JFOC Jewish Journal April 2024

Page 1

April 2024 Adar II – Nisan 5784 Jewish Journal 732.534.5959 www.ocjj.net Jewish Federation  732-363-0530  www.ocjf.org PRSRT STD US Postage PAID W Caldwell, NJ Permit #1052 Local News – Pages 6-9 Federation New Spring Event “Let’s Connect” - Pages 16-17 Winter 2024 $54/person • $100/couple To purchase tickets or to become a sponsor this event, visit www.jewishoceancounty.org/letsconnect. SUNDAY | APRIL 14 | 11:00AM CLARION HOTEL, RT 37 TOMS RIVER, NJ For registration information, see pages 16-17.

What is Federation about…

Ioften think of my dear friend, the late Sidney Troy, the second president of our Federation, who coached me on my first meeting many, many years ago. One of his expressions was “Ma’asim Tovim” - good deeds. What does Federation exist for if not to be the “doer of good deeds”? Sidney used to say: “Do Jewish.”

We attempt to do miracles…some big,

Our Federation is a key link in a chain of caring.

some small, some hardly recognizable. It is our way of telling our children and our children’s children that we did our share. We help to heal the world, bringing dignity and opportunities where none existed before, and we try to help those that need assistance. We attempt to bring immediate comfort and/or long-term solutions to situations that seem insurmountable.

“Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Lazeh” – each Jew is responsible for one another. That is really the core principle of Federation. We have heard this sentiment a lot – but, seemingly, not often enough since there are many in our community who don’t fully appreciate this.

Our Federation joined the Emergency

Who’s in the Mood for Purim this year?

Campaign for Israel and we responded in unity. We know the situation in Israel will call for such incredible support and we all hold our breath till the hostages are returned and peace is restored.

So how do we “do Jewish” on another plane? A few weeks ago, I witnessed a different level of doing Jewish. I went to a Super Bowl party – not the usual one where everyone socializes with friends and watches the game. This was an annual event that is directed towards the homeless in our community.

It’s easy to pretend this problem doesn’t exist in Ocean County, where we don’t usually see homeless people…but they exist. Through One Ocean County and other partners, like the Rotary Club of Toms River and Urban Air Adventure, and the sponsorship of our Jewish Federation, this Super Bowl Party hosted 85 individuals, including 23 children. They were able to enjoy hot food, free haircuts, clothing, and toiletries – all with dignity and respect. When I asked: “What can I do?”… I was told to just talk to people. Many need someone to just listen.

War, rape, hostages, and the rowdiest day on the Jewish calendar? I just couldn't face all that “happy vibe” – until I reread Megillat Esther.

Who is in the mood for Purim this year? I certainly am not.

The noisy balagan (chaotic) crowds in shul, the original costuming, thoughtful mishloach manot (sending food packages to one another), cooking for a large seuda (festive meal) and the general “happy vibe” are quite the opposite of where I am right now. Matanot la-evyonim (giving gifts to the poor) is the only Purim tradition I feel wholehearted about this year.

Our country is at war.

We do not know when. When will our lives feel some sense of security? Security at our borders? Security in our neighborhoods? Security within our government?

We do not know how. How many more losses will we be carrying in our hearts? How many injuries will we live through and with? How many hostages will return home?

We do not know why. Why are we forced to ask permission to defend our existence? Why is Jewish women’s suffering not immediately condemned? Why does Zionism have to wear the yellow star, be ostracized, within the global world?

Megillat Esther comes to mind.

There is one nation scattered and dispersed among the nations throughout the provinces of your kingdom, whose laws are unlike those of any other nation and who do not obey the laws of the King” (3:8).

Here we are again, set aside, apart.

Letters were sent with couriers to all the provinces of the king: to annihilate, murder and destroy all the Jews, young and old, children and women, on one day the 13th day of the 12th month, which is the month of Adar and to plunder their pos-

Big thanks to Tova Herskovitz and Avi Kotler, from One Ocean County, and apologies to the numerous volunteers who were there whose names I do not know.

To help those of our neighbors in need is part of our obligation to “do Jewish.” We need to encourage more of this.

Our Federation is a key link in a chain of caring. I recently came across a quote from a very dear friend who was a giant in our Federation years ago, Charlotte Krupnick, who said: “I’ve learned that when you give it all you’ve got, in the process you grow and become ‘more’.” We all have the potential to mold and shape and make our lives and the world a better place. We can all become more.

That’s what Federation is all about.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

(Editor’s Note: See page 8 for the article and pictures of the Super Soul Event.)

sessions” (3:13).

This Jew hatred sounds all too familiar.

Yet all this is worthless to me whenever I see Mordechai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate!”(5:13).

Our mere existence is what troubles our enemies.

That the king had allowed the Jews of every city to gather and stand up for their lives; to annihilate, kill and destroy every army of any nation or province that might attack them…” (8:11).

We have a right to defend ourselves.

For if you will remain silent at this time, relief and salvation will come to the Jews from another source” (4:13). We are an eternal nation.

And his wise men and his wife Zeresh told him, “If this Mordechai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail over him, for you will certainly fall before him” (6:13).

Yes, we will prevail.

So, Purim this year, is taking on new meaning. We must dress it that way. The noisy balagan crowds in shul are a testament to Am Yisrael Chai (the nation of Israel lives). The calls for ruthless Ha-

man and his sons’ downfall is our daily hope. The mishloach manot are a small shadow of the endless outpouring of giving we experienced at the beginning of the war, and still witness today. The seuda, surrounded by close family and friends, is not to be taken for granted. We are a nation of survivors, a nation of giving and a nation that will stay together.

The megillah, with no mention of G-d’s name, has us looking for Divine intervention in our time. “The month which had been transformed for them from one of sorrow to joy, from mourning to festivity to make them days of feasting, rejoicing….” (9:22).

And these days are commemorated and celebrated in every generation, by every family, in every province and every city. And these days of Purim will never pass from among the Jews, nor shall their memory depart from their descendants” (9:28).

These days, as well, will be remembered.

Happy Purim.

Note that the posts on The Blogs are contributed by third parties. The opinions, facts and any media content in them are presented solely by the authors, and neither The Times of Israel nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.

The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 2 www.ocjj.net
Illustrative. Dressed-up Israelis take part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish Purim festival on March 5, 2015, in the central Israeli city of Netanya. (AFP PHOTO/Jack Guez/File)

For further information about this event see page 9.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 3

A Different Campus Story: Jewish-Palestinian Cooperation

Atidna International seeks equal participation with three college chapters.

2024 forward.com

At a time when college campuses have become a battleground between Jewish and Palestinian students and their sympathizers, University of Texas students Elijah Kahlenberg and Jadd Hashem are eager to talk about their identities. And each other’s.

The Jewish and Palestinian American pair are the force behind Atidna, a student organization of Jews and Palestinians that began at the university’s Austin campus two years ago. Initially,

it focused on similarities between Jewish and Palestinian culture, Kahlenberg said on a call shared with Hashem, stressing “that Jews and Arabs are cousins in one family and we’re not inherent enemies.”

That was in the world before October 7. Since then, the tenor of Atidna’s events have intensified, with gatherings both to mourn the dead on both sides of the Israel-Hamas war and to confront tough subjects rather than avoid them. The people showing up have strong opinions, Kahlenberg and Hashem said, but aren’t there to start a fight.

“I know many Palestinians who have never talked to an Israeli before. And I know many Israelis who have never spoken to a Palestinian before,” said Hashem, a sophomore from suburban Dallas majoring in government with a minor in Middle East studies. “I’m not afraid to call out people on the Palestinian or Arab side who are being hostile. Elijah, same thing for the Jewish side. But we also want people to hear what could be an uncomfortable conversation.”

Kahlenberg, who is from San Antonio and triple majoring in government, Middle

East studies and Jewish studies, added, “The fact that they’re willing to be in a common space with a Palestinian or Jewish student is already in itself a kind of self-regulation of who’s joining.”

The group counts about 100 members, with another chapter of about the same size started at the University of Pennsylvania shortly before the war. A smaller chapter began last fall at Harvard. Their largest activity was a vigil on November 7, marking the first month of the war, attended by about 80 people of all backgrounds, Kahlenberg said. The pair spoke along with an imam, rabbi and priest in an event garnering media attention. More intense dialogue continues at meetings that take place about every three weeks.

“Every dialogue session is co-moderated by Jadd and me,” Kahlenberg said. “At our UPenn chapter, it’s the president of that chapter – a Jewish girl – and her co-leader, a Kuwaiti Arab student. We definitely have to weed out some of the improper comments which do occur. But most of the time, it’s really just healthy disagreements.”

That sometimes means parsing the language each side uses. “When we talk about words like Nakba,” Hashem said, “it’s not necessarily disputing what it is as much as (understanding) what it means to the people.” Kahlenberg picks it up, telling of the displacement of one member’s family in 1948.

“They went on what is known in Palestinian history as the Lydda Death March,” he said. “Many Israelis in the conversation said, ‘I’ve never heard that before in my life. That is a shocking experience. That’s not what we’re taught in Israeli textbooks.’ And just hearing that story from a Palestinian’s mouth, it’s not really preachy, it’s just talking about the family stories that have been passed down to you.”

The group was also deliberate in choosing its name. Atidna is from the Hebrew word atid, meaning “future,” with the Arabic suffix na for “our,” combining to mean “our future.” Their actions are inspiring for that future, but I can’t help being a little skeptical.

For starters, who’s funding them? Nobody, both reply. As the founder, Kahlenberg did the work of obtaining 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for Atidna International, and the group is attempting to trademark the name.

That leads to another question: Are they affiliated with another group founded in Israel in 2018 that uses the name Atidna? It describes itself as a coalition of Arab citizens of Israel and Jews “from the National-Zionist camp in Israel.”

“It is sad that a right-wing group based out of Israel, which sadly does not stand for, in our opinion, truly unifying values, is trying to co-opt a name like Atidna,” Hashem said. “If anything, this gives us more incentive to continue using the name Atidna in order to reclaim it as a name for an organization that is actually working towards a just and equitable future between Jews/Israelis and Arabs/ Palestinians.”

I also questioned them from an activist perspective, having grown up in the Civil Rights Movement and learned firsthand from its leaders. Wouldn’t they better exemplify an equal partnership between the two groups with co-leaders instead of a president and VP?

“We agree that everything is about optics, especially today, and ensuring complete equality, especially in each chapter’s leadership, is of utmost importance,” said Kahlenberg. “We encourage each chapter to rotate between Jewish/Israeli and Arab/Palestinian presidents. I am a junior, so after I graduate, Jadd, who is currently a sophomore, will take over as the president of Atidna at UT.”

Their involvement is more than academic or a notch on their resumes. Hashem has family members directly affected by the war, who in December escaped Gaza for Egypt and the West Bank.

Though he has less of a direct connection, Kahlenberg said he is no less shaken by the conflict and moved to do what he can, at least among his college peers. “It should be anyone’s position, whether it’s a Jewish baby or an Arab baby, that any loss of life needs to be considered a tragedy, right?” he said. “It’s in Jewish tradition that to destroy life is to destroy the whole universe. And I truly believe that.”

Robin Washington is The Forward’s Editor-at-Large. A longtime editor, columnist, radio host and documentarian across mainstream and ethnic media, he was one of the founders of the Alliance of Black Jews and an early pioneer of the term “Jew of color.” The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Forward.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 4 Call us at 732-458-4700 or email us at templebethorbrick@gmail.com. Robert Rubin, Rabbi Dr. Sharon Monter, President
Contact us about our upcoming services, programs, events and adult learning opportunitiesin-person and on Zoom. May all of the hostages being held in Gaza come home safely and soon. On Pesach we celebrate the freedom of the Jewish people. We wish everyone a happy Pesach holiday. O On Pesach we celebrate the fre e dom of the Je w ish p e ople. We w ish e ver yone a happy Pesach holiday.
Temple Beth Or
University of Texas students Elijah Kahlenberg, left, and Jadd Hashem are the leaders of Atidna International, a joint group of Jewish/Israeli and Arab/Palestinian students. Courtesy of Atidna International, University of Texas at Austin

YOU Made an Impact through the Jewish Federation of Ocean County – Through our Israel Emergency Grants (continued)

Kfar Silver – Jewish Federation of Ocean County has been supporting the work at Kfar Silver for a couple of years. It is a youth village near Ashkelon, just 8 miles from Gaza. The village is a sprawling complex for 1090 students from challenging backgrounds, including 250 boarders, about 40 of whom came to Kfar Silver when forced to leave Ukraine. JFOC is helping to fund eight new safe rooms at Kfar Silver.

Those were the students still on campus during the holiday when Hamas attacked Israel. Little more than a year and a half after fleeing Ukraine, these young people found themselves immersed in another conflict.

Originally from the southwestern city of Odesa, Artem Karpin had been visiting relatives in Israel when Russia invaded Ukraine. His father gave him no choice but to stay put. “I started crying when I began to understand that I’m not going back,” he told CNN at Kfar Silver. “I felt betrayed. I didn’t think it was a wise decision to leave me here.”

Nearly 2,000 miles from his parents, Karpin, then 16, enrolled at Kfar Silver, where he soon began to learn the language, make friends and settle in. That was until life was upended again on October 7. “That morning we all ran from the dorms to the shelter in the school,” he said. “I was scared but not terrified. I was trying to talk it all through rationally and it really helped.”

Karpin was one of 63 pupils on site that day, as was 18-year-old Michael Reider. Originally from Kyiv, Reider arrived in Israel in March 2022 following a grueling journey from his homeland to Poland, where he spent a week on his own before flying out. On that “black Shabbat” of October 7, he said: “I woke up

and there were a lot of sirens and rockets were flying. I had already experienced one invasion and now this was a second one. I don’t know how to explain it – I wasn’t really afraid. I felt kind of angry and like I had the energy to fight.”

Pupils and staff remained in the shelter for hours as the unprecedented terror raged around them.

Amos Gofer, who served in the IDF for 25 years before becoming chief executive of Kfar Silver, said, “During my military service I spent time in Lebanon, Gaza, occupied territories. I saw some stuff, but October 7 was the hardest day of my professional life.”

“We were terrified. We knew very early that the situation was very bad, that there were a lot of terrorists. I was sure the terrorists were going to come here to kill us,” said Gofer, who keeps the remains of a rocket which exploded on the school grounds on his desk.

“I had three people with personal pistols, which was nothing compared to the heavy ammunition the terrorists had. We saw no helicopters, no police, no military – I still don’t understand why it took so long,” said Gofer, referring to widespread reports on October 7 that the army and security forces took hours to react to the incursions.

With no response to his repeated calls to the army and emergency services, who were dealing with ongoing attacks in multiple locations, Gofer finally called a bus company manager he knew. “He told me none of his bus drivers were willing to come… everyone was terrified.” Two drivers from the bus company eventually volunteered to evacuate the children to another village further north, he added. “They told me if they’re not out of here in two, three minutes they would go wi-

Jewish Holiday Family Photos

We invite our community members to submit a few photographs of their family’s recent holiday celebrations. Include a one-line caption describing the activity in the photo. You may include everyone’s name or just your family’s name or without any names at all.

All submissions are subject to our editorial review, and we do not promise that all submitted photos will be published.

Email your submission to jfoceditor@ocjf.org.

thout the students.”

In common with some other foreign boarders, 17-year-old Maria, who asked not to give her surname for privacy reasons, was staying with a nearby “host family” because of the religious holiday when Hamas launched its assault on October 7. “At six in the morning we were all running to the shelter and you could hear sirens,” she said.

JFOC is helping to fund eight new safe rooms at Kfar Silver.

Originally from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Maria and her younger brother had moved to their father’s home in Kyiv following the Russian invasion. Eventually the two siblings left the country via Moldova and flew to Israel. “When war broke out in Ukraine it was like life fell apart and this time it was very similar – I had flashbacks,” she said. “I was scared but also thought if I tried to distance myself as much as possible everything would be OK.”

She remained with the family, who live in Ashkelon, for several days before heading north to join the evacuees, including her brother. There they remained until last month when they returned to the school.

With the village now at “95% operational,” according to Gofer, counsellors, social workers and psychologists are on hand to support pupils as they navigate the mental and emotional fallout of the war. In the immediate aftermath of Hamas’ attack “hundreds of terrorists were caught in the area,” said Gofer, “around 35 pupils at Kfar Silver had relatives who were murdered or kidnapped.”

Many families and staff remain evacuated from their homes, while some teachers are serving in the IDF reserves. Rockets continue to fly, though less frequently, while some staff – including Gofer – now have access to long-range rifles. “Everyone’s on high alert,” he said. “People aren’t afraid of sirens – they’re afraid of terrorists.”

We invite our community members to submit original poetry or short essays (500 words or less) to the Jewish Journal.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 5
These four teenagers all moved from western Ukraine to Kfar Silver near Ashkelon in Israel. Pictured (l-r): Michael Reider, Artem Karpin, Maria and Sviatoslav Kulyk (courtesy Monique Zahavi) Amos Gofer, CEO of the Kfar Silver youth village, poses with the gnarled remnants of a Hamas rocket which landed near the school. (courtesy Monique Zahavi)
All submissions
editorial review, and we
all will be published. Email your submission to jfoceditor@ocjf.org.
to our
do not

Local News

Religious School Brachot Bash at Beth Am Shalom, Lakewood

The Beth Am Shalom Religious School had their very first Brachot (Blessings) Bash. The students were involved in very hands-on learning about the blessings of each food group and had a lot of fun. They made popcorn, decorated cookies, clementine skewers, grape juice ices and more, and then they practiced the blessings as they ate their tasty creations. The Religious School Principal is Devorah Melamud.

Annabel and Manny Lindenbaum to be Honored

Long-time Ocean County residents Annabel and Manfred (Manny) Lindenbaum will be presented with Chhange’s Distinguished Service Award at the organization’s Spring Testimonial Dinner, to be held on April 16 at the Navesink Country Club, Red Bank.

At the dinner, Chhange, the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education, will also be honoring George Kolber for his significant accomplishments in a variety of fields as well as his strong commitment to Chhange. Also, the multi-specialty law firm of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C. will receive the Chhange Corporate Leadership Award.

The Lindenbaums have been stalwart supporters and Life Members of Chhange for many years.

A former Chhange Board member, Manny is a child Holocaust Survivor. At six, he and his nine-year-old brother escaped on a Kindertransport to England.

Today, Manny is a favorite speaker at area schools, always sharing his experiences while imparting the message that each of us is responsible for making the world better by speaking out against hate and bigotry. Annabel is a former and current Chair of Jewish Federation of Ocean County as well as a former Chair

and current Board member of New Hope Community.

Dedicated to repairing the world (tikkun olam), both are activists who are passionate about educating students about the importance of standing up for others and environmental activists involved in a host of organizations including the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

For more information about the dinner or placing an ad in the tribute journal that will be distributed on April 16, go to www.chhange.org or call Chhange at 732-224-1889.

Liberty Oak Chorus to Perform at Congregation Ahavat Olam, Howell

On Sunday, May 19 at 1:00 PM, Liberty Oak Chorus will be performing at Congregation Ahavat Olam, 106 Windeler Road, Howell. Tickets are only $12 each. Enjoy an afternoon of singing from the award-winning Liberty Oak Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International. Liberty Oak Chorus membership consists of women from many different walks of life who travel from 48 different towns in 13 different counties and three states each week to share a common bond –the love of singing, which makes for a very exciting show. Seats are expected to go quickly. RSVP by Friday, May 10 by emailing CAOsisterhood@gmail.com. Please make checks payable to “CAO Sisterhood” and mail to: Janet Seltzer, 8 Colonial Court, Howell, NJ 07731. For further information, call the CAO Office at 732-7193500.

Open House at Congregation Ahavat Olam, Howell

The community is invited on Sunday, April 14, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM, for an Open House to discover the warmth and spirituality of the CAO community and to welcome you and your family. Explore our beautiful synagogue and learn about our engaging and fun youth and teen Hebrew School programs, Sisterhood and Men's Club. Socialize and connect with our Rabbi, congregants, event coordinators, and guests. Congregation Ahavat Olam is a mid-sized, contemporary congrega-

tion which strives to make Conservative Judaism relevant and meaningful by promoting a nurturing environment for spiritual, social, and intellectual growth. The synagogue is located at 106 Windeler Road in Howell. RSVP by email to the CAO Office at CAOReceptionist@ cao-nj.org or to Michelle Aguilar-Aasted at michelleaguilaraasted@yahoo.com or call the CAO Office at 732-719-3500.

The CAO website is https://www.cao-nj.org/.

Hamantaschen Baking at Temple Beth Or, Brick

The Sisterhood of Temple Beth Or had an opportunity at their General Meeting on March 5 to make hamantaschen in preparation for Purim. They prepared the dough and put in the fillings, and then the “finished” products were taken home to bake. A recipe was available so that more hamantaschen could be made at home. Marlene Vogel, Sisterhood President, presided at the meeting. For information about upcoming events, contact TBO at 732-4584700 or templebethorbrick@gmail.com.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 6

Local News

Jewish War Veterans Post 178 Holds General Meeting

Members of the Post and Auxiliary were educated about the latest trends in Senior Scams and Frauds at their monthly meeting on Sunday, February 11 at Beth Am Shalom, Lakewood. The presentation was made by members of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office: Assistant Prosecutor Taylor Toscano, Det. Sgt. Lindsey Liauget, and Det. Kyle Richardella. This was an excellent and informative presentation on a very important topic. There were many questions and anecdotes from the audience. Pictured are information posters that were on display. The officers and members of JWV Post 178 and the Auxiliary thank the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for their efforts in making life better and safer for our seniors and our communities.

Jewish War Veterans Scholarships Available

For over fifty years, the New Jersey Department of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America has been awarding educational grants to graduating High School Seniors who are direct descendants of Jewish War Veterans – the Seigel-Shapiro Educational Grant. Applications may

be requested from this email address: Seigel.Shapiro.Grant@gmail.com. For further information, contactIf you have any questions, please contact Colonel Carl A. Singer, U.S. Army (retired), Past National Commander, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, at 973-685-5022.

Jewish War Veterans Local and National Events

The Jewish War Veterans and JWV Ladies Auxiliary, Department of New Jersey, is proud and honored to announce their 42nd Annual Legislative Breakfast scheduled for Sunday, April 7, 2024. The Legislative Breakfast is being held at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, 815 Route 37 West, Toms River.

This year they will be honoring Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (14th District) as Legislator of the Year and The Honor Flights Of Southern Jersey as the Organization of the Year. The cost of the event is only $22 per person. For further information please call Al Adler at 732-5809266.

The JWV Department of New Jersey participated in the National Executive Committee (NEC) in Washington, DC on March 20-23. At the NEC meeting the guest speaker was Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff. At the next day’s meeting the guest speaker was Deputy Secretary Tanya Bradsher from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

If you are interested in the Jewish War Veterans activities or joining JWV or it’s Ladies Auxiliary, please contact Al Adler at ama1308701@yahoo.com or 732-580-9266.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 7
Jewish War Veterans National Commander Barry Lichinsky (on left) and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff at the National Executive Committee Meeting held in Washington, DC (l-r) Jewish War Veterans Department of New Jersey Ladies Auxiliary Department President and National Junior Vice President Carol Adler, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and Jewish War Veterans National Quartermaster Albert Adler at the National Executive Committee Meeting in Washington, DC Mazal Tov to Airman Joshua Singer, son of Brad and Estera Singer, grandson of Anise Singer, upon graduating Basic Training United States Air Force, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
Mazal Tov!

Super Soul Special Event

On Sunday, February 11, with the help of our sponsors, Rotary of Toms River and Jewish Federation of Ocean County, we hosted a Super Bowl party for the homeless and those in need at Urban Air Adventure Park in Toms River. Led by our committed community engagement liaison, Avi Kotler, this was the fifth year we held such an event. We were able to serve over 85 individuals, including 23 kids, and provide hot food, free haircuts, clothing, toiletries, and more to those facing hardship in our local area. We are grateful for the support of our sponsors and volunteers who made this event possible. It was incredible to see so many different groups come together to give back and help those in need.

Many congregations are conducting prayer services and classes online which may be accessible from a computer or a telephone. Contact each congregation for further information to access these events. See page 29 for contact information.

"For the Lord thy God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and grapevines, figs and pomegranates; a land of oil olives and date honey."
Deuteronomy/Devarim 8:7-8
The Jewish Federation helped to build Israel. Today, we help keep it strong.
Am Yisrael Chai - The people of Israel lives!
www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 8
Local News

Remembering the Shoah – Community Event

Congregation B’nai Israel in Toms River is the host of this year’s Community Yom HaShoah with “A Service of Remembrance” on Sunday, May 5, at 5:00 PM. The memorial event is co-sponsored by Beth Am Shalom, Congregation Ahavat Olam, Temple Beth Or, and the Jewish Federation of Ocean County.

The community event, to be held at the synagogue at 1488 Old Freehold Road, will feature a probing interview of Holocaust survivors Gela Buchbinder and Arthur Spielman. The interview will be conducted by the journalist Mary Ann Giordano, who edited for The New York Times and other New York-based publications, and taught journalism at Columbia University.

Before and during the service, names of Holocaust victims will be read, and sur-

vivors and their families will have the opportunity to light candles in memory of those who perished.

“We hope the program expresses our solidarity and provides more understanding about what the survivors went through and how they maintained hope during that time,” said Mike Falk, who is coordinating the event. Additional speakers, including community rabbis, will participate, and “Stamp Out Hate” pins will be distributed to attendees.

The event is open to the public. Students are encouraged to attend. Security will be present. For more information, go to the CBI website, cbitr.org, or contact the CBI office at 732-349-1244.

See the ad on page 3.

Second Night Passover Seder at Beth Am Shalom, Lakewood

Beth Am Shalom will be hosting a Second Night Seder for the community on Tuesday, April 23 at 5:30 PM. BAS cordially invites anyone who does not have a table to sit at for the Second Night Seder to join them at 1235 Route 70 in Lakewood. The menu will be provided by The Pickled Herring Jewish-Style Deli of Englishtown. Re-

servations are required and can be made by calling 732-477-2585 prior to April 12. Couvert is $50 per adult, $25 for children under 13, and no charge for children under 5. Beth Am Shalom is the only Reform Congregation in Ocean County. For further information, visit their website at www.bethamshalom.org. See the ad on page 13.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 9 732-363-2800 1235 Route 70 • Lakewood, NJ 08701 www.BethAmShalom.org BethAmShalomLakewood JOIN US BethAmShalom, A Reform Congregation! • Men’s & Women’s Clubs • Toddler Programs • Adult Education Classes • Friendly Family Atmosphere • Religious School • All-inclusive Congregation Services - Fri. 7 pm Erev Shabbat Local News ADVERTISE IN THE JEWISH JOURNAL 732-534-5959
Read the Jewish Journal at: www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.netwww.ocjj.netwww.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net

17 Jewish Organizations Push for Passage

From Jewish Federations of North America

February 21, 2024


Federations of North America led sixteen top American Jewish organizations in a joint letter to members of the House of Representatives reaffirming their support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, an accepted and widespread definition of antisemitism.

Clearly and accurately defining antisemitism is key to combating its manifestations wherever they may appear. That's why Jewish Federations and their allies are advocating for the passage of the Antisemitism Awareness Act (H.R.6090), a bipartisan piece of legislation that requi-

res the Department of Education to consider the IHRA definition when conducting federal investigations.

“The IHRA definition provides a comprehensive and internationally recognized framework to delineate and address contemporary manifestations of antisemitism. It is also a consensus definition with bipartisan support, which is critical for effective policy implementation,” the letter reads.

Following Hamas’s October 7th massacre, incidents of discrimination, harassment, and violence directed against Jewish communities in the United States and around the world have dramatically increased. Over three quarters of American Jews feel less safe today since those attacks, and almost half have altered their behavior out of fear of antisemitism. The escalating threat of antisemitic violence and discrimination requires a forceful response from our government.

That's why Jewish Federations are advocating for the passage of The Antisemitism Awareness Act (H.R.6090), bipartisan legislation that requires the Department of Education to use the IHRA definition of antisemitism when

of Antisemitism Awareness Act

conducting federal investigations involving colleges and universities.

More than 1,200 entities around the world have adopted or endorsed the IHRA definition, which is the only definition that has been officially recognized internationally and adopted by mainstream Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Federations of North America. It has also been formally adopted by 35 US states, 91 US cities and municipalities, the US State Department, and President Biden’s National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. It thus represents a significant milestone in the ongoing struggle against antisemitism.

The IHRA definition has been readily endorsed by over 160 Jewish communities and organizations from over sixty-five countries who believe it best describes the various forms of antisemitism and Jew hatred that they confront. Additionally, hundreds of universities, business enterprises, sports associations, civil society organizations, and other institutions have adopted it.

The letter also stresses that the endorsement of an alternative definition “would undo years of international cooperation and progress in identifying and combating antisemitism and would only create confusion and unequal standards.”

While the IHRA definition has been adopted by the U.S. and dozens of U.S. allies, these alternatives have, for good reason, received no support. It is believed that the alternative definitions have not been adopted by any governmental

Jewish Federation of Ocean County is now on Facebook

Like us at: www.facebook.com/jewishocean

entity anywhere in the world. For Members of Congress “to legitimize any of the alternate definitions would break international consensus and undermine anti-discrimination efforts domestically and abroad,” the letter reads.

More importantly, adoption of any alternate definition of antisemitism would undermine efforts to protect Jewish communities, the letter states. The IHRA definition’s clear and succinct examples include several relating to Israel, which have proven to be especially important in recent months.

Its purpose is to inform and not enforce, and it calls for “taking into account the overall context” of the situation. It does not punish speech, even antisemitic speech. Instead, it serves to help lawmakers and others determine when conduct is based on antisemitic bias.

Organizations joining JFNA include: American Israel Public Affairs Committee, American Jewish Committee, American Zionist Movement, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Combat Antisemitism Movement, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Elie Wiesel Foundation, Hadassah - The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Israeli American Council, Jewish Federations of North America, MERCAZ USA, National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, Rabbinical Assembly, The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Zioness

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 10 www.goodfriendelectric.com Toms River 265 Route 37 East 732.349.4100 Lakewood 121 E. County Line Rd. 732.942.3100 Brick 534 Brick Boulevard 732.920.7100 Wall 1245 18th Avenue 732.456.5100 Lacey 403 Route 9 609.693.8100 Manahawkin 325 Route 72 East 609.978.9100 UEZ 1/2 Sales Tax NEW LOCATION 0424 Master Jeweler - Work done on premises The Jewelry Link Family Owned and Operated. Friendship Mall 502 New Friendship Rd., Howell, NJ 07731 We buy Gold, Silver & Platinum including Flatware, Coins & Dental Gold. www.jewelrylinknj.com � Custom Designs � Insurance Appraisals � Insurance Replacements � Expert Watch Repair � Jewelry Restoration � Mined & Lab Diamonds 732-370-4840 Valid for most watches. Cannot be combined with other o ers. You must present the coupon. Limit 2 coupons expires 4/30/24 Watch Batteries $699 Turn your old jewelry into CASH!
www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 11

These Taglit-Birthright Alumni Rushed to Israel to Volunteer after October 7 Atrocities

With most flights canceled and an active war still raging, Diaspora Jews from around the world showed their love by working fields – and sometimes just lending an attentive ear.

As soon as they heard about the October 7 Hamas-led massacre in southern Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza, many Jews all over the world had the same reaction. “What,” they wondered, “can we do to help?”

Those who could donated to the war effort or packed boxes to ship to the soldiers. Others searched desperately for flights to Israel – the vast majority of airlines canceled all flights to and from the Jewish state as soon as the war broke out – so they could help on the ground in the country’s time of need.

Birthright Israel, known as Taglit in Hebrew, was one of the first organizations to offer volunteer opportunities after the war began, with a group of volunteers arriving in November of 2023. So far, over 1,000 Birthright volunteers have come to Israel, paying for their own flights and mainly working in agriculture.

Interestingly, the vast majority had taken part in one of Birthright’s 10-day Israel programs for young adults in the past. And apparently, that short sojourn in the Holy Land had created an unbreakable, emotional bond between the participants and the country. When we asked a number of volunteers, graduates of the Birthright program, why they had left their comfortable lives to pick strawberries and pack crates, they all said more or less the same thing: “Israel needed me. It wasn’t a choice. I had to come.”

Amanda Cetina didn’t sleep for 48 hours after hearing about the Hamas terror onslaught on October 7, which saw 1,200 people brutally murdered in southern Israel, most of them civilians, and another 253 abducted to the Gaza Strip. Soon afterward, Cetina learned that her childhood friend, tank commander Omer Neutra, had been taken hostage by Hamas terrorists. The graduate of two different types of Taglit programs, during which she strengthened her bond with Israel, Cetina was part of a volunteer group that shook grapefruit off the trees and proudly collected 20 tons of produce for the farm.

Hanna Taxy took a Birthright trip when she was 21, forging, she says, a relationship with Israel that otherwise might never have happened. Now, at the age

of 36, she couldn’t stop crying when she heard about October 7. She was so distraught that she couldn’t work, she couldn’t focus on anything. And every time she saw a picture of tiny Kfir Bibas, captured by terrorists, she saw the face of her own baby. As soon as possible, leaving the baby with her husband, Hanna rushed to volunteer in Israel.

Natalia Gutman made the exhausting 24-hour journey from Uruguay to Israel to pick oranges. She and her volunteer group prepared sandwiches for men and women at the front line, visited wounded soldiers and propped cucumbers up in the fields. “I don’t know how much we really helped, but all of the Israelis we met said that just the fact that we had come had improved their morale,” she told us.

What was it about the classic Birthright program that had made an impact so strong that its graduates were among the very first volunteers to arrive in Israel?

The standard Birthright trip consists of up to 40 young Jews from the ages of 18 to 26, who are led by both a tour guide and at least one educator specially trained to accompany the groups. Eight Israelis –soldiers or post-army – join the group for five days, a great addition to the trip that results in long-lasting friendships and a very special connection to Israel.

Since its foundation in 1999, Birthright has brought 850,000 young Jews from around the world to the Holy Land, with the aim of connecting participants with their Jewish identity, Israel, and the Jewish community in general.

While many of the participants join just to “win” a free trip to Israel, says Gia Arnstein, Birthright’s vice president of education, “that’s just the starting point.” During their stay, she says, they step out of their comfort zone into a safe, controlled environment where they can express themselves and experience a sense of belonging. In fact, while waiting in line at the airport in New York prior to their flight to Israel, before the trip even starts, several feel an unusual sense of unity and protection. For some Birthright participants, this is the very first time they have ever been surrounded by other Jews.

As far as we know, not only was Birthright one of the first organizations to bring volunteers to Israel after October 7, but it was also the first to reinstate its program during the war. Thus, Birthright brought two groups to Israel in January. The group we joined for a few days consisted of 18 young people mainly in their early 20s, from Canada, New York, Ohio and Minnesota, who made a conscious decision to take the trip despite the ongoing war (others who had registered for the trip last year backed out with the full consent of the trips’ organizers).

Much of the trip followed the regular Birthright program, with a climb up the snake path at Masada, snorkeling along the coral at the Almog Nature Reserve in Eilat, a sunrise hike amid the Eilat mountains for a look at the borders with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, strolls and eats at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market, a swim in the Dead Sea, a jeep trip in the desert and a tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center.

But the logistics for this trip were complicated, to say the least. Ordinarily, the group would head north, to the settlements and sites on the Lebanese and

Syrian borders, pay a visit to historic, picturesque Safed and explore ancient archeological sites. They would visit the settlements in the western Negev – next to and near the border with Gaza where the hellish invasion took place.

No, on this wartime trip, the youths spent several hours in Hostage Square, talking to families, listening to the songs and participating in solidarity circles. They visited Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, hearing from the doctors who are treating returning hostages there. In these trying times, dancing with women at the Western Wall and reciting the Shema Yisrael prayer there with soldiers will, one expects, doubly reinforce their bond with Israel.

One day, the group picked peppers, spinach and tomatoes at the Bein Ha’shitin Farm in the Arava Desert, which was direly in need of field workers. Not only did the group find it great fun, but they ended the day knowing they had done something truly worthwhile for Israel.

Yael Goodman, founder of the running tour company RUN JLM, spoke with the group one evening and described what it felt like for Israelis as we learned the horrors of October 7. She explained about nearly 200,000 displaced Israelis who

Continued on page 13

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 12
Volunteers pick pomegranates at Moshav Zrahia. (Omer Melamed) Birthright trippers visit the Western Wall on a Friday evening. (Birthright Israel) Hanna Taxy rushed to Israel to volunteer after hearing about the October 7 massacre. (Birthright Israel) Birthright Israel alumni volunteers at the Bein Hashitin farm (Birthright Israel) Birthright trippers visit Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel in Petah Tivka, where returned hostages are being treated. (Yonit Schiller)

Continued from page 12

had lost their homes and livelihoods or whose towns and settlements were under constant shelling by Hezbollah terrorists. Anxious to find a way to help the evacuees, Goodman began a special initiative in which she went to the hotels and hostels where whole families are living in little rooms and encouraged them to come for a run. She bought them running shoes and special running skirts suitable for religious women. Running in a place where you know you are safe, says Goodman, can be fantastic therapy for people who have lost everything. So

far, Goodman, and other volunteers she has recruited, have run with over 100 displaced people.

Birthright programs center around fostering the participants’ Jewish identity. Asking the group to rank a large number of Jewish values was one subtle method of getting them to talk about being Jewish, an activity that ended in passionate (but respectful) arguments that continued throughout the trip. “Being Jewish today” was the theme of discussions dealing with the newly burning issue of antisemitism in their home cities and states – talking about what they brought with them from home, what they will have to cope with when they return, and what it means to be Jewish in the world today.

At the tail end of the trip, participants talked about their personal highlights and about how much they loved “chilling” with the Israelis who accompanied them during part of the tour. Comments ranged from, “Everyone has a place here,” to “I got a sense of belonging,” and from, “I wasn’t really connected to the past. Now I want to learn more,” to “This was only my first trip here — I will be back!”

Aviva Bar-Am is the author of seven English-language guides to Israel. Shmuel Bar-Am is a licensed tour guide who provides private, customized tours in Israel for individuals, families and small groups.



Rabbi Stephen D. Gold will conduct the Seder Menu provided by The Pickled Herring of Englishtown

Menu includes

Gefilte Fish, Chopped Liver, Charoses

Matzoh Ball Soup

Health Salad and Cucumber Salad

Roast Chicken, Brisket, Matzoh Lasagna

Broccoli Souffle, Potato Kugel, Roasted Red Potatoes, Tzimmes

Fresh Fruit Platters and Cakes

Wine, Juice, Coffee & Tea


Adults; $50 each Children under 13 $25 each Children under 5 no charge


Calling Lois Pollinger at 732-477-2585

Checks for payment to be mailed to:

Beth Am Shalom

Second Night Seder in memo

1235 Route 70, Lakewood New Jersey 08701

The Jewish Federation of Ocean County wishes you a very happy Passover. Passover begins on Monday Night, April 22.
www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 13 Like us at: www.facebook.com/jewishocean
Volunteer Natalia Gutman made the exhausting 24-hour journey from Uruguay to Israel to help after the October 7 massacre. (Shmuel Bar-Am) A Birthright volunteer picks strawberries at the Kadima farm in Israel as the war in Gaza rages on. (Birthright Israel) Birthright trippers pose near Hadera. (Birthright Israel) Birthright Israel alumni flex as they volunteer at the Bein Ha’shitin farm. (Birthright Israel) Birthright trippers enjoy a celebratory moment. (Birthright Israel)

One Hostage’s Testimony: Being Held by Hamas

In released hostage Aviva Siegel's first full interview on Israeli TV since her release, she recounted more details of sexual assault of young female hostages, who were forced to dress in tiny clothes, watched as they showered, and beaten with sticks by armed Hamas militants. She also tells of her heartbreaking separation from her husband, Keith Siegel, who is still held hostage by Hamas.

Siegel recalled hiding food and when another hostage told her that a piece of bread she had hidden would soon be covered in mold, Siegel replied, “don’t

worry, I’ll eat it with the mold.” Siegel recounted how the terrorists would dress up the younger female hostages in tiny clothes, making them into “dolls – marionettes,” at whom the armed guards “just sat and stared.” One woman was given such tight-fitting clothes that she couldn’t bend her knee.

Siegel said that when “three particularly young girls” took up the guards’ offer of a shower, the condition was that they would bathe together, with an open door and the terrorists watching. Siegel said that in another instance, a young female hostage was ordered at gunpoint to accompany a guard, who then pulled her by the hair, tossing her to the floor, as he and three other terrorists beat her with a

stick. “They hit her entire body, and she didn’t say a word,” Siegel said. “When she returned and I asked ‘how did you not scream?’ she said, ‘I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction [of knowing] that they hurt me.’”

Siegel said the guards were not shy about how much they enjoyed tormenting the hostages, frequently pointing guns at them and threatening to shoot before bursting into laughter. One time, when Keith spoke despite a guard demanding silence, a terrorist threatened him with a gun and dangled handcuffs in his face, “kind of in jest, but irritated,” Siegel said. “After that, Keith entered a dayslong depression. He barely communicated; we would cry covertly.”

After 50 days, Hamas terrorists covered the Siegel couple’s eyes and took them to a new location, where they separated Keith from Aviva, who, unbeknownst to her, was slated to be released the following day. We need to do everything we can to bring Keith Siegel, and all the other hostages, home NOW!

(Editor’s Note: Keith Siegel is one of the six Americans still being held as of March 14. Also, window signs and blue ribbons showing support for the hostages are available through the Jewish Federation of Ocean County Office. Call 732-363-0530.)

We continue our prayers for the situation in Israel. May those who are still captive as hostages be released soon and safely. May those who are wounded have a complete recovery. May the memories of those who died be forever a blessing. May all have peace.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 14 THREE WAYS TO DONATE Help support our local Holocaust Survivors in Ocean County live at home with dignity. We now have two matching grants that provide over 4 million dollars in home health care services, glasses, dental care, hearing aids... Donate online at www.jewishoceancounty.org Make a monthly gift to support these critical services. Call the Federation office at 732-363-0530 and talk with our staff about donation options. OUR MATCH REQUIREMENT $135,000
www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 15
www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 16

2024 Sponsorship Opportunities & Benefits

Gold Sponsor: $5,000 – Includes tickets for events and a full page ad in Ocean JPages

Silver Sponsor: $2,750 – Includes tickets for events and a half page ad in Ocean JPages

Bronze Sponsor: $1,500 – Includes tickets for events and a quarter page ad in Ocean JPages

Patron Sponsor: $1,000 – Includes tickets for events and name listing in Ocean JPages

All sponsorship levels are listed in multiple issues of Jewish Journal and featured on our website, in community emails and social media

Sponsor Level:    Gold@$1800   Silver@$1000   Bronze@$540   Patron@$360 (Gold, Silver and Bronze Sponsors, please email camera-ready logo to sharron@ocjf.org)

Full Series Discount Sponsor Level:    Gold@$5000   Silver@$2750   Bronze@$1500   Patron@$1000 (Gold, Silver and Bronze Sponsors, please email camera-ready logo to sharron@ocjf.org)

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 17
Send form to: Jewish Federation of Ocean County · 1235A Route 70 · Lakewood, NJ 08701 · 732-363-0530

Jewish Organizations' Letter to 118th Congress for Jewish Disability Advocacy Day 2024

(Editor’s Note: Consult the Jewish Federation of Ocean County’s website for the video – www.jewishoceancounty. org/jvu.)

February 28, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC – In celebration of Jewish Disability Advocacy Day 2024, the Union for Reform Judaism, Jewish Federations of North America, Network

of Jewish Human Services Agencies, and 107 additional national, state, and local Jewish organizations sent the following letter to the 118th Congress:

Dear Members of the 118th Congress,

Representing the collective voice of 110 undersigned Jewish national, state, and local organizations, we thank you for the bipartisan strides achieved so far in the 118th Congress for people with disabilities. As the second session of the 118th Congress begins, we urge you to continue to prioritize policies that promote inclusion and accessibility and empower people with disabilities to lead lives of greater independence and economic stability.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 61 million adults in the United States – one in four – have a disability. Every February, the Jewish community comes together for Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) to raise awareness and foster acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities and mental health conditions and to advocate for policies that promote independence and inclusion.

Jewish text commands us, "You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind" (Leviticus 19:14) and "Do not separate yourself from the community" (Pirkei Avot 2:5). Stumbling blocks come in many forms: unequal access or subpar educational and employment opportunities, lack of accessible housing and transportation, inability to access health care, reduced opportunities for community involvement and independent living, discrimination, and stigma. These teachings remind us that there is still much work to be done to reach full inclusion for all people in our society.

We are grateful for Congress' support of prior JDAD priorities, including passing the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, extending the Medicaid Money Follows the Person program, and increasing funding for the Social Security Administration to improve timely processing of disability benefit claims. Additionally, we thank you for legislation already introduced in this Congress, including the IDEA Full Funding Act and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Savings Penalty Elimination Act.

We now urge you to continue this progress by prioritizing:


People with disabilities are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as those without disabilities due to educational and employment opportunities that significantly limit their earning potential, while outdated safety net policies trap many people with disabilities in poverty. Further, People of Color, particularly African Americans, are more likely to have a disability and the difficulties they experience in living with a disability are compounded by higher rates of economic insecurity due to disparities in economic opportunity. We urge you to promote bipartisan opportunities for economic independence by supporting the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act that would raise the asset limit for the 7.6 million individuals on SSI for the first time in 34 years and index these limits to

inflation moving forward. The bill would ensure that low-income people with disabilities and older adults are able to retain more in savings for emergencies without jeopardizing their benefits.


To increase opportunities for individuals with disabilities to live in the community, rather than in costly institutions, we urge you to expand upon existing programs that promote the ability of people with disabilities to live more independently with appropriate support, including investing in additional resources and training for direct care workers.


In the three decades since enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life has proven to be a vital tool in removing barriers and improving access to employment, school, transportation, community spaces, and more, but there is much left to be done. We look to our elected officials to protect the ADA in all public spaces and enact further legislation that will break down the remaining barriers to promote full, equitable access.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) established that all children with disabilities have a federally protected right to a free, appropriate public education tailored to their individual needs in the least restrictive environment possible. Even as schools are required to fulfill the IDEA mandate, special education programs remain severely underfunded. We urge Congress to fulfill its original promise to children with disabilities and fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Inspired by our tradition, we join across the Jewish community on JDAD to ask that the 118th Congress commit to passing bipartisan legislation that addresses the needs of people with disabilities, empowering them to achieve greater economic security and independence. Thank you for your consideration.


Union for Reform Judaism

Jewish Federations of North America Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies

Continued on page 19

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 18
FedBeat Updates

Letter to 118th Congress

Continued from page 18

National Organizations

Accessibility Accelerator, ADL, American Conference of Cantors, Avodah, B'nai B'rith International, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Elluminate, Israel ParaSport Center, J Street, Jewish Changemakers Fellowship, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Jewish Deaf Resource Center, jGirls+ Magazine, National Council of Jewish Women, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, JLA Trust & Services, Jofa - Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, Keshet, Matan, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Men of Reform Judaism, National Association for Temple Administration (NATA), OneTable, Rabbinical Assembly, Ramah Camping Movement, Reconstructing Judaism, RespectAbility, The Shalom Center, Tivnu: Building Justice, Women of Reform Judaism, Yachad

State and Local Organizations

Adath Israel, Merion Station, PA; Baltimore Jewish Council, Baltimore, MD; Bornblum Jewish Community School,

Memphis, TN; Carolina Jews for Justice; Center for Jewish Philanthropy of Greater Phoenix, AZ; Chabad Chayil, Miami, FL; Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation, Champaign, IL; CJE SeniorLife; Chicago, IL; Congregation Beth Chaim, Princeton Junction, NJ; Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas, CA; Congregation Shalom of San Antonio, TX; Damon Brooks and Associates; ETTA Los Angeles, CA; Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family Service; Friends of AKIM USA, NY, NY; Friendship Circle of Virginia; Gesher Disability Resources, Scottsdale, AZ; IKAR, Los Angeles, CA; Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council; JCRC of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio; Jewish Association for Residential Care (JARC Florida); Jewish Community Relations Council of Broward County; Jewish Community Relations Council of Broward County, Davie FL; Jewish Family & Child Service, Portland, OR; Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston; Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH; Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas; Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans; Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley Allentown, PA; Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida; Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH; Jewish Federation of Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, MI; Jewish

Federation of Eastern CT; Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI; Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Dallas TX; Jewish Federation of Greater Houston; Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ; Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh; Jewish Federation of Greater Portland; Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo; Jewish Federation of Northeastern NY; Jewish Federation of Ocean County, NJ; Jewish Federation of Peoria; Jewish Federation of Reading/ Berks; Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, Cherry Hill, NJ; Jewish Federation of Springfield, IL; Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass, Lexington, KY; Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley; Jewish Federation of West-Central New Jersey; Jewish Social Service Agency, Metro DC; Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Chicago; JewishFlorida. news; JFCS of Greater Philadelphia, PA; Judith Creed Horizons for Achieving Independence, Bryn Mawr, PA; JVS Ca-

reers, Cincinnati, OH; Keshet, Chicago; Libenu, Chicago, IL; Livespecial.com a project of NCJW Cleveland, OH; Maagalim Community Circles West Hills, CA; Makom Shelanu; Congregation, Ft. Worth, TX; Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation; Milestones Autism Resources, Cleveland, OH; Mishkan Chicago, Chicago, IL; North Louisiana Jewish Federation, Shreveport and Monroe, LA; Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County; Peninsula Temple Sholom, Burlingame, CA; Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, New York, NY; San Antonio Jewish Senior Services (SAJSS), San Antonio, TX; Sasone, Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City; Temple B'rith Kodesh, Rochester, NY; The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore; The Branch, Pittsburgh, PA; The Den Collective, Metro DC Area; UJA-Federation of New York; Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, Youngstown, OH

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 19

Rabbi Jules Harlow, Editor of the Prayer Book used in Conservative Synagogues for a Quarter Century, dies at 92

As the director of publications for the Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbi Jules Harlow oversaw the publication of “Sim Shalom” and its various offshoots, including versions for the High Holidays and weekday services, and “Or Hadash,” a commentary on “Sim Shalom.” (Congregation Ramath Orah)

(JTA) – Rabbi Jules Harlow, a liturgist who edited what became the standard prayer book used in North American Conservative synagogues for a quarter century, died on February 12. He was 92.

“Siddur Sim Shalom,” published in 1985 by the United Synagogue, the movement’s congregational arm, and its Rabbinical Assembly, replaced the “Weekday Prayer Book,” which was published in 1961. While still traditional in scope, the new prayer book and its High Holiday companion further refined the language and theology of Judaism’s centrist movement, which has long sought a middle ground between the strict traditionalism of Orthodox Judaism and the liberal innovations of the Reform movement.

The innovations of “Sim Shalom” were modest but significant. It offered “alternatives” for those who were uncomfortable with frequent references to animal sacrifices conducted when the ancient Temple in Jerusalem still stood, and provided optional, personal prayers meant to augment the communal, first-person plural voice of traditional prayer.

Reflecting a growing push for gender egalitarianism in Conservative Judaism – which ordained its first female rabbi the year the prayer book came out – “Sim Shalom” also modified early morning prayers. Those blessings, traditionally meant to be recited by a man, thanked God “for not having made me” a woman, a slave or a non-Jew. The new version adopted a positive, egalitarian formulation of the same idea, with blessings that thanked God for having made the worshiper a free person and a Jew.

In an essay accompanying its publication, Harlow assured readers that the changes “affect a very small portion of the recognized Hebrew texts of Jewish prayer. We are linked to Jews of centuries past who have used the same liturgical formulations in addressing our Creator, in confronting challenges of faith and the spirit and in expressing gratitude and praise.”

Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, who at the time of its publication was vice president of the R.A., said “Sim Shalom” was the first prayer book to “incorporate the creation of the State of Israel as a theological reality and the Holocaust as a moral tragedy.”

“What Jules managed to do is not only produce a book with liturgical beauty and a beauty of design and translation but produce a book which traces the evolution of Conservative Jewish theology,” Kelman told the Long Island Jewish World in 1985.

In 1998, the Rabbinical Assembly released an updated “Sim Shalom” that reflected an even greater shift toward egalitarianism within the movement. The new prayer book, edited by Rabbi Leonard Cahan, included alternatives within the Amidah, the central Jewish prayer, that allowed the prayer leader the option to chant the names of the biblical matriarchs alongside the traditional reference to the patriarchs.

The update also replaced some of the English translations of prayers with “gender-sensitive” language, referring to God as a Sovereign or Guardian instead of a King. Harlow was wary of some of those innovations. In an essay published in the journal Conservative Judaism, he wrote, “Each of us is entitled to formulate his or her personal prayers. My concern is that changes based upon gender language

“Siddur Sim Shalom,” edited by Harlow, was published in 1985 by the United Synagogue and the Rabbinical Assembly. (JTA photo)

referring to God disrupt the integrity of the classic texts of Jewish prayer, drive a wedge between the language of the Bible and the language of the prayerbook, and often misrepresent biblical and rabbinic tradition.”

The Conservative movement has since published two new prayer books – “Siddur Lev Shalem for Shabbat and Festivals,” released in 2016, and “Mahzor Lev Shalem,” a High Holidays prayer book released in 2010.

Born in Sioux City, Iowa, the son of Henry and Lena Lipman Harlow, Harlow studied for the rabbinate at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative Movement’s flagship in New York City. Ordained in 1959, he settled in New


Jorge A Rod Publisher

Betty Rod Managing Editor


York. He joined the staff of the R.A. and served as secretary when it published, under the leadership of Rabbi Gershon Hadas, the “Weekday Prayer Book,” which itself represented what was then considered a contemporary English translation.

As the director of publications for the Rabbinical Assembly, he later oversaw the publication of “Sim Shalom” and its various offshoots, including versions for the High Holidays and weekday services, and “Or Hadash,” a commentary on “Sim Shalom.” He also served as literary editor for “Etz Hayim: A Torah Commentary,” published in 2002, which would become the standard version of the Five Books of Moses found in Conservative pews.

In addition, he served as executive editor of Conservative Judaism, a quarterly published by JTS and the R.A. In 1994, in a bizarre episode reported by the New York Times, a would-be contributor to the journal was so upset that his article had been rejected that he announced plans to meet Harlow and spit in his face.

When the man slipped past security and confronted Harlow at his office, the rabbi gently reminded him that the two had spoken at length about the article and its shortcomings. “But after two hours you said you did not want to speak to me,” the man said. “No,” said Harlow, according to the Times. “I said I did not want to speak to you any more.”

Jewish Journal Editorial Committee of the Jewish Federation of Ocean County

Phone: 732-363-0530.

Views Published Monthly In Cooperation With The Jewish Federation Of Ocean County Email us: lunj@optonline.net Visit us: www.ocjj.net

For advertising, call:

P: (732) 534-5959

F: (732) 987-4677

Email: jfoceditor@ocjf.org

Anise Singer, Chairperson Annabel Lindenbaum


www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 20
County is dedicated to the dissemination of information concerning significant events; social, cultural, and educational, that impact upon the Jewish community of Ocean County
Cruz Production Manager Our Mission:
Jewish Journal of Ocean
Write: P.O. Box 1082 Jackson, NJ 08527 opinions expressed are those of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of The Jewish Journal. The Jewish Journal does not endorse the goods and services advertised in its pages and makes no representation as to the products and services in such advertising.
Shelly Newman Rabbi Robert Rubin

Why Choose Me?

Mobile Convenience: I travel to your location, whether it’s your home, office, hospital, or any other preferred meeting place. No need to worry about commuting; I’ll be there, saving you time and effort.

Trustworthy and Certified: Rest assured, I am a certified notary with a spotless record. Your sensitive documents will be handled with the utmost care, confidentiality, and security.

Flexible Hours: Life doesn’t adhere to a 9-to-5 schedule, and neither do I. I offer flexible hours, including evenings and weekends, to accommodate your needs. Your convenience is my priority.

Wide Range of Services: From real estate documents and loan signings to legal forms and affidavits, I am proficient in handling various types of notarizations. No document is too complex for my expertise.

Business and Individual Clients: Whether you’re a business owner needing regular notary services or an individual with a one-time need, I am here to assist you. Reliable service tailored to your specific requirements.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 21
Ready to experience the ease of a traveling notary service? Don’t hesitate to reach out! Call or text me at 570-954-2256 or email me at jvazques1123@yahoo.com to schedule an appointment. Let me take the hassle out of notarizing your documents. Wherever you are, whenever you need it – I’m just a call away. Your trusted Traveling Notary, committed to making your notarization process seamless and stress-free. Are you in need of a reliable and convenient notary service that fits into your busy schedule? Look no further! I am your dedicated Traveling Notary, bringing professionalism and expertise right to your doorstep. Contact Me Today! 570-954-2256 Attention: Need a Notary? I Come to You!



Jewish Federation of Ocean County accepts a minimum donation of $18 and sends a Tribute card as well as lists your tribute in the Jewish Journal to anyone you may want to acknowledge; a simcha, graduation, an award, new grandchild, starting a new adventure, get well, loss of a loved one, or any other life-altering event. Call the Jewish Federation of Ocean County at 732-363-0530, email sharron@ocjf.org or visit our website www.jewishoceancounty.org/tribute.

A Tribute Card Pack

You can purchase a dozen blank assorted tribute cards to send on your own for a $36 contribution to the Jewish Federation.

Contact Sharron at the Jewish Federation of Ocean County at 732-363- 0530.

JFOC Tributes

February 6 – March 11

In Honor of

Laurie Salka by Ilona

The newest Naparstek baby

In Memory of

David Dearman by Pearl Dearman

Louise Wootton

Jewish Federation of Ocean County is now on Facebook

Like us at: www.facebook.com/jewishocean

PJ Library Photos with Children

Do you have a photo of your child reading or holding a PJ Library book? We would like to publish some of them. We omit the names of children. The names of any adults in the photos could be included or omitted based on the guidance of the adult submitting the photo(s). Email them to JFOCeditor@ocjf.org

It is easy to donate a little each month, to make a big impact!

• Go online to www. jewishoceancounty.org

• Send a check, use your credit card, transfer stock.

• Call the office and talk with our staff.

• Bring in your Tzedakah box. We will count it for you.

• Consider making a monthly gift to support your community.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 22
Here is How You Can Support Our Holocaust Survivors and Seniors Please contribute to:
Friends of JFCS
The Holocaust Survivors’ Special Fund
The Seniors Lunch Program Special Fund Jewish Federation of Ocean County
Route 70, Lakewood, NJ 08701 732-363-0530

Oldest Holocaust Survivor Turns 112 amid Rise in

Rose Girone is the oldest member of a group that numbers 245,000, according to a new survey.

January 23, 2024

At age 112, Holocaust survivor Rose Girone is still, as her daughter puts it, “thumbing her nose at Hitler.”

But the recent rise of antisemitism, fueled by the ongoing war in Gaza, is a frightening reminder that the age-old hatred of Jews lives on, as well, said Girone’s daughter, Reha Bennicasa. “We say, ‘Never again, never again,’” said Bennicasa, 85. “But I don’t think this will ever end. This has been going on since the beginning of time.”

A Polish Jew now living in New York, Girone is believed to be the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor, one of a hardy group that – more than eight decades after the start of World War II – still num-

bers 245,000 people, according to a new demographic survey released on January 23 by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, better known as the Claims Conference. Nearly half the remaining survivors (49%) live in Israel, with 18% more in North America and another 18% in western Europe. Altogether, the survivors are spread across 90 counties with a median age of 86. Most are women.

“These are Jews who were born into a world that wanted to see them murdered,” Greg Schneider, the executive vice president of the Claims Conference, said in a statement. “The data forces us to accept the reality that Holocaust survivors won’t be with us forever, indeed, we have already lost most survivors.” But Girone is still hanging on, her daughter said. “She finds it difficult to talk now,” Bennicasa said. “But that’s a fairly recent thing.”

Girone was born January 13, 1912, in the Polish village of Janów, which then was part of the Russian empire. Then, in 1938, she married a German Jew named Julius Mannheim, and the couple eventually moved to the city of Breslau, which is now Wroclaw, Poland.

“It was an arranged marriage,” Bennicasa said. “She was eight months pregnant when it happened.” By “it,” she means Kristallnacht when the Nazis organized pogroms against Jews and targeted their businesses.

“My father and grandfather were taken to Buchenwald,” Bennicasa said, referring to the Nazi concentration camp. “Back then you could still get people out, and that’s what my mother did. But to get out, my father had to sign over his busi-


ness and pretty much everything he had to the Nazis.”

The family also secured a visa to the only place left that was accepting Jewish refugees – Shanghai – Bennicasa said. The Mannheim family arrived there around the time the Japanese invaded, and soon they and 18,000 other Jewish escapees from Germany found themselves confined to a squalid ghetto.

Home for the young family was a converted washroom under a staircase that frequently flooded. They slept on a mattress infested with roaches and bedbugs.

“I was a kid, so I have some happy memories from that time,” Bennicasa said. “I remember the air raid attacks as fun, because afterwards we’d go outside and play with the hot shrapnel on the street.”

Two years after the war ended, the Mannheim family landed a visa to the U.S. and found a new home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. But the marriage that survived so much fractured in the New World.

“My father was a Jew, but he was also a German, and he could never understand why he was being persecuted,” Bennicasa said. “He fought in World War I for Germany. He was a successful businessman. But when he came here, he had to start over again. Learn a new language. I think it was too much for him.”

Bennicasa’s mother, however, took up knitting in the Shanghai ghetto and parlayed that skill in America into a successful business in Queens. Then, in 1968, she met and married Jack Girone. Together, they moved to the Whitestone section of the New York City borough. “She was a strong lady,” Bennicasa said.

“I was blessed with a great mom who did everything for me.”

Bennicasa said that several years ago she and her mother went back to Wroclaw, a city that was repopulated after the war with Poles who had been expelled from their homes in what is now Ukraine and Belarus.

With the help of a cabdriver and a local priest, Bennicasa said, they found the building where they lived before they fled to China. “It was very exciting,” she said. “I got to see my baby room. And the woman who lives there now was, at first, very cordial. But I think the longer we were there, the more threatened she began to feel that we would try to clear her out of the house.”

Bennicasa, who has a daughter of her own, said that even in these “scary times,” both she and her mother take great satisfaction in having outlived their Nazi persecutors. Both have been collecting claims compensation funded by the German government for decades. “When I was born, Hitler had put out a list of approved first names, and my mother chose Reha from that list,” she said. “I got to name my daughter Gina.”

Corky Siemaszko is a senior reporter for NBC News Digital.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 23
Rose Girone and her daughter, Reha Bennicasa. Courtesy of Reha Bennicasa

Hundreds Come Together for 14th Annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day

From Jewish Federations of North America

February 29, 2024 jewishfederations.org

FedBeat Updates

Nearly 650 people attended Jewish Federations of North America’s annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day on February 28.

The virtual event, co-led by the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, featured updates about the Supplemental Security Income Penalty Elimination Act legislation and panels that ranged in discussion from concerns over accessible voting practices to how Judaism affected their outlook on having a disability.

Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Jewish Federations of North America, kicked off the meeting by emphasizing

the importance of working together to enhance Jewish belonging.

“We are so proud that once again this program is the result of a coalition of a number of organizations from across the country and across the world that have joined in support of Jewish Disability Advocacy Day,” Fingerhut said. “The support of all the partners means so much to us and of course we all understand that the work of advocacy is the work of many, many people and many, many contributions. The more we have, the more effective we’re going to be.”

The event included a video message from U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), lead Senate Republican sponsor of the first bipartisan, bicameral push for passage of the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act, which updates SSI’s asset limits for the first time since the 1980s to ensure individuals with a disability and older adults can prepare themselves for emergencies without putting their benefits at risk.

“Someone who is disabled shouldn’t have to choose between a better job or losing their safety net because of outdated rules,” Cassidy said. “The SSI program hasn’t been updated in nearly 40 years and it punishes Americans with disabili-

ties if they try to save for emergencies or to improve their future, whatever their future might be.”

The legislation, co-led by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), is an “easy fix” for an out-of-date law. “It allows people to work. It allows people to save. It lifts people out of poverty. A trifecta if you will,” said Cassidy, who expressed gratitude to Jewish Federations of North America for their advocacy on the issue.

Rep. Danny Davis (D-Illinois), lead sponsor of the House version of the bill, called the current SSI law “one of the most regressive anti-savings measures in federal law. I applaud your efforts to work with both liberal and conservative organizations to build bipartisan support for this bill. That support lays the foundation for successful enactment of this important legislation,” Davis said.

Many panelists raised concerns over voting accessibility as well as how campaigns communicated with the disabled community. One panelist said that in the last presidential election, they had to wait in line for about 90 minutes in Philadelphia.

Though mail-in ballots are options, there

can still be hurdles to access for people with disabilities, such as having to fill out complex paperwork correctly or risk their application being rejected. The fact that the process is different state by state is another obstacle, one panelist said, adding that uniform rules would make it easier for everyone.

The panel also discussed how voters with neurodivergent disabilities are often overlooked during election season, particularly when receiving candidate platform materials. Often, they are designed in a way that overwhelms those affected by neurodivergence. The panel also offered advice to candidates and campaigns: consider your format and design before sending out materials.

Davis lauded Jewish Disability Advocacy Day for working to improve the lives of people with disabilities. “The most secure have the ability to pay for their voices to be heard, so I applaud your choice to dedicate your time to focus attention on the central nature of disability rights,” Davis said.

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 24 in and www.grunincenter.org go.ocean.edu/planetarium go.ocean.edu/wpe COLLEGE DRIVE TOMS RIVER, NJ WORKFORCE & PROFESSIONAL One of the largest planetariums in New Jersey! Visit our website for complete details & showtimes Get information about our programs and view the catalog online! Check out our new season online!  Career & Job Training  Certificate Programs  Business  Computers  Healthcare  Early Childhood Education  Personal Enrichment Classes  Languages Jewish Federation of Ocean County is now on Facebook Like us at: www.facebook.com/jewishocean

Holocaust Survivors Alert

If you are a Holocaust Survivor who has never applied for compensation, or was turned down previously, there are new funds and guidelines. For more information, you may call the Claims Conference in NY at 646-536-9100 or go to their website:


Click on survivor resources, then click on compensation programs. They have a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section which should be read prior to applying.

Bring Them Home Bracelets

Thank you to the Genesis Foundation that Sent these "Bring Them Home" bracelets. When you put them on, it reminds you to pray for this horrific situation and the families waiting for the return of their loved ones.

Israel just informed 31 families that their loved ones have died. There are approximately 135 hostages still in captivity!

Jewish Federation of Ocean County, a non-profit corporation, publishes The Jewish Journal 12 times a year. Views expressed by columnists, in readers’ letters and in reprinted opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Journal, the Jewish Federation of Ocean County or any agency of the Jewish Federation of Ocean County. Submissions of copy and .jpeg photos may be sent to Editor (jfoceditor@ocjf.org) or mailed to the known office of publication. All copy or photos submitted to The Jewish Journal shall become the property of The Jewish Journal and the Jewish Federation of Ocean County. All submissions of text or photography may be changed and printed at the discretion of the editor without notice to the submitter. The Jewish Journal reserves full discretion to decide what will be published. No material will be accepted which is considered against the best interest of the Jewish community. Acceptance of advertising neither endorses advertisers nor guarantees kashrut.

If you would like to order a bracelet call Judie Singer at 732-364-7854 and make checks payable to Congregation Ahavat Olam 732-719-3500

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 25

changing lives... JEWISH FAMILY AND

Finding Meaning in Life

There is an adage, “Do what makes you happy.” This quote is characteristic of life of advice in the Western world today. From leaders of industry, such as Steve Jobs, to politicians, such as Barack Obama, continue to recite that slogan time and time again. Yet, we must ask ourselves, is it the best way forward? Is it really making people happy? Is it the way to find meaning?

To find meaning in life, you must turn to people to preserve meaning. Those people are thinkers, philosophers, spiritual leaders or even psychologists. Viktor Frankl, psychotherapist and founder of logotheraphy, wrote one of the best-selling and impactful books on how to find meaning in life called Man’s Search for Meaning. His message is profound, yet simple: “Ask not what you want from life, but what life wants from you.” Seek meaning through a task that you are called on to do and that only you can do.

Virtual Speakers Bureau

Federation speaker:

Anti-Semitism: It's Here Today - What We Can Do Israel - Current News

JFCS speaker:

Successful Aging/Are the Golden Years Golden?

Long Distance Grandparenting

Managing Stress in a Stressful World

Reducing Conflict in the Family

The Jewish Family & Children’s Service speakers include: clinical social workers, retired educators, attorneys and business advisors

A Ask about more topics!

For more information contact Rita at 732-363-8010 or jfcs@ocjf org

Meaning serves a number of important functions in human lives (Frankl, 1992). Firstly, meaning provides a purpose for our lives. Secondly, it furnishes values or standards by which to judge our actions. Thirdly, it gives us a sense of control over the events in our life. Lastly, it provides us with self-worth. When people are unable to find meaning for any of these functions or when they lose or outgrow the meanings that they once had, they become distressed. Many emotional problems result from a failure to find meaning in life and can be resolved only through finding something to make life worth living (Frankl, 1992).

Frankl survived Auschwitz and used his time in the concentration camp to obser-

ve how some prisoners were able to mentally and emotionally cope better than others. Although under horrendous circumstances and seemingly with no free will, they were able to remember that they still had one choice that could not be made for them – how they would react to their situation. They decided to use their free will to focus on a task that they were called on to do and that only they could complete. For example, one prisoner had a book that had several unwritten chapters left to finish. He used this as motivation and determination to stay alive. His ability to anticipate a task, no matter how small, made all the difference.

Frankl’s statements were later reinforced by John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” Sometimes our day-to-day routines get us down and distract us from what’s really important. Furthermore, our personal inclinations draw us to what’s pleasurable, not what’s meaningful. We can overcome these issues by thinking about what the people around us need from us, no matter how small. Sustained kindness towards a friend, from helping with chores to being a listening ear, can make all the difference in his/her life, as well as your own.

Man’s Search for Meaning continues to be an all-time best-seller. His message has stood the test of time and is still relevant to us today. Happiness is not derived from how much money or how many possessions you have – it is derived from leading a meaningful life. Bring more meaning into your life by thinking about what life is asking from you. Spend time helping your local community, volunteer for a cause that helps others, or simply just be there for a friend. By keeping these in mind, you’ll be able to better overcome challenges in life and find meaning.

Together with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) and a grant from the State of New Jersey, the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of the Jewish Federation of Ocean County has been providing the sacred obligation of pikuach nefesh (saving a life in jeopardy) to Holocaust Survivors for many years. We realize that unless you are impacted directly, you may not fully appreciate how important this work is. Every dollar you contribute will be matched 25 times!

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 26

CHILDREN'S SERVICE ...making a difference

Passover with PJ Library

This spring around the world, Jewish families just like yours will be simultaneously celebrating Passover and commemorating the Israelites’ journey from slavery to freedom. And although Passover is celebrated at the same time the world over, people in different countries practice different customs and eat different types of foods.

In this virtual Passover journey, discover a few of the many different traditions in cultures all over the globe. Which ones resemble customs you follow in your own home? Which ones would be the most interesting to try?

Syria – Many Syrian Jews take the tradition of symbolically acting out the Exodus a step further by taking some matzah, placing it in something like a backpack, and throwing it over their shoulders. This is followed by a Hebrew verse about leaving the desert in haste.

Uganda – Uganda has a unique take on Passover because of the much more recent freedom finally realized by the Abayudaya, the Jews of Uganda. Judaism was outlawed in Uganda from 1971 to 1979, and the relatively new freedom of worship has meant that Passover celebrations have taken on a new,

and very personal meaning.

Romania – Romanian Jewish families make Passover interactive in a similar way to Syrian Jewish families. At the part of the Haggadah that says, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt” (in Hebrew: Avadim Hayinu), Jews in Romania fill a pillowcase with heavy objects and carry it around the table, with each person at the seder taking a turn. And you thought hiding the afikomen was hard work!

Yemen – Is your favorite symbolic Passover food the egg? The Adeni community, as the Jews from Aden in Yemen are known, traditionally eat eggs as the main dinner course at their seders. These days, the Adenim have more substantial meals, but some families still opt for eggs in a variety of forms, from fried to hard boiled to omelets. Also, instead of a seder plate, Yemenite Jews place their symbolic items directly on the table or in small bowls in front of each person.

Afghanistan and Iran – Although most of the Jewish people of Afghani and Iranian descent are living elsewhere, the Sephardi Jews from the Persian region maintain one quite interesting seder custom. When it comes time for “Dayenu,” the song that

Continued on page 30

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 27
ARE YOU CARING FOR A LOVED ONE? Meetings are virtual on the first Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm. For more information call 732-363-8010. Group Facilitator: Rita Sason, LCSW JOIN US FOR A MONTHLY SUPPORT GROUP MONDAYS 1:00-2:30pm For more information, or to register, contact: JFCS at 732-363-8010 Grief After Loss You Don't Have to Face it Alone &
www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 28




645 Cross Street

Lakewood, NJ 08701

Rabbi Shmuel Naparstek


Email: info@chabadofjackson.com www.ChabadofJackson.com


2001 Church Road

Toms River, NJ 08753

Rabbi Moshe Gourarie


Email: rabbi@chabadtomsriver.com www.chabadtomsriver.com



106 Windeler Road Howell, NJ 07731

Rabbi Cantor David Amar

Rabbi Emeritus Michael Klein


email: CAOReceptionist@cao-nj.org www.cao-nj.org


1488 Old Freehold Road

Toms River, NJ 08753

Rabbi William Gershon

Rabbi Emeritus Richard Hammerman

Cantor Emeritus Daniel Green


Email: info@cbitr.org www.cbitr.org


P.O. Box 789 Brick, NJ 08723

Rabbi Robert B. Rubin

Rabbi Emeritus Dr. Robert E. Fierstien 732-458-4700

Email: templebethorbrick@gmail.com www.templebethorbrick.org



590 Madison Avenue

Lakewood, NJ 08701

Rabbi Shmuel Tendler


Chazan Zelig Freilich


401 Park Ave. Lakewood, NJ 08701

Rabbi Baruch Ber Yoffe



March 22 6:53 PM

March 29 7:00 PM

April 5 7:07 PM

April 12 7:14 PM

April 19 7:21 PM

April 22 7:24 PM

April 23 8:25 PM

April 26 7:28 PM

April 28 7:30 PM

April 29 8:31 PM



1235 State Highway 70 Lakewood, NJ 08701

Rabbi Stephen D. Gold

Cantor Jon Sobel


Email: office@bethamshalom.org www.bethamshalom.org

For Shabbat:

Blessed are You, Ad-nai our G-d, Sovereign of the universe, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the light of Shabbat.

For Passover Nights - 1, 2, 7 and 8


JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER OF LBI 2411 Long Beach Blvd. Spray Beach, NJ 08008

Rabbi Michael Jay 609-492-4090

Email: jccoflbi@gmail.com www.jccoflbi.org

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the light of Holiday.

For Passover Nights - 1 and 2

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and enabled us to reach this moment in time.

Please contribute to:

• Friends of JFCS

• The Holocaust Survivors’ Special Fund

• The Seniors Lunch Program Special Fund

It is easy to donate a little each month, to make a big impact!

• Go online to www. jewishoceancounty.org.

• Send a check, use your credit card, transfer stock.

• Call the office and talk with our staff.

• Bring in your Tzedakah box. We will count it for you.

• Consider making a monthly gift to support your community.

Jewish Federation of Ocean County 1235A Route 70, Lakewood, NJ 08701 732-363-0530

www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 29
Here is How You Can Support Our Holocaust Survivors and Seniors

Setting the Seder Table

Jewish Treats by NJOP njop.org

Before beginning the Seder, it is important to make certain that everything necessary is available. No Seder table is complete without the following:

1) Three Unbroken Matzot (Kosher for Passover) – Many have the custom to use shmura (specially supervised) matzah for the Seders.

2) Wine/Grape Juice (Kosher for Passover) and Wine Glasses – All participants should be given a glass or cup (minimum size of 3.3 ounces) from which to drink the required four cups of Wine/Grape Juice.

3) The Seder Plate – It is traditional to place the following items on a special Seder plate:

Bay'tza / Roasted (hard-boiled) Egg, symbolic of the cycle of life because of its round shape and representative of the Jewish character - the more you boil them, the harder they get. The egg also represents the missing chagiga sacrifice that was offered on Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot.

Z'roa / Shank Bone (of a lamb or the bone of another kosher animal or fowl), representing the Passover lamb offering that we cannot bring today because of the absence of the Temple.

Maror / Bitter Herbs (often horseradish), reminding participants of the bitterness and pain of slavery.

Karpas / Vegetable (usually a piece of celery, parsley or potato), which is dipped in salt water as part of the Seder ritual.

Charoset, a tasty mixture of chopped walnuts, wine, cinnamon and apples, representing the mortar the Jewish slaves used to build Pharaoh's cities (recipes may vary by community).

Chazeret / Bitter Vegetable (like romaine lettuce), which starts out sweet but becomes more bitter the longer it stays in the ground.

4) Salt Water -- The karpas (vegetable) is dipped in salt water as a reminder of the tears of the Jewish slaves. Usually, the salt water is not placed on the Seder Plate, but near it.

5) Elijah's Cup -- This cup, filled with wine, is used to invite Elijah the Prophet, the harbinger of the Messianic age, to come to the Seder, and hopefully, begin our final redemption.

Editor’s Note: This year, the first Seder of Pesach will be celebrated on Monday night, April 22. Also, many now add Miriam’s Cup filled with water to reflect on the legacy of Miriam, sister of Aaron and Moses, by whose merit, according to rabbinic tradition, the Israelites had water in the desert.

Passover with PJ Library

Continued from page 27

lists God’s miracles, stating that each one would have been enough, some Sephardi Jews conjure images of the enslaved Israelites being whipped by actually slinging huge scallions or green onions at each other. Talk about a lively seder!

Gibraltar – Jewish residents of the British territory of Gibraltar on the southern border of Spain often add a little something extra to their charoset, the chunky mixture of fruits and nuts. Kids especially look forward to the charoset part of the seder, which is a nice sweet departure from some of the more bland or bitter symbolic foods. But because this thick spread is meant to resemble the mortar used by

the Jews while enslaved in Egypt, Jewish families in Gibraltar add actual brick dust to the mixture! Good news, though – if you’re using just a little bit of brick dust each year, one brick can last through seders for countless generations.

Turkey – Parsley plays a significant role in most seders, but in Turkish homes, the parsley sprig has an extra role to perform. Each person takes a piece of this sign of spring and recites a verse in Arabic. As each word is said, seder guests bless each other, holding the parsley and wishing every person a blessing for the year.

Poland – Another community that reenacts a portion of the Passover story is located in Góra Kalwaria, Poland, where seder guests act out the crossing of the sea in their dining rooms. Some families

even pour water on the floor to make the experience all the more realistic.

India – Most seders involve welcoming Elijah to the festivities by opening the door and reserving a separate cup of wine on the table. Indian Jews add another symbolic cup, called Pharaoh’s Cup, which wine is then poured out of for all the other glasses. In this way, the power and stubbornness of cold-hearted Pharaoh is diminished.

Ethiopia – Ethiopian Jews have a history not unlike that of the ancient Israelites, and freedoms both old and new are celebrated at the seder. The appropriately titled Operation Moses in 1985 was one of the “exodus” missions that transported thousands of Jews from Sudan to safety in Israel. In fact, the PJ Library book “Yuvi’s Candy Tree” by Lesley Simpson is based on this historical event.

The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 30 Read the Jewish Journal at: www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.netwww.ocjj.netwww.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net www.ocjj.net ד“סב Funded under Title III of the Older Americans Act through a grant by the County of Ocean Office of Senior Services KOSHER MEALS on WHEELS PROGRAM 732-901-6001 ext 1 Delicious Home Delivered Meals For more information, please call For individuals who are 60+ Experiencing life’s challenges MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY SERVICINGLAKEWOOD ANDSELECTAREASINTOMSRIVER 732-534-5959 Advertise in The Jewish Journal
www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 31
www.ocjj.net The Jewish Journal - April 2024 / Adar II – Nisan 5784 32
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.