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Spring/Summer 2012/5772






recent article in the Jerusalem Post reported that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that Israel ranks ahead of countries such as Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom in its percentage of the population in possession of post-high school degrees. Only Canada ranked a bit higher. It can be no surprise to us that a Jewish nation places great importance on education. That has always been part of our tradition. Education has always been the great equalizer of Jewish society. From time immemorial, respect and honor have been given to the learned people in our midst. How, then, can Israel rise to the challenge of equalizing opportunity for its people, of elevating its culture, when there are large numbers of citizens who are unable to compete in such an educated marketplace, who have no hope of graduating from high school because of their poverty, whose abilities will never be discovered because they cannot hope to receive further education? This has been one of the many challenges undertaken by EMUNAH: equalizing opportunities for poor Israeli women so that they can compete in society, so that they can discover their potential to contribute meaningfully to the society, so that poverty will not become a permanent status. Through its Charlotte Dachs Mechina program at the EMUNAH Appleman College, we prepare girls and women who were forced to leave school before their Bagrut (similar to Regents exams) in order to feed their families. EMUNAH is their only means for a second chance. Our fully-accredited College prepares other young women to compete and win places in the arts and education where they go on to win awards and contribute toward elevating Israeli society (see p. 17). Their appearance in schools, workplaces and offices attests to our success. Recently, I had the privilege of attending the World EMUNAH Convention which meets every four years in Jerusalem. Representatives of EMUNAH from 28 countries convened to exchange ideas, become better acquainted, attend informative lectures and visit a variety of EMUNAH projects. Together we witnessed at first hand how our work for EMUNAH truly makes an enormous contribution in elevating Israeli society. Some highlights of these tours were: Among our many day care centers are ten multi-purpose centers which include parents in a process to forestall the placement of their children in homes — a last chance to keep the family intact; The Zusman Torah and Arts High School in Jerusalem which began 20 years ago as a school for gifted girls and which now reflects the changing demographics of the city by accepting poor girls requiring extensive remediation. Many among this group must be given bus fare and lunch vouchers besides the tuition; Visits to our children’s homes are always inspiring and this visit, as in the past, touches the heart. It is thanks to you, our members and friends, that we are able to report on the major role that EMUNAH plays in contributing so positively to the sacred task of elevating Israeli society. We wish you all a chag kasher v’sameach. — Fran Hirmes, EMUNAH National President

7 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001 212.564.9045 • Published by EMUNAH of America, Sister Organization of EMUNAH National Religious Women’s Organization in Israel

Editor-In-Chief Faye Reichwald Art Director Julie Farkas Editorial Assistant Devorah Jacobowitz EMUNAH News Layout Batya Ibroci President Fran Hirmes Chairman of the Board Mindy Stein Treasurer Heddy Klein Missions Chairman Melanie Oelbaum Missions Co-Chairman Mindy Stein Executive Vice-President Shirley Singer Executive Director Carol Sufian Fiscal Officers Gladys Baruch Shirley Billet Charlotte Dachs Bonnie Eizikovitz Marcia Genuth Eve Groyer Stern Executive Officers Gladys Baruch Debbie Bienenfeld Shirley Billet Charlotte Dachs Bonnie Eizikovitz Sondra H. Fisch Marcia Genuth Elizabeth Gindea Helena Goldstein Anne Gontownik Irene Gottesman Esther Heller Shaynee Kessler Heddy Klein Evie Leifer Melanie Oelbaum Mindy Orlinsky Rosalie Reich Sylvia Schonfeld Beverly Segal Suzanne Segal Arlene Silverstein Eve Groyer Stern National Board Rhonda Avner Shelli Dachs Sheryl Elias Miriam Ellenberg Arlene Fox Renee Greenspan Aviva Gross

Honorary Presidents Eva Adelman* Gladys Baruch Dorothy Bernstein* Lila Bernstein* Shirley Billet Ruth Chernofsky* Chana Cohen Rebecca Cooper* Charlotte Dachs Miriam Federbush* Sondra H. Fisch Sylvia Feine Marcia Genuth Blanche S. Gershbaum* Miriam Karlin* Heddy Klein

Johanna Herskowitz Doris Hirsch Greta Hirmes Annette Kaufman Shelli Kuflik Esther Lerer Chani Lichtiger Lynn Mael Fran Mermelstein Naava Parker Carol Pinewski Lisa Reich Michelle Salig Harriet Saperstein Malkie Scharf Barbara Schreck Karen Spitalnik Amy Spivak Rena Steigman Susan Weinstock Charlotte Liechtung Zaslowsky Myrna Zisman Lest We Forget, Editor Sylvia Rosencranz Jossi Berger Holocaust Study Center Rena Quint, President Anna Grosberg Doris Hirsch Cecelia Margules Young Leadership Board Hila Abenaim Tali Goldberg Susan Nadritch Elianna Sable Collegiate Board Aryana Bibi Mikayla Bibi Adina Eizikovitz Lani Lichtiger Tzippy Quint Michael Reidler Ariella Salkin Rebecca Zagha Director of Communications Rita Goldstone Development Associates Ronnie Faber, Senior Associate Linda Koegel Ayala Naor Pamela Weiss

Esther Maidenbaum Schreiber* Melanie Oelbaum Rosalie Reich Betty Roseman* Sylvia Schonfeld Beverly Segal Mindy Stein Jean Teichman Renee Weiss Toby Willig Honorary Vice Presidents Sunny Alpert* Ruth Aronowitz* Ruth Block Ruth Cogan Miriam Diskind* Molly Finkel*

Yetta Geisler* Anna Grosberg Jennie S. Hall* Eleanor Itzkowitz Lillian Kosowsky* Ann Lipmanowicz Helen Marcus Bernice Mermelstein* Helene Pruslin* Sylvia Rosencranz Roslyn Rothblatt* Ruth Schnall Shirley Silverman Giselle Steigman Rose Templeman Yetta Weg* Honey Weiss Irene Zelikow* * Deceased

All rights reserved. Copyright ©2012 EMUNAH Magazine. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited by law. | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012-5772 | 1

UPCoMiNG EvENtS Jossi Berger Holocaust Study Center

YOM HASHOAH C o m m e m o ra t i o n

EMUNAH Spring Luncheon


B r o o K Ly N r E G i o N

Wednesday Evening April 18, 2012 Ohab Zedek, NYC

tUESdAy • MAy 1, 2012 Kin g G eo r g e Ballr o o m , N y C

tUESdAy EvENiNG • MAy 8, 2012 At tHE KiNGS tErrACE

Benefit Concert Music Therapy

Benefit Dinner B EMUNAH

June 19 & 20

At Mexacali Blues, Teaneck NJ

sATURDAY EVENING • NOVEMBER 17, 2012 b r o o k ly n m a r r i o tt, n yc

J o In T e a m


I n g m I a m I h a L F m a r aT h o n

SunDaY, JanuarY 27Th, 2013 For more inFormation visit or call 212.564.9045

2 | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | EMUNAH Magazine |

EMUNAH Spring/Summer 2012/5772










IN THIS ISSUE 4  The History of the Haggadah


By Gil Marks

1 President’s Message

8  A Fresh Appraisal of Bet Elazraki

17 E  levating the Culture of Israel: The Florence and Joseph Appleman College

By Lili Eylon

35 Book Reviews 37 EMUNAH News



12  Observant Women Change the Face of the IDF



Photo by Win Robins at the EMUNAH Children’s Center in Afula Spring/Summer 2012/5772

By Judy Lash Balint

18  Illustrations from the EMUNAH v’Omanut Haggadah 20  The Bet Elazraki Winter Olympics 21  Vadim and Menachem in Afula



By Gail Lichtman

24  The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange By Mordechai Beck

26  Pioneering Intimacy Education By Judy Lash Balint

30  Flying High! By Lily Eylon

Some views expressed in this magazine may not necessarily reflect the policy of the organization, nor do the advertisements represent EMUNAH’s endorsement.

EMUNAH of America is a member of World EMUNAH headquartered in Jerusalem with affiliates in Israel, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Georgia, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Guatemala, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia © 2012 EMUNAH. None of the articles or portions thereof contained in this issue may be copied or reprinted in any form without express written authorization from EMUNAH. | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 3


The History of the


By Gil Marks

The Birds’ Head Haggadah Germany, circa 1300

© Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts

The Kaufmann Haggadah Spain, late 14th century

© Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts

In the midst of the Ten Plagues, Moses expressed the necessity to tell future generations about the events surrounding the Redemption from Egypt, “In order that you tell in the ears of your son and grandson what I have performed in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them; that you may know that I am the Lord.” Gil Marks, a regular contributor to this magazine, is the author of numerous books, including the new highly-acclcaimed Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. 4 | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | EMUNAH Magazine |

The text emphasizes not merely narrating the story, but in “the ears.” The information must be conveyed directly to the youngsters in ways they can understand and appreciate. The timing of this annual commandment is the first night of Passover during the Seder: “V’higadetah [and you shall tell] your son on that day.” The Haggadah serves as the manual and vehicle for achieving the desired outcome of the Biblical commandment

only the beginning point. In order to fulfill its role, the gist of the Haggadah must be understood and its contents expanded upon. The words on the page must be brought to life and impart profound and lingering meaning. The phrase “ahseh Hashem lee (the Lord acted for me)” denotes that a person cannot merely retell the events of the Exodus, but “each person is obligated to regard himself as if he personally came out from Egypt.” The Seder is not intended

The Haggadah has no single author nor was it the work of a single time period — transmission and reception of the oral commentary. The Haggadah is not always chronological, but it does follow a logical order, one based on the general Biblical narrative of the Exodus and the specific biblical verse instituting the Seder, “V’higadetah.” At the Seder, it is insufficient that an individual remembers about Egypt and Redemption, but rather we must also ensure that future generations do not forget. The text is

to be some exotic or historical exercise but must be experienced and internalized. This directive corresponds to the Haggadah’s paragraph “B’chol dor v’dor (In every single generation).” At first, no formal liturgy existed to relate the story of the Exodus, but rather each family conveyed the information in its own way. Those who traveled to the Temple in Jerusalem exhibited the paschal offering, matzahs, and maror to

help explain the events and meanings of Egypt. After the destruction of the Temple, the Passover night liturgy grew formalized and the specific information recorded in a text—the Haggadah (Hebrew for “telling,” denoting an oral commentary). The term Haggadah is found in the Babylonian Talmud, “We remove the table [with the Seder leader’s ritual food objects; today we remove the Seder plate] only from before the one who amair (recites) the Haggadah.” The discussion implies an oral tradition. The Haggadah has no single author nor was it the work of a single time period. Around 300 CE, following the Hadrianic persecutions (132-138 CE) and the subsequent codification of the Mishnah (c. 215 CE), a rudimentary Haggadah—a collection of blessings, Bible passages, Midrashim, and psalms—first emerged in a formalized form. We know the approximate timing because the text contains quotes from and tales about various Mishnaic rabbis (called Tannaim), but none of the scholars of either the Jerusalem or Babylonian Talmud (Amoraim). The latest of the Sages with a citation in the Haggadah, providing a mnemonic for the Ten Plagues, is Rabbi Judah (bar Ilai), who lived in the mid-second century CE. He was a student of Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva—two of the five sages reclining at the Seder in B’nai Brak, and a teacher of

THE SARAJEVO HAGGADAH (c. 1314 in Spain) is a 142-page richly illuminated book in the Sephardic manner, brought to Bosnia-Herzegovina following the Spanish Expulsion in 1492. Presumed to have originated in Spain as a wedding gift, the manuscript passed through several families and countries, ending up in Sarajevo. It was purchased by the Bosnian Museum in 1894, and somehow smuggled out of the city in 1941, shortly before its capture by the Germans, and safely returned following the war. Somehow it also survived the Bosnian War in 1992-95, purportedly safe from the bombing in a vault of the National Bank. The manuscript was exhibited by the government in 1955 at a community Galleries Courtesy of Joy Schonberg

Seder and in 2002 once again placed on display by the museum. Recently, copies of this treasured Haggadah have become available. | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 5

the complier of the Mishnah, Judah haNasi. In the wake of the Hadrianic persecutions and Bar Kokhba Rebellion, Judah bar Ilai was particularly concerned with the standardization of Jewish practices and liturgy, which later found expression in the Mishnah and Haggadah. The Mishnah does not present a completed copy of the Haggadah, but does

including the concluding songs. In addition, mistakes and textual variants occasionally crept into manuscripts, as the Haggadah appeared well before the invention of moveable type and, thus existed for centuries in the form of handwritten copies. The commandment of higadetah, telling the children, is specifically dealt with in the first nine paragraphs of the

Since children were the focus of the Seder, the rabbis permitted illustrations in the Haggadah contain information on many familiar rituals and texts. The Haggadah initially drew from the instructions of the Mishnah for the Seder, including the Four Cups, the Four Questions, and the recitation of psalms of praise. The Passover night liturgy was expanded upon by the academies of the land of Israel and later the Babylonian academies. The concept of the Four Sons first appears in the Jerusalem Talmud. Even following the initial appearance of a formalized format for the Passover Seder, various changes and additions occurred,

Haggadah stretching from the Four Questions through the conclusion of the Four Sons. The Talmud (Pesachim 116a) instructs that the magid section begins with the child asking the Four Questions, then continues, “He commences with shame and concludes with praise.” First, the Haggadah provides the fundamental reason for the Seder and the obligation each year of telling the story, because “ahvadim hayinu (we were slaves) etc.,” then proceeds to tell the children. The next part is leimor (saying), the actual narrative of events,

Following World War I, some Jewish consumers mistook the term “coffee bean” as some sort of legume, which would place it in the prohibited category of kitniyot. To clarify the situation, the predominant American coffee company launched a publicity campaign in 1923, replete with the classic Maxwell House Haggadah, perhaps the first national brand to identify its products with being kosher for Passover. The approach worked and coffee remained a permitted item.

6 | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | EMUNAH Magazine |

stretching from Mee’techilah (From the beginning) through the song Dayeinu. In this section, the Haggadah summarizes the episodes leading up to the Exodus, then recounts the details of the Redemption and finally the salvation of the Israelites as the pursuing Egyptians drown in the sea. This segment fulfills the actual requirement to tell the story. Having presented the events of the Passover story and, if done properly, having felt as if we ourselves had undergone them, the Haggadah implements one of the underlying principles of the Torah—recognition of the good (hakarat ha’tov). Consequently, the final paragraph of the magid section is “L’feekak ahnachnu (Therefore we are obligated to thank).” The Haggadah continues with two psalms, the first part of Hallel, thanking God for the Redemption from Egypt. Having performed the commandment of higadetah l’binkah (telling the child), the Haggadah transitions to the performance of the other Biblical commandment—eating matzah. This is adjoined to the seudat mitzvah (meal held in fulfillment of a commandment). The remaining part of Hallel is recited after the m e a l , re f e r r i n g t o t h e f u t u re Redemption. From the Word to the Page Since no early written Haggadahs survived, there is no way to know their exact contents or how they differed from those of other locales. The earliest extant Haggadah was part of the Seder of Rav Amram Gaon (the head of the Sura Academy between 856-876 CE). This early siddur (prayer book) was sent throughout the known Diaspora and, consequently, the Babylonian Seder rituals and rendering served as the basis for all contemporary versions of the Haggadah. In the 10th century, Saadia Gaon, head of the Sura academy, compiled a somewhat more extensive Haggadah than that of Amram Gaon. Other extant early Haggadahs, shedding light on the simi-

larities and differences among various communities, include Machzor Vitry (c. 1105 by Simcha ben Shumuel, a student of Rashi, of Vitry-en-Perthois in northern France) and Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah (c. 1180). Fragments of Haggadahs from as early of the 8th century were found among the texts of the Cairo Genizah (“hiding place”), providing additional insights. Eventually, the Haggadah left the prayer book to become its own beloved tome. The earliest extant Ashkenazic Haggadah is the “Bird’s Head Haggadah,” dating from the late 13th century in southern Germany, penned by a scribe named Menachem. The book contains two full-page miniatures, one at the beginning and the other at the end of the manuscript, as well as small illustrations in the upper and lower margins. The use of bird’s heads on human bodies, a way of avoiding the depiction of the human image, gave this work its

name. Since children were the focus of the Seder, the rabbis permitted illustrations in the Haggadah, although originally not with human forms. Typically, Ashkenazim scattered small drawings through their Haggadah, while Sephardim tended to position a number of full-page illustrations in the front. The first printed Haggadah appeared circa 1482 in Guadalajara, Spain (the only extant copy is in the National Library in Jerusalem), only seven years after the initial printing of any Hebrew text and just a decade before the Expulsion. The first printed Ashkenazic Haggadah occurred in Prague in 1526, by brothers Gershom Cohen and Gronem (Jerome) Katz. This work, replete with ornate illuminations and 60 woodcut illustrations, served as the model for most future Ashkenazic and Italian editions. Indeed, the advent of printing led to a standardization of the Ashkenazic Haggadah in the 15th cen-

tury, thereafter precluding major additions or major changes among traditionalists. After the great Kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572), the Ari, pronounced his support for the Ashkenazic version of the Haggadah, it was adopted by many Sephardim, although not subsequent Ashkenazic additions. Nevertheless, the Haggadah continued to develop from time to time and community to community. Beginning in the 16th century, rabbis began issuing their own edition of the Haggadah replete with lengthy commentary. The invention of printing also led to more variety in Haggadahs and, in the 20th century, the mass production of Haggadahs and later their politicization. Today there are thousands of different Haggadahs covering every vantage point, all ultimately based on the work of Amram Gaon. A

IN MEMORY OF It is with great sadness that EMUNAH of America mourns the passing of

With great sadness, we note the passing of

Mrs. Pearl Billet

Gertrude Strauss a”h a”h

Life member and devoted supporter of EMUNAH’S children in Israel Our condolences to her son Rabbi Hershel Billet, a friend to EMUNAH

A true friend of EMUNAH’s children in Israel. She gave of herself unstintingly to her husband Norbert and to her family and was surrounded by friends who loved, respected and admired her. She will be sorely missed by the EMUNAH family and everyone who was fortunate enough to have known her.

May the families be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Fran Hirmes National President

Melanie Oelbaum Honorary National President

Mindy Stein Chairman of the Board

Carol Sufian Executive Director | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 7


A Fresh Appraisal of

Bet Elazraki By Lili Eylon


he house bears no identification plaque. Completely inconspicuous, it blends into the surrounding neighborhood. And yet it is a special house. A one-of-a-kind villa, not for its architecture but rather for its human content. For this ordinary house is an extraordinary emergency station, the only one of its kind in all of Israel. It is a place where children from the age of zero to pre-school are literally snatched from life-threatening situations, a shelter that brings care and love to little ones who have already had their share of misery. If not for this place where they are safe, they would be exposed in their natural homes to parents who are incapable of caring for their offspring because they

8 | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | EMUNAH Magazine |

are either mentally ill or abusive as a result of addiction to alcohol or drugs. Located in the seaside town of Netanya, the villa, an integral part of EMUNAH’s Bet Elazraki Children’s Home, offers these toddlers warmth and affection, a first feeling of being wanted and loved. We are a witness to this affection on our first visit—and we are impressed. As we approach the Home, accompanied by Roni, a young woman who is on Bet Elazraki’s staff, we wave to two youngsters visible through the large picture window, a gesture which causes them much merriment. In the little dining room on the other side of the window sit little Zvika and Yael, each a veteran of some three summers, enjoying their midday meal, awkwardly

The only one of its kind in all of Israel maneuvering their big spoon. In answer to our question as to their names, we receive a smile and chuckles. They point to the window, full of wonder that we are the same people that waved to them from the other side of the glass. Another toddler sitting on the staircase seems to be having a spell of rebellion; she does not want to go into the dining room to eat her meal. Enter Marina, a fortyish woman with a decided Russian accent who picks up the little one, gives her a mighty hug and talks to her in a gentle tone. It takes no more than two minutes and the child is quiet and smiling. A little while later, she runs to the two visitors whom she had at first shyly ogled and plants a delicious kiss on each of their cheeks. All is well again in the baby home. In the adjoining room, two darkhaired children in pale blue T-shirts are concentrating on the action in a chil-

dren’s TV show. Roni whispers that these are the children of a man about whom the media recently reported a scandal. He was found to live with six women whom he kept under brutal conditions of slavery. The children, too, were being abused and had to be removed from the house as quickly as possible. The EMUNAH Infant Emergency Home responded. The only one of its kind in the entire country, this Shirley Margolin Parker Home for Infants is an emergency center which receives babies and young children in crisis from anywhere in Israel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are all children whose lives are constantly at-risk, living, as they have, with parents who have not assumed parental responsibilities. We leave the Infant Home and go back to the main house which in the meantime has become a beehive: the

children have returned from the various schools they are attending. The 240 children and teenagers currently at Bet Elazraki attend some two dozen schools, we learn from the charismatic Uruguay-born director, Yehuda Kohn. The name Elazraki refers to the family from Tangier who in their home in the early days of the State cared for youngsters who had survived the Holocaust; this, in fact, were the Home’s historic beginnings. “When I came to the Home in 1976, I wanted to continue to offer these abandoned children love and security. But, in addition, I wanted to do something different: my goals are to give these children tools to break the cycle of abuse, a cycle which often begins already with their parents’ parents. We employ 35 private tutors. Many of our children have reached the point where they are ahead of their fellow pupils; they are the | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 9

A discipline of expected behaviors performed in an aura of kindness and creativity first ones to raise their hands in class. This means not only that they know the school material, but that they have gained in self-confidence and selfesteem. Also, I find it very important that from the children emanate a pleasant smell. Teachers will avoid pupils who do not smell good. So we emphasize cleanliness and provide pleasantsmelling soaps.” “We teach them the value of family,” Kohn continues. “We explain their parents’ behavior by calling it a sickness, equating it with physical sickness. And because each child is obviously affected emotionally by what he had experienced at home, each of our children receives emotional therapy. In addition, we also offer a 3-year program in our family intervention center. Here, children of all ages work together with their families; this includes the teaching of parenting skills. In cases where the program proves successful, the child can return to his own home.”

As we walk in the various halls, we notice that the walls are decorated with group pictures of children as well as with their varied art work. There are large fish tanks filled with tropical fish and a parrot at the entrance who greets those whom he knows. On the table in the director’s office stands a huge bowl filled with multi-colored lollipops. Everywhere we go, we notice goldcolored heart-shaped posters with the touching words: All a child needs is one person who believes in him. “Stability is a very important factor in our efforts,” explains Kohn. “Most of the children had spent time in a number of institutions before they were referred to us. They need to feel that here is a place which is there for them until they themselves decide to leave—and that is usually at the age of 18 when they go into the army. But even though they serve in the army, navy or air force, and are away from the Home, the Home is never

10 | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | EMUNAH Magazine |

far: we are always close to them. We send them packages and they often come to spend weekends with us. Our ambition is for these children to grow up to be normal persons. And when the time comes, normal parents.” Roni, the young woman who accompanies us on our tour of Bet Elazraki, tells us she came to the Home after working in an orphanage in Ethiopia. “All the children there were sick with AIDs. Yes, it was a children’s home and I gained some experience there, but you cannot compare it to our Home.” She came to the EMUNAH Home two years ago and is very happy there. A relaxed, easy atmosphere reigns throughout the seven buildings, she says. The children learn to live in an ordered framework and there is the discipline of expected behavior, all performed in an aura of kindness and creativity. The children have a set program for every hour of the day, which includes free playtime. The six houses in addition to the Infant Home are divided according to age: First and second-graders in a separate building, 7 to 13-year-olds in the main building (boys and girls on alternating floors), 13 to 18-year-olds in the fourth and fifth buildings, and, last, the sixth building, is meant for the Family Intervention Center where youngsters and their parents meet and work things out together. All the living quarters are furnished in rainbow colors to provide cheerful surroundings. The children living in Bet Elazraki are referred to the Home by one of three sources: the Welfare Ministry, the Court or the Police. When we take our leave from the children and their mentors and go back to Jerusalem, we are filled with a feeling of elation. We have just witnessed an exhilarating work in progress, one which began with despair and is continually reversing the fate of Israel’s neediest children. A

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Women Change the Face of the


12 | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | EMUNAH Magazine |


ometime toward the end of 2012, the first religious female Israel Air Force pilot is set to complete her training. Anyone familiar with Israeli society knows that pilots are at the pinnacle of the Israeli military, and a young person who successfully graduates from the rigorous training course is set for a prestigious career. T (whose name and place of residence, like all Israel Air Force pilots, are kept secret for security reasons) is definitely a trailblazer and will make Israeli military history if she successfully completes the course. But in recent years, thousands of other young observant women are choosing to serve in the Israel Defense Forces after gradu-

ating high school, rather than completing two years of National Service (Sherut Leumi), as was the norm for religious women for decades. Leora Goldberg, a lively Torahobservant Jerusalem resident in her twenties, is a graduate of the Maayan Program of Midreshet Ein Hanatziv, based at Kibbutz Ein Hanatziv, a religious kibbutz in the Beit Shean valley. Modeled after the successful hesder programs for young men that allow religious high school graduates to enlist as a group and combine Torah study with army service, the women’s midrashot offer one year of Torah study followed by a two-year placement in the IDF along with other religious women, with continu-

ing Torah learning throughout their time in the army. Leora, who was active in the religious Bnei Akiva youth movement in her Jerusalem neighborhood, recalls that her choice of attending the Maayan program was influenced by other girls in her high school class and Bnei Akiva group. “There was a trend in my class for girls to serve in the IDF,” she points out, adding that in recent years larger percentages of religious women students are opting for one of the Midrashot that offer the pre-army learning programs. Looking back on her choice, Leora says she experienced significant personal growth as a result of her army service, which included time teaching new immigrants and soldiers from

Secular young Israelis expressed astonishment that an observant woman would choose army service

Photo by Win Robins | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 13

© Carillet

disadvantaged backgrounds. “I’m very proud of what I accomplished,” she says. Leora emphasizes the support given to young women during their army service from their midrashot rabbis. The rabbis do the rounds of the bases where their female students are stationed and schedule regular learning sessions as well as time for personal

The IDF today views girls from religious homes and religious high schools as excellent prospects for leadership roles, just as a high percentage of hesder participants are groomed for the officer corps. Army officials expect the number of religious girls who opt for full army service in 2012 to rise significantly. During

The IDF views religious girls as excellent prospects for leadership roles counseling for any issues the young women may face. For Leora, there were no serious conflicts between her religious practice and her army service. In fact, one of the many positive aspects of her time on an IDF base was the opportunity to integrate with secular young Israelis who expressed astonishment that an observant woman would choose army service. “We’ve never met anyone like you before,” they told Leora.

the army draft of 2010-2011, some 1,200 young women who classified themselves as religious signed up for the IDF. Army officials expect that number to grow by about 25 percent in 2012 with 1,500 girls signing up by April 2012. Over the past three years, the IDF has arranged annual meetings to answer questions from potential religious female draftees about army service. Officers of the IDF education unit that

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sponsors the event were heartened by the large turnout at the most recent conference in October 2011 that attracted more than 1,000 young observant women compared with just 400 at the same conference last year. Best estimates from army sources are that around 2,000 religious female soldiers currently serve in the IDF; many of them in intelligence or education units. Over the past decade, a number of midrashot pre-army programs for women have quietly come into being to provide a supportive framework for the religious young women who want to serve. Besides Maayan at Ein Hanatziv, there’s the Hadas Program at Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem and Be’er in Yerucham. All stress the positive contribution observant women can make to the IDF—the most important institution of Israeli life and security—while continuing to grow in Torah studies and life skills. One course offered by the pre-army midrashot is on issues that may confront an observant soldier. For Meytal Blumenthal, a 2008 graduate of Jerusalem’s Pelech High School, one of the things she learned in the army was how ignorant many secular Israelis are

about the Jewish holidays. “Even some of the commanders didn’t know anything,” Meytal observes, commenting that this ignorance sometimes created difficulties for the religious soldiers. Meytal recalls that during her basic training, several women wanted to find time for tefilla, and had to convince their commander that women indeed are obligated to pray. “The time they designated was the time that the whole platoon had to clean up, so it was uncomfortable for a group of us to get away and not feel as if we were shirking our responsibilities, but in the end we found a way to work it out,” she says. Spending three days of Rosh Hashana and Shabbat on base was not easy, either, according to Meytal. Like many observant women soldiers, Meytal served in an intelligence unit, using her excellent foreign language ability and Torah-trained analytical skills. During her two-year army stint, she spent every second Shabbat on the base performing work designated as pikuach nefesh—needed to preserve life. Meytal explains how she came to lead Shabbat rituals and teach shiurim to non-observant soldiers on her base after the designated rabbi from the IDF Chaplain service left his post and had not yet been replaced. “The army provides grape juice for Kiddush and I asked to be responsible for it. ‘No, you’re a girl,’ she was told, ‘that’s a man’s job.’ I told them that it’s just like a secretary who hands out coffee, and that persuaded them to allow me to handle it,” she laughs. “Once I got that job I tried to make the whole Shabbat ritual a beautiful positive thing,” she explains. “Singing Shalom Aleichem on Friday night was not in the rules, and it was my Druze commander that backed me up and made it happen,” Meytal recalls. Some observant Israeli families would prefer their daughters not to be exposed to such challenges and those high school graduates can still volunteer for a year or two of National Service that can

Photo by Win Robins

“It’s good to learn how to deal with all kinds of people” include work in a variety of social service organizations and schools. On the other hand, it’s not hard to find religious families that include boys and girls that are supportive of their daughters following in the successful footsteps of sons who have completed the hesder combined army service and study program. Heddy Abramowitz, a wellknown Jerusalem artist and mother of five (three girls and two boys) proudly lists her children’s army and national service. Her two sons are currently serving in elite IDF units, while her oldest daughter, Alona, 29, was in intelligence. Second daughter, Shachar chose National Service, and Talya, 23, was at the Michve Alon educational IDF base near Tsfat.

Heddy points out that her girls attended different Jerusalem girls’ religious high schools that differed in their encouragement of graduates to serve in the army. “I saw significant changes in policy toward army service for girls in the years between my oldest and youngest daughter ’s graduation,” Heddy remarks. “There are a lot more options now and it’s not so fringe in the dati world.” According to Heddy, the Abramowitz girls received “a lot of flack” from family over their decision to go into the army. “Relatives would ask, ‘aren’t you afraid of how girls are treated in the army?’ But I don’t see a difference between that and sending your girls off to college…” Alona met her husband in the army and her mother asserts that from her point of view, both her daughters who completed army service had overwhelmingly positive experiences. “They learned how to be part of a team, how to move fast, how to act when others are depending on them.” There were some problems with Alona’s co-workers in the army understanding kashrut requirements, but “it’s good for kids to come out of their religious bubble and learn how to deal with all kinds of people,” Heddy asserts. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, chief rabbi of Efrat and a co-founder of Midreshet Lindenbaum, sums up his reasoning for supporting the enlistment of religious women in an interview with Israeli media (YNET, February 11, 2009). In today’s world there are milchemot mitzvah—wars of self-defense—and while it is not ideal to fight, the world is not perfect, Rabbi Riskin stated. “And it is our obligation to correct the world. Part of the correction is achieved by war, by the army, with weapons. And part of the halacha of war is that there is no differentiation between men and women.” Rabbi Riskin added that Jewish women of today serving in the IDF are the successors of our matriarch Rivka. They are proof that we are indeed living in messianic times. A | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 15

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rior to the founding of EMUNAH’s Florence and Joseph Appleman College of Arts and Technology in Baka, Jerusalem, the arts, technology and the teaching professions were overwhelmingly represented by

Israel’s secular society. The opportunity for upward mobility for Torah-

nce again, the EMUNAH Appleman College, a project of EMUNAH of America, is proud to announce that

a graduate of its Charlotte and Harold Dachs

observant young women with the desire and ability to enter these professions

School of Graphic Design has won first prize in

was almost non-existent. In fact, their presence in the professional workplace

the Bank of Israel’s prestigious competition for

was rare, as were the possibilities for receiving higher education in the arts,

the design of Israel’s next bank notes. These

education and technology. This is no longer the case, thanks to the EMUNAH

designs were judged anonymously by a committee

Appleman College of Arts and Technology which graduates, with full accredita-

of professional graphic designers and the Head

tion and superior training, teachers, artists, and technicians. The excellence of

of the Visual Communication Department of

the training received in this Torah-observant college, has been recognized and

the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, and

lauded by the Government, by the private sector and in educational and

was headed by retired Supreme Court Justice

artistic communities.

Jacob Turkel. The Bank of Israel plans to issue the first two banknotes of the new series in

The EMUNAH Appleman College has been a trailblazer by producing a new

the first half of 2013 and the other two in the

cadre of religious young women who are experts in the fields of fine art,

first half of 2014 and will be published close to

graphic design and theater. As qualified and religiously observant teachers,

the date of issue.

they have been at the vanguard of a cultural revolution within the Israeli religious Zionist education system, where they head the overwhelming majority of departments for the arts. Many are creating new and original art forms anchored in Jewish tradition. They are bringing a fresh new voice to both the art and theater world in Israel while broadening the cultural horizons of the religious community in particular. Their professionalism is recognized by both the public and corporate sectors where their impact is strongly felt.

The stamp designs of Osnat Eshel

OSNAT ESHEL the first prize winner, has designed many stamps for the State of Israel. She created the beautiful design of the “Beaches in Israel” stamp series which illustrated the beauty of the land of Israel. A graduate of the School of Design at the EMUNAH College, she is a religious young woman who lives in Efrat. Born in 1979, Eshel holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Sciences and a Bachelor of Education in Graphic Design from the EMUNAH College. Eshel’s recognition and fame is one of the many stories of young women who are elevating the culture in today’s Israel. | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 17

illustrations from

the EMUNAH Chana Bauer

Jaclyn Roslyn

Shevy Spaeth

Shaina Campbell

Dani Emanuel

Aviva Geretz

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V’Omanut Haggadah*

Ilana Tracer

Aliza Donath

Meira Merlis

Esther Shechtman

Jordana Chernofsky

Meirav Gebler

Nomi Reiss *The EMUNAH Torah and Art one-year program for overseas post-high school students

To obtain a Haggadah call, 212.564.9045 ext. 301 | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 19

Bet Elazraki Winter Olympics


By Rita Goldstone

For the third consecutive year, Rebecca Zagha and Benji Markoff have organized and run a “Winter Olympics” for the children at Bet Elazraki. Rebecca and Benji— both in their twenties—have shared a strong connection with the children for many years, starting from when they volunteered to work with the children in the Home in 2006. It was important to them to remain connected and they each felt compelled to help in some way. That’s how they came up with the idea of the Winter Olympics—an event that is exciting and fun-filled for the children, and one which raises significant funds for Bet Elazraki’s programs. This year, they chose to raise money for the ParentChild Therapy Center at the Home. Gathering many sponsors through their efforts, the Winter Olympics were a tremendous success in every way.

INTERVIEW WITH REBECCA ZAGHA AND BENJI MARKOFF: Q: How enthusiastic were the children at Bet Elazraki about the Olympics? A: They wait in anticipation for the event every year. It is absolutely amazing because I think we are just as excited about it as they are! Q: Was there a special moment that struck you as the most memorable? A: Yes. After the second day of the Olympics, which was absolutely spectacular (we created “The Amazing Race” all around Israel for the kids), a boy who has been in the Home basically his entire life told us that today was his greatest day. Just hearing him say this about a day that most kids would take for granted brought tears to our eyes. We can learn so much from these children. The appreciation they have for the simplest things in life is truly a life-lesson to take from this experience. Q: What made you decide to raise money for the Parent-Child Therapy Center at the Home? A: Bet Elazraki is not just about providing a safe home for the children. It is even more about “breaking the cycle” for future generations. The Parent-Child Therapy Center will help to “break the cycle.” Through the center, Bet Elazraki will be able to educate and help families and provide them with the proper environment to make their family situations better. Q: How supportive were the people you asked to donate to your event? A: They were beyond supportive—more generous than ever before! We barely had to ask and the donations poured in. We want to personally thank all the individuals who donated to the Olympics. None of this would have been possible without all of their generosity. The donations and the people behind those donations truly changed and enhanced the lives of the children. Q: Which aspect of the Winter Olympic experience did you enjoy the most? A: As cliched as it may sound, seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces is always the best part of doing the Olympics. Being able to give the children positive and happy experiences is an incredibly inspiring feeling. It makes us feel blessed to know all these children and to be a part of the Bet Elazraki family. The emotions and enthusiasm that the children bring to the Olympics make all the hard work more than worth it.

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in Afula Vadim & Menachem “

By Gail Lichtman


hen I was three, my father killed my mother,” relates Vadim Markelov in a matterof-fact tone as he begins to tell his life story. It is a journey that has taken him from a troubled youth to a confident, 24-year-old young man, a veteran of an elite IDF combat unit and a student completing his bachelor’s degree in industrial management. But it never would have happened if not for the love, patience, and care of the staff at EMUNAH’s Sarah Herzog Children’s Center in Afula, where, today, Vadim serves as a houseparent to the very same type of troubled boys he once was. “We were living in Latvia at the time,” Vadim continues. “My maternal grandmother took us in. By us, I mean my four-year-old brother, me and my infant sister. When I was nine, we learned that my father’s prison sentence had been reduced and he was getting out. My grandmother was afraid he would gain custody. So we made aliyah to Israel and settled in Hadera.” For Vadim, the adjustment to a new country, language and culture was difficult. He began to get into trouble. His | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 21

grandmother could not control him. He was sent to a children’s home in Haifa. When he was in the sixth grade, the home closed. At the beginning of the seventh grade, Vadim came to the EMUNAH Children’s Center in Afula, the residential and afterschool therapeutic daycare facility which serves 180 children at risk between the ages of five to 18. “Vadim was very serious and focused on his goals, but there were serious behavior problems when he first arrived,” recalls Shlomo Kessel, the Center’s Executive Director. “We had to help him overcome these problems.”

Israel. The Center even has its own musical dance troupe — the EMUNotes. “The Center gave me everything—a home, the ability to succeed in school, economic support, love and understanding,” Vadim says. “It also found afterschool jobs for me so I could earn some pocket money. I learned to appreciate things—such as education, work and discipline. I got real values—Judaism and Zionism. And I learned not only to receive but how to give back.” When it came time for Vadim to go into the IDF, he chose to serve in an elite combat unit. “Shlomo accompanied me

“Shlomo accompanied me to the induction center just like a father would” Like Vadim, the children at the Center have experienced emotional and some, even physical trauma during their brief lives. Each one was referred to the Center by Social Services and arrives with his or her emotional and psychological baggage. In addition to meeting their basic physical needs for food, shelter, clothing, school supplies and the like, the Center designs a program for each one to help unload this baggage and enable every child to achieve his or her full potential. This includes professional assessment and traditional, as well as such innovative, therapies as art, music and psychodrama. There is a Learning Center to provide academic support. In addition, the Center offers such extracurricular activities as sports, social activities, drama, horseback riding and Capoeira. The children are encouraged to take part in a wide variety of community projects, i.e. environmental cleanup, traffic safety and initiatives aimed at bridging the social gaps in

to the induction center just like a father would,” he states. “He came to all my ceremonies—swearing in, course graduation. He continued to be there for me.” But the years in the army were not easy ones for Vadim. During that period, Vadim’s aunt, his mother’s sister, died of cancer, leaving behind four young children. Once again, his grandmother took in her grandchildren. This created a very difficult economic situation in the family. “I wanted to request the army to release me from service on the grounds that I needed to support my grandmother and the children,” Vadim explains. “Shlomo and the staff at the Center intervened for me and I was given permission to work while continuing to serve in my combat unit.” Vadim worked two jobs during this time—as a security guard and as a gas station attendant. He continued to visit the Center, for after all, as he says—“the Center is my home.” After Vadim finished army service, Shlomo Kessel called him one day and asked him if would like to go to college.

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“I told him I really would but I had no money and I still had to help the family,” Vadim recalls. “Shlomo told me—don’t worry, I will take care of things.” And take care of things he did. Shlomo Kessel found a donor to provide Vadim with a tuition scholarship and he arranged for him to work in the Center as a houseparent. “I didn’t want him to have to work two jobs and study at the same time,” Kessel explains. “So I brought him back here. He is really good with the children.” Vadim is completing his third year of studies at ORT Hermelin College in Netanya, which grants degrees through Bar Ilan University. He is a houseparent to a group of 11 boys ranging in age from six to 10. “I always believed that one day I would give back what I got here,” Vadim says. “Now, I am doing just that. I know what I didn’t like when I was a kid and I try to fix those things. I love working with these kids. I try to impart the same values of love, discipline and hard work that I received—to give to them so they too will succeed in life.” Vadim is not the only graduate now working at the Center. Menachem Machtayev, nearly 24, is also a houseparent and a college student. He too, came to the Center from a tragic background. Menachem made aliyah from Azerbaijan in 1992 with his mother, grandmother and four brothers. “There was a war going on and we literally fled the country,” Menachem recalls. “At first, we were in an absorption center and then we settled in Haifa.” The family did not manage well. Menachem and his older brother, Gadi, kept getting into trouble. So Social Services decided to place them in the same children’s home that Vadim had been sent to. When that home closed, Menachem and Gadi came to the EMUNAH Center in Afula. They were in the sixth and seventh grades respectively. “Gadi was more cooperative,” Kessel explains. “Menachem was very angry and disruptive. He was acting out his feelings through violence, drinking, aggression and running away. When the

boys first came to the Center, before I took over, the policy was that the children had to go home to their parents every weekend for Shabbat. But Gadi and Menachem were being beaten by their mother. They would pretend to be going home but would then hide in Afula until after Shabbat. When I came, I decided to leave the Center open on Shabbat. Menachem and Gadi were among those children who chose to remain here.” This did not sit well with

Things came to a head when Menachem was in the 10th grade and was arrested in Afula for drunken behavior. “I was in jail for resisting arrest,” he said. “I thought I might be thrown out of the Center. I had already left my family. I realized that if I lost the Center, I would have nowhere to go. When Shlomo came to get me out of jail, I realized that the Center is my home and I wanted to stay. I decided to shape up.” Kessel relates that “When I got to

“What they did for me was with no strings attached” the boys’ mother. “She thought we were encouraging her children to be disrespectful towards her. She came here and made a scene. She was very angry. But the boys remained on Shabbat.” “I was a problem,” Menachem states. “I cut school. I would drink. I would act up. I didn’t get what I should have from my family and I had a lot of anger towards my mother. I didn’t trust her. If you don’t trust you mom, how can you trust strangers? It took me a long time to discover that I could trust the staff at the Center—that they really meant to help me. What they did for me was with no strings attached.”

the jail, I took Menachem aside and said to him: Whatever you do, we will not send you away or give up on you. This experience changed him. He began to cooperate and his studies improved. He is very bright and his grades began to reflect that.” After finishing high school, Menachem went to an elite anti-terror unit in the IDF. “The values of Zionism and Judaism I received at the Center were very important during my army service,” he says. “I was in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. My platoon leader and two of my buddies died. These values helped sustain me.”

After his demobilization in August 2009, Menachem started working two jobs. At some point, he contacted Shlomo Kessel and asked if he could come back to work at the Center with the children. Last year, Menachem was a houseparent for boys in the fifth and sixth grades. This year, he works with boys from ninth to 12th grades. He is also studying acting at a drama school in Tel Aviv, thanks to a tuition scholarship from a donor in Raanana (the same donor who is helping Vadim), arranged by the Center. “I am like a mother and father to these kids,” Menachem explains. “I am an example of how they can succeed. They know I was once here as one of the children. They look at me as a role model. I feel that I can understand them—know how they feel and why they behave the way they do. I went through this too. I know why they are angry and why they are hurt.” “It is impossible to say in a few words what I got from the Center. This is the home I never had. It is a warm and loving place, a place where people are understanding and looking out for you. It is a place for kids, where they can be happy without fears and worries. It is a place where kids can blossom and achieve their dreams. I feel that by returning as a houseparent, I am giving back to these children what I once received,” Menachem concludes. A | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 23




The TASE offers investors the best way to buy into Israel’s growing economy

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mazing as it seems, local trade in securities began well before there was a State of Israel. In the 1930s, trade was carried out through the Exchange Bureau for Securities, founded by the Anglo-Palestine Bank (which became Bank Leumi Le-Israel) in 1935. With the formation of the State in l948, a pressing need arose to formalize trade in securities and in September l953, a number of banks and brokerage houses joined forces and established the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. It was set up by the Treasury which examines all the deals and investments that come through the Exchange. The TASE is an efficient one-stop shop for the securities industry, hosting a range of products available to investors, including shares, corporate bonds, treasury bills and bonds, index-tracking products and derivatives. Located in downtown Tel Aviv, the TASE is meant to be the place to which companies or governments can turn to receive monies as an investment. Its stated objectives are to provide state-of-the-art trading and clearing platforms to facilitate corporate capital raising, to give the public the opportunity to invest and trade in securities for low costs, to promote foreign investment, to trade in duallylisted Israeli securities, to promote investors’ confidence through transparency and market integrity and to provide a platform on which the government privatizes stateowned enterprises. The TASE offers investors the best way to buy into Israel’s growing economy. Unlike developed economies in the West, Israel did not suffer a collapsed housing market and recession after 2008. That success story has received growing recognition and, in fact, Israel became a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2010, a major step in opening up markets in the European Union. Analyst and author David Rosenberg noted that this was a great advance from the situation about ten or fifteen years ago when no one wanted to trade with Israel. “The second Lebanese War impressed people; they thought Israel could be relied on. The result was that TASE became more attractive to potential investors. Moreover, because it was cautious, it did not ‘securitize’ as they did in other countries. There were no mortgage-backed securities of the kind that backfired in the USA,” he said. The TASE is a private company owned by its members (of which there are about 600), both banks and non-banking corporations, though anybody may trade in the securities listed on the Exchange. It acts as a sort of non-governmental organization (NGO) and is, therefore, different from most other exchanges. The possibility of conflict of interest

The TASE Board of Directors includes 16 members: Five external directors, one director who represents the Bank of Israel and who is appointed by the Governor of the Central Bank, another acting for the Ministry of Finance, appointed by the Finance Minister; seven representatives of TASE members, the Chairman of the Board and a Chief Executive Officer who must qualify as external directors.

is almost negligible. Legally, the Exchange is regulated by the Securities Law (1968) and falls under the direct supervision of the Israel Securities Authority (ISA). It is Israel’s only stock exchange—the only place an investor can buy and sell Israeli shares. The NASDAQ, London Stock Exchange and

put an end to an 8-year run of current account surplus…we think Israeli asset prices will have a volatile ride in 2012, due to the size of the external shock Israel may be subject to, and to the risk of regional political disturbance, which is already being felt in Israeli asset prices,” says Rosenberg.

The economy has not suffered a year of negative growth since 2002 a host of other overseas markets trade in some of the leading Israeli companies, such as Check Point, Software and Amdocs. Other companies, such as Teva Pharmaceuticals, can be bought and sold in Tel Aviv and in New York. As good as the “Israel story” has been for investors, 2012 is shaping up as a potentially difficult year for investors around the world, including those playing the TASE. Israel—a very open economy—“is likely to suffer an external shock which could hit GDP growth and

There are a number of ways in which these pressures can be felt. The results of the Arab Spring, for example, are still uncertain, but will have some effect on how the region is seen and what Israel’s role will be. The protests by the Israeli public in the summer of 2011 against the high cost of living can also have an effect by forcing companies to lower prices and reduce profits. The withdrawal of American troops from Iraq will have an effect on Israel’s defense establishment which in turn can rebound on the rest of

the economy. Since much of this activity is carried on through TASE, it is likely that its role will be more vulnerable, but also more important. In the past few years, according to Rosenberg, the TASE has acted very well in controlling economic activity as it applies to them. The question now is how to keep an even keel in an ocean of uncertainty. As Esther Levanon, Chairperson of TASE observes: “The Stock Exchange doesn’t guide the economy; it reflects it.” A

The TASE is owned by its members, which comprise the Bank of Israel (Israel’s central bank), 15 banks and 13 investment houses, including UBS, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Citibank and Merrill Lynch International. The banks are supervised by the Bank of Israel and the investment houses by the TASE. | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 25


Pioneering Intimacy Education

By Judy Lash Balint


s if working as Academic Principal for the innovative and popular EMUNAH V’Omanut program in Jerusalem, and parenting six children (including several teenagers) weren’t enough, Dr. Yocheved Debow is also one of the leading experts on Jewish life values and intimacy education, and the author of a forthcoming guide for Orthodox parents on, “Talking About Intimacy and Sexuality: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Parents.” (KTAV, 2012). The book follows Dr. Debow’s groundbreaking work, coauthored with Dr. Anna Woloski Wruble, a renowned sexual health practitioner affiliated with Hadassah Hospital and Hebrew University, which produced the Life Values and Intimacy Education Curriculum that offers day school teachers practical guidance and Jewish source material to discuss and teach sensitive topics that include how to relate to the opposite sex; how parents should talk to their children about physical changes and sexual relationships; dealing with how sexual values are transmitted in the media; helping couples develop a respectful sexual relationship; the Jewish view of marital and extra-marital relations, and recognizing and coping with sexual abuse. While “sex ed.” classes have existed in secular schools in both the US and Israel for decades, until Dr. Debow’s curriculum came on the scene, programs geared toward incorporating halachic values on intimacy and relationship issues for students attending modern orthodox day schools had been haphazard at best.

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Dr. Yocheved Debow

Yeshiva day school youth receive endless messages that are inconsistent with their traditional values

More than ten years ago, Dr. Debow was the Academic Principal of the Middle School at the Fuchs Mizrachi School in Cleveland, Ohio. At the time, she had a BA in Psychology and Education and an MA in Child Clinical and Educational Psychology from Hebrew University, combined with a strong Jewish studies background. Dr. Debow relates how students at the day school had one class given by the school nurse on “learning about your body.” Dr. Debow sat in and was appalled at the poor level of interaction and information. The mother and daughter class was done in a way that made both the mothers and the daughters extremely uncomfortable. Dr, Debow together with another colleague redesigned the program to create an environment that was more comfortable and more conducive to shared motherdaughter learning and communication. Miki Wieder was a veteran parent and sex therapist who had spearheaded an initiative to produce an adapted version of the Guidelines for Sexuality Education produced by the Sexuality Information Education Council of the United States for the Orthodox Jewish community. This was a huge endeavor and these guidelines were a very important first step, although not a

practical guide for teachers. She procured a grant from the Mount Sinai Foundation and together with Dr. Woloski-Wruble converted the theoretical guidelines into a practical guide for teachers for grades six through twelve. After Dr. Debow’s return to Israel, she agreed to take on this project and then

well received apart from one person who objected to introducing sexuality into day schools.” Yeshiva University and its Center for the Jewish Future, founded the Tzelem initiative, headed by Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld that includes rabbinic leaders, and piloted the curriculum at the SAR Academy in Riverdale, NY and at Yeshivat Noam in Paramus, NJ. With YU backing, Dr. Debow was able to initiate training for teachers on how to implement the curriculum, and to date, after feedback and additions to the original material, Dr. Debow estimates that the curriculum is being used in dozens of day schools and yeshiva high schools all over the U.S. Dr. Debow emphasizes that “living in the 21st century in a society saturated by sexuality and sexual imagery, Yeshiva day school youth receive endless messages from the images around them, messages that are inconsistent with their traditional values.” If there’s no sexuality education from within the system, “children are left on their own

What’s hard is exactly the point you need to talk about subsequently secured funding from CAJE for grades 3-5, ultimately developing a comprehensive program for K-12, but they were still looking for a way to pilot the innovative curriculum outside Cleveland. The opportunity came when the Orthodox Forum, an annual one-day event sponsored by Yeshiva University dealing with a single topic of concern in the Jewish world, made the subject of “Gender Relationships in Marriage and Out” their topic for 2005. Dr. Debow presented a paper with Dr. Woloski-Wruble introducing her curriculum there and as she recalls, “it was

to process the cultural messages they are exposed to, and often by default these messages become the only “education” they receive about this topic.” Dr. Debow cites the importance of regular teachers as opposed to outside “experts” in teaching the curriculum: “We want the students to understand that these are acceptable normal topics for discussion that everyone deals with,” she explains. “Intimacy and sexuality are topics that everyone behind the scenes agrees are vital areas of education for the continuation of healthy Jewish traditional families and family values,” Dr. Debow | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 27

adds. “In practice, however, there is a lot of hesitation in actually addressing these issues. So in this area about which most children, and particularly teenagers, show curiosity and interest and about which the halacha has clear opinions, schools are often silent,” she says. Teens may also experience a gap between what little they are taught

need to talk about…the places where Modern Orthodoxy and secular culture meet,” says Dr. Debow. “Many modern orthodox teens believe that it’s an all or nothing situation,” Dr. Debow explains. “If they’re not educated properly and they do something in the realm of sexual contact that’s outside halachic parameters, then they think they may as well do

The curriculum is being used, not only in the United States, but all over the Jewish world about sex in Orthodox high schools and what they are exposed to in the world at large. Dr. Debow decries the fact that in more traditional circles, students equipped with little background on sexuality may marry in their late teens or early 20s. “It shouldn’t be happening,”—certainly not to legitimate a physical relationship, she adds. “By the time they’re 23, some of them are already overwhelmed,” she says. While, according to Dr. Debow, there are no easy solutions, the main objective should be to be open and honest and to differentiate between contemporary western morals and Jewish values. “What’s hard is exactly the point you

everything, and that’s when they get into trouble. There’s lots of guilt and it can affect future relationships.” In an ideal world, Dr. Debow believes that teenagers should develop alone and not be in dating relationships in their high school years. “They need to grow into themselves,” without the pressures of dealing with opposite sex relationships, she believes. On the other hand, the move in many communities toward total separation is not so healthy or realistic either, according to Dr. Debow. She believes that the modern orthodox community should be “establishing our own norms” to help kids form healthy relationships at the appropriate times.

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In Israel, there are currently a number of sex education resources. Israeli girls can take an optional bagrut (matriculation exam) on mishpacha and ishut (marital relationships). High school girls can enroll in optional workshops that address issues such as shmirat nigea (touching) and tzniut (modesty), but Dr. Debow is concerned about the lack of a centralized curriculum that includes teacher training for the sensitive task. She would love to find the funds to translate her original curriculum into Hebrew so the ideas and material could be used in the hundreds of National Religious state schools. As for the recent disturbing rise in Israel in some Haredi circles of “hadarat nashim”—exclusion of women—whose impact is also being felt in the larger society, and causing rifts between the ultra-orthodox and the rest of Israeli society, Dr. Debow believes that a strong intimacy education effort could make a difference here too. “We need to teach that modesty is a shared responsibility,” she states firmly. “Halacha defines what that is. Men are supposed to learn to control their impulses. Judaism is about mutual sexuality. Women are to be treated as serious human beings.” “We need to make sure our teenage boys do not see girls only as sexual objects—otherwise they’re no different than the very western society they’re seeking to reject.” A

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FLYING HIGH! From its very beginnings, Israel’s national airline has been intimately linked to the country’s development and history. In fact, EL AL could justly be called an important actor in Israel’s dramatic history. By Lili Eylon


n September 1948, only three months after the establishment of the State of Israel, the first inaugural flight of EL AL brought the new country’s first president, Chaim Weizmann, home from a Geneva conference. With no aircraft of its own as yet, the company actually had to convert a C-54 military transport plane. Furthermore, the feat could be accomplished only after the aircraft was outfitted with extra fuel tanks to enable a non-stop flight. (The first international flight from Tel Aviv to Paris on July 31, 1949, had to refuel at Rome.) It was only in April 1949 that to much acclaim the first acquired plane landed at Lod. In the beginning months, not Israeli but foreign pilots flew the company’s leased aircraft. The first to be flying under an Israeli flag, the entire fleet in the first two years

consisted of three DC-4 non-pressurized aircraft. When, in 1951, the first actual course in flight engineering was offered, the instructors were mostly American

Schwimmer joined the nascent Israel Air Force, after which he established an aircraft company that evolved to become the Israel Aircraft Industries. Schwimmer ran the company for over

Until 1960, half of the EL AL pilots were American Jews Jews. In fact, until 1960, half of the EL AL pilots were American Jews. To Al Schwimmer, a New York-born businessman with a World War II record as a flight engineer, goes much credit for Israel’s air power. After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Al

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20 years. Early on, he actually bought three Constellation planes for the Israel Air Force which were later acquired by EL AL. Convicted in an American court in 1950 for violating the Neutrality Act by smuggling planes to Israel during the 1948 War of Independence,

Baruch Shub, born in Vilna, Lithuania, had always dreamed of flying. As a teenager, his eyes still set on the sky, he first had to spend years battling the Nazis as a partisan fighter in European woods. Shortly after the end of World War II, in October 1945, Shub landed on Israel’s shores, and before long found himself a member of the burgeoning

Always prepared to meet emergencies with quick action

Israel Air Force. After work, he attended courses at the Technion, studying aeronautical mechanics. By the time he finished his army service, EL AL had already sprung into existence and Shub

Schwimmer was stripped of his civil rights, but not imprisoned. Fifty years later, he received a pardon from President Bill Clinton. Schwimmer died in Israel in June 2011, aged 94. From its very beginnings, EL AL has been a loyal client of Boeing, flying its models exclusively. In 1956, the old Constellations were substituted by the newer Bristol Britannias, which used turbines instead of propellers; EL AL was the airline, second in the world only to British Overseas Airways, to fly this plane. An important “first” was the 1958 non-stop New York-London flight which eliminated the stopover in Goosebay, Canada. That year, EL AL ran a once-only newspaper advertisement in the US media, featuring a picture of a “shrunken” Atlantic Ocean: (“Starting December 23, the Atlantic Ocean will be 20% smaller”) to promote its inauguration of non-stop transatlantic flights. This was a bold step; the airline industry had never used images of the ocean in its advertising because of the widespread public fear of airline crashes. The advertisement proved effective; within a year, EL AL’s sales tripled. Up to 1979, EL AL flew regularly twice a week to Teheran. It was at the height of Israel’s flowering commercial

relations with Iran. On those flights, half the plane was filled up by passengers, the other half by a different kind of passenger—tiny creatures sitting in boxes in the same cabins as the passengers: little yellow one-day chicks. Always prepared to meet emergencies with quick action, EL AL responded when needed to transport new immigrants to the country. Thus, on May 24, 1991, an EL AL Boeing 747 cargo plane airlifted Ethiopian Jews from Addis Ababa to Israel in the framework of Operation Solomon. Two babies were born during the flight. The plane carried twice as many passengers as it was designed for. In less than 36 hours, a total of 14,500 Ethiopian Jews were flown to Israel. Exactly 20 years later when, on May 23, 1911, a Greenland volcanic explosion darkened the skies with ash and most airlines suspended their flights, EL AL managed to bring Israelis home from foreign destinations so that they could celebrate Independence Day with family. These days, in addition to its regular flights, EL AL has inaugurated special day shopping trips to London and visits to newly accessible sites of religious importance in Eastern Europe (e.g. pilgrimages to the grave of the Baal Shem Tov in the Ukraine).

became one of its very first flight engineers and radio operators. Octogenarian Baruch Shub recalls that as a senior flight engineer, he flew for many years to South Africa once a week. There were many South Africanborn Israelis who frequently flew to visit their parents and vice versa. “One day, on a return flight home, over Kenyan skies, one of our motors broke down. What could we do? We flew on three motors to Eritrea where Air France gave us help in changing motors. One of the items we were carrying was a huge cake one loving mother in Johannesburg had prepared as a birthday present for her son in Israel. Alas! The heat of Eritrea melted the cake beyond recognition. The only thing to do with the mess was to throw it into the sea. On meeting the plane in Lod, the son inquired about the cake about which he had been informed earlier by his parents. When he learned its fate, he bemoaned it heartily—the cake had contained a gift of diamonds!” | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 31

World Recognition EL AL has been ranked by The International Air Transport Association as one of the world’s three most efficient air carriers and was named by Global Traveler magazine in 2008 as “the world’s most secure airline.” EL AL’s in-flight service manager Yigal Levy, noted that, “Years before 9/11, EL AL had instituted special safety measures:” passengers report for overseas flights three hours before departure; plainclothes agents and fully armed police or military personnel patrol the EL AL terminal premises around the world for explosives, suspicious behavior, and other threats; passengers and baggage are checked by a trained team; passengers are interviewed individually prior to boarding. At passport control, passengers’ names are checked against the FBI, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Scotland Yard, Shin Bet, and Interpol databases. Luggage is screened and sometimes hand searched.

Even at overseas airports, EL AL security agents, even if supervised by local government officials, personally conduct all luggage searches. All EL AL aircraft have been equipped with an infrared countermeasures system called Flight Guard, developed by Israeli Aircraft Industries to defend them against anti-aircraft missiles. “Every flight is different, individual, depending on the passengers,” Levy notes. “One of our seating problems is caused by the ultra-orthodox—about 40% of our clientele—men who will not sit next to a woman. Also, because of them, we are careful about the choice of our in-flight movies. We determine a special time and place for prayer, so it does not interfere with the serving of food. “Our best passengers,” says Levy “are unaccompanied children. It’s amazing how, when not with their parents, they are on their best behavior. When there are several children on a flight,

they just sit quietly and play games.” A unique surprise service is the “gift in the air.” A bar mitzvah boy flying with a parent may receive a box of chocolates ordered earlier by the parent, or a bride may, during her honeymoon flight, become the recipient of a surprise bottle of perfume from her new husband. It is not uncommon to hear the captain wishing a mazal tov on the loudspeaker. EL AL “is expecting.” In about two years, it hopes to add the new “baby” to its big bird family: Boeing 787, a state of the art “dreamliner.” According to Levy, this dreamliner is capable of flying non-stop from any point on the globe to any other point. Two such specimens are currently on order. With its 5,000 employees globally, 77 sales offices spread around the world and 37 well-appointed aircraft, EL AL, Israel’s national airline, continues to spread its sovereign wings skyward. A

In Good Times and Bad: EMUNAH and EL AL


MUNAH’s loyalty to Israel via EL AL is legendary. In good times, EMUNAH of America has filled its planes with missions during Jewish holidays, summer and winter vacations,

Yeshiva week breaks and short hops for visitors. In bad times— the Yom Kippur War, Operation Cast Lead, Lebanon and the intifadas, during which many individuals and groups cancelled trips to Israel because of the perceived danger, EMUNAH of America kept the airplanes aloft. The missions were in fact, greater in number, and no planned simchas were cancelled. EMUNAH’s Mission Department deserves many votes of thanks for its loyalty to Israel’s national airline. Our Mission Department recognizes, with thanks, the leadership of Danny Saadon, Vice President of EL AL Airlines of North and Central America, who oversees all operations throughout the region. During his four decades of EL AL service, he has ensured that EL AL embodies Israel’s values of innovation and the promise of a genuine Israeli welcome. “It’s not just an airline. It’s Israel,” says Danny. 32 | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | EMUNAH Magazine | | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 33


ISRAEL’S SILENT DEFENDER: AN INSIDE LOOK AT SIXTY YEARS OF ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE Edited by Amos Gilboa and Ephraim Lapid. Associate Editor Yachi Erlich Gefen Publishing and The Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center


eaders of Daniel Silva’s exciting fiction which follows the career of an Israeli intelligence operative in Europe will find the reality of this book instructive. Brigadier Generals (Res.) Gilboa and Lapid have compiled thirty-seven essays written by experts and leaders of Israeli intelligence, among them high-ranking analysts and J2s, commanders of human intelligence (HUMINT), signal intelligence (SIGINT), visual intelligence (VISINT) and open source intelligence (OSINT) units, and heads of the Israel Defense Intelligence (IDI), the Mossad and the Shabak. It widely acknowledged that, through its professionalism, daring and creativity, the Israeli Intelligence community has made important contributions to intelligence services around the world in the struggle against global terrorism. These essays explain what is not known, how it works, how it was built, what were the defining events in its history, its areas of activity, the secrets of its success and who the leaders and driving forces were. The essays trace the beginnings of the intelligence services, the Mossad, its vision and its reality, how information is gathered and analyzed and how it performed in past actions, i.e. The Six-Day War; The Yom Kippur War; Operation Entebbe; Aerial Attack on Iraq’s Nuclear Reactor; the Lebanese Arena and the Gaza Strip. One essay notes the dilemmas and challenges in fighting terrorism, and the challenged posed by Iran and its nuclear project, as well as the Battle for Hearts and Minds. This fascinating book was published in memory of the fallen heroes of Israel’s intelligence community, with profound appreciation for its founders—those who laid the groundwork for the security of the State of Israel.



abbi Schreiber, Senior Staff Chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, has provided a manual of guidelines for visiting hospital patients, the homebound elderly and shiva and bereaved family visits. He has developed his years of experience into compassionate and effective considerations for visitors and answers many questions that people are reluctant to ask about how to behave with people in trying circumstances. He is clear on what to say and what not to say, how to control body language and how best to express one’s sympathy while visiting the bereaved. This is a manual which clearly details how one can offer a caring presence which helps rather than imposes a burden on those receiving it. Each chapter lists the do’s and don’t’s of hospital and shiva visits and answers frequently asked questions. There are some surprises: “Do not wear perfume or cologne when visiting a patient;” “Limit your visit to 15 minutes;” “Never offer medical advice;” “Be courteous to the patient’s caregiver;” “Do not stand over the patient;” “Do not bring gifts to a shiva.” Bikur cholim, Rabbi Schreiber stresses, does not imply “helping” those in distress. It is, rather, reassurance that they are not alone, that there are people who listen to their concerns and will be with them in a difficult time. The Rabbi has written an important and sensitive manual for all of us to follow. It should be used as an educational tool in Jewish schools.

UNTIL THE DAWN’S LIGHT By Aharon Appelfeld Translated by Jeffrey M. Green. Shocken Books


haron Appelfeld has written another haunting masterpiece about Jewish displacement, accommodation and longing. The atmosphere he creates in this novel which takes place long before the Holocaust is all the more chilling for the reader who knows what the future will eventually bring. In his usual sparse style, he draws us into the menace and fear of Austrian Jews in the early 20th century. Some of his themes are familiar: the desire of Jews to shed traces of their tradi-

34 | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | EMUNAH Magazine |

tion and to assimilate and convert; the admiration for the Gentile’s physical strength and rootedness; the need to escape to a less hostile environment; and the longing and journey toward a haven in the east where Jews can live as Jews. The novel begins with the journey east of Blanca Hammer and her four-year-old son. She is escaping from five years of abuse from a brutal Gentile husband who is determined to knock the soft and weak Jewishness out of Blanca, traces of which he sees despite her conversion to Roman Catholicism. She has cut off ties with her family and is left with unbearable guilt. Four generations of Jews inhabit this novel to illustrate the road that many took in Austria: A traditional grandmother viewed as a lunatic who derides the apostates and warns them of eventual punishment; her son who has not yet converted but seeks to erase all traces of Jewishness; his daughter, Blanca, who left an academic career, converted and married a working-class Gentile out of compassion for his ignorance; and their son, whose destiny is still unknown by the end of the novel. This is a novel filled with the suspense of not knowing what the next moment will bring. The atmosphere is so chilling and meaningful to the Jewish reader that it took days for this reader to be able to pick up another book. The genius of Appelfeld is how he succeeds in drawing us into his obsession with the fate of European Jewry.



istorian Zev Golan has written the first complete English-language biography of Abraham Stern and the history of the Stern Gang (“Lehi”). It elucidates Stern’s ideas of “Revolutionary Zionism,” a revolution, he explained, rooted in Jewish history, and brings to life little-known Jewish armies and statecraft. It also includes the personal stories of some of the young men and women who went underground to fight British imperialism and create a new state, and examines what Israel thinks of them and their deeds today. Golan relates that in a history class at an American university—Yeshiva University—when asked about the Stern Group, the professor turned red and exclaimed, “They


were animals!” As the students knew little about the group, there was no controversy or clarification. A few months after this incident, Menachem Begin was elected Prime Minister of Israel and for the first time, Irgun and Stern Group veterans were recognized by the state as martyrs and accorded the status of heroes. In 1940, Abraham Stern decided the time was right to liberate the Promised Land from England, the occupiers, and a handful of followers founded a revolutionary militia and declared war on England. Before the war for independence ended in l948, Stern was dead, but thousands of Palestine’s Jews were fighting in three armies. Hundreds of Jewish fighters were killed, but so were British police and soldiers; dozens of trains had been derailed, banks had been robbed, buildings bombed and jails escaped from. On June 13, 2010, the anniversary of the founding of Lehi was commemorated at the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. Stern’s son spoke of his father’s “lighting the torch of liberty.” The light had not dimmed, he said, even after his death. The British were expelled and Jewish sovereignty reigned. When the land rested after the War of Independence, it ended the historic role of Lehi. “Lehi began in a tempest and now lives as a legend.” It is a legend worth reading about as it contributed blood and tears to independent Israel.



ith anti-Semitism on the rise today, the eminent social historian Gertrude Himmelfarb has chosen to research and analyze philosemitism, a word we have seldom encountered. Philosemitism is the appreciation of Jews and Judaism by others and a corrective to the common view of Jews as victims. She notes that England, the first country to expel the Jews in medieval times, has, in fact, produced the richest literature of philosemitism in modern times but regrets that today, it can no longer bask in that past glory. Himmelfarb hopes that this book will be uplifting in England and other countries and inspire Jews in their own faith. Himmelfarb believes that the resurgence of anti-Semitism is most ominous in England because it is so discordant, so” out of keeping

with the spirit of the country.” She points out that, although through the ages, anti-Semitism was the norm and philosemitism the exception, there was a period when the attitudes were reversed. Today it has again reversed itself and this book was written with the hope that once again, anti-Semitism will fall. This short book discusses English Jewish fictional heroes and heroines (i.e. Rebecca in Ivanhoe; Daniel Deronda), the case for political equality and toleration by various leaders (i.e. Winston Churchill), and traces evangelicism to Zionism. She cites conversations and writings in the public domain and actual dialogue leading to Balfour’s declaration of support for a Jewish state. One particularly fascinating conversation is between Balfour and Weizmann when the latter tells Balfour that, “we had Jerusalem when London was a suburb.” “If that is so,” Balfour tells him, “you will one day be a force.” This is an illuminating and fascinating book. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks called this work is testimony to hope at a time when we need it once again. “Hope,” says Himmelfarb, “is a Jewish virtue.”


AMERICA’S NAZI SECRET By John Loftus Reviewed by Cheryl Z. Rosenberg


Tacked onto a revised edition are three new undeveloped sections which reveal a brief, but terrifying history of the funding of yet another set of Nazis – Arab Nazis, today’s Muslim Brotherhood. First hired by our rich corporations that wished to protect their Saudi investments, these Wahhabists “became a fully integrated arm of the German intelligence and propaganda networks during WWII,”…specializing “in acts of terrorism and assassinations of Allied troops….” In 1948, the British paid the Arab Nazis to destroy the new state of Israel; the Dulles brothers sold them to “Eisenhower as a counterweight to the Arab Communists;” and the Robber Barons used them to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Today’s Muslim Brotherhood is father to Hamas and CAIR, its propaganda arm, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda, the Moslem Students Organization, and those responsible for the 9/11 tragedy. Loftus contends that our government is still protecting the Muslim Brotherhood today - for use in a future proxy war against the Russians or Shiites of Iran.

ost of us are aware of our government’s use of Nazi war criminals, but how many of us realize that proceedings and government offices which we tend to think of as untainted were corrupted? Such is the case, for example, with the Nuremburg Trials and the Attorney General’s Office. In America’s Nazi Secret, John Loftus has exhausted recently declassified files in order to name men at the highest levels of government who manipulated history with impunity. It is a grand tale of espionage, murder, and greed, replete with double and triple agents and the Soviets as our most dangerous nemesis. Behind these exploits lie not only a fear of the spread of Communism, but also the oil interests of the Robber Barons of Wall Street, who funded Hitler and Stalin, the Saudis and Shiites, all in the pursuit of profits. They were the Rockefeller, Dupont, Morgan, Walker, Bush, Kennedy, and Harriman families, and even the wealthy Dulles brothers, the CIA Director and Secretary of State under Eisenhower.


li Zborowski is well-known as an effective leader in the Jewish communal world where he has served with distinction. His contribution to Holocaust remembrance has gained him worldwide recognition. Perhaps the most outstanding among these endeavors was organizing the first Yom Hashoah commemoration in the United States in 1964—an event that has become institutionalized in almost every synagogue throughout the country. In l981, he founded The American & International Societies for Yad Vashem. He also spearheaded the Young Leadership Associates of the American Society for Yad Vashem to ensure remembrance in future generations. This book is the story of his life, tracing his life of leadership from the age of 14 when he joined the Jewish underground, serving as a courier to the ghettos in western Poland. It is a high-readable book and an inspiring one. | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 35

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Susan, Jamie and Amanda Edwards

united states


Chani & Lani Lichtiger

RUNNERS JOIN TEAM EMUNAH FOR ING MIAMI HALF MARATHON For the second consecutive year, Team EMUNAH ran at the ING Miami Half Marathon to raise funds for two of EMUNAH Children’s Homes in Israel. The marathon, which is a favorite of runners throughout the world, took participants through 13.1 miles of beautiful Miami scenery. With a total of 30 runners this year, Team EMUNAH was the only team which ran to benefit Israel. Lani Lichtiger from Englewood has been involved with Bet Elazraki’s children for several years after having spent summers volunteering at the Home. She found a way to stay connected to them and helped establish Team EMUNAH. “My focus was to stay engaged with this organization as a young adult. In its second year, we already more than double the number of runners from last year,” she proudly noted. This year, there were five two-generation groups running, making this a family run for a cause. Rhonda Aver, who ran together with her son and daughter, said “EMUNAH and running have been a part of my life for the past 20 years. I have run in the NYC Marathon twice and raised funds for EMUNAH and now to do it with my son and daughter was a real thrill! A parent’s proudest moment is when our children carry on our pursuits and passions into the next generation,” she commented. Teaneck resident, Elisa Wietschner and daughter Danielle ran with a personal cause close to their hearts. “We ran in memory of my father, Avi Blumenfeld z”l. His 3rd yahrtzeit was right before the race and I thought that raising money for the children of EMUNAH would be a wonderful way to honor his memory. Our family had been to Bet Elazraki for Danielle’s Bat Mitzvah and were really impressed. My daughter enjoys running and is involved in many acts of chesed so we linked the two and decided to run together to support EMUNAH,” said Elisa. Rivky Kreinberg & Ayelet Grajower, both students at Ma’ayanot, and who had volunteered during the summer at EMUNAH’s Bet Elazraki Children’s Home, ran on behalf its children. “These children are the most amazing people, even though they come from difficult backgrounds. Running in this marathon was just a small step that I could take to help better their future,” she said. Yehuda Safier, who is a member of Yeshiva University Cross Country Team, and a Teaneck resident, competed with other YU runners. “EMUNAH struck me as a unique and admirable organization, something which I wanted to contribute to. Joining Team EMUNAH, where I could combine my passion for running with this new found interest, seemed like the logical thing to do. Having many friends with similar interests led me to believe that they would want to join Team EMUNAH, as well. It turns out I was right,” he said. Once signed up for the event, which was coordinated by Ronnie Faber, Senior Development Associate, each participant received training calendars, nutrition advice, workshops in technique, and ongoing support and guidance. Team EMUNAH runners, having met their required sponsorship, then flew to Miami for the run -- and the experience of a lifetime! The camaraderie in the diversified group was wonderful. It was an “ageless” team, and yet they all came together to put their hearts and energies into helping EMUNAH’s children in need. Spending Shabbat together was a special experience. Team EMUNAH raised significant funds to benefit Bet Elazraki and Achuzat Sarah. We thank the participants for their time, energy, support and enthusiasm! We look forward to the next Team EMUNAH run at the ING Miami Half Marathon on January 27th, 2013. 38 | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | EMUNAH Magazine |


Susan Franco with Bet Elazraki girls

Susan Franco and Yehuda Kohn


Susan Franco and Rabbi Besser with 12th graders

YESHIVAH OF FLATBUSH PARTNERS IN CHESED For many high school students, the winter vacation week in January is a chance to travel to warm climates to unwind and relax, but for 44 students of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School on the 10th Annual Chesed Mission led by Rabbi Naftali Besser, the “vacation” was an active, non-stop itinerary of visits to disadvantaged children in EMUNAH facilities as well as to army bases, severely disabled children, wounded soldiers, children in hospitals, young women in shelters and elderly new immigrants. Together with Chesed Coordinators, Susan Franco and Rabbi Ronald Levy, Principal of the School, Rabbi Besser and his students bring much needed funding and chizuk to hundreds of individuals and families in Israel. His students are imbued with the sense of personal fulfillment that comes from going outside one’s own comfort zone to bring comfort and sustenance to others. These inspirational trips have become so popular that this spring will mark the 4th annual Parent, Couples and Alumni Chesed Mission. At Bet Elazraki this year, a special surprise awaited the group. A completely renovated and redecorated counselors’ room was unveiled in honor of Rabbi Besser and his wife Safreda, sponsored by the participants of the 2011 Couples Mission. In gratitude for her efforts on behalf of the children, Susan Franco was presented with a unique hand-made gift by the high school girls in the Home. Carol Finkel

YESHIVA WEEK MISSION The Annual Yeshiva Week Mission was packed with exciting unique tours led by the excellent tour guides for which EMUNAH is known. Fran Hirmes, EMUNAH National President, led the Mission. A few of the highlights: • A visit to Herod’s Temple at the Davidson Museum and Archeological Park, and the newly reconstructed Hurva Synagogue. • A tour of the Menachem Begin Museum in Jerusalem. • Swimming at the beautiful oasis on the shores of the Dead Sea and a visit to the ancient Ein Gedi Synagogue. • Trip to Masada, King Herod’s fortress and audio-visual presentation and tour of the excavations. • Visit to Hebron and the Me’arat HaMachpela to meet residents of the Jewish community. Extraordinary visit to the EMUNAH kitchen where 150 meals are prepared daily. • Visits to Efrat and Gush Etzion, stopping at Kever Rachel and the ancient synagogue at Bet Alpha to admire its amazingly well-preserved mosaic floor. On route, a stop at the Honey & Silk Farm at Shadmot Devora where we learned about honey and silk production. • A tour of the ancient synagogue at Mount Arbel, dinner and an overnight stay in Kibbutz Lavi. • A walking tour of the ancient city of Tzfat and a lesson on the ancient craft of sofer stam at Otzer HaStam. • “Dialogue in the Dark” at the children’s center in Holon where, by taking us through simulated daily activities in total darkness, we deepened our understanding of blindness. Number one highlight of all EMUNAH Missions is the visit to an EMUNAH project. Spending a day with the children of Bet Elazraki, our Children’s Home in Netanya, was a visit no one will ever forget. | EMUNAH Magazine | Spring/Summer 2012/5772 | 39


Ellen Toby Kaufman, Debbie Siman-Tov, Mindy Stein, Beverly Segal, Marty Segal, Fran Hirmes, Noa Attias, Adele Roffman, Carol Sufian


Fran Hirmes, Mindy Stein & Gladys Baruch

Debbie Siman-Tov, Fran Hirmes, Tema Klausner & Mindy Stein

WORLD EMUNAH CONVENTION At the recent World EMUNAH Convention in Israel, EMUNAH leaders from 28 countries gathered together to bond with other like-minded women from around the world who devote their energies to EMUNAH. EMUNAH of America was represented by Fran Hirmes, National President, Mindy Stein, Chairman of the Board, Gladys Baruch and Beverly Segal, Honorary National Presidents and Carol Sufian, Executive Director. The participants visited a few of EMUNAH’s 250 projects: high schools, teenage girls crisis centers, the Torah and Art High School, family therapy centers, day care centers -- including several special multipurpose centers, and Children’s Homes. Convention sessions were held at Jerusalem’s Crown Plaza Hotel and included lectures and discussions on a variety of topics: Israel and the Diaspora, Challenges of the Present and the Future, Issues Affecting Women, Can Religious Zionism be Defined? and the the Zionist Dream. Among the speakers at the various sessions and the gala dinner were former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, now Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Avraham Duvduvani, former Canadian Minister Irwin Cotler, World EMUNAH President Naomi Leibler, World EMUNAH Chairperson Dina Hahn, EMUNAH Israel Chairperson Liora Minka, Deputy Jerusalem Mayor David Hadari, Rabbanit Naomi Shapira, and Knesset Members Zevulun Orlev of Jewish Home and Tzipi Hotovely of the Likud parties. The highlight, which was at the Convention closing, was a round table discussion where ideas and suggestions were shared for the advancement of the organization.

Toby Willig, Ira Nosenuchuk, and Shmuel Ron, Director of Achuzat Sarah with a plaque recognizing the dedication by the Nosenuchuk Family for the Center for Special Studies – Educational Enrichment at Achuzat Sarah – in memory of Bracha Nosenchuk z”l and Asher Nosenchuk z”l


from Los Angeles enjoying a joyous bat mitzvah celebration with the girls of Bet Elazraki

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EMUNAH of America 7 Penn Plaza New York, NY 10001

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 632 Lebanon Junction, KY


Introducing the EL AL GlobaLY Program, a simple way you can help strengthen ties with Israel. Just join the Matmid Frequent Flyer Club and EL AL will donate the equivalent of 5% of the points you earn – solely at our expense – to several great charitable organizations. Each of these organizations, Taglit/Birthright, The Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Israel, helps bring deserving individuals from around the world to Israel. There is no charge to participate and existing members can also join in this great cause. Just visit and follow a few simple steps. And anyone who wants to become a Matmid Frequent Flyer can register for free on EL AL Facebook (ELALIsraelAirlinesUSA). Join today and help strengthen ties with Israel every time you fly EL AL.

We wish you a festive Holiday!


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EMUNAH Magazine Spring 2012  

EMUNAH Magazine Spring-Summer Issue

EMUNAH Magazine Spring 2012  

EMUNAH Magazine Spring-Summer Issue