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The Voice of the Lehigh Valley Jewish Community


Issue No. 406


February 2018


Sh’vat/Adar 5778


Explore Israel travel options p4-5

Learn more about local crafting groups p7&22


Author to talk about 'larger than life' great-uncle By Monica Friess Special to HAKOL “When I was a kid,” Mace Bugen once said, “I’d ask myself, ‘Why is that guy on the football team? Why can’t I be on the team? Why didn’t God give me the height so I could be the hero?’ Then at some point I figured it out: I gotta do something special to let ‘em know I’m me.” An achondroplastic dwarf who stood 43 inches tall, Moishe “Mace” Bugen figured out early in life how to make the world aware of his formidable presence. In her new book, “The Little Gate Crasher,” his great-niece Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer tells his story and presents an amazing array of the photos Bugen had taken of himself with many of the biggest celebrities

of his day. Perhaps the first “photobomber,” Bugen managed to pose for photos with such notables as Muhammad Ali, Mickey Rooney, Dr. Jonas Salk, Jane Russell, Joe DiMaggio, Jack Benny, Isaac Stern and so many more. The columnist Walter Winchell gave Bugen his nickname (and the book its title) in 1955, writing, “The dwarf who crashes the gate at most major sports events (past the cops and attendants) is ‘Mace’ Bugen …” Bugen owned and ran a real estate and insurance agency in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, lived in Easton and was something of a local celebrity himself. A community leader, he was a regular at B’nai Abraham Synagogue in Easton and active member in its tallis and tefillin club, and he attended all major Jewish events in the Lehigh Val-

ley. Easton resident Danny Cohen remembers Bugen as “an original – truly a unique individual who embraced his challenges with courage, a love for life, and, above all, a huge amount of chutzpah! No one who met him will ever forget him (or his Jeep).” Kaplan-Mayer explains a bit about his Jeep: “There was limited accessibility and no accommodations for people like Mace in his day,” she says. “He lived in a time when it was common to refer to people with disabilities with derogatory names, but Mace never let society’s prejudices or his own physical limitations stop him.” He had a Jeep specially fitted for him. And when he couldn’t find a spot close to Larger than life Continues on page 12

A discussion that continues forever: Jewish life in Poland By Fana Schoen Special to HAKOL Editor’s Note: The Krakow JCC is funded by the JDC, a beneficiary of Federation. When Marcjanna, the current director of Hillel at the Krakow JCC, was 13 years old, she Googled her last name. Finding a family tree, she scrolled up, and, to her surprise, she found a different, German last name at one point on the tree. Confused by this, she called into her mother in the next room, asking if they were German, to which her mother responded, Non-Profit Organization 702 North 22nd Street Allentown, PA 18104

U.S. POSTAGE PAID Lehigh Valley, PA Permit No. 64

“No, no, you’re Jewish! Didn’t you know?” A recent fascinating and hopeful aspect of Jewish life in Krakow is the ongoing discovery of many people’s connection to their Jewish roots. Many Jews in Poland do not find out about their Judaism until their teenage years or until they are young adults because of how often Jews were in hiding during the Holocaust. Even after World War II, Jews continued to hide their Judaism during the Soviet occupation of Poland. Out of fear or bad memories of those times, Jews often decided not to practice

openly. This experience was something I found hard to imagine, because Judaism has been such an important part of my life ever since my baby naming. Before the war, Poland had been a center of Judaism, with a 10 percent Jewish population, and the JCC in Krakow, along with much of the rest of Poland, is now on a mission to bring Jewish life in Poland back to where it once was. I recently attended a presentation on Jewish life in Poland, during which I learned Jewish Poland Continues on page 3

Check our pullout camp section to find a local summer camp for your family See page 15



Executive Director | Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley

Hawaii and Sderot I could not believe the news coming out of Hawaii. A ballistic missile was directed toward Hawaii and they made it a point to state that this was not a drill. For 38 minutes, Hawaiians were confronted with an existential threat that quickly was diverted into manageable thoughts: Where can I take shelter? Where is mommy? Where is the dog? What can I take with me? What should I take with me? Are my friends going to be OK? Can I get to a safe place fast enough? How do I keep the kids calm? Where will the missile fall? How long do I have to find safety? How many missiles are incoming? Not only were those in Hawaii grappling with a new reality, but the news of a ballistic missile zeroing in on a portion of the United States undoubtedly impacted others. Like a terrorist attack, the reality of an impending missile undermined the sense of safety and

security we took for granted. Thankfully there was no missile heading toward Hawaii; the alert was the result of human error. False alarm aside, the sudden feeling of fear and helplessness was real especially since no one fully knows what Kim Jong Un is capable of doing. That sudden feeling of fear and helplessness, thankfully not a normal reality in Hawaii, is quite familiar to Israelis, especially those living close to the border with Hamascontrolled Gaza or Hezbollahcontrolled Lebanon. And while Hawaiians’ sense of security was shattered during and in the aftermath of a single false alarm, Israelis face a different reality. There has been a quiet escalation of violence coming from Gaza. This past year saw the most serious peak of violence between Israel and terrorist organizations in Gaza,

including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014. In December 2017 alone, 19 rocket and mortar shells – about half of the total for the year – were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli towns, such as Sderot. The past year has seen almost double the amount of missiles fired into Israel as the previous two years combined. And in the first few weeks of this new year, Israel destroyed three terror tunnels coming from Gaza. As the Jerusalem Post opined, “… supported by Iran, Hamas is once again prioritizing terrorism over the welfare of Gaza’s residents. Instead of focusing on turning the Gaza Strip into a viable, autonomous Palestinian state at peace with Egypt and Israel, Hamas, not unlike Kim’s regime in North Korea, devotes most of its resources toward prepara-

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Readers, As I type this column, snow is swirling through the air, falling to earth in clumps that seem impossible to get off car windows and driveways. It seems like a cold and desolate time when many people do what they can to stay indoors, out of the icy wind. Although this winter has been extremely cold outside, the Jewish community is ready to give a warm welcome to a variety of events and opportunities to get involved. February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, and while this is an issue that affects people throughout the year, this month provides opportuni-

ties to take a stand. Check the JFS website to find ways to get involved and join the community for a dinner and discussion with author Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer about her new book “Little Gate Crasher.” Looking ahead, now is an ideal time to think about summer plans for your family, whether that means considering one of the many Jewish summer camps nearby (including day camps and overnight camps), traveling to Israel or sending your children on a teen tour. For other ways to beat back the chill of winter, take a look at our community calendar, and find your way to enjoy our Jewish community, whether

tion for war. Inevitably, this will lead to conflict with Israel, which cannot allow its deterrence to be undermined by Hamas.” As a footnote, acknowledgement and appreciation should be expressed for the Patriot, Iron Dome and Arrow missile defense systems made possible by the strategic U.S.-Israel partnership and critical funding approved over the years by Congress. Israeli technology is able, in a split second, to calculate the trajectory of missile threats and limit the use of missile defense systems to only those threats to populated areas. I don’t know what missile defense systems are deployed to protect Hawaii or other parts of the United States. But I do know that for 38 minutes


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.


that means going to synagogue or JCC programs or finding family or solo excursions. Wishing you a warm winter, between family traditions and our welcoming Jewish community. Shalom, Michelle Cohen

in early January, residents of Hawaii had the unfortunate experience of fear and hopelessness that we wish for no one, but was parallel to similar experiences by residents of Sderot and nearby Israeli cities nearly 40 times in 2017. What for Hawaii was a harrowing 38 minutes, for Israelis has come to be just life.

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 or online at 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. MAIL, FAX, OR E-MAIL TO: JFLV ATTN: HAKOL 702 N. 22nd St. Allentown, PA 18104 Phone: (610) 821-5500 Fax: (610) 821-8946 E-mail:

MICHELLE COHEN Editor ALLISON MEYERS Graphic Designer DIANE MCKEE Advertising Representative TEL: 610-515-1391

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

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

Member American Jewish Press Association

JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY We gratefully acknowledge those individuals who have offered expressions of friendship by requesting that trees be planted in the Yoav--Lehigh Valley Partnership Park. IN MEMORY YUDKE GROSSMAN (Husband of Nurit Grossman) Barry and Carol Halper

MILTON SHEFTEL (Husband of Ronnie Sheftel) Judy Alperin Lainie Schonberger

TO ORDER TREES, call the JFLV at 610-821-5500 or visit

POINT OF CLARIFICATION This photo was published in last month’s HAKOL with the article “Lehigh U. welcomes new chaplains to campus” (page 9). The caption made it unclear who was who in the picture. The corrected caption for the photo is: “Walead Mosaad, Ph.D. (left) joins the campus community as Lehigh’s new director of Muslim Student Life, and Rabbi Steven Nathan (right) is the University’s interim director of Jewish student life.”


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.


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

Jewish Poland Continues from page 1

of some amazing stories about this miraculous resurgence of Jewish life there, and I feel it is important, if not essential, to share this with our Jewish community in the United States. I contacted director of the Krakow JCC, Sebastian Rudol, to interview him about efforts the Krakow JCC has made to promote and improve Jewish life in Poland. He stated that even before the Krakow JCC opened in 2008, Poland had begun a “Jewish Renaissance,” after the fall of the pro-Soviet regime, during which people began to “come out” as Jewish. Today, the Krakow JCC actively supports Jewish life and culture. Recently, a member of the JCC who survived the Holocaust celebrated her 83rd birthday and bat mitzvah at the Krakow JCC. Rudol points out that many Jewish descendants are reluctant to identify as Jewish and to embrace the culture, but with each younger generation, people are more eager to participate and engage. He also states that even though anti-Semitism has increased in many parts of the world, in Krakow, many people are excited to be Jewish and embrace their Jewish identity. The Krakow JCC has a goal of helping Jews become Jewish again, treating all of its visitors

with great hospitality, and offering overseas membership to non-Polish visitors. The JCC even has a genealogist on staff to help visitors and members learn more about their pasts and their ancestors. In addition, the Krakow JCC holds an event every year called the “Ride of the Living.” Similar to the “March of the Living,” the ride follows the path on which victims of the Holocaust were marched in the March of the Dead between concentration camps. Both trips then culminate by travelling to Israel to celebrate the rebirth of Jewish life. Yet there are two key differences between the march and the ride: participants in the “Ride of the Living” bike the path, and they also focus more on the positive aspects of current Jewish life in Poland. The “Ride of the Living” ac-

cepts participants from all over the world, and it is an annual event that has been growing since its inception in 2014. Last year, a man named Marcel, from Canada, emailed Rudol asking to participate in the ride. When Marcel arrived on the first day, Rudol found out that he was a survivor of Auschwitz, originally from Poland, who sought to bike the same route he had marched when he was 10 years old. An important thing about the ride for the Living is that it focuses ultimately on a thriving Jewish culture in Poland – in other words, there is a strong implication and sentiment that Jewish culture in Poland can and should survive. Information about the ride can be found on the Krakow JCC website: Recently, I had the oppor-

tunity to interview Marcjanna (now in her 20s), who found out she was Jewish 13 years ago. She provided numerous stories of young people who, like her, discovered their families’ Judaism almost by accident. She also told of families who had retained fragments of Jewish ritual and practice, but that these practices had become untethered from Jewish identity. For example, one family had a special family dinner each year around the time of the Passover seder, but no one in the family still remembered the connection. Marcjanna informed me, “too many people who find out about their Jewish roots ignore it.” Unlike the others, Marcjanna hurled herself into the Jewish community. She began making friends at the Krakow JCC, and eventually

taught the young children there at the Sunday School. She found that this experience would not only teach those children, but also educate herself. Marcjanna now runs the Hillel program, which opened at the JCC in September. Young adults between 18 and 30 years old learn from Marcjanna, many of whom share similar stories of learning of their Judaism later into their lives, calling themselves, “50 Shades of Judaism.” Marcjanna, like many of her fellow new members of the Polish Jewish community, loves being a new part of the Jewish population of Poland, but not only for the religious aspects. She claimed, “for me, it’s a part of culture. For me, this is a part of learning, a discussion that continues forever.”

MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018 at Lehigh Country Club, 2319 S. Cedar Crest Boulevard, Allentown WITH DINNER TO HONOR CANTOR KEVIN WARTELL with the Schiff Award for Prejudice Reduction. SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE 610.821.5500


VISIT Israel program makes extended Israel trips affordable for local families Federation provides matching funds to help defray costs

By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Marketing Lisa and Moshe Markowitz know they want their two daughters to have an immersive experience in Israel while they’re in high school. They also know such trips – through Jewish overnight camps, BBYO or a vast array of other organizations – can be expensive. So a couple of years ago, they made what they consider a wise choice – they opened VISIT Israel savings accounts for their girls through the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley. “Moshe and I talked about it and it’s really important to us that our kids have a very deep connection to Israel and there are a lot of good programs that are advertised that you can use the funds for,” Lisa said. “So we decided it was the right time to sign them up.” Each year, the Markowitzes contribute $300 into each girl’s account. The Federation then matches those contributions, adding $200 to each account, for up to eight years. The funds may be used from the summer after 9th grade until the girls are 25 years old. “We receive monthly statements that show our contributions and any interest that has been deposited to the accounts,” Lisa said. “We’re just watching the funds grow and are excited that we’ll be able to defray some of the cost of these trips for our girls with the matching funds from the Federation.” “I know that $300 can be a lot

Handmade Afghans BY EVA LEVITT

All proceeds benefit projects in Israel:

Food Banks in Israel Neve Michael Youth Village

For prices or to place an order, call Eva 610-398-1376.

All payments are made payable to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley 4 FEBRUARY 2018 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY

for a family,” Lisa added, “but when you think about the matching funds from the Federation, it would be unwise not to take this opportunity for your kids if you have that plan for the future to send them on such a program.” VISIT Israel Committee CoChair Chelsea Karp said she is surprised the program seems to be the Lehigh Valley’s best-kept secret. Especially because there’s no risk involved. “I haven’t heard of this program in any other place I’ve lived,” said Karp, noting how dedicated the Lehigh Valley Jewish community seems to be to education and connecting with Israel. “If you put the money in ahead of time and then later decide it might not work out, you just get your money back, that’s the best part,” Karp added. “You don’t lose anything by starting the program.” There are over 75 approved Israel programs to choose from – recognized by national, local or regional Jewish organizations – and the Federation works with families to make sure the right opportunities can be found. The VISIT program is designed to fund Israel programs that emphasize Jewish learning or living experiences for a period of at least four weeks. To learn more about signing your children or grandchildren up for a VISIT Israel savings account, go to www. or contact Abby Trachtman at 610-821-5500 or


welcoming new babies to the Lehigh Valley If you’re expecting, know someone who is, or have a new baby, PLEASE LET US KNOW! Contact Abby Trachtman, 610-821-5500 |

Unforgettable travel experiences for teenagers

Editor’s Note: There are many ways for teenagers to get involved in travel to Israel. These four are a selection of available programs. Information from this feature was taken from the programs’ websites. BBYO Passport BBYO Passport programs span destinations on five continents and combine elements of active touring, community service, and meaningful Jewish experiences. In addition to trips to Israel, which offer religious and secular connections to the land, BBYO Passport offers trips to South Africa, Argentina, Nicaragua, Thailand and many European countries. BBYO Passport also offers a March of the Living trip, in which participants bear witness to the Holocaust in Poland and rejoice in Israel. The March of the Living commemorates Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, marching from Auschwitz to Birkenau, and it celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, dancing in the streets of Jerusalem. For more information, go to Trips/Summer-Experiences. USY Summer Experience For more than 55 years, USY Summer Experience has provided life-changing summer travel opportunities for Jewish teens. Trips are designed to open partici-

pants’ eyes to new places, new experiences, and different cultures all over the globe. In addition to several USY on Wheels cross-country bus trips in the United States, other trips include a Dominican Republic adventure and an Eastern Europe/Israel pilgrimage. There is also a L’Takayn Olam trip in which participants spend four weeks volunteering in Israel. USY provides an exciting, fun way for teens to explore and develop their Jewish identities. On USY summer programs teens experience the beauty of Shabbat, learn about the power of tzedakah, and gain inspiration through creative prayer and engaging, interactive learning opportunities. For more information, go to Young Judaea Summer Programs With a wide array of unique and fully-loaded programs, participants can explore the country with friends from Young Judaea on Machon, make new friends and meet Israel’s top entrepreneurs on Discovery, and learn how to effectively advocate for the land they love. All of these adventures are carefully tailored to highlight the best that Israel has to offer through the frame of their renowned programming. One unique experience is Israel Brushstrokes, in which participants spend a month in Israel, where they will work with Israeli artists, interact and cre-

ate art with Israeli art students, and participate in art workshops at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. For more information, go to home/programs-in-israel/teen-summer-programs. Tzofim Chetz V’Keshet (CVK) As the only teen summer program run in conjunction with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Tzofim Chetz V’Keshet is granted unique benefits: an exclusive behind the scenes look at the Israeli Army, an in-depth look at military history, a tailor-made Gadna experience, incredible safety and logistics and IDF soldiers as counselors. Tzofim Chetz V’Keshet is one of the only Israel summer programs that includes Israeli peer participants. A quarter of all CVK participants are Israeli teens; they are members of the Israeli Tzofim youth movement and are chosen from a highly selective pool for their personality, maturity, leadership skills and ability to communicate in both English and Hebrew. In addition to experiencing the incredible program activities together, built into the itinerary is the opportunity to spend Shabbat with an Israeli peer’s family. For more information, go to



‘Loom Ladies’ at Sons of Israel oversee 872nd tallis By Jeannie Miller Special to HAKOL Saturday, Dec. 30, was a celebratory Shabbat for Congregation Sons of Israel (SOI) in Allentown, because after the services, the synagogue held a kiddush in honor of the “Loom Ladies,” Helen Besen and Elaine Atlas. These two women have consistently headed a project that began in 1974, and provides a way for people to weave their own talleisim, or prayer shawls. Over 800 talleisim have been woven at SOI, under their guidance and the guidance of their committee. The history of this project is interesting. It began after there was a flood in Wilkes-Barre in 1972, and Irene Milkman’s sister-in-law told the SOI women that their Jewish Community Center had woven talleisim (prayer shawls) on a loom, and so precious were they that their talleisim were the first items they thought of saving as the waters rose. In the early 1970s, the SOI Sisterhood worked very hard to raise the $1,000 needed to buy the loom. Jeanette Eichenwald was Sisterhood president then, and she remembers that Tootie (Reba) Levine raised a lot of money for this project by wearing watches all the way up both arms and selling them to everyone she met. The Sisterhood had to raise even more money for the wool, the bobbins and other loom accessories. Once the loom arrived, it sat in

the basement for weeks until Eduardo Eichenwald and other men from the Men’s Club, and Emerson Sell, the janitor, took on the task of assembling it. The “Loom Ladies” had to figure out how to thread the loom, and Mel Besen constructed a contraption, called a grill, which is still in the back of the Loom Room for that purpose. Seven women from SOI had gone to Wilkes-Barre for a week to learn how to weave on a loom, and they were taught by Ruth Hefner. The women who learned were: Adina Poresky (chair of the project), Diane Fisher, Phyllis Ringel, Rae Kurland, Mae Kuba, Besen and Atlas. As of today, only Atlas and Besen still work supervising the tallis weaving. Lisa Shedroff had also been helping. Eduardo Eichenwald, Adina Poresky, and Judy Livny assist with tying the tzitzit, or fringes, on the four corners of the tallis. The tzitzit are the part of the tallis that enables one to fulfill the commandment stated in Deuteronomy 22:12, “You shall make yourself twisted cords, on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.” On Dec. 30, SOI awarded Atlas and Besen the first lifetime memberships to the synagogue as the congregation is well aware of the tremendous amount of time and effort that these two women have dedicated to the shul. At least one of the two ladies has to be present when anyone is weaving a tallis, which takes around 10 hours.

Atlas sets up all the appointments for weaving, and she and Besen teach people how to weave, help them pick a pattern, check for mistakes, fix broken threads, set the loom up after each tallis is finished, and twice a year they rethread the entire loom. Over these 44 years, this has indeed been a wonderful fundraiser for the shul. The Jewish Day School and Temple Beth El have sent classes of children to SOI to experience weaving a tallis and learn the significance of the tzitzit. People come from all over the Lehigh Valley and out of town to weave, and right now there is a year’s waiting list of people who want to make his or her own tallis. Atlas and Besen take special satisfaction in helping each person complete his or her tallis, whether it is for a bar or bat mitzvah, a wedding or just a special gift. Barbara Sussman, for example, has woven 51 talleisim for family and friends. During the last week of December, Atlas’s grandson Ben came to Allentown to weave a tallis for his upcoming bar mitzvah, and his whole family took turns on the loom. His tallis is the 872nd tallis that has been woven at Sons of Israel, and weaving it with his family was extra special because it coincided with his grandmother being honored for her exceptional service to the Jewish community. If you are interested in weaving a tallis, call Sons of Israel at 610-433-6089.

Above, Elaine Atlas and Helen Besen with the loom. Below, Jeannie Miller’s son, grandson and granddaughter in talleisim she wove.


Maimonides docs tackle diabetes care Dr. Elliot Busch, Dr. Marc Vengrove, Dr. Karen Dacey and Dr. Michael Alterman at a Maimonides Society bagel brunch on Jan. 7. Busch, a podiatrist, Vengrove, an endocrinologist, and Alternman, an ophthalmologist, each spoke about different aspects of diabetes care. Dacey, Maimonides president, helped organize the event.

SAVE THE DATE: SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2018 10:15 to 11:45 a.m., JCC of the Lehigh Valley

Free for Maimonides members and spouses, $10 for community members. RSVP to 610-821-5500 or Visit to learn more.


IN HONOR LYNN AND SAM FELDMAN Birth of their grandson Carol and Stewart Furmansky MICHAEL AND ELLEN GORDON Engagement of their son Matthew Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein FERNE KUSHNER Birth of her great-grandson, Max Evan Corrigaru Engagement of her grandson Barr to Jill Hersh Ross and Wendy Born NORMAN AND ROBERTA MARCUS Birth of their granddaughter Carol and Stewart Furmansky JOY AND BOB MILLER Birth of their granddaughter Ross and Wendy Born JUDY MORRISON Happy 80th Birthday Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein JAY AND BOBBI NEEDLE Marriage of their son Josh Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein MARK AND ALICE NOTIS Marriage of their daughter Evie to Noam Cohen Mazel Tov on Ayelet completing her PhD Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald Vicki Wax MICHAEL AND COOKY NOTIS Marriage of their granddaughter Evie to Noam Cohen Mazel Tov on Ayelet completing her PhD Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald

Vicki Wax BOB POST Happy 80th Birthday Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein CANTOR ELLEN SUSSMAN AND DAVID VAIDA Marriage of their daughter Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald RABBI ALAN AND ABBY WIENER Birth of their great-grandson Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald THE ZWEBEN-SHALEV FAMILY Mazel Tov on their new home Sybil and Barry Baiman IN MEMORY LILLIAN BENTON (Mother of Stephen Benton) Carol and Stewart Furmansky Donald and Randi Senderowitz DOROTHY PARMET Ross and Wendy Born ABBY ROSS (Husband of Tibby Ross) Shaoli Rosenberg JANICE SAVITZ (Mother of Lynne Shampain) Cheri Sterman and Barry Goldin MILTON SHEFTEL (Husband of Ronnie Sheftel) Lenny Abrams and Family Ross and Wendy Born Sam and Sylvia Bub and Family Vicki Wax (Father of Bruce Sheftel) Lenny Abrams and Family (Brother of Reba Scoblionko) Sam and Sylvia Bub and Family

HELEN AND SOL KRAWITZ HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL FUND IN HONOR HENRIETTE ENGELSON Happy Chanukah Susan Engelson Friefeld LYNDA AND STUART KRAWITZ Happy Chanukah Susan Engelson Friefeld SANDY KRAWITZ Creation of the Holocaust Memorial & Educational Center in Bridgewater, NJ Lynda and Stuart Krawitz PHYLLIS AND STEVEN SPIERER Birth of their granddaughter, Sally Rose Spierer Lynda and Stuart Krawitz IN MEMORY LILLIAN BENTON (Mother of Stephen Benton) Joani Lesavoy and Sid Greenberg MILTON SHEFTEL (Husband of Ronnie Sheftel) Joani Lesavoy and Sid Greenberg 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 to place your card requests. Thank you for your continued support.

Temple Beth El celebrates 'Chanu-Can' Temple Beth El again celebrated Chanukah in a unique way this year by organizing a "ChanuCan" drive in which donated cans were used to construct a variety of structures. This year's theme was Israel's 70th birthday, and there were sculptures of Masada, the Kotel and other famous landmarks. The program, which began in 2011, was designed to "raise food and awareness, to teach our children through experiential opportunities, and to involve our entire congregation in a necessary and worthwhile mission," Beth El's Jewish Family Educator Shari Spark said.

KI and Temple Beth El to mark Israel’s 70th Birthday As part of a communitywide commemoration of 70 years since the birth of the State of Israel, Temple Beth El and Congregation Keneseth Israel will host a scholar-in-residence weekend with Rabbi Daniel Goldfarb entitled, Israel at 70: The Jewish Perspective – Looking Out and Looking In. Goldfarb has close ties to the Lehigh Valley. He is the brother of Dr. Harold Goldfarb. Rabbi Goldfarb is a graduate of Harvard College, Columbia Law School, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He has lived in Israel since 1976, and worked for 25 years as an attorney in Jerusalem. Goldfarb was director of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem (2000-13) and on the faculty until 2017. He revived and edited United Synagogue’s weekly parasha sheet, Torah Sparks. He teaches at synagogues and Limmud conferences around the world. Goldfarb will speak on the topic, “Israel at 70: Are We (American Jews) in Exile?” at Temple Beth El on Shabbat morning, March 10, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. On Sunday morning, March 11, 2018, at KI, Goldfarb will speak on the topic, “The Kotel, Conversion (Who is a Jew) and Citizenship: the Current State of Affairs." The Sunday program begins with a kosher brunch at 9:30 a.m., followed by Goldfarb’s address at 10 a.m. Brunch is $10 per person. Please RSVP by March 2 to KI at 610-435-9074 or email or Temple Beth El at 610-435-3521 or email This event is brought to you by the Education Committees of Congregation Keneseth Israel and Temple Beth El and funded by the Dr. Ray and Bonnie Singer Education Fund and the Charles and Figa Kline Foundation.

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Renowned chef hosts Federation-supported MasterClass in Bedouin village Federation-funded initiative promotes healthy eating for Ramadan The Negev Funding Coalition, in its efforts to serve as an incubator for innovative pilot projects, recently allocated $25,000 to fund a series of culinary workshops across the Negev. In the Bedouin village of Segev Shalom, Chef Dr. Rani Polak gave a culinary workshop to 32 elementary school volunteer educators. Polak’s class provided participants with an understanding of how they can positively impact the lifestyles, health and culinary choices of the children and families they work with. Traditional Ramadan recipes were given a healthier twist that workshop participants could bring back to their community.

BY SANDI TEPLITZ To celebrate this holiday, why not try a deliciously different entrĂŠe ... and it's so easy to prepare! Remove a package of chicken breasts from its container and wash thoroughly. Skin on or off -- whatever you prefer. (Don't use boneless breasts for this recipe.) Dry, then season to your liking. Place in a Pyrex dish, add pomegranate juice to cover and marinate for one hour. Turn and marinate for another hour. Discard fluid. Place chicken in greased flat baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees uncovered. Baste with pomegranate molasses* and bake for 15 minutes. Baste again, then continue cooking until done. Serve with Jasmine or Basmati rice and cubed rutabagas, cooked al dente, then glazed with margarine and a trace of brown or white sugar. *available at Wegman's in the Indian food section.


Growing like a tree on Tu B’Shevat

RABBI YA’AKOV HALPERIN Chabad of the Lehigh Valley Things are often compared metaphorically to humans in order to highlight traits or characteristics of the person. In the Midrash it often compares the human to a tree. As it states: "for man is compared to a tree." The question arises, why and in what way are we compared to a tree? In order to examine the similarities between humans and the tree we are compared to in the Torah, we must first analyze the tree and its ability to grow and bear fruit. The world is composed of the four elements with which G-d created the world: earth, fire,

water and air. All trees need these four elements of the world in order to grow and be strong. When planting a tree, one must dig deep into the ground in order for the tree to receive proper nutrients and in order for the tree to grow very strong roots. Similarly, explains the Talmud, we have the same aspect. Externally one can appear to be very successful, drive fancy cars, live in a beautiful home, etc. However internally, if our roots are weak, one will not be able to weather the challenges of life. The process of a strong foundation is the first step we need to keep going. A person must be very grounded in order to be able to handle all that life will throw at them. Our roots are expressed all around us: our community, our faith, our traditions and our heritage. Through investing into them and watering them, they in turn will keep us strong and protect us during the hard times, as it says, "if we remember G-d, He will remember us." The second element, and equally as important, that the tree needs to grow, is water. Water nourishes and refreshes. Metaphorically, the

Torah is compared to water. The Torah comes straight from heaven and remains unchanged throughout the process that it takes to reach us. Through learning the Torah, Hashem's "watering" wisdom, we are given the strength to connect to G-d and lead a purposeful Jewish life. Next on the list for proper growth of the tree is air/ oxygen. Our oxygen is our soul. The Hebrew word for soul is neshama, which is derived from the word neshima, which means breath. It says that when God created man He "blew" into him his living soul, "nishmat Chaim," from the deepest depths of His

essence. Our soul is another thing given to us directly from G-d to help nourish our trees as they grow. And finally, we have the fire/sun. The tree depends on the sun for light, heat and energy to grow and survive. One more time here we see yet another comparison that us humans have to the tree. The warmth and love that we receive from our family and friends sustain us and enable us to live a meaningful and purposeful life. This protective support system once again enables us to stand up to the challenges of life. As we celebrate the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, we must each ask ourselves this: do

I have all the four elements mentioned above? Do I have what I need to allow my personal tree to grow not only to be a healthy tree, but to be a fruit-bearing tree as well? If that is so, we can merit to receive the beautiful blessings stated in the Talmud: Taanit 5b: Tree, tree, with what can I bless you? That your fruit may be sweet – it is already sweet; that you should give plenty of shade – that you also do; that a spring of water may be near you – even that you have. The one thing left for me which I can wish for you is that all trees planted from your seed may be as fruitful as you are.

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JEWISH DISABILITY AWARENESS & INCLUSION MONTH Editor’s Note: Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) is a unified effort among Jewish organizations and communities worldwide to raise awareness and foster inclusion of people with disabilities and those who love them. JDAIM is a call to action to each one of us in accordance with our Jewish values, honoring the gifts and strengths that we each possess. Established in 2009 by the Jewish Special Education International Consortium, JDAIM is observed each February.

JFS brings awareness for 10th JDAIM

Larger than life Continues from page 1

By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley is making a commitment to educate the Jewish community about issues related to disability awareness and advocacy during Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month's 10th year. These efforts are being led by Susan SklaroffVan Hook, JFS’s clinical coordinator and research specialist, who will be attending her second Jewish Disability Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. this year. Last year, she attended meetings with Pennsylvania Reps. Tim Murphy and Keith Rothfus and Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey after learning about important issues affecting the community earlier in the morning. The event, which is chaired by The Jewish Federations of North America and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and supported by other organizations, focuses on helping people learn how to be advocates in the political arena. Jonah Baskin of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism described the schedule of this year’s event: “In the morning, disability rights experts will

JFS Clinical Coordinator and Research Specialist Susan SklaroffVan Hook (right) with Dara Baldwin, senior policy analyst from the National Disability Rights Network, at last year's day of advocacy on the Hill.

brief JDAD participants on the legislative priorities we will be advocating for on Capitol Hill later that day. Over lunch, we will hear from policymakers about the future of disability policy. In the afternoon, we will act on what we have learned by meeting with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the importance of protecting the rights of people with disabilities.” During and after the event, JFS will share Sklaroff-Van Hook’s experience on their website and Facebook.

The JFS website will also feature a landing page for JDAIM featuring a variety of local and national resources and ways to get involved, including definitions of and guides for inclusivity. Sklaroff-Van Hook will also be writing a weekly blog covering disability issues.

Madison Square Garden, he just parked his Jeep on the curb in front of the arena. KaplanMayer has worked in the field of special needs for 20 years and is currently the director of Whole Community Inclusion, a division of Jewish Learning Venture in Philadelphia, which engages people with special needs and their families and supports their ability to access a range of Jewish educational experiences from early childhood through the transition to adulthood. The author will speak about her book at Congregation Brith Sholom on Feb. 25, at 5 p.m. It is presented as part of national and interna-

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer tional programming in recognition of February as Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). “What’s especially meaningful for me about this event,” says Kaplan-Mayer, “is that my family is from here.” Her mother, Lynn Auerbach-Kaplan, lived in Easton, and her maternal grandmother, Minerva Auerbach, taught at Easton High School. The event is presented by Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley, Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley and Congregation Brith Sholom. Dinner and Discussion with author Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer: Sunday, Feb. 25, 5 p.m., at Congregation Brith Sholom, 1190 Macada Rd., Bethlehem. Cost: $18 per person / $36 per family. Reservations may be made at or by calling JFLV at 610-821-5500. RSVP by Feb. 15.


From ASL interpreters to service dogs, Orthodox shuls trying to be more inclusive By Abigail Pickus Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Erik Bittner can pinpoint the exact moment he felt his son with autism was truly included at his family’s Orthodox synagogue, Shaarei Tefillah in Newton, Massachusetts. It was a Shabbat morning and the gabbai – the sexton orchestrating services — called Bittner’s 24-year-old son, Nathan, up for an aliyah, to recite the blessings over the Torah. “Nathan whizzed through the brachot and he was effusive in his gratitude for going up there,” Bittner recalled, using the Hebrew word for blessings. “He shook everyone’s hand. It was a touching emotional moment.” The episode is a sign of the changes beginning to take place in many Orthodox synagogues, where communities are going to greater-than-ever lengths to be more inclusive of Jews with disabilities. The changes, both cultural and physical, are transforming congregations that traditionally have been slower to adapt than those affiliated with more liberal Jewish de-

abilities are given their rightful place within the Jewish community,” said Marla Rottenstreich, assistant director of Yachad, whose work includes advocacy, education and social programs for Jews with disabilities. “Over the last 10 to 20 years, Jewish values have evolved to adopt a more pro-disability attitude.” In the Boston area, the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project, begun in 2013 in partnership with Boston’s Jewish federation, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, now provides 29 shuls with support to help people of all abilities feel valued and participate fully. Each participating synagogue has formed inclusion committees to oversee the process and tailor strategies to congregations’ individual needs. “This project really gets the whole community involved in a way that is meaningful to them,” said Molly Silver, the project’s manager. “None of these inclusion plans are cookiecutter because each of these congregations is so unique.” Shaarei Tefillah was among the early participants. The shul has placed inclusion at the forefront of its building renovation plan, brought in a scholarin-residence to offer sensitivity


This story is sponsored by the Orthodox Union.

nominations. Orthodox shuls are now installing wheelchair-friendly ramps to bimah platforms, providing large-print or Braille prayer books for the visually impaired, bringing in ASL interpreters for the deaf and offering inclusive programming for kids with physical and developmental disabilities. “It is a fundamental part of the Orthodox tradition that everybody should be welcome within the synagogue,” said Rabbi Judah Isaacs, the Orthodox Union’s director of community engagement. “There is a lot of recognition now that there are people with a wide range of disabilities, and rabbis want everyone to be part of the congregation and understand that we need to take an active role to make sure it happens.” To help synagogues become more inclusive, the O.U.’s synagogue network of over 400 congregations across North America is working with Yachad-The National Jewish Council for Disabilities (an O.U. agency) and the Ruderman Family Foundation, which promotes inclusion in the Jewish community. “We are changing the culture so that people with diverse

A recent bat mitzvah program at Young Israel of Toco Hills, in Atlanta, included an ASL interpreter. awareness training and has a rotating list of congregants who volunteer to push congregants in wheelchairs to and from synagogue. It offers programs to destigmatize mental illness and, in partnership with Yachad, hosts an annual Shabbaton focused on people with disabilities. The shul has been recognized by the O.U. as a Hineinu Synagogue — an exemplary national model of communal inclusiveness. “Our goal is to be an inclusive community,” said the synagogue’s rabbi, Benjamin Samuels. “Inclusion takes hard work. Sensitivity and attunement to individual needs and communal needs requires a deft balance. We strive to continue to grow in our sensitivity to reach the maximum number of Jews to empower them to live as robustly Jewish lives as they can.” While many shuls may have trouble even constructing basic accessibility features, Bittner, of

Shaarei Tefillah, says there are some steps any shul can take to become more inclusive — like warmly greeting someone with disabilities. “Saying a few sentences makes a big difference, and you don’t need to build a ramp for that,” he said. Regardless of the challenges, synagogues have a responsibility to be inclusive, said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Foundation. “The synagogue is the central location for someone who chooses to practice their religion. When a synagogue takes an attitude that this isn’t the best place for you and your family — which is something I have heard over and over again — that doesn’t just turn people away from the synagogue, it turns them away from religion,” Ruderman said. “But if a rabbi takes the position that everyone has a place here, that is when you start to see changes.”

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JCC to offer new themed specialty camps this summer

By Brenda Finberg JCC The Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley will be offering a series of specialty camps this summer geared toward all different interests. The camps will be held at the JCC building in Allentown and run concurrently with the eight-week Camp JCC day camp in Center Valley. Week 1 (June 18-22) will be NASA Academy for Future Space Explorers with Mad Science. This hands-on program for children kindergarten through 8th grade will bring them closer to the stars, planets, comets

and more. Learn about living in space, getting away from gravity and looking for space phenomena, and participate in a rocket launch! Week 2 (June 25-29) is our J Art Camp for kindergarten through 8th grade. Morning session will be very fun and super messy! Campers will be inspired by the work of artists such as Robert Indiana to create 3D letters or logos using cardboard, plaster, paint and more. We will learn about logos, design/ composition, construction and balance, embellishment and craftsmanship, all while having a blast creating something

personally meaningful and easily displayed at home. Afternoon session students will have a great time drawing, painting, sculpting and collaging all kinds of animals from cute dogs to icky snakes. They will also learn to draw animals from popular cartoons from famous TV shows including Disney. Mediums such as watercolors, acrylics, Sculpey clay and pastels will be used as they also learn basic art skills. Live animals will also be brought to class as realistic models just to add to the excitement. Weeks 3 and 4 (July 2-13) is our new J Band Camp. This two-week long program will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and is geared toward campers ages 7-17. Five and 6-year-olds may participate, but must first audition and receive approval from the directors. Here, the children are divided by age and experience level, where the youngest campers get an introduction to classic and modern rock music, and more experienced musicians may choose from The Beatles, Legends of Rock, Modern Rock and some songwriting and recording their music. Each week, kids spend time learning and playing songs with a band, absorbing music history and practicing their instruments. The two-week camp concludes with a concert. We will also be offering our J Chefs camp in Week 4 (July 9-13) for kids kindergarten through 8th grade, featuring a “Bon Appetite Lunch” for families on July 13. You don't have to pack your bags to go on this cooking adventure. Children cook their way across the globe, making several stops around the world

all inside our kitchen. With a focus on safe practices and fresh, whole food ingredients, kids will learn various cooking methods as they dice, slice and sauté their way through the exciting flavors of the world. All recipes are nutfree; dietary laws observed. Weeks 5-7 (July 16-Aug. 3) will be Stagemakers “Do Re Mi” Theater Camp for kindergarten through 8th grade. Campers will perform a showcase on Thursday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 3, at 3 p.m. featuring songs from Roger and Hammerstein. Our focus will be on learning and maintaining basic stage skills, singing, acting and dance. Stagemakers camp provides a unique opportunity for the campers in that they create their own “scene work” with the assistance of an instructor

and director. Broadway songs and show music are added with choreography to create a camp show during our three-week session that utilizes the personality of each camper. Week 8 (Aug. 6-10) is our new Cupcake Craze Camp for kindergarten through 8th grade. Let’s go crazy over cupcakes as we learn to make a watermelon cupcake, a grill cupcake and a bonfire cupcake – so many cute and different ways to make and create different cupcakes. There will be a taste-off on Aug. 10 at 3 p.m. Interested in learning more? Come to our Back to Camp Night on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. to learn all about our specialty camps being offered this summer or contact Brenda Finberg at

Join Pinemere Camp for fun and surprises

Pinemere campers posing with their one of their Israeli counselors by the lake. More than a dozen Israeli staff join the Pinemere team each summer.

There's always a surprise at Pinemere Camp! Campers were treated to Kona Ice on a hot day at camp.

Campers enjoying a new water toy on Pinemere Camp's private lake in the Poconos. 16 FEBRUARY 2018 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY

Find your summer fun at Camp JCC in Center Valley By Mike Smith JCC Camp JCC in Center Valley is the best camp experience located in the heart of the Lehigh Valley. There’s something for everyone! Our award-winning summer day camp is a place thousands of campers have called home for over 50 years. We are located on a picturesque 55-acre campus in Center Valley. With sprawling sports fields, swimming pool complete with water slides, high and low ropes course, nature and hiking trails, art, music and nature programming, there is something for every camper. Our camp is open

and welcoming to the entire community. Camp JCC runs from June 18 – Aug. 10. As always, Camp JCC is: • Open to all boys and girls entering pre-K to 10th grade. • Filled with variety! Arts, sports, on-site swimming pool with water slides, archery, field trips, overnights, late nights, special activities, and more! • Located in the heart of Center Valley, an exit away from the Promenade Shops! • Available half day for campers turning 4 by Sept. 30. • Maintained by trained and qualified staff, specialists and lifeguards. • A unique experience packed with fun and integrat-

Enjoy your summer at Camp Ramah in the Poconos

ed with Jewish values. • Focused on choice, with electives for our campers entering 1st grade and above. • Accessible through centralized and convenient busing. • Complete with daily swim lessons in the morning and a fantastically fun, free swim in the afternoon! New for this summer: • More trips and excursions than ever! • New programs, themes and activities. • Counselor in Training now open to campers entering 9th grade. Attend six weeks or more and apply as a staff member the following summer. • Voyager Program - Choose your own daily activities. (Campers entering 5th grade and older.) • jVoyage - two two-week summer excursions that you just can’t miss. (For campers aged 12-16, see more below.) • jWheels - A travel camp option visiting Club Getaway in Kent, Connecticut, open to campers entering 5th grade and older! • Register for more than one week and receive $50 off each week! We look forward to seeing our returning families and meeting new ones this summer at Camp JCC, voted “Best Children’s Day Camp” by Lehigh Valley Style Magazine! jVoyage Camp JCC is excited to offer a new and exciting travel program for campers ages 12-16.

Every destination has something unique to teach travelers by immersing them in a completely different environment – the best learning experience they can have. jVoyage allows travelers to discover new customs, cultures, places, friendships and memories while visiting top travel destinations and universities. Your voyage awaits! • Northern Exposure – June 26 – July 5 (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Boston, and more.) • National Treasures – July 17 – Aug. 2 (Denver, Boulder, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Four Corners,

Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Salt Lake City, Mt. Rushmore and more.) Contact Mike Smith, director of Camp 365, at or 610-435-3571 for more information on Camp JCC in Center Valley and jVoyage.

Campers have the option of multiple waterfront activities, including boating, sailing, playing on lake inflatables or swimming in the renovated heated pool.

Campers can choose from a variety of sports, including basketball, baseball, volleyball, challenge course, soccer, gymnastics, tennis, and more. There is also a basketball intensive or tennis intensive opportunities for older campers.

Joyful Jewish living is an integral part of the Ramah experience. Judaism is infused into all aspects of camp, and year after year campers consider Shabbat one of their favorite aspects of Ramah. HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | FEBRUARY 2018 17

Some of the many Jewish summer camp options popular with Lehigh Valley campers:

Summer at Camp Harlam awaits


Orthodox: “An adventure in religious Zionism.”


Pluralistic: “Providing quality Jewish overnight camping for over 70 summers.”



Non-denominational: “Providing campers with a unique, fun kibbutz-style summer experience with an emphasis on community and Jewish values.”

Conservative: “Creating life-long Jewish connections, one happy camper at a time.”





Reform: “… a vibrant, fun and caring camp community which enriches and strengthens Reform Jewish identity and values while cultivating lifelong friendships.”

Reconstructionist: “So many friendships made and strengthened.”

Non-denominational: “ … a supportive and dynamic environment in which Jewish youth can explore, grow, and mature.”

“Young Judaea’s national teen leadership camp.”

By Lisa David Director, URJ Camp Harlam When we ask parents why they selected URJ Camp Harlam for their children, our vibrant Jewish life and learning is often part of this decision-making process. For campers, however, what attracts them is often something else entirely – a friendship with a current camper, some element of the facility that catches their eye, the promise of a summer away from the stresses of their outside lives. But what keeps them coming back? How did we begin last summer with an 85 percent retention rate, one of the highest in Jewish camping? When we survey camp-

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ers about the highlight of their Harlam experience, we find that it often is the Jewish experiences that motivate them to return. Shabbat is one of the highest-rated camp activities. Dressing in white, holding hands and climbing to Chapel on the Hill, singing songs, and reflecting on moments that brought joy into our week – these tend to be the most meaningful memories our campers return home with. What I often tell parents when they are thinking about where to send their children to camp is that the decision is not about what we want them to do, but who we want our children to be. When a session at Harlam concludes, I hope parents find that their campers have grown into the mensches that all of us parents hope to raise. Our campers experience great joy. Their days are filled with endless laughter and countless moments of fun. Our campers grow stronger. They endure challenges and take risks, developing new skills and the fortitude to face future obstacles. Our campers strengthen connections with those around them. They discover new things in common with their bunkmates and work through differences and these shared experiences create lifelong bonds. Our campers grow as leaders, guiding our community in ruach-filled activities and contemplative moments of prayer. And all of these things develop within the context of Jewish community, which inextricably links them to the enduring narrative of our Jewish people. They live Jewish values, build their inner character, and emerge with deeper knowledge of Jewish culture, traditions, ritual and history. At the end of the summer, you may see piles of dirty laundry, tired eyes and maybe some bug bites. But you may also see how your children have subtly changed on the inside, and we cherish the opportunity to shape, learn and grow with them.


Camp becomes the endless summer — thanks to social media and smartphones

By Josefin Dolsten Jewish Telegraphic Agency For 12-year-old Sophie Golden, camp is “kind of like a different world,” where electronics are a no-go and her bunkmates feel more like sisters than friends. When she misses that feeling during the year, there’s an easy way to get it back, even if just for a fleeting moment — by checking her phone. That camp feeling “is coming back a little bit, but the second I stop texting, it goes away,” said Golden, who attends Beber Camp, a Jewish summer camp in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. She said she never worries at the end of the summers about losing touch because she and most of her camp friends stay in constant contact in group chats and on Snapchat, the photo messaging application. Though camp has traditionally been a summer-only experience, the increased use of social media and technology by kids is changing that — and camps are catching on. “For our campers, that camp experience of being connected to your camp friends never ends, it doesn’t just last eight weeks of the summer anymore,” said Jamie Lake, who serves as marketing manager for the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago’s two overnight camps and nine day camps. That’s a positive as Lake sees it. “I think it’s fantastic,” she told JTA. “Anything that we can do to keep the positive feeling of Jewish overnight camp going longer than just the summer is a benefit, not only to our camp programs but really to our campers and their families.” And the JCC Chicago camps

rely on social media, too, in keeping campers connected, such as using Facebook’s live streaming service in order to broadcast reunions to campers who cannot attend. Social media also provides a way for campers to hang out — virtually, that is. Camps Airy & Louise, Jewish brother-sister overnight camps in Thurmont and Cascade, Maryland, organize year-round events that campers can attend by logging onto Facebook and Instagram. During Chanukah, the camp ran a scavenger hunt in which campers were asked to photograph themselves wearing their camp shirts in various locations, and submit the pictures to the camps’ social media pages. Camps Airy & Louise also run online fantasy football leagues and March Madness brackets. “If they’re going to be in a fantasy football league — some of them are probably already in three or four — why not be in a fantasy football league with camp?” said Jonathan Gerstl, the executive director at Camps Airy & Louise. Golden’s camp, Beber Camp, organizes virtual events once a month during the year, such as “Beber Camp Shirt Day,” where campers are encouraged to post photos of themselves wearing a camp shirt on social media, and “Where in the World is Beber?” where campers on winter break post photos of themselves around the world. Brad Robinson, manager of customer experience and marketing at Beber Camp, said that anywhere from a few dozen to 200 kids — representing nearly a third of all campers — participate in the events. Though Golden communicates

with her camp friends on her smartphone at least once every other day, she still makes time for in-person meet-ups. In fact, during a phone call earlier this month with JTA from her home in Chicago, Golden’s camp friends were messaging her to coordinate a visit to play laser tag. Asked to imagine a world without cellphones, Golden said her relationships with camp friends would probably suffer. “I think we wouldn’t be as close in the summer and have as much to connect to,” she said. Robinson of Beber Camp echoed Golden’s experience. “I think [social media] definitely allows for deeper relationship building because they are just a few finger taps away from communicating with their friends,” he said. “It has allowed campers and staff to really further build those relationships, where in the past it was only when they saw each other in person, or they were maybe writing some slower mail or emails back and forth.” And parents are catching on, too, using group chats to share letters they received from their children or ask each other questions. “Parents find out who’s in their child’s bunk and they exchange phone numbers and they start a group text to everybody,” Rabbi Joel Seltzer, executive director of Camp Ramah in the Poconos, a Conservative Jewish camp in Lakewood , Pennsylvania, told JTA. For other parents, social media provides not only a way to connect with their children’s camp experiences — but also to the camps they attended in their youth. This summer, Sophie Golden’s mother, Davina, will be attending a reunion for Herzl Camp in Webster, Wisconsin — her first reunion since she worked there as a counselor 25 years ago. Davina Golden said she probably would not be attending were it not for having connected with old camp friends on social media. “I lost touch with a lot of my friends,” she said, “but then since Facebook we all got in touch with each other.”

FREEDOM of movement

(This article was made possible with funding by the Foundation for Jewish Camp. The story was produced independently and at the sole discretion of JTA’s editorial team.)

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Spirituality and basketball: the ‘Jewish Jordan’ Israel summer camp playbook


Left, Tamir Goodman (at left) with his summer campers in Jerusalem. Above, “Jewish Jordan” Tamir Goodman (left) and Omri Casspi, the first Israeli-born player in National Basketball Association (NBA) history, are pictured on the court of the United Center, home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. By Jeffrey F. Barken For years, Jewish basketball aficionados have adored Tamir Goodman. The same can now be said for Jewish summer campers. Nicknamed the “Jewish Jordan” by Sports Illustrated magazine in 1999 for the combination of his on-court prowess and his observance of Orthodox rituals despite a busy secular game schedule, Goodman earned the respect of his teammates and fans alike. After a storied high school career, Maryland-born Goodman played for a decade between college (Towson University) and Israel’s professional basketball leagues before a knee injury forced him to hang up his jersey. Since retiring, Goodman has worked as a coach and a motivational speaker. In 2013, he published his memoir, “The Jewish Jordan’s Triple Threat.” One of his crowning achieve- 877-820-4269


ments to date is the Jerusalembased basketball camp that he founded in 2016. This intensive sports camp invites a class of 30-40 boys, ages 13-17, to train for two weeks every summer in the world-class facilities located at Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Lerner Campus. Campers receive expert instruction from professional players and soak up the spiritual vibrancy of the holy city. Initially, the program was only available for day campers. But in 2017, Goodman is expanding that vision. Now, players have the opportunity to stay overnight in affiliated accommodations located in southern Jerusalem’s Baka neighborhood. In addition to inspiring increased camaraderie between teammates, Goodman hopes to blend a unique element of cultural immersion and spirituality into the training course. “There’s something majestic about Jerusalem, it’s a city that unites,” Goodman tells JNS. org. “We’re excited to help them reach their potential on and off the court and to connect them to Israel.” Goodman has devised a rigorous training course for the camp. Each day, drills and discussions will be structured around an educational theme. Professional players, yoga instructors and physical therapists will lead intense warm-up sessions. Guest speakers will illuminate game theory, and then the group will scrimmage before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon, the course is repeated. When day campers depart, the overnight campers will participate in charity events, bowling and other evening activities. “Basketball is much more than being in a gym these days. You really need to know how to take care of your body,” Goodman says. He has enlisted nutritionists to impart healthy eating, sleeping and other lifestyle skills at the camp. The campers are predominately observant Jews, but Goodman pushes back on the notion that this is a camp specifically for religious athletes. “The message is not to let society dictate what you can or cannot do in this world….I was lucky enough to work with some of the greatest basketball minds in the world,” he says. In the Jerusalem camp, therefore, Goodman says he takes “all that world-class basketball and I give it to our players in an atmo-

sphere where they don’t have to sacrifice their Judaism or be the only Jewish person.” Given his childhood and adolescent experiences as a camper, Goodman is well aware that having kosher food available, as well as a culture and schedule that accommodates religious priorities, removes the considerable social and logistical hurdles that campers otherwise face. The camp, therefore, is an opportunity for players to embrace the awareness for faith and ritual that Goodman brought to the game, in addition to underscoring the meaning of the Jewish day of rest. “We really want the players to connect to Shabbat in a unique way,” Goodman says. “After working so hard all week on their bodies, physically, it will be nice to spend some time working on their spirit.” Rabbi Aaron Goldsheider, Goodman’s friend and colleague, has offered to host the overnight campers for Shabbat dinner. “Goodman not only teaches the skills of ballplaying—he has a unique ability to convey spiritual messages of kindness and sensitivity,” Goldscheider tells Goldsheider believes that the opportunity to tour the Old City, and to pray at the Western Wall before sharing dinner together, will have a lasting impact on the campers. Donna Cohen, whose 13-year-old son Itamar participated in the program last year and is returning this summer, provides a parent’s perspective. “Regarding the price, I feel that it is very fair,” she tells JNS. org. Day camp costs $500 per week, and the overnight camp is $1,000 weekly. “When you are looking for a high-level sports camp that has professional coaches, you are going to pay a bit more than a regular camp. But I feel that what the kids get out of two weeks will carry them through the entire year,” Cohen says. She praises Goodman’s ability to “hone in on a player’s strengths and challenges and to push them to reach new potential that they never thought possible.” Her son echoes that assessment. “Through the camp, I feel improved both mentally and physically,” Itamar says. “Playing with others who are better and older made it challenging and gave me the opportunity to improve.”

Ferne’s Knitting Club brings warmth to JFS clients this winter By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor “I know there’s always a need” at Jewish Family Service, Ferne Kushner explained as her reasoning for sponsoring a project where her knitting club’s members donated hats and scarves for clients in need this winter. Although the club is a new addition to the community, Kushner has been knitting since she was in junior high, and created the club because “I saw a need for our women to have this hobby.” “Knitting makes you feel productive, energized, important, at ease, in place of smoking, easy to carry to meetings, a good conversational topic, and as grandchildren come along (hopefully), it keeps you involved, makes you proud and a good contributor to the little one’s lifestyle,” she said. As for the donation, “I know what JFS does,” said Kushner, whose husband, Jack Kushner z”l, served as the agency’s president. “They’re the ones who see people who are really in need, and so I decided if I could help somebody be warm who wouldn’t ordinarily be warm, it would be wonderful.” In addition to donating creations to JFS, Kushner is helping several new members make scarves, which she says

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are good beginner projects. “There’s a lot of satisfaction in watching somebody who has not knitted become a knitter and make something useful,” Kushner said, adding that anyone is welcome to join and learn how to create knitting

projects for donation or to keep. Ferne’s Knitting Club meets on Wednesdays from 1 - 2:30 p.m. at Congregation Keneseth Israel in the fall, winter and spring. New members are always welcome.



Andrew Shurman, MD, Radiologist Andrew Shurman, MD, finds many aspects about his career as a radiologist fulfilling. First, of course, is that he is able to provide key information to those treating patients who have a medical concern or emergency. In addition, Dr. Shurman has developed very strong and mutually beneficial relationships with others within and outside of the specialty. His position also affords Dr. Shurman the opportunity to teach others on the path to becoming medical professionals, something he greatly enjoys doing. Dr. Shurman is a diagnostic radiologist. He interprets patients’ imaging studies, but doesn’t see the patient in person. “In diagnostic radiology, there are several subspecialties,” explains Dr. Shurman, who practices with Progressive Physician Associates in Bethlehem. “I’m in neuroradiology, which has a lot of different parts to it. The brain, the spine and spinal cord, head and neck, pediatric, neurovascular and more all fall under the practice of neuroradiology.” “We meet weekly to go over the interesting and challenging cases we encounter,” he says. “We value each other’s input. Interacting with other physicians helps me understand how my interpretations of the scans affect medical decisions and patient care. It’s nice to be involved in a multidisciplinary approach and professional collaboration that allows us to improve the entire process for our patients.” Doing so also helps Dr. Shurman bolster his considerable expertise, which he enthusiastically shares with the next generation of doctors. As a teaching hospital,

St. Luke’s requires every medical student to complete a radiology rotation. Dr. Shurman serves as the radiology department’s clerkship director. During their rotation, students are exposed to the different aspects of radiology. Dr. Shurman also gives several radiology lectures each year to the medical school. In 2013, he was selected by the fourth-year class at Temple University School of Medicine to receive the Blockley-Osler Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching. The honor is awarded annually to a physicianmember of the faculty who teaches in affiliated hospitals in which Temple medical students rotate. “Teaching is an extremely rewarding experience,” says Dr. Shurman. “It’s a two-way street. I teach students from my knowledge and experience, but I also gain from teaching medical students because they ask questions that require me to remain up to date on the latest research, developments and literature. They are eager and energetic.”

About Dr. Shurman Dr. Shurman earned his medical degree from the Temple University School of Medicine. He went on to complete an internship and a radiology residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center. Dr. Shurman also did a neuroradiology fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dr. Shurman has worked as a radiologist at St. Luke’s since 2006. He is a member of the American Board of Radiology and has earned a Certificate of Added Qualification in neuroradiology.

That enthusiasm and strong desire to help and teach others is something that Dr. Shurman sees in his own family. His wife and two children are active volunteers through Temple Beth El (TBE) in Allentown and with Chabad throughout the Lehigh Valley. • 1-866-STLUKES Andrew Shurman, MD

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This 25-year-old Jewish guy plays SpongeBob on Broadway

The company of “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical.”

By Curt Schleier Jewish Telegraphic Agency There’s a new star on Broadway and his name is — wait for it — SpongeBob SquarePants. “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” opened in December to rapturous reviews. And no one collected higher praise than the title character, played by Ethan Slater, a graduate of Ramah summer camps. For those unfamiliar with Nickelodeon’s long-running animated kids’ show, SpongeBob is — spoiler alert! — a sea sponge who lives in a pineapple in the undersea community of Bikini Bottom. An eternal optimist, he’s a cook at the Krusty Krab (Eugene Krabs, proprietor), has a host of friends including a starfish (Patrick Star), a squirrel (Sandy Cheeks) and a squid (Squidward Q. Tentacles). Also in town: the less-than-virtuous Plankton (real name Sheldon). “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” is a genuinely fascinating confection that will warm and win the hearts of, well, anyone with a heart. At its center is Slater, 25, who has been involved in the production for five years. Slater grew up in a Conservative Jewish household in suburban Washington, D.C. His father, Jay, is a doctor who works for the Federal Drug Administration and his stepmom, Ellen Goldmuntz, works for the National Institutes of Health. The family belonged to Ohr Kodesh, the Conservative synagogue in Silver Springs, Maryland, where Slater had his bar mitzvah. He attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School through middle school, and while he attended a secular high school, Slater continued to take classes at Shoresh Hebrew High, affiliated with Ohr Kodesh and co-founded by his dad. Asked how his Jewish upbringing impacted his career, Slater said it has informed “every aspect” of his life — including his childhood summers. Slater attended Camp Ramah in New England because his dad was the camp doctor. “I went there originally as a staff brat, but stayed on until I was 16,” he said. Like many Jewish camps, arts and music are major parts of the Ramah experience. But perhaps there is something unique to Ramah’s programs: Two other Broadway stars are alumni of the Conservative movement’s camping network. Ben Platt recently completed his Tony Award-win-

ning run in “Dear Evan Hansen,” which also won the Tony for best musical, and Cassie Levy will play Elsa in the Broadway adaptation of “Frozen” that opens in March. For his part, Slater started acting and singing as a kid, and never really had a Plan B. As a sophomore at Vassar College, Slater auditioned for a show — one that was decidedly not about a sea creature. However, “it just so happened the audition was being run by the same casting director who was working on what was then called ‘The Untitled Tina Landau Project,'” Slater explained. The show’s casting director saw something he liked in Slater and called him two weeks later about an opportunity — without disclosing what it was. “From the sides [pages] and scenes he sent me, it became clear that it was SpongeBob,” Slater said. The show’s plot crosses age lines. At its simplest, a volcano threatens to engulf Bikini Bottom. Sandy the squirrel comes up with an innovative (and scientific) way to vent the volcano, but it is rejected by the community in favor of a simpler but fake solution offered by Plankton, which involves hypnotizing everyone in town. The community rallies against Sandy, soon sporting “Mammals

Go Home” signs. And while the play wasn’t intended as a political statement, as it has developed over the years and the political situation in the U.S. has changed, the anti-science, anti-almost-everyone aspect obviously took on new (and adult-like) resonance. Potentially dark undertones aside, Slater considers himself an optimist — and said he’s become one even more since since his involvement with the production began. “I’ve grown to be more like the character in the sense that every day when I wake up, I feel I’m happy and it’s going to be the best day of my life,” he said.

By Leah Mueth Special to HAKOL While you all were dealing with negative temperatures with wind and some snow, here in Israel we also experienced some ‘inclement’ weather that essentially shut down major cities. At the beginning of the week, we were told that Ashdod was expecting a storm on Friday and were given enough blankets and heaters to get us through. Thursday night, our pedagogical instructor messaged all of us to check in with our teachers to see what we should do about school

the next day. All of us were prepared for cold temperatures and the potential for a day off from school. Then, we looked at our weather apps. The forecast said the temperature would hover between 55-60 degrees all day, and the storm they were waiting on wouldn’t start until the afternoon when the students had already left school to go home. That still didn’t stop parents from keeping their children home to wait out the storm. Talking with the other teaching fellows in Ashdod, all schools had no more than half of the students show up that day.


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A few of Allentown AZA chapter members who attended the Philadelphia Eagles playoff event.

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Liberty Region #13 teens (from left to right) Aaron Fraley (Allentown AZA), Will Chadock (Harrisburg AZA), Micah Harlev (Wilmington AZA), and Max Kluger (Harrisburg AZA), at former CLTC location, Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia.

The start of a new year By Jacob Sussman AZA Allentown AZA kicked off the new year with a chapter meeting to welcome everyone back together after a long break and to kick off the second half of the year. Allentown AZA is planning a lot of events and look forward to growing membership while having a ton of fun. January is BBYO rush month, which means we are busy recruiting 8th-12th graders. Remember, everyone’s first event is free so you can come and meet us and learn


what BBYO/AZA is all about. Our first event of the new year was held on Jan. 13. The Aleph chapter members got together to watch the NFC East Champions, Philadelphia Eagles, take on the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs. This was a fun event for teens in the Lehigh Valley area to get to experience an event with AZA brothers. Part of BBYO and Allentown AZA’s mission is to give back to the community. This year, once again, we are participating in Super Sunday by making thank you calls to campaign donors of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley. Stay tuned for upcoming events including: AIT (Alephs In Training) Night, which is where all the chapter members get formally inducted into the chapter and Saturdays are for the Boys Night, which is a fun night hanging out with your fellow alephs. If you have any questions regarding upcoming events or about signing up for BBYO, please contact allentownaza@ or robertshaff1@

BBYO fun in the sun By Fana Schoen BBG




B E T H L E H E M, PA | P R I M E R T H R O U G H G R A D E 12


BBYO has plenty of awesome programming throughout the school year, from IC kickoff parties to luau kickoffs; conventions to sisterhood sleepovers; and way more, but what many people do not know is how BBYO programming can extend even into the summer. Summer programming for BBYO has opportunities that stretch far and wide, even extending to overseas adventures. For members of BBYO who seek to extend their leadership skills, there are four distinct summer programs from which to choose. Chapter Leadership Training Conference (CLTC) draws teens from all over the United States, and now, Canada. This year, there are two locations for CLTC: Camp B’nai B’rith of Montreal in Montreal, Canada, and Beber Camp in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. Member of Allentown AZA attended CLTC 2

2017 and suggests CLTC for all BBYO teens because, “CLTC is one of the greatest experiences of [his] life. You learn so much and meet amazing people from all around the country.” Additionally, members of BBYO can attend International Leadership Training Conference (ILTC), which teaches teens about leading in the international capacity. ILTC attracts teens from all over the world, and can be connected with International Kallah, both of which are held at B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp in Lake Como, Pennsylvania. International Kallah educates about the wonders of Judaism. Members can also venture all the way to Israel for International Leadership Seminar in Israel (ILSI), for an ILTClike experience of education and adventure in Israel. Many members who seek to travel to Israel have many other opportunities to travel there. Israel Journey and Israel Journey Plus offer weeks of travel and discovery in Israel. Trek Israel offers outdoor adventures in Israel that will challenge members of BBYO in a three-week program. In addition to Trek Israel, BBYO teens can participate in Trek programming all over America, including, but not limited to, Costa Rica, California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Trek offers a unique outdoor experience for BBYO’s most adventurous teens. With activities like tubing in Arizona Salt River, going down a natural water slide at Slide Rock State Park and hiking the rim of the Grand Canyon, all over the course of two days of the 15-35-day programs, teens will never be bored. Ambassadors programs offer teens the opportunity to be overseas working with hands-on projects, education and travel experiences. These summer programs are held in Argentina, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom. Stand Up programs are programs that focus on community service and bettering the world in which we live. These 11-20-day programs take place in a wide range of cities, stretching all over the world. BBYO has many more summer programs to offer, some of which allow non-members to attend. To learn more and to register, go to the BBYO summer program website, or contact Allentown BBG for more details.

Gan Yeladim is a blessing for my children By Aaron Berger Special to HAKOL I remember the first day I took my oldest daughter Hannah to Gan Yeladim. I had a mixture of emotions: excitement, worry, and sadness. I have been lucky to be a stay at home dad with both my daughters, a blessing I was not aware of until I had children. Hannah, now age 5, is such a compassionate sweet little girl in large part due to Gan Yeladim. She attended from ages 2 to 4, before going into pre-K. Thanks to the teachers, she learned a sense of family outside of the house. Today, she is still friends with many of the other kids she went to Gan Yeladim with. Plus she also still

attends their summer camp. She has already asked when summer is coming again so she can start camp. Hannah developed a strong connection to being a Jew and gained a solid foundation for learning Hebrew at Gan Yeladim. She often explained to me many things I was not fully aware of, such as all of the significant people from Purim and why we grow trees during Tu B’Shevat. She recited all the prayers before eating a meal and drinking a beverage. And she frequently sang Hebrew songs in the car and around the house that Gan Yeladim taught her. Since Gan Yeladim made such a positive impact upon Hannah, we have been sending our other daughter Norah there,

too. It is exciting to see the same things she shares with us about school that Hannah did. And another great thing Gan does for us is ensure Norah takes care of an eye condition she has. Norah has to wear a patch due to lazy eye, and the teachers at Gan help her limit her discomfort by keeping her entertained and educated. When I pick her up, Norah shares fun stories her teachers told, fun activities she did with her friends such as gymnastics and music (Parkettes and Music Together come there two days a week), and overall how much she loves school. Gan Yeladim installs a strong sense of value and independence among their pre-school students. I think they prepare

them for the next level of education (most likely Kindergarten). Through story-telling, independent/group play, baking Challah and other good treats, and assisting with potty training; their students feel happy and engaged. And as a parent I could not feel any more safe and comfortable with my daughter in Gan Yeladim’s hands. And lets not forget celebrating their students’ birthdays! All the teachers ask is that you (the parents) bring in a box of kosher cake mix, and then from there they bake the cake, and prepare the class to celebrate that particular student’s birthday throughout the day. On her last birthday celebration, Norah talked about the delicious cake and her friends singing happy

birthday to her. The teachers are very warm and comforting to talk to in person, too. I truly feel that a strong relationship with the teachers also makes a difference why we choose Gan Yeladim. There never has been any tension or uneasiness since we have been sending our children there. I highly recommend Gan Yeladim for those looking for a pre-school program that is fun, safe, educational and full of good people. These are reasons why we plan to have Norah continue there this year, and have Hannah go back to their camp this summer. For my two children, Gan Yeladim and Camp Gan Israel have truly been an amazing addition and help to our lives.

PJ Library Family of the Month:


Gabriel and Yael love the PJ Library experience. They love getting a piece of mail addressed to them every month and ripping open the envelope to see the cover of their new book. They love reading the books, pertaining to Jewish holidays or concepts such as tikkun olam. As parents, these books assist in teaching our children about Judaism and how to be a mensch. There is always at least one PJ Library book in the requested lineup of pre-bedtime stories. Thank you PJ Library! - AVIVA AND EVAN MARLIN

To learn more about PJ Library and register to receive free Jewish-themed books for children from 6 months through 8 years, visit



This rabbinical student explains Judaism to Muslims in Arabic

Elhanan Miller, a journalist and rabbinical student who speaks fluent Arabic, sees his videos as a way to bridge a religious divide.

By Ben Sales Jewish Telegraphic Agency Is it true that Judaism doesn’t accept converts? Is it true that Jews have to wash their hands before they pray? Is it true that Jews have historically killed their

prophets? These are just a few of the questions Elhanan Miller has heard over the years. A fluent Arabic speaker and former Arab affairs correspondent for the Times of Israel, Miller saw that many Muslims he knew didn’t

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have a clear understanding of Jewish practices and beliefs. So he decided to start teaching Muslims about Judaism, in a language and context they can relate to. “Islam purports to tell Muslims about what Judaism is about,” Miller, 36, told JTA. “But I think it’s a value to Muslims to hear what Judaism is about from an actual believer.” That’s the idea behind Miller’s new project, “People of the Book,” a series of short animated videos that explain Jewish faith and ritual in Arabic and compare them to similar Muslim practices. It appears to be the first video series of its kind: an explanation of Judaism for Muslims in what, for many, is their native language. The first two videos have racked up hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook and YouTube. The first video, released in July, compares keeping kosher with keeping halal. It explains that kashrut, like halal, forbids pork and has laws around slaughtering animals. But kashrut prohibits eating shellfish, for example, while halal permits eating any creature of the sea. A second video covers Jewish prayer (three times a day vs. five for Muslims, with less kneeling on the

floor). Miller is planning more videos on clothing and modesty, Jewish conceptions of God and fasting in Judaism. “There’s a big overlap between Judaism and Islam in those specific areas,” he said. “Islam has dietary laws like Judaism, and the structures of daily prayers at fixed times are similar in Judaism and Islam. I thought it would be good to start with the commonalities before going into the differences.” Miller is an observant Jew who was born in Jerusalem to Canadian parents. He fell in love with Arabic when he began studying it in seventh grade, and continued using it during his service in the Israel Defense Forces and in college. He earned a master’s degree in Islamic studies from Hebrew University, and has been a journalist for eight years, doing much of his reporting on the Arab world. Miller also studies at Beit Midrash Har’el, a traditional egalitarian rabbinical school in Jerusalem. The school has shared links to his videos, and he sees bridging between the two religions as part of his rabbinic calling. “I want to be a rabbi who brings peace to the world,” he said. Miller started producing



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the videos after teaching Muslims about Judaism as part of the Shorashim project, which brings Jews from the West Bank settlement bloc of Gush Etzion together with their Palestinian neighbors. Together, they do joint activities, like shared meals and agricultural work. He figured the same lessons would interest a wider audience, which has proved true. The videos take several weeks to produce together with two partners: an animator in Israel, and a native Arabic speaker who co-narrates the script. There’s one topic, however, that Miller isn’t planning to tackle anytime soon: Israel. He may address Jerusalem, which is holy to Jews and Muslims, in a future video, but says that broaching sensitive issues could derail the larger project of promoting understanding. “My aim is not to do Israeli hasbara,” he said, using a Hebrew term for public relations. “I speak in these videos as a Jew more than an Israeli, because Israel is a contentious issue and I’m trying to build credibility and even sympathy with my followers.” To maintain that relationship between videos, Miller held a Facebook live session, in Arabic, about Judaism in “ask me anything” form. The questions concerned everything from the status of Moses in both religions to how Jews view other faiths. Of course, Jews have plenty of misconceptions about Islam as well, Miller said — like some who mistakenly think that Jews suffered more, historically, under Muslim rule than under Christian rule. But while he’d love to collaborate on a similar video series that explains Islam to Jews, he said that he — as a non-Muslim — is not the right person to lead that project. “I don’t see it as my job to explain Islam to Jews,” he said. “It has to be someone from that faith.”


Find Hamantaschen in the bakery department along with other favorites throughout the store.


weis wishes you a Happy Purim

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Fresh Kosher

Chickens Whole or Cut-up Fryers

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Hamantaschen Mechaya - 10 ounce

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Savion Fruit Slices 6 ounce


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Kedem Grape Juice 64 ounce


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Gunter’s Pure Honey 12 ounce


Joyva Ring Jells 9 ounce

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Prices Effective through March 7, 2018

We also carry many of your favorite Kosher deli, dairy, frozen and grocery products. We reserve the right to limit quantities. Not responsible for typographical or pictorial errors.


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Tam Tams Snack Crackers 9.6 oz

2 $4


February 2018 HAKOL  
February 2018 HAKOL  

The Jewish newspaper of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania