The Voice of the Lehigh Valley Jewish Community
Issue No. 426
AWARD-WINNING PUBLICATION EST. 1977
The LatkeVodka competition returns this year—with a new twist p5
Learn about ways old and new to celebrate Chanukah in our special section
FROM THE DESK OF JERI ZIMMERMAN p3 LVJF TRIBUTES p8 ANNUAL CAMPAIGN HONOR ROLL p12-13 JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE p15 JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER p18 JEWISH DAY SCHOOL p19 COMMUNITY CALENDAR p30-31
Federation launches new security app By Aaron Gorodzinsky JFLV Director of Campaign & Security Planning The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is sponsoring a new pilot program to provide an added layer of security for individuals in our community. The Federation is partnering with Bond, a service that provides access to trained security agents and state of the art technologies 24/7, all available via its app. Bond users will be able to utilize the app in any situation in which they may feel unsafe or unsure. For instance, when walking alone at night, users may open the live video chat and have an agent available to monitor their whereabouts.
If the situation escalates, they may use the “send me a car” option which allows the security agent to send a car (likely via Uber or Lyft) to transport users to a safe location. Bond agents can easily connect with local authorities when needed. With the Federation’s support, the service will be available to members of our community free of charge. This new security program for individuals is being offered in addition to the work Federation is already doing with Jewish agencies and synagogues on security. In the last year, under the leadership of Eric Fels, chair of the Security Committee of the Community Relations Council, Federation has offered security training
to agency and synagogue staff and implemented a communication strategy that allows security personnel at each institution to be aware of anything that occurs in the community. The Federation has also worked with elected officials at the federal level to ensure our Jewish institutions obtained nonprofit security grants. At the same time, at the state level, Federation worked to secure a $5 million grant that will help make capital improvements at our institutions and agencies. To sign up and try Bond, send an email to email@example.com and you will receive a link to download the app. You may also visit www.jewishlehighvalley.org to sign up.
Experience Jewish Cuba with Federation By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Community Development & Operations The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley will offer a unique mission to Cuba from April 1-5, 2020. An information session will take place at the JCC on Monday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. This special tour will provide an opportunity to learn about the small Jewish community that remains in Cuba, how they maintain their Jewishness and allow us to reach out and share with them. Cuba played host to many Jews escaping Europe during World War II when quotas prevented them from entering the U.S., other parts of Europe and even British Mandate Palestine. While there were 15,000 Jews in Cuba at its
peak in 1959, today, Cuba has only 1,200 Jews. Free and faced with the same economic constraints of many Cubans, support from American and Canadian Jewish brethren is crucial. The spring trip will provide a wonderful opportunity for our community to bring kosher for Passover foods in advance of Pesach. “We are excited to expand our offerings and take members of our community to see parts of the Jewish world they may not otherwise experience,” said Jeri Zimmerman, executive director of the Jewish Federation. “We hope that many members of our community will join us for this unique trip.” Interested in learning more? Join Federation for the information session on Dec. 9 or contact 610-8215500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Volunteers gather on stage with Israeli band Hatikva 6 before their concert at ArtsQuest on Nov. 21. Look for more photos in the January issue of HAKOL.
Out of darkness comes light This month, we celebrate Chanukah, an ancient story of Jewish strength and resilience that nevertheless continues to have meaning in modern times. These days, due to its December celebration, Chanukah has been conflated with Christmas as a holiday celebrated by gift giving and winter themes. But in reality, Chanukah is a celebration of overcoming oppression, resisting assimilation and maintaining our Jewish identity against all odds. Unlike many other Jewish holidays that are mentioned explicitly in the Torah, Chanukah is a holiday passed down through oral tradition, shared to demonstrate and celebrate
the resilience and uprising of Jews who resisted the forces of the large Syrian-Greek Empire’s army. When Antiochus, the Syrian-Greek king, tried to destroy Jewish culture by outlawing Torah, he mistakenly thought that the Jews would quickly adopt the Hellenistic lifestyle. While some Jews did assimilate, Antiochus was not prepared for the unprecedented stubbornness of the Jews who refused to give up their heritage. Unfortunately, today we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to combat antiSemitism. Bari Weiss, New York Times op-ed writer, stated “There are many forces
in our world trying to insist, once again, that ‘all Jews must die.’ But there is a force far, far greater than that. And that is the force of who we are.” Her answer as to how to combat anti-Semitism is … to be Jewish, to practice Judaism, celebrate culturally being Jewish and to just be Jewish in our own way. There are many ways to “just be Jewish.” Although we re-tell individual stories of heroism throughout the Chanukah story—the strength of Yehuda Ha-Maccabi (Judah Maccabee); the ingenuity, cunning, and beauty of Yehudit (Judith); the devout piousness of Chana (Hannah) and her
seven sons—the miracle of Chanukah lies in the strength of a small, but mighty, Jewish community. It is within our own communities that we can convey light, showing up for each other and being present in Jewish spaces: our synagogues, Shabbat dinners, PJ Library events, holiday celebrations. Our ongoing presence is what strengthens our identity and allows us to maintain our Jewish heritage, fighting forces of anti-Semitism by simply being. Let us take this energizing message and embody it within our own community this season, living Jewishly in the face of anti-Semitism and speak-
Stabbing near synagogue in New York suburb leaves Jewish community shaken
STEPHANIE BOLMER Editor
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 email@example.com 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.
By Ben Sales Jewish Telegraphic Agency On the street where a man was stabbed to within an inch of his life on Wednesday, Nov. 20, yellow buses waited to ferry young children to elementary school. Steps away from where his blood had splattered on the asphalt, young men shuffled in and out of a synagogue for morning prayers. On sidewalks now being monitored by a police vehicle, parents pushed their young
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ALLISON MEYERS Graphic Designer DIANE MCKEE Account Representative TEL: 610-515-1391 firstname.lastname@example.org
JFLV EXECUTIVE STAFF JERI ZIMMERMAN Executive Director STEPHANIE SMARTSCHAN Director of Community Development & Operations TEMPLE COLDREN Director of Finance & Administration AARON GORODZINSKY Director of Campaign & Security Planning JIM MUETH Director of Planned Giving & Endowments WENDY EDWARDS Office Manager GARY FROMER JFLV President
Phone: (610) 821-5500 Fax: (610) 821-8946 E-mail: email@example.com BEN SALES/JTA
New York Continues on page 29
ing out for other communities who continue to experience oppression today. It is in our small but mighty Lehigh Valley Jewish community that we find our strength as we celebrate the Festival of Lights together and rededicate ourselves to fighting anti-Semitism wherever it occurs. May the Chanukah lights burn brightly for you and for those you love. Chag Urim Sameach! Happy Chanukah!
A sheet near the front of the synagogue sanctuary instructed worshippers to pray for the stabbing victim.
The Lehigh Valley-Yoav Partnership Park in Blessed Memory of Mark L. Goldstein We gratefully acknowledge those individuals who have offered expressions of friendship by requesting that trees be planted in the Mark L. Goldstein Friendship Park, a Yoav-Lehigh Valley Partnership Forest. IN MEMORY RICHARD BERNSTEIN (Husband of Nora Bernstein) Nancy Bernstein MANNY BRANDOW (Father of Louanne Spielman) Linda and Neil Dicker LOUIS FRUMANSKY (Huband of Shirley Furmansky, father of Stewart Furmansky and Helen Kirshbaum) Jordan Morgenstern MALCOLM LEVY (Father of Carol Wilson) Judith Alperin Eileen and Roberto Fischmann MARVIN SPIELMAN (Father of Stephen Spielman) Linda and Neil Dicker
LIA SZTONKA (Mother of Nora Bernstein) Nancy Bernstein JOSEF ZWIEBEL (Brother of Cooky Notis) Eileen and Roberto Fischmann IN HONOR ALLYSON AND EMMANUEL AVRAHAM In honor of the birth of your daughter, Ashira Ayelet Avraham Shalom Baby SARAH AND KEVIN DANNA In honor of the birth of your son, Oliver Phinehas Danna SHALOLM BABY IRIS AND JON EPSTEIN In honor of Harry’s Bar Mitzvah
Aaron Gorodzinsky JANA AND JEFFREY GOLDENBERG In honor of the birth of your son, Lennox Pryce Goldenberg Shalom Baby AVIVA MARKOWITZ In honor of your Bat Mitzvah Bob Lembach AVIVA AND EVAN MARLIN In honor of the birth of your twins, Dahlia Sophia and Phineas Elijah SHALOM BABY ZEHAVA PACKER AND OPHIR AGASSI In honor of the birth of your daughter, Rivaya Agassi SHALOM BABY
TO ORDER TREES, call the JFLV at 610-821-5500 or visit www.jewishlehighvalley.org.
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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
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 3
WOMEN’S PHILANTHROPY OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY
Lions and Poms get a taste of Israel
By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor On the crisp autumn evening of Oct. 23, dozens of ladies poured into Deena Scoblionko’s beautiful Allentown home to get a “Taste of Israel.” The Pomegranates and Lions of Judah gathered in her kitchen to hear from Janna Gur, the author of three different cookbooks focusing on Israeli and Jewish cuisine, including her latest, “Shuk.” From the kitchen island, Gur demonstrated preparing a few of her recipes, interacting with her audience as she explained her preferred method of making tahini and letting them in on the current cauliflower craze in Israel. “I’m not a chef, I’m just like you guys,” Gur joked. “Don’t expect any fancy chopping stuff.” Then, it was time for them to taste for themselves the delicious variety of dishes prepared beforehand by Boscov’s A La Carte catering, all taken from Gur’s book. The guests dined on a colorful array of food from stuffed onions to Israeli salad, catching up with each other.
Then, event chair Laurie Wax called their attention back to what brought them all together—women’s philanthropy. She invited everyone to think of why they had made their commitment to giving to the Federation and challenged to encourage others to do so, as well. Carol Bub Fromer, Women’s Philanthropy president, also spoke, thanking Wax and Scoblionko and the Federation staff for putting together the event. The business portion of the evening continued with presentations of pins to newly established Ruby Lions, Lions and Pomegranates. Then, Gur was back behind the island with more cooking tips and demos. Federation Executive Director Jeri Zimmerman even jumped in to help her show how easy the evening’s entree was to make. “You don’t have to remember anything,” Gur promised the onlookers, “it’s all in the book.” The evening ended with each Lion and Pom taking home a copy of “Shuk,” which Gur took the time to sign personally for each woman while chatting with them one-on-one.
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All payments are made payable to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley 4 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
LVJF to waive fees Third round of Latke-Vodka for one year cook-off features new format By Jim Mueth JFLV Director of Planned Giving & Endowments
The Lehigh Valley Jewish Foundation (LVJF) has exciting news to share with the community. In October, it instituted a 35 basis point (.35 percent) fee waiver for new contributions of at least $10,000. The waiver began in October and will be in effect until Oct. 1, 2021. It is intended to reintroduce our community to the benefits of investing in the LVJF. The LVJF combines its philanthropic expertise with the investment expertise of Goldman Sachs, while providing the combined wisdom and investment experience of its Endowment and Investment Committee members. All of these factors make the LVJF a wonderful resource. The addition of the fee waiver makes the LVJF a bargain. Many in our community may know the LVJF serves as a philanthropic partner for donors who wish to create funds that will support future generations in our Jewish community. Fewer may know that the LVJF coordinates with many of our local Jewish organizations to provide investment services through Goldman Sachs. The fee waiver is available to both types of investors, and it is intended
to enlighten donors and organizations to the fact that there is philanthropic and investment expertise right here in our Jewish community. Lew Gaines, Investment Committee chair, said “the LVJF strives to demonstrate best management practices as well as providing superior benchmarked performance and investment expertise with a well-known investment manager.” The fee waiver applies to the spectrum of fund types offered by the LVJF. These include donor advised funds, restricted/designated funds, charitable gift annuities, trusts and supporting foundations, as well as organization and agency funds. Although fees should not be the only factor in choosing a philanthropic and investment partner, it is an important factor. The LVJF is truly a community endowment. Mike Miller, LVJF Committee chair, said, “It comes down to l’dor vador. Our generation is investing today to help insure our Jewish future in the Lehigh Valley. Representatives of the Jewish Federation and our organizations and agencies are collaborating and communicating with each other on the LVJF Investment Committee to help strengthen Jewish life for generations to come.”
2018 champions Latkey Balboa are preparing to take on new challengers this year. By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Community Development & Operations Five teams will once again face off on Dec. 19 for the third annual Latke-Vodka Hanukkah CookOff at the JCC. This time, however, instead of serving their pre-prepared pairings to guests seated at tables, teams will be cooking and presenting in real time. Guests will have the opportunity to visit each of five stations to sample each unique latke and vodka-based drink. They will then have the opportunity to vote for their favorite. In addition, an esteemed panel of judges will visit each station and hear from each team about the dish they have created. Those judges will rank the teams based on taste, originality, presentation and pairing, and a winner will be selected based on their combined scores. The event is presented by the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley and the Jewish
Federation of the Lehigh Valley’s Young Adult Division and sponsored by 100.7 WLEV, Country Meadows Retirement Communities, Faber Vodka and Whole Foods. “This event has been so much fun, but we wanted to change things up a bit for year three,” said Aaron Gorodzinsky, director of campaign and security planning for the Federation. “We’ve got to keep those teams on their toes!” Returning champions Latkey Balboa will take on four new teams. “We are looking forward to another fun match-up that brings our community together in celebration of the holiday,” said Beth Zaleon, development coordinator for the JCC. “Get your taste buds ready!” Early bird tickets are available for $20 until Dec. 1. Tickets purchased after Dec. 1 will be $25. Limited to the first 100 participants. To purchase tickets, visit the JCC Welcome Desk, call 610-435-3571 or visit www.lvjcc.org/latkevodka.
HAKOL JANUARY 2020 RESERVE SPACE TO ADVERTISE BY DECEMBER 1 CONTACT DIANE McKEE 610.821.5500 ext. 323 email@example.com
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 5
BDS expert Neil Lazarus visits Lehigh Valley
Jewish leaders come together to envision the future
Neil Lazarus, a renowned speaker on combatting BDS, came to our community to speak to the Shashelet teens about the challenges and opportunities they will face as Jewish students on campus and encouraged them to be proud Jews and not to hide their identity. Lazarus shared with the teens that there are a network of resources available for Jewish students to not feel alone on campus.
At the community session, Lazarus spoke about the trend around college campuses to demonize Israel, especially in progressive circles, and how important it is to provide students with the resources to be able to engage on an even playing field. His number one advice was for parents and grandparents was to send their students to Israel so they can experience and get to know the country and form their own opinions about Israel and allow them to fall in love in their own way with Zionism.
6 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Community Development & Operations More than 900 Jewish professionals and lay leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. in November for a three-day “laboratory” to dissect the pressing issues of the day and come up with solutions. I had the opportunity to represent the Lehigh Valley at this brand new conference called FedLab, along with my colleague Aaron Gorodzinsky, director of campaign and security planning for our Federation. While we attended the conference together, we embarked on very different tracks. Aaron’s track explored Jewish security and empowerment, while mine focused on engaging the next generation and the unaffiliated. What made this conference so unique was the smallgroup format. Instead of spending hours in classrooms and large lecture halls, we were selectively seated with a rotation of professionals and lay leaders from across North America and prompted to engage in directed discussions. This allowed relationships to be formed and ideas to be shared. On the #EngageJewish track, we explored the idea of “permeable boundaries” that would allow Jews different points of entry into the community. Those points of entry may be through a donation to Federation or membership
at the JCC, or they may be through hosting friends for a Shabbat dinner or participating in an Israel experience – the idea being to meet Jews where they are. The security track that Aaron participated in brought together Community Relations Council directors to discuss the need for a standardized, systematic approach to security in our communities. They talked about the need to find a proper balance between making sure our communities are safe and at the same time continuing to be welcoming and open. A third track explored action for good in the 21st century. On the final day of the conference, we woke up early for breakfast with Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel Isaac Herzog and heard the news that rocket fire had again disrupted life in Israel. It was comforting to hear all that the Jewish Agency was already doing on the ground – because of Federation’s support – to help those affected. Aaron and I both left the conference reinvigorated and eager to implement some of the strategies we learned and ideas we generated here in our own community. We look forward to exploring further at the Jewish Federations’ General Assembly on Oct. 25-27, 2020, in Chicago – and we hope you will join us!
World’s largest private handbag collection belonging to community member on display now
By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor Ilene Hochberg Wood’s obsession with purses started at a young age when her mother gave her her very first one. Little did they know that gift would turn into a lifelong passion which has led Wood to acquiring the largest private handbag collection in the world. “From the time I had my first purse, I was enamored,” said Wood, reflecting on how her journey began. Her personal collection started building in college, when she became an intern in the fashion industry and first had an income of her own. She coveted the designer handbags her co-workers were buying and saved up all semester to purchase one of her own. Sadly, she didn’t quite have enough for the top “it” bag of the moment, but consoled herself with what she calls the “second-best” at that time. Regardless, “I felt like I had ‘arrived’ as an adult fashionista,” said Wood. “I still have it, though I don’t actually wear it, but it’s kind of a touchstone. It was ground zero on the collection.” That collection has grown over the last few decades from one bag to over 3,000. While it started as something for her own personal enjoyment, Wood’s interest in handbags as anthropological artifacts led her to learn more and more about them over the years. Through much research, she has become an expert on the deeper stories that these seemingly simple objects tell. “Hand bags provide coded messages. They’re a way for women to sort of announce who they are and identify other like-minded people in a crowd, based on something as simple as a handbag,” explained Wood. “It isn’t deliberately set up that
way, but it seems to work like that.” And sometimes the message is deliberate, with women announcing their economic status through bags that are only available to an exclusive few, the way that men might do through a designer watch or tie. But Wood’s collection is not full of only bags of the upper echelon of fashion. She has collected specimens of every possible variety in her quest to unearth the psychology and art of the handbag. “A handbag reflects the social environment at the time,” said Wood. Giving examples, she contrasted the styles of the 1920s, when women were first feeling independent and gaining mobility and would carry only a little flapper bag with a wrist handle or long shoulder strap containing a compact, lipstick and money, versus that of the 1980s, when career women traversed the big city with huge bags carrying work materials, running shoes and even laptop computers. “Handbags evolve with the changes in the culture and reflect the most simplistic needs of women, who use them to carry whatever they find essential for their daily life. Because of that, women choose different sizes and designs,” explained Wood. This sociological expression found in an accessory has led some, like Wood, to collect the purses for preservation and study. There are currently only two handbag museums in the world, one in Seoul and one in Amsterdam. Wood hopes to someday start a third here in the United States, and there are plans for her to take her exhibit on the road to other already established museums in the future. For now, however, her collection has found a home in a
collaboration with Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites and American on Wheels, the auto museum in Allentown. A special exhibit entitled “PURSEonality: A Stylish Handbag History” was opened on Oct. 11 and runs through April 30, 2020, at three different locations. “We felt that we could work very well together,” said Wood of the partnership with Historic Bethlehem, an entity she has done presentations for before. The largest part of the exhibit is in the Kemmerer Museum of Decorative Arts, where hundreds of Wood’s handbags are on display, categorized into different themes. The Moravian Museum displays focus on a selection of needlepoint handbags alongside examples of needlepoint from their own collection. And the America On Wheels installation features 150 automotive-themed handbags, which goes to show the vast extent of Wood’s overall collection. Since the PURSEonality exhibit opened this fall, the story of Wood’s collection has gone viral worldwide through different media outlets picking up the story of the “Imelda Marcos of handbags.” Wood appreciates the publicity as a chance to get the word out about the public institution she hopes to form to allow her collection to educate the world. “The more people who know about this, the more who will come to see it and enjoy and learn from it,” she said. “My objective is to get enough information out to the world at large and then credibly partner with others to do this.”
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HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 7
IN HONOR PEGGY AND BILL BERGER In honor of granddaughter’s Julia and Amanda’s B'not Mitzvah Audrey and Art Sosis JILL AND JEFF BLINDER In honor of your new home Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein ELLEN BLUMBERG Speedy recovery Hank Narrow WENDY AND ROSS BORN In honor of receiving AFP’s Lifetime Achievement Award Lisa and Ellis Block Arlene and Dwight Griffin Beth and Wes Kozinn Roberta and Robert Kritzer Barbara and Steve Regen Enid and Alan Tope LIZ AND HARVEY CARTINE In honor of being named Spectacular Over 70 honorees Wendy and Ross Born HON. MAX DAVISON In honor of being named a Spectacular Over 70 honoree Wendy and Ross Born JEANETTE AND EDUARDO EICHENWALD In recognition for Jewish and civic volunteerism Roberta and Robert Kritzer In honor of being recognized by the JDS and the JFS Eydie and Neil Glickstein Beth and Wes Kozinn In honor of being named Spectacular Over 70 honorees Wendy and Ross Born IRIS AND JON EPSTEIN In honor of Harry’s Bar Mitzvah
Sheila Berg Wendy and Ross Born Sandra and Harold Goldfarb Beth and Wes Kozinn Roberta and Robert Kritzer Arlene and Richard Stein Vicki Wax ROBERTA AND JEFF EPSTEIN In honor of Harry’s Bar Mitzvah Sylvia and Sam Bub Audrey and Art Sosis Arlene and Richard Stein ANDREA AND OLLIE FOUCEK In honor of daughter Arielle’s marriage to Alex Beth and Wes Kozinn Roberta and Robert Kritzer NEIL GLICKSTEIN In honor of Beth El Foundation recognition Roberta and Robert Kritzer DAVID HYMAN In honor of Beth El Foundation recognition Roberta and Robert Kritzer BINAE KARPO In honor of your daughter’s marriage Sandra and Harold Goldfarb BETH AND WES KOZINN In honor of your new home Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein Roberta and Robert Kritzer SUZANNE LAPIDUSS In honor of being named a Spectacular Over 70 honoree Wendy and Ross Born LINDA AND MIKE MILLER In recognition for commitment to tikkun olam throughout the Jewish community Roberta and Robert Kritzer
In honor of being named Spectacular Over 70 honorees Wendy and Ross Born TERRY NOEL In honor of your new home Evelyn and Jay Lipschutz COOKY AND MICHAEL NOTIS In honor of being named Spectacular Over 70 honorees Wendy and Ross Born ROBERTA AND ALAN PENN In honor of your 50th Anniversary Laura and Bob Black RICHARD REISNER In honor of Beth El Foundation recognition Roberta and Robert Kritzer ELLEN SCHAFFER In honor of being named a Spectacular Over 70 honoree Wendy and Ross Born LORRIE SCHERLINE In honor of son Lyell’s engagement to Tracy Roberta and Robert Kritzer RON SEGEL In honor of being named a Spectacular Over 70 honoree Wendy and Ross Born HOPE, ENID AND ALAN TOPE In honor of your new home Roberta and Robert Kritzer MICKEY UFBERG In honor of a return to good health Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein Roberta and Robert Kritzer UFBERG FAMILY In honor of recognition by Israel Bonds Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein Laura and Bob Black VICKI WAX AND ROBBY WAX In honor of the great work you will do as Campaign Chairs Roberta and Robert Kritzer MARY BETH AND DAVID WEINSTEIN In honor of Michael and Kat’s upcoming marriage Judy and Larrie Sheftel
IN MEMORY RICHARD BERNSTEIN (Son of Nancy Bernstein) Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald SARALEE FELDMAN Joan Brody LOUIS FURMANSKY (Husband of Shirley Furmansky, father of Stewart Furmansky and Helen Kirschbaum) Marilyn Bernstein Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein Eva and Mel Hoffman Pam and Greg Silverberg BILL GROSS (Husband of Ruth Gross) Randi and Donald Senderowitz SHELDON HOFFMAN (Brother of Carol Hoffman) Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein JANET HOGAN (Wife of Neil Hogan) Wendy and Ross Born Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald Bonnie and Dan Engelman MALCOLM LEVY (Father of Carol Wilson) Wendy and Ross Born Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald Beth and Wes Kozinn Randi and Donald Senderowitz Vicki Wax LORE LOEB Joan Brody ESTHER MILLER (Mother of Phil Stein) Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald MALCOLM SAMPLINER (Father of Margie Hertz) Wendy and Ross Born Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald Roberta and Robert Kritzer SAIDA SHAMAI (Mother of Eva Ginsberg) Sylvia and Barry Baiman
BERNARD WOLENSKY (Husband of Adele Wolensky) Wendy and Ross Born Sandra and Harold Goldfarb Elaine and Leon Papir Selma Roth Randi and Donald Senderowitz JOSEF ZWIEBEL (Brother of Cooky Notis) Vicki Wax MARK L. GOLDSTEIN MEMORIAL FUND SHARI SPARK For your work with our son Julian on his Bar Mitzvah Audrey Ettinger and Michael Finley HELEN AND SOL KRAWITZ HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL FUND HONOR SUSAN ENGELSON FRIEFELD Happy Special Birthday Shirley and Jack Engelson DIANE AND IRWIN GREENBERG In honor of grandson Scott’s marriage Joan Lesavoy DEBBIE AND SCOTT ROSEN In honor of son Steven’s marriage to Phoebe Joan Lesavoy MEMORY GURVITZ (Brother of Lenny Gurvitz) Joan Lesavoy 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.
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8 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Third graders make friends under the same moon
Partnership2Gether launches international book club
By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor
By Alicia Zahn Special to HAKOL Shalom chaverim! Hello friends! This is what third graders around the Lehigh Valley were saying to their new friends in Israel. Through the Federation's Partnership2Gether initiative, the third graders of Temple Beth El, Congregation Keneseth Israel and the Jewish Day School are participating in a program called Under the Same Moon. This involves each of the families being paired with a family in the Yoav region of Israel. Through reading a shared book and exchanging letters throughout the year, these families will get to know each other and become real friends. Before our third graders found out who their new penpal was, they guessed some things they might have in common: siblings, sports and that we are Jewish. Some things they guessed might be different: the weather – especially in winter, our bedrooms, language. They will soon find out as our first letters were just mailed and we are eagerly awaiting letters from our new friends. Sometimes when we learn about faraway places, we forget that there are real people just like us sharing the same moon under the same sky. This Federation Partnership program gives us a personal connection to our friends in Israel.
The idea for an Israeli-American book club is one that had been on Adina Re’em’s heart for a long time. Born in Manhattan and moving to Israel for the first time at the age of 9, Re’em describes herself as a “backand-forther.” After the army, she met her husband, Rabbi Moshe Re’em of Temple Beth El, at Camp Ramah. They have lived in Israel twice together, and now are living in Allentown. Re’em is passionate about responding to the “chasm” existing between Israeli Jews and those in the Diaspora, which she finds very troubling. “I felt like I was a natural bridge between the two,” said Re’em. This need to create dialogue between two groups with so much in common yet living halfway across the world from each other was what led her to get involved with the Fed-
eration’s Partnership2Gether initiative. Re’em was not alone in wanting to connect the two communities on a deeper level. In Yoav, the Lehigh Valley’s Partnership region in Israel, Ravit Blidstein was selected to head up their end of a new group being formed. Thus, “On the Same Page,” a one-of-a-kind transatlantic book club, was born. The group’s main objective is having fun over “incredibly poignant and lovable good literature,” as Re’em describes it. The hope that members will understand themselves and each other and what it means to be Jews in both Israel and America will just be an extra added bonus. Their first meeting took place on Nov. 3. Seventeen people gathered in the smartboard room at Temple Beth El, while seven others assembled in Blidstein’s living room in Yoav. Through video conferencing technol-
ogy, they discussed “Between Friends,” a collection of short stories by Amos Oz, one of Israel’s greatest writers. Their next meeting will be on Feb. 23, when they will be discussing “Homesick” by Eshkol Nevo, a portrait of Israeli society full of humor and deep insights. Another two meetings are planned already, and including Jewish American literature in their book selections, and possibly forming other groups based on particular interests, are also in the works for the future. “It was thrilling that there were so many people,” Re’em said of their first meeting. She said that they plan work to improve the quality of the videoconferencing experience and are looking into an online platform where members can get to know each other better. All are welcome to join. Register with the Temple Beth El office at 610-435-3521.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 9
Ross and Wendy Born receive Lifetime Achievement Award MICHAEL WILSON/LEHIGH VALLEY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
Ross and Wendy Born accept the Eastern PA Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award at its National Philanthropy Day breakfast at DeSales University, presented by the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. Presented by the chapter’s Board of Directors, the Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the extraordinary lifetime achievement of individual philanthropists whose impact upon the greater Lehigh Valley community has been profound, inspiring and sustained.
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ChanuCan drive raises food and awareness for hunger Temple Beth El Temple Beth El needs your donations for ChanuCan 2019 – “Jewish Journeys…Let’s GO”! The Jewish community at large benefits from this program, which serves Second Harvest and Jewish Family Service. Past events have raised, through monetary donations, over two tons of food. On Friday, Dec. 13, there is a special “sneak peek event” after Shabbat services at TBE where young families can help build this year’s structures out of canned goods and other nonperishable items. Join in for a "Schmooze and Spirits" nosh at 5:30 p.m., services at 6 p.m. and a delicious Shabbat dinner at 6:45 p.m. ($45 per family with over three attendees, $18 per single attendee, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Nov. 29). The main event will take place on Sunday, Dec. 15, from 10 a.m. to noon. Religious school classes will be presenting their completed ChanuCan structures at 10 a.m., followed by a Chanukah party at 11 a.m. The party will include face painting, latkes, dreidels, magic and crafts, and it is free and open to all. While any donation is appreciated, sponsorships are available for a minimum contribution of $144 (representing $18 per night of Chanukah). You can sponsor a student, a teacher, a class or anyone you would like to honor. To donate to the food drive, please mail your check (memo line: ChanuCan) to the synagogue office at Temple Beth El, 1305 Springhouse Rd., Allentown, PA 18104, call 610-435-3521 to donate by phone or go online to donate through the events tab at bethelallentown.org. Contact Shari Spark at shari@bethelallentown. org or 610-435-3521 for more information or if you’re interested in volunteering.
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10 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Finding harmony with Chanukah
RABBI NISAN ANDREWS Congregation Sons of Israel Midrashim (Books of Jewish lore) and Jewish poets have long loved the literary motif of a famed individual of the Jewish past or personified holidays arguing his or its superiority over another such individual or day of significance. These texts would portray the likes of Moshe disputing with Noah over which of the two had done a better job at leading their generation. In fact, I spoke about this Midrash on a recent Shabbat morning. Another example of the genre appears in the "Mahzor Romania," the liturgical rite of the Greek Jewish
community. The author of this rhymed debate, whose identity is revealed in an internal acrostic, was Rabbi Shlomo ben Eliyahu SharvitHazzahav. Rabbi Shlomo lived in the 14th century in Turkey and Greece and composed assorted works of religious polemic, astronomy and grammar. Several of his poems were included in the Mahzor Romania. The liturgical poem in question is one entitled "Debate Between the Sabbath and Chanukah." It was probably intended to be read, or sung, on a Saturday that falls during Chanukah. Rabbi Shlomo probably did not conceive of this poem as a separate creation, but rather as an addendum to an earlier work, "Debate between the Sabbath and the Festivals" by Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra. Chanukah was not included in that poem, so Rabbi Shlomo took it upon himself to fill in the absence. As was the norm in Hebrew poetry at this time, the text of the debate is replete with biblical quotes and scriptural allusions. The author takes the role of the judge of the dispute as the holidays approach his bench as litigants, each claiming to be the most important. Anticipating a line of
argument that is used nowadays to argue why Chanukah is superior to some non-Jewish holidays, Chanukah argues the fact that it lasts for a full eight days, in comparison with the measly one day of the Sabbath. Furthermore, Chanukah's joyful status is recognized by the fact that the Hallel is recited on all eight days, a practice that has no counterpart on Shabbat. To those arguments, the Sabbath counters that the Torah honored it with the special musaf sacrifices that were offered in the Temple, as well as the corresponding additional musaf service in the prayers. Also, the Shabbat commemorates the creation and is, therefore, more ancient. Chanukah then asserts that its candles are assigned a higher degree of sanctity according to halacha. As long as they are burning, we are strictly forbidden to derive any benefit from them. In this way, they differ from the Sabbath candles, which are designed primarily to promote domestic harmony by providing light to the household. In the poem, this contrast is depicted metaphorically as the difference between an aristocratic lady who is there to be served by others, and a lowly servant who labors for
others. In keeping with the holiday spirit, the judge generously declares that it would be inappropriate to exacerbate the differences by pronouncing a victory of one over the otherâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; especially when the debate is taking place on the occasion when the two beloved holy days have converged. Although he concedes that the Sabbath has a clear edge regarding age and holiness, the matter should not be treated as a confrontation. Instead, he
commands them to set aside their hostilities and to come together in love and harmony. The author concludes with the timely observation that it is only through mutual respect that Israel can look forward to their redemption. Chanukah is a great time for a community to come together in the spirit of achdut (unity) for communitywide celebrations. I wish you all a freilechin Chanukah, Chanukah sameach and a happy Chanukah.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 11
2020 Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs
$1,416,520 raised Because of your support of the 2020 campaign, we are able to help when help is needed, provide a safety net for those who must rely upon it, and nurture the core institutions that are the fabric of a rich and dynamic Jewish community.
PRIME MINISTERS CIRCLE $100,000+ Wendy Born*° Ross Born° Lewis and Roberta Gaines° Robert and Bonnie* Hammel° Charles and Figa Kline Foundation° THEODORE HERZL SOCIETY $50,000 - $99,999 The Wax-Goldman Family Funds° Vicki Wax* Robby and Laurie* Wax Steven and Nancy* Wax Goldman KING DAVID SOCIETY $25,000 - $49,999 Leonard and Enid Abrams Family Foundation Fischmann Family Fund° Roberto and Eileen* Fischmann" Dr. Harold and Sandra* Goldfarb° Patty Klein* Harry Louis Yanoff And Jeannette Master Yanoff Charitable Fund
(as of 11.15.2019)
TREE OF LIFE SOCIETY $18,000 - $24,999 Gary Fromer and Dr. Carol Bub Fromer* Lisa Scheller* KING SOLOMON CIRCLE $10,000 - $17,999 Dr. Jeffrey and Jill* Blinder° Jeff and Roberta* Epstein° Jon and Iris* Epstein Susan Gadomski*° The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation Dr. Richard and Barbara* Reisner° Robert & Judith Auritt Klein Family Fund Dr. Stuart A. and Janice* Schwartz° Dr. Israel and Valeska* Zighelboim BUILDERS OF ISRAEL $5,000 - $9,999 Dr. Marc and Aliette* Abo Phoebe Altman Lion of Judah Endowment Dr. Sam and Sylvia* Bub° Dr. Eric J. and Amy* Fels Arnan and Marlene* Finkelstein Dr. Jay and Fran* Fisher° Frances & Abraham Schwab Memorial Fund Barry and Carol R.* Halper° Dr. Wesley and Beth* Kozinn° Martin and Judy* Krasnov° Stuart and Lynda* Krawitz Ferne Rodale Kushner*° Dr. Howard and Beth* Kushnick Dr. Lawrence and Eva* Levitt° Dr. William and Jane* Markson° Michael and Linda* Miller° Dr. Robert and Lota* Post° Dr. Doron and Lauren* Rabin
Drs. Jarrod and Nicole* Rosenthal Sadie Berman Lion of Judah Endowment Irwin and Ellen* Schneider° Mark and Deena* Scoblionko° Dr. Frank and Tama* Tamarkin Dr. Michael and Eileen* Ufberg° Arthur and Barbara* Weinrach° James and Linda* Wimmer° Jeri Zimmerman* Anonymous (1) SABRA CIRCLE $2,500 - $4,999 Dr. Houman and Lori* Ahdieh Dr. Mitchell Cooper and Rebecca Axelrod-Cooper* Andrew and Dr. Lisa* Ellis Veronica Fischmann* Dr. Gordon and Rose Lee* Goldberg° Drs. Zach and Andrea* Goldsmith Drs. Andrew and Deborah* Kimmel° Dr. Robert and Stephanie* Kricun° Howard and Rachel* Levin Ryan and Claudia* Mattison Dr. Holmes and Jeannie* Miller° Dr. Noah Orenstein and Diana Fischmann Orenstein* Bruce and Enid Reich Dr. Alex and Robin* Rosenau° Dr. Marvin (z'l) and Janet Rosenthal° Dr. Abraham and Nancy* Ross and Family Dr. Michael and Lynn F.* Rothman Cathy Sacher*° Dr. Mark and Lynne* Shampain° Jack and Amy* Silverman°
Dr. Arthur and Audrey* Sosis° Steven and Margo* Wiener° Anonymous (1) GATES OF JAFFA $1,500 - $2,499 Steven Bergstein and Nanci Goldman Bergstein° Dr. Marc and Lauren* Berson° Dr. David and Sara-Jane* Bub Marilyn Claire*° Helen Cook*° Dr. Karen Dacey* Hon. Maxwell Davison° Jan Ehrich*° Dr. Ari and Margee* Forgosh Jerome and Sally Frank Frank Penn Family Fund Dr. Ronald and Emily Freudenberger Mitzi Goldenberg* Esther Halperin*° Hausman Family Dr. Arthur Hoffman° Eric and Margo* Lightman Dr. Jay and Evelyn* Lipschutz° Lois Lipson*° Drs. Evan and Aviva* Marlin Dr. Gerald and Ethel* Melamut° Morris & Dyna Gorfinkel Memorial Fund Amy Morrison* Dr. Richard J. and Amy* Morse Taffi Ney*° Dr. Mark and Alice* Notis° Dr. Michael and Ruth* Notis° Alan and Roberta* Penn° Rabbi Seth Phillips Selma Roth* Dr. Andrew and Jacqueline Schwartz Martha Segel*° Dr. Andrew and Rachel* Shurman Margery Strauss*°
It all starts with a photoshoot Donors who made a combined household pledge of $365 or more by Nov. 1 had the opportunity to have family portraits taken by photographer Heather Gogal. In addition, all donors who made pledges by Nov. 1 received a special gift of a magnetic picture frame. Did you make your pledge, but miss the photo shoot? Due to popular demand, we will be scheduling an additional date in December for family photos. If you would like to sign up, contact the Federation office at 610-821-5500 or email@example.com.
12 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Dr. Darren and Stefanie* Traub Gail Wolson*° Anonymous (3) CHAVERIM $500 - $1,499 Dr. Richard and Judith* Aronson° Tama Lee Barsky* Ronald and Linda* Black ° Rance and Sheryl* Block° Dr. Stuart and Joan* Boreen Richard and Kira* Bub Charles L. Fletcher Memorial Fund Robert Cohen and Michelle Hindin Albert and Eva* Derby Gail Ehrens*° Eduardo and Jeanette* Eichenwald° Joan Epstein*° Dr. Henry Friess Richard Montalvo and Milena Goldshmidt* Sandra Greenfield* H. Sheftel Memorial Fund Drs. Harvey and Melissa Hakim Arthur and Susan* Hochhauser° Roslyn Holtz* Gwen Jacobs* Andrew and Nancy Kahn° Dr. Barbara Katz* Martin and Susanne Katz Seth and Kathi* Katzman° Dr. Jay and Phyllis* Kaufman° Drs. William and Susan* Kitei° Robert Kritzer Danielle Kroo* Karen Kuhn*° Dr. Paul H. and Elaine* Langer° Suzanne Lapiduss*° Gerson Lazar Family Fund Martha B. Lebovitz*° Bernard and Laurie Lesavoy
Lesavoy Butz & Seitz LLC Lillian Schwab Memorial Fund David and Judy* Mickenberg Ari Mittleman and Tara Brown* James and Shelah Mueth Marc Nissenbaum° Dr. David Ostfeld° Dr. David and Ann* Packman Leon and Elaine* Papir° Henry and Phyllis* Perkin Stephen and Marianne Phillips Edward and Beth* Posner° Alison Post* and Morgan Godorov Elaine Rappaport-Bass*° Dr. Howard and Lisa* Rosenberg° Adam and Penny* Roth and Family Sheila Saunders*° Michael and Brenna Schlossberg Sally Shapiro*° Dr. Howard and Diane* Silverman° Nina Silverstein° Adam and Stephanie* Smartschan Dr. Phil and Diane* Stein Dr. Michael F. Stroock° Dr. Ryan and Carah* Tenzer Ron Ticho and Pam Lott* Beverly Wasserman*° Jerry and Flossie* Zales° Richard and Cherie* Zettlemoyer Anonymous (2) SHORASHIM $250 - $499 Barry and Sybil Baiman Miriam Bandler*° Laura Black*° Andrew and Dr. Christy* Block and Family Sally Brau*° Muriel Charon* Gail Combs* Ruth Derby*° Leah Devine* Dr. George and Roberta* Diamond° Dr. Neil and Linda* Dicker Fred and Gail* Eisenberg Dr. Alex and Harriet Feig° Samuel and Lynn* Feldman° Neil and Marjorie* Forgosh Renee Gittler*° Sharon Glassman* Amy Golding* Aaron Gorodzinsky Donald Greenberg Jay Haltzman° Ricky Hochhauser* Chelsea Karp* Iris Klein*° Teri Krassen* Merry Landis*° Diane Lemberg* Michele Levy* Dr. Norman and Roberta* Marcus Hank Narrow Dr. Douglas and Ruth* Nathanson Bobbi Needle* Papir Family Fund Harry and Carole* Rose° Dr. Norman and Jett* Sarachek° Melvin and Pearl* Schmier Stuart and Susan* Shmookler° Linda Silowka*° Beth El Sisterhood° Lynda Somach*° Arlene Stein*° Matthew and Tracy* Sussman Chris and Kimberly* Valuntas Kristina Weiner* Joseph and Kristina* Weiner Women of KI* Bruce and Alicia* Zahn Anonymous (1) KEHILLAH $100 - $249 Belman Family Fund Elaine Berk* Dr. Joan Bischoff* Glenn and Melisa Block° Jerome and Audrey* Cylinder° Richard Director Noah Ehrich Steven Eisen Lynda Extract*
Michael Finley Ann Friedenheim* Jerry and Gloria* Ginsburg° Mark Kennedy and Arlene Gorchov*° Dr. Leo and Marilyn Heitlinger Syman Hirsch Michael Iorio Joel and Liz* Kamp Dr. Lewis and Joan* Katz Lillian Kobrovsky*° Barbara Kritz*° Gary Lader Frederick and Sherry Lesavoy° Steven Markowitz° Gary and Diane* Miller° Norman and Maxine* Miller° Natalie Millrod* Michael Neuwirth Joseph and Eve* Peterson Linda Piesner* Howard and Jane* Pitkoff Jay and Marlene* Plotnick Dr. Matthew and Denise* Pollack Alan Raisman Ira and Erica* Robbins Dan and Mary* Rockman Barth Rubin Alan and Mary* Salinger° Bernard and Sara* Schonbach Ivan and Jill* Schonfeld Vanessa Shaw* Serita Silberg* Jessica Silverman* Abigail Silverman* Susan Sosnow* Michael and Jane* Spitzer° Ilana Voloshin* Marcia Weingartner* Norman and Sandra* Wruble Anonymous (12) GENESIS $1 - $99 Florence Applebaum* Dr. Susan Basow* Delores Bednar* Victor Bunick Joyce Camm* Danielle Staiman Mitzvah Fund Eric and Joanne* Daniels Marilyn Doluisio*° Judy D'ver* Wendy Edwards* Anita Evelyn* Roger and Cathy Gilbert Rosaly Greenberger* Harry and Paula* Grines Marcel and Sharon* Guindine Philip Heyman° Cory Hiken and Beth Zaleon* Rosine Knafo*° Michael and Barbara* Levinson Nancy Levy* Doris Lifland* Leonard Lutsky° Silvia Mandler* David and Susan* Manela Louise Mapstone* Aliza Martin* Stanley Miller Dr. Robert and Ellen Miller* and Family Susan Mohr* Jane Much* Richard and Paula* Nelson Robert Prichard and Ellen Osher* Cantor Jill Pakman* Mildred Poliner*° Adina Preis* Linda Rich* Robert Rockmaker Phyllis Rothkopf* Lance and Pamela* Rozsa Mary Lou Scarf* Greg and Pamela* Silverberg Giz Smolinsky* Sandi Teplitz*° Neil Weinberg Barbara Wolfgang* Anonymous (11)
* Indicates an individual woman’s gift to the 2020 Campaign for Jewish Needs ° Indicates Silver Circle member This list reflects pledges received by Nov. 21, 2019, for the 2020 Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs. The honor roll will be published twice more this year. Every effort is made to ensure the list is accurate. HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 13
Spectacular Over 70 celebrates local older adults By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor On Sunday, Nov. 10, Jewish Family Service held an elegant champagne brunch in honor of 17 spectacular older adults. These role models and mensches were the “Spectacular Over 70,” men and women who have shown their dedication as volunteers to the local Jewish community over many years. The honorees, nominated by Lehigh Valley synagogues and other Jewish organizations, were Harvey and Liz Cartine, the Hon. Maxwell Davison, Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald, Gordon and Rose Lee Goldberg, Suzanne Lapiduss, Myron Levenson, Jane Levine, Linda and Michael Miller, Cooky and Michael Notis, Ronald Segel, Ellen Schaffer and Jerry Weisberger. The Temple Beth El social hall was packed with almost 300 attendees, who were greeted with coffee, mimosas and bloody marries to kick off the morning. The TBE youth choir started the program, leading the singing of “Hatikva” and “God Bless America.” JFS President Rabbi Allen Juda gave an
PHOTOS BY EDWIN A. DAVIS PHOTOGRAPHY
introduction to the first video shown, highlights of the JFS’s recent food pantry grand reopening after expansion and renovation this summer. Then he said the hamotzi before the guests helped themselves to bagels and tarts on the tables or made their way over to the omelet and French toast stations lining the side of the room. After brunch was well under way, JFS Executive Director Debbie Zoller gave thank yous and remarks on social isolation before introducing the next video featuring JFS’s Mazel Meals program. Next JFS past president Wendy Born acknowledged the LIFE & LEGACY donors present. There was also a shout out given to Phyllis Kaufman and Judy Murman, the volunteer co-chairs of the event. The co-chairs introduced each of the 17 honorees, and a video showcasing interviews with all of them, asking them such questions as “What makes the Lehigh Valley Jewish community spectacular?” and “What are some words you live by?” The audience was brought to laughter and tears at the heartfelt anecdotes and advice. Upon departing, each honoree was presented with proclamations from local government officials, a certificate of recognition from JFS and a whole “wishing well” worth of notes from the attendees congratulating them. The event not only celebrated those remarkable individuals honored there, but also aimed to raise awareness and support for the work of JFS, especially in improving the lives of older adults in the Lehigh Valley.
Wishing you wonderful holiday season!
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14 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 15
‘You need to do something’: Lessons from active shooter training By Jennifer Lader Special to HAKOL
16 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
PUBLIC DOMAIN, WIKIMEDIA.ORG
On a recent Shabbat, Lehigh University’s Rabbi Steven Nathan linked the story of Isaac and Ishmael back to that of Cain and Abel. In a midrash that Nathan had written, the sons of Abraham can make no sense of Cain’s response, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” A cornerstone of communal Jewish life is to answer this question with a “Yes!” It is quite a responsibility and all the more so for me in serving on my synagogue’s Security Committee. Days before hearing that midrash, however, my perspective changed a bit because a friend and fellow congregant invited me to the college where she teaches to observe the ALICE, or active shooter, training. ALICE is the acronym for the Department of Homeland Security’s menu of steps for when you are faced with an active shooter. They are meant to be used in whatever order makes sense at the time: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. It’s similar to the more commonly known Run-Hide-Fight; the premier idea being, get as far from the shooter as quickly as you can or at least get out of sight. Jim Surgeoner, director of public safety for Lehigh County Community College and a retired police officer, delivered the training, in this case to nursing students. He pointed out that the training can be used in any situation – hospital, houses of worship, movie theaters, malls. Going into the training, my question was, “How do we quickly get everyone to safety?” Turns out, it was the wrong question. Surgeoner opened the training with a reference to school administrators’ usual approach, which sounded pretty familiar. He said the usual approach is to try and figure out what instructions they should give everyone and how to make the students, who in this case are adults, listen. Instead, Surgeoner recommends, give adults what they need to make informed decisions for themselves. “This comes down to a split-second decision,” he said, because active shooter incidents are normally over within a very few minutes. The question Surgeoner cares about is, “Has everyone gotten the training they need for this situation?” There’s no one-size-fits-all response. Not only does the response depend on the specific situation, but also conditions may vary in different parts of a single room, as might the willingness of a person to take action. ALICE training includes several simulations to try out various responses. In the first, the default response was to stay where you are and duck under something – a desk or chair – but this was problematic. “It’s like a roll of the dice,” Surgeoner said. “Either someone’s going to walk by and shoot me or they’re not.” He said this was the response in 1999 at Columbine High School, one of the current era’s first school shootings, in which 15 people, including the two shooters by self-inflicted wounds, died. The ALICE workshop’s later simulations gave students better options to try. Observing from the side of the room, a couple of things became clear. First, while the “shooter” with a Nerf gun was occupied in one part of the room, those on the other side could stream out of harm’s way. Second, although many could have escaped the room, not all who could actually did. Everyone could see the shooter yet many people made false starts, circled, and generally acted confused. They lacked a clear sense of purpose. Afterward, Surgeoner drove home the point of these simulations: Your only goal should be to save yourself. Others in the workshop chimed in that school and medical staff are now being trained to get out, not to save others. This shocked us, and some of the students protested, but then
"Cain and Abel” by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, “Bibel in Bildern,” 1860.
it started to make sense, even in light of Jewish values (though these were of course not under discussion). The commandment pikuach nefesh refers to the importance of saving a life, that it takes precedence over all other commandments. As summarized at myjewishlearning.com, “There is one other important exception to saving a life as declared by Rabbi Akiva: If the choice is between saving your own life or someone else’s, save your own first.” It could be that, as on an airplane when you put the face mask on yourself first, you might then be able to help others. As well, though getting away seemed, in the active shooter context, an abandonment of others, it could also be seen as a source of empowerment for all. You and I and everyone around us, we are each commanded to keep ourselves alive, not to look to someone else to save us. This absolutely presupposes that any organization today can and must take steps to promote the safety and security of its people. But why is it helpful to also know about this commandment? The same Torah portion, “Vayera,” that talks about Isaac and Ishmael also includes Genesis 21:8, the story of Hagar and Ishmael in the desert. Hagar places her son dying of thirst under a shrub and goes a little ways off so as not to have to watch him perish. But Hagar heard the voice of God who then “opened her eyes and she saw a well of water …” When my children were smaller, I imagined that in a dangerous situation, I would throw myself over them to protect them. The ALICE training opened my eyes; holding anyone down or back might restrict their ability to save themselves. Likewise, we need neither sacrifice ourselves for someone else nor give up hope; if trapped, fight. You might save even one life and that’s worthwhile. In such a situation, saving a life must be your purpose. This doesn’t have to mean lifting a chair or hitting someone over the head with a fire extinguisher, though these could be good options for
some. The third scenario at the ALICE training involved simply throwing ping pong-sized balls at the shooter. So my third observation was that even these small, harmless items destroyed the shooter’s aim because he continually flinched. “How many of you who threw something at me got shot?” Surgeoner asked. None. The idea being, when confronted with a threat, even if you are stuck in harm’s way, as the saying goes “throw the book at him.” The need for pikuach nefesh requires it. Or in a casual setting, students brainstormed, “throw hot coffee or a water bottle.” Someone threw their bag at Surgeoner, which he later applauded – because it worked. He emphasized, “You need to do something.” One part of Isaac’s story in Vayera that has always felt troubling to me was when Abraham bound Isaac, because he does not resist. Though we know Abraham does not follow through on what he is preparing to do, Isaac does not know this. Isaac is old enough to ask, “Behold the fire and the wood; where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” He is old enough to run. There’s the argument that he is obeying his father, but even this fails before pikuach nefesh, which people tend to innately feel even if they don’t recognize it as a commandment. Isaac may have felt confused, caught between two motives. The challenge for us all is to accept that we live in a complex world. We operate under multiple and sometimes conflicting secular laws, religious commandments and ethical beliefs. Are we our brother’s keeper? Many would answer “Yes.” Should we save ourselves if we can? Yes, the rabbis’ teaching is clear. The teachings, our increasingly distressing world that saw the California school shooting the day I attended this workshop and more mass shootings in 2019 than there are days in the year, and the ALICE training all come down to one message. In a crisis, we each have a responsibility. Ideally, these things wouldn’t happen, but if they do, we must be single-minded in saving at least one person, so … do something.
Pompeo, Maas and Herzog visit Halle synagogue for memorial service Jewish Agency for Israel
synagogue with funding from The Jewish Agency’s Security Assistance Fund with support from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the security guard spotted the armed terrorist on the cameras and alerted the worshippers who then barricaded themselves. Along with the hefty security door also sponsored by The Jewish Agency, further disaster was prevented. Herzog’s visit to Germany was focused on the fight against the rising tide of antiSemitism and came on the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht, the massive pogrom carried out against the Jews on the night between Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, killing hundreds of Jews and destroying thousands of synagogues, Jewish businesses and homes. Herzog said, “This Shabbat marks 81 years since Kristallnacht. It is inconceivable that today Jews need to remove their kippah in order to walk the streets of Europe.” On the morning of Nov. 7, at Berlin’s Central Synagogue, Herzog said kaddish with Rabbi Yitzhak Ehrenberg over the six million and the victims of global anti-Semitism. Herzog’s visit to Germany came on the heels of a Jewish
THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL
On Nov. 7, Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Isaac Herzog, along with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, visited the synagogue in Halle, Germany, that was the target of an anti-Semitic attack on Yom Kippur. The attack was carried out on the holiest day of the year for Jews, killing two passersby in the vicinity. The dozens of worshipers inside the synagogue were spared thanks to security measures sponsored by The Jewish Agency. Chairman Herzog stated at the memorial service that, “There is no question as to the rampant rise of anti-Semitism across Europe. It’s truly a miracle that the Jews of Halle didn’t suffer a massacre on Yom Kippur. Global leaders must unite in a relentless fight against anti-Semitism – by protecting Jewish institutions, and most importantly, by means of education and firm legislation against hate crimes.” In addition to participating in the memorial service inside the synagogue, the officials also laid a wreath near the spot
where the one of the passersby was killed. Pompeo remarked, “Our whole team has made a major focus on stamping out antiSemitism wherever we find it. It’s an honor for me to come here alongside you and share America’s sympathy for what took place here and to remind the world that anti-Semitism is not just limited to certain places. We can find it everywhere… like in Pittsburgh. We must work together against this vicious attack on religious freedom.” The synagogue in Halle serves the town’s small community of a few hundred Jews. The building currently housing the synagogue originally served as the town’s Jewish funeral home, but in 1948 it was converted into a synagogue, replacing Halle’s original synagogue that was burned on Kristallnacht. The attack on the Halle synagogue occurred at noon on Oct. 9 – on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. Several dozen members of the congregation where inside the synagogue at the time. Thanks to security cameras installed at the
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking with Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog (left) and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the synagogue in Halle, Germany, that was attacked on Yom Kippur, Nov. 7, 2019. Agency Board of Governors meeting held in Jerusalem where a new strategic plan for the next decade was adopted, addressing the greatest challenges currently facing the Jewish people – including the fight against the rising tide of anti-Semitism. During his visit to Berlin, Herzog also participated in awarding the European Janusz Korczak Academy’s Award for Humanism to Axel Springer CEO Dr. Mathias Dopfner for his outstanding service in the fight against anti-Semitism and hatred.
Herzog also launched the Nevatim conference, marking 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and 81 years since Kristallnacht. Over one hundred Jewish leaders participated in the conference, organized by The Jewish Agency with support from the Genesis Foundation. Nevatim is an educational program that supports educational initiatives of young German Jews. Editor’s note: The Jewish Agency for Israel is an overseas partner of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
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HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 17
18 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
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JFS teen volunteer wins local award
By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor Leyna Fleischaker started volunteering at Jewish Family Service at age 12 as part of her bat mitzvah project, but she didn’t stop giving back after the celebration was over. Now a junior at Parkland High School, the honors student still makes time each summer when she’s not swimming or lifeguarding to volunteer at the JFS Community Food Pantry. “I really like helping people, and I think it’s fun,” Leyna said. “I like talking to the people that come in and just having conversations with them while we go through the pantry.” On Oct. 19, Leyna’s dedication to JFS over the past four summers was recognized when she was presented with the 2019 Second Harvest Food Bank’s Alice Anne Miller Hunger Hero Volunteer
Award. JFS Volunteer Coordinator Chelsea Karp, who was invited to present the award to Leyna, says that the youth was “the obvious nominee” for this year’s award. Second Harvest is a local partner that supports the JFS food pantry, and each year they present this honor to an individual who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to hunger relief in the Lehigh Valley. Leyna said that with so many people from the local community nominated, she didn’t expect to win. She is the first teenager to ever be given the award, something her father, Jeff Fleischaker, describes as “a really big deal.” But those who know Leyna are not surprised that her generosity is being acknowledged. Her co-volunteers were thrilled when she returned to the pantry and even at the age of 13 described her as “intuitive and sensitive to
the needs of our clients without being asked to assist.” She is now one of the food pantry’s lead volunteers and has even started training new volunteers. Leyna is also working to raise awareness and support for JFS even when she’s not there. For her 16th birthday, she requested that her family and friends donate canned goods and gift cards to the JFS Community Food Pantry in lieu of gifts for herself. The donations totaled over $125 in gift cards and close to 200 canned goods. Leyna’s father is understandably proud of his daughter. “Just having her nominated [for the Hunger Hero award] was a moment of huge pride for me,” he said. “When Chelsea called me to let me know she had actually won, I had a difficult time at work wiping the smile off my face for hours afterward.”
Meet the Presidents: Marc Fisher By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor Marc Fisher’s tenure as president of Temple Beth El has been a long time coming. The three-time veteran of their board of directors was asked to serve in the executive position this year, and he has found himself keeping very busy. “There’s a huge learning curve,” Fisher said. He also acknowledged the many members of the congregation who get things done behind the scenes, adding, “In the first few weeks, I learned that there are a whole lot of people who do a whole lot of things that nobody knows about.” Despite this, the Orefield resident is up to the challenge. He has already ambitiously laid out his four main goals for his term. The first is to improve the committee system at TBE. “For too long, Temple 20 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Beth El was like most synagogues—it relied on only the same people all of the time. The first goal is to have more staffing on committees, have more regular meetings and get more people and more structure.” The second goal involves giving updates about what has been done or not done and why for the temple’s strategic plan developed a few years ago. “I’ve made it a mission to report out to the congregation on the status of the strategic plan,” said Fisher. The last two prongs of his four-point platform are to update and review the constitution and by-laws and to simply seek to increase participation across all areas of the life of the congregation. Fisher, born outside of Boston, attended Brandeis University as an undergraduate before studying at Villanova Law School. “My standard line is I
went to Villanova and took a wrong turn and ended up here,” he joked. His first job working for a judge in Northampton County led him to the Lehigh Valley, where he has lived ever since. He has now been at the same law firm for the past 36 years, and he and his wife, Adele, are long-time members of Temple Beth El.
Congresswoman Susan Wild speaks to JDS assembly
By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor Every Friday morning, middle school students at the Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley get to hear from a special guest speaker. On Nov. 8, their guest was Rep. Susan Wild, a long-time resident of the Lehigh Valley and member of the local Jewish community. “It feels really, really good to be here as your representative in Congress since this neighborhood is very familiar to me,” Wild told the third- through eighth-grade students. Wild explained how growing up with a father in the Air Force led to everywhere feeling “like a temporary assignment” to her. She
was already a lawyer when she came to Allentown in 1987 and realized soon after that she was ready to settle down and raise a family here. “From that point on, this has been my home, and I really, really love it here,” she said. Wild gave more of her background and shed some light on the process that led her from practicing law to running for office last year. She explained how now she spends three weeks out of every month in Washington, D.C., and one here in her district. She also gave a little more detail on the work she does on her two congressional committees: Education & Labor and Foreign Affairs.
“I spent 30 years practicing law,” she said, “and I was ready for a change. Now I’m trying to do things to help large groups of people instead of one or two at a time.” Wild spent the second half of her presentation time fielding questions from the students on everything from anti-Semitism to meeting presidents. Overall, Wild conveyed the love she has for her new position. “People are really counting on you,” she explained. “That kind of energizes me.” At the closing of the assembly, Wild was presented with a mezuzah the schoolchildren had made for her as a thank you gift and
took a photo with all of the students. She also shook the hands of the founding members of the JDS Environmental Club, whom JDS Head of School Amy Golding described as “future activists.” These students received commendation certificates from Penn State's
Agricultural Department to acknowledge their role in initiating and participating in the beginning stages of the school garden. The garden has already produced close to 350 pounds of vegetables, all of which was donated to the Jewish Family Service Community Food Pantry.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 21
Israel likely headed for third election after Netanyahu and Gantz can’t form government
Tornadoes damage Dallas Jewish Federation and JCC buildings
JCC DALLAS FACEBOOK
Damage on the campus of the Dallas JCC in the wake of tornadoes that hit North Texas, Oct. 20, 2019. By Marcy Oster Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Jewish News Syndicate
prevent the people from their choice.” Israeli lawmakers now have 21 days (as of Nov. 20) in which any of the 61 Knesset members can back any member of the Knesset as prime minister, including Netanyahu or Gantz. If that fails, Israel will go to an unprecedented third election in less than a year. Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman announced on Nov. 20 he would not support a minority government led by Gantz or a coalition led by Netanyahu. “There is no chance. We will not join either a limited right- or left-wing government or a minority government,” said Lieberman during a Yisrael Beiteinu meeting in the Knesset. “Whatever sort of government that would be, it would not survive and would not be able to function to do what is needed for the country.”
Israel might be headed to a third election after all since Blue and White leader Benny Gantz could not cobble together a coalition government. His efforts followed those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also the head of Likud, who was also unable to form a government. Gantz informed Israeli President Reuven Rivlin of the news on Nov. 20, following short-lived efforts by the two party heads to attempt a unity government. “I asked of the prime minister, who lost in the election, to hold direct negotiations. And in response I received insults, slander and childish videos,” said Gantz. “The people chose me and my colleagues in Blue and White to lead Israel. No one has the right to
Nine tornadoes caused considerable damage in North Texas on Oct. 20, including at the Jewish Federation and JCC buildings in Dallas. No one was killed or badly injured in the storms, the Dallas Morning News reported. The tornadoes also damaged homes in Dallas-area Jewish neighborhoods, according to the Texas Jewish Post. The Dallas Jewish Community Center said on Facebook that its neighborhood “took a hard hit” and was without power and landlines days later. The post said the JCC had launched cleanup and repairs at its campus, and was working with city and safety officials “to
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determine when it is safe to welcome guests back to the center.” It pledged to “be ready to assist those in need when we reopen.” The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas building sustained “substantial damage,” the organization said on Facebook. The Federation said it hoped to be functioning offsite by sometime Oct. 23. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those whose homes and neighborhoods were impacted,” the post said. “We will rebuild together. We will heal together.” The Dallas Fire-Rescue Department has counted 104 buildings destroyed, 286 with major damage and 344 with minor damage, according to reports. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster across 15 counties in North Texas, including Dallas.
We have residents’ dogs that do tricks, chef-prepared meals including regional favorites, and even trips to the theater. Our campuses are filled with lavender from aromatherapy classes, cheers of friendly competitions and laughter at happy hours. We’re even family owned and involved. It’s all part of what makes life here a little better. We offer a full range of services from independent living to personal care and memory care. But we also do a lot of things a little differently.
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LETTERS FROM A LONE SOLDIER
Hurray for berets By Helaina Zahn Special to HAKOL This month was all about the army ceremonies. Most of the people I live with in the kibbutz who I started my army training with (my garin) are boys in combat units. When the combat units in the Israeli Army are nearing the end of their advanced training, they are rewarded with the beret of their unit. Black for tanks, grey for combat engineers, orange for search and rescue, grey for Air Force, dark blue for Navy, red for paratroopers, and the list goes on and on. Usually the units in training do a very long masa (or hike) and conclude with a tekes (ceremony), to which families and friends are invited. At the ceremony, they switch their berets from the green beret that matches their uniform that they have had all throughout their training regardless of unit, to the color beret which stands for their specific unit. In my garin, I have friends serving in the Palchatz Unit (Search and Rescue), Nahal (protecting the border of Gaza), Golani (protecting the boarder of Syria and the Golan), Modin (intelligence), Totchanim (protecting the
border with Egypt), the Air Force (as a technician working on plane engines) and Tzanchanim (the paratroopers). Because we are a garin of lone soldiers, we try extra hard to be there for each other's ceremonies, as we know there is not always family there to cheer. I, fortunately, got to experience the kumta (beret) ceremony for the paratroopers. This is a special ceremony held in Jerusalem on Ammunition Hill. They have the ceremony here every year because that was the spot where the paratroopers took back Jerusalem from the Jordanians in 1967. It is also an emotional spot, seeing the 182 olive trees that were planted on the hill, commemorating the 182 Israeli soldiers who fell in the battle for Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. It was amazing to see two of our garin members get their berets and be officially inducted into the unit. We had such great support from our garin, as seven members came out to the ceremony to see them officially finish their training. We were all full of pride, and I am sure I was not the only one feeling butterflies in my stomach as we stood holding up signs and cheering them on.
PARTNERSHIP2GETHER UPDATE FROM YOAV
Preparing for winter – and thinking ahead to next summer – in Yoav
CO N G R E SSWO M A N
MY OFFICES ARE HERE TO HELP. WHETHER YOU NEED ASSISTANCE WITH A FEDERAL AGENCY OR HAVE QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT LEGISLATION BEING CONSIDERED IN CONGRESS, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO REACH OUT. MY OF F I C E CA N A SSI ST YOU W I TH : By Nurit Galon Partnership2Gether On Oct. 27, the clocks went back an hour, announcing that yes, winter is definitely here! So our day virtually ends around 5:30 p.m. when it gets dark, and though we are all happy to welcome the rain, we are a little anxious at the “be prepared for winter!” leaflet that the Yoav Muncipal Council sends us. Flashlights, warm clothing, emergency lamps, portable radios: all this is comparatively new and a rather sad reminder of the not so good changes in global warming and our ecology. Do we take this seriously? Not as much as we should. It was a sad fact that in both the recent elections that no party and no potential members of the Knesset even mentioned these subjects. When our Partnership began, it was clear that the most important aspect of it would be to strengthen the bridge between our two communities, and the very first project was the
sending of young high school counselors from Yoav to work in the Lehigh Valley summer camp. Guiding the young campers, living with Lehigh Valley families – the project was an instant success and even today is still considered the “jewel in the crown” of the Partnership. On Nov. 21, over 30 graduates of the program met together not only to reminisce and enjoy shared memories, but also to discuss ways in which they can continue to contribute and be connected. One of Israel’s favorite singers provided entertainment. And by the way, if you have photos and stories – do share them with us! On the same subject, Yoav young people are being given the chance of a lifetime. They can apply to be the summer camp shlicha leading next summer’s Yoav youth counselors at Camp JCC, and they can also apply to be the next community emissary for one or two years to the Lehigh Valley Jewish community. A wonderful challenge and amazing
experience. Sukkot celebrations saw an increasing number of neighborhood sukkahs as well as community happenings. The weather behaved itself and made it possible to eat in the sukkah, and in some cases, sleep there also. Since 2015, there has been a yearly exchange of youth groups from Yoav with student groups from Tchahong, China, and this year was no exception. Eleven Chinese students with four adult escorts toured Israel and Yoav and met with their peer group in Tsafit High School. Our young Chinese guests showed curiosity and maturity and will be worthy ambassadors for Israel and Yoav in their own country. A few days after Yom Kippur, Kibbutz Galon celebrated its 73rd birthday with, among other events, "Galon Has Talent"– and it really does! A very easy-to-plan event, lots of fun both for participants and audience. To all our family in Lehigh Valley, from all here in Yoav, our very best wishes!
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HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 23
24 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Anne Frank’s childhood friend tells the story of the German official who saved her family
By Emily Burack Jewish Telegraphic Agency At age 92, Laureen Nussbaum is one of the few people still alive who personally knew Anne Frank. Nussbaum’s family lived in the same Amsterdam neighborhood as the Franks, and Anne’s father, Otto, was the best man at her 1947 wedding. After the war, Otto spent months trying to find his daughters, Anne and Margot, who had been deported to Bergen-Belsen. With Nussbaum’s husband, Rudi, Otto would go to the train station every day with photos of his children hoping for news of their fate. “They showed those pictures and asked everyone, ‘Did you by chance know this woman? Did you by chance know these girls?’” Nussbaum said in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “And that’s how they bonded.” The effort was ultimately for naught. Of the 100,000 Dutch Jews deported from the Netherlands between 1942 and 1945, only 5,200 survived. Neither Rudi’s mother nor the Frank daughters were among them. But Nussbaum’s entire Jewish family survived. In her new memoir, “Shedding Our Stars: A Story of Hans Calmeyer and How He Saved Thousands of Families Like Mine” (written with Karen Kirtley), Nussbaum focuses less on her famous friend than on Calmeyer, the littleknown German official who saved her family. “So much has been made out of Schindler, who saved 1,200 Jews, and people really empathize with him and made him a hero,” Nussbaum said, speaking of Oskar Schindler, the German factory owner immortalized in the Oscar-winning film “Schindler’s List.” “And I felt that Hans Calmeyer, who has saved more people, is too unknown in the world. There are books about him in Dutch and German, but nothing in English, except for a citation from Yad Vashem when he was declared a Righteous Among the Nations in 1992 — but that’s just four lines. And I thought it was time that people knew about him.” Calmeyer was a German lawyer who, starting in March 1941, was assigned to adjudicate cases in which a person’s Jewish status was in doubt. He successfully argued to his superiors that individuals should be permitted to challenge their Jewish status if their grandparents could not be
The Nussbaums with Oma, 1965 proven as Jews. During his tenure, Calmeyer oversaw 5,600 such petitions and is credited for saving thousands of Jewish lives. “In two-thirds of the cases, he decided in favor of the petitioner, knowing that he was being cheated,” Nussbaum told JTA, meaning Calmeyer was making it easier for petitioners to make the claim that they were not Jewish. “He allowed himself to be cheated.” Nussbaum was born Hannelore Klein in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1927. Even as a child, she had been acutely aware of rising anti-Semitism in her native country. One year, Jewish children were no longer allowed to attend classes with non-Jewish children and Nussbaum was forced to use a separate entrance to her school. The girl who walked with her to school each day would no longer walk with her. “It was quite palpable,” Nussbaum recalls. The Klein family fled to Amsterdam in 1936, where they moved in near the Franks. The Germans invaded in 1940, and in 1942 Jews were forced to register
Laureen Nussbaum with the authorities and wear yellow stars on their clothing. In June of that year, the deportations began. That summer, the Franks went into hiding in the secret annex that Anne would make famous in her diary. But the Kleins had become “Calmeyer Jews” and were able to continue to live openly. Calmeyer declared Nussbaum’s mother “not Jewish” and they were allowed to remove the yellow stars on their clothing. With their new legal classification, the family could move about freely. “It wasn’t true, my mother was half-Jewish,” Nussbaum said. “But once he had settled it, we were foolproof.” While her family was not forced into hiding, her then-boyfriend and future husband was. That’s why she wasn’t surprised to read about Anne’s description of her life in hiding. “I had been so close to it,” Nussbaum said. “I had seen my boyfriend Rudi in hiding, [and] I had taken care of another couple — I knew exactly what it was like to live in hiding. So I did not find this very earth-shaking.
For me, what was really important was to hear a young person express herself so well.” The Nussbaums eventually moved to the United States after Rudi completed his doctorate in nuclear physics in 1954, ending up in Portland, Oregon, in 1959. A scholar of German language and literature, Nussbaum received her doctorate from the University of Washington and joined the faculty at Portland State University, where her areas of expertise focused on German literature and German writers in the Netherlands. Most of her scholarship has focused on Anne. She wrote the afterword to Anne’s novel, “Liebe Kitty,” which has only been published in German, and she has expressed her frustration that the version of Anne’s diary that Otto published was adapted and changed from the version Anne herself had prepared for publication. “When I found that out, I was very upset that he had done that,” Nussbaum said. “Because nobody has the right to mess with anybody else’s text, whether that anybody else is a
child or not a child. The author’s last version is what people need to read. And so I have been on my soapbox for a quarter century preaching the gospel of Anne’s revised version.” Nussbaum’s memoir doesn’t dwell on any of this, focusing instead on her own life and that of the man who saved her family. Nussbaum believes Calmeyer’s story is deeply relevant today as a model of resistance. Calmeyer engaged in a kind of low-key sabotage to thwart the Nazi agenda, working within the existing power structure to save as many Jews as possible. At a time of rising populism across the Western world, Nussbaum hopes Calmeyer’s example can serve as inspiration. “Sometimes it’s just little things, people within their own realms can find ways to actively stand up for their opinions,” she said. “Whether we will be successful or not, I cannot predict. But for our own integrity, those of us who are convinced that things are being done the wrong way, I think we have to, each in his or her own way, resist and do our best. That’s all we can do.”
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 25
GIVE A MITZVAH, DO A MITZVAH
For the love of beagles Eli Ulman will be called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at Congregation Keneseth Israel in Allentown. The son of Janet and Mike Ulman, Eli is a seventh grader at Brandywine Heights Middle School. He enjoys playing the oboe in the school band and is making progress on achieving a second-level black sash in Kung Fu. He helps his local community through his eight-year long membership in Boy Scout Troop 510 (Topton). In his free time, he enjoys bicycle riding and hiking, all things technology – including reading about the newest features on mobile devices, fielding tech support calls from his grandparents, building a virtual world in Minecraft, hanging out with his friends,
and playing with the family beagle Maxi. When discussing a mitzvah project with his mom, Eli immediately thought of Maxi. “We got our dog from a beagle rescue,” Eli mentioned. “We love her and we want to support more adoptions.” Eli is raising awareness about SOS Beagle Rescue, Inc., a completely volunteerrun New Jersey non-profit that has assisted in finding loving homes for over 2,500 beagles – including Maxi Ulman. Eli wants to promote pet adoptions and raise donations to save more beagles. SOS uses the funds to subsidize the cost of vaccinations, spaying and neutering, special diets and general care of beagles. “Eli made his own donation to SOS and told them
about his mitzvah project,” Janet said, “They were very appreciative and shared a link where others can make direct donations. Eli plans to thank the donors personally when SOS tells him of donations made in honor of ‘Eli’s Mitzvah Project.'” Eli hopes you will consider helping this wonderful organization by donating or sponsoring a specific dog online at www.sosbeagles.org/sponsorform.php or by writing a check out to “SOS Beagle Rescue, Inc.” and leaving it at or sending it to Keneseth Israel’s office at 2227 Chew St., Allentown, PA 18104. Eli will mail donation checks directly to the NJ Chapter of SOS Beagle Rescue, Inc. Mike and Janet are so proud of Eli’s commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the
world), one saved beagle at a time, his dedication to his academic and religious studies and his enthusiasm for cooking and baking for his family and friends. In addition to his mitzvah project, Eli has made his first adult gift of tzedakah to
the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley's Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs. For help developing your mitzvah project, contact Abby Trachtman, project coordinator, at abbyt@ jflv.org or call her at the Federation office at 610-821-5500.
Aly Raisman will have a cameo in ‘Charlie’s Angels’
FERNANDO FRAZÃO/AGÊNCIA BRASIL/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Aly Raisman competing in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. By Cnaan Liphshiz Jewish Telegraphic Agency Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman will appear in the latest “Charlie’s Angels” film. “I’m officially an angel (Is this real life?),” the JewishAmerican gymnast tweeted on Nov. 6, followed by a series of photos. One featured Raisman standing beside the film’s director and co-writer, Elizabeth Banks, who plays Bosley. She thanked Banks and Sony Pictures for including her in the film. The “Charlie’s Angels” series – this will be the third film produced since 2000 – is based on a 1970s TV show of the same title. The plot, 26 DECEMBER 2019 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
which has feminist messages, is about a group of young women who work as private detectives in an agency run by a wealthy mystery man named Charlie. Fellow Olympian and snowboarder Chloe Kim also is making a cameo in the film, the Boston Globe reported. Raisman, who competed on the 2012 and 2016 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics teams, has made cameos before — she appeared on “Lip Sync Battle” and in a Maroon 5 video — but has yet to appear on the silver screen, according to IMDb. Raisman, 25, has three Olympic gold medals, two silver and a bronze.
The earliest known American Jewish novel introduces a new feminist voice By Penny Schwartz Jewish Telegraphic Agency More than a century after her death, Cora Wilburn is having her moment. With the rediscovery and recent publication of her novel “Cosella Wayne: Or, Will and Destiny,” edited and introduced by Jonathan Sarna, the 19th-century writer nearly lost to history is being given her due as likely the first Jewish author to pen a distinctly American Jewish work of fiction. Originally published in 1860 in serialized form in “The Banner of Light,” a journal of the Spiritualist movement, this is the first time that “Cosella Wayne” has been published in book form. It’s accompanied by excerpts from one volume of Wilburn’s diary that Sarna, a scholar of American Jewish history, unearthed in the course of his research. The revealing novel, which mirrors Wilburn’s often heartbreaking life, pulls back the curtain on subjects unknown in Jewish literature of the time: domestic abuse, women’s rights, religious and spiritual exploration, and class divides within the American Jewish community of the mid-1800s. In the novel and her diary writings, Wilburn (18241906) emerges as a fiercely independent and bold Jewish thinker, an abolitionist and a feminist. Her writing also sheds light from the perspective of a Jewish woman on the early years of Spiritualism, the religious movement popular during the Civil War that encouraged communication with spirits of the deceased. The novel, published last month, “redates American Jewish literature,” said Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University. Until now, Sarna said, the first American Jewish novel, “Differences,” published in 1867, was credited to Nathan Mayer. Emma Wolfe, whose novel “Other Things Being Equal” was published in 1892, was believed to be the first Jewish woman novelist. “Cosella Wayne” is a melodramatic, riches-to-rags coming-of-age story of a young Jewess subjected to abuse by an unscrupulous, mean-spirited Jewish merchant, who masquerades as her father through trickery and deception. But the book also is a story of resilience, about a single Jewish woman left in poverty who stood firm in her deeply held religious and moral convictions. While the novel depicts a devastating image of the
Orthodox Jewish merchant, Wilburn’s portrayals of Jewish ritual and holiday observances are rendered with warmth and sympathy, Sarna said. Wilburn, who later changed her name, was born Henrietta Pulfermacher, likely in Alsace, France. Her father, a conniving Jewish gem merchant, was an alcoholic and abusive. He would remarry after the death of his first wife, whom he also abused. Adopting various identities, he lived on the run across the globe, dragging his wife and daughter with him. The experience provided the multilingual Wilburn with a rare, intimate lens of Jewish communities in Germany and in far-flung locales including India, Australia and Venezuela. Her keen observations, woven into the novel, read like a global Jewish travelogue. Following the death of her father in La Guaira, Venezuela, Wilburn was left without means, her life upturned. Known still as Henrietta, she relocated in 1848 to Philadelphia, where she toiled as a meagerly paid, sometimes cruelly treated seamstress in the homes of the city’s well-off
Jewish families, in humiliating scenes that play out in the novel. Her vivid descriptions, both in the novel and her diary, totally changed Sarna’s view of Jewish life in 1800s Philadelphia, he said. “Almost everything we know is from the perspective of these wealthy Jewish families …That has shaped our image,” Sarna said. “Suddenly we have a different and devastating perspective. It’s not to say one is right or one is wrong,” but it’s a reminder that there was another view, from the perspective of the
seamstress. After four tortuous years, Wilburn ended her domestic work, changed her name to Cora Wilburn and embraced a literary life, producing an “astonishing” body of writing, from poetry to essays and fiction, Sarna found. In 1869, disillusioned with Spiritualism, she publicly reaffirmed her Jewish faith, comfortable with the tenets of Reform Judaism that was open to the liberal causes she supported. During these later years, when she was living in poverty in Massachusetts,
Wilburn wrote extensively on Jewish themes and subjects. Her meager income was supported by a few Jewish institutions and rabbis, Sarna learned. She corresponded with Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, and had visits from the Boston Jewish writer Mary Antin. “There’s something very exciting for a historian about discovering not only a person but a world and a text that nobody has ever known before,” especially when these are primary sources, Sarna said. “Now I hope … over time, people will study it.”
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 27
‘It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes and Other Jewish Stories’ HAPPY CHANUKAH! May your season of light be peaceful and prosperous.
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By Sean Boyle JDS Librarian Actress Mayim Bialik provides the foreword to the young adult anthology “It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes and Other Jewish Stories.” She writes, “Jews of all backgrounds need to find a common ground where we all can stand together. This anthology is that common ground.” Edited by Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman, this collection contains all of the normal concerns of modern teens finding their place in the world, while providing Jewish #ownvoice perspectives. Challenges include Jewish teens from different traditions struggling about being too Jewish or not Jewish enough for peers. Others are looking for love and feeling worthy enough to find it. Additional topics include Birthright trips to Israel and other opportunities to discover what is sacred. Also included are teens learning to live with disabilities and finding solace in Judaism. There are also stories where participation in Jewish youth organizations are portrayed as ways to find enrichment and finding avenues to correct social injustice. Learning about social injustice causes and being brave enough to take action provides relevance to today’s challenges. Teens learn that participation in youth groups goes beyond dating; they also provide a path to find enrichment. Locke and Silverman write that they wanted to include as many facets of Judaism as possible, so the authors “range in sexuality, race, ability and level of religious observance.” Included in the book are biographies
of the 14 contributors. Imperative purchase for ages 15-19, and highly recommended for 20-120. Although every story will not resonate with every reader, there are enough gems for everyone to find a favorite one or 10. A copy of “It's a Whole Spiel” is available at the Jewish Day School Library. It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories (Locke, Katherine, and Laura Silverman eds., New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2019, 316p.)
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Federation Director of Campaign & Security Planning Aaron Gorodzinsky stands with others, including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, at the Capitol building on Nov. 7. Gorodzinsky traveled to Harrisburg to witness the signing of nonprofit security grant legislation that will provide $5 million for security improvements to the state's nonprofit institutions, including synagogues and Jewish agencies.
JCC bus trip visits Museum of Jewish Heritage
Toshnad Heichel Torah Utfila, the synagogue near where a teacher was stabbed, was active the day after the attack, Nov. 21, 2019.
NEW YORK Continues from page 3
children in strollers through this pastoral upstate suburb. Ramapo wasn’t supposed to be like this. Families who moved here over the past decade or so all say the same things: They came for a little more space, a little more quiet, lower housing prices than in the crowded neighborhoods of Brooklyn. There is some anti-Semitism, yes, but Jewish residents here say life, on the whole, is good. Then, before sunrise on Nov. 20, an Orthodox Jew walking to morning prayers on a side street here was stabbed — again and again, his blood running over slashed clothes, until he was nearly dead. Now this community is praying for his survival and confronting the fact that the tranquil life they sought has been breached. “It’s like, don’t go alone, see something, say something, don’t be in the street alone,” said Rivkie Feiner, a Jewish communal leader who has lived in the area her whole life. “I grew up in a place where, as a kid, people left their doors unlocked. It’s not that place anymore, but this took us to a different place altogether that we didn’t want to be in.” The attack hasn’t yet been classified as a hate crime. As of Nov. 21, the perpetrator has not been caught and no motive has been determined. But the victim, who authorities have yet to name publicly, was visibly Jewish and nothing was stolen from him. The 29-year-old high school teacher, a married father of four, was in critical condition. “He is a very good guy,” said Joel Lefkovitz, one of the victim’s students. “Every student loved him. He’s fully there for the students.” There have been plenty of allegations of anti-Semitism in this town a half-hour northwest of Manhattan. Local governments have tried to block the construction of an enclosure that would have allowed observant Jews to carry in public on the Sabbath. A controversy over the Orthodox-controlled school board slashing funding for public schools briefly made national news in 2014. Social media pages have filled with epithets aimed at the Orthodox community. A recent video from the county Republican Party warned that Orthodox Jews were “plotting a takeover.” “There’s a very toxic, hostile atmosphere toward Jews, but in particular toward haredi and haredi-looking Jews for the way
we pray, the way we practice religion,” said Yisroel Kahan, a member of the Oizrim Jewish Council, a local leadership organization. “Which minority can I go and attack with bigoted, hateful comments like that?” In Brooklyn, a spate of attacks against Jews in recent months has prompted a vigorous response from New York City, including the opening of an office to prevent hate crimes. But no local government in Ramapo has taken a comparable step. Ramapo Town Supervisor Michael Specht said police patrols had been ramped up, and education and anti-bias programs would be considered. “There’s no place for this type of crime in our community,” Specht said. Residents are careful not to paint an overly dismal picture. Overall, they say their lives are peaceful and they get along with neighbors of all backgrounds. Some public officials are part of the problem, they say, but others are sympathetic. Every person who spoke to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency expressed confidence that the police are making a sincere effort to investigate the stabbing. “People aren’t scared here at all,” said Chaim, 47, an Israeli who moved to the area 20 years ago and declined to give his last name. “Not during the night and certainly not during the day. We didn’t feel anything here. We hope it’s something that won’t happen again.” Community members are taking their own precautions as well. The Chaverim, a Jewish volunteer force of first responders that works with local authorities, had a large white van and a black SUV parked near the site of the stabbing. Inside a nearby synagogue, a flier reminded worshippers to pray for the victim. Two women walking outside the synagogue the morning after the incident discussed how their young children, ages 13 and 11, were responding to the stabbing. Both were nervous about going outside alone in a town where children were used to moving around independently. The women were hopeful that the victim would recover and things would go back to normal. But emotionally, they weren’t there yet. “I have a son that goes out before 7 in the morning, and he was scared,” said one of the women, who identified herself only as Chavie. “It did make me think I’m not going to feel comfortable walking far at night anymore — for a few days at least.”
On Nov. 6, the Jewish Community Center sponsored a bus trip to New York City to visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Attendees started their day with a bagel and coffee breakfast at the JCC before their bus departed for Lower Manhattan. Once there, they took a 90-minute guided tour of the Auschwitz Exhibit, which features over 700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 institutions and museums around the world. This program was made possible in part by the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | DECEMBER 2019 29
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