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The Voice of the Lehigh Valley Jewish Community

www.jewishlehighvalley.org

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Issue No. 403

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November 2017

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Cheshvan/Kislev 5778

AWARD-WINNING PUBLICATION EST. 1977

Local couple explains complex situation for Jews in Venezuela p3

Prepare for Thanksgiving p18-19

COM.UNITY WITH MARK GOLDSTEIN p2 LVJF TRIBUTES p8 JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE p11 JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER p14-15 JEWISH DAY SCHOOL p16-17 COMMUNITY CALENDAR p23

Jewish community ramps up support in wake of more natural disasters This report was constructed with materials from JTA.

fared much better than synagogues in Houston, which were ruined by Hurricane Harvey. Mendelbaum said the Jews’ homes — like those of their San Juan neighbors — avoided destruction because their buildings are built with concrete and other reinforced materials. But the community is still suffering, he said, from the same lack of power, fuel and infrastructure as the entire island. Mendelbaum said it could take 14 hours to get gas and six hours waiting in “eternal lines” to buy food at one of the few functioning supermarkets.

Natural disasters Continues on page 22

COURTESY OF ROWE

Puerto Rico’s three synagogues closed for Rosh Hashanah as Hurricane Maria pummeled the island. Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20 after causing widespread destruction on the Caribbean island nation of Dominica. Leaders of the Jewish community said there was no choice but to cancel the Rosh Hashanah services, as strong winds ripped trees out of the ground, tearing down power lines. The storm created what aid workers and residents described as a post-apocalyptic scenario:

power was out for much of the island, cellphone service was hard to find, gas was even more scarce and food supplies were dwindling. Roads were crumbling. Hospitals were on the brink. Puerto Rico’s Jewish community of 1,500, living mostly in San Juan, has largely been spared the worst of the damage, said Diego Mendelbaum, community director at the San Juan Jewish Community Center, which shares space with a Conservative synagogue. The city is also home to a Reform synagogue and a Chabad. The JCC’s fence and two of its gates were knocked down and its roof sustained damage, but it

Volunteer Eli Rowe’s team delivered supplies to the San Juan Chabad, as well as to vulnerable areas throughout Puerto Rico’s capital, Sept. 25, 2017.

‘Miracles’ amid ashes of Jewish camp in Northern California

COURTESY OF URJ CAMP NEWMAN

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Surrounded by blackened vegetation, Camp Newman’s iconic hillside Star of David survived a wildfire in Northern California.

Administrators of a Jewish summer camp destroyed by a wildfire in Northern California toured the site for the first time on Oct. 13, finding “miracles” amid the devastation. Although most of Camp Newman’s buildings were lost in the North Bay Area wildfires, camp officials said an entrance gate, prayer books and prayer shawls survived the flames, along with an iconic wooden Star of David that overlooks the Union for Reform Judaism camp from a rocky perch. The camp’s executive director, Ruben Arquilevich, and other camp officials, visiting the fire-ravaged site for the first time, were shocked by the scene even before they arrived. Arquilevich said the road to the

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camp had featured “scenery filled with blue skies and green trees and grass, and the first part has always been a neighborhood with a couple of hundred homes.” “But as we drove through that neighborhood, all we saw were homes burned to the ground. This used to be a color scene, and it was black and white. It just haunted me,” he said. Arquilevich’s spirits were raised, however, when he saw that the giant gate to the camp, inscribed with the words “May you be blessed as you go on your way,” was standing. Grapes dangled from some vines in the camp’s vineyard, which was undisturbed. He was further relieved when the visitors found that a pair of Torah arks created by former camp artist-in-

residence Helen Burke had survived. One had been dubbed the “Little Ambassador.” At least 41 people have been killed as the result of 15 major wildfires across California. Over 217,000 acres and 5,700 structures have been destroyed. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, which owns and runs the 480-acre camp east of Santa Rosa, joined Arquilevich for the tour of the site. He said officials are determined to hold camp in 2018. About 1,400 children attend Camp Newman each summer, and 40 to 50 staffers come from Israel to work as counselors. “We will have camp this summer,” Jacobs said. “I can’t tell you exactly where or how.”

Young families “hop” around town for Sukkot p12


com.UNITY

FROM THE DESK OF MARK L. GOLDSTEIN

Executive Director | Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley markg@jflv.org

It’s time for tax wise giving Congress and the administration have been struggling to pass benchmark legislation. The next major legislation may be changes to the tax code. The administration has floated its proposal. Some congressmen have floated their proposals. News reports predict that Congress – seeking resolution on a major piece of legislation – will coalesce enough to get a tax bill passed. At this stage, it is important to note that the discussions today center on the starting point for what could be months of negotiations as lawmakers try to change the tax code. But that does not change the impetus to be tax wise in your charitable giving. And while policy changes have yet to be confirmed, there are some that are largely predicted to be passed. And there are others that are just plain smart and are available to you to be tax smart with your charitable giving. If you believe, as I do, that Congress will pass some legislation affecting the tax code (I hesitate to predict whether it will be an overhaul, reform, or just some tweaking), then understanding the impact of what will likely be passed

could benefit you this year. Conventional wisdom portends that tax rates will likely be revised and lowered for many taxpayers. Most believe there will be fewer tax rate categories and lower tax rates. If that occurs, then the deduction for charitable contributions may be more valuable this year (2017) than it will be under the new code. For example, lowering the top tax rate from 40 percent to 35 percent effectively reduces the value of a charitable deduction by 12.5 percent. Tax planning articles by CPAs and financial planners recommend accelerating your donations before Dec. 31, 2017 to get the current (and likely higher) tax benefit. You can do this by paying past and current Federation pledges, or prepay pledges you plan to make for the current or subsequent years (we hold your payments on your account). As long as the payment is made by Dec. 31, 2017, the contributions are considered 2017 charitable contributions. Another recommendation is to open a Donor Advised Fund with your contribution. This allows you to make a charitable contribution, receive

an immediate tax break and then recommend grants from your named fund to your favorite charities over time. There are other ways to be tax wise in your charitable giving. If you are over 70½ years old and have money in an IRA, it is mandated that you withdraw a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your account each year. If you are also considering gifts to charity this year, then a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) may be to your advantage. This “direct charitable rollover” allows you to give up to $100,000 directly from the IRA to the charity, such as the Jewish Federation. The advantage is that the distribution satisfies the RMD and is not added to your adjusted gross income, which may help in keeping your Medicare premiums down, among other benefits. Additionally, many folks have life insurance policies that may no longer serve their original purpose. Perhaps these were purchased years ago to replace the breadwinner’s income or to pay an estate tax that is no longer an issue. Consider donating this asset, which may result in a

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Readers, November is National Novel Writing Month: a time for participants to try to take down the powerful challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. It may seem insurmountable. It may seem ridiculous to even try. And yet, thousands of people all over the world join together in libraries and cafes, in restaurants and online forums, to take the plunge. This year, as I’m gearing up for my sixth NaNoWriMo (as the challenge is commonly called), I’m excited to be working with our local group once more, but when I moved here last year, I was wondering if I really needed to join the group. I had done the challenge before on my own, after all. Why did I need a group? Joining the group taught me something very important about community: yes, it is possible to sit at a computer and pound away at words all day, reaching the daily 1,667

without any help from anyone. But the month is a marathon, and in order to keep your spirits high and your words flowing, it can be incredibly helpful to meet with other people along the way. We gathered for socializing, which can easily be forgotten in the rush to get words done. We competed with each other in “word wars” to help the words fly by. We kept track with a system of achievement beads to reward each writer’s individual journey. And we celebrated each person’s progress at the end, whether they completed the challenge or not. As a result of joining the group, I found a new dedication to NaNoWriMo, and I ended up doubling my goal for last year thanks to the help and support of my new friends. Our Jewish community can have a similar impact on your life. Join a local synagogue or volunteer with JFS or JDS. Find a way to participate in local

STEPHANIE SMARTSCHAN JFLV Director of Marketing

HAKOL is published 11 times per year for the Jewish communities of Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and vicinity by the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.

COMMUNITY SUBMISSIONS Submissions to HAKOL must be of interest to the entire Jewish community. HAKOL reserves all editorial rights including, but not limited to, the decision to print any submitted materials, the editing of submissions to conform to style and length requirements, and the placement of any printed material. Articles should be submitted by e-mail or presented as typed copy; “Community Calendar” listings must be submitted by e-mail to hakol@jflv.org or online at www.jewishlehighvalley.org. Please include your name and a daytime telephone number where you can be contacted in the event questions arise. We cannot guarantee publication or placement of submissions.

Phone: (610) 821-5500 Fax: (610) 821-8946 E-mail: hakol@jflv.org

activities, whether that means joining the JCC for programming, attending Shabbat services, or finding a way to do something meaningful to you. Even if you’ve participated in community activities before, it can always be helpful to look at it through a new lens. Whether you intend to compete in NaNoWriMo this year (please feel free to contact me for more info) or embark on a Jewish journey, there’s a helpful community for you in the Lehigh Valley. Shalom, Michelle Cohen

We gratefully acknowledge those individuals who have offered expressions of friendship by requesting that trees be planted in the Yoav--Lehigh Valley Partnership Park. IN MEMORY YGAL COHEN The Zighelboim Family

TO ORDER TREES, call the JFLV at 610-821-5500 or visit www.jewishlehighvalley.org.

of the investments on the day you make the donation. You get the charitable deduction and avoid capital gains tax and the Federation benefits from the full market value of the donated assets. It is a win-win. For more information, call the Federation (610-821-5500) and speak with me, Jim Mueth or Jeri Zimmerman.

HAKOL STAFF

MAIL, FAX, OR E-MAIL TO: JFLV ATTN: HAKOL 702 N. 22nd St. Allentown, PA 18104

JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY

2 NOVEMBER 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY

substantial legacy gift. Depending on the type of policy and whether you will continue to fund the premium (through tax deductible gifts to the Federation), you could enjoy current income tax benefits (at the anticipated higher value of the charitable deduction), and the Federation may even be able to access the current policy values as well. Another tax-wise giving mode is to donate (transfer ownership of) non-cash assets such as stock or mutual fund shares to the Federation. Assuming the investment has grown in value, donating the investment directly to the charity will enable your avoiding capital gains tax on the appreciation, and you still get to take the charitable deduction based on the fair market value

MICHELLE COHEN Editor ALLISON MEYERS Graphic Designer DIANE MCKEE Advertising Representative TEL: 610-515-1391 hakolads@jflv.org

JFLV EXECUTIVE STAFF MARK L. GOLDSTEIN Executive Director JERI ZIMMERMAN Assistant Executive Director TEMPLE COLDREN Director of Finance & Administration JIM MUETH Director of Planned Giving & Endowments AARON GORODZINSKY Director of Outreach & Community Relations EVA LEVITT JFLV President

EDITORIAL BOARD Monica Friess, Acting Chair Barbara Reisner Judith Rodwin Sara Vigneri

Member American Jewish Press Association

All advertising is subject to review and approval by The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley (JFLV). JFLV reserves the right to decline, withdraw and/or edit any ad. The appearance of any advertising in HAKOL does not represent an endorsement or kashrut certification. Paid political advertisements that appear in HAKOL do not represent an endorsement of any candidate by the JFLV.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY MISSION STATEMENT

In order to unite, sustain, and enhance the Lehigh Valley Jewish community, and support Jewish communities in Israel and around the world, the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is dedicated to the following core values: • Supporting Jews in need wherever they may be. • Supporting Israel as a Jewish homeland. • Supporting and encouraging Jewish education in the Lehigh Valley as a means of strengthening Jewish life for individuals and families. • Supporting programs and services of organizations whose values and mission meet local Jewish needs. To accomplish this mission the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is committed to the following operating guidelines: • Raising and distributing funds to support the core values. • Developing Jewish leaders. • Building endowments to support implementation of core values. • Committing to ongoing Jewish community strategic planning. • Fostering cooperation among organizations and community building. • Evaluating all decisions with respect to fiscal responsibility. • Identifying unmet needs and investing in community initiatives to help get them started. • Coordinating and convening a community response as an issue or need arises. • Setting priorities for allocation and distribution of funds. • Acting as a central address for communication about events, programs and services of the Jewish community as a whole. Approved by the JFLV Board of Directors on November 15, 2000


Local couple explains complex situation for Jews in Venezuela By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Marketing Israel and Valeska Zighelboim grew up in a thriving Jewish community in Caracas, Venezuela. They spent their days at the Hebraica community center, with its full suite of amenities. They attended Jewish day school, with close to 2,000 students in the system. The community’s 25,000 Jews – half Sephardic, half Ashkenazi, including many immigrants from Arabic countries and Eastern Europe – experienced little antiSemitism. Jews were wellintegrated into the larger society, with active roles in government, the arts, the sciences and more. “Everything was good until the late 1990s when Hugo Chavez was elected president,” said Israel, a physician who moved with his wife and two sons to the Lehigh Valley five years ago. “He had a lot of influence from communist countries, especially Cuba. He aligned himself with, if you will, the ‘bad guys.’” Along with all the political change, anti-Semitic events started to occur in the early 2000s, Israel said. Synagogues were vandalized and law enforcement agencies went into the Jewish day school looking for weapons. In the mid-2000s, Chavez, in response to one of the Israel-Palestinian conflicts, expelled the Israeli ambassador, creating more tension. At the same time, the economy was getting worse and a lot of people started leaving the

country, he said. In 2013, Nicolás Maduro came to power, and “the country has been in a very tense situation since,” Israel said. “That has shrunken the Jewish community from a very prosperous and wealthy one … to about 5-6,000 at best,” he said. “And the people who got left behind were those who had significant financial challenges.” “The economy is a complete mess and the problem is the people that are staying don’t have the financial means to cover all their needs,” said Valeska, whose sister and her family still remain in the country. At the Jewish high school, kids and teachers were passing out from hypoglycemia because they didn’t have enough to eat, Valeska said. The Hebraica, which has become not just a recreational facility, but a safe-haven, is in need of upkeep. Kidnappings are becoming more and more prevalent – so much so that a special committee of trained negotiators and a ransom fund have been established in the community, Valeska said. Even for those who do have the resources, it’s become increasingly difficult to buy basic goods like food and medicine, she said. Much of this is now done on the black market and through hyper-inflated prices. The last time her 2-yearold niece visited, Valeska said, she had to take her to the doctor here in order to get basic vaccines.

“I keep telling [my sister] for the last 10 years that she needs to go. I also understand that it’s really hard,” she said. “She has three little kids, so for them to just leave it’s not as easy.” Valeska and Israel left Venezuela in 2001. Most of their family has since followed, including Valeska’s parents, who moved to Miami just a couple of years ago. Israel’s aunt still lives in the Jewish nursing home there. “When we left, we thought that we would go back. The plan was to go to the states, go to school and then go back to Venezuela,” Valeska said. “But that never happened because things started to go downhill very badly. So we stayed.” Now, as much as they’d love for their children to experience the type of Jewish life they once did, it’s no longer a reality. They don’t think they’ll ever be able to

The Hebraica in Venezuela.

return. “It’s a very violent, unsafe place,” Valeska said. “It’s not only about the economy, it’s a very dangerous place to be.” Valeska and Israel will share

more about the problems facing the Jewish community of Venezuela at an intimate briefing on Monday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. at Temple Beth El. The event is sponsored by the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.

JFS volunteer honored by mayor for gardening

Marcia Schechter, a longtime volunteer with Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley, accepts a plaque from Mayor Ed Pawlowski and the Allentown Garden Club for her work restoring the garden in front of the JFS building. The award recognizes small businesses in Allentown with beautiful gardens. HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | NOVEMBER 2017 3


Editor’s Note: To celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday, HAKOL will be featuring articles on innovations from the medical, technological, and scientific fields as well as news and social features from Israel throughout the upcoming year.

Nearing centennial, Balfour descendant shows pride in support for Jewish homeland

Holidays in Israel

By Eliana Rudee JNS.org

By Leah Mueth Special to HAKOL Editor’s Note: Leah, whose parents live are members of Temple Covenant of Peace, is teaching English for 10 months in Israel through MASA.

A Women’s Journey to Israel

February 4-8, 2018 For more information, visit jfeds.org/HearttoHeart2018.

EREZ HARODI

This past month, I’ve learned a lot about the hospitality of Israelis. I was lucky enough to visit a friend’s family over Rosh Hashanah. They welcomed me with open arms, fed me until I couldn’t move, and upon leaving invited me back and offered any help they could. It was a similar story with my holiday host family for Sukkot. Again, at almost the drop of a hat, they opened their home to me and a friend and also offered a place to eat for anyone in our group that didn’t have a place to go. After meeting with the teachers we’ll be working with, we had already been invited to at least three different homes for at least one dinner during our time in Israel. It is really amazing to see how friendly and welcoming everyone is. It has made the transition here much easier knowing that we have so many people to rely on for anything.

In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, British and Israeli senior officials recently convened in Jerusalem to discuss the past, present, and future of British-Israeli relations. The Balfour Declaration was a British government public statement, issued Nov. 2, 1917, that offered support for the establishment of a “national home” in Palestine for the Jewish people. The declaration is credited with galvanizing popular support for Zionism. During the conference, dubbed “From Balfour to Brexit” and held Sept. 13 and 14 to inaugurate the new Jerusalem-based Sir Naim Dangoor Centre for UK-Israel Relations, Lord Roderick Balfour, the 5th Earl of Balfour – and great-great nephew of former Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour – reminisced fondly about the “family folklore” of his ancestor’s “very important letter.” Speakers at the conference, among them former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli Ambassador to Britain Mark Regev, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, focused on the history and future of British-Israeli relations. They also discussed the possible political and historical implications of Britain’s upcoming exit from the European Union as mandated by last year’s so-called Brexit vote. Jonathan Freedland, columnist for The Guardian and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s contemporary history series “The Long View,” spoke of the legacy of the Balfour Declaration from a British-Jewish perspective. He maintained it is “mostly talked about by people who would seek to criticize or doubt Israel’s right to exist, because there are

(Left to right) Lord Roderick Balfour, Moti Schwarz, Mishkenot Sha'ananim's director general; David Dangoor and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. people who wish to cast Israel as an imperialist project.” Freedland suggested Britain’s Jewish community likely would adopt a muted approach to the declaration’s 100th anniversary. British Jews, he said, “would rather talk about the U.N. vote of 1947 because U.N. votes give a legitimacy that stands in today’s perspective compared to a British decision with origins of an imperial whim of Sir Mark Sykes.” He was referring to the Sykes-Picot treaty that divided up much of the former Ottoman Empire’s Middle East holdings into modern states. “The idea of imperialist Britain and France sitting with a pen and a map – this is not the history of national liberation Jews would like to invoke,” Freedland added. In the declaration, the British government promised to use its “best endeavours” to facilitate the creation of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, with the stipulation “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” Recently, Palestinians attempted to persuade the

British government to disavow the Balfour Declaration, claiming Britain had not upheld its promise to safeguard the civil rights of Arabs in the disputed territories. The Balfour Apology Campaign, which has garnered more than 13,000 signatures, seeks an official apology from Britain for its “colonial history” against the Palestinian people. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has called on British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to issue a “Johnson Declaration,” akin to the Balfour Declaration, recognizing a Palestinian state. The British Foreign Office has said it does not intend to apologize for the Balfour Declaration, calling it “a historic statement” and adding, “we are proud of our role in creating the state of Israel. The task is now to encourage moves towards peace.” Asked at the conference what he thought his greatgreat uncle would say about Israel if he were here today, Lord Roderick Balfour responded, “I would guess that most of the members of government of the day would say that it was a very good thing that they backed the idea of a home for the Jews because there are six million Jews [in Israel].”

Handmade Afghans BY EVA LEVITT

SPONSORED BY THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY’S WOMEN’S DIVISION

welcoming new babies to the Lehigh Valley If you’re expecting, know someone who is, or have a new baby, PLEASE LET US KNOW! Contact Abby Trachtman, 610-821-5500 | abbyt@jflv.org 4 NOVEMBER 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY

All proceeds benefit projects in Israel: Food Banks in Israel Neve Michael Youth Village For prices or to place an order, call Eva 610-398-1376.

All payments are made payable to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley


Lehigh Valley women’s group ‘falls’ into action

Left, JWRP members join speaker Gevura Davis (center) for their Yom Kippur program. Right, members celebrate the wedding of their tour bus leader from their Israel trip. By Beth Kushnick and Chelsea Karp Special to HAKOL Eighteen Jewish moms visited Israel in July 2017 for a 10-day trip with the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project. The trip was made possible by generous donations from Lehigh Valley community members and the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley. JWRP instills the idea that if you inspire a woman, you inspire a family. Inspire enough families, and you inspire a community. Inspire enough communities, and you change the world. And the Lehigh Valley women are doing just that. Fall is in the air and programming has begun! Working with Jeri Zimmerman, assistant executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, the group has made a commitment to year-long monthly Jewish learning, The lessons started with a Yom Kippur lesson on “The Power of Healing.” Gevura Davis, a national speaker and director of programming for the Etz Chaim Center in Elkins Park who served as a group leader for the Lehigh Valley trip, shared important thought provoking ideas through Talmudic lessons and her personal experiences. October’s class focused on caring for and preserving the most important relationship in a woman’s life, her relationship with her husband. The JWRP women, along with their husbands, attended this special evening that provided insight

and guidance for a successful and happy marriage. Along with these classes, the JWRP women have taken the initiative to give back to the Lehigh Valley community by partnering with Jewish Family Service. At each of their monthly meetings, the women donate chosen food items to the Community Food Pantry. This ongoing project has inspired four of the JWRP families to request a personal tour of the food pantry so they may bring a family donation and help stock the shelves. Lisa Ellis, one of the moms, said, “I wanted to bring my children to the food pantry so they could understand that not everyone is as fortunate as they, and that it’s important to share your good fortune with others.” The trip, created a bond with the group that has given them opportunity to get together for some fun! Avichai, the Israeli tour bus staffer and madrich of the trip, got married on Oct. 2 in Israel and broadcast the wedding live on Facebook. The Lehigh Valley girls had a wedding viewing and celebration in his honor, complete with cake and decorations. After visiting Masada, many of the women were interested in learning more. Participant Amy Fels decided to host a viewing of the movie, “Masada.” “I thought if others saw the visual story of what took place thousands of years ago where we stood, touched and walked, it would make their experience more meaningful and bring the history to

life. Really feeling the depth and strength of our ancestors’ fight is a key part in Jewish survival today.” We have exciting plans for

the group in November and December. We look forward to sharing with you what we’re doing in our community and how we’re inspiring and

paying it forward. We’ll have two teams at the Latke -Vodka Hanukkah Cook-Off on Dec. 14 at the JCC and we hope to see you there!

Love Never Grows Old…but Loved Ones Do At DevonHouse Senior Living, we understand that loved ones sometimes need more care than family members are able to provide. We offer the best hands-on personal care in the Lehigh Valley including: • 24 hour professional nursing services • A delicious and diversified menu that includes Jewish favorites • Free unlimited transportation • Stimulating and engaging arts and entertainment programs Call Heather Zimmerman today at 610-967-1100 for a tour. Visit our website for more information: devonhouseseniorliving.com

1930 Bevin Drive Allentown, Pa 18104 HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | NOVEMBER 2017 5


Sisters visit library named for great-grandfather

Saperstein speaks at Muhlenberg

Lauren and Julie Schiff, daughters of Richard Schiff and Jane Schiff of Allentown, visit the school library in Ma’alot, Israel, that is named after their great-grandfather. Richard’s parents dedicated the library in honor of his grandfather, who loved books. The Murray H. Goodman Comprehensive High School was largely supported by the Jewish Federation of Allentown when it was dedicated in 1984. Allentown was paired with the city through a partnership program at that time, and still enjoys a special relationship.

Rabbi David Saperstein speaks after accepting the 2017 Wallenberg Tribute award at an event on Oct. 8. The award, which was given by Muhlenberg College’s Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding, pays tribute to Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. Saperstein, who has led a career dedicated to the pursuit of justice, founded and served as the director of the Reform Action Center of Reform Jewry, representing the Reform movement on Capitol Hill for over 30 years. He is also a lawyer and a former U.S. ambassador.

VEGETABLE DELIGHTS FOR THANKSGIVING BY SANDI TEPLITZ

CRISPY BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Take one package of shaved Brussels sprouts and place on a large cookie sheet. Spread them out over the whole sheet. Cut up two garlic cloves into slivers and mix in. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the sprout mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast at 400 degrees until browned with crusty edges.

SWEET POTATOES 2017

Boil, then mash, one sweet potato per person, at least six. Place in greased 13x9 pan. Top with a mixture of: 3/4 box crushed corn flakes, 1 1/2 sticks Earth Balance pareve margarine, 1/2 16 oz. box of light brown sugar. Place over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees until topping is browned. Roasted whole salted almonds are a nice addition.

PARSNIPS IN CIDER

Parboil peeled and cut parsnips. Cut into buttons. Set aside. Boil apple cider until it is thick (moisture reduced to half.) Add parsnips to coat thoroughly.

6 NOVEMBER 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY


Lehigh Valley adults invited to experience new programming at the JCC

Above, J-Gourmet participants enjoy dinner and drinks at The Dime. Left, J-ARTS participants create unique mosaic creations in a hands-on class.

By Amy Sams Adult Program Coordinator The Lehigh Valley Jewish community is invited to explore a variety of new programs and activities this fall at the JCC. J-ARTS This summer, the JCC's new J-ARTS series brought together adults looking to create with their hands and their minds. We kicked off the series with a writing workshop with instructor Gretchen K. Furst from Studio G in Allentown. J-ARTS continued with a hands-on art workshop, creating bracelets from healing gemstones. The mother and daughter team from Artists at Heart guided the group in making one-of-a-kind bracelets for themselves or to give as a gift. Artists at Hearts will be back at the JCC selling their wares at the JCC Artisan Craft Show on Dec. 10. We are also partnering to offer a pottery class for adults in the future. The six-week mosaics class with Cindy Schneider was a big hit! Participants learned how to safely handle glass and how to use appropriate glass cutting tools. A new mosaics class will begin in January, limited to eight participants. Gretchen is back to teach a six-week creative writing class this fall. This writing class includes both creative nonfiction story writing to capture life's moments and memories on paper as well as creative fiction writing to exercise the imagination. Participants will experience weekly writing prompts and activities during class as well as "homework" writing assignments to complete during the week and to share each week in class. This is not English class! This is story writing, fun writing activities, poetry, legacy writing and sharing. It's for any writing level. The class begins Nov. 14 and is limited to the first 10 registered participants.

J-AMP

J-To Go

The JCC's Jewish-Focused Aging Mastery Program provides adults with an opportunity to learn from experts in the community, and find ways to live positively and enjoy life to the fullest. It is not too late to join in! There are several sessions remaining which you may attend: healthy relationships with elder life educator Wendy Scott, medication management with Vincent Hartzell, advance planning with Dr. Jenni Levy and healthy eating and hydration with Inge Mattei, RN. Rabbi Schorr will lead our final session: “Harvest Time: Living the Rest of our Lives" which explores how we develop a spiritual mission statement to guide us through life.

Adults have been busy not only at the JCC, but also out and about. J-To Go offers the chance to spend time out in the community and surrounding areas. A few times a year, the JCC Yiddish Club and Jewish Family Service will partner for an afternoon of connection and outreach in the community. So far, our partnership has taken us to Country Meadows in Allentown and Atria Senior Living in Bethlehem. We will soon be visiting Luther Crest in Allentown. Once again, the JCC will be taking a bus trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show on March 7. The trip includes round-trip motor coach transportation and admission to the show.

J-Gourmet

Contact Amy Sams at asams@lvjcc. org with questions about Adults at the J.

Foodies looking for a unique and fun experience in our own backyard have been enjoying the JCC’s J-Gourmet series. In October, participants enjoyed a JCC-exclusive wine and cheese pairing experience at The Dime in Center City Allentown. We are going back to The Dime on Dec. 18 in search of the perfect cocktail. Attendees will get the chance to design and make an original cocktail using ingredients provided in an “Iron Chef”-style competition. Limited seats are available for this fun and refreshing cocktail class. J-Gourmet is partnering with J-Chefs on March 11 for a parent/grandparent and child pasta lovers cooking class! Save the date for this inter-generational afternoon of learning and fun. J-Days Daytime adult activities have grown at the J! J-Days provides a comfortable, safe place for adults to experience similar interests. The JCC will provide the space and light refreshments. Register for the year and participate in as many of the weekly activities as you would like. There is also an option to register per season, for those who are not in the area year-round. Weekly activities may change based on interest levels. Activities are posted on the JCC website. We are excited to offer Yiddish Club on Tuesdays, mah jongg on Wednesdays, canasta and cards on Thursdays and coloring klatch on Fridays.

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Robby and Laurie Wax IN MEMORY

IN HONOR LYNN AND SAM FELDMAN Engagement of Brooke to Jeffrey Kessel Elaine and Leon Papir HARRY AND AMY FISHER Engagement of their son, Nathan Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald LISA AND BARNET FRAENKEL Marriage of their daughter Lauren to John Kearney Jewel Baringoldz STEWART AND CAROL FURMANSKY Birth of their grandson, Ilan Rita and Mike Bloom Ross and Wendy Born ZACH AND ANDREA GOLDSMITH Birth of their daughter, Elise Mara Robby and Laurie Wax MARK GOLDSTEIN Speedy Recovery Elaine and Leon Papir Flossie and Jerry Zales ROB AND TRACY GROB Son Jonah’s National Merit Scholarship

Award Barry and Sybil Baiman HAROLD KREITHEN Happy Retirement Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein EVA LEVITT Becoming JFLV President Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein Flossie and Jerry Zales ALAN MORRISON Happy 90th Birthday Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein SELMA ROTH Being honored for her service to the Jewish community Jewel Baringoldz ARTHUR AND AUDREY SOSIS Ellen’s engagement to Scott Anderson Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein DANNY WAX Mazel Tov on his Bar Mitzvah The Ettinger-Finley Family BRIAN AND JOY WERNICK Birth of their son, Ethan Davi Ross and Wendy Born

MOTHER (of Roberta Gaines) Adrienne and David Bartos LILY CLINE (Mother of Pam Byala) Bill and Peggy Berger Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald PETER DENITZ (Son of Gene and Missy Denitz) Selma Roth HAMILTON HERTZ (Father of Jonathan Hertz) Taffi Ney Audrey and Arthur Sosis HELEN AND SOL KRAWITZ HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL FUND IN MEMORY FATHER (of The Ho Family) Lynda and Stuart Krawitz We gratefully acknowledge those individuals who have offered expressions of friendship through recent gifts to the Lehigh Valley Jewish Foundation. The minimum contribution for an Endowment Card is $10. Call 610-821-5500 or visit www.jewishlehighvalley.org to place your card requests. Thank you for your continued support.

Halloween costume company removes Anne Frank outfit Jewish Telegraphic Agency An online costume company removed a Halloween costume of Holocaust diarist Anne Frank from its U.S. and European websites. Holloweencostumes.com, whose website is run by the Minnesota-based company Fun. com, pulled the costumes after a backlash on social media. The costume, which can be seen on social media in screen grabs, included a long sleeve

blue button-up dress, a brown shoulder bag and a green beret. The company described Frank as a World War II hero and an inspiration, adding that “we can always learn from the struggles of history.” “There [are] better ways [to] commemorate Anne Frank. This is not one,” Carlos Galindo-Elvira, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Arizona, said in a tweet. “We should not trivialize her memory as a costume.” Company spokesman Ross

Walker Smith in a tweet apologized “for any offense” the costume caused. “We sell costumes not only for Halloween season, such as school projects and plays. We offer several types of historically accurate costumes – from prominent figures to political figures, to television characters,” he tweeted. “We take feedback from customers very seriously. We have passed along the feedback regarding this costume, and it has been removed from the website at this time.”

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FREEDOM of movement

A few Allentown AZA members at last year’s standup cause, which was Miracle League.

AZA and BBG raising money to equip ambucycle By Jacob Sussman AZA Over the past few weeks, Allentown AZA has been discussing our yearly "standup cause." A standup cause is Allentown AZA’s way of donating back to the community. Through this we raise as much money as we can and then with that money, give back to another organization. Last year, our standup cause was the Miracle League. The Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley is a way for all kids, no matter what challenge in life they have, to play baseball. Through this program, all the kids in it are able to play baseball in a safe, friendly zone. So, after learning about this program, we were more than happy to give back to this organization. After all the fundraising, we were able to donate a $1,000 check, which the organization appreciated very much. Now Allentown AZA is ready to give back to our new standup cause, which is to equip and train the operator of an ambucycle in Israel. And not just any ambucycle – the one that the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley's Maimonides Society raised money to purchase in Ma'alot. Ambucycles in Israel save many lives every single day. Their mission is to arrive at the scene of medical emergencies as soon as possible in any area of the city, no matter how crowded or rural. They provide the patient with professional and appropriate medical aid until an ambulance arrives. The ambucycle itself is a motorcycle ambulance that has all the required first aid and treatments just like a regular ambulance. The catch is that they are smaller, so they can respond to a call in an average time of less than three minutes. Now, this is where Allentown AZA comes in. Each year, United Hatzalah needs to buy new equipment for each ambucycle. Our goal is to raise at least $2,600 to buy

all the equipment the Lehigh Valley's ambucycle needs this year, and provide any training needed to its driver. Allentown AZA is partnering with Allentown BBG in a joint standup cause to raise the maximum amount of money. We cannot wait to start fundraising to help an organization that is very important to our native homeland of Israel. When the maximum amount of money is fundraised, we hope to have a day where a representative from United Hatzalah comes to the local JCC. If anyone is interested in learning more about this amazing cause or has any questions, please contact allentownaza@gmail.com.

BBG attends first regional convention of the year

An ambucycle in Israel, similar to the one that Allentown BBG and AZA are raising money to equip this year.

which we will donate our time and money all year long, and we hope that you, members of the community, will help us do the same. This year, we are collaborating with Allentown AZA with our cause, United Hatzalah of Israel’s “ambucycle” program, in which volunteers are extensively trained and given a motorcycle. Then, similar to Uber, if someone in Israel is injured or sick, they may use the ambucycle app to call for someone to come save them. At this point in the program, an ambucycle is at the site of a caller within just a few minutes of a call being made, helping to save lives every day. UNITED HATZALAH OF ISRAEL STATISTICS: • 3,500 volunteers helping those in need of help • 800 calls per day asking for help • 600 ambucycles getting to those in need • 25 ambulances to save Israeli people • 3 minute average response time

By Fana Schoen BBG Hello, HAKOL readers! Allentown B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) has had an amazing month of September, and we can’t wait for what’s coming up. Last month, we had our first regional convention of the year, Regional Leadership Training Conference (RLTI). There, we learned how to further our leadership skills and connect with those who can help us improve as leaders and as people. After that, we had a fun Allentown chapter kickoff event. Our awesome luau party was very successful with many girls in attendance and we all had a great time with luau games and Havdallah services. All of the programming at this event was entirely led and planned by teens from the body of Allentown BBG and Allentown Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA). Now, we are gearing up for our next convention, Tournies. At this convention, we will compete against the other chapters of Liberty Region in this year’s college theme, representing Barden University! Additionally, Allentown BBG has decided its “standup” cause. This is a cause for HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | NOVEMBER 2017 9


Celebrating the 'minor' holidays too

RABBI DAVID WILENSKY Congregation Sons of Israel As we say goodbye to a September and October that

have been filled with Jewish holidays, many of us may look ahead to November with a sense of calm knowing that we can get "back to normal" as we enter the Jewish month of Cheshvan, which corresponds to November. The Jewish month of Cheshvan is often referred to as MarCheshvan, loosely translated as ‘the bitter (mar) month of Cheshvan,' due to its dearth of Jewish holidays and Jewish commemorations. Although this has certainly been the case for the majority of Jewish history, the modern Jew actually finds the opening weeks of November carrying great significance. The second week of November will consist of a number of, what many might consider, "minor" holidays or commemorations,

namely, Kristalnacht (which certainly adds a new dimension to the mar of Cheshvan), Veterans Day, and Election Day. Although each uniquely tugs at our emotions and sense of obligation, there is a common denominator that binds them together in the sense that each are appreciated and observed with a lesser sense of importance than they truly merit, largely due to their being taken for granted on a certain level. Allow me to explain. 2016 was considered a relatively strong year for voter turnout in America as 60 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot. Looking at the cup half-empty, that means that approximately 80 million eligible Americans decided not to vote. This

coming Election Day, which is not a presidential election year, expects to see approximately 130 million eligible American voters not exercise their voting rights. This was not always the case. In the 1800s, voter turnout for election years hovered at around 85 percent for a number of decades. It seems that in earlier periods of American history when people fought for the right to vote, they savored it and exercised it; whether it was America as a whole that had to fight for the right of representation in the 1700s, non-land owners in the 1800s, or women in the early 1900s. Our post baby-boomer generations who never fought to vote seem to have lost the hunger and desire to do so. Veterans Day seems to reflect a similar story. According to a Rasmussen Poll taken in 2014, only 47 percent of Americans planned on actively observing the day, leaving over 100 million Americans as choosing not to take part in honoring our veterans. The notion that our fighting men and women have sacrificed so greatly for the freedom and liberty of every American citizen seems to have somehow become cliché. Due to our busy lives and over-extended schedules, Kristalnacht can also be overlooked. We can never forget that our grandparents and great-grandparents were persecuted and murdered for

being Jewish. They fought for the continuity of their Jewish families with every fiber of their being, facing significant hardship and difficulty in keeping this Jewish nation alive. I find it astonishing that at the time of the destruction of the Second Holy Temple (70 C.E.) there were an estimated six to seven million Jews, approximately half of the current number of Jews in the world. At the same time there were an estimated six to seven million people living in China as well – just as many Chinese as there were Jews! What happened to all the Jews? We know the answer – the Crusades, pogroms, the Holocaust and intermarriage. We are the last remaining group – we are the survivors of those who toiled and struggled to keep Judaism alive. We can never forget that we are the bearers of the torch of Judaism which we are dutifully bound to hand off to our children after us. By keeping our attention focused on these upcoming days, we will be ensuring that the values which our American predecessors fought for on our behalf, and even more importantly, the values which our Jewish grandparents and great-grandparents fought for on our behalf, will be properly acknowledged, cherished, and passed on to our future generations. Sometimes the lesser-appreciated days can carry the greatest of lessons.

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All aboard: Young families hop around town for Sukkot Young families had the opportunity to visit four different sukkahs on Oct. 8, participating in activities at each in celebration of the holiday. The kids listened to a PJ Library story, made decorations and took on roles in a puppet show. The "hop" was organized by Temple Beth El, in partnership with PJ Library. Upon returning to Beth El, the families enjoyed a potluck dinner and some play time in and around the Beth El sukkah.

Evan enjoys his snack at the JCC.

Above, families prepare to board the bus at Temple Beth El. Below, families at their first stop: the JCC sukkah.

Sandy Newman reads a a PJ Library story. Right, stop number three for a puppet show at the Levines. Far right, the kids play and make decorations to bring back to the Beth El sukkah.

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Second stop: The Alterman house.


SERGE ATTAL/FLASH90

In Japan, observing Sukkot requires creativity — and sometimes a bit of smuggling

A man praying at the century-old Ohel Shelomoh Synagogue in Kobe, Japan, June 26, 2009. By Cnaan Liphshiz Jewish Telegraphic Agency Like many international smugglers, the one servicing the Jewish community of this port city 300 miles east of Tokyo has perfected his poker face to avoid customs inspections. But unlike other smugglers, the one from Kobe, who spoke to JTA on condition of anonymity, carries no cash, drugs or any of the contraband favored by his counterparts. Instead, he brings in kosher meat and, ahead of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, three of the four species — the plants that Jews use for ritual purposes during the weeklong festival culminating the High Holidays period. “I don’t want to do it, but it’s the only way to make sure we have these items,” said the smuggler, a tall man in his 50s. Like most Jews who pray at the century-old Ohel Shelomoh Synagogue here — the oldest Jewish house of worship in Japan — he arrived from Israel more than 20 years ago after his army service and ended up staying and having children with his local wife. He sources three of the four species that are carried during Sukkot services: the etrog, a lemon-like fruit; the lulav, a frond from a date palm tree; and leaves from the myrtle tree. The fourth, willow, grows in Japan naturally, including in a plot just outside Ohel Shelomoh. The synagogue was renovated and rebuilt in 1970 atop the storage basement where the first Jewish settlers from Eastern Europe used to pray when they arrived in Kobe in the early 1900s. It has local and Jewish decorations, including a wall-to-wall gray carpet for walking shoeless, wood lattice in Japan’s signature shoji style, and the flags of Japan and Israel on either side of the Torah ark. Japan’s Jewish community of 1,000 people is a diverse group of expats – Israelis, Americans and French make up a sizable portion — with active congregations in Tokyo, Kyoto and Kobe. They all have trouble obtaining permits to bring kosher food and organic material to the island nation because of its strict limits on importing plants and animals, as well as quarantine requirements that are designed to limit the spread of invasive species and diseases.

But in addition to encouraging some Jews to smuggle in literally forbidden fruit and forcing some observant Jews into a vegetarian lifestyle, the obstacles are also creating interdenominational cooperation between Conservative and Orthodox communities that rarely occurs elsewhere. Shortages in the four species mean that in Japan, the Conservative Jewish community in Tokyo get their Sukkot kit from Tokyo’s Rabbi Binyomin Edery, a follower of the late ChabadLubavitch rebbe. And they buy kosher meat in consortium together with the Hasidic movement’s chief emissary to Japan, Rabbi Mendi Sudakevich. “The Jewish population here is so small that we have to put aside our divisions,” said Kobe’s rabbi, Shmuel Vishedsky, another Chabad emissary. Vishedsky welcomes the non-Jews in a manner that is rare in Chabad communities and more customary in Reform ones. In another Liberal-like departure, he also allows women, Jewish or otherwise, to sit in the men’s section – all for the sake of adapting to his congregants. “What matters here in Japan and in life generally is to treat everyone with respect,” Vishedsky said. “So that’s what we do.” On Simchat Torah, a celebration of the Jewish holy book that comes immediately after Sukkot, Vishedsky throws open the doors of his synagogue, sets up a wet bar inside and hosts an alcohol-soaked feast that lasts well into the morning. “You’ll find people sleeping it off as late as 10 a.m. either in synagogue” or on the building’s large terrace, where Vishedsky and his wife, Batya, each year erect a large sukkah, or temporary hut, that is open to all. This welcoming attitude is helping to draw in locals interested in converting, including Igor Iha, a neuroscience student at Kobe University who was born in Brazil to a family of Japanese descent and came to Japan four years ago. “I looked into Christianity and Islam; it didn’t make sense,” he said. “But everything about Judaism felt right.” Near the end of Yom Kippur, a visibly tired and thirsty Vishedsky welcomed into the synagogue a group of 30 university students who came on a tour as part of their intercultural studies. Slightly afraid to offend,

RISTORANTÉ

they asked about the religious objects around them and wanted to see a copy of the Talmud, a central Jewish text that commands great respect in the Far East. After they left, Vishedsky watched with an amused expression as the smuggler boasted to a journalist and other congregants about his exploits. “The trick is to mix the forbidden materials with innocuous stuff,” the smuggler explained. “I like to stuff the four species into a bag full of packaged snacks that I bring from Israel — Bamba and Bisli. If I get searched, they see it’s food but they don’t see the plants.” The smuggler recalled being busted with a pack of kosher steaks, but was allowed to pass through anyway when he explained it was kosher food. “There’s some leniency,” he said, “so even if I’m caught, hopefully they’ll just take my stuff away at worst instead of putting me in prison.” Even so, “It’s not easy to get permits to bring stuff in,” confirmed David Kunin, the Conservative rabbi from Tokyo whose congregation, known as the Jewish Community of Japan, sometimes gets the four species via the Israeli Consulate. “There’s a ton of paperwork about it, especially with food.” But the consulate sometimes does not deliver enough of the four species to his congregation. This year, Kunin’s community received the plants from Edery, the Chabad rabbi. The plants, which Edery brings in using a rare permit, arrived in the nick of time for the holiday.

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Lone Soldier Center to host 9th Annual Thanksgiving dinner in Tel Aviv: Over 1,000 lone soldiers are expected to attend By Sara Kalker Lone Soldier Center The Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin will be hosting its 9th annual Thanksgiving celebration in Tel Aviv on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. Over 1,000 lone soldiers from all over the world will come to enjoy food, beer, music, football and great company at the largest annual gathering of lone soldiers. The event is made possible by individual donors in Israel and abroad, Beer Bazaar Jerusalem and communities across Israel who prepare massive quantities of delicious, homemade food. There are nearly 7,000 lone soldiers serving in the IDF. The holidays are particularly challenging for many whose families are celebrating thousands of miles away. “For lone soldiers from North America, Thanks-

giving was one of the happiest and most fun days of the year, when they got together with their families and closest friends to eat, watch football and enjoy being together,” says Joshua Flaster, a former lone soldier and national director of the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin. “We prepare this meal for the over 1,000 American and hundreds of Canadian lone soldiers to give them a taste of home and allow them to be together with their family in Israel.” The evening is not just for Americans and Canadians. Soldiers from all over the world attend the massive event, enjoying unlimited turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, green beans, mashed potatoes, beer and more. “It has become a highlight of the year for lone soldiers, regardless of where we are from,” says Alan from Mexico City.

Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin was founded by former lone soldiers to support lone soldiers serving today. Michael was an American-born lone soldier who fell fighting in Lebanon in 2006. The Lone Soldier Center was created by a group of his friends, former lone soldiers following through on a dream of Michael's - to assist, feed, connect and care for lone soldiers in the IDF, before, during and after their army service. Today, they are making Michael’s dream a reality; the Center provides lone soldiers with meals, support, advice, and the family and community they are missing.

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At Thanksgiving time, an exercise in mindfulness

JUF NEWS

Cindy Sher

By Cindy Sher Jewish Telegraphic Agency Last year, for a month before Thanksgiving I jotted down one thing for which I was grateful every night before I went to bed. Here are some of the 30 blessings I recorded: • A warm bed. • Airplanes that fly me to visit my family for Thanksgiving. • A baby bundled in a puffy coat and a hat with teddy bear ears, toddling down the street with his parents. • Employing my three little nephews as sous chefs/ marshmallow tasters as we made sweet potato casserole together on Thanksgiving. • An old couple holding hands. • Refuge from a snowstorm. • A cheap dinner out with even cheaper wine shared with priceless friends. • Cyndi Lauper (after I went to her concert). • Shabbat. And the list went on. I loved the exercise, helping me to be mindful every day that month — and beyond — for how much I am grateful for. Even on the hard days, and even amid a backdrop of a lot of pain in the world, remembering our blessings makes us appreciate the beauty, wonder and magic of life. It’s funny, but I didn’t record any big, expensive stuff on the list. In fact, very few of the items cost even a penny. It’s so often the small, fleeting moments that are the biggest and most beautiful, and the ones that stay with us. Gratitude lies at the heart of who we are as Jews. We’re supposed to express thanks to God for waking up every day, for the souls we embody, for the bread we eat, for the wine we drink, for the illness or danger we survive — and for so much more. Just as gratitude lies at the heart of who we are as Jews, mindfulness lies at the heart of gratitude. The great Jewish sage Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel talked about mindfulness in this famous quote: “Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement,” he

said. “Get up every morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” Over the High Holidays, I read a slim and poignant book that matched my reflective Jewish head-space of the season. In “The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things,” Rabbi Steven Leder writes about appreciating all that’s extraordinary in our ordinary lives through a Jewish lens. As we get older, Leder said, we lose our sense of awe and wonder. “When we look back at the calendar of our lives how many pages are worth saving?” Leder writes. “We schedule our business appointments — mastering the lessons of time management and efficiency. But do we really manage our time well? Have we celebrated with our children? Have we visited our aging parents and grandparents or made that phone call to the friend whose loved one is sick? Have we hugged each other enough? Do our children, our parents, our brothers and sisters, our partners in love and life, know what they mean to us?”

Leder references a Hasidic story in which a rebbe asks his followers where God exists. “Everywhere,” his disciples respond. “No,” the rabbi replies. “God exists only where we let God in.” In the broader culture, various forms of meditation are hotter than ever, where we let go of our day-to-day stresses and noise, at least for a moment, and be more mindful and intentional in our lives. In one of my favorite movies, a British love story called “About Time,” the protagonist possesses the power of time travel and is able to relive the same moment more than once. By the end of the film, he realizes that it’s better not to relive moments but to appreciate every moment the first time around. Soon, we’ll all sit down for Thanksgiving once again, a national holiday that seems like an extension of the High Holidays because it focuses on themes of gratitude so prominent in Jewish values. Let’s all give thanks for the moments — the extraordinary and the ordinary — because we’ll only live them once. Cindy Sher is executive editor of the Chicago’s JUF News, where this piece originally appeared.

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Jeffrey Gevirtz, MD Dr. Jeffrey Gevirtz, MD, exudes the quiet confidence that comes from a laser-sharp focus on his priorities. When describing his perfect day, he keeps it simple: “First, I’d wake up; that’s always a good thing,” he quips, “have coffee and read the paper; then, I’d get some exercise. I’d see my kids, and my friends. I have a rather modest lifestyle.” But, soon you realize that this unassuming doctor has accomplished much and contributed a great deal to the community. Wanting to help others, Dr. Gevirtz followed in the footsteps of his father and uncle and became a physician. He chose urology because of its diversity and its positive impact on people and families. On any given day, a physician might treat one person for cancer and another for fertility. Urology also allowed him to work with both men and women and to perform procedures, which he enjoys. What he finds most rewarding, however, is seeing his patients respond to treatment, often in a short amount of time. Dr. Gevirtz came to the Lehigh Valley in 1991 following his surgical residency in urology at Brown University in Providence, RI, and has remained with the same practice since. During the past year, he and his partners, urologists Paul Berger, MD; Richard M. Lieberman, MD; Brian P. Murphy, MD; Daniel M. Silverberg, MD; Joseph G. Trapasso, MD, and radiation oncologist Mark E. Alden, MD, decided to join St. Luke’s University Health Network, affiliating with St. Luke’s Center for Urology.

“We looked for a partner who shared our vision of growth and commitment to diagnosing and treating men with prostate cancer,” he said. “We met with physicians and administrators of St. Luke’s and had a good feeling about the relationship from the first day we met.” Outside of work, Dr. Gevirtz has been active in the Scleroderma Research Foundation. His wife, who passed away nine years ago, suffered from scleroderma, an autoimmune condition. He serves on the Dinner Committee for the Foundation’s December fundraiser, “Cool Comedy– Hot Cuisine” in New York City, a celebrity-packed event that raises nearly $700,000 in one night. He is a past president of the Maimonides Society, through which he has participated in a medical exchange with physicians of Western Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. He spent a week at the hospital and has arranged for both Jewish and Arab physicians of Western Galilee to visit the Lehigh Valley and spend time in area hospitals. In addition, he has been on the Board of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley and Temple Beth El.

About Dr. Gevitz Dr. Gevirtz is board certified in urology and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. After earning his bachelor’s degree in the biologic basis of behavior from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, he graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Rutgers Medical School, Piscataway, NJ. He completed residencies in general surgery and urology at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University in Providence, RI. To contact Dr. Gevirtz or make an appointment, call 484-876-5649.

Despite all of these accomplishments, he considers the raising of his two children, Rachel, 22, a senior majoring in business at Lehigh University, and Samuel, 25, an MBA student at Duke University, to be his greatest success. “They turned out OK,” he says humbly and then correcting himself, “well actually better than OK. They’re doing very well.”

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Hot Club to perform Hadassah concert By Jennifer Lader Hadassah Bethlehem-Easton Klezmer music started with itinerant musicians who traveled from town to town in Greece, the Balkans and other European lands during the Middle Ages, playing for weddings and other simchas. “The players were called ‘klezmorin’ and klezmer means ‘vessel of song,’” said Barry Wahrhaftig, founder and guitarist of Hot Club of Philadelphia. Multi-lingual vocalist Phyllis Chapell said the group has performed at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Museum, Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown, Bethlehem Musikfest and Swedesboro Jazz Festival. Now they are set to perform in Bethlehem at a community concert, the 74th annual for Hadassah Bethlehem-Easton, on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 3 p.m., followed by a gourmet dessert buffet. Because Chapell can sing in French and Spanish, Hebrew and Yiddish among other languages, the group can range the world over in its musical selections. They will be sure to drop in favorites

like “Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn” (made popular by the Andrew Sisters in the 1940s), “Bashana Ha Ba’a” and “Jerusalem of Gold.” They hinted Gershwin may make an appearance in musical form as well as some gypsy jazz numbers, a favorite for Chapell. “I love the soulfulness of gypsy jazz, the excitement and the playfulness,” she said. Though the klezmer style was temporarily silenced by the Nazis and Stalinists in Europe, it was brought to America. It's uplifting and bittersweet at the same time, which it has in common with gypsy jazz. “Klezmer is basically dance music with melodies in often minor keys with a bit of a Middle Eastern sound thanks to our amazing clarinetist, Bob Butryn,” Wahrhaftig said. “It is joyful and poignant at the same time. It embodies the joie de vivre, of the Jewish people – our humor, love of life and our inner strength that has carried us through unimaginable hardships. I think that this music is in our Jewish DNA, so that no matter how secular you may be, you'll feel it.” For tickets and information, email hadassahbe@gmail. com or call Carole at 610-554-3788.

GIVE A MITZVAH, DO A MITZVAH

For the love of dogs

Talia Markowitz became a Bat Mitzvah on June 10, 2017, at Congregation Sons of Israel in Allentown. The Jewish Day School seventh grade student loves swimming, running and gymnastics; she loves helping people and she loves dogs. When planning her mitzvah project, Talia and her parents did some research and found Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, an organization that combines Talia’s love of animals with her desire to help people, while supporting a project located in Israel. Since this charity is based in Israel, it provides a special opportunity for her to do a mitzvah in connection with her first trip to Israel in December. Before the center opened, blind Israelis had to travel to Jerusalem to pass an English test. If they did not speak English well enough, they were out of luck. If they did speak English, they had to leave their families for a month and travel to the U.S. where they would train with a dog that wasn’t even prepared for the unique conditions in Israel like traffic circles, security barriers, cars parked on the sidewalks, aggressive drivers and extreme summer temperatures. Now that the center is open, all visually impaired Israelis have an opportunity to resume a life of independence and mobility through a partnership with a faithful guide dog companion – that understands Hebrew! “My goal is to sponsor puppies for the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, who will one day be “partnered” with visually impaired Israelis, Talia said. “This December I am going on a trip to Israel and I will be visiting the Israel Guide Dog

Center. Please help this great organization by donating to my bat mitzvah project” (www. IGDCB.donorpages.com/mitzvah/taliamarkowitz). “Moshe and I are very proud of Talia for what she accomplished in the year preceding her bat mitzvah, and now as she works on her bat mitzvah project,” Talia’s mother, Lisa, said. “Talia was committed to the weekly learning she did with Rachel Wilensky to study Megillat Esther, which she chose since her middle name is Esther, after her paternal great-grandmother. She completed the entire book and made a Siyum after her speech at her bat mitzvah. In thinking about her bat mitzvah project, Talia worked with her Savta to find a charity that she would feel connected to for fundraising. “We are delighted with Talia’s thoughtfulness with her project combined with her hard work learning Megillat Esther and her understanding of what it means to truly become a Bat Mitzvah,” Lisa said. In addition to her mitzvah project, Talia has made her first

adult gift of tzedakah to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs. For help developing your mitzvah project, contact Abby Trachtman, program coordinator, at abbyt@ jflv.org or call her at the Federation office at 610-821-5500.

HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | NOVEMBER 2017 21


Natural disasters Continues from page 1

“Everyone has difficult problems here,” he said. “There’s other people whose buildings don’t have a power generator, or they did have a generator but it broke. Other people have to go up and down stairs and can’t do it. People are trying to leave the island.” With the Jewish community’s buildings intact and population healthy, its members turned to helping more vulnerable neighbors. The JCC had collected supplies to help the Virgin Islands recover from the impact

of Hurricane Irma. It distributed the surplus among shelters in San Juan. Aid also poured in from Jews outside the islands. The Jewish Federations approved over $225,000 in grant money to directly aid synagogue communities, ship containers with $200,000 worth of donated medical, emergency and construction supplies to Puerto Rico and St. Thomas through Afya Foundation, and support IsrAID’s deployment on Puerto Rico. More than 200 generators have been delivered for the community’s needs (100 each to Puerto Rico and St. Thomas; 12 to the Keys).

The Federation was also working to coordinate moving 80,000 pounds of donated food and other urgent supplies to the island. The Jewish Federations have also continued to work with the Houston Jewish community on the massive impact of Hurricane Harvey on their community, and with communities across Florida to assess needs from Hurricane Irma. The Federation’s overseas partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, is actively working in Mexico following the earthquakes there, and in other island nations affected by hurricanes.

Federation's response to other natural disasters HURRICANE HARVEY UPDATE

The devastation across the Houston region generally and in the Jewish community was on the scale of Katrina in New Orleans. With an estimated 2,000 homes flooded and seven major community facilities severely damaged, the short, near and long-term needs for the Jewish community are now estimated in excess of $30 million. In addition, the small neighboring communities of Galveston and Beaumont/Port Arthur have a number of Jewish families with severely flooded homes. The Federation system has raised about $15.5 million, but more help is desperately needed.

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HURRICANE IRMA UPDATE

The long power outages in the week following the storm created a significant short-term health issue, especially for seniors, and Federation was involved in extensive outreach, visiting and food and water delivery efforts. Several

local Federations have been provided emergency grants. Federation leaders are still assessing longer-range needs across the broad number of communities hit by Irma. The truly severe impact from Irma has been in the Florida Keys and U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas), where enormous damage to power grids, airports, shipping ports, water supplies, medical systems and more brought daily life to a standstill. In addition, many homes were damaged; some completely ruined.

EARTHQUAKES IN MEXICO

When a 7.1-magnitude earthquake sent shockwaves throughout central Mexico, the JDC immediately began working with CADENA, the Federation’s humanitarian partner in the Mexican Jewish community, to provide search and rescue support and emergency aid. Volunteers from the Jewish Agency for Israel quickly mobilized in two Mexican communities to help residents recover.

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HAKOL November 2017  
HAKOL November 2017  

The Jewish newspaper of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania