The Voice of the Lehigh Valley Jewish Community
Issue No. 429
AWARD-WINNING PUBLICATION EST. 1977
Revisit all the fun of our Super Sunday Community Mitzvah Day p16-18
Meet local author Pete Barbour p26
FROM THE DESK OF JERI ZIMMERMAN p2 WOMEN’S PHILANTHROPY p4 LVJF TRIBUTES p8 JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE p15 JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER p19 JEWISH DAY SCHOOL p20 COMMUNITY CALENDAR p31
Lehigh Valley leaders lobby on Capitol Hill for disability rights By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor Tuesday, Feb. 4 was the 10th annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) in Washington, D.C., but it was the first time that staff from Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley and Jewish Family Service traveled together to participate in the event. Four staff members made the trip to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress for disability rights. Rebecca Axelrod-Cooper, JFS community impact coordinator, and Chelsea Karp, JFS volunteer coordinator, began plans for attending the conference months in advance. “We felt very strongly that we wanted Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley and Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley to be represented in the advocacy discussion on a national level. We found a great deal of inspiration being in a room with other Jewish
social service agencies from all over the United States advocating on behalf of our clients,” said Axelrod-Cooper and Karp. “It was wonderful for our community to be able to be a part of fighting for inclusion so that all members of our community can have access to the same rights and opportunities,” agreed Aaron Gorodzinsky, director of campaign and security planning for Federation. Organized by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, this year was the largest ever JDAD. The purpose of the event is to organize Jewish leaders to learn about and advocate for disability issues and rights on Capitol Hill. In addition to advocacy training and presentations on the issues of the two pieces of legislation which the delegates from Jewish communities across the country were there to lobby for, there were also panels and award presentations.
Chelsea Karp and Rebecca Axelrod-Cooper of JFS and Aaron Gorodzinsky of Federation join participants from Pittsburgh to meet with Rep. Susan Wild at her office in Washington, D.C.
Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president of Reconstructing Judaism, delivered the D’var Torah, in which she said, “We advocate out of recognition that people with disabilities deserve to live in a society where both the laws and the culture reflect and address their full humanity.” Two significant anniversaries were acknowledged—the 30th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 45th anniversary of the IDEA act, which opened public school education up to all chil-
dren, regardless of ability. These milestones were marked by special speakers, including retired Sen. Tom Harkin, who was instrumental in passing these acts, and Judy Heumann, an internationallyrenowned disability rights activist, both of whom were recipients of awards acknowledging their legacies. When asked to reflect on what life was like before the ADA was passed, Harkin, whose decades in Congress
Jewish Disability Advocacy Day Continues on page 12
Devil’s in the details By Ruchi Koval Outoftheorthobox.com
Non-Profit Organization 702 North 22nd Street Allentown, PA 18104
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Editor’s note: Ruchi Koval is the guest speaker for the upcoming Federation Women’s Retreat on March 22. This article was recently featured on her blog, outoftheorthobox.com, and we thought it fit perfectly with this month’s “Planning Your Simcha” theme. Well, the bar mitzvah is over, and I’ve noticed something weird. When I am hosting an event, I can’t eat. My adrenaline is sky-high, and I’m consumed with thinking of my guests and if they are enjoying and comfortable. If you’re anything like me, you’ll recognize some of these obsessive thoughts: Does everyone look
happy? Is everyone eating? Is there enough food? Is the food attractive? Did the little kids destroy the centerpieces yet (yes, they collected all the artfully arranged Harry Potter wands)? Is there too much food? Shoot, what will we do with all the leftovers? Are the relatives from the different sides connecting with each other? Have I paid attention to all the various categories of people who are here? Are my toes going to survive my high heels? Is there anyone I forgot to invite? They say the devil’s in the details. And he really is. The devil, that is. The “devil” will prey upon you to obsess about the details. A bar mitzvah, or any other milestone, is the most amaz-
ing opportunity to reflect on the big picture and have gratitude. Yet again, if you’re anything like me, you’re so busy hyper-obsessing about the micro that it’s easy to lose sight of the macro. And the interesting thing is that the voice of the devil doesn’t stop when the event Ruchi Koval Continues on page 29
Celebrate good times In just a short time, Jewish communities all over the world will be sharing in one of the most festive and celebratory chagim (holidays) in the Jewish calendar – Purim. Purim is observed with a public reading of the Megillah, the Book of Esther, retelling the story of Queen Esther and her Uncle Mordechai overcoming the evil Haman and his plot to have King Ahasuerus kill all the Jews of Persia. Over the years, the Talmud added that part of celebrating Purim should involve drinking wine (enough so that you “do not know the difference between Haman, the villain of the Purim story, and Mordechai, one of the heroes”), being happy and delivering gifts to the poor. It has also become customary to dress up for Purim and eat hamentaschen, triangle cookies filled with everything from fruit jams to Nutella to more modern interpretations of savory spinach and feta. On the surface, the Book
of Esther and the Purim story embody familiar themes in the tomes of Jewish holidays – the Jewish people were in danger, nearly victims of a mass genocide in this case, yet the Jewish people persevered and survived, and now we celebrate. What is most profound in the Purim story, though, is that the “miracle” that saved the Jewish people at that time was simply that two Jews, Esther and Mordechai, spoke up and advocated for their people. There were no acts of God, no miracles that defied science or logic. Just the acts of regular people who happened to hold some power in the city of Shushan, utilizing their power to do good. The miracle of Purim is truly in the power wielded by regular people when they speak up against injustice. The ways in which we celebrate Purim continue to be reminiscent of the “power of regular people”– gathering of friends, family and neighbors with an
emphasis on the community celebrating together. It is not enough to just read the Megillah; the Megillah needs to be read publicly. We are not just encouraged to drink wine; we are encouraged to drink in excess and be merry with our fellow community members. The acts of exchanging gift baskets with friends and donating to the poor are emphasized, marking the celebration of Purim by engaging with the community. In this way, celebrating Purim becomes a microcosm of the ways in which we, as a Jewish community, continue the legacy of our heritage by joining together to share in our own personal Jewish simchas (joyous lifecycle events) generation after generation – welcoming Jewish babies through brit milah and simchat bat and celebrating entrance to Jewish adulthood through b’nai mitzvah. Jewish weddings, often celebrated with the community, also mark a celebration of the newlyweds establishing their own new family and
Director of Fundraising and Annual Campaign Planning Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, Allentown, PA Design & execute comprehensive, integrated financial resource development business plan across all income streams, including unrestricted annual campaign, supplemental funds, special/emergency campaigns, planned giving & capital projects. Reqd: Master’s in Jewish Nonprofit Management, Jewish Communal Service, Jewish Professional Leadership, Jewish Studies with a major or concentration in community organizations and community engagement, or closely related field, plus a min of 2 yrs of Jewish nonprofit organization program mgmt exp. Pls refer to Job Code DF2020 & send resumes to Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, 702 N. 22nd Street, Allentown, PA 18104. Attn: Exec Dir.
community with each other. The messages of the story of Purim hold as true today as they did at any other time throughout Jewish history. We, as Jews, have a responsibility to one another as well as to communities who have less ability to speak up and advocate for themselves. In celebrating within the Jewish community, sharing our simchas with our family, friends and neighbors, we are contributing to Jewish longevity and maintaining the Jewish tradition that Esther and Mordechai, and
so many others throughout Jewish history, have risked and sometimes sacrificed themselves to preserve. Yet we are not truly fulfilling the message of the Purim story if we do not also use our voices to speak up for those outside of the Jewish community as well. How blessed are we to be able to celebrate and advocate for those who cannot. Chag Purim Sameach! HAKOL STAFF STEPHANIE BOLMER Editor
HAKOL is published 11 times per year for the Jewish communities of Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and vicinity by the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
COMMUNITY SUBMISSIONS Submissions to HAKOL must be of interest to the entire Jewish community. HAKOL reserves all editorial rights including, but not limited to, the decision to print any submitted materials, the editing of submissions to conform to style and length requirements, and the placement of any printed material. Articles should be submitted by e-mail or presented as typed copy; “Community Calendar” listings must be submitted by e-mail to email@example.com or online at www.jewishlehighvalley.org. Please include your name and a daytime telephone number where you can be contacted in the event questions arise. We cannot guarantee publication or placement of submissions. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY MISSION STATEMENT
The Lehigh Valley-Yoav Partnership Park in Blessed Memory of Mark L. Goldstein We gratefully acknowledge those individuals who have offered expressions of friendship by requesting that trees be planted in the Mark L. Goldstein Friendship Park, a Yoav-Lehigh Valley Partnership Forest. IN HONOR SHARI SPARK In honor of your special birthday Nancy Bernstein Chavarath Torah of Temple Beth El Nancy and Howard Amols Miriam and John Botzum Miriam Kiss Michele Levy Marcia Linebarger Elizabeth and David Lischner
Jeannie and Holmes Miller Adina and Moshe Re’em Rebecca Schorr Lolly and Sheldon Siegel TRACEY AND JASON BILLIG In honor of the birth of your son Bob Lembach SUZANNE LAPIDUSS In honor of the birth of your grandson Bob Lembach
TO ORDER TREES, call the JFLV at 610-821-5500 or visit www.jewishlehighvalley.org. 2 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
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
Interfaith seder to bring Bethlehem community together By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Community Development & Operations and Bayley Carl JFLV Marketing & Engagement Associate The Bethlehem Interfaith Group has some big plans for the spring. On Sunday, April 5, the group, representing 14 different faith communities in Bethlehem, will host an interfaith seder at Congregation Brith Sholom. “What will make it unique and special is gathering people from different religious traditions and communities here in Bethlehem, to experience the ‘Feast of Freedom.’ The desire for freedom is something that we all share—as well as not taking freedom for granted,” said Rabbi Michael Singer of Brith Sholom, who also heads up the interfaith group. “We can break matzah together and have an opportunity to share our Jewish tradition and the story of the Exodus, which has served as inspiration for
many, many faiths and civil rights movements. Especially in our world today, to be all sitting around the table together speaks volumes.” The group expects more than 200 people to be in attendance. The seder is funded in part by a Community Impact Grant from the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley. After the seder, plans are underway for a B.I.G. celebration of the National Day of Prayer on May 7 and an op-ed will soon be coming out in local newspapers that puts forth the group’s positive vision for the future. “We’re just working really hard to create a community that is impactful, but also brings us together instead of tearing us apart,” Singer said. “That’s the whole goal of the organization, and we believe that everyone of good heart and mind that wants to add their voice to making a better Bethlehem community and a better world can be part of it.” Founded in 2018, the
Men’s Night Out to feature whiskey, trivia and more By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Community Development & Operations
group meets monthly to discuss topics of importance to all faith communities in Bethlehem. Past events have included a “faith crawl” to different houses of worship – something they’ll repeat this fall – an interfaith Thanksgiving and a screening of the movie “Inside Out.” “It’s been a really exciting thing to be a part of,” said the Rev. Dr. Steve Simmons of First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem. “If you do it in a mutually respectful way, it’s amazing how much ground you can cover.” And they won’t stop there. This summer, the group plans to hold an interfaith service during Musikfest, one of the largest and most diverse music festivals in the nation held in Bethlehem each year.
What makes whiskey kosher? Find out as the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley hosts Men’s Night Out on Tuesday, March 17. After a hiatus, this popular annual event has returned. The event is open to men who have made a pledge of $365 or more to the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign. This year’s event will feature premium whiskey tastings along with a discussion with Rabbi Nisan Andrews of Congregation Sons of Israel and Rabbi Seth Phillips of Congregation Keneseth Israel about what makes some whiskey kosher and some not. Delectable pub faire – including the always-requested pigs in a blanket – will be on the menu. The men will then break into teams for trivia hosted by Chris Roman, announcer for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The winning team will take home – you guessed it – whiskey. The event is being chaired by Sam Bub, Howard Kushnick and Frank Tamarkin. $50 per person. To register for Men’s Night Out, contact the Jewish Federation at 610-821-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www. jewishlehighvalley.org.
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WOMEN’S PHILANTHROPY OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY
Women’s Board embarks on ‘mini mission’ On Feb. 7, our Jewish Federation’s Women's Philanthropy Board visited the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley, Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley and the Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley. They learned how Federation's support enables these three community agencies to better serve the Lehigh Valley Jewish community and beyond. At the JCC, Executive Director Eric Lightman filled the board in on what’s new and exciting at the J, including plans for summer camp and enhanced Jewish programming. The board then paid a visit to the older toddler classroom to sing Shabbat songs with the students. At Jewish Family Service, Executive Director Debbie Zoller talked about the agency’s recently expanded food pantry and upcoming programs on disability awareness. The board then had the opportunity to stock shelves in the pantry before departing for their final stop. At the day school, student ambassadors were ready and waiting to guide the board members around the school and answer any questions they might have. The board then enjoyed a special lunch with the students prepared by The Sunshine Café. “It was important and impactful for our women’s board to see first-hand the good work that Federation does,” said Carol Bub Fromer, Women’s Philanthropy president. “We are so thankful to have such wonderful relationships with our community agencies.”
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Yoav delegation to commemorate Israel’s Memorial and Independence days in Lehigh Valley By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor For the first time ever, the Yoav contingent of the Partnership2Gether committee will be visiting the Lehigh Valley over two very important Israeli holidays—Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut, or Israel’s official Memorial Day and Independence Day. The program, which links the region in Israel to the Valley, is a long-standing one, but this year will be special due to the Israelis traveling to Allentown to have the opportunity to show their American partners what these days mean to them. From April 26 to May 1, 12 members of the Yoav group will be staying in Pennsylvania, welcomed by home hospitality from members of the Lehigh Valley Jewish community. They will be meeting with the area’s synagogues, Hillels and Jewish agencies and helping to plan and organize programs for the holidays. “The purpose of them coming here is to strengthen the connection between our two committees, our two communities, and our two countries,” said Aaron Gorodzinsky, director of campaign and security planning for the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley. On April 27, there will be a Yom Hazikaron event held to observe Israel’s Memorial Day and remember the IDF’s fallen soldiers and those who have died in terror attacks. The ceremony will be facilitated by Israeli Community Shlicha Rotem Bar and the delegation from Yoav. Services will be held at 7:15 p.m. prior to the 7:30 p.m. ceremony, which is open to the public.
The following day, the Yoav delegation will be a part of the Yom Ha’atzmaut Kickoff Celebration sponsored by the Jewish Federation and hosted at Temple Beth El at 8 p.m. The adults-only event will be full of Israeli drinks and desserts, and participants are invited to take part in a traditional “torching” ceremony to send up well wishes for Israel and the Jewish community for the coming year. (RSVP to the Jewish Federation at 610-821-5500 or email@example.com.) Finally, on April 29, Federation is cosponsoring the annual IsraelFest to celebrate Israel’s 72nd birthday with the Jewish Community Center. This party in honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut has been planned with the Partnership2Gether committee and will feature Israeli music, face painting, cookie decorating, a photo booth, craft stations, an archeological dig and more. Admission is free, and there will be food available to purchase from the Around the Table Catering kosher food truck. The members of the delegation to be visiting are coordinator Amit Zehavi, Chair Hannah Bachar, Hezy Reuven, Rikki Chryzler, Richard Shecory, Liat Efraim, Zerah Shlomo, Alon Inbar, Annette Mashi, Mazal Malchah, Tali Hayoun and Yael Feller Malka. They will be guided by the Lehigh Valley Partnership2Gether chair, Miriam Zager, and the rest of the committee, staffed by Gorodzinksy and Bar.
First ordained woman cantor shares her life’s song with the Valley
Above, Cantor Barbara Ostfeld discovers she's related to an audience member before her talk. Below, Ostfeld addresses the crowd gathered to hear about her journey to becoming the first ordained female cantor.
To learn more about the Partnership2Gether delegation trip or events, contact Aaron Gorodzinsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2020 5
Transatlantic book club is ‘On the Same Page’—virtually
Maimonides brunch focuses on stroke care By Bayley Carl JFLV Marketing & Engagement Associate
On Sunday, Feb. 23, the Lehigh Valley half of the Partnership2Gether “On the Same Page” book club gathered in the board room of the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley with books in hand. Connecting through the wonders of modern technology, they could see the Yoav half of the club projected onto a large pull-down screen and hold a discussion of this session’s novel, “Homesick” by Eshkol Nevo. This project is an ongoing one between the two Partnership communities, led by Adina Re’em of Allentown and Ravit Blidstein of Yoav. Their goal is to build a bridge of dialogue and explore Jewish identity through literature. The next meeting will be April 19, when the group will reflect on “A Pigeon and a Boy” by Meir Shalev. To register, call the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley at 610821-5500.
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On Sunday, Feb. 9, the Maimonides Society held a program on acute stroke care and poststroke recovery. Dr. Deborah N. Kimmel, Dr. Martin Oselkin and Dr. Ayanna Kersey-McMullen were featured as speakers at the event. Alongside the doctors, stroke victims also spoke about their experiences, including their recovery processes. In addition to early detection, finding the necessary tools to deal with post-stroke consequences is vital to a full recovery. This is something Kimmel spoke largely on. She tells her patients that recovery can last up to two years, but sometimes, a full recovery is not possible. She also focuses on the fact that a healthy lifestyle is the best way to lower your chances of having a stroke. “Rehabilitation Medicine physicians and therapists are similar to teachers in that they help a patient access their innate abilities to improve their function and reach their potential,” said Kimmel. Early detection is also a key element to a full recovery after having a stroke. Oselkin spoke about new technology that’s now available for early detection while someone is having a stroke. “For the past 20 plus years, we could only treat patients if they arrived less than three hours after the start of their symptoms, and treatment was not very effective, either. In the past year, advances in imaging technol-
Above, from left to right, Dr. Ayanna Kersey-McMullen, Dr. Martin Oselkin, Dr. Deborah N. Kimmel and Dr. Bill Markson.
ogy now allow us to detect clots in the brain and to treat stroke victims up to 24 hours with lifesaving and disability-sparing procedures such as a thrombectomy,” he explained. Oselkin added that “in the future, I envision artificial intelligence and wearables will detect strokes occurring before
symptoms are even noticeable instantly.” Up next: Members of the Maimonides Society are invited to a reception on Thursday, April 2, at Grille 3501, where they’ll be able to meet and mingle with other health care professionals. Members must RSVP by March 26.
Interfaith Friendship Dinner calls for action on flood impacts By Bayley Carl JFLV Marketing & Engagement Associate On Feb. 20, the Lehigh Dialogue Center’s 16th Annual Friendship Dinner took place. In partnership with the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley and the Lehigh Conference of Churches, the Dialogue Center presented “The Water We Share” with keynote speaker David Brandes, civil and environmental engineering professor at Lafayette College. Brandes gave a lecture entitled, “Climate Change and What We Can Do About It.” Living in the Lehigh Valley for almost 20 years, he has seen signs of climate change in his own backyard and has data to back up his findings. “This stuff is already happening, it’s not down the future someplace, it’s happening right now,” said Brandes. The earth is getting warmer, and it is getting wetter. Brandes pointed out clear events that many of the event’s attendees experienced. Musikfest has experienced extreme flooding, and the Cedar Creek pool in Allentown has also flooded multiple times. These floods are due to a combination of weather events, but they come down to one thing: the earth is warming. After Brandes spoke, a panel of faith leaders took the stage. The panel consisted of the Rev. Dr. Larry D. Pickens, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin and Rabbi Michael Singer. They spoke about how water plays a role in faith communities. All panelists had a different religion, but they agreed on far more than they disagreed on. Amjad spoke about the symbolic relationship between the heavens and the spiritual realm, this upward, elevated exalted place, where water comes from. He then touched on how as human beings we believe that we are made from the earth. Humans are approximately 70% water, and the earth is approximately 70% water as well. All life is sustained by water, and to keep our bodies healthy, we must keep our earth healthy. The guests were all assigned tables, and each table consisted of people of different faiths, much like the
panel of faith leaders. This was done because after the panel spoke, the tables spoke amongst themselves and discussed how water affects them personally, and maybe differently, depending on their faith. At the end of the night, participants were left with a call to action. We must do everything in our power to protect the planet we live on, and to protect the earth for future generations. Through our different faiths and through water, we are all interconnected. The water we use in the Lehigh Valley will easily circulate all the way to New York. The substances we put into our water will affect people hundreds of miles away. 2018 was the wettest year ever for Pennsylvania. The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has developed ordinances that have been put into place, which are benefitting the Lehigh Valley’s people and land. Organizations like the Sierra Club put together events to educate crowds of people. It’s time to take that knowledge and implement it into our daily lives. Whether that’s by using biodegradable disposable silverware instead of plastic silverware, or getting a reusable water bottle instead of single use plastic water bottles, every effort is significant. Rabbi Singer said it well, “the time for talk has ended; the time for action is now.”
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Project TEN brings Israelis together The Jewish Agency for Israel Amidst a beautiful forest in the western Galilee in Israel lies the Harduf Project TEN Center. Co-directed by a Jewish woman and a Muslim man, the center emphasizes the values of coexistence between the local Jewish and Bedouin Arab populations. Participants at the center volunteer once a week at Beit Elisha, a group home at Kibbutz Harduf that houses adults with special needs, disabilities and behavioral and social difficulties. Volunteers also work weekly at Sha’ar La’adam, the kibbutz’s international center for educational, ecological and faithrelated activities that grapple with the complicated notion of coexistence between Jewish and Arab communities in the Galilee through the creation of a shared Jewish-Arab culture. Additionally, three days a week, these volunteers tutor young students in English at the local Bedouin schools near Harduf. Jewish young adults, like Ethan and Charlotte, come from all over the world to volunteer for two to five months in Harduf through Project TEN. Ethan, 19, from Toronto, Canada, just recently finished his second cohort at the Harduf Project TEN Center.
“Meeting and building a great connection with the kids we work with at the school was the most meaningful aspect of my experience. It was a really big eye-opener for me. I always wanted to work with kids, and now I think I might just do that in my future,” said Ethan. “When you get to live together and grow together, you find something new within all these other people and within yourself. And that is very meaningful,” said Charlotte, 18, a Philadelphia native. Since 2014, Project TEN has hosted hundreds of volunteers in Harduf in the self-sustainable community at Kibbutz Harduf. Beyond the volunteering aspect, the educational part of the program includes pluralistic Jewish learning, Hebrew and Arabic classes, co-existence sessions, theater, Anthroposophy and bio-dynamic gardening. Other Project TEN center locations around the world include Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Greece, Mexico and Mitzpe Ramon, Israel. To date, more than 2,000 Jewish young adults have volunteered at Project TEN centers globally. Editor’s Note: The Jewish Agency for Israel is an overseas partner of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
IN HONOR LAURA AND BOB BLACK In honor of your daughter Stefanie’s engagement to Alex Alchek Beth and Wes Kozinn SANDRA AND HAROLD GOLDFARB In honor of the birth of your greatgrandson, Luca Roberta and Jeff Epstein ELLEN AND PHIL HOF In honor of the birth of your grandson Abraham Louis Hof Wendy and Ross Born AMY AND RICH MORSE In honor of the birth of your first grandson, Wesley Graham Jakubiak Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein LOIS AND SY RATNER In honor of your 65th Wedding Anniversary Martha and Ron Segel ARLENE AND RICHARD STEIN In honor of your new home Roberta and Jeff Epstein MARGERY STRAUSS In honor of the 50th anniversary of your bat mitzvah Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald BARBARA AND ARTHUR WEINRACH In honor of your daughter Julie’s marriage Lynne and Mark Shampain Vicki Wax DAVID ZABRONSKY Speedy recovery Sybil and Barry Baiman IN MEMORY DAUGHTER WENDY (Daughter of Margie Ross)
Rita and Michael Bloom FATHER (Father of Lorri Zabronsky) Sybil and Barry Baiman TOBY BRANDT RAPPAPORT (Stepmother of Eric Rappaport) Wendy and Ross Born Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein JEROME CYLINDER (Husband of Audrey, father of Penny Roth) Kelly Banach and Rick Mongilutz Suzanne Lapiduss Selma Roth Barbara and Fred Sussman Vicki Wax BARRY FELTINGOFF (Husband of Arlene Feltingoff) Sybil and Barry Baiman RABBI SAM GLASER (Father of Larry Glaser) Kelly Banach and Rick Mongilutz Jill and Jeff Blinder Carol and Stewart Furmansky Beth and Wes Kozinn BILL GROSS (Husband of Ruth) Martha and Ron Segel JOAN HARRISON (Wife of Ron Harrison) Roberta and Jeff Epstein Marlene and Arnan Finkelstein Roberta and Robert Kritzer Taffi Ney Martha and Ron Segel Vicki Wax MICHELLE HINDEN (Wife of Bob Cohen) Beth and Scott Delin SELMA LERNER
(Mother of Robbie Cohen) Martha and Ron Segel MALCOLM LEVY (Father of Carol Wilson) Martha and Ron Segel JOYCE LIONHEART (Aunt of Amy Faith Lionheart) Shirley Airov-Bieling TED MARKSON (Father of Bill Markson) Sylvia and Sam Bub Beth and Scott Delin Laurie and Robby Wax HAROLD SARRETT (Father of Matthew Sarrett) Beth and Wes Kozinn BARRY SIEGEL (Father of Ariella Siegel and Shira Siegel) Joan Brody Martha and Ron Segel STANLEY STEIN (Husband of Manya, father of Laurie Lesavoy and Heidi Knafo, brother of Richard) Rita and Michael Bloom Beth and Scott Delin Kelly Banach and Rick Mongilutz Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald Jane and Arthur Kaplan Beth and Wes Kozinn Lynne and Mark Shampain BERNARD WOLENSKY (Husband of Adele) Martha and Ron Segel JOSEF ZWIEBEL (Brother of Cooky Notis) Martha and Ron Segel We gratefully acknowledge those individuals who have offered expressions of friendship through recent gifts to the Lehigh Valley Jewish Foundation. The minimum contribution for an Endowment Card is $10. Call 610-821-5500 or visit www.jewishlehighvalley.org to place your card requests. Thank you for your continued support.
Live Long. Pay Less. 8 Offices Valleywide: Allentown • Bethlehem • Easton • Nazareth
(610) 882-8800 • embassybank.com
NOW IN MACUNGIE! 207 East Main Street • Macungie, PA 18062 Entrance Behind Building
8 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
THE IMPACT ONE MAKES:
The Ufbergs By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor Editor’s note: We continue our series on individuals who have laid the foundations for the future of the Lehigh Valley Jewish community through their generosity this month by featuring Dr. Mickey and Eileen Ufberg. Dr. Mickey and Eileen Ufberg didn’t grow up in the Lehigh Valley, but they have fully embraced it as their home for over 50 years. “The community was so welcoming and so friendly that I got a terrific job offer in Philadelphia a few months after we moved here, and I said no,” recalled Mickey. “We were very happy here. I wouldn’t trade a minute of our life here.” “We have loved our life here. It has been amazing,” Eileen agreed. Still living in the home in which they raised their five children, all attendees of the Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley, the Ufbergs have also been long-active members of Congregation Sons of Israel and relentless supporters of the Jewish Federation. “From the very beginning, I could tell that Mickey and Eileen were exceptional, fine people. They have a unique ability to make a dimly illuminated room seem well-lit with their smiles, vivacity and positive, can-do attitude,” said SOI’s Rabbi Nisan Andrews. It’s this attitude that they take into all of their work for the Lehigh Valley Jewish community. In addition to being members of SOI, Mickey has been president of both JDS and Federation. Eileen has also served on the Federation board as well as chaired their Women’s Philanthropy board and received the George Feldman Achievement Award for Young Leadership. And they are both dedicated volunteers
to the Federation’s Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs. “How fortunate are we to have people like the Ufbergs in our community. They are not only warm and caring but they also bring a great sense of humor and can always be counted on. They understand the meaning of philanthropy and are wonderful community cheerleaders,” said Federation Executive Director Jeri Zimmerman of the couple. A retired doctor who served on the Lehigh Valley Hospital medical board and chaired their GI department, whose four sons are all doctors as well, Mickey was one of the founding members of the Federation’s Maimonides Society. When she wasn’t busy at home with the kids, Eileen was a docent at Allentown Art Museum and served as the first female president of the Parkland School Board. Now, they enjoy having free time to visit with their 16 grandchildren. “I just love the people that they are and what they’ve taught their children, and now their grandchildren, about morals and ethics. They’ve created the most wonderful family, who they’ve taught all to be mensches and to be active in their community. They really are an unbelievable couple. Never once in all these years, whenever we became involved, if I ever asked them to come to something or give or participate, they never have said no, never,” said Vicki Wax, a long-time friend and co-laborer in volunteering with the Ufbergs. “Mickey and Eileen were sort of our guideposts to philanthropy from the very beginning.” While Wax claims that the Ufbergs had a huge impact on her own philanthropy, the Ufbergs give credit to those who came before them, showing that the simple act of giving of yourself really can make an impact as it ripples on into the future.
“I was exposed to some very involved people in our first few years here,” remembered Mickey. “They really coaxed me into devoting a portion of my time to Jewish affairs. And when I think about it, my father was president of his shul, and my mother was president of Hadassah. It’s in my family, and I got involved very early, and I loved it.” Eileen's family were also very active in different Jewish circles. Overall, the Ufbergs are hailed as a paradigm for community involvement because they put into practice what they learned from their own role models. “It was all done for us when we got here, everything that made it such a wonderful community and made such a wonderful life for our family,” said Mickey. “We
were led by some prominent people, and we felt a responsibility to do a little for the next generation. And now our children feel the same way
and are leaders in their own communities. The more you have, the more responsibility you have. And, we feel we have everything.”
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2020 9
Fun blooms across the Valley for Tu B'Shevat
10 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
The message of Esther
RABBI MOSHE RE’EM Temple Beth El Ecclesiastes wrote, “The making of books is without limit” (12:12). There are countless commentaries on the Book of Esther. Why one more? Seymour Epstein, in his new commentary on the book entitled, “The Esther Scroll: The Author’s Tale” (Oakville Ontario: Mosaic press, 2019) argues for a novel reading of the Book of Esther. His claim is that the Book of Esther ought to be read as a political satire. This radical reading runs counter to the view that the book represents light
comedy, sacred history, romance or even a survival guide for Diaspora Jewry. Why is this important? I believe how we view the book is critically important because, when one fails to read Esther in the proper light, one could easily reach the wrong conclusions—mistaking parody for sacred tale. For example, scholars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries criticized the Jews for their ruthless killing of 75,000 Persian citizens and their godless behavior. Anyone reading chapter 9 of Esther and taking it at face value might reach similar conclusions. When one realizes that the author of Esther is him/herself critical of the Jewish community of Achashverosh’s time for this immoral behavior and that the book is meant to be read as satire, chapter 9 takes on a different light. Epstein’s point is strengthened by referring to rabbinic literature. The Rabbis (Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 11a) also viewed the Jews of Esther and Mordechai’s time in a negative light. According to the Rabbis, due to their
“laziness” these Jews failed to fulfill the Mitzvot, including Torah study. Like Mordechai and Esther, they were highly assimilated and failed to observe basic Jewish laws like Kashrut. What is Epstein’s thesis? In short, he argues that Esther and Mordechai are not meant to be heroes of the Jewish People that we are meant to emulate. Rather, “its two protagonists are highly assimilated and distant from Jewish values, not the perfect heroes we later make them.” Moreover, the book serves as a critique of Diaspora Jewish life. The message is “that Jews must not live outside of the Land of Israel, nor under any kingship but that of God.” Finally, according to Epstein, instead of treating the Festival of Purim as a child’s holiday or a time for drinking and comic relief, the Book of Esther demands that “we use the celebration to ask difficult questions about the current state of Jewish Peoplehood.” On a personal level, Epstein’s reading of Esther is quite appealing. Ever since my undergraduate
days, I was deeply troubled by Purim and how it was observed on college campuses. Purim served as an excuse to “party” wildly and get completely “smashed.” People hid behind the Talmudic statement of Rav’s that, “A person is obligated to become intoxicated with wine on Purim until he is so drunk that he does not know how to distinguish between cursed is Haman and blessed be Mordechai.” What they forgot was the continuation of that same Talmudic passage (Megilla 7b): The Gemara relates that Rabba and Rabbi Zeira prepared a Purim feast with each other, and they became intoxicated to the point that Rabba arose and slaughtered Rabbi Zeira. The next day, when he became sober and realized what he had done, Rabba asked God for mercy, and revived him. The next year, Rabba said to Rabbi Zeira: Let the Master come and let us prepare the Purim feast with each other. He said to him: Miracles do not happen each and every hour.” Clearly, the Talmudic tale
is not meant to be taken literally, but serves as a critique of drinking sprees. Epstein would argue that the Rabbis had a keen sense of the critique of the Book of Esther itself of the drinking parties that Esther herself imbibed in, but that represented the worst in the ugly majority culture of her time. As a critique of a godless society (nowhere is there mention of any religion— even pagan religions—in the Book of Esther) and the lack of any moral compass, Esther serves as a challenge for us to question our role as Jews living under foreign power in the Diaspora. Some scrolls of Esther are written in such a way that each column begins with the word Melech, “King” in Hebrew. This stylistic custom is meant to highlight the difference between human kings and human political power and God’s power. Perhaps we need to recover the self-critique of Esther and have its reading serve as a yearly reminder to look into the mirror and ask not “who is the fairest of them all” in an aesthetic sense, but in a moral sense.
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JFS leads community in observing Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor Over 40 people gathered in Muhlenberg College’s Seegers Union on the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 23, for the Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month Community Event sponsored by Jewish Family Service. Rebecca Axelrod-Cooper, community impact coordinator for JFS, welcomed the audience to the program, which included a screening of the 2017 documentary “Swim Team.” “We realized we couldn’t include the vast diversity of disability with just one film,” she told them, “so we chose one that shows what is possible when you give kids with disability the chance to be included.” The documentary tells the story of the Hammerheads, a swim team in New Jersey made up entirely of teens on the autism spectrum, who compete through Special Olympics. The movie followed the challenges and triumphs of the team collectively, as well as focusing on the lives of three individual young men on the team. It also highlighted the challenges of the parents navigating a world which is not always supportive or inclusive of their children. The showing of “Swim Team” was made possible by a partnership with ReelAbilities International, an organization which organizes film festivals and programs showcasing films by, about and for people with disabilities. After the film, special guest Alice Moat, state sport director of swimming and co-manager of the Bethlehem Special Olympics, another partner for the event, spoke to the audience on the impact that Special Olympics makes for those who participate. “Special Olympics is a great
Alice Moat and Dedra Sobol, sporting Special Olympics medals, with Chelsea Karp organization that provides training and competition in Olympic-type sports to athletes at all ability levels, at no cost to the athletes or their families, or to the spectators at our events,” said Moat. “We provide opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to grow in physical fitness, courage, joy and the sharing of their gifts. The social aspects that are learned through sports competition are just as important as the physical. Many of our athletes go on to be health and fitness coordinators, coaches, officials or Global Messengers.” Moat then introduced one of her athletes, Dedra Sobol. Over the past 20 years, Dedra has partcipated in swimming, rhythmic gymnastics and soccer skills. Sobol is a Global Messenger who spoke to the crowd about her experience with Special Olympics and what it has meant to her. “Starting to swim with Special Olympics began the best experience in my life,” declared Sobol. She expressed that her participation has given her the chance to “get to do what I
love, make lots of friends, and have coaches like Alice who are always kind and helpful.” Chelsea Karp, JFS volunteer coordinator, thanked the crowd for attending, closing the day’s event with reflections from her recent trip to Washington, D.C., for Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (see page 1). “We know as we stand here on the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we still have much to do,” said Karp. “That is why we at JFS very much like to heed the phrase which is a slogan of the disability rights movement, ‘nothing about me, without me,’ as we are committed to continuing the conversation of how we can make our community inclusive for all.”
Jewish Disability Advocacy Day
to present their case for the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 651/H.R. 1814) and the Isaiah Baker and Margie HarrisAustin Act (H.R. 5443)/Ensuring Access to Direct Support Professionals Act (S. 3220). These would extend the age of disability acquisition to 46 for ABLE accounts, a state-run savings program for individuals with disabilities, and allow care providers to sustain continuity of care even when their clients are hospitalized, respectively. The day left the Lehigh Valley Jewish communal professionals inspired and energized to work to make the Jewish community in the Valley even more active and inclusive. JFS staff are planning to take what they learned at JDAD and directly apply it to JFS’s ongoing disability advocacy programming.
Continues from page 1
fighting for disability rights was inspired by his deaf brother, recalled “a life of separation from family, friends and community, and severe limitations on what you could do and where you could go. It was a life of constant struggle for people with disabilities.” That was what has been overcome in many ways, but there is still more potential to be realized. Which is why participants were given tips on how to make compelling asks to the legislators with whom they had appointments that afternoon. After hearing from other members of congress such as Rep. Max Rose, Rep. Jamie Raskin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, another award recipient, the Lehigh Valley contingent was ready to head off with colleagues from Pittsburgh to lobby their representatives. Meeting with Rep. Mike Doyle, a senior legislative assistant from Rep. Guy Reschenthaler’s office and the Lehigh Valley’s own Rep. Susan Wild, the group was able 12 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
If you or a family member has a disability and are interested in helping to shape disability awareness and inclusion programming in the Jewish community, JFS invites you to have a seat at the table. Please contact Rebecca Axelrod-Cooper at 610-821-8722 or email@example.com.
The motto of the disability rights movement is “Nothing About Us, Without Us.” If you would like a seat at the table to have your voice heard about what you would like to see in the Lehigh Valley Jewish community to make it more accepting and inclusive for individuals with disabilities, contact Jewish Family Service at 610-8218722 or firstname.lastname@example.org to become involved as future programming is developed.
PARTNERSHIP2GETHER UPDATE FROM YOAV
Yoav celebrates spring and prepares for visits with the Valley
By Nurit Galon Partnership2Gether I’m writing this in February 2020, and the rains this winter have been made to order! Puddles, mud, even a river running through the Ayalon Freeway in Tel Aviv—a bit of a nuisance if you happen to still be in your car, but nevertheless a real cause for cheering! We already have more than our average yearly rainfall, and what a joy it is to see the green fields all over the country and the national rejoicing. No, not because of the elections or sport, but because the Kinnereth (Sea of Galilee) has really risen and is beautiful to see! Comes the weekend, and the people of Israel are hiking and biking throughout the country, the almond trees are beginning to bud, and very soon, the wildflowers will cover the land with a carpet of riotous colour! In the world around us, so much is happening. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump met in Washington with the "peace program of the century"—a real breakthrough or "Much Ado about Nothing"? Meanwhile here in Israel, we are overwhelmed by the political parties changing partners like a kaleidoscope, to the extent that it is hard to know who represents what! But in our little corner of the world, here in Yoav, life is as bustling as ever, with programs and projects and activities (with one ear always alert for "Red Zephyr," the warning for missile balloons and rockets.) Nothing succeeds like success, and following last year's success of the Momentum program, this year the problem is not to look for candidates, but to be flooded with them! Soon, five lucky ladies will be chosen
to meet up with their Lehigh Valley (and other) partners for a really exciting 10 days together traveling throughout Israel, and beginning with the first two days together in Yoav, being hosted by Yoav families. Like I said, though it is February as I write this, it is already time to begin choosing the four youth leaders who will spend the summer at the JCC of the Lehigh Valley summer camp. Last year, we reported the touching and happy reunion of all the Yoav camp leaders since the Partnership began. Without a doubt, the summer camp experience, including the warm and friendly hosting by Lehigh Valley Jewish families, has left our Yoav youngsters (some now married and with children) with a lasting understanding and attachment to our Partnership. So it's not surprising that the applications to be chosen this year have poured in for this program as well. The summer emissary to accompany them has already been chosen, Ofir from Kochav Yair. Ofir will be part of the committee and will also assist with the preparation of this year's group. At the end of April, a delegation from the Yoav Steering Committee of Partnership 2Gether will arrive in Allentown to visit with the people of the Lehigh Valley Jewish community, and high on their list of priorities is to join in preparations for Israel’s Rememberance Day and Independence Day. The transition from one to the other is not easy, and is often the cause of serious discussion here in Israel. But perhaps it is necessary for Remembrance Day to remind us of the price we have paid—and are still paying—in order to be
able to celebrate Independence Day? The Yoav Municipality recently held an open day to introduce plans (already going full steam ahead!) for the Yoav Y Economic Park. With much of the park already sold, it won't be too long before the Y park will open officially. Yoav has been, right from the beginning, in the forefront for global ecology, and this month was awarded a prize, not for the first time, for being a green region. This coincides with the festival of Tu B'Shevat, when throughout the country we celebrate in the traditional way by planting trees and eating fruit. To all of you in Lehigh Valley, we hope you had a happy Tu B'Shevat. Chag Sameach!
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2020 13
MEET THE PRESIDENT
Melissa Hakim By Stephanie Bolmer HAKOL Editor Dr. Melissa Hakim serves as president at Congregation Keneseth Israel, the synagogue she grew up in. After attending college at Brandeis University and going on to medical school at Mt. Sinai in New York City where she met her husband, Dr. Harvey Hakim, she returned to the Lehigh Valley when it was time to settle down. “We immediately joined the JCC and KI,” recalled Hakim. Since then, Hakim has been an active member of the congregation. Cycling on and off the board since 2003, she has held multiple positions, including trustee-at-large and recording secretary. She also served as president of the KI Sisterhood, twice. After her youngest child graduated high school, Hakim figured she finally
had the time to make the commitment to serve as the congregation’s president. This is now the second year of her term. “We’ve accomplished a lot,” said Hakim, listing new initiatives at KI since she has been president. “We’ve opened up membership to all our families. Every person within a family unit is considered a member; we want to be welcoming. We’ve also started some alternate Shabbat programming called Shabbat Out of the Box. People celebrate Shabbat in different ways, and we are trying to mark something special in a meaningful way.” She also mentioned the Family Promise program that KI has taken on, as described in an article in the February 2020 issue of HAKOL, and KI’s ongoing partnership with Allentown’s Central Elementary School. Both
of these are part of how KI lives out their Jewish values, something they are examining as a congregation with a program called Brit Olam, a URJ initiative for social justice.
Happy Happy2019! 2019! Happy 2019! Allentown & Lebanon Allentown & Wilkes-Barre Allentown & Lebanon Allentown & Wilkes-Barre Allentown & Lebanon Allentown & Wilkes-Barre
14 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
“We’re looking at it as, what are the reasons for the problems our society is having? And using Jewish texts as a call to action to figure out preventative measures and to affect changes at a
higher level,” explained Hakim. “We also got a new religious school director this year, so that’s exciting,” she added. In addition to her duties as KI president, Hakim uses her medical experience to now run her own business as a healthcare advocate (see ad on page 23). In her free time, she enjoys biking and running, is an avid reader and is passionate about nutrition. Her husband practices internal medicine in Easton, and they have three children. Benjamin works in sales for a Danish startup in New York City, Hannah is graduating in June from Northwestern University with a degree in theatre and Max is a sophomore at Boston University studying film. Overall, Hakim is happy to be giving back to the congregation that raised her. “There’s a vibrancy that’s kind of happening at KI,” she remarked. “It’s a really friendly, welcoming place where you could just walk in by yourself and be greeted and be part of all that’s going on.”
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2020 15
Jeri Zimmerman, executive director of the Jewish Federatio day co-chair, prepare to hand out cards to volunteer callers in their quest to raise money for the Federation’s Annual C and non-Jews at home, in Israel and around the world.
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
The Levin family comes dressed for the occasion, keeping with this year’s Super Sunday theme.
A voluntee tion to the and apple Beth El, ap
Volunteers gather to “make the call” at the Jewish Federation’s Super Sunday Community Mitzvah Day on Jan. 26. More than 150 community members came together to raise money for the Federation’s Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs and participate in mitzvah projects and children’s activities. Younger volunteers made thank you calls to donors who had already pledged their support to the campaign.
16 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
Jewish Federation President Gary Fromer, campaign Co-Chairs Vicki Wax and Robby Wax and Super Sunday Co-Chair Naomi Schachter show their support by joining volunteers in reaching out to the community.
Volunteer Carah Tenzer makes the call to support the cause.
Feather Frazier and Amy Sams help children make their own Super Sunday donations to plant trees in Yoav, Israel. Frazier and Sams visited Yoav on their trip to Israel with the Federation and Momentum last summer.
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
on, and Dana Cohen, Super Suns. The cards help the volunteers Campaign, which supports Jews
Left, Dan Leisawitz helps to brighten up the JCC basement as part of a Super Sunday mitzvah project. Right, state Rep. Mike Schlossberg and U.S. Rep. Susan Wild help volunteers prepare kosher meals for older adults in the JCC kitchen. On the menu that day: an “un”stuffed cabbage casserole, paired with chicken soup from Muhlenberg Hillel, smoked turkey minestrone soup from the Jewish Day School, green beans donated by Friendship Circle and an apple crisp made by the Federation’s “new-ish” Jewish women.
er delivers kosher meals to the home of an older adult. In addie food prepared that day at the JCC and the soups, green beans e crisp, the bag also included challah from KI, fruit salad from pples from Shirat Shalom and brownies from JDS. Jim Mueth visits with residents at Traditions of Hanover on Super Sunday. He was among a group of volunteers paying a friendly visit to the older adult residence to run a program for Tu B’Shevat. Volunteers also visited two other residential facilities that day.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
Mitzvah Project Co-Chairs Beth Kushnick and Donna Iorio show off their “family to family” shoeboxes full of toiletry items. The boxes were donated to the Jewish Family Service Community Food Pantry.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2020 17
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
The Zighelboim boys bring their tzedakah to donate on Super Sunday. This year at the Children’s Mitzvah Station, kids had the opportunity to make a donation to plant trees in Yoav, Israel.
Jon Epstein leads an activity during the Federation’s first Philanthropy Academy for preteens on Super Sunday. Epstein talked to the participants about what it means to give and how organizations like the Federation work out where and how to allocate the funds they receive.
Ally Wiener Avraham and Yael Shimon listen to the stories being read at the PJ Library program on Super Sunday.
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
Jen Einstein reads a PJ Library story. Einstein talked to the kids, along with Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania Karli Miller, about celebrating differences and how we are all unique.
Children decorate the Family to Family boxes full of toiletries that were donated to the JFS Community Food Pantry on Super Sunday.
18 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY FISHER
Hannah Boonswang and Lenore Donohue enjoy ice cream sundaes at a pre-Super Sunday movie night at the Jewish Day School.
Cotton candy is also on the menu for movie night, along with popcorn and treats dipped in chocolate. Families came out to enjoy a fun movie and show their support for the Federation’s Annual Campaign in advance of the big day.
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20 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
KI to host dinner and a movie
Sons of Israel offers scholarship program The Frank and Ada Segel Family Student Scholarship Program was established with Congregation Sons of Israel through a philanthropic bequest by Frank and Ada Segel's daughter, Helen Segel. Miss Segel recognized the importance of higher education and the need for financial assistance to students in the Jewish community. Frank and Ada Segel were members and friends of Congregation Sons of Israel, and Miss Segel wanted to honor the memory of her beloved parents with this wonderful act of tzedakah. Applications will be accepted from Lehigh Valley Jewish students who (a) have been accepted or are enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution, (b) have a demonstrated record of service to the Jewish community and to the Lehigh Valley community at large and (c) meet additional specific criteria established by the Frank and Ada Segel Family Student Scholarship Program Committee. Decisions for awarding scholarships will be at the discretion of the committee. A scholarship may be awarded to one or more
students on an annual basis for an amount up to $5,000. Please call Congregation Sons of Israel at 610-433-6089 or email april2715@gmail. com for more information and to obtain an application. Applications, along with supporting materials, should be submitted by Friday, May 15, 2020.
By Patty Carlis Congregation Keneseth Israel Who doesn’t love a hot pastrami sandwich on fresh rye bread, or a juicy kosher pickle, or maybe a grilled Reuben sandwich—is your mouth watering yet? Well if so, join us at Congregation Keneseth Israel on Saturday, March 21, at 6 p.m. for a fabulous deli dinner prepared by our Chef Eric and a screening of “Deli Man,” a “delicious” documentary produced and directed by Erik Greenberg Anjou. The principal guide of the film is the charming Ziggy Gruber, who is a third-generation delicatessen man. And believe it or not, he speaks Yiddish and is a French-trained chef. Because the story of the American deli is the story of the Jews, he will take us on a journey through their immigration, migration, upward mobility and western assimilation. From Galveston to Houston, Chicago to Detroit, San Francisco to L.A. and, of course, New York, the local Jewish deli was often at the center of Jewish life. Who knew? Reserve your seat and a guarantee of a delicious deli meal today. Cost is $18 per person for dinner. Movie is free and starts at 7 p.m. Are you a vegetarian? We can accommodate your dietary needs if you let us know when you make your reservation. Call KI at 610-435-9074. Send checks to Congregation Keneseth Israel, 2227 W. Chew St., Allentown, PA 18104 or sign up online at kilv.org. Please RSVP by March 16. BYOB reception starts at 5:30 p.m. This event is presented by the Adult Education Committee of Congregation KI.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2020 21
‘Live and Become’: This month’s great film at the J
By Dan Poresky Special to HAKOL “Live and Become” is both the title and the driving force of the sixth of eight fabulous films that make up the inaugural season of Jewish Film Nights at the J (JFN). Join us Tuesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. at the J. All films are free and open to the public, with popcorn, fresh fruit and beverages included. “Live and Become” is a magnificent, epic life story of an Ethiopian boy who is airlifted from a Sudanese refugee camp to Israel in 1984 during Operation Moses. Shlomo is plagued by two big secrets: he is neither a Jew nor an orphan, just an African boy who survived and wants, somehow, to fulfill his Ethiopian mother’s parting request
that he “go, live and become.” “Live and Become” is the winner of 16 festival awards around the country and a favorite of our selection committee. Filmed in Ethiopia, Israel and France in local languages with English subtitles. A representative of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley will provide a brief introduction to the film and stay after for a Q&A. JFN shows a film one night a month during October through June. Our film committee is very selective. We research, screen and review films, choosing a variety of genres and topics. There are literally hundreds of films with a Jewish connection produced every year. We wait and see which ones have staying power and gain the most accolades. And this approach is working to create a great program at the JCC, with attendance continuing to increase. We are averaging over 100 people per film. It has become a gathering place where people come early and connect with friends. I, personally, am very proud of our new projector and improved sound setup. The subtitles are
In first, an Ethiopian Israeli will represent Israel in Eurovision Song Contest By Marcy Oster Jewish Telegraphic Agency
much easier to read, and the music sounds wonderful. For more information, visit our webpage at lvjcc.org/film or use your smartphone app with the QR Code at the top of this article. While there, please sign up for the JFN newsletter. Know what’s coming and receive timely reminders. You will also see information on how to become a sponsor. Sponsorships start at only $36. Sponsors are listed on the website and acknowledged at the events. We want to thank our sponsors, the JCC for making this program possible and the Jewish Federation for providing major funding to help pay for these films. Please contact Brenda Finberg at bfinberg@lvjcc. org or 610-435-3571 with any questions. See you at the movies!
For the first time, an Ethiopian Israeli will represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest. Eden Alene became the pick for the May contest being held in the Netherlands after winning the Channel 12 reality contest “HaKochav HaBa,” or “The Next Star,” on Feb. 4. Her performance in the finals was Beyonce’s “Halo.” She was the choice of the panel of judges and Israeli viewers who texted their votes. Alene, 19, of Kiryat Gat, is no stranger to victory. Two years ago, she won the Israeli version of “X-Factor.” “It is an insane honor to represent my country. It is amazing that an Ethiopian is doing it for the first time,” she said after her victory. “Think about where we were when the Ethiopians first started making aliyah and look at where we are now. It’s a whole new world.” Alene currently is fulfilling her mandatory army service. The Jerusalem native was raised in
the capital city by her Orthodox Jewish single mother after her parents divorced when she was 4. She released several singles for radio after “X-Factor.” Her song for Eurovision will be selected in a nationally televised program in March, when a panel of judges and Israeli viewers can vote on one of four songs chosen from public submissions. Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won Eurovision in 2018, which made Israel the contest host the following year.
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22 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
CM-332, Hakol, Dog, 10”w x 8”h Hakol Half Page, 4C 10” x 8”
The story of Purim isn’t kid-friendly — but these 6 books are By Emily Schneider Kveller.com As a Jewish holiday approaches—any Jewish holiday—many parents and grandparents look forward to reading with children books about what to expect. But Purim poses something of a problem. The story of this festival includes Jewish courage and triumph, but it also features explicit violence, which is difficult to separate from the exciting tale. There are winners and losers—and the losers don’t fare well in the end. Basically, Purim is a holiday about Jewish courage and survival, with some hard-to-avoid sexism as a basic part of the plot. Purim is often identified as the Jewish holiday in which a woman plays a starring role, and so, little girls are encouraged to dress as the bold queen who puts her life on the line to save her people. And yet, parents need to get around the difficulty of explaining to kids that Queen Esther’s heroism is expressed through submissiveness and physical beauty. Esther becomes the Persian queen only after King Ahasuerus throws out his previous wife, Vashti, because she committed the grave sin of refusing to show up when he called for her. This insecure male naturally believes his royal minister, who points out that Vashti’s chutzpah will encourage other women to disobey their husbands. Then there are the gallows, first intended for Esther’s cousin, Mordechai, and later used to punish Haman. Yes, we know that the element of retribution is essential to the story. Once King Ahasuerus learns that Haman intends to kill Mordechai— the very Jew who had saved the king’s life by revealing a conspiracy against him—the tables turn and the Jews of Persia earn the right to punish their tormentors. Purim proves that Jews did not have to be the perennial targets of hatred and fate, but explaining that aspect of the holiday to the youngest readers can be challenging. Fortunately, there are many wonderful books out there that focus on festive aspects of the holiday, such as dressing in costumes, and enjoying delicious hamantaschen. The terrifying parts of the tale can wait for later, when kids are old enough to understand the history behind them. Following are six outstanding, age-appropriate recommendations.
of integrating a story about disability into the Purim narrative. Hershel is a blind child who, through creativity and strength, overcomes challenges in order to help his mother bake hamantaschen. The story focuses on family relationships and Purim customs, rather than the biblical story, making this a good choice for young readers. The implicit message, that disability is not a barrier in Jewish life, is a welcome one. Recommended for ages 3 to 7. 2. “Is it Purim Yet?” By Chris Barash and Alessandra Psacharopulo This book joins a series about children’s impatience and excitement surrounding the coming holidays. Any parent knows that high expectations can lead to disappointment, and the noise and revelry of Purim can be overwhelming. This book, also a PJ Library selection, pairs simple rhyming text with colorful and familiar images of childhood, focusing on family togetherness as much as religious ritual. It is decidedly low-key, emphasizing the transition to spring and the joy of preparing mishloach manot (gift baskets for friends and neighbors). Recommended for ages 3 to 6. 3. “Goldie’s Purim” By Jane Breskin Zalben Featuring gorgeous illustrations of a family of bears celebrating Purim, this PJ Library selection may be out of print, but is thankfully still widely available. The story centers around a purim spiel (a reenactment of the Purim story) at Goldie’s shul, and her fears and worries about performing on stage. Goldie’s bravery is compared to Esther’s—and although Goldie doesn’t confront a life-and-death situation, any message about female bravery in a children’s book is welcome. As in many of Zalben’s stories, a multigenerational
family is central, with both parents and grandparents as supportive characters. Recommended for ages 3 to 7. FOR KIDS AGES 9 AND UP Purim books for older children typically present the harsher realities of the holiday. Here are a few that stand out, thanks to their engagement with the more sensitive implications of Purim, as well as for their literary and artistic quality. 4. “Queen Esther the Morning Star” By Mordicai Gerstein This book doesn’t pull any punches about King Ahasuerus’s volatile anger and fear of women’s independence. He bellows at Queen Vashti, who has ignored his command to appear before him, “Guards! Throw her out! Let her beg in the streets! I will find a new, more beautiful queen. One that obeys me!” There is also a picture of Haman hanging on the gallows that’s possibly more terrifying for what it omits: We see only Haman’s lifeless feet hanging, and his three cor-
nered hat falling to the ground. Only two pages later, the book concludes with a picture of Esther, Mordechai and the king, feasting on an oversized plate of hamantaschen. Purim is all about contradictions, after all— a Jewish woman becomes queen, her cousin becomes an honored minister and the victims become the winners.
their faces, Esther chooses to stand out by weaving a single strand of white wool in her dark hair. Being different, rather than trying to blend in, becomes a key to survival.
5. “The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale” By Eric A. Kimmel and Jill Weber
This sophisticated and information-rich book may be older, but it remains widely available. That’s a good thing, as it provides a serious introduction to the holiday’s historical context, with chapters explaining Purim customs across geography and time. The chapter “Purim in Captivity” offers a sobering reminder of the existential peril which Jews have faced over the centuries, including in the Warsaw Ghetto under Nazi terror. The story itself is a modified version of the actual Megillah, and the delicate drawings in mauve ink by the renowned artist, Demi, give the book the feel of a medieval manuscript. Older children will love this different and distinguished retelling of the Purim story.
In this book, the revenge element of the Purim story is highlighted rather than underplayed—kids will learn that Jews, almost always the victims of baseless hatred – can stand up for themselves and even retaliate. There are no images of Haman’s fate here, but kids will learn that his whole family will share it: “Hang him from that gallows out there! Hang his whole family with him!” The bold pictures of villains and heroes add much to this exciting story—for example, Esther’s beauty routine is elevated to a calculated level. While other beauty contestants apply kohl and cinnabar to
6. “Make Noise, Make Merry: The Story and Meaning of Purim” By Miriam Chaikin and Demi
FOR YOUNGER KIDS These Purim books focus on mitzvot, interaction with family members and participation in community activities. 1. “Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale” By Barbara Diamond Goldin and Jaime Zollars This sensitive and beautifully illustrated story, a PJ Library selection, has the advantage HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2020 23
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As we head into the second half of our fiscal year, our chapter has seen great growth and success this year. We have added several new and young members that are the future of our chapter and hosted several successful chapter events to start our year. AIT night was held this past month, and it was a
great chapter event. At this event, our newest members were inducted officially as members of Allentown AZA #156 chapter. We ran programs to teach our new members the principles of our chapters and had time for the older members to interact with the younger members. There was also a gaga tournament among the entire chapter. AIT was an incredibly successful event, and we hope to model future events after the programs planned at this one. Allentown AZA is also set to host the annual Liberty Region Tournies convention, where chapters from around the Philadelphia area will compete in athletic, academic, art and other events to compete for first place. This is one of the most attended conventions in Liberty Region and should be a great success. Stay tuned for upcoming news and events, you do not want to miss out! If you have any questions regarding upcoming events or about signing up for BBYO, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allentown BBG takes on Tournies and International Convention By Fana Schoen BBG Allentown Danielle Goren B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) #1188 has been doing a lot of hard work this February, and it is all going to pay off soon! On Feb. 4, BBG and AZA got together to decide on a theme for the upcom24 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
ing Liberty Region #13 convention. Tournies in the first weekend in April. During this convention, Jewish teens from Eastern Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware gather together to compete in a wide variety of competitions. Each year, there is a theme for the convention, and each chapter picks something within that theme to represent for the duration of the weekend. It took a lot of deliberating, but eventually the teens in Allentown BBYO chapters came to the decision for the Allentown-hosted convention theme: fast food restaurants! Allentown AZA will be competing as Long John Silver’s and Allentown BBG will be competing as the Krusty Krab! Allentown will be on the lookout for volunteers to assist with housing and judging, and teens in the chapters will be hard at work in search of members to attend, as well. Allentown BBYO is determined to win Tournies this year, and they’re putting the work in to make it the best Tournies yet! Before teens in Allentown BBYO chapters dive into preparations for the convention ahead, teens from Allentown and all over the world will go to Dallas, Texas, for BBYO’s International Convention. Roughly 5,000 Jewish people from all around the world will gather for days of speakers, performers, sightseeing and fun at the world’s largest annual gathering of Jewish youth. Some keynote speakers will include David Dobrik and Jesse Eisenberg and performers such as Bryce Vine and Matoma. It is sure to be a weekend to remember, and Allentown AZA and BBG will both be sending delegates who will have an incredible weekend!
GIVE A MITZVAH, DO A MITZVAH
Sports, snacks and social
Eric Zager will become a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, March 28, at Temple Beth El in Allentown. An avid hockey player and fan, Eric hoped to weave sports into his mitzvah project. He decided to visit seniors at Country Meadows Retirement Communities to talk sports. Eric has brought friends along on his weekly visits to Country Meadows, which made it more comfortable for him and provided more company for the residents.
Although the sports talk has been minimal, everyone seems to really enjoy the Philly pretzels brought along and spending time with the visitors. “They really like that I’m there, and I try to talk about sports with the residents, but mostly they like to tell stories and give us advice,” Eric said. “Eric and his friends have really gotten to know some of the residents and enjoy their conversations together,” Eric’s mom, Miriam Zager said. Now that they are familiar with Country Meadows and more comfortable with the residents, they are excited to reach out to specific sportsminded residents individually, in addition to meeting in groups. When he has a little more free time after his bar mitzvah, Eric and his friends will continue their weekly visits with residents at Country Meadows. Whatever the topic of conversation, it has been a great experience for Eric and his friends, as well as the Country Meadows residents. Sports and hockey are still in the mitzvah mix in other ways. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms Hockey team has a
program called Sled Hockey. Phantoms Charities Sled Hockey is for youth ages 5-17 with mobility challenges. The Phantoms Charities Board of Directors had a vision of creating a legacy program that would truly showcase that hockey is for everyone. With that in mind, Phantoms Charities launched its inaugural season of Phantoms Charities Sled Hockey in the fall of 2018. Phantoms Charities is dedicated to providing children and youth with mobility challenges the opportunity to play hockey. USA Hockey-certified coaches, volunteers and families create a respectful and supportive environment that facilitates teamwork, friendship, physical activity and fun! Phantoms Charities provides all necessary equipment to each athlete, and in most cases, provides a scholarship toward the cost of team registration and USA Hockey membership. At the end of the inaugural season, coaches, players, volunteers and families celebrated all of the skills learned, relationships formed and obstacles overcome. Eric was unable to attend
sled hockey as a volunteer this season, but has been recruiting friends and fellow hockey players to participate and support this amazing program in the future. He has reached out to his teammates and coaches and hopes that they can all work together next season to help this program thrive. Eric’s parents, Miriam and Mike Zager, are so proud of their son for his dedication and regard for
others facing challenges in their lives. In addition to his mitzvah project, Eric has made his first adult gift of tzedakah to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs. For help developing your mitzvah project, contact Abby Trachtman, project coordinator, at email@example.com or call her at the Federation office at 610-821-5500.
PJ Library Family of the Month:
THE JONES FAMILY
We enjoy reading together as a family and look forward to our PJ Library book each month. Gemma loves when the package arrives with her name on it! She immediately rips the envelope open for me to read her the newest book. It’s important for Gemma to take pride in her Jewish heritage, and PJ Library helps her learn customs and values in a fun way. - GIA AND MATT JONES To learn more about PJ Library and register to receive free Jewish-themed books for children from 6 months through 8 years, visit www.pjlibrary.org.
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Interview with a local author: Pete and ‘Oscar and Gus’ By Sandi Teplitz Special to HAKOL
Thu., March 12 - 7 PM - $65/$59 Sponsored by RCN, Fulton Bank and Kitchen Magic
453 Northampton St., Easton, PA www.statetheatre.org 610-252-3132 1-800-999-STATE
Writer’s Note: My initial experience with Pete Barbour as a professional was taking my young son to him. He suffered with migraines, and Dr. Barbour was his physician. When I bumped into him recently, 30-some years later, I discovered his new vocation as a “bone-a-fide” (pun intended) author of two publications about dogs. I was intrigued ... I myself once was the proud parent of a Wheaten Terrier, so I could identify with his attraction to this breed. It seemed appropriate that I should conduct the interview on Oscar night, considering the latest book's title. Sandi Teplitz: What is your background, vis-a-vis writing? Pete Barbour: My first book, in the mid-1980s, was of a serious nature. It was called “Loose Ends” and involved my personal experience losing a father two times—one through divorce and one through death. I've had several other short stories published; my latest book, published just two months ago, involves interaction between my son's dog, Oscar, and my beloved Wheaten Terrier, Gus, of blessed memory. ST: What is it about Wheaten Terriers that makes them a good topic for a book? PB: My dog Gus was a non-shedding, loving dog, great with kids ... He also happened to match our downstairs carpet. ST: Sounds like fun! But is that enough material for a book? PB: At that point, no. But when my wife, Barbara, and I discovered that these dogs were origi-
nally sheep herders, we enrolled Gus in sheep-herding classes. I began drawing pictures of Gus, Barbara took photographs, and voila, this led to the publication of my first book about this breed, which I called “Gus at Work.”
This second book is more of an adventure story. I don't want to reveal too much though, or I'll spoil the ending.
ST: Great collaboration! How about your most recent venture into publishing?
PB: It's called “Oscar and Gus.” It has evolved to become a tale that illustrates compassion, tolerance and sharing.
PB: After three years, there was still a lot of interest from my readers in continuing this Wheaten saga. So when my now grown-up son, Jonathan, came to Allentown to visit and brought his own dog to our house, I realized that the interaction between the two canines would be a source of delight to my audience.
ST: Compassion, tolerance and sharing ... noteworthy qualities for a neurologist, and a great segue into writing a children's book. To order your personal copy, see Pete's website: www.petebarbour. com.
At last, ‘Harry Potter’ is available in Yiddish! By Arielle Kaplan Kveller.com Perhaps it’s no surprise that the Bible, which has sold more than 5 billion copies, is the bestselling book of all time. But do you know what the best-selling book series of all time is? That honor belongs to J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter.” Having been translated into 80 (and counting) languages, it’s also one of the most translated literary works. Ready for another fun fact? More than two decades after the first “Harry Potter” book was published, it is available in Yiddish for the first time. Swedish publishing house Olniansky Tekst Farlag is publishing the first-ever Yiddish version of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (which is known as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in the U.S.). Translated by Yiddish expert Arun Schaechter Viswanath, and illustrated by Johnny Duddle, the book is available for preorder with a limited first run of 1,000 copies. Viswanath, 29, spent more than two years translating “Harry Potter un der Filosofisher Shteyn.” He comes from a family with deep Yiddish roots: According to Tablet, his grandfather, Mordkhe Schaechter, was a professor of Yiddish at Columbia; his mother, Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath, authored an English-Yiddish dictionary; and his aunt, Rukhl Schaechter, is the editor of the Yiddish newspaper, Forverts. “I hope that publishing this crown of popular youth
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ST: I can't wait to read the book ... what is the title?
literature will be something that brings in people who have been maybe thinking about learning Yiddish, or maybe have learned it but haven’t found a way into the culture,” the publisher, Nikolaj Olniansky, told Tablet. What should we expect in this magical book? Well, there’s Yiddish, for sure. But unlike Hebrew translations of the series, Viswanath will retain Rowling’s storyline without adding a Jewish element. (In the Hebrew version of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” a Hanukkah song replaces a Christmas carol!) But readers can look forward to a slightly more rabbinical bent. “I recast some of the characters as certain Jewish archetype purely on linguistic grounds,” Viswanath said. “I turned Dumbledore into this very lomdish [Jewish learned] guy who speaks with a lot of loshen koydesh [Hebrew and rabbinic phrases].” “I hope we will also reach a new group of people who haven’t given Yiddish a thought before,” Olniansky said.
‘The Discovery of Flight’
By Sean Boyle JDS Librarian Susan Glickman’s middle grade novel, “The Discovery of Flight,” is told through twelve-year-old Sophie’s journal entries required by her Bat Mitzvah instructor and chapters of her sixteenyear-old sister Libby’s novel. Libby has cerebral palsy and is only able to move her eyes, requiring assistive technology on her computer to help write her novel as a secret gift for Sophie’s thirteenth birthday. Libby’s novel is also titled
“The Discovery of Flight” and is a fantasy set in medieval times where a young girl, Terra, is able to communicate telepathically with a wild hawk named Aya. From Sophie’s journal entries, we learn that their favorite movie is the 1985 cult-classic, “Ladyhawke,” where a cursed woman is a hawk during the day and becomes a woman at night. The girls’ father enjoys taking both girls out bird watching his favorite birds, local red-tailed hawks. Although it is not explicitly stated, the audience can deduce that in Libby’s novel, Sophie is the girl, Terra, and Libby is Aya, the hawk. The book’s structure alternates between Sophie’s journal entries and the chapters in Libby’s book. Each chapter is either dated for Sophie’s journal entry, or listed as a chapter in Libby’s book. There are also two different font styles used to help distinguish the two voices. Their stories become intertwined and demonstrate the deep love the sisters share. Through Sophie’s journal entries, the reader discovers the harshness of public reac-
JCC pre-K visits the JFS Food Pantry
tions when exposed to people with physical disabilities, and how Sophie advocates for her sister at every opportunity. The reader also learns how the challenges of preparing for a Bat Mitzvah are magnified by Libby’s physical difficulties and Sophie’s love for her sister. In addition, Sophie shares the heartache of accepting the world that traps her sister and allows others to be unaware of how blessed they are to be disability-free. Susan Glickman was born in Baltimore but was raised in and now lives in Canada. A college professor, Glickman sees herself as a poet first. She has written over six poetry books, several middle grade novels, and won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for her first novel “The Violin Lover.” Glickman recently started to take professional art lessons. “The Discovery of Flight” is her first attempt to write and illustrate her own work. Highly recommended for ages 12-120, with special interest for those learning about assistive technologies and understanding families with physically disabled members. A copy of “The Discovery of Flight” is available at the Jewish Day School Library. The Discovery of Flight (Glickman, Susan, Toronto, Canada, Inanna Publications and Education Inc., 2018, 181p.)
Children from the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley pre-K class decorate tote bags at a recent visit to the Jewish Family Service Community Food Pantry. They can take the bags to the store and bring back supplies to the pantry. Students visit JFS several times throughout the school year, participating in activities with lessons focused on such topics as mitzvot, giving, planning ahead and understanding how the pantry works and the needs behind it. HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2020 27
Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie BY SANDI TEPLITZ This is a special dessert for a party because of the ingredients and texture. INGREDIENTS: CRUST 1 c. ground chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs 1 stick salted butter, melted FILLING 1/4 c. sugar 1/4 c. cornstarch 2 c. whole milk 3 eggs, whisked together 8 oz. Ghirardelli white chocolate chips, grated in a food processor 1 tsp. pure vanilla 2 c. heavy cream, whipped, divided in half 1 bag (7 oz.) coconut, toasted, divided in half
Mix crust ingredients and place in 9” pie pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool and chill. Mix sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Mix in milk slowly. Cook over low heat, stirring until boiling. Remove from heat. Add custard to half of the eggs, then return to the heat, and boil again, stirring, over low heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate and vanilla. Place in Pyrex bowl until chilled. Fold in 1/2 of the whipped cream and 1/2 of the coconut. Spread the remaining cream and coconut on top. Refrigerate until served.
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How to choose a ketubah By Jamie Rubin MyJewishLearning.com Mazel tov (congratulations) on your upcoming wedding! If you’ve decided to include a ketubah or Jewish marriage contract as part of your wedding, you have myriad options. Here is a brief guide of things to consider as you select the one that’s right for you and your partner. Ketubah wording While some ketubot (the plural of ketubah) are stunning works of art, the most important part of any ketubah is what it says. After all, you and your partner will be signing this document and affirming that what it reads is true, so the first thing you’ll want to do is find a ketubah with text that reflects the values you and the person you’re marrying share. You also may want to strike the right balance for yourself between traditional and progressive options. Until the 20th century, almost all ketubot contained the same basic text in Aramaic and were signed only by the groom and two male witnesses. The document was essentially the groom’s marriage proposal to the bride and his pledge to “honor, support and provide for her.” While many traditionally observant Jews continue to adhere to the original text and customs—or to keep them, but add to the ketubah a prenuptial agreement that promises a get, or Jewish divorce decree, if requested—a wide variety of alternatives are now available. For example, at www. ketubah.com, you’ll find (as of 2019) 32 different choices of pre-written texts, including an option to write your own. Some offer language inclusive of same-sex couples or that reflects a more egalitarian view of the couple’s relationship. Others are specifically tailored for interfaith couples. If you don’t know which text to select, read several and consider which ones reflect your values. You also will need to decide in which language or languages you’d like your ketubah to be. Many ketubot are in Hebrew or Aramaic, with side-by-side translation. When Paul Golin, an American Jew who serves as executive director of the
Society for Humanistic Judaism, married Yurika Mizuno, who is from Japan, they had the ketubah created with English, Hebrew and Japanese text. If you choose to start from scratch and write your own text, it’s a good idea to consult with a rabbi or scholar of Jewish law. Rabbi Jodie Gordon of the Reform congregation Hevreh of Southern Berkshires in Great Barrington, Massachusetts suggests that custom-written ketubot include: the date of the wedding on both the Jewish and Gregorian calendars, the couple’s names as well as the names of witnesses in attendance and what she calls “a conversation of promise,” a reflection of what each partner wants in the relationship and the marriage as they move forward. Ketubah aesthetics and price Once the text has been decided on, the next choices you’ll have to make are about style and presentation. For some couples, buying a ketubah is an investment in a piece of art. Some commission artists or artisans to create custom ketubot that can cost thousands of dollars. One place to find such artists is through the creative marketplace on Etsy.com. More affordable ketubot can be found elsewhere online, at Judaica shops and at Jewish museum gift shops. A quick Google or Pinterest search will lead to plentiful options from simple to abstract to unusual. Crafty couples might also consider purchasing art supplies and making their own ketubah. MPArtworks Ketubah
Studio’s offers a “paint-yourown DIY” ketubah, and fans of adult coloring books can now purchase coloring ketubot. You can select your own text and color in the designs that surround it. Use it as a way to unwind from your wedding planning, or offer it as an activity for a bridal shower or bachelor party—or as an activity just before the wedding. What alternative options exist? A small but emerging trend in the world of ketubot is the idea of replacing the ketubah altogether with what’s known as a “Brit Ahuvim” or a “lover’s covenant.” Jewish feminist theology professor Rachel Adler, who wrote “Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics” in 1998, introduced this alternative practice for those who find the gendered roots of the traditional ketubah off-putting. Some couples reject the notion that in their view, traditional ketubot were documents outlining a groom’s purchase of his wife. The idea of Brit Ahuvim is to create a new document, without roots to a traditional ketubah, that looks at marriage through an egalitarian lens and contains promises the couple makes to each other. Adler’s original sample text for Brit Ahuvim can be found at ritualwell.org. Whether your ketubah is an artist’s finest masterpiece or something simple and beautiful that you found in your local Judaica store or something you wrote and crafted with your own hands, it should be a document that you want to look at for the rest of your lives.
The Israeli wedding
By Rotem Bar Community Shlicha Israeli weddings have unique characteristics, ones that you will not find in any other wedding around the world. Basically, imagine all the character traits of “the typical Israeli” expressed extensively in this one event. For example, only in Israel will you find guests that arrive in jeans or sandals, they rarely start on time and try making a speech with all the loud small talk! With that said, Israeli weddings are one big party that you don’t want to miss! Even though we have adopted many customs and rituals from the American culture into the Israeli lifestyle, it seems that in the weddings department, we have left many customs to the Americans. First, let’s start with the precelebrations. While in America it is custom to have a bridal shower and a rehearsal dinner, in Israel you won’t find anything of the sort. You will find bachelor/bachelorette parties, but the main pre-wedding celebrations in Israel are called “Hina.” This is traditional to Mizrachi Jews who originated from North African and Middle Eastern countries. It takes place a few days to weeks before the wedding and includes a colorful traditional ceremony with music, special clothing and painting henna tattoos on the palms of your hands
Ruchi Koval Continues from page 1 is over. Why, at 4 a.m. on Friday night, did both my husband and I wake up obsessing and replaying everything about the previous night’s family dinner? It wasn’t just the anxietyfilled thoughts. It was also about all the amazing moments: and then this happened and then that happened and what exactly did I say in my speech? Which exact words did I use? Did I remember to thank everyone (there’s the anxiety again)? I wonder, now that it’s over, for how many weeks will I continue to obsess about the details? Like now I am obsessing about the pictures—how many were taken, how did they come out? Were all the family members included? Why did I wear that scarf when a darker one would’ve been better? Of course my Type A personality swings right into “next time” mentality. Should I use the same photographer next time? Should I order from the same vendors?
for luck, health and wealth. Having to choose and match all your bridesmaids’ gowns is not somethings that the Israeli bride deals with. In fact, we don’t have bridemaids and groomsmen at all! The Israeli wedding is much less formal; therefore, guests won’t dress too formal. If you have ever been to a night out clubbing, then you have got the dress code down. Women would put on a nice dress, and a man will probably wear nice jeans or pants and a button-down shirt. The only guests that dress in suits and ties are probably very close family and friends, and that, too, is not always the case. Israeli weddings are also big and expensive. Therefore, only checks/money are accepted to help the couple cover all their wedding expenses. There is no registry, and if someone walked in with a gift in their hand, they would certainly get some eyebrows raised. It is customary to come with an envelope only. The most popular time to have your wedding in Israel is Thursday evening. While you might be invited to a wedding on Friday morning or on a weekday evening (never on Shabbat, even if you are secular), Thursday is the last work day of the Israeli week, and so it is a perfect time for guests to let loose, dance into the night and not worry about waking up for work in the morning. Those weddings can last sometimes up to 3:00 or 4:00
What would I do differently, what would I do the same? I use the word “devil” tongue-in-cheek, but the truth is that Judaism teaches us that there is a toxic voice inside each of our heads that tries to derail us, and the journey of our growth will be dependent upon how we overcome or breathe through those voices. Whenever you have a situation that is so rich with opportunity for connection and reflection and gratitude, I can guarantee you that that toxic voice will show up and try to derail the moment. Because while the devil is in the micro, the angels are singing in the macro. Every simcha is both an unbelievable opportunity and also a huge potential pitfall. It is moments like these that are at risk for all kinds of anxieties and ruffled feathers and fragile feelings. Which is exactly why we have to double down to resist those temptations and pressures, and maximize these moments. Because this is what makes life sweet; this is what makes all the struggles worth it.
in the morning. Yes, really—Israelis can party, and weddings are the perfect occasion! Israeli weddings promise a night of lots of food, unlimited alcohol and loud music. After the reception, chuppah and dinner, everyone is expected to dance, and no excuse can be made—you will be expected on the dance floor. No one really cares about long toasts, and the entertainment usually comes from the couple’s friends and family that “surprise” the couple with a funny video about the couple or a performance. In my family, we like to do flash mobs for our family weddings. Did I mention already that my family is awesome? This is the basic 411 on the typical Israeli wedding. With that being said, the wedding industry and styles have changed a lot in the last few years in Israel. There are many unique and alternative styles of weddings, and I am sure we will see that more and more in the upcoming years. I have been to “different” weddings myself. I have been to a “social” wedding, where no one was allowed to bring money or gifts, and the guests brought the food and the couple’s friends and family blessed the couple under the chuppah. I have also been to a kibbutz wedding where an hour into it all the guests were in the kibbutz’s swimming pool. No matter if traditional or unconventional, weddings in Israel are a wild experience. So, if you ever get to invited to one, don’t expect anything to be on time, come hungry and don’t forget to bring cash, dancing shoes and a whole lot of energy. Mazal Tov!
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HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2020 29
Lehigh Valley gets ready to celebrate Purim Purim begins on March 9 this year, and there are a variety of fun events happening across the Lehigh Valley to mark this festive holiday. The Jewish Day School and PJ Library teamed up to kick off the season of Purim celebration with a “Jungle Adventure.” On Sunday, Feb. 23, families were asked to dress for the wild with junglethemed costumes and enjoyed a twist on favorite hamantaschen, created jungle crafts, voted for their favorite decorated classroom door, walked on the wild side while posing for a picture in a photo booth and enjoyed story time with PJ Library books at JDS. On Sunday, March 1, there will be a Hamentaschen Make & Take at 1 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center. Why have a mess at home when you can make the mess at the JCC? Stop by and make your hamentaschen amongst other families and friends. Guests can choose their own fillings, make them and bring them home to bake. All ages welcome. Price: $15/family, JCC members $12/ family. Space is limited. Register at the JCC Welcome Desk, call 610-435-3571, or go online at lvjcc. org/makeandtake. Purim fun at the JCC continues on Friday, March 6, with the JCC ECE Purim Shabbat Celebration at 11:15 a.m. in the Kline Auditorium. This event with singing, dancing and stories for children 5 years
old and under and their families is open to the whole community. Then, on Sunday, March 8, the JCC is hosting the Lehigh Valley Community-Wide Purim Carnival from 1 to 3 p.m. There will be hamentashen barekas from the Around the Table Catering food truck, inflatables, games, crafts, prizes, snacks, a PJ Library story time at both 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. and lots of fun for all. An RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-435-3571 is appreciated. Temple Beth El and Congregation Brith Sholom are joining forces to present a “Purim in the Palace” event on Monday, March 9. “Royal” attire is encouraged for the 6:30 p.m. party at Temple Beth El. A majestic Megillah will be followed by supreme snacking, queenly confections and laudable libations, plus, kingly karaoke and tremendous trivia. The next morning on Tuesday, March 10, at 7:15 a.m. at Brith Sholom will include Shacharit, a Megillah reading and breakfast. The courtesy of a response is requested to CBS at 610-866-8009 or Beth El at 610-435-3521. Congregation Keneseth Israel is also getting in on the fun with Purim Time at KI! at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 9, with a spiel, hamentaschen and more revelry. Another chance to dress up comes from Chabad of the Lehigh Valley, celebrating the new decade with a Roaring '20s Purim Party at 7 p.m on Monday,
One of the decorated doors at the JDS Jungle Adventure Purim event. March 9. Join them at Chabad for a dapper 1920s-themed party that's sure to be the bees knees! A Megillah reading, lavish buffet and illusionist entertainment will round out the night. $12 adult; $10 child; $15 at the door. Call 610-351-6511 or visit www. chabadlehighvalley.com. And to cap it all off, Congregation Am Haskalah will be gathering at the Levine Family home in New Tripoli for a potluck dinner and spiel on Saturday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m., led by Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein. RSVP to Liz Fear for address and directions at AmHaskalahDirector@gmail.com.
SteelStacks is the perfect venue for your Bar or Bat Mitzvah! SteelStacks is the perfect venue for your next event. The ArtsQuest Center and the surrounding campus is an ideal location to host a spectacular social or corporate experience your guests will be talking about for years. From the first hello to the final farewell – every detail is handled by ArtsQuest’s courteous hospitality professionals.
Contact us today! call Chelsea at 610-297-7116
30 MARCH 2020 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Happy Purim Stop by a GIANT near you and let the celebration begin!
Find hamantaschen in the bakery, along with other favorites throughout the store.
The Jewish newspaper of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania