Jewish Journal - March 2024

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Jewish Journal 732.534.5959

March 2024

Adar I – Adar II 5784

Jewish Federation 732-363-0530

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The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

Particular vs. Universal Values The context I usually have in mind when I describe the Jewish people as a family has to do with why should someone choose to be a part of that family - to embrace being Jewish - today. Yet there is another side to this issue that has become more and more relevant of late.

By Keith Krivitzky, Managing Director Jewish Federation of Ocean County 732.363.0530


or those who read this column, you know I am a big believer that Jews are a family. That’s what sets us apart from other nations or groups…and is integral to our “value proposition” i.e., why should someone want to be part of this particular people? The caring, the support, the values, the shared history/culture/language/food that comes from being part of a family really helps ground and orient an individual member of that family. They belong and feel an integral part of something bigger than themselves alone. The family stories and even feuds not only make family gatherings interesting…they also become part of the DNA of everyone in the family.

There are many issues at play here. We … have a lot to think about. In our society in America today, it is often not particularism which is embraced, but rather some frame of universal values. Universal rights, universal values… ideas which are framed as for the good of all are paramount. We see this on our own Jewish world, with a focus on tikkun olam – repairing the world. The aim, I think, has been aspirational – how do we come together to transcend particular self-interests and uplift all. Yet one result has been that particular identities, other than certain favored labels, are somehow now suspect. The clear example: some of the reactions to Israel’s war against Hamas after October 7. Many in the world have chosen a side, in large part because they have adopted a stance against a “particular” kind of state – the Jewish kind – and ra-

llied around a Palestinian cause that has somehow been coopted into representing a universal kind of values. There is, IMO, a bigger challenge here: many in the Jewish community, especially younger Jews, also see this as a fight between enlightened universal values vs. antiquated particular loyalties. The destruction of Gaza is an affront to humanity, a violation of human rights, and an act of vengeance by a wounded, particular people. The idea of Israel’s right to self-defense doesn’t come into play, nor does Israel’s efforts to target a very particularist actor: Hamas. Short shrift is also given to any idea of responsibility among the Palestinian people for enabling Hamas and the attack on October 7. At best, this conflict stems from the interplay of two competing narratives – however, only one side has been anointed and favored. What is even more problematic is that we have those within our family who have completely discounted the perspective of those they are connected to and have (supposedly) a relationship with in the current conflict. I don’t have a solution to this, other than we need to confront such issues head on, and just want to share a few thoughts: • What does this say about our Jewish education and raising the next genera-

Purim, even this Year – Try to be Happy

By Rabbi Michael S. Jay Jewish Community Center of Long Beach Island, Spray Beach (photo credits: Zlatko Batistich)


ith Purim coming this month, it is good to be reminded that the holiday has four main

Mitzvot: 1) The reading of the Megillah (Mikra Megillah) 2) The festive Purim meal (Seudat Purim) 3) Sending gifts (Mishloach Manot) 4) Gifts to the poor (Matanot la’Evyonim)

A 5th Mitzvah for Purim is simply to be happy and have fun. This will be harder this year because of the attack of October 7, the war in Israel, and the realization that antisemitism is actively rearing its ugly head here and around the world. That said, it is an important time for each of us to be with our people, and for our people to be with each of us. Find a synagogue to hear the Megillah. Dress up in a costume and have a good, if somewhat subdued, time. Purim, and the story of Esther have a unique quality that is non-existent in other Jewish holidays. God is not front and center. In fact, God’s name is absent from the Megillah. Many reasons have been given for this liturgical anomaly. One explanation that resonates with me is that God’s absence highlights the human impact on the story. It is not through awe-inspiring miracles that the Jews of Persia are saved. Instead, redemption comes through the hard work

Let’s all be Partners. Partner with each other. Partner with our tradition. Partner with God. and quick thinking of Mordechai and Esther. The message is twofold. First, we should always have faith, but we should not wait for God to take action for us. Secondly, God seeks partnership with us. God wants (maybe needs) us to take the initiative to sustain ourselves, to protect our people, and to repair this world of ours. By doing so, we add glory to God’s name. An underlying message in the story is that, whether spelled out or not, whether described in majestic words or not, God is always present. God simply wants us to always be actively present as well. If we apply this lesson to our day-to-

tion of Jews? Somehow we have missed a beat and failed in inculcating a sense of belonging among our future generations. • Isn’t it ok to love your family a little bit more than others? Or at least to give them a bit more credence when they share their perspective. Or pain. • By ignoring serious education and understanding of Palestinians in Jewish schools and camps, whether driven by ideology or oversight, we have done a disservice to our own youth. Context matters. • I believe there are multiple truths in the world. This is precisely why having an allegiance and connection to a particular point of view is important and relevant – to orient, guide, and provide values and meaning. Without that, community is difficult. People are either lost or drawn to new types of “universal” frameworks that wind up being judgmental, exclusionary, or problematic in other ways. There are many issues at play here. We, as a particular people in a broader society, have a lot to think about – though I think our value proposition is just as relevant and important as ever.

day lives, we are being taught that we should not wait for someone else to do that which needs to be done. Society is weakened when an individual says or thinks, “Let someone else do it.” We are living in perilous times. Israel and the Jewish people are being attacked physically and ideologically. Indeed, individual and systemic antisemitism are rampant. Mordechai and Esther powerfully showed that they were not waiting for anyone else, not even God, to change the fate of the Jews of Persia. We can each be like them in our own way. Let’s all be Partners. Partner with each other. Partner with our tradition. Partner with God. Chag Purim Sameach! The Jewish Journal is pleased to host a monthly Rabbi Column, rotating among our community’s pulpit rabbis. The views and opinions expressed are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of The Jewish Journal, the Jewish Federation of Ocean County or the author’s Congregation.

The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784


10 Holocaust Memoirs You Should Read These first-person accounts of Jewish survival and resilience during the Holocaust are powerful, educational and moving.

love story with powerful accounts of resistance, grief and the will to keep going.

From My Jewish Learning (Editor’s Note: January 27 was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.)

From Thessaloniki to Auschwitz and Back: Memories of a Survivor from Thessaloniki by Erika Kounio-Amarilio While the Holocaust is often remembered for devastating Ashkenazi communities in Europe, Kounio-Amarilio’s memoir is a reminder of the Sephardic culture destroyed by the Nazis. The author describes the thriving Jewish life that existed in Thessaloniki and takes the reader on her journey of survival that spanned Greece, Germany, Poland and Yugoslavia.


n the years immediately following the Holocaust, many survivors did not speak about the atrocities they experienced at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. But in the 1950s, the publication of two books brought international attention to the horrors of the Holocaust – Elie Wiesel published his semi-autobiographical novel Night in 1958, while the English translation of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl was released in 1952. Frank’s diary has since been translated into more than 70 languages, and both books have been read by millions worldwide.

ting narrative.”

Since then, hundreds of Holocaust survivors have published memoirs about their experiences. Here are 10 lesser-known memoirs that provide an unparalleled look into the diversity of Jewish experiences during the Holocaust.

The Girl in the Green Sweater by Krystyna Chiger and Daniel Paisner Chiger and her family spent more than a year hiding in the sewers of Lvov after most of the city’s 150,000 Jews were deported or murdered by the Nazis. Only seven at the time, Chiger’s recollection of those 14 months spent underground conveys both the evil of the Holocaust and the kindness of non-Jews who helped the family survive.

Love In A World Of Sorrow by Fanya Gottesfeld Heller The author was 18 when the Nazis invaded her hometown in what is now Ukraine. Heller details the agony of struggling to survive as she and her family were hidden in a cramped space by a Ukrainian soldier who was in love with her. Heller’s account is not only harrowing but provides a rare glimpse into the myriad of difficult choices that are made in times of persecution. Monastir Without Jews: Recollections of a Jewish Partisan in Macedonia by Žamila Kolonomos Macedonia’s Jewish community was deported in three transports to Treblinka. Kolonomos is one of just a handful who went into hiding and survived. After escaping from the Nazi deportations, she rose through the ranks of Yugoslavia’s Partisan army and recounts her experience as a Jew in the Yugoslav resistance movement. Memoirs of a Fortunate Jew: An Italian Story by Dan Vittorio Segre Born into a Jewish family that supported fascism in Italy, Segre discovers how quickly he is othered when Italy passed its first round of antisemitic laws in 1938. Segre’s comfortable adolescence ends as he flees to a kibbutz in pre-state Israel. Wiesel himself described Segre’s story and his artful retelling of it as a “captiva-

We Share the Same Sky: A Memoir of Memory & Migration by Rachael Cerrotti While this memoir was written by a 20-something, third-generation Holocaust survivor, Cerrotti tells the story of her grandmother, who survived by winning a lottery run by a Zionist youth group. Cerrotti expertly weaves together her grandmother’s diaries and letters from her family back home, creating a “guidebook on how to live a life empowered by grief.”

When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains by Ariana Neumann While traveling in Prague, Neumann happened upon her father’s name on a memorial for Holocaust victims – despite the fact that he was alive at their home in Venezuela. Her father had evaded all questions about his prior life, and it was only after his death that Neumann finds papers that take her on a journey to uncover the horrors of her family’s history. The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Edith Eger Deported to Auschwitz at 16, Eger struggled with survivor’s guilt for decades following the liberation of the camp and the murder of her parents. After immigrating to the United States and becoming a clinical psychologist, Eger returned to Auschwitz to confront her past and transform her trauma into a tool to help others. Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance by Jack and Rochelle Sutin Jack and Rochelle first met at a dance as adolescents, but the pair did not cross paths again until 1942, when they were hiding from the Nazis in a forest. This memoir weaves together the couple’s

The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith Hahn Beer Beer was a law student in Vienna when she was sent to a labor camp. A Christian friend aided her in taking on a different identity so she could move to Munich. While the war continued, a Nazi officer proposed and the pair married, even after she confessed her true identity. The author uses personal documents, photographs, memories and poignant observations to take the reader with her through the years spent living in fear and hiding in plain sight.

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

Temple Beth Or O nP urim On Purim w elebrate tthe he ssurvival ur vival wee ccelebrate ooff tthe he JJewish ewish ppeople. eople. JJoin oin uuss - M arch 223-24 3-24 March SSee ee ppage age 8 ffor or ddetails. etails.

May all of the hostages being held in Gaza come home safely and soon. Contact us about our upcoming services, programs, events and adult learning opportunities in-person and on Zoom. Call us at 732-458-4700 or email us at Robert Rubin, Rabbi

Dr. Sharon Monter, President


The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

FedBeat Updates How Jewish Communities are Protecting Themselves 100 Days into the Hamas War By Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO Jewish Federations of North America January 12, 2024 (Editor’s Note: This article refers to the 100 Days point since October 7, which was on January 14.)


anuary 14 marks 100 days since Hamas terrorists breached Israel’s borders and embarked on a horrific killing spree, murdering innocents in their beds, raping women, shooting babies, and committing countless other cruel atrocities. In the same period, Jews in North America have been confronted with widespread and frightening antisemitism. Synagogues have been attacked, bomb threats and “swattings” of Jewish institutions have surged, and threats of violence against Jewish people have spiked. Coincidentally, the 100-day mark falls just one day before the two-year anniversary of another event that shook our community, centered on Colleyville, a small town in northern Texas. There, a terrorist took worshipers at Congregation Beth Israel hostage in a horrific 15-hour standoff. Thanks to a quick response from law enforcement and a heroic intervention by Rabbi Charlie CytronWalker – in accordance with the security training he and his congregants had received – all the hostages were rescued. Nevertheless, the day’s dramatic events

lodged themselves in the collective Jewish psyche. The Colleyville attack itself took place just over three years after a White Supremacist massacred 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue building in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, the deadliest antisemitic attack in US history.

Securing our communities is an indispensable component of our overriding mission to build flourishing Jewish communities. While Squirrel Hill is a well-known Jewish neighborhood, the attack on Colleyville showed that a terrorist could strike Jews anywhere, even in small towns with few Jewish residents. We were focused once again on the absolute imperative that every Jewish community must be protected. While the development of professional, community run security programs had begun before the Tree of Life massacre, the initiative to expand this effort to include every Jewish community – and every institution in every Jewish community – began in earnest soon after. The Jewish Federations of North America created LiveSecure, the campaign to

build a professional, community security initiative in every community, with the local Federations serving as the catalysts, champions and hosts of these critical programs. The LiveSecure initiative has empowered Jewish communal buildings to take steps such as hiring security guards, developing close working relationships with local law enforcement, alerting each other to threats, installing cameras, fortifying their doors, enhancing their exterior lighting, and training both clergy and lay people to prevent, defuse, or mitigate violent situations – the same type of training that Rabbi Cytron-Walker credited with teaching him how to save his own life and that of his congregants. Thanks to the generosity of a small number of critical national donors, thousands of local matching donors, and the hard work of our local professionals, every single Jewish Federation is now in some stage of the LiveSecure process, and the number of community security initiatives has already grown from just 25 at the time of the Tree of Life shooting to more than 100 today. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being raised and spent each year to secure our communities. Now, in the aftermath of Hamas’ brutal attacks, with antisemitism on the rise, we are grateful that so much of this work has been completed and are determined to put in place the most comprehensive self-protective measures available to our communities.

While private philanthropy is essential, so is the support of our government. That is why Jewish Federations are advocating for a dramatic but much-needed increase in the amount of United States federal government funds from the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NGSP). This federal funding is available each year from the Department of Homeland Security to protect houses of worship and other nonprofit organizations. We have spoken out vigorously in support of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)’s proposal to increase the NGSP to $1 billion dollars. The United States of America has been the most welcoming nation in history with respect to the protection and safety of the Jewish people. We look forward to the day when we will again be able to feel safe and secure as we publicly and proudly live our Jewish lives in America. Let that day come speedily and in our time. But for now, securing our communities is an indispensable component of our overriding mission to build flourishing Jewish communities – communities that are healthy, safe, caring, welcoming and inclusive, educated and engaged, involved in our broader communities and deeply connected to Israel and to global Jewry. It’s our turn. It’s on our watch. We’re on duty. We’re guardians of the Jewish people – shomrim Yisrael. On this milestone day, we are determined to fulfill that duty.

Federations Bake World's Longest Challah for Shabbat of Love From the Jewish Federations of North America January 23, 2024

In collaboration with Hillel, individuals had the opportunity to submit letters of support to students on college campuses. These letters were sent to campuses across North America, and many shared them with Shabbat of Love Friday night dinner attendees.


ewish Federations of North America (JFNA) recently hosted #ShabbatofLove, with over 30,000 individuals participating across North America and over 230 partner organizations coming together to build more Jewish love, light, and pride in our world over one Shabbat. In partnership with the Orthodox Union, Strauss Bakery, and David’s Cookies, together, we broke the world record for the longest challah. Measuring at 35 feet and 2 inches and weighing in at a remarkable 400 pounds. Thirty volunteers carried it into Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City to share with the community.

We are overwhelmed by the community support of #ShabbatofLove. Several well-known figures, including Julian Edelman, Adam Ray, and Matt Friend, helped reflect on the meaning of Shabbat and

why Shabbat of Love was so needed. The Orthodox Union also featured Shabbat of Love on a billboard in Times Square during the week leading up to January 19.

Jewish Federations of North America encourages everyone who participated in this historic Shabbat to share their photos, stories, and details about their #ShabbatofLove. You can drop a note at or post about how you spread Jewish light and love on social media using the #ShabbatofLove hashtag. We hope that your participation in this event remains a bright memory in the days and months to come.

The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

FedBeat Updates Israel Impact Focus: The LGBTQ+ community From Jewish Federations of North America February 2, 2024


The Jewish Federation of Ocean County mourns the passing of Janice Sambol, a long-time community leader and philanthropist. May her family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

he feelings of isolation, loss, and vulnerability have increased for many in the LGBTQ+ Israeli community since 10/7, and with that comes the need for more additional emergency mental health care and support. Jewish Federations are providing funding to three organizations that offer proper resources to help individuals cope with the loss and devastation post-10/7. Nearly $278,000 of JFNA Federation collective funds, augmented by additional communal support, has been allocated to three LGBTQ+ organizations in Israel.

The Jerusalem Open House is facilitating emergency mental health care, while Israeli Gay Youth is helping vulnerable LGBTQ+ teens and young adults. Ma’avarim is assisting trans and gender diverse individuals. The shifting landscape has also made some LGBTQ+ Israelis uncomfortable in leaving their own homes. That’s why a

portion of the JFNA Federation funding has gone toward the hiring of psychologists and social workers who are helping to assist those people with the trauma, loss, and other challenges they might be facing. Editor’s Note: The funds referenced in this article are from the Jewish Federations of North America and not directly from our local Israel Emergency Campaign.

Jewish Federations Respond to International Court of Justice Ruling From Jewish Federations of North America January 26, 2024


he ruling on January 26 by the International Court of Justice, while deeply flawed, affirms Israel’s right to continue defending itself from ongoing attacks by Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis following the horrific and brutal attacks of October 7, the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. Importantly, it called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. The court, however, should not entertain the absurd and illegitimate claim

that Israel is committing genocide in this defensive war against a terrorist enemy. The court ruling ignores the significant measures that Israel is already taking in compliance with international law to avoid civilian casualties and provide humanitarian aid to the innocent people of Gaza while fighting an enemy that intentionally flouts the rules of war and embeds itself among civilians. On the day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27), we must ensure that the meaning of the term genocide is not perverted or cheapened for political ends. In this war, the only group with genocidal intentions is Hamas.

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The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

Local News Tu Bishvat Seder Held at Beth Am Shalom, Lakewood


arents, families, and members of the synagogue joined Beth Am Shalom's Religious School's Tu Bishvat Seder to learn about the "New Year of the Trees." The principal, Devorah Malamud, spoke about many traditions and about the species of fruits of Israel including grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Our students reminded everyone that if one is tasting any of these fruits (or any new fruit) for the first time this season to remember to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing! During the seder everyone could taste many fruits, strange and sweet, and enjoyed a few laughs playing Tu Bishvat Jeopardy. For more information about the Beth Am Shalom Religious School or the congregation, call 732-363-2800.

Temple Beth Or, Brick, Chanukah Toy Drive


emple Beth Or collected toys for Chanukah to donate to Chai Lifeline whose services meet the unique emotional, social and financial needs of families living with serious illness or loss. Pictured is a representative of the Chai Lifeline accepting the assortment of toys and games collected by Temple Beth Or. New unwrapped items may be brought throughout the year to Chai Lifeline, 5 Airport Road, Lakewood.

From Tots to Bubbies at Miriam’s Seder at Beth Am Shalom, Lakewood


he Women of Beth Am Shalom will be hosting their very popular Miriam’s Seder. Women and girls of all ages are welcome to attend on Thursday, April 18, at 6:00 PM at the synagogue, 1235 Highway 70, Lakewood, as we celebrate women at the yearly Miriam's Seder. Everyone will have a chance to participate by reading, singing, and/or dancing, and will enjoy a delicious kosher meal which will also include kid-friendly food. The price is $36 for Women of Beth Am Shalom members, $40 for non-members, and free for children/teens under 18. Reservations are required by April 12. For information, call Beth Am Shalom at 732-363-2800.

Rabbi William Gershon to Lead Congregation B’nai Israel, Toms River, for Three More Years think about.”

By Mary Ann Wallis


ix years ago, Rabbi William Gershon returned to his Jersey Shore roots to serve as interim rabbi for Congregation B’nai Israel in Toms River while the Board of Directors searched for a new, permanent rabbi. That one-year appointment was extended, then extended again, with a permanent appointment three years ago. Now, with his current contract at CBI soon to expire, CBI’s Board of Directors has extended his “visit” once more. Board President Glenn Jacobs announced that Rabbi Gershon has agreed to stay on for three more years as clerical leader of the Conservative synagogue at 1488 Old Freehold Road. The decision by the Board – and the Rabbi – not only represents continuity for the nearly 75-year-old synagogue, Jacobs said. It is also an opportunity for the CBI community to continue to benefit from Rabbi Gershon’s inspirational and spiritual leadership, which is deeply rooted in scholarship and 36 years of rabbinical experience. “He is obviously a quite intelligent man,” Jacobs said in an interview. “Everyone loves his sermons and programs.”

Beth Am Shalom, Lakewood Religious School Project

Rabbi Gershon grew up in Ocean Township (Wanamassa), where his family belonged to Temple Beth Torah. Upon arriving at CBI, the Rabbi said, he realized that he already had connections to CBI, including a visit to the shul as a teenager for a USY dance. As he met congregants, he said, he identified more connections. And today, he is the one connecting others to the shul.

he BAS Religious School students designed and personalized their own journals to express feelings of gratitude. They were asked to reflect: As we enter Shabbat together, what are you feeling especially grateful for in your life right now? How do you like to say "thank you" in these moments, even without words?

“He has performed some life-cycle functions that people have joined because of his performance,” said Penny Leifer, vice-president for membership at CBI, in an interview. “I think if people came, they would really be enthused because he gives such a dynamic sermon,” Leifer said, adding, “He gives you something to


Rabbi Gershon had a distinguished career before arriving at CBI in 2018. He is a past president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international organization of Conservative/Masorti rabbis and has served on the boards or advisory leadership committees of many major Jewish organizations, including National Council of AIPAC, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. He was honored by the State of Israel Bonds with the Israel Freedom Award, the UJA Rabbinic Cabinet with the Rabbinic Leadership Award, and the Solomon Schechter Award in Family Education.

I’m honored and privileged to be the rabbi of B’naia Israel. ~ Rabbi Gershon An honors graduate of the Joint Program of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, he also earned a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies and received his Rabbinic Ordination and, later, an Honorary Doctorate from JTS. He previously led congregations in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Southfield, Michigan; and Dallas, Texas. Besides his decades of study and rabbinical experience, Rabbi Gershon, who is turning 65, has three grown children and a 1-year-old grandson. “I’m honored and privileged to be the rabbi of B’nai Israel,” Rabbi Gershon said in a recent interview. He acknowledged that the synagogue, like so many other religious institutions, faces challenges related to growth, demographics and finances. “I am looking forward to building upon the successes that we’ve had up to this point. I think that we are going to have to look at some new models of thinking about things – doubling down on engaging the congregation we have – and we’re on that path now of including more people and creating an environment where the grassroots members can be empowered to be involved,” he said. “Our people have been very forward thinking,” he added. “There’s a lot of discussion and thinking going on.” Continued on page 9

The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784


Local News Congregation B’nai Israel, Toms River, to Honor Cantor Daniel Green for His 50 Years of Service truction with Kitah Vav, the sixth grade.

By Frances Kirschner Frantasy Enterprises, Lakewood


ongregation B’nai Israel, located at 1488 Old Freehold Road, Toms River, is hosting a gala event and dessert reception on April 7, 1:00 to 4:00 PM, to honor Cantor Daniel Green for his 50 years of continuing and devoted service to the congregation. The event will include tribute speeches, musical presentations, and recollections. The cost is $18 per person. Cantor Green, who is now the Cantor Emeritus of CBI, came to B’nai Israel as its Cantor in 1973 and served until his retirement in 2008. During those 35 years at B’nai Israel, he prepared 670 boys and girls for their Bar and Bat Mitzvah. Of special note was his development of the Year-In-Advance Bar & Bat Mitzvah ceremony. He also developed a music enrichment program for all classes from nursery school through fifth grade of Talmud Torah, as well as more intensive ins-

His accomplishments also included working with the B'nai Israel Choir, made up of men, women, and teen volunteers. The choir, under his direction, sang in 2-part to 4-part harmony at services on the High Holy Days and on special occasions. A second musical group, the Junior Zamarim, "a friendly singing club" for boys and girls, presented cantatas and sang upbeat songs on Shabbat, festivals, and community events. Cantor Green also instructed adults in the chanting of Torah portions, Haftarot, and various prayers. He produced many major programs and concerts of Jewish music, which attracted large audiences from a wide area. Although he has retired, Cantor Green and his wife Ruth, also a retired cantor, have remained part of the Toms River Jewish community, volunteering for the congregation by davening religious services and chanting from the Torah whenever they are needed. In addition, Cantor Green serves as archivist of the congregation's cemetery. Cantor Green earned his B.A. degree in music and education at Queens College. He studied Jewish prayer and music at what is now the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where in 1965 he was ordained as Cantor and earned the Bachelor of Sacred Music

degree. Before coming to Toms River, he served as the cantor at synagogues in Natick, Massachusetts and New York City. He is the recipient of two honorary Doctor of Music degrees and numerous awards during his years of service. Cantor Green is a member of both the Cantors Assembly and the American Conference of Cantors and served three terms as chairman of the Cantors Assembly NJ Region. For decades he has participated with the New Jersey Cantors Concert Ensemble, performing in hundreds of concerts all over New Jersey and beyond. He was also a member of the faculty for 21 years at Solomon Schechter Academy in Howell.

Green also volunteered for many years with the Ocean County Transportation Advisory Board and the Central Jersey Rail Coalition.

Cantor Green also volunteers outside the Jewish world. He is the corresponding secretary and mapper for the Jackson Pathfinders, an environmental group that maintains nature trails. He serves with Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey by transporting elderly patients to medical appointments. As a longtime advocate for public transportation, Cantor

To make reservations, call B’nai Israel at 732-349-1244.

Born and raised in New York City, Cantor Green has three grown children from his marriage to his late wife, Evelyn. Cantor Ruth Green and Cantor Daniel Green are celebrating his 50 years with B’nai Israel and their own 30 years of marriage.

Tu B’Shevat Hadassah Luncheon because of assorted winter illnesses. We enjoyed nuts and raisins symbolic of the holiday at our table while waiting for lunch. Tony’s freshly baked pizza was exquisite, especially the vegetable variety, again befitting the holiday. Salad and ice cream cake were also on the menu, certain crowd pleasers.

By Ellen Keller


n January 23, two days before the actual Tu B’Shevat holiday, Bat Shalom Hadassah held a luncheon for 31 ladies at The Grille at Westlake. Sadly, several guests had to cancel

Ellen Keller reminded us of the significance of the holiday. Tu B’Shevat is held on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month Shevat, which occurred this year on January 25. The holiday is the Jewish Arbor Day, celebrating trees, plants, and their produce. In Israel, the weather is warmer so that trees are already beginning to bloom. In Israel there is a date palm tree which was grown from a 2000-year-old seed found in King Herod’s fortress on Masada in 1965. Named

after the oldest man in the Bible, Methusalah was grown from that seed by two Israeli scientists and is now 11 feet tall. Six more saplings were also sprouted and named for Biblical figures. One of these, Judith with help from Methusalah, pollinated a tree bearing actual dates!

and Rona Stein. It was fun to see our friends, enjoy lunch, and celebrate Mother Nature, especially after the previous week where we had the first snow in two years. Thanks to Tony and his staff for a lovely afternoon.

We played a trivia game about trees and plants. Do you know what tree is used to make cricket bats? It’s the willow. Do you know the state tree of New Jersey? It’s the red oak. What country has a cedar on its flag? Lebanon! Nobody knew the common name of the tradescantia plant. It’s the Wandering Jew! Five tree trivia enthusiasts won scratch off tickets and two lovely rubber tree plants, grown from cuttings by Gilda Brandman. The winners were: Trudy Prager, Bobbie Cohen, Barbara Silverman, Irene Lorenzo,

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.


The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

Local News Temple Beth Or, Brick Held Tu BiShevat Seder

Purim at Temple Beth Or, Brick

he Temple Beth Or Sisterhood hosted a Tu BiShevat Seder in honor of the Jewish New Year for Trees on February 4. The celebration focused on our connections to God, Nature, the Land of Israel and the Environment and included many fruits, four cups (grape juice), readings, songs and socializing. The Seder was led by Susan and Rabbi Robert Rubin (pictured) and was organized by Sisterhood President Marlene Vogel and her committee. Tu BiShevat is on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, which this year was on Wednesday night-Thursday, January 24-25. For information about future events call 732-458-4700 or email

he community is invited to celebrate Purim with Temple Beth Or on Saturday night, March 23 and Sunday, March 24. On Saturday at 8:30 PM online through Zoom join for the Evening Maariv service and the Reading of the Megillah. On Sunday at 2:00 PM in-person in the gym of St. Thomas Lutheran Church, 135 Salmon Street, Brick, join for the Afternoon Minchah



service and the Reading of the Megillah also with Zoom access. A special Purim reception will follow the Sunday Megil­ lah Reading. Advanced registration is requested. There is no charge. For information, including the Zoom access, contact TBO at 732-458-4700 or

We invite our community members to submit original poetry or short essays (500 words or less) to the Jewish Journal. All submissions are subject to our editorial review, and we do not promise that all will be published. Email your submission to

"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

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The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

Dr. Seuss and the Jews By Saul Jay Singer Jewish Press (2021)


heodor Seuss Geisel – “Dr. Seuss”, considered himself a good friend of the Jewish Community, and was a fighter for the rights of American Jews. Seuss, of German descent, was born in 1904 and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. Seuss was a practicing Lutheran (a major branch of Protestants) who often spoke out in support of equal opportunity for Jews and against discrimination of Jews. Dr. Seuss is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. Many of his children’s books contain serious political themes, some of them concerning Jews. Yertle the Turtle and other stories Three modern fables in rhymes, the collection features tales about Greed (“Yertle the Turtle”), Vanity (“Gertrude McFuzz”), and Pride (“The Big Brag”), with great political importance! "A cautionary tale against fascism and dictators (Seuss later stated that Yertle was meant

Rabbi William Gershon

to serve as a metaphor for Hitler)." The Sneetches and other stories An iconic collection of original stories from Dr. Seuss. "The Sneetches": The Star-Belly Sneetches and the Plain-Belly Sneetches learn to overcome their differences. "In his powerful critique of anti-Semitism, Seuss’ specific use of stars was inspired by the yellow Magen David the Nazis required Jews to wear on their clothing so as to be immediately identifiable as Jews." Seuss’ books have been translated into twenty languages, including Hebrew and Yiddish, which remarkably retain the famous Seussian rhyme scheme and meter of the originals. Seuss wrote several films, including “Your Job in Germany,” a propaganda film about peace in Europe after World War II, and was a highly influential political cartoonist during World War II. In a ceremony at the King David Hotel, Jerusalem in 1969, Theodor Seuss Geisel was awarded the title of “Honorary Jew” by Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, in recognition of his friendship for the Jewish people. Seuss passed away in 1991.

Continued from page 6

One of the challenges included the loss of a full-time cantor last year, though the synagogue has been able to bring in guest cantors and draw on the talents and dedication of retired cantors Daniel and Ruth Green. And the Rabbi has provided his own strong voice during services, booming out prayers and songs with enthusiasm and energy. “I think his sermons are great and I look forward to going on Saturday mornings to see him speak. And his classes are also very good,” Leifer said, adding that she is looking forward to more of them. “I feel it’s great that he’s staying with us,” she said. “I think it shows continuity for us. I think he’s a tremendous asset to not only the synagogue, but to the community in general. When he gets up at any kind of community function and speaks, he clearly makes us very proud.”

Past CBI President Phil Brilliant said bringing Rabbi Gershon onboard was a great decision. "In 2018, we brought Rabbi Gershon back to his roots at the Jersey Shore” from Dallas, he wrote in an email, because “things might be bigger in Texas, but they are better in Toms River.” “Without his experience, knowledge and creativity, I am not sure we would have made it through the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side,” Brilliant wrote. “We are happy he has agreed to remain at CBI as we move towards our 75th year in Toms River next year." Rabbi Gershon agreed that the move back north was a good one. “It very much felt like home and that was something that has been satisfying,” he said.




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Secure Community Network Monthly Update By Michael G. Masters, National Director & CEO Secure Community Network

and our ability to expand to serve more communities to build upon the proactive, protective shield we are building over the Jewish Community in North America.

t the Secure Community Network (SCN), we started the new year focused on the security challenges confronting the community and the critical need to work together to address them. Meeting the moment requires a professional, validated, and coordinated effort – one that is capable of addressing the most complex and dynamic threat environment our community has ever faced in North America.

Today's landscape requires the leveraging of all of our capabilities. This month, we shared our data on 2023, and it showed a dramatic increase in threat incidents and suspicious activity reports, logging 5,404 reports in 2023 – more than doubling 2022’s total of 2,551. Between October 7 and the end of the year alone, we recorded more threat incident and suspicious activity reports than in all of 2022. Working to ensure a coordinated approach to securing our community, the reports logged by SCN were shared with key partners in law enforcement as well as across the community, to include with our partners at ADL and AJC.


Thankfully, in the years leading up to this moment, our community has invested – via SCN and our key partners working in Federations and national partner organizations, such as Hillel – to ensure that just such an apparatus exists. Every day, the team at SCN is working to enhance and strengthen our efforts. To that end, we are proud to share that in January, SCN achieved a milestone with the hiring of our one-hundredth employee. This marks immense growth in our capacity to serve the community

Among a myriad of challenges, two threat pictures stand out. We have seen an unprecedented rise in swatting incidents in the last six months, intensifying in the last two months. In 2023, we recorded 998 incidents of swatting or false bomb threats, up from 115 in 2022, a staggering 768% leap. We are working with communities and law enforcement at

every level to ensure they have the guidance and tools to keep the community safe amidst this growing threat. Our other chief concern is the rising threat of foreign terror, which we have seen as an outgrowth of the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel. Hamas, Iranian proxies, and others have exhibited concerning signs of activity beyond the Middle East in Europe, and we are closely monitoring their activities and movements in partnership with federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Alongside our caution and calls for vigilance and preparation, it is important to remember that our resilience and our

pride as a community make us uniquely Jewish. Amidst these rising threats, we cannot forget what makes us who we are. Leading openly Jewish lives is a powerful way to stand up to hate and violence. Meanwhile, SCN, in concert with our community and law enforcement partners, is hard at work keeping the community safe and secure. Stay safe. Editor’s Note: Jewish Federation of Ocean County is proud to enable the security and resources of both SCN and JFed Security, LLC protecting our community.

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12 The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

In Israel, Jews are United by Homeland but Divided into very Different Groups By Kelsey Jo Starr and David Masci March 8, 2016

se surveyed from both groups say they are absolutely certain in their belief in God, and nearly all surveyed from either group say they do not travel by car, train or bus on the Sabbath, in accordance with Jewish law. However, Datiim – sometimes described as modern Orthodox Jews – are much more integrated in modern Jewish society. For instance, Datiim are more likely than Haredim to say they value career success and world travel. And Dati men are much more likely to serve in the Israeli military than Haredi men. Dati citizens also tend to be active in Israeli politics. A majority among Datiim describe themselves as part of the political right, and fully 71% agree that Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel, significantly more than any other Jewish group. They also are more likely than those in the other three groups to say building Jewish settlements in the West Bank helps Israel’s security.


ew communities, even small ones, are culturally or socially monolithic. That is the case with Israeli Jews: There are only about 6 million Jews living in Israel, but there are major religious, social and political chasms that divide Jews within the borders of this small nation. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that nearly all Israeli Jews self-identify with one of four subgroups: Haredi (“ultra-Orthodox”), Dati (“religious”), Masorti (“traditional”) and Hiloni (“secular”). Beyond differences in religious belief and practice, these groups inhabit largely distinct social worlds characterized by their own lifestyles and politics. Following is a short profile of each of these four major religious groups, based on the ways Israeli Jews in the new survey describe themselves: Haredim are the most religiously devout group in Israel, with 96% saying religion is very important in their lives, compared with 30% of all Israeli Jews. The word “Haredi” literally translates to “trembling” or “fearing God,” and most Haredim live their lives secluded from the rest of society. They have few close friends outside their own group, and they generally oppose intermarriage with other Jewish subgroups. Haredim tend to dress more conservatively, often including large black kippas and shtreimel or fedora hats for men and wigs or other head coverings for women. Haredi men are much more likely to attend religious educational institutions (yeshivas), which also has traditionally exempted

them from the mandatory military requirements that other Israeli citizens face – something that has been a recent topic of controversy in Israeli politics. Fully 83% of Haredim favor keeping these exemptions, but less than half of all other Jewish subgroups agree. Haredim are more ambivalent about the state of Israel than other Jews in some ways because some have long felt there should not have been the establishment of a formal Jewish state before the arrival of the Messiah. For example, Haredim are far less likely than other Israeli Jews to identify as Zionists. Datiim are nearly as religiously devout as the Haredim. About nine-in-ten of tho-

Masortim are the most diverse of the four Jewish groups. They encompass a large middle ground between the two Orthodox groups and secular Jews. About half (51%) say religion is somewhat important in their lives, as opposed to very important (32%) or not too/not at all important (16%). While the three other Jewish groups often have strong opinions on one side or another on many issues relating to religion and public life, Masortim are generally much more divided. For example, while strong majorities of both Haredim and Datiim favor shutting down public transport during the Sabbath and over nine-in-ten Hilonim Jews oppose it, Masorti respondents are split on the issue (44% are in favor and 52% oppose). Masortim also are more likely to have Jewish friends from outside their group than the other three who, for

the most part, socialize with members of their own community. According to surveys conducted over time, Masortim may be declining somewhat as a percentage of Israeli Jews. Hilonim, who tend to be secular in their outlook, are by far the largest Jewish group in Israel, making up roughly half of Israeli Jews. Only 18% are absolutely certain in their belief in God, and 40% do not believe in God at all. Hilonim strongly favor the separation of religion from public life in Israel. For example, they overwhelmingly oppose shutting down public transportation during the Sabbath. Hilonim are the only Jewish group in Israel among whom a majority (59%) say their Israeli identity comes before their Jewish identity. At the same time, overwhelming shares of Hilonim say they are proud to be Jewish and believe a Jewish state is necessary for the survival of the Jewish people. Large majorities of Hilonim say they partake in Jewish rituals, but these include events that could be seen as cultural rather than religious, such as lighting Hanukkah candles or attending a Passover Seder. These views reflect the fact that 83% of Hilonim see being Jewish as a matter of ancestry and culture rather than as a matter of religion. Hilonim also overwhelmingly say that all or most of their close friends are like them (secular), and they are also especially likely to marry within their own group. Editor’s Note: Since the Hamas attack on October 7, there has been an increase in the sense of unity within Israel even as the various groups maintain their respective identities.

SCN Logs Record-High Antisemitic Hate & Violence as Incidents More than Double in 2023 SCN logged a record 5,404 incidents in 2023, with surge after Hamas’ terrorist attacks January 18, 2024 CHICAGO, IL – The Secure Community Network (SCN), the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America, logged a record 5,404 incident reports in 2023, 112% higher than 2022’s total of 2,551. Since the Hamas terrorist attacks of October 7, SCN logged a staggering 2,628 incident reports – more incidents in those three months than in the entirety of 2022. Alongside recorded incidents, SCN has

worked closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement, including the FBI, to refer 1,619 individuals to authorities in 2023 – a 110% increase in referrals from 2022. The record year was capped by an historic December, during which SCN received a record 1,211 incident reports – the largest number of incident reports in a single month that SCN has ever recorded. The December surge includes a wave of nearly 200 swatting incidents and false bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions across the country in a single December weekend. In total, SCN re-

corded 998 swatting incidents and false bomb threats in 2023, a 768% increase from 2022’s total of 115 incidents. “The events of this past year, and particularly that of the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks, have weighed heavily on the unprecedented surge in antisemitic activity and security incidents against the Jewish community across North America,” said SCN National Director & CEO Michael Masters. “As we reflect on a record year of antisemitic hate and violence, we continue to grow and strengthen

our proactive, protective shield over the Jewish community. Our collaboration with law enforcement and Jewish community partners has never been stronger and the resilience of our community has never been more inspiring. By staying vigilant, prepared, and working together, we will empower our community to overcome this unique safety and security challenge and emerge stronger.” In response to this complex and dynamic Continued on page 13

The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784 13

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Honoring Kindertransport Survivors

Holocaust survivors honored by the Israeli President Isaac Herzog and the first lady Michal Herzog, International March of the Living Chair Dr. Shmuel Rosenman and Wendy Moskowitz (Credit: Yossi Zeliger)

International March of the Living Chair Dr.Shmuel Rosenman, President Isaac Herzog, First Lady Michal Herzog (Credit: Yossi Zeliger)

From left to right: George Shefi, Paul Alexander and Walter Bingham at the Kindertransport Memorial at Liverpool Street Station in London (Photo Credit: Sam Churchill)

Henry Moskowitz (Courtesy)

From The International March of the Living

President Isaac Herzog: "The generation of the Holocaust, those who saw with their own eyes the horrors of Nazism, we owe you a debt of gratitude for your resilience and hope. We are here to say clearly to you, dear children of the Kindertransport, we will never forget your heroism. We will never forget your bravery and resilience, and how you rebuilt your lives, and helped build the State of Israel. May the memory of the six million of our sisters and brothers be eternally etched on all our hearts."

The film was produced by International March of the Living, with the support of the Moskowitz family – in memory of Holocaust survivor Henry Moskowitz Z"L and in honor of his wife Rose Moskowitz, and in collaboration with the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, and with the support of EL AL and Leonardo Hotels.

Mark Moskowitz, a member of the International March of the Living Board: "The Moskowitz family is honored to take part in bringing this critically important project to life – documenting the testimonies of three Kindertransport survivors as they retrace their journeys from oppression to freedom. In the wake of October 7 and the subsequent unleashing of rabid worldwide antisemitism, the work of March of the Living, in teaching the lessons of the Holocaust by facilitating Survivors to guide younger generations through their experiences, is more important than ever. The dedication in honor of Henry z"l and Rose Moskowitz is particularly fitting; much like the survivors featured in this documentary, they were able to find hope amidst moments of immense despair in the Shoah and after the war and see a future of optimism and rebuilding for the Jewish people."


n Wednesday, January 24, 2024, President Isaac Herzog and first lady Michal Herzog, in partnership with International March of the Living, hosted a special event ahead of International Holocaust Memorial Day, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. The event brought together Holocaust survivors including those rescued as part of the Kindertransport operation, which was launched 85 years ago following the Kristallnacht Pogrom of 1938. The Kindertransport survivors received awards in recognition of their struggle and resilience as children. This important recognition serves as a form of historical justice to the stories of some 15,000 Jewish child refugees who escaped the horrors of the Holocaust, leaving everything behind, including their families, many of whom they never saw again.

Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, Chairman of the International March of the Living: "We set out to document this journey which came into being because of the worst anti-Jewish pogrom that the Jews of Europe had known in the years leading to the Holocaust, Kristallnacht. And as we embarked, it was in the hours after the terrible pogrom of October 7 which took place in Israel. Shocked by the stories of the survivors about what they experienced 85 years ago, and horrified by the abhorrent stories from Israel, we were reminded that the hatred of the Jews has no expiration date. It changes its form. But its motivation is the same – the annihilation of the Jewish people"

International March of the Living travelled with three survivors of the Kindertransport rescue operation, Walter Bingham (100), George Shefi (92), and Paul Alexander (88), to retrace their journey to safety. The journey took place in the immediate aftermath of the atrocities of October 7. In this special documentary the survivors travelled by train from Germany to the Netherlands, and from there to Britain by boat. Once they arrived in the UK at Harwich, they travelled to London by train, arriving in Liverpool station.

SCN Continued from page 12




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About Secure Community Network, Inc.: The Secure Community Network (SCN),

a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the official safe- Editor’s Note: You can also file an inty and security organization of the Jewish cident report form on the website of the community in North America. Founded Jewish Federation of Ocean County, in 2004 under the auspices of The Jewi-, and the resh Federations of North America and the port goes directly to both SCN and JFed Conference of Presidents of Major Ame- Security. rican Jewish Organizations, SCN serves as the central organization dedicated exclusively to the safety and security of the American Jewish community, working across 146 federations, 50 partner ww nizations, over 300 independent commuw.oc Read the t www.o nities, and other partners in the public, Jewish Journal at: private, nonprofit, and academic sectors. et .ocjj.n SCN is dedicated to ensuring that www et sh organizations, communities, life, and .ocjj.n www culture can not only exist safely and securely, but flourish. Learn more at c w.o ww

threat environment, SCN has worked in coordination with local, state, and federal authorities to respond to these incidents and ensure coordination between law enforcement and the Jewish community across North America, to include providing regular safety and security resources and updates. SCN urges every community to remain vigilant, recommit to preparation, review and enforce existing security protocols, maintain coordination and communication with law enforcement, and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement and SCN’s 24/7 Duty Desk at or by calling 844-SCNDESK.

14 The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

Directly beneath UNRWA’s Gaza Headquarters, IDF Uncovers Top Secret Hamas Data Center Subterranean facility for terror group’s intelligence needs, beneath UN complex in upscale Rimal neighborhood, discovered after interrogations of Palestinian prisoners.

A subterranean Hamas data center underneath UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza City, February 8, 2024 (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

By Emanuel Fabian February 10, 2024 (abridged) GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Beneath the Gaza Strip headquarters of the controversial United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known commonly

as UNRWA, the Hamas terror group hid one of its most significant assets, the Israeli military has revealed.

massacre by Hamas-led terrorists, who killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages in the murderous rampage.

bers of forces, for operations “that require much more research and much more time, and a lot more patience.”

The subterranean data center – complete with an electrical room, industrial battery power banks and living quarters for Hamas terrorists operating the computer servers – was built precisely under the location where Israel would not consider looking initially, let alone target in an airstrike.

Since the allegations became public late last month, UNRWA has seen many of its top donor countries announce funding freezes, leading to concerns that the agency could stop operating in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East within weeks.

There is still a risk to these raids, said the commander of the 401st Armored Brigade, Col. Benny Aharon, while giving a media tour of the tunnel and UN complex, noting that two soldiers under his command had been killed during their operation to reach the Hamas data center – Maj. (res.) Yitzhar Hofman, a commander in the Israeli Air Force’s elite Shaldag unit and Maj. David Shakuri, the deputy commander of the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion – both by sniper fire.

The revelation of the server farm comes amid other accusations of UNRWA collusion with the Gaza-ruling terror group and the entanglement of the UN body that provides welfare and humanitarian services for Palestinian refugees from the 1948 and 1967 wars and their descendants. Israel last month accused 12 staff with the UN Palestinian refugee agency of taking part in the October 7

At the time of the initial ground offensive in Gaza City, the military had not found or known much about the Hamas data center. But new intelligence, primarily emerging from the Shin Bet interrogations of captured terrorists, helped pinpoint where to dig. Col. Nissim Hazan, a senior officer in the 401st Brigade, said the IDF can now carry out raids with much smaller num-

IDF officials believe Hamas used the server farm for intelligence gathering, data processing and communications. Hard Continued on page 30

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The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784 15

16 The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

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18 The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

The Four Mitzvot of Purim

From PJ Library

brew. In addition to the fun traditions surrounding Purim, there are also four commandments or mitzvot – the plural of mitzvah – to fulfill. All of the mitzvot associated with Purim are related to taking care of one another:

urim, like many Jewish holidays, is a celebration of the Jewish people’s redemption from catastrophe. It’s also a noisy, riotous, carnival-like festival, which makes it especially fun for kids! Children and grown-ups alike dress up in costume and get ready to party. The story of Purim – how the Jewish queen of Persia, Esther, saved her people from doom – is told in the Book of Esther, known as the Megillah in He-

Reading the Megillah On Purim, the Megillah is read aloud in synagogues all over the world – and this is one time when no one is discouraged from making noise during the service! In fact, listeners shake their groggers (Yiddish for “noisemakers”) every time they hear the name of the villain of the story, Haman. Many communities also stage funny purimspiels (Yiddish for “plays”) to accompany the Megillah reading.


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Giving Gifts to Friends and Neighbors The second mitzvah is sending gifts, or mishloach manot which is Hebrew for Purim gift baskets. Gifts of food to friends and colleagues ensure that everyone has the means to be happy, further foiling the evil plans of Haman. There are many easy gifts to put in a jar to assemble with your family for your mishloach this year. Don’t forget to add a special gift tag too! Eating a Special Meal In addition to the purimspiel, the costume parade, and baking hamantaschen, many families also enjoy the Seudah, or the Purim feast. Basically, this commandment is to “eat, drink, and be merry.”

Giving Support to Those Who Need Help Giving directly to those experiencing poverty, matanot l’evyonim, is the fourth mitzvah. Giving to others, especially on Purim, ensures that everyone has the means to celebrate during the holiday and also honors Esther and Mordechai’s legacy of saving the Jewish people. Fulfilling the mitzvah of matanot l’evyonim can be as simple as dropping coins into a tzedakah box or making donations of food or clothing to a local pantry or shelter. Purim book recommendations:

The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784 19

Chess Tournament Makes Mates of Arabs, Jews and Druze amid Gaza War In late January, the Israeli Open Championship in Acre brought all of Israel’s diverse sectors together to battle it out on the board, fostering community through love of the game. By Diana Bletter February 10, 2024

who have taken up temporary residence there. “We worry about the players and make sure to take care of them,” she said.

mid the war against Hamas, 132 chess players ranging in age from 9 to 78 competed in the Israeli Open Championship from January 21 through January 29 in Acre, northern Israel, including about 20 international masters and grandmasters, considered the highest ranks in the world of chess.

dition to coaching chess players in Shlomi, a town on the border with Lebanon.

Volkov works at various schools in northern Israel as part of the educational program “Chess in School,” which began in 2016. The program has introduced chess to more than 300 schools around Israel, in the Jewish, Arab and Druze sectors. Volkov says there are thousands of Israeli children now playing chess – a phenomenon that was well underway even before the popular Netflix TV series, “The Queen’s Gambit,” about a female chess player.

In the weeks after the war began on October 7 with the Hamas-led massacre that killed 1,200 people in southern Israel, mostly civilians, and saw 253 more abducted to the Gaza Strip, Shlomi’s residents were evacuated due to sympathy attacks from the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization stationed in southern Lebanon.

Melan Halbi, 10, from Beit Jann in the Galilee, fell in love with chess the first time she played the game, said her father, Walid.732.534.5959 “She found that it suited her character in all respects, whether it’s patience, thinking, or competition,” Halbi said. “For her, it’s more than just a game, it’s a matter of falling in love, and it’s an addiction.”

Since then, Volkov travels to Haifa each week, where she coaches her chess players

During the competition in Acre, Halbi found herself in a match against a man


The nine-day Israeli Chess Federation tournament drew people from all over Israel, including children from the Druze villages of Beit Jann and Peki’in in the Galilee. Despite the war – or maybe because of it – everyone was there to play chess. “Instead of sitting around worrying about the war, it’s therapeutic,” said Avi Cohen, whose son, Israel, the tournament’s youngest competitor, won the eight-and-under Israeli chess tournament in 2022. “Chess is like an escape.” The organizer of the event, Olga Volkov, runs the chess club in nearby Nahariya in ad-

Melan Halbi, standing, watches her peers compete at the Israeli Chess Federation tournament in Acre, January 2024. (Olga Volkov)

Olga Volkov, chairwoman of the Israeli Chess Federation tournament in Acre, January 2024. (Diana Bletter)

more than four times her age. Her coach, Andrei Gurbanov, said that Halbi had a “big advantage during the game,” but her opponent won. Competitors in the tournament play a total of nine games, receiving 90 minutes for 40 moves. After that, each player receives an additional 30 minutes for the game’s duration. Chess has grown in popularity in Israel in recent years, said Gurbanov, who is the vice-chairman of the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA) and the founder of IPCA Israel, which he established in 2022. Continued on page 24

20 The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

Tovah Feldshuh, Debra Messing and more Jewish Stars Perform at First-ever “Shabbat on Broadway” Service

Tovah Feldshuh greets the audience before singing "Mi Sheberach" for "Shabbat on Broadway" at the St. James Theater, January 27, 2024. (Julia Gergely)

By Julia Gergely January 29, 2024 (New York Jewish Week) – 9:00 AM on a Saturday morning might be one of the few times during the week that Times Square isn’t brimming with tourists, theatergoers and commuters. But when you bring in a few dozen Jewish Broadway stars and ask them to perform a Shabbat service inside a Broadway theater, the crowds will come. On Saturday, January 27, the St. James Theater, which most days is home to the Monty Python musical “Spamalot,” hosted “Shabbat on Broadway,” described by producer Henry Tisch as a “non-denominational Shabbat service with a real Broadway twist.” Led by two cantors, and featuring songs and prayers sung by Julie Benko, Adam Pascal, Tovah Feldshuh, Shoshana Bean, Seth Rudetsky and others, the service drew a near-capacity crowd to the 1,700seat theater. “We had this feeling that, in this very dark time in the world and in the Jewish world, we wanted to put together something that really had light to it and would be this beacon and a place to celebrate and to gather together in community,” said Tisch, who produced the Shabbat on Broadway service alongside Amanda Lipitz, who also directed. The service felt “inevitable,” Tisch said. “Of course, there should be a Shabbat on Broadway. Certainly, there have been other gatherings of Jews in the theater world, but as far as we know, this is the first Shabbat service in a Broadway theater.” Tisch and Lipitz began putting together the show just five weeks ago, and the tickets for the service – which were free and open to the public – ran out in just a day, they said. The Shabbat they

chose, January 27, happened to be the perfect day for such an occasion. The Torah portion read on the day, Parshat Beshalach, includes the Song of the Sea, which the Israelites sang as they crossed the Red Sea from Egypt, and is known as “Shabbat Shirah” or “Shabbat of Song.” January 27 also happens to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Underneath a giant, golden Star of David that hung over the stage – a set piece normally used in the “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” scene in “Spamalot” – celebrants interspersed traditional Shabbat prayers and straight musical numbers. Some prayers were sung to the tune of Broadway songs; the service opened with a pre-recorded video of a dozen New York City cantors singing “Hinei Matov” to the tune of “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin,’” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma.” It closed with a group of children singing “Adon Olam” to the tune of “You’ll Be Back,” from “Hamilton.”

It was my favorite Shabbat service I’ve been to. ~ Julie Benko Both prayers were arranged by Cantor Azi Schwartz from Park Avenue Synagogue, who is known for setting Shabbat prayers to modern tunes. However, most of the prayers were sung with traditional melodies. Feldshuh, who most recently played Rosie Brice in “Funny Girl,” sang “Mi Sheberach.” “I’ve spent over 50 years with you,” Feldshuh said on stage, addressing the crowd. “This is my life,” she added, calling the event an “extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime event.” Among other performances, Shoshana Bean, who most recently starred in “Mr. Saturday Night,” sang “Etz Chaim;” Talia Suskauer, who played Elphaba in “Wicked,” sang the Shema; Jackie Hoffman, recently seen in the anthology series “Feud,” read the Amidah, the core prayer of every Jewish worship service and Debra Messing read a prayer for the community. The 90-minute service was led by cantors Jenna Pearsall from Central Synagogue and Mo Glazman from Temple Emanu-El, two of the city’s most prominent Reform synagogues. It also included a sermon by Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR Synagogue in Los Angeles, from her

new book “The Amen Effect: Ancient Wisdom to Mend Our Broken Hearts and World,” which was read by actress Camryn Manheim. “Broadway, growing up, for me was spiritual. It was a huge part of my life. So to mesh my career with a Broadway stage was a full circle moment for me. It was incredible,” Pearsall told the New York Jewish Week after the show. “It’s hard to get clergy involved on a Saturday, but I would love to do something like this again. There seems to be a huge demand for it.” Indeed, a plethora of other prominent New York City clergy, including Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove from Park Avenue Synagogue, Rabbi Angela Buchdahl from Central Synagogue and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum from Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, had their own Shabbat services to lead, but appeared in pre-recorded video segments throughout the service. “The theater is a holy place,” Kleinbaum said in her recording. That idea – that the Broadway stage is a temple, and one influenced largely by Jews – was a throughline in the service both implicitly and explicitly. “There are such current ties and historic ties between the theater community and the Jewish community. The history of the American musical theater is so tied to the contributions of so many Jews, so it felt really important to acknowledge that,” Tisch said. “Also given just how Jewish the theater community is today, it felt important to really provide this space and the sanctuary and celebration.” “What a convergence of temples,” said Broadway singer Adam Kantor (“Rent,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Band’s Visit”), before he sang a mashup of “Oseh

Shalom” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which he said he arranged in the days following October 7. “For a lot of people in this room, a Broadway theater might also have given maybe an escape from certain religious institutions where they were supposed to experience a certain spiritual catharsis but might have instead experienced a certain feeling that they weren’t invited into that space,” he added. “Today you are all invited.” Audience members were pleasantly surprised by how the show balanced the Broadway values of humor and showmanship with the Shabbat values of community and rest. “It was incredible how they were able to balance it. I was wondering going in, ‘Is it going to be Broadway tunes? Is it going to be a service? What is that gonna look like?’” said Nadine, who declined to share her last name. “I felt like I got a little bit of both, which was incredible.” Another attendee, Donna, said she often attends synagogue and also loves Broadway shows. “The convergence of all this as part of what it means to be Jewish in this city was really very beautiful,” she said. Julie Benko, who is currently starring in Barry Manilow’s “Harmony” on Broadway, performed “Tomorrow” from Annie. “This event today was so special,” she told the New York Jewish Week. “I feel like I’ve never been in a space like this where I just felt like our whole community came together in this way, where I felt totally safe and connected, celebrating our community and just being together in a way that wasn’t related to ‘showbiz’ – and yet it still celebrated everything that we love in showbiz.” She added, “It was my favorite Shabbat service I’ve been to.”

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The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784 21

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The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784 23

YOU Made an Impact through the Jewish Federation of Ocean County Jewish Agency for Israel is one of our core partners. As of January, their Fund for Victims of Terror has aided 7,918 people. These are just two examples – From Tragedy to Tenacity: Navigating the Path of Healing and Resilience A Miraculous Survival From Jewish Agency for Israel

Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror (FVOT) and for the support from the global Jewish people.

On the morning of October 7, Oshri Tuito, 27, woke up early at his home in Sderot. He and his father, Eliyahu, enjoy fishing and would often go to Zikim beach together, but that day, Eliyahu felt too tired to join Oshri so Oshri took his fishing gear and drove to Zikim beach by himself. Oshri had barely managed to get his equipment out of the car when all hell broke loose. Sirens started blaring, rockets flew overhead, and terrorists came by boats from the sea, armed with machine guns and antitank missiles.

Father-Daughter Duo Overcoming the Dark Shadows of October 7 From Jewish Federations of North America

Their stories are poignant reminders of the enduring human spirit, a narrative of hope, and extensive strength. Oshri ran to a mobile shelter where others were also taking refuge, but safety was nowhere to be found. The terrorists threw grenades into the shelter, immediately murdering a father and son, and then began shooting with machine guns, taking aim at all who were alive. Oshri raised his hands to shield himself and was hit by a bullet that went through his arm, into his eye socket, down his esophagus and into his stomach. Miraculously, he survived. Oshri lay virtually comatose in the shelter under dead bodies, rousing enough to call for help. He quickly realized no one would come so he made himself stand up and headed to his parked car, deciding to drive to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. Unbelievably, he managed to start driving when he was stopped by a police car. The policemen couldn’t understand how Oshri was alive and able

Oshri in the hospital (Photo: The Jewish Agency) to drive and due to the bullet that pierced his throat, Oshri could barely speak. Understanding the gravity of his situation, the police took Oshri in their car and drove frantically to the hospital. Upon arriving, Oshri lost consciousness and was taken into emergency surgery without any record of his identity. In the meantime, his family in Sderot were crazy with worry for him and fear for themselves. They knew nothing of what had happened and feared the worst. For over 30 hours, the Tuitos were sure Oshri was dead. The following day, on October 8, while terrorists were still in Sderot and after a rocket directly hit the home of Oshri’s sister, Oshri’s father managed to get out of the city and came to Barzilai Medical Center to search for Oshri. Based on the information Eliyahu shared, the hospital was able to identify Oshri, who was still unconscious, as his son. When Eliyahu was told that Oshri was gravely injured but still alive, he was filled with joy. Today, the medical staff cannot believe how quickly Oshri has been recovering after multiple surgeries and seven blood transfusions, but he has a long road ahead of him. The Tuito family and Oshri are grateful to those who helped Oshri survive and for the assistance from The

Tamar Kan, 23, who attended the now notorious Supernova festival, found herself in a deadly and chaotic situation. That day, after the sirens began, Tamar and her boyfriend Ofek took shelter in a cramped space with around 50 others. The sound of continuous gunfire pierced the air as the terrorists got closer and closer and began shooting at the shelter. In a desperate bid to flee, Tamar was struck by a bullet, which caused severe damage to her abdomen and the nerves in her right leg. Ofek, who had been right by her side moments prior, was shot in the chest, and did not survive the attacks. In the wake of the tragedy, Tamar’s father, Yoni Kan, found his world irrevocably altered as he stepped into the role of primary caregiver for Tamar. This new reality for Yoni involves constant support. From Tel HaShomer Hospital’s rehabilitation unit, Yoni looks on as his daughter, a once-vibrant, successful businesswoman and fitness enthusiast, now faces the daunting task of relearning even the simplest of movements. In the midst of this immense physical and psychological challenge, Yoni and Tamar found a ray of hope via the Fund for Victims of Terror (FVOT) grant, which is administered by the Jewish Agency for Israel and financially supported by Jewish Federations of North America. This support not only addresses Tamar’s immediate medical costs, but also extends to modifying Yoni’s home to better suit her altered physical needs. Furthermore,

the FVOT grant will facilitate Tamar’s return to education and support her in regaining independence; it will provide the equipment and services that she needs to reintegrate into Israeli society. This financial assistance enables Tamar to move beyond her physical limitations, and to continue pursuing her aspirations and dreams. "Every moment with her now is about hope and strength. From a world turned upside down, we're building a new normal, where every small step forward is a victory. It's not just about getting through each day; it's about growing stronger, together," said Yoni Kan. Amidst this personal struggle, Yoni’s perspective on the Israeli-Arab conflict is a desire for quiet, a yearning for a break in the relentless cycle of violence. He emphasizes the importance of cherishing life – of making the most of every moment in a world where normalcy can be shattered in an instant. Despite the harrowing ordeal, Yoni remains steadfast in his optimism. He envisions a future where Tamar, though scarred by the tragedy and mourning the loss of her boyfriend, emerges stronger and more resilient. Personal and National Resilience Oshri’s story and Yoni and Tamar’s story are poignant reminders of the enduring human spirit, a narrative of hope, and extensive strength. Their journey, set against the backdrop of a national tragedy, speaks to the unity of a family, a community, and a nation in the face of unimaginable grief. Editor’s Note: Updates from more of our Jewish Federation of Ocean County grantees can be found at https://www.

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.

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Chess Tournament

thout chess right now,” Gurbanov said.

Continued from page 19

Avi Cohen, a chess player with the rank of candidate master, taught chess to his son, Israel, when he was 5 years old. During the coronavirus pandemic, father and son played for hours. But, Cohen said, chess is a “collision between the nature of a child, which is full of energy, and doing something that requires a lot of discipline, a lot of study.”

Melan Halbi playing against Yuri Khokhlov at the Israeli Chess Federation tournament in Acre, January 2024 (Courtesy)

Gurbanov, who was born with one arm, is a three-time winner of the Physically Disabled Chess Association Championship. And now, with so many soldiers wounded during the war, he feels that chess can help them. A few years ago, he helped to establish a chess club in the Beit HaLochem, the soldiers’ rehabilitation center in Haifa. “Playing chess during the war shows that we continue to live,” Gurbanov said. “We don’t talk about the war, we talk about other things.” Many of the chess players at the tournament learned the game from their parents. Gurbanov said his father taught him to play when he was 6 years old; he has been a coach for the last 17 years. Gurbanov is passionate about introdu-

Melan Halbi and her father, Walid, after a game at the Israeli Chess Federation tournament in Acre, January 2024 (Diana Bletter)

Israel Cohen with his father, Avi, before the Israeli Chess Federation tournament in Acre, January 2024 (Diana Bletter)

cing the game to new players. With the help of IPCA Israel, he has opened clubs in many Druze settlements in northern Israel, including Peki’in, Yirka, and Beit Jann. Last year, he organized an international chess championship in Peki’in, attracting players from around the world, including Jordan. There were also tryouts for the national championship in which nearly 100 Druze participants participated. “There is no Druze community wi-

Cohen said that unlike in basketball, where “if you’re leading 20 points, you can win the game,” chess is “cruel. You make one small mistake and you lose,” he said. Cohen thinks his son has talent; he has invested a lot of his time and energy into training him, including working with coach Moshe Rothman, a former champion of Moldova who now lives in Haifa. “It’s a goal to be a chess champion, but you never know what can happen in the future,” Cohen said. Chess is a discipline, he added. “You have to be able to calculate. You have to have a certain mentality.” Research shows that very few children can sit and concentrate for hours, said Cohen, which is what is required in chess. He proudly added that in a game at the tournament, his son Israel played for five hours, from 3 PM until 8 PM. The

Israel Cohen during a game at the Israeli Chess Federation tournament in Acre, January 2024 (Diana Bletter)

game finally ended in a draw. And for parents who want their children to succeed, Cohen said, “You need time, resources and money.” He knows a man in Europe who recently quit his job to help foster his son’s chess career. People need to be able to travel a lot to different tournaments, not only within Israel but abroad. “I think chess teaches you to make decisions on your own,” Cohen said. “It enhances your mind.”

Players compete at the Israeli Chess Federation tournament in Acre, January 2024. (Olga Volkov)



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The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784 25

Who Were the Twelve Tribes of Israel?

Representation of the Hoshen Priestly Breastplate, as a necklace pendant

Symbolic depictions of each of the 12 Biblical Tribes of Israel

By Evelina G. November 21, 2023

The Lion of Judah as a symbol of Jerusalem

Biblical Origins

So while the Torah originally enumerates 12 tribes from each of the 12 sons of Jacob, historically there actually ended up being 13 tribes! The main significance to maintaining the distinct tribes was that the Land of Israel was divided into 12 sections, with each tribe being allotted one portion except for the Tribe of Levi. Those descended from Levi made up the Priestly tribe, and instead of land had jurisdiction over the central Temple, later in Jerusalem.

the center of the Israelites’ worship and culture. The name “Judea” comes from the Tribe of Judah, and from there we get the modern words for Jews and Judaism. Due to the might and significance of the Tribe of Judah it became traditionally associated with a symbol of a roaring lion, representing leadership, strength, and fearlessness. Today the “Lion of Judah” symbol is also the official emblem of the city of Jerusalem, and is a common motif in Jewish art and jewelry.

The other 10 tribes are considered to have been “lost,” and seem to have disappeared from history during conquests of the Land of Israel by Assyrians and Babylonians in antiquity. They are today known as the “Lost Tribes of Israel” or the “Ten Lost Tribes,” and are the subject of fascination and speculation by both Jews and non-Jews alike as to what may have happened to their descendants.

Despite these theories and delineations, the tribal divisions are not nearly as important in Judaism today, and modern Jews generally consider themselves to be one “tribe.” The Biblical Tribes are, however, a significant part of our history and origins, and one way of connecting to our Biblical roots is by honoring and remembering the tribes that once made up the Nation of Israel.

Hoshen Priestly Breastplate






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The distinct tribes making up the nation of Israel were also recognized in Jewish worship in ancient times. The High Priest (Kohen Gadol) wore a special Breastplate in the Tabernacle and the Holy Temple in Jerusalem known as the Hoshen, which according to Biblical instructions was made up of 12 different precious gemstones to represent each of the 12 tribes. This symbolized the tribes’ uniqueness as well as their unity and role in making up the People of Israel. Whi-


While Levites were the important tribe religiously due to their holy priestly functions, the Tribe of Judah gained major historical and cultural significance. It was a powerful tribe that kings of Israel came from, and it controlled Jerusalem,

What happened to the Biblical Tribes, and who are their descendants today? Today’s kohanim (Jews holding a priestly status) and leviim (Levites) are believed to be descendants of the Tribe of Levi. The tribe still holds a unique religious function in Judaism despite the lack of a Temple, with kohanim and leviim holding special, albeit now much more limited, roles in Jewish ritual life. Other modern Jews are usually considered to be part of the Tribe of Judah. The Tribe of Benjamin was absorbed into the Tribe of Judah, likely around the 6th Century BCE.

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Lion of Judah

Traditional Lion of Judah emblem on a ring

Artwork by Marc Chagall representing the Tribe of Levi, on a mezuzah

Some theories regarding modern descendants of some of the “Lost Tribes” include: Some Persian Jews and Indian Telugu Jews claim to be from the Tribe of Ephraim. Ethiopian Jews claim descent from the Tribe of Dan, while Bnei Menashe, a group from India, believes they come from the Tribe of Menasseh. There is a theory that the modern Druze community in Israel are descendants of the Tribe of Zebulun. Some people theorize that the Pashtuns of modern-day Afghanistan are descended from one or more of the lost tribes. The Samaritans, a community that split from mainstream Judaism around the 8th Century BCE, consider themselves to be descendants of the Tribes of Menasseh and Ephraim as well as Levi.

Modern Descendants & Lost Tribes

Curious about the famous Biblical 12 Tribes of Israel? We have your primer on their origins, their significance and symbolism today, and who their modern descendants are!

The Tribes of Israel, or in Hebrew Shivtei Yisrael, were the descendants of the 12 sons of our Biblical patriarch Jacob: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Benjamin, and Joseph, with the tribe of Joseph later split into the tribes of Ephraim and Menasseh named after Joseph’s sons.

le the Hoshen no longer exists as a ritual item due to the destruction of the Temple, it has remained a powerful image in the Jewish artistic imagination.

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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 ( 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.

26 The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784


changing lives...

I’ve Got 99 Problems, Now Let’s Solve Them! By Deborah Sason, Guest Writer Jewish Family & Children’s Service


veryone can agree that life is a difficult balancing act. Work can be stressful, family life and personal relationships can weigh heavily, and there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done that needs to get done. In each of the roles people play daily (employee, friend, mother, wife, etc.), they encounter problems that may cause derailment from the everyday routines, add further stress in life, and generally provoke feelings of grief and unhappiness. Fortunately, there is a way to tackle these issues. By using step-by-step problem-solving techniques, issues can be resolved and life can get back on track.

The Encyclopedia of Psychology identifies 7 Steps for Problem Solving: 1. Identifying the Problem – While seemingly obvious, it is important to pinpoint exactly what the issue is and identify the exact source of the problem at hand.

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. Ask about more topics! For more information contact Rita at 732-363-8010 or

2. Defining the Problem – This step is to elaborate more on the issue and determine what may be the root of it. 3. Organizing Information – After defining the problem, it is necessary to gather and organize all the information available in relation to the specific issue. 4. Forming a Strategy – The next step is to formulate an approach to solve the problem. It is important to be specific about exactly what actions will be taken.

5. Allocating Resources – After strategizing a solution, it is necessary to determine what resources are available to implement the solution. Whether time or money, every solution requires important resources. Allocating these precious resources will become clearer after ranking the priority of the issue. 6. Monitoring Progress – After putting the solution into practice, it is important to check in to see what kind of progress is made. Depending on the problem, it may take only a few hours to see the progress. However, when dealing with most personal relationships, it can take longer to really see the changes and if the solution is effective. 7. Evaluating the Results – This final step is to look at the process of problem solving on the whole and see what worked and what didn’t work. This is the learning part of the process, and lessons from the results of one solution can be applied to future problem-solving moments. It is important to keep in mind that when applying these step-by-step techniques to real world problems, oftentimes the steps will be done out of order, and some steps may be done multiple times until it feels right. Oftentimes, when it comes to personal relationships, more than one solution may be applied. Sometimes the solution can be so simple that the problem will be resolved the very same day it is identified, other times it will take weeks or months to truly assess if the resolution has worked. By using these guidelines, problems will be more clearly addressed, identified, and solved so that life can continue to run back on track.

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!

The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784


...making a difference

Color this Tree

(from the February issue) 27


Grief After Loss You Don't Have to Face it Alone


1:00-2:30pm For more information, or to register, contact: JFCS at 732-363-8010

Coloring Clubs for Adults In many branches of the Ocean County Library there are Coloring Clubs for Adults (which may go by variations of this name) for opportunities to relax, meet new people, socialize and express one’s artistic bent. Call a local branch library for details and schedule.


Meetings are virtual on the first Thursday of the month at 7:30pm. For more information call 732-363-8010. Group Facilitator: Rita Sason, LCSW

28 The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784




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30 The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

Hamas Data Center

“We were shocked to the depths of our souls, that an organization that is meant to be caring for human rights, is cooperating in such a clear and brutal way, without any fears, with a terror group like Hamas,” Aharon said.

Continued from page 14

drives and some of the computers were taken to Israel to be investigated by intelligence authorities before the tunnel system was demolished in a large explosion. Hazan said the IDF knows of several more “strategic” Hamas tunnels in Gaza, that they will reach in time. “We have time, months ahead of us in the war, and one by one we will dismantle them and take away what the enemy is trying to hide, and it hides it in a very sophisticated and cynical way,” he said. The IDF also said that in some of the offices of UNRWA officials, troops found equipment and documents that indicated “that the same offices were also used by Hamas terrorists. There is no doubt that UNRWA staff knew that [Hamas] was digging a massive tunnel beneath them,” Aharon said. “There’s a perimeter wall, a gate, cameras, at the gate they log who comes in and out. Whoever worked at UNRWA knew very well who was coming in, and who they were covering for.” “UNRWA provides cover for Hamas, UNRWA knows exactly what is happening underground, and UNRWA uses its budget to fund some of Hamas’s military capabilities, this is for certain,” he said. At the main building in the UN complex, Aharon led the reporters to UNRWA’s server room, which he said sits directly above the underground Hamas data center, where the reporters had been a short while earlier. “Some of the cables connect down,” he said, showing a line of cables running down to and into the floor, as we stood above the Hamas data center. The IDF said the electrical cables leading from the UN building to the tunnel were providing power to the Hamas infrastructure belowground. The UNRWA server room, unlike the Hamas one, appeared to be mostly empty. One server cabinet was placed outside the room, but it had been stripped of all the computers. “They cleared out all the computers, all the DVRs (digital video recorder for surveillance cameras), cut [most of] the cables, this is the behavior of someone who has something to hide,” Aharon said. “Someone who works at UNRWA, who is supposed to care for human rights, to care for the welfare of the population in Gaza, shouldn’t rush to disconnect all the DVRs, the cameras, cut all the wires and take all the computers. These are the

UNRWA did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a tweet following the publication, the agency’s head Philippe Lazzarini denied any knowledge of the Hamas data center.



Office chairs are stored in a room in a Hamas tunnel, underneath a UNRWA school in Gaza City, February 8, 2024. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

actions of someone who knew the army was coming and wanted to hide the evidence,” he said. Hazan said that Hamas “didn’t randomly select this area. It knows that during peacetime and in previous wars [Israel] didn’t have the legitimacy to strike a UNRWA building and collapse it on the tunnel.”


In addition to the allegations of its collusion with Hamas, Israel has also long accused UNRWA of perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by extending refugee status to millions of descendants of Palestinians who fled or were forced out of homes in today’s Israel at the


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Cables running from a UNRWA server room to a Hamas data center underground in Gaza City, February 8, 2024 (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

time of the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, rather than limiting such status only to the original refugees, as is the norm with most refugee populations worldwide.

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The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784 31

32 The Jewish Journal - March 2024 / Adar I – Adar II 5784

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