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Dov Waxman to speak on March 6 at the Jewish Community Center By Judith Stander The Jewish Federation of Central New York is co-sponsoring a visit to Syracuse by Professor Dov Waxman, an author and the co-director of Northeastern University’s Middle East Center for Peace, Culture and Development. Other co-sponsors include Syracuse University’s Middle Eastern Studies Program, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Judaic Studies Program and Hillel. On Thursday, March 6, at 7 pm, Waxman will speak on “The Changing American Jewish Relationship with Israel: From Unconditional Support to Critical Engagement.” The program will take place at the Jewish Community Center. It is free and open to the community. Seating will be on a first come-first seated basis. SU’s Maxwell School Associate Profes-

affairs. He is the author of “Issor Miriam Elman stated, “Dov rael’s Palestinians: The Conflict is one of today’s leading experts Within” and “The Pursuit of in the growing field of Israel Peace and the Crisis of Israeli studies. His work is a must read Identity:” He is also an associate for anyone interested in current professor of political science at Israeli politics and society, and the City University of New York. in Israel’s relationship with the He received his Ph.D. and M.A. Jewish Diaspora.” degrees from Johns Hopkins On Friday, March 7, Waxman University and his B.A. from Oxwill speak on the SU campus, at ford University. His teaching and the Maxwell Building in Room research have taken him across 204, starting at 10:30 am. His Dov Waxman the globe, including Bowdoin topic will address “Israel’s Palestinian Minority: A Bridge or a Barrier to College; Ankara, Turkey; Tel Aviv UniPeace?” Light refreshments will be served. versity; Hebrew University in Jerusalem; and St. John’s College at the University of The presentation is open to the public. Waxman is a regular contributor to the Oxford in England. He also was a researcher Israeli newspaper Haaretz and a frequent at the Center for Strategic and International television commentator on Middle East Studies in Washington, DC.

Taglit-Birthright Israel expands eligibility for its 10-day program By Bette Siegel The Taglit-Birthright Israel Steering Committee voted on January 22 to expand program eligibility for its 10-day program to young Jewish adults who have participated in a peer educational trip to Israel before turning 18. They had previously not been eligible. The expansion of the eligibility requirements to include applicants who had traveled to Israel on an organized peer trip was made by Taglit-Birthright Israel leadership to allow more young Jewish adults access to the Taglit-Birthright Israel experience; help them gain “even deeper perspective and insights” about Israel and its people; populate buses with the new participants and those who are unaffiliated to allow peer engagement between young Jewish adults as they

jointly explore Israel and their Jewish roots; and increase the numbers of young Jewish adults equipped to become “effective voices of support” for Israel when they return to their home communities and college campuses. The purpose of this eligibility expansion is “to recognize that all those who share an interest in assuring that as many young Jewish adults around the world as possible have the opportunity to experience the unique Taglit-Birthright Israel program.” It is estimated that the expansion will open up eligibility to approximately several thousand more young Jewish adults each year. It is not expected that the expansion will distract Taglit-Birthright Israel from its focus on enlarging the participation of the many unaffiliated young Jewish

adults in communities across the U.S. and elsewhere. Fifty percent of the eligible 18-26-year-old cohort comes from an intermarried background. Between the expansion of the eligibility to those who have previously traveled to Israel on an organized peer trip and the new outreach on college campuses, Taglit-Birthright Israel is said to be “working hard to increase the numbers of trip participants from all parts of the Jewish spectrum.” The new campus recruitment marketing program unfolding on campuses across the U.S. this winter aims to increase the number of unaffiliated trip participants joining the program and has been called “a key strategic focus of the organization.” The increase of anti-Israel activities, especially

Linda Alexander, president/CEO of Federation, said, “It is important for all of us to be well-informed. We need to be aware of the latest issues affecting Jewish life at home and abroad, and especially in the state of Israel. Federation and SU have invited Professor Waxman to Central New York to share his research, knowledge and insight with us on March 6 and 7 as part of the process of staying alert and attuned to global politics as they affect Israel.”

Florida reunion

Florida residents and snowbirds will hold their fifth Syracuse reunion on Sunday, February 23, from 11 am-3 pm. The event will once again be held at the South Florida Civic Center on Jog Road in Delray Beach. Participants should bring their own food and drinks. There will be a modest charge to attend, with all proceeds going to the Syracuse Jewish Cemeteries Association. For more information, contact Barbara Naditch at 7075 Vivaldi Ln., Delray Beach, FL 33446, 561-865-1253 or; or Sandy Diamond at 7620A Lexington Club Blvd., Delray Beach, FL 33446, 561-638-8114 or sanshel23@

Our goal is 2014 donors in 2014! To date, we have 934 donors. Federation's 2014 Campaign now stands at $369,561.

See “Birthright” on page 5

White House taps special envoy for Holocaust survivor community By jta staff WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Obama administration named a special envoy to the Holocaust survivor community.Aviva Sufian, a staff member at the Health Department’s Administration for Community Living, will be the special envoy for U.S. Holocaust survivor services, a White House announcement said on January 24. “Her work as special envoy will focus on those survivors currently living in poverty, as well as those who may not be receiving services for which they are currently eligible,” according to the statement.

The appointment arises from a pledge in December by Vice President Joe Biden to address the needs of aging survivors and as Congress considers legislation for that purpose. It stems in part from a growing consensus among experts that Holocaust survivors should age in place and avoid the institutional care that health providers and government services generally recommend for the infirm. Institutionalization can trigger traumatic memories for survivors. The White House statement said that 25 percent of the estimated 150,000 Holocaust survivors in the U.S. live below the poverty line, as opposed to 9 percent among

the general over-65 population. Sufian previously worked for the New York City Department for the Aging and at a “large nonprofit organization that provided support for Holocaust survivors living in the New York metropolitan area,” the White House statement said.

The 2014 Campaign is underway! To make your pledge, contact Marianne at 445-2040 ext. 102 or

C A N D L E L I G H T I N G A N D P A R AS H A February 7................5:06 pm............................................................ Parasha-Tetzaveh February 14..............5:16 pm...............................................................Parasha-Ki Tisa February 21..............5:25 pm............................................................Parasha-Vayachel

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Battle of the Bands

Congregational notes

Iran sanctions

The top three bands in the JCC’s Ski trips, scholar weekends, book An analysis of the issues the two Battle of the Bands will perform discussions, lectures, concerts and sides are arguing about in the Iran on March 29. more are announced by area shuls. sanctions debate. Story on page 3 Story on page 4 Story on page 9

PLUS Simchas.....................................7-9 Calendar Highlights................10 Mazel Tov...................................10 Obituaries.................................. 11


JEWISH OBSERVER ■ February 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774

a matter of opinion Fighting hunger through the Snap Challenge Next week is the Central New York Hunger Project, a program through InterfaithWorks, where members of all the local faith communities will stand in solidarity against hunger. Our Federation is a partner with InterfaithWorks. Along with other members of the local faith communities, we support the SNAP Challenge project. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, and our challenge is to try to live on a food budget of $29.40 a week,

from the desk of the federation president/ceo linda alexander which is the amount currently allotted to the program’s recipients. We live in a great country that enjoys countless blessings, and yet, in this time of plenty, too many

of our fellow citizens go to bed hungry. In my limited Yiddish vocabulary, this is a shonda. Those of us taking on this SNAP Chal-

lenge will shop and live on this limited amount of money for food for one week, “tasting” the challenge of putting together healthy meals on this tightest of budgets. We are not just talking the talk, we are walking the walk. I encourage you to call our Federation office if you want to join our challenge, sign a commitment card or make a donation. Learn all you can about the SNAP challenge atwww.cnysnapchallenge. org. Stand in solidarity with us against hunger.

a matter of opinion In opposition to academic boycotts East. A key ingredient of this camBy Rita Freedman paign is the call to boycott, divest This blog is reprinted with the from and impose sanctions on permission of the Jewish Labor Israel, known as BDS for boycott, Committee. It appeared on its divest, sanction. Within the world website on December 19. Rita of higher education, this takes the Freedman is a recent retiree from the form of calls to boycott all Israeli American Federation of Teachers academic institutions, sometimes and wrote the article for the Albert including boycotting all Israeli Shanker Institute, which is endowed scholars and researchers. The raby the American Federation of Teachers and named in honor of Rita Freedman tionale is that this will somehow pressure Israel into an agreement its late president. The organization is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with the Palestinians, one that will improve dedicated to three themes: excellence in public their lot and lead to an independent Palestineducation, unions as advocates for equality ian state that exists adjacent to the state of and freedom of association in the public Israel, although it is worth noting that some life of democracies. With an independent in the BDS movement envision a future Board of Directors composed of educators, without the existence of Israel. Certainly, the goals of improving life business representatives, labor leaders, academics and public policy analysts, its for the Palestinian people, building their mission is to generate ideas, foster candid economy and supporting their democratic exchanges and promote constructive policy institutions – not to mention supporting the proposals related to these issues. The blog creation of an independent Palestine that is offers informal commentary on the research, thriving and getting along peacefully with news and controversies related to the work its Israeli neighbor – are entirely worthy. And, certainly, Israeli – and indeed Palof the Institute. estinian – policies that obstruct progress There is a growing, worldwide effort to ostracize Israel and to make it into a pariah toward these goals are not above criticism, state. This despite the fact that Israel is still a great deal of which can be found within the only democratic country in the Middle the free press and lively opposition among

a matter of opinion Time to give day school parents a break By rabbi Joshua Lookstein (JTA) – This fall, the school that I head brought dozens of its students to join 5,000 others at a rally in our county in support of smart legislation to boost education in New York state. But this is no local story: If successful, our effort will have far-reaching consequences for the future of Jewish life across America. In my first months as head of Westchester Day School and in my career as a rabbi, educator and community professional, I often have heard from parents who struggle to pay their kids’ day school tuition even while they contribute toward scholarships that support others’ children. These are parents whose salaries otherwise would entitle them to a comfortable financial cushion. Instead, they effectively live paycheck to paycheck. Parents with this kind of dedication to the Jewish future merit a higher priority in our community. A handful of states already have tax incentive programs that help parents afford day school education by giving tax credits to people or institutions that donate toward tuition scholarship funds. In these states, the programs, which have been a lifeline for Jewish parents and Jewish schools, also have benefitted Catholic and independent schools. In New York, Catholic, Jewish and

independent voices are banding together to advance this legislation. But we need the support of the Jewish community nationwide. Donations to scholarship funds already are subsidized through federal and state tax deductions. What makes tax credit programs so valuable is that they increase the savings – and incentives – to donors from a tax deduction, which might amount to 40 percent savings, to a dollar-for-dollar tax credit. Under the proposed bill in New York, known as the Education Investment Tax Credit Act, instead of paying $10,000 in state taxes, for example, you can settle the debt by donating $5,000 to a nonprofit scholarship fund and paying $5,000 to the state. If scholarship donations don’t seem worthy of a tax credit, consider that New York state already offers tax credits for locally brewed beer and film and television production. Educating our children seems no less legitimate. The program would help boost donations to art and music programs in public schools and support scholarship funds for students to attend non-public kindergarteneighth grade schools like ours. This would strengthen education for all and fortify our schools for years to come. And it means more scholarship relief to families already sacrificing so much. See “Parents” on page 11

the many political parties and independent judiciary within Israel itself. Individuals and groups in other nations should make their views known as well, and that includes the world of academia. Open discussion and debate of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ways to resolve it should be encouraged. However, those discussions should not be one-sided. They should consider the behavior of all of those involved in the dispute. Otherwise, they are likely to produce the result opposite to the one intended. An academic boycott of Israel is that kind of counter-productive action, effectively suppressing free and open speech, debate, exploration and constructive problem-solving. It is the antithesis of academic freedom, a basic principle of higher education, and is inconsistent with the basic democratic value of free expression. Nevertheless, on December 16, the American Studies Association endorsed a boycott of Israeli universities, making it the largest group of U.S. scholars to do so. This resolution assumes that all Israeli academic institutions and the people associated with them – whether professors or researchers – are inherently guilty. It essentially hinders the free exchange of ideas and scientific research that could benefit all of humankind. The American Association of University Professors, among other major U.S. organizations and leaders, includ-

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ing the American Federation of Teachers, have been outspoken in their opposition to academic boycotts. In 2006, an AAUP statement opposing academic boycotts expressed “long-standing opposition to the free exchange of ideas... We especially oppose academic boycotts that entail an ideological litmus test.” In 2007, nearly 300 American university presidents signed a public statement in opposition to academic boycotts. The author of the statement, Columbia University’s president Lee Bollinger, said, “If you boycott Israeli academics, you boycott us at Columbia.” In response to this latest action by the ASA, the AAUP declared that it “opposes academic boycotts as violations of academic freedom...” and “We cannot endorse the use of political or religious views as a test of eligibility for participation in the academic community.” It is also noteworthy that eight former presidents of the ASA signed a letter voicing their objections to the boycott resolution as “antithetical to the mission of free and open inquiry for which a scholarly organization stands... [and] setting a dangerous precedent by sponsoring an inequitable and discriminatory policy that would punish one nation’s universities and scholars.” The signatories went on to express their deep concern with the process by which See “Boycotts” on page 6 All articles, announcements and photographs must be received by noon Wednesday, 15 days prior to publication date. Articles must be typed, double spaced and include the name of a contact person and a daytime telephone number. E-mail submissions are encouraged and may be sent to The Jewish Observer reserves the right to edit any copy. Signed letters to the editor are welcomed: they should not exceed 250 words. Names will be withheld at the discretion of the editor. All material in this newspaper has been copyrighted and is exclusive property of the Jewish Observer and cannot be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. Views and opinions expressed by our writers, columnists, advertisers and by our readers do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s and editors’ points of view, nor that of the Jewish Federation of Central New York. The newspaper reserves the right to cancel any advertisements at any time. This newspaper is not liable for the content of any errors appearing in the advertisements beyond the cost of the space occupied. The advertiser assumes responsibility for errors in telephone orders. The Jewish Observer does not assume responsibility for the kashrut of any product or service advertised in this paper.

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FEBRUARY 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774 ■



AROUND CENTRAL NEW YORK JCC Battle of the Bands By Nick Finlayson The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse hosted the 12th annual Battle of the Bands competition on January 18 at the SPOT (Syracuse Project 4 Our Teens) in the ShoppingTown Mall. Eight bands performed in front of more than 250 of their friends and family. Also present were four judges: Jeremy Johnson, co-owner of SubCat Music Studios; Chris Baker, music entertainment reporter at The Post-Standard; Ryan Gorham, co-owner of Gorham Brothers Music; and Scott Dixon, DJ and host of “Locals Only” on 95X. Throughout the evening, the bands played classic and original pieces. The “winner-take-all” prize included cash from the JCC and six hours of studio recording time, courtesy of Subcat Records. Many of the bands played music similar to that of well-known bands, such as The Romantics, Guns N’ Roses and the Marshall Tucker Band. Amy Bisnett, the JCC’s director of teen services, said, “One of the JCC’s claims to fame is hosting the most successful high school ‘Battle’ event in the area. There aren’t many opportunities in Syracuse for teens to perform live music

At right: The winning band at the recent Jewish Community Center Battle of the Bands was Home Court Advantage. L-r: Band members Chrissy Gerace, Ben Meyers, Aaron Draper, Andrew Marotta and Tom Shubsda posed with their winning check and prize pack. in a safe setting in front of their friends and family. We are thankful to have this space available for them to perform year after year. This is our way to foster the growth of young local music talent.” This year’s winning band was Home Court Advantage. The band’s members were musicians and vocalists

English Language Learning at the JCC The teaching staff at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s Early Childhood Development Program attended an English Language Learning session on January 7. The program was presented by Theresa Pagano and Ramona Moreno from MANOS Dual-Language Early Childhood Education – a partnership of Partners in Learning, Inc. and the Syracuse City School District – as well as the West Side Learning Center. The ECDP teachers experienced being an ELL student first-hand. Trainers spoke in Spanish for the first 15 minutes of the training, which the teachers said gave them “a unique perspective and new respect and understanding for students whose first language is not English.” MANOS aims to bridge the language barrier for children whose primary language is not English. The program is meant to help schools adapt to the changing demographics in local society, which often comes with a language barrier between the children and teachers. ECDP Director Jo David said, “Part of a quality early childhood program is having teachers trained in reaching all students, including our ELL students, ensuring success for everyone who attends our program.”

During the training, teachers were given specific strategies and tools to use in the classroom with ELL students. It included visual schedules and cultural resources websites. They also learned that speaking to the parents can be “an invaluable resource when learning about language, culture and diversity.” Every two years, teachers are required to fulfill 30 training hours within nine different categories to maintain their license through the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. David said, “Our program strives to always set the bar in childhood by going above and beyond the training requirements, with the ECDP teachers getting 35-40 hours of training every two years. ECDP is always meeting the JCC’s mission statement to help the community, and this training meets our mission and the JCC’s mission.” The trainers from MANOS offered additional services and resources to the ECDP teachers in the future. The teachers said they “enjoyed” their evening of learning and found it “very useful.” When the training session was complete, they expressed how “eager” they were to start using the new tools and strategies to “maximize success for all students.”

Andrew Marotta, Aaron Draper, Ben Meyers and Chrissy Gerace, as well as Tom Shubsda on drums. The group is a conglomerate of two bands that competed in last year’s event. Second place went to Light the Sky, with Kill the Lights coming in third. After the competition, Baker said, “This is a great event for this age group.” Organized by the JCC’s teen department, The SPOT’s venue provides “a safe and supervised” space for teenagers to socialize with friends. The SPOT holds various events throughout the year, including volunteer opportunities and excursions when school is not in session. The JCC hopes to continue the traditional Battle of the Bands event for many years to come. The SPOT will hold a “music showcase” on Saturday, March 29, from 8:30-11 pm, featuring the top three scoring bands from the competition.



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Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center senior dining menu February 10-14 Monday – spinach Portobello in a cream sauce over pasta Tuesday – orange chicken with Chinese vegetables Wednesday – hot grilled vegetable sandwich with Portobello, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, arugula Thursday – honey-glazed barbecue chicken Friday – beef brisket February 17-21 Monday – grilled chicken wrap Tuesday – soups and salad bar Wednesday – hot tongue sandwich Thursday – smoked turkey sandwich Friday – roast beef au jus The Bobbi Epstein Lewis JCC Senior Adult Dining Program, catered by Tiffany’s Catering Company at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center, offers kosher

lunches served Monday-Friday at noon. Reservations are required by noon on the previous business day and 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 and United Way of Central New York. To attend, one need not be Jewish or a member of the JCC. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Leesa Paul at 445-2360, ext. 104, or

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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ February 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774

congregational notes Congregation Beth SholomChevra Shas

Skiing at Toggenburg The Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas Women’s Connection (formerly the Sisterhood) and Men’s Club will go skiing at Toggenburg Mountain on Sunday, February 23. There will be time for skiing, socializing and family activities. Participants should meet at 9 am at the lodge, which will be reserved for CBS-CS. Signs will be posted on the tables. There will be a cost for lift tickets and equipment, as well as a beginner’s special. For non-skiers, there will also be a place for inner tubing. Babysitting will be available. The deadline for signup is Sunday, February 16. To sign-up or for more information, contact Lisa Joseph at 692-4085. School break Family Fun at CBS-CS There will be a school break Family Fun Day on Wednesday, February 19, from 10 am-noon, at CBS-CS. Families with children from birth-third grade and their siblings have been invited for singing, dancing, mask-making and snacks. The program will be led by Laura Walton, a music education major at Syracuse University. For more information or to make reservations, although not required, contact CBS-CS Director of Youth and Education Julie Tornberg at 701-2685 or director@ Scholars-in-residence – “Raising Holy Sparks: Explorations in Jewish Prayer” Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas will host a Shabbaton from Friday-Sunday, February 28-March 2. Rabbis Shawn and Simcha Zevit will provide the weekend with midrash, music, meditation and movement interwoven with the congregation’s traditional service. An overview of the Friday evening service and an introduction of new melodies will be held on Friday, February 28, at 5 pm. Services will be led by Shawn and Simcha and will include an introduction to the weekend’s theme. It will be followed by a dinner, for which there will be a charge. Reservations will be required for the dinner and may be made by contacting the CBS-CS

synagogue office at 446-9570 or office@ Tw o p a r a l l e l Shacharit and Musaf services will be held on Saturday, March 1, with the congregation coming together for the Torah service and kiddush that will follow. There Rabbi Simcha Zevit will be a Jewish chant service from 9:30-10:30 am in the school wing, while a more traditional service will be held in the sanctuary, with Shawn providing a reflection on Kaddish. The 10:30 am Torah service will Rabbi Shawn Israel include a biblioZevit drama, as well as a discussion about prayer. “Prayer in Motion,” a Musaf service that involves movement, will be offered at 11:40 am by Simcha in the school wing, while a traditional Musaf is held in the main sanctuary. Services will be followed by a light kiddush lunch with Shabbat songs. The Zevits and local musical performers will present “Havdalah Unplugged: Higher and Higher: Song and Story” on Saturday at 7:30 pm. There will be a Rosh Chodesh service on March 2 at 8:30 am. Simcha will lead a Rosh Chodesh walk and teaching at 10:30 am. All weekend participants have been invited back to CBS-CS at noon for reflections on the weekend. For more information, contact CBS-CS at 446-9570 Shawn has more than 25 years of experience in spiritual and congregational leadership, organizational consulting and training, educational arts, writing, recording, teaching and performing. He is a founding member of Shabbat Unplugged; co-director with Rabbi Marcia Prager, of the Davennen’ Leadership Training Institute; and a spiritual See ““CBS-CS” on page 10

The CBS-CS Hazak chapter presented “Jewish Spiritual Stories from Around the World,” told by Maggid Jim Brule on January 16. As a maggid, he fulfills a religious role using stories and parables to “deepen people’s Jewish spiritual experiences.” Some of his stories originated from places such as China, Afghanistan and Morocco, as well as one closer, in New Jersey. The program was attended by 50 people.

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Temple Adath Yeshurun Book Discussion There will be a book discussion at Temple Adath Yeshurun on Sunday, February 9, at 9:30 am, in the Muriel and Avron Spector Library. Carol Lipson will lead the discussion on “The Last Jew,” a work of historical fiction by Noah Gordon. The book discussion is an initiative

of the TAY Sisterhood and will be open to the community. The book describes the adventures of Yonah, a Jewish teenager trapped in Spain in 1492, after the Spanish Inquisition has expelled or killed its Jews. Yonah leads the life of a fugitive wanderer, pretending to be See ““TAY” on page 12

L-r: Zoe Hylan, Ellie Anbar and Molly Kantrowitz sold baked goods for money for the Temple Adath Yeshurun Nefesh Tzafon United Synagogue Youth tikkun olam fund.

Children in the third grade class at Temple Adath Yeshurun Religious School were consecrated on January 18 during Shabbat morning services. They were called up for an aliyah and gave a presentation on Tu B’Shevat, including a rap song. Mindy Epstein Hinshaw and Rebecca Resig presented each child with a siddur, a gift from the TAY Sisterhood. A kiddush luncheon, sponsored by the parents of the third grade class, followed the service. Some of the children in the class after rehearsal in the Miron Family Chapel were (l-r) Abigail Hinshaw, Stephanie Lynne, Liam Scott, Brandon Warren, Sam Allen, Tyler Nathan, Rachel Alpert, Ainsley Resig and Kassidy Hirsh.

Temple Concord Bowling Temple Concord members will go bowling on Sunday, February 9, from 5-7 pm. The annual event will be co-sponsored by the synagogue’s Women of Reform Judaism and Brotherhood. Bowlers will be assigned to one of two teams for a friendly competition. The winning team will be awarded the trophy for the year. Prizes will be awarded for numerous categories, such as best score, worst score, most strikes and most gutter balls. Sam Zerin to lecture on Jewish-inspired classical music By Lasse Jepsen Historian Samuel Zerin will present a lecture on Tuesday, February 11, at 6 pm, on music created by young Jewish composers as part of Temple Concord’s Scholar Series. Prior to the Holocaust, young Jewish composers worked together to create a repertoire of classical music. During his presentation, Zerin will play some of this music and provide historical information, as well as explain how young musicians and scholars today are “working to revive this musical legacy.” Zerin is a music historian specializing in Jewish music. Since 2009, he has worked on creating a free online archive of Jewish classical music that is accessible to the public. He is a doctoral candidate in the department of music at New York University. Admission will be free and the event will be open to the public. Donations will

be welcome. For more details, contact the TC office at 475-9952 or office@ Cinemagogue By Lasse Jepsen Cinemagogue will present the Oscar-winning film “Driving Miss Daisy” on Saturday, February 8, at 7 pm. The film ties in with Rabbi Daniel Fellman’s class on American Jewish communities, which is offered for adults on Sundays from 11 am-noon. Admission will be free and the event will be open to the public. Donations will be welcome. For more information, contact Temple Concord at 475-9952 or e-mail Clinton String Quartet By Lasse Jepsen The Regina F. Goldenberg Cultural Series at Temple Concord will present the Clinton String Quartet on Tuesday, February 25, at 7 pm. Musicians will include violinists Michael Bosetti and Sonya Stith Williams, violist Kit Dodd and cellist George Macero. Formed in 1982, the quartet has been called Central New York’s “most active professional New York classical music quartet.” In recent years, the group has been featured in concert at a variety of universities and colleges in and around Syracuse, as well as providing entertainment at different events in Central New York. The quartet performs regularly with the See ““Concord” on page 5

FEBRUARY 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774 ■

The Oaks The December mitzvah project at The Oaks at Menorah Park was a clothing drive for the Elmcrest Children’s Center, which creates and delivers residential and communitybased services to children and families. Oaks



residents and others participated in the charity event, gathering several new and gently-used winter goods. Some residents also formed a knitting club and prepared handmade hats and scarves to be donated.

Residents of The Oaks held a clothing drive for their December mitzvah project. L-r: Roz Bodow, Sabina Breslerman, Sylvia Gilman, Haddassah Fendius, Jules Blank, Anne Thorpe, Mim Schiffres, Elmcrest staff member Janene Bartell, Louise Koppelman, Ethel Fullenbaum, Judy Cramer and Helen Sheppard. Not pictured: Sylvan Beer.

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Syracuse Society for New Music and has performed the debut of many 20th century classical recordings. Admission will be free and the event will be open to the public. Donations will be welcome. For more details, contact the TC office at 475-9952 or office@ Music at Temple Concord Temple Concord has three active music groups that are a part of erev Shabbat services. Ruach, the TC band directed by April Rando, plays at the synagogue’s summer Shabbat barbecues, as well as at the synagogue’s monthly Shabbat services. Ruach will perform on Friday, February 28, at 6 pm services. The adult choir, Knesset Shalom Singers, directed by TC member Todd Laffer, sings a variety of different melodies at the monthly Shabbat services. Many of the songs sung by the choir have been composed and are accompanied by Jonathan Dinkin. His setting of “Adon Olam,”

Birthright on U.S. college campuses, “underscores the importance of the Taglit-Birthright Israel program” to provide trip participants with an experience designed to educate them about Israel, its history, culture, arts and religion, as well as the complexities of Israel’s geo-political position. The trip intends to help participants gain knowledge, perspective and insights about Israel and its people so that upon their return to their home communities and/or college campuses, they are “poised to become effective voices of support for Israel and its people.” Funding for the increased number of participants will come from sources beyond those funds secured by Birthright Israel Foundation. The eligibility expansion will allow Taglit-Birthright Israel to connect affiliated and unaffiliated trip participants, creating the opportunity for peer-to-peer

Continued from page 4 which has been sung several times this year, was recently selected for Transcontinental Music Publication’s Shabbat Anthology VII. The ongoing series has been called “a huge success” and through the various volumes has included songs written by Josh Nelson, Bonia Shur, Jeff Klepper, Steve Dropkin, Craig Taubman and Louis Lewandowski. Shirat Shalom Singers, the TC youth choir, which is mandatory for third-grade students, also helps lead the monthly services. It is led by Jessie and Jim Kerr-Whitt. Children in third-seventh grade may also participate.

Tu B’Shevat Temple Concord celebrated Tu B’Shevat on January 15 with a “creative” seder. Participants created their own visual prayers in addition to the traditional prayers over fruits from trees and vines. The seder ended with a challenge to each participant to try a fruit that he or she had never tasted before.

Continued from page 1

engagement between those who already are pro-Israel with those who have little or no perspective on the country or its people. Organizers feel that blending the unaffiliated with smaller numbers of the affiliated can help “shape positive group feeling, especially with the ever-increasing numbers of less affiliated young Jewish adult population.” More than 17,000 young Jewish adults traveled with Taglit-Birthright Israel during the latest winter 2013-14 season, the largest number ever for any winter trips. A series of studies by Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies has shown that former trip participants are 42 percent more likely to feel “very much” connected to Israel and 22 percent are “somewhat more comfortable talking about Israel,” as compared to people who did not go on the trip.



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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ February 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774

Super More than 100 volunteers participated in the Jewish Federation of Central New York’s Super Sunday on January 25. The volunteers raised more than $51,000 from the phone calls they made. Many of the volunteers added their pledges to those raised through calling, to bring the total amount raised that day to $69,000 with more than 77 new pledges.

Among the callers on Super Sunday were (sitting, l-r) Super Sunday Teen Co-Chair Leah Kuppermann, Erin Abbiento and Teen Co-Chair Cory Stein. Standing: Teen Co-Chair David Antosh, Matt Wasserstrom and Teen Co-Chair Emma Stein.

Super Sunday Co-Chairs Myrna Koldin and her son, Andrew Koldin, volunteered on Super Sunday.

Students came from Hillel at Syracuse University to help making calls and do clerical work at Federation’s Super Sunday. Seated (l-r): Peer Network Engagement Interns Deena Lucas and Jordan Feldman. Standing: Jeff Spivack, the Israel vice president of the Hillel Jewish Student Union, and Zach Goldberg, president of the Hillel at SU JSU.

Among the callers on Super Sunday were (l-r) Robert Sarason, Alyse Holstein and Mike Kalet.


the resolution was put up for a vote to the membership, since only links to supporting positions were provided. “Despite explicit requests, the National Council refused to circulate or post... alternative perspectives.” And President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has publicly rejected a boycott of Israel. Boycotts of this nature – especially when they are directed at only one party to the conflict – are also counterproductive insofar as they undermine hopes for a peaceful and just settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. Such resolutions also discourage open discussions – in Israel, in Palestine and in organizations such as the ASA – that consider the behavior of all sides and the most productive ways to move forward together peacefully. For peace, both sides must agree to work with each other, yet these actions serve to make the parties more inflexible and less open to compromise. Rather, they hurt moderates on each side and encourage

Continued from page 2 extremists and rejectionists on both sides, with the Israeli government more likely to dig in its heels and with Palestinians more likely to believe they can rely on international pressure on Israel rather than negotiations that would entail compromise. This is especially true, as Israel is singled out for condemnation, while countries such as China fire, try and jail academics for advocating the rule of law, not to mention the lack of any freedom in places such as Iran or North Korea. A better, more productive path would be to encourage both sides to negotiate in good faith in the current negotiations now taking place between Israelis and Palestinians. In addition, organizations should support academic and other efforts such as between trade unions that build bridges between the two sides, including academic collaboration, support programs that grow democratic institutions throughout the Middle East and support moderates on both sides to promote meaningful dialogue and exchanges.

Campaign Chair Phil Holstein made a call during Super Sunday.

L-r: Teen Co-Chair Emma Stein and her mother, Cindy Stein, made calls on Super Sunday.

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L-r: Eric Antosh, Super Sunday Co-Chair Orit Antosh and Jake Charlamb made calls during Super Sunday.

FEBRUARY 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774 ■


Families volunteered together to make calls on Super Sunday. L-r: Teen Co-Chair Laurin Goldberg and her parents, Jackie and Michael Goldberg.



Jewish Federation of Central New York President/CEO Linda Alexander stood with members of the Syracuse Hebrew Day School’s Club 5/6, a program that develops leadership, bringing fifth and sixth grade students together to do multiple social service projects. L-r: Rebecca Blumenthal, Elise Beckman, Alexander and Sophie and Rachel Scheer.

Putting the mitzvah in bar mitzvah By Judy Lash Balint JERUSALEM – It’s 9:30 am on a sunny Monday morning in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. Two large groups of revelers almost collide in the alley leading to the main square. Both groups are accompanied by a clarinetist and a drummer belting out traditional “simcha” tunes, and in the middle of both are 13-year old boys dancing with beaming grandmas and uncles under a small chuppah as they make their way under the stone arches from the Western Wall. It’s the Israeli version of the bar mitzvah extravaganza, and it’s repeated every Monday and Thursday (days when the Torah is read) throughout the year. Boys from all over the country get called up to the Torah for the first time at the Wall, and then get danced up the steps to the Jewish Quarter and on to a breakfast spread at one of the many restaurants or halls dotting the area. But not every bar or bat mitzvah age teen in Israel is fortunate enough to have that kind of experience. For the

tens of thousands of youths from dysfunctional families who are cared for in residential facilities all over the Jewish state, it’s often Diaspora Jews who make the difference between having no bar/bat mitzvah at all, or having a meaningful transition into Jewish responsibility. Zemira Ozarowski, coordinator of donor relations for AMIT, a network of educational programs that serves 28,000 Israeli children, is responsible for the twinning program that encourages American bar and bat mitzvah kids to share their celebration with needy Israeli kids. Some of the Americans come over with their families to take part in the simcha they have sponsored, Ozarowski explains, while others conduct fund-raising projects at home and send over funds to help support AMIT’s efforts to inject joy into the lives of Israeli kids from difficult backgrounds. Part of the donation is designated for the Israeli “twin” to receive a traditional b’nai mitzvah gift of a siddur or tefillin. Some lasting relationships have been forged, Ozarowski notes, and the program was recently expanded to include twinning between Israeli pre-teens from established Jeru-

salem neighborhoods and kids in AMIT’s Beit Hayeled facility in Gilo. In Netanya, the Beit Elazraki Children’s Home run by Emunah, a religious Israeli women’s movement with worldwide supporters, hosts many bar and bat mitzvah twinning events. American b’nai mitzvah and their families have sponsored several projects at the home, which houses almost 300 children whose families cannot care for them. Back in 2011, a group of budding musicians from Teaneck, NJ, raised more than $20,000 as their bar mitzvah project, which funded new equipment for the music therapy program at Beit Elazraki. Several times a year, American and British b’nai mitzvah join their peers at Beit Elazraki for a party that always features loud music and a festive meal. A popular b’nai mitzvah activity for institutional groups as well as individual families is a visit to the Yad Lashiryon Latrun Tank Museum a few miles west of Jerusalem. Elisha Kramer, a U.S.-born graduate student, spent part of his army service as a tour guide at the museum. “Some weeks there

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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ February 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774

First person

Spector Fellowship By Samantha C. Schnapper As part of the Spector/Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers, funded by the Solomon Spector Foundation, Syracuse University Professor Emeritus Alan Goldberg led a group of 18 SU students from January 4-10 to Houston, TX, to visit the Holocaust Museum Houston; learn from nationally recognized Holocaust educators and Holocaust survivors; and meet the benefactors of the SU fellowship. The week in Houston, followed by a spring semester seminar on campus, provided students in the SU School of Education with the latest scholarship and pedagogy for understanding and teaching about the Holocaust, and developing multidisciplinary approaches to teaching the Holocaust to high school students. Samantha C. Schnapper, of Rockland County, NY, and a senior in the Syracuse University School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, was selected as one of the Spector/Warren fellows. She is studying to be a high school history teacher and has always been involved in learning about the Holocaust. This is her account of the week. I am 21 and live in Rockland County, NY. I am a senior in the Syracuse University School of Education and College of Arts and Sciences, and am studying to be a high school history teacher. I have always been involved in learning about the Holocaust. When I heard about this fellowship, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me. Since I am heavily involved in Hillel and hope to be a history teacher, I knew that I would highly benefit from this experience. I had the privilege to be selected to the Spector-Warren Fellowship at the Holocaust Museum, Houston for the week of January 4-10.It was an intensive, week-long program, with 18 Syracuse University School of Education students learning about the genocide of six million Jews and other groups during World War II. We had workshops with historians, authors and professors from all around the country and heard testimonies and stories from local Houston Holocaust survivors. Naomi Warren, a 93-year-old survivor, and her family, sponsored the program. Warren believes that by educating future educators, the world will forever remember stories such as hers and the educators will teach their students properly about the Holocaust. What surprised me was that the majority of the students chosen were not Jewish. I admired these students, who took it upon themselves to learn about the Holocaust, the way that I have always

Syracuse University graduate student in the School of Education Samantha Schnapper (right) posed with Naomi Warren (left). learned about it as a Jew my whole life. They wanted to be properly educated about the Holocaust, hear personal stories and not just learn and teach the facts and information from a textbook. While the week was filled with lectures, movies and very intense information about the Holocaust, it was also very enjoyable and life-changing. As one of the 18 students who attended the program, I can attest to the fact that we all left Houston inspired and enlightened. We felt that it

was our responsibility to take the knowledge we had been given and pass it on; so that it will never be forgotten. One of the students is even going to translate the testimonies into her language and take them back to Ethiopia to share with others. What we found so special was that we were able to laugh, smile and commemorate this tragic event in human history because we were so inspired by these survivors and their stories. In the immediate years after the war, many of the survivors I met explained that they did not share their stories and experiences with others. They were embarrassed and felt that it was a private matter. It was not until the many Holocaust deniers started speaking about the Holocaust that the survivors understood that it was their duty to share their story and educate the world on what had happened. Naomi and the other survivors we met were able to see the good in people and forgive, but they also realized that the world must never forget. These survivors not only overcame the Nazi regime but were also able to become very successful and prosperous in the United States. I am so thankful to have had this opportunity to be a Spector-Warren fellow. The Holocaust Museum Houston treated us like VIPs and the museum turned out to be a comforting place. I have made so many valuable friends and have connected with so many wonderful educators.

At right: Syracuse University students, panelists and others posed with Holocaust survivors at the Holocaust Museum Houston. The students spent a week learning how to teach high school students about the Holocaust. They also met Naomi Warren, a benefactor of the SpectorWarren Fellowship. The SU students were seated in the front row, with the row behind them consisting of Holocaust survivors, including Warren, in the middle.

The delicate art of chuppah music By Binyamin Kagedan The hall has been booked, the dress fitted, the flowers selected, the food tasted, the photographer approved, the bands auditioned, the rings engraved and the honeymoon suite reserved. With all the material components of the wedding in place, the focus now turns to the intangibles. What makes a Jewish wedding truly moving and memorable is not what is seen, but what is heard. The emotional tone of the ceremony won’t be set by the size of the bride’s bouquet, but by a heartfelt blessing, a unique vow, or a special song. That’s where I come in.

A musician and singer by hobby, I have had the happy fortune of being asked to sing under the chuppah at the weddings of most of my best friends, as well as close family members. The Jewish wedding ceremony is rich in opportunities for powerful emotional expression, especially in its music. Songs about holy love punctuate and enliven each step of the process: the groom’s entrance, then the bride’s; the last of the seven blessings; the breaking of the glass. The qualit y and combination of the tunes used for these moments lend each and ever y chuppah a unique emotional texture. I view my role in these weddings not just as cantor or entertainer, but as consultant. In order to create a “score” that channels the couple’s individual personality, I provide them with a range of options for each musical moment, and give ideas and tips on how to fit the music into the complex choreography of their chuppah. Some couples like the more elegiac melodies, while others prefer a more cheerful ambi-

ence. Some include pop music in their ceremony, others keep to the traditional Hebrew verse. Certain brides want guitar accompaniment, others request pure voice or prefer that I sing with the band they hired. A few grooms will break the glass underfoot while I am still singing, “If I forget thee o Jerusalem,” but most will wait until after the last note, letting the sound of the shattering signal the eruption of “mazel tov!” from the crowd. Chuppah music is an art and, like all good art, it comes together in the details. Attention to detail is essential to creating a seamless esthetic experience for the bride, groom and assembled guests, and for my part, is a gesture of love and dedication toward the marrying couple. I begin rehearsing weeks before the event, nailing down the perfect tempo, finding the optimal key for my vocal range and making certain that I can comfortably hit the lowest and highest notes. When the specifics are set, I get in touch with the band leader to bring him or her up to speed. Come wedding day, I drag the keyboardist out of the smorgasbord to run through the set with me in person, just to be sure that nothing is left to chance. See “Music” on page 9

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FEBRUARY 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774 ■

News analysis



In Iran sanctions debate, what the sides are arguing about By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA) – The White House is mounting a full-court press in the Senate against a new Iran sanctions bill, but the fight is focused less on the proposed sanctions themselves than on their timing and the conditions attached to them. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), is backed by much of the pro-Israel community, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The U.S. House of Representatives last summer overwhelmingly approved a similar sanctions package. The Senate bill’s backers say it gives the United States greater leverage in its efforts to negotiate a resolution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. But President Barack Obama says new sanctions could scuttle the talks.

Mitzvah would be two or three bar mitzvah groups every day,” Kramer recalls. “It’s a great place for kids to learn about the need for a strong Israel and the legitimacy of fighting for Israel,” Kramer adds regarding the outdoor museum where more than 150 armored vehicles are on display along with a memorial complex dedicated to fallen Israeli soldiers. Many b’nai mitzvah want to take an active role in their celebration and Jerusalem Scavenger Hunts provides creative opportunities for learning and fun in and around Jerusalem. Founder and director Tali Tarlow explains that Israeli kids can train to guide their friends and family on a fun-filled, educational, thematic navigation through the city as they engage

Music There are few acts more gratifying than to enhance the sweetness of the wedding day for dear friends. I got to experience one of them recently, as I designed and performed (along with my new sister-in-law) the vocals for my own chuppah. Singing to my glowing bride as she circled around me seven times, I felt as though all the time and care I had put into every previous chuppah performance, all of the logistical and esthetic expertise I had

At left: The first fuel was loaded at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant on August 21, 2010. (Photo by Iran International Photo Agency via Getty Images)

Two of the bill’s most controversial provisions are a requirement that Iran not be allowed to maintain any uranium enrichment capacity and non-binding language

with its history and figure out their place in its future. The program is tailored to the interests of each child, who works with one of the Scavenger Hunt professional guides and educators to develop a presentation at one of the stations used in the hunt. “We believe a bar or bat mitzvah should be a special occasion and an opportunity for a meaningful experience,” says Tarlow, a longtime informal educator who made aliyah from South Africa. Any family that’s been part of the Package from Home Bar and Bat Mitzvah Project would agree with that sentiment. Started by American immigrant Barbara Silverman at the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000, the volunteer-run program prepares and sends

Continued from page 8 accumulated, all of it was meant to prepare me for that moment, for her. And though the October weather was perfectly unseasonable, the hanging candles perfectly placed and her dress perfectly tailored, it was the music that made the night so perfect.

calling on the United States to support Israel if it strikes Iran’s nuclear program in self-defense. The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013

tens of thousands of care packages to Israeli soldiers, focusing particularly on Lone Soldiers (soldiers without family in Israel) and wounded soldiers. B’nai mitzvah in the U.S. can raise money for the project, and those visiting can take part in the packaging and distribution of everything from warm clothing to toiletries to snacks. Each package includes letters of appreciation for the soldiers, which kids are encouraged to write. For children with physical as well as emotional challenges, it takes a special effort to create a bar or bat mitzvah program they can relate to. At a recent ceremony in a Jerusalem synagogue, 63 deaf and hard of hearing children were called to the Torah in front of parents who were visibly moved by the moment, which was sponsored by the International Young Israel Movement and its Deaf Programming Division in cooperation with the Jewish Agency. Boys with cochlear implants opened up the brand new prayer shawls provided by the IYIM with a flourish, while groups of girls chattered in sign language and waited for their turn to recite a

was introduced in the Senate on December 20 and so far has garnered 59 co-sponsors, eight short of the two-thirds necessary to override a promised presidential veto. The bill enjoys the overwhelming support of Republicans, with only two GOP senators not among the co-sponsors. In addition to Menendez, 15 other Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors – although one of these, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), now says there “may not need to be a vote” as long as progress is being made in talks. At least 20 members of the Senate’s Democratic caucus have come out in recent days supporting the White House in its bid to keep the sanctions bill from advancing. White House officials have said in off-the-record conversations with Jewish leaders that the sanctions themselves are not controversial. Should the See “Iran” on page 12

Continued from page 7 special blessing for becoming a bat mitzvah. Ben Zion Chen, the head of the Association for the Deaf in Israel, told the kids, “I grew up with hearing parents and didn’t know what Torah was. You are all very fortunate. “It’s important that you know your rights and how to deal with your deafness as you grow up,” Chen added, while a sign language interpreter translated his words to the students. “He didn’t sleep all last night,” said Orna regarding her son, Shai, a profoundly deaf 13-year-old from Ramle. “He’s gone through so many operations, and had so many difficulties in his short life – it’s a joy to be here with him and see how happy he is,” she exclaimed as Shai took his place under the prayer shawl spread over his group, while Rabbi Chanoch Yeres, director of the IYIM Deaf Programming Division, read the Torah portion. In true Israeli b’nai mitzvah style, the kids and their families, who had come from all over Israel, were treated to a celebratory lunch and a tour of the Old City to mark the day.

Binyamin Kagedan has an M.A. in Jewish thought from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He can be reached at

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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ February 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774

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

Saturday, February 8 TC Cinemagogue at 7 pm Sunday, February 9 Temple Concord Brotherhood breakfast at 9:30 am Women of Reform Judaism meeting and Skype book discussion at 10 am Tuesday, February 11 TC Scholar Series with Sam Zerin at 6 pm Wednesday, February 13 “Advocating for Your Child,” a joint program sponsored by the Jewish Community Center, the Syracuse Hebrew Day School and Temple Concord at 7 pm Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas board meeting at 7:30 pm Sunday, February 16 CBS-CS Hazak presents Sam Gruber at 10:30 am Thursday, February 20 Jewish Home Foundation board meeting at 5:30 pm Sunday, February 23 Fifth Florida reunion at 11 am Monday, February 24 Syracuse Hebrew Day School board meeting at 7:30 pm Wednesday, March 5 Deadline for the March 20 issue of the Jewish Observer


Continued from page 4

director and trainer for the Aleph Hashpa’ah Jewish spiritual direction training program. He is author of “Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Communities,” and co-editor of a new book on Jewish men’s issues “Brother Keepers: New Essays in Jewish Masculinities” (Men’s Studies Press, 2010). For more information about him, visit Simcha is the founder and director of HaMakom (www., a non-profit, trans-denominational organization whose mission is “to support and enrich the spiritual lives of Jews and anyone who wants to learn.” She was ordained by Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She has been called “an experienced educator” who creates, organizes and facilitates Jewish programming for children, teenagers and adults in a variety of synagogues and organizations. She is a ritual-maker and facilitator for traditional and creative life cycle celebrations and transitions; a prayer, chant and meditation leader; and a “community builder.” The weekend program, sponsored by the CBS-CS Adult Programming and Education Committee and the Joseph and Leah Kalina Scholar-in-Residence Fund, will be open to the community. All activities, except for Friday night dinner, will be free. For more information or to make a reservation for the Friday dinner, contact CBS-CS at 4469570 or

d’var torah

Parasha Tetzaveh By Iris Koller Parasha Tetzaveh begins with the words, “V’ata t’tzaveh et B’nai Yisrael” – “And you shall command the Children of Israel.” As an educator, I cringe at the idea of “commanding children.” I want our learners to be engaged and exploring. I want them to ask questions and struggle to make the learning their own, and yet, looking a bit further at what was being commanded, I realize that this text commands leaders to create sacred space to do just that – to explore and experience the richness of Jewish life. We and our ancestors are told to create sacred space for the children of Israel. This space must include things to explore; it must be a space filled with natural light, color and textures. It must be a rich environment that draws people in toward deep learning and welcomes them to become involved in the community. It must be a space filled with educators – facilitators who have depths of content, knowledge and educational expertise. In this space, leaders must model sacred language and behavior, for it is a space where we stop and say “thank you” to each other and to the Divine

that dwells among us. Then and now, we do want to command. We want to command and compel every community to look, truly see and completely understand the critical, life-changing work that educators do each day and realize that the environment wherein they work matters. Our leaders must understand that resources are needed to ensure that this sacred work continues. Educators, students and families must have the necessary time and special spaces in order to foster the sacred relationships that lead to lifelong community engagement. As this parasha commands, together we can create sacred spaces and sacred moments for teachers, students and their families and through them, the entire community. The choice and the future is in our hands. Iris Koller, a longtime member of the Central New York Jewish community, was the director of membership and programs at Temple Concord, the principal of the Rabbi Jacob Epstein High School of Jewish Studies and the coordinator of PJ Library® in Central New York. She is currently the executive director of the Commission for Jewish Education of the Palm Beaches in Florida.

mazel tov SU scientist wins American Geophysical Union Fellowship By Sarah Scalese Donald I. Siegel, chair of the Department of Earth Sciences in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, has been appointed a 2013 American Geophysical Union fellow, a designation awarded to 0.1 percent of all AGU members in any given year. Also the holder of Meredith and Heroy professorships in the department, he is one of only 62 individuals to have been elected to the 2013 class of fellows. SU alumnus C. Page Chamberlain, now a professor of environmental earth systems at Stanford University, was also among those named an AGU fellow. Siegel, who joined SU’s faculty in 1982, was awarded the AGU fellowship for his contributions to understanding the hydrology and biogeochemistry of peatlands and deep aquifer systems. According to the AGU, “To be elected a Union fellow is a special tribute for those who have made exceptional scientific contributions. Nominated fellows must have attained acknowledged eminence in the earth and space sciences. Primary criteria for evaluation in scientific eminence are major breakthroughs, major discoveries, paradigm shifts and/or a sustained impact.” Siegel said, “This is a tremendous honor and I am thankful to the AGU for giving me such an esteemed award. Seldom do people get to say they love what they do, but, fortunately for me, I am one of the few. I work with a fantastic group of scientists, faculty and grad students, all of whom are dedicated to their work, conducting impactful research and educating the students we teach.” Siegel was appointed department chair in 2013 and previously was appointed a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow

L-r: C. Page Chamberlain and Donald I. Siegel were appointed as 2013 American Geophysical Union fellows. of the Geological Society of America. That organization further awarded Siegel its Distinguished Service Award, the Meinzer Award for research contributions and its Birdsall-Dreiss Lectureship. Siegel is a lifetime associate member of the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, and just finished chairing the Council’s Water Science and Technology Board. He has written more than 150 scientific articles, and provides expert services to governmental agencies, industry, non-profits and legal firms. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree from Penn State University. The AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing more than 62,000 members in 144 countries. The organization’s website says it is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences and outreach programs.


Oxfam accepts Johansson’s resignation, calls SodaStream role “incompatible”

Oxfam accepted actress Scarlett Johansson’s resignation as a global ambassador, calling the role “incompatible” with her work for the Israeli company SodaStream. “Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down after eight years as a global ambassador and we are grateful for her many contributions,” the global anti-poverty charity said in a statement issued on Jan. 30. “While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.” Johansson announced on Jan. 29 that she was ending her relationship with Oxfam following criticism from the charity of her work as a spokeswoman for the producer of home soda-making machines, which operates a factory in the West Bank. Johansson in her statement said she and the humanitarian organization have “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.” Oxfam has said it opposes any trade with Israeli settlements. As a global ambassador for Oxfam, Johansson has traveled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the problem of global poverty. “She is very proud of her accomplishments and fund-raising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam,” said the statement released by Johansson’s spokesman and first reported by the Associated Press. SodaStream signed Johansson to be its first global brand ambassador, and she appeared in a television ad for the company during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. The company employs Israeli and Palestinian workers at its West Bank

factory in the settlement of Maale Adumim. Pro-Palestinian groups had called on Oxfam to sever its ties with the actress. On Jan. 28, representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace, the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, American Jews for a Just Peace and the First Church in Cambridge Israel/Palestine Task Team met at Oxfam America’s Boston headquarters and urged the humanitarian organization to drop Johansson, who is Jewish, over her defense of SodaStream’s presence in the West Bank. Johansson had defended SodaStream and her involvement with the company in a statement released on Jan. 24 on The Huffington Post. In an interview with the Forward newspaper, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said his company’s West Bank factory was “a pain in the ass.” Birnbaum said he would have never established the plant, which was set up before his tenure at the company, but vowed he would not close the factory in response to pressure. He told the Forward that he “just can’t see how it would help the cause of the Palestinians if we fired them.”

High court in Israel orders gay couple to be registered as fathers

Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the Interior Ministry to recognize two men as the fathers of a child born through surrogacy. By a 5-2 vote the week of Jan. 30, the court said the ministry must register the child’s biological partner and his partner as the fathers. The couple already had a birth certificate and a U.S. court ruling recognizing them as the child’s parents, according to The Jerusalem Post. The biological father underwent genetic testing to prove his relationship to the child. His father will be recognized as a trustee of the child until the adoption process is completed.

FEBRUARY 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774 ■

obituaries Gerald S. Diamond

Gerald S. Diamond, 77, of Boynton Beach, FL, died on January 13 in Boynton Beach. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he was a Syracuse resident and moved to Florida 16 years ago. He received his bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and served in the U.S. Army. He worked as a corporate bond trader. He was predeceased by his father, Abe. He is survived by his wife, Sandra Diamond; mother, Ruby Diamond; daughters, Michele Schonhorn and Tammy (Teddy) Van Vynck; a grandson; and his brothers, Sheldon (Sandra) Diamond, of Delray Beach, FL, and Martin Diamond. Burial was in the B’nai Jeshurun Cemetery, Elizabeth, NJ. Contributions may be made to the Jewish National Fund, 42 E. 69th St., New York, NY 10021. 

Patricia Meyers Druger

Patricia Meyers Druger, 75, of Syracuse, died on January 19 at Francis House. She was an administrator for the introductory biology course and the writing program at Syracuse University for many years. She was a quilter and seamstress, and volunteered as a docent at the Erie Canal Museum, and as a tax consultant for AARP. She was a member of the Board of the Friends of Jowonio Preschool, and an active member of the Women of the University. She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Marvin; three children, Lauren (Brian), Robert (Suzanne), of Manlius, and James (Elizabeth); and seven grandchildren. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements. Donations may be made to Jowonio Preschool, 3049 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13224 or the Erie Canal Museum, 318 Erie Blvd. E., Syracuse, NY 13202. 




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Our shared Jewish future is at stake. Without additional funding from public or private sources, Jewish day school education in America will hit a wall as growing numbers of dual-income families find they cannot afford it. What happens in New York, where roughly half of all the Jewish day school students in America reside, will help set the tone for the entire country. If the day school model cannot be made sustainable here, then this core identity-building tool and pipeline for future Jewish leaders will grow out of reach for more and more families. As a Jewish community, we have an obligation to pursue every avenue for tuition affordability. This means reducing costs for the services we purchase and provide; tapping every possible resource to increase donations and foundation support; and calling on our government to give families more of a break when they donate toward – or benefit from – tuition assistance. Many Jews have legitimate concerns about accepting public support for our private schools. It is important to keep in mind that most tax credit programs, including the proposed legislation in New York, help the public system as well. Under the proposed law in our state, half the tax credits available would be designated for support for public education and teacher-designated projects. And none of the credits directed to scholarship entities would come out of

the more than $22 billion that our state spends each year on public schools. The public school system benefits indirectly, too. For every parent who can no longer afford tuition and moves a child out of a private or parochial school to public school, taxpayers must now pick up the entire cost. Here in Westchester County, that’s well above the statewide average of $19,000 per student, not including capital costs. By helping students stay in their existing Catholic or Jewish schools rather than transferring them into district or charter schools, such tax incentives will save the state and local school districts billions of dollars each year. I agreed to allow students from my school to skip class to attend this rally to show them that what happens in government affects real people. Anyone who cares about a meaningful Jewish future in America should help make tuition scholarship tax credit programs a reality. Rabbi Joshua Lookstein is head of Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck, NY.


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Patricia “Pat” Finkelstein

Patricia “Pat” Finkelstein, 68, died on January 26 at Crouse Hospital. Born in New Brunswick, NJ, she was a graduate of Syracuse University, where she majored in political science and was an active member of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority. She also met her husband in 1965 while at SU. She was a member of Temple Adath Yeshurun and ORT. She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Howard, and their children, Michelle (Roderick) Murre and Jason. Burial was in Adath Yeshurun Cemetery. Sisskind Funeral Service had arrangements. 

Paul Hoffman

Paul Hoffman,, 81, of Hollywood, FL, formerly of Syracuse, died on January 21. He was an avid scuba diver and a member of the Syracuse Aqua Kings dive club. He enjoyed coin collecting and loved to fish and travel. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, the former Lana Finkelstein; his children, Susan (Steve) Dulasky, of Cooper City, FL, and Robert (Susan), of Syracuse; and four grandchildren. Contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718; or the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Make-A-Wish® America, Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 6062, Albert Lea, MN 56007-6662. Sisskind Funeral service had local arrangements. 

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Jay H. Wilkins

Jay H. Wilkins, 60, of Syracuse, NY, died on January 24 at Crouse Hospital after a brief illness. A lifelong Syracuse resident, he was a 1971 graduate of Nottingham High School and attended Onondaga Community College. He worked for various companies, including Modern Sales, Ra-Lin, Dexter Shoes and, most recently, Brucelli Advertising. He was a member of the DeWitt Rotary Club, where he held several offices. He was predeceased by his father, Warren Wilkins. He is survived by his mother, Roslyn; his brother, Mark (Lauri); a niece, Riley; his longtime companion, Karen Kimberly; and her children, Nick and Nadine Lettieri, and Denise and Nick Pallotta; and her four grandchildren. Burial was in Frumah Packard Cemetery. Birnbaum Funeral Service had arrangements. Contributions may be made to the Rotary Club of DeWitt, P.O. Box 131, DeWitt, NY 13214; or the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 4002018, Des Moines, IA, 50340-2018. 

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JEWISH OBSERVER ■ February 6, 2014/6 ADAR I 5774



Report: Kerry framework includes shared Jerusalem, Jewish state recognition

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s pending framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace reportedly will include a shared capital in Jerusalem and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Kerry will unveil the proposal “soon,” New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman wrote in the Jan. 29 newspaper. The plan also would include land swaps based on the 1967 lines, security arrangements in the Jordan Valley and no “right of return” to Israel for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Such parameters have been reported piecemeal in the Israeli and Palestinian media. Friedman’s column is datelined Tel Aviv, and he does not say who his sources are for the plan, although elsewhere in the column he cites anonymous Israeli and U.S. officials. The outline meets a key Netanyahu demand – recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – but it is not clear whether the sides would accept such a plan. Netanyahu has rejected using the 1967 lines as the basis for a border with a Palestinian state and opposes relinquishing Israeli sovereignty within Jerusalem. He also wants Israel to maintain a dominant security presence in the Jordan Valley for the foreseeable future. Regarding Kerry’s proposal for the Jordan Valley, Friedman describes only “unprecedented security arrangements.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state or negotiate away the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Reform synagogue in Raanana vandalized

A Reform synagogue in the central Israel city of Raanana was vandalized with graffiti. The graffiti found the morning of Jan. 30 on the outside of the Kehilat Raanan synagogue building included quotes on non-believers from Moses Maimonides, the 12th-century Jewish scholar and philosopher known as the Rambam, according to The Jerusalem Post. The synagogue has been vandalized previously, most recently in April 2011. Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Israel Religious Action Center based in Jerusalem, in a statement called the vandalism a “price tag” incident, referring to the strategy adopted by extremist settlers and their supporters generally to exact retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or Palestinian attacks on Jews.

Iran talks with Iran fail, officials have said that they would press to have Congress pass the new sanctions “in a day.” What are the new sanctions? ‹‹ Existing sanctions on Iranian crude oil would be expanded to include its refined version, petroleum, and its products. ‹‹ Existing sanctions on Iran’s shipping sector would also be expanded to include engineering, mining and construction sectors, as well as Iranian free economic zones. ‹ ‹ Existing sanctions on Iran’s financial sector would be broadened beyond current bans on its nuclear and energy sectors to virtually any dealings, save for humanitarian transactions. ‹‹ The bill also expands individuals targeted by sanctions to include employees of a broad selection of official and semi-official Iranian bodies. The White House’s principal objection to the bill is its timing. The Joint Plan of Action, the November interim agreement between Iran and six major powers, is intended to create a six-month window for reaching a final settlement. The interim agreement, which exchanged a partial rollback of existing sanctions for a partial rollback of Iran’s nuclear activity, requires the United States to “refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.” It’s unclear whether the legislation as currently devised violates those terms. Backers of the bill say that by allowing the president to suspend implementation for six months, the legislation does not violate the interim deal. “It provides the president the time he has requested to see if negotiations can succeed without additional sanctions being imposed during the talks if Iran keeps to its end of the interim framework agreement,” Brad Gordon, the director of policy and government affairs for AIPAC, says in a video message posted on the group’s website. But others argue that mere enactment of the bill, even if implementation is delayed, constitutes a violation. “This bill would impose new sanctions and, while the measures may not be enforced, they will become law,” says an analysis by the Arms Control Association. The White House has also warned that while the passage of new sanctions legislation might not spur Iran to quit the talks, as it has threatened to do, they might lead to the collapse of the international coalition that brought Iran to the table. Another White House objection has to do with outcomes required by the bill. The Obama administration complains that the bill would constrain its ability to negotiate an agreement with the Iranians. Backers of the bill admit as much. “The Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act of 2013 clearly defines parameters for a final agreement,” Gordon says in the AIPAC video.

Nuremberg documents sell for $10,000

Documents from the Nuremberg Trials found at a flea market in Israel were sold at auction for $10,000.AnAmerican collector bought the trove of 500 pages, including documents used to convict top Nazis, on Jan. 29, a spokesman for the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem told the Associated Press. The documents arrived in Israel for the auction after being on public display at the Berlin Chabad center as part of events marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27. In its description of the lot, the Kedem auction house said they consist of English translations of Nazi documents; reports, protocols and memorandums distributed among the prosecutors; official documents connected to the trial; and hundreds of copies of documents from the time of the Nazi regime. The papers reportedly are part of a collection that belonged to Isaac Stone, who headed the Berlin Document Center and the U.S. Foreign Service Office in the 1940s.

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converted but determined to secretly remain faithful to Judaism and confront the individual he believes responsible for the persecution and death of his family. The book is based on a mystery and depicts the lives of Jews who remained in lands under the Inquisition.

New York Senate passes anti-boycott bill

The New York State Senate approved a bill that would suspend funding to educational institutions which fund groups that boycott Israel. The legislation approved on Jan. 28 in a 56-4 vote bans state funding to colleges that fund organizations boycotting “countries that host higher education institutions chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.” A number of New York-based universities have Israel branches. The bill does not mention Israel, but its sponsor, state Sen. Jeffrey Klein, in a statement quoted by the anti-Zionist news site Mondoweiss made clear that academic boycotts of Israel were what led him to introduce the legislation. “I will not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York,” Mondoweiss quoted Klein, a Democrat representing the Bronx and Westchester County, as saying. “The First Amendment protects every organization’s right to speak, but it never requires taxpayers to foot the bill.” A similar bill introduced in the state Assembly that month by Speaker Sheldon Silver has 48 sponsors among the chamber’s 150 members. Silver said he initiated the measure “in response to the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israel and its academic institutions.” The ASA, one of three U.S. academic groupings to boycott Israeli academic institutions last year, said, “While proposed in the name of academic freedom, the bill is a direct attack on such freedom.”

Families of the Temple Adath Yeshurun Rothschild Early Childhood Center gathered for a family movie night on January 18. It was the first of several family events that the RECC Parent Advisory Council has organized throughout the year. The next event will be a Syracuse Crunch game on Sunday, March 9. The events have been designed to provide “fun-filled activities that connect families.” For more information, call 445-0049 or email Clockwise, from left: Taylor Clark with her children, Geoffrey, Avery and Ellie, at RECC’s family movie night.

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The most contentious of the requirements has to do with uranium enrichment. For the president to suspend the legislation’s sanctions provisions, the bill requires he must certify that a final agreement will “dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure, including enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and facilities.” Such a requirement comports with the demand of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that any final agreement permanently end Iran’s enrichment capability. Iranian nuclear knowledge and capability is advanced enough, according to supporters of this condition, that even enriching uranium to five percent – a level generally used for peaceful purposes – would allow Iran to quickly advance to weapons-grade enrichment if it so decided. White House officials have said that Iran would never accept a total enrichment ban and that the best possible outcome would be a five percent enrichment capability. The bill would also allow Congress, by a vote of both chambers, to reimpose any sanctions that were suspended as a result of an agreement. The bill recommends U.S. backing for Israel should it determine that it must strike Iran. In its “sense of Congress” section, it says: “If the government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military and economic support to the government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people and existence.” That language, according to critics, amounts to allowing a foreign nation – albeit one that is a close ally – a determinative role in deciding when the United States joins a military action. “Let me acknowledge Israel’s real, well-founded concerns that a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten its very existence,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a January 14 floor speech opposing the bill. “While I recognize and share Israel’s concern, we cannot let Israel determine when and where the U.S. goes to war. By stating that the U.S. should provide military support to Israel should it attack Iran, I fear that is exactly what this bill will do.” The bill’s backers note that by definition, “sense of Congress” language is not binding and that the bill concludes that nothing in it “shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran.” Moreover, they note, the language is identical to a nonbinding resolution that the Senate passed in May by a vote 99-0. Feinstein was among its co-sponsors.

Shush Martin reacted as magician Hal Schulman called out her exact card during Hazak’s January 19 magic show. More than 35 people attended the event.

Pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade children in the Temple Adath Yeshurun Religious School planted parsley for Tu B’Shevat. L-r: Danielle Alpert, Iris Horowitz, Sydney Kanter and Samantha Shapiro.


Jewish Observer of February 6, 2014


Jewish Observer of February 6, 2014