HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY 40th ANNIVERSARY
The Voice of the Lehigh Valley Jewish Community
MAY 2017 | IYYAR/SIVAN 5777
Pigs prepare for kosher night at the ballpark Are you ready for some baseball and a fun-filled night for the whole family? Jewish Heritage Night at the Lehigh Valley IronPigs is back for its fourth year. This year’s game will take place on Tuesday, May 23, at 7:05 p.m. Kosher food will be available, and attendees who purchase tickets as part of a group will receive an IronPigs golf towel created just for the occasion. The event is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley and brings the whole community together. “This is definitely one of my favorite nights of the year,” said Aaron Gorodzinsky, director of outreach and community relations for the Federation. “How often can you enjoy a kosher hot dog in the stands of a beautiful ballpark
Explore AIPAC with the Fels family on page 9.
Find answers to your questions about the new communitywide LIFE & LEGACY program on pages 16-17.
surrounded by tons of people you know?” Many Jewish organizations have purchased group tickets to allow community members to take advantage of two exciting ticket packages. $20 tickets include the golf towel plus a voucher for the kosher food stand including a kosher hot dog or knish, chips and soda or bottled water, all LVKC supervised. $15 tickets include the towel and $2 in ballpark credit. To purchase tickets, contact Bnai Abraham Synagogue, Chabad of the Lehigh Valley, Congregation Brith Sholom, Congregation Keneseth Israel, Congregation Sons of Israel, the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Day School, the Jewish Federation, Temple Beth El, Temple Covenant of Peace or Temple Shirat Shalom or visit www. jewishlehighvalley.org/ironpigs.
Seder brings women together for meaningful discussion
By Chelsea Karp Temple Beth El Dive into a local Jewish author’s new project on page 22.
No. 398 com.UNITY with Mark Goldstein 2 Women’s Division
Jewish Family Service
Jewish Community Center
Jewish Day School
IronPigs mascots FeFe and FeRROUS studying up on “Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher.”
I was delighted to be a part of the committee that put together the L’Dor V’Dor Women’s Seder hosted by the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El on March 30. This community event was designed to be an evening for women to come together to celebrate Passover in the spirit of sisterhood. Women from Beth El, Congregation Keneseth Israel, Congregation Sons of Israel, Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley and the JCC of the Lehigh Valley joined together and were engaged for a few hours by inspiring female educators and leaders of our community. The program began with “Hine Ma-Tov” led by Shari Spark and concluded with her leading us in “Oseh Shalom.” We were treated to teachings by featured speakers
like Jeanette Eichenwald, Devorah Halperin, Rachel Wilensky and Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr. Our guest presenters spoke to different themes of Passover such as women of the exodus, the four daughters, making Passover relevant and memory. They shared their personal stories and thoughts on these themes which were both inspiring and educational. Everyone had something new to learn, whether it was a new tradition to start, a different melody to bring back to their seder table or a fresh outlook on Passover. So many women from different parts of the community attended that it was a great opportunity to make new friends and reacquaint with old ones. The evening featured a beautifully designed haggadah that highlighted the women of the Passover story. Participants had the opportunity to individually read a part, lead a prayer or sing along to songs. There
was indeed an orange on the seder plate and much of the haggadah highlighted the prophet Miriam. During the Shulchan Orech, women were encouraged to share their personal stories of Pesach and enjoy a traditional Passover meal. We enjoyed chicken soup with matzah balls, kugels and delectable desserts made by Temple Beth El’s Sisterhood members. As I looked around the room, I saw how the participants were engaged, moved and really, truly grateful to be amongst so many women who share the same beliefs and values. Our community was brought a little closer by making connections, practicing seder rituals and promoting Jewish education. I must thank the committee and the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El for putting together this incredible evening. I would urge anyone who was not able to make it to join us next year. This event is one not be missed.
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FROM THE DESK OF MARK L. GOLDSTEIN
Executive Director | Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley firstname.lastname@example.org
On winners and losers Watching reality TV shows makes me wonder if the losers are really losers. We all know about the winners. But, it is not unusual for an eliminated contestant to break out of “loser” status and make it to – or close to – the top. A few years back, the reputed top American Idol contestant was eliminated, only to be reassured that she would still land “on top.” Many non-first place contestants receive recording contracts. Several receive movie, television and Broadway show roles. Some are hosting shows on cable networks (that I did not even know existed). Several have received better positions in their companies and law firms. A few have received business employment opportunities. Many have seen their 15 minutes of fame easily doubled or tripled. When I grew up in Nashville, I was involved with the JCC’s basketball and football programs. I know we had a league. I know they kept scores. But the strongest memory I have is that everyone received a trophy at the annual sports banquet. You could not distinguish the winners from the losers.
And then there is the Federation’s annual allocations process, this year chaired by Gary Fromer. The process consists of a committee of committed Jewish community volunteers who meet with agencies and organizations to determine how to best divide the monies raised in the Federation’s annual campaign. Unfortunately, there will be winners and losers. But not the kind of losers who get recording contracts, promotions and trophies. Real losers. I have been doing this work for over 30 years, and frankly, I enjoy raising the money more than spending the money. Don’t get me wrong; I do marvel in the impact of our funding on our community and in Israel. But, since there is not enough money to go around, and most – if not all – of the requests deserve funding, the prospect of winners and losers leaves me wanting. Our losers do not get a recording contract or a movie deal. They simply go unfunded. Our losers don’t get a bump in popularity and face the coming year in a better position than before. They simply go
unfunded. I did not become a Jewish communal professional to decide what we are not going to do. What drives me – what should drive all of us – is how we can grow and strengthen our community and improve the lives for Jews in Israel and around the world. We should struggle with how many more scholarships we will give to support children going to Jewish camps, not how many fewer we can provide. We should grapple with growing our counseling programs and senior transportation program, not concluding on a maximum number of trips that still leave our seniors wanting, and needing more. I really hate the thought that there are winners and losers. But there are; some very deserving programs in our Jewish community go unfunded each year. And, as costs rise and needs increase, the gap between funded and unfunded grows at an uncomfortable pace. But you have a role in this. Our Allocations Committee will finish its deliberations by the end of May. You can participate by making your annual contribution now so
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Readers,
Yom Hazikaron is the day before Yom Ha’atzmaut, the anniversary of Israel’s independence, and a cause to celebrate the Jewish people’s homeland. The poignant contrast between these two backto-back days brings extra depth to our Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations. And although there is nothing happy about Yom HaShoah, we can do our best to create a better world and keep other people from suffering. There are several secular holidays in the spring as well; Earth Day is a great opportunity to take advantage of the nicer weather and volunteer outdoors, and Mother’s Day offers the chance to honor mothers, grandmothers and other women who have been powerful influences on our lives. Special shout-out to Penney Cohen and Esther Bi-
Spring is the season of holidays. Even after the last matzah box is finished, we continue to have reasons to remember our people’s downfalls and celebrate their triumphs. Beginning with Yom HaShoah, we recall our fallen brothers and sisters who perished in the Holocaust. Next on the calendar is Yom Hazikaron, which honors fallen Israeli soldiers. Both days are occasions fit for solemnity rather than celebration. But spring is also a time of renewal. Little green sneezeinducing buds are filling the trees and the temperature is finally starting to climb. Just as the natural world experiences its annual rebirth, our spring holidays can offer us hope of better times to come.
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 HONOR MR. AND MRS. BERNIE FROMM Happy “Special” Anniversary Elaine Lerner BARBARA AND ARTHUR WEINRACH Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Jeanette and Eduardo Eichenwald Amy Golding
TO ORDER TREES, call the JFLV at 610-821-5500 or visit www.jewishlehighvalley.org.
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 email@example.com or online at www. jewishlehighvalley.org. Please include your name and a daytime telephone number where you can be contacted in the event questions arise. We cannot guarantee publication or placement of submissions.
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gel, my mom and Nana, who have helped me become who I am today. The community is invited to come together for Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut events to share our sorrows and joys together. Wishing you the best in this many-holidayed season!
go unmet. We are less of a community if we ignore the programming needs of young Jewish adults and families. And what does it say about us if we ignore the plight of hungry Jews in our own community, in Israel, or in the former Soviet Union? Let’s be winners. Our gifts count and they count now.
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JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY
2 MAY 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
the dollars can be counted in the allocations process. Your contribution can help reduce the number of losers this year. Increasing your gift will help us provide funding to needed programs and services. (We only need your pledge commitment at this time; payment arrangements can be flexible.) Unfortunately, having losers affects us all. We are less of a community if less of our teens are engaged in Jewish life. We are less of a community if students are turned away from Jewish educational opportunities or if we let the quality wane. We are less of a community if we underfund the needs of Jews in Israel and the growing humanitarian needs of Jews in Ukraine. We are less of a community if more of our elders’ needs
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JFLV EXECUTIVE STAFF Mark L. Goldstein Executive Director
Assistant Executive Director
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Mark H. Scoblionko JFLV President
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All advertising is subject to review and approval by The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley (JFLV). JFLV reserves the right to decline, withdraw and/ or edit any ad. The appearance of any advertising in HAKOL does not represent an endorsement or kashrut certification. Paid political advertisements that appear in HAKOL do not represent an endorsement of any candidate by the JFLV.
JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY MISSION STATEMENT In order to unite, sustain, and enhance the Lehigh Valley Jewish community, and support Jewish communities in Israel and around the world, the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is dedicated to the following core values:
• Supporting Jews in need wherever they may be. • Supporting Israel as a Jewish homeland. • Supporting and encouraging Jewish education in the Lehigh Valley as a means of strengthening Jewish life for individuals and families. • Supporting programs and services of organizations whose values and mission meet local Jewish needs. To accomplish this mission the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is committed to the following operating guidelines: • Raising and distributing funds to support the core values. • Developing Jewish leaders. • Building endowments to support implementation of core values. • Committing to ongoing Jewish community strategic planning. • Fostering cooperation among organizations and community building. • Evaluating all decisions with respect to fiscal responsibility. • Identifying unmet needs and investing in community initiatives to help get them started. • Coordinating and convening a community response as an issue or need arises. • Setting priorities for allocation and distribution of funds. • Acting as a central address for communication about events, programs and services of the Jewish community as a whole. Approved by the JFLV Board of Directors on November 15, 2000
Passing of the gavel
Mark H. Scoblionko reflects on 3 years as Federation president By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Marketing If there’s one thing Mark H. Scoblionko has learned in his role as president of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, it’s that effecting change takes time. “When people come together, particularly Jewish people, there are lots of different opinions,” Scoblionko said. “What we try to do is to absorb all the opinions and to successfully mold them.” That’s not to say that he’ll leave everything for his successors to handle when he finishes his third year in June. Scoblionko began his presidency at a difficult time for the Jewish world. It was the summer of 2014 and rockets were raining down on Israel during Operation Protective Edge. As president, Scoblionko helped to bring the Lehigh Valley Jewish community together to stand in solidarity and raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars to help our brothers and sisters overseas. As the conflict wound down, needs at home became apparent as our college students heading off for the semester were about to face increased anti-Israel sentiment on many of their campuses.
Then, January brought news of the shootings in France, including at a kosher supermarket. All the while, the crisis in Ukraine that began the year before wore on and still continues. This year, the focus shifted to anti-Semitism right here at home. As president, Scoblionko took his role seriously to inspire the board of directors to support the Federation’s Annual Campaign, and to solicit support from the greater community, to address these and other needs abroad and in the Lehigh Valley. “I’ve gained a much better understanding – even though I was on the board for many, many years – of all the things that our professionals have to deal with,” Scoblionko said. “And I think that it has enhanced my Jewish identity and given me a greater appreciation for our Jewish community.” He jokingly describes his proudest accomplishment. “I set a goal to have every board meeting end by 9 p.m. and I was pretty successful,” he said. What he is really proud to see is that the Lehigh Valley’s major Jewish institutions – the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Day School and Jewish
Family Service – are all functioning “even better than they were three years ago. I applaud the leaders, professional and lay, of those organizations,” he said. As president, Scoblionko has also been intimately involved in planning for the Lehigh Valley Jewish community’s future and the possibility of a Jewish campus. There are many questions still unanswered where this is concerned, but Scoblionko said he plans to keep working even after he officially passes the torch. More recently, Scoblionko has also been involved in bringing the LIFE & LEGACY program to the Lehigh Valley to help plan for the community’s financial future. He plans to stay involved in this effort as well. But he also expects to have more time to focus on professional work – as the senior lawyer in Scoblionko, Scoblionko, Muir & Melman – and family. A proud University of Michigan alum and Michigan football fan, Scoblionko happily relayed the news that his oldest grandson was just accepted to, and will attend the school. Asked if he has any advice for his successor and good
friend, Eva Levitt, Scoblionko had this to say: “When she opens the board meetings and adjourns the board meetings, she should hit the gavel loud enough to be heard, but not so loud as to intimidate people.”
March Madness wraps up with big ‘winners’ After a month-long competition to raise money for the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley’s Annual Campaign, “The Winners” are the winners! The team, captained by Eileen Ufberg and assisted by Sylvia Bub, Marilyn Claire, Eileen Fischmann, Susan Hochhauser, Beth Kozinn, Beth Kushnick, Martha Segel and Vicki Wax, came out on top in the March Madnessstyle tournament. “The ‘competition’ was all in good fun and we were happy to have so many people participate,” said Jeri Zimmerman, assistant executive director of the Federation. “All gifts brought in were really a win for all.” As the winning team, “The Winners” will be able to allocate $1,000 to their Jewish agency of choice. The tournament MVP went to Danielle Kroo, who captained the team “Golda’s Warriors,” which came in second place. The warriors were followed closely by the “Golden Doves,” led by Barry Halper. Mazel tov to all of the players on a great tournament.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 3
WOMEN’S DIVISION OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY
Challenge to Lions and Pomegranates: ‘Make a Jewish difference’
By Stephanie Smartschan JFLV Director of Marketing For Paula Joffe, the power of philanthropy, influence and leadership started with Federation. Joffe, director of Women’s Philanthropy for the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks and a pro-Israel activist, shared her “Federation story” with Lehigh Valley Lions of Judah and Pomegranates on April 4 during a trip to Zahav in Philadelphia. Joffe frequently travels to Capitol Hill to lobby and
serves on the National Council of AIPAC. In 2009, she had an opportunity to meet a powerful congressman, John Murtha, a Democrat from Erie. She was there to ask him to fund Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense system, a line item that President Barack Obama had just zeroed out. He came back and said not only would he restore the initial $30 million, but would fight for additional funding on top of it, she said. This past January, Arrow 3 became operational and in March, the world saw how it
worked when it intercepted a surface-to-air missile fired at Israeli Air Force fighter jets from Syria. “This is my story, it’s my Federation story, because none of this could have happened without Federation and without the women of Federation,” she said. Vicki Wax, who co-chaired the event with Tama Tamarkin, also took a few minutes to share
two moving experiences she had in the week leading up to the trip. She attended the AIPAC Policy Convention and witnessed 19,000 people stand up and sing Hatikvah together. Then she went to see the movie “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” which tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of
people and animals during the German invasion. After seeing the movie, she asked herself “if only.” “My vision is that each of us – I don’t want to tell you what your Jewish passion should be – I am asking each of us to make a Jewish difference,” said Wax to the Lions and Pomegranates in attendance. “We are a force if we let ourselves be it.”
Future JWRP travelers bake and bond
SPONSORED BY THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY’S WOMEN’S DIVISION
welcoming new babies to the Lehigh Valley If you’re expecting, know someone who is, or have a new baby, PLEASE LET US KNOW! Contact Abby Trachtman, 610-821-5500 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Women from the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley prepared for their Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project trip to Israel by participating in a challah bake and orientation get together. Hosted by Beth Kushnick, 18 women participated in the mitzvah of making the first post-Passover challah and learned about the schlissel or “key” challah.
Handmade Afghans BY EVA LEVITT
All proceeds benefit projects in Israel: Food Banks in Israel Neve Michael Youth Village For prices or to place an order, call Eva 610-398-1376.
All payments are made payable to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley
4 MAY 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Participants selected for first Israel Next Dor program
Benjamin and Abby Feinberg The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is pleased to announce the selection of the first cohort for Israel Next Dor. These 12 individuals, ages 27-35, will be participating in a year-long leadership development program and will spend nine days together in Israel in May. The program is made possible by the generous underwriting of Lewis and Roberta Gaines, who are committed to engaging the next generation in Jewish life and leadership. Look for highlights from their trip on the Federation website and Facebook page and in the summer issue of HAKOL. ABBY FEINBERG Abby, née Morrison, grew up in the Lehigh Valley. She went to the University of Connecticut for her bachelor’s degree in psychology and English, and then to Smith College School for Social Work for her master’s degree. While living in Con-
Nissa Gossom necticut, she met her husband, Ben, on JDate and chartered two BBYO chapters. They moved back to the Lehigh Valley, bought a home, got a dog and are both advisors of the local BBYO chapters. She enjoys traveling, especially cruises; she’s a Zumba instructor; and her main clinical interest is couple's counseling. BENJAMIN FEINBERG Benjamin grew up in Waterford, Connecticut and went to Solomon Schechter Academy until 6th grade. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in digital arts and design at Full Sail University in Orlando. He met his wife, Abby, on JDate and she introduced him to the Lehigh Valley. He is currently the senior creative designer and strategist at 9Sail, a full service digital marketing company. He enjoys helping others, being by the water and doing word jumbles with his grandfather.
NISSA GOSSOM Nissa is 33 years old. She is married with two little girls, Hannah, 4, and Norah, 2. She is originally from Los Angeles, where she grew up surrounded by a strong Jewish identity. She graduated from Scripps College with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and then moved to Cleveland to pursue her graduate studies in nursing at Case Western Reserve University. After graduation, she moved to the Lehigh Valley with her husband, Aaron, to take a job as a midwife at Lehigh Valley Health Network. She is currently working on a baby friendly hospital initiative and serves on the Ambulatory Standardization and Executive Council. JESSICA KAMBER Jessica was born in Allentown. She attended the Jewish Day School,
Rachel Levin Trexler Middle School and William Allen High School as a child and young adult. In the Lehigh Valley, she was actively involved in Jewish life and culture, participating in NCSY, BBYO and various other Jewish organizations. Upon graduating from William Allen High School, she went on to receive a bachelor of arts in sociology from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. She journeyed back to Allentown to work for a social service agency before deciding to go back to school for her masters of education in school counseling at Lehigh University to help impact and inspire youth within the Lehigh County. Currently, she is employed as an elementary school counselor at Roberto Clemente Elementary Charter School. During the after school hours, she coaches Girls on the Run and is an advisor to K-Kids. In Next dor Continues on page 6
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 5
Next dor Continues from page 5
her free time, she enjoys participating in Zumba, seeing her family and friends, as well as traveling. HOWIE LEVIN Howie was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, growing up in Bensalem. His family belonged to a reform synagogue growing up and was not overly religious, but celebrated all the Jewish traditions and holidays. He attended Albright College, where he met his wife Rachel. Following college, he attended Penn State University College of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree. Rachel and Howie got married following his graduation from medical school in 2011 and moved to Queens, New York, where he completed his general psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine. During their time in New York, their family expanded with the adoption of their dachshund, Benji, in 2011, and the birth of their daughter, Penelope, in 2015. Following the completion of his residency and fellowship training, they moved back to Pennsylvania, where he started working as a child and adolescent psychiatrist at St. Luke’s University Health Network. They have been living in Nazareth for close to a year now and are members of Temple Covenant of Peace. Some of Howie’s hobbies include billiards, card games, playing the clarinet, spending time with family and cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles. RACHEL LEVIN Rachel lives in Nazareth with her husband Howie, daughter Penelope and dachshund Benji. She has been working for Apple for the past five years. In her free time, she loves to do activities outdoors. She is looking forward to meeting new people and learning more about this area.
6 MAY 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Andrea Reich RIKKI MANDEL Rikki is 32 and has been married for 12 years. She has four beautiful daughters ranging in age from 4 to 11. She grew up ultra-Orthodox in a family of 11. She has one sister and nine brothers and with so many brothers, she grew up playing baseball and basketball. Her hobby/ passion is baking, which she enjoys sharing with family and friends. She currently works with her husband in his nonprofit bookkeeping service. She really enjoys bookkeeping; it’s all about organization and puzzle work and most of all she enjoys working at home and the flexibility it offers because being a mom is her number one priority. ALAN RAISMAN Alan serves as the marketing director for Civic Theatre of Allentown. Previously, he worked for other non-profits including Lehigh Valley Zoo and Wildlands Conservancy. Alan grew up in suburban Philadelphia and came to the Lehigh Valley to attend Lafayette College from August 2006 to May 2010. He moved back one year after graduating from Lafayette College in May 2010. He currently resides in Breinigsville. In addition to his role at Civic Theatre, Alan serves on the board of trustees of People to People International, the Board of Associates for Muhlenberg College, the Philanthropy Institute Committee for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Eastern PA Chapter and the marketing committee for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. In his free time, Alan enjoys photography, going to networking events and festivals and spending time with his niece and nephew. ANDREA REICH Andrea grew up the youngest of three in Allentown. She went to college at Temple University in Philadelphia and then to grad school at James Madison University in Virginia. She
earned her master's degree in physician assistant studies and eventually moved back to Allentown. She works at Lehigh Valley Hospital in the Department of Hospital Medicine. She loves spending time with her niece and nephews. She is an amateur gardener and enjoys decorating her new house. CORI RUBEL Cori is a 29-year-old high school math teacher who grew up in the Allentown area and is an active member of Temple Beth El. Since she graduated from Bloomsburg University in 2010, she moved back to the Allentown area and purchased a home, planting her roots in the Lehigh Valley. She has been volunteering as an advisor for Allentown BBYO for seven years and loves working with the young Jewish community. She is the advisor for Parkland High School’s Jewish Culture Club, a tutor and an active participant in Parkland’s extracurricular activities. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, boxing, going to the movies and concerts and going to sporting events. ADRIAN SHANKER Adrian is the executive director of the BradburySullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown. He previously served as president of Equality Pennsylvania where he led successful campaigns to advance nondiscrimination and relationship recognition ordinances in municipalities across Pennsylvania and he served for three years on the Human Relations Commission of the City of Allentown. In addition to his leadership at The Center, Adrian serves on the advisory board for Pennsylvania Department of Health's Office of Health Equity, as co-chair of the Community Advisory Com-
mittee for LGBT Healthlink – a CDCfunded national tobacco and cancer disparity network, as a member of ACLU of Pennsylvania's board of directors and the Pennsylvania Medical Society's LGBT Health Disparities Task Force. He is currently completing his graduate certificate for LGBT Health Policy & Practice at The George Washington University. In his spare time, he enjoys contemporary art, vegan food, independent films, and hiking. MIKE SMITH Mike is 27 years old and has lived in Allentown all his life. He has degrees in TV/film and early childhood education, and he’s currently working towards a degree in human development and family studies. He works at the JCC of the Lehigh Valley as a pre-K teacher and he is also the program director for the JCC summer camp in Center Valley. He has two dogs and a guinea pig named Esther, who doubles as the class pet. Summer camp and working with children are his passions, and his hobbies change weekly, but he always enjoys walking his dogs when the weather is warm and loves a good movie.
High school assignment debating Holocaust pulled, banned in upstate NY school district Jewish Telegraphic Agency A homework assignment asking students in an upstate New York school district to argue for or against the Final Solution from the perspective of a Nazi official was withdrawn and will never be assigned again. High school students in an advanced class in Oswego County were assigned a project to pretend they were members of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party in order to argue for or against the Holocaust’s Final Solution. “This is an exercise on expanding your point of view by going outside your comfort zone and training your brain to logistically find the evidence necessary to prove a point, even if it is existentially and philosophically against what you believe,” according to the directions of the assignment. Two students who complained about the exercise were given an alternative assignment. But the students, Archer Shurtliff and Jordan April, took their complaint further and called for the teacher to apologize and for the school district to permanently ban the assignment, Syracuse.com reported. Neither of the students, both 17, is Jewish. On Monday, New York State
Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said the assignment has been permanently banned. “Since first learning of the assignment, I’ve done my homework to determine the facts in this situation,” Elia said in a statement. “I spoke with district officials about this serious matter. We agree the assignment should not have been given. The teacher apologized and the assignment will not be used in the future.” Evan Bernstein, the AntiDefamation League’s New York regional director, praised the district and Elia after saying in a statement that “There is no assignment that could ever be given to students that even hints at a balanced perspective to the horrors of Nazi actions during the Holocaust …” “The notion that students were asked to engage in such thinking trivializes the horrific experiences of the victims and we are pleased that it will no longer be part of the curriculum,” he also said. But State Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn called for Elia’s resignation, noting that previously she defended the assignment as “critical thinking,” according to the New York Daily News.
JCC to bring Stagemakers performance of Fame Jr. to Easton By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor On May 28, join the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley’s Stagemakers for a performance at Temple Covenant of Peace in Easton. The Stagemakers performance of Fame Jr., a play taking place in the 1980s at the prestigious New York High School of the Performing Arts that includes a contemporary pop soundtrack, is traveling to Easton as part of the JCC’s outreach efforts. “We wanted to bring Stagemakers theater to Easton,” said Brenda Finberg, director of camp and children’s services. “We want to help the Easton community learn about our theater and see our productions,”
and Temple Covenant of Peace is the “perfect location” thanks to Rabbi Melody Davis “graciously opening her doors and helping us get the word out.” As for the day of the performance, “we’re taking as much of the set and props as we can,” Finberg added, in addition to the costumes and the cast, composed of students in 5th-12th grades. The play is one of several initiatives bringing JCC programs to Easton. An older adult exercise program takes place at Bnai Abraham Synagogue every week, and Finberg is making plans to deliver even more JCC services across the valley. Easton residents are just as excited as JCC personnel about the new partnerships. “We’re looking forward to having
Broadway come to Easton,” said Rabbi Melody Davis of TCP, adding that “this can show more of what the JCC offers to Eastonians.” “We are very excited to be having a show in Easton and we hope to make this a regular occurrence for future productions,” Sarah-Jane Appleman, the play’s director, concluded. The show will take place on May 28 at 2 p.m. For more information, contact Brenda Finberg at 610-4353571 ext. 183 or email@example.com.
Awards Heavy hors d’oeuvres Open bar
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 7
IN HONOR ROSS AND WENDY BORN Birth of their granddaughter, Abigail Elaine and Leon Papir Vicki Wax BEV AND BILL BOWMAN Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Joan Brody JEANETTE AND EDUARDO EICHENWALD Bat Mitzvah of their granddaughter Iris, Jonathan, Harry, and Charlie Epstein Beth and Wes Kozinn LEW AND ROBERTA GAINES Marriage of Brian and Rebecca David and Adrienne Bartos EYDIE GLICKSTEIN Speedy Recovery Barbara Cohen Roberta and Robert Kritzer MARK GOLDSTEIN Speedy Recovery Barry and Sybil Baiman JOAN AND RON HARRISON Bat Mitzvah of their granddaughter, Lexi Greene Roberta and Jeff Epstein Audrey and Arthur Sosis BUDDY AND LAURIE LESAVOY Birth of their grandson, Aaron Roberta and Jeff Epstein Sandra and Harold Goldfarb Helene and Leno Scarcia EVA LEVITT Becoming JFLV President Merry Landis TAFFI NEY Speedy Recovery Fred and Barbara Sussman LEON PAPIR Speedy Recovery Barbara Cohen ELAINE AND LEON PAPIR Bar Mitzvah of their grandson, Bryce Beth and Wes Kozinn
IN MEMORY EDGAR EDELSACK (Father of Leon Edelsack) Adam and Penny Roth and Family HERMAN FERSHTMAN (Father of Robert Fershtman) Jennifer, Ryan, Max, and Blake Barish MARTIN BROWN (Father of Terrie Goren) Kenneth and Carol Bernhard Elyse Fox Cindy and Murray Franklin Global LT, Inc. Steven Goren Pauline and Albert Kaner and Family Robin Pappas and Family Suzi, Michael, Morgan, and Brooke Silverstein James and Nancy Youngerman (Father of Sandie Angart) Linda and Paul Angart Gordon and Roberta McKenna JERRY FRIEDENHEIM (Husband of Bette Friedenheim) Beth and Wes Kozinn MORTON LITWAK (Husband of Pearl Litwak) Janice Lyle Matt Construction Company Lynn Molick Mickey and David Spett JEROME “JERRY” MORSE (Father of Richard Morse)
HELEN AND SOL KRAWITZ HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL FUND IN HONOR ROSS AND WENDY BORN Birth of their granddaughter, Abigail Lynda and Stuart Krawitz BUDDY AND LAURIE LESAVOY Birth of their grandson, Aaron Lynda and Stuart Krawitz JOANI LESAVOY AND SID GREENBERG Birth of their great-grandson, Aaron Lynda and Stuart Krawitz PHYLLIE AND STEVEN SPIERER Birth of their grandson, Colin Jacob Lynda and Stuart Krawitz MANYA AND STANELY STEIN Birth of their great-grandson, Aaron Lynda and Stuart Krawitz IN MEMORY FATHER (of Lorrie Scherline) Lynda and Stuart Krawitz MOTHER (of Jeffrey Beer) Marsha and Mark Krawitz MOTHER (of Jon Rocker) The Krawitz Family 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.
Holocaust survivor, 91, celebrates her bat mitzvah in Buenos Aires Jewish Telegraphic Agency Eugenia Unger, who usually displays the number tattooed on her arm by the Nazis, covered it with her Shabbat clothes and her tallit as she celebrated her bat mitzvah eight decades Holocaust survivor Eugenia Unger, late. 91, of Buenos Aires celebrates her Unger, 91, a Poland native who survived the bat mitzvah. Majdanek and Auschwitz concentration camps and often talks about her experiences at the Buenos Aires Holocaust Museum and in schools, was called to the Torah on Saturday, April 1, at the Herzliya Jewish community center and temple in Buenos Aires. She told the Argentine radio program Radio Cultura on Thursday of her upcoming celebration that “the culmination of my whole life is my bat mitzvah. It is a ritual that is very important in Jewish life.” The temple also organized a birthday celebration for Unger, a co-founder of the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires in 2000, on the preceding Friday night. Unger, born Eugenia Rotsztejn in Warsaw, lived in the Warsaw Ghetto as a teen and was later taken to the two Nazi camps with her family, including her parents, two brothers and a sister. Unger is the only member of her family who survived the Holocaust. When she was liberated by Soviet forces, she weighed slightly more than 59 pounds. After a journey across central Europe, she lived for two years in a refugee camp in Modena, Italy, where she met her future husband, David Unger. Both immigrated to Argentina in 1949. Unger now has two sons and six grandsons, and has written three books about her experiences. In 2011, she was declared Outstanding Personality by the Buenos Aires city parliament.
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PAM AND GREG SILVERBERG Birth of their granddaughter, Juliette Reese Zarkin Jay and Evelyn Lipschutz CARAH AND RYAN TENZER Bar Mitzvah of their son, Jonas Barry and Carol Halper BARBARA AND ARTHUR WEINRACH Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Ross and Wendy Born
The Palumbo Family (Brother of Ruth Sheftel) Merry Landis STEVEN NOVAK (Brother of Barbara Platt) Ross and Wendy Born JENNIE ROSANSKY (Mother of Lota Post) Merry Landis MARTIN “MARTY” SPIRO (Brother of Phyllis Sussman) Stuart and Janice Schwartz Fred and Barbara Sussman JONATHAN WEISS (Son of Marjorie Weiss) Ross and Wendy Born
The Fels family takes AIPAC
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Lehigh Valley representatives at AIPAC meet with Rep. Charlie Dent to advocate for issues of importance. Right, the Fels family at AIPAC.
By Amy Fels Special to HAKOL Ten years ago, I never would have predicted this. I never heard of AIPAC. Five years ago I never would have predicted this. I still had never heard of AIPAC. But, four years ago I heard about AIPAC from Beth Kushnick who was getting ready to go to Washington with several other couples to attend for the first time. That was around the same time that a “perfect storm” was brewing in the Fels family. Eric was completing his presidency at KI and Allyson had just begun school at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy. The storm intensified over the next year as our family became more interested and more involved in Judaism and Israel. After Beth returned from her second conference and aware of our growing feelings, she told us we should go the following year because we would love it! That summer, Eric and I went to Israel and the storm exploded! We were firmly grounded on our paths to a deeper connection with our people and the land we received from G-d thousands of years ago. We both knew that our lives were forever changed as we found new purposes within ourselves desiring to make more of a difference to help sustain our religion and the future of Israel. With Allyson just returning from three months in Israel where she, too, underwent life changing experiences, the three of us attended our first AIPAC conference last year. Brenna was not able to go as she was in Israel at the time with her 8th grade class. But, this year Brenna wanted to go also! The experience of AIPAC is almost indescribable. It’s one of those things that you
Around the Table Catering, Inc. just have to do in order to fully understand the enormity of being surrounded by 1819,000 other people that have the same passion, goals, hopes and strength to support Israel. And they are not all Jewish. But they simply believe in and support all that Israel is and creates. At AIPAC, there are general sessions in the mornings and evenings where everyone comes together listening to bipartisan speakers from government positions in the United States as well as other countries. There are inspirational personal stories of people or organizations who have benefitted from Israeli inventions in technology, health equipment, human services, education, athletics and more. Other stories share experiences about people helping or surviving extreme circumstances that quite often bring the audience to tears. During the middle part of the day, there are breakout sessions that every person individually selects based on their own interests as to what they want to learn more about through presentations of speakers or panels of discussions. Certain sessions are geared for high school and college-age children as there were 4,000 students in attendance. This year, the highlight for me was hearing Nikki Haley speak during an evening session at the Verizon Center in front of 18,000 people who were on their feet clapping and cheering at the top of their lungs for her incredible
support for Israel at the U.N. She is sending the message to them that bullying Israel will no longer be accepted or tolerated. Standing there amongst all of these people who share the same feelings as I do sent chills up and down my body as I felt the strength and power of what it means to unite as one regardless of political affiliation. This is what I search and strive for in the Allentown community as well as our country. I am grateful that Beth introduced AIPAC to Eric and me and that our daughters have such an interest in participating in this amazing organization to make a difference at such a young age. They are learning that we can’t take Israel for granted. There are many that want to destroy our land and wipe us off the face of the earth. There are many that try to hurt Israel through economic plots and encourage opposition. Attending AIPAC helps to educate students and adults on where our contributions go, how to help more, and the power of strength and unity. The conference concluded on Capitol Hill as a group from Allentown lobbied with Charlie Dent; presenting and asking for his support on new bills and resolutions. We go to AIPAC because we recognize that Israel is our land, too. It is our responsibility to protect it and support it. Those that came before us fought and sacrificed for it. It’s our past, our present and our future.
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HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 9
JDS and JFS co-sponsor briefing about safety in challenging times By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor The Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley hosted a briefing on how to feel and stay safe during challenging times on March 29, featuring speakers from Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley and local police and FBI officials. After an opening prayer from Rabbi Melody Davis of Temple Covenant of Peace, Susan Sklaroff-Van Hook, MA, CCTP, clinical coordinator and resource specialist at JFS, introduced the topic of helping children and families feel safe in the wake of the bomb threats that recently plagued Jewish community centers and day schools. Although an arrest was made on March 23, said FBI supervisory senior resident agent Thomas Marakovits, there may still be copycat threats in the future, and society as a whole will need
to figure out how to deal with threats like these that are encrypted over the Internet. With these threats, it is harder to find the source of the threats even with a warrant from a judge, he added, and recent developments in technology are enabling “safe spaces” for criminals online that are not easy to crack, even by law enforcement. As a result of this current climate, south Whitehall police chief John Christman said that his department and the Allentown police will work together to keep JDS students safe. Steps will include signage outside the school to restrict parking and U-turns to keep kids safe when they’re outside, officer patrols at random times each day as well as training for students and faculty in lockdown and evacuation protocol. Earlier on the day of the program, JDS did a drill of a hard lockdown, with police and bomb sniffing
10 MAY 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
dogs patrolling the halls, and students and teachers operating according to the run-hide-fight protocol. This means the first priority for students in an intruder situation is to run to a safe place and then hide; fighting the intruder is a last resort. During the drill, students and teachers barricaded the doors and hid in closets while the police pretended to be intruders, making sure that the students and teachers knew to not open the door until JDS Head of School Amy Golding announced her presence. The briefing offered a chance for the attending parents and grandparents to explain how their children felt after the lockdown drill. When one mother said that her son thought it was real, Golding explained the language used to tell students and their families about the nature of lockdown drills at the school. Christman reassured attendees that his officers were “impressed” with JDS students and staff during the lockdown drill and affirmed that “we’re here to help you and want to work with you.” In the wake of the drill, Golding thanked Christman and school security officer Bob Lembach for “giving us such a safe and secure environment.” She also added that the students who attended the Stand Against Hate rally in Philadelphia on March 2 were optimistic about the future, at least in part because of the “strong culture” created at JDS. Lembach reaffirmed his personal commitment to the school: “I became part of the
Rabbi Melody Davis, Susan Sklaroff-Van Hook and Bob Lembach listen to Debbie Zoller during the panel discussion. community” at the beginning of his tenure as school security officer, he said, concluding that “[the students] are my adopted family and no one will ever mess with my family.” Before taking this job, Lembach was a police officer for 26 years and then spent time teaching high school students, college students and over 1,000 Allentown police officers about criminal justice and safety. After each speaker had a short time to address the lockdown drill, JFS Executive Director Debbie Zoller brought up the issue of anxiety as a result of the recent threats, using a poignant example of the time her daughter was working in the Overland Park JCC when it was the site of a shooting in 2014. “We’re responsible for keeping our kids safe and having a dialogue” to help them feel safe,” Zoller concluded, adding that “how safe you feel impacts how safe other people feel,” including children. She then explained a variety of signs of anxiety in children,
including feeling worried all the time/generalized anxiety, trouble sleeping, restlessness, trouble concentrating and new or renewed separation anxiety. “Feeling safe starts in the home,” Sklaroff-Van Hook added, noting that it’s important for children to have “predictability and structure for emotional regulation.” Some ways that adults can help with this is practicing situations like the lockdown drill, since high anxiety floods the rational part of the brain, and modeling confidence for children, as Golding has begun empowering the older students to help the younger students in a crisis situation. Zoller hopes this program will be a model for future parent education programs in a partnership between JFS and JDS. As for the law enforcement officials present, they all urged parents and grandparents to not take chances and “if you see something, say something,” and that the police will respond quickly.
At Passover and every day, remembering my mother
CANTOR ELLEN SUSSMAN Temple Shirat Shalom As many of you know, my mother passed away this November. We were very close and she lived with me for almost three years until her death. I am writing this during the Passover season. Many times at an unveiling I have told the family that the unveiling is the demarcation between mourning and memory. As a family the mourners have to experience every life cycle event without the deceased; every holiday, birthday and the rest. Well, I am experiencing Passover without my mother for the first time. It has been very difficult. I go every year to the Boundbrook ShopRite to do my holiday shopping,
I usually took my mother with me. We would wander the aisles and she would invariably say to me, “You work so hard, don’t work so hard.” I would reply “it is not work; it is a joy to celebrate the seder with my family and friends around me.” We would then buy some heavy duty chametz, such as corn muffins, and go home. This year I went alone and wandered the aisles with tears in my eyes. In my heart I know that my mother had a long and wonderful life, and the fact that she died at home with her loved ones around her is a gift. However, I must go through the process of mourning. What I have said over the years to my congregants is true. We must experience those empty chairs, quiet rooms and the lack of the advice only a mother can give to her daughter. All the holidays have been the most trying. Thanksgiving was the first time the family gathered without my mother. We cooked her favorite cranberry sauce. Now I will have to make the charoset my mother loved but she’s not there to enjoy it. The table will not be set with a place for her but her spirit will be there nonetheless. My commitment to
dies Cherry Poppin’ Dad May 23
Online ad leads Vienna couple to buy ancient Jewish headstone for $300
keeping our family traditions come from my mother. We will use the seder plate she used, as well as the one she purchased for me at Festival in Ft. Lauderdale. My mother lived a totally Jewish life. Everything she did, thought, behaved was informed by her connection to Judaism and the Jewish people. My becoming a cantor is a direct consequence of how I was brought up by her and my father. These days I have needed understanding. David and I are leaning on each other for support. We both are grateful to our community for embracing my mother when she moved here from Long Island. We are also grateful for the love and support we have felt from so many of you. Once again our tradition helped us. The rabbis always stress the importance of the kehal, the congregation. In times of trouble people come forward and help you cope; that is what it means to be part of a religious community. I must experience the mourning before I can leave it behind and go to memory. Once again our tradition is brilliant. One day I will feel better and the memory of my mother will be a blessing for me and that will be enough.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency Responding to an online ad, an Austrian couple from Vienna bought a 19th-century headstone that was taken from the grave of a Jewish man and gave it to a Jewish community. In an article Thursday about the couple, the Heute daily did not name the man and identified the woman as Katharina B., a 35-year-old Christian scholar of international relations. She and her husband found the ad on a website for used goods, the report said. It was advertised as antique-style building material. Pictures posted on the website showed the Hebrew-language writing engraved into the headstone of Lev Unger, who passed away in 1884. The seller, who was not named, wrote it was “used” and “bargain cheap.” He charged 275 euros, or approximately $300, for the headstone, which Katharina and her husband paid before loading the heavy slab into the trunk of their car. They drove 80 miles from Vienna southward to the municipality of Feldbach to buy the item from the seller, who kept it inside his garden shed. “Because of the Hebrew inscription, I immediately realized that this is a Jewish tombstone, and I wondered how this man can have a Jewish tombstone,” Katharina told Heute. The man said he bought it from an undertaker but would not offer further details, the report said. The couple gave the headstone to Elie Rosen, president of the Jewish community of the city of Graz, who is trying to locate the cemetery from which the headstone was taken. They neither asked nor were offered reimbursement. “We knew we had done the right thing,” Katharina said. “We were silent for a long time on the ride with the stone of the dead man in the car.” Rosen placed the headstone — temporarily at least — in a section of the Jewish cemetery in Graz. “All were very touched that the headstone now stands once again in a Jewish cemetery,” Katharina said.
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HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 11
Local Jewish winemaker pursues his passion at Maple Springs
By Monica Friess Special to HAKOL “Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it.” Every week Jews around the world perform this mitzvah with a kiddush (sanctification) over wine. It is fitting, then, that one of our region’s premier winemakers is Jewish. Native Californian Jef Stebben has been the winemaker at Maple Springs Vineyard in Bechtelsville since 2010. So what prompted a nice Jewish boy from the Napa Valley to make wine in the Lehigh Valley? While studying toward a career in engineering in 1991, Stebben enjoyed making wine at home. He soon realized
that his true passion lay elsewhere and, thinking of a career in beer brewing, he transferred his engineering credits into a Fermentation Science major at UC Davis. His focus soon turned to wine, and he has achieved a successful career in this field. An internship at the prestigious Opus One winery in California led to jobs at other vineyards and to his perfection of the winemaking process. In 2009 Stebben and his wife and daughter moved to Virginia after a lengthy run as a consulting winemaker in California, during which time he was making wine for up to 12 wineries concurrently. Soon after, the Virginia winery’s
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interests and holdings were sold, and by May of 2010 he had connected with Maple Springs Vineyard and its owner Marianne Lieberman. “On my third visit with Marianne we planted a vineyard, and I have been here ever since,” Stebben says. “Winemaking has to be a passion,” says Stebben, whose first vintage at Maple Springs was a 2011 Chardonnay. It takes years to produce a vintage and constant adjustments to ensure the quality. The field is a true blend of art and science, and Stebben’s knowledge of bio- and organic chemistry as well as his extensive palate
training enable him to turn an ordinary grape into a wonderful wine. Creating an environmentally friendly facility was very important to Stebben. “The concept of tikkun olam guided me,” he says. “We are very close to being a net-zero building. All our heating and cooling is done geothermally. There is no waste from the grapes because the remains are composted, and the water used to clean the facility is cisterened and used for land irrigation.” Maple Springs sells its wines to restaurants (Zahav in Philadelphia is a recent client) as well as to private members who buy by the
case. Members are also invited to help at various steps in wine production, from harvesting the grapes to tasting during the aging process. Stebben says he loves “seeing families come together and tending their own row of vines.” On Friday nights, Jef, SaDawna and Annikah Stebben light Shabbat candles and bless the Creator of the fruit of the vine. It’s nice to know that fruit will be delivered into such capable hands to become a delicious wine. For more information on Maple Springs Vineyard, visit its website www. maplespringsvineyard.com.
Muhlenberg students learn to combat hatred and bias through ADL program
Regency Real Estate Contact Larry Ginsburg Cell: 610-393-0892 Office: 610-432-5252 Larry.Ginsburg@BHHSRegency.com Local Ownership. Local Commitment. Good to know.TM
By Olivia Forman Special to HAKOL A diverse group of over 25 Muhlenberg College students gathered on April 2 at Muhlenberg College Hillel to learn how to combat hatred and bigotry through the Anti-Defamation League’s “Words to Action” program. The afternoon of learning’s aim was to give the students tools to combat anti-Semitism and hatred on campus and beyond in the wake of increased anti-Semitism around the country In addition to learning the definition of anti-Semitism, students were empowered to take action through activities and simulation exercises focusing on taking a series of steps when faced with antiSemitism and other forms of hatred. They were also given the opportunity to debate current issues and share personal experi-
ences. “I learned how to advocate for myself and others and felt a deepened sense of community with the other students who attended the event,” said sophomore Madison Baranoski. Future plans include more events and trainings for the greater Muhlenberg community in partnership with the AntiDefamation League to help ensure that the next generation of leaders can confidently combat hatred and bias in an effective manner. The training was funded through a grant from Men of Reform Judaism - Reform on Campus and parent donations. The campus’s ZBT Chapter partnered with Muhlenberg College Hillel for the training.
Olivia Forman is a sophomore at Muhlenberg College.
Levy Hillel award winners celebrated
Mazel tov to this year's recipients of the Levy Hillel Leadership Award! Ilana Goldstein of Lafayette College, Roger Blumin of Lehigh University, Brigid Darrah of Moravian College and Aaron Brandt of Muhlenberg College were honored at a community brunch on April 9. The awards were presented by Judi Cohen-Roberts, daughter of Mort and Myra Levy (of blessed memory), for whom the award is named. This was the 25th year that these awards, administered through the Lehigh Valley Jewish Foundation, have been presented.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 13
Discover the ‘heart’ of art therapy with Jewish Family Service By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor Jett Ulaner Sarachek, an artist, art therapist and member of the American Art Therapy Association, will present to the Lehigh Valley Jewish community the benefits of art therapy in her talk, “The Heart of Art Therapy.” This year’s Phyllis Ringel Memorial Lecture, of-
fered by Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley, will take place on Sunday, May 21 at 10 a.m. at Temple Beth El. Sarachek’s plan for the morning includes defining art therapy, explaining its uses, giving her own reason for becoming an art therapist and offering a hands-on art creation experience. At its base, art therapy is a
form of “expressing your feelings through art,” Sarachek said – but it is far deeper than it may appear at first glance. “You know when you pick up a pencil and you start doodling while you’re on the phone?” Sarachek explained. “Maybe when you get off the phone, you might be feeling a little less stressed. It’s a form of relaxation in that way. That’s kind of an idea of what art therapy could be, but it’s a whole lot more than that.” Going deeper, art therapy is the practice of “making art that can help you diminish any kind of pain,” Sarachek said. “It’s great for stress, depression, fear, and anxiety. Art therapists use simple art activities to help people express themselves and develop a sense of well-being through the creative process. By making art – whether it’s collage, clay, painting, or drawing – this is a way that one’s feelings and emotions become more tangible. Oftentimes when we’re feeling sad, depressed or anxious, most of us have a hard time talking about it, and we tend to intellectualize or say we’re tired or have had a bad day, but what an art therapist does is help them bring the feelings down into the heart. That’s why it’s called the heart of art therapy.” As part of an art therapy
session, the participant creates a piece of art and then describes it to the therapist and to the group, if they are participating in group therapy. The art therapist (and other group members) can then ask questions such as “Why did you choose to use such a dark yellow for the sun?” or “What’s that dark patch doing over there?” to help the creator verbalize his or her feelings that he or she put into the art. The participant thus forms an emotionally open relationship with the therapist (and group) and is hopefully more empowered to share more in the future. “Collaboration and communication” are very important to the practice, Sarachek said, noting that the trustbuilding between participant and therapist is crucial to the goal of emotional openness. With such a broad goal in mind, art therapy is accessible to everyone. Sarachek began her career as an art therapist at the Reading Hospital’s Spruce Psychiatric Pavilion with adolescents and adults. For the past 12 years, Sarachek has worked as an art therapist and clinical facilitator with The Cancer Support Community of the Lehigh Valley. Her art therapy group is called Creative Expression and is open to anyone who has been touched by cancer.
Sarachek also uses art therapy with cancer survivors at the St. Luke’s Infusion Center in Allentown, working through the emotions of receiving treatment for cancer or watching a loved one battle cancer. Rather than focusing on ending pain, art therapy focuses on giving people coping tools to deal with various stressors that occur in their lives. “The big takeaway is that it empowers the individual to realize that they’re in charge of their own lives and they can move forward from their pain, whether it’s mental pain or physical pain,” Sarachek concluded. The program is free and open to everyone. For more information, contact Jewish Family Service at 610-821-8722 or visit www. jfslv.org.
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14 MAY 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 15
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Q&A with Christine Kutnick CFRE, LIFE & LEGACY community consultant at the Haro WHAT IS THE LIFE & LEGACY PROGRAM? LIFE & LEGACY is a four-year partnership program between the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to support Jewish community organizations in the Lehigh Valley. Participating organizations will receive training and coaching along with financial incentives to secure legacy gifts. WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES OF THE LIFE & LEGACY PROGRAM? The objective of the program is to motivate Jewish organizations to secure after-lifetime commitments from their most loyal donors in order to build endowments that will sustain
valued organizations and vibrant Jewish communities for the next generation and beyond. HAS THE GRINSPOON FOUNDATION SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTED LIFE & LEGACY IN OTHER JEWISH COMMUNITIES? LIFE & LEGACY was launched in 2012 with seven communities. Today, the Lehigh Valley is one of 43 communities who have been invited to participate in the program. As of December 2016, 36 communities have had conversations with their donors and have secured over $487 million in future gifts. DOES THE LEHIGH VALLEY JEWISH COMMUNITY HAVE A PRIOR
As of December 31, 2016, and 12 Hillel campus affiliates were participating in LIFE & LEGACY, representing
12,009 conversations had taken place & 2,102 presentations resulting in 12,553 legacy commitments As of that date,
with an estimated value of
$487.5 million in future gifts to North American Jewish communities.
PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS 16 MAY 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HAROLD GRINSPOON FOUNDATION? Yes, and it has been a most cooperative and beneficial relationship. The Grinspoon Foundation developed the PJ Library program. This program delivers books with Jewish content to children – infants to age 8 – throughout the Lehigh Valley Jewish community. Over 300 children in the Lehigh Valley receive PJ Library books. WHAT LOCAL AGENCIES ARE PARTICIPATING IN THIS EFFORT? The Lehigh Valley Jewish Foundation will coordinate, manage and administer the LIFE & LEGACY program in the Lehigh Valley. Jim Mueth, director of planned giving and endowments for the foundation, will be the coordinator. Jim, with support and assistance from the Grinspoon Foundation, will train the legacy teams from the 10 local community organizations that are participating in this initiative and coordinate the conversations which the volunteers and staff will have with their constituents. Jim will also be tracking the gifts once received. The organizations participating are: • Congregation Am Haskalah • Congregation Brith Sholom • Congregation Keneseth Israel • Congregation Sons of Israel • JCC of the Lehigh Valley • Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley • Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley • Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley • Temple Beth El • Temple Covenant of Peace HOW WILL THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY BENEFIT FROM THE LIFE & LEGACY PROGRAM? Since the LIFE & LEGACY program is a cooperative and collaborative community-wide ef-
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t, the whole Jewish community will benefit. gacy team members’ conversations are foed on what is important to the donor; thus, conversation can result in multiple comments. For example, an invitation made a synagogue member may well result in a acy gift which will benefit the synagogue d one or more local Jewish agencies. Simiy, a conversation initiated by a Jewish Day hool supporter may well result in a legacy not only for the day school, but also for a nagogue and other Jewish agencies. Most wish community members support more n one Jewish cause or organization.
HAT IS A LEGACY GIFT? egacy gift is a way for generous and forrd-thinking members of the community to press their passion, purpose and commitnt to valued Jewish organizations. These s, in the form of cash endowment gifts an after-lifetime commitment, will ensure t Jewish life is vibrant in the Lehigh Valley mmunity for future generations.
HO IS A PROSPECTIVE LEGACY FT DONOR? gacy giving is the most egalitarian form of ing. The LIFE & LEGACY program makes ossible for everyone, no matter their curt financial situation, to make a gift that is aningful to them.
HAT IS THE DIFFERENCE TWEEN LIFE & LEGACY AND NNUAL, CAPITAL AND DUES AND EMBERSHIP CAMPAIGNS? nual campaign pledges, synagogue dues d similar obligations from other organizans are generally paid from current assets. In ntrast, legacy gifts are generally paid from umulated assets in the form of an aftertime gift.
What are some easy ways that I can leave my legacy?
1. BEQUEST IN A WILL. You name your preferred Jewish organizations as beneficiaries in your will, and after your death, the organizations receive money or property from your estate. You can leave a percentage of your estate, the remainder of your estate or a specific property or dollar amount. 2. TRUST BENEFICIARY. If you have set up a trust, name your preferred Jewish organizations as beneficiaries of your trust. After a triggering event, your money or other assets will go from the trust to the organizations you have selected. 3. LIFE INSURANCE. Name preferred Jewish organizations as an after-lifetime beneficiary of your life insurance policy. You can leave a percentage of the policy to the organizations while leaving the majority to family to take care of their needs. 4. RETIREMENT PLAN BENEFICIARY. Name preferred Jewish organizations as an afterlifetime beneficiary of your IRA, 401K, 403B or other retirement plan. Organizations can receive a percentage of the account balance or the dollar amount. 5. OUTRIGHT GIFT. You may gift money or other assets now that will provide funding for your preferred Jewish organization’s endowment. The endowment funds will be invested and the income generated each year will support your preferred organizations in perpetuity.
What other communities are saying:
“Here in Seattle, we just wrapped up the third quarter of Year 1. We are really excited by the results! Camaraderie is building among the teams and the teams are collaborating with each other. LIFE & LEGACY has been a great bridge between organization and donor. We are really seeing people working collaboratively for the benefit of all the organizations.” - RACHEL ROSENMAN, SEATTLE “So little attention was placed on legacy giving before we started LIFE & LEGACY, and we’ve seen a tremendous change. We are in the last weeks of Year 2 and are amazed at the culture of philanthropy taking hold. We had no trouble meeting Year 1 goals, and are hungry to reach our Year 2 goals.” - LOTTIE NILSEN, SOUTH PALM BEACH COUNTY
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 17
18 MAY 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Beth El’s teens volunteer and explore
Walter Emerson Baum
Temple Beth El’s confirmation class volunteered at the Allentown Rescue Mission.
MAY 20, 2017
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Shalshelet teens spent the day in April exploring Jewish historical sites and museums in Philadelphia. For more information about this community Jewish enrichment program, please contact Alicia Zahn at 610-435-3521.
JDC, partners deliver 10 tons of matzah in former Soviet Union Jewish Telegraphic Agency Editor’s Note: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is an overseas partner of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee provided Jews in the former Soviet Union with at least 10 tons of matzah ahead of Passover, the organization said. JDC also organized through its various branches and with partners volunteer activities, seder meals, matzah-baking classes and concerts marking Passover, JDC said in a statement. The matzah deliveries from Kaliningrad near Lithuania to the farthest eastern reaches of Russia are part of an annual partnership between JDC and other groups assisting Jews in the former Soviet space, including the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Dozens of volunteers delivered additional holiday pack-
ages and visited homebound elderly as part of JDC’s annual Passover preparation. “The Jews of the former Soviet Union, whose Jewish identity was almost extinguished, are now observing Passover with enormous vigor, innovative cultural fare, and a focus on ensuring their neediest fellow Jews share in the holiday,” said David Schizer, CEO of JDC. Among the recipients of holiday packages is Nadya B., a 65-year-old in Ukraine with severe heart disease living on a pension of $44 per month, JDC wrote. The food and medicine support she receives through the Food and Medicine Lifeline program of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. It is delivered by the JDC’s social welfare center in Odessa, where dozens of Jewish seniors in similar circumstances to Nadya will gather to create a community and to celebrate a seder meal. The center is part of JDC’s network of offices belonging to the Hesed organization, whose name in Hebrew means “virtue” or “charity.”
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20 MAY 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
TBE students donate food for Passover
Students from the Temple Beth El Religious School donated kosher-for-Passover food to help Beth El Sisterhood fill up care boxes. Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley distributed these Passover care boxes to help needy Jewish families observe the holiday.
KI to honor the Fels family at annual gala Congregation Keneseth Israel Congregation Keneseth Israel is thrilled to be honoring Eric and Amy Fels at our annual Gala on Sunday, June 11. Dr. Eric Fels is a board-certified nephrologist and partner in Valley Kidney Specialists. Eric has been an active member of the KI Board of Trustees and served as our president from 2012-14. He provided strong leadership, guiding us through a challenging time. Following his term, he was elected the president of the KI Endowment Foundation, a position he continues to hold today. He currently serves as the president of the Jewish Day School and as the chair of the Community Relations Council for the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley. Amy has also been active at KI and in the Jewish community as well. She served on two cantor search committees and was the chair of our Religious School Committee. Amy also provides much needed support in the marketing of various KI events, acting as the liaison between KI, HAKOL and posting on the Community Calendar. Active in Sisterhood, she currently serves as their treasurer. More recently, she has joined KI's Adult Education Committee and will be working on collaborative community projects. Amy is co-chairing the upcoming JFLV Women's Division Spring Event. But the story of Amy and Eric goes well beyond their significant achievements and activities. They are the proud parents of two teenagers. Allyson, a senior in high school, has attended Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy since the middle of 9th grade where her deep feelings for Israel and Judaism blossomed. Living in Israel for three months her junior year solidified her strong connections and pride in her religion. Allyson is currently doing her senior community service project at the Jewish Day School, where she is working with the pre-K, kindergarten and first graders. After graduation, she will attend George Washington University in the fall. Brenna, currently a freshman in high school, began Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in the 8th grade.
She went on a 10 day trip to Israel with her class last year and can't wait to go back. Brenna is on the company dance team at That's Dancin' and will continue her summers at Camp Saginaw. Both Allyson and Brenna attended the AIPAC conference with Eric and Amy this year. Beginning in 2014, initially led by their daughter Allyson, the Fels have begun what they call their “Jewish journey” as a family. Amy and Eric’s summer trip to Israel in 2015 changed their lives, setting them on a course of exploration of their
Jewish past, their Jewish present and becoming ever closer with the land of Israel. Keneseth Israel was so fortunate to hear about some of these life changing experiences in a talk that Amy gave at Yom Kippur that year. This journey continued with a trip to Poland in 2016, and Amy will participate in a trip to Israel this coming summer with the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project along with 19 other local women. We hope that you will join us at the gala on June 11 to honor this very special family.
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An Interview with Jodi Eichler-Levine By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor Jodi Eichler-Levine is an associate professor of religious studies and serves as the Berman Professor of Jewish Civilization at Lehigh University. She holds a Ph.D. in religion from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University. In the following interview, she speaks about her new research project, a book tentatively titled “Crafting Judaism: American Jewish Women and Creativity.” Can you give me an overview of the research you’re doing? The book is in progress, it’s a large project and I’m at the ‘gathering lots of research’ stage right now. The book is an exploration of how Jewish women sew, knit, crochet and also take part in other creative endeavors like creative writing or painting. Why did you choose to write about this topic? I want to write this because I feel like there’s a lot of material culture, a lot of stuff that women make that is a huge part of Jewish life that hasn’t really adequately been looked at by scholars. Jewish studies historically has privileged the study of Jewish texts, which is of course very important, but as we work on women’s history and sociology, there’s a lot to look at in terms of what women create. Can you describe your research process? I’m doing a lot of interviews, talking to people for hours about their work, and I’m also looking historically at the history of Jewish art and craft. I also take part in participant observation, which means learning how to do some of these activities myself. Mostly I’m trying to get a sense of what’s
22 MAY 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
on the ground today in terms of how Jewish women are creating things and where that fits in their Jewish identity. How did you first begin thinking of this idea? There are two ways, and they both started when I was in graduate school. When I was at Columbia, I was writing my dissertation that would become my first book, about Jewish children’s literature and African-American children’s literature and their overlaps. At that same time, I became a knitter. I learned to knit in graduate school and it became sort of my form of therapy. I noticed two things at that point that gave me the idea. One was that there were a lot of books coming out about crafting and spirituality. I found a book on kabbalah and quilting, and there’s a book called “Zen and the Art of Knitting,” among others. There are a lot of crafters engaged in spiritual matters. I study all religions, although Judaism most of all. At the same time, in the books I was writing about, in children’s literature, I noticed that a lot of books that focused on memory also focused on textiles, on quilts, on shawls. I decided that rather than just looking at the representations of quilts, which I loved doing in one chapter of my dissertation research, I wanted to get out there and talk to people about their creations as well as look at the creations themselves. How many people will you be speaking to? I’m doing a national sample and I’m coming at it in many different ways. For example, I did one online survey that had a couple hundred respondents, I’m still analyzing that data. Then I’m doing face-to-face interviews. By the end of the book it’ll be several dozen, hopefully more. Right now I’ve talked to about six people in the northeast, and I’m going to California in
the middle of April to interview people there. I’m studying the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework, which is one of the organizations that really focuses on this stuff, so I’m going to their convention in May. I’m trying to reach as many people as I can. I’ve also done some email and skype interviews. What message are you hoping for readers to get from the book? At this point, since I’m in the midst of the research, it’s a little soon to say that there’s a message to take away, but what I am hoping for is for people to really think deeply about the fact that religious practice, which I would understand very broadly, is embodied. It’s not just about theology or doing the right thing on a particular Jodi Eichler-Levine Continues on page 28
Anime Boston talk highlights JewishJapanese interactions through history
Above, Benny, a computer hacker on Black Lagoon Left, Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter and the main protagonist of Cowboy Bebop By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor Did you know that Jews have traveled to Japan for hundreds of years? Or that there are several Jewish characters and plots in modern anime series? Attorney James A. Wolf delved deep into these matters in his presentation, “Japan and the Jews,” at Anime Boston. Anime Boston is the largest anime (Japanese hand-drawn and computer animation) and Japanese culture convention in the northeastern United States. It features three days of programming, including panel discussions, lectures, art and writing workshops, concerts and video and board gaming. All attendees are able to submit applications for panels to educate others about relevant topics, which is how Wolf got involved with his panel. “Many fans can out-geek me, so I look to the past for something to discuss,” he said. “At previous Anime Bostons, I have discussed Douglas MacArthur, the 442nd RCT and, last year, the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5. In fact, the idea for this panel sprang out of my research for last year. Joseph Trumpeldor's story raised the question of other Jewish contacts with Japan and her people.” This started Wolf on a journey of research dating back to the 700s CE for the first contacts along the Silk Road in Tang dynasty China, some of whom later became the Jews of Kaifeng. After a great deal of research, “I discovered there was, for the most part, no great overarching story, but generally small tales, some of which coalesced into a lager whole,” Wolf said, and during his panel, he arranged the information in chronological order to paint a picture of Jewish-Japanese interactions over centuries. The panel was well-attended, with approximately 40 people filling the seats on the Friday morning right as the convention began. Before beginning, Wolf asked attendees to raise their hands if they were not
Jewish, and when most of the room raised their hands, he defined several terms like Diaspora, Ashkenazi vs. Sephardi and Zionism that would become important in the discussion ahead. After offering a few potential first encounters between the Jews and Japanese, including a note fragment in Judeo-Persian in 718 talking about the education of a young woman and complaining about the price of sheep, Wolf moved on to Japanese encounters with Europe, beginning in 1543. By this time, the Spanish Inquisition had forced many European Jews to convert, but people with Jewish backgrounds like merchant Mendez Pinto and Dr. Luis Almedia began to travel to Japan. Pedro ”Kibe” Kasui was the first Japanese man to travel to Jerusalem, reaching the city in 1620. During the Japanese period of isolation between 1633-1853, interactions with foreigners were extremely rare, but once the ban was lifted, more Jews began to contribute to Japan. Some of the travelers included Ludwig Reiss, a history professor who introduced western historiography to Japan; Albert Mosse, a German administrative law expert who helped draft the Meiji Constitution; Raphael Schoyer, an American Jew who founded the Japan Times; and Marcus Samuel, 1st Viscount Bearsted, who founded Samuel Samuel & Co and Shell Transport, which were important for Japanese industrialization. During this time, Jewish communities became established in Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki, where the first synagogue in Japan was built in 1895. With the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, during which 33,000 Russian Jews were drafted for the army, Joseph Trumpeldor lost his arm and won a Medal of Honor. He later helped found the Zion Mule Corps and the Israeli army. As part of the international reaction to the war, Naphtali Herz, the writer of Israel’s national
anthem, “Hatikvah,” dedicated a book of poems to the Japanese emperor. During World War II, Wolf highlighted the Five Minister Conference in December 1938, where it was decided that Jews residing in Japanese-controlled territories would not be discriminated against. Japan was also the source of the Fugu Plan, an idea to create a Jewish homeland in Japanese-occupied Manchuria. There were instances of brutality – Jews were among the victims of Unit 731’s experimentation – and kindness – like Chiune Sugihara, a Righteous Gentile who helped Jews escape the Holocaust and is honored at Yad Vashem. In modern times, Japan recognized Israel as a country on its fourth birthday in 1952, and approximately 1,000 Jews live in Japan today. There is one synagogue in Tokyo and Waseda University has a Jewish studies program. After detailing the historical background, Wolf then switched gears to look at how these interactions affected pop culture in Japan, most notably anime and manga (comic books). Although the most memorable instance of Jews in anime is negative – the main plot of the Japanese version of a show called Angel Cop revolves around villainous Jews trying to sabotage Japan’s economy, although this was changed to an American corporation in the American version of the show – there are examples of other Jewish anime characters. These include Benny, a computer hacker on “Black Lagoon,” and Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter and the main protagonist of “Cowboy Bebop.” The Holocaust has been ripe fodder for several series, including the manga series “Message to Adolf” by Osamu Tezuka, in which the plot revolves around the theory that Hitler had Jewish ancestry, and “Anne no Nikki,” an anime-style movie adaptation of Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl.”
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Celebrating Purim and more in Bangkok
Giving food for alms to young monks.
Buddha in Sukhotai.
Judith goes for an elephant ride.
Bridge over the River Kwai.
By Judith Rodwin Special to HAKOL I travel for various reasons: fun, curiosity about life on this earth, to experience and understand through wide-opened eyes and first-hand experience as well as the possibility of encountering the unexpected. This was my first visit to Asia, so I was not surprised to find the trip filled with all of that. As an American Jewish traveler in this Asian country I was acutely aware that Buddhism, the religion practiced by 95% of Thailand, colors everything in the country. There are minority populations of Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and, yes, Jews. Except for the Muslims who have a visible and political presence in the south, Buddhism dominates. It is obvious in the presence of wats (temples), public and personal shrines, monks and most especially the art and architecture of the country. There is pervasive awareness of ancestors, deeds and longevity. Our guide put it this way: imagine that you are a vessel. Good deeds add water to the vessel. Bad deeds add salt. You cannot ask for forgiveness for those deeds since they have become a part of you, but you can dilute them by adding more water (good deeds) to yourself. So, people move ahead with their lives by evolving through good works. It makes one think. Spanish missionaries arrived in Ayutthaya, the capital of “Sukhotai,” in early 1600. There they found Jewish merchants and a synagogue. The kingdom relocated to the safer, more fertile central area around a new capital, Bangkok, sometime in the 18th century. The few Jews eventually followed. A small number of Russian and German Jews arrived in “Siam” between WWI and WWII. During WWII, there were about 150 Jews among
the captives at the Kanchanburi POW camp, the site of the movie, “Bridge on the River Kwai.” The infamous bridge still stands and travelers, like my group, can walk through Hellfire Pass where slave labor built the railroad to Burma for the Japanese occupiers. These days most of the Jews living in Thailand are business people engaged in the gem and jewelry, high-tech or furniture businesses and retirees. The Thai and Israeli governments maintain an active exchange of business and education. Agronomy and water are priorities for both countries and both have benefited from working together. My tour group was in Bangkok during Purim. Those of us who are Jewish wanted to celebrate. We found out that everyone, including the three Bangkok synagogues, would be at their annual Community Chabad Purim Party so off we went. About 400 people, most of them local residents, many of them kids, plus Israeli backpackers were there. There was live music, a plentiful kosher dinner buffet, costumes, liquor and hamentashen. One of our group had planned ahead and had brought glittery masks for us. There we were, at a party of the mishpucha in a very foreign climate. The only kosher restaurants in Thailand are in the Chabad houses in Bangkok and Chang Mai, but it was easy to get vegetarian meals. That said, food is a big part of international travel and nowhere more so than in Thailand. Street food is famous, plentiful, fascinating and delicious. The grilled fish was fabulous. There were fried vegetable fitters, roti with bananas and chocolate, spiced rice steamed in banana leaves and the option of scorpion and tarantula (non-kosher). Thailand was a thought-provoking, beautiful and comfortable, and tasty, country to experience. I highly recommend it.
FREEDOM of movement
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 25
PJ kids make matzah for Passover
PJ LIBRARY Family of the Month: THE ALTERMANS
PJ Library families had a great time hearing an interactive story of Passover and making matzah together at Chabad of the Lehigh Valley on April 2. The kids learned how to make flour, then mixed that flour with water to form a dough. Then they rolled out their matzah, poked some holes and baked them on the spot for a tasty take-home treat. The kids also enjoyed PJ story time with Devorah Halperin. Thank you to everyone who participated!
We love PJ Library Books! They give us the opportunity to read as a family and a place to start discussing our Jewish beliefs. Our children love the stories, so we re-read them frequently and they never get old. Our son also enjoys looking for ‘his mail’ each month. - MICHAEL AND LYNN ALTERMAN
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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Allentown AZA prepares for the end of the year By Steven Lipson Special to HAKOL From April 7-9, Liberty Region held WOW Convention in Newark, Delaware. Over 200 teens attended programs, played oversized games and sang Havdalah songs, among other activities. Allentown AZA brought 28 boys to the convention, the most of any chapter in the region. In addition, the end of the year calendar is solidified. With the election of our new board, we are excited to announce the end of the year schedule. Our next chapter event is on May 6. It is called Allentournies. The entire event will be held outdoors. There will be sports tournaments, food and chapter bonding. We have also decided to help Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley with their baseball game on May 13. We will be working with special needs children to play the game and bond with their teammates. This is our stand-up cause for the year. The last convention of the year is held from May 19-21. The region will elect a new regional board. Furthermore, seniors will give lives, which are speeches at the end of your BBYO career on the Saturday night of the convention. There will be lots of free time
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Left to right, AZA members Max Langer, Cory Lemberg and Josh Jaffe. for members to hang out with their friends as well. Our last chapter event will be Fraternity Night on June 10. We will have programs centered on brotherhood. Chapter seniors will run the entire event and give their chapter life speech afterward. If you would like to join us for the last few months of this year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BBG heads to WOW convention
WOW coordinator Hannah Tamarkin with Allentown AZA member and regional board member Sammy Ringold at WOW convention. By Sophia McWilliams Special to HAKOL The month of April has been very eventful for Allentown BBG! Allentown BBG attended a regional convention called WOW and organized upcoming chapter elections and BBG events. Allentown BBG and AZA traveled to Newark, Delaware, from April 7-9 to attend Liberty Region’s annual WOW convention. Allentown BBG’s very own member Hannah Tamarkin (who is on regional board serving as vice president of programming) planned WOW convention this year,
so Allentown BBYO was very happy to support Hannah in her leadership efforts. According to AZA and BBG members, WOW convention was so much fun, with members participating in a range of programs as well as a dance on Saturday night. Members also enjoyed having the opportunity to hear Ryan Devlin, an actor and television show host, speak. Congratulations to Hannah for planning a spectacular weekend; her hard work certainly paid off. Allentown BBG and AZA are in the process of electing a new chapter board. BBG elections are on May 6, so our April meetings serve as time for girls who intend on running for board to ask questions about the process for running for board and what each board position entails. Toward the end of April, girls who decided to run for board officially declared what position they are running for and started to prepare their speeches for elections. BBG also hosted an event at Paint and Party on April 22. This event was a perfect way to get new and current members involved and to also strengthen and create friendships! Allentown BBG is looking forward to Spring Fling Convention in May, under leadership of our 2017-18 new chapter board. With a new year of BBG slowly approaching, make sure to join the fun of Allentown BBYO! Make sure
to contact Jeff Koch, regional director of BBYO (jkoch@ bbyo.org) or Sabrina Toland, one of BBG’s recruitment board members (email@example.com) if you are interested in becoming a part of Allentown BBYO!
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 27
PHOTO COURTESY JDC
Yafit: An Ethiopian-Israeli Woman of Valor
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee When Yafit was seven, she and her family began to walk. This journey to escape famine and persecution took them from their village in Ethiopia to Israel. For a month and a half, they scaled mountains and forded rivers, moving in silence to avoid the attention of robbers and kidnappers. When they arrived in Sudan, the family slept in a tent city, biding their time and fending off mosquitos and dysentery. But when Yafit and her younger sister became too weak to travel further, their parents left them behind, promising that they could join them once their strength returned. Time passed. Nothing happened. One night as they slept, a stranger came into their tent and nudged them awake. Thinking it
was a dream, she boarded a truck and was whisked away to an airport. Next thing she knew, she was embracing her parents in the Promised Land. Finding an Eshet Chayil As a new immigrant who knew neither the language nor culture of her new country, Yafit faced significant hurdles to success, but she was scrappy and determined. She learned Hebrew, earned a degree in education and started teaching Hebrew to Russian immigrants in Ashdod. Her skill and spirit soon caught the attention of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley’s partner the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Representatives invited her to run workshops for their Eshet Chayil (Woman of Valor) program, which helps Israeli women from disadvantaged backgrounds enter the regional job market. It surprised no one that she soon rose to become regional coordinator. The meaning of success Now, as head of JDC’s Southern Region’s Career Advancement Program, Yafit works with dozens of Israeli women one-on-one, assessing their potential and helping them plan and reach goals for a better future. The program is a part of TEVET, JDC’s comprehensive employment initiative forged in partnership with the Israeli government. “Some women worry about childcare, and some already have many personal and communal responsibilities. They take care of everyone else and have no time to take care of themselves,” she says. “My work is to help show them that by improving their careers, they are in fact strengthening their families and communities.” And it is in doing this work— helping others find success through wisdom she learned the tough way as an immigrant working mother of three—that Yafit truly shines as her own Israeli woman of valor.
Hakol at 40: Israel advocacy
By Michelle Cohen HAKOL Editor Since the first issue of HAKOL in September/October 1976, HAKOL has featured a myriad of articles, maps, political cartoons and more relating to current events in the state of Israel. As we celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, let’s take a look back to June 2002, when HAKOL provided an Israeli flag to every subscribed family on the back of the paper, to be cut out and displayed. Please feel free to cut out this picture and use it to express your Jewish pride.
Jodi Eichler-Levine Continues from page 22
holiday, it’s also about all of that stuff that’s around us. Take the Passover seder, for example; you go to a seder and there might be a matzah cover that is handmade. In my family, it was embroidered by my great-aunt. You hold Kiddush cups, someone made that. Religious community isn’t just formed around formal ceremonies like bar and bat mitzvahs or Shabbat, although those are wonderful ceremonies, they’re also formed around informal communities. I’m just as interested in Jewish women who knit a hat for charity because for them that’s an act of tzedakah, or Jewish women who come together and knit pink hats to go to the Women’s March in Washington. To me, that can also be understood as a Jewish-inflected act. For some people it is, for some people it’s not. That’s part of what I’m asking my interviewees. In having these conversations about objects and creativity, we learn more fully what it means to be Jewish in America today. What else would you like the community to know about your project? It’s important to know that there’s a long history of Jewish women creating things. When you look back at Europe or earlier time periods in America, there were male artisans and also female artisans. The women artisans are less likely to have their names known but there’s been some good study of the fact that, for example, in early
modern Europe, Torah binders were sometimes made from the swaddling cloths used at circumcisions; the cloths were cut into long strips, connected, and sometimes quite elaborately embroidered. You had all of these objects that were very intimately a part of Jewish life that women created. I also think it’s important for people to think about what it means to be Jewish very broadly, because when we look at sociology and at surveys of what it means to be Jewish today, it means a lot of different things. So, when you look at something like the Pew Survey of American Jewry, you see that more and more Jews are not affiliated with a formal organization like a synagogue or a JCC; more and more, Jews are connecting with Judaism through other kinds of activities. It might be an environmental bike ride like the kind that HAZON runs, it might be through a stitching group, it might be through an urban farm like Urban Adamah on the west coast or the Jewish Farm School in Philly. For scholars, it’s really important to look at the very diverse ways people are being Jewish today, so that’s the context in which I’m thinking about what we call “lived religion,” religion and activity on the ground. Finally, I am always looking for more people to interview; readers are welcome to reach out to me at jeichlerlevine@ lehigh.edu. Dr. Eichler-Levine will also be speaking about her book at Hadassah Shabbat on May 6 at Congregation Brith Sholom at 9 a.m. The event is free and open to the community.
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28 MAY 2017 | HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY
Honoring my mom with 7 fabulous Yiddish words By Linda Pressman Jewish Telegraphic Agency It’s 1968, or 1978, basically anytime I’m with my mom in her lifetime and we’re out in public. Finicky about fabrics and proper attire, my mother always offered a choice opinion in Yiddish. If they don’t speak the language, no big deal, she just mutters her criticisms to me in that tongue under her breath, criticisms so precise that they take my breath away: someone’s dress is plotzing (too tight), or it’s ongepotchked (over-ornamented), or it’s just drek (junk). We were an immigrant family, more immigrant in spirit when the first child was born and less so with each subsequent child until, by the time there were seven of us, my parents were forced to speak English to their Yiddishilliterate children. Of course, they tried to speak Yiddish to me but, as an American-born child of the 1960s, I wasn’t listening. I scorned Yiddish as the old country language used by my parents to keep secrets from me and as the language of a million uninteresting grown-up conversations. I couldn’t imagine why I’d be interested in Yiddish. Of course, I changed my mind later, too late, long after my brain had frozen onto English. But I discovered something amazing and colorful, something I could not live without linguistically: Yiddish adjectives and exclamations, which describe characteristics and behaviors so well. While English flails around, always somehow missing the mark, Yiddish nails it, just as my mother demonstrated so long ago. And, interestingly enough, this ability to get things “just right” has a Yiddish term – punkt. In honor of my mom, and her under-thebreath comments, here are seven of my favorite Yiddish words. 1. Drek – Garbage or substandard junk. You can eat something and pronounce it drek, or you can buy something shoddily made and declare it drek. This one comes in handy. 2. Potchke – Fussing with, or messing with inex-
pertly. After being served this drek, you try to potchke it into something delicious but just end up making a mess of it. [poch-key]* 3. Goniff – The jerk who sold you the drek – literally, a thief. A person who steals you blind. A pronouncement on his soul for being a thief. [gah-niff] 4. Ongeblozen – Full of him/herself, conceited. You try to get your money back from the ongeblozen goniff for the drek he sold you when you’re unable to potchke it into something edible. [ung-eh-bluh-zen] 5. Schlmozel – You for being a hopeless dupe who got swindled by the ongeblozen goniff who sold you the drek. [shl-mah-zle] 6. Schpilkes – How you feel inside now with your guts churning after you were such a schlmozel for buying such drek from that ongeblozen goniff. [shpill-kiss] 7. Meshuganah – Crazy, insane. How you feel when you think about the ongeblozen goniff who gave you such schpilkes when he sold you the drek and made you into such a schlmozel. [meshu-gah-nah] I can’t live without these Yiddish words. I’ve taught them to my children and to my Americanish Jewish husband (his family speaks no Yiddish). I’ve taught them to my non-Jewish friends who are thrilled that they will never again have to futilely search English for a word that just doesn’t exist. Search no more. The word exists. It’s in Yiddish. *All pronunciations by author. Official pronunciations may be seen at www.yivo.org. Linda Pressman is a freelance writer, editor, blogger and speaker. She was the blog editor of Poetica Magazine for three years, and is the author of "Looking Up: A Memoir of Sisters, Survivors and Skokie," which won the Grand Prize in the Writer's Digest 20th Annual Book Contest.
Borscht with greek yogurt BY SANDI TEPLITZ
INGREDIENTS: 2 bunches beets, preferable organic, peeled, then grated 3 qts. water 1 T salt 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice 3 1/2 T sugar 2 medium eggs whole Greek yogurt, preferably Stonyfield Farms TECHNIQUE: Combine beets, water and salt in a large pot and cook for 55 minutes. Add lemon juice and sugar; cook for 30 minutes more. Beat the eggs, gradually adding 3 cups of the hot soup to it, beating constantly to prevent curdling. Add this mixture back to the remaining soup, continuing to beat. Chill, then serve with large dollups of the yogurt. Serve with French bread and whipped unsalted butter.
HAKOL LEHIGH VALLEY | MAY 2017 29
The Jewish newspaper of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania