaf 9:30 am Friday, October 2 Dinner in The Hut at 6 pm with Maariv following
Monday, October 5 Shemini Atzeret Shacharit 9:30 am Yizkor Monday, October 5 Simchat Torah Maariv and “Simchat Torah Palooza” at 7 pm – musicians from within the CBSCS community will lead singing during the hakafot. Tuesday, October 6 Simchat Torah Shacharit 9:30 am
Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse Sunday September 27 Erev Sukkot Services 8 am Candle lighting 6:35 pm Mincha 6:35 pm Earliest time to eat in the sukkah 7:31 pm Monday, September 28 Sukkot day one Chumash class 8:15 am Morning services 9 am Mincha 6:35 pm Candle lighting 7:31 pm (pre-existing flame) Earliest time to eat in the sukkah 7:31 pm Tuesday, September 29 Sukkot day two Chumash class 8:15 am Morning services 9 am Mincha 6:35 pm Havdalah 7:30 pm Sunday October 4 Hoshanah Rabbah and erev Shemini Atzeret Morning services 8 am
Candle lighting 6:22 pm Mincha 6:25 pm Monday, October 5 Shemini Atzeret Chumash class 8:15 am Morning services 9 am Yizkor 10:30 am (approximately) Mincha 6:25 pm Youth program begins at 6:25 pm Candle lighting 7:28 pm Hakafot 7:30 pm Tuesday, October 6 Simchat Torah Morning services 9 am Hakafot 9:45 am Kiddush following services NCSY pizza luncheon and visitation to Menorah Park Mincha 6:25 pm Havdalah 7:27 am Simchat Torah celebration Once again, there will be advisors from Yeshiva University to help with the ruach, singing and dancing. The celebration will include food and chocolate. The Torah Tours Simchat Torah celebration is sponsored by Selma Radin, in memory of her husband, Sherwin Radin, and in honor of her family.
Temple Adath Yeshurun Sunday, September 27 Erev Sukkot Evening service 6:30 pm Candle lighting 6:34 pm Monday, September 28 Sukkot day one Morning service 9:15 am Evening service 6 pm Candle lighting 7:32 pm
Tuesday, September 29 Sukkot day two Morning service 9:15 am Evening service 6:40 pm Candle lighting 6:30 pm Saturday, October 3 Morning service 9:15 am Pizza in the Hut following services – Reservations requested; contact the TAY office at 445-0002 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Evening service 6:30 pm Sunday, October 4 Hoshanah Rabbah Morning service 9 am Sunday, October 4 Shemini Atzeret Evening service 6 pm Candle lighting 6:22 pm Monday, October 5 Simchat Torah Morning service 9:15 am Evening service 6 pm Family celebration 7 pm Candle lighting 7:20 pm Tuesday, October 6 Morning service 9:15 am Evening service 6:30 pm
Temple Concord Monday, September 28 Sukkot day one Morning service 11 am Sunday, October 4 Shemini Atzeret Morning service 11 am Tuesday, October 6 Simchat Torah 7 pm The celebration will be preceded by a See “Sukkot” on page 8
CBS-CS Sukkot and Simchat Torah services
In addition to yom tov services, Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas will offer other opportunities to celebrate Sukkot and Simchat Torah. In addition to Sukkot services on Monday and Tuesday, September 28 and 29, at 9:30 am, the congregation will have an intergenerational Shabbat/yom tov dairy potluck dinner in the CBS-CS sukkah on Friday, October 2, at 6 pm. Attendees have been encouraged to bring seasonal, local food. Reservations for the dinner have been requested by contacting the CBS-CS office at 446-9570 or office@ cbscs.org. There will be a modest, per person charge, with a family maximum charge. Following dinner, members of the synagogue’s ACHLA United Synagogue Youth chapter will lead Maariv services.
They will also lead Shabbat services the next morning when Cantor Paula Pepperstone will recite portions of Megillot Kohelet (Ecclesiastes). The congregation will hold Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah services on Monday, October 5, and Tuesday, October 6, at 9:30 am, respectfully. Cantor Paula Pepperstone will lead the Shemini Atzeret services, which will include the Yizkor service. CBS-CS will celebrate on Monday, October 5, with “Simchat Torah Palooza,” when members of the congregation will take turns leading the hakafot blessings and singing while dancing with the Torot. All services and events at CBS-CS are open to the community. For more information, contact the CBS-CS office at 446-9570 or email@example.com.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2015/4 TISHREI 5776 ■
Tap dance classes return to the JCC starting September 30 By William Wallak The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse will again hold weekly adult tap dance classes this fall, starting on Wednesday, September 30. Because of the upcoming Jewish holidays, for the first two weeks only the class will meet on Wednesdays, September 30 and October 6. Classes will then be held on Tuesdays, starting on October 13, for the remainder of the fall. The classes will run through December 15. Four class levels will be offered: remedial, starting at 6:30 pm; beginner, at 7 pm; intermediate, at 8 pm; and advanced, at 9 pm. The adult tap classes will be open to anyone ages 12 and older, and no prior dance experience is necessary. There will be a modest per-class cost. No registration is necessary and free parking will be available. Local attorney and choreographer Barry Shulman will once again lead the classes. Shulman, who has held the tap classes for many years at the JCC, teaches
Barry Shulman (front row, middle) led a tap dance class at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center last fall. Shulman will once again teach classes at the JCC starting on Wednesday, September 30.
“New York City” style. Students do not need to commit to every class and can attend as much as they like. Joe Yager, JCC sports and fitness director, said, “If you’ve ever wanted to try tap dancing, these classes are a great way for both men and women to ‘dive in’ and experience something new. Barry does a great job of getting both newcomers and experienced dancers alike moving and having fun each night.” Shulman, who is of counsel to the law firm Gilberti, Stinziano, Heintz and Smith, has taught many principal dancers on Broadway and in national tours. He keeps the cost of the tap classes to a minimum and donates the proceeds to the JCC. Shulman received the JCC’s Kovod Gadol Award in 2013 for his “extraordinary commitment, energy and loyalty to the JCC.” For more information about the adult tap dance classes, contact the JCC’s Sports and Fitness Center at 234-4522 or visit www.jccsyr.org.
Poll: 52 percent of eastern Jerusalem Arabs prefer Israeli citizenship (Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS. org) – Half of eastern Jerusalem’s Arab residents – 52 percent – would prefer to be Israeli citizens, while only 45 percent of them would prefer to be citizens of a future Palestinian state, a recent survey by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found. A similar survey held by the institute in 2011 found that only 40 percent of eastern Jerusalem’s Arab residents pre-
ferred Israeli citizenship over “Palestinian citizenship.” Institute fellow David Pollock, who conducted both surveys, presented the findings at a conference hosted by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies on September 8. Pollock said the 2015 poll found “modern” and “more realistic” views among eastern Jerusalem’s Arabs, compared with those living in Judea and Samaria as well as the Gaza
Continued from page 3
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example. (Koufax, through his agent, farm team. “So many people followed him, who were in awe of him, and he was declined JTA’s interview request.) “We’ll make it doable,” she said. “If doing it for all [of them].” As it happens, Koufax sitting out Game he can miss a game, and everyone’s watching – it takes strength to do that. 1 in the 1965 World Series also yielded It’s a good example of what we can do in one of baseball’s most famous quips. Don Drysdale, who would later join Koufax day-to-day life.” Koufax’s former catcher, Norm Sher- in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, ry, made a different choice; he played replaced him on the mound that day. The To As advertise, contact Bonnie Rozen Twins pounded Drysdale for six runs on the High Holidays. a teenager, at 724-2360, ext. 244 or he had attended school and played bas- in the third inning on the way to an 8-2 bonnie@ thereportergroup.org. ketball on those days, even though the victory. When Dodgers’ manager Walter overwhelmingly Jewish student body Alston took the ball from Drysdale, the in Los Angeles’ Fairfax High School big righty reportedly said, “I bet you wish I was Jewish, too.” stayed home. Hillel Kuttler in 2011 launched Koufax “made the right decision,” said Sherry, who roomed with Koufax “Seeking Kin,” his now-thrice-monthly for road games in 1962, but in 1965 was column on people searching for long-lost a minor-league manager for a Dodgers’ relatives and friends.
Strip. The poll found that 70 percent of eastern Jerusalem’s Arabs support a two-state solution and “recognize the Jewish people’s right to a state,” while only 13 percent of Judea and Samaria’s Arabs and 11 percent of Gazans said the same. But while 40 percent of the Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem “recognize that Jews have some rights” to Israel, Pollock said almost no Arabs residing in Judea, Samaria and Gaza agreed.
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Pollock believes the desire to become Israeli citizens stems from social benefits afforded to eastern Jerusalem Arabs who have an Israeli resident status. Nevertheless, the survey found that the majority of Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem have radical views: 61 percent support armed conflict with Israel, including vehicular terrorist attacks, and a majority said they are politically affiliated with the Gazaruling Hamas terrorist group, not the Palestinian Authority.
Join us for these workshops at the JCC to address these topics and more! Juniors: Thursdays, 7p-9p, Sept 24, Oct 1 (adults only), 8, & 15 Seniors: Thursdays, 7p-9p, Sept 24, Oct 1 (adults only), 8, 15, 22 (teens and adults)
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ september 17, 2015/4 TISHREI 5776
Katrina – 10 years on
For New Orleans Jews, Katrina still fosters communal bond By Josh Tapper NEW ORLEANS (JTA) – One rainy afternoon earlier this summer, Rabbi Gabe Greenberg stood on the backyard patio of the new Beth Israel synagogue telling the story of the deluge that destroyed the Orthodox congregation’s Lakeview neighborhood building. Most of the now 111-year-old synagogue’s possessions were ruined by the 10 feet of water that filled the premises when Hurricane Katrina triggered massive flooding a decade ago this month. The remains of more than 3,000 of its holy books are now buried under a mound of dirt at the nearby Ahavos Sholem cemetery. Stacked on top of each other in a nearby grave are the disintegrated parchments of seven Torah scrolls that didn’t survive the storm. Those traumatic memories haven’t faded for this aging congregation. But as Greenberg was quick to point out, the view from the patio tells the story of how it survived. In 2012, Congregation Beth Israel erected a new building in the northwest suburb of Metairie. Visible beyond the backyard fence is Gates of Prayer, the Reform synagogue that lent the congregation prayer space during its seven years of homelessness. And etched into the patio bricks are the names of synagogues and Jewish organizations whose donations kept the congregation afloat as it regrouped. In a sense, Beth Israel is emblematic of how New Orleans’ small Jewish community recovered from Katrina, rebuilding from the ground up in the face of colossal property damage and population decline. As Greenberg, a 33-year-old Massachusetts native who began his tenure last year, said: “There’s a lot of pride.”
After Hurricane Katrina, this was what was left of Congregation Beth Israel’s centennial celebration sign. (Photo by Adam Magnus)
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Ten years on, many parts of New Orleans still bear scars left by the storm. After the levees were breached on August 29, 2005, flooding swallowed neighborhood after neighborhood, causing a reported $100 billion in damage and displacing more than 400,000 people. Most devastating, though, were the deaths of 2,000 people across the Gulf Coast region. Today, the Lower Ninth Ward, a low-income and historically black neighborhood where hundreds of blighted homes were demolished, dozens of hauntingly vacant lots have been claimed by overgrown flora. The city’s population, about 465,000 before mass pre-storm evacuations, is now about 384,000, despite a positive growth rate since 2005. No Jewish deaths were reported as a direct result of Katrina, but more than 80 percent of Jewish homes were battered and damages to communal institutions totaled $20 million. Most of the city’s 9,500 Jews fled New Orleans, seeking shelter with family and friends in Baton Rouge, Houston, Atlanta and other cities across the country. For New Orleans’ Jews, the havoc was compounded by an already sagging community infrastructure that had been deteriorating for years before the storm, plagued by unmet fund-raising goals, a steady outflow of young people and a struggling day school, Jewish Federation of Greater New
L-r: Bradley Bain, Elliott Bain and Yehuda Halper read Torah at Congregation Beth Israel in Metairie, LA. (Photo by Alexander Barkoff) Orleans Executive Director Michael Weil told JTA. Katrina brought several years of uncertainty as the Jewish population plummeted to 5,200 in January 2006, and it was unknown if the thousands who left would ever return. As the Jewish community marks the 10th anniversary of Katrina, that anxiety has largely faded. There are now an estimated 10,000 Jews in the city, about 2,000 of See “New Orleans” on page 10
Katrina echoes for Mississippi Jews By Josh Tapper BILOXI, MS (JTA) – Standing on an empty lot at the corner of Camellia Street and Southern Avenue, Brad Kessie wistfully inspected one of two sago palms that marked the pathway to Congregation Beth Israel, which had stood here for nearly five decades before Hurricane Katrina struck 10 years ago. The circular, two-story brick building’s framework and sanctuary survived the storm, although devastating winds ripped apart its roof and facade. The synagogue in this coastal city of roughly 45,000 was razed in 2008, but a “For Sale” sign remains on the property. “Know anyone looking to buy?” said Kessie, 49, a longtime congregant and the synagogue’s president. He can afford that sort of wry humor; the Jewish community here is still standing, even if its original home is not. Jewish settlement in Mississippi dates back to the mid19th century, when Central and Eastern European merchants arrived in the city of Natchez – the so-called “Antebellum Capital of the World” – and began selling dry goods to local farmers. Jews made their way south to Biloxi and neighboring Gulfport around the same time, but no congregation formed until Beth Israel did so in 1953. Members erected the synagogue five years later less than a mile from the Gulf of Mexico, the first along the 145-mile stretch of coast between New Orleans and Mobile, AL, and the only Conservative congregation in the state. In 2005, Beth Israel served about 100 people from Biloxi and Gulfport (total population 71,000) – less than 10 percent of the state’s roughly 1,500 Jews, the majority of whom live 170 miles north in the capital city of Jackson. Rabbi Akiva Hall, 25, the Chabad emissary in Gulfport, grew up in nearby Ocean Springs, MS, and
attended Beth Israel as a teenager. “It seemed to me to be an active community,” Hall told JTA in an e-mail. “I had some wonderful experiences there.” Thirteen of Beth Israel’s 65 or so families saw their homes destroyed when Katrina slammed Mississippi’s shores on August 29, 2005. Nearly all were displaced. Kessie, an on-camera reporter at the local WLOX-TV at the time of the storm – he’s now the news director at the station – recalled Biloxi as a sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland. Many of the coastal highway’s boardwalks, restaurants, Civil War-era homes and casinos, mainstays of the region’s tourism industry, were severely damaged. Debris was scattered across the white-sand beachfront. The storm claimed 238 lives in Mississippi. Like most area residents, the Jews here were traumatized, said Noah Farkas, who visited the devastated congregation more than 50 times between 2006 and 2008, when he was a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. “You could set someone off very easily,” said Farkas, now the rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom, in Encino, CA. “Everyone was just trying to get their stuff done.” Despite the overall devastation, and the destruction at Beth Israel, the community as a whole was in a relatively good place, said Steve Richer, 68, Beth Israel’s president at the time. UJA-Federation of New York and the United Jewish Communities, now the Jewish Federations of NorthAmerica, poured millions of dollars for Katrina relief into the Gulf Coast region. Richer said Beth Israel accrued about $600,000 from national organizations and private donations. Before Katrina made landfall, Beth Israel’s caretaker, who lived in an apartment above the sanctuary, had See “Mississippi” on page 12
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Brad Kessie signed the Congregation Beth Israel foundation at a groundbreaking ceremony in October 2008. (Photo courtesy of Beth Israel)
The new Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Gulfport, MS, in June 2015. (Photo by Josh Tapper)
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SEPTEMBER 17, 2015/4 TISHREI 5776 ■
Beyond the bagel: Breaking the fast with flair By Shannon Sarna NEW YORK (JTA) – By the time the fast is over on Yom Kippur, the last thing you want to be doing is patchkeing in the kitchen to prepare lots of food. And as much as I can’t wait to shove a bagel and cream cheese with all the fixin’s in my face, I also like to enjoy something sweet, something salty and something a little fresh with my traditional post-fast carbs. I recommend preparing the quinoa salad ahead of time and, when the fast is over, serve it on top of labne for an easy and
healthful salad. The rich, sweet coffee cake challah can also be baked ahead of time. And the flavors of the custom dill lemon caper cream cheese will only intensify when you let them sit overnight in the fridge. Note: If you plan to make your own gravlax, you must start at least four days in advance of serving, or up to a week, otherwise the fish will not be ready to eat. Homemade Gravlax (by Vered Meir) This recipe for homemade gravlax from California blogger Vered Meir is simple
to make and presents so beautifully on a platter. The first time I made this recipe, I couldn’t believe how easy it was and why it had taken so long. It is the perfect accompaniment for your bagel platter after Yom Kippur or on top of latkes at Chanukah. 2 lbs. fresh center-cut wild salmon fillet, skin on ½ cup kosher salt ½ cup sugar 2 Tbsp. peppercorns See “Fast” on page 8
Gravlax (Photo by Shannon Sarna)
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ september 17, 2015/4 TISHREI 5776
Can Yom Kippur atonement be accomplished in 140 characters or less?
By Alina Dain Sharon JNS.org Coming from a non-observant family of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Israel, a country where many people tend to lead secular lifestyles to begin with, I wasn’t raised in a particularly religious environment. In fact, I can count on fewer than five fingers the times that I stepped foot in a synagogue during my childhood. But one aspect of the Jewish faith that has always appealed to me, and likely appeals to many other Jews – religious and non-religious alike – is its introspective morality. Every fall season, we look back on the past year in advance of Yom Kippur, determine whom we have wronged and try to atone for our interpersonal sins with sincere apologies. Around the time of Yom Kippur last year, I felt that I had unintentionally offended an old friend of mine. I then decided to make an apology. Belief in God or prayer aside, this felt to me like the decent thing to do. Without too much thought about the medium, I made the apology through a Facebook message. Although the apology was accepted, I later questioned whether I had handled this the right way. In the fast-paced world we live in today, in which many social interactions are already conducted online, can apologizing on social media be considered true atonement? JNS.org surveyed Jewish religious leaders across denominations on the subject. Popular Jewish blogger and social media expert Rabbi Jason Miller strongly argues against technology-facilitated atonement. “I’m a fan of face-to-face communication or, when not possible, a phone call. It’s important for people to hear your voice when you apologize. Sending an e-mail, text message, or Facebook message is a good start, but it’s not sufficient for the performance of teshuvah (atonement),” Miller says. Yet Miller does acknowledge that “our communication preferences change as new technology emerges,” which “means that what our society considers acceptable for sincere communication, like asking for forgiveness before Yom Kippur, also changes. “There was a time when it wouldn’t be considered appropriate to perform teshuvah over the phone,” Miller says. “That changed as people moved farther away and there were not opportunities for face-to-face communication. Soon, e-mail and then texting became ‘tacky’ ways of performing teshuvah – until these were the most common ways that we engage with each other.” Even so, Miller maintains that face-to-face communication should remain the preferred mode of teshuvah, because it is much more difficult to ask for repentance in person. In fact, according to Rabbi Joshua Rabin, director of kehilla enrichment (organizational development) at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, people often tend to apologize via social media “because sometimes it’s just easier to type a message to somebody than to look them in the eye.” Rabin says that these days, when “more and more people use technology – whether it’s text messaging or social media – to communicate with each other about important things, it actually is all the more reason why a face-to-face personal apology is the most meaningful thing you can do. It’s that much different from the typical option.” But there’s one exception, Rabin argues: “If the wrong you committed was actually through social media. “If you were to write a really nasty tweet about somebody... I think that any teshuvah process should involve your actually apologizing through that medium to begin the process, because that’s where the wrong was committed,” he says.
A public apology for Yom Kippur on Facebook(Photo by Butupa via Flickr.com; illustration by JNS.org.) Rabbi Roni Handler, director of community learning for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and executive editor of Ritualwell.org – a website committed to blending Jewish tradition with innovation – also believes that if the sin being atoned for is directly connected to social media, “there’s actually something really powerful about stating that [apology] online. “If we are atoning for something like spending too much time on social media and not paying attention to our family, then putting out a statement like that might serve to hold us accountable and show our recognition of having a problem in this area,” Handler says. “But it shouldn’t be that we just state it and then go back to our regular behavior,” she adds. “That, in fact, is not doing teshuvah according to any Jewish scholar.” In the Reconstructionist movement, explains Handler, “we value community a lot, and obviously the face-toface community is really special and powerful… But we are always thinking about other ways in which we can connect as well. I don’t know that [social media] should replace face-to-face connection, but we do recognize that community is important and there are a lot of different ways to connect.” Handler believes there is a difference between posting a public apology on social media and sending a direct social media message to an individual. Posting a public apology has its place and value, though in many cases it should be just the first step on the way to teshuvah, says Handler. Regarding direct messages on social media, their suitability for atonement “depends on the relationship itself,” she says. “There is a lot that can end up being misconstrued in writing, whether it is in an e-mail, in a text or online… Something that people might be writing quickly because they’re running out of the door, might come out as curt or angry. So… when one is making teshuvah, having the proper intention is so important for that. If the relationship that you have is one that you feel an e-mail could be sufficient [for an apology]… then in that case maybe that would be OK,” Handler says. Rabbi Esther Lederman, director of communities of practice at the Union for Reform Judaism, also cautions against making a mass apology on social media because forgiveness in the Jewish tradition must be sought “directly from the person you have hurt” and is “also about repairing the relationship, which can’t be done anonymously.” Additionally, when it comes to apologizing to someone directly via social media, Lederman believes that the medium is less significant than the intention of the apology. “I’ve had very meaningful exchanges by chat and e-mail, although I am also someone who prefers to communicate with a person by voice,” she says. Lederman says she fears a world in which “technology will replace the real human to human contact that is necessary for sacred engagement.” If this occurs, she says, “What is the point in gathering together as a com-
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munity at an appointed time? I believe there is a sacred purpose to that and I don’t want e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter to ever replace this.” The social media editor of Chabad.org, Rabbi Mordechai Lightstone, emphasizes that the most important aspect of atoning for interpersonal transgressions is understanding that forgiveness in Judaism centers on how the aggrieved person receives the apology. If that person feels they were apologized to in the right way, then whatever the medium is becomes less significant. “When we wish to truly convey the emotional impact of our words, we must make sure we truly understand how they will appear,” Lightstone says. That appearance, in turn, will differ depending on whoever is receiving the apology. “To some, nothing short of a phone call before Yom Kippur would be considered a serious and honest form of asking forgiveness,” says See “Atonement” on page 12
Continued from page 4
new member dinner. Reservations requested and may be made by contacting the TC office at 475-9952.
All services and meals are held at Chabad House, 825 Ostrom Ave. Sunday, September 27 Erev Sukkot Evening services 6:45 pm Candle lighting 6:35 pm Dinner in the sukkah 7:30 pm. Reservations required and can be made by contacting Chabad at 424-0363. Monday, September 28 Sukkot day one Morning services 9:30 am Lunch in the sukkah 12:45 pm. Reservations required and can be made by contacting Chabad at 424-0363. Candle lighting 7:33 pm Evening services 7:30 pm Dinner in the sukkah 8 pm. Reservations required and can be made by contacting Chabad at 424-0363. Tuesday, September 29 Sukkot day two Morning services 10 am Lunch in the sukkah 12:45 pm. Reservations required and can be made by contacting Chabad at 424-0363. Holiday ends 7:32 pm Havdalah in the sukkah 7:45 pm Friday, October 2 Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot Shabbat candle lighting 6:26 pm Shabbat evening services 6:30 pm Dinner in the sukkah 7 pm. Reservations required and can be made by contacting Chabad at 424-0363. Saturday, October 3 Morning services 10:30 am Lunch in the sukkah 1 pm. Reservations required and can be made by contacting Chabad at 424-0363. Shabbat ends 7:32 pm Sunday, October 4 Erev Shemini Atzeret Candle lighting 6:23 pm Evening services 7 pm Kiddush light buffet 7:30 pm Dinner in sukkah followed by pre-Simchat Torah dancing. Reservations required and can be made by contacting Chabad at 424-0363. Monday, October 5 Simchat Torah Morning service 10 am Yizkor 12 pm Last lunch in the sukkah 12:45 pm. Reservations required and can be made by contacting Chabad at 424-0363. Monday, October 5 Erev Simchat Torah Candle lighting 7:21 pm Evening services 8 pm Kiddush light buffet dinner 8:30 pm Simchat Torah dancing 9 pm Tuesday, October 6 Simchat Torah Morning service 11 am Kiddush buffet lunch 12 pm, followed by Simchat Torah dancing Special Torah reading 1 pm Holiday ends 7:19 pm To ensure a place at the table, visit Chabad on Facebook at Chabad House at Syracuse University or call 727-0973.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2015/4 TISHREI 5776 ■
Wishing You A Sweet New Year L’Shana Tova Tikatevu 2015-5776
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ september 17, 2015/4 TISHREI 5776
The meaning of Yom Kippur – forgiveness for others and atonement for ourselves By Rabbi Evan Shore I have always maintained that many truly do not appreciate the real meaning of Yom Kippur. Several feel Yom Kippur is between the human being and Hashem. I believe this cannot be further from the truth. There is a famous story told about the famous Mussar Rabbi Yisroel Salant. His students were assembled in the beit midrash awaiting his arrival to commence the Kol Nidre service. It was approaching sunset and there was no sign of their revered rabbi. The students began to worry – perhaps something terrible had happened to him! A few groups went to search for Rabbi Salant to no avail. Finally, they spotted him on a front porch holding a baby in his arms. They said to him, “Rebbe! We have been looking for you. Kol Nidre has not been recited and time is running out.” Not wanting to wake up the infant in his arms, the rabbi silenced his students. He told them he heard the baby crying on the way to shul, knocked on the door, but no one answered. Rabbi Salant did not want a baby alone in the house and felt it was more important to watch over it than to proceed to shul. A human being was more important than Kol Nidre in Rabbi’s Salant’s opinion. This story teaches us a powerful lesson. The Talmud
To see a full calendar of community events, visit the Federation's community calendar online at www.jewishfederationcny.org. Please notify email@example.com of any calendar changes.
Wednesday, September 9 Jewish Federation of Central New York board orientation and dinner from 5:30-7:30 pm at The Oaks Sunday, September 13 Erev Rosh Hashanah Monday, September 14 Rosh Hashanah day one Tuesday, September 15 Rosh Hashanah day two Wednesday, September 16 Downtown lunch and learn with Rabbis Paul Drazen, Dan Fellman and Andrew Pepperstone at noon Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas board meeting at 7:30 pm Thursday, September 17 Temple Adath Yeshurun board meeting at 7 pm Saturday, September 19 CBS-CS High Holiday lunch and learn with Rabbi Pepperstone at noon Sunday, September 20 CBS-CS apple picking at Abbott Farms at 1 pm Monday, September 21 SHDS curriculum night at 7 pm Tuesday, September 22 Erev Yom Kippur/Kol Nidre Wednesday, September 23 Yom Kippur - JCC and Federation offices closed Thursday, September 24 Early deadline for the October 15 issue of the Jewish Observer Syracuse Hebrew Day School pool party from 4-6 pm Sunday, September 27 Temple Concord Sisterhood meeting at 9:30 am CBS-CS sukkah building at 9:30 am, with decoration at noon Erev Sukkot Monday, September 28 Sukkot day one JCC and Federation offices closed Tuesday, September 29 Sukkot day two JCC and Federation offices closed Thursday, October 1 2016 major gifts event at 5:30 pm at Temple Adath Yeshurun Federation presents Ambassador Dennis Ross at 7:30 pm at Temple Adath Yeshurun - open to the community Friday, October 2 TC Sukkot dinner and service at 6 pm Monday, October 5 Shemini Atzeret B JCC and Federation offices closed Erev Simchat Torah Tuesday, October 6 Simchat Torah - JCC and Federation offices closed
in Yoma tells us, “Transgressions committed between human being and human being, the holiday of Yom Kippur does not atone.” In other words, we can fast, beat our chests and cry on Yom Kippur to no avail if we have hurt a fellow human being. Before thinking of ourselves, we must think of others. However, there is a second concern. All of us possess a Divine power: forgiveness. Before entering the holiest day of the year, are there people who have harmed us whom we have yet to forgive? Are our egos an obstacle to excusing others? To go one step further, how may we stand and ask Hashem for forgiveness when we are not ready to grant it to our fellow human beings? The solution to a successful Yom Kippur is very clear and simple. The lead-up to the 10th day of Tishrei must include forgiving others, as well as seeking forgiveness. It involves caring about fellow Jews.
whom moved here after 2007, when the New Orleans Federation introduced a program offering $1,800 grants to newcomers, 81 percent of whom were under 40. They helped offset the 1,800 or so people – mostly elderly evacuees – who did not return. The retention rate, Weil wrote in a 2013 report, is more than 70 percent. Since Avodah, a national service organization that coordinates nonprofit internships for 10 college-age Jews each year, opened a New Orleans branch in 2007, “some 75 percent of its alumni” stayed in the city after their program ended, according to the report. Other young adult-oriented groups such as Moishe House, an international organization that funds Jewishthemed communal housing, and the Limmud Jewish learning festival have expanded a tight-knit Jewish landscape of nine synagogues, two Jewish Community Centers, two day schools and four kosher restaurants, including a waffle bar that opened last year in the trendy Uptown neighborhood. Many agree that piecing the community back together fostered a newfound spirit of collaboration across institutions and denominations in this Reform-dominated city. As Cait Gladow, a New Orleans Federation spokeswoman, put it: Katrina has had a “lemons to lemonade” effect. During summer months, the local Reform synagogues – Touro, Temple Sinai and Gates of Prayer – rotate hosting Saturday morning services for the three congregations. With Chabad overseeing the city’s lone mikvah, Greenberg told JTA that there is talk of Beth Israel and Shir Chadash, a Conservative synagogue in Metairie, joining forces to build an alternative. Allan Bissinger, who was the Federation’s president in the aftermath of Katrina, noted that among New Orleans Jews, “there still is a lingering sense of community – that’s one of the legacies of Katrina.” Indeed, most of the city’s Jewish institutions have recovered fully or continue to make headway. In Metairie, the Chabad-run Torah Academy, wrecked during Katrina, opened a $5.7 million facility last year. A few blocks away, the Community Day School, which occupies a wing of the Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Center and features a kosher cafeteria, is expecting a student body of 37 in September. Enrollment falls far short of the 90 who attended when Katrina hit, but it’s still a 37 percent increase from 2013, when “Jewish” was removed from the school’s name in a controversial bid to recruit students from less-observant families. While a 2010 Federation survey found that 85 percent of New Orleans Jews belong to a synagogue – nearly three times the national average reported in the 2013 Pew survey – attendance remains a glaring source of concern for rabbis of the Crescent City. David Polsky, the 37-yearold New York-born rabbi at Anshe Sfard, an Orthodox congregation in the historic Garden District, said younger downtown Jews have become regulars in recent years, though Shabbat attendance peaks at 30 or 40. Beth Israel hasn’t staged a daily minyan since Katrina and draws a group of about 30 on Shabbat, but the congregation’s “pulse is good,” said Greenberg, who spent a year at the Hillel of the University of California, Berkeley, before landing in New Orleans. He said hosting a daily minyan is a long-term goal, along with attracting more of the 20-somethings who have flocked to New Orleans in recent years to capitalize on the city’s swelling post-Katrina economy. In an effort to reach those young, unaffiliated Jews, many of whom live in New Orleans proper, Gates of Prayer,
Yom Kippur will not “work” unless we fulfill our obligations first. The Talmud tells us that we should emulate Hashem, “just as He is compassionate, we should be compassionate.” I would like to add, just like Hashem is forgiving, so should we be. Please God, this Yom Kippur, let us approach from a different direction that will enable forgiveness for others and atonement for ourselves. I wish the entire community a gmar chatima tovah: Please, God, let us all be sealed for life, health, peace and forgiveness for 5776! Rabbi Evan Shore is the rav at Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse, an instructor at the Syracuse Hebrew Day School, chaplain at Menorah Park, the rabbinic authority of the Syracuse Vaad Ha’ir and an instructor at the Rabbi Jacob H. Epstein High School of Jewish Studies.
Continued from page 6
which dropped to 450 member families after Katrina from 480, is moving to decentralize the synagogue experience by hiring a Tulane University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion graduate named Alexis Pinsky as assistant rabbi to hold roving Shabbat services in coffee shops, restaurants and bars across the city. While Jewish leaders have turned their attention to more quotidian concerns, like synagogue attendance, after a decade of recovery, Katrina, and the feeling of trauma and profound loss it still evokes, is an inextricable part of communal identity. And it carries a complicated resonance as Jews here look to the future. For newcomers like Jessie Wilson, 28, the way forward is tricky to navigate. When she came here in 2012 from College Station, TX, after her husband, a petroleum engineer, was hired by Shell, she said she felt disconnected from the loss-and-renewal narrative, especially at Beth Israel, where she is a member. “I wish there could be more of a sense of why the community needs to be here outside of the context of Katrina,” she said from her living room in Metairie, down the street from the Chabad synagogue, where her husband sometimes worships. Still, Wilson acknowledged that those who lost their homes and possessions “get a tremendous amount of strength from remembering what they went through,” and she, in turn, takes great comfort in knowing that if New Orleans’ Jews withstood disaster once, they can do it again. When Greenberg interviewed for the Beth Israel job in 2013, the hiring committee, he said, was insistent that he understand how much Katrina was still a part of the congregation’s identity. He likened some of the elderly members to grandparents reminiscing about the old country, not over the agony of displacement necessarily, but the fond nostalgia for how life used to be. “There is a generation gap. It really is a schism in their history,” he said of lifelong New Orleanians. Newcomers, he added, are “respectful and honor Katrina. But it’s not a part of their narrative.” The gap can hardly be described as a conflict, but it has left some, including Wilson, slightly unclear about how Jewish New Orleans will choose to portray itself as more and more newcomers assume leadership roles in the community. Like the bulk of New Orleanians, everyone who lived here in 2005 has a Katrina story of evacuation, property damage or worse, and often both. “Nobody wants to sit back, nobody wants to mourn, but nobody wants to move on,” said Weil, the Federation chief. Bradley Bain, a 37-year-old software engineer, grew up in New Orleans, attended college at the University of Texas, Austin, and moved back to his hometown three years ago as part of the newcomers program. He marveled at the surge in Jewish engagement – his wife, for one, is involved with Hadassah and sits on the board of Chabad’s Torah Academy – but worried about the repercussions of placing the Katrina experience at the center of New Orleans Jewry. “People are scared about losing something that can galvanize the community as effectively as it did,” he said. “We need to shift our energies from Katrina recovery mode to community building without a crisis.” Perhaps, he wondered on a rainy Thursday in Metairie, if New Orleans’ Jews willfully close their Katrina chapter, the community’s raison d’etre would vanish. Beth Israel’s 10-year Katrina anniversary event on August 23 was an effort to turn the page: It was called “10 Years Forward.”
SEPTEMBER 17, 2015/4 TISHREI 5776 ■
Continued from page 8
2 tsp. crushed juniper berries (can be purchased at some grocery chains and at specialty food stores) 7-8 large sprigs fresh dill 1-2 shots of gin or vodka In a bowl, combine the salt, sugar, peppercorns and juniper berries. Line a glass dish that will fit your salmon fillet with 2 large pieces of plastic wrap and sprinkle half of your salt and sugar mixture onto the bottom. Lay half of your dill sprigs down, then cover with your salmon fillet. Sprinkle the remaining mixture on top of the fillet, then cover with the remaining sprigs of dill and your shots of alcohol, and then wrap everything as tightly as you can in the plastic. Leave it in the dish, as the salt will create a brine for the fish. Refrigerate for 3 or 4 days, depending on the thickness of your filet. The lox is finished when the salmon’s hue has transitioned from pink to deep orange. Before serving, discard the dill and rinse the fillet of the brine, peppercorns and juniper berries. Slice thinly against the grain with a sharp knife. Serve with sliced lemon and capers. Variation: Try a layer of shredded raw beets on the non-skin side of your fillet before wrapping. After the lox is finished curing, each of your slices will have a purple or dark pink edge to it. Lemon Dill Caper Cream Cheese Yield: 6-8 servings What’s better than serving your bagels with capers and dill, and slices of lemon? Adding them into one tasty homemade cream cheese to serve with your bagel spread. This can be made one or two days ahead of time 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 2 tsp. lemon zest 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice 2 tsp. whole capers, chopped roughly 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill Pinch of salt and pepper Add all ingredients to a bowl. Mix together until flavors are incorporated. Place in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 24-48 hours until ready to serve. Garnish with additional dill if desired. Coffee Cake Challah Yield: 2 large loaves Coffee cake is one of my weakness foods and I love an indulgent slice after fasting on Yom Kippur. This year, I decided to combine two of my favorite things to bake into one beautiful and delicious treat: coffee cake challah. This makes two large loaves, so it is enough to serve for a large crowd or freeze one to save for later. If you freeze one, wait to add glaze until you defrost it and are ready to serve. For the dough: 1½ Tbsp. yeast 1 tsp. sugar 1¼ cup lukewarm water 4½-5 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur brand) ¾ cup sugar ¼ cup vegetable oil ½ Tbsp. salt 2 tsp. vanilla 2 large eggs For the crumb topping and filling: 1¾ cups all-purpose flour 1 cup packed light brown sugar 1 heaping tsp. cinnamon ¼ tsp. coarse sea salt 1½ sticks cold butter or margarine, cut into small pieces 1 cup chopped pecans 1 egg, beaten For the glaze: 2 cups powdered sugar 1 tsp. vanilla 4 Tbsp. milk or almond milk In a small bowl place yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 5-10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix together 1½ cups flour, salt and sugar. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Add another cup of flour and eggs until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer. Add another 1-1½ cups flour and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 10 minutes (or however long your hands will last). Don’t add more flour than the dough needs – the less flour, the lighter the dough. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 3 or 4 hours. To make the crumb topping: Combine flour, sugar,
cinnamon and sea salt in a large bowl. Add cold butter or margarine and mix using a pastry cutter until mixture resembles crumbles. Refrigerate until ready to use. Preheat oven to 350°F. After the challah is done rising, split the dough evenly in half. Divide each half into three pieces. Roll each piece into a snake and then flatten. Sprinkle crumb topping inside, then pinch sides up to close. Gently roll again to seal in filling. Repeat with all pieces and then braid, forming into a circle and pinching together each end of the braid. Repeat with second half of dough. Place each challah on a parchment paper (or silpat) lined baking sheet. Allow challah to rise another 30-60 minutes, or until you can see the size has grown and challah seems light. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Brush on top of each challah. Top each challah with remaining crumb topping. Bake for 25-26 minutes, or until crumbs are golden brown. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes. Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla and milk (or almond milk) in a small bowl. Drizzle on top of challah using small spoon. Red Quinoa Tabouleh with Labne I was never much of a quinoa fan until I tried the red quinoa salad at Mish Mish in Montclair, NJ. I fell in love with the salad and have been re-creating my own version ever since. This is a refreshing and yet hearty salad to serve as a side dish. 1 cup red quinoa 1 tsp. olive oil Water 8 ounces labne 1 large English cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers, cut Red Quinoa Tabouleh into ¼-inch pieces 1 large beefsteak or Jersey with Labne (Photo by tomato (diced), or pint cherry Shannon Sarna) tomatoes (halved) Juice of ½ lemon, plus 2 tsp. zest ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley ¼ cup chopped fresh mint Salt and pepper to taste Additional extra virgin olive oil Rinse quinoa well. Place quinoa and 1¼ cups water, 1 teaspoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper into a small pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cover again for another 5-10 minutes. Mix quinoa with cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon juice and zest, mint, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. This step can be prepared a day ahead and placed in the fridge. When ready to serve, spread labne all over a large plate. Top labne with the quinoa tabouleh. Drizzle with additional extra virgin olive oil and an extra squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately. Shannon Sarna is the editor of The Nosher, a 70 Faces Media company.
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obituaries Rhoda Lerman
Rhoda Lerman, 79, formerly of Syracuse, died on August 30 at home in Port Crane. In the late 1960s, she and her husband managed the rock band The Seven, which became one of the top four rock bands in New York state. She wrote a one-woman play about Eleanor Roosevelt, which starred Jean Stapleton. It is currently starring Loretta Swit. She also wrote several movies; a television play; six novels, including “Call Me Ishtar”; and two non-fiction books. Her writing career began at the Syracuse New Times. At the time of her death, she was working on a novel that had taken her 10 years to research and write. One of her books, “God’s Ear,” won the 1989 Jewish Book of the Year award. One of her nonfiction books, “Elsa Was Born a Dog,” won a major award for the best work on human-animal bonding. She wrote a number of articles and stories for a variety of journals, newspapers and magazines, including the Syracuse Herald American. She won a number of major awards, including the outstanding alumni award from the University of Miami. She was the cultural delegate to the government of Tibet in the first official American delegation to Tibet in 1987. She was twice a board member of the New York State Council of the Arts. She was a visiting professor of creative writing at several schools, including SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Buffalo, Syracuse University, Hartwick College in Oneonta and University of Colorado in Boulder. She was also a visiting professor of Judaic studies at SUNY Binghamton. She was sent to India as the American participant lecturer throughout India under the auspices of U.S.I.A. For 25 years, she bred champion Newfoundland dogs. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Robert; three children, Jill (Greg) Nazimek, Julie Lerman (Rich Flynn) and Matthew Lerman; a twin sister, Judy (Walter) Amster; two grandsons; an uncle, Josh Langfur; and a number of cousins, nephews and nieces. Burial was in Adath Yeshurun Cemetery. Birnbaum Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions may be made to Lourdes Hospice, c/o Lourdes Hospital, 169 Riverside Dr., Binghamton, NY 13905.
Adriane Marino, 65, of Syracuse, died on August 26, in Buffalo. A Nottingham High School graduate, she was president of the local CSEA and was employed by the New York Unified Court System of Onondaga County until her recent retirement. She was predeceased by her husband, Joseph Marino. She is survived by two daughters, Sheera (Scott) Buckley and Samantha Oley; five grandchildren; and her sister, Beth (Justin) Drogoszewski. Entombment was in Woodlawn Cemetery. Birnbaum Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions may be made to Kevin Guest House, 782 Ellicott St., Buffalo, NY 14208.
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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ september 17, 2015/4 TISHREI 5776
NEWS IN bRIEF From JTA
Israeli soccer to be played on Shabbat after all
Israel’s attorney general ruled that playing soccer on Saturday can go ahead without fear of arrest. Yehuda Weinstein offered a legal opinion on the issue after the country’s Labor Court ruled that soccer games on Shabbat constitute a criminal offense. In response to the ruling, Ofer Eini, chairman of the Israel Football Association, said in a statement that all practices and games on the Jewish Sabbath would be suspended. Weinstein said that he did not see a reason to enforce a law that has not been enforced in decades, according to reports. Technically, teams must hold a permit excusing them from the Shabbat restrictions, though soccer matches on Saturday generally operate without the waiver. The permit would have to be issued by Israel’s economy minister, Aryeh Deri, the leader of the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party, who would not be likely to issue the license. The Labor Court decision came after hundreds of religious players from the National League signed a petition saying that they refuse to be scheduled for games on Shabbat. Some 30,000 players, mostly schoolchildren, play on 1,000 teams in Israel. Regev said her ministry would find a solution for players who do not want to play on Shabbat.
Israel reopens Cairo embassy
Israel reopened its embassy in Cairo, four years after it closed during an attack by hundreds of anti-Israel rioters. The embassy reopened with a ceremony on Sept. 9, attended by Foreign Ministry Director Dore Gold and Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt Haim Koren. No Egyptian ministers or senior foreign ministry officials attended the ceremony, Haaretz reported. Israel named a new ambassador to Egypt in September 2014. The Israeli Embassy was closed in September 2011 after rioting anti-Israel protesters broke down the 8-foot-high security wall surrounding the embassy compound and entered the building. Embassy employees had to be evacuated for their safety. Since then, diplomats had been working in other locations, including the ambassador’s residence, where appropriate security is in place.
Report: 29,500 new immigrants arrive in Israel since last Rosh Hashanah
Some 29,500 new immigrants arrived in Israel since last Rosh Hashanah, a 13 percent increase over the previous year. Most of this year’s immigrants came from the
former Soviet Union – with some 14,100, and Europe – with more than 9,000. Some 3,600 immigrants came to Israel from North America and 1,200 came from South America, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption announced on Sept. 9. The two largest sources of aliyah were France, with 7,350 immigrants compared to 6,700 the previous year (a 10 percent increase), and Ukraine, with 6,900 immigrants compared to 4,600 the previous year (a 50 percent increase). There also was a 23 percent increase in aliyah from Russia to 5,900 immigrants. Immigrants to Israel came from 97 countries across the world, including one immigrant each
Lightstone. “To others, the very thought of a phone call would be considered unnecessary and even socially awkward. It takes a true understanding of who your friends are to really know the best way to reach out.” Lightstone, therefore, is unlikely to consider my aforementioned decision to apologize to my friend via
from Andorra, Angola, Namibia, Paraguay, the Philippines and Slovakia. Some 70 percent of the new arrivals are under the age of 44, including some 7,800 who are 19 or younger and some 12,000 between the ages of 20 and 44. Some 3,500 new immigrants settled in Tel Aviv; 3,400 in Netanya, and 3,000 in Jerusalem. “These figures, which show a significant increase in the number of immigrants to Israel, reinforce the overall picture that the year 2015 will represent a year of record aliyah for more than a decade,” said Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Ze’ev Elkin. “This is a window of opportunity that the state of Israel cannot miss.” Continued from page 8
Facebook as invariably wrong, as long as the apology was truly accepted. “If I’m able to truly convey my heartfelt remorse with an emoji and a short message, and I know that the person receiving it will be fully comforted or even prefer that text [over a phone call or face-to-face apology], then I’m happy to do so,” Lightstone says.
managed to save the Torah scrolls. Several synagogue fixtures, including the stained glass windows and memorial plaques, were later deemed salvageable. Richer, who retired as executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2007, noted that many of the Jewish volunteers who descended on the Gulf Coast were redirected to hardhit towns like Bay St. Louis and Waveland, where there were no Jews. “I think we had consensus about that,” he said. “We did it in the way that our religion teaches us to do it: You put everybody out there first.” For three years after the storm, the homeless congregation held Sabbath services at Beauvoir United Methodist Church and High Holidays in a chapel at Keesler Air Force Base, both in Biloxi. Farkas, who slept on a blow-up mattress in a Beauvoir classroom during his visits from New York, led a minyan on Friday nights and a small Torah study on Saturday mornings. With the church occupied on Sunday, Hebrew school classes occupied the offices of a company that sold housecleaning products. The congregation grew closer. It was an environment, said Lori Beth Susman, a magazine editor who moved to Gulfport from Las Vegas two decades ago, where everyone knew everyone.
Continued from page 6
When it came time for the community to address its own damage, there was less unanimity than before. Many felt it made the most sense to build a new synagogue far from the coast. Several elderly congregants insisted that Beth Israel renovate the old site, even though it was in a recognized flood zone and construction would cost more than the community’s $1.2 million budget. “There were a lot of people who felt that this was the home of the Jewish community, and it was an area that we didn’t want to leave,” said Kessie, a Chicago native who moved here in 1988. In the end, the congregation decided to plant new roots in Gulfport, about 15 miles from the old Biloxi site, on land donated by the Goldins, a Jewish family in the area. It opened in May 2009. Behind a wide lawn, on a leafy street lined with churches, the pillared synagogue looks more like a stately suburban home than a place of worship. Accouterments from the old building – the Shabbat lamp and the memorial plaques in the front foyer – can be found throughout. There are two classrooms for Hebrew school students, ages 4-13, and a pergola-covered patio abuts a kosher kitchen. Only 45 or so dues-paying families make up the current congregation, and 10 students are signed up for Hebrew school in the fall. While Beth Israel’s membership has declined about 30 percent since Katrina, and lay leaders conduct the weekly services – the synagogue has never had a full-time rabbi – there is little worry that Jewish life on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast will begin to fade. Hall, who opened the Chabad Center in Gulfport last year, hopes he can help. He said 30 people attended an event he organized for the Shavuot holiday earlier this year, and he studies with 12 or so people on a weekly basis. Chabad’s goal, Hall said, is to complement Beth Israel, not to compete with it. “As a rule, we do not schedule conflicting events or publicize Friday night services in deference to Beth Israel,” the rabbi said. “There are not enough Jewish people here for two communities. We have this in mind whatever we do. We are interested in serving the greater Jewish community, not creating our own.” More than anything, the new synagogue represents permanence for Beth Israel. And the residential design, Susman said, is affirmation that Beth Israel, however small, is “one big family.” In fact, the groundbreaking ceremony in October 2008 reminded some of a family reunion. Dressed in suits and dresses, congregants took turns signing chunks of the synagogue’s cinderblock foundation. “Those signed stones,” Kessie said, “are something we hope and pray we never see again.”
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