HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY 40th ANNIVERSARY
The Voice of the Lehigh Valley Jewish Community
MARCH 2017 | ADAR/NISAN 5777
Lehigh Valley ambucycle delivers healthcare and hope in Ma’alot, Israel Editor’s Note: With sponsorship money from its 30th anniversary celebration last year, the Jewish Federation’s Maimonides Society was able to purchase a new ambucycle, a vehicle used to reduce response times on Israel’s crowded streets. Below is a report from United Hatzalah about the work of our ambucycle and its rider, Daniel. Revisit our recent Super Sunday event on pages 16-17.
Our ambucycle, #709, is on the roads and saving lives every day. Its rider Daniel, a resident of Ma'alot, is an extremely dedicated and active volunteer who is always on the alert for the next call from United Hatzalah dispatch. On a recent Shabbat, Daniel was in the middle of dinner when he received an alert for chest pain. He jumped up from the table and hopped on our speedy ambucycle, racing to the address and arriving first. A 60 year-old man was clutching his chest, pale and sweating – classic signs of a heart attack. The experienced medic provided aspirin to reduce cardiac pressure, administered oxygen, monitored his condition until an intensive care ambulance arrived 15 minutes later and then returned to his family to finish his meal. Later that night, he was heading to bed at 11:30 p.m. when he was alerted to a child having an allergic reaction. He hopped on our ambucycle once again and raced to the address. Anxious parents directed the medic to their young child, who had broken out in hives despite having no known allergies. As soon as an ambulance arrived, the young family was transported to the hospital. At 2:30 a.m., Daniel was awoken by the shrill sound of his United Hatzalah walkie-talkie calling for severe difficulty breathing. Without hesitation, he ran down the stairs, hopped on the ambucycle, and sped along the dark roads
Not only humans dress up for Purim! Enjoy our dressed-up pets on page 22-23.
to administer high-flow oxygen to the 32 year-old man, who was in severe respiratory distress. By the time an ambulance arrived seven minutes later, the young man's condition had stabilized and he was immediately rushed to the hospital. Just a few hours later at 7:30 a.m., Daniel yet again raced to the rescue of a 56-year-old man who was experiencing terrible chest pain. As it happened, Daniel knew the man from the neighborhood and was able to reassure him as he provided emergency medical treatment and helped transfer him to the ambulance when it arrived. In the middle of morning services, Daniel's United Hatzalah walkie-talkie buzzed once more, and he slipped out unobtrusively, jumped on our ambucy-
cle, and raced to the scene. A young girl had collapsed in seizures in the street. She was suffering from a dangerously high fever, and Daniel cooled her with damp towels, administered oxygen and took her vital signs until an intensive care ambulance arrived 12 minutes later. Daniel, a volunteer, responded to a total of eight calls over the course of that Shabbat! He was first to arrive to every single one of these calls. This is only due to the speed and agility of our incredible ambucycle. The Maimonides Society thanks its supporters of its of 30th anniversary celebration, which made the purchase of this ambucycle possible. Our support has made an impact on so many people's lives!
Don’t miss our special Homes & Gardens section full of tips for the upcoming season.
Newly donated mezuzot enhance JDS building
By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor
com.UNITY with Mark Goldstein 2 Women’s Division
Jewish Family Service
Jewish Day School
Jewish Community Center
Students, faculty and administration of the Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley gathered together on Feb. 6 to hang newly donated mezuzot around the school and refasten others that had gotten loose. Non-Profit Organization
702 North 22nd Street Allentown, PA 18104
U.S. POSTAGE PAID Lehigh Valley, PA Permit No. 64
The donated mezuzot came from Albert and Eva Derby, who had spare mezuzot after moving from St. Louis to the Lehigh Valley. “We moved from a house built in the 1930s with a lot of nooks and crannies” into an apartment with fewer doorways, leaving some mezuzot with no place to go, Eva said. “Since we know each parchment is kosher, we volunteered what we had.” “Our children had the benefit of a day school education,” so supporting the JDS is important, she added. “We feel strongly that we support the institutions where we live.” A total of 15 mezuzot were donated, including some with wooden cases, some painted in vibrant colors and others clear with a good view of the parchment inside. All of the cases come from Israel, and
the Derbys know the scribe who wrote the parchments in St. Louis. Rabbi David Wilensky of Congregation Sons of Israel oversaw the proceedings as
students who had reached their bar or bat mitzvah affixed the mezuzot to the wall JDS mezuzot Continues on page 9
FROM THE DESK OF MARK L. GOLDSTEIN
Executive Director | Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley email@example.com
The best response to extremism I just returned from a special trip to Israel; it was the annual Federation executive directors’ conference for intermediatesize Jewish Federations. Every seven to eight years, our conference is held in Israel. It was a fascinating conference and the dialogue was enriched by having colleagues bringing various perspectives about Israel, and our collective and philanthropic relationships to Israel, to the table. I am sure this trip will populate portions of columns to come. This morning I was reminded of the intersection of this Israel trip and my HAKOL column of January 2015. I wrote then about extremism in Israel, particularly about a group named Lehava. Lehava has sought to earn public legitimacy by harnessing fear of intermarriage as a pretext for plain racist hate speech. The Israeli Police Hate Crimes Division (probably the only one in the Middle East!) had just completed raids on the homes of Lehava leaders and arrested nine on suspicion of incitement of violent acts based on racist motivations. Lehava’s activities vociferously and violently seek to disrupt anything that bridges Jews with non-Jews. But they go beyond social, cultural and religious; they are simply racist. Their tactics mirror those used by Nazis against Jews
(and other minorities) and by segregationists against African Americans in the Deep South in the 1950s and 1960s. As a Southerner, I recall the rhetoric calling for social and public segregation and using sexualization of Black men to incite fear. Having been cited by various Israeli leaders and organizations as an illegitimate reflection of Jewish life in Israel, with repeated condemnation from the left, right, far left, far right, the crackdown against Lehava picked up after a bilingual school in Jerusalem was fire-bombed in November 2014. Portions of the building were sprayed with graffiti condemning the “mixing of the races” of Jews and Arabs. On this recent trip to Israel, my January 2015 HAKOL column was the furthest from my thoughts. Until the second morning of the trip, when we arrived at the Yad B’Yad (Hand in Hand) School in Jerusalem. This is the school that was fire-bombed in 2014. Regardless of the “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jews and Arabs (both Christian and Muslim) will remain living together. Yad B’Yad is building a shared society by creating opportunities for Jews and Arabs to interact. Their mode is bilingual education with roughly an equal mix of Jewish and non-Jewish
students. Courses are taught in both Hebrew and Arabic; students learn, and learn in, both languages; parents are equally engaged in the lives of the students and the school; and difficult discussions are reframed from a purely “conflict” lens to a prism of coexistence and validation of competing narratives. Yad B’Yad currently operates integrated schools and communities in six locations with 1,578 Jewish and Arab students and more than 8,000 community members. The Jerusalem location, the largest, has grown from 20 students housed in one temporary, makeshift classroom, into their largest school, with a high school that has graduated six classes of seniors. The school’s 696 students form a microcosm of Jerusalem’s urban diversity, hailing from Jewish and Arab neighborhoods all over East and West Jerusalem. The student body is ethnically and religiously diverse — Arab Christian, Muslim, Armenian Christian, Druze, Mizrahi, Ashkenazi and Ethiopian Jews, as well as a growing number of observant Jewish families. During our visit, we engaged with two seniors, Hagar and Sarah – one Israeli Arab and one Israeli Jew. They talked about the fire-bombing. They discussed how they review sensitive issues relat-
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Readers, The first time my dad and I tried to grow watermelons, they were the size of baseballs, with the inside a thimbleful of bitter red flesh surrounded by a thick layer of white rind. I remember being disappointed, having expected something grander, but by the time my dad and I managed to grow foot-long cucumbers and hundreds of strawberries, I felt like I was beginning to get the hang of it. Gardening, my dad told me, is about learning. It is such a precise art to figure out how to keep a plant healthy that requires a knowledge of scientific principles, of life cycles, of the kinds of things the JCC hopes to teach its students with its upcoming children’s garden.
But I’ve discovered gardening is just as much about community. When I first moved here, my golden rat-tail cactus, Huggy, was looking pale and listless. Not knowing how to perk it up, I asked Jeff Rembrandt, the executive director of the JCC, how to revive it. We spent time in his office repotting Huggy, talking about soil and sun and everything a cactus needs. Huggy was not the only one to gain something that day. I felt cared about, embraced by my new community. The experience taught me more than cactus facts, it taught me that I had people who I could go to in my new home. Cultivating a community, like growing a watermelon, can seem like a herculean task. But every small interaction can lead to blooming friend-
Our trip focused on many conflicts in Israeli life: among secular and religious Jews, among Israelis and Palestinians and others. Every side is rife with its extremists, and that is what usually captures the news and captures the public’s attention. You can’t visit Yad B’Yad without feeling a sense of hope, without feeling a sense that reason will triumph over extremism.
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.
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JFLV EXECUTIVE STAFF Mark L. Goldstein Executive Director
Assistant Executive Director
Director of Finance & Administration
Director of Planned Giving & Endowments
Director of Outreach & Community Relations
Mark H. Scoblionko JFLV President
Monica Friess, Acting Chair Barbara Reisner Judith Rodwin Sara Vigneri
Member American Jewish Press Association
ships. As you plan to create a garden of your own or cultivate a community garden for the new season, keep in mind that no matter wherever you may go, the Jewish community of the Lehigh Valley is here for you, ready to help you grow. Shalom, Michelle Cohen
We gratefully acknowledge those individuals who have offered expressions of friendship by requesting that trees be planted in the Yoav--Lehigh Valley Partnership Park. IN MEMORY ROSALYN BADER Lora Taub-Pervizpour DOÑA PILLY Roberto and Eileen Fischmann EARLE T. STEBBEN Robert and Joanne Palumbo
TO ORDER TREES, call the JFLV at 610-821-5500 or visit www.jewishlehighvalley.org. 2 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Mail, fax, or e-mail to: JFLV ATTN: HAKOL 702 N. 22nd St. Allentown, PA 18104
JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY IN HONOR STACY AND MATTHEW KANDEL Birth of their son, Murray James Kandel SHALOM BABY ROBERT LERNER Happy ‘Special’ Birthday Elaine Lerner ALAN AND ABBY WIENER Birth of their grandson, Raphael Aryeh Wiener Roberto and Eileen Fischmann
ing to Israel’s security and the treatment of Palestinians. They talked about how they interact with each other and how it has impacted their families. After leaving Yad B’Yad our bus discussion turned to our inability to identify which girl was Jewish and which was Muslim. Our bus was split. In the end it really did not matter, and that is why these schools are so important. These young girls cannot envision a future that does not benefit the other. In ways that hopefully cannot be undone, their lives are interrelated to each other. To better understand this school and the school’s and community’s response to the fire-bombing, I urge you to review this 12-minute YouTube video (https://tinyurl.com/jx6q6uw) produced by an Israeli television news station.
All advertising is subject to review and approval by The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley (JFLV). JFLV reserves the right to decline, withdraw and/ or edit any ad. The appearance of any advertising in HAKOL does not represent an endorsement or kashrut certification. Paid political advertisements that appear in HAKOL do not represent an endorsement of any candidate by the JFLV.
JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY MISSION STATEMENT In order to unite, sustain, and enhance the Lehigh Valley Jewish community, and support Jewish communities in Israel and around the world, the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is dedicated to the following core values:
• Supporting Jews in need wherever they may be. • Supporting Israel as a Jewish homeland. • Supporting and encouraging Jewish education in the Lehigh Valley as a means of strengthening Jewish life for individuals and families. • Supporting programs and services of organizations whose values and mission meet local Jewish needs. To accomplish this mission the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is committed to the following operating guidelines: • Raising and distributing funds to support the core values. • Developing Jewish leaders. • Building endowments to support implementation of core values. • Committing to ongoing Jewish community strategic planning. • Fostering cooperation among organizations and community building. • Evaluating all decisions with respect to fiscal responsibility. • Identifying unmet needs and investing in community initiatives to help get them started. • Coordinating and convening a community response as an issue or need arises. • Setting priorities for allocation and distribution of funds. • Acting as a central address for communication about events, programs and services of the Jewish community as a whole. Approved by the JFLV Board of Directors on November 15, 2000
Local family reflects on anti-Semitism after workshop
MY NAME IS DAVID AND I’M A JUNIOR AT PARKLAND.
By Chelsea Karp Special to HAKOL Editor’s note: The Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley brought the Anti-Defamation League to the Lehigh Valley for a workshop with middle and high school students and their parents on Feb. 12 on confronting antiSemitism. The following article is a reflection from participants Chelsea Karp and her son David. My name is Chelsea and I’m a mother of two high school students at Parkland. I was a freshman in college the first time I experienced anti-Semitism. I was shocked that a new friend would use an overtly anti-Semitic word in casual conversation. I’ve shared this story with my children several times. I tell it to remind them that they must speak up – as I did – when they find someone’s words offensive. For some reason, however, my story falls on deaf ears. Maybe it’s dated, both the words and the circumstances. Perhaps they can’t picture their mom as a teenager standing up to someone. As a mother, I hope my children never have to experience awkward embarrassment,
discomfort or even fear from anti-Semitic speech. I also know that wishing for things to be a certain way will not make it so. Nancy Baron-Baer, regional director for the AntiDefamation League, said that anti-Semitism does not define us, but it is a part of our lives that we have to deal with. For that reason and many others, the seminar, “Confronting Anti-Semitism: A Workshop for Middle and High School Students and Parents” was of particular interest to me. Our facilitator from the ADL, Jerry, expertly handled the challenge of engaging teens and their families around an uncomfortable topic. He posed hypotheticals and asked us to group ourselves based on how we thought we might respond. Jerry spoke candidly, and gave people the freedom to speak openly about their feelings and decisions. Most every single young adult was engaged in the exercises and spoke. They shared their feelings and told personal stories of anti-Semitic incidents that had affected them. It was a powerful scene. Education seems to be the key, for Jews and nonJews alike. At the end of the meeting we rehearsed several
strategies to use in a conversation that feels anti-Semitic, regardless of the intent of the speaker. I’m relieved to know that David has a firmer grasp on these tools should he need them. I remain hopeful that he never will.
When my mom told me we were going to this workshop, I wasn’t thrilled. I haven’t had any experience with anti-Semitism and I didn’t feel the seminar would apply to me. I was wrong. The leader was knowledgeable and engaging. The style of the seminar was interactive and everyone was given a chance to share their thoughts and opinions. I was interested to see different people’s reactions to the various scenarios and hear their perspectives. I feel I now have a better understanding of how to identify an anti-Semitic incident and deal with it in the best way possible.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2017 3
Same Moon Hangouts call brings international pen pals together
By Alicia Zahn Temple Beth El Even thousands of miles and a bad internet link could not keep our pen pals from connecting with each other! On Sunday, Feb. 5, religious school students at Temple Beth El and Congregation Keneseth Israel came together so they could all chat on Google Hangouts with children from Yoav in Israel. At the same time, the Congregation Brith Sholom students in Bethlehem were also chatting with their Israeli pen pals.
The families are all participating in the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley’s Partnernership2Gether program called “The Same Moon.” They have been writing to each other for a few months but this is the first time they got to talk with each other and see each other. Excitement was in the air and faces began to light up as they recognized each other on the screen. The Lehigh Valley families each connected individually with their pen pal families in Israel to ask about dance classes and soccer games,
playgrounds and lunches, sisters and brothers and one very descriptive explanation of a Pokemon. All the children then made a little creature in a clay pot for Tu B’Shevat which had grass seeds on its head. They took them to their homes to water them so the hair (grass) grows. One child named his Hairy Potter! The day ended with a treat – four cakes in the shape of different phases of the moon. No matter how far away we are from our Israeli friends, we are still looking up at the same moon.
SPONSORED BY THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY’S WOMEN’S DIVISION
WELCOMING NEW BABIES
to the Lehigh Valley BENJAMIN AARON UNGER
son of Melissa and Matthew Unger
MURRAY JAMES KANDEL
son of Stacy and Matthew Kandel 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 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Handmade Afghans BY EVA LEVITT
All proceeds benefit projects in Israel: Food Banks in Israel Neve Michael Youth Village For prices or to place an order, call Eva 610-398-1376.
All payments are made payable to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley
Israeli Navy SEAL shares hunt for buried prayers On Feb. 15 at Congregation Keneseth Israel in Allentown, Retired Israeli Navy SEAL Shlomi Avni (res) told the story of his mission to unearth longburied items at the Maidanek concentration camp in Poland. Avni worked under Yaron Svoray, an expert at researching, locating, and retrieving stolen Nazi assets, and was aided by Holocaust survivors living in Australia. “We didn’t call it treasure because it’s not a treasure,” Avni said. “And we said that maybe the items there – some of them were worth a few dollars, some of them maybe a couple of hundred dollars – but the meaning of the things that we found was like a million dollars.” The items found – including rings and a baby spoon -- have been sent to Jewish museums in Israel, Poland and Australia. “For me personally, to be in Maidanek as an officer from the Israeli army and go back there to the cursed land with the Israeli chutzpah and dig these prayers out,” Avni said, “I believe it’s one of the most important things I did in my life and I was honored to be part of it.” The event was sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
Attendees, including Gary Fromer and Carol Bub Fromer, listen intently during Avni’s talk.
Event Co-chairs Richard and Kira Bub with Shlomi Avni and Campaign Chair Iris Epstein.
6 dream teams to compete in ‘March Madness’ to raise money for Federation campaign By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor Dedicated volunteers will go head-to-head this March to see who can raise the most money for the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley’s 2017 Campaign for Jewish Needs. The volunteers will compete in teams and the winning team will get to allocate $1,000 to a Federationsupported agency of their choice. A kickoff event on Feb. 28 will serve as an opportunity for the teams to meet, learn about the concepts behind the campaign and answer campaign trivia to get the competitive spirit started. It will conclude with each team having an individual meeting to discuss strategy and divide the donor cards. These teams will have the entire month of March to contact donors and ask for their support. Prizes will be awarded to the most success-
Speaker Shlomi Avni talks to Eric and Amy Fels after the program. ful individuals and teams based on a point system designed to stress the different aspects of solicitation. In addition to the top team prize, the top solicitor from each team will earn a $10 Starbucks card, and the top overall solicitor will earn a $50 American Express gift card. The competition will close on March 31. Stay tuned for results in a future issue of HAKOL!
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2017 5
JCC of the Lehigh Valley congratulates the pioneer J-AMP class
Reflections from J-AMP graduates The J-AMP class was my weekly highlight! I really enjoy learning, especially when it is done in such an easy-to-grasp manner. The input from the other attendees served as a much needed reassurance of the impact of aging. I thought the chosen topics were outstanding, the speakers presented their information in a professional and caring manner, and best of all was the community that this class created. Hats off to Amy Sams, who did an excellent job coordinating this class! – SHERYL BLOCK Over the years, I'd made a conscious effort to familiarize myself with the material presented in this course, and still found myself learning something new in just about every class. Like a giant game of Tetris, I had gaps in my knowledge and understanding – of which I was not even aware – and had so many of these gaps filled-in during the 12 weeks of the course.
6 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
This course would be particularly useful for younger people, in their 20s. By deploying early-on the tools we learn here, young people would most benefit from the everwidening trajectory that small tweaks in their knowledge and habits would offer over time. Small adjustments in our early years – in savings and investments, in healthy eating and exercise, for example – would lead to huge benefits in our later years, when the benefits of this knowledge and these insights are most needed. My highest praise for the course content and for its teachers, helping us to better anticipate and resolve challenges before they take hold of us. – RONY ACKERMAN One of the best parts of the classes was the student participation in round-table discussions. It was very interesting and there was a sense of camaraderie amongst the students which was very enjoyable. – JOAN BRODY
Above left, JDS Head of School Amy Golding speaks at a J-AMP class. Above right, graduates (L to R) Patty Glascom, Barbara Cohen, Rony Ackerman, Mike Miller, Linda Miller, Debbie Ovitz, Joan Brody, Eve Peterson, Barbara Hoffman and Donna Black display their diplomas.
The JCC recently completed its first 12-week Jewish-Focused Aging Mastery (J-AMP) class. J-AMP is the result of a partnership between the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Jewish Community Center Association of North America (JCCA). J-AMP is designed to support adults in making the most of their gift of longevity. The program provides education, goal setting and daily practice for baby boomers, enabling them to make life changes to facilitate better aging. J-AMP includes expert speakers, group discussion and various levels of mastery aimed at improving the aging process. The NCOA estimates that there are more than 2.4 million Jews older than 55 in the United States, which is approximately 44 percent of the entire adult Jewish population in the country. Older adults have greater life expectancy, but also have more years of projected good health ahead of them, according to projections from the U.S. Social Security Administration and the Centers for Disease Control. The JCC of the Lehigh Valley was one of seven JCCs across the United States and Canada selected as a pioneer site for the new 12-week program. The pioneer group enjoyed the program very much. The 12 participants were able to attend most or all of the 12 sessions. The graduating class celebrated at a luncheon on Feb. 15. Each participant received a gift, a certificate and a pin. Graduates of the pioneer class of 2016-17 include: Debbie Ovitz, Barbara Hoffman, Donna Black, Patty Glascom, Sheryl Block, Marjorie Weiss, Barbara Cohen, Eve Peterson, Joan Brody, Rony Ackerman, Linda Miller and Mike Miller. The program focuses on
Jewish perspective on aging, navigating longer lives, exercise, sleep, healthy eating and hydration, medication management, financial fitness, advanced planning, healthy relationships, prevention of falls, community engagement, and living fully for the remaining years. J-AMP thanks its volunteer speakers, Rabbi Seth Phillips (Congregation Keneseth Israel), Debbie Zoller (executive director, Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley), Denise Minkoff (CRT, sleep education coordinator, LVHN), Carrie Gerencher, (registered dietitian, Sodexo), Julie Knight (certified financial planner, Morgan Stanley), Dr. Jenni Levy (staff physician at Grand Rounds), Dr. Madeleine Langman (psychologist), Lauren Hunsicker (pharmacist, CVS Pharmacy), Miriam Serow (yoga instructor), Teri Krassen (occupational therapist), Jeanette Eichenwald (former Allentown City Councilwoman and Yachad instructor) and Amy Golding (head of school, Jewish Day School). “The JCC is dedicated to supporting our entire adult community. I am very pleased how well the program ran,” said Amy Sams, coordinator of adult programs at the JCC. “The participants not only learned from our expert speakers, but were also very engaged with each other. The JCC is excited to continue to offer the program and improve the lives of Jewish baby boomers and older adults in the Lehigh Valley.” Stay tuned for details about the next 12-week course which will be offered starting in September. The JCC will also be offering elective classes this spring and summer. Contact Amy Sams, adult programs coordinator, at 610-4353571 ext. 182 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
PJ families celebrate Havdalah and Tu b’Shevat at Muhlenberg Hillel
Maimonides Society to host brunch about colorectal health for Colon Cancer Awareness Month By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor In honor of National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, two speakers will address the Maimonides Society at a brunch on March 12 to address the devastating disease, from testing to treatment. Dr. Andrew Schwartz will discuss the “diagnosis and evaluation of abdominal pain,” giving “tricks and clinical pearls from a gastroenterologist” who has been working in the field for nearly 30 years. The following speaker,
Dr. David Bub, will deliver a talk he calls “Winning the Battle against Colon Cancer: A Three Pronged Approach.” Bub, a specialist in colon and rectal surgery with 17 years of experience, will discuss “screening, surgical advancements with the DaVinci Robot, and individualized chemotherapy,” he said. According to the Colon Cancer Awareness website, President Bill Clinton officially dedicated March as National Colon Cancer Awareness Month in February 2000. Since then, it has grown to be a rallying point for the colon
cancer community where thousands of patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates throughout the country join together to spread colon cancer awareness by wearing blue, holding fundraising and educational events, talking to friends and family about screening and more. The brunch will be held on Sunday, March 12, at 10:15 a.m. at the JCC of the Lehigh Valley. Free for Maimonides members and spouses, $10 for community members. For more information or to RSVP, call 610-821-5500 or email email@example.com.
SUN., MARCH 26
2 PM & 7:30 PM - $65/$59
Sponsored by Bazzini and B104 Butz Celebrates Broadway Performance Series
453 Northampton St., Easton, PA 1-800-999-STATE . 610-252-3132 Home of the FREDDY© AWARDS
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2017 7
Allentown couple finds easy way to continue charitable giving IN MEMORY JENNIE ROSANSKY (Mother of Lota Post) Sandra and Harold Goldfarb PERLE SUNA (Sister of Lolly Siegel) Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald ROZ TRAGER (Mother of Jodi Plavner) Sybil and Barry Baiman (Mother of Stuart Trager) Sybil and Barry Baiman
FRANK TAMARKIN Mazel Tov on becoming chair of the Urology Department at St. Luke’s Barry and Carol Halper RABBI ALAN AND ABBY WIENER Birth of their grandson, Raphael Aryeh Wiener Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald BOB AND CAROL WILSON Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Rebecca Ross and Wendy Born
IN HONOR ALIETTE AND MARC ABO Birth of their granddaughter, Morgan Rose Engagement of their daughter, Jessica Ross and Wendy Born BARBARA S. COHEN Best Wishes Elaine and Leon Papir GAIL AND FRED EISENBERG Engagement of their daughter, Miriam Ross and Wendy Born ELLEN AND PHIL HOF Marriage of their daughter, Jessica Ross and Wendy Born MICHAEL AND FAY KUN Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Isabella Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald NATALIE MILLROD Birth of her great-grandson, Lincoln Pearce Noel Roberta and Jeff Epstein TAFFI NEY Speedy Recovery Edith Miller CAROLE AND HARRY ROSE Marriage of their granddaughter Ross and Wendy Born ARTHUR SOSIS Congratulations on Retirement Roberta and Jeff Epstein CANTOR ELLEN SUSSMAN AND DAVID VAIDA Engagement of their daughter Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald
HELEN AND SOL KRAWITZ HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL FUND IN HONOR MARK AND ALICE NOTIS Birth of their grandson, Yakir Lynda and Stuart Krawitz MICHAEL AND COOKY NOTIS Birth of their great-grandson, Yakir Lynda and Stuart Krawitz PENNY AND ADAM ROTH Alex’s engagement to Julia Lynda and Stuart Krawitz IN MEMORY BROTHER/UNCLE (of Sara Williams and Ruth Cooper and Family) Selma Roth FLORA SEVY (Grandmother of Julia Sevy) Adam and Penny Roth Selma Roth (Mother of Jerry Sevy) Adam and Penny Roth 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 610-8215500 or visit www.jewishlehighvalley. org to place your card requests. Thank you for your continued support.
By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Marketing Bill and Jane Markson have lived in the Lehigh Valley for 28 years and have no intention of going anywhere. “We think this is a great place to live and we love the fact that there is a vital Jewish community,” said Bill during a recent interview at his Allentown home. “We’d like it to stay that way and we’ve been donors over the years and we have every intention to continue to be donors.” When the Marksons found themselves with a stock doing well – more than they would give in a single year – they decided to open a Donor Advised Fund through the Lehigh Valley Jewish Foundation to continue their charitable endeavors. “I thought the best thing to do would be to gift that stock, not pay the tax on the gain and still be able to go about giving our donations like we usually do -- keep continuing to fund the institutions and community that helps us and that we’re proud of,” Bill said. Through the Donor Ad-
vised Fund, the Marksons can make their contributions in one place and recommend nonprofits of their choice to which the money will be allocated. Those nonprofits can be Jewish or non-Jewish, but for the Marksons, the Jewish community is their first priority. “I think it’s important if you’re a member of a Jewish community that you have an obligation to make sure that that Jewish community thrives and prospers,” Jane said. “And to also show our
Ladysmith Black Mambazo March 7 | 7:30 pm
children that it’s important to have a connection and to – if you’re fortunate enough – make sure that other people can benefit from what you have and what you can contribute.” The Lehigh Valley Jewish Foundation is the community endowment fund of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley. To learn more about Donor Advised Funds, contact Jim Mueth at 610-821-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www. lvjfgiving.org.
Tab Benoit March 11 | 7:30 pm
Puddles Pity Party
Graeme of Thrones
March 21 | 7:30 pm
March 22 | 7:30 pm
steelstacks.org | 610-332-3378 8 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
JDS mezuzot Continues from page 1
with tape. As the group traversed the hallways, finding their way to classrooms, staff areas and the kitchen and cafeteria, Wilensky stopped several times to explain the process to children of all ages. The experience helped deepen the kids’ knowledge of mezuzot; while many knew that the Shema is written in the scroll, few knew that the scroll is made out of parchment called klaf and the blessing to hang a mezuzah ends with likboah mezuzah. Learning opportunities abounded for adults as well.
Wilensky was full of knowledge about the proper way to hang a mezuzah as well as which rooms require them. For example, he explained that a closet needs a mezuzah if it is seven feet by seven feet or larger, and the parchments need to be checked for kashrut twice every seven years if they are in a home or twice every 50 years if they are in a public building, such as a school. Amy Golding, head of school at JDS, said, “We are always trying to find ways to make our school become more beautiful and sacred. In doing so, I noticed some of our classrooms were missing mezuzot. I met with Rabbi Wilensky to
review our institution and to find out where mezuzot were required.” After citing some of Wilensky’s teachings referenced above, she concluded, “It is these teachable moments that inspire students and adults alike and connect us from our past to our present.” As for why Wilensky was involved, he first noted that “it has to be done, it’s a mitzvah.” He further clarified, “The mezuzah signifies the fact that Hashem is everywhere in our daily lives. It’s such an important idea,” he said, adding that kissing the mezuzah symbolizes embracing this idea. “Putting [a mezuzah] up is a Biblical mitzvah, one of the 613 commandments.”
Sons of Israel to host Purim extravaganza By Rabbi David Wilensky Special to HAKOL With Purim right around the corner, Congregation Sons of Israel’s Purim committee is hard at work, readying the plans for an exciting Purim experience which will be open to the entire Lehigh Valley Jewish community. On Saturday night, March 11, after the Megillah is read, the shul will transform itself into a retro arcade gallery. Both parents and kids will love the classic arcade games of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and the like that will bring you back to your youth and provide hours of fun for our children. No arcade is complete without pizza, fresh popcorn and cotton candy (as well as falafel and Israeli salads, as seen in Israeli arcades – and a moon bounce for the younger kids). Then, on Sunday evening, we will be hosting our Ringling Brothers Purim Seudah (feast) at 5 p.m. This feast will feature live entertainment from our very own Sons of Israel band, with face-painting, balloon-making and moonbouncing for the children. As in any authentic Jewish meal, Chinese food will be served. Our Purim feasts have drawn hundreds of attendees over the years, and we are expecting this one to top them all. Purim festivities such as these are critical to the celebration of Purim. Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people during our long
and difficult exile. Although once upon a time Jewish history was graced with miracles and sensational phenomena, our current reality is markedly different. We no longer see G-d through a majestic prism, we rather see Him in what we call nissim nistarim or hidden miracles – the everyday miracles that are no less significant than the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, yet less apparent. The Megillah never mentions the name of G-d – Hashem. Hashem is only alluded to in the Megillah. This literary technique parallels our current relationship with G-d in which we are asked to see Hashem in the mundane wonders that transpire in our lives. It is for this reason that we dress up in costumes on Purim, as the costumes accentuate the hidden nature of G-d’s current revelation. The Saturday night celebration begins with the Megillah reading at 7:15 p.m. and the retro arcade night starting at 8 p.m. The charge is $9/person with a family maximum of $36. The Sunday evening celebration begins at 5 p.m. The charge is $15/adult and $10/ child with a family maximum of $55 – with registration by Wednesday, March 8. At the door the charge for the Sunday night event is $18/adult and $12/child with no family maximum. We are also offering a package deal for attending both events. If you register by Wednesday, March 8, the family price for both events is
only $75, with the charge for individuals set at $20 for both events. Please RSVP to April at 610-433-6089. We look forward to seeing you and Purim Sameach!
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2017 9
KI joins Lehigh Valley refugee resettlement efforts By Elsbeth Haymon Congregation Keneseth Israel In November 2015, Rabbi Seth Phillips and I began a conversation about how Congregation Keneseth Israel could be involved in helping with the resettlement of refugees here in the Lehigh Valley. In September 2016, Marla Sell from Bethany Christian Services and I made a presentation to the Keneseth Israsel Board of Trustees, asking for their approval to move forward with the project. Bethany Christian Services is the organization in the Lehigh Valley that contracts with the federal government to resettle refugees. Since then, we have developed into a group of over 40 volunteers representing several synagogues including Keneseth Israel, Temple Beth El and Temple Shirat Shalom. Our final goal is to sponsor a refugee family. All of these families are thoroughly vetted by USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) before they arrive in the United States and have waited years in refugee camps around the world for entry. We have scheduled a training session for March 9 at Keneseth Israel where we will better under-
stand all of the responsibilities associated with sponsorship of a family and begin to assign those responsibilities. We found out that there are lots of different ways to help, from finding housing to helping with employment and from helping the family to learn how to work their way through the public school system to negotiating the medical system. However, given recent events, we have also gotten involved with trying to understand how we can better advocate for refugee families and Bethany Christian Services. On Feb. 8, Rabbi Seth Phillips, Patty Carlis, Marla Sell from Bethany Christian Services and I met with Rep. Charlie Dent to learn more about the proposed ban on refugees from seven Muslimmajority countries and ask how we can better advocate for refugees. Dent took a brave and strong stand against the travel ban and was crucial to finally getting the Asali family to the U.S. after they had been sent back to Syria when the ban was first enacted. We will learn more about the future of the refugee program over the coming weeks and will decide how to move forward. As I said earlier, our final goal is still the sponsorship of a refugee family, but if we are not allowed to do that, we will find other ways to help and advocate. This is more important now than ever. There are many families from around the world who are seeking protection from persecution because of their race, religion, nationality or political opinion. If you are interested in helping, please contact the author at email@example.com.
10 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Congregation Keneseth Israel 9th graders visit Capitol Hill By Rena Fraade Congregation Keneseth Israel Each year, the Religious Action Center (RAC), the political arm of the Reform Jewish movement, holds L’Taken seminars for Jewish high school students from across the country – 150+ students attend one of each of the six weekends. At L’Taken, Jewish teens are introduced to key social justice issues of importance to the Reform movement. Participating in intensive experiential sessions, students learn to use statistical data and personal stories to build a persuasive argument to prepare to lobby a U.S. senator or representative on an issue on behalf of the RAC and Reform Judaism. During the weekend of Feb. 10-13, 2017, seven 9th graders from KI and I participated in a L’Taken Seminar in Washington, D.C. In the first days of the program, students learn about all the core issues and are treated to some highlights of the town – which included a Havdalah service at the Jefferson Memorial, a trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Air and Space Museum, dinner in Georgetown and Pentagon Row. Then on Sunday, they decide what topic they want to focus on and spend the evening using pre-prepared documents with information on bills, statistics, and history of their representative’s positions to write a speech to bring to the representative’s office the next day. The weekend culminates with the Monday visit to Capitol Hill, where students meet with, lobby and speak with an aide for his/her senator or representative. The seminar gives the students a visceral expres-
sion of Jewish empowerment and engagement. When asked what part of the program was most memorable, there was an overwhelming consensus that lobbying our representatives was the most impactful. Hailing from PA Districts 8 and 15, we met with the offices of Rep. Charlie Dent and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. Each of these encounters offered intimate meetings and discussion. Alex Valuntas and Jacob Sussman prepared a speech on the refugee crisis to share in Dent’s office. Knowing that he has already been active in supporting a local family directly impacted by the immigration and refugee ban, it was a great opportunity to show support and offer Jewish tradition. Valuntas enjoyed “having a personal conversation and learning how things work when you have a job in the government” and Sussman enjoyed “him listening and giving feedback [on our speech] and letting us go in the office and take pictures.” Jared Livezey actually met his representative, Fitzpatrick, and really liked getting to read his speech to him directly and talk about firearm violence prevention. Other students had the
opportunity to lobby for U.S. support of Israel and for LGBT rights and inclusion. Another highlight of the experience for our students was meeting new people. Joe Collins explained that it was “a great time to talk with people and chill out.” The programs throughout the weekend create opportunities to form new friendships and deepen the relationships the students have with their peers from home. Students returned from the weekend charged and ready to have more of an active voice in local politics. As Director of the Religious Action Center Rabbi Jonah Pesner told them during Saturday morning Shabbat services, as the next generation their voices matter and are needed in advocacy. In only four days, these teens grow from young adults to young citizens, ready to take an active role in their government and in their future. Student participation on this trip was generously supported by scholarship monies from the Sylvia Perkins Charitable Trust awarded to Congregation Keneseth Israel and individual grants from the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
The potential of all
RABBI YAACOV HALPERIN Chabad of the Lehigh Valley As I’m writing this article, we have concluded the holiday of Tu B’Shevat and we are approaching the holiday of Purim. Tu B’Shevat is similar to Purim in that it is a holiday of hope and the realization of potential and rebirth. As the Mishnah states, the 15th of Shevat is “Rosh Hashanah Laeilan,” the New Year for trees. Yet this is one of the stranger holidays. All other Jewish holidays celebrate concrete events in Jewish life, for example, the three central Jewish holidays are associated in Torah with three agricultural seasons: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. Chanukah and Purim, of course, celebrate major victories in our history.
But the New Year for Trees is an exception. If we were to celebrate the date when the trees become adorned with fruits, it would be understandable. Yet the date we celebrate for the trees is the time when the trees are barren. So, how did this day become the Rosh Hashanah for trees and why do we celebrate it? The Talmud explains that in the land of Israel, at this point, most of the winter’s rain has saturated the earth, and the new sap starts rising in the trees, allowing the first flowers and fruits to bud shortly after. This teaches us that in Judaism, you celebrate a potential. Just as you look at a tree now and realize the great potential it has at bearing our fruit, the same applies to every Jew. This also connects us to the holiday of Purim. There are many lessons we can learn from the book of Esther, but one lesson we may often overlook comes not from our heroes or heroines, but from the villains of our distant and not so distant history. We can look at villains like Haman and Hitler and see a commonality. They have never turned their incomprehensible violence or animosity towards one single Jew, but rather the Jews as a people. Haman, for example, upon discovering that Mordechai would not bow
before him, as the king had commanded, did not simply target Mordechai, but rather the entire Jewish people. Even the Jews who had decided to assimilate and kneel to Haman were no exception. Why annihilate all the Jews throughout Achashveirosh's entire kingdom rather than just those refusing to bow? The answer to this lay in the words of the Megilah: “for they had informed him of Mordechai's nation. Haman sought to annihilate all the Jews, the nation of Mordechai.” The spirit of the story is captured in this sentiment. Haman did not see the issue as simply the individual Mordechai. It was not that he was too religious or too arrogant to submit to the orders and risked his life by defying the king, but it was his entire nation was that at fault. Those who chose to bow, Haman decided, were simply dishonest, trying to cover for never truly being able to accept any authority in Haman’s power. Because, since Sinai, every Jewish soul, at its deepest core, experiences the presence of a living moral G-d. And if G-d exists, moral law exists and there are limits to the power of men. So every single Jew, young and old, bowing or not, was a threat to him, because each soul had potential.
When we fast forward time to another villain seeking to annihilate the Jews, we arrive at the same process of thought. To Hitler and the many villains of the Holocaust, every Jew was an equal threat. From a Chassidic man spending his life immersed in study, to a woman assimilated in German culture, to a baby taking their first steps in an unknown world, they were all uniform targets of the Nazi brutality and all were hunted down with equal animosity. Hitler, the Haman of our own times, saw in the spirit of every Jewish child nothing less than the inborn commitment to G-d. Each was a threat to him and his thirst for power. So what lesson can be learned from the villains of our history? We find an important way to view our fellow Jews. There are many Jews we hear that are lost to our people through assimilation, some are even considered hopeless and not worth our time or efforts – a small community of Jews does not justify the cost of outreach. But, for the villains, even the presence of a single Jew, blocked their paths to happiness and fulfillment; even a single Jewish child was a living witness to G-d, carrying with them an enormous amount of potential.
Can we as a people, then, do any less? Can we come and say, “Some Jews are too unreachable” or “Why should I work so hard to help a single person?” No matter how assimilated one has become or is becoming, and no matter in which corner of the world they dwell, they must be welcomed and embraced and educated. Because it never mattered in our darkest times who they were bowing down to or what they were doing, it was who they were, and who we are as a people. If a Jew is never too insignificant to be hunted down in hate, he is never too insignificant to be embraced with love. With each Jew that seems barren and gone to us, we must see the potential they have just as we see in the trees on Tu B’Shevat. We find here also a reminder that our salvation will come ultimately from one source and one source only. As long as we remain connected with that source, we will never die. I am certain that if we invest all of our resources, and shower love on to even those who seem to be the most lost, we will indeed merit in rejoicing the holiday of Purim together, with Jews from all of the four corners of the world with the arrival of Moshiach speedily in our days.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2017 11
Thank you for being the impact Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley 2017 Campaign for Jewish Needs
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Andrea Goldsmith, Karen Dacey and Bob Wilson.
Sharone and Lora* Vaknin Dr. Steven Vale and Dr. Jennifer Gell* Volk Family Fund Philip and Lynn* Weinzimer Marjorie Weiss* Alfred Wiener Family Fund Norman and Sandra* Wruble Anonymous (21) GENESIS $1 - $99 Joseph Aflalo Gregory and Seli* Allen Richard and Regina* Angel Scott Appleman Harris Apsell Max Averbach Zoe Averbach* David and Carmit* Bach Terrence Baker Jayson and Nurit* Baron Dr. Susan Basow* Marla Beck* Delores Bednar* Michael Benioff Arthur and Phyllis Berg Stephanie Berman* Jeffrey and Lisa* Bernfeld Jason and Tracey Billig Jerome Block Gerald and Audrey Brandis Mark Breitbart Tammy Breslin* Lawrence and Rebecca* Brisman Jenna Brody* Neil and Diane Brown Jerry and Wilma Brucker Victor Bunick Betty Burian* Ivan Buyum Joyce Camm* Dr. Barry and Robbie* Cohen Brad and Sharon Cohen Elena S. Cohen Charity Fund Ginny Cohen* Michelle Cohen* Marjorie Danciger* Betty Diamond* Roberta Diamond*° Linda Dietrick* Marilyn Doluisio*° Vicki Duerr* Helen Ebert* Wendy Edwards* Stewart Eichelbaum David Eiskowitz Alyssa Emswiler* Joseph Epstein and Sheryl Feinstein Rabbi Mordechai Eskovitz Anita Evelyn* Inna Eyzerovich* E.G. Jerry Farris* Susan Fegley* Brenda Finberg* Fredda Fischman*(z”l) Claudia Fischmann Fund Diana Fischmann Fund Veronica Fischmann Fund Amy Fisher* Diane Fisher*° Keith and Randi* Fraley Mark and Lauri* Franko Emily Freudenberger* Ann Friedenheim* Dr. Michael and Traci Gabriel Fran Gaines* Linda Garber*° Dr. Debra Garlin* Gail Gelb* Nancy Gevirtz Memorial Fund Samuel Gevirtz Mitzvah Fund Cathy Gilbert* Caroline Goldblat* Shelley Goldberg* and Family
Anita Goldman* Dr. Malvin and Lillian* Goldner Martin Goldstein° Nissa Gossom* Deena Gottlieb* Ronald and Ann* Gould Betty Greenberg*° Judith Greenberg* Rosaly Greenberger* Harry and Paula* Grines Marcel Guindine William and Sharon* Hamilton Bernice Harris* Philip Heyman° Carolyn Hoffman* Dorothy Hoffman*° Dr. Michael Hortner Michael and Donna* Iorio Dr. Lubov Iskold* Sondra Jacobs*° Rabbi Janine Jankovitz Harry and Grace* Kagan Honey Kandel* Sidney and Helene* Kaplan Harriet Karess* Gary Kaskowitz Chaim and Carol Kaufmann Noah Kirshner Nathan Kline Rosine Knafo*° Blanka and Walter Knie Holocaust Ed Fund Deborah Kohler*° Paul and Dore Kottler Dr. Neal Kramer Dr. Ronald Krisch Peter and Madeline* Langman Ellen Lebowitz* Daniel and Daniella Leisawitz Maur and Doe* Levan° Myron Levenson Lee and Mary Jane* Levine Nancy Levy* Doris Lifland* Marylou Lordi* David and Marilyn* Louick° Rebecca Lovingood* Rochelle Lower* Leonard Lutsky° Ronald and Patricia Malvin Yitzhak and Elvira* Mana Eli and Rikki* Mandel Silvia Mandler* David and Susan* Manela Louise Mapstone* Chahine Marvi* Robert Mayer and Jan Muzycka* Debrosha McCants* Diane McKee* Ruth Meislin*° Susan B. Mellan Memorial Fund Eugene Meyer and Dr. Lisa Jean Todes* Dr. Robert and Ellen Miller* and Family Stanley Miller Susan Mohr* Daniel and Larisa Morgenbesser Anne Morris* Rene Moskowitz* Joseph Mozes Memorial Fund Jane Much* William and Sharon* Mullin Myra Needle* Terry David and Shirley* Neff Richard Nelson Robert Prichard and Ellen Osher* Cantor Jill Pakman* Dr. Alan Parker Mark and Nina* Pinsley A. Jane Pitkoff* Mildred Poliner*° Anna Polonsky* Aron Preis
Eva Levitt with State Rep. Zach Mako at Super Sunday.
Alan Raisman Kevin and Lauren Reuther Linda Rich* Dan and Mary* Rockman Theresa Romain* Jodie Rosenblum* Pamela Rozsa* Barbara Rudolph* Deborah Sarachek* Mary Lou Scarf* Andrew Schaeffer Jon Schaeffer Lynn Schiavone* Pearl Schmier* Nolie Schneider* Lewis Schor° Rabbi Rebecca Schorr* Donald Schwartz Joy Scott* Eugene Search Lorraine Secouler* Philip Segal Marlee Senderowitz Fund Randi and Donald Senderowitz Fund Rissa Senderowitz Philanthropic Fund Robert and Maryanne Appleby-Shaffer Alan Shapiro Ezra Shapiro Stuart and Susan* Shmookler Dr. Stephen Shore Dr. Carl Shulze Silverman Family Fund Abigail Silverman Fund Jessica Silverman Philanthropic Fund Debra Skinner* Michael Smith Rabbi Aryeh Spera Danielle Staiman Mitzvah Fund Alan and Lori Starr Levgen Sukhar Norman and Cindy* Sussman° Sandi Teplitz*° David Teumim Harriet Theodore* Howard and Marilyn* Tokosh Earl and Sondra* Toland Judy Toubin* Alex Tsikanovsky Wendy Turner* Ufberg Family Fund Inna Vishnevetsky* Nicholas and Jessica* Volchko Lynn Waite* Eugene and Alice Ward Cantor Kevin Wartell° Les and Anita* Weintraub Joy Wernick* Neil and Judith Wetcher Gladys Yass* Helaine Young* Herman and Jessica* Ytkin Anonymous (23)
The donors noted above represent gifts to the JFLV 2017 Campaign for Jewish Needs. Every effort is made to correctly recognize all of our generous donors and honor their listing requests. If there are any inaccuracies or omissions, please call the Federation office at 610-821-5500. * Indicates an individual woman’s gift to the 2017 Campaign for Jewish Needs ° Indicates Silver Circle members who have contributed for 25 years or more.
The Zighelboim boys make their Super Sunday donation. HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2017 13
Temple Shirat Shalom offers opportunities for community building
By Cantor Ellen Sussman Temple Shirat Shalom I just returned to Allentown after a lovely vacation in Florida. One of my friends lives in a beautiful country club-style community. She is a tennis player and most of her friends come from the tennis club. She moved to Florida not knowing anyone and needed to find a group of people of like minds to associate with. She found it while competing in organized sports. At Temple Shirat Shalom we do not play golf or tennis together, but we have a strong sense of
community. Once a month, the congregation gathers at my home for Shabbat potluck dinner and services. We are mostly comprised of baby-boomers, some a little older and some a little younger. What has amazed me is that the majority of the congregation comes to these dinners and services and loves them; they look forward all month to coming together to usher in the beauty and calm of Shabbat. In most places attendance at services drop off after a bar or bat mitzvah is celebrated by the family. The parents no longer find the need to come to temple. Not
at Temple Shirat Shalom. What about us makes people want to come? I believe it is the sense of community, the ease of our services and the calmness of our atmosphere. Our congregants feel valued and listened to. It is also participatory; we are always discussing the Torah portion, my sermon or the events of the week. I lead everyone in prayer and song. As the spiritual leader of our little shul I am very proud of what we have all created together. We are bringing relevant, meaningful Judaism to our members.
Temple Beth El to bring together community leaders for women’s seder Temple Beth El will be hosting a seder just for women this year. “The women work the hardest at this holiday. They have to clean their kitchens and change their pantries and listen to their families complain about not having bread,” said Chelsea Karp, who is helping to organize the seder. “It can, at times, be a challenging holiday for the women and so this event is an opportunity for women to be acknowledged and celebrated.” Jeanette Eichenwald, Devorah Halperin, Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr, Shari Spark and Rachel Wilensky will each offer brief reflections and commentaries throughout different points of the seder. The group will also have their four cups of wine and sing to Miriam, all using a Haggadah specially created for the occasion. The meal will be a traditional Passover one, and will be kosher, but not kosher for Passover as it will be held before the holiday. “The goal would be to create something enduring,” Karp said. “We have so many wonderful women in our community.” The L’Dor V’Dor Women’s Seder will be held on Thursday, March 30, at 6:15 p.m. at Temple Beth El. $36 per person. Advanced paid registration required by March 17. Space is limited. Contact Temple Beth El at 610-4353521 to learn more.
Our New Guide to Handling Touchy Topics with Your Parents Talking to your aging parents about touchy subjects like giving up driving or moving to a retirement community to get more help can be difficult and emotionally draining for everyone involved. So we’ve used our extensive experience to prepare a 12-page guide to help you handle the task. It includes helpful tips and insights like:
70% After age 65, an American has more than a 70% chance of needing help with the activities of daily living like dressing and bathing.
10 examples of what NOT to say to your aging parents 3 ways to avoid anger and misunderstandings Discussing the issue of giving up driving The best time to begin sensitive discussions 6 most common pitfalls for siblings trying to help their parents To get our free guide, stop by our community, or visit us online at CountryMeadows.com/Parents. And you can always just give us a call to ask a question. We’re here to help. Download for free or stop by
–American Society on Aging
410 N. Krocks Road, Allentown (minutes from Route 22 & I-78) • 610-395-7160 / 4035 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem (close to Routes 22 & 33) • 610-865-5580 NOW OPEN! 175 Newlins Road West, Easton (in Forks Twp.) • 484-544-3880
Independent Living | Assisted Living & Personal Care* | Memory Care | Restorative Care* | Skilled Nursing** | In-Home Services* *Forks campus offers Independent Living, Assisted Living & Memory Care only. **Skilled nursing is available at our Bethlehem campus only. Country Meadows offers services and housing without regard to race, color, religion, disability, marital status, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation or gender.
14 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY PMS 118
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16 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
COMMUNITY BRINGS FORCE ON SUPER SUNDAY By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Marketing
The Jewish community’s Jedi Knights brought the force on Jan. 29 for the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley’s annual Super Sunday Community Mitzvah Day. More than 150 volunteers gathered at the Jewish Community Center and at the Atria in Bethlehem to raise money for the 2017 Campaign for Jewish Needs, thank donors and bring joy to Jewish seniors. Highlights of the day at the JCC included a visit from IronPigs mascot FeFe, free blood pressure screenings from Patient First, breakfast goodies and snacks courtesy of Giant and Whole Foods Market and delicious macaroni and cheese for dinner donated by Boscov’s. More than 50 young Padawans joined PJ Library for a bend and stretch class with Coach T. The kids also worked on Star Wars-themed crafts provided by Camp JCC and listened to a PJ story read by State Rep. Mike Schlossberg. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, state Sen. Pat Browne and state Rep. Zach Mako also paid volunteers a visit. A first-time attendee at Super Sunday, Mako even made some phone calls. Brian Ford, who co-chaired the event with his wife Emily, had the chance to talk to WFMZ about the mission of Super Sunday and the great work of volunteers. While callers took a break in the afternoon, a group of volunteers led by Chelsea Busch and Joy Wernick joined Jewish Family Service at the Atria in Bethlehem. The volunteers, including a large contingent from Lehigh University Hillel, baked a special recipe with residents (see page 15 for more). The Jewish Federation wishes to thank all of the local Jewish synagogues, agencies and Hillels who encouraged their members to be the force on Super Sunday and all of the sponsoring businesses who made this day possible.
THANK YOU FOR BEING THE FORCE
150 volunteers, 50 PJ kids and 1 pig made Super Sunday a big success.
Volunteers made thank you calls to donors who had previously pledged their support to the campaign.
215 donors pledged $44,000 on Super Sunday Thank you to everyone who volunteered and everyone who gave! You are supporting Jewish life in the Lehigh Valley, across the country and around the world. If you did not have an opportunity to answer the call on Super Sunday, please contact the Federation at 610-821-5500 or visit www.jewishlehighvalley.org.
PHOTO KEY: THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS & PARTNERS:
1. Federation leadership with FeFe 2. PJ Library families 3. Jewish Day School families with FeFe 4. Muhlenberg Hillel volunteers 5. Co-Chair Brian Ford 6. Lehigh Hillel students help Atria residents bake 7. David Caine 8. Volunteers led by Carol Wilson prepare for the mitzvah project at the Atria 9. State Rep. Mike Schlossberg reads a PJ Library story 10. State Sen. Pat Browne with Barry Halper and Israel Zighelboim 11. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski 12. Mark L. Goldstein gets his blood pressure checked by Patient First.
TO SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT www.jewishlehighvalley.org
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18 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
‘Jewish Flight into China’ opens at Pearl S. Buck International Stories of acceptance, assimilation and discrimination in China as told in Pearl Buck’s works A new exhibit at Pearl S. Buck International in Perkasie shares the stories of Jewish communities in China over millennia. These stories intrigued Pearl S. Buck and her husband Richard Walsh so much that each explored them in their published works. The exhibit, “Jewish Flight into China,” will run through Aug. 30, 2017, in the Exhibit Gallery at Pearl S. Buck International’s Welcome Center at 520 Dublin Rd. Buck wrote the novel “Peony” and the play “Flight into China” on the subject. Walsh included scholarly articles about the topic in his publication, “Asia” magazine. Jews settled in China as tradespeople on the silk road. They had strong communities and became part of society. One of the largest communities was in K’aifeng.
Israeli artist to open exhibit at the Allentown Art Museum
Miri Golan, Untitled III, 2010. Vellum, silicone paper, wood. Photos courtesy of the artist.
A stele (stone tablet) commemorates the construction of a synagogue there in 1163, but by the 1850s there were only remnants of the building standing and most families had assimilated. This is the period in which Buck set her novel, “Peony,” which tells the story of a Chinese bondmaid, sold into the service of one of the remaining Jewish families. The Jewish exodus to China during Buck’s lifetime was during World War II. Part of
the exhibit at Pearl S. Buck International is a retelling, through words and photos, of one Jewish family’s flight from Nazi Germany into China. Packed in the luggage was a copy of “The Good Earth” which descendants presume was carried so far in order to become part of a lending library established during their stay in China. Admission to the Exhibit Gallery is complimentary. Visit www.pearlsbuck. org/exhibits to learn more.
Israeli artist Miri Golan will be in Allentown on the weekend of March 4-5 to help kick off a new exhibition at the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley. Golan’s work is included in “Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami,” which opens to members on Saturday, March 4, and the public on Sunday, March 5. Golan is the founder and director of the Israeli Origami Center, responsible for the training and placement of specialist origami teachers in Jewish, Muslim and Christian schools. The public is invited to attend a free presentation and workshop by Golan at 1 p.m. on March 5 about “Folding Together,” a worldwide origami program she founded that is based in Israel and uses origami to bring together children and their families of different faiths. To RSVP
call 610-432-4333 or visit www.allentownartmuseum.org. “Above the Fold” demonstrates the extraordinary artistic achievements being made in the world of contemporary origami. In the hands of nine international artists, what was once considered a children’s craft becomes a sophisticated and often breathtaking global art form. Paper is transformed into dramatic sculpture, large-scale installations, and conceptual works that express contemporary social, political, aesthetic and cultural dialogues. “Above the Fold” is the first traveling exhibition to bring a group of origami installations and conceptual sculptures from around the world to North American audiences. It continues at the Allentown Art Museum through May 28.
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20 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Kosher wine pours into Pennsylvania By Shawn Kelly Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Wine is a great way to celebrate a milestone in life, a holiday or even just a special dinner. But for those who are kosher-observant, finding a good wine that adheres to kashrut law used to be a daunting process. Nowadays, however, it’s a lot easier to find delicious, kosher wines. There are various label symbols used to denote a kosher wine. Most commonly, kosher wines include the “K” or an Orthodox Union mark. If there is a “P” next to the circle, the wine is kosher for Passover. Finally, if it is marked “Mevushal,” it can be served by non-Kosher observant Jews and Gentiles and maintain its kosher status. In simple terms, wines labeled “Kosher” are acceptable for kosher-observant Jews to drink. For a wine to be labeled “Kosher,” a Sabbath-observant Jew must be involved in the winemaking process, from harvest through bottling. Wine does not have to be blessed by a rabbi to be considered kosher. A smaller population of wines are kosher for Passover – and are clearly marked as such – since the winemaking process
BY SANDI TEPLITZ When I was growing up, Sunday was the day reserved for visiting relatives. My cousin Goldie, a fabulous baker, specialized in Purim desserts. It was always fun to go to her house, because we never knew what delight awaited us. The one that I most vividly remember is something that I have rarely seen or tasted since. Before Goldie moved to Israel, I collected this cherished recipe from her. It came with scant details about baking temperatures, but I did my best to add them here for the home cook. I
often includes the addition of other products unsuitable for Passover. Sometimes, for example, wheat paste is used to keep wine barrel lids in place, or egg whites or gelatins may be used to remove excess sediment from casks. Kosher for Passover wines do not include these products. Mevushal wines are perfect for functions and in restaurants where the wine may be served or poured by people who are not Sabbath-observant Jews. For many Orthodox Jews, wine served by a non-kosher-observant Jew or a Gentile loses its kosher status. Decades ago, the only way to protect that status was to boil it, which led to label designation “Mevushal,” but also stripped the wine of flavor. Nowadays, however, flash pasteurization accomplishes the same spiritual effect of boiling without damaging flavor. When selecting a bottle of kosher wine, first determine if you need a wine that is kosher, kosher for Passover, or mevushal. If you are unsure how strictly observant everyone at an event will be, a bottle of mevushal is the safe choice. Kosher wines have been growing in popularity in Pennsylvania in recent years. Sales
of kosher wines at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores over the last three fiscal years have grown by nearly 50,000 bottles and a halfmillion dollars, reaching more than 750,000 bottles and more than $7.2 million in sales in fiscal year 2015-16. To meet the growing demand, more Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores stock kosher wines, and the range of kosher wines in those stores is broader. For example, the store at 1516 N. Cedar Crest Blvd. in Allentown carries 48 kosher wines, according to wine specialist Jayne Harmon. Stores that do not carry a particular wine can have that wine transferred to it, and other kosher wine options are available through www.FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com. Additionally, a kosher winery with a direct wine shipping license can ship wines directly to Pennsylvania consumers. KOSHER WINE TASTINGS IN MARCH To broaden palates to kosher wines, Harmon will host special pre-Passover wine tastings at the Cedar Crest Boulevard store on Thursday, March 23, and Sunday, March 26, from 4 to 6 p.m. both days. Four different kosher wines – two whites and two reds
– will be featured each day. TWO TO TRY Bartenura Rosso Toscano 2014; $8.99 This Tuscan mevushal wine is made from 100 percent Sangiovese grapes. It is a light- to medium-bodied wine with hints of fresh fruit and olive aromas; flavors of red berries and a crisp
acidity and long finish. Serve with pasta with fresh and bright sauces, pizza, and lighter meat dishes. Cantina Gabriele Dolcemente Red; $10.99 This blend pairs the refined character of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape with the fruitiness of the Cesanese grape in a mevushal wine. It features an intense purple color and fresh floral aromas with notes of berry and cherry. Very smooth tannins and lovely sweetness on the palate mean you can enjoy this wine at room temperature or slightly chilled with meats or mildly aged cheeses.
also recommend the brand name products that I find work well. So if you are tired of Hamantashen, allow yourself to experiment with this Purim treat. INGREDIENTS: 1 pound can of Crisco 6 c. unbleached flour, preferably Gold Medal 1 t. baking powder 1 t. baking soda 1 c. sugar orange juice (preferably fresh) to hold dough together 1 t. vanilla 4 extra large egg yolks Solo apricot filling, Solo poppyseed filling, Simon Fischer lekvar,
or any preferred filling of your choice TECHNIQUE: Mix all ingredients except fillings together in a mixer. Roll out thinly on a pastry board. Divide into 1/4s. Place 1/4 into the bottom of an 8" Pyrex square pan. Top with your choice of filling and
orange or lemon rind, ground walnuts and slightly sweetened cinnamon. Repeat 2 times with the other fillings. Top with the fourth layer as a cover. Cut slits into the top layer as air vents to release steam. Bake at 350 degrees until browned to your liking. Keep at room temperature. This dessert is pareve.
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HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2017 21
Purim Pet Parade As we get into the spirit of Purim, our pets are also excited! These local pets are ready to join in the festivities with their colorful costumes.
Ellie Liounis the English springer spaniel and Boston terrier mix
Tyler Needell the Havanese
Romeo Montagooey Smith the Shetland sheepdog
Ziggy Schneider the blue heeler mix
Reese Cohen the goldendoodle
Luke Daniel Rosenblum the Cavalier King Charles spaniel
Mordecai Finberg the puggle
22 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Dozer Urena the mixed breed
Bishop the boxer
Macon Smartschan the treeing walker coonhound
Jerry and George Gorodzinsky the red bellied toads
Max Edwards the maltese and shih tzu mix
Pint Cook the orange tabby
Sophie Brochaner the shih-poo
Lakoda Musselman the Alaskan malamute
BIG IDEAS. bigger achievements. #ItHappensAtSwain
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Henny and ZiZi the small vizslas
PS-8th grade • allentown • swain.org YOU'RE INVITED...
“PEER RELATIONSHIPS IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA” Wednesday, April 19 @ 7 p.m.
Free & open to the public. For more information & to register: swain.org
Boots Meyers the black cat
DJ Bennett the westie HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2017 23
By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor
Editor’s note: HAKOL has been proud to celebrate Jewish holidays in every issue since its inception. One particularly fun highlight of this history of celebration is the Purim lampoons in the March 1978 and 1979 issues. Although this feature never made it into the 1980s or afterwards, HAKOL is proud to remember its funniest moments from its original issues.
Jokey Judaism: New twists for mitzvahs (1979)
Silly Superheroes: Thinly disguised as Clark Cohen, cub reporter for the BACKVITZ, Mohn-sterman searches out evil in every nook and granary of the Lehigh Valley, including Macungie. His amazing ineptitude derives from a diet of over-ripe poppy seeds and g’dempte fleysh. Cohen’s efforts are abetted and berated by M and M Finkelbaum, inseparable editors and part-time proofreaders, and “Meggie” Weiss, clever classified ads clerk and mimeograph inker.
Congregation Keneseth Mayim in Marin County, California recently celebrated Brian Wasserman’s bar mitzvah in a most unusual ceremony. All congregants attended the service in swim suits and immersed themselves in hot tubs for the Sabbath morning service. Brian, who is 15, postponed his bar mitzvah for two years because of the severe drought. During the Torah service the Jacuzzis automatically ceased functions so the Bar Mitzvah’s voice could be heard reading the maftir
The exceptional beauty of Esther, daughter of Aminadab, has dazzled all participants, judges and chaperones involved with the year-long Miss Persia pageant. First selected as Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants, this mysterious exile from Babylonia became the unanimous choice of the judges’ panel for
• Garage sale: Large boat with pet accommodations, only used once. Previously owned chariot – slightly scorched but good condition. Sturdy walking stick, designed for use in desert travel. 100 cases surplus essence of manna. Small metal calf, slightly damaged. Tablet shards and ancient scrolls. #1, Sinai Heights Rd. • For Sale: Almanac in six volumes. Advice on crops, farm animals, marketing arrangements, prices on Jerusalem exchange. Also includes care of wives, guide to native festival
Esther acclaimed first ‘Miss Persia’ and new queen (1978) Susa, 6 Adar, 3301 the Miss Persia crown. As Royal Emcee Bert Gai sang his newly composed tune, “There she goes Miss AllPersia,” not a sign of disagreement could be detected in the whole courtyard. In a surprise cameo appearance, the King stepped upon the stage to crown the winner and re-state his promised troth.
and haftorah. The Torah scroll, propped on an inflatable lectern, had been previously scotchguarded in case of splashing from overenthusiastic participants. Kiddush consisted of tuna fish and watercress sandwiches on whole wheat-honey-bran-raisinwheat germ-granola challah and ice cream floats. The Niles, Illinois, Synagogue of the Air also is noted for its innovative bar mitzvah ceremonies. Because of crowded conditions in their own synagogue, the Sylvan
celebrations, sunrise approximations, exotic stories, words of wisdom and current gossip. More complete than the Farmers’ Almanac – a real collector’s item! Contact Judan Prince, Beit Shearim. • Must sell: pair of ram’s horns, slightly scratched by thorns. A real sacrifice. Abraham the Hebrew, Box 1. • Auburn hair, three-foot tresses. Excellent condition. Rachel, wife of Akiba, Box 6, Galilee. • Cookbooks: “Soups and Stews – Cooking for Fun and Profit” by Jacob. “Fresh Dairy Dishes” by Yael. “Apples and How to Eat Them” by Eve. “Food for the Angels” by Abraham. “Mrs. Lot’s Salt-Free Diet Cookbook.” “Using Those Leftover Bones” by Ezekiel.
Steinbeck family opted to televise their daughter Susan’s bat mitzvah on closed circuit television through the Synagogue of the Air. Invitations told watchers to tune into channel 93 for the program which had been videotaped before Shabbat. Kiddush was served by Mario’s Pizzeria, who delivered a large cheese pizza to every family who could identify the portion of the week.
Wacky Writing: THE UNTOLD STORY OF PURIM The Purim story we all heard Concerns events that occurred Ages ago in a place called Shoshon Located far across the Atlantic O-shon. As the tale is told, we seen unfold A cast of characters young and old A story long, a whole Megillah Some folks nice, some nasty as Godzilla.
Nutty Notifications: Effective June, the entire HAKOL staff will go on Aliyah. Refer all communications to our Jerusalem office.
The good guys, the Hebrews of course, Being downtrodden by brute force, Have as their leader a cool guy Known around town as Mordechai.
Due to inclement weather, Shabbat was canceled this week. Two consecutive days of Shabbat will be rescheduled at the end of July.
Seems our hero, Mordy, Destined for fortune and fame, Has a neat looking niece Esther by name.
Crazy Classifieds: New kosher vegetarian group needs members. Write Jews for Cheeses, Millertown, California. Research material wanted: Student studying parity between Swiss francs and Hebrew National Franks. Call or write Bank Leumi.
24 MARCH 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
The chief honcho is King Achasvay-ros Whose behavior is extremely gross His wife, the Queen, is also not so hotsy-toshty Her name (as if you didn’t know) is Vashty.
Now every story needs a black-hat And this one’s got a pip; He’s called Hamen, a really bad, bad cat Who wants to keep the Hebrews under the whip Will Hamen succeed or fail? Or will Mordechai prevail? Do the King and Queen abdicate? Is Esther pregnant or just late? For the answers to all of the above Attend Purim services and tune into the Rov!
Why Trump’s universalizing of the Holocaust matters to the Jews By Andrew Silow-Carroll Jewish Telegraphic Agency
genocide of the Jewish people as a central goal of the thousandyear Reich, no less than conquering Europe and eventually the rest of the world. “After the Holocaust took away so much from the Jews, we must not take the Holocaust itself away from the Jews,” Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., said in remarks marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. There is no indication that Dermer was addressing the White House statement. His speech is an admonition against “universalizing” the Holocaust, directed not at the revisionists and European nationalists, but at well-intentioned people for whom “the Holocaust is primarily a universal story about man’s inhumanity to man, about the evils of racism and xenophobia, about how even the most enlightened societies can descend into darkness and barbarism.” A “universalized Holocaust,
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Supporters of President Donald Trump have often defended his election campaign against charges of anti-Semitism by noting he has an Orthodox Jewish daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. Jews on the right are excited about Kushner’s role as a special adviser to the president, assuming he’ll be their advocate on Israel and other Jewish issues. Jews on the left hope Kushner, whose parents were longtime donors to the Democratic Party, will be a check on Trump’s most conservative impulses. But although most reports put Kushner at the center of White House decision-making, he mostly remains a cipher, not only on Jewish issues but on Trump’s entire agenda. Nowhere was that more apparent than in the controversy kicked up by a White House statement to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day that made no mention of the Jews killed by the Nazis and in whose memory the day was created. Where was Jared when the statement was written and released? The question of the “universality” of the Holocaust has haunted Jewish activism and scholarship for 70 years, and preserving the uniqueness of the genocide of Europe’s Jews has been a central tenet of Jewish advocacy and historicity. On its face, the Trump statement is an emotional appeal to tolerance drawing on the lessons of the Holocaust. “It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust,” the statement begins. “It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.” But the omission of a specific mention of the Jews sets off alarm bells for those who understand the ways Holocaust deniers and European nationalists have sought to downplay the Jewish genocide and shift focus to the suffering of non-Jewish Poles,
Lithuanians, Germans, French and others during World War II. That was the larger battle being fought in the 1980s when Jewish groups opposed the construction of a Catholic chapel in the shadow of Auschwitz. As the late Edgar Bronfman, then president of the World Jewish Congress, said at the time, “It is not only a matter of the Auschwitz convent, but the broader implications of historical revisionism in which the uniqueness of the Holocaust and the murder of the Jewish people is being suppressed.” With the rise of nationalism in Europe and the fading of the survivor generation, the battle against such suppression has only intensified. In the 48 hours after the release of the White House statement, two groups objected, the Anti-Defamation League — whose CEO called the omission of Jews “puzzling and troubling” — and the newly assertive Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, whose executive director demanded, “How can you forget, Mr. President, that six million Jews were murdered because they were Jews?” Meanwhile, Ronald Lauder, Bronfman’s successor as president of the World Jewish Congress, felt compelled to criticize the ADL and defend Trump. “It does no honor to the millions of Jews murdered in the Holocaust to play politics with their memory,” Lauder said in a statement. “Any fair reading of the White House statement today on the International Holocaust Memorial Day [sic] will see it appropriately commemorates the suffering and the heroism that mark that dark chapter in modern history.” The phrase “the suffering and the heroism” is oddly nonspecific in a statement from the leader of a group that fights for the rights of Jewish Holocaust victims. Jewish leaders and historians never doubted the suffering and heroism of non-Jews during World War II. But most have insisted that only the Jews were singled out for complete annihilation as a race by the Nazis. That the Nazis uniquely put the
A Holocaust survivor shows her number tattoo. unmoored from its Jewish anchor, is more than dangerous – it is also immoral,” said Dermer. “Immoral because the Holocaust took everything from its Jewish victims. It took their homes and their valuables. It took their freedom and their dignity. And ultimately, it took their lives
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and their future. We must not compound the unimaginable crimes of the past by perpetrating an unspeakable crime in the present.” Dermer invoked the late Elie Holocaust Continues on page 26
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In rare unity, Orthodox and liberal denominations are critical of Trump refugee ban
President Donald Trump signing an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House surrounded by small business leaders, Jan. 30, 2017.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency Two large groups representing Orthodox Jews responded to President Donald Trump’s executive order barring migrants from seven mostly Muslim countries and refugees from around the world by warning against policies that would place any limits on immigration based on religion. With the combined statement by the Orthodox Union
and Rabbinical Council of America, all four major American Jewish denominations have criticized the executive order in some form. The Reconstructionist movement condemned the statement ahead of its signing, while the Reform and Conservative movements condemned it in the days following. The Orthodox statement was first issued in December
2015 after Trump called for banning the entry of Muslims into the United States. It is extremely rare for all four movements, which have split on everything from LGBT rights to Israel policy, to unite in opposing a presidential action. While the Orthodox organizations said they recognize the need for protections against terrorists, they urged the administration to protect religious freedom. “We call on all Americans to reaffirm that discrimination against any group based solely upon religion is wrong and anathema to the great traditions of religious and personal freedoms upon which this country was founded,” the statement says, and calls on “the United States government to recognize the threats posed by radical Islamists, while preserving and protecting the rights of all people who seek peace, no matter how they worship God.” Trump has denied that the executive order is a ban on Muslims, although the statements by the Reform and Conservative movements
both assert that the policy is tantamount to a religious test for refugees, travelers and migrants. The executive order, which has since been issued a stay from federal court, prohibits for 120 days all refugees from entering the country, with an indefinite ban on those from Syria. Citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries,
including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, would be barred from entry for 90 days. A range of Jewish groups have opposed the order, including the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley. The Zionist Organization of America appears to be the only major Jewish group to support the executive order.
ing on the universality of the Holocaust, the Trump statement invited bipartisan condemnation. Writing for Commentary, former Reagan speechwriter John Podhoretz said the omission of the Jews is “the culmination of decades of ill feeling that seems to center on the idea that the Jews have somehow made unfair ‘use’ of the Holocaust and it should not ‘belong’ to them.” Josh Marshall, editor and publisher of the liberal website TalkingPointsMemo. com, noted that “it has long been a trope of Holocaust deniers and white nationalists to insist that Jews were only incidentally targeted.” In a different context, Lawrence Summers, when he was president of Harvard University, distinguished between the anti-Semitism of “intent” and the anti-Semitism of “effect.” Even if the White House Holocaust statement wasn’t intended to dis the Jews or comfort their enemies, that doesn’t gainsay its effect. Anti-Semitism has clung to the edges of the Trump movement — officially disavowed by Trump and belied by his ardently pro-Israel stance, but subtly stoked by some of his associates, speeches and actions. Perhaps Jewish critics were being overly sensitive, or driven by partisan politics, when they wondered if this wasn’t another dog whistle. Or perhaps Trump wasn’t aware, as in many things, of the impact of some of his words and actions, and wasn’t hearing from or listening to the kinds of people who could steer him away from messages that had the effect of anti-Semitism. Which is where Kushner comes in. He, the grandson of Holocaust survivors who dedicated their lives to its memory, must certainly understand the stakes in how to discuss the Shoah. One of his rare public statements of the campaign was a full-throated defense of Trump against charges of antiSemitism in which he invoked his grandparents’ experience during the war. He described in detail his grandmother’s persecution in the Novogroduk ghetto, the murders of her brother and sister, and how she escaped to join the Bielski resistance fighters, where she met his grandfather. “I go into these details, which I have never discussed, because it’s important to me that people understand where I’m coming from when I report that I know the difference between actual, dangerous intolerance versus these labels that get tossed around in an effort to score political points,” Kushner wrote.
Continues from page 25
Wiesel repeatedly in his talk, and the revered Auschwitz survivor was a fierce defender of the “uniqueness” argument. “Not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims,” he famously wrote. International Holocaust Remembrance Day was established by the United Nations and is marked on the day Auschwitz was liberated in large part to counter the “de-Judaization” of the Shoah. You wouldn’t know that from the White House statement. White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks doubled down on the statement in light of the criticism, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper, “Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group, and we took into account all of those who suffered.” She also shared a Huffington Post UK article describing the “gay people, priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples” who were “targeted” by the Nazis. The Jews’ insistence on the uniquely Jewish aspect of the Holocaust has often been turned against them, with accusations that it is meant to deny the suffering of others or to somehow shield Israel from criticism. These have been recurring themes both on the far right and the far left. Indeed, by insist-
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GIVE A MITZVAH, DO A MITZVAH
Every week a mitzvah at Tikvah House
Brendan Cohen with Adam Levitt and Aly Bergstein at Tikvah House. Brendan Cohen is a 7th grade honor student at Orefield Middle School. An avid gamer and computer coder, Brendan will become a Bar Mitzvah at Congregation Keneseth Israel on May 20, 2017. Interestingly, he has the same parsha that his father, Zachary Cohen, had at his bar mitzvah many years ago. So it was even more interesting that Brendan would find himself doing the same mitzvah that his dad has been doing for years. Every Shabbat, Brendan and Zac visit Tikvah House to lead the residents in the Shabbat prayers. Tikvah House is a residential
group home for Jewish mentally challenged adults. It is located in the West End of Allentown. Begun by the parents of the residents, it has been their residence for the past 23 years. Currently, there are three adults living in the house with a supervisor. “My dad went every Friday for years and then I started going every Friday with my dad,” Brendan said. “The residents are really great and they just want to be included in community events. I thought of it as tikkun olam, repairing the world, I’m doing my part.” “Brendan has taken an active role,” Zac added. “He asked if he could come with me, so
it didn’t start out as a mitzvah project, it just happened organically. Now he joins me every Friday. If we can’t make it, we arrange for a friend to attend. You can invite the residents for a meal at your home. It’s such an easy, enjoyable thing that you don’t need to stress about it.” “It’s a lovely gesture from the Cohen family that Zac and Brendan come every Shabbat,” Eva Levitt, who is one of the founders, said. Anyone who would like to participate or to have the residents over to their home should call Eva at 610398-1376. Transportation and an aide for the residents will be provided. “We are so proud of Brendan because he cares about the Jewish community and humanity as a whole. He wants to make a difference in people’s lives. He has always been a mensch,” Ginny Cohen, Brendan’s mom, said. In addition to his mitzvah project, Brendan 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, program coordinator, at email@example.com or call her at the Federation office at 610-821-5500.
PJ LIBRARY Family of the Month: THE UNGERS
Benjamin has just received his very first PJ Library book, ‘Goodnight Sh’ma.’ We are excited to read the books to help teach him about Judaism. We look forward to seeing his PJ Library book collection grow. - MELISSA AND MATT UNGER
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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BBG begins busy spring calendar
Board members Sabrina Toland (far left) and Sophie Valuntas (far right) enjoy ice skating with a few new members.
By Sophia McWilliams BBG Allentown BBG is busy with recruitment for new members. There have been several events, including a regional, co-ed dance called Marathon Madness, ice skating and a sleepover. Marathon Madness took place over President’s Weekend in King of Prussia. Our chapter had a great turnout of current and prospective members! The event connected BBG and AZA members from areas as far as Harrisburg, Wilkes Barre, Wilmington, Delaware, and Philadelphia. Allentown BBG also hosted an ice skating event on Super Bowl Sunday at the Steel Ice Center and our annual MIT (Member In Training) Sleepover on Feb. 11. MIT Sleepover is solely for new members to engage girls in activities to learn about BBG. MIT is also great opportunity to get to know new members. In January, Allentown BBG and AZA members came together to volunteer at the JCC and participate
Allentown AZA gears up for an exciting second half By Steven Lipson AZA Throughout February and early March, Allentown AZA has either hosted or will be hosting two important events aimed at recruiting new members to our organization and teaching the core values to current members. AIT Night stands for Alephs (members) in Training. This event was held at Robbie Staff’s house on Saturday, Feb. 11. We attempted different programs in an effort to learn the rich history of Allentown AZA. For example, one program featured the AZA handshake, which connects Alephs from all different backgrounds. Another program featured the song, “Up You Men,” which outlines the steps necessary to have the best experience in AZA. The night ended with induct-
ing new members into Allentown AZA through a meaningful ceremony. Brayden Koch and Sam Zahn read speeches to capture what it means to be an Aleph. We also had past Alephs, David Zahn and Ian Futerfas, speak about how to flourish during their time in AZA. The next event will be a regional convention held at the Allentown JCC from March 3-5. Over 200 teens from the greater Allentown area will attend a convention entitled, “In Training.” This includes both girls and boys chapters. Many Allentown families have been gracious enough to open their homes to our organization. In addition, we are always looking for more people to host in the community. If you are interested in allowing young Jewish teens to stay at your house during this time, please email allentown-
firstname.lastname@example.org. In the description of this convention, it reads, “We will have everything from educational programs, recreational activities, your first regional meeting, a variety of Shabbat services for you to choose from, a truly inspiring Liberty BBYO Havdalah service and a Saturday night dance. Most of all, you will be officially inducted as a BBYO member in a memorable induction ceremony.” We are extremely excited to show these teens a great weekend in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
in their annual Super Sunday. BBYO members were responsible for calling and thanking donors, and members were appreciative of the conversations that emerged from these phone calls. In addition, BBG and AZA members hosted a Shabbat service at the Bnai Brith House. Board members Joelle Pitkoff and Seth Fine organized and lead an interactive service, along with guitar accompaniment by Josh Lemberg. Members appreciated getting to engage with residents at an Oneg afterward. In the coming month, Allentown BBG is hosting IT (In Training) Convention at the JCC; this conference serves as an induction for new BBYO members and has educational and recreational programs, a regional meeting, Havdalah and Shabbat services and a dance. Members of Allentown BBYO will be housing members from all over the region. We encourage all community members to visit our booths at the JCC Purim Carnival in March!
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MARCH 2017 29
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The Jewish newspaper of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania