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Volume XXI, Issue XXIII  | Serving Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts


29 Kislev 5776 | December 11, 2015

Temple Am David in receivership BY FRAN OSTENDORF fostendorf@jewishallianceri. org PROVIDENCE – A temporary receiver has been appointed for Temple Am David in Warwick. On Nov. 25, Theodore Orson, of Providence’s Orson and Brusini law fi rm, was appointed by the Kent County Superior

Court to preserve and protect the assets of the temple to maximize the benefit for creditors. Assets include the temple building, on Gardiner Avenue in Warwick, and sacred items, including eight Torahs. In many receiver situations, such as a company with a facAM DAVID | 2

5 questions to ask after San Bernardino BY URIEL HEILMAN JTA – Since last week’s mass shooting in the California city of San Bernardino, U.S. authorities have been piecing together what might have led Syed Farook and his wife, Tafsheen Malik, to gun down 14 of Farook’s colleagues at a holiday party for county health department employees. The attack raises a host of questions. Here are five to consider. 1. In Israel, armed civilians stop terrorist attacks. Should that be a model for America? Opponents of gun regulation argue that attacks like the one in San Bernardino, the Nov. 27 Planned Parenthood clinic shooting in Colorado and even the 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, demonstrate the need to have an SAN BERNARDINO | 23


Students mix challah dough and chat with friends at Brown RISD’s Challah for Hunger chapter.

Student bakers fight hunger with challah BY ARIEL BROTHMAN

When I was in college – which was not that long ago – a professor assigned us a video project wherein we had to show our interpretation of the city where we lived and attended school. I chose to contrast a series of starkly dark landscapes (the Canadian city was/is in an economic recession) against the warm and bright colors of the time I spent with friends. I fi lmed at two friends’ houses, where we spontaneously made food, danced and sang, and chased each other around the house with various kitchen utensils, laughing and shouting and falling the whole time. I still look back on that video fondly; there is no experience quite like making food with your friends. But there’s something even better than making food with your friends: making food with your friends for a good cause. That’s exactly what is taking place in the Brown


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RISD Hillel kitchen every Thursday evening. Challah for Hunger, a national initiative with a goal of providing food for the hungry in communities throughout the country, “brings people together to bake and sell challah to raise money and awareness for social justice” and “make[s] a difference  in the world  by investing  in the next generation of entrepreneurs, social activists, and philanthropists,” according to the group’s website. With 78 student-run chapters, young adults across the country are doing everything from mixing dough to selling the fi nished challot in their communities to raise money for the hungry. Proceeds from the sale of the 48 Kosher challot that the students bake every week are split between a national organization, which is chosen by Challah for Hunger, and a local organization chosen by each chapter. Challah for Hunger has selected the national CHALLAH | 3

Happy Hanukkah

2 | December 11, 2015




Arts 26 Business 27-29 Calendar 11 Classified 29 Community 2-6, 13, 22, 24, 37 D’Var Torah 7 Food 14-16 Hanukkah 17-21 Nation 12, 23, 33-34, 37, 39 Obituaries 32 Opinion 8-10 Seniors 30-31 Simcha | We Are Read 38 World 36

THIS ISSUE’S QUOTABLE QUOTE “The miracle story has an undeniably pacifist bent that cannot be ignored.”

tory, a building would be sold and its contents liquidated. But Am David presents a different kind of challenge for Orson, who has served as receiver in dozens of bankruptcy cases: Liquidating gets more complicated when you’re dealing with a religious, nonprofit organization with a long history in the community, as well as a house of worship that holds Torahs and such items as memorial plaques. “I want the community to know that this is going to be carried out with the utmost dignity and respect,” Orson said in an interview with The Voice. “Everything I do will be transparent.” Exhaustive efforts were made to avoid reaching this point. In a Voice article in August, Am David leadership said they had been trying to sell their building for months and had several interested parties but no offers. The building is currently listed with Thomas Sweeney of Sweeney Real Estate & Appraisal. There is no precedent for this in Rhode Island’s Jewish community, but Orson is looking into cases elsewhere. He said he’s early in that research process.

The Jewish Voice He is also getting advice from the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island to make sure that everything is done according to Jewish law. “I appreciate the Board of Rabbis’ willingness to meet on such short notice,” he said of a meeting he had with them the week after his appointment. “I wanted to bring issues to their attention. To get them thinking” about the important items. While the process moves forward, Orson said he would “prefer to keep the building open” so that the congregation can use it for services and activities. That will depend on securing property and liability insurance. For now, services and activities are happening as usual. What happens to the congregation at Am David is not an issue for the receiver – whether the congregation stays together is up to the members. As soon as he has had more time to do research and plan, Orson said he will schedule a meeting with the congregation to answer questions about the receivership process. When asked to comment, Beth Veltri, president of the congregation, referred The Voice to Orson. FRAN OSTENDORF is editor of The Jewish Voice.

Stamps project grows again BY JEWISH VOICE STAFF The latest Holocaust Stamps Project postage stamps collage was recently completed by students at Foxborough Regional Charter School in Massachusetts, according to Charlotte Sheer, founder of the project. It is the 11th in a planned series of 18 artworks. Two more are in-progress and three more collages have been designed for students to begin during the 2015-16 school year. This work, “Music is a Dream,” includes two dove stamps. Each collage has at least one dove stamp to stress the importance

of peace among people everywhere. The Holocaust Stamps Project collects canceled postage stamps, especially those from holiday mail. Send them to the students collecting them at Foxborough Regional Charter School, 131 Central St., Foxboro, Mass. 02035. Begun in 2009, the collection now boasts a total of 6,611,519 stamps, 60 percent of the goal to amass 11 million as a visual metaphor for the 11 million lives needlessly thrown away during the Holocaust.

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December 11, 2015 |



CHALLAH organization Mazon, which, according to its website, “works to ensure that hungry people have access to nutritious food today and demands government policies assure no one goes hungry tomorrow.” The other half of the proceeds goes to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Katherine Boorstein and Roy Chen, the two students currently in charge of Brown RISD’s Challah for Hunger chapter, inherited the task from their predecessors, who first brought the group to the Hillel kitchen. When I reached out to the group a few weeks ago to see if I could come to an upcoming baking session, Boorstein warned that they weren’t expecting a large number of bakers since it was final-exam time at Brown. So it was a pleasant surprise to both Boorstein and Chen that most of the regulars came ready to bake. The bakers broke into two groups, and the work and conversation began. It came up more than once that baking was a great way to blow off steam and to catch up with friends. Measuring, mixing and kneading, they discussed which classes they had taken and which they were excited to take, the idea of being “super Jewish” versus “not even that Jewish,” their favorite challah flavors, and anything else people talk about. It was a relaxed environment where students could hang out, talk about life and give back to the community. In any case, it doesn’t matter here how Jewish you are since the group welcomes people of all backgrounds. “The national organization was founded on the values of tzedakah and giving,” explains Boorstein, “and this is a way to extend those values beyond the walls of Hillel.” Chen, who isn’t Jewish, says that this was his first point of contact with the Jewish world. “[A few years ago], a former Hillel employee offered to teach me Hebrew once a week. And that went on for, like, a year and a half.” He smiles and adds,


Natalie Roe,baking manager, and another participant, right, work on dough before braiding.

Before braiding their chocolate chip challot, the students put the chocolate chips into each of the three strands used to braid. “Where else would that happen?” Boorstein and Chen say most of their clients are students and faculty who stumble upon their sales, and they also sell challah to a number of committees on campus as well as to Hillel for its Shabbat dinners (which take place every Friday and are free!). “We like to poke our noses

into everything,” says Boorstein, smiling. The group produces regular and chocolate chip challot every week, plus a special flavor chosen by the group’s baking manager, Natalie Roe, who is also a student. This week, the flavor was masala, but in the past it has been cinnamon bun, sundried tomato and Nutella. If you’re in need of challah

Katherine Boorstein and Roy Chen, the two students in charge, measure ingredients for challah dough. and want to support a great cause, stop by the bake sale every Friday at noon in the Blue Room in Brown’s Student Center, 75 Waterman St., in the Stephen Robert Campus Center in Faunce House. Make sure to

come early – they usually sell out! ARIEL BROTHMAN is a freelance writer who lives in Wrentham, Mass. She was the summer intern at The Jewish Voice in 2012.

Just because you’re too far to hear the ambulance sirens, doesn’t mean you’re too far to help. When you support Magen David Adom, it’s like you’re sitting in the ambulance next to the driver, sharing in the mitzvah of saving lives. As Israelis face terror attacks and other emergencies, MDA medics are counting on you to ensure they have the equipment and training they need. As we celebrate Chanukah, please give the gift of life, and make your year-end tax-deductible donation today. AFMDA New England PO Box 600714 Newton, MA 02460 Tel 617.916.1827 l

4 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice Co-Board Chairmen Joseph Sieber and Jonathan Leffell. Other distinguished guests included FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir and his wife, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Gila Klifi-Amir; Consul General of Israel to New England Yehuda Yaakov; Mass. state Reps. Joseph McKenna, R-Webster, and Steve Howitt, R-Seekonk, and his wife, Pam; RI state Sen. Elaine Morgan, R-Hopkinton, and RI state Reps. Michael Chippendale, R-Foster, and Justin Price, R-Exeter; NH state Rep. Frank Edelblut, R-Hillsborough; Fall River

(Mass.) Mayor Jasiel Correia; Associate Mass. Superior Court Justice Hon. Kenneth

J. Fishman; Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston President Barry




Israeli shaliach (emissary) Gilor Meshalum, left, Alyse Teitelbaum, center, and Yehuda Fishaut at last years’ FIDF event.

New Englanders gather to support Israeli soldiers BOSTON – Some 1,200 people from throughout New England gathered Nov. 11 for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) New England Region Annual Dinner at the Westin Waterfront Hotel. The dinner – which has become one of the local Jewish community’s largest events – is a highlight of the yearlong campaign to raise more than $4 million to support well-being and educational programs for Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers amid the tense security situation in Israel. Featured at the dinner were active-duty and former IDF soldiers, including Sgt. Emma, who serves in the IDF’s Military Police Corps; Staff Sgt. (Res.) Elle, a Lone Soldier and combat paramedic, who was one of the few female soldiers to enter Gaza during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge;

Staff Sgt. (Res.) Sahar, who was awarded a Chief of General Staff Citation for his outstanding gallantry in battle in that conflict; and FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program recipient Sergeant Major (Res.) Golan, whose college education is being sponsored by two former FIDF IMPACT! scholarship recipients. “FIDF is committed to supporting the well-being of Israel’s brave men and women in uniform – especially in these trying times,” said FIDF New England Executive Director Bruce Mendelsohn. “Israel fights terrorism every day and these soldiers keep Israel safe. We are honored to share their stories, to celebrate their service, and to express our appreciation for their sacrifices.” Hosting the dinner were long-term FIDF New England Board Members and

CONTRIBUTORS Leah Charpentier BouRamia Arial Brothman Seth Chitwood Stephanie Ross EDITORIAL CONSULTANTS Irina Missiuro Judith Romney Wegner DESIGN & LAYOUT Leah Camara



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Shrage; and Hon. H. Russell Taub. “This dinner has grown over the past decade to fill the Westin Grand Ballroom for the second consecutive year,” said Sieber, adding, “Our program this year highlights and thanks the soldiers to whom Israel owes it strength.” Funds raised at this event will go toward FIDF educational and well-being programs for IDF soldiers, including the FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program.

THE JEWISH VOICE (ISSN number 15392104, USPS #465-710) is published bi-weekly, except in July, when it does not publish. PERIODICALS Postage paid at Providence, R.I. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Jewish Voice, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence, RI 02906. PUBLISHER The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, Chair Sharon Gaines, President/CEO Jeffrey K. Savit, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence, RI 02906. Phone: 401-421-4111 • Fax 401-331-7961 MEMBER of the Rhode Island Press Association

COPY DEADLINES: All news releases, photographs, etc., must be received on the Wednesday two weeks prior to publication. Submissions may be sent to: ADVERTISING: We do not accept advertisements for pork or shellfish. We do not attest to the kashrut of any product or the legitimacy of our advertisers’ claims. All submitted content becomes the property of The Voice. Announcements and opinions contained in these pages are published as a service to the community and do not necessarily represent the views of The Voice or its publisher, the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.


December 11, 2015 |

3/4th Graders proudly show off their blanket

Fleece blanket project puts tzedakah to work BY DORI ADLER



Program Facilitator, Barbara Dwares, holds all the completed fleece blankets that will be donated to the animal shelter States, the teachers and students, worked together to make two-sided fleece-tie blankets, to be donated to the Cranston Animal Shelter. With the help of the programs’ facilitator, Barbara Dwares, excited and hard-working students picked out their special fleece fabric design, cut and tied the soft materials together into warm, cuddly blankets for the cats and dogs that live temporarily in the shelter. Many students took extra care and created special hiding places for smaller animals to curl

up inside the blanket. The blankets were taken to the Cranston Animal Shelter the following week. The Cohen School students were happy to support the shelter, which provides a safe haven for the animals and helps fi nd them loving, lifelong homes. Through this mitzvah, they provided comfort to the animals during a difficult time. DORI ADLER is education director of the Cohen School at Temple Torat Yisrael.

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Feeding the hungry, being kind to others, taking care of the earth – these acts of kindness are valuable Jewish traditions. Helping animals – tsar baalei chaim (prevention of cruelty to animals) – is also a very important Jewish value/mitzvah. The Cohen Schools’ Community Tzedakah Program, on Nov. 15, focused on teaching the Torah’s value of showing kindness to animals. Students got a handson experience in accepting the responsibility and importance of caring for other living things as members of the Jewish community. In honor of “National Animal Shelter Week,” a program of the Humane Society of the United


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The Jewish Voice

Teens gather with Holocaust survivors to celebrate ‘A Shabbat to Remember’


PROVIDENCE – BBYO teens from New England, the BBYO region serving Jewish teens in Rhode Island and Eastern Massachusetts, hosted 60 members of the local Jewish community at BBYO’s Global Shabbat, themed “A Shabbat to Remember.” The event took place Nov. 6-7 at the Dwares JCC. Among the participants were two Holocaust survivors, two of their friends, and Paula Olivieri, from The Holocaust Education and Resource Center of Rhode Island. The survivors shared their stories of struggle and perseverance, just days before the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht as the teens in attendance embraced the great responsibility of passing down these personal accounts. “Being a holy day and a day of peace and rest, meeting with Holocaust survivors was a wonderful experience. Hearing their stories about the struggles they went through and the joy they experience today with family, friends and other Jews makes you think about how lucky we are that we are alive and can practice our religion freely” said Reuben Kittrell, age 17, of Holliston (Mass.) High School. “They were so happy, listening to us and hearing about our daily living and all the great

Participants in “A Shabbat to Remember”. things we are able to do as Jewish youth. Meeting with the survivors made my Shabbat the day of peace and rest beyond wonderful. It was an experience full of joy and happiness I could not have asked for a better experience on Shabbat,” he said. “Sitting with the survivors was such a memorable and unique experience,” said Sonia Richter, age 15, of Classical High School in Providence. “Not everyone gets to eat dinner with people who inspire Jews worldwide. These survivors endured so much and are now able to celebrate what was initially taken away from them, their right to being Jewish. It was such an amazing night.” This event not only happened on the local level in Providence, but on the global level across 15 countries: Argentina, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croa-

tia, Denmark, Israel, Latvia, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay and the United States. Survivors had the opportunity to be inducted into BBYO as honorary members of the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA) and B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG), BBYO’s high school leadership fraternity and sorority, symbolically giving them the opportunity to relive their childhood. In advance of Global Shabbat, BBYO’s International Teen presidents issued a statement: “With ‘A Shabbat to Remember,’ we aim to create celebratory and open spaces so that survivors can share their stories. As the last generation to have the opportunity to hear from these survivors, it is our responsibility to make the most of this gift so that we will never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust

or the lessons of strength and perseverance of the Jewish people.” The presidents are Colin Silverman, 91st Grand Aleph Godol (International President) of AZA, and Lauren Keats, 71st International N’siah (International President) of BBG. “A Shabbat to Remember” was first introduced in July at BBYO’s International Kallah where eight Holocaust survivors joined an international community of hundreds of teens in learning, singing and dancing. Throughout the weekend, the teens had the opportunity to hear the survivors’ stories and to commit to share them with future generations. The Global Shabbat celebrations in Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and around the world were a continuation of this meaningful experience. BBYO is the leading plural-

istic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in meaningful Jewish experiences. For more than 90 years, BBYO’s leadership programs the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA, high school fraternity) and the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG, high school sorority) have been providing exceptional leadership programs and identity enrichment experiences, shaping the confidence and character of more than 400,000 alumni who are among the most prominent figures in business, politics, academia, the arts and Jewish communal life. Now, BBYO’s network of Jewish teens, alumni, parents, volunteers and philanthropists serves as the Jewish community’s most valuable platform for delivering to the post Bar/Bat Mitzvah audience fun, meaningful and affordable experiences. With year-round activities in hundreds of local communities and inspiring worldwide travel experiences, BBYO’s broad program menu enables teens to explore areas of leadership, service, civic engagement, Israel education and Jewish values. SAMANTHA WALSH, MSW, is regional director of BBYO New England. For more information, please contact her at 401-490-1030 or swalsh@bbyo. org.


December 11, 2015 |


Exploring the lessons of Hanukkah The standard religious school lesson teaches that we celebrate Hanukkah because although there was only enough oil in the Temple for one day, this tiny amount of oil burned for 8 days, and thus we celRABBI ebrate by lighting candles SARAH for eight days. MACK Neither Maccabees 1 or 2 however, makes any mention of oil. Originally the holiday was a late observance of Sukkot, the eight-day harvest festival celebrated in the fall. Observance continued in later years to commemorate the military victory. The topic of Hanukkah does not arise again in Jewish texts until the time of the Talmud, several hundred years later, when the question is raised “What is Hanukkah?” The rabbis answer in a manner that nearly ignores the military victory of the Maccabees centuries earlier. It is here that the story of the miracle of the oil is constructed. The Maccabees entered the decimated Temple and found one small cruse of oil, enough to last only one day. That small amount of oil lasted for eight days, following which a festival was appointed

to celebrate this miracle. The rabbis’ attempt to disguise the original basis of military victory for the holiday was based in their desire to discourage rebellion in their own time. While the story of the “Hanukkah miracle” contrived by the rabbis of the Talmud is certainly compelling, the importance of emphasizing human accomplishment as a partner to divine intervention also is meaningful. Likewise, the miracle story has an undeniably pacifist bent that cannot be ignored. The rabbis’ message echoes the words of the prophet Zechariah, that we read as our haftarah Dec. 12, “Not by might and not by power, but by My spirit.” (Zechariah 4:6) Hanukkah is the celebration of human triumph over religious persecution. The holiday teaches us to rejoice over the presence of the divine light found even at the darkest time of the year. It reminds us (as if we needed a reminder) of the toll of war and the value of peace. Hanukkah teaches us to appreciate our own freedom and reminds us of our responsibility to act justly to secure the human and religious rights of those who are oppressed. From the events in Paris, Mali and Beirut to the recent shooting in San Bernardino, the past few weeks have been fi lled with

much suffering and heartbreak. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks teaches, “There always were two ways to live in a world that is often dark and full of tears. We can curse the darkness or we can light a light, and as the Chassidim say, a little light drives out much darkness.” As we complete our celebration of Hanukkah may the Jewish values we cherish impel us to share the light – bringing peace to our own community and to the world. SARAH MACK is rabbi at Temple Beth-El, Providence and president of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island.

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Elton said the visit “highlighted the good relations between the different faith groups in Australia.” “For decades The Great Synagogue has welcomed the leaders of the nation,” the rabbi said. “We were honored to do so again. We understand the significance of this visit as a sign of respect for the Jewish community.” The congregation dates back to 1828, 40 years after British colonists fi rst came to Australia.

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SYDNEY (JTA) – Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Australia attended a Shabbat service at the Great Synagogue of Sydney. Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife were met at the gates by the synagogue’s chief minister, Rabbi Benjamin Elton. Following the service, the couple conversed with congregants. “Their Excellencies had wanted to visit for some time, and the synagogue was honored to welcome them to the Shabbat service,” a spokesman for the synagogue said.

The Miriam Hospital wishes you and your loved ones a joyous Hanukkah.

8 | December 11, 2015


’Tis the season When I was working at daily newspapers, we used to have an unspoken competition to see who would write the first “ ‘Tis the season’  ” headline. Trite and predictable, nonetheless, in a headline writer’s world it was one of those must-bewritten seasonal lines. Never before Thanksgiving, though! The key was its judicious use. In those days of huge Thanksgiving papers, fat with advertising for this sale and that special, it was difficult to put out a special EDITOR section without more than one FRAN “  ‘Tis the seaOSTENDORF son” headline. But we had editors who made sure that didn’t happen. I never thought I’d write another headline like that while working for a Jewish newspaper. But here I am …. Why? We associate those three words with specific non-Jewish winter holidays. But living in the United States, we really can’t get around the fact that these holidays touch us all. Advertising hits us. Walk around your neighborhood, and you see twinkling lights or candles in many windows. Most stores have been celebrating the season since before Thanksgiving. And in our public institutions, the sounds and symbols of the season are in evidence everywhere. How do we deal with all this input? This is a question that I’ve wrestled with since I was a child growing up in a not-veryJewish neighborhood, attending a public school where I was the exception rather than the rule. Make no mistake: I was raised in a Jewish household. Religious school was a requirement. At this time of year, our family menorah was a source of constant fascination since it looked like it could have held oil at one time. There was no Christmas tree masquerading as a Hanukkah bush. Santa was a jolly actor at the local depart-

ment store. We did enjoy our neighbors’ holiday light displays, but I don’t ever remember any discussion of why that didn’t happen at our house. A really big treat was an invitation to help a friend decorate their Christmas tree. That was fun for anyone. During Hanukkah, we got eight small gifts. It was fun but no big deal. Often there was lined notebook paper and a new box of Crayolas in the bunch. My mother made delicious latkes. In school I participated in chorus, as did my sister. There was a wide range of music, including Hanukkah songs. And we sang with little regard for the words. We participated because that was what we signed on to do. We enjoyed the music. I suppose we could have opted out had we found any of it offensive. But the group depended on our voices. And we learned to appreciate alternate ways of thinking. Our parents impressed on us that we had made a commitment to sing, just as they made sure we knew we were Jewish. We are a country that mandates separation of church and state. There are many schools of thought about how far this should go. I’ve heard the outrage regarding school choirs singing religious carols at the State House. Several years ago, when the governor tried to call the tree on display something other than a Christmas tree, he was held up to ridicule that continues to this day. These protests come from people of many religions. Instead of getting upset, perhaps we should look at this from a different perspective and focus on the fact that we are experiencing different customs, cultures and religions. We all benefit from getting to know our neighbors and their customs. Shouldn’t we be slow to be offended by other’s religious activities? Freedom of religion in this country is why so many came to the United States. It’s why we feel safer here than in many countries. As a minority perhaps we should learn from others’ religious celebrations. If you are strong in your own beliefs, what could it hurt?

Errata In Gerald Sherman’s Nov. 13 article, “Reminiscing about Jewish military life,” he reports that he mistakenly discharged himself from the Air Force in February 2001 rather than February 1971. We apologize for the error.

OUR MISSION The mission of The Jewish Voice is to communicate Jewish news, ideas and ideals by connecting and giving voice to the diverse views of the Jewish community in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, while adhering to Jewish values and the professional standards of journalism.

The Jewish Voice

On the varieties of Jewish experience Some years ago, my wife Sandy began to research her family history with the aid of a good friend, an accomplished amateur genealogist. During the course of his investigation, h e  a l e r t e d Sandy to a 1920 cenform IT SEEMS sus for La JudeTO ME ria, the Jewish section o f  R h odes, RABBI JIM where Sandy’s ROSENBERG m o t h e r  w a s born into the island’s close knit  Ladino-speaking Sephardic community. Aron Hassan, founder of the Rhodes Jewish Historical Foundation, emailed us a copy of the document, which appeared to include the names of several members of Sandy’s family. Unfortunately, I had great difficulty deciphering what I took to be the Hebrew script. So I brought the copy to my study partner, Rabbi Moshe Laufer of Barrington’s Chabad House, to see if he might be able to help me. After an hour or so of intense scrutiny, we concluded that whoever filled out the document did not know how to write Hebrew script correctly. Every single Aleph, for example, looked like a misshapen Lamed. Moshe and I were both wrong. The form had not been completed in badly written Hebrew but rather in properly written Solitreo, a cursive form of Hebrew script used in transcribing Ladino, the language spoken by Sephardic Jews in the Ottoman Empire after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. I had spent my entire life immersed in the Jewish world, and I had never seen the Solitreo script until I was in my late sixties. It turns out that there is much that I never knew about the language of Ladino, despite the fact that I have been married for 48 years to a woman whose mother’s native tongue was Ladino. In mid-November, Sandy and I had the opportunity to deepen our knowledge and appreciation of Ladino culture; we spent an intense weekend at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, as participants in a program on

“The Rise and Fall of LadinoSpeaking Jews” under the able leadership of Devin Naar, assistant professor of history at the University of Washington in Seattle. During the course of four lectures, Naar traced the rise and flourishing of Ladino culture, especially in the Balkans, Greece and western Turkey, a vital part of the relatively stable and long-lived Ottoman Empire (1299-1923). Naar went on to demonstrate how Ladino culture declined along with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Tragically, the Nazis destroyed those Jews who remained in Greece between the wars, while the Ladino-speaking population of American and Canadian Jews – at its peak, about 50,000 – has

“… sit beneath our vines and our fig trees with none to make us afraid.” greatly diminished as a result of the relatively benign process of assimilation. Sandy and I learned from Naar’s lectures that Ladino – also called Judeo-Spanish, Judezmo, and Djudio – is, at its core, Castilian Spanish; however, perhaps 20 percent of its vocabulary is based upon Hebrew. While Ladino is written in its cursive form in Solitreo, it is printed in Hebrew Rashi script. By way of contrast, Yiddish is based upon the German language, with a percentage of Hebrew words similar to what is found in Ladino; it is both printed and written in the more recognizable form of the Hebrew alphabet. At the high point of Ladino culture, about 500,000 Sephardic Jews in the Ottoman Empire spoke the language; compare this with 15 million Ashkenazic Jews who at one time all spoke Yiddish. Perhaps this huge discrepancy in numbers explains why Ladino has produced no writers of the caliber of Sholem Aleichem, I.L. Peretz, or I.B. Singer. Then again, it could be that since so little Ladino literature has been translated, Ladino works of genius are yet to be discovered. On the Saturday morn-

ing of our immersion into Ladino culture, news of the horrific ISIS attacks in Paris interrupted our tranquility. “PARIS TERRORIST ATTACKS KIILL OVER 10 0, F R A NC E DE C L A R E S STATE OF EMERGENCY” was the banner headline in the Nov. 14 issue of The New York Times. Beneath the banner headline were three interrelated front-page stories: “Bursts of Chaos and Horror, Once Again.” “Series of Shots and Blasts, Apparently Coordinated” and “Inside Sold-Out Concert Hall, A Siege and a Scene of Carnage.” On that very same morning that we were trying to process the events in Paris, we participants in the program on Ladino culture were learning that the Jews in the Ottoman Empire were living for centuries in relative peace and harmony within a largely Muslim population. Indeed, Salonika (Thessaloniki), the largest Ladino-speaking community, was known as the “Jerusalem of the Balkans.” By the early 20th century, Salonika was home to as many as 90,000 Sephardic Jews, roughly half of the city’s population. The essentially quiet character of the history of Ladinospeaking Jews in the Ottoman Empire belies the insistence, in some quarters, that Muslims have always been infected with anti-Semitism. Jewish experience in the Diaspora has been widely variable. At times, Muslims have been the tolerant ones, while Christians have been murderously intolerant. At other times, the situation has been reversed. The history of Ladino-speaking Jews in the Ottoman Empire teaches us that once again Jews and Muslims may learn to live together in peace. Make no mistake: we need to defeat the barbarians of ISIS; but let us look beyond the defeat of ISIS to a time when all the children of Abraham – Jews, Christians and Muslims – will, to paraphrase the words of the prophet Micah, “sit beneath our vines and our fig trees, with none to make us afraid.” JAMES B. ROSENBERG is rabbi emeritus of Temple Habonim in Barrington. Contact him at


The Jewish Voice publishes thoughtful and informative contributors’ columns (op-eds of 500 – 800 words) and letters to the editor (250 words, maximum) on issues of interest to our Jewish community. At our discretion, we may edit pieces

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December 11, 2015 |


After San Bernardino, don’t let fear change our daily routines


NEW YORK (JTA) – With the recent shooting in San Bernardino, television and social media have yet again brought images of fatalities and injuries and the grief of those directly affected into our homes. For many Americans, and in particular the Jewish community, the constant streaming of these images may cause a diminished sense of security, a demoralized public and reduced confidence in the ability of our community to remain resilient in the face of ongoing attacks. With Hanukkah beginning this week, and with it many public celebrations across the country, individuals may seek to change their routines, modify their behavior or alter their perspective, to remain safe and secure. In Boston, the marathon bombing led an entire city to shut itself down. In Brussels, an entire western European capital shuttered its stores, schools, houses of worship and government facilities, bringing everyday life to a virtual halt. While the American public

may change the way it views and assesses its priorities, we must remind ourselves that loss of life, injury and property damage are often the least ambitious of the objectives of many terrorist organizations. The greatest impact that terrorists seek is to strategically erode our public morale. The 24/7 news cycle – where terrorist attacks are breaking news, footage is played again and again, and victims and relatives are interviewed constantly – sensationalizes the incidents. This is enhanced by the ability of social media not only to amplify the impact and message of terrorist organizations, but also convey them to larger than ever audiences. Given this, homeland security strategies must address the psychological factor of terrorism. If a terrorist organization believes that its attack on a particular community is not likely to create mass chaos and fear, it may have less reason to devote resources to such an attack. Citizens who are immunized against the psychological influ-

ence of attacks have a greater ability to resist such manipulation. Fear and anxiety can be prevented. Homeland security efforts are enhanced by including a component to offset the psychological impact of terrorism. Adequately preparing our communities and the general public at large for the terrorist threat is essential to maximize not only the public’s confidence in their ability to weather a crisis, but also to understand the psychological manipulations of the terrorists and counter them by controlling their reactions to terrorist incidents. In other words, strengthening the resilience of the American Jewish community should be a key goal in any homeland security strategy that aims to deter terrorist attacks and minimize the traumatic impact on the community in the event of an attack. In that vein, timely and honest public messaging from senior officials is more critical today than ever and has become a fundamental pillar of our collective security efforts, not only

informing citizens through credible information sharing but empowering them through trust, transparency and assurance. Empowerment comes through knowledge, awareness and better understanding of how to mitigate risk and threats to our communities and institutions. The Secure Community Network, working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been concentrating on efforts that strengthen the endurance of our communities, and working to counterbalance terrorists’ manipulation of public opinion. Through training, information sharing and testing our response and emergency management protocols we are empowering our community. Through knowledge comes power. Through preparation comes resolve and confidence. Our efforts – working together – not only reduce the level of fear and anxiety that some may experience in our communities, but make us safer and more secure. The American Jewish community must accept the reality

that at times it may be targeted, but at the same time Jews must not allow their daily routines to be redefined by fear and cannot allow their religious identities to be destroyed by terror. They must remain informed, and by doing so be stoically vigilant and alert. Through SCN, and with the leadership and support of The Jewish Federations of North America, we’re leading a national homeland security effort to ensure vigilance is eternal and our communities and neighborhoods can remain safe from harm. We’re building a culture of awareness, not a community of fear. In doing so, we’re protecting our families, friends, neighbors and our way of life. PAUL GOLDENBERG is the national director of the Secure Community Network, the official homeland security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Rumors of local terrorist threats are no more than that for now BY MARTY COOPER Since 9/11, Rhode Islanders have been concerned about any form of terrorism striking our state. Our community has changed from complacent and free, to vigilant and concerned. The recent San Bernardino, California, terrorist attacks as well as mass shootings like the one in Colorado Springs, Colorado, have raised our concerns for a safe and secure Rhode Island. The Jewish community

has been on high alert and in contact with local and national law enforcement agencies. We also receive emails when situations arise from the AntiDefamation League (ADL) and bulletins from the Secure Community Network (SCN). On an ongoing basis, the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island is in contact with law enforcement agencies such as the Providence Police Department’s Homeland Security Division as well as the Fusion Center, which monitors terrorist and related concerns

for the state. The Fusion Center includes representatives from the Providence Police Department, FBI and the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. As of Dec. 8, we have been told by various law enforcement agencies in the state that there are no immediate signs pointing to terrorist-related situations in Rhode Island. A recent rumor that a person identified as being on a terrorist watch list was seen at the Alex and Ani City Center ice rink in

Providence was investigated by the Providence Police Department and other law enforcement agencies and found not to be substantiated. Since the Paris and Copenhagen attacks, security awareness and training have been increased in our Jewish community. Police departments have been asked to increase drive-by patrols. Police details, where one or more members of the police department patrol the parameters of a facility hosting an event, have been

significantly increased. This included the recent Evening of Jewish Renaissance as well as the Mitzvahs and Miracles Hanukkah program at the Dwares JCC. While training and a police presence are important and essential, it is even more important to be vigilant. If you see something, say something and report it to the proper authorities. MARTY COOPER is director of the Community Relations Council at the Jewish Alliance.

Republican presidential hopefuls make their pitch to GOP Jews BY SARAH WILDMAN WASHINGTON (JTA) – In carefully tailored stump speeches that ranged in tone from apocalyptic to chummy, all but one of the Republican presidential candidates showed up in an attempt to woo Jewish voters. Many of the speeches at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum, held Dec. 3 at the Ronald Reagan Building downtown DC, focused on the threat of “radical Islamic terror,” emphasized their disapproval for the recently negotiated nuclear deal with Iran, and took direct aim at Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. For decades, the Republican Jewish Coalition has had as its mission bridging the divide between a conservative party and

a moderate constituency, U.S. Jews. Since the late 1990s, when casino magnate Sheldon Adelson became the group’s most generous funder, it has taken on his passions – for instance, embracing a hawkish pro-Israel stance. The daylong forum began with a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting that killed 14 a day earlier in San Bernardino, California, and prayers for the survivors and those who had lost loved ones. The killings are thought to have been carried out by a husband-and-wife pair inspired by the so-called Islamic State. The massacre “underscores we are at a time of war,” said U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the first candidate to address the crowd. “This nation needs a wartime president to defend it.” When it came time for Donald Trump to speak, the real estate

mogul turned Republican frontrunner, who has long traded in conspiracy theories about Obama, told the crowd: “We have a president who refuses to use the term” – referring to  «radical Islamic terrorism.» Trump then added,  «There’s something about him we don’t know about.” Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said, “This president and his former secretary of state cannot call it what it is: Islamic terrorism,” referencing Clinton, who preceded Kerry as America’s top diplomat. “[Islamic terrorists] have declared war on us, and we need to declare war on them.” Among the candidates to take the stage, only New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made a point  to distinguish between mainstream Muslim-Americans and radical jihadists, noting his own pushback when one of his

appointed judges was falsely accused of practicing traditional Islamic religious, or shariah, law. At times throughout the day, the candidates seemed to be competing over who was closest with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and which had spent more time in Israel. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, for example, said he had visited the Jewish state “dozens of times since 1973. Many pledged to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem on “day one” of their presidency. Trump, however, balked in response to a question about Jerusalem – united in Israeli hands or divided between Israelis and Palestinians – saying he would wait to decide until he spoke with Netanyahu. The crowd booed its disapproval. He then tried to win back the audience

by telling them about how he made a commercial for Netanyahu’s re-election campaign. (Trump also made a point of reminding the room that his daughter Ivanka is Jewish; she converted before marrying real estate developer Jared Kushner.) But Trump also seemed to acknowledge that he wasn’t likely to be popular among Jewish Republicans, telling the crowd, “You aren’t going to support me even though you know I’m the best thing that will ever happen for Israel. You aren’t going to support me because I don’t want your money.” One common refrain during the event was the rejection of the deal that the Obama administration, together with other world powers, struck with Iran over its nuclear program. GOP | 39

10 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

Pretty packaging obscures ugly message in art show

LETTERS Re: Professor to speak at Beth Sholom (Oct. 30) Among the unexpected changes made to my article “Professor to speak at Beth Sholom on academic freedom” – about Professor Richard Landes’ talk on the spring of 2015 campus campaign against Connecticut College’s Dr. Andrew Pessin, and that campaign’s implications for academic freedom – The Jewish Voice omitted that Dr. Pessin, a member of the Rhode Island Jewish community, was falsely accused of expressing racist or genocidal ideas toward Palestinians. In addition, among the unexpected changes made by “The Jewish Voice” to my subsequent article “Congregation Beth Sholom announces “CBS Speaks’ lecture series” (Nov. 13), Dr. Pessin’s name (and only his name) was dropped from the list of speakers. I wish to reiterate that The Jewish Voice intention-

ally omitted or haphazardly dropped: Dr. Andrew Pessin – who, as David Bernstein of The Washington Post (among others) has reported in a series of investigative articles, was falsely accused in the spring of 2015 of expressing racist or genocidal ideas towards Palestinians – is one of the scholars giving talks at Congregation Beth Sholom as part of its new CBS Speaks lecture series. I am proud that Congregation Beth Sholom not only remains eager to learn from this important scholar, but also stands by a wronged member of the Rhode Island Jewish community and tries to heed the lessons of his experience. It is unfortunate that the editorial team at The Jewish Voice seems unwilling to display a similar resolution Shai Afsai Providence

Re: Hillel call to action

With much of the world in turmoil and Israel and Jews under attack on many fronts, there are many important issues for Jewish students to become involved in. Foremost, is the fight against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is widespread on many campuses and actively promoted by the “Students for Justice in Palestine,” a wellfunded and active presence on many campuses. Hillel on the Brown campus officially represents Jewish students on campus. There has been dissension in recent years within the national organization with some Hillel chapters separating ideologically from the traditional hallmark guidelines of support for the State of Israel and the fight against antiSemitism. Recently, I observed the following on the Brown campus: Walking past the Hillel building, I saw a sign saying “Black Lives Matter” – the ONLY sign in the windows of the entire building.

The 2015 Faculty Exhibition at the David Winton Bell Gallery is showcasing 20  faculty members. Tony Cokes, professor of Modern Media and Culture, exhibits a  graphic TV presentation of text from the anti-Semitic rant of Danish film director Lars Von Trier.  No explanation of any kind is given.  The exhibit goes until Dec. 21.          All of us have the freedom to voice opinions. As Jews we have a responsibility to challenge and protest perpetuating and giving credibility to hate speech under the guise of art.  After self protection comes caring for others. With so few standing up for Israel and Jews in this contemporary world, every Jewish student and adult must say Am Yisroel Chai. Hillel wrote, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”    The educators at Hillel must do better! Judi Dill Providence

Jumping on the bandwagon With all the terror in the world, including in Europe, it is hard to believe the E.U. (European Union) has jumped on the United Nations’ bandwagon, constantly harassing Israel. Even Secretary John Kerry is on the bandwagon. Stabbings continue in Israel and the United Nations wants “both sides” to cool down. As far as product labeling goes, Israel should once and for all declare Judea and Samaria as part of Israel and end the

long-standing “joke” of a twostate solution. For those who fear more Arabs would be voting in Israeli elections, the Arabs in these areas would only be allowed to vote in municipal elections in their areas. If they are unsatisfied, there are many Jews who would buy their property, and the Arabs could join their families elsewhere. Enough is enough. Jerry Snell Providence


One of art’s great roles is to make your blood run faster. By that measure, it’s definitely worth a trip to the Brown faculty exhibition at the Bell Gallery, in Providence, (through Dec. 21) to see how Tony Cokes exposes and lampoons antiJewish rhetoric in his “Face Value Pt. 1” installation. Cokes’ piece both engages and shocks with its use of the outrageous words of Danish film director Lars von Trier. At a news conference during the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, von Trier went on a disjointed rant in which he declared himself a Nazi and expressed considerable sympathy for Albert Speer, a key aide to Hitler, and Hitler himself. Cokes has appropriated von Trier’s exact words and transforms them into art on a video screen. He uses a seductive bright red background around white text and adds as audio the 1970s pop anthem “Young Americans” by David Bowie. From a distance, it looks like a slick, shrewd advertisement. Cokes’ cleverness, even insidiousness, is through his graphically attractive presentation of von Trier’s comments: If you don’t read the words, it looks,


well, pretty. And within Cokes’ piece are important lessons for those who seek to promote a fair image of Jews and Israel. Some of von Trier’s comments - such as “I am an American woman. Or 65 percent of me is” – can be dismissed as nonsensical. But when it comes to Hitler and Speer, his coziness is devious and highly disturbing. Of Hitler, he says, “I think he did some wrong things, yes absolutely… But yeah, I understand much about him and I sympathize with him a little bit.” About Speer, he says, “I’m very much for Speer… . He was also maybe one of God’s best children.” Von Trier says he believed he was Jewish for a long time, and then learned he wasn’t. He says he is for Jews but “not too much” because of the truculence and disagreeableness of Israel. He closes by saying, “Okay, I’m a Nazi.” What’s afoot in Cokes’ piece, and what makes it so thoughtprovoking, is that the viewer is drawn in by the aesthetic. The sentiments of von Trier are truly ugly – but they look inviting, even attractive. And the bouncy Bowie soundtrack adds to the sense of being in a sort of entertaining wonderland, rather than a house of

horrors. As in Cokes’ “Face Value,” it’s an understatement to say that appearances can be deceiving these days on the broader scene. Confronting anti-Semitism in the modern world is a complicated challenge. The growth of modern media, with all its bells and whistles, has made it possible to spew hate in a seemingly beautiful and acceptable way. Looking back at the propaganda of the Nazis, or the Ku Klux Klan in this country, the materials seem primitive and easy to see through. Today, the sophisticated means of messaging can be used to camouflage hate and make it look presentable, even enticing. The response to such deceptive efforts is a laser-like focus on content and the message, and not being distracted by looks. To not be fooled or lulled takes careful, measured analysis and discipline. There are messages about Jews and Israel in all sorts of media today, and to decode the meaning is harder than ever before – yet that work is crucial on the path to fighting back. NOEL RUBINTON is a consultant and writer based in Providence.

Re: Night of Jewish Renaissance (Nov. 27)

While I was excited to see the photo spread celebrating the successful return of the Evening of Jewish Renaissance, I was troubled by the gender imbalance depicted. The twopage collection of teachers and speakers in action highlighted almost exclusively male presenters, including an all-male panel (see Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community’s Men as Allies pledge: advancingwomen. org/pages/mobilize/men-as-

allies). I know that the photo selections were not descriptive of the event, but I fear they could be unintentionally prescriptive for future community learning. Do girls and women in our community see role models here that would inspire them to share the full range of their talents and learning? If not, then we will deprive ourselves of their wisdom and creativity. Just as our organizations should consider panel

and presenter choices through a gender lens to ensure a variety of voices and perspectives, our community record of the event should strive to reflect that diversity as well. Marshall Einhorn Providence, R.I.

Editor’s note: The Voice strives to use a variety of the best-quality photos from events, including those of presenters and attendees.

Re: Syrian refugees (Nov. 27)

A column in the Nov. 27 Voice, and the official Jewish community generally, have called for compassion and for welcoming Syrian refugees. Compassion is good, but not enough; caution is also needed. While we can handle the small number coming now, we can have little confidence large numbers can be properly vetted, especially as many are young men of the age that is most violent. Though its highly unlikely a terrorist act will affect any of us directly, the San Bernardino and Paris shootings show that even one attack can destabilize the political system and the reaction to it can threaten our privacy and civil liberties. Note in reaction the recent first-round

victory of the right-wing National Front in French local elections. Terrorism is not the only issue. Many Mideast refugees grew up being taught to hate the west, to be misogynist and homophobic, intolerant of other religions including variants of their own, and, to hate the Jews. European experience shows when there is enough of this kind of immigration, it can become highly problematic for Jews in some localities. We have a right to be cautious. True compassion for the Syrian refugees should first support assistance in the camps – medical, food, education. We could help refugees resettle in Saudi Arabia and other Arab oil states where there is plenty

of room, plenty of oil money, and similar climate, religion, language. Above all, we must work with all parties to arrange a cease-fire in Syria and help work out a settlement so refugees can return to their own country. One further point to be aware of: Since 1980 the Syrian population has grown from 8.8 million to about 22.3 million. This rate of growth, not so different in other Mideast countries, is not sustainable. There really needs to be support for voluntary family planning, girls’ education and better economic opportunity for women in order to solve the problems in that region. Barry Schiller North Providence, RI

Ongoing Alliance Kosher Senior Café. Kosher lunch and program every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dwares JCC, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence. Noon lunch; 1 p.m. program. $3 lunch donation from individuals 60+ or under 60 with disabilities. Neal or Elaine, 401421-4111, ext. 107. West Bay Kosher Senior Café. Kosher lunch and program every weekday. Temple Sinai, 30 Hagen Ave., Cranston. 11:15 a.m. program; Noon lunch. $3 lunch donation from individuals 60+ or under 60 with disabilities. Steve, 401743-0009.

Through January 7 Three Artists, 30 Works. Gallery at Temple Habonim features Joan Boghossian, Eileen Horwitz and Elizabeth Bonner Zimmerman. Hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and by appointment. 165 New Meadow Road, Barrington. For information, call 401-245-6536.

Friday | December 11 PJ Library Storytime with Bubbie Sara. Join us for a storytime, with PJ Library books, songs and movement, crafts and snack. All children ages 5 and under are welcome. 10-11 a.m. Dwares JCC. For more information, contact Sara Foster at 401-421-4111, ext. 184. Kosher Senior Café Hanukkah Party. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Temple Emanu-El. Festive holiday meal and music by Stanley Freedman. 99 Taft Ave., Providence. Friday Night Live Honors New Members and Celebrates Hanukkah. 6 p.m. Friday Night Live is a musical celebration of Shabbat with a chicken dinner to follow. Cost:  Adults and Children over 12 years of age/$20, Children 12 years and younger/Free, Family max. $60.  Temple Torat Yisrael, 1251 Middle Road, East Greenwich.  401-885-6600, RSVP to Torat Yisrael office at 401885-6600 Hanukkah Shabbat. Shireinu, the community chorus, will participate during the services. Temple Sinai, 30 Hagen Ave., Cranston.

Saturday | December 12 Grand Chabad Hanukkah Café. Attorney Jeffrey Gladstone will speak on “How to


PJ Library Storytime with Bubbie Sara. 10-11 a.m. Dwares JCC. Join us for a storytime, with PJ Library books, songs and movement, crafts and snack. All children ages 5 and under are welcome. For more information, contact Sara Foster at or 401-421-4111, ext. 130.

Sunday | December 13 Hanukkah Entertainment. 10 a.m. Shireinu, Temple Sinai’s community chorus, will entertain the residents of the Greenwich Farms assisted living facility with Hanukkah songs as well as other songs that the residents enjoy. Greenwich Farms is located at 75 Minnesota Ave., in Warwick.

Hanukkah Party and Ribbon Cutting. Congregation Beth Sholom. Celebrate new wheelchair accessible entrance. Ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:15 a.m. Hanukkah party noon – 1:30 p.m. Bounce House, crafts, pizza, sufganiyot. Free. 275 Camp St.; Providence. Information; 401621-9393 or contact Marina Goodman at Hanukkah Teen Bowl. 4:30 p.m. Kingstown Bowl, 6125 Post Road, North Kingstown. Hanukkah songs, latkes and pizza. RSVP to to 401-884-7888.

Tuesday | December 15 PJ Library Storytime with Bubbie Sara. Join us for a storytime, with PJ Library books, songs and movement, crafts and snack. All children ages 5 and under are welcome. 3-4 p.m. Dwares JCC. For more information, contact Sara Foster at 401-421-4111, ext. 184.

Calendar Submissions DEC. 25 issue, GENERATIONS|FAMILY HEROES must be received by DEC. 16 JAN. 8 issue, HEALTH & WELLNESS must be received by DEC. 30. SEND ALL CALENDAR ITEMS TO: with the subject line “CALENDAR.” Calendar entries may be edited for content, length and relevance.


GOOGLE Check your Guide to Jewish Living for all things Jewish.


Friday | January 22

Ensure a Secure Israel.” Latkes. 7:30 p.m. Chabad House, 360 Hope St., Providence.

Super Sunday. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dwares JCC. A super-sized day full of philanthropy, fitness, and fun! Join friends and family at Super Sunday, and raise money to support, inspire and care for Jewish Rhode Island and beyond. Here’s how you can get involved: PHILANTHROPY (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.): Volunteer to make calls with us. Can’t volunteer? Answer the call! Questions? Contact Hillary Schulman at FITNESS (9 a.m.-12 p.m.): We’re putting a new spin on tzedakah with Cycle-for-Good! For more information about Cycle-for-Good or to register, contact Luke Brookner at FUN: Day-at-the-J! activities (starting at 10 a.m.). Babysitting will be available from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. for children ages 4 and younger. Reservations required. Contact Hillary Schulman at hschulman@ or 401-421-4111, ext. 127.

December 11, 2015 |

Sunday | January 24

Joan Boghossian, “A River Runs Through It” at The Gallery at Temple Habonim in Barrington.

Wednesday | December 16 Exploring the Arts: Quilling Workshop. Discover the art of quilling (the coiling and shaping of narrow paper strips to create a design) with local artist Naomi Lipsky, and learn how to shape paper strips into a vast variety of designs. This class will feature multiple designs for both the beginner and those with basic quilling knowledge. Ages: 18+. Price (includes all supplies): Members $18 | Non-Members $25. Pre-registration required. Enrollment limited to 15. 6-9 p.m. Dwares JCC. For more information or to register, contact Erin Moseley at 401-421-4111, ext. 108 or

Saturday | December 19 Kids’ Night Out: Glow in the Dark. 5-10 p.m. Dwares JCC. Kids’ Night Out is a chance for children to spend the evening with their friends in a fun and safe environment. Kids’ Night Out runs once a month on Saturday evenings. Each month, children will be entertained with a variety of themed activities ranging from sports, crafts, swimming and more. A pizza dinner and snacks will be served, and the evening will end with a movie. This is also a great opportunity for parents to have a night out “kid free!” Ages: 5–12. Price: $35 | Members: $25 | Siblings: $15. For more information or to register, contact Shannon Kochanek at 401-421-4111, ext. 147.

Sunday | December 20 Sunday@Shalom Education Series: A Special Presentation by Robert Hicks. 10 a.m. Temple Shalom. Bob will be on

home-leave in the middle of his oneyear Peace Corps service (volunteering to provide school accreditation support among the tropical islands of Micronesia). Enjoy fascinating pictures, recordings, commentary and discussion. Free admission. Refreshments provided (donations are gratefully accepted). Open to the community. 223 Valley Road, Middletown. Information: or 401-846-9002.

Friday | January 12 PJ Library Storytime with Bubbie Sara. 3-4 p.m. Dwares JCC. Join us for a storytime, with PJ Library books, songs and movement, crafts and snack. All children ages 5 and under are welcome. For more information, contact Sara Foster at sfoster@jewishallianceri. org or 401-421-4111, ext. 130.

Saturday | January 16 Kids’ Night Out: Party in the USA. 5-10 p.m. Dwares JCC. Calling all parents! Kids’ Night Out is a chance for children to spend the evening with their friends in a fun and safe environment…and a great opportunity for parents to have a night out “kid free!” Kids’ Night Out runs once a month on Saturday evenings. Each month children will be entertained with a variety of themed activities ranging from sports, crafts, swimming and more. A pizza dinner and snacks will be served, and the evening will end with a movie. Ages: 5 – 12. Price: $35 | Members: $25 | Siblings: $15. For more information or to register, contact Shannon Kochanek at 401-421-4111 ext. 147.

Jewish Culture through Film: The Age of Love. 2 p.m. Dwares JCC. The Age of Love, an alternately poignant and funny look at the search for love among the senior set, follows 70- to 90-yearold speed daters – recently widowed, long divorced or never-married – as they prepare for the big day, endure a rush of encounters, then anxiously receive their results. Fearlessly candid about themselves and what they’re seeking, these WWII babies are forced to take stock of life-worn bodies and still-hopeful hearts. Then, as they head out on dates that result, comic and bittersweet moments reveal how worries over physical appearance, romance and rejection, loss and new beginnings change – or don’t change – from first love to the far reaches of life. The Age of Love is a story of the universality of love and desire regardless of age. A discussion led by the film’s director, Steven Loring, will follow the screening. Admission: $5 | Members $3. For more information, contact Erin Moseley, director of Arts & Culture, at emoseley@ or 401-421-4111, ext. 108.

Wednesday | January 27 Unique Stories from the Holocaust, a Panel Discussion. 7 p.m. Dwares JCC. Join the Jewish Alliance, Congregation Beth Sholom, The Holocaust Education and Resource Center of Rhode Island, March of the Living, the Yom HaShoah Committee and the Community Relations Council to hear a panel of speakers talk about unique experiences and stories from the Holocaust. The panel will feature Rita B. Gabis, author of A Guest at the Shooter’s Banquet, Dina Judith Gold, author of Stolen Legacy, and Lisa Moses Leff, author of The Archive Thief. These three women weave true stories about the realities of family secrets, retribution and theft. For more information, contact Erin Moseley, director of Arts & Culture, at or 401-421-4111, ext. 108.

David Bernstein, former David Project chief, tapped to head JCPA

JTA – David Bernstein, a businessman and longtime Jewish activist, has been tapped to head the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Bernstein, 49, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, will succeed Steve Gutow as president and CEO of the organization, an umbrella for Jewish communal relations groups throughout North America. Gutow is stepping down Dec. 31 after 10 years. For the past year, Bernstein has worked with Jewish federations and other national foundations as president of CultureSolutionsLLC, a consulting firm. He served as ex-

ecutive director of the David Project, an organization promoting Israel on North American campuses, from 2010 to 2014, and has also worked in senior positions in the American Jewish Committee. “Given all of the challenges the Jewish community faces, from efforts to isolate and delegitimize Israel to efforts to undermine American pluralism, we needed an experienced executive with a fresh and creative approach,” said Susan Turnbull, chair of the JCPA board, in a news release issued by the organization. “We are convinced that we have found just that.”

In the news release, Bernstein said: “The Jewish community relations movement must rise to the challenge of delegitimization of Israel. This means not only stopping [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel movement], which we will continue to do, but also doubling down on our ties to key, emerging demographic constituencies. We need to do less crisis management, and more preventative medicine in our support for Israel. With changes in technology and communications, we need to embrace 21st century methods that allow us to scale our impact.”

12 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

Messianic San Bernardino victim was ‘gentile’ supporter of Israel and the Jewish people BY URIEL HEILMAN JTA – While America puzzles over the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, many American Jews are puzzling over an additional element: the religious identity of victim Nicholas Thalasinos. Pictured on his Facebook page wearing a scarf-style tallit prayer shawl, Thalasinos, who was killed along with 13 others in the Dec. 2 shooting at a center for people with disabilities, has been variously identified in media reports as a Jew, a Zionist and, in some cases, a messianic Jew. Just two weeks ago, Thalasinos reportedly got into a heated argument about the nature of Islam with co-worker Syed Farook, whom authorities said perpetrated the horrific San Bernardino attack along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik. Investigators announced Dec. 4 that they were treating the attack as a terrorist act motivated by Islamic extremism. Both husband and wife were Muslim, and authorities said Malik had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a Facebook post. Thalasinos “knew Syed. He worked with him,” Jennifer Thalasinos, the victim’s wife, told the New York Post. “He

knew he [Farook] was Muslim, and with our faith, they may not necessarily have got along.” What was that faith? Nicholas Thalasinos appar-

“It is my honest belief that Nicholas was murdered because of his alliance with Israel and Jewish people.” ently identified as a messianic Jew, but not as Jewish. Bat Zion Susskind-Sacks, an Israeli who struck up a Facebook friendship with Thalasinos about a year ago, provided JTA with the transcript of an online conversation she had with him in September. Writing soon after he and his wife renewed their vows in a Jewish-style ceremony complete with chuppah canopy and tallit prayer shawls, Thalasinos said: “As a gentile who loves ha-Shem, I know my place is to support Israel and the Jewish people.” Thalasinos’ fi nal Facebook post, made early Dec. 2, seemed to affi rm this identity.

Nicholas Thalasinos In the post, sharing an antiSemitic, anti-Israel message he said he received, he wrote of the alleged sender: “He ALSO assumes I’m a JEW – a great Compliment, I should keep him around for that reason alone! Like many Americans who identify as messianic Jews, Thalasinos was not Jewish by heritage and was a believer in Jesus. Though they observe many biblical laws and adopt

some Jewish practices and holiday observances, messianic Jews are not accepted as Jews by any of the major Jewish denominations. One of the best-known messianic missionary groups, Jews for Jesus, actually is composed in large part of Christians. Susskind-Sacks, like many Jews, is irked when people who are not born Jewish and believe in Jesus call themselves messianic Jews. Thalasinos, who was 52, said in his exchanges with Susskind-Sacks that he was raised a Catholic and “a Pagan,” and that he only came to Jesus later in life. Thalasinos’ wife, who could not be reached by JTA for comment, told the Post he became a “born-again messianic Jew” in 2013. “When I was in darkness (I was not a Righteous man) I cried out to Jesus (as I mistakenly called Him) and He lifted the veil from my eyes and the weight from my heart,” Thalasinos wrote Susskind-Sacks in September. When Susskind-Sacks asked why, if he loved Israel and the Jewish people and adopted some Jewish practices, he didn’t convert to Judaism, Thalasinos replied: “I believe in Yeshua (an aspect of God that grants Salvation). I will not lie to a Rabbi and let him believe otherwise to do this – no matter how much I want to.” Messianic Jews typically refer to Jesus by the Hebrew name Yeshua. Thalasinos was by all ac-

counts an ardent Zionist – or pro-Zionist, as his Facebook page suggested (SusskindSacks said she told him only Jews can be Zionists). “Nicholas was a great supporter of Israel, no question about that. He felt he was put on this earth to follow ha-Shem and God’s people,” SusskindSacks said. Thalasinos’ wife, Jennifer Thalasinos, told the Post that her husband might have been the person whom media reports said got into an argument with Farook the morning of the shooting. “He’s very outspoken about Islamic terrorism and how he feels about politics in the state of the country,” Jennifer Thalasinos said of her late husband, who worked for the county as a public health inspector. “So I’m sure he probably had plenty to say to him.” After the shooting, Nicholas Thalasinos’ Facebook page was flooded with expressions of condolence and grief, with many posts memorializing him with Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. Facebook friend Erica Karas said she believed Thalasinos was killed because of his love for Jews and Israel. “It is my honest belief that Nicholas was murdered because of his alliance with Israel and Jewish people,” Karas wrote. “Blessed be the memory of Nicholas Thalasinos! He loved Yisrael and Jewish people.”

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Forum educates parents, caregivers of adult children with special needs BY TARA WATKINS, LICSW Temple Emanu-El, in Providence, in partnership with the Kesher Program of Jewish Family Services, hosted a program on Nov. 4 to help parents and caregivers of adult children with special needs prepare for the future. A panel of three experts in the special-needs community led the discussion: Lawyer Gayle Tarzwell; Joanne Malise, LCSW, director of Living Innovations; and Claire Rosenbaum, the adult supports coordinator at the Paul V. Sherlock Disabilities Center at Rhode Island College. Tarzwell was the fi rst to address the diverse group of congregants and members from the larger community who gathered for the program. She reviewed pertinent legal topics, specifically guardianships and special needs trusts. Tarzwell has been practicing law in Rhode Island for 35 years. Her practice is focused

on helping clients create and reach individualized estate planning goals. As the mother of a young adult with an intellectual disability, Tarzwell is also well-versed in the legal and day-to-day challenges of parenting a special-needs child into adulthood. She passionately believes that a child with an intellectual or developmental disability should be provided with a reassuring answer to the question, “What will happen to me when you die?” Malise led a discussion on adult-living options, with a focus on shared living in the Jewish community. Malise has over 30 years of experience working in the field of developmental disabilities and is a strong advocate for personalized supports and community inclusion. Living Innovations has grown, Malise said, to become the largest shared-living program in Rhode Island. She hopes to expand this model of

supportive living in the Jewish community in the years ahead. Rosenbaum spoke about employment options in the community for individuals with disabilities. She has more than 20 years’ experience helping disabled individuals and their families in learning principles of self-determination, personcentered planning and community membership. Rosenbaum is also the parent of a 32- yearold daughter with significant intellectual disabilities. Questions and conversation between the panelists and audience members was lively and engaged, and a follow-up program is being considered. TARA WATKINS, LICSW, is a Kesher social worker at Jewish Family Service. She facilitated the Nov. 4 conference. For more information on the Kesher Program of Jewish Family Service, call her at 401-527-7772 or email

100 women attend conference to learn, and to honor Tichyeh Schochet BY JILL PEARLMAN What does it take to get 100 women out of the house on a cold Sunday morning in November? Tichyeh Schochet might have said something like this: “Some women want to get away from the kids, some come to learn Torah, some don’t want to learn Torah, they just want to relax, talk, visit, discover about themselves or do some exercise and have a good time.” The Tichyeh Schochet Memorial Conference for Jewish Women, held on Nov. 22 at the Dwares Jewish Community Center, in Providence, provided all that and more. The conference began with recognition and remembrances of Schochet, who passed away in March 2015 at age 42. The rebbetzin was remembered for her extraordinary presence, for being down to earth and welleducated, for her humor, deep gratitude and faith: for being “real.”   Bracha Stuart said the conference was a tribute to Schochet’s life “and the values she shared with us, specifically strength and emuna, faith, in the face of adversity.” In a note read by Gitty Horowitz, a dear friend from Baltimore, a student praised Schochet’s talent for seeing the individual in a crowd.  Marcia Gibber said Schochet’s openness and curiosity drew “secular” women, women who welcomed friendships that went beyond their obvious circles.

Aliza Bulow, the keynote speaker, met Schochet when both women took a Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project trip to Israel. The bond between the two Jewish educators brought Bulow from Denver to speak at the conference on the endlessly fascinating ways of Jewish life, and women’s challenges. The fact that Bulow, the national director of Ner Lelef Women’s Division, wasn’t born Jewish – she converted to Judaism at age 16, after a rigorous adolescent search – gives her the perspective of both outsider and insider.  Her learning and transformation has continued despite the demands of her complex life.  Humorously and generously, Bulow shared stories about a daughter married to a paraplegic, tragedies in childbirth, and children who rejected her traditional religious life.  Her talk culminated in a moving discussion about one of her sons, whose painful struggle with mental illness led him to suicide. Still, she remains convinced of the need for restraint and compassion in the face of challenges. Even when women brought up their own issues and questioned how it was possible not to want justice when faced, for instance, with the death of Ezra Schwartz, a Sharon, Mass., teenager who was killed by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank, Bulow kept

to a rounded, seasoned sense of calm and faith that aligns with Torah perspective. She quoted her own rabbi after he heard her speak of her intense desire to make things right: “Mrs. Bulow, a lot of people want to be moshiah [messiah].” In talking about Jewish women, she got the biggest laugh from an improvised story of how she used the example of Harry Potter’s need for a special school to learn magic to convince one of her sons to return to Jewish day school. In smaller seminars, Gibber explored issues of Israel’s unique destiny while Miriam Lipson looked closely at specific prayers, analyzing how certain Hebrew words have special effects. Elianna Bresler gave demonstrations on improving photography and Lisa Mongeau offered inspiration for an active life. Many of the women who attended the conference came from Providence, but others traveled farther: Meryle Cawley came from Newport, Hilary Dworain from Potomac, Md., Shelley Parness from Narragansett, Rivkah Tyler from Sharon, and Chana Wallach and her mother, Robin Meyerowitz, from Boston. JILL PEARLMAN, of Providence, writes nonfiction, poetry and fiction. Visit her blog at

December 11, 2015 |


Temple Habonim participates in Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend The National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend is a joint project of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, a coalition of 50 national faith denominations and groups and the Washington National Cathedral. December marks the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre where 20 fi rst-graders and six educators were murdered in their elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Hundreds of places of worship and other groups across the country will participate. Temple Habonim will dedicate the Dec. 18 Erev Shabbat

service to raising awareness of our country’s gun violence epidemic. Our service speaker, Jennifer Boylan, is a Temple Habonim member and the Rhode Island Chapter Leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America. The service begins at 7:30 p.m. and is a way to remember those whose lives have been needlessly taken by gun violence. Worshippers will also learn ways to help promote gun violence prevention legislation. FOR MORE INFORMATION, go to marchsabbath. org. 

Happy Hanukkah Join our warm and energetic congregation for Hanukkah!

Join us for a Hanukkah Celebration on Saturday, December 12th at 4 p.m. and family movie night at 6:30 p.m. for a viewing of “An American Tail”

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14 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

A cucumber bin at a kosher Persian market

9 Persian ingredients to try now BY SHANNON SARNA LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Persian culture makes up an important part of the Jewish community in New York, Israel and especially Southern California, where some 45,000 Persian Jews reside. The cuisine of this strong, close-knit community is not unlike that of Persian cuisine in general: colorful rice dishes, rich and complex meat stews, and  liberal use of flavors like saffron, rosewater and pistachio. There are a handful of Kosher  Persian markets in the Pico Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles. They’re close together and range from tiny to full-fledged supermarket size. I recently had the chance to tour one of the markets for some schooling on Persian ingredients and cuisine from the best source: a Persian Jewish grandmother and mother. The first thing to know is that like  the shuk in Israel, the Persian market is as much a gathering place as it is a grocery store. Soon after walking through the door we ran into a cousin – and then, of course, another cousin. There is a dizzying array of products in English, Farsi and Hebrew to choose from, so I was grateful to have two experienced

tour guides to translate the diverse products and their uses. Prior to my trip, I was familiar with Persian cucumbers, which are pretty common in supermarkets like Fairway or Trader Joe’s. But what my tour guides Natalie and Minoo shared with me is that the cucumber bin – much like the proverbial water cooler – is where gossip and news of the community is exchanged, as women pick through the barrel to find the very best specimens. Not all the ingredients I encountered were quite as familiar, but there was something interesting and delicious at every turn. Here are nine of my favorites. Sangar bread is a traditional wheat Persian bread, often eaten for breakfast with butter and jam, or served as an accompaniment to a large meal. You buy this lavash-like bread in enormous rectangle sheets that can be about 5 feet tall. Dried orange peel is added to rice with raisins, rosewater and saffron for special celebrations – Persian culture emphasizes serving sweet dishes on happy occasions. But take note: Dried orange peel should always be soaked in warm water before it is added to a dish, otherwise it

will retain too much bitter flavor. Saffron rock candy, called nabat, looks like any other rock candy, but it gets its brightly hued color from its saffron flavor. Nabat may be a sweet treat, but it is also used as an herbal remedy – Persian parents give it to their kids to aid digestion. It can also be served after dinner with tea to add extra flavor and sweetness. Fenugreek is an herb that can be found dried or fresh. It’s an essential ingredient in one of the most widely known Persian stews, ghormeh sabzi, a meat and herb stew that is also made with dehydrated limes. Dehydrated limes are among the most recognizable flavors of Persian cooking for the savory, sour element they add to stews and dishes. You can buy them whole or powdered. Rose petal jam is used like any other jam, served with butter for toast or on top of Greek yogurt akin to parfait. It has a distinctive rose scent and a sweet taste. Rosewater is a sweet, fragrant essence that is made by steeping rose petals in water; it is used in similar ways as orange blossom water. It is added to sweet and savory dishes – but it has a strong flavor and should be added in moderation. Sugar almond candies are white strips of almond flavored with rosewater. They almost resemble thin, clustered yogurtcovered raisins and are sold by the container. This sweet treat used to be thrown at brides and grooms on their wedding day, but like rice, that is no longer allowed, though it is still traditional to have on hand at engagements and weddings. Wild esphand can be found in the spice section – but it’s not edible. Not unlike sage, it is traditionally burned for health reasons, to kill germs and to “ward off evil.” Even though the practice may sound a little old fashioned and superstitious, it appears to be fairly common, as wild esphand was sold in abundance at the market I visited. Hey, it can’t hurt.


December 11, 2015 |


Joan Nathan cookbook brings families together BY HILLEL KUTTLER JTA – When Brazil native Fabio Rosenfeld brought up launching a search for his grandfather’s sister who had survived the Holocaust, I opened my “National Geographic Atlas of the World” to locate her hometown of Reghin. A week later, the surname and the area struck me as familiar, so back to the atlas I went. There was Reghin, in the Transylvania region of Romania and Hungary, near Cluj-Napoca, a town central to a “Seeking Kin” column about an old Hungarian-Jewish cookbook whose author was given as Mrs. Martin Rosenfeld. A month after that second atlas encounter, Fabio Rosenfeld emailed information he had just gleaned while searching for his great-aunt, Aranka Rosenfeld. Alas, it wasn’t about her. Instead, it dealt with the cookbook’s author possessing the same name. A mention of that Aranka Rosenfeld in a cookbook by the eminent culinary authority Joan Nathan included a comment from Rosenfeld’s granddaughter, Jelena Blumenberg. An online search located Blumenberg living in Manhattan. She was thrilled to be found and learn about Tara Lotstein, the Washington, D.C., woman who had bought Blumenberg’s grandmother’s work, “A Jewish Woman’s Cookbook.” The purchase launched Lotstein’s

search for several people, including its author. “I was very touched and so surprised that her cookbook is [still] read and used. I’m so happy,” Blumenberg said. Blumenberg, 68, fi lled in key information about her grandmother, who was born in Halmay, Hungary, in 1898, and lived mostly in Szikszo and Subotica until passing away in March 1981. “Aranka saw all her children die during her lifetime,” Blumenberg said. “She had a very tragic life. She was a lovely, amazingly sweet person.” Rosenfeld’s parents, Adolf Span and Laura Engel, were observant Jews who owned a mill in Szikszo. One of seven children (all but one of them girls), Aranka married Martin and they settled in Subotica, where they owned a large hardware store and lived upstairs. Circa 1938, the Rosenfelds moved to Belgrade, Serbia, to open a factory manufacturing stoves. They returned to Subotica and during the Holocaust were incarcerated in its ghetto. Martin was murdered in Auschwitz, along with approximately 80 members of Aranka’s family. The Rosenfelds’ son, Imre, was killed by the Germans in 1944 while fighting for a resistance movement. Aranka and daughters Eva and Vera were incarcerated at a labor camp in Austria and survived the Holocaust. Vera married at age 16, and in about 1948 she and her

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husband, Pista Pernicer, moved to Israel and Hebraicized their surname to Orr. They lived in Tiberias and Haifa and had three children: Reuven, Gavriel and Daniella. Vera died of breast cancer in her early 40s; her husband passed recently. Postwar, Blumenberg’s mother, Eva, became a journalist, married a Jewish communist named Zoltan Biro and worked in Belgrade, where Blumenberg and sister Judith were raised. Rosenfeld returned to Subotica, by then nearly devoid of its once-thriving Jewish community. Their ornate synagogue couldn’t always draw 10 men for public prayers, but Rosenfeld – “she came to services every Friday night,” Blumenberg recalled – would be counted in the minyan. All the while, she cooked. Blumenberg visited regularly, with Subotica and Belgrade just over 100 miles apart. “I remember very well her fried chicken, which was exquisite. She had her secrets [for that dish], and would fry the parsley. She cooked stuffed cabbage, goulash and palachinka,

which are crepes or blintzes,” Blumenberg said. Blumenberg said Rosenfeld taught the sisters how to cook. “We hung around her all the time when she was cooking,” Blumenberg said. “She gave cooking classes in Subotica occasionally for young women – not Jewish women; there weren’t any.” That’s cruelly ironic, given the c o okb o ok ’s stated audience. Blumenberg has two of her grandmot her ’s original hardcovered cookbooks, published in the late 1930s: one beige, one red. Judith, who still lives in Belgrade, also owns two. The books survived the Holocaust because a neighbor safeguarded some of the Rosenfelds’ possessions, including photograph albums. In fact, a Budapest publishing company reprinted the cookbook a decade ago, although it removed Rosenfeld’s name as author. Blumenberg said she hasn’t demanded that her grandmother receive credit. Rosenfeld, she added, also published two small Hungarianlanguage cookbooks in Israel, presumably while visiting her

daughter in the country’s early years. The mention of Aranka Rosenfeld that would help “Seeking Kin” connect Blumenberg and Lotstein was contained in “Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook.” “I’m thrilled,” Nathan said of her book’s role. “Some people look at their recipes and wish they had something of their past. Think of whole towns fi lled with recipes, whole generations killed in the Holocaust. When you fi nd these threads – I’m just excited by that.” Fabio Rosenfeld said he, too, is happy about the search he unwittingly helped solve. “It must be part of the 613 mitzvot, a kind of tzedakah without money,” he said. “The real tzedakah is when you give something to someone you don’t know.” EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series, Seeking Kin, that aims to reunite long-lost relatives and friends. Please email Hillel Kuttler at seekingkin@ if you would like “Seeking Kin” to write about your search for long-lost relatives and friends. Please include the principal facts and your contact information in a brief email. “Seeking Kin” is sponsored by Bryna Shuchat and Joshua Landes and family in loving memory of their mother and grandmother, Miriam Shuchat, a lifelong uniter of the Jewish people.

16 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

A different take on latkes

Ramen Latkes with Sriracha Mayonnaise BY WHITNEY FISCH (The Nosher via JTA) – Living in Los Angeles is like a foodie Wonderland. On almost every corner in almost every neighborhood, there is something delicious to eat. And the  foodies here in L.A. do a lot of things right, but  by far the top  three are tacos, sushi and ramen. In fact, ramen is so good here it inspired me recently to make my own. Being the typical Jewish mother that I am I made far too many noodles. The next morning it occurred to me, “why not fry some leftover ramen noodles,  slap some Sriracha mayo on top and have ourselves a nice ramen-inspired latke?!” I think one of the most fun things about this latke creation is the world of toppings you can choose. If you can master the soft-boiled egg, that might be nice on top of your latke with some fresh, peppery  radishes and cilantro. You can also add sauteed shiitake mushrooms, sliced jalapeno or a combination of flavors, just like your favorite ramen. Think of this ramen latke as a beautifully fried blank canvas. Once you have it mastered, your flavor world is wide open. Go explore.

Ramen Latkes with Sriracha Mayonnaise Ingredients for the latkes:

2 to 3 packs instant ramennoodles, cooked and drained 1 egg 1 tablespoon garlic powder Canola oil for frying 1/2 cup soy sauce

For the sriracha mayo:

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha 1/2 cup mayonnaise Green onions, sliced


Cook the ramen noodles as directed on the back of the package, making sure to omit any flavor packets they came with. Drain and place in a bowl. Cover and cool for roughly 1 to 2 hours minimum. Once cool, mix noodles with 1 egg and the garlic powder. Divide the noodles either in large muffin tins or ramekins, if you have them. Or you can do what I did and divide them up among a variety of small bowls and glasses. You do NOT want to make these more than 1 inch of thickness, so if using something other than muffin tins or ramekins, be careful of how many noodles you stack in there. Place divided noodles in the refrigerator uncovered. Let cool for a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 10. Once your refrigeration period is done, heat 5 tablespoons of canola oil in a small frying pan (I do recommend frying these one at a time). Test the oil to

make sure it’s hot by splashing a small drop of water into the oil. If the water sizzles, you’re ready. Drop one ramekin of noodles into the hot oil and reshape into latke shape. Let fry for 2 to 3 minutes and then flip. Add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce to latke after the first flip. Cook on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat until nice and brown for a total of 6 to 8 minutes each. Remove latke from pan and let dry on a plate lined with paper towel. To make the Sriracha mayo: Combine Sriracha and mayo in a bowl. Taste as you stir, adding more according to your preference. Serve a dollop on top of each latke and sprinkle with sliced green onions. NOTE: These can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. If needing to stack the latkes in order to refrigerate, make sure you place wax or parchment paper between latkes so they do not stick together. Reheat in the oven at 400 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes maximum. WHITNEY FISCH received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan and is currently working as a middle school counselor. She is a personal chef and blogs about all things food and life on her blog, jewhungrytheblog. com

Happy Hanukkah

Indian-spiced cauliflower latkes with cilantro chutney

BY SAMANTHA FERRARO (The Nosher via JTA) – Growing up, my mom always made the best latkes. And while I know everyone probably says this about their mom, I maintain her latkes really were the best. She would stand over the sink shredding and shredding potatoes until night’s end. Then she would insist on squeezing as much water out of the vegetables as possible. When she thought they were dry, she would squeeze some more. A labor of love, for sure. Though I get inspired from my mother’s method, I have updated my own latke recipes and techniques with some modern twists. Instead of standing over the sink shredding potatoes till sunlight, my hefty powerhouse food processor does all the work for me.  My mom was shocked when I told her I no longer grate them by hand, and I still hear stories of her battle wounds to prove her latke love. One of the most important tricks for successful latke frying is prepping. Frying latkes is a messy job. You don’t want to walk away from hot oil, but instead be in control of it. I like to have a cookie sheet ready with a cooling rack and then two layers of paper towels. That way I can transfer the latkes directly from the pan to the cooling rack after they come out of the hot oil. And no overcrowding the pan – there should be no more than three or four latkes in the pan at one time. This ensures the temperature  remains even  and cooks crispy latkes. For a fun modern twist, these I n d i a n - s pic e d  c au l i f lowe r latkes are a spinoff of one of my favorite Indian dishes, Aloo Gobi. Potatoes and cauliflower are braised with spicy flavors of jalapeno, turmeric and curry. The sauce is a bright cilantro and mint chutney,  also easily made in the food processor, and pairs perfectly with the crispy spiced latke.

Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Latkes with Cilantro Chutney Ingredients for the latkes:

from your friends at

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (if using a food processor) 
1/4 large white onion 
 2 cups cauliflower florets, hard stems removed 
1 teaspoon turmeric powder 
1/4 teaspoon coriander 1/2 teaspoon curry powder 
2 eggs 
3 tablespoons matzah meal 
2 green onions, chopped 
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the cilantro and mint chutney: 1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed (about 1 1/2-2 cups,

loosely packed) 
1 small bunch fresh mint, stems removed (about 1 cup, loosely packed) 
 2 tablespoons yogurt (for non-dairy, you can use full fat coconut milk) 
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced 
1 teaspoon honey 
1/2 jalapeno, roughly chopped (seeds removed if you prefer less heat) 
1/2 inch ginger root, peeled and grated 
1 garlic clove 
Salt and pepper, to taste Canola or vegetable oil for frying


To make the latkes: add the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse until they are fine and even pieces, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the small shred blade attachment to your food processor and shred the potatoes and onion, but do NOT add to the bowl yet Place the onions and potatoes in a clean dish towel and wrap around potatoes, only a handful at a time. Then use your mighty strength and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Then squeeze a little more. Once they are dry, add them to the cauliflower bowl. Repeat until all potatoes and onions are dry. Then add the rest of the spices, eggs, matzah meal and green onion. Mix everything together until well incorporated. Heat a large skillet with about 1/2 inch of oil to about 350 degrees. I like to test the oil with a small piece of potato. If it sizzles, it’s ready. Use 2 tablespoons to form latke and place in hot oil. Then use the back of the spoon to gently flatten it out. Fry latkes for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown; turn over and finish frying for another 3 minutes. Remove latkes with a slotted spatula onto a paper towel-lined baking sheet and season with a sprinkle of salt if you’d like.

To make the chutney:

Add all the chutney ingredients to a food processor and pulse until incorporated. Scrape it down after every few pulses. Pulse until desired consistency and until there are no large leaves left. Serve latkes with chutney and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. SAMANTHA FERRARO is the food blogger and photographer for The Little Ferraro Kitchen. The  Nosher  food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at


In Paris, public Hanukkah ceremonies held despite security concerns JTA – Some 6,000 people gathered in Paris under heavy security for the public lighting of a Hanukkah menorah at the base of the Eiffel Tower, despite security concerns in the wake of last month’s terrorist attacks. French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia lit the fi rst candle of a 30-foot menorah on Dec. 6, the fi rst night of Hanukkah, in the Eiffel tower ceremony attended by French Jewish leaders and government representative and sponsored by Chabad-Lubavitch. “This year, Hanukkah delivers a particularly relevant message,” Rabbi Chaim Schneur Nisenbaum of the Complexe Scolaire Beth Haya Moushka school system in Paris said. “In Paris, we very recently faced terrible attacks ... intended to put an end to freedom of mind and opinions. In the historical times of Hanukkah, the invaders of the land of Israel, the Greeks, had the same intention. But the Jews did not submit.” The Eiffel Tower event is one of more than 30 public

menorah-lighting celebrations scheduled to take place across the city and in nearly 100 towns nearby. The public gatherings, which had to be approved in advance, are being held under heavy security, according to Rumors circulated last week that public menorah lightings would be canceled in light of the state of emergency in Paris initiated after the Nov. 13 coordinated attacks that left at least 130 dead. Two of the menorah lighting venues of previous years, Republic Square and Bastille Square, both located near the Bataclan theater – the site of one of last month’s attacks – were not approved, Nisenbaum told Public Hanukkah celebrations in the French city of Marseille will be held indoors this year at the request of public security officials, according to Marseille has been the location of several violent attacks against Jews in recent months and has a history of attacks on Jews.

December 11, 2015 |


Women light candles at the Western Wall

JERUSALEM (JTA) – About 100 women gathered at the Western Wall to light Hanukkah candles. Security guards permitted 20 women to enter with their menorahs, but then attempted to ban and confiscate a large communal one being brought in by the Women of the Wall organization. Knesset member Ksenia Svetlova of the Zionist Union party used her parliamentary immunity to bring the communal menorah in to the site on Dec. 6, the first night of Hanukkah, the Women of the Wall said in a statement. “Despite Rabbi Rabinowitz’s ridiculous regulations and despite the police’s shameful attempts to keep us out, we entered and held a candle-lighting ceremony where women were full participants,” Svetlova said in the statement, referring to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, administrator of the Western Wall and Holy Places. “The Western Wall belongs to the entire Jewish people, women and men alike, and the time has come for real equality – at the Kotel, in the Rabbinate and beyond.” Last week, the Attorney General’s Office in Israel ordered Rabinowitz to include women in the annual national candlelighting ceremony for Hanukkah in response to a campaign by Women of the Wall claiming that the state-sponsored exclusion of women from the Western Wall ceremony is discrimination

and thus violates government regulations. The national candle-lighting ceremony was held Dec. 6 in the men’s section of the Western Wall plaza, where the first candle was lit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A second ceremony was set to be held in an area further away from the

Wall with several female government officials, including Knesset members Gila Gamliel and Miri Regev, despite Women of the Wall’s plea for woman lawmakers not to attend. Women of the Wall in a statement called it a “second-class Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony.”

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18 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

Caring project lights up the night for congregants “With the hidden light, the Holy One nourishes the world.” (Zohar Shemot) According to reports from Temple Torat Yisrael’s Caring Committee and Cohen School, there are congregants who are no longer physically able to drive to the synagogue for Shabbat and holiday celebrations. The committee and the school have partnered to “Light up the Night,” and bring the Hanukkah party to them. With a little glue and paint, Cohen School fi fth to seventh graders transformed old wood and egg cartons into LED light menorahs. The students were especially proud to reuse or “upcycle” the materials for the menorah and Hanukkah cards. Christine Stanger coordinated the project. Several of the menorahs will be on display in the synagogue lobby and during various Hanukkah happenings. On Dec. 6, the groups went to the Phyllis Siperstein Tamarisk Assisted Living Residence in Warwick to Light up the First Night of Hanukkah. Students presented their menorahs to residents and the rabbi led everyone in candle lighting and songs. Each of person could be a shamash for someone else, that’s what family and community is all about. When you give light to others you don’t lose light – but the light actually increases! The Caring Committee will partner again with Cohen School families for the annual

Jewish Fact Finder: A bookful of important Torah facts and handy Jewish information BY KARA MARZIALI

Students work on their upcycled menorahs.


Purim mitzvah of bringing baskets of treats to friends and neighbors.

– With Reports from Rabbi Aaron Philmus of Temple Torat Yisrael

Can you name the 12 tribes of Israel? What are the 39 primary activities prohibited on Shabbos? Do you know the Hebrew word for “tree?” One could study the Torah over a lifetime and have only mastered a fraction of God’s wisdom. However, if you’re looking for important Torah facts and handy Jewish i n for mat ion, “The Jewish Fact Finder” by Yaffe Ganz has it. First published by Feldheim Publishers more than 27 years ago, this revised handbook is a valuable tool aimed at building Jewish literacy. Since its last printing in 1995, this guide has undergone a makeover. It’s still a slender book (4” X 9”) chockfull of information, but now it sports an attractive and colorful cover, 120 pages of significant information and easierto-read chapters suited for any level of observance. While this book does not in-

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clude everything pertinent to your Jewish life nor does it explain particulars in tremendous detail – no book can do that – this guide has basic information every Jew should know. Facts about Judaism are presented in dozens of lists arranged into sections that include people in the Tanakh, blessings, measurements, the Ten Commandments, impor tant historical dates, seasons, holidays, Israeli geog raphy and common Hebrew words. This is the kind of quick-reference guide perfect for every Jewish household that is designed to be right at your fi ngertips. For only $12.99, it is an ideal gift for students of every age, as well as parents and teachers. KARA MARZIALI is the director of communications for the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.

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How to not spoil your interfaith kids during the holiday season BY SUSAN KATZ MILLER (Kveller via JTA) – “We get twice the presents!” Most interfaith kids will utter this classic, and rather obnoxious, boast at some point during childhood. And I have to admit, it makes me wince and grit my teeth a little. As an interfaith child myself, I understand all too well that bragging about Christmas and Hanukkah gifts can be a defense mechanism designed to dazzle and deflect those who view interfaith families with skepticism and disapproval. But as the parent of two interfaith children, now 17 and 20, it was crucial every year to at least attempt to reduce the avalanche of holiday packages, boxes and bags. I really did not want my interfaith kids to feel entitled, superior or somehow wealthier than their singlefaith playmates.

To be honest, I did try to give my kids double the gifts, but I wanted those gifts to be metaphorical, or experiential, not material. The plan was to bestow on them deep connections to both Judaism and Christianity, education in the history and rituals and beliefs of both religions, and opportunities to celebrate with extended family on both sides. In lieu of buying stuff, my husband and I tried to focus on creating deep sensory memories for our children: frosting gingerbread houses and frying latkes, hanging ornaments and dancing around the menorah. OK, so we are not total Scrooges, or Grinches, or ascetics. Each child got one pile of gifts at the holidays, and “Santa” delivered that pile on Christmas morning. I do understand why some families who don’t celebrate Christmas

give a huge mound of presents on Hanukkah instead. But giving two piles of presents on two overlapping holidays seemed to me like a misguided attempt to make the two holidays equal. Part of the beauty of celebrating both religions for our family is that Hanukkah does not have to compete with Christmas. Instead we let Hanukkah be a more modest holiday, appropriate to its modest place in the Jewish liturgical calendar, where it stands behind Shabbat, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot in terms of importance. Part of our strategy was to communicate with all the grandparents and aunts and uncles our intention to try to keep the gift giving under control, and instead focus on those who are truly in need. One visionary great-uncle gave donations to a different charity

each year at Christmas in lieu of presents, and wrote a letter about his choice to each member of the extended family. My mother has taken to donating goats and sheep and chickens in the name of each of her grandchildren through Heifer International. And each year, we shepherded our children to the local Alternative Gift Fair, where they made charitable donations in lieu of Hanukkah gifts on certain nights: drumming lessons for youth in detention, psychotherapy and fresh local vegetable deliveries for low-income Washington, D.C., residents, and bicycle repair kits for people in Uganda and Honduras. And cumulatively over the years, I must admit, they got a lot of toys and clothes and books. But being an interfaith family provided fresh incentive

each year to try to make sure to focus on the carols and the klezmer, the fi relight and the candlelight, and spending time with both sets of relatives. It took a conscious effort to keep Hanukkah and Christmas from disappearing under a drift of torn red-and-green and blueand-white wrapping paper. We did not always succeed. But I hope that if you ask one of my nearly grown kids about the benefits of being part of an interfaith family, you will get a deeper answer than “twice the presents!” SUSAN KATZ MILLER, a former Newsweek reporter, is the author of “Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family.” She blogs at, Huffington Post and The Seesaw interfaith advice column at The Jewish Daily Forward. You can fi nd her on Twitter @BeingBoth.

FUN AND FACTS FOR KIDS Sponsored by the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association | | Written by Ruth L. Breindel

DID YOU KNOW: Hanukkah is not a major Jewish holiday! Hanukkah in America became popular in the mid 1900s. As more Jewish children went to public school with Christian children, the idea of presents in winter became a problem. Christmas, which has evolved into a gift-giving experience, is not usually celebrated by Jewish families. What was the solution? Take a winter holiday, Hanukkah, and make it into a gift-giving time so that the Jewish children wouldn’t feel left out. Some families give a small to medium present every night; others give one big present at either the beginning or the end, and then some small presents throughout the festival. Parties have been held at synagogues since at least 1925, when Temple Emanu-El hosted its first children’s’ event at the old Jewish Community Center. Today you will find many parties, where children play games, especially with the dreidel, eat, sing and light the hanukkiyah, or ninecandle menorah. What are the customs in your family?

Make a dreidel decoration – 2 ways! 1. Trace 2 or 4 of the dreidel patterns onto cardboard, foam board or poster board. You can enlarge them to any size you like. Cut out the pieces.

The dreidel game:

Above is the chart to explain what each Hebrew letter on the dreidel means. Visit for more ideas. To play:

2. Decorate the pieces, either with the Hebrew letters or your own design.


To make a 3-D dreidel:

Each person should start with a few chocolate coins/pennies/markers.

2. The first person spins the dreidel and allows it to land with one side up. 3. Follow the directions for that letter. 4. The second person spins the dreidel and allows it to land with one side up. 5. Follow the directions for that letter. Continue around the circle until one person has all the coins/pennies/markers or until bedtime!

3. On one piece, cut a slit from the top part halfway down the body. 4. On the other piece, cut a slit from the bottom point halfway up the body. 5. Slip one piece onto the other. If you are using cardboard or foam board, you will need to make the slit wide enough for the pieces to fit together. To make a dreidel string:

6. Use 4 dreidel patterns with one letter on each To hang both dreidel decorations:

7. Punch a hole in the top of the stem, put ribbon through the hole and hang your dreidel decoration up.


20 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

The Jewish Alliance booth at the Hope Street Winter Stroll Dec. 4 featured a Hanukkah craft.

Pre-Kers at PHDS prepare for their Hanukkah party by baking yummy Hanukkah cookies!







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Bnos of Providence prepared for Hanukkah by decorating Hanukkah cookies on the night of Dec. 5 at a special Bnos event at Providence Hebrew Day School



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December 11, 2015 |

Some of the PHDS students, above, in grades 4-8, their fathers, and their Judaic Studies teachers dancing at the second annual Mishmar Mesibah on Dec. 7. The children in the David C. Isenberg Family Early Childhood Center have been busy decorating for Hanukkah. Sammy Spider, who is featured in several Hanukkah books, climbs a classroom wall and menorahs are on display in all of the classrooms.

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22 | December 11, 2015

The Jewish Voice

Rep. David Cicillini met recently with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Members of Temple Sinai’s CRAFTY.

Temple Sinai youth group has busy fall BY JEWISH VOICE STAFF Temple Sinai’s youth group, CRAFTY, has had a active fall reports adviser Adam Cohen: “On Sunday, Nov 1, 14 CRAFTY Junior members gathered to make sandwiches for the House of Hope CDC in Warwick. Smiles and laughter fi lled the room as members assembled 150 sandwiches for the less fortunate. Part of our responsibility as Jewish people is to demonstrate tikkun olam, or “Repairing the World.” After

the assembly line of sandwiches ended, CRAFTY members were able to realize how lucky they are and that they need to give back to the community in which we live. The House of Hope was extremely grateful of our donation and we were happy to help.” “The CRAFTY Senior group gathered at Mission Combat Laser Tag in West Warwick for an afternoon of fun with a grand total of 29 teens. Members from TASTY and SCRAFTY youth groups in the southern Mas-

sachusetts area joined us to forge new friendships with our CRAFTY members.” The group has an exciting Murder Mystery Dinner planned on April 9 at Temple Sinai in Cranston. The event includes an interactive experience by the Murder Mystery Company of Boston and dinner. CRAFTY members can bring friends from BBYO, NFTY, USY and summer camp. Contact Adam at

At the annual North America Shlichim conference in Stamford, Connecticut, held recently, Gilor Meshulam, Jewish Alliance of Greater R.I. Israeli shaliach (emissary), met with Natan Sharansky, director of the Jewish Agency.



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armed citizenry that could stop gun-toting assailants quickly by force. Some look to Israel as a model, noting that armed civilians have played a major role in halting the recent lone-wolf attacks by Palestinians. There are, however, some key differences between the attacks in Israel’s current terror wave and the mass shootings typical of America. In Israel, the Palestinian assailants usually are armed with less sophisticated weapons, such as a knife, and the lone-wolf attacks have been poorly planned, making them much easier to disrupt. Israel also has strict gun controls:  Gun owners are limited to a single pistol, may purchase only 50 rounds of ammunition per year, cannot own assault rifles, and must undergo extensive mental and physical tests to receive a weapon. Moreover, Israeli  civilians who do carry weapons tend to be well trained (and have years of army experience). In America, the assailants have been armed with militarystyle automatic weapons, usually legally purchased, and often evinced methodical preparations for their attacks (one of the San Bernardino assailants went to target practice twice in the days before the shooting, and the couple had bomb-making materials in their home). Second, though guns already are readily available in America, not a single mass shooting

has been stopped by an armed civilian, according to an article in Mother Jones. Finally, statistics show that Americans who own guns are far more likely to die by gunshot – whether by homicide, suicide or accident –  than Americans who don’t own guns. 2. How will the stepped-up bombing of ISIS affect the likelihood of terrorist attacks in America? Much of President Barack Obama’s speech following the San Bernardino attack was about the fight against the Islamic State, and Republican candidates for president have criticized Obama for being too timid in America’s fight against ISIS. But what impact can America’s actions in Iraq and Syria have on attacks of the sort perpetrated by the San Bernardino assailants? By all accounts so far, the San Bernardino shooters acted on their own volition, without coordination or help from ISIS. Even if America were to “carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion,” as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a GOP presidential candidate, suggested over the weekend, that still wouldn’t stop Islamic fundamentalists like Farook and Malik from buying guns in America and perpetrating a San Bernardino-style attack. More likely, one thing has very little bearing on the other: Islamic terrorists will be motivated to hate and attack Amer-

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ica regardless of what America does or doesn’t do in the Middle East. In the fight against terrorism, good defense at home matters more than good offense abroad.

“… statistics show that Americans who own guns are far more likely to die by gunshot – whether by homicide, suicide or accident – than Americans who don’t own guns.” 3. Why did the San Bernardino shooters terrorize people they knew? Most terrorist attacks are perpetrated by strangers against strangers. Not so in San Bernardino, where Farook chose to kill co-workers at the Inland Regional Center of the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. The perpetrators’ choice of target leaves more questions than answers, but it does suggest that attacks may be motivated by an interplay of factors: not just religious radicalism, but also personal animosities. Farook reportedly got into a heated argument the morning of the attack with Nicholas Thalasinos, a pro-Israel Messianic Christian whose wife said he was

NATION anti-Muslim. 4. Does calling it a terrorist attack make any difference? There is some ambiguity when it comes to the language we use to describe mass shootings. All provoke terror – among victims, in the community – but not all fit the dictionary definition of terrorism. That, according to Webster’s, is when individuals “use violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” By this definition, the Planned Parenthood clinic shooting in Colorado Springs, which left three dead, appears to have been a terrorist attack. The perpetrator, Robert Lewis Dear Jr., holds extreme-right views, particularly in his opposition to abortion. The 2012 shooting in Newtown that left 26 victims dead, including 20 first-graders, would not be considered terrorism by this definition, since the shooter, Adam Lanza, was more deranged than motivated by politics. But does it make a difference? Yes and no. Yes, because if we understand the motive, authorities may focus their monitoring on those who harbor similar motivations (political  extremists, Islamic radicals). No, because only an infinitesimal proportion of those who hold extremist views take violent actions as a result; there are legal limits to monitoring; assault weapons are easily available to almost anyone who wants them in America, and most mass shootings in America do not

December 11, 2015 |


qualify as “terrorism.” 5. Is Donald Trump America’s Marine Le Pen? America doesn’t have the dark history with hate-fueled nationalism that Europe has. But Donald Trump, who has dominated most Republican presidential polls since the summer, is sounding more and more like a European far-right nationalist. His latest proposal, to bar all Muslims from entering America, would introduce in America a kind of religious discrimination  never before seen in this country. With some fellow Republican candidates reticent to condemn Trump’s rhetoric for fear of alienating the rightwing voter base, is America’s right-wing adopting the sort of xenophobic  nationalism that long has haunted European politics? Hair color may not be the only thing Trump shares with Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front who just led her party to a first-place showing in the country’s regional elections. The Jewish groups who would be obvious candidates to condemn Trump’s Muslim ban have done so – the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, among others. But others, like the  Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, have not (as of press time). And an Orthodox Union  spokesman told JTA the organization has no response to Trump’s declamation.

24 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

When is cheating really cheating?


The Rambam states in Hilchot Mechirah (chap. 18:1):
 It is forbidden to lie to people in transactions or to steal their opinion, and a gentile and a Jew are equal in this matter. If a person knows

that what he is selling is defective, he should inform the purchaser. And even to steal the opinion of others with words is forbidden. This story, told to me by my late father and in my book “Pathfinding,”  illustrates this: “A very wealthy man in town approached a poor carpenter who had been struggling all his life. He says, ‘I’m going away for a year, and I want you to build

me a house. I am going to give you all the money you need to do it right. I want the best of everything that you can get to build the house.’ As the carpenter began building the house he says to himself, ‘The owner isn’t going to know the difference. Why should I use all this  expensive materials when I can put in cheap imitations and pocket the difference?’ So he builds the

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house as cheaply as he can. The rich man comes back and the carpenter gives him the house key. The rich man says to the carpenter, ‘No, here. The key is for you. I wanted to build the house for you, so I am giving you the house as a present.’ The moral of the story is  be careful, don’t cheat because you may be cheating yourself.” Kahlil Gibran wrote, “You give but little when you give of

your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” PATRICIA RASKIN, M.ED. is an award-winning producer and host of “Patricia Raskin Positive Living” heard Saturdays from 4-6 p.m.  on  WPRO, AM 630/99.7 FM. She is a recipient of the 2015 RI Small Business Administration Award. She is a board member of Temple Emanu-El.

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26 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ – and behind the scenes

NEW YORK (JTA) – Ever since Zero Mostel imagined himself as a rich man in the original 1964 Broadway production, “Fiddler on the Roof” has been a cultural landmark on Broadway and in the Jewish sphere. It’s one of those musicals that always seems to be in rotation. Over the years, many a Tevye – from Mostel to Theodore Bikel to Chaim Topol to Alfred Molina – has inspired audiences to reflect on their own traditions, both those sustained and those lost. Now in previews and set to open on Dec. 20, the newest revival and sixth Broadway production of “Fiddler” features a cast of Broadway veterans like Danny Burstein (“Cabaret,” “South Pacific”) as Tevye and Jessica Hecht (“A View from the Bridge,” TV’s “Breaking Bad”) as Golde, as well as “So You Think You Can Dance” winner Melanie Moore as Chava.

After thousands of stage productions and an indelible movie adaptation, early ticket sales suggest that the public’s interest in the musical has hardly waned. What makes this revival of “Fiddler” worth seeing? There’s a talented cast, for starters, as well as some new spins on the old tale. From cast Shabbat dinners to surprising sources of inspiration, we give you a behind-thescenes look at some surprising facts about the current production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” At 91, lyricist Sheldon Harnick still attends rehearsals. More than 50 years after he wrote such poignant lyrics as “playing with matches, a girl can get burned,” lyricist Sheldon Harnick is still a presence in the rehearsal room, offering the cast feedback and guidance. At 91, he’s the only remaining member of the original creative team, which included composer Jerry Bock, book writer Joseph

But the family connection extends another generation: Bernardi’s grandfather performed the stories of Sholem Aleichem in the Yiddish theater. (“Fiddler” is a compilation of several of the writer’s stories, though it takes some liberties with them.)

Look out for some new choreography ...

Stein and director-choreographer Jerome Robbins. But Harnick’s still a force: In a  video of the sitzprobe – the first rehearsal featuring the cast and full orchestra together — Harnick astounded Burstein by saying this  orchestra sounded better than he ever remembered. Harnick’s remarkably agile, too. When posing for a cast photo at the show’s media event, he instinctively kneeled on the floor next to 20-something cast members. Naturally they insisted he stand, front and center.

They celebrate Shabbat together

Early in the rehearsal process, on Oct. 23, the cast and creative team of “Fiddler” had a Shabbat dinner at Mendy’s Restaurant, the classic delicatessen in Midtown Manhattan. It may have been the first Shabbat dinner experience for several of them,

but after a few “l’chaims” – and conversations that ranged from personal histories to religion, according to a media representative – they were extended family.

Current events inform the production

At early rehearsals with the cast, director Bartlett Sher spoke of Syrian refugees and how they serve as an essential access point for both the actors and the audience. The significance of “Fiddler” today, he said, is in relating to people who leave their homes searching for security. “Currently in Europe, we’re seeing the largest refugee crisis since World War II,” he said at a media event. “Tevye allows us to be in that situation as he figures out how to cope.”

“Fiddler” runs in the family

Michael Bernardi – who plays Mordcha, the innkeeper, and is also the understudy for Tevye – makes his Broadway debut in this production. He’s the son of Herschel Bernardi, who replaced Mostel as Tevye in the original Broadway production and later reprised the role in 1981.

Most “Fiddler” revivals are close to the original choreography – but for this production, the Robbins estate permitted  more freedom. This has enabled Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter – his England-based troupe, Hofesh Shechter Company, is  known for modernist, gritty movement set to percussive electronic music – to weave in some contemporary movement.  Trained in traditional Israeli and Russian folk dance, Shechter aimed not to redo but to expand Robbins’ iconic dances. The result is a balance of tradition and progress that connects to the musical’s central idea.

... and some new music, too

Sher has become a coveted director for reviving classics. He’s breathed new life into the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein (“The King and I”) and Clifford Odets (“Awake and Sing!”). In each of these productions, Sher researches like a professor: He begins by studying early versions of the script – including songs that were cut and dialogue that was rewritten – in order to build a musical from the ground up. The result is a production that looks and sounds like the original – yet also feels vital and relevant for a contemporary audience, with some surprises, too: Look out for new music featured in some of “Fiddler’s” dance scenes.


December 11, 2015 |


Questions and answers about new Social Security claiming rules When Congress unexpectedly eliminated two Social Security claiming strategies as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, retirement planning got a little more compl ic ate d f o r  p e o p l e who expected to use those strategies to boost their ret i rement income. Here a r e  s o m e BARBARA questions and KENERSON answers that could help if you are wondering how the new rules might affect you. Q. What’s changing? A. The provision of the budget bill called “Closure of Unintended Loopholes” primarily addresses two Social Security claiming strategies that have become increasingly popular over the last several years. These strategies, known as “file and suspend” and “restricted application for a spousal benefit,” have often been used to increase cumulative Social Security income for married couples. The budget bill has eliminated the strategies for most future retirees, but you may still have time to take advantage of them, depending on your age.

File and suspend

Under the old rules, an individual who has reached full retirement age could file for retired worker benefits in order to allow a spouse or dependent child to file for a spousal or dependent benefit. The individual could then suspend the retired worker benefit in order to accrue delayed retirement credits and claim an increased worker benefit at a later age, up to age 70. For some couples and families, this strategy increased their total lifetime combined benefit. Under the new rules, effective for suspension requests submitted on or after April 30, 2016, (or later if the Social Security Administration provides additional guidance), the worker can file and suspend and accrue delayed retirement credits, but no one can collect benefits on the worker’s earnings record during the suspension period, effectively ending the file-andsuspend strategy for couples and families. The new rule also means that a worker who files and suspends can no longer request a lump-sum payment in lieu of receiving delayed retirement credits for the period during which benefits were suspended. This previously available option was helpful to someone who faced a change of circumstances, such as a serious illness.

Restricted application

Under the old rules, a married

individual who had reached full retirement age could file a “restricted application” for spousal benefits after their spouse had filed for retired worker benefits. This allowed the individual to collect spousal benefits while delaying filing for his or her own benefit, in order to accrue delayed retirement credits. Under the new rules, an individual born in 1954 or later who files a benefit application will be deemed to have filed for both worker and spousal benefits, and will receive whichever benefit is higher. He or she will no longer be able to file only for spousal benefits.

The bottom line

A limited window still exists to take advantage of these two claiming strategies. If you are currently at least age 66, or will be by April 30, 2016, you may be able to use the file-and-suspend strategy to allow your eligible spouse or dependent child to file for benefits while also increasing your future benefit. To file a restricted application and claim only spousal benefits at age 66, you must be at least age 62 by the end of December 2015. At the time you file, your spouse must have already claimed Social Security retirement benefits or filed and suspended benefits before the effective date of the new rules. Q. Why did Congress act now? A. Both the file-and-suspend and restricted application strategies were made possible by the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000. Part of this act’s original intent was to enable individuals to change their

minds in the event they decided they wanted to work longer but were already receiving Social Security retirement benefits. However, this opened up some claiming strategies that, while legal, went beyond the intent of the legislation. Congress used the budget bill to close these loopholes in order to save money and slightly reduce the longrange actuarial deficit faced by the Social Security trust funds. Q. What if you’re already using one of these strategies? A. If you are already using the file-and-suspend or restricted application strategy, you will not be affected by the new rules. You have already met the age requirements. Q. How are benefits for surviving spouses affected? A. Rules affecting surviving spouses have not changed. If you are eligible for both a survivor benefit and a retirement benefit based on your own earnings record, you can still opt to receive one benefit first, then switch to the other, higher benefit later.

est age at which you can receive Social Security retirement benefits is 62, but if you choose to take benefits before your full retirement age (66 to 67, depending on the year you were born), your benefit will be permanently reduced by as much as 30 percent. On the other hand, if you delay receiving Social Security benefits past your full retirement age, you’ll receive delayed retirement credits, which will increase your benefit by 8 percent for each year you delay, up to age 70. Determining when to file for Social Security benefits is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll need to make as you approach retirement. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer it’s an individual decision that should be based on many factors, including other sources of retirement income, whether you plan to continue working, how many years you expect to spend in retirement, and your income-tax situation. It’s especially complicated when you’re married because you and your spouse will need to plan together, taking into account the Social Security benefits you each

might be entitled to, including survivor benefits. Although some claiming options are going away, plenty of planning opportunities remain, and you should take the time to make an informed decision about when to file for Social Security. If you sign up for a “my Social Security” account at the Social Security website,, you can view your Social Security Statement online. Your statement contains a detailed record of your earnings, as well as estimates of retirement, survivors, and disability benefits, along with other information about Social Security that will be very useful when planning for retirement. If you’re not registered for an online account and are not yet receiving benefits, you’ll receive a statement in the mail every five years, from age 25 to age 60, and then annually thereafter. BARBARA KENERSON is first vice president/Investments at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC and can be reached at

Q. What planning opportunities still exist? A. Even if you can no longer take advantage of the file-andsuspend and restricted application strategies, you may still benefit from considering your Social Security filing options. The age when you begin receiving Social Security benefits can significantly affect your retirement income and income that is available to your survivors. Basic options for claiming Social Security remain unchanged. Currently, the earli-

May the Hanukkah candles bring light to your life! From The Board of Directors and Staff of the Jewish Seniors Agency of Rhode Island Paul Barrette Executive Director

Jeffrey Padwa President

Jewish Seniors Agency “Putting life into living”


Celebrations Adult Day Services Center at Tamarisk, *Jewish Eldercare of Rhode Island Outreach Program, Jewish Seniors Agency Women’s Association, Shalom and Shalom II Apartments, The Phyllis Siperstein Tamarisk Assisted Living Residence, To Life Center Adult Day Services at JSA, *The Louis and Goldie Chester Full Plate Kosher Food Pantry *partially funded by Jewish Alliance of Rhode Island

28 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

Business and Professional Directory Assisting with Real Estate

Bar/Bat Mitzvah/Photography

Attorney Howard L. Feldman, Esq. Law Office of Stephen J. Dennis


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Abigail Breslin to star in ‘Dirty Dancing’ TV musical JTA – “Dirty Dancing,” the hit 1987 fi lm about a Jewish college student on vacation at a heavily Jewish Catskills resort, will be adapted into a TV musical. Abigail Breslin will star in the taped musical, which will air on ABC and be written by Jessica Sharzer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Allison Shearmur Productions and Eleanor Bergstein, who wrote the fi lm’s screenplay, will produce the three-hour show. Sharzer and Bergstein are Jewish; Breslin has one Jewish parent. The movie starred Jennifer Grey as the student and chronicled her romance with one of the resort’s non-Jewish employees, played by the late Patrick Swayze. Also starring was Jerry Orbach as Grey’s father. Like the fi lm’s protagonist, Bergstein was the daughter of a doctor and frequently vacationed with her family in the Catskills. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Dirty Dancing” has grossed more than $213 million glob-

December 11, 2015 |


The Voice Classified HOUSEMATE WANTED Lodging in South Kingstown home of older couple in exchange for occasional help with light tasks. Call 401-789-7003.

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30 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

Memories of my father


The Blackman Insurance Agency 631 Main Street East Greenwich Rhode Island 401-885-7110

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Rabbi Philip (Pesach) Kaplan was born in 1918 (the youngest of six children) to Avraham Moshe Kaplan, a shochet and Chana Dina Wepner Kaplan in Albany, N.Y. The family soon moved to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. When my father was almost 3 years old, tragedy struck when his mother was killed by a hit-and-run driver. This, of course, affected him deeply throughout his entire life, and he very often mentioned it. He always remained extremely close to his father and all of his siblings. My father was a kind, gentle and sensitive child with a passion for learning. He graduated from Yeshiva University High School and then Yeshiva College, where he received many awards for his academic and extra-curricular accomplishments. In 1942, he received semikhah from Rav Joseph Baer Soloveitchik at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University. He later received a master’s in education from Ferkauf Graduate School. After he died, we appropriately dedicated both a study room and a student scholarship in his memory at Yeshiva College. In 1944, my father went to Providence, Rhode Island, to visit his oldest sister, Libbie Chill, and her husband, Rabbi Abraham Chill, who later became a well-known author. They introduced my father to my mother, Esther Koffler, who was from

a prominent Providence family. She was the president of the Young Woman’s Sisterhood in their shul, Congregation Sons of Abraham. My parents were soon married, and after my brother and I were born, my family lived in small communities, first in Ontario and then in New England. My father was the only rabbi in each of these communities. He taught countless children in Hebrew School, as well as adults. At one time he had his own radio program. My parents were proud to have been chosen to be presented to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip when they visited our town in Ontario. After my father’s death, we heard from many people from those communities where we had lived, and many mentioned the huge influence he had on them, that he had changed their lives and they would never forget him. In 1965, my parents returned to the Rhode Island area, and my father was active in the Rabbinical Council of New England – Vaad Harabonim for 40 years, serving as its president for eight years. He also served as a dayan on the Bet Din in Boston as well as a chaplain for the Veterans

Administration of Rhode Island. He was a lifelong member of the Rabbinical Council of America. After he retired from the pulpit, my parents were active members of Congregation Ohawe Shalom in Pawtucket. My father had a youthful vigor and walk, even in his later years, and was very friendly to everyone, including strangers. Everyone who knew him respected him. His favorite things in life were praising my mother, being with family, davening and learning Torah. He also loved chocolate, baseball and classical music, as well as telling stories and jokes. He told one of his favorite jokes to a nurse in the hospital four days before he died. Three of his great-grandsons have since been named Pesach in his honor. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since my father died at the age of 87 – a few minutes after the end of Hanukkah. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and brother, and a kind and loving man. We all miss him very much. We especially remember him on his yahrzeit, 3 Tevet.

New accessible entrance for East Side synagogue Congregation Beth Sholom (CBS), a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Providence, has completed a handicap-accessible entrance to the lower level of its building. The lower level is where most events occur. “Making the lower level accessible allows people of all abilities to fully participate in the many opportunities that CBS has to offer,” says Rabbi Barry Dolinger, the rabbi of the synagogue. “Now we can attend all functions as a family,” says Marina Goodman, mother of David who is wheelchair-bound, “before, we had to either split up and take turns, or not go.” A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place December 13 at 11:15 a.m.. It will be followed by a Hanukkah party from noon to 1:30 p.m., held jointly with New

England Yachad/The National Jewish Council for Disabilities, an organization that serves individuals with disabilities and special needs of all ages providing inclusive social and recreational programs. “We’re not wasting any time to celebrate the new future of our synagogue as a more open and welcoming house of worship and family-friendly facility,” states Dr. William Krieger, president of CBS. It took a year to raise the $25,000 necessary for the project, and three weeks to build a new side entrance. Funding for the project was made possible by family, friends, the community of greater Providence, and the John D. and Katherine A. Johnston Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.


December 11, 2015 |


The tea lady BY GEORGE M. GOODWIN Somehow, I cannot forget an unfortunate experience that occurred at my temple almost 20 years ago. Occasionally, when I force myself to tell this story, listeners can hear the anguish and trepidation in my voice. This regrettable experience, lasting seven or eight minutes, occurred at a Friday evening Oneg Shabbat. A woman my mother’s age and I happened to reach for a cup of tea at about the same moment. Since we were only slightly acquainted, we were not eager to make small talk. In the spirit of Shabbat, however, we decided, I thought, to make an effort. Soon this longtime member abruptly asked where I had lived before moving to Providence. Not eager to resurrect all the happy but forgettable details, I explained that I had grown up in Los Angeles, studied at several colleges and universities, and later lived with my wife Betsey in St. Paul, Minn. The woman replied, “Oh, you’re a transient.” A what? Only a few times in my life had I felt so humiliated. The fact that I was hearing this inside a synagogue made me feel even more furious and heartbroken. The tea lady then quite proudly explained, “I have lived my entire life within a 3-mile radius of temple.” She would have been even more boastful had the radius been half as much. I tried to reassure myself by remembering that Betsey and I had joined the temple about 10 years earlier – within days of our move to Providence – our second child was born here, our kids attended the Alperin Schechter Day School (now Jewish Community Day School),

we purchased a home on the East Side, and we had no plans to move elsewhere. We enjoyed much of our life here. Although we did not have many Rhode Island-born friends, Betsey and I thought that we had become active and responsible members of Rhode Island’s Jewish community. Suffice to say that I never again submitted to a conversation – even at an Oneg – with the tea lady, who eventually moved to Florida. But I learned an important lesson from this incident: do more to welcome the stranger, especially at temple and within our Jewish community. Indeed, I began to question whether I had done enough within the congregation where I had grown up. So I decided to become a temple usher. This task may sound a bit cheesy, but I take the responsibilities very seriously. Yes, I like sporting a carnation in my lapel and wearing formal dress during High Holy Day services, but I am not consumed by appearances. Rather, I remembered attending some services in the early years of our membership, when Betsey often stayed at home to care for our kids. On more than a few occasions, even ushers failed to say hello or Shabbat Shalom. At times I felt invisible. So, as an usher, I go out of my way to give strong handshakes, look everybody in the eye, smile, and say something appropriate. I take considerable pride in the way my fellow ushers – both men and women – also greet temple newcomers, seasoned members, and guests, and are available to assist throughout services. Occasionally, I have felt that I accomplish more as an usher than I have as a member

of a temple board or committee. Unfortunately, as an usher I have also found that Jews, like all people, can be horribly rude. Show up for services whenever it’s convenient for you, dress however you like, request upfront seats for your entire family even when none are available, neglect to turn off your cellphone, leave and return to the sanctuary as many times as you like, and abandon a service when you decide it’s over. Oh, and don’t bother to bring your own prayer book. And if there is something that bothers you, don’t hesitate to complain – after all, you must be the service’s justification. Other observers might remark that a loss of decorum might be the inevitable cost of ever-increasing efforts to be inclusive. Or that decorum is not Jewish; services should be fun, folksy and a bit frenetic. Even worse, they say Jews need to liberate themselves from artificial and antiquated mores – indeed, their inhibitions. As my bitter encounter with the tea lady taught, I believe that a lot is at stake from poor manners. So many of us, even in Rhode Island, have once been strangers. Strong communities, especially Jewish ones, are built through growth, inclusion and respect. When we ignore some, and insult others, we divide into tiny clusters and fragments, denying our destiny as a people. Thank you, tea lady, for teaching me a lesson. GEORGE M. GOODWIN is completing his 12th year as editor of Rhode Island Jewish Historical Notes. He recently began a third term on the board of the Rhode Island Historical Society.

Happy Hanukkah!


Free diabetes education classes offered to Medicare beneficiaries

Free diabetes self-management beneficiaclasses for Medicare ries are being offered by Healthcentric Advisors, the New England Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (NE QIN-QIO), in collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Health. These classes are conducted in an interactive workshop format, and are 2 1/2 hours in length and held once each week for six consecutive weeks. Subjects covered include: techniques to manage the symptoms of diabetes; appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength and endurance; healthy eating; appropriate use of medication; and working more effectively with health care providers. Participants are encouraged to develop weekly action plans to address the issues they face. These workshops are held

in communities throughout Rhode Island. Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes and pre-diabetes are encouraged to participate. Please call Brenda

Jenkins at 401-528-3246 or Joyce Laforge at 401-528-3268 to fi nd out when the next nearby class is scheduled to begin.

“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” - Evelyn Dunbar

Ha ppy H an uk ka h from the 85 Taft Avenue, Providence RI 02906 401-751-2470

Warmest wishes for a Chanukah filled with light, love and laughter

32 | December 11, 2015


Nancy Ehrlich, 70

Nathaniel Gouse, 97

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Nancy Band Ehrlich of Concord, Mass., and Providence passed away unexpectedly on the evening of Dec. 7 at Emerson Hospital in Concord. She was born Nancy Lou Band on Feb. 23, 1945 to Jules and Beulah Band, in New York, N.Y. She graduated from the High School for Music and Art and Columbia University, both in New York. She is succeeded by her husband, Dr. Michael Ehrlich, The Chief of Orthopedics at the R.I. and Miriam Hospitals and Chairman of Orthopedics at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, her sons, Christopher and Timothy, their wives Sara and Isabella, four grandchildren, Charlotte, Harrison, August and Julian and her brother Richard. Nancy was a scholar (she received several master’s degrees from Columbia, Brandeis and Rhode Island College), an interior architect and historian, (she was involved with helping to restore the Caesar Robbins’ House in Concord) and a patron of the arts (she served on the board of directors of the Rhode Island Philharmonic). She was an avid gardener, knitter and needle pointer. She was committed to various social causes, having served on the boards of the Providence Children’s Museum and Family Services. Passionate about social justice, at age 60, she returned to school to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work. This enabled her to help provide life-changing guidance to seniors in Rhode Island. Contributions in her memory can be made to the “Nancy Band Ehrlich Fund for the Arts” at Washington Trust Wealth Management, 10 Weybosset Street, Suite 200, Providence, R.I. 02903.

CRANSTON, R.I. – Nathaniel Gouse, of Cranston, died Dec. 5 at Miriam Hospital. He was the husband of Tema (Pomrenze) Gouse. They were married for 67 years. Born in Providence, a son of the late Harry and Jennie (Holiver) Gouse, he had lived in Cranston for 14 years, previously living in Providence. He was a chemical engineer for Foxboro Co. for 25 years, retiring 30 years ago. Nathaniel was a WWII Navy veteran, serving stateside. He was a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, class of 1940. Devoted father of Neil D. Gouse and his wife, Karen, of Peabody, Mass., and Allen S. Gouse and his wife, Cheryl, of Glastonbury, Conn. Dear brother of the late Norma Goldman and Rosalind Brier. Loving grandfather of Courtney, Rebeka and Lauren. Contributions in his memory may be made to the charity of your choice.

Paul David Heyman, 89

SARASOTA, FLA. – Paul David Heyman of Sarasota, Fla., formerly of Providence, died Nov. 27. He had a successful career as general agent of Penn Mutual Insurance Company in Providence, mentoring and training generations of successful agents. He was also a faculty member of the University of Rhode Island Extension Division, teaching life insurance. He also had a distinguished military career, retiring as a colonel and Judge Advocate from the United States Air Force Reserve. He served as Staff Advocate for many years at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass., winning the Air Force Commendation Medal, of which, according

The Jewish Voice to his commanding officer, only one other reserve officer had been so esteemed during the previous three decades. Before entering the life insurance business, he worked as a Judge Advocate at the Pentagon as part of a legal team that successfully prosecuted a number of major cases. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jackie Heyman (nee Cecil Jacqueline Cohen), and his three loving children, Jo Ann Greenberg of California, Hope Heyman of White Plains, N.Y. and Robert Kaplan of Chicago. He is also survived by his cherished grandchildren, Scott, Kelly and Sarah. Born in Brooklyn in 1926 to Benedict Charles Heyman and Anna Heyman (nee Behr), Paul Heyman matriculated at Brooklyn College at 16. Drafted out of college into the Army in 1945 during World War II, he subsequently graduated with a degree in law from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He was admitted to the bars of Texas and New York, as well as to the Supreme Court of the United States. A man who lead by example, he was regarded in the Rhode Island life insurance industry as an ”icon” representing the highest professional and personal standards. His, wife, children and grandchildren remember his motto: “Your word is your bond.” He was also very funny and kind.

Sidney Horowitz, 70 WARWICK, R.I. – Sidney Horowitz died Nov. 29 at Philip Hulitar Inpatient Center. He was the husband of Carolyn (Maziarz) Horowitz for 48 years. Born in Providence, a son of Irene (Garber) Horowitz of Providence and the late Jerome Horowitz, he had lived in Warwick for 35 years. He was the owner of Sid’s Tool Co. in Warwick for 40 years. He was a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, serving stateside during the Vietnam conflict. Sid was a former member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and Temple Sinai. Devoted fa-

ther of Sharon Hallowell and her husband, Michael, of Warwick and the late Jeffrey Horowitz and his surviving spouse, Tammy, of West Warwick. Dear brother of Steven Horowitz of St. Simons Island, Ga., and Robin Bautista of Cumberland. Loving grandfather of Michaela and Jayden. Contributions in his memory may be made to Home & Hospice Care of RI, Patient Free Care, 1085 North Main St., Providence, R.I. 02904.

Mildred Seligman

FALL RIVER – Mildred Seligman of Swansea died Dec. 6 at Charlton Memorial Hospital. Alex Seligman, her husband of 49 years predeceased her. Born in Providence, she was the daughter of the late Anna Rachel (Rakatansky) Rappaport and the late Joseph Rappaport. She was a graduate of Hope High School in Providence. A member of the Adas Israel Synagogue, the Sisterhood of Adas Israel. the Jewish Home, and the Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary Post #168. She worked for the City of Fall River at City Hall for many years. She is survived by a daughter, Gayle E. Hodosh and her husband Lance E. Hodosh and two grandchildren, Joshua E. Hodosh and his fiancee Jessica M. Ryter, and Rachel E. Hodosh and her fiancee Matthew E. Borges. She took much joy in her grandchildren. She was the sister of the late Norman Rappaport of Providence, the late Kenneth Rappaport of Vermont, and Shirley Rappaport of Providence.

Jacob Strashnick, 96 BRISTOL, R.I. – Jacob Strashnick, of  R.I. Veterans Home, died Nov. 29 at Rhode Island Hospital. He was the beloved husband of the late Ann M. Strashnick. Born in Providence, a son of the late Louis and Molly (Luxlansky) Strashnick, he was a lifelong Rhode Island resident. He was a graduate of Hope High School, Class of ’39. He was a WWII Army veteran, serving in the Euro-

pean Theater. He was a member of Touro Fraternal Association, Redwood Lodge of the Masons, RI Shrine and the former Temple Beth David. Devoted father of Michael A. Strashnick of Warwick, Jane S. (Chris) Bowen of Blairsville, Ga., and the late Bruce Strashnick. Dear brother of the late Janice Colitz. Loving grandfather of Matthew and Kyle. Contributions in his memory may be made to your favorite charity.

Herbert Lawrence Triedman, 85

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Herbert Lawrence Triedman of Providence, died Nov. 28. He was the husband of Susan Aaron Triedman. In addition to his wife of 57 years, he is survived by his son, Steven G. Triedman and Elizabeth Isaacson of Providence and his daughter, Elle Triedman of Santa Monica, Calif., grandchildren Pamela Simon, Tucker Beall, Andrew Lefebvre, Sarah Lefebvre and a sister, Joan Temkin Slafsky of Providence. He was born in Providence on June 24, 1933, the son of the late Ruth (Pinkos) Triedman Temkin and George Triedman, a former Assistant Attorney General of the United States. He was a graduate of Moses Brown School and Harvard College, Class of 1955. Following graduation from college, he served for two years with the US Army. In 1958, Mr. Triedman founded Lawrence & Brooks, Incorporated – the oldest advertising, marketing and public relations agency in Rhode Island – and was its current chairman. He was also vice chairman of Webxchange, an internet company in Palo Alto, Calif. He was a member of Temple Beth-El, The Providence Athenaeum, The Rhode Island School of Design Museum and The University Club. Contributions may be made in his memory to the charity of your choice.

From the Staff of Sugarman-Sinai Memorial Chapel


December 11, 2015 |

For Jimmy Carter’s chief of staff, being Jewish was a family secret White House. Did you have a consciousness about that era as a kid? Did you speak about, say, Camp David, the historic summit where President Carter managed to wrest a peace treaty out of the Israelis and the Egyptians? Jordan: Camp David was one of the most successful Middle East treaties to this day. It was something he was really proud of.

BY SARAH WILDMAN WASHINGTON (JTA) – Hamilton Jordan, President Jimmy Carter’s wunderkind adviser and chief of staff, discovered at age 20 that his family’s story wasn’t a straightforward Christian Southern experience. At the cemetery service for his maternal grandmother, Helen, Jordan was puzzled to discover her plot was nestled alongside that of a Jewish family. They weren’t strangers; they were his ancestors. A bit of digging revealed that his beloved grandmother was herself Jewish. She had married his Baptist grandfather in the years immediately preceding the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank – a Jewish man who was framed for a murder he did not commit – in a South that viewed Jews as unacceptably different. His own mother would never speak of her Jewish roots. Jordan died in 2008. That we know this story is thanks to his daughter Kathleen, now 27. A Comedy Central and Hollywood scriptwriter, Kathleen took on the task of editing the unfinished 300-page manuscript her father had left behind. It was a labor of love, a way to process her grief and an exercise in embracing her own Southern identity. Kathleen Jordan sat down recently with Sarah Wildman at a Washington, D.C., coffee shop for a wide-ranging conversation about the family secret at the heart of the recently published memoir “A Boy from Georgia: Coming of Age in the Segregated South.” JTA: The book seems to be very much about the evolution of American thinking about race and ethnicity. Jordan: It’s largely tracking his moral journey in the context of race. I think a linchpin moment in the book and in his own life [was] realizing that he was the victim of persecution at age 20. Standing at that gravesite and realizing that his family was Jewish and that was a secret – and it was a secret for a reason. JTA: Did he have an inkling? After he sees the gravesite, did he ask family members? Jordan: He asks his mother about this three times. First she says, ‘Later. It’s too much.’ [Eventually she says] ‘Hamilton, I’ll never talk of this.’ Before my dad died and when he was working on the book, it blew our minds that he wasn’t going to ask his uncle about it. It was 2006 or 2007, and we said, ‘Are you kidding? You have the chance to hear his stories and feelings of persecution he experienced – or even marginalization.’ It

Hamilton Jordan seemed a very quiet kind of thing. A social thing. JTA: Did learning he was Jewish inform the way your father thought about the world? Jordan: Absolutely. He spent the rest of his life trying to connect with the Jewish community. He was baptized Baptist. We grew up Episcopalian. But culturally he was drawn to it. And it had an impact on his relationship to the civil rights movement; I think it made it personal for him. It made civil rights even more personal. There are two watershed moments for him: seeing his maid marching with [Martin Luther King Jr.] in downtown Albany [Georgia] and thinking ‘what am I doing?’ and realizing that everyone he loves and respects was a segregationist. JTA: Why did you decide to pick up the book and edit it? Jordan: This book is about his childhood and the moral and intellectual journey to the right side of the fence, and because of that it took a long time for him to articulate. He had been writing and telling these stories for a long time. We knew how important it was to him. When he died it was 85 percent finished. We didn’t add. I drew some conclusions. I did polishing. Edited it. Made it into a narrative. He had had words on paper for maybe six or eight years. JTA: Did you see this as a legacy project? Jordan: I think that this book started as an oral history, and he wanted his stories to live on and he was always aware that he could die of cancer. The book explains how he got to be a politician and how he came to formulate opinions. But when I took it on, it was partially a choice of grief. We were sad. My brother worked on it for six months and did research interviews. It’s a family affair. JTA: The book is detailed about his childhood – and a bit less about his time serving in the

My dad’s story in a lot of ways is President Carter’s story – the slow opening of his eyes to human rights. It drew them together throughout their relationship. They had this common background of growing up where segregation is passed generation to generation, and it falls into your lap and you realize you have a choice … and that is a thread. And that empathy and human rights thread tied them together into a common mission. JTA: Tell me about the cover art. It’s a Confederate flag and your dad as a boy. It’s a jarring image. Jordan: People often ask if it was a tough decision, especially after the [deadly shootings at a black church] in South Carolina. We discussed it. It is the perfect symbol for his journey. He is standing there blissfully unaware of the symbol, and he has no sense of its meaning. I think that slowly through the book he begins to understand that it is symbolically his choice to hold the flag. JTA: How did working on the book change your own Southern identity? Jordan: I had a lot of shame associated with being from the South. But in working on this book, I have realized that not claiming your past is a form of erasure. It is denying the bad and burying the good. And he didn’t run from it. It was politically important for my dad, and being from the South was one of the main points of his identity. Now I would say it’s the same for me. And I’ve been able to rediscover a lot in working on this book and being able to interact with some of his peers in Albany, Georgia, and Atlanta. Prejudice and race happen in the South – it is more so on the tips of our tongues. Living in New York and L.A., in my experience, I have not had as many interesting conversations on race because people aren’t as up to talk about it. But the South is anything but color blind, and it’s something I really value.

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34 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

Jewish Book Council journal now available as digital archive NEW YORK (JTA) – A treasure trove of American Jewish literary news and opinion spanning the second half of the 20th century is now available as a free digital archive. Launched in honor of the 90th anniversary of the Jewish Book Council, the searchable archive of the Jewish Book Annual is the culmination of a multi-year partnership between the council and the Center for Jewish History, which provided the technological resources to digitize the 56 issues of the journal through its Gruss Lipper Digital Laboratory. Published by the Jewish Book Council, or JBC, from 1942 through 1999, the Jewish Book Annual was for many decades a trilingual journal, with distinct sections in English, Hebrew and Yiddish that included a review of the previous year in Jewish literature, a complete bibliography in fiction, nonfiction and children’s books, and essays on important figures and events on the Jewish literary scene. The inaugural issue emerged against the tragic backdrop of the Nazis’ mass extermination of European Jewry, including its influential writers, art-

ists and scholars who were the source of a vibrant world of Jewish literature and culture. The editors and contributors called on American Jews to take on the mantle of Jewish literature, not just as writers, but as engaged readers as well. “An age of creative readers

makes for literature which is immortal,” wrote Louis Finkelstein, who was then the president of the Jewish Theological Seminary. The journal evolved over time to an English-only publication and was succeeded by Jewish Book World, the JBC’s quarterly magazine of book reviews, author interviews and editorials. The questions and concerns that writers grappled with in the mid-20th century are relevant today, according to Naomi Firestone-Teeter, JBC’s executive director. She was struck by

an article from the 1940s that worried about American Jews becoming too Americanized. “It made me laugh. We are talking about the same questions,” she told JTA. By digitizing their complete collection in partnership with the Center for Jewish History, JBC ensures that this important piece of American Jewish history will not be lost and will now be accessible to scholars and new generations of readers, Firestone-Teeter said. With essays written for lay readers, often constructed around a theme or trend, the journal presents a portrait of American Judaism through a literary lens of the period. “Fundamentally, the publication was about the American Jewish community and its members,” said Nat Bernstein, JBC’s manager of digital content and media. “Writers had their fingers on the pulse on the Jewish community and found ways to reflect that in a literary journal,” she said. “This was not an ivory tower,” she added. “This was for American Jewish readers.”

December 11, 2015 |

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36 | December 11, 2015


The Jewish Voice

The ‘Kate Middleton effect’ on synagogue fashion social media abuzz. NEW YORK (JTA) – The so- (Post-wedding, sales called “Kate Middleton ef- of fascinators refect” – by which anything the portedly climbed 300 Duchess of Cambridge wears percent – so much becomes an instant best-seller so that an inevitable backlash is under– seems to know no bounds. She has graced the covers way.) But for observant of countless magazines; enwomen, fascinators tire blogs are devoted to what off er a fashionable she wears. And, as it happens, the duchess is the perfect style take on a rule in the icon for observant Jewish Mishnah Berurah – a 19th-century comwomen. mentary on the Shul“She’s modest, demure and modern,” says Adi Heyman, chan Aruch, a Jewfounder of the fashion blog ish code of law – that forbids any blessing Fabologie. So it’s perhaps no surprise or prayers to be said that one of Middleton’s signa- in the presence of a ture style pieces – the fascina- married woman with tor – has caught on as a head her hair uncovered. Today, some fashcovering in synagogues on this ion-forward Jewish side of the pond. In case you’re wondering, women now wear fascinators are headpieces at- fascinators in place tached to the head by clip or of a hat or lace doily Kate Middleton’s headwear is turning up in synagogues. headband. They’re often or- during services at synnate and are typically smaller agogue. add it,” Josephs adds. “It’s a wear anything otherwise,” Ba“It’s always great – or at least cover less hair – saleli says. fun accessory.” than hats. And it’s not only the when Jewish law and fashion Most of Basaleli’s fascinators Bella Basaleli, who owns can coexist,” says Allison JoDuchess of Cambridge who’s Bella’s Hats and runs hat par- cost $40 to $120. She decided to sephs, the Orthodox founder made them fashionable. Sarties in the New York metropoli- start her business after paying ah Jessica Parker also helped of the website Jew in the City. tan area, says nearly half the “way too much” for a fascinapopularize the style when she “Fashion is one of the ways headpieces she sells are fasci- tor for her son’s bar mitzvah at observant Jewish culture can donned one that looked like a boutique on Long Island two nators. grab pieces of larger culture, a garden (with monarch butFor women in the more lib- years ago. and women don’t have to feel terfl ies, to boot) to the London “I wanted headwear that was eral modern Orthodox synapremiere of the “Sex and the cut off.” gogues, they’re a trendy alter- different than what I would More observant women wear City” movie. Lady Gaga’s been native for those moving away normally wear to shul,” she spotted in fascinators, and the fascinators atop their wigs. from wearing the more tradi- says. “As it was a special oc“Women who wear wigs headwear selections of sevcasion, I decided to wear a tional hats. eral guests at Middleton’s 2011 aren’t going to replace one “A lot of these girls wouldn’t fascinator. Fascinators were with a fascinator, but they’ll wedding to Prince William set becoming very trendy at our shul, and it was the fi rst time I had ever bought one.” Leah Zweihorn wears fascinators to her modern Orthodox synagogue in Queens with some regularity (when she fi rst married, Zweihorn covered her hair all the time; now she only does it at synagogue). At a recent family wedding, she picked a fascinator to match her dress. “They’re just more fun than hats,” Zweihorn says. “Also, I fi nd it harder to talk to people – especially in a crowded room – with a hat, since it blocks some of my view. But even more significantly, many of them come Winter can be a stressful time when you are down over my ears and it’s harder to hear.” worrying about your loved one shoveling Zweihorn gets plenty of atsnow, paying the heating bills or driving on tention when she wears a fascinator, she says, and at shul unsafe roads in the challenging weather. she tends to opt for larger ones that cover more hair. Stop stressing and enjoy complete peace “My husband feels strongly Call today to schedule your visit about women covering their of mind while they enjoy a warm, cozy and hair in shul, so I like to wear and leave your worries behind. safe winter at EPOCH Assisted Living on something a little bit more subBlackstone Boulevard. stantial,” she says. Indeed, not all synagogues or rabbis agree on the legitimacy Don’t just make this winter the best they’ve of the fascinator as a head ering. Some synagogues in had in years – make every season fun, 353 Blackstone Boulevard England – where fascinators relaxing and comfortable. have enjoyed long-running Providence, RI 02906 popularity, even prior to the “Kate effect” – explicitly state (RI Relay 711) Assisted Living . Memory Care . Respite the headwear is not permitted. BY LUCY COHEN BLATTER

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For example, the website at the Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue, just outside London, states: “All Jewish married ladies must wear a hat or other head covering (not just a ‘fascinator’) while in the Synagogue.” But Rabbi Benjamin Skydell of Congregation Orach Chaim, a modern Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan, explains that a fascinator – even one on the smaller side – may be entirely Kosher. The passages in the Talmud that deal with the standards of hair covering mention little about how much hair must be covered, he says. There’s even discussion as to whether wearing just a basket on one’s head is enough (remember, women way back when carried baskets). “A fascinator may very well fit the minimum requirement,” Skydell says. But the rabbi also recognizes that many women who wear fascinators to synagogue are less concerned about the Talmudic rules and see it more as a fashionable take on a longheld tradition. “For a lot of modern Orthodox women, it’s a vestige of the past,” he says of these women covering their heads in shul. For women in Conservative congregations, the emergence of fascinators is a sign of changing times. Johanna Ginsberg, who attends an egalitarian synagogue in New Jersey, says she’s seen them pop up in recent years. She even held a hat party earlier this year where fascinators were among the pieces for sale. “Older women in the Conservative community carry more baggage when it comes to head covering,” she says. “They see hats as anti-feminist and prefer to wear kippot,” which were traditionally seen as a necessity for men only, not women. “But the younger women don’t feel that way because they haven’t had to confront this issue. Many of those women like hats and fascinators because they feel more feminine than the kippah.” One downside to the look has absolutely nothing to do with modesty. “It’s potchky,” Zweihorn admits, using the Yiddish expression to mean time-intensive. Rather than a hat, which can be plopped on your head and fi x a bad hair day, a fascinator requires perfect placement. “I don’t like it to look like I’m wearing a headband, so I need to cover the band with my hair,” she explains. “It takes more time.” The end result, though, is worth the trouble. “They’re fun to wear,”  Zweihorn says, “and I fully intend on expanding my collection.”


December 11, 2015 |


4 elderly Jewish ladies busted for mahjong game JTA – Four elderly Jewish women playing mahjong in Florida may not sound like a crime – but that’s what was recently alleged in the city of Altamonte Springs. Lee Delnick, Bernice Diamond, Helen Greenspan and Zelda King – aged 87 to 95 – had their weekly game interrupted by police who stopped them from playing in their usual spot, the Escondido Condominium clubhouse, on suspicion that the group was illegally gambling. King told the Heritage Florida Jewish News that a “troublemaker” in the building had alerted authorities to their weekly game. The ladies were told by the Escondido property manager to “lay low” for weeks until the issue sorted itself out. “This is ridiculous!” King

said. “We haven’t played in the clubhouse for weeks! We have to go to each other’s homes to play, and not everyone lives in Escondido. It is an international game and we are being crucified!” As it turns out, there is no ordinance in Altamonte Springs against mahjong gambling. The Heritage Florida Jewish News reported that Florida’s gambling laws allow certain “penny-ante games,” or games through which a winner wins $10 or less. The bubbes’ mahjong game, which caps the winner’s earnings at a steep $4, falls within the confines of the law. King told the Heritage Florida Jewish News that the ladies can now laugh about the whole affair at their next mahjong game in the condo clubhouse, scheduled for after Thanksgiving.

Win, lose or draw at the successful event.

Casino night a success

On Oct. 21, Temple Torat Yisrael held their first “Casino Night” under the direction of “Wekater2you.” More than 100 attended an exciting evening, designed to look just like a “high-end gambling casino” including decorations, twenty-one tables, craps and roulette wheel. “Lady Luck”

food and signature drinks were catered by Temple members. There were raffle prizes for the winners. Temple Torat Yisrael President Andy Sholes praised the cadre of volunteers who made the event such a success. Event Co-Chairs Sharon Field and Sheila Malatt led an devoted

group of volunteers who spent months of time, energy and skill to making the fundraiser a great success. The many Temple Torat Yisrael friends joined members for this major fundraising event that was open to the general public as well as the membership.

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The Jewish Voice

BAT MITZVAH – Jodi Riva Resnick became a Bat Mitzvah on Oct. 3 at Temple Kol Tikvah in Sharon, Massachusetts. She is the daughter of David Samuel Resnick and Carol Jill Resnick. Paternal grandparents are Frank and Sylvia Resnick of Cranston. Maternal grandparents are the late George and Rene Mandell.

How to submit articles to ISRAEL – Phyllis B. Solod, of Warwick, traveled to Israel recently where she visited the Slatins in Jerusalem, and her daughter, Lyn and family in Tel Aviv.

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Trump, for one, said he would send everyone back to the negotiating table, assuring the room that inking a better deal would be “so easy.” Bush said he would reinstitute sanctions against Iran lifted as part of the deal. And Cruz declared, “We need to nominate a candidate who has the clarity to stand up and say: If you vote for Hillary Clinton, you are voting for the Ayatollah Khamenei to have nuclear weapons,” referring to Iran’s supreme leader. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida vowed to “shred” the agreement. And there was also a near-universal declaration of revulsion for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. Cruz indicated that as president, his administration would strip federal funding from universities that divest from companies that do business with Israel. Rubio blasted the new European Union resolution to label products made in the West Bank settlements, saying that the policy was tantamount to anti-Semitism. He also promised to “call on university and religious leaders to speak out with clarity and force on this issue the same way … they speak out against racism and bigotry.” The room generally received the candidates warmly, but their votes may be few: Jewish voters consistently skew Democratic. Obama won the 2012 presidential election with about 70 percent of the Jewish vote, and Jews overwhelmingly support social issues that fall in the progressive column, including gay marriage and abortion rights. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican candidate, made some headway over the 2008 GOP choice, Sen. John McCain, RAriz. Romney garnered about 30 percent of the Jewish vote to McCain’s 22-24 percent, corresponding to sagging enthusiasm among voters generally for Obama. Additionally, McCain’s vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is believed to have turned off many Jewish voters because of her stridency on social issues. On a call with the media the day before the forum, National Jewish Democratic Council Chairman  Greg Rosenbaum said, “[W]hen we look at the candidates this party is putting forward, we’re amazed by how out of sync they are with the priorities of Jewish-Americans. The RJC attempts to drive a wedge between the parties on Israel, using Israel as a partisan issue, because it is all

they’ve got.” Only Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tried to address that lag, noting a successful Republican candidate had to rethink immigration policy, reach out to Latinos, and allow for exceptions on rape and incest with regard to abortion. Each of the speeches had moments of direct Jewish appeal, sometimes to mixed effect. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore warmed up the crowd by noting that just the night before he had watched the Oscar-winning Holocaust feature “Schindler’s List.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he always followed his mother’s advice. “She said, ‘Johnny, if you want to look for a really good friend, get someone who is Jewish,’” Kasich recalled. “You know why she said that? Your Jewish friend will stick by your side and stand by your side.” Trump was introduced as a “mensch” with “chutzpah.” “This room negotiates deals, perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to,” he said. Not all of the effort was well received: Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon running for the nomination, spent his time on stage woodenly reading from “Ally,” a book written by Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren. Then, in the same monotone, he read his own prepared remarks, several times mispronouncing Hamas – it sounded more like hummus. Other candidates to speak were former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul missed the event, citing Senate votes. As raucous as the crowd was at times, it may not be about votes at all but about dollars. “I am a fiscal conservative,” said Richard Fox, a venture capitalist from Haddonfield, New Jersey, who listed Israel as a top voting priority. “Oddly I thought that Cruz lit the crowd up on fire. But Rubio was a little flatter today.  I haven’t decided.” The real money will come from another reportedly  undecided voter: Adelson, who was traveling overseas and not in attendance. He is rumored to still be considering which candidate to support for 2016. Adelson, the RJC’s main bankroller, helped sustain the 2012 campaign of former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich – backing the mogul now believes wounded Romney in the general election.


December 11, 2015 |


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