The Voice of the Lehigh Valley Jewish Community
Issue No. 400
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Relive Jewish Heritage Night at the IronPigs p12-13
Find out about our active older adult community in this month’s special section
COM.UNITY WITH MARK GOLDSTEIN p2 WOMEN’S DIVISION p4 LVJF TRIBUTES p8 JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE p14 JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER p15 JEWISH DAY SCHOOL p16 COMMUNITY CALENDAR p22-23
Fate remains uncertain for egalitarian section of the Western Wall This report has been constructed with material from JTA.
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On June 25, the Israeli government voted to suspend the historic decision reached last year to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel (Western Wall). This decision has been heavily criticized abroad and protested in Israel, but as of the time of printing, there has been no conclusive decision. The plan for an egalitarian prayer space came about in 2013, following a decades-long advocacy campaign led by Women of the Wall and supported by the Conservative and Reform movements. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tasked Jewish Agency for Israel Chair Natan Sharansky with developing a compromise that would enable respectful accommodation of all recognized Jewish practice at the Kotel. After several years of intense negotiations, a seemingly historic compromise was reached. The Jewish Federations played a central role in that effort, working with Reform and Conservative movements, the ultra-religious parties in Israel, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Women of the Wall, the rabbi of the Western Wall, and the Israeli government to reach an agreement. As a result of the agreement, the Israeli Cabinet approved the proposal in January 2016 in a legally binding government resolution. Among other provisions, the Cabinet agreed to create a formal egalitarian prayer space as part of the overall Kotel area. Beyond the success of the plan itself, many hoped that the groundbreaking agreement would have set a precedent, showing that compromise can be reached. The fact that so many disparate groups were able to
reach an understanding was seen as a very positive sign. Nonetheless, the optimism proved to be short-lived, as implementation of the plan was halted due to pressure from the haredi Orthodox United Torah Judaism party and the Sephardi Orthodox Shas party, who pressured Netanyahu by threatening to leave the coalition government. A number of petitions were filed in the Supreme Court on the issue. In September 2016, the Court strongly reprimanded the government for not implementing the deal. With a Court-established deadline of June 26, 2017, ultra-Orthodox groups intensified their efforts to block the deal. At the urging of ultra-Orthodox coalition partners threatening to withdraw from Netanyahu’s governing coalition, the government voted on June 25, 2017, to formally freeze the Kotel Resolution. Netanyahu defended the decision, saying that he was working to ensure that Jews of all denominations would be welcome to pray at the Kotel. Other Israeli politicians disagree, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, who said in a statement that the freeze “constitutes a severe blow to the unity of the Jewish people, Jewish communities, and the fabric of relations between the State of Israel and the Jews of the Diaspora.” Along with Israeli politicians and citizens, non-Orthodox and feminist Jewish groups around the world are highly disappointed with the decision. Reps. Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey and Jerry Nadler of New York and Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida made statements against the decision on behalf of their constituents. The Jewish Agency canceled a scheduled meeting with Netan-
Jewish women praying at the women’s section of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, May 16, 2017. yahu, and in their statement, explained that the agency “deplores” the freeze of the zone that would “establish the Kotel as a unifying symbol for Jews around the world, as stated: ‘One Wall for One People.’” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the head of the Union for Reform Judaism, also canceled a meeting, saying that “the decision cannot be seen as anything other than a betrayal, and I see no point to a meeting at this time … we feel that at this moment, after more than four years of negotiations, it is not clear that the current Israeli government honors its agreements.” Jerry Silverman, the CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, added, “It’s deeply
troubling and very disappointing that they would suspend the implementation of this resolution. We are going to be assertive in asking what’s next.” While government negotiations continue, the Women of the Wall have made it clear that they will not stop praying their own way. “Women of the Wall will continue to pray as we always have in the women’s section at the Western Wall, with a Torah scroll and prayer shawls, until women’s equality will be established at the Kotel,” said chairwoman Anat Hoffman. “Just like you wouldn’t ask a man to take off his kippah, don’t ask us to stop praying according to our conscience.” The Jewish Federation of
the Lehigh Valley echoed these sentiments in a statement. “While our support for and commitment to Israel remain steadfast, we nonetheless take serious issue with these actions by the government,” the statement said. “These actions will only deepen the already accelerating divide between Diaspora Jews and Israel, precisely at a time when Jewish unity has never been more important. “We call on the government of Israel to immediately restore and move ahead with the Kotel agreement – a rare, unified compromise between all denominations that would be a landmark achievement for all Jews,” the statement continued.
ISRAEL NEXT DOR PARTICIPANTS RETURN FROM LIFE-CHANGING ISRAEL EXPERIENCE More on p24
FROM THE DESK OF MARK L. GOLDSTEIN
Executive Director | Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley email@example.com
I love America; I love Israel Because of a serious medical challenge, I recently decided to resign my position from the Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governors. I was honored to serve on this board, even if my tenure was cut short. If I had remained on the board, I would have been in Israel at the end of June, ironically coinciding with two very disappointing actions of the Israeli Cabinet. To be sure, I found these actions, highly political in nature, to be offensive to Diaspora Jewry, and it made me think about what I mean when I state that I love Israel. The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley supports Israel out of a deep commitment to – and some would call it love for – the Jewish people. With politics and discourse being so toxic today, a statement like “I love Israel” can invoke xenophobic images and blind patriotism. That is a real shame. To a certain extent, the same is true for my love for America. It is an expression of my feelings about the values upon which it stands, based on the principles and moral commitments upon which it was founded and the ideals that made the nation what
it is and what, I still believe, it is striving to be. When I declare that I love America, here is also what I do not mean. Loving America does not mean loving the political leadership that happens to be elected from time to time. Loving America does not require loving the laws that its lawmakers make, or the policies that its leadership pursues. Loving America does not require that we love President Bush or President Obama, nor does it require that we endorse Obamacare or Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. One of my colleagues noted that expressing love for America as being inextricably tied to specific government policies can become dangerous. The distinction between loving the values upon which a nation is founded and loving the government, or the policies that the people enact, is an essential distinction for establishing civil discourse. When those who love America disagree vehemently about policy, politics and leadership, their disagreements must be understood as disagreements about which person, policy or law best achieves the core values of America that we do love.
And what about Israel? When American Jews turn to Israel, there is a growing disconnect. The phrase “I love Israel” more often than not, is becoming tied to an endorsement of a particular politician or policy. That is a big loss. A huge loss. A loss that may explain part of why a growing number of American Jews find themselves alienated from the Jewish state. If we have any hope of finding common ground, we must reject the view that loving Israel requires the support of any particular politician, policy or law. Love of Israel does not require that we love Prime Minister Netanyahu or Yair Lapid, an outspoken opposition party leader. Love of Israel does not require us to support Israel’s policies in the West Bank or the extensive social welfare system that still exists. When those who love Israel disagree about these things, their disagreements must be understood as disagreements about which person, policy or law best achieves the core values of Israel. For it is these values that we support when we declare our love and solidarity with Israel. The recent actions of the
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Readers, When my Nana, Esther Bigel, moved to Georgia to be closer to my family, she began working as a lunch monitor in a public elementary school. This physically demanding job required her to patrol the lunchroom and keep hundreds of kids under control. In a job with so much turnover that many new employees didn’t last a week, she stayed for over 20 years, retiring in her mid-80s. The school was so grateful for her years of service that they put a plaque at the top of the lunchroom declaring it “Cafe Esther.” I didn’t get to see the ceremony firsthand, but I witnessed many special moments thanks
to her job, including grown men and women who remembered her from their childhoods introducing her to their children and a plethora of stories about funny or kind things the kids said. When I was younger, I was confused why Nana wanted to work in the school. Her answer was that the children brought her joy. In working on this month’s special section, I had the privilege of meeting older adults around our community. It was amazing to see the way each of them found joy in their chosen activities. I hope that you will enjoy reading about these intelligent, kind and welcoming older adults as much as I enjoyed meeting
Israeli Cabinet certainly may challenge the love and support for Israel among many Diaspora Jews. But I join Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president and CEO of the Union for Reform Judaism, who stated emphatically that the recent developments on the egalitarian Kotel prayer space and the conversion bill “were not going to sever the bonds between the Jewish people.” That would only embolden those Ultra-Orthodox in Israel who are using their political clout to drive a wedge between Israel and liberal Jews worldwide, and strengthen their hegemonic position over a growing segment of Israeli society, even if not supported by a majority of the Israeli population. Understanding how the government in Israel falls or stands is to understand that these issues, while felt deeply by Diaspora Jews, are but a convenient political pawn among coalition partners. Jacobs said his “love affair
HAKOL STAFF STEPHANIE SMARTSCHAN JFLV Director of Marketing
HAKOL is published 11 times per year for the Jewish communities of Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and vicinity by the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
COMMUNITY SUBMISSIONS Submissions to HAKOL must be of interest to the entire Jewish community. HAKOL reserves all editorial rights including, but not limited to, the decision to print any submitted materials, the editing of submissions to conform to style and length requirements, and the placement of any printed material. Articles should be submitted by e-mail or presented as typed copy; “Community Calendar” listings must be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.jewishlehighvalley.org. Please include your name and a daytime telephone number where you can be contacted in the event questions arise. We cannot guarantee publication or placement of submissions.
them. And may the joy evident in the various volunteer jobs and educational programs inspire each of you to find your own path to happiness, at any age. Shalom, Michelle Cohen
with this place [Israel] is about the people and the country; [his] argument is with the government. [He’s] not falling out of love.” Neither am I. Now is not the time to distance ourselves, or our Jewish community, from Israel. On the contrary. The times and the issues call upon us to strengthen and expand our relationship with and love for Israel.
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: email@example.com
MICHELLE COHEN Editor ALLISON MEYERS Graphic Designer DIANE MCKEE Advertising Representative TEL: 610-515-1391 firstname.lastname@example.org
JFLV EXECUTIVE STAFF MARK L. GOLDSTEIN Executive Director JERI ZIMMERMAN Assistant Executive Director TEMPLE COLDREN Director of Finance & Administration JIM MUETH Director of Planned Giving & Endowments AARON GORODZINSKY Director of Outreach & Community Relations EVA LEVITT JFLV President
EDITORIAL BOARD Monica Friess, Acting Chair Barbara Reisner Judith Rodwin Sara Vigneri
Member American Jewish Press Association
POINT OF CLARIFICATION A story in the June issue of HAKOL made mention of Rabbi Martin Biefield and his work in the community. Biefield served as the rabbi at Congregation Keneseth Israel from 1987-1998.
JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY We gratefully acknowledge those individuals who have offered expressions of friendship by requesting that trees be planted in the Yoav--Lehigh Valley Partnership Park. IN HONOR WENDY BORN Becoming Honorary JFLV Vice President Roberto and Eileen Fischmann JEANETTE EICHENWALD In honor of her teaching Thursday Yachad University Class IRIS EPSTEIN Kobrovsky Chairman’s Award for Campaign Excellence Roberto and Eileen Fischmann BETH KUSHNICK George Feldman Achievement Award for Young Leadership Roberto and Eileen Fischmann
EVA LEVITT Becoming JFLV President Roberto and Eileen Fischmann MARK SCOBLIONKO In honor of his work as JFLV President Roberto and Eileen Fischmann ALAN AND ABBY WIENER Birth of their great-granddaughter Roberto and Eileen Fischmann IN MEMORY JERRY FRIEDENHEIM (Husband of Bette Friedenheim) Karen Kuhn
LEE HAMMEL (Brother of Bobby Hammel) Roberto and Eileen Fischmann HAROLD ROCKMAN (Husband of Dolly Rockman) Sandy and Jack Schonberger LINDA KATANA SHUSMAN (Wife of Bernie Shusman) Sandy and Jack Schonberger MAXINE SILVERSTEIN (Wife of Gary Silverstein) Elaine Lerner CODY TREBON (Son of Steve Trebon) Elaine Lerner STEPHEN WEISS (Brother of Roberta Kritzer) Neil and Linda Dicker
TO ORDER TREES, call the JFLV at 610-821-5500 or visit www.jewishlehighvalley.org. 2 JULY/AUGUST 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
All advertising is subject to review and approval by The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley (JFLV). JFLV reserves the right to decline, withdraw and/or edit any ad. The appearance of any advertising in HAKOL does not represent an endorsement or kashrut certification. Paid political advertisements that appear in HAKOL do not represent an endorsement of any candidate by the JFLV.
JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY MISSION STATEMENT
In order to unite, sustain, and enhance the Lehigh Valley Jewish community, and support Jewish communities in Israel and around the world, the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is dedicated to the following core values: • Supporting Jews in need wherever they may be. • Supporting Israel as a Jewish homeland. • Supporting and encouraging Jewish education in the Lehigh Valley as a means of strengthening Jewish life for individuals and families. • Supporting programs and services of organizations whose values and mission meet local Jewish needs. To accomplish this mission the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is committed to the following operating guidelines: • Raising and distributing funds to support the core values. • Developing Jewish leaders. • Building endowments to support implementation of core values. • Committing to ongoing Jewish community strategic planning. • Fostering cooperation among organizations and community building. • Evaluating all decisions with respect to fiscal responsibility. • Identifying unmet needs and investing in community initiatives to help get them started. • Coordinating and convening a community response as an issue or need arises. • Setting priorities for allocation and distribution of funds. • Acting as a central address for communication about events, programs and services of the Jewish community as a whole. Approved by the JFLV Board of Directors on November 15, 2000
The 400th issue … a dream come true HAKOL's 40th anniversary celebration ends with a message from our original founders. A Lexus of Lehigh Valley Champions for Charity Event to benefit the Annual Campaign of the JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY
thank you to our 2017 sponsors
By Marlene Finkelstein & Maxine Tannenbaum Klein HAKOL Founders Perhaps, two of the things that attracted us to each other as friends was our love of learning and commitment to Jewish life within our Jewish community. The year was 1964, and we quickly launched an evening Hadassah study group for younger women who could not attend the established afternoon study group. Following was a natural progression to other educational endeavors such as starting a younger couples’ Bnai Brith Summer Institute (which just ended after 40 years of success); an Allentown Jewish Speaker’s Bureau; and even the start-up of Congregation Am Haskalah. Against this backdrop, Federation Director Leslie Gottlieb threw a spark in our direction when he offered us an opportunity to start a Federationsponsored Jewish community newspaper. This enabled the entire community to benefit from being exposed to information from many different Jewish sources and served to unite our then very separate three communities. It generated a lot of excitement for us and the sizable board we put together from the larger communities. Fortunately, too, we had very helpful and astute direction from Federation’s Assistant Director, Max (Maggie) Levine, who became production editor. Our original board consisted of Howard Marblestone, Pat Gribben, Beth Posner, Ethel Melamud, Joel Telles, Ned Shulman, Martha Segel and Sandy Teplitz, who is the only continuous contributor through to today! As we grew, we added many more writers to the editorial board and instituted dedicated pages for both Bethlehem and Easton. It was a time of much change in the Lehigh Valley. Feeding the enthusiasm for a broader perspective and more information was an influx of sophisticated new Jewish professionals for our institutions. We also saw the arrival of other professionals with the growth of the Lehigh Valley Hospital Systems, Western Electric/ Bell Labs, Air Products and other high tech industries, all thereby encouraging the expansion of HAKOL. Beginning modestly, September/October 1976, our first issue was eight pages. It went to 12 pages within a short time and now, we note, it is 32 pages, including advertising and color. Ours was a typewriter, cut and paste operation before the advent of computer technology. Today we see it reflecting the broader scope, both of stories from the homefront plus global issues. There is a lot to read, lovely in-color photos, a calendar of events … all we could have hoped for. Our wish for the future is that this legacy continues to evolve and enrich the lives of the Jewish population of the entire Lehigh Valley. We see the current editor, Michelle Cohen, as a real asset to HAKOL’s growth and development and we are proud to have been part of the igniting spark of what is now an institution in its 40th year and in its 400th issue!
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A special thanks to the 2017 Golf Tournament Committee: Honorary Co-Chairmen Leonard Abrams Mark Klein Chairmen Barnet Fraenkel Richard Schiff
Committee Houman Ahdieh Patty Carlis Scott Delin Stewart Furmansky Erica Hyman Richard Lerner Herb Levy
Bill Markson Peter Pettit Donald Senderowitz Larrie Sheftel Jay Stiver Scott Waldman Jean B. Weiner
To see more photos from this year’s tournament, “like” Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | JULY/AUGUST 2017 3
WOMEN’S DIVISION OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY
18 Lehigh Valley women experience ‘trip of a lifetime’ in Israel
By Lauren Rabin Special to HAKOL When I heard about joining the 2017 summer trip to Israel led by the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Program (JWRP), in partnership with the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, my first response was “absolutely not!” How would I do it, even if I wanted to go? The thought of leaving my family for nine days while I travel through Israel was out of the question. But after gathering more information from friends and discussing it further with my husband and family, my mindset changed. I became excited! I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to travel the Jewish homeland with 17 other women of similar backgrounds who were soon to become my new best friends. The months leading up to the June trip were all about Israel. Everything I bought had to do with our trip: hats, sandals, dresses … everything. I was counting down the minutes and I couldn’t wait. I was surprised at how excited I was. My initial reaction of not going was now replaced by the knowledge that this was going to be the trip of a lifetime. Our Allentown group was fortunate enough to share the tour bus with 22 other amazing women from Philadelphia who we first met departing Newark Airport for Ben Gurion. There was an instant bond and we all
got along very well, helping and supporting each other throughout the entire journey. The first day in Israel was spent in Tiberius where we explored the town of Zickhron Ya’acov and enjoyed cooling off in the Sea of Galilee. That evening, hundreds of us listened to Lori Palatnick (founding director of JWRP) speak about marriage and relationships in Jewish families and then enjoyed our first of many fabulous Israeli meals at a restaurant called Decks. Here we were, Jewish mothers from all over the world, dancing the night away and welcoming the week to come. The following day we traveled to Tzfat. There we visited a mikvah, the old synagogue of Abuhav, “shmai’d” around the beautiful artisan shops and enjoyed some authentic Israeli falafel, my favorite falafel of the trip! There I bought my son, Aron, a necklace with the Sh’ma inscribed on it (we sing it every night) and he has been wearing it every day since. The next day in Jerusalem proved to be extremely emotional. We walked through Mamilla Mall (the Fifth Avenue of Jerusalem) to get to the Kotel. Whether you’re visiting the Kotel for the first time or you’ve been before, the feeling that rushes through your body as you place your note in the wall and your hand on its ancient and holy stones is
unexplainable. It was magical. Next, with our emotions running on high, we visited Yad Vashem. As a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, their experiences were always impossible to grasp. How did this happen? Why did this happen to my family? Yad Vashem serves to preserve for all time the memories and stories of so many victims and survivors. We all walked over a creaky bridge to enter the center, bleak and grey, but immediately were drawn to a bright shining light from the other end; the exit. This exit is the portal to hope and determination which literally foreshadowed the rest of our adventure into modern Israel. The trip continued with many highlights including seminars hosted by Adrienne Gold (education leader) and the extraordinary Lori Palatnick about self-acceptance and defining Jewish personality traits respectively. Our return to the Kotel that Friday night was unforgettable. It was followed by a Shabbat dinner at the Leonardo Hotel led by the very knowledgeable and animated Rabbi Gabriel Friedman. “Rab Gab,” as he called himself, was extremely engaging, funny and learned. Saturday was spent learning even more with Rabbi Friedman and Lori. What followed was an authentic Shabbat lunch provided by the Shabbat Experience and hosted by the Glickstein family from Nachlaot. Spending the day with a family who has firm roots in Jerusalem made us feel right at home. The day ended with spiritual learning and song at the Lone Sol-
dier Center in Old Jerusalem, a center created by philanthropists Pamela and Abba Claman that offers support to those soldiers from abroad without family in Israel before, during and after their army service. On day six, all of our physical and emotional strength was tested. The day started with a hike on Masada during an Israeli heat wave. The extreme heat didn‘t seem to bother us as we mustered all of our strength to continue learning. We then continued with a visit to Kfar Hanokdim, a Bedouin oasis. We sat in the shade of their large tent and were served sweet tea made from desert herbs and freshly brewed coffee during a traditional welcoming ceremony. Next came the camel rides; something I swore I would not do but could not pass up and I’m glad I did it! During lunch, at the desert oasis, our very own group member Nina, became Frieda in a beautiful and touching Hebrew naming ceremony. After lunch we continued to the extraordinary Dead Sea where we slathered ourselves in mud and floated with our limbs high out of the water, bodies buoyant. The most emotional part of that day ended at Ein Prat Mechina, an academy where many high school graduates attend before they enter the IDF. At this incredible institution, students strengthen their leadership skills and physicality. These brave young boys and girls served us a delicious and impressive dinner and we were given the opportunity to ask them questions about their experiences and goals. They
put their life on the line for the State of Israel and for the Jewish Diaspora. And for that we thanked them. We sang together at a bonfire that evening as if they were our own children. As an art lover, I was only too happy to end our trip with a visit to Yad Lakashish, a nonprofit organization that empowers and supports elderly Jewish citizens of Israel. The work they produce was impressive and professional and it was inspiring and heartwarming to see an organization that supports its most vulnerable seniors, giving them purpose and autonomy. We bought out the gift shop! Put Yad Lakashish on your “to do” list when visiting Jerusalem. Our final stop was Independence Hall in Tel Aviv. Listening to the late Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proudly proclaim Israel’s independence highlighted our week’s journey by clearly bringing Israel, its remarkable people and unforgettable places forever into our hearts and minds. We went from despair at visiting Yad Vashem to exhilaration at hearing the declaration of Israel’s independence. His speech was prophetic with respect to Israel’s essence and what it means to be a part of the world’s Jewish people. This Israel experience has further strengthened my Jewish values to empower my community. I am forever grateful that I agreed to participate in this adventure of a lifetime, for the special bonds that were created among our group, and for the people I met along the way.
Handmade Afghans SPONSORED BY THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY’S WOMEN’S DIVISION
welcoming new babies to the Lehigh Valley If you’re expecting, know someone who is, or have a new baby, PLEASE LET US KNOW! Contact Abby Trachtman, 610-821-5500 | email@example.com
4 JULY/AUGUST 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
BY EVA LEVITT
All proceeds benefit projects in Israel: Food Banks in Israel Neve Michael Youth Village For prices or to place an order, call Eva 610-398-1376.
All payments are made payable to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley
Federation honors award winners at annual meeting At the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley’s Annual Meeting on June 14, the community gathered together to celebrate the achievements of award winners and volunteers. The night’s honorees included Beth Kushnick, who received the George Feldman Achievement Award for Young Leadership for active volunteer service as well as bringing the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project to the Lehigh Valley; Iris Epstein, who earned the Kobrovsky Chairman’s Award for Campaign Leadership for three years of leading Federation’s annual campaign; and Kristin Weller, who received the Mortimer S. Schiff Award for Prejudice Reduction thanks to her efforts to bring the Holocaust into middle school classrooms. The Federation also elected new board members and officers, including new Honorary Vice President Wendy Born. In her first report, new President Eva Levitt laid out her three goals for her term: live up to the legacy left by her good friend Mark Scoblionko, bring more millennials into the Federation fold and, of course, raise more money. “I, as president, can’t do this alone,” she said. “We all have to work together for our community and for the Jewish community throughout the world.”
SAVE THE DATE...
LEHIGH VALLEY COMMUNITY SELICHOT Program and Services SEPTEMBER 16, 2017
Congregation B'rith Sholom Bethlehem Dessert followed by community program at 9:00 p.m. Various services at 10:00 p.m. Speaker information coming soon. All Lehigh Valley congregations will be participating in a variety of service settings.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2017
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | JULY/AUGUST 2017 5
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By Carolyn Katwan P2G Chair - Lehigh Valley Our community’s relationship with Israel has always been important. For many years, we participated in Project Renewal, a Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) program that matched Diaspora communities with Israeli cities, with an emphasis on helping with brick and mortar projects. We were matched with Ma’alot, a city in the north of Israel, where the Lehigh Valley Jewish community proudly helped to build the Murray Goodman ORT High School in Ma’alot. As the year 2000 approached, JAFI replaced Project Renewal with a new initiative, Partnership 2000 (later rebranded Partnership2Gether or P2G), focused on creating a living bridge between Diaspora and Israeli communities through projects that connected people in both communities. Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley opted into P2G nearly 15 years ago, establishing a partnership with the Yoav Regional Council. The program is funded by a portion of the Federation’s annual campaign dollars that is allocated for Israel and overseas. The direction of the partnership and its priorities are shaped by volunteer steering committees in our respective communities. Together, we recommend programs and determine which projects will be funded. The decision process is a result of joint meetings. Most years, those meetings take place digitally – lots of
email communication and phone calls, culminating with a budget discussion and project approval on a joint video conference. As chair of the Lehigh Valley steering committee (and the former Federation staff person with the partnership portfolio for its first 10 years), what I most look forward to is when we hold joint steering committee meetings face to face – in Yoav or by hosting the Yoav committee members here in the Lehigh Valley. This year, our meetings took place in the Yoav region in early June. The business agenda of the meetings was a review of last year’s projects and a budget discussion of projects for the coming year. But the real substance – the heart of our joint meetings – results in strengthening our relationship through the personal interactions – getting to really know each other. It is reminiscent of sitting around the fire at summer camp, having deep conversations with people you really like. We end up talking about … everything, from personal stories to sharing our dreams. Through these conversations, we come to better understand ourselves and each other, our priorities, and our shared interests and concerns. The Lehigh Valley Steering Committee was represented in Yoav by me, Alan Salinger and Aaron Gorodzinsky, Federation’s partnership coordinator. The meetings – both formal and informal – lasted three days and we packed a lot into those days … and nights. Each of us
enjoyed home hospitality; discussions started in formal meetings rolled over into informal discussions in our host homes. The formal meetings opened with a presentation by a young Israeli man who started on a journey to meet other Israelis of all stripes all across his own country … secular and observant Jews, in cities, in settlements and in kibbutzim, new olim, Druze, Bedouin, Palestinians, Christians and Muslims. This mosaic is the real face of Israel today. His simple message: face your fears. By talking to people, he was able to let go of many of his pre-conceived notions about “the other.” Poignant and thought-provoking, it was the perfect conversation starter for a discussion about Jewish identity. Our three days were filled with site visits to see some of the programs funded by the partnership. We attended a music program near Tsafit High School. With our help, they have established a music center for adults and youth. We met the four teens from Yoav who were selected (from an applicant pool of nearly 60 students) as the madrichim (counselors) who are now in the Lehigh Valley volunteering at Camp JCC. We met with teachers in Yoav who are working all year with Lehigh Valley students at synagogue schools and the Jewish Day School. We visited Ofakim, another community that has a partnership with Greater MetroWest in New Jersey, to learn about projects they have initiated. We visited the Intel facility where we had our 2017-18 budget discussion, via a telephone conference, enabling other Lehigh Valley committee members and Federation Executive Director Mark L. Goldstein to participate. Although the meetings lasted only three days, I enjoyed a nearly three-week stay in Israel. I also got to see our partnership at work – meeting with Israel Next Dor mission participants in Yoav, attending a community Shavuot celebration in Revadim, and representing our community at an evening of “Songs for Danny” with Matti Caps at Bet Guvrin on the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War. Every time I return to Yoav, it is familiar – reconnecting with friends who have become family – and at the same time new ... new people, new experiences. For me, our partnership – our special relationship with Yoav and with Israel – represents my Jewish identity. We invite you to become part of the partnership experience and connect with Israel in a truly personal way. To get involved, contact Aaron Gorodzinsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-821-5500.
Finding community connections in Yoav By Vikki Dunn Special to HAKOL On May 21, at the very end of our first visit to Israel, my husband, David, and I were fortunate enough to be able to visit the Yoav region of Israel. I had long known of the special relationship between Yoav and the Lehigh Valley through the religious school pen pal connection, but since I was not involved with that program, I was not going to try to squeeze a visit into an already over-packed itinerary. Thankfully, Wendy Born and Iris Epstein persuaded me to give it a try, and with the help of Aaron Gorodzinsky, the visit came about. First, the Lehigh Valley/Yoav relationship is not only about kids, although that connection is alive and vibrant. Rather, it is about two regions looking for common interests and goals, establishing personal relationships and working together on a variety of topics. Our “guide” for the day was Richard Shecory, who picked us up in the morning from our Jerusalem hotel and dropped us off at the airport at the end of the day. Richard's son spent a summer in the Lehigh Valley as a part of the Yoav/JCC camp counselor program two summers ago. What a time we had. He took us to a few sites in Jerusalem that we had not yet seen, providing interesting background and stories. We then spent several hours at Bet GuvrinMaresha National Park. This ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. It was a series of caves, originally
all connected and dug out by our ancestors during the second and third century BCE. Some were huge, others tiny, some decorated and others plain. We saw where doves were kept for meat and eggs, we saw ancient burial sites and even an olive press (which was huge and one of 21 that were found in the caves). After a great meal at a local restaurant, we went back to his house and relaxed with his wife and children. Before heading to the airport, he took us to a community center in his village, showing us all the improvements that had been made, including a beautiful mural that he helped paint. It was truly a wonderful time, and we look forward to reciprocating when Richard arrives in the U.S. at the beginning of August to accompany this year's Yoav counselors on their return trip home after a summer at Camp JCC. But this is what the relationship is all about. David and I cannot think of Yoav as a faraway, alien kind of place. If something happens there, it is not happening to anonymous people, but to Richard, his wife, his children and his community. Likewise, it is much harder to make broad and sweeping statements about the U.S. when you know real people and have shared meals and conversation. If you are planning a trip to Israel, I really encourage you to make the effort to include a stop in Yoav. Our two communities are building a strong and special bond that requires our support and care. You will not be disappointed.
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Santana August 4
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CHICAGO August 5
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Father John Misty August 6
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+LIVE+ August 7
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Aloe Blacc August 8
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Godsmack August 9
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presented by Ford F-Series August 10
sponsored by Highmark Blue Shield, Pennsylvania Lottery, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, CAT Country 96 & The Morning Call
The Band Perry August 11
sponsored by Mane ‘n Tail & CAT Country 96
Jethro Tull by Ian Anderson August 13
sponsored by Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency & 99.9 The Hawk
Sands Steel Stage on PNC Plaza
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | JULY/AUGUST 2017 7
IN HONOR ALAN AND SANDY ABESHAUS Engagement of their grandson Sam and Sylvia Bub and Family ALIETTE AND MARC ABO In honor of Jessica’s upcoming marriage Vicki Wax MARC BERNSTEIN AND SARA VIGNERI Graduation of their daughter, Ivy Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer and family WENDY BORN Becoming JFLV Honorary Vice President Joan Brody Marilyn Claire Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald Iris and Jonathan Epstein Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer Beth and Wes Kozinn Roberta and Robert Kritzer Linda and Mike Miller Taffi Ney Elaine and Leon Papir Roberta and Alan Penn ROSS AND WENDY BORN Birth of their granddaughter, Abigail Aliette and Marc Abo Marilyn Claire NATE BRAUNSTEIN Happy 90th Birthday Ross and Wendy Born SAM AND SYLVIA BUB Graduation of their granddaughter, Jenna Bill and Peggy Berger Beth and Wes Kozinn LARRY CENTER In honor of his son’s upcoming marriage Vicki Wax GINNY AND ZACHARY COHEN Bar Mitzvah of their son David and Ann Packman ROBERT AND JANE COHEN Bar Mitzvah of their grandson David and Ann Packman BEN DELIN Congratulations on his graduation Erica, Nat, Julia, and Lizzie Hyman JEANETTE EICHENWALD In appreciation for all that she does Ann Ginsberg JEANETTE AND EDUARDO EICHENWALD Bat Mitzvah of their granddaughter Karen Kuhn Graduation of their grandson, Benjamin Vicki Wax IRIS EPSTEIN Kobrovsky Chairman’s Award for Campaign Excellence Becoming President of JFLV Women’s Division Ross and Wendy Born Joan Brody
Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald Amy, Eric, Allyson, and Brenna Fels Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer Beth and Wes Kozinn Roberta and Robert Kritzer Linda and Mike Miller ELLEN AND NEIL FELDMAN Congratulations Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer ALLYSON FELS Congratulations on her graduation Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer and family Laurie, Robby, Ben, and Danny Wax GABRIELLE FRAENKEL Master’s Degree from Columbia University Engagement to James Serita Silberg GARY FROMER AND CAROL BUB FROMER Jenna’s high school graduation Ross and Wendy Born Beth and Wes Kozinn Beth and Howard Kushnick JENNA FROMER Congratulations on her graduation Erica, Nat, Julia, and Lizzie Hyman Laurie, Robby, Ben, and Danny Wax SANDRA AND HAROLD GOLDFARB Marriage of their granddaughter, Melissa Roberta and Jeff Epstein MARK GOLDSTEIN Speedy Recovery Beverly and Len Bloch Joan Brody Donald and Randi Senderowitz Fred and Barbara Sussman ALLY GROB Congratulations on her graduation Barry and Sybil Baiman MEGAN GROB Mazel Tov on her bat mitzvah Barry and Sybil Baiman BENJAMIN HAKIM Congratulations on his graduation Barry and Sybil Baiman RABBI YAACOV AND DEVORAH HALPERIN Congratulations on graduation of their daughter, Chaya Carol and Gary Fromer and Family RICHARD HERTZBERG In honor of his receiving the Paul Paris Gold Medal Barry and Sybil Baiman ERICA AND NAT HYMAN Graduation of their daughter, Lizzie Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer and family LIZZIE HYMAN Congratulations on her graduation Deb, Dave, Jordyn, and Jake Wiener Laurie, Robby, Ben, and Danny Wax DONNA AND MIKE IORIO Sam’s high school graduation Beth and Howard Kushnick
MAXINE AND DON KLEIN Marriage of their granddaughter, Abby Sam and Sylvia Bub and Family ERIC KUHN In honor of his children, Avery and Asher Barry and Sybil Baiman KAREN KUHN Birth of her granddaughter, Avery Ross and Wendy Born Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald BETH KUSHNICK George Feldman Achievement Award for Young Leadership Ross and Wendy Born Marilyn Claire Amy, Eric, Allyson, and Brenna Fels Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer Karl and Sara Glassman Mark and Amy Holtz Beth and Wes Kozinn Jennifer, Gary, Sam, and Noah Oxfeld BUDDY AND LAURIE LESAVOY Birth of their grandson, Aaron Donald and Randi Senderowitz EVA LEVITT Becoming JFLV President Joan Brody Evelyn Brown Amy, Eric, Allyson, and Brenna Fels Beth and Wes Kozinn Roberta and Robert Kritzer Mike and Linda Miller Taffi Ney Alan Rothberger EVA AND LARRY LEVITT Bat Mitzvah of their granddaughter Roberta and Jeff Epstein LOIS LIPSON Happy "Special" Birthday Audrey and Arthur Sosis HOWARD AND SHARON LISTWA Birth of their granddaughter Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald HENRY AND PAT LUFTMAN Graduations of Natalie and Nathan Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald JIM MUETH Speedy Recovery Barry and Carol Halper Arthur and Barbara Weinrach MARK AND ALICE NOTIS Engagement of their daughter Evie to Noam Cohen Vicki Wax MIKE AND COOKY NOTIS Engagement of their granddaughter Evie to Noam Cohen Vicki Wax ELAINE AND LEON PAPIR Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Doug and Marge Blake Suzanne Lapiduss and Family LOTA POST Happy "Special" Birthday Audrey and Arthur Sosis ELAINE RAPPAPORT-BASS Bar mitzvah of her grandson Vicki Wax ILENE AND MICHAEL RINGOLD Graduation of their son, Sam Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer and family SAM RINGOLD Congratulations on his graduation
Erica, Nat, Julia, and Lizzie Hyman Laurie, Robby, Ben, and Danny Wax PENNY AND ADAM ROTH Happy Anniversary Audrey and Jerome Cylinder DEENA SCOBLIONKO Speedy Recovery Mark Goldstein and Shari Spark MARK SCOBLIONKO In honor of his 3 years as JFLV President Ross and Wendy Born Taffi Ney JORDAN SILBERG Graduation from Jefferson Medical College Serita Silberg ARTHUR SOSIS Special Honor Bill and Peggy Berger ARTHUR AND AUDREY SOSIS Their daughter Ellen’s engagement to Scott Sam and Sylvia Bub and Family Vicki Wax MADISON STAIMAN Congratulations on her graduation Erica, Nat, Julia, and Lizzie Hyman MARCY STAIMAN Graduation of her daughter, Madison Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer and family PHIL AND DIANE STEIN Lisa’s high school graduation Wendy and Ross Born Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald FRANK AND TAMA TAMARKIN Graduation of their daughter, Hannah Bill and Peggy Berger Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer and family SANDI TEPLITZ Congratulations on her retirement Elaine and Leon Papir ALEXIS HALTZMAN TRACY Congratulations on her graduation Erica, Nat, Julia, and Lizzie Hyman EILEEN AND MICKEY UFBERG Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Bat Mitzvah of their granddaughter, Sophie Speedy Recovery for their daughter, Bonnie Larry and Missy’s honor from synagogue Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer Karl and Sara Glassman Beth and Wes Kozinn LORA AND SHARONE VAKNIN Graduation of their daughter, Ariel Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer and family TALIA VAKNIN Congratulations on becoming a Bat Mitzvah Hartley Lachter and Jessica Cooperman and family LAURIE AND ROBBY WAX Bar mitzvah of their son, Danny Marilyn Claire Ellen and Phil Hof Mark and Amy Holtz Beth and Wes Kozinn Rabbi Alan and Patti Mittleman Taffi Ney Elaine and Leon Papir VICKI WAX Bar mitzvah of her grandson, Danny
Aliette and Marc Abo Bill and Peggy Berger Marilyn Claire Ellen and Phil Hof Beth and Wes Kozinn Roberta and Robert Kritzer Elaine and Leon Papir Thank You Taffi Ney SHANE WOLFE Congratulations on his graduation Eitan Rudski CARLY ZAGER Congratulations on her graduation Erica, Nat, Julia, and Lizzie Hyman MIRIAM AND MICHAEL ZAGER Graduation of their daughter, Carly Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer and family IN MEMORY JAY CLASS (Husband of Marion Class) Nancy and Abe Ross MYRA FOX (Friend of Roberta London) Audrey and Arthur Sosis (Friend of Carol Zirkel) Audrey and Arthur Sosis JERRY FRIEDENHEIM (Husband of Bette Friedenheim) David and Ann Packman BETTY GREENBERG (Mother of Jeffrey “Jake” Greenberg) Bill and Peggy Berger Sam and Sylvia Bub and Family Doris Lifland Adam and Penny Roth Donald and Randi Senderowitz Serita Silberg Frank and Tama Tamarkin Laurie, Robby, Danny, and Ben Wax Vicki Wax LEE HAMMEL (Brother of Bobby Hammel) Aliette and Marc Abo Leonard Abrams Jeff and Jill Blinder Lisa and Ellis Block Ross and Wendy Born Kira and Richard Bub Sam and Sylvia Bub and Family Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald Iris and Jonathan Epstein Amy and Eric Fels Sandra and Harold Goldfarb Mark and Amy Holtz Roberta and Robert Kritzer Suzanne Lapiduss and Family Taffi Ney Nan Ronis Stuart and Janice Schwartz Mark and Deena Scoblionko Frank and Tama Tamarkin Laurie, Robby, Ben, and Danny Wax Vicki Wax MILDRED “MILLIE” HARRIS (Mother of Debbie Mozes) Shirley and Lou Furmansky MILDRED KOZINN (Mother of Wes Kozinn) Karl and Sara Glassman Eileen and Richard Lewbart
Donald and Randi Senderowitz SYLVA DEE MILLINGER (Mother of Donald Millinger) Phyllis Rothkopf and Family GAYLE COLEMAN RADER (Daughter of Natalie Coleman) Leonard Abrams Donald and Randi Senderowitz MARTIN “MARTY” SPIRO Donald and Randi Senderowitz JASON WEINSTEIN (Nephew of Neil Dicker) Roberta and Robert Kritzer STEPHEN WEISS (Brother of Roberta Kritzer) Ruth and Richard Derby Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald Eydie and Neil Glickstein Suzanne Lapiduss and Family Elaine and Leon Papir Roberta and Alan Penn Mickey and Eileen Ufberg Vicki Wax HELEN AND SOL KRAWITZ HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL FUND IN HONOR SAUL TOPOLSKY In honor of his 2nd bar mitzvah Susan Engelson Friefeld IN MEMORY SIDNEY ENGELSON (Husband of Henriette Engelson) B’nai B’rith Apartments Board Members and Staff Ross and Wendy Born Patricia Ann Caspar Terry and Tony DeBiase Janet Freedman and Larry Robertson Brian and Silvia Friefeld Sandra and Harold Goldfarb Mark Goldstein and Shari Spark Renata Jackson Jean Mandel and Family Linda and Mike Miller Taffi Ney Martha Rummel Stuart and Janice Schwartz (Father of Susan Engelson Friefeld) The Keyes Family Laurie and Robert Levine Jill Meldon (Brother of Jack Engelson) Roberta and Robert Kritzer Arlene and Lenny Samuelson SONNY LESAVOY (Brother of Joani Lesavoy) Shirley and Lou Furmansky GAYLE COLEMAN RADER (Daughter of Natalie Coleman) Joani Lesavoy and Sid Greenberg We gratefully acknowledge those individuals who have offered expressions of friendship through recent gifts to the Lehigh Valley Jewish Foundation. The minimum contribution for an Endowment Card is $10. Call 610-821-5500 or visit www. jewishlehighvalley.org to place your card requests. Thank you for your continued support.
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State House of Representatives honors Israel’s birthday
Lehigh Valley ambucycle helps save a baby’s life
Editor’s Note: As a special part of celebrating the Maimonides Society’s 30th anniversary, the society chose to fund an ambucycle (ambucycle #709) as part of their campaign. Ambucycles are used extensively in Israel with its narrow roads and high traffic congestion and dramatically reduce the arrival time for medical first responders. Below is a special story from United Hatzalah, who the Lehigh Valley partnered with in this incredible opportunity.
State Rep. Mike Schlossberg presents Jewish Federation Executive Director Mark L. Goldstein with a copy of the resolution he sponsored in the House of Representatives honoring Israel's 69th birthday. Schlossberg said, “Even with this small resolution, the Pennsylvania General Assembly is continuing in its longstanding, bipartisan tradition of showing its support for Israel. As one of the Commonwealth’s nine Jewish legislators, it was my honor to be the primary sponsor of this resolution.”
HAKOL editor accepts award for paper HAKOL editor Michelle Cohen accepted the paper’s first place award for "niche publication" in its division in the Keystone Press Awards, sponsored by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation. The two goals of the award, according to the website, are to “reinforce excellence by individuals in the news media profession, by recognizing journalism that consistently provides relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers, and faithfully fulfills its First Amendment rights/responsibilities,” and to “stimulate journalists to improve their craft and ultimately improve their community.” On May 20, Cohen attended the ceremony in Lancaster, along with editors, reporters and photographers from newspapers across the state. After a cocktail hour, the award recipients heard from Mike Feeley, director of content at “PennLive/The Patriot-News” in Harrisburg before enjoying an elegant dinner. Feeley then returned to the stage alongside Garry Lenton, assistant news editor of features and special sections at the Reading Eagle Company, to present the plaques to attendees. Winners in every category and division were acknowledged; for HAKOL, Federation's Director of Marketing Stephanie Smartschan and Senior Graphic Designer
Allison Meyers were honored in addition to Cohen. Closing remarks ended the evening, after which many of the participants stayed to network. “It was exciting to meet people who have dedicated their careers to journalism,” Cohen said. “I hope to bring back what I learned from the event to keep improving HAKOL in the future.”
It was nearly 3 a.m. when Daniel, a resident of Ma’alot who drives ambucycle #709, awoke to the sound of his United Hatzalah radio crackling “infant choking.” Realizing that this was a life-threatening situation, Daniel jumped out of bed, threw on his clothes and raced outside to the ambucycle. He flipped on his lights and sped to the scene, making it in just two minutes! The little boy’s mother was sobbing and frantic with worry. The 6-month-old boy was turning blue. He was short of breath, slipping in and out of consciousness. When his mom saw the ambucyle on the horizon, she ran outside, clutching her little one in her arms. She leapt toward Daniel, crying for help as she literally thrust the baby boy toward him. The experienced medic quickly took the 6-month-old, turned his face down, and administered measured back blows. He repeated the procedure seven times until the child finally discharged the small piece of LEGO he had swallowed! With the airway now cleared, Daniel immediately administered oxygen as he took the baby’s vital signs. He watched as the infant returned to full consciousness. The little boy relaxed and his complexion slowly returned to normal as the vital oxygen circulated around his tiny body. The experience of saving this young boy’s life was very moving for Daniel, who now found himself sharing tears in the middle of the night with the baby’s mother. He helped assuage her fears, reassuring her that the primary danger had passed. The intensive care ambulance arrived nearly 15 minutes later and took mother and baby to the hospital for further observation. Though Daniel’s sleep was certainly interrupted, he was gratified to know that he had made a positive difference. There is no doubt that this little boy would have died without receiving Daniel's prompt intervention. Thanks to his speedy ambucycle, Daniel was able to save this baby’s life.
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To learn more, visit amhaskalah.org or contact email@example.com HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | JULY/AUGUST 2017 9
Jewish legislators appeal to President Trump to fill envoy position By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor
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Sixty-five Jewish state legislators from twentysix states wrote a letter to President Donald Trump on July 7 asking for an appointment of a special envoy to monitor and combat antiSemitism in the U.S. State Department. Among the signees were Pennsylvania state Reps. Dan Frankel and Mike Schlossberg and state Sens. Daylin Leach and Judith Schwank. The position of special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism was created in 2004 as a bipartisan effort, and was supported by both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. The envoy’s role was to, according to the letter, “document abuses against Jewish communities abroad, as well as develop and implement approaches to fight anti-Semitism.” As well as working to eradicate anti-Semitism in the United States, the office of the envoy has been active in France, Argentina, Hungary, Ukraine, Greece and Egypt since its inception. The state representatives’ letter was based on a letter from Congress to the president, also asking for the position to be filled and detailing the effects the envoy has had on the world, including tracking international incidents of anti-Semitism to present in the annual State Department Human Rights Report and ensuring that American diplomats around the globe share the same definition of anti-Semitism. “We view U.S. leadership on combating anti-Semitism and promoting human rights as pivotal components of American diplomacy and foreign policy,” states the letter, which was signed by 167 representatives from both sides of the aisle. “The Office of the Special Envoy enables the U.S. to show the world its commitment to these ideals, particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is dangerously on the rise. As Members of
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department, May 18, 2017. Congress devoted to the protection of vulnerable minorities, we urge you to support resources for this crucial office and prioritize this presidential appointment.” The state legislators’ letter follows the retreat on a commitment from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to fill the position. Tillerson claimed that the effort to combat anti-Semitism may be more effective without this position, if the department finds other ways to implement this throughout the country. Schlossberg, however, was still determined to sign the state legislators’ letter. “I signed this because I am deeply worried about the prospect of this position being left unfulfilled,” he said. “Attacks on minorities – including Jews – are on the rise across the nation and the globe, and it is more important now than ever before to ensure that the United States is actively seeking to combat anti-Semitism. This office has been fully staffed by Republicans and Democrats in the past, and I would hope that the president would continue that tradition.”
Marc Zucker takes the reins as chair of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition Editor’s Note: The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition serves as the eyes, ears and voice in Harrisburg of Jewish communities across Pennsylvania, including Altoona, Erie, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, WilkesBarre and York.
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At its recent annual meeting in Harrisburg, the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) unanimously elected Marc J. Zucker as its chairman. Zucker is a law partner at Weir & Partners LLP in Philadelphia, focusing on complex commercial litigation and alternate dispute resolution, and is one of three representatives from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia on the PJC Board. Zucker succeeds Matthew Handel who, like Zucker, was nominated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Handel served six years as chair and will remain on the PJC Board. Zucker, a past chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phila-
delphia, past trustee of the Philadelphia Jewish Federation’s Board of Trustees and past director of its Board of Directors, currently serves on the national board of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. He is former chair of the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association and remains an elected member of its cabinet. “The Board of Directors is pleased to have someone of Marc Zucker’s breadth of experience, legal acumen and business sense as chair of the PJC,” said Handel. In Marc’s capable hands, we can continue to work with the numerous Jewish Federations throughout Pennsylvania to help the PJC speak in one voice and move our legislative agenda forward in Harrisburg.” Zucker lauded Handel for his six years of guidance and leadership. “I am humbled to have been asked to step into Matt Handel’s very large shoes,” said Zucker. “Under Matt’s tenure, the PJC has been effective in supporting meaningful legislation and advocating for resources to
help Jewish communities – and all citizens – throughout the Commonwealth. That legislation has helped to sustain the desperately needed human services and critically important educational programs of our Jewish Federations.” An honors graduate of Haverford College and Villanova Law School, Zucker grew up in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, where he now resides with his wife, Karen, a magisterial district judge. They have two grown sons and a daughter-in-law.
What do we mean by 'pluralism?'
RABBI MOSHE RE’EM Temple Beth El The heated debate over access to the Kotel in recent weeks has reminded me of a saying by Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again!” Once more, American Jews hear terms like “pluralism” thrown about the public, political and religious plazas in Israel. But what do people mean when they use the term “pluralism,” seeing it as a Jewish value and demanding that Israeli society share in that value? In truth, I think that there is a bit of vagueness in how the term is used. Rabbi David Hartman, of blessed memory, saw in the modern state of Israel a tremendous opportunity to define how Judaism ought
to be reflected in the public domain. While Judaism in the Diaspora has largely been a private affair, confined to home and synagogue, the modern State of Israel afforded a new political reality to shape what Judaism might be in the public domain. For Hartman, “to establish a secure framework for religious pluralism and tolerance in the State of Israel is not spiritually tangential to our national rebirth.” The question, however, is what does Hartman mean when he uses the term “pluralism”? Saying that religious diversity is the will of G-d, as Abraham Joshua Heschel did, is one thing; defining what that means is another. So what do we mean when we speak of “pluralism” in a modern society? Here I think we can draw on the work of Diana Eck, a professor of comparative religion at Harvard, to point the way. She claims that diversity is not the same as pluralism. “Pluralism is not the sheer fact of plurality alone,” she writes, “but is active engagement with plurality. Pluralism and plurality are sometimes used as if they were synonymous. But plurality is just diversity, plain and simple – splendid, colorful, maybe even
threatening. Diversity does not, however, have to affect me. I can observe it. I can even celebrate diversity, as the cliché goes. But I have to participate in pluralism. I can’t just stand by and watch.” It is that demand for participation that I think the ultra-Orthodox find objectionable in the “Kotel controversy.” But even if we are to view pluralism as Diana Eck does, as “the ability to make a home for oneself and one’s neighbors in that multifaceted reality,” then the message of ultra-Orthodoxy seems to be heard loud and clear by non-ultra-Orthodox groups – you have no claim to a home within the confines of this public space! Of course, that is precisely what we find offensive. If Israel is truly the homeland of the Jewish people, then space must be made for all Jews to feel at home. Here in the Lehigh Valley, we have been blessed and fortunate to be able to come together as a community and not just “celebrate difference” but embrace a form of pluralism that has served us well over the years. Although that pluralistic environment has existed for a long time, I am sure it was not always the case. It takes time and patience for change
to occur. Sometimes that process can unfold naturally. At other times, the dominant society needs to take a stand and defend the principles it holds dear, especially in the face of groups that challenge those principles. Israel as an immigrant society by its very nature must be inclusive. As a society, it no longer resembles an assimilationist model when
it comes to diversity, nor does it embrace the “melting pot” notion. If anything, it seems to value a modified version of pluralism. Hopefully, the powers that be will be able to see the Divine in plurality, the same Oneness that we proclaim in the Shema when we say “the Lord is our G-d (plural in the Hebrew), the Lord is One.”
Dr. Israel Zighelboim Leads OB/GYN Growth, Vision at St. Luke’s Israel Zighelboim, MD, FACOG, FACS, is focused on the future of St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. As its newly named Chair, he has a deep appreciation for the generations of babies who were born at St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Bethlehem and Allentown campuses and now are coming back to have their babies there.
His strategy is working: Year-over-year new patient numbers have increased more than 100 percent.
He wants today’s new parents to have the same good experience their parents had and his plan is to have the Network continue to distinguish itself by continuing to focus on its small, user-friendly practices.
Additionally, to keep up with the growth spurred by two new hospitals, St. Luke’s will continue to recruit physicians who are interested, experienced and who have a track record of success in academic endeavors as well as in patient care.
“We will maintain this model because it allows a woman to know all the names and faces of the people who are taking care of her. Women who are patients in much larger network practices often feel they’re being cared for by strangers,” Zighelboim said.
“We’re lucky to be positioned between New York and Philadelphia,” Dr. Zighelboim said, “And there are specialties we have not yet tapped.”
“For the past 100 years, our department has been women’s preferred care provider and we are going to build on that by making access to great care very easy no matter where a woman finds herself on the age spectrum. Whether she’s a teen, a new mom, premenopausal, menopausal or beyond, every woman will find her best patient care experience here at St. Luke’s,” he said.
Moving forward, Dr. Zighelboim’s vision is to grow St. Luke’s already burgeoning OB/GYN Department by getting more national visibility. To do that, the Network will be taking its excellent medical education and clinical research into its main areas of focus.
Five years from now, he said, “We’ll be twice the size we are now, and the Network that is already the Lehigh Valley’s preferred care provider will be nationally positioned at an academic level in a very competitive way.”
www.sluhn.org • 1-866-STLUKES
Israel Zighelboim, MD, FACOG, FACS Dr. Zighelboim is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and gynecologic oncology and is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Surgeons. He is an ad hoc reviewer for the journals Gynecologic Oncology, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Journal of Clinical Oncology and the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is Editorial Board Member of Gynecologic Oncology Case Reports. He is experienced in minimally invasive surgery and managing cancerous and noncancerous diseases of the female reproductive system. His special interest and expertise is in cancer genetics. His research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute and private foundations.
Israel Zighelboim, MD, FACOG, FACS
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | JULY/AUGUST 2017 11
Pigs go kosher for 4th Ann
2. 1. 7. 8.
14. 12 JULY/AUGUST 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
nual Jewish Heritage Night 3.
11. 9. 17.
captions 1. Eric Fels and two Jewish Day School students throw out the first pitch for Federation. 2. Marc and Laurie Berson with Marla and Jay Melman. 3. The Allen family. 4. Jeffrey Draluck with Aaron Gorodzinsky. 5. Federation Executive Director Mark L. Goldstein dominates in the matzah eating contest. 6. Wendy Born with Mike and Linda Miller. 7. Zachary Volchko throws out a first pitch. 8. Rebecca Bernfeld and a friend. 9. Ori Bach. 10. Lisa Kaplan and Aaron Alkasov. 11. Rabbi David Wilensky and Rabbi Seth Phillips. 12. The Volchko and Ford boys. 13. Patty and Gary Glascom. 14. David Dahan with his son. 15. Aaron Berger with his daughter. 16. The Zelson family. 17. The Golding family. HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | JULY/AUGUST 2017 13
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Looking ahead at the JCC
At the annual meeting on June 11, JCC members elected new board members and the board elected new oﬃcers. Edited comments from a speech delivered by new board president, Kathy Zimmerman, follow. To read the full speech, check the JCC website. JCC involvement Like most of you, my relationship with the JCC started for very practical reasons. When my husband Peter Fisher and I moved to the Lehigh Valley, we needed a quality summer camp program for our children, Mark, Henry and Ben. Ten years later, our family enjoys the continued value of our membership in the JCC. Inspiration Turns out the JCC by-laws are a great resource for putting what is inspiring about the JCC into words. One of three key objectives is that the JCC should inspire “cooperation with all groups concerned with enriching Jewish community life.” The JCC is one of a very few places where Jews come together regardless of other qualifiers like observance, profession or politics. I think this is among the reasons that our board, our staff and our members believe in the J; we view it as an essential partner in a vibrant and sustained Lehigh Valley Jewish community. The by-laws also direct action to “advancing the welfare of the entire community” through “promotion of good citizenship and community responsibility.” These words are timeless, and embody the best of American, Jewish and civic values. The JCC welcomes everyone and embraces members who are diverse in many ways. We are all proud to contribute to an organization grounded in Jewish values with a distinct mission of making a positive difference
Current JCC board leaders include (left to right): Bobby Hammel, Brian Ford, Rance Block, Stuart Krawitz, Linda Sheftel, Houman Ahdieh, Andy Kahn, Bill Markson, Kathy Zimmerman, Lisa Lindauer and Israel Zighelboim (not pictured). for our entire community. JCC excitement In 2018, the JCC of the Lehigh Valley will celebrate 100 years since its founding. We are determined that the JCC will continue to prosper for another 100 and beyond. The future
no doubt holds challenges, and it will not look identical to the past, but we will be guided by timeless values and enduring objectives stated in our by-laws. We are excited for the future and look forward to working toward all that is possible for the next century in partnership with others in our community.
Thank You, Ferne! Through a generous donation by Ferne Kushner for Jack, of blessed memory, we have renovated the women’s locker room and plans are under way to begin renovations of the men’s locker room. Thank you Ferne for your continuous acts of Tikkun Olam.
JCC Early Childhood Education program wins “Best of the Lehigh Valley” and 3 Keystone Stars The JCC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) program is Lehigh Valley Style’s “Best Child Care” for 2017, following in the footsteps of the JCC’s “Best Day Camp” award in 2016. Adding to recent accolades, the ECE also received its third Keystone STAR quality rating, and is now one of only two centers with this rating or higher in the 18104 zip code. Alexa Karakos, ECE director, notes, “We recognize each child’s unique and special abilities and encourage individual growth together with appreciation and acceptance of all. We are incredibly
pleased that our program and our staff have been publicly recognized for excellence.” To learn more about JCC childcare and school programs, please visit www.lehighvalleypreschool.org and/or call to schedule a facilities tour at 610-435-3571. Left, community members surround Early Childhood Education Director Alexa Karakos and Assistant Executive Director Sandy Newman at the Lehigh Valley Style Best of 2017 event to celebrate the JCC’s win for Best Childcare.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | JULY/AUGUST 2017 15
Of the Lehigh Valley
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A look into Muhlenberg College Hillel’s summer Birthright trip to Israel
By Liron Daniel Jewish Agency for Israel and Hillel International Israel Fellow at Muhlenberg College Hillel To realize the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of 10 days, ask a student who just came back from a Birthright trip to Israel! There's a reason why they say Birthright-Israel is a life changing experience. Whether this is their first or 10th time in Israel, the students have a unique opportunity to find, shape, strengthen, wrestle and rediscover Judaism and their own Jewish identity. I know what you're going to say... "This is only 10 days, what can possibly change in 10 days?" Well, the truth is, a lot. We think about every detail in order to make these 10 days an unforgettable, meaningful and educational cultural encounter. The itinerary is built with much thought, tailoring to the group a 10-day experience with the best guides, speakers and sites to squeeze in such a busy trip. This is a 10-day journey – a personal and a collective one. A journey in which the students have a chance, maybe for the first time, to get to know their people's history and heritage, their own identity and, of course, to explore the one and only Jewish land, the state of Israel. It gives them a chance to learn about Israel, its people, its culture, its cities and geopolitics, but also to be critical about it and ask questions. As Sarah Leiber, a Muhlenberg College student from the class of 2019, wrote: "I’ve never been religious, really. My relationship with Judaism was complicated from childhood. I went to a Hebrew school that stopped teaching women about the religion when we were 10, electing instead to teach us domestic skills while the boys got to study the Torah. I always said that if I’d had a different experience, I would have been considerably more religious growing up. Birthright felt like an opportunity to amend that. I spent a lot of Birthright trying to reconcile what is the truth and what is ‘what they want us to think’ and I didn’t want to take anything at face value … Sitting in Israel, staring at bombs in Syria, feeling like some things are being
misrepresented and not being able to do anything about it, I somehow felt closer to Judaism, if not Israel. There’s that story about Jacob wrestling an angel – that’s pretty much all I thought about. I had this holy weight pressing down on every aspect of my being, forcing me to pay attention and be critical." Staffing Birthright means to be a part of this journey. It means to help students understand that there is no right or wrong feeling or thought. Every person is unique and has a different way to experience and to process this adventure, but there's one thing everyone will agree on – this is an adventure. Staffing this trip as an Israeli means to show students my Israel, my home, my perspective and point of view, but at the same time, give them the chance to figure it out on their own, and to discover their own selves in a place they heard so much about. From Tsfat and the Banias River in the north to the Negev to camel rides and Bedouin hospitality in the south, we visited so many sites, got to know people from different religions and backgrounds, and heard from our new friends, eight Israeli soldiers, about their lives in Israel, their hopes, dreams and culture. As someone who was a Birthright participant when she was a soldier, I can ensure you this is a meaningful encounter for both sides. As an Israeli soldier, Birthright was the first
time I got to know American students and hear about Jewish life and communities outside of Israel. It made me think about other ways of life and made me want to visit overseas and explore it myself. It made me want to build a bridge, to be a mediator, between Israel and Israeli Jews, and American Jews, and to help build meaningful connections between these two communities. This experience may be the reason why I'm here today – it opened my eyes to this whole Jewish world that I only knew a small part of at that time. It had a much bigger impact on me than I could ever have imagined when I first decided to go on this trip, and I'm so thankful for that. In only 10 days, from a mixture of 50 people from different countries, schools, states and families, we became one big community, and the connections we made will stay with us for a long, long time (even longer than we think).
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KI sisterhood celebrates donors at annual dinner
Five years of friendship
By Tracy Sussman and Kimberly Valuntas KI Sisterhood Co-Presidents The KI Sisterhood Donor Dinner took place on Thursday, June 15. It was a beautiful evening enjoyed by all who attended. KI’s very own Beth Marquardt performed cabaret style with a variety of musical selections. Marquardt has been performing in theater and musical theater for over 30 years. She was accompanied by Amy Foeller, who has been playing piano for as long as she can remember; both women are quite talented. The Donor Dinner supports the KI Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to kids attending both Jewish camps and trips to Israel through NFTY. KI Sisterhood appreciates all of the support from those that attended and all donations received. Most importantly, the families of the scholarship recipients are grateful that their children are able to have such meaningful and lasting
experiences. Please consider joining us, or at the very least, stopping by for a bit at our KI Sisterhood “Get to Know Us Tea “scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m. at KI. We love to see new faces, and would love to get to know more of you!
Eric and Amy Fels honored at KI
On Sunday evening, June 11, Congregation Keneseth Israel honored Eric and Amy Fels for their leadership at KI and their service to the Jewish Community. Chef Eric Rappaport and his team outdid themselves, providing a lovely cocktail reception followed by a luscious dinner. The evening highlight was the performance of Shlomo Haviv, an Israeli singer and musician who engaged the audience with his fabulous showmanship. Attended by representatives of all the synagogues and Jewish organizations in the Lehigh Valley, it was truly a community celebration.
By Sara Bressler Chabad of the Lehigh Valley The Friendship Circle of Chabad of the Lehigh Valley recently celebrated the close of its fifth year in operation. Our valuable volunteers and their families came together to reminisce on the year they spent together and with their special friends, making memories and in the process adding light to the community at large. In the past year, The Friendship Circle has made great strides in reaching out a hand of friendship to those who need it most. Each unique and much anticipated Sunday circle, holiday program, and home visit, was received with smiles and excitement thanks to the time sacrificed by our teen volunteers, and the great amount of effort they extended to provide a feeling of camaraderie and personal value to each one of their special friends. While many organizations address the issues of children with special needs, most are focused on goal-oriented therapeutic care. The Friendship Circle brings another dimension in that it offers unconditional love. By having this love flow from the
youthful spirit of well-guided teenagers, its effectiveness has proven to be remarkable. These volunteers have been able to reach the children in ways that professionals and, at times, even family members, have not. Furthermore, the program has had a profound effect on the teenagers themselves, instilling within them the values of giving and gratitude. “I’ve gained invaluable experience and skills just from interacting with these children in the Friendship Circle, and just from being a part of the organization,” said senior volunteer Sam Ringold, “I learned that sometimes you just need to foster an environment in which they feel comfortable just to see them shine. I’ve learned that patience is crucial, and kindness and love are essential.” We’d like to thank our amazing volunteers for yet another incredible year of The Friendship Circle. We look forward to making an even bigger difference in the community come fall! If you are interested in becoming part of The Friendship Circle as a volunteer or a special friend, please call us at 610-351-6511.
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Federation supports prejudice reduction through annual golf tournament
COURTESY OF HEATHER GOGAL
Golfers had a great time on and off the links on June 19 at the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valleyâ€™s sixth annual Mortimer S. Schiff Memorial Golf Tournament in support of prejudice reduction and bringing people together. The golfers were able to enjoy about three hours of play time before the skies darkened and the party moved inside. No matter, because it was time for cocktails, an early dinner and lots of prizes! Joe Hoffmeier was the big winner in the reverse raffle, scoring the $5,000 check, and graciously donated half of his winnings back to the Federation. The Federation wishes to thank all of the players, sponsors and committee members who made this tournament possible (see page three for a list of sponsors and committee). Money raised through the tournament supports the Federationâ€™s Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs, including prejudice reduction programs at local schools.
COURTESY OF HEATHER GOGAL
COURTESY OF HEATHER GOGAL
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | JULY/AUGUST 2017 19
JCC hosts day of fitness, friends and food at local park
Making tzedakah a family tradition
With his older brother away at camp, Danny Wax presented the boys’ annual gift of tzedakah to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley this year along with his grandmother, Vicki. Ben and Danny have made a tradition of pooling the money they receive on Shabbat and donating it at the end of the year. This year’s gift was supplemented by Danny’s special project in honor of his bar mitzvah – he sold hand-made greeting cards on a website of his creation, with all proceeds going to the Federation. Danny became a Bar Mitzvah on June 17 at Temple Beth El.
AUTUMN BREAD PUDDING BY SANDI TEPLITZ
INGREDIENTS: 10 c. day-old Challah cubes, 1/2 " each 3 extra large eggs, mixed with 7 extra large yolks 1 2/3 c. sugar into which a vanilla bean has been buried for three days 6 c. 1/2 and 1/2, not fat-free 1 c. blueberries 1/2 c. blackberries 1/2 c. raspberries TECHNIQUE: Butter a 9x13 Pyrex pan. Cover with the cubes in an even layer. Blend the eggs with 1 cup of the vanilla sugar and 1/2 and 1/2. Pour this over the bread cubes. Cover with Glad wrap and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Top with the berries and remaining sugar. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Let remain at room temperature for two hours. Serve warm; chill remaining pudding. 20 JULY/AUGUST 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
PJ families spend a morning in the garden On June 25, PJ Library families met at the Community Garden at Temple Beth El. Rivka Elbert, the Lehigh Valley’s summer shlicha (emissary) from Israel, read a PJ Library story to the children. Students from Yoav, our sister city in Israel, also attended. The four Yoav high school students are hosted by families around the Lehigh Valley and are working at Camp JCC as part of an annual program. Myron Levinson, who is in charge of maintaining the garden, explained how produce grown at the community garden supports several food banks around the Lehigh Valley as part of an interfaith coalition and how families can contribute volunteer time and food to help get fresh produce to families in need. The children planted and watered seeds to grow in their own gardens at home.
Celebrating the harvest
PHOTO COURTESY OF EDWIN DAVIS
PJ Library families came together at Whole Foods Market on May 21 to celebrate Shavuot. Rabbi Melody Davis of Temple Covenant of Peace read a Shavuot story and then the kids got to play with dough, to commemorate grains, and make their own creations out of fruit, to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest.
PJ Library Family of the Month:
We love PJ Library books because they give us the feeling and connection to the Jewish holidays and tradition. The kids are so happy when they get them, and can’t wait to hear the stories. We also enjoy being a part of the PJ Library activities, it’s always a pleasure to hear a story and let the kids play and meet their friends. Thanks to PJ Library for being part of our community. - YANIV AND LIHI DOTAN
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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Israel Next Dor participants return from life-changing Israel experience Twelve Jewish community leaders between the ages of 27 and 35 journeyed to Israel at the end of May, making up the first cohort of Israel Next Dor. This program, which signals a yearlong commitment to leadership, invites young professionals from across the Lehigh Valley to learn more about local and international Jewish life and how they can make a difference. The participants traveled to Israel for nine days, seeing the country’s major tourist attractions as well as having the opportunity to meet with locals. After a series of impactful experiences, the participants have returned home to embark on the next part of their Jewish journeys with the support of the Jewish Federation
of the Lehigh Valley. In order to qualify for the trip, each participant needed to be committed to learning about and becoming more involved in the Lehigh Valley Jewish community, and pre- and posttrip programs focused on making the most out of the trip and bringing back new ideas and inspiration for Jewish programming in the Lehigh Valley. As part of the trip, each participant was asked to write a blog post. Here is a selection of some of the highlights of those posts. For more coverage and information about signing up for future trips, go to jewishlehighvalley. org/israelnextdor.
Praying at the Kotel
by Adrian Shanker and Mike Smith The two of us, and some others from our group, decided to visit the new egalitarian section of the Kotel instead of the traditional men's and women’s sections, separated by a mechitza, the traditional barrier separating men and women in Orthodox prayer spaces. The Israel Next Dor participants reflect significant religious diversity – so some of us went to the traditional sections and others chose to go to the egalitarian section. For us, the experience at the egalitarian section was entirely new, as this option wasn’t available before 2016. With the opening of this section, all kinds of Jews could connect in their own way with the Kotel.
Journeying through the desert
by Alan Raisman
After three days in Jerusalem, we set off on a full day in the desert. We started our day in Ein Gedi, with a hike in one of the most beautiful settings I’ve been to in Israel. We left to visit Masada and float in the Dead Sea. In the evening, we met with a Bedouin community and ended our night in a kibbutz. As 12 young professionals, we are usually always on our cell phones. But at each location, we were truly disconnected from the world. These places did not have wifi connections, and we were able to focus on the beauty, history and community around us. The white sand, the clear water and the natural structures were a difference from the historic structures of Jerusalem.
by Ben Feinberg
We visited Yoav, where the Lehigh Valley partners through Partnership2Gether with the mutual goal of connecting Israelis and Americans ... It was interesting to see how similar we all are when zoomed in on the daily lives of individuals versus generalizations from a distant viewpoint. Also, as one of four BBYO advisors on the trip, we could see existing programs extending to our teens almost immediately. Overall, it was invigorating to learn about the partnership and the potential for expansion in Israel and our community.
by Abby Feinberg
During this trip, connectivity with others continued to be the most meaningful aspect for me ... It was incredible coming to Israel with my local community. Each previous time, I had created strong bonds; however, my new friends and I all lived far from one another. On this trip, we get to continue the strong bonds created in Israel back in our local community. For this I am most excited. My love for Israel was reinvigorated, and this time, I look forward to maintaining the excitement within our local community and bringing home that Israeli sense of openness and carefree welcoming!